June 20, 2014

Confessions of a Natural Hair Dye Job: Blondes Don't Have More Fun

So, it's been about a month since I died my hair blonde--and over a month since I promised I would share all about it. I even have a million pictures on my phone of the process and everything I've done to my hair up until now. I was getting bored of my hair...I have box died it since "going natural" about three years ago, but I never did anything very drastic. Just lighter shades of brown. Then, I died it jet black a couple of times. I absolutely did not want to cut it, because my goal is to grow it out at least bra strap length--more just to prove to myself that it is possible, and also because I've never had long hair and it's always something I've wanted to try. So I decide going blonde was a good idea. I was already comfortable with the idea of dying my hair, and I figured dying my hair wouldn't much compromise length or texture -- I still wanted curls.

The reason why I haven't shared anything about my adventures of going blonde...is because it hasn't been much of a fun adventure. Actually, I was very unhappy with my results. I don't entirely regret going blonde, because at least I'm not bored with my hair anymore, but the color I ended up with is just not what I wanted. After a bad experience at the hair salon that initially bleached my hair, I've had a few rounds of emergency runs to Sally's and at-home touch ups where I tried to "fix" it and really, probably, made it worse.

I kept looking desperately for something or someone to blame. Why don't stylist know how to do my hair type? I showed her at least 7 pictures of what I wanted and my hair came out looking like none of them. She promised me that my hair would NOT be red, orange, or yellow--and I walked out with my hair looking all three of those colors! How come the lady at Sally's didn't warn me that the 35 developer would turn my roots orange? If Youtube is telling me to use violet/blue based toners that will magically transform my hair from brassy orange to ashy beach blonde...how come it did nothing but turn my hair more orange and fried--and actually start turning my lightest blonde strands BLUE?!

After multiple attempts to fix it I kept disappointing myself even further. And now I realize there's no one to blame about this bad dye job other than myself. And the one mistake that I made was to go in the salon assuming I was going to come out looking a certain way-- i.e. Ciara or Beyonce. I told myself I didn't expect to look like either of those women...but I likely expected my hair at least to look pretty close. With going so drastically blonde, there's no guarantee on anything. And maybe I just wasn't clear enough to the stylist about what I wanted...and maybe what I wanted is just not possible to achieve on my hair type and color.

My boyfriend--who is Asian with straight black hair, who actually buzz cuts it off anyway (so in other words doesn't have hair and doesn't know anything about hair care, let alone black hair care)--may have actually given me the best advice. He said that instead of trying to make my hair someone else's look...that I should make it my own look. That I shouldn't aim to go "Beyonce blonde," but I should go for "Dora blonde." Or the Dora look. (Doe is short for Dora).

The more I look at this awkwardly orange, yellow, brassy colored hair of mine...the less I start to see it as a big mistake...and the more I start to see it as "Dora blonde." In reality, when I style it, the color itself doesn't look sooo bad. I actually don't mind it at all when it's straight -- so I'll probably be wearing my hair straight more often this summer. My main issue with my hair now is that it is so red/orange when I wanted more of a beige/ash/cool tone. What I'm even more upset about is the damage.

My plan is to give my hair a Summer vacation. For the next 2-3 months I will just leave it alone. Moisturize it weekly. Deep condition regularly. Keep my fragile ends tucked away as much as possible, and just try to rock this 3 toned orange hair color as best as I can...during the care-free summer months. Then come Fall, I may just splurge and go to a salon that actually does my hair type, and ask them to dye my roots a truer cooler toned brown, and to tone down the yellow. I'll still post the processes I went through...eventually and reluctantly...so that maybe others who have recently died their hair blonde can see what NOT to do... lol. So stay tuned... :)

June 19, 2014

Grilled Swordfish with Tangy Asian Glaze over Apple Salsa

This is what happens when the BF makes dinner! I can't say the secret ingredients for the glaze and salsa...but I can show it off :)

June 18, 2014

Seven High Waisted Swim Suits for Summer

Is it just me or are high waisted swim suits everywhere?

Either way, I want one! They have the look of a one piece with just a little more skin and they're just more convenient than a one piece...you can mix and match AND go to the bathroom...think about all that freedom right there.

Here are a few of my favs. If the beautiful Solange can rock the look...maybe normal everyday people can too :)



Love all of these...it's hard to pick a favorite. What are your favs?

June 17, 2014

Wishing I Could Paint Like This: Lulu DK Inspiring Abstracts

My Pool,  Framed Print - Lulu DK

I always tell myself I have to get back into painting and then rarely do I. And when I do -- I feel like I've lost any drop of talent I may have had because I never do it anymore.

I recently became aquanited with designer Lulu DK's work -- she really does everything a designer can do, but I'm especially drawn to her paintings/prints. I love her use of color -- I actually tried to replicate this one (above) over the weekend and totally failed. Her work is so effortless, colorful, and free -- the minute you "try" to be Lulu DK it automatically loses the carefree and effortless qualities that make her work great. 

And if you think abstract art is "easy" ...then I dare you to try to replicate these. Hate to hate...but I bet you can't! 

These are a handful of my favorite prints of hers -- all available for sale on her online boutique that is actually fairly new. She launched the store within the last year. 
Lyford Cay Club, Framed Print

Juniper, Framed Print
Sailor, Framed Print

The Queen's China, Framed Print

Borghese Poolside, Italy Framed Print
Borghese Pool, Italy Framed Print

If any of this strike your fancy...I suggest looking through her whole collection on her online boutique here. Paintings are only one of many neat things available in here store. 

June 13, 2014

Growing a Mini Garden + DIY Garden Beds

We finally got around to filling our garden beds with soil and transferring our nest of potted herbs and veggies into the beds. It was a mix of cold/unpredictable weather, rain storms, and procrastination behind all of the hold up. 
This is what we started with...a super good buy from Detroit Eastern Market! 18 plants for around $10. This collection eventually grew into flowers and then peppers and then tomatoes...and will probably continue to grow because even though we aren't pro gardeners...we are pro plant hoarders.

First we transfered them all to pots to grow a little more while we figured out where we wanted the raised beds.
The bf was the tool master here...we just picked up a few 2x8 (or 2x10) pieces of wood then cut the lengths we needed at home (each 72")...according to our patch of cement where we wanted the garden to line. You kind of need a saw and electric drill/screwdriver to do this project. If you have these tools...it's very easy. 

You want the beds to be at least 6 inches deep. 
You'll want to screw on a support block of wood to each end of either length side before screwing on the two ends to the support block. That sounds more confusing than it is. See picture. 
And ta da, you have a bed. We used cheap wood because we don't really care if this last for years or not. But if you want this to be permanent and long lasting, then go with a higher quality more expensive wood like cedar. 
My two little fuzzy men helped the whole time, of course. 
Before pouring in the soil, we took out the grass and turned/loosened all the dirt underneath. 
And then in went the baby plants :)
We are amateurs here...but are hoping to see some veggies soon! And to finish the backyard/patio area...which we plan on building a pergola for along with adding in some more (minor) landscaping and finding some patio chairs...there's always a lot on the to do list.

June 11, 2014

DIY Nuts and Berries Cocktail Recipe

Last weekend I met up with The Rita Way for our semi-regular cocktail girl's night!

We sometimes just indulge in random parties (of two) with elaborate drinks and an accompanying menu at either of our living spaces. This time, we let Cardamom, a really good Ann Arbor Indian restaurant, do the cooking -- but we made these fancy pants Nuts and Berries Cocktails.

If you don't like creamy cocktails, you may not like this. But it was yum! Especially with the fruity raspberry from the Chambord. 

Nuts and Berries Cocktail Recipe:

1/2 oz Chambord Liquor
1/2 oz Frangelico
2 oz milk 

We used the tiny bottles you can buy at the counter because a whole bottle of Chambord is not cheap! But the real reason is because the bottles are so cute...
Cheers :)

June 9, 2014

Mami's Wake/Funeral in the USA, African Style

This weekend I visited Jersey again for the American wake for Mami -- my grandma, and primary reason for my last visit to Cameroon. When Cameroonians have funerals...not much of the time is spend in mourning. Especially for someone like Mami who lived over 90 years -- it's a celebration of her life instead. And when I say celebration, I mean literally a huge party with a live DJ and huge speakers loud enough to move the neighbors to call the cops on us, which they do every time my dad has a big party. And when the cops show up expecting to bust underage high school drinkers, are surprised to see grown men and women dancing like their at Ricks (for anyone from Ann Arbor) wearing suits and shiny shoes and heels. I guess this means my dad is way cooler than me because I have never thrown a party big enough to have been busted by cops. Multiple times. 

Overall it was so much fun -- a lot of work -- but a lot of fun. With A LOT of food. Food pretty much comprised 90% of all the set up/prepping time that took all of Thursday and Friday preceded by a few weeks of planning and forming committees. I felt like I was in Cameroon all over again. But it was nice to relive if only for a day. 
Myself in the dress I had tailored in Cameroon
Party dresses
The set up -- 100 chairs + full bar!
The people
My dad
My step brother and nephew
The preacher who spoke in French
Batons de maniocs waiting to be unraveled
The unraveling
Cooking stew over patio bricks and coals
Team effort: Kebabs
Enough chicken to feed the world
And even more fish, poultry and meat to feed the world a few more times.
And even more.
My plate -- mmm.
Me again.

I don't care for dancing much. But in Cameroon, when somebody dies, you have to dance for them. It's a way of tears--both the happy and the sad kind. So even though it was one in the morning and our feet were sore and the onset of hangovers were already beginning...we danced, and danced, and danced, and danced...so Mami would know her life was well lived.

June 2, 2014

New York City + East Coast Nostalgia for the Home

I'm originally from the East Coast...born in NYC and then raised to (kind of) adulthood in New Jersey. I like Michigan...but I miss the East coast sometimes...and all of the people and places on that side of the country. Luckily, I visit fairly often. Going back this weekend!

Looking online for home inspiration, I keep stumbling into finds that make me miss (my first) home more and more. Here are a few favorites I'd love to scatter throughout my house:

New York City by Haptic Lab

I love how subtle this NYC map quilt is by Haptic Lab. I'd love to have something like this to drape over a couch...or even as a bed spread. Funny enough...this company also has a quilt of the Great Lakes of Michigan...

I Love You From Here to NYC

When I find time to finally finish the office...I definitely want to have a lot off wall art. Something nostalgic of the city will be included! I like this black and white print from HopSkipJumpPaper on Etsy. 

Cityscape  Wire Installation

Found this solution for "hiding" messy wires on Apartment Therapy. I like how it's decorative-meets-practical -- keeping ugly wires off of the floor and making wall art at the same time! I think the NYC sky line is perfect for this...Now I need to find a wire long enough. 

DIY Landmark Wall

I may try this DIY project I found on eye-swoon on one of my walls...using buildings/landmarks from NYC + places I've traveled. Salvation Army (and even the dollar store) always have decent frames - you can always paint/stain mix and matched frames to be more cohesive. You can use your own images to make these more personal or just print outs or magazines. I'll probably be using my own :)

My boss introduced me to Cartoloji -- a super modern/chic line of map art. Both on prints and pillows. I like the prints, but I especially like the pillows. It would be fun to throw one of these in the living room. A little pricey, but nothing's too pricey for a wish list :)

I always keep an eye out for home decor ideas...sometimes I get lazy for ideas and in those instances...Pinterest is my dear friend.