10 December 2011

How I Style My Hair, Part Five: Half-Pony

For this style, you'll need a brush, water, and something to pull your hair back with. For this style, you can use a ponytail holder, barrette, clip, or bobby pins. Any of them will work, so it's up to you how you want to accessorize.

First, use the method described in Part One: Basics and High Ponytail to brush back the top half of your hair, like you were going to do a high ponytail, and hold onto the hair you have brushed back.

Brush hair from the sides to add it to the hair you are holding.

You should now be holding onto about this much hair:

All you need to do to finish the half-ponytail is to use whatever hair accessory you want to secure it. My tip is to twist the hair a bit, so that it stays together while you put the accessory in. I showed it with both a ponytail holder and a clip. If you want to use bobby pins, I usually use 2-3, and insert them from both sides so that I catch all of the hair.

Here is the style from the back:

And the front:

Variation 1: Gather the rest of your hair with the hair from the half-pony into a low ponytail for a cute style.

Variation 2: Make a "pouf". When you are twisting the hair you gathered for the half-pony, gently push it up a little bit before you secure it with a hair accessory. I think a clip works best to keep the hair in place for a pouf. (I will be doing a separate post later on another method of doing a pouf.)

Next lesson - Braiding

04 October 2011

How I Style My Hair, Part Four: Side Pony

For this style, you'll need a hairbrush, ponytail holder, water, and bobby pins/hair grips.

You can do a side ponytail on either side, I just tend to do it on the side with more hair. I think it's easier to control that hair when you aren't moving it around the back of your head. Plus, there are less layers to fall out. (This is normal with side ponytails and you will probaby end up bobby-pinning the back.)

Start with your hair gathered like you are going to put it in a low ponytail.

Then, gently shift the hair over a little to the side.

With your other hand, run your thumb along your hairline to keep it in place (not going in your eye) and use your palm to smooth down the hair from the top/front. You should do this while you are holding onto the hair loosely so you don't lose it, I just took two seperate pictures to show the differnet processes. You can brush your hair during these steps too if you need to.

I feel like that step was a little hard to explain so I hope it makes sense.

Do this in a few small increments until the hair is at the side of the nape of your neck. Secure the ponytail holder around your hair, brush out the ponytail, and you have a side ponytail! (Sorry for the weirdo glare on my forehead. I don't have mold growing on my face, honestly...)

Oh wait...

If you look in the back, there might already be some hair falling out. Because of the layers, not all of your hair is going to reach around to the side. THIS IS NORMAL. You can see a little bit starting to come out in mine; the longer you leave it in or the more you do while wearing this hairstyle, the more likely you are to have some layers fall out. I had just finished doing the style in this picture.

Using a little water to help you hold the hair in place, bobby-pin it to your head. (My bobby pin is sparkly if you can't find it in the picture, lol.)

You can even slide the bobby pin(s) under the longer layers so you can barely see it.

It might be a good idea to carry around an extra bobby pin or two while wearing this style to do some touch-ups if you need to. Even Colleen does that, and she's a human.

**Also!! I don't have pictures, but you can apply the same technique for moving hair to the side with a high ponytail to do a high side ponytail. I think the low version is a little trickier, so that's why I chose to focus on that.**

Next lesson: half-pony

29 September 2011

Banned Books Week: Harper's Guest Post

Hi, this is Harper. As Cate said in her last post, I'm really into Banned Books Week, and suggested she blog about it (btw, I totally helped her with that post). I decided I wanted to do my own guest post.

My favourite banned books are definitely To Kill a Mockingbird and Harry Potter. I was named after TKaM's author. Both have movie adaptations, like Cate's pick, My Sister's Keeper. They're pretty well known, so I'm going to take a different kind of direction with my post.

What I find interesting is I feel like I am drawn to narratives that address racism and bigotry. Maybe that's because I grew up with a multicultural family (my dad is white and from the US state of Georgia, my mom is Berber and from Morocco), and I've lived in multiple places (Morocco, France, USA) so I'm used to things being different, and adapting to that. I love travelling because I love learning about how other people live their lives. One of my best friends, who was one of my high school teachers, practices Catholicism and I'm Muslim, yet we talk about religion all the time and really we have a lot in common. Or maybe it's because I've been a victim of bigotry because I sometimes wear a hijab when I'm going out or to school. (I don't wear it when I'm just around my friends. I guess I should get on people about not posting pictures of me when I'm not wearing it.) So I guess it frustrates me when people treat others like they are below them just because they look different or have a different religion or whatever.

To Kill a Mockingbird and Harry Potter both deal with bigotry and racism: against African Americans in the South in TKaM and against other magical species, wizards from non-magical families and muggles in Harry Potter (which is scarily similar to Nazi Germany, though that was not intended). I also find that, when I'm writing academic papers, I tend to focus on feminist or cultural issues. I was totally drawn to The Madwoman in the Attic, a founding feminist literary theory text... maybe only because I understood it right away. The authors' argument for how women had (have still?) been relegated to a lower status in literature - keeping with historical trends of feminism - was clear. But I think I just like reading and studying these issues because they resonate with me and my intolerance for intolerance.

Since my guest post was kind-of more serious than I originally intended, I'm leaving you with my transformation into 7th movie Hermione Granger. I'm an alien/curling my hair in the first picture. LOL

Also, my new favourite song. Don't talk to me about how hypocritical I feel about the grammar violation that is the title... I love it though.

PS: I'm on Cate's computer, and she set her default language to English (UK). It keeps telling me I'm spelling "mom" wrong. It should be "mum", apparently ;) Also, there are TONS of incriminating pictures on here. Not that I'm creeping, or anything. I'd be tempted to post them, if I could guarantee she'd speak to me again if she did. Haha.

25 September 2011

You, if you were sensible...

You, if you were sensible,
When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one dreadful,
You would not turn and answer me,
'The night is wonderful.'
-DH Lawrence, "Under the Oak", featured in My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Harper's making me do a post about Banned Books Week because she's an English major and feels it is very important to raise awareness. Okay, honestly, I like reading too and I think banning books is wrong, so why not? (She might come guest-post herself later this week because she is Very Excited about this topic.)

First of all, I love this stanza that was featured in My Sister's Keeper. I like it in how it relates to the book (the poem as a whole changes the context, I think), in that it is kind-of a metaphor for illness. But I think it is not so much a lack of perspective so much that people on the outside might not get it; I think sometimes it's good not to be "sensible" and to find the good things in the bad. I think Picoult may be using it as an argument against romanticising illness.

Okay, so the book I'm featuring is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, if you haven't guessed. I LOVE this book. Here's a brief list of why:
  • Medical accuracy. Sure, she can flaunt it at times (who really cares what drugs make up your daughter's chemo regimen... okay me. And Harper. That's about it. In that scene, it just seems like she's listing them off just to show off she knows what they are) but that's okay because it's refreshing to see someone who knows what she's talking about and isn't just using leukemia as a plot device. Also, I love that she cares enough to research her books because they are marketed as realistic fiction, and I do think people learn through them. I'm glad she isn't misrepresenting her subjects and really gets into depth with all the issues surrounding a problem.
  • LEUKEMIA IS NOT A PLOT DEVICE. How many times have you read a book or watched a movie where a character has leukemia but it just serves as a mechanism for the other characters to grow and learn? And it's ALWAYS leukemia, because apparently everyone who ever has cancer and dies has leukemia. Because they always die even though, you know, most people do survive ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood leukemia) today. Okay, I LOVE some of these (A Walk to Remember  is officially my favourite movie; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) but it's kind-of obvious and it's nice to see while... um, okay this book is kind-of doing the same thing... it's at least more developed; the plot is about leukemia but it goes so much further than that; it's not romanticised. I WOULD like to see a book about leukemia or any other disease where it's the person with the disease grows and learns, not the other way around.
  • This bullet is a spoiler. Aww cute love stories, come on, who does not love Campbell/Julia? Or Kate/Taylor? The part about their hands matching, PERFECTION.
  • Speaking of, who doesn't love Campbell's punch lines?
  • THE ENDING. I HAVE NO WORDS. Just read the book. So good. And as Harper would say, so literary.
  • The parents are realistic, and it brings up some real issues in healthcare today. Not only the obvious issue of creating an embryo to match your child, but stuff like our discomfort with death. When do you stop doing crazy things and let someone have peace? How do you deal with the what-ifs? When do you go for a very experimental treatment and when don't you? Etc.
  • Jesse is a really interesting/intriguing character to me.
  • I was really sick as a kid, so I can relate. Harper and Sam made me dig up an old photo for you...? Yay hospital gown. I don't know why Ribbit (my stuffed frog) is NOT in this picture at all but oh well. This was one of the few without either my family or Dave because you know, the hospital was the hot spot for socializing in 4th/5th grade.

Things I don't like about this book:
  • Apparently the legal stuff isn't very accurate?
  • Do we know anything about Kate? She has no personality... Again, I can appreciate that the book is about her family, but this is kind-of a major fail.
This book is banned because of the ethical issues and because Julia's sister is a lesbian. Um, I totally forgot that and had to go read it again to figure out why homosexuality was a reason the book was banned. Apparently, yeah.

Overall, I think it is worth it, and you should read it. What are some of your favourite banned books? You can leave them in the comments :)

Here's Harper and me with the book for a Banned Books Week picture:

Okay, moving on. Let's discuss the MAJOR BETRAYAL of the film adaptation. Also, major spoilers (for the movie), so this is going under a cut just in case.

24 September 2011

How I Style My Hair, Part Three: Low Ponytail and Pull-Through Ponytail

Song Challenge Day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event

Are these things TRYING to incriminate me? ;)

How I Style My Hair, Part Three: Low Ponytail and Pull-Through Ponytail

I think low ponytails are a bit harder to do with my hair, because you don't have as much control. It looks deceptively easy, but you're at more risk of random layers falling out of the ponytail.

For this style, you'll need a brush, water, and a ponytail holder.

Start with your hair brushed back. It helps to kind-of have your hair on the longer side-part side brushed back towards the back of your head. This will keep it from ending up in your eye later.

You'll do this all in one long-ish step. Brush the sides back, gathering your hair at the nape of your neck. On the side with the side part, take care to brush up and away from your face (not just to the side), so that the hair isn't in your eye.

This next step is optional, but might help keep your hair together before you put the ponytail holder in. Twist the hair together gently.

Now put the ponytail holder on.

Like with the high ponytail, brush out the ponytail using some water.

One problem you might encounter with this style is finding your hair in your eye. If this happens, you either a) need to redo the ponytail, taking more care to brush/gather that side of your hair back and away from your face, or b) can try this tip.

Sometimes, an easy fix is to dip your thumb in water, and run it along your hairline, pushing your hair away from your eye.

Ta-da! Low ponytail!

Variation: Use the ballet bun technique from my last post, but start with a low ponytail to get a low bun - a pretty style for fancy events!

The second part of this lesson covers the pull-through ponytail, which is a variation of the low ponytail. Start with a loosely-secured low ponytail.

Using your finger, poke a hole through the hair above the ponytail.

Flip the hair in the ponytail up...

And grab it from below, pulling it all the way through the hole.

Pull the ponytail holder tighter to secure the style. And I'm not sure if this is really GOOD for your hair (I always do it though), but after you do that, you can seperate the ponytail part into two sections and gently pull them apart... this moves the ponytail holder up and it also helps to make the style tighter/come together more. Be careful though, because if you pull too hard it can make the style look weird.

If you have fly-aways, you can sneak in with some water on your finger, especially right above the ponytail holder. This is a common spot for layers fail for me, so don't be surprised if you have to fix some fly-aways here.

Yay! Pretty hairstyle!

Next lesson: side pony

19 September 2011

How I Style My Hair, Part Two: Ballet Bun

Song Challenge Day 06 - A Song that Reminds You of Somewhere
This might sound a little weird, but maybe not. When I was studying abroad, I bought Sara Bareilles's new CD on Cyber Monday for like $2. I first really listened to it on the train to Liverpool. So whenever I listen to this CD - and especially this song, because it kind-of related to the unknown of living in a foreign country - I think of Liverpool.

How I Style My Hair, Part Two: Ballet Bun

This was a NECESSITY for skating and ballet (I took ballet to help with my skating). So I'm not just doing this style for fun... I bet there are a lot of you out there need to be able to put your hair in a bun.

For this style, you need: two ponytail holders, bobby pins/hair grips, WATER, brush

You'll want to start with a high ponytail from the last lesson.

First, start twisting your hair to one side. Get it WET!! The layers complicate the bun because they go all over the place. Water will help your hair stay put.

Like I said, I live in a really dry climate... so my hair is usually extra messy. That's okay, you'll fix it later.

After your hair is twisted in a column like the above picture, start twisting it back on itself to form the bun shape.

Twist your hair all the way around to complete the bun. It may look messy. You'll fix it in the next step.

Okay, now the next part is just slightly tricky. You want to cup one hand (your non-dominant hand) around the entire bun. With your other hand, start dipping your finger in water and smoothing down ALL the fly-aways. Tuck the fly-aways between the hand holding the bun and the main part of the bun.

It looks a lot better already, no? The next step has two parts. 1. Using the hand that's not holding the bun, pin the ends of your hair in place - the end of the big column that you wrapped around the ponytail holder. You can move your thumb, but the point is to keep holding onto the rest of the bun. 2. Slip the other ponytail holder around the bun in place of your hand. This will help hold a lot of the fly-aways down.

I used a bobby pin with a unicorn on it, so you could see where I placed it. I usually use very few bobby pins. Why? Because I can never find more than like two at a time. It would probably stay in better if you used three or four, though.

It is not going to look PERFECT - even people with non-layered hair won't have buns that look perfect without using a product. But, it looks pretty close. To get all the fly-aways to lie flatter, I think you could try braid spray (but I haven't tried this yet).

Me using this style in a performance:

Variation: Don't bother with trying to tame fly-aways for a messy bun - a fun, casual style.

Next lesson - low ponytail and pull-through ponytail