The Old White House

 

WHO WE'RE GIFTING: Mom/Mother-in-law

(no, not because they do all the cleaning, but because moms are the bomb.com and deserve a great gift!)

A few years ago, a friend gifted me The Old White House's Lavender Linen Spray. I kept it on my nightstand for a while, never really reaching to use it. But after a horrendously bad day (I think it had something do to with work and Adam Brody getting married), I came home in desperate need of relaxation and calm. I spotted the chic glass-bottle on my nightstand and figured I would give it a whirl. From that day on, I refuse to sleep in anything other than a bed full of lavender goodness. After falling head-over-pillow for the spray, I ventured into the entire Old White House line. I love the idea of filling my home with all natural products, and I love even more that they're made right here in Michigan. 

Located between Grand Rapids and Lansing (okay, a tad out of Detroit, but still local!), The Old White House is dedicated to creating laundry and cleaning products, all natural, all infused with Lavender, and all obession-worthy. 

Here's a breakdown of my favorite products:

Lavender Linen and Room Spray ($12):

Like I mentioned above, this is the ultimate way to feel relaxed and clean- even if your room looks like a tornado of Zara came through. Not only do I use it nightly on my sheets, but I use it on blankets, drapes, even my shower curtain. A few spritzes on my pillow is an instant trip to relaxation nation.

IMG_2128.JPG

 

Natural Lavender Laundry Soap ($8):

I loathe washing my clothes in harsh chemicals (just like I hate when someone mixes the tofu with the falafel at the salad bar at Whole Foods. The NERVE). When I use this, my clothes turn out like I'm Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music", hanging my things in the crisp air while singing about deer or thread or something. Giving your mom a way to  get her clothes clean and fresh, all while using natural ingredients? You're now the favorite child. 

*Highly recommend the one that comes with the wooden scoop. It's $2...your mom is worth it. 

Lavender Kitchen and Bath Cleanser ($8):

I live with a man. I have clean our bathroom every other day (Okay..between my hair and makeup, the mess is probably mostly mine). I started to get worried that the bleach I was washing our shower with, was soaking up into the pores of my feet, and I would soon turn into something out of a Marvel movie. This stuff really cleans, leaves a fresh scent, AND I get to stay human. Sold.

I also use this in my kitchen, in the sink and on countertops. I do a lot of messy cooking, and this cleansers antibacterial properties leave me with a sparkling clean kitchen, sans risk of Salmonella. 

*For these products, a little goes a LONG way, I only use a small sprinkle on a sponge to get the job done. 

_DSC6371.jpg

Lavender Carpet Freshener ($12):

When you get older, you start to accumulate nice things, like Oriental Rugs. But you walk all over it in your boots, dirty sandals, etc., making your once-nice-rug look as tired as Donald Trump's hair piece (too soon?). Sprinkle this stuff on, let sit for 30 minutes and then vacuum it up. Carpet looks and smells like new! 

The Bundle ($45):

Can't decide what to get? The "Bundle of Natural Lavender Goodness" is the fool-proof way to go. It includes all of the above, and a Lavender dryer sachet! A small warning: your moms house is going to smell so good and be so clean, that you may want to move back in. Think that one through carefully. 

Find it!

Lark & Co. General Store: Birmingham, MI

Blumz: Detroit & Ferndale

Eastern Market, shed 4: Detroit

Out of D Box 313: Detroit

        ...and of course, online! 

(You don't have to live in Detroit to support it!)

WHY:

To me, products from The Old White House say you care. They're quality, heart-warming gifts that any person could use and appreciate. The fresh, clean scents are comforting and soothing- a nice change up from harsh chemical smells and harmful ingredients. There is something about the smell of fresh Lavender filling your home that calms the soul- until "Westworld" comes on. Then I'm at a loss. 

 

TRAVEL SERIES-PACKING YOUR SUITCASE

It is my belief that packing a suitcase is truly an art. So how does one become the Picasso of packing? Trial and error. With this guide, I'm helping you skip the error part, and go straight to suitcase success. 

I'm a recovering overpacker. Packing loads of random articles of clothing led me to the other end of the spectrum- underpacking. Getting to my destination, opening my suitcase to find 10 bikini tops, 6 rompers and 1 tank top. Through many under-clothed vacations, I've found that the key is to pack items that can be worn with all other items in your suitcase. 

EXAMPLE: You have a black sweater. You can wear that black sweater with jeans, or a suede skirt, under a jacket or with a t-shirt underneath. I can also wear that t-shirt with the jeans, skirt, and same jacket. I can wear the jacket with the pants and skirt, or over a dress. The dress, I can wear the t-shirt underneath. Get it? It's the cycle of packing smart. 

So you've got the system down- but how much should you actually bring to not only optimize everything you've packed, but to wear things that make you feel good. I went on a 8 day trip abroad, so keep in mind the weather and duration I'm packing for. This will vary depending on where you go, for how long and what you'll be doing. This is an overall outline- use it wisely! 

 

JEANS:

1 White

1 Blue

1 Black 

 

T-SHIRTS/BODYSUITS:

White

Black sleeveless

Black Long sleeve

Grey 

 

JACKETS: 

1 Leather

1 Camo ("fun" jacket- can do a bomber, duster coat, etc.)

 

DRESSES:

1 Formal (this is the only exception to the "everything wears with everything" rule, it is a piece that stands alone for a formal occasion)

2 Casual- to be layered under jackets, over t-shirts, body suit

 

SWEATERS:

1 Black v-neck

1 Pink "statement sweater" (it had lots of ruffles- the ultimate statement)

1 Grey crewneck 

 

SKIRTS:

1 Suede skirt 

 

SHOES:

1 Pair of boots

1 Pair of sneakers

1 Pair of sandals 

1 Pair of heels, "fancy shoes"

Slippers 

 

ACCESSORIES: 

2 Neck scarves

Extra pair of earrings

Extra watch 

 

*I'm not including undergarments on this list- that should go without saying and you should know how much to bring...if not....God save us all. 

 

Okay,

...here's where it gets good. How you pack the clothes is just as important as what you're packing. How you arrange things in your suitcase is a game-changer as to how much you can bring (or leave room to bring things back!) I used to just fold everything haphazardly, stuff my shoes on top, and sit on top of the suitcase willing for it to shut. Finding the guide below changed my mother-packing life. I tried to take my own pictures of said system, but the lighting in my apartment is as good as a mole hole. So, let's give thanks to these lovely illustrations I found on a sketchy website:

 

1) Roll all small items on bottom: tank tops, t-shirts, camis, thin sweaters, leggings, pajamas. Roll as much as you can- you want to fill the entire bottom layer of your luggage in rolled items. 

 

2) On top of the "rolled layer", fold blouses and dresses ("un-rollables").

 

3) Take your jeans (for me it was 3 pairs) and fold them half-in-half-out of your suitcase, with the legs outside the suitcase and waist inside, creating a "base" over your folded clothes. 

4) On top of the half of your jeans that are inside the suitcase, fold your outerwear (my two jackets went here). 

5) Fold the legs of the pants over TOP the jackets. You should have enough room to fit your shoes and toiletries bag on top of it all (small shoes like slippers and sandals can be stuffed in sides). 

 

In these illustrations, I think the suitcase came from 1972 with that hard, shiny exterior. Today, the best suitcases are deep, and not only have the zippered pouch for your undergarments on one side, but have a compartment behind the zippered part. Ideal for shoes, toiletries and all the hotel lotion/mouthwash/soaps your heart desires. 

With the conclusion of the Travel Series, I hope you were able to pick up a few tips to better your trips. When your suitcase is adequately packed, your carry-on has everything you need, and you arrive at your destination with a fresh face- I truly believe it makes your vacation that much better. That, and a whole lot of pillow-chocolates and Mai Tais. 

 

 

The Travel Series: Packing Your Carry-On

When I was younger, I used to have one of those Aladdin mini-suitcase carry ons that held one thing: beanie babies. As I got older, I started packing more practical things, like my walkman and my entire collection of burned CDs, filled with the likes of Yellowcard and Jessica Simpson (I was a complicated child). But it wasn't until I started traveling for work, that I really got the hang of what I need on a plane....other than an Xanax. 

Whether it's a quick flight or a journey to the other side of the world, your carry-on should be filled with only the necessities. Sorry beanie babies, that means you're left behind. 

THE BAG:

The aforementioned Aladdin suitcase just doesn't cut it anymore. I've learned that for me, what's best is a backpack or zippered tote, and a small purse if necessary. The key is it should zip or snap shut, so when you put it under your seat, your things don't go flying everywhere. I think this is what the kids call a "MAJOR KEY". For this trip to Ireland, I used a small backpack from Zara (currently sold out, but so many great options), as well as a zippered tote from Detroit is The New Black. It's the ideal travel bag, and only $34 bucks. 

CONTENTS: 

1) Blanket Scarf

An absolute necessity. While I'd love to invest in a good quality cashmere scarf, I know that planes can be dirty and I am prone to spilling my tomato juice and getting cookie crumbs everywhere while in-flight. I have this one from Asos, that has become a travel staple. Big, soft and cozy- and under $30. 

Blanket scarves are good for a multitude of purposes: warmth on a chilly plane, as a blanket, even rolled up as a pillow. The key to dressing for travel is to layer. I usually wear a comfortable pair of pants or jeans, t-shirt, sweater or jacket, and my scarf. A PLANE IS NOT YOUR BEDROOM. Nix the pajama pants and general sloppiness. You can be comfortable and still look put together. 

 

2) Headphones 

This is a given- however, based on my own experiences I wanted to make a note. My beloved Beats wireless were useless in-flight, as bluetooth doesn't work in airplane mode, or connect to the seat TV. Do yourself a favor and bring your regular 'ol headphones with a wire (sorry, iPhone 7).

3) Socks 

Sometimes, we wear sandals to the airport. Then, we have to go barefoot through a dirty security line. THEN we want to get on a plane and take our shoes off, and THEN you're going to get in your hotel bed with all the germs of the airport. This can all be easily avoided with a pair of socks. If you're wearing flats or sandals to the airport, pack a comfy pair of socks you can wear through security and on the plane. Your bare feet in public are like Donald Trump in a speedo- disgusting and better covered up. 

4) A Book/Magazine

I love to read, but rarely find time when I'm home. Being stuck 30,000 feet with nothing to do is an ideal time to catch up on a good book. Check out the Amazon top-sellers if you can't find one you like. If it's heavy, download it to an iPad or if you're REALLY cool- your kindle. Not me- I love the feeling of a big heavy book falling on my face when I (almost always) fall asleep reading it. But be realistic- if you're not a reader, don't take up room and weight in your bag for a book you won't read. 

5) Extra Underwear, T-shirt

When I was younger, for 5 years in a row, Northwest airlines lost my luggage on our yearly family trip. By the 4th time, I got wise. If you're going to be stuck with no clothes for a day or two, at least you'll have clean undergarments and an alternate t-shirt. If you're going somewhere tropical, pack a bathing suit-because past the age of six it's not cute to swim in your underwear in public. *NOTE: I hear this is different for Vegas. 

6) Toiletries

In the first part of this series, we went over in-flight beauty routines. On the plane, if I'm going to be using a mask that is in a bigger container, I transfer a little to a small jar. I am also sure to have face mist, face wipes, dry shampoo (or wave spray), and a rollerball perfume. If I know I'll be getting off the plane and right to seeing people, I'll bring my makeup bag as well. 

7) Wet Wipes

Call me a germaphobe, but I always wipe down the armrests, tray table and seat-belt before take-off. You can buy mini-packs of wet wipes just about anywhere (I get mine at Target) for cheap. Maybe I'm crazy, but you don't know who was sitting there before you, or before that, or before that, and now we're into a guy that sat there 3 months ago and clipped his toenails all the way to Tokyo. 

8) Medications

If you take any kind of medications daily (birth control, antibiotic, etc.), put them in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost, you'll be stuck, especially if you aren't near a pharmacy. I wonder how many babies are born from lost luggage (should this have been a private question?)?

9) Gum/Mints

If you're like me, you can fall asleep anywhere- especially planes- and church, but that's a different issue. When you wake up without access to brush your teeth, do your neighbor a favor and pop a mint. Does this need any further explanation? If so, you might need a different blog...

10) Water Bottle

You can either bring an empty plastic one through security, or a reusable option. I love BKR bottles, because they're lightweight, and made of glass, keeping water colder and fresher. It's so important to hydrate in-flight, and you can't keep pressing your call button for a refill- well, you can, but don't be that person. 

11) Wallet

This should go without saying, but it's how you pack your wallet that matters. When traveling, chances are you don't need your Nordstrom card, library card, Kroger rewards card and a store-gift card with $2.04 on it that you're not sure how to spend. Bring only the necessities: license, credit card, debit card and insurance cards. 

The key to your carry-on is to simplify and keep it light. Many times I've been running through the airport, weighed down by my 500-page book, or freezing on the plane, casually cuddling up to the person next to me. I grew up Catholic, and I'm pretty sure that's not what the Bible meant by "Love Thy Neighbor".  Then again- I only went to catechism for the snacks.

 

 

Glossier: A Product-by-Product Review.

Since 10th grade, I have wanted to master the whole "no-makeup-makeup" thing. This was after a long period of blue eyeshadow, concealer two shades too dark and enough eyeliner for a Christina Aguilera video. But having the natural, dewy, glowy look requires two things: 1) good skin, and 2) good product. I'm still working on the better skin thing, but I have found the second necessity, the holy grail of skincare and makeup: Glossier. 

I am always initally skeptical of new beauty brands. Throughout our lives, we are constantly trying out new products, figuring out what works and what doesn't, rarely finding the latter. So when I found Glossier, I was skeptical, but drawn in by their girl power branding, bomb azz packaging (every order comes with stickers and an ultra-chic pink pouch) and the promise of a beautiful, healthy and natural look. I gradually tried product after product, each a bigger success than the last. Based off my experiences, I've compiled a go-to guide* for all things Glossier:

*This post is not an ad, I've got no skin in the game here (excuse the pun). Just want to share/shout from the rooftops how much this brand and these products have changed my life, and these are all honest reviews.

Priming Moisturizer

This was my Glossier initation, and it's still my absolute favorite, my skin can no longer live without it. It IMMEDIATLEY gives you a dewy, glowy finish that's great on it's own, or the perfect base for makeup. When I apply makeup without it, I can see and feel the difference. It's just not as "smooth", not as even. This moisturizer has actually made it possible for me to go out without foundation, because it's so build-able. If I'm really feeling myself, I'll mix it with a bit of highlighter and be dewy AF (Now more J.LO, less Xtina). 

Haloscope

Ever wonder how models and celebs look so glowy, like angels with lots of money and good stylists? Now I'm giving them a run for their money- at least in the glowy angel department. I have tried over 1000000 highlighters (exact estimate), finding most to be too glittery, too shiny, irritating, etc. Haloscope is the answer to our prayers. The application is absolutely foolproof, and the dewiness you achieve is UNREAL. Quartz is perfection for a straight up dewy goodness, while Topaz has been my go-to for that coveted sun-kissed glow. No glitter, all glow, all good. 

                                                          Quartz on top, Topaz below. 

                                                         Quartz on top, Topaz below. 

Moisturizing Moon Mask

One word: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSS. When I say this is life and skin changing, I mean it. Nothing ever, EVER has made my skin look so bright, tight (someone even asked me if I had botox once. Nah girl!!! Glossier!!), and healthy. I do this mask in the morning before work about 3 times a week, after a rough day, it's even cured hangovers (along with a #6 at Jimmy Johns and my Harry Potter DVD collection). This mask is the defintion of treat yo' self, it's the skincare equivilant of an espresso. If you buy nothing else, you need this- I promise.

                                       Moon Mask/Mega Greens Mask pictured at top

                                       Moon Mask/Mega Greens Mask pictured at top

Boy Brow

I've talked about this before, and the point is I don't care if you have no brows or the bushiest on the block, your brows are not living their best life until they have this. When I thank God for all my blessings at night, this is near the top. I have girlfriends with little-to-no brow material to work with, and every single one has texted me with countless emojis, usually that Salsa dancing girl followed by multiple tears of joy smileys. Take that and put it in a tube, and you have Boy Brow. 

Balm Dotcom

A universal skin salve, this is a staple to any beauty bag, purse, desk, or medicine cabinet. You can use it as a chapstick, hand cream, for dry skin, taming flyways, etc. The original is key, but my heart lies with Coconut and Cherry. The coconut balm is an unparalleled scent. I've been caught at work dabbing a bit inside my nose when I am piled under paperwork, dreaming of a vacation. Cherry is ESSENTIAL to that whole "model off duty look". Not only does it taste like a popsicle, but it gives yo lips the most perfect pouty-red stain. Maybe it's Ice Pops, maybe it's Glossier. I like to keep them guessing. 

Stretch Concealer

I don't care if I sleep 12 hours (what are Sundays for???) or two, I always have under-eye circles as dark as Voldemort's soul. Most concealers just lay on top and look like they're there, you know? I typically use this one from Nars, but stretch is perfect when I don't need so much coverage, but still want to be covered. That will only make sense when you try it- It's creamy, dewy, and never cakey. A natural finish that actually covers? Sign a sister up. 

Generation G Lip Colors

I typically don't wear lipstick, mostly because I'm sloppy and am always touching my face. I wore red lipstick on an interview once and walked out looking like the Joker after nervously touching my face the whole time. So as a result, when I wanted color, I started to apply a little lipstick to the middle of my lips, then blotting outwards. Gen G looks like that technique, without all the work. I've tried each color, but my must-haves are Cake, and Jam. Cake for enhancing natural color, Jam for that ideal "blended lipstick" look. Lately, I dab some Jam on my fingers and apply to cheeks. Jam over Haloscope? Trust me- it's the makeup of your dreams. 

                                                                    Gen-G shown left.

                                                                    Gen-G shown left.

Milky Jelly Cleanser

I used Milky Jelly for about two weeks before I had an allergic reaction to it- I'm allergic to mushrooms and there's some ingredient in there that has traces of it. But I will say, I loved the texture of the soap and the way it left my face- matte but not tight. So now basically mushrooms have not only ruined my pizza, but also my face wash dreams. 

Mega Greens Galaxy Pack

Do you ever do a juice cleanse, and you are feeling so pure and Fleek as a mother? Do you have any idea what I just said? Me either. But the point is, you feel GOOD after a little cleanse. That's what this mask is, but for your face. I do it when I'm feeling grimey and feel like my skin needs a fresh start. It does bring everything to the surface, but follow it with the moon mask and you've got the dream team of skin love. 

Pink Pouches

Every order comes in a Glossier signature Pink Pouch. I use them in my tote bag, purse, packing for vacation, even as a clutch when I go out. I have quite a few just from my orders, but they can be ordered in a 3-pack too if you can't wait. 

                                                                                           Pink Pouch in action

                                                                                           Pink Pouch in action

Here's the thing: we buy product after product hoping to achieve something- brighter skin, a more even complexion, makeup that's flawless. All these things have one thing in common- they make us feel better about ourselves. And that's not shallow- that's human nature. I can honestly say that since finding Glossier, I have never felt more naturally beautiful, or more comfortable in my own skin, and I truly believe everyone deserves to feel that way.

...Because I think so, here's 20% off to try it out-just follow this link to their site. And if you have any questions before you buy, email me! I've tried it all-I've got your back. 

I'll admit: I've spend nights looking in the mirror crying over my imperfect skin, not wanting to go out because of bad makeup and an even worse complexion. Glossier has created the simpliest makeup routine I have ever had, and I actually get excited to do it every day. My favorite part about this brand is that it's not exclusive to those with good skin ALREADY. Instead, their products start with improving your skin, and work up. 

These are more than just beauty products, they're a force of beauty, a representation of badass girls everywhere getting sh!% done, and I am proud to be a part of that gang. Try even one thing, and change the way you see beauty, and the way you see yourself, too. 

 

Not Your Grandma's Dress (but maybe her blanket).

I am always buying things to "run around in". Seriously- I probably justify a good 90% of purchases because "I'll look cute while running errands!". However, I usually end up in my yoga tights and "Karl is my Father" sweatshirt (that one always brings in smart remarks from old folks). However, with this dress from Zara, I'm sticking to my word. 

When I first saw this crochet mini, my initial thought was that it's the perfect mix between a mexican blanket and something my Grandma used to have at the foot of her bed. In other words, ALL THE MAKINGS FOR MY DREAM DRESS! Not to mention, it finally incorporates a little color into my wardrobe. I was one black and white sweater away from professional Miming. 

The lightweight comfort of this dress is selling point enough, but when your roommate stops to tell you her grandma has a similar quilt..to the front of my closet you go, blanket-like beauty.

Paired with sneakers and an old Chanel-my dad gave it to my mom in the eighties, and knowing him, it's most likely not real, but still fun!-, this combo is perfect for running around (for real this time), and not having to make a lame excuse when a friend texts for impromptu drinks mid errands (I'm on a detox girl!!!!). 

If you happen to run into me about town (you can find me every Sunday at the butcher choosing the perfect chicken breast- "NO LARRY- THE FAR LEFT ONE. OTHER LEFT.") and I'm still in my yoga pants, with no signs of actually working out, take me outside. Really- I need help loading my car.