Monday, March 31, 2014

Empty Hands & Open Hearts

I have mentioned before how much I enjoy my Jesus Calling devotional, but some days it is so on target with my life that I'm slightly blown away. (I shouldn't be of course!)

Today was especially true and I wanted to share some thoughts that I had.

I hate being needy. I think I try my hardest, daily, to not ask too much of the people around me and to not be a burden to the people that I love. I am sure this is true for many of us. We live in a culture that encourages independence and working hard for that reason.... so we don't have to ask much of anyone else. The reality of the situation is that we are all extremely needy, regardless of how we have perfected our independence, or how much we try not to rely on others. In fact, we were created to need others, but mostly, we were created to need God. The beautiful part is, he wants us to need Him. It's not a burden...God isn't annoyed when you want to feel His presence, He isn't busy when you are unsure of the next step to take, and most importantly, He already knows our needs. He sees our weaknesses and fears and is ready and waiting for us to come to Him.

The words today said "My power flows freely into weak ones who are aware of their need for Me. Faltering steps of dependence are not a lack of faith; they are links to My Presence."

I love that quote because it shows us that when we falter, when we try to rely on's not a reason to beat ourselves up when we fail. It's a reminder that we are linked to someone so much more powerful than us.

Isaiah 40:29-31 says "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. "

God knows the depth of our weakness. He knows how hard some days are and how tired we become with various situations ... and sometimes life in general.

So today, I want to remember that when I stumble, when I worry, when I question the future... God is holding out his hand, waiting for me to remember that my weakness is a reminder that I simply need His strength.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dry Bar - Chicago Edition

I love these salons. They are cute, fun and they make your hair feel SO GOOD. This last summer, I had my first blow bar experience  in Denver. It was a fun experience and helped me to know a little about what I wanted/what to expect for time #2.

Fast forward about 9 months and I am in Chicago for the weekend! My sweet friend Emily knew about my obsession with the blow bar and immediately informed me when she discovered the Drybar going up (within walking distance!) of her apartment in Chicago. 

Drybar is a very well known blow bar location. They have salons throughout various states such as California, New York, Texas, Arizona (&more)  and.. now Chicago. 

Emily is a fantastic host, in more than one way, but she was on top of reservations and let me know that ours was set in stone for Saturday morning! What a GREAT way to begin the day's festivities. 

These are a few pictures I snapped of the Drybar in Chicago... such a cute place! 

When we got there, we had our option between coffee and mimosas..also a pretty great way to start the morning out!

Here is Emily and I... pre blow out (and makeup). We were pretty excited :)
So, one thing I didn't know is that Drybar has their own line of products that they use specifically. These products smell SO good. Indescribably good. 

and here I am getting the "Southern Belle" treatment. In the "look book" this was described as curls and lots of volume. 

For those of you wanting to try out a drybar/blow are my tips that I have acquired so far! 

If you know you want a specific VERY specific. At the blow bar in Denver, I said I wanted a lot of volume, but didn't get it. So, this time, I exaggerated to the woman how much I wanted. And..even when she was finishing up.. I told her I actually wanted more. They really want your hair to look how you want be specific! 

I would have liked a little more curl, however I blame that on myself, as I told her I wanted a "loose curl" and that means different things to different people. That, and I am pretty sure she used a keratin treatment in my hair, which completely kills my hair's ability to hold a curl. 

Emily was very specific with her stylist about the type of curls she wanted, and also that she DIDN'T want the big hair that I was going after. 
The key is to let them know... if you don't have a preference...then sit back and enjoy! 

This was such a relaxing and fun thing to do. While only my second experience, it was the best by far! My hair smelled and felt amazing afterwards. 

Emily and I... post blowout! Emily's hair looked absolutely gorgeous! 

And.. as mentioned.. I fell in love with the mousse she used in my hair.
 Mainly because of the smell.. just incredible! Of course, I forgot to buy a bottle before I left, so now it is en route to my home! (You can order all Drybar products through Sephora online!)

If you are looking for a fun way to treat yourself... this is it! Unfortunately for my local readers.. we don't have any Drybar locations in Nebraska. However, Omaha recently opened a blow bar called Lark! I have yet to go, but it's on the list! Yay!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dry Shampoo Wars

So, it turns out I have become obsessed with experimenting with dry shampoo. I have posted before about various dry shampoo products before... including non salon Suave products, Tigi Dirty Secret, straight up baking soda... I've been around the dry shampoo block a few times.

I have been using the Suave brand pretty religiously for over 6 months now because A) it smells so good and B) it works fairly good as well. But... I'm just over it. For whatever reason. I didn't feel like I was getting the results I needed and while I love how it smells, that's not a good enough reason anymore.

Enter my new experiments...

Last week I purchased it's a 10 Dry Shampoo and Conditioner in One. The sales rep recommended it as her favorite dry shampoo, and I take product recommendations seriously.
Honestly, I didn't read anything about the product. She said it smelled good (selling point) and worked wonders for her.'s my take. The first day, my hair seemed super shiny, but already a little greasy. I admit, it smelled great though! However that is not the job of a dry shampoo. Day two... we had a situation on our hands. And not a good one. Why did it look like I dipped my head in cooking oil?! Emergency hair wash. It's a 10 fail.'s the deal. I neglected to read that there is keratin in this product. Keratin, while a wonderful product, does not work for me. It makes my hair greasy and static-y...AND my naturally wavy hair wont hold a curl to save it's life when under the influence of keratin. 
So...if you have SUPER dry hair...this might be for you. I simply cannot do it and will never buy this product again. It's also a little bit pricey (I paid close to $22) and the combination of these qualities just did not work out for me. Sorry it's a 10... I LOVE your other products, but unfortunately this is not one of them. 

I hate to be negative. Okay, time to bring in the good stuff. Sometimes all it takes is a product that does WHAT IT SAYS it does to get me excited. I'm so lame sometimes and I'll be the first to call myself out. Ladies (and gentleman..maybe?) this needs to be your next dry shampoo purchase. Trust me!
I am on day 3 (and that means of no washing for those of you who aren't following) and here are a few of my results...
1. Non greasy hair
2. Clean, fresh & light scented
3. Extra volume (yes please!)
4. Added texture
Best of all...I paid $12 for this. That is almost half of the other product. Kind of... math isn't my strong point. BUT..I noticed this was listed at $8 for a lot of online retailers. Even better!! 

I am ecstatic about this stuff. Easily my favorite dry shampoo...ever. 
Don't judge me, but I might even push the limits and see what Day 4 brings. Wish me luck! 

*For those of you who are curious, YES... I still shower. It's called a shower cap, people. I didn't abandon basic hygiene. 

Do yourself a favor and get out there and get a bottle of Batiste! Also... they make it in color specifics. I haven't tried it yet but that might be next. I love it!

Stay tuned for a recap of the best blow out I have had (thus far!) and more exciting reviews! 

Happy Thursday!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thankful Thursdays

The best way to combat negativity is THANKFULNESS. I try to remind myself of this when I hear my thoughts become harsh, and my attitude...not so pleasant. For every one thing that is annoying me, there are so many things I can think to be thankful for.

Here are some random things I am thankful for today...


A little something I have been whipping up at home...just what I need to get me through these (maybe?) last few weeks of Winter.

2. I know I have mentioned the Jesus Calling devotional before, but truly! This daily devotional is one of my favorites. I don't  actually read it daily, but when I do, I feel like there is always an application to a current situation or that day. Love this encouragement! 

3. Emojis. 
I know, lame right? But what I am getting at here...these clever little graphics actually add a significant amount of humor to my day. Also, my Dad includes them in EVERY text. Seriously, all of them. No need for relevance. It makes me laugh so hard. And I am thankful for laughing!

4. Community
In my line of work, I see a lot of people fail..simply because they do not have community around them. I know its cliche, but I am incredibly thankful for the community of people that I have around me. I feel fortunate to have such a wonderful support system! 

5. My phone
I know, I know. Again... materialistic. My phone allows me to stay in constant contact with anyone and everyone I care about. It brings me random laughs throughout the day. It keeps a schedule of my work activities all day long and reminds me when I need to be somewhere. It directs me to the various places I travel. It wakes me up in the morning. It helps me track progress. It enables me to capture moments with family and friends. 

I know that I don't NEED a phone. It's possible to live without one. Just saying.. I'm THANKFUL!

And that's what this whole post was about, anyways. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Product Review: AG Hair Cosmetics "Sleeek"

First of all, I think maybe I should give a shout out to Beauty First for having so many awesome samples and giveaways! I have found some products that I really love as a result of this, and plus, it's always great to get to try new things. 

This month, Beauty First hooked me up with AG "sleeek" (yes, thats 3 'e's' people) Argan Conditioner. 

"sleeek" claims to be...

"truly transformative, this rich conditioner turns course, kinky hair into sleek and smooth." 

Can we pause for a second, and just talk about the people who write the descriptions on products? OF COURSE I am going to buy it when you say it like that! That would be a fun job. Anywho, moving on. 

Since I only had the conditioner, I washed my hair on this particular day with Biolage hydrating shampoo. I used the sample of the AG "sleeek" post shampoo. 

My first indication of how a conditioner treats my hair is always when I start combing my hair out. My hair SURPRISINGLY untangled very easily. Another thing I noted was how quickly my hair was drying, before I could even get to my blow dryer. ( I believe this is fairly common with Argan products). Anyways, I love that. Less work under the heat for me. 

So, fast forward, typically when I blow dry my hair, I get a significant amount of frizz that I have to deal with afterwards (if I don't use any blow dry spray products, which I didn't). However, on this day, my hair was so smooth! It wasn't perfectly straight or without ANY frizz, but there was an obvious improvement. 

I'm impressed! Maybe it doesn't take a lot to impress me in the product world, but my hair is generally wavy and frizzy before I take things into my own hands, so I think this was a pretty positive change. 

Lastly, my hair had a really fresh, light smell that I couldn't place exactly. Scent is a selling point for me however, and so this was important! 

Conclusion: YES. I would recommend this product. I am not sure how it would hold up as a daily use conditioner (I am thinking maybe your hair would start to get a little oily, depending on hair type). However, I would for sure use this stuff again when I am needing to get my hair under control! Good stuff.