LIBBY LIVING COLORFULLY

What is Whole30 and Why Did I Do It?

Food, How ToLibby RasmussenComment
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I love food. Period.  I feel very fortunate to have a healthy relationship with it. I don't have any food allergies, disordered eating habits, or even any real aversions to any kind of food.  There isn't a food item I won't try or likely, enjoy.  I do however, love a good challenge, especially when it comes to changing the way I think about what I'm putting in my body.  

Enter Whole30.  What started as a personal challenge to go "Sugar-Free For a Week" turned into a decision to try it out for a month.  So, let's talk about it, because a lot of people have some seeeeerious opinions about "diets" or "eating habits" without really listening to the person who is trying it out.  

What is Whole30?

According to Whole30.com, Whole30 (we'll call it W30 from now on) is a way to change the way you think and eat for 30 days.  "Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system."  What could be wrong with that?  The W30 theory is that many food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.

Again, I don't have any stomach issues, I sleep like a baby each night, and don't have any food allergies.  I do, however, tend to get a little off-balance from time to time and am easily convinced (by myself) that what I'm eating, seemingly healthy, or not, isn't thaaaat bad for me. 

So I like to reset - which for me, is what Whole30 does. It puts things back into perspective for me and challenges me to think more.  Am I reading the labels? Are the foods I'm eating truly, "whole"? Or are there 13+ ingredients on the label, half of which I can't pronounce? Am I drinking that coffee because I love the taste of the coffee? No, it's because I want the cream and sugar.  When I do W30, I basically decide to take the plunge, and push the “reset” button with my metabolism and take a hard look at the food choices I made in the past and what I plan on doing with them in the future. 

Okay, So What Do I Eat on W30?

Probably the first question I get when I tell people that I'm cutting out sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes for 30 days is, "Okay, well what CAN you eat then?" and my answer, well, a lot of things actually. Rather than think about the foods I CANT have, I try to think of W30 as a way to eat more fruits, vegetables, seafood, with the occasional red meat and a lot of eggs.  HERE is my favorite Whole 30 Trader Joe's Grocery list and HERE is my favorite Whole Foods W30 compliant list. 

If I had to break down my top W30 foods it would be:

1. More green veggies.. hellllllooooo Sweetgreen salads
2. Pasture Raised Eggs (see here why I only eat these kind)
3. Clementines & other citrus fruits
4. Plantain chips
5. RXBars (here's their Whole30 pack)
6. Avocados 

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...And What Can't You Eat

Straight from the experts at Whole30.com here is the official list of no no's. "Omitting all of these foods and beverages 100% for 30 days will help you eliminate cravings, restore a healthy metabolism, heal the digestive tract, reduce systemic inflammation, and discover how these foods are truly impacting how you look, how you feel, and your quality of life."

  • Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results.  These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it is made with coconut flour.
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What Makes W30 So Hard?

HUMMUS guys.  I missed it so much.  Probably of all the foods, not having legumes when cooking for myself is a particular challenge.  As someone who doesn't really drink soda (unless I'm getting fast food) or is a habitual coffee drinker (other than Colada Shop) cutting out the sugar wasn't really that hard.  One exception though, I LOVE LOVE LOVE condiments and sauces and guess what, pretty much every condiment has sugar in it.  Ketchup, Sriracha, Ranch, BBQ sauce, Honey mustard, tartar sauce, they all have sugar.  

My affinity for hummus and sauces aside, eating out tends to be a bit of a challenge.  If you're planning on going on a trip to Europe or long trip back home, don't do Whole30. Unless you really have the determination, it would just be far too hard.  This is why a lot of people choose to do W30 in January.  It can be a great way to kick off the new year, and rid your body of the holiday weight and poor decisions you may have made in the early winter months. Plus, many choose to participate in Dry January which leads me to the next topic of W30, alcohol...

So What About Alcohol? 

This is where I chose to "opt-out" and no it has nothing to do with needing alcohol. I've gone weeks and months at a time without drinking alcohol and take no issue with cutting it out.  However, I did my second round of Whole30 in July and much of my social life revolves around eating and drinking. So when I'm needing to be cautious about my food choices, simply opting out of alcohol didn't feel like something I wanted to do.  Did I avoid mixed drinks? Yes, if I could help it.  My intent was to have mostly clear, low sugar alcohols like vodka and gin.  If I was a guest at an event where wine is served or a mixed drink is prepared for me, I wasn't necessarily going to turn it down. Overall, I did make an effort though to consume less alcohol during W30.  

Why less? Well we all know what happens when we drink, and I know it's not just me here, we make poor choices, especially when it comes to food.  What has been a great personal "challenge" of having alcohol while on W30 is coming home from an event or a bar and making the decision to pass on the pizza or Chinese food and go straight for the cold bowl of watermelon in the fridge or dried (sugar-free) mango. The next day I wake up feeling guilt-free and refreshed.

If you do decide to consume alcohol during W30, be prepared to get a little heat from the W30 pros, and (somewhat) rightfully so.  They are doing it 100% and you're not.  But, I think I'll keep my sanity and social life! #chinchin #thanks

Did I Lose Any Weight?

Of course I did. Do you even know how much gluten I eat on a regular basis? (Hint: I was on Buzzfeed for it lol.)  So yes, I lost a few lbs' and this was pretty noticeable by week 2. I looked and felt lighter, my clothes fit better and yes, my skin was great too.  Strangely enough, my fingernails grew a lot.  I'm a fidgety nail-biter, and I didn't find myself doing that while on W30 for some reason.  This was also the case a few years ago when I went vegan for a few months, but we'll talk about that some other time...

Girl kneels at the altar of gluten @libby_livingcolorfully #girlswithgluten

A post shared by Girls with Gluten (@girlswithgluten) on

Will I Do It Again?

Easy answer. 100% yes.  I'm not particularly sure when, but definitely in the near future.  I've also considered doing small stints, like a Whole15 or 20. Just going long enough to feel refreshed and cleansed. Next year I will probably partake in Dry January along with my W30 just for kicks.


Have any of you done Whole 30 before? What did you like? What didn't you like? Will you do it again? 

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Photography by: Kara Schab of Right Foot Creative 

Real Talk: I Replaced 95% of my Makeup with Glossier

BeautyLibby RasmussenComment
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It’s unavoidable. There’s no way that this is the first time you are hearing about Glossier because frankly, I feel a little late in the game with this post.  If you haven’t been following them on Instagram, you should. If you haven’t stopped by their incredible NYC showroom, you should. If you haven’t gotten your hands on at least one of their beautifully-millennial-pink-packaged-products.  Jesus Christ, you  really, really should.  

I know, for a while, I too didn’t believe the hype - even from some of my best friends. But then I did it. I basically threw out 95% of my other makeup and replaced it with, you guessed it, Glossier.  And in case you don’t read the fine print on my posts below, (like most of my blog posts, I wasn’t paid for this) I, Libby Rasmussen, reached out to Glossier for this collab, because I wanted to really see what the fuss was all about. So, real talk, here’s what they sent me and here’s what I loved.  Spoiler alert: everything.

Now let’s talk the products I use, one by one. While I haven’t tried every single Glossier product, I have a pretty good idea of what they really have to offer.  And my skin has been living proof of just how great both the makeup and skincare are. 

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Skin Milk Cleanser – DREAAAAAMY AF.  I get the most questions about this because I think people like to stick with their skincare systems and I get it, it can be scary to venture out and try something new.  As someone who doesn’t struggle with acne (knock on wood) I can’t speak to how this clears skin, although one of my best friends who has struggled with adult acne, said it has done miracles for her complexion. I personally love it for the silkiness and its ability to really remove all of my makeup gently.  While I love a good scrub once and a while, giving my skin a break and pampering it with skin milk.  

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Priming Moisturizer – I truly can’t get enough of this shiiiii. I rush out of the shower, ice roll, and immediately put this on my face and décolletage.  I use small pea-sized dots around my face and honestly, it takes serious restraint not to smother my entire body in this stuff.  It’s really that dreamy.  It’s cool, it smells fantastic, and it applies gently and leaves my skin feeling moisturized but not greasy.

Balm Dotcom – Ding Ding Ding this is the BEST in my book.  The smell, the thickness, the taste, everything. So damn good.  I particularly love the Coconut balm dotcom which you can use on your lips, cuticles, elbows, heels, really anywhere that needs some love.  For me, this is 100% my elbows so I loved putting a little on my lips and using the excess on those dry little ‘bows. I was also sent the cherry balm dotcom which is tinted red but also smells fantastic.  One night, I left the house without remembering blush and just took a little of the cherry balm and dabbed it on my cheekbones.  Easy.  

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Cloud Paint – PIGMENT PIGMENT PIGMENT. I am so pleasantly surprised with how pigmented this liquid blush is.  I was given the Dusk shade, which I love because well frankly, I’ve never used a peachy-colored blush before this.  All you need is the smallllllest dab and you’re good to go.  I also use it on my eyelids for a dewier look.  I have a strong feeling I will be purchasing Puff and Haze in the very near future.  Best part, you can blend them together for fun custom shades.

Haloscope – I was sent the Moonstone, which is probably the most neutral and subtle of the three highlighters and it was great for everyday use.  It blends super well and goes on incredibly smooth.  I will say, I really want to try the Topaz color for evening or times I’m feeling extra and want to really shine. Next to the Boy Brow, this was many of my friends’ favorite product.

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Boy Brow – Since getting my brows microbladed, I’ve had the best time with my brows. LOL it’s really been a great year together. Always a fan of the bushier/darker brows (I used to gently brush mascara on them to darken them) now, I don’t need much coloring and have been loving the clear boy brow.  Hands down this is the #1 product that my Glossier friends love and use most.  Also, you can use it in under 7 seconds. Seriously, SEV-VEN SECONDS.  They even tested this out one day at the Glossier headquarters and trust me, it can be done.  Unlike a lot of brow gels, it’s lightweight and is a great product to help keep them brows in place and more importantly, effortlessly bold.  I don’t leave the house without brushing my teeth, and now, my brows.

Generation G – I was sent the Generation G lip in Zip (poppy red) and typically I shy away from any red glosses, stains, or sticks but this one is just different.  It’s incredibly light and really just heightens my lip color rather than changing it completely. I think as winter approaches and I wear more neutral colors, I will be more likely to use this color.  But for now, I already have my heart set on getting the Crush.

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Here’s what I’m dying to try:
Wowder
Stretch Concealer
Cloud Paint in Puff
Lip Gloss
Glossier You Fragrance  

Wearing boybrow, cloud paint, haloscope, and balm dot com

Wearing boybrow, cloud paint, haloscope, and balm dot com

Overall, what I’ve loved most about all of these products and being a “Glossier Girl” is how much I’ve just learned to embrace (clap) what (clap) I (clap) got. 

“It’s so subtle. If anything, the criticism would be that our products are too subtle than too intense. But I think that’s so important to be able to build. So few of us are makeup artists. We want the products to be universally flattering, to be very intuitive, very easy.” None of the products require brushes; it’s all designed to be slapped on in the back of the cab.”
-Founder, Emily Weiss

Truly effortless. Believe me, believe the hype. Try it out and see for yourself. Ask for it for the holidays. Give it to your Mom, your sister, your bridesmaids. Hell highlight your cat for all I care, just try it. SHOP BELOW! 
 

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Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were given to me as a partnership with Glossier. All of my opinions (as always) are my own and I only write about products, people, and places that I love and support. If you purchase from the links in this post, I will receive a small affiliate bonus for the reccs – so go head and get your shoppin on.

Glossier

I Finally Tried Lash Extensions ($50 off your first full set)

BeautyLibby RasmussenComment
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Guys, I did something I never thought I would really want, need, or try.  I got eyelash extensions and I'm fearful I may never look back. 

A few months ago, I wrote a post on essentially everything lash-related.  I talked about my friends' experiences with lash extensions and have always been incredibly curious about them.  So I did it, I took the plunge and got them, and wow, I am sooooo glad I did. 

Let's Talk : The Process

Prior to my appointment, per Art of Lash’s recommendation, I arrived on time and free of eye-makeup.  More info about pre/post care can be found HERE

Upon arriving to Art of Lash (located on the upper level of 1522 U Street NW in DC) I was greeted with a warm smile by the absolutely lovely owner, Malin. She made me feel super comfortable as we got to know each other a bit better.  I mean, she was just about to stare at my face for the next few hours. Malin went through a thorough consultation of what exactly I was looking for with my lash extensions.  She explained the two different types of extensions that Art of Lash Offers: The Classic and The Volume.  

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The Classic set is best for the person who either wants a natural, dramatic, or cat eye-look. The sets are done with faux mink, made from the highest quality & comes in different curls & thicknesses. A classic application means 1 single extension to each natural lash.  

The Volume  is a fuller set of lash extensions, made with lighter lashes, giving you an iconic, fuller & more luxurious look. All volume fans will be handmade & individually designed to cater to each client. This set is perfect for the person who is looking for a more dramatic & glamorous look. 

Because I love a good, thick lash, Malin and I decided that the volume set would be best for me. I wanted my lashes to be dramatic without looking too dense or too fake-looking. Malin also stressed the importance of getting lashes that would be the proper weight for my real lashes. This part was really important - when lashes aren't properly matched, they can weigh down the real lash, causing damage or breakage.  By having this consultation, Malin ensured that the lashes she selected would be the perfect weight and overall match for me.  This is what I loved - Malin listened to what I wanted but also, as the professional, knew that she knows best when came to what would look best for me! Malin also pointed out that the arches in my brows would be a good place to start having my lashes fan out, to make my eyes look bright, big, and beautiful. Yes Yes Yes.  

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Then began the relaxing part, the application process which truthfully, didn't take that long.  
I laid down on her cushioned massage-styled table where Malin provided me with a soft blanket and a pillow for behind my knees #bigbootyprobs. She then delicately placed two cool, collagen patches under my eyes, turned on a calm playlist (with some of my favvvvvorite songs) and started individually placing the light handmade volume fans of lashes individually on each of my lashes, one by one.  She explained that instead of doing one eye at a time, she alternates between the two eyes to ensure that they are completely symmetrical, which, I absolutely love. I felt completely relaxed and caught myself nearly drifting off to sleep. (To be honest, during my refill three weeks later, I actually did doze off!) Again when I say Malin is amazingly meticulous, I mean it.  Right before we finished, she inspected my lashes in detail, making sure she didn't miss anything and that they were shaped evenly and beautifully. 

After about two hours, I was ready to see my new lashes. The suspense was killing me, but I also had full faith in Malin and knew they would look amazing.  And guess what? They really trully were. 

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How cute is Art of Lash's studio? It was incredibly comfortable and clean.
Another bonus: Malin's Spotify playlist is amaaaazing. 

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Me and the beautiful and talented owner and lash expert, Malin. Guys, she's the sweetest!

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So, What about Refills?

I was pleasantly surprised by how good they looked, well into week three. I got my refill, and Malin gently took off the lashes that were grown out and replaced them with new lashes closer to the lash line.  This part is key ladies. Often times, lash extensions tend to look bad or fake because the person wearing them goes too long without getting them replaced and refilled.  They become too long and straggly and just look plain tacky.  Malin makes sure this doesn't happen and was incredibly meticulous about replacing them.  The photo below is of me after my most recent refill! 

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How Much Does it Cost?

Art of Lash's prices can be found here but GUESS WHAT, because you're reading this, you'll get $50 off!

What Did I Learn?

My Lashes are Actually Stronger  Yes, you heard me. When I was getting them refilled, Malin said that my real lashes were actually looking longer and stronger than before I got them. This is because I wasn't gooping them with mascara every day and scrubbing them off every night. 

It's Important to Take Care of Your Extensions But, they are by no means time-consuming.My top 3 pointers for aftercare would probably be: 1. Don't be afraid to get them wet. Seriously, after the 24-hour period, you should be cleaning them regularly to prevent any debris. It will also help them stay on longer.  2. Refills are your friends. Don't wait too long to get them done. These are your lashes! Don't you want them do look amazing 24/7? 3. Don't apply mascara. Keeping your lashes clean of residue and maybe the little bit of eye shadow that got on them is one thing, globbing on layers of mascara (or any for that matter) is another. You want to keep your lashes looking fresh and natural for as long as you can. Putting on mascara won't do you any favors long-term. 

They Really Do Make Life Easier.. Okay, well maybe not everything in life but, now aftergetting my brows microbladed and having lash extensions, my morning makeup routine consists of a little concealer, blush, and a highlight, a whopping 8 minutes folks. EIGHT! Nothing is better than going to bed and waking up already feeling pretty, I promise you this.   

Leave It To The Pros  If you're going to try to cut corners and go to just some random place for your lashes, I highly recommend you reconsider. Malin at Art of Lash is a licensed professional with years and years of experience.  Don't try to go somewhere just for the best deal. If you're interested in getting lash extensions, it's because you care about what your lashes and you want them to look the best that they possibly can right? Then seriously, listen to your gut and go with the pros.   

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Like I mentioned, from now until October 31st, if you book an appointment with Malin at Art of Lash and mention "Libby" in the notes when booking your appointment and you will get $50 off your first full set of either classic or volume lashes.  #worthit

 After booking your lash appointment, make sure to follow @artoflashdc for more amazing before and after photos! 

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A Few Favorite Fall-ish Jumpsuits

ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment

In 2015, I made it a goal of mine to wear a jumpsuit. Yes, singular.  I had yet to wear one in my adult life (jumpers were big in my infant years, I'm told) but frankly, as an adult, I was intimidated by them. Until I got my first jumpsuit, and my thoughts (& wardrobe changed drastically.)

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And now, I thought I would do a little roundup of the many many rompers that I've been collecting and coveting lately.  The one pictured above is this little frilly number from ASOS.  I wore it to a cocktail tasting at the new Pod Hotel in Chinatown! Special shout out to Jarrett Hendrix for snapping this shot of Lauren and me! 

Click through the photos to shop my ASOS favorites! 
Happy Friday!

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The links for this post are my affiliate links. I make a small commission for each purchase. Thanks!

How To: Make a No-Brainer Cocktail

Food, How To, EntertainingLibby RasmussenComment

So in spite my bar cart being one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my home, I tend to keep a pretty light stock of alcohol.  And if it's one thing I've learned about hosting, it's that your guests are rarely there when you have perfect flowers blooming, or the right cocktail garnishes and fixings.  So, enter the solution, and one-stop-wonders of the two ingredient cocktail.
Yes, two. 

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So, maybe you're like me and aren't always fully stocked up on well, the good stuff.  Here are a few tips to remember for the future when you're scrambling to put something together. Try to always have a bottle of champagne. Why? Because when you're lacking in the booze department, spritzers, Bellinis, mimosas, you name it, these. are. your. friends. More times than not, you're going to have a juice in your fridge and using it to top off your bubbles is a great option to a complicated cocktail. But, also, don't underestimate your liqueur like; St. Germain, Campari, or Aperol.  All of the above are great ways to add a little extra specialty to your cocktails. And most importantly, portable cocktails are a lifesaver. They're all great, whether it's canned wine and these cute mason jar cocktails or pictured below, Element Shrubs.  There are tons of great options that help you craft your own drinks. 

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Below, I used the Honeydew Jalapeno element shrub and a little vodka, with a hint of fresh jalapeños to whip up a quick drink for a friend! 

So What About Garnishes? 

Citrus: Every time I go to the grocery store, I try to get a bag of clementines, lemons, and limes. When in reality, I typically end up eating more of the clementines, using some of the limes, and maybe all of just one measly lemon before I have to throw the remaining out
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Jalapeños: Spicy alcohol is the best. This is a fact.  And if you don't believe me, then you're not experimenting with your alcohol enough and I encourage you to step outside your vodka soda snoozefest.  I mean, even think about how good a vodka soda would taste with a few slices of spice.  Yum.  Spicy margs, spicy mules, spicy bloodies. The list goes on and on.  Even with a fruity, bubbly bevvie, the kick adds just the right amount of interest to make your bottled-booze taste like a craft cocktail. I snagged a few of these peppers from a new friend's roof at the Apollo a few weekends ago.  He's lucky enough to have a small garden up there with a very very generous amount of jalapeños. Yum! 

On the plus side, most, but not all, of the time, I typically have plenty of garnishes when need be for cocktails. But, the greenery poses a problem. 

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Herbs: This is where I fall short, I rarely have fresh mint, basil, or rosemary sprigs in the fridge because, we all know this. They go bad so quickly! Which is really such a shame considering most herbs grow like, well, WEEDS outside.  My goal for this year is to try to keep a few herb plants in my apartment for fresh garnishes for cocktails and food dishes. Another thought, walking over to my local community garden and picking some myself... 

Edible Flowers: Obviously this is even less obtainable than having fresh herbs ready 24/7 in your fridge. But, I am encountering more and more edible floral options here in DC. Local farmers markets: DuPont, Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights even, have edible flowers for sale at their markets on Saturdays and Sundays.  Or in this case, you could pull a me and pluck some from the rooftop of your apartment.  

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And all of that other cute shit.

Stir Sticks: A few weeks ago I received these darling tropical bird wooden swizzle sticks from Shelby herself, from Shelby Dillon Studio.  They are hand carved and painted so everyone at the party knows which tropical bird represents their cocktail. So cute. 

Coasters: While the coasters pictured above were a thrift-gift, I have some coasters from The Blush Label that I love and use on the reg.  Here are some of my favorites. (use the code: Libby15 to get 15% off!) 
 

SHOP THIS POST

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Photographer: Kara Schab, Right Foot Creative 

My Favorite Las Bayadas Beach Blanket (On Sale)

ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment
Photo from FeatFashion9 shot by Renee Rogers 

Photo from FeatFashion9 shot by Renee Rogers 

Last weekend on my instagram story, I talked about my obsession and frankly, hoarding of my favorite beach/casual/couch/picnic blanket from Las Bayadas, and I got a ton of questions about it!

I purchased this multicolored blanket from Shop Waiting On Martha two years ago and have used it for EVERYTHING. At the beach, as a picnic blanket, as a pool towel, as a bed "eating blanket" yes, I eat in bed, and no, I don't care if you think it's gross.  

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Here's a little bit about the company from the founders themselves:

Eight years ago my husband and I arrived in this small fishing village called Sayulita in Mexico, we literally fell in love with the Mexican culture. Living on the beach, we started thinking about the perfect beach towel.

We were inspired by a Mexican fabric used to decorate houses, and we started to turn it in a beach towel. We just added colorful stripes to put our colorful and personal touch. Also the environment part was essential for us. Thus, we decided to collaborate with a firm that provides us recycled cotton to make our towels. We received a warm welcome from Mexican people, consequently for us it's normal to give it back. 10% of the profits of each Las Bayadas sold will be donated to support a scholarship program for the local Mexican students going to the Costa Verde International School. 

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Alright, lets discuss the SALE part. 

Madewell sells them for $34.99
Shopbop has the El Pablo Tote $55
Nordstrom sells the mult-stripe for $45
Saint Bernard has the pink-green combo for $34.90

And yes, I'm 100% in fullll denial that summer is over. 
Thanks, adios. 

Small Biz Spotlight: Bodnar Bags

ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment
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Lets talk about a little series I've wanted to start for a while now, Small Biz Spotlights.  I started my business back in 2015 and have since learned SO much about the ups and downs of running a company.  Between expense reports and taxes, there's a lot that goes into making it all run smoothly.  And let me tell you, every business owner I meet, whether it be someone in starting their first restaurant or in this case, an online boutique, I'm always fascinated and admirable of all of the hard work that others put into it.  

Which leads me to my friend Laura...

Laura Zobar, recently started a small line of adorable bags, Bodnar.  I first met Laura when she was considering starting the business.  Like many of us small business owners, Laura was a little nervous about outing herself "out there" (girl we know the feeling) and getting things started  but she did it and I'm IN LOVE with these bags. 

Here I'm wearing the Mackenzie clutch which is actually super spacious.  The morale of the story is, these bags are seriously just plain fun. Ideal for a date, the beach, or brunch, the Bodnar bags are too cute to pass on. Let's chat with Laura a little bit about the company shall we...

Q: Tell us about the bags! 

A: So the bags are made of a colorful woven cotton blend that I discovered in New York City's Garment District last summer. The fabric was originally created for a well-known fashion designer who opted out of using it but when I found it, I knew I had to have it and bought the entire roll. There are five different bag styles but all are unstructured, which is great because they can easily be folded into a suitcase if you're traveling or tucked into a work or school bag. Personally, I think they're perfect as the type of bag you take with you when you want to go grab a midday coffee but don't want to bring your whole bag with you. 

Q: Where are they made/how are they made?

A: Each bag is made of the recycled material I mentioned above, which is super soft (think American Apparel t-shirt) and lined with a thin canvas. Although the styles and sizes vary, each bag features rainbow colored tassels and poms. The Cece Clutch is a zippered pouch, while the others have a top flap closure. As for how they are made, I sew and hand-stitch each bag here in my studio in Washington, D.C. so they are Made in the USA, which is really important to me. I'm also working on incorporating organic fabric and natural dyes in future rounds of production. 

Q: What was your inspiration for the bags?

A: A year ago, I was studying fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York, and one of our assignments required us to make a handbag. While shopping for materials, I fell in love with the bright and colorful pattern and immediately knew I wanted to make an oversized slouchy clutch. I think at the time I was carrying a lot of things around with me in the city and needed something that could go from day to night, and this bag really worked for that. I carried it everywhere I went for the rest of summer. 

Q: What made you decide to make a business out of it?

A: When I finished the bag I posted a picture of it on my Instagram and immediately had friends messaging and texting me asking me to make them one, which was really exciting! A few weeks later at our final exhibition, which is basically a showcase of everyone's work, I was walking around looking at other students' projects when one of my friends texted me that a girl was asking for me and wanted to buy one of my bags. The exhibition is more like an art show so the pieces aren't actually for sale but this girl was dead-set on leaving with one of my bags, so I named a price and she became my first customer! I think together these two experiences made me think I ought to give it a shot.

Q: Where did you come up with the name, Bodnar? And am I saying it right?

A: Yeah, so Bodnar (\bod-ner\) is a family name. It was the last name of my great-aunt and uncle who were clothiers in Budapest, Hungary. They owned a shop in Paris and made clothes for members of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's royal family, which I thought was pretty cool. I also liked the name because it didn't box me into anything specific, so whichever direction I decide to expand in the future I'll still be able to use the same brand name.

Q: What is the best part of having your own small business?

A: I love being able to work on something that is meaningful to me and where I see the impact of my work. I didn't always feel this way when I was working in an office and it's something I really appreciate. I also enjoy being able to bounce between being creative when I'm designing, social when I'm engaging with customers, and strategic when I'm running numbers or working on the business side of things. It's fun that every day is different! 

...and what is the worst?

I think the hardest part is doing it on my own. I don't have a business partner or team so every decision rests on my shoulders, which can be a little overwhelming. That being said, I'm incredibly lucky because I have the most supportive friends and family who have helped with every decision I've made. They also happen to be my best customers! So it goes without saying that without them, Bodnar wouldn't exist. (Thanks guys!!!)

Q: How would you describe your target customer?

A: I'd say our client is a woman with a classic, preppier style. Definitely someone who "lives colorfully"! The bags are perfect for a woman-on-the-go because they transition from day-to-night really well. My current customers use their Bodnar bags for everything from a smaller pouch to hold essentials in a large work bag to the clutch they take out when meeting friends for drinks or traveling abroad.

Q: If you could have any celebrity or influencer carrying a Bodnar bag, who would it be?

A: Well I loved the shoot you did and seeing the Bodnar MacKenzie Clutch featured on Libby Living Colorfully was really exciting! It's hard to pick a celebrity or influencer because there are so many talented and incredible women, some of whom I've been lucky enough to engage with already. I think also because Bodnar is so new it's really exciting when anyone purchases or is carrying a Bodnar bag. As I mentioned earlier, so many of my girlfriends have been so supportive and it's the best feeling in the world when we go out or run into each other and they're using their Bodnar bag!

Q: So what's next? 

A: I'm playing around with new styles all the time and planning colors and fabrics for the upcoming seasons. Right now our five styles include the Original Milly Oversized Slouchy Clutch, the CeCe which is a smaller zippered pouch, the MacKenzie Oversized Slouchy Clutch, the Mini Mac (a smaller version of the MacKenzie), and the Perfect Kate Clutch.

In planning for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons, I'm focused on a color palette that includes blush, navy, and shades of red and tawny brown, maybe olive too! I'm also looking at how we can incorporate organic fabrics and outsource to ethical manufacturers (within in the U.S.). And I'd love to see Bodnar bags in local retailers like Tuckernuck, Salt & Sundry, and Take Care Shop but for now our bags are available at www.shopbodnar.com

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Make sure to shop ALLLLLLL the bags from Bodnar and follow them on instagram

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Design Crush - Jessica McClendon of Glamour Nest

InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment
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Jessica McClendon of Glamour Nest, a Los Angeles based interior design studio known for Jessica’s distinctive “casual glamour” aesthetic. 

Growing up in the Dallas-Forth Worth area meant Jessica was surrounded by historical homes, igniting a passion for interior design early in her life. Before she became an interior designer, studied theatrical performance and design at Texas Christian University. Upon graduation she landed a job in visual merchandising for Fort Worth boot shop, Leddy’s Ranch. Her talent was soon noticed by J.Crew, and she was tapped as a Visual Manager, which led her to Los Angeles, where she still resides today. While working at J.Crew, she began freelancing for interior design firms which is where Glamour Nest’s story really begins. 

Fast forward, five years, and Jessica found herself with her own client base, separate from the firms she was freelancing for. This is when the idea of starting her own interior design studio was born. Though the US was in the middle of a recession, Jessica took the risk of opening the doors of Glamour Nest. And since 2009, she’s never looked back. Her style and intuitive approach to design has caught the attention of outlets like HGTV Magazine, MyDomaine, and Rue, and Jessica’s business has blossomed into the thriving studio we see today. 

Shop This Room

Jessica's work is fresh, clean, and functional.  I love what she did with the cabinet and bar space above.

Shop This Room

Make sure to check out Jessica's adorable instagram @glamournest!
Happy Weekend!

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Photography: Mary Costa / Scott Rickels 

Five Travel Bloggers That Will Make You Want to GTFO & Take a Vacay

TravelLibby RasmussenComment
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So help me god I am promising to make 2018 a year where I travel more.  The above photo was from a shoot I was helping my friend Kara, of Right Foot Creative with for the State Department and let me tell you, it made me want to leave dodge for a bit and explore.  This past year I've been a little limited with my weekend schedule, which has left me hanging out in DC a littttttle more than I'd like. Needless to say, I'm itching with wanderlust and these are my favorite bloggers to follow and well, live vicariously through. 

1. The Blonde Abroad

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Kiersten, a California native, left her job in corporate finance to become a world traveler.  She's since traveled to more than 50 countries and her instagram feed is insane.  Ask me to trade lives with anyone on social media, and Kiersten's would be a top contender. Check out The Blonde Abroad here. 
 

2. The Wayfaress

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Ironically enough, Alexandra, The Wayfaress herself, and I went to college together.  I've loved following her many many journeys (to more than 30+ countries to be exact) all while practicing corporate law here in DC. Alexandra is new(ish) to the travel blogging world, but don't let that fool you, her social media is rich with experiences and thought-provoking captions. Alexandra is a wonderful storyteller and her blog, showcases that beautifully. 

3. Barefoot Blonde

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Another blonde? Yep. Sorry not sorry.  I've followed Amber Fillerup Clark for a good while now and chances you have too.  Known for her incredible instagram braiding technique, Amber and her adorable little family have become the picture-perfect poster children for #travelfamilygoals.  Relocating pretty regularly, Amber shares a lot of tips on her insta-stories and honestly, they are all just so fun to watch. "Goals" doesn't even really do them justice. 


4. Wild Terrains

Another DC-based blog, but more importantly, boutique travel company started by my friend, Lauren Bates is Wild Terrains. Wild Terrains has plenty of detailed tips, custom itineraries, and tons of inspiration. What I really love: the Travel Guides page. Consider my next vacay booked through Wild Terrains. 


5. Cake and Lillies

My god friend Monica, of Cake and Lilies has always nailed the Travel Guides, whether it's staying in Annapolis in 24 Hours or a getaway to Thailand.  I've loved how easy and to the point her posts are.  My current favorite: this feature on Scott's Cheap Flights. I personally struggle with where to purchase inexpensive flights, so I always run to Monica's blog for suggestions. 

Any trips planned soon? Who do you go to for your travel needs? 

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My 10 Beach Essentials - LDW Edition

Shopping, TravelLibby RasmussenComment

1. Sunscreen - I'm really trying to be a stickler for sunscreen, especially when it comes to my face. Lately I've been loving this roll-on sunscreen that looks like a stick of deodorant. It goes on really clean and blends into my skin without feel heavy. Something else I've learned, that your hair also needs sun protection.  A friend also suggested I try this Brush on Broad Spectrum sunscreen, which is literally a bronzer brush that has mineral powder sunscreen to keep you protected when you don't necessarily have a bottle of sunblock on you.  Very intriguing. I'm also very into this Coola Makeup Setting Spray with SPF 30 - for those of us who like to wear a little makeup to the beach (I know you're out there.)

2. Beach Blanket  - I have a serious bias toward the colorful Las Bayadas beach blankets.  They're lightweight, easy to wash, and more importantly, colorful.  I got mine from the Waiting On Martha Shop.  Here are some other colors:

3. Sunnies - I'm not typically someone who owns more than 2 pair of sunglasses at a time. When I like something, I want to wear it all the time and I want be able to wear it with whatever. This is no exception when it comes to sunglasses.  After what honestly felt like years of searching for the perfect pair, I finally found this pair of Ray Bans.  When I say these look good on everyone, I really mean it. My guy friends have worn these, and even 6 of my best friends tried them on, all with different complexions, hair color, face shape, etc. and they looked great on everyone.  I think I may have found the Traveling Pants of sunglasses. 


4. Cover Up - Cover ups are a great way to keep clothing light and easy at the beach. Lightweight linen coverups are breathable and easy to dry. What I didn't know is that there are a lot of great companies that make coverups that have sun protection built in.  Take Cabana Life for example, all of their items have built in sun protection. I own this Moroccan tile printed tunic in blue and absolutely love the look and the feel. Best part, it blocks 98% of UV rays. 

5. Swimsuit (Duh) - Do we need to discuss in detail? Prob not, so here are just a few swim suits I'm laaaaaahving. Also, here's the first one-piece I've owned in about 14 years and it's the softest, most flattering suit ever. 

6. Drinks on the Go - Finding the perfect and more importantly, portable drink for the beach is v. important.  So when Seagram's sent me their new line of Escapes drinks, I immediately saw myself bringing them to the beach with me.  

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7. Sandals - I've become a woman obsessed with Madewell's sandals. If I could have a pair in every color, I obviously would. These are also a great option (I wear them almost every day.)

8. Water Bottle - I got my first S'well water bottle a few years ago and have since been hooked.  If you haven't used one yet and have only heard the hype, believe it. 100% This bottle keeps my water cold in spite of how hot its surroundings are.  I'm sure you can only imagine how crazy I went over this collaboration that S'well did with my favorite photographer, Gray Malin

9. Light Reading - So I'm pretty bad at sitting still, especially at the beach. I've never really been able to nap or read at the beach but it's definitely something I could improve on.  A few light reads that I've enjoyed lately include: The Girls, Men Explain Things to Me, The Interestings, and I Take You

10. Beach Bag -  My friend recently started her own company and these Bodnar bags are some of my favorites for summer. As a larger bag, a highly recommend this straw tote. And my other favorite, SCOUT bags. I take this big bag everywhere, the grocery store, weekends away, and yes, the beach. 

Where are you all traveling this Labor Day Weekend? I can't believe it's already (almost) September. Eek.

Luxe Decor Saves and Splurges with MG+BW

InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

So I've gotten a lot of questions on my recent Houzz.com apartment tour (still beaming) and I thought I would go through and note on ways that I save and splurge with home decor.  I would compare this logic to someone who has an expensive purse or shoes, but will rock them with a $12 LBD.  I save on things I know will be ruined easily, example, a couch (all of these options are less than $500) or maybe something that's trendy, like a fun $94 velvet chair. 

With this logic, I bring you my favorite more high-end products from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.  I picked up a few pieces for my apartment last month to give my apartment decor a more elevated look.  I think many times, we get a little too stuck in the IKEA-decor mindset (don't get me wrong I LOVE IKEA) but then find our decor looks a little juvenile and frankly, even a little dorm-y. To avoid that, a few luxe pieces here and there can really transform a room.

Take for example, this ahhhhhmazing gold Burled Bowl. Upon seeing it at my local Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in DC (1526 14th St NW) I knew it would be a perfect piece for my living room coffee table.  It's a conversation piece for sure, and surprisingly, light-weight. 

Easy like Sunday morning 🌸 #allthefeels

A post shared by Libby Rasmussen (@libbylivingcolorfully) on

One of my favorite corners in my living room features two more MG+BW items.  This stunning Elena Table Lamp with a gold scalloped crystal base. When lit, the lamp looks like it glimmers from the gold coloring being refracted from the base. 

 

To compliment the lamp, I used this beautiful Alabaster Tray. As described, it's made from a solid piece of alabaster and trimmed in matte brass. This opulent, expansive tray makes a stunning centerpiece or a pretty and practical place to store keys and mail. A charming way to keep any surface organized, and easy to move aside when you need the extra space.

A few other elevated favorites include:
these Agate Bookends
this white table lamp (on sale)
this polished nickel floor lamp (on sale)

If you're free this Thursday, from 10am-8pm, make sure to stop by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams on 14th Street. They will have light bites and drinks. You can also come in can register to win a room make over and join their Comfort Club a discount program that is free of charge but offers 20% off all the time. Yesssss. And hey - I'll be there too! Hope to see you there! 

Yes we will have light bites and drinks. 


*This post was done in collaboration with my friends at MG+BW. As always, all of my opinions are my own.  

I Was A Bride For a Day and Here's What It Was Like

EventsLibby RasmussenComment

Candidly, I'm not super comfortable in front of the camera. Given the choice between being BTS or modeling, I will alllllways take the former.  I love all of the intricacies that go into styling an event or shoot.  However, I told myself that this year, I would push myself to say "Yes" to new opportunities and expand my horizons, in really any way.  So when Rachel, of Rachel Lyn Events and Michelle of Light and Arrow Photography reached out to me on Instagram about being a model for their wedding shoot, I bit my lip, and just said why not? And I'm so glad I did. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!

Before the Shoot

A few weeks prior to the shoot, we stopped by Hitched Salon in Georgetown to try on a few dresses. Truthfully, I anticipated this to be awkward or surreal in a way.  Was I really going to try on wedding dresses before I actually had a wedding? "Aren't you worried about the bad juju?!" my roommate asked. But honestly, I wasn't.  It was so much fun and thinking about my own wedding is something I've put off for so long, that I still don't really know what dress will be "the one."  So, I just had a great time with it. Here are a few that I tried on. 

...and the winner was

This dreamy ethereal number by Reem Acra. I loved the OTS sleeves and the delicate details. Before the shoot, I got my nails done at my favorite, Varnish Lane and naturally picked out this Deborah Lipmann color.

The Tablescape & Cake

After I finally warmed up a little bit, I felt like I was finally getting the hang of it.  The entire set team was so great and we had a lot of laughs. 

Overall, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. It was such a great experience. The photos are amazing, the entire team was amazing, and I'm so excited I said "yes" (lol) 

Want to see more? Make sure to check out the feature on Virginia Bride Magazine here! 

Planning
Rachel Lyn Events
www.rachellynevents.com

Photography
Light and Arrow
www.lightandarrow.com

Venue
Rust Manor House
www.novaparks.com/weddings-catering/rust-manor-house

Floral Design
Oak + Amble
www.oakandamble.com

Rentals
Something Vintage Rentals
www.somethingvintagerentals.com

Dress
Designed by Reem Acra, available for purchase at Hitched Salon in Washington, DC
www.reemacra.comwww.hitchedsalon.com

Hair and Makeup
Makeup by Kevan
www.makeupbykevan.com

Accessories
J’Adorn Designs
www.jadorndesigns.com

Ring
Victor Barbone
www.victorbarbone.com

Shoes
Bella Belle
www.bellabelleshoes.com

Cake
Kupcakes & Co.
www.kupcakesco.com

Linens + Ribbon
Torn and Tied
www.tornandtied.com

Invitation suite + Handwritten sign
Allison Dee Calligraphy
www.allisondeecalligraphy.com

Model
Libby Rasmussen

Five (New) Things I Learned From My Dentist

BeautyLibby RasmussenComment

Let me preface this post with some transparency.  I LOVE the dentist.  I have never dreaded the flossing, the scraping, the prodding.  Even as a kid, all of my dentist visit polaroids feature me with a huge smile on my face.  I loved having braces. I thought getting my wisdom teeth pulled was actually kind of cool. #ThanksLaughingGas And I'm 100% the kind of dental patient who asks all the questions during my cleaning. Yes, I'm that person. Because of this, I'm always asking my dentist, Dr. Lauren Izadi and her West End Dental team alllllll the questions.  Huge plug necessary: If you're looking for a dentist in DC, check this place out. They're all absolutely wonderful. So let's talk about some of the topics I learned about at my last visit. 

1. I'm Brushing Too Hard

Hi my name is Libby, an I am an "aggressive brusher."  According to my dentist, I get a little too into brushing. I know I'm supposed to brush in light, delicate circles, but sometimes it just feels good to scrub those bad boys clean.  Well, in my case, this isn't doing my teeth any favors. I'm actually wearing down my enamel and putting a lot of pressure on my gums.  Dentist's Orders: Get a soft toothbrush, like a really soft one. And start brushing with my opposite hand.  *sighs loudly* Okayyyy fine.  

2. Those Floss Sticks, Don't Do Sh!t

This one surprised me the most. In spite that New York TImes article that said we might not need to floss? (ew) I still stuck to my daily routine (give or take) of flossing with floss sticks.  My dentist's suggestion, toss them.  Why? Because they really don't do anything more than a toothpick would.  It doesn't hug the teeth the way dental floss does.  If anything, it almost just pushes plaque up into the gums. Gross.  Here's a great article that backs this up.  Also, why bother with wasting the plastic? Here's a great biodegradable floss option that I've started to use. 

3. ...And Neither Does Mouthwash

Unless you are gargling to rid your mouth of bad breath, few mouthwash products actually live up to their promises. Mouthwash does not actually cure dental disease, bad breath, or tooth decay. It works to promotes dental health or simply mask bad breath.  According to many dental studies, if you are brushing and flossing regularly to maintain your dental health, some dentists would say that you’re wasting your money. Unless you have gum disease, dental decay, or bad breath, you’re honestly better off spending your $5 elsewhere.

4. Guard Your Mouth

Oh you know, just another fun perk of getting older. Stress and teeth grinding. I'm not sure when I do it (when I sleep) or how bad it is, but I know it's enough that my dentist has noticed.  While I'm not really ready to commit to the pricier custom guard that my dentist can make, I did find a pretty good alternative with this Oral B Night Guard. I don't wear it religiously, but on nights I suspect I might clench or grind my teeth (when I'm stressed or drink) I'll pop it in before bed. 

5. You're Never Too Old For Fluoride

If you thought you didn't need the occasional fluoride treatment as an adult, think again. Each day, our bodies take in and lose fluoride.  The way we take it in is through foods (like shellfish, grapes, raisins) EVEN WINE (?!) and water. The way we lose it is when acids caused by plaque, bacteria, and sugars in our mouths attack our enamel. We get get that fluoride back into our enamel layer by eating the right foods, drinking fluoride water and through treatments at your dentist's office. Upon learning that, I scheduled a fluoride treatment for my next appointment. The downside: most insurance plans don't cover the treatment. The upside: its only $30. No brainer here.  

Have any of you ever tried switching up your dental routine? After going sugar free the past few weeks, I realized that a lot of the toothpastes we use have sugar in them! Here are a few organic toothpastes to try!

Beauty for Breakfast: Morning Skin Routine

BeautyLibby RasmussenComment

My skin is truly at its best in the summer.  I wear less make-up, more sunscreen, and try my best to hydrate more. All good things, but occasionally I need a little recharge and reminder. I'm noticing sunspots where none used to be.  I sometimes "forget" to wash my face at night and properly remove my mascara. And, like many of us, are 100% guilty of not drinking enough water.  So here's a little reminder to myself that I thought I would share with you all. 

Skincare

Sunscreen - I've talked about this before but you guys, I really mean it. We MUST use sunscreen on our faces every. single. day.  It's so important. Not just for the obvious reasons *cough cough* wrinkles but that harmful sun damage that newsflash, your Botox or chemical peel wont be able to combat the rest of your life.  Being "naturally tan" shouldn't be your excuse anymore and I certainly wont say it anymore either.  Also, most "built-in" SPFs aren't strong enough which is why I use a liberal amount (quarter-size) or more on my face and neck every morning. Yes, it's going to be a little thick at first but this is when you can take the time to drink some tea or even better, Restorative H2O (see below) and let it absorb into your skin. This R+F sunscreen is easily my favorite. 

Lifting Youth Creme - I was given this creme as a gift from Saks in Tysons a few months ago and have been hooked. Just a little bit of this creme goes a long way, which is great considering this is quite the luxury skincare item. What is does: It's infused with the brand's exclusive Floralixir™ Dew, and promises stunningly radiant, youthful skin. Yes please. It also delivers Ultimate Lift technologies and rejuvenating nourishment.  The Floralixir Dew helps to reawaken the skin powers of visible regeneration, strength and youthful renew. I apply just a little bit on the tops of my cheeks, forehead and neck.

Vitamin C Serum – In addition to protecting my skin via sunscreen, I also use a Pure Vitamin C serum to help boost collagen production, which provides an anti-oxidant protection and exfoliates my skin and gives it a natural glow. Pure Vitamin C can penetrate faster and deeper into the skin when applied.  I typically use a few drops on my face, neck, and the tops of my hands.

Foam Cleanser – The best way for me to really rid my face of any makeup or surface impurities is with this La Prairie foam cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling calm, smooth, and purified. I’ve found in the past that some cleansers that I use tend to feel like they take off almost too much of my skins natural oils and leave it feeling dry and dehydrated.  I’ve stuck with this one for a while because it leaves my skin soothed and hydrated.

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Anti-Wrinkle Brightening Serum – I was sent this serum to try a few weeks ago and have used it nearly every day ever since. It’s essentially a two-for-one with its combined powerful collagen-stimulating peptides and advanced anti-aging properties with potent plant stem cells. The formula is really smooth and infused with rejuvenating vitamin B3 and stable time-released vitamin C to visibly diminish the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles. I’ve had some spots on my nose and cheeks for a while and this has definitely made them less noticeable, to me at least. I’ve been using a lot of it at night and a little in the morning.  I love the way it applies and feels cool on my skin after a hot shower. 

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Ice Rolling

I’ve discussed the benefits of ice rolling before numerous times, particularly in this post. But in the summertime, I feel like my skin craves it the most.  Ice rolling is a favorite morning routine of mine because it cools my face after a hot shower or de-puffs after a night of drinks or salty food.  Typically, I’ll ice roll after applying my brightening serum and sunscreen.  The roller helps to evenly disperse the products into my skin, acting almost as a paint roller.

Beauty & Restorative Water

This year I got verrry very into Collagen Peptides.  I add a scoop to my coffee, water, cereal, you name it. So when JRINK launched their new line of Restorative Beauty waters, I was alllll about it.  We all know that beauty comes from within (blah blah blah) but really, it truly does.  What we put into our system plays a serious role in how we look and feel.  JRINK covered four essential bases for their waters and I’m seriously hooked. The four waters include: GLOW (Pure Rose, Collagen, Lemon, Beet, Alkaline H20) for glowing skin.  RELAX (Pure Lavender, Lemon, Beet, Alkaline H20) for stress relief, and relaxation. NOURISH (Pure Blue Pea, Collagen, Lemon, Alkaline H20) for your hair. Fun fact: Blue Pea is an excellent source of Bioflavinoid. Never heard of it? Well, it boosts hair growth and health. DETOX (Chlorophyll, Mint, Probiotic Acidophilus, Alkaline H20) for a cleaner, healthier liver. 

Interested in trying out JRINK's new Resorative Waters? Do it. I love them. Make sure to use my friends + family code LIBBY10 at the checkout to save 10% on your first online order.  

Remember, wear sunscreen, get enough rest, and drink plenty of water to stay prettttty this summer.  Thanks for letting me try out these waters JRINK! *As always, all of my opinions are my own. 

Peonies 101 - Everyone's Favorite Flower

InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

It's really no secret that peonies are some of the most prized flowers on the market.  All year round, we wait for those beauties to pop up in the Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for $6-13 a bouquet.  Which, as we know is a steal considering some peonies are $13-18 a stem in the off season.  But, I have to say the grocery store options pale in comparision to the beautiful arrangements that i-Fleur here in DC (and DMV) offers.  I've never seen a delivery arrangement more beautiful than these. (More details at the bottom of the post.)

Peony Facts

  • Peonies initially were grown for medicinal purposes.  They were used to treat headaches, asthma, and childbirth pain. 
     
  • Peony petals are edible. The petals can be parboiled and sweetened for use in teas, summer salads, or as a garnish for punches and lemonades.
     
  • The state flower of Indiana is the peony.
     
  • Peonies are often called “The Dolly Partons of the Garden”
     
  • Long ago, people believed that peonies protected them from demons.
     
  • Peonies are traditionally used for celebrating the 12th wedding anniversary.

Where Are Peonies Grown?

Interestingly enough, Alaska is the only place in the world that supplies fresh-cut commercial peonies in the wedding season from July into early September. Alaska? You may be asking yourself. Surprisingly, peonies could in fact be Alaska’s next big cash crop. Peonies thrive down to 60 below and require cold weather to flourish. A well cared for peony bush can live up to 100 years.

How To Keep Peonies Fresh

1. If you're buying, get the buds.  While they might not be pretty at first, you'll appreciate them more as you watch them grow and bloom
2. Keep them cool. As you would with other fresh flowers, stashing peonies in the fridge at night is a guaranteed way to help them last longer. 
3. Cut the stems at an angle and trim them every day. This will help maximize the water absorption and helps the flower get more water and nutrients. 
4. Change the water daily.  No brainer here - fresh water = fresh flowers
5. Make your own flower food. My Grandmother would mix sugar and water to feed her flowers and they always last longer. 

Where to Buy the Prettiest Arrangements

As always, I'm a huge proponent of supporting local businesses, particularly those owned and operated by women.  i-Fleur is an amazing and not to mention, a far less expensive alternative to 1800-Flowers or other floral delivery services for peonies.  The bouquet you see pictured here is the round petite option. And this stunning bouquet has lasted more than a week (far longer than the grocery store flowers mentioned above.) 

Be sure to check out i-Fleur's website for ordering as well as their social media channels.
Instagram  / Facebook / Pinterest 
Right now, they are also offering 15% off of their bouquets with the code SUMMER15

Happy Summer!

Photographer: Libby Rasmussen

Four New (Affordable) Rugs From My Apartment

Shopping, InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

Rugs are expennnnnsive. Everyone who has ever shopped for one knows this.  Old or new, they are a pretty penny but truthfully, worth the investment.  I never really realized how much my apartment would be transformed with the right size and amount of rugs around the floors.  While of course they're a practical way to keep the floors clean and interesting, they add a great pop of, drum roll please, color. Here are the four new (affordable) rugs in my apartment that I am loving.

Chroma CB22 Tribal Tree Of Paradise Medallion Rug (7'10"x11) $321

This rug fit my living room to a T.  And while I was a bit hesitant about getting a pink rug, I could not be more happy with my decision. The pink tones are just subtle enough and are balanced out well with the reds and blues. It's incredibly versatile and a great alternative to some of the price Turkish rugs I've seen in the past. It also compliments this navy Moroccan pouf that I have and love. (Similar here & here.)

Bavoda Moroccan Diamond Pole Rug (Runner) $99

This. Runner. I want to make it very clear that I don't typically gravitate toward pinks and purples but this runner was the absolutely welcome exception to my rule.  Featured here in this Instagram I just posted, you can see the colors are more and lavender and more subtle then in the photo below. I love it and it's the perfect size for a hallway or entryway.

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Berber Moroccan Diamond SM18 Rug (3'x5') $69

For my kitchen sink area, I knew that I needed to get something that was on the darker side. Between cooking at the stove and unloading the dishes, there’s a lot of potential for stains to show up on a rug. I love the large, more modern print on this rug and the other color options are equally as fun. The best part, this rug is less than $70. Win.

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Tuscan Fading Printed Medallion Rug (5'x8') $192

I absolutely love navy and orange together so this rug immediately caught my eye. The pale robin egg blue coupled with the subtle tones of yellow were perfect for under my dining room table. The rug lays slightly under my console (pictured below) that has two large navy garden stools and ginger jars to compliment it. I also added the luxe Hermés lacquer tray from The Kellogg Collection to tie it all together.

A special thanks to my friends over at Rugs USA for providing my home with these beautiful rugs. While this post was done in collaboration, as always, all of my selections and opinions are my own. Where's your go-to rug shop? Do you buy new or vintage? 

Either way, happy hunting! 

Living For The WEEKEND

ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment

Tassels, acrylic lettering, and bright colors. Say no more. When I got this sweater I was hooked and immediately put it on, on a Wednesday.  Because, let's be real, we could all use a little weekend fun during the week.  The sweater is from Rails and can be found at Bloomies, Nordstrom, and Shopbop

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Shop My Favorites from Rails 

What puts you in the weekend mode?
Special thanks to Kara Schab at Right Foot Creative for the photos!

 

 

I Got My Eyebrows Microbladed & Have Zero Regrets

BeautyLibby RasmussenComment

Can I just say, I am VERY happy that brows are on trend, and have remained on trend.  Growing up, my brows were always dark.  I had bright blonde hair and dark, bushy brows.  Sadly, like most  high school girls, I got a little overzealous with the tweezers and made some pretty poor brow mistakes.  Thankfully, the brows have since recovered and I’ve been embracing my long, dark brows by getting them threaded every two months or so. 

Lately however, I noticed that they weren't as full as they used to be.  Maybe I’m just watching wayyyy too many brow Instagram videos, or maybe my mid-twenties brows are just peace-ing out slowly.  Either way, when I stumbled upon this brow company, @Dollistic on Instagram, I was hooked.  Photo after photo of amazing before and after photos of brows that were either non-existent or poorly shaped, transformed into beautifully symmetrical and sculpted works of art.

I had heard of Microblading before, but I really didn’t consider the process. Was it a brow transplant? Was it a tattoo? I didn’t really know, but I knew I really wanted to do it.

So, what is Microblading?

According to the experts at Dollistic, microblading, also referred to as Microstroking, Eyebrow Embroidery, Feather Stroke Brows, 3D Brows, or micro pigmentation, etc. is the process of manually implanting color pigment beneath the surface of the skin by means of tiny, sterile, disposable needles to produce the appearance of hair strokes. 

Was I really going to do this? Was I really going to get my first what is more or less a tattoo, on my face?  Granted my brows are were pretty good shape to begin with, but hey why not strive for improvement, right?

In preparation for my “procedure” I had to grow my brows out which, admittedly, wasn’t easy because when my brows grow, they grow long.  But I stayed strong and avoided my threading place for 2 months prior to my appointment. (Hence, the reason my brows in the "before" shot below look so beastly.) The day leading up to my appointment, I made sure to avoid caffeine, alcohol, direct sun exposure #sunscreenforlife.

After applying the numbing cream, Christina filled in my brows and made sure they were symmetrical

After applying the numbing cream, Christina filled in my brows and made sure they were symmetrical

The day of, I strolled down 14th Street to Dollistic (1409 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC) which is conveniently less than a mile away from my apartment. I was greeted by the adorable Christina, my brow artist and new favorite person. Christina was incredibly professional and knowledgeable and I instantly trusted her.  We went over some of the ground rules and procedures while she spread a nice thick layer of pre-procedure topical numbing creme to “take off the edge.” Girrrl, thanks. Then Christina spent the majority of the process, drawing her art on my canvas (face lol) using this eyebrow ruler to ensure that I was symmetrical and that I would like the shape of my new brows. 

But before I go into too much detail about the experience, let’s cover some ground with the questions I had, and probably you do too.

What's the Microblading process?

In spite looking like real hairs, microblading doesn’t involve any sort of hair transplanting.  It is merely a series of small tears in the skin in the shape of hairs and filled with pigment.  As Christina explained, it’s not really a blade; it’s a row of sterile needles (one time use) that are used to scratch the very surface of the skin with the pen dipped in pigment in the pattern of hair strokes.

Does it Hurt?

As someone with a pretty high pain tolerance, I went into this thinking it would be pretty painless. I’ve also never had a tattoo so I can’t compare the two sensations. I will say however, yes, it does hurt. Did my eyes water? No.  Were my palms a little clammy, yes, definitely.  Truthfully, the worst part for me, was the sound. It really does sound like the scraping of skin, which made me a little queasy.  Serious props/sidenote though: I was LOVING Dollistic’s Spotify playlist that had all of my relaxing favorites on it.  I honestly loved every song they played.

Okay, back to the pain.  Everyone has a different pain tolerance right? And for me, knowing how good my brows were going to look after, toughened me up.  Candidly, if you’re afraid of needles or blades, maybe this isn’t for you. The numbing solution does help, but not until the second round of cuts did I not feel anything. 

There are two types of anesthetic used during the procedure.  As mentioned above, one is the "Pre-Procedure Topical Numbing Creme" which is used before the procedure starts to take the edge of the first few hairstrokes.  The second one is a gel like anesthetic made of lidocane that sinks in once the skin has been broken to fully numb you and keep you comfortable during the duration of the procedure. (similar to the dentist, you have to feel a little pinch before becoming fully comfortable and numb!)

My brows 2 days after the procedure - still dark and a little sore but pretty on fleek if I must say

My brows 2 days after the procedure - still dark and a little sore but pretty on fleek if I must say

Post procedure, I was pretty tender. Not enough to go running for the Advil, but enough to feel like, oh yeah, someone just made 100+ little cuts on my face. It really just feels like you have a bad sunburn on your eyebrows. 

Am I a good candidate for microblading?

Dollistic made it easy with this FAQ on who can and cannot have the procedure as well as this Pre & Post Care guide.

Before & After - You can really see the difference in the shape and fullness here

Before & After - You can really see the difference in the shape and fullness here

How much is it?

Getting your brows microbladed isn’t cheap, especially if you are going to the best of the best. And really think about it here, you’re essentially getting a tattoo on your face – you deserve going to the best.  This isn’t something you want to cut corners with and run the risk of infection or even worse, bad brows.  The price typically depends on the skill level and experience of the technician.  The rates at Dollistic are $650-1150 for new clients and this includes two sessions (each 8-ish weeks apart.)  Nationwide the rates vary from $250-2500 depending on location and artists' experience and reputation/demand.

How long does it last?

Future touch ups vary from person to person. Some people come every 6-9 months because they always want their brows to be bold and defined.  Others might not want or need a touch up for 1-2 years. Those who follow aftercare directions definitely have the best and longest retention. Dollistic recommends touch ups annually for best maintained and beautiful brows. Which if you think about it, is a great and cost efficient maintenance plan if you are someone who already spends $20-25 on brow make-up per month ($300+ per year) and $30-55+ on threading or waxing ($660+ per year) plus, lets be real the extra 10-15 minutes every morning filling in your brows (time = $$)

Day 6 Post Microblading - Brows are more subtle and natural 

Day 6 Post Microblading - Brows are more subtle and natural 

Is it worth it?

Yes yes yes, omg YAAAAAS. As someone who already had pretty full brows, you would think that my answer to this would be the opposite.  But truthfully, it really transformed my brows and even a little bit of my face. I never realized what having fuller, but more importantly, symmetrical brows could do for my face.  Not to mention, my arches are now more pronounced, making me look more refreshed.  If you are even considering microblading, you should one, make sure it's something that's right for you and two, set up an appointment with Dollistic. You can see all of their amazing before and after photos on their Instagram.

Overall, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  In spite the slight discomfort with the healing process, it was entirely worth it.  Huge thanks to Christina and Dollistic for having me and for my beautiful brows. I can't recommend this enough. More questions? Feel free to ask me on Instagram

I Finally Tried a Subscription Box & It Wasn't Filled with Junk

ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment

One of the best parts of blogging for me, is getting to know other small businesses, especially those owned and operated by women. So when my good friend Kara (also owner of a small biz) told me about her friend's company, Luxor Box, I knew I wanted to hear more about it and get on board! 

For the longest time, I couldn't really get behind the whole subscription box thing.  My friends that have tried Birchbox seem to really like it, but I was hesitant. To me, most of those boxes seemed like well junk. Tiny samples of small lipsticks that didn't match my skin tone or obnoxious colored nail polishes that companies were clearly trying to get rid of - it just felt like something that would immediately go in my bathroom "junk drawer" in my bathroom (we all have them.)

In my opinion, what makes Luxor Box different from other subscription box companies is the quality. Take this Ciro Cell Daily Hydration sunscreen - it typically sells for $50 and is sold out on its own site.  I loved getting this sunscreen in the box because, one, sunscreen is life. #teamnowrinkles and two, it's clearly an item that people love, not some junky free sample that I could pick up from CVS. 

Overall, I genuinely enjoyed and wanted the products in the Luxor Box. They were so well packaged and curated and would make a perfect gift for a bride-to-be, mother, or friend. 
Special thanks to Kara Schab @rightfootcreative_ for the intro to Luxor Box and for these beautiful photos.  Make sure you check out Luxor Box and their insta for more info!