Category Archives: reviews

Everyday faves | The cream to my coffee

Everyday faves series

It’s time for a new entry in my now-monthly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

Posts in the series have included:

The cream in my coffee

This month, I am highlighting the cream in my coffee. I haven’t always been a coffee drinker; I used to only drink tea. (And I still do drink tea a lot.) My husband, who likes to say he has coffee running through his veins, converted me to coffee a few years ago. (I have always loved the smell of coffee.) While he prefers his coffee black, I prefer mine with cream and sugar, or — the best of both worlds in my opinion — flavored coffee creamer.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer

Instagram pics of my coffee (and books)

If you follow my Instagram feed, then you’ll already know that I’m a coffee drinker. I have posted pics that include coffee cups or mugs, including:

Librarian for Life + Style | Instagram coffee pic

Librarian for Life + Style | Instagram coffee pic

Librarian for Life + Style | Instagram coffee pic

Current coffee creamer

I’ve tried different kinds of flavored creamers throughout the years, but my current favorite is Darigold in the french vanilla flavor.

Note:  This post is NOT sponsored by Darigold or by anyone else. I wanted to share my use of Darigold creamer with my readers via my “Everyday faves” monthly series.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer collage

Morning coffee ritual

My husband sets our programmable coffee machine each night, for whatever time I need coffee in the morning. (My schedule varies throughout the week.) He usually sets it for about a half-hour before I have to head off to work. I get dressed upstairs first, then head down for my morning coffee and then finish getting ready. I really enjoy this simple daily morning ritual:

  • Setting out a coffee cup.
  • Getting the creamer from the fridge and pouring a little creamer into the cup.
  • Pouring the coffee in and seeing it turn a caramel color.
  • Seeing the steam rise off the top and disappear into the morning air.

Bliss.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer collage

And yes, it’s SUPER important to me to put the creamer in FIRST, before pouring the coffee in, not after. Same goes for creamer or milk in tea. That way, the milk or creamer doesn’t curdle — which can happen when a cold substance hits an already hot substance, like if you poured the creamer in after you poured the coffee — plus you don’t have to bother about stirring the creamer around. Pouring in the coffee automatically swirls and stirs the creamer around. No need to dirty up a spoon! Yes, I am very practical, and proudly so. 😉

And now, it seems like a good time to have some coffee…

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, coffee creamer

Do you prefer coffee or tea? Do you have a preference for cream, sugar, etc.? Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays | Trying out new hairstyles with new hairsprays

Today, I am reviewing the top range of Kenra Professional hairsprays — and trying out a new hairstyle variation to test each new hairspray!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

First, some context. I signed up with Brandbacker a couple of years ago, an online service that matches up brands with style “influencers” (a fancy term for ” bloggers”). Bloggers apply for possible campaigns they’re interested in, and companies review and select bloggers who they feel are a good fit for their brand or product. (Through Brandbacker, I have reviewed the Billion Dollar Brows kit, which I still use, and more recently reviewed Finesse shampoo + conditioner, which I’m also still using.) I only apply to review products that feel authentic or interesting to me, are in my price range, and/or inspire me to think of new ways to experiment with my style, makeup, or hairstyles. Y’all know how I like to try new things!

For this campaign, here was my pitch and idea for a review post of the Kenra Professional hairsprays:

Librarian for Life + Style | Personal pitch for Kenra Professional campaign via Brandbacker

So I saw this as an opportunity to get to learn about and compare different kinds of hairsprays and to try out new hairstyles at the same time — and to demonstrate that short-haired ladies also like to experiment with our hair! Viva la short-haired lassies!

I had also admitted in this post last fall about my regular haircare routine that “I’ve never been able to find a hairspray that I really like,” so this felt like a good opportunity to try and see if I could finally find a hairspray that I like.

Here are the samples I received from Kenra Professional:

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

  • Kenra Volume Spray 25, 1.5 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16, 8 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13, 10 ounce bottle

What’s with the numbers?

The back of the hairspray bottles clued me into what the numbers in the hairspray titles meant. They have a “hold index,” ranging from 0 (no hold) to 30 (most hold). And whatever the number of the hairspray, that’s where it falls in that “hold index.” Clever!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What is Kenra Professional?

Kenra Professional describes itself as a professional brand for stylists. “Our passion is developing best-in-class innovations, delivering superior and reliable results. Kenra Professional strives to elevate the stylists’ artistry and craft.”

Kenra Professional logo

Their website provides an interesting history and timeline for the company. They were founded in 1929 in Indianapolis with a “no tweeze” wax depilatory (!) and launched their first haircare line in 1960.

There is information about their products on their website, but not for purchase. Their products are most easily available on the Ulta site, and through salons — which makes sense, since they’re a company catering to stylists.

Let’s see how a regular, non-stylist person like me did with a stylist’s hairspray tools!

Note: I tried the hairsprays in order of their hold index, starting from 13 (the Perfect Medium Spray), all the way up to 30 (the Ultra Freeze Spray).


Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13


What the product promises:

“Perfect Medium Spray 13 combines styling control with a touchable, brush-through hold. This medium hold spray is fast-drying and finishes with a high shine.” It promised control without stiffness and to help with static and fly-aways.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This full-size bottle of this hairspray sells for $17 on the Ulta website with a 4.5/5 rating. There’s also a travel-size option available on the Ulta website for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

In essence, this was my “control group” in this hairstyle and hairspray experiment. I started with this hairspray, as it was the lowest on the hold index, and it seemed like a more everyday “go to” kind of hairspray. So I stuck with my everyday hairstyle, with my bangs brushed forward, to test the promise of a “touchable, brush-through hold.” (FYI, I go more into detail about my usual haircare routine here in this post.)

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13

The hairspray smelled a little metallic right when I first sprayed it on, but that went away after a bit. My hair was definitely touchable all throughout the day. It didn’t really feel like I had any hairspray on at all, but that could be due to the fact that I tend to go pretty light on hairspray in general. It was quite windy this day last weekend, and I was walking around a lot outside. So my hair did wilt a little by the end of the day, which you can particularly tell in the side view in the right column. But no static or flyaways, and my hair did feel and look shiny.

Final verdict? Thumbs up, except for the initial smell of the spray. I will make sure I have the bathroom fan on when I use this again.


Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16


What the product promises:

“HiDEF Hairspray 16 is a light-defusing finishing spray that holds tousled, undone styles with a matte, flake-free finish. The perfect finishing spray for any textured style.” It promised a matte finish, instant drying on contact, and the best choice for “undone styles” and “beachy waves.”

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $23 on the Ulta website with a 3.5/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

I don’t have much hair to try out “beachy waves,” but I have been inspired by Adina @ Blue Collar Red Lipstick and her short pixie ‘do, especially when she curls the longer front part of her hair, as seen here. So I decided to try out this new kind of short ‘do for myself! I watched a couple of hair tutorial videos online for how to do beachy waves for short hair, including this video by Dominique Sachse, and this video by stillglamorus.

I brought out my smaller curling iron to curl the shorter pieces underneath and used my flat iron to create a wave effect on my longer hair up front.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum HiDef Hairspray 16

It took much longer than my usual haircare routine to do this look, and toward the end, my husband shouted out from the living room, “I can smell the hairspray!” But I actually preferred the smell of this hairspray over the smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13, plus I felt like the HiDEF spray played nice with the dry shampoo paste I had rubbed into my hair, to give it a bit more “grip” for the waves. I sprayed it over the waves before I finger-brushed them out a bit, and then again after I had played around with my part and the waves.

By the end of the day, as you can see, my hair had wilted a bit, and the style looked a bit messier to me with the ends a little frizzed out. But my hair didn’t feel too crunchy during the day, and I was able to brush it out easily at the end of the day.

Final verdict? I thought it worked well with the dry shampoo paste I use regularly. I also look forward to trying this hairspray out on my everyday style, just to compare how the “matte” finish compares to the “shiny” finish.


Kenra Volume Spray 25


What the product promises:

“Volume Spray 25 provides the maximum amount of volume and hold possible. It leaves hair looking natural and shiny while imparting the strength and volume necessary to make any style last all day.” It promised a fast-drying, flake-free, wind-resistant hold.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-sized can of this hairspray sells for $18 on the Ulta website with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option, like the one I’m holding, available for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

When I thought about a hairdo that would put the hairspray’s volume and hold promise to the test, I thought a backlift hairstyle with sideswept bangs and a headband or scarf would do the trick.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Volume Spray 25. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Volume Spray 25

The back of the hairspray bottle had a recommendation to build up volume in layers using the spray, so that’s what I did when I teased sections of the hair on my crown for the little pouf in the back. I also teased my bangs a little and sprayed those, swooping those to the side and pinning them at the base. The wide hair scarf helped support the poufy back bit, I think.

The day started out clear but had a misty drizzle by the end of the day. But that’s a good test for hairspray in the Pacific Northwest, to see if it holds up in misty rain conditions! And I’m pretty pleased with how my hairstyle held up. It wilted a bit, of course, but the volume at the crown is still decent. And my hair didn’t feel crunchy or sticky during the day. My bangs did “break” in the middle, so I had to pin them up higher halfway through the day, which explains why the bobby pin is so much more obvious on my hair in the after pics.

Final verdict? This one is the best-smelling of the bunch thus far, and I was impressed on how well it held up in drizzly rain. I also got lots of compliments on my hairstyle that day!


Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26


What the product promises:

“Finishing Spray 26 is the ultimate firm hold hairspray, providing maximum control with long-lasting lift and style retention. Its fast drying, humidity resistant formulation finishes styles with high shine, and it is completely shampoo soluble.” It promised a non-drying, all-day hold with shine.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-size can of this hairspray sells for $22 on the Ulta website, with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option available for $9.

My hairstyle idea:

I’ve been wanting to try a more sculptural “quiff” hairstyle for a bit, to shake things up a bit. A “quiff” is a hairdo that has longer hair puffed up in the front, with shorter hair in the back and sides. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton have been known to sport quiff hairstyles. I looked at a few hair video tutorials for inspiration, including this “Messy Pixie Cut Hairstyle Tutorial” video from Sarah H., another video called “7 Ways I Style my Pixie Cut” from Sarah H., and this “Rockabilly Pixie” video from KaYkAy.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 25

Much to my surprise, this turned out to be my most favorite hairstyle thus far — but my least favorite hairspray. My hair felt stiff and crunchy, and I was hoping that nobody else would want to touch my hair, because it didn’t feel that good to my fingers! (Thankfully, no one did, although I did get compliments on the hairstyle.) I also had a little trouble getting my bobby pins out at the end of the day, because the hairspray had stuck them to my hair! It’s a serious hold, for sure, and an effective hold as you can see from the pics, but it just felt like too much for me personally.

Final verdict? Since we don’t have the kind of humidity like they describe, I’m not sure how useful this hairspray would be in the long run.


Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30


What the product promises:

“Ultra Freeze Spray 30 locks styles in place with a long-lasting, ultra-firm hold. This fast-drying formula defines, sculpts and freezes styles in place, while providing humidity resistance with a high shine, flake-free finish.” It promised the firmest hold while also keeping your hair shiny.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $19 on the Ulta website with a 4.4/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

To put this high-shine and firm-hold promise to the test, I went for a slicked-back, wet look, with visions of Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” video in my mind. I’ve tried this look before, but it tends to break up in chunks by the end of the day. So this hairspray sounded perfect to try for this kind of look again! I also upped the ante by doing a zig-zag part on the side, instead of my usual straight side part. [Here’s a video tutorial on how to do a zig-zag part yourself.]

Basically, I wanted comic-book hair — and I got it! 😀

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day, using the Ultra Freeze Spray 30. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30

I *loved* this look! People kept asking me all day if I had gotten my hair cut. Nope. Just different styling products! 😀

I was admittedly a little wary about using this strongest hold hairspray, the Ultra Freeze 30, the day after my disappointing outing with the 26. But I ended up really liking the Ultra Freeze 30! It definitely lived up to its description of being fast-drying and having ultra-firm hold. And my hair did look shiny. After the initial “freeze” of the hairspray, I realized that I could run a comb through my hair to break up the initial crunchiness — and it still held! My slicked-back hair did not break all day, and I had a very long day at work. (And after work, hence the different backdrop for these “end of the day” pics.)

Final verdict? Definitely keeping the Ultra Freeze 30 for when I need extra hold!

Any favorites?

The Volume Spray 25 was my favorite overall — and of course, the smallest bottle! I also appreciated the HiDEF Hairspray 16 for its matte finish, and the Ultra Freeze 30 for its shiny and extra-firm hold.

What I liked overall:

The packaging of the Kenra Professional sprays is sleek, which I liked. The nozzles on the sprays also click to the side to close or open, so that’s a handy detail.

I had honestly never thought much about differences in hairspray before — the idea of using different hairsprays for different purposes — and I liked that this review challenged me to better appreciate those differences. I understand now how the matte finish of the HiDEF Hairspray 16 would be a more appropriate choice for textured hairstyles, and how the shiny hold of the Ultra Freeze 30 would be a more appropriate choice for sleeker hairstyles. I could actually see and feel those differences up close, which was gratifying to discover, considering I’m NOT a stylist — just a woman doing the best she can with her hair on a daily basis.

When I was looking at different hair tutorials videos online, I also started noticing how many others were also using Kenra hairsprays! That speaks well about the brand to me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What I didn’t like:

The initial metallic smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13 — all the other sprays smelt fine to me — and the crunchiness that resulted from the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. (I will try and see if any of my colleagues at work who have more textured hair than I do might benefit from this spray.)

And while I now can appreciate the differences in these hairsprays, that means that I now will have to keep mental track of which is which and when I need to use each one — but that’s also where the hold index and the tips on the back of the bottles come in handy!

Would I purchase this myself?

I do plan on purchasing a full bottle of the Volume Spray 25, as lack of volume is the main issue I have with my finer-textured hair. And I’m seriously considering travel sizes for the other sprays I did like, just in case… y’all know how much I love travel-sized products! 😉 The prices are a little spendy but not unreasonable, in my opinion, especially for a salon and stylist market. I am sure the full-sized bottles will last me a long time!

Overall, I quite enjoyed this hairspray and hairstyle experiment — and I hope y’all did, too!

Which of the hairsprays or hairstyles did you like best? Have you used Kenra Professional hairsprays or other products before? Please leave a comment and share!


Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with BrandBacker and Kenra Professional. I received samples of Kenra Professional’s top five hairsprays in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own and 100% honest.


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

Everyday faves | Native deodorant

To celebrate my 5th blog anniversary, I’m personally hosting a giveaway for 5 lucky winners. This is the final day to enter the giveaway (!), so visit this post for all the details on how to enter. I will announce the 5 winners tomorrow.

Everyday faves series

This is the latest entry in my now-monthly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

Posts in the series have included:

Native deodorant

This month, I’m highlighting my love of the all-natural, non-toxic deodorant from the Native brand. And this is probably the most literal entry in my “Everyday faves,” series thus far, since I wear deodorant EVERY DAY. 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, Native deodorant

Going Native

Back in February, I posted on my Facebook page about first trying out the deodorant that I had read good things about. (Of course, now I can’t find the posts and articles I had been reading earlier this year. Murphy’s Law.

Librarian for Life + Style | Facebook post about trying Native deodorant

After trying out the deodorant for a couple of months, I posted a follow-up on my Facebook page:

Librarian for Life + Style | Facebook post about trying Native deodorant

You can read more customer reviews of Native products here on their site.

Switching over to an all-natural deodorant

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, Native deodorant

I chose two scents, because they were doing a special discount at the time if you bought two or more deodorants. I chose the “Lavender & Rose” scent and an Unscented one just in case I didn’t like the “Lavender & Rose” one. I do like the “Lavender & Rose” scent, and it’s not overpowering at all. The sticks came in this cardboard shipping box, seen above, and the box arrived in just a few days. Gotta love free AND fast shipping!

Both deodorants are in my medicine cabinet now, and I use each stick about equally. I just go with the scent — or unscent — depending on my mood each day. (I’ve also noticed they have seasonal scents available at different times.)

There was a card enclosed in the package, seen below, with tips for how to transition to using the Native all-natural deodorant. It does take a bit of time to make the switch, for your body to adjust. It felt like it took me a couple of weeks, but it didn’t feel hard at all to transition. I just felt a little extra sweaty the first week or two.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, Native deodorant

Does it work?

In a word, YES. It worked for me, at least. I waited a couple of months to write this review and post, because I wanted to make sure I really could recommend Native deodorant. And I do recommend it. The peace of mind alone is worth it, knowing that it’s non-toxic, aluminum-free and paraben-free. (There’s also a sensitive option, for those sensitive to baking soda.)

I still sweat when I’m wearing the Native deodorant, which is natural, but I don’t stink by the end of the day. (Thank goodness!) I put it on the morning, about three swipes back and forth, and then I can just go about my day. It’s AWESOME. Plus, it doesn’t seem to be leaving any gross residue so far on the underarms of my shirts and dresses. I used to use the “invisible” type of deodorants, like from Secret or Lady Speed Stick, but when it came time for laundry day, I would STILL find a build-up of white residue on the underarms of my dark shirts and dresses. I have not found that kind of residue build-up on my clothes thus far after two months of wearing Native deodorant.

I honestly don’t think I will ever go back to regular deodorants. I am a #GoNative convert. An all-natural deodorant that WORKS. It’s like the magical unicorn of body care products.

Get a free travel-size Native deodorant

If you’re also interested to #GoNative, then you can get a FREE travel-size deodorant with your next purchase by clicking this link. Plus, Native ALWAYS has free shipping and free returns.


Note:  For full transparency, this post is NOT sponsored by the Native brand. I’m writing about Native deodorant because I truly use it every day and love it and want my readers to know about it. However, please know that the link above is a referral link. This means when you get a free travel-size deodorant, then I’m eligible to get one, too. #GoNative!


Have you used an all-natural deodorant? Do you have a favorite brand that you swear by? Have you tried any that didn’t work for you? Please leave a comment and share!


Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayCharming FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

Review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner | Restoring my hair after a long winter

As I’ve mentioned recently, it’s been a long winter up here in the Pacific Northwest. And it’s not just me! It’s officially been the coldest winter up here in 3 decades — and we’ve only had 3 mild-temperature, full days of sun since October! Although the overcast days make for good lighting for photographs, this weather has been rough on my skin and my hair, as both tend to run dry.

So when the opportunity came up to review Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, I was eager to try them out for myself.

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

I remember using Finesse shampoo and conditioner when I was a teenager, so it’s been awhile since I’ve personally used Finesse haircare products. I also remember Finesse being known for its clean scent — and for being very budget-friendly. (It’s still budget-friendly, with an under-$4 price tag.)

And come to find out, Finesse was founded over 30 years ago in 1982 and started out with a commercial featuring Sharon Stone (!). I am a librarian, so y’all KNOW I had to look that up. Enjoy:

1982 Sharon Stone Finesse Shampoo Commercial,” uploaded by TheRetroTimeMachine, Dec. 1, 2013. Standard YouTube license.

I may not have flowing locks like Sharon Stone back in the day, but that doesn’t mean we shorter-haired ladies can’t also enjoy soft, clean-smelling hair!

When the Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner bottles arrived, I tried them out right away and washed my hair twice to get a feel for the product. The bottles themselves are nice and bright, in shades of blue and pink, almost like trying to usher in spring (which cannot get here soon enough!).

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

The first time after I washed my hair with the Finesse shampoo and conditioner, I let my hair air dry. This way, I could get a sense of how my hair felt after using the products, without any additional products in my hair. And I have to say, my hair did feel super soft! The product itself states that “the active silk and soy proteins penetrate deep into the hair shaft, leaving your hair more moisturized and manageable.” As my straight hair is pretty manageable on its own, I can’t state that my hair felt more manageable after using the shampoo, but it did feel more moisturized.

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

The smell of a shampoo and conditioner is super important, and as I have short hair (and therefore cannot physically smell my own hair!), I asked my husband, Sam, how my hair smelled. His answer — and this is WORD FOR WORD what he said — was:

Clean. Not overly floral or overpowering. I like it.

I’d say that’s a good response! 😀

The second time I washed my hair with the Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, I blow-dried my hair as per usual — but, again, without any additional haircare products. I wanted to see how my hair held up without any additional volumizing or texturizing products.

Here’s the result:

Librarian for Life + Style | My hair, after using Finesse shampoo + conditioner

I was pleased at how fresh and clean my hair looked, and how much volume my hair still retained! My hair did still feel wonderfully soft. Two thumbs up — from me AND my husband! 😉

And I am budget-conscious, so the under-$4 price tag also fits the outlook of both my style and my style blog. I will continue to use my bottles of Finesse shampoo and conditioner, and you can find the brand at Walmart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and grocery chains such as Kroger, Shoprite, HEB, and Publix. You can also search for and read more reviews about Finesse products on the Home Tester Club site.

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

Have you ever used Finesse shampoo and conditioner? Please leave a comment and share!


Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post via BrandBacker, and I received two 13 oz. bottles of Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner in exchange for a review. As always, my reviews are honest and reflect my own personal views and experiences.


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His and hers | Celebrating our anniversary with JORD wood watches + GIVEAWAY

Today is a special day, as it officially marks the 20th anniversary for me and the love of my life. My husband, Sam, and I actually celebrate two anniversaries:  February 1, how long we’ve been together, as well as August 1, our wedding anniversary.

We celebrated our anniversary this past weekend and toasted to when we first met:  Sam was in his third year at college, and I was a high school senior interviewing for an academic scholarship on his college campus. Our paths crossed because he was the editor of the college newspaper, which was hosting a party for the scholarship interviewees. Long story short, we’ve been together ever since. As I like to joke, I got both the scholarship AND the guy. 😉

Our anniversary brunch outing this past weekend also turned out to be a perfect occasion to wear our respective his and hers JORD wood watches. After all, love is timeless, yes? ♥ ♥ ♥

Librarian for Life + Style | His and hers, JORD wood watch review

Full disclosure: This is a post in collaboration with JORD Wood Watches, and my husband received a wood watch of his choice in exchange for a review post on my style blog. As always, we are 100% honest about sharing our personal thoughts and experiences with you.

And BONUS! As a special Valentine’s Day GIVEAWAY for my readers, you can enter to win a $100 e-gift code that you can put toward a JORD watch of your own. Plus, all all those who enter will receive $25 e-gift code. Win-win! Click here to skip to the giveaway info at the bottom of this post.

You might remember when I first received my JORD wood watch, back in June 2015. I’ve worn my dark sandalwood watch several times since, most recently seen on the blog in this post from November. When JORD recently released their new Conway line of men’s watches, I was excited for Sam to try one out. He had been wanting a JORD wood watch of his own! So yes, I got to spoil my sweetie for our anniversary. ♥ And a wood watch would definitely make for a unique and memorable Valentine’s Day gift.

Sam chose the Conway watch in sandalwood and burgundy, a very cool watch and color combination.

Librarian for Life + Style | JORD wood watch closeup of Sam's Conway watch in sandalwood and burgundy

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Sam is usually the one behind the scenes taking photos of me and my outfits, so it was fun for me to play the photographer for a day. You can check out more of Sam’s style here.

And I think y’all will agree with me when I say it’s a handsome watch for a handsome man!

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Q&A

I also thought it would be fun to do a Q&A with Sam, to record his own perspective and thoughts about his new watch.

Jen:  You’ve seen me wear my JORD watch almost two years now. How do you feel about JORD watches in general?

Sam:  I really like that they are distinctive because they’re made of wood, and I like that the wood is sustainably and ethically sourced. They are unique watches for sure.

Jen:  Why did you choose this style of watch? What about this watch appealed to you?

Sam:  I liked everything in this particular line, the Conway line. It’s clean, classic, and versatile, and this particular color combination [sandalwood and burgundy] will go with just about everything I have. The cross-hatching detail down the band is nice, and it matches the cross-hatching on the watch’s face. I also like that they’re easily adjustable with the extra links. [All JORD watches come with a couple of extra links, just in case.]

Librarian for Life + Style | JORD Conway wood watch close-ups

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Jen:  This Conway men’s watch is JORD’s first chronograph watch for men. How do you like the chronograph stopwatch feature?

Sam:  It’s a nice bonus. I also realized that it will help me as a writer. When I read work my work in public, I need to be aware of how long the piece reads. The chronograph is a convenient way to time myself when I’m reading.

Jen:  Can you describe your reaction when you first opened the box and saw the watch?

Sam:  The packaging is classy. I like the wood box it comes in, and that it has this little pillow that the watch wraps around. It feels like I finally have a grown-up watch!

Librarian for Life + Style | JORD wood watch closeup of Sam's Conway watch in sandalwood and burgundy

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

Jen:  You’ve been wearing the watch a few days now. How does it feel?

Sam:  I do feel it’s important to note that this is the first time I’ve regularly worn a watch in 22 years, so it took a bit of time for me to get used to wearing one again. There’s something kind of traditional about coming in the door, hanging up your keys, and taking off your watch. These are the rituals of unwinding for the day, and I like tapping into that.

Jen:  Would you recommend this watch?

Sam:  Absolutely. For anyone who likes watches, yes. It is a bit spendy [$229 for this particular style of watch], but the quality is worth it. You are getting what you pay for.

Jen:  Any last thoughts or anything you’d like to share?

Sam:  Two things. One, I’ve always been a little jealous of your watch, so it’s nice that we both have one now. [Hah!] Two, I’d like to suggest the idea of JORD venturing out and creating pocket watches. If they ever started making wood pocket watches, I’d be first in line to buy one!

His and hers

We also took some photos together, to showcase our his-and-hers JORD wood watches. There’s a common saying that the longer couples are together, the more they start to look like each other. As we both independently chose JORD watches in sandalwood, I think that saying is coming true for us! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | His and hers, JORD wood watch closeups

Librarian for Life + Style | His and hers | Celebrating our anniversary with JORD wood watches

Librarian for Life + Style | His and hers | Celebrating our anniversary with JORD wood watches

And can I also get a “Hello!” for how stylish Sam is?! (And yes, he totally put together this outfit on his own.) I mean:  hello layers, hello overcoat, hello fedora, hello awesome new sneakers, and hello cool watch. 😀 😀 😀

Let’s have one last shot of Sam, shall we? You’re welcome.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sam with his new JORD wood watch

And no worries, I’ll be back tomorrow with more details of the outfit that I wore on our anniversary outing.

JORD giveaway

And now it’s time for the giveaway!

>>Click here to enter the JORD giveaway contest<<

Every person who enters will be entered to win a $100 e-gift code to use on the JORD site! (See my personal watch faves here on my JORD Watch Faves Pinterest board!)

Details:

  • As JORD sells both men’s watches and women’s watches, everyone is welcome to enter.
  • All who enter the contest will automatically receive a $25 e-gift code.
  • Fill out your name and email on the form linked above to enter the contest.
  • The deadline to enter the giveaway is Feb. 19, 2017.
  • A JORD representative will contact the winner directly.

Do you like Sam’s personal style and/or his choice of watch? Would you like to see more posts featuring Sam’s style? Please leave a comment and share! 🙂


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