Hair color, learning how to thrive, and new bangs!

bangs apartment maggie whitley

My friend Allison (her husband and my husband are childhood BFFs) has awesome bangs — well, honestly her entire hairstyle is awesome (always), and yesterday morning I finally declared, It’s time for me to have bangs again! Allison and I have similar hair texture and color, and every time I see her or a photo of her I take one step closer to having bangs cut. So yesterday I snuck out in the afternoon and had them cut, and would you believe I love them? :) They’re so fun.

Last year around this time my hair was darker (not my natural color though) and I had bangs, although they were more of a blunt/straight across cut. Now my hair is more of an auburn/blonde/light brown mix to match my natural color — paired with side-swept chunky bangs. This time around my hair feels more natural and easier to style.

For months, and I really do mean months (since February) our family has been praying for Zack’s work schedule to lessen. It has been a really long year, but I’m seriously grateful to see our prayers being answered and his schedule slowing down. It can be so hard to be patient and wait, can’t it? And to be honest, I wasn’t always quietly waiting… There were many days since February where I cried and complained and questioned WHY we needed to wait. My guess is it wasn’t just about answering our prayers but having God work on our hearts, too.

And so during that time I clothed myself (in a sense) in maintenance mode. Knowing the days would be very long and sometimes lonely… Knowing I would have to balance taking care of Max and caring for our home and encouraging Zack, grocery shopping and play dates and bath time, walking Bauer multiple times a day and praying fervently and resting during naptime — these things consumed my time and mind, and auto-pilot kicked in.

I hate admitting this, but after a few months I began running off maintenance mode: not really thinking about what would make me happy, but instead putting my family first so that they were happy. What I missed out on was recognizing how important both of these things are! It’s not about putting myself first as though there’s greater importance to my needs, but rather knowing when I hold both my family and myself on the same level both areas thrive, together.

I want to remember these past eight months as encouragement for the future. I remember a few years ago, when we lived in Minneapolis, going through something similar: something in life caused me to put myself on pause while we worked through a hard season. There was much learned, but I don’t think I processed it the healthiest way.

And now our family is growing! In such a short amount of time I’ll be in a newborn haze, but I’m so looking forward to experiencing that once again. And this time I’ll have my chunky bangs to hang out with as we navigate another hard season… and also maybe a new stick of raspberry-colored lip stain ;)

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Appointment: booked!

caramel hair maggie whitley

So, I did it — I booked a hair appointment for Friday morning. My goal is to become a lot less bleached and a lot more caramelized and I’m inspired by this look. I hope I love the results, because one thing’s for sure: I’m not loving how often (and costly) I need to be highlighted. Besides, Fall is the perfect season to go a little darker. And with a newborn joining our family in just a handful of weeks, the last thing I want is to be sitting in a hair salon ;) Newborns are the best and I’m so so so so grateful to become a mama again.

Related: I’m giving myself a couple bonus points for knowing in advance how important it is to take care of my mama self. It can feel selfish to set time aside just for me, but I know that time benefits the whole family. Can I get an Amen?

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My favorite summer makeup essentials.

summer makeup maggie whitley

Let’s talk about bad habits for a second: one of mine is wearing foundation every day, even when it’s summertime and I’m at the beach. It’s more of a bad-habit-turned-disability. Because the foundation I use provides pretty solid coverage — meaning my face doesn’t really get a tan when I’m outside, my face doesn’t have much color (so it can sometimes look blotchy).

I’m not a big, “I must wear sunscreen always and limit my outside time”, but I do try to be smart about my sun time, like wearing sunscreen and always, always wearing my sunglasses to protect the skin around my eyes. But my face in general? It could definitely use a little sun and evening out ;)

We went camping a couple weeks ago and I left my makeup bag at home. More like I made myself leave it at home. Then, on our drive up to the mountains I kinda had a mental moment where I really freaked out (quietly to myself) that I didn’t have my makeup bag. It’s OK to laugh, I’m laughing :) Turns out it did me well to leave it at home. I was able to wake up both mornings with my family and my only focus was on brushing my teeth and changing my clothes. And a huge perk: I was able to get a little sun on my face.

Now that I have a natural sun-kissed glow I’m able to skip applying foundation during the summer months. This small step is so freeing for me. I want to be more confident this summer and not worry about things like my makeup. Wearing mascara is something I’ll probably do all summer long, but having a simplified summer makeup routine has been wonderful.

summer makeup maggie whitley

Here are my favorite summer makeup essentials, plus a bonus item (#2):

1. bronzer compact, 2. Essie nail polish in bachelorette bash (bright polish colors are so fun for summer!), 3. fragrance oil (my very favorite scent, think clean laundry!), 4. the best mascara, 5. chubby eyeliner pencil, 6. large makeup brush

This is a very simple list of cosmetics, and two are even of the nail polish/fragrance varieties! I love the chubby eyeliner pencil because it frees me of needing it apply it perfectly — it’s kinda like a shadow/liner mix. Very forgiving!

* * *

A note about mascara: my experience is to choose a mascara where the wand size/type reflects the type of eyelashes you want. For example, a wand with short/separated bristles has always given me separated-looking eye lashes. The reason I love the mascara I use is because the wand is plump with the perfect amount of spacing between each bristle, giving me plump eye lashes. The bristles are also a little bit longer, which is perfect — my eyelashes are naturally long.

Do you have any summer makeup essentials? What’s your go-to item that you can’t not wear? For me, it’s definitely mascara. But nail polish somehow makes it way up there, too (wink).

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How to style your wavy (or curly) hair.

how to style wavy hair

Wanna know a secret? I don’t wash my hair every day. Wanna know another secret? Earlier this week I trimmed my hair in the bathroom during naptime. (Don’t tell my hair dresser. Well wait, it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen her, so…)

These two secrets have helped me style my wavy hair, but I have one more big secret that’s practically helped me guarantee pretty, wavy hair every day (whether or not my hair is washed daily). For years I’ve heard how great sulfate-free shampoo is, especially if you have wavy or curly hair, but it’s one of those things where you have to try it to believe it. I’ve never been able to skip a shampoo when I wash with regular shampoo, but with sulfate-free shampoo I can, and I dare say my hair often times looks better on day two? Dare :)

Shampoo with sulfates makes the soap lather up all bubbly-deliciously. And bubbles equals clean, right?! But these bubbles also cause frizziness in curly hair and can damage colored hair.

One of my LA friends shared her curly hair secrets with me, and they’re so good I have to re-share, along with a few of my styling secrets :)

How to style wavy (or curly) hair //

1. Use a sulfate-free shampoo (Trader Joe’s sells shampoo & conditioner for $4/each) and finish with it’s sister conditioner. Wait a few minutes for the conditioner to soak in, then comb or pick through with a wide-tooth comb before rinsing.


2. If necessary, quickly comb hair post-shower to detangle hair and redefine curls.

3. Pump Paul Mitchell’s Round Trip (below, left) 3-4 times, defining your curls as you distribute the product evenly. If your hair is shorter, use less; longer, use more.

4. If your hair is a little dry, apply a small amount of moroccan hair oil (below, center) when damp and distribute evenly, making sure you apply this to your ends.


5. Scrunch a teeny tiny bit. Use your fingers to lift your hair near your scalp and crown to create volume. Let your hair air dry, or once nearly dry use a diffuser and finish with a blow dryer.

6. Help your waves (curls) to set by finishing with hairspray (above, right). This is my very favorite hairspray, I love the hold it provides and it smells sooooo good :)

maxwell birthday party







Something I mentioned above that using sulfate-free shampoo has helped me with is skip shampooing my hair daily. Before using SF I would wake up in the morning and my hair would be pretty flat with too many straight pieces to even let me consider skipping a ‘poo. But now I wake up and I have volume!, curls!, even ringlets! some mornings.

To skip a shampoo, here’s what you do // grab a spray bottle of water and mist your hair. It’s OK to be generous; wetting your hair won’t make the curl fall out. Once your hair is evenly misted scrunch and redefine your curls. Again, use your fingers to lift your hair near your scalp and crown to create volume. You can either air dry or use a diffuser. Some times I add another pump of Round Trip, but I almost always apply a little more hairspray.

Product shopping list:
-Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner by Trader Joe’s
-Round Trip by Paul Mitchell
-Moroccan Oil by Garnier-Fructis
-Body Envy Hairspray by Herbal Essences


Super easy, right? If you’re a wavy- or curly-haired gal, what are some of your secrets? What’s your styling routine?

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