Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lake Michigan Road Trip // the UP

The first leg of the road trip took me into the middle of nowhere. Well, actually, the middle of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (fondly known to most as the UP). These were definitely my favorite drives of the trip. There was hardly another vehicle in site for most of the time we were there, and the landscapes were just breathtaking. There were also a plethora of delightfully dilapidated buildings that I just ooed and ahhed over every time we passed (I LOVE creepy old run down things).

After getting a very late start out the door, I decided to just sit back and enjoy the scenery. We drove until evening and then stopped at a Big Boy for dinner (a must for me when visiting Michigan). We followed our meal with a brisk sunset walk along the water before hopping back in the van to drive for a few more hours. Unfortunately the first night of the trip was quite loosely planned (on my part), and with our phones way out of data range we weren't able to find a good place to park for the night, so we settled on a car pool lot quite literally in the middle of bum fuck nowhere. It seemed a bit sketchy, but we were tired, so we just decided to go for it.

That was the worst night for van sleeping as it was a bit chilly, I was coming down with a fever, and after a midnight pee, I severely bruised myself stepping back into the van. Ugh. Restless nights when you're sick just seem like they will never end, but add van living and it's just pretty awful. (Don't get me wrong, van living is THE BEST, but definitely harder to enjoy whilst feverish.) Morning came eventually, and it was a treat waking up to a beautiful sunrise. We quickly got back on the road and headed towards Newberry and our first destination (Oswald's Bear Ranch!). On the way we stopped by Kak's Lake for some photos.

I have never visited Upper Michigan before, but certainly want to go back. I'd love to photograph more abandoned houses and visit some of the recreational parks in the Hiawatha National Forest (I'll be a much better planner next time!). It's a short drive - only a handful of hours - from where I'm based in Wisconsin, so it will be quite easy to take another quick trip!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

exploring a creepy abandoned house

I pass this house often on my way to work, and earlier this month I decided to explore a bit. The day I picked to check it out was quite gray, and as I approached the overgrown mess thunder started to rumble in the distance. It was definitely a bit creepy! I walked around the house and took a few photos. I wanted to take a closer peek inside, but the second I got close I heard a ton of banging noises coming from the lower level. Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out, so snapped a few more photos of the outside and left just as it began to rain.

I think it's my love for spooky books and horror films that's fueled my fascination with old dilapidated buildings. I always fancy that something, of course, is haunting it, and then imagine how cool it would be to live in a creepy old house (though maybe not one as run down as this one!). Abandoned places have become somewhat trendy, what with the growing popularity of urban exploring and such. I really love seeing all the photos people share of their adventures, especially when they're a bit spooky!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lake Michigan Road Trip 2015 - plans

Tomorrow I'll be hitting the road for a trip around the great Lake Michigan! I am very excited, but super stressed as I try to get everything together at the last minute. I've have the van in the shop for the second time this week (and I am supposed to be leaving tomorrow!), and what started out as a $500 tune up has quickly turned into almost twice that amount. I'm also leaving in the middle of the tourist season, which has got my employers a bit twitchy, but hey. However, I'm sure once I'm finally on the road things the stress will quickly melt away, and I'll be able to forget about work and deadlines for a while.

This is sort of a mini trip to get away for my birthday (the 21st!). I'll be on the road for eight days, and drive approximately 1.250 miles. I plan on sleeping in the van every night, save two. Of all the things I have planned, I think I am most excited for the two days I'll be staying at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. I stayed there with my family back in the summer of 2003, and I just am so happy to be going back. It's definitely a splurge, but that's what's so great about van living! I'm going to be saving so much on lodging that spending a little (ok, a lot!) extra for a few special nights at the Grand for my birthday will be worth it.

I can't wait to get Trixy back on the road. She's been just sitting for far too long. And now after all the repairs she'll be runnin' like an absolute champ! I'm bringing along my Canon 70D, a vintage Pentax SLR, two other vintage film cameras (a Canon and a Ricoh I found at a thrift store for about $5 each), and a vintage Polaroid camera, aaaaand a time lapse camera! (I've been really into experimenting with film lately! Sadly, the closest one hour photo lab closed down and now they ship film out and get it back in 7-10 days, so I haven't been able to see how any of the pictures I've taken have turned out yet, but hopefully the cameras are indeed working well, and I'm not effing up the exposure too bad with the SLR, haha.) Anyways, I'm bringing a ton of photo gear (it's nice when you have a van with so much space!), so look for lots of road trip posts in the near future. Also, if you're so inclined, I'm sure I'll be instagramming and twittering about my travels, so feel free to follow along there.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

how to use henna to naturally color and condition your hair

Have you ever wondered if there was an all natural, chemical free way to color your hair? Traditional hair dyes used in most salons and homes today contain harsh chemicals that can dry and damage your hair. Henna is a completely natural and safe alternative! (It's not just for pretty temporary tattoos!) It also is an amazing conditioning treatment. Not only is it all natural, henna is quite easy to mix and apply yourself! I've used henna about six or seven times in the last year, and I'm just amazed at how soft it makes my hair - and red! As someone who has been a bit hesitant to dye my hair (I haven't ever!), henna is the perfect solution! The color is just plain gorgeous. It's subtle and blends and fades beautifully over the months, so you don't even have to worry about touch ups or roots. The following is a little guide for anyone wanting to experiment with henna.
// all natural henna - I used Henna Red from this site. I bought a pound for $21, and after a year and multiple uses, I still have a lot left!
// all natural lemon juice (I have also used raw apple cider vinegar and that has also worked.)
// balm or oil
// glass or plastic bowl for mixing
// wooden, glass, or plastic mixing spoon
// rubber gloves
// shower cap
1 // Mix the henna with the lemon juice. I don't use a specific amount, I just eyeball things. Add the juice into the henna until there's a smooth consistency. If it doesn't seem like enough, I add more henna and repeat the mixing process. Longer hair, of course, will require more of the henna mixture to cover it. (NOTE: There are lots of henna mixing recipes out there. For example, Mountain Rose Herbs recommends adding boiling water, egg, yogurt, ect. I don't use any of these extra ingredients, because I feel like it makes things too complicated, and I don't want anything to affect the effectiveness of the dyeing process. This is just how I choose to do it, feel free to experiment!)

2 // Let the mixture sit for twelve hours. This allows the acidity of the juice to activate the color changing components in the henna.

3 // Spread your oil or balm onto your forehead, ears, temples, and neck. This will make any henna you accidentally get on your skin easy to wipe off. Keep an old towel and your balm handy just in case.

4 // Using a brush or your hands (with gloves on!), spread the henna onto small sections of your hair. If you have especially dry or damaged ends, avoid putting any henna on them.

5 // When you run out of henna, cover your hair with the shower cap. You may also cover the cap with a warm towel.

6 // Wait. How long you leave the henna on your hair is up to you. Personally, I like to set aside one of my days off and use the entire day and night to leave the henna on. The longer you leave the henna mixture on your hair, the more intense the color. 

7 // Rinse the henna out of your hair. I start rinsing in my bathroom sink with warm water. After the water runs a bit cleaner, move to the shower and continue rinsing until the water runs completely clear. Shampoo and condition per your usual routine, however, I recommend leaving on the conditioner a bit longer than usual. The henna can be a bit drying, so this will help counteract that!

You should notice a difference when your hair dries, and it will intensify in the next couple of days. You'll be able to notice the color change most under direct sunlight, while indoors it may be hard to tell there's a change at all. Please note that different hair colors will yield different results, and that if you have chemically altered hair, you should definitely do some research to see if you should, indeed, use henna. You can always test the result by grabbing a handful of shed hair from your brush or comb, coating it with henna, and waiting a while before rinsing it clean. 

Also, please note that henna has a distinct and intense earthy odor. Some people like it, I only tolerate it because I like the result. It may be disturbing to you or your housemates, if they are around during your henna-ing. Also, I notice the odor during a few subsequent showers, but it isn't anything to be worried about.

I am absolutely over the moon with my results using henna. I like to use it a few times a month to keep the color vibrant and my hair soft. Would you ever consider using henna on your hair?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

september days

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here, 
with summer's best of weather
and autumn's best of cheer.
- Helen Hunt Jackson
dress - thrifted // duster - DIY'd // flower crown - DIY'd // jewelry - thrifted
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