Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let's Talk About... Giving Your Hair a Break

Confession time!

As shameful as it is to admit, while in pursuit of the style and color that I'm striving for, I have a tendency to overlook what my hair needs to stay healthy and nourished. This dismissive and destructive behavior often leads to breakage, earning me a stern talking to by my stylist once the time comes for a trim and root touch-up. While there really is no excuse for this conduct toward my tresses, I will say that it's nearly impossible to keep up with the style that I think works best for me without a combination of hot tools and styling products that often leave my hair parched and in need of some serious care.

This is why every week or so, especially in the summer, I have taken to giving my hair a kind of styling vacation; a much needed chance to soak up some products enriched with natural oils and curl enhancing properties. I may not love my hair in it's curly state as much as I do when it's just undergone the flat-iron-treatment, but I'm trying to take advantage of tutorials like this one (which I have adapted in my style below) in order to feel a bit more comfortable while I'm trying to do right by my stubborn locks. 

Here are some of the products that I have found help a lot with simultaneously treating and managing my curls. They all contain natural ingredients, which I love, and they can ALL be found at Target at affordable prices!

Clockwise from Top-Left:
Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo (cleans all of the crap out of my hair without robbing it of much needed moisture, plus it smells great!) - $9.99
Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Conditioner - (as a companion the the amazing shampoo, this defines curls like nobody's business, before I even step out of the shower) - $11.99
Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner (helps to both detangle and strengthen hair, both of which are crucial when dealing with curls) - $11.00
Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Pure Hair Oil (I like to apply this beautifully scented oil right after the leave-in conditioner to add even more moisture and shine) - $10.00
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk - Styling Pudding (I use this to both define and hold my curls in place lest frizz comes in and ruins everything; a little bit goes a long way) - $12.00
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk - Refresher Spray (for the next day when my hair needs a pep talk, this handy spray brings it back to life without the need to wash and repeat the whole process) - $11.00

I'm sure that while reading this, you may have noticed a common theme: Carol's Daughter, but I really am so appreciative of their products! I had such a hard time finding the right products for my hair type growing up, that I often felt a bit cheated when it seemed like no companies were willing to make products specifically for girls like me. I only wish lines like Carol's Daughter (and Shea Moisture, and Mixed Chicks) were around back then; it would have probably made my (and my Mom's) life a heck of a lot easier!

Curls? Tamed. Hair? Looking shiny and feeling healthy, even in it's natural state.

Of course until the next time I force it through the dreaded Ultra Chi...the cycle continues.



Monday, June 16, 2014

What To Wear: Casual Dinner & Movie Date

Sometimes after a couple of busy weekends in a row, you just need a chill weekend, to recharge and refresh yourself. Dan and I chose to spend this past weekend mostly bumming around our neighborhood, taking the dogs for long strolls, and lounging in front of the TV (what better weekend to do it than that of the kickoff of the World Cup AND the GoT season finale!). 

We did manage to get ourselves decent (enough...) and leave the house to have a casual Dinner & Movie date, to which I tried to wear something that felt casual, while still put-together and fun. I don't wear pants often during the work week, so most of the ones I do own and wear are of the super laid-back, boyfriend-fitted, and destroyed variety, for use on weekends and off days only.

Outfit Details:
J.Crew Factory Airspun Baseball Sweater (I'm ALL about summer sweaters, and you should be too) - $65.00 (currently ON SALE for $31.99)
Gap Outlet Boyfriend Jeans - Old (simliar from Old Navy)
Target Lakita Sandal in Gold Glitter (LOVE these!) - $19.99

With things about to start getting busy for us around the corner, what with Dan on the cusp of a big birthday (30!), and me in the process of planning a family reunion in my hometown, we were definitely in need of a relaxing weekend to do nothing but enjoy our surroundings and each other. We'll surely lament for these kind of days in the near future.



Saturday, June 7, 2014

What to Wear: Dressing for a Concert

Happy Weekend!

I am excited to report that I am in the midst of a 4-day-weekend/mini-vacation with my husband to take in some much needed relaxation and fun times. We had the pleasure of being able to go and see one of our favorite bands, Vampire Weekend, at the UIC Pavilion, and it's safe to say that we had a fabulous (albeit sweaty) time! I tried to choose an outfit that was all-together casual, a little bit cool, and comfortable enough to allow for a healthy amount of booty-shaking! I started with something on the sporty-side with this super lightweight and fun baseball tee from J.Crew, pairing that with an on-trend denim vest. I chose jeans that are stretchy and slimming, so I could still feel at-ease while dancing like a fool, and from there I just chose accessories that I felt kept with the theme of easy and quirky-cool. 

Outfit Details:
NYDJ Stretch Ankle Skinny Jean - Nordstrom - $104 (currently ON SALE for $68.90)
J.Crew Factory Distressed Denim Vest - $75.00 (I picked mine up during a site-wide sale for $37.50, so always be patient)
J.Crew Factory Stripe Baseball Tee - $42.50 (I paid $21.25 during the same sale)
Taupe Suede Booties - Old from Target (similar and similar)
Taupe Crossbody Bag - Old from Coach (similar)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Henry Skeleton Watch - $250 (currently ON SALE at Nordstrom for $187.50)
Statement Necklace - Groopdealz (similar)
Ray-Ban New Wayfarer in Tortoise - $130 (currently ON SALE at Nordstrom for $97.50)

While I got a few decent shots (some of which can be seen on my Instagram), I feel so compelled to write about this one only because I now find myself obsessed with the stage background! I love vintage floral patterns, so it's a given that I can't seem to get this out of my head.

This was a truly fantastic way to kick off a long weekend, and the residual dancing-related soreness was well earned!



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mixing Prints on the Weekday

When I'm starting to feel that familiar slump toward the middle of the week, I like to try to reach for outfits that are a little bit more fun while at the same time still easy and comfortable. I love that mixed-print outfits are having such a moment right now (thanks, Mindy Kaling), and I'm getting to the point where I basically think of stripes as a neutral that can be made more interesting paired with just about any other pattern.

I bought this dress from Forever 21 several months ago, and what a work horse it's been! It's really one of those four season dresses; it can be made to work with the right accessories just out any time of the year, and it's probably one of the most comfortable things that I own. To make it a bit more fun to jazz up my weekday, I added on a light, floral scarf that I picked up for a steal at Old Navy, and threw on my yellow and gray Seychelles two-piece flats that make me so happy every time I put them on.

Outfit Details:

Old Navy Watercolor Print Scarf - $16.97 (I picked mine up for $12 in-store) (similar)
Seychelles Freesia Flat - $90 (I picked mine up for only $40 on Amazon)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Leather Baker Watch - $175 (currently ON SALE at Nordstrom for $131.25!)

There is also no better way to spice up the monotony of the work week than to do something fun on a weekday for a change! Even if it's something low-key, it's nice to break from your everyday routine here and there. Case in point, when a dear friend at work offered me Cubs tickets (fo free) spur of the moment, I barely even hesitated! I was definitely feeling the lack of sleep the next day, but it was so worth it.

And the Cubs actually won!