Sunday, October 30, 2011

break?

Dear reader,

I know it. I've been a terrible blogger. I really thought I'd pick my blogging up after this summer ended. Wrong. And now, I'm asking for a break. I know, how uncharacteristic of me.

The reason why I haven't picked up my blog is because I've been trying to focus on other important areas of my life. Areas like school, family, friends and church. You know, the important stuff in life. Mostly though I've been trying to focus on the most important person in my life: Jesus.

I promise I'll pick the blog up once December rolls around, but for now I'm going to extend this break for another month. I want to spend less time on the internet, and more time being with the Lord and hearing from Him.

Thanks for understanding! And see you soon.

p.s. I'd appreciate it if you still stuck around.


Love,

Alla

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oh Dear


I'm just so thankful and bubbling over with joy, that I felt a pressing need to write a few thank you notes. Here goes.

Dear sis: thanks for all the laughs. I love our late night chats, and hanging out with you.
p.s. did I mention that you are one of the most understanding people ever?

Dear nieces: thanks for living up to the "kids say the darnest thing's reputation". You two outdo yourselves never ceasing to say something outlandish and crack me up.

Dear math teacher: I know some students in our class would prefer a more organized schedule, but I think you're great. You're so sweet all the time. I love that.

Dear Abby: thank you for being you. You make Clark a better place.

Dear school newspaper: thanks for letting me be a part of you. How fun it is to be writing up articles.

Dear parents: thanks for the surprise visit last weekend, I was kinda missing you guys...and then you two coincidentally just showed up...parental intuition I guess.

Dear job: thanks for allowing me to keep bringing home the bacon. Literally. Actually, not literally..

Dear Jillian: you're my hero. Thanks for haunting me, it really helps.

Dear middle school group: the transition hasn't been totally easy, not seeing my friends on Fridays and all, but it's been a blessing being with you. It's great reflecting on what I was like at that age, and relating with you guys.

Dear Jesus: thank you for joy and perfect peace.

Dear pumpkin spice latte: thank you for spicing up my mornings.

Dear autumn: thanks for being so refreshing. You are possibly my favorite.

Dear moments of reflection: thank you for coming at very opportune times.

Dear friends: thank you for being fantastic, and loving me so.

Dear doodling: thanks for keeping me occupied during certain less than enthusiastic classes.

Dear brother in law: thanks for making me fluffy pancakes on Saturday mornings. That scent really gets me up.

Dear lists: thanks for helping me remember things I'd like to do, songs I need to remember, books I need to read, things I need to accomplish and all that other jazz.

Dear Excedrin: thanks for your potent capability to banish migraines.

Dear life: thanks for being beautiful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm back, Jack

Hello friends, I'm sorry for ditching my blog all summer. I spent my summer at my parent's house, who don't have internet...so you can probably imagine that managing a blog under those conditions is of course possible, but difficult. And no, they don't live in a cave. They live in Washington, but are in the process of getting a new computer...hence the internet thing.

Honestly, I don't know where to begin, and how to sum up these last few months. God has been FAITHFUL. I'm never ever underestimating Him anymore! Going away from my church and family for a while and immersing myself into a new church with new faces definitely took me out of my comfort zone. But that's a great thing, because I love a challenge. And I notice that in my own life, God is so good to constantly challenge me. I love that about Him. He's not going to let me simmer in a bubble or let other things hold me back, instead He desires for me to change and acquire the abundant life He promises.

Gah...I just can't...I just can't stop being amazed at my incredible creator. How He truly knows the desires of our hearts. How He cares about every detail of our lives. How He is quick to forgive when we mess up. And how He is even quicker to bless us and provide us with our needs. Trust in Him you His saints. Nothing is too monumental for God to handle.

ps. I'll share more about this summer in my next post. Thanks for still tuning in.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

prayer

That's it. I am resolved to now keep a prayer journal. I realize there are times when I pray fervently for something, then forget I prayed about it, and when God answers...I don't right away notice that the unfolding outcome of the situation or whatever it is, is actually God answering my prayer. Or I beg God to help me overcome a certain flaw I have, that seems impossible for me to be void of, and when God does give me victory over it I don't realize it's Him...and may even subconsciously give credit to myself.

I've got spiritual amnesia. I am just like the Israelites who witnessed amazing miracles that God performed, praised Him and then rapidly forgot what God did for them and shortly began to murmur and complain again. I used to scoff at the Israelites and their blunders, before I started seeing the same exact blunders in me.
How dare I complain about my life when God has proven Himself [not that He even needs to] to be faithful and good to me in the past? How could I forget the myriad of answered prayers I've received? How could I still find room to nurture doubt?

I'm so thankful for His patience with me. What a loving God He truly is.
This is exactly why I'm starting a prayer journal, so that I can record His wonderful blessings to me..rereading them sounds like a cure for any complaining and worry on my part.
Have you folks ever struggled with this? If so, what has helped you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

shoe away dullness.

How can a girl have a multitude of shoes yet still discover new ones she supposedly needs? This here, folks, is a mystery left unsolved.
Speaking of shoes, I've been altering some of my flats a tad bit, like adding a trinket or other form of embellishment here and there. I am enjoying that entirely. I wish I could just design and make all my clothes and shoes. Grand idea. What's a feat you really wish to undertake??



Monday, May 16, 2011

stay here with me


Relinquish the mist that's a hindrance for me to see how satisfying you are. Banish the unruly speculations. Blot out the dark inside with your consuming grace. I'm dry and empty on my own, lifeless. Stupid and vain. An ugly monster named selfishness resides, but when you and I collide I'm suddenly right where I need to be. The monster leaves, beauty returns. Lord reside in me forever.

We're all meant to be a pristine reflection of our Creator.




Monday, May 2, 2011

retrospect

Do you ever want to go back to childhood? Everyone is always so eager to grow up. Why do I find childhood reveries frequently revisiting me? It was indeed a magical time full of wonder and carefree play. I don't want to despise being an adult, nor do I want to look back on this very time right now and regret not making the most of it..but I can't help but feel the weight of this childhood clout. What is the deal here? Am I the only one who occasionally feels like this?





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Friday, April 29, 2011

royal.

Was anybody else slightly interested in the royal wedding? The bride looked stunning.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the trouble with X

Do yourself a big favor and read this whole thing. It's an excerpt from God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by C.S.Lewis, derived from the chapter titled, "The trouble with 'X' "

There are two respects in which God's view must be very different from ours. In the first place, He sees (like you) how all the people in your home or your job are in various degrees awkward or difficult; but when He looks into that home or factory or office He sees one more person of the same kind - the one you never do see. I mean, of course, yourself. That is the next great step in wisdom - to realize that you also are just that sort of person. You also have a fatal flaw in your character. All the hopes and plans of others have again and again shipwrecked on your character just as your hopes and plans have shipwrecked on theirs.

It is no good passing this over with some vague, general · admission such as 'Of course, I know I have my faults.' It is important to realize that there is some really fatal flaw in you: something which gives the others just that same feeling of despair which their flaws give you. And it is almost certainly something you don't know about - like what the advertisements call 'halitosis', which everyone notices except the person who has it. But why, you ask, don't the others tell me? Believe me, they have tried to tell you over and over again, and you just couldn't 'take it'. Perhaps a good deal of what you call their 'nagging' or 'bad temper' or 'queerness' are just their attempts to make you see the truth. And even the faults you do know you don't know fully. You say, 'I admit I lost my temper last night'; but the others know that you're always doing it, that you are a bad-tempered person. You say, 'I admit I drank too much last Saturday'; but everyone else knows that you are a habitual drunkard.

That is one way in which God's view must differ from mine. He sees all the characters: I see all except my own. But the second difference is this. He loves the people in spite of their faults. He goes on loving. He does not let go. Don't say, 'It's all very well for Him; He hasn't got to live with them.' He has. He is inside them as well as outside them. He is with them far more intimately and closely and incessantly than we can ever be. Every vile thought within their minds (and ours), every moment of spite, envy, arrogance, greed and self-conceit comes right up against His patient and longing love, and grieves His spirit more than it grieves ours.

The more we can imitate God in both these respects, the more progress we shall make. We must love 'X' more; and we must learn to see ourselves as a person of exactly the same kind. Some people say it is morbid to be always thinking of one's own faults. That would be all very well if most of us could stop thinking of our own without soon beginning to think about those of other people. For unfortunately we enjoy thinking about other people's faults: and in the proper sense of the word 'morbid', that is the most morbid pleasure in the world.

We don't like rationing which is imposed upon us, but I suggest one form of rationing which we ought to impose on ourselves. Abstain from all thinking about other people's faults, unless your duties as a teacher or parent make it necessary to think about them. Whenever the thoughts come unnecessarily into one's mind, why not simply shove them away? And think of one's own faults instead? For there, with God's help, one can do something. Of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much. That is the practical end at which to begin. And really, we'd better. The job has to be tackled some day: and every day we put it off will make it harder to begin.

What, after all, is the alternative? You see clearly enough that nothing, not even God with all His power, can make 'X' really happy as long as 'X' remains envious, self-centred, and spiteful. Be sure there is something inside you which, unless it is altered, will put it out of God's power to prevent your being eternally miserable. While that something remains there can be no Heaven for you, just as there can be no sweet smells for a man with a cold in the nose, and no music for a man who is deaf. It's not a question of God 'sending' us to Hell. In each of us there is something growing up which will of itself be Hell unless it is nipped in the bud. The matter is serious: let us put ourselves in His hands at once - this very day, this hour.

Friday, April 22, 2011

featured

So this realization hit me: I have super talented friends. They're kind and humble too. What an awesome combination. Today I wanted to highlight two wonderful individuals.

I just want to give a shout out to my friend Olga [I sound like I'm on TV]. She's amazing at graphic design. Just pretty amazing in general too. Here are some of my favorite designs of hers.






and now onto Abby...
Abby is probably the most patient person in the world, she's a great listener, a faithful friend, and just overall awesome..not to mention like the best artist I know.
Here's one of my favorites from her art repertoire:
Aslan from Narnia of course.



Oh and she draws unique and really swell designs on coffee cups. Coffee shops everywhere are missing out..and they don't even know it.
Lookie here...



I know they're going to become incredible graphic designers. I wish you ladies the best, and I love you both immensely.

*Oh oh, I should totally get a logo made that says "featured on blossoming branches"...[like the style me pretty one] so Olga and Abby could put it on their blogs [and any other neat-o individual I feature]..HA, because I'm that prominent..actually not really.

*To friends who weren't featured: you are not any less talented, I just don't have all that room on my post..and you should probably just humble yourself and be happy. p.s. there's definitely plenty of opportunities for more posts in the future for you. I wholeheartedly accept bribes in exchange for a spot on my blog. We can work something out.

*Clarification: Abby and Olga did not bribe me, this was voluntarily, I promise.

--Update--
Okay fine, I also have a friend named Artem, who's pretty talented at art. I mean just look at the first three letters of his name. [And he may or may not have bribed me to include him in this post]

Here's a really CUTE [haha..very intentional selection of that word there] design he made once upon a snow day or something.
Isn't it so adorable?


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

alarmed

This here is a sad recap of my latest frustration:

I have noticed something extremely alarming about myself. I'm a big hypocrite.
There is a golden rule, written in the Bible, and adhered to throughout time and by many societies.
The idea is "do to others, what you'd have them do to you."

In my world, I expect fairness just as I expect the water to run out of the faucet every time I turn it on. But I am not a fair person. I contradict myself. Albeit, I'm not deliberately mean, I'm frankly unjust.

I expect my sister to listen carefully to what I am most passionate about, yet when my own niece starts doing the same, I write it off as a ridiculous seventh grade obsession and start zoning off. I hate when someone is cross, and will take it out on me. Oh wait, I got irked at my nephew yesterday evening for an unintentional act of his. It's so frustrating to me when someone is selfish, because personally it's about me not them [I subconciously think this at times, because why else would I be frustrated if something was centered on someone else]. It is also annoying when someone borrows a belonging of mine and doesn't give it back. But, please don't come to my room and go through my closets contents however, as there is a pile of things I have yet to give back to people. Somehow, I find it acceptable to want to change the subject when somebody is [according to me] blabbering about something dull, but don't you dare interrupt me, I probably have something important to say. When I was little, I loved it when one of my sisters would let me borrow something she owned. But with my niece, it's a whole different case, I guess I was more careful than she [right], and she'll probably somehow get a tear in my skirt on her way to church. There's an abundant supply of examples where those came from.

Often, I think it's perfectly okay to do certain things I wouldn't tolerate from others.

You've just witnessed the voice of my inner egotist/hypocrite. A very pathetic, but true depiction this is. In my heart, I am so far from being like Christ. From now on, I resolve to truly treat others the way I would want to be treated, in all instances.

Monday, April 18, 2011

convinced

I am convinced that:
reading the newspaper is still important
the English countryside is beautiful
collars are classy
we need to trust God, He already has the big picture in mind
breakfast is the best meal of the day







p.s. I haven't posted in a while, due to much thinking and other activity. Sorry about that.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

tomorrow

I have this thing for diners, I really like them. Especially, the good ol' all American family diners, where the waitress affectionately calls everyone sweetie or hon. I don't know why I seem to have an affinity for them, but I do. That's another reason why I like road trips, there's a perfect opportunity to stop at some of those. But I'm not taking a road trip tomorrow, this time I'm flying to LA. I'll be enjoying my time there and taking a break from blogging for this whole week. Hope you'll excuse the absence. Have a splendid week!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

biking

I might go biking with a few good friends today. Oh the joy :)


And on Tuesday, a group of us went hiking [more of a nature walk, really] at Silver Falls. The scenery was breathtaking. I'm enjoying you spring break.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

guest blogging

Check out my guest post today, combining chocolate and pretty paper, over at Anastasia's blog.

Monday, March 14, 2011

getaway

So, I'm no Mrs. Globetrot [not everyone is fortunate enough to explore distant lands], but this spring break I get the privilege of visiting my sister down in LA. I'm thrilled! There has been a deficiency of Vitamin D in this town for a long while now, and frankly, I've gotten a bit tired of it. So hoorah for that. I'm feeling pretty blessed right now.




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Monday, March 7, 2011

Honored

I have some news. It was my blog's one year birthday on February 26th, last last Saturday, and I completely forget about it. So, happy late birthday to my blog.

On a more dramatic note, this Saturday brought a bit of a surprise. It all began at 11pm, when I was thoughtlessly getting ready to hit the hay [we can't afford beds]. Sudddenly, I heard a subtle ding. A seemingly innocent text? I flippantly thought so too. Boy was I mistaken. The flurry of excitement that ensued upon reading of the text, was received with questioning looks from my niece [her and I were having a sleepover], who wondered what kind of news could send me into a spiral of gleeful frolic all over the room.
The text was from one of my best friends growing up; we both managed to stay in contact even though I had moved. It read: "I'M ENGAGED!"

And just like that, she's all grown up now.
But get this. She asked a follow up question, a question that we might have discussed back when we were 12 or something, but she never forgot it. It read: "Will you be my maid of honor?" How special. I am so honored.

Oksana. I am extremely happy for you. I wish you both abundant blessings from the bottom of my heart. And I know you'll make an awesome bride. I can't wait till your special day! And I'll be praying for you guys.



photo

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

London

Take me to London :)

EF - Live The Language - London from Albin Holmqvist on Vimeo.

Emma

For my birthday, this past August, I received a beautiful copy of Emma from some dear friends. I've yet to finish reading it, I'm halfway through. I don't even know when I'll have the free time to get to it. Perhaps on a lovely spring evening when I'm not bombarded with schoolwork or anything else? Sounds highly unlikely. Here's hoping.
I'd love to have the complete collection of the Penguin classic books.



Monday, February 21, 2011

He is GOOD.

I've been thanking God for pain. Pain seems to carry this negative connotation with it. But I've come to see, it's a good thing. It hurts, obviously. But what ensues from this pain is a kind of healing. Through pain you begin to see reality better, and you draw nearer to the Lord. It's the best thing to be closer to the Lord. Trials and even minuscule hardships are painful, but God is so GOOD. He is beautiful, the definition of bliss. All praise be to Him; He will never leave us nor forsake us in our weaknesses or troubles.
Thank you, Lord.




Friday, February 18, 2011

happy birfday

I know love is supposed to be unconditional, but I think my sister will love me even more if I make these cupcakes for her birthday. Happy birthday sis!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

elephant

I've got an elephant of a to-do list this week.
I'm gradually accepting the fact that life won't really get easier, and that being an adult means having responsibilities.




[elephant]

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

for Pete's sake


Peter Pan inspired.
This shoot is one of my all time favorites.




p.s. here's a quote I love from Peter Pan:
Mrs. Darling: There are many different kinds of bravery. There's the bravery of thinking of others before one's self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.
Michael: Where did he put them?
Mrs. Darling: He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer... he does. And that is why he is brave.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Allosaurus

Apparently, there's a dinosaur called Allosaurus. It's really named after me.
Haven't figured out if that's a good thing, this dino looks terrifying.




[image source unknown]

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

literate

Yeah, I'm a bookworm.
Wouldn't you love to have a colossal library at your home?


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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

paint sessssion

My friend and I decided to have a painting sesh. I can't wait. Why have we not thought of this earlier?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

stranger

I don't know what your world is like. I see you, using your guiding stick, sauntering through campus. You have to feel where you are going. I'm not sure what that is like, not being able to see color or people or trees. All is know is that I find myself looking at this little world around me with wonder and awe; then you pass by, and teach me that this is a privilege. I remember blindfolding myself for games, growing up, and the sudden consuming black I'd face was a bit dreadful. Not dreadful for long though, because I knew the curtain would be lifted and I'd see my smiling friends again. But you were probably born with this blindfold on, and you're not able to take off. You have never been able to see the splendor of the stars or grandeur of a sunset, let alone your mama's face. I bet your imagination is well developed by now, putting faces to the voices you hear and colors to the texture you feel. I don't know what that is like. I always had a choice to develop my imagination, life did not force me to. It was something I developed for fun, not something I relied on to get me through the day. I do not know why God bestowed this healthy sight upon me, while you had to suffer throughout your life. I do know that the brief encounters between us, that you are unaware of, bear a heavy weight upon me. Your condition convicts me, it convicts me of my complacency and ungratefulness. I have you to thank for that, brave stranger. You possess much valor in my eyes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

student


Too much flow, is not the way I go:


Rugged books clasped firmly
Dozens of thoughts swarming
My oxfords are tightly on
Coffee cup half empty
Dewy grass lies ahead
I choose a treaded path instead
The fog mocks the sun
Encompasses me with it's presence
A mysterious dim essence

Again, in a hurry to get to class
My professor is not surprised
I began to scurry faster
To avoid his scolding eyes

A multitude of humans
All with different lives
Surround me as I pass them
To be in class on time

Friday, January 21, 2011

growing up

So, I was tagged over at the Rife Observatory, to post 7 things about growing up...but I wasn't sure what to include or leave out..so I posted a bit extra..
Here goes something.

[My sister's on the left, I'm on the right]

When I was a wee one:

1. I loved things my dad had. I wanted all his scarves, desk pens, and vintage stuff [which later he let me keep a few things, like his Polaroid and binoculars and a scarf or two, plus some aviators..he is generous]. I have always admired my dad for having impeccable taste, honestly, that's so rare for a guy...and guess what? My dad goes to thrift shops for fun and gets the coolest things & best deals.

2. When I was little, I protested to having any kinds of pets, because I knew I would feel so distraught if they suddenly passed away.

3. I loved to go to bookstores and libraries, and could spend hours and hours there, while time would rapidly pass by. So you can imagine..I was more excited for a new book rather than a new outfit, or toy...

4. I ran the fashion column for my school paper, in tenth grade...yes, I know how cheesy that sounds. But it was fun!

5. Much to my shame, in ninth grade, my incessant chatter during Spanish class would get me sent out in the hall [ahem almost everyday] to sit on the blue "punishment" chair.

7. One year, I was determined to win the spelling bee. I was one of the two people to make it out of my class, but my defeat came too soon..as I was beat in one of the next rounds.

8. I played basketball in middle school, and had an illusionary dream of being in the WNBA. Of all the outlandish notions!

9. My nephew, who is three years younger than me, was probably my best friend throughout my childhood years. I got along with him better than anyone, and we'd have the grandest time together occupied by much adventures and laughter.

10. I ran home from school everyday, afraid of missing my beloved Arthur show..

11. I really craved to be a detective and solve mysteries [Nancy Drew might have had something to do with it]

Looking back, I now see how ridiculous I was as a child..oh boy..

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you read this, you definitely should do a post like this too.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Young Victoria

Finally, finished the Young Victoria last night at a sleepover. And I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the beautifully decorated scenes and dresses. Movies based on history, in general interest me. It's good to look in retrospect.

Friday, January 14, 2011

art & sleepovers

How creative are these pieces?!

More here


Also, this weekend, I'm throwing two sleepovers :). One with a dear friend on Friday. On Saturday, I'm throwing a sleepover for my niece and her friend [they're twelve], so it'll probably feel like I'm back in sixth grade. But I'm still excited! The adorable pictures below are from a sleepover that a blogger had with her cute little girl. Which of course, gives me more ideas. Perhaps we'll make a fort of some sort. Splendid.


Cute, huh?
Hope you all have a remarkable weekend!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Illustrator

Jenny Mortsell, a Swedish illustrator, possesses incredible talent. Here's a bit of her work.














Monday, January 10, 2011

He calls me daughter.

He sweetly calls me His daughter. I am considered a daughter of the Most High. What an honor. He knows me by name. Every time sin calls my name, His voice overpowers. His truth withstands any lie. I will wait for Him, He is coming back one day, and I will live in anticipation of seeing Him. He has prepared a place for me in His heavenly kingdom, and I cannot wait to live there. I am but a foreigner in this land, my real citizenship is that of a different country. I want to hear His voice tell me "well done, my good and faithful servant". To hear those words is worth all the scorn, pain, and rejection this world could render. My heart is overfilled with joy, as I realize all my sin is perpetually being forgiven, and that His mercies are new to me every single morning! His scarlet blood forgives all my sin, enabling me to be pure and righteous before Him. I want to be that girl that He sees..and says.."that's my daughter, I know she delights in me, here is a girl who loves me with all her heart". Wouldn't that be amazing to have the God of the universe search you and find you delighting in Him! That would bring Him tremendous delight. Won't you join with me in the pursuit to grow deeper in a relationship with God? :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Paradox

Christianity is full of paradoxes that don't make sense to the world. Lose your life, so you can gain it. Deny yourself and be last, so you will be first. Boast in your weakness, so His strength will be made full in you. Throw away earthly treasure, grasp eternity. Love those who hate you.
The biggest paradox yet, that will never make sense to anyone blinded by the world: the Son of God [a King], coming down to earth and dying like a servant.

I figured out why I don't share the gospel enough or why timidity often overcomes me when it comes to speaking out about my faith. I've been trying to "protect and save" my life. How ridiculous, trying to protect something that isn't mine to begin with, trying to protect something not worth protecting like this. Protecting myself from scorn of man, I have been wasting my life. My life means nothing, if I "save" it and live it for myself. It will not be worth anything in the end, and definitely not worthy of eternity. If I hold onto my dear life, I will lose it in the end. However, if I count my life as nothing, let go of my self, give up my life and speak out amidst this society and against my timidity [holding firm to my beliefs], I will gain my life in the end. I want to lose it all for Him, pour my self out, and forget about me. God make the impossible by my own attempts, possible through your Spirit. Grant me strength and courage that I surely do not have yet.

This challenge..

Do you all remember this challenge I made for my myself on..Monday December 6, 2010??

Here it is:

Challenge

I have decided I will stop inflicting harm on my hair with a straightener. I am going three months without straightening my hair. It's my new challenge. Natural, yeah. I'm sick of wasting time straightening my hair. Hello waves and curliness. I'm stuck with you for life. Phew.. glad I got that out there, and off my back.



Well guess what? I have kept up my challenge :), I still have not straightened my hair. Hoorah. Of course it's not been three months yet, but so far so good. And believe me, I have had some impulses to grab the straightener, but it's great to go natural!