Pearls of Wisdom from Ada Pearl’s Diabetes Story

During a recent family dinner conversation, I suggested to my oldest daughter Iley she should start journaling. These are historic times, and she’s the perfect quiet observer type to keep a record of how crazy life’s been the past few months. We started discussing our most important memories and my little Ada chimed in with, “I have memories from when I was becoming diabetic.” Her hospital stay was TRAUMATIC, to say the least, so I was very interested in the memories she would share.

The weekend Ada was diagnosed with diabetes started with an ER visit due to a mass in her leg. That was followed by a poor attempt at an IV. Bless the nurse’s heart, he was trying his best and did eventually get it, but it was BAD—a moment we will ALL remember forever. The IV situation was followed by what seemed like endless X-rays, scans, and tests for our little Ada. Finally, we were told something unexpected: “Her blood glucose is 602.”

Since my husband Mike is diabetic, we instantly knew what this meant. We took turns fighting tears, crying in the hallway, and informing family members of the news. But this wasn’t the end, oh no…then came the 4-hour ambulance ride and the 3-day hospital stay where we got a crash course in all things juvenile diabetes. And all the while we were away from Iley, Ada’s number 1, most favorite person in the world.

So when she mentioned her memories of that weekend, I braced myself for tears. But instead of anything I just mentioned, she cheerfully said, “I got to eat pizza, I watched Moana in Spanish because Daddy couldn’t figure out the tv, I painted pictures, I had a doll to give shots to, I went outside, I got to ride around in a wagon, my friend Lydia visited me and brought me LOLs.”

Other than her friend visiting, I had forgotten all of those little moments. My own memories of the situation were clearly very different, and it made me stop and think. This little one of mine is so wise. Ada’s story reminded me of these 5 truths that will help you create beautiful memories during difficult times:

  1. Kids are amazing and resilient. While you may be worried or upset about the current situation, there’s still an opportunity to create joy at home. Your babies will remember it forever.
  2. Perspective is KEY. Ada could have chosen to remember the “straw” that got jammed into her arm, but because she felt safe and loved, instead she chooses to remember the good things from her hospital stay. Of course, she does remember that “straw,” but it’s not the first memory that comes to mind.
  3. There is always something to be thankful for. ALWAYS. Sometimes it’s something big, like a baby you prayed years for, and sometimes it’s hospital pizza.
  4. We all adapt to change. Ada’s entire life changed in an instant. She keeps going. Every day she learns more and more about how she can keep herself safe and healthy. She doesn’t know her numbers but she knows what is high blood sugar and low blood sugar. She doesn’t know how to read but she knows how to find the carbohydrate part of the nutrition label. Change is hard. But if we continue to educate ourselves, expand our patience and stay kind, change becomes easier.
  5. God is in control.

I can’t tell Ada’s story without mentioning God. 1,192 is the number of days we prayed for Ada Pearl. And the timing of her conception couldn’t have been more perfect. Adding her to our family lead to many decisions that, at the time, we didn’t know would change us in the most powerful, positive ways. I prayed and prayed to have a little girl who was just like my husband and that’s exactly what I got, diabetes and all.

Mike letting Ada test his blood sugar.

We knew all of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. We know what to look for. And we still completely missed it. Ada had wet the bed once or twice, but she was also drinking late at night and she was also only 4. She had an odd puking incident, but she had eaten a funnel cake and was running around at a festival. What ended up getting us to the doctor was a mass in her leg. We were told it was “nothing to worry about,” but we just couldn’t shake the feeling that it was something more. I see now this was all in God’s hands.

Our ultrasound appointment got changed at the last minute, making our ultrasound tech a friend of ours. She was also concerned about the mass. After a few calls to dear physician friends and several to our insurance company, we decided we would take Ada to a children’s hospital ER to get answers about this “nothing to worry about” mass. Within an hour of being there, we found out Ada had diabetes.

The doctor was shocked by this diagnosis given the symptoms: typically when a child is diagnosed with diabetes they are SICK. Ada never got to that point because we got in there FAST due to the mass. One week after her diagnosis, it disappeared. There is still no medical explanation that connects the mass to diabetes. No explanation for why it was there to begin with. We needed to seek medical attention for Ada and we needed something that would make us NOT STOP looking for answers—the mass was just that. It’s clear to me that once again this was God’s work.

When you feel helpless, when you don’t know what you’re doing: listen to your gut. Trust your instincts and know that you can handle the situation at hand. You are exactly where you are at this exact moment because you CAN do it. Ada saw us go through a whole range of emotions that weekend. She saw us show strength and determination, and she saw us feel scared and uncertain. But what she saw most was the deep love and support of her family and friends, and that’s why she left the hospital with happy memories of pizza and playing instead of bad ones.

In times like these, we’re all doing our best to be the light for our families. To be patient. Be calm. Be safe. Be happy. Be open. And your best is enough! You have everything you need to create beautiful memories. I hope you’ll share some of your favorite memories with me here in the comments or Instagram with hashtag #thepearlpages.



Blowdry Basics: How to Get the Salon Look at Home

As a hairstylist and salon owner, my clients are always asking how to get that perfect salon blowdry at home. I’ve worked with lots of different people with lots of different hair types and at this point, I know EXACTLY what you need for a great blowout. So I figured I’d pass on the knowledge and share my best tips here too.

Think of this as your hair-drying guide: breaking down the basics for any and all blowdrying skill levels. We’re not getting TOO fancy….yet (stay tuned, there’s more hairstyling goodness coming soon). And if you don’t usually blowdry your hair, that’s OK, I still have some good info for you!

First things first, start with clean hair and a clean scalp. If you haven’t already, take a look at my blog post How to Actually Shampoo Your Hair. I wasn’t expecting to get feedback like “How did I not know this? Mindblown!” or “My hair has never looked better!” but I guess that’s why it’s the most popular post I’ve ever published. SO, clean hair and scalp, that’s step one. 

Now let’s talk about hair dryers. Hairdryers are so IMPORTANT! If I had to choose only ONE hair tool for the rest of my life, it would be a hairdryer. A good quality dryer cuts down on your drying and styling time. Heck, you may not even NEED to style it afterward. Good blowdryers are built to be less damaging, which ends up improving your hair and reducing the need for extra styling. Plus, quality hairdryers are usually quieter and more lightweight. Why? Because they’re designed for professional use—our wrists need a break and lord knows when you have 5 dryers going at once, volume matters.

So you say, “Katie, tell me what hairdryer to get!” Well, here’s the deal: I use a Bio-Ionic Whisperlight dryer. Do I love it? Yes. Is it the latest and greatest, shout it from the rooftops hairdryer?? No. BUT I have been using this SAME dryer for nearly 10 years. That’s a heck of a long life for a salon-use dryer! I also have the same one at home, but the salon is a true test: our dryers get used for hours day after day. One of the reasons I chose this dryer is because Bio-Ionic has a 5-year warranty, unlike many brands that only give a 1- or 2-year warranty. And I DID have to send it in once to be repaired, as it started making a strange noise…I guess the 100th time I dropped it was just too much, lol. This was several years ago—I simply mailed it in with $35 and it came back brand new! I could tell you what hairdryers NOT to buy but I don’t want to product bash. That’s not nice. I will tell you if you’re spending less than $100, odds are it’s not that great. 

Here’s what I look for in a hairdryer:

  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Long cord is a MUST
  • Adjustable heat settings (you don’t want to fry your hair, and adding a “cool shot” helps set you style)

*A note about buying hair tools online: if you see a deal that’s too good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fakes or open-box products that aren’t listed accurately. Your best bet is to buy directly from the manufacturer so you get full use of the warranty and any other customer service you may need. If you do buy through Amazon, make sure the tool is sold by its manufacturer and not a third party.  

Almost as important as the dryer itself: the nozzle. You know, that thing that goes on the end of your dryer that you probably took off and shoved in a cabinet? It’s important! Don’t lose your nozzle!! It’s an absolute MUST for a frizz-free finish since it keeps the airflow concentrated and consistent. Even if you don’t want a smooth finish, the nozzle is still important. Streamlining the airflow means fewer tangles which means fewer split ends and ultimately, more time between haircuts. KEEP THAT NOZZLE! Go dig it out from under your sink and attach that baby to your dryer!

Oh and, while you’re looking for that nozzle, clean out your dryer! That lint thing on the back (it usually snaps or screws on), open it up and clean it. Having a clogged hairdryer can make it overheat and cause the airflow to be inconsistent, AKA making everything we’re going to talk about more difficult.

So back to your hair. When you get out of the shower, don’t just get right to blowdrying. This is important for both men and women. Those who have pro blowdry skills know your hair has an optimal blow-dry window. Dampish hair is best. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, keep practicing and you’ll find it. Blowdrying when your hair is too wet is a bad idea for several reasons, but to keep it simple: if your hair’s sopping wet, you’ll not only spend longer time drying but you’re also increasing damage and stress. So towel dry that hair, put on your skincare or makeup, make a cup of coffee, and wait for a little. Now, if you don’t blowdry and only air dry your hair…

That’s cool, and I’m all for that! BUT let me tell you a little trick: if you quickly blow-dry just your scalp area a) you’ll get more time in between washes, b) you’ll get more volume, and c) you’ll have less frizz at the roots, which is always a plus. You can just use your fingers to gently lift your hair while you aim your dryer close to your scalp. If you’re still not convinced, going to bed with a wet head can also be irritating to your scalp. Especially if you’re prone to any sort of itching or flaking, you’re better off going to bed with a dry scalp. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for the love of all that is holy DON’T GO TO BED WITH YOUR WET HAIR IN A BUN!!! This…oh, this is SO bad for your hair and scalp. Think of it like wadding up a wet towel and tossing it in the corner of your bedroom. It’s not good!

Ok, so your hair’s in that dampish sweet spot, now what? Apply your products. Putting in all that hair goodness when it’s sopping wet isn’t efficient. This is the prime time for product application! I like Davines OI All in One Milk to nourish my hair, protect against heat, and reduce frizz. The Davines Your Hair Assistant Blowdry Primer is also a current fave! This baby does the same nourish-and-protect job while also adding volume and reducing your blow-dry time. It doesn’t make my hair feel gross or product-y AND it’s perfectly primed for styling.

Now comb through those beautiful locks and section your hair. These are the clips I use to section: Framar Gator Grips Hair Clips. Be sure to choose the black ones (not pink!) since they’re rubberized and perfect for holding wet hair. A lot of ladies section bottom to top in layers, but I like to section my head into fours, like 4 pigtails. If you’re big on volume, you can totally section from bottom to top but be sure to blowdry your front section first. When you start in the back or the bottom, the front can airdry before you get to it and all is lost. If you have bangs, YOU MUST DRY THEM FIRST.

Your hair is actually scaly, like a fish (I know, so weird). The more damaged it is, the more those scales open up. You want to dry your hair in the direction of the scales, which is down the hair from roots to ends. If you’re blowing your hair up from underneath, you’re going against the scales making it frizzy and angry. Have you ever pet a cat against the grain? It doesn’t like it, and neither does your hair.

Blow-dry from root to end. For volume at the scalp, this is all about direction. Bring your hair from the back to the front, still drying with the grain (never up). Part your hair to one side and then the other. Be intentional. Tell your hair where you want it to go. Guide it. A good brush can help: this medium round brush by Ibiza Hair is my favorite. It’s well-made and leaves your hair so shiny. If you don’t have the skills to use a round brush yet, it’s OK! Use your fingers and guide the hair where you want it to go. Blowdrying is a great opportunity to set the foundation for your style. Don’t go at it all willy-nilly focusing merely on drying. Think of your hair like concrete (we’re going all-in on the analogies). When your hair is wet, it’s in its most pliable state, you can still easily mold it and guide it. Once it’s dry, it’s hard to correct the foundation you’ve already created. Every good style starts with the blowdry.

Finally, before moving on…MAKE SURE YOUR HAIR IS COMPLETELY DRY!!! If it’s not, you’ve got a recipe for frizz. And using hot tools if your hair is even remotely damp is BAD NEWS. You can cause damage that no treatment can undo. When you think it’s dry, KEEP DRYING!! I let my hair cool to confirm dryness before I do anything more. Even if you don’t plan to continue with heat tools, make sure your hair is TOTALLY DRY!! This goes back to the moldy towel reference. Even if you’re throwing it in a braid, bun or pony: dry scalp! Wet hair plastered to your head all day makes for a gross scalp.

Whew, you made it through! I know I hit you with a LOT of information, but it’s important to get these steps down first before you move onto more advanced styling techniques. Plus, as I said earlier, blowdrying the right way prevents damage and the dreaded FRIZZ. Go ahead and bookmark this post so you can refer back to it the next time you blowdry your hair—remember, practice makes perfect. Tag me in your hair photos with hashtag #thepearlpages, I love to see your looks!



My Secret to Building a Successful Business

“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

-Damon Richards

I don’t have an MBA. I can’t create the perfect Excel spreadsheet. I’m not great with numbers. But I DO know how to build a successful business, and I can hire people to deal with those other things! Over the years, I’ve started and grown two businesses. I’ve learned so much about my customers, myself, and business in general—I really could go on forever. But I’ve found there’s ONE key principle that’s made both of my businesses a success.

Whenever I make a business decision, I ask myself ONE simple question. You may think it’s something like “How much money will I make from this?” Nope, the question is…“Will this best serve my customers?”  If the answer is YES, I do it!

How I built my businesses on serving my customers

When first I opened my salon The Pearl 7 years ago, I knew I could make enough to cover my overhead. This put me at $0 income. But being self-employed was WORTH IT: I finally could run my business in a way that worked best for my clients and my family. My business continued to grow. Soon I saw my customers needed a more comfortable environment. So when I decided to move my salon to a better space, would I make more money? NO. But I knew it would create a better experience for my customers. When I’ve changed suppliers, added product lines, or offered new services, it’s never about profits—my ONLY concern is for my clients.

When I started my boutique (now The Shop on Pearl), it was a financial risk. I was making a HUGE investment and I had no guarantee what the outcome would be. But I knew women needed these clothes. I knew the power that a good outfit had to change the course of your entire day. I found these clothes at a time when I was unhappy with myself. I didn’t know how to feel like “me.” I was struggling to find myself in my new postpartum body. The way these clothes made me feel was something I knew in my soul I had to share with as many women as possible. There was something so uplifting about making other women feel confident and beautiful. So I jumped. I didn’t know when, but I knew if I stuck to sharing that good feeling, I would succeed.

Ways to serve your customers

Katie Dunlavy of the Pearl Pages in her LuLaRoe boutique The Pearl standing next to a clothing rack between two umbrella lights looking at an iPhone in a tripod.

Solve their problems

The goal is always to offer a product or service that betters your customer’s life. I’m constantly working to provide the BEST products—products that don’t just solve a problem for my customers but come from a company I believe in. I do so much research and testing that this process can sometimes take years!

I recently started carrying Davines’ line of hair care products. I love their mission, I love the quality of their products and my sales rep is the bee’s knees. My job is to give my customers’ confidence and make getting ready in the morning as EASY as possible. Davines makes my job easier—I know I can recommend their products without hesitation.

It’s the same reason I ditched my traditional boutique and became a LuLaRoe Retailer. I love the clothes and I love the company. I believe in LLR’s mission and I know that I can help women of all ages, shapes, and sizes feel BEAUTIFUL. And unlike with my traditional boutique, I have the support of a team of sisters across the US. We all work together to share our inventory, which means our customers get what they need with the BEST possible experience.

Build genuine relationships

No matter what your business venture is, it’s important to be authentic and genuine. Gaining your customers’ trust is incredibly important and it’s something I don’t take lightly. I personally test everything I offer. If for some reason I can’t (and this doesn’t happen often), I ask around until I get answers from real, trusted people in my community.

I build relationships with every customer who places an order or walks through my doors. Honestly? It’s my FAVORITE part of my business! I don’t want to be “just” someone’s hairstylist, I want to be their friend. I want their time in my chair to be a time to relax, feel comfortable, and walk out with a look that fits their lifestyle. I don’t want to “just” sell someone a sweater, I want to be able to pick the PERFECT sweater because I know them. I know my customers’ favorite colors, I know what they do or where they work and I know what pieces will bring them the most joy and confidence.

Show your gratitude

As a business owner, you’re living your dream. You’re doing something you’re passionate about on your own terms. The only reason you can do ANY of that is because of your customers! Find ways to show your gratitude for your community: love them, thank them, and add value wherever you can.

There are a lot of ways to show gratitude to your customers. Adding a personalized message with their order. Hosting special events in person or online. Giving discounts or rewards for their loyalty. Remembering them on their birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and special days. Sometimes something as simple as just LISTENING to them is enough to show you care. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to grow my businesses 100% organically, strictly based off of referrals. This is especially important when it comes to growing our Facebook community. I like knowing that my customers are connected—stranger danger is real, lol. It makes us all feel safe, like we’re already friends, which I think my customers appreciate as well. We’ve got an intimate vibe going on that sponsored ads and marketing tactics just can’t create.

A clear crystal angle shaped award sitting on a stone surface next to a plant that reads "2018 Small Business of the Year - The Pearl - Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce" given to Katie Dunlavy of the Pearl Pages.

So here I am, years after launching my businesses, still waking up every day asking myself, “How can I better serve my customers, where can I add more value?”

I know the world of business can get really complicated. And people will try to tell you all sorts of complicated ways to find success. But I promise you: if you put yourself aside and simply focus on serving your customers, good things will come your way.

If you have any questions about starting or growing your own business, please ask away! I’d love to help you in any way I can be of service. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your question in the comments, send me a private message on Facebook or Instagram



How to Make Better Coffee: From My Favorite Barista

I’ll admit it—I‘m a coffee snob. If I didn’t live with a barista, I’m pretty sure I’d be going CRAZY right now. I don’t do Starbucks. I don’t do K-Cups, or whatever they call that “put a cup in and push the button” situation. And don’t even get me started on the whipped coffee craze…INSTANT coffee? NO!

Listen, if you enjoy these things, I’m not knocking you. I ALSO lived on that stuff! Then my husband became a barista at The Clay Cup, a local coffee shop here in town. Freshly roasted beans? Ground right before my cup? Let me tell you, it was a WHOLE NEW coffee experience. 

Are you intrigued? Let me introduce you to this new, maybe better, way to make a great cup of coffee. I’m going to walk you through the basics of coffee-making and show you how easy it can be. Even if you’re already an at-home coffee expert, you just might learn something new!

Start with “good coffee”

Start with whole beans for the best flavor

When I asked my barista-husband how to make good coffee, he said, “Well, first you need GOOD COFFEE.” Insert eye roll here. So what’s “good coffee?” You’ll get the best-tasting coffee when you start with whole beans and grind them at home.

Coffee is grown in different regions all over the world. As the coffee beans are roasted, certain flavors develop. And these flavors change depending on the roast level, meaning there are a plethora of options to taste. Your palate will never get bored in the coffee world!

If you’re lucky enough to have a local specialty roaster, hit them up first. Being a specialty roaster is a hard gig and they need the love. Support local! If you want to click your way to good coffee, that’s fine too. These are our go-to favorite coffee beans you can order online.

Onyx Coffee Lab’s Southern Weather

Onyx Coffee Lab

Onyx Coffee Lab is out of northwest Arkansas. They have a super cool origin story and a great variety of products. If you’ve never been to one of their locations, GO! (When it’s safe, of course.) You can pick up their Roaster Sampler Box for only $25. Their best-seller, Southern Weather, tastes like milk chocolate, plum, and candied walnuts. It’s smooth and sweet enough to drink without milk or sugar!

Monarch’s Gildardo Chincunque Colombia


Another one of our favorite roasters is Monarch in Kansas City. The coffee is delicious and the packaging is beautiful! We love Monarch’s Gilardo Chincunque Colombia, which has notes of vanilla, baked apple, and hazelnut. YUM!

Invest in a quality grinder

Our favorite at-home coffee grinder, the Baratza Encore

A good, quality grinder is almost as important to your coffee as good beans. Not all beans in the same package taste the same, and getting the right mix is key. The more uniformly your coffee is ground, the more evenly-extracted your coffee will be. Grinders come in 3 main types: burr, blade, or manual. Burr grinders grind your beans between plates and give you more even grounds than a blade grinder. And manual? No thanks, electricity exists for a reason. 

We use the Baratza Encore, which has been the top-rated at-home burr grinder for years. We like this grinder because it’s reliable and has 40 different grind settings for dialing in flavor. Baratza makes nothing but grinders, so you know they’re world-class.Now don’t cringe at the price. Think about how much money you spend at your coffee shop of choice. You’ll probably SAVE money after purchasing the Encore! I could list a few less expensive options, but they don’t give you nearly as consistent a grind. Honestly, the extra $30-$40 is worth it: the Baratza Encore is THAT good at what it does and it LASTS. If you’re serious about upping your at-home coffee game, my recommendation is definitely this grinder.

Use a French press

Bodum’s classic Chambord French press

So to brew our coffee, we’re going to use a classic French press. You could also do a pour-over, AeroPress, or a few other methods, but for the sake of keeping this user-friendly, we’re going with the French Press. Don’t have one? You’ll be happy to hear a French press is SUPER affordable. Here’s the one we use: the Bodum Chambord French Press. We like the Bodum because it’s a simple, durable option. Plus, it has a glass carafe so you can see what’s going on with your coffee as it brews.

Get accurate with a scale

Coffee scale with timer

This one is optional, but we use a coffee scale to measure our beans and water. We like this scale because it’s accurate and weighs in multiple units like grams, ounces, and more. The batteries last forever and it also has a timer, which comes in handy when you’re using a French press or pour-over. Plus, it’s less than $20! You can use measuring spoons and cups instead, but it won’t be as accurate. Measuring the time, temperature, and weight of your coffee all help you stay consistent. You’ll also learn which variables to change up when you’re experimenting to get your perfect cup!

How to make French press coffee

So you have your coffee, your grinder, and your French press. Now what?

Step One: Fill a kettle with clean filtered water and bring it to an almost-boil. You want your temperature around 205 degrees or just off boil.

Step Two: Weigh and grind your beans. Start with 25g of beans to 400g of water (following a 1:16 ratio) for about 12oz of coffee. We use a scale to measure both the coffee beans and the water. If you don’t have a scale, use roughly 4 Tbsp medium-coarse ground coffee.

Step Three: Pour some hot water (about a cup) into the French press to pre-heat it.

Step Four: Empty out the water and add your ground coffee to the pre-heated French press.

Step Five: Bloom: add roughly twice the amount of hot water to your coffee (so 50g of water for 25g coffee). Stir bloom.

Step Six: Wait 30 seconds and then add the remaining water to bring your total up to 400g or about 14oz.

Step Seven: Let your coffee brew for 4 minutes. Stir the crust of ground coffee that forms on top and then lightly scoop off the top layer of floaty foamy bits.

Step Eight: Wait another few minutes until everything has settled to the bottom of your French press (this is why we like the glass Bodum).

Step Nine: Add your plunger screen, but don’t push it all the way down. This will only agitate the grounds at the bottom and give you loose grounds in your coffee. You want to just simply break the surface of the liquid.

Step Ten: Pour your freshly-brewed coffee gently into a beautiful mug. And enjoy!

Notes: The total coffee in the cup will be roughly 12oz, not the 14oz you put in. The ground coffee absorbs some of that water, about twice its weight to be exact (thanks Mike!)

If your coffee liquid isn’t passing through the plunger screen easily, your coffee is probably ground too fine. The small grounds can get stuck in the screen—try going with a medium-coarse grind.

So there you have it! The best at-home cup of coffee is a simple as the right beans, right tools, and a little bit of time. Got questions or suggestions for more great roasters? Leave them in the comments. Let me know how it works for you—use hashtag #thepearlpages so I can see what you make!



My All-Time Favorite Products for Home, Kids and YOU

Man, the last few weeks sure have been interesting, right? I won’t say good or bad, I’ll just say interesting. And if you’re like me, you’ve been learning and Googling things left and right, trying to figure out how to get through these crazy times.

I’ve learned new things about myself, my children, my husband, and my business. I’ve Googled endlessly, from how to make powdered sugar to what are normal oxygen levels. I’ve learned how to take vitals and found substitutes for so many recipes. I’ve found new ways to connect with my friends and family online, and felt so grateful to give and get support from my community. I hate to jinx it, but it feels like we’ve found a new “normal.”

So in case you haven’t found yours yet, or even if you have, I’m going to save you some Googling and share my FAVORITE products that have made the past few weeks better. AAAAAND the best part…GUYS, I reached out and got you some promo codes and deals*! I’m seriously so excited to share these with you. EEEEEEEEK, here we go!

*Note: you know I’m honest and don’t hold back when it comes to sharing. So I want to be upfront and let you know that I may receive compensation if you make a purchase through some of these links. I value you and our community so much that I would NEVER recommend anything that I haven’t personally used and stood behind. If you ever have any questions about something I’ve shared, you can reach out to me directly either in the comments or direct message me on social media.


Verb Gingersnap Energy Bars

Verb Energy Bars

I don’t know about you, but these days I need all the energy I can get. Coffee gets me out of bed in the morning but Verb bars are my mid-afternoon pick-me-up treat. In all honesty, these bars are a part of my daily routine I look forward to—I ran out for a week and realized how much they help me!

So yes, these are energy bars, but they’re not gross like other ones, I promise. Verb bars are gluten-free and made with normal things that you can pronounce and likely find in your own kitchen. They’re only 90 calories and actually taste amazing. My favorite flavors so far are the Coconut Chai and Gingersnap. And I’m excited to try Vanilla Latte in my next order.

I’m sensitive to caffeine, but Verb bars are made with organic green tea and don’t make you feel jittery. If I get an extra shot in my americano, WATCH OUT: I can’t handle it. With these, it’s just good energy (I probably wouldn’t eat one after 4:00 pm, though).

Another reason to love Verb: their customer service. They text you! When you place your order, you get a text with tracking info. And when you’re ready to order more, just reply to that same text with the flavor you want! It’s SO easy—and you’re talking with a real person so you can ask questions. They’re even donating bars to help healthcare workers on the front lines.

So here’s the deal: for $0.95 you get a sample pack of 4 Verb Energy Bars with code KATIEDUNLAVY1 or by just clicking the link. The sample pack’s normally $6, but you can try 4 FREE bars for less than a dollar shipping. You’re welcome! Oh, oh, and for you healthcare workers, click the link but use code HCWORKERS2020 to save extra on bundles.

Senegence Color Correcting Tinted Moisturizer 

Senegence’s Color Correcting Tinted Moisturizer (CCTM) is PERFECT for helping you feel a little more human without a lot of fuss. If I’m doing a full face of makeup for work or an event, I wear this tinted moisturizer with foundation and powder. But considering I only see my family and besties through a screen these days, I stick to CCTM alone for my daily Facebook Lives

CCTM is perfect for all skin types, even if you’re acne-prone. It gives you sheer coverage, color correction, and sun protection in one easy step. It reduces redness, sun spots, and age spots without feeling heavy so you’re looking bare-faced and beautiful. If you know a Senegence rep, hit her up! If you don’t, message me. I have several friends I can connect you with—they’ll even throw in an added goodie just for you!

Olly Sleep Gummies

Let’s just say sleep and I have a tricky relationship. I love to sleep, but as a business owner AND a mom of two girls and a baby, I tend to need a lot more of it than I actually get. And right now, it’s been extra tough to stay on a regular schedule with everything being…not regular. I’ll have a hard time falling asleep and an even harder time waking up.

Thankfully, these Olly Sleep Gummies peacefully knock me out and don’t leave a groggy feeling the next morning. I take 2 about an hour before bedtime. They help me get a better night’s sleep and I wake up happier and more productive. Plus, Olly Sleep Gummies taste SO good, I look forward to taking them! If you struggle with sleep, they’re definitely worth a shot.  

Skinny Tan Self-Tanner

Flat lay photograph of Skinny Tan The Gradual Tanning Mousse and packaging on a wooden surface
Skinny Tan After Glow Gloss & Gradual Mousse

Call me silly, but I just feel better with a little tan, especially as we move into the warmer months. You already know I LOVE Skinny Tan for a natural-looking, easy-to-apply tan. I went on and on about their Gradual Tanning line in this blog post.

So many of you already purchased it and reported back with GREAT reviews, which I love. (It makes me so happy to hear you’re enjoying these recommendations—message me!) For these self-tanners, skip Amazon and go straight to Skinny Tan’s website for the BEST deals and excellent customer service. 


Norwex Envirocloths & Cleaning Paste


Given the current status of things, we’re all thinking about cleaning and sanitizing more than ever. Cleaning has always been important to me. It helps manage my anxiety and protects my family. But there’s one little problem: I HATE CLEANING. Or at least I did, before Norwex. I can talk Norwex all day because I LOVE IT! Not only do these products actually WORK, but they also aren’t full of harmful chemicals. Especially this one product that will SERIOUSLY change your life.

Meet the Envirocloth: it’s a cloth that cleans and sanitizes with ZERO added cleaning products. You just get it wet and go to town! Then you rinse it out, rub it together, and keep cleaning. It self-purifies. It doesn’t transfer germs. I’m telling you: the Envirocloth is LIFE CHANGING. Listen to this… can wipe up raw chicken mess with an Envirocloth and it won’t transfer germs. In theory, you could wipe up chicken yuck, rinse it, and move on to wiping down the next surface. Now, I don’t actually do that, but I love that I don’t have to worry about spreading germs.

And no need to fear messy situations, this cloth picks up EVERYTHING. Grease, butter, any and every disgusting mess you can think of. I literally have less anxiety because of this cloth and I’m not even telling you half of its superpowers. And yes, they make a mop with this same glorious material, which makes cleaning for a crawling baby way LESS stressful. I can sanitize my floors in minutes WITH ZERO CHEMICALS. I originally loved this line because my girls have asthma and I try to keep the chemicals to a minimum. But with the current situation, it means even more to me knowing I’m not dependent on the stores for disinfectant.

To get your own Norwex, use this link! As a bonus, my girl Jessica is letting you pick one of these FREE gifts! And you better believe I’ve got more recommendations so you can browse around. Aside from the Envirocloth, I also love the polishing Window Cloth. (No need for Windex anymore!) The Cleaning Paste will clean anything: it will get Sharpie off your wood floor and hair color out of your white grout. I use the detergent (laundry or dish?). I love the Fresh Produce Wash spray and Dishwashing Liquid soap. I love the Hair Wrap. Yes, Norwex is the real deal…told ya I could go on for days!


Iley’s Art Kit & Ada’s Art Kit

Art Kits

If the kids are occupied and happy, we’re ALL happy. They’ll play with these “super special” art kits for HOURS. We first bought Iley an art kit and quickly discovered Ada needed her own art kit too. They use them every day! It’s crazy because they have TONS of every art supply in these kits but for whatever reason, these kits are “special.” Whatever the reason, it’s TOTALLY worth the money for the peace these art kits bring to our home. Plus, I love seeing their creations (check out some of their art in this blog post)! 

Splash Pad

When the weather’s nice and we’re out of school, we spend time outside. To keep the kids moving and occupied outdoors, I bought them a new sprinkler. It’s unfortunately no longer available on Amazon, ugh. But it’s a swirly one and they lost their minds over it! I was surprised since I was kind of expecting them to be underwhelmed. Typically they’d be full-blown swimming at their Nanny and Papa’s house. Since the sprinkler went over so well, I just ordered them this splash pad. Shhhhh, they don’t know yet! They are going to flip out—I can’t wait to see them splashing around. Best part: the baby gets to love it too. 

Well, there you have it: my favorite, must-have, make-life-easier-and-better list of products. These things will help you out not only during this crazy time but ALL the time. Show me what you’re ordering and loving using hashtag #theperalpages and ask me anything down in the comments!



Here’s How To Do Easy Overnight Heatless Curls

You know how you open up a how-to tutorial and all of a sudden you’re scrolling through the LONGEST STORY EVER, just looking for your dang tutorial?? Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that to you!

You guys loved my “How to Actually Shampoo Your Hair the *Right* Way” post and asked for more hair how-to’s. So when I saw this heatless curl technique, I couldn’t wait to try it out. (And if you’re part of my Facebook community, you might have already seen how AMAZING the results were!) Hot styling tools wreak havoc on our hair, but “wash-and-go” isn’t always an option when you still want to look cute and put-together. These heatless curls are SO EASY, use things you already have, and give your hair a break from damaging hot tools.

What you’ll need:

How to do heatless curls:

Step One: Starting with damp hair, spray in your curl primer and comb through curl cream. Concentrate on the midshaft and ends of your hair, avoiding the roots.

Step Two: Blow-dry the roots of your hair only, lifting with your fingers if you want a little extra volume.

Step Three: Part your hair into two sections. Now middle parts aren’t for everyone, so these sections don’t have to be even. Go with where you usually part your hair.

Step Four: Next, grab your leggings. Twist the waist to make them into one long rope and place the leggings across the top on your head.

Clip the leggings to one side and keep the first side you’ll work on free.

Step Five: Start with a small section of hair and wrap around the leggings. Grab a little more hair and keep wrapping. If you know how to French or Dutch braid, it’s a similar technique.

Keep going, adding slices of hair and wrapping over top of the leggings until you’ve got your entire section wrapped.

When you get to the ends, you can either wrap your hair and leggings close together for tighter curls or gently pull apart for looser curls.

Step Six: When you get about 1-2 inches from the ends of your hair, tie a knot with the leggings and pull your hair through.

Step Seven: Twist towards your head and wrap up the whole thing into a knot.

Step Eight: Take your clip out and do the whole thing again on the other side.

Now you’ve got a super cute and not at all silly-looking ‘do.

If you want, add a splash of hair spray and finish getting ready for bed.

When you wake up, let down your hair, comb through gently with your fingers and BOOM! There you have it: beautiful, heatless curls!! (And one less thing to worry about in the morning.)

So what do you think? I was seriously impressed by how well my curls came out. The Davines Curl Primer & Curl Cream really helped set my hair- contact me if you’d like to give either product a try.

Have you tried this technique before? If you haven’t, why not tonight? Let me know how it works out for you in the comments and tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you share a pic! On Instagram, use hashtag #thepearlpages and I’ll pick a few lucky ladies to send some hair love to. Can’t wait to see your curls!



Get Dressed, Feel Better: The Perfect Quarantine Wardrobe

Just going to say it: these are some strange times. Some days even the smallest tasks seem overwhelming. Staying in your PJ’s all day sounds like a good option (and we’ve all done it at some point!). But getting back into a routine is one of the easiest ways to bring back a sense of “normal,” starting with getting yourself dressed.

Getting dressed, whether or not you leave the house, is the key to not only a successful day but a successful mindset. It’s scientifically proven that getting ready increases your productivity, reduces depression, relieves anxiety, and sets your day on a positive path. Now more than ever this step is VITAL so we can be our best selves.

To make it even easier to start your day off right, I’m going to walk you through the PERFECT quarantine wardrobe. There are options you can mix and match that are great for doing allllll the things. Outfits that can work out, lounge, Zoom conference, hike, paint, wrangle children, bounce on a trampoline, or cuddle on the couch. Outfits guaranteed to keep you comfortable, confident, and as active or relaxed as your quarantine requires. I promise that Netflix binge will feel better when you’re rocking one of these looks!

Quarantine Wardrobe Essentials

*Note: I’m featuring specific pieces from LuLaRoe because not only am I a boutique owner, I *actually* wear these clothes and stand by their quality. Of course, you can substitute clothing from any brand in a similar style! If you see something you like, click the link to shop the look. And if you’re looking for a pattern or size you don’t see listed, send me a message and I’ll find it for you. 

Valentina Button-up

Soft, comfy and as professional as you need her to be. This multi-tasking top pairs well with leggings, jeans, slacks, skirts, and joggers. Feeling like an over-achiever? Add a blazer (like the Gwen below). Valentina’s the PERFECT cozy cotton-blend to keep it professional on the top and quarantine-comfy on the bottom. I could LIVE in this shirt!

Xoe Romper

If you’re thinking, “I don’t do rompers”….girl, you can do THIS romper. These are designed so you can choose where you want the waist to hit, making it most flattering for YOUR body type. You can wear it loose for a drop waist, or cinch it up at your natural waist. I know we sometimes avoid rompers since getting practically naked to use the restroom is a pain; however, you’re at HOME, boo! That tiny drawback is NOT worth missing out on this comfy sack of luxury. Throw on a blazer (see why I love Gwen?) for that added WOW factor.

Xoe Romper

Iris Tunic

The Iris tunic is perfect for EVERY OUTFIT. It’s long enough to wear with all of your favorite leggings but still French-tuck-friendly for jeans. The Iris has a relaxed sleeve, a modest yet flattering v-neck and is made of supple materials that will have you swooning! Did I mention Iris is only $32?? It’s kind of crazy.

LuLaRoe Denim & Iris Tunic

LLR Denim

Now, please note that I’m talking about LULAROE DENIM, not just any old pair of jeans. Lularoe denim, which is REAL denim, is AMAZING. Did you know jeans could be soft, comfortable, and stretchy with zero sagging? Seriously. I went 10 days without washing with ZERO sag! I only washed them at 10 days because: ew. LuLaRoe denim also has these amazing tummy-slimming panels in the front, giving EVERY woman confidence. I promise you have not yet met a pair of jeans like these. You CAN wear jeans and still feel sweatpant-comfy. It’s a real thing!

Jax Joggers

Speaking of sweatpants, Mike and I both LOVE Jax joggers. Mike loves the deep pockets that are perfect for his insulin pump, phone, and wallet. Guys need a lot of storage and sweatpants don’t usually provide that (cargo pants are never the right option!!). And I’m a fan of Jax joggers because I can wear them in so many different ways! I love to pair them with a Valentina, my all-time fave quarantine combo. And when I actually leave the house, I dress them up with a heel and blazer for a polished yet COMFY look.

Jax Joggers & Valentina Button-up

Gwen Blazer

A blazer ups the ante of any outfit, but they can feel too restrictive. And ugh, I CANNOT handle being restricted. I always think of the Mitch Hedburg joke about turtlenecks: “Wearing a turtleneck is like being strangled by a really weak guy all day.” This is how I feel about all restrictive clothing and accessories! Seriously, oftentimes I have to choose: necklace or bra. So obviously adding a blazer would typically be a no from me….but a Gwen blazer? It’s comfy, oversized, polished perfection. I’m in!

So there you have it: 6 simple pieces that make getting dressed a million times easier. It may seem small, but putting on an outfit that’s both comfortable and put together is a big help when it comes to staying positive and productive. If any of these styles caught your eye, you can check out my boutique here. If you need help finding your perfect size, I can help you with that too.

Stay safe, stay positive, and get dressed!



P.S. If you see anything in a print you like, but it isn’t your size, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If you want more options in your size, reach out! I have a whole network of LuLaRoe family that will share their items with me. We all work together to best serve our customers.

How to Actually Shampoo Your Hair the *Right* Way

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for the “secret” to healthy hair, I’d be writing this from my private jet. Unfortunately, there is no one secret answer that’ll instantly transform you into Blake Lively. We’ve all got different hair goals and types. But one thing we do ALL need for healthy hair? A healthy scalp. And a healthy scalp starts with shampooing…the RIGHT way.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “Katie, I’ve been washing my hair all my life, I think I got this.” Hey, maybe you do and that’s GREAT…but as a professional hairstylist, I can tell you that I’ve worked with a lot of people who don’t! So before I start talking favorite products, healthy hair diet, styling tools and all of the other hair things, let’s go back to basics: properly shampooing your hair.

Step One: Brush your hair. I like a combo bristle brush, but use what you have. Brushing your hair is so good for it in general, but brushing pre-shampoo also prevents knots and breakage and helps stimulate that scalp. It’s all about the scalp!

Step Two: Completely saturate your hair with warm water. This will open up your pores, making your scalp more receptive to the products you apply, and make washing much easier. Go ahead and get your hair good and wet. Hang out under the showerhead for a little longer than you would usually. Enjoy it!

Step Three: Onto the shampoo. First, don’t use a ton of it. Overusing shampoo is a problem I see a lot, especially with teenagers. I always recommend a “prewash”: use a nickel-size amount and do a quick scalp scrub. This is VERY important if you don’t wash your hair frequently. Rinse well. Then you’re ready to start the real washing.

I use a quarter-size amount of shampoo here, but you might need slightly more or less depending on how much hair you have. WASH YOUR SCALP. Forget about the rest of your hair and focus on the scalp. Did I mention It’s all about the scalp?? Use your fingertips and massage in circular motions. I start at the front and work to the back of my head. Hit the hot spots hard—the hairline, nape, behind the ears, and crown are prime spots for buildup.

Now here’s an important note: you really DON’T have to wash the rest of your hair! The middle and ends of your hair are naturally drier and can use the oil to protect it. If you do choose to wash the rest of your hair, don’t just “mush” it around. Mushing it causes unnecessary matting and breakage. You want to be sure to pull the shampoo through the ends of your hair. Try working in sections if you’ve got a lot.

This washing process should take 4 minutes minimum. I don’t care if you have a pixie or the finest hair on earth, if you’re washing your hair in under 4 minutes, you need to SLOW DOWN. 

Step Four: RINSE. RINSE. RINSE. Please for love of it all, RINSE your hair thoroughly! This is also one of the problems I see frequently. Scalp buildup happens when you don’t rinse completely. Scrub your scalp as you rinse to get all of the dead skin and product off your head and then RINSE! RINSE! RINSE!

RINSE THAT HAIR!!!! RINSE IT AGAIN!!! (Can you tell this step is an important one??)

Step Five: Time to condition. Conditioner, unlike shampoo, is all about the ends of your hair. I use a quarter-size and start at my ends, combing through my hair with my fingers. When I get near my head, I lightly use what’s left to finger through the top of my hair. DO NOT PUT CONDITIONER ON YOUR SCALP! We just got all of that off of your scalp, don’t add more.

Step Six: MORE RINSE RINSE RINSING! Never skimp on that rinse. Dividing your hair into sections helps. When I rinse conditioner from my own hair, I separate it into two sections. When I rinse Iley’s hair, I divide it into four sections. If you want to be an over-achiever, rinsing with cool water can help prevent dullness. As we all know, heat wreaks havoc on our hair. Using cool water helps seal in all that conditioning goodness you just added to your hair in the shower.

And there you have it: washing your way to healthy hair in six steps! The key is to focus on scrubbing that scalp and rinsing everything thoroughly. Many of my clients who use the same professional products I use say they can never achieve the “salon feel” of a good wash at home. I have zero doubts that it’s all in the extra scrubbing and rinsing. 

So tell me—did you learn anything? Was this helpful at all? Ask me anything about washing your hair down in the comments! Next time we’ll talk more about products and tools.



When the Future is Uncertain.

In times like these, it’s easy to feel helpless. It’s easy to feel lost. Each day seems to bring new questions. You want to fix the situation. You want to make things better. You’re fighting your fears and praying for answers. And sometimes you’ll find them in the most unlikely of places. 

Like many of you, I’ve been self-quarantined for over a week. On our first day at home, we must have watched Frozen II at least 10 times. One line kept sticking out to me that I haven’t been able to shake.

“When one can see no future, all one can do is the next right thing.”

-Pabbie, Frozen 2

It seems silly, but this little line from Frozen is the perfect way to find peace in these uncertain times. Here’s why I love it: it’s incredibly simple. “The next right thing” is something we ALL can do. No matter your physical, mental or financial state, there’s something you can do to help. And see how they use the word “right?” It doesn’t say the next “best” thing or the next “easiest” thing for a reason. It’s about doing the next RIGHT thing. We all know what the “right” thing to do is. We may not always choose to do it, but deep down we always know what it is. And in these tender, uncertain times, it’s all we can do. We can stay indoors, we can love our neighbors, and when we can, see a need and fill it. We can do the next right thing.

I’ve been on the receiving end of people doing “the next right thing” several times in the last week. As you may know, our family includes both the immunocompromised and an infant. Essentials have been hard to come by and leaving the house has been pretty much out of the question. And kindness from our friends and neighbors has been pouring in!

My friend Elise brought me acetaminophen and a roll of toilet paper. Amee dropped a whole pack of toilet paper on my porch. The girls were so touched they wrote a book about the appearance of magic toilet paper. Ada got a package of sunshine in our mailbox from her bestie up the street. Iley’s teachers have dropped goodies on the porch. I’ve gotten several texts from those out and about asking if we need anything.

During a moment of distress, I asked one of my “together” friends who knows all the things about finding alcohol swabs for Ada. We use several a day for her shots and tests and I was feeling discouraged by the low availability, price gouging, and extremely high shipping rates. Within minutes, she told me about a LOCAL pharmacy with a drive-through where I could stock up. I was about to spend $50 online: my drive-through total was $4!

These small acts of kindness are GRAND in these times. They mean more than ever before. So the next time you’re given an opportunity to do the right thing, please do it. Please look to your neighbors, through the glass, and offer a smile. Please look for unmet needs in your community and, when possible, offer a helping hand. It’s not about doing the big things, it’s about doing the right things. The only way we are going to get through this is together.



P.S. Now, more than ever, we need the power of community. If you haven’t already, join our Facebook group. At the very least, we can stay connected and keep each other smiling during these difficult times.

Just Be Supportive

SO: I’ve learned something GRAND, friends. Something that will change all of your current and future relationships. Every relationship you have, whether it’s with your friends, spouse, children, neighbor, co-workers…are you ready for this?


I know you’re thinking, “Wow Katie, thanks for that groundbreaking insight,” BUT give me a moment to explain.

Ever been really excited about something but fearful of telling your friends or family? Maybe you’ve decided to leave your “stable career” for a risky new adventure. Maybe your dad’s a butcher and you’ve decided to become vegan. Maybe you want to quit baseball and join the ballet. Maybe you’ve decided to go back to college…again.

No matter the situation, when there’s change there’s both excitement and fear. You’re excited about this thing you’ve decided you want to do. And you’re terrified of whether you’re making the right choice. Life is scary! Factoring in the opinions of your loved ones should NOT add to your stress. These choices are hard enough.

When we decided to become foster parents we were stoked. But I was also TERRIFIED to tell my parents. I knew they wouldn’t initially be supportive and I didn’t want them raining on my parade. I knew they’d come around, but I also didn’t want to hear negativity about this very personal decision. I’m not trying to throw my parents under the bus here. They’re great parents, but they’re also a great example of what I’m saying about being supportive.

So during this big life change, I decided I will ALWAYS BE SUPPORTIVE of not only my children and family but of my friends and the others in my life. I’m going to support everyone the way I hope to be supported when I need it. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say my daughter Iley is now a grown woman and she comes to me and says, “Mom, I’ve decided I want to join a nudist colony.” I PRAY, I PRAY TO HEAVEN ABOVE THIS WILL BE MY RESPONSE:

“Honey, what a change! Wow, ok, well let’s finish dinner so we can go get you plenty of sunscreen. You’re going to need it! Maybe we can get you some fun accessories. Some earrings, maybe a hat or two!”

Honestly, I want to be THAT PARENT. I want to be THAT FRIEND. Here’s the logic: I know Iley isn’t stupid. She’s my daughter and if I’ve done my part in raising her I know she’s thought this through. She’s weighed the pros and cons. And this is the decision she’s come to.

**Now let’s note: there’s a big difference between someone TELLING you their decision versus asking for your opinion. Obviously, if grownup Iley says, “Mom, how do you think I’d enjoy living in a nudist colony?” the conversation would go very differently.**

By supporting her, I’m showing her my love. By supporting her, I’m showing her respect. By supporting her, I’m giving her permission to fail and to learn from it. I know life at the nudist colony will come with its challenges. If I tell her I think it’s a bad idea, she won’t want to come to me on her hard days. She’ll be fearful of the “I told you so.” I don’t know about you, but I NEVER want my children or my friends to be fearful of coming to me on the hard days. I WANT to be there on the hard days.

And while we’re on the topic, let’s all stop with the I-told-you-so’s. That phrase brings NO JOY. It’s riddled with negativity. It builds walls and cuts you off from the people who trusted you enough to share with you. So, by not “telling them so”…one, you invite people to be open with you, allowing people to come to you on the best and the worst days, and two, you show LOVE!!! And isn’t that better for all of us?

So I leave you with this: if your BFF comes to you today and tells you they want to get a unicorn horn tattooed on their forehead, go with them! Buy them a rainbow cookie and celebrate this momentous occasion. That being said, you better be as supportive on the day they ask you for recommendations on tattoo removal.

Now let’s trade stories. Tell me about a time someone supported you in an unexpected way or how a relationship changed when someone didn’t support you. I love reading your comments! And if you’re not feeling supported, you know you’ve got me here, ready to ride along to the nudist colony or unicorn horn tattoo appointment.