Hobbies and How to Find Them

Hobby (n): an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.

We used to have a lot more time with nothing to do. Remember, once upon a time the day ended when the sun went down and everything was done by the light of a fire, a candle or an oil lamp. Over time, our lighting has improved but we’ve spent more and more time on things that require us to sit still looking at a screen. And, while there are many things you can do online, on your phone, or watch on the TV which engage your brain, a hobby is something beyond that. It’s an activity that you look forward to doing; that you research and learn more about; that makes your free time feel like its been used to actually improve your own life.

But is a hobby really necessary? Isn’t Candy Crush enough? And binge watching every episode of New Girl, Supernatural, M*A*S*H, American Horror Story or McGyver improves your life, doesn’t it? Does it though? Sure, most people relax and let go when a show or movie is on; and playing games on your phone is almost meditative in nature. But do you feel proud of your accomplishments? Can you show them off, or improve on them or share them with others?

So how does one find a hobby? Do you do it by yourself or with family or friends? Don’t they cost money? What if you don’t have room for a hobby?

One of the great thing about hobbies is that you don’t have to spend much money to enjoy one. Some hobbies only require your time. Volunteer at the local animal shelter, library, church or museum.  While others like reading, writing, computer coding, running, singing and hiking you can do with supplies you probably already have. Many of these can be enjoyed with friends and family making them even more fun and who doesn’t want to spend quality time with loved ones while setting a good example for the kids?

Some hobbies can ramp up in cost over time depending on how much you want to invest. Photography can be done with your phone or a $2,000 digital camera; scrapbooking and jewelry can cost little to start (under $100) and you can build your inventory and skills as you have time and money. RC airplanes and cars are still a thing and you may be able to find an organization in your area that has regular meetings and competitions. Members of these organizations may even have older cars/planes/trains that they are willing to part with for a reasonable price.

The point is, you don’t have to spend $1000 and 6 months getting up to speed on a hobby. Take a few minutes and walk around Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or peruse some of the links below. You may chance upon something that grabs your interest.

Already have a hobby? What do you do? How did you get into it?


Skin Care Regimen

Skin Care Regimens That Fit Your Schedule

Feel free to share my images but please leave my website name on them.

Whether it’s spending time with the family, hitting the snooze button one too many times, concentrating on getting a good breakfast or dinner, or not having the energy to do anything but binge Netflix at the end of the day, you have enough going on. Do you really have to spend time taking care of your skin too? When are you supposed to fit that in? Doesn’t it take 2 hours a day to make a difference? Why bother getting started. UGH.

If you don’t have time to sit down with me (or another esthetician) to come up with a regimen tailored specifically to you try out the one below that matches the time you have. It might take a few extra minutes at first while you’re getting used to your products and timing, but give it a week and you’ll be an expert.

3 Minutes

If you do nothing but this regimen 2 times a day your skin should stay reasonably healthy and free of breakouts. Keep in mind that if you’re not using the right cleanser and moisturizer or skipping the moisturizer all together your skin will likely not respond to this simple plan.

This regimen is best used in the morning with the 10 minute regimen at night.


5 Minutes

When you have an extra two minutes you can exfoliate. Every skin type can benefit from mild exfoliation at least 3 times a week.


10-15 Minutes

Try to get into the habit of a 10-15 minute skin care break at least once a day. Night is the best time for this one because while you’re sleeping your skin is repairing itself and creating collagen. Serums and nighttime concoctions will help you look bright and refreshed in the morning.


40 Minutes

Once a week, try to put time aside to really give yourself a good pampering. You don’t have to spend ALL the time in the bathroom in front of the mirror, in fact, you might try getting a 10 minute power nap in while your mask is sitting.


Thanks for reading – Athena


The Truth About Testers

Who doesn’t want to try out a lipstick, eyeshadow, primer or whatever before they buy it? After all, if you’re looking at spending your own time and hard earned cash on finding just the right shade, shouldn’t you be walking home with something you know for a fact will look good on you?


With the long list of communicable diseases and people who don’t understand the concept of testers being there for everyone, do you really want to take a chance on contracting impetigo, staph, herpes (cold sores), ringworm, warts or something else just because you don’t want to potentially have to return or exchange an item?

If you must try it on in the store, ask the store associate to spray the item with alcohol and only try on your arm or wrist where the skin is clean and intact. Be sure to clean off with soap and water when you’re done. When in doubt, talk to the company about their return policy and purchase before you try it on.  Alternatively, certain websites will show items on different models across the skin color spectrum.

It’s your skin, so don’t ever feel like you’re being difficult or insulting by asking questions about cleanliness and hygiene. In the long run, a few dollars on bad makeup decisions is cheaper than a long course of antibiotics and less painful than cold sores.

The Details

The Temptation

Have you ever stood in front of a row of lipstick testers and tried them all out on your hand or wrist just for fun? Hey- that purple looks a lot better on me than I expected! Well, I was going to buy this fuschia but yuck!

Have you ever put them on your lips? No? Why not? Others probably have.

What You’re Really Getting in that Tester

CBC News (a Canadian company) recently went undercover to 4 major retailers and took swabs of the testers that were placed out for public use. A lab evaluated each one for staph, mold, yeast etc and found that every retailer had testers which were contaminated.

The lab also looked at what happens when you spray an item with alcohol to sanitize as most companies do. While it decreased the contaminants by as much as 92%, to really be considered sanitary, a cleaner must reduce contamination by 99.999%.

“If you don’t share your toothbrush why would you go in there and put the makeup on when you know god knows how many people have been there before you?”

What Options do I have?

Store Purchases and Returns

Many stores allow returns with a receipt within a specific amount of time, often 60 days but be sure to check with them before you purchase. Also, some stores have return policies that vary between online and in store purchase.

Online Testing

I performed a quick search for virtual makeup online and found at least 12 major stores and brands that allow you to see what a makeup will look like before you buy, either by letting you upload your own photo, or more commonly, showing the various makeup colors on models across the skin color/tone spectrum. It’s not the same as actually feeling the texture and consistency but it will help you narrow down your choices.

In Store Testing

If you really, REALLY have to try on an item make sure you ask a store associate if they have any clean testers hidden away. If they don’t get them to spray down the item with alcohol. Once they’ve done that then you can try the item on your wrist. Don’t forget to wash with soap and water when you’re all done.

One Last Thing

Unfortunately, by their very nature testers are extremely hard to keep clean. Don’t get mad at the companies or the employees, they gain nothing from sharing dirty testers and they often do their best to keep them as clean as possible. So, do what’s right for you. If you feel bad about buying and returning, even at companies that accept returns, then take a more studied approach to trying on makeup and learn about undertones and the color spectrum and turn it into a challenge for yourself.

Thanks for reading – Athena


Skin Care Regimen

Yes, There is a Right Way to Cleanse

Raise your hand if you think that soap has to foam to work. OK, you can put your hand down. Now, raise your hand if you think your skin isn’t clean until its feels super tight and squeaky clean. OK, now smack yourself (gently) on the back of the head then put it down


A double cleanse isn’t about getting you to spend more money on professional products; its about truly clean, healthy skin. Start your routine by using an oil based cleanser such as Dermalogica’s Precleanse which will break down makeup, dirt, pollution, oil and allergens then use a gentle pH balanced cleanser like UltraCalming Cleanser to keep your barrier healthy while giving you the cleanest skin possible. Don’t forget to use the right moisturizer for your skin type.

P.S. If you’re not quite sure of your skin type, or your skin keeps breaking out even though you are SURE of your skin type, talk to a professional esthetician and get a skin consultation. Your skin may have changed while you weren’t looking.

The Details:

The pattern

One of the most common misconceptions about cleansing the face and body is that you have to remove all of the oil, bacteria and dead skin for it to be truly clean. That if your skin doesn’t feel like you haven’t moisturized for 2 weeks then you haven’t done enough. This kind of thinking leads you to use soaps that are too rough for you, which breaks down your skins natural barrier, which leads to you breaking out more. Sound familiar?

Why it happens

This is a massive oversimplification but it goes like this:

Your skin has something called a skin barrier. It’s akin to a brick wall that keeps thing in that you want to have (think moisture) and the bad things out (think pollution). The bricks are the dead skin cells and the mortar is made up of oils.

Skin is naturally a little acidic, sitting anywhere from 4.5-6.5 on the pH scale (we’ll call it 5.5 for now) while most soaps are alkaline with a pH around 9.0. So, when you use alkaline soaps to cleanse you are changing the pH of your skin, causing your barrier to struggle to stay intact and work properly.

When your barrier function is compromised then all sorts of bad things happen, not least of which is irritated and red skin, dry patchy skin, dehydration and breakouts.

How do you keep your skin healthy and clean

Start with a double cleanse using cleansers that are pH balanced and suit your skin type. The reason for the double cleanse is pretty straightforward. The first cleanse gets off all the residue of the day (makeup, pollution, dirt, allergens, excess sebum etc.) while the second cleanse actually cleanses your skin and prepares it for things like masques, serums and moisturizers.

Not all cleansers are created equal though, so do a little research to make sure the cleanser is pH balanced and suited to your skin type, for example, if you have naturally dry skin, your cleanser should be creamier than if you have naturally oily or normal skin.

If you’re not sure of your cleansers pH, get some test strips, mix up a little cleanser with purified water and test the mixture. If the pH is above 6.5, consider getting a different cleanser that is a little more acidic. If you love the cleanser anyway, consider changing up the rest of your skin care regimen to counteract the effects of the more alkaline cleanser.

Healthy skin is within your reach

While it’s not a guaranteed fix, using the right cleanser is a great first step towards healthy, glowing, clear skin.

Consider a Dermalogica Skin Mapping to make sure that you understand your skin type and what you should be looking for in your products then do your own research. Just because a cleanser is “all natural” or “organic” or “professionally formulated” doesn’t mean its right for your skin.

One last thing

Sometimes, when we move towards a more suitable skin care regimen, we have to allow our skin to adapt. When you change your skin care products you might “purge” aka break out. This can actually be a good thing as your skin is getting rid of all the nastiness that its been holding onto for awhile. Don’t let this scare you off from your new regimen, but do contact your esthetician if it’s worrying you. Once you get past that speed bump, your skin should begin to improve.

Thanks for reading – Athena



Blog Post 1: I hate blank pages

It’s really hard to know where to begin with a blog. Do I tell you all about myself, my spa, my reasons for starting a blog, my family, my favorite TV shows, whether I believe in the existence of aliens?

The Beginning (of this part of the journey)

One day I just had to have a facial. I know it was around my birthday and I’m sure I was stressed out beyond all measure. So, I got a facial. That night I stayed up until midnight researching ways to quit my job and go back to school.

Then my company offered a Voluntary Lay Off and low and behold my job was one of those on offer. I took it, and my severance, sold my house, moved into my dad’s garage and embarked on 6 months of time suck known as Esthetician school. Well, 7 months after the time I took off for the concussion (but that’s another story).

Graduation, state testing (again, that’s another story), Christmas, New Year and searching for a new job I came across a space for rent inside an established salon. Using the rest of my meager savings I jumped in with both feet and opened Athena’s Oasis.

From first facial to doors opening it took 18 months. I have never been happier and I know that this is where I need to be.

What makes Athena’s Oasis different?

My age, my passion and my constant drive to delight my customer.

I earned my license at 38 years old after 11 years as an analyst and project manager for a huge company in Everett (rhymes with mowing). I knew what made me succeed (doing things my way) and what made me fail (doing things their way). What made me happy (knowing who my customer is and working with them to give them what they’re paying for) and what drove me out of my mind (not knowing who or what was expected of me until after I did it wrong 4 times and changed managers 8 times). And I strive to bring that self-awareness to my business.

Every customer is precious to me. Whether you’re here for the complimentary skin analysis or you want a full day spa package, you are my number one focus and I will do everything within my power to have you walking out of here delighted with the service you received and the information, samples or products you’re taking home with you.

And so on…

I plan to be around for a while. In fact, someday I hope that you’ll be able to walk into an Athena’s Oasis in your hometown. But for now I’m going to concentrate on you, my customers and see just how far I can take this little spa.

But what about the purpose of this blog, and aliens, and tv? I’ll get around to answering that at some point I’m sure.

Thanks for reading. – Athena