Beauty Favorites


You might remember that one of my 2014 goals was to wear makeup more regularly. In an effort to do that, I subscribed to Ipsy, a monthly makeup bag subscription where you receive 4-5 beauty products a month. It was fun and I highly recommend the subscription if you’re in the market for a monthly subscription. I recently cancelled mine, but not because I didn’t love it! I cancelled because thanks to Ipsy, I now have a favorite everything. I started noticing regardless of the new stuff I’d get, I’d continue to use my favorites. New is fun and great, and I’ll continue to try new products occasionally, but I think favorites and staples are the best! In an effort to keep my goals for 2015, I switched my monthly subscription to a stationary one, A Beautiful Mess Happy Mail. I want to be as intentional this year to love the people in my life well, which for me is often done by writing notes and encouraging words, as I was to wearing makeup last year. But, you must know my favorites!




If you’ve been around me for any amount of time in the last year or so, you know I was/am a huge advocate for DIY beauty care. I still am! But I recently found a shampoo and conditioner, via my Walmart Beauty Box samples, that is as good to my hair as DIY shampoo. I rotate out the “real” shampoo and conditioner and the DIY stuff these days. My friends told me I lost some of my hippie cred by using “real” shampoo, BUT it is 100% vegan, paraben free, sulfate free, and an oil infused shampoo. SO I think I get to keep SOME hippie cred.

DIY Shampoo – Combo of honey, baking soda, and water

“Real” Shampoo – L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Oil Infused Shampoo (paraben and sulfate free – the stuff that’s really bad for you hair and the reason I started doing DIY hair care)


DIY Conditioner – combo of organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I get it at Whole Foods or Kroger for $5 or less), lavender oil and water

“Real” Conditioner – L’Oreal Oleo Therapy Oil Infused Conditioner (paraben and sulfate free)


Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner – I LOVE THIS STUFF! Was an Ipsy bag sample, and then I had to start buying it. I get it on EBay for slightly cheaper than most places.


You can read more about my hair washing routine in the DIY beauty blog post, it’s still the same for the most part, I just rotate DIY shampoo and “real” shampoo now. I usually use DIY dry shampoo on day 2 or 3 and “real” dry shampoo on day 3 or 4.

DIY: mix of cocoa powder and corn starch, applied with a blush brush

“Real”: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo



In shower – combo of local honey, coconut oil, baking soda, and Aztec clay

Makeup removal – Equate Night-Time Soothing Makeup Remover Towelettes


I mix Aztec clay, lavender oil, and organic ACV. I don’t do this as often as I did, but it really helps with black heads. I apply it just on my nose and you can feel it tingle.


Night time – organic coconut oil applied with a cotton ball

Morning time – Avon Elements Moisture Boost with SPF


Organic ACV – spot treat with a qtip or cotton ball


Witch Hazel



Avon Magix Face Perfector with SPF. This is probably my fav beauty product overall. I use this instead foundation because I don’t have any major cover up needs. It’s a gel to powder formula and it evens out creases, lines, and imperfections.


NYX Above and Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in Fair


Was Avon Everlasting Pressed Powder BUT they just stopped selling it. I’ll probably go back to Maybelline Fit Me Pressed Powder.


Essence Sun Club All-In-One Bronzing Highlighter in Sunlight – I use this in place of blush. My cheeks are naturally REALLY rosy, so I prefer bronzers to blushes.


Hard Candy Brows Now! Fiberized Brow Gel in Medium Dark


Miss Adoro Silky Eye Shadow in Fairy’s Tale – When I run out of this I’ll just get a drugstore brand of a light color, but I do LOVE it and use it daily.


Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the Shadow in Champagne – I got this in my Ipsy bag AND won a free one, I LOVE it, and though it’s a little pricy, might rebuy it when I run out if I can’t find a similar replacement.

EYE SHADOW palette:

Coastal Scents Revealed 1 and Revealed 2 palettes. I will buy and rebuy and rebuy these for as long as they sell them. Revealed 2 is my favorite because of my skin tone, but I LOVE both. They are frequently compared to the Naked palettes. They also last forever. I can’t see the bottom on any of my colors yet.


Crown Brush Deluxe Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet – Major Ipsy treasure! I just my ring finger for blending and applying to my eye lid, but I LOVE this brush for all over base color application and crease colors. I also use the crease end to apply color to my lower lash line (I don’t do eyeliner).


Maybelline Falsies Flared. I also LOVE Tarte Cosmetics Lights Camera Lashes that I got as an Ipsy sample, BUT I can’t justify spending $20 on a tube of mascara.


I don’t have a favorite. I love them all! My go-to daily for a little color but mostly to stay moisturized is Maybelline Baby Lips in any color (fav is Peach Kiss). My go-to everyday colors are Revlon Lip Butters. My go-to for staying power for pictures, fancier occasions, or just because I want colored lips all day are Revlon Balm Stains. I have more lippies than anything else. #obsessed



As you may or may not know, I have roughly 300 bottle of nail polish (and by roughly, I mean I stopped counting at 300, BUT don’t buy regularly anymore so probably still close to that.) I love LOTS of polish brands, but by far my favorite remains to be Wet-N-Wild Megalast. OPI, Essie, and China Glaze make the best colors. But as far as staying power, my go-tos, application, and formula, Megalast continues to be my fav. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so what works well for one person might not work well for another, but for me, Megalast works!

Top CoaT: 

Another thing that’s different for everyone, and I’m always trying new ones. I’m currently using Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Topcoat, and I like it okay, but the “miracle” combo for me for slowest chipping seems to be using NYC In a New York Minute Quick Dry Polish in Grand Central Station then adding Wet-N-Wild Megalast Clear on top.

Base Coat:

Hands down ORLY Bonder Rubberized Base Coat.


For cuticle conditioning, Julep Essential Cuticle Oil. For removal Julep Vanish Cuticle Softener and Remover + Julep Cuticle Pusher + QVS Cuticle Clippers.

Quick DrY: 

Can’t live without the Julep Ta Da! Quick Dry Drops. I get them on super sale deals and never pay full price.


For glitter polishes I use the ONYX Professional Glitter and Polish Remover dipper. For everything else I use a nourishing acetone from Sally’s – Beauty Secrets Professional Nail Polish Remover.

Clean Up:

I clean up the inevitable polish I get on my cuticles and skin by dipping the E.L.F Concealer Brush (I get it at Big Lots for 95 cents) into acetone.

What are your favorite beauty products??

DIY Beauty

This post is long overdue! I talk about it all the time. I’ve told the story of what I do SO many times. But for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to type it up and put my official endorsement on it. I think mentally I wanted to REALLY make sure I believed in these beauty methods before I advertised them. I wanted to make it through sweaty months and dry months (those are the two seasons for the South right?) and make sure I still thought it worked. And guess what? I do! August 4th was the last time I used shampoo. Sometime in June or July was the last time I bought shampoo, conditioner, face wash, or scalp treatment. I haven’t shampooed my hair in almost 9 months. Sitting here typing this, I haven’t washed my hair at all in four days and it looks as fresh as ever. Adopting this DIY beauty routine, I went from NEEDING to wash my hair every day or every other day if I used dry shampoo, to washing it every 5 days. Intrigued? Grossed out? Keep reading! 🙂

My bathroom sort of looks like a pantry or science experiment these days, but I LOVE it. And let me say, these “methods” aren’t just for granola/hippie/hipster people! Not that I don’t love me some granola hipsters, I’m just not one of them. I like kale and chia seeds with the best of them, but I can admit when I think it’s just as easy and effective to do something the “normal” way. I hate the word normal, by the way, but for lack of a better term it works. For instance, I made DIY laundry soap once. It was fine. It worked okay. But regular store bought laundry soap seemed to get my clothes cleaner! So I went back to buying it. You know I love making things from scratch. I don’t believe in most cake mixes (unless you doctor them up) and I make my own chocolate syrup. I don’t do these things because of additives and preservatives, I just prefer the taste AND think it’s just as simple. However, I made an angel food cake from scratch once, and it was good, but it tasted pretty much exactly the same and was a heck of a lot more time consuming. Therefore, if I make angel food cake, I use a box mix OR I buy it premade (GASP!). I also love a box brownie mix, but that’s another story for another day. All that to say, I’m not one of those DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF AND NATURAL people. I love those people, but I’m not one of them. So if you think this is only for those people, it’s not! Do you like things that work? Do you like things that save money? Do you hate washing and drying your hair everyday? Well this is for you!


  • baking soda – baking isle for a smaller box, laundry isle for a big box (Generic brand is fine! I used to get the big box from Wal-mart for $2.50. 1 box lasts 3 months for my long hair. I recently bought a HUGE bag from Sam’s. It will probably last me over a year! )
  • regular apple cider vinegar – usually by cooking oils (Generic brand is fine!)
  • raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar – sometimes with regular vinegar, sometimes in the organic section (It will say “with the ‘mother'” on it. Don’t ask me what that means, but it’s not clear like the other kind and a little bit more expensive. I use Bragg’s, but Heinz has one too I believe.)
  • organic coconut oil – sometimes on the regular cooking oils isle, but also in the organic section (All brands are pretty much the same, just get organic.)
  • essential oil – usually organic section (I use lavender, but tea tree oil smells good too. I just just have a sensitivity to it.)
  • cornstarch – baking isle (Generic brand is fine!)
  • cocoa powder if you have dark hair – baking isle (Generic brand is fine!)
  • Wilton icing bottles – specialty baking isle (They come in a pack of two, are cheap, and perfect for this! You can also use hair color bottles from Sally’s.)
  • miniature spray bottle – travel section (optional)

I’ll talk about what each product can be used for, how I use it, why I think it works, and answer questions people frequently ask.



My fellow blogging, nail polish addict, and make-up loving friend Jessica over at Meet the Magnolias told me about this “no-poo” (short for no shampoo) method by sharing her experience with me! First, I don’t like to call it “no-poo” because well, it should be obvious (it sounds gross!). Second, I’m much more likely to try something when someone I know tells me it really works. The link she shared that I base my mixture off of is from Mind Body Green.

Why switch? It works and it’s healthier for your hair! Shampoo, though a genius marketing move, is actually really bad for your hair. Without fail when people tell me my hair looks so good and healthy and I announce that I haven’t washed in 3-6 days or used shampoo in 8 months the first words out of their mouths are always, “I HAVE to wash mine everyday, it’s so oily!” Our hair is oily BECAUSE of the shampoo. I used to HAVE to wash mine every day too. Shampoo strips your scalp of oils it actually needs. As a result, your scalp is constantly trying to rebuild those oils. THUS oily hair. It’s a trap. You wash your hair daily because it’s oily. Because you wash it daily the scalp works fast to replenish needed oils. Therefore you wash it more and more. Then it gets and feels unhealthy because of all the washing. Therefore you have to spend more money to buy treatments and super strength conditioners. Whew! That makes me tired enough to try something else. And… I don’t know very many women who ENJOY blow drying their hair everyday. Which guess what? Blow drying every day is also bad for your hair!

Do note that there is a transition phase! You probably will have to wash more often in the beginning. Give yourself 4 to 6 weeks and then  you’ll start to see the benefits — faster growing hair, healthier hair, less frizzy hair, stronger hair, etc. Just google it! Tons of people have written about it and the benefits. Google baking soda shampoo or no-poo shampoo. My transition phase was about 2 weeks, but I had already trained my hair to go 2 to 3 days without washing. If you are an every day washer, your phase might take longer. Just give it 6 weeks! During the 6 weeks, DO NOT wash your hair every day. This method isn’t actually good for you hair if you do it everyday! The point is to not need to wash it daily. Be sure to find a dry shampoo you like because you will need it during transition phase.


The formula that seems to work best for me is 1 part baking soda to 2-3 parts water for my “shampoo” mixture. Different blogs vary for the ratio, but I’ve tried many and for me this is perfect. For my length hair, which is on the longer side, about mid back, I use 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 7ish tablespoons of water. I keep a tablespoon measuring spoon in my bathroom along with a mason jar of baking soda (and other things you’ll hear about later). I keep my mixing bottles in the shower. On the mornings I need to wash my hair, I measure out the baking soda into the bottle, add the water, and shake. It can settle if it takes a long time from the time  mixed to the time of use, so shake it again before application. You can make it the night before as well and just shake it before use in the morning. I wet my hair in the shower first, just like you would for normal shampooing. Then I squeeze the mixture all around my scalp, concentrating first on oilier parts (for me the hair line, front, and crown). I squeeze the rest of the mixture on the back of my scalp and any leftover down my hair. I rub it in and scrub with my fingertips just like I would with shampoo — just sans foaming. I do this in the beginning of my shower routine so it can sit on my scalp for several minutes and then rinse it out. For most washing days I follow with a vinegar, lavender oil, water mixture for shine and detangling that I’ll discuss under the vinegar section.

-FAQs on Baking Soda as Shampoo-

  • Is it safe for color treated hair? I color my hair every 3-4 months at home. I personally think it makes my color keep longer. I’m a fake red head, red fades the fastest, and mine really doesn’t fade all that much. When I color my hair, I DO use all the components of the kit. It doesn’t mess me up. I’ve read suggestions for people who get color in salon to definitely let them wash your hair when you get it colored (necessary!), just request a sulfate free shampoo. Apparently 99.9 % of salons have it. According to my reading, it only sets you back a few days in the training you’ve done to your hair.
  • Don’t you miss suds? I did at first! I’m used to it now. The benefits outweigh the luscious feeling of a lather.
  • What if you have a scalp condition? I have scalp psoriasis. It neither makes my scalp better or worse. It burns slightly, but so do expensive shampoos I buy for my scalp. I can’t speak for whether it makes dandruff worse. Usually in the winter I get a little normal dandruff along with my scalp psoriasis, but this winter while using this method I did not.
  • What about working out? I pull my hair up in a no crease hair tie, pin back any bangs and pieces that don’t fit, and I’m fine. I know some people get sweaty scalp, but I don’t! If I do, it’s around the edges, and once I get home I wipe around my face and the face framing portions of my hair with a baby wipe then blow dry any damp pieces.
  • What about salon visits? Having someone wash my hair and the salon when I go in for a cut is what I miss most! Someone else washing your hair is just a lovely feeling. But I willingly gave it up! If you prefer a wet cut like I do, wash before you go. I wash my hair right before I go, and then I opt for letting them fix it. It feels just as relaxing for someone to dry and style your hair to me as it does for them to wash it.


When I realized baking soda actually worked for shampooing, I was amazed and wanted to know what else it did. This post and this post convinced me to try DIY beauty full force, and now I’m sold. In a mini mason jar with a plastic lid, I keep a mixture of 1 part baking soda to 1 part water to use for face wash. I’m uncertain on exact measurements of this, but it should be a liquidy paste consistency. Runnier than toothpaste, but not as liquid as your shampoo mixture.It shouldn’t feel too gritty. I rub a little between my palms each morning then gently rub my face to cleanse it. I can’t answer questions about how this works for problem-prone skin. I was blessed with freckles and clear skin. The most blemishes I’ve ever had at once are 2. It’s perfect and gentle for me. I have combination oily/dry skin and I’m fair, so slightly sensitive skin, and it feels gentle, cleanses my face perfectly, and leaves my skin feeling ridiculously smooth. You can use less water to use it to exfoliate.

There are even more ways you can use it for healthy skin from this site! Apparently it can even be used for sunburn relief or a detox bath!


DON’T do this everyday! I’d do it one time a week at most. I usually do it once or twice a month. That being said, you can dip your wet toothbrush into a little baking soda and gently brush your teeth with it for whiter teeth.


I use the same mixture I use for washing my face mixed with a tiny bit of coconut oil for shaving “lotion” and it works perfectly!



For a conditioning rinse to follow the baking soda shampoo, I use regular (not the organic) apple cider vinegar mixed with water and lavender essential oil. You can use the organic here if you’d like, but I tried both and don’t notice a difference and the regular is cheaper! This is also in the Mind Green Body post and the other DIY beauty posts I mentioned. The vinegar rinse helps add shine to hair, and also releases tangles. For my length hair it does not release all tangles, but it definitely helps! Under coconut oil I’ll discuss a option for additional detangling help.

One thing to note about this is that if you know for some reason you’ll be getting your dry hair wet, you might want to skip the rinse for that washing day. So for instance if it’s 100% chance or rain for 3 days and you aren’t good at remembering to have your umbrella handy or if you’ll be going to the beach or swimming. Once you dry your hair, or once it air dries, the smell is completely gone. But for some reason when it gets wet the smell is slightly reactivated.


Again, I also keep a mason jar full of this in my bathroom. In one of my Wilton bottles, I fill it 1/4th of the way with vinegar. I add 5-6 drops of lavender oil and fill the rest of the bottle with water. For my length hair, I use the entire amount. You might not have to. After rinsing my baking soda shampoo out, I squeeze this mixture all over my hair. I turn the water to as cold as I can handle it, and rinse it out with cool water. Rinsing with cool water also helps with shine.

-FAQs on ACV for Conditioner-

  • What about the smell? As mentioned above, it really does go away when it’s dry! With the lavendar oil, the smell left behind is faint. But once it’s dry, especially if you blow dry, it’s gone.
  • What if my hair is still tangled? Read below about coconut oil detangler! You can also use a normal detangler, but this is about DIY methods! Be sure to only spray detanglers on the ends of your hair as spraying them on roots can add some extra, unneeded oiliness.


Use diluted organic apple cider vinegar to spot treat blemishes! If I have one and do this the night before, it’s usually gone by morning. You can also dilute it even more and use it as toner. I’d suggest adding some lavender oil with it though for smell. But don’t forget to dilute! It will make your face red if you use it all over at full strength.


TMI here, BUT it works so I’m sharing. I had one of those hideous underskin infections on my leg last summer. I knew it had potential to get worse, and I had read that organic apple cider vinegar and some antibacterial properties. I put some on a cotton ball full strength, spot treated the infection, the next morning it was GONE! NOTE: Do not do this on any sort of open infection or sore. I would imagine that would burn like heck and have no idea if it’s good for it.


You can actually drink a little organic apple cider vinegar every day and it’s good for your immune system! There is lots of information out there and I am not an expert and can’t speak on it. I do it and it seems to help. When I feel a cold coming on I drink 1 tablespoon of organic ACV a couple of times a day mixed with cranberry juice and chased with water (it’s nasty, fair warning). There is lots of info and lots of “recipes” for daily elixers to drink. Just google apple cider vinegar drink.



In a travel size spray bottle I mix a little coconut oil, less than 1/4th of a bottle, and fill it with warm water. I spray it on my ends to aid in combing out tangles before blow drying. Coconut oil is a hard oil, so the oil will harden between uses. I hold the bottle under hot water each time I need to use it to dissolve the oil then shake it up and use it. 


Coconut oil is sort of magical and has healing powers (again, I’m not an expert, google it!). Coconut oil can be used in place of neosporin under a bandaid. It can also be used on a burn where the skin isn’t broken (I used it on a curling iron burn recently). I also use it when I have sores on my scalp from my psoriasis (how much more TMI can this post get…). To use it in these ways, I scoop some out of the jar I keep in my bathroom, let it sit in my palm for a minute to melt or rub some between my palms to melt it, and then dip a qtip in the melted oil and spot treat the areas in need.


Coconut oil can be rubbed into cuticles to soften them and push them back. I also always rub my feet down with coconut oil after a pedicure and cover them with socks for a little bit to let it absorb into my skin.


Rub some into the palm of your hands to get it into liquid form, and use it on any excessively dry areas! 


Rub some into the palm of your hands to melt it, then with a gtip or cotton ball or finger tip, apply to eye area to easily remove mascara and eye liner.



If you have lighter hair, you can use straight cornstarch as dry shampoo! If you have darker hair, you can mix cocoa powder with it to get your desired color consistency. I use a makeup powder brush to apply it around my hair line, along my part, and at the crown of my head and store it in an emptied, cleaned makeup container.


Okay, that was A LOT of info. Possibly the longest post I’ve ever written. Whew! Do you understand why it took me so long to write now?? Okay, so now I’ll recap JUST the hair part of what I do to not have to wash my hair but every 5-6 days. Some washes last 5 days, some last 6 days. On a 5 day wash my hair starts getting oily a little earlier or it was an exceptionally humid week or I had to use too much hair spray earlier in the week for “fancy” hair. On a 6 day wash the first 3 days are pretty perfect. I’ll discuss the routine for both.

A perfect 6 day wash:

Day 1 – Wash hair with baking soda water shampoo mixture. Rinse hair with apple cider vinegar lavender water mixture. Detangle hair with coconut oil water mixture. Blow dry and style hair.

Day 2 – Style hair (which usually just involves brushing it, straightening any pieces that got unruly in the night or curling the ends).

Day 3 – Style hair (which usually just involves brushing it, straightening any pieces that got unruly in the night or curling the ends and sometimes on this day I might pin back my bangs if they are looking a little oily from touching them too much).

Day 4 – Use DIY dry shampoo and style hair (you get the picture of what styling involves).

Day 5 – Use store bought dry shampoo on oily areas and style hair.

Day 6 – Wear hair in an updo or braid.

A little less than perfect 5 day wash: 

Day 1 – Wash hair with baking soda water shampoo mixture. Rinse hair with apple cider vinegar lavender water mixture. Detangle hair with coconut oil water mixture. Blow dry and style hair.

Day 2 – Style hair (which usually just involves brushing it, straightening any pieces that got unruly in the night or curling the ends).

Day 3 – Use DIY dry shampoo and style hair (you get the picture of what styling involves).

Day 4 – Use store bought dry shampoo on oily areas and style hair.

Day 5 – Wear hair in an updo or braid.

And for a final note… Many times when I’ve told someone I only wash my hair every 5 days, they immediately say, “I have to shower every day!” Hair washing does not equal showering! I shower [almost] everyday! I just pull my hair back with a no-crease hair tie, push my bangs back with a loose head band, and shower. PLEASE SHOWER EVERY[ISH] DAY! 

Calendar Journaling

I briefly posted about this Calendar Journaling concept once on a Five Things Friday post. I didn’t go in depth, but now that I completed a whole year and bragged on the results, it seems like an appropriate time to talk a little more about it! On January 1st, I posted this picture with the following caption on Instagram and Facebook.

“A year ago today I started a calendar journal in an attempt to really pursue Jesus and feel connected to Him. I was committing to the smaller commitment of a tiny box vs daunting pages and pages of a journal. Today I finished it. Every box filled, all 365 of them. As a result of starting this practice, I also filled 1 and 1/2 regular sized journals with prayers. I’m hooked! Because of the calendar journal I’ve been able to discover so much about my patterns, sin and emotional. Knowing your patterns leads to planning for times you know will be harder. Which results in a more consistent walk with Jesus, less self condemnation, being motivated to seek purity and holiness by Jesus’ love for me and not being “motivated” by shame and “trying” not to sin because the Bible says not to. When we’re motivated by Jesus’ love, we want to sin less and less. Not just because we’re not supposed to sin, but because we don’t want to because of love! All that to say… If you want to feel closer to Jesus this year and wish you’d be more consistent, give this a try! Go buy a calendar right now.”

Last January, in a final cry out to cope with the grief of losing my dad right before the holidays and going through the holidays without him, I told Jesus I’d spend time with Him every day for two weeks, but that I didn’t believe that even He could make this better. Boy was I wrong. I am a OCD list-y type of person. I’m also an all or nothing type of person. I’ve attempted to journal many times before in my life, and always failed. Never consistent, no follow through. The daunting pages and pages of an empty journal both inspired and discouraged me. If I’d miss a day or a week, I’d want to go back and write for each one of those days, but know I couldn’t, so I just didn’t write at all. But, I also knew journaling had value. I knew especially now, if I was going to really give Jesus a chance, I needed to be able to write things down to see if He actually was changing things. I ran across a calendar journal idea on Pinterest. It was more complicated and beautiful than this, but I didn’t have time for crafty things, it was a new year and I wanted to start asap because I knew myself well enough to know if I didn’t start right then, I wouldn’t.

So basically, just go buy a journal! My first year I opted for a simple one. Notebook size for bigger squares, but no weekly schedule or days, each month took up two full size pages. This year I upgraded and am doing a monthly/weekly one. I’ll hit one word highlights in the month squares, and then write a little more on big squares. This isn’t your planner, it’s just a journal! Sure, you can use it as a planner too, it’s all up to you! It’s about you and what helps and works for you. Many things added up together helped transform my time with Jesus and my way more consistent relationship with him, but this by far was the biggest.

I’ll share what I do, but you can totally make it you and yours in any and every way possible! I like colors, so I write in a different color every day. I also get excited about a new month because I do a little monthly doodle at the top of each page that corresponds with the month’s theme. I write the significant things of the day. Example: “Starbucks Jesus time. Good work day. DNA group. Good convo with Britt.” Example: “Overslept. No Jesus time. Blah work. Sin struggles. Grief moment.” Example: “Arise. Love my church. Nap. Worked out.”  See, basic? I mean I fill up those squares, but it’s not a huge recap of each day. It’s hitting points and patterns I want to track and things I want to remember. I do miss days sometimes, at least one or two a week, but because of the format, it’s easy to remember the highlights of those days. This has helped me understand so much about my patterns! I know I struggle more with grief and sin on the weekends when I’m not around as many people. I know I have a horrible attitude about things when I miss spending time with Jesus in the mornings. I know that on Wednesdays when I have free afternoons and don’t make a plan for how I’ll use that free afternoon that I struggle with sin. I also was able to figure out some significant patterns to talk to my girl doctor about and realized I should be on medicine.

And guess what else? The sense of consistency and accomplishment calendaring journaling gave me, lead me to start writing prayers down in a real journal too. Never in my 30 years of life have a I finished a journal. Last year I finished a calendar journal, all 365 squares, and filled 1 and 1/2 regular journals with prayers. My Jesus time pattern is as follows: find a place (usually a table at Starbucks, but sometimes home), acquire coffee, pull out journals, Bible, pens, and/or book(s) and organize them, put in ear phones and play worship playlist on shuffle, fill out calendar journal for day before (and any missed days), start new day, pray by writing in prayer journal prayers of forgiveness and focus, read God’s word (usually along with She Reads Truth), pray for other things the Holy Spirit prompts.

So there you go, simple, nothing special, but life changing for me. If you are disappointed in your consistency and wish you spent more time with Jesus, give this a try.

A Brief Update/Announcement

Don’t get your hopes up, I’m not finished with THE MONTH OF CRAZY that happens as a full time employee of residence life at a university, and therefore not “back” yet. So no meal plans, recipes, pictures, nail polish posts, or fashion updates. 

Well… let me chase a rabbit here to give you one fashion update. I bought in to this “no poo” natural DIY beauty routine thing. I’m totally sold! Go buy these four things (or steal them from your cabinet) and when I get back from THE MONTH OF CRAZY I’ll tell you what to do with them, OR just Google it. 

1. baking soda
2. apple cider vinegar
3. cornstarch
4. virgin coconut oil 

I’ve been washing my face with baking soda, spot treating blemishes with apple cider vinegar (which disappear the next day), washing my hair with a baking soda wash, spot treating my scalp psoriasis with coconut oil, moisturizing and coconut oil, conditioning my hair with a apple cider vinegar rinse, and using my DIY dry shampoo for dark hair made of cornstarch and cocoa powder. SOLD! I’ve “washed” my hair twice in two weeks and it looks fabulous. Like I said, more after THE MONTH OF CRAZY (yes, yes I am going to type that in all caps like I’m yelling it or saying it in a booming, deep, Morgan Freeman-like voice every time, because I am). 

End rabbit chase. 

The reason I am popping in to give you an update is because I have a need to tell you a vitally important update about my life. 

I found “the one” tonight. 

Okay, I didn’t find my future husband, just wanted to get your attention by being dramatic (especially after chasing that rabbit). I did however experience something that I have to believe feels something like the feeling people say they have when they “just know” they found “the one.” Not when middle school (or college freshman) girls say they found “the one,” but when loving married couples reflect back on the moment they “knew” and were right. 

I mentioned before (see Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding post), that I was living life with a new church. We’ve been taking turns telling our life stories. Tonight was my turn. I won’t share my whole story here (though I am praying about what that could possibly look like and mean), but I will share my “opener” to help explain the moment I had tonight. 

“If I were going to sum myself up in a few sentences, what I’d want you to know about me is that I’m passionate about cooking, baking, writing, women’s ministry, being connected to a church that believes in being a family, and living the Christian life out with others with transparency and vulnerability. Since this is a unique season and community where we’re trying to know each other in depth so that we can be a family, I’ll tell you a lot more, and by a lot, I do mean A LOT, but I believe my story as a whole, as traumatic and long as it is, gives explanation to these things I’m passionate about and vividly portrays the gospel message throughout. Because I’m passionate about writing, it’s my favorite way to communicate, so naturally I wrote my story out in story form and would like to read it to you.

“Every story whispers His name,” is the tagline of The Jesus Storybook Bible. It tells the stories of the Bible, New and Old Testament, in a storybook form for children of all ages and points every story back to Jesus and how it connects to the redeeming salvation story. Every story in Scripture does in fact whisper His name, and some stories scream His name. Our stories, stories of redemption and salvation, do the same. Allow me to tell you my story, one that whispers, echoes and screams His name through every detail.”

And so I read my story for approximately 25 minutes to this new church family. It was terrifying to be so vulnerable, but in the two short months we’ve been meeting together, I found myself able to trust them. It was one of the most incredible experiences. I was immensely encouraged and humbled. I’ve never felt such freedom from the trap of shame that often comes when I think about my story or free from the bonds of sin. I’ve also never felt so loved and accepted by such a large group of people. One of my best friends who had been praying for me asked me how it was after. My first response, as I sobbed happy tears all the way home and at least an hour after we met, was “indescribable.” As I continued to reflect more on how I felt, I sent her the following message.

“You know how people say when you meet “the one” you “know?” I feel like this feeling has to be similar to that. I feel like I just had a moment where I “knew” these people are going to love me forever.”

Her response was, “That’s so sweet. You should tell them.”

Since the way I communicate best is via writing, I immediately opened my computer and clicked “new post” and began to write about this moment. I can say with confidence that tonight will be a moment I remember for the rest of my life and that will forever now be added to my story. I literally sobbed, overcome with joy, that God would allow me to be part of such a moment.

Arise Church FAMILY, because we really are family, I love you. I’m beyond excited for this journey. Thanks for affirming me, thanks for accepting me, thanks for encouraging me, thanks for supporting me, and most of all, thanks for CHOOSING to love me (and each other). Because like I said tonight, if there is one thing I’ve learned from my being healed from my past journey, it’s that the choice to love someone is often more meaningful than loving someone because you are “supposed” to.

Weekend Mani: Corrections

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A super quick weekend manicure post to share my favorite nail polish trick. I would not like painting my nails as often as I do and as much as I do if I wouldn’t have discovered this trick. You know all those pictures people post with flawlessly painted nails? Do your nails look like that when you finish painting them? Mine sure don’t! I bet they all use this. Maybe some people are just that skilled, but I bet the majority of them use this little trick!

A small angled eyeliner or concealer brush dipped in acetone clean up a manicure perfectly. I’ve tried a few, but this cheap Elf concealer brush is my favorite. You can find it at Target always, Walmart sometimes, and Big Lots for barely a dollar if you’re lucky! Dip the brush in acetone, wipe it off slightly, and then clean up the polish that got on your skin while you were doing your best at painting your nails! Easy, simple, needed if you paint your nails regularly. 

Weekend Mani: Ombre Blues

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If you know me or follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you know I have a slight (or not so slight) obsession with nail polish and painting my nails. There are so many fancy nail bloggers out there that I never want to be a regular nail blogger or even semi regular. However, I do like to toss things up a little so that you get some variety mixed in with all the food posts! So I bring you the first ever Weekend Mani post.

I’ve seen many different version of ombre nails lately. In case you missed it, ombre is in. It’s in for highlights, it’s in for home decor, it’s in for clothes, it’s even in for baking! I’m not always “in” to in things, but I thought I’d try my own version of ombre nails since I have so many in this blue color family. I didn’t hate it! I tend to like simple and classic manicures. I like to add an accent nail on occasion, but I mostly keep it solid. This obmre was so subtle that it kept me satisfied without feeling too flashy all through last weekend.

Colors I used from pinky to thumb:

  • Avon Nailwear Pro in Vintage Blue
  • Unforgettable Moments (Payless Shoes brand) in Aqua Island
  • Wet-n-Wild Megalast in I Need a Refresh-Mint
  • Finger Paints in Tiffany Imposter
  • Essie in Where’s My Chauffeur?

Do you like the ombre trend? Clothes? Hair? Decor? Baking? I’m not sold, but I’ve seem some classy subtler versions of things I like. 

DIY Magnetic Chalk Board

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  • 97¢ cookie sheet from Wal-mart
  • gripper paint primer (Like this one, comes in 1 quart, I got mine at Home Depot. I used mine for 7 magnetic board, spilled half of it, and still have a ton left.) 
  • 1/4 cup acrylic paint, color of choice (the little 57¢ Apple Barrel brand ones from Wal-mart!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon non-sanded grout (I got mine from Home Depot, EVERYONE I know has used the package I bought for making chalkboard paint and it’s still over half full!)
  • plastic cups and spoons for mixing paint
  • ribbon
  • doilies or fabric
  • scrap book paper scraps
  • chalk
  • magnets
  • assorted objects to glue to magnets (buttons, glittery things, etc)
  • paint brushes


Step 1: Paint the inside of a cookie sheet with gripper paint primer. I’m not an expert on paint and primer, but I was told by a painter that if you want paint to stay on a metal surface you can’t skip this step. I’ve had my board now for over a year and the paint has yet to crack or scrap off! Let it dry completely. 

Step 2: Mix 1/4 cup of acrylic paint with 1/2 tablespoon of grout in a disposable plastic cup with a plastic spoon. If you are doing multiple boards or colors, you’ll want to just mix one color at a time because it can dry out quickly. 
Step 3: Paint 1-2 coats of the paint over on the cookie sheet over the primer. If the one coat is streaky or not vibrant enough, do a second. Let dry completely. 
Step 4: Once the board is completely dry, take a white piece of chalk turned length wise and rub it all over the board to “set” the chalk board. Wipe with a dry paper towel. 
Step 5: At this point your magnetic chalk board is ready to be written on and ready for magnets! The decor is totally up to you, as little or as much as you want. I hot glued tiny doilies in the bottom corner and hot glued a folded a medium sized doily in the top corner to paint names on. I made tiny pennant banners out of twine and triangles cut from sparkly scrap book paper. I hot glued buttons and glittery dots that I purchased on sale in the scrapbook section to magnets. 
Step 6: Write cheesy messages until your heart is content! I also used the magnets to put a picture or two on mine. Give as gifts with chalk! 

Homemade Honey Peanut Butter

I could seriously post this recipe with no words at all, just pictures. Two reasons. 1. It’s SUPER easy! So easy I don’t know if we can even call it a “recipe” at all. 2. Every time I see these pictures I just want to go get another spoonful! Yes. It really is as good and easy as it looks. 
Peanut butter! I love the stuff. I love it on toast. I love it on bananas. I love it on a spoon with a glass of milk. I love it mixed with jelly and spread on two slices of bread. Love it. But have you ever looked at the label on a jar of peanut butter? It was brought to my attention this week how many ingredients that aren’t actually peanuts at all are in a jar of peanut butter. Allow me to share them with you. 

A regular or reduced fat jar of normal peanut butter has 60% peanuts in it. Even natural peanut butter isn’t all peanuts. Common ingredients are peanuts (obviously), sugar, molasses, and palm oil. Now if you’re going to buy peanut butter, buy natural! It is way better and not at all bad and 90% peanuts. But guess what my peanut butter has in it? 

Peanuts! Well, and a little honey. I’m not a math person, but if I were to guess on the percentage of peanuts in my peanut butter, I’d go 99% peanuts and 1% honey. 
Seriously, this is so simple! If you have a food processor, you can make this and feel so awesome about life, yourself, your body and what you’re putting in it, AND your DIY skills. If you don’t have a food processor, go buy one! It’s a worthy investment. 


  • 2 jars of unsalted dry roasted peanuts (I used Walmart brand)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey


Pour one jar of peanuts into your food processor. Pulse pulse pulse. Hold the button down and let it go! The first stage will look like crumbs and/or powder and you’ll wonder if it will really get creamy.

Once the first jar got pretty powdery, I added in the second jar and squeezed in a little honey. I’m estimating about 2 tablespoons worth, maybe a little less, but 2 won’t hurt. 

Just keep pulsing, just keep pulsing, just keep pulsing. The next phase it will start to form a gooey ball. Pause to take a picture if you want, but then… Just keep pulsing, just keep pulsing.

Voila! Before your eyes the gooey ball, that was once crumbly powder, that was once hard peanuts, will transform into a luscious creamy nut butter!

It will also be slightly warm right after because of the hard work of the food processor. Slather in on a banana (or a spoon, or your finger) and enjoy immediately! Then put it in a jar or air tight container and show it to all your friends. Or give them some! They’ll love you more than they already do.

This homemade peanut butter will keep in your refrigerator for 2 months! And then we will of course make more. Seriously. Do it. 

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DIY Key Caps

Sometimes things can be easy. Sometimes they can take 5 minutes and solve problems and be so easy. Sometimes we complicate things. Sometimes we add too many ingredients to a recipe. Sometimes we don’t wash our clothes for far too long so that the folding is so overwhelming we avoid it until clothes piles become clothes mountains when we could have made life easier by washing more often and folding little piles. Sometimes easy things are just nice. 
Do you have a bunch of keys that all look the same and always have fumbly moments trying to open doors? Maybe you don’t have as many keys as I do, the Key-Keeper of Latimer-Webb, but I bet you have a couple at least! Stores sale these overpriced key caps to distinguish your keys. Well you know what else works? FREE! Tell me you don’t have a couple bottles of nail polish tucked away somewhere? Or 32, no judgement. 
Pinterest taught us (my RAs and I) this trick. So clever! Clip your key bottoms with clothes pens to hold and for easy drying. Paint your key tops with different colors of nail polish. Add a glitter coat if you want for extra sparkle. Let them dry for an hour or so and they you have cute keys! Everything deserves a chance to be cute right? Even keys. Even better news… Removal and clean up is even easier! Nail polish remover and it’s totally gone, in case you have keys that don’t belong to you forever. Dipping them in one of the nail polish remover dippers works like a charm. 
Originally I didn’t intend to do DIY posts for my blog, Kasia’s Kitchen. However, it just so happens that I love DIYing and most of my DIY projects happen in the kitchen. That stone marble behind the keys? That’s my new counter tops in my newly remodeled kitchen. 

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DIY Surf Spray

I’m interrupting the flow of food posts, to bring you a far more rare kind of post, but just as fun. DIY! I usually get DIY inspired in the fall and winter months, but this summer DIY project totally rekindled my love for all things DIY. I was so DIY inspired that I had to draw a pretty chalk sketch to go with my creation. 

Once upon a time on a beach trip in some year I don’t remember, I recall thinking that I loved the way my hair got wavy after some combination of ocean water, sand, and too much sun that surely burned my freckled skin. 
Years passed, and post college (when I stopped cutting my hair way shorter than I ever should have cut it) I discovered surf spray. Herbal Essence used to make it. It was in a blue bottle and you had to shake it before every use. I stocked up on two bottles every time I ran out. I remember when my Walmart stopped selling it. I panicked and then discovered Herbal Essence had a section of their website that told you what stores sold the products you wanted. I found it at Walgreens! I stocked up and then they discontinued it. I tried other products, but nothing was ever the same. My hair hasn’t seen beach waves since. Until today!

I pinned this DIY recipe for surf spray long ago, not having super high hopes. I got a hair cut Tuesday and then saw this adorable hair style on Pinterest. I knew I could do it with my hair as is, but couldn’t help think of how much cuter it would be with beach waves. Then I began to long for beach waves. Which then lead me to add Epsom salt and hair gel to my shopping list. 

I doubled my recipe and altered it a bit from the Pinterest one. What I’m posting are the products and amounts I used. If you don’t plan on using it as often as I do, you might want to do less like the Pinterest one did. Also, you’ll notice I slightly decreased the amount of hair gel (she says four squirts for the smaller batch, but in the comments when someone asks how much each squirt was she says tablespoons) and added the Surf Hair stuff. I LOVE this stuff. It’s my go to product. I like it better than any gel or hairspray. When I curl my hair, I run Surf Hair through it and it holds way better than any hairspray AND with a soft bouncy hold. It also helps keep my bangs in place. Knowing how great that product was, I wanted to add it to my concoction.


  • 6 teaspoons Epsom salt ($2.98 for a HUGE bag at Walmart)
  • 7 tablespoons water-based hair gel (one that smells good!)
  • 1 tablespoon Garnier Fructis Surf Hair Texture Paste (optional)
  • 8 ounces of water


You can add all the ingredients to the bottle you want to use and shake, but I feel like I have more shaking power and control with a Mason jar and also less spills. I added all ingredients to the jar. I added slightly warm water to help the mixing process. Shake shake shake. If you use Surf Hair, it doesn’t like to mix quite as well. I had to whisk it in and break it up, then shake more. I used a funnel to fill my bottle. 

Look! Perfect, messy beachy wavy curls! I am certain I’ll have to make another batch of this next week. Use it on damp hair for best results. You can also spray it on your roots for some lift and use it for touch ups on dry hair. Be sure to shake before each use.

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