To Blog or Not To Blog

I’ve been curiously quiet over the past two weeks, which has felt like an eternity in Blogging World. So when I saw this week’s Friend Friday questions, I realized I have to get back on the blogger wagon.

Before I dive in, I should explain why I’ve been silent lately. When I first started this blog as Beauty and the Recession on Blogspot, I wasn’t sure if it was going to last so even more of a surprise when three months in I was buying a domain. I’m no stranger to domains–I had a personal website for nearly 4 years and have been blogging since 2000. However, having a blog on such a specific topic (makeup, beauty, budgeting) was new to me. I wasn’t writing about me. In fact, I made a point not to talk about me. As a young person in a volatile job market, I always wonder what employers will see this blog and how much I should reveal publicly. My other blog is entirely friends only, so losing privacy was a new thing to me.

Part of me also fell out of love with my other blog while I poured my energy into this one. The pendulum swung the other way and for the past month I’ve been loving on my private blog. To be perfectly honest, I also got tired of the topics I was writing on. I got to the point where I didn’t care about makeup or lipstick or what I was wearing or my hair or my nails. So, with all that being said, I’m going to work to redirect the direction of this blog. Now onto the questions!

How many hours a week do you spend blogging? Has that number changed since you started blogging?

For Those Graces lately, less than 5 hours a week, if that. And most of that is spent reading blogs. On my other blog I’ve been spending probably close to 7 hours a week including writing, reading, commenting, making video and photo posts. At the height of my blogging here, I was probably spending 10-15 hours a week on my blog.

There is always more you can do, write, read, comment on. How do you limit your time spent on these tasks?

I’ve always seen blogging as a community. If I was here by myself, I wouldn’t do it. I was going overboard for awhile and would add everyone’s blog to my RSS feed if someone commented on my blog. Week after week, my Google Reader would show 1000+ posts unread just because of the sheer volume of blogs I wanted to read. Over time, I’ve scaled back and my new rule of thumb is that I ask myself if I know the person’s name, if I can picture what their blog looks like and if I have enjoyed their blog in the past. If the answer to most of those questions is no, I remove the blog from my RSS feed. That has been one of my biggest challenges.

Have you experienced Blogger burnout yet? How have you dealt with that?

I think it’s pretty clear that’s what has happened to me currently! Since I bought my domain, I’ve thought about my ideal website, what I’d want on it and what I would want it to say about me. That’s why I picked a name that wasn’t entirely fashion and beauty focused. However, making that change inherently changed the direction of my mind and my focus. A big task for me in the next month will be to refocus and decide where I want this blog to go.

I think the fact that I started off so consumed by this blog was helpful, but it also burned me out a lot faster than if I started lazily.

This time of the year is always a lot busier than any other time. Will your blogging change as a result?

Well, it is busier and it isn’t busier. Though I’m out of school, I’m still on a university schedule and will have almost two weeks off for winter break. I imagine I’ll have more time to blog and my blogging with get better as a result.

Could you forsee a moment in which you are not blogging anymore? How would you you identify that it’s time to walk away?

Blogging here–yes, I definitely can see stopping eventually (hello! I just admitted to blogger burnout already!) However, my private blog, I could never give up. I’ve been blogging for 10 years (since I was 14) and can’t imagine a time in life when I won’t be blogging.

Chelsea Clinton’s Wedding Dress Sash

When Chelsea Clinton walked down the aisle, I didn’t care who designed the dress. Nor did I want to know who did her makeup. I didn’t even care about her hair. My eyes went straight to her beaded sash around her waist.

Many of you know I’m getting married soon. I have my dress picked out and now it’s time to accessorize and the sash is on the list of things to find. Before we get started and before you even ask, no I will not be posting a photo of my dress because, well, I want to it be a secret from most people and especially my husband-to-be.

As always, I want to save money where possible. When I was in a bridal boutique a few months ago, I noticed their beaded sashes cost nearly $100. Clearly, that does not work for me. In this post, I will share with you some of my favorite sashes I’ve found on Etsy.com for under $75.

A sash can be a great accessory for your dress as it defines your waist, which is typically the smallest part of a woman’s body. There are lots of ways to accessorize a wedding gown–this is just one way to play up your dress. Lots of sashes can also double as headbands, assuring that this is one accessory you can continue to wear well after your big day!

You can easily add a vintage touch to a modern styled dress with a sash like this from One Happy Girl. The flowers give the sash a cute, girly detail perfect for an outdoor summer wedding.

I love this sash bracelet also by BC Girls for $25. This sash bracelet could also double as a sash for your waist. This could be a good companion piece to a dress that has enough going on and doesn’t need direct accessorizing.

These are just a few sashes to give you an idea of what’s available in this under $75 price point on Etsy. Of course, if you want a “statement” piece with more detailing, you’ll be looking at a price point of about $130-$300, but that’s still less expensive that you’ll pay in most bridal salons for the same quality product.

Hope you enjoyed reading and got some ideas for how to accessorize your wedding gown!

LiveJournal vs Blogging

I’ve been afraid to write here lately mostly because, well, I haven’t been writing here. I have a secret: I’ve been cheating on my blog . . . with my other blog. I promise to be better about trying to balance my personal/private blog with this public one that showcases my love for saving money and lookin’ good.

Lessons Learned From Week One of 30 for 30

For those of you unfamiliar with 30 for 30, it is a challenge started by Kendi Everyday where participants pick only thirty items to wear for the whole month. To add to the pain, you cannot shop for yourself.

-I’ve cheated and bought The Hills on DVD, though nothing else really “for me.”

-I picked out the wrong shirts for under clothes and had to add in one more tank top with a higher cut neckline.

+Having less clothes makes dressing in the morning so easy. It used to be my rule that I could only try on two outfits for work and had to pick one. Now I usually go with my first choice, leaving time for other morning activities like spending time with the pets or putting on makeup.

+Less laundry to do and I can wash more things by hand thus saving me money at the laundry mat!

-I’ve noticed I need to replace most of my jeans, as they are all one to two sizes to big and I hate wearing belts.

Overall, not a bad first week! I promise to be a faithful fashion blogger from now on!

Aromatherapaes De-Stress Spa Shower Tablet Review

As a shower person, I am quite jealous of the different bubble baths, salts and bath bombs available to bath fanatics. I tried Aromatherapaes De-Stress Spa Shower tablets with the hopes that I would get the opportunity to indulge in some bath-esque relaxation. The results were mixed.

The tablets are comprised of neroli and chamomile oils, which help reduce anxiety and soothe tension, according to Smith and Vandiver, the manufacturer. This product is certified 100% all natural by the Natural Products Association, vegan and not tested on animals. The product retails for $5.99 for 6 tablets. While Smith and Vandiver says they are available online, there is currently no webpage for them. Their products are also sold in grocery and drug stores as well as specialty and natural stores.

Aromatherapaes tablets can be used three ways in three ways. The first is while showering by placing the tablet on a shelf or floor out of the direct stream of water. I’m a quick showerer so I found that the tablets did not dissolve before the shower was over. It would seem logical to leave the unused tablet in the shower for next time, but I found the smell to become overpowering and unpleasant after a few hours. I use Neutragena’s T-Gel shampoo, which has an extremely strong scent, which overpowered the tablets. I would recommend using these tablets for an occasion where you do not plan to use other strong scents.

It’s second described use is “tossing” the tablet into a basin of warm water and inhaling. Though I have never tried aromatherapy before, I was almost shocked at how well this method worked. I was having a stressful day and did genuinely feel more relaxed after inhaling the Aromatherapaes. Make sure not to place your face too close as the smell is quite strong. I sat the the bowl in my lap, which worked perfectly.

The final use is to place the tablet underneath your pill or on your nightstand while sleeping. I can’t say whether this made me have more or less restful sleep. Since the tablets shed quite a bit, I would recommend keeping them in the wrapper and cutting a hole in the plastic.

The verdict? For the basin use alone, I recommend this product, however if you purchase it expecting a soothing bath for your shower, you’ll be disappointed. At $5.99 a box, this would make a great gift basket item for a new mom or perhaps members of a wedding party.

Disclosure: I got a sample.

What I Use to Wash My Hair

One topic I didn’t speak about in the video was the marketing and advertising done by beauty companies that make consumers feel like they must have their hair squeaky clean. If you wash your hair every day what you’re really doing is stripping the natural oils that make your hair healthy. While it may look “clean,” when you do this you’re actually making your hair less healthy. You’d be surprised how many people absolutely go bizerk when you ask them if they would consider watching their hair every other day. The most common response I’ve heard is, “No! My hair gets so oily and dirty!”

Here are the questions I answer in the video:

OThe move to do away with soap, shampoo and deodorant has been growing in popularity in the last year. What are your thoughts on this trend?

Be honest how often do you wash your own hair?

OHave you tried to go the more natural route by forgoing shampoo? What happened? Or would you be tempted to try it?

What products do you use and have you ever gone with more organic alternatives?

What about that daily shower? Would you forgo that opting to shower three times a week instead?

OTo find out more about the move toward natural beauty, here are some articles you may be interested in The Great Unwashed and When It Comes to Shampoo: Less is More