We Tried It: Galaxy-Inspired Hair!

Ok moms…I admit it, this is a little crazy. See, I was at a birthday party on Tuesday and one of the ladies shared a cool story with me.

She was friends with a mama who, every summer, let her daughters dye their hair some cool and funky color. Something crazy they couldn’t quite get away with during the school year, but would rock in the summer months. Then before school would start, their color would have all but washed out, they’d get a haircut, and start fresh for fall. All I could think was, “I love this Mom!” And “I HAVE to do this for my girls!”

And I just so happen to know Danielle B. who works at Salon DeVille up the street, and she does ah-mazing color. Of course, Danielle was game. My daughter Marley is 9, Holland is 6, and they were both pumped to get their hair done.

Marley decided she wanted “galaxy” inspired hair, and found this picture online. I’m not sure what “galaxy” inspired actually means, but I think we can all agree it’s festive and fun!

So yesterday I pulled my girls out school early (Mom of the year, I know) and we made a trip to the salon. Here is Marley before. Medium brown hair, as you can see.

After taking a closer look at Marley’s hair, Danielle told us she would need to (gasp) bleach the ends of Marley’s hair so the bright color would show. I hesitated for a minute, but knew she was right…and we would probably be chopping off the bleached ends before school started next Fall anyway. (Besides, by the time I was her age I already had at least two spiral perms. I grew up in Texas in the eighties, yo!)

Meanwhile, little sister surveyed the scene and decided there was no way in hell she was getting her hair done today. We decided she could just watch and observe.

So first, the bleaching of the ends…

Then a quick blow dry.

And now for the fun stuff…the color!

Danielle used emerald, magenta, violet and blue.

Do these colors not make your heart sing???

Next up, the “foils” where Danielle strategically painted on the hair color. Ooh la la!

A little Saiko Sushi for the hungry girl during the process. (She has a terrible life.)

And next, a rinse, blow dry, quick trim and styling!


Love how the colors pop in the curls!


And now for the the end result…a very happy 9-year-old with Galaxy Hair!


Do you have a little girl, tween or teen would love this look? We are SUPER happy with the results! But here’s what you need to know.

This process will work best on lighter-haired beauties…if you’ve got dark hair, you’re going to need to get the ends bleached or the color won’t show as well. Also, this is a long process…Marley was in the chair for 3 hours. It’s a legit salon experience! Finally, this isn’t cheap. You’re getting an amazing experience and results, but what we did was akin to a balayage with funky colors.

But my older girl is getting to the age where she doesn’t want “stuff” as much as she wants an experience. This would be an amazing summer birthday present or a fun mother/daughter bonding time. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving, each time your kid looks in the mirror!

Interested? Stay tuned for special pricing from Danielle. And happy almost summer!!!

Top 10 Things People Ask Me About Owning an Infrared Sauna

“You have your own SAUNA?” people ask, with surprise and disbelief. Yes, we do, and see? Here I am, in the sauna. It’s right here, tucked in a corner of our master bedroom.

Just another Friday night.

I’m still a little surprised that more people don’t own saunas. It’s really not that big of a deal. And especially in Southern California, where people are OBSESSED with cleansing, detoxing, staying fit, eating the right clean foods and taking the right vitamins.  Not to mention all the expensive treatments we do to maintain a youthful appearance, the yoga classes we take, our guided meditations, our wellness endeavors, our kombucha, our ginger and turmeric root. Let’s face it…we spend a lot of time, effort and some serious coin on looking and feeling healthy.

Turmeric root

So why aren’t more people getting saunas?

Sweating has long been used as a therapy. According to Harvard Health Publications, the Mayans used “sweat houses” 3,000 years ago. In Finland, saunas have been used for thousands of years, and 1 out of 3 Fins still use them today.

Ancient Mayans used saunas for healing purposes.
The Finnish sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture. There are five million inhabitants and over three million saunas in Finland – an average of one per household.

One of my best friends, Brie, just so happens to own a top sauna company, and she is the reason we own a sauna today. She and her husband Fred have been in the sauna business for 12 years (as the second largest infrared sauna manufacturer in the nation for 10 years) and they know their stuff.

“A lot of people think of a sauna as a warm way to relax, but what many people don’t know is there are many health benefits to sitting in an infrared sauna,” says Brie Abawi, co-owner of InfraSculpt Saunas, headquartered in La Jolla.

But…I’ll admit it. When my husband bought our sauna five years ago from Brie, I thought it was a wee bit frivolous.  Shouldn’t we be…like…putting that money in our kids 529 plan or something? I mean, it’s not like saunas are cheap.

But now that we have our sauna, I am absolutely OBSESSED with it, and can’t imagine life without it. Yet there is still SO much mystery when it comes to owning your personal sauna! I thought it would be helpful to shine some light on the benefits of personal sauna ownership.

So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Questions People Ask Me About Owning a Sauna. (Along with my answers, of course, as well as some expert opinions.)

1.You have a sauna! Do you actually USE it? Yes. I use it all the time. Probably four to five times a week, minimum. I like to use it after my bath, before I get into bed.

2.How hot does it get? And how long do you stay in there? I set it to about 124-126 degrees. It’s a dry sauna, so there’s no steam. It just gets really hot. It’s an infrared sauna which uses heat and light to help relax and detox the body.  I stay in there about 20-30 minutes, enough to get a really good sweat on.

3. That’s so hot. Do you feel like you’re going to die? At first it was intense and I had to really zone out with an engaging book, or get on social media. Now, the heat doesn’t bother me at all and I use it as a time of quiet meditation (except when I feel like reading.) And I bring a huge cup of water in there with me so I am constantly rehydrating as I sweat.

Appropriate sauna reading material.

4. What benefits do you feel from using the sauna? Does it really help you detox? Oh my gosh, yes. It makes you sweat so much and you sweat out loads of toxins from your body. If you’ve been a little naughty that day and had a couple glasses of wine, it sweats that stuff right out of you. It feels amazing to know that all that yuck is leaving your body. You almost feel reborn when you step out of the sauna. According to Brie,“Our saunas induce sweating to detox pollutants and toxins you get through your every day environment.” Studies say that deep sweating can help reduce levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel and mercury…all toxins commonly absorbed from our everyday environments!  No wonder I feel so much better when I get out!

Sweating out Sauvignon Blanc.

5. Does the sauna help you sleep better? Yes, yes, and yes. I’m not sure if it’s because it flushes out your toxins, but I sleep like a rock after the sauna. And since I’ve had two children sleep is the HOLY GRAIL OF MY EXISTENCE and not something I treat lightly. I sleep with a mouth guard, ear plugs, eye mask and (at times) Zzquil. I am officially now a seriously troubled sleeper. But the sauna eases that.

6. Does going in the sauna help you relax and reduce stress? Totally! Especially on really busy days, it really helps me to unwind and transition to a more relaxed mind-set. According to Brie, “Infrared helps promote relaxation by balancing your body’s natural cortisol levels, the body’s primary stress hormone.” It’s not surprising that regular users of a sauna say that stress reduction is the number one benefit.

7. Does the sauna help ease soreness or pain? Yes! I work out almost every day. I do the treadmill, elliptical and some yoga and Pilates. And I get super sore! I have scoliosis too and my body is a little wonky from that. Sadly each year I get more and more aches and pains. The sauna helps. According to Brie,  “Infrared heat penetrates 1-2 inches deep into the body’s soft tissue, and increases blood circulation and oxygen flow. This allows the body to naturally heal itself, reducing inflammation and muscle pain.”  It also helps speed up the healing of minor bruises and cuts, isn’t that crazy?

8. Do you think it helps your skin or appearance? Yes! It definitely clears up my skin. If I’m having a random breakout (yes, I still get those) the sauna is my first line of defense. I also have rosacea and I’ve found the sauna seems to make my skin less reactive.  Heat bathing is actually one of the oldest remedies for skin problems, according to reports. “When the body begins to produce sweat, the skin is cleansed and dead skin cells are replaced. Sweating rinses bacteria out of the epidermal layer and sweat ducts. This cleansing of the pores improves capillary circulation, while giving the skin a softer-looking quality.” Not surprisingly, many sauna users say it helps them look younger. Sold!

Look ma, no zits!

8. Does the sauna help you lose weight? I’m sorry, but in my opinion, this is a little silly… If you want to lose weight, you should exercise and make healthy food choices. That being said, according to the experts, “Sauna therapy is a great way for weight loss, with minimal effort. During a sauna bath, the heart rate increases substantially due to the dry heat. Scientific calibrations suggest that a 20-minute session at around 170 degrees Fahrenheit burns over 500 calories. The body’s metabolism speeds up similar to the way it does from physical exercise and is a great method to maintain weight.” Have I lost any weight from using the sauna? Not that I know of. But it does reduce my stress and helps me sleep better, which means I get a better workout in the next day!

9. Do you feel like you are healthier and get sick less often with regular sauna use?  Yes. I am rarely sick anymore (or if I am, its less intense and the duration is shortened) and I think regular sauna use has something to do with it!  Sauna experts say, “German sauna medical research shows that saunas were able to significantly reduce the incidences of colds and influenza amongst participants. As the body is exposed to the heat of a sauna, it produces white blood cells more rapidly, which in turn helps to fight illnesses and helps to kill viruses.” This ultimately leads to a stronger immune system. It can also relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of sinus congestion from colds or allergies. Hooray!

10. So are you basically saying that everyone should own a sauna? In my opinion, yes! If there was one thing that can reduce stress, fight illness, ease muscle pain and soreness, promote well-being, clear up your skin, make you look younger, help you detox and help you sleep better…wouldn’t you be all over it?

But hold it…. Aren’t saunas expensive? Well, saunas aren’t cheap. The good ones will probably run you between $2,000 and $3,000. And believe me, you don’t want a cheap sauna in your house. Some mass produced saunas are known for their less-than-stellar wood and bad-quality heaters, and that’s just scary. And honestly, when I think about how much we are tempted to spend on various wellness endeavors, and the fact a sauna can last you a lifetime, it doesn’t seem like a huge expense. Its really a one-time expense, and if it help me sleep better, decrease stress and not to get sick, that’s worth it for me right there.

(And if you are worried a sauna will jack up your SDGE bill, don’t fret. It uses about as much electricity as a blow dryer.)

So what should you look for in a sauna? “Our saunas are hand-carved from all Canadian red Cedar wood, which is thick, super durable and has anti-bacterial properties,” says Brie. “All of our saunas are toxin free…we use organic based glues, and we equip our saunas with their own Ionizer to clean the air in between each session.”


The ionizer is extremely important because when you’re in the sauna, you’re sweating out toxins. The ionizer cleans the air between uses.

Apollo Corner InfraSculpt Sauna
Venus 2 person infrasculpt infrared sauna


”We also install Japanese heaters with a life-time warranty in all of our saunas,” says Brie.

I also love that our sauna has an easy control panel, located both inside and outside, as well as a blue-tooth speaker. In addition, you can change the lighting of your sauna.

Bluetooth speaker

“You can set your mood with our beautiful chromotherapy lighting, also know as color light therapy,” says Brie. “With 7 different lights you’re sure to find a color that works for you. And each sauna comes with a full explanation of the benefits of each color.”

Chill sauna lighting.

Sigh. Writing about this is making me want to hop in the sauna now. But before I go, I wanted to share something cool…or hot, if you will. If you use the code ISLANDGIRL for the purchase of a new sauna from InfraSculpt Saunas, you can get $500 off. How awesome is that?

To check out some saunas, visit their website.

I really hope you check it out and consider investing in a sauna. For our family, it’s been a game changer! Thanks for reading!

Get the Glow: Perfecting Plant Peel at Coronado Bliss

It’s been a long winter, and your skin is feeling dry and dull. You need a boost, but you’re not sure how to get that blissful glow. How about a hydrating facial and Perfecting Plant Peel by Aveda?

Enter Brie Fitzgerald, a licensed esthetician with Coronado Bliss Salon. She’s been practicing for 12 years now, and she knows her stuff.

“The Perfecting Plant Peel gives you the instant exfoliation and radiance benefits of a 30% glycolic peel without the associated irritation,” says Brie. “With powerful botanical antioxidants and soothing plant based anti-inflammatories, this facial warms the face, opening the pores for maximum exfoliation without the harmful side effects of microdermabrasion and chemical peels.”

Best part? Unlike most peels where you turn red, flake off and need to hide from the sun (think Samantha in Sex & the City), there is ZERO down time. Sign me up!

Just say no to harsh chemical peels!

I arrived at Coronado Bliss salon excited to relax and rejuvenate with my facial and peel. The salon always looks just beautiful, and the spa room in the back is perfection…serene, quiet and calming.
“I love making people feel good,” says Brie. “People forget about themselves and let the stress of life take hold of them. I love knowing that in the 30, 60, or 90 minutes they are in spa room I am able to ease some of the tension and stress, and they walk out feeling relaxed.”

Coronado Bliss Salon beckons at 930 Orange Avenue.
Tranquility awaits.

It didn’t take me long to melt into the experience. Brie did ask me a few questions about my skin to customize the facial to my unique needs. How was my skin feeling? (Dry and not super awesome.) Do I have any skin issues? (Rosacea, and I break out from random products.)
After the brief talk, it was time to get started.
Coronado Bliss is an Aveda Salon, which means they use all Aveda products. Aveda is known for its organic, cruelty-free lines that are both luxurious and high-performing. Aveda is a celebrated pioneer of holistic beauty, using the latest botanical ingredients and innovations.

“I love working with Aveda products because they are natural and they are from the earth, and what they take from the earth, they give back,” says Brie. “I’m a breast cancer survivor so that is very close to my heart. We are exposed to so many chemicals from the air we breath to the food we eat. Having some control over what I put on my skin is very important to me.”
Amen, sista!
Onto the treatment.
With my facial, Brie used a cream cleanser base with refined tulasara concentrate serum. (The tulasara is said to lift, firm and calm the skin. Yes, please!)

She then used the Tourmaline-Charged skin refiner to help with exfoliation since I was concerned about my dry and dull skin. The creamy, clay-based scrub exfoliates with bamboo extract, and energizes with tourmaline to leave the skin radiant and refined.

Next, she applied the Perfecting Plant Peel mask. This mask was smooth and creamy and almost felt like peanut butter. It felt lovely and decadent and comforting! It had a mild smell, like the earth in the rain. While the mask sat for 10 minutes, I got a relaxing neck, shoulder, and arm massage. It was delightful!

After removing the plant peel, she toned my skin with their liquid exfoliant and followed with an intense hydrating mask. This included a vitamin C serum which helps promote cell turnover and skin rejuvenation for dullness. Weee!

With this mask, I enjoyed a hand, arm and shoulder massage. Once the mask was removed, Brie treated my skin with a firming toner and Aveda’s Tulasara Illuminate Serum, which helps even out skin tone. Yay!

Finally, Brie applied the Energizing Eye Cream, which reduces puffiness and under eye circles. (I don’t know about you, but sleep is the holy grail of my existence and I NEVER get enough.)

Last but not least, Brie applied a moisturizer and an SPF 30.
“Don’t forget your SPF on your face always,” says Brie. “No matter how much you put into your skin to take away fine lines wrinkles and age spots, if you don’t wear your SPF and protect your skin it will always come back.”
After my facial, my skin felt smooth as butter, and my pores looked non-existent.

Here I am one day after my facial. Happy happy joy joy!

“Facial treatments are the booster that everyone needs,” she says. “After a facial your skin should look radiant and hydrated instantaneously and feel smoother.”
So my skin feels amazing now, but what else should I be doing to protect against dull, dry skin in the future?
“Dry, dull skin is a sign of winter,” says Brie. “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Glowing skin starts from the inside out. If you aren’t getting enough water it will show on your skin no matter how much moisturizer you put on.”

More water: check. I can do this.

“The second thing I would suggest is getting a good exfoliating treatment that you can add 1-2 times a week to your regimen like Aveda’s Tourmaline charged radiant skin refiner,” says Brie.
So how much does it cost to get a facial?
“We offer a 30 minute, 60 minute, and 90 minute facial. Every facial I give is customized to each clients specific skin care needs,” says Brie. “The 30 minute runs $65, 60 minute $105, and 90 minute is $140. For your first facial I highly recommend doing at minimum a 60 minute facial so you are able to get the full experience,” says Brie. “Follow up with the 30 minute  facials as maintenance. “
But hold it…we have a deal! JUST FOR Island Girl Blog readers, with the purchase of ANY facial, mention ISLAND GIRL and get a COMPLIMENTARY AVEDA PLANT PEEL (this is a $35 add on).

So what are you waiting for? Get your glow on today! I did, and my skin is feeling hydrated, smooth and effervescent. Angelic, actually. Call Coronado Bliss Salon at 619-435-9294, ask for a facial with Brie and feel fabulous!



I Tried It: Crown Town Deli!

It’s not every day a new eatery opens up on our enchanted isle! When I heard a new deli was opening at the Ferry Landing, I had to give it a try.

The Crown Town Deli took the space over from the cigar shop, and you can tell they worked hard to make it clean, open and inviting. Smiles abound upon entering, and you can’t help but feel you were just MEANT to wander in.

Crown Town Deli serves up some savory and satisfying sandwiches, ready-made salads, some tasty breakfast items, and even a kids grilled cheese and PB&J. The best part? Kombucha on tap! Yeah, I said it, you can serve yourself some zingy, foamy, freshly poured Kombucha from a TAP. Yasssss!

The deli serves four kinds of Synergy Organic Kombucha: Vanilla Oak, Trilogy, Gingerade, and Pink Lady Basil. I tried the Pink Lady Basil, and it was everything you want in a Kombucha… rejuvenating and refreshing with a hint of sweetness.

They also serve Red Hat Coffee Cold Brew and Nitro on tap. Loving it!

But let’s get to the important part: the sandwiches! You can’t have an amazing deli without legit sandwiches. (As a former patron of EZ-Js Sandwiches in Pacific Beach in the 90s, I do consider myself a sandwich connoisseur.)

I’m not going to beat around the Boar’s Head. (That’s the brand of fresh meats and cheese they serve up.) My sandwich rocked my world!

I like it hot, so I ordered the Spicy Cabrillo Chipotle Sandwich. It’s served warmed with chicken, bacon, melted jack and cheddar cheese and spicy chipotle sauce on a toasted Torta. The sandwich was the size of a newborn, which made me really happy because then I could save some for my husband. It was probably the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in a while, and I feel like I eat awesome food on the regular. If you like sandwiches and you love spice, do yourself a favor and order this bad boy. (My husband did indeed try it later and he called it “the bomb.”)

They have no less than 15 different kinds of sandwiches to choose from (the most popular being the Coronado Clubhouse with turkey, bacon, avocado, swiss cheese and sprouts.)  And of course, you can build your own.

Conclusion: this little deli is an amazing addition to our happy little island, and I can’t wait to go back!



I Tried It: Scratch Gourmet!

You have a crazy week ahead. You don’t have time to go grocery shopping, much less cook. You could order takeout or Uber Eats, but you did that last week and you want something homemade. What to do, what to do? Enter: Scratch Gourmet.

Started by Coronado local Kathryn Jennings, the company operates under the simple idea that “everything tastes better from scratch.” We couldn’t agree more! Scratch is a gourmet meal-delivery service, as in the meals are made fresh, cooked and seasoned. All you have to do is heat it up and put on a plate!

No messing around, no prep time, no opening little packages of condiments and mixing, and no cooking and cleaning like Blue Apron and other such companies.

All you do is select the meals you want from the weekly menu.

And here are the meal and pricing options.

We order Plan #2 because we like to taste and enjoy all the meals (how could you begin to eliminate one of these tasty options?) We also like to add on the kids meal, because my kids are fiends for the homemade mac n cheese and it will last them at least two dinners!

So the meals show up on Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays around 5pm. Sure enough, Monday around 5pm our bag of goodies arrived at our door! Hooray! No cooking for mommy!

Our first night we had the Spaghetti Bolognese. It was served with a large, mixed green salad with oregano vinaigrette and ciabatta toast.

The pasta was perfectly cooked, meaty and delicious! It was seasoned just right for me, and I like a LOT going on in the spice department. My husband actually added a little more seasoning to his but I didn’t think it needed it. I don’t usually allow myself to eat a ton of carbs so this dish seemed super savory and indulgent.

The salad was fresh, big and tasty. The homemade dressing was a nice touch, and there is plenty of it to cover the salad. (Nothing worse then a dry salad!)

Overall, this dish was savory and satisfying, and my nine-year-old loved it also. The portions are big so you know you will have enough for leftovers.

Our next meal was the Indian Prawn Curry, with Indian spiced sautéed spinach, balsamic rice & Naan bread. I totally didn’t notice the “prawn” part when I ordered and realized I wouldn’t be able to eat much of this because I’m allergic to crustaceans. Darn! But my family did, and they loved it, including my nine-year-old! Who knew she liked Indian spiced prawns? (My six year old opted to eat the rice and naan.)

Although I couldn’t really dig into the prawns, I sampled a bit of sauce over the rice and it was fantastic. The spiced sautéed spinach was to die for, and I found myself gobbling this all up myself. I could have eaten two full bowls of this. So good! The rice was well-prepared, and who doesn’t love naan bread?

Our last meal was the Grilled Prime Ribeyes served with mix greens, homemade ranch dressing and twice baked potatoes. I loved all the meals but this was probably my favorite—my husband’s too! The meat was perfectly prepared, juicy, not over-cooked, and well-seasoned and spiced, just how we would have done at home.

We found ourselves aggressively devouring the meat. The twice baked potato? Oh my…be still my heart. I really wanted to slow down and savor this dish but I ate it like a scavenger.  Again, the salad was fresh and lovely, and even my grill-master husband admitted that the steak was perfect and he asked me what cut it was a few times until I finally checked (yes, ribeye.)

Scratch Gourmet was definitely a win for us and something I’d love to work into our rotation on a more regular basis. It was super helpful for us last week when I couldn’t get home early enough to prepare a healthy meal, because my daughter had two hours of dance practice each night over the bridge in preparation for an upcoming performance.

Is it cheap? No. The package we got was $210 for a three meals a weak for two people. But when you calculate there is at least one meal leftover for every dinner you order—probably more if you aren’t overstuffing like us—it brings the cost down. And it really takes the stress out of meal preparation for the week. We all know that stress leads to disease, and disease leads to death. So anything that reduces stress is a win in my book!

And you get what you pay for. Uber Eats and takeout can be delightful and convenient…but who knows what ingredients are used, and how healthy each of the meals are.  And when you want a home cooked meal, you want a home cooked meal! Kathryn knows what she is doing. All meals are prepared with the love and attention you would expect from a gourmet meal, and everything you taste has it’s own little “something special” going on. I’m actually getting hungry writing this right now, and wishing I had some twice baked potato to eat, or maybe some spaghetti bolagnese…..

To sign up for the Weekly Menus, please visit the Scratch Gourmet website here and visit the Weekly Menu page.

So long Scratch, ’til next time!