Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Cosmetic Side: Hair

Clean, neat hair and hairstyle can make the look. And the opposite. Greasy and untidy hair spoils it totally - unwashed and neglected hair says more than any fancy attire. At least, I think so.

My hair has always been straight and rather fine - it has never been thick at all. When I was in my teens, it also was more on the greasy side. Therefore, in my senior year, I had it permed (slightly) by my mom. My permed hair looked thicker and fluffier. The perm made it drier too so I was not bothered with the 'greasy again' problem.

When I got older, at some point, I started coloring my hair and I always did it at home. At first, I used some shades by L'Oreal only. Later I switched to Wella and Londa, which became my favorite brands as well.

When I moved to Texas, I was trying to find a similar hair dye shade which I used in Poland.
Unfortunately, neither Wella nor Londa coloring products are available in the local stores. For that reason, it took me almost two years to discover which brand and color would be the best for me and my hair. During that time, I experimented a lot - trying to get what I needed, I was buying a different hair dye every month. At the beginning, most of the time, the results were poor. Firstly, it was a grayish shade on my head - despite dying the hair with a blond, not gray hair color. The gray hair made me look older and feel bad/frustrated.

To make matters worse, after a few months, the hair endings felt as if they had been made of rubber. Of course, I knew it was bad, so I tried to treat my hair with some conditioners to improve its appearance and shape. From time to time, I also had my hair shortened and then, the bad endings were gone. Till the next hair coloring time, more or less.

I used two hair color brands once only and I knew I would never put those products on my hair  again. They either stung and burned my scalp horribly or caused my hair much thinner. I am not going to give the name of those items/brands here because I am aware, they may work perfectly well for somebody else.

Anyway, one day, about a week after using a certain hair dye, I needed to call a plumber to have the bathtub drained. When he came to fix the problem, it appeared the pipe had been blocked with bunches of my hair. Needless to say, I also noticed a dramatic change in the thickness of my hair. Disaster! I got scared but it also reminded me the time in my life, when due to totally different reasons, I lost a lot of hair as well. To stop the hair loss, many years ago, I used to make a mixture of raw egg yolk, grated onion, and castor oil. I cannot recall what the proportions of those ingredients were, but I do remember I put the mixture on my scalp, then I covered it with a piece of foil, and fixed a towel on my head/over it all. I did that twice a week for a few months. Every time, I kept the 'conditioner' on my head for about 15 to 20 minutes, then I shampooed the hair twice. It was a necessity because the onion smell was quite strong + the castor oil made the hair extra greasy as well. It was all a kind of nasty, but it did warm up my scalp and, somehow it worked. My hair grew back. It was nice to feel the new growing hairs, which were so soft and seemed like fluff when I brushed my hair with my fingers. I continued the treatment and my hair regular thickness got back. There was no more bold spaces/clearance on my scalp. Not to mention I was much happier too.

Nevertheless, that was why I thought about castor oil again. I looked for it in local stores but I was unsuccessful - no pure castor oil was available. Luckily, I found conditioners which had castor oil as one of their components. And I did apply such a  product on my hair two or three times a week, before hair washing time. Besides that, to strengthen my hair, I was also taking a vitamin supplement once a day.

My scalp saver :-)

I think I should have used the conditioner longer but, inconveniently, castor oil causes slight hair discoloration (it was eating my hair color), so I stopped that part of the treatment.

Well, in the meantime, I finally came across the right hair color taht makes my hair look and feel good. It is the L'Oreal Excellence series which I am content with. What I like about it is that, besides the coloring kit and regular conditioner, every LE box also contains hair endings protector, and it is to be applied 5 minutes before the hair dying itself.

All in all, my hair is in a much a better shape now. More over, despite using a hair color from time to time, the rubber-like endings have not come back.

Regular hair care & styling

1. Shampoos and conditioners
The ones which are best for my strands are meant for fine and colored hair or very gentle ones - for babies. I have been told by a dermatologist that it is not good to use the same kind of hair care products for a long time (it can be compared to a monotonous or one-sided diet), that is why I change them now and then.

2. The hair dryer with a diffuser which helps to dry the hair faster and, at the same time, protects it from overheating. After washing my hair and drying it gently with a towel, I use the hair dryer for a few minutes only. I stop when the hair is slightly damp.

3. The hot air brush is great for styling shorter and medium length hair. The styling works better if the hair is not totally dry. In the case of the long hair, the hot air brush is good only to style the hair endings - it can get stuck in the strands when you try to use it similarly to a curling iron.

Having been advised by a hairstylist, I also used a hair volumizing product while doing it. However, I noticed that it made the strands of my heavier which resulted in an increase of hair loss, comparing to the time when I did not use that volumizer. So I quit applying it. Moreover, to let my scalp 'breath', I stopped treating it with hair spray as well. Without it all, my hair is soft and seems so light and it does feel really good. And it looks natural too - no 'crash helmet' effect anymore!

Take good care of your scalp and hair, and do not make the mistakes I did. :-)

L'Oreal Excellence is for (originally) dark hair.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Our Cats & Friend: Kimchi

Read about Ania's kitten here: Kimchi

Movies Monthly: September

By the end of September, we reached no. 692. Which means that during the past 2016 months, we had watched that many movies - various ones.

Detective stories 

New (to us) series started:
Besides, Father Brown came back in September too.


Poldark II (BBC) and Indian Summers II (BBC again) began.

Comedy shows

We enjoyed more jokes by Yakov Smirnoff:

605. Yakov Smirnoff - Just of the Boat

Most interesting movies of September

606. The Truman Show - 1998 (drama, SF) - with J. Carrey - directed by Peter Weir

608. The Bounty - 1984 (drama), with Mel Gibson - directed by Roger Donaldson

610.Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring - 2001 (fantasy) - directed by Peter Jackson

636. Unforgiven - 1992 (western) - with C. Eastwood and G. Hackman - directed by C. Eastwood

638. The Secret Garden - 1993 (drama, family) - directed by Agnieszka Holland - In our opinion, it is the best movie version of the novel.

649. The Forger - 2015 (drama), with J. Travolta - directed by P. D'Ovidio

654. The Strip - 1951 (crime) - directed by Laszlo Kardos

662. Trail of the Pink Panther - 1982 (comedy) - directed by Blake Edwards.
The outfits worn by A. Hepburn in the movie were made by de Givenchy. Most quite wonderful, except the white one + the white hat, showed at the very beginning of the movie.

671. K-19 The Widowmaker - 2002 (drama, biography), with H. Ford - directed by Kathryn Bigelow

674. The Conversation - 1974 (thriller) - with G. Hackman - directed by F. F. Coppola

679.A Song to Remember - 1945 (drama, music) - directed by Charles Vidor
It is not a biography - the Chopin's life story pictured in the movie was not true, just made up by the filmmakers. But the music was real and only because of the compositions by Chopin I found the movie interesting.

Radio Pictures

669. Wide Open - 1930 (comedy)
670. The Roar of the Dragon - 1932 (adventure), directed by Wesley Ruggles
688. Gunga Din - 1939 (adventure) - directed by George Stevens - based on the poem by R. Kipling.

We had watched quite a few movies by Radio Picture/Radio Pictures - all of them were exquisite or really good. That is why, whenever we see at the beginning of the film, that it is a Radio Pictures production, we can expect it should be an interesting show. Considering the three movies listed above, we were not disappointed either. We especially Gunga Din, both the story and the character of that name as well.

World & Stamps - Twins Drawer Collection: Saint Petersburg - Russia

World & Stamps - Twins Drawer Collection: Saint Petersburg - Russia: Country : Russia Place: Saint Petersburg Year: 2016 From: Penpal exchange Saint Petersburg / Sankt Petersburg is the second largest...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My Music ABC: I

In my teens and twenties, Iron Maiden was one of my best of the bests - one of my most favourites. It did not mean that I listened only to their music then. On the contrary - I listened to many bands and music genres, but Iron Maiden was that really something. Nevertheless, due to my complex taste in music, I never looked like a typical heavy metal fan - I was not one. It was just a kind of music I very much enjoyed. So energetic, joyful and full of power! Although I was a quiet and calm person, I was filled with so much invisible, positive inner energy as well. And that inner power needed to be exhaled and breathed out ... In that meaning, listening to the music by Iron Maiden was like expressing my soul. However, it was much more at the same time. In their songs, I found interesting and expressive melody lines. The guitars, percussion, music tempo, the voice of the lead singer and the lyrics created plenty of magnificent impressions called Iron Maiden.

Anyway, my image/everyday look and dress style have always been rather classical, certainly not 'the heavy metal' one. Adding my calm demeanour to it, I can see a reason, why most people did not even think or suspect I would like such music. Besides my neighbours. They knew. At that time, I believed all great music should be possibly shared with others, to let them enjoy the beauty of it.

So I did share it. Loud. The speakers which I had, were not very big, though - only 15 W each. But they were loud and powerful enough, believe me. Somehow, that kind of songs seemed to sound better when the sound was up. However, at some point, I chose to switch to headphones - the neighbourhood had been presented with the music already so I was merciful. :-)
Besides, I needed some more personal music experience too.

My cousin, also an Iron Maiden fan, had much bigger, 100 W speakers. And he lived on the last floor, fourth I think, of a block of flats. When I was visiting him while he was listening to his records, I had to wait for a silence break between music tracks, to ring the door bell and be heard. Can you imagine heavy metal sounds amplified by 2 times 100 W, in a small apartment room? Well, that kind of sound sharing was too loud, even for myself.

I have never had an Iron Maiden t-shirt but I did see the band live when they were on tour in Poland. It was on 09/23/86 - quite an anniversary of that concert this year/month.

In my early 20s, I also happened to go to a discotheque. From time to time. Considering this sort of music, except well-known world disco hits, something called 'Italo disco' was really popular in Poland then. They were songs sang (in English and Italian) by mostly, but not only, Italian bands and singers. The Italian disco music was lively and cheerful, and certainly nothing you could call ambitious compositions. But they were so good to dance to! I did have fun dancing to those tunes, which was a different way of expressing/exhaling my inner power and energy as well. That was why I sometimes listened to those songs at home and danced in my room too.

Clannad was the first Celtic music band which music I found interesting. Later, I learned about other musicians and traditional Irish songs. My husband and I met each other thanks to our mutual interest in the Irish music and culture. We go to North Texas Irish Festival together and enjoy experiencing live Celtic tunes whenever we can.

About NTIF
About Irish Music & Celtic Woman

There are loads of Irish songs which I find my favourite ones. It would be not possible to name them all in this entry. Therefore I list only a few in 'My Hit Parade' below.

Iron Maiden - just a few tracks chosen from so many

1. The Trooper
2. Flight of the Icarus
3. Déjà Vu
4. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
5. Purgatory - from the album Killers (1981) -  their #1 album according to myself

Italo Disco

1. Mr. Zivago - Little Russian
2. Ken Laszlo - Tonight
3. Savage - Don't Cry Tonight
4. Fancy -  Flames of Love
5. Schrottnach 8 - Zupppa Romana

Irish Music

1. Red Velvet Band
2. Fiddler's Green
3. Noel McLaughlin - Carrickfergus
4. Blarney Folk - Rattlin' Bog
5. Canticle - The Holy Ground (medley)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Teksaskie Kryptydy

Dzisiaj, w ramach wrześniowego projektu Klubu Polki, opowiem o teksaskich kryptydach. Są to zwierzęta, których istnienie nie zostało oficjalnie potwierdzone przez zoologię, zajmuje się nimi kryptozoologia.

Człowiek Kozioł

Niedaleko Dallas, w hrabstwie Tarrant, znajduje się jezioro Worth. Jest to zbiornik wodny, który w 1914 zbudowano na zachodnim rozwidleniu rzeki Trinity, dla celów rekreacyjnych. Północna część jeziora Worth wchodzi w skład parku stanowego. Jego wody to także raj dla wędkarzy - amatorów, suma i okoni. Jest to także miejsce, w którym widywano dziwną postać (i udokumentowano jej pojawianie się) - ni to człowieka, ni to kozła. Pierwszy raz widziano go w roku 1969 - stwór wysoki na około dwa metry, którego ciało pokryte było częściowo futrem, częściowo łuską, na głowie miał rogi jak u kozła. Rzucał w ludzi odpoczywających nad jeziorem tym, co znalazł w okolicy, łącznie ze starymi oponami. Najprawdopodobniej próbował on odstraszyć ich od terenu, w którym zdobywał pożywienie. Przez wiele dni pojawiał się on w różnych rejonach jeziora, widziało go całkiem sporo osób. Za każdym razem Człowiek Kozioł zachowywał się podobnie - starał się przepłoszyć ludzi przebywających w okolicy, także skacząc na przejeżdżające samochody.

Jedyne zdjęcie Człowieka Kozła, jakie istnieje, zrobił Allan Parker w roku 1969.


Chupacabra Krwiopijca

El Chupacabra znaczy mniej więcej 'wysysacz kóz'. Pierwsze wzmianki na temat tej kryptydy odnotowano w latach pięćdziesiątych naszego wieku. Początkowo grasowała tylko w Ameryce Południowej i Meksyku. Byłaby może wyłącznie legendą, gdyby nie to, że makabryczna działalność Chupacabry rozprzestrzeniła się i na teren Teksasu. Jej skutki, od czasu do czasu, zobaczyć można na własne oczy: tysiące martwych krów, byków, kurczaków i innych zwierząt hodowlanych, a w ciałach tych zwierząt tylko kilka nakłuć - i całkowity brak krwi. Jakby została wyssana przez nieznanego sprawcę.

Według tych, którzy widzieli Chupacabrę, ma ona około 1,20 cm wzrostu i szarawy odcień skóry. Wzdłuż kręgosłupa ma grzebień z włosów, krótkie przednie kończyny zaopatrzone w pazury, a kończyny tylne przypominają kształtem odnóża kangura.

W roku 2004 (lipiec i październik), w wielu miejscach Teksasu znaleziono martwe ciała zwierząt domowych, pozbawionych krwi. Mieszkaniec okolic Elmendorf (hrabstwo Bexar) zgłosił odpowiednim służbom, iż zastrzelił nieznane mu zwierzę, które znajdowało się w jego obejściu. Stwierdzono później, że był to najprawdopodobniej kojot, cierpiący na świerzb (dlatego nie miał sierści). Pobrany materiał genetyczny nie potwierdził jednak tej teorii.

Włochaty Stwór

W niektórych rejonach Teksasu, szczególnie tych bardziej zalesionych i bagiennych, w okolicach rzek (Beamont, park narodowy Big Thicket, południowo-zachodni Teksas, rejony rzeki Brazos). Śmiałkowie, którzy odważą się zapuścić w leśne ostępy, mogą spotkać Włochatego Stwora, zwanego też przez niektórych Wielką Stopą. Ma on około dwa i pół metra wzrostu, z wyglądu przypomina wielką małpę lub też wielkiego i bardzo owłosionego człowieka.

Według relacji tych, którzy mieli nieprzyjemność się z nim zetknąć, był on owłosiony na całym ciele i głośno rycząc, atakował samochody, w których znajdowali się ludzie. Skakał po pojazdach, próbował też schwytać mysliwych, którzy pieszo przemierzali las.

Według jednej z legend, znanych w hrabstwie Bexar, taki właśnie stwór częściowo pożarł 15-letniego chłopca, którego ojciec, właściciel rancza, wysłał do lasu, by młodzieniec nauczył się sztuki przetrwania. Po jakimś czasie, ponieważ chłopiec nie wracał do domu, ojciec wyruszył na poszukiwanie. W gęstwinie leśnej mężczyzna zobaczył wielką bestię przypominającą goryla. Bestia pożerała jego syna! Przerażony widokiem ojciec strzelił do potwora, który zraniony, uciekł w głąb lasu. Niestety chłopiec już nie żył. Załamany tym, co się wydarzyło, nieszczęsny ranczer popadł w depresję i zmarł wkrótce potem.


Chupacabra: By Shalom (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

In The Kitchen With Tobo: 12 Months 12 Cakes: Coconut Pie

In The Kitchen With Tobo: 12 Months 12 Cakes: Coconut Pie: Our September choice was............... this Old Fashioned Recipe for Coconut Cream Pie !  I had never cooked a puddi...