Adventures in Blondieland

Adventures in Blondieland

Do you know those quotes that speak of some universal truth and seem to fit just any type of life situation? Things like you should always remain true to yourself, or, on the contrary, that you should always embrace change, or know yourself before you begin to understand others, or whatever…

If I were to start this post with something like that (which I won’t, not technically at least), I could follow it with a thorough and deep text about some serious issue. I will not, though. As shallow as that might be, the world is so serious right now, and my mind just need a break. So, hair it is, we’re talking about hair. And to make it more complex – after all, I cannot be THAT superficial😊 – blonde hair, specifically.


To begin with – and this is where I attempt to make some kind of connection to my opening lines about universal truths – I never thought that I would be a blonde. Or even want to be one, for that matter. I mean, brunette power all the way. OK, dark brown, to be exact. Anyway, the main thing is blond hair was as remote an option for me as eating chicken still is. I know this is a very weird thing to say, but it’s true; birds in any shape, form or recipe are a big no no.

Presuming this would be the moment when you get really intrigued and ask how it happened after all, the simple answer is: highlights. I started with some highlights and, although those were a million years away of making me a blonde, there was a certain someone that kept saying that “we are three blondes”😊 Now, I do not mean to blame this someone for me getting blonder and blonder, but truth is it happened and, when I did try to get back to darker locks, it only lasted 3 weeks until I got back to blonde. It turned out that I couldn’t recognize myself as a brunette… I guess I have a blonde soul.

Now, that’s all fun and games, only that it actually isn’t. Because, let me tell you the big news, once you become a blonde, things will never be the same. They will get more difficult, more expensive and will require more of your time.


Let’s break this down, shall we?

You will need professional help. Unless you are one of those very few – and, frankly, annoying – persons who can dye their hair blonde at home, you will need to go to a salon and find yourself a good stylist who knows what’s best for your hair. To get to a nice shade of blonde, you’ll probably need bleaching and, when doing this at home, there are very high chances you’ll get your hair fried. Or patchy. Or both, of course. Then, if you’re like me, the result might be an exquisite shade of carrot orange that needs the miraculous hand of the stylist to blend the hair dye that will offset the orange and tone your hair to the desired shade of blonde. If you’re a bit of a geek, you’ll be delighted to find out that a nice shade of cool blonde often comes out of a mix that may include violet, blue or green. So, either you learn all the bits and pieces behind this, or you go to a salon.

Plain washing won’t do the trick anymore. I mean, forget the wash and go thing. It’s gonna be wash, moisturize, that mask, this mask, that oil, you name it. Although a stylist knows how to lighten your hair in order to cause the least damage possible, bleaching will affect your hair anyway and, in some proportion, it will become brittle and dry. So you’ll need to invest in some good products and, in my experience, these do tend to run a bit on the expensive side. One size does not fit all, but the Kerastase range seems to be the right choice for me and, recently, I’m experiencing with Kevin Murphy products.


Don’t go blonde all the way. That perfect platinum blonde, or any other shade for that matter, will look lovely…for about 2 weeks. And the roots, the infamous roots, will make an entrance. Oh, how I used to loathe and hate them. Even if nobody else will see them at the beginning, you’ll notice the first millimeters coming out and your blonde fairy tale will come crumbling down. Because, doh, you’re not a real blonde and hair grows, that’s what hair does. Fear not, there’s a solution for that, and whether is called balayage, foliage or whatever, keeping and blending your natural roots looks way better than that straight line of overgrowth. 


Trim, trim, trim. Yeah, you know it by now, your hair breaks easier and your need to control the damage, especially on the ends. So regular trims are no longer a recommendation, they become a must now, along with that hydration arsenal we’ve talked about above. No need to dwell too much on this, it’s what it is, no lengthy explanations behind it.  

Forget heat tools. Or try to, as much as possible. In earnest, you should probably forgo them altogether, but having wavy hair (that is not straight, but not curly, with a mind of it’s own that sometimes decides on tight, tight ringlets, but more often on a non-descript mess) I know the struggle is real. And a flat iron or a curler might be the only thing standing between you and an emergency bun. So I guess it’s difficult to throw them away for good, but do try to limit heat usage and use some good thermal protection.

Think well and long before going back to the dark side. And then think a bit more. Because of the damn roots, I did make this decision and I was pretty sure about it. But then it turns out I didn’t like myself with brown hair, not the tiniest bit, and I then went back to blonde. And what did this mean? Yeah, more bleaching, more brittle hair, the whole package. Which I’m fine with on a regular basis, but this kind of chemical processing is not beneficial not even for the healthiest of hairs. Fortunately, my hair is thick and can take a lot, but even so, after 6 months I can still see the effects. So, do it or don’t do it, but be 100% sure of your decision.

Other than that, it really is all fun and games, isn’t it? Seriously now, I know hair colour, clothes, appearance and such can be perceived as superficial stuff. And, yes, in a crisis, a decisive situation, this matters the least. But in normal circumstances, such things can do wonders to boost your mood, give you that extra bit of confidence and, in some way, set you up for success in whatever you’re trying to accomplish. It doesn’t replace intelligence and using your brain, but it does make for a good pairing.



French Pharmacy Talk

French Pharmacy Talk

Welcome to the article that will probably drive away any potential male visitor of this blog. Now, this is not because we’re going to talk about some sort of outrageous topic. It is rather inoffensive, so not to create any artificial suspense, here it is: cosmetics. It’s not any type of cosmetics, though; it is French cosmetics and if that’s of any kind of interest to you, Mr. Visitor, you are welcome to read along.

In the weeks leading up to our vacation on the French Riviera (of which I’ll write more really soon if my proverbial writing laziness doesn’t strike again), I spent some time reading about all things French. About the places we were going to see, of course, but other than that main things popping up were these: French girls’ style and French pharmacy cosmetics. The former prompted me to do some wardrobe reorganization (and yes, some shopping too), but it’s the latter that I’m going to give some details on now.

According to endless articles in countless publications, French pharmacy products are this kind of Holy Grail of cosmetics: they’re simple, efficient and reasonably priced. To be fair, we do have access to a lot of these in Romania, as pharmacies stock quite a few of the French ranges and we must admit that they’re good products, with a price tag that’s most of the times significantly below the upper brands. So I wasn’t really finding anything new, but what kept me really hooked on reading this kind of stuff was that vibe that you got, sort of “dab this on your face and you’ll instantly be transformed into a diaphanous, effortless, chic and smart beauty”. You know, the French thing😊

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that, arriving in France, my quest was to buy and try the products that are not available at home or, at least, those I haven’t used before.

Enter Embryolisse Lait – Crème Concentre, that’s been around since forever and that everybody still swears by. And by everybody I mean not only the chic French ladies of nowadays, but their mothers and grandmothers and entire families and – and this is the unexpected punch – make up artists everywhere. Or something like that.

This is supposed to be the epitome of all moisturizers ever, that triples up also as a primer, mask and face cleanser. So I put it to test. And my verdict is that it’s good, but I don’t see it as an everyday product as I find it much too heavy. If I put this on my face and wear it as an everyday moisturizer, I’ll feel like I’m carrying a bucket of grease on myself. And if you think that you might feel the same when it comes to a heavy moisturizing product, I would recommend using it mainly as a night time cream.

But. Yes, there is a but and a big one, simply because this is what made me realize why everybody raves so much about Embryolisse. I read in one of the articles that one use for it – and that’s some kind of a beauty insider tip – is to mix a little bit of the cream with your usual foundation. And so I did. And voila, the mystery is solved. IT IS GORGEOUS. It gives that sort of dewy sheen that looks totally effortless and, ironically, doesn’t feel greasy at all.

The only trick is to use just a little bit of it and, of course, to be prepared for your foundation to be thinned out, allowing your skin to be seen through. That’s not a problem for me, as I prefer light coverage (let’s all praise Lisa Eldridge for showing us that, when it comes to makeup, less is indeed more), but if you prefer a more full-on coverage, just thought it useful to mention this.

Which brings me to the second wonder product that I bought. And, yes, I know that I spoilt any accumulating tension exploding in a big reveal, but, you see, this one is good too. And the funny thing is it isn’t even a cosmetic product. I’m talking of Biafine, a lotion that French people stock on in order to treat minor skin burns. Nothing fancy, you will use it probably if you spent too much time in the sun.

But it seems that somebody, at some moment, used it as a moisturizer. And a primer. And lip balm. And who know what else and apparently it worked wonders for everything.

For me, it worked wonders for my sun burnt skin (even though sun burns are quite a waste on me as I’ll be as white as before when they heal up) and as a moisturizer and moisturizing mask. Which is no small thing for a 186 g tube – Heaven knows how they came up with this quantity – that costs 6 euros.

…and that’s something I really didn’t want to share, but here it goes. When I was looking for Embryolisse, I first saw the tube in a Monoprix shop, with a 13 euros price. We were in Nice that day and I said I’ll buy it another day from Antibes or Juan les Pins, where we stayed. A few day later I entered a pharmacy in Antibes and it cost 16 euros. So I said no, that’s too expensive. Looked in a few more pharmacies, they didn’t have it…and at last I found one that did. And when I payed for it, it turned out it was 21 euros, but I took it because I haven’t asked before and it felt quite awkward to say I don’t want it anymore. And then I was pissed off for paying too much for it😊

Ok then, one last thing I want to share on this. One review I came across was complaining about the fact that they both contain mineral oil, which is another way of saying liquid paraffin. As this is obtained from petroleum, there is this debate that it isn’t safe to use. Digging more into the topic, the conclusion would be that it is definitely safe to use, as cosmetic grade products derived from petroleum have nothing to do with what we understand as fuel and such. Still, paraffin doesn’t have any moisturizing quality in itself, what it does is to form a barrier that keeps moisture in. Admittedly, that can also contribute to clogging your pores, so in the end, it is up to you if you’re ok with using a product containing mineral oil.

And since we’re on the topic, I found this website, which is a cosmetic database where you can check how clean and healthy your favourite cosmetic products are.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


Summer Party Feels

Summer Party Feels

Hi there, visitor of this deserted blog!

It’s quite a wonder that you’ve stumbled around here. And if you didn’t, that just means that I’m talking to myself, which is not such an unexpected event, to be fair.

Now, it just happens that today is one of those slower days, and I thought it was a good idea to have a tiny peak over here. Because, just between us, I really like how this space looks, in spite of me being such a lazy ass and not writing anything for months. It’s still pretty, even in this godforsaken situation. So pretty that I felt the sudden urge to add something in here.

But what that might be? I have some things in mind, I read some interesting books lately, there are even some places I went to and haven’t said a word about… but I’m still lazy and the inspiration hasn’t hit me hard enough to put all these in a decent form.

So there will only be pictures for now.

These are from a wonderful wedding I’ve been to last weekend – relaxed and cool and really, really nice.

And if you’re interested in such things, the dress is TGH Fashion and the shoes Coca Zaboloteanu.



Rooting for the villain

Rooting for the villain

Today I have a funny little topic for you, one that if we were to look at from a very serious perspective would probably not qualify as funny. But I say we keep it nice and light and ask ourselves casually: why do we sometimes find ourselves favour and secretly admire the bad guys? Or girls, we’re not talking genders here, only types.

Might be for a lot of reasons, like the fact that we all have at least a spec of evil in us, suppressed feelings and so on. Jordan Peterson talks about this in “12 rules for life”, so if you’re up for a deep dive in philosophy or history of religion, go for it. Funny fact about this – and the 3rd time I use the word “funny” in just 2 paragraphs – is that this book is supposed to be the “easy” version of “Maps of Meaning”, the other book he published. Well, it still makes my head spin…

In any case, one of the most comfortable ways of giving in to our evil inclinations is with fictional characters. There’s no harm when they’re not real, isn’t it? Well, the answer to that might not be too simple either, but let’s just not go there.

Let’s look, instead, at some movie villains that are really quite fun.

Joe from the Netflix series “You”. In fact, from the book with the same name written by Caroline Kepnes. I haven’t read yet, though, so we stick to the series.

Joe is a genuine sociopath. From very early in the first episode, you realize there’s something wrong with him, but it turns out it’s too late. You’re already hooked. This is probably because almost the entire plot is narrated from his point of view and his monologues are utterly charming. I mean he’s funny and smart, what’s not to like about this? Maybe that he’s a stalker, liar, he manipulates people, including the girl he allegedly loves, that he’s a killer? Maybe all this.

Oh, and don’t worry, these are not spoilers, it’s quite obvious early on in the series. But you’ll still like him. For once, because he’s also compassionate, although not towards the same people he uses or disposes of for fulfilling his purposes. He has a great sense of humor and he adds a sarcastic, yet hilarious twist, to all situations he finds himself into. Or rather puts himself into, because no one tells him to kidnap or kill people. These are choices he makes, and he always finds romantic or honorable justifications for his actions.

Now, I know I said we keep it light, but it’s worth noting that underneath what makes the series entertaining there are plenty of pointers on the type of behavior you need to run the hell away of if your gut feeling tells you to. Grrr, what a long phrase…

Red from the Blacklist series. Also on Netflix. And, actually, Mr. Raymond Reddington, to be exact. International criminal, on the FBI’s most wanted list, but secretly working with them as an informant. He helps catch the criminals no one even knew existed, but he always follows his own agenda and does all that to be close to one special agent.

Nothing more about the plot, but a lot to say about the character. He is a rather unimpressive middle-aged man, who steals the scene once he starts talking. He’s very intelligent and witty and, of course, he is kind and charming and has the capacity to inspire a loyal following everywhere he goes. Even in prison.

He has a story about everything and he appears to have seen every corner of the world. Most times he seems to not have a very clear plan in place, but as things unfold you realize he has thought everything through and carefully considered all his moves.

To put it briefly, he’s a walking anecdote and even if you’re not into FBI kind of series, you still need to give this one a chance.

Tom. What do you mean, Tom who? Tom from “Tom & Jerry” of course. He’s the bad character I always rooted for. Poor him, always tormented and beaten and made fun of by that little jerk, Jerry. I know you were supposed to like Jerry, because he’s the hero of the series, but I always felt so sorry for Tom and wanted him to win just once.

After all, he has a lot of qualities, doesn’t he? He is resourceful, very imaginative, very flexible and sings very good. Just to name a few of his strong points. It’s true that he’s on a permanent pursuit to catch and eat Jerry, but that’s a detail. I’m sure that in fact he just wants to become friends with him, but life gets in the way.

My gallery of villains, true or undercover, is not by any means limited to the above. But I’ll keep a bit of mystery to it, I learned at least this from them.

I’m curious, though: who are your favourite villains?


S&C Features: Em’s World

S&C Features: Em’s World

Carrying on with the trend of things I should have done a long time ago, I’m sharing today another S&C Feature, this time on Em’s World.

Em has a very nice section on her blog where she publishes every Friday a short Q&A with other bloggers and I had the chance to answer her questions towards the end of last year. I really loved how simple this idea is and it looks like I am not the only one. There are quite a few bloggers whose answers you can read in this section, so it’s safe to say that this is popular with both bloggers and readers.


So, if you’re interested in what I had to say, just click here and then makes sure to discover some more of Em’s World!


Sharp Objects: the series and the book

Sharp Objects: the series and the book

Are you the type to often obsess over a movie or a book?

Well, I must confess I am. And I also must confess that I intentionally inserted that “often” there, to discreetly (well, not so much so anymore!) imply that this is a state I found myself in more than once. Much more than once.

And this time we’re talking about a double obsession, as I’ll try to explain – and hopefully do that without any spoilers – what is it that’s so captivating about “Sharp Objects”, the TV series AND the book.

First thing to note, and a recommendation from my part, is to take them exactly in this order: first watch the series and then read the book. It used to be kind of a universal truth that you should start with the book; I find that this is not valid anymore, with so many movies and series that are standing on their own two feet even if they are inspired or closely follow the action in a book.
In this case, both are great. The book is written by Gillian Flynn, who is the author of “Gone Girl” and “Dark Places”, and she is also part of the team creating the series directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (does “Big Little Lies” ring a bell?).

So, there’s probably no surprise that the novel is a must read and the TV show one to definitely watch. But why see the series first?, you might ask. Because it bottles up the novel’s dark atmosphere and troubled characters and offer them to you straight up, unapologetically and somehow forcing you to see the essence of who they are.

To be honest, the TV show feels much darker than the book and while reading it I used to stop and think that the characters are more human and softer here. Also, the narrative is a bit extended, it offers context for how they got to be as they are. And the book goes further after the series abruptly ends with that “Don’t….”. Aaaaa, no, I said no spoilers!!!

Right, spoilers free then, here’s what happens: Camille Preaker is a crime reporter coming back to her home town, Wind Gap, to investigate the murders of two local little girls. Except that’s not the only thing she’s doing, as the story of her confronting her past – most gloriously embodied by Adora, her mother – takes center stage.

Now, and this is not a spoiler as it will be obvious from the first time you see her – Adora is the perfect villain. I saw an interview with Patricia Clarkson, the actress playing Adora, saying that Gillian Flynn advised her not to read the book and just follow the script. That might seem surprising, but when you read the book you understand why. Adora is, again, more toned down in the book, not as cold and sharp as she is on screen. So when you get to the book, you might find some explanations for her behavior, but it doesn’t matter because you will be already in love with her dark side.

Camille also has a dark side. Or several, actually, but I would say she is a kind human being. She is played by Amy Adams, who manages to bring life to all the ranges of emotions that Camille goes through, especially when dealing with her mother. In the book, she is described as the town’s beauty queen, dealing now with her drinking problem, among others. Adams’ performance dials down a bit the beauty part and up on the feeling. A feeling of unrest which complements quite nicely the quest theme.

The story, which I’m not going to detail upon, is pretty much about women. It might seem the opposite at first, but it is a feminist novel. The twist here is that it talks about equality, but from a surprising perspective: women can be as bad as men, they can do mean stuff, they can be criminals, they can have a dark side. They have the right to be as guilty as men who do terrible things. It does sound twisted, doesn’t it? But when you think about it, I would say it makes total sense.

And speaking of women, the character of Amma, Camille’s little half-sister, is one to watch. In the book, she’s really an annoying brat, but the TV persona is quite charmingly bad, in this case I really prefer the show to the book.

What’s really interesting about this whole series/book dichotomy is that both come from the same person’s mind, which I find so captivating. That’s reason enough to give both a try, but then the more captivating thing is that you get to replay the series by reading the book and now your own interpretation comes into play. You know, that movie that we play in our minds when we read a book. My movie would have been quite different shouldn’t I have seen the show in advance.

I mean…creepy filmed and lit scenes, haunting music, visual riddles? They wouldn’t have crossed my mind, I’m quite convinced about this. The written words may mean different things to different persons, especially when we’re alone with them and, to put it bluntly, I think that my own interpretation of this book wouldn’t have been so daring as the one on the screen.

And, speaking of written words, you’ll see that they play a central role in the action. But giving you more details on this would really be a spoiler…

Needless to say, I could go on and on about this, or rather around it, as it’s quite a challenge not to get in the depth of things. So not to drag this text for ever and ever, I’ll stop here.

But I do hope that you will not and that you’ll enjoy the story, however you choose to experience it.