Coloring your Hair with Henna!

I was long overdue for a color touch-up, so I thought I'd photograph the process for my friends who've been asking about dyeing with henna.

Disclaimer: Everyone has different hair, and everyone's hair reacts differently to henna. I can't tell you exactly what color you'll end up with. It's kind of something you have to be willing to experiment with! Also, if you have colored your hair with a chemical dye, it's probably best that you don't use henna. Henna can interact in unpredictable ways with other dyes, and I'd hate for you to walk away with green hair!
Lastly, I'm sharing the henna recipe that works for me. You can tweak it, and you may see others using different ones. It's not an exact science. As long as you have good quality henna and a liquid acid, you'll be fine.

-Body Art Quality Henna Powder. I prefer Rajasthani Henna powder
-Apple Cider Vinegar
-Lavender Oil

The day before you want to dye your hair, mix up around 100-200 grams of henna with the vinegar. You'll want to add the vinegar gradually while mixing until you've created a paste the consistency of thin pudding.

Next, add a few drops of the lavender oil. Then cover your henna with plastic, and keep in a warm place for at least 12 hours. 

Uncover. You can tell if your henna is ready by scraping the surface with a spoon. If the color of the paste on top is darker than underneath, you're ready! It should looks like this:

If needed, you can add a bit of water to get it back to the thin pudding consistency. 
Now you are ready to apply!

With clean, dry hair, don gloves and start applying the henna to small sections of hair at a time.

Start with the top layer of hair. Apply henna from the root to the tip, making sure to coat the underside of the strand as well. When you finish with one strand, roll it up and stick it to the top of your head to keep it out of the way. 

Continue working in layers, applying henna and rolling up the strands. 

 Then gather all your hair and mush it around to ensure the henna is evenly distributed.

Feel free to experiment with new hairstyles. 

Flatten your hair so it lays as close to your scalp as possible.

Cover it with plastic wrap, or a plastic grocery bag. Hide for the rest of the day. I left the dye in for about five hours. Leave it in as long as you can stand it, at LEAST three hours.

 Take off the bag and rinse out the henna until the water runs clear.

 Tada! The color will develop and darken over the next two to three days.

Close Up:


Why I Love Weddings

I just published a post over at my photography blog about my love for weddings! See here: http://www.alyssa-mae.com/blog/files/loveweddings.html


Senior Thesis

I just wanted to post a few photos from my senior thesis exhibition. It was a great learning experience, but I'm glad it's over! It was about places from my childhood and how they've changed since then.


Sarah Hearts

I just want to share one of my favorite bloggers and designers, Sarah Hearts. I found her blog on reddit.com, and I've been following it for about a year.


She posts DIY tutorials, recipes, color inspiration, photos, and even some design freebies! I've been using her desktop backgrounds every month.

She also has a lovely little store which I adore.

However, what I'm most excited about is that she is designing our wedding stationary! Have a look at some of her past work: http://sarahhearts.com/design/

I can't wait to see what she comes up with!


The Last Four Years

College is almost over. It's really hard to wrap my head around it all and come up with one feeling about the whole thing. So many different bits and pieces of good and bad are mixed up together and being the pessimist that I am, I often give the negative bits too much weight. So here is my semester by semester summary, more for my own benefit than anyone else's, but if you feeling curious, please read on. 

Fall 2008
I came in to U of R totally excited. At this point I was planning on majoring in environmental science (thinking that meant playing with furry little animals). The highlights of my first semester:

-Got into After Hours
-Met a boy
-Shea took me to NYC for the first time in my life
-Changed my major to BCS

For at least the first few weeks of college, I loved dorm life and stayed up late talking and studying and doing college-y things. I loved After Hours and my new boy. 

Lots of great things happened first semester, but the down sides were realizing I HATED dorm life, and I also really was not the party type, and that made getting close to most people difficult. For someone as shy as me, it's not really very fun to be the only sober person at a party, and I really, really don't like the way being drunk makes me feel. 

Spring 2008
Lots of new and interesting things happened this semester. I got to go to CO and meet Shea's family and moved to the Music Interest Floor on campus with Shea. 

-New place to live with a kitchen and cool music people
-Awesome Spring Break in Florida
-Did henna and cooked for my new friends
-Changed my major to Neuroscience 
-Had more fun singing with After Hours

It was a pretty good semester, although I was starting to feel a bit disenchanted with college. Shea and I really hated living on campus, but were still stuck by the two year housing contract. We moved to GLC and he got a Jeep. I got a job on campus and worked there over the summer. That summer I also met one of my now best friends: Rory

Fall 2009
Shea and I moved into GLC, apartment style dorms with our own tiny kitchen and bathroom. It was VERY VERY tiny. And still bound by all the rules of res life. But it was so much better! We stayed off-floor members with MIF, and I got to experience my first After Hours auditions. We took new members and got to sing them in. 

-Kitten sitting 
-Roadtrip with After Hours and then visiting cousins
-Getting an iPhone
-First art class

Spring 2010
I got to go to CO again and then returned to GLC. College was getting worse. I started to dread my classes. 

-Advancing with After Hours to semifinals at the ICCAs 
-Getting my first REAL apartment with Shea
-Going to the ICCA semifinals
-Getting kittens

There were some pretty awesome things that happened this semester, but I think it was also the turning point of my college experience. Everything started to go downhill from here. I really hated my major, and socially I did not mesh well anywhere. Stress was beginning to pile up. 

Fall 2010
This was probably the catalyst semester for everything that followed. I made a drastic decision and changed my major to art. Science courses, while I do love science, were making me miserable. I wanted to be doing art from the very beginning, but I thought it was too "fun" and that I should focus on something more serious. Switching majors entirely during my junior year meant I had a lot of catch-up to do. I didn't know many people in the art department, and I was also working part time. This made for a stressful semester, although less so than the previous one. Rory had stayed with us that summer, which was awesome, but also left me very sad with my social life once he was gone. Things were tense. I still didn't like parties. 

-Classes I cared about
-Living in a real apartment

This semester was better and worse than the previous one. I loved my classes, but I was extremely busy and stressed and introvert me was exhausted from trying to maintain my social life. 

Spring 2011

Probably my worst semester. And my best one. I really have a hard time averaging things out, don't I? Everything changed in a huge way this semester. I was in the only art classes that were open, so I couldn't really spend time doing the kind of art I wanted to. I was EXTREMELY busy. EXTREMELY stressed. And still working 20 hours a week on top of it all. 

-NYE in CO with Shea's Family

Obviously the best part of the semester was getting engaged. The worst part was quitting After Hours. One of the most truly devastating parts of college was realizing that it would just be too much to stay in the group I loved. I had no time to do anything outside of work, classes, and rehearsal. I was starting to distance myself from people (even more than usual). I hated this semester so much that I wanted to just quit college all together. Socially, I never fully meshed with the group. Or with any group, for that matter. It had taken a huge toll on me to stay as long as I did, because there were many other times that I had teetered on the edge of leaving and resolved to push through. When a passion turns into a burden, it's time to reevaluate. I did, and it was the right choice. I left on (what I thought were) friendly terms, and still got to see the group periodically. 
I pushed through the rest of the semester, with a little less on my plate. Then Shea proposed, which was one of the best days of my life. 

Fall 2011
This was definitely my most difficult semester. Shea left to work in Atlanta, which we knew was going to be taxing. I luckily didn't have many classes to take, but that left me with more free time than I knew what to do with. Living in an empty apartment 15 minutes from campus with two cats was... lonely (I'm totally destined to be a cat lady). The worst part of a new major was that everyone in the art department already knew each other well from having four years together. As someone who usually takes an extremely long time to get close with most people, two years wasn't enough for me to have a social circle there. I was very lucky I had made a friend over the summer, and I had also found a career path I could be excited by. I wanted to do photography. I was also feeling happy. I thought I had got through my terrible last semester. 

I was still able to be friendly with After Hours. There was a tiny part of me that felt maybe it was still not to late to chase that dream. I pushed that thought out of my head, because I didn't want to make things awkward and I really thought it was probably too late, especially since I wouldn't be able to participate in the concert. I went and saw the group at their auditions and realized how much I missed them and and singing. My circumstances had changed substantially, and I wished that had happened sooner. I wrote a letter to them that I never planned to send. I just have a tendency to write when I need to vent my feelings. It basically said that I really missed the group and wanted the opportunity to get as close with them as they were to each other. I wanted to finish off my college experience the way I always imagined I would. Shea read the letter and told me I should send it, because if I didn't I'd have always wondered if I could have gotten back in. 

What followed was probably the worst experience I had in college. I'm not going to write about it too much here, but for legitimate reasons I was informed that the group had decided not to take me back. I found out in a painful manner that I know the group didn't anticipate, but it really sucked big time. What also sucked was that the whole situation effectively ruined my relationship with the group. I basically said that I understood and respected that the group had the integrity to do what was best for them, but I was hurt by the way the whole situation was handled. I didn't see After Hours anymore after that. I think it would have been too awkward for everyone involved. There was a period in the winter where I thought maybe I'd have one more chance at reconciliation, but I found out with certainty that I was not wanted shortly after. Unfortunately I no longer have a relationship with the current members.

I realize that After Hours takes up a huge portion of my college retrospective. They were a huge part of college for me, and really had a large impact on my whole experience. I truly believe that the experiences I had in the group were a net positive. They were a great bunch of people, but sometimes great things just don't work out. I don't regret quitting, but I do wish things could have gone differently. I think one of my greatest disappointments is that I didn't get to graduate from the group properly. Hopefully some day I'll get over the sadness of it all. 

Ok, back to highlights:

-Senior Seminar 
-Taking up photography
-My new friend Sarah
-Seth and Michelle's wedding
-Hearing After Hour's new CD
-Doing my first engagement sessions

Spring 2012

The last semester. Things got better this spring. I had an awesome experience in senior seminar. I got to  work at an awesome photographer's studio for credit. I tried to move on from all the crap that had happened over the years. 

-Shot my first wedding
-Had my Senior Thesis Exhibition
-Bought my wedding dress
-Thursday dinners with Sarah

So aside from a few papers and final things, I'm done with college. The experience was pretty mixed. I am very ready to be done, but at the same time I feel like I ran out of time... I didn't have the experience I intended, that's for sure. However, one of my faults has always been planning out how I wanted things to go that were outside my control. I think college would have been 100% better if I had started with an art major from the start, realized that you don't have to get drunk to drink enough to loosen up, and maybe worked on my social anxieties a bit harder.

Here is what I got out of college:
-A slip of paper saying I have a B.A. in Studio Arts. 
-An amazing fiance
-A ton of knowledge about myself
-A bunch of neuroscience facts
-Some very good friends

So now I'm moving on... spending a summer in Colorado with Shea's family, getting married, moving to New Hampshire, starting a business. Starting a new life. So here's to that!