Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Hello friends! It's time to look at the last year and set goals for the bright shiny year ahead of us!

For someone who hates to-do's and can't manage a goal as simple as "be less than 20 minutes late to work this week" I actually do really well with New Year's resolutions. I try not to set too many and I really try to make them count. 2013 was a wonderful year in a lot of ways and I'm excited to bring in a whole new year of opportunity! Let's get started shall we?

Goal 1: Buy a House
This is the big one, the grandmother of all goals. I am going to buy my first house this year. If you follow  this blog you probably know that better money management has been something I have been working on for years now. I was in quite the hole 2 years ago and I really felt like shit about it. My credit score was around 450, my wages were being garnished for defaulted student loans, and as a single parent I was falling further and further in debt trying to cover basic living expenses. I've been slowly chipping away at the debt, being a little more responsible with each raise, cutting out discretionary purchases. And I hunkered down and entered in a repayment plan on my loans to get them rehabilitated - at over $800 a month. I'm proud to say that my student loans are now in good standing and I have a decent credit score for the first time in my adult life. So now, before I celebrate by spending all my money on shit I don't need, I need to shift focus in saving for a down payment. This has been a dream of mine for so long and I can't believe its so close to becoming a reality.

Goal 2: Resist the Urge to Chop Off all my Hair
Every 6 months or so I chop off all my hair. Is this because I like my hair short? No. It's because of 3 things: 1) I'm bored 2) Because I always wanted one of those doll heads where you could cut off all the hair and it would magically grow back but that doesn't exist and my friends won't let me cut off their hair and my hair will non-magically grow back so it will have to do. 3) I'm afraid of becoming attached to any part of my "beauty." But you guys, it takes HELLA long to grow out my hair and it's easier to play with when I have more of it. So I'm going to stay away from the scissors this year.

Goal 3: I'm Not the Woman who Sleeps with Fucked Up People Anymore
Hey, do we have nothing in common? Do you have serious emotional issues that you refuse to acknowledge? You would have been my dream sexy partner, until now. The hardworking, charming, responsible adult always lusting over complete assholes with zero conversation skills - that's not who I am anymore. I know that a lot of my friends have gotten a lot of laughs about this over the years, and I laughed right along with them - because it kept the focus off of me and on the unfortunate souls I was dating. But here's the truth: I'm terrified of intimacy. I date people I have nothing in common with, people I don't like, people who don't like me, because I am absolutely terrified of ever needing someone and ever letting anybody see how completely messed up I can be. So it's not really funny; it's sad and it's mean to lie to the people in my life like that. And I'm not going to do it anymore.

Goal 4: Change My Name
Ok I've been totally ashamed to admit this, but did you know that my license still reads Ijeoma Jacobson? I have been divorced for 11 YEARS people. Even worse, I didn't even change my name to Jacobson until 3 weeks before I filed for divorce because I dreaded the thought of taking that name so much. So why does my license still say Jacobson? Why am I still hyphenating my tax returns a decade after my divorce? Because I'M TOO LAZY TO TAKE MY NAME CHANGE FORM (SIGNED OFF BY THE JUDGE IN 2002) TO THE DAMN DMV. How rediculous is that? I swear, I really am a grownup.

Well that's it friends! My big goals for 2014. I hope you all have a wonderful year full of love and laughter and adventure.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vibrant Color On Natural Hair Without Damage

Hi Friends!
Guess what I did, I colored my hair!

Doesn't it look great! This is the second time this year I've dyed my hair, and I wanted a much more vibrant color this time around. This red is popping and I think it's a really great ombre for fall.

But how does my hair feel? It feels great. And as you can see, my curls are shiny and bouncy as ever:

So how do I get bold color without damage? Let me share my process. Now, disclaimer: I am in NO WAY a professional. These are the steps that I took for great, damage-free color and I can't guarantee the same results for anyone else.

Step 1: Start with Healthy, Well-Moisturized Hair.
As you know, I just finished up my 30 Days of Natural Health and Beauty and as a result my hair is soft and very rested. I wore protective styles almost every day, moisturized every night, and conditioned once a week. When I took my hair down a few days ago, it was super strong and soft. If you are going to be dying your hair (especially if you will be lifting the color like I did), make sure that you are avoiding heat and adding extra moisture for at least a week or two ahead of time. I also don't really have any split ends (I'm always cutting on my hair), which really helps with the way the color takes at the ends (and it looks way better). 

Step 2: Detangle Hair:
You don't want to end up overprocessing your hair because you are fighting tangles while you are trying to apply bleach or color. Working with hair that has been recently detangled helps you apply product quickly, which leads to a more even result.

Step 3: Lighten Gently:
I wanted this color to be vibrant, which meant I'd have to take my very dark brown hair up a few levels. I used powder hair lightener and developer at level 20. I didn't use the recommended level 30 for 2 reasons: 1) I didn't want to go blonde, just light enough for the color to show, 2) I wanted to make sure I had enough time to watch the color change to reduce the risk of overprocessing. 
I applied the bleach to the ends of my hair first, and then brushed it closer to my roots after it was on all the ends. I probably only went about halfway up because I really wanted to keep my roots dark. I put on a plastic cap and left the bleach on about 8-10 minutes. I ended up with a light brown color.

Step 4: Wash and Condition:
I washed out all the bleach with a gentle shampoo. Conditioned with a light conditioner, and rinsed the conditioner out.

Step 5: Dry Hair Gently:
I soaked up as much water out of my hair as I could with a towel, and then I gently dried my hair, without product, with a diffuser. 

Step 6: Apply Color:
I used a color rinse (Manic Panic) instead of a permanent dye. I did this for 2 reasons: 1) I wanted to use something that wouldn't damage my hair any further and that I could touch up with no risk and 2) I wanted to be able to swap out for a new color in a few months once this one fades. I applied it all over my head and then used my hands to really smooth it through my hair. I put on a plastic cap and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Step 7: Rinse and Condition:
I rinsed the dye out until the water ran clear, then conditioned my hair. I towel dried lightly, then sealed with oil and added my styler. 

Well, I hope this helps any of you out there who, like me, long for bright color but are super scared of damaging our curls. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Makeup Tutorial

Before                                                     After

Holiday Makeup Tutorial!
Hello Friends! Welcome to my very first makeup tutorial. This was the look that I created for Thanksgiving. I wanted something fancy, but still appropriate for a family evening. I think the rich golds and burgundy are great for this colder weather. So here's the look from start to finish:

Step 1: Foundation
I put on my concealer, foundation and powder per my usual routine. 

Step 2: Brows, Bronzer & Blush
I added bronzer to the perimeter of my face to fight off how very yellow my skin gets in the winter. I then applied peach blush to my cheeks and I filled my brows with dark brown powder.

Step 3: Lids
Add gold shadow to lid, up to the crease. I also go up a little at the inner corner of my eye to open my eye up. Then take an orange shadow and apply it to the outer 3rd of the eye, up to the crease. Blend with a clean fluffy shadow brush to smooth the transition from gold to orange.

Step 4: Contour

Add a burgundy shadow to the crease and outer corner of the eye. Blend with a clean brush so there are no harsh lines.

Step 5: Line
Using a gel liner, line your eye from the inner corner to outer corner of eye, starting thinner at the inner corner and ending with a thicker, slightly winged outer corner. Line the outer 3rd of the lower lash line with the same liner. Add one coat of mascara to the upper lashes.

Step 6: Lashes
Add false lashes to your upper lash line. I wanted something more subtle, so I just used accent lashes for my outer lashes only, not full strip lashes.

Step 7: Lips

Line lips with a brownish red pencil and use your fingertip to smooth any harsh lines in the lips. Then use a lip brush to apply a brownish-red/burgundy lip color. Blot and apply a second coat.

Finish up:

Add one more coat of mascara to upper lashes and one coat to bottom lashes. Fix your hair, remove mascara smudges from your eyes, put on pants, and you are all set!