Filed under: Hair and beauty

Body modification is becoming more and more common in schools, businesses, and throughout social media, and has become a wonderful method of self-expression ranging from changing hair colour, piercings, and tattoos. I feel that responsible body modification is a really cool way to express yourself, but sometimes parents aren't too keen. This is a "How To" guide, that may help you in convincing your parents to let you do some self-expression.

1. Establish a strong connection with your guardian/parent:

- Acknowledge and let them know how much you appreciate everything they do for you, and maybe do something for them in return

- Ask them about some of their experiences as a young person, and what their school/parents/work allowed them to do

2. Let them know what you're into:

- Involve them in your life by shopping with them and telling them what you do and don't like

- Show them pictures of stuff that you like (tattoos, piercings etc.)

- Tell them that you would LIKE to get something done, so that it's not totally out of the blue when you ask them and they don't just think it's a phase

3. Make a pro's and con's list of, for example, a septum piercing. I said on my list that some positives of me getting my septum pierced are that I am really good about looking after my piercings, and it's really fast healing. I then put down in my negatives list that it might be painful to get pierced, as well as clean. Remember to make an even list of both pro's and con's so that it proves you're not just looking at the reasons why you should do it, instead you're looking at all the options and proving that you're thinking like and adult.

4. Research a HEAP!! You'll need to find out and talk to your parents about:

- Google what makes a reliable piercing or tattoo parlour, and find one in your local area. Ask about their hygiene methods.

- How much it costs at different places and what type of jewellery they pierce it with

- How to take care of your new tattoo and piercing (short and long term)

- How old you have to be

- Peoples experiences and what they recommend

- If the design/piercing suits you

5. Finally approach and ask them and show them all your information! You never know what their answer until you ask :)

6. If they say no the first time, the fact that you spent so much time and effort researching and exploring something that is being done to your body will show them that you are responsible and knowledgeable about the subject. This will still be in the back of their minds if you ask again. It is really important to not loose your cool if you don't get the desired reaction that you are hoping for, because it might ruin all of the previous preparedness you have just gathered. Even if you do not get the desired result, compromise is always another option that you should be open to.

All of the points above are all equally important, and it is vital that you brush up on your knowledge before you go asking to have it applied or done to your body. Age is also an important factor, as you do not want to be getting something done at age 15 that will have severe implications when you are 35.

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Filed under: Hair and beauty

I have always been extremely playful with my hair, whether it was doing a funky spiky hair cut or dying it bright pink, I always have felt like hair is an opportunity for self-expression.

When I started to transition into a healthier, but also more alternative lifestyle, I started to notice and acknowledge all of the harmful chemicals and styling methods that I was applying to my locks. Things like chemical dyes, constant straightening, and strange-smelling styling products tuned my beautifully curly, dirty blonde strands into a dry and frizzy mess after time.

This is about the time where I started using solid shampoos and conditioners from LUSH (will make another post about them.) They took out the stripping lather and replaced it with cleansing herbs and oils. After a couple washes my curl came back and my hair was ultra shiny!

As always... I get bored of whatever hairstyle I have at the time and I wanted a change, however, I was aware of my lifestyle change and i didn't want to ruin the condition of my hair with harsh chemical dyes. After doing some exploring, I found that LUSH had henna hair dye (henna is a herbal dye that LUSH mixes with other natural dyers like coffee, as well as butters and essential oils to form a solid block of hair dye that you melt and dye your hair with.)

After the first application of henna, my dirty blonde hair was super shiny and soft.. but resembled a navel orange. I decided to choose a Stop-sign red, but when applied to my blonde hair it wen bright orange. I continued to apply henna every 3-4 weeks, until I got bored and wanted to go more alternative.

I looked at YouTube videos, pictures, and instructional blogs on how to give yourself dreadlocks. So I began the six and a half hours with my hands in the air back-combing a whole head of shoulder-length hair into knots, I didn't realise the implications of what I was doing.

As the weeks stretched on after my first attempt at beautifully locked dreadlocks, my hair began to fuse together at the roots and become extremely loose throughout. I decided to comb them out to my dismay, and I was left with even longer hair that was slightly damaged, but easily fixed with a hair mask.

After this dreaded (excuse the pun) experience, I decided to get a hair cut that I really enjoyed and would make me forget about my bad experience. I decided to go for a chin-length cut with lots of layers to show off my curls.

Like many people before me, I walked out of the hair salon feeling like a new woman, but I woke up the next morning to a nightmare of a haircut. WHAT WAS I THINKING.

In the next few weeks, I did more dreadlock research while my haircut grew out. I live on an isolated island, and deadlock hairdressers are scarce. I did find a lady however, who's brother was a professional dreader you might say, and he taught her most of what he does.

I I scheduled a meeting time with her to sort out how much it was, how she does it, and what I did wrong last time. I was extremely happy with all of the information I was given, so we set the date for my transformation! (December 5th 2015).

As the day was finally here, and my wallet $300 lighter and after 9 and a half hours of stirring in a chair getting my hair pulled, I had a beautiful head of professionally done dreadlocks. Some of them were still loose however, so a week later I spent another 2 hours in the dread chair getting maintenance done. They used a variety of methods on my hair to dread it; twist and rip, backcombing, crocheting and palm-rolling.

I looked after my dreads and continued to wash them with my solid shampoo bars, and while I had dreadlocks I could not dye my hair with the thick henna dye. I thought that my spontaneous outbursts of needing to change my hair were over as soon as I got dreads, but alas, I saw a picture on Pinterest of a beautiful Bohemian girl with the tips of her dreadlocks dip-dyed. I thought "what the hell" and went and bought some temporary bright purple hair dye. In order for e to feel better about myself using chemical dyes, I figured that it was no where near my scalp so there would be no harm done.

I loved the pop of colour that it bought to my dreads, but it was only temporary so it washed out pretty quick. I also did this with green and blue which did not wash out as much as I had hoped it would like the purple.

My inspiration was sparked again when I saw a very cute picture of a dreaded girl with a side cut so guess what happened...

I did my side cut in February 2016, and I was planning to go to the Womad festival they hold in Adelaide in March, so I went and got another 2 hours of maintenance done right before, as well as some colourful hair-wraps. I hadn't been to this lady before, but she welcomed me into her home and she explained that she'd spent year and years finding the best and least damaging dreading method for Caucasian hair. She did a method called "sistering", where you use a croquet hook to not wrap the hair and pull it through, but by pulling the loose hair INSIDE the dreadlock. This results in a much tighter dread that will not unwrap. She also gave me some special dreadlock solid shampoo, as well as some locking spray to help them stay neat. All of this costed about $200. This was right after the maintenance and as you can see, the green and blue still hasn't washed out of my henna hair.

My head was extremely sore after this maintenance as it was so tightly woven. I had lost a lot of volume in my hair due to all of the fluffy loose hairs being pulled back into my dreads, but I was glad to have them looking a bit neater. Within a few days my hair started to poof up again, but my dreads were so much tighter and easier to wash and take care of.

Not long after my maintenance, I was getting sick of having a head full of multicoloured dreadlocks. The henna orange, red, purple, blue, green and the blonde of my regrowth was really getting to me, so I decided to take a gamble and dye all of my head ruby red. I tried to not get it on my scalp, but I was so desperate to get rid of all of the strange shades I had in my hair.

After dying my locks this colour, my dreads got so much thicker and really stared to lock up and mature, it also lived up to its expectation of covering up all of the strange colours. I loved this colour for a good 3 months, but my hair started to grow and I realised that it was not a good long-term thing I would like to do with my hair because of how strange my blonde regrowth looked against it.

I started to research how I could get my hair back to its normal colour, despite the henna and other colourants. I knew the henna would be the hardest to get out, especially with dreadlocks. Again I was so desperate to get my hair back to blonde, I used two whole boxes of the lightest Nordic blonde hair bleach I could find. The results were at lease 65% lighter, but a light orange colour remained.

It is now early August 2016 and I have been using a lightening conditioner that came in my hair dye pack, and I have gotten my locks to a colour that I am satisfied with. Yes there is an orange tint left from the henna, as well as the odd strand of blue and green, but overall it is much closer to my natural hair colour and my regrowth will not be as noticeable.

​After this experience, I have gained so much more appreciation for my natural hair condition and colour. It has been a journey of patience and self-exploration, not to mention all of the lessons I have learnt along the way. My dreadlocks have a personality of their own, and I seriously don't think I would be myself without them. 



Filed under: Food, Writing

All the various forms of social media are complex networks ofonline communication channels from all over the world where people can share,read, and communicate information with each other. Never before have we been soconnected and have so much information right at our very finger-tips. Thisholds huge potential for educating, enlightening, and encouraging people allover the world.

With the rise of social media, veganism has gained morefollowers. Before recipe blogs and health sites, it would have been hard tomake a personal life-style change without anyone to share with, and which couldhave led to feeling isolated. This drastically changed with the everyday use ofsocial media, as we are able to access and share information any time, withanyone. Social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram instantly connectyou to a wider community of like-minded people, so there’s no need for physicalsupport network in your own community.

Through social media, we can keep up-to-date with what ourfriends or celebrities are doing, eating, and wearing, worldwide. This has hada resulting effect in that more people are going vegan because it is seen to betrendy on social media.

My own decision to change to a vegan lifestyle was propelledby my life-long love for animals, and a decision to nourish my mind and body inthe most pure way. I had been living a very unhealthy lifestyle, and my bodywas not performing in the ways I wanted it to. I used social media to help mein my transition, YouTube and Pinterest in particular, as there was no-one elsein my local community who had chosen to go vegan.

I looked on people’s blogs about their transition toveganism, at pictures on Instagram of body transformations, and watched YouTubevideos about the experiences and obstacles people encountered along the way. Ifound their first-hand experiences were a lot more powerful and encouragingthan just talking to the people around me who were not vegan. Once I had beenfully inspired, I researched the health benefits and all the things I had to beconscious of - the vitamins I might need to take, and foods that I had toreplace rather than cut out.

I believe that social media can help the vegan communityexpand and develop credibility. Building a strong vegan community via socialmedia helps people who are thinking of changing their lifestyle to vegan;information, advice, and inspiration are all easily available. Free speech onFacebook and other social networking sites allows for a range of personalopinions and communication between everyone. The strength of the community willalso help get rid of information that is neither healthy nor relevant.

Sharing the beliefs and experiences of veganism throughsocial media is a vital aspect of being vegan in the twenty-first century. Itwas an incredibly important part of my transition, so in turn I make anenormous effort to spread the word, but not in a vegan-Nazi kind of way. I poston Instagram what I’ve cooked that day as well as the recipe; I share videos onmy Facebook with all my family and friends to help them understand why I amvegan, and for them to be more aware about where their food comes from. MyPinterest is full of recipes, health advice and animal pictures, and I make funnySnapchats about being vegan. I also cook vegan food for my friends whenever Ican, so that they can experience what it’s like, and then they post photos ontheir Instagram.

There is no shortage of creative options in social mediaportraying veganism whether it’ gruesome animal exploitation videos orluxurious vegan body products advertisements. I urge and encourage all vegansto spread their stories with everyone via social media, as it could really helpsomeone along. Use it as a means of connecting with others and raising awarenessof the vegan lifestyle.

Being aware of misinformation is something to consider whenresearching and sharing with others via social media about veganism, forexample; a horrible video on Facebook of how chickens are killed for thesupermarkets, but may not be relevant to your country. Media often has areputation for exaggerating things that aren’t true, as well as withholding thetruth from its readers, and it is extremely important to be aware of this.

As well as being cautious, joining an online community oflike-minded people can be an empowering and inspiring experience. ‘Veganism isnot about giving anything up or losing anything; it is about gaining the peacewithin yourself that comes from embracing nonviolence and refusing toparticipate in the exploitation of the vulnerable.’ – Gary L. Francione.