Caring for Brightly Colored Hair

Since I made the decision to turn my hair into a kaleidoscope (and since I’m pretty sure I’m never going back, hehe), I thought it might be informative to go through the process of what it’s like to achieve and then maintain my color. Because, unlike my weight loss, this is something I’ve actually had quite a bit of success at maintaining. Ba-doom ching!

So, first things first. In order to actually achieve the vibrant purple that I’ve come to love and adore (as well as the various streaks of pink and blue and whatnot that were in my hair before I went ALL in), as most of you can probably guess, I had to bleach my hair.

Bleaching Hair Collage

Btw, the guy drinking Fireball in the background is Linh from Be Scene Hair Studio in Bethesda, and he is the BEST.

My hair is naturally a very dark brown, so bleaching does take some time, but I am pretty lucky in that color also lifts fairly well from my hair. It’s not the most fun process (strong bleach can cause some irritation to your scalp) but, well, you see the results! And once my hair is bleached, it’s like an open book, ready to be written…

Purple Round 1 Collage

…in GORGEOUS PURPLE INK! I went with a darker, blue-ish purple the first time (although it actually looks darker in the photos above than it was IRL) and I absolutely loooooved it. I was determined to make it last as long and as vibrantly as possible, so I took all of Linh & his assistants’ tips on how to preserve my color to heart. Here is basically what it comes down to:

1. Wash your hair as infrequently as possible.

For me, this pretty much meant twice a week, which you’d think would leave me gross and greasy more (I used to be a daily hair washer!), but I was surprised at how quickly my hair adapted. My hair is BONE straight, so it used to show its greasiness really easily, but I think it “helped” that bleaching did leave my hair drier than it initially was. So, in turn, it does take longer to look greased up now, plus your scalp and your hair really DOES adapt after a while of not washing every day — but I know the transition period is tough for some people to take. The longest I’ve managed to make it between washes thus far is exactly one week: Saturday to Saturday. Take it from me, dry shampoo is the best friend you’ll ever have!

2. Rinse and wash your hair in the coldest water you can handle.

Unfortunately, this does suck pretty much all of the joy out of washing your hair, because it becomes a task instead of just a routine part of your shower. My strategy is to start the shower cold, rinse my hair really quickly, and then turn the water to warm and keep my hair out of the stream while I shampoo it. Then I turn the knob back to cold to rinse out the shampoo, and warm it up again while I’m conditioning. I do the rest of my shower business while I’m letting the conditioner set, then finally turn it back to cold for the final rinse. It’s a bit of a dance, but it’s worked out pretty well for me so far! On days that I’m not washing my hair, I just tie it in a big top knot and it stays pretty much out of the way while I shower.

3. Use purple shampoo and conditioner.

Purple shampoo is actually formulated for people with blonde hair to help maintain silver/ashy tones (instead of golden/warm), but the purple pigment obviously works well if you hair is, you know, purple. (I use Clairol Shimmer Lights.) I use the purple conditioner on my entire head (yes, including my roots), and then also put additional (regular) conditioner on my ends.

Armed with that strategy, I managed to maintain my violet locks for almost two months!

Purple Fade Collage

I did experience a little bit of fade with every wash, of course, and while fortunately my hair actually faded quite prettily (I think!), it ultimately ended up like this:

Faded Purple Collage

Which, to me, meant time for a refresh! So back to Linh I went, asking for a bit of a warmer purple this time around. It bears nothing that he did NOT re-bleach my entire head, just my roots that had grown in. And so, on January 14th, I walked back out of the salon like this:

Purple Round 2 Collage

I’ve only washed my hair twice since (hahaha, I can actually feel how icked out some of you are at the thought of that) and, as evidenced by the following pictures taken last week and at my Yelp event last night, not too much has changed since… other than the fact that it looks like a different color in every photo I take. Which, let’s be honest, I kind of love anyway:

Untitled fanfare-008

Now, since I brought up dry shampoos and how essential they are for maintaining color — not just bright colors, either! If you color your hair at all and want to maintain it, you should definitely NOT be washing it every day — I figured I’d give you the skinny on the ones I’ve tried so far:

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Left to right: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Shampoo, Batiste Dry Shampoo in Wild, Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair.

I picked up Not Your Mother’s at CVS for like $8, and ordered the Batiste and Kevin Murphy on Amazon for ~$9 and $32 respectively. I don’t really recommend Not Your Mother’s as I don’t feel like it gave me the same kind of clean that the other two did.

Batiste, on the other hand, is a FANTASTIC option for around the same price — it really zaps the oil out of my roots. Downside: it is SUPER powdery and leaves all that white crap in your hair that you have to brush out, and if you have dark hair sometimes that stuff can leave you looking a little gray. I’m not wild about the “Wild” scent though (heh), admittedly.

I found out about Kevin Murphy products from a blog post I stumbled upon and ended up sucking up the stickershock to give it a try. It is a really quality product which I think is particularly great for brunettes or people with a darker color, since it does not leave the same powdery residue that the other two do. And it does a fantastic job, too, with a more subtle scent than Batiste. But obviously, all of that stuff comes with a price, so it’s up to you if it’s worth giving a shot.

Between the three, I will probably get Batiste again until I end up going dark again, though I will definitely be trying out a different scent next time.

But there you have it! My journey to luscious purple locks and the way I keep it bright and cheery. Now just to decide what shade to go next time… I really want to try a light, pastel purple but I’m not sure what re-bleaching my bleached hair would do… hmm.

How often do you wash your hair? Do you color your locks? Any particular products you’re loving?

Sore Loser

I’m not a particularly competitive person when it comes to games, sports, and the like (unless we’re talking Disney Scene It, of course, and then it is ON), so the title of this post does not, in fact, have anything to do with being a sore loser in the traditional sense. No, instead, I was just trying to figure out a cutesy, clever way to title a post in which I am basically planning in complaining nonstop about how physically sore I am.

I cashed in my free personal training session at the gym the other day, and it definitely put me through the ringer. It was a great workout, where I learned how to use the TRX tension straps (or whatever the official wording is), which I’d never used before. I left feeling most definitely worked out, and knowing that I would be sore in the morning. But boy, oh boy, I tell you what, I did NOT really know HOW sore I would be. I definitely don’t miss delayed onset muscle soreness, no sirree. And I know that I’m only so sore BECAUSE I’m so out of shape, and it’ll get better, and blahdeeblahdeeblah. But still… when it hurts to sit down on the toilet, you know that it’s gotta be a little bit bad, eh?

Anyway, I took yesterday as a rest day to recover a bit, which ended up working out because I had an appointment to get my hair re-did anyway, since my pre-Thanksgiving fabulous purple locks had faded into more of a pale blue, semi-purple mess (although actually, given that it’s been almost 2 full months, it actually didn’t look TOO bad, right? RIGHT?!)

Since my amazing hair stylist (I see Linh from Be Scene Hair Studio, for those that are in the market for someone incredible!) is located in Bethesda, AND because it takes a few hours to get hair as unnaturally vibrant as mine currently is (squeeee!), it took a pretty big chunk out of my day. So looks like the whole rest-day timing worked out for me. Plus, pretttyyyy:

If I’m being honest, guys, now that I’ve gone purple, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back.

Anyway, I’m still feeling pretty sore today, especially in the quads/glutes region, but (be proud of me!) I went ahead and did some light cardio and as much stretching as I could handle to help shake things out. The calorie counting has been going strong for the past couple of days as well, and while my diet is not 100% cleaned up yet, at least I’m being very good about tracking everything that I eat. It’s all about getting back in the habit, right?

Here’s to hoping that my weigh-in on Friday (I’m going to be doing Fridays for the next little while since that’s the day when we have to report our percentages for Yelp’s Biggest Loser) reflects my new (old) habits. Remember how in August 2010, at my very first weigh-in, I lost 11 pounds in one week?! I’m not quite that hopeful this time around, but still, it’s nice to remember the good times.

Here’s hoping!

The Past 4 Months, As Told By My Hair

WARNING. WARNING. PHOTO OVERLOAD APPROACHING.

So actually, after publishing that last post, I realized it’s not really fair for me just to pop in with a hi, hello, here’s a new recipe, kthxbye, now is it? I mean, you guys need CONTEXT for what I’ve been doing for the past few months, don’t you? Well, even if you don’t, I’m going to give it to you, so there. After all, You’re up to date on the fact that I got LASIK back in October (it’s AWESOME, in case you were wondering), but other than that, I’ve been terribly lacking in details. Well, here’s a brief recap! Fair warning, though my life is like 85% Yelp now.

Powell Family Reunion over the summer

My friends Lara’s and Aileen‘s weddings in September!

Visiting my sister and niece in Macon, GA in October

Yelp’s HallowMEME Elite Event at the State Theatre for Halloween (can you guess which Hipster Disney Princess I was?)

Briefly met celebrity chef Mike Isabella in November (spoiler alert: we did NOT become best friends and he’s kiiiind of a dbag…)

Carly + Alex Leaves

Shot engagement pics for the enchanting Carly and her fiance, Alex

dad 60th-005

Threw a superhero-themed birthday bash for my dad’s 60th cakeday!

And, most recently, threw Yelp’s Ho-Ho-Holiday Party Elite Event!

Oh, and just in case you haven’t been able to see in these photos, or haven’t been keeping track via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, here is a specific timeline of what my hair has gone through over the past few months. Because I like to have a chronicle of these things, and also since, you know, that’s what this blog is REALLY all about. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I feel like the last time I checked in on the coiffure-front might have been when my hair looked like this:

Buuuut that was back in… August. Soooo, eventually all that blue-pink-purple hotness faded out, and I ended up finding a new hairdresser/soulmate in Linh from Be Scene Hair Studio in Bethesda. And back in early October, he turned my punked out, turned up hair into this:

Mmmm, ombre…

Of course, as I’ve now had a taste for the wonders of dramatically colored hair (and because I can get away with it now due to my rocksome job with Yelp), eventually I had to have MORE.

So now my hair looks like this:

HAHAHAHAHAHA, just kidding! That was just phase one in getting it to look like THIS:

Oooor, if you put me in a photobooth at a Yelp event and turn the flash on, it looks like I’m wearing a ridiculous purple wig:

Bahahaha.

Regardless of what particular shade it looks like in whatever the current light situation is, I love it, love it, LOVE IT, and I’m pretty sure I’m never going to stop. Now, that said, I’m taking suggestions on what color I should go for next. I mean, it’s kind of big decision, trying to figure out what shade should I end up kicking off 2014 with! So feel free to leave a comment with your choice du jour, and have an amaaazing night.

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

So, as you guys know, my new job has altered my life quite a bit. Not in any kind of bad way, kind of the opposite — for once in my life, I absolutely LOVE my job! (Though I don’t scream it from the rooftop toooooo much, since I don’t want a mob of angry government contractors chasing after me with pitchforks for being immodest, haha.)

But even though I seriously love it, it has come with a LOT of changes to my lifestyle. For one thing, I’m busier now than I have EVER been. Which means, as you already know, blogging has had to take a backseat, and progress on my sequel to Terra has been much, much slower than I anticipated. Probably the biggest way that things have changed, however, is that I’m now working from home, which is simultaneously the best and worst thing to have happened.

I’m sure that those of you who have never worked from home probably think I’m crazy for even thinking the word “worst” right now, but just hear me out. There are a lot of pros to not having to go into an office every day, absolutely. But there are quite a few cons as well. Let me ‘splain:

Pro: No alarm clock.

Well, no alarm clock other than the fluffy white schnauzer who wakes me up around 9:30 every morning, that is. But still, it is REALLY nice not having to schedule my morning around how long it’s going to take me to battle DC traffic into the city.

Con: No bedtime.

Of course, the other side of this is that I also don’t have any reason to force myself into bed at night. Which means oftentimes, I’m working late and staying up even later. A 2 AM or later bedtime is not uncommon ’round these parts nowadays.

Pro: I set my own schedule.

Need to go the grocery store? Have a doctor’s appointment? Want to go meet some friends for happy hour? Want to take the schnauzies to the dog park? I can do ALL of that! Which is honestly probably the best part of this whole kit ‘n’ caboodle. I don’t have to schedule PTO if I need to run an errand or take care of something, I can just go do it. I set my own schedule, and as long as I’m getting crap done on a weekly basis, it’s all good in the hood. Now, if only I could actually force myself to make working out part of this schedule o’ mine. I really have NO excuse anymore, other than that this new job hasn’t made me magically hate exercising any less, hahahaha. But hey, at least I’m walking the dogs a lot more!

Con: I am working pretty much non-stop.

So here’s the thing: When I’m not running errands or going to get my car’s safety inspection done or taking the dogs for a walk, I am probably working. I still have NOT figured out a way to shut my brain off from working, even when I really should be “done” for the day. I see a work email notification ping up on my iPhone and I simply MUST CHECK IT.

Nights? Weekends? Fageddaboutit. I have constant, unfettered access to my work email at all times, and I have events and festivals to either attend or work most a lot of the time. Ergo, it really does seem like I am ALWAYS working. It is not uncommon for me to pull my laptop onto my lap first thing in the morning, while still in bed, and not really close it until late at night. I check my phone to make sure there aren’t any new emails right before I go to bed a lot of the time. And it’s not that I do these things because I have to, I know logically that the email will still be there in the morning, that people will be okay if I don’t take care of something OMGRIGHTNOW. But I just can’t help it. It’s a bit of a sickness, really.

One of the tips I got when I was in San Francisco last week for training is to initiate a “laptops down” rule, which I think I definitely need to do. I know this is something I actively need to work on, especially since there are other things happening in my life that I want — and NEED — to devote time to… sigh.

Pro: No more dress code!

Okay, let’s end this on a high note, since I really don’t want anyone to think that this isn’t an awesome situation for me. As mentioned, I sincerely love this job, it’s perfect for me, and I am also still new to working from home, so I’m sure that I’ll get a better handle on things the longer I do it. Plus, there’s still at least one more pretty awesome pro left for me to discuss!

While this is also sort of a con, since my dress code is now pretty much just “pajamas,” I won’t lie, I really, really like not having to think about what I’m going to wear from a business or business casual perspective. Plus, I can do stuff like this now:

And really, having purple and pink hair is a pro that kinda outweighs everything else. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you work from home? What are your tips/tricks for establishing a regular schedule and not working ALL THE TIME?