7.30.2014

How to Make Dry Shampoo

Since I switched to natural products, I have been making several of my own beauty products. One of which, is dry shampoo. There are lots of tutorials out there but they all include the same basic ingredients, baby powder or corn starch.

Personally, I found corn starch (or you could use arrowroot) worked better for my fine hair. The downside is that it's white and tends to leave a white cast on my roots unless I seriously work it in. To solve this debacle, I added cocoa powder. The brown color blends into my hair much more easily than cornstarch alone.

dry shampoo

What you will need:

dry shampoo

Corn starch (or arrowroot), cocoa powder and a container. I used a round plastic container but an old spice container would work better.

To make:

dry shampoo

Fill your container half way with cornstarch. Begin adding the cocoa powder in small batches until you get your desired shade. Shake and you're done!

To use:

I apply this to my hair with an old blush brush. I part a section of hair, brush it on and let it sit for a few minutes then work it in with my finger tips. If you are using a spice container, just pour it directly  on the roots. Either way, it needs to sit for a few minutes to absorb oils. If you're not satisfied with the absorption, repeat the process one more time.

xo, arielle

7.28.2014

#BusyGirlNails: This is About as Neon as its Going to Get

affiliate links

Welcome back to #BusyGirlNails for Summer 2014! If you want to join in, here is the post with all of the info you need. 

This week is neon week. I must admit, I have pretty much never been a fan of neon. In the spirit of being a good sport, I went to look for a 3-Free neon polish. The people in my area must be neon haters, too, because I could not find any. The best I could do was this hot pink from Essie appropriately named Bachelorette Bash.

Essie Bachelorette Bash with Zoya PixieDust in Godiva

Hopefully, you all had better luck with neons!

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.

7.25.2014

My Current Natural Makeup Products

affiliate links

In my switch to natural products, I quickly discovered how difficult it is to actually find natural brands. Makeup, in particular, has been the most difficult. I have decided to periodically share the products I'm currently using. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of some potential products to go for in your natural lifestyle. Here are my posts about natural bath and body and skin care products.

Natural Makeup Products

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation: A powder foundation with full coverage capabilities. I'm using fair-light neutral. $36 BUY ONLINE

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer: A full coverage cream concealer. I'm using the shade fair. EWG 2 (low hazard). $24 BUY ONLINE

Tarte Amazonian Clay Bronzer in Park Ave Princess: A mineral based bronzer with a hint of shimmer. EWG 6 (moderate hazard). $30 BUY ONLINE

Tarte Amazonia Clay 12-hour Blush in Dollface: A long wearing, highly pigmented blush. EWG 3 (moderate hazard). $26 BUY ONLINE

Tarte Limited Edition Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette: A 16 shade palette with a mix of mattes and shimmer shades. $38 BUY ONLINE

Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer: An eye primer that has anti-aging properties and helps shadow last longer. EWG 2 (low hazard). $21 BUY ONLINE

Sante Eye Brow Pencil No. 2 in Brown: A dual ended brow pencil. EWG 1 (low hazard). $15 BUY ONLINE

Physician's Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Mascara: A volumizing mascara. EWG 1 (low hazard). $9.99 BUY ONLINE

Josie Maran Magic Marker Argan Liquid Eye Liner: A thin tipped liquid liner pen. GoodGuide 4 (below average). $8.45 BUY ONLINE

Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Gel: I'm using this as a brow setting gel. EWG 3 (moderate hazard). $6.29 BUY ONLINE

Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Blush: A lightly pigmented lip gloss. EWG 4 (moderate hazard). $6.99 BUY ONLINE

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Watermelon: A creamy lipstick with a hint of shimmer. EWG 2 (low hazard). $4.99 BUY ONLINE

What natural makeup brands are your loving?

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.

7.23.2014

I Went to Trapeze Class

A month ago, my best friend, who lives in St. Louis, declared that we needed to get together. She also mentioned that, since I was on an adventure kick, she would be willing to try something, too. I looked up on Groupon for something thrilling and found Circus Harmony trapeze class.

We went over the weekend and it was a blast! It's not something either of us would normally do and we were both glad we did it. My mom went along, too, but she did not find it was fun when she got to the platform (she swiftly got down). My friend has a fear of heights so I was incredibly proud of her for going outside of her comfort zone with this.

There were 8 people in our class. Two had done it before. The majority of us were learning to do a catch. It basically consisted of swinging out, getting your legs on the bar, hanging then catching the person.








I didn't expect this to be so challenging but it is really hard to get your legs up there. I was a little sore in my shoulders from it. Even if you're not the hulk you have a lot of momentum to get yourself hooked. 

If you're in the St. Louis area (or an area that offers one of these classes) I highly recommend giving it a try. It's a lot of fun!

xo, arielle

7.22.2014

#BusyGirlNails is back for Summer 2014!

Last Summer, we first launched #BusyGirlNails. I can't believe it's already been a year! This new round begins on July 28th. I hope you will join us!



Here are all the deets for this weekly nail art challenge:

  • Use this image on your blog or instagram to spread the word.
  • Launches July 28, 2014.
  • Post your mani on instagram and please use the hashtag #busygirlnails. We would also love if you would tag the hosts. If you don't have instagram, feel free to post on your blog and tweet the link to us!
  • Post the week's prompt starting Monday's. You can post your mani any time during that week. (Ex: Week 1 is the week of July 28, Week 2 is the week of August 5, etc.) 
  • Follow the prompt to be as simple or creative as you would like. 
  • Participate in as many or as few weeks as you want!

xo, arielle

7.21.2014

Blissmo Box Review

PR  Sample

As many of you know, I had been subscribing to monthly beauty boxes for quite some time. Since I switched to natural products, the ones I had signed up for were no longer an option. I have since been on the lookout for all natural subscription services.

In my search, I came across Blissmo. Blissmo is like the other subscription services where you pay a monthly fee for a box full of products. The difference is that theirs are eco-friendly, organic and non-toxic. The boxes can include a mix of full and sample sized products. They range from $20-$40 worth of product. 

The monthly cost is $19.95. If you do the month to month option, you will also pay $4.95 in shipping. If you pay 6 months up front, shipping is free. You are able to select from 3 different boxes each month (food, beauty or seasonal). You can also skip a month.

I received June's beauty box. Here is what arrived:

blissmo

blissmo

Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Collection skin care (samples)
Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream (full size), $12
California Naturel skin care (samples)
Nature's Fusions Lavender Essential Oil (full size), $15
Red Bird Naturals Eye Opener (full size), $12
'Ohana Organics Cococut Spice Solid Perfume (full size), $9

Box total (I do not price samples because those are generally free to consumers) = $58

I was happy with the amount of product, especially full sized, received. I also enjoyed the variety of product. I thought it was a well put together box.

What I most appreciated was the mix of brands (well known vs small business). Since I am new to natural products, I was happy to see brands from etsy and online sellers. This helps me know who else is out there for me to purchase from. 

The downside is the price. I don't know about you but when I sign up for a subscription box, I'm doing it to get to try products on the cheap. I cannot see myself forking over $20-25 per month and have the possibility of mostly sample products. While this box was worth double, there's no guarantee a month will be. I also am not a fan of charging for shipping on these boxes, particularly since the price is up there. Compared to their competitors, they are on the high end of price per month.

Having said that, I do think this is a nice subscription for someone who is looking for a natural based service. I was happy with the box overall and plan to use everything included. If you're ok with the price, I think you will enjoy this service. 

Want to save $10 on a subscription? Use the code BLISSMOKM.

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Box was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

7.16.2014

3 Summer Essentials from Just Natural

Sponsored Post

When summer rolls around, there are a few skin care issues I try to keep in check. I find it important to have my feet in sandal condition, my face blemish free and my lips completely nourished. I also don't want products that are full of chemicals. I recently discovered the natural company, Just Natural, and wanted to share some their products to help keep your summer beautiful.

Who is Just Natural? They are one of the few companies hand making their products. They even hand bottle and label their line! Their products are cruelty free, formulated without chemicals and include organic ingredients. Just Natural carries an array of hair and skin care products.

Just Natural

Need to keep acne in check? Try Just Natural Natural Acne Spot Treatment. It is formulated with a combination of blemish fighting oils, such as tea tree oil. It can be applied day or night to fight blemishes. I add a bit to my evening moisturizer to fight acne while I sleep.

Want your tootsies to be summer ready? Just Natural Peppermint Natural Foot Lotion is an option for you! The bottle has a plethora of product for you to make it all summer long. Plus, it has a wonderful peppermint smell to keep stank feet at bay. My feet have been eating this up and are feeling soft!

To keep your lips kissable all summer long, try Just Natural Repair Minty Smooth Lip Saver. The 100% natural lip balm soothes dry lips and keeps them flake free. A little bit of this goes a long way. I love to use it at night so I can repair while I sleep. 

Just Natural

What are your essential summer products?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Just Natural and I received monetary compensation for writing this post. All opinions are my own. For my full disclosure, click here.

7.14.2014

Sharing a Laugh with Friends: Hallmark BuzzWorthy Cards

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

In college, I avidly sent my friends greeting cards for their birthdays. Unfortunately, I have let this slip away. I have been thinking, lately, that I really need to get back into it.

Then, I heard that Hallmark had created a collection of #TrendyCards that are inspired by pop culture. They even have BuzzWorthy greeting cards with hilarious memes on them. I don't know about you but I love to share humorous gifs and memes with my friends, coworkers and husband. I knew I needed to give a couple of these out ASAP!

Hallmark BuzzWorthy Cards

I went by Walmart and found them amongst the card aisle. The #TrendyCards and BuzzWorthy cards have "funny!" tags, so you know when you've found 'em. 

It was amusing reading them all (and laughing out loud in the aisle). I ended up picking up three that were perfect for each person I was giving them to.

Hallmark BuzzWorthy Cards

When I stumbled upon the pool card, I thought it was excellent for my co-worker because she is a total germaphobe and she used to work at a public pool. I immediately knew the sympathy card was ideal for my lawn obsessed husband. He loves to admire how green it is but our sprinkler system broke and now it's browning. Obviously, this was an ace in the hole. I knew my BFF would appreciate the hot dog one because, really, who wouldn't laugh at get your wieners out?

Hallmark BuzzWorthy Cards

First up, my co-worker. A few times a week I go into her office to steal a Jolly Rancher. I thought it was about time I replenish her stock. I left both on her desk as a surprise. She laughed at the card and thought it was sweet.

Hallmark BuzzWorthy Cards

One of my best friends lives about 40 minutes away but were constantly texting each other hilarious things from the internet. I mailed her card (by the way, I think snail mail is such a nice surprise!). She immediately texted me about how hilarious she found it. She said she was putting it on her fridge.

Hallmark BuzzWorthy Cards

I gave my husband one but when I took a picture of me giving it to him, he said "you better not put that on your blog!" He did give it a nice chuckle. 

I plan to pick up several more of these to send to my mom and friends across the country. They were only $1.97 and are a playful way to connect with friends. I enjoyed seeing and hearing everyone's reaction. Plus, does anyone actually hate getting a card from a loved one?

Be sure to check out Connections from Hallmark and remember to sign up for the Hallmark Card Rewards Program! For every 5 Hallmark cards you purchase (even ones purchased at Walmart), you earn a reward.

How do you connect with your friends near and far?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: I am a member of the #CollectiveBias ®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

7.11.2014

Easy DIY Lip Scrub

In the past few months, I have started making my own beauty products. However, I have been making this lip scrub for years. It is literally the easiest DIY I have done. Plus, it's effective. I don't buy lip scrubs because this one is so simple and I always have the required ingredients on hand.

Easy DIY lip scrub

What you need: sugar, honey and a spoon. That's it.

If you don't have honey, agave nectar will work just fine. If your lips are super flaky, I recommend using granulated sugar. The smaller the granules of sugar, the more effective it will be. Stevia or sugar replacements do not work as well. They tend to break down.

Easy DIY lip scrub

All you need to do is scoop a dab of honey onto the tip of your spoon. Then, pour a bit of sugar onto it. Mix with your finger.

Easy DIY lip scrub

Then, apply it to your lips in circular motions. It's ok to lick it right off or you can wipe with a damp washcloth.

If you want a regular supply around, you can make a bigger batch and store it. I prefer to make it, as needed, since it's so easy.

This post is a collaboration with My Fair Daily. She is sharing a DIY acne mask. Be sure to stop by her blog to check it out!

xo, arielle

7.09.2014

DermOrganic Shampoo and Conditioner Review

PR Sample // affiliate links

I haven't had a lot of luck with sulfate free shampoos but I knew it was necessary to find one. Sulfates are nasty as heck for us. There have been some claims that they cause cancer but this has been unfounded. Either way, I love this article, from the Huffington Post, on sulfate-free shampoo.

I had seen a lot of reviews on DermOrganic, so I figured they would be a good place to start. I have been using their Daily Conditioning Shampoo and the Daily Hydrating Conditioner.

DermOrganic Shampoo and Conditioner

DermOrganic is a company that has been around since 1995. Their philosophy was to create professional performing products without harsh chemicals. They are also cruelty free. You can learn more about them here.

DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo
DermOrganic Shampoo

What it is: A daily moisturizing shampoo that is safe for color treated hair.

Ingredients: Aqua/Eau/Water, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Methyl Gluceth-20, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Organic Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Rice Amino Acids, PCA, Panthenol B5, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Glycereth-2 Cocoate/Benzoic Acid, Parfum/Fragrance

Ratings: EWG rating 3 (moderate hazard)/GoodGuide 6 (above average)

Where to find: The shampoo runs $16-$30. It can be purchased online or in store at Ulta. 

I liked this shampoo a lot-probably even love. I have been coloring my hair for a few years and it has been left somewhat dry. This shampoo restored it to it's former virgin glory. It also didn't weigh my fine hair down so I had fantastic volume. My hair is soft and shiny.

There is one thing that keeps me from being over the moon about it. I had an extremely difficult time getting it to spread across my scalp. This left me with several days of dirty roots on the back of my head (ugh!). I feel like it takes a ton of work just to get it to cleanse properly. However, the method I found that works best is to do one pump in my hand, put a few droplets of water in it then start on the back of my head. I repeat the same process on the top. If it were not for this one issue, this would be my holy grail shampoo. 
DermOrganic Daily Hydrating Conditioner
DermOrganic Conditioner

What it is: A conditioner that pH balances the hair and decreases tangles.

Ingredients: Aqua/Eau/Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearalkonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Panthenol B5, Rice Amino Acids, Methyl Gluceth-20, Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Organic Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, PCA, Glycereth-2 Cocoate & Benzoic Acid, Parfum/Fragrance

Ratings: EWG rating 4 (moderate hazard)/GoodGuide 6 (above average).

Where to find: The conditioner runs $16-$30. It can be purchased online or in store at Ulta. 

I don't have much to say about this. It works as a conditioner should. However, I didn't think it helped with my tangles-at all.

Overall, I would purchase the shampoo again. As for the condoner, I am willing to venture outside to another brand.

Which natural shampoos and conditioners do you love?

***Update 8/23/14***
Although I still love the shampoo, I have noticed I have needed to use a ton of product to get my hair clean. We're talking 2-4 pumps each time I wash my hair. It's taking me forever to wash my hair throughly, too, because I'm doing it multiple times in one showering. I also have fault with the pumps. I have had two of them go bad on me (the shampoo and masque).

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.

7.07.2014

My Current Natural Skin Care Products

affiliate links//pr samples

In my switch to natural products, I quickly discovered how difficult it is to actually find natural brands. However, I have had the most luck with skin care. I have decided to periodically share the products I'm currently using so that hopefully, this will give you an idea of some potential products to go for in your natural lifestyle. Click here for my bath and body products.


Natural Skin Care Products

Linked product name goes directly to my full review.

Reviva Labs Hawaiian Seaweed Beauty Mask: A deep cleansing mask to help avoid breakouts. GoodGuide health rating of 6 (above average). $12 BUY ONLINE

Shea Moisture African Black SoapA bar soap specifically formulated for those with acne prone skin. $4.99 BUY ONLINE

Kiss My Face Potent and Pure Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer: A daily moisturizer with anti-aging properties. EWG rating of 0 (low hazard). $20.99 BUY ONLINE 

Burt's Bees Sensitive Eye Cream: A daily eye cream formulated specifically for sensitive skin. EWG rating of 4 (moderate hazard). $14.99 BUY ONLINE

Thayer's Unscented Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera: An alcohol free toner made with witch hazel. EWG rating of 2 (low hazard). $9.95 BUY ONLINE

Just Natural Natural Acne Spot Treatment: A daily acne treatment that is handmade without chemicals. $19.99 BUY ONLINE

Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Organic Cleanser: A cleanser that removes makeup and buildup. Gentle on the skin. EWG rating of 0 (low hazard). $13.99 BUY ONLINE

Clarisonic Mia: A deep cleansing system that helps keep my blackheads in check. $99 BUY ONLINE

Seventh Generation Boosts Skin Serum - Hydrating: A serum to restore skin's natural balance. $14.99 BUY ONLINE

My routine in the morning and evening are different. My AM consists of the Shea Moisture soap, Thayer's toner, Kiss My Face moisturizer and Burt's Bees eye. At night, I use the Desert Essence on my Clarisonic, the Thayer's toner, then I add a drop of the Just Natural (and directly to stubborn spots) to the Seventh Generation Serum. The Reviva Labs mask I use weekly.

What are your favorite natural skin care products?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. Some products were sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

7.02.2014

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream

With 4th of July upon us, I thought it was time to share my favorite summer recipe. I love ice cream but I do not have an ice cream maker. Fortunately, I found this easy no churn recipe with strawberries. I always wait until strawberries drop to .99 a carton to make this a cheap summer treat. I adapted it from The Wanna Be Country Girl.

Strawberry Ice Cream

What you need:

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, carton of strawberries, 1 packet of sweetener (or 1 tablespoon of sugar)

You will also need a hand or stand mixer. A food processor is optional.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Start by chopping your strawberries. I like to leave mine larger because I love chunks of it in my ice cream. If that's not your thing, chop them smaller or put them in a food processor.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Use the mixer to smash the strawberries to your desired size.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Add the sugar and mix.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Add the powdered sugar and mix.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Add the cream and mix.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Pour in a freezer safe container. Freeze for 3-5 hours. Then, you're ready to enjoy!

Strawberry Ice Cream


What are your favorite summer recipes?

xo, arielle

7.01.2014

What I've Been Reading

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My reading has slowed in the past few months but I have gathered up a list that I'm ready to share!

I read 50 Shades of Grey and was into it. I decided to move on in the trilogy. I found the second book highly predictable and I could not even finish the third. 

50 Shades Darker: Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven, and demanding Fifty Shades.

50 Shades Freed: Even though Christian and Anastasia are now a proper couple, they still have many obstacles to overcome, including Christian's past coming back to haunt Anastasia.

I Can See Clearly Now by Dr. Wayne Dyer: 
I listened to this book over the course of a few months. It goes over Dr. Dyer's life and what events had meaning to him. It made me think of my significant moments and what they have taught me.

After four decades as a teacher of self-empowerment and the bestselling author of more than 40 books, Dr Wayne W. Dyer has finally written a memoir! However, he has written it in a way that only he can - with a remarkable take-home message for his longtime followers and new readers alike - and the result is an exciting new twist on the old format. In this revealing and engaging book, Wayne shares dozens of events from his life, from the time he was a little boy in Detroit up to present day.

Manifest Your Destiny by Dr. Wayne Dyer: 
After listening to the other Dyer book, I was interested in this one. I did not care for it nearly as much, only because the things it mentions I have read time and again in other books. If you're not familiar with the premise, this is a good book to start with. 

Based on ancient principles and spiritual practices, "Manifest Your Destiny "introduces the Nine Spiritual Principles that will help you overcome the barriers--both within and around you--that prevent you from getting what you want...

The Big Tiny: A Build-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams: 
Someone in my book club mentioned this. I had never heard of the tiny house movement until then and now I'm wanting to downsize my life! Dee goes from a "big house" to a 84 square foot home that she builds herself. It truly made me think about the amount of stuff I have. Check out her website for more on tiny houses. 

Dee Williams’s life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store. Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was all too suddenly reminded that life is short, time is precious, and she wanted to be spending hers with the people and things she truly loved. That included the beautiful sprawling house in the Pacific Northwest she had painstakingly restored—but, increasingly, it did not include the mortgage payments, constant repairs, and general time-suck of home ownership. A new sense of clarity began to take hold: Just what was all this stuff for? Multiple extra rooms, a kitchen stocked with rarely used appliances, were things that couldn’t compare with the financial freedom and the ultimate luxury—time—that would come with downsizing.

Bossypants by Tina Fey: 
This was our book club pick last month. It was a very quick read and I laughed out loud on several occasions. I loved what Tina has to offer about women in charge. 

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty onSaturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O'Connor & Alexandra Spunt: 
A reader mentioned this one to me when I made my switch to natural products. It is a fantastic introduction for someone who is wanting to switch to chemical free products. They breakdown ingredients and even make product recommendations. I mostly skimmed this one because I found it a bit boring. The author's also have a blog that is worth checking out.

It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled—until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.

Make the Bread Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese: 
I saw this book mentioned on Living a Simple Life. I love to cook from scratch but am constantly confused about what is worth DIYing and what should be bought. This book does an excellent job at breaking it down for you. I checked it out at the library but enjoyed it so much, I bought my own copy.

When Jennifer Reese lost her job, she was overcome by an impulse common among the recently unemployed: to economize by doing for herself what she had previously paid for. She had never before considered making her own peanut butter and pita bread, let alone curing her own prosciutto or raising turkeys. And though it sounded logical that “doing it yourself” would cost less, she had her doubts. So Reese began a series of kitchen-related experiments, taking into account the competing demands of everyday contemporary American family life as she answers some timely questions: When is homemade better? Cheaper? Are backyard eggs a more ethical choice than store-bought? Will grinding and stuffing your own sausage ruin your week? Is it possible to make an edible maraschino cherry? Some of Reese’s discoveries will surprise you: Although you should make your hot dog buns, guacamole, and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips, and rice pudding. Tired? Buy your mayonnaise. Inspired? Make it. 

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran: 
I picked this for book club this month and was disappointed. The beginning of the book is funny but it quickly takes a turn to boring. I could not finish it. Plus, it's a little raunchy for my liking. I'm not easily shocked so that's saying something. 

Caitlin Moran puts a new face on feminism, cutting to the heart of women’s issues today with her irreverent, transcendent, and hilarious How to Be a Woman.

I'm sure you have seen the Netflix series by the same name (if not, what are you doing here? go watch!). I didn't know it was based off of a true story. Well, let me say loosely based. Piper is sent to prison on a 10 year old drug charge. She accounts the injustice and the triumphs she faces while in jail. It was quite an uplifting story and not at all what I thought it would be. 

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

xo, arielle

Synopses taken from Google Books and Amazon.

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.