Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Beautiful, Ageless Soul

I was driving all by myself in our van today. So of course I was thinking.

My birthday is coming up. And every year, although the numbers keep adding, I think to myself "I don't feel any older inside... "

I hope that as the outside of me gets older, the inside of me grows wiser. The adding of the years is beyond my control, the maturity of my soul is left completely up to me. Will my heart grow softer as my laugh lines slowly deepen? Time takes us on a pre-determined journey physically. But there is no pre-determined journey for our soul... we decide if we grow in maturity, or if we stay where we are. We decide if our capacity for love will increase. We decide if our compassion will grow. We decide if we will see trials as the thing that will break us or the thing that will make us stronger. We decide if that tendency toward offense will be laid down at the feet of Jesus, or whether we'll keep hanging on to it. Will we look through the same lens we always have, or will we set it down and step into someone else'e shoes, and look through theirs for a change? Will forgiveness flow from my heart without my head getting in the way? Will I finally get to a place where I say with no hesitation, "Jesus, your way is always betters than mine, and I trust you."

My soul is ageless, it is not bound by time, and if I choose to always guide it toward Jesus, will only grow more beautiful through the years.

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

Friday, January 30, 2015

Comfy Cozy (My Winter "Mom Uniform")

You guys, if plaid flannel shirts and jeans were my go-to in the fall, then a t-shirt, jeans (or leggings) and an over-sized sweater cardi are my go-to in the winter. I'm not a complicated dresser... I do like trying new things but if I find something I love I tend to repeat it in different variations over and over. So last winter I got this over-sized gray cardigan from express that I had been eyeing for awhile, and then proceeded to wear it almost every day. This fall I got a second over-sized cozy cardi, you might remember it from this post (the world's best sweater). And then for Christmas my mother in law and my sister in law each gave me another sweater cardigan, which brings my total up to four. They each get worn on a pretty much weekly basis.
Here's what you'll typically find me in to run errands, go to the grocery store, drop Drew off at school, or go to family dinner... you know, the standard weekly activities. To run out into the cold weather I usually top it with my favorite (and only) beanie, and one of my two pairs of sunglasses (anyone else need sunglasses to drive even when it's cloudy? Is it my blue eyes? I'd be lost without my sunglasses...). This combination feels trendy and like I actually put a little effort in but is soooo comfortable, casual, and I don't even have to think when I get dressed. Hopefully this simple "formula" can be modified into your wardrobe in some way, especially if you are a mom looking for comfort that also looks stylish.
Example 1:

Sweater: Modcloth
T-shirt: Target
Jeans: AE
Combat boots: Steve Madden
Example 2:
Sweater: Cotton On
T-shirt: AE
Black Pants: H&M
Slip on Sneakers: AE
 Example 3:
Sweater: Cotton On
Black Dolman Sleeve top: Old Navy
Turquoise Necklace: Amazon (for 1 cent. But shipping was 3.99. So do I have to say $4 or can I still say 1 cent?)
Jeans: AE
Combat Boots: Steve Madden
Example 4/5:
Gray Sweater: Express
Paris T-shirt: Modcloth
Jeans: AE
Ugg Boots
Beanie: AE
Sunglasses: J. Crew

Same Gray Sweater as above
Chambray Shirt: Forever 21
Black Pants: H&M
Slip on Sneakers: AE
Hope this combination inspires new outfits from what you already have, or maybe identifies a thing or two that you could add to your wardrobe that will stretch it further and become staples for you to wear often! :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kitchen Makeover!

I love white cabinets. Always have, always will. When we moved in over four years ago I knew that someday I wanted to paint our kitchen cabinets. The couple who lived here before us kept everything in great condition, but their style was definitely very country, while I like a cottage meets farmhouse meets slightly modern feel. I struggled for a while because, you know, to some people painting perfectly good wood is ridiculous. Then I struggled because everyone in the world paints their cabinets themselves, but I read a million different tutorials and was scared of messing up, cause to me cabinets are a big deal (and I also dreaded the several weeks of chaotic kitchen until the project would be done.) And then finally I realized- a.) I am not one of those people who thinks painting wood is ridiculous, and this is my house and b.) i didn't HAVE to be some diy super hero and do it myself, I could hire someone who knows what they are doing and could do it in two days. (Thank you Stephanie for that revolutionary idea!) 
Although painting the cabinets was my top priority, different lighting was Shaun's, so we did that first. We chose the light fixtures ourselves and a good friend of ours who is a construction genius put in recessed lighting and changed out our fixtures for us in October. Then everything went on pause until after my siblings weddings and Christmas, and in the beautiful space of January we started back up again. First I painted the walls gray, and then we booked Wagner Painting for the end of the month. 
And now, it is finished! 
(If you don't count the fact that depending on how long we live here I'd love to add a white subway tile backsplash, change the perimeter counters to black soap stone and install a thick butcher block counter top on the island... but dreaming and having a vision are just as much fun as the finished product, and if you know me you know I'm always dreaming... so I have no idea if we will ever do those things or not, because I am so content with where we are at now!)

Because I am a huge fan of before and afters, here are several different looks at the "befores" and the "afters" of different angles of our kitchen. (disclaimer: in this first set of before and afters there is one thing I like better about the "before"... and that is the baby in the bouncy seat tucked into the pack and play... Shaun said I should have Jaden standing in the same spot in the "after"... that would've been a great idea. It's not too late, maybe I'll still take one like that) 

(This next one is after the lighting, but before any painting)
Before Painting:
 After Painting:

Now for some during shots (only two of these, while the primer was going on): 

And some more after photos of the little details :) 


Use a glossy paint for your cabinets. It looks more high quality and is also much easier to wipe down should something splatter. (I've already had some "splatters"... life with three boys ;) ) 
The process our painters used on the cabinets was sanding, priming, and two coats of high quality paint. They didn't take the doors off to spray them, just hand painted them, but if you want an even smoother finish you could remove them from the hinges and spray them. 
(If I think of anything else I'll try to come back and add it) 


Light Fixtures: Lowe's & Home Depot
Wall Paint Color: Gentle Rain (I believe by Behr. We have this color in our basement family room too and love it so much)
Trim and Cabinet Paint Color: Snow Cap Mountain (I believe by Valspar, such a fresh, beautiful white)
Fruit Bowl & Utensil Jar: Target
Plants and Gray clay planter: Terrain
Ring holder: HomeGoods
Blue dish towel: Anthropologie (Christmas gift from my bestie)
Black clock: Target (Christmas gift from my sister in law) 
Heirloom Vegetable Calendar: Anthropologie (bridesmaid gift from my sister) 
Secretary Desk: Gift from my grandmother, hardware switched by me
Vintage Camera: Belonged to my grandparents
Mercury glass vase: A florist in Strasburg
Cream pillar candle holder: Good's Store (gift from my mom)
Blue dinosaur artwork: Original by Drew :) 
Chalkboard: Pottery Barn Outlet several years ago (Bought with Christmas money from my mommom)
Berkey Water Filtration System: Me and Shaun's Christmas gift to each other this year... THE BEST WATER EVER.
Vintage Scale: Antique shop in Strasburg
Galvanized metal three tiered tray: Pottery Barn outlet
Vintage globe: Fresh Vintage by Amy in Strasburg (gift from my mom for Christmas)
Blue deviled egg dish: Found in my husband's great aunt's home when she was down-sizing
Blue butter dish: Anthropologie
Wood wick candle: Yankee candle (christmas gift from my sister-in-law last year)
Photo frame tray: Not sure where it was from, but it was a gift from my other sister-in-law a few years ago
Silver Tea Service: Flea market find when I was in middle school... bought for me by my dad
Dried boxwood: cut from my husband's parents' farm, by his grandparents' farmhouse. 

If you have questions about anything else or where it's from, just leave a comment. I know there are things I missed in this list. It is so fun to look around at everything and see how many things have been given to us over the years of our marriage. There is nothing I love more than the "collected" feel of a home... the story it tells of your time together, the people you love who have contributed, and the journey you've been on. Clearly my family and friends are wonderful gift givers, they know us so well and have blessed us in so many ways. I am so thankful for our home, for the process of making it ours, for the many memories and meals and moments that have taken place within these walls... 
Here's to a beautiful combination of fresh vision, and continued contentedness, and the many memories that will be made along the way.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Baby, you matter."

Last night after our three little boys were all changed into their jammies with teeth brushed, stories read, stuffed puppies in the crooks of their arms and tucked under covers in one room, and wrapped in a fleecey blanket and laid gently in a crib in the other room, Shaun and I had a date. One of our goals this year is a monthly date night, last night was to be it, it snowed, so our date was staying up late watching a movie together. We watched October Baby. If you haven't seen it, you should.

It left my heart wide open and feeling such deep things last night. I wanted to write then, but Jaden roused from his sleep, his little wimpers called for me, and so I spent the time that would've been given to writing snuggled together nursing him back to sleep between the flannel sheets of our bed. I held him and I stayed in that place of awareness so strong it's almost tangible.

The movie is about a girl who finds out at age 19 that her parents are not her biological parents, and that she was the result of a failed abortion attempt and was born at 24 weeks gestation. Without knowing anything about the way her life began until 19 years of age, she was deeply, deeply affected by the way she came into the world. Feelings of being unwanted, feelings of thinking she should have been dead, feelings like she was drowning, anxiety, nightmares, etc were part of her daily life only she didn't know why. All that to say, my thoughts turned to the way our childhoods affect us, even the parts we can't remember or may never know about. And that thought of course led to the way I love my boys, the way their childhoods will one day be part of who they become.

You know, it's so easy to be selfish. Just this past week I kept thinking how I am so over Jaden waking in the night still (he's 15 months) and how desperately I just want a full nights sleep. That's just one example, there are so many more moments of thinking selfish thoughts in motherhood. But last night my brain did a 180. Oh my goodness, to put selfishness to death in me. To pour out for them. To be alive to serve. To be alive to love. To give until it hurts. To have them know they are wanted. To make sure they know they matter. To see the way they react to their emotions in their immaturity, and instead of being angry, instead of dismissing their feelings, to get down there on their level and tell them that what they feel matters to me. No matter how immature. And then, because you love them so, teach them that although what they are feeling is the very rhythm that causes your heart to beat, you love them so much that you want them to learn to live a life that is not dictated by their feelings, but by their relationship with Jesus. To teach them to take those emotions to the Father that created them, to sort them out while sitting in His lap, and to listen to His voice that will tell them where to go from there.
And I held Jaden there against me and his sweet baby presence was worth far more than those twenty minutes of sleep I was missing. The tears slipped down, I kissed his soft blonde head over and over, and I vowed to make sure, absolutely sure, that my boys know how much they matter to me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Most Memorable Bowl of Soup

My boys are growing. Stretching their wings, testing the limits, the tide of the current "norm" ebbing and flowing with them... Jaden is taking steps, Drew is back in school after Christmas break (and loving the dinosaur themed unit they are currently doing!), and Isaiah... well, this story is about him.

When I make vegetable soup, I make a lot of it. I usually make a double batch, we eat it as leftovers for a while, I freeze the rest for another meal... It's such a great comfort food in the winter. I love to heat up a bowl and crumble some crackers in it for lunch, my boys all eat it, Drew especially loves it. But Isaiah is sometimes opinionated about his dinners, and he likes variety. So if we have soup one night, he's not a fan of having it again the next. You need that background before I tell this story.

So, I made soup. We had eaten it a few times be it lunch or dinner over the past few days before the story took place. Isaiah was apparently tired of it. He had told me numerous times as I warmed the soup for dinner that night that he wanted chocolate for dinner. Specifically Gertrude Hawk peanut butter smidgens. Nice choice, but no, sorry buddy, soup it is. I set Drew's bowl in front of him. I set Isaiah's in front of him. In what seemed like slow motion Isaiah calmly climbed down out of his chair, picked up his bowl of soup, and threw it on the floor. The bowl shattered, the soup splattered. (I didn't hear it in rhyme at the moment.) My mouth dropped open. Isaiah stared scowling at us in an effort to mask the tears that were already rising to the surface. Shaun exploded "Isaiah Matthew!!!!" I took charge of discipline. I whisked that blonde headed defiant-but-now-crumpling-in-tears boy into the laundry room and shut the door. He knew this was serious. I sat him down on the floor. We worked through why he threw the soup (anger, frustration, disobedience), why it was wrong (ungratefulness, selfishness), how to change his attitude (being thankful, saying he was sorry, showing self-control even when he's upset, acting in a way that's pleasing to Jesus), that he was going to eat vegetable soup for dinner or it would be his breakfast and that was that... And I let him stay in the laundry room until he was ready to come out and eat his soup. He came out eventually and tearfully said he was sorry, climbed up into his seat, and with tears still streaming down his face began spooning the soup into his mouth between gulping sobs.

And then I did what anyone would do, what was clearly the most obvious and logical thing to do in the situation. I got out the video camera. And without cracking a smile or acting like it was a humorous event in anyway, I began recording Isaiah eating his soup between tears. What I got will probably live on as one of our favorite family home videos for years to come. He was literally doing his loud Isaiah-cry between each bite... he saw that Shaun had croutons on his salad, said through his sobs that he wanted croutons, even as he was spooning soup into his mouth. Then Shaun set one in front of him and his eyes went wide and a smile came on his face even as the tears still streamed down. He started to put the crouton in his mouth, I asked him if he had told daddy thank you, he took the crouton back out of his mouth to say thank you and accidentally dropped the crouton on the floor in the process, at which point his world shattered even more dramatically than his first bowl of soup had.... in hysteria he scrambled down to rescue his crouton before Zion got to it. Thankfully the crouton was saved, he returned to his chair, the soup eating resumed.... but then for some unknown reason he set down his spoon and began leaving the table again. Quite sternly I asked, "Isaiah, are you supposed to be leaving the table right now??" His little chin quivered, his forehead got all wrinkled down in emotion, but he managed to say "n-n-no, but, but, but I have to go POTTY!!!!" before the tears started again. We quickly told him it was ok, he could go to the bathroom... When he came back out and saw the video camera still pointed at him, he couldn't help himself and a little smile escaped. He got back in his seat and did indeed finish his soup.

Sigh. Smile. Head shake..... The passion in that boy..... I am determined to teach him how to demonstrate self-control even when he is overcome with very vibrant emotion... But I will do it in a way that does not crush his spirit, does not constantly speak disapproval in who he is. Instead I will lead him to Jesus, I will help him sort out his feelings, I will dig deep and find my humor instead of my anger as I discipline and correct. And I will pray that one day his passion and determination will be traits used all to bring glory to God.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Living in the Tension

"There is almost no such thing as ready, there is only now. It's time to start living."
(source unknown)
On the way home from a church leadership dinner last night Shaun and I held hands while we drove the cold dark roads home. And we talked.
And a profound thing came out of our conversation. I know for a fact we were not made to live or be motivated by fear. But we were made to live and be motivated by love.
What would happen if we were able to live in the tension of being conscious that we are not promised tomorrow with our loved ones? That tension where you are not living in a state of fearfulness, but in a state of deep and profound gratefulness for the moment you're in.
How would that change the way we love, the way we serve, the way we express that deep well of love for another that exists always but is often not tapped into?
The path we are called to walk is a straight and narrow one. It feels like a tightrope often, probably looks like one from the outside too. But the balancing act isn't one that's done alone, arms out stretched, desperately swaying side to side, scared to death we'll fall into oblivion. It is one done with one arm stretched straight upward, hanging onto our Father's hand reaching down toward us, keeping us steady, coaxing us onward, His voice reminding us, "don't worry what's to the right or the left, just keep your eyes on me, I will get you there safe." And the other arm flung out with complete abandon, worshipping, feeling the wind between our fingers, soaking in this beautiful life around us, resting alongside the faces of the ones we love, looking into their eyes, telling them we love them, meaning it with our whole hearts.
I want to live in the tension.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rest & Create

As this year began and I was coming out of a season of busy where pretty much every minute had something assigned to it and there wasn't much margin for error I was so excited for the breathing room of giving space to my dreams. My words for this season are "rest" and "create." I want to be intentional about setting aside time to just rest. This doesn't mean excess sleep for me these days.... sometimes when you have a baby who is up sick all night and you finally fall asleep at 6:00 a.m. only to be woken up by the needs of your other two at 8:00 a.m. you can either stress over lack of sleep and the fact that you are exhausted or you can remember that your word is rest, and so after breakfast is made you leave the dishes, you put on a movie, and you get cozy in blankets with your babes and snuggle together until almost lunch time. This is rest for me.

And then sometimes you carve out space for rest and it looks like going into the basement, finding your leftover gallon and a half of gray paint and a paint brush and starting to paint your kitchen like you've wanted to do for years. And the painting takes you five days at a relaxed pace (and the stairwell still isn't done but that's ok because you're looking at the progress instead of what's left to do still) and you realize that giving yourself permission to rest awakens energy and creativity and sometimes you get more done than you would have if you were pushing yourself. Turns out creating is also rest for me.

So far resting has been such an amazing paradox. It is finding what makes my soul come alive and simply responding to it. It is leaving my calendar somewhat clear, not scheduling every second, and it feels like space to breathe. It is refreshing and energizing. Sometimes it looks like not worrying about what time I have to wake up, actually watching a movie and staying up until midnight (last night!) and sometimes it looks like staying on my routine to the letter, keeping all the dishes washed, the laundry done, the house picked up... It is extending grace and giving myself permission to fully live in the things that awaken my passion. Energy and fulfillment are by-products of living a life of passion. Deadlines, un-flexible schedules, and graceless-ness are passion killers for me. Not that deadlines and structure are bad things, but I can't look too far ahead or I get overwhelmed. And so as we begin this year those two words, rest and create, have guided many of my goals.

As we approached this year while I was still in my season of busy I would jokingly say that I was going to sleep the month of january, clean my house the month of february, and spend as much time with the Lord and my boys as possible, and beyond that I had no idea. Shaun and I had a really fun conversation one evening about our goals in our relationship with each other and as a family. It's been fun refining and categorizing the things I hope to do, the changes I hope to make.

Here's my rough list of goals for this year. There are more, but these are the basics.

Bible Study
chronological Bible reading
be optimistic, express gratitude at every opportunity

Monthly Date Night
Continue to keep myself vulnerable
serve Shaun without expectation, out of genuine love

Dinner time (boys stay at table til we're all done, talk about our days, ask to be excused, take their dishes to the sink)
Devotional time all together before bed
teach my kids the fruit of the spirit
give the boys jobs that teach them how to serve each other and our family

Kitchen Cabinets & walls
gallery wall in family room
paint basement office
continue progress in master bedroom
purge/re-organize/take care of what we already have
keep working toward our "dream" 

create a website 

give running a try (starting in march)
better posture

So many of these things I have already started, some I have even finished, some I am intimidated by, some I haven't begun yet at all, but I know that I want to continue to grow as a person, and something that seems hard just because I've never done it before I might look back on someday and think it was easy. The best way to stretch yourself beyond where you are at is to do something you think is impossible or crazy. Then when you go back to normal life it suddenly seems much easier than before. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Combat Boots

My Christmas gift from Shaun this year was these amazing Steve Madden combat boots. I am in love. I have worn them with so many different things but not been doing a very good job at actually documenting my outfits lately. 

 A mom of another boy in Drew's pre-school class has them in stone, and I loved them and had to ask her where they were from. I went with the cognac color when I asked Shaun for them as my gift. 
Top: target clearance
Leggings: express
Boots: Steve Madden (troopa boots

Aside from the more obvious way of wearing them with leggings or jeans and a t, I really love them styled with skirts and dresses, and have worn them that way some already. I'd love to pair them with cutoff shorts in the spring too. Here are some inspiration photos from my fall//winter outfit inspiration board on pinterest: 

What's your favorite way to wear your combat boots?? :) 

Linking to: 
pleated poppy

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Worth the Wait

When we moved into our home in October of 2010, I thought there was only one thing I wanted to buy  for our new house. It was matching bedside wall mounted lamps from pottery barn. Then we moved in and I realized there were a lot of things I never even thought of that were going to take priority over the lamps. Like a trash can. Like kitchen stools. Like re-painting the basement and finding family room furniture... like a picnic table for our back porch... like a new dining table because our other one was beginning to fall apart... (we didn't get all those things at once, but over the past four years they have slowly been purchased/found/added...) 
Well about 8 or so months ago I found one of the lamps with the exact finish and shade I wanted at the pottery barn outlet for a fraction of the price. I grabbed it up right away, and we installed it on Shaun's side of the bed. Then I had my name added to a waiting list should they get another of the same lamp. And I waited. And waited. And occasionally stopped in and looked for myself... But never did find another of the same. Just a little over a week ago I used a pottery barn gift card from Christmas and went ahead and purchased a second lamp. It came in the mail two days ago and I ran to my sister-in-laws to borrow her drill and Shaun hung it up for me that very night. (While we had the drill we fixed some other things in our bedroom, which led to me learning to spackle, and sand, and repaint, which made me feel all handy and perfectionistic, which of course I am not really either, but it was a good feeling nonetheless... I digress....) 

I have other plans for what will soon be hanging over our bed, but if you wait til it's "finished" (which it never is, for me at least) then you'll never show it, so here it is in it's current, beautiful, two-matching-lamps-on-the-wall state!! 

My favorite thing about the lamps is that the bar can slide up and down, swivel left to right, and the lamp shade can be adjusted to different angles. It definitely feels luxurious, and super cozy at night. Below, Shaun's side of the bed on the left, mine on the right.  
The three little frames on my table are all from homegoods. I don't have photos in them yet, but I'm excited to choose some favorites of Shaun and I to fill them. 
 And the other luxurious addition to our bedroom is this faux fur sheepskin on the floor next to my bed... so fun to step out of bed onto something so soft and warm in the morning (and in the middle of the night when I wake up to feed Jaden). 
Just a little peek at what's going to be hanging over our bed: 

 This fabric tassel bunting plus wedding vows...
I'll try to remember to show that when it's finished too.
For now, today we're getting started on painting the kitchen!!! 

Sometime I also need to publish my 2015 goals post... There is a good bit of "housey" stuff on there, which I am trying to get a jump on and it feels great! 

(To see other posts on our bedroom click here or here.) 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Let's talk about hair

I think my hair is the longest and healthiest it has ever been right now.... I kind of accidentally stumbled onto some hair care routines that I think contribute to this, and I'd love to share them with you!

1. Stop Washing it So much! :)
I wash my hair approximately 26-30 times... a year.... I know, I know, that's about how often most people wash it in a month. But yes.... I wash it about every two weeks, give or take. You probably fall into one of two categories right now... you either a.) think I am gross or b.) you want to know how you too can achieve this glorious freedom that also brings with it the gift of healthier hair. If you are in category b, keep on reading! If you are in category a, even if you think it's gross, you are probably still curious, so you should keep reading too ;)

Your body produces oil for your hair because it is actually good for it. Every time we wash our hair and strip the oils out of it we are actually depriving our hair of what it needs. The more we strip the oils, the more our body tries to compensate, the more oil is produced, and the more we think we need to wash it. If we could somehow reverse this cycle, the less oil our body will produce, the more will actually make it into our hair, the healthier our hair will be, and the less we will need to wash it. That's kind of the foundation here.

If I want to have long hair, but also have three kids, and don't want to get up at 5:00 a.m. (because, hello, with a baby still waking up in the night after 14 months, I gotta sleep when I can), and I'd like to look semi put together and don't want to leave the house with my hair wet in a ponytail any time I'm going somewhere, something's gotta give... I don't have time for long luxurious showers, blow dries, styling and then still have time to put on makeup and choose something other than sweatpants to wear. Besides being long my hair is also thick, and it takes a long time to wash and dry. So instead of washing it daily or even every other day, about two years ago I started washing it only twice a week. Then I moved to just once a week. Now I'm down to every two weeks. I doubt I will do it any less frequently than that, but this is seriously a life-changing wonder. On the days I am not washing my hair I still have time to jump in the shower with my hair in a bun or wrapped in a towel to keep it from getting wet (you could also use a shower cap), do a minimal makeup routine, and get dressed in about 15 minutes, without worrying about my hair at all. And I actually love it more than ever. My least favorite hair day is the first day or two it's been washed. It only gets better with time. On the days you are washing your hair, make sure that you comb it out with a wide tooth comb while you are still in the shower and the conditioner is still in your hair to detangle with minimal breakage.

(In the photo below it had been exactly two weeks since I washed my hair... one week of that time had been spent at the beach no less.... in other words, there was probably sand in my scalp, but my hair still looked and felt fluffy and clean)

Here are my secrets for how to go longer between washing your hair:

2. Dry Shampoo// Baby Powder
When//if you first start this journey, you might need to use this type of product more often. I usually wait til about day three to use anything. But let me back up. If you don't know about the miracle of dry shampoo, well then hang onto your coffee mugs, because your world is about to be rocked. There are lots of expensive brands you can buy, or you can do the less expensive route and use baby powder (like I do). When I feel like my hair is starting to look a bit flat or oily, I simply comb it all out with a wide tooth comb, then sprinkle a little baby powder at my roots. There are some definite tricks to doing this well. NEVER apply baby powder right where your part is, or you will look like you have gray hair or a white scalp, or both. Using your pointer finger, run your finger through your hair and part it slightly to the left or the right of your part, put baby powder on your palm, and then dust your palm over your hair. The further you get from your part then it is ok to start to sprinkle the powder directly onto your roots. Do this all around the crown of your head, then flip your head over and rub it in really well with the tips of your fingers. Flip your hair back and check to make sure it is all rubbed in, repeat if necessary.
If you have blonde hair like mine you can just use the baby powder as is. But if you have darker hair mix a little cocoa powder in to tint it darker, or if you have red hair you can mix in some cinnamon to tint it a more auburn color. If none of these tricks get it to the exact color you need, you can always buy tinted dry shampoo from somewhere like Sephora. Now I don't particularly love the scent of baby powder, but as long as I use a minimal amount, and rub it in well, I never notice the smell. I also spritz my perfume on my hair instead of just my clothes though, so that probably helps.

3. Add Oil to the tips of your hair
You can do this right after your shower, and/or you can do this on the days between washing (as long as you don't use much). My favorite is Moroccan Oil, I know it is expensive but a little goes a long way. I actually haven't had any for a long time (like at least a year), but I am going to try to get some more sometime soon. The purpose of the oil is that it protects your hair from heat damage during blow drying or curling it, and it can add a little shine on days your hair is looking dull. 

4. Curling Wand

Purchase a curling wand. I have only had mine for a few months (this is the one I have), but it is amazing, and I would love to get another one in a bigger size. The curls last so much longer, I can curl my hair once and it will last the full two weeks. The curls get softer and turn into more of waves, but I love the progression. I can even comb through them, braid my hair, wear it in a bun, and still, the curls are there when I take it down. Not only does it save time only having to curl it once, but it only subjects my hair to heat one time for a curl that really lasts. 
You can also get a looser curl by wrapping bigger sections of hair around it (like I did in the photo below) 

 Or you can get a tighter curl by wrapping smaller sections of hair, like I did for my sister's wedding. I should also note, that on my sister's wedding day it had been four days since I'd washed my hair. I still went another week and a half and these curls lasted fabulously the whole time.

5. Products I like
   Bumble & Bumble dryspun finish is a newer product that I really love, I spray it at my roots or all over for a good textured feel and to add some body.
   I'm still super simple with my hair spray and just use Garnier Fructis, but now that I have my curling wand I actually don't even use hair spray very often anymore.
   Matrix shampoo & conditioner are still my favorite. It's expensive, but a bottle lasts a very long time with the limited amount of hair washing I actually do.
  And of course, Moroccan Oil, like I mentioned before.
(Sorry for all the photos, I think I am sub-conciously trying to prove to you that my hair does not look dirty or gross!)

If you want even more tips here are a few extras:
 -using a silk pillow case is more gentle on your hair while you sleep.
 -blow drying your hair on a cooler temp helps prevent breakage.
 -I don't take vitamins specifically for my hair (or at all actually right now) but I have heard good things     about them and they do exist. If you just can't seem to grow your hair past a certain length they might be worth looking into.

I hope all this info was helpful in some way, if it seems like too much to digest my recommendation would be to buy a good brand of shampoo//conditioner and some baby powder and just try spacing out your hair washing by an extra day and see how that goes. I'm sure this isn't for everyone, but it's been a huge time saver with the unexpected blessing of healthier hair for me, so I just had to share :)

Here's to many happy hair days!