Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Mind, Emotions, Body and Spirit

I am a firm believer that mind, emotions and spirit are just as important to one's health as how we treat our bodies.

With that in mind, I have been continually striving to improve myself through prayer, meditation and trying to change my thinking patterns for years. It's really hard work, and it's a long, slow process, especially for a person like me.

I think I was born hard-wired to feel guilt and shame, and I can't deny that my upbringing contributed to that as well. I've often joked that if I were to take a lie-detector test and I was asked if I was the person who shot Lincoln, I would of course truthfully say no but fail the test. Even though I'm joking, there is a lot of truth to that. I've always readily taken on guilt.

I've spoken before about forgiveness, and I've come such a long way in that department. I've managed to forgive pretty much everyone for what I perceive to have been transgressions against me. That doesn't always mean calling up these people whom I may not have seen for years, and it doesn't mean that I believe that their behaviour was okay, but it does mean releasing the hurt, the anger, and the grudge.

What is the hardest for me is learning to forgive myself. Like so many other women, I am extremely hard on myself. Unlike many people though, I have a memory like an elephant and often late at night I remember things from the past, and have many times felt guilt over an unkind word or act that I may have made at the age of three.

However, in the last few years I have made some real strides in that area. I still have a long way to go, but I have finally been able to forgive myself for so many things that have haunted me for years, even some of the biggies.

The real eye-opener for me is that once I have forgiven myself, I release the regret, and that's given way to something new.

I'm finally, finally learning to transform my sense of regret to a realization of seeing those mistakes as learning experiences. I have started to see that I really did learn valuable lessons from many of those mistakes and those lessons have contributed to making me the person that I am today. I am not saying that I have this down pat, but I'm well on my way.

For years I thought that I had no real gifts. Yes, I was good in school, but that ended up going nowhere. I can't play a musical instrument, I can't sing, and I have no artistic abilities. I truly felt that I had nothing to offer the world.

I now realize though that I do have some gifts. They may not be tangible, but they are gifts that have helped me to be a better mother and perhaps a better person. I have compassion, empathy and optimism, and it's only recently that I've realized that not everyone possesses those qualities. They really are gifts! I now know that it was through the life lessons that I learned through trial and often error, that I was able to improve upon and to solidify these qualities.

It's hard for me to write what I wrote above, because it feels strange to "talk myself up", but I think that putting that in black and white shows that I really have made some changes in my thinking. Five years ago, I couldn't have made those statements to myself, let alone to family, friends, or now to whomever may read this.

I hope that five years from now, I have come even further in reclaiming my mind and emotions and strengthening my spirit. One thing I do know for sure is that as long as there is breath in my body, I will never give up.

'Til tomorrow. Love to all, and extra hugs to anyone feeling lonely today.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spa Night For Mumma

Yep, tonight the boys are heading out and I'm going to have a spa night of sorts. Right now I'm sitting here with a head full of coconut oil in preparation to touch up my roots. I even massage the coconut oil into my scalp, as I find it makes the hair colour feel more comfortable for the time that it's on my head.

This will be the first time in over two years that I use non-cone conditioner after colouring. I plan to use a mixture of colour-safe non-cone conditioner and honey. Of course I will be microwaving the honey first, because as I've mentioned before, honey can and will lighten fresh hair dye unless it's microwaved. Microwaving the honey destroys the enzymes that allow it to lighten both dyed and natural hair.

I'll then be rinsing with a pitcher of a mild apple cider vinegar rinse. I can't wait to see how my hair feels.

I've made it clear that I have nothing against using cones, in fact they saved me during this time of growing out damage, but I really do like to feel my hair's natural texture, and it's not the same when using cones.

I hope it works okay. If there are too many tangles I'll just have to do a final conditioning with cones. I'm pretty sure that it will no longer be a problem.

I'm also going to do a few other girly things like pumice my feet and some other spa-like things that I haven't done in a while.

After that, some meditation and a movie is on the docket. Sometimes it's nice to devote an evening to oneself, physically, spiritually and mentally, and I'm looking forward to it.

AutumnLeaves, if you are considering colouring your hair, I don't know about this "staining" idea. I've yet to try any kind of hair colour other than permanent dye that covers stubborn grey.  Perhaps at a salon they have such products, but who can afford to go to a salon for every touch-up?

Since you did ask for ideas, I might suggest that if the time comes that you are going to use dye, consider splitting the difference between your salt and your pepper and use a shade of colour one or two shades lighter than your original natural colour. A cosmetician at a good pharmacy could help you with that if you feel you need it.

A lot of women find that a shade or two lighter is more flattering at our age than a darker colour--our skin's tone changes. Also the roots won't show as starkly as if you were to use a darker colour. It would be essential to stay in the same shade family, such as warm or cool. Of course, you may hate this idea, but it is a strategy that might work if you do decide to take the plunge. I still think you look lovely with your natural colour, but I would be a hypocrite if I didn't say how much I still love having a colour I love around my face.

Well, I am feeling a bit better yet than I did yesterday, so I think I'll finally be saying buh-bye to this latest bout of migraine/cluster headache.  Won't be sorry to see it go.

It's another beast of a day outside. The heat index/humidex as I type this is 40C/104F. I am so glad that I don't live down in the city. I'm sure the air is not too lung-friendly down there. Well, I do live in the city, but in this particular city, we call where I live "on the mountain" and the  area below the escarpment is called "in the city".

I'm off now to continue marinating in coconut oil for about a half hour and then the boys will head out and I will start with touching up my roots. Woo-hoo!

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all, and extra hugs to anyone hurting from a loss today.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Responding to Comments on a Sunny Sunday

There have been some comments left here that I've wanted to respond to, and it's likely easier to do it in a blog entry than to go back to the individual entries and reply. I doubt that anyone would find my responses in those past entries at this point.

Lulu, I really enjoyed hearing about your outing to Mapleview Mall, and I shared your delight with your purchases. I look forward to a time when I'm ready to get a few new pieces for my wardrobe, which is getting older and more worn out by the day. And you're right; I am a long haired girl through and through. I'm happy that you liked the Rose Bun, and while you may not be able to make a full bun at your length, you can likely do a partial updo Rose Bun, on a day when you don't mind having some hair on your neck.  Once the autumn hits, I love wearing half-ups; I don't know about you. Or you could try double or triple Rose Buns.

AutumnLeaves, I'm happy to know that I'm not the only gal with an inner geek. I have to admit that while fixing that computer ended up being more challenging than I anticipated, it was a very enjoyable experience. It certainly helped take my mind off the migraine.  

I simply cannot believe that your SIL told you that you need a haircut. You'd think that at our age, people would just leave us be. It really never ends, does it?  I do hope that you come up with a plan for your hair that makes you happy. By the way, the quotes on aging that I posted yesterday all had a great deal of meaning for me, but when I was typing the Barrymore quote, I honestly thought of you, and I knew you would like that one.

Oh yes, Melanie, it is exciting to see results when growing out damage.  Congratulations to you on hitting the 3 inch circumference milestone. Like you, I will never have extreme thickness, but I'm extremely happy with what I have. I can't imagine hair much thicker than mine has gotten, although I know people with 5 inches or more in circumference. I don't even know how they manage to do updos! So you live fairly close to where I live as well. I am so relieved that I'm not the only one who doesn't think that summer weather rocks. 

Linda, thank you for the kind words about the Rose Bun. Your hair will be long enough to do it before you know it! I think BSL with no layers is a great goal, by the way. I agree that it's something nice to do for yourself.

It was wonderful to hear from you, Agnes. I haven't been around the forums or elsewhere of late, so it meant all that much more. I'm so happy that you liked the updo.

Hi, andwife! I was happy to read your comments. I have to admit that I love hearing about people growing to new lengths over the age of 40. How long is your hair now?  Waist length is such a beautiful length, I think. It's very long, but not extreme.  I'm sorry to hear that you also deal with migraines as well as CDH. I hope beyond hope that you find that formula that helps you to feel better. I think the toughest thing about chronic conditions is learning to live within the new parameters that they cause. I'll never give up believing that there will be a cure though.

Hello to you as well, MissySue! I'm happy that you like the Figure 8. To answer your questions, when I did that updo my hair was about 24 1/2 inches/ 62cm long from hairline to tip. My hair is also medium in thickness, although thinner toward the ends. I have quite a taper at the moment. At your length, I could do a Figure 8 half-up.

Ohtawen, this is the thickest my hair has ever been, so I really appreciate your kind words. I confess that I'm in awe myself of this new thickness. It was entirely unexpected. I'd love to see a photo of your folded braid. I also do folded braids started closer to the nape from time to time, but in the summer, I find it more comfortable when I start the braid closer to the crown. 

Liliana, I am so happy that you liked the quotes I chose on aging. Every one has special meaning to me and I'm delighted that they touched you as well.

SchnauzerMom, thank you for your constant supportive comments. They are much appreciated.

To all of you who read, but do not comment, my thanks to you as well.

Most of all, thank you all for supporting me and wishing me well during this rough migraine ordeal. It's not yet gone away, but I think it's slightly better today. At this point, I've  been in pain for so many days that it's hard to tell.

I still have not touched up my colour, but since I've not been out much what with the migraine/cluster headache combo, it's really not a big deal. The added bonus is that it gives my hair a bit of a rest.

I've pretty much been living with my hair in a plain cinnamon bun right on the center of the top of my head since I've been under the weather. I find that to be a very comfortable place for a bun, as it doesn't cause "bun ache" for me. 

I am neck deep in dirty laundry right now, among other things, so I really need to start feeling better. Laundry is one of the tasks that requires a lot of bending over, and it's just not compatible with how I'm feeling.

Every day I keep hoping that I'll be up to making a new video, but that day still hasn't come. I'm still planning on doing a Figure 8 for my next video. I hope that when I'm feeling better and ready, my hair will cooperate.

I hope that everyone has been enjoying a wonderful weekend. 'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Aging

These are quotes that I have read, savoured, thought about and loved. I hope that even one of them will inspire you too. 

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"--Satchel Paige

"There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."--Sophia Loren

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."--John Barrymore

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength."--Betty Friedan

"The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles."--R.W. Emerson

"Sometimes, people use age as a convenient excuse. 'I'm to old too start something new', or, 'I couldn't learn that at my age.' Other people, though, go on to achieve their greatest accomplishments in life in later years."--Catherine Pulsifer, from How Old Are You?

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."-- Abraham Lincoln

"To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent that is to triumph over old age."--Thomas B. Aldrich

"The tendency of old age to the body, say the physiologists, is to form bone. It is as rare as it is pleasant to meet with an old man whose opinions are not ossified."--J. F. Boyse

"We grow neither better or worse as we get old, but more like ourselves."--May L. Becker

"Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked."--Pearl S. Buck

'Til tomorrow. Much love to all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hairstyle How-To: Folded Braid

Well, I'm just barely starting to feel a bit better, so I'm still not feeling too chatty, but I do have some instructions for a really simple style. It works with shorter hair, and looks great with much longer hair. As long as you have hair long enough to braid, you can make a version of this simple, casual style.

1. Make a braid high up on the head and fasten the ends with a hair friendly elastic.

2. Fold braid under and bring tasseled ends right up to the base of the braid.

3. Shape hair into place and fasten with a barrette or a spring clip. In these photos, I am wearing a Ficcare Ficcarissimo in Emerald. You can play around with the placement of the clip and how you arrange your braid. This style can look very different depending on how you place your braid and barrette. For a more finished look, lightly dampen the hair first and perhaps use Aloe Vera Gel, or hair friendly styling gel.

For every day, I like the slightly dishevelled look, as anyone who follows this blog knows.

Still hoping to feel better tomorrow. I'm hankering for a good yak. Thanks again to all who have sent get well wishes, and positive thoughts.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Well, it was last Thursday morning that I awoke with a migraine topped with a cluster headache, and I am almost embarrassed to say that it still hasn't abated after what is now over a week. I've had no relief at all since then, and I must admit that I'm beside myself.

I am so behind in everything both in real life and online that it isn't even funny. It's a little overwhelming.

I did manage to fix and upgrade my son's computer against all odds. It was very challenging, given that his DVD drive doesn't work and neither did his backup program. I had to be very creative, but I did manage to do it, so I am happy that despite the fact that I'm so behind in so many things, I did accomplish something that saved a lot of money in repairs or even in having to purchase a new computer. I do know that a lot of people would have given up, so I will allow myself a little pat on the back for persevering.

My bangs are in dire need of a trim, and my roots still need that touch-up. I just may trim the bangs this evening, but the idea of breathing in hair dye fumes for any length of time is completely out of the question. It's times like this that I'm happy that my hair colour is light enough that the roots don't show from across a room.

Last Saturday, when I posted the comparison photos of my increased thickness since using coconut oil to protect my hair, I'm sure you can see that the ends are still thin. This is why I so frequently get the itch to trim to where the new thickness begins. Perhaps now some of you will understand that urge.

I will not be cutting though, as I've said before, despite the fact that sometimes the yen is overwhelming. I am getting so close to BSL and that allure is more powerful at the moment than the allure to have even thickness all the way to the tips of my hair. When goals get close, it's quite exciting!

Well, that's it for today. I haven't forgotten that I have comments to respond to, but I hope that you all can understand that it will have to wait until I'm feeling even a bit better.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all, and hugs to those who need them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Too Geeked Up To Blog

I am just doing a drive-by post, because my mind is 99.9% consumed with repairing my son's computer. I'm knee deep in it at the moment, and it's become a lot trickier than I'm used to.

The only thought I've had about my hair today is that I'm happy that its up on the top of my head in a bun, or I may have surely torn some of it out while I'm in full geek mode.

I still haven't touched up my roots, and I'm overdue. However, I can't even think about it until I've unraveled the computer mysteries that I've been posed with. Whatever happens, I know I'll be finished with the computer repair by tomorrow. I'd better be. 

So forgive me for the lack of any blog substance for the day.

A hearty welcome to some new commenters and followers. I really hope to have a good hair-related entry for you all tomorrow and to finally respond to some comments.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Feeling Geeky Today and Movies

Well, I'm feeling just a little bit better today, and it's just as well, because I have a big riddle to solve.

Something is wrong with my son's operating system on his laptop, and I am busy doing some sleuthing to figure out exactly what the problem is and how to fix it.

I am itching to reformat and reinstall the operating system, but I know that it will take quite a bit of time, and I don't honestly know how my son will deal with not having access to his laptop for about a day. So I'm busily trying to figure it all out while he's out this evening. I have to admit, sleuthing computer problems always appeals to my geeky side.

I know that for some people it's a pain, but I actually enjoy the process of reformatting a computer and doing a clean install. I really am a geek.

I finally saw Inglourious Basterds, and I really liked it. I was afraid that it might not live up to the hype, so I had low expectations. While there was a fair amount of violence, it was quite riveting, extremely funny at times, and quite an interesting concept.

I suspect that I will watch it again.

I have also watched some movies from the '40s recently that I haven't seen for a while.  What I find interesting about movies from the 40's and 50's is that many of the actresses play ingenue roles, and sexy siren roles and then they hit their late thirties and suddenly they cut their hair and are relegated to "mom" roles. There are very few exceptions. If they're not playing mom roles, then they are playing women who are bitterly fighting their faded youth. Vivien Leigh's last few movies are like that. Almost all of her later roles are of a pathetic older woman who are trying in vain to recapture their youth, or resorting to consorting with gigolos.

Thank heaven that thanks to the likes of Meryl Streep, we are seeing some good, meaty roles for older women, including romantic comedies. Approaching the age of sixty, Meryl Streep was downright sexy in both  Mamma Mia and more recently, It's Complicated, which I really adored. Romantic comedies with older women are rare, and it's good to see.

I said I would respond to comments today, but I'm itching to get back to the geeky fun of trying to fix my son's computer, so I'll let that go for today. I do so appreciate all of your comments, even though my responses are sporadic. I especially appreciate the get well wishes. It's been a rough several days.

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

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rose Bun

Today I'm wearing a Rose Bun. I made it by putting my hair in a ponytail, dividing the ponytail into three and then making three separate Rope Braids. Written instructions on how to make a Rope Braid can be found in this entry.

After the Rope Braids were made, I then coiled all three braids, pinned them into place and created the Rose Bun.

In these photos, there are a lot of sticking-out ends. If I were planning on having a more polished look for an evening out, I would likely dampen my hair with distilled water and perhaps add a bit of gel before making both the ponytail and the Rope Braids. I might also add a hair stick or another hair accessory for adornment only. In a future entry, I'll post photos of such a polished Rose Bun.

Before too long, I'll make an instructional video for making Rope Braids for those of you who prefer visual instructions.

I enjoyed and appreciated the comments to yesterday's entry, and I will respond tomorrow in the comments section. I'm still having a rough go with the migraines, and I can't spend any more time writing today.

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

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another Rainy Sunday

I was hoping to touch up my roots today, (it's been 5 weeks already), but I still have the combination migraine and cluster headache that I woke up with on Sunday. So I haven't even been able to drag myself into the shower as yet today, let alone think about colouring my hair.

The weather this summer has been the absolute worst for a migraineur, and I hate to say it, but this year I really won't be sorry to say goodbye to the summer.

So yes, Lulu, we did get the rain last night, overnight and into today. It was really coming down last evening. I hope that you got the rain in your neck of the woods. I'm about halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls, at the inner elbow of the lake, and where we are positioned geographically, the weather that hits Toronto or Niagara Falls sometimes bypasses us due to lake effect. Not this time though. I hope that you got the rain that the Niagara Region so needs right now.

As far as the coconut oil that I use, I use a very common brand, Spectrum. I found it at a local health food store, but since then I have found it in regular grocery stores as well. Although unrefined coconut oil is the preferred oil by most people, I don't like the coconut odour, so I use refined oil. Clearly it is still effective for me.

I should make it clear though that coconut oil doesn't generally thicken one's hair. In my case, I believe that it has protected my hair against the peroxide damage from hair dye, thus preventing the early breakage that I used to get.

Coconut oil also helps hair, whether coloured or natural, to retain protein. If you don't colour your hair, or use a permanent wave or straightener, it's unlikely that you will suffer any severe protein loss.

A lot of people like to use coconut oil on their ends daily, but it's too rich for everyday use for me. However, different hair types like different oils. Also, many people, including myself, like to use it as a pre-wash deep oiling treatment. I have found that it can make my hair feel softer.

If you have crunchy or velcro ends, remember that usually that's a sign of buildup and the go-to first step to remedy that would be to clarify your hair and then use a deep moisturizing treatment such as a cone-free conditioner mixed with honey.

AutumnLeaves, I agree that it's best to leave well enough alone, but I'm here if the siren call really gets to you.

Thank you again to everyone for your well wishes and kind comments.

'Til tomorrow. Much love to all.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Hair Really Is Thicker!

It is really not just talk. My hair is measurably thicker since I've been using coconut oil before colouring my hair. It's also visually thicker. I'm showing a side by side comparison of my hair in a braid, the one on the right taken just today.

The photo I'm showing on the left is a picture of my braid when my hair got to this length for the first time almost four years ago. At that time, my bangs were not even cut back as far as they are right now.

Although it may not look like it, I braided my hair as tightly as possible in the picture to the right today. I've noticed that I'm having to relearn how to do a simple single braid with this new thickness, and it often comes out crooked.

As you can see, the ends are still quite thin, and that's a result of the broken ends that I'm always talking about. I've mentioned before that when I hit waist length, I plan to maintain for a while to thicken up those ends.

My nape circumference used to be 2.25 inches/5.7 cm and it is now an even 3 inches/7.6 cm. I am quite pleased, and having to adapt how I do my hairstyles is a small price to pay for the increased thickness.

While I have no concrete proof that the coconut oil pre-colouring treatment is the reason for less breakage, hence increased thickness, it is pretty much at the point of my growth when I started using the coconut oil that the thickness is increased. I can't think of another thing that I've changed since the early days of growing my hair. Even two years after stopping heat styling, and with my bangs grown out, my nape circumference was not much over the 2.25 inches/5.7 cm mark. The nape circumference only shows an increase for about two years worth of growth, which is exactly how long I've been using the coconut oil.

So, seeing the visual proof of my increased thickness has made this another good hair day.

Thank you everyone for your comments yesterday. It's so exciting to be growing along with others who share my enthusiasm. I also appreciate the well wishes for this migraine experience that I continue to have.

AutumnLeaves, if you ever really feel that you are going to succumb to the hair dye again, please message me and we'll discuss strategies to make it a better experience than you had before. Having said that, I think you look lovely just the way you are right now.

I hope you're all enjoying a wonderful weekend. 'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thinking About Attaining My Goals

I think everyone who is working toward a tangible goal wonders what it will feel like when it is reached. I certainly think about it from time to time. I know that some people think that somehow their life will change when there hair is such and such a length, and of course, that doesn't happen. It's like thinking that if you get that new perfume, life will somehow change. It's just an illusion.

My realistic goal is waist length and my dream length is tail bone, about six inches longer than that. I wonder if I will feel good about reaching my goal and be able to see that it truly is as long as it is.

I so often see people reach a goal and still feel that their hair is short. Sometimes our view gets skewed, and we don't see our hair the way others do. I can't tell you how often I've seen people reach a goal at the LHC and yet feel dissatisfied. Even more interesting is that sometimes I see people reach their goals and immediately cut their hair off to above shoulder length. I don't understand that, and usually the people who do it don't explain why.

I would love to understand that phenomenon. Is it a case of just wanting to see if one can do it and then once it's done, it's all over?

I hope that when I reach waist length, where I'm fairly sure I will maintain until my "breakage layer" is gone, that I still feel excited by my hair. I hope that even if and when I reach my dream goal, I will keep going by constantly trying to maintain my hair's health and hopefully keep improving the hemline. There will always be new hairstyles to try and I can challenge myself that way.

The way I look at it now, there is no real final goal; I am sure that I can make new goals of improvement, if not of length, indefinitely.

I really don't want to be one of the people who gets where I want to go, only to find that I have grown disenchanted with my hair after spending so much time getting there.

On another note, thank you to everyone who wished me well yesterday. I wish I could tell you that I feel better today, but I don't. I really would like to feel better for the weekend and the coming week, especially with my husband being on holidays.

Well, I have one or two small tasks to do now, and then I shall relax for the rest of the day, again in hopes of transcending this migraine siege.

'Til tomorrow. Much love to all.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rough Day

I had hoped not to talk about migraines when I started this blog, but I'm afraid they are a regular part of my life, so it's difficult not to discuss the subject, especially on days like this.

Today I woke up with not only a migraine, but a cluster headache on top of it. It hasn't eased up even a little today, so needless to say, I am not up to writing much.

I have not been very present on the hair forums or on Facebook for the past few days. Sometimes I tend to retreat to my groundhog hole, and this is one of those times. I'm about two days behind on reading the blogs that I'm subscribed to as well, but I will catch up.

In good news, my son returned home safely after his visit with my daughter.  They had such a good time, and I know that it meant a lot to my daughter.

As for my hair, I have been wondering if I can start going four months between trims instead of just three. I guess I won't know until trim time comes in September. If the ends are looking too raggedy, I guess I'll go ahead and have a small trim. If not, I'll wait until October.

However, with such straight hair every little uneven hair does show, so my guess is that I'll end up having my regular September trim.

It's funny how for the past two years, trimming didn't bother me, but as I'm getting closer to my next goal, I'm very jealous of every half inch of hair that I have.

In the end though, I know that my desire for quality will win out over my desire for quantity, even though it means waiting to reach that next milestone.

I hope to have a video or a photo tutorial some time before the end of the weekend. I'm actually thinking that I'll be able to do a Figure 8 video now.

Even for those of you with shorter hair, you may find that you can do a Figure 8 half-updo, so yes, it will indeed be my next video. The nice thing about half-ups is that they do protect the most vulnerable part of the hair, the canopy.

Well, I'm off to relax in hopes that I can obliterate this head pain and nausea.

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Going Cone-Free After 2 Years

I was cone-free for two years before I lightened my hair back to blonde, but after repeated dying to get the blonde shade that I love, I've had to use silicone-based conditioners in order to be able to detangle my hair at all.

While I have nothing against cones, I do find it easier to use cone-free conditioner, as that way I can  CO with one conditioner. When I use cones, I really don't like to CO with cones on my scalp, so I only use it from the nape down.

After my last clarifying and deep moisture treatment, I thought I'd try to do a CO wash with cone-free conditioner and see what would happen.

I knew I could always put in a coney leave-in if I needed to afterwards, but I didn't have to. My hair was tangle free and I just used my Burt's Bees cone-free conditioner as a leave-in. I thought that perhaps after a couple of weeks I'd really need to use cones again, in order to give my hair some slip, but it didn't happen.

I'm happy that my hair is in good enough shape not to have to use cones if I don't want to. I was quite surprised. I guess the remaining damage isn't that bad.

I do have to say that if it wasn't for silicones, I'm sure that I would have had to cut my hair to nape length after the big dye jobs two years ago. Cones really did save my hair, and allowed me to maintain my hair well below shoulder length as I cut out most of the damage.

So I'm feeling pretty good about the condition of my hair and I'm feeling hopeful that once I've trimmed out the remaining damage to the point where I have breakage, my hair will look and feel almost as healthy as someone who doesn't use hair dye.

This is a very good hair day for me, and yet another mini-milestone.

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: A Nice Quiet Day

Today has been a nice lazy day. My husband is on holidays and my son has gone off for a couple of days to visit his sister some 5 hours away by car.

I can't tell you how much it warms my heart to see how my son and daughter get along. They have their inside jokes, activities that only they can do together and they laugh so much when they see one another. It's a joy.

It doesn't seem that long ago that my daughter was an adolescent and my son was still a child. There were times when I wondered if their childhood closeness would ever return, but it did, and it makes me so happy.

I haven't done much today, but I really didn't plan to, so it's all good. I've recently surprised myself and my whole family by suddenly enjoying watching "The Big Game" poker program that runs in the late afternoon. I get a bit of ribbing about it, but I really like watching lucky amateurs having a chance to play with the pros. I guess that's part of my "all about the underdog" personality. I never actually have sat and watched poker before. I think I'd like to learn how to play. It's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, as I've already learned so many times.

You never know. You may see me showing up in the poker circuit one of these days. Stranger things have happened.

This morning I was up very early and I couldn't do much around the house, as my husband was sleeping in, so I watched the movie The Legend of 1900. I've seen it several times since  it first came out in 1995, and I enjoy it as much now as I did then. It's one of those movies that I could watch any time it's on. It really captures my imagination and it's beautifully shot.

I watched the BBC version of Emma on Sunday. While I really like that version, I have to say that while very different, I like the Gwyneth Paltrow version equally.

I'm trying to decide what hairstyle to do in my next video. If anyone has a suggestion, I'm open to it. If my hair is currently long enough to do it, I'll give it a whirl.

I want to say again how much I've really enjoyed the comments here that have fueled the past few days' blog entries. You all really mean so much to me.

To one of my dear friends who only has kind words for others but almost none for herself, I wish that you could see yourself through my eyes, and you would know what a beautiful spirit you are. I do mean it. You are beautiful inside and out. No, you are not perfect, but you name me one human being who is.

Well, that's enough rambling for one day. I'm off to take the dog out and then continue enjoying this lazy day.

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

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Thought Provoking Comments, Gender and Gandhi

Some really interesting comments posted about yesterday's blog entry really got me thinking. Do men receive as much unsolicited advice or criticism about their appearance as we women do? Aside from the fact that long hair on men is still not completely socially acceptable, it's unlikely that many men hear many of the comments that we women hear. And frankly, I realized that in my case at least, most of the comments are from women.

Cut your hair, grow it a little. Colour your hair, go natural. Wear some makeup, wear less makeup. Your hair is so curly, you should straighten it. Your hair is so straight, why not get a perm? Ooh, you have a pot belly now. Better hit the gym or go on a diet.  I wonder sometimes how we women have any self-esteem at all.

Agnes, you are correct that so often unsolicited advice has to do with age. It doesn't matter if you're 20 years old or 50 years old; it seems as though age is so often a factor in the "helpful advice" that is given to us. I know it has been for me, since I was a teen.

Men seem to have free license to grow older without being told to change. With the exception of men who have hair that is "too long" for our society, or men who are in the military, I doubt that many men are told what style of hair to wear.

They aren't told to colour their hair when it starts to grey. In fact men are often told how distinguished they look.

They can have a bit of a belly, and walk around shirtless with ease in the summer.

They don't have to decide whether or not to wear makeup and if so, how much is appropriate?

I realize that while advertising, most media and business are largely driven by men, it is we women who are allowing ourselves to buy into the idea that we have to look a certain way in order to be acceptable.

Why is it that we don't support one another's personal preferences more? Why don't we see one another as entire human beings with unique personalities and senses of personal style? Why are young women in their '30s getting plastic surgery on their faces over 40 years after the women's movement became mainstream?

While in many ways we have made huge strides as women in the workforce and in other areas of life, it still seems as though we allow ourselves to be stifled or we attempt to stifle others.

It doesn't make sense.

As regards the age issue, I find it interesting that in my own life, I only really became comfortable in my own skin after I hit the age of 40.

It seems as though I had been someone's daughter, then someone's wife and then someone's mother.  While at the age of 40 I was still all of those, I finally started to have a bit of time to find out just who I am myself. I don't think I appreciated many of my positive qualities as a younger woman, and as a young mother, I pretty much didn't think about anything at all other than my children.

I can tell you with all sincerity that even though I had a nice figure and a 24 inch waist in my 20s, and I'm about 30 pounds heavier today, and 24 inches was several inches ago, I am much more happy with my face and body than I ever was as a young woman.

I don't know how or why  it happened, but as I came to discover the person I really am, I started to love myself just the way I am, spiritually, mentally and physically.

So I think that aging is in so many ways such a blessing. Yes, there are some downsides, but the good stuff is really good.

Perhaps it's really time for us to reassess how we interact with other women and really try to support one another in life rather than subtly or not so subtly knocking one another down.

It is a daunting task, as our society isn't built that way right now, but one by one, we can all change it in little ways every day.

As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world"

'Til tomorrow, my friends and much love to all of you. Thank you so much for giving me so much food for thought.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rule #1: There Are No Rules

I really enjoyed the comments in response to yesterday's blog entry. It was nice to hear from people with short hair, long hair, dyed hair, natural hair, and others who break the so-called rules. Obviously I am not alone in the way that I feel.

The title of this entry was my realization today. While there are guidelines to looking one's best and having one's hair look its best there really are no hard and fast rules that we all must follow.

I was remembering today when I first started hearing the "you're too old for that style" remark. I laugh about it now, because I was only 32 years old, still a young woman in my prime and perhaps at the height of my good looks, such as they were. I had gone for a fairly short cut something like Meg Ryan wore at the time, and the hair stylist did a lovely job with it. I felt fabulous.

However, when I went over to visit with my aunts who lived near the salon, they told me that the style was too messy for someone of my age.  "You're no kid anymore, you know.", my one aunt said, and the other aunt nodded vigorously in agreement.

I remember feeling simply floored by the statement. I had to start wearing my hair like a helmet at the age of 32? Ummmmm...

Then a few years later, I grew my hair longer and I was told by the same aunts and some other family members that I needed to cut a few inches off.  I didn't know whether I was coming or going. There were so many rules, but none of them felt like me.

I felt very empowered when I was 45 and discovered The Long Hair Community. Here were people who would be supportive of my long hair quest, even though I was no kid!

This was a place where I could be accepted with my hair just the way it was.

It wasn't long though, before I discovered that within the community, there are several different factions, some of whom believe that their way is the only way.

Not long ago someone sent me a message at the LHC that mentioned that I "should" grow out my fringe.  No reasons given, just that I should grow out my fringe.  Very recently a member whom I don't even know told me I "should" get highlights, as dyeing my hair all one colour is too flat. I did not ask either of these people for advice.

I am should upon enough in the real world that it kind of stings to be should upon by the people whom I thought would accept me the way I am.

Don't get me wrong. I love the LHC and I visit there almost daily. Sometimes I'm just surprised at the attitudes of some of the members.

There are occasions when someone has really visibly damaged hair, and they might ask for very sincere advice. Since I've actually been asked for advice, I might advise that they cut a few inches off. I would not give unsolicited advice however.

Yet there are die-hards there who will scream, "Don't cut off an inch!". I guess some people are really hard core about long hair at any cost.

Having read all of your responses to yesterday's blog entry, I am more committed than ever to doing whatever makes me feel best, whether it flouts societal rules or LHC "rules". So I've decided that when it comes to my own personal style, there simply are no rules other than the ones which make me feel like me. The best me.

Thank you all so much for your input. It was all very interesting and so much appreciated.

'Til tomorrow. My love to all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sometimes They Still Get To Me

As much as I've learned to love my hair the way it is, I still sometimes get a little prickly when I read some articles by fashion experts or threads on The Long Hair Community and other long hair forums.

For example, just about every fashion/hair expert says that bangs should be cut no wider than the outside of the eyebrows. Mine are wider than that, and when I read or hear the experts talk about wide bangs looking funny, I start to feel self-conscious.

But then I remember that there was a reason why I ended up cutting them wider. It has to do with my face shape.  When my bangs were narrower, my face below the bangs was wider than the bangs, and my cheekbones didn't show. With wider bangs, my face looks more proportionate to me, and my outer cheekbones are apparent.

Now maybe I'm wrong, and I would look better with narrower bangs, but I like the way my bangs look right now. Really, who do I have to please but myself?

Sometimes when I read threads on LHC, there are people who are staunchly against colouring away greys. For some of them it's because of the damage that certainly occurs with hair dye, but for others, it's about principle. They believe that nature knows best and those of us who colour our hair are refusing to grow old gracefully.

I am aware of the damage that hair dye causes, so I have made an informed decison to keep on dyeing my hair, and give it the extra care that it needs in order to grow to my goal length.

As for the "principle" about growing older and nature knowing best, well, that's all well and good for those who feel happy and confident with their silvers, but I love my colour and I don't want to give it up. I do feel as though I'm trying to grow old gracefully. I make no secret of my age, I see and feel the changes in my face and body, and I am not trying to fight it.  I just love my colour!

I notice that many of the people who are against dyeing are also people who wear makeup daily, so it's not about being completely natural for them. It's about their hair being natural.

I would never tell someone with silver hair to dye it, and I don't understand why some of the people with natural hair try to make us feel "less than" because we do dye our hair.

I'm all about doing whatever we want with our hair, as long as it keeps us feeling self-confident and happy with ourselves.

To me, the only important thing is to make informed decisions. For example if you want to dye your hair, you have to know that it will cause at least some damage and will need extra care.  If you want to flat iron your hair, be informed about the risks and the safest ways to approach straightening.  And if straightening your hair makes you feel more beautiful, then do it, knowing once again that you may need to give your hair additional pampering.

The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to hair care. It's about doing what makes you feel good about yourself, and keeping yourself informed along the way so that you can best care for your hair.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mini-Milestone: I Can Do A Figure 8 Again!

Well, just 2 weeks ago, I still couldn't make a Figure 8 Updo with my hair, but today I was able to make the bun, and secure it with just hair sticks. While it's not yet perfect as some ends are sticking out at the top, it is something I could not do again until today. Woo-hoo!

It's another one of those little milestones that lets me see my growth progress in a real way. It will take another inch or two before I have a perfect Figure 8 with no sticking-out ends, but this is still a Figure 8 and it's holding!

I've said it before, but it's these little things that make the journey so much fun.

Once I have that extra inch or two, I'll be able to make a how-to video for this hairstyle.

My Figure 8 in this photo is secured with Mei Fa Hairstyx with "Hollywood" toppers.

I did get that good night's sleep last night. While I'm still not feeling top drawer, I feel worlds better than I did yesterday, having been sleep-deprived.

Happy Friday everyone, and I wish you a wonderful weekend.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hairstyle How-To: Flipped Ponytail

A flipped-through ponytail is a very easy variation on a regular ponytail, and can also serve as a base for some hairstyles that I will be demonstrating in future entries. It's a softer look than a regular ponytail, and can be worn high or low, off to one side and even horizontally.

When I did a tutorial on my Easy Summer Updo, I did an inverted version of a flip-through. Today I'm demonstrating the regular flip-through.

I used to do this style with my fingers only, but it is quicker and easier to do with a Topsy Tail Tool.

1. Put hair in ponytail. It is best to make the ponytail well above the nape. In the photo, this is about the lowest that the ponytail could go and still have a flip-through work.  Experiment with the placement of the initial ponytail.

2. Place tail of Topsy Tail tool vertically behind ponytail holder.

3. Feed hair through the loop of the Topsy Tail.

4. Pull ponytail completely through behind ponytail holder.

5. This is the finished product. Once you're done, check to see if you have a split above the ponytail holder as I do in this photo. You can then take a fine toothed comb and comb the split together, if you desire.  Also, check to see if the ponytail holder still shows.  If so and you want to cover it, adjust hair with your fingers to completely hide the ponytail holder. I'm afraid I forgot to do these checks before taking the final photo.

So that's a Flipped-Through Ponytail.

On a personal note, I never should have implied yesterday that I couldn't feel any worse than I did. I truly tempted Fate. Last night I awoke with chills and a fever, after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep. That did not make me feel any better today. Somehow, and I don't know why, occasionally fevers come along with the migraines. 

So I'll be relaxing for the rest of the evening, heading off to bed early, and hoping to get a good and full nights' rest.

Thank you to everyone for your well wishes yesterday.

'Til tomorrow. Love to all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not Much of an Entry Today

The migraine I had yesterday has gone from excruciating to downright unbearable, so I'm not up to writing much. I did want to check in because I know that someone (Hi Sherry!!!) will be worried if I don't. 

At least I know that when a migraine gets this bad, it can only get better, so I'm sure I'll feel some relief tomorrow.

The weather is still hot, hazy and humid and our air conditioning simply can't cope with it all, so it's warmer and more humid in the house than I would like. However, I can't complain, because I am so very lucky to have air conditioning.

On days like this, I am so thankful that I can just put my hair up in a bun in seconds and not have any hair on my neck or ears to make me feel more hot and uncomfortable than I already feel.

Hoping to feel better when I talk to y'all tomorrow. It would be great to be back with some new hairstyle photos or a video, but that might be hoping for too much.

Later, my friends. Love to all.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Hot, Hazy, Humid

Well, yesterday's thunderstorm was welcome moisture for the earth, but it did little to change the recent pattern of very hot, hazy and humid weather that we've been experiencing of late. Today it is sunny once again, but the heat and humidity are for me, unbearable.

I never did enjoy this type of weather except if I were by a swimming pool or a beach, but I find that as the years go by, my ability to tolerate it has lessened to the point that I don't seem to be enjoying the summer the way I wish I could. Part of it has to do with migraines; hot, humid weather is withering for a migraineur. I think that perhaps the hormones of pre-menopause are not in agreement with this weather either.

It's rather making me panic, because we're approaching the middle of August and I haven't been out enjoying the summer the way most people do, and the next thing I know it will be cold again.

I often wonder if things will be different after menopause. I know that my aunt saw the end of her migraines after menopause, and I do hope that will be so for me. I don't know if I'll ever adjust to the really hot weather again though. I would love to have a spell of weather that had little humidity for a change.

There is really nothing new of note in my world at the moment. My son is finishing up his baseball season, my daughter is settled in her new place of residence, and my husband has just begun a few weeks of holidays.

As for me, I'm just going day by day, doing as much as I can when I'm feeling well, and trying not to beat myself up for not doing a lot when I'm not feeling too well. And the latter is not always easy, I have to confess.

AutumnLeaves, I don't know what to say about that comb you're talking about.  Perhaps it's just a really wide French twist comb, and the teeth in it seem short only in relation to the width.

I hope that you get some rain, and soon, SchnauzerMom. I don't like the sound of your dry earth.

I really liked your comments yesterday, Kayla and Linda. Giving up on being able to style one's hair is a sure way to get discouraged in your growth process, so keep working working on what you need to work on. I know you'll get it down pat eventually.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Never Give Up

I was inspired by a comment on yesterday's entry to write about not giving up on learning a new hairstyle, especially if it's one you really want to do.

I know that myself, I have had to practice, practice and practice some more before I could master most hairstyles. I am likely the least dexterous person I know, but I have managed somehow to learn how to do 5 strand braids, crown braids and other styles that were extremely difficult for me to learn.

The secret is twofold. First of all, practice doing the hairstyle only until you start to become frustrated. Once you're frustrated, no good will come out of it. Call it a day until tomorrow. Tomorrow you practice again. Stop immediately upon frustration. Just keep practicing every day, and I assure you, any of you that you will be able to do it. You might find a new fingering method that will work. You might find that a certain style doesn't work on freshly washed hair but might work on day 2 or day 3 after a wash.

If I had given up on every hairstyle that I failed at the first 30 times, I would still only have a ponytail and a single 3 strand braid in my hairstyle arsenal.

Just don't give up. There is such a sense of achievement when one finally masters a hairstyle. It's worth it.

Now on to another subject. AutumnLeaves, now that you've described the hair accessory, I think you might mean a Banana Clip. Does it look like this?  If so, I found that particular photo on this page that describes many different hair accessories. I used to use a banana clip when I wore my hair curly.  I loved it. They were very popular in the '80s and they're popular again now. I really hope this is the type of clip you meant; otherwise, I'm stumped.

Well, it's thunderstorming here, and I am so wishing that this will mark some less hot and humid weather for a few days. Sometimes the weather is so different after a good thunderstorm. I could really use a break from the hot, the hazy and the humid.  I think I have PMS right now, but unlike years gone by, I can't rely on the calendar anymore to predict the timing. I find this a bother, because I no longer know whether it's just hormones or if I'm going crazy, and I'm starting to really look forward to the day when I don't have to worry about PMS anymore.

I hope the week is starting off well for everyone, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.  Love to all.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

BSL Update and Other Stuff

Thank you all for the kind comments about my progress photos of yesterday. They are much appreciated. I think that in the next six months or so I'm going to leave the "sort of long hair" stage and be at the "that's long hair" stage. I'm looking forward to it.

Ice Queen, I agree that we hair people are more conscious of invisible damage than non-hair people. I think you may be familiar with experiencing the feeling of spongey ends, while the rest of the hair feels normal.  That's what I have right now.  It doesn't show up in photos, but I sure can feel it when my hair is wet.

Also, I did have some breakage and I've been living with it for two full years.  If you click yesterday's photo and look at it in large size you can see that the breakage is worse on the right hand side, and the ends are thinner on that side.  After two years, I've really had about enough of it, but it's going to be a long time before I trim to the point of that breakage, if I plan to keep on growing.  I just have to grin and bear it. Unfortunately, I can't always grin, depending on the day.

Lulu, I agree with Her Majesty, The Ice Queen. White vinegar is the preferred rinse for people with either platinum blonde or silver hair. There are several people at LHC who have reported ACV depositing a bit of colour on their silvers.

AutumnLeaves, I forgot to answer your question about the long French Twist forks the other day.  I think you may mean Chignon Pins or Chignon Forks like this or this? If you do a search using either of the terms I gave you, you'll find plenty of them.  I think they're gorgeous. I've seen some really beautiful vintage chignon forks on Ebay, but never have purchased one.

I decided to post a photo marking just how far I have to go to reach bottom of BSL. I have about 1 5/8 inches or a little over 4 cm to go. I'll likely be there in 4 months or so, barring some unexpected catastrophe.

Well that's it 'til tomorrow, my friends.  Love to all.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August 2010 Progress Photos

Well, finally I have my August progress pictures.  I'm going to compare this month's length to February's, six months ago.

It's not a very dramatic difference, since I've cut 2 inches off since February, as I gradually cut off damage, but still, I'm pleased.  First a picture of this month's length.

February to August Comparison

The photos are clickable as always.  It's obvious that I still have a few inches of damage.  I'm going to be trimming minimally for the next year, and I'm hoping to be at waist length by August of 2011.  

I think I'll maintain at waist until I grow out the damaged, thin ends. Or I might just cut off half of my growth every 3 months.  I'll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.

All in all, I'm happy with my progress.  As far as the damage goes, it could have been worse, and in that case, I might have had to cut my hair very short, as I've had to do in the past.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another Friday

Yes, it's Friday again already. The summer is just whizzing by, it seems, as it does every year.

Thanks to everyone who left such lovely comments about my new butterfly comb. Also, thank you Aamba and the.weight for the funny Jane Austen links. They really made me laugh.

Thanks as well to Linda for your kind comments both here and on my hairstyle website. I'm so happy that you've found the videos helpful.

Well, today is a quiet day for me, and I don't have a lot to say. It's one of those days when I'm feeling really good about my hair. I have no idea why, as it needs a wash, and I have it in a plain old cinnamon bun, my bangs are still somewhat comically short, but nonetheless, it's a happy hair day.

Today I'm having that feeling that I love my hair just the way it is and I wouldn't trade my hair for anyone else's at all.  That's a happy place indeed.

I'm just about due for a protein treatment. I'm going to use Joico K-Pak. I don't use if often, because it's quite pricey, but my ends need a bit of protein from time to time and I've never found a protein treatment that leaves my hair feeling as good as K-Pak does. I never seem to get protein overload or crispy ends the way I do with some other products which contain protein.

I'll likely do it tomorrow, and hopefully I'll post my quarterly update pictures which are woefully late in coming. While I can take photos of my own hair if it's in a style, I really need my husband to take the length shots. For some reason, I can never get my hair to behave if I have to set the timer and then move into position for the camera. I confess that while I don't mind having imperfect hairstyles photos, I do like my quarterly update photos to look nice.  Yes, a bit of vanity there, hmmm?

I've finished up all of the work that I'll be doing for the day, so I'm going to have a bite to eat shortly and then see what movie I want to watch. Yes, I'm rubbing my hands together with glee. :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Love to all.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My New French Twist Comb

Way back in 1998, my daughter and I went to our first "grown-up" movie together. It was the movie Titanic. My daughter was just ten years old at the time, and the movie left a big impression on her as well as me. It's also a very fond memory of a special evening with my daughter.

I saw this French Twist Comb in a thread on LHC. It's a replica of the comb that Rose wore in Titanic. It's not exactly like Rose's of course, but it's close enough to delight me. I knew as soon as I saw it that I just had to get one.

It just arrived today, and I had to model it right away. I'm using the comb in a diagonal French Twist. I know that this is not my best hairstyle photo, but I just couldn't wait to get my new comb photographed, so I did my hair in a hurry.

For some reason, there is an orange reflection on the top of the comb in the photograph, but it's not actually there in real life. The colours in general, as often happens, are much prettier in real life.

To Alison, who just found my blog today, your comment on my "Sometimes I Scare Myself" entry honestly made my day. I really mean it. I am so happy that I was able to inspire you in some way, and I really have no thoughts of cutting my hair. As for you, remember The 2 Week Rule. I am so very grateful for your comment.

Melissa, I really enjoyed A Patchwork Planet. Did you like it?

SchnauzerMom, I can't believe that three of us have the whole Thin Man collection. That is just so cool!

AutumnLeaves, you know that I love you to bits too.

To everyone else, I send love to you all.  'Til tomorrow, my friends.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Nice Cone-Free Conditioner

I've mentioned before that I used to use cone-free products exclusively, but for the past two years I've used silicone conditioner on my ends when COing to keep my hair tangle free in the damaged areas.

For the two years before that, I was completely cone-free. At that time, I experimented with many cone-free products. I came across Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Conditioner. It's a moderately rich conditioner that is moisturizing and contains humectants. I found it to be very good for the ends of my hair, but because of the price it really wasn't suitable to use for COing. In my opinion it would be too expensive to use in the quantities necessary for a conditioner only wash.

However, I loved the consistency and it is very moisturizing. I took to using it as a leave-in on my ends, and it made a big difference to how my ends felt. I remember that it saved my ends, as at that time, my ends felt so dry that I almost had a big trim. Using the Burt's Bees conditioner solved my problem.

Since using cones, I had forgotten about my Burt's Bees conditioner. However, I ran across it again the other day, and I used a pea-sized amount on my ends after removing my after-shower towel, and my hair feels softer than it has in a long time.

Of all of the conditioners I've used, whether with or without cones, this is by far the leave-in that works the best for me. I do remember recommending it to someone else at LHC who had success with it as well.

I am so happy that I rediscovered this conditioner. I had been using a coney conditioner as a leave-in on my ends, and I think that using cone conditioner in the shower and then using more as a leave-in left my hair feeling too built up. I think that may be what caused what I described as my hair feeling like doll's hair. This way, I get the benefit of a really moisturizing leave-in without adding more cones to my hair.

Of course, just because this works for me, it doesn't mean it will work for you, but I did want to share my experience with it because I'm really excited about how my hair feels right now, and has for the past few days since clarifying and using this conditioner as my leave-in.

'Til tomorrow, my friends. Love to all.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Off-Topic Tuesday: Comments, Movies and Whatever

Today, I'd like to respond to a few comments from the past week.  

Yes, Liliana, sadly you are correct. As lovely as rainwater is, it contains enormous amounts of bacteria and some toxins, which vary depending upon where you live. This makes rainwater only good on the day of the actual rainfall. Unfortunately, It can't be stored. Many years ago, it may have been kept for a week or so, but with the amount of impurities in the air today, it simply can't be kept. Distilled water is the closest thing you can get today to the pure rain water of centuries ago.

If you look in box stores, you can often find it in large quantities at surprisingly low prices. While it still galls me to pay any amount at all for water, it is worth it for distilled water, especially when on sale. And it does last. Misters are much more efficient and evenly distribute water through the hair than I can do with my hands, I have found.

Going back to last Tuesday, I was excited to see that some of you shared my taste in movies and in literature. Melissa, as you finish reading all of Jane Austen's novels, I am sure that you will appreciate her sense of humour in poking fun at the social conventions of the day and how brave she was to publish such material, as a female. Not only does she spin a good tale, but she really has her finger on the pulse of the societal rules, the class system and the ridiculousness of it all. As I mentioned, I read her complete works regularly, and even the books that some find less compelling, I find to be splendid.

AutumnLeaves, I knew you liked The Thin Man, but I didn't know that you owned the complete set. So do I!  No one does glamour, witty banter, champagne, wealth and even mild decadence the way Nick and Nora Charles do. And of course Asta. One can only imagine how the Depression Era audiences drank all of that up. Myrna Loy and William Powell made a wonderful team and had great chemistry.

Aamba, I agree that Anne Tyler is awesome. I think she is one of the most brilliant living authors. I have been reading her novels for close to 30 years. Her characters, while often somewhat eccentric, are so very real, and I feel so good when I read Ms. Tyler's books.  Have you read Ladder of Years? When that book came out, it was quite a revelation to me and a wonderful escape. I have read it many times since. I can't even tell you my favourite Anne Tyler book, because they all seem like family to me at this point.

Anonymous, I love El Labyrintho Del Fauno, and I even own the DVD. It is one of the best films in the past decade, in my opinion. I also adored Let the Right One In, and have seen it a few times. It was one of those surprises that I so enjoy. Other foreign films that I have recently seen and admired are the suprisingly touching and interesting Belgian film, Ben X, the Spanish El Orfanato, (a fabulous, old-fashioned ghost story, which are becoming so rare) and the French  Le voyage du ballon rouge starring the amazing Juliette Binoche.

And finally, SchnauzerMom, I am also very happy that you didn't bother with colouring your hair. I say this not only because you prevented damage, but also because you are lovely with your hair colour as it is.

'Til tomorrow, my friends.  Love to all.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spray Mist Bottles

Before I start talking about hair, I do want to say that I'm feeling much better than I did yesterday. Not quite back to normal, but getting there. There are still no update pictures though, as I'm not up to washing my hair and having the resulting wet head today, and I like update photos to be taken right after a wash.

Now to today's topic.

A lot of long-haired people keep mister bottles on hand. There are many things people put in their mister depending on their hair's condition and type.

I like to keep one spray bottle with distilled water only in it.  I do add some lavender essential oils just for the fragrance.  I use that to dampen my hair to remove odd dents from having worn a bun, or to dampen my bangs to comb them straight if I wake up with them sticking out. I choose distilled water for two reasons.  The first is that it doesn't add any of the minerals that are in tap water to my hair, and the second is so that it doesn't end up leaving hard water residue in my bottle which might eventually clog it.

I keep a smaller bottle with distilled water, a bit of conditioner and a few drops of jojoba oil in it, mixed well. I like to use this on the ends of my hair sometimes before bunning my hair as a little between-wash conditioning.

There are other things that can be put in a mist bottle. Some people like to use different oils, aloe vera gel, glycerine, all of the above, or some other ingredient that you know your hair likes.

Another use for the bottle with distilled water, oil, conditioner and/or some of the other ingredients I mentioned is to help tame hair that is poufing out due to humidity. With the right mix, this can be quite effective.

So this is something you might like to try, and it's fun experimenting with some different ingredients and amounts until you find that "magic" formula.

Love to all. 'Til tomorrow.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Very Quick Update

I'm unable to make a lengthy blog post today, as I'm quite ill (don't worry, Sherry, I'll be okay in a day or so).

Today is hair length update day.  I wasn't able to get my photos done today, as I've been all but sick in bed and indeed have bedhead, but I was able to measure my hair.

I had a reasonable growth month, with 5/8 of an inch of growth, bringing my hair to 24 5/8 inches from the hairline on my forehead to the tips of the ends.  Slowly I'm getting there. It still looks as though I should hit BSL by the New Year.

I do want to mention that I really admire you both, Lulu and AutumnLeaves, for going with your natural colour.  I can't even envision a day when I won't want to have the colour of my own choice surrounding my face, so I really take my hat off to you both, for just letting your hair be your hair.

I hope that everyone is enjoying a lovely weekend.

Love to all.