Health

Anyone else looking for the latest and greatest anti-aging tip? We’re constantly looking for the fountain of youth via pills, creams and injections. In a world that’s so reactive, we need to be proactive, especially when it comes to our skin. Adding one simple, secret weapon to your daily routine can make all the difference. This secret weapon doesn’t require piercing or stinging your face and you probably have laying around…

SPF


The Brunette Blend-Anti Aging Secret-Neutrogena Age Shield

Ugh, again, Sam? Yes, BB’s AGAIN. I wasn’t always so passionate about healthy skin. I fake-baked until I burnt myself purple (scouts honor, PURPLE), wore little to no SPF and one time voluntarily lathered myself in baby oil to burn to a crisp, because I was so dedicated to reaching the ultimate tan. In all honestly, I looked like one of Amanda Bynes’ dancing lobstaaas and once it faded, I was paler than I started.

Now, if the thought of skin cancer isn’t enough to prompt you to bathe in a tub of sunscreen, maybe a few vain facts will switch gears. (PS: There isn’t anything wrong with starting things for vanity reasons, most of the time, its sticks and becomes more than why you started. Think working out or putting on sunscreen *wink*) The effects of sun damage can really ruin your beauty queen look with premature aging of your skin. With too much unprotected sun exposure, UVA rays damage collagen and elastin. This means you’re inviting fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and texture changes to your face. These penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays, which is a cause of sunburn on the surface of your skin. Both are damaging to the largest organ on your body, your skin.

{Source One} {Source Two}

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a magic lotion that we could apply and live our lives unlike Nick Swardson’s character in Benchwarmers? Oh, wait a second… there is and all you have to do is incorporate it. Be proactive and mix it in with your everyday routine. Every morning, I wash my face, apply sunscreen and then get on with my regular makeup routine. I found that my SPF 15 wasn’t giving me the protection I needed after walking in from lunch on the deck with pink cheeks.

A true recommendation from the heart for an everyday face lotion with SPF, I’m LOVING Neutrogena’s Age Shield™ Face Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70. Its light and provides amazing coverage. Plus, it isn’t greasy and doesn’t clog pores. I actually think it makes my makeup look better. Another step in your morning routine? Who cares. That extra step won’t seem so bad later when you’re looking FABBBBULOUS.

Whose ready for summertime fun in the sun? Pass the sunnies and sunscreen.
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Think back to the days where more was more. Wearing multiple polos to have tons of collars to pop. Deep + dark Jersey Shore tans layered with bronzer. Nowadays, the trend seems to be “less is more.” This rings true the most in the summer months. Its hot and the last thing you want to be doing is apply makeup you’re just going to end up sweating off (and clogging your pores).

I’m all for a bold lip, but some days, I want something light, something I can effortlessly apply and get on with enjoying summer. An SPF is a must have as more sun exposure can really damage your lips. So keeping them moisturized and protected should be on your mind for happy and healthy lips. After all, a smile is one of the best accessories #CheesyButTrue.

Welcome to the latest and greatest. Lip tint.

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's Beauty Sidekick-Sonia Kashuk Moisture Luxe Tinted Balm
This post isn’t sponsored. Just after a few days, I’m REALLY passionate about these luxe lip balms, like the equivalent of Oprah loves bread.

Amen to the fact I left all my colored lipsticks at home on a trip to Indiana, because I was introduced to a new favorite (so much so, when I got home, I went and bought ANOTHER), Sonia Kashuk Moisture Luxe Tinted Balm. Some tints dry out your lips, but these tints are lightweight, offer SPF 15, and are described as a “luxe lip balm.” What? Yes, please. Its honestly a one a stop shop when it comes to color and lip protection (sun + chapped lips). You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. To prove it, check them out in action:

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's Beauty Sidekick-Sonia Kashuk Moisture Luxe Tinted Balm Hint of Red

[Hint of Red]

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's Beauty Sidekick-Sonia Kashuk Moisture Luxe Tinted Balm Hint of Pink

[Hint of Pink]

These two have already become a summer staple in my bag and its only June 1st! What is your go-to summer beauty product? Let’s add to the summer sidekick list! I’m adding Indy. See more of him on Snapchat: BrunetteSnapz or HIS OWN INSTAGRAM @IndyToday!

The Brunette Blend-This Summer's Beauty Sidekick-Indy

chat soon! xo-

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Remember the Amanda Bynes show and “The Girls in the Bathroom” sketch? If you’ve follow on Snapchat (BrunetteSnapz) I’ve 100% been Debbie. You know, the girl who constantly states she loves eggs? Her. Me. Eggs.

The Brunette Blend-Debbie-I like Eggs


{Source}

They’ve been a go to breakfast or dinner. Open faced sandwiches have been my saving grace and the reason I don’t pass out in the morning. If you’re skipping out on breakfast, you’re doing it wrong. Consumer Reports states that breakfast eaters tend to have better diets overall. Eating right in the morning can have a positive effect on your body throughout the day as well as your life. Heart protection, lower risk of diabetes, energy, keeps you from getting HANNNNGRY, and can help maintain a healthy weight. Ignoring to properly fuel yourself in the morning can lead to your body “fasting.” This can boost “hunger hormones” (ghrelin) which can cause you to overeat and causing ups and downs in your glucose levels. Bottom line, eat well, take care of your body and it will thank you.

Learn more: {Why Eating the Right Breakfast Is So Important // Consumer Reports}

If you’re eating breakfast regularly, here’s a delicious one to add to the rotation. If you are an aspiring breakfast eater, TRY THE BELOW. Quick and easy. Make it fresh or make it ahead, depending on you sched.

The Brunette Blend-Eat Your Breakfast-Poached Egg + Avo Mash

Get ready to
The Brunette Blend-Eat Your Breakfast-Assemble
(your perfect egg sandwich)

-egg (over easy or poached)
-whole wheat bread (I prefer Ezekial)
-avocado
-salt
-pepper
-red pepper flakes

Avo mash: Season half an avocado with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Spread your avo mash on your toast and top with your yolk-a-lucius egg.

That’s just the basics (which are great! Grain, protein and a healthy fat). Add whatever your heart desires. Cheese, spinach, turkey. Do you. What is your go-to breakfast?

The Brunette Blend-Eat Your Breakfast-Over easy egg

Hello! Lately I’ve been a changed woman when it comes to hair. Regular haircuts, less washing, and less heat. Healthy hair is important and really doesn’t require products to bring it back to life.

The Brunette Blend - The Breakdancer + Journey to Healthy Hair

Flashback to high school where I washed and straightened my hair every single day *what was I doing?* would rarely get haircuts until I started going once I found a hairstylist named Buzz who looked like the cute dude from Drew Barrymore’s “Never Been Kissed.” I went twice before I received awful news. Buzz was in a breakdance fight and began cutting hair while sitting in a chair. This is an actual event, no joke. After that, I bounced from stylist to stylist every 10 months. As of lately, I have a new hair stylist (who is AMAZING) that I go to regularly and doesn’t participate in break dancing activities.

Regular trims get rid of dead ends and give new life to your strands. After a trip to the chair and the hair washing sink, you need to keep up maintenance + care to give yourself the healthiest hair possible. That includes less heat time and less washes.

It’s no secret heat damages your hair, so limiting your weekly use can make all the difference. Plus, who doesn’t like the casual, carefree look after you’ve slept on curls. Everyday isn’t prom. A little spray and dry shampoo can bring it back to life.

The biggest tip I can give is lessen your hair washes. I’m prepping to go #NoPoo after reading a great article by a sorority sister. I’ll keep you posted on progress. Until it begins, I’ve been refraining from stripping my hair and scalp of its natural oils. Having a healthy scalp means healthy hair. My hair has been less dry and my crazy itchy scalp doesn’t bother me. Less washes = record time in the shower. Saving hair AND being water conscious. Win.

Any good healthy hair tips? Dying to know. Also dying to know if you have any hair stylist breakdance stories. Share below!

The Brunette Blend-The Breakdancer + Journey to Healthy Hair

I’m all for Vitamin D, but with SPF, a hat, and possibly a cloak. I’m fair skinned and burn, so its best if I embrace it and throw on some self tanner every once in a while. I’ve talked about skincare before and how to grab a natural look. The reason this is near and dear to my heart is because high school (OK and part of college…) I couldn’t get enough of $5 tans at the local tanning salon. Once a week, I’d grab a LEVEL THREE spray tan and maintain it with tanning lotion. (P.S. not bashing a good spray tan, I just better stick to a level one- ha!) I know I had some supportive + accepting friends and family because it must have been hard to bite their tongue talking to an Oompa-Loompa with additional bronzer on her face. As we often do, I grew out of this and I’ve never felt (and smelt) better…

The Brunette Blend - The Easiest Self Tanner Tip, Ever - Flat lay

Another animal that loves photobombing…

The problem with some self tanner lotions is that they have a distinct smell and sometimes you’re left with a streaky mess that makes your legs look like pieces of bacon. A visual: dark streaks and then white streaks. Bacon.

A simple trick can eliminate those problems AND chances are you already have it laying around (or chances are you have the skin of an alligator.)

TIP:

Mix a little bit of your daily lotion with your self tanning lotion. This lightens the smell and gives you a smoother and more sheer application.The different lotion consistencies provide you with a great in between, which will result in a more natural look.


The Brunette Blend-The Easiest Self Tanner Tip, Ever-self tanner lotion

Who doesn’t love a sun kissed glow? Its a win when you get the look you want without damaging your skin. Many times we don’t want to stand naked in a booth while machine sprays you (#TBT to when Ross gets a spray tan and counts “mississippily”) I always love anything thats quick and easy that can be done on my own time. Do you have any spring/summer beauty tips while we endure this chilly April weather?
The Brunette Blend - The Easiest Self Tanner Tip, Ever - Indy - Sun Hat
Indy is already practicing great sunshine etiquette…snoozing in a sun hat. See more of him on Snapchat at BrunetteSnapz – See you there!

For obvious reasons, stress has been at an all time high. As an imperfect perfectionist, I always have a little stress on me at all times. As a weekly treat (and something that was absolutely needed) I created an at home spa for an hour or so on Sunday or Monday night. This helps wind down from the day or melt a week’s worth of stress to set myself up for a fresh start. If you aren’t incorporating some sort of “me time,” I HIGHLY encourage you to do something for yourself like now. I mean it. Right now. You deserve it. Here are four ways to get your party of one spa day on its feet.

b u b b l e s

With everyone dropping bath bombs in their tub and photographing it, I really wanted in on this whole bath thing. I found sleep at Bath and Body Works with lavendar and chamomile and to say I’m obsessed is an understatement. It warms, relaxes, and really sets me up to jump right into bed. Perfect for baths or using as a body wash. I recommend x 32948732 especially when paired with your favorite candle. If you’re looking for a candle suggestion, try SOHO Brights Pink Magnolia. You’ll love it.
party of one - the brunette blend

f a c i a l

We all want clear and beautiful skin. Sometimes the morning and night face wash isn’t enough. If you’re looking for a kick in your skin care regime, look into adding a face mask once a week. I’m all about Principal Secret’s Advanced Gentle Enzyme Treatment. It adds moisture without alcohol, perfume, mineral oil, or dyes. Leave it on for 20 minutes and skin has an added boost. [Princial Secret Catalog]

party of one - the brunette blend 2

s p a . h 2 o

If you don’t know the benefits of infused water/detox water, read up and check out my previous post Bumpin’ [HERE] on how it can clear your skin. Bonus: there are two easy water recipes for you to try ASAP. Nothing makes me feel fancier in my bath tub than fruit in my ice water. *Pinky Up*
party of one - the brunette blend spa water

r o b e

Wrap up (or start) your mini spa session with your favorite robe. If I could, I would live in the cozy plushness of my robe.
party of one - the brunette blend 4

Whether your happy place is pampering yourself in a bath full of bubbles, reading your favorite book on the couch, or binge watching the latest Netflix orignial in bed, take an hour or so to do you. How does your party of one look? Share in the comments below!

Cheers to my party–
S.
{Instagram} + Snapchat // BrunetteSnapz

I tried a new mascara and every time I wash my face, I look like a raccoon with the black under my eyes and cheeks. It’s not even waterproof. Just the strongest mascara ever.

Anyway, I don’t have eye makeup remover, because I love my face cleanser. It getseverything off. Unfortunately, it can’t compete against this mascara, so I tried a baby wipe. That usually picks up the excess makeup, if needed. No luck. What kind of mascara is this?

I recently purchased a jar of coconut oil. I know, I’m late to the coconut oil game, but at least I made it. I doubt you’ll see me oil pulling anytime soon, but time will tell… Anyway, I remembered on the back it lists all the uses and one being eye makeup remover. I’m out of options, so why not?

You guys, it’s the best eye makeup remover EVER. It doesn’t sting your eyes or blur your vision like previous eye makeup removers I’ve used. It effortlessly took away the mess on my face. So incase you have been hesititate about rubbing a product you tend to cook with all over your face, give it a try! Yeah, its weird at first, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you wake up free of black smudge under your eyes.

Simply take a dime size amount and warm it up in your hands, this will make it liquid and allow you to gently rub over your makeup. Rinse or wipe up with a baby wipe and it’s gone! Plus it’s a fantastic all natural moisturizer.

I love a product with a million uses + benefits. This is one of them.

The Brunette Blend - Pantry Makeup Remover Coconut Oil

In a sea full of National Days and months, November is Healthy Skin Month! YYYYEEEESSSSS! All hail healthy skin! *rolls around in sunscreen*

After sunburns, pimple popping, sleeping with makeup on and restless nights– you realize how important taking care of your skin really is. A few lectures from mom always help, too.

We’ve talked about managing stress, the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes, protecting ourselves from the sun, and the miracles of detox water for clear skin.
Whew. That’s a lot. I’m pretty sure we talked makeup for healthier skin, too. Basically, this is our month.

Let’s dive into anther aspect of healthy skin. Sleep. Beauty sleep exists and it is important. Lack of sleep takes away your “glow.” Inflammatory cells increase the breakdown of collagen. Say bye to your natural bounce.

Less sleep also prevents your body from doing “nightly repairs.” Your body goes through hydration rebalances and cells are repaired. Lack of sleep prevents this from happening.

Along with a good healthy skin care routine, I’m practicing a few things to get myself prepped for “beauty sleep.”

The Brunette Blend - Get Your Beauty Sleep Baby Lulu

(a little throwback of a baby Lu. Second to my dearly missed Papa, Lulu is one of the best beauty sleepers I know.)

Tips for
SnooZZZzzzzing

-Invest in a sound machine. Seriously. THE BEST! Prior to college, I was the silent and pitch black type sleeper. After college I became HOOKED on my mini fan. We just recently bought a white noise machine and I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it! Check this one out [HERE]

-Take a warm shower. When I was little, we got baths before bed. It was one of the tactics my mom used to calm us down and set the bedtime tone. I still associate a warm bath with snuggling in for the night. Its calming and relaxing.

-Wash your sheets! Who wants to sleep in a dirty bed? No one. Wash sheets weekly to keep them crisp and fresh.

-Keep it cool. An ideal sleeping temperature is between 65-68 degrees. You will sleep better with cooler temps and your favorite blankets. This isn’t a tip just for whoever dislikes waking up hot and sweaty, although I think it applies to all.

-Limit your screen time before bed. It is no secret that the light in our devices keeps us up. Eliminating these at least an hour before bed will allow your body to settle into bedtime mode.

Of course there are many tips and tricks for getting the perfect night sleep. These are just a few I have been implementing lately and wanted to share! I know we are all busy and sometimes we sacrifice our sleep. Remember we need sleep to function and to look and feel our best.

What are some of your sleep tricks?! Would love to hear and try them 🙂

HAPPY NATIONAL HEALTHY SKIN MONTH!

Packing to fly on an airplane gives me anxiety. I refuse to check my bags. Carry on only, no questions. Forget about toiletries. Thinking of security confiscating my mini bottles…FORGET IT. I don’t even want to talk about it.

That being said, I pack light. Extremely light. I wouldn’t follow my packing ways. No joke, I didn’t pack perfume (in my mind it wouldn’t make it through security) and Grant had to spray me with Febreeze. Just being classy, sorry. As for outfits, I’m a mix and matcher. Get creative and roll instead of fold your clothes in your suitcase.

Picking and choosing what makeup to bring can be difficult, BUT I’ve found the low maintence key. I’ve found a tinted moisturizer with SPF, mini concealer, a compact, mascara, wipes, and travel brush will brighten your face with minimal effort. If you’re a heavy makeup user, this gives your skin a vacation, too! Since being here and utilizing these products, my skin has been getting a much needed break and my getting ready time is basically 3 mins MAX.

Travel Makeup Bag

(which is in a clear Ziploc bag, because airport regulations! Obviously…)

The Brunette Blend - Travel Beauty Basics Tools


-Elf Makeup Remover:

LOVE this! So easy to pop in your bag and wipe your eye makeup off at the end of the day.

-Kleenex Fresh and Go Wipes:
These are new to me, but I love them for getting any additional makeup or sunscreen off my face.

-Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara:
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you KNOW this would be an essential.

-Sonia Kashuk Bronzer:

Since I can’t tan and refuse to tan my face, sometimes I need a brush of color.

-NYX Concealer:
So tiny, so powerful.

-Elf Tinted Moisturizer:

This is a perfect replacement for heavy foundations. With a variety of shades to choose from you can add tint, moisture, and SPF 20 to your vacation routine.

-Sonia Kashuk Small Kabuki Brush:
Picked this up when we arrived and I LOVE it. It is so compact and soft.

​As for the beach attire– sunscreen, sunnies, beach wraps, and baseball hats are my BFFs. Doing some research, your best option for sunscreen is the lotion kind with higher UV protection. To get the true sun protection from a spray sunscreen, you would need to saturate your arm and rub it in. Might as well just go straight to the lotion, right? Right. Protecting your skin is attractive. Don’t feel nerdy covering yourself every two hours. Only you can prevent forest fires, I mean sun burn.

The Brunette Blend - Travel Beauty Basics Sun Protection

We are still enjoying our honeymoon and enjoying WAY too much food. You only honeymoon once, right? Hitting the gym when we get back, but for now, sunset beach walks will do. Don’t forget if you have a Snapchat, add BrunetteSnapz — TONS of beach shots (we saw dolphins, manatees, AND a sand dollar that has zero chips in it today!)

Talk to you soon!
XO-
S

We have all shook hands with stress at some point. Most people are no stranger to that feeling of built up pressure and having no release.

Stress can be very internal, but it has many ways of presenting itself physically. I bring this up, because my chin in covered in pimples. Pimples that I cannot successfully cover up– perfect timing. I’m someone that is lucky enough to get a blemish here or there, but with all the moving and the wedding coming up– I’m on overload and I can see it taking a toll on me physically.

Stress has the tendency to keep you tossing and turning. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night and having to send out emails at 2am, otherwise I’ll be up thinking about it. That’s no way to sleep! There is a constant fear that I’ve forgotten to do something or will forget to do something. This can result in headaches, low productivity, and bags underneath the eyes. Not chic.

Stress releases cortisol which throws your hormones off and causes breakouts. Breakouts meaning pimples and skin irritations. The cortisol can also cause inflammation and effect your digestive system. It creates one of the most severely uncomfortable stomach aches. Its the feeling of nausea, cramping, and green. Yeah, I’ll say it. Sometimes my stomach feels green. Not the pretty green either. Nasty sick green.

These are just a small handful of how stress can take a toll on you physically. We all realize that stress happens, but we have to remember that there are ways to maintain and keep ourselves in a zen-like mode.

1. Relax // do something to take your mind off of what is stressing you out for a chunk of time, even if it is just laughing at Buzzfeed articles for 10 minutes or going on a walk around your neighborhood.

2. Workout // take an hour to focus on you. Working out is a great way to relieve stress. Even a half hour of physical active can release a lot of tension. Right now, I’m giving hot yoga a try. I’m practicing different poses that take skill (which I currently do not have. Like, in tree pose, I can’t grow my branches. The worst.) I don’t have time to think of my worries for those 60 minutes. Whether it is yoga, spin class, running, or kickboxing, find something you enjoy. It is good for both body and mind.

3. Friends + Fam // I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is so easy to pout and feel sorry for yourself. Reach out to your friends + loved ones. They are always there to lend a shoulder to cry on, advice, and plenty of jokes. Remember not to push everyone away when you’re going through a rough patch. Don’t forget your furfriends! Petting an animal can actually reduce stress…(currently have a ball of fur next to me– hey, LuLu.)

4. Eat + Drink // when I say eat and drink, I mean drink TONS of water (have you tried fruit infused, detox water?)and eat clean. Processed foods and drinks don’t help you clear your face, keep you energized, or help your digestion issues. If you are fueling your body with the right fuel, you can combat stress easier than when you’re feeling sluggish. Please don’t forget the food that is good for your soul. My future sister-in-law shared these amazing pumpkin bars with me. Not only do they remind me that fall is around the corner, they’re the best little treat after a long day.

5. Make a list + a bedtime routine // this is so important. Sleep gives us engery to take on the day. If we aren’t feeling our best, we aren’t doing our best. I have found that if I create a check-list and get a few things completed by the time I go to bed, I’m able to rest without as much on my mind. After a warm shower and fresh pjs, it is easier to drift off to sleep. Cue the Zzzzz’s!

Do you have any stress crushing secrets? In need of a few miracles. *insert high five emoji to symbolize praying emoji*

xxo S
The Brunette Blend - Punching Out Stress