My Updated Winter Skin Care Routine with True Botanicals

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

The dry winter months in deserty California can be especially harsh on the skin. That’s why I have decided to update my skin care routine, switching my go-to summer products (such as this True Botanicals Renew Nutrient Mist) with a different set that’s meant to hydrate and renew any dermal dryness blues that come my way this season.

This year, my arsenal consists of True Botanical’s You Make Me Glow Skin Care Kit, which includes their Renew Nourishing Cleanser, the Renew Pure Radiance Oil, and a new moonstone facial roller that has been the first tool I have ever used on my skin.

One of the reasons why I love this kit is because it supports my minimalist and simple lifestyle. All of the products come in tiny amber glass packaging that fits neatly in my drawers under the sink. They are esthetic to look at, as well as practical in size. Additionally, there are only three steps that form the routine, which makes it easy for me to follow and eliminates the chances of decision fatigue. I don’t like having too many options and I also don’t like having too many steps, so this kit is just right. Since I have a shortage of knowledge when it comes to skin care, it was nice to have a brand that I could trust to curate my regimen. It is the PERFECT kit for a minimalist like myself who wants a simple process of ordering a routine online and then moving on with the more exciting life stuff.

About the Trio

The Renew Nourishing Cleanser is a gentle milky solution that delivers nutrients to my skin without drying it out. I simply wash my face with warm water, massage the cleanser into my skin, and rinse thoroughly. It leaves my skin moist, unlike other cleansers that strip the skin of its natural oils completely.

After patting my skin dry, I apply three drops of the Renew Pure Radiance Oil onto my face. I usually put the drops of oil right onto my skin using the syringe provided without allowing the applier to touch my skin. I then pat the oil into my skin and let the moonstone roller help me apply it.

How to Use A Facial Roller

Since it is my first time using a facial roller, I had to first learn the motions. There are two sides to the roller which allows me to massage all the areas of my face . I have learned that treating half of the face at a time is very important in skin rolling. Every motion starts at the midline and goes outward towards the hairline. Each section should be rolled three to five times before proceeding to the next section.

I start at the neck and roll up and down a few times. Then I start at the chin at the midline and roll outwards toward the hairline. I do that moving up my cheek, including my lip and nasolabial fold. I flip to the smaller stone when rolling under my eye going carefully from the bridge of my nose to my temple. I trace the big end over my eyebrows towards the temple too. Then I stroke upwards from the eyebrows to my hairline. Finally, I do long strokes from the top of the midline down to my clavicle.

What Does A Facial Roller Do?

It moves fluids from all the parts of your face to areas in the body that can process these fluids best. This is why the facial roller has been said to reduce puffiness, especially around the eyes. It also helps with product absorption. As I use the roller, I am also massaging the Renew Pure Radiance oil into my skin. After the treatment, I notice that my skin isn’t extremely oily, but rather, quite hydrated and nourished. Lastly, it just feels really good. I have tried keeping the facial roller in the fridge like other bloggers have suggested to have cooling effects on the skin, but I have to say that using it at room temperature is my preferred method.

It has been one week since switching my regimen and I have confidence that this will keep my skin feeling nourished, contoured and hydrated all winter long. I am looking forward to avoiding chalky, withered, parched skin this year and carrying that summer glow with me through this cold and harsh season.

The You Make Me Glow Skin Care Gift is the perfect gift for yourself or those who light you up from the inside. True Botanicals begins their Black Friday deal early this year, and starting today, you can use the code TRUEVIP to get early access to their sale and receive 20% OFF the entire site! The sale runs through the weekend and opens to the general public tomorrow but why not get a head start on that wish list? They have a well curated selection in their Holiday Shop for both you and your loved ones which makes holiday gifting extremely easy and stress-free!

This post was sponsored by True Botanicals. TheDebtist may earn commission from any purchases resulting from this post. As always, all opinions and content are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this space.

What Could Happen If You Let Everything Go?

Aside from sounding like the title of a Dr. Seuss book, the question I pose today can cause a lot of emotions to surface. Raised in a society where the words “less” and “nothing” are deemed failure words, I myself used to feel fear with the idea of letting things go. In my youth, I took pride in being a “yes-woman” – a multi-tasking energetic force that can only be caused by extreme naivete. Today, I find myself in a much different place.

I have learned that letting go can create the negative space necessary for growth and opportunity. Letting go of material things that ground us to a hedonistic lifestyle can free us to alternative models. Letting go of our identity can access our fullest potential. Letting go of our biases can open our minds in a way that leads to kindness. Letting go of our wants can lead to inner peace. But most importantly, letting go of the fear of letting go is the first step to starting the journey to a higher way of living.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a wordsmith, I am keen on word selection. It is, after all, what I do. I often wondered why there was negative emotion tied to the idea of letting go, and I have found that many people ask the wrong question. Often times, the same question is worded with one letter changed: What would happen if you let everything go.

That “w” is enough to confuse even the surest of minimalists.

Letting go of everything would lead to negative repercussions. For example, letting go of my job would certainly lead to unemployment, less money, and no job identity.

Sure, giving up everything would not necessarily lead to better things.

But you know what? It could.

Letting go of work could lead to more travel, more peace, a new identity, a better future, a more enjoyable profession, and a more secure financial situation. It’s not definite, but it could.

We need to start switching the language around letting things go into a more positive one.

What could happen if you let everything go?

Absolutely anything is possible.

Play Pretend: Hosting Thanksgiving

Hosting Thanksgiving may or may not be on the horizon for you this year. In which case, we can pretend.

The spectrum of likely events run large. Whether you are feeding ten friends and family members, or gathering as a couple in solitary confinement in your own abode, I would still wish that we celebrate this holiday in no less a jubilant fashion than the years before.

After all, giving gratitude is a pillar for living a life of intention and joy. It is central to my minimalist life, since gratitude for what I have rather than what I don’t is the fuel to my less-is-more mentality. So crucial to simple living is this practice that I spend every morning listing three things I am grateful for.

I think in 2020, we all need to spend a day listing what we are grateful for.

Regardless of how divided we are in our current life situations or political views, I hope these differences are set aside for at least one day. One day wherein we are strive for inner peace. One day to avoid fear, anxiety, and anger. One day to let go of control. I hope for one day wherein we could go on as we normally would have if it weren’t for our miseries. I hope we can pretend that we had woken up, started over, begun anew, and continued forward.

I know that over apple pie, I will be giving thanks for the possibilities our future holds.

Regardless of the current environment I’m placed in.

Regardless of what tomorrow brings.

I give thanks for hope.

On that note, let’s play pretend, and host Thanksgiving in whatever ways resounds with us. Below are my essentials for holiday hosts.

1. Dyson V8 Absolute ($150 OFF until November 7, 2020) 2. Molekule Air Pro (Use code thedebtist to save $25 off Air Mini, $32 off Air Mini+, $50 off Air, $77 off Air Pro) 3. Boll and Branch Linens (use code DEALS to get 15% off select styles from 11/2/20 – 11/8/20) 4. Aesop Room Spray 5. Jenni Kayne Hand Soap 6. Le Creuset Stockpot (on sale until November 11, 2020) 7. Notary Ceramics Candle Holders and Taper Candles 8. Kitchen Aid Mixer 9. Fog Linen Natural Linen Tablecloth

How I Made $550 in October 2020 Blogging From Home

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I started blogging right after graduating from dental school without ever thinking I’d earn money from it. At the time, I turned to this blog as a place to record my daily life. Ever since teenhood, I have kept some sort of journal or diary, which has evolved over time from paper to Xanga to Melodramatic, and now onto WordPress. For almost twenty years, I’ve processed information through writing, but never once did I think I would earn money from it.

It’s been three years since owning this site but I am happy to say that it is now getting a little bit of traction and has started to earn me a little income. If I wasn’t working as a dentist during the day, I could see how this could become a steady day job. Still, even with my day job, it had turned into a fun side-hustle for me. I decided to log my earnings for my own personal tracking but also to share publicly how much one can make blogging from home.

Now that remote work seems to be in the near future for many, I do think that blogging is a good option for people who wish to work from home. Likewise, it is an opportunity to be your own boss and have your own space. Since you are writing your own content, you have the flexibility to work whenever you want to, which I know can be a good or bad thing. Of course, you can always practice habits that will separate work from home. Lastly, this is a great hobby or job for creative people. You have autonomy over how to execute your ideas and thoughts, making this a very freeing experience for those who don’t quite fall neatly into a traditional work environment or big company hierarchy.

But first, how did I start to monetize the blog?

If you are new to blogging, you may not know that you can earn income from owning such a space. I certainly didn’t. But then I took this course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketingand it changed my life.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is working with brands that you love in order to spread the word about their products and in return receiving commissions for any referred patrons. Sometimes these are physical products from almost any company you can think of. Other times, they are intellectual products such as courses or services that help improve other people’s lives. The best part is that you don’t have to “sell out” to do affiliate marketing. You don’t have to scheme or cheat people. For me, it’s really just promoting companies that I believe in. For example, the companies I choose to partner with are those that promote sustainably sourced products using fair trade and ethical factory conditions. I like to promote small name businesses trying to create social or environmental impact. I try to keep it to an exclusive few even though I’ve been approved for over 2,000 different companies (so far).

There are a few nuances to affiliate marketing and I didn’t know much about it prior to the course. But the course helped me to learn A LOT and it’s just another case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” You could learn it all yourself, but it’s hard to without a guide to get you through the basics.

I highly recommend this course if you wish to monetize your blog but don’t know where to start.

Extra Income Report

Now, onto the numbers. In September 2020, I made $550in extra income.

Of that, this is the breakdown:

  • $500is from sponsored posts. I count the monetary value of products that I receive as “income”. I do not accept products for review without first learning about the company and product. As a minimalist, I also only look for products that we currently need. I am honest in all my product reviews and list both pros and cons because I want to be as helpful to the consumer and the company, both.
  • The rest of the income was due to affiliate link commissions.

This was the highest income earning from the blog this year! So far, since March of 2020, I have earned $2328!!

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but as something I do for fun, I think it’s a nice little additional income. Over time, I hope to continue posting more income reports. Maybe it will help others looking for a side-hustle get a feel for whether blogging could become an alternative for them.

As always, my goal with this blog is to promote intentional living. Writing is a way to create a lifestyle that is in tune with what you want to do. Sure, it may not be the perfect job, but if working from home and having flexibility help allow you to live your dream life (one that includes traveling the world or becoming a stay-at-home parent), then I hope this space brings you that value.

If you are interested in starting a blog, I use WordPress. Feel free to sign up using my affiliate link.

If you already have a blog, I want to refer you to the course that helped me monetize mine. It’s a really great starting point. It’s called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Monthly Goals: November 2020

This month’s goals come at a very interesting time for me personally.

The reason being, I have decided to quit my dentistry job.

I have decided to quit dentistry for many reasons.

  • I have lost meaning in my daily work.
  • I felt under-appreciated by a changing health-care system that prioritizes customer service over health itself.
  • I felt that I could not balance the expectations of my patients, the expectations of my workplace, and my own personal expectations.
  • My values are not aligned with where I am currently working.
  • I wanted to spend the holiday season with family and focus on the people that matter to me.
  • I was feeling burnt out and knew that if I did not give myself a break, I would grow to resent what I do for a living.
  • I want to live an intentional life, which means curating out the things that do not bring me joy.
  • We have made the lifestyle choices (invest money, spend less, own less, avoid having kids, avoid a large mortgage) necessary to avoid job dependency.
  • We have created the boundaries necessary to ignore social expectations and pressures, thus giving us freedom to live how we want.

Despite this freedom, I still have goals. But without the job identity, the goals have shifted slightly.

I think that quitting was very cathartic for me. I admit feeling stressed the last few months, mostly because I was holding on desperately to something I should have let go many months ago. I was fighting an internal battle, one between the past self and future possibility. Finally turning in an official resignation letter did just the trick.

It wasn’t very easy. I felt depressed for a few days, afraid of what I had done, anxious about the future. It’s like any ole break-up. It feels easier to run back to what is familiar and feels safe, even after you’ve outgrown the past. It takes a lot of reserve to not turn back. Luckily, the sadness and fear did not last long. After I sat through my emotions, I started to really notice a shift in my personality.

  • I sang songs randomly, after years of refusing to listen to music in case it over-whelmed my mind.
  • I smiled more frequently, and was more open to socializing. I connected with a high school friend, decided to make time for my grandma’s birthday party, and even drove to East LA on a Friday evening after work to grab tacos with my mother-in-law at a stand that she used to eat tacos at when she was my age.
  • I picked up old habits, like learning about photography, doing art, and playing guitar.
  • I connected with my husband more, rekindling our dumb banter from the college days.

For November’s monthly goals, I am sharing with you a TIME OFF BUCKET LIST. Even though my time off doesn’t start until November 19, I have decided not to wait until my last day of work to start living life to the fullest. This bucket list contains a number of goals I have always wanted to accomplish but have put on pause in order to partake in an American Dream.

As some people already know from my Instagram, we are taking a few long trips over the course of three weeks from November to December. I have lived in California since 1998 and I have yet to actually see it. I find that a shame.

It’s got me thinking, how much of our life are we actually wasting away doing things that don’t really matter in exchange for stuff that don’t really make us happy?

Not that I have the answers.

Just that I am trying to figure it out.

TheDebtist’s TIME OFF BUCKET LIST

  • Create Spotify playlists for different occasions and moods
  • Improve Photography Skills
  • Learn French
  • Improve Guitar Skills
  • Explore California National Parks
  • Visit old friends
  • Write a book – and self-publish it
  • Create more courses
  • Get into artwork again
  • Visit a Japanese spa (because we can’t go to Japan)
  • Go to a butterfly sanctuary
  • Go birdwatching in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Explore tide pools for hours
  • “Live” on a farm – milk a cow or extract honey from a beehive
  • Learn recipes of my homeland from my mom
  • Hug a Redwood tree
  • Tour a lighthouse
  • Learn to make alfajores
  • Bake someone’s wedding cake
  • Do a cold bath dunk
  • Bake the following from the Tartine Book: Gingerbread Cookies, Spiked Cocktail Nuts, Brownies, Chocolate Pots de Crème, Devil’s Food Layer Cake, Lemon Meringue Cake, Pastel de Tres Leches
  • Eat Pho for the first time (yes!)
  • Learn how to make ramen from Mike
  • Master a few advanced level yoga poses
  • Learn how to sit on my hands

I add the last one, because just like anything, I always dive headfirst into something new, including this “mini-retirement”. Supposedly it’s a chance for me to figure myself out. Somehow I have to balance that with living life to the fullest. Like I said before, I’m still figuring it out. But honestly, thank you for joining me on this wild ride.

If you have any other bucket list ideas, do share! Who knows when my next mini-retirement will be.

Holiday Pet Prep Starts Now

This blog post is in affiliation with Rover.com, a platform that connects dog owners with dog sitters. I, myself, am a dog sitter at Rover and this hobby-turned-side-hustle is one of my additional sources of income!

I consider the advent of Halloween as the official beginning of the holiday season. Every year, I make a conscious effort to make the holiday time a slow one. It’s a time of joy, but also becomes a time of great stress … hence the word effort.

Planning ahead helps alleviate the fervent rush and allows for greater enjoyment during this time of year. While it is challenging to plan for gathering head counts this early in the year, one of the things you can do today to lighten your to-do list for the holidays is to plan for your pets.

When you have a dog or cat, you have a family member. While considerably less work (at times), a pet can feel like having a small child in the house, especially dogs. You have to schedule your day around their needs and make sure they are being well taken care of.

It may be difficult to prepare a supper for ten if you have to walk the dog in between turning on the oven and stirring the soup. Also, that friendly wagging tail may get in the way of entertaining guests. Unless you are certain that all guests welcome pets, you can’t be too sure how your pet make others feel. Lastly, gathering around the table is certainly less enjoyable with a slobbery beggar putting their paws on your fancy linen tablecloth, yanking at your fine china and ruining your hard work.

All of this, of course, is the best case scenario wherein you are hosting at home. What about holiday vacations? Or when celebrations are being held at a relative’s abode?

The fact is, we have busy lives that sometimes cannot involve our loveable pets; and as much as that saddens us, we must leave them at home.

So, what do you do when you’re gone longer than preferred? You find help and Rover is a great source.

Rover is the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. They offer a ton of different services to help you give your pooch the attention and care they deserve when you are unable to. Sitters such as myself are true animal lovers with amazing customer care you can trust.

To avoid any unwanted surprises, I would start booking for your pet now. I would personally love to watch your pet and if you are new to Rover, you can take advantage of the following offer: $20 OFF your first Rover booking using code: SAMANT24058. You can find me here.

On the contrary, if you have no plans for the holidays, perhaps you would like to earn extra income being a sitter on Rover.

To hear more about my experience as a Rover sitter, check out my previous post here.

A Consideration for Indoor Air Quality in Our Homes with this Molekule Air Mini Review

This post is sponsored by Molekule and may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

COVID has made me particularly more sensitive to what’s in our air. I already think about this quite a bit as my job as a dentist involves the respiratory tract and airway. We even have an air purifier in every operatory at our dental office to protect our patients. It wasn’t until recently though that I thought to myself, “Why don’t I have this in my home?!” By the time I came across Molekule, I knew that bringing an air purifier into my space was a no-brainer. What I didn’t know was how different it was going to make our home feel.

Owning a Molekule has been a breath of fresh air for me and my family. I can tell that it works because the air immediately smells cleaner. As a cat owner, I always wondered whether visitors can smell our cat upon entering our home. I mean, when Theo uses the litter box, you can definitely tell that we are cat people. But after the Molekule arrived, you can’t even tell when Theo uses his litter box. Which shows me that the Molekule is doing something. Below is my honest Molekule Air Mini review.

What does Molekule do?

Molekule creates professional-grade air purifiers that use PECO technology to break down pollutants at the molecular level. Some air purifiers only trap pollutants in their filters, but Molekule destroys them. Simply speaking, PECO technology uses free radicals to break down VOCs, bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses. In goes the pollutant, out comes carbon dioxide, water and trace elements. According to Molekule, there is no ozone by-product. PECO technology has been tested for 25 years and currently, Molekule’s FDA approved PRO RX air purifiers are being used in a number of hospitals – another consolation regarding their product’s efficacy.

Which Molekule is right for us?

The version that we have at home is a Molekule Air Mini, which is advertised as ideal for up to 250 square feet of space. To put this into perspective, my entire living space is less than 1,000 square feet. 250 square feet covers a room – either the bedroom or the living room. Molekule does sell two other versions that have higher capacity: The Molekule Air and Molekule Air Pro which stands on the floor and improves air quality of rooms up to 600 and 1,000 square feet respectively. So technically, a single Molekule Air Pro could handle my entire living space. However, as a minimalist, I prefer the Air Mini’s smaller shape and don’t mind moving it to whichever room I am at. The good thing about the mini is that it is easily portable, thanks to a handle fastened at the side that allows me to carry it from room to room. Our space is so small to begin with, so it isn’t a bother to me at all. However, I can see why a two-story home would be better off having a Molekule Air Pro on the first floor and Molekule Air Minis in individual bedrooms.

What has the Molekule experience been like?

The Molekule Air Mini arrived fairly quickly in a box with very simple set-up instructions. First, removal of the top portion of the air purifier was required in order to remove the plastic around the PECO filter inside. The top lid securely fastens by twisting in a clock-wise motion until it clicks into place. It requires a bit of elbow grease to get it closed all the way so I had Mike help me with that. Make sure you hear the click to ensure that it locked. Otherwise, when you lift your air purifier by the handle, you may find the bottom half clattering on the floor!

After the plastic is removed from the filter, it’s a matter of plugging the device in. A cord can be found on the bottom and can be unraveled to length. I like that the rest of the unused cord can stay hidden and tucked away underneath the device. There is a notch too where the cord can exit the bottom so that the device sits evenly. With a press of a button, you’re off and running!

There is a central button on the top of the unit. Pressing it would start the fan speed at level one. You can continue pressing it to go up to level five. I have found that level one is silent as a mouse, but level five is as uproarious as a vacuum. I prefer to keep it at level three during the daytime and turn it down to level one in the evenings, however, I wonder about the efficacy in relation to fan speed. The fan speed determines how fast air gets sucked into the device, hence the whirring sound. I would imagine that the more air gets brought in, the more action, but the sound is just way too loud to bear at level five. I love my quiet space and will likely remain at level three or lower. Holding down the button for a few seconds places the device on stand-by.

Final Thoughts…

The Molekule Air Mini is honestly a wonderful addition to any home. It is modern and minimally sleek. The design is impeccable from the beautiful grey felt handle to the top air vent. It is subtle and quietly does the difficult work.

With more people choosing to stay in, it’s time we focus inward on ways we can keep our homes clean – and that includes the air that we breathe!

Of course, every home is different. We live in a small space so I feel comfortable with having only the Molekule Air Mini. For larger homes, one can purchase multiple air purifiers in bundles in order to properly tackle every corner of the home. Also, if you are unsure of which purifier would work best for you, Molekule has a 30-day trial period. Try the product and if you are unsatisfied, you can always get a full refund.

One thing is for sure: Considering indoor air quality will become a new normal moving forward – whether the concern be due to local fires, pollution, or viruses.

Molekule allows me to breathe easy, knowing that my family is kept safe and our home is kept a sanctuary.

With the advent of yesterday’s Southern Orange County fires and all fires that has plagued the West Coast this year, I wanted to increase accessibility of air purifiers for all households. Readers may use the code thedebtist to receive a discount on their Molekule purchase – $25 off Air Mini, $32 off Air Mini+, $50 off Air, $77 off Air Pro. I think that air purifiers are more important than ever and I want to do my part in making sure we all have access to cleaner air.

This post is sponsored by Molekule, a company dedicated to providing cleaner air in our homes and our businesses. I have had the privilege of trying their Molekule Air Mini in my home and this my review of the product. The links from this blog post are affiliate links which means TheDebtist earns a small commission from any purchases made from this site. As always, thank you for supporting the companies and businesses that support this small space. I can say in all honesty that all thoughts and opinions are my own.