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

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.

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

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.

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