Rapunzels Are In Vogue

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Super long hair is in fashion these days, so much so that ladies who are unable to grow their hair as long as they want have been sporting extensions to produce the desired long locks. It’s been interesting hearing people comment on my hair, which I had decided to grow out again, because people who haven’t known me for long think it’s a new thing. Well, it’s not. I have always sported extremely long hair past my waist since I was a young child, and at one point in my 20’s, my hair was so long that not only would I sit on the ends, but other people sitting next to me would accidentally pin me down, and I would have to ask them to release my hair.

The longest my hair ever got was in 1991…

I know it sounds strange, but to me, my hair at this point almost seems short,compared to that time in the early 90’s when my hair was at its longest. Here’s where my hair was length-wise in June, and then in August of this year:

My hair in June 2019

By August 2019, my hair was this long, and this was even after a trim!

I still look at images of women with crazy long hair (past the gluteal fold), and find some appeal in it, but I honestly don’t know if it would drive me nuts to carry around such a long span of keratin everywhere. Let’s face it, long hair gets in the way, it’s heavy, it makes the nape of the neck hot during the summer, and caring for long hair requires some extra effort to keep it looking its healthiest. I’m not even sure my hair would reach the same length where I had it in 1991, but I suspect I’d get so sick and tired of the maintenance that I would opt for a shorter, more manageable length.

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I will say that women with very long hair do stand out. Long hair is special, it’s beautiful, and not everyone can rock a Rapunzel-length mane. I think anyone with beautiful, healthy hair who wants to grow it out should do it, even if they later decide that sporting a scarf of hair isn’t for them.

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There is also a fair amount of versatility with long hair. It can be coiled into an elegant updo, crafted into a half-up, half-down hairstyle which is fashionable and pretty, swept up into a ponytail, braided, or left loose and free. In addition, long hair makes a handy shawl or scarf if one is caught in brisk weather without a sweater or coat. Believe me, I have used my hair as insulation from cold air many times over the years!

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Lastly, there is something so romantic about very long hair. Women with uber long hair aren’t afraid to express themselves as women. A sharp contrast to pixie hair styles, long hair evokes tremendous femininity. What’s strange, though, is how oppressed the literary character Rapunzel was. She was held captive by a witch in a tower, and her only hope of escape was to find a rescuer who would have to climb up her incredibly long hair to rescue her. Eventually Rapunzel cuts her hair, which apparently symbolizes cutting ties with a maternal figure. Wow, heavy stuff.

I suspect that I will sport extremely long hair, at least waist-length, for as long as I live. I’ve spent the majority of my life with long hair as part of my signature style, and I don’t plan to change that style by chopping my strands.

Technicolor Hair

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The idea of sporting brightly and unnaturally colored hair has taken off in recent years, and has asserted itself as a means of self-expression and individuality for many people. What’s wild is that this trend has caught on with middle-aged people as well as the younger crowd. Even the names of the hair color trends suggest whimsy, such as unicorn hair and mermaid hair.

Mermaid hair is specifically defined as a mixture of marine shades blended into bleached and toned hair, while unicorn hair colors are more reminiscent of cotton candy and “girly” pastel shades. However, this by no means is any indication that this is only for girls or women. The wildly colored hair movement is found among people of different genders and ages. I’ve seen men with lilac and aqua hair, and women in their 70’s with pink hair.

Check out this collection of mermaid hair color combos from Redken:

https://www.redken.com/blog/haircolor/13-mermaid-haircolors-that-you-have-to-see-to-believe

Then we have the fantasy colors of unicorn hair which are truly imaginative and distinct:

Unicorn Hair Color

If you’ve considered trying some fun hair colors, make sure you understand what you are getting into. If you have very dark hair like I do, the color change you will see will be very subtle, only detectable in sunlight and other types of light which illuminate the coating of color which sits on top of the hair cuticle. If you really want to go for a dramatic change, you must bleach your hair to prep it for color.

But is it worth it to bleach your hair in preparation for bubble gum colors? This fantastic article, written by Nicola Dall’Asen (IG: @nicoladallasen) goes into real depth about everything that is involved with maintaining a multicolored mane, and it isn’t all rosy. It’s a good idea to do some research on different products to see which works best for you, and definitely consult with a reputable color specialist who can bleach and prep your hair with minimal hair damage.

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While Nicola focuses more on full coverage dyes, I have zero intention of ruining my naturally dark brown locks, so the only fun color products I have applied to my hair have been color conditioners. Overtone makes some amazing products, including color conditioners which are formulated to show up more on brown hair. I love the fact that application is so easy, and I also love the fact that there is no long-term commitment. If I wanted to allow the red tint which I applied to about 18 inches of my hair to fade, I would just allow my regular shampooing regimen to take place without using color conditioner, and the product would fade away after a few shampoos. I could start from scratch and maybe try purple if I wanted. Options are definitely much more limited for dark brown hair, so keep that in mind.

What I DON’T like about color conditioners (which also applies to permanent hair color) is that they make such a mess. Whenever I take a shower and wash my hair, my tub looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, and I have to remove the stains with bleach cleanser and a sponge every single time. I now have to spread a dark towel over my pillows and sheets when I sleep because the red will transfer to the fabric. I have also worn white or lightly colored clothing and then noticed later on that the neckline and back of my clothing were pink!

That being said, it has been fun experimenting with colors and knowing that I haven’t damaged my hair. In fact, Overtone Color Conditioners actually condition the hair and improve its luster. So I am definitely on board with using the products and having fun with them.

Give the temporary colors a try and see if you like them before diving into permanent color options.

Bohemian Vibes

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I love the fact that bohemian, or boho, culture has blossomed as much as it has over the past few years. Bohemian fashion is creative, ethnically diverse and eclectic, not to mention loose and comfortable, and the social undercurrent of people who subscribe to bohemian culture is similarly diverse. Boho chic has brought back the hippie culture which had emerged during the early to mid-1960’s. The influence of hippies became so ingrained in our culture by the mid-1970’s that longer hair and colorful clothing from other countries was accepted as a new norm. Then with the Reagan era, a new conservatism swept the globe which remained for many years. Only in the past several years has the boho trend asserted itself once again.

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Bohemian culture strives to break conventional norms, and to express a unique style. It appeals to artists, musicians, and anyone who is passionate about having essential freedom. Bohemians also strive to establish harmony with the environment, and often will participate in movements which are designed to save the planet. Think of events like Burning ManBurning ManBurning Man and Coachella, both of which capture the hippie free spirit vibe perfectly. Fashion-wise, the bohemian vibe allows people to mix and match different styles and colors on a whim to create a look which is truly unique.

So how do you put together a bohemian look? Just remember that a key feature of bohemian style is to mix textures, add accessories like jewelry, hats, or scarves, and to look and feel comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Think of cozy fabrics like cotton, wool, denim, leather, and suede. Crochet and knit items, as well as some lace items, add a romantic flair and soften a look even further. Just make sure you don’t go overboard, or else you may end up looking like a thrift-store maven.

Boho chic tattoo design. Golden crescent moon and sun with elements of the mandala – astrology, alchemy and magic symbol.
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Who’s Ready For Black Friday?

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I know, it’s only October, but the biggest shopping day of the year, also known as Black Friday, will be here before you know it. You might be one of those people who get bitten by the shopping bug even before you fully digest that Thanksgiving meal, or you may be someone who absolutely detests shopping. But the fact remains that Black Friday is full of great deals and killer discounts you won’t find any other time of the year.

I remember when my mother would drag me to the mall on the day following Thanksgiving so that she could get a jump on Black Friday sales. Yet once I was an adult, I was more prone to sitting at home and relaxing than I was to hitting the stores in search of great bargains.

One year, I stood in line from 11 pm on Thanksgiving until 7 am on Black Friday to get the best deals on merchandise at Office Depot. Somehow, one of my roommates was able to convince my other roommate and me to hit the store at 11 pm on Thanksgiving, after our bellies were filled with the Thanksgiving feast I had prepared earlier that day. I had been cooking Thanksgiving dishes on Thanksgiving, when Andrew approached me, Office Depot flyer in hand, and said, “We’ve gotta go to Office Depot for Black Friday! Doors open at 7 am! There’s a laptop listed here that is an amazing deal, and I must get it!”

I remember that it was cold and windy that night, and we had no food, beverages, blankets or chairs with us. We simply stood outside for 8 hours, which was enough for me to vow never to stand in line on Black Friday for hours on end, without any creature comforts! As it turned out, my roommate never got that laptop, because all units were sold by the time we were allowed to enter the store. I was the one who ended up purchasing a new laptop, and I got a fantastic deal on it.

For anyone who is willing to brave the long lines to enter a brick and mortar store on Black Friday, make sure to have warm coats, blankets, beverages, snacks, and chairs to sit on. Bring a large umbrella in case it rains. And above everything else, keep your sense of humor while waiting.

In recent years, online shopping has become increasingly popular, and online Black Friday deals enable you to shop without ever leaving your home. For people like me who don’t enjoy shopping, online stores are much more convenient. All you have to do is fill your online shopping cart, pay for the items, and wait for them to be delivered to you.

If you are serious about your Black Friday shopping, and you want to build the best strategy for getting the best deals around, check out Slickdeals. This site gives you detailed information on where to find the best Black Friday deals, whether in-store or online. They even provide hours of operation for a number of popular stores which tend to offer the best discounts. Slickdeals has a staff of editors who will comb through all deals and provide information via a forum so that you can determine which stores have the best deals, versus other stores which have less impressive pricing. Slickdeals even has a phone app which will keep your finger on the pulse of the latest Black Friday deals.

You can check the site out here: https://slickdeals.net/blackfriday/

Drink Your Water!

Drink Water. Close Up Man Pouring Water Into Glass. Hydration

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What’s the big deal with drinking water every day anyway?

Well, it turns out that there are a myriad of health benefits which come from drinking water. After all, we are made up largely of water, which exists in our tissues, blood, bone, and organs. In addition, we lose fluid constantly through processes such as breathing, urination, defecation, and skin evaporation. You may not realize it, but proper hydration maintains blood pressure, flushes wastes from the cells in the body, regulates body temperature, and maintains humidity in the airways for optimal oxygenation.

When fluid intake is adequate, the natural process of digestion keeps humming along, and waste products which form are softened by the water content. One sure way to impede the natural process of digestion is to deprive your body of water, which will result in slow transit and constipation. Low water intake can also create an environment in which kidney stones are prone to form.

As if that wasn’t enough, adequate water intake actually enhances physical performance and lubricates the joints. If you have ever struggled through a workout when you haven’t been drinking enough fluids, you know how agonizing it can be to try to power through a routine when you are dry as a bone. And since water is so plentiful in the tissues of the brain, dehydration has a major negative effect on energy levels and concentration. If you’ve ever gotten a headache from dehydration, you know that it can be next to impossible to focus when your head is pounding.

The simple solution? Drink some water!

Lastly, water forms a protective barrier in the skin to plump it up and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Proper hydration is a simple anti-aging secret which you can easily adopt.

So tell me again why you don’t like to drink water?

Perhaps you are one of those people who never drinks water. If you simply can’t deal with the “taste” of water, then try infusing water with fresh fruits such as lemon, lime, oranges, blueberries, cucumber, strawberries, kiwi, or watermelon. Another option for flavoring your water in a healthy way is to make herbal tea and drink it either hot or cold. You can also turn to foods which have a high water content, which will hydrate you, while also fill you up faster and aid in weight loss if that’s your goal. Most fruits and vegetables are high in water content, but you can also incorporate yogurt, soups or bone broth into your regimen to increase water intake.

Here are my top three guidelines to encourage you to drink more water:

1. Carry an attractive stainless steel or BPA-free plastic container with you everywhere you go. I generally suggest a 1 liter size (which is about 34 ounces), and I also recommend a container which has a sip spout for easy drinking, as well as a handle at the top for easy portability. Ideally, you will consume a full container of water in a day, preferably two. I honestly always have a drinking container with me which I take everywhere. It never leaves my side.

2. Drink a beverage every time you eat something. This way, you will get into the habit of consuming fluids with every food item, which will help wash down the food and will get you to your hydration goals more easily.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Remember that fruits and vegetables have a high water content, and contribute to total water intake.

Eat Fat To Lose Fat

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What’s all this talk about how consuming certain fats can make your body shed fat? Well, it turns out that it’s all true. So for those of you who shun all types of fat in an effort to lose weight, you may be doing yourself a disservice. That doesn’t mean you should go hog-wild and gobble fat bombs, but if you keep a moderate amount of healthy fats in your meal plan, you’ll have a greater chance of reaching your weight loss goals.

Keep in mind that dietary fat supplies fatty acids which transport certain vitamins across cell membranes, regulate body functions, and are integral components of growth and overall health. Fat can also be stored as energy in fat cells, cushioning internal organs and providing an energy bank which can be utilized in times of starvation.

When you consume dietary fat, you are increasing the palatability and what’s called the “mouth feel” of foods, which makes the whole process of eating more enjoyable. In addition, fat creates a feeling of satiety which lasts longer than if you were to scarf down a carbohydrate-rich meal which is digested much more rapidly. That’s why rifling through a bag of potato chips can often trigger more munching, until you find that you’ve polished off the whole bag, hence the phrase “empty calories”.

Just make sure to stick to healthy fat sources like avocado and nut butters, and skip the trans fats, which are partially hydrogenated, and found in processed and prepared food items like cakes, cookies, margarine, donuts, fried foods, and frozen pizza. Saturated fat intake should also be kept to a minimum (found in meats such as beef, pork, poultry skin, butter, cream, and cheese).