January has got me feeling the winter gloom and wishing for some summertime sunshine. Here are a few of the gems that I'm absolutely loving right now that are helping me combat dry winter skin, gloominess, and are helping hold me over until summer comes!
S K I N & H A I R
Let me give you some insight into these amazing products that are going to help your skin and hair glow this chilly season: Maui Moisture is a really great hair mist that is super cheap, super organic, and silicone free. Just a few spritzes on freshly washed hair will make all the difference if you have giant, curly, frizzy hair like myself. I have a super specific hair regimen that I follow for my unruly hair, that's recovering from a going blonde and having a weave addiction, that you can find here, but this is my newest addition to my hair rehab product list. Olay Luminous is a great moisturizer that keeps skin protected and looking bright. The best skin advice I've ever gotten was from a lady who worked in the beauty industry, and she told me that you can't reverse skin aging, but you can prevent it while your skin is young. So, keep that skin fresh and moisturized, whatever age you are, and Olay it up! My favorite new mask is this Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask. The link I have attached to it is from amazon, but you can buy it from your local health food store. This mask is crazy pants. My sister, who's the self proclaimed family skin-guru, showed me this mask and it is seriously amazing for cleaning out pores, but there's some no-no's you have to watch out for. It's a powder, so the label says you can mix it with water or apple cider vinegar, but apple cider vinegar works much better for clogged pores. When you mix and apply it, you can't use any metal, or it will deactivate the ingredients, so use your fingers or a plastic spoon. Also, don't leave it on until it dries because your face will be super dry and super sorry.
The next things are these wonderful and life-saving face masks. I love Yes-To products, and this lip mask can bring any life-less and dry winter lips back from the dead. The eye masks are great for keeping the fine lines at bay, and I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes before I apply them, which helps me de-puff my dark circles. Finally, this hydro-boost mask from Neutrogena is really inexpensive and honestly one of the best masks I've used. It's a gel mask, not a paper mask, which I think makes a world of a difference, and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and glowy. Plus, you can pick up it up at Walmart for only a couple of bucks!
F A V E S
After you pamper your skin and hair, these are some really cute projects and faves of mine that I love for the gloomy months that help me not crawl under my blankets and watch reruns in my spare time, all winter long. They'll keep your brain thinking and they're really adorable and fun!
Okay, there are some good gems in here this round. First off, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE podcast. Ever. Ever in the whole world I love her. Jamie is a Jesus-loving lady who interviews other Christian women who are bloggers, moms, business women, and women in the ministry world who have amazing projects and products. It's a fun listen, and it's full of great advice from women of all walks of life, sharing their stories from their jobs, ministries, and some priceless entrepreneurship wisdom. I listen to this podcast every week, and I totally binge it when I'm feeling the chilly season blues. Another thing I'm obsessed with right now is fringe jeans. Seriously, I pinterest these bad boys all day and try to wear mine as much as humanly possible. The ones I linked are pricey, but if you Pinterest it, there are some easy and doable tutorials to make your own. The next gem is this wood-burning kit from Brit+Co that you can get at Target. It comes with everything you need to make a wood-burning project, and they also make other kits like a jewelry stamping kit, a clay bowl kit, and more really creative projects. I love this idea and totally want them all.
Since it's a new year, and that means new fashion, I'm really into these trend reports from Elle for 2018. They're fun to look at, and they can kick-start your creativity for revamping your closet to stay trendy in the new year.
Shutterfly is a great company for ordering prints and all things photo-related, and you can make your own photo books on their website! I made one and a family member ordered it for me for Christmas, and it was my favorite gift I got this year. Five stars, it's a great product, and it's really fun to create. If sorting through pictures and designing isn't your thing, you can also just add the photos you want to a pre-designed book, and Shutterfly will make the book for you!
Check for coupon codes before you buy, because they always have promotions and specials. The last gem I have is this fuzzy eye mask. Seems simple but let me tell you, this is a life-saver. I'm a constant traveler, so this totally helps me fall asleep in cars, planes, and when I'm sleeping on people's couches. I grabbed mine from Target for $4 and they've sold out for the holiday season, but you can find a cute, fuzzy eye mask anywhere online.
Don't let the January gloom get you down, and keep the sunshine alive with these gems to love!
Confidence was something I thought God would teach me a lottt differently than He did. I thought I would have confidence when I woke up one day and God had miraculously blessed me with 3ft mermaid hair and I would look in the mirror and see Gigi Hadid’s face, but confidence is alllll about who God is and who I am in Him, and pa-raisssse Jesus that it is.
Confidence is something we all struggle with now and again in every stage, no matter your age, gender, or walk of life. It’s always on the table because it manifests in different ways like appearances, identity, and relationships. And if you’re trying to find who you are and search for the answer in yourself, you’re never going to find the key to being confident in your own skin.
It took me years and years of self-hatred, self-reliance, social anxiety from identity crisis, and terrible eyeliner to come to this little place of just getting a tiny idea understanding confidence.
I went through stages of thinking “if I only had ___ [some kind of physical appearance] I’ll be beautiful and confidant”. Let me give you a spoiler alert on that one: never happened and never will get solved that way. The abusive relationship I had been in left me thinking:
a. he wouldn’t have hurt or used me if I was pretty or valuable
b. I have nothing to offer and no one will want me after what he took from me
and c. Figuring out how to become gorgeous is the only thing that will make me sure of who I am and make me satisfied in life.
If I knew how to articulate in writing the sound a buzzer makes on Wheel of Fortune when someone guesses the wrong phrase, I would insert that right here. I quickly learned that a, b, and c are all complete lies that we’re making me absolutely miserable. I spent a bazillion dollars on hair extensions, eyelash extensions, make-up and retail therapy using my “If I only look this way” theory. After a year that left me exhausted from trying my own bad advice, I finally realized what was happening and knew I needed to try a new route to confidence. I knew the Jesus-ey, Hobby Lobby-inspirational pillow solution was to get to “find my identity in God.” I do really love Jesus and Hobby Lobby is like my favorite store, but I was so over cliche, Christian fluff that I didn’t understand. How do you actually “find your identity in God”? What are the actual steps? I needed someone to just write a list and make me a Google docs slideshow of what I needed to do. I prayed and prayed and God just told me, plain and simple, to get to know Him. If I wanted to be sure of who I was I needed to be sure, first and foremost, of who He is.
If you’re struggling with confidence or need an encouragement boost today, I gotchu boo.
These are the simple but powerful things that helped me get out of my head and into getting to know Jesus.
Getting to know why God is and what His character is, is the only thing that will ever help you be confident in your skin. Without God’s love, faithfulness, and hope of everlasting life, we ultimately have no purpose. Without God’s gifts and blessings, we would have nothing. All of our abilities and talents are from the Lord. As a believer and follower of Jesus, I love my life to serve Him, so I really have to know the foundations of Him to be sure of my identity and purpose in life. The best and easiest ways to get to know him are through prayer and reading His Word. Prayer is just coming before God and talking to Him, so chat with God, outloud, silently, in a note, in a letter, just talk to Him. You can’t go on a date and get to know your tinder pick without starting up a conversation, so go on a date with Jesus to get to know what He is all about. The Bible is another awesome way to understand a little bit of God. The gospels are a great way to get to know Jesus, through the narrative of His life. The Old Testament speaks a lot about God the Father’s loving, faithful, kind, powerful, and graceful personality, and shows how He is such a good Father to us. The New Testament, Acts and onwards, is focused a lot on the Holy Spirit and how He [as part of the Trinity] is all about giving us the wisdom, calling, and conviction that God wants for us, and shows how important it is to God to empower His people to be emboldened to share His love with others. If you get to know God and your life is entrusted to Him, you will be so much more confudent yourself.
When God was teaching me confidence, He put confident women all around in my life. Family, friends, co-workers, and mentors in my life to show me how it’s done. The women that mentored me showed my through guidance and wisdom how to be confident in God and showed me what confidence looks like in everyday life. I went on a missions trip with co-workers and the was blessed to learn from one of the most confident, strong, bold women I’ve ever met who taught me to fierceness love Jesus, follow without fear, ask lots of questions, and don’t be off-put or discouraged when you get asked a lot of questions. A dear, super sweet, super gorgeous, super wise cousin taught me how to work with Jesus through the out of control, downward spiral, want to dye my hair blue crisis kind of moments, and also how to bravely and responsibly be accountable for mistakes and learn from them. She helped me see the constructive side of criticism. A really hard, but really effective tone of growth came from getting fired from my ultimate ministry dream-job. It was full of mistakes and learning, but it made me fall so hard on Jesus and so deeply into His identity. These are just a few shiny gem stories in 21 years of the bad, ugly, and missing-the-point, ultra-low confidence moments, but the Lord used them to change my life.
Satan loves to strip down our identities, dredge up the past, and make our future’s seem blurry and wildly terrifying. If he can make you obsess over appearance, interactions with others, what people are saying, and fear of the future, he can take away some of the plans and work God has for you. You can be a gorgeous, mermaid, supermodel of a person who only dresses in Dolce and Gabonna evening gowns, but if you start obsessing over your physical features or the mistake you made 4 years ago, you’re confidence is shot. No amount of self-help or hair extensions will repair an identity crisis. God doesn’t look at anyone and see the labels they put on themselves from failures, bad choices, good or bad appearances, or past mistake. God looks at a person and sees the label that Jesus has covered them in; if you’ve accepted Jesus as your savior, know you’re saved by grace through faith, and it is not of yourself but a gift of God, not by your works but the saving grace of Jesus’s death and resurrection, God looks at you and sees a forgiven, free, and fiercely loved child of God. Your mistakes are things that God can work through and heal through His grace, not labels that define who you are.
When Satan throws you know what and it all hits the fan, throw a whole lot of identity right back in his face. If he brings up anything about who you are, what you look like, what you are like, what you did, what you didn’t do, and what is to come, get up, get loud, and say
“I am nothing but a child of God, so do not tell me I am anything else.”
There are no words that will give you more confidence than those. Rebuke Satan right out of your day, out of your house, and out of your identity. If Satan brings up your past, bring up his future, and your hopeful, Jesus-filled one.
Confidence comes from the free gift of salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10
Confidence comes from knowing God designed you, made you, and loves you.
Confidence comes from knowing that when you mess up and make mistakes and sin recklessly, God will never leave you, forsake you, or say I’m done. Confidence comes from knowing that God will never grow tired of you, but always welcome you home with open arms.
Romans 8:1; John 10:28, John 3:16; Romans 6:23;
When you’re absolutely sure of who He is, you will be absolutely sure of who you are, in Him, and you will never feel more relieved, at home, at peace, and confident about everything there is to who God made you to be, and the blessed assurance of His love.
Which women won the Golden Globe awards? All of them. Everywhere.
This year at the award show, men and women alike dressed in black and wore matching pins to support the Times Up movement, supporting everyone who’s faced sexual harassment, abuse, and gender inequality. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Chastain, and Octavia Spencer were just a few of the men and women who took to the red carpet and stage to speak up about Times Up and for Me Too victims, advocating a change in Hollywood.
Times are changing, people are speaking out, standing up, and the world is finally starting to listen. This is one of the first steps, in Hollywood, on a long a
journey of advocacy and change, but it shows that there is hope in the future. It shows that we need to keep fighting, keep caring, and keep changing the norms. It’s a long, hard, bumpy road, but it is worth it.
Keep fighting for the truth.
If you want a super good and empowering sob and some Golden Globe fashion moments, watch Oprah’s beautiful and inspiring speech, and take a peek at my favorite red carpet looks.
F A V O R I T E
❤ THE PHOTOGRAPHY ON THE HEADERS OF THE BLOG?
KYLE LOVES TORI PHOTOGRAPHY