Best Budget-Friendly Curly Hair Products July 2021

Best Budget-Friendly Curly Hair Products July 2021

I have tried a few different hair products over the last few months, searching for curly hair products that won’t break the bank. I am pleased to report that I found some drugstore and Amazon items that were not only budget-friendly, but actually worked! Please read below for my favorite budget-friendly curly hair products this month.

Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo – This shampoo works very well. It gets my hair clean, doesn’t make my strands feel brittle and is gentle.

Aussie Miracle Moist Conditioner – This formula works really well with my hair. It makes my hair feel moisturized and not too weighed down. It’s definitely not a deep conditioner, but for a regular conditioner, it works well.

Detangling brush – My mother actually gave me one of these brushes and I was skeptical at first. But after using it for the last few months, I really love it. It’s nice to use the brush to detangle my hair as opposed to my fingers. It’s great for distributing the leave-in-conditioner throughout my hair as well.

Leave in Conditioner – I was a bit nervous to try this product because Suave isn’t known for their natural hair products. But I saw a natural hair influencer use their products so that gave me a bit more comfort in trying it. Plus, it was less than $5, so it was tempting to try. I love the consistency! It’s very smooth and light-weight, but coats your hair and makes it feel moisturized.

As I Am Curling Jelly – This curling hair gel is amazing. I like that it really locks the curl into shape when using the finger coil method. I still definitely have some frizz in some parts of my hair (and that could be due to skipping sections unintentionally), but for the most part, this product gives my hair major definition. I love it. Definitely recommend. I have also tried this product with twist-outs and braid-outs, and I am still pleased with the result.

Scrunchies from Amazon – I use these scrunchies to put my hair in half-up, half-down styles and to put my hair in a double pineapple when I sleep at night. Compared to the skinny hair ties, these satin scrunchies help prevent breakage and protect my hair from tearing while keeping it out of my face 🙂 I love them!

Edge Control – I used this product for a while and wasn’t that impressed until I switched up my application process. Now, I apply this edge control around the front edges of my hairline, wet my bristle brush with water and comb the product into my hair. It smoothes my hair and makes it straight around the hairline. Works like a charm.

Bristle Brush – I use this bristle brush exclusively for edge control. My mom told me about this brush and it really is a game changer. As mentioned above, apply the edge control to your hairline, wet the brush with water and brush the product into your hairline.

That’s all for now! Do you have any drugstore curly hair products that you love? Please leave your recommendations below!

10 Things to Do In Any City This Fourth of July

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

The Fourth of July is arguably one of the most exciting, yet relaxed holidays in the United States. While there’s no obligation to cook meals or exchange gifts, it’s a great excuse to grill out, see loved ones and watch fireworks. Keep reading below for 10 ideas of activities you can do in any city this Fourth of July.

1- Lounge by the Water

Head over to the pool or your nearest body of water to relax and enjoy the outdoors. If you live near a beach, pack your cooler, chairs and sunblock, and prepare for a fun beach day. Remember to leave early since it’s sure to be a popular destination for many families this holiday.

2- View fireworks

If there’s anything that’s highly anticipated this July 4, it’s fireworks. Check your local news stations and newspapers to see what your downtown area is planning for July 4 festivities. Most cities host a fireworks show in the evening, and all you’ll need to bring is a chair!

Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

3- Cook Out with Friends and Family

Check with your family members and friends to see what their Independence Day plans are. You could all get together and grill out at someone’s house. Coordinate who will be bringing items to the cook-out, create the perfect playlist and prepare for lots of laughter and good memories.

4- Play Board Games or Learn a New Card Game

Who doesn’t love games? Check to see what games you have at home or if anyone in your network has some cool board games. Set a location for meeting and don’t forget the snacks!

5- Volunteer

The Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate with loved ones, but it’s also a great time to spend volunteering at places in need. Check your local animal shelters, food bank, or even your place of worship to see if there is a need for volunteers. Even if you only spend a few hours, the help will be greatly appreciated!

6- Photo Scavenger Hunt

Get a group together and hand out a list of 20 items to take photos of in your city. These objects could be the American flag, a water fountain, the oldest building in the city, or anything you can think of. Whichever team finishes first wins! Make sure you have photographic evidence.

Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

7- Enjoy Live Music

As I mentioned above in list item 2, check your local news station or newspaper to see what your downtown area is planning for July 4 festivities. Some areas will host live musicians or bands to entertain guests.

8- Wear Red, White, And/Or Blue

Today is the perfect excuse to have a themed dress code. Dress up in glam red, white or blue, put a more country twist on the attire, or go full on ‘Merica with American Flag everything.

9- Play Cornhole or a DIY Yard Game

Some trendy restaurants have corn hole set up for patrons. This part might require some research, but if you happen to be eating at a restaurant where there is corn hole, why not get a game started? If you already own the game, you could also bring the party to your own home! If you do not have access to this popular game, it’s time to get creative and make your own yard game! From yard bowling, to giant scrabble, there are lots of ways to play outdoor games at home for free. Click here for a post from Prudent Penny Pincher on how to make a few DIY yard games.

10- Refresh Your American History

Whether you go to a local museum or browse online, there’s no better time than July 4 to brush up on your American history. I used to listen to the podcast “Stuff You Missed In History Class,” where I learned a lot of interesting facts about U.S. history. I have also tried this United States Map quiz from time-to-time, and love trying to beat my previous scores. You could also tour your city’s local museum to learn more about your area’s past.

Swimsuit Hacks to Keep You Stylish this Summer

Photo by Genelle R

One of the best ways to enjoy the summer heat is to lay out by the beach or pool, sipping a nice cold refreshing drink. As you sunbathe this season, here are a few swimsuit tips I’ve picked up over the years to look cute by the pool while still having a great time!

1- Wear a Cute Cover-Up

The only thing more exciting than picking out a new swimsuit is find a new swimsuit cover-up! I like loose, flowy dresses that are easy to slip on and off. I currently have this one from Amazon and this one from Venus. If you’re really glam, try opting for a kaftan! They are often embellished with rhinestones or beading for that luxe look.

2- Find the Perfect One Piece Swimsuit

You don’t always have to wear a bikini. In fact, there are so many stylish one piece swimsuits available right now. Some of my favorite places to look for one piece swimsuits are Target, MBM Swim, Venus and Revolve, but there are so many swimwear boutiques with stunning options. Don’t be afraid to search online for different vendors.

3- Dress for the Event

Is this a casual beach day or is it a get-together where you’ll probably be taking photos? If it’s a photo-op, there is no shame in adding a few accessories like some cute sunglasses or wearing your hair down with a headband! After the photos are over, throw your hair up in a bun, get comfortable and relax.

4- Wear a Hat

I like to wear a hat to the pool or beach for extra protection from the sun. I prefer the floppy hat style when I’m lounging around, but if I’m being more active, I like to wear an athletic style hat. Pro Tip! Secure your hat to your hair with bobby pins to prevent it from being blown off on windy days (You’re welcome 😌)!

5- Upgrade Your Flip Flops

There are lots of cute sandals available right now. Whether you opt for a thong strap sandal, slides or another style, make sure your sandals are comfy and most importantly, capable of handling water. This rhinestone flip flop is cute, and this slide sandal is a nice dupe for the Hermes sandal.

6- Wear Jewelry

When I’m browsing swimsuits online, I take note of how the models wear the outfit. Most of the time, they are wearing jewelry (and makeup), but we don’t usually think to wear jewelry to the pool. Wearing jewelry instantly adds a bit more style to your swimsuit. I like to wear silver and water-resistant watches in the summer. I also see models wearing nature-inspired jewelry like this cowrie shell necklace or this seashell necklace. (Edit: try to wear jewelry when you know you’ll be lounging in the shade and not in direct sunlight).

7- Bring Sunglasses

Sunglasses are great because not only are they functional for blocking the sun from your eyes, but they also help add an extra level of style to your look. With shapes ranging from aviator, cat eye, rimless and more, you can certainly find the perfect pair.

Do you have any swimwear style tips that you use during the summer?

June 2021 Favorites

This month has flown by so fast, and the hot weather has given me a chance to try some new things for summer. From beauty items, to clothing hacks, to technology upgrades, June offered a great collection of new finds. While these changes have been great for me, you know I had to share with you! Keep reading to see my monthly beauty favorites for June 2021.

The Everygirl Digital Wallpapers

My laptop’s home screen has been so beautiful the last three months, thanks to The Everygirl’s digital wallpapers. Each month, they release new digital backgrounds for computers, smartphones and tablets. The best thing is they are free! I highly recommend checking it out if you want to spruce up the background images of your phone or computer!

7 for All Mankind Jean shorts

I bought these jean shorts last month from ThredUp and I am so in love with the fit. The inseam and rise are always tricky when shopping for shorts, but I feel very comfortable in these. The measurements are 5″ inseam and 9″ rise. The shorts are a bit longer in the back, so that’s nice for extra coverage. (Similar here or here)

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume

If you read my Unboxing Chanel Coco Mademoiselle post, you know that I recently received this perfume as a birthday gift from my husband. I absolutely love how floral and fresh this fragrance is, and it makes you feel so polished and put together. Highly recommend.

Dress tape

I recently went on vacation and two of my dresses have low plunge necklines. In the past, I’ve worn dresses like this but kept worrying about accidentally having a wardrobe malfunction. Well worry no more! This dress tape I purchased from Amazon held up so well, even in the south Florida 94 degree heat.

Small Contour brush

I have been wearing more bronzer and contour powder lately, and this brush has been really doing an excellent job with nose contour. My mom actually bought this set for me a few years ago, and I’ve been using the larger brush for liquid foundation and the small-medium sized one for my nose. (Similar here).

Refresh eye drops

These Refresh eye drops are so nice. I have really dry eyes and when I use these drops, my eyes feel immediate pain relief. I’ve seen other brand that offer even more dry-eye relief and I’m interested in trying those in the future.

OPI Nail Polish in Mimosas for Mr. and Mrs.

I have tried a lot of neutral colored nail polishes and by far, my favorite is Mimosas for Mr. and Mrs. by OPI. I can see why the name has such a bridal connotation. It is a beautiful neutral color in between beige, ivory and light pink. It’s not too sheer nor is it too opaque. Whether you’re wearing this polish for a special event or every day, it is a great choice.

8 Best Tips for Managing Kinky Curly Hair

Photo by Tomaz Barcellos on Pexels.com

If you’ve ever transitioned from wearing chemically straightened hair to embracing your naturally curly hair, you know the emotional roller coaster that journey can create. I stopped relaxing my hair in early 2018 and while I am still learning a lot about my hair, I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Keep reading for the best tips I’ve learned about my kinky curly hair type, and feel free to share any tips you have below as well!

1. Use a spray bottle full of water to hydrate your hair as you style.

Even after I wash and condition, my hair still gets a little dry as I’m styling. So I spray each section of my hair with water before applying leave-in conditioner and curling gels. Even if I’m preparing my hair for a straightened style, I will spray sections of my already damp hair with water before I blow dry 😊, trust me, it works!

2. Learn what products your hair likes.

Hair products can be super expensive, but the only thing worth more than the money is your time. By learning what products work best with your hair, you will save time, energy and stress.

3. I prefer “styled” curly hair styles as opposed to wash-and-gos.

When I style my hair in a braid-out or twist out, I like that the curls are larger and more uniform compared to my curls with a wash-and-go. I also prefer how my hair looks after I unravel the braids from cornrows as opposed to your classic braid-out because the curls are styled from the root instead of further down the hair.

4. Wear your hair in a “pineapple” when you sleep at night.

This is just placing your hair as high to the top of your head as you can and wrapping that section of hair in a satin scrunchie, just like a high ponytail or bun. Since my hair is short, I do a double pineapple – a ponytail at the top of my head and a ponytail right underneath (for the rest of my hair that can’t reach that height).

5. Stop believing that curly hair should take less time to do compared to when your hair was relaxed or chemically straightened.

I honestly had this epiphany this week! Why are we okay with accepting the 2-3 hours it takes to straighten our hair, but expect our curly hair routine to only take 15 minutes? Regardless of your texture, great hair takes time and/or money.

6. You will have to maintain curly hair throughout the week.

I still haven’t figured out the frequency for this yet, but I have noticed my hair starts to look more dry through the week, depending on the curly hairstyle I picked at the beginning of the week. So to add moisture back to the hair, you will probably need to restyle with water, your styling products and style of choice throughout the week. When you have this expectation, it makes it less of a shock and chore.

7. Add gel or edge control products to the roots framing your face.

This will help your style look more polished. Sometimes you will need to spray the roots with water before applying the styling products, and don’t forget to brush the roots back with a bristle brush to rake the product into your hair better.

8. Invest in curly hair extensions.

Whenever I have a hair fail (which is usually due to laziness), I can clip in my hair extensions and it gives me an immediate confidence boost. I will say, make sure you purchase the texture that best matches your own. I actually purchased a pair of clip-in extensions that were a looser curl pattern than my natural texture by accident, and while it looks nice while my hair is still damp in a wash and go style, or from a braid out, the texture difference is very obvious. So if a company offers a sample kit where you can match your texture at home before buying, I would recommend trying that before making your purchase, because it is an investment.

Adding Vitamin E Oil to My Curly Hair Routine

Adding Vitamin E Oil to My Curly Hair Routine

I tried something new with my hair this past week. I am always looking for hair tips to help me style my curly hair, so while browsing through YouTube, I came across a few videos where the girls mentioned hair oils, specifically jojoba and vitamin E oil. I went to three different stores, but finally found Vitamin E oil at Sally Beauty Supply.

After washing and conditioning, I styled my hair in a braid out. I sectioned my hair in two parts, then sectioned those two parts in half as well, making four sections total.

In the first section, I spritzed my hair with more water from a spray bottle, then brushed through it with a detangling brush. Next, I smoothed Miss Jessie’s leave-in conditioner to that section and then added a very small drop of Vitamin E oil on top of that whole section. I braided four-five sections of hair downward, then added As I Am Curling Jelly all over each braid.

I repeated that process all over my head until each section was braided. Since the braids were positioned downward, framing my face, the strands at my roots were not styled. I added Eco Styler Gel to smooth down my roots at each section leading to the braids.

I air dried my hair in the braids for a day, and then unraveled them the following day. My hair looked so shiny and glossy, I loved it! However, I did not like how my hair at the roots started to puff up after two days. I would recommend adding water and Eco styler gel to the hair that starts to frizz when you style your hair in the mornings. Another tip I have is cornrowing your hair. I noticed when I cornrow my hair, the hair at the roots are uniform with the rest of my hair and I’m not left with different textures in the hairstyle (A revelation from my husband, actually! Thanks, babe!) I highly recommend trying to braid your hair as close to the scalp as you can so your braid out style will last longer.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Unboxing and First Impression

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Unboxing and First Impression

It has been a long time waiting, but the moment has finally arrived. I have finally added Chanel Coco Mademoiselle to my collection. My husband spoiled me for my birthday this year, and that was among one of the gifts he gave me. I’ve been shopping around for a new perfume for a while now, and after watching a few YouTube perfume review videos, I knew I wanted Coco Mademoiselle.

I actually hadn’t heard of this perfume before until I was watching Toni Sevdalis’ YouTube channel and she was saying how she really liked the scent. I went to my local Macy’s and headed straight to the Chanel counter to ask to test it. I’ve been keeping that tester strip in my agenda since December 2020. Well, the wait is over and I can say that I am really in love with this scent.

My husband ordered it straight from the Chanel website, so when I opened it, the packaging had that luxurious feel that designer houses do oh-so-well. As I unwrapped the black and white box, breaking the seal of the black matte sticker, I was elated to hold the eau de Parfum package.

The package comes sealed in a plastic wrapping, and then the actual box has a minimalist design of white background, gold trim around the top and bottom, and black sans serif font.

The perfume bottle itself is very aesthetically pleasing with a rose colored liquid, pink and gold label, all contained in glass. The slim, frosted glass top adds even more to the luxurious design.

First Impression

The first time I wore this perfume, I was very pleased with how it smelled. If I could use three words to describe the scent, I would say: floral, powdery and elegant. I know the term powdery sounds a bit odd, but it’s a good thing, it smells very fresh and clean.

I feel that this fragrance smells like something a woman would wear when she’s doing really well in her career, or something you would wear to a formal event, like a wedding or a gala.

This perfume is definitely more refined than any other perfume I’ve worn before. It is very pleasant. This fragrance is also very potent-in a good way. When you spray this perfume, the scent will last you all day.

According to the Coco Mademoiselle listing on Sephora, this perfume is part of the floral fragrance family. The key notes are orange, patchouli and Turkish rose. The warm floral scent also has accents of Grasse jasmine, May rose and vetiver.

Would I recommend this perfume?

Yes, I would. This could easily be a special event perfume or an every day perfume. Once you spray this fragrance, it gives you an immediate energy boost and makes you feel a little bit more put together. I highly recommend this perfume, especially if you love floral scents and are looking for a more elegant fragrance.

Beach Totes for Spring/Summer 2021

Beach Totes for Spring/Summer 2021

We might still be in spring, but summer vacation plans are already ramping up. I’ve noticed a trend in 2021 spring/summer outfits, and that is pairing your look with a cream-colored tote bag.

A lot of companies are designing medium-to-large sized totes in canvas, straw, rattan and more. With natural textures and light colors, these bags are great options for carrying to the beach or out on the town during the day. Links for all bags are below.

What do you think of the beach tote trend?

1- Hello Weekend tote

2- Elizabeth and James tote

3- Beach Please tote

4- Mark & Graham tote

5- Colorful tassel tote

My 5 Favorite Mascaras of All Time

My 5 Favorite Mascaras of All Time

There is no denying that mascara is a makeup bag essential. Whether your goal is to lengthen, darken or thicken your lashes, there are so many great mascaras available to help you achieve your desired look. I’ve tried several mascaras over the years, and today I’m sharing my top five favorites in no particular order. Keep reading below for my favorites and save this post to your Pinterest board so you can reference it later!

L’Oreal Voluminous

This is the best bargain mascara, in my opinion. For just under $10 (sometimes $6 on sale on Amazon) , this formula helps your lashes look defined and dark.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

This is the newer and enhanced formula to the original Voluminous mascara, and I’m a fan. It coats your lashes very well, helping them to appear thicker.

L’Oreal Double Extend

This is a two-step mascara. One side acts as a primer, coating your lashes in a white solution, and the other side adds the length and volume in the form of a black top coat. This is one of my favorite mascaras because while it does take a little bit longer to apply, it really adds the definition to your lashes.

Too Faced Better Than Sex

I know the name is pretty cheeky, but the mascara is actually pretty good! It adds volume and length to the lashes. This brand is on the pricier side, but if you’re looking for a more luxurious mascara experience, I’d recommend this one!

Sephora Lashcraft Defining

This mascara has a nice formula, adding length and definition to the lashes. It’s a nice one coat mascara, but two coats really make your lashes seem fuller.

A few notes: I have not tried the waterproof versions of these mascaras because I prefer non-waterproof mascaras. I would rather the formula comes off easy when it’s time to wash my face. Secondly, I usually purchase mascaras in the darkest color available, usually a color called blackest black. This is the shade I prefer, but if you want a softer look, opt for a mascara in a black brown shade.

Have you tried any of these mascaras? What are your thoughts? What are some of your mascara recommendations?

Everywhere We Ate in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Everywhere We Ate in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Travel plans are starting to look more like a possibility this summer and after a mostly shut-in 2020, I know so many people are excited to explore new areas safely again. My husband and I actually had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for our friends’ wedding in January 2021, and it was such a wonderful experience. From the beautiful elopement ceremony, to the natural beauty of Costa Rica, to the excursions, it was a trip we will remember forever. As a millennial traveler, one thing I always ask for recommendations on when exploring a new place is where to eat!

Below, I’ve listed all the restaurants we ate at during our week-long stay in the Tamarindo and Playa Langosta, Costa Rica area. I give all the credit for the restaurant selections to our friends who planned the trip for their wedding. They are excellent planners and picked all of the establishments we ate at. All of the food was good, but some were straight up culinary marvels. We did go during the COVID-19 pandemic, but everyone wore masks and followed CDC social distancing guidelines. All restaurants and venues followed the same protocols, so we truly felt safe. As always, travel at your own risk and only if you feel safe enough to do so. But without further ado, let’s get into the list of restaurants, shall we?

1- El Barco Restaurant at Hotel Capitan Suizo

Our first day in Costa Rica was your typical arrival day. Arrive in your new location, go through Customs, find transportation into the city, and check into your hotel. We stayed in a beautiful private villa overlooking the ocean and explored the property. After enjoying some fresh, local mango and wine, we freshened up for dinner and headed out to El Barco Restaurant at Hotel Capitan Suizo. The atmosphere of this restaurant at night is simply stunning. Guests enjoy a dinner under the stars while enjoying the ambience of string lights, the private pool and hotel bar. We had a party of six and everyone enjoyed their meal. My beverage of the night was a caipirinha, which I had for the first time. The star of the drink is lime, and it is so refreshing. I opted for a pasta dish in red sauce. It was surprisingly sweet, yet savory. I loved it.

2- Langosta Beach Club

The next day, we drove to the public beach to soak up some sun and sand. After a few hours of chatting, playing in the waves and reading a bit, we all worked up an appetite and were ready for lunch. Our villa came with a temporary pass to the Langosta Beach Club and let me tell you, the casual atmosphere of beautiful people lounging around the pool mixed with locals and tourists enjoying cocktails and hearty fare right on the beach, you can’t beat it. I was so hungry, so I actually opted for a mushroom and Swiss burger with fries. I also had a pineapple mojito. Both were delicious!

3- Little Lucha

Later that night, we dined at Little Lucha, an authentic Mexican street style taco restaurant. When you walk into the restaurant, you can’t help but smile. With colorful framed art of luchadores and a Volkswagen bus that’s been transformed into high top seating, it’s a really fun and quaint atmosphere. There are so many combinations and flavor profiles you can create from the beef, chicken, barbacoa, pork or seafood tacos. And arguably, that is part of the fun! This meal was also one of the more reasonably priced on the trip, so that was also really nice.

4-NOI Bistro

Breakfast options? I thought you’d never ask. The day of the wedding ceremony, we ate at NOI Bistro. Located right in the middle of downtown Tamarindo, Noi is a charming eatery where you can find locals, expats and tourists enjoying a long or short meal, nonetheless satisfying. We were welcomed by the sweetest management team and truly enjoyed every second there. I ordered beans, poached eggs and salsa over a small tortilla with sweet potatoes, plantain chip and a side of avocado. The breakfast was fresh and tasty, but the coffee was phenomenal. They make their coffee in-house, and when served over ice, the ice seems to have creamer in it already. It was so sweet and cold, and gives you just the jolt of caffeine you need. I asked if their coffee was available for purchase and it was! So I ordered a bag of ground coffee beans to take home.

5-El Chiringuito

The next day, we had a morning excursion of zip lining and UTV riding in the rainforest. I am actually not that big of a fan of zip lining, but I did it for my friends! It was scary and fun at the same time. The guided UTV tour is an excellent way to see parts of Costa Rica that you normally wouldn’t see in the built up areas of town. After the excursion, we all were famished. We headed over to El Chiringuito for lunch. The beachfront establishment seems like a popular spot for surfers and beach goers, but don’t let the relaxed vibe fool you. The food here is so good! Crazy good! If I had to rate it, I’d say this was the best meal we had on the trip. We had ceviche and calamari as starters, and both dishes were so fresh and full of flavor. My main dish was the caramelized chicken wings with soy, which I’m crying that I didn’t take a picture of because it was just as beautiful as it was tasty. My husband had the grilled octopus kebabs over polenta and he said it was very good.

6-Pangas

Our last full day of Tamarindo was spent shopping in town and winding down at the pool. It felt great to soak up those last few hours of Costa Rican sun while floating in the cool blue water. We couldn’t leave without one more memorable meal together, so we all got freshened up and drove to our last reservation as the sky faded into nightfall. We arrived at Pangas Beach Club in a more secluded area of Tamarindo. The atmosphere had everything we love: String lights, sand, candlelit tables and of course, food with flair. The food was good. We ordered a good bit of seafood around the table, including the mixed seafood platter, grilled lobster and lobster risotto. I closed out the night with a caipirinha.