Saturday, March 28, 2015

Here & There 3.28

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As much as I love what I do Monday through Friday, I'll never complain when the weekend rolls around. This past week was a rough one as I attempted to recover from the events of last weekend while simultaneously battling whatever cold or illness I managed to pick up on my flight. I'm happy to be lounging in bed this morning with a cat and some coffee. Chris and I have some major spring cleaning to do today and tomorrow, so really I'm just bracing myself for an afternoon of sorting through clothes and battling dust bunnies. What are your plans?

Have you discovered Unique Vintage yet? Such cute pieces. Love these round sunglasses and these high-waisted shorts.

Jess Amity just kills it - how rad is this vintage denim jumpsuit? It would look amazing with the cuffs rolled up paired with Converse or clogs.

Are you going to see Cinderella? This was an interesting article to read.

This dress is so pretty for spring.

One of my favorite tumblrs.

This tee makes me want to camp!

Elizabeth Banks solves all your problems.

Updated my closet for spring this week with this gorgeous maxi slip (love this one too) and a leather jacket (on sale!) and can't stop thinking about this funny quote.

Love this pretty coverlet - such an easy way to update your bedroom for a new season!

Be still, my heart!

Urban Outfitters is having a huge spring sale on new items! Love those swingy tanks.

Californians try Maine foods for the first time - their reactions to Moxie are amazing (and for the record I have no idea about those beans)

A pretty sleep shirt that is also totally respectable

Centipede cat is amazing 

Forever 21's shoe game is on point - Love these and these

The thought process of ordering lunch - fact: I hate that lunch exists simply because I hate figuring out what to feed myself in the middle of the day.

My new favorite fragrance, bought it in Texas and can't stop wearing it

The answer to what to wear to a spring wedding.

Love love loved Jen's TXSC recap post

Prom dresses under $150 - I would totally wear this one


Oh, hello CUTEST KITTY PURSE

Oh HI, feelings...

A couple of books I'm reading: This one from Megan and this one. What are you reading?

Can't stop listening to this fantastic album

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SXSW: Unofficial and Off-The-Books

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A little rain never hurt anyone, right? It's funny, the last time I was in Austin in March -- on the same weekend even -- it poured. This year, two -- three? -- years later, I just had a feeling...

Our team rose early on Wednesday, before the sun even had a chance to say good morning we were out the door and off to the airport, bound for Austin. After months of planning, the week had finally arrived, SXSW was here and our #FPFestivalDays showcase -- the kickoff of Free People's festival season -- was just 48 hours away. After two days of frenetic prep in Austin, we woke to cloudy skies and a forecast calling for a 100% chance of rain. 100%. That's hard to argue with. Still, we crossed all our fingers and thought positive thoughts and pushed on, transforming the backyard of Friends & Neighbors into a dreamy outdoor space that just begged to be filled with music and good vibes.

A few droplets fell. We hoped and prayed with Austin Beer Works beers in hand and the sound of Taylor and the Wild Now filling our ears (I implore you to look them up and give them a listen). A few more drops. A hint of sun. Then, the inevitable... 100% rain. Torrential downpours just as Family and Friends took the (now indoor) stage. Anywhere else and this might be reason to throw in the (damp) towel and walk away, but not at South-By. Happy faces just cozied closer, swaying together and huddling under too-tiny umbrellas. After Family and Friends rocked our hearts, Nikki Lane, who I'll admit to having a very major lady crush on, graced us with her presence under the glow of string lights. I'm not sure I'd want to see her play in any other circumstance, it was that gorgeous. The patter of rain above and the throng of guitar pulsing through our nerves just made for an even more incredible experience.

As 4:30 rolled around, it was sadly time for me to depart for Texas Hill Country. My CAMP friends were waiting and I had a gal to meet at a hardware store for a ride (perhaps the only way to organize travel when in Texas). But oh, those Jamestown Revival boys were a sight to depart with and I can only imagine how they rocked that crowd.

Austin, it will always have my heart. To see so many beaming faces standing together in the rain, a few seeking shelter under a makeshift stage. A stage made from a shed (dirt floor and everything), well, no other city has quite as much heart as this. You can have the Coachella's and Lollapalooza's of the world, I'll take unofficial, off-the-books SXSW any time. This day was all too short, but one for the record books.
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*See more pics from the event here

Monday, March 23, 2015

Here & There (& Everywhere) 3.23

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What a week it's been... and it's only Monday night. I just returned from five days in Texas, working, teaching, learning, and not getting enough sleep. I am dead tired, but feeling so damn inspired and excited. A refreshing feeling after this long cold winter. I have about 1000 images to sort through and half as many videos, a million gorgeous business cards to index and look up from the lovely women I met this weekend, and at least (at least!) three days of sleep to catch up on. How was your weekend?

The vintage '50s wedding dress that dreams are made of

Love this peachy cute tennis skirt for spring

The minimalist pixie dream girl...

Obsessed with this line of jewelry

The best makeup brushes for your face

All about these sandals for spring - especially these

How to stay present in your relationship

Just started reading this book, have you read it?

Cats breaking into houses is kind of amazing

This cute top makes me want to go camping

The facts about sugar vs. salt in your skin care routine

Such a pretty necklace

Love this pretty space

Can't wait to try this cookbook! I have the first and it's one of my favorites. I want to check out this one too.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to Make Your Own All-Natural Deodorant

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Over the past few years, one product after the next, my beauty cabinet has been slowly transforming from store-bought to all-natural, (almost) all handmade. But there's one product on my shelf that I've been resistant to switching up: antiperspirant/deodorant. 

I've dabbled in all-natural deodorant here and there in the past, but I'll admit that more recently I've relied mainly on store-bought antiperspirant. Yes, the kind that's loaded with harmful chemicals and heavy metals. I know it's bad for me -- I'm of the belief that pretty much anything that prevents your body from performing a natural function is -- but I could never find a natural, store-bought deodorant that didn't leave me feeling, well... smelling like a nightmare. But lately I've noticed something, even my trusty antiperspirant hasn't been working that great, and even made me sweat more at times, maybe it's a sign? Determined to find a solution, I decided it was time to just make my own, but a lot of the recipes I found simply weren't that portable and many used coconut oil, a product that I certainly love, but don't want to risk staining my clothes with. 

My solution? The recipe below. These bars are all-natural, easily customizable, highly portable, and most importantly leave my underarms feeling great. Plus they're full of healthy ingredients, such as bacteria-fighting tea tree oil, moisturizing shea butter, toxin-zapping bentonite clay, and odor-fighting baking soda. Whip up a bar or two for yourself, and be sure to let me know what you think! I've been 
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All-Natural Deodorant Bars 

Materials: 

4 tbsp shea butter

1.5 tbsp beeswax

1 tbsp cocoa butter

2 tbsp bentonite clay

1 tbsp baking soda

10-20 drops tea tree oil

10 drops lavender essential oil (or other favorite oil)

Soap mold

Glass bowl or jar (microwave/heat safe)
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Combine the shea butter, beeswax, and cocoa butter in the glass bowl or jar. To melt it down, you can either place it in the microwave for 1-3 minutes or, if using a jar, create a double boiler on the stove top by nesting the jar in a pot that has been partially filled with water. Heat until oils are melted and fully dissolved. Add the tea tree oil and your essential oil of choice and mix.
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In a separate dish, mix together the baking soda and bentonite clay, then pour into the oil mixture and stir until combined.
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Pour the liquid into the soap mold. You can use any shape you like - I chose a rectangle so I could easily store the bar in a travel soap box and toss it in my gym bag. Allow to cool completely before popping it out of the mold.
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Store in a cool, dark place. This shouldn't melt too easily, but it does get soft in higher temperatures. For now it's fine in my medicine cabinet, but when the summer heat strikes, I'll be sticking this in the fridge. I wrapped my bars in brown paper to create a little sleeve to hold them with.

Recipe notes:
+ Bentonite clay can irritate sensitive skin. If you've never used it before, do a patch test on the inside of your arm by mixing a dab of clay with a few drops of water and applying. If it doesn't irritate your skin, you should be good to go!

+ If you're sensitive to bentonite clay, try substituting arrowroot powder.

+ You can also pour this into a recycled deodorant container. Simply allow the oil and clay mixture to cool until it's soft, but not completely liquefied, then pour into a clean, dry plastic deodorant container and allow to cool completely.
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This post was previously published on BLDG 25 as part of my full time work. See all my writing here.


A couple of notes because people have asked:
* No, there's no dye in these. The brand of bentonite clay I used is what turned the bars slightly green.

* There is no alternative to the beeswax, it's what binds the bars and keeps them in their form. If you're vegan and don't want to use the beeswax, you can still make these though! Just omit the wax and pour the mixture into a sealable, portable jar. Apply a light layer with fingertips.

* These will not make you stop sweating, but they will kill the bacteria that causes the stank smell of sweat. Antiperspirant is the only thing that will make you stop sweating, and there is no natural alternative the the aluminum and heavy metals in antiperspirant.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Here & There 3.14

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Sometimes a rainy weekend morning is exactly what is needed. I've been craving this, the chance to just sit and get caught up on the internet. It's silly, but I also know that as soon as the weather is warm and sunny, my mind will be all no excuses! and I'll be outside from dawn till dusk. So that's what I'm doing, enjoying a cup of coffee with a cat snoozing by my side ad the rain falls. How are you spending your Saturday?

Sweet lord almighty... I almost don't want to post this link because of how amazing this Penny Lane vintage dream coat is... but we should all take a second to revel in its glory

How rad is this pallet coffee table DIY?

AA is having a mega sale - up to 90% off! A good chance to grab a cute pair of heels, a pretty bodysuit for spring, a reversible belt, or stock up on the best tights ever.

How to use your phone less - funny thing about me: I barely touch my phone on the weekends, but during the week I'm a monster...

Whoa... newly obsessed with this brand, how cute are those dresses?

Gorgeous hair color. I ccan't wait to go up north again so I can get my hair done!

The cutest mug for coffee.

Did you see my latest hair post? How to make your hair grow faster.

This weather calls for cute rain boots.

Would you go a year without wearing makeup?

Love this pretty bikini for summer (remember summer?!)

The birth of street style - that woman in the polkadots!

What my nightstand needs.

Kind of love this silly bag.

Pretty sandals for spring - they'd look so cute with a midi skirt and crop top.

Next on my reading list: This memoir, and this inspiring book.

The most beautiful birkenstocks I've ever seen.

Chaucee's blog is so damn beautiful

Are you going to SXSW? If you're going to be in Austin next week, be sure to grab a wristband for our #FPFestivalDays showcase! it's free! And Nikki Lane and Jamestown Revival will be there!

Spring cleaning for the soul.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Like a Lion

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On the first day of March, the sun finally graced us with its gorgeous light, shining down on Philly and melting the blanket of snow that just days earlier had shut down the entire city. Spring gave us a sneak preview and Chris and I decided there was nowhere else to be but outside. We headed downtown to celebrate his birthday with just some light layers on our backs, no hats or mittens to be found.

This entire week has been such a gift after a long and cold winter. Bright sun... even a spring rain, which brought out the glorious smell of awakening earth. Weather I've been thankful for, thankful for the ease that comes with dressing for (slightly) warmer days. Throw on a pair of overalls (ones I've been living in for the past three weeks), a pretty top, and a pair of boots that can walk all over the city, and 

Get the look: Thrifted top // Alexa Chung X AG overalls // J Crew jacket // Samantha Pleet x Wolverine Boots // Missguided Sunglasses // Vintage earrings // Necklace made by Chris // 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Hair Routine + How To Make Your Hair Grow Faster

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A couple months after moving to Philadelphia, I got a really bad haircut. Like, watching the stylist try to make it better kind of bad. Pay for it anyway kind of bad. Cry in the car kind of bad. I took a photo to send to Chris, but it has since been deleted. That kind of bad. At the time, I was in a low place already, for one reason or another feeling self-conscious about the way that I looked, thinking that a fresh haircut would put me right and bring back some confidence. Well, joke's on you, Julie. There's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere. After years of hiding behind my hair, there were now significant chunks of it missing.

Normally, when a bad cut happens I would take my own advice and call the salon to have them fix it, but in my case, the only fix was to get bangs, and I really didn't want to go down that road again. So, after my tears dried, I attempted to grin (by laughing at myself in the mirror) and bear it, and started the slow and (sometimes) painful journey of growing out my hair. There were at least a couple of bright sides: It was hat season. And... well, it was hat season, that's pretty much it. After toying with my hair, I found that I could twist the front section back in a sort of boho-half-up situation... and then cover it with a hat. You get the picture. Now, I'm not necessarily trying to grow my hair to the mermaid lengths it was before, though who knows, but my goal is to get it to a place where I can eventually have my friend in Pittsburgh or New Hampshire shape it up. And as much as I loved having shorter hair, I realized something surprising: Shorter hair is way more high-maintenance than long. Who knew? Probably everyone else. But I've managed to streamline my routine to a bi-weekly wash with an easy refresh each morning and in the process I've gained a few inches of length. Today I'm sharing my hair routine, read on to learn my tips and tricks for low key style and how to grow out a bad haircut:
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Shampoo & Condition: I wash my hair twice a week and air dry it overnight. There's no set day, just when it starts to feel greasy and the hat comes back out. I've been washing my hair infrequently for years, a habit I picked up when it was short-short in college. I've had a few people ask what I do when I work out, and well, I just tie it back. My scalp doesn't really sweat all that much and it doesn't bother me. 

One of the biggest challenges when it came with dealing with my shorter, in-between length hair was figuring out which products to use. After using salon products for years, I had reverted back to some organic shampoo from the drug store that I had picked up when we moved. I realize now that it was pretty terrible stuff... I didn't realize just how unmanageable it made my hair until I started using the potions above. Yes, potions. As in, Living Proof PHD is pure magic. I have very thick, very fine hair, which can get bushy when the right products aren't applied. The PHD line from Living Proof cleans my hair, but doesn't make it feel parched. But the biggest difference has been in the texture, I almost (almost) don't have to do anything with it when I wake up, it's not puffy, not frizzy, it's made an enormous difference, and it even dries faster.
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Style: Save for the mousse, which I don't use as frequently, the products above are what I use from day to day to give my hair texture and hold.

Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil: I've used a few different oils on my hair, and I love that this one comes as a spray. I spray this on my air-dried hair from mid-shaft to end, and brush through before applying the PHD styling treatment.

TIGI Catwalk Session Series Hairspray: Ever since I worked in a salon years and years ago, I've had a love of TIGI products. This hairspray is weightless and leave may hair touchable and soft, while still providing plenty of hold.
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After washing and air drying my hair, in the morning I spray on some Monoi oil before working a dime-sized dollop of PHD styling treatment through the ends. 
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I apply the product mostly to my ends, and then when there is just a little left on my hands I brush them over the top of my head to tame fly-aways.
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Now that my hair is a bit longer, I don't use the mousse as much, but if I'm using mousse for texture, I'll work some through the ends after the styling cream.
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Once I've applied product, I break out the blow drier -- a CHI low EMF professional drier -- and dry it the rest of the way through by twisting back sections away from my face and briefly holding the drier against them.
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I allow my hair to cool like this while I do my makeup.
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For the final touch, and to ensure the choppy front section of my hair doesn't get too Friends-era Jennifer Aniston, I heat up my curling wand and, using a light touch, curl back the front section and add texture to the rest by wrapping sections of hair once or twice around the barrel. I then set everything with hairspray and comb through lightly with my fingers.

For the few days following, all I need to do in the morning is refresh the curls which takes about five minutes.
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If you're thinking about growing out your hair, or are in the process, I commiserate. It sucks, but I've learned a few tips and tricks that can make the journey a little less bumpy:

- Resist the urge for major change. If you're someone who likes to change up your style, this can be difficult, especially if you're dealing with a cut you don't like. It's tempting to try and "fix" it or make things different, but if your goal is longer hair, or to grow out a bad cut... resist... resist! Getting bangs or bleaching it all just adds extra trouble... something I have to constantly remind myself.

- Step away from the heat. I still heat style my hair, but it's at a minimum. Exposing your hair to high heat can cause damage, like split ends and brittleness. Try air-drying it instead.

- Supplement. If you're vitamin B deficient, your hair and nails won't grow as fast. Supplement with a hair, skin, & nails vitamin that contains vitamin.

- Hydrate & eat healthy. Protein and iron play a key role in generating healthy hair and promoting growth. Eat whole foods, cut out as much sugar and processed foods as you can, and drink plenty of water.

- Style and reshape if you can. One of the worst parts of growing out your hair is the inevitable "awkward phase" that you will hit. Schedule a trim every few months to have your style reshaped. Trimming your hair won't actually make it grow faster, but trimming off the split ends will keep it looking healthy and lessent the amount you'd have to trim if you waited.

+ Do you have any tips for making your hair grow faster? Please share!


Thank you to Living Proof for kindly providing their products... I am now addicted. Opinions are my own.