Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Style Curly Hair Fast

 What you need: 
Moisturizing Product (I like Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum)
- Mousse (I like Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Whipped Cream Mousse)
- Heat Protectant for Curls
- Blow Dryer with Diffuser (the blow drying step is optional, but if you do blow dry, the diffuser is not optional)

1.       If you haven’t just gotten hair wet in the shower or bath, wet your hair under the faucet.
2.       Use a comb and brush out your hair unless you're like Elizabeth and it makes your hair frizzy.
3.       Next apply the moisturizing product.
4.       Apply mousse. I like the Suave mousse because it will not make your hair crunchy. However, if you use too much it will make it feel oily. So experiment and find out how much you need.
5.       Apply a heat protectant if you plan on blow drying it. I don’t have a favorite, but I try to avoid sprays that spray a straight stream because then it doesn’t get all the hair, just a small area.
6.       After you apply your products, brush through hair with a comb.
7.       Scrunch lightly
8.       Now you can either let curls air dry or use a diffuser on low speed and heat blow dry till only slightly damp. The diffuser prevents your curls or waves from getting blown around and frizzing. Just tilt your head to the side and place a section of hair into the diffuser. Do not scrunch while diffusing just hold it there.

One of the really helpful resources that we used when learning how to style our naturally curly hair was a book called Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey.  If I could, I'd give a copy to every single girl with curly hair.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Fever

A Little Madness in the Spring

Am I the only one with spring fever?

As you can see above I've been playing around on Polyvore and creating fun combinations of clothes as opposed to doing homework and other things that I should have been doing.  Oops.

For more inspiration, follow on pinterest.  Here are some equally beautiful fashion choices.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Favorite Discoveries of the Week

Is everyone else as happy about the arrival of spring as I am?  The weather here has been steadily getting more and more spring-like of the last few weeks, and I hope that it has for you as well.  With the spring equinox having occurred earlier this week (March 20th), the weather should only continue to get better.  Thanks to spring fever, I've had a difficult time focusing on anything this week, so our theme for links this week is SPRING!

1.  First up from Babble, a cute decorating idea for your spring-themed cupcakes. If you don't habitually make spring-themed cupcakes, marshmallow daisy cupcakes should be an inspiration to start.  Easy Blooming Daisy Spring Cupcakes.  Babble is apparently a site for parents and suggests that you make these with your kids. I'm not letting that bother me at all.
2.  What should you be doing on these wonderful spring days?  Having a picnic obviously!  Martha Stewart's site has some tips for packing a picnic lunch.  The actual title of the slide show is packing a picnic lunch with the kids, but again that doesn't matter.  Besides, with some of  my friends in the kitchen, I might as well be planning a picnic lunch with the kids.
3.  For your viewing pleasure, a slide show of beautiful gardens in spring on Bing.  Most of these gardens are in the US, but there are several in other countries around the world.  You might want to mark a few of these down in your travel binder.
4.  Finally, what are you going to pack in your picnic lunch in the budding spring gardens besides daisy cupcakes?  Spring sugar cookies like those made by Green Girl on her blog A little bit of everything. Iced sugar cookies shaped like tulips and butterflies!  How lovely!

Other links of the week -
You can have a happiness quotation chosen by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, sent to your inbox for a month thanks to DailyLit.  The first link will take you to DailyLit while the second will take you to view the book on amazon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: How to Squeeze a Lemon

How to Squeeze a Lemon

As the subtitle implies How to Squeeze a Lemon: 1,023 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, and Handy Techniques , contains many tips and tricks for use in the kitchen.  The book covers a wide array of things that you might find helpful to know related to cooking - from what tools you can use in the kitchen if you don’t have some equipment that you need to how you can rehydrate mushrooms with wine.   The books main divisions are equipment, produce, meat, pantry, techniques, wine & beer, and when things go wrong.    All of these sections contain numerous tips that would be helpful for anyone who likes to cook.  The book does not go into deep focus on any one of these divisions.  However, everyone should be able to find at least a few good tips.  The book is definitely a good, general, all-around reference book without being too specific.  There is also a list of substitutions and equivalents which is perfect for the times when you realize an hour before everyone is supposed to arrive that you’ve forgotten some tiny ingredient needed to pull a dish together.  Although not completely necessary, for someone who enjoys having a bookshelf full off culinary-related books in the kitchen, this book would make a good addition.  This book would also make a good gift for a friend who enjoys being in the kitchen.  

I don't think that this is a book that I'll be putting on my list to buy for myself simply because I'm not in the kitchen often enough to need it, and I generally stick to making things that I know how to make fairly well.  Perhaps I might want it, if I ever become more adventurous in the kitchen, or when I get older and find myself cooking for more than myself more often. 

PS.  I received a free copy of this book from netgalley in order to review it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Layout

You may notice the layout changing a bit since I'm currently playing around with it.  I'm not happy with the way that it looks yet, but don't be concerned, I'll get it right eventually.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jennifer's Beauty Essentials for a Fresh Face

Jennifer's Essentials for a Fresh Face

Products from left to right 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6
A fresh face starts with good skincare, so my first essentials help solve skin problems.
1. Clinique 3 Step Skin Care I have problem skin, so I use the Clinique Acne System. Clinique has products for all types of skin and is very customizable. If you have a pesky skin issue like dry skin or dark circles you can go to the nearest Clinique counter or their online website and find a solution for you.
2. Clarisonic Mia Yes, it’s expensive, and yes, it really works. I, too, was skeptical because of the price, but it’s very worth it if you have problem skin.
3. Jergens Natural Glow Facial Lotion If you must be tan ,this is the stuff for you. It has spf and is a lot easier to use than the non-gradual lotions. If you’ve embraced your natural skin tone or are naturally darker it’s still very important that you use sunscreen to prevent wrinkles. Aveeno makes some nice lightweight ones and Clean & Clear makes the best affordable ones.
After you’ve taken of your skin it’s time for foundation for glowing skin.
4. Pur Minerals Starter Kit I LOVE this foundation. Not only is it super low maintenance, because it goes on quickly it actually covers up uneven patches and blemishes even though it‘s a powder. I recommend the starter kit because it comes with a bronzer and blush that give you a nice glow. However, go light on them. All you need is subtle hint for a natural looking glow.

Now it’s time to give the eyes and lips a little definition.
5. Clinique High Lengths Mascara Hate when your lashes clump together? This brush takes care of that and adds length.
6. Clinique Chubby Stick To get a polished look almost everyone needs some type of lip color. I like the chubby stick because it feels soft on the lips like a balm but has nice color like a lipstick.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jennifer's First Post

I'm very happy to announce that Jennifer's first post on Life of Lovely will occur tomorrow.  The title of this first post is Jennifer's Beauty Essentials for a Fresh Face.  Please be sure to stop by tomorrow to check out this out especially if you are interested glowing skin tips.  We'll now be adding beauty advice to our melange of books, cooking, sewing, and whatnot.  I hope that everyone's having a lovely Monday.  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Book Links

I said earlier that I would post a list of my favorite book links, so here they are.  I'm sure that my list on the inspirations will eventually end up much longer than this when I do finally add it there.  Does anyone else have any favorite book links that you'd like to share.  

Librarything - A site to catalog the books that you read.  You can catalog up to 200 books a year for free.  It's only $25 for a life time account, though, which isn't bad either.   It's a good way to keep up with what you've read and to make a list of books that you want to read in the future. - A site for ordering books (as well as just about everything else) that mostly everyone knows about already.  If you are a student, I would advise signing up for student prime which allows you to get free shipping and costs nothing.  I'm not certain if you can sign up now, but be on the watch before school starts back again in August. 

DailyLit - If you like free books, and I can't think of anyone who doesn't, then you might enjoy DailyLit. You can receive installments each day of books in your email, and you don't even have to register in order to do so.  I, in fact, have registered because you can create a booklist of what you would like to receive next once you've finished your current book.  I'm currently receiving Jane Austen: Her Life and Letters.   My second pick, when I finally finish that one is Authors in the Kitchen.

Project Gutenberg - I've already talked about this one before in my post One of my favorite book sources.  Project Gutenberg has over 33,000 free e-books that you can download to read or read online.  You can read them on your computer or whatever e-reader you happen to have.  The books available are all books whose copyright in the US has expired allowing them to be available for free to the public.  This means that you won't find contemporary books at this site.  However, you will find all of the classics.  In addition, the site also has some books available different languages as well as audio downloads.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Favorite Discoveries of the Week

This spotlight was not supposed to turn into a list a desserts...but it did anyway.  Sometimes, it's just one of those weeks.  Despite the fact that I don't have an oven right now and, therefore, can't make any of these until June at the earliest, it never hurts to be prepared when it comes to desserts.

photos from,, and

Did you know that you could make chocolate chip cookies in a skillet?  Take a look at the One-Pan Dark Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie (1)  made by Sophistimom.  I have no problem planning an event just in order to make this.

I've been wanting to make macarons for a long time.  While I think that I probably need to start with a more basic recipe, these Lavender Maracrons with Honey Dark Chocolate Ganache (2) by The Ginger Cook look utterly divine.

I haven't had a doughnut since September.  I know this because I bought one in the airport right before my flight to France.  Which means that I really want one like the Yeasted Doughnuts (3) by Whisk Kid.

Cookies n' Cream Kiss Cookies? (4)  Yes, please!  Thank you, Sugar Plum Blog!

There is also one non-food related favorite of the week.

Launch of Pirates of the Caribbean OPI collection - Possibly I get overly excited about OPI nail polish despite the fact that I only own about 2 bottles and I actually rarely every paint my nails.  I think that it has to do with adorable names that the company gives the colors.  So when I found out this week that OPI has a Pirates of the Caribbean collection coming out in May, I had to contain myself.  The names of these new colors? Skull & Glossbones, Stranger Tides, Mermaid's Tears, Steady As She Rose, Sparrow Me the Drama, and Planks a Lot.  You can find out more about them here.

That's all for this week.  I wish everyone a lovely weekend!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: Little Green Dresses

I recently recieved a new sewing book to review from Netgalley, Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More by Tina Sparkles.  I was quite excited to look through it, and I wish that I had a sewing machine here in France so that I could have tried some of the ideas.

Little Green Dresses is the kind of book that the younger generation interested in sewing will love.  As the title implies the book focuses on ways to re-use old garments and other sources of fabric and make these into new favorite wardrobe pieces.  In some cases the projects detail how to change a certain type of item, such as a shirt, into another, like a dress.  In other cases, the projects simply suggest finding large objects like old sheets for re-use in new clothing.

While the book contains plenty of green ideas for creating new clothes, it's other
strong point is that it outlines how to create your own patterns.  A beginning section includes things such as making measurements, how to adjust already made patterns, and how to make a
basic pattern for a dress that fits you exactly.  This basic dress pattern is used throughout the project section of the book.  The projects have a good range of difficulties.  There are enough easy projects to get used to making patterns and practice sewing and also enough more challenging projects that you won't get bored.  My favorites of the projects tend to be the dresses and the skirts.

Although there is a section of the book devoted to sewing techniques, the book is not a
sewing reference book.  If you already know the basics of sewing, are interested in learning how to draft your own patterns, and have an interest in re-using and remaking clothes, then this book
will be interesting for you.  The patterns are aimed towards young people who are adventurous when it comes to fashion.  Personally, I would not wear about half of the projects shown in the book despite the fact that I am probably one of the target audience, but since there are 50 projects, that still leaves plenty that I would. 


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