And it’s gotten long! This picture was taken shortly after I’d colored it again, so it’s pretty bright.

This one was taken more recently, and is a more accurate representation of how my hair fades a bit with time.

Soon, though, I’m gonna say goodbye to the purple. My friend and stylist in Southern Maryland, Libby, has been promising to give me rainbow hair for over a year now…


It always gets so much worse before it gets better.

Heyyyyy, it’s been AGES since I’ve blogged here. But I’m doing so now for a couple reasons:

  1. We’re not in Japan anymore! We’re back in DC, at least for a year.
  2. Today at the grocery store, a lovely woman named Kara (or is it Cara? Hi, Kara/Cara! It was so nice to meet you!) politely asked if I happened to be Bethany, and when I confirmed that I was, she said, “I read your blog!” :D

Sadly, I’ve basically abandoned this blog. It’s partly because Flickr changed so much that I didn’t like using it anymore, and Flickr was a big part of how I used to blog. And Facebook and Instagram sort of became a blog substitute for me. And then Rainbow told me to get on tumblr, and I did, and I found my people there. (If you find me on tumblr and follow me, feel free to send me a message telling me you used to read my blog!)

Another big part of the reason I stopped blogging is that the first year we were in Japan, I was pretty unhappy and probably depressed. I didn’t particularly want to go to Japan (nothing against it, Japan is a lovely country, but I’d never had any particular interest in it). But even more than that, I didn’t want to leave San Diego, and I definitely didn’t want to leave San Diego a year and a half ahead of schedule like we did.

That first summer we were there, it was SO hot and humid (my least favorite kind of weather). And Troy was deployed for almost two months in a row, so we missed him terribly, and I was in a strange country and we were living in a mess of half-unpacked boxes because I did what I could but there was a lot I needed Troy’s help to get done. And then Robin Williams died, and Mike Brown was killed and all the craziness was happening in Ferguson and around the country, and it all swirled together into this big stew of misery.

I did what I needed to do every day, I made sure my kids were fed and clothed and homeschooled, and that the bathrooms got cleaned once in a while. But that pretty much exhausted me, and I didn’t do much else. I barely crocheted the entire time we were there (I still owe my friend Erin’s son Atticus a baby blanket, and he turned 2 in May, oops), I rarely baked because my kitchen was frustrating, and I couldn’t paint pottery because there were no pottery-painting places in Japan, at least not the kind I like. I made a few casual friends, but no one I was close with.

So yeah. That first year in Japan was tough, but we got through it. And we got next-door neighbors the second summer we were there whom we really clicked with and loved, and they helped make our second year in Japan a lot more enjoyable.

Our second year in Japan, I did enjoy myself a lot more. I think a lot of that had to do with time, and becoming more familiar with and comfortable in the culture. By the time we left, I genuinely loved Japan and would happily travel back there for fun anytime. I think I wouldn’t even mind living there again, honestly, and would definitely make more of an effort to learn the language. (Because we lived on a US base and in a sizeable city, we were able to speak English almost everywhere we went. When we went places where people didn’t speak English as much, we mostly got by with the words we did know, and Google Translate. How did people manage before the internet and smartphones!?) We had lots of friends and family come visit us, too, which was fantastic. We got to do some really fun sight-seeing with them (my kids have now been to Tokyo Disney more often than they’ve been to Disneyland, heh), and it meant a lot to us that so many people were willing to come all the way to Japan to see us.

Anyway, now we’re in DC again, and we’re happy to be here! The Navy is sending Troy to grad school, again, and both girls are old enough now (Annalie turned 12 in May, and Elliora will be 6 in November) to enjoy museums and monuments, so we plan to enjoy ourselves as much as we can while we’re here.

Pierced and double-pierced

Pierced and double-pierced

Oh, and Elliora got her ears pierced today, and Annalie got hers double-pierced. They were both champs.

I can’t promise I’ll be blogging here much in the future, but I might show up every now and then. Otherwise, you can find me on twitter, instagram, FB, and tumblr. I hope you’re all well!

all my hairs are purple

October 25th, 2014

ALL MY HAIRS ARE PURPLE. Despite my face, I'm pretty sure I love it. :-) My hair is still wet, and it's 11:22pm here, so I'll take a better photo in the morning.

I’ve been wanting to dye my hair blue or purple for a long, long time. And I finally did! I’m kind of wishing now that I’d done this a year ago, when my hair was shorter, because it’s tricky with hair this long. I got dye all over myself, as you can see in the third photo below. And wow, I had to use a LOT of dye to cover all my hair. Here’s a quick rundown of what I did, for anyone who’s curious:

  • Read thedaintysquid’s hair-dyeing tutorial and tips for maintaining bright haircolor about ten times each.
  • Pestered my friends with hair-dyeing experience for advice and encouragement. (You know who you are. <3)
  • Gathered the various dyes I’d purchased/been given, along with the cheap hair dyeing kit I’d bought off amazon, a couple of cheap disposable shower caps, and a few old towels.

Say goodbye to my blonde hair! #OperationPurpleHair

  • Said goodbye to my blonde hair.
  • Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly along my hairline on my forehead and on the tops of my ears. Next time I’ll probably put petroleum jelly all the way around my hairline, and possibly on the back and sides of my neck, too. (Though I didn’t actually have any trouble getting the dye off my face and neck. Immediately after my hair was up in the shower cap and towel, I used olive oil on a cotton ball and it wiped right off, except for a largeish patch on the side of my neck, which still faded considerably.)
  • Decided to use a mix of the raspberry color (a brand I wasn’t familiar with–that was one of the gifts) with two of the Punky Colours, violet and plum, in layers. Various sources informed me that mixing two different colors of dye, especially different brands, leads to a more interesting fade. (I underestimated how much dye I’d need for my long, fairly thick hair and wound up mixing the dye in three batches. I think by the time I was done, I used the equivalent of 1 entire pot of Punky Colour, and half the bottle of the raspberry dye.)
  • Each batch of dye I mixed, I used about 1 part conditioner (just what I had on hand, which happened to be OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk) to three parts dye–and of that three parts, one part was raspberry and two parts were either plum or violet.
  • Note that I chose NOT to bleach my hair. I have naturally blonde hair with some gray mixed in, and after doing some research decided I’d try dyeing over my natural color this time, just to see how it worked. I figured even if it didn’t work as well as I wanted it to, I’d still have purpleish hair.
  • I started at the bottom of my head, pinning the rest of my hair up with clips, and just grabbed the dye with my gloved hands and slathered it on, working it in as best I could to make sure all the hairs were saturated.
  • When that was done, I sort of tied the bottom portion into a loose knot, then repeated the pinning-slathering-saturating for two more sections till all my hair was done. And I did one streak of just raspberry with foil, just to see what would happen. The directions all cautioned against getting the dye on my scalp, but the tutorials I read all said it was no big deal, and it would fade after a couple days if it did get on my scalp. So I made sure to really get the visible roots nice and covered.

Next time, I'm asking a friend to help. Dyeing long hair without getting dye everywhere is hard!

  • Once all the dye was on, I gathered all my hair onto the top of my head and clipped it up. I covered my hair with one of the cheapie shower caps, and wrapped an old towel around that. Then I used the olive oil and cotton balls to get the dye off my skin, which worked like a charm.
  • Sprayed Honest Company bathroom cleaner (no bleach or anything, it’s a child- and pet-safe nontoxic hippie brand that I love) on the spots of dye in the sink, and they mostly wiped right up. The same cleaner worked on one spot of dye on the wall, but another spot will require a magic eraser sponge, probably, nbd.
  • Discarded the trash, took the bowls and brushes and stuff downstairs to wash in the stainless steel sink. Didn’t use gloves for that, and my hands got tinted a leetle purple, but by the time I was done washing and rinsing everything the purple was basically gone.
  • Checked my email, made dinner for the kids, gave Elliora a bath, watched TV with Annalie, made dinner for me and Troy (a two-egg version of this, which was really good), putzed around on FB for a little while. By the time I finally rinsed my hair, the dye had been on for…six hours, I think? I wasn’t planning to leave it on that long, that’s just how it happened.
  • Rinsed my hair with c-c-c-cold water leaning over the side of the bathtub with our detachable showerhead. And rinsed. And rinsed. And rinsed. And rinsed. And…okay, just know that the rinsing went on for a very long time–I think I had to rinse for something like 30 minutes before the water ran completely clear. Did I mention that I have a LOT of hair? Troy helped me out for the last 15 minutes or so.
  • Once the rinse water was running clear, I poured a 1:1 mix of white vinegar and cold water on my hair, making sure to saturate all of it. (The vinegar raises the pH level of the dye, giving it more permanence, and helps close the hair cuticle.)
  • Tried not to panic when the vinegar rinse immediately turned purple, even though my hair had been rinsing clear 30 seconds before. Shrugged and rinsed with more cold water till it was completely clear.
  • Dried my hair with another old towel, then startled myself when I looked in the mirror because, WHOA, I HAVE PURPLE HAIR.

Partly dry PURPLE HAIR. You can see a bit of the raspberry streak on the left.

My hair has dried a bit now, and it’s still very purple. You can just see the raspberry streak on the left. I’ll have to take a better photo in natural light tomorrow.

Next time, I think I’ll get a friend (or Troy) to help with applying the dye, because it really was tricky to get all my hair covered without also dyeing all my skin above the neck, my arms, and the bathroom. And I think another person would be helpful in making sure I get dye brushed right up to my roots all over my head, too. There are a couple of spots near my roots that I missed, but at least they’re underneath the top layer so they’re not really noticeable.

I was mostly dyeing without bleaching first as an experiment, to see how it would work. I think it worked beautifully, and I got a really deep, bright color. I keep startling myself every time I glance in a mirror, in fact, because I’m not used to having dark hair! I think I’ll actually like it better once it’s faded a bit. In the meantime, I’m gonna have to start wearing more eyeliner or something, so my face doesn’t look so pale. But overall, I’d say Operation Purple Hair 2014 was a success!