My At-Home, Budget Friendly Spa Day

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I am writing this wearing a leopard robe. Coconut oil is swishing around in my mouth. 11 more minutes to go before I spit my toxins out into the garbage can. My face has a dark grey, charcoal mask on it. A nose strip is waiting for me on my bathroom sink. That fruity sugar scrub is going to exfoliate the winter dryness off my scaly body. A hair mask will hopefully tame my split ends and make my natural balayage tendrils extra soft and shiny. A lip scrub and conditioner will make my pucker extra plump and smooth. Today, is a day of at-home pampering.

I wish I could afford facials and massages, but those are luxuries, and do not fit into my budget. I will ask for them as a gift for special occasion like my birthday or Christmas. In the interim, when I have some extra time, I try to take care of myself at home. Here are some easy, but effective ways to make yourself feel good on a budget.

Water

I fill up a huge (wine) glass of ice water, and then add a few slices of lemon and/or cucumber. Drinking water helps maintain your metabolism, increases energy, decreases fatigue, and improves your complexion. I hydrate during my in-home pampering experience.

Meditation and/or Music

I turn off my cell phone and other electronic devices and really take the time to focus on me. I type “guided meditation” into a search engine, and play something that takes me to a calm headspace. Sometimes, of I want to zen out without a guided meditation, I will turn to Trevor Hall. If I’m not in the mood for calm, then I will turn on Amy Winehouse or Joss Stone. Set the atmosphere for your mood.

Robe & Scents

I absolutely love my fleecy leopard robe that I bought myself and my bridesmaids for my wedding. It is incredibly warm and comfortable, and I don’t have to worry about pulling anything over my head. (I don’t want to get my face mask on my clothing). I usually put a headband on as well, to keep my bangs out of my face. Then, I light a candle in my bathroom, so I can smell a relaxing scent as I perform my at-home pampering routine.

View my ipsy Glam Bag

I subscribe to the ipsy Glam Bag. Each month I receive a bag with 5 samples including facial cleansers, blushes, face masks, primers, moisturizers, eyeshadows, hair care items, and brushes. It has introduced me to so many different products and brands. On my at-home pampering days, I go through my ipsy Glam Bag and see if there is anything new I can implement (usually the hair/face masks, moisturizers, body lotions). The ipsy Glam Bag  costs $10/month, or you can sign-up for their yearly plan which is $110/year.

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The Full Package: Teeth, Face, Hair & Body

It sounds counterproductive, but you want to start with a clean canvas. Brush your teeth swish with mouthwash, and floss. Wash your face with a mild cleanser or exfoliant (I use what I have received in my ipsy Glam Bag), then I use a toner to make sure my face is stripped. I apply Giovanni D:tox System Purifying Facial Mask and scoop 1 tablespoon of Carrington coconut oil into my mouth. Oil pulling, when performed regularly, pulls toxins out of your blood and benefits your oral and overall health. I swish for 20 minutes, and then spit my toxins into a garbage can. I have oil pulled for 2 months straight and my teeth are noticeably whiter and it feels like there is a protective layer covering my enamel. After the 20 minutes are up, I hop in the shower, where I wash the face mask off, cleanse with a mild cleanser, and exfoliate my body with Yes To Coconut Polishing Body Scrub. I rub Sara Happ Vanilla Bean Lip Scrub on my lips to exfoliate dry skin. While I am shaving, I apply Marc Anthony True Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Deep Nourishing Conditioning Treatment. The mask needs 3-7 minutes to be effective. I wash it out, then shampoo and condition. Before I towel off, I slap a Biore Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strip on my nose and then slather lotion all over my body. After I remove the nose strip, apply a cream moisturizer to my face and a lip conditioner. Bam, new me.

Power the Temple: Food & Vitamins

On my at-home pampering days, I make a nice healthy green shake (water, spinach, banana, strawberries, blueberries) or salad. In healthcare, sometimes meals happen, and sometimes I can be found scarfing a Larabar on my way to see my next patient. When I am home, I try to savor each bite, really focusing on the taste and texture of what I am drinking or eating. After I have a full belly, I make sure to take my vitamins.

Open your Mind: Read

Read something, anything. We spend way too much time on our electronic devices. Pick up and hold something in your hands. I subscribe to a newspaper and ten magazines. Books sit patiently on my built-ins waiting for my attention. Find a comfortable spot to lounge, read, and relax. I try to spend at least 15 minutes each day reading something that inspires or motivates me. It is another gratifying, stress-relieving activity.

Feel Good, Be Good

When I spend time pampering myself, I feel better physically and emotionally. You don’t have to have a lot of money to feel good and clear your head. Even if you pick one or two things to do from my post, you will reap the benefits. If you need someone to tell you to make time in your schedule to treat yourself…

Stop what you’re doing and go take care of you.

Namaste.

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That’s What I Do, I Drink & I Know Things

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Now I have the perfect rebuttal to my husband when he asks me what I am doing as I ferociously type on the computer. I’m going to hold up my new glass given to me by Integrity Bottles, that reads That’s What I Do, I Drink & I Know Things famously stated by Tyrion Lannister on HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. He will quickly get the message that I am blogging away! (And I will ignore his eye roll.)

Integrity Bottles is where you can purchase drinkware and bottles with well-known quotations from Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Harry Potter. Integrity Bottles also has patriotic glasses, perfect for law enforcement and military members, and these beautiful crackle and bubble tribal sea turtle and heart glasses. Their drinkware list is extensive featuring beer, wine, whiskey, margarita and shot glasses, coffee mugs, pocket flasks, mason jars, Moscow mules, and tumblers. Wine, liquor, and water bottles also are for purchase. Price points start at $14 for a whiskey tumbler through $80, for a set of four stainless steel etched wine glasses.

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Pinot Noir & Dogs, what could be better?

I felt super sassy drinking my Pinot Noir in my new wine glass. I snapped a picture to show you my day to day chaos. Bailey, playing games asking me to go inside and outside every 15 seconds, and Heath, my sidekick… The saying, “That’s what I do, I drink and I know things” is so relevant to a dog loving blogger! (And kudos to Integrity Bottles for packaging the glass so well!)

There is truly something for everyone. Integrity Bottles screams GIFTS” as we all have that friend and/or family member that intently watches their beloved television series, who is in law enforcement and/or the military, or loves turtles, hearts, witty sayings and/or elegant designs.

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Game of Thrones Collection

I don’t know about you, but I anxiously await Game of Thrones premiere; I put a reminder in my phone and set the DVR, just in case I am running a few minutes late from my extracurricular activities. The Game of Thrones glasses by Integrity Bottles are bestsellers. There are so many options to choose from (lettering, glasses & sayings), bringing you full customization at your fingertips. Some of my GoT favorites:

God of Tits & Whiskey (perfect for your female friend that enjoys Jack or Johnnie)

Mother of Dragons (great gift for your bestie who has kids)

Hold the Door

Kingslayer

King in the North

Winter is Coming

You Know Nothing Jon Snow (I say this when people don’t “get it”)

I’m Not a Princess, I’m a Khaleesi

And mine, That’s What I Do, I Drink & I Know Things (blog and wine, baby!)

So, how does Integrity Bottles create such masterpieces? The wording is sand carved by hand with a powerful sandblaster into the drinkware to create a smooth, crisp design. Sandblasting is permanent and will not fade, or disappear in the dishwasher, unlike other glass designs. (It is best if you hand wash the black enameled glasses.) There are no chemicals used during sandblasting.

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For the animal lover…

I would strongly recommend creating an account with Integrity Bottles. They have a customer rewards program in which you can earn points to use on your purchases (simple things like adding your birthday, liking them on Facebook, sharing their website on Twitter, and following them on Instagram @integritybottles). Integrity Bottles appreciates your business; they really strive to make your experience on and off their website pleasurable. (As I gaze at my beautifully etched wine glass…I really DO know things!

Integrity Bottles is run by military veterans and former law enforcement. Their motto, Etched with Honor, spoke to me as I am a police officer’s wife, and I too, value integrity and honor in all my life endeavors. I thank Jamie, their Creative Designer and Master Blaster, and Zachary, her loving and supportive husband, for giving Realm of Vibes the opportunity to feature your product!

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Crackle Wine Glass with Sea Turtle

For our loyal readers and customers, use coupon code IntegrityVibes at checkout from Integrity Bottles. You will get 10% off all products. The coupon code can only be used once and has no expiration date.

Disclosure: Integrity Bottles sent me a beautiful etched stemless wine glass complimentary for a featured review on Realm of Vibes and post on social media outlets. All opinions within are authentic and honest. Have you considered featuring your business or service on Realm of Vibes? Please visit my Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com for more details. Namaste.

FEATURED POST: Handmade Collars, Leashes & More by Just Dog Gone Cute

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Every foster parent and rescue organization knows the importance of taking good pictures of dogs that are available for adoption. It’s similar to online dating. Adopters scan websites to search for the perfect canine companion. What’s the first thing they notice? Fido’s picture. Kelly Andrews, owner of Etsy shop, Just Dog Gone Cute, kindly donated ADOPT ME collars to Caring Canine Connections. Thank you, Kelly! We know these collars will bring many happy adoptions!

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Bailey, not for adoption, but a great model!

Just Dog Gone Cute has over 450 items for sale including dog and cat collars, leashes, flower head bands and hats. You can find a collar or leash for any special need or occasion, like “Do Not Pet” or a “Happy Birthday” collar. The assortment is extensive, including holiday, wedding, patriotic and seasonal items. I was immediately drawn to the Adopt Me/Rescue/Blessed section as we want potential adopters to know that the dog is available, especially at adoption events and in public places like the pet store or park. These ADOPT ME collars help our foster dogs stand out in the crowd.

Just Dog Gone Cute’s collars arrived in adorable packaging. Each collar was individually wrapped in paw print tissue paper. A hand-written message was included, adding a personalized touch. The ADOPT ME buckle collars are so bright and fun! They are easy to adjust (remember to leave at least a two-finger width in between your pet’s neck and collar). They feel very study, but are soft against their skin. I feel confident that I could hand wash or put these in the washer (in a mesh bag on delicate) and they will stay intact. (Bailey and my foster dogs love to play in the dirt, so a washable collar is important.) Heath, my foster dog, was show stopping in the green collar. It really stood out against his shiny black coat.

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Heath, in a green ADOPT ME collar

I love how Just Dog Gone Cute has a variety of color options: yellow, pink, red, orange, light and dark purple, green, and blue. There are a wide range of collars (extra small through large), buckle, martingales (fabric or chain), and leashes (four through six feet, one sided or double sided). You could also purchase a ribbon collar or just the ribbon only.

An English idiom says it best, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Realm of Vibes and Caring Canine Connections thank Kelly for donating the super cute ADOPT ME collars. They are giving a fresh, lively look to the foster dogs in our care. In addition to shopping at Just Dog Gone Cute on Etsy, make sure you like Just Dog Gone Cute on Facebook!

Would your business or service like to be featured on Realm of Vibes? Please visit the Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started.

Disclosure: In return for donating collars to Caring Canine Connections, Just Dog Gone Cute is featured on Realm of Vibes and social media platforms. Although collars were received complimentary and as a donation, all opinions within this post are honest and authentic. Caring Canine Connections could benefit from donations to aid in the care of our foster dogs. Please support artists, small businesses, and rescue organizations. Make the world a happier place! Namaste.

FEATURED POST: Roxanne’s Kitchen – 100% Natural, High Quality Dog Treats

Every good dog owner usually has an arsenal of treats. Treats are essential and used for training, building a rapport, or gaining your canine companion’s trust. Whenever I meet a foster dog, I always bring treats with me to establish a friendly, safe relationship. I have learned that not all treats are alike. Just as humans can make choices of snacks (Cookies vs. Apple), dog treats should be viewed similarly. As a foster parent, I have seen a plethora of unsightly issues with my foster dogs ranging from skin and coat issues (mange and dandruff), fleas, bad breath, and tummy troubles. They also often come to me very scared or overstimulated from transport. Many of these issues can be cured through proper nutrition, including a healthy, tasty treat.

roxanne1This week, Realm of Vibes has the pleasure of featuring Roxanne’s Kitchen. The owner, Christina, makes 100% all-natural, hand-crafted pet treats. She sells them online, and in pet stores in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. (I am working on NJ, Christina!) Her story started when she adopted a malnourished four-week-old Chihuahua, Roxanne. One morning, Christina woke up and found Roxanne to be listless. She wasn’t going to the bathroom or eating. Knowing something was very wrong, Christina rushed Roxanne to the veterinarian, where she was diagnosed with pancreatitis. Christina told the veterinarian that she gave Roxanne a few treats before bedtime. Little did she know that those generic treats almost killed her precious dog. After that, Christina went to work making 100% natural, holistic treats. Her small home business has now transpired into Roxanne’s Kitchen. All treats from Roxanne’s Kitchen are 100% natural, made with no artificial flavors, preservatives, colors, fillers, or ingredients. They are non-GMO and gluten free.

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Bailey

Christina believes strongly in dog rescue, so she donates 10% of all proceeds to no-kill shelters around the United States. I told Christina that I foster abused and neglected dogs, and wanted to feature her on Realm of Vibes, so she sent me two bags of Silky Smooth treats to try with Bailey and my foster dog, Heath.

Roxanne’s Kitchen’s Silky Smooth treats include salmon, oatmeal, and coconut oil. Each bag is 12 oz., which equates to approximately 25-30 large heart shaped treats, or approximately 50 small treats. I’m not going to lie, they smelled so good, I had to refrain from taking a nibble. The salmon is a good source of protein and omega fatty acids. They also contain Vitamin C, which helps immunity. Heath came to me with Demodex, so the Silky Smooth treats have everything he needs to help heal his sensitive skin.

20170117_154327Bailey, my dog, started sniffing the package as soon as the treats came through the door. She smelled the goodness. Heath, my foster dog, hides under the table, so when I opened the package and gave him a treat, he ran out from under the table, tail wagging, wanting more. Needless to say, both of my dogs could have eaten the whole package. Roxanne’s Kitchen’s Silky Smooth treats are the perfect size, perfect texture (not too soft or hard), and are extremely appetizing to both of my dogs. I feel good giving them something healthy.

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Heath

Roxanne’s Kitchen’s offers a variety of dog treat options, such as Plain Jane (diabetic approved) treats, Chillin’ Relaxation treats, Flea Buster treats, “Hippies” Joint Support treats, “Pee-Pee Protector” urinary health treats, “Pearly Whites” Breath Buster treats, “Immune Miracle” treats, “Swimmin’ Skinny” Weight Maintaining Sea Blend treats, “Growin’ Youngins” Puppy treats, “Belly Boosters” digestive treats, “Itch Saver” hypoallergenic treats, festive doggy donuts, 100% Natural Farm Raised Chicken & Beef Jerky, Anna’s Banana Chips, and Sweet Potato slices.

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Silky Smooth treats

Roxanne’s Kitchen’s website is super simple to navigate. On the front page, you can access purchasing dog treats, cat treats, the monthly treat-box club, and apparel and accessories. Dog and cat treats range from $10.99-$15.99. You can choose to sign up for the monthly treat-box club (packages are 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months), and purchase Roxanne’s Kitchen t-shirts. Make sure you visit Roxanne’s Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy.

Realm of Vibes and Roxanne’s Kitchen have teamed up to offer our loyal readers and customers 20% off all purchases. Use promocode ROVROX during checkout.

Namaste.

Disclosure: I received Roxanne’s Kitchen’s treats complimentary in return for a featured post on Realm of Vibes and social media platforms. All opinions within are honest and authentic. Have you considered featuring your business or service on Realm of Vibes? Please visit my Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started. 

When a Foster Dog Leaves

scrappyA foster dog never leaves my home. Their memories are forever embedded in my heart. I look at their favorite spots, whether it be on the couch or in the yard, and it reminds me of their happiness. I provided a temporary, but very stable, nurturing home. They had gotten bathed in my tub to wash off the shelter filth, a different collar to give them a new identity, food, water, and a comfortable place to sleep. They played with an abundance of toys, received numerous treats and bully sticks, and were on schedule of two working humans, looking to give back and make a difference in the world. The foster dog gets its pictures and biography posted online and volunteers await applications, ready to begin reference and background checks. Meet and greets take place to see if the dog will be a good fit for the new person or family. If all goes well, the foster dog leaves to its furever home. I feel a mixture of emotions when my foster dog leaves, which I can compare to a cocktail; two parts happiness mixed with one part sadness, topped off with worry, shaken with relief, and poured into a half-full glass.

I am happy, because they have a new home.

I am sad, because they are leaving me. My labor of love ends.

I am worried, for the next 48 hours, hoping they adapt well to their new person/family and environment.

I am relieved, that I had a helping hand in making my foster dog an adoptable canine companion.

Before I meet with the potential adopters, I always spend some alone time with my foster dog. I pray that they always be cared for and loved. I give them a treat, belly rub, and kisses. I tell them I love them and was happy to be given the opportunity to take care of them. I let them play with Bailey, my 2-year-old rescue, in the yard, one last time.

I reflect on their progress. They arrived broken and leave mended, by life’s greatest virtue: love.

farrahWhen the adopters arrive, I appear nonchalant, but secretly, my insides ache. My heart drops into my stomach. I hold tears back from streaming down my face. I remind them that if it doesn’t work out, to call me, and I will take the dog back, no questions asked. The dog that doesn’t want to leave my home is the most painful to watch. I turn away, or the composure I work so hard to maintain will be lost. I enjoy watching the dog that leaves confidently, as I often wish I could tackle new adventures as fearlessly as they do.

As my foster dog is leaving my care, I must repeat to myself:

The next dog you rescue will probably be worse than this one. They need you. Let this one go.

This dog is going to a happy, healthy home. It will work out. Be positive.

I can’t keep all the dogs I rescue, so continue fostering, educating, and advocating.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. When they depart, they teach us about loss and acceptance. New dogs never replace the previous, they only expand our hearts and allow us to grow. Every dog I foster comes with a story, I just hope to give them the happiest of endings; a perfect forever home.