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Hair Products I Use and Love + My Fave Blonde Beauty Bloggers

I think I was a junior in high school when I first went to highlight my hair. It was a big deal. And the second I came out of that salon (i think it was a Fantastic Sam's. haha!) I knew I loved it-the look, feeling/texture it added-and wanted to keep it up.

Unfortunately, I knew oh so little about "keeping up" my hair, and how pricey of a process it can be. Especially if you are blonde. My original hair color is considered pretty "mousy" or "dirty-dishwater" blonde. Not the cutest description, huh? Yeah. 

Does anyone remember the days of ratting and teasing your hair sky-high? bump-its ring a bell (no i have never used one!)? Well I for sure was a pro at teasing my hair to kingdom come, and looking back, I'm sure that I got plenty of stares and was made fun of because of it. I'd like to officially thank my hubby for constantly telling me to not make my hair so "poofy" or "big". Because I finally listened. Too bad it took me so long to listen to my hairstylists about using a better shampoo and conditioner (insert crying emoji here, a lot of them).

I think it was right after Bronx, in 2012, when we had moved away to Oregon, that I started not washing my hair every day. And I let it air dry. It is insane how much of a difference that made. To this day I'll go anywhere from 4-6 days without washing my hair, depending on the day/week, and I rarely blow dry my hair. 

Right after I had Phoenix in November last year, my hairstylist and cutest friend Megan, told me (yet again-haha she'll read this and roll her eyes at me!) to try out a salon line shampoo and conditioner. And because my hair is extremely tangly (yes, even AFTER i brush it completely smooth before my shower) when I get out of the shower, she suggested I get myself a WetBrush and try using some deep conditioner.

Well folks. I can't tell you how life changing these two things have been. Since my little sis is also a hairstylist down in Utah, I had her grab me some products that she knew had good reviews. Here's what she got me:

• Redkin all soft heavy cream. this stuff you guys. this stuff is the bomb. i use it once a week. and will NOT wash my hair with anything else.

• Matrix so silver shampoo. perfect for my hair. it kept it looking so good for so long! i also have used It's a 10, miracle moisture shampoo, but don't love the way it makes my hair feel greasy (maybe this is just me? all my SIL's seem to love it!). Since i ran out and my hair is not even close to being the best blonde(let the record show that i do not color my hair every 3 weeks-eeeek), i just use Tresseme "healthy volume" shampoo. nothing fancy at all. The purple shampoo I want to try next is the Joico brand. I hear only amazing things about it, and how divine it smells!

• Wella Professionals Dry Me Dry Shampoo. This is the best smelling dry shampoo i've smelled! it's expensive though, and so i usually will just grab a Suave or Batiste as backup.

WetBrush. This I bought off Amazon. Sooooo worth it. I will NEVER ever use another brush again. I'm dead serious. And I am like one of those skeptical people (obviously, because I waited all these years. doh!) I use this on my hair and Tinley's hair. No complaints and it gets all our nasty tangles out fast! So so amazing. You need this brush in your life asap!

So there you have it. I want to find an amazing hairspray that holds, but still smells good. I currently use Freeze It, but I don't love how it smells! And not shown or mentioned above: I use Bed Head, TIGI, After Party smoothing cream (pink bottle with a ball-shaped top). Which smells so good and smooths down fly away strands.

I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a pro when it comes to hair and beauty, this is just what I use and what has worked great for me-hopefully it will help someone reading this! And if you aren't following the three ladies below, you must. I don't stop and read a ton of blogs nowadays, but hands-down I will stop and read any tips and tricks on hair. Blonde hair. And these three are the hair queens. 

• Amber Fillerup | Barefoot Blonde@amberfillerup
♡ www.barefootblonde.com/category/hair/

• Abby Smith | Twist Me Pretty@twistmepretty
♡ www.twistmepretty.com/category/hair-styles/hair-care

• Ashton Scurr | Fluent In Blonde@ashtonscurr
♡ fluentinblonde.com/beauty/from-a-stylist-hair-products-that-are-a-waste-of-money-hair-products-worth-the-splurge/

Prettiest Fall Favorites (+ How to Save an Image to your Instagram Collection or Board)

My heart kinda breaks inside a little bit for all you people who are still experiencing temperatures above 70 degrees. Yeah, I totally realize that might sound crazy, but I am a huge lover of fall and I feel bad for anyone who doesn't get to experience one. I'm from little 'ole Idaho, and I am completely content with our weather here, but I have also lived in the PNW, and been back east for family vacations. Now those are some wonderful Septembers and Octobers! 

image via 

Do any of you save images from Instagram to your collections? If you haven't, you really should! It's the same concept as "pinning" an image to a board you create in Pinterest...it's just in Instagram. And it is SO helpful! I save all sorts of things that I find helpful to things inspiring to design ideas.

For those that didn't know about this trick, I'm going to try and show you below what I mean. Here's a shot of how you get to your own "saves" or boards or "collections"...it's that little banner icon on the far right of your top menu...above your Insta images:

And when you click on it, you are brought to this screen (see below). This is where you can see all your boards and look back at what you saved:

As you can see, I have a board for hair, for healthy food (that i'd like to try making), for workouts, for baby....you get it. Pretty handy huh? So now when you are scrolling through your feed, and see something that stands out to you, or that you would like to maybe look back at later, do this:

1. Once you come across an image you like, look below it and find the little banner icon (bottom right corner). 

2. Press your finger AND HOLD down (this is important, because if you don't, the image will get saved, but not to a specific board...and that can be REALLY hard to find later! Just trust me, I'm saving you some time. press + hold always!)

3. Once you hold down that banner icon for a second, a screen at the bottom of your device will pop up (see my screenshot above). This is where you can either (a) save it to an existing board you have already created (above you can see mine: "hair" "fall" "food health" "inspire"...and i can  scroll right to see more of my boards, so that's helpful!) or (b) you can create a brand new board by simply clicking the '+' icon.

Easy peasy!

So I have this board for fall, and I love staring at all these pretty things, and wanted you to stare at them too. hah! No, really. Don't white pumpkins, raw frames, burlap bows, and sans serif letters just make you feel all warm and happy inside?

T O P : letterboard | white pumpkins | farm fresh sign
M I D D L E : fall sign | leaves | bows
B O T T O M : white pumpkins | burlap bow | letterboard
I linked all these cute sources above so be sure to check out their feeds when you get the chance. So much lovely inspiration! Here's all the fall decor I have up. It's extremely simple but I like it:

full post on this new chalkboard i designed HERE
working on the tutorial for how i made this wreath!

letterboard from Retrogramboards
And if you haven't already, go head over here to grab some of these fun new wallpapers for you phone's lock or home screen!

Fall Phone Wallpapers v2

As per the norm, I doodled around during Conference weekend (I am LDS/a "Mormon" and if you want to know more about what that means, or be uplifted and inspired from some really great talks then go HERE!), and anyways, I turned those sketches into some cute wallpapers to decorate your phone's lock screen or home. 

Click on any of the links below to download:

♡ "fall" wreath (w/plain white background-not pictured)

Autumn Themed Kitchen Chalkboard

I am feeling so happy to be back over here writing in Blogger. It's like a breath of fresh air and feels more like "me". Just simple. To those new around here, I switched to a self-hosted Wordpress account in 2015, and while I did understand it, and got the hang of it, and designed in it (for a hot second)...I always just kinda wanted to come back here. So I finally did it this weekend! I'm waiting for my domain to transfer, but I can't wait to share this fun autumn chalkboard with you so...

A few weekends ago my hubby went down to the BYU vs UT game (i'm a little jealous i didn't go too-he was invited to go with a friend tho!), and I don't know about you, but I go a little project "crazy" when Kevin is out of town. haha. Meaning: I got a lot of things done. This time I was able to get some fall projects done that had been sitting on the back-burner. My number one was changing out my kitchen chalkboard design.

I always pin a bunch of things to a board, and gather my ideas up. Then I start sketching. This season is the first that is my own design-and I am happy about that. I didn't feel the need to copy a piece because I thought it was cuter than what I could come up with myself :) So here's my sketch:

If you've been following me on Insta, then you already know I am SO PUMPED and ready for fall this year. And it is here for sure! Summer with babies/toddlers/kids is a blast, but this year I was itching for a change. So I say bring on the brisk weather, big sweaters, cute hats, and leggings 24/7 (because you know i'll be found in those on the daily with this growing pregnant body! hah! and for those that didn't know, yes I am pregnant again! you can read about this journey so far over HERE)! Have a great week you guys!

Here are some of my past chalkboards:
how i made my chalkboard
my christmas chalkboard
my valentine chalkboard

Meal Planning + Free Monthly Menu Printable

I suck at meal planning. Like, so bad you guys. And maybe I shouldn't say "suck"....hahaha who am I trying to fool?! So I've been married 9 years and I honestly don't know how we are still alive and haven't starved to death. Just kidding. Kind of. I think we lived off of chips and salsa or homemade "nachos" the first five years of our marriage. Hmm maybe that's an exaggeration and I need back-pedal now and save face a little here...hah!

I don't HATE cooking...I can follow a recipe just fine. My problem is that I have a really low desire to cook. gaaa! How horrible is that? but it's true. I would rather be drawing or painting or playing my 30th round of CandyLand or doing basically anything but cook dinner when 4 or 5 o'clock rolls around.

I don't know about your marriage, and i know every marriage is different, but there are a couple things that have always been huge points for causing-ahem-disagreements between my husband and I. The first is money (raise that hand if you can relate! or just smile and nod at your screen), and the second is dinners. My husband grew up with a mother that would make the best food. Breakfasts lunches and dinners. And dinners had sides. So for him, that has always been a big deal. He's a happy camper if dinner is made (with sides-don't ever forget your sides) and ready for him when he comes home from work or school. I grew up with great meals too, they were just slightly...not as extravagant. And sometimes not with sides. Not a big deal to me.

Over the years I've learned to cook better, try and get grocery lists together, and plan better. But I've never really loved doing any of it. Until one day a couple months ago my husband handed me his phone, and showed me in his notes section, a list he had created of 31 meals ALONG WITH a bunch of sides that were his favorite. hahaha! I was dying and  I kid you not he totally did this all on his own. He made a freaking list of what he wants for dinners and that was that. No more struggling for me with the dreaded "what to make for dinner tonight?" question!!

I threw together a monthly calendar(printable you can download below!) and taped it to my fridge. I also created a printable grocery shopping list. I look at two weeks at a time, write down all my ingredients, and BAM. I'm done thinking about that. Yes, plans change, things get switched around, and schedules get off. This is especially true now that it's summertime and I feel we grill a ton more. But having my husband literally write down what meals he'll eat and what he wants, helps me out a toooooon.

I hope these printables can help you out now too! download here:
blank grocery list
monthly menu
monthly menu w/notes


St Patrick's Day Trap

So I'm such a good blogger, that I'm going to show you last years trap, today. Because you know, that's the one I got good pics with. Then if you scroll far enough, I'll show you this years trap! haha read on friends.

So this one was made with:
• a cardboard box we had laying around the house
• green construction paper (taped around the box)
• pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple construction paper (for the rainbow)
• large cotton balls (for the clouds)
• an empty baby food jar (for the "pot of gold")
• mod podg, glitter, and black pipe cleaner (for the "pot of gold")
• craft sticks (for the ladder)
• penny's (to lure the Leprechaun in!)
UPDATE 3/17/17:
Here's what our trap looked like this year! I let Bronx paint it, and he helped hot glue the stand on. Our leprechaun was so sneaky he got out! But not before dropping some of his gold coins!

Chalkboard Lettering: The Basics

Do you ever have moments in your life when you feel things have lined up perfectly (in an extremely round-about-crazy kinda way) and you are doing what you are supposed to be doing? That's exactly how I feel right now. After going through everything last year with my third pregnancy and baby girl, and then losing her 12 hours after she was born, I honestly just have felt every tender mercy imaginable (you can read more about my journey with her HERE). You guys have kept me busy with watercolor orders, blog designs, and other fun custom orders. I can't tell you how grateful Kevin and I are, and how blessed we feel from all of your love and support.

And then Chantri (who founded Soulphoria) reached out to me a couple weeks ago to teach a creative chalkboard lettering class at her very first event: Be The Artist of Your Life. I had two reactions: total excitement and total fear/crazy nerves. I have never taught something like this before! And for 20-30 minutes? hah! Can I even do that?!

As a lot of you know or have seen on Instagram, I made a giant chalkboard in my kitchen (see my first post on it, and how i made it HERE). It's so great to have, I love the feel of fun it brings into that space, and I really really enjoy changing it up with the season or for holidays. And actually, when Chantri asked me to teach, I should say that my third reaction was: how in the heck do i teach this? i just do it! i don't know how!....but then I remembered that I was about to change up my chalkboard for February, and thought: Okay okay. Here's the perfect opportunity to slow down and kind of analyze what I'm doing. And figure out how i'm doing it so that I can better teach all of you!

As I was preparing my little lesson, I asked my sister-in-laws, my mom, and my own sisters what they would appreciate learning about chalkboard lettering. And they all asked the question: Well where do I even begin? Where do I start?!


P R I N C I P L E S  O F  D E S I G N
In college I took a lot of art classes (i was an art major), and one of the first ones was a class called Art 117: Principles of Design. And yes, it focused on the principles of design. It was SUCH a fun class and I feel I learned so much from it! So that's where I think is a good starting point. Let's brush up on some of these shall we?

Try and keep these in your mind while you start the designing process. And they can be used for so much more than just creating chalk lettering. Seriously. They can be used for making a quilt or choreographing a dance. The more you review them you'll start to remember them. When I create a piece I obviously don't say: hmm I need to add some "rythym" here....but maybe that's just because I have been doing this for years and know what looks good? hah! No. The point is that I do this a lot, and just like anything in life: the more you practice something the better you will get at it. Even if it's just a tiny bit! You are learning and you are growing through practice.

3  M A I N  L E T T E R I N G  S T Y L E S
Have any of you read or have this book: The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie McKeehan (of lilyandval)? I've got to be honest, I've only had this book a week, but it's a terrific source for starting out in chalk lettering! In it, she talks about the three main lettering styles that are out there, and I want to touch on those as well. Most of you probably know what I am talking about and I know all of you have seen them. They are: Serif, Sans Serif, and Script.

The more you familiarize yourself with these lettering styles, or any others really, the better off your design will be. Below you'll find I linked a few of my favorite font sites, in case you care to go look at those. Searching "chalkboard art" or simple "chalk art lettering" on Pinterest will pull up a ton of examples for you as well.

G A T H E R   I N S P I R A T I O N
This is the fun part. It's going to sound silly, but I have literally trained my eye to constantly absorb and look for inspiration all around me: on a drive with my kids, out for a camping trip with friends, sitting in church...everywhere and in the seemingly simple things (those are sometimes the best inspo).

I really can't emphasize this part enough. When I was a freshman in college I really hated to be told this. I thought it was stupid and took too much time...I literally don't know why I thought that! It's crazy talk. Now when I design for a client, I have pages of sketches for them to look over. And VERY RARELY is my first sketch picked. Like that never happens. Have any of you been scrolling through Jane and seen a freaking cute outfit you thought would look so cute on you? But then it comes and you try it on, and...it's like the ugliest thing ever on? and doesn't flatter you one bit? Sketching is kind of like that. It may seem way cute and look like a great design in my head, but when it comes out on paper it's awful! So sketch away.

Here are the sketches I came up with for the design for today:

So now that you have a little design "background" and you've sketched out and refined your idea, let's talk about supplies.

• chalkboard
• chalk (i use a chalk pen HERE, also called a Bistro Chalk Marker)
• pencil
• eraser (i just use a paper towel, usually damp)
• ruler
• cotton swab
• pencil sharpener and
• eyeliner sharpener (only needed if i'm drawing with actual chalk)

P E N C I L  T O  B O A R D
I have my sketched out design ready, and my supplies. So now I take my pencil and i always start by finding and marking the center of my board. Sometimes I can eyeball where I'm placing stuff, but if I can I will always mark the lines where each word goes (or at least the general area). And then I draw out my sketch on my board.

C H A L K  T O  B O A R D
Keeping my hand steady, I work from top to bottom and left to right. Any other way and you'll end up with a messy hand and a messy design (i guess unless your left-handed? hmm didn't think of that!). During this final phase I also step back a lot to see how everything is looking. Sometimes working so up close to your art, you miss mistakes that seem so blindingly apparent from a distance.

My "typography" Pinterest board
Lily & Val

google fonts


The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie Mckeehan
Chalk Letter Like A Pro by CJ Hughes
Hand Lettering 101 by Paige Tate Select
 Hand Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, Illustrated, Ornate, and other totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles by Mary Kate McDevitt

Bistro Chalk Marker, 6mm tip (typically bought off Amazon or at Walmart)
• pencil, paper towel, ruler

Download this list of resources handout HERE

See my December chalkboard HERE
See my February chalkboard HERE

Simple Valentine's Day Art

I find the older I get, the more picky I am with decorating. And since I don't have all the money in the world to be throwing around and buying whatever I want, I decided to create a few pieces myself to bring some pops of pink into my little townhome for the upcoming holiday.

S U P P L I E S:
• foam board (i grab mine at Walmart or DollarTree)
• acrylic paint (pinks, reds, white, gold...whatever you're feeling!)
• a small paint brush(the one I used was from a pack I grabbed in IKEA)
• a 1.5" paint brush

What took the longest, was waiting for each brush stroke to dry before adding another color/layer to the painting.

Super simple, but they add the right amount of pink that i was wanting in my home!