Most evenings these days, I find myself burping up little nasty bursts of hot acidic stuff. I can’t fit into my jeans anymore, except the stretchiest of my jeggings, which don’t really count. Dressing each day requires some strategy to cover the “muffin top”, love handles, and the lines from where my too-small underwear dig […]
You may remember from my Valentine’s Day post that Johnathan and I were celebrating Valentine’s last night instead of Tuesday because of my midterms. Hence the “secret” colour: I had to wait to reveal it to John before I could share it with the blog-o-sphere.
When we met, I had red hair. Of all the colours I’ve had in the last few years, red was Johnathan’s favourite, and more than once he has asked me about going red again. I always protested, arguing that it’s too finicky to maintain and tends to be expensive as well. But I always secretly wanted to go red again, too.
So, I gave us both a surprise gift for Valentine’s: flaming copper locks.
There’s nothing quite like sitting in a small local hair salon, as the stylist talks about children and parents and pets with the client seated in her chair. You get absorbed in the pretty people on the pages of Vanity Fair or House & Home as your hair colour steeps above your cape-clad shoulders and music plays just loud enough to prevent silence from reigning, and the conversation blends with the music to become a pleasant background buzz. Beautification is happening.
Beautification is essential for the modern woman, but a local, small-town salon where you know your stylist and there are no huge corporate endorsements hanging on the walls does something for the soul as well as the follicles.
Here at Expressions Hair Design in Bayfield, Ontario, the smell of peroxide and hair dye mingles with that warm breeze aroma of freshly blow-dried hair as owner and stylist Natali Tarnowski goes busily about her business of washing, cutting, drying, curling, and chatting.
Expressions is a gem hidden away in the side of one of the buildings on the heritage Main Street of Bayfield, and Natali is a gem of a proprietor. None of her clients, old or young, seem fazed by the young stylist’s close-cropped bright cherry red hair, the rose tattooed on her throat, her other tattoos and piercings, or her fantastically individual style: pastel tie-dyed t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up a-la-5o’s-greaser, and skinny dark grey jeans tucked into beige leather lace-up, pointy-toed boots.
Natali is the heart and soul of Expressions, but seated in her chair and listening to her talk, you’d think you were. I went in for a much-needed haircut (and surprise colour) today. It was only my second visit, but I now know why my friends from miles around head to Bayfield to get Natali to cut their hair: she’s sweet. And she’s good!
You can find Expressions Hair Design on Facebook, or call Natali at 519-565-5800 to make an appointment. Make sure to let her know that you read my blog. 🙂
Now that you have Alan Jackson in your head or are groaning at my terrible pun, I should apologize. Sorry.
I think perhaps only the girls with naturally curly hair will get this post. Though we envy those with sleek, shiny, “perfect” hair, we always secretly wish we could sock it back to ’em with smooth, voluminous waves and corkscrews, preferably ones that we did not spend a lot of time and money on.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried every product you have ever heard of: serums, creams, masques, oils, mousses, gels, leave-in conditioners, or even goopy natural things like avocado or honey.
The cycle of frustration when a product eliminates only 50% of the frizz inevitably leads us back to the oh-so-wicked straighteners and blow-dryers, or even chemical straightening agents that make our own follicles unrecognizable to us for months or years at a time. Yikes.
Every now and then, you feel confident enough to go “natural”, but it rarely lasts long, at least not if you’re trying to look nice on a regular basis. If you don’t care, you just throw it up in a bun and hope it doesn’t make you look either adolescent or elderly.
When I was about 22, a person I cared about nicknamed me Olive Oyl because of my perpetually-present topknot. One day, while flying from Canada through the States to Mexico, Ihad a layover at an American airport. I had left my hair down that day, and was very surprised at the difference in the attention I got from the waiter and the barista, etc. They smiled at me! I took note. And felt empowered. There was something in this whole hair-down thing, I realized!
That awareness didn’t come with any miraculous frizz-busters, though, so I renewed my efforts to find something that would allow me to appreciate my curl in a way that didn’t involve getting up two hours early or spending hundreds of dollars on chemical treatments.
It wasn’t until this past December before I stumbled across what I think is the be-all, end-all for me and my curly-girl problems.
My magic solution? One word: conditioner.
A friend named Susan posted this article on Facebook a few months ago, and, after commenting about it a few times, thought, “what the heck?” and decided to try it.
The thing that continues to stand out to me about this article is the photograph of its author, Dahlia Kurtz:
Perhaps it’s those “spring-lets” that inspired me, I can’t say. Either way, I tried it and haven’t gone back.
If you haven’t read the article yet, here’s what you need to know:
a) Skip the shampoo. You heard me. No more shampoo. Apparently it’s bad for your hair and bubbles ruin our water. If you’re weirded out about skipping shampoo, so some research into the healthy stuff.
b) Take a little dish of brown sugar into the shower with you, and mix it up with some conditioner in your palm to give your scalp a wee scrub in place of the shampoo.
c) Let the sugar & conditioner mix soak in while you finish your shower.
d) I do the application and rinsing of the sugar & conditioner with my head hung forward, hair flipped over it. It seems to encourage my curl.
e) Rinse, if you haven’t gotten that bit already.
f) Wrap in either a micro-fibre towel or an old t-shirt to soak up the water. Don’t rub it with the towel. Be gentle!
g) While still wet, mix some more conditioner and some of your hair goop (my favourite is a curl cream, but I also use curl mousse), flip your hair forward again, and apply liberally. The more coarse your hair, the more goop you will need. It might take some trial and error to get a feel for how much you need, but you’ll get it!
h) For best results, blow-dry with a diffuser. If you don’t have a diffuser, not to worry: flip your hair forward and make sure your roots are good and dry. If your hair is heavy like mine, you might want to dry up some of the bulk of the wet hair, to encourage height and volume. I also try to use the “cool shot” feature on my hairdryer as much as possible – cool air does a great job of setting the hair and does less damage to it.
Easy as pie!
If you decide to adopt this method, I wanna hear about it! Meanwhile, pass this on to all the curly girls you know – start a naturally curly revolution!
I love the chance to snoop without repercussions. Don’t you?
Today, you get to snoop in my medicine cabinet. Heck, I’ll even give you a tour.
Behold, the medicine cabinet of a girl living alone:
Yes, this cabinet is not the prettiest one you’ve ever seen. It needs some new paint, and, well, it needs to be cleaned. There you go – some dirt on me!
Top shelf, left to right:
Stub of a candlestick (faintly visible white thing). I have no idea why anyone would keep the stub of a candlestick. Perhaps in the event that the power goes out and I forget entirely how to get back to the rest of my apartment?
Sink plug which I only ever use if I need to soak something in the sink. What things I might soak in the sink I don’t want to say.
Vapo-Rub, or, should I say, Rexall’s Vapourizing Chest Rub. Yes, there are still people that have this product. No, I don’t use it. Hardly ever, anyway. But I do have some very comforting memories of my mom heating flannel cloths in the oven on cold winter nights, rubbing our chests with Vick’s Vapo-Rub, and then tucking a warm cloth between the mentholated goop and our pj’s. Ahhh.
Matches. To light the candle stub, of course. Ahem.
Two cheap-o plastic containers that contain a bunch of junk I never use and practically never look at, including white nail polish, tongue studs from way back when, dental floss (don’t tell my dentist), and old cheap earrings. Oh, and nail clippers, which I do tend to use regularly.
The tiny white package on the very left is a sample from Sephora that I haven’t opened yet. I may never open it.
Thus begins the gamut of my skin care regimen by Aloette (which I really enjoy and would definitely recommend): the night cleanser (Essential Cleansing Oil), which does a bang-up job of taking off make-up, too.
Toner is next. I am so fascinated with how the cotton pad can come off that particular shade of scuzzy grey, even after I have just washed and rinsed my face.
That lovely light pink stuff is actually body lotion, called Hand and Body Silk. It’s pretty fantastic: smells refreshing, rather than perfume-y, and is especially nice if you use it as a shaving lotion on your legs, though I’ll warn you that it will clog your razor.
Crammed in next to each other there are lotions, one for day and one for night. I use the lotion for day, because otherwise my face gets too oily. The creme is for night – it’s thicker. Yes, I do think it’s worthwhile to have two creams, especially during the winter, when skin tends to get a bit scaly. A thick night cream helps prevent that flaky skin that I tend to get around my nose when I have a cold.
Tucked in behind the lotions is Moroccan Oil, the newest addition to my beauty arsenal. It’s a very popular hair product that many swear by, though I’m not convinced it’s for me. Shame, because it cost me about $40.
The tiny tube is eye cream. I’m guilty of not using it every day, even though my mother said I should. It’s just one extra step that I keep thinking isn’t really necessary… yet. When I get crow’s feet, I will wish I had been putting it on every day since turning 5.
The small bottle with a pump is called Time Repair Serum. I think it’s to prevent my skin from aging, but in the meantime, I feel like it helps keep my skin nice and smooth. Or maybe that’s the same thing.
Behind the Time Repair is Visible Aid, a first-aid cream that really does a great job at helping heal cuts and scrapes and burns.
Thus ends the Aloette parade. Next in line is a character that needs no introduction, other than: “nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea,” the latter of which, of course, a lady never gets.
Last and certainly least used seeing as how it’s redundant, another toner, this time by Aveeno. From when I used to use an Aveeno cleansing regimen. I presume it won’t go bad…
Avon “moisture effective” eye makeup remover lotion: a staple practically since I started wearing makeup. It’s cheap and effective, so why switch it up? In case you’re interested, I found out yesterday that it’s on sale for $0.99 right now! Time to call your Avon lady…
Hidden in the back left corner is a shine product for my hair which I obviously never use. But should, no doubt.
Next is something that could be slightly embarrassing because it’s not something most people would buy: a crystal deodorant stick. I got it from a health food store, then stopped using it because, well, I like Degree antiperspirant a lot, and had always used it. But, a couple of VIPs in my life reminded me that it’s worth it to not smell “shower clean” in exchange for using something that hasn’t been linked with breast cancer (antiperspirant, FYI). So, I made the switch, and only use antiperspirant if I have forgotten deodorant somehow. It’s different, sure, and has no smell, but it really works, and I feel much better about the whole scenario. Worth a try, both for men and women!
After that whole diatribe about MY deodorant, here’s a spare stick for my boyfriend. Sometimes, you just need an extra dab or two.
Clearly, my cotton supplies are low. Typically, those three jars contain, from left to right, cotton pads, Q-tips, and cotton balls. I need a trip to the drugstore.
The bottle in the corner with the pink on it is an ear-care product that has gotten me through several infections. Available at Claire’s, I believe.
And front right, a generic cream to help heal scars. Exotic, right?
There you have it: a sneak peek inside my medicine cabinet. Nothing crazy. And now you don’t have to worry about being caught in the act someday when I throw a dinner party and put marbles inside the medicine cabinet to embarrass the snooper. YOU’RE the “dirty birdy”, not me (thanks, Clinton Kelly, for that fabulous idea).
I get wanting to look sexy. I do. But isn’t there a line? Does anyone else think there’s a line between sexy and naked?
I fear that too few girls and women these days (yup, Imma throw out a “these days”) know where that line is. Either that or they don’t care. Either that or I’m the one that’s confused, and what looks sexy to me is really the equivalent of wearing a floor-length flannel nightgown, and what looks naked to me is prim and proper evening attire.
“But we’re young!”
So being young exempts you from respecting yourself?
“But we’re young and stupid!”
I’ll give you the stupid part. Wait – you made it into one of Canada’s best universities, so you can’t really be stupid.
“But we’re young and stupid and DRUNK!”
Ah. With alcohol involved, nothing matters. Especially your self-respect.
“Well…. we’re horny. So… You know.”
So you’re willing to look like you don’t respect yourself, put all your goodies on display for guys you don’t know, freeze your toes off wading through snow in your heels and bare legs, spend a lot of money on booze and cabs, feel like crap the next day, not to mention doing exactly what every other girl around you is doing, just for a chance at getting rubbed up against by an equally drunk and stupid stranger?
–is doing it? Sorry, hon, but that is a very old and clichéd line.
There’s something going on here that has to do with gender stereotypes and patriarchal values and the effect of the media, but without delving into much of the academic stuff, I wanna ask about something along the lines of myth and ideology: doesn’t it make you feel dirty, putting yourself on display like that in exchange for something temporary and meaningless? Don’t you know that you’re the one getting the short end of the stick?
I get wanting to feel sexy, wanting to look sexy.
What I don’t get is wanting to wear less clothes than a prostitute while paying for your own booze, then giving it all away to a random guy, for free.
“But we don’t pay for our drinks – the random guys buy them.”
WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?! Clearly nothing else matters.
This may be the prettiest shade of red ever. In the realm of nail polish, I mean. It’s that perfect tone of cherry red. It’s even called “Cherry”! It also cost about $4. From Joe Fresh. Go figure! Today is only day 2, so I’m not sure o it’s staying power, but I’m hoping that […]
I am studying for an exam on Sunday. The course is called The Meaning of Technology, and this study session has me trying to dig deeply into topics like cyberspace and nanotechnology and what it means to be a cyborg–fascinating yet somewhat frightening topics.
My eyes stray back and forth from my notes to the TweetDeck notifications, hoping for something juicy, funny, thought-provoking, some worthy distraction (who are we kidding–they’re ALL worthy distractions when you’re studying!). Then, one Huffington Post tweet catches my eye, and my interest.
It’s a “Green” blog article, one of the few HuffPost pages I don’t follow… yet. The blog post isn’t so much a blog post as a collection of videos of the amazing natural phenomenon Aurora Borealis, also called the Northern Lights.
The video wouldn’t show on Firefox, and, so fascinated was I about the prospect of seeing a video of the famed but elusive Northern Lights, that I even lowered myself to opening Safari, which, of course, complied with my command to “Play!” the video.
Sometimes, nature is worth checking out of “reality” for. Sometimes, sacrificing some time from all of our responsibilities and duties and busyness to marvel at how these phenomena come to be is worth it.
Presenting: Aurora Borealis (turn up the volume)
(and you’ll need a browser other than Firefox, it seems. sorry. :s)
1. I suck for having procrastinated from writing for ever so long. You may not care, but I know the truth: I officially suck for not taking the time to record all of the freakin’ fabulous thoughts I’ve had over the last several months. Some of the blame can be laid on the following inconsequential pastimes: work, two bands plus other music projects, and being there for my family.
2. While I initially anticipated the arrival of winter with fear and trepidation, now that it has been asserting its climatic domination of my area for weeks, I’ve mostly gotten used to it. I had some noteworthy help from a few contributors: the Fionas (my amazing knee-high, sexy black leather boots), elbow-length black leather gloves, snow tires, and CAA, with an honourable mention to hemp hearts and espresso.
3. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I have a new bible that has very little to do with spirituality but everything to do with great taste. As happens with many great things, I stumbled upon this book in a local store that I hadn’t set foot in for a long while, and I can’t get enough of it. My new bible is written by What Not To Wear‘s Clinton Kelly, and it’s called: Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally be Better Than Everyone Else.
Clinton’s approach is very humourous, but truly, truly fabulous. These pages are chock-full of common-sensical advice, from how to match patterns to how-to recipes for great appetizers to good manners. I love it, and possibly not platonically! I’ve been accused of being too proper, caring too much about grammar, and being picky about lighting, and now I find myself vindicated by Mr. Kelly. Alleluia!
I simply can’t leave it at that, I’m sorry. This book will likely stay on my coffee table for decades to come, and all of you who care will be able to leaf through it and glean its wisdom for yourself. Honestly, where else can you find all of this basic good advice in one very fun, well-published, entertaining format?
This is the book that I’ve been waiting to discover for all of my adult life. Or, at least since I discovered how fabulous one can be and my true potential for achieving it.
A great paragraph:
When throwing a party, you must sanitize and guest-proof your bathroom. If the bathroom that will be used by your guests is not absolutely spotless, you will quickly get a reputation as a dirty birdy. And then, nobody will eat the food you’ve made because they’re afraid of catching hepatitis.
Just sayin’: great writing, right?
Here’s another tidbit:
If chopping onions makes you cry, hold a few unlit matches in your mouth. The sulfur is supposed to absorb some of the onion fumes. You can also hold a slice of white bread in your mouth. Either way, you’ll look like an idiot. Also, try throwing the onion in the freezer for a bit before you chop it. The colder the onion, the less fumes. Personally, I don’t mind a good cry. In fact, if I cry while chopping the onions, I’ll run to the bathroom mirror and recite one of my favorite lines from Poltergeist: “Don’t you touch my babies!!!” It’s the part where the kids are being sucked into the bedroom closet for the second time and JoBeth Wiliams is at HER WIT’S END! It’s very dramatic. (Hi, JoBeth, if you’re reading this!!!)
I mean, come on! Mixing great advice with self-deprecating humour and pop-culture references? What could be better in a self-help book?
4. I have to go now. I have some more reading to do before I’ll be ready to host any freakin’ fabulous Christmas parties. Ta Ta.