Degrease and Moisturize..At the Same Time!

 

A HUGE thank you to the good folks at Maple Holistics for sending this fabulous shampoo and conditioner over for me to try out. And for hooking us up with a giveaway for a lucky winner to try, see the bottom for details!

Honestly I am almost never overwhelmingly WOW’d by shampoo/conditioner, but this one really blew me away.  Usually I feel like the scent or fragrance is usually the make or break factor in whether or not I want to purchase it again. As long as its fairly moisturizing and color safe, Im pretty ok with it. All major “issues” , i.e. frizz control, root lift or extra shine can be handled in the styling portion of the program.

But then came these guys….

mapleholisticsshampooandconditionerI had this product for a little while before I had the need to add any more shampoo/conditioner to my shower. One day I was headed to the gym with my kids and was planning to treat myself to a shower there while they were playing in the Kid Zone. Knowing that I need to pack some color safe shampoo/conditioner and not do an emergency wash with the head to toe, all in one body wash/shampoo, I threw this in my bag and hit the road.  I mean, I can pretty much bet that whatever is in that soap dispenser is NOT color safe. 

After a pretty intense workout and a few days since the last shampoo, I was ready to lather up! Usually when my hair is on the oilier side, I have to shampoo twice but I only had to use the Degrease shampoo once! It instantly got my hair and scalp clean and smelling fresh without feeling stripped or dried out.

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I wouldn’t call my scalp itchy but at times it is pretty darn oily and down right greasy. I love that the Degrease shampoo is a homeopathic, sulfate free formula that is super cleansing. It has a naturally antibacterial formula that stimulates circulation while still being incredibly hydrating.  It has a fresh, clean scent too!

As to be expected, I followed my shampoo with the conditioner. I am guessing that is what we all do!
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The Argan conditioner is fragrance free, silicone free and sulfate free. It includes argan oil, jojoba, aloe vera, shea butter, pomegranate, green tea, sea buckhorn and hibiscus packed full of vitamins and essential fatty acids. The botanical keratin helps maintain strong and healthy strands and prevent breakage. For best results, leave in for a few minutes.

What caught my attention and made me fall in love with this product was how soft and shiny my hair was after one quick shampoo in the gym shower. I didn’t use any product after but instead just rough dried it with the cheapie locker room hair dryer and my hands. Normally my hair is a bit frizzy and pretty much a hot mess if I don’t give it some love in the drying portion of styling.

I snapped this quick selfie to show you how smooth it was, even on a hot, sticky, humid day in Virginia! I had to include this sweet baby girl of mine because she has the best hair ever!

IMG_9761For a product made with these high quality ingredients, it is surprisingly affordable, less than $10!

But because you are awesome, we are giving someone a free shampoo and conditioner. Enter below. Available for the US only. Everyone can get a free product by requesting theirs here. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway!

In addition to the shampoo and conditioner, they also sent me the Vitamin C serum to try. Now that I am a certain age, I desperately need to be more diligent about my skin care. Products like this are best when used daily over a period of time since the benefits are cumulative. I haven’t been great at using this every day but I have been using it several times a week and I can see a visible improvement in the texture and clarity of my complexion.

xoxo

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DIY Harvest Spice Body Scrub

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! I mean what is not to love? There is the eating, the lounging, and be grateful for all the love in your life. Its basically the perfect holiday!

When I found these envelopes in my son’s cubby at preschool, I decided this would be a super fun way to show some of our friends how much we love them. It was super easy to do and we hope it made our friends feel special. Teaching little ones to share kindness thru the community is the best.

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The hardest part was picking 3 friends! It didn’t take long to remember three special friends that made me feel really loved and supported recently. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a few posts two weeks ago that I ran the Richmond half marathon with two of my girlfriends. This was an incredible experience and something I never would have done without the encouragement and support of these girls.

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Around 4th of July, Sarah had the brilliant idea that we should all do this and wouldn’t take no for an answer, even with my excuse of just having a baby in March. She convinced me that I could do it so I signed up and so did our friend Judy. What really helped was that Judy was the same pace as me (pretty slow) and had also never run more than 2 miles. When we were able to run 12 miles nonstop on our last training run, we were so shocked and proud of ourselves. I really cant believe I took on this challenge and completed it before Sloane turns 9 months!

FullSizeRender-7I don’t have a photo of her from the race but the 3rd recipient of the scrub was our neighborhood friend, Stephanie D., who is an experienced runner (she has run multiple marathons, including Boston!). Stephanie was supposed to run the race but had an injury that didn’t allow her to run. Instead of staying home and being sad, she bundled up and came out to support her dad and many friends who ran that day. She walked along the course and met up with us a different points to cheer us on. Around mile 10, I had gotten separated from Judy and was really struggling. Stephanie appeared out of nowhere, like an angel, and gave me the motivation (and some Starbursts) to join back up with Judy and finish strong. That really meant a lot to me.

In addition to girl power and reaching an awesome goal, I also love a good old sugar scrub. This time of year, as the temps drop, I start to notice my skin starting to get super dry. When we start showing less skin when summer is over and dressing in our fall outfits, I know I stop be as diligent with the moisturizer on my body. That combined with the dry air indoors can be a recipe for super scaly skin.

My mother is the queen of Pinterest, so when I needed some ideas for teacher gifts and holiday treats for friends, I had her send me some inspiration from her Pinterest collection. I decided to make a Coconut Oil and sugar scrub. Super easy!PicFrame

I got these 4oz Ball canning jars and the fragrance from Amazon. I started with 1 cup of coconut oil, I had some from Trader Joe’s in my cabinet already, and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix that together.

To get a bit more substance and to add some color and scent, I threw in 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the mix.

This makes an amazing scrub for your hands and body (not face!) that smells incredible and is super moisturizing.

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I added about a teaspoon or so of the Harvest Spice scent for fragrance.FullSizeRender-14Once it was all mixed together, we filled our jars. Then Silas added some stickers to decorate the jars. We LOVE stickers! Stickers on top of stickers on top of more stickers.

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The next morning we took our sugar scrub jars and added a nice thank you note to the envelopes and set out around the neighborhood to deliver our special treats. We had SO much fun.

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You are supposed to leave it as a surprise but Im pretty sure that our friends will know it was us (not just because of this post!) but because we are the only friends in the neighborhood who go to this preschool. I hope they were surprised to find their treat and our note letting them know we are grateful for their friendship.

Also in the envelope there was a card explaining that they had been hugged. FullSizeRender-13And a card to put on their front door to let people know that they had been visited with kindness. The last two years we have had something like this for Halloween where you got “Boo’d”. People would drop little Halloween treats at your door and you would put up a ghost on your door so people would know you had been hit, then you do it to three more people. 
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This guy was super excited to knock on doors. Thankfully, we were able to surprise 2 of the 3 friends, but only because they weren’t home. This guy isn’t really into the sneak attacks, he announces his every move.FullSizeRender-10

We left it on their doorstep and hoped they were as excited to receive it as we were to make it for them. Happy Thanksgiving friends! FullSizeRender-9I am going to make some of these scrubs for Christmas again this year and will report back on how we have updated the recipe! Here is another easy DIY Lip Scrub that you can make with 2 ingredients you already have in your pantry.

Which would you like to give or receive?

Enjoy! XOXO

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Hanover Tavern Love Story

Last week I met Stacy and Mike at Hanover Tavern for their engagement session. I had not seen Stacy in awhile, she and I had originally met awhile ago when we got together for a makeup lesson. We instantly hit it off!  Stacy is the best! I was so excited to see her again and meet Mike.stacyandmike-9

Aren’t they the sweetest? This year they will be married on September 24, 2016 at Hanover Tavern a super cute historic venue. What is so cool about this is that they had their very first date five years ago on September 24th in this same spot!

stacyandmike-139So it just make sense that their engagement photos would be here too! I love how sentimental and sweet Stacy is. Her heart is so full of love and it is a pleasure to be in her presence!

Her skin is flawless and makes my job pretty easy! And this hair is straight up flouncy, right? I decided that was the best way to describe the fabulous, bouncy and totally flawless curls:)stacyandmike-13Photographer, Laura Matthews, captured the love that these two have for each other and how excited they are for their big day. See more of her beautiful work on her full blog post of the whole session here. I can’t wait to see the images that are yet to come from their bridal portraits and the big day!
stacyandmike-148I am honored that Stacy chose me to work with her for her portraits and her wedding this Fall.

If you are looking to book a Spring 2016 wedding, you can find the available dates here.  More info on bridal services and some examples of my bridal portfolio can be found on the website 

XOXO

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Available Wedding Dates for Spring/Summer 2016

Last week, I FINALLY posted some photos and behind the scenes from the amazing Wedding Collective Dream Wedding Giveaway we did at Big Spring Farm in Lexington, VA.  If you missed it, be sure to check it out here!

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We had SO much fun!

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Ha! I have no idea what was happening at this moment but Katelyn James always has the BEST behind the scenes shots in her galleries.

For more info on the Wedding Collective, Be sure to check out this site with all the info on the vendors who shared their talents to make this happen.

Don’t miss my post there with 3 tips for brides when planning their hair and makeup for a special occasion.

I got a little distracted by my crazy face in this picture, now lets get back to the announcement…

2016 Spring Wedding Dates!

March 12,  26, 

April   30

May 14

June 4

July 30

Fall and Winter 2016 dates will be posted by April or May. I will update this list as dates get taken.

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

Please contact me here if you are interested in any of these dates and see this page for information on pricing and booking information. I look forward to getting to know you, working with you and having a lot of fun on your big day.
xoxo

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Dream Wedding Collective Giveaway

Early this year, when I was pregnant with Sloane and working my way thru the last weddings I had booked for 2014, my dear friend Katelyn of Katelyn James Photography gave me a call about a project that she was working on and wanted to know if I wanted to jump on board.

Katelyn told me about this crazy idea that she and Michael had dreamed up with their good friends, Buddy and Jill Powers, from Big Spring Farm in Lexington, VA. The Wedding Collective Giveaway, would be a collection of some awesome vendors (see more about vendors and the entire process here) coming together to give away a dream wedding to a lucky couple who shared their stories in a video submission contest.

Even though I was a bit burned out and ready to take a break from booking special events for a little while, I couldn’t pass up the chance to do something so special for a deserving couple. Especially with this group of talented professionals. And I’m so glad I did!

Meet the lucky winners, Alex and Laura

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

They were surrounded by fabulous friends and family on this gorgeous day at the Farm!View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlauraweddingThese girls are gorgeous from every direction!

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It was such a pleasure to get to know this gorgeous bride. She is a real beauty, inside and out!

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlauraweddingBrides like Laura make my job super easy!

Check out this post on the Wedding Collective website where I share 3 tips for special hair and makeup that brides should consider when planning their big day.

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

 

A huge thanks to my girls Meghan and Heather for jumping on board and sharing your talents. It is a pleasure to have you on my team! So lucky have these awesome beauty babes in my life.View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlauraweddingLaura was a stunning bride, very laid back and so happy to marrying her best friend. It was a beautiful day and the rain held off for the couple to have the outdoor dream wedding that we had all hoped for.

Check out more beautiful images from the day and all of the amazing details on Katelyn’s blog here.

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This is one of my favorites! You can just feel the excitement coming from Laura’s happy face as her mom zips her into this beautiful gown.

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlauraweddingAnd I love the special finishing touch of her hair accessory that was made from a piece of lace from her mother’s wedding gown. It is so sweet to see these details.
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It was so nice to be a part of this event and a great way to renew my energy and excitement to work with my next group of brides. Thank you to Alex and Laura for letting us be a part of your big day and shouts out to all of these amazing vendors who brought their A game to this party.

Next week I will be posting available spring dates for Jan-April 2016 weddings!View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

So I guess that means I am officially back! After spending the summer mostly at home with my babies and focusing on commercial/corporate work this fall/winter, I am ready to take on a few 2016 brides. Looking forward to working with you!

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