February 23, 2015

Punky turquoise hair

Ever since I can remember, I've loved doing crazy things with my hair. I've made some very bad choices in the past (including letting my sister dye my hair red at home..which somehow led to my roots being red and the rest black -- you can imagine what kind of names I was called at school).

There was a time when I had purple highlights, when I had a soccer mom haircut, when I wanted to have a faux-hawk..from the back. Thankfully, I never gave into that last one. But! One thing I've wanted and never did was blue/green hair. 

Step one was getting my hair ombre, which you all know looked something like this.

For the record, I went to a salon to get this done. I was not about to mess with bleach at home and royally screw up my hair. While I think it's fun to experiment, and hair always grows back, I did want to spend some money to get it done well. 

After a few months, I was getting bored again. The idea of dyeing my hair came back, and...well. I tweeted yesterday that I took the dive.

A few notes, here. 

Please ignore the fact that I did a really bad job and missed spots everywhere. I don't know why I had a light hand with the dye -- it definitely shows in these pictures. I'm sure I'll get it better next time.

Also, yes, I know that it's green. I was hoping for turquoise, but because my hair wasn't as blonde as it needed to be before dyeing, it came out green. Which, to be honest, I'm not that mad about.  It sort of reminds me of Sabrina's hair.

Overall, I'm pretty stoked about how the color came out. I am still getting used to it, but for the most part I like it. Again, it's not as blue as I wanted, but I should have known better than to expect blue when my hair was brassy to begin with.

If you want to know what dye I used, I picked up Jerome Russell's Punky Colour in Turquoise. I left the dye in for about two hours, and rinsed with cold (okay, lukewarm) water until it ran mostly clear. I conditioned afterwards and let it air dry.

For maintenance and all of that, I'll be following Dainty Squid's hair tips and tricks. I also chose the dye based on her reviews, as I wanted to make sure I got something that wouldn't be damaging to my hair.

I also bought a tub of pink-red, so that'll be next on my list. Hopefully I won't miss so many spots then!

Have you ever dyed your hair a funky color? Do you have any tips for hair maintenance? Help a sister out!

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February 19, 2015

Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills

What I love about California is that it is overflowing with amazing nature. Any which direction you drive, you're bound to run into something breathtakingly beautiful. From the desert, to the mountains, to the beach, to the forest, to the lakes and cities and miscellaneous landmarks, California is kind of wonderful.

Eager to explore parts of California that I've not yet been to, Mariana and I planned for a trip to adventure around the famous Alabama Hills. Or, more specifically, the Mobius Arch.

What makes this place so awesome? It's where desert meets mountain, and it offers some of the best views I have ever had the privilege of seeing. As you drive up, you cruise right between the two -- mountains on one side, desert on the other. It's no surprise that this place is famous for having hosted background to movies, shows, commercials, and then some. 

You might recognize scenes from Gladiator, Iron Man, Transformers, How the West Was Won, etc.

When you make it to Lone Pine, you turn into what looks like a private road. You drive by ranches and plots of land stretching to the mountains. 

I had to snap this because it's so patriotic. The American flag waving in the mountain breeze, with the Sierras in the background. Whizzing past ranches and horses (so many horses!), big trucks and wire fences.

But! There was more to see than this road. After a few more turns and a dirt path that made you feel like you were in some old time Western with clouds of dirt billowing behind your car, you arrive at the trailhead for the Mobius Arch loop.

This is where I should tell you that I was overprepared. After having had just enough water on our Lost Palms Oasis trip, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to be without snacks, water, or protection of my wounds (still dramatic, I know).

The trail starts out so promising. You have a few hills to climb, all while taking in your surroundings. I know that I'm gushing, but I cannot get over how beautiful this place was. I have never seen the mountains up this close while in the desert -- or maybe I've never paid attention. Either way, it felt new and real and incredibly humbling.

After a bit of reflection, you continue onto a path and pass by one of the smaller arches. We would have gone up to play, but we were anticipating a long hike ahead of us and wanted to make sure we got to the Mobius Arch in good time.

That is, until, two minutes later we found our way to the arch. And scratched our heads at how easy that was.

Here it is, in all its beauty.

Wave hello to Mt. Whitney gracing us with her presence in the background! The sun was on the other side of the arch, so I had to position myself to block it out. It ended up giving me too much of the rock behind the arch, but a gloriously illuminated view of Whitney.

But then..that was about it. We sat on a rock and looked some photos of the rocks around us, and made plans for what to do next. What took us three and half hours to drive to, occupied all of 10 minutes to hike to. I honestly want to say that we spent less than an hour there.

Though I could never deny being awed by this place, and I don't regret the trip at all. I'm not sure if it was totally worth the time it took us to get there, but! It was an opportunity to once again admire this earth and the many adventures that I have before me.

Anybody up for going on an adventure with me?

On a last note were greeted with the most beautiful sunset on our way back through the Mojave. I don't have any words for these colors other than: Lisa Frank.

A photo posted by Skim ⚡ (@dearskim) on

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February 16, 2015

Lost Palms Oasis

There's something about the desert that makes everything dusty and saturated at the same time. Colors look sun-kissed and a little worn beneath the hot sun, but the sky is the kind of blue that makes you revel at how big the world is and how small you are. It's a rich blue that I'm convinced only gets that way in the desert.

That last bit might not be true, but I have never seen a blue that looks like a desert blue.

Where better to enjoy that bright blue sky than on a 4 hour hike through the desert? Of course, going to my favorite place in the world (Joshua  Tree, if you had any doubts), we decided to travel to corners unknown to us -- a part of the park that we had not yet been.

After tweeting at the park, asking for a hike suggestion, they let me know that Lost Palms Oasis was one for the books. The cool thing about the park is that it's the meeting place of two deserts -- so the plant life and wildlife in both sections of the park are different. Intrigued, we trudged our way an extra hour to get to the Southeast corner of the park and made our way over.

There are a couple of things to note about this place.

For one, the entrance is highly deceiving. You're met with big, beautiful palm trees that tower over you like ancient desert warriors. They were beacons of light and signaled the nearness of water. But that's about it -- as soon as you get onto the trail, the palm trees disappear and you have absolutely no shade until you get to the oasis.

For another, if you go early in the morning, you can apparently greet some big ram sheep. They use the oases in the parks and do most of their roaming in the early mornings, so there's no camping allowed on the trail. You can easily go back about a mile and camp at the Cottonwood campgrounds if you wanted an early start, but still -- very different wildlife from the other side of the park!

And another, you need more water than you think. We went on a particularly lovely day -- it was in the mid-eighties and there were a cooling breeze. But I still drank my way through about 4 water bottles on the hike alone (and then guzzled down two more in the car).

It was insanely sunny and I got a bit dehydrated (yes, even after all that water -- sad), but the hike itself was beautiful. I was met with cacti I had never seen before, like this tall beauty. I have no idea what it's called or why it's evident in this desert and not the other, but it blew me away.

Look at these colors!

This shot was an accident, but I decided to include it anyway because you can see a bit of what I think is a spider web. Some sort of desert web-ness. 

As you so long, you realize that you are walking down a riverbed. And, if you're like me, it suddenly makes sense why the trail was closed in 2013 and 2014 due to flooding. Unfortunately for us, there was no sign of water anywhere -- but, still, you're walking along a riverbed!

It was hot.

I don't really know what to say other than it was hot and sunny. I couldn't find shade so I sat on a rock to get a drink of water and rest my weary, weary legs. I need to get back into shape, apparently.

Parts of the trail were steep and narrow. This bit was a small dirt path going down the side of one little mountain-hill and onto the next. But after the first leg, you get to a place where you are reminded that where you're walking was once a river.

After a grueling 2-3 hours, after going up and down hills and baking in the relentless sun, you finally make your way to the canyon. And from there, it's an even steeper way down to the oasis.

I wish I could tell you that the palm trees were resting next to pools of cool, cool water. Unfortunately, I can only say that this view was the best view. There wasn't any water when we got down there, and it was a little bit disappointing.

Though, to be fair, I thought the hike was well worth the time and commitment. The desert is absolutely beautiful, and though the oasis was dry, the actual hike in itself was the reward. 

Though, the palm trees are rather pretty, are they not? They seem so out of place in the middle of the desert, but I would thank everything good if I were lost in the desert and found my way to palm trees. They always signify water, shade, help, something. Sometimes, that little shred of hope is all you need.

You can sit and enjoy for a while, but remember, you have another hike back ahead of you. So rest up, drink up, and head on back. But be careful! Especially when you're making your way down to the oasis and back over the first leg of the hike back. 

I had the misfortune of falling...twice. My hand got a little scraped up, and I have a lovely line along my leg (though that one is from not paying attention and running right alongside a cactus). Looking at the photo, it totally looks like no big deal. But it burns! When I shower, the wounds (so dramatic) burn and ache. I swear.

Luckily, the hike back doesn't take as long as the hike there. When you see this little sign, you almost want to jump up and cheer. You are almost in the clear, and almost back to the car. You can take your pack off and let the wind dry what is most definitely going to be a sweaty back.

Too much information? Nah, not for us!

The sun is much lower at this point and bathes everything is a beautiful, golden light. Rocks that were once almost bleached white in the sun now turn into golden gems stacked alongside the desert. Cacti take on a new life and you wonder if you look as sweet beneath that sun.

Big, beautiful, healing sun.

That sometimes gives you the weirdest tan lines imaginable.

From there, before you know it, you're back at the entrance. Once again you see big palm trees rustling in the wind. They look a little sleepier with the setting sun, getting ready for the trail to close to hikers and open to the wildlife of the desert.

They stand as guardians, watching over all those who pass through. They wave goodbye to those who made their way all the way, and wave good luck to those who are just getting started.

The hike definitely isn't easy, but it's one that I'd highly suggest to anyone who's up for a 7.6 mile hike. It's not terribly difficult, though there is a significant amount of climbing as you get closer to the oasis.

But! The sights are well worth the journey. And once you're done and you're making your way back towards civilization, you're greeted with a gorgeous sunset, and mountains that ache to be remembered.

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