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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Going "au naturale"

I have a confession to make. I'm not a natural redhead. Yes, I love my red in all the various shades I've worn over the last decade, from a single screaming-pink stripe, to dark auburn with an orange stripe, to cinnamon with ginger highlights and everything in between, I adore the fun, bright, and varied red hues I've tried. The photos below give just a sampling.

Dark Auburn (2013)
Cinnamon with a bright orange stripe (2006)
Light auburn with ginger highlights (2010)
As much as I love being an unnatural redhead, lately, it's been getting harder and harder to maintain it. Where I used to get by with 1 or 2 beauty salon color treatments (read $$$$ dye jobs) interspersed with a couple of at-home root touch-ups or coloring each year, I now find that pesky skunk-stripe shows up more quickly. And the single box 'o coloring off the drug store shelf has missed some spots. That's not because my hair is getting longer or thicker, but I'm not sure if the real reason is because my grays are getting more resistant to coloring, there are just more of them overall, or I've missed patches because of my failing eyesight. None of the options sound good, do they?

As you may have read in my "week of 50" posts, one of the things I've been looking forward to about passing my half-decade mark is the freedom to not give a shit about societal pressure to look young. One of the biggest ways I'd like to do that, is by not coloring my hair, going back to my natural color, whatever that may be.

I've been coloring my hair for so long, that I no longer have a clear idea of what my natural color is (in my mind, it's what's in that third picture: light auburn with ginger highlights, but alas, that ain't so.) If I hunt back through old photos, I can see that it's really more of a medium, ick-brown. At least it was. Given the increasing "lightness" of my roots and hairline between coloring, I suspect it's more gray than brown these days. Just how much, though, is anybody's guess.

But, I'm going to find out. I'm going to do it. I'm going au naturale. I owe a big thanks to Cindy, who is forging the path by starting this process ahead of me, and who has given me the courage and support to "go for it."

I last colored my hair toward the end of October. Now, I'm implementing my one-year plan to go sans color. It's a one-year-plan because I don't have the fortitude to go cold-turkey and watch the roots grow out in sharp, horrific, glorious contrast to the red. I've been reading here, and researching there, and sounds like, aside from shaving my head, the best way to go from colored to natural hair is with highlighting and lowlighting to blend the incoming colors with the outgrowing ones. This, along with regular haircuts--inching a bit shorter to remove the old color with each trim--can ease the transition.

I have myriad reasons for wanting to do this. First, I'm a cheapskate by nature. Paying $150-$200 a few times a year to color my hair makes me twitchy. I'm also not a natural primper. Having to make time for hair care of any kind, for me, is an inconvenience. The environmentalist/biologist side of me sees the irony in my general opposition to releasing harmful chemicals into the environment because of potential human and environmental health impacts while I soak my head in chemicals every 8-10 weeks to keep my hair color intact. Finally, as I've been considering this move, I look around at some beautiful, smart, talented women whom I admire, and who have either never colored their hair or have chosen to stop. Thank you for looking beautiful and giving me the courage to do this Kris D, Kris M, Liz F, Sara M, Mary T., Sunny, my mother-in-law (gorgeous, pewter hair), and mom (who stopped coloring in her 30s and had beautiful salt-and-pepper hair by her 40s and now has the most gorgeous silver/white hair--I hope I got those genes!), and all my other friends who have shown the world that gray isn't old and frumpy, but sexy and confident!

While hairdressers and "youngsters" have said, "Don't do it! It'll make you look old!" what I see when I look at these ladies is elegance, self-confidence, and beauty. Their silver, platinum, white, and pewter hair is sophisticated and poised. They are comfortable in their own skin--and hair. I don't think a change to my natural hair color will automatically give me any of those qualities, but I admire the look. I'm going to give it a try.

Here's an interview with one woman who has taken this step, followed on page 3 of the article by an interview with Jamie Lee Curtis on her own experience. This blog tells another woman's experience with the transition.

Below is the most recent picture I have of myself. It's from Halloween 2013, so I probably colored my hair the weekend before. I'll post pics and my thoughts in the process along the way.
At the start of my transition. October 31, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Big News on the Writing Front!

Marina Melee is being featured Monday at The Fussy Librarian!

The Fussy Librarian is a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 30 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It's a great place for readers to discover new authors writing in the genres and style they want and for authors to connect with new readers. Give it a try!

How hard can it be to run a marina?

George H. Marshall III has it all, and he wants to get away from it: women, a busy social calendar, and his so-called career in the family oil business. Determined to prove to his parents that he is more than a spoiled, womanizing, over-aged adolescent, George buys Porto da Vida Marina on a small island in the Caribbean. What could be an easier road to business success than running a marina on a tropical island? 

As mishap piles on disaster, George realizes his new life in paradise isn't all about sitting under palm trees sipping umbrella drinks. Between his wayward staff, the governor's hot-to-trot wife, a lift truck possessed by jumbies, and a host of other island disasters-natural and human-George finds that living the easy life is hard work.


Ye Gods! A Tale of Dogs and Demons is scheduled for an April 1, 2014 release from Casperian Books!

Is it real or a myth? Dog only knows.

Author Jack Halliman sails to Puerto Rico seeking a cure for writer's block, but instead finds a dead body. When a second corpse turns up, Jack becomes one of two suspects. The other is the chupacabra.

Now Jack has to find out who--or what--is responsible for the killings before he lands in prison. Again.

As the conniving mayor, a dogged detective, and a voodoo practicing 14-year old drag him deeper into the investigation, Jack discovers that separating reality from myth is no easy feat. The lines between men and monsters, monsters and gods, and in this case, between gods and a dog, are thin and blurry.