Weeknight Project: Sugar Scrub

I have been the happy recipient of two jars of this lovely body scrub, this most recent batch from my friend, and last Christmas, a similar jar from my sister-in-law, so I never had to make myself a jar. Happily, my friend included the recipe so I could make some more when I ran out. 
And lucky for you, she’s letting me share.
Thanks, dear!
I love Weeknight Projects: the kind you can whip up after dinner, while watching a movie, or after the kids have gone to sleep and you sneak a cup of tea and a few moments to yourself. They usually involve products around the house or inexpensive items. This sugar scrub is no exception! With a few basic pantry ingredients, you can create an indulgent, pretty, and useful sugar scrub. Unlike other exfoliating sugar scrubs I’ve tried, this one isn’t too oily, so you don’t need to worry about it making your shower slippery. It is especially indulgent to use before shaving. I recommend following up with a lovely body oil right out of the shower to seal in that soft skin! My friend sent along the Refresh scent (Green Tea & Grapefruit) from this line.

Vanilla-Orange Sugar Scrub
borrowed from Whole Living, with a minor modification

1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix thoroughly and keep in a jar in your shower. Rub all over body to exfoliate. Rinse well. 

I picked this Philosophy body wash/shampoo up on clearance after the holidays. It smells truly fantastic (as all of their products do), and it coordinates so nicely with the scrub! I can’t be the only one who gets a kick out of having color-coordinated shower products, right? Right?

Ahhh, don’t you feel refreshed now? 

Casual Sequins: Oxymoron?

My friend told me I don’t wear jeans very often. 
Regular old blue jeans, as opposed to colored denim, because we all know I love my hot pink jeans! I guess it’s true…I’m a skirt and dress sorta girl. That, or yoga pants and one of my many sweatshirts. But you don’t need to see that. 
My mom gave me this top for Christmas. My brother (again with my brother  nick-naming my outfits/clothing, right? This was my lot in life growing up) calls this the “mermaid top.” I think I rather agree this time! The paillettes are a beautiful matte blue-green, but when the light hits them, they shine and come alive.

I wanted to try wearing this top in a wearable way. A “Hey, this Mermaid top isn’t so scary!” way. So I pulled out the old blue jeans. For some texture contrast, I added my velvet riding jacket and my gray suede pumps. Since the top is rather statement-y, I kept my makeup and jewelry very simple. Just a few coats of mascara and this wonderful Pomegranate-Fig Lip Butter I received in a gifted Birchbox, and it was a particularly good hair day thanks to another goodie from my Birchbox. Have you joined Birchbox? It’s totally fun…they send you designer beauty samples every month. You can join here! For jewelry, just some simple studs and my favorite rings. If your office lets you wear jeans on Casual Friday, I think this would be the perfect outfit. Take off the jacket, change the heels, add a bit more makeup, and you could head out for a party afterwards!
This Missoni bag is my absolute favorite winter purse. It’s a consignment store steal, considering it was under $20 and it retails for nearly $500. Tomorrow I’ll show you my purse & travel essentials featuring the uber-awesome GoToobs from HumanGear.
Also, I’ve been reading these amazing blog posts about picking the perfect jeans for your figure. Considering they don’t make my favorite brand of jeans (what I’m wearing above, Blue Cult) anymore (I don’t think…if you know otherwise, please let me know!), I’ll need these tips soon enough. Thanks, Rachel!

Pink Polka Dots

I’ve been lapping up every second of this November sunshine. Just sitting in the window like a cat, keeping it open a crack to get the crisp air inside. I soak in the sunshine and store it away for the days that are gray. 

This skirt is like a big security blanket. 
I’ve thrown it on with boots to return a movie right at the strike of the 9pm return deadline, I’ve worn it out in the rain to get Chinese food well past a decent dinner hour, and I’ve worn it to work and church. You’ve seen me throw the bottom hem up in a knot because I will admit it IS a tripping hazard. Which for me is life-threatening since I’m just a bit clumsy.  

Here I paired it with pearl earrings to mimic the polka dots, a pink polka dot tee, and my polka dot sleeve blazer. Then I threw on my new favorite blingy-bling ring. Bam. This ring practically walks into the room before I do.

Before I trip on my skirt and fall into the room, that is. 
One of these days, no doubt. 

Something We Can All Agree On: Beauty with a Purpose

The country is bitterly divided, as we just saw on Election Day. But let me share something we can all agree on: ending human trafficking. While I was further researching the dark world of human trafficking, tears of frustration, pain, and empathy were streaming from my eyes. This happens in our own country, friends. People are being bought and sold. People with families; people with futures, with big eyes and beautiful faces that deserve to smile. But I was also filled with tears of compassion as I read  the stories of beautiful children, teenagers, women, and men who were rescued. Whose lives were taken back and whose spirits are being rejuvenated. Beautiful stories of hope. Stories of beauty with a purpose. Radiant Cosmetics is a company striving to create more of those stories. As they like to say, “Fighting human trafficking one lipstick at a time.”

What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a crime of modern-day slavery. Men, women, and children are bought and sold into various forms of human exploitation, including sex slavery and being sold for organs.This is a violent trade of human beings; it is a dehumanizing crime against men, women and children the world over, including the United States. Human trade generates $32 billion (did you catch that? billion) worldwide each year from the approximately 2 million people sold. That’s 2 children every minute.

Radiant Cosmetics
The cosmetics industry generates $170 billion worldwide each year, and Radiant Cosmetics founder Nicole is passionate about getting some of those funds on the front-lines of fighting human trafficking. Radiant Cosmetics is a company founded on the belief that we can make a difference. Indeed, we must make a difference, because our brothers and sisters are depending on us.

While travelling for missions work in Thailand, Nicole formed friendships with women who had been trafficked or worked in the commercial sex trade industry. Their stories cried out to her. Their faces awoke within her spirit a cry to help and a call to action. And that call to action included, you guessed it: lipstick.

Fighting for Change and Creating Hope 
Now, she partners with other organizations such as Love146, fighting the tide of slavery, and her company donates a minimum of 20% of the profits from every product sold. Nicole and her team create amazing, gorgeous cosmetics. They are showing the world that a cosmetics company can be a generous force for good. That a lipstick purchase can mean something. That beautiful redemption is possible amidst the horrific scene of human trafficking.

I love it when God gives people a passion. I love it when He gives people a purpose in an otherwise ‘normal’ profession or situation. Selling lipsticks? No one used to think it could change the world. But Nicole? When Nicole looked at a tube of lipstick, she saw hope and the beauty of smiling faces freed from slavery. 

***I am so excited to partner with Radiant Cosmetics. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the products Nicole so graciously shared with me. Stay tuned!*** Edit: You can now read my review and see the products HERE in Part 2! 

Reserach from Radiant Cosmetics, love146, UNODC, and the FBI

Life is Beautiful

It’s my blog come to life! (well, my blog IS real life…but….well, you know what I mean!)
If you’re out and about doing some post-Christmas exchanges/sale shopping, keep an eye out for the absolutely lovely winter 2012 issue of Life:Beautiful magazine. I was SUPER blessed & excited to be able to share my passion—-faith-based style—-on such a great platform. Life:Beautiful is “faith for your journey”–on par with Martha Stewart Living  in quality, beauty, and content, but with Scripture and Biblical affirmations the whole way through. So uplifting to read a magazine that offers encouragement instead of false ideals and empty promises. It is truly inspiration for a beautiful life. 
I wrote an 8-page article for them on modest fashion & beauty, with tips for thrift store accessories & vintage finds, along with 12 “Foundational Pieces” every woman should have in her wardrobe. 
I had SO much fun and so many amazing, wonderful memories from this trip (remember my secret trip? It was for this article! and so were the ‘photoshoot’ false eyelashes!).
There it is, nestled on the shelf 😉

So a big WELCOME to my new beautiful new Life:Beautiful readers!!! 
I’m so pleased you’re here! I am super excited to continue sharing with you what God puts on my heart about beauty, women, and style with substance. I hope I can do justice to it, with God’s blessing & inspiration. May my blog become even more and more a tool of God’s hand, and may my art be from His heart.
And a big thank you to the Life:Beautiful team for not only doing what they do, but for letting me be a part of it!

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
~Psalm 119:32

PS. Your best bet for finding the magazine is Barnes & Noble! Also try Walmart, Hallmark, Joanne’s fabrics, and Walgreens 🙂 Or just subscribe!

Wednesday Mid Day

‘Cause I felt like sharing extra this week.

FINALLY: A tested list of the best antiperspirants and deodorants, including some awesome-sounding natural ones. I’ve tried lots of natural ones (some working better than others) but always keep a Dove handy, too. Can’t wait to try some of these 🙂

COOL NEW RESOURCE: The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood fills a critical need in our society. They started in an effort to combat feminism in our society, and have many good things to say on gender roles and marriage. My fave two articles so far as food for thought: Loving Your Husband Before You Get Married (a great point about loving your husband all the days of your life–before and after marriage), and Female Beauty Matters (which I will be deconstructing in a later post that I’ve been chewing over for awhile…dissecting WHY I chose fashion blogging…) {Please note that I do my best to discern the Biblical strength of resources I post, but I’m not perfect and I don’t know the ins & outs of every organization/denomination/etc. I do the best I can, but please let me know if you think a resource does not stand up to Biblical truths.}

A GREAT DEBATE: Facebook “PDA”? Love it/hate it? The boyfriend and I were discussing this a few weeks ago, actually. Seems like a pretty personal decision–but where do you fall on the issue? Share with everyone you know {potentially including single friends, bosses, ex-boy/girlfriends, etc}? Or do you feel, as the article says, “some things are meant to be shared behind walls, not on them.”?

THE MOST UNIQUE THING I’VE SEEN ON THE INTERNET IN A LONGTIME: This recipe video. So stunning and inspiring:

beet cake from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

That’s all for now. But I am keeping the “for now” vague. Cause I’m in a share-y mood.

Blossoming Beauty

The boy bought me these perfectly pink gerbera daisies (that he picked out all by himself!)…they make my heart sing 🙂 I posted the picture and a friend and mentor commented, “What a special man that gives you such beauty.” 

A man that gives me beauty, as in beautiful physical objects…what a blessing! To have someone that I love, bring me things that I love, things that he knows will make me happy, just fills me. He wants to make me happy and to bring me beauty. He wants to make my heart sing and to see my face light up. Such a small thing that can make me happy all week!

A man that gives me beauty, as in, makes me a more beautiful person…what a blessing! Someone who makes me shine from the inside-out. A man who sees my femininity and works hard to make me feel like a beautiful woman…and tells me every day that I am beautiful and worthy. That makes me long to be more beautiful for him…more beautiful physically, emotionally, and spiritually, as a woman of God. He makes me long to be closer to God!That is the way it should be.

Girls, our men should absolutely make us feel that we are God’s feminine and beautiful women. We are our man’s feminine and beautiful woman too….inside and out. He spurs me on for the Lord! Don’t settle for any less in a man.