Friday, August 26, 2011

Dip Dye Those Tips!

Taking DIY to the ultimate next level, I set out to brighten my life, by brightening my hair. The ombre style, which I have harped on previous to this post, has taken a colossal role in my panache. Though still madly in love with ombre, so much so that I still stop dead in my stare every time I come across a picture of my favorite ombre'd tresses that lay atop Rachel Bilson's tiny head (her head does seem abnormally quaint), I have found that Ombre 2.0 is a little more edgy. Needing something to push me to my limits and experience life a little more frivolously, I came across one of my beloved retired reality startlets, Lauren Conrad, and her hynotizing tie-dye dip-dyed tips. Say that five times fast!

Within days my brain could not stop thinking about the splash of color dripping from her ends, and I soon found myself contemplating the technicality that would go into such a process. Why would I spend all of this time figuring out such a tedious procedure if I wasn't actually going to find myself a willing model and delicately attack their ends with the color wheel? But who? And when? And why...why not just attempt it on myself? Well this brings a whole new element of planning in my head, and then perusing the internet for tutorials, tips, color lines, and reparative treatments. Oy, the stress...but the possibilities! Before long, the thought consumed me, keeping me up late at night weaving strands of foil in my imagination, and staring at my tousled hair in the mirror thinking that it would be superior had it been dipped into a rainbow! That settled it. The next few days consisted of multiple tutorials (thank you, youtube), stalking of other "dippers", and researching for the best color line. The logistics were set, my shades were picked, and the time slot was carved out of my weekend.

I set out on a 6-hour process, the longest ever spent on a single head of hair, and the most tedious and intricate I have ever been. As I weaved and foiled, painted and re-painted, checked and double-checked, rinsed, washed and repeated, I laughed to myself, thinking of how I used to scoff at the thought (or look) of having one out-of-place highlight or one discolored strand, and here I am, painting rainbows in my hair.

Am I happy with my outcome? Let's just say that if my hair embodies a slightly unpleasant aroma, I apologize, but I am going few and far between washes to hold onto my beautifully hued tips! I. Love. It. Partly because I spent so much energy and arm strength to achieve my final product, but mostly because it's unique and spontaneous and exemplifies art.

Here is my dauntingly tedious step-by-step process. Things to keep in mind: 1.) DIY should really apply to trained stylists only. Not that they're trained specifically in dip-dying, but most important in bleaching up ends to a light blonde, without the ends completely slipping right off. You want to have ends to dip-dye after step one, otherwise the process is mute. Just sayin'. 2.) I am silly. You will see this through my pictures. Please also regard the fact that this was a 6-hour process and I may have been a wee bit tired nearing the end result, i.e. sillier. 3.) If you find yourself dreaming of dip-dyed ends after this post, don't lose sleep over it, just message me. Let's make beautiful rainbowed split-ends together.

Step 1: Kill your ends beyond belief. Split ends are in the past, fried ends are your tomorrow. Bleach, 30V (or 40V if your hair is resistant), foils and time. It's that simple to kill the ends that you've been nourishing with leave-in conditioner for years. Heat helps too. Well, let me elaborate: heat helps with your ends bleaching out, NOT in helping them stay healthy. Duh. Somehow I didn't get a picture of the bleach in the bowl, but just picture marshmallow fluff in a bowl and you've got yourself bleach with 30V. Apply the bleach to about 3 inches of your ends. I wove a few strands out so they would stay "natural". This is not a must, just something I did because, honestly, I was a chicken and wanted some natural strands to interlace with the rainbows, just in case the rainbows were too bright and overpowering. Looking back, those left behind strands were not necessary.



Step 2: After processing the bleach for about 40 minutes, check out your progress. Open a foil and hope for platinum goodness. Just kidding. All you see is day-glo orange? Or a brassy dark blonde? Shocker. Apply some more of that bleach (yep, right on top of the old, that has now completely dried from your hair sucking up its chemicals) and fold that bad-boy back up to continue processing. Some foils will need it more than others, depending on where you started with the bleach and depending on what those particular ends were like before.
















After you have finally reached a hue of blonde that you are comfortable with, without going so far as to lose your ends altogether, it's time to give them a little breather, away from the chemicals and blankets of foil. Rinse, thoroughly, and condition plenteously! Let your ends soak up that conditioner the same way they did the bleach. Then rinse, again thoroughly. I had some spare time so I let my hair airdry instead of taking the blow-dryer to my already screaming ends.

Process 1, complete! I sort of LOVED this instant ombre look, so at least I know what I have to look forward to when my colors rain away.

And just in case you need to see those crispy ends up close....

After a while I did blast them with a little medium heat to get them to fluff out so I could see exactly what I was working with. You want to apply the color to completely dry hair. I reiterate, completely. Otherwise you're going to end up with pieces that did not soak up the color and you'll be a spotted tie-dyed weirdo, instead of just the plain ol' tie-dyed kind.



Colorific! Manic Panic & Paul Mitchel Ink Works were my go-to color lines. They are the most vibrant and hold the longest. Make no mistake about it, NO unnatural hair color (i.e. dark blue, pink, turquoise...when's the last time you saw a turquoise infant? Case in point. If you ain't born with it, it ain't natural people.) is permanent, so don't get too attached, and know it's going to be a battle to keep that color from seeping out every time you rinse, wash and repeat.


And then comes the finger-painting kid in you, except you're using brushes instead of fingers, and you're painting hair instead of easel paper. But you are, most certainly, wearing a smock. I went from light to dark and then did some lone dark pieces so they stood out and didn't fade as fast. Turquoise to dark blue and light pink to dark hot pink. Swoon! Don't forget to feather the color on so it's not a straight across line. How unappealing would THAT be in your punk hair? Sheesh.





And then, you wait, again. You clean-up dinner, make your husband's lunch, do a load of laundry, flip through some gossip, and then check your progress. After about 40 minutes (an hour wouldn't hurt), you VERY carefully rinse each foil, ONE. BY. ONE. Talk about tedious. But, worthy. After the water runs clear, you shampoo lightly, condish generously, rinse thoroughly, and then check out your My Little Pony worthy "tail"!

For me, personally, you sleep, after 6 hours of hardwork, and then you check out your final product in the am. Curl to get the best effect, and show off your creation to the world, via blog, of course.




(And don't forget to show a little eyeball for your Dad).

What will she do next?! ;-)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Fate Calls...

Clearly, it's been a minute, or two. Sorry about that. First, life called. Then, well, death called. Without completely rehashing the last month (and one day) of my zombie-like numb state-of-mind-and-being, let's just say, life isn't fair. This we've always known, to an extent, but it is ever-so-heightened in the "light of" death. Let me be unambiguous: though I find it extremely hard to find any "light" in death, I do know one thing that I wasn't completely sure of pre-31 days ago. The world is good, and it IS full of love. "Love makes the world go 'round" could not ring more true these days. Just when you have no hope left, when you've lost complete faith in something you previously had only a slim faith in to begin with, when you want to wash your hands of reality and dash with a passion from your new "normal", and when you've developed enough "I just don't understand" wrinkles in your would-be uni-brow to keep any botox office afloat, there comes this pool of undeniably warm-hearted and sympathetic (some, sadly, empathetic) people. Those people, those compassionate and embracing people, they show you that this world IS worth living in, even if it's a world without Pete. When one of those people is the one who is suffering the most and who understands empathy like it's her middle name, you find strength beyond comprehensive. If she can do it (kicking and screaming no less, but she's doing it), I can do it.

Though I've had no desire to blog as of late, a rush of creativity consumed me, itching to ooze out of my fingertips. And while my brush with hair-dye (pun sort of intended) isn't schedule until Sunday (halfway promise to blog the step-by-step process on my road to dip-dyed rainbow heaven), and I glanced at my blog to simply steal the URL for Pinterest (yes, I have just entered into the world of Pinterest...try prying me away from the computer now!), my next challenge, Day 17, screamed at me as if it were fate. FB led me to Pinterest which led me to my blog which led me to Day 17. A challenge that will take your breath away, and then turn around and give you one of those draining sighs that have gotten you through the last 31 days to begin with. Well, those sighs, and yoga, and wine, and those people, they know who they are. So, behold, the challenge that gave me my groove back. Let's see how long I can keep it...

Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.

While there is no picture for losing Pete, and that is the epitome of a "huge impact" on my life, there is a picture of "those people", and that one person who is persistent at transferring strength from her to me (thank gosh Pete made her tough <3). Though wishing that I could bundle each person into one single picture, that would take a lot of planning, coercing, flights & finances to pull off (even for me, planner extraordinaire), but please know that if you reached out at all, you touched me. Whether through FB, email, a phone call, text, card (snail mail does still exist), a hug, kiss, a donation to Stella's Education Fund or even a simple look that shows your sympathy, you have been one of those people, and without you reality would still be in my rear-view mirror. Thanks for bringing me back.

I call this, "Smile, though your heart is aching" <3


Friday, April 8, 2011

Gettin' Fringy with it...

Spring has sprung, and that is the instant excuse for two major highlights of my life: fresh seasonal wardrobe consisting of the current fashions (bringing the 70's back, can ya dig it?) and, of course, a renewed hairstyle mimicking those of beachy-haired, fringe worthy celebs that broke the mold first!


Spring is the awakening of fashion after a dark and drab winter, especially in MD where we are relentlessly teased with the warmth of the sun, the reviving blue skies, and the peak of freckles...only to be wrenched back into the winter blues. Until the next time feel-good-day, until the next time. So, the second spring's features stick around for more than 24 hours, the itch begins. The itch to shop for the light and brights, the hankering to sip fruity thirst-quenchers while dining alfresco and, alas, the yearning for a bouncy, light, carefree and blasé mane.


These tresses must embody that of many features. Necessary requirements vary from being an air-dried wash-n-go style, to easily being transformed into Victoria Secret model worthy beach waves (Gisele Bundchen, anyone?). Also obligated to look effortlessly styled when pulled into a tousled bun, or wispy but polished when tailored with a flat or curling iron. In short: sweet, simple, sexy.


How does one achieve the Gisele-meets-Rachel Bilson (insert ménage a trois with Eva Mendes)-and-births the-Kardashians? Fringe baby, fringe. "Not part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme" defines that of the wispy borders. Framing your face, falling strategically over one eye (or both, rebelliously), adding ornamental strands to any hair do', whether long, short, layered or shagged (you name it), it embellishes. And who doesn’t want to try something so simply rebellious? Who knew fringe would be described so edgy in the dictionary…


Afraid of the all-inclusive chop, but bored with your grown-out winter style that you swore you would keep up with? No easier way to update your locks, all while being on-trend (encompassing your own twist), then to get fringy with it.


Being of visual absorption myself, I thought no better way to prove this Fringe-a-liscious phenomenom than to show you! Not to mention my obsession with "Before" and "After" shots ;-)


Before: Grown-out Side Swoop


After: Bang-a-liscious Fringe!



Before: Grown-out fringe to the fullest


After: Wispy Fringe!


So c'mon ya'll, get fringy with it! ;-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The B*tch is Back!

Appropriate subject line, due to the fact that B.Spear's newest CD, Femme Fatale, dropped on Tuesday. Though I wasn't waiting in the parking lot at Target for their opening at 8am to rush in and swipe my copy (although, I did ponder whether I would be one of five or 20 rushing in...), and I unfortunately was not tech savvy and smart enough to pre-order on itunes so that the pop star's newest "tunes" would download in my sleep. BUT, alas, I did finally embrace my iPod with Brit Brit's usual synthesized voice and beats worthy of every DJ's playlist. Despite my seemingly offensive comments about her singing (or lack thereof), I have been bee-bopping to the 16 upbeat tracks ever since I added it to my library. With two of the 16 tracks already hitting airwaves in overplayed proportions, I had 14 other tracks to familiarize myself with, and familiar I am. Whether it's the catchy whistling in "I Wanna Go", or the laugh-worthy lyrics of "How I Roll" (I got nine lives like a kitty cat? Clever, Brit.), I swoon like the 13-year-old I was when I first became entranced in the Britney phenomenon. Who is this school girl chick? And where is the Backstreet Boys video I paid good money to view!? Imagine my delightful surprise when I got a two-for-one on The Box (heart-sinking pain from your absence, The Box. Let's have a moment for the days when MTV actually stood for Music Television and not Made-up Theatrical View...okay, good enough.) and was instantly glued to the TV during my first peak of the pop princess...except for the two seconds I un-glued to call my BFFs and tell them to turn it on The Box, now!

So, for nearly 13 years of synthesized voice-overs, dance-my-ass-off beats, gossip magazine cover stories, questionable lyrics, head shaving fiascos and for envy of your MTV Music Award snake performance perfectly cut abs, I salute you, B.Spears, and will be a forever listener. Who's already got your tour dates on my calendar? ::Raises Hand::

Now that we've covered that b*tch's comeback, let's get on to mine. Bucket List in mind, I do solemnly swear to blog more often. But, ya know, don't hold me to that or anything.

Back to the challenge!...

Everyone who knew me B.T. (Before Tom, of course) knew a muted version of me. Only a handful, being of closest relation, really saw the true me. My transformation, or, more so my polymorphism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymorphism_(biology) is a WHOLE different blog subject that one day we'll embark on, once I've had enough coffee...or wine...to really divulge that story. But, now knowing that Tom (that would be my hubby ;-) had such an impact, you could assume that I wouldn't be where I am today without him in my life. Whether I would have "morphed" on my own or not will never be known, and I honestly wouldn't want to know a transformation that wasn't influenced and supported by Tom. There are more than a handful, let's say two handfuls (you know who you are), of people who played a large part in my conversion, but when I break it down into over-analytical thoughts, I realize that I may not have really blossomed with just those handfuls alone, without Tom's influence. He'll swear up and down that he didn't do anything to contribute to who I am today, but he doesn't realize how every little ounce of push, lack thereof, support, comfort, laughter and beyond really abetted me to expose myself to the world, or even just to my close-knit group, or, quite frankly, to myself.

Would I still be that chubby, (those who didn't know me B.T. are probably saying, you, chubby? I get that quite often and forget not everyone knew the "old" me) insecure girl, who relished in her dreams of sharing clothes with her friends, running more than two minutes without collapsing, feeling like she was worthy of any guy's crush, or at least, like herself? Who knows. Maybe, in time, I would have gradually grown-out of it at my own will, but there's no telling, and like I said, I'd rather have not found out.

What it boils down to is, "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same" - Anonymous

Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without:




Now, anyone who has known me, whether B.T. or not, should probably know one large fact about me. I'll give you a hint: my pup's name is Paris, and no, I do not always need to vaca at Hiltons. Which leaves one connection (for those savvy enough to break it down), Paris, France. One step into my house and you'll see the Eiffel Tower predominantly strewed throughout my decor. From a massive 6 ft. tower, to Sur La Table tea towels draping my counter, it's apparent how I feel about Paris and its lattice tower.

Though I've developed an obsession with this city of love, I've yet to stroll the streets in my French couture (beret adorned, no less), ferociously pretending not to be an annoying tourist, and instead a fair-weathered resident. Though, in actuality, I could never afford to live somewhere that was deemed the most expensive city to live in the world in 2010. Nonetheless, my obsession perseveres and encourages my determination to one day visit, stroll and appreciate the city of Paris, France. I yearn to sip coffee (a Cafe au lait, if you will) at an outdoor cobblestoned cafe, and nosh on my beignet or a true petit four, before embarking on a window-shopping spree of my wildest imagination. Followed, of course, by a breathtaking (and I have no doubts whatsoever that my breathe will actually escape me the first time I see it) view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower. Today, simply in my wildest dreams, but one day, a dream come true.

Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die:



As if that wasn't inspiring enough (I would be lying if I said I didn't actual lose my breath just thinking about my first view of the Paris lights), this next "challenge" requires me to really think. Or, not so much think, but narrow. There are several people who inspire me on a daily basis, year-to-year, throughout my life. Whether small or large acts, there are more than a few people who completely set me in awe. But when forced to really narrow and evaluate, there is one person who sticks out in my mind. I wouldn't say it's because she inspires more than any of the others, but it's the WAY she inspires. Forced to deal with growing up too soon, she has somehow been an ever-standing rock in my life. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she has persevered in life, whether related to school, work, friends, family, love, health...I could go on, but I'll spare you.

There's something so solid about her that gives you the inclination that you can confide in her with anything, and she won't budge, not even a hint of wavering or insecurity. That probably comes along with the hardships that she had to suffer at such an early age. Appreciation, there's another great quality that she inspires in me almost every time I interact with her. Having gone through the adversities that she has, I suppose she has developed such a love, patience and understanding for all other fiascos, which must seem at times, insignificant in comparison.

She inspires me to be a better friend, to her, and to others. To be a better me, and has supported my "transformation" from day one. She inspires me to appreciate, to challenge myself, to be brave, to relish in my achievements, to run farther and longer, to concentrate harder, to laugh more, to complain less, to be spontaneous, to be organized, to love the life you've been given, despite any chips in the glass. She is as still as the water, as comforting and soothing as a glass of wine, as carefree as a hippy in her prime, as fun as your favorite memory and as lovable as a soul mate could ever be.

She definitely ranks up there as someone I couldn't imagine my life without. I don't just appreciate her as a friend, but as an everlasting inspiration, in all ways possible.

Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you:

Lisa Marie Whitehead (Ellison)


P.S. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Inspiration <3

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When 30 days turn into 45...

Who are these people that can blog everyday, and what do they do for a living?! I admit that I've been quite delinquent on my bloggings (blogs? bloggings? bloggers? Ah, I can't keep up with the lingo, let alone how to pluralize it...), but c'mon people, it's conference time! A time when my eyes feel sealed shut with dark marshmellow bags looming underneath, with my hair pulled back tight; partly because it's the quickest in the morning, and partly to pull my eyes open. And let's not forget the continuous staring at the computer screen, the notepad by my bed to jot down thoughts as I toss and turn in the middle of the night (hence the marshmallow bags) and red pen after red pen that I run through as I dot my t's and cross my i's in the 15th draft of the final program. No exaggeration on my part this time (which I tend to do), conference is here and I am knee deep!

So, with my explanation (plea?) presented, I'd like to take a little "me" time, aka blog time, to catch up on a few days (or, at least one). Ask and you shall receive! ;-)

"Favorite" to me has always referred to "THE ONE". As in, no other could match up, come close, compare, or hold a candle to. But, over time, your favorites start to pile-up and you realize that a favorite may not refer to just ONE person, place or thing (noun, to sum it up), but to a compilation of favorites over your lifetime. What may have been an "all-time favorite", may not beat out your "current favorite", but alas, they are both favorites, of sorts. A favorite is something regarded with special favor or preference.

With that said (you know how I like to setup my revealing of a challenge with an intro), my favorite band or artist cannot possibly be summed up into one measly answer. Music is sacred; it can determine your mood, your look, your swagger (yes, I said swagger), and this can be ever changing. When I want to laugh, I'll listen to country, or sometimes the Black Eyed Peas (My Humps, anyone?); when I want to cry, I'll listen to soft sappy love (or lack of love) songs by Taylor Swift or, again, country; when I'm getting ready to hit the town and paint it red, I listen to, of course, B.Spears (definitely favorite on many accounts); and when I want to feel giddy and free and as if even I can sing (attempted only in my car, by my lonesome), I listen to all things Glee! There is, however, one artist who I can listen to and feel/achieve any of the aforementioned feelings. That is, surprising to some, to most...Jason Mraz. Aside from the fact that his middle name is Thomas (<3), or that he was born in Mechanicsville, Virginia, he has a jazzy, poppy, scatty, sweet, soothing voice than can calm me, make me cry, hype me up, or put me to sleep. His heart felt lyrics in "Love for a Child" get me, no joke, everytime. "You and I Both" got me through, and back to, a friendship that I'll cherish through his lyrics. And that relaxed style that screams "I'm on an island wearing a fedora with a drink in my hand" makes me swoon. His lyrics are sometimes so "all over the place" that it's easy to reach some part of me and tug at my heart strings. Though I've never seen him in concert, it's definitely on my Bucket List.

So, thanks, Jason Thomas Mraz, for your therapeutic lyrics and your sexy soothing voice (must be the Thomas in him ;-). I felt like I grew up with you in 2002 with "Waiting for my Rocket to Come", and I stay young with you from 2008's "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things". <3

Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist:


(Honorable Mentions go to: Hanson, Heart, B.Spears, Nsync, Kate Voegele, The Wreckers, Taylor Swift, Danny Kaye, Michelle Featherstone, and GLEE!)

Monday, January 31, 2011

All Work and No Blog Makes for a Dull Girl...

Bringing a whole meaning to "slacker", I am here to catch-up on my 30-day challenge and razzle-dazzle you to help you (and me) forget that I've missed ::GASP:: 5 days!

What better way to kick-off this apology than with a picture that triggers a giggle-fest!? Day eight's challenge is certainly a challenge (aren't they all?). A (emphasize the singular) picture that makes me laugh? An album, piece of cake (California Gurls, nuff said). A series of pictures (4th of July 2009, Gf), sure, no problem. But A picture, just one? Certainly a test worth taking, and hopefully passing. Of course, passing would be laughing, so it's really not that dire. The first picture/event that came to mind, I had to use. Tracking it down, on the other hand, not so easy! Facebook, no such luck. Myspace? Do I even remember my login and password? Success! Upon laying eyes on the picture, I LOLed. Score, it's the one.

Day 8 - A picture that makes you laugh:


I'm not even sure who took this picture. Maybe me? Had to of been. Clearly, it was of utter importance, considering I took the time away from my wedding reception to capture it. That drunken, no-shoed, mess of a dress flopping on the ground there, that's my Maid-of-honor, and older sister. What, you ask, is she doing on the ground? Well, after what I can only assume was a "drown-my-stress-that-is-my-sister's-wedding-planning/festitivies" evening, she decided to plop down on a collection of comfy ottomans. Little did she know, those ottomans not only had a mind of their own, but also...wheels. Carefully placing her bum smack dab in the middle, the ottomans spread like wildfire, and down she goes. Now, please take notice that she saved her most prized possession. No, not her dignity, her twisted tea. Tea in air, we're safe! There's a charming sequence to this as well, but I decided to spare her...since I in turn had some doosies myself at her wedding. You know the saying, "Payback's a..." ;-)

In light of the picture I just shared, maybe I should do some smoothing, buttering, kissing-up? ;-) I suppose that leads me right into Day 9. Now, I could very easily post a picture of my strong, cuddly, embracing husband, who has gotten me through various hardships over the past nearly nine years. But, though he is nearly the perfect husband, he's sent me into the arms of someone else strong, cuddly and embracing a time (or two...) throughout those 3,000+ days. Who's arms would those be, you wonder? No, not Robert Pattison, as he's only saved me for the last two years. This "someone" is more of the sweet, soft, kind-hearted, tried-and-true friend who has been there through it all, by trains, planes and automobiles.

Day 9 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most:


All five of these girls, women, have pulled me out of a slump, a dump, or a gotten me over a hump, at some point in my life. I include all of them because, well, not only have they all been such a large part of getting me through for such a long stretch of my life, but they have also probably sent me into one of the others' arms at some point too ;-) First, and most obviously, my sister, who I threatened more than once that I was "flying her home RIGHT now" when she took her four year hiatus to FL, far, far away from me. The second, a girl who had been through the mill herself, but somehow managed to be one of the strongest rocks in my life. The third, a girl who never ceased to make me laugh. The fourth, a newbie, but no less a staple in helping me get through and cheer me on as one of my biggest fans. And last, but never least, a girl who tends to test me and push me to be my best, but who will get scrappy with anyone else who dared. I know I am who I am because of me, first and foremost, but these girls are pretty big contributors to getting me where I am today. 

The next is a bit more challenging than the others, seeing as how I'm not a criminal, I've never done something even remotely criminal worthy, and I lead a pretty "clean" life (I know my Dad is smiling right now). BUT, if ever there was someone who tested my boundaries, there's only one that comes close. I changed one of the words because, well, it's my blog and I can, dangit! And two, because it was a little less PG-13 and a little more R+. 13 year olds read random blogs too, ya know.

Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with: (Sadly so, these are the only pictures I have with her :-/)

     (2003)                                               (2008)

My boss, my stylist, my mentor, my friend, and most often, the person who gets me in nearly the most trouble...and I keep going back for more! <3 She did my hair and make-up for prom when I was 18, took me under her wing as a stylist when I was 18, made me manager of her beloved salon when I was 20, did my hair for my wedding when I was 23, and will forever be in my life! Whether she likes it or not ;-)

Moving right along. I hope I'm not boring you...but then again, you are reading a blog, so you're probably a smidge bit bored to begin with.

Hate is a strong word. I try not use it, unless it's partnered with something like "lying", "cheating", "scum of the earth"...oh wait, I suppose I do have hate in my heart somewhere. Before turning this upbeat-sap-of-a-blog into a bash-fest, I'll just post my picture and move on to something a little more Disney.

Day 11 - A picture of something you hate:


I don't mean to confuse...I don't specifically HATE Tiger Woods. Hell, I don't know the guy. But I do hate his way of life...cheating, lying, deceiving. Be real people. Truth hurts, but it also heals.

Whew, now that that's over, let's get back to it, shall we? We're finally caught up and I'm starting to get that Bloggin' feelin' back!

Beach. Crashing waves. Alcoholic frozen concoction in hand (Pain the de Ass, please!). Flip flops. French Fries (Thrashers, anyone?). My hubaliscious hubby. Besties (or, Biffles, if you will).  Fam. Paris (the place, and the pup). Pumpkin anything. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream...or, just the dough. Twist. Hair. Make-up. Fashion. And the list could go on...  All of these things have ONE thing in common = Things I love. So how does one pick just ONE!? Impossible! Is it possible to have a tangible picture of "life", because I love mine ;-)

Day 12 - A picture of something you love (I think this was the easiest way to sum up my life?):

Descriptions of me...take it or leave it:-P
























A friend's school project turns, "This is Me!" campaign. Granted, this was in 2007, but nonetheless, this is me, this is my life, and I love every inch of it <3

That's all for now, followers. Here's hoping I'll be back tomorrow, and not five days from now. And somewhere along this challenge journey, I do promise to get back to the Hair, Make-up, Fashionm OH MY!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Apple of My Eye

Day seven's challenge makes me dig deep (no pun intended) to come up with my most treasured "item". Since no perimeters were set, there's no telling whether this "item" should be an actual tangible "thing". Seeing as how "item" is a noun, I find it to be a person, place OR thing, but not limited to a "thing". With that said, and my argument presented, I'm not even sure my treasured item will be a person, I just wanted the option ;-) For fear of not being able to narrow my person to just A person and not personS, I think I'll resort back to a "thing". But, thanks for the option. 
So, what could I not live without? If I were stranded on a desolate island, what would I have to have with me? Well, immediately, cell phone comes to mind, but that's really only handy if there's cell service, and there's no telling where I might be and whether cell towers are in the vicinity. Then there's the obvious: laptop, pc, mac...but all of these electronics have one large component in common: batteries. Once that battery dies, the point of having that electronic goes soaring out the door.

So, what doesn't require any "bars" (Can you hear me now?), outlets or endurance? Those tangible memories that bring back an array of even more memories: pictures. Although I'd love to come up with something more profound and non-cliche, I too would first grab my photo albums before rushing out of a fire-laden house (of course, after grabbing those "people items" = hubby and pooch!). Nothing screams treasure like tangible memories.  

Day 7 - A picture of your most treasured item - A picture of a picture? Hm...this was hard, but per usual, up for the challenge!


My bridal shower cake, showcasing a picture of the hubs and I, right before heading up to the top of the Vegas Eiffel Tower, where he proposed ;-) Notice the nervous look on his face and the hand in his pocket keeping the ring secure. <3 And speaking of the ring...another valuable, can't live without, constant reminder of love, treasure! Oh, also speaking of cake...well, you know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And the challenge continues...

Day 6 - A picture of something you'd like to do again:



While 2010 wasn't my most favorite year so far, it was certainly an eventful year and a year to grow. Thanks to the world of social media, and especially facebook (I'm biased), my year of 2010 was compiled into a handy-dandy collage to help me reflect on the good and crazy times. Some of the same and old, and some of the new and fresh. I don't know that I would repeat anything in my life to the "t", because what's the fun in that! It was meaningful for a reason, but wouldn't necessarily mean that much again.

Though I'm not looking for a repeat, let's take a quick trip down 2010's memory lane:

*Finally said goodbye to "Old Blue" and found myself a shiny new toy: White (with tan interior, swoon!) 2010 VW Jetta <3
*Celebrated turning 25 the same way I celebrated 21 (sans head in toilet), surrounded by the BEST of the best <3
*Dabbled in some new horizons and gave myself permission to enjoy them, despite critics.
*Rooted for the Redskins, despite their losing record...again. This doesn't seem to just be a 2010 thang...
*Painted the town...yellow? Hit Vegas for the 4th time, with my fav partner in crime, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. Oh, and there was some work in there too.
*"The city that never sleeps...and the girls that didn't either" The gf's bachelorette party, NYC, need I say more.
*One of the best, and most needed, mini-vaca's I have ever had. <3 Dru, Joey, SkyE <3
*Saying g'bye to O'briens...the way we said hello.
*Becoming a family <3 Going back to where we started.
*Learning to cherish loved ones and spend more time showing it.
*Welcomed my sister back to where she belongs: with me!
*Continuing to spread my love of hair, across the world ;-)
*Falling in love with my best friends, over, and over, and over, and over....
*Reuniting with old friends and making anew!
*Continuing my road to a long and healthy life. Remembering Weight Watchers, entering Tony, P90x style.
*Ending 2010 the same way I entered...loving my husband and believing in happy endings. <3

Takin the challenge to the BLOG!

Why for have a blog, if you're not going to...BLOG! Taking my 30-Day challenge to the blog, because I can, and because those measley caption boxes are not lengthy enough for my explanations of daily challenges! ;-)

Let's recap, shall we? Here are the rules:

Day 1 - A picture of yourself with fifteen facts
Day 2 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest
Day 3 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show
Day 4 - A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have
Day 5 - A picture of your favorite memory
Day 6 - A picture of something you'd like to do again
Day 7 - A picture of your most treasured item
Day 8 - A picture that makes you laugh
Day 9 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most
Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most fucked up things with
Day 11 - A picture of something you hate
Day 12 - A picture of something you love
Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist
Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without
Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die
Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you
Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently
Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity
Day 19 - A picture of a phrase you live by
Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel
Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget
Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at
Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book
Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change
Day 25 - A picture of your day
Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you
Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member
Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of
Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile
Day 30 - A picture of someone you miss
Never one to shy away from a challenge, I set out on my 30-day trek on Thursday, January 20, 2011. Before I embark on Day 6 (which is hard to differentiate from Day 5), let's have a summary of Days 1-5!

Day 1 - A picture of yourself with fifteen facts:


1.) I SO miss my red hair but it was a B to keep up with :-P (Hence, picking this picture...Hello Redz!)
2.) My sister thinks I have a bobble-head.
3.) I've lost 65 pounds since HS and some people don't recognize me...luckily ;-)
4.) I didn't like Tom when we first met (I was 14, he was 15) and he thought I was "mean".
5.) My dream place to go is Paris, and I'll probably cry the whole time I'm there.
6.) I credit Tom, my BFFs, my close fam and Weight Watchers for saving my life.
7.) I LIVE for my gf's. I don't care how sappy it makes me seem, or how obsessive I may be, but I love them and ALWAYS will. Girls nights to me = ♥. I'm each of their biggest fans.
8.) I consider Tom my first everything. Anything else before him was just childish and not "real".
9.) I miss my Twist family and working there everyday. ♥
10.) Cache will be my favorite store when I'm 30+.
11.) A Pain in de Ass from Seacrets is my favorite drink...even more than Twisted Tea ;-)
12.) I STILL love Hanson, and I'm listening to them right now ;-)
13.) I posted a picture of Britney Spears and her fab-abs on the back of my door as inspiration at the end of HS...clearly, it helped.
14.) My parent's "hated" each other for 16 years and then hugged at my wedding, and I think I cried harder than when I actually walked down the aisle ;-)
15.) I'm still not used to my sis being home and will never take it for granted again.

Day 2 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest:


For those of you who don't already know, that would be my one and only biological sister...though, sometimes I wonder ;-) Beating me "out" by a mere 15 months, she has always been mistaken for the youngest (which I know I'll hate in 10 years...). Weighing less than me, measuring up shorter than me, graduating college after me and getting hitched after me didn't prove her elder case. Lucky for her, I plan to let her birth kids first ;-) That sappy saying: Sisters by Chance, Friends by Choice, yup, that's us.

Day 3 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show:


I fear I'm revealing the forever-young-hopeful-sap in me, but I decided when I started this blog that it would be no holds barred. So, yes, my favorite show of all-time would be the adolescent, thesaurus overdosed, teenage eye-opening, coming-of-age show: Dawson's Creek. Originating on the WB, and continuing (and finishing) with the CW, this quip-filled show debuted on January 20, 1998, just over 13 years ago, when I went from "boys = yuck" to "boys = dreamy". Spanning through my high school years (and let's face it, the worst of them so far) and holding my undivided attention for six seasons (no kidding, I had a "no talking, no cell phones until commercial" rule), "DC" came to an end just as my adolescence started to disappear in the rear-view mirror. The last episode aired on May 14, 2003, just weeks before my high school graduation. As I said goodbye to my somewhat lackluster years of high school, I said...see ya on DVD, Dawson's Creek. To this day, I cry every time I watch the edge-of-your-seat two-part series finale, I get chills at Joey's version of "On My Own", I laugh at the "blues" rendition that Dawson and Andie concoct (drunkenly) on his 16th birthday, I welcome (with open arms) the character Charlie, who later becomes my newest fav show's Lucas Scott (One Tree Hill, anyone?), and I reminisce every thought and emotion that I felt, not only for the show, but in my own life, as we grew-up together. <3

Day 4 - A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have:


Did someone say "SALE"?! I'm there. Though I don't think shopping is out right my addiction (jury's still out...), it certainly fills any voids I may have the moment a piece of clothing with tags reaches my fingertips. Substituting my new (ish) habit of shopping for one that was sending me on a path for an early grave; I'd say shopping as an alternative to excessive eating is a life saver, not a "bad habit". Nonetheless, it does drain my wallet time-to-time and put me in a frenzy over sales, but I wouldn't go as far as to say "I wish I didn't have it". Shopping is not only a budding-addiction, it's a creative outlet. Aspiring to be a fashion designer as a youngin', I soon found out that I couldn't sew a straight line, but shopping could still be in my future. Instead of designing the clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories (Oh my!) that adorn the racks, I find myself picturing them as an ensemble. I challenge myself to think "outside of the closet". So, although fashion designer is not likely a part of my career forecast, I wouldn't rule out "Stylist" just yet. And to be a stylist, one has to go shop!

Day 5 - A picture of your favorite memory:


Take note: Sunglasses (therefore, bright sun), tank top, blue skies, hubby close by and margarita in hand. Not only is this picture one of sanctuary, it's also one of sanity. At a time in my life when opportunities weren't just offered, they were forced on me, I was feeling overwhelmed and the "ME" in me started to drain (no measly anchor tattoo was keeping me grounded this time). How does one bounce back, you ask? A CRUISE. Being my first cruise, I had no idea what to expect, but when I was greeted with the scene you see in the picture, I was sure it was going to be an amazing experience. For 7 days I not only relaxed, I decomposed into a sunbathing chair with a fruity cocktail (drink of the day!) in hand. No cell phone or blackberry service in sight. Though there was the noise of the ocean, the rambunctious sounds of the kiddie pool, the drunken bachelors and the reggae-inspired band poolside, all I heard was silence. My mind was clear, my eyelids light, my under-eye bags diminishing, my heart slow and steady...I was ME. So, although there are many memories in my "favorite jar", this one instantly takes me back to place I think will resemble heaven; not just the destination, but the state of being.

Now that you're all caught up, stay tuned for the next 25 days...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

From "Eh, Ombre-ish" to OBSESSED "Ombre, ole, ole!"

I have many obsessions. You'll often catch me muttering, "I'm obsessed...", and that follows with anything from food to fashion to a certain gorgeous-haired vampire (don't worry, the hubby is very aware of my immature teenage crush/obsession with the Cullen clan). These obsessions, they come and go, the same as fashions come and go. See any magazine's version of "What's in" and "What's out". Let's just say these obsessions are "in"...in my life at least ;-)

One of my biggest obsessions sprung up just as summer wound down, and has kept me obsessed since: Alexa Chung sprung up on MTV; Rachel Bilson stepped out of her "OC" preppy style and into bohemian rhapsody; Shenae Grimes turned from girl-next-door to punk chic; Drew Barrymore did...well, another sappy romantic comedy and; before Ashlee Simpson chopped those long locks into a pixie. This obsession can be summed up in one word = Ombre. Ombre is a French term (go figure, French, another obsession that we'll soon visit) that means shaded, usually a multicolored stripe with colors graduating from light to dark, or, in the hair sense, dark to light. Still confused? Then clearly you haven't glanced at a Life&Style Mag (obsessed) or watched any recent award shows. The hottest thing on the red carpet is not the red-soled Louboutins, the new sparkler on a number of the celebrity's fingers (what's with the engagement epidemic in Hollywood?), or even Robert Pattinson (I know, hard to believe)...it's the dark-rooted, light-tipped, summers gone, winters here, natural dye job (oxymoron much?) that is OMBRE!

Taking matters into my own hands, I decided to give this dark-to-light effect to my stands, yes, myself. Who has time to make it to the salon? Certainly not a part-time hair stylist ;-) (P.S. I would NOT suggest trying this at home yourself, unless you want to end up with crispy-fried ends and a seemingly bad root job.) So I set off on this Ombre journey, bleach in my bowl, brush in my hand. Not. So. Easy. Ends too light, ends too orangey, ends too dark, ends too crispy...roots too dark, roots too light, roots too highlighted, roots not right...AHHHH! After many months, and many crispy-fried ends later, I have finally achieved my obsession, the way I always pictured it in my head, as Rachel Bilson and Lily Aldridge's love child.

Who doesn't love a good before-and-after photo-op? Need I say it? Obsession :-) I'll even throw in a little "during" pic too. Why not! I've got nothing to hide (Hello, Blog)!

Before: "Eh, Ombre-ish"
Do you get the Ombre-gist? Yea, me neither.


During: For about the 4th time...4th times the charm?

 Remind me to never try dreads...


After: Ombre, ole, ole! ;-)

(P.S. Dad, that's all the eye you're going to get for now! ;-)
Side shot! (I think I just heard Tony Horton from P90x...):


So, there you have it. One of my beloved obsessions, finally achieved, and still equally as obsessed...for now ;-)


Friday, January 7, 2011

When in doubt: Chi & Kat Von D!

If you have never spoiled your tresses with a Chi flat iron, your locks have yet to experience hair heaven. Bad hair days, gone. Strands of hair caught and tugged on (even yanked from your scalp, ::gasp::!), no more. Silky, shiny, straight hair is here! No, this is not an infomercial for Chi, just a loyal customer who swoons over her limited edition "Beneath Our Earth" Chi flat iron.

No time before work to whip out a Victoria Secret Angel's 'do? Just bust out the Chi, which heats up in less than one minute (I've clocked it in under 20 seconds), using only 20-25 watts (less than your n-table lamp's light bulb)! Not feeling the new-age Cher stick-n-slick style? No worries, the rounded edges of the 1" ceramic plates (if you're using anything other than ceramic plates on your hair, put down the iron and walk away slowly...) make it easy for a beach-worthy wave or a Farrah Fawcett flip (I swear it's making a comeback). Whichever way you choose to breathe life into your locks with your Chi, your hair will promise to be silky, shiny, and salon-approved!

Since I dabbled with my Tokidoki goodies yesterday, I decided to turn to another, yet equally eccentric new make-up product from Santa (aka, my husband). Since the second I spotted the thick and creamy, sans shimmer-n-glitter lipsticks of the Kat Von D make-up line in the Sephora catalog (I told you, I stalk it), I. Had. To. Have. It! The Painted Love Lipstick set painted every emotion from seduction to sweet across my lips. From the nudey-pink Lolita, to the Christina Aguilera staple Underage Red, you have your pick of every shade to match your mood and look.

Going with a more neutral eye today (a little bit of this, a little bit of Tarte), I was drawn to the deep red with a hint of plum lipstick (Rosary) that screamed "Vampire Vixen" (yes, it's bound to come out at some point...I, Hello Nikki, am a Twihard)! So, with a quick swipe and tissue blot, I instantly went from a Chi-ed neutral girl-next-door to a mysterious rascally raven...if I do say so myself ;-)


Why Marry Rich When You Can Marry Handy!?

Every young girl's dream man has several redeeming qualities, but one quality that tops the priority list? Money, mullah, dinero, geld...whatever language you choose, it's all the same: WEALTH! Though today's woman is moving more towards the top of wealth engine (Girl Power!), many girls still seek a man who can provide for her and their soon-to-be Brady Bunch.

You've got it all wrong, ladies! Well, let's not get hasty; wealth is definitely a perk. But who needs wealth when you've got handy? I'm not talking "handy" in the bedroom (though, that's certainly a worthy quality), I'm talking Handy Man! If you're confused (because, alas, you have not bagged yourself a Handy Man), see Timothy "Tim the Tool Man" Taylor (::insert famous grunt::), Al Borland, that hunky (did I mention shirtless?) gardener John Rowland, or, for our younger crowd, Handy Manny and Bob the Builder (I think Dora just ::sighed::).

How do I know it's better to marry handy than rich? Well, although I've never married rich, so it's somewhat hard to compare (though, I can pretty much imagine life as Hef's flavor of the year and I'm just not sure any amount of mullah in the world would make up for the rest of the lacking qualities...like 10 more years of life. Sorry, Hef.), I have unquestionably married handy. I myself can handle that of changing a light bulb (no, it does not take several blondes...), and popping the switch when the breaker blows, but hell if I can change my oil, rebuild a treadmill, put together that of ANY Ikea products, or install a light fixture. Of course, unless you would like me to be gray (no, make that bald) with dark circles looming under my eyes, having drank at least a bottle and a half of wine, and cursed out no less than three customer service reps. So, for that, I have married handy...maybe the handiest. Think of the money you'll save (later equating to a rich AND Handy Man) if you can cut out bi-monthly oil changes at your local Jiffy Lube and stop buying loads of batteries to ignite the flashlight that helps you see your clothes at the back of your closet.

Next time you think about accepting a second date or consider accepting that 4-carat princess cut diamond nearly blinding you, ask him first, "That sounds swell...but can you build a car from the ground up? How about installing a massive yet girly light fixture in my walk-in closet...that you also custom made shelves for? If so, you've got a deal".

For those of you who have already bitten the dust (who doesn't love Queen??), and you're now starring next to you at the not-so-handyman...don't call mine, he's busy ;-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Channeling Blair Waldorf & Dabbling in Tokidoki

One of my fashion icons is none other than fictional character: Blair Waldorf. With her prep meets demure style, echoing a child born from Audrey Hepburn and the new-age Alexa Chung, she takes headbands and colored stockings to a level of their own. Now, real life Blair Waldorf, aka Leighton Meester, though an applauded singer, does not have the fashion sense of her portrayed Blair Waldorf. So please, don't get the two confused ;-)

With my already classic outfit in the works, I slap on a thick headband with chunky jewels and "Voila!", Blair Waldorf starring back at me in the mirror.

Instead of gracing you with one simple picture bowing down to the fashion of "B", I found a whole website dedicated to her classically pulled together outfits (or Eric Daman, stylist of Gossip Girl, for that matter): http://www.fanpop.com/spots/blair-waldorf-fashion/images/4967997/title/bwf-photo.

Just for a teaser... ;-)
BWF - blair-waldorf-fashion photo

Now, WHAT is Tokidoki, you ask? No, it's not a 3-year old's way of slurring "Okie Dokie". It's my new make-up obsession. Tokidoki, created by Italian artist Simone Legno, found it's way under my Christmas Tree in the form of a vibrant and eccentric palette. You will soon come to find that not only do I follow Blair Waldorf's every fashion move, I also thirst for every new palette that graces the pages of the Sephora catelog. Thankfully, my hubby induldges in these hunger pangs by buying me all marked palettes in the Sephora catelog each Christmas :-D Since "B"'s wardrobe sometimes lacks that eccentric piece, I like to bring it out in my make-up. In the magical world of Tokidoki, where mischief flourishes and Japanese-inspired (you had me at "Japanese"...) collections abound, you live by one motto: "Everyday brings another opportunity to dream". You said it, Tokidoki! And so, I dreampt of creamy silvers and blues, with a rosy cheek and nude lips. Thanks, Tokidoki (and the hubby, of course), for making today's dream come true.


Now, if only I could get my husband to "channel" Chuck Bass... <3

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hello World, This is me...

Though I've talked myself out of doing one of these for years now, I finally caved! Who would want to follow my every word, take my advice, or pretend that I know anything about what I'm talking about? Well, too bad, because here I am! :-D

Badly needing an outlet beyond 140 characters on Twitter, or a brief post of my status on facebook, I am creating this blog to express, share, vent and document anything and everything from hair to fashion to woes to achievements. So buckle up kids, because Hello Nikki (much like Hello Kitty meets the song Hello World by Belle Perez...anthem to life) is online ;-)