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30 October 2014

Fall 2014 Hair Trends

Do you change your hair style with the seasons?  I currently have the inverted bob, and I love the cut so much that I haven't changed it for fall.  I did change my highlights though.  I had brown all over with bright red and blond chunky highlights for summer.  This fall, I went a shade darker all over and switched to thinner highlights in a light brown and a barely there burgundy.

If you want to change your entire look, here are the top fall 2014 hair trends, and I'll give you some tips on how to get the looks at home!

27 October 2014

Halloween Hairstyles

You have your costume.  Your makeup is ready to go.  What about your hair?  If your costume includes one of these looks, then don't worry!  I can help!   I've found great Halloween Hairstyles tutorials for all of these looks, so you will be the best dressed and best looking person at your Halloween party.  Here are tutorials for 10 great looks.

Halloween hairstyles

24 October 2014

Get the Perfect Blow Out For Your Hair

One thing I do struggle with is blow drying my hair.  It's so thick and so curly, that blowing it dry is next to impossible.  I usually have to wash it in the evening and let it dry all night.  In the morning, I can straighten my hair.  If I try to blow dry it, it ends up pouffy and unruly.

If you're like me, don't worry!  Here's how to get the perfect blow out for your hair.  Don't forget your heat protection.  Even if you aren't going to straighten your hair, you still need to protect it from the hair dryer.

Courtesy of: Alight

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22 October 2014

5, 10 and 15 Minute Makeup - Look great even when you're in a hurry!

How long does it take you to apply your makeup each morning?  How long do you really have?  For every day, I need 10 minutes just for my makeup.  Some days, I'm lucky to get 5 minutes, especially if I'm getting the kids ready at the same time that I'm getting ready.  

Don't worry!  You can look fabulous even if you only have 5 minutes to do your makeup.  Here are some 5, 10, and 15 minute makeup looks.  

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

5 Minutes

If you only have five minutes--or less--don't freak out!  It can be done if you have the right products.

Start with a tinted moisturizer, or if you don't have one, just use moisturizer.  If you just used moisturizer, use a pressed powder or mineral makeup foundation to give yourself a solid foundation and correct any uneven skin tone.  

For your eyes, sweep a neutral color all over your lid.  Add a slightly darker color on the crease.  Add one coat of mascara to define your eyes.

Skip the blush and use a gloss for your lips.  

10 Minutes

Start with a moisturizer.  When that is dry, use a concealer on spots and under eyes as needed.  Follow with your usual foundation.

Add a hint of blush to your cheeks and bronzer to counter as usual.

Use a neutral color eyeshadow all over and add a darker color in the crease.  Use mascara on your eyes.  

For your lips, use a light lipstick or a gloss.  

15 Minutes

Moisturize, conceal, and use foundation as usual.  

Use an eyeshadow primer to prep your eyes.  Sweep a lighter color all over your lids up to your brows.  Use a medium color on your lids.  Finish with a darker color in the crease.  Smudge with a makeup brush or your finger.  Use a dark brown or charcoal eyeliner for definition and finish with mascara.

Use blush on your cheekbones and bronzer to contour your face.  

Use your favorite lip liner and lipstick to finish the look.  

These are just guides, so do what you can.  If you have to have made up eyes every day, that's fine!  Maybe think about buying a lip gloss so you can save time on your lips or a tinted moisturizer so you can save a step.

Staying organized also helps me save time.  I have a lot of makeup, especially eyeshadow palettes, so I have to store them in a cabinet.  In one bin, I have my mineral foundation and brush, neutral three color eyeshadow with brushes, liner, and lip gloss.  This way I can just grab that bin and not have to go looking for brushes or the right colors.  

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Photo from stockimages /

17 October 2014

Eczema Treatment for Hands

We've been pretty lucky to skip eczema during childhood, even with all of my kids' allergies and other issues.  A month ago, I noticed my first spot of possible eczema on my hand.  I'd been visiting a family member in the hospital for a week, so I used a lot of sanitizer and washed my hands a lot with the harsh hospital soap several times a day.  I showed it to my doctor, who confirmed it was eczema and recommended a steroid.

The steroid cream did work, but I would rather avoid steroids.  I had a terrible reaction to an oral steroid earlier this year that took 6 months and many, many doctor's appointments to get over, so I really don't like taking them or using them topically.  Instead, I looked for eczema treatments that I could use at home.

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

What Causes Eczema?

According to the National Eczema Association, eczema is caused by genetics and environmental factors.  So if your parents or siblings have it, you are likely to get it too if the conditions are right.  Allergens, chemicals, and other irritants can cause an outbreak.

Symptoms of hand eczema include:

  • Itching
  • Dryness, which can cause flaking or peeling
  • Cracked skin
  • Blisters
  • Redness
  • Pain
Eczema Treatment

Change Your Soap

The first thing I did when I noticed the spot on my hand was to switch my soap at home.  We go through so much soap at home, so I've been buying inexpensive refills.  I switched to Method soap refills because it is more natural.  It does have a fragrance and SLS, which I was trying to avoid, but it was the best I could find in my local store.  It is working out well for me, even with the fragrance.  


One of the most important eczema treatments is to moisturize regularly.  I made this shea butter lotion this week just for my hands, and it is working very well.  Aveeno also makes a great eczema lotion.  Whatever lotion you use, make sure it doesn't have dyes, fragrances, or a lot of water.  

Avoid Water

Hey, Cari!  Didn't you just say to keep the area moisturized?  Yes, but not with water.  Water is actually a big enemy of eczema.  When the water evaporates, it can dry out your skin.  

Wear gloves when washing the dishes or cleaning.  This will also protect your skin from chemicals and irritants.  

Petroleum Jelly

I know there's some controversy with petroleum jelly, but I did use some.  It creates a barrier on the skin to trap moisture on the skin, which heals eczema on hands.  It did really help my symptoms, so I used it when my eczema was at its worst.  If you don't want to use petroleum jelly, use a hydrating gel or thick cream that doesn't have water.  Coconut oil is also a good substitute, but I didn't find that it worked as well as the Vaseline.  

Be Diligent

I was in a bad cycle because I would get my eczema healed and then stop using a moisturizer.  It would come back, and I'd use the moisturizers, and repeat.  When it's not itching, I didn't even think to put anything on it.  I put my lotion bottle beside the soap in the bathroom and kitchen so I would remember to use it every time I washed my hands.  

What's your favorite eczema treatment?

Photo via imagerymajestic /

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14 October 2014

Easy DIY Shea Butter Lotion Recipe - Just Three Ingredients!

This post is sponsored by Key West Healthy and Beauty.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

I used to make lotion quite a bit, but then I stopped because I had kids and got too busy.  My skin has been really dry lately, and I have a little patch of eczema on my hand, so I wanted to make my own again.  The only problem is that homemade lotion needs a preservative or creepy crawlies can grow in it.  My preservative is long gone, and I don't use enough to justify buying more.  That's why I chose this recipe; it doesn't have any water in it, so it doesn't need a preservative.

Since it only has three ingredients, it is really easy to make too.   You only need shea butter, a carrier oil, and coconut oil.  I used olive oil, but sweet almond oil or jojoba oil would work really well too.

Shea butter is one of my favorite lotion and soap additives because it has so many benefits.  It is high in vitamins A and E to nourish your skin.  It's fatty acids help keep skin smooth.  It's been said to help improve circulation and speed up skin renewal, which makes it great for stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

I used coconut oil because it is solid at room temperature, so it helps the lotion keep its shape without using beeswax.  It is also great for your skin and is high in good fat for your skin.  The oil you choose will also help nourish your skin.

I only made enough of this recipe for one 8-ounce jar, but you can double or triple the recipe if you want more.  You can also add 10-15 drops of essential oils per 8-ounce jar if you want.

There are two ways to make this easy shea butter lotion recipe: shaken or whipped.  I chose to shake mine to mix the ingredients, so I have a thicker lotion.  If you whip it, you'll get sometimes a little closer to the consistency of the lotion you buy in the store.  There's no difference in how it works; it's just a personal preference.  

Easy DIY Shea Butter Lotion Recipe

Shea butter lotion recipe.

What You Need


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mason jar.  If you don't have a mason jar, use a Pyrex measuring cup or heat safe glass bowl inside a pan of water.  Use a canning jar ring to lift the jar or cup away from direct heat.
  2. Slowly heat the water until everything melts, stirring occasionally.  
  3. When it is completely melted, remove the jar from the water bath.  Use a hot pad if the jar is hot.  I set mine on the stove to cool off.  
  4. If you want to whip your lotion, pour the lotion in to your mixing bowl and set it in the fridge until it starts to harden.  You don't want it to be completely hard, but it should hold its shape.  When it's ready, use the whisk attachment and beat until incorporated, about 5-10 minutes at medium speed.
  5. If you want to shake it, put a lid on it when it has cooled to room temperature and shake it very well every 15 minutes until it sets up.  
I shook mine just because it was easier.  I have some one piece ring and lids for canning jars that I use for lotions or when I need a good seal to store canned items in my fridge.  I've also used plastic canning jar lids, and those would be perfect for this project.  

Key West Organic Unrefined African Shea Butter Review

Thank you to Key West for providing the shea butter for this review.  I've used a few kinds of shea butter before, and I have to say that I really like this one.  The color was really light, so it didn't make my lotion turn dark.  The odor was faint, which is great for an unrefined butter.  

I really like the fact that it is made organically, and it is certified organic.  The packaging is BPA free and there aren't any chemicals in the plastic that could leech in to the product.  This is very important to me because my children use my homemade products, so I don't want any chemicals getting in to their little bodies.  

Perhaps the thing about this shea butter that I love the most is that it is sourced from women's co-ops in Africa.  The co-ops they use pay workers a fair wage and treat the employees well.  As a female business owner, this is very important to me!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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09 October 2014

Natural Beauty Tips

I'm trying to use natural products in my food, cleaning, and beauty supplies.  I'm not 100 percent natural or organic, but I'm getting there.  I love creating new recipes to replace things I've bought previously.  It's not always practical to do this because of time constraints or having the right ingredients on hand.

There are a few things I always have on my shelf to make my own beauty products with though.  These are the things that I use for so many recipes or by themselves.  These natural beauty tips will help you look wonderful and feel better because you know that you are using only natural ingredients that have minimal impact on the environment.

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

Natural Beauty Tips


Dry skin?  Feeling sluggish?  You might not be getting enough water.  Experts recommend 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day.  I happen to love plain water, but I do like to mix it up sometimes.  I do drink iced white tea, which is low in caffeine.  I like the health benefits of white tea, so I drink a 2-3 glasses a day.  You can also use an infusion pitcher to make your own flavored water.  I like cucumber water, or you can make just about any flavor with fruits or herbs.

Eat Right

You need to eat healthy foods to grow healthy hair and have healthy skin.  Eat a diet high in fiber and good fats and low in saturated fats and simple sugars.  This doesn't mean that you can never have junk food, but try to eat mostly healthy things.  Talk to your doctor about creating a meal plan that's right for you


Keep your skin looking fresh by exfoliating once a week.  This removes dead skin cells, which means clearer skin, less acne, and brighter skin.  Try this easy brown sugar scrub that has just two ingredients for your body.  For your face, try this oatmeal facial scrub.

Tea Tree Oil

I use tea tree oil so much that I started buying the large 4-ounce bottles.  I use it as a spot treatment for blemishes and in recipes.  It's naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so it kills the creepy crawlies that can make you sick or cause acne.  It makes a great natural deodorant recipe too!

Coconut Oil

This is my absolute favorite natural ingredient.  Remember the dad in My Big Fat Green Wedding with the Windex?  That's me with coconut oil.  Mom, I have a cut.  Put coconut oil on it.  Mom, I have a burn.  Put coconut oil on it.  Mom, my skin itches.  Put coconut oil on it.  Mom, I can't figure out my homework.  Put coconut't put coconut oil on that.

But seriously, I use coconut oil as a natural facial moisturizer on my face every night.  In the winter, I can use it in the morning too since the air is so dry.  I also use it for heat protection for my hair before I straighten it.


I love clay masks!  They exfoliate, draw out impurities, and give your skin much needed minerals to keep it healthy.  Once you find the best clay for your skin, read this page for complete instructions to make your own mask.

Mineral Makeup

I love, love, love mineral makeup.  It's all I use for foundation.  If you buy organic minerals, they are made with natural ingredients without any harmful fillers.  My favorite brand is Madison Street Beauty.

Have you tried any of these natural beauty tips?  My blog is full of natural recipes that will help you look your best every day.  

photo from posterize /

07 October 2014

Green Tea Toner Recipe for Acne Prone Skin or Oily Skin

Do you use a toner every day?  If you have oily or acne prone skin, then you should.  A toner helps dissolve excess oil and nourishes your skin, which makes you skin feel softer, look better, and have less breakouts.  This is an easy green tea toner recipe that you can make in less than half an hour with easy to find ingredients.

Always apply toner to clean skin.  Wash your face as usual and pat dry with a clean towel.  Apply the toner with a cotton pad or cotton ball.  Use your favorite moisturizer immediately after using the toner.  You should use a toner morning and night to prevent breakouts and keep your skin nourished.

Each ingredient was added for a specific purpose.  After the recipe, I'll explain what each one is used for and why they are important.

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

DIY Green Tea Toner Recipe

Green tea toner recipe.

What You Need

  1. Heat one cup of water to 140 to 185 degrees.  Unlike black tea, you don't want to get the water too hot because boiling water destroys some of the benefits of green tea.  You can either stop the heat on the water when it is steaming but not boiling or boil it and let it cool down again. 
    This is my Belle from Beauty and the Beast tea cup that I only use for coffee.  
  2. Steep the tea bag in the hot water for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Pour tea in to a medium size glass bowl (I used my 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup).  
  4. Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir well.  To use the Vitamin E, pierce the capsule with a pin and squeeze the oil in to the mixture. It will bubble when you add the baking soda, which is really fun.  
  5. Let cool completely before you add it to a glass or plastic bottle.
To use this green tea toner recipe, wipe over your face with a cotton ball after cleansing.  This will last 8 days at room temperature and up to 2 weeks in the fridge.  


  • Green tea is a powerful antioxidant.  It also helps keep your skin looking fresh and can help reduce acne.  
  • Lemon juice can help improve uneven skin tone and brighten your skin.
  • Honey is a natural emollient, which means it pulls moisture from the air and helps nourish your skin.  It is also naturally antibacterial.  I used local honey to stimulate the local economy.  The honey didn't make me sticky per se, but I could feel it on my skin for a while.  I'm a freak who can feel mascara and nail polish, so it may be just me.  Nevertheless, I'll use 1 tablespoon next time.  
  • Witch hazel cleans and tones.
  • Vitamin E nourishes your skin.  
  • Tea tree oil naturally kills bacteria and fungi, which can improve acne.
  • Baking soda dissolves oil.
This post is linked up at Savoring Saturdays!

06 October 2014

How to Optimize Pin Boards for SEO

Every blogger knows that Pinterest is where the traffic is at!  I don't like keeping all go my proverbial eggs in one basket, but I do want to take advantage of the traffic while the potential is there.

Of course, having a lot of followers is important on Pinterest. But did you know that you can also optimize your pins and profile for SEO?  

How do people find your pins?  They might follow you, but Pinterest recently changed their algorithm, so user's feeds are filled with pins from people they follow, promoted pins, and pins they might like. How does Pinterest decide what a user might like?  Keywords. 

Pins and boards also rank high in Google. How many times have you Googled a recipe and found a slew of pins and boards?  How do you get your profile in those precious top Google results?  

How To Optimize Your Pins and Boards for SEO

1.  Search Settings

Before you optimize your boards, make sure Google can see you!  In your account settings, go to Search Privacy. If this is in, your profile--including your boards and pins--are hidden from Google. Make sure this setting says NO.  

2.  Business Account

A few years ago, Pinterest let bloggers and brands change to a business profile. If you haven't switched yet, do it now. There are a lot of benefits and no drawbacks. You'll get analytics, and you can apply for rich pins. 

3.  Rich Pins

Have you seen pins with the website name and icon below it?  Or a recipe with a list of ingredients?  These are rich pins. They give more information about the pins, and they look more professional. 

4.  Account Name

Use your blog or business name as your Pinterest name. If you have a long name, you might want to shorten it to less that 15 characters, which is easier to remember. This also makes you look more professional because your Pinterest URL will be 

5.  About Me

Fill out your about me with keywords related to your blog or brand. You still want to use your voice, but add a few keywords naturally. You should also use the word Pinterest so your profile will show up in a Google search with that keyword. 

6.  Verify Your Website

Take the time to verify your website.  Not only will this improve your SEO, but it will also bring you traffic when people visit your profile and click through to your website. 

7.  Board Names

While Yummy is a cute board name for your recipes, not many people will search for that word. Name your boards with descriptive keywords like Dessert Recipes or Breakfast Recipes. Use a keyword tool to find good ones for your brand or blog. 

8.  Pin Descriptions

You get 500 characters to describe your pin, so use them. You don't want to just list keyword after keyword, but you should naturally list a few in your description. 

9.  Hashtags

Hashtags are very popular on Twitter and Instagram, but they are being used more and more on Pinterest. After you write a good description, use up to three hashtags to help users find you. 

10.  Links in Descriptions

Always link to your site's main page in your pins. These are all nofollow links, so they don't count for Google, but they can lead to more traffic. Use your site's full URL without using a shortened so you get brand recognition too. 

Do you have any more tips to optimize your Pinterest account?

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