Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: The Season Begins

Well, looking at the calendar and seeing that tomorrow is the first of December has really woken me up to the fact that Christmas will be here before I know it.

Unlike many of my friends who have all or most of their shopping done, and even their decorating, I haven't really even given much thought to Christmas yet.

We never really have been a family who decorates the house for Christmas far ahead of the actual day. We generally decorate and put up the tree about a week before Christmas. Sometimes I think that when the decorations are put up too early, they have lost their magic by the time Christmas actually comes. It can get to the point where you don't even notice them anymore, because they've just become part of every day living.

As for the shopping, well, I am definitely behind. If I were a different kind of person, I would have been out last Friday, when all the sales were on. However, I just don't do well in those kind of big crowds. I tend to get overwhelmed and frustrated. My husband and I have discovered that Saturday evenings in December are the absolute best times to shop. It seems that most people are busy at Christmas parties and there are relatively few shoppers. We can usually get pretty much all of our shopping done in just a few hours on a Saturday evening, as long as we have things well planned.

For me, the key is knowing in advance what I am looking for. I like to have an idea of what I want to get someone before I head out the door. I'm not a shopper who likes to just browse and stumble upon an idea.

The most important thing is that both of my kids will be here for Christmas, and we'll all be together. That's the real magic of the season. And now that they are young adults, Christmas is calmer and less tiring than it was when they were little.

At first, I missed all the craziness of Christmas morning with small children. However, it didn't take me long to appreciate the peace and quiet enjoyment of the family just moving at a relaxed pace on a Christmas morning and having the family actually sleep in past 6 a.m. It used to be the kids who were up first, but now I'm usually the first one awake, being the early riser that I am.

For the last few years, I've been up hours before the rest of the family on Christmas, which has been quite nice, to be honest. It's enjoyable to have some time alone at the beginning of the day for quiet reflection.

A week ago, I wasn't even ready to start thinking about the Christmas season, but now, on the eve of December, I have to admit that I'm looking forward to it.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Are Salon Shampoos and Conditioners Really Worth It?

This is a question that most people who care about their hair want to know the answer to. There are a lot of people who only use products purchased at a salon, and many of us who use grocery store brands.

I remember the days when I was single and had the disposable income to get my hair cut or trimmed every 8 weeks and have highlights put in every 3 or 4 months. I used to love the salon experience, and of course, I always bought the products that my hairstylist recommended.

Later, once I was married, had kids, and no longer felt that it was appropriate to spend a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner, I was fortunate enough to have an aunt who used to give me just about a year's supply of salon-brand shampoo, conditioner and deep treatments each Christmas.

Did those products really make a difference?

In my case, I honestly have to say no. For the past few years I have been primarily using the least expensive conditioners that are available. Although until I started using the coconut oil soap I wasn't using shampoo regularly, I did have a shampoo to clarify my hair when needed. Again, it is a bargain shampoo.

And my hair has never been healthier looking or more well-behaved.

While it's true that there are other factors as to why my hair is in better condition than it ever was, such as not heat styling, not combing my hair when wet, and wearing my hair in a protective updo while I sleep, if the salon products were that important, my hair just wouldn't be as healthy as it is.

I know I can't speak for everyone, and perhaps people with different hair types than mine might benefit from salon products. I just know what works for me, and what is working for me right now is the bargain basement products.

While I felt really good using the high-end products that only could be purchased at a salon, I think it was the illusion of using only the best that made me feel good.

Of course, it's important to remember that as with anything, there are going to be drugstore or grocery store products that don't particularly agree with one's hair, but I'm fairly sure that there is going to be something in those stores that will work just fine. It's a matter of trial and error. The same goes with salon products.

Personally, I would rather use trial and error on inexpensive products than on expensive ones.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hairstyle: Lace Rope Braided Half-Updo

No, I am not sporting beachy waves created by heat styling products today. :) I managed to resist

Instead I'm wearing a Lace Rope Braided Half-Up. As you can see in the second photo, I rope braided the sides of my hair, using the lace braid method, and then continued each rope braid until they met in the middle, where I fastened them together with a France Luxe Barrette.

Of course it's always in hindsight that I see all of the flaws in my photos. For example, the hair from the crown, above the braids, isn't as nicely combed as I would have liked, but as so often happens, things show up in photos that don't seem as obvious when I look in the mirror. Sometimes that flash acts almost like an x-ray, exposing every imperfection. Since it's dark outside now though, I had no choice but to use a flash.

I see that my perfectionism is trying to kick in. I am supposed to be breaking myself of that habit. Well, I guess that just posting these photos is proof that I'm at least making a bit of headway in that area.

In any case, this is a nice style idea for days when I want to enjoy my length, but keep the canopy hair somewhat protected by being out of the way.

This style could be varied by taking the two braids, combining them and then making a single braid from them. I'll be showing that type of combination braid in a future entry.

I am looking at the calendar, and I am almost in disbelief that November is almost over. Christmas is in less than a month!

I imagine that many of my friends managed to do Christmas shopping this past Friday, when there were some good sales on. I was not brave enough (or well enough) to venture to the stores that day.

I hope that everyone has had a good weekend.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Missing My Heat Appliances

It doesn't happen often, and I don't frequently get the urge, but today, I am just longing to use some of my favourite heat appliances.

There are so many beautiful photos of women with loose, beachy waves that are so popular these days, and I would just love to have that look.

The only way I could really attain that though would be to use a large-barreled curling iron, or use a technique with a straightening iron that I've seen done. I also have a triple-barreled curling iron that gives lovely waves.

I am not one of those people who thinks it's sacrilege to use heat appliances. While I have written at length about just why heat appliances are damaging to hair, I don't think that there's anything wrong with people using them, as long as they are making an informed choice. Plus, some people have strong hair that can withstand heat styling better than others.

Unfortunately, I know I can't have it all. I've already made an informed choice to dye my hair, knowing that no matter how much care I put into my hair, there is no way it will ever be as healthy and strong as if I didn't dye it.

Given that I do colour my hair, I really can't risk the additional damage that heat-styling would cause.

When I used to heat style, I would often have split ends even at shoulder length. Right now, I don't have even one split end.

Yet, I am just itching to pull out a curling iron right now and style my hair into the loose, sexy waves that only hot irons can produce.

Yes, I can create a type of curl with sponge rollers, and I do know of ways to create waves with bandannas, braids and pin curls, but the outcome isn't as easy to control as it is with heat appliances. Also, there is instant gratification with heat styling.

However, I'm wearing my hair down, and even though it was washed yesterday, it looks as lovely and shiny as freshly washed hair. And there are no annoying splits for me to obsess over.

So I guess my curling irons will stay in the drawers and cupboards where they've been for over four years now. As much as I'm craving those beachy waves, I know that I would regret it if I started giving in to heat styling. I should count myself lucky that my hair is as good as it is considering that I dye it.

Perhaps instead, I'll do some sleuthing for yet more new methods of creating waves without heat. If I discover anything exciting, I'll be sure to share it here--with photos, of course.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all, and extra hugs to anyone feeling ill today.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hairstyle: Dutch Braided Bun

The hairstyle I'm wearing today is a Dutch Braided Bun. If you can make a regular French braid, you can make a Dutch or inverted braid. I've mentioned before that to make a Dutch Braid, you cross the middle strand over instead of under for every round of braiding.

I Dutch braided my hair and continued the braid to the ends and fastened it with a hair-friendly elastic. Then I took the braid, coiled it around itself and secured it with a Ficcarissimo in Emerald.

The braiding in these photos looks a bit loose. I think my hair was a bit too soft today to do a really nice tight Dutch braid. Sometimes it's easier to have a tighter braid a day or two after washing. However, if you know me, you know that I like looser braids just as much.

It's been a very windy day here today, and this is the first time it is actually starting to feel cold. We got the tiniest dusting of snow flurries. It was so light that it looked like the powdered sugar on a doughnut. Here for a few moments and then gone.

I hope that everyone has a lovely weekend.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Snow Flurries Are Coming

Yes, it's true; we're expecting some minor snow flurries tonight and perhaps tomorrow. I don't think it will amount to much, but it certainly reminds me that it's not summer anymore!

Actually, where I live, we don't tend to get much snow. Sometimes there is a great deal of snow an hour to the southeast of us and sometime a lot an hour to the northeast of us, but it's rare that we get a huge snowstorm, comparatively speaking. I guess it's the way my city is situated on the lake.

Last year we really didn't have a really meaningful snow storm. It seemed that a lot of places in the U.S. got dumped with a lot of snow, but not us. That's fine by me. I actually can't remember the last time we had a blizzard.

While I'm not too concerned about the minor snow flurries, I do know that it often takes people a while to get used to driving in even light snow, so I hope that everyone keeps safe.

I have to admit that the change of the weather has brought on another mega-migraine. I struck a good balance between resting and doing a couple of simple but extremely important tasks today. Accomplishing anything at all when I have a migraine makes me feel good, and having done some things that really needed to be done made me feel great.

I'll be relaxing pretty much for the rest of the day, and I'll turn in early.

It's also been a bit of a holiday from thinking about hair and hair-related topics for me. I haven't even checked in on any of the long hair sites today. So I really don't have to much to talk about hair-wise.

I'm still feeling content with my hair, and today, it's just up in a simple bun, quietly growing without my being aware of it.

Well, it's Thanksgiving in the U.S., and I wish those of you who celebrate it a very happy day.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Still Refining My Oil Soap Method

Yes, I'm still on the oil soap kick. I'm changing up my mixes to see just what works the best.

As I mentioned on Sunday, I touched up my roots, and often my hair is a bit dry afterwards. It wasn't as dry as usual this time, but I did a deep coconut oiling on the length of my hair last night.

Today I washed it out with 2 parts coconut oil, 1 part shampoo, and 3 parts water. I'm still playing with the ratios. I'll be happy when I've decided on one recipe that I can use all the time. Today's recipe was good. I thought that the 3 parts oil was good too though. I must keep experimenting.

It still amazes me that while my hair is being rinsed after the oil soap shampoo, it feels a bit oily, but when I get out of the shower and remove my turbie towel, my hair doesn't feel greasy or oily at all, and it dries beautifully. It doesn't look as though there is oil in my hair, but the shine and manageability is drastically improved.

On the other hand, if I apply even the slightest bit of coconut oil to my hair when it's dry, it looks very oily indeed.

I should also add that I only had to use a fraction of the conditioner that I would normally use, after rinsing out the oil soap.

It's been really interesting to see how many different people at LHC have been enthusiastically participating in the oil soap experiments. It seems to be an overwhelming success with just about everyone, from fine straighties such as myself, to people with extremely coarse and curly hair and everything in between.

I suspect that once my month of experimentation is finished, I will be using oil soap instead of COing. It's early days yet, but I think that will be the result. I just may have to change my regimen post to reflect this.

One of the great things about belonging to a long hair forum is being exposed to so many new ideas and the enjoyment that comes from participating in the experiments that one is interested in. It feels really good to know that I'm not the only person crazy enough to try these things, and it's a lot of fun to compare notes.

It's been such a long time since I felt the urge or need to try anything new, as I've been in a very happy hair routine for years. It's been quite refreshing to embark on something new, and it reminds me of the excitement I felt when I first joined the forum at the time that I first started my original long hair journey.

I just find it really exciting to know that as much as I've learned about caring for my hair, there are always new things to discover.

By the way, I have read and am extremely appreciative of all of the recent comments. I just haven't gotten around to responding to them as yet, but I will.

To my American friends who celebrate it, I wish you all a joyous Thanksgiving. To those of you who don't, I hope you enjoy your little vacation.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: A Bit On Being A Mom

Is there any role that we women might choose to take on in life that has more possibilities for experiencing great joys as being a mother? On the other hand, is there any role that is more fraught with the possibilities of self-doubt and self-recrimination?

Obviously, many women choose to be child-free, and believe me, I'm not implying that every woman thinks that the greatest joys in life come from being a mother, but for those of us who have chosen to be mothers, I think most would agree that some of the most euphoric moments in our lives have centred around our children in some way or another.

But as I mentioned there's that shadow side. That side that has us second-guessing our decisions, the side that has us looking back and wondering if we made the right choice on such and such an issue many years ago. And the scary truth is that we'll never know the answer to that.

Maybe not all mothers have this experience, but I know I do.

I always wanted to have children. Becoming a mother seemed as natural a choice to me as breathing. During pregnancy I was so excited, but at the same time so frightened, Who was I, I would think on occasion, to raise a child and prepare him or her for the world? How could I teach and shape little minds when I had so far to go as a human being myself?

Yet, the children came and I gave it my all, despite my worries. I did the best I knew how to do. And I raised some pretty awesome kids, who are now young adults. So for the most part, I guess I did okay.

I look back though and I see the mistakes I did make and some that I may have made. I always tried to do right by them, but how does one know if one has succeeded?

Sometimes we have to make hard choices, and we really have nothing to go on except our gut feelings. That has to be good enough.

I just wish that it always felt good enough. Logically, I know it's impossible to be a perfect parent, no matter how hard one tries. In many cases there is no clear-cut right answer to an issue, and we have to go on instinct alone. But is our instinct always right?

One thing I noticed when the children were growing up is how they would remember so clearly some seemingly random, relatively unimportant events, yet they had little memory of events that I would have thought were life-changing.

One never really knows what goes on in the mind of a child, what they hold on to, and what they let go of.

Most days, I feel as though I did a pretty good job as a mother.

Some days, I just can't stop thinking of all of the do-overs I wish I could have. Some nights I lay awake, filled with regret and anxiety over a choice that I made five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years ago. There is no changing the past however. That much is certain.

I just hope that one day I get to the point where I really believe that having done my best and giving them all my love was truly good enough.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hairstyle: Asymmetrical Boho Bun

Today I'm wearing an Asymmetrical Boho Bun.

I did a rather loose Dutch lace braid from my right temple to my left ear. Making a lace braid is just like making a regular French or Dutch braid, except that I only add new hair to the outermost strands as I go.

And to be honest, the term "Dutch braid" is really a misnomer, but it seems to be the common terminology for an inverted French braid. With a Dutch braid, the centre strand is always braided over the other two strands rather than under as in a usual French braid.

After I finished braiding, I just twisted a bun under my left ear and pinned it into place. It has a bit of a messy look, but it just doesn't look right to me if it's too perfect. It should look as though it's just thrown together.

I hope that everyone's week is off to a good start.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Another Quiet Sunday

It's been a nice quiet day here today, and I've enjoyed it.

I just touched up my roots and my hair is still wet. I waited 5 weeks between colourings this time, but really, my silver roots were far too apparent. It's really best aesthetically for me to touch up every 4 weeks, but this time, I wanted to give it a bit more time. However, if I had had a special event to attend this week, I definitely would have coloured sooner.

I was thinking today how nice it would be if there was just one tried and true hair regimen that worked for everyone. It always amazes me how even people with the exact same hair type differ with how they react to various products and treatments.

I feel so fortunate that I've found a regimen that works for me.

I am really starting to feel like my hair is long again for real. I am not jaded enough by the many extreme lengths at LHC to feel as though my hair is "short" at BSL.

Perhaps if I ever reach my goal length of tail-bone, I may eventually feel that BSL is relatively short, but I certainly don't feel that way right now.

I am looking forward to the ability to do more styles when my hair gets longer though, and I definitely don't think that my hair is long enough, but I'm pretty content right now. I must remember how this feels the next time I get frustrated with my hair.

Well, I don't really have anything more to blab about today. I'm going to have some soup and watch "High Society", which is a film I haven't seen in years.

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful weekend.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Powerful Beyond Measure

For a couple of weeks, I've been ruminating on this passage from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson. It resonates with me so much, because I realize how we women especially, often tend to minimize the importance of our presence or our impact in this world.

Although the passage speaks of God by name, I think that the passage is meant for anyone, regardless of spiritual beliefs. If you're an atheist, simply substitute the word "mankind" instead. Some may want to use the words, "The Universe". If your religion has another name for a higher power, then use that. The important thing is the message.

I have thought about these words line by line, and I really feel the need to share these thoughts on this Saturday evening. I hope you'll give them some thought:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not in just some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all, and may you all shine.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Wouldn't Believe It If It Didn't Happen To Me

I have tried all kinds of homemade treatments and different methods on my hair since joining LHC. I've never been one to spend a lot of money on expensive salon products or anything, but I will try just about anything if it's cheap and homemade.

Although many treatments and elements of my regimen have been good for my hair's overall health, I have never once done anything that was so successful that someone actually noticed the difference.

Until now.

My husband, knowing my interest in hairstyles and hair care, has been wonderful with supporting me in my long hair journey. He does notice a new braid or hairstyle, and he does notice when it's starting to look long, but this time, he noticed that my hair looked different after using the oil soap!

He remarked to me yesterday that he could see the difference after the first time I tried it. I asked him to describe what he meant. He said that my hair looked much shinier, and he noticed that it's just falling differently. I asked him to try to articulate what he meant by that, and it seems that he sees that my hair looks somehow fuller and that it falls like a sheet rather than going "piece-y" as it usually does.

Now, I don't know if you realize how HUGE this is. Using the oil soap, I did notice myself that my hair is more shiny and lustrous, and I did notice that it's softer and that my halo hairs are lying down a bit more rather than sticking upwards.

However, I never imagined that the difference would be so noticeable that it would be visible to someone else!

I can tell you that I will definitely be continuing to experiment with the coconut oil soap until further notice. I can't tell you how excited I am with the results!

Well, I had a very strange night last night again. It's still this dang migraine. I woke up at 2:15 a.m. and I was wide awake. I had not gone to bed early last night.

Needless to say, I was not feeling too hot. I was waiting to feel drowsy enough to go back to bed, but it just wasn't happening. Finally at about 11:30a.m., I was able to head upstairs and at last I had a very long nap. After so little sleep this week in general, I confess that I still feel exhausted despite the long nap, but I am sure that if I can sleep well tonight, I may well feel rested tomorrow. Which would be nice. This has been a bit of a rough week, and sadly those things that I wanted to get done that were hanging over my head are still hanging there.

Well, if I feel better tomorrow, I can go a long way to get these tasks out of the way. Okay, I'm going to sip some tea and relax away this migraine.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hairstyle How-To: Twisted Crossed Half-Up

This style is just about the easiest half-updo that I know. However, I think it's elegant in its simplicity. (Photos clickable for larger image.)

I parted each side of my hair from the crown to the ears. I took the right side and twisted it inwardly three times, then took the left side and twisted it inwardly three times.

Then I crossed the left twist over the right twist and secured it with a Ficcare beak clip.

It really couldn't be easier.

For anyone who's wondering, I still have the migraine that started on Monday. I did however, get a better sleep last night. And once again, I'm happy to say that my spirits are good.

'Til tomorrow my friends. Much love to all.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Coasting Along

The title says it all. I'm just coasting on this long hair journey at the moment. I'm pretty happy with my length, and looking forward to the next milestone, but I'm not thinking about it too much. I am happy with my trim, and, well, just over-all pleased with my hair in general. I don't know that I'll feel that way tomorrow or next week, but today I do, and that's good.

I tried the oil shampoo again today. This time I thought I'd try a higher ratio of coconut oil to shampoo. I used 3 parts coconut oil, 1 part shampoo, and 3 parts water in my squeeze bottle. I love the way it comes out frothy almost like mousse. It makes it really easy to make sure that it spreads everywhere on my scalp readily.

Right now, I like the results of the oil soap with the higher oil ratio. The first thing I noticed was a huge increase in shine after my hair dried. Also, my hair doesn't feel too oily in any way. Of course, the true test will be how my hair is tomorrow. If I find that it's too oily or limp, then I will try at 2:1:2 coconut oil/shampoo/water ratio the next time. Really I should have done that today instead of 3:1:3, but I'm nothing if not zealous in my experiments.

I am back into a bit of a style rut. I just keep putting a bun on the top of my head when I'm at home. I do that because it's comfortable, really.

Unfortunately, my migraine did not go away, and it's still blasting away today. I set a new record of waking up early due to migraine, which was 2:30 a.m. I managed a short nap, but as you might imagine, that didn't do much.

I guess given how lousy I'm feeling physically, it's not surprising that I have not been busy practicing new hairstyles, or trying out some of the more intricate ones that I already know.

Again though, I can honestly say that my spirits are good, and as we all know, that's the most important thing.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Writer's Block

I am staring at this computer screen and I realize that I really don't have much to say today.

Just as my tummy was starting to feel better, I felt a migraine coming on late yesterday, and by 4:30 this morning, it was such a blaster that it woke me up.

So I'm not feeling too comfortable at the moment, and the computer screen is not my friend right now.

I am a bit frustrated because there are still a couple of things on my to-do list that I wanted to get done and over with today, but I've been unable to, due to this migraine.

I'm hoping that this one will go away swiftly and not linger for days.

The house seems so quiet this week with my daughter gone back home and my son working full time hours. Even though he's considered a part-time employee, he's getting a lot of work. I know he's going to be really happy with the next few paycheques that he gets.

I  am just wishing that I too could get out and work. It's migraine days like today though, that makes me wonder just when I'll be able to feel confident enough regarding my reliability in to take on work. I have way too many days when I can't function and if I had to work in this condition--well, I just couldn't. I don't think I'd make a good impression at any job if I had to leave work half-way through a day because I couldn't see straight.

Surprisingly though, my spirits are quite good, and I'm happy to have shed, for now at least, the gloom that permeated my existence a couple of weeks ago.

This is a total non-sequitur, but I've had an urge to buy some new makeup lately. Unfortunately, especially with the big plumbing expense, this is not a good time. Once things right themselves money-wise I'm going to treat myself to some new eyeshadow, I think. Or a new brand of mascara. Or both.

Well, that's about all the writing I can do for today. My eyes are telling me to stop. Plus, I think I've just been whining.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oil Shampoo

I have been following a thread on LHC that Ktani started and references in this blog entry of hers.

In researching hair care for movie stars from the past, she found that Carole Lombard's hair stylist used an oil shampoo that contained coconut oil and castile soap. Ktani did an amazing amount of research on the benefits of using an oil shampoo containing coconut oil. Since that time, many LHC members have been working to create a mix of coconut oil and shampoo that will work for them.

Today I was going to do that protein treatment that I've been talking about for a couple of days, but I still wasn't up to having a deep treatment on my head for an hour, so I thought I'd experiment with creating an oil shampoo.

Because my hair is colour treated, I know how important it is to make sure that I have enough protein in my hair. Coconut oil helps to protect the protein level in the hair, and after weeks of just observing the results of the the oil shampoo recipes that various LHC members have tried, I decided that even though I am a Conditioner Only girl, it couldn't hurt to give this a try, since I had all of the necessary ingredients handy.

For this experiment I mixed one part Down Under Naturals Fruit Kicks shampoo for colour-treated hair, and one part shampoo in a squeeze bottle. I then added one part warm water and I shook up the concoction (I ran the bottle under hot water for long enough to melt the coconut oil first).

When I got into the shower, I rinsed my hair thoroughly with water and then squeezed small amounts of the shampoo mixture on my scalp. It lathered up beautifully, and it had a lovely silky feeling as I washed it. I allowed the lather to reach the ends of my hair so that it could take up some of the oil, and I massaged my scalp for a minute or so.

I rinsed my hair thoroughly and I then added conditioner to the length of the hair from the nape down. I performed the rest of my showerly duties, rinsed my hair well, and then followed with my usual diluted ACV rinse.

I had been concerned that it would leave my hair feeling oily, but that was not the case. My hair feels clean but soft and it dried quite quickly and without any tangles.

It's far too soon to tell if this shampoo method will be beneficial, but I'm willing to experiment with it for a while. When I feel that I've experimented enough, I'll post the results here and also give my results to Ktani.

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful day it was here! Although the weather forecasts showed cloudy skies for this week, it turned out to be a lovely, mild and sunny day. I am feeling much better than I did, although my tummy is not quite back to normal. At least I slept better last night, and I was able to complete some tasks that I was not looking forward to doing, but that I knew needed to be done.

While I didn't set any records for accomplishments today, I did get to finish off a couple of errands that were weighing heavily on me, so I call that good.

I want to say hello to Viiryen, and thank you for posting a comment yesterday!

I guess that's it for today.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rainy Sunday

Yes, it's been a rainy day, perfect for someone who is still getting over a tummy bug. Happily, I'm not feeling the damp chill that I felt yesterday. I'm still not feeling up to par, but I was able to eat a little bit today. Unfortunately, I've been awake since 4 a.m., so my mind is still a little bit dull, as is my body. Early to bed, I guess.

Well, there must be something in the air, because I've noticed an unusual number of friends and LHC members wanting to cut their hair. I wonder if it has something to do with the time of year. I do know that the last time I cut my hair short was around this time of year. I don't know.

I've said before that I really like shorter cuts on some people, but the only thing that worries me is when people make impulsive decisions. It takes years to grow out very short hair, especially layered cuts. On the other hand, hair does grow back. Well, that's why I always suggest the two-week rule. A well thought out cut is likely to be a more successful cut than an impulsive cut is likely to be.

As for me, with being ill the last couple of days, I really haven't been thinking about or doing anything with my hair at all. I guess it's been a few days of benign neglect. I've just basically kept it up in a bun, doing it no harm, but not treating it especially well.

I really need to do that protein pack, because I can tell that my hair needs some protein right now, but it's not exactly an emergency.

Well, I'm off to watch the last hour of the BBC's version of  Jane Austen's Emma. It's been an enjoyable series. While not completely faithful to the book, it is faithful in spirit to the book. I don't think there's a TV or movie adaptation of any Jane Austen novel that I haven't seen. Jane Austen is like comfort food to me.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, did what you wanted to do, and I wish you all a good week ahead.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Under The Weather On A Foggy Saturday

Well, this will be very brief. I've got some kind of a tummy problem that woke me up in the night and I've been up since 4 a.m.  I'm not only feeling quite ill but I'm very tired as well.

After a beautiful week of temperate weather and sunny skies, it's gotten very foggy, and while the temperature is not all that bad, it's one of those chilly damp days when one can never quite feel warm enough. It looks like we are going to be having cloudy skies and rain for the next several days. I'm so happy that the weather was good for my daughter's visit. It's so much colder where she lives than it is here.

If I must be ill, I'm glad it's on a day like this, when I'd just as soon bundle up in the house anyway. I think I'm going to get my Snuggie out of storage and put it to use this evening as I watch a movie. Actually, it's a Snuggie Deluxe--it has pockets!

My original plan for today was to wash my hair and do a deep protein treatment, but I'm too ill right now to wash my hair let alone sit with a head full of damp conditioner for an hour or more.

I really need to feel better tomorrow, because I have a few very important things hanging over my head that need to be taken care of.

So I'll leave you all with good wishes for the rest of your weekend. I'll be bundled up watching a movie and perhaps sipping on some ginger ale, which I seem to be craving.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh Dear

Well, my daughter left for home early this morning, before the sun even came up. We were supposed to take some photos of her hair last evening, and also, she wanted me to give her a trim.

All of that came to a crashing halt when a simple toilet repair turned into a plumbing disaster.

To make a long story short, a pipe that should have been threaded into the main pipe was soldered in by the workers who built this house. There was no way to expect that, because in this particular case, every plumber would tell you that soldering is a no-no. So the shut-off pipe was broken right at floor level when my daughter and my husband were trying to remove and replace it.

Fortunately, the main water was shut off in the house, but once the pipe was broken, there was no way to turn the water back on in our home without a geyser shooting out in the kids' bathroom, which would have caused a major flood.

We had to call in a professional at 8:00 P.M., and before I went to bed, the pipe was fixed, the toilet was working, and we were a few hundred dollars poorer.

Everything was in chaos, and we didn't get around to taking photos of my daughter's hair, nor did I get to give her the trim she wanted.

I guess we shouldn't have waited until the last minute. Well, live and learn.

In any case, I realized that I have a length photo of my own hair that was taken exactly one year ago tomorrow. I took another photo today. Because the shirt has lettering on the back, it's another good one to establish the amount of growth I've had in a year. (Photo is clickable for a closer view.)

Since last year's photo was taken, I have trimmed off  3 1/2 inches, which is about a half of a year's worth of growth, so I'm fairly pleased with the amount of progress I've had in this one year.

I am still embarrassed by the thin ends, but once again, I have to remind myself that I need patience and eventually, my hair will be longer, and all of the thin ends will be trimmed away.

I wonder how many times I've had to remind myself to be patient in this blog. I don't know exactly how often, but it's been a lot. I have to keep reminding myself that I don't need to be perfect, and this is a journey, not a race. Okay, I am duly reminded.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

Remembering soldiers who lost their lives to protect our freedom, who so dearly hoped it would never be necessary again.

Thinking of veterans whose lives have been forever changed.

Grateful to those brave soldiers who are serving today, and praying for their safety.

To all of you and your families, for your many sacrifices, please know:

We will never forget. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hairstyle Photo: Loose Wavy Curls

As I mentioned on Monday, I curled my hair that day with large foam rollers to create very loose wavy curls. I used the method outlined in this blog entry, but this time I made smaller sections and used more curlers in the set  for more defined waves than what you see in the photo in that previous entry.

It still only took a few minutes to set my hair with just a spritz of water and my favourite hair-friendly Morrocco Method styling gel, which allows shine, but also holds extremely well without being crispy or sticky.

I wonder if any of you know how much fun it is for someone with such straight hair to have even a bit of volume.

If I had wanted tighter curls, I would have used smaller rollers, but really, I just wanted a bit of bend to my hair as well as some body.

For even longer lasting curls, I would go with a wet set and keep the rollers in until they dried, but even with this method, my hair was still wavy the next morning after taking my hair out of my bedtime bun.

I appreciated the comments to yesterday's entry and I have replied to all in the comments section. I seem to be getting much better at doing that.

Anyway, that's it for today, short and sweet.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Out Of The Fog And Into The Light

What a difference a week can make! Just one week ago, I was in the depths of despair, and I am not exaggerating. Today I can't even remember how that felt. I had to go and read my entries of last week to remember it.

It's really quite shocking how hormones can go up and down so quickly as to change one's entire outlook and personality.

In any case, I feel like myself again. And I've actually slept through the night for two nights in a row now. I confess that I'm still tired--having my period tends to do that at the best of times--but I am not exhausted and my spirits are up again. I am me.

Of course, now I fear the next bout of PMS, which now I realize I was experiencing. It was a PMS such as I've not known since adolescence, which is a time few of us would want to relive if we remember it clearly, and I do. I have a freakishly good memory.

It would all be easier if I had a predictable menstrual schedule these days, but I do not. I long for the days when I had a 28 day cycle, like clockwork. I used to literally mark down on the calendar when PMS would be likely to begin, and that had a good effect on me. Once I had that figured out, I seemed to be able to manage the symptoms just by knowing that I had PMS.

Not so much now. I honestly had no idea last week that I was going through it, because I can't remember the last time I had two periods so close together.

I do have to figure out a way to cope though. I can't imagine continuing on like that until I go through menopause.

In other news, it's been lovely having my daughter here, and we've had a lot of fun and lots of girl talk. She's made a nice balance of time for family and time for visiting with old friends. I have spoken to her and she will allow me to post a hair photo before she leaves. I still can't believe how much her hair grew since June! The eczema problem that she kept going through during the summer is nicely under control now, and I'm hoping that she will have no more severe bouts. I pray that she grows out of it, as I did.

It's going to be hard to say goodbye to her on Friday, but I know she will be home for Christmas.

My son is really enjoying his job, and that makes me happy.

So all in all, things are good. I still have a few worries, but they're on the back-burner right now. And that's okay.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all. And many thanks again to those of you whose kind words helped me through my difficult week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just An Update

Well, I don't think you can imagine my surprise when I got my period right before bedtime last night. It wasn't expected, because it doesn't come these days for weeks, if not months at a time. I wish I had known it was coming last week, because I would have known that I was experiencing an extreme version of PMS and maybe not have felt as though I was losing my mind

However, you know I didn't know my period was on its way, because I was completely at a loss as to why I was feeling the way I did. This is the worst aspect of pre-menopause, because one never quite knows where one is at. Also, usually normal PMS is not as deep and dark as what I experienced last week.

Nonetheless, I got through it, and now at least I know in retrospect why I felt the way I did. It would have been nice though, to have a clue.

I finally had a decent night's sleep last night, and I slept for almost seven hours. I can't begin to tell you what a relief that was.

Today I washed my hair, and I decided to curl it with foam rollers, to get very light waves, as I went out with a friend late this afternoon. 

It didn't occur to me to take a photo after my hair dried and before I put in the curlers.

From what I saw before putting my hair in curlers, the trim worked out fairly well. Everything seemed to be even, and I'm happy to know that I'm one more half inch further in getting rid of my thin ends. 

I do have to admit that when looking at the layers where the breakage occurred, I realize how many more trims I have to go through until I am rid of the breakage line. Sometimes I wonder how I'm going to find the patience to wait for that, but I know I will, because I don't plan on any big cuts in the near future.

All in all, I had a good day. I got a bit more work done around the house this morning, I spent time with my daughter, and I had my monthly visit with one of my oldest friends. 

I also can boldly say, without apology, that I had a good hair day.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Saying Hello

Well, I don't have much to discuss today, so I'm just checking in, really.

The so-called extra hour of sleep did nothing for me, as I woke up in the wee hours yet again. I have grown exhausted again, and I'm basically just looking forward to bedtime. I never imagined that there would be a time when I would actively look forward to turning in at night, but in the past several weeks it's happened a few times.

No hair news, as I was just too worn out to even think about washing it today. My hair has just been out of sight and out of the way in a bun all day.

I'm very surprised at how long my daughter's hair has gotten since her visit in late June. Her hair is just about at waist length. It really looks beautiful. I must take a photo of it this week and post it.

My son is on a stretch of working seven straight 8-hour days. It's a long time without a break, but he's looking forward to seeing the resulting paycheque.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trim Done and Daughter Home

I finally did my half inch trim today. I always have mixed feelings when I trim. On the one hand, I know that I need it, but on the other hand, I hate losing length. However, wanting thicker ends in the long run always outweighs any trepidation I might have. 

I know how fickle I sound. Sometimes I really want to cut out the remaining 4 or so inches of thin ends, and then on the other hand, I feel hesitant about trimming just a half inch. Well, I think a lot of us feel that way at times.

The trim seemed to go well, and I didn't cut off any more than I planned on. I do know that my ends feel nice, but until I wash my hair and see it damp, it will be difficult to tell exactly how the hemline is looking. I have some bun waves right now, so it's hard to tell. 

My daughter arrived yesterday in the late afternoon, and we stayed up talking well past my bedtime. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a rough night, so I'm not as well-rested as I'd like to be today. Especially given how this past week has been, I really needed a good night's sleep.

Tonight I'll be going to bed as soon as I'm drowsy enough, just as I did the other evening. I hope that I sleep through the night.

Well, this is very brief, but my daughter is not going out this evening, which may not be the case for the rest of her visit, so I'll leave it at that for today.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hairstyle How-To: Tucked Draped French Braid

My hair wasn't up to having a length photo taken today, but I took a photo of the hairstyle of the day instead. 

This hairstyle is a Tucked Draped French Braid. It's a very simple style, if you know how to French braid.

To create a Draped French Braid, you don't French braid the hair at the scalp. Instead, you hold the strands out from the head at a 90 degree angle and braid there. As you add each new strand, you add it at the same 90 degree angle, parallel to the floor.

After finishing the braid, secure with a hair friendly elastic. Roll the tail up, and pin it to the nape, and that's it!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Happy birthday Lulu, and I hope that your celebration this evening is a lovely one.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Doing a Little Trim On Saturday

Well, I am well overdue for a trim, and I have booked an appointment with myself to trim on Saturday morning. I'll just be trimming off 1/2 inch to even up my hemline a wee bit and to continue to cut out the thinner ends due to the breakage that I so often mention.

I love trimming my own hair. I like it because I know exactly how much I'm cutting off. I know exactly what a half of an inch looks like; it's merely the width of my pinkie finger. So many people--even hairstylists--forget just how little a half of an inch is.

I also like the feeling of satisfaction that I get from not only saving money on a stylist, but from the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something I never thought I could do myself. And I learned how to do it when I was 45!

I am such a klutz in so many ways, but trimming my own hair and having the hemline look decent really does make me feel good. And it's so nice to feel some fresh ends against my fingertips afterwards.

I won't lie; sometimes I am still tempted to go back and cut off the remaining inches (4 or 5) of thin ends, right up to the visible point of breakage, but having reached BSL again, and knowing that I'm on my way to having longer hair than I've ever had within the next year keeps me from chopping.

I will confess that I had my hair in a braid the other morning, or "Black Tuesday" as I might now refer to it, and I had a momentary fantasy of picking up the scissors and lopping off the braid. The thought of how I could undo in seconds a couple of years of growth snapped me quickly and rudely back into reality. I simply could not and would not do such a thing.

I have made a choice to continue growing, only with small trims, and nothing, barring a drastic medical event, will stop me.

I will try to get a November photo taken before my trim. I hope that my hair and the camera cooperate.

Well, I did it. I slept through the night last night. I started feeling drowsy enough to fall asleep by 8pm and by 8:15, I was off to bed. Reading in bed before going to sleep is my habit, but I don't think I read for more than 2 minutes before falling asleep. I slept through my husband getting ready and leaving the house for work, and I somehow managed to sleep until 6am. I can't tell you that one good night's sleep has fixed everything, but it's a good start.

The black cloud is still there, but it is less dense than it was earlier in the week. I am starting to vaguely see a thin spot in the cloud that will soon be a way out. While I love being a woman, and I wouldn't change it for the world, I do think that we pay for it sometimes with our ever-changing hormones. While they can often be our friends, they can also become our nemeses.

Well, my daughter is coming home tomorrow. Given the week I've had, I'm sure it is no revelation that the house is not in the shape I hoped it would be for her arrival. I feel bad about it, but I am not going to allow that thought to start me off on a feeling-bad-about me tangent again.

I did respond to the comments left on Tuesday that I simply couldn't manage to do yesterday. Even today, my replies are insufficient compared with how much the comments meant to me. I can only hope that you can see beyond my words to the true appreciation that I feel.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shedding Update and Exhausted

Thank you for all of the sweet and heartfelt comments left in response to yesterday's post. I would like to comment on each one individually, but I'll need to feel better in order to do that, and I'm just not there yet. Please do know though how much they mean to me, and I've read them over a few times.

I am afraid that as much as I really needed a good rest last night, I slept very poorly. I think I fell asleep by 11:30, but I woke up just after 1:00am and was awake for a good 45 minutes. I did fall back to sleep, only to wake up for the day at 3:30a.m. I tried to have a nap this afternoon, but it didn't work out.

So, I honestly don't know how I'm feeling today, aside from completely exhausted. I don't know if I'll manage to stay up until 9:00pm, which is the earliest reasonable time I would ordinarily consider going to bed under these circumstances. However, today I think I'll just turn in when I really start to feel that I'd be able to fall asleep. While I'm so exhausted that I can hardly think or move, I'm not drowsy just yet.

Well, I mentioned on Sunday that I was noticing what may or may not have been an increase in shedding. Since then, I've made sure that I've combed my hair well twice a day when removing it from an updo, and there was not an unusual amount of shed hairs.

I really think that I had been keeping my hair up without combing it enough, and the shed hairs were staying in the updo longer, making several days' worth of shed hair come out at one time. I had also been increasing time between washes, so that likely contributed to the illusion of increased loss.

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, don't ever panic right away if you notice a shed increase. More often than not, there's a logical explanation. On the other hand, if you really are shedding a lot, and it lasts, make sure that you see a doctor.

It would have been nice to have some hairstyle photos to display today, but unsurprisingly, that's just not going to happen. I'm happy that I was even able to make a blog entry today.

So that's it for today. I'm just going to try to find something gentle to do to keep me occupied until I can go to bed.

Thanks again, for the comments.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Still In The Black Fog

I suppose it was obvious yesterday that I have been swallowed up in the hormonal black fog once again. Peri-menopause wasn't this bad; I must really be pre-menopausal now. 

Thank you for the kind and loving comments in response to yesterday's post.

It would likely be therapeutic for me to describe how I am feeling, and maybe some of you can relate. I feel anxious, yet hollow. I can't seem to smile. I feel a vague heartbroken feeling. I feel literally and figuratively almost paralyzed, in body and in mind. My mind feels clogged up. I have a lump in my throat, as though I need a good cry, but I can't work up the tears. My limbs feel as though they're made of sandbags. My face is wearing a blank expression.

After having been feeling very positive about many aspects of myself for months now, I can't seem to remember what those good things about me are right now. I don't like what I see in the mirror. I don't like who I am at the moment. I can't seem to get myself to accomplish even the simplest household task, although I am going to force myself to do two household chores between now and bedtime that I really don't want to do.

I was praying that a good night's sleep would make today a little better, but while I did have a decent sleep, today is no better than yesterday was.

Most of all, I feel so bad for my son and husband who are living with me right now. They are doing their best to cope, but I am sure that my mood and lack of being really present is taking a toll on them.

I'll be discussing all of this with my doctor, since it's no longer just a fluke of a mood that is just lasting a day or two. I was feeling much better for several days, but this fog returned so completely and without notice. This is not the blues. This is the blacks, and it's not pretty.

My daughter is coming home on Friday for that week's visit. I pray that I can feel like a functioning human being during her visit, or I don't know how I'll cope. I'm just hanging on by a thread, but I am hanging on.

So I'll reiterate; I will be discussing all of this with my doctor. And no, I'm not at the point of doing anything self-destructive in any way.

I know that there is a way out of this fog. I just have to find it.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mental Health Day

I have absolutely nothing positive to say about myself or my hair today, so I suppose the least said, the better.

I think I need a mental health break today.

I hope to talk to you tomorrow.