(Better) Hair Coloring at Home

Contrary to popular belief, just because your spouse has an MD after his or her name does not mean you have a large amount of monetary funds to throw around you’re rich (there, I said it). In fact, especially during residency, a budget is key to affording groceries/rent and saving for things like a house or a baby (no, Mom, still no babies in our very near future). We try to account for everything in our budget – from dog food to wedding gifts to hair cuts. Which brings me to our DIY today! Coloring your hair at home, with results that you’ll actually like!

Face it – getting your hair colored at a salon is EX-PEN-SIVE! I know as a blonde if I want to go lighter, the best¬†way is a full set of highlights. But that wasn’t really in the budget, so I started doing some research about the best way to color at home. I wanted some all over lightening that wasn’t too far from my natural medium blonde hair.

Here’s a round up of everything I’ve unearthed about hair coloring on the interwebs:

1. Mix two boxes together: this is how the pros get that unique not-too-brassy-not-too-ashy color
2. Use the same brand: don’t mix brands as they use different chemicals and you don’t want your head to turn into a chemistry experiment gone wrong (I used Clairol Nice N’ Easy)
3. Only mix colors in the same level or within 1 level of each other: Self explanatory. Mixing a level 7 + 8 will get you a 7.5 (I used a mix of 8-Ash and 8-Natural)
4. Avoid “golden” tones: Yes, they sound lovely, but when it comes to home hair color, golden = brassy red tones
5. If you’re going to mix tones choose an “ash” and a “natural.” Never mix an “ash” and a “golden”
6. Don’t go by the model’s hair color on the box, use the swatches on the back to determine what color you’re going for

With all these tips in mind – let’s get coloring!
(always start with a strand test)
1. Mix your colors individually as directed
2. If you’re using two different levels, apply the lighter of the two to the hair framing your face fist
3. Mix the entire contents of each individual bottle in a plastic bowl (not metal or glass!)
4. Apply your new mixed color to your roots first, then the rest of your hair
5. Cover with a shower cap and process for the time indicated on the box, checking the color periodically
6. Rinse and style!

I failed to take a before picture, but take a gander through the Tremblant post for my lovely grown out highlights

After: Blonde again!

After: Blonde again!

After: No highlights were used I swear!

After: No highlights were used I swear!

After: You can color at home!

After: You can color at home!


Happy Hair Coloring!



DIY “Chalkboard” Typography Poster

I am OBSESSED with chalkboard typography right now!

The simplicity of black and white…

Chalk Typography 1

The endless possibilities of type design…


The way the final product is both pretty to look at and (usually) says something nice, too…


Unfortunately, I don’t have an endless supply of things to paint with chalkboard paint or the skill (see the real deal: Dana Tanamachi) to actually use chalk and not have it end up all smudged by the time I’m done.

But have no fear this DIY “Chalkboard” Typography is done without paint and without chalk! (hence the quotes)

How you ask?

All you need is:
Black Sharpie marker (if it’s a little dry, that’s even better!)
Paper that doesn’t bleed (I used the matte side of a quarter sheet of poster board)
Printer (I used the Copy/Print Center at Staples because I made mine poster-sized)

1. Illustrate your words using pencil/paper/ruler – make as many mistakes as you like!

2. When you’re satisfied with your work in pencil, write over the pencil with your Sharpie – mistakes can be fixed in Photoshop!

3. Erase any stray pencil marks

4. Scan your artwork – set color to grayscale (NOT black and white) and then invert colors*

*Our scanner has ‘invert colors’ as an option before saving – if yours doesn’t, you may have to do this part in Photoshop)

*This is where you’ll notice a lovely chalk-like effect if you used a Sharpie that is a little dry and thus not producing uniformly black (and subsequently white) lines

5. Enlarge your image to your desired size (I did 24 x 36), and fix any mistakes you made with Sharpie in Photoshop

6. Print yourself or upload file to have someone print it for you (the latter is recommended)!

I made Dr. J this "Chalkboard" Typography poster of our wedding vows for our First Anniversary!

I made Dr. J this “Chalkboard” Typography poster of our wedding vows for our First Anniversary!

A few tips about printed enlargements:

Do NOT be tempted to print your typography art using Staples Engineering Prints as purported to possible on Pinterest – the quality is crap and you WILL be disappointed if you’re looking for a uniformly black background – or anything that looks nice in general.

Instead, print as a color poster. Yes, it will be more expensive, but it will look beautiful!

Ikea has great simple large frames for waaaaay less than you could have a giant poster professionally framed. Just have a frame store cut you a mat that fits your poster size (especially if you’re going for the 24×36) – I did not do this, but kind of wish I did.. oh well, NEXT TIME!



Vows enlarged to 24x36, printed, framed up, and ready to hang!

DIY “Chalkboard” vows enlarged to 24×36, printed, framed up, and ready to hang!

Happy Illustrating!