Saturday, April 25, 2015

Product Review: Dessange Paris

*Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for sample/review purposes.

A few weeks ago I received some Dessange Paris products from Influenster.  I was so excited to receive full size product to sample!  I hadn't heard of Dessange before but am always up for trying something new in my hair.

First of all, I love the packaging.  It's sleek and has a very "professional" look to it.  I received the "oleo miracle" version (they have other styles, such as one for blonde hair and color repair) of the shampoo, conditioner and replenishing oil.  The oleo miracle is designed for over processed and damaged hair.

While using this product in the shower, the shampoo did not lather as thickly as my Pantene normally does.  I tend to prefer a thick lather because somehow I feel like then I know I reached all of my hair with the shampoo.  The conditioner made my hair feel really smooth.  After I applied the conditioner, I put my hair up and let it just sit for a couple of minutes, then I rinsed.

When I got out of the shower, I ran a wide tooth comb through my hair with no issues!  Tangle-free.  After getting dressed (this is my normal routine, to get dressed before blow drying) I put some of the replenishing oil into my hair.  This was the only thing I was confused about -- is it supposed to go on before or after blow drying!?  Typically I am a "blow dry and go" type of person, especially when my hair is long like it was when using this product.  My hair was damp/half dry when I applied it and I think that was fine.  I added a little bit more after I blow dried to try and smooth everything out.  It made my hair look really nice and shiny.  Overall my hair felt and looked good and soft.

Overall I really liked the Dessange products except for one thing: the smell.  Personally, I was not a fan of the way it smells.  It has a scent similar to perfume/cologne and it is pretty strong.  I am more of a fan of fruity/floral scents in my shampoos - for example, I love how all of the Pantene products smell.  I have read that some people really like the smell, so you will have to go see for yourselves!

I would definitely consider buying this again, especially since it can be found at Target, but only if it were on sale!  These bottles run about $10 each, which is much more than I typically spend on shampoo/conditioner.

Anyone else tried the Dessange line?

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

2015 :: Running to Honor our Heroes

Most of you know that I am a runner.  I ran my first "race" when I was probably 8 years old or so.  My Dad was a big runner and he got me into it at an early age.  I enjoy running because it's a physical, emotional, and mental release for me.  It also keeps me in relatively good shape and allows me to set goals for myself.

At the Runner's World Half Marathon in Bethlehem, PA

In 2013 I set a goal for myself: run a marathon.  In November, my older brother (slash trusty running partner) and I completed the Richmond Marathon.  It was one of the best runs of my life!

Richmond Marathon, November 2013

After that, running sort of got placed on the back burner because grad school and "life" became a first priority for me.  However, I have learned a lesson the hard way that my health and fitness cannot be put on the back burner.  I know that I deserved a little break after the marathon - especially because I hate running in the cold/snow, which is what we got that following winter - but I should have jumped right back into half marathons.

This all leads me to my new goal in 2015: run my second marathon.
Even though I will be starting my first big girl full-time teaching job this fall, I have told myself that that is no excuse for not setting health and fitness goals for myself.  I need to learn how to balance my work life and my personal life.  I might as well start now.

When I got to thinking about what marathon I wanted to run, two came to mind.  The Richmond Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon.  I loved running Richmond and told myself that I would love to do it again and try and improve my time on the course.  The MCM is appealing for two reasons.  The first being that it is the only marathon my Dad ever ran.  I have always wanted to run it because he has run it.  The second reason is that I love running in northern Virginia.  I have run a couple of races in various cities and have loved them all.  It's so gorgeous!

In the end, I chose to run the Marine Corps Marathon.  However, there's more.
In case you aren't familiar, the MCM holds a lottery because it's extremely popular.  I entered the lottery earlier in March and later found out that I was not selected.  I was bummed and thought maybe that was a sign I shouldn't run it this year.

Next, I got on the MCM Facebook page and saw a mention of one of the charity partners, Fisher House, recruiting people who hadn't received a lottery spot.  I went to their website and read about their mission.  Fisher House has a network of housing locations across the nation where they offer free lodging for military families in order for them to be close to a loved one who is receiving treatment.  They also have a program called Hotels for Heroes, which is made possible by donated hotel points and provides free hotel lodging for military families, and Hero Miles, made possible by donated frequent flier miles and provides free airline tickets for military families traveling to be closer to their service member who is receiving treatment in another part of the country.

Long story short, I felt drawn to this cause and I wanted to help.  Yes, I was excited to learn that they still had spots available for their MCM team, but even more so I was excited about the opportunity to be able to run for more than myself and my own personal goals.  I will be fundraising and training for Team Fisher House and will make a difference for service members and their families.  I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and to combine my love of running with the chance to help others!

I would appreciate your support in helping me fundraise for Team Fisher House.

You can visit my personal page here!

I'll be following an 18 week plan by Hal Higdon starting in June.  Until then, pre-training begins! Wish me luck and thank you in advance for considering donating to my fundraising efforts!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wishlist: Lilly Pulitzer for Target

As we all know, April 19th is the long-awaited debut of the Lilly Pulitzer for Target line and I absolutely cannot wait!  Ever since they announced the collaboration, it has been on my calendar.

Then, the lookbook came out and I have been trying to save my money because everything is so cute and so reasonably priced!  Now I'm wondering whether I'll need to set up camp outside Target...

One of the nice things about this line is that there is going to be a little bit of everything - and a little bit for everyone, except our men.  Sorry, boys.  It would have been nice if they had ties!

There are pieces for women, women's plus, girls, toddler girls, home and beauty.  The prints you see have been exclusively designed for this collaboration, so that makes these pieces even more special!

Here are some items that I have my eye on!

Lilly Pulitzer for Target

I am loving all of the new prints and ALL of the dresses are under $40!  I can definitely see myself wearing some of these when I go to the beach in July!

There are tons of home items, including plates, napkins and serving trays, that are absolutely adorable.  They even have a HAMMOCK.  Like, I have no place for a hammock, but of course it's adorable.

I'm sure these pieces aren't going to last long, so I would be sure and have an account ready on Target's website if you plan on shopping online!  Some of the pieces are online only so you won't be finding those in the store.  Also, don't forget you get 5% off when you use your Target RedCard :)
You can check out the lookbook here!
As Lilly would say, "Life is a party. Dress like it!"

Don't forget to visit my post from yesterday to win a wall print from Sweet Water Decor!
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Monday, April 6, 2015

Featured: Sweet Water Decor + Giveaway!

Good morning, friends!  I hope y'all enjoyed the most blessed Easter yesterday :)

Today I am featuring Sweet Water Decor, an Etsy shop that specializes in custom wall art, coffee mugs, wedding invitations and more!  I absolutely love the simple, chic style that Sweet Water Decor offers with clean colors and beautiful fonts.  A lot of the wall art prints are available as digital downloads, which means you receive them instantly!  Ready to print!

There is truly something for everyone at Sweet Water Decor, whether you're a bride looking for a save-the-date, a mama-to-be looking for nursery art or, like me, you're just looking for something to spruce up your room!

Here are some of my favorites!

| wall art |

| wedding |

Melissa, the owner & designer at Sweet Water Decor, has graciously offered to give away one of her digital download prints to one of my followers!  Yippee!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't win, don't worry.  You can use the code 'MUG20' for 20% off your mug and/or print purchase!

Make sure to favorite Sweet Water Decor on Etsy and follow them on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest!

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On My Bookshelf

While I enjoy this "leisure" time of not being in school and not yet having a full-time job, I have found that I am really enjoying two things: having time for Netflix and reading.

My current obsession on Netflix is Hart of Dixie.  I love how cute and sometimes corny this show is.  Not to mention I want to move to Alabama and live in Lemon's closet.  Her and AB have the cutest, vintage style.  Soon I will need a new show because I'm blazing through this one.  Any suggestions?

Anyway, as much as I love having more time for reading, I find myself getting distracted or, most of the time, sleepy when I read at home.  If I'm in the car or on the beach I could read for hours on end.  It's something about sitting at home and reading that makes me stop and think about all of the other things I could/should be doing, like laundry, running, cleaning my room, etc.  I don't think it's that my books lack engaging content, but rather that I am easily distracted.  The only solution to this problem that I have come up with is to move to the beach :)

Where is your favorite place to read?  Do you have any reading tips that will keep me focused and engaged in my book while reading at home?

I'm about to finish up The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks.  I really wanted to read this before the movie comes out in April.

Here are some other books that I would like to read and/or finish, pulled from my Goodreads account:

What book did you finish recently that you would recommend me adding to my bookshelf?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patty's Day! + Race Recap

Happy St. Patrick's Day to my fellow Irishmen + everyone who adopts being Irish today.  I am technically 1/2 Irish, 1/4 Italian and 1/4 English, though I definitely look more Italian (dark hair/eyes/tan easily) than my Irish looking brothers (fair skin, one has a red beard, both blondies as babies.)  Today I will be celebrating St. Patty's Day at school with a bunch of green kiddos!  I'm going to bring some Lucky Charms for a special snack :)
Here's my green-inspired outfit of the day:

St. Patrick's Day

I'm wearing this Lilly Pulitzer tunic that has a hint of green in it.  I'm not really much of a green person -- like I have very little green in my closet -- but I do have plenty of pink + green or blue + green!


A couple weekends ago I went up to Washington D.C. for my second race of 2015.  It was the Pacer's St. Pat's 5K, 10K and Double.  I chose to run the double because I am always up for a challenge!  Of course when race day came I thought that I was CRAZY, but nevertheless I laced up my shoes and headed to the the snow/sleet/freezing rain.

Freezing! Pacers is awesome and they had warm coffee for runners (although I didn't have any) and were very considerate about how cold it was.  They lightened up the mood with funny jokes and good music.  I give two thumbs up to whoever the MC was!

I also give two thumbs up to my amazing boyfriend who was there to support me even in the terrible weather!

Running in D.C. is amazing and I feel so lucky to live so close.  If you are thinking or dreaming of running in our nation's capital, I highly recommend make it a reality!  Even in the winter weather I had so much fun.

Plus you get to run with famous people, like Woodrow Wilson...

The way my race worked was the 5K started at 8:15 and the 10K followed at 9:00.  So, essentially, you had 45 minutes to run the 5K and depending on when you finished determined how long of a break you had.  I ran the 5K as a "warm up" and finished in around 31 minutes.  I had a little under 15 minutes to grab some water and stretch before the 10K started.

I ran the 10K in 1 hour and they posted the results as "double" results, so my final time was around 1:32, give or take.  I had not done much training up to this point since we have been bombarded with snow and I have been stuck on the treadmill.  I think my longest training run, if you can really call it that, was about 5 miles on the treadmill. I wasn't proud of that and honestly when race day came I considered dropping to just running one of the races, but the energy of the day got to me and I just went for it!  I'm so glad that I did.

I had a great St. Patty's day outfit on and then the weather hit and I stayed in my Patagonia the whole time! I never do that, but this time it was different.  Thanks to my trusty spectator for the pictures :)

A week or so later I received my medal in the mail.  Here it is along with the shirt that we got in our packets:

I have to give kudos to Pacer's Running for putting on a fantastic race in such dreary conditions! They did a wonderful job of keeping people informed of the race status, keeping everyone safe and happy and EVERYONE who was working the race (especially the marshalls out on the course) were cheerful and encouraging.  That really makes a difference to us runners! Thank you!!

My next unofficial race on the horizon is a local race called the Huckleberry 15K.  It's on the local running/walking/biking trail and features part of the new extension.  I'm excited to be a part of a brand new race!

Hope y'all have a happy, green-filled St. Patty's Day!
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Busy March + Book Fair Picks

Wow, I feel like March has come and moved along so quickly! We are already halfway through, which seems crazy to me.

So far March has been filled with weekends at home - love the relaxation - and lots of working/subbing.  My current schedule allows me to work everyday (at my beloved after-school care job) and substitute when/where I am needed.  Last week I substituted three days in a kindergarten room and just had so much fun!  I could definitely see myself teaching kindergarten one day.

When I'm not substituting I am usually catching up on my new Netflix obsession, Hart of Dixie, lounging with my furry friends or helping out my mama in the library.  This week is the book fair - aka the most anticipated week of the school year, besides spring break & the last week of school - so I am going in to help with check out and convincing children to not buy the fuzzy pencils and to buy a real book instead! ;)

There are some really cute books this year that I am going to snag up for my future classroom.
Here are a few samples:

This is an adorable book about a shark and a minnow who are best friends!  This would be a great read aloud.

My mom actually already bought this one but I am definitely suggesting it to all teachers/mamas of little ones.  It is a sweet tale about planting a seed of kindness.  If you know Kadir Nelson, then you know you want your hands on this book.  If you don't know Kadir Nelson, I strongly suggest you look into his books.  Beautifully done work.

Another sweet story of a little girl, Maggi, and her dog, Milo, and their adventures together!  It reminds me of the bond I have with our dog and that dog's really are a woman's best friend ;) Cute book!

I will also be picking up some nonfiction pieces, such as:

I seriously LOVE the book fair and one of the most exciting parts about teaching is getting to set up my classroom library! I could not be more excited :)

Have a great week!

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