Monday, August 24, 2015

Coiffure Class 101: French Side Braid

I've not done many hair tutorials on here, but after receiving some requests, especially over the past year or so, I thought it would be fun to show you (with a little help from my styling maven of a sister) how to create some of the styles I wear on a regular basis. First up, the French-style side braid. This is a simple twist on a classic summer look, and a favorite of many a camp counselor. Having invested many years in summer camps, this fun, oversized braid is a subtle, styling nod to those happy memories. It looks so pretty, and in the high temps, will also keep you feeling nice and cool! A few subtle tweaks take it from camp-style to chic in a matter of seconds. 

{Step 1}
Brush out your hair, and sweep all of it over to one side. For those of you with thin or extra silky hair, a spritz or two of texturizing or styling spray will help with a little extra grip. For added volume and fullness, I like to use Big Sexy Hair Powder Play, and for extra hold and to zap oil, Psssst Dry Shampoo is pretty fantastic. 

{Step 2}
Begin by french braiding*, starting a few inches back from the top, pulling hair across the back of your head to keep the braid on one side and not down the middle of your head. 
*If you need help french braiding, here's a good tutorial

{Step 3}
Finish braiding off the rest of your hair, making sure to keep the braid tight, and secure with a hair tie. 

{Step 4}
Here's where the magic happens! Start loosening up or pulling apart the braid to give a softer, fuller effect. Begin at the top of the braid and work your way down; this gives your braid the 'Disney Princess hair' effect. If you have super thick hair, this step will alleviate a lot of the pressure and weight that comes from braids pulled tight on your scalp. 

{Step 5}
Fluff up the end of the braid, as well as around the top and crown of your head. Tuck in any super loose ends, but remember, this looser-style braid will naturally have a few pieces that may stick out, that's part of the casual I always look this fabulous charm of the hairstyle. For those of us with lots of layers, myself included, you may need to employ the help of a few bobby pins to keep the larger, shorter pieces from falling out, but use your layers to your advantage to keep the style from looking too slicked back from your face. Your braid should look full and effortlessly glam, not sloppy. 

{Step 6}
I always pull out a few pieces around my face for a little extra softness, and because I think it makes the style look better and less 'done', if you know what I mean. After you've tweaked it to your liking, I always finish the look off with a spritz of natural hold hairspray and a bit of shine spray. I like to use Chi Enviro 54 Natural Hold and Mermaid Hair Shine Spray (It has the perfect hint of coconut, tames frizzies, and makes your hair super soft and shiny!). Voila! Enjoy your fabulous, french side braid!

Happy Styling!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer Sweaters

(Sweater: Gap, Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer, Necklace: Target, Sandals (on major sale right now!): Lilly Pulitzer)

The thought of summer sweaters seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron, but I have to admit that there's actually something to them. Lately I'm all about a comfy, open-knit sweater. They're the perfect piece to transition from the super hot afternoons into the breezy evenings, and whether you pair them with sweet scalloped shorts or white denim, toss them over a swimsuit after a dip in the ocean, or even slip it over a solid color maxi dress, you'll always look perfectly chic. This one I found from Gap is on major sale right now, and I think you'll love the effortlessly cool look for those long summer days. Also, can we talk about how much I still love the lace-up sandal trend? Whether you're in shorts, a dress, or even cropped denim, there's something so stylish about these shoes that pulls together any look. I've worn my gold ones so much this summer, and am looking forward to the lace-up flats that seem to be the next big thing come this fall. On another note, did you make a summer reading list? I always enjoy catching up on a bunch of books I've been wanting to read. I spent the past weekend doing some reading, and am always looking for good book recommendations! There's nothing like finding a new favorite! Have any suggestions? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Floral Favorite

(Dress: c/o Eshakti, Jewelry: Etsy, Lilly Pulitzer, Clutch: Vintage)

We're still in the middle of the sweet summertime, and there's nothing better than a simple look that is unfussy and effortless. This pretty, custom chiffon piece from Eshakti is so light and feminine, and the soft blue floral print is reminiscent of an old French print. I've gravitated toward more skirts and dresses lately, simply because it's just too hot for structured pieces. Maxi dresses are great for their simplistic silhouettes and chic appeal. Easy, breezy, beautiful...oh, and did I mention it has pockets?! Definitely a winner. In fact, I think this one is coming to brunch with me next weekend. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Are You Listening?

It's hard to listen when you're always talking. I know that sounds obvious, but how often do we find ourselves in conversation, and while the other person is talking, we're thinking of our own next response? I know I've done that before. A wise person once said that a person cannot learn if they are always talking. Not long ago, I met someone who wished to be mentored; however, they were so concerned about sharing their own experiences and thoughts that they never stopped talking long enough to listen and obtain the wisdom and advice they so deeply craved. Have you ever felt like even though someone said they were listening to you, that they were really only 'hearing' and not truly listening to what you were saying? That's not a person that you want to share your thoughts with, especially when that person is constantly trying to interject their own thoughts and feelings into the conversation all the time. How do we go from just hearing others' words to being a good listener?

There's two types of listening, passive and active. As we've discussed, no one enjoys speaking to a passive listener; they are there, but they're not listening to what's being said. Active listeners are engaged and interested in what is being said, as well as desiring to understand the full message from the communicator. This is the kind of listening that all of us crave and will respond positively to. To become an active listener, here's a few tips:

1. Listen more than you speak
2. Actively engage in the other person's story
3. Look at the person who is speaking
4. Ask for clarification if you don't understand something
5. Keep the focus on the other person
6. Listen beyond the other person's words...what are the implied messages, body language communication, tone of voice...etc.

Think of a couple situations in your own life where you've been a passive listener, and a few where you've been an active listener. Would it make a difference in your life to become a better listener? Let's challenge ourselves today to be actively engaging in our listening to others. It will not only benefit your understanding, but you'll also find that it builds trust in all of your relationships with others.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What's Your Why?

We all want to be successful in life. An important component of success is knowing what you stand for. One can look at any major company and easily come across their vision/mission statement, detailing exactly what the organization holds as important or as truth. What about you? So many of us drift through life, simply reacting to situations, yet never really defining what it is that we hold as valuable or consider to be truth in our life. A journey taken with no direction never accomplished anything of significant value.

Do you have a personal mission statement?
What is it that you believe you do that makes a difference to others and to mankind as a whole?
Or, in other words, why do you do what you do? What is the reason behind your actions?

The objective behind defining a mission is not the creation of goals, but rather life purpose. It is designed to direct and express your values and beliefs. It provides guidance and direction, not goals, although those will certainly compliment your mission statement. I think of it as a life map of sort. Your mission statement will and should grow and change over time. You will enter and exit various seasons of life, and discover new strengths and challenges within. In fact, you may take on several missions that coincide with the various areas of your life, so be open and ready for that.

"To live a mission requires that you realize you can make a difference in this world, and requires that you practice the strengths to fulfill your mission." (Marcus Buckingham, Soar With Your Strengths)

Challenge yourself to sit down for a few moments and write out a personal mission statement. What is it that you truly believe in? Why do you do those things that bring you greatest fulfillment? What do you hold to be truth or to have value in life? This activity provides the framework for increased success, clearer direction, and continued personal growth.

What's your why?

Monday, July 20, 2015

You're Pretty

We focus a lot of time and energy into what makes us pretty. We purchase products, choose outfits, take photos from the "right" angle, read books/articles/blogs on how to achieve the ever-changing, and sometimes elusive trends, all in the hopes of becoming beautiful.

I came across a quote recently that somewhat shifts the paradigm on this topic when it says,
Do you consider yourself pretty? Is "pretty" something that only affects the outside? 
Scripture would tell us that it's about more than just a good hair day:

"Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God." /// 1 Peter 3:4

What does inner beauty look like in your life?
We're quick to judge another's appearance, or base a friendship on surface attributes, yet the beauty of a person's heart and spirit are what sustain relationships. Instead of allowing "pretty" to determine whether or not we like someone, or to inhibit our friendships from further growth due to competitive comparison, our objective should be to embrace and encourage the beauty found within everyone. Each of us has beauty to bring to the world, yet too many of us are so busy wishing it away, hoping for something that someone else has. Give yourself a little love and encouragement. You are awesome. It is ok to want to look and feel your fact, it's encouraged! In addition to the "pretty" found in the outward appearance, let's cultivate the "pretty" found within. Let's be pretty smart, pretty funny, pretty kind, and pretty encouraging to all those around us. Instead of comparing to one another, decide to ditch the drama and embrace the strength found in all of us enjoying and living life together. Now, with that said, I just wanted to tell you, I think you're pretty. Live like it!

Monday, July 13, 2015


(Dress: Terani Couture (similar version here), Shoes: Target, Bracelets: Michael Kors, Lilly Pulitzer)

If there's one thing I love, it's a good celebration. This week was nothing short of that, as we enjoyed cake, spa time, good food, time with family and friends, sun-drenched days on the water, breakfast by the beach, and a generous dose of sparkle.
Here's to fun, celebrations, and birthdays that last all week long...
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