Essays · Hair · Hair Color · Interviews · Redheads · Strawberry Blondes

Find Out Why These Redheads LOVE Their Hair!


In my Facebook group, Makeup and Beauty for Redheads, I asked members what was hard about being a redhead and what they loved about it. It was great to get feedback and feel a camaraderie with others who have struggled as well as celebrated many of the same things! Here is a selection of some of their answers. (And if you’re not already a member, why not join us? Whether you’re natural or dyed, we love to share beauty tips and gab about everything to do with being a redhead!)

Question 1: What has been your greatest struggle as a redhead?

“My biggest struggle was in childhood, with all the teasing that I received in school being called “carrot top” etc.”

I was made to feel that there was something wrong with me because of the color of my hair.

“It made me more self-conscious and took me years (well into my 20’s) before I learned to appreciate the color of my hair and to then receive adult complements, as genuine.”

“My biggest struggle I would say (as silly as it sounds) was finding a boyfriend in my teenage years. I never really got bullied but in my teenage years when things seem to be more of a struggle and all my friends were having relationships, anyone that I did like wouldn’t want to know me, with them actually stating it’s because of being ginger. Even my first boyfriend, I heard him say that he didn’t want to be with me because I’m ginger but then we stayed together for 6 years. And to be completely honest, I didn’t even want to be with him, I just wanted to be more like my friends.”


“My greatest struggle, I think, was growing up in a school where I just looked different. I was teased and picked on. I was called names and they even made up little stories about why I had red hair. (My parents both had brown hair.) Then, when I started dyeing my hair the teasing got worse, probably because it confirmed that they were getting to me.”

“My greatest struggle of being a redhead female with curly hair was finding myself as a teenager. I was teased and adored so it made me confused. Like am I really different from everyone else? I have a great heart and mind, I am smart, but why do I get treated differently from everyone else?”

“Finding my identity separate from just being ‘a redhead.'”

“The lesser struggle would be finding foundations and powders that go with my skin tone.”

“My greatest struggle as a redhead has been sunburns and sensitivity to heat. I’ve struggled with appropriate sun block and get migraines from the heat.”

I struggle with finding foundation shades that work with fair, sensitive skin and mahogany red hair.

“Greatest struggle with being a redhead is never being able to hide my emotions, good or bad. Any increase in my blood pressure shows on my face and neck. Everyone can tell if I’m mad, nervous or upset, no matter how hard I work to appear or sound composed.”

“Called names at school, and the teasing….even being the only redhead in the family got me down… lucky to say I don’t have the problem with tanning, my skin goes to a bronzy colour after being in the sun. Must say still have to be careful, burns quickly and red, but it turns into bronzy tan. Oh my… the freckles double up in summer time! Now that I am older I just want a more fair skin tone, but the freckles stay! With this group I’ve learned to love my freckles!”


“My biggest struggle was being picked on growing up. I grew up in school where I was a minority, only 5-8 other kids the same race as me at any point, let alone my hair. It wasn’t until my teens that I met another redhead like myself. I was always a target for jokes and being picked on everything under then sun. Redheaded step-child, I had no soul, I was pale and ugly, all of it. Every school picture I stuck out, red hair and super pale.

Eventually I dyed it black and honestly it looked AWFUL. I had an allergic reaction to it and that just made it worse. I wasn’t fooling anyone, I still got picked on. I had a love hate relationship with my red hair for like 10 of my 25 years. Also the burning—the sun is my worst enemy, quite seriously. I have been in the hospital numerous times with sun poisoning, when no one else I was with got even a little tan.”

“My biggest struggle is my ridiculously sensitive skin and trying to keep sun damage to a minimum.”

My biggest struggle was being picked on and teased growing up.

“Greatest struggle is being fair and sunburning, flushing on my face and my chest when nervous, and pain management.”

“My struggles were being picked on and singled out growing up, the thin/fair skin that shows things like cellulite, age spots, veins, etc. more than tanned skin, and feeling pain so easily.”

Question 2: Why do you love being a redhead? (There’s a lot more of these than those about our struggles!)

“I love being a redhead because it’s different, and our hair shimmers in the light like different shades of fire. I teach History at school, and include a module called ‘Gingers Through Time’ to embrace the ginger heritage. Gingers get bullied in the UK, but not in my school.”

The best thing about being a redhead is that I stand out in a crowd!

“Yes we are seen as different, but being older now, it’s great! Constant compliments about my hair and my overall look, people wanting my hair, not looking the same as everyone else, being unique and having met the perfect man who always told all his friends his perfect woman would be a redhead.”

My favorite part is that I look like Black Widow!


“I’m 55 now, I love being a redhead and the compliments I get are great. And I wouldn’t want to be any other colour. I’m trying to hide the grey now unfortunately but that happens with most colours as we get older.”

“I love being a redhead because I feel like a unicorn. A rare, majestic creature if you’d like to call it that. My favorite is when people ask if the color is natural, that look when I tell them it is. I’ve definitely embraced it more and more as I get older.”


“I own it because it’s who I am and no one can take it away from us. People pay lots of money to get our hair color. I like seeing other redheads because we smile and nod to each other and appreciate one another. We are special & I love it.”

I always feel some sort of redhead connection when I see another redhead.

“I love the redhead connection, I’ve experienced it with men and women, children and adults, doesn’t matter — if we see each other, it’s usually a smile, a nod, or occasionally I go in for a “ginger power!” high five.”

“I also love that redhead connection when you met another one. The best thing about being a redhead is that I am different than everyone else.”

“I love being a redhead because it makes me unique. It allows me to stand out from the crowd.”

“I am a mum of two gorgeous redheads and I am a teacher in a secondary school…which allows me to share my pride in my hair colour. I teach my children to embrace what they have, and to be proud of being different. To shrug off the nasty comments, because those comments generally stem from jealousy.”

I truly love everything about being a redhead. It makes me who I am.

“I was taught at a young age to embrace my hair color and freckles, because they make me unique. I’ve carried that with me, all of my life.”

“Although I was teased as a kid for my curly red hair, I had so much positive encouragement from family that it never bothered me. So many in my family are redheads and the ones who aren’t always let us know how special it is. I love my red hair and proudly hold it as a significant part of my identity. Maybe too much sometimes ’cause when those whites sneak in it frustrates me!”

“What I love the most is that it’s like being involved in this exclusive group. Everywhere I go people talk about redheads they know and sometimes good jokes. It’s a conversation piece.”

“I love being unique, I enjoy being a green-eyed redhead and getting compliments, finally.”

“The thing I’ve learned to love is the unique beauty of a natural redhead. I never appreciated it until I got older, but now I know I’ve got a beauty all my own even if it doesn’t look like anyone else’s. Although being in this Facebook group makes me see there’s a lot more redheads than I ever realized.”

“Being a redhead rocks WITH freckles…even at my age!”


“I can think of nothing negative. Well I do remember not having any pretty barbies with red hair. Now they have lots! I love that we are rare and beautiful.”

“I was born a blonde with a tiny bit of strawberry. Both sides of my family have redheaded genes. As I got older I noticed more red coming in. One day I decided to color my hair a richer color of red and it looked so good and natural. I am a very pale person with hazel eyes, light eyebrows and people would argue with me that it was natural. I guess when it runs in the family you may look good. I have been doing different shades of red for years and every color looks fantastic.”

“I love realizing as an adult how unique and special I was because of my hair, and learning about my MCR1 mutation that makes me a redhead, learning about how far we redheads have come through history of the evil and wrong done to us. Knowing I live in a time where I don’t have to worry about my life as did redheads before me in history so long ago. Being proud of my hair and loving it.”

“I love being different. I tried covering up my red for years but now I embrace it.”

“I love how my hair looks in the sun!”

“Redheads are a blessed minority! And yes, this “carrot top” was teased, but I’m sure it was due to envy!”

I love being a redhead now that I’m older and see how beautiful being different really is. It has become a huge part of my identity and I couldn’t see myself looking any other way.

I’d like to thank all the members who were willing to be involved in this project. What about you, dear reader? Feel free to share your own personal struggles as well as the things you love about being a wonderful, special, and unique redhead!


Makeup · Reviews

Coastal Scents Winterberry Palette Review + Swatches

CS Palette Review

I’m excited to share this review of the Coastal Scents Winterberry Palette ($9.95)! I have always liked how purple eyeshadow looks with my blue-gray eyes. And this palette is SO beautiful. I can’t say enough about how much I love it.

It has a sleek, classic look, and a massive mirror inside that is fantastic! All the shadows stay firmly in place, but they are pretty easy to pop out if you want. You could swap some out for your own similarly-sized eyeshadow pans, like from MAC, or you can do as I did and rearrange the shadows into your own shade categories. Another option is to pop some of them into a Z-palette, or something similar.

As for the formula, they are very, very smooth and silky. I found the color payoff quite good. Most of the shades are shimmery/frosty, but some are a touch satin. None are matte. There is some fall-out, but not so much that I mind it. I usually apply my eyeshadow holding a tissue under my eyes anyway, or sometimes I use scotch tape to gently lift the sprinklings of shimmer off my undereye/cheeks afterwards – it really works!

However, I’d recommend when you first use it that you don’t apply your face makeup beforehand. First you want to see what sort of fall-out you personally experience, without ruining the rest of your face.

Here are the swatches!

With Flash


Without Flash


Arm Swatches | With and Without Flash

Shades used: Thulian Pink, Amethyst, Lavender, Tyrian Purple, White Silver


I definitely recommend this palette, especially if you love purple makeup like I do!


Essays · Guest Posts · Interviews

The Curly Red Reality: Guest Post From Annette Kemp

This guest post was written by Annette Kemp, a model, actress, and fellow beauty blogger. Be sure to check out her blog!

“How do you get your curls to do that?!”, someone comments excitedly. “Mousse and a diffuser,” I reply and hit send. Oh, if only it was that easy! In fact, it took me YEARS and YEARS to get my curls to do that, Lady. And it’s a long and frustrating tale.

So here it is. What I actually want to say when people ask about my hair routine.


Growing up as a redhead is an, let’s say, interesting journey. From people in malls stopping your mom to gush over your hair, to starting your education and being the only redhead in the entire school, like a lone carrot in a field of wheat.

Luckily I had my redheaded mother to provide some comfort when I came home complaining about everyone telling me “tomatoes belong in the fridge!” And the facetious little Afrikaans rhyme: “Bring die water! Bring die sand! Annette se kop is aan die brand!” (Bring the water! Bring the sand! Annette’s head is on fire!)

Yes, I know, how original.


But yes, mom was there to remind me that I’m supposed to feel unique and special, when in reality I felt sort of singled out, and cursed to always attract attention with my “head on fire”.

As a little girl I didn’t so much mind my bedhead of curls, especially when it led to me joining a modeling and acting agency at the age of four, after a photographer saw mom and I strolling in the mall. (Us redheads all know malls can be the worst; why do people gawk like they’ve never seen red hair before?!)

But that’s another part of the story.

The thing about curls are, they require MANAGEMENT. Serious management! And unfortunately as a preteen I had NO IDEA that curl management does not mean brushing and just tying it back in an attempt to hide the fluff ball frizz!

Me on set for a Kids TV Series with brushed out curls

So, armed with a ton of hair elastics and swooning over my friends’ sleek, straight locks, I grew up never knowing that curly hair can be tamed and embraced. I did dabble a little, in high school. But this frizzy with braces look on my first red carpet film event is one I’d sooner forget!

With James Faulkner at The Three Investigators Premiere in Berlin
I turned to my dear friend the straightening iron to tame the bird’s nest so I could look like the other cool girls at school. But I felt…bored. Restrained. No matter how much I picked up the iron I’d always wake up with wispy curls the next morning as the night’s humidity wreaked havoc on my perfectly tamed tresses.

So, I made a life changing decision. I was going to cut my hair off.

No, not just the tips. ALL OF IT. It had to go! I didn’t know how to make my curls look bouncy and carefree like in the commercials and I felt sick and tired of people only defining me by my hair color. Being called “Red” and “Rooikoppie” (Afrikaans for little redhead) and “Flame”, and even “Rooibos Tea” by guys made teenage me, wanting to be one of those “sexy girls”, a bit difficult. I didn’t like being made fun of, even with pure intentions and good humor. I didn’t want to feel like all I ever was was “that redheaded girl”.

So off it went, all of it.




I woke up the next morning with a strange cold breeze on my scalp, lifted my hand, and recoiled in shock. WHAT HAD I DONE?

I looked in the mirror and tears welled up in my eyes. I didn’t look…pretty. I looked like a boy. I felt the stubbly hairs and tried to compose myself. Right there, like those cartoon lightbulbs above character’s heads, I came to a realization, and made a decision that will always remain with me.

You don’t need hair to feel pretty. Your worth as a person isn’t defined by what’s on your head. Compliments and teasing aside, I wasn’t going to let my hair become my identity.

People’s reactions ranged from slightly disgusted at my change, to loving it and calling me “edgy” and “liberated”. Those words seemed a lot nicer than just “Carrot Top”.

I slowly learned to play up my features with makeup, instead of always being eclipsed by my hair. I realized that a woman with short hair is a strong woman. Who doesn’t conform to society’s ideas of beauty. Who doesn’t get catcalled as much because she looks FIERCE.

Megan Davies Photography
Ladies, Coco Chanel said that “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” And that’s what I did. Never let your hair become a security blanket. You’re not your hair.

A princess, a queen, doesn’t need long hair. A Princess can be whatever she wants.


At my Matric Farewell Dance in my final year of High School
Of course, hair grows again. That’s the beauty of it. And as my hair grew so did my acceptance of myself and my self esteem.

And lo and behold, those pesky curls returned.


But this time I was ready for them!

It was ’round about this time that I discovered my Idol, Molly Ringwald. A girl who defined a generation’s fashion with her red bob. Mom copied her style when she was younger, and so did I.


Mom looking like Claire Standish
The bob phase helped me redefine my hair and what I can make it do, finding a fusion between straight and curly. But I was ready: I would retire my straightener and finally embrace my God Given curls. The growing out process taught me how to shape and care for them with a clean slate.



I graduated from my BA Live Performance degree looking just like my nickname, Annie.
Only she wasn’t the little orphan anymore. I finally felt like myself.


And here’s mom at her graduation, sporting that 80s blowout.


I don’t mind when people call me Annie. I AM Annie. I’m a short, curly redhead and running from it helped me turn back and find myself.

Every redheaded woman starts her journey as a little redheaded girl. What people say about us, the stereotypes? It’s up to you whether you prove them wrong or embrace them. You, redheaded girl, woman, mother, sister, get to decide how people see you, and more importantly, how you see YOURSELF.

Take the plunge, start your journey.





Follow Annie on her blog Cyber Starlette,  and her Instagram!


Author Cindy Shirley Puts Bullies in Their Place!

Today I’m excited to introduce you to author Cindy L. Shirley, who has written a children’s book just for redheads! Countless redheads have been teased as children. Cindy decided to give a little help to those kids, and their parents, and encourage them to stand up to bullies. Her book is called Diesel the Body Guard: No Bullies Allowed! It’s designed to give them confidence and to be proud of who they are.

Let’s learn more about her and the book!


Tell me a little bit about yourself, and what your background is.

cindyI am married with two adult children and one amazing granddaughter who we affectionately call, “Doodle”. I have lived in Woodstock, Ga. since the age of 8 and still call this wonderful city my home. I graduated high school in 1984 and began my own business not long after. Being self- employed has given me the flexibility to pursue other interests while earning a living. I have previously worked in the Cobb County public school system as an ASP teacher as well as other child care facilities here in Cherokee County, Ga.

I love working with kids! How can you have a bad day when you’re around so much silliness? You wouldn’t believe some of the outrageous things they say. Boy, do I have some stories from the days on the playground. They are so innocent in the comments they make and have no idea of what the “words” really mean. Just hilarious little personalities!

I have a part-time business that I founded in 2002 called Let’s Pretend Spa Parties, which is still operating today.

What inspired you to write this book?

This book was based on several things. First, I was bullied by a boy in school for having red hair and freckles. He called me names and picked on me every day. He was mean as a snake and had to be taught a lesson about respecting others. Especially redheads! The rooster, Diesel, is real and he belongs to my sister. He is extremely protective of his property and will attack anyone or anything that dares to enter his domain. So there is the basis for the storyline, Diesel the Body Guard. lol

What was the the writing process like? What challenges did you face?

I had never thought of writing a book until one day while watching the news, I saw a report about a young girl that was beaten up by a group of students. It made me sick to my stomach and all of the old emotions from being bullied as a child came back to the surface. That night while I lay in bed, my mind kept thinking of ways to help kids defend themselves. By the next evening, my book was written.

My hope is that parents will read this story to their children and discuss how to deal with school Bullies. Kids have to be able to defend themselves! These Bullies find their victims when no adults are around. They are cowards and wait to pounce on kids when they least expect it. In my book, Delilah and Lilly team up with the help of Diesel to take on the Bullies. It is by joining forces that they are able to put an end to the bullying. The boys are shown what it feels like to be picked on. A hard lesson learned!

What sort of response have you had to the book? How would you like to help the children who read it?

I have had amazing response to the book. Parents and teachers love the storyline and the messages within. I hope the book encourages kids to stand together and confront their Bullies. The message is also to show Bullies what happens when you pick on the wrong person. In the end the Bullies apologize and finally learn their lesson. So, the book is really about friendship, compassion, and forgiveness for others.

Do you have plans to write any other books?

Yes! I am very excited to introduce my new series called The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick. The first in the series is The Egg-Straordinary Egg, which has just been released.


I also have a Christmas book coming out later this fall and it is titled, “Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float.” This one is my favorite and is based on my granddaughter and our city’s downtown Christmas parade.

Since this is a beauty blog, why don’t you share a couple of your favorite makeup products? 🙂

My favorite foundation is Cover Girl Natural Beige. Mascara is definitely Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Hydrofuge in Black. Lipstick is Wet and Wild (503 A). I have a drawer filled with products and always go back to these favorites. Oh, and if anyone knows where I can find more Wet and Wild lip stick in this (503A) shade, hit me up! Love this stuff!

Thanks again to Cindy, and I hope to catch up in the future!

Buy Diesel the Body Guard: No Bullies Allowed!
and The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick: The Egg-Straordinary Egg

Makeup · Reviews

Meow Cosmetics Mineral Foundation Review + Swatches


Meow Cosmetics is an indie brand known primarily for its mineral foundation, but it also offers a wide variety of other products, like eyeshadow, eyeliner, and bronzer. Here is the super awesome part of Meow: they offer foundation in 86 shades! That blew my mind when I first stumbled across them. This makes them a great option for pale-skinned girls. (And frankly, pale girls aren’t the only ones who struggle. Dark women have similar issues, as many of the drugstore shades only go up to medium-deep tones.)

I have hesitated in the past to try indie makeup brands. I wonder whether they are truly good quality, if the owner knows what they’re doing, etc. Looking up reviews from real people has helped me immensely, so I hope this will help you as well!

Coverage & Undertones

Meow offers light, medium, and heavy coverage, each labelled with cute cat-centric names such as Purrr-fect Puss, Pampered Puss, and Flawless Feline.

They are also divided by a multitude of skin undertones. Rather than sticking with the well-known but imperfect theory of “warm” and “cool” tones, Meow explores the unique range that exists on everyday people’s faces. Here they are!

  • Snow Lynx: white, no undertones.
  • Persian: peach.
  • Chartreux: peach/yellow.
  • Angora: soft yellow.
  • Manx: yellow/peach.
  • Korat: golden/beige.
  • Abyssinian: yellow/beige.
  • Siamese: neutral.
  • Mau: warm.
  • Sphynx: beige/pink.
  • Himalayan: warm pink.
  • Chausie: cool pink.
  • Bengal: cool beige.
  • Ocicat: olive/beige.

Phew! That’s an unbelieveable amount of choices, isn’t it?! This made me ecstatic the first time I came across Meow. I’m very pale, usually the palest person of any group. However, I have a tiny touch of warmth to my skin, and I freckle easily. So oftentimes when I find an extremely pale foundation (yay for redheads!) it’s often half a shade too light for me (sad for me!). It’s hard to find that subtle balance between very pale leaning towards fair warmth. So this is a big win.


Next up! (Yes, there are more options for customization.) Here’s how the light to dark shades range.

  • 0 – Inquisitive (lightest, almost white)
  • 1 – Sleek (very light)
  • 2 – Frisky (light)
  • 3 – Naughty (medium)
  • 4 – Fierce (medium/dark)
  • 5 – Slinky (dark)
  • 6 – Independent (very dark)

It’s important to note that some of the undertones don’t go up to certain shades. However, there are very few like that. So, with this many options, how could you possibly choose? Meow offers 1/4 tsp. sample baggies for $1 so that you can grab up to 10 samples in an order and see if you can find the right shade. You can also mix a couple together for an even more customized shade.

My swatches are all from the Mau (warm) undertone. Here’s a photo of the whole range from their website.

Courtesy of Meow Cosmetics

Let’s talk about the downsides, as it’s not a perfect product. It’s advertised as an alternative to big brands, like Bare Escentuals, who have a lot of mica in their products, an ingredient some people are sensitive to. It can contribute to the itchy feeling of some formulations. Meow’s product does still contain the ingredient, however there’s much less of it. At the same time, it should be noted that mica irritation is not a common occurrence. I’ve experienced more itch with BE than with Meow though.


The foundations are offered in Munchkin and Full-Size. I went for the Munchkin. And I hate the packaging, sorry to say! It’s flat and large and hard to hold without spilling your foundation all over the place. I recommend putting it into some other container. I scoop it into an old Bare Escentual’s jar. You can also purchase something like this. I like buying empty cosmetic jars, bottles, and the like, as you never know when they might come in handy. And they’re not too expensive! I get mine from Amazon, because I’m an Amazon Affiliate, and you can find so many options. You can also check out Sally’s Beauty or ULTA.

In the middle photo you can see that I add a touch of 1 – Sleek in the bottom left corner.

Next time I buy from them, I’ll get the full-size which is in a standard jar with sifter. It also has a large lid like the Munchkin, to make it easier to “swirl” in, which will probably be fantastic when paired with a sifter. The whole jar is huge!

Courtesy of Meow Cosmetics


Time for the fun part: swatches! I have 3 shades to show you here but because Meow offers affordable samples, I hope to buy more (maybe all?!) and eventually create a blog post filled with swatches!

These are all from the undertone Mau, perfect for my blend of fair skin and tawny-colored freckles. As you can see, the very palest shade 0 – Inquisitive and 1 – Sleek are very similar. Trust me, however, that Inquisitive truly is lighter. It contains very little undertone and is nearly white. It’s great for mixing with other mineral foundations to lighten them up.

2 – Frisky, which is what I got in the full-size, jumps to a darker shade pretty quickly. I blended it with 0 but next time I’m going to go with the regular fair shade 1. I think Frisky would be a good option for those who are on the fair side of the spectrum, maybe fair-to-medium, but still find drugstore foundations too orange.

Meow Foundation Swatches

Before & After

Both fortunately, and unfortunately, I have very bad acne. This can be helpful in really seeing the difference a foundation makes, though! 🙂 Silver linings to everything, eh? (My skin is so much better from when I took this photo, at least. Yay YoDerm! lol)

Here I’ve applied a mix of 3/4 Frisky and 1/4 Sleek. The formula is Pampered Puss, medium coverage. I applied it with a soft kabuki (not one of the flat-top, very dense ones), and layered it twice.

Meow Before and After

For myself, I would buy Flawless Feline, heavy coverage, next time. You can still see my acne but I’d rather have fresh skin with some acne than heavy, cakey “clear” skin. It’s a balancing act! I do like that it gives an overall improved tone to my skin. Normally, I put on some concealer before I apply the foundation, so it looks better. But I wanted you to see what it looked like all by itself.

I would absolutely recommend Meow’s foundation. Grab some samples and see what works for you! How about you guys? Any favorite mineral foundations?

I am not affiliated with Meow Cosmetics.


Interview with a Vegan: a Chat with Amanda Arebalo


A fair amount of my readers have expressed interest in veganism, especially as it relates to makeup and beauty. I met Amanda when I came across her Instagram and started trying out her recipes. Here she shares more about herself and her personal values! Keep an eye out for a guest post from her in the future. 😉

How long have you been vegan?

I have been vegan since September, 2016. So about 9 1/2 months. I have sincerely loved every minute of it!

How did it begin?

The first attempt at being a vegan happened back in 2012. I had watched the documentary Forks Over Knives on Netflix, and I was intrigued mostly by the effects of giving up animal products simply for health reasons. I had not yet encountered any animal abuse videos.

So, being intrigued, I first gave vegetarianism a try for 3 months, then I attempted veganism, which I was successful at for another 3 months. Unfortunately my new husband was a gigantic meat-eater. He would eat some type of meat or eggs for every meal, and would often have snacks of both as well. (Hard boiled eggs, or beef jerky.) Unfortunately, I was less than seasoned in the kitchen, so absolutely I dreaded cooking. Even being in the kitchen made me uncomfortable. Making two meals per meal time for us, when one was difficult enough for me, just didn’t work. I ended up quitting.

Fast forward to September 2016, I was online and unintentionally clicked on a slaughterhouse video. I could only watch about 6 seconds before I screamed out, and my husband came running. It broke my heart into a million pieces. From there I cried and watched a few more as I followed my husband around the house announcing that we were never eating milk, eggs, cheese, chicken, beef, or fish ever again. He thought I was being dramatic.

I then came across this amazing, amazing man on YouTube. His name is James Aspey. James is the main reason my husband is now a vegan. I recommend everyone watch his video on YouTube called, “This speech is your wake up call”.  It is worth the time invested (About 40 minutes) your whole outlook on veganism will change and ladies, he is very easy on the eyes!

Why is it so important to you?

I know most people are against animal abuse. Very few of us would ever be able to kill an animal such as a piglet, fox, a baby chick, or a cow, on our own.  We would always choose a watermelon as a snack, over a live chicken for some nuggets. What does it being dead have to do with it being ok? It is that choice, every meal we consume, is choosing if an animal lives or dies. There is a disconnect along the way. The only difference is, instead of doing it ourselves, we are paying companies to do it for us. In doing so, we don’t see the harm and suffering they are enduring every single day.

I feel that it is important to educate and spread the knowledge I’ve learned over the past 9 months, In order to try to make as many people aware of this horrible abuse and unnecessary torture. We are paying for it, and don’t even realize what happens. We are not bad people, but we are taught that it is normal. It is not normal. What is happening to each and every single one of these animals we use for products, I assure you, is not at all normal. We need to become more aware of the impact our actions have.

For those who don’t feel that they’re ready to commit, do you have any advice on how they can still make a difference?

In my opinion, you have to be all-in, if you want to truly make a difference. Go hard or go home. You can be a vegetarian, but honestly, that isn’t good enough. If you believe there is no difference between a baby pig playing with a toy and a puppy playing with a toy, then you must choose veganism. Baby cows are stolen from the mothers, and denied milk, so that the grocery stores can have it instead. After that, the boys are sent to become veal. While the girls get raised into a life of forced pregnancy and heartbreak as each baby born is also taken from her. As bad as these sound, this is just for milk and cheese. Vegetarians eat cheese and drink milk, vegans do not.

There are so many vegan options in stores today to ensure the greatest success with this. From vegan hotdogs, to vegan eggs and delicious vegan ice cream. Anything you can think of, has a vegan option to choose instead. So there is no excuse, to not choose cruelty-free.

My husband going vegan was the best support I could have ever asked for. All it took was a couple of videos, some studies on health and animal products, and me making simple, yet delicious real food meals. He doesn’t miss the meat a single bit. I would have never imagined he would be happy about not eating meat! But he is.

Do you have any favorite charities or organizations?

I don’t believe many charities out there give back to organizations properly as they should. That being said I do believe in Farm Sanctuary. They house and rescue animals from all over, and give them the best possible life. For my 30th birthday I asked my husband if he would consider “adopting” an animal from Farm Sanctuary. I thought he was humoring me when he said he would consider it.

2 weeks later I received a package in the mail. My sweet husband had adopted a chicken for me! Her name is May. She was rescued from being shipped to someone in a cardboard box for over 72 hours. Bless her sweet little heart. She lives at the Northern California Farm Sanctuary not far from where I live, and we can visit her any time. They are a truly wonderful organization that proves their money is going to the right place.

Unfortunately there are many out there, that are scams. So you must be cautious. I donated money to a fraudulent farm rescue once, they tricked a lot of people. It is very sad that people can tell such an elaborate lie in the name of saving animals.

What effect on one’s health and even outside self can result from it?

This is a good one! I can tell you, not only will you feel less weighed down, you actually will be! I will get to that in a moment.

All my life I’ve had some degree of ADD along with brain fog most of the time. I just thought it was normal for me. Let me tell you, that is now a thing of the past! I’m clearer headed, less forgetful, more aware in general and I have a better capacity for learning. Just to name a few. Also, I am a lot more compassionate now. Go figure!

My skin is better than ever, my cellulite is completely gone, and I just feel great! I know that is so cliché, so here is the fun part: I never considered myself overweight. Actually most of the time I was told I was “thick” and that it worked for me. I haven’t told anyone how much weight I’ve lost since I’ve been vegan, but I’ll say it here.

Drum roll please…..I have lost 45 lbs! I am a size XS and a size 3 in pants now. I don’t work out either. I do some ballet toning, and that is all.  Which let me say, I am absolutely loving!! I barely recognize even myself in old photos, which I find so shocking. I don’t starve myself either, actually just the opposite.


I’m always munching on fruits and veggies. I try to eat as raw as possible, with “raw bowls” being my favorite go-to. Which consists of raw fruits and or veggies, cut into small pieces and mixed together with a drizzle of avocado oil and tossed with salt and pepper. It’s incredibly filling, refreshing and delicious! If I can do it without even a hiccup, or craving for cheese, anyone can! I promise. Cheese cravings are gone within days!

Not to mention the plethora of other health benefits to veganism. Lowering cholesterol (which is only found in animal products), lowering body weight, preventing and reversing diabetes and obesity, getting rid of depression**, mental fog as well as skin problems. There are many, many other benefits as well that I didn’t even expect. It’s a fun surprise!

Favorite vegan beauty products/brands?

Unfortunately some of the biggest names in beauty, also animal test. A lot don’t, but most do. It was something I never thought too much about to be honest. I thought it wasn’t too bad. I will tell you it is much worse than we all thought. It is very, very sad the lives these animals are forced to live. In doing my vegan version swaps, I’ve thrown out a ton of products. MAC was the most saddening for me. I used to be a makeup artist, and that was always my favorite brand. However, now knowing that my eyeshadow had to be “tested” by some poor bunny, having its eyes become infected all just so I could use it. Made me sick. I couldn’t throw it out fast enough.

I absolutely adore the company Radha Organics. They are vegan and cruelty free, offer the best line of shampoo and conditioners I’ve ever used, and they all smell fantastic! The rose water, and eye cream works wonders too! My top picks for makeup, would have to be Kat Von D’s everlasting liquid lipsticks. They stay put, all day long! I wear it every single day. It is also vegan, of course.

There are vegan subscription beauty boxes as well as a few vegan meal and snack boxes too. The Purple Carrot box is perfect for food beginners and I would recommend the beauty box from petite four for only $15 a month! There are a lot of really fantastic vegan products out there. I just love them.

Thanks to Amanda for sharing her experiences! Be sure to follow her on Instagram: @gingysnapps

**If you feel seriously depressed, please speak with a professional, whether a doctor or a therapist. As a mental health advocate, and someone with bipolar disorder, I have to emphasize that healthy lifestyle changes should be an accompaniment to a plan of treatment/therapy with a professional. For more, check out this list of helpful websites.

Featured Strawberry

Featured Strawberry: Elizabeth


This month’s Featured Strawberry is Australian model Elizabeth. When she’s not modelling, she’s working on a law degree whilst continuing her passion by working as a paralegal in a law firm. Additionally, Elizabeth is two months off launching a non-for-profit organization specifically aimed at supporting those in the modelling industry (more on that in the interview!).

Elizabeth says she is, “constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. Haha. I am always on the go and always have a coffee in hand. I am a huge music fan, I love a classic Blink 182, Smith Street Band, the Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball. Business, fashion and education are very important to me. As the Oscar Wilde saying goes, “you can never be too overdressed or overeducated.” It’s something to strive for.”

Thank you for being willing to be featured this month! I was struck by your photos on Instagram, which are all so lovely, and you have a sense of class about you. So I ask everyone this first: Any other redheads in your family? 

Yes, red hair does run in my family. My little sister and mother have red hair. My father has black hair, but obviously carries the gene as his mother (my grandmother) has Scottish roots. My sister, Emily, has the exact same shade of red as me. Emily and I share a love for fashion. She is studying fashion design and currently making a sustainable fashion collection. I am modelling her look book, which is very exciting.


What was your experience growing up as a redhead? Some girls out there (and, hey, let’s include boys too!) feel uncomfortable with how they look, and occasionally wished they looked more like everyone else. Do you have any advice for them?

Well I’ve had an interesting experience. I hated my height and hair growing up. I was always a head and shoulders taller than the other children (and I didn’t stop growing until I was twenty years old). As a consequence, I was bullied in primary school. And I was never ever considered ‘cool’. Now these two things – height and hair colour – are the reason I am a model.

“I think it’s really difficult to embrace your quirks but you manage to love them over time.”

I think you do come into your own as you get older. I was such a shy and quiet child too, and when people from my childhood meet me now, they are taken back by how assertive I am. I am a completely different person because I genuinely think you just grow into yourself over time. Also, things external to your image become less important. I think intelligence, elegance and how you treat others, at the end of the day, is the more important thing.

How did you get started with modelling?

I actually got my start in the Miss Universe Australia competition. I’ve always been tall and have had people approach me to model, but I was so focused on my studies I never really gave it a second thought. However, one night I was going for a jog and a lady who lived down the hill from my house approached me. She worked for Miss Universe Australia in their accounting team and suggested that I enter. She said they don’t get enough redheads entering, (Australia has too many blonde models haha). I had actually just broken up with my boyfriend and had more time on my hands. So I thought why not, life is short right? I was already twenty one years old at this point, which is older to start modelling, I knew I had a very small window to give this a go.

I entered and made it to the State finals (much to my surprise). After the competition, I didn’t think much would happen but within three months, I was walking in five runway shows in Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. My career grew from there. I genuinely owe my career to my natural red hair. It’s definitely my point of difference and calling card.

What’s been the best (or a few of the best) experience(s) you’ve had in modelling?

I’d have to say walking in Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. They are the two big fashion festivals in Melbourne and it was exciting to be a part of it. But as cliché as it sounds, the other people that I have met along the way have been the ultimate best experiences. Photographers, make-up artists and other creatives have made working in the modelling industry an absolute pleasure. I’ve made some amazing friends with other models who are genuinely lovely and down to earth girls. If I have a week of working hard at the law firm or studying at law school, I look forward to a runway show or shoot and consider it a creative outlet in what is a busy week. It has definitely made law school a lot easier, when I have something to look forward to.

You’re the founder of the Model Association Australia. How’d that start?

Model Association Australia will be launching in about two months. It is a non-for-profit organization and a way for me to combine my interests. I am three subjects off completing my Juris Doctor (yay) and also have a BA in International Relations with a focus on women’s rights. So the Model Association is a way for me to combine my legal knowledge with what I’ve experienced in the modelling industry. I felt that having had the two experiences, I have a unique perspective on how matters should and shouldn’t be handled.

Illegal and questionable practices are sadly a reality for the modelling industry. The Model Association enables its members to report and seek assistance for inappropriate conduct or work related issues. This is something I am truly passionate about. I love that I can combine my unique experience of legal skills of tort, privacy and defamatory law with my experiences as a model in the fashion industry to support other creatives in an attempt to make the industry a safer place for young women.

What’s the future look like for you?

I think as I get older, I will move away from modelling and into law/business. Most models end their career around twenty-five years of age because the next generation of seventeen year olds come through haha. I’m not quite at that age yet, (and having a round childlike face helps a lot) but I imagine when I hit around twenty-five, I’ll probably be working full time in the legal field. I am also planning on moving to London. But I will definitely continue to develop the Model Association and carry that forward with me. As I grow in legal expertise, I hope that the Model Association will benefit from that too. Also, for the immediate future, I have three subjects left of law school, so finally graduating will be an absolute thrill.

Time for beauty stuff! Have you picked up any tips from makeup artists on photoshoots?

I have a baby face, it’s so round!!! So to anyone else who has a childlike face, I’ve learnt how to contour by asking the make-up artists what to do! I use a bit of the brown Models Prefer Contour Stick Cream under the cheekbone and blend. Then using a really great brush, apply a bit of rose blush to really soften the roundness in my face shape. (Editor’s note: a couple good options might be Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso or MAC Desert Rose.) I also use brown bronzer around my jaw line to make it stronger, which I find also helps remove some of the roundness.

I’ve learnt to do my eye make-up first. Make-up artists tend to do eye make-up before the foundation so no residue from the eye shadow falls onto the cheekbones, ruining the contouring.

I’ve learnt to slightly over-line the top of my natural lip line for fuller lips. Then fill the lips with lipliner before you add lipstick and lipgloss.

The last tip that I’ve learnt from make-up artists is to lightly spray your face with hairspray before leaving the house, so your makeup stays on longer.

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What are your favourite foundations, mascara, and eyebrow products? I know I’m always searching for all of those and many redheads are as well!

A good foundation match is always hard for me. I don’t have the classic redhead peaches and cream skin tone, I actually have a yellow undertone that I inherited from my father, who can tan. So I have absolutely no freckles, just white skin. So trying to match white skin with a yellow undertone is really difficult. At present, I am using Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation. This is pretty good as it is thick. So if I have to do my own make-up for a test shoot or casting, I can do so (and not look like a ghost under the lights).

My favourite mascara is Too Faced Better Than Sex, and it truly is haha. It is fabulous. It gives you full and long lashes. I highly recommend it. I actually use the black one very day.

I have really hard eyebrows for a natural redhead. They are naturally brown, it’s so strange. So I don’t touch them at all. But my sister has the typical redhead light eyebrows. She uses a classic brown pencil to fill them in.

What are your 5 favorite things right now?

  1. I am obsessed with this face mask called Quick Fix Facials – Anti-Blemish Mud Mask. It is amazing for clearing your skin. I find that after a day of shooting or being on the runway, you have heavy stage make-up on and it can damage your skin. The anti-blemish mud mask gives your skin a really deep and thorough clean. I have noticed a difference after I’ve used the mask.
  2. I love Sukin’s Hydrating Mist Toner. It combines chamomile and rosewater to soothe and tone the skin. It really leaves your face feeling fresh. I usually take it on planes with me.
  3. Benefit’s High Beam Highlighter is great for under your eyes. It makes under your eyes glow – and covers those bags when you have had a late night of study.
  4. I am in love with green tea and coffee. I have about three cups of green tea a day. But I am also a coffee lover. Living in Melbourne it’s hard not to be. So I genuinely drink a lot of Nescafe Green Blend which combines roasted and unroasted coffee beans which has more anti-oxidants than green tea itself.
  5. I modelled for an online store called ‘We Dash Love’. I highly recommend you check it out. It’s run by a fantastic lady who only sells sustainable fashion – check out their Instagram page here.

Thanks again to Elizabeth for taking the time to chat with me, and I encourage you all to follow her on Instagram @eliz_abeth_h to keep up with her, as well as checking out her non-for-profit organization @modelassociation_au!

Reviews · Skin Care

My Top 5 Favorite Face Oils


I think by now everyone knows that oils can be very beneficial to the skin. Brands are now pumping out oils left and right, each one of them attempting to find the next new thing. So we’re left with a plethora of options, and it can be overwhelming. These are the oils that I have incorporated into my skin care, and which I find very good specifically for my dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin. I hope this can help you make a decision for yourself!

1. Jojoba: This is the first oil I started using, years before this trend hit. I began using it as a young teenager to gently remove my makeup without the need to scrub my skin and irritate my acne. It’s definitely a slippery oil, but not as much as coconut oil, in my opinion. I’ve never used it all over my face to moisturize; rather, I’ll add a few drops to a lotion or even a serum. Recently though, with how dry my skin is from aggressive acne treatments, I do occasionally slather some on and let it sit for a couple hours. I’ve used the same brand for years: Trader Joe’s, available in-store or on Amazon. ($12)

2. Tamanu: This was the next oil I really got into. I came across it whilst doing some research on natural ways to help out my inflamed skin. And I liked what I read about it! It’s derived from a fruit tree native to the South Pacific, which accounts for the earthy scent of it that I love, and many others hate. It’s green and kind of thick rather than slippery. This oil specifically can be really great for some, and terrible for others. You just have to try it for a week and you can always return it if it doesn’t work for you!

It’s not only supposed to help with active acne, but with scars as well. A few years ago I successfully eliminated moderate acne simply using tamanu oil and Ortho-Tri Cyclen birth control pills. Lamentably, I can no longer take birth control as it interferes with my bipolar disorder medication. But my skin really cleared up and had great tone and texture. I definitely recommend trying it! I’ve always used the one from Aura Cacia, which is $16 and worth every drop! Buy it here, or at Whole Foods. They also make a tamanu serum which I really love, as it has a lighter feel and ingredients like lavender and tea tree oil. Buy it here for $12)

3. Coconut: This is an all-time favorite for many people, and with good reason. It has a lot of uses, from your diet, to your teeth and, of course, your skin. This is my second choice, after jojoba, for makeup removal. It’s a bit drippier, which you might prefer. Just use it over a sink, and wipe up any excess when you’re done. (You don’t want coconut oil going down the drain as it will clog your pipes.)

It lets my fingers glide gently around my face and that’s great for irritated skin. I sometimes put a teaspoon or two into a moisturizer if my skin is especially angry, red, or dry. My favorites are Garden of Life ($10) and Nature’s Way ($15).

4. Maracuja: I discovered these next two oils from the ipsy (here’s my referral link), which is my favorite beauty box! I had never heard of them and to be honest, I gave a tiny sigh and eyeroll when I first received them. It just seemed like all these brands were always trying to out-do each other with new beauty oils. However, I gave them a fair try, and I am SO glad I did!

So far I’ve only tried one brand of maracuja, which is from Tarte ($28). It’s a bit pricey but personally I think it’s worth it. I always recommend buying products that you’re unsure of through a seller who has a great return policy! ULTA and Amazon are my favorites. (Not affiliated with ULTA, but I am with Amazon.)

One of my favorite benefits is that it has vitamin C in it, which should be part of everyone’s routines as it’s an antioxidant that helps fight sun damage, and gives a great glow over time. After about a week, I noticed a real difference in the softness and radiance of my skin. Woohoo! Also it’s vegan, for those of you who are interested.

5. Marula: And finally, my recent favorite is Pure Marula Facial Oil. First of all, it is really expensive. Way more expensive than I’d ever pay usually. So that testifies to how much I like it! It just gives me such a great glow, and I don’t mean sheen from the oil. Even when I’m not wearing it, my overall tone has improved. Because my skin is dry and irritated from acne and the acne treatments, giving my skin some life is a big deal to me. I’m so happy I got the sample from ipsy.

It’s supposed to have 75% more antioxidants than argan oil (which you’ll notice isn’t on my list, despite the fact that it’s hugely popular; it just doesn’t work as well for me as these do), and it absorbs the best out of all these oils. It makes a great makeup base, when I put a few drops into my usual CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($12). The full size is $78 but fortunately they also offer a Travel Roll-On which is $15, and a great way to try it out. Buy the full-size here and travel size here.

What about you? What are your favorite oils? Share in the comments!

Featured Strawberry · Hair · Hair Color · Strawberry Blondes

Featured Strawberry: Hannah Sabus

This month’s Featured Strawberry is a small-town girl from Nebraska, Hannah Sabus. She describes herself a classic introvert who likes to curl up with some books and a cup of tea, but she’s always up for adventures around town with her friends. She loves her family, thrift store shopping (who doesn’t?), and has a green thumb. In her own words, “I’m only 18 so I have lots to learn, but I’m just trying to grow into the best version of me!”

Enjoy the interview, and take note of Hannah’s experience with henna, because there are many redheads out there interested!

I’m excited to have you as this month’s Featured Strawberry, Hannah! So the first question I usually ask: does red hair run in your family? 

Yes! On both sides actually. My mother was a curly redhead when she was young. My father’s father had red hair as well. So my parents were blessed with two redhead babies haha.

Have you ever been teased for it?

I actually don’t remember being teased about it at all. Expect for when South Park decided it would be nice to come out with an episode calling Ginger Kids DayWalkers…but that was thankfully very brief.

I’ve also never been teased so it restores some faith in humanity that not everyone wants to poke fun at redheads! 😛 Have you always liked your own hair or did it take time to appreciate your unique coloring?

I have always been celebrated for my red hair. Always been stopped in the streets and told how beautiful it was. So, in turn, I have always celebrated it right along with them – no reason not to!

Tell me about your experience with henna. Why did you decide to try it out? What was your hair like before, and what did you hope to accomplish with it?

I have been searching for ways to make my red hair more red for awhile now. I tried hibiscus tea soaks and color depositing treatments galore. Being a ginger is part of who I am so I never wish to give it up. (SR’s note: I felt exactly the same way and so many of us do!) Growing up my hair was always undeniably red. But my family and I have lived in Florida for ten years now, and this sun has given my red a blonde beating.

I was in denial for awhile that my locks had turned more blonde than red. I knew I wanted more of a strong red/ginger color rather than strawberry blonde. I was just so nervous to use anything permanent to disrupt my natural color.

My close friend actually sent me a brand of henna online that in the reviews natural redheads had used and loved. If anyone’s interested, I used the Hannah Natural brand. I researched a lot (came across your amazing blog series) and finally decided to take the plunge.

Was it easy to mix and apply? What recipe did you use?

I used 50/50 henna and cassia. I also added a half part sulfate-free conditioner to make it into a henna gloss. I just used hot water and lemon juice until the consistency was right. It was very easy to mix for me. You just have to make sure you get the lumps out. I applied it in the shower for easy cleanup. I also had a towel around my neck and used my fingers to work it in.

I would recommend gloves because it did stain my hands for a week or so. I put a shower cap on and kept it in for 2 hours. It wasn’t hard for me to rinse either. The henna smell did stay for a little over a week when I got my hair wet.

What do you think of the results? 

I absolutely love it!! It looks like my hair still, just enhanced. Brighter and better.

Would you do it again? Any tips for other natural redheads?

YES. I’m sad I didn’t do it earlier. I know how nerve-wracking it can be but I would recommend starting with a gloss like I did.

Red hair is much harder to dye than any other hair color so you do need something a little more powerful, yet gentle, to give you a good change like henna. I plan on doing another gloss treatment soon!

So, what are your favorite makeup products?

All my favorite beauty products come from my HowToBeARedhead subscription box!! I have so many but here are some of my favorites so far:

EyebrowsJust for Redheads Brow Stick in GingerAuburn, or for something more subtle the Damōne Roberts Eyebrow Pencil in Ginger.

Foundation: At the moment, I’m using Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation in Light 44. Their foundation has such a great range of colors and has amazing coverage!! My favorite powder for us pale ladies would have to be Amanda Blakley Mineral Powder in Light.

Concealer: Giella Custom Blend Cosmetics

Mascara: My favorite mascara would have to be Just for Redheads in Ginger Auburn.

Lips: My favorite everyday lipstick is Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lipstick in Blush Basin.

And what are your 5 favorite things right now?

  1. Book: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice by Tom Vanderbilt.
  2. My favorite face oil is rosehip seed oil. Smells yummy and super moisturizing! (SR recommends Radha.)
  3. Favorite healthy snack, plantain chips!
  4. Weird but I’m in love with my new Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer hand sanitizer!
  5. Clothing item: overalls!!

Thank you to Hannah for taking the time to chat with me. I hope that reading someone else’s henna experience in addition to mine will help some of you out there! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram! ❤


White Noise

This is part of a series sharing old essays from my personal blog years ago. Hope you enjoy.

I’m at the coffee shop inside a Borders bookstore, sipping an iced coffee and flipping through magazines. I open to the cover story in Time magazine, about the drug wars raging in Mexico. There’s a photograph that fills two glossy pages and I stop for a moment and spend some time with that photograph. Its subject is a murdered cop’s family and friends, grieving at his funeral.

I want to disconnect from the initial impact of it, the pity I feel in my heart at seeing these people. I try to break it into bits, to look at the eyes of each person and then turn around and look out through them. There are two women, overcome with horror and grief, who are held close by their family or friends. Did their bodies give out, their limbs so soaked with weary sadness that they could not possibly stay upright any longer? There’s a man with dirt in his hands, falling through his fingers, onto the grave I assume. His face is calm, ceremonial almost. In the corner of the photograph stands a small boy with a smudged face. He looks subdued yet curious. He doesn’t comprehend what’s happened.

This isn’t a rare thing for them. This is Juarez. This is their town. This has become their life. But maybe, maybe, some of them had only been waiting. Maybe the women. Maybe the man with the dirt. They’d seen it happen, over and over, to all those around them. Not yet, they said to themselves. It’s not here yet. Someday, any day. But it wasn’t there. They just waited.

I look up and it is beyond peaceful. It’s hot today, in the hundreds, but we are so comfortable in the air conditioning. I can taste mint, chocolate, and bitter coffee on my tongue. The sunlight is bright and falls on the tables in front of me, where couples sit reading, drinking their coffee, talking very quietly, considerate of others.

Someone’s laugh rises above the hum of white noise.

I know it’s only chance that I am here, looking from far, far away at pictures of unimaginable things. I have the fairly unbelievable privilege of closing this magazine, picking up a gossip mag or a fashion journal, and directing my mind to less disturbing thoughts. I get to look away. That simple thought, that when it gets too much for me, I can close it, toss it, forget it, walk away, be in the sunshine with my love and my coffee and my dreams…well, I don’t have words for that.

But I have this image sometimes, of one of those women sitting at a table in her kitchen. Her baby is asleep. Her husband is dead. I see her with a fashion magazine, completely engrossed in runway trends, the best way to rock blue eyeshadow, an interview with a celebrity with a life so far removed from her own it is hard to accept they are both human beings sharing the same planet. The sunlight is bright and she stops for a minute to appreciate the brilliant orange that is her breakfast, illuminated with golden, dripping, delicious sunshine.

Outside, someone laughs.