Monday, March 27, 2017

The Most Efficient Way To Purge Your Closet

This was how much closet space I had at my old apartment.


My tiny studio apartment had more storage space than counter space.

My new place has a closet the size of one of the smaller closet. Since I'm moving, there is no better time to downsize my entire wardrobe. It is time to do the Marie Kondo challenge - again. The last time I tried it, I didn't even make a dent on the amount of crap in my closet. Good thing I moved to a place where there's plenty of closet space - which I'm sadly moving from.

What goes and what stays?

This was a lot tougher than you would think. Even just packing my winter clothes is a challenge, not only because I live in Iowa - where you experience all four seasons in a span of one week, but also because sometimes a heavy knit cardigan you've worn on a trip with your ex is just the inspiration you needed for an awareness campaign you're working on.

And how could you possibly throw out that Yale shirt! Yes, you didn't go there, and the story behind the shirt is a bit sordid, but there are memories attached it. The Kondo technique did say to live exclusively in clothes that gave me joy. So I guess that if a worn out shirt from a school I didn't even go to brings me joy, then I guess I'm keeping them.

I guess the best way to downsize my wardrobe is by simply being brutal about it.

Get rid of:

  • anything that is outdated or older than 5 years old - unless it is a staple piece. 
  • anything that I have multiples of, except underwear (obviously).
  • anything with a stain, a rip, misshapen, etc. - unless it's meant to be that way. 
  • anything that's ill-fitting.
This is a much more efficient way of doing this task, for me at least. Detaching myself from the emotions associated with each piece allows me to be objective - which is what's required. Decluttering/downsizing is logistical work, so you need to be logical.

I'll post a photo of the end result once I'm finished with this task and settled in my new place.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Coloring Your Dark Hair: A How To Guide

People have asked me, "Callen, how did you get your hair so light?"

My response, "By severely damaging my hair."

I am not a professional hair stylist, nor do I claim to be an expert, bu one day over Thanksgiving break, I had the crazy idea that it would be cool to have gray hair.  And so, I did and it was awesome.

Gray hair - don't care
I thought that I looked dope with silver gray hair.
It was cool for a couple of days, then it wasn't.

How did I manage to achieve this oh-so-trendy look that it's borderline passe?  Not by being patient! And that's one of the main reason I had to chop most of my hair off.  From Thanksgiving through my birthday, I've sported several hair colors ranging from my natural black hair to silver white and all of the awkward colors in between.

Simply put, unless you are a professional (and even then), it is nearly impossible to turn black/dark hair to gray/silver/white without causing some damage to your hair (and your scalp).

My first recommendation is to really think about it:  

  • Is it something that you really must have? 
  • Would you have the patience to go through the process? 
  • Do you have the time, energy, and resources to maintain the up-keep?
  • Do you have a transition plan once you decided that it's no longer for you?

Sounds dramatic, huh?  But then again, if you're like me - impatient and has no emotional attachment to my hair, then my advice is to GO TO A PROFESSIONAL!  Don't do it yourself.

Of course, there wouldn't be an evil affiliation - duh!
My hair color evolution from Thanksgiving to March 13, 2017.
(Not pictured: all of the hideous, brassy tones
and the faded color that looked like mold.)

Here's the breakdown of how I was able to achieve the look:

  1. BLEACHING - Professionally referred to as "lifting".  I had to get it done 4 times.  A total of 8 hours just to reach the next stage.  It burned like hell!  My scalp was all scabbed up from the ordeal.  And when it flaked off, it was embarrassing AF.  Not to mention that in between lifting, I had to live with brassy orange hair for a couple of days, then corn yellow hair, some sort of blond, and finally a really light blond.  None of which looked good on me.
     
  2. TONING - Toning is basically coloring with a lot of hair conditioner and whatever the blue stuff was.  This is an important step because it counters the brassiness from bleaching dark hair.  If you've ever accidentally bleached a dark shirt, you may have noticed that the bleach spot turned reddish gold.  It's the same thing with hair.
     
  3. COLORING - This is the step where things like "dimensions" and "depth" are added to your hair.  The coloring process is what creates the final look, but this cannot be achieved without the first 2 steps - if you have dark hair, at least. For my hair, we used Ion's Color Brilliance in Titanium.
     
  4. CONDITIONING - After the color set and your hair is rinsed, you will need to condition your hair to salvage it from all of the chemical processes you've put it through.  This is an on-going throughout the life of your new hair color.
     
  5. MAINTAINING - If you intend to keep your new hair color for a few growth cycle - which I was told .50 inches per month, then you would definitely want to repeat steps 1 to 3 every 2 months.  You also need to use a shampoo made for color treated hair to avoid fading.
     
Did I like the end result? Yes!  Did I think I looked good with light hair and dark facial hair?  Hell yeah - in an evil villain sort of way.  Would I ever do it again?  Ummm... hard to say.  On one hand, my hair was severely damaged that I had to cut it all off - and just a few months from my favorite event: Des Moines Art Center's Big Hair Ball!

But I did learn one thing, even though I say that I'm not emotionally attached to my hair, it's still kinda sad to see all of your hair chopped off - especially when you've been used to seeing yourself with longer hair.  I can now relate to the girls on Top Model when they have a breakdown over their make-over.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Year of Living Dangerously

It was a year ago this week that I moved into my apartment.

It is in a "charming" building in Des Moines' historic neighborhood of Sherman Hill. The building was built before the 1920's as a convalescence and has the one of very first elevator installed in Iowa, which is still functional today. It also has a nuclear fallout shelter - which is now a creepy storage area. It has the potential to be a cool place, if my landlord slumlord would maintain the up-keep of the property.

The unit I'm in is on the second floor. It has a cramped kitchen, awkward bathroom, but plenty of storage space - especially when I asked the Murphy bed to removed and converted it into another closet.  And despite the haphazard attempts by the slumlord to make it "presentable" - like the missing wall panel behind my fridge, that exposes my shower/tub's plumbing or the radiator that hasn't been clean in years and has collected all sorts of allergens, and the shared laundry facility - I would dare say that it's not that bad. It's proximity to my office, downtown, and pretty much all of the cool things makes it an okay place to live in.  It is a good apartment if it's your first time living on your own.

But as it turns out, I'm actually allergic to my apartment.  It has a lot to do with that all of the cat people in my building.  Unfortunately, I have some irresponsible pet parents for neighbors - plus the fact that my slumlord did not do a good job cleaning my apartment before I moved in.  For the past year, I have been slowly making myself sick by living in a place where I am exposed multiple things that I am allergic to.

I am moving back to with my family in the burbs while I find a suitable new place.

So, yeah... it turns out that I am allergic to cats.