Thursday, April 27, 2017

1 Year of Mermaid Hair

It's been over a year since Blair Brown bleached my hair for the first time in my life, effectively turning me into the Cool Girl I'd always wanted to be. When I first dyed my hair, all I could think about was the silver-lavender head of hair I was about to own. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to afford to maintain this color, I also looked forward to the process of growing out my hair. I planned from the get-go to leave my hair be as it grew out and eventually faded, potentially using the bleached base to re-dye my hair on my own.

In the last year, my hair has undergone more than just the initial transformation. My hair has grown out, faded, been cut, and been re-dyed (more than once).

April 2016

Look at this dye job! The blue roots, the purple tinge, the inexplicable pink streaks. It's worth noting that my hair literally felt like straw for at least a month after I bleached it. At the time, it seemed like a wash. Looking back, it was totally worth it.

May 2016

After years of natural hair, it felt so weird to have the texture that comes with bleached hair. My hair has always naturally curled, and my bleached hair either stuck straight out or hung flat upon waking up. It took me a while to come up with a solution that didn't involve applying heat to my hair and I definitely still have bad hair days, but I've mostly figured out how to get public-appropriate hair by sleeping in a tight braid. 

June 2016

My hair finally starts softening thanks to just a TON of deep conditioner. The purple has become more prominent, and my roots turn from blue to blue-green.

July 2016

This was my ideal hair color! I'm really grateful that Blair used a darker color than I asked for (the hair stylist always knows best), because the color lasted a LOT longer than if I'd gone pastel at first. My favorite part of having mermaid hair is that every time I wash my hair, the color changes ever so slightly. It brings out the pinks, purples, and silvers in my hair, giving me a new look every week.

August 2016

Around this point, I started to worry about my "yellowing" hair. Looking back, it's just a grayer shade of lavender-gray. 

September 2016

Once the dye started to fully wash out, it really started to go. Within a month, my hair was almost completely silver.

October 2016

I tried dying my hair pastel pink with two separate box dyes. The color didn't hold. I'd recommend avoiding pastel box dyes– the next time I dyed my own hair, I used a vibrant color.

December 2016

I got a haircut when I came back to Oregon after graduating in December. The poor tips of my hair were so fried, and no deep conditioner was going to save that.

January 2017

I used an at-home dye to dye my hair pink. It was really bright pink at first, but faded much more quickly than the professional dye. For only $11, though, getting nearly 2 months of color was completely reasonable.

February 2017

This was the exact shade of pink I wanted when I first tried to dye my own hair back in November. It only lasted a couple washes, but it was worth it.

March 2017

Again... Once the dye started washing out, it REALLY started washing out. My hair was back to silver fairly quickly. The blue in what was originally my roots has held fairly strong, though.

April 2017

The yellow-correcting toner has slowly been weakening over the last year, and now I guess I'm just a bleach blonde. I'm excited to dye my hair before my graduation ceremony in June, though. I can't wait to show you all what I decide to do!

Have any of you ever tried to grow out a dye job? Tell me your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Monday, April 24, 2017

OOTD: Spring Layers

Before I moved here, I was so excited for spring in NYC. Blossoming trees and flowers! Walking my dog through Central Park! Finally putting my winter coats away! Spoiler alert: spring in NYC doesn't exist. It's nearly May and there have been a grand total of 7 nice days so far in 2017. I even had to drag one of my winter coats out last week. It was incredibly soul-crushing.

This spring, I've been relying on layers almost every day. This outfit has a grand total of 4 layers, not including the sweater I packed in my sister's backpack. The trickiest part about layering is doing it without all the wrinkles and bulges. My trick there is to layer thin, relatively well-fitting pieces. You'll still get a little bit of a bulge where everything meets, but it's not so bad.

Monday, April 17, 2017

OOTD: Florals? For Spring?

As soon as I saw this print on the rack at a Goodwill in Midtown, I knew I had to have this piece. When I pulled it out, though, I saw that it was a size 28– it was going to be too big for me. At $7.99, though, I wasn't about to pass up a floral print jumpsuit with these cute little butterfly sleeves. With a couple safety pins and this sash, I was able to make this look work for me.

One of the major cons of shopping at secondhand stores is that you often find an item you like in the wrong size. This can discourage you from wanting to shop secondhand. There are two alternatives to this problem. First, you can shop more frequently until you find the right piece in the right size. Second, you can figure out a way to make the ill-fitting piece work. You might need to learn how to sew a couple stitches or be ok with cutting some stuff up, but I promise that it's worth it.

I spent yesterday in the park with one of my roommates and my sister, who was visiting from Boston for the weekend. I didn't celebrate Passover for the first time since I lived in Spain this year, but I was grateful to be able to spend some time celebrating spring. There's a park just blocks from my house that I've been meaning to take Luxe to, and it was finally nice enough to check it out. What a great way to spend a Sunday.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

DIY Review: Tangle-Free Headphones

I'm tired of my life being a meme. I found this DIY tutorial for tangle-free headphones on Society19, so hopefully now I can put my headphones in my backpack without stressing about what they're going to look like when I take them back out.

-Anything with a cord. I'm using my headphones, and if it's a good DIY, I'm going to use it on my phone charger.
-Embroidery floss
-Clear nail polish or hot glue

Step 1: Tie a long piece of embroidery floss (about 3x the length of the cord you're covering) to the top of the cord. If you're familiar with the Chinese Staircase knot, that's what you need to do. If not, really all you're going to be doing is tying a knot with the embroidery floss around the cord. Easy peasy!

Step 2: When you've finished wrapping the cord, cut off any loose thread and apply some clear nail polish to both ends of the wrap.

Step 3: Repeat as necessary. Voila!

This was such an easy tutorial. It might have helped that I used this knot technique to make everything from bracelets to hair wraps when I was young. So far, my headphones have remained tangle free. They do twist around each other when I'm wearing them, but I guess that's far preferable to them growing into a knotted mess.

One thing I realized when I finished this DIY is that the wrap might help keep the wires in the cord from fraying. I don't know what I do with my cords that leads to the wires popping out, but at this point I'm desperate to do anything to keep that from happening.

It does look a little ridiculous up-close, but not so ridiculous that I won't wear them. If you're into hair wraps and other crafty gear, you might actually love this look.

DIY Rating: A-

Monday, April 10, 2017

OOTD: Red Lips

Black lace-up sandals - Black opaque tights - Black and red lip print 3/4 sleeve button-up dress - Silver watch from INVICTA - Black rectangular sunglasses - Red lipstick from Sephora

Spring is here, and I've never been more excited to go outside. Just one thing: I still want to wear all black. I own more black clothing than any other color, and it's my second favorite color to wear. So, all signs indicate that I'm going to be wearing black quite a bit throughout spring and summer.

Luckily, not every spring/summer outfit has to be bright and colorful. There are a couple ways in which you can wear all black in the warm weather without appearing out of place. One way is by wearing traditionally warm-weather clothing pieces in black. These sandals are super summery, and just happen to be black, making them easy to wear in the spring and summer. This dress, with its 3/4 sleeves and button-up top, is also perfect for warm weather.

Another way is to pair your black clothing with accessories, hair, and makeup that are spring/summer-appropriate. Sunglasses scream summer, as do these bright red lips. A pair of space buns makes the look way more fun. What are spring and summer all about if not fun?

Finally, and this is more of a mindset than a piece of styling advice, just remember that you can wear whatever the hell you want whenever you want. There's no reason to use some silly made-up fashion rules to restrict yourself to wearing something you don't like. You can wear all black during the summer, white after Labor day, and socks with sandals if you feel so inclined.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Broke & Fabulous Podcast Recommendations

Before I moved to New York, I never listened to podcasts. As a student, I was having these conversations and participating in lectures regularly. Listening to podcasts just felt like an extension of my class and schoolwork.

Now that I'm not in classes and happen to have a couple hours of dead time to fill every day, I've become a podcast fiend. I listen to five or six a day during the week; on my way to work, walking my dog, while I'm making dinner, etc. I've only been in the podcast game for a couple months, but I've already accumulated a number of favorites.


The Daily: Every weekday, Michael Barbaro of The New York Times dives into a couple topics in a daily 30-minute episode. This is the first podcast of the day that I listen to to get myself familiarized with what's in the news.

Pod Save America: Four former members of Obama's team spend an hour twice a week giving their take on the political news of the week. It's fairly left-leaning, so I don't use it as a news source (though I would be remiss if I didn't point out that biased news is not the same as "fake" news). Rather, I listen to these hilarious and experienced guys talk about news I've already heard in a way that makes me feel hopeful instead of hopeless. Part of their mission statement is to incite activism, so they regularly have activists on to talk about how listeners can participate in the political system.

Pod Save the World: One of the hosts of Pod Save America, Tommy Vietor, was on President Obama's National Security Council. On this podcast, he interviews politicians, journalists, and other professionals who know foreign policy well.


Code Switch: Depending on the episode, 2-5 awesome journalists from NPR talk about race, ethnicity, and culture and how they interact in our daily lives. Episodes are 10-30 minutes long, making them the perfect introduction to a topic that I'll be thinking and talking about for months.

Fresh Air: Terry Gross takes a deeper look at issues in culture and tells stories of things that affect us more than we realize. She interviews people like Samantha Bee and Lin-Manuel Miranda as well as authors that I've never heard of. I don't listen to every episode (I don't always want to hear reviews of books I'm never going to read or hear obituaries for people I've never heard of), but there are some really great episodes. Some of my favorites include "Author Says Hitler Was 'Blitzed' On Cocaine And Opiates During The War" and "How The Systemic Segregation Of Schools Is Maintained By Individual Choices."

Growing Girls: This podcast only has two episodes so far, but both have left me excited for a new one. April and Megan address social issues in popular culture from their perspectives as two young womxn of color. Listening to the episodes feels like you're having a conversation with insightful and thoughtful friends. They constantly push me to examine my perspective and privilege and are constantly doing the same themselves. As the title explains, they're two growing girls, because we're all growing and learning all the time.


Stuff You Should Know: The title is pretty self-explanatory. Josh and Chuck walk through the basics of a unique topic in hour-long episodes. I've learned a lot from this podcast. Anyone who knows me knows I'm happiest when I'm learning stuff!

Hidden Brain: This is the psychology podcast I've been looking for. Host Shankar Vedantam talks to researchers and other journalists about both new and old research in the field of psychology in a way that everyone can understand. I've gotten helpful refreshers on subjects I learned about in school and learned a bunch of new stuff.

Presidential: Where was I when the rest of America learned about the presidents in school? For whatever reason, I couldn't tell you a single fact about any president before I was born but Nixon and Lincoln. That's embarrassing. Luckily, Lillian Cunningham of The Washington Post hosted this podcast to educate people about all 44 presidents before the election last fall. I'm on episode 18 and I've learned a lot about the history of America so far. 

Do you love podcasts? Comment below with your favorite recommendations! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

OOTD: Wait For It

Tan cutout zip-up sandals - DIY high waisted light wash distressed denim from H&Mpowder blue ruffle bell sleeve top - red bandana from Old Navy - silver and turquoise chandelier earrings from Forever 21 - DIY gemstone sunglasses

I can't tell you how excited I am about this outfit. Two of the items I'm wearing are actually brand new, and I've been wanting to buy them for what feels like forever. I recently mentioned that I've been looking for the perfect bell sleeve top for nearly a year, and I finally found it! Whenever I identify a specific trend I want to own, I go on Poshmark and save my favorite pieces to buy whenever I have the money. I've had this top on my saved items for a couple months and was waiting for them to restock in my size. They happened to restock toward the end of my fiscal quarter when I had a surplus in my shopping budget (I'm as surprised as you), so I pounced. I've also been looking for a cute bandana to wear this spring. I pass by the Old Navy window display every day on my way to and from work, and I've seen this exact bandana on the mannequins for weeks now. After continuing to pine after it, I decided to go in one day and buy it.

There are so many different approaches to shopping to create the perfect wardrobe. One of my biggest pieces of advice is to wait for the perfect piece when you're looking for something specific. I knew exactly what I wanted in a bell sleeve top and bandana, so I waited until I found just that. I found a couple similar items earlier on in my search that would have been more convenient to buy, but I'm so glad I decided to wait until I found exactly what I was looking for. I don't have any regrets and haven't found myself actively shopping for a better version of this piece, which I do when I buy something that I like but that I don't love.

This method isn't always necessary. These shoes, for instance, were a cheap pair of sandals that I bought when I needed a pair of sandals simply because it was a convenient purchase. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, so it didn't matter whether or not I waited to find just what I was looking for. In the case of this top and this bandana, though, I'm glad I waited.