Thanks + Chaos

28 November 2014

As every American knows, yesterday was Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, but it also can be one of the more irritating holidays. I love it because it's centered around two of my favorite things; food & family. It's irritating because:

  1. Once the month of November hits, everyone's Facebook is full of the month of thankfulness posts (I'm not even sure if that's the technical term for it). Be thankful EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Every day is a gift and we shouldn't need a holiday to remember that. Live every day fully and be grateful we have the gift of life. This leads me to...
  2. So many people look over Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. Many even start Christmas celebratory prep in summer months. Think about it, you're making time fly by even faster than what it should. Enjoy every day and every holiday, then start your Christmas festivities. Slow down, please. You'll thank me for it later.
  3. The holidays are supposed to be about love, gratefulness and spending time with your loved ones. I think many forget about that and it can sometimes bring peoples bad sides out. Grocery stores before Thanksgiving are a NIGHTMARE, Black Friday is a NIGHTMARE and any sort of retail store is absolutely INSANE before Christmas. As a shopper you run into some really disgruntled people, but as a sales associate you are fully in their line of fire and there is no escape. My brother and sister both work in retail at the moment and being put in front of a real life firing squad would be more fun for them than to work retail during the holidays. I urge everyone to take a deep breath and try to not let stress get in the way of the holiday spirit. Plan ahead, buy online, whatever you need to do to make the holiday less stressful on you. If you're out in the stores, try to be compassionate towards other shoppers and the people working retail. Give a smile and say thank you, I promise you it will go miles with not only making your experience better, but also helping those around you to have a better day and maybe pass it on to someone else. Smiles are contagious.
Enough of the negative, lets get back to the positive. My Thanksgiving was lots of fun. It used to be a huge shindig every year with family coming from out of town and just masses of people everywhere, but in recent years it's mainly been immediate family only. I tend to prefer it that way because there's less people to climb over and it's less drama. My mom cooks every year and it's always insanely good. There's usually football, games and movies. This year was no exception. We played Heads Up & Taboo. We intended on playing Catch Phrase as well, but realized too late that we didn't have the right size of batteries. After all of those shenanigans, we watched Guardians of the Galaxy with the family. It was everything that it should be and more. 

I make it a rule to stay away from stores as best I can the day before thanksgiving and I hate black friday (see #3), so no stores for me. I did, however, still manage to stumble upon some pretty awesome black friday deals.

  1. Glyder Apparel has 40% off the entire site for black friday. I snatched up some Black Ninja Cropped Leggings. Code: GOBBLE
  2. Alo Yoga is taking money off orders over certain amounts: Spend $150, get $20 off, Spend $200, get $45 off, Spend $300, get $75 off, Spend $450, get $100 off. I did not snag anything with this. There is no code required, it's taken off at checkout automatically. Their apparel is super nice. I'm itching for some Goddess Leggings and Airburshed Leggings.
  3. Rennes has 20% off orders over $200. Also did not snag anything with this one due to budget. Code: TRYPTOPHAN
  4. Shakti Activewear has 30% off storewide. Also did not get anything with this one. My budget was not allowing it. Code: BF14
  5. Dharma Yoga Wheel has $10 off of all purchases. I want one of these wheels so bad, but with the treatment I'm going through with my back at the moment, I feel like it may be a bit too advanced for me right now, thus a waste of money today. Code: BLACKDYW
  6. Nike is have 25% off of all of their clearance. I did jump on this one. I have a pair of their Legendary Tight Leggings that I love and wanted to try a pair of long leggings from them. The one's I got are not from the same line as the one's I already have, but I got them for super cheap with free shipping and returns. Code: DOMINATE
  7. Kiehl's also send me a $20 off code with any purchase over $65. I, naturally, stocked up on the Creme De Corps. Code: JOLLY
Other than Nike and Kiehl's the stores listed are small operations. Take a look through if you're looking for some good deals. 

Update | Reads, Shops & Favorite Things

08 October 2014

I took a little time out to update my lists that are located on the right hand side of the blog. It had been a while since I had updated them and I thought that now might be a good time to do that. These are the blogs that I commonly keep up with & find useful. The shops list is a list of places that I love their products and tend to shop from. Nothing is listed that I wouldn't purchase or read myself. I'm sure there are probably some that I left off, but I'll try to keep the lists updated as I find new things or remember any that I left off.

I also created a page for all of my favorite things located up at the top, under the banner. I used to do "favorite posts," but they would tend to get repetitive as I am a creature of habit. I decided it might be better to make up a list of all of the things that I feel like are the ultimate for me. I separated everything into categories and will add to it as I find things that fit the ideal for me. I figured this would be easier and more user friendly. I have not put books, movies or music on there. That would just be too hard and more like asking a mother to choose her favorite child.

Update | Hello...again...maybe...

05 October 2014

Flying into Harlingen, TX

A while back, I really felt like I was losing my desire to blog and decided to take a break from it. At the time I was unsure if I would ever blog again, but over time I began to miss it. I've decided to give this another whack, but this time completely on my terms and not from what I feel like is expected of me. So if you like reading this here blog, I ask that you go into this relationship with no expectations. It will flow how I do in real life and just roll with the punches. Here's a little update on things that have been going on in my neck of the woods lately and things you may be able to look forward to seeing here in the future.

In the past year or so, I had started to focus my blog on beauty, but going forward I'd like to not be so specific. This was something I was playing with before I took my break, but really hadn't been able to exercise too much. Beauty is something I'm interested in, but it's not all of me and in all honesty I'd feel like a hypocrite writing about it right now considering I've been doing a makeup free experiment for the past couple of weeks (i.e. I've been too lazy to fuss with it). My focus has been on skin care, finding the right balance for my skin and keeping things pretty damn minimal.

Since last writing, I've been going full forced into my yoga practice and I'm really happy with my results so far. It's proving that this will be a life long journey and I've got loads to learn, but I'm doing things I never thought I could do and I have actual upper body strength (I've never had that). I've started learning to handstand and it's so addicting. I can honestly say that yoga has transformed my body and my life. Like I said I have a long way to go and I'm very much still a baby yogi, but I'm very excited with my results and the path that it is taking me down. Expect to see much more about it on here, including how I started my yoga practice at home rather than in class.

The start of September found me doing some cross country flying. Labor day weekend I flew up to NYC to see my best friend. It was actually my first time in the city (even though I was planning a move there only a couple of years ago) and I've discovered that I have a love/hate relationship with it. It is the only city I have ever visited that I instantly felt like I was coming home. It felt like I knew it already and I blended in pretty well, almost too well for my liking. I'm from Texas and I'm used to wide open spaces and NYC is so different from that. There are loads of people and I felt like I was suffocating almost with the skyscrapers everywhere. I loved it though and since my friend is there, I'm sure I'll be back as often as my bank account can afford.

The weekend immediately following, I found myself flying down to South Padre Island. Take out a map and check out the distance between the two. Yep, that's right, I went from one end of the country to the other. Boy is it a different world than NYC. I was so close to Mexico that I could've tripped into it. In between the two trips I was also working, so you can imagine the chaos that it all was.

In both NYC and South Texas my sinuses were acting up from (what I can only assume) going from such drastic climate changes in a short amount of time. Once back at home, I had a week of teetering between "am I getting sick or am I not." Then the following week I was most definitely sick. Spent that whole week sick, had the following week of not being sick and we're pretty much caught up. I'm starting to get back into the swing of things back at home.

The holiday's are right around the corner now. I've got some big things going on at work as we have a big annual planning session that we do around the end of October every year that I'm in charge of. So that will be taking a huge chunk of my attention. Halloween is my oldest nephew's 5th birthday. I can't believe he's getting so big.  Then of course there's Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and my birthday. This is the time of year that things get pretty fierce for me, even though all I really want is for it to slow down. I'll have a tentative trip to Charleston in the spring to look forward to and another tentative trip to NYC in May. If anyone has any must see/do items for either place that is off the beaten trail, please do let me know. I like going to places that are frequented by locals and not associated with chains if at all possible. I also love galleries, museums and unique shopping. Leave any recommendations in the comments. I'll also be looking into yoga retreats for next year this time. Have yoga things that you love, leave that in the comments as well! I'm also supposed to be moving into a house in March that I'll get to do lots of fixing up on my own. I really won't be lacking material for the blog as you can tell, but it'll all come down to time, motivation and execution.

The one where we say goodbye?

04 July 2014

I know that I gave a heads up that I was going to be MIA for a little while on here, but it has ended up being a much longer absence than I was anticipating. To be honest things have been in a weird state for me lately. Nothing bad in the least, but I'm finding my balance I guess is the best way to put it. Or maybe trying to keep my balance is better.

So what have I been up to? My best friend in the whole wide world just moved across the country from me. He's in NYC with his boyfriend and I'm in West Texas. The good news is that I now have an excuse to visit NYC as often as I like (can afford) and I've got a place to stay.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the World Cup has also been going on. This may sound ridiculous to you, but it has been wearing on my nerves to such an extreme. My two absolute favorite teams are out (Spain & Italy) and they both went out with a bang. A huge chunk of my other teams are also out (Mexico & Portugal), and the US also got taken out. The only team I even remotely have left to go for is Germany. I find Brazil and Argentina's teams interesting, so I'll find some sort of entertainment with it even though the teams of my heart are gone.

Other than that I've been focusing on me. I've started up my yoga practice again and I'm very motivated with it. I found a great teacher through Cody App and I'm really enjoying the challenge of getting back into it. I can do it at home at my own pace. I was much more out of shape than I thought that I was, but I've been diligent with it and I'm seeing an improvement in my practice. I'm taking it slow and I remind myself that it's going to take a lot of time to get back to where I was. I'm also seeing some differences in my body. There mild differences, but differences none the less. I do everything I can to keep myself motivated and consider myself lucky that when I fail at something it hasn't discouraged me, but rather encouraged me. I've found several yogi's to follow on instagram and the cody app has been brilliant. I'm thinking of adding another plan soon, but I want to wait until I feel a little more secure with the one I'm on now.

I've also been working on my Italian. I minored in Italian in school and did a small stint of study abroad in Florence (one of the best places on the planet). Let's be real though, I live in West Texas and I don't get to practice it at all. I've also been wanting to learn Spanish (being half Mexican, it's pretty disgraceful that I can't speak a lick of it) and Portuguese (I think it's one of the most beautiful sounding languages). I spoke to a psychologist about it though and they stated that with my history with Italian, it would be better for me to get on more solid ground with that first. Not being more solid with it could cause learning the other two to be more difficult whereas being more solid with it could help me with the others immensely since the languages are so closely related. So I'm working on my Italian with Duolingo for the time being, but I have plans to move on to Spanish and Portuguese as well.

All of the above had lead me to not spending time on the blog. My interest in it has fizzled out a bit. I've even minimized my collection by at least half (lucky sister) and could probably minimize it even further. I've been really focused on saving as much money as I can for my labor day trip to NYC and any spare money is going to some yoga gear. While I love blogging, I'm going to be calling it quits for a little while so I can have more time for myself. I want to be able to take a deep breathe and enjoy the little things in life as much as I can. I hope to come back to blogging at some point, but I don't know when or how. For now I'll just take in la dolce vita...

Beauty | Coconut Oil + My Top 3 Hair Tips

21 May 2014

Kelapo Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
When people come to me asking what I do to get my hair is such great shape, because they just cannot get their hair to look as healthy, my response is pretty simple and straight forward:

  1. Embrace your natural hair and listen to it. It's incredibly common to want what you don't possess. Girls with straight hair long for luscious beach waves and on the flip side, girls with curly hair desperately want it straight. Blonds want to be brunettes and brunettes want to be blond. When I started to try to embrace what I was naturally given is when I saw a huge change in my hair. Let it be and don't try to force it to be what its not. THIS is the first step to gaining truly healthy hair. Now of course you can dye it and do all sorts of other magic to it and it can look healthy, but chances are that it's not going to be at its healthiest. That becomes your choice of exactly how healthy you want your hair to be. While my hair is very healthy, it is not the absolute healthiest it could be because I choose to use heat on it occasionally. I know it might sound psychotic to tell you to listen to your hair, but do it. Your hair will tell you when it needs more moisture or when you've over processed it. I don't have a rule of thumb on when I get my hair cut, I cut it when it tells me to. What I mean is when it's gotten so long that I feel like I need to stand on my tip toes to put in a roller or when the ends start to look a little scraggly. It takes a little practice to get the hang of listening to your hair because many people who desire their hair to be anything other than how it was naturally won't want to listen to it.
  2. Stop washing your hair so much. There are two camps on this that are polar opposites of each other. Some say to wash your hair daily and others say to wash it very minimally (some say to not wash it at all). I veer toward the camp of not washing your hair so much. I average washing my hair about once a week and I practice co-washing pretty regularly. I try using sulfate free shampoos as often as possible, but that can sometimes get a little tricky. The thought behind this is that the longer your hair is the less often you need to wash it because it takes your natural hair oils longer to travel down the shaft of your hair. Of course you can suffer from oily scalp because of this, but there are products out there you can use to help with that. Dry shampoo is the standard go to, which I tend to use about once a week or less because over use of dry shampoo can cause clogging of the hair follicle and hair loss in the future. I tend to opt for scalp toners more than anything else to help with battling oily scalp when I'm not washing.
  3. Use coconut oil. The brand doesn't matter so much as long as it's organic, unrefined, extra virgin and cold pressed. You can do this as often as you like and for everyone its a little bit different. I started out doing it weekly, then cut back from there. Now I tend to just listen to my hair and do it as needed. I'll cover the length of my hair with the oil and let it sit for a while. Many times I will also cover my scalp because I tend to have a tender scalp and this is very soothing for it, but this can be tricky and usually requires much more work to get the oil out of your hair. At least 30 minutes, but sometimes I will do overnight if I can. I'll wash it out in the shower and this is when I tend to use a sulfate shampoo, because sulfate free varieties are usually not strong enough to get all of the coconut oil out of your hair which can lead to extremely oily looking hair. I'll give it a good wash and follow with a more mild conditioner. My favorite for this is the Aveda Black Malva as it also helps to keep my color dark and rich. 
I have also started to use coconut oil to cleanse my face and I adore it for that. You also have to be sure to follow with a second cleanse so you don't leave residue behind. I know that some people also like to use it as a moisturizer, but I haven't ventured there yet as my face tends to not like super rich moisturizers. 

What are your go to hair tips for naturally healthy hair?

Wishlist | Summer

14 May 2014

Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning | 36

Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con No. 7 Palette in The Starlet | 59


Butter London Nail Polish in Cotton Buds | 15

Atelier Cologne Deluxe Miniature Duo | 18

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion | 35


Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Endless Guava | 18
Summer is here and in full swing. While we've been plagued with rather horrific dust storms lately, I'm dreaming of a time when I can spend my weekends lounged out by the pool, with SPF 75 of course, without getting covered in a layer of dirt. Above is my list of the beauty products that have me a wee bit excited for the (hopefully) calmer months ahead.

I've finally settled on getting the Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con Palette in the Starlet. I've been on the fence about it for ages, but I keep going back to it and think that it may be time for me to take the plunge soon.

I promised myself to cut it out on the blush products, but I'm incredibly tempted by the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Dim Infusion and the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil in Endless Guava. Both scream summer and that a clean out of my blushes might be in order to make room.

When it comes to nails, I tend to treat my polish selections similarly to my wardrobe selections, neutral. I've heard great things about the Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Naked and it's right up my alley. I've been on the hunt  for a good opaque white nail polish for ages and thus far every one that I've tried ends up a streaky mess. I have cautiously high hopes for the Butter London polish in Cotton Buds (how great is that name?!).

To give me a fake glow for the summer months (I'm pretty anti UV tanning), I'm thinking of giving the Clarins Liquid Bronze Self Tanning a go. I've heard nothing but great things about it, but no matter how anti UV I am, I still have not mastered sunless tanning (meaning I'm usually rocking paper white year round).

Last, but certainly not least, scent. It's no secret that I'm loyal to my Stella Mc Cartney Perfume, but I enjoy playing around with fragrance. It's the type of samples I always opt for and I'm prone to buying rollerball offerings of perfumes so I can broaden my scent horizon without purchasing the full size. I've also been curious about the Atelier Cologne line and since they offer a Deluxe Miniature Duo, seems like fate.

Beauty | Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid

07 May 2014

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid | 39
I purchased the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid (along with it's accompanying moisturizer) almost 3 months ago. I like both products, but this is more of the standout of the two for me. It acts almost as a serum and is meant to be used in conjunction with a moisturizer. I will note that several reviewers on the Sephora website mention that they use it by itself for oilier skin. I would only maybe recommend that if your skin is severely oily, otherwise I would say to proceed with caution.

Dollar per ounce, this works out rather well considering that you get 5 ounces for $39. Most other serums on the market are a fifth of that size and double the price. My skin reacts very easily to moisturizers and this (as well as the moisturizer from the line) have not upset it in the very least. I will say that after a night of large amounts of pickle shots (I don't advise it) this was not my favorite thing to put on my face as something with the smell really reminded me of pickles. Pickle shots and bad life choices aside, the scent actually does not bother me.

I now use this day and night with every moisturizer I own and often times in conjunction with another serum usually of the brightening variety. This is a gem, nothing to go crazy over, but most definitely a gem. It snuck up on me and I think that it will probably be a silent player for many. My skin is in pretty good shape right now, but I do feel like it's not solely up to this, but a combination of things. I do think that this plays a role in its condition, but I feel like there are never miracle working products. I've learned that having your skin in good shape requires so much outside of skin care products and the products alone can be hard to juggle and get in just the right place. I would do some sort of a skin care post, but I feel like those are hard since everyone's skin and circumstances are very different and I am by no means a professional

I also wanted to give anyone reading a heads up that the blog may be a bit silent through the month of May and possibly into the start of June. Work has been exceptionally busy lately and will be ramping up throughout the month so most of my energy has been centered there. Not to mention that on top of all of that my best friend is moving off to NYC at the start of June, so I'll be putting lots of time into seeing him and helping with the packing. In lieu of all of that, I'm not positive what that means for the blog, but I do know that I want to take this month on as calmly as possible and the blog may suffer for it.

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