Fashion & Beauty

citrus coconut sea salt scrub

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Posted on Jul 17, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

sea salt scrub

I don’t talk a lot about beauty products here because, quite honestly, it just isn’t my thing. I don’t wear makeup. I’m the queen of air-dried hair. I don’t even paint my nails anymore (although this is more a causality of my in-the-dirt lifestyle than a lack of desire—I love sparkly nails!). I used to love beauty products. I loved putting on makeup and wearing smelly-good lotions. But sometime in college, I developed a pretty nasty eye allergy to almost all makeup (I’ve only found one mascara that doesn’t make my eyes swell up, and it was discontinued years ago). So I stopped wearing makeup. And slowly, other products kinda trickled out of my life, too. At first, I was bummed, but now, I totally love my low-maintenance lifestyle. Give me some lip balm and my sunglasses and I’m ready to head out the door.

When I do find myself needing some sort of beauty item, I almost always try to make it myself before buying something. I’ve made my own powder makeup, deodorant, lotion, face masks, and even Craig’s shaving cream. I like knowing exactly what is in the stuff I’m slathering on the biggest organ in my body. Plus, it’s fun to make it yourself! And extremely cost-effective.

sea salt scrub

So when I started to notice that my skin wasn’t quite enjoying my always-outdoors lifestyle as much as I was, I decided to whip up a quick little moisturizing exfoliator in the kitchen. I’ve never had issues with dry skin in the summer before, but the sun, wind and chlorine from the pool are causing all kinds of not-so-smoothness (especially on my legs) this year, and I figured a little sea salt scrub might do the trick.

sea salt scrub

I think the key to making a perfect-for-you scrub is figuring out the right ratio of exfoliant (here, I use salt, but sugar works well, too) to oil. If you have extremely dry skin, you might want to try upping the oil a bit. Skin on the greasy side? Try a little less. My ratio here is just a touch on the oily side, and it has been working beautifully on my dry skin patches. Everything is smooth, soft and moisturized. Plus, the citrus zest makes it smell absolutely amazing! I am hoarding this all to myself—I keep it in the jar in the shower—but these would make great gifts, too. Everyone needs a good exfoliant!

Enjoy.

Citrus Coconut Sea Salt Scrub

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: None | Makes: About 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one lime

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well-mixed. Store in an air-tight container.
  2. To use: scoop out a small handful of the scrub and rub on skin in a light, circular motion. Rinse off. Enjoy smoothness!
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Does anyone else out there have issues with dry skin and summer? Am I alone? Bueller?

friday freebie: stella + dot earrings {CLOSED}

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Posted on Jul 12, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks for playing along!

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Happy Friday, friends! I have yet another awesome fashion-related giveaway for y’all today. You’d think that I was some sort of fashionista with all these fun bags, clothing and accessory giveaways. Ha. So not. I just like pretty shiny things, and plus, I think it’s a fun little bi-weekly deviation from all the talk about food, fitness, and (well, this week at least) cellulite.

This week, I’ve got a giveaway courtesy of one of your fellow readers! Everyone say a warm, BTHR howdy to the amazing Liz! Liz is a Stella + Dot stylist and offered to partner with me to give you guys some loot. Never heard of Stella + Dot? Well, it’s an affordable and trendy line of high-quality jewelry and accessories sold Tupperware style—at in-home trunk shows and online. Stella + Dot offers so many nice pieces and none of them are going to break the bank (which is always nice).

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Liz asked me to personally pick out my favorite item in the current Stella + Dot collection to give away, and I landed on these beautiful turquoise drop earrings. I love large-scale jewelry, and I think these earrings are incredible because they aren’t too big, but they are still big enough to stand out. And bright pop of turquoise is one of my favorite accent colors in my wardrobe!

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Ready to win?

  • PRIZE: One pair of Charlize Teardrop Earrings.
  • TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post telling me where/when you’ll wear your brand new earrings. Going to wedding? Out on date night? Just around the house while doing laundry?
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 at Noon (12pm) EST
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
  • ELIGIBLE FOLKS: This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Puerto Rico only at this time. Sorry international readers! I try to score as many international giveaways as I can. Maybe next time!
  • WINNER ANNOUNCED: Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 on this here post!
  • LEGALESE: To enter you must be 18 or older. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from the pool of comments on this post. To be considered for the prize, you must be a resident of the U.S. or Puerto Rico and provide a valid email address. One entry per email address. Once a winner is notified and verified, Elizabeth Milks will be provided with the contact information of the winner and they will be responsible for  prize fulfillment. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. To enter, leave a comment on this post. No purchase necessary to win. Entries will close on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at noon (EST). The winner will be contacted by email on or before Wednesday, July 17, 2013. If the winner does not claim the prize within seven days, the original winner forfeits the prize and a second random entry will be chosen from the pool. This contest is sponsored by Elizabeth Milks and is void where prohibited by law.
  • DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated in any way for posting this giveaway. However, any purchases made through the links in this post will earn me referral credits with Stella + Dot.

We have a winner! Congrats to Molly, who wants to wear her new earrings on date night. Enjoy, Molly!

Tell me when and where you’ll wear your new earrings!

i have cellulite, and i’m okay with it.

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Posted on Jul 8, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

me feet flip flops

I know a lot of folks equate cellulite with getting older, but a lot of us life-long chubby ladies know that cellulite doesn’t just show up magically when your age changes. In fact, my very first memory of even knowing anything about cellulite was in 8th grade. It was right after school started—in August—the hottest time here in Indiana, and I wore a pair of shorts to school. I remember sitting down at a desk in some classroom and another student made some typical pre-teen comment about how gross my thighs looked. I’d always been a big, tall girl (I think I was probably taller than my Kindergarten teacher—during Kindergarten), so bullying about being fat was nothing new to me—and I’d learned to just brush it off mostly—but this particular comment was new and shook me to my core. I knew my thighs were big and thick as tree trunks, but I had no idea that they were all dimply and un-smooth.

That day, I stopped wearing shorts.

I didn’t wear shorts all through high school. Not when we went to an amusement park for a class trip and it was 95°. Not when I was at band camp (yes, band camp, color guard, represent!) and outside marching for eight hours at a time in August heat and humidity. I didn’t wear shorts in college. Not when I had a summer drawing class that required me to sit outside in the sun for three hours sketching wildlife. Not when I went to the Indy 500 and it was nearly 100° and I was sitting in the sun. I didn’t wear shorts after college when I went to visit my then boyfriend/now husband for a week and he had no A/C in his house in July.

Whenever someone would ask why I was wearing pants or capris or a skirt (not a short one, obviously) and not something a little bit shorter and a little bit cooler, I’d tell them that I just “wasn’t a short person” or that I was “more modest than that”. Neither of those were true. The truth is, I just didn’t want anyone to see my dimpled thighs. Of course I wanted to wear the cute little shorts that all my friends were wearing. Of course I wanted to wear something cooler during the oppressive Midwest summer. I just didn’t feel like I could wear shorts. Not only did I feel like I needed to hide my insecurity (quite literally, with fabric), but I also felt like I “owed” it to society to cover up a part of my body that was less-than-perfect. It was the whole “nobody wants to see that” mentality.

me puppyface

It wasn’t until I hit 25 that something occurred to me—maybe cellulite isn’t really that big of a deal. And even bigger than that, maybe if other people have issues with my body, it’s just that—their issues. I’d been carrying around the baggage of some stupid middle school comment a bit too long and it was time to reformulate my mindset about my body and my legs. I started thinking of all the great qualities my legs have. I’m tall and have long, strong, muscular legs. My legs let me run (most of) a half marathon. My legs carried me 40 miles through the streets of Chicago for breast cancer research. Every morning, my legs wake up with me and get me out of bed (although, admittedly, they are a little stiffer in the mornings than they were a few years ago). Maybe I don’t love my cellulite individually (I don’t). But my cellulite is a part of these amazing legs of mine, and those legs are part of this incredible body I have. And because of that, I learned to be okay with my cellulite. And because I’m okay with it, I learned that everyone else would have to be okay with it, too.

me beach shorts vacation

Once I made that shift in how I thought about my legs, the shorts started coming back. It was no longer about hiding something I wasn’t comfortable with (what I considered a “flaw”) but now it was about wearing what I wanted to wear and showing off a part of my body that had given me so much.

The wardrobe change was a gradual process. I bought one pair of shorts (short ones!) and would wear them every now and again. And then another pair. And then some shorter skirts and some shorter dresses. The confidence snowballed, because I finally felt like I was wearing the clothes that I’d been wanting to wear since I was 13. I didn’t have to skip huge sections of clothes in the summer racks just because I couldn’t show my legs. A whole world of beautiful things were opened up to me. I felt more like me because I was wearing the clothes that I wanted to. Ignoring society norms of what was a “good” and a “bad” body turned out to be incredibly empowering. And empowerment=confidence in my world.

Now, I pretty much live all summer in short shorts and short dresses. Sure, my cellulite shows. Heck, I’m even sure that as I’ve gotten older, it’s getting worse (although, I don’t know, because have you ever tried looking at the back of your legs?). And I know that there are certain things a woman isn’t supposed to wear once she turns 30 (I’m almost sure the pigtails and short shorts I have on while I’m typing this are no-nos in some book of how ladies should dress in their 30s). But I feel awesome.

Me

I’m okay with people seeing that my legs are cottage cheese-like. I’m okay with people whispering under their breath about how some people just shouldn’t wear certain clothes. You know why? Because it’s not about those people. It’s about me. It’s about me wanting to wear the clothes I want to wear and finding a way to be okay with my not-at-all runway-caliber body. I’m sorry if a quick glimpse of my dimpled thighs is offensive to you, but that’s obviously your issue, not mine. And when I accept that I have no control over the issues of others and stop internalizing their commentary, I can clear away the mud and see how I really think and feel. And without the influence of some brat in middle school or some magazine or some TV show telling me I shouldn’t wear what I want to wear, I know that I love wearing shorts. And I’m going to keep on keepin’ on as long as it makes me feel good (and as long as Indiana summers have 90°/90% humidity days).

My next clothing peak to climb: the two-piece swimsuit. I’ve never worn one as an adult (in fact, I think the last time I wore one, I was probably three). And I want to. I’ve been waiting. Waiting until I lose some weight. Waiting until my body is more toned. Waiting until I’m ready to strut down the beach in something skimpy. But, for me, I’m learning that body confidence doesn’t come from my physical body. It doesn’t come from how I look in the mirror or how I look in clothes or how much the scale says I weigh. Body confidence comes when I decide to be happy in the body that I have. And nothing says “happy body” to me than lounging on a beach somewhere in a beautiful bikini. Chubby belly and all.

Is there any kind of clothes out there than you want to wear but don’t because of your body? What’s holding you back?

 

friday freebie: pora bag ($200+ value!) {CLOSED}

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Posted on Jun 28, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks for playing along!

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Happy Friday, friends! I know I’ve been kinda slacking on you guys lately (it hasn’t escaped me that I haven’t posted a recipe in weeks), but I hope I can make up for it a little bit with this insanely cool giveaway. This might be my favorite giveaway I’ve ever done here on BTHR. Let’s talk about Pora bags.

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These bags are so cool! From a utilitarian standpoint, they are amazingly versatile because each bag has a base that is then wrapped in a washable, reversible sleeve. Want to carry a purple bag today? Put on the purple shell. Need a black bag tomorrow ? Use the black side.  Spill coffee on your bag? Wash it. Without ever changing your purse. And to up the customization even more, you can add on fun, handwoven decorative bands to the bag to give them a one-of-a-kind look.

Background - bag overview

But my absolute favorite part of these bags is that the company is committed to sustainable and socially responsible business practices. Each bag is 100% vegan and cruelty free. And the artisan bands are handwoven by artisans in developing countries, where they are paid a fair wage for their work.

PHOTO - Artisan Partner - Aj Quen- Guatemala PHOTO - Artisan Partner - Friends-International - Cambodia

Pora was kind enough to send me my own bag to review and it is beautiful, well made and incredibly sturdy! It’s a bit too big of a bag for me to use for an everyday purse, but it will be perfect for beach trips or even as an overnight bag. And if you’re in need of a bigger everyday bag, you’ll love this! It’s the perfect size for carrying books, a laptop, a lunch, workout gear or even to hold toys and books if you’re a on-the-go Mama. I wish I had this bag back when I was working!

Because the people at Pora rock, they are offering to giveaway one bag to a lucky BTHR reader! You get to pick the color, the handles, the bands….everything! All customized for you. That’s a $200 value. Woohoo! Happy Friday!

Ready to win?

  • PRIZE: One customized Pora bag. This includes: the bag base, one sleeve (in your color choice), one set of bands (in your choice of pattern), one set of decorative tassles (in your choice of color) and one set of handles (in your choice of color and length).
  • TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post telling me why you need/want a new bag!
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 at Noon (12pm) EST
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
  • ELIGIBLE FOLKS: This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only at this time. Sorry international readers! I try to score as many international giveaways as I can.
  • WINNER ANNOUNCED: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 on this here post!
  • LEGALESE: To enter you must be 18 or older. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from the pool of comments on this post. To be considered for the prize, you must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada and provide a valid email address. One entry per email address. Once a winner is notified and verified, Pora will be provided with the contact information of the winner and they will be responsible for  prize fulfillment. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. To enter, leave a comment on this post. No purchase necessary to win. Entries will close on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at noon (EST). The winner will be contacted by email on or before Wednesday, July 3, 2013. If the winner does not claim the prize within seven days, the original winner forfeits the prize and a second random entry will be chosen from the pool. This contest is sponsored by Pora and is void where prohibited by law.
  • DISCLOSURE: I was compensated for posting this review and giveaway with my own Pora bag (total value, $226).

Why do you need/want a new bag?

P.S. If you want to get a great preview of how the bag “works” check out this awesome (and short) video.

P.P.S. I originally had that this giveaway was open to international readers (sorry, I thought it was!) but it is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents.

Congrats to our winner, Neena! Neena says her current bag is just a touch too well-loved and can use a new one.

friday freebie: $75 shabby apple gift card {CLOSED}

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Posted on Apr 5, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

This giveaway is now CLOSED!

Thanks for entering!

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway around here, but I’ve got a really great one to make up for it this week! Instead of the normal food and fitness flair, the folks at Shabby Apple thought it might be fun to hand over to one lucky reader a $75 gift card to snag some of their beautiful clothes, jewelry and accessories. There is so much pretty over at Shabby Apple, I seriously wish I could win this giveaway! I’m particularly in love with this darling little honey bee necklace (because, as you know, I’m obsessed with all things bee-related!).

Not only does Shabby Apple have amazing products, but they’re also a pretty amazing company. They donate 5% of all their sales to organizations that give micro-loans to women entrepreneurs in developing companies. Very cool!

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  • PRIZE: One $75 gift card to Shabby Apple
  • TO ENTER: Like Shabby Apple on Facebook, then come back here and comment on this post and tell me which Shabby Apple product you are most excited to own.
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 at Noon (12pm) EST
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
  • ELIGIBLE FOLKS: This giveaway is open to folks with a U.S. mailing address only. Sorry, international readers! I try to snag as many international give aways as I can. Maybe next time!
  • WINNER ANNOUNCED: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 on this here post!
  • LEGALESE: To enter you must be 18 or older. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from the pool of comments on this post. To be considered for the prize, you must provide a valid email address. One entry per email address. Once a winner is notified and verified, Shabby Apple will be provided with the contact information of the winner and they will be responsible for  prize fulfillment. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. To enter, leave a comment on this post. No purchase necessary to win. Entries will close on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at noon (EST). The winner will be contacted by email on or before Wednesday, April 10, 2013. If the winner does not claim the prize within seven days, the original winner forfeits the prize and a second random entry will be chosen from the pool. This contest is sponsored by Shabby Apple and is void where prohibited by law.
  • DISCLOSURE: In exchange for this blog post, as well as posting this giveaway, I was in no way compensated.

We have a winner! Congratulations Valerie B.! Val loves the pearl dangle earrings. Happy shopping!

friday freebie: jamberry nails {CLOSED}

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Posted on Jan 11, 2013 in Fashion & Beauty

This giveaway is now CLOSED.

Tune in every other Friday for a new giveaway!

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Have you guys heard of Jamberry yet? If not, Jamberry is a company that sells fun nail shields that are easy to put on, stay on for weeks and come in dozens of colors, patterns and styles. They are a really fun way for folks to get the “nail art” look without spending hours and hours with a teeny tiny brush painting designs.

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My friend Steph sent me a sheet of Jamberry shields to try out (this one) and I thought they were so awesome that I asked Steph if she’d be willing to give away some to you guys! She graciously agreed. Woohoo! My favorite part about using Jamberry shields? No dry time! I’m chronically bad about ruining my manicure because I’m too impatient to wait for it to dry. With Jamberry, I can go from no manicure, to awesome, intricate, fun nail art in just a few minutes.

Ready to win a sheet of your choice from Jamberry?

  • PRIZE: One sheet of nail shields from Jamberry (enough to do 2-3 manicures)
  • TO ENTER: Comment on this post and tell me which design of Jamberry nails you’d love to try
  • GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at Noon (12pm) EST
  • NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
  • ELIGIBLE FOLKS: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or over only. Sorry, international readers! I try to score as many giveaways for you as possible. Maybe next time.
  • WINNER ANNOUNCED: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 on this here post!
  • LEGALESE: To enter you must be 18 or older. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from the pool of comments on this post. To be considered for the prize, you must provide a valid email address. One entry per email address. Once a winner is notified and verified, Stephanie Hayes – Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant will be provided with the contact information of the winner and they will be responsible for  prize fulfillment. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. To enter, leave a comment on this post. No purchase necessary to win. Entries will close on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at noon (EST). The winner will be contacted by email on or before Wednesday, January 16, 2013. If the winner does not claim the prize within seven days, the original winner forfeits the prize and a second random entry will be chosen from the pool. This contest is sponsored by Stephanie Hayes – Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant and is void where prohibited by law.
  • DISCLOSURE: In exchange for this blog post, as well as posting this giveaway, I was compensated with one sheet of Jamberry nail shields.

Want to order your own? Right now is a great time to do so because the sheets are buy three get one free! Make sure you choose “Back to Her Roots” as the party name when you check out.

We have a winner! Congrats to Kristin who was digging the green fireworks and the peace signs. Congrats, Kristin!