Maybe Matilda

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

9 questions to ask yourself before you get a pixie cut.

I occasionally get comments/emails from women who are considering getting a pixie cut, and are hoping I'll give them a little push one way or the other. Either a vote of confidence that they should go for it, or maybe a warning that will help them decide it isn't right for them.

Today, I thought I'd share a few questions you might want to ask yourself if you're considering a pixie cut, from a veteran pixie enthusiast. (And I'm peppering in some pictures of some of my favorite celebrity pixie cuts, because no one needs more of my selfies.)

9 questions before you get a pixie

1. Is styling variety important to you? If you are the sort of girl who loves playing with different updos and braids and ponytails and curls and all that jazz, you might feel frustrated with a pixie. Of course, depending on the length of pixie you choose, you could still have options. If you keep a bit of length through the top, you can work in some flat-iron curls. You might even be able to do some twists and braids through the bangs. If you go with a true, short pixie, you could play with the faux hawk or even get an undercut. But if you are the girliest of girly girls who just loves trying tons of new techniques and styles on your hair, you might feel held back by a pixie cut.

2. Do you like to play with hair color? If so, I think a pixie cut is perfect for you. I have admitted to being a total weenie when it comes to hair color, but I keep telling myself that if I'm ever going to play around with color, this is the perfect time. Bear in mind, I'm not a professional . . . but my reasoning is that a pixie grows out so quickly and gets trimmed so often that damage from coloring will be kept to a minimum. You'll likely be getting trims every 6-8 weeks, so you'll be cutting off damaged ends just about as soon as you can fry them.

9 questions before you get a pixie

3. Speaking of frequent visits to the salon . . . does maintenance bother you? I have long-haired friends who get their hair cut once or twice a year. Meanwhile, I'm going back in for trims about every 2 months (3 if I'm reaaaally pushing it, but hello mullet!). If the idea of heading to the salon every few weeks bugs you, you might need to choose a lower-maintenance style.

4. Do you have a hairstylist you trust? I have zero hair cutting experience, but from the perspective of being the head in the chair, I think it takes a different set of skills to deliver a killer pixie than a long Disney princess cut. I love the gal I'm going to now, but when I got my first pixie cut a few years ago, it took 3 different attempts at 3 different salons over the course of 3 or 4 weeks to finally get the pixie I was hoping for. I don't mean for that to sound discouraging, but I want to emphasize the importance of finding a stylist who really rocks short hair. If you aren't sure whether your current stylist will be able to give you the pixie of your dreams, start asking around for recommendations of someone who knocks short hair out of the park.

9 questions before you get a pixie

5. Are you gonna freak out if you get a bad cut? Like I said above, it took me 3 tries to get the pixie I wanted a few years ago. If I had panicked after that first not-so-great attempt and told myself, "CRAP, I guess a pixie isn't for me," I never would have had the chance to experience how awesome and fun a great pixie cut is! So many people tell me that they love the idea of getting a pixie but they had short hair once and hated it. Honestly, having a bad short hair cut doesn't mean short hair is bad on you! Hopefully you'll get an amazing haircut on your first try and love your new pixie--but if you do end up with a cut you don't like, don't panic. Go to another salon, find another stylist, and try again. Of course, not everyone's going to love a pixie cut, but if you try it once and hate it . . . at least try another stylist and give it a fair chance before you give up on it completely.

9 questions before you get a pixie

6. How fast does your hair grow? I'm not sure what the 'right' answer to this one would be, but it's something to consider. If your hair grows slowly, you'll have the perk of adding a few more weeks between maintenance trims on your pixie, which is nice. But if/when you decide to grow your hair long again, it'll be a long, possibly frustrating wait. On the other hand, if your hair grows fast (like mine), you'll be back in the salon for trims so often that even your stylist's kids will know you by name. But if/when you want to grow it out, it won't be that long or difficult to do! Your answer to this question will be either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it, but it's something to consider if you anticipate hating the grow-out process, or hating frequent salon visits, etc.

7. You can always go shorter. Okay, so this isn't a question. Just something to remember. If you're nervous, start with something a little on the longer end (like my girl Kaley below), and work your way shorter over time. You'll be getting fairly frequent trims either way, so it isn't a bad idea to start a bit longer, and bring it shorter as the siren call of the pixie gets to you. It gives you wiggle room if you (heaven forbid!) end up with a cut you aren't crazy about, and if this will be a big, drastic change for you, it will feel like less of an adjustment.

9 questions before you get a pixie

8. Do you mind doing a bit of shopping? You probably don't :-) But just off the top of my head, making a drastic change in hair length had me itching (and, in some cases, needing) to go shopping for:
  • New styling products. The products you loved for your longer hair might not do the trick on a pixie. It's probably going to take some trial and error to learn what products work for you and your pixie.
  • Makeup. I'm not super into makeup, and didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it when my hair was longer. But with a short haircut, there's nothing to hide behind: your face is front and center, all the time. You might find yourself wearing a little more makeup than you did in the past, or making slightly more dramatic choices in your makeup. I'm all of a sudden loving brighter lip colors now, when I've never felt comfortable in them before. I'm telling you, the pixie makes you bold.
  • Clothes and accessories. Certain necklines don't look 'right' on me with a pixie (just as some didn't look flattering when my hair was long), and you might find yourself itching for new clothes that 'fit' your new hair. I also find myself drawn to much bigger earrings than I ever wore when my hair was long. 
9 questions before you get a pixie

9. How much time do you want to spend on your hair in the morning? Blow drying and styling my current haircut takes like 5-10 minutes, max. So if you hate spending a lot of time on your hair every day, you'll love the ease and speed of a pixie. The downside is that you can no longer rely on a ponytail to save your butt on a busy morning. If you wake up and have literally no time to spend on your hair, you're basically doomed to look like Frankenstein all day. A pixie takes very little time in the morning, but it does take some time. A ponytail can't save you anymore.

Pixie veterans, anything you'd add to this list?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Creamy Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Eagle Brand I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I have a serious love affair going with cinnamon rolls. Once the weather gets cooler, all I want is that amazing cinnamon roll smell in my house, and cinnamon roll goodness on my plate. And I love playing around with different flavors of cinnamon rolls. Today's variation did not disappoint. I think they'd be perfect to eat on Christmas morning!

creamy caramel cinnamon rolls

For today's delectable roll goodness, I incorporated Eagle Brand Caramel Flavored Sweetened Condensed Milk. Have you guys seen this? Holy goodness. If you are the sort of person who can't resist taking a lick or three of sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can, watch out. They're now making limited edition seasonal flavors in caramel and chocolate. Hold me. I think my holiday baking just got so much tastier.

creamy caramel cinnamon rolls

In the past, if you've wanted a caramel flavor to your sweetened condensed milk, you've had to heat and cook it. Love that this new product makes it possible to skip that step and get right to the baking! There is also a Chocolate flavor--no chopping, no mixing, no heating necessary. It's totally chocolate-ified goodness and ready to go.

I wanted that amazing caramel goodness in a cinnamon roll, stat. I made a super soft and fluffy enriched dough, and filled it with the caramel milk sprinkled with cinnamon. Waiting for dough to rise is pure torture, I tell you.

creamy caramel cinnamon rolls

But patience pays off, and these golden brown beauties came out of the oven looking and smelling like they came straight from heaven.

creamy caramel cinnamon rolls

I used more of the caramel milk in a rich and creamy frosting to slather over the rolls. So much caramel goodness.

creamy caramel cinnamon rolls

creamy caramel cinnamon rolls


Creamy Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 - 3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup Eagle Brand Caramel Flavored Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dissolve yeast in warm water. In separate mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg. Mix thoroughly. Add 2 cups flour and mix, then add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you get a soft, smooth, slightly sticky dough. Knead 5-10 minutes, then place in a well-greased bowl and cover. Let rise until double (about 1 hour). 

Punch dough down and spread on a greased countertop, rolling into a rectangle. Spread evenly with sweetened condensed milk and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll up from long end. Use thread to slice dough into rolls and place in greased 9-inch circular pan. Cover and let rise until double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rolls in oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and rolls are cooked through.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup Eagle Brand Caramel Flavored Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all frosting ingredients together; spread over warm rolls.

Recipe adapted from The Comfort of Cooking and CDKitchen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias

Some of my favorite winter memories growing up are of my family eating dinner together on chilly nights, and more often than night, those memories have us eating some warm, hearty, filling soup. My mom has an awesome Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe that I can remember eating often (and it may have been the only time the kids in my family willingly consumed broccoli).

It's getting awfully chilly here lately, so of course I've been wanting lots of soup. I decided the other night to try putting a spin on my mom's tradition of serving broccoli cheese soup by making a hearty chowder with a cheesy base and plenty of delicious veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes.

cheesy vegetable chowder

I really think there is just nothing that beats a thick, hearty soup on a fall or winter night. There is something so comforting and happy about digging into a big bowl of soup with a side of crusty bread to dip into it.

cheesy vegetable chowder

cheesy vegetable chowder

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

2 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped cauliflower
2 cups diced red potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 - 2 quarts water (as much as necessary to cover veggies in pot)
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
dash nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups Kraft Natural Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Place all vegetables in a large stockpot and add enough water to cover. Add bouillon cubes, salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, to remove floury taste. Slowly add milk, a bit at a time, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add milk mixture to stockpot, stirring to combine. Add cheese, a bit at a time, stirring well after each addition to incorporate and melt cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topped with additional cheese, if desired.

cheesy vegetable chowder

Want to make some yourself? Find the Kraft cheese in the refrigerated cheese section at Walmart!

kraft natural shredded cheese

Do you have a favorite winter soup recipe?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lily Jade and London Bridges Giveaway!

I just wanted to pop in real quick and give you a heads up about a fantastic giveaway happening on my Instagram right now!

Giveaway!!! Enter to win a matching mommy and me dress set from London Bridges Clothing and a Rosie designer diaper bag from Lily Jade

I teamed up with London Bridges (a local designer here in Utah who I met at the farmers market over the summer--she sews the most adorable and comfortable baby skirts and mommy + me matching dresses), and Lily Jade (makers of the best diaper bags ever ever ever ever ever) for this giveaway. The winner will get a matching mommy + me dress set from London Bridges, as well as the Rosie bag from Lily Jade!

Head to my instagram to enter to win!!!

Lily Jade bags are truly game changers, and I could not love them more. And I'm so glad I got to meet Holly from London Bridges--I bought Darcy two skirts from her over the summer, and she gets so many compliments on them every time she wears them. They're darling, plus so comfy and perfect for busy little legs to play in. And her new mommy + me dresses are so cute and fun.

Giveaway!!! Matching mommy + me dresses from London Bridges Clothing and a designer diaper bag from Lily Jade!

Giveaway!!! Matching mommy + me dresses from London Bridges Clothing and a designer diaper bag from Lily Jade!

I also did something for this giveaway that I've never, in the history of my 5 years of blogging, done before.

I worked with a professional for pictures.

I'm sure the difference from my typical post photos is obvious . . . 
  Giveaway!!! Matching mommy + me dresses from London Bridges Clothing and a designer diaper bag from Lily Jade!

My friend and new neighbor Carrie is the photographer behind Ivy & Stone, and she helped me out with these pictures. And it is a testament to her great talent that there are any pictures at all where we look decent, because I'm sure we were probably the worst clients she has ever experienced.

Giveaway!!! Matching mommy + me dresses from London Bridges Clothing and a designer diaper bag from Lily Jade!

I was super duper awkward (unsurprisingly) and Darcy was not interested. She literally shouted at Carrie every time she noticed her lifting the camera to take a picture. "No! NOOO!!!!" I honestly thought we wouldn't end up with a single usable picture between Darcy's attitude and my winning combination of photo day stress and typical awkwardness, but somehow we ended up with so many great ones! Thank you, Carrie :-) You can visit her site HERE, and follow her on instagram HERE.

Giveaway!!! Matching mommy + me dresses from London Bridges Clothing and a designer diaper bag from Lily Jade!

Giveaway!!! Matching mommy + me dresses from London Bridges Clothing and a designer diaper bag from Lily Jade!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Running Update + Racing Laces

"Hm," you're thinking, "I wonder why Rachel hasn't breathed a word about running since the half marathon in June?"

Well, the good news is that I had a blast doing the half and couldn't wait to sign up for another. The less good news is that I started having some pretty bad plantar fasciitis pain almost immediately after the race, and ended up needing to take quite a few weeks off. Kind of a bummer since I was so pumped and excited after the half.

But what can you do? My feet were saying to take a break, so I did. And I was surprised, actually, by how much I missed running during those weeks off.

After taking a few weeks off and taking better care of my legs and feet, I'm feeling so much better now, and have started easing back into running over the last few weeks with some shorter to mid distance runs a few times a week. It feels so good to get back out.

running update + racing laces

^ someone was very eager to join me for pictures, and came up with most of these poses/action shots on his own. A bright future in blogging, I'm sure.

Besides just sitting around and resting and self-medicating with plenty of chocolate and Diet Coke, I took a bit of action to get the plantar fasciitis out of the way. I bought a roller ball that I've been using daily on my arches, get massages focusing on my legs and calves as often as I can manage, focus on stretching my calves and feet after each run, and I swapped out my regular shoelaces for Racing Laces.

Racing Laces are a brand new product created by some good friends of ours who offered to send a few pairs for us to experience. Our friends discovered elastic shoelaces while training for competitive races, but were disappointed by the elastic laces they found on the market--low quality, flimsy laces that stretched out and were useless after a few workouts. So they created their own sturdy, heavy duty, high quality elastic laces that can stand up to some serious use (and after wearing mine for a few weeks, I can confirm that they have held up awesomely without stretching out or losing their spring at all!).

So what's the point of using elastic laces?

For me, the most appealing aspect was adding comfort to runs by allowing my shoes to expand and stretch while I run. Traditional laces don't have any give, so your shoes are fairly rigid and can put pressure on your feet, leading to pain and injuries. But Racing Laces relieve this pressure and allow the bones in your feet to move more naturally, so they can help prevent common running injuries like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and even stress fractures.

Also awesome is the easy-on, easy-off factor, and knowing that your laces won't ever come untied, even during long distances or obstacle courses (hello Spartan racers).

And I am kicking myself--kicking myself hard!!--that I haven't bought Forrest a new pair of sneakers yet to show off his new pair of Racing Laces. He's been overdue for new shoes for months, and I was hoping to show off his kicks complete with Racing Laces that he'd be able to take on and off by himself without help . . . but life being what it is, I ran out of time, so he's stuck with his crummy Velcro shoes for a little longer. But that's another little tip to remember . . . they're great for kids' shoes, and will get your little ones ready for school faster since they won't need help tying shoes.
If you're a runner or an athlete of any sort, I think Racing Laces are absolutely worth checking out, especially if you've dealt with any kind of foot pain or want to make sure you're doing everything you can to prevent it. And right now, you can enter to win a pair for yourself on Racing Laces' instagram page! Head HERE to enter.

And to wrap this post up, I made you a special treat. Forrest was so excited to jump for photos. I couldn't resist compiling them into a little gif. Enjoy.

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