Category Archives: Beauty

Awesome runs, crappy runs and a haircut

Let’s start with awesome.

Bri and I took a much needed mini-trip to PA this past weekend. We left Richmond on Thursday evening and had a whole jam-packed 3 day weekend planned. It was BLISS.

Part one of the awesome weekend was an 8 mile run on Friday morning. Pretty much the ONLY time I can convince Brian to run with me is when we are up in PA. He likes to show me around his old stomping ground. We decided to tackle the 8 miles in Ridley Creek State Park, not to far from where Brian grew up. I really wasn’t expecting much going into this run, especially because of the hills. Richmond is just so darn flat compared to PA, so I didn’t set my expectations too high. I thought maybe a 9:45 pace was reasonable.

We ended up doing a 4 mile out and back, with the first 4 miles essentially uphill and the last 4 basically back down.

Despite the hills and the icy patches, we were able to kick some serious butt. I don’t know what it was, but once I was through the first 2 miles, I knew I had it in me to make this run GOOD. Having Brian by my side certainly helped, and I was happy to just keep up with him. He knows that course like the back of his hand, so he was constantly telling me that it was going to flatten out, or that we only had 1 more hill to go. Very motivating. In the end, we finished with an overall pace of 9:19. Seriously amazing for me considering the hills!!

I rode that runner’s high for a while after that run.

That is until today.

I attempted a 5 mile “Easy” run during lunch today. The sky was perfectly blue, the temps hovered around 55, I really couldn’t ask for better conditions. But man oh man did this run SUCK. I only got through 4 miles and that was a huge struggle. I have no idea why I felt so crappy. I’m not sick or anything?! My lungs felt OK but my legs just didn’t want to move. I couldn’t even mentally psych myself up. You would think this should have been easy considering the elevation…

But my splits say otherwise…

HOW did I do so well on Friday and then absolutely collapse on Monday?? Uggg.

In other news, I chopped off all my hair. I have a poor excuse for a ponytail now, but I’m making it work. It feels so FREEING!!

Adventures in Spray Tanning

With THE wedding just a few short weeks away, I’ve decided it’s time to start working on a beauty routine.

I want flawless skin, toned arms, shiny hair, white teeth, hairless pits and a TAN. With a little effort, several of these things are within my reach (sorry arms…you’re about as toned as you’re gonna get at this point), and I tackled the TAN this weekend.

I am naturally quite pale and I don’t really spend much time in the sun. I think I saw the ocean once this entire summer. So it’s time to resort to sunless methods. You cannot pay me enough to step foot in a tanning bed coffin of doom, so that really leaves two options: buy a tanning lotion or get a spray tan (or be pale…not an option).

Notice how I blend in with the white walls.

Personally, when I think of spray tanning I think of the little human dolls on Toddlers and Tiaras. I think they look rather freakish with dark tans, hence the reason I’ve avoided the method for so long. But I’ve heard some good things about spray tanning as well, so I decided to give it a whirl.

I arrived at the salon early Saturday morning. Brian’s cousin informed me that I’d need to “let the tan sit” for about 8 hours before showering. This didn’t quite work out with our schedule for the day, so I ended up showering after only 4 hours (I’ll get to that in a moment). The tanner-lady took me to a back room (where they do massages and waxings) and asked me what I was going to wear to be sprayed in. I was like ummmm what do you mean? And she told me I could go naked or wear my thong.

I opted for thong. So I dropped trow, immediately froze, and waited for her to return. She instructed me to stand still and then whipped out this little tan gun thing (I am literally only in a thong at this point…hello boobs). The spray itself was rather cold, but the process went by so quickly I hardly noticed. She sprayed the gun all over my body and I was INSTANTLY dark. You can’t choose a darkness, so I was stuck with the standard color.

When all was said and done I was super happy with my body. No tan lines (except for the thong) and a nice tan glow. However, my face looked all sorts of scary. Like ORANGE scary. I wear SPF on my face every single day, so I’m slightly more pale there than the rest of my body. Brian’s cousin was also freakishly orange in the face, so we washed off most of it when we got home.


I'm scared of myself.

And this was after I washed a lot of it off. SCARY!!

With a little scrubbing I’m back to normal, thank goodness. My palms are still weirdly tan, but I am happy with everything else. I think my body looks totally natural! Now I just need to figure out exactly if/when I will get another one before the wedding. I think I’ll cry if fake tan drips onto my dress…

A Hairstyle Worth Sharing

I am not very creative when it comes to my hair.

It’s naturally curly and somewhat hard to be creative with. I can blowdry it straight pretty easily, but usually I’m not bothered. I feel like I’m lucky to be able to wash it, add a little de-frizz stuff and be on my way.

However I don’t always think my natural hair is that “professional.” Yes I can pull it into a messy bun, but even that isn’t so “I’m-27-and-mature.”

My natural do - very old pic (2006?)

So, imagine my excitement when, while reading Capitol Hill Style, I discovered the “Gibson Roll” – perfect and stylish, especially for people with curly hair.

Seriously, this is the EASIEST and PRETTIEST hairstyle ever. I’ve gotten SO many compliments on it…people ask if I had it done professionally! My mom even asked why the heck we were spending so much $ on a wedding updo when I could just do this.

Check it…

So purdy.


Side view.

It's hard taking pictures of your own head...

Basically you just pull your hair into a low tight pony tail, create a little “nest” for it above the elastic (imagine half-way doing a topsy tail), and then pin it in.

There is a super excellent and easy to follow tutorial here.

I’ve definitely found my go-to professional look. Love.


My Very First Birchbox!

If you haven’t heard of Birchbox, RUN on over to Google and do yourself a favor. Or just click here:

Basically Birchbox is a monthly service that ships large sample sizes of luxury beauty products right to your door. It’s $10 a month and you can cancel any time.

Personally I have a VERY hard time buying beauty products. The prices are high and I really just don’t know what to trust, or what the hell even works for me. I have frizzy, curly, thin hair and skin that is generally normal but has red undertones. I have no clue what miracle products exist for those conditions. In the end I just buy the cheap stuff or get sucked in by the latest gimmick and regret spending money in the first place.

And then Birchbox came into my life. I read about it on Capital Hill Style (fabulous blog btw) and decided to give it a try. Investing $10 a month in my beauty future seems like a small price to pay (I’ll happily give up 3 lattes this month to balance the spending). I get to try out things I would NEVER buy and I can order full sizes if I do end up finding that miracle product.

Enough of the blabber, let’s get to the GOODS.

The spoils.

Each box includes 4 large sample sizes and 1 “extra” item. This month’s haul includes…

Each item includes a description and the price of the full size product. Clearly these are things I would never purchase “just to try”. $62 for a 3.7 ounce face mask?! I would just never pick that up. But now I get to try it out and decide if the $62 is really just a small price to pay.

The deets and my thoughts:

June Jacobs Masque

This looks like it will last for 1 or 2 applications. It smells divine – clean, semi sweet, and spa-like. I don’t know enough about masques to purchase one out of the blue, so it will be nice to see the effects of this little baby. And it’s obviously an expensive product, so I’m looking forward to pampering myself a bit!

Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel

They listened! When you register for Birchbox you fill out a little beauty questionnaire about your hair type, skin type, etc. Clearly they listened to my hair woes and sent this frizz control product (maybe just a coincidence, but whatevs). I haven’t had a chance to give it a try, but I’m always open to frizz-easing suggestions. I currently use a Biolage oil and it sort of works, but this looks like it has potential. Another bonus – it looks like it will last for about 10 uses.

Shaveworks Cool Fix Gel

Again, not something I would ever purchase on my own. I rarely get razor burn so I don’t have much use for a product like this. HOWEVER I do occasionally experience some bikini line issues, so this sample sized product could potentially last several years. If it works, I’ll definitely keep it around!

smashbox Primer

SO excited about this one. I am actually looking for a new primer and have heard good things about smashbox products. I’ve used a Stila primer, a Nars primer and an Ulta primer but didn’t LOVE them. It will be nice to give another brand a try without having to experiment with a full sized product. My guess is that this sample will last about 10 uses.

The "extra" - a Twistband

I thought this was a random bow when I opened the box. Apparently it’s a hair tie! It looks nothing like the dinky elastics I currently use (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?), but I’m open to giving it a try. My hair is super thin so I don’t like to use chunky elastics, but the material of the twistband seems very light and silky. Kind of like UnderArmour? I plan to wear it on my run tomorrow (and possibly on my wrist all day…since it’s “chic”…ahem).

My overall verdict: AWESOME. LOVE. AMAZE. WORTH $10.

I can’t wait to try these products and get another box next month!