Musings on my adventures around the world and my ties back in Texas as well as some of the the ideas I have to adapt and create to keep those places close to home.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hair braiding day 17

Okay, so today wasn't really about a braid. More about a twist, or two. I was going back through pictures from when I had been experimenting with my hair at the beginning of the year and came across one that I thought I should include in my count to 30. A simple twist from each side which comes out looking quite a bit more elegant than my normal hairdo.

Style 17: double sided twist

So the idea here is pretty simple. I divide my hair in half. Starting around my ear I twist towards my hair, adding hair in until I've twisted all of the hair on the left side up. This twist usually end somewhere between the center of my ear and my right ear. Sliding a bobby pin back along the twist (okay, two today) I secured that half in place. I then do the same thing the right hand side, making sure to include the tail of the earlier twist as I go so that it does not stick out. Pin that one in place the same way, and then add a few clips - mostly so that I manage to make sure it is well anchored and to take care of getting the tail of that twist hidden away. Of course it makes it look a bit more elegant too. I have to say though, that I think this might be one style that actually looked better when my hair was shorter as you can see below.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hair braiding day 16

I keep thinking that this is going to get harder, but so far I seem to be going well. I just wonder at what point will it seem like I'm making minor changes to a previous hairstyle and calling it something new! Nothing too complicated to do today...

Style 16: braid in a braid in a braid

I started out by dividing my hair into three. I put bands around two of the three sections to hold them and the worked on the left side, which I was going to have my braid coming towards. I took the remaining third of hair and split it into three pieces as well. The section closest to the face I braided in a single braid, mainly to keep some of my fly-aways contained. With a clip on the end to hold that section, I then braided another braid, where the previous braid was one strand, starting just behind my ear and continuing until I couldn't hold it anymore. This got tied tight with a rubber band. I then took the section of my hair that started from the right, pulled it toward the left and braided it until I had to tie it off. I now had three sections, two which were braided and one that wasn't. I combined these three into a single braid and tied if off. Done.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hair braiding day 15

I thought today deserved something simple, but not too simple. After all it would hardly be worth looking at if it was a run of the mill hair style. Although I do have to wonder if a "normal" French braid can still count as one of my 30 hair styles....

Style 15: French braid with ribbon

I was trying to decide if I could actually do this without putting in a rubber band at the top of my hair to hold the ribbon up. I decided it wasn't worth having to redo the whole thing if it didn't work so I started by collecting a small section of hair at the top of my head, wrapping a rubber band around it and then slipping a ribbon through it. My ribbon was long enough that when I doubled it over it went past the end of my hair, so I pulled it through even. I then separated my hair for a normal French braid, making sure that one piece of the ribbon was in two different strands. French braid away and attach it all at the end with another rubber band. I had enough ribbon left over that I was able to tie it over the rubber band and add a small bow. Simple, with a touch of the unexpected.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hair braiding day 14

I was going for something simple today, with just a few accents. Looking at it once I was done I think it might have been better if I had done less. Just add the rope around the ponytail and it would have looked more sleek and elegant...

Style 14: Ponytail with rope accents

I started out by securing my hair in a loose ponytail. I then pulled four sections out of my ponytail, two on each side, and twirled them into a thin rope one at a time. I just put a clip at the end of each because I knew I only wanted the ropes to reach to the ponytail, and not extend into it. Once I had those four done, I regathered all of my hair into a tighter ponytail. I then selected a small amount of my ponytail from the top (mostly because that was the longest piece of hair I could find), slip my topsy tail from the top of my ponytail down through the rubber band, twirled that piece of hair into a rope, attached it with a small rubber band at the end, wrapped it around my ponytail twice, then pulled it through with the topsy tail effectively hiding the end. I was actually quite pleased with how the ponytail wrap worked, and how well it stayed in all day, not so sure about the other accents.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hair braiding day 13

After chatting with my sister last night, she was encouraging me to try out a few more styles that including the sock bun. So I decided to give it a whirl this morning. Although I have to say, sometimes I think the sock bun is a little too big for my hair/head. It almost felt as if it was going to fall off today (I know, I know, impossible...but still).

Style 13: Double braids to a sock bun

So this is a fairly decent side view of what I did. I braided about 2/3 of my hair into french braids, half on either side, trying to lead to the center of my head a bit lower down then where I usually wear a bun (the last time I put the sock bun in my bun hit the ceiling of the taxi on the way to school so I thought maybe I shouldn't go quite so high this time). Collected it all in a ponytail, slid the sock bun doughnut thingy over the ponytail then covered it up. I had a much harder time getting the doughnut covered this time, perhaps I used up too much hair in my braid? Reserving judgement on this one until I try it a few more times. It may just need some fine tuning.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hair braiding day 12

Today was definitely a loose style. A different look from what I usually attempt, mainly because if I don't pull tight my hair tends to fall out of whatever I do to it. I did end up putting a few clips in my hair 10 minutes after I put it up because I was not at all sure that it would last the day without them.

Style 12: French fish bone

Merge the idea of a french braid and fish bone and you have my style today. As with a french braid  you pick up hair on each side as you bring it in. I also joined the new piece with a small section from what was already in my hand in the hopes that it would last the day (which it did). The basic idea of fish bone is that you have two strands, take a small piece of hair from the outside of one strand and bring it to the inside of the other strand pulling over, repeat on the other side and so on. In some ways it is easier then a french braid because you don't have to keep track of as many pieces of hair. If I was to do this again I might consider collecting my starting pieces of hair with a barrette or rubber band so that it would not fall out as much, although in some ways the loose style was nice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hair braiding day 11

Today was a bit of an experimental day. I'm not sure I really like how my hairstyle turned out, which is not to say it didn't turn out how I expected. I think I came pretty close to what I was picturing, I'm just not sure I would repeat it as a hairstyle. What do you think?

Style 11: Half head double dutch braid to ponytail

The key today, again, was to get a good part in my hair and tie the rest of it tightly away. I pulled about 3/4 of my hair over to one side, then cut a part that curved slightly and ended approximately where I wanted my ponytail to hang. A french braid on the hair that was loose, tied at the end. The second braid was a bit harder. I was trying to pull approximately the same amount of hair over again, with the hope that total I would have less than half my hair braided. I don't think that bit worked. This probably would be easier if you had someone else who could part your hair while they could actually see the whole thing. Again tie of the hair you don't want to use tightly and french braid the piece that is down. This was a bit more difficult as I couldn't pick up hair my normal way otherwise I got caught in the other braid. Then collect all of your hair off center and make a low ponytail. After one try I decided this looked much better if I made sure the braids were laying on top when I tied up my ponytail. Whether I like it or not it was definitely a new hairstyle for me!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hair braiding day 10

I thought I'd go back to a hairstyle that I used a ton when my hair was just around chin length. I have to admit I'm not sure it turned out quite as well, but that is partly because when it was short I was forced to pay more attention to where my braid was actually laying. Now that my hair is longer it is not quite so important to getting it to stay up.

Style 10: (fake) half crown to bun

I feel as if this picture isn't a great representation of what this actually looked like...sigh. For those of you who have a hard time trying to figure out how to get your hands to form a crown braid this works almost as well for me although it does not have the braid across the front of your head. This is really just two braids which meant and then twist together to form a bun(ish). When doing these braids I only add hair in from the bottom. If I do a tight braid this causes me braid to almost roll, and it will look like you braided under without you having to figure out how to get your hands to braid a different way. Divide your hair into two parts. Complete a "normal" french braid keeping your braid along the hair line, only adding hair in to your braid when you pull over from the bottom. Braid all the way out and attach with small band. Do the same thing on the other side. Twist the braids around each other and form a bun which your will attach with bobby pins. All I was really trying to do here was make sure the tails of my braids didn't stick out.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hair braiding day 9

One of my Christmas presents from my sister this year was a topsy tail, a plastic tool that helps you to turn your hair through yourself. I remember having a fake one of these when I was younger that was made out of a wire hanger (perhaps?) and I had no idea that they were still producing these. It's put me on the task of trying to find ways to add this element to some of my braided hairstyles. Today's is probably the easiest idea I could come up with on how to incorporate the two into one hairstyle.

Style 9: twin braids into a topsy tail
I started out by pulling a section of my front hair back and braiding it (no adding in, just a simple braid) and attaching a clip at the end to hold it in place. I then did the same on the other side. I pulled all of my hair together and tied a rubber band around it, releasing the clips on the end of the braids. A topsy tail on the ponytail, pulling it through the top, and I was done. A simple hairstyle that was quick but looks a lot more complicated then just braiding the front pieces.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hair braiding day 8

It was interesting today to realize that I received no compliments on my hair from the teenagers that I teach but several from other teachers. Although a while back one of my students came in excited to share that she had figured out how to do this one after seeing my hair up. I suppose this is either a little girl hair style or a more elegant up do.

Style 8: braided crown
This is another variation of a normal french braid. I comb my hair so that it is cascading all around my head from a center point. Then starting over my left ear (I find it simpler to braid towards my right) I start braiding around. The hard part to this braid is that I always  have to change my hand hold at some point. The first few times I tried this I ended up with a twist in my braid, which while it looked cool was not what I had been aiming for. The best thing I can recommend is when you reach that point to collect all three strands in one hand and then move the hand that is currently from the far side around before you really think about which strand is supposed to be going over next. I promise it does get easier. This time I actually had to change my hands twice. Once as I got just past my left ear, the second time after I had all the hair but needed to finish out my braid. When you are finishing out the braid it is important that you pull your hair and braid as if you are still going around in a circle so that it will lay well. Tie of the end with the smallest band you can (often the end of your braid will end up somewhere towards the front of you head so a big hair band is really obvious) and then use a couple of bobby pins to attach the tail of your braid behind the braid at the front of you head. I suppose there is no reason you couldn't start this braid at the back of your head so that you'd have a smoother front but I've never been able to sort that out in my own braids. If your hair is long enough the end of you tail will end up over your ear or past it and so it can still have a smooth look in the front with a double braid. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hair braiding day 7

This morning I went with one of my standbys. This is a hair style that I use a lot, especially when my hair is shorter (as short as ear length works). I was happy it turned out as well as always and allowed me to leave the house feeling like my hair had a clean and simple style. I will admit though, that when I first tried to do this it took me a while to be able to make my hands braid across instead of back. It still feels rather unnatural, but I've learned as long as I go by feel and don't try to look at what I'm doing (or where I should be pulling from) it turns out better.

Style 7: french braid headband
There are two things that are necessary for me to be able to do this style on myself. The first is to make a clear part across my head, brushing all the hair forward that I want to include in the braid and tying back the rest of it tightly. Since I rely on the feel so much with this braid (after two or three years of doing this braid I still have to think about it each time) I have to have the hair I don't want included completely out of the way. The second thing is to make sure that what I am braiding is wet. I don't know why, but I can't seem to do this on myself when my hair is dry. It turns out looking rough, bits pop out, ends are all over the place and it looks too messy for my preferences. When it is wet it comes out looking smoother and staying in better. In fact I've often left his braid in overnight and it still looks fine in the morning if I've braided it wet. Once you have your hair separated you simply have to do a regular french braid working from over one ear towards the other. I prefer my braid to lay behind my ear so I try to add in a bit of hair just behind the ear to make it stay in the back (although my mother prefers the look when the braid hangs in front and is more visible). The idea is pretty simple if you can already do a french braid, the real trouble is just getting your hands to move in a different direction then normal.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hair braiding day 6

Do you know what it is like when you have this idea in your head and despite your best efforts things don't turn out anything like what you were picturing? It is kind of like all those silly posts on Pinterest which are all "What I think I look like while _____ .... what I really look like." Sadly that is kind of how I feel like my hair style today turned out. Problem is, when you only give yourself half an hour to get ready in the morning it doesn't leave with you a whole lot of time to redo hair styles that don't live up to your expectations. On the opposite side I got a couple of compliments on my hair today, so maybe it's not quite as a bad as I felt, just not what I was aiming for.

Style 6: triple braid pull back
While this was really easy to do it didn't turn out anything like I had hoped for. But then my hair isn't anything like the person I saw it on. First braid just from pulling back the top center section of my hair. Pull hair from underneath towards the right to complete a second braid. Pull a piece of hair across from right to join a section from the left side to try braid a third piece. I purposely took uneven divisions in my braids to try to make them look more interesting. I think I would have been happy with this one if the last braid, the one that pulled across had started much higher on my head. I'm not entirely sure why it fell down so low, but perhaps if I had added in a small section of hair from underneath on the top it might have stayed up there a bit better and then you would have been able to see the three braids all flowing down.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hair braiding day 5

Style 5: Triple braided bun
This was a new hair style for me, but surprisingly simple with what turned out to be a fairly elegant end product. All you have to do is gather the top third of your hair on your center line and make a single braid. Gather the next third (pulling in from both sides) under that and make another braid. Then collect your remaining hair under that and make a third braid. Then simple twirl your braids into buns and pin into place. I started with the top one so that I could make sure the others lined up fairly close to that. I put two bobby pins in each bun and it was secure enough to last all day at work, although didn't quite make it through soccer practice in the evening. Thanks to my sister for the idea which came from here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hair braiding day 4

Style 4: meet in the middle
I have found that with my face shape I really like having my hair pulled back on two sides. Sometimes I do just two french braids but as I get older it seems that maybe this is a bit childish (although I'm sure that will appear here at some point). My concession to what looks good on me while not being two young is to start with two french braids then have them meet and combine into a single braid. As you can tell I'm not always super even when I do this. I have found that it looks much more striking if you braid under instead of over (the middle strand goes  on top) as it makes the braids stick out. Usually I pick up hair six times total before making the braids meet. As I don't look in the mirror to sort out the back it always by feel. When I finish the picking up hair on one side I braid it out and stick a barrette on the end to hold the braid. Do the same thing on the other side, then hold the two braids together until it feels like they are meeting in the center. At that point I do my best to figure out which two strands are inside on each braid and pull those out of my braids to become one strand in the new braid while the remaining two in each side combine themselves. Then it is a single french braid, still braiding under, until I use the rest of my hair.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hair braiding day 3

My sister gave me all sorts of fun new hair toys for Christmas, so I decided to play around a bit with the bun donut that she gave me.

Style 3: Back braid to a top bun

It's hard to see from this angle (it's all about what my downstairs neighbors think will make the best photo each morning on our way out the door) but I started out by flipping my hair over and doing a french braid from the bottom or my hair line up to wear the bun sits, using roughly the bottom half of my hair. I've since decided the braid part of this is much more visible if I do it wet (or am doing it on someone else's hair where I can actually see what I am doing and make it clean...on myself this is more of a messy hair style). Then I collected all of my hair in a ponytal, slid the bun donut over the ponytail, waterfalled my hair all around to cover the donut, slipped a hair band over it to hold it in place and then wrapped the leftover pieces around tucking them in with some bobby pins. I'd say the bun part turned out well, not so happy with the braided bit this time around.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hair braiding day 2

Style 2: Double pulled back
I've been doing this braids for a while now. They provide a good way to get the hair out of my face, while still letting me control what hangs down. Almost like pulling my hair back in two clips. These are two simple french braids, but you only add in hair by pulling from the top. The trick is to not pull to hard so that they lay in a bit of an arch down your head. This particular style seems to be pretty popular with my students. I think I originally saw this one here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hair braiding day 1

This past summer I made the decision to vary from my normal habit of chopping my hair off to ear level since I was having so much fun with trying out different braids. Since then it has gotten long enough that I'm not actually enjoying having it down, and have started thinking about going to get it cut again. To postpone this a bit I've given myself a challenge for the New come up with at least 30 different braid or twist hairstyles that I can do on my own hair.

Style 1: A half french rope that follows the hair line
It is a basic rope with hair added in only from the bottom. Inspiration came from here, but I didn't like the way that it looked when I left the tail hanging down and so I tucked it back in the top (as the twists wouldn't let me bring it underneath). I was pleasantly surprised at how well it stayed in through a full day at school.