new old hair

i’m not sure when it exactly started, but for years now i’ve had quite a lot of white hair. yeah, i’m sure you’ve noticed them in my pics. 😀

when it started coming out, i tried picking them out. but then they started to grow everywhere on my head, so i couldn’t keep picking them out!

i tried colouring my hair. it was great… for about 2 weeks. the colour went away in the blink of an eye, and i was back with my white hair. i gave up trying to colour it, because no matter what brand i tried, the colour wouldn’t stay longer than 1-2 weeks.

so i tried living with them. it’s nice sometimes because though my face may look young (which means at work some customers may think i’m a junior) my white hair tells people that i’m older than i look. or so i hope, at least! :p but most of the time it bothers me because the white hair look so striking on my deep black hair! too much contrast, even for my taste.

so i then decided to do it the other way around: bleach my hair. i figured that if i bleach it, at least it will ‘forever’ be lighter coloured and there’s no risk of the colour running out after 1-2 weeks… because it’s not really colouring! it’s bleach! ha!

since i would be doing it at home, to minimize the risk (in case i turned too blonde… which is actually quite impossible) i decided that i needed a haircut first. of course that was also done at home.

hairbefore

the haircut result, before any bleaching.

i chose the same hairstyle i had 6 years ago, since i had run out of ideas on what other style i can do to my hair! so as you can see from the pic, the white hairs are quite visible… and that is just from the front. the sides are much worse and i will spare you the nightmare.

after doing some research, i found that DIY bleaching kits tend to make your hair turn yellowish, so i needed to counter that by adding cool colour to my hair. even though i had my doubts that my hair would turn any lighter than just light brown, i fell in love with the packaging of this Finnish brand KC Professional’s Color Mask and decided to buy the Pearl tone–which is actually meant for seriously blonde hair–before even knowing what my new hair colour would be!

haircolourmaski just didn’t want to risk having to go out of the house looking like a freak (in case the bleaching failed) just to get a tube of this hair colour mask. isn’t it always good to be prepared? (plus it was on sale and was 7€ cheaper than usual, so with that kind of bargain i just couldn’t bear to miss it!)

anyway, for the DIY bleach kit, i went to get the extremest blonde set i could find. plus i have used this brand many times in the past, and they seemed to always work fine.

hairbleachif you see on the pic, the small images on the left, how black/dark brown hair’s result after the bleach should be (blonde enough), you would think it’s the perfect solution for me, right?

ah, except that you don’t know my hair’s structure. they’re quite bulky (like 1 string of hair is already very thick), and quite stubborn like the bearer herself. :p

the instruction says whatever happens, DO NOT let the bleach stay longer on your hair for more than 45 minutes. i, of course, obeyed this. the result, which i unfortunately did not record, was a somewhat reddish orange light brown hair. nowhere near the blonde that was shown on that packaging’s image, at least.

thanking the stars that i had bought the hair colour mask, i put it on right away. it’s basically like a conditioner: you put it (with gloves) on clean hair that has been dried by towel, and leave it for a while before rinsing it off. it says on the packaging that 5-10 minutes should do the trick, but i believe that is for blonde hair. since mine was a strange shade of light brown and i did want the reddish orange tint to go away, i kept it on for 15 minutes.

and finally, i was quite pleased with the result!

hairafter1

this is as blonde as you can get, darling!

i would say that even when the DIY bleach kit was almost a total flop, the hair colour mask saved my day. it makes my new hair colour look much more natural than reddish orange, and i am still very pleased with the fact that my white hair is now almost like some highlights on my hair. they look like they’re meant to be here & there and to look that way. yaaay!

the Color Mask is something i would need to re-do after some washes. the tube i bought was a 200 ml size and i only used about 3 tablespoons of it for that first time. so far i’ve washed my hair 3 times after applying the hair mask to my hair, and this is what it currently looks like:

hairafter2

still healthier looking than reddish orange! 😀 i’m gonna see how long/many washes it takes until i finally would need to re-apply the mask, but i can warmly recommend the Color Mask product to anyone who needs healthier & more natural looking hair after a possibly disastrous hair colouring/bleaching experience.

and then, we’ll see which comes first: buying a new tube of the Color Mask or my hair’s grown too long that i would need to re-bleach it! oh, this vicious cycle.

Phantom of the Opera – review

in my whole life, the amount of time i have went to concerts or music festivals are so few, i can count them with my hands. but ask me how many times i’ve seen musicals, operas, ballet/dance performances, and other cultural-musical performances, i can only say: too many times to count!

and the one show that i had always wanted & waited to see was The Phantom of the Opera musical performance (Andrew Lloyd Weber). just writing the name gave me goosebumps already. :p

my story began sometime around 1995 when my musical-lover family bought a CD full of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s songs from musicals. the second i heard Michael Crawford’s version of Music of the Night, i fell in love with the Phantom. we then bought a 2-CD set of The Phantom of the Opera musical which consisted of the all the songs in the musical performance, from beginning to the end. i religiously listened to those CDs with my sister ever since, and sang the songs together whenever we could. by then, i can say that i knew most of the songs by heart & somewhat guessed what the story told.

it wasn’t until some time in 1997-98 that i actually read the book for the first time. and i fell in deeper. now all the lyrics in the songs made more sense and i wished so bad that they would perform the musical in Indonesia.

they never did, and then i moved to Finland… a place where they also had never performed.

until now.

last year, as soon as they started selling the tickets, i jumped up on my seat and bought it. which was a good move, because they were all sold out in a matter of weeks. i don’t know how i managed to wait a whole year till the actual show, but i did! and now, on with the review!

when i first heard that they were finally going to show this musical here in Finland, i already read that it was going to be “a new production”. after reading many articles about it, i finally gathered that: the songs & scores in the performance would be as they were in the original show, everything would be performed in English, the story would of course be exactly the same, but the stage design and how the whole thing is performed would be different than the original. and then a few days before seeing this musical, i read that “different” here actually means bigger: bigger stage than in London’s West End, more cast than the original as well.

i have not seen the original production, ever, and the closest thing i’ve seen was the 2004 movie. so i can say that i know what to expect of the songs & music, but no expectations at all about the stage etc.

so first, the stage: it was just FANTASTIC! with so many different scenes within the story, they changed quite rapidly, but everything went smoothly and even the “mini” opera scenes were staged so beautifully, as if they were real operas in themselves. my most fave sets were the part where Christine saw the Phantom through the mirror, and the underground world of the Phantom.

next, the costumes: exactly what you would expect from that era’s fashion, which is to say that they’re good… but not extremely special. EXCEPT: at the masquerade party. it reminded me a bit of the An American In Paris movie, the new year’s party scene. 😉

and now, the moment i had been waiting for, the actors/singers & music: on the night that i went to see this, Christine was played by Hanna-Liina Võsa, who to my understanding is originally from Estonia and have done many shows around the world. i personally think she was perfect as Christine, her voice clear and her pronunciations perfect.

the Phantom was played by Ilkka Hämäläinen, a Finn who have been in the national opera for many years and originally started his career in rock & pop music. in the beginning, i felt like he sang a little bit quicker than the music, which was a tiny bit disappointing for me because it happened while he sang the song i waited for the most, Music of the Night. maybe i was just so used to Michael Crawford’s version that i had expected it to be slow, with clear pronunciations as to make a point to each and every word. but as the show went on, Hämäläinen became more and more integrated with his Phantom role (and no longer sang too quick for the music), and before long i actually felt like he WAS the Phantom, with all his gestures, his proudness, and how he always crept in the darkness. it was all very well done!

Raoul was played by Olli Tuovinen, and while he sang beautifully just like Raoul would to Christine, i wish he would show more affection to his on-stage lover. i felt like the chemistry between Raoul & Christine wasn’t really there (or if it was, then it was very subtle), and could see it more between Christine & the Phantom.

the music was brilliantly played, i felt as if i was listening to our old CD, many years ago.

did i cry in the end? you bet your socks i did. i still couldn’t believe that i finally had seen the show LIVE, my lifelong dream had finally came true. i knew i couldn’t expect this show to be as “perfect” as how i envisioned it in my mind when i listened to the original CD years ago, but it was still a lot better than what i expected, and it was worth every cent! but if i ever get the chance to see it again, whether this Finnish production one or the original West End version, i would still jump at the chance and do it again.

if you’re living in Finland or are planning to visit some time next spring, i highly recommend this musical show! click here for more info.

PS. the video is from The Finnish National Opera YouTube account and all the credits belong to them.

Queen of Late

once every blue moon, i do also buy ready made clothes. these days i don’t get too much tempted by clothes sold by fast fashion stores, though i do enjoy a trip to these stores just to keep myself updated with what’s on trend and what’s out (i tell myself it’s for my job, but i really enjoy seeing the cuts & small details in these clothes to help me in my own sewing projects… and shamelessly copy them). the only exception that would make me want to buy a ready made clothing item is if a) the print of the item is something hard to get as a fabric, and b) it’s really cheap. 10€ is the maximum limit i set for myself, unless if the store in question is actually a higher-end kind of clothing store.

so when a clothing item falls into both a and b categories… well, you know i’ve got to take a chance.

oasapdress

Oasap dress, Marimekko tights, Up shoes, Miffy watch.

i had never heard of the online store Oasap until The Fashion Huntress started posting a few of her clothes from there. i browsed their collection, thinking that i probably would still find them too expensive, but suddenly i saw this dress with quirky Queen print that i had seen before from another brand (who sold it for like… hundreds of euros). the price i got from Oasap that time was around 7,50€. i also found a pair of earrings for a mere 1,50€. plus, they were having a free delivery around the world campaign.

so i thought it was worth a try to order from there. they accept Paypal, so that made it even easier. this was in mid November 2014.

all i had to do after that was wait. and wait. and wait. and waaaaaaait some more. i had planned on wearing this dress at my workplace’s Christmas party, but nope, the dress did not come yet by then. so i thought okay, i could probably still wear it on Christmas dinner. but nope, the dress did not come before Christmas holiday yet either. so i thought, fine, i suppose i can wear it on the cruise to Stockholm. but the dress arrived exactly on 31st of December when i had to go to work, so i could not pick it up from the post office until AFTER new year’s holiday (and after the cruise). bravo, well done!

oasapdress2

the Queen (of Late) print in close up…

i hereby dub thee the Queen of Late. i was finally able to hold it in my hands by the 5th of January 2015. no more parties or dinners coming my way, so the dress is basically late for everything, but whatever. better late than never.

so am i happy with this dress? i am, especially since i only paid 7,50€ for it. but if you are planning to wear something from that store any time soon, i suggest you find it somewhere else. otherwise, if you don’t mind waiting 1,5 months for the item(s) to arrive, this online shop is a great place to get quirky & cheap clothes.

i’m also happy with my new Marimekko tights, which i got as a Christmas present from my mum-in-law! ❤ she knows my style well, don’t you think? 😀

a book review: Alif the Unseen

Alif the UnseenAlif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

i came to know about this book after seeing it on the front page of the Book Depository online store. as usual, it was the title that intrigued me. that, and the fact that some critics compare this book to Harry Potter. 😉

upon reading it, i was not disappointed. it really did remind me of Harry Potter, with a lot more of computer/techy things. i enjoyed the main story, and reading this didn’t take a long time for me since it was quite fast paced.

however i couldn’t help feeling that some things are left unexplained (possibly purposely?) or very shortly introduced and then never described deeper. i was lucky enough to be brought up in a superstitious environment where djinns (and their world) are not completely foreign. if i wasn’t though, i don’t know if i would actually understand the story in the book. also since everything was crammed into one book, yet the story is somewhat long and complex, i feel like i haven’t gotten the chance to properly know the characters yet (the main and the supporting ones, Vikram, Azalel, etc.) to actually feel any sympathy to whatever happens to them.

for the ending, particularly the romance part, i must say it was predictable. 😀 not that i mind, but just that it was unsurprising. from the fantasy/techy part, i must say i don’t really grasp the whole idea or how it works, except that it does work and i guess i’ll just have to accept that fact. so it was a tiny bit disappointing, as i like to understand things 100%, but since it is a fantasy book after all, let’s just say anything is possible.

i was going to leave this review at this, but i couldn’t help adding one more thing. i read a few other reviews of this book before i wrote mine, and was a bit surprised to see how some people seem to not get a clear picture of what’s going on in the book at all. somebody thought the setting of this story is in India (which is wrong, it’s set in an unnamed emirate). another one wondered why the prison guards didn’t bother to catch our hero(es) in the desert (the answer: because, as it is written in the novel, during the car chase sequence, our hero(es) went over a very high dune and after the dune it was all bare desert that the prison guards would much rather leave them to die out there than to try to catch them and bring them back). it made me realize that perhaps the way the story is written is sometimes unclear to people.

or perhaps, just like the Alf Yeom, the book always look different to different people. hmm. 😉

anyway, i highly recommend this book to those who enjoy fantasy stories. the main story is interesting, new (= techy) yet traditional (= religions/myths/beliefs & djinn world), and if you read it without any expectations, you’ll find it to be a very entertaining book. 🙂 now i would love to find out if the Alf Yeom book is real or not.

we’re off to see the circus…

… the wonderful Cirque Du Soleil! ❤

last Christmas, as a present from my mum-in-law, we got 2 tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Alegria performance. the show was last Sunday (so yeah, the title should’ve been in past tense, but then i can’t sing it to the Wizard of Oz’s “We’re Off To See The Wizard” melody :p).

this was the second Cirque Du Soleil performance i’ve seen live, and i must say, they never fail to impress me!

unlike the Delirium (the first Cirque Du Soleil performance i saw live), this one was pure circus. from the ringmaster, clowns, to the acrobats & the aerialists. oh, and of course, there’s the singer. there’s always a live singer in Cirque Du Soleil’s performances. 🙂 and thankfully, this circus doesn’t have animals. (i always feel sorry for the animals!)

the setting is almost always the first thing i notice (and judge) in these kinds of performances, because usually it’s there to view before the performance even starts. and in this case, it was impeccable. at first glance, it looked dreamy, just how i’d imagine a circus from my dreams would look like. as the performance unfolded, i began to see that everything on the set was also very functional and carefully measured (well, doh, of course they are), nothing was a waste.

the costumes are what i’m always dying to see whenever i go to see any type of art performances. just like in traditional circuses, the ringmaster had a red tuxedo with long tails at the back, the clowns had red noses and baggy trousers. the singer’s costume = i loved it! the performers’ costumes had to be practical, of course, since they all had to jump around, bend their bodies so much, or whatever else. but even so, i enjoyed imagining they were birds, or underwater creatures, and some of them even looked like some viking warriors (or maybe i just have a too wild imagination!).

in the Delirium performance, we got to see not only the performance of the dancers and singers who were on stage, but also some sort of light & multimedia show at the same time. in this one, there wasn’t any (except for a very small portion of light effects on the first half of the show), so the concentration really only went to the performers on the stage. i’m not saying that it’s a minus, it was just different between these 2 performances. i didn’t miss anything from this show, since i just love circuses, in all kind of forms! 😉

my personal fave in circuses has always been any performance in the air. sure, i love everything else too, but the aerialists are always the ones that can make me take my hat off and bow. the way they time everything and cooperate with their partners, trusting them with their own lives… there’s almost a poetry behind everything they do. so i was so pleased to see so many aerial performances in this one! if you love them as much as i do, i really recommend you to go see Alegria the next time they’re coming your way.

i was also happy about the fact that the audience was very cooperative during the performance that i saw. right from the very beginning, the performers would include the audience to their show, which usually meant that the clowns (or one of them) would go down to the front audience seats (where  the VIPs were), make someone do something, dance with someone, or bring someone to the stage to complete their act. all of the audiences that they chose that time cooperated with them, no one was too embarrassed to act goofy or be made to look ridiculous. had this been in my home country, i’m afraid most of the audiences would be too shy for this kind of thing, but then again, i guess i’ll never know.

lastly, i of course wanted to make the most of this “once in a lifetime” opportunity. so i got myself a little something from the souvenir shop, something i had never done before. (usually i’m too stingy to spend a single cent on the over-priced souvenirs.) i just knew that if i didn’t get this, i would regret it for the rest of my life. 😀

cirquedusoleil

just so you know a bit more of what i’m talking about, you can view this video of the show (NOT made by me, i just borrowed it):

and for more info of the Alegria show, you can go here.

i’m so happy i got to see this show, and it was all thanks to my mum-in-law. i hope there’ll be other Cirque Du Soleil performances coming my way here. i can never get enough of their performances!