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Custom Haircare Review


I recently mentioned on Instagram I have been using a custom shampoo and conditioner from Formulate! Which in just a few words, has been great! Formulate creates completely customized haircare formulas to solve your hair struggles. They have an app where you can track your order, view details about your formula, make changes to it, and provide feedback on how it has been working for you. All formulas are also preservative free, sulfate free, paraben free, cruelty free, and made in the USA! To disclose, I have received my custom haircare formula in exchange for this review. And at the end of this post, you can enter for a chance to win your own custom haircare!


The process to create your own custom shampoo and conditioner starts with a quiz about your hair type and hair concerns. My biggest hair issue is that my hair tends to be both oily and frizzy at the same time. I've tried everything from washing my hair every single day to only washing it every few days, using a clarifying shampoo once a week, a few tea tree oil products, and (most recently) a shampoo with clay in it. The clay products did bring some very good oil control but I still ended up with a bit of frizzy roots and dry ends. Although I think that has to be due to blow drying my hair after every wash (it usually dries very greasy if it air dries), and curling it often. So my formula was made with ingredients for: anti-frizz, oil control, glossy hair, volumization, and thermal protection. You can pick up to 5 hair "goals" and the scent, including the amount of fragrance you would like from light to heavy. I like a subtle scent in my hair products and I thought the light option of the "At Dawn" fragrance (rose, green apple, and pear) was perfect! My shampoo and conditioner arrived during the first week of March, so I've been using it for about 6 weeks now and I LOVE the results! I was told before it arrived that the formula might not be right on the first try and to give it about 6 washes before I wanted to change anything. However, I think the first try was just right for me! I think the shampoo and conditioner address all of the concerns I had. Although it has not been the perfect frizz solution, it is definitely better than anything else I have tried. I should also note that the suggested amount to use is several pumps of product, but I have only been using one. The oil control is great, plus I have noticed my hair getting shinier, feels lighter, and has a little more volume!




I thought the survey to get the process started was very easy. You enter all of your details and your custom haircare will be on its way in a few weeks! The team was great in updating me on how the process would go, what to expect, when my formula was on its way, and have already asked for feedback since it has arrived. As I mentioned above, the results have been great! I also think the price is very reasonable for a customized product, at $49 for the set of shampoo and conditioner.  Another thing to note is that the packaging would look so great in any bathroom, and the pump makes it so easy to use. However, that also makes the bottles not ideal for travel. They are a newer company and seem to really value customer feedback, so I might suggest an option for travel sizes without a pump!

Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Time for the giveaway! 
You can view my answers to the "hair quiz", the elements that went into my formula, and enter to win your own custom shampoo and conditioner HERE
*Only open to US residents.

Thanks for reading!

Floral Skort Set








Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Chicwish skort set c/o | Sam Edelman pumps | Gigi New York "Madison" bag | Similar Loft sunglasses

Matching sets are one of my favorite things to wear in the spring! I've added at least one to my closet every spring over the last few years. Although this one looks a little bit more like a dress than others, but I think I'll be wearing this skort in quite a few other ways. It is also available in blue! I think it will be great for some spring activities with wedges or flat sandals. As much as love some layered winter looks, this was one of those spring outfits are just so much more fun to put together! Actually blogging as a whole can just be more fun in the spring and summer. There's more opportunities for photos just from having more sunlight to the changing backdrop ideas like these flowering trees!




Thanks for reading!

4 Spring Wardrobe Essentials


If I could only pick 4 pieces to wear during the spring, it would easily be a t-shirt dress or a stripe tee with white jeans, and layered with a trench. I find myself wearing these 4 pieces so often I thought I would break down what I like about each one, how I like to style them (and have styled in past posts), and share some great options that are currently available! 

White jeans
I think there is only so much I can say here, white denim is simply an essential. The perfect neutral for any statement top or can just as easily go with additional basic pieces for a classic look.

How I style them:
Paired with a fun top like this post, or with a button down like this post!

Options:

Trench coat
Living in the south, I probably wear a trench more than any wool coat. I only own 1 of them and its the perfect layer for both spring and fall! It's classic, it's light, and versatile enough to wear over almost anything.

How I style one:
Over a workwear look like this post, over a dress like this post, with jeans and tee like this post!

Options:

T-shirt dress
I know I mention this every time I style one, but in my opinion, there is nothing comfier than a t-shirt dress. No waistband or seams digging into your legs, just a long t-shirt that also looks presentable! A go-to casual spring and summer outfit for me will always be a t-shirt dress and sandals or sometimes sneakers.

How I style one:
A solid dress with printed wedges like this post, a printed dress with sandals like this post, I've even layered them with button downs for work.

Options:

Stripe tee
The possibilities are pretty much endless for how you can style a striped tee. They're great for print mixing or just wearing with something simple like white jeans or denim shorts. I have owned 5 or 6 just in the last few years because I think they are the perfect throw on and head out the door option.

How I style one:
Paired with white jeans like this post, a linen skirt and statement necklace like this post, or a fun wrap skirt like this post!

Options:


Thanks for reading!

Olive Lace Top








Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

J. Crew lace ruffle-neck top | Lauren James "Hadley" skirtVelvet pumps (color no longer available) | Brahmin "Lane" bag | Loren Hope studs | Similar Loren Hope cuffSimilar Loft sunglasses

I'm back at it with the olive green this spring! Fun fact: some of my most like photos from Instagram from the last year are outfits that have either an olive green or gingham piece included. I found both the top and skirt for the best deals recently and they are both going to be some long lasting versatile pieces in my closet. This top is also great with black and white printed work pants or dressed down with white jeans, and the skirt could go with so many of my sweaters! I paired them with some neutral accessories including my favorite gold bag and blush velvet heels.




Thanks for reading!

Nutritionist Approved Packaged Snacks


If you missed my nutrition post from February, I have been working with Noor as a nutrition coach since late January and I have learned so much! As I mentioned in that previous post, she is a certified nutritionist, holds a bachelors degree in Biology and is about to finish up her masters degree in Nutrition. I have been counting macros and after filling out a questionnaire about my eating habits and fitness goals,  Noor has set my macro targets to high protein, high carb, and low fat. I also mentioned in the last post I will not be sharing my exact counts, because they are different for everyone. But to meet some of these numbers, I have really upped my snacking, I usually bring 3 or 4 snacks with me to work!
So I thought it might be fun to share some of the snacks I have been fitting into my plan, that have all been approved by Noor as on-the-go options. I'm also having her include some of her own favorites! These are snack ideas to have in your work bag, maybe keep in your car, eat between classes if you're a student, etc. I am aware that the best foods are whole and unprocessed foods. But to quote Noor "Not everything can be picked fresh from the ground all the time." She also noted that some of these packaged snacks make more financial sense, because you could spend a lot of money on some fresh snacks and they can all just go bad before you get to enjoy them. And some of these snacks also bring great variety from fruits and veggies! I really value her qualifications and her backing of my recommendations. I have been wanting to do a post like this for awhile, but I don't really feel like I am qualified to be giving out nutritional advice. I use this blog to document my journey with health and fitness and what has been working for me, but I do not intend for any of this to be an exact guide to follow. So I wanted to make it a priority that I had her backing on some food related posts during my time working with her. And if you're looking for a nutrition coach, I could not recommend her enough! You can sign up to work with her here! So anyway, that was a long intro. Happy snacking!

Salty snacks
Popcorn- Skinny Pop or Boom Chicka Pop, I don't think they taste too different from each other. Although Skinny Pop has a little more of a buttery taste to it. I honestly just buy whichever one is on sale at the time.
Puffs- popcorn puffs by Skinny PopBoom Chicka Pop, or Hippeas chickpea puffs. I think the popcorn puffs taste a lot like a healthier version of cheese puffs, and I prefer the Boom Chicka Pop version. The chickpea puffs (that I did not expect to like, but love!) are a little more filling and have a spicier taste to them. I haven't been buying them as much as the popcorn puffs just because they are more expensive for less food in comparison. But they are available at Starbucks if you're stopping somewhere for a snack!
Rice cakes- I have been buying some from Simple Truth (Harris Teeter brand) that makes mini flavored ones, my favorite and Himalayan salted caramel!
Jerky- I usually have Chef's Cut chicken or Field Trip turkey jerky in my work bag as a quick source of protein.

Sweet snacks
Dried fruit- I have been buying Simple Truth (Harris Teeter brand) dried strawberries and Bare apple chips lately. I usually have them in my work bag and have a handful or two as an afternoon snack. This has also been helpful in trying to cut my sugar addiction, because it is even sweeter than fresh fruit.
Fruit bars- I really like the apple and blueberry version from That's It. They don't have any added sugar, and are also available at Starbucks!

Protein bars
RX Bars- there are so many options of these but my favorite are Chocolate Sea Salt and Chocolate Peanut Butter
Perfect Bars- these are a little high in sugar but they have some really good flavors and are made of superfoods. I love the dark chocolate peanut butter, which also comes in the "bites" option (I could not find online, but I find them by the yogurt at Harris Teeter), which is basically a package of pre-cut bars. They are great for when you don't want to eat the entire bar. Oh and the bars are also available at Starbucks!
Simply Protein Bars- I recently discovered these and I love the Crispy bars in peanut butter chocolate (seeing a theme here? haha) flavor.

Some of Noor's favorites:
Nut butters: nothing added, literally just the nuts. (Cara's note: I am obsessed with the RX vanilla almond butter, by itself or with an apple)
Greek yogurt cups: obviously these have to be refrigerated, but are a great quick grab'n'go for when I'm STARVING but can hop into a store or grabbing from my own fridge on my way out of the house.
Pre-packaged nuts: Trader Joes has these available
Barnana Organic Coconut Chewy Banana Bites: in moderation - high in sugar but mmmm delicious


Also, not exactly a snack...but I have been adding Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to coffee and water, and usually have them between meals. Collagen supports your hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints! There is an unflavored option that I have seen in a lot of food recipes and works well in coffee, if you typically add anything to it. But I prefer my coffee black and I could taste a little bit of the unflavored when I first tried it, so I would rather add the Collagen Coffee Creamer. It is available in several flavors, but I like the mocha.
However, the creamer only dissolves in hot liquids (the unflavored works for hot and cold), so on days I do not drink hot coffee, I have been adding the Melon Mint Beauty Collagen to water. I found the best way for it to fully dissolve is to put it in a full water bottle and leave it in the fridge for a day or so. It is not the best at dissolving quickly in cold liquids, but I once added it to tea and thought it dissolved quickly that way! I honestly only got this melon mint flavor because it was on sale at TJ Maxx, but I want to try the Lavender Lemonade after this one runs out. These powders are an easy source of protein and I have already noticed the collagen helping my hair and nails after the first few weeks!

Thanks for reading!

Scallop Workwear Dress








Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Lauren James "Mallory" dress | Sam Edelman pumps | Baublebar for Target earrings c/o | Similar colorblock bag | Prada sunglasses

Two outfit posts in one week?! I haven't been on this posting schedule in quite awhile. But here's hoping I might be able to keep it up for a bit! Anyway, I found this scalloped dress on major sale recently and I think it is a spring must-have for a corporate wardrobe. It was actually launched in the fall, but it is still a light enough fabric for warm weather, and has potential to be worn year round! After this dress arrived in the mail I was surprised to see it has both a pleat detail at the neckline and pockets! I think it is universally accepted that pockets make any dress better, right? But of course I'm not really one to wear an all black outfit, so these yellow tassel earrings were just the pop of color I thought it needed!




Thanks for reading!

Blush and White Classics










Photos by Deeana Kourtney Photography

Lauren James "Margot" top | James Jeans white denim c/o | Eastland Shoe oxfords c/o | Similar earrings | Similar Kate Spade bag | Loft sunglasses

I tend to dress in some monochromatic looks during winter with darker denim and navy. But this is more of my version for spring after bringing my white jeans back out! I added in even more white with these great classic oxfords from Eastland shoe. I always wait a bit before I bring the sandals back out, and am always looking for some "in between" kind of shoes after I have put my boots away. These have been a great fit for that, and I think they will last for years and years! I also think these earrings are sort of my take on those pearl hair clips that I've been seeing everywhere lately. I think they look great on some people, but don't think I am one of those people...I think it is just the size of them that do not look right in my hair. If any smaller clips come out with the pearl detailing, it might be a fun trend to try!




Thanks for reading!