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Current Hair Routine

I'll start this post off with a full disclosure: I very rarely do my hair-- it's pretty much always in a braid or a bun, I haven't had a professional haircut since January 2014, and my hair type is super straight and fine (the photo above is from April with the Conair You Curl XL & a little hairspray probably). I had big plans to take some recent pictures of my hair, but it hasn't really left a bun in days so... Anyway, the real reason for this post is because I've been using a few newish products that I wanted to share and my normal routine does switch up a bit in the wintertime.

Outside of winter I dry my hair maybe once every 1-2 months-- normally I'm all about the air dry! In winter I don't have that luxury because most of the time it's too cold to go to bed (or go anywhere) with wet hair. Before using my hair dryer, I spray the Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil Primer as a heat protectant. I usually dry my hair about 50% and then use half a pump of the Verb Ghost Oil that I picked up during the VIB sale in the fall. I had originally planned on purchasing the B&B Invisible Oil, but this caught my eye instead. I liked the philosophy behind the brand and it was a much better price point $14 for 2oz. 

The first time I used it I used a full pump (it suggests using 2-3), and it was waaay too much so I'm always very careful to only use half a pump, halfway through my blow dry. For some reason I don't like it as much when I use it on completely wet hair, though it can be used for a heat protectant. This makes my hair so incredibly soft and smooth. Once it's dry I'll sometimes add a tiny bit more throughout my hair and it really does help encourage me to style my hair (aka wear it down or something).

My current shampoos of choice are Biolage and Redken, though I'd love to throw a drugstore option into the mix, so let me know your favorite. I've been using the Living Proof No Frizz conditioner and always have my HG Fekkai Glossing conditioner on hand too. I meant to purchase the PHD conditioner, but got the No Frizz instead and have been pretty happy with it.  

Like everything else if you live in a cold climate, my hair gets super dry in the winter. I've mentioned coconut oil before, but I get into a routine of applying it to my ends (and then using whatever is leftover on my hands through the rest of my hair) about twice a week on nights when I know I'll wash my hair the following day.

Does your hair suffer in the wintertime? What are some of your must-have hair care products or tools? 

Carly Reads Here | January

2016 brought me some wonderful reads, but there's nothing quite like a clean slate and the excitement of wondering what books you'll read and love. The first three books I read at the end of December, but still wanted to review them, so they're also in this post.

15 in 2017

Happy New Year! This was originally supposed to be a 17 in 2017 list, but I couldn't come up with 17 things I wanted to share, so it got shaved down to a completely random number. I don't know that I'd call these goals, it's more a list of things I'd like to accomplish or turn into habits at some point this year.

  • Keep my Netgalley queue in check
  • Complete the Read Harder Challenge & the Modern Day Mrs. Darcy Challenge
  • Daily Gratitude Journal
  • Complete a devotional/bible study (starting with Ephesians that I got forever ago & never completed)
  • Send 24 just because letters 
  • Organize a bullet journal
  • Complete photobooks from our recent trips (the most tedious task ever)
  • Run another 5k
  • Fitness specific goals
    • Squat my bodyweight 
    • 3 unassisted pull-ups (currently soo far away from this one)
    • 3 unassisted pistol squats 
  • Budget/track our grocery spending
  • Intentionally dine out (out of interest, not out of desperation)
  • Connect and commit to a church
  • Appreciate the weekdays 
Some thing are measurable, some are vague, some I'll probably revisit often and others will be more of a challenge. What are you hoping to accomplish or work towards in 2017? 

2016 rewind | best of books

I can easily say that I read more in 2016 than I have any other year-- my goal was 52 books and my total was 63, but I think I'll probably get to 64 or 65 before the year officially ends. I'm thankful for how much I was able to read this year, how many new authors I discovered, and how many new bloggers I discovered through books.

If there's one thing I learned in regards to reading, it's that I really don't have a favorite genre because each one of my favorite books from this year is so completely different.  I also learned that sometimes the hype around a book is real, sometimes it's not, and sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit can really pay off.

These were my five favorites that I read this year, plus a couple of honorable mentions that really stand out and weren't quickly forgotten. I linked each book back to my original review.

A Prayer for Owen Meany | This is probably my favorite book of all time- at least in the top 3. I picked it up completely randomly after seeing it in a Bookbub email and I totally think it was meant to be.
Finding Audrey | I loved everything about this book. The story, the characters, and dialogue, the parts that were told through a script. Anxiety and depression is so, so real and I loved Kinsella's take on in this novel.
Pretty Girls | Hands down the best thriller/horror book I've ever read. This was a 5-star book I would never read again because it was so dark and at times graphic.
Daring Greatly | Brene Brown's research is so insightful and interesting to me, and I think just about anyone can find something inspiring out of this book.
Homegoing | Beautiful writing and storytelling in such a unique format.

honorable mentions: Swear on This Life, Eligible, The Mothers

What were some of the best books you read this year?

in case you missed it: what I read in December

Carly Reads Here | december

Happy Wednesday! I can't believe we're already just a few days away from Christmas. It looks like December is going to bring 3 weeks of book posts and what better way to end the year? Last week I shared the Christmas books I read, next week I'll be sharing my favorite books of 2016, and today's post contains the rest of the books I've read between now and the November book linkup.

The Perfect Hand Cream

I'm not a big fan of lotion, but as soon as the cold weather rolls in and the heat kicks on my hands get painfully dry. I also wash my hands a zillion times a day, so that doesn't help with the extreme dryness. For the past couple of years I've been on the hunt for the perfect hand cream.

Aside from the obvious importance of moisturizing quality-- the two most important factors are fragrance and whether or not it's truly non-greasy.

Fresh Seaberry Nourishing Hand Cream | $23 for 2.3oz
I wanted to hate this-- I wanted it to be really unimpressive because it's so pricey, but it's wonderful and definitely my favorite of the bunch. The scent is extremely pleasant and very light- it doesn't linger at all once it's applied. It makes your hands super soft without being the slightest bit greasy or heavy. It's the perfect lotion to use throughout the day because

L'Occitane Shea Hand Cream | $12 for 1oz
This is a gorgeous hand cream that is perfect if you want something scented. I have the rose petals fragrance and it smells amazing and always makes me happy.

Aveeno Skin Relief |  $3.79 for 3.5oz on Amazon
Aveeno is usually a safe bet for sensitive skin- it's fragrance free and the packaging says it's dermatologist recommended. It holds true to the scentless claims, and while it is moisturizing I find it to be really greasy, which is a bummer since you get the most product for a fraction of the price of the other hand creams.

True Blue Spa Paraffin Super Softening Hand Lotion | $12 for 2.5oz
This is another great option that isn't greasy and has a very light, slightly citrusy scent. I was curious to find out what paraffin was, and from the googling I did paraffin is a mineral oil. Mineral oil has a lot of mixed reviews on whether or not it's safe, so if that's something you're trying to avoid I would probably skip this since it's the second ingredient listed after water.

What are your favorite hand creams or moisturizers?

Festive Beauty Favorites

My makeup collection is continually shrinking, so there aren't as many products that I switch with the seasons, but there are a few colors and products that always jump out at me during the holidays in terms of nail and lip color. 

British Green Racer is the most gorgeous forrest green polish with a very slight shimmer that you can't really detect in most lights. I find it to be the perfect color-- without pulling too green, and it's a great alternative for a dark polish if you don't want to go with a black or super dark red/burgundy. My bottle is a few years old, but still goes on like a dream- super smooth & evenly opaque in just two coats. I wasn't able to find this exact polish anywhere online but stylenomics by Essie was the closest dupe I could find, and hopefully this will encourage you not to shy away from green polishes. 

Sarah by Zoya is one of my favorite polishes ever. I'm convinced there isn't a more festive nail polish out there between the cool tones of the red and the sparkle mixed in. Zoya is 5-free, which is awesome and you can now purchase it at Ulta, which makes it a lot easier to purchase. 

Burt's Bees lipsticks were my favorite this year. Russet Red is such a great deep winter color- a brownish red, brick color. I have two other shades from this line and I do find that this one applies a little bit unevenly if I have any dry patches on my lips. 

The Nars velvet matte lip pencil in cruella was the Sephora birthday gift last year and it's such a perfect true red. While I don't branch out into bold lips often, I love that this does a pretty good job staying put once you apply it to help avoid the lipstick all over your face look. On the subject of bright reds, my Bite duo is a couple years old now but I love the quality of these lipsticks and the colors are perfect for this time of the year. Poppy is another perfect bold red with a satin finish, while Scarlett is a deep red with warm undertones. Tannin and liquorice appear to be the closest dupes to the duo since it was limited edition.

What are your favorite products for the holiday season? 
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