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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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

Life Upgrade: Fashionable Doodles

I find the most creative and chic things on Etsy. My most recent discovery has been brooklit’s ‘Fabulous Doodles fashion illustrations by Brooke Hagel’ ( http://www.etsy.com/shop/brooklit?ref=seller_info) which has the most stylish drawings. Brooke does everything from the leading ladies of Sex and the City to your own personalized fashion illustration but I am absolutely head over heels for her holiday cards!

Nothing like chic and fashionable holiday cards to get you in a festive mood!

Ashley

Life Upgrades: 10 Ways to Stay Warm This Winter

It’s official: the first snow fell here in Chicago. Nothing stuck on the ground but I have officially switched over into ‘winter hibernation mode’. After living in India for a semester in 2007 my ‘cold’ tolerance has never been the same – even though I went to college in chilly Wisconsin. Every November I try to pull out all my winter clothes and other warm essentials to help me transition into the bitter cold months. Here is a list of 10 life upgrades you can incorporate into your hibernation ritual as we move into the winter months.

1. Heated Tower Warmer & Dryer. I had never even heard of this until Ian and I visited some friends in London in August. Apparently these are considered a household essential across the pond and for good reason – nothing feels more indulgent than a warm towel after a relaxing shower. I also keep Apollo’s small puppy towel on our rack and I wrap him in it after coming in from a frosty morning walk.

Towel Warmer and Dryer

2. Fleece-lined Leggings. I was skeptical that I would get too hot in these and that they would be bulky and unattractive but after trying them on I was in heaven. These are perfect for lounging around the house and wearing under dresses on my commute to work. They are thin and comfortable while warm – essential for winter layering.

Fleece-Lined Leggings from Anthropologie

3. Cuticle Cream. A winter must! My skin gets very dry in winter so I keep a package of this at my desk and at home. It smells like summer which helps with the winter blues too!

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

4. Lip Balm. Every girl needs a good lip balm in her arsenal. I got a sample of Jouer Lip Enhancer from Birchbox and it is the silkiest lip moisturizer I’ve tried. A little price-y at $14 but will keep your lips chap-free for the entire season.

Jouer Lip Enhancer

5. Mulled Wine. I love mulled wine and this blend from William Sonoma is delicious and perfect for brewing a warming cup. Just mix with a basic red wine (I use Burgundy) and some sugar (I use organic) and bring to a boil on the stove. Strain and serve with a cinnamon stick. Warning: Have your favorite hangover cure handy for the next morning.

William Sonoma Mulling Spices

6. Waterproof Boots. I love these Aquatalia booties – all the positive reviews speak for themselves and the waterproof fabric will keep your feet dry and warm when trudging to work during the next snowstorm. Though the $398 price is a shocker, a good, well-made pair of work-appropriate black booties will be something you will use for years to come.

Aquatalia "Royal" Booties at Nordstroms

7. A Tailored Wool Coat. A classic, well-constructed coat is the winter closet’s ‘bread and butter’. Make sure to get one large enough to layer under but with some structure so you don’t look like a walking sleeping bag.

Victoria's Secret Wool Trenchcoat

8. A Plush & Cozy Blanket. This is the most important winter essential. Restoration Hardware has been making these fantastic plush blankets for a few years now and I am obsessed with how wonderful they are. I bought the red one last winter and couldn’t have been happier with how cozy, cuddly and warm this blanket was. Plus it washed well and doesn’t lose its ‘coziness’ after three washes.

Restoration Hardware Luxury Plush Throw

9. Ugg Scuffette Slippers. I wish I could get these – they look so warm and cozy. But I think there might be too much fur to tempt poor Apollo into being a slobber-puss on these slippers. But for any pug-free family these look like a fabulous winter home staple.

Ugg Scuffette Slippers

10. A Pug Cuddle. Nature’s best defense against winter: Fur. Cuddling with a pug can be one of the coziest winter activities. Though be warned: you might get snorted on.

Apollo is a snuggler

What are your favorite ways to stay warm in winter? 

Ashley
 
 

Life Upgrade: Zhena’s Gypsy Tea in Raspberry Earl Grey

Zhena's Raspberry Earl Grey

[I’ve changed the name of my product highlights to life upgrades. I think the name better reflects why I do product reviews – not to sell you something you don’t need but to let you know about fun and innovative goods that can ‘amp up’ your life! Do you like the name change? I think it matches the name of the blog better too]

Confession: I am superbly addicted to Earl Grey tea. The black tea in earl grey is comforting while the bergamot oil energizes. I first became addicted after I saw Jean-Luc Picard order some on Star Trek: The Next Generation (yes, I was a Trekkie growing up) and have been on an endless search for the perfect cup ever since.

Zhena’s Raspberry Earl Grey is the best earl grey I’ve ever tried. It’s iN…cReD…iBlY addictive, everyone at work became addicted after smelling my afternoon tea-cup. I even bought a huge six-pack of the tea cans to give as Christmas presents. Bonus: This stuff not only tastes perfectly sweet and rich but it also smells like heaven! I put a couple in a drawstring bag and use it to freshen my ‘unmentionables’ drawer.

Other discerning consumers must agree with me: This tea brand is so popular it now has its own line of candles, each featuring a scent from one of their popular tea blends. Sadly there isn’t word about whether or not they will do a Raspberry Earl Grey candle but I’ll be first in line if they ever do!

Order it here.

Ashley