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Fishtail

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Last week’s Retail Therapy event with the Standard has been probably my most favorite event in town. I’m obsessed with braids, just not capable of braiding my own hair yet. This stems from a high school trauma when I was a freshman cheerleader and the coach asked us all to do a simple french braid for the game. In order for my mom to manage this braid for me, she braided my hair wet and I was stuck with it all day at school. Once it was game time, the coach realized we all looked stupid and asked us to take the braids out. I couldn’t since my hair was cemented in that style with gel and I was so uncomfortable. I refused braids for a long time after and only in the last couple years have I warmed back up to them.
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[Riller + Fount top and Stella Carakasi pants from Retail Therapy, boots from Lori’s Shoes]
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Photos by Sam
Hair, Outfits, Style

Brand New Beauty with Meijer

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I partnered once again with my favorite store, Meijer, to share my thoughts on a few beauty and hair products. They sent me a ton of amazing new products to try and I’m sharing just a few today! First, the lipstick above is amazing. Maybelline Color Sensational in Totally Toffee just glides right on and this is a little deeper of nude tone than I have from their line. I use this with a nude lip liner or I’ve discovered it’s a great way to freshen up a burgundy lip later in the day without having to be so precise.
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Jergen’s natural glow lotion is already a go-to of mine for adding some color. You wouldn’t guess by how pale I get in the winter, but I do tan easily thanks to my Hawaiian/Filipino roots! I’ve been on the spray tan train and this color primer product is a great exfoliator to prep for spray tans. Obviously, I have not gotten one in a while, but worked perfectly before applying the lotion. I hate streaks and I seem to always get them. With the buildable moisturizer, I don’t notice streaks.
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This Aveeno Absolutely Ageless night moisturizer is a great product for someone like me (now 30) and needing to take preventative care, but also not overdue it with anything too thick to cause breakouts. It’s a delicate balance for my skin and so far, so good. I usually use an oil serum at night, but this one feels hydrating without clogging my skin.
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I was hesitant to try this reverse beauty full volume line by Tresemme because my natural inclination is to shout I NEED NO MORE VOLUME. But to be honest, my hair has been thinning and isn’t thick and lustrous as it once was. Maybe it’s age, maybe because I bleached the shit out of it for a long time, but the not as dense hair paired winter weather makes my hair so flat and weird. I don’t like how my hair feels after a shampoo. I prefer conditioner to be second so I’m left with soft, easier to manage locks when I’m out of the shower since I finger comb my hair and let it air dry. I didn’t notice any crazy volume, but it dried nicely without being stuck to my head and weighed down.
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My favorite and most memorable of the line is this product. Although James could take it or leave it, the full volume hair maximizer made my hair feel soft and no crunchy, stickiness that I tend to run into when I go outside my comfort zone with new products.

Thank you again for supporting collaborations such as this with Meijer!
Beauty, Hair, Inspiration

Winter Hair Products To Try

I’ve tried so many new products over the course of two months. From serums to deep conditioning treatments, I have a few more products to add to my arsenal, which includes some tried and true products, drugstore buys and higher end products.
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Drugstore buy: OGX’s Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I bought this on a whim because I liked the packaging. And the way it smelled. It’s gentle and has been my go-to hair washing combo since late summer and it’s super moisturizing.

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Fancy buy: Kevin Murphy’s Blonde Angel Wash and Rinse combo and the Hydrate Me Rinse. I’ve been keeping my hair blonde, which means it’s susceptible to brassiness. I hate brassiness and so the Blonde Angel wash is key, paired with the Hydrate Me rinse to moisturize my hair. I use it sparingly since it’s a pricier product and I only want to use a blonde perfecting wash once a week.
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Color protecting spray: Mastey’s therapy spray is a light product I’ll use instead of a serum, my typical go-to product to help fight frizz, but days when I want really soft hair that I can pull up, braid, etc, I use less product and I spray this in my hands and then work into my ends. I never spray it into my hair as it won’t get to exact areas I want it to be concentrated.
Deep conditioner: S Factor Serious Conditioner is kind of my “treat yo self” moment. When my hair is feeling particularly dry and brittle..and my legs need to be shaved, I’ll work this into my hair, especially the ends and let is soak in as I take my time cutting down the forest that is my leg hair.
Hair insurance: Olaplex refers to the product as insurance for your hair and I’m just starting to realize the benefits of such a product. When you bleach the shit out of your hair like I do, you’ll notice clumps of hair fall out and you’re desperate for a solution (besides saying no to bleach). I haven’t used this in conjunction to a color appointment, but have used it as a treatment before a blowout at the Bang Blowout bar in Grand Rapids. It had a little more strength and it’s something I need to continue to use. In addition to his treatment and thick conditioners throughout the week, I add Living Proof’s leave in conditioner. It’s the only leave in conditioner that I actually like.

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Light serum: I have so many serums and for the most part, I can’t find anything wrong or particularly great with any one product. The difference I can tell is how heavy it is. Moroccan oil is great for my hair when it’s super dry, like post-blow out, but most of the time I prefer a little lighter weight serum. Currently using either Frizz Ease serum, Ouidad shine glaze serum or Cibu serum.
What’s your favorite product for dry, damaged and/or curly hair?
Hair

Travel Necessities + Tips

I’m off on a road trip with my mom and I snapped a few photos of my packing to share my process!
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Tip: Pack a clutch as a make up bag
To be most efficient, I pack a clutch as a make up bag and pack only the essentials to save on space. Essentials include tinted moisturized, bronzer/blush combo, mascara, a couple lipgloss choices and primer along with Scentbird containing a sample of perfume so I can leave my full-sized versions at home (this month it’s Tom Ford’s Black Orchid.) I’ve been using this vintage leather clutch with scalloped edges because it’s a great size and transitions well from make up bag to my evening clutch.
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Tip: Include a couple fun extras, just in case
Since they take up such little space and they can spruce up any outfit, I packed a couple extra clutches–an oversized black version and a yellow version for my evenings out and about with mom. They’ll also double as jewelry protectors, although I’ll be wearing most of what I’m packing throughout the week including Katie Dean Jewelry rings, Shinola watch and Clyde’s Rebirth necklace.
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Tip: Versatile shoes
I packed heel-free for this trip! I’ve learned the hard way that packing those special pair of heels for that one night wasn’t worth the space in my luggage or the pain I felt in my feet from spending too much time on the go wearing them. For me, I still want variety in my shoes, so versatile and comfortable flat sandals in the color that mix and match the best is what I do.
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Tip: Travel size products + customizing products for trip
Instead of lugging around full-sized products or pouring them into small containers (ain’t got no time for that), I select quality travel size products and keep them packed in a clutch so that I can grab and go easily. For this particular trip, I’m concerned with frizzy hair along the ocean and so I added leave-in conditioner with my travel size products.
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I have dozens and dozens of sunglasses and I’m bringing a few tried and true aviators along with reading material, the standard black hat and my new favorite No-Ad sunscreen stick, that has a deodorant-like packaging and I can easily glide it over my tattoo throughout the day without the mess.
Beauty, Hair

The Journey To Curly Hair Love

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I can’t recall the moment my hair was no longer an enemy of mine, fighting against it with an arsenal of straightening products and hot irons. But I do remember the years of insecurity and constant of comparison of my fuzzy locks and my friends’ straight hair. No one really knew what to do with my hair and it left me hating my curls. Once I discovered the straightening iron in high school, I felt like it solved my problems. I could finally blend in and pretend I was someone different.
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I kept my hair straight hair facade through college, until I slowly gained confidence in myself and embraced what I was born with. Once I did that, I experimented with products and styles and finally realized having a different style was a good thing. I no longer wanted to blend in and look like everyone else, I just wanted to be myself. It was exhausting and I was tired of trying so hard.
It’s a lifelong process to accept yourself as you are, but so many things changed in my life once I embraced the curl. It’s around the time I started this blog and decided to just own it and love my hair. Sure, it’s thick, coarse and curly, but it’s how my friends spot me in a crowded room and for a low maintenance girls, I don’t need to wash it often and when I do, it air dries after I apply moisturizing. Wash and go! So many benefits!
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I love that Dove is focusing on women to embrace their natural curls. I watched this video they released featuring little girls who wished they had straight hair. It’s an emotional video to watch if you’ve experienced the same thing and I relate to these girls. I hope that little girls (and boys!) grow to love their hair sooner than I did and cut back on the comparison and see the good in what they were born with.
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Compensation for this post was provided by Dove Hair via AOL Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Dove Hair or AOL. Check out Dove and Love Your Curls!
Hair