A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition

Having grown up in southern California, I have always relished beautiful year round sunny weather. There’s just something great about walking out of your house on a December morning and feeling like, maybe you might end up getting drinks at a beachside bar later that day! Such a day was pretty common just as recently as last year. But in the span of a little over a year, my life has changed mucho!

Now, I have my own “little sunshine” that brings me joy wherever I go! Hence, I recently discovered I actually am becoming fond of, and even looking forward to the Bay Area/SF cloudy, foggy weather of late. Case in point: earlier this week, we (the hubby, my sister, the baby and I) went on a hike at the Marin Headlands in Sausalito, which promised beautiful views of the Bay. It turned out to be a pretty cloudy day, but as it turns out, it was THE perfect day for taking gorgeously moody pictures!FullSizeRender

The hike itself was pretty easy, but the scenery was breathtaking! Somehow it felt as if I had been teleported to a hilly, small town in Scotland (never been). Red-roofed buildings popped against the stormy gray clouds as a crane serenely flew over the isthmus between the fierce ocean and a placid marsh.  It was an idyllic setting to practice my photography skills!

IMG_6726_SnapseedIMG_6778_SnapseedIMG_6760_SnapseedI used my fixed focal length (50 mm) Canon f1.8 lens to take all the pictures mainly because I tend to love the pictures it takes in low lighting but a wide-angle lens with an optical zoom would’ve actually been more helpful. But so far, aside from the standard 50-80 mm lens which came with my camera (Canon EOS Rebel T2i), this is the only other lens I own. Regardless, as I was explaining to my sister that day, a fancy lens or camera doesn’t capture a moment or an emotion, a good photographer does! I think that most great pictures come from good composition and good lighting, both of which are controlled by the person holding the camera.

Ok, if my hubby is reading this, a good lens probably also helps! *hint, hint* IMG_6796_SnapseedHere he is with my sister and my lil sunshine!

IMG_6771_SnapseedI love this picture because of the different textures from the knotty tree roots, to the wispy marsh grass, to the glassy reflective water!

Ofcourse, our dog, Lucy, accompanied us on the hike and LOVED every minute of it!IMG_6810_SnapseedHere she is frolicking about with a found stick! She’s still such a puppy! =)

Note: Some of these pictures have been edited slightly with a few of my favorite apps. I love Snapseed for adjusting brightness/contrast etc. Afterlight is another great one for smartphones. And PicTapGo has a great selection of filters! Finally, I absolutely LOVE the graphic design elements that  come with Typic!

Have you taken any good pictures lately? Don’t wait for the sun to come out. Now’s the time!

A Curly Girl’s Tale

Okay, so it’s been almost two whole months since my Intro post. The project I teased last time….still not done…

But, hey, its been a crazy couple of months with the baby and the holidays etc. and now its gonna rain for a week straight so I cannot spray paint outdoors (the garage is still full of boxes from our move, so let’s not even go there…). I’m just not gonna sweat it and we’ll just get on with it!

I’ve been meaning for some time to post about my current hair styling routine, especially because pregnancy and postpartum do a number on your hair and I’ve had to adjust my routine for my hair to look fuller and thicker. During pregnancy, everyday I felt like I walked out of a Pantene commercial with a glossy, lush head of hair. Then three months after my delivery to the day – BOOM – massive hair shedding!! I had bald spots. On my hairline. In the front! Luckily, the hair loss is slowing down and I have regrowth but, man, I was really scared for a while that it would never come back!

So many of you who know me, know that I have pretty curly hair and that I have had a love/hate relationship with it for most of my life, as do most other curly girls. I remember when the movie “Curly Sue” came out when I was little, and everyone in my family called me Curly Sue. For a little while, I enjoyed having that cute moniker, especially because the girl in the movie was adorable! And then I hit my awkward pre-teen years and the cute curly hair somehow turned into a frizzy birds nest. Those years were pretty traumatizing! Then, at 13, my favorite Uncle came to visit us and took me to get my hair permanently straightened at the salon! This was before all the Japanese and Brazillian hair straightening systems out there now so it was basically just getting my hair chemically relaxed. But I didn’t know any better. All I knew was that I finally had the kind of beautiful straight hair that I had always longed for… Unfortunately, that didn’t last long and I was back to frizz city! It wasn’t until I discovered flat irons during freshman year of college that I was back to having silky straight hair. After college, I tried the Japanese hair straightening system and then I tried the Brazillian Blowout but all of that taming just made my hair worse and worse. Now, in my 30s, I’ve learned a lot of great tips over the years to style my curly hair and I’ve come to embrace it and maybe even love it again!

So, to illustrate my daily hair care routine, I’ve enlisted the help of my sister/model/nanny/life-saver!

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Step 1: Step out of the shower and AWAY from the towel!

Do not dry your hair. Any kind of friction against the hair shaft causes frizz. I’ve found the best way to have great curls is to style hair when it’s sopping wet. But, practically speaking, that just leaves your clothes soaking wet and is highly unpleasant. Instead, after showering I usually flip my sopping wet hair over in the tub and twist it like so:

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Then squeeze with all your might to get out excess water. You will probably have to repeat a few times depending on how curly your hair is. In general, the curlier the hair, the more water it holds. My sisters hair is actually not as curly as mine so it was much easier to dry this way.

Step 2: Flip hair upside down and comb through tangles with a wide-tooth comb, back to front.

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This step gives you a really good lift at the roots giving your hair volume. But it kinda makes you look like the girl from The Ring :/

Step 3: Curl Creme.

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I use Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls. I feel like its the only creme I’ve tried that defines curls without making them crunchy. I rub a nickel sized amount of creme between my hands and work through the shaft and the ends of my hair, while avoiding my roots.

Step 4: Flip hair back and style/part using your fingers.

You can use the comb again to part and style at this point but you will lose some of the volume that you got from step 2. But if you have a lot of hair and aren’t worried about volume, then go for it. Be sure to take each strand of hair and twirl it with your fingers and scrunch to really enhance definition. You don’t have to go through your entire head, just the front pieces, the top layer at the crown and a few pieces in the back.

Step 5: Air dry or use a hair dryer with a diffuser.

To speed things up (the baby was about to wake up), I used a hair-dryer with diffuser on my sister’s hair but air drying is the best way to avoid frizz.

Step 6 (optional): Smoothing serum for shine.

This step is gives your hair some polish and a last defense against unruly frizz but some days it can weigh your hair down too much. Depends on whether or not your hair is freshly washed or not. (I only wash my hair every 2-3 days).

Here are the before/after pics (It had gotten dark by the time we finished. That’s why the after pictures are indoors and not as clear):

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Do you have any tips/tricks for styling frizzy or curly hair? I’d love to hear them!

Welcome!

Hello blogosphere! Welcome to The Gold Canvas!

A little about myself: I recently finished grad school, moved to a new city, and had a baby, all in a span of a few months! Needless to say, after many (too many!) years in academia, I’m still in the process of adjusting to my new life as a stay-at-home-mom, trying to make new friends in the SF Bay Area, and find free time for the interests and hobbies I’ve neglected while in school.

My training as a scientist compels me to treat every new adventure as an experiment, so for better or for worse I will be sharing these trials and errors in fashion, photography, cooking, interior design, DIY art projects etc. with all of you.  Since I am not an expert in these fields by any means, I expect there will be more errors than successes, but thats the way experiments go, scientific or otherwise. The key is to keep trying!

Now that we’re acquainted, let’s get started! First things first. You’re probably wondering about the title “The Gold Canvas”. Since this blog will be a medium to document a new phase in my life, I felt that the metaphor of a “blank canvas” seemed appropriate. And I dropped the “blank” (too boring) and added the “gold” because, well, a touch of gold just makes everything just a little more glamorous and luxurious! Don’t you think?

But also, it alludes to my upcoming project… so stay tuned…

– Rosh

p.s. I’m still in the process of figuring out how blogs work so excuse the design and layout for now.