#FiveThingsSF {March 6, 2015}

Heyyooo everyone!  It’s finally the end of the week which means another edition of our Five Things.  Remember to post and share your Five Things for the week with the hashtag #FiveThingsSF so we can all share in each other’s weekly gratitude round-up.  Let’s get started, shall we?

Lavanila D.O.

Living a healthy life doesn’t end in the kitchen and the gym.  For me, living a healthy life applies to all avenues and aspects of what I do…including basic hygiene.  One main focus for this {although it might sound weird} is having “clean” deodorant in the sense that it’s aluminum and paraben free.  I’m going to do a full write up on the who’s, what’s, and why’s very soon, but this week I found a new product favieeee.

I found this Lavanila Deodorant at Sephora on Monday and I’m officially in love.  The deodorant that I was using was also aluminum and paraben free but it wasn’t really working out for me in the sense that at times I wasn’t exactly…smelling…my best.  Not cool.  This tackles both the issue and the reasoning behind choosing a product such as this.  The vanilla grapefruit smells okay, but I’m definitely going to try a few different scents before making my final decision.


I love Instagram, and I love this Instagram account.  I don’t know who is in charge of it {Skellie, duh}, but it’s hilarious.  The account belongs to Skellie, a sassy, urban, 20-something skeleton living in NYC just trying to figure out her place in the world, one insta at a time.  Just to give you an idea…..


Seriously so funny, so basic, so dead.  Literally,  I crack up every time.  You can follow her @omgliterallydead .

Christmas in March

I woke up the happiest girl on the planet on Tuesday because I had a little gift from one of my besties, Abby.

I don’t care when a Christmas present gets here, if it’s Kendra Scott, say no more.  This girl knows what’s up when it comes to gifting, and anything turquoise is quite alright with me. 🙂

Can You Hear The Wedding Bells?

Ring-a-ding-ding, Santa must have been my mailman this week because on Wednesday I got ANOTHER surprise package from ANOTHER bestie.  This time is was from Liz in Chicago, the friend that we made the Best Bride-To-Be Gift Basket for.  I was super pumped and super honored because this was a surprise package asking me to be one of her bridesmaids!  {It was totally the Gift Basket that persuaded her to choose me…only kidding!!}

Of course I said yes, and I can’t wait to both help her and be by her side for her special day!!  Love ya, Liz!

Jimmy Time

You probably can’t tell from the blog, but Jimmy and I haven’t been able to see much of each other the past three weeks due to work.  This past Monday, he was given the day off last minute AND the weather gods decided to shine down on Charlotte by giving us a beautiful {and random} 60 degree weather, sunny day.  Jimmy and I took full advantage of it and had the best day spending time together and exploring parts of CLT we haven’t seen yet.  We saw places I definitely want to blog about later, but I decided that I want to just keep our random fun day to ourselves.  The blog doesn’t need to know everything. 🙂  I’m just so thankful that we were able to hang out all day and do fun things!  {and in beautiful weather, I might add….c’monnnn spring.  Where ya at you big tease?}

Side note:  picture not taken from this past Monday, but you get the idea

Okay now it’s your turn to share!  What are your five things for the week?  Remember to use the hashtag #FiveThingsSF on any social media platform so we can see what we’re thankful for this week!

What are your Five Things for the week??

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#FiveThingsSF {February 27, 2015}

It’s Friday, people! Unfortunately for most snow day hopeful’s, pretty much all of the anticipated 7-10 inches is no more {only ended up getting about 2 Wednesday night into Thursday morning}.  No matter…time to talk/think about what your Five Things for the week are!

Deez are mine:

Not Being on My Death Bed

Although I had a tragically scary 48 hours to kick off the week, I am so thankful at how quickly I have recovered…

Now, what to do with all that jello and ginger ale…

You’re lying if you say that alcohol related activities didn’t immediately spring to your mind.

Almond Milk Dirty Chai @ Smellycat

The Smellycat Coffeehouse in NODA has quickly become my go-to coffee shops in Charlotte.  Partly because of location, but also because of how awesome it is.  My favorite bev is easily their Dirty Chai, made instead with almond milk.  If you’re ever in the area, I suggest giving it a try!  Also, don’t be afraid to ask the coffee shop that you’re visiting for their dairy-free alternatives.  They should be up with the times at this point!

If you’re just at home, don’t forget to give my dairy-free chai tea “latte” a try either.

P.S.- Dirty Chai = Chai Tea Latte + shot of espresso

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

This will always and forever be my favorite lipstick of all time.  It’s literally perfect.  The application is easy, it stays all day {no matter how much you eat or drink}, and you’ll get many a compliment while it’s worn.  Trust me, I know.

I recently wore my “Beso Red #10” while in Huntington and quickly remembered why I love it so much.

I’ll be honest, I’m a huge make-up girl in the sense that I appreciate quality in my products over quantity.  For my day to day, the main reason why I wear any make up at all is to cover up my stupid pre-teen skin and to look like I’m awake.  {Like we’ve covered…body of 25 year old, skin of a 13 year old}.  However, I do love a good excuse to get all glammed up and go do fun things.  My favorite go-to “fun” makeup?  Lipstick.

My favorite lipstick line used to be anything MAC, but this Stila definitely takes the cake.  The Stay All Day line doesn’t have as many color options as MAC, but for what I try to go for, I prefer the Stila.  Expect a full write up soon.

House of Cards

Need I say more?  House of Cards is here, people!!!  Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.  I watched the most recent season finale last night just as refresher, and I am so excited this is back!  If you’re worried you’re going to ruin your life and binge watch it all over the weekend then feel empty and depressed until the next season comes out {because let’s be honest, Netflix releasing something like this all at once totally feeds into our glutonous “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” culture, and we all buy into it}, do what I do.  Exhibit an ounce of self control, stay off spoiler alert blogs, and limit yourself to one to two episodes a day.  I have to do this with Orange Is The New Black.  As long as YOU can control YOURSELF, it’s a much healthier way to indulge in this quite tantalizing masterpiece.


Kevin Spacey is the man.  In life, and in this show.

Reusable Wine Tote

I’ve had this baby for awhile but I have just recently been using it again and remembered why I love it.  I’m all about reusable bags when grocery shopping, so why not take it to other aspects of life?  This is a  Scout reusable wine tote.  So, when you’re going to a friend’s/picnic/whatever, just slip your bottle of wine into this sturdy, fashionable tote and you’re good to go!

I last used this tote when I went over to my friend, Emily’s, for Valentine’s Dinner.  It’s cute and cheap.  This rings in at only $7.50, and there are a variety of patterns and colors to choose from.  They even have insulated bags, as well as bags that are built to hold more than one bottle!

You would never know that there’s a bottle of wine in here, would you?  Though, if I’m the one carrying it, that’s safe to assume…

Okay now your turn, list your Five Things for the week by commenting below or using the hashtag #FiveThingsSF on any social media platform!

What are your Five Things for the week?  Happy Friday, all!

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I was not compensated for any product recommendations on this page, all thoughts are my own.

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How to Build the Best Bride-To-Be Gift Basket

Like I promised on Sunday, today I’m going to share with you all tips on how to build the best “Bride-To-Be” gift basket for your newly engaged girlfriend.  Eeeeeek!!  Between today and yesterday, the blog is filled with love this week…and I love it.

It’s always so exciting when your friends get engaged.  For awhile there I felt like I was going to wedding after wedding, so many people that I knew were getting hitched!  Then there was a bit of a lull this past year {or maybe I just wasn’t getting the invite lol}, but now I feel like holy matrimony time is going to start picking up yet again.  First to kick off the trend, one of my best friends and former roommates, the Liz in Chicago!

Here we are!  #tbt to the college years…babies @ Da U

So, the main goal of a Bride-To-Be gift basket is similar to other gift baskets in the sense that it’s a GIFT to celebrate a great moment in a person’s life!  Of course it will be wedding related, but it’s also about sending items to pamper and support the newly engaged gal pal.  I don’t know from direct experience, but word on the street is, planning a wedding is stressful.  Therefore, include indulgent items in the basket that will help her relax while she’s planning.  You know, all fun pampery//girly things that you know your friend will like.  Tailor it to her!

My other two friends, Jess and Abby, knew that we wanted to get this together for Liz since she got engaged.  However, we all live in different cities, at least 6 hrs apart, so we were a little geographically challenged.  After communicating and scheming for a few weeks through a super secret group text, we waited until I saw Jess in Huntington the other week to put it all together {Abby helped remotely in MIA}.

Here are the four of us in Chicago two summers ago after a Cubs game.  Can you tell? {obviously, Liz, the Bride-To-Be on the far right}.

Ok enough chit-chat let’s talk about what to put in this thing!  Here are the five essentials needed for every basket:

{{Bridal Magazine, beauty products, relaxation necessities, motivational tools, and a personalized note}}

Like I said, tailor it to your friend, but these are the guidelines for any great gift!  First, the bridal mag-

Any bride needs a magazine to flip through every now and then for inspiration!  {just think:  this is what girls did before Pinterest}.

Now, on to the beauty products {plus some relaxation necessities}…

Here we have the following items:

Essie Nail Polish:  color, Ballet Slippers
Buxom Full-On Lip Polish:  color, Sandy {<— Liz has told us that she’s gotten MANY compliments on this, I love the Buxom line}
LUSH Bath Bombs:  pictured here we have Butterball {all white}, Rose Queen {pink}, and Tisty Tosty {heart shaped}
Face Mask && Goji Berry Candle: purchased at Targ`et

And a little more relaxation plus some motivation…

Coffee mug:  because coffee motivates and solves all problems
Champagne:  because how do you relax without it?

All jokes aside, Liz loves tea and coffee, and on top of her day to day, planning a wedding will be exhausting at times {we’re here for ya, Liz!}.  So caffeine is a must.  We found this adorable mug via Pinterest.  It belongs to Etsy shop owner, PrettyLittleVinyls.  Click here to go directly to the mug.

Adorable, isn’t it? In addition to picking out a nice basket for the foundation, tissue paper, etc, don’t forget your note!  We included a personalized one from the three of us to Liz, along with a fun little list of everything we put in the basket and why.

Put it all together and you have your masterpiece!!

This is a special, once in a lifetime moment for your friend, and it’s something that deserves to be celebrated!  Even if you can’t always be there in person for her in times like these, sending something to remind them that you’re there in spirit {or just a phone call//txt away} is just as appreciated. We’re making memories here, people!  Join in on the fun!

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Organizing Part One // Drawers

Welcome back to Part Deux for the SF blog today.  Like I said, this is a #TransformationTuesday piece…you’ll fully understand in a moment.

I’ve come to a realization about myself recently.  While I am a very driven, busy, organized, and clean individual, I am by no means perfect.

Blog of Honesty- my drawers and closets are organized to crap.  When it comes to clothes, I am a borderline hoarder, and I only have so much storage space.

I’m just going to be open and up front with everyone {not like I’m not already}, but I know a lot of us suffer from this problem.  While parts of this might be shocking and appalling, I think we will all be able to benefit from my sacrifice of allowing you into the depths of my soul that I normally just cover by closing my closet door or stuffing my drawers shut.

Okay, so it’s not THAT dramatic, but it is pretty bad.  Jimmy {who miraculously just turned into the world’s best purger {not a word} one day and had a freak moment and cleaned out ALL of his stuff} gets on me about it all the time.  I have so much to clean out that this will take up two, maybe three posts, but I promise I will show you before and after pictures, as well as share tips with everything.

Today we will focus on dresser drawers, specifically the drawer of the undergarment sort.  I know this is a problem for a lot of people.  Girls especially, because this drawer holds everything from panties to socks to sports bras to nighites to strapless bras {guys just don’t get it}.  I would like to point out that this is TOTALLY for guys too, don’t you all put things in your top drawer like ties and watches?  Now, I’m not particularly excited about showing you pictures of this, but I think it will help others, so I’m doing it anyway.  Report this as inappropriate if you want, but all you’re looking at is pieces of fabric…in a pile…so get your mind out of the gutter.  This isn’t the Janet Jackson Super Bowl Halftime show.  Your drawer is probably horribly organized too.  So read, and learn.

This is what we’re working with today


Before tackling this I went on Pinterest to consult the powers that be to get an idea on what steps to take {click here and here}.  I also went back and read the portion of The Happiness Project where good old Gretch talked about the how and why behind her closet purging.

After doing a little bit of research, I also ventured over to IKEA to buy some drawer organizers.  I decided on what is known as Skubb, a six piece collapsible set, that fits my IKEA drawers perfectly.

I would also like to point out that this is all I bought when I went to IKEA {are you reading this Mom and Dad?!} Did I walk around the entire store?  Yes, partly because I wanted to and partly because who can actually find their way out of an IKEA without walking through the entire thing?  Dang Sweds.

So, I got home, emptied my drawer, organized everything into piles and made 4 rules for myself.

1.  If there are holes, throw it out {this pertains to everything}
2.  If you haven’t worn it in the past 3 months or if it is dingy, stained, mangled looking, and not saved for a particular time of the month, toss it.  {this pertains to undies…girls, you know what I’m sayinn}
3.  Put it on.  If you jump around and it’s lacking in support, sayonara. {this refers to sports bras.  There’s nowhere to go but down {pun intended} once the elastic starts to loosen up}
4.  If it flat out doesn’t fit anymore…BUH-BYE.  {I say this because I have a bad habit of keeping things even when they don’t fit like they used to}  hint:  if you keep things because you think “oh I’ll just lose 5lbs to get back to what I used to be and then I’ll wear this again all the time!” only keep one or two of these items, they’ll be like your “skinny jeans” of undergarments.  But stop taking up space, let it go…into the trash can.

***And if you actually lose those five lbs, go buy something new when that time has actually come as a fun little reward.***

Once I separated everything into it’s respective piles, I was momentarily overwhelmed…

Where the eff did this all come from??? And how did it fit in my one drawer?!?!?

My one unexpected realization….why do I have so many fuzzy slipper socks?

The crazy thing is, none of these break my four rules.  They all get worn at least once every two weeks and none of them have holes.  I’ll just put them away as the warm weather arrives.  I heart slipper socks.

Long story short, I designated each pile to a Skubb drawer, followed my rules, and went to town.  I then ended up with this….

I had an extra Skubb drawer {as you can see I just gave my socks the freedom to roam}, so I used it to organize my bathing suits in another drawer.

It’s amazing how much better you feel, even after only organizing something like this.  My next project is my side of the closet, which I’ll share next week.  THAT, ladies and gents, will be a true Transformation Tuesday.

What are some of your strategies when you need to reorganize your drawers?  Anyone else struggle with this issue?

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#FiveThings {Jan 23 2015}

Why hello there, Friday.  Nice to see you’ve decided to show up.

It’s Friday, people and that means another edition of #FiveThings!!  Here’s what I’m digging this week…

American Sniper

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, please go this weekend.  It is a powerful, powerful film.

Jimmy and I went to go see it on Wednesday night, and I don’t think I’ve ever left a theatre where the entire audience was silent once the credits finished rolling.  It was eeire, and the ending was quite honestly a lot to process.  I knew that it was a true story, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to end.  Having both friends and family in the military, it sheds a light on the sacrifice that our soldiers and their families make every day.  I know that there are other military-based movies out there that do the same thing, but this one….this one was different.  I always have been, but it reminded me and made me even more proud and thankful for our military and their families.

Huntington Bound

Some of my friends are getting together in Huntington this weekend.  I get to see them.  I’M SO EXCITED!  And it’s much needed.  Cue the nostalgic warm fuzzy feeling.

This Moisturizer

Stop what you’re doing right now and go buy this.  During this time of year, like many people, I struggle with dry skin.  I’m all about moisturizing, especially at night.  Recently, the body butter that I had gotten from a certain Shmath and Shody Works just wasn’t doing the trick anymore.  I originally learned about this product from a sample out of an old Birchbox, and I went to Sephora pretty much the next day to buy it.  The FAB {First Aid Beauty} Ultra Repair Cream can even be used on your face.  It even works well with my skin, and we all know how cooperative my face can be {that’s sarcasm if you’re just joining us}.

LUSH Bath Bombs

Remember that time I said anything but an Epsom Salt Bath was stupid?  I would like to formally retract that statement.  My friend Abby raves about the LUSH Bath Bombs, and I decided to give one a try.  Holy moly, what have I been missing out on?? {Side note:  I still shower after a bath, I can’t quite justify the whole bath=clean idea}

They’re fairly inexpensive, especially for a luxurious bathing experience.  As a whole, I LOVE the LUSH company.  They’re a clean company of handmade ingredients, with green, ethically purchased products…oh, and they’re also against animal testing.  Click here to check out the full story.

Dairy Free Yogurt

What I thought was once an oxymoron is no more.  When I found this this week, I felt like I discovered Pluto.  Since leading a mainly dairy-free diet, the main thing that I’ve missed was yogurt.  While grocery shopping for Jimmy and his wisdom tooth surgery diet, I found this in the yogurt aisle.

This is the same company that makes the Coconut Creamer that I love.  It’s kind of obvious that this isn’t regular old dairy yogurt, but it is a great alternative.

What are your #FiveThings for the week?

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#FiveThings {Jan 18 2015}

Hello there everyone!  Welcome to another edition of #FiveThings for this past week.  In a few hours my frat bros and I will be heading over to Ryan’s for some football action, so I wanted to get this up ASAP with enough time to squeeze in a run {it’s so beautiful out today!}.  I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore, but who do you guys think will make it to the Super Bowl?  {Remember my How to Eat With The Guys//Without Eating Like the Guys post today, you got thisss}.

Crazy Helium Booth

Earlier this week, my friend Jess sent me some videos via the Crazy Helium Booth app.  It’s literally the funniest thing I have ever seen, and the easiest way to spend {waste} your time.  You basically pick a video filter, and a voice level and record a video.  Download it in the app store and try it.  Just to give you an idea….

{I got no shame in my helium booth game}

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Award season is upon us.  Whenever the Oscars/Golden Globes are here, I always try to watch as many of the nominated movies as I can.  One of the movies getting the most attention is The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I had the opportunity to watch this week {it’s on HBO GO}.  If you’re into watching the nominated movies like I am, I definitely recommend this one.  Heck, even if you’re not, it’s still a great flick.

Random Txts of Support

I’ll be honest with you, work has been rough recently.  I’ll be honest with you again, blogging is my biggest hobby.  Even at work I find myself daydreaming about what else I can do with the blog whether it’s writing, design…anything.  I try as hard as I can to create quality, worthwhile posts for you to read, but with 40 hour work weeks and two hour commutes every day, time is something I don’t exactly have a lot of.  Nevertheless, I will continue to write on.  Blogging has served as a great creative outlet for me over the years.  Do I want it to grow?  Yes, of course, I think most blogger’s feel that way about their baby blog.  My motto is:  as long as one person is reading and getting something out of this whole Skinny Fingers thing, I will continue to write.  This past week, I received an out of the blue text from a friend and former coworker, just letting me know that she’s been following along and she appreciates that I’ve taken the time to write.  This meant {and still means} SO. MUCH. I think a lot of fellow blogger’s can relate to this.  The fact that she took the time to reach out to me is just a nice little thing to remind me to keep going {thanks, Val!}.  Of course my family, Jimmy, and close friends are always supporting me, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that, but the random little notes of support are always welcomed warmly.

It’s like that AT&T commercial- “I appreciate that you appreciate that”, “well, I appreciate that you appreciate that I appreciate that”…

Only kidding.  But seriously, I can’t say enough how much something like that means to me. 🙂

Cheers to TWO Years

Yesterday, Jimmy and I celebrated our official two year dating anniversary {eeeeekkkk!}.  We’ve gone through a lot in these past two years, and I’m so thankful to have him by my side {muah}.  Alright, alright enough of the mushy stuff.  Ha!

We didn’t do much to celebrate because Jimmy is fresh out of wisdom tooth surgery.  So yea, he’s kind of out of commission.  He has a surprise planned for Monday night, so I’m very excited for that {maybe a post on that later}.  We just spent the night it with a little Netflix and one on one time while he heals.  If anyone remembers their own wisdom tooth surgery, Jimmy’s not in the best of spirits right now.   So send some positive healing vibes his way.  There’s a lot of yogurt, soup, and ice cream in the apartment.

Cheaper Alternatives

As we’ve covered before, sometimes I have the skin of a 13 year old pubescent teen.  As a 20-something, it’s one of the more frustrating things in life.  I consistently use my Mia Clarisonic 2, and it definitely helps.  I can tell a huuuuge difference in my skin when I do and do not use the little handheld machine.  This week, my Clarisonic “Acne Solutions” cleanser ran out.  It’s roughly $25, and not something I can dish $25 out for right now.  So, I decided to go to Target and try their basic “acne wash” salicylic cleanser.

News Flash:  My skin has actually gotten even better JUST by switching to this!  I’ve noticed the difference in only a week.  Just to give you an idea, this will cost you no more than $5.  I’m a person who has been burned by almost every trick in the book when it comes to acne solutions {it’s also burned a hole in my wallet}, so unexpectedly finding this was a more than pleasant surprise.

Alllllright, heading out now.  Happy Sunday!

What are your #FiveThings for the week?

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The Beauty of the Epsom Salt Bath

I guess technically since it is Wednesday, and this is a quick little “beauty” post, this could be considered another edition of Beauty Brief Wednesday

To check out previous Beauty Brief Wednesdays {couldn’t bring myself to acronym that one} click here for mouth health, here for hair care, and here for skin savers.

Today’s all about bath time.  While bubble baths can be luxurious and relaxing, if I’m going to be laying still for 30 minutes or so and not napping, I better be getting some added health benefits out of it {stress-relief aside}.  I originally learned about Epsom Salt baths over two years ago when I tried out Dr. Oz’s 3 Day Cleanse.  {aw, memories…it’s funny to look back on those pictures and see Jimmy’s first Marshall apt in the background}…

For the cleanse, the Epsom Salt bath was meant to be taken for 30 minutes at the end of the day.  They also added that you should use a few drops of scented essential oil {lavender was recommended} for relaxation purposes.  This is something that I still do to this day.

So, what’s so great about Epsom Salt baths?  Well, funny you should ask because I’ll tell you right now.

First, there are a ton, so bear with me.

Keep in mind here that Epsom Salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, which is readily absorbed throughout the body when mixed with warm water.  Your skin, being as porous as it is, grabs this stuff right up.  This is where the health benefits start to kick in.

Not only does E.S. ease stress and relax you by replenishing your body with magnesium, but it also rids your body of toxins.  Having the proper magnesium levels is shown to increase your serotonin {your happy feelings} as well as your energy and stamina levels {think better concentration, better sleeping, a better functioning nervous system}.  Taking this in bath form also creates a little bit of what is called “reverse osmosis”, pulling salt {although that sounds backwards, it’s true} and other harmful toxins out of your body.

These baths are also shown to relieve pain and muscle cramps, improve joint, nerve, and muscle health, and even help you when you’re feeling a little consto.

{Note: Espom Salt is shown to treat constipation when taken internally, butttt…full disclosure here– I’ve noticed improvements even just after a bath.  Always consult a physician before consuming Epsom Salt for these purposes.}

In terms of the essential oil, I still use lavender, but I’m thinking of switching it up to eucalyptus or something else in the hear future.

You can soak in an ES bath anywhere from 10-30 minutes, one to a few days a week at a time.  Just like with anything, everything is great in moderation.  Do I recommend taking an Epsom Salt bath every day?  Absolutely not, right now I just do it every now and then and I still notice the awesome benefits.

I will admit that I did take a Monday night bath while watching the newest episode of GIRLS on HBO.  A 24 minute episode is the perfect amount of time to take a bath.  Come to think of it, I think this will be my new Monday night routine.  Feel free to copy me.

Speaking of, anyone else happy that GIRLS is back??

There are all sorts of other Epsom Salt benefits that I didn’t even cover in this post {think gardening tricks, the cure for stinky feet, household cleaning, etc}.  Click here, here, and here for additional info.

Has anyone taken an Epsom Salt bath before?  What are some of your detox bath tricks and tips?

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Beauty Brief Wednesday {Skin Savers}

Hello all!  The past few days have been rather hectic and unexpected, for which I have been unprepared for {I will get into that later}.  However, I wanted to make sure that I still stopped in to keep my Wednesday tradition going.  To recap what’s been going on the past two Wednesdays:

BBW:  {Teeth Whitening Tips/Mouth Health}

BBW:  {Unexpected Hair Care}

We covered the mouth, the teeth, the hair…now it’s time to cover the largest organ of your body…your skin!  To help organize today’s post, I decided to numerically correlate pictures with descriptions {what a novel idea}.

#1 Shave Your Face

Yes, I talked about this in September {click the link to see the full post}, but I still stand by it today.  Running your face and neck through a weekly shaving regime is a great way to exfoliate, smooth, and reawaken the skin.  Plus, your make-up even goes on better.  Nobody likes hair legs, girls, and nobody likes a hairy face.  The few friends that I have convinced to start doing this can’t get enough.

#2 Dry Brushing

Ever heard of it?  It is exactly what it sounds like…brush your skin with a dry brush.  It should be a smaller brush, made with stiff {but not overly stiff} bristles, and preferably made with natural materials {but not necessary}.  I try to dry brush every time before I take a shower…but let’s be real, sometimes we’re rushing to get in and out of the shower.  My rule of thumb?  Make sure I’m doing this at least 4 times a week {if I can hit all days that end in “Y”, great!}.

So what’s the big deal and how do you do it?  Easy.  Before you hop in the shower, simply brush your skin, starting at the ankles in sweeping motions upwards {towards your heart}.  When you get to your arms, start at your wrists, and continue to move towards your heart {make sense?}.  Brush what you can- neck, chest, arms, tummy, tushie {is that how you spell that?}, legs, of course don’t brush EVERYTHING {wink, wink} but get dang near close.  Then, shower and make sure you moisturize afterwards.  You just woke up and brushed off dead skin cells, don’t want to be ashy do you?

Aside from brushing away dead skin cells, Dry Brushing is great for a variety of other reasons.  Numero uno, it wakes up your Lymphatic System, allows your body to release toxins, and is an overall amazingly simple detoxification.  It also improves circulation, can reduce the appearance of cellulite, relieves stress, and can improve overall digestion and kidney functions.  Too good to be true?  It’s not.  I’ve seen great results from maintaining DB-ing  Want more literature?  Check out the links below-

The Dirt on Dry Brushing

Step by Step Guide to Dry Brushing

Dry Brushing Techniques

#3 Clarisonic Mia 2

Jimmy originally purchased the Clarisonic Mia 2 for my birthday in June {per my request…thought I should mention that only because I did ask for it.  It’s not like my bf said “Hey!  Happy Birthday, your skin sucks..love you!”}.  I have struggled with acne and scarring from such pesky pimples for my entire life.  In addition to basically completely cutting dairy out of my diet, and regularly oil pulling, the Clarisonic has absolutely helped.  Now, let me be clear, it hasn’t solved everything, and at 25 I still embarrassingly struggle with this issue.  I also found that when I initially started using the Clarisonic, I felt like I broke out more.  Not sure if it was just waking my skin, and everything in it up, but once that settled down, I saw drastic improvements in the clarity of my skin and pores.  To order the Mia 2, or at least see it online, click here.

However, like I said, I still struggle with acne and pimples from time to time…so if you guys have any tips or tricks, I’m all ears.  Some people that I know are swearing by the Rodan and Fields Skincare system.  I’m just super hesitant because it is quite pricey, and I’ve been burned by so many acne products that claim they will help me in the past.  What do you guys think?

How do you guys take care of your skin?  Any tips or tricks that you swear by?

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Beauty Brief Wednesday {Unexpected Hair Care}

Alright, back for another Beauty Brief Wednesday, this time the topic is hair care.  I know there are a lot of obvious ways to take care of your hair, but there are two rituals that I refuse to go without when it comes to my goldie locks.  Just to recap, last week, we talked about two different ways to naturally and safely whiten your teeth- Oil Pulling and Charcoal Brushing.  To see that post again, click here.

Before we get started, lets cover a few bases.  I have moderately thick hair with a lot of volume, and it has a mind of it’s own.  It doesn’t get oily very easily and is fairly manageable, so these tips {or maybe just one of them} might not work for all hair types.  However, I would also like to note that I go through all of the basic motions with my hair- shampoo, condition {Herbal Essences Naked line, heyyy}, blow dry, curl/straighten, and on occasion air dry {when it’s lucky}.  I constantly struggle with dry hair, split ends, the whole nine yards.  Yet, I still want to care for my hair without constantly loading my scalp with chemicals.  Enter, t-shirts and coconut oil.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask

The first ritual I go through once every one to two weeks {match it up with Charcoal Brushing}, includes none other than the usual suspect…Coconut Oil.  You know how the Earth is made of 70% water?  I’m positive I’m made of 70% coconut oil…I’ve found that I use it in virtually every aspect of my life {I cook, I clean my teeth, nourish my hair…uhh…coco for coconut oil much?}

Just to measure, I always add a Tbsp or two of coconut oil in a shot glass and then zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds.  After that, I apply it to my hair from root to tip the same way you would add any hair treatment, and let it sit for 30 minutes.

That’s right, walk around, do your thing, and smell like a macaroon for 30 minutes.  I always pull it up into a high bun while it absorbs because ain’t nobody like an oily head walkin around the apt.

Then hop in the shower and wash it out {depending on how much oil you put in your hair, you might have to shampoo twice}.

Every time I dry my hair after the coconut oil mask, it feels amazing between my fingers, looks more shiny, and is less frizzy.  While I don’t have any “before and after hair strand comparison images”, the last time I went to get my hair done, the stylist complimented me on how healthy my hair looked {even though I had waited a looooong time to get it cut}.  I credit coconut oil..oh…and t-shirts {effortless segway…}

T-Shirt Dry Your Hair

Ditch the towel ladies {and guys with long hair}.  My mom originally tipped me off to this idea about two months ago.  She told me how she kept seeing these articles that claimed it was better to wrap your wet hair in a cotton tee rather than a towel.  The cotton material on the t-shirt has less friction than the material in the towel, creating a “smoother” environment for your gorgeous hair.  So I looked in to it and decided to give it a try for myself.  For more info, click here, here, and here.

The only thing you need is an old cotton t-shirt and a clip.  The t-shirt size needed would obviously depend on how big your head is {five head over here} and length of hair….I use an XL.  To spruce things up for this post, let’s throw in an old Marshall t-shirt.

All you need to do is wrap the shirt around your head the same way you would a towel.  I start by wrapping one of the “pits” around the back of my head, and pinning the sleeve to the shirt portion that I wrap around my head {I’m not sure if that makes sense}.  Then wrap it around and tuck it under in the back.


Might look a little funny, but it stays in place really well.  Since adding this to my “out of the shower routine”, the softness and smoothness of my hair has improved drastically after only a month or two, and I didn’t even have to buy any product to make that happen!

Battling frizzy, dry hair?  Add these two tricks to your routine and you’ll be sure to see almost instant results.

Do any of you use either of these techniques to improve the quality of your hair?  What are some of your hair care routines?

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Beauty Brief Wednesday {Teeth Whitening Tips/Mouth Health}

Heller there!  I’ve decided that I wanted to make today part of a one of three part series that I’m working on this month, Beauty Brief Wednesday {although, this might get to some of you on Thursday} Part of maintaining overall health is taking care of yourself from the inside, out…right?  I’m always up for learning something new, and I jump at the chance to learn holistic, alternative {and sometimes cheaper} ways to take  of yourself.  Today I’m talking teeth whitening tips.  While this post may not be anything new for my close friends and family, I wanted to share it with you all today because I want to make sure I tell everyone I possibly can!  {I’ve already gotten more than a few skeptics at work on this teeth whitening train…won’t you join us?}

I used to be big on the whole “Whitestrips” phenomenon.  You know, those icky tasting, slippery, chemically-infused bleach strips that you need to leave on your teeth {and sometimes gums} for 30 minutes at a time {never mind the taste….ack!}?  Not saying that they don’t work, but one day it occurred to me-  I work so hard to watch how I exercise and what I put into my body, why am I not paying attention to what I put ON my body?  This got me thinking…are there any better ways to whiten my teeth {because I can’t seem to put down coffee or red wine…anyone else out there}?  I have since discovered two amazing solutions, to be used separately.

NOTE:  I AM NOT A DENTIST.  If you have a cavity, tooth pain, or something more serious, consult professional help.  These are simply tips on how to make those pearly whites more b-e-a-utiful and improve the overall health of your mouth.  Any other problem?  Go see your dentist.

Numero Uno:

Oil Pulling.  My end all, be all.  I originally wrote/found out about oil pulling when I was still with the Marshall Campus Rec blog.  To see that original post, click here.  There’s a lot of great info there.  Basically, grab 1-2 Tbsp of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth, first thing in the morning, for as long as possible {max 20 min.}.  As gross as it may sound, you have some of the worst/most bacteria in your mouth right when you wake up in the morning {hence, doing it first thing}.  I’ve been doing this two to three times a week since March and I can’t get enough.  Check out all of the added benefits of oil pulling {from my original post…what it supposedly helps, and my impression of the claim}:

÷Whitens Teeth// check
÷Healthier gums, teeth, and mouth// check, check, I have some sensitivity issues, and this has helped greatly
÷Sinus issues// thanks to the weather, got ‘em…thanks to oil pulling, lost ‘em
÷Acne and your complexion// From a visual test standpoint, I feel like it has helped! 
÷Additional skin issues like eczema and psoriasis*
÷Overall mouth and jaw pain, including TMJ*
÷Hangovers (and migraines*)// For the sake of the blog I tested this one out (always thinking of you guys),  and I swear…it really helped, I wasn’t as dizzy and felt more balanced
÷Overall Detox// I wasn’t sure how to measure for this, but it’s improved more than a few things for me, and after all that research I can’t imagine how it isn’t an overall detox”

*I simply can’t speak to those issues because I am not suffering from them

When you’re done swishing make sure you spit this in the TRASH CAN.  No drains or anything with pipes…it will clog them and you will be in trouble.  Also, in case you didn’t know, the toilet counts as a drain.  I once watched Jimmy spit his oil pulling leftovers in the toilet {yep, he does it too from time to time}.  “Jimmy! You’re not supposed to put it down a drain!”  I exclaimed, “Yea I know, that’s why I spit it in the toilet”, he says {insert the sound of crickets chirping}…bless his heart.

Don’t like/are allergic to coconut oil?  No prob bob.  Grab some olive oil or sunflower oil instead.  I enjoy coconut so I’ve never strayed from the real thing, but the properties in the oil will do a very similar job.  Coconut oil is also full of antimicrobial properties, really setting up that one-two punch for your mouth {and your morning breath}.

Numero Dos:

Charcoal Brushing.  It is exactly what you think it is.

Slice an Activated Charcoal capsule in half {over a paper towel, it can get messy}, pour the powder over your toothbrush, and then brush your teeth with it in circular motions for 3-5 minutes {I always do 5}.  It is said that the activated charcoal is made of certain compounds that absorb the spots and stains off of your teeth.

Also important to note here, never…at any cost or for any reason…swallow the charcoal if you’re only using it whiten your teeth.  It is similar to the charcoal that is used in today’s medical field to help reduce the effects of poisoning {like alcohol, for example}.  There are also a lot of other amazing benefits of Activated Charcoal that I’ve been looking into…and the beat goes on…

This is the bottle of Activated Charcoal that I have, found at any common drug store/health section.  Sure, you’ll look like a zombie for a few minutes out of the day, but it’s worth it.

Still not sure about i?  Check out the review’s from these awesome chicks:

Wellness Mama:  How to Whiten Teeth Naturally

XOVain:  Does Activated Charcoal Really Turbo-Whiten Your Teeth?

I’ve read instances where people will do both simultaneously.  As in, pour some activated charcoal in their mouth while oil pulling.  I’m all about killing two birds with one stone, but I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever try that.  I like to keep these two rituals separate- Oil Pull 2-3 times a week, every week, and then Charcoal Brush once maybe every one or two weeks {depends on my coffee and wine consumption}.

Overall, I feel like not only are both of these options collectively cheaper than the “store bought whitening treatments”, but they are also safer, more gentle, and better for my body.  I can’t deny their success because I always get compliments on how nice and shiny my pearly whites are {there could be worse things to be vain about}.  I say oil pulling and charcoal brushing are responsible.

Try ’em out and let me know what you think!  Got questions?  {I know that charcoal grin isn’t the most welcoming} Leave ’em below.

Happy Bicuspid Buffering!

What do you guys think?  Ever tried either of these “beauty” rituals?

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