Separation

This past weekend, my sister, Hannah, and her boyfriend, John, visited – and we had a lot of fun.

cowgirl

Requisite terrible bar picture.

It’s possible I might have even had too much fun. We ate (fried pickles) and drank (sangria) and stayed up late. We danced and sang and walked around in the sun. After they left to return to Colorado, I felt listless and tired – which is an uncomfortable combination of feelings. I always have such a hard time when friends leave, especially Hannah.

hannahmemadrid

For the first couple years of college, every time I left my parents’ home to return to Maine was so wrenching I spent the majority of the four hour drive in tears. I couldn’t even talk to Hannah on the phone from my dorm room because all that came out was tears. (Side note: I actually had a landline phone in my dorm room. Crazy!) See, we had been so close, for so long. We even slept in the same small bed, mostly by choice, throughout high school and junior high. When you have a history like that, it isn’t just the person you miss, when you start “growing up” – it’s that time. And the realization you will never have that time again. It’s nostalgia, for sure, and more than that too. It’s what happens to sisters and brothers and close friends throughout your life – a separation.

Indeed, there are wonderful things that happen when you fearlessly start your own life and I’ve always made sure to focus on learning and growing into my own, because I believe eventually, it will help build a strong, happy soul and the details will come together. Though this means I’ve often worked side by side with mental drive – and a little pain in my heart for the people and places I can’t be with. I blame physics. Never mind the god particle – start figuring out a way for me to be in 5 places at once, please!

Then I reminded myself how lucky I am to have Hannah close enough to visit without flying – as I have to do with nearly everyone else I love. And I satisfied part of my sadness with the thought of visiting Denver this July.

I hope Andrew and I can have an adventurous road trip, possibly even just taking the bike – packing light, wearing bandannas and boots, and setting off into the desert!

I used to love traveling like that and did it frequently in my twenties. It must be done by car, bus , motorcycle or maybe, caravan. I actually persist in traveling like this by plane, with a grocery store tote bag and backpack for luggage, though it is pretty unpractical.

moto

There is something freeing about traveling light and with little planning. You don’t have to worry about what to wear because you only brought two sets of clothes. You don’t worry about making deadlines because you didn’t set any. You don’t set alarms or even shower regularly – and it is so fun. It forces you to live in the moment. I think you see a lot more. It makes you feel strong and able to do anything. It clears your mind and at least for me, brings so much pure happiness.

Painted desert, ca. 2006

Painted desert, circa 2006

Bye for now,

Em

Dog training – Pit bull versus terrier mix

It’s been a little while since I wrote a dog-oriented post… about a month 🙂 Less than 😉 Here’s a little video that well displays the differences between Lupe, the terrier mix, and Mesa, the pit bull mix.

Lupe is incredibly defiant. He is not ashamed of his awful behavior. If a treat is involved, he will agree to do what I say…. but he must protest. Mesa, on the other hand, wants so badly to please. Look how great she does in the face of Lupe’s distraction! She is calm, she loves obedience training and her bulk means she often bullies her way to the treats faster. They are such opposites. Lupe, horrible to train – is supremely gentle and laid-back with people and other animals. Mesa, a pleasure to train, wants to kill other animals and is fearful of people. Giving them both what they need is a challenge – but one I honestly enjoy attempting to achieve.

This afternoon, I spoke with a “professional dog trainer” about Mesa’s behavior problems. She goes INSANE when she sees another dog on a walk (on leash). At the dog park, she charges other dogs so that they fear for their safety. More than once, she has been taken down by another dog at the dog park. Yet she is seen as the aggressor, because of her excitement and what one owner called: “Balls.” We don’t go to dog parks anymore. She growls over bones, toys and her people. She bit the vetrinarian’s dog at my second job. She is not easy. Though I love working with dogs, I am at a loss sometimes with Mesa because I don’t know how to treat her aggression/ reactiveness.

So I called this professional lady. She was extremely UNHELPFUL and even got to the point of pissing me off. As people who know me understand… “pissing me off” is a pretty hard line to cross! I anger slowly…. except when it comes to my babies, it seems!

However, one of the things this Professional told me was that I should put Mesa in doggie daycare more regularly. See, the last time I brought her, she attempted to jump the 8 foot fence. It freaked me out! It’s a chainlink fence and I’ve heard stories of dogs getting their legs caught and broken in those things. And Mesa – she can jump! She clears our 6 foot fence. She’s a little girl, but she’s got some propelling butt muscles!

However, the Professional said something that made sense to me. She said: Putting Mesa in daycare for a few hours helps her learn to “self-soothe.” Now, I’ve heard that term only in regards to human baby sleeping. But I know what it means and it actually makes sense in Mesa’s case. She has such anxiety from being seperated from me, in a lonely place – like a doggie daycare – similar to a baby in a nursery – she needs to find a way to cope from her own brain. Much like a human baby would in a nursery, alone. And it needs to be a consistent experience. She’ll go there often enough she’ll hopefully, eventually, relax in the presence of other dogs, other people, other strange places. And it will build her up. Just like it would build up a baby, to trust itself and its environment.

It’s so hard, isn’t it? As a parent? Of either a human or your best canine friend… to know when it is best for THEM to learn on their own. That you cannot always be there to protect them, and they must learn to be stable, strong, wonderful individuals on their own, without you?

Man, it’s so hard for me with Mesa!

Rosemary essential oil

Another six day work week has left me weary. I had only Sunday off, and Andrew had only Saturday. He’s still out downtown and though he invited me to join him and a co-worker at a local brewery, I’ve declined.

I spent most of the day watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

holding_videoand sitting outside in the sun. There’s a small adobe outcropping out back that makes a nice bench. The house blocks the wind and the adobe warms up – it’s one of my favorite places. I didn’t blow dry my hair, which means I pretty much can’t be seen in public. I’m wearing my eyeglasses and one of my favorite black hoodies, complete with copious amounts of dog hair. Me and the dogs got up at noon, I had some coffee, did some training with Mesa… at 3 PM, I switched to wine and started the laundry.

Each week I switch the linens out on the bed and spray a few pretty sprays of homemade lavender air freshener. I love using scents in the home. I burn A LOT of candles, though it’s sometimes a (tiny) battle between Andrew and I. I understand. Not everyone loves the scent of Caribbean Escape permeating the bedroom. I’m not even sure I like it, but like I said, I have a thing for scents. It’s just fun. They set the mood – aromatherapy, right? But, it’s a tricky precipice: I love clean scents, warm scents, herbal scents – but can’t stand fake scents. I buy lots of candles, but am not always happy with them. Candles are sort of like lip gloss for me. For some reason, I LOVE trying them out, spritzing, smelling, pouting, buying them in handfuls… and then I get home and realize – it’s not working. I’m not a cherry lipgloss, nor a Caribbean Escape sorta person, when it comes down to it – as much as I like the idea of a girl who uses these products… Easy, breezy, right?

I’ve started making my own air freshener using essential oils. I know. It’s a bit of a hippie move. But it’s so much nicer to use a clean, pure scent rather than an artificial one. And it is very easy. For example, artificial lavender can be horrible and so pungent. But real lavender is subtle and violet and herbal. I just use an old spray bottle and follow the recipe below:

  • 1 oz vodka, gin, or rubbing alcohol (I use cheap vodka)
  • 6 oz water
  • 20-30 drops essential oil

Plus, it is kind of hilarious to buy a gallon of supermarket brand vodka in a plastic container. DO NOT DRINK THAT STUFF. However, it works sufficiently for this easy homemade air freshener.

I’ve been using lavender air freshener all winter. I also have some tangerine essential oil, but I don’t like it as much. It’s a bit sweet, maybe better for homemade lip gloss? I’d like to try eucalyptus, but essential oils can be pricey, and I can’t really justify buying another right now for my homemade apothecary. BUT! Another scent I absolutely love is rosemary and… Ta-Dah! We have a pretty good sized rosemary plant – the lone survivor of various herbs we planted two years ago.

photo 4

So, I Googled how to make rosemary essential oil from scratch and came up with this easy recipe:

  • 1 Mason jar
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Sunlight
  1. Cut enough rosemary to fill your mason jar. I packed mine rather loosely.
  2. Rinse the rosemary with water and let dry completely.
  3. Put rosemary in mason jar and submerge in olive oil, just enough to cover.
  4. Seal up jar and place in sunny window for about a month.
  5. Strain oil from rosemary sprigs.

We’ll see how it comes out! There are so many uses for essential oils. You can use them in all sorts of homemade crafts: air fresheners, candles, soaps, cleansers, homeopathic tinctures… You can even use this rosemary oil as an ingredient in a dipping sauce, salad dressing or marinade.

Ditch that Febreze and try making your own! You might find you have more hippie in you than you thought 😉

Time to listen to some Dolly Parton and wait for Andrew to get home.

photo (6)

Blowing my nose and other stories from Valentine’s Day weekend

It was a very strange sort of Valentine’s Day at our house this year. We had planned to visit Las Vegas, NM and stay at the historic Plaza Hotel… but then I was taken down by a mega-cold. The kind of cold you can feel behind your eyeballs, where your nose becomes raw and chapped, and all you can do is lay in bed, filling a trashcan with tissues. It was not pretty. It was snot. Hehe. I stayed home from work on Friday and cancelled our special weekend plans. It was disappointing, because we haven’t had a weekend away since… two years ago, when we went up to Chama, NM to see the trains.  I was really looking forward to lounging in our Premium Victorian room, drinking whiskey at Byron T’s Saloon and boarding the dogs for once in their lives!

From left: Present-day "premium Victorian" room; Plaza Hotel (left) and Charles Ilfeld Store, north side of plaza, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1908, photograph by Jesse Nusbaum,  Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Negative 061251; Plaza Hotel letterhead, Collection 1959-036, NM Commission of Public Records Records, NM State Archives.

Clockwise from left: Present-day “premium Victorian” room; Plaza Hotel (left) and Charles Ilfeld Store, north side of plaza, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1908, photograph by Jesse Nusbaum, Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), Negative 061251; Plaza Hotel letterhead, Folder 10, Box 16696, Collection 1959-036, NM Commission of Public Records Records, NM State Archives.

We’ve rescheduled the getaway for mid-March, which is our engagement anniversary.

Without the energy to cook or go to a restaurant, dinner was in Andrew’s hands on Friday. Whole Foods has a $10 pizza special on Fridays and its one of A.’s favorite weekly events. Their pizza is amazing, especially by New Mexico standards – big, flat pieces with very little sauce and a good amount of spice. Reminds me of New England’s Papa Gino’s, with better toppings (like green chile!) As A. was leaving, I implored him to get me “rosemary bread” – I love any sort of fresh baked bread with rosemary and for some reason, my mega-cold had me craving carbs. I waited in bed, blowing my nose, watching Miss Marple and eagerly awaiting Andrew’s return with all the goodies. What a beautiful sight he was when he came home! And not only because he’s so handsome.  He was carrying the pizza and the rosemary bread, and also: sweet potato chips, a box of Moroccan food from the hot bar, and a bundle of violet flowers! And a value-pack of Dayquil & Nyquil! We feasted and mused about how this Valentine’s Day Eve might just be one of the best – and then I slept the exquisite, drugged sleep only Nyquil can produce.

By the time Sunday arrived, I was feeling better, but more significantly – I was also feeling extremely stir crazy. Temperatures were close to 60 degrees by 10 AM and I wanted to swing open the windows, wash away the germs, and have a springtime day! Goodbye germy congestion, hellooooo breezy mountain air! Andrew joined me as we swept, mopped, scrubbed, vacuumed, hung out the linens, DUSTED THE COBWEBS (there were a lot of them…hanging from every craggy, uneven bump on the adobe walls), and washed and washed and washed until the house felt like itself again. It’s certainly an open doors, outside-in sort of house. The white, adobe walls that seem like ice packs in the winter, look soft, and cloudlike in the spring and summer.

Inspired by the outdoors, I thought it was about time to switch out my fall fabric garland with a spring one. After all that cleaning, I felt a little woozy, but I was determined to make the most out of my feeling-better-Sunday. So, woozily, I drove over to Jo-Ann Fabrics to buy supplies. For the fall garland, I primarily used leftover fabric, but I was feeling reckless and spendthrift, so I bought new fabric (with coupons) for this garland.  I bought a bundle of neon chevron fabric and a few fabric quarters in pastel prints. It’s difficult to steer clear of Easter-y and infantile when choosing spring colors, but I think the neon chevron helps keep this garland modern. Andrew said he liked it! I don’t know if I’ll do another for summer, but I was thinking of doing a water-inspired one, to hang as a sort of omen for the (inevitably) parched season.

garland

It’s funny how feeling even a little better after you’ve been sick makes you feel invincible. After a busy day, I still really wanted to make this new recipe I’d found: Smoky pasta with sausage. I don’t normally like sausage much, but this recipe uses spicy andouille sausage. Andouille is a smoked sausage, which to me seems more like hard salami than crumbly “fresh” pig guts. (Sorry. As an ex-vegetarian, I still get grossed out by meat…. though not enough to not eat it.) I also purchased the sausage at Sprouts, so it was, supposedly, a cleaner version than you’d find in a typical grocery store. (Perhaps also a result of ex-vegetarianism, I do try to buy all the meat I cook at a natural grocer.) I amended the original recipe quite a bit (you can view it here), so am just going to go ahead and post the whole thing below, including the specific brands I used:

SMOKY PASTA AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE

spicy-sausage-pasta-16b

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Sprouts Spicy Andouille Sausage, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups Sprouts Free Range Chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
  • ½ cup Rasband Farms Heavy Cream (NM Dairy)
  • 8 oz Rozoni SmartTaste penne pasta, or other high fiber pasta
  • ¾ cup Colby Jack shredded cheese, more to taste
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (garnish, optional)
  • jalapeño, minced (garnish, optional)
  • 1 tsp Hungarian Paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper
  • olive oil

1. Pour olive oil into large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onions and bell pepper, cook about 5-7 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic, paprika and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, cream, pasta, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in ½ cup of cheese. Serve in individual bowls and garnish to taste with remaining cheese, green onions, and jalapeno.

And hey, there was an article recently about the health benefits of using full fat dairy:  “Two recent studies conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat.”  So don’t feel bad about the cream and cheese! 🙂

My worst fear: public speaking

It’s a completely irrational fear, but – like most fears or phobias – rationality doesn’t enter into it. I am terrified of public speaking, even on a small scale. And it’s extremely frustrating to me, because: 1. I’m not overly shy, generally 2. I have things to say 3. Professionally, it is a skill one needs to have, in almost any career 4. I see other people do it so easily.

I should say, I’m not overly shy- but I am an introvert. I love teaching one-on-one, I love inspiring confidence in students and leading by action. I can do two people at a time. But stick a third person in there and something in my brain switches. My heart starts beating ferociously, my sight becomes blurry around the edges, my voice trembles. It feels like a physical reaction, not a mental one. All that attention feels dangerous. This probably sounds silly to anyone not afflicted with the public-speaking phobia.

I think, as an introvert, I naturally interact on a close, intimate level with people. There is a back and forth, a slowness, a respectful understanding. Speaking at people in the one-directional way public speaking demands is so weird; it presumes I have all the authority and all the right words. There’s no space for me to take other people in because all my own talking drowns everything out. I’m sure I am over-analyzing this. I’m just not much of a talker. Or not much of a talker-at-er.

I could probably dance in front of a large crowd with very little problem. Surround me with a pack of twenty dogs and I’d get along just fine. It does seem to be talking that is the issue.

Today at the Archives, I had to give my first official tour. Thankfully, it was to a small group of retired people, potential volunteers at a local living history museum. Despite a few moments when I couldn’t seem to find the right word, it went alright. It certainly helps that I’ve been here long enough to actually know things. Let me tell you about those hygro-therma graphs, wowzah.

I accidentally started off on shaky footing when I insisted to the group that they lock up their bags in our lockers. This is usual archives procedure – no bags, no pens, no jackets, no water, etc. “No, no, no,” I like to say. I half-joke we should have badges that read: “NO.” Seriously though, I really hate the part of my job that forces me to police people – but it is part of the job. The leader of the group, a rather prominent and very senior museum-y type, looked me in the eye and explained that in her nine years of coming to the archives, she’d never had to lock up her bag. There she was, 91 years old and stony as heck. Somehow, I got her to do it. But she wasn’t happy. I might have given in if she was sweet about it… maybe. But one thing I can’t stand is when people use their positions or status to get special treatment. It really irks me. I can be very libertarian.

By the end of the tour, which took almost two hours thanks to the stony 91-year old’s meticulous note-taking – I wasn’t sure I’d made any sense at all. And then, as we regrouped and I answered final questions, that same formidable lady said to me: “You get four stars!” I was so, so relieved.

…and extremely thankful my turn as tour guide wouldn’t come up again for awhile!

 

Lupe gets groomed for the first time

In the past, I’ve washed Lupe in the bathtub and – though I know it will make some people squirm – I’ve even brought him into the shower with me, when I had no bathtub.  He has never been professionally groomed – I’ve always thought it a frivolous thing for a dog. Even for a dog often described as “the one with the hair coming out all over.” But recently, I started warming up to the idea. Maybe it has something to do with the few professional manicures I’ve allowed myself lately, after which I realized my nails look and feel a whole lot better.  It probably also has to do with me not wanting to deal with the mess that is bathing dogs in your own home, in winter.  It’s not going to be a regular thing – for either of us – but every once in a while, it seems worth it to have a professional clean you up a bit. I’m also aware these are things I can afford to do, thanks to having a good job (or two) – I can pay other people to do the messy stuff. Once in a while.

The first place I looked into for grooming was a bust. It fulfilled all the stereotypes I’d imagined of a grooming service: pretentious and full of pedigrees.  Our initial phone conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, I want to make an appointment for my dog to get groomed.

Lady: Okay, what breed of dog is it?

Me: Ummm… just a mix. Like terrier/ chihuahua.

Lady: … Okay, what type of cut do you want?

Me: I don’t know. He’s never been groomed before.

Lady: Oh, how old is he?

Me: Like, five?

Lady: He’s five years old and never been groomed?!

Me: No?

Lady: Most of our clients come every 6-8 weeks.

Me: Uh…

Lady: So you want like a whole body shave?

After re-emphasizing I did not want him to have a whole body shave, she told me I had to come in and fill out a card.  I’m glad I visited the business in person before I brought Lupe because it was not a happy place in person, either. There was no lobby or waiting room or receptionist. Instead you walk right in and see all the (purebred) dogs being worked on on tables by frowning employees. There was no real paperwork for me to fill out on Lupe, except this weird almost dissection-like card on how I wanted him groomed. It was a place for people who relate to their dogs like expensive brand-name accessories. I couldn’t imagine bringing my sweet little unkempt Lupe into that place and I cancelled the appointment.

The next place I looked into was a great fit: ENV Pet Spa and Grooming.  After Place Number One, I realized I seriously did not want Lupe sprayed or sudsed with harsh chemicals. I’ve always used very mild shampoos with naturally-derived ingredients on the dogs, and it hadn’t occurred to me a groomer might not.  ENV uses products I am comfortable with and had options for pups with extra sensitive skin, too. Their lobby was cute and clean and their intake paperwork asked me not only about Lupe’s breed, but also his temperament.

Instead of a dissection-card for me to mark out the haircut, the ENV groomer came out to talk with me about what I wanted for Loops. When the groomer walked in, I knew I had made the right decision: I couldn’t have picked a more perfect guy to work with Lupe.  The groomer was shorter than average and quite stout with a thick well-trimmed beard. He had a very gentle and sweet demeanor and quickly understood Lupe’s special personality, scooping him up in his arms and holding him just like he prefers. He also asked me if I wanted to keep Lupe’s mohawk: Yes!

I forgot to take a “Before” picture, but luckily I have many, many photos of my dogs 🙂 Here’s a Lupe collage, depicting the glory of his natural, never-before-groomed POUF:

Lupehair

 

And here is after:

lupehaircut1

So, when I first saw him I couldn’t stop laughing. Lupe’s crazy hair was so much a part of his essence that seeing him all neat and uncrazy was bizarre. Also, I noticed… he was a lot fatter around the middle than I thought! And with all those chispas* gone from his face, his big (bug?) eyes were killer. Poor kid seemed to get a little self-conscious with my laughing, so I sucked it up and told him he looked beautiful 🙂 The groomer informed me he was a little gentlemen throughout the process.

Conclusion: I admit, I’m a little sad to have him looking so “normal.” He looks much more schnauzer-y and less creature-y. However, I know he feels good – possibly lighter – and can definitely see better!  I suppose a haircut once every 5 years is worthwhile and I am happy with what ENV did.

I also got a little hair cut and color yesterday:

photo (18)

The best hair stylist in Santa Fe, Lauren Wright, gave me a trim and some dramatic blond streaks.  I love it!

*Chispas, as far as I can tell, is a New Mexican term for the little wayward hairs people often have around their ears, temples, whatever.  It is one of the many new words my co-workers have taught me.  I looked it up in a Spanish-English dictionary, which defines chispa as “frisky.” ? New Mexicans should probably have their own dictionary.

Dyeing Naturally Red Hair

A few times a year, I get an urge to change my hair. Like, drastically change it. In the past, I’ve chopped it short, dyed it purple, added a rat tail, bleached chunks… and yes, I’ve done it all at once.

My hair now is at the longest its been since high school, I think. After daringly going for a pixie cut in college, I never let it get past my shoulders again. Short hair is super easy and spunky. I don’t normally wear many accessories (i.e. jewelry), and somehow short hair acts like an effortless accessory, doesn’t it? It looks styled and makes a statement without the painstaking updos and care required of longer hair. Plus, short lengths are great for fine hair, like mine. With short hair, I could actually get away with not showering every day and it would look even better the second day. I know people with normal-to-thick hair can go a couple days without washing, even at long lengths, and that this is supposedly healthier for your hair and scalp. But with fine hair just skimming my shoulders, if I don’t shower every day, I end up looking like a greasy band member.  I suppose there was a time I didn’t mind that look…  (Ugh, I just reminded myself of being at a show years ago when the long-haired guy in front of me performed an intense head bang – flinging rivulets of hair sweat into my face. Gaaaaaaaaaaah!)

I’ve been trying to grow my hair out, which has been difficult. Again, fine hair does not work with a clean one length cut. I need lots of layers, so many layers that what on some people might look like a full on mullet – on my head looks only “slightly edgy.” And I love pouf. I always tell my stylist to give me maximum pouf, to which she usually looks sympathetically into my eyes and says, “Your hair isn’t made to pouf.” 😦 At least not without more effort than I am willing to put in. I’ve been contemplating getting those Velcro rollers, but I don’t know if paying for those is worth the gamble that I’ll actually get up early enough to use them…

I want to keep my hair “long” and continue adding the mullet layers – yet I still really need a change. So, I’ve decided to enrich the red color. You can see from these pics that my current color a bit of a dusty red-blond, at. It’s a pretty color.  I know some people think I’m crazy for dyeing it. But it’s a little light. Plus, I think my skin and eye coloring really benefit from a richer tone, rather than a lighter one.

At first I thought I’d get it colored professionally and then I looked at my bank account (which hasn’t yet recovered from the wrecked car, plus impulsive iPad purchase) and decided I could try the color myself. Anyone with naturally red hair knows this is dangerous. Red hair acts bizarre with standard store-bought dye. You can’t predict the outcome well at all.  For starters, when you look at the side of those boxes, you know the side that has all the shades your hair might turn out, depending on lightness or darkness? Well, the chart goes from blonde to dark brown. There is no prediction for red. Many times, I’ve sought a chestnut brown… which unsuccessfully resulted in a violet red.  Actually, now that I think about it, almost every time I’ve dyed my hair, it’s turned out some shade of violet. A few times, it’s turned out reallllly orange.  Once it came out so brown I had a red-head identity crisis. I’ve rarely succeeded with at home dye. But here I am trying it again because I feel like taking a risk!

However, this time, I’m doing it a little differently. After talking with one of my friends who is knowledgeable in these things, I decided to try the professional color you can purchase at places like Sally’s. And I did some research first, especially in regards to dyeing naturally red hair. Most of the articles I read noted the first step was to match your current hair color with one of the professional swatches, paying attention to base notes. I decided to use Loreal brand because it had the largest selection of colors available at the Sally’s I went to.  Also, you can find some of the color charts online.  Basically the colors are identified from 1 – 10, 10 being the lightest. I found this color chart online, which sets things out nicely: Loreal Professional Color Chart You’ll see the different numbers are accompanied by additional limiters, which correspond to warm vs. cool tones. In the past, I’ve gone for rich reds, auburns and chestnuts – but from examining these charts and looking at my own natural hair color, I determined my natural undertones are more yellow and orange than red-brown.

Using the chart, I picked out my natural color as about an 8 (blond) with limiters G (gold) and C (copper). From what I’ve read then, I need to stick to the gold and copper base colors and simply move a few shades darker. For my target color, I picked Loreal Preference 7 (dark blonde) with C/ .4 (copper).  Since I want to go darker than my current color and I really don’t want to end up bright orange, I am going to get risky and mix in a small amount of a darker 6 – in a natural base. I say this is risky because I really have no idea what I’m doing and I’m only piecing together things I’ve read on the internet.  With these professional hair colors, you also get to pick your color creme developer, which comes in different “volumes.” Since I am going darker, rather than lighter, I chose the 20 Volume.

To recap: I am using Loreal Preference Haircolor and 20 Volume Oreor Creme Developer, purchased from Sally’s. Directions say mix 1 parts (2 oz.) liquid haircolor with 1 parts (2 oz.) creme developer. I am mixing two Loreal Preference colors at the following amounts: Burnished Copper 7.4 – 1.5 oz (or 3/4 parts) and Light Brown 6 –  .5 oz (1/4 part) You can see the exact products here: Loreal Preference Liquid-Creme Permanent Haircolor

I painted the color on with a brush (also found at Sally’s) and left the color on for a conservative 25 minutes. This is the result:

These are photos from the very next morning, with unwashed (but curled) hair. To set the color best, I didn’t want to shampoo this morning – but I had to curl it to look presentable at work. The result is okay, if a little browner and less rich than I wanted.  My hair feels soft and healthy.  It’s definitely not a drastic change, but it is a good base. It is not orange or purple! And I think you can tell the less blond/ orangey hair color compliments my skin and eyes much better.  I think I will dye it again tonight, with only the Burnished Copper, and let the dye sit for another 25 minutes. I’ll publish updated photos this weekend!