Lush Henna

In an effort to only purchase products that aren’t tested on animals I started dying my hair with henna last year vs chemical dyes. Aside from the being a kinder product when it comes to animals, henna is gentle on your hair and most companies use packaging that is more environmental friendly too.

I typically buy henna coloring at health food stores, but decided to give Lush a try because I’d read so many positive reviews and I like some of their other products.  Lush Henna Hair Dyes come in four shades. I opted for Caca Marron which is a chestnut brown shade with a slight tint of red.

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For those of you who haven’t tried henna before it is more of a process and will take longer than traditional drug store dyes. Lush’s henna comes in a six brick pack. If you have longer hair you’ll need to use multiple bricks. I have a pixie cut so I only needed one.

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You’ll either use a double boiler or a bowl in a sauce pan to heat up the henna. When it’s warmed from below you’ll pour some boiling water over it and stir till it’s the consistency of brownie batter. You can add more water if it’s too thick and you’ll want to make sure it’s warm and not scalding hot when you’re ready to apply it.

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I recommend  putting balm around your hairline and ears so your skin doesn’t stain and then applying the dye with a brush or gloved hands until it’s even.

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You don’t have to wear a cap over your hair but I do mostly so I can work on other things while I’m waiting for the dye to set in. I’ve heard different suggestions for how long to leave henna in, anywhere from one to five hours. I left it in for about two hours before washing it our in the shower with shampoo and conditioner.

I loved the end result it was subtle, but definitely gave my hair a boost in shine and color. If you’re over chemical dyes I recommend trying henna.

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Committing to Being a More Conscious Shopper

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I have been trying to live a little more green over the past few years. I do little things like take reusable bags with me to the store and try to find products with minimal packaging. One thing that I hadn’t really paid much attention to is if the products I buy test on animals.

Recently my attention was drawn to this site by Peta and was shocked that a number of brands I use still test on animals. I guess I’ve been living in the ignorance is bliss bubble. I know the argument for animal testing is that isn’t it better to test on animals before people. My counter argument is that we don’t have the same anatomy as a rat or a rabbit and their reaction to chemicals could be different than ours. I should warn you that if you dig around some more on the Peta site you will see extremely graphic images and videos.  What really got to me is that many of the rabbits being tested are the same breed as Milo, my bunny.  

So my next something new is driven by a desire to feel better about where the items I bring into my house come from. This month I’m committing to purging products that were tested on animals and researching kinder brands to replace these items with. I think I’ll have better piece of mind knowing that the items in my home are cruelty free.  

Career development goals for 2016

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I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed when someone asks me what is your two, five, or 10 year career plan. It is great to have long term goals and dreams, but from personal experience I’ve found that life may throw you some curve balls. You may find that your interests and passions change over time, you might get burnt out from your initial career path, or you may discover a talent that you never knew you had.

My point is to leave yourself some wiggle room with your career. It’s okay to change paths and you don’t have to freak out if you don’t know what you want in your next position. I’m in a great place right now. I love my current job and I’m able to still devote some time to my freelance writing. I’m not thinking about what’s next because I’m content in this moment. That doesn’t mean that I’m putting my career development on pause though. I consider myself a lifelong learner. For this year I decided rather than stress myself out with a plan for what’s next, I’d focus on what’s now instead. I challenged myself to come up with a list of 10 career goals that were doable for me this year.

  1. Publish articles about career development in my field
  2. Learn a new skill
  3. Speak at a conference or on a panel
  4. Develop a network of peers in my field
  5. Improve on my flaws and weaknesses
  6. Find more opportunities to do the the aspects of my job that I love the most
  7. Be an exemplary, selfless, and collaborative coworker
  8. Don’t neglect my writing
  9. Reconnect with former colleagues I admire
  10. Access at the end of the year and get ready to concur 2017

What are your career goals for this year?

Top ten places to travel to

 

In keeping with building top ten lists I whittled down my travel bucket list. This was difficult because there are so many places I want to visit, but I really listened to my heart and determined which places are musts for me to see.

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1.Bali

2.Morocco

3. Scandinavia

4.Montana (Glacier and Yellowstone Parks)

5.Australia

6. Tanzania

7. Spain

8.Danube River (Central and Eastern Europe)

9. Literary England (Bath,Stratford, and York)

10. Brazil

Where are you dying to visit?

 

Top Ten Wardrobe Items

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About eight or nine years ago I first read Kathryn Finney’s How to Be a Budget Fashionista. I was in graduate school at the time and I really recommend this book to any student or recent grad who is trying to build their first adult wardrobe without going broke.

Aside from her tips on how to save when you shop she also provides insights on editing your wardrobe. She talks about creating a top five list of clothing and accessory items that you love so that they can be a guide for figuring out future pieces you want to add.  I took a look back at what I wrote almost a decade ago and at the time my five favorite items were:

  1. A Sigrid Olsen houndstooth coat which had a vintage vibe to it. It looked like something Ann Marie or Mary Richards would have in their closets.
  2. A red, velvet sweetheart top that I found vintage shopping. I loved it because the color, neckline, and sleeve length were flattering and it had a romantic bohemian vibe to it.
  3. Marc Jacobs black lace flats that I bought these on a trip to NYC when I was in grad school. I loved them because no one else in West Michigan had them.
  4. Burberry sunglasses which I also got at a Century 21 trip when I went to NYC. They were very 80s looking with thick, red, plastic frames. Again I loved that I never saw anyone else wearing them.
  5. A cerulean cashmere sweater that I bought when I was working retail at the now defunct Marshall Fields. The color popped.

I think that a top list of your closet can and should evolve over time. Because of changes in your body and the natural wear and tear of clothes you will have very few pieces forever. None of the items I listed above are still in my wardrobe. Tastes change and as you mature and move onto different careers your clothing needs may change. In the past decade I went through major changes in weight which has meant several wardrobe overhauls. I also used to work in a suit and business casual environment and now work in a creative office so the guidelines of what I wear on a daily basis have also changed. Favorite items have less to do with the label and how expensive they were than how good I feel wearing them and the sentimental value attached to certain pieces.

I recently did another closet edit and since I can’t limit myself to five I came up with 10 pieces that I love:

  1. A red Moschino dress that my sister Esther gave me as a hand-me-down.
  2. Kenneth Cole Unlisted black stiletto booties.
  3. A midnight blue Apt. 9 puffer coat from Khol’s.
  4. A garnet ring that used to be my mother’s.
  5. A beaded wrap bracelet that my friend Tori got me for my last birthday.
  6. Two silver rings that I always wear together. One says “wander” and I got it at a boutique in Grand Rapids. The other is a crescent moon and star that I found at a vintage store in Brooklyn.
  7. A yellow trench coat that was more recent Century 21 find.
  8. A black and white newsboy cap.
  9. A wool dress that my sister Sarah got me while vintage shopping.
  10. A Guess multi color dress with pockets that I found on a recent trip to Florida.

What are your favorite items in your wardrobe?

Lovely Lists

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Equal to my love of journals and notebooks is my passion for making lists. I don’t know about you, but if a trip to the grocery store is always more productive for me if I write down all my items. I don’t buy things I don’t need and I don’t end up making a second trip because I forgot something.

Lists can be a great tool outside of shopping. I’ve used pro and con lists when making major decisions such as where to go to school, if I should take a job offer or not, etc. I’m also a fan of making top ten lists. If you put a number cap on something it forces you to weed things out and find your true priorities. The top ten list can be a fun activity like discovering narrowing down your favorite albums of all time. It can also be a tool to help you learn what the top things you want out of a job are.

This week I’ll be sharing some of my current top tens on different topics and I’d love to know what you keep lists for.

Cooking around the world: Osso Buco

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Winter is the time for soups, stews, and comfort food. Over the holidays I wanted to prepare a hearty meal that was a bit more elegant, so I took my first stab at Osso Buco.

Osso Buco is a Northern Italian dish of braised veal shanks. I followed Giada De Laurentis’s recipe. Most of the ingredients were things I had on hand. My local grocery store did not have veal shanks so instead I went to the butchers. If you’re in NYC I highly recommend Schatzie’s.

Traditionally the dish is served with pasta or polenta, but I made mashed potatoes in the slow cooker. It was the perfect compliment to the dish. I also served some roasted winter vegetables and a pinot noir.