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

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Birchbox – February 2012

My February Birchbox came and after reviewing all the products I have to say I am feeling a little… flat (pun intended). But truthfully this month’s theme seems to be “flat” beauty products, if you can believe that: eye make-up wipes, powder puffs, and eyeliner strips:

My February 2012 Birchbox Contained:

1. BENTA BERRY G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream ($22 for 30 ml). My favorite product this month! I do love this moisturizer, it is so very french in scent, is so clean and soft on the skin and lasts quite a while. I will absolutely be getting a full-size of this wonderful moisturizer.

2. Eye Rock Designer Liner ($13 for two sets of liners). I have a confession: I haven’t tried these out yet. Designer liner doesn’t feel appropriate for the office so I will have to wait for a special occasion to rock these cat-eye liner strips. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on how these turn out.

3. colorescience pro® Pressed Mineral Foundation ($50 for 0.42 oz). I brought this Puff on my road trip with Mom to see my sister at Indiana University this weekend and it was a life-saver. The little is full of about 3-4 days of mineral make-up which you can layer for additional coverage. I used this in place of my usual concealer (which I forgot) and powder and it worked really well and lasted +12 hours. Very impressed with this little puff!

4. LA FRESH® Eco Beauty Waterproof Makeup Remover – Pouch of 24 ($9.99 for one pouch of 24 wipes). These were also a life-saver on my road trip when I was running around but they weren’t really a stand-out from other makeup removers I’ve tried. I still had to moisturize after using these even though the package says it will condition your skin after use.

EXTRA: I received two extras this month (1) a hot pink heart-shaped nail file board and (2) six free songs from Green River Ordinance.

Ashley

Past Birchboxes:

January 2011.

December 2011.

November 2011.

My January Birchbox

It… finally… came. Sadly my “January” box didn’t arrive until January 30th and the last few days I have been test driving the products so unfortunately this post comes a few days into February. But I have to say, it was worth the wait this month.

My January 2012 Birchbox Contained:

1. Juicy Couture – Viva La Juicy – 3.4 oz. This perfume smells delicious but since I already found my signature scent, I suspect I’ll be sticking with my signature scent from Jo Malone.

2. stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner. I had a lovely brown eyeliner from stila which I used all-up (and I’m not sure why I didn’t buy another). stila has a great eyeliner formula – however the color I got from Birchbox this month was ‘peacock’, a bright teal blue which I just don’t see myself wearing. But Birchbox has a neutral-looking brown on the website and I think I would really love that.

3. BORGHESE CuraForte Moisture Intensifier. This is an interesting product meant to boost your moisturizer however so far I have not experienced any real moisture boosts since using it. Maybe I’m using it wrong? Has anyone tried this?

4. Jouer Body Butter. This body butter smells divine – so mature and sophisticated and the formula is silky but not slimy. I really enjoy this stuff!

5. LÄRABAR Mini Bars. Each bar has nine ingredients max and no ‘icky’ ingredients. And this month I happened to get a flavor I would have never tried on my own but am so glad I did – Coconut Cream Pie. Confession: I am not a huge fan of coconut, especially coconut texture. But this little bar was smooth, not overly chewy and the taste took me to a beach in the tropics – so summer-y and delicious!

EXTRA: A small Birchbox magnet for the fridge (and matches my hot pink kitchen perfectly!).

Am I too scared of colored eyeliner? Does anyone have any thoughts for wearing colored eyeliner after Halloween?

Ashley

Past Birchboxes:

November 2011.

December 2011.

Losing Weight & My AeroPilates Home Studio Rebounder

AeroPilates 4 Corded Home Studio Rebounder, available on QVC.com

Since it is the start of 2012, I have been thinking about getting healthy quite a bit. Last January, I weighed my heaviest ever as a result of lots of unhealthy eating and drinking after my father passed away. When I stepped on the scale I remember thinking that I would never be able to overcome the weight gain. But, luckily, I decided to try to get healthy and lose some weight despite my skepticism and I am soooo glad that I did. In 2011, I dropped two dress sizes and over 15 lbs, I ran my first 5K and my BMI dropped down from ‘overweight’ to ‘normal’. I actually weigh less now than I did when I was 13.

For those of you out there who are starting a weight loss journey – stick with it! Reaching a healthy goal weight is one of the most satisfying lifevestments you can do for yourself. That said, it is important to reach your goals in a healthy and sustainable way. I had a goal of losing 1 lb every two weeks – I didn’t reach that goal last year but as your body fat percentage drops, losing more weight gets more difficult.

While my regime was a mixture of both exercise and nutrition, I found that my body responded much more to nutrition changes than any amount of exercise.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Eating Healthy

1. Drink LOTS of water. This is key! I carry a re-useable water bottle with me everywhere.

2. Eat your fruits & vegetables. For those of you who aren’t used to incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet 5 times a day, start by setting smaller goals. Last January I had a goal of two servings of fruits and vegetables a day, then in February I upped this to three servings and in March, four servings per day. This may sound slow but it gave me time to plan and adjust to my new lifestyle.

3. Make sure you eat lean protein. I find that the more protein I incorporate into my diet, the better I feel. Lean cuts of protein and seafood are all healthy sources of protein that you should incorporate into every meal. If you are a vegetarian incorporate lots of legumes and soy into your diet.

4. Drink tea. I have an enormous sweet tooth… or I did until last year. If you have one too, the best practice I found was to pause before grabbing a sweet and instead drink a cup of tea. If I still wanted the sweet after the tea, then I ate it but often I found that the tea filled me up and I no longer wanted that piece of chocolate.

5. Experiment. Healthy websites everywhere tell you to eat a large breakfast. While I agree with eating breakfast everyday, I often consume most of my daily calories at dinner when we go out with friends so I had to adjust this advice. I find if I have a small-ish breakfast and lunch, it helps me off-set the slightly unhealthy but realistic habit I have of going out for dinner or snacking after work. So my advice: experiment with what works for you and your lifestyle. I did everything healthy websites told me to do such as eat five meals a day, eat a big breakfast, etc but once I found what worked for me, the weight came off much easier.

The AeroPilates Home Studio Rebounder

But that said, nutrition is only half the battle. Losing weight will happen faster and show more if you tone and exercise your body properly. When I was young, I was extremely inflexible – though I was in gymnastics for three years, I was never able to do the splits. As I got older, my breast grew in and my posture started to worsen. Last January I decided that a good exercise regime for me would be to work on increasing my core strength (with additional leg and arm workouts) so I did some research and discovered pilates. Pilates is extremely useful for increasing core strength and also helps with flexibility and all-over toning. My mother had purchased an Aeropilates rebounder on QVC a few months earlier so I decided to give it a try. After one workout I was completely hooked! You can get a full-body workout with the potential to up the resistance with the tension cords. After using this machine a month, I was able to touch my toes for the first time in over a decade and I started to see some ab definition. A plus: the workouts are about stretching and resistance so I hardly even sweat but still get a killer workout.

Currently QVC has the 4-cord home studio pilates rebounder priced on clearance at $333.36 but the great thing about QVC is that they offer easy-pay and you can get the rebounder for 4-payment installations of $84.34. It sounds like a lot, but it’s less than the annual price of most gyms (at least here in Chicago) and mine has lasted through countless uses. My mom’s has lasted over two years now without any problems too.

The videos that come with the AeroPilates are good but are taped with a weird pace. What I do is watch the workouts until I have them memorized and now I can do my full workout at my own pace (with higher resistance) without the videos. The nice thing is that AeroPilates makes several levels of tapes so once you have worked through the Level 1 workout enough, you can buy Level 2 and Level 3 DVDs which change-up the workout and increase the intensity.

What are your tips and tricks for getting healthy in the new year?

Ashley