my latest favorite candles

Here’s a fun fact: my very first job out of college was designing packaging for candles that were sold at Target. I really think this experience kind of… shaped me in how I view fragrances for the home. It’s sort of like perfume and let’s just say I have somewhat sophisticated tastes as a result of that first job. I tend to avoid florals and anything overly sweet. Instead, I love smokey notes, things that make me nostalgic for campfires and my grandpa’s fireplace. Lately, I’ve fallen in love with 3 specific and very different candles.

portable fireplace candle - smells just like the real thing!First up: the portable fireplace candle by D.S. & Durga. I picked this one up at a local boutique in SF and it immediately blew my mind. This one smells EXACTLY like a fireplace. To be more specific, it reminds me of sitting in my grandma’s pea green velvet reclining chair over the holidays as a kind. If I close my eyes while this candle is lit, I’m immediately transported back to that time. I can even hear my grandmother’s voice and taste my grandpa’s sausage gravy and biscuits.

campire candle by p.f. candle coNext, this campfire special candle from P.F. Candle Co. The notes are smoke, pine, soil, and a natural sweetness that reminds me of roasting marshmallows over an open fire. This one isn’t as powerful as the others, so I prefer to light it when I have guests over. It’s just mellow enough to set the scene for casual hangs and bourbon drinks.

side table stylingLastly, I discovered Lola James Harper candles while shopping at Love Adorned in New York. I picked up the Promenade in Vincennes Wood candle and find it to be totally different than anything I’ve ever purchased before. The fragrance evolves every time I burn, I swear.  The notes are described as green tea, lily, and wood. I definitely sniff out the tea notes more than anything else though, which is why I love this one for all those bubble baths I take.

my latest favorite candlesDo you have any candles that you’re loving lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

photography by Jojotastic

French pharmacy favorites

Hello + bonjour everyone! I’m Susan – a francophile, interior designer, small business owner, and twin mama. I’m excited to be guest posting while Joanna is on her European adventure! You can find my musings + links at!

I could spend hours in a French pharmacy – you can find so much luxury there, at a reasonable price. For my last trip, I made sure to do plenty of research beforehand so that I could bring back some serious loot. I had planned to pay a visit to the largest one in Paris, City Pharma, but ended up finding these items at the one near my apartment in the Marais. Armed with my list, I didn’t deviate much from it, with the exception of #5, which came highly recommended from a very knowledgeable salesperson. I was impressed with how helpful everyone was (maybe they saw the length of my list)… I was able to test a number of products and was attended to with great care. Keep in mind many of these items can now be found in some shops in the states + online. Even if you don’t buy, be sure to browse when in France!

French pharmacy favorites

  1. Bioderma Crealine H20 – This cleansing water is incredible, and I’m so I glad brought back two huge (heavy) bottles of it…you can wipe your makeup off without rinsing!
  2. Nuxe Reve de Miel – By far my favorite lip balm of all time (and I’m obsessed with lip balm)…it is so rich and smooth and smells + tastes amazing.
  3. Avene Eau Thermale – A refreshing thermal water spray, which is basic but better than the others I’ve tried.
  4. Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo – One of the best dry shampoos (so I’ve heard from stylists)!
  5. Hormeta Huile Séche – this is the one I ended up with, despite having the Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse on my list. This radiant dry body oil shimmers without being greasy, contrary to the Nuxe. After testing both, I chose this, which was slightly higher in price but worth it after comparing the two. I’ve actually never worn body oil before, but it feels like such a luxury, and the sheen is lovely in the summer.
  6. Darphin Cleansing Balm – If you’ve never tried a cleansing balm before I suggest you do! This is a popular one in France that got great reviews. What you do is you massage the balm on your dry skin for a minute or so. Enjoy the massage. Then you take a warm wet wash cloth and press it against your face for a few seconds. Then gently wipe away the balm. So luxurious and great for dry skin.
  7. Roger & Gallet Rose Lotion – A luxurious basic…like everything in French pharmacies!
  8. La Roche Posay – Anything from this brand is amazing. You can also buy this in the states, but since it’s also a French line, I figured it was worth mentioning.
  9. Homeoplasmine – This is probably the most boring item on this list, but probably one of the most widely used in Paris from what I have read. It’s basically an ointment that you can use for anything! Cuticles, chapped lips, burns, dry skin, any kind of irritation you may have.
  10. Vichy ProEven Daily Eye Corrector – A lightweight cream infused with caffeine… perfect for depuffing!
True Nature Botanicals

I’m sort of a beauty product nut. I’m not a high maintenance girl, but I like to know what I’m using and be a really informed consumer. So recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to True Nature Botanicals, a gorgeous shop in Mill Valley (just north of San Francisco). Founded by the immensely impressive Hillary Peterson, True Nature Botanicals is practically obsessed with educating their customer and providing the very best possible ingredients in their products. Actually, what they do is more of an art form than anything else.

True Nature BotanicalsFor example, the solid perfumes are created using 100% natural “noble materials” — known to be the purest and most precious in the world. Some examples include orris, tuberose, and liquid amber, so every scent is pure and authentic. While I was in the shop, Hillary treated me to sniffs of each individual noble material and it really opened my eyes (nose?) to how off target my perception of certain fragrances are because of mass production. For example, I typically don’t like rose because I feel it’s too powdery and granny. However when I smelled the noble version, I was awestruck by how lovely and fresh the fragrance was.

True Nature BotanicalsOne of my favorite treats that True Nature Botanicals shared with me is the solid perfume. I don’t ordinarily go for that type of application, but in this instance I loved their reasoning for a solid: Solid perfumes hold natural scents far longer and interact with the warmth of your skin to reveal a fragrance’s complexities. How awesome is that?

True Nature BotanicalsTrue Nature BotanicalsHillary also shared her other line called Pacific Skin Care. We spent some time chatting about some concerns I’ve had about my skin lately and she walked me through a personalized regimen to help get my complexion back on track. I’ve been doing it for about 2 weeks and I’m really started to see results — these guys know their stuff.

True Nature BotanicalsThe next time you’re in the Bay Area, be sure to stop by True Nature Botanicals: 29 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, California 94941 or you can shop online here.

photography by Jojotastic

Disclosure: I received product to review for this post. All opinions are my own, and I would never endorse something I didn’t completely love. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Jojotastic going.

how to care for pink hair

Despite #pinkhairdontcare, having rainbow hair requires a bit of effort. If you’re anything like me, chances are your stylist had to lighten your hair to get the brightest, most saturated results possible. Plus, we all know that the brighter the shade, the faster it fades. Such a bummer. Now that I am recently in possession of some very awesome pink hair, I decided to offer a few of my tips on making your color last, preventing further damage, as well as my favorite products that help me corral my textural, wavy hair. It may seem like a lot, but here are all the products I use and how I use them. (Yes, these are my actual bottles, which is why one is covered in red lipstick. Oops!)

how to care for pink hair

how to care for pink hairStyling:

  • Johnson’s No More Tangles Detangler Spray – yes, I am 29, but I swear, nothing works as well as this, especially for such an affordable price. Comb through with a wide tooth comb.
  • Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light – I have a lot of hair, but it’s very thin and gets weighed down very easily. This formula is hydrating while still being lightweight. Smooth it on detangled, towel-dried hair focusing on your ends.
  • Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme – I use a dime-sized dollop of this on my ends to weight down my waves and make them a bit more manageable. As I apply, I twist large sections of my hair to encourage my natural waves.

how to care for pink hairOnce dry:

  • Josie Maran Bohemian Waves Argan Hair Mist – Despite the argan oil in this, I use a verrry small misting because it can dry out my hair very easily. I mostly use it to lock in my natural texture once my hair is 75-100% dry.
  • One Love Organics Healthy Locks – I want my hair about once a week, so dry shampoo is a MUST. This one smells awesome and works very well. I sprinkle mine only at the roots right before I go to bed. As I’m sleeping, the powder absorbs oil.
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil – I braid my hair into one large, loose braid every night before bed to keep the waves from frizzing. Once it’s braided, I smooth a tiny bit of this oil onto the ends to keep them hydrated and smooth.
  • psssst! Instant Spray Shampoo – While this is technically a dry shampoo, I use it to help get a bit more texture in my hair as needed.

how to care for pink hairA few more tips:

  • Use cold water when washing your hair – I know it sucks, but it really, really does help.
  • Wash your hair as infrequently as possible – I’ve washed my hair 3 times since I dyed it and every time the color has changed. Dry shampoo is your friend! Also, invest in an awesome shower cap. Mine is covered in hideous flowers and has an awesomely terrible lace trim.
  • Embrace your natural hair texture – It’s taken me a long time to embrace my hair’s craziness, but I am so happy I did. It’s fun to have hair with personality.
  • Take your vitamins – I opt for pre-natal vitamins for all those extra vitamins. It’s even great for your skin and nails.

Shop the post:

I’d love to hear any other tips you brightly-hued beauties have — be sure to share in the comments section below!
photography by Jojotastic

the rainbow hair trend - should i??

It’s so funny, as a ‘creative’ I can kind of dress and look however I want. If anything, it’s expected for me to look a tad bit crazy. I’m well on my way to being covered in tattoos, but I’ve often foregone the rainbow hair trend… maybe because I like the idea of being able to look supposedly ‘normal’ if I need to. I recently wrapped up some projects where I needed to appear a bit more pulled together, so now I’ve got this urge to get a little crazy. It just so happens that I am in desperate need of a trim and a touch up on my ombréd ends….plus, it definitely doesn’t help that tons of pink-hued hairstyles are floating around Pinterest!

So, what do you think: should I dip my already-bleached ends into a bold color, at least temporarily?

photo credit: We The People / Breakfast at Yurman’s

enter to win $100 of hand-poured soy candles from Candelles #giveaway

Candles are my jam. At any moment, I am burning at least one in my home. I just love the atmosphere they create. Today I am super excited to partner with one of my favorite candlemakers Candelles for an awesome giveaway: $100 worth of their hand-poured soy candles! And the timing is perfect, too: they just released some incredible fall fragrances. With options like salted caramel, magnolia and pistachio, and pomegranate cider, it’s tough to pick a favorite, amirite?

enter to win $100 of hand-poured soy candles from Candelles #giveawayEntering is easy: head over to Instagram to follow both Candelles and Jojotastic. Then leave a comment here saying you did so!

One winner will be chosen at random by Tuesday August 26 at 10:30 am PST. Open to US residents only. Winner will receive one shopping credit valued at $100. Good luck!

enter to win $100 of hand-poured soy candles from Candelles #giveawayPS – Jojotastic readers get 20% off your order when you use code JOJOLOVESCANDELLES at the checkout. Head here to start shopping!

wake up feeling refreshed

While I’m not exactly chipper and cheerful in the AM, I can agree that what you do first thing in the morning is super important. What you do that first hour or so of your day defines the mood of your day. Here’s how I think of it: imagine waking up on the first day of vacation… now try to figure out a way to incorporate that into your daily routine.

I have a few tips and tricks that help me wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on the day. Here are a few:

  • Let the email sit: I used to immediately check my inbox as soon as my alarm woke me, but that just lead to feeling rushed and stressed out when I saw work-related emails. Now, instead of scouring through my inbox, I give my cat a good cuddle before I hop out of bed.
  • Take the dog for a walk: I like to start my day with a stroll around the neighborhood with my dog, Noodle. There’s something about getting all that fresh air first thing in the morning that energizes.
  • Have a routine: I’m a creature of habit and I tend to run late.Having a simple morning routine prevents me from feeling rushed and sets me up for staying on track for the rest of the day.
  • Get a glass of water: Chilled water (I like mine infused with mint leaves) is a great way to start your day feeling refreshed and invigorated.

morning ritualsmorning rituals
What are some things you do to embrace the day and start out on a fresh foot?

photography by Jojotastic

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Carefree and SheKnows. All opinions are my own, and I would never endorse something I didn’t completely love. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Jojotastic going.