Tag: tips

Packing.

With just a couple of weeks left, packing is what the majority of my day consists of now! I cannot believe how much stuff we accrue over time. I swear I did not have this many boxes when I moved to California just a couple of years ago. This is why I have to stay away from Home Goods.

That used to be my living room…

There are a few things that we have developed during this packing/move experience that we did not previously think of – yep, surprisingly since we considered ourselves experts… I wanted to share with you all those few items that we have recently purchased that have been helping us as we gear up for the big move! These are outside of the normal bubble wrap, packing paper, styrofoam dish separators, boxes, and whatnot; the items below are things we did not think of before which are coming in handy this time around!

  1. Vacuum bags – Sounds silly if you’re only moving a couple of hours away or down the road, but when you have to scramble to pack a closet and don’t want all of those items crumpled up or damaged in boxes along with the 1/2 bottle of perfume or leave-in conditioner…these vacuum bags are amazing! I was able to pack 3-drawers and 2 shelves worth of sweaters into one bag which condensed down nicely and will stay until I can unpack them. As we get closer, I will pack a few of my clothes that I’ll need easy access to as well so they are safe!
  2. Mattress Cover Bags – We have two mattresses, not counting the box springs, that we don’t want stained or damaged, so we opted to purchase these mattress bags that are thick and with a little tape, essentially seal up the mattress entirely so it stays safe, dry, and dirt-free!
  3. Sofa Covers – Kind of like the mattress covers, we want to make sure our sofa (or couch for some) is protected! Because we have an oversized sectional, we bought two since the branches do come apart. Now I just have to find an everyday sofa cover that fits to protect from everyday wear-n-tear.
  4. A hand truck – I bet you are wondering why we bought a hand truck when we could just rent one from U-Haul, but this will actually come in handy for more than just moving! We have a lot of heavier furniture AND regularly shop at Costco, so making it easier for us to haul those items around is always a good choice. This one is great too because it’ll serve as a standard hand truck or lay flat for larger pallet items like cases of water.
  5. TOTES – Okay, so I hear you…where are you going to stick those after the move? Well, we have of fragile items we have acquired through the years and even with all the bubble-wrap in the world, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting some of those priceless items in a cardboard box. So we opted to purchase a few heavy-duty totes that will be repurposed for off-season clothing and other items we do not use every day. These will be stored in one of the closets and we have a closet outside (but attached our apartment) that we can store items in as well. These will definitely be reused (house-ward bound in the near future) and will protect those precious items just a bit better.

Moving is tough. Moving in a short amount of time is even tougher! But every little trick or hack or tip that we can apply, the better!

So inquiring minds want to know…Do you have any moving tips that we should know about? What is the worst part of moving for you? What is the best part?

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10 Curly Hair Don’ts and Do’s

When you think of a beautiful woman, standing at the beach, staring into the sunset, and catching the ocean breeze billowing through her long tresses, what does that look like to you? For me, that is a caramel blonde with long, straight hair who looks photoshopped during the ocean breeze and photoshopped immediately after. For me, that is a straight-up hysterical fantasy because these curls will never look like that effortless image.

So does that mean I hate my hair? Not at all! At least not anymore. I can’t say the same was believed by 5 or 13 years old me. But now I have been able to embrace my differences and one of them happens to be my hair. I have dark brown curls that tend to take on a personality completely of their own.

After decades of trying to tame my mane, I have decided it was time to embrace each curl, kink, wave, or whatever else my hair wants to do that day. So what do I do to keep myself from pulling a 2007 Britney Spears-esque style modification? I have developed multiple curly hair tips that really work!

  1. DO NOT use cotton pillowcases or towels! Cotton is an abordbant material that wicks out the moisture that curly hair needs, especially the natural oils that your tips are already lacking. And the fibers in the towel will snag the hair and cause frizz or cause breakage!
    DO use satin/silk pillowcases and microfiber towels. Satin/silk pillowcases will allow your hair to maintain its moisture while also being slippery enough to reduce the number of late-night knotting. Microfiber towels will soak up the excess water while letting your hair keep its adequate level of moisture.
    1. Don’t have either and don’t want to shell out the cash just yet? I use a t-shirt when I travel that has the same priciple for my hair in that it does not tug, snag, or overdry my hair. I also have a satin sleeping cap that I got at the DOLLAR STORE which serves a simliar purpose to the pillowcase while keeping all of my hair out of my face and off my neck.
  2. DO NOT wash your hair every day. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again -everytime you use shampoo, you are stripping your hair of the pollutants, dust, product build-up, and other gunk but you are also stripping your hair of its natural oils which prevents frizz and maintains hair structure.
    DO wash your hair every 3 days (or more if you can – I opt for a wash day once a week but I refresh daily or cowash). And try cowashing instead of your standard shampoo. Cowashing is a cleansing conditioner that cleans your hair withou the soapy suds so there is little to no moisture removal. You will need to detox your hair once a month with a solid cleansing shampoo that you’ll follow up with conditioner but the less you strip your hair, the healthier it becomes!
  3. DO NOT use a brush…ever. Brushing will go against your curl pattern and cause frizz and breakage.
    DO untangle your hair with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb only. Better yet? Do it while you’re in the shower and your hair is still sopping wet rather than dry and prone to breakage. I have also used a detangling brush after a particularly intense hair styling session but try to limit the use overall.
  4. DO NOT dry your hair with a standard hair dryer. No, I’m not telling you to spend $500 on a “new” hair dryer with fancy lights and buttons. However using a standard dryer will localize the heat and over dry your hair which can lead to burning and breakage.
    DO use a diffuser as you do not want to target heat on any strand of your hair -the more you can spread the heat around the faster you can dry without overdrying. If you want some volume, diffuse your hair upside down!
  5. DO NOT skip the leave-in conditioner. Curly hair has this knack of twisting and turning which means the natural oils from your scalp don’t tend to make it to your tips which leads to frizz and anger.
    DO use products meant for your curl type and make sure you use the right amount to fill in the gaps that nature missed! Depending on how thick and tight your curl is, you will may use different products than your neighboring curly-haired friend but please take prudence on how much product you use. If the directions say dime-size for shoulder length hair and your hair goes a bit farther, try that first then add more if you need it. It always easier to add than try to take away.
  6. DO NOT to straight to bed without some maintence. After a long day, your hair is just as tired as you are and needs some particular TLC.
    DO develop a nighttime routine just as you do for your face. Using a good oil on the tips of your hair will seal the dry cuticles and prevent knotting and frizz. And make sure you do a scalp massage! It will help with growth and maintenance. My favorite nighttime product is Righteous Roots Oil – a little goes a long way.
  7. DO NOT neglect your weekly hair duties.
    DO pamper your curly hair. Once a week, after washing/detoxing your hair, follow up with a good hair masque. I personally vary between a simple moisture mask or a protein mask, depending on the state of my hair. I wrote about a great line of masks here: Masks & Scrubs.
  8. DO NOT skip the salon or forget to trim your hair once a year.
    DO get annual trims, at least. Once you found a salon that you like, and in order to do so, call around and make sure they have stylists that work with curly hair if the salon is not exclusively for curly hair, make an appointment every 3-6 months depending on your length, at the very least. It took me years to find a place that did not tell me “Oh wow. You have a lot of hair.” If your stylist ever says that and looks like a deer in headlights -RUN!
  9. DO NOT use standard hair ties.
    DO use satin scrunchies or hair ties made for curly hair! Standard hair ties will tug and break your hair. It may be a little 1980’s but if you are putting your hair up for a gym workout or a lazy-day do (gotta love a top bun), then add some extra conditioner and use a scrunchy or non-elastic tie. I personally use a lot of bobby pins to achieve my updo’s!
  10. DO NOT add heat!
    DO take advantage of your amazing hair – people pay hundreds of dollars for perms and wigs and styling products. You have natural volume! Sure, your hair may not be “perfect” and you may want to switch up your look, but heat will damage your hair strands and follicles, leaving you prone to frizz, breakage, shedding… You can always braid, twistout, or use the over abundance of hair clips to style a new look or stretch your pattern for a while.

I do not wake up every day thinking I am so blessed to have curly hair… In fact, when someone compliments my hair, I get so awkward and uncomfortable! I have even offered to trade my hair for theirs on more than one occassion. But at the same time, my hair is also a part of my identity – without my curls, I do not feel like myself. There are always going to  be days that the scrunchy is used to plop a pineapple or a messy bun, but embracing what makes me, me is also important!

So inquiring minds want to know… What are some of your curly hair tips? Do you have any favorite hair products? Have you embraced your natural hair?

5 Tips for a Healthy Relationship

Let me start off by saying that I am not an expert. I do not have a certification in relationships or marriage counseling or social work or even psychology (though I did minor in it). And I also have to admit to you that the title of this post changed at least five times… I hope that these are helpful tips that maybe you already knew and overlooked once or twice or maybe they are ones you overlooked altogether…

I have been married for almost 2.5 years (and counting) to a wonderful and patient man, though we have been together since 2007 (whoa). I have been in relationships in the past – some great, some toxic, some long and some short. But from all of them, including my marriage, I have learned a lot of lessons about myself and about what I want from a relationship. I have learned what promotes a healthy relationship and what are indicators of one on a downward slope. So I want to share my two cents, if you will, on the top five things that have helped me maintain a healthy relationship with my husband and continue to grow in love.

  1. COMMUNICATION – It might go without saying but having an open line of communication is fundamental in a relationship -regardless of if the relationship is romantic or platonic. And communication goes two ways. One of the things that my husband and I do every…single…day is we dedicate 10-15 minutes to talk -uninterrupted and without technology. Typically we do this when having dinner but other times it is on our way in the door, or when we are cooking, or getting ready to head to the gym… We always ask about the other person’s day and not just listen, but hear. And if something is really bothering me, I let him know right off the bat and he respects my decision to not talk about it outright and we move on. We also are not afraid to say “I love you” too often. It may sound morbid but you never know when that may be a last time so reminding that person that you love them, even if you said it 20 times before, never gets old. But if you don’t communicate and carry a grudge, silence will speak for you and it is never your ally.
  2. SAY “PLEASE” or “THANK YOU” – These may seem foolish but you were taught to say your “P’s” and “Q’s” for a reason. Think about that time that you held the door open for someone behind you and they just waltzed in without acknowledging you. How did that make you feel? Now if you’re from NJ like I am, you almost most definitely said something but that’s besides the point…So the same goes for your significant other. If she did the dishes and normally hates it, or he sets the coffee, or they heated up dinner, or he did the laundry -saying “thank you” may not seem like much but you are acknowledging that person and their actions. 
  3. JUST BECAUSE – This topic can be all encompassing really but don’t wait for a specific day or time or event to do something for your significant other. Sometimes getting a card to say “I love you” just because or giving them a peck on the cheek or holding their hand or coming home with their favorite dessert or going out to eat… All of those random moments add up and show them that you don’t need a holiday or important date to celebrate your love for them.
  4. THE LITTLE THINGS – Coupled with number 3 most often, doing those little things can surmount a grand gesture any day. For example, my husband usually packs our lunches and every so often I get a little surprise note from him -sometimes inspirational and sometimes silly but he still makes it a point to just do a little something (little does he know that I have a stack of all of them saved because sometimes you just have one of those days and need a little extra love). Or how about taking the dogs out and letting them get 10 extra minutes of sleep. Or how about playing their favorite song. Or texting them at 1:24pm because you missed them and wanted to say hello. Or getting them a little trinket that you saw and made you think of them… Those little things are nuggets that we carry around with us and remind us how much we are loved.
  5. RESPECT & EQUALITY – I grouped these two items together because you cannot simply have one without the other. You are with that person for a reason and if you cannot fully respect them and treat them as an equal, then turbulence is just ahead. Take my relationship as an example – my husband is well educated in technology and psychology while I like to think I have a strong foundation in science and literature but just because we are not both equal in the same realms, doesn’t mean we are not equal overall. I respect my husband on his opinions and his beliefs while he respects mine. He acknowledges my side of the situation, even when he disagrees. We also acknowledge our weaknesses and help each other whenever we can. Our goal is to lift each other up, not to stand on top alone.

There are so many other tips for a health relationship and this is just the beginning of this series! Though this post is mostly about a romantic relationship, most of these can be used interchangeably with friends, colleagues, and family. A random text or a phone call can go a long way. A simple gesture can bring someone back from the edge. 

Inquiring minds want to know… what recommendations do you have for a healthy relationship? What have you done to foster a health relationship, even if it wasn’t a romantic one??