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My switch to all natural Henna - Part 3

I am not exaggerating when I say I have been loving the switch to all natural Henna, and I have eagerly awaiting the next round with Teresa - the trooper that she is for going through this with me! Since October's posts [in case you missed Part 2 or Part 1 ], purchase, and treatment, I have had tons of comments on the color and health of my hair... Henna has - no question - improved the overall body and hydration of the hair strands and health of my scalp as well as giving it a more natural color tone than I've had since I started coloring it red 4 years ago. After the first dye, I went back to the girls at Mountain Hair Studio here in Steamboat and had them give me a once-over. While it didn't totally blend the full length of my hair (Teresa cut off about 3-4" of the dead ends, but the bottom 5-6" of my sternum-length hair still had darker, merlot colored ends), there were no "hot roots," and the tone looked more natural, continuing to settle f

My switch to all natural Henna - Part 2

(Continued from Part 1) Henna Gods, I am truly impressed. Granted, my mantra has been, "the Indian women have such beautiful hair..." so the results had to be good.  But even so, my hair looks awesome. A more natural shade of red than the chem dye- slightly lighter than my natural brown tone (is that possible? is that from the chamomile?)- than I've ever had in the four years that my stylist and I have been tampering with tubes of colors like Michelangelo. Not wine red, not Redskins red, not Mahogany-Obsidian red.  I had been shooting for my mother's red. Scottish/Irish red, a dark Ginger. I think I'm finally there, or damn close. So how'd we get there? Here's the last 48 hours: 10pm Monday Large ceramic bowl Mixed 300g of fresh organic Rajasthani Indian Henna powder with 3.5c of warm chamomile tea from distilled water, steeped for 20 minutes and cooled with 6 cubes of ice Covered with plastic wrap, left on counter 9am Tuesday No "red&qu

My switch to all natural Henna - Part 1

Disclaimers A) The topic Henna is clouded by volumes of misinformation, and B) I'm no expert. Background I have been on a quest to go 100% "all natural" (in all aspects) for a decade, and hair color just happens to be my last chem standing. I have been DIYing bathroom and kitchen stuff for inside and outside the body for a very long time... but specifically within the last 4 years I have been doing so to manage- and hopefully remedy- two conditions I have developed, one recently, one a long time ago: psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I have tried gluten free, grain free, vegetarian, sobriety, urban farming... I have made DIY lotions, washes, cleaners, salves...  and because I believe others could benefit from what I've studied, I have been writing along the way ( arthritis , DIY , gluten free , grain-free, psoriasis , see list on page's bottom left for more). Topic So after a month's worth of extensive research on Henna, here's what I've found

Ken and Jaudz Steamboat Wedding

Congratulations to Ken and Jaudz of Steamboat Springs, CO on their nuptials this weekend, it was an absolute pleasure shooting their wedding! They were married at the Steamboat Springs Botanical Gardens and scooted down to the Community Center for their reception. Jaudz had family come in all the way from Taiwan, which was an extra special treat! For more of Andy's wedding photography, see Portfolio on Flickr Wedding Photography Package Pricing Wedding Website- Printroom

Kyleigh and Dave's Steamboat Wedding

Congratulations to Kyleigh and Dave who were married this last weekend at the Botanic Gardens with reception at the Community Center. In true Steamboat "Bike Town USA" fashion, they asked their guests to ride in and commute via bike to the dinner. The bride and groom were chauffeured to the center on Big Mountain Pedicab. It was an honor to assist pro Paula Jo Jaconetta for this spectacular wedding! For more of Paula, see www.naturalightimages.net For more wedding photos from Andy's AJDesign and Photography see: Portfolio on Flickr Wedding Photography Package Pricing Wedding Website- Printroom AJDESIGN on Facebook

New SCD chef blogs

I've found some amazing blogs out there that I thought to share, as I've found some great recipes here after 6 months on the SCD diet and getting bored with the few staple things I make weekly (granola, muffins, yogurt and smoothies, cottage cheese), salads, and restrictions.  I am craving bread again. And due to my latest class and needing to lead by example, I am losing my interest in meat's low vibrational energy.  So I went on the hunt for recipes that were grain free and meat free. I know, I know, what the heck does that leave? Well, I found some excellent options. I have found kindred spirits out there in these blogs, and know if you're reading this, you are one too. Enjoy! http://www.againstallgrain.com Love this girl! Fish tacos! Meringue Cookies! Bread! Pizza! Yes. There's a lot there to love. http://www.nourishingmeals.com Grain free, sugar free, and vegan chocolate brownie cupcakes. OMG. http://www.grainfreeliving.com Educational too - a list

Ten great homemade Green Cleaning solutions

We just switched the very last of our not-so-clean cleaning products (the wet swiffer's hardwood floor spray with water, vinegar and lemon essential oil), and it prompted me to share this. These solutions have been used for centuries until the last fifty years, and they do a better job, keep our lungs, minds, and skin happy and healthy, and well, are just plain cheaper!  Make the switch... Here are "The Basic Ten" products you can use to clean just about anything, courtesy of GreenAmerica.org : 1) White vinegar: An antifungal that also kills germs and bacteria. 2) Baking soda: Eliminates odors and works as a gentle scouring powder. 3) Borax: T he common name for the natural mineral compound sodium borate, eliminates odors, removes dirt, and acts as an antifungal and possible disinfectant. Use with care around children and pets, as it can be toxic if swallowed. 4) Hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration): A great nontoxic bleach and stain remover, as well as a prove

Shooting the Moon [repost]

In preparation for the SuperMoon out this weekend, I thought it apt to share the post I read last year by Peter West Carey from the DPS !  Use low ISOs, long exposures, and definitely a tripod to capture that beauty tomorrow night (or tonight, or Sunday night!) First, remember the moon has its own Golden (or Magical) Hour for optimal effect. The Golden Hour for moon photography has a twist though. Because the moon’s rise and setting each night varies by nearly an hour each day, unlike the suns, you have to do a lot of planning ahead. Or just have dumb luck, look to the East and notice the moon is rising. If you prefer the planning route, this site from the US Navy provides both moon and sun rise and set times for any day or location you’d like, both US and International. And then using the graphical information at Full Moon Calendar.net , it’s easy to calculate the best time for shooting. A full moon rising usually gives the most dramatic shots as the moon is comin

Auto-filtering your Social Marketing and Blogs so you only post once

If you want to start doing social marketing for your business, you've likely been told that you need to  join them all, but you think, it sure sounds like a waste of time posting to Facebook AND Twitter AND LinkedIn AND your blog when you want to publicize something.  Well you don't have to.  Since someone just asked me for this today, I thought I'd post the methodology we use at AJDesign. Topics included in this post are:  (skip ahead if you're already a go-getter!)  I. Twitter to Facebook II. Facebook to Twitter III. Twitter to LinkedIn IV.  Blog to Facebook or Twitter I. Steps to filter Twitter posts (Tweets) to Facebook wall i f you use Twitter more:  Login to Twitter Click on View my profile page (top left) Click on Edit my profile (top right) Click Post your tweets to Facebook (bottom right) Click Sign in to Facebook and Connect your accounts Fill in Email and Password and click Login And click the box of either

Moon Hill Dairy: raw milk farms and buying local

Today was a magical morning; I got to finally visit the local farm where I get my milk, Moon Hill Dairy , which is located about ten minutes north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. There are four new calves that I went up to photograph, but as always with a working farm, there was more in store for me when I arrived.  "You want to feed one of the new calves?" Were the first words out of Lisa's mouth when I walked up. DO I??   Apparently her mother - new to the process - isn't taking to her calf, as she wasn't "mothered" herself. The poor white calf loves attention like a puppy, and I got to sit with her, scratch her, help her stand up, massage her weak legs, and yes, give her the biggest baby bottle I've ever seen.  What an amazing process, this thing called life! But before tending to Baby White, as I started calling her, there was more business to be done on the farm.  We rounded up the "ladies" to bring them in for milking, leading th

Photographing Macro [repost]

As many of my friends know, I have an addiction to photographing flowers, so when this email came into my inbox last week, I couldn't help but repost it!! It's got some great tips and it reminded me of what to think of when I'm shooting those small beauties. To join Digital Photography 101's list at PEPhoto click here: https://pephoto.lifepics.com Photo Tip #137: Photographing Spring Flowers Greetings Fellow Photographers! The seasons are changing again! Springtime in North America presents some incredible opportunities for taking photos as the snow melts, flowers bloom, and the weather warms up. Whether you step into your backyard for a little fresh air, or arrange a hike with your friends and family, try to spend some time outside in the coming weeks, and don't forget your camera! Close Ups You've probably seen some gorgeous close up photos of flowers and plants. A lot of these pho

Partying with a restrictive diet - yes, it can be done!

If there's one thing that people on restrictive diets complain about, it's attending public functions and being able to eat holistically.  And the reverse goes the same- when someone I know is hosting a party I'm attending, they're always worried about how they can feed me.  Here are some things to think about if you're either person, struggling with hosting or attending a public function.  Whether you're the dieter or the host, your tummy and your friends' tummies will thank you for taking a moment to include these few tips.  For the Dieter: Be honest:  Tell it like it is.  Don't be ashamed of your special needs, but don't be a pest about it either.  If they ask, let them know what you can't eat, and if they don't ask, kindly suggest some of the options below. Whether your reason is weight, medical, or just a life choice, everyone is different, and it's ok to state your differences. Be proactive:  Always travel with something.

Internal Linking provides better Search Engine Optimization

WIKI: Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a Web site or a Web page in search engines via the "natural," or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic"), search results. A beautiful Web site is nothing without SEO, and there are many ways to direct traffic to a Web site to move you up the search engine ladder and get you to the top of Google's first page when someone searches for you, your business, or your topic. In addition to providing great content, one of the best ways is Internal Linking : an internal link is a link to another page on your own website.  Like inbound links (your Web site's link on other sites), they help build up your ranking for search engine results pages (SERPs) and are 100% within your control.  Both are equally important, as inbound links offer credibility (from peers) that your site alone can't create.  But linking to yourself throughout your site is just as important, as it ma

Gratitude Monday: Why I love my online organizers

The online tools I teach to small business owners are the ones that are most inexpensive (or free!), stable, reliable and most importantly, always improving.  I look for applications that have the same priorities - making online marketing and communication easy for business owners. Today's blast from MailChimp is a perfect example. The headline: Every 4 weeks we launch new features.  An online tool can't get more up to date than that.  I have half a dozen clients using this program, and knowing they all got that email today too made me giggle.  What a proactive little monkey! It takes me weeks, sometimes months, to share the plethora of online gifts that I love with my clients, but in brief, here are some of the wonderful tools (in order of  why I appreciate them) that I use for my own businesses, which to me, speaks volumes when I learn from the my own online gurus. In this fast and vast technological age, we are all students just keeping up with the pace-setters like

Stricter and stricter with SCD - research is a must

As you know, I do my research.  I have three amazing women helping me clear out my food allergies, gut issues, and body in general (liver, lungs, emotional trauma) but there's a reason we know our bodies best and should listen to them - no two patients are the same.  And no two practitioners are the same.  Because mine are from three completely different schools of teaching (India, China, US), I am certainly getting some mixed messages while I'm clearing.  So that leads me to doing my favorite - research. Take vinegar at night to clear out the liver? Well supposedly not a good idea if I'm a Pitta. Take supplements to build good enzymes? Not if several of their ingredients are on no list. Take acidophilus instead of making my own yogurt? Nope, contains inulin. Take aloe juice to cool and clear out? (All three said this one!) SCD says no, plain and clear:  http://pecanbread.com/new/Sup1.htm ~ A great resource list at the Kids & SCD blog.  I was even unsure about X

Kukicha Tea for cleansing during SCD diet and way more...

Having been off coffee since going on the SCD diet, and boosting my existing Scotch-Irish-induced adoration for tea, I've found a new favorite: the naturally sweet and nutty Kukicha tea, also known as bancha twig tea or winter tea (how perfect).  Kukicha comes from the tea tree Camellia sinensis, just as it is the case with green tea, white tea and black tea and is made from roasted and aged twigs, stems and coarse leaves of the tea plant. I was introduced to Kukicha at my last Tea Party by my Ayurvedic Practitioner for cleansing and healing my liver ~ but the benefits of kukicha tea are numerous, it is an important part of the macrobiotic diet (truly taken from Ayurvedic tradition) and it is considered to lead to stable health and longevity.  Sold! Kukicha tea's benefits come from its alkalizing properties and is good for the prevention of numerous diseases by balancing our levels of acidity.  Here's where the SCD diet comes in:  diets containing white flour, sug

One Month Grain Free!

They say the first month is the hardest, so I'm feeling pretty good that the first month wasn't actually that hard.  I won't lie, I went through a bad second-week chocolate withdrawal when my brain let go of that addiction, I had two straight weeks of adrenal fatigue , and getting used to making everything from scratch took some effort that I just barely had during that fatigue.  But coming out of the other end of that feels magnificent and the patches of psoriasis are already practically gone - and going gluten free didn't really affect them really at all - and when I pay close attention to the quality of the nuts I'm eating, and soak them, the arthritis has also been non existent.  I've finally started feeling like not only can I handle this for a short term (my naturopathic doctor said 6-12 months, probably more like 6 for me), I will likely take many of these practices with me far into my future food consumption. Since I have taken the time to do some qua