How I Take Care of my Nails

I just want to start off by saying that next to my skin my nails are my next biggest struggle. My nails are usually pretty short because they are weak and thin. They grow quickly but they peel and break pretty easily.

I have only had long nails twice in my life that I can remember. Both times were after I had had acrylic nails and I had just taken them off.

Maybe once Chris and I are married and the stress of wedding planning is no longer a thing in my life then they will be able to grow really long. (Basically meaning that I’ll stop picking at them out of anxiety.)

This post is more meant to be about how I keep my nails healthy and how I keep them from breaking.

Healthy Diet

The first thing that I make sure to do is have enough nutrients in my diet. The better I am taking care of myself the better condition my nails seem to be in. I drink a TON of water in a day and I’d like to think that I eat pretty healthy.

Cuticle Treatment 

I use the Sally Hansen Cuticle Rehab treatment. On top of smelling like flowers and candy, this product also helps my cuticles to not be as dry and help me to not get as many hang nails.

Nail Strengthener

I also use nail strengtheners constantly and I always use them under and over my nail polish. When I don’t have my nails painted it helps them to not break and also gives them a nice shine. It also helps them to be able to not peel as badly.

Getting My Nails Done

I also have a pretty bad habit of picking at my nails. I don’t bite my nails but at the first sign of a snag I am picking at it all day. When I get them done by someone else I don’t do it as much and it allows them to grow better. I think it might be something about feeling guilty that someone else has put time and effort into them and I don’t want to ruin it. This does not mean that you have to go to a salon. Chris is generous enough to paint my nails for me for this very reason. He is really patient and actually a lot better at it than I thought he would be.

Wedding Planning Part 4

I bought a dress!!!!!!

I think the biggest thing for me in this stage of wedding planning is realizing that its all real. Seeing myself in a wedding dress as a bride makes it so real. It’s such a crazy and exciting thought that I’m going to be a wife and this wedding is just the first step.

Back to my dress, I know that I initially wanted to have my grandma make my dress but the whole story unfolds in a kind of cool way.

I wanted to try on dresses that were the style that I liked so that I would be sure that it would look good on me. (I have all my dress inspo from Pinterest and they are all 5’10 models and I am only 5’3 on a good day.) So we went to a dress place here in Rexburg and I put on a few others that were okay and then I tried on this one and I fell in love. It fits perfectly and doesn’t need any alterations. On top of that it is less than half my budget. I don’t think that my grandma and I could have even made one for that little so I bought it.

I thought I would be a lot more nervous about the whole process but I feel more accomplished. I feel like this is something else that I have conquered. I only have one last big stressor before the wedding and then I feel like everything else will just flow nicely. (I realize that this is a far-fetched fantasy but a girl can dream right?)

So this is my quick update about wedding planning and where I’m at.

(Also I’m only not posting a pic of the dress because Chris follows my blog.)

Some Products are Worth the Splurge

I am 100% for beauty on a budget. There are a lot of drug store brands that just seem to get it when it comes to beauty products.

However, some items there just aren’t replacements for. Most of these products you can find a pretty good replacement for but it still doesn’t perform at quite the same level as higher end products. These are a few of the products that I really love (and can justify splurging on.)

  1. Better Than Sex Mascara – I think that there are definitely some other great mascaras out there, don’t get me wrong. In my experience it takes a lot more coats to get the same effect. With this mascara I spend the least amount of time trying to make sure my lashes aren’t clumped and they still look like I’m wearing fake lashes. I feel like it really stays on all day and it doesn’t flake off. I think the price is worth every cent.
  2. Shape Tape – I don’t know that I have ever tried a concealer that is quite as pigmented as this. If there are days where I am running late, I can dab this on under my eyes and over some problem areas and be ready to head out the door. It also is a great highlight for under my eyes and on the bridge of my nose when I am doing a full face. For me, that definitely constitutes the price.
  3. Primer- For me personally, primer makes all the difference. I don’t really have a specific product in mind because there are such different kinds of skin. I use a Two Faced primer because I feel like it holds my makeup in place really well and it helps the texture of my skin to be closer to the matte that I like. Honestly, finding a good primer that compliments your skin type is really key.

Also, if you don’t like to splurge on things without being sure then try out places like Sephora that will give you samples of what you’re looking for before you commit to the price. (I just learned today that Sephora gives samples so my life is forever changed.)

As far as a few other things that I will occasionally splurge on there aren’t many. Sometimes I will treat myself with a really nice face wash or a great moisturizer but for the most part I enjoy the hunt for beauty on a budget.

My Skincare Routine

 

For how much I talk about my skin and my skincare I realize that I haven’t shared much about my journey this far so here it goes!

This is what my skin looked like 8 months ago:

 

 

In these pictures I had on makeup and I was definitely using some snap filters. If you have skin that looks like this you are still a beautiful human being and are not defined by the condition of your skin. If you are looking to improve your skin, I have been in your position and I am here with all the advice I can give.

Here is what my skin looks like now:

In the picture on the left I’m not wearing any makeup and in the one on the right I have on the same amount of makeup as in the pictures above.

I think for how badly I want better skin, it would surprise people how few skincare products I use on a daily bases. Before I delve into the details of my skincare I do want to say that I have tried a LOT of skincare products and what I do use is very carefully selected.

About 3 months ago I had a really complicated skincare routine. Now I only use three things (plus my prescription) and I have seen significant improvement in my skin in comparison. All I use right now is face wash and moisturizer.

The last thing that I use isn’t technically something that I use. Its time. I went in this week for a dermatologist appointment and he told me that even with prescriptions and the best skincare products I could find it would still take time.

I think for me personally, I think that the more products I use and the more often I change products the more my skin doesn’t like it. Consistency is key. The idea of my skincare routine now is that I clean all the oil, dirt, and makeup out of my skin and then I replace the moisture in my skin and that’s it. The more I try to do my skin’s job for it, the more that it doesn’t get better.

I know that there are a lot of people who can use products and see results immediately but I have never really been one of those people. My skin is a bit too stubborn for this.

(I feel like I should also mention that I have been working out and drinking a TON of water throughout this process as well.)

Every once in a while I’ll use a face mask or a pore strip but overall I keep my skincare routine as simple as possible. My skin can do a really good job of staying clean and I just try to help it along.

Haircare- Practices and Products

IMG_0519I have always had long hair. (Except the one time in second grade when I thought that I could cut my own hair and I ended up looking like a pre-pubescent boy but we don’t talk about that.) But for the most part I have always had long hair which means that I have 20 years of knowledge that I want to share.

Fair Warning: This will be a rather long post because for some reason I am just really passionate about haircare.

As far as haircare practices go I think that there are a few basic ones that have definitely made a difference for me.

  1. Don’t wash your hair everyday. I feel like this is a pretty common practice and it helps your hair to be able to retain natural oils and keep itself healthy. I generally go for every two days or every other day depending on the weather and my skin condition. I also take time to brush my hair with a really fine-tooth comb on the days that I don’t wash it. This helps to distribute the natural oils in my hair and make it a lot more shiny and soft. I notice that when I do this my hair feels a lot healthier.
  2. Condition your hair every time you shampoo it. You know those expandable pokey balls that kids play with? That’s what my hair ends up looking like if I shampoo it without conditioning it. Shampoo tends to strip hair of the natural oils so if you take them out then you have to put them back in. My hair gets greasy pretty quickly so I just condition the ends of my hair in the shower. (If your hair is already replacing the oils at the rate it needs then why should you use the extra conditioner?)
  3. Avoid using heat as much as possible. I only curl my hair once every few months and I don’t blow dry it at all. I have really long hair so the less damage I do to it the longer it will get instead of breaking off. I know that there are products that can help combat the damage that heat can do but in my personal experience the less you use the better. I also think that people’s natural hair texture looks so good on them!
  4. Deep conditioning can be your best friend. Treat yo self! Sometimes you need to treat yourself with a great hair mask, a good deep condition, or a hot oil treatment. Whatever it is, your hair will thank you for doing it.

As far as products go, I am going to recommend a few brands more so than specific products. I am all for beauty on a budget so all of these are brands you can get at Walmart (or your local drugstore) for relatively cheap.  Everyone has such different types of hair that its hard to just do one product. My hair isn’t particularly thick or thin but it is pretty long. It gets greasy pretty quickly and I have not dyed it since the “Scene Kid Phase” my sophomore year of high school 5 years ago. So here goes my list:

  1. OGX. I have really loved every product I have tried from OGX. It makes my hair seem so soft and so clean and so healthy. My personal favorite is the Argon Oil of Morocco line. I think that the search for a deep conditioner stops here. It smells absolutely AMAZING and nothing makes my hair feel better and more healthy. I use it 2-3 times a week and I definitely notice a difference in how soft and silky my hair is.
  2. Pantene: I think that this is one of my favorite conditioner brands. It always smells good and leaves my hair feeling really healthy. Any time I use heat on my hair I always reach for this more than I reach for other products because I feel like it nourishes my hair a lot more.
  3. Garnier Fructis: Honestly, this product is mostly on my list because I am in love with the way it smells. I usually stick to the naturals line because I can smell it on my hair all day long. The products in the naturals line have ingredients that are more natural (no surprise) and more nourishing for our hair in comparison to the regular line. (I use the Rose Hips one and I always get compliments on how good my hair smells.)
  4. Maui Moisture: This product is VERY aptly named. One thing that I don’t love about this product is the packaging and the fact that the shampoo doesn’t lather very well. For the most part I think that it is really moisturizing and super nourishing for my hair.

There are a few more expensive products that I have used and I liked them but I haven’t noticed a big difference between those and these brands. (At least not enough to justify spending that much on them.) I try to take especially good care of my hair so I am always on the lookout for new brands and products to try!

Wedding Planning Part 3

Chris and I are officially engaged! He surprised me with a ring that I didn’t think he liked very much at the top of Twin Peaks in San Francisco. (This is my favorite spot in the whole world. I’ve been to most of Europe and some of South America and this is still my favorite spot.)

I am so excited to get into the real thick of wedding planning because I feel like now is when I really get to start doing things.

So far the hardest part of planning is deciding the style I want for the reception. I don’t really think that a country chic is my style so I’m leaning toward something a bit more boho-elegant (if that exists). Planning out ceremony and reception decorations has been one of my biggest stressors.

So here are my tips/thoughts for anyone in a similar position as me:

  1. Prioritize and set deadlines for yourself. For me, if I set deadlines for milestones then I feel like I get more done. I can plan things in phases and accomplish them one by one as opposed to trying to get everything done at once. There are tons of wedding checklists and timelines on Pinterest so you can find one that fits your needs best.
  2. Make sure that your wedding party is supportive. As much as family drama tries to creep its way into your special day, it is still YOUR day. I have made decisions regarding my wedding party that ensure that I am surrounded by the most positive vibes possible on a probably very stressful time.
  3. It’s never too early to start! The way I see it, if you have things planned out early, its easier to make adjustments as needed as opposed to trying to plan everything last minute.
  4. When you go dress shopping, ask for the stylist’s opinion. They have seen hundreds of body types in twice as many dresses. Make sure that they know what you like but definitely still be open to their opinions. I thought that I wanted something very flowy and long sleeve but I ended up falling in love with something very plain and structured and I looked so much better in it! (Maybe I severely underestimated how short I am in comparison to the models that I saw the dresses on.)
  5. Involve your mom! I want to add a caveat to this one, involve your mom if you have a good relationship with her and you know that she will help you to stay calm and be a positive force through this process. For me, my mom planned her whole wedding on her own and on a strict budget so she has been the biggest help for me when it comes to what really matters and what are extra stresses that I need to brush off. I have also been blessed with a mom who is the most creative person I have met and who thinks of things that I would never think of.
  6. If you’re religious, pray! If you’re not religious this may not hold as much meaning for you but for me it has been a huge help to me to pray that I can see the things that I need to do to make sure that this day is special to us and to our families that want to support us. If you are someone who doesn’t find comfort in religion then find someone who can help you to keep a level head throughout the whole planning process.

I am definitely not a professional wedding planner but these are a few things that I have learned along the way so far. Maybe after the wedding I’ll look back and think these were silly but for now I hope its helpful!