Of Hair, Face & Feet

An odd title, to be sure, but that is what today’s post is about: taking better care of your hair along with some product recommendations for your face and feet that I have put to the test for you!

I am a low-fuss, minimal makeup girl, so it’s vital that my skin looks healthy in order to continue using less makeup in my daily routine. I have oils that I apply to my face every night (okay, I’ll be honest: it doesn’t always happen because often I am too tired to wash my face first. But I do apply oils at least 4 times a week), products for my feet (we are in sandals nearly year-round in Texas, so healthy skin on feet and heels is essential); and lately, I have been attempting better care for my long tresses, which I will detail below.

IMG_4644.JPG

 

In most of my Instagram photos, I am makeup-free except for eyeliner and a lipstick and/or lip gloss. I don’t own foundation, I never use mascara, and the most product I’ll apply to my face is tinted moisturizer and a mineral powder. Most days I am all natural, though, as I am not a morning person and can’t be bothered to get up earlier in order to fit in more time to get ready. I’m not saying this is a good thing, mind you, I’m just saying that this is the way I am and it will help explain my product choices. So far I have been able to maintain moist, healthy, skin, and I think it is the use of natural products that has helped.

At night, before bed, I apply either almond or avocado oil (whichever I currently have on hand) to my face. Two months ago I bought rosehip oil for its superior facial benefits, and have since mixed about 1/2 rose hip oil to 1/2 almond oil for a nightly application. This is so easy to do if you purchase a glass bottle with dropper, which also helps with mess-free applications.

almond oil

In the mornings, after applying moisturizer and powder, I spritz rosewater over my face to set my makeup and to give my skin a fresh look. I purchased Heritage Store Rose Petals Rose Water based on the glowing reviews it got. This stuff is amazing. I even spritz it over my sheets and pillows before sleeping. The largest bottle is only $9 and it will last a long time. I can’t wait for my next trip, as I plan to apply it to my face during the flight in order to stay hydrated (my skin does not like high altitudes or dry airplane cabins).

rosewaterThis summer I decided to buy Boots Botanical All Bright Purifying Face Scrub based on the glowing reviews it got. Using it twice a week after cleansing first with a cream cleanser, I haven’t noticed any significant difference, but I like the soft exfoliation it gives me (making me feel as though I am really scrubbing away dirt), and the scent is very pleasant and not overwhelming like a lot of facial products are.

boots botanical

Tired of battling stinky, dry feet, I recently purchased this Stepping Stone foot scrub from Lush. So far it has been wonderful, and the combination of sea salt, pumice, and deodorizing essential oils has made for a pleasant foot product. My only complaint is that it crumbles and dissolves immediately on contact with water, so you have to apply to the scrub quickly to your feet before it completely washes off. Also, it is best to break off a piece for use rather than take the whole product near the water. Otherwise you’ll discover that the scrub is falling to pieces in your hand and washing down the drain before you can use even half of it.

IMG_4588

Finally, I have been attempting to take better care of my long hair. I have been shedding quite a lot of hair lately (more so than normal), even though I drink lots of water, am shampooing less (twice a week now – I never thought I could achieve this!) and take in proteins and nutrients essential for maintaining healthy hair. Puzzled as to why this was happening with greater frequency, I searched online for a reason and discovered that hair elastics can cause significant damage to hair! I had never heard of this before, but I immediately stopped using elastics and am now using ribbon hair ties. They aren’t as tight as elastics, so I have to braid my hair now before a workout instead of pulling it into a ponytail. I have also stopped vigorously drying my hair with a towel after washing. I let it mostly drip-dry, applying a towel gently to the ends when they are sopping wet (doing my best not to rub hair). Yes it’s inconvenient, but guess what? I am already noticing less hair loss! Instead of pulling hairs off of my clothes all day long, I am keeping them on my head where they belong.

IMG_4575.JPG
Oh hey there, side braid. I shall be seeing more of you from now on…

Until next time, dear friends… xo

Advertisements

Friday Link Love

16 Evening Habits That Make Everything Better – as a night owl who is currently trying to adjust my morning wake-up routine in order to have a more productive day, this article has tips and tricks that actually make sense. I will be trying some of these come Monday morning (but not before then. It’s the weekend, after all).

I get a little giddy over novelty items. And some of the best can be found at The Container Store, especially when they roll out their infamous stocking stuffers. I plan on buying the beauty spatula, to be used before, during, and after Christmas. And the teaspoon tea infuser. And the eClean portable Screen Cleaner. And the… heck, I’ll take it all!

EveryDropSptla10058086_x
If you’re anticipating traveling soon, here are 11 Things You Should Never Delay Before Your Trip.

And just for fun, a story about a small company who makes artisanal chocolate from raw cacao beans dried and smoked in – wait for it – a barbecue pit. Fascinating, but it is Texas, folks…

Happy Weekend! Until next time dear friends… xo

Ramblings on Fall (again) and Nobby Bargains

As  earlier noted on this blog, we don’t get a lot of fall weather in Texas. Right now the weather continues to fluctuate between warm and cool. Since it’s a very real possibility that fall could pass on by without my being able to wear many of my favorite, beloved fall clothes (why must my favorite season be the one which is essentially nonexistent in Texas?), I am wearing them anyway, doing my best to pair the warmer pieces with cooler coordinates in order to keep from being positively too warm in this weather. Below are some of my favorite outfits using this method; some pieces are new this year but most of them were purchased on sale/clearance last year (which probably explains why I’m so impatient for fall weather: I’m longing to wear the clothes I scored at the end of last fall/winter season), and some have been in my closet for a long time because they are classic and perfect for year-round wearing here.

I have listed below each photo what is “new” (less than a year old) and what is old (over a year old).

IMG_4486.JPG
Old Pieces From My Closet: Skirt is Martin+Osa, found several years ago at TJ Maxx. Sweater is Gap. New Pieces: Necklace from Anthropologie (bought recently, less than $10). Book Bag is from Persephone Books in London. Booties are from Target (purchased earlier this year). Glasses are Gucci (borrowed).
IMG_4370.JPG
Old Pieces: skirt is H&M. New Pieces: Zara sweater, purchased earlier this year. Shoes are Steve Madden from Ross. Tote is Free People.
IMG_4357.JPG
Old Pieces: Shirt is Old Navy. Cardigan (draped over arm) is NY&Co, purchased from Ross. Earrings are from Kohl’s. Boots are Banana Republic. New Pieces: Skirt is a recent purchase from Forever 21. Tote is Free People.

Speaking of new and sales, I thought that I’d point out that it’s nearing the end of the month. It’s also nearing the holidays. Retailers are trying to get rid of old inventory in order to make room for new. Now is an awesome time to stock up on some great items, whether for now or to put away for next spring/summer. Here’s what I’ve scored recently:

IMG_4561.JPG
Old Pieces: top is an unknown brand, thrifted. Skirt is Old Navy. New Pieces: Scarf is a recent Target purchase.

This super cute scarf from Target (I’m wearing it in the above photo). Less than $5. (Note that the website price is more than the in-store price; also, I couldn’t find it in green. The pink is cute, too, though)

IMG_4507-0.JPG
These Birk-alikes, also from Target – less than $7. Not only is the gold color a nice neutral, but they are super soft and comfy! Like walking on a cloud! My mom tried them on and said they felt better than her Birkenstocks.

IMG_4572.PNGIMG_4571.PNG

This top (in dark pearl) and corduroy skirt (in cream) from Gap. On sale and an extra 40% off. The top was $12 and the skirt $20.

IMG_4566.PNG
This adorable sleeveless, peach colored Vince top (which will be saved for spring/summer) for $15 at Marshall’s. Here is the (no longer available) shirt in the peach color at Nordstrom Rack, and here it is in white at Nordstrom.

IMG_4570.JPG

These lace-up wedges, (to be saved as well for summer) also from Marshall’s, $15. There were several pairs left so I will be popping back in to see if they get reduced any further. (Here’s hoping they do!)

IMG_4573

The most recent purchase (this past weekend) was this beautiful maxi skirt from Anthropologie. I’m not sure what the original price was, but it was on clearance for $29. It’s pretty in the photo but it’s even more lovely in person. Also, sale is an extra 25% off right now! Just sayin’… 

Until next time, dear friends… xo

Halloween Popcorn Balls

Popcorn + Marshmallows + Candy Corn + M&M’s = Yuuummm…
IMG_3595_edit

Who ever knew this equation would work so perfectly? The salty taste of popcorn perfectly contrasts with crunchy M&M’s and chewy, sweet candy corn in this recipe. And before I go any further, I must tell you that I am not a candy corn person. Not.at.all. But I was at someone’s home recently and they had several varieties of candy corn that I had never seen, and after tasting one that was offered, I had to change my mind. I decided that I’m not an original candy corn person, but I am a flavored candy corn person.

After this revelation, and while playing with ideas of how to use the candy corn (because of course I needed an excuse to procure some for myself), I remembered a popcorn/M&M candy recipe I had used once and that was a really big hit with the people I had shared it with. I decided to add candy corn to this same recipe, and voila! Tasty success. Since it is October, with Halloween right around the corner, this is a perfect group snack or classroom snack.* I had a lot of candy corn left over, so they will be used to fill treat bags for my students at the end of this month.

Recipe Notes: I used fall-colored M&M’s (I couldn’t find specific Halloween M&M’s, but these looked pretty cute anyway) and two different flavors of candy corn. One was called Indian Candy Corn and the other was Caramel. I bought both from my local Central Market. I plan on going back to get more of the Blackberry Cobbler flavor, which was a fun purple/blue color and actually tasted pretty good.

This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen’s Holiday M&M’s Popcorn Balls

Fall Popcorn Balls

 1 (10 oz) package miniature marshmallows

4 tablespoons butter

1 (3 1/3) package microwave kettle corn

1 cup fall themed M&M’s

1 cup candy corn

Pop the kettle corn in microwave as directed on package. Remove the unpopped kernels. Put into a large bowl.

Microwave in medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl (or melt on stove in a saucepan) the marshmallows and butter, stirring until smooth. If microwaving, pause every 30 seconds to stir. If using the stove top, melt on low heat, stirring constantly so marshmallows don’t stick and burn. I find it helpful to get the butter halfway melted first in order to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent the marshmallows sticking.

Pour over popcorn in bowl while gently turning popcorn with a large spatula or spoon in order to evenly coat. Cool 5 minutes, then add M&M’s and candy corn. I like to add a little at a time, turning the popcorn mixture gently to evenly distribute the candy. Let it sit another 5 minutes.

Dip hands in ice water and form mixture into ten balls. Store the popcorn balls in separate plastic bags at room temperature.

IMG_3602_edit

I used these adorable black and white polka dot mini take-out boxes from Hobby Lobby. Using a coupon to purchase, they were less than $3 for 8 boxes! So cute and the perfect size for one popcorn ball each. I suggest wrapping with clear plastic wrap if taking them to a classroom in order to protect them and also to help the kids be able to safely put into a backpack if they are unable to consume right away.

I also bought a package of small-sized, cute chalkboard paper treat bags that I plan on filling with the remaining candy corn for my students at Halloween. I love the idea of chalking cute, non-scary messages (I’m not into scary Halloween) onto the treat bags. Since I’m on a budget, I also appreciate that I can use coupons at Hobby Lobby, or at least am usually able to catch a sale there. They have some truly adorable, wallet-friendly products. Confession: I like walking around the store and playing with ideas as I go through the seasonal products.

The ideas for a sweet, fun, and cute Halloween are endless… Happy fall baking and crafting!

Until next time, dear friends… xo

Warning: these popcorn balls are highly addicting. I suggest making them and sharing immediately, before you are tempted to consume it all, right from the bowl (not that I personally would know about this temptation…).

*remember to check allergies before serving. This recipe is peanut-free, but I’ve had students with corn allergies, so it’s best to check.

Transitioning The Seasons With Aplomb (and on a budget)

Perhaps you live in a place in which four distinct seasons occur, allowing you to easily transition from shorts to sweaters, boots to sandals, linen to wool (or vice versa). I have a confession, dear readers-who-live-in-such-predictable-climates: I envy you. Living in Texas, we not only have a mere two seasons, but we have to act as if we have four and suffer through wearing boots and fall pieces when it is still 90 degrees outside. Who knows why we do, but we do. Perhaps it is because we are so very sick of our perpetual summer that we like to make-believe we are experiencing fall like everyone else. By donning our too-warm-for-wearing fall clothes, we are dressing in tandem with the privileged seasonites on Instagam, rather than feeling left out as we trudge around in our flip flops beneath a cruelly continuing summer sun.

I must admit, however, that it isn’t all hot weather and we’ve had some snatches of fall coolness already. This is why dressing in Texas is difficult. One day you’re in shorts, the next you could very well be in a sweater. (Yesterday it was hot. Very hot. Today it is in the 50’s. Sheesh.) I’ve learned ways to deal with this unpredictability and have amassed a wardrobe full of pieces that do seasonal double-duty. Should you also live in a place that is warm for most of the year, here are five ways I’ve developed wearing seasonal clothes in unseasonal weather.

IMG_4338.JPG
Shirt is Old Navy from several years ago. I still can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a dress or a tunic, so I just wear as both. It has been very useful for wearing alone or layering. Shoes are from Urban Outfitters, purchased about two years ago. Bag is a recent H&M purchase. It’s a shame you can’t see the adorable black/white check pattern in the photo, but believe me, it’s cute. And $4.95? Um, yes.

1. Acquire long-sleeved tops that can be worn alone with rolled sleeves when it’s hot, or layered beneath a sweater or sweatshirt when it’s cold.

2. Booties. This pair from Target is wonderful for transitioning the seasons; the open-toe detail allows for breathability in warm weather and the style and color can easily be spring or fall. I bought this pair earlier this year (for about $11, on sale!) and am happy to see that Target has brought them back this fall. I wore them with spring clothes and now am wearing them with my fall clothes. A note on the sizing: I wish I would’ve sized up as this shoe is very tight around the toe and causes wounds when wearing for longer than thirty minutes. I advise going up a 1/2 size to prevent this. 

IMG_4143.JPG
You can just see the boots here if you look very, very closely… Plaid tunic is Anthropologie from a couple of years ago. Cardigan is H&M, also from a couple of years ago. Jeans are Gap, as seen in the other photos on this page.

3. Sleeveless dresses that can be worn alone or layered. I just purchased this trench dress on super sale from Ann Taylor last weekend (on clearance, an extra 40% off and my mom shared a 20% coupon with me, so the total for this dress was $45!).

IMG_4348.JPG

I plan to wear it alone during the summer, with a black turtleneck this winter, and layered over jeans for a trendy look this fall. Also, I’ll be ready for the double-button look that was seen on the SS 2015 runways recently. Remember my advice to look ahead in fashion in order to save money?

IMG_4341.JPG
Gap straight-leg, raw hem jeans. 

4. Jeans in a dark wash. Boot cut, straight, or skinny for a classic look (remember, don’t spend too much on trends. Invest in classics that last through the years). I happen to like the contrast of a dark denim with white/light summer tops, or paired with contrasting colors in fall and winter. Gap has a great selection of classic jeans and washes.

IMG_4244.JPG
Top is from the Ines de La Fressange Uniqlo spring/summer collection. Skirt is Old Navy from a couple of years ago. Clutch (actually a pouch included in my tote, but totally doing creative double-duty as a clutch) is Free People.

5. Short-sleeved tee shirts and blouses that can be worn alone in spring/summer and then layered beneath a cardigan or over a contrasting long-sleeve tee in fall/winter. That plaid tunic from Anthropologie, as seen in the second photo from the top? It’s short-sleeved, which has allowed for much wearing in our unpredictable Texas weather.

Above all, be creative. I love looking in my closet and figuring out how I can make beloved, but distinctly seasonal, pieces work outside of their intended season.

Until next time, dear friends… xo