Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fifty Two Shades of Shay: Let's All Be Brave

Y'all.  I'm about to gush.

Seriously, uncontrollably gush.

Over the last few months, I've gotten to know author Annie Downs through social media and now, as real friends through private conversations.  

At the beginning of our friendship, she asked me if I wanted to preview her new book Let's All Be Brave and I was like, sure.  It came and I put it on my desk next to a stack of other books.  After about a week, I picked it up one morning as I was finishing up my work to open it and read a few pages.  A few pages turned into a few chapters and by the end of the day, the book was finished (my laundry, dishes and a little work was not...but the book, finished).

It is one of those life changing books.  

The book is about being brave in life.  How we're all called to make brave decisions (many times whether we want to or not).  I loved every single page.

While reading the book, I started thinking about my own brave decisions and then also times in life when I wasn't brave.  

Like Annie says, so many times, it's not picking option B over option A...but it's not picking option A when you don't even have an option B in sight.  It's that faith that even though you don't see your option B, you know it's worth waiting for.

Listen, there have been many, many, many times in my life when I didn't make the brave choices.  For instance, I really wish I would have been brave and gone off to college.  Instead, I picked a university close to home and even though I received a great education, I didn't have the experience of moving away, meeting a lot of new people and being forced to find my way in a new city.  I should have been more brave.

There have also been times when I have made brave choices...sometimes, they worked out and sometimes, they didn't.  Looking back though, I'm really glad I was brave.

This Shade of Shay isn't about how brave I am (or how not brave I can be)...it's really about how blessed I was to read Annie's book...and I really want you to be blessed too!  I asked Annie if she would give away a few copies of the book and she totally agreed, so today, I'm giving away 3 copies of this great book.

If you do not win (winners announced tomorrow!), then I hope you purchase a copy for yourself!  I think you will be touched no matter how old you are, if you're married or single, if you've made brave choices or not...I think you will fall in love with the way she writes and the way she can really speak to your heart.

Let's all be brave together.

And speaking of brave...as silly as it sounds, deciding to start a food blog three years ago was brave for me.  I knew I loved to cook and bake but I had never before documented my recipes or taken photographs of food...now that I'm three years out, I am so grateful that I decided to be brave and create the Mix and Match Mama brand.  I'm truly thankful for all of you who serve my recipes to the ones you love.

Today's recipe is my Boston Cream Pie Whoopie Pies...


You can find Annie's blog here and you can also find her on social media too:
Face Book

And click here to find her books.

Good luck!  Winners announced tomorrow!

And Psssssst...

Gap is still 40% off today (including denim!), so if you have kiddos who need back to school clothes or you need a great pair of jeans (my favorite are the Always Skinny!), you better hurry and go now!  The promo code is BIGTIME :).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hair Mask Experiment!

Earlier this month I did my July Goals and one of them was to find the perfect hair mask.

And you ladies gave me so many suggestions!

Like seriously, I was shocked with the number of emails and comments on hair masks. 

Thank you all so much!!

I read every single suggestion and picked four of the products to try over the last month.  And I hands down, without a doubt, 100% have my new favorite :).

Here's the deal with my hair...
I have very thick, naturally wavy, color-treated hair that soaks up chlorine like nobody's business.

Two years ago...it was green pretty much all summer.  Yuck.  My hair gal told me to start putting conditioner all over it before I swam so that my hair wouldn't soak up as much chlorine...and that helped so much!  Last year and this year, no green.

I have been using this for the last 2 summers before swimming...

...I love it because it's really inexpensive and smells heavenly!  I just put a big glob of this in my hair before swimming and bam, no green.  However, I started thinking that even though it smells great and keeps the green away, my hair still felt coarse and a little brittle because of the harsh chlorine and sun...so, I asked you guys about some other options.

Because if we're doing this all summer...
...I need better hair protection.

Here's how my little experiment worked.

1. I bought 4 of your suggested products.

2. I used each product two different times.

3. I always put the same amount of each product in my hair (a big scoop full) before getting in the water.  I would put it in my hair and then put my hair up like this...

4. I would swim and be in the water with the product in my hair and then go home and wash it out with my normal shampoo and conditioner (I use Moroccanoil Shampoo and Conditioner).

5. I would air dry my hair as normal and then check out the results after it dried (usually, the next morning).

Listen, this was the first science experiment I have ever been excited about.  If my high school science department had gotten behind experiments like this...I would have paid a lot more attention!

I really liked all 4 products but one did stand out as my very favorite.  Here they are...

Coconut Oil was the most suggested product.  

I bought a jar for $11 at my grocery store (I keep a jar in my kitchen for cooking but thought I needed a separate jar to keep in the bathroom).  What I liked about the coconut oil is that it smells really good and can be used for a million other things.  Several of you suggested that I use it to remove my eye makeup (and it works like a charm!), I put it on my feet before putting my gym socks and shoes on (they're all smooth and soft now!)...so yes, it does have a variety of  functions.

That being said, after I used it the first time, I felt like I needed to shampoo my hair again because my hair was still oily.  This was the only product that when applied, someone (Erika) commented on my greasy hair (she didn't say anything when she saw my hair twisted up with the other 3 products)...and just for the record, Erika is always available for a very honest and blunt opinion...she once told me that my face didn't look as fat when I was pregnant with Smith as it did when I was pregnant with Kensington...and this is why I love Erika.  She's always honest.

So...in the end, coconut oil was not for my hair.  The other products just washed out much easier.

I bought It's a 10's Miracle Hair Mask at Target for $18.99.  Many of you suggested this product and I agree, it was really good!  I loved the way it smelled and I thought it washed out really well.  I think this is a great option (especially if you're a Target lover like I am!).  I thought the results the next day on my hair were really good too.  This wasn't my very favorite but it was a great product and I know I'll use the entire container of it!

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask was suggested to me as well and since I swear by their shampoo, conditioner and hair oil, I was totally game to try this.  I purchased mine for $35 at the spa near my house but you can also get it through Amazon.

I loved the scent and I really loved the results!  My hair felt shiny, smooth and soft after I used it on both occasions.  I really thought this was going to be my winner...until I tried this...

...someone suggested I try this Wen Sweet Almond Mint Moist Intensive Hair Treatment because they said it was "life changing"...and holy moly, they were not lying!  I bought this off of Amazon for $13 and it was hands down, without a doubt, 100% my very favorite.  After my hair dries, it is so soft and shiny.  I really can tell a difference when I use this product over the other three.  And...this product was very reasonable in price too.  Loved this!  

So there you have it...thanks to you ladies, I found the perfect hair mask (and tested some other fun ones along the way!).

Thank you for your input!  If you try any of these, let me know what you think!  I would love to hear your results too!

And I had many of you ask me about these jeans from Friday's post...

...they're my Gap Always Skinny Jeans!  

And right now, everything at Gap (including these jeans!) are 40% off!!!

I've blogged about this style of jeans before many times because really and truly, they are my absolute favorite!  If you ever see me wearing jeans (which is like 99% of the time), it's a pair of Always Skinny.  I like that I can roll them up boyfriend style, tuck them into boots and wear them with flats and wedges.  I wash and dry them over and over again and they always look great.  Consider this your Monday PSA...best.jeans.ever.  And denim is rarely on sale at Gap, so seriously, this is HUGE!

Don't forget, it's Meal Planning Monday...


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Favorites

I'm linking up with my girls again today...Erika, Narci and Andrea have their weekly favorites, so I thought I'd share mine too.

I hope you guys have had a great week!! Here are my Friday Favorites friends...

The Pottery Barn Kids Back to School catalog arrived this week.  I immediately texted Andrea because I knew she was at home just as ecstatic as I was!  Listen, I have loved this summer more than any other summer but just the thought of sweet fall approaching makes my heart skip a beat.

I found these new coffee mugs at Pottery Barn last week and I'm in love!  I'm really picky about my coffee mugs...I want them thick (so my coffee/tea stays hot), I want a good handle that I can put at least 3 fingers through...and I really like white...so needless to say these mugs totally fit the bill!  Click here to see all of the different choices.  I bought coffee, latte and tea but they have others too.

Last Friday, I showed you all of the fun stuff I bought and loved in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale...well, the nice people at Nordstrom reached out to me and asked if I ever shopped in the petites department (in the modern women's apparel section)...and occasionally, I do (I'm 5'3").  So on Tuesday, I ventured over there and found a few really cute things for petite gals.  Thanks Nordstrom for the great suggestion!  

So, I totally bought this zip front shirt in the night shade blue color (because you know how I adore me some navy!) but the other colors were really cute too (that red color would look so good at a holiday party!).  I loved this shirt (I bought a medium) because it was a little loose in all the right places but not baggy.  And the material is so comfortable!  Loved this!!

I also really liked this plaid shirt in the petites section too!  Shirts like this, I wear all fall long! (I'm wearing a small here.)

And if you're like me, coats and jackets are one of the main reasons I might head over to the petite section...shorter arm lengths and a better fit sometimes come from a petite jacket.  I thought this shimmery leather jacket was really cool!  And during the Anniversary Sale, it's discounted $100!  I'm wearing a small here.

If you want to check out some other items from the Modern Women's Apparel section (including petites!), click the pictures below...

This week, Narci shared her testimony on her blog.  I love reading other people's testimonies and how they live for Jesus.  You should totally read it here.

Sheaffer introduced us this week to Candace...this amazing mama of two sweet boys who just started this new blog about her family's journey with autism and autism awareness.  If you haven't read her post on Sheaffer's blog, it's here (and you really should read it!) and you also need to check out Candace's blog too!!  Listen guys, this mama is something really special.  I am so blessed to know her. 

Erika and I realized this week that we needed to start preparing a little bit for our girls going to kindergarten in a few weeks.  At our girls' school, they have to wear tennis shoes every day and their dresses can't be sleeveless.  This pretty much rules out everything in Kensington's closet.  Sigh.  I'm on a mission now to find shoes that look girly and cute (per Kensington's request) but also meet the tennis shoe requirement.  So far...I've found these...

I would love shoe suggestions from other mamas who have girls Kensington's age!  

And tonight, it's Nacho Night at our house!  

A super simple Friday night meal is my baked nachos.

Happy Friday friends!!

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