Best Clarifying Shampoo I’ve Used In A Long Time: Ouidad Superfruit Renewal

Ouidad is a line of haircare meant especially for wavy, curly, and kinky hair so it’s not totally surprising that their Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo cuts through my coarse waves with no problem. I’m a big believer in using a clarifying shampoo weekly to remove buildup and getting a good quality one is key to not stripping out my high and lowlights and just keeping my color on the up and up. The last one I used was THIS one from Paul Mitchell that felt like it could’ve removed paint from concrete. My hair was ‘squeaky’ clean but at the same time it felt dry and tangly, like when you leave bleach on for too long. This is a gentle, sulfate-free formula that really cleans my hair completely without that ‘squeaky’ or dried out feeling. No sulfates mean no lather so I’m able to really massage my scalp and cleanse all of those shine-enhancing products that I use away so I can give my hair a fresh start. They use fruit acids from açai, blueberry, cranberry, papaya, and pomegranate instead of harsh chemicals to cleanse so my hair smells really fresh and looks bouncy and healthy. It’s definitely the best clarifier I’ve used in a long time, and I will buy another when I’m out.

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Other Household Uses For Baby Shampoos & Baby Powder

A big perk of being an Ambassador for Johnson’s Baby is that I’m fully stocked at all times with their products. Aside from the obvious uses, I’ve found they come in pretty handy for a few other things too. Check out what I’ve been doing with my stash and let me know if there are other uses I’m missing out on.

Head-To-Toe Wash: Brush Cleaner

I used this after I ran out of my usual brush cleanser and I was really impressed. It literally melts the makeup and dirt off of the brushes like magic. I’ve been using my other brush shampoo for so long I forgot how quickly they could be cleaned with minimal effort. I squirt a little in a cup then fill it with warm water to create some suds. Then I drop in all of the brushes and swirl them around to get all of the bristles saturated with soap. Then I swirl each one in the palm of my hand until they foam up just like you do with your hair, and I rinse them under running water until they feel clean. The lipstick and eyeliner brushes will need extra cleansing so just squirt a little of the wash into your palm and really work the soap in. It has saved me so much time and it’s way less expensive than specialty cleansers anyway.

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Baby Shampoo: Bubble solution

Harper is bubble obsessed. It’s part of our morning routine to go outside and blow bubbles after breakfast. The bottles are expensive though especially when we go through them so quickly, and it’s a hassle remembering to pick more up so I found this recipe on Pinterest that I use. It doesn’t have to be exact, I do roughly 4 parts shampoo to 1 part Karo syrup. You can see how much I used of each after just one refill of a bottle that was about 24oz (It’s a 7oz shampoo bottle and 16oz Karo BTW), which will last us about a month.

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Baby Powder: Too many uses to list

A quick search of ‘baby powder uses’ on Pinterest (click HERE) will yield all sorts of amazing tricks from dry shampoo to creating longer lashes (I need to try this!), it even removes sand from your skin at the beach. It also works to get rid of ants as well as keep pests out of your garden. It’s really usefull stuff.

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Josie Maran Argan Summer Hydrating Skin Savers

I get a ton of stuff from companies to try out almost every day so it’s understandable that something rarely blows me away, but this Josie Maran kit is one of the more impressive things I’ve tried in a while. I can see why she has built her entire line around her iconic Argan Oil, it’s really that good.  It softens my skin and makes it so glowy and healthy looking. I’m using the light argan oil with her Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 over it during the day. It’s the weirdest thing how the oil affects your skin, but it  has been nothing short of a miracle as far as I’m concerned. I’m normal/combo in the summer and the light oil is the right amount of hydration- anything more would be too heavy. I was half expecting to break out for some reason, but all of it has been so well received by my skin. I don’t know how and I can’t really articulate why, but my skin just looks a lot better when I use it.

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Argan Oil Light

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SPF 47

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Argan Color Stick

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They also sent me her Argan Self Tanning Cream which I was hoarding for over a year when I couldn’t find it any longer in stores. It’s one of the very best self tanners I’ve ever used hands down. I just slap it on like using a regular lotion giving no thought to rubbing it in evenly and it comes out perfect every time. It doesn’t give a super dark tan which I like because the color is more believable that way. I’m still not seeing it online so I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in Sephora, I’m hoping it’s just sold out.

Organix Coconut Water Weightless Hydration Oil

Thank you Organix for snapping me out of my Living Proof spending spree. Don’t get me wrong, I love their products but they come in these little bottles and everything is $20 + a pop so I was burning through shampoo and styling lotions every 6 weeks which is crazy considering it usually takes me months (if not a year) to typically use up hair products. Organix sent me their Coconut Water Weightless Hydration Oil right when I ran out of the prep spray I’d been using. It’s a two-in-one product because you can spray it on damp hair to detangle, then you mist it on styled hair to add shine. Just a few spritzes allows me to run my wide tooth comb through my hair with no trouble at all and it’s so light that it never leaves my hair looking or feeling greasy. I can’t imagine paying 3x more for something else when this works so well. It’s a perfect reminder of something I already knew, great products don’t have to cost a fortune.

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Pharmaca

I’m so obsessed with Pharmaca that I used to drive an hour to go to Colorado’s (then) only store which was in Boulder. I’d stock up on skincare, sunscreen, vitamins, and protein powders then wander around exploring and learning all I could about natural based formulations and how they worked on the skin from the helpful team who work there. Ever since one opened near me (next to Trader Joe’s!!) in Greenwood Village last month, I’ve already been 3 times. If you like a more natural spin on skincare, you won’t find a bigger selection anywhere else, and their vitamin prices are hard to beat as is the help you get from their staff who always point me to what I need.

This location has an especially large beauty section that spans about half the store. Today I bought an Apricot Kernel Oil that was on sale for $4, Schmidt’s natural deodorant because the packaging was so cool even though I’ve never heard of it before, these supplements that they recommended to me last time for Mike which he claims have taken away his daily pains from running for the first time in years, and the whole reason I was went in the first place- Supergoop! They carry my all time favorite sunscreen! I got the SPF 40 Mineral one today (THIS one) which I have setting out by the garage door so I can always rub some on the girls and myself before our impromptu walks outside we have throughout the day. My melasma has reemerged and I need to get serious about wearing sunscreen at all times if I really want it to go away.

If you’re here in Denver, check this one out or click HERE to see if there’s a Pharmaca near you!

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Harper Turned 2!!

We have a toddler! A two year old! A sweet little soul who is so wise and kind and intuitive. She has taught us so much that I feel like my life completely reset when she was born. Here is a look at her birthday celebration and what we did to make it special.

The decor: Pinterest is a dangerous thing. It had me believing I was someone I’m not. I knew I bit off more than I could chew when Wednesday night I wasn’t even close to being halfway done with the decorating for the party that Saturday. We still got a good amount completed and I was really happy with how it turned out. We rented the linens and outside tables which we have done in the past for parties. Did you know that the tables on the bottom of the picture with the pink and orange linens were each under $10 to rent? It’s so worth it just to rent when we need them and not worry about making the commitment to buy and store things we don’t always use. The round tables are just plastic ones we use a lot for parties, and the higher square one we pulled in from another room as well as the one holding the watermelon lemonade and food- that was from another room too. Something else I learned by having so many parties over the years- use whatever you have around the house to make it work.

Decor

Us: We actually got a few pictures as a family this year! (We’re not all looking at the same camera, but whatever!) The dress and shoes I bought for Everly had to be replaced the week before because they didn’t fit. She’s in 12 (and sometimes 18!) month clothes by the time she was 6 months which apparently I’m in denial about so I still buy things was way too small thinking they’ll fit. It’s good though because the same company we got Harper’s dress from had a variation that fit Evie and it turned out to be much cuter than what I had prior.

The dress

The activities: Last year we had a bouncy house and face painter, this year I found such a neat lady who does music, balloons, and face painting and she was so awesome and patient with the kids! She started out making balloon animals, flowers, and swords for the boys, then once everyone was ballooned out she switched to airbrushing face and body tattoos. She offered to bring interments and do songs with the kids, but we thought this would be perfect for the varying ages and both girls and boys. We now know that keeping kids happy really makes the whole party especially if it’s a kids and adults party so the adults can hang out and talk while their kids are occupied and having fun. They were also kicking around balls in the yard and playing chase. The weather was perfect so we spend the whole time outside.

Fun

The guests: We edited our list way down this year which was really hard! We love our friends so much but last year we had 100 people (literally!) so we just cut it way down (to 50, but half were kids!!) and that was it. I still feel guilty about it but it felt really manageable and easy. A big chunk of that was family who helped us so much. They were there the day before and early the day of watching the kids and helping with whatever we needed. It was a group effort for sure. See below- the pic with the girls and me and my sister? We’ve already changed into comfy clothes by then, our party clothes were covered in cake and watermelon.

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But soon after that I had to change Harper’s clothes again. She kept filing a cup with watermelon juice and dumping it on herself over and over. She did it in her dress, then this shirt, then I moved the juice after this change of clothes because at this point I was missing too much of the party.

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The gift bags: This is my first time doing gift bags and I was so fortunate to have the Johnson’s Baby team from RF Binder send along what would become a ‘family gift bag’ which was a HUGE hit. I said it on Instagram when I received this generous package you see below, they are one of the nicest companies I’ve worked with in the 7 years I’ve blogged. They’re just really kind people who value relationships above the business. They sent everything you see in the photos with no request of a blog post, no expectation of anything, they just wanted to help make Harper’s birthday special which they did. Thank you RF Binder and Johnson’s Baby!!

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I bundled the items in these bags for each family.

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I included a Baby Oil (which I use right after the shower), Baby Oil Gel (my go-to for shaving), Intense Moisture Cream (my fave lotion of theirs), Neosporin’s Neo to Go! (which one kid used when she fell at the party), Monsters Band-Aids, and Baby Bedtime Washcloths. Even though Everly was the youngest baby there, the parents were thrilled to have this kit. They told me later that they keep the Neo To Go! and Band-Aids in their cars along with the bedtime washcloths for random clean ups and spills. I’ve also used them for quick makeup removal/ washing my face at night too when I’m too tired for anything else. I also heard loud and clear from parents that they were happy to have a goody bag that was useful and not filled with cheap junk toys that would clutter their house with stuff their kids didn’t need. It’s something It was a great lesson and something I’ll do for the girls’ parties going forward.

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Every single day for a whole week before the party it rained. But not this day. This was the sky while the last lingering souls threw a football in the yard after everyone else had gone home. Dark and crazy, but no rain.

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It’s so surreal watching your kids get older. I was really emotional for weeks leading up to Harper’s birthday knowing that we have to say goodbye to this little version of her that I just want to bottle up and keep forever. Mostly though, I think about what it takes to get her to this point and how hard Mike and I work every single day to do our very best for these girls and I’m proud of that. I’m proud of us.

Happy Birthday Harper! I hope you look back on this day and know that you were loved.