Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taking the Plunge

Coloring my hair has always made me nervous... like sweaty palms, first date kind of nervous.  It's so permanent or at least I thought so until now.  But, that's what this whole blog is about.

I was contacted by Vocalpoint, a community I belong to, where I get to test out products and give feedback in exchange for perks, to see if I would be interested in blogging about a hair color product.  I emailed them back and let them know that I would consider it but that I was very picky about my hair.  I'm a die hard curly girl, and I don't just put anything in my hair.  Thinking I had nixed my chances of a callback, I was surprised when I was chosen to be a blogger for Clairol's Nice N Easy nonpermanent hair color product.

Seriously?  Don't they know I will absolutely slaughter them with my review if it fries my curls?  

Are you really sure you want me to review your product when I have already confessed to being a hair color Nazi?  I was shocked.  I was scared.  I kicked myself mentally for checking "Maybe" on the box that asked whether or not I would change my hair color.

When my voucher came in the mail to go get my free box of hair color, I waited a week to get it.  In fact, I went to the store to get it twice and walked out with something else.  I really was not too excited about coloring my hair.  So, I tried to find a good reason to skip this product trial.  I posted about it on facebook, asked questions to anyone I thought might have colored their hair, and I spent hours scouring the internet for information when I should have been sleeping (Sad but true).  I used Clairol's iphone app to test out different shades on a photo I had taken, and I just couldn't make a decision.  It was easy to use, but I was just so unsure of the whole thing.

Finally, my husband looked me and said, "Anna, you just need to do this."  Short for, "Anna, you're a chicken.  You're already in this.  Just do it."

So, like a lemming I jumped tiger I pounced for this opportunity, and I chose a color that was similar to my roots but different enough to be noticeable.  I decided that if I was going to color my hair that I was going to actually try to get out of my comfort zone and conquer my coloring fears.

Even though my hair looks dyed, it's just lightened from the sun.

Thanks to my hubby extraordinaire, we documented the whole process for you.  Laugh.  Go ahead.  My hair coloring anxiety is more than evident and captured just for your enjoyment.

The process was pretty easy, and the instructions couldn't have been clearer.  
I was seriously considering chickening out as I was shaking the chemicals up.  I did do a skin test and a strand test previously to make sure everything would be a "go."  I smeared vaseline along my hair line and on my ears to make sure I didn't stain my skin as a coloring newbie.
Here we go.
You can see the skin test on my elbow.  Lol!
My hair is really thick and long, so it took a while to work it all in.  Thankfully, I had two boxes on hand, because it took both to get my hair covered.
Done.  Now to wait 15 minutes.
Rinsing it out until the water runs clear.  I don't recommend doing it this way in a shower.  Either get in the shower completely or do this over your kitchen sink.  The color splattered everywhere and made a mess.  But hey, you knew that, right?
After everything was rinsed out, I added the last step- their awesome conditioner.  I usually avoid silicones like the plague, but for an adequate review, I went the whole way.  I was surprised by how hydrating this conditioner felt.  I really liked it!
2 minutes later I rinsed the conditioner out.  My curls felt good, but I was still nervous.  Every time I have colored my hair, my curls have wilted or frizzed.  I was still skeptical.
After drying, this is the end result.  The color was darker than I anticipated, but I loved the gloss and shine.  It was the shiniest my hair has EVER been, and my curls looked and felt great.  I was super impressed.

A couple of days later, it's lightened some, and my hair still looks great.  I haven't styled my hair since yesterday, and I am still happy with my curls.  In fact, my hair really does feel better now than it did before I took the color plunge.
In conclusion, I'm glad I tried this product.  Clairol Nice N' Easy nonpermanent hair color has good coverage and was easy to use.  The smell wasn't offensive, and I loved the included conditioner.  I like that the color is temporary, so my commitment level is low.  28 washes, and my lighter locks will be back.  I'm already thinking about what color I want to try next.  Change is fun.

My toddler princess thinks my hair rocks.  

She says I have "Snow White" hair now.

I think I look like "Wonder Woman" or "Xena."  But... maybe that's just me. ;)

What color would you try?

Update!  Please read my followup review here: 

I'm no longer a fan of this product.  Please read my newest blog before using to learn from my mistakes!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Beauty of Discovering I Am Not God

This past year has pushed me to realize something very important that I should have figured out by now...

I'm not God.

Laugh.  Go ahead.  You think I'm kidding.  I'm not.

I'm completely serious.

In July of 2011, after months of trying, God allowed us to conceive Pax, and by August, I began to really struggle in the pregnancy.  The vomiting started.  I experienced a migraine that resembled a stroke that landed me in the ER and multiple doctor's offices.  Life went out of control very quickly, and since then, nothing has been the same.

Waiting at the pediatrician's office again this week. Both of the kids have become waiting pros.
Between Pax and me, I have spent countless hours in doctor's offices and in the hospital.  My body still isn't the same,  but after my cholecystectomy six weeks ago,  I am just now getting to a place where I think I will have a "new normal" again.  Five months old today, our little guy has had his share of misery with terrible reflux, and the medications he has been on to control it have only helped minimally.

Finally, It looks like we are having a breakthrough with his treatment in the past day.  I am ecstatic, relieved, hopeful... It couldn't have come at a better time.

This past week I hit a wall.  Burnout.  Ugh.

I had tried to pace myself carefully, but my best efforts weren't enough.  Being a caregiver to a baby who is often irritable and crying has drained me, and for the past week, depression has been visiting and threatening to stay.  If you've ever experienced depression before, you know the fear I feel.  I hate being down, but I think I needed this.  I needed to be slowed down, so I would listen.

Here's what I feel like God is teaching me.

You're not God.  I am.

You're not in control.  I am.

You can't do this by yourself.  You're not God.  I am.


You would think I would realize that by now.

Nothing about me looks strong anymore.

I am just now really beginning to get it.

I can't do life alone.  I can't shoulder the responsibility of raising my kids, being a good wife, or being a somewhat decent friend by myself.

I have to do it in the grace that God gives me, and sometimes, that's through others.

Sure, I know what it is like to have the support, love, and friendship from my family and my Christian community.  We have experienced the abundant kindness of others often, and the past few weeks, I have been intentionally rearranging my life to invite help in more often.  But, until this point, I thought that help was a luxury, and I was wrong.

Asking for help is a need for me... and them.

When I ask for help because I am struggling and life is too heavy for me to bear, I am being humble and admitting to those listening that I am not God.  I am opening myself up to the fact that I am not self sufficient and am indeed human.

Yes, I think we sometimes need to be reminded.  Isn't that what happened in the garden of Eden?  Eve listened to the Serpent (AKA. the Devil) because she wanted to be like God.  She ate the fruit, shared it with her husband, and life has went downhill since.  As humans, we've had a God complex since the beginning.

It's time to end it.

When I give others (referring to the Christian community) the opportunity to help meet my needs, they get the blessing of loving and serving me like Jesus loves and serves them.

Then, my vulnerability and neediness become a beautiful thing as the unbelieving world that is watching gets to see my suffering being eased, and the beauty of Christ is put on display as I get off my pedestal and He gets on it where He belongs. 

Trying to cheer up Little Man Sunday evening
with glider time.
At that moment, this isn't just a Christian friend helping me sweep my floors or someone bouncing a sick baby to give me a break.  This is the Christian Church functioning unselfishly in a raw and beautiful way that screams Jesus is alive.

I know what some of you are thinking.  I like being independent.  I feel safe when I am in control of what I need and how I get it.  If you look up the definition of a Type A control freak, my photo is in the margin.  I am not a good example of this yet.

Being vulnerable is awkward and risky.  

But, right now, I am realizing again (yes, I'm a slow learner) that it is not about me.  This life is about God and His glory.  If in my weakness, the world sees Christ more clearly and He becomes more desirable, it is worth it.  My life isn't about making sure everyone knows how strong or how "together" Anna Cirlot is.  It's about Him.  God's strength.  God's design.  God's sovereignty.  God's glory.

I'm not God.

He is.

This is war.  We have a real Enemy that is more than happy to take us out.  If we harden ourselves in pride, we'll either crumble under the pressure or become too puffed up from "making it" on our own to let Jesus get the spotlight He deserves.

Let's be real.  Let's be vulnerable.  Let's hold each other up.  Let's admit life is messy, and that we need each other.

Let's live in such a way dear friends that the world will know this isn't just another fairy tale.  Jesus is real.

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another.  In the same way I loved you, you love one another.  This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples, when they see the love you have for each other." John 13:34-35

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