Successful technique for doing a pre-poo on low porosity hair

I’ll preface this by saying: My hair was blown out and flat ironed when I did this treatment. While on vacation in the States, I decided to have my hair done by my hairdresser. I returned home a couple of weeks ago and life has been very busy. Alas, that flat ironed hair, lasted me 3 weeks– I know, I know, way too long without a wash, but I’ll admit, I did enjoy not bothering with my hair for such a long time– My hair was a bit dry and dirty, definitely in need of a cleanse. Since I’m always deep conditioning, I decided to pre-poo my hair, so I could skip stepping out of the shower, deep conditioning and going back into the shower to rinse.

My first pre-poo consisted of me applying oil to my hair and plopping on a plastic cap. I noticed a bit of sheen, but didn’t really notice a major different in my hair’s overall condition. This time, I decided to do a hot oil/ deep condition pre-poo.

  1. I combined different oils that all have beneficial properties: coconut (70%), jojoba (10%), cupuaca (10%) butter, argan oil (10%).
  2. I used about 1/4 cup of all combined. Placed the oil in my DIY pyrex dish double boiler and warmed them over medium heat.
  3. I added a sprig of rosemary to the oils, as it has healing properties, invigorates the scalp, promotes growth and smells just heavenly. Once warmed, I applied this to my hair from root to tip, paying special attention to my ends. I also applied a small amount to my scalp and massaged my head.
  4. I was generous with the amount applied to my ends and applied a light layer to the rest of my hair.
  5. Next, I put conditioner on the ends of my hair on top of the oil. Sat under a hooded dryer, with a plastic cap on my head, for about 30 minutes. I then proceeded to shampoo with a gentle sulfate-free cleanser and then condition.
  6. Finally, I moisturized with a leave-in and did my usual styling routine (i.e. twists and sat under the dryer to let the moisture seep in).

What I noticed:

  • my hair didn’t feel stripped when I shampooed it.
  • my hair melted into the conditioner and detangling was not difficult.
  • my hair was shiny after washing, but the next day when it was completely dry it was even shinier.
  • day three hair is still shiny and so soft. I need to keep my hands out of my head though, definite case of HIH (hands in hair) syndrome.
  • My twist out is not as defined as usual, but I’m okay with that. I’ll trade anything for health and shine.

Moral of the story, low porosity hair needs, heat for products to absorb.

*** hair pinned back for my job interview, but I’m still loving the sheen!***

   
  

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Mom Regimen and Life Hacks

Now that I’m a mother of two, I’ve adjusted my regimen to accommodate. You can still refer to my regimen page for a look into my normal routine. I hope to get back to that one when things calm down–one can dream right?

So this is what my hair routine and beauty hacks look like.

1. Hair

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Weekly washes have turned to every other weekly washes. To revive my hair and get a fresh look for week two. I detangle my stretched hair, slightly dampen it with my wet fingers, put on a tiny bit of leave-in, coat the section in a light oil, twist it up and go to sleep. The next day, I take it out and fluff my root. Results: Shiny, fluffy hair.

For some reason, I get more shine and less frizz doing this. Probably because my hair is styled on stretched hair, using very little water. Since my hair is stretched, it’s also easier to distribute the product and oil. This will help me get through another 5 – 7 days without having to wash.

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes.

2. Clothes

I haven’t been shopping in a long time. I have some pudge left over from the birth of my little girl. I’m okay with these two things. I only want to shop for items that are timeless and that will survive different stages of life with me. Better for the planet and my wallet– quality over quantity. I’m working out and that keeps me healthy and will help me lose some of the pudge. Although, I want to keep some of it, this pregnancy has blessed me with more butt and curves, which I’ve always wanted. LOL!

Back to the topic– To avoid looking like I just rolled out of bed and threw on the first thing I saw — which I’ve done a lot, I pair some effortless clothes with some statement pieces and do lots of layering.

Layers work well for nursing on-the-go. It gives me privacy and gives my little ones extra warmth. Like the cardigan I’m wearing in the photo above from Zara. I paired it with a loose, cropped satin tank and high waisted distressed skinny jeans. The tank hides my belly pooch and the high waisted jeans lengthen my legs and also helps suck in the belly. Just want to add my ripped jeans look, which are all the rave now, are DIY. Step one: play race cars with your toddler while crawling around on your knees and voila. I always, always, always wear a pair of flats or flat soled boots– it’s all about functionality.

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If you pulled an all nighter, throw on some sunglasses and you’re good to go.

 

3. Beauty

I give myself a time limit for getting ready. I have to be done with shower, hair, clothes and make-up in 20- 25 minutes. This is my time limit if I decide to wake up before my kids and get ready. My make-up routine is 5 minutes and it’s minimal. My goal is to get a fresh, slept-8 to 10 hours-look. I splash my face with cold water, tone with witch hazel and hydrate with jojoba oil. Then I put concealer under my eye, bronzer at the top of my cheek bones and blush on the apples of my cheeks, I throw on a neutral eye shadow, a couple of coats of mascara and I’m good to go. I don’t use foundation. This method gives me a fresh, awake face. If I don’t have time for a full 5 minute routine. I just do mascara, concealer and blush.

 

4. Mind

I wake up about 10 minutes earlier than planned and either read a few pages of a book or focus on my breathing and the feeling I have in that moment. I’m trying to really enjoy being in the moment. I’m a natural planner and as soon as my feet hit the ground, I know what I’m doing three days from that moment. So my goal is to remember to live the here & now, especially with my little ones.

Your turn: What are your life hacks to save time in the four areas I mentioned (hair, clothes, beauty and mind)? Whether you have kids or not, I’d love to hear from you.

 

October Updates

So in about a week, I enter my third trimester. I’ll miss the second trimester. It’s the phase in pregnancy where I feel the most energetic and attractive. With my son, I grew most in the third trimester and with this baby, I think it’ll be the same, although I’m now the size I was with my son during my 8th month. In short, I’m hitting that penguin carrying a balloon while getting her waddle on phase. Time is going by really fast at the moment and I’m very excited at the idea of having another little peanut to add to our family of three.

In the hair world, I’ve been religiously doing rhassoul clay treatments once per week. I follow that up with a deep conditioner consisting of a light oil, e.g. grapeseed and moisturizing conditioner. I then sit under my bonnet dryer for 20-30 minutes, add a leave-in, mostly concentrating on my ends, a light layer of gel (currently trying: Kinky Curly Curling Custard), twist my hair and seal the ends of my twists with an oil.  My two favorite conditioners for deep conditioning at the moment are Aussie Moist (still love this brand) and Tresemme Naturals. Finally, I sit under the dryer for about 20 minutes and let my hair partially dry, before heading to bed.

As you can see my routine, hasn’t changed much. The only thing I’m doing differently is weekly rhassoul clay treatments. I’ve noticed that I’ve retained some length and the overall health of my hair has improved drastically. I attribute this positive change to two things: a much needed cut I received this summer and a visit to the doctor. This summer, I went to my childhood hairdresser. As I sat down in his chair and he unraveled my bun and began washing my hair, he grew quiet. “Is everything ok?” he asked. Worried and somewhat confused, I stared at him puzzled. “I’m not trying to scare you or make you worry, but last year your hair was the epitome of health, right now it’s shedding heavily and feels very dry and brittle. Has anything changed in your diet, are you really stressed out at the moment?” He spoke gently and softly, as he handled my hair with great care. I brushed it off and reassured him that my first trimester was stressful, but now I was doing much better. I chalked it up to the doctor ordered bedrest for 2 weeks, in which I couldn’t thoroughly wash my hair and deep condition it.

He stopped his line of questioning and just gave his final two cents. “Ok honey, just make sure you’re getting enough iron, protein and taking your prenatals. You also might want to bring this up with your doctor. I’m not a medical professional, but often when things aren’t going well internally, it manifests on the outside and I see a major difference in your hair, love.” We then went on with our usual banter and celebrity gossip, as we transitioned out of the medical screening process.

Personally, I don’t eat a lot of meat and try to limit my intake, I don’t drink milk, but would occasionally eat a yogurt here and there. However, recently I’d started to entertain the idea of going vegan, after reading some articles and watching some documentaries. I hadn’t told him, because I thought he’d judge me. As soon as I returned home from summer vacation I began looking for a new doctor and decided to have some bloodwork done. It turns out, my B12 and iron were low. There are many women who suffer from low iron levels during and postpartum. However, the doctor indicated that my B12 levels were probably low due to dietary restrictions. I felt like a fool for starting a journey into something unknown without doing my research properly, especially being pregnant and all. I started to read and noticed many vegans have to supplement B12 in their diets. Low levels can be dangerous for cell development and the nervous system, as well as memory functions. My doctor immediately recommended weekly injections of B12. She also administered iron directly into my bloodstream. I’m feeling much better since this treatment and less tired, which I’d always attributed to my being a mom and being pregnant, which believe me, still exhausts me, but I am feeling more energetic than prior.

After my injections, I went back to doing research and discovered there are two types of B12 supplements, one that is absorbed easier by the body, methylcobalamin (mouthful I know) and cyanocobalamin, which is considered more harmful than beneficial. At my next visit, I checked with the medical assistant to determine what form of B12 their office uses and found out they only had cyanocobalamin in different brands. From what I’ve learned, Switzerland does not offer B12 prescriptions and this is the only form used countrywide. Probably due to its low production costs. I stopped my weekly injections and have now ordered a daily supplement. I’ve gone back to eating meat here and there from fear. I think after my pregnancy I’ll pick-up from where I left off. In the meantime I’ve ordered to books and will research this lifestyle more in detail, before proceeding.

Sorry for the long post and rant. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, if your skin or hair starts changing or deteriorating in appearance, it might not be due to a hair regimen, but to internal reasons. In my case, my hair feels better than it did a few months back, it’s feels healthier, thicker and shinier. I don’t think that’s 100% due to my regimen, but also to the fact that I’ve sought medical attention for the things my body was lacking.

I guess I have to thank my hair dresser, MD for this one. Have a lovely Sunday!

By the way, I’ll be updating and simplifying my regimen section, as there are some aspects of my regimen, which I don’t use on a regular basis. I’ll also try to include a frequently asked questions  section. I receive many emails often with the same type of questions and thought this might be helpful for new visitors and less frequent followers.

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Have a beautiful Sunday!

Blown-out Twist-out

This is by far my favorite to-go-to hairstyle in the spring and fall, when the weather is warm and dry. I simply, blow dry my hair, my goal is not bone straight blown out hair, but just stretched hair. A heat protectant and small amount of leave-in was applied before blowdrying my hair. Next I put my hair in big chunky flat twists and unravel the next day. I enjoy this style, because it’s soft and fluffy. I get to enjoy the length of my hair for a bit. In addition, this style lasts longer than my wet/damp set twists, typically 10 – 14 days. I follow-up by oiling my ends each night and placing my hair back in jumbo twists. Love the versatility of natural hair!

I’m mostly doing my usual routine (clay wash, occasional slippery elm detangle, deep conditioning and sealing with oil and for the most part skipping the leave-in). This week, I started with a new practice and that’s oiling my scalp before I wash my hair. I’ll post on that soon.Have you ever oiled your scalps, is it part of your regimen?

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That Time of The Month Hair

Why did I even bother pre-pooing?!

This post may be a little TMI for some. However, I can’t help but address this topic, based on my experience. My hair is typically predictable and easy to care for, given I follow my low porosity regimen. Although, there is one time during each month where it’s drier, more tangled, duller and harder to care for and that’s during menstruation. Shortly after “Aunt Flo” has made her visit, my hair gets a breath of life and looks instantly healthier.This is probably due to the drop in hormones during the start of the cycle and the increase in hormones after and during ovulation.

Since my hair is unwilling to cooperate with me during that time, here are some tricks and I use.

  1. Increase conditioning. During this time of the month, I try not to skip deep conditioners and moisturize my hair more.
  2. Protective styling. I don’t wear a lot of protective styles. I like to wear my hair out. However, you’ll find me in a bun one week out of the month. I just tuck it away and don’t bother trying to force it to do what it won’t.
  3. Increase H20 intake. I generally try to drink enough water, but am more conscious of my fluid intake during this time.
  4. Eat more healthily. See above.

Do you notice any differences in your hair around that time of the month?

Twisted Twist Out Feat. Slippery Elm and Dry Deep Conditioning

Happy Spring. Hope you’re all enjoying milder weather, blooming trees and longer days.

I’m no hair styling queen and rarely post on styling. However, I’ve found a twist-out method that I had to share. So there are different twist out techniques. I’ve used two on my hair. 1. The two strand twist. This is simple. You take two pieces of hair, wind them round and round from the roots to the tips. 2. The flat twist. This one is a little more involved, you take small sections of hair and twist them from root to tip, incorporating more as you work your way down. Kind of like a french braid, but a twist instead. I find method 1 is faster and easier for novices like myself. The latter method takes times, but yields more defined  results than the first.

Since, I’m low on time, I typically do two strand twists. Recently, I accidentally enhanced this style. I don’t have pictures or a video, but it’s quite easy to explain. You put your hair in twists. Let it air dry, or as I prefer partially dry under a hooded dryer. You then wind/twist the twisted hair around from root almost to then ends, but not all the way down (to reduce manipulation on the ends of your hair), pin the twisted twists, in place with a hair pin, so they don’t unwind. This method results in a more defined and stretched twist out. When you’re twisting your twists, it’s a similar motion to making a bantu knot, but not as tight.

Another new technique I’m using to get a different  style and more defined look counter clockwise twisting (just made the name up). I twist towards my face, so the curls go forward rather than off my face. I like the final look a lot more than my usual twisting direction.

Finally, I’m loving my short on time, dry deep conditioning routine. My hair is still very moisturized and it’s a great alternative to rhassoul. Here’s what I do:

  1. Apply a deep conditioner mix. This week it was coconut milk, Giovanni deeper moisture, a few drops coconut oil and honey.
  2. Sit under a dryer for 20 – 30 minutes.
  3. While conditioner is still in my hair, shampoo my hair. Rinse.
  4. Apply my slippery elm mixture, apply some consitioner on top of that (Aussie Moist, this week) and detangle.

I then sealed my hair with jojoba oil and applied leave-in to my ends.

Here’s the final result.

Now to you, I’m curious… Have you ever used slippery elm? What’s your favorite stretched style?

Wash Sleep and Go

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Every week I twist, turn, braid and/or knot my hair. I’m always pre-styling. It’s been months since I’ve done a wash and go. So I felt one was in order this week. Besides, I generally notice by day 3 or 4, twist outs and any “out” for that matter is not really forgiving on my ends. Especially, with dry winter weather and knit sweaters, my poor ends usually take a beating. So I’m going to try wash and gos for a little now, to see whether leaving my ends alone at night (i.e. no manipulation), will protect them.

I used to give a *Kanye shrug* when I read about protective styling, I just didn’t feel  it did anything for me. Now that my hair is longer and rubs against my clothes when stretched, I’m starting to see the light. I know, I know, you’re probably saying to yourself “a wash and go is the furthest from protective styling– single strand knots (ssks)!” However, I want to test it out, because I feel a wash and go provides shrinkage, which reduces contact with my clothes. We shall see. In any case, it’s been a while since I’ve worn my curls as is and right now I’m loving it.

So back to the post of this title. I call this style a Wash Sleep and Go, because I washed my hair at night. Here’s how I achieved the result.

Evening before – Washed and conditioned my hair. Applied a generous amount of Cantu Leave-In (um, love this stuff, review to come soon along with some other fun products I’m trying out), applied gel to entire head. I usually don’t apply a gel, but I wanted some definition and hold. Air dried my hair for a few hours*, split it in two, twisted each section into two very large loose twists (leaving my ends untwisted) and pinned them in place. Satin scarf, sleep.

*You want your hair to be more than half-way dry before heading to bed.

Next day – I had a little case of helmet head, but nothing a bit of head banging, shaking and swerving, can’t deal with. My hair feels SO soft and smells really good. It’s shiny and my ends are definitely hydrated. If I notice it’s starting to get a little dry I’ll spritz my ends with leave-in and water and/or wear a chignon.

Do you wash and go in the winter? What are you techniques?

 

Low Porosity Friend V2: Slippery Elm

It’s been a while since I’ve added some new lo-po friends to my list of products. That’s mainly because, when I find a good thing, I stick with it. However, I do like to experiment from time to time. Recently, I’ve found a couple of ingredients that do that my hair loves. I’ll discuss one today.

If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning, you know that I absolutely love Kinky Curly Knot Today. Recently, I started to think to myself, what is it about this leave-in that makes my hair so soft, my curls so defined and detangling a breeze. Light bulb: check the ingredient list. That’s when I became curious about experimenting with some of the ingredients on the list to see if I could use them on my hair in their pure form. One of the ingredients, high on the list is slippery elm and man am I happy I did. 

Let me set the scene. My hair has been in a slump lately. It looked dry and rough and all kinds of bad. I decided to have a spa night. I pre-conditioned my dry hair with Shea Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask, let it marinate, while I chased the little one around. Note: this stuff works horribly on my hair wet and it’s no wonder, shea butter, while it’s a wonderful sealer for my skin, it does nothing for my hair. Why do I keep trying to convince myself to use it!! Any way, I used it as a pre-poo hoping for better results. It was ok, I guess. I shampooed my hair with the conditioner on my ends. Then followed up by detangling with slippery elm and adding in conditioner to moisturize my hair, letting it sit a few minutes then rinsing. Um, can I just say, my curls were clumped and so juicy. I did a twist out and my hair felt so good the next day. I actually did a happy dance!!

 

So here are the deets on the process and the benefits of slippery elm.

Slippery elm is found in Central and Eastern US and Eastern Canada. The inner bark of this tree has medicinal properties and it’s used to treat many superficial and internal problems.

Slippery Elm Detangler Recipe

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-2 TBSP slippery elm bark + -1.5 – 2 cups hot water

Pour water into a container, mix in slippery elm bark until dissolved. Let sit until water cools.

The slippery elm will form mucilage, voila your detangler.

I imagine if you  could use a tea cloth to strain the particle, but I didn’t and it wasn’t a problem.

Add your favorite conditioner while the slippery elm is in your hair.

Why slippery elm for lo-po hair?

  • I don’t know what the PH of slippery elm is, but research shows that it has an alkalizing effect and is often used to help with acid reflex. Remember for lo-po hair alkaline products are typically beneficial in helping open up the cuticle and moisturize the hair.
  • The mucilage that the elm releases makes detangling a breeze. The strands clump and are weighed down, which helps the fingers and comb glide through your curls. My hair shrinks up easily and is typically really light weight. This tends to result in lots of tangling and long detangling sessions. Not with slippery elm, it takes me 5 – 10 minutes.
  • It promotes growth (bra strap length, here we come)
  • Makes your hair soft and smooth (lord knows I need it with all this new hair growth returning after postpartum shedding, I literally hair a halo.)
  • Heals damaged hair

Need I say more. Have you ever tried slippery elm?

 

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone,

So I’m back from Boston. I had a lovely stay and enjoyed every moment that I spent with family and friends. Now it’s back to the daily grind (i.e. running too and fro with a toddler and working). Oh it really does take a village to raise a child. I’m so grateful for every moment I had back home with my family and friends. Hubs and I got a lot of quality time on this trip and everyone was ever so happy to “take Peanut off our hands”.

Per usual, I did a little shopping on this trip for hair products.

I bought:

  • Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Treatment. My verdict is still out. I only used it once and it wasn’t at home, so I couldn’t do my usual deep treatment. So I’ll do a review at a later time.
  • I can’t remember the name of one conditioner that I bought, but it was a very inexpensive Suave Conditioner.
  • Pantene Pro-V Damage Detox. Again, I only used this once. However, I did really like how my hair felt after one use, so am really excited to give it another go.
  • Aveda Be Brilliant Conditioner and Styling Creme. I used to love this stuff during my relaxed days. It’s on the pricey side, but I plan on doctoring it up and adding my own ingredients to it sometimes, to stretch it out. I wasn’t crazy about their Be Curly Line, it did wonders for my relaxed hair, when I wore a wash-n-go, but absolutely nothing for my curly hair. The sales clerk at the store had beautifully, tightly coiled hair and praised this product. I’m hoping it won’t disappoint.
  • Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In. I didn’t like this after using once, but I bought so am going to make it work. I might try using it as a conditioner instead of a leave-in and of course adding some moisturizing ingredients to it. I just feel it sits on my head. Maybe diluting it in water would help… I’ll of course, give it another try, before reviewing it.

At the moment, my hair is straight. I went to my old stylist to get my hair blown out and get a much-needed trim. I’m going on week two *hides in shame* of straight hair at this point. I’ll probably wash it this weekend. I do miss my curls, but pin curling or wrapping at night and heading to bead without any additional work has been so heavenly.

Winter Regimen and Fashion Blues

So, this thing happens to me every year where I just kind of let myself go in the winter. I don’t know what it is about the winter, but suddenly my hair gets pulled back into a bun and hibernates until spring (and it’s not intentional protective styling). My clothes get a little drab and shabby (and not shabby-chic). Make-up, accessories, what are those things? Oh you mean those little items that I pull out when I can feel the sun on my skin. Gotcha. So you get my point, winter and I are not really BFFs.

This winter I don’t want to go into hibernation. Maybe it’s due to motherhood that I want to suddenly revamp my winter look (sidenote: peanut turned one last week). Whatever the reason, I’d like to give more attention to myself in the winter and update my winter look. Again, being a mom, I’d like to be realistic and make small changes as those are the easiest to stick. So here are my winter regimen goals.

Hair

This is not a bun-a-thon

I have not seen my hair down in over a month, so this weekend decided to do a twist-out. I realized all the bunning, again, done purely out of a lack of time, was putting too much strain on my already weak postpartum edged. Additionally, the polyester blend scarf that laid down my edges so nicely– no bueno, it was actually drying out my edges and preventing growth. I returned to my satin/silk loose-fitting scarf. I’d rather have halo-like edges than none at all. At least then I know they’re on a journey to growing back.

Twist and wear it out

So, for my hair this winter I’d like to wear it out at least every other week. I realized braid outs require too much time. So I’m going to opt for twists, which are faster. I may not have as much curl tightness and definition as I do with a braid-out, but I’m okay with that. Twists take me 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops to install and are super fast to let down.

Getting oily with it

I don’t usually seal in summer, but in winter sealing my ends and my edges is a must. I simply can’t skip this when the weather is dry and cold. My ends get a little drab on day 3 of wearing a twist out. Now, I make sure I oil my ends with coconut, jojoba or grape seed oil every other night before wrapping my hair. This helps reduce friction and protect my ends. I don’t use water on twist outs after I style my hair, as  this creates frizz.

Accessories 

I think winter is difficult for head fashion for many naturals. When my hair was relaxed, I could throw any beanie cap over my hair. Now, I want to make sure it doesn’t crush my curls, dry them out or wreck my style. However, staying warm is also very important. I usually just end up wearing a jacket with a warm hood. I’d like to look cute and all every now and again. So I’m on the hunt (most likely will try Etsy) for cute warm winter head-gear that won’t wreck the curls. Here are some ideas I found.

Clothes

So, I love fall. I can layer and wear fun blazers and boots. However, when the snow falls and the wind starts blowing like crazy– all I want to do is throw on a chunky sweater, jeans and winter boots and call it a day. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, I’d like to have just as much fun with winter fashion as I do with the other seasons. So, I’ll be trying to add a little sparkle and small hints of color, here and there. I want to wear more skirts and just layer, layer, layer to stay warm. I don’t think I’ll ever wear heels in winter, but I’ll at least try to find a boot that’s both warm and stylish. A lot of ideas I search for online show people dressed in climates with LA winters. Let’s face it, I would freeze heading out in a blazer and a chunky scarf. So I’m still on the look out for ideas. Open to any suggestions? I’ll of course adapt what I find to fit my aesthetic and lifestyle.

Make-up

I’m a minimalist when it comes to make-up and I’m okay with that. I still will try to do the minimum – eyeliner, blush and maybe a lipstick to dress things up a bit. Something dramatic would be nice, since my routine is pretty basic. I guess I have my winter shopping list done now.

 

What’s your winter fashion look? If you live in a warm environment and your temperatures never reach freezing. I envy you!

 

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