Target beauty box

Have you tried the Target Beauty Box yet? It’s not a subscription service, but it’s kind of like Birchbox or Ipsy in that you get trial-sized samples of items that you can buy later if you like them, but only for $7, and you only commit to buying one at a time!

My friend Kelly first told me about the Target beauty box and I kept meaning to try it, but kept forgetting. For my birthday, she gave me a beauty box and I was so excited about it that I finally ordered one for myself! This month, I ordered the November beauty box. For seven dollars, you really can’t do much better! I received 6 different items. Here’s the breakdown of my box this month:

Dove Dermacare 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner:  Scalp formula for dandruff and moisture. I don’t have a problem with dandruff but I’ll try it out anyway!
Skinfix Ultra Rich Hand Cream:  Supposed to be an amazing and award-winning hand cream. When I put it on, my hands immediately felt relief and felt sooo smooth and silky. My hands get really dry and cracked in the fall and winter, so I’m always looking for a new secret weapon that isn’t greasy.
MISSHA Snail Hydro-Gel Mask:  Anti-aging, healing and hydrating mask with SNAIL SLIME! This was a cool and strange experience. I was super freaked out to do this mask, but also intrigued, so I put this on and let it sit for the recommended 20-40 minutes (I did 25). I have sensitive skin, but when this came off, my face looked super hydrated, soft, and dewy! I patted in the rest, like the packaging said. I felt a little weird about that, but it makes sense not to rinse it off if you want it to soak in! But can we all agree it’s super weird to put snail slime on your face?! I guess it’s a thing?! I’d do it again!
Tom’s of Maine Creamy Coconut Bar Soap:  Gentle and moisturizing. I have really sensitive skin so it’s nice using something new that you can trust.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara:  Always a favorite and a classic. One of the first mascaras I ever used back in high school, and it’s still kicking years and years later!
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Facial Cleanser:  This face wash didn’t foam up when I used it and there’s nothing I love more than a nice foam on a face wash, body wash, or shampoo. It kind of felt like rubbing lotion all over my face mixed with water; not for me. But this way, I know what I think about it without having to buy the whole bottle!

Overall, I’m hooked! The snail mask alone made the box worth the $7 (with free shipping!) It was a full use mask and in the store it costs $6.00 alone! So the price of the box was totally worth it. If you want to buy any full-sized items from your box, you could obviously head out to your nearest Target, or you can shop the box items. Usually nothing is more than $15.00 full price! AND, you get a $3 off coupon for any beauty product purchase of $15 or more!

I’ll definitely be purchasing the Target beauty boxes for the coming months. A fun and exciting gift idea, too! My favorites from this box were the snail mask and the hand cream, but I’ll be happy to have some of the other samples for when I travel and need small-sized toiletry items!

My 8 favorite hair products


I’ve mentioned before that I have thin, lifeless hair, and I never used product on it at all until a couple of years ago. Even when I would get my hair done, I’d ask my stylist not to use anything on it. But since I’ve let my hair grow long again and since I’ve been styling it regularly with heat for a few years now, I’ve tried some different products – some winners, some failures.

I can’t use anything too heavy because it makes my  hair look greasy and weighs it down. My arsenal of favorite products for styling my hair is below – most are under the $15 range, because you know I’m always ballin’ on a budget, but I have included a couple of splurges, too. These products are all light, smell delicious, and leave my hair looking – and staying – much more full and polished.

1. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo:  There is no match for this dry shampoo. I LOVE it and I ration it because it is a little pricier than I’d like to pay for dry ‘poo. I usually use this one for my daily use and use the Living Proof for weekends or special events. It smells so good and it makes your hair completely free of oil without residue. It’s the only dry shampoo I’ve used that actually makes me feel like I re-washed my hair.
2. Dove Curl Defining Mousse:  I have been using this for years, and it comes in at under $5! To make my hair wavy, I scrunch it using this. No conditioner, no brush or comb, just shampoo and scrunch with a ping pong ball size of this! Andrew calls it “squishing” my hair. Perfect for days when I’m running late!
3. Ouai Memory Mist:  Whitney got this for my birthday this year, and it’s so good. It smells incredibly floral-y and it helps protect your hair from heat while “remembering” your hair’s style so you can make your hair last extra days. I have loved using it and love the way it makes my hair feel and smell.
4. Marrakesh Oil Hair Styling Elixir:  This is my #1 can’t live without after combing my hair when I get out of the shower. I got it in a birch box or as a sample at some point, and I loved it so much I’ve kept buying it! It is very light and moisturizing. I only put it on my ends and then very lightly run my fingers through my hair a couple inches away from the roots.
5. Tresemme Heat Protector Spray: I’ve mentioned this one before. It’s inexpensive, and I spray it on my hair after the oil, before blow drying. Easy and doesn’t add any extra weight or residue to my hair.
6. Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse  or Aquage Uplifting Foam:  I only use these for special occasions because it takes a little time and effort, but both smell great and work about the same for my hair. I section off my hair and spray these right onto the part line back and forth. Then, I massage it all around the roots and spend time actually blow drying my hair with my round brush. It really helps give some lift at the roots and helps my hair hold on to any curl.
7. Amika Obliphica Un.Done Texture Spray:  I use this when I need more life and lift. I lift my hair after styling and spray up under my hair as it falls back down. It gives some grit and hold, but the volume and smell are nice side effects!
8. Kenra Volume Spray 25 Hair Spray:  The best hair spray I’ve used, ever. This doesn’t make my hair crunchy, and it gives a strong flexible hold. I love it!

Most days I just use the Marrakesh oil when my hair is wet, heat protector spray before blow drying, and then the Ouai memory mist before curling. I don’t use a lot of product daily because I am trying to protect these thin locks! But when I’m trying to really style and need some extra help, the others are a dream, and the dry shampoo reallllllly can’t be beat!

What are everyone else’s favorite hair products?!

photo by j parker photography

All curled up

These days, I’m typically always rocking a curled ‘do. When my hair is short, it looks fine styled straight and I usually mix it up between different styles. But now that my hair is getting long again, I really have to make sure it doesn’t look scraggly since it’s so thin and fine (more about that here – thick haired gals, you really will never know the struggle of your ear poking through your hair).

I wanted to give a quick & easy mini tutorial on how I do my hair. One day I’ll get comfortable filming myself, but that day is not today, my friends. There’s no magic trick, but like most things beauty-related, I’ve spent lots of time googling and YouTubing, then practicing to get what I like. Now I’m at a place where I can pretty much always get a good result with this method!

Start by pinning up your hair with a duck bill hair clip (my hair only needs one because it is so thin). I use this heat taming spray first (I’ve been using it for years). Since I don’t have a lot of hair, it’s really important to me to take care of what I’ve got. I also put moroccan oil on the ends when I get out of the shower and comb through my hair, before blow drying. Just lightly spritz a section of hair, let it air dry for a few seconds, and then curl! Or you can spray it all before you begin. I bought this curling wand last year on sale around Christmas time, and it’s a great size for my hair! It is super basic – it doesn’t even have a temperature setting on it – but it does the job!

I have watched a lot of tutorials, and a lot of people hold their curling wands upward. I can only use it pointed downward for whatever reason. I wrap a section around the base of the curling wand and wrap the hair twice around the barrel, moving towards the actual top of the barrel, since it’s pointing upside down. I try to start close to my head to give some lift and volume near my roots. I always leave a solid inch or so out of the heat, and that’s what I hold onto away from the curling wand so I don’t burn myself! I can’t use those gloves that come with it; they mess me up.

After you curl the bottom layer of hair (for me this is just two curls!), let down the next layer by scooting your fingers backwards from your temples and grabbing hair at temple level and up. Re-pin the rest of your hair on top of your head. Repeat the process! I always curl my hair away from my face. You can alternate toward/away from your face each curl, but since I don’t have a lot to work with, that can sometimes look odd on me.

my lipstick is revlon colorstay moisture stain in parisian passion

One trick I use is to let the curls fall straight off the wand, so instead of unraveling them, I just slide the wand back out and let the curl slide off. Another tip I use is not touching my hair until I’m completely finished with my whole head. I like to let the curls set and cool off. If I don’t, it falls more easily. When I get to the last and top layer of hair, I like to curl the very front piece straight back to give it extra volume!

When you’re finished, double check the back of your hair with a hand held mirror. Then, run your fingers through your hair, toss it around a bit, and spray it lightly if you want – I love this hair spray. I also like to use a texture spray sometimes to give more hold and lift – just lift your hair up and lightly spray from underneath as it falls.

Voila! If I want tighter curls or curls that will last longer as they fall, I wrap the hair three times around the wand instead of two. Larger sections of hair = larger curls, and obviously the less meticulous you are about it, the messier and more carefree your curls will look! If you want to see more tutorials/how-tos, let me know!

You already know who shot these photos.

Thin hair, kinda care.

if your locks are thin and scraggly like mine, this post is for you.

You know, there’s a lot of hype out there about being thin. But there’s one situation in life where I feel that being thin just isn’t in:  My hair. Why can’t my body be effortlessly thin and my locks be thick and voluminous, instead of the other way around? It’s a question we will never have the answer to. A cruel, cruel joke. (Of course I’m not bitter about it or anything…)

All exaggerations and jokes aside, I have had thin, stick straight hair my entire life and have had to learn some tricks of the trade. For instance, how to pull your hair back without having bald spots where there’s not enough to cover your skin? How to give the illusion of life to limp noodle hair when you need to dazzle your audience? How to look casual and cute while wearing a baseball hat without your ears sticking straight through your hair on both sides? These are legitimate concerns.

this is literally all of my hair.

Having thin hair is kind of like dressing for your body type – there are some dreams you’re just going to have to let go of.  So I’ve had to test the waters. I’ve watched tutorial after tutorial and tweaked and tweaked until I’ve come up with a few of my own tried and true thin hair go-tos. Here are three styles you can typically find me rocking:

1. The messy bun for girls with thin hair.


The trick here is bobby pins, my friends. You can’t see any in these pictures (I think) but there are three bad boys in there. The bobby pins give me the freedom to create an illusion of more hair than what’s there by pulling hair around or tucking it under other hair, or fanning out some of what I do have without it being see-through. My messy bun can look so ugly in the messy bun at first, and still be fixed up with bobby pins (I also sometimes buy these little guys to use, too!). I buy mine in the blonde shade so they blend in better. If you get your bun pretty tight, you can use your fingers to loosen the rest of your hair that you pulled back. That way, it looks more full and more like, “Look how easily I just threw up my hair and it fell just perfectly like this.” Even though you didn’t just throw it up and it would never just fall that way because it is limp and fine and thin and slips out of your fingers and you have to work hard to make it look this easy. Sigh. Let’s move on.

2. Curled and tousled.

Granted, my hair is never going to look like the big, thick curls that I dream of. I can live with that. But curling my hair gives it so much more volume and lift. I use either this curling wand or my sister’s bigger one (it’s a Bellami 1 1/2 in. hot rod curler but I think it’s discontinued?!). I also have a 1 1/4 in. hot tools curling iron that I love. I love this dry shampoo (or splurge) to ‘rough up’ my hair and give it a little more hold and lift. I have been using this hairspray from following Kate Bryan’s blog for years – I really love it. It is just enough hold + give, and it doesn’t make your hair crunchy. And it lasts forever!

3. The low side bun.

my man bruno making a cameo appearance this time

The exact same principles from the messy bun apply, just at a different placement. I like to pull mine behind my right ear to balance out my left side part. Again, the bobby pins here really come in clutch. I also like to keep some hair out in the front (my baby bangs that always seem to be there). This style definitely works better with curled or textured hair because it tends to look more full and carefree.

Now, I know the grass is always greener on the other side, blah blah, you hate your thick hair, if only I knew how annoying it is, how hot it is, how your hair dresser has to thin it out and it takes an hour to dry, etc. but for us thin-haired gals, you thick-haired ladies will always be the lucky ones. I have come to love my hair for what it is (because that’s life and I have to), but I’d take a happy medium if someone could figure out how to actually thicken hair naturally. It’s 2017 and we still haven’t figured out some of life’s most daunting mysteries.

Happy hair styling to my thin-haired sisters out there. Fake it ’til you make it! 🙂