Giveaway 200

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Beautiful Matters now has more than 200 Google+ followers. And I've written almost 200 posts. What better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway?

First, a beautiful vintage teacup by Phoenix Bone China, made in England.


To be perfectly correct, the shape of this cup indicates that it is actually for coffee. I learned the difference between coffee and teacups here at Mariette's blog.




Next, a couple large cotton dishtowels, lovely for drying hand-washed vintage china.


And finally, one of my favorite hand creams, by Caudalie.



When I began this blog, a little more than a year and a half ago, I announced to my husband my goal to have several thousand followers by the end of the first year. I was going to monetize my blog, and Go Big.

Well, BlogHer denied my application to become part of their network of bloggers and get advertising on my blog (too many bloggers in my genre), and I'm so glad they did. After several other early attempts to go with advertising (Amazon, etc.), I decided that wasn't the way I wanted to go. I'm very happy with my modest blog of some 200 followers and the wonderful friendships I've been able to make. Thank you all for making this small corner of blogland such a special place for me.

To win, please leave a comment and become a follower, if you are not already. I'll pick a winner, by random, and announce the name next Monday, July 6.

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In other exciting news, I have a car! After 10 months of being without transportation, I now am free as a bird . . .  I likely will not change my homebody ways much, but still it is nice to be able to get to an appointment or the grocery store or to have tea with a friend. Or, to mail out the giveaway win!

I haven't been visiting blog friends much this past week, and chalk that up to happily spending long hours reading. I finally finished my Solzhenitsyn book, hurriedly read the next book club selection (Lila by Marilynne Robinson), and then, with two and a half weeks to read what I want before our next book club meeting, turned to a tall stack of books that have been patiently awaiting my attention.

Pure summer bliss.

(Linking with Sandi's weekly tea party.)

Ferragamo test drive and Sephora haul

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So last week on my birthday my daughter took the day off and we headed out to an upscale mall about an hour from home.

I "test drove" these beautiful Salvatore Ferragamo shoes . . . 



and these . . . 


(these have a little peep-toe)
Are they really worth $650 (for the top pair)? Or $595 (for the bottom pair)? Hmmm . . . all I can say is that they were gorgeous and so comfortable.

We were brought fancy bottled water on a tray as I tried on several pair. I could get used to this . . . 

We also went into L.K. Bennett, a British company favored by the Duchess of Cambridge. I loved these beautiful shoes . . . 


At $325, they are practically a steal, right? These were gorgeous and so much more comfortable than I expected. I don't even try pointy-toed shoes on because I assume they will squeeze my toes too much. The salesperson told me they actually have more width for your toes than the rounded toe shoes. True. Who knew?

Well, I didn't come home with any shoes, but it sure was fun.

I did come home with some new finds from Sephora, though.

Brow Wiz by Anastasia.


I've been trying to grow out my brows, and haven't plucked them in several months. There are a few empty spots where waxing has permanently removed hair.

I had been using the brow powder duo in soft brown, also by Anastasia, pictured above the pencil. Probably too dark for me, and it is hard to use a light hand with it.

The brow pencil, which I bought, is lighter (taupe), and by using soft, barely there, strokes I get a better result. The other side of the retractable pencil is a brush. I finish off my brows with a brow gel to keep longer hairs in place (kind of like a Donald Trump comb-over!). I've had those longer hairs brushed down and trimmed, but end up with bald spots, so no more.

A couple products from Caudalie, a French company. Love their stuff.

Radiance in 10 minutes . . .  hmm, I'll let you know.

A freebie for my birthday . . . 

Two lip pencils from Nars; goes on smooth as silk.

And something new, a spray-on root concealer.


As you know, if you've been reading along, I'm going natural thinking of going natural. Depending on the day.

But I've been thinking about this for so long, I've decided I'm at least going to give myself a good three months or so of new growth, so I can get a good idea of what my real hair actually looks like.

This is it after skipping just one hair appointment.



There's a lot of silver in there. But there's more dark hair than I thought. I can't tell what it will look like. Fortunately, my hair grows fast. Hopefully, in a few months I'll have a better idea.

I won't bother with the root concealer until I have a bigger "skunk stripe" and/or if I have a special occasion. 

Are you all interested in me documenting this progress?

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After birthday cake, a celebratory dinner, and Father's Day triple berry pie, I got up Monday morning with a couple extra pounds. Time for immediate action!


My mother weighs herself every day. If she's even one pound up, she goes into action. Guess there's something to learn there.

Hope you all are having a beautiful week.

Birthday blessings

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I love birthdays. My own and other people's. 

I think it's important to make a Big Deal out of them.

Breakfast in bed. Cake. Presents. Favorite foods. Candles. And, if possible, birthday celebrations should last more than one day.

We need to make a big deal out of the people we love.

And we need a chance to be made a big deal of.

Don't just say, "oh, it's just another day." No! It was the day you were born. The day you entered this world, with all its craziness and beauty.

And who knows how many more you will get to enjoy?

Birthday roses . . .


Birthday cards . . .

My mom always paints me a birthday card

Presents . . . 



I saw this at a shop up north, and loved it. A mug for wrapping hands around.

My friend later went back and got it for me.



My nephews sent me this cool nerf gun . . . I am going to practice on those pesky squirrels at the bird feeder!

Birthday lunch . . . 

Daughter and I
I mentioned it was my birthday, and they brought me this!

Birthday cake . . . 



It was a good day.

June tea and some fun finds

Monday, June 15, 2015

This is my birthday week (yay!!), so I'm using my Royal Albert June teacup for tea today.



Pearls and roses . . . June's flower and gem
I got this beautiful heart from FlowerLady'sMusings etsy shop. Isn't it lovely? Someday I really want to try this ribbon embroidery.


I know bare legs are au courant, but sometimes I like to feel a little more covered, especially at church or at a formal function. I also have a number of open-toed heels. Look what I found . . . 


Toe-less pantyhose.


Perfect solution. I found these at our local department store. They are made by Berkshire.

And, as someone who has suffered with chronically dry and cracked heels, I have tried everything to keep my heels soft and to prevent cracking. O'Keeffe's for Healthy Feet. Oh, my. This is the best. stuff. ever. $7.38 for a 3.2-ounce jar. I'm not ashamed to wear open-heeled sandals anymore.


I got it on Amazon. With Amazon Prime, I can order just this, and not pay any shipping. You can find it at CVS, too.

I'm still slogging through Solzhenitsyn. He's put kitty to sleep.


I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for tea.

Tea and cookies with a blogger friend

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Last week I had the opportunity to meet the beautiful Mariette from Mariette's Back to Basics blog.

She was on her way back from northern Michigan, and I was on my way up to a women's retreat in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We could have passed each other on I-75! I was able to meet her and her husband Pieter in their hotel for tea and cookies, and visit for a couple hours.


She made me two bags of delicious, healthy homemade almond cookies.


Look at her pretty ribbon . . . 


After our visit, I headed up north to the retreat with a friend of mine who lives in northern Michigan. It was a refreshing getaway, spiritually and emotionally.

I did indulge a little. On our way up to the retreat center we stopped along the northern shore of Lake Michigan, and had fresh Lake Superior whitefish.


This was our view while eating . . . 

Cloudy and cool. One night it got down to 38F. Glad I took my down vest.
Yesterday, before I left, we went into the little town of Petosky (northern lower peninsula), and had a delicious lunch of soup and bread, and split this . . . 


It was delicious, and worth every single calorie. But today I am back home and back to my healthy eating plan. None too soon, let me tell you.

So, this is the second blogger friend I've met IRL (in real life). Would love to have tea and cookies with each one of you. In the meantime, though, I'll enjoy our online friendships.

How to prevent hair breakage around the hairline

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I know, I know. I blog about The Important Things.

haha

A couple readers mentioned that the broken hairs around my hairline might not be caused by hair color. 

I am still moving forward to natural -- thank you all so much for the encouraging comments!! -- but I thought I'd do a little research into other possible causes of breakage around the hairline. 

Besides being possibly caused by hormonal changes, stress, and poor eating habits, breakage can be caused by how we care for (or don't care for) our hair. {Another, nicer, possibility is that it isn't breakage at all, but new, baby hairs.}

Here are a few things I learned.

Don't:
  • Brush or even comb your hair while it is wet. Instead, use your fingers to gently "comb" through your hair. 
  • Blow dry your hair or use heating elements on it (flat irons, curling irons, hot rollers). If you must blow dry your hair, wait until it is almost 90% dry, and use the lowest heat setting.
  • Pull your hair tightly back from your face.
  • Use gels or hairspray, which can dry the hair and make it more susceptible to breakage.
Do:
  • Apply moisturizing masks to your hair once a week. A good, simple one is coconut oil. Apply to hair, distribute evenly, and let it soak in for a good half hour. Wash out with shampoo; no need to follow with conditioner.
  • Use a boar bristle hairbrush, which is gentler on hair.
  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase. It's not as rough on your hair as cotton, especially if you are a restless sleeper, or toss a lot, like me. (It will also prevent face creases.)

This is not really groundbreaking info to me, but I needed to remind myself. I'm guilty of breaking a number of these guidelines. I'm not sure I can wean myself of the hot rollers and hairspray yet.


But if I'm going to have "real" hair, I'm going to want to take good care of it. It's very possible it will have a different texture anyways, and can be cared for differently.

I've ordered some shampoo and conditioner for silver hair after reading up on the best ones. Kind of jumping the gun here, as it will take several more weeks to even see the real silver.

Again, thanks for the encouraging comments. You all have been so supportive of my weight loss. It really has helped me through the tough times. And now, I'm just going to be thinking of all you lovely women with your beautiful hair who have told me that it's worth it, and I will be glad to have ditched the dye.

I like to pretend I'm very casual and okay with all this, but I'm not. Hair really has so much to do with our identity and beauty and sense of self, doesn't it? Much more than I'm willing to admit.

But, the Bible tells us that gray hair is a crown of splendor.

 I'm just wondering whether my crown will be platinum, nickel, silver, chrome, or some kind of alloy?
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