Category Archives: Health and Beauty

4-day hair experiment

I have fine, blondish hair that tends to get oily after one day (without product of some sort) and an acne-prone T zone. None of these qualities make me a good candidate for going four days without washing my hair, and so I’ve always ignored the benefits associated with having dirty hair (shiny, less damaged hair, faster mornings, curls that hold). Before moving to the west coast, I washed my hair daily (humidity + oil + sweat + fine hair = gross). Since moving west, I skip one day between shampooing, mostly to save time.

This weekend, I decided it was time for a 4-day hair experiment. I got my hair cut on Thursday and used the salon-freshness to kick start my experiment. Armed with Osis Dust-it texturing powder, Oscar Blandi dry shampoo, a shower cap, and head band, I began my quest. A few caveats: I refuse to spend more than about 30 minutes total getting ready in the morning, so any hair-style must adhere to that strict schedule.

Day 1: Fresh from the salon. (I can’t take any credit.) I love salon days!

post-salon hair, freshly washed (by Kari at The Beauty Room)

post-salon hair, freshly washed (by Kari at The Beauty Room)

Day 2: Quick shower wearing my oh-so-hot shower cap, and five minutes of applying Dust-it using Laura’s guidance and brushing out my hair. Voila!

Day 2 hair: Osis Dust-it works, Laura!

Day 2 hair: Osis Dust-it works, Laura!

Evening 2: Because I have acne-prone skin and am sporting second day hair, I added a few additional steps to my daily routine. First, I did an afternoon face wash with Burt’s Bees sensitive skin facial towelettes followed by a new, light application of facial moisturizer. (I don’t wear any base makeup, so this works for me.) Second, I slept with a soft head band on and swept my hair up in a loose bun (to keep any additional oils away from my face).

Day 3: Quick shower wearing hot mama shower cap, a few blasts of Oscar Blandi dry shampoo, and five minutes of twisting my ends with a curling iron. Not bad! At some point during the day, my husband kissed me on the head and said, “ooh, you’re hair smells great!” Thanks, honey… if you only knew.

Day 3 hair: rocking the curls

Day 3 hair: rocking the curls

Afternoon 3: My hair was still looking good, but I got a little grossed out. So, I swept my hair up into a side bun following the steps in this awesome post on up-dos by my girls at the Glitter Life. Now I’m ready for our evening out!

mid-day 3: swept up the curls into a side bun. Thanks for the tutorial, Glitter Life girls!

mid-day 3: swept up the curls into a side bun. Thanks for the tutorial, Glitter Life girls!

Day 4: I spent a lazy morning at home with my hair in a head band and loose top bun. It looked ok, and I could’ve rocked a more polished version of that bun, but I broke down and washed it (mostly because I didn’t want to leave the task of washing to the Monday morning after daylight savings time began… I must maintain my 30-minute rule).

The Result: No acne, a love affair with two new products, and the know-how to rock one shampooing every three (or four) days from now on. Rejoice, girls with fine hair! We can do this!

P.S. I’m now on my third round of this three day ritual, and it’s still working!



Filed under Health and Beauty, Trying Something New

Sasha’s Detox Smoothie

Sasha is trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle and recently did her first ever detox juice cleanse for three days. She’s such a rock star — the only detox diets I’ve done have lasted about 12 hours…until I’m mean and hungry for dinner. Go Sasha!




Combine in a blender (or really fancy juicer as pictured) and mix on high:

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup spinach

1 cucumber (Tons of benefits, including hydration & loaded with B vitamins)

1 stalk celery

1 carrot, peeled

1 Bosc pear (or apple if you prefer)

1 lemon

½ cup fresh parsley (which is great for cleansing your blood!)

& whatever other fruits or veggies you have lying around. Strawberries or a kiwi are more great additions

solids on the left, healthy yummy juices on the right

Pulp on the left, healthy yummy juice on the right

The detox consisted of consuming this juice her meals for three days. After it, Sasha felt like a new (and clean!) woman!



-Update from Sasha:

Great enthusiasm from Brooke! But those three days were not that fun. I had such a major headache from the caffeine withdrawals and my skin broke out from all the “toxins” exiting through my pores. But hey I stuck it out! It was a good way to kick-start my healthier lifestyle and I think essential for myself in getting started, but I would much rather practice healthy eating habits every day & maybe the occasional 24 hour detox. I don’t see how people do these juice diets for 14 days. More power to them! Nonetheless this is a great juice/smoothie recipe and is loaded with good stuff for you! & yummy 🙂

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Filed under Cooking & Eating, Health and Beauty

Osis Dust It


Osis Dust It is an absolute MUST TRY! This stuff is so amazing, and since I’ve been using it I can’t ever remember hair life without it! I use it almost every day for extra volume and texture and to keep my hairstyles in place! It’s great for up dos and down dos, curly or straight!
My close friend and hairstylist used it when she did my hair on my wedding day and then bought me some for my birthday. I’ve been hooked ever since!
To use:
Sprinkle a tiny bit on your roots, and tease with a comb for awesome volume and amazing texture!
Throughout the day I will shake my roots up with my hands or a comb to renew the volume.
Be careful because a tiny bit goes a long way! When I first started using it I would sprinkle in my hands first so I wouldn’t use too much, because too much can change the texture of your entire head of hair for the worst! Too little is better than too much, and if you use it properly you will fall in love! One of my favorite elements of the Dust It is how it absorbs the oil from your hair so if you must skip a hair washing, it’s your secret!
So go for it and try out Osis Dust It! It will become your new favorite hair product!


by | March 6, 2013 · 9:00 pm

Multi-Vitamin Smoothie

I’m generally a healthy person, but I loathe multi-vitamins. For starters, they make me feel nauseous. Secondly,  half of them don’t fully dissolve before moving through your system. (Check by placing your vitamin in a half-cup of vinegar for 45 minutes. If it’s not dissolved there, it won’t dissolve in your belly.) And third, a diverse, healthy diet provides all the vitamins you need. (Trust me, I did research on the entire multivitamin ingredient list.) So instead of taking a huge, nasty pill, I make a vitamin smoothie every morning that gives me the same “good stuff” that I would get from a vitamin and provides me with a healthy, quick, eat-on-the-go breakfast. (Bonus: it’s one of the few breakfast meals that actually keeps me full until noon.)

This morning's blended vitamin smoothie

This morning’s blended vitamin smoothie

This is my recipe, which inevitably varies towards the end of the week when I run out of one thing or another.

Combine in a blender, and blast on high:

1 cup  pomegranate juice (vitamin K, vitamin E, B vitamins, antioxidants)

1 cup  baby spinach leaves (vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a slough of other good compounds)

1 cup frozen blueberries (antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin C)

1/2 to 1 cup plain greek yogurt (20 grams of protein)

1  banana (potassium and mellow, creamy flavor to compliment the tartness of the berries and pomegranate)

1 Tbsp flax seeds (omega-3 fatty acids, lignan, fiber)

If I’m feeling sweet, I’ll add about a tbsp of honey or agave nectar.

1/4 to 1/2 cup water (just enough to make the blender go)

Pour into your favorite water bottle, and out the door you go.

When available, use organic ingredients. Why organic? First, craw out from under that rock. Then, educate yourself. Even if you can’t eat all organic, there are some foods (and other items) that are more importantly organic than others.

Confession: At lunch today, my husband asked why my nose was bleeding. It turned out that it wasn’t bleeding. I had been wearing a splash of smoothie on it all morning. Watch out for that!

In addition to this daily smoothie, the list of staples at my house includes other foods that round out all the recommended daily supplements on the back of that multi-vitamin label: salmon (Alaskan wild caught!), lots of leafy greens, a variety of fruits, bell peppers, avocados, tofu and other soy products, eggs, brown rice, nuts, dark chocolate, and quinoa (Laura provided a great quinoa recipe a few weeks ago).

Sasha and Laura, what smoothie recipes have you tried recently? I know you’ve done it b/c I’ve seen your green concoctions on Instagram!


Filed under Cooking & Eating, Health and Beauty

Turning SAD into Maui!

In 2010, my husband and I moved to Alaska. It’s wonderful, amazing, breath-taking. It is also very dark and gloomy during the months of December and January. Being from the south, I had no idea what a positive influence sunshine has on one’s mind, body, and soul. This winter, though, the full impact of a lack of bright colors hit me like a ton of bricks. I suffered from…gasp… seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. I tried exercise, eating healthy, taking midday walks and skis, and focusing on new year’s resolutions — all good things to do anyway, right!? None of it worked to get me all the way out of my SAD little slump, though.

On a Thursday morning two weeks ago, I sat straight up in bed and said, “I have to go to Hawaii — for my health.”  Never mind that I can’t really afford the time off work or the extra spending. This vacation was a necessity–the first one I’ve ever truly needed for my well-being. Thankfully, I have a dear friend who lives on Maui. Seven days and a five-hour direct flight later, I found my remedy.

Sun, warmth, salt water. Yep, this is what I needed.

Sun, warmth, salt water. Yep, this is what I needed.

I made no plans and no expectations for the trip. I simply wanted to be in the sun, warmth, and salt water. Jogs in the morning, coffee and wine (depending on the time of day) on Kelley’s front porch, cocktails at restaurants with incredible views, beach bumming with some wonderful new friends, beach cruising through Lahaina, and many hours of laughter with a wonderful old friend pretty much sums up the trip.

Beach bumming with my Kelley girl, her good friends, and Morgan the dog.

Beach bumming with my Kelley girl, her good friends, and Morgan the dog.

As a result of my quick five day trip to the islands, I am my happy, energetic self again. (And I think my husband is just as glad I went to Hawaii as I am.)

We had fan-TAS-tic cocktails at Honu

We had fan-TAS-tic cocktails at Honu

We’re constantly being scolded and warned about exposure to sun. I’m here to tell you, though, the positive benefits of sunlight are not to be taken for granted. I will not go another winter without making plans to go to a sunny place in January. I encourage everyone to step out into the morning sun, let it warm your body and fill you with energy, and use that positive energy to carry you lightly through the day.

looking up at the bright sky (and smiling)

looking up at the bright sky (and smiling)

At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.

And I have to give a shout out to Kelley's store, Pakaloha Bikinis! They make even my white Alaskan booty look ok. ;-)

And I have to give a shout out to Kelley’s store, Pakaloha Bikinis! They make even my white Alaskan booty look ok. 😉


Filed under Adventures, Health and Beauty

The Power of Apple Cider Vinegar

As a little reminder to myself I have decided to dedicate an entire blog to the powers of apple cider vinegar! Hopefully this blog will inspire me to begin using the wonder liquid once again! I used to drink it every morning while I was in college but I had forgotten all about it and its magical powers, until a friend reminded me! I actually still have the same bottle I used back in college and since I graduated in 2009 I think I will pick up a new bottle the next time I go to the grocery store! I’ve always used the organic brand “Bragg” which seems to be the most popular but there are other brands as well. You can find it in all major grocery stores in the same isle as all the other vinegars. It is pretty inexpensive and the benefits are out of this world!

There are lots of different studies and literature out there on the affects of apple cider vinegar but I am not going to use any sources for the purpose of this blog. I only know what my own experiences are and that is what this blog is all about! So below you can read the health benefits that I have personally experienced from ACV!

When I first started drinking ACV I did it because I heard that it would help you lose weight and keep you from overeating. Each morning I would mix about 2 or 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with about 8 oz of water and CHUG! Brace yourself because ACV is not the tastiest liquid in the world, I mean after all it is vinegar, so the more water the better! I never drank it without mixing it with water being that it is so acidic and I didn’t want to take the enamel off my teeth! I also made sure to not brush right after drinking it (like red wine) so that I didn’t brush my pearly whites away! Eventually you will get used to the strong tart taste and it won’t even bother you, especially once you start to notice the benefits of this miracle vinegar! After drinking this mixture every morning for a couple of weeks I noticed some major improvements in my health and appearance!untitled

1. Clear skin
Right away I noticed a dramatic difference in my skin tone. My skin looked more radiant and dewy. It was plumper and almost seemed to glow. The number of breakouts I would have significantly decreased as well, almost to none! My skin is super sensitive and sometimes gets really red and looks like it has rosacea and this seemed to go away completely! I started to actually put the ACV and water mixture (equal parts) directly on my face as a tonic which also seemed to work really well. It seemed to shrink my pores some and clean the grime out. I would of course wash my face afterwards to get rid of that vinegar smell.
2. Shiny hair
I also noticed that my hair started to look very shiny! I started using the ACV in the winter time when my hair was lacking luster from very little exposure to sunlight, so I noticed the change right away. I haven’t tried this yet, but I have heard that if you mix equal parts of ACV and water in a spray bottle, spray it on your hair and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before rising that you will get instant shine and lustrous locks!
3. Boosted energy
I noticed that my morning mixture of ACV and water would give me a huge boost of energy. As an overworked college student who never slept more than 4 or 5 hours a night I needed any extra boost I could get. I started to incorporate the ACV into my morning smoothies too, which really takes most of the tart taste away.

Here are some more Apple Cider Vinegar tips that I have heard over the years that may be worth researching!
1. Always buy the organic kind with no chemicals or preservatives
2. May help with heartburn by restoring acid balance
3. May be good for bone health being that it has an abundance of magnesium, potassium and calcium
4. May get rid of warts- soak a cotton ball with ACV and secure to the wart with a band aid or tape and wear nightly until it goes away
5. May benefit people with diabetes
6. May help with weight loss
7. May help lower blood pressure
8. May decrease cholesterol levels
9. May help improve symptoms of arthritis
10. May help improve allergy symptoms


Filed under Health and Beauty

My Love for Mario

I must admit, the fact of starting to blog was a little intimidating at first and it took me a while to even get the guts to put anything on here. I couldn’t think of anything to write about that would even interest anyone! This morning I posted a picture of my latest order from Mario Badescu on Instagram and Brooke made a comment that suggested I blog about my love for Mario! After reading her suggestion, I thought, hmmm, this blogging thing won’t be as hard as I thought! After all, I love all kinds of different products and I am basically a shop-o-holic who internet shops at least 2 times a month! Why not share my great product finds with the world, right? So, I can surely say that my first blog is dedicated to Brooke, thanks for the inspiration!

mario badescu products

Mario Badescu is my absolute favorite skin care line! I order from them all the time and I am never disappointed! Mario has reasonable prices and does promotional sales with cute little gifts all the time! They send me $10.00 for my birthday each year and if you order at least $50.00 or more shipping is always free! With each Mario order, you get to choose 3 samples to try out! I stock up on samples of eye creams and facial masks so I don’t have to bother buying a full size, but sometimes I come across samples I love so much that I splurge for the real deal!


One of those samples that I just had to buy in the full size is Mario’s Whitening Mask! After using this mask my skin looks amazing! It brightens uneven skin tones and minimizes any old acne scars or discoloration from the sun. I know that Sasha uses this mask too and after using it her boyfriend Ben asked her what in the world she had done to look so good! The fact that a man noticed a difference proves that Mario’s Whitening Mask is absolutely worth the splurge (24.00 for 2 oz)!

mario badescu whitening mask
Another one of my favorite Mario products is their Drying Lotion! This stuff is amazing! It is made up of pink and clear liquid that stays separated, DO NOT SHAKE! To use, dip a Q Tip down inside the bottle and dab the pink reminisce on your zits before bedtime. When you wake up clean your face as normal and you will notice the dramatic difference this stuff makes overnight! This Drying Lotion is a serious weapon against zits! For only $17.00 for 1 oz it is totally worth it, it lasts forever too! I have problem skin and mine lasted me a whole year! I don’t think they give samples of this stuff so you will just have to take my word for it! (I just read that it takes the itch out of bug bites too!)

Some of my favorite Mario products that I use every day are the Enzyme Cleansing Gel the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion and the Oil Free Moisturizer (SPF 30)! I am lost without these three products. I have tried numerous Mario cleansers, toners and moisturizer but these three remain my favorites! I also recommend the Cellufirm Moisturizer but watch out because it doesn’t have any SPF!

My skin has improved greatly since I have started using Mario products and I still enjoy finding new favorites! I have my long time friend Autumn to thank for introducing me to Mario! We both share this love for Mario products and we talk about one day traveling to New York and getting a facial at the Mario Badescu store! I hope this inspires you to try some Mario, Brooke! Go get your Mario on and find your own favorites!


Filed under Health and Beauty