.my hair care routine.

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Believe it or not, this is #SeventhDayHair.  The longer I go without washing, the better it looks!

Late last spring, I started identifying and eliminating pain points in my life.  This practice wasn’t easy and it meant saying goodbye to lots of things that I loved, but they weren’t the things that mattered most.  Moreover, some of those things continuously got in the way of what mattered most.  It was time for a total and complete restructuring of my life and that took shape in the form of declining the opportunity to coach, accepting a new job, and saying no to commitments that kept me from home.

Oddly enough, one of those pain points was washing my hair.

That sounds lazy.  I have the thinnest, finest hair and post-partum, a good chunk of it fell out, so washing, drying, and styling my hair maybe took thirty minutes max.  But, in the name of elimination, I decided to train my scalp to not get greasy and created a hair washing schedule in order to achieve my goal:  washing and drying my hair once a week.

Again, I should reiterate that my hair is super fine and super thin.  If I can go a week without washing my hair, practically anyone should be able to do the same.

Over the summer, I began spacing out my hair washes.  For two weeks, I only washed my hair every other day.  Then I began stretching it out to three days, then four days.  Once November rolled around, I had whittled it down to one, single, solitary hair wash a week.

How do I maintain it in the meanwhile?

Every evening, I hit my roots with my favorite dry shampoo.  I lift my hair in sections and make sure to especially hit the roots that frame my face.  Then I pull it into a high top knot and shower.  The steam seems to help the dry shampoo set.  After I’m out of the shower, I use my Wet Brush to brush through my hair.  I focus on my roots.  If it’s nearing the end of the week, I will add a little more dry shampoo to my roots and let it “marinate” over night.

I’m an active sleeper.  I move around a lot and I feel like this helps my dry shampoo absorb any oil on my scalp.  I have slept on a silk pillowcase for years and it’s purported to be good for both skin and hair–this is a great one at a decent price.

In the morning, I brush out the dry shampoo if it’s still visible.  Then I spot style with my favorite curling wand, give everything a good shake, and I’m good to go!

I recently chatted with my hairdresser about not washing my hair, and she confirmed that the more often you wash it, the greasier it gets.  Your scalp tries to compensate for the dryness that occurs when you wash your hair by creating more oil.  If you can commit to looking a hobo while you’re in the process of eliminating washes, you can totally go a week without washing and drying your hair.

Now that I’m only washing my hair once a week, I find actual joy in the act of washing and drying it because I no longer dread it.  I usually wash it on Saturdays, though I’ll adjust that if I have an event like a wedding or formal occasion.

It’s crazy that eliminating something so simple has brought me so much joy!  Have you ever eliminated something that you feel is necessary in order to improve your lifestyle or mental health?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  When I wash my hair, I first use this purple shampoo and let it sit for 15-20 minutes under a good,old fashioned shower cap.  Then I rinse that out and use this shampoo and it really gets my scalp clean and boosts my root volume to the max (it’s made for Southern hair).  I follow up with this rescue treatment on my ends and then I’m good to go.

PSS:  I’ve been very gradually going blonde since November of 2017 and I do feel like the lighter I go (aka the more bleach that is used), the easier it is to go longer without washing my hair.

.tula skincare review.

This is not a sponsored post.  Tula, if you want to sponsor future posts, hit me up.  I do have a coupon code with Tula that will gift you 20% off your order of $35 or more–if you want that, click here.

Tula Skincare Products

What is it about turning 30 that makes a woman want to very suddenly and aggressively fight back against Mother Nature?  I’m all for aging gracefully, but when a friend texted me the other day asking if I’d ever considered Botox, I immediately shot back a resounding YES.  While I haven’t quite taken that plunge yet, I have totally developed a long-term relationship with Retinol and I’m all about that #sheetmask life. While I fully believe that good skin starts with a clean inside that’s been loaded with fruits, veggies, and loads of water, I also feel that quality skincare products do make a difference.

Lately, I’ve been really focused on my gut health.  If 20-year old me could see 30-year old me, she’d be shocked at the amount of kefir, kombucha, and probiotics I ingest each day.  Fermented foods? Load me up. ACV in my water each morning? Yes, please! Gulping down that last bit of THE Mother, much to my husband’s disgust?  Abso-freaking-lutely.

In my quest to heal my gut and align all my chakras (just kidding), I discovered Tula.  Created by a gastroenterologist, this clean line of skincare utilizes probiotics to cleanse, moisturize, and treat problem areas on your face without the use of parabens, phthalates, or any of that over nasty gunk.  Tons of influencers on Instagram swear by Tula products, so I ordered a trial-sized kit of their four most popular products to give them a whirl.  What can I say? I’m a slave to trends.

I should preface all of this by saying that I have very sensitive skin–I also have pretty severe eczema and have used a topical steroid ointment on my “hot spots” for my entire adult life.  Even stuff that’s made for eczema or sensitive skin can cause major issues for me. My worst hot spot is in my snot divot (that weird thing on your upper lip that funnels snot directly from Annabeth’s nose to her mouth) and it’s a terrible place for an eczema flare up.

My first impressions of Tula were positive.  The order shipped quickly and I was greeted with brightly-packaged, trial-sized versions of the Purifying Cleanser, the Pro-Glycolic Resurfacing Gel, the Hydrating Day & Night Cream, and the Revitalizing Eye Cream.  At just $20, this kit is well-worth the money because I bought this 14-day trial over a month ago and still have tons of product left.  You definitely get a lot of bang for your buck! The products smell really great–not floral, but very clean. The products are also really pretty (not that it particularly matters, except that it kind of does).

I decided to forgo my usual Retinol for a month (gasp!), so I could really gauge how well the products were working.  After two days, I decided to throw caution totally to the wind and stop using my steroid ointment. This was a major risk–last summer I accidentally left it at home on a trip to the beach and my eczema flare-up was painfully obvious less than two days later.  Josh couldn’t believe I was willing to go without it.

Each evening during my trial period, I removed my makeup using my favorite micellar water and then washed my face using the Purifying Cleanser in the shower.  I applied the Pro-Glycolic Resurfacing Gel using a cotton pad and then dabbed on the Revitalizing Eye Cream with my ring finger. I finished the routine with the Hydrating Day & Night Cream and gave my face a good once over with my jade roller (pro-tip:  keep it in the freezer). In the mornings, I never wash my face–my skin has always been too sensitive for that. I’d tap a dollop of Revitalizing Eye Cream around my eyes and then smooth over some more of the Hydrating Day & Night Cream (and jade roll again, natch) before proceeding with my makeup routine.

February 2, 2019 was the last day I used my steroid ointment.  I’ve been without it for an entire month. Never in a million years did I think I could be without it for more than 48 hours.  I don’t know that Tula products are fabulous for anti-aging–I’m back on my Retinol in conjunction with my Tula products, but I will say that my skin has never looked as healthy as it does now.  It also feels so healthy–moisturized, clear, and even glowing.

For the price, Tula delivers.  I’ve already ordered full-sized versions of all of my trial-sized products and I’m looking forward to trying more from their line.  It makes total sense that probiotics designed to heal you from within are also healing me from the outside. I’d 100% recommend giving Tula products a try.

What type of skincare do you use?  Do you remain brand-loyal or do you use lots of different products from different brands?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  I’m on the waitlist for this product–it looks SO good.

PSS:  I think this is going to be my next splurge.

 

.drugstore spa favorites.

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Josh thinks I’m gross for doing this, but I love a hot bath.  He calls it stewing in your own filth, but I call it completely and totally relaxing.  I only wash my hair once a week, so I turn that ritual into my Saturday evening spa routine.  Here are my favorite drugstore//TJ Maxx finds that make this night go from stewing in my own filth to utterly decadent 😉

  1. Epsom Salts.  I go hard with my HIIT workouts all week long.  I do all the burpees.  I squat until I want to cry.  I get sweaty and gross because excuses don’t look cute on the beach.  As a result, I’m usually pretty sore by the end of the week.  Sunday is my rest day, so I like using epsom salts in my bath to take some of the ache out of my muscles.  Sometimes I use unscented ones and add in some essential oils, but I usually just use bath salts that are already scented.  My favorite is the Dr. Teal’s brand that you can find at any drugstore.
  2. Sugar Scrub.  My skin is super sensitive.  I have eczema that can get pretty bad, especially during the winter.  I also have issues shedding dead skin cells and I find it really beneficial to exfoliate once a week.  It’s easiest to do this in the bath.  A lot of sugar scrubs you find at the drugstore are heavily scented and have dyes or oils in them that irritate my skin.  Instead of spending money on such scrubs, I just use plain old white sugar!  I use it everywhere except my face and my skin feels so smooth when I get out of the bath.  Sometimes I’ll mix in olive oil with the sugar, but that can get a little messy so I usually just use the sugar.  I scrub it into my skin using circular motions and especially concentrate on rough areas like my elbows.
  3. Sheet Mask.  I love a good sheet mask.  Nothing can take the place of staying hydrated, using good sunscreen, and utilizing a quality skincare, however, I feel like a sheet mask can hydrate, plump, and depuff my skin.  I usually pick mine up at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s and I also like to use the collagen eye masks once or twice a week.  As a special treat, I keep my masks in the vegetable crisper so they’re super cold when I apply them.  I’ve used this one before (from Ulta) and the lavender scent is so relaxing.
  4. Deep Conditioner.  I’m pretty boujee when it comes to my haircare and skincare, but nothing beats Aussie’s Three Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner.  Because I only wash my hair once a week, I need a really moisturizing conditioner.  After using a clarifying shampoo and then my favorite purple shampoo, I comb a quarter-sized dollop of this deep conditioner through the ends of my hair (avoiding my roots!) and let it sit for three to five minutes.
  5. Tension Tamer Tea.  When I do my Saturday bath night, I always take a big glass of ice water and a large cup of Tension Tamer Tea with me.  I like the ice water because I want my water temperature in the tub to be as close to boiling as possible.  My friend Braden once said that you know it’s a good bath if you have to get out and sit on the edge of the tub for a minute to take a break (ha!).  I like the Tension Tamer Tea because it has chamomile, peppermint, and ginger in it.  A cup of this goes a long way in helping me fully relax and enjoy my tub time.

Are you a bath person or do you think it’s gross?  Do you have any drugstore products that you really like that help you relax?  I’ve heard good things about magnesium and magnesium tea, but have yet to try them.

XOXO,

Court

PS:  I love using my jade roller after face masking–I keep mine in the freezer and it feels so good.

PSS:  We’re sugar-free in our home and these are my favorite little treat to take into the bath.

.postpartum weight loss.

*Obvious Disclaimer:  I’m not a doctor.  You’re probably not either.  Before beginning any type of workout program or making dietary changes, talk with your primary care physician.*

I’ve debated on whether or not to even post anything about this online.  Having a baby is tough on the body and one of the many reasons why we waited so long to start a family was because I was terrified of the weight gain.  I like being trim, wearing bikinis, and feeling comfortable in my own skin, so the idea of packing on 25 pounds voluntarily was kind of a mind warp for me.  I entered pregnancy with the end in mine and that end included confidently strutting my stuff at the beach with a baby in my arms, so I had a plan in place before I even packed my hospital bag.  If that sounds vain, it’s probably because it is, but at the end of the day I want to feel healthy and be a good example for my daughter.  If that offends you, don’t read it.  Here’s what worked for me:

0-6 Weeks Postpartum:

  1.  Wear a binder like it’s part of your religion.  I used a Belly Bandit and loved the results.  My mom helped me put it on about two or three hours after Annabeth was delivered and I continued wearing it 24 hours a day (minus showering) for four weeks.  I started with a size small and graduated to an extra small about a week in.  A binder provides a significant amount of support and helps the uterus shrink quickly.  I feel like this made a huge difference in my weight loss, especially when I was able to wear my regular jeans about two weeks after Annabeth was born.  Find my Belly Bandit here.
  2. Drink 100 ounces of water each day.  Even though I’m almost a year postpartum, I still make this a daily goal.  You lose so much fluid after having a baby (why didn’t anyone warn me about the night sweats, ugh?!?) and it’s important to make sure you’re not dehydrated.  This is my favorite water bottle.
  3. Nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse.  If you’re able, nursing/pumping is a game changer.  I was super shocked and thankful to discover that I could feed a third world nation with my milk supply.  One year later it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.  There are tons of research articles about breastfeeding and the benefits for mommy and baby, so I encourage you to read up.  If nursing isn’t for you or doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it.  At the end of the day, fed is fed (and fed is best) and there are lots of great formula options out there.  This is the pump I still use everyday.
  4. Move when possible.  Obviously this is not the time to run a marathon or even a mile.  Instead, just focus on moving when you feel up to it.  Go for a walk with your hubby or if the weather is nice, break out your fancy new stroller and get a nice dose of Vitamin D with your sweet baby.  Don’t worry about setting a specific pace or your step count.  Breath in some fresh air and play some fun tunes.  We have this stroller and LOVE it.
  5. Be smart with what you eat.  During this time, I did my best to eat cleanly and focus on smart carbs.  A normal day would look like steel cut oats with blueberries for breakfast, a Larabar or raw almonds as a snack, sprouted bread with lean deli meat and cheese for lunch, full fat Greek yogurt and some honey for a snack, and lean protein with some type of green veggie and quinoa for dinner.  I tried to avoid sugars, processed foods, and anything white (bread, potatoes, pasta, etc.).  We had so many sweet people send food and I totally ate what was offered, but when left to my own devices, I tried to make good choices.

6-12 Weeks Postpartum:

  1.  Light cardio.  My doctor cleared me for running at the six-week mark with the warning to start slowly.  He also asked me to wait until the twelve-week mark before pushing the jogging stroller.  I used Couch to 5k to train in intervals.  My mile time was embarrassing and it’s still not where it used to be, but I’m up to three miles no problem in about 32 minutes.  Make sure you listen to your body and slow down when necessary.  Find Couch to 5k in the App Store here.
  2. Ballet Beautiful.  I loved Ballet Beautiful while I was on maternity leave.  Once Annabeth went down for a nap, I’d break out my yoga mat and choose three of the six workouts to do each day.  I’m not into weightlifting and this particular type of workout promotes long, lean muscles.  I feel like it definitely helped my core and it didn’t take a huge chunk out of my day.  Ballet Beautiful has lots of options here.
  3. Continue making smart choices with food.  On maternity leave, I mainly stuck with the same thing from day to day.  I used lots of recipes from SkinnyTaste or Trim Healthy Mama (a form of carb cycling) and just made sure to avoid white stuff (again with the breads, pasta, and potatoes) and sugar.

12+ Weeks Postpartum:

  1.  Sugar is the devil.  It’s a drug, period.  If it has more than 2 grams of sugar in it, I typically won’t eat it unless it’s a Larabar or RxBar.  Always read the label because it’s lurking everywhere.
  2. Daily workouts are non-negotiable.  This one is hard, because sometimes I just don’t feel like it.  Realistically, you can suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret, so it’s better to just buckle down and do it.  Wishing for a great body won’t produce any results, but working for it will.  Being healthy means doing what needs to be done even when it doesn’t feel great.  Right now I’m saving for a Neverfull, so I pay myself a dollar everyday that I complete my workout (#willworkoutforlouisvuitton).
  3. Cardio, cardio, cardio.  We run at least three days a week and we add a half mile to our run each week.  We started hardcore running together after football season ended and life got less crazy.  We pack up Annabeth and Atlas and head for the park.  I like to use my FitBit app to keep track of my mileage and Josh prefers Map My Run.  We’re also signed up for our first tandem race this spring, so we’re shaving our mile times down as much as possible.
  4. Nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse.  Yes, I’m still nursing.  No, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  I always swore I’d be done when Annabeth hit the twelve-month mark, but she loves it and so do I, so we’re going to keep on trucking until we’re both ready to stop.  I’m not sure when that will be, but definitely before Kindergarten (ha!).
  5. No carbs after lunch.  Josh is almost completely carb free.  I still need carbs to make milk, so my diet is a little more forgiving than his.  On an average day, I eat steel cut oats with local honey and a cup of black coffee for breakfast, raw nuts or seeds like almonds or pumpkin seeds for a morning snack, a lean protein, green veggie, and complex carb (usually quinoa) for lunch, full fat cheese for an afternoon snack, and lean proteins with green veggies for dinner.  I also try to work in LaCroix as a treat and an afternoon cup of oolong tea.
  6. Intermittent fasting.  The kitchen closes at 7:00 p.m. at my house.  Once the counters have been wiped down and the candle has been lit, we don’t rummage through the fridge for a midnight snack.  Any eating we do has to be done between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Again, this is what worked for me, my family, and my body type.  At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you.  Start by making small changes (maybe swap out your sugary latte for plain coffee or choose an out-of-the-way parking spot at Target) and gradually allow those small changes to bring about bigger ones.  You’ve got this, Mama!

XOXO,

Court

PS:

If you’re not a new mom, don’t bring up postpartum weight loss with someone who just had a baby.  Just don’t.  Keep your comments to yourself because they can sting and bring about major heaviness.  Words can and do hurt and your off-the-cuff comment can send a new mom spiraling down a dangerous rabbit hole of self-loathing (or worse).  Basically, make like Three 6 Mafia and keep new moms names out ya mouth, if you catch my drift.

If you are a new mom and someone doesn’t heed my above advice, try to make sure you stay right with the Lord by not murdering them.  Prison isn’t worth it.  Really though, people can be jerks and having a new baby means everyone has an opinion that probably doesn’t match yours.  If someone says something about your weight, you can wallow in self-pity (I did), you can talk with someone you trust about how it makes you feel (I did), or you can prove them wrong by doing something about (I did and will continue to do so).

If all else fails, remember, exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t murder people.

legally blonde GIF

 

Self-Care & Why It Matters

Ahem…is this thing on?  It’s been almost an entire calendar year since I’ve posted anything, but I firmly believe that I shouldn’t really say {type} anything unless I have something important to say {type}.  I’m in graduate school right now and my advisor keeps blasting me with emails about attending a Self-Care Seminar for graduate students {which would be pretty hard considering I’m in an online program} and self-care has been on my brain this week, so I thought it would prudent to talk {type} about ways I’m trying to practice self-care.

  1.  Make a daily schedule.  Josh will be the first to point out that I don’t do well without a schedule.  I’ve been on Winter Break this week and suddenly it was Thursday and I realized that I hadn’t put on real clothes or makeup {or washed my hair} for days.  Obviously, summer vacation poses quite a problem for me since I don’t work during the months of June and July.  Yesterday I jotted down a quick list of what I needed to do and the timeframes I had to work with and felt so much better.  I didn’t accomplish everything on my list and I definitely still rocked leggings all day, but the sense of accomplishment gave me a sense of worth.
  2. Say no.  Gosh, this has been my mantra.  I’m the daughter of a man with excellent boundaries, so I’ve learned firsthand how liberating the word NO can be.  If it’s not something you want to do or something that you don’t have time for, just say no.  If someone gets mad at you, let them fester while you do you.  Period.  I know so many people {especially women} who make themselves miserable for the sake of being polite.  Just don’t do it.  Your health and sanity are worth a lot more than the opinions of others.
  3. Keep up with the Joneses {appearance wise}.  This one may not apply to you, but I work better, play better, and just do better when I feel good about the way I look.  For me, this means that I don’t let myself feel bad about taking time on my appearance.  I had an excellent example of this in my mother.  Even when we were small {and probably driving her crazy}, she never let us allow her to look tired or worn down.  She took time each day to style her hair, apply makeup, and dress fashionably.  My Daddy helped her with this by making sure she had the time each day to devote to her outward appearance so she felt good inwardly.  *Side note:  didn’t y’all just love watching your Mama put on makeup?  It was my favorite thing growing up.  I loved all the lipsticks and blushers and all that.  My favorite part was watching Mama put on her perfume everyday…one spritz on the left wrist, rub on the right wrist, and a dab at the neck.  When I smell Halston, I smell my childhood.
  4. Keep your space tranquil.  Josh and I recently bought our first home and we finally unpacked the last of the boxes this week.  All the clutter made me miserable during the unpacking process, so we quickly developed a routine of things to do each day to make our home tranquil and neat.  I’m a no-clutter kind of gal {seriously, I recently tried to throw away my yearbooks, but Coach stopped me}, so each evening before I cook supper, I round up anything that is out of place and put it away.  My husband takes Atlas for an afternoon walk as soon as he gets home and then while the pup eats his supper, Coach quickly vacuums the rugs and carpeting and does a quick sweep with the Swiffer.  I really, really try to make the bed each morning before I leave for work, but if I run out of time, I make it my first priority when I get home.  I also try really hard to resist the temptation to change into my pajamas until it’s bedtime because it makes me feel a little more June Cleaver and a little less Peggy Bundy at supper time.  After supper, we load the dishwasher together, wipe down all the surfaces in the kitchen, light a candle {the Chardonnay scent is my current obsession}, and relax.  And as much as I hate doing laundry, it’s a lot better to do a load every day or so instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon.
  5. Take care of your health.  Don’t ignore your body telling you to slow down!  Eat whole foods and drink tons of water!  Schedule an annual physical and actually show up!  For me, 90% of my physical health depends on me setting myself up for success each day.  At night, I refill my water bottles I use during the day and stick them in my bag so I don’t have an excuse not to get my 70+ ounces in.  On Sundays, we {try to} meal prep for our lunches so we’re not dependent on eating out for microwaving a Lean Cuisine.  I take vitamins religiously, don’t keep cash in my school bag {because somebody installed a freaking Dr. Pepper machine in my workroom and holy cow, I cannot resist the call of the Dr. Pepper}, exercise frequently, and see a chiropractor regularly.  We only get one trip before we’re six feet under, so it may as well be a healthy one.  But it’s also okay to occasionally indulge in cookies, because we aren’t all Jillian Flipping Michaels.  

I know what you’re thinking…most of this seems pretty shallow.  And maybe it is.  But I can’t be my best self for my husband, my dog, my students, or my friends if I don’t make myself a priority.  If I take good care of myself, it means that the people I love get me at my best instead of getting me at my meh, this is all I have left to give.  In loving myself enough to take the time to care for myself, I’m also loving others.

What about you?  Do you have strong feelings about self-care?  Any self-care secrets to share?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Josh bought me some prizes for Valentine’s Day and I’m so ready for Easter and warm weather!

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was everything I wanted it to be because Mr. Darcy in a leather jacket is > Mr. Darcy in a frock coat.  And Matt Smith made a most odious Mr. Collins.

I’m reading Farmer Boy to Josh every night because he didn’t have sisters and doesn’t know Little House and I forgot how much I love Almanzo Wilder.  Josh’s review?  “All that kid does is EAT!”