Why I Choose Not To Dye My Hair

1. I get highlights without trying in the summer.

2. I can buy inexpensive and natural shampoo without worrying about maintaining my hair color.

3. Ian and I can share the same shampoo.

4. Lower hair care costs in general.

5. Healthier & shinier hair.

6. Hair color that matches my eyebrows naturally.

7. Fewer split-ends and frizziness.

8. No chemicals – good for me, good for the earth.

9. I dont have to worry about ‘roots’.

10. I discovered that my hair color subtly changes with the seasons.

In spring 2007, I decided to stop coloring my hair. I have reddish undertones and any color I tried ended up looking orange. And honestly, I think it is one of the best Lifevestments I have made. People are regularly asking me if I dye my hair and they never believe me when I say it is natural.

Have you ever made an abrupt change in your beauty routine?

Ashley

Indoor Composting

Remember when I revealed that Ian and I had begun indoor composting? Meet our 1,000 newest family members:

They really love carrots (as you can see above). Ian and I have been composting for about a month now and for the most part I have enjoyed the experience. It’s nice to have a more sustainable place to recycle old produce instead of just throwing it in the trash. And believe it or not the worms do not smell at all (not even with moldy food in their bin). Their “worm factory” bin is a nice design and has a spout in the front for using the ‘worm water’ to water your garden plants with. Over the next few months I’ll look forward to them building up more compost for us to plant with (maybe a little will even be ready when we plant our seeds in April).

My one complaint is that apparently beetles (or earwigs, Ian couldn’t figure out which) also love our worm’s composting home and every now and then it can be a surprise to see a non-worm insect in the bin. For those of you who have indoor composted before, is this something to worry about? Until we get a good look at what else has made the bin its home, I havent been able to search online as to whether or not the worms are safe.

But I’ll take hitchhiking beetle/earwigs over throwing away pounds of old produce into the trash, that’s for sure!

Have you ever tried to compost indoors or outdoors before?

Ashley

A Tiffany Surprise

Last Tuesday Ian and I had a lovely Valentine’s Day complete with delicious salmon and chocolate-covered strawberries. We exchanged sweet gifts and just enjoyed a relaxing evening in.

So you can imagine my surprise when last Friday I received a few little blue boxes:

Bravo, Ian. I never saw it coming! He bought me a lovely set of rose gold and diamond jewelry which are the most breathtaking pieces I have ever seen. My first pieces of Tiffany jewelry and I can’t help but be incredibly impressed with the craftsmanship of each piece (and those lovely blue boxes).

Gentlemen, if you ever want to truly surprise a girl, give her a gift when she least expects it.

And for those of you who are still awaiting your first little blue box, I hope you receive yours very soon!

Ashley

100 Ways to Be Elegant

I found this FABULOUS post on ‘Live the Charmed Life’ on 100 Ways to  Be Elegant:

http://livethecharmedlife.com/2010/06/100-ways-to-be-elegant/

Elegance has long been a personal goal of mine and I would like to add to her list what I believe to be the hardest way to be elegant:

Choosing not to complain when you want to.

Honestly, I have a tendency to be a rather loud complainer. And a rather frequent one. I even once complained to Ian about a man who pushed me out-of-the-way to get in the revolving door entrance to our office. To get into the office. Doesn’t even make sense that he was rushing into the office… But while that man’s manners are regrettable, the fact that I burdened Ian with this story and got myself all flustered is even more regrettable.

Sometimes unburdening ourselves can be a heavy burden for others.

And so choosing not to complain has become one of my personal Lifevestments. I draw inspiration from my father who underwent countless chemo treatments after a nearly three-hour drive and several large surgeries without one complaint. The only time you even knew he was in pain was when he would ask to go lie down in bed. It’s amazing how weak we can seem just dealing with the day-to-day world but how strong we can become when we need to be.

I believe acknowledging our inner strength and choosing not to let things bother us is one of the hardest but most rewarding ways to be elegant.

What would you add to the “ways to be elegant” list?

Ashley

A Book Worth Reading: The Hunger Games

I am not one for ‘fads‘, ‘trends‘, ‘reality TV‘ or mass hysteria. I just do my own thing.

But occasionally, I manage to pull myself onto the pop culture bandwagon and get wrapped up in the current obsession du jour:

Example One: Reading the first Harry Potter book when I was 11 and waiting whole-heartedly for my letter from Hogwarts.

Example Two: Believing when I was nine years old that once I turned fourteen, a purple cat would come and tell me I was Sailor Moon. Really bummed this one didn’t happen by the way…

Example Three: Going to see Lord of the Rings at midnight… three years in a row.

And now…

Example Four: I am eagerly waiting for the Hunger Games movie (with midnight showing and nail polish collection) ever since I finished the Hunger Games book earlier this week.

Firstly, what a fast read! I had the whole thing done in only a few days and I mostly read it on my 20 minute commute.

Secondly, despite the ‘young adult’ tag-line, I couldn’t help but enjoy the stories, the characters and the theme of survival.

If you havent read this book, give it a try. As someone who spurns bandwagons, I can tell you it is worth at least a majority of the hype.

My favorite quote:

“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”

And it is so true. This is actually something I have spent a lot of time ruminating on. Ian and I are working towards making our lives more sustainable (though my shopping habit inhibits this quite a bit) but it can be hard. It’s so much easier to destroy the world than to live in harmony with it. Secretly, Ian and I are planning to move off to a farm in a few years to start growing our own food and work towards our mutual goal of a zero-energy home. We are a ways off from that right now but last summer we started an indoor garden in our apartment and just this last week we started indoor composting (complete with 1,000 new red wiggling family members). I’ll be sure to post pictures soon.

What are your pop-culture indulgences?

Ashley

A Book Worth Reading: Heinlein’s The Moon is A Harsh Mistress

Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Remember when I made a resolution to read in 2012? Well, last week I finished my first book of the year and it was, in a word, unforgettable. I read Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (and got to check it off my Bucket List).

I have long been a fan of Robert Heinlein. He has an incredible ability to write ‘science fiction’ that is a ‘genre-free’ (technical term I just made-up) social, philosophical and physical commentary on humanity. If you haven’t read Heinlein before, I would suggest starting with Stranger in a Strange Land (yes, the one that influenced the ‘hippie generation’). My father had really enjoyed the book and so I read it on his recommendation. Stranger also happens to be the book that really brought Ian and I together.

When Ian read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress he sold it to me as “even better than Stranger“. Hard for me to believe, but I took a leap of faith and put reading Harsh Mistress on my Bucket List. The story is one of revolution and bureaucracy: Remarkably appropriate considering all of the unrest and protests we’ve seen here in Chicago.

My favorite quote:

“Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws — always for other fellow … was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them ‘for their own good’ — not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.”

Though I think Stranger is still my favorite Heinlein, Harsh Mistress comes in as a close second. If you are looking for a book to move you and to challenge the way you view society and intelligence, give Harsh Mistress a shot.

What life-changing books have you read recently?

Ashley

Supplemental Reading:

Quotes from Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

Discovering Your Signature Scent

There is something so intimate and personal about finding your “scent”. For a while I went through a phase where I only wore Chanel Chance, then only Calvin Klein Euphoria. And while I think these scents are fabulous, I always felt like I had never found my “scent”.

Luckily, one weekend my mother and I were running some errands in Nordstroms and I happened upon the Jo Malone fragrance counter. I remembered loving Jo Malone when I smelt it in London back in August but didn’t actually purchase anything. After a few moments playing around at the counter, we learned that you can combine Jo Malone scents to make your own ‘scent’ – there’s even a combining menu online (http://www.jomalone.com/FragranceCombining/index.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CATEGORY22654 so fun)!

My fragrance combination:

Vintage Gardenia and Orange Blossom – sweet yet sophisticated, understated but still powerful.

I loved all the boxes my bottles were wrapped in too (and if you buy on Jo Malone, they do free shipping… I am a sucker for free shipping). I’ve placed my two bottles on a shelf in the bedroom with a childhood pictures of my dad and they look so sophisticated. And wasn’t my dad a little charmer with his patterned bow-tie?

But all said and done, it is very exciting to have discovered a scent I feel is truly me.

What’s your signature scent?

Ashley