FROM FLAT IRON TO DIFFUSER

why I went from being a flat-ironing, straight-hair loving fanatic, to a diffuser-using, curly hair loving normal person

Have you been hiding your curly hair for years? Spending hours blowdrying it and flat ironing it to get the perfect, frizz-free, straight look? If your answer is yes, than you’re just like me!

I spent years hating my hair. I’ve been yanking my curls straight ever since the day I turned thirteen. It felt better to have straight hair, like somehow it made me prettier and I fit in more, but none of that actually happened, I was a “loser”in middle school and (let’s be honest) high school too. It’s safe to say, no one liked me more because of my hair.

Although, I think wearing it straight gave everyone one LESS thing to make fun of me about (shout out to all the people who made fun of me for not being able to afford a juicy track suit, called me sandy cheeks because of my teeth, called me beetle juice, etc, etc.)

now that that’s out of the way…

Straight hair made me feel normal. Growing up, having tight curls was like getting dealt a bad hand. It wasn’t “pretty” to have frizzy roots and patches of dry hair. For the first few years of my life, I wore my curls out, but I envied my friends with effortlessly beautiful, straight, shiny hair. I wanted it too.

and I would have it at all costs…

I’d spend hours at the hair salon every week getting my long mane blown out and flat ironed. They would wash my hair, put it in rollers, sit me under a dryer for TWO hours, blow my hair straight, then flat iron it. The whole process took about 3.5 hours.

I don’t even want to tell you how many hours I’ve spent JUST trying to get my hair straight. All of the Keratin treatments, Brazilian blow outs, relaxers, the list goes on and on.

my hair now

curly hair

When quarantine started, Greg and I were in Florida. It was humid, hot and the thought of standing in the bathroom for two hours with a blow-dryer and a flat iron seemed like hell. So, I said screw this; One day after washing my hair I thought “i’ll straighten it next week”. As the weeks went on, I started to research ways to get my curls back, make them healthy-looking again, and I stopped straightening.

It seems INSANE, but not having to worry about spending all of that time on my hair is so liberating. And I actually like myself more. I actually like my hair. I cannot wait until all of keratin-treated damage grows out and my REAL curls have their day. For now, I’m settling for my very confused, curly, wavy mess.

And now, I only straighten my hair ONCE every 6-8 weeks when I have it cut. I know many people completely stop doing that when they start their curly hair journey, but I like to have options. Even though I love my curls, I still like having the freedom to switch it up sometimes.

Are you on a natural hair journey too? What are your healthy hair secrets?

Products I love for my curls:

Rizos Curls Complete Bundle

Rizos Curl Defining Cream

Rizos Curl Refreshing Spray

Refresh & Detangle Spray Rizos Curls hair products no frizz between wash days

Rizos Diffuser

Rizos Curls Pink Collapsible Diffuser

with love & gratitude,

steph

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august: products that are worth the price tag

It’s mid-August! where the heck is Summer going? I always feel like Winter is 8 months long, while Spring, Summer and Fall are all crammed into 4 short months. Anyone else?

So far, it’s been a whirlwind. Our dog, Bono, was hit by a car last weekend. It was really scare and emotional. I realized how much he means to us. He’s been with us since last summer, just after we moved to Ohio from NJ and has seen us through some hard (emotional) times and I honestly couldn’t imagine life without him. Thankfully, he’s ok!

here he is sitting on our new couch – the one we swore we wouldn’t let him sit on – but could you say no to this face?!

The little things in life make me happy. For example, my husband writing me a nice card, my dog jumping up and down when I walk through the door, or finding a really cute pair of shoes on sale because who doesn’t love a good deal ?! It doesn’t take much to make me happy and I’m sure all of you can relate.

This month, there are a few items adding a little bit more light in my life. I wanted to share them with you!

You know I love skin care…

I recently picked up the Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate at Ulta. I love what this product has done for my skin. In just two weeks, my skin texture has improved and a few of my dark spots have lightened up!

I also picked up their Ultra Facial Cleanser and I’m loving it too. I’ve always wanted to try Kiehls products and I’m so glad I did! I have my eyes on a few others, i’ll let you know which products I try next.

Of course I had to include a pair of shoes…

they’re versatile and comfortable

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me post these Superga sneakers a few times. They are stark white (which usually isn’t my go-to shoe color). These shoes work well with just about any outfit. I plan to wear them in the Fall and Spring as well!

Have you ever shopped at World Market? They have items from all around the world and a great rewards program! I love buying my pasta, sauces, and home accents there. I saw this crossbody and had to have it – I’m excited to use it through the fall!

Let me know if you picked up any of these items and tell me if they worked for you (especially the skin care)!

with love & gratitude,

stef

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finishing Touches: Moisturizers & Sunscreens

We’re finally here. On to the last step in your skincare routine. How will you seal all those products into your skin and give it that final barrier it needs to protect it from this crazy environment?! I’ll tell you.

Moisturizers are fun (weird way to describe them, but seriously, I love them). There’s so many options and I have yet to find one that I don’t love. I’ll share three of my absolute favorite, gotta-have-them, buy-them-right-now, moisturizers and two sunscreens I’ve come to swear by. I stay away from moisturizers that are stricly for one “skin-type”. If you have dry skin it’s because your body is asking for something. Drink more water, eat a little better, get your fruits and veggies. Your skin conditions are typically an indication of whats happening inside of your body, pay attention.

Skin also changes, so I don’t want to commit myself to a full size product that only helps oily skin or that I can ONLY use in the Summer or Winter.

Now onto the good stuff…

Everybody knows I love Tatcha, so of course, I had to include The Water Cream on my list of loved ones. It’s light weight, goes on literally like water and it made my typically oily/combination skin behave. This moisturizer helps with dullness and uneven texture (a problem I have often suffered from), dryness, and pores. You don’t have to have dry skin to use this, it’s great for all skin types.

Next up, The Lotus Youth Preserve Moisturizer by FRESH. Much like the water cream, this is light weight and goes on smooth. It is a youth preserve so it targets fine lines and wrinkles, but this product is great for the early 20’s-30’s range because it’s made to help with early fine lines. Also great for all skin types.

Last but not least, Tidal Brightening Enyzme Water Cream by Sunday Riley. This stuff is no joke; just like every other Sunday Riley product. They’re pricey but THEY WORK. It’s great for all skin types and targets dryness, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. Again, you don’t have to have dry skin to use this. It’s lightweight and glides on, much like the other two.

If you don’t wear SPF you better get with the program

It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or if it’s winter. The sun is still in the sky and you should STILL apply SPF.

When you go to the beach, you (ideally) reapply sunscreen every 15-30 minutes depending on the strength. If you’re using anything less than 50, 70 or 100, I suggest reapplying AT LEAST every 30-45 minutes. Anyway, think of your face the same way only WAY more sensitive and exposed.

The SPF in your make-up is probably not high enough to protect you all day. I like to use a setting spray with SPF in it and I carry it with me (especially if I know i’ll be in the sun all day).

Keep in mind that you aren’t just protecting your skin from skin cancer, but from wrinkles and dark spots!

Want more help with products? Reach out! Use my contact page or drop a comment here.

P.S. Want to win a sample pack of my favorite products?! All you have to do is 1. Subscribe to my blog, 2. Follow me on Insta, and 3. Leave a comment on this post telling me you subscribed!

with love & gratitude,

stef

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what’s the first area on your face to give up on you?

Can you answer that question without reading?!

I’ll tell you. Also, read through to the end if you want to win stuff (hint: it’s not like the other posts).

Ok, let’s talk about those eyes. They’re perfect, just like you and your future skin care routine (or your current one)!

The skin under your eyes is super thin and loses elasticity sooner and more quickly than all of the other skin on your body! So, it’s important that you take care of it.

You want to treat this area with care. What I mean by that is, don’t take make-up wipes and drag them across your eyes, pulling and yanking back and forth on your eye lids! There are better ways to remove mascara… here try this! it melts the mascara right off so your make-up wipes or pads don’t have to wrestle with your eyelashes.

If you want to get super fancy you can use two different treatments under your eyes, one for daytime and one for night. I only use one (it’s great for my wallet and it does the trick).

Here are some of my favorites:

I’m not kidding when I say each of these does exactly what they claim to. My absolute favorite of the three is the Drunk Elephant Eye Serum. Drunk Elephants products are top notch and aren’t known to disappoint.

Take care of your eyes and the skin around them, peeps! Come back on Tuesday for my favorite moisturizers!

P.S. Want to win a sample kit of my favorite products? All you have to do is 1. Subscribe to my blog(tell me you did in the comments), 2. follow me on Insta, 3. Tag a friend in today’s insta post!

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let’s talk about the real MVP’s: Serums!

psssst..read through for a fun giveaway!

I’m corny and I’m proud.

I love serum… can you tell? If you’re 25+ you could benefit from using a serum. There are SO many serums out there and they all claim to do different, amazing things for your skin! How do you choose just one or two?!

I use a day serum and a night serum. If that’s too complicated, you can always use one for both. However, I’m all about optimization. If I can use one product at night that will fight off the wrinkles or dig deep and detox, and use another product during the day that will make me glow and keep my skin from looking dull, I’m all about it!

Wakey – Wakey Prep Your Face-y

We keep it super corny over here.

Seriously though, serum is great before moisturizer. it’s one of those steps that some people skin simply because they don’t want so many steps in their morning or evening routines. Heres the thing, serum is for treating specific problems or issues. Think about it like this, your cleanser cleans your face and your moisturizer keeps it nice and hydrated. What do you do about fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, acne, dry or dull skin? You have to treat it with something because cleaning and moisturizing are simply not enough (for me at least).

So what’s my daily dose of serum?

In the AM, I use a vitamin C serum and there’s about 3 that I have tried and LOVED.

The OLEHENRIKSEN Truth Serum is THE TRUTH. I like this stuff a lot. it’s not super heavy or oily going on and it makes a noticeable difference in my skin. I love anything that makes my skin glow, especially on the days I don’t feel like wearing make-up. It’s great for dryness, dullness, and uneven texture, and loss of elasticity or firmness. I can’t speak to wether it helps with loss of firmness as I don’t currently struggle with that, but it absolutely contributed to evening out my skins texture.

I also love the Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collage Brighten + Firm Vitamin C serum (that’s a mouthful). I actually started using this after having use the Drunk Elephant serum for awhile and to be honest, I liked this one a lot better in comparison. The Drunk Elephant serum worked wonders, I just wasn’t a fan of the texture. Anyway, this one comes out more like a gel which is super refreshing. It does exactly what it claims to: even texture, help with dullness, and fine lines and wrinkles. I’m a big fan of Dr. Gross products so i definitely recommend trying this one out!

From AM to PM

you guys remember that song?! Christina Milian? “Everybody lookin’ like stars, all the chicks and the fellas in the bars, all of y’all bumping this in your car, from AM to PM!”

Yes? No? Anybody?

Ok, my night serums. Oh man, I LOVE night serums so MUCH.

I always feel like my skin shedded a layer of crap when I wake up in the morning because it feels soft and brand new.

A few of my favorites: Luna Oil by Sunday Riley, Good Genes by Sunday Riley (this one is good for day time too, but it made me oily under my make-up so it’s a night time one for me), and last but NOT LEAST the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum. I just started this one about two weeks ago and I’m completely obsessed with how it’s literally transformed my skin in such a short amount of time!

Curious about eye creams?! Come back on Saturday to see my favorites!

P.S. Want to win a sample pack of my favorite products?! All you have to do is 1. Subscribe to my blog, 2. Follow me on Insta, and 3. Leave a comment on this post telling me you subscribed!

with love & gratitude,

stef

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