Upside Down Braided Topknot.

It's practically a jungle here. The beating sun and sweltering humidity are quite a force to be reckoned with. Georgia is just so hot. I've vowed not to cut my hair off even though my baby yanks on it whenever he can grasp a handful. Which leaves me to my imagination for finding different ways to get it off my face. I can't have a sweaty neck or keep getting my hair pulled out - I am already losing so much hair with all these postpartum hormones swirling around in my bod. Please, I need to keep all that I have!

This is my latest favorite updo, and I thought I would share it here since I've been wearing it so often. It's a twist on a regular topknot, and it's best styled with extra dirty hair. I usually do this on day 3 or 4 after a shampoo :)

Upside Down Braided Topknot:
1. Starting at the nape of your neck, gather three sections of hair and start a dutch braid.
2. Begin the braid at the bottom of the head and continue gathering hair (as you would a normal french braid), and braid upward.
3. Once you've reached the crown of your head, do a few extra turns of the braid without adding any extra hair.
4. Twist your hair, as you would for a normal top knot, and secure with a hair tie.
5. Gently pull at the sections of the braid to loosen and give it a fuller, more lived-in look.
6. You shouldn't need to secure anything with bobby pins - the messier the better!

Are you all interested in more hair posts like this? If so, I can work on photographing a few more looks, especially updos for summer. Let me know in the comments! xx

Happening Lately + Happy Links.

It's been quite a few weeks! Does anyone else feel that way? Gosh this Spring weather has me feeling all sorts of hopefulness about life. It's just wonderful. I wanted to share a few things we've been up to and some fun links around the web that are making me smile BIG this week.

This Little Collage:
Top Left: Colored my hair again. It's going from ombre to straight up bronde. // Top Right: I found roses growing in my yard. I almost cried because I almost BOUGHT SOME to grow this summer. Best discovery ever. // Bottom Left: My friend Liz brought over freshly picked organic strawberries. Because she's the sweetest human on this grand Earth. I made strawberry bread. // Bottom Right: As you know, Everett's puppy Oscar has been coming to life lately, even to the point of eating pizza with us. The most recent display of Oscar's independence was when Everett "took him potty". I wasn't pleased. But I was laughing. //

Happy Links!
The Target+Marimekko Line launching April 17. I want it all. Which isn't working out too well for my new "get rid of everything" philosophy, thanks to Marie Kondo.

Oh, and you want to know about Marie Kondo? She's the one making me throw everything out that doesn't "spark joy" anymore. This book and her disciplined approach to eliminating clutter will inspire you. And really mess with your closet.
Eagerly awaiting the release of the Sonnet James Spring Line which launches April 19. I am panting like a dog for another one of these dresses.

This gal's hair tutorials have me inspired. I don't have much time to get fancy, but when I have some unwashed day-old hair, I like to try out some of her braid inspirations.

I'm hosting a little Stella and Dot party at the end of this month (which is drool-worthy jewelry and accessories), and I wanted to share this link with all of you to join the fun virtually! I'm swooning over this leather wrap, this gold cuff, this split ring and these chandelier earrings. When you get to the check out screen, make sure to type in my name "Kristen Hale" as the hostess, because that gives me some credit for pointing you in their direction :) Happy shopping friends!

Aaaaaaaaaaaand finally, this cookbook is out, as of yesterday! I am a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow's previous cookbook's, because they are brimming with super healthy meals that taste really indulgent. I never feel like I'm "eating healthy" with her recipes - so excited for this new book!

Last but not least, I'm published! I'm super proud that my travel review of yurting at Sweetwater Creek State Park (though it's the tiniest article I've probably ever written) was published on Atlanta Magazine Online! Make sure to check it out and maybe leave a comment to make me look popular. P.S. You can check out more of my recently published work on this page. I even wrote a cover story on a 20-time Ironman athlete this month! The fun never stops over here, friends. Although the napping should probably start.

Happy linkage to you!

3 Tips for Brunettes Going Ombre.

Tips for Brunettes Going Ombre:

I was so ready for a change. But when I went in to see my hair stylist and threw out the option of chopping my hair off, she quickly talked me down off that ledge.

"You're a new mom, right?"

I nodded to her.

"Yeahhh, no. Let's do something slightly less drastic."

She was probably right to steer me away from something that might make me cry later. We settled on going for an ombre-esque color job. I didn't want something stark and uber-trendy, but something that felt fresh and fun. Oh, and something that required literally no "fixing". I don't fix my hair. Like ever. My kid uses my hair brush exponentially more often than I do. I feel your sweeping gasp of surprise. No really, I know you're not surprised, because my hair looks like a hive everyday. I don't mind. I like the weird kinky waves and I got excited that the new color might actually make those pop a bit more. Meaning maybe I don't need to fix it ever...?

It's been a bit of a journey, this whole dying-my-hair thing. I have really really dark hair. So lifting the color many many shades lighter has been a process, and it's been different than I expected. Blondes, you people have it so easy. Even light-brownie girls, it's a breeze for you. But us chocolate-heads? Well, if you want to go bright, it takes a bit more time/effort/frying than you might think. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

1. Bring in Inspiration Photos. A LOT of Photos.

First things first. You need to explain in detail to your stylist exactly what you want. The kind of ombre you're looking for - subtle? Stark? Natural-looking? Trendy? Now I know that showing the hairdresser photos of Victoria Secret models isn't really fair. "I really like her hair. Can you make me look like her??" That's a tall order. I mean, she's a stylist, not a wizard. But I have to be honest, I really DO like those angels' hair. It looks natural and messy and pretty. And the gradation of color is exactly what I like. So when I showed my stylist photos of Lily Aldridge and her gorgeous, yet subtle chocolate to creamy butter shades, she and I agreed on this look as our goal. You can see the Pinterest board I used for inspiration here.

Clearly I can't pose.

Clearly I can't pose.

2. Go For Some Face-Framers.

Adding some face-framing pieces creates a bit more pizazz to the front of the face. Also, if you're going for a strong contrast between your natural color and the new color, adding a bit of warmth around the face seems to help "haze" the effect a bit.

3. Adjust Your Expectations.

I'll be honest. It took me three times of sitting in that salon chair to finally achieve the color that I wanted. The first time, there wasn't enough of a contrast and I wanted the color "pop" to be brighter. The second time, things went frighteningly orange. Which can happen to my dark-kind of hair. Copper is like my melatonin's go-to. Grrrr copper. The third time, I finally got that creamy, buttery tone I craved. But this happened over the course of three appointments and 6 weeks of time. So it wasn't an in-and-out, super easy kind of thing.

As a dark brown brunette, it takes a lot of time to process your hair in a healthy way that won't make it snap off. It can be frustrating to wait so long, but being patient is really the only key to getting what you want. Pacing the color appointments in two-week increments helped break up some of the damage so that it had a bit of time to repair in between. And I got to see how the color would react to the sun, to my hair products, and then I could come back in and explain all of that to my stylist.

I'm really happy with the color we landed on here. Although this Georgia humidity is making me feel like I always always have wet curls, the color is super fun and warm and it's exactly what I wanted. For now at least! (We girls have reserved the right to change our minds a lot :)

Post-Dyed Hair Care:

There are a few products that I've been using since I colored my hair, and they have worked out really well. I've alternated this Alba Color Shampoo, this Aveda Co Wash Shampoo and this hilarious blue tint shampoo (it smells a little elderly and perfume-y) but it gets the job done! Also, to protect the color in all this crazy heat and sunshine, I've been using this Aveda Heat Protector Hair Veil before I jump in the pool or spend a long amount of time outside. I use this Honest Company Leave-In Conditioner and this 12 Benefits Hair Treatment everyday when I get out of the shower... and now you know my entire hair routine. I don't really heat style or anything of that sort. Unless I have an extra thirty minutes of time and somewhere fancy to go, which these days, you know... I just don't!

I hope this helps if you're planning on making a big change to your hair! Let me know how it goes!