Wednesday, 20 November 2013

How to Reverse Heat-Damaged Hair

How to Reverse Heat-Damaged Hair

Two months ago I started embracing my naturally curly hair. I had been straightening and blow drying my hair straight for over a year and the damage was overwhelming; split ends, hair loss, dry and brittle tresses and needless to say my hair wasn’t growing. But after visiting my salon, The Curl Ambassadors, I learnt how to embrace my natural hair and start to repair my hair from all the havoc I had wreaked.
5 key steps to help your hair be its healthiest:
Hide/throw away/sell your straighter, blow dryer and curling iron/wand!! This is the most important step! Heat is damaging even with a heat protectant product, the high temperatures crack hair’s cuticle and withdraws moisture –leaving hair dry and brittle. Try to use heatless styling methods of styling your hair instead.
Shampoo less. Now I know for those with straight hair, hair can become greasy much faster than other hair textures so I would suggest shampooing hair every other day using an organic product that contains no harsh detergents or chemicals such as, Organix shampoo, found at Wal-Mart. For those with a curlier texture, your hair can typically go longer without shampoo or without it at all, many curlies use a light conditioner to wash hair instead of shampoo such as, No-poo by Diva Curl, which cleanses your hair gently with moisture instead of detergents

  Deep condition. Use a deep conditioning hair mask two to three times a week. Depending on the extent of damage, choose a deep conditioner that is made for your hair texture. You don’t need to spend a lot of money either; there are many great at-home hair mask recipes that you can make from ingredients that you have lying around in your kitchen

 Cut down on products. Like certain shampoos, most hair products contain chemicals that can dry out your hair and can add to the problem instead of helping.  Look for alcohol – free, gentle, organic products that aide in styling, and don’t contain harmful chemicals. For my curly hair, I use Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic Curl Stimulator and for other hair textures I recommend any of the Organix line of products
Be gentle. When drying your hair with a towel, don’t rub hair dry, as this can cause the hair cuticles (the outer layer of hair) to split, instead, blot your hair with a micro-fiber towel that is soft on hair or use an old tee shirt
If you have a lot of spilt ends and damage you may need to do the big chop, I had to cut off a lot of my length just in order to get my curls to bounce back like they use to before all of the damage. However, the good news is, if you follow all of the five steps above you will see a huge improvement in the strength, shine, growth and overall health of your hair.

Remember hair typically growths half an inch per month so patience is everything!

Do you guys have any good tips when it comes to growing your hair? Any awesome products you use? Let me know in the comments below! 

Find me on Twitter: @BriennaBlair1
                  Instagram: folkie

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Curl Up and Die

Curl Up and Die
Mane-taming the curly-do.

“Can I touch it?”

“Wow, it’s like actually soft. I wasn’t expecting that.”

“It’s like frizzy, but it suits you.”

Maintaining curly hair is hard enough; do we seriously have to hear this stuff too?
Now I can’t promise you that people will stop asking you questions but I can help eliminate some of the stress when it comes to dealing with your curls. 

Top 3 things to help your curly hair

Before we begin, know your type of curls because everyone is different.
1. Moisture is key.
         Curly hair gets dry easier because oil can’t glide down your scalp from root to end, unlike with straight hair, you need to distribute oil yourself. So choose an oil (preferably natural) and add some to your hair (it may sound gross at first but your hair will thank you).  Types of oils you can add:
·      Coconut oil
·      Almond oil
·      Olive oil

All three of these oils can be found at the grocery store for dirt-cheap and they all promote hair growth.
Deep Condition every shower.
My favorite deep conditioner combines Keratin Oil and quite possibly, angel tears. It’s called It’s a 10 and my hair is addicted. And I need to use it every shower in order to help get rid of the tangles. It’s a bit on the pricey side but I only use a bit and combine it with the very in expensive, Palmer’s Coconut Oil Protein Pack.
2. Go natural.
         If you want to correct the issues with your curly hair, put the straightening iron away for a while. By constantly straightening your hair you can damage the natural composition of your curls. Don’t like the way your hair looks while it’s still in the process of repairing?

Use foam rollers over-night or braid your hair. They promote hair growth and give you more defined curls or waves too. You won’t need to use any product to hold the curl or wave either!

         Going natural also entails tossing out the products that use harsh chemicals. Find products that say sulfate and paraben free. Live Clean is an amazing, in expensive, oil enriched, synthetic-free line that can be found virtually any drugstore/ superstore for less than $5 a bottle.

3. Love your body love yourself

         I understand you’re stressed but don’t run your brush through like you’re playing tug-of-war.
         What you put inside reflects the outside. Eat healthily, drink lots of water and don’t forget to take your vitamins. If school or work is stressing you out your body isn’t going to focus its energy and nutrient intake on repairing your hair, its focus will be on keeping you awake throughout the day.

Treat your hair like you would your own daughter’s.

Five Great Israeli Cities

In my lastpost I discussed some tips and unique life experiences I had on my trip to Israel. Israel has several cities that offer unique value to the country. Here are the cities in Israel that I visited that offer a variety of experiences:

1)      The city home to spirituality and history:  Jerusalem, the capital of Israel is a city full of history and spirituality.  It is traditional when visiting The Western/Wailing Wall to place a small note with prayers. The next great thing about this city is the maintained history since the time of City of David. You can feel the history through the paved walls and floors built several centuries ago.
Me touching the prayers at The Western Wall
1)      Trees and flowers all around: One of the cities that is full of blossoming flowers and trees is Haifa located at the Northern part of Israel. You can pass by walkways and to your right see beautiful flowers. Also located in Haifa is the beautiful Baha’i Gardens, which is full of beauty and is dedicated to the founder of the Baha’i religion. It is “among the most popular sites in the Middle East,” according to the ganbahai website.
Top view of the Baha’i Gardens
1)      The place where you dance and shop until you drop: If you’re looking to visit local bars, parties on Friday nights (the country’s weekend starts Friday night until Saturday night), and do some great shopping, Tel Aviv is the place to be! It has adapted a very modern and secular lifestyle in comparison to the rest of the country. It is well known for its beach but not many people know that it hosts its own gay pride parade every year.
Idan, Zohar, and I at a party in Tel Aviv
1)      The port city perfect to raise your family in: After visiting my family and family friends in Ashdod, I understood why it was a city to raise and have a family in. Not only do you have a beach and sea port right next to several homes, you have pathways that have outdoor public exercise machines, and local malls and schools nearby. A great residential city that is conveniently right next to a beach. According to statistics living costs including most types of transportation, clothing, restaurant meals, and apartments within the city centre of Ashdod are cheaper in comparison to Haifa.
Apartment complex in Ashdod right in front of the beach
1)      The best vacation spot for locals and tourists: You can hike and snorkel, like I did on my trip. It was an unforgettable experience. Many locals visit this city for so many of the attractions and fun activities that are more vacation and tourist oriented.
My tour group and I snorkelling in The Red Sea
Which city would you like to most visit in Israel?

Internet "Killed" TV - Is it Killing Us?

Seriously, Internet Killed TV. Take a look at the YouTube channel that has 1621 vlogs (video blogs) with combined views of over 400 million. Gone are the days of indiscriminate cable consumption and spoon-fed content, where we sat transfixed, and complacent, in front of television sets empty-eyed, empty-minded, and ultimately, empty-handed.

Recently the audience has been promoted. There’s been an update in our status (pun very much intended) and an upgrade in our account settings; from standard user to Administrator. Some of us may not actively contribute to content, but we certainly arrange it to our liking using RSS feeds. We search for content, instead of the older, cannier way it (and its creators) had of finding us.
We are now the authors, directors and producers of our content. The current information age proves intangible in scope, giving us a multitude of choices and generating endless possibilities therein. We “follow” what and whom we like, “subscribe” and “prescribe” to the information flow of people and organizations that we identify with on intellectual, emotional, financial or spiritual levels, et al.
Most would say the age is golden, that we are unequivocally in control of our social media destiny. But are we? Think of the privacy (as in the distinct lack thereof) culture multimedia has introduced.
Consider our dependency on social media and their electronic hosts: mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. Are we divorcing ourselves from "live" experiences using said devices? We invest so much of our time speaking through mediums and outlets that we may come to forget how to communicate without technology's impersonal complement.
Look no further than yourself for a case study. Identify what your first emotion is when you realize you don't have your phone or communicating device on you (or believe it to be lost). Does it look like this?
 You don't want to revisit the memory for too long as I'm sure the idea gives you an interesting amount of anxiety. I Forgot My Phone tells a cautionary tale. It poses interesting questions: Are we empowered or enslaved? Is the "killing" death or rebirth?
Word Count: 353

My obsession with Ireland and Toronto’s Irish Bars

About two years ago I made the exciting decision to move to Ireland. That night, a couple of pints of Guinness and a bit of Jameson Whiskey later I had a one-way ticket purchased and just a couple months later, off I went. With no plan set and nowhere to stay, seven hours later I landed in Dublin. Excited and hungry I decided to take a taxi to Dublin city centre and find an Irish pub for some Guinness stew with a Guinness on the side. I found myself at a pub called the The Bleeding Horse and pondered what I was going to do for the next year of my life in Dublin. 
As the year went by I worked in some really cool bars, but drank at even better ones and I fell in love with the pub culture. You would see 50-year-old women drinking glasses of Guinness and dancing with the 20 something’s. Everyone was there for ‘a laugh’ and some ‘craic’ (not like Rob Ford). The Irish music was incredible, the food even better, the people very laid back and ‘the craic was mighty,’ it was the best year of my life. 
(A couple of my buddies having a good ol’ time in Peadar Kearneys my favourite pub in Ireland)
Becoming even more Irish obsessed than I already was, which is a bit strange because I'm Ukrainian; I made it my mission to find the Irishest (not a word I know) Irish pubs in Toronto. With exams coming up and all the stress they bring about, these are my three favourite Irish pubs in Toronto where you’ll find me winding down at after my exams are all set and done.
  1. McVeigh's

This is by far my favourite Irish bar in Toronto. You walk in and it doesn’t look like much, a dump really, but the Guinness is almost as good as it is in Ireland. With two floors (the top only really open for Arthur’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day) it's filled with little tables and one bar on the main floor. Not Quite the most extensive menu but food is still really good. 
My two favourite things about this little gem are the live Irish music played on the weekends and that it is always filled with Irish people. Another fun fact the movie The Boondock Saints and its sequel was partly filmed in McVeigh’s.
(Scene from Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day filmed inside McVeighs)
2. P.J. O’Brien 

Looking like a tiny snug in the heart of Downtown, this pub holds a big space and an even bigger and exciting atmosphere. I discovered this place when I worked around the corner and it is definitely of my favourite places for an after work pint. A theme that you’ll find with all the Irish pubs I love is how authentic they are. P.J.'s definitely being authentic, and again the Guinness is good too! Though I’d be more likely to come to P.J.’s for dinner and a nice quiet pint, there are nights it can get kind of rowdy.

(Me at P.J.’s, I love the celtic mirror design in the background)
3.     The Galway Arms
I personally think this place has the best pint of Guinness in the Etobicoke area. Since coming back to school and spending a lot more time in the area I grew up in, I love that I have found a little piece of Ireland just here. The menu has tons of comforting Irish foods, like the steak and mushroom pie (drool) and is a great place to just chill out. You’ll hear the loud Irish accents as soon as you walk in the door.

So if you take my advice and check out any of my favourite pubs just make sure to play safe and smart or you might end up like me with one of these: 
(A tattoo I got in while in Ireland after visiting my favourite bar)
Anyway, what are some of your favourite Irish pubs to wind down in Toronto? And if you don’t have any, how will you unwind after exam time?
Anna Vasina

Keep Canadian Eminem fans away from vulgar lyrics? SLIM chance!

Keep Canadian Eminem fans away from vulgar lyrics?
SLIM chance!

by: Jiordana Saade

I have always been a huge fan of Eminem. Growing up with an older brother, I would rather listen to one of Eminem’s underground tracks over the Backstreet Boys any day. So when the Famous lyricist, and rap phenomenon released his new album on November 5, 2013, I hastily clicked DOWNLOAD on iTunes.

After going through all 21 songs (a few times) I was really impressed. I haven’t been a huge fan of Eminem’s recent albums, 'Relapse', and "Recovery", and I thought this one was much more authentic to Eminem’s original style. The lyrics in the songs are fantastic, full of quick wit, and clever comments. I was less impressed with some of the back tracks chosen, and thought the melodic choruses, in some cases, did not match up to the lyrics. Nonetheless, I am very pleased with his new work and would do almost anything to see him in concert.

Unfortunately for me, among many Canadian Eminem fans, Eminem was banned from performing in Canada in October 2010 because a Canadian woman complained about the lyrics in one of his songs “ Kill you”, arguing that they violate Canada's law of violence against women, and law of expression.

For over ten years now, Eminem fans like myself have been deprived the right to see him perform in our country, and with the launch of his new CD I believe the exposure would be beneficial for both fans and Slim Shady himself. There have been
various Facebook groups made to lift the ban in certain Canadian provinces in the past, and other forums where people can discuss why the ban is not acceptable. In my opinion, (and yes I do realize I am biased) Eminem’s lyrics are very descriptive, and at times vulgar. However, there are many bands that have performed in Canada with equally if not more vulgar lyrics than Eminem. As a case in point, Cannibal Corpse’s song, 'Hammer smashed face' has lyrics very similar to those of Eminem’s ‘ Kill you’.

Eminem’s new album Marshal Mathers LP II is one of his best out of his recent works. I’ve been listening to the album on repeat, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there! His hit single “ Monster” feat. Rihanna is on top of the iTunes chart. For those of you who are not yet Eminem fans, or haven’t gotten the chance to listen to his new album, listen HERE.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Best Concert I've Ever Attended

On October 5th, I hauled myself to Columbus, Ohio to see my friends' band, The Neighbourhood, perform. The Neighbourhood, a five piece from Southern California, identify their sound as "Alt-Pop". Their unique songs, edgy look and talented vocals by frontman Jesse Rutherford, got them noticed by Columbia Records, who they just released their debut album with, called I Love You.  Their hit single off the album, Sweater Weather, was certified as platinum just days before embarking on their headlining tour

So what makes a concert great? As a self proclaimed concert veteran, I've picked up on the things a show must have to be a game changer, thus creating my own criteria. 
I can honestly say that The Neighbourhood's show scored perfectly in all areas, easily making it the best show I've ever attended.

Audience Interaction
A show without crowd interaction is simply boring, and quite impersonal. The moment of bliss when the lead singer grabs your hand, or gives you a guitar pick, makes for a memory that only you have. The Neighbourhood ruled in this area; they asked the audience questions, shared stories and even had a discussion with the crowd about the college football game going on in Columbus, making it a truly unique and personalized experience.

The vibe of the show makes or breaks it. If the crowd is enjoying it, it rubs off onto you. If the audience is simply standing there, looking bored, it brings the mood down. The Neighbourhood has a cult following who is extremely invested in their music. This brought a lot of hardcore fans to the show and you just couldn't help but sing and dance along as well.

This is the aspect of live music that I feel is highly underrated, yet very important. A concert is not just auditory; their must be a visual accompaniment. Not only does it give you something to look at, it completely enhances your experience. The Neighbourhood is known for their unique aesthetic. Everything they do is in black and white: music videos, photoshoots, TV appearances (such as their recent gig on Jimmy Kimmel), ect. They've even taken it as far as only wearing black and white. This aesthetic is incorporated into their live shows, making it visually appealing and setting the mood right off the bat.

This one is somewhat simple; if the venue is awful, your show may not be as enjoyable. If you can't see or the sound is not good, your experience will be affected. The Newport Music Hall in Columbus was fantastic; the architecture was amazing and stunning to look at. The sound quality was perfect and you could see the stage from anywhere in the venue.

Raw Talent
The simplest, yet most important aspect of live music; the band must be able to perform live. The singer has the biggest role, as his/her voice is expected to sound like the album. Rutherford’s vocals were fantastic; the songs sounded better live than recorded. After hearing rave reviews of their performance of “Sweater Weather" live, I was so excited to see it in performed live in person.
So, what do you think makes a good concert? What was the best show you’ve ever been to? Let me know!
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