Curly Girl

Hey everyone,

I’m sorry that the blog is looking a little generic these days. Unfortunately, my paid account with WordPress came up for renewal at a time when finances just don’t have the room for me to make the splurge. This means all of my customizations had to go for now. At least it’s still cute, right?

Before I dive in to talking about my Hurr, I wanted to take a sec to wish all my fellow Canadians a Happy Thanksgiving. 2016 hasn’t exactly gone to plan for us, but I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family and group of friends in my life, and that includes you guys, my followers.  So, thank you so much for being a part of my world. You guys are fantastic <3

So, on to the goods. Today I want to talk to you about my hair. After spending my life trying to manage this mop, I have started educating myself on my texture. I went in to a new salon that specializes in wavy and curly hair and got a cut to try and wake up my curls. Years of abuse have left my hair frizzy and significantly relaxed from the curls of yesteryears. Through some advice from my stylist and the salon owner, Paula, I went home and dove into researching products that would be better for my scalp and my texture. I discovered the world of Curly Girl.

I am about a month in to my new regimen and for the most part, I am loving it. Basically, I no longer use Shampoo to wash my hair. I know, crazy right? This is what I do now.

hairplopped

Ploppin’

Instead, I use conditioner to wash, and then more conditioner as a leave in after my shower. I then use an old large tshirt to “plop”, which sort of dries the hair a bit and removes some of the extra product.

hairwet

Air drying

I leave the plop on anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight. When I feel like taking it off, I add a crap ton of gel and let it air dry.

hairgel

Dry crunchy hair

Once it’s completely dry, I scrunch out the crunch with a t-shirt.  Basically, I get rid of that crunchy hard gel texture by gently scrunching it out.

I then try not to wash again for a few days. I protect the curls as much as possible and refresh every morning with water mixed with conditioner and reapply a bit more gel to help combat frizz

hairbedtime

Bed time fashions so fancy

hairday2

Day 3 hair, y’all. AMAZING.

So far, I am really impressed at the change in my hair and my scalp. I had pretty severe psoriasis a month ago, and now I have maybe two small patches that come and go.So, to review, let’s look at some before and after shots to give you an idea of how much my curl has changed with this no-poo no-silicone no-sulfates no-alcohol method.

1monthcheckin

So, the left is the before, the right is this past week. I’m hoping for more improvements in a couple of weeks, but already you can see a bit change in the reduction of frizz, the shape of the wave/curl and how the curl starts at the scalp (in the front) now, as opposed to eye/ears before. I’m pretty happy with that! It’s definitely a big change, but I like the way it’s going. I’ll update you guys again in a month or two.

Review: Clairol Natural Instincts Dye

BzzAgent and Clairol contacted me a little while ago, asking if I would like to try their Natural Instincts dye for free. Um, yes. For those who have been following me a while, you may remember that Natural Instincts used to be my jam. Since about the end of high school, I have been using Natural Instincts to dye my hair everything from reds, to browns, to blondes. Here’s a little time line of my hair changes over the years.

So, they asked me to pick a colour and sent a box my way.

I wanted something that would blend in well with my natural colour, so I went with Toasted Almond.

clairol1

#gotitfree y’all! So, me being the patient woman that I am, I pretty much immediately threw it into my hair. Here’s what happened:

This is me before. Notice the sort of orangey ends and brassiness to my colour. Post partum and summer time hasn’t been kind to my hair. Obvs.

clairol2

This is me during. Thankfully, this was a super quick and easy process. Once you mix the things up, you apply the dye to your hair, roots to ends. Once my hair was fully saturated, I clipped it up and hung out with my best buddy Netflix for an episode before washing it out. clairol3

I then used the included conditioner and let my hair air dry. Man, that conditioner is the best. Like, I want to dye my hair more often just to have this amazing stuff in my life FOREVER. Here are the results!

Immediately after dying:

clairol6

My hair no longer has that brassiness to it and the ends blend in waaaaay better. It’s a really beautiful natural brown colour with shine. Loooove.

Yesterday, so maybe 2 weeks later?

clairol7

My hair seems to have depth and a healthy shine again. Mama is pleased. The conditioner is keeping things soft and nourished, which makes me feel better about doing a box dye at home.

Overall, I am really happy with my experience. It was really easy to do, with minimal mess and fuss, and the results were really nice. Thanks again to Clairol and BzzAgent for letting me try this!

Note: While this product was sent to me, I have not been paid to write this review. As always, all thoughts and reactions are my honest opinion and experience. 

Review: Overtone Haircare

Most of you know that I won a makeover several months ago through our local morning news. I went from pretty drab to WAHBAM.

makeoverba

One of the issues that I’ve had since getting my hair done was finding a way to maintain the colour. Clearly, I couldn’t afford to hit a salon or else I wouldn’t have won the contest in the first place. I tried a couple of drug store colours with what seemed to be decent results:

SPLAT colour in red

SPLAT colour in red

I had a lot of issues with it. Firstly, it was super pigmented and stained everything it came in contact with. I had to take extreme care so as to not damage my house. Despite that, it faded almost immediately. Oh, and anything I touched turned red, even weeks later. Good times.

By the time I went in to deal with my absurdly grown in bangs, my hair had faded significantly. Not only that, but my stylist told me that the drugstore dye had damaged my hair badly. My poor curls were not happy. At all.

hair1So, when I came across the info-ad on the Offbeat empire about a new product called Overtone, I knew I had to try it. For those that aren’t familiar, here is what Overtone is all about:

-Dye depositing conditioner that is not only gentle on hair, but does hair good. 100% cruelty free.

-Can be used to maintain colour OR give a tint of colour. They have both a colour maintenance conditioner as well as a stronger more pigmented weekly treatment.

-Great for everything from pastels to intense extreme colour.

-The conditioner deposits a small amount of colour with every use, so you are free to wash your hair whenever you need to, in hot water if you want, without worrying about killing your colour.

I decided to splurge and buy the set in Extreme Pink to try. Here is how it went:

Naked, nursing and letting the colour soak in

Naked, nursing and letting the colour soak in

I jumped out of my shower once my hair was clean. I didn’t have gloves, so I was ready with my dye towel to save my hands. I liberally coated my locks in Go Deep in Extreme Pink and was super pleasantly surprised. It has the texture of a thick conditioner or gel, so it was really easy to manage and get full coverage. It has a super yummy mint (maybe rosemary too?) scent that I absolutely love. I hunkered down and let it soak in for a good while, nursing my little man.

Once the time was up, I hopped back in the shower and washed it out. It washed out so well. I didn’t have to scrub and stand there for a million years. When done, my hair already felt AMAZING.

While incredibly difficult to capture the colour, I was so impressed with the results! Overtone tinted my whole head of hair with a really beautiful pink. Considering I didn’t bleach or prep my hair in any way, the coverage was impressive! It was exactly what I was going for. A punch to my coloured bits, and tinting to my roots to blend them in. I love it!

hairafter1On top of everything, the colour has stayed put. I haven’t dyed my pillows or towels! Also, my scalp feels so happy. Usually, my poor skin FREAKS out with colouring, but instead my scalp and hair are feeling great. I think I may do another deep treatment this weekend to punch up the colour a bit more, just because I can.

I can’t say enough about how amazing this stuff is. If you have coloured hair and miss hot showers, or you want to play with colour without killing your hair, this stuff is for you. It’s pricey, but it seems like it’ll last a while and honestly, is worth it.

**I have not been paid or compensated in anyway for this review. I just really enjoy this product and wanted to share my experience with you.

Pink

So, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here is my before picture:

Me, in the waiting room of the spa, about to get my eyebrows waxed

Me, in the waiting room of the spa, about to get my eyebrows waxed

Here are my segments:

Video One

Video Two

Video Three

For those of you who can’t wait to watch, here is…the final result:

Yeah, talk about a massive change! I’m still getting used to it. It’s more work than I have ever had to put into my hair. I think I want to grow the bangs out a bit. Right now the bangs and the layers are giving me the illusion of a bowl cut/Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber:

carrey_dumber

Honestly though, I absolutely love the colour. It’s amazing. Here’s some better pictures of the colour, before the cut:

What do you think? :D It looks very different when styled by me. My natural curl changes the shape completely, which I think I actually prefer. I may go in an get it shaped at my regular salon, so that it’s a bit more…curl friendly.

10250815_10202869815938366_1614477579_n

Horseshoes and Haircuts

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently won another contest. Some of you are sighing at me and rolling your eyes, I can tell. Yes, I win a lot of contests. It’s because I enter an insane amount. The one I just won is only kind of a contest. It’s more of an opportunity.

CTV Morning Live is the local news morning show. I used to watch it religiously until we got rid of cable. One of their long standing featured segments is the Monday morning makeovers. They take a nominated guest and have them made over by the local Holtz Spa. I have nominated myself maybe 10 times and didn’t think much of it when I saw a tweet asking for more nominations a couple of weeks ago and responded again. Well, a couple days later I got a reply: I will be on the show, April 7th, from 7-9!

The timing is perfect, really. I had just asked Pat for a trip to the salon for my birthday in June. My poor hair is woefully neglected with money being so tight. I’m leaving my new look up to the stylists, so I’m excited to see what they do with me. In honour of this upcoming change, let’s look at the legacy of my hair:

My Childhood Hair

My hair as a child can be summarized as “Blonde, Curly and large”. My mother had pin straight black hair, so she had no idea what to do with me.

Awkward Teen Hair

In my early teens, my hair was thick, long, curly and blonde. I was super angsty and a bit goth, with an unhealthy obsession with looking like I came from a Waterhouse painting.

Then, I hit my late teens and decided to mix things up. Thus began the cycle of cutting my hair, growing it out, getting annoyed and chopping it off again. This has continued to today.

Short Hair

Longer Hair

I haven’t had many hair colours, to be honest. Maybe they will play with that? I’ve been blonde, brunette, black w/ blue and purple, dark brown, reddish brown and holy crap red.

Coloured Hair

So, there you have it. That’s my hair.

What would you like to see me do next? :)

News in the New Year

I can’t believe it’s already half way through January. It’s strange starting into my third trimester. Time seems to be speeding past and dragging its heels, all at the same time. This month seems to be a perfect example of that. I’m still waiting on reno decisions and more news from the estate lawyer. Meanwhile, it’s only 3 weeks until my baby shower, and I have some personal news.

The first bit of news is pure vanity. I’ve been talking about it since the summer: My hair. I seem to go through phases of long long hair that drives me nuts, then a drastic cut, then I grow it out and get bored again, then it gets long and it drives me nuts.

For example, some of my styles over the years:

Isaac and I, in High School

Then, I cut it all off after a relationship went to hell

Me, in University with super long hair

Me, with my posse, later that year, with short hair

Me, the next year, with longer hair. Growing it out.

The next year, with shorter and browner hair

Then there was the day that I went from this:

From This

To This

That expression, by the way, was my complete uncertainty as whether or not I should be smiling or crying.

I’ve been all different colours:

From the blonde hippie teenager

To sleek auburns

to whimsy strawberry blonde

To crazy red

To rich brown

I think the only coloura I haven’t had is black or straight up brown (without red tones)

So, the last few months I’ve been feeling totally overwhelmed and annoyed with my boring long locks. I haven’t dyed it since before our honeymoon in 2010, so the colour is mostly mine now. It’s only been cut once since then too, and that’s after growing it out for the wedding. So, as you’ve seen from pictures recently, it’s been pretty long:

Well, yesterday I bit the bullet and went to my favourite salon. I needed a cut, at very least, just to make my hair healthy again. I needed a style – I have naturally curly hair and it needs layers. Also – and this scared me a bit – I wanted to try bangs. It’s been YEARS since I’ve had anything resembling bangs, and most hair dressers would flat out refuse me when I asked. I was set on getting them this time. This is the result of my efforts:

Taa Daa!!

BANGS!!

I’m really happy with how it turned out! I’m still getting used to the bangs. I think I may actually need to pick up a new brush and blow dryers for styling, but man, am I ever pumped for a change! What do you think?

The next bit of news has much less to do with my vanity and looks, and way more to do with my presence. I’ve talked about this a lot over the history of this blog: I’ve been doing the website thing for a while now. In fact, I can’t even remember when I made my first one (it was a Sailor Moon fan site, on geocities. I believe I was about 13 at the time, so that would be 1996 or so?). The last few years, I had a useless page marker page on my own server. It was totally outdated and I hated the content I had up there (It used to include a gallery of my art, some info on my roleplaying group that no longer exists and a bunch of my writing), so I let the domain die and cancelled the account.

When my dad died in 2008, I had ever intention of taking over his site (and took over paying for the domain and the hosting), but after coming up with a draft for it, I forgot about it. A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to get back out there. I love web design, but I totally lack any graphic design skills and my knowledge is a bit outdated these days, so I was a little afraid of putting myself out there, only to have it turn out like a bad html page from ’94.

It took a while, but I’m pretty proud with what I’ve come up with:

Setting Roots is a personal and family site. I’m hosting my Dad’s original page, and I’ve created some pages to honour both him and my Mum. I link to my sister’s art blog, and I plan on hosting my husband’s gaming forum. I have a section for family recipes and photos. I figure with Baby L’s imminent arrival, I wanted something out there to act as a hub or an anchor. I wanted family and friends to be able to access good quality versions of our family photographs and a place to grab my chocolate chip cookie recipe if I was too busy to get back to them. I wanted to honour my family, old and new. I think I’ve managed to accomplish that :) I hope you enjoy the look of it. I’m hoping to have it up and live by the end of this weekend (I’m sorting out some hosting issues as we speak). It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m proud of it.

Meanwhile, another one of my articles has been published on the Ottawa Mommy Club blog page if you want to check it out (I’ve started a series on “Things they don’t tell you about pregnancy”. This is the first in that series :))

So, definitely some changes. Just enough to keep me motivated and looking forward to what’s to come :D

Birthday Shenanigans

Hi everyone,

I have had one hell of a week! Friday was our busiest day at work, as it was The Relay For Life in nepean. I worked from about 8am til 11pm, and definitely felt it. It was such a great experience though, getting involved with the community and seeing the incredibly fighting spirit of the survivors. I wish mum could have attended one.

This past weekend, I turned 27 and celebrated with my bachelorette! Firstly, my sister and I went down to this cute little place in town called “The Mud Oven” to paint some pottery. I did a spoon dish (purposed to be a ring dish for Pat and I) and was gifted a lovely latte mug by Tracy.

Me, at the Mud Oven

This was followed by a latin dance lesson at Dance Studios! I had so much fun! Normally I find dance lessons can be so awkward, but our teacher was lovely and approachable. I had such a good time and I polished up my salsa moves.

Me dancing with our instructor

After this, we changed and made our way to the Highlander for dinner and drinks. Tbere I was introduced to the game “Manhunt”. They provided me with a list of men I had to be photographed with. Hilarity and molestation ensued.

Me, at the Highlander, enjoying my first drink of the night

The Manhunt! Me with Popped Collar and Beardo

From there, we went to a swanky martini bar for more drinks while waiting for the dance floors to get busy. We then made our way to The Whisky Bar for dancing and drinking, and stayed there til the wee hours of the morning. I had a blast.

Me and my sister, at the Collection

Sunday morning we recovered at Zaks with some eggs and coffee. Nothing beats a diner breakfast after a night of drinking and galavanting.

Since then it’s been a lot of running around, getting things ready, cleaning and meeting with vendors. I, of course, have had a massive face breakout. Good times. I cheered myself with another hair appointment to make the colour more unified and rich.

New Hair! Again!

Taaadaaa.

It’s all coming together. A week and a half left to go, and two more relays. Life is hectic!

On top of that, there’s been some more family drama. Again, no details, but I am forced to deal with a specific individual who I a bit of a drama queen and manipulator. I’ve always known that people in our family could be incredibly sneaky and manipulative, but the last few years I’ve really learned that our family isn’t all honour, trust and rainbows. Some people have made me downright ashamed to share the same last name. Does anyone have any tips or witchy tricks for dealing with people like this? It’s important stuff. It’s my mother’s estate and the relationship with all of my siblings on the line. Part of me almost wants to do a binding on these people, but I know that that crosses some lines. Personally I’m not comfortable with any of the “controlling of others” magicks. I don’t want to control their actions or thoughts, I just don’t want their influence bringing me down to a deep dark depression anymore. Today I was so mad, I was shaking. I just wish I was Teflon coated so none of this would stick to me anymore. Or maybe it would be good to send them clarity and understanding. I don’t know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A lazy Saturday

Lazy, perhaps, because I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night. Pat and I had a bit of a date night last night. We rented some movies, bought some wine and sat around, enjoying each other’s company. We stayed up watching Mel Gibson’s new flick, which was good but very sad. Unfortunately, the ending triggered one of my flashbacks and we ended up a crying mess, talking on the couch about our dead parents. I have PTSD, and while it’s usually under control, every now and then a trigger is just too great to breathe my way through. It was a good conversation, but a hard one. It’s all so raw still, for both of us.

This morning, I woke up at 5am, unable to sleep anymore. I fought it as best I could, but eventually I gave in and got up a bit earlier than I needed to. Pat, being the great guy that he is, drove me to my hair trial this morning in Kemptville (about 45 minutes away) for 9am. Unfortunately, this hair thing is the one part of the wedding that is cursed. It can’t seem to be resolved.

A repost from one of my wedding forums. The hair saga:

Booked one mobile stylist who came highly recommended. In February when we found out that Mum was not doing well and we had to move the wedding, I emailed her letting her know. She replied, saying that she was about to contact me because she was MOVING OUT OF THE COUNTRY and was cancelling all of her bookings for the year. She had two other mobile stylists covering her appointments, but because of my changed date, they were already booked for me. So, I essentially lost 3 of the city’s best mobile stylists.

I booked with a stylist near the venue. The DAY OF MY TRIAL, I got a phone call. She had gotten a new job…outside of hair styling. She cancelled on me, but promised that another girl could take me and she was “pretty good with up-dos”

… Yeah. So, I get my friend who is from the area to recommend me a stylist. I call the salon, and it turns out it’s CLOSED the day of my wedding…because the lead stylist is in a wedding herself! I tell her my sob story and she offers to keep the salon open and books me with the only other stylist. She warns me though…Gertie is a bit “older”. I ask how old and she responds with “Well, everyone wants a grandmother there on their wedding day. She can be your granny for the day!”. From my research, Gertrude is actually pretty highly regarded in the area, so I’m still doing the trial this Saturday with her. I will post pictures…I just hope it’s not a blue buffont :P

So, I was sharing all of this with my SiL, who I guess mentioned it to her fab hairstylist in the city. He recommended a friend of his and it turns out, this downtown Ottawa stylist does freelance! So, I have a trial next Wednesday! I’m really excited about it! Hopefully, it turns out! I really really really wanted to get ready with the girls in the hotel room, rather than having to drive everywhere. Yaaaay!

So, how did it work out? This is what I brought in for reference:

This is what I got:

Um...not quite.

...No product, you can see the pins, the braids are crooked and there's weird empty spaces

Good times. Meanwhile, the Hopeful Hairstylist called me last night with his pricing. Apparently, because he has to travel (a legitimate issue, it is about an hour drive) and would miss a full day of work at the salon (well, kind of. He’d be done by 10am), he wants to charge us $850 FOR FOUR FREAKIN PEOPLE! Yeah. No.

So, I have one more salon that I want to try and then it’s going to be begging and pleading time.

After the disappointment, I’ve decided to do some cleaning, work on some other wedding stuff and hopefully, watch Young Victoria. <3 Sounds like a lovely day. Hopefully, I stay motivated. We’ll see ;)

Have a good one everyone!

Healing

I’m trying to figure out how to move on from this place. I’m functioning. I’m not usually a blubbering mess, but I’m hurt in an extremely profound way. My mother’s death has broken my heart, but the subsequent family drama has nearly broken my spirit. I can’t get into details, because of the legal issues surrounding the whole thing, but I can say that my loss has been much greater than I could have imagined.

I find myself full of fear, anger and denial. I don’t want to accept any of it, and it would be so easy to walk over that line of sanity and lie to myself that Mum is still here and that we, as a clan, aren’t broken. Too easy. I feel the fire and acid of rage and hurt bubbling away in my stomach. I feel the swallowed screams and rants sitting like a burning lump of coal in my chest. I need to move forward. I need to honour my Mother and do what is right for me. I need to grieve and heal and go on with my life.

I just wish I knew how.

I’m trying to infuse elements of regular life back in. I’m trying to refocus on the wedding stuff. I have my hair trial booked, my first dress fitting. I got my hair cut, finally. I’ve been playing with makeup and watching bad tv. I had a job interview. These are all good steps, but nothing is touching the deep seeded badness. I know it’ll take time, but I’d love any suggestions you might have for me.  Meanwhile, here’s the new hair:

So much curlier! Yay!

In the mean time, Pat and I are no longer moving into the family home. We’re staying put until the estate is settled and then we’ll start looking. I’m daydreaming about a house like this:

For now, I’m going to enjoy my oatmeal and my coffee and wait for my sister to call. I’m heading back to the Family Home for the night for a girly sleepover night. This weekend, Pat and I are unpacking and visiting with his family. Oh, I want to share the prettiest Tarot deck ever. Can’t wait to own my very own copy!

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's Fool Card from her Shadowscape deck

The Fool

Timeline is set

It was a very busy weekend for Pat and I. We had a BBQ, two easter dinners, a meeting with our real estate agent, and several trips to the Home Depot. Yesterday we finally found out what our timeline was for getting the house done.

Monday.

As in, we have less than a week to get ‘ur done.

Cue the hair pulling and teeth gnashing. I’m trying to face this with grace and poise, but I think beer and wine are going to be big helpers this week. Pat’s working two days, and then hopefully home to finish the basement and help me pack. I’m about to book movers after I make this post, and today, we’re getting the space in Orleans completely ready.

I have to shower, do some shopping (I hate that I need to buy boxes for this freakin’ move), go to a doctor’s appointment and then Orleans. Every day is packed like this. It’s craziness. And for some ridiculous reason, I decided this week was an awesome time to book a hair appointment. At least I will look perfectly coifed as I lug boxes around town.

It is an exciting appointment for me. I have had almost zero luck with hair dressers for most of my life. You see, I have curly/wavy hair and most hair dressers go “Uh, do you ever straighten it? Yes? GOOD! I’ll just cut it so it looks good straight.” This lovely woman, Kim, who I am seeing tomorrow, is a Curl Specialist. Yes, this is a big deal. Not only is the salon well priced (it’s only going to cost about 60 for cut, wash, dry and style), but they have actual specialists for difficult hair! WOO! I am really hoping it goes better than most of my previous cuts. NOW! For your amusement, a demonstration of said cuts:

My Natural Curls. My hair is about 3 inches longer than this now, with no layers at all.

My last real haircut, about a year ago. Cost about 200, with a coupon. NEVER AGAIN.

My hair, about 4 years ago. I got bored, and decided to cut it all off...

Yep. All gone. Loved it for about a day and then realized "Oh crap. That was dumb"

A few years later, my hair had grown out. I decided I wanted a trim and bangs. This is the before...

Yeah. This is what I got when I asked for a "trim and bangs". In fact, this is a couple of months AFTER, so this is an inch or so longer than it had been. Looks cute right? Well, remember that I have curly hair.

Yeah, a little different when curly. Ugh.

So, you can understand my fear. I’m really excited, but I hope it turns out! We shall see :D

And now, I have to get back at it. I apologize if I don’t post for a while. That may not be the case, but I have no idea what this week is going to actually entail for us. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: So, after giving it some thought, I rescheduled my hair appointment for next week. No need to cause myself undue stress over my ‘do. So, the hair update will be the Thursday after next. <3 Sorry!