After a horrible weekend due to the very sudden and very unexpected death of Simba, and a migraine that lasted 16 hours, I’m finally at Hershey Medical Center. I’ll be headed to pre-op any minute now, and will hopefully be wheeled into an OR within the next hour or two.
I’m so glad my surgeon was able to move my surgery date up by 8 days. I’ve been having non-stop heartburn for nearly a week, and there were bits of dark blood (like the cliche “coffee grounds”) in the migraine-induced vomit I dealt with yesterday.
This surgery is slated to last 6 to 8 hours, and will be rather extensive due to dealing with so much scar tissue and removing the stitched-up ulcer before getting to the revisioning part, but it will be worth it.
See you on the other side!
Current status: FREAKING THE FUCK OUT BECAUSE MY SURGERY IS MONDAY, NOT TUESDAY. Ahhh!!!
photo credit: Julia Caesar
Our friends mean a lot to us. They are often a sympathetic ear, a confidant, and even the voice of reason. It is likely that they have seen us through some of the highs and lows of our lives. Even if our friendship with someone is still in fairly early days, we probably came together for a reason. There is something about them that we like or feel connected to. Perhaps their outlook on life refreshes us or puts a smile on our face. Whatever the reason, friends help us make the best of life. It is now even supported by research that friendship and interaction has a profound impact on our overall wellbeing. If we have good friends in our lives, it follows that we want to be a good friend ourselves. There are many times that a friend of ours might not be feeling their best. Perhaps they’ve undergone something stressful at work. They might be dealing with a difficult family situation. They may even be recovering from illness, or just feeling generally down. If you want to pamper a friend in a thoughtful and creative way, browse the ideas below for inspiration.
photo credit: Pexels
A Pamper Evening
In our busy modern lives, it can be difficult to find any time for ourselves. If we add a family into the mix, things can become even more complicated! A pamper evening can be a great way to help a friend to unwind. With affordable face masks and hand cream, we can instantly start to feel fresher. Prepare the bathroom ahead of schedule by adding some fresh towels and bathroom accessories. After you’re clean and relaxed, it can be nice to sit in a warm room with scented candles. You can then catch up over herbal tea or a glass of wine, or simply watch a movie together. Whatever you choose to do, the emphasis should be on feeling tranquil and carefree.
photo credit: Pexels
The tradition of “afternoon tea” is especially popular in Britain and Europe, and it’s easy to see why. Participants settle down with friends or family to enjoy a selection of fresh sandwiches, cake, and warm drinks. It is easier to recreate at home than you might think. With a few plates, containers, or cake stands, you can arrange things beautifully. You may choose to make a few small sandwiches from scratch. Or you can buy them and arrange them later. The same goes for slices of cake, biscuits or muffins. Lemonade, cordial, or sparkling water can be offered on the side. But a sip of freshly made English Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey can be especially refreshing. This is an opportunity to make your friend feel special and to enjoy something novel. You can have afternoon tea in your own kitchen or lounge. On a nice day, it is particularly pleasant to enjoy it in the garden.
Pampering a friend in any way and on any budget shows them how much they mean to you. Everyone deserves a treat and to feel appreciated every once in awhile.
The upside of crazy hair color: it’s fun!
The downside to crazy hair: it never lasts as long as you want it to. CORRECTION: it takes work to make it last.
Having run through the entire rainbow of colors, with the notoriously finicky pinks and reds being my favorites, I’m here to attest that it is entirely possible to make fun and funky hair colors last more than a week or two. But just as it’s seemingly impossible to achieve today’s standards of beauty without at least some pain (tweezing those sensitive under-eyebrow hairs, anyone?), keeping color in your hair instead of literally washing it down the drain does take some regular maintenance. So without further ado, here are my tried-and-true methods, based on six years of regular hair coloring, for keeping your color vibrant and fresh for a good 4-6 weeks before you’ll need to do another full-on hair dye session:
My current go-to hair products: Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil Shampoo, Renpure Advanced Bamboo Coconut Water Moisturize & Heal Conditioner, Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo, Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist, and Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil for Hair, Face & Skin.
General pre-coloring tips:
- wash hair with a clarifying shampoo
- skip conditioner
- if using a color-depositing demi or semi dye like Beyond the Zone or Manic Panic, leave it in your hair for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours – but ideally, sleep in it!
- rinse your hair in cold water – cold weather seals hair follicles shut, which helps to set and lock in color
- after thoroughly rinsing your hair, do a second rinse, but this time use distilled white vinegar – vinegar gently rinses away product build-up and also assists with closing hair cuticles and follicles, which helps to keep color in your hair
- after rinsing, do not shampoo hair – jump directly to conditioning
Use a dye-friendly shampoo, and use it sparingly.
My current dye-friendly shampoo: Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil Shampoo
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There are many self-marketed “color safe” shampoos on the market, but most of them truly aren’t safe for colored hair. Flip such a shampoo bottle over and read through the list of ingredients – if you see anything including the words “sodium”, “sulfate”, or “sulfuric”, skip it. Most commonly listed as sodium laurel or sodium laureth sulfate, these ingredients strip your hair of color (as well as moisture) like there’s no tomorrow. All sulfates do is increasing a shampoo’s lathering power. Your shampoo won’t provide as much of a bubbling lather, but your color won’t rinse away with the bubbles, so that’s a win/win in my book! The ideal color-safe shampoo will be free of sulfates, so don’t just look for labels that say “color safe” or “safe for treated hair” – look for descriptors such as “sulfate-free” or “SLS-free”, and then check that ingredient listing just to be sure.
In addition to choosing a shampoo free of sodium and sulfates, and not leaving shampoo sit in your hair where even the gentlest of cleansers will eventually strip away some color, consider shampooing your hair every other shower. On the non-shampoo days, just rinse your hair with plenty of warm water, and cut back on the amount of conditioner you use. From personal experience I can tell you that if you’re working with hair that has been bleached at least once, you won’t even notice the lack of shampoo – any natural oils and conditioner-added moisture will get sucked up by your thirsty tresses.
Replace 1-2 of your weekly “wet” shampoos with “dry” shampoos.
My current dry shampoo: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo
* * *
Shampoos cleanse hair by lathering up into a rich mixture that grabs onto debris, oils, and dead skin cells. But you know what else shampoo, even gentle sulfate-free ones, grab onto? Hair dye. That’s why less is more in the world of colored hair. In addition to skipping your shampooing routine every other shower, consider replacing an additional 1-2 weekly wet (in shower with regular shampoo) shampoo routines with a dry shampoo routine. Dry shampoo works in a similar manner, though it’s dry formula means it “skims” the surface and grabs onto the most readily available build-up – residual hair product and skin oils. Simply follow a dry shampoo 1-2 times per week to rid your hair of the worst of the typical build-up that leads to a dull, lank, or oily look, and then proceed with conditioning as usual.
Add hair dye to your conditioner, and always condition!
My current conditioner: Renpure Advanced Bamboo Coconut Water Moisturize & Heal Conditioner
* * *
A good conditioner will do wonders for your hair. And for color-treated hair that has also been bleached, you’ll definitely want to use a deeply moisturizing conditioner. But regardless of the type of conditioner you use, make sure you use it every single time you shower, and make sure you first add hair dye to it! A typical hair-dye-to-conditioner ratio is 1:3 – so your conditioner bottle should be 25% hair dye and 75% conditioner.
Why hair dye in the conditioner? Simple: every time you shampoo your hair, even with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo, you’re stripping color from your hair. The easiest and most convenient way to add some color back is by mixing hair dye with your conditioner, then leaving the conditioner in your hair for a minimum of five minutes to ensure plenty of time for sufficient color deposit. Bonus: your hair will be incredibly soft, smooth, and supple!
Protect your hair!
My current protective hair products: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist and Art Naturals Organic Argan Oil for Hair, Face & Skin
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This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people take the time to color hair and use all of the right cleansing and conditioning products, but then turn around and abuse or neglect their hair in other ways. Here are a few ways to go the extra mile in caring for your hair by protecting it:
- Do your best to avoid heating products — curlers, straighteners, dryers — at all costs!
- If you absolutely must use a heating product, first spray your hair with a thermal protectant spray – these sprays “coat” your hair with protective ingredients similar to how sunscreen coats your skin with UV-blocking ingredients
- Treat excessively dry hair or split or otherwise damaged ends with weekly and as-needed applications of deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and oils such as argan or shea butter
Doing all of the above has enabled me to extend the lifespan of a hair dye from 2-3 weeks to an average of 5-6 weeks. Is there anything you do to pamper and protect your hair color that I haven’t listed here? Do share – I’m always on the hunt for ways to make my hair color last as long as possible!
His name is Simba, he’s just three weeks old, and my friend and I are doing our best to make sure he survives. ♥
P.S. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL DEITIES SPAY AND NEUTER. Participate in TNR, round up a stray or ten and drop them off at the nearest shelter, and/or throw funds at local rescues. It takes a village to raise a child… and to cut down on the feline overpopulation problem. Please… enough of Alcides, Felixes, Avas, Ellas, Titaniums, Aslans, Quinns, Odins, Bones, and Freyjas… in a society where we took proper care of cats, both owned and stray/feral, none of these cats would exist. And as much as I love my fur babies, in my ideal world they truly wouldn’t exist, because let’s face it – they’re the results of irresponsible humans.