Bali Secret: Review

Disclaimer:  I’ve been given this product for free to review, but all opinions are my own.

I was pretty excited to try this product because to be totally honest, my hair is SERIOUSLY damaged.  If you are anything like me (and you’re probably not because you’re more responsible), you like dye your hair on a whim and almost never trim it.

I don’t really have a legit hair care routine.  The only rule I really have is that I steer clear of animal products, or anything that tests on animals.  16 years of vegetarianism will do that to you.

But recently, I’ve been trying to grown my hair long.  My vision is to have super long mermaid hair.  Because of this, I’ve been making an effort to look into products that help strengthen and grow your hair.

So when i was asked to review this product, I decided to give it a try out of curiosity.  What drew me to it was that it’s all pretty natural.  It’s just made up of organic oils (avocado, moroccan and macadamia), and is supposed to be good for dry and damaged hair.

It comes in a bottle with all these cute capsules.

You cut off the top, and spread the oil on your hair directly after it’s been washed.  I actually use 2 because I have so much hair.  Then you work it into your damp, clean hair.  I let it dry, and was impressed at the texture of it.  My hair felt smoother and softer than usual, even the usually dry ends.

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When I straightened it, my hair felt more malleable, and not at all oily.

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result, and plan to keep using the whole bottle.  I’ve been using it for about a month now and am noticing the texture change of my hair.  Its softer and less dry.

I’ll be honest, this product doesn’t really help you to grow your hair any faster (i could be wrong, but i don’t really believe that many products on the market do).  But I do think it’s beneficial if you are trying to grow your hair long, like me, because your hair won’t break off, and you won’t have to trim it as much.

It’s also much cheaper than many of the hair products out there, so that’s a plus!  Linked it below if any of you want to try i out!

Shop it here

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How did I start blogging?

I’ve gotten asked this question a lot, mostly by people who know me in real life. Honestly its a pretty valid question, seeing anyone who’s met me knows that I’m an extreme introvert.

I’d like to say that I had some grand plan for this blog, but honestly i didn’t. That’s not to say it just happened magically (blogging is work, don’t get me wrong), but it was a very slow process for me.

I’ve harbored an interest in fashion since i was a little kid, even though most of my life I was quite sure that i was awful at it. I remembered as a child i always gravitated towards outlandish or gothic clothes. I had a babysitter who wore black pants and crop tops all the time and i thought she was the coolest girl in the world. I often wore my mom’s old clothes to school.  Sometimes I would mix prints together. Needless to say i got made fun of a lot. I was always torn between loving clothes and hating them; or more accurately: loving fashion as an actual art form versus hating the idea of mindlessly following a trend. Other kids at school would tell me I looked stupid.  But I would look at girls in a clique who all wore virtually the same outfit and think ‘i may look bad, but at least i don’t look boring.’

I found High School completely un-inspiring fashion wise. I mean seriously, nothing makes you feel more pathetic than being placed in a sea of teenagers that judge everything you wear or say (not that i was any better than them, i was probably just as terrible.) I was positive that i wasn’t thin or pretty enough to wear the sort of clothes i liked. So i did what i never wanted to do: i tried to blend in.

It wasn’t until college that i really got inspired by fashion again. It was when i discovered a site called Lookbook NU. It struck me as this extremely simple idea that was also kind of revolutionary: A site where people shared their fashion and personal style.

It was full of the sort of girls I wanted to be.  Their clothes were daring and over-the-top.   It was the type of clothing I’d always loved, but assumed I’d never actually wear. After-all, there was something special about girls who wore clothing like that. They looked brave, and interesting.  I spent hours searching blogs for fashion photos. I made collages of ones i liked.

It wasn’t a well known platform like Facebook or Instagram, so posting something on there felt somehow safe.  I went on that site nearly every day for a year before i got up the courage to actually post something.

This was my first post. Pretty awful right? Also i had platinum blonde hair because ‘Game of Thrones’ was new at the time and i wanted to look like Daenerys.

Slowly, I began posting more and more and growing a very small following. I didn’t tell a soul about the site; I never planned on sharing these photos outside of Lookbook.  I thought of it as a dairy or a journal; something private i did just for me.  I’d buy clothes from thrift stores, put outfits together (often altering pieces), and take photos of them.  Almost like a child playing dress up.

After college I took a short temp job. I sat behind a desk and answered phones. Sometimes i re-stocked the snack room. The majority of my day was spent sitting and waiting for it to be 6:00. I applied to jobs, but there’s really only so many hours a day that you can spend doing that. I hated the idea of wasting so much time. I needed a project. Something fun and productive.

That project would eventually become this blog. At this point, I had been reading fashion blogs religiously for years, so i had a vague idea of what i wanted mine to be. I tried to improve my photos. I bought a new phone with a better camera. I spent time learning how to take a better picture. I wrote posts on this blog daily. As my following increased, i began to wonder what the next step was-if there was one at all.

One day during lunch, a co-worked sat down next to me and informed me that she had found my Lookbook page.

‘fuck!’ my inner monologue went.  I had never spoken to anyone about my lookbook.

“It’s cool!” she chirped, “Where do you get your clothes from?”

Her tone wasn’t mocking.  She was actually curious.  I muttered one of my favorite thrift stores and turned back to my sandwich, stunned.  That had painless.  I began to wonder why I had always been so quiet about it.

Finally, i showed my blog and Lookbook to a friend.  Her response was just as positive as the girl at my office.  She suggested that i start posting them on instagram.

I’d never used Instagram, but i hated the idea of it. At this point in time i had a certain disdain for social media. I felt like it was a platform specifically designed for everything about my generation that I could not relate to.  Full of poorly framed smiling selfies, laughing girls crowding into a small photobooth, or a plate of pretty gluten free-whatever-the-fuck pancakes someone or another was talented enough to make for breakfast.  

The whole thing didn’t feel social to me-it felt isolating.  It made me wonder if everyone’s life was supposed to sparkle that way? Mine certainly didn’t.

She encouraged me to check it out before I judged it, so I did. I was surprised to find that there were millions of fashion accounts-many filled with photos better than anything i had ever taken.
I had a sort of realization: social media wasn’t necessarily fake.  It was the tiny sliver of your life that you want the world to see. Perhaps it’s the things you cook, maybe it’s the watercolor you paint, maybe it’s photos of your dog. The thing about sharing your little streak of creativity or your passion for your hobby is that it can inspire others.
I began to challenge my introverted, nervous self.  Really, what was i so afraid of?  And would i really let fear control me?  In the end, i bullied myself into posting my first instagram photo.
I posted a photo a day.  I had a huge backlog of Lookbook photos to pick from, and on top of that i was making new content daily.  The response i got from Instagram blew me away.  It quickly surpassed my following on both my Lookbook and my blog.
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The first time i got a shipment of clothing for free, i couldn’t really believe it. The fact that anyone would send me free clothing just to post photos of it on my instagram was totally unreal. Despite this, i made a decision pretty early on that blogging was only a hobby for me.  Not a future career. I know that people make a living doing this, and i completely respect it. But the fact that i treat this as a hobby allows me to be much more selective about the collaborations i take from brands (since I’m not relying on income from blogging). Sometimes ill get a message saying I’ve ‘sold out’ because I’m promoting a product. For those of you that think that: believe me, for every product i promote, there are five others I’ve turned down. I’m pretty picky, and refuse to promote products or brands that i don’t actually like.  Plus i respect you guys, my followers, too much to spam you all the time with useless junk i wouldn’t actually wear or use.
I got a few rude questions, and mean comments.  but for the most part, my followers are wonderful and positive.  I know I am very lucky.
None of this is meant to say I’m successful at blogging. In fact, I’d say I’m probably NOT successful seeing as I’m not make a living at it, and never plan to. Even so, I am proud of it.  And I do think it’s been a positive thing in my life.
Your comfort zone is there for a reason, and frequently i listen to it. But through all of this I learned that stepping outside of it is what makes me evolve.  I think the most important thing I’ve learned in this process is that: literally the only person who you need to please with your appearance is yourself. Dress the way that makes you feel best about yourself. Even if it’s skimpy, over the top, widely viewed as ugly (plenty of things I wear are), wear it if it’s what you like. That is the best and only real advice I can ever give anyone. I spent too much of my life worrying about what other people thought.
I’ve never been one to really overshare personal things on here, but this was something i felt compelled to write.  After all, you never know when personal experiences resonate with someone else.  Maybe you are thinking of putting yourself out there in a way you haven’t before.  Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do; someone you’ve always wanted to be, but there’s something holding you back.  I’m not saying to always go with your impulses, but I think I’ve learned to listen to mine every once in a while, and I’m glad I did.

70’s Vibes

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Sweater: similar here

Skirt: similar here

It’s been forever since I’ve done an outfit post on this blog, so I thought I’d do a quick post today.

This was a super random photoshoot done yesterday from the rooftop of my husband’s office.  One of those rare occasions where the place was perfect and I actually liked my outfit.  This look is super simple, but it’s one of my favorite outfits as of late.  I’ve been getting more into 70’s retro vibes.  Seriously, this sweater looks straight out of ‘That 70’s show’, I freaked out when I found it.  I got it from Urban Outfitters a few weeks ago.  It looks like they aren’t selling it anymore, but I linked another awesome one above (probably my next purchase.)

Hope you guys are having great Sunday!  Let me know what you think of the outfit in the comments below!

 

Photo Diary: Pompeii

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Seeing the ruins of Pompeii might have been my favorite part of the entire trip. I’ve been dreaming of seeing it ever since I heard about it in 6th grade history class.

While I knew a bit about the history, I hadn’t expected the ruins to be so vast and SO well preserved (city was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.)

Casts of the citizens of Pompeii, preserved under layers of ash.

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JORD Watches

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Disclaimer: I was given this product for free to review, but all opinions are my own.

 

I’m quite picky when it comes to accessories, which is why I don’t review too many of them on this blog.  I tend to wear the same jewelry every day.  Both because I don’t own  a whole lot of jewelry, and because I’m particular to simple pieces.

I’ve been looking for a watch for a while now.  I think the last one I owned was when I was a Sailor Moon themed one in the 2nd grade (and yes I totally wish I still owned it.)  I ended up picking out this JORD wooden watch (pictured above), and it’s quickly become one of my every day pieces.  I had honestly never tried on a wooden watch before and was surprised at how light and comfortable it was.  I went with a deep navy blue for the face and a dark mahogany for the band.

Also, this isn’t something I usually notice, but I adored the packaging.  It came in a little wooden box, along with cleaning supplies for it (pictured above).

Check more of them out here (and this link automatically gives you 25% off!)

My watch: https://www.jordwatches.com/series/frankie-35/zebrawood-and-navy/#paulagallagherblog

Rome Photo Diary

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Our third stop on our Honeymoon: Rome.  I have dreamed of visiting Roman Ruins since I was a young history nerd.   I honestly couldn’t believe how beautiful it all was.  Being an american who’s really never traveled before now, I often forget how new U.S. history is compared to most places in the world.  It’s crazy seeing ruins over a thousand years old such as the Colosseum (70 ad!)

We spent 3 days here and managed to see the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, and Palatine Hill.  Needless to say, I was exhausted.

Again, the outfits are pretty simple and comfortable (they have to be when you are walking all day), so hopefully you guys aren’t bored of them!

Venice Photo Diary

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Our second stop on our Honeymoon was Venice, Italy.  The moment we stepped off the bus and got a look at the streets, both Kevin and I were stunned.  The entire place is so uniquely picturesque.

We spent two days here, and probably walked twelve miles a day just wandering around.  I really loved the architecture of all the churches.  San Marcos church was stunning.  The best view was from St Mark’s Campanile, which is a bell tower.  That’s where the last two photos were taken.  We also spent quite a while in the Basilica Di Santa Maria.  Honestly, you can get an audio tour and wander around for hours in there, there’s so much history.

One thing I love about Italy: the food.  It’s everywhere and it’s startlingly GOOD everywhere (especially if you love pasta, like me.)  I honestly feel like i could eat that way for the rest of my life and never get bored.

Hope you guys liked this post, let me know what you think in the comments!

Paris Photo Diary

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For our Honeymoon, Kevin and I went on a 2 week trip to France and Italy.  As you can see, we took way too many photos.  Kevin is quickly improving his photography skills (seriously he’s actually very talented), so there are literally hundreds of photos that I love.  I figured I’d post a photo diary of each place we visited.

I’ve always wanted to travel to Paris.  There was so much to see, and we really only scratched the surface in those 2 days.  One of the Highlights for me was seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral.  It was absolutely stunning.  Also (not pictured) we got to take a tour of Victor Hugo’s house.  He’s been my favorite writer since I read Les Miserables in High School, so you can imagine how stoked I was about seeing where he lived!

The outfits are pretty relaxed for Paris, in fact a few pieces were stolen from Kevin.  So these photos will be a little less outfit-centered.  Let me know how you guys like this post!

Hydra Skirt

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Skirt: here

Bralette: here

As you may have guessed from the background, these photos were not taken in San Francisco.  We snapped these while in Hawaii, exploring Waikiki.  While there, I found that I pretty much live in croptops and maxi skirts when given the chance.  I honestly never thought I’d be comfortable enough to wear a bralette as a top, but I absolutely adore the way this one looks (plus it is ridiculously comfortable.)  The skirt is from Revolve, which is my recent obsession.  Their clothing can get abbot pricey, but it is honestly such high quality and so flattering that I’m okay with it for certain pieces.

Anyway, it’s been a minute since I posted.  Between Hawaii, work and wedding planning, I’ve hardly had a moment to breath.  We are officially 10 days from the wedding now, and I’m kind of shocked it’s finally here.  I’ve been talking about it for a good year after all.

We’ll be traveling all over Italy for the honeymoon, so I’m thinking of doing a travel diary for it!  Anyone have any good recommendations for a vegetarian in Italy?

Silk Goddess Skirt

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Top: similar here

Skirt: similar here and here

This is one of those super random outfits that I threw together and ended up loving.  I found the skirt on clearance at Nordstroms a few months ago, and completely forgot about it until yesterday.  Looks like it’s gone from their website but I linked a few similar ones above.  The top is a super old tank top that I cropped myself directly before putting on.  I swear I end up cropping about 50% of the shirts I buy.  I guess I figure I’d rather alter items to fit my current style than leave them hanging in my closet forever.

Hope you guys are having a wonderful weekend.  You may have noticed, my hair is a little blonder in these photos.  I think I’ve finally reached the strawberry blonde shade I visioned for the wedding.  What do you think?