Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lookbook: Natural Hair in Beijing

 Forbidden City, Summer 2011

Wow! What a long overdue post. I just realized I drafted this post last October, talk about procrastination.
Anyway, back in December, I said I will be posting some pictures of some of the styles I wore my hair in while in Beijing. Since I haven't opened a photo sharing site yet, I decided to give you a sneak peak on some of the styles.

So, here they are and Enjoy

Shrunken Fro

A blow out to make the hair "easier" for my stylist to work with later that day

I got this hairstyle from YT. I did the "Banding Method" to keep my hair stretched over night

"Twist Out" at Old Summer Palace

Fro Hawk. I don't get great twist outs regardless of how long I kept the twist in my hair for. My hair tends to frizz out and revert to its original texture when I untwist the hair. But I'm working on this :)

A kinky twist I did in march 2011 in Canada  I kept it in for 2 months. Took it out few days after this photo was taken during a 24hr train ride from Hong Kong to Beijing. Don't ask me how I did this in public.

Flat Twist with an Afro Puff. Afro Puffs use to be my go to hair style when my hair was shorter but I don't do it anymore.Go here to read about my staple hair style now

I enjoyed these up-dos, however, they take a while to install and I lose a lot more hair with these styles because I have to use a tool to part my hair, which results in a lot of breakage. So I went back to my lazy twists, plus I got tired of locals always asking me how I achieved the hair style, lol!

 I believe this was on my Birthday :)

Decided to put my cheapie conair hair straighter to use. I skipped the stretching/blow out step and just dived into straightening the hair. Nevertheless, it still took me three hours to straighten.
First time I could put my hair into a pony tail, though it took me two years.It's better than when my hair was relaxed, I could never put the hair in a pony tail even after 7years! Also I was proud with the slick and smooth look. Slick hairstyles are one of the styles I can't achieve because my hair is too thick at the roots.

So, there you go. Which style is your favourite? I gotta admit,  I am not as adventurous with my hair as I use to, mainly because my hair has grown long enough to be put in a bun and I am currently working on techniques to reduce hair breakage and combat dry hair, which unfortunately restricts me from being too adventurous with my hair.

For those who lived or are living abroad, would you say you played with your hair as you would in your home country or did you let your hair take a back seat?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Chinese New Year is almost Here!

If you live in a big city with a large Chinese population, you're probably aware of this. Here in Canada, I'm always reminded of major international holidays through a quick flip through grocery store flyers.

While many across the world are preparing to resume their normal schedule after a short holiday, many East Asian countries and businesses are just getting ready to start their LONG holiday. By long I mean an entire month of winter holiday filled with feasting with closed family members, singing, dancing, travelling and exchanging red envelops.
Last year, I wrote about 10 things I learned about Chinese New Year, i'll encourage you to read it in order to gain a fuller understanding of this piece.
A wish/luck tree

If you are currently living  in China, have a friend or family there or may be thinking of moving there someday, here are some tips to help you prepare for the Biggest Festival in the Orient.

                                       Finally leaving my cold apartment to go check out the fair 
Alright, so you've got two options

Try your best to leave the country if you can, just make sure you get your tickets months in advance, because ticket prices goes up in the days leading to Chinese New Year (CNY) and in some cases, non existent. It been said that the largest human exodus takes place around CNY, with about 4 Billion people travelling by air, land and sea. I know what you're thinking 4billion? There aren't even that many Chinese or East Asians living on the planet earth. Well, you know the press these days! So take the opportunity to go visit family back home or be a tourist in a foreign land for a while.
                                                              Closed shops 
2) If you aren't fortunate enough to get an affordable ticket to go back to your home country or to a tropical destination; or may be you're like myself, curious to see how the Chinese in China celebrates CNY, then I suggest you stay to "enjoy" the festivities.

                        I enjoyed my walk to the supermarket and back on this clean and empty street :)

However, if you're gonna stay, make sure you do these things

1) Stock up on groceries, water, get your dry cleaning done, ship out packages and make sure you do everything that's needed to be done before the holiday starts. Because once it starts, almost everyone goes back to their hometown to spend the 15 day holiday with family. This means that small shops and businesses will be closed
This Supermarket was open during the Holidays :)

2) Make sure you've got a pair of ear plugs, because those fire crackers just doesn't stop! especially at night when you're trying to sleep

3) Bundle up, it get's really cold in the winter months and if you are unlucky like myself to be living in a poorly insulated apartment, then you'll need to make sure you layer up, even while indoor.
Spring Festival Fair at Chao Yang Park

4) Have a nice collection of music and videos to listen to and watch during the cold and idle days of the holiday. It wouldn't hurt to have a good book to read as well.
I noticed this book vending machine in my community upon my return after my Christmas Holiday in Canada

5) Go for a walk, big migrant cities like Beijing are like ghost towns around CNY, so take the advantage of nearly empty streets and parks to play catch with a friend while enjoying the (not so) fresh air.

6) Make sure you have a good working camera to capture the festivities at night

7) Attend the fairs at public parks which has many vendors, games, good food and performances

8) If you are lucky enough to be invited to go with a friend to her hometown to visit her family, seize the opportunity and go! Just make sure you improve on your Chinese a little bit and be prepared for awkward situations and compliments like "oh, you use the chopsticks so well!"

Chun Jie (Spring Festival)

9) And finally, like in many countries around the world, theft around a major holiday is very high, so be extra mindful of your belongings when out in the public. Also make sure you lock your doors at home, especially if you live in a shared apartment

Alright, I hope you're a bit more prepared for the holidays now.

再见 (zai jian)