How I Dye My Hair


Going to a salon to get your hair dyed can cost upwards of a hundred dollars! If you frequently change your hair color and don't want to shell out a ton of money, try dyeing your hair at home. You can use box dye from the drug store, but I find beauty supply stores, like Sally's, offer more color variety. Their staff is willing to answer any questions you may have and they're probably having a sale!

Disclaimer: This is the method I have used for years. However, I am not a hair stylist and do not have any certifications or formal training.


Before you start:
> When picking your dye color, keep in mind that dark hair will not take light dye. In order for the dye to take, you must choose a color that is darker than your current color. 
> Developer comes in several volumes. Essentially, the higher the number, the better the color. However, higher volume developer causes more damage, so be careful. Read more here.
> My hair falls to my mid back and is very thick. I purchase three boxes of dye and have leftovers. I'd say chin length=1, shoulder length=2 and so on.
> If you need more than one box, I recommend buying two similar colors instead of two of the same color. I know that sounds crazy but it creates a more dynamic color. For example, if you buy Strawberry Red 2.0 then try Strawberry Red 2.1 as well. Keep your colors in the same family, but slightly different.
> Make sure to allow for adequate ventilation. Turn on your bathroom fan and open the windows. Leave the door to your bathroom open and take periodic breaks outside to get fresh air. Remember these are heavy chemicals and can cause irreparable damage, so use caution.
> Dye your hair back to front. Start with the back of your head and work your way to the front (fringe) area. 
> If you use something from your kitchen, make sure to designate it as "dye only" and DO NOT use it in the kitchen ever again.
> Dyeing your hair is very damaging. As such, make sure your hair is DIRTY before you start. The natural oils in your hair will help better protect your scalp. Also, I recommend doing a hair mask or oil treatment at least once a week to keep your hair silky.

Assemble your supplies: 
Dye
-Better to buy more and have too much than not enough. I like ion dye best. 
Developer
-I use 2o volume developer. You will need twice as much developer as dye. In general, each tube of dye is 2 oz. So if you buy three boxes of dye (6oz) you will need 12oz of developer. 
Measuring Cup
-Use one with ounce measurements so you can measure the appropriate developer amount.
Bowl
-You can buy a special dye bowl with a handle but my hair requires so much dye that they are usually too small. I just use a plastic food storage bowl from IKEA. 
Applicator Brush
-Any kind
Plastic Gloves
-DO NOT NEGLECT THESE OR YOU WILL DYE YOUR HANDS
Hair Brush or Comb
-Self Explanatory 
Clips or Barrettes 
-Not required but very useful
Disposable Shower Cap 
-Not required but very useful
Chapstick or Vaseline
-Not required but very useful for preventing the dye from bleeding onto your skin. 
Spare towels, washcloths, and crappy clothes
-You will make a mess; don't dye your floor!

Directions:
1. Read instructions thoroughly. Determine how much time your dye needs to sit. 
2. Lay spare towels over every surface. Cover the counter, floor, and save one for after your shower. Lay a few extras near your workspace to clean up any spills or drips. Then lay out your supplies.
3. Brush or comb your hair thoroughly. Separate into sections and pin up all but one section in the back using clips. 
4. If using, rub Chapstick or Vaseline along your entire hairline.  
5. Pull on gloves. Mix your dye and developer. Read the instructions on the box for accurate ratios. If in doubt, look it up on the manufacturer's website. Stir well! 
6. Start timing. Using the brush or your hands, evenly spread the dye over the back section you've left out. You may need to use your fingers to smoosh the dye over every bit of hair. 
7. Pin that section back up and choose another to work on. Continue until your whole head is dyed, pinning each section back up. 
8. Cover with a shower cap and allow hair to absorb dye for allotted time (usually 30-45 minutes).
9. Once your time is up, take a shower. Rinse the dye out of your hair until the water runs clear. (This can take a while.) You do not need to shampoo! Finish with conditioner or a hair mask. Use the designated spare towel instead of your regular one as your hair will still have dye in it and it will stain. 
10. Style as usual. 

Clean up:
> For a fresh dye stain, you can wipe it up with a wet cloth. Spills that have been allowed to sit--even for a few minutes--will leave a stain. Soft Scrub with bleach can usually get rid of the stain. Only use on white surfaces though!
> You can likely wash all of the towels and clothes that have dye on them in your clothes washer. Remember, these will be stained forever so use them the next time you home dye! 

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions! 
Have fun! 
Lots of Love, 
Anne


Chili Cornbread Bake

Helllloooo! It is winter. And while the weather is calming and beautiful, it is also REAL cold. On those days where the snow is coming down and the heater is going up, there is nothing to do but make some good ol' comfort food in the oven. This recipe is adapted from something I ate while I worked in a daycare--before I went vegan. Once I quit eating meat, I wanted to copy the recipe but could not find ONE, SINGLE recipe without meat! So, I created one! I love that this dish makes a ton of food and doesn't cost much money. It's great for meal prep.
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Ingredients:
-1 yellow onion
-1 red bell pepper
-1 jalapeno
-1 12oz bag frozen corn kernels
-2 cups cooked black beans (kidney or white beans would also be great)
-1 15oz can tomato sauce
-3 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 1/2 cups AND 2/3 cup vegetable broth (see my recipe here)
-2 teaspoons each salt and pepper
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon mustard powder
-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
-2 boxes, 8.5 oz each Jiffy Vegetarian cornbread mix
-2 egg replacers (I used Bob's Red Mill Vegetarian Egg Replacer)*
-1 cup shredded cheese (preferably cheddar) **

*You can also use 2 flax eggs. (1 tablespoon ground flax seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons of water) If you aren't vegan, use eggs.
**Alex eats cheese and so I mix this into his portion. If you're vegan, you can try Daiya cheese or leave it out. It's just as tasty without the cheese!

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Finely chop both peppers and onion. Saute in a large skillet on medium-high heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add frozen corn, black beans, tomato sauce, crushed garlic and 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth to skillet. Add seasonings, stir, and let cook on low-medium for about 15 minutes or until the mixture turns a deep red and everything is soft.

After about 10 minutes, mix both cornbread packages, remaining 2/3 cup of broth, and egg replacers in a large bowl. Stir in shredded cheese, if using. Allow to sit for about 4 minutes.

Remove chili from heat and pour into a large 9x13 casserole dish. Spoon cornbread on top and carefully spread around to create an even layer.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cornbread topping is cooked through and the chili has thickened. Allow to cool. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve!

Sweetie Pies


Happy Valentine's Day!

Make a pie for your sweetie with this scrumptious and easy recipe!

You will need:
One box refrigerated pie crusts
One cup of fruit filling or jam (check out my strawberry jam recipe)
Egg wash (mix an egg with a little water) or vegan substitute*
Heart cookie cutters

Optional Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk of choice

*Brushing an egg wash on top of the pastries adds a beautiful golden color. However, if you don't eat eggs, there are a few alternatives you can try or you can omit it altogether.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough. Using the shapes cut a front and back for each pie. These two need to be the same size as you will be laying them on top of each other. From there you can create embellishments like adding miniature hearts or using a fluting tool to create ruffled edges. Grease a cookie sheet thoroughly and lay the bottom layers out. Now spoon a small amount of jam in the middle of each heart. Now, brush the edges with the egg wash or use water. Place the respective top piece and crimp edges with a fork or pressing firmly with your fingers to thoroughly seal the edges. Use a knife to vent the pie by making a small slit or two in the top layer. Assemble remaining pies. Now brush all pies with egg wash, if using. Bake pies for about 25 minutes or until the crust is firm.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly add milk, one tablespoon at a time. You may need more or less than the recommended amount. Once you have a thick glaze--the consistency of glue--you've achieved the right texture. Allow pies to cool and drizzle glaze over your creation!

These are best eaten warm from the oven.

Have a great Valentine's Day!


Lots of Love,

Anne

Spoil your Sweetheart


Say what you want about Valentine's Day and it's commercially driven motives, but any excuse to celebrate is a good excuse to me!

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about your romantic relationship(s) or lack there of. As a child growing up, my mom would leave little goodies for us to wake up to each year. It's one of my sweetest memories as a child. (pun intended) As an adult, I make a point to drop off something festive for my family to enjoy. Take the time to appreciate everyone who loves you this Valentine's Day!

For my boyfriend this year, I wanted to focus less on the material aspect of things and make something with love. We don't spend a lot of money on each other in general, because we're both relatively practical people (and we don't have the money to spend lol). So I'd rather create a lasting memory that we can nostalgically reminisce while sipping sweet tea on our summer porch at the ripe old age of 97. (However, if you're into expensive presents...ain't nothing wrong with that! Once someone shamed me for liking Christmas presents and I couldn't get over what a Grinch they were.)

Anyway, I've created the following Valentine's Day Game plan.

Food 
What do they like to eat? Maybe they have a favorite cuisine from home or a particular food they've really been into. You could also make a festive treat like chocolate covered strawberries or a red velvet cake. Don't worry if you aren't a great cook, they will be touched by your effort.

For the most part I don't cook meat because I don't eat it. So I thought I'd spoil Alex and make a huge crock pot full of BBQ ribs. Also alcohol.

Fun (I know what you're thinking, don't be dirty)
Spend some time with them. Find something you both enjoy like walking the dogs, watching a favorite movie, or doing a puzzle together.

We both really like to play Mario Kart but due to our busy schedules, we rarely get to play, let alone play together!

Favor

It's nice to have a little something to give your S.O. My sister makes a scrapbook for her fianc√© every Valentine's Day chronicling their previous year. You could write a love note detailing all the reasons you love them. Or you could buy something small and silly, like I did.

My poor guy usually gets boring presents like kitchen utensils so I thought I buy him something purely frivolous. I only spent $20 on a Rick and Morty t-shirt that he's been wanting for ages. Periodically he'll use facebook to tag me in items he likes. Of course he doesn't realize that I secretly save the links to purchase later!


What are you doing for Valentine's Day this year?

Lots of Love,
Anne

Scared of the Gym?

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Going to the gym for the first time (ever or in a while) can be daunting. But working out does not have to be torture. Think about why you want to go in the first place. Do you want to get stronger? Are you looking for a stress reliever? Here are a few things that I found helpful!

 SIDE NOTE: Do not feel pressured to start a workout regime because society tells you to be thinner. Losing weight does not need to rule your life. You are perfect at a size 2 or 32.

1. Decide which gym is right for you.
Do you enjoy group or class exercises? Perhaps a gym that offers a wide range of classes is your forte. Maybe you need something close to your house if you don't have a lot of time to commute. If you aren't interested in specialized equipment, perhaps a more affordable club is right. They have less specific equipment but unless you're a bodybuilder, you won't even notice. Ponder these ideas as you search for the gym you like. Keep in mind, most gyms offer tours and free trials. Give it a go for a week and cancel if that specific club isn't right for you.

2. Grab some gear.
Purchase an outfit or pair of shoes that gets you excited to go! Use these only for the gym so you look forward to putting them on every time. Working out requires special gear--no flip flops or jeans y'all. If you're going to be working out, you'll need the appropriate wardrobe, so be on the lookout for items you like. You don't have to spend a ton of money either. Try the clearance section or thrift stores.

3. People are going to stare at you--its inevitable.
There are two types of people at the gym. The people who are there to work out and the people who are there to look at the people working out. The majority of people--80%-- are focused on themselves and the task at hand. However, you will always encounter the creepy males that stare at your butt as you squat or the petty girls that judge you for running on the treadmill. Blast your music and ignore them. You do you! Also sometimes people will look at you simply because you're impressive and they think you're a bomb chick for lifting those weights.

4. Remember that whatever your goals, you have just as much right to be there as anyone else.
Go to the gym because you want to, not because you feel like to have to. Going to the gym does not have to be about losing weight. In fact, you're perfect the way you are and you should not be focused on the scale. Working out is a great stress reliever and endorphin release. You'll sleep better and find that little things don't bother you as much. Sweating helps detox your body from the day. I love lifting heavy weights and feeling my muscles burn the next day. I like pushing myself to my limit and learning how to extend those limits each time I go back.

A few other thoughts:
-bring a friend, boyfriend, or family member
-try listening to a podcast, audiobook, or kick ass playlist
-you can workout whenever you'd like (morning, lunch break, afternoon, evening)
-if you like schedules, create a workout schedule that fits your life
-watch youtube videos for workout moves
-most of the machines have diagrams on them to show you how to effectively use it (they are very useful to newcomers)
-use apps like myfitnesspal or fitbit to log your workouts (some gyms have their own apps too)

Check out Louise Green on social media or her website. Her book, Big Fit Girl, is a refreshing take on working out. A MUST READ!

Working out is fun! Take the fear out of the gym and treat yourself by lifting those heavy weights. You are a bad ass.