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In Minutes: 5 minute Makeup

I am by no means an expert when it comes to makeup. I am however, pretty decent at putting a face together fast. I don't really like spending a lot of time on makeup and I certainly don't follow all the "rules." Maybe you're like me, or maybe you're at the opposite end of the spectrum and you put on full foundation, primer, setting spray, etc. every single day. Regardless of where you fall on the makeup wearing spectrum, I hope you will find my tips for 5 minute makeup helpful. First things first, if you haven't already, make sure you've read our 5 minute skin care post so that your face is fully hydrated and prepped for makeup. Your product will go a lot further & glide on a lot smoother on clean, moisturized skin. image These are the products I'm currently using:
  1. BB Cream or Tinted Moisturizer
  2. Concealer
  3. Translucent Powder
  4. Blush
  5. Bronzer
  6. Eye Shadow & Tools for Brow Shaping
  7. Mascara & liquid eye liner
  8. Lip gloss/lip balm
To some of you, this looks like a lot. To others of you, it looks like the bare minimum! Lol. Let's walk through the routine: [caption id="attachment_1899" align="aligncenter" width="599"]image Fresh faced, no makeup - please ignore the messy bedroom behind me![/caption]
  • First I apply my BB cream or tinted moisturizer. If you don't have one, you can use a dot of regular foundation mixed with a dot of moisturizer. That's actually my favorite way to wear foundation. Most foundations can be pretty heavy and adding the moisturizer just lightens it up, helps it glide on smoothly, blends well and still has a little bit more coverage than a tinted moisturizer.
[caption id="attachment_1907" align="aligncenter" width="599"]image I don't actually mix these two, but just to give you an idea of the amount of foundation vs. moisturizer that I would use.[/caption]
  • Next I use concealer anywhere I have redness or discoloration. For me, that's my chin, the corners of my nose, under my eyes & then any blemishes I may have. I follow that with the translucent powder to set everything.
[caption id="attachment_1900" align="aligncenter" width="601"]image Foundation, Concealer, Powder applied.[/caption]
  • After that, I have a blank canvas to start applying some color! First I take my blush and brush it on to the apples of my cheeks and back into the hair line. Following that I "contour" with bronzer. I am using quotation marks with "contour" because it's a very quick, simple contouring pattern and there are much more detailed ways to do it. I don't have time for that! So I suck in my cheeks and brush it under my cheek bones, around my hair line, down my nose, and maybe a tad along the jaw line.
[caption id="attachment_1901" align="aligncenter" width="599"]image Face contoured[/caption]
  • Next is eyebrows. Now, I do not know what has happened to America (maybe even the world) but we are suddenly OBSESSED with eyebrows. Unfortunately, mine quit growing a long long time ago. At the age of 13 I went tweezer crazy and plucked them to bits! I have rarely had to tweeze them since. Definitely have not tweezed at all in 10-15 years and still they do not grow. So, sadly, my eyebrows are nearly nonexistent. They've also gotten increasingly lighter in color since having children (maybe they're going gray first??). All of this to say...I now must draw eyebrows on my face. But pencils are way too harsh for me, and again, no time!! So I grab an angled brush & some dark shadow and I go to work! Shadow is much softer than the harsh lines a pencil can create, and allows for a little sloppiness.
[caption id="attachment_1902" align="aligncenter" width="603"]image Oh haaaaaaay there, eyebrows![/caption]
  • Now for my favorite part: Eyes! I have spent my life battling raccoon eye from eyeliner & mascara. That NEVER happens with these products: Artistry Liquid Liner & Artistry Length & Definition Mascara. I'm not just saying it cause I rep for those products either, I swear. The liner goes on so smoothly and it's a felt tip, just like a marker! So it's super easy to apply and get that little "flick" at the corner of your eye. It doesn't feel like you've painted something on your eye when it dries. It doesn't feel like anything! It can be rubbed off if you sleep on it, but it typically stays put.
image The mascara is that really cool formula that wraps around your lashes. You can literally slide it off your lash in a tiny tube. So cool! I love this stuff! It's waterproof, but when you do wash it off, it just balls up and comes off super easily rather than creating a big black mess on your face. Try it, you'll love it. Saves me time in application & clean up. I have been known to wear one single application over an entire weekend, it stays put that well. You probably shouldn't do that though. Might not be the best thing for your lashes (but you totally can if you want!! Lol). [caption id="attachment_1903" align="aligncenter" width="601"]image Mascara & Eyeliner[/caption]
  • At this point, sometimes I'm done. But if I'm getting really fancy I'll throw on some gloss or lip balm. This is Artistry lip gloss over Baby Lips, both in nude colors. I like a nude lip, simply because it's understated. I have a hard time choosing a lip color I'm really confident and comfortable in, and I feel like you just can't go wrong with a nude lip.
[caption id="attachment_1905" align="aligncenter" width="600"]image Full 5 minute makeup face. Also sporting one of our 5 minute hairstyles![/caption] It took me about 3-ish minutes to do this face. Even with a few interruptions or eyeliner redos, it can still get done in 5 minutes or so! What do you think?? Can you survive on this makeup? Can you try it out if you never wear any? Please let us know if you do! Take a cute selfie and tag us on Facebook & Instagram. We wanna see those gorgeous faces! Amanda Signature  
In Minutes: 5 Minute Skincare
Many times I think we overestimate how long something takes to do. This is part of the reason for this series of posts: to help us realize just how little time it can take to do these important things we think we don't have time for. I am just as guilty as the next person! Especially on this particular front. Keeping up with my skincare routine is something I am working at. It's easy to do, but it's just as easy not to do. It doesn't bother me today if I skip it. But, if I continue to skip it, I may wake up one day with dull, wrinkled, dried out skin, all because I wouldn't take 5 minutes to simply wash, tone & moisturize. No one wants to look older than they are! And who doesn't want to look a little bit younger? All you need is the proper skin care routine. You don't even need age defying products to fight the signs of aging (although I like to use them for the added benefit)! Simply having a regular skincare routine is enough to affect your skin dramatically. So what kind of skincare routine do you currently have? Are you a soap & water girl (you need to graduate to a real skincare routine, btw. Soap & water is very drying & will age your skin faster! Ahh!) ? Drugstore brands? High end stuff? Maybe Mary Kay or Avon? Whatever you use, make sure you have a three step system of:
  1. Wash
  2. Tone
  3. Moisturize
Now, I know, that sounds like too many steps. Why not just use those makeup remover wipes?? Believe me, I hear you (I love those things! SO simple & easy.). But if you care about your skin, and you should, you're gonna be stuck with it for a while, you  we need to make it a priority. Why is it so hard to find the time to turn the faucet on to run some water to wash your face, lather up, rinse, put some toner on a cotton pad, and then rub some lotion on your face? Because it takes SO long? No. It really doesn't! It sounds like it would, but I'm going to time myself. I'm not even entirely sure of just how long it takes. Be right back! *washing my face, trying to take my time but thinking I probably need to hurry to try to squeeze it in to 5 minutes. Even I am a skeptic!* *Make sure hair is tied back, turn on water* image *Wet hands, squeeze dime size amount of cleanser onto hands. Work into lather & give face a good scrubbing, paying special attention to my eyes so as to remove all the eye makeup.* *And rinse! And rinse...and rinse...and rinse...ok, enough, the toner will get the rest.* *Apply toner to cotton pad & wipe over face* image *Apply moisturizer over entire face, neck and chest* image Done. I am stunned. And a little embarrassed. It took me a whopping 2 minutes and 20 seconds to perform all three steps of my skincare routine. Are you kidding me?? And that's with taking my time. In a hurry, I'm sure it could get done in less than 2 minutes. Why have I not been doing this??? I could check Facebook one less time & have the time to take care of my skin. Well, now we know. And now that I know, it going to be very hard for me to, in good conscience, claim "I just don't have time to wash my face every morning & night." So not true! I've just not been taking the time. Ok, are you convicted yet? Maybe you're one of those super smart people who figured this out long ago, but for the rest of us slackers, I hope this encourages & empowers you to take the 4-5 minutes total a day to wash your face in the morning & evening. Just keep your stuff out by the sink, with some clean washcloths. Maybe make yourself a little basket with all your supplies. Anything that makes it even easier to squeeze it in those few minutes a day when you have some time. image Most of us think we don't have time for a lot of things. But really what we are doing is we aren't making time or prioritizing our time. When something is important, we make time for it. Maybe you're finding it hard to believe that you can wash, tone & moisturize in 2 1/2 minutes. Go ahead, time yourself! I think you'll be surprised. Make sure you're subscribed to Salt & Life Blog, because later this week, I'll be sending out some video proof! I'll be filming myself and my skincare routine, followed by my 5 minute makeup routine (blog post on that, tomorrow!). It's one thing for me to describe it to you here, but it makes a huge difference to see it in action. All of our awesome subscribers will receive a link to the video in their email inbox as soon as it is made available. So click here to subscribe now! And if you're interested in what skincare line I use, it's called Artistry and it is one of the top 5 prestige brands in the world. I rep for this gorgeous brand and I can testify that it has literally changed my skin for the better. Check it out here! Hope your week is going well, friends! Make the most of the time you have each day <3 Amanda Signature
In Minutes: 5 Minute Hairstyles
So here's the deal. If you're a mom, work outside the house or are in school (or any combination thereof), you probably don't have hours to spend on your hair every morning. You also probably don't love going out looking like you just woke up and didn't have time to brush your hair (even if that's absolutely the case).  Friends, we've got you! I love, love, love having 5-minute go to hairstyles that look beautiful and put together. They are equally great for heading to work during the week, kids activities, church, outings and trips to the grocery on the weekends! I'm linking below to seven of my favorite hairstyles, good for most any occasion and all of which take 5 minutes or less! 5-Minute-Hairstyles-Graphic

The Double Braid

[caption id="attachment_1865" align="alignnone" width="640"]Double braid Source[/caption] I love this hairstyle! It can go dressy or casual depending on how loose the braid is, and it's great for layers! I have tons of layers in my hair and a standard braid ends up with loose sections of hair all over the place because of it. To get this look, braid a small section of hair starting at your forehead. When you've braided around to the back of your neck, tie off with a clear ponytail holder, then braid it into the rest of your hair and around to the side of your shoulder. Sounds complicated, but takes no time!

The Loose "Braid"

[caption id="attachment_1866" align="alignnone" width="600"]Loose Faux Braid Source[/caption] This "braid" reminds me of the days as a kid where we'd put our hair in a ponytail, split the ponytail just above the elastic band and pull the "tail" through. This way is a lot prettier, though, and makes a beautiful faux braid. Pull the sides for a looser look, and curl any stray hairs to dress it up.

Five Minute Curls

[caption id="attachment_1867" align="alignnone" width="450"]Source Source[/caption] If I actually curled my hair, it would take me 30 minutes, easy, which I absolutely do not have time for. There are two ways you can achieve this look. The first is shown step-by-step above. The second is a little hack I have used for years. Wash your hair before bed. Brush it out, add hair gel then towel dry. Twist your hair into a bun on the top of your head and go to sleep. The next morning, let your hair down and you'll have tousled waves. Typically, the top layer needs a little love, so use a flat or barrel iron to curl any parts of the top layer that need more curl (usually only three or four sections). Spray with hairspray and you're done!

The Dressy side braid

[caption id="attachment_1868" align="alignnone" width="600"]Source Source[/caption] For more formal occasions, or just because you want to dress up your hair a bit, this side braid is a great alternative to #1. Start at your forehead and braid just like normal. Once you pull your hair around to one side, start a fishtail braid. To do this, split your hair into two sections and gather small strands from one section to the other and vice versa, alternating sides until you've completed the braid. Secure with a clear elastic.

The Braided Topknot

[caption id="attachment_1869" align="alignnone" width="600"]Source Source[/caption] If you know me or follow me on social media, it's pretty evident that I rock the topknot quite often. So to find a little twist on that made me so happy! This look is totally easy and absolutely cute! It has quickly become a new favorite of mine.

The side bun

[caption id="attachment_1870" align="alignnone" width="628"]Source Source[/caption] I love this option for warm and/or dressy occasions. It's also a really cute look to rock with a plain old tee shirt and maxi to keep people guessing! The best part? It's really easy!!!

The Bouffant Bun

[caption id="attachment_1871" align="alignnone" width="640"]Source Source[/caption] This hairstyle is one of my favorites. I'm growing out my bangs right now, and they're impossible to style well ... or they were until now! When I don't have them pinned back, this is a great (and cute) alternative! Even if you don't have bangs, this is a simple and beautiful hairstyle that's really versatile and, obviously, really quick for those rushed mornings!
All right, friends! That's a hairstyle for every day of the week. I hope this saves you time (and sanity). I always like to think the 15 extra minutes I get thanks to 5 minute hairstyles mean time to stop for coffee, but that's just me! We've got lots more ways you can do those everyday things in significantly less time coming up this week and next, so stay tuned! Y'all have a great week! Jess Signature
Wardrobe Makeover Part 3: Choosing an Outfit
So we did the hard part -- either paring down a too voluminous closet to key pieces or budgeting to build a capsule wardrobe. Now what? This is the fun part -- picking out what to wear! We're nearing the end of summer and coming up fast on fall, so the more transitional the outfit, the better. Your style, which you figured out in Part 1 (if you missed it, click here), will largely determine how you put together your outfits, but the ones I'm going to show you today can be modified to fit any style and body shape. I'm going to do my best to give sources for these items as well, but some have been around a few years in which case I'll link to something similar. For more outfits and details on where to shop for great, affordable pieces, read Part 2 of this series here.

13 Trendy Outfits for a Minimalist Wardrobe

  1. Outfit-4     Outfit-On-10
Leopard print is apparently becoming a thing again, did you hear? I guess I'm one of those people who never really let it go out, but I love my leopard print flats. They give a little pop to an otherwise boring outfit.

The Deets:

Graphic tank - Old Navy - $12.00 Green vest - Marshall's - $12.99 High waist jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Ballet flats - Walmart (I know, right?) - $5.00 Total Outfit Cost: $63.99 2. Outfit-3     Outfit-On-9 This dress/tunic is one of my favorite items! Mainly because it has pockets and it fits snug in all the right places and loose in all the rest. Oh, and the cost! It goes great with leggings, jeans, tights... you name it! Talk about a universal item!

The Deets:

Shift dress - H&M - $17.99 High Waist Jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Hat - Altar'd State - $24.99 (This one was a total splurge, but there are some at Gabriel Bros. for $1.99!) Suede booties - Old Navy - $7.00 (clearance, holla!) Total Outfit Cost: $83.98 3. Outfit-7     Outfit-On This lace tank... it's quite possibly my favorite item right now. It's so versatile, and lets me wear things with leggings I couldn't normally get away with thanks to its length. It also dresses up an otherwise casual outfit. And lace is pretty, let's be honest.

The Deets:

Hat - Altar'd State - $24.99 (see above) Olive tunic - Old Navy - $8.00 Cream lace tunic - Altar'd State - $17.99 Black leggings - Walmart - $6.98 Suede booties - Old Navy - $7.00 (clearance) Total Outfit Cost:  $64.96 4. Outfit-18     Outfit-On-6 This top was a steal at $7.99, and is a nice twist on the conventional button down. The sleeves are somewhat flowy, but can be rolled up to look fitted, and the sides flare out so it's incredibly flattering! I just happened on this at Gabriel Brothers one day, and couldn't pass it up. It's become a staple in my work and casual wear.

The Deets:

Hi-lo button down - Gabriel Brothers - $7.99 High wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Red ballet flats - Walmart - $5.00 Total Outfit Cost: $46.99 5. Outfit-14     Outfit-On-8 I told you I had a thing for graphic tees. This one is no exception because, let's face it. The struggle is real. Especially as a mama. Amen?

The Deets:

Plaid button down - Kroger Marketplace - $12.99 Graphic tank - Walmart - $5.00 High wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Red ballet flats - Walmart - $5.00 Total Outfit Cost: $57.99 6. Outfit-5     Outfit-On-11 So these boots... I found these at Walmart, y'all! Hilariously, they are one of the more comfortable pair of shoes that I own, and I didn't spend very much on them. Shoes are something I love to find on clearance at the end of the season or for really low prices without sacrificing comfort, and these were no exception!

The Deets:

Green vest - Marshall's - $12.99 White shirttail tee - H&M - $8.00 High wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Fringe booties - $19.88 Total Outfit Cost: $74.87 7. Outfit-12     Outfit-On-5 This striped shirttail top from H&M is ridiculously comfortable. They tend to make clothing that hides all the right stuff, and their prices can't be beat.

The Deets:

Striped shirttail top - H&M - $12.99 Cream lace tunic tank - Altar'd State - $17.99 High wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Fringe booties - Walmart - $19.88 Total Outfit Cost: $84.86 8. Outfit-2     Outfit-17 I'm starting to realize that almost all of the shoes I'm showing you I got from Walmart! Oh, well. These are second-season shoes, and they still look great. Call me old, but they have memory foam soles making them crazy comfortable for mamas chasing kids around. I'm just sayin'.

The Deets:

Plaid button-down - Kroger Marketplace - $12.99 Striped tank - Old Navy - $12.99 High wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 White sneakers - Walmart - $12.98 Total Outfit Price: $72.96 9. Outfit-8      Outfit-On-3 Denim and chambray are still totally in, and still one of my favorite items to wear in the fall. I seriously struggle with finding ones that are long enough to justify wearing with leggings, though. Enter my favorite lace tank! Add a felt hat, and you're comfy but look like a million bucks!

The Deets:

Denim pullover - Target - $24.99 Lace tunic tank - Altar'd State - $17.99 Black leggings - Walmart - $6.98 Black felt hat - Gabriel Brothers - $1.99 (whaaaaaat!?!) Suede booties - Old Navy - $7.00 (clearance) Total Outfit Cost:  $58.95 10. Outfit-9      Outfit-On-15 This sweater is another fall favorite and in its third season in my wardrobe, so I'd say it's holding up nicely considering the price tag! Side note: the purse you see is an off brand that I found at Gabriel Brothers for $10.00.  That's the only place I buy purses (and I love purses... trust me) because they carry brand names, off brands and on trend stuff for crazy low prices. I swap out purses often enough that it just make sense. I have never paid more than $15.00 for a purse. Ever.

The Deets:

Button up sweater - Old Navy - $17.47 (a similar one can be found here) Hi-lo white button down - Gabriel Brothers - $7.99 High wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Suede booties - Old Navy - $7.00 (clearance) Total Outfit Cost: $66.46 11. Outfit-1     Outfit-On-2 This one is a little outside my normal, but it gives me a great chance to use my Burlington Coat Factory plaid scarf (a similar one can be found here). They probably still have them at Burlington, too. It's hard to tell from the photos, but this top is a tunic and doesn't require a cami (yay!). Again, it's loose in all the right places.

The Deets:

Red tunic - Old Navy - $10.00 Black leggings - Walmart - $6.98 Black felt hat - Gabriel Brothers - $1.99 Black booties - Walmart - $12.98 Total Outfit Cost: $31.95 12. Outfit-6      Outfit-On-7 Literally every item from this outfit has been used before, so I won't go into detail there. I will say that aviators are my favorite style of sunglasses with 1950s style shades coming in at a close second. Where do I get mine? Walmart. Of course. They cost $5.00. That's hard to beat. Mine will usually last a couple of years before getting scratched, and if I spend $5 every three years on sunglasses, you know, I'm doing all right!

The Deets:

Button up sweater - Old Navy - $17.47 (a similar one can be found here) Striped tank - Old Navy - $10.00 HIgh wasted jeans - Old Navy - $34.00 Fringe booties - Walmart - $19.88 Total Outfit Cost: $81.35 13. Outfit-Final     Outfit-On-4 This is another outfit we're recycling! This one is super casual and comfortable. The sweater is a great way to wear leggings without having to wear a tunic tank because of its length, and booties dress up the outfit just enough.

The Deets:

Button up sweater - Old Navy - $17.47 White shirttail tee - H&M - $8.00 Black leggings - Walmart - $6.98 Fringe booties - Walmart - $19.88 Total Outfit Cost: $52.33 The total for all of the items in these outfits comes to $312.19, an average of just over $12.00 per item! I know it's more than the $100 we talked about yesterday, but if you're looking for versatile pieces that will give you the most bang for your buck and you have the extra moolah to spend, these are just some of the ways you can reuse these items. I didn't even come close to exhausting the options! Like Amanda said yesterday, spend a little more on the items you want to stick around awhile, like your jeans. You can scrimp on the easier to replace items, like the tees, graphic tanks and leggings. You now have all the ammunition you need for your fall wardrobe! Thanks for following along throughout this series! Jess Signature We would love to have you follow along for our next series “In Minutes” where we’ll be sharing things like 5-minute hairstyles and 4-minute workouts. Just click the subscribe tab in our menu and enter your email address to get reminders and snippets of those posts in your inbox as well as some other goodies.  
Wardrobe Makeover Part 2: Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget
Unlike some people (maybe most people) I tend to keep a pretty small wardrobe. We're talking 25 items or less. That's not necessarily because I want to, but I purge my wardrobe pretty frequently. More frequently than I replenish it with items I love. Plus, in the last three years my body has changed considerably. I've had two children, breastfed both of them, and nothing I had before really fits quite right. While I'm working to get my body back into a fit & healthy state, I still need clothes to wear NOW. So I found myself at the start of this summer with nothing to wear and I wasn't about to spend hundreds of dollars building up a new wardrobe. Especially if I didn't plan to be this size for long. Enter the "capsule wardrobe" of simple, mix & match pieces. I have always wanted to take on the challenge of creating a functional wardrobe on $100 or less. This past summer I did that, and it turned out surprisingly well! I wasn't shopping at Gap or JCrew, but I still found some pretty nice name brands at "like new" quality. I spent a whopping total of $83 and got 11 items. Most of which can be mixed & matched creating many different outfit options. Here is just a sample of the outfits I wore this past summer. Hopefully you will be able to gain some inspiration for your own tiny wardrobe. This can also be great for packing to go away for an extended trip, without bringing your entire closet. Now, my activities include staying home with my kids, running errands and the occasional birthday party or date night out. Even our church is pretty casual, so I don't need to dress up often. Those were the things I had in mind as I built this wardrobe. Your needs may be different! Just tailor it to what fits you & your lifestyle. This striped top is by Mikey & Joey and is the single most forgiving top that I own. It's pretty loose, so I recommend wearing a cami underneath to guard against any slippage (or child yanking down the front of your shirt). My favorite camis are at Forever21 for 1.90. You really can't beat that price. The 7Jeans coral capris are a denim material, slightly distressed, and were found shopping consignment. [caption id="attachment_1807" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Wardrobe5 Striped Tank purchased at Marshals for $9.99, 7Jeans Coral Capris purchased at Consignment for $11[/caption] This next outfit is one of my favorites. It's super simple, but super comfortable. It's what I call my mom uniform or "momiform". I could live in this every day. The gray tee is so soft & the mint colored shorts are one of my favorite colors. This pair of JCrew shorts fits me like a glove. And not a super tight glove, but a comfortable one! Pants can be tough to fit, and even if it fits throughout the hips, it can be either falling down at my waist, or too snug to be worn when eating. Neither is preferable. This pair of shorts, and any other I've owned from JCrew, is cut perfectly for my body shape. They're also the perfect length, and I think, very flattering. [caption id="attachment_1812" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Wardrobe9.2 Shirt by Active USA purchased at Marshals for $5, Shorts by JCrew from Consignment for $14[/caption] My wardrobe is pretty casual and comfortable, if you haven't already noticed. I did feel the need to include at least one dress to round out this summer wardrobe, one capable of being dressed up or dressed down. This gray tee shirt dress from Walmart was the perfect addition. Surprisingly, this dress is super flattering, and not as form fitting as you might think. It has a way of grazing past trouble spots and smoothing everything out. I don't usually shop for clothes at Walmart, but for basics on a budget, you really don't need to go anywhere else! [caption id="attachment_1808" align="aligncenter" width="603"]Wardrobe6 Here the dress from Walmart ($9.94) is styled with a plaid top by About a Girl that I thrifted from Goodwill for $3.99[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1810" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Wardrobe7 For dressier occasions, I can add a chunky necklace and some strappy sandals.[/caption] The plaid top I just mentioned above is one of my favorite pieces to throw on over something else. It's light & breezy enough to wear during the hot summer months, but adds a bit of warmth in air conditioning or for transitioning into fall. My homemade cut off jean shorts and black tank make for a very southern, country look. Made complete by my red cowgirl boots from the Boot Store in Gatlinburg, TN. The ridiculous thing is that those boots cost at least double what I spent on this entire wardrobe. [caption id="attachment_1806" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Wardrobe4 Plaid top by About a Girl purchased at Goodwill for $3.99, Black tank by Tresics purchased from Marshals for $4.99, High Waisted Jeans by St. John's Bay from Goodwill for $5.99[/caption] My mint green shorts are also paired here with this white, gold striped top. It's another JCrew item and I have to say, I'm a fan. It's an outfit I can put on without thinking about it and feel confident & comfortable. A step up from the momiform, but not quite at tee shirt dress level, it's a great choice for looking nice without overdoing it. [caption id="attachment_1811" align="aligncenter" width="401"]Wardrobe8 Gold striped sleeveless shell by JCrew $6 from Consignment[/caption] I've had a chambray top from Gap before, and to be honest, it wasn't what I wanted it to be. It was too stiff and didn't fit the way I was hoping it would. This white washed, light blue button up is made from a material called "Tencel" and it is so comfy, soft and silky. It's actually very hard to describe, but you should google it like I just did. It's made from a fiber found in wood pulp & is an environmentally friendly fabric. Huh! Who knew?? Anyway, I'm all about the comfort factor and the layering. It works great as a swim coverup too, especially since it's a bit longer in the back. This adorable pineapple tee just screams summer to me and I wanted at least one "graphic type tee" in my wardrobe. It is a cropped tee, so without a cami I will only wear it with these high waisted jean shorts. Even if I did have the abs and flat stomach to show off, I probably wouldn't. (Ah, who am I kidding?! If I had 'em I wouldn't mind showing them off a bit!) [caption id="attachment_1805" align="aligncenter" width="599"]Wardrobe3 White washed button up by Cloth & Stone $3.99 from Goodwill, Pineapple Cropped Tee by Roxy $3.99 from Goodwill[/caption] Finally, this bohemian peasant top also came from Goodwill. It's extremely sheer, so again I wear it over a Forever21 cami. There's something super feminine and pretty about this flowy top. I usually go for basic solids because I don't feel very confident about wearing bold patterns. This aztec-y pattern stuck out to me as something I wanted to include in at least one wardrobe piece. The overarching color is one of my favorites (blue) which made it not so scary to wear.Wardrobe1 Obviously there are several other options for various outfits using these pieces. That's what makes creating a capsule wardrobe so much fun: your wardrobe options are only limited by your creativity! Adding in a brightly colored skirt or maxi dress would be another great item to add to this wardrobe that would cause my options to grow exponentially! So some final thoughts on creating this capsule summer wardrobe on a budget:
  1. Make a plan. Map out the pieces you want before you go shopping. You'll be able to immediately pass over what you don't need without being distracted by cute but random items that don't go.
  2. Stick to the budget. Come up with a number you feel is appropriate and then make it work! The challenge is part of the fun. Keep in mind the average price you will be able to spend on each item in your plan.
  3. Shop inexpensively. If you are working with a budget, don't go to name brand stores & expect to find much more than one outfit (excepting maybe their clearance racks). Marshals, TJMaxx, Ebay, Consignment shops, Thrift shops, Goodwill, Walmart, Forever21, all are good places to find various things pretty inexpensively. Know where you are willing to sacrifice some quality and where you want to pay a few extra dollars. A buck ninety for a cami to wear underneath your clothes can be a little "cheap" whereas the jeans you plan to wear with several outfits, you may want to spend a larger chunk of your wardrobe budget.
That's it! I hope you found some inspiration here for creating your own tiny wardrobe. Let me know in the comments below which outfit was your favorite or what items you would put together. Now I'm off to collect my cold weather wardrobe items. Ah, cardigans, jeans & chunky scarves! Happy shopping, friends! Amanda SignatureWardrobe2                   ***All photos captured by Hope Elizabeth Photography
S&L Devos: Staying Connected to the Vine

The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. Romans 8:19

God gives us beautiful analogies through His creation, one of the most relatable to me being the pruning process of the plant.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

Although it is a long, sometimes painful process, you must prune your plants if you want them to continue to live. I noticed that some of the stems and leaves of my plants were turning brown. You couldn’t tell this unless you really looked at the root of the plant. On the ends they were green and producing blooms. Yet I knew that if I didn’t prune them well, the dead stems and leaves would choke out what life was left in the plants. I began to pull off the brown leaves and cut the stems that were turning brown. In this process of being the gardener to these plants, God was teaching me so much about his relationship to us.

It is so important for us to stay connected to the vine.

Just as the parts of the plant that were dying and not producing fruit were not connected to the root of the plant, so we will not produce the beauty God intends for us if we do not remain connected to our Gardener.

If we remain connected to a dying root, it will soon choke the life out of us.

In a plant, you can see the brown roots slowly creeping up the stem. If you do not prune away those parts, they will eventually contaminate the entire plant. If we do not set ourselves apart from things/people that we know are a hindrance to our growth, they will soon choke the life-giving relationship we have with God out.

The pruning process is long and painful, but it is necessary to give us the beauty and life that God intends.

Pruning is not a pretty process. One of my plants was a lot deader than it originally looked so I had to cut most of it off. Right now, that particular plant does not look so pretty because it is just a few green twigs and isn’t as full as it once was, but that's the only way I could save the plant. Sometimes the only way God can save us is to let us feel or seem barren for a season. Eventually, that flower is going to bloom again and be even more beautiful than before. It may not feel or seem very beautiful right now, but the gardener can see more than the flower. The gardener knows what is on the other side and the potential that the flower has to be all that the gardener wants it to be. But first, the flower must submit to the gardener’s pruning.

On the exterior, the plant may not look dead, but when you look a little deeper, you see that the roots are dying.

As Christians, we really know how to put on a lively face, don’t we? At the surface, we can be blooming and green and springy! When, deep down, something is choking us, and it cannot be revealed until someone chooses to dig a little deeper. The Gardener is the only one who really has the position or cares enough to do that, and He knows that He is going to have to cut at the root, at the core of what is choking us, in order to save us. Sometimes it is hard to get there. Again, it is painful. But He knows that if he doesn’t cut as deep as He can, it won’t really solve the problem. When you only pluck the part of the bloom that appears dead, nothing new can grow from it. You have to get to the root of the problem to bring about lasting change, new life, and a beautiful result of the pruning of the Gardener.

“No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the Vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

Devo Photo

SIMG_0993pecial thanks to Lindsey for sharing today's devo on Salt & Life Blog.  Lindsey lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, Logan, where they attend Vineyard Community Church. She is a Spanish teacher at Blue Grass Baptist School and has a love for missions, community, discipleship, and meeting people's needs. You can find her on Instagram @lindstrent.  

Finding Your Soulmate Workout
When I met Megan, she was nicely dressed with full hair and makeup, calmly sitting at a family restaurant while her four (count them, FOUR) children under 5 played and danced with my daughter. Ok one isn't walking yet, so three of them were dancing. I was in awe of the calmness in both her and her husband. Now I realize it was probably just sheer exhaustion. Lol! But regardless, this lady knows how to make things happen! She's a blogging, healthy eating, working out, fitness coaching, wife & mommy. She may not always (or ever) get a full night's rest, but she doesn't let that slow her down. If she can do it, surely we can all find a way to get active every day. Let's listen to her perspective on finding your "Soulmate Workout". Have you found yours yet? Let us know in the comments below! Amanda Signature  

Finding your soulmate workout.

Sounds crazy, right? But, hear me out. Way too often people decide that they just cannot workout. That exercise is absolutely not for them. They wish it was, but it’s not. The thing is, we all have a soulmate workout, you just have to be determined enough to find it.

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It’s the equivalent of going on one date with a crappy dude and then writing off dating or all men for the rest of your life. I don’t think you would do that, right? The rational part of your brain would eventually tell you that that guy just wasn’t for you. It’s the exact same thing with exercise. We aren’t all runners. We aren’t all spinners. Wait, spinners? No. Cyclists? Either way, the bike is not a friend to us all. Many of us fall asleep during yoga, would drown in a pool, or are entirely too uncoordinated to tackle Zumba. image But, here’s the thing. There is absolutely, without a doubt, some form of exercise that will speak to you. That will make you feel alive and strong and unstoppable. You have to find that thing. You owe it to yourself to keep trying new styles of workouts, new exercises until you wake up craving it, because it will change your life. I know this firsthand. image For years, I fought exercise because I had this association that exercise was about losing weight. Then if I didn’t lose weight, I would be mad and feel like it “didn’t work.” I still hadn’t found my soulmate workout and once I did, my entire perspective on fitness changed. I saw that fitness wasn’t about looking a certain way, but about feeling a certain way. I loved how that made me feel. And here I am all these years later, and fitness is a huge part of my life. What if I had stopped? What if I stopped trying new things? I would be missing out on so much color and richness that all comes from being active and appreciating what my body can do. So can you do that for me? Can you challenge yourself to go find that soulmate workout? If you don’t know where to start or need someone to bounce ideas off of, shoot me an email and we can chat. xo Megan imageHi! I'm Megan. Somehow I managed to have four kids in four years and survive it. I know that the only way I keep my sanity is because I've convinced myself that in order to serve those that I love most, I need to take care of myself and I love helping other mama's do the same. Want to connect? You can find me on IG at @babies.and.burpees or email me at mlpoppfitness@gmail.com

S&L Tutorials: Orange Dreamsicle Cake Pops
Cake pops are a hit at our house. Red velvet for Christmas, strawberry and lemon in the summertime, carrot cake at Thanksgiving... the list goes on. The beauty of these little bite-sized cake snacks is there are limitless flavors and ways to decorate them! To celebrate summertime and my daughter's upcoming birthday, I'm going to show you how to make vanilla-dipped orange dreamsicle cake pops with drizzle.  You need to know that I have tried just about every option out there, from the cake pop pans that bake the cake in preformed balls to rolling them myself as well as trying a wide range of dipping variations.  This tutorial shows the simplest way I have found to make cake pops without sacrificing flavor.

What you'll need:

1 sheet cake, baked Cream Cheese Icing Cake pop sticks Mixer 2 packages of Vanilla Almond Bark (found in the baking aisle) Step 1: Bake your cake. At Christmas, I make red velvet from scratch, but for Ashlyn's birthday, I used a Betty Crocker orange cake. Both are delicious. Set it out to cool. Step 2: Step-1 In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 tub of cream cheese icing with the baked cake. Mix with a beater until your cake holds together when formed into a ball. You can absolutely make your own icing as well. I make a buttercream for the red velvet that's delicious. It's totally up to you and your preference of flavors. For this, I used Betty Crocker pre-made cream cheese icing. Step 3: Step-2 Roll the mixture into 1" cake balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Place your cookie sheet in the freezer for five minutes. You can leave these in the freezer as long as you need. I left these in overnight because I wasn't going to dip them until right before her party. They will retain their moisture. Don't worry. Step 4: Heat up your almond bark in the microwave for 30 seconds. Many brands come in a tray that is microwave safe, so you can just pop it in the microwave. If the brand you purchase doesn't, just break up the bark into smaller pieces and put them in a glass measuring cup (or mason jar, in my case). Stir after 30 seconds then heat for another 30 seconds. You want the bark to be a smooth liquid that will drip off a spoon, so keep reheating for 10 seconds at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If you heated yours up in the provided tray, pour the liquid into a mug or glass measuring cup for dipping. A friend recently told me that if you can't find that right consistency, try adding some vegetable oil. It worked!!! Thanks to Creations by Lennie for that tidbit! Step 5: Step-4 Remove your rolled cake balls from the freezer. Dip the end of a cake pop stick in the heated almond bark, then place it in one side of the cake ball going in about halfway. After all of your cake balls have sticks, replace in the freezer for 5 minutes. Step 6: Step-6 Remove your cake pops from the freezer, and dip each one into your almond bark. When dipping, turn the cake pop upside down, fully immerse it in the almond bark then remove it. I hold it just above the measuring cup to allow any excess to drip off before placing it in my drying rack. I strongly suggest you don't twist the cake pop or tap it on the edge or dip it more than once as this increases the likelihood that the cake pop will fall off the stick. (I may or may not have plenty of experience with this one...) Once you've dipped all of your cake pops, put them in the freezer for another 5 minutes to allow the almond bark to harden. Step-7 Step 7: This is where you can get creative! Decorate your cake pops however you want. You can put sprinkles on before the almond bark cools, decorate your cake pops like animals or characters, use fondant ... the possibilities are endless.  For a simple drizzle, I heat candy melts (available anywhere cake supplies are sold: Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, etc.) in my chosen color in the microwave using the same process as the almond bark. Again, you want the consistency to be a smooth liquid, though, slightly thinner and more runny than your almond bark. To achieve this consistency, I typically heat the candy melts 10-20 seconds longer than I did the almond bark. I find it's best to heat these in a glass measuring cup, though a mug will work as well. Again, add some vegetable oil. It helps! Step-8 Once heated, dip a spoon in the melts, let most of it run off then drizzle it over the tops of your cake pops in a zig-zag motion. After all of your pops have drizzle, place in the freezer for another 5 minutes to let harden fully. Finished-3 Finished-2 Finished Don't say I didn't warn you when everyone you know wants you to make these for the next friend or family gathering. They are delicious and an easy alternative to regular cake and icing.  We'd love to hear how yours turn out, so leave us a comment below and enjoy! Jess Signature
Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Coffee and cookies... they just go together, right? Or is that cookies and milk... Well, this mama likes coffee with her cookies. Imagine if you will, it's after dinner, the kiddos are asleep, the cafe lights are on outside, and you and your love are sitting at the patio farm table with warm cups of coffee and some chewy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies... Sounds peaceful, right? Who's hungry? Seriously, that's one of my favorite places to rest, and I think it's because it reminds me of the days when I was a kid and my mom would take us to Great Harvest Bread Company. They had these giant (like, as big as your face) cookies chock full of oatmeal, chocolate chips and raisins. They were delicious. You seriously couldn't eat just one... Okay, you could because Mom only allowed us one, but if I'd had it my way, I'm pretty sure I could've pounded three or four of those. This past week, we had a really fun photo shoot with the kids where we baked cookies together and just let the kids go nuts. There was flour and sugar everywhere and so much laughter! We'll have those up to show you soon, but in the meantime, the cookies really were delicious and we promised we'd share the recipe, so here it is! I hope it brings you laughter and fun and precious memories!

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • (Optional pecans or other nut)
Ingredients Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix together your dry ingredients (flour, soda and salt) in a bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, blend together brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter until creamy. Add vanilla and milk then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally, hand-stir in the oats, chocolate chips and raisins (and nuts if you prefer). Drop spoonfuls of the cookie batter onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes (12 for crispier cookies), let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy! Jess Signature