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Shade Of Ashes


Location: Houston, TX
Zipcode: 77069
Country: US


Blogs: 5
images: 94

My Dreads Are A Year Old!

By Shade Of Ashes, 2013-09-01

Hello Otherbeasties! I know many of you have been waiting for this update to arrive and so here it is... time to talk about my dreadlocks being a year old! Back in June/July they celebrated their first birthday, so now officially in August I can post about it, no more waiting! So without further ado:

My Dreading Journey: One Year of Dreadlocks

Left: Just showcasing a quick tied back style for when I start doing yardwork or it's hot outside.

Right: Loose and in the sunlight. :)

Time really flew for me, if you'll remember my reason for dreading my hair was a commitment to becoming healthier, growing spiritually, and being a happier person. The journey is far from over... but the amount of personal growth in the last year was astonishing. I fully believe dreads really do something magical to people.

They still like to do some crazy stuff, but mainly they're pretty well behaved for only one year old.

So, since putting my dreads in over a a year ago I've started eating clean - no processed anything - and started doing yoga or walking everyday, and because of those things I have lost a total of 60 pounds. Yeah. Don't believe me? Go back and look at the very first blog entry about my dreads: My Dreading Journey Part 1.

From the front and from the back.

Anyway! Thought I'd give you all an update with pictures! Ready? Okay. Well for starters they had shortened up quite a bit in between 6 months and now, but in the last couple months I've seen some length coming back. In fact my dreads now reach the bottoms of my shoulder blades.

Just a little lefty and righty shot of the two different sides.

They've gotten wilder, crazier, loopier, nuttier, and more a part of who I really am. Anecdotal: I was just up in Austin visiting my family and friends when I decided to pop in on one of my best friends whom I've known since high school. When she saw me her face lit up and she said, "You found your hair!" That right there has been one of the coolest things ever said to me. I love her. <3

In the shade versus in sunlight, as you can see my dreads are happy, healthy, clean, and shiny. :)

P.S. The reason they're two-toned is because I used to dye my hair and now it's growing out... so, it may look weird but I still love it.

Almost everywhere I go, I have at least one person complimenting me on them, asking me how I did it, as well as asking me if they're real. It's quite funny and I don't mind it in the least. I've become a happier person, a healthier person, and I love my dreads. Sure I miss being able to comb my hair and sometimes I glance longingly at women that walk by with silky smooth tresses, but right now this is me. Maybe I'll have my original silky straight hair back eventually - but right now, this very moment - this is me. And I'm happy.

Right: Just an up-close of several dreads.

Left: Two that I "love-hate" right now. Damn bumps.

The real part? Well, I must separate my dreads during every shower because they like to stick together and start forming a monster dreadlock, but that's a sign of healthy dreadlocks. I also only use natural soaps on my dreads, meaning the good stuff made with lye and plant tallow, essential oils, and not much else. I really recommend Zum Bar Soaps from They're fantastic and come in great scents like Lavender-Mint, Cedar, and Citus-Sandalwood.

Right now this is one of my favorite dreadlocks because it started out as a braid and has developed a sort of herringbone-like look to it, so I call it my Red Herring.

I also have this annoying genetically-inherited part in my hair at the back of my head that screams, "Look at me. Look. At. Me... LOOK AT ME!" So, I'm debating on how to disguise it... maybe by merging two dreads together.

See it? I know you see it. Right there. It's shouting at you to stare at it, isn't it?

This guy is absurd. It's literally a bubble of hair on the side of my dread... like a growth.

"It's not a tumor."

Here's my Big Fatty. He hasn't changed much, other than entering his teen years and starting to lump and bump here and there. Whippersnapper.

Anyway, I'm not sure what kind of pictures you guys would like to see, or what angles, but feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer questions or snap photos that showcase certain features of my dreads.

So, there you have it. Dreadlocks at one year old! Thanks for reading Otherbeasties!

Until Next Time,

<3 Shade

Other Blog Postings About My Personal Dreadlock Journey:

  • My Dreading Journey: One Year of Dreadlocks
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6 Month Journey

By Shade Of Ashes, 2012-12-03

Hello Cherished Otherbeasts! I'm so glad you're joining me. <3

December 1st marked the 6 months anniversary of me having dreadlocks! How time flies, eh? I asked some good friends of mine from about the wild notion of combing them out or cutting them off and received a very affirmative cry of, "Just wait!" Give them time, etc. Well, I've decided on giving my dreads a whole year to see if I can't live without them.

I posted up a blog a while back entitled, "20 Little Unknown Things About Having Dreadlocks," which at the time, I was frustrated with my dreads and thinking about destroying them. Seriously. They were doing some really weird things like turning into S-shapes the entire length of the dread so that it looked like a snake. I honestly called myself Medusa on more than one occasion.

They were also going crazy and losing length; it was like watching a vine shrivel up because it had no water. WTF was happening to my hair? Turns out it's just part of the process: my dreads were (and still are) in the process of maturing - they were tightening up rather quickly - which explains the loss of length, and just now they're starting to relax and give me some length back. Don't get me wrong, I still have several dreadlocks that are wavy as bad 80's perm, but I have faith they'll work themselves out.

The part I'm really excited about is that they're feeling less scratchy (they felt like Velcro for the longest time) and more like soft cotton rope that I've heard many a dread-head describe. For me that's exciting because it means they won't itch my boyfriend nearly as much when I lay my head on his chest.

I'd say my biggest benefactor in having my dreads tighten up correctly is by using old school bar soap made by Yardley that only has plant oils, essential oils, and plant fat for lather. I mean, talk about squeaky-clean; that expression never registered until I started washing my hair with a soap that literally has no - and leaves no - chemical residues. That has helped immensely. I suggest going to your local Walgreens, HEB, CVS, Randalls, or wherever and buying an old fashioned bar of natural soap - my friend who used one with lard in it has had extraordinary results - you'll be amazed.

I'm still frustrated with the little loops and bumps that appear near the root of my dreadlocks but it's something I am very slowly learning to overcome and just "let it go." Sometimes. The neat thing I still can't get over is the array of styles you can put these babies into and they'll just stay. You can put your hair in an up-do all without bands, pins, or ouchie things! It's pretty amazing.

Needless to say, at this particular moment, I don't want to cut them off or comb them out... I'm sort of enjoying seeing what they do naturally... as crazy as that can get. My dreadlocks have even made me chuckle on a few occasions because I'll find one that's just... funky. I mean downright zany, crooked, lumpy, and weird... and it makes me giggle. Others I find are nice, full, soft, thick, and amazing.

I took out all my "effects." I like saying effects like Captain Jack Sparrow to reference all the beads, silk, baubles, cording, leather, etc, that I adorn my hair with because it's pretty accurate. But I digress, I took out all of the beads (with the exception of some wool roving that I felted in and some red silk that has worked its way into one of my dreads) so that my hair could have a period of "doing whatever it's going to do," plus when dreads are babies beads can cause weak spots, etc. I certainly don't want to wake up one morning and find one of my dreadlocks on my pillow instead of being attached to my head.

Having dreadlocks for six months has been interesting, to say the least. But the main reason behind me getting them has transformed a bit... originally I wanted to get in touch with my more "primal" side as well as getting to wellness. Well, having dreads has done that and more. I actually, literally, went Primal by eating according to the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. I've lost 15 pounds and 16 inches and I feel better. I also gave up sodas and processed sugars like candy. I started doing yoga regularly. I also had my copper IUD removed. (Foreign objects in my body? No thank you.) My last little vice I need to cut out and cut out quickly is smoking cigarettes. It WILL happen. I'm tired of smoking, tired of the smell, the taste, etc. If I don't quit before January 1st, it will happen that exact day. I'm spending my last year in my twenties getting myself healthier than I ever have been (except maybe when I was born and breastfed). I'm actually quite thankful for my dreadlocks because every time I touch them, see them, feel them, I am reminded of this commitment. Plus my grandfather just passed away on Saturday and it calls into sharp contrast just how short our time on this earth really is. He lived to be 95 years old and I'd like to follow that up.

So I'm saying it in front of God, the Universe, and everything else: Come May 8th, 2013 (my 30th birthday) I want to walk out onto the beach in an itty bitty bikini, healthy as the day I was born, declare myself free of any unhealthy habits, and go dunk myself and my dreads in the seawater.

So, that's how my dreads are doing at the six month mark and where I'm at personally. I love you all and I wish you the best of luck in everything you do! I will be updating before the year mark... so stay tuned!


Until Next Time,

<3 Shade

See My Other Blog Posts About Dreadlocks:

  • Dreading Journey Part 4: 6 Months (Pictures)
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By Shade Of Ashes, 2012-06-27

Good evening my cherished otherbeasts! Aren't you glad it's 'Hump Day' Wednesday? I know I am.

I decided I'd like to share something with you that not many people have seen and that many less have understood. I graduated with a BFA in Studio Art, emphasis in Jewelry/Metalsmithing and even though I should have majored in Psychology, I realize that really turned my thesis into a psychological thriller - so I suppose, mission accomplished. I'd like to share that with you now.

I have always been fascinated by human emotion: what drives it, what affects it, the reasoning behind it; I just really am enthralled with the whole idea. I have always loved to provoke thought in people and the goal of my thesis was to do just that.

Let's see if YOU can piece the puzzle together. Challenge issued!

There will be a quiz following this blog! Kidding. Kind of.

In Latin, Septem Peccata Mortalia is translated to mean The Seven Deadly Sins. This series, SALIGIA, is about exploring the relationships between the institution of human emotion and psychological, as well as emotional, threats to social 'normality.' This idea is explored by using precious metals such as fine and sterling silver as well as yellow gold. These materials, often employed in 'typical' or 'classical' jewelry, evoke the feeling of preciousness, value, sentiment, and sometimes, as a symbol of financial status. Since precious materials such as the ones being used already have implied connotations, to use them to idolize and glorify symbols of social 'depravity' presents the observer with an internal struggle: wrestling with and caught between admiring the adornments as artistic jewelry and coping with the uncomfortable ideology wrought with consequences that we learned growing up.

Conversely, when juxtaposed against the opposing Seven Holy Virtues, which are executed precisely with the intent to convey tattered and neglected brooches in seemingly 'lesser' materials such as copper and brass, the viewer is forced once again to question their emotional and psychological state. The intent of these pieces are to be easily ignored or unnoticed when in direct viewing with the more 'precious' and larger pieces. These brooches can easily sit in the palm of one's hand and since materials like copper, brass, paper, and plastic are used more commonly for plumbing or 'less virtuous' tasks, it coerces the viewer to consider that without such basic materials our lives would be in much less of a clean state - the point to which is that without the morals that the Virtues teach, our humanity would be thrown severely out of balance, and a world paradigm would shift bringing much havoc.

These works are multi-layered, rich in concept and narrative, leaving the viewer to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Each individual work can stand alone as its own statement, articulated in a precise manner, but when the pieces are viewed together as a cohesive body of work, a shift occurs in our subconscious: we recognize the artistic value yet struggle to cope with how the actual themes behind the work resonate within our own psyche.Through subtle dualities, incongruities, and potential physical hazards presented in a jewelry setting meant to adorn the body, an internal shift of realization takes place inside the viewer. Since this collection is deliberately quiescent and covert, this body of work will not overtly or directly 'scream' an answer to the observer; rather, each piece of the puzzle lies in wait, letting each individual form their own unique opinions and take what they want or choose to take from the collective presentation - that is the freedom of human emotion.

So, my lovely otherbeasts, did you fit together the puzzle? Do you know which one of the deadly sins is which? 5 points is on the line.

Until Next Time,

~ Shade <3

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The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

By Shade Of Ashes, 2012-06-25

Hello my lovely little otherbeasts! Was your weekend a swell one and did you go out and shake the town up? If you didn't, there's always next weekend. Dedicate some time to doing what YOU want to do today and what makes YOU happy. After all, you deserve it.


Now then, I know recently some of you were shocked to hear that I dreaded my hair and now have dreadlocks. Let me clear the air a bit by quoting something from a site that I'm going to mention here in this blog, this is the truth about dreadlocks to try and get rid of that nasty stigma attached to having dreads in the first place; most of you are MISINFORMED.



"Dreadlocks are often misunderstood, and have caused much discrimination. Dreads may be thought of as dirty, but dreadlocks must be clean to dread. Often dreads are cleaner then straight hair. Dreadlocks are beautiful, dreads are natural, and dreads are low maintenance - they are care free and spiritual. In today's society, dreadlocks are misunderstood. They are often thought of as dirty, low-class, representing homelessness, drug use, or a desire to be part of another culture. However, the truth is that dreads were often the sign of royalty and holiness throughout history. They predate the Jamaican / Rastafarian culture they are most often associated with today by thousands of years. Dreads were worn by kings and pharaohs, prophets, holy men, gurus, and philosophers since the earliest known times. They were a part of every civilization, religion and culture. Dreadlocks were worn by many figures in the bible as well as famous pharaohs of Egypt; King Tut's dreadlocks still survive to this day."


I had the fortunate luck to have a good friend of mine recommend a "Dread Head" site to me. I thought, 'Oh boo, it'll be another site waving around products and asking you to buy them to maintain your dreads. How boring.' Goodie for me that I was wrong. I was dead wrong. When I went to the home page for The Dread Site the first thing I saw was a picture of a man sitting and his dreads were grazing his feet! This guy had dreads for 22 years and the picture was taken when his dreads were only 18. This guy must know exactly what's going on about dreads so the site must be good. Well, good news everyone!


This site is the cat's meow, the bee's knees, it's fab, it's switched on, it's a bit of alright! In other words, and not to sound trite, it's pretty groovy.


Let me tell you, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. The members are way awesome and easy to talk to. How do I talk to members, you ask? It's not your usual post something, introduce yourself, hope someone responds, etc, ad nauseam. It's a bit like Facebook where it has an in-site chat buddy program thingy. I started talking to people immediately! I was getting tips, conversing like I did when AIM was totally still cool, suggesting things to people when the Head Honcho, The Law, The Owner of The Site, The Soaring Eagle came swooping down and said, "Hi." I was interested that the Main Dude in Charge was singling me out and conversing with me. I had barely begun typing a warm hello when another message came across, "I gotta warn you, you made two huge mistakes." I stared at the screen. That was a heavy message. My first thought was, "I made mistakes?"


My heart sped up. I erased my original greeting I had typed out. Another message from Soaring Eagle came through and showed up on my screen, "Devastating mistakes." My eyes widened as I thought, "Oh Sh!t! What did I do wrong?!... I made more than one?"


I started running through possibilities in my mind. I hadn't read the chat rules, I hadn't looked over the protocol for engaging on the in-site chat program; maybe I screwed up by suggesting things or somehow had stepped on someone's toes, and now I was going to get banned! My heart was racing.


I was in the middle of typing an apology for something I didn't quite understand when his next message came through, "Wax is a dread killer and crocheting is extremely destructive."


"Wait, what?" I reread it. "My dreads? Oh! My dreads." He was concerned about my dreadlocks. Unbeknownst to me he had read my sign-up information and saw that into the "Products Used" field I had entered "Backcombing, wax, palm rolling, and crocheting." This guy that didn't know me from Eve had read my information and cared enough to immediately contact me about the possible damage I had done to my hair. Wow! I was so relieved I hadn't pissed anyone off.


The ensuing conversation consisted of talking about getting the wax out of my hair, making sure it was gone, why wax is bad for your hair, why crocheting is bad for your hair, and what I could do now to maintain them. Basically Dreadlocks 101. Once we had established that I hadn't ruined my hair or put my health in jeopardy, he relaxed and we started talking about random things and he started telling me about a gathering they had been doing since 1972 out in National Parks nation wide, they even have a mini-movie on how awesome it is for everyone involved. This guy was awesome.


Needless to say, I was - and still am - amazed at how welcoming and laid back everyone in the community is. I was also so impressed by the Site Owner's concern over my dreads and my health concerning my dreads. (Here's a little hint of why wax is bad for your dreads: if it accumulates long enough you can develop mold inside your dreads, which can in turn, lead to dire health consequences.) This amazing man was the guy in the picture with dreads at least five feet long! Somehow I was talking with Soaring Eagle and he was so chill and kind. My Dread Hero for life. If you have dreadlocks and you haven't talked to this man, or have never been to Dreadlocks Site, then my friend, you are missing out big time. This is, in my opinion, the BEST site to visit to learn from, make some dread friends, and really just relax around people. It has a wealth of knowledge and even more people willing to help out and offer methods that may work for you. I've probably visited well over 100+ sites about dreads and this one takes the cake. The cake isn't a lie.

Portal Reference FTW.

In conclusion, my lovely otherbeasts, regardless of whether or not you have dreads, I wanted to at least share with you about the Gathering that about eleventy billion people attend each year, out in the wilderness, camping, bonfires, singing, dancing, eating, relaxing, having a good time with good people and good nature... heck, it's basically like the Renaissance Festival without the costumes, just really amazing.


There's no admission and everyone works in the 'community' out in the wilderness for a period of one week up to three months. It's like belonging to a tribe. Amazing. Just go check it out, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Until Next Time,

~ Shade <3

Dreadlock Status Update: My dreads are almost a month old and they're still freakin' awesome! They're in the juvenile phase so they're acting a bit like unruly teenagers and wanting to do their own thing regardless of what I tell them, so I'm just gently coaxing them and letting them settle down. They haven't begun to lock up themselves yet but I know they'll get there.

Sorry, Charlie.

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