Friday, August 29, 2014

why my hair is still so long and glorious (even after i bleached the crap out of it)

if i were to pick the number one thing i get the most comments/questions about from curious strangers (and especially hairstylists), hands down id have to say its my hair. actually, now that i get to thinking about it, my hair has been much more perplexing to strangers since its been long and blonde than it ever was when it was, say, blue. 

i get asked if its my real color (oh heck no, im half asian, its almost black), if its all mine (no extensions here, my hairs actually too thick for them to clip in without looking stupid), how i do it (just regular old bleach powder and 40 volume developer at home), if i spend a lot of money on it (nope, only about $30 a year), but mainly i get asked this: "HOW?!? how is your hair still so long and shiny after you bleach it? i thought you were never, ever supposed to bleach your hair like that because everything anyones ever said about beauty is that bleaching your hair turns it into straw". 

well, today im going to elaborate a little on why exactly my hairs the way it is (and consequently, why just about everything youve ever known about hair care is wrong). so why is my hair so long and glorious even after i bleached the crap out of it?

(disclaimer: this is absolutely NOT an advice or tutorial post and i am NOT a licensed cosmetologist and do NOT expect to do anything i say and expect it to come out perfectly because "victoria said it would work". no, im just sharing what i do with my hair)

a few reasons, mainly: 

1. genetics. i may be half asian, but my hair is 100% asian. asian hair has a thicker, flatter cuticle layer thats harder to damage. obviously im taking serious advantage of that. 

2. i only bleach the roots. this is the MAIN difference between me and most folks who regularly change the color of their hair. i ONLY bleach the new, fresh, undamaged hair at my roots, NEVER the parts that have already been bleached. when you bleach (or color) over color (or bleach) your hair gets more and more fried. i dont do that. 

3. i go a LONG time between touch ups. i wait till my roots are at least an inch long (usually takes 3 months or so), so my hair is rarely exposed to the bleach chemicals. 

4. i rarely brush it. brushing your hair (especially when its long) speeds up breakage, so i only do it when ABSOLUTELY neccesarry. and i never, ever brush it wet (thats like the worst thing you could ever do to damaged hair). 

5. i wash it even less. washing your hair with shampoo strips it of the natural oils that keep it strong and healthy. i wash my hair once a week. sometimes i can get away with less. while im definitely not part of the "no poo" movement, im very anti-washing-your-hair-everyday. 

6. i dont use heat tools. aside from my weekly blow out, i dont use any other heat tools. i dont even own a flat iron or rollers, and i only bust out my curling iron for very special occasions. 

these six things work together to keep my hair (relatively) healthy so that it can grow absurdly long despite my incessant bleaching. 

how do you keep your hair healthy? do you have any unconventional hair tips? id love to hear about them in the comments!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

20 things you might not know about me.

lately ive had a huge surge of new followers, and, well, since i havent been posting regularly and id like all of you to stick around and be friends, i thought it might be fun to break the ice a little and share 20 things you might not know about me. so, here we go: 

1. the only time i have ever not lived in los angeles county was the 16 months i lived in arizona. actually, "los angeles county" is a bit too broad, except for that year ive spent my entire life in the south bay, which is a specific and not very large portion of los angeles county that most people outside of la dont even know exists. like, the new grand theft auto totally skips it. 

2. im a beauty school dropout. yeah, i know. when i enrolled i was 19 and really worried about finding a "real job", so i enrolled in the cheapest beauty school in the area. turns out you get what you pay for and i was not able to finish. 

3. i also briefly attended USC. and if i had finished on schedule, i would have graduated with rob kardashian. from different schools, but still, its kind of funny. 

4. ive never had a passport and i only got my first credit card last week. im not so great at adult things....

5. ive seen motion city soundtrack play eight times (or maybe 9, i lost count). including once when alice was 9 months old. we got her a signed LP to commemorate the occasion: 

6. i own a vest given to me by tyler glen of neon trees from like, way before they were famous. i know, picture or it didnt happen. tyler glen:


7. when people from out of town ask if ive ever seen a famous person in real life, i always say no. this is a lie. not saying that ive had a whole lot of celebrity sightings, but rainn wilson, chris rock, adam sandler, pete wentz, kat von d, zachary quinto, and im sure a few more that i cant remember are all people ive seen in real life. also, i lived in the apartment building that most of jackie brown was filmed in, while they were filming it. 

8. alice was due to be born on my birthday. thanks to a scheduled c-section she was born a week early. i recommend planning to avoid this. 

9. i tested out of high school/started college when i was 15. thanks to some scheduling mix ups and transferring to the worst. university. ever. it took me an extra year to finish my aa. but i was 18 when i graduated. 

10. as a result, i dont technically have a high school diploma. every now and then i like to pull the "what do you expect, i dont even have a high school diploma!" card but nobody buys it. obviously. 

11. i was homeschooled, and i LOVED it. i cant wait to start homeschooling alice, too!

12. the first time i ever saw chitty chitty bang bang was on my honeymoon. i know, i know, so many questions. 

13. my superpower is that i can read really, really, really fast. i read the first hunger games book in one three-hour sitting. 

14. im really really uncoordinated and comically bad at all sports. except, for some reason, dodgeball. im surprisingly good at dodgeball. but dont tell anyone. 

15. i was on an episode of clean house. a house on my dads street was having a yard sale on a day i was over there. it turned out to be a clean house garage sale. we bought a kaleidoscope from niecey nash and our bit made it into the final edit, apparently. my dad still has the kaleidoscope. 

16. i really like doing laundry. its my favorite chore, i could do laundry all day. if i could work at a hotel doing laundry all day, that would be awesome. 

17. in my teens, i developed a serious allergy to chocolate but thankfully i outgrew it. seriously, whos even allergic to chocolate? is that not the dumbest thing youve ever heard of? 

18. i didnt actually want to get my nose pierced but my mom offered to pay for it as my high school graduation gift. one day she was driving me home from a doctor appointment and made this really dangerous u-turn into a tattoo shop and i was just like, "ok". ive only changed the jewelry in it once and i honestly forget that its there until somebody mentions it and im like "i have a nose ring?". 

19. we dont have tv. actually, weve never had tv the entire time weve been married. this has been an excellent decision on all accounts. 

20. when i was a little girl my dream was to be an orca trainer at sea world. then one day i got to go to the "breakfast with shamu" thing where you get to ask the trainers questions and i asked them how to get their job. you need a phd in marine biology AND a level 9000 free diving certification and i was like screw that. 

so now that youve suffered through 20 things about me, whats something that people might not know about you? 

Monday, August 25, 2014

first day of school!

outfit details: 
shirt: target
glasses: zenni optical
phone case: the sorcerers phone

todays my first day of my first full semester of college since i was 19. yes, i did take classes last semester, but they were one unit, half semester classes, and it didnt always really feel like i was in school. it kind of felt like i just did a couple extra projects. 

this semester im taking three classes. three real classes. and to be completely honest, im nervous. 

yes, im only taking seven units, buts its spread over three completely different subjects. and these classes are long. two of them are five hours. the "short" one, is four hours. 

so im nervous about the workload, im nervous about the schedule, im nervous about keeping up with housework, meals, hobbies, work, and especially alice over the next four months. 

but im also excited. the classes im taking are pretty cool. ive got color theory on mondays, sewing on tuesdays, and fashion sketching on thursdays. two of the classes are with the teacher i had last semester, and i like her. ill make some cool projects, and maybe ill meet some new friends. 

but mainly im excited to make one more baby step toward living my dream, because thats what this whole ordeal is about, right? 

are you headed back to school this semester? how do you feel about it? excited? nervous? both? 

p.s. please notice my phone case. is it not fantastic? if youre into geeky things, (which, i mean, who ISNT?), be sure to check out my lady missy at the sorcerers phone. best. cases. ever. no, she did not pay me to say that and i bought my own case, i just wanted to draw attention to the fact that her shop is AWESOME. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

6 ways to feel more like a person when chronic illness is kicking your butt.

one of the thinks im kind of known for (at least in real life) is that i am chock full of stupid diseases. one thing i am definitely not known for, is having a good attitude about it. 

but its something ive been working hard to change lately. because somehow nearly a decade into not being able to live like a normal person (my super fun mystery health problems started showing up when i was like 15, and im going to be 25 soon, so yeah... almost a decade), ive finally accepted that while i cant control how my body feels at any given time, i can (at least try) to control how i react to my bodys stupidity. 

this has been especially important over the past couple of weeks, as my fibromyalgia joined forces with my unstable hormones to create the perfect superstorm of migraines (which ive never even had before), joint pain/swelling (to the point where my hands were essentially useless for DAYS), and two whole weeks of the worst. pms. ever (which should totally be illegal). all right before the new semester starts when i totally have a whole bunch of super important things to do RIGHT NOW. hooray. 

now, since ive recently spent quite a few days in bed with ice packs doing like one chore while alice watches tv and plays with the loudest possible toy she can find, ive obviously had a lot of time to think. i spent a lot of that time trying to think of ways to help myself not feel so crappy (emotionally) about how crappy i feel (physically). and i came up with a few ideas. 

which i thought id share, just in case any of you fellow spoonies out there (healthy people: yes, thats a thing) could use some ideas in this department. or at least a laugh at my expense. either way, im more than happy to help. 

so heres my list of ways to feel more like a human when chronic illness has you feeling like poop (i wasnt even going to try and fit that on a cute little graphic so just pretend its attached to this picture):

*note: i am (obviously) not a doctor and none of this is intended to be medical advice of any kind, simply a somewhat humorous list of my recently acquired coping skills*

1. get dressed. every day. in real clothes. i know you dont want to, but its really, really easy to give up on yourself that you couldnt possibly do anything of importance today if youre not even dressed to do anything of importance. so put on real pants, and embrace the hypothetical possibility that should you feel able to do something important, at least youre already dressed for it. 

2. put on lipstick. its really dumb how were supposed to have a reason for wearing lipstick. wearing lipstick for no reason makes me feel like coco chanel, like i can do anything. i highly recommend it. 

3. eat real food. this one is really hard because when youre weak and in pain the last thing you want to do is cook (or maybe your hands wont cooperate like mine were last week), but i promise that eating kettle corn and reeses cups all day is only going to make you feel worse. i speak from experience. 

4. lower your expectations. i have a really bad habit of guilt tripping myself for not keeping up with my usual workload (which to be completely honest is often a little unrealistic) when im not feeling well. dont do this. set the bar low, really low. like, "eat food and make sure that the other humans and animals in the house have eaten food also". then you dont have to feel bad about not accomplishing your goals for the day. 

5. do what you need to do, and dont feel bad about it. whether you have to ask for help, decline invitations, take a nap, spend way too much money on essential oils, take a break from work, neglect chores, complain to your friends, let your kid watch tv all day, wear sunglasses to church, or let your husband cook dinner (or all of the above), even though you hate, hate, hate to do any of those things. just do it. its not worth it to kill yourself trying to handle everything on your own if you cant. it also wont kill you to eat burned carrots. 

6. give yourself time to recover. dont expect to get right back into your normal grind as soon as you dont feel terrible anymore. baby steps. yesterday my mom took alice to the beach and i thought id bust out ALL THE THINGS. i ended up buying groceries, needing to ice my arms from carrying groceries, doing a couple chores, needing a nap, and then writing half a blog post before my headache got too bad and then turned on netflix while i waited for james to get home. it wasnt as much as i had hoped, but it was a lot more than i had done the day before (or the day before that). like i said, baby steps. 

so thats my list. 

even though this last flare has been probably one of the worst ive ever had, and as much as i wanted to spend the last two weeks getting the blog and shop back up and running before the fall semester starts (on monday!), im starting to feel better and things are moving along and the world is not ending. and, maybe this week i will get back into a normal workflow. 

do you live with chronic illness? whats your favorite way to make yourself feel better? id love to hear about it in the comments!

Monday, August 18, 2014

finding my real life grown up adult style (an eshakti review + an outfit post)

outfit details: 
dress: c/o eshakti 
shoes: target (old, thrifted)
necklace: gift (originally from macys
glasses: zenni opical

its been a long time since ive done a proper outfit post. and judging by the quality of these photos and how long it took me to edit them, james and i have gotten a little rusty when it comes to outfit post procedures. 

but were just going to ignore that and move on because thats not what were here today to talk about. 

see, i didnt want you guys to think that just because ive been gone all summer and ive had a big fat case of the lazies, that i havent been dressing cute and have just been flopping around in yoga pants and a stained sweatshirt all summer. oh heck no. (actually, i threw away all my old stained sweatshirts so they wouldnt even be an option, but thats a discussion for an entirely different day). 

in fact, id like to think that ive been dressing (and by extension, feeling) nicer and more attractive than ever before. because.... drumroll please.... SOMETHING CLICKED AND I FINALLY FOUND MY REAL LIFE GROWN UP ADULT STYLE AND ITS THE MOST AWESOME THING THATS EVER HAPPENED. 

ok maybe im exaggerating. but if youre going to hang around with me, you better get used to hyperbole. if you cant, we cant be friends. im sorry. 

but seriously, ive come a long, long way from where i was when i first wrote about my style struggles, and my early outfit posts just make me want to barf. but after purging my closet no less than THREE (!) times over the last couple years (and not really buying much to replace what i took out), and taking a step back to look at my wardrobe choices objectively and pragmatically, rather than potentially or theoretically, i can confidently say, ive figured out this whole "personal style" thing:

black, white, stripes, nipped waists, flared skirts, plain tops, skinny pants, bold pops of color and dainty, feminine accessories are here to stay, while novelty tshirts, empire waists, florals, sneakers, drapey knits and anything beachy/bohemian are definitely out. 

i wont say im 100% there yet with my wardrobe, seeing as i still frequently pull things out to get rid of, but im to the point where it takes me no time at all to get dressed in the morning, and nine times out of ten i feel really good about my outfit. which, coming from where i was not even a year and a half ago is a freaking miracle. 

especially considering what happened a few weeks ago, when eshakti offered to send me a dress to review. if this had happened back when i wrote those other posts, theres a pretty good chance i would have picked something awful because "i liked the idea of it" or "maybe this will work", just like every freaking time i went shopping for like two years. BUT NOT THIS TIME. 

i knew EXACTLY what i was looking for. 

and when the AMAZING airplane print dress that i wanted had a neckline i wasnt thrilled with, it wasnt a problem at all because eshakti lets you customize the necklines, hemlines, and sleeve treatments of whatever dress you pick. (unfortunately since this whole exchange happened while james was out of town i didnt have anyone to measure me so i could take advantage of the custom tailoring, but since everythings buy one get one free right now, maybe ill try it sometime soon and get a dress thats NOT super tight in the shoulders). 

ordering from eshakti was totally easy (and i love how you can browse the site by style!), shipping was exceptionally fast, and overall im really pleased with the quality (both fabric and construction) of the dress. definitely on the nicer side of what youd expect for the (retail) price point (im used to buying my higher end stuff used/on sale though so the price seemed high to me, but you really get what you pay for). 

the only thing i didnt like was the red fabric belt that came with it, but as you can clearly see, its plenty cute without it. 

so yeah, eshakti is a pretty great place to get dresses. especially right now. because, buy one get one free. 

*disclaimer, eshakti DID provide the dress sample for me to review, however i did not receive any additional compensation and all photos, views, and opinions are my own*

Saturday, August 16, 2014

HUGE dslr giveaway from the freckled fox!

happy weekend everyone! who wants a new dslr? *raises hand* well, heres your chance, im participating in this awesome giveaway hosted by emily of the freckled fox!

i meant to post this a few days ago when the giveaway went live, but better late than never, right? 

anyway, heres the giveaway (good luck! and be sure to check out/follow all the lovely bloggers sponsoring it!):
Good morning guys, today's post as you can see is another DSLR giveaway brought back by popular demand! My sponsors and I have been excited about doing this for a while, and it's definitely turning into a monthly thing here on The Freckled Fox, so I hope you don't mind! haha Take a look at this fancy thang:
Such a great camera! I know because it's one that I use just about every day:) I know that I speak for most of us when I say that my biggest push in professionalism for my shop and my blog was getting my first really awesome camera, and what could be better than having one delivered to your front door completely free?! Even if you already have a DSLR or maybe photography isn't exactly your thing, you always can use a back-up camera, and think what an amazing gift this would make for that friend or relative that's been saving for one!

Well now on to the ladies and shops that are responsible for bringing you this fabulous prize today: my beautiful and creative sponsors! I love love having this opportunity to introduce them to you guys. They're such a genuine and creative group, and I'm so grateful for their support and for the chance at partnering up! So, please click through and introduce yourselves, and don't forget the rafflecopter at the bottom!
 Autumn Klair     |     Brittany Gary     |     Course Craft     |     House of Polynesia
Notes: The giveaway will run for ten days, the winner will be selected at random, contacted, and announced shortly after the giveaway concludes in this post as well as on all Freckled Fox social media channels. Yes this is open internationally! entries will be verified. Enter below:
There it is folks! Tons of different ways to enter with this one huh? Remember that the more entries you complete the better your chance of winning this beauty! Also as a special bonus, each entry is a new way to meet and support the bloggers who are bringing you this giveaway, and they're huge supports to me, so it's basically one big support/love fest that you should join in on.haha See what I did there? 


Monday, August 11, 2014

its time to kick the summer lazies.

im not going to lie, this summer has been an exceptionally lazy one. i mean, youve probably noticed that i havent been around much (or at all) right here, but blogging isnt the only area where ive let myself get lazy. part of it was due to james spending so long out of town, part of it was transitioning into full-blown self employment, part of it was burnout, and part of it was my fibromyalgia REALLY not getting along with this exceptionally humid summer. 

but reasoning aside, i havent been writing AT ALL, i havent (aside from preparations for create 2014) made (or even planned) ANYTHING for the shop, my jamberry calendar is empty until mid september. all my usual routines, structures, and busy-ness? thats all been a mess: the chore rotation is off, the errand schedule is a mess, and i dont even want to THINK about how much take out weve been eating. we certainly have NOT been keeping  close tabs on our finances.

but im not sorry, not one little bit. 

we needed the break. well, i guess it hasnt really been much of a break for james, hes STILL working tons and tons (fortunately in town, though). so what i mean by that is i needed the break. earlier this year i was working three jobs, rushing all over the place trying  to keep everything from falling apart, and for the last couple months, i havent had to do that. so i just sat back and enjoyed not having to do it. and it was awesome. 

but all good things must come to an end, and since school starts in two (!!!) weeks, now is that time. ive been easing myself back onto the meal planning/errand running/housekeeping/budgeting wagon, and for the most part, i can feel those things all getting back on track. 

and with the little things under control, im feeling a little less lazy and a little more ready to get serious about blogging again, about running the shop like a legitimate business, about planning AWESOME birthday parties for alice and i, about tackling home projects, and putting some major work into our long term family goals. 

like going on vacation. no seriously, were going on vacation next month. is this even real life?

p.s. everybody please notice my super amazing and adorable CUSTOM handmade (and surprisingly affordable!) bathing suit from beverly swimwear. shes amazing and will totally hook you up with the best suit ever (and she didnt pay me to say that). 

Friday, August 8, 2014

CREATE 2014 + getting back in the craft fair game.

as youve probably heard about a million, billion times on instagram and twitter, we (i almost typed i, but really poverty luxe is a family affair and james and alice deserve credit here too) did our first craft fair with poverty luxe last weekend!

now, this wasnt my first craft fair ever, id actually done quite a few when i was in college with my old etsy shop. but, none of those really went all that great, and after taking SUCH a long break (during which, i obviously analyzed and overanalyzed everything i did wrong and how to address it) , i was really happy to finally have a chance to put all these really important things i know now (like, um, branding, customer service, and displays that are actually functional). and i mean, $50 craft fair, RIGHT DOWN THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE? sold. 

even though i had booked the fair a couple MONTHS ago, i (obviously) totally procrastinated and didnt really do any preparations until the last couple of weeks before the fair, but thankfully, everything got done. i made somewhere around 100 new bows (several new fabrics will be coming to the shop soon!), and james helped me make a super cute display for them: 

(p.s. that awesome white cubby thing? i found that IN THE TRASH just a couple days before the fair, how perfect is that?)

even though it took a couple of very frustrating trips to the hardware store, we did get my rack built, and its awesome and i love it: 

also, i painted signs, which dont look like much but im really proud of them because i do. not. paint. and they came out pretty cute. 

but seriously, how stinking cute are all my skirts all lined up on my new rack? i mean really:

and of course i had a couple clearance bins of pieces from my old shop that I'm just not sure what to do with (but seriously, what am i supposed to do with this stuff?):

and after weeks of stress and panic and frustration and tears and feeling like a failure because i couldnt get the freezer paper printing on fabric thing to work (spoiler alert: james did, everything has labels now), we had achieved something i had never been able to do before with  my old shop:

and attractive, functional booth/display, filled with a carefully curated collection of well-constructed pieces that all go together and reflect a consistent brand image. that alone was an amazing feeling. 

but after all that blathering about the booth and the process and all that, im assuming what you actually want to know is how the fair itself actually went. 

and well, im not sure how to answer that question. obviously, the most important part is that i did it and poverty luxe is henceforth able and prepared to do more craft fairs in the future, and the second most important part is that i didnt lose money on the fair (mainly thanks to my completely insane business model). 

but the event itself? meh. dont get me wrong, the girls running the fair worked very hard, they picked a great location, a great mix of vendors, and did a great job about promoting the event as a whole as well as spotlighting the individual vendors on instagram. however, i didnt realize that the girls running the show were like, 18, and maybe not super experienced with running a full-blown craft fair (and maybe this is just me being snobby from having been involved in several real, serious craft fairs in the past), but the day-of operations? those were kind of a mess. and attendance? well, lets just say that if each individual vendor had simply brought 10 friends/family members (like i did), and nothing else, the attendance would have been awesome. and sales? my sales covered my booth fee (plus a little left over to sponsor a blog giveaway coming up), BUT all of that, except for one $5 purchase, was from people i know. 

but instead of focusing on those things, id rather give us all pats on the back for just doing the fair, and appreciate the cute new prints and tardis skirt that i got from other vendors. 

and you know, i actually wrote a blog post, so thats cool.