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Waking Up Early IS Possible!

Publié le par Charly Cross

What's up guys?

 

This entry is not motivational, or at least that's not my current intention. What I want to talk about is what I noticed that changed since I started waking up early.

 

βΑ¢ΚŠτØℜϒ  - that should read backstory, in case you can't see the characters-

I work as a freelance writer for 5 and a half years now. Like most writers and freelancers I discovered that I'm more inspired to write at night - not to mention that my days were also filled with other activities and chores.

 

This meant I would end up going to bed really and I mean REALLY late. Think of 1 am which slowly and steady reached 3 and 4 am, sometimes even 6 or 7 am, just to finish a task.

 

I need to sleep at least 8 hours every night, so I would wake up not earlier than 10 am. During 2015 I would wake up at 1 pm or even 2 pm at times, even if I was asleep at 4 am.  This wasn't good for me ... mentally.

 

tip: ƒ¡ηР¡ηšΡ¡ℜα†¡Øη! - that reads "find inspiration!"

I also was [and still am] watching the videos posted by Grace about her daily life in Japan. I watched them and I started feeling ashamed of myself.

 

I'm not saying she leads a perfect life, but in my opinion hers seems more put together than mine. She's also a blogger and a freelancer, so I kinda started looking up to her.

 

I guess her videos started to inspire and motivate me [if just a little bit] to want to be more proactive in taking control of my life. But the first step was to control my sleeping pattern.

 

I needed a change. And the change came.

 

The Change - that reads "the change"

I decided I should search for a 9-to-5 job to make sure I earn more money - I really want to buy a house [=house around here means apartment, and translated to a place that I could call "my own"].

 

This type of job means I would have to wake up earlier than what I was used to in the past few years. MUCH EARLIER. Of course, that is easier said than done. And it also meant I would have to go to bed earlier as well.

 

I forgot how I started doing it, but I did. I most likely started to set the alarm to ring throughout the morning and to make an effort to get up from the bed each time - I would go use the toilet or drink some water. It did took a lot of will power, but it had to be done. But then I would go back to sleep and repeat till 1 or 2 in the afternoon, every 2 hours.

 

TIP:  If you want to make sure you get up at a certain hour, place the alarm across the room: you'll be forced to get up from the bed to stop it

While I did manage to start adjusting to being waken up throughout the morning, I still wouldn't manage to be in bed earlier.

 

However, the "secret" was to remain awake at an earlier hour: say, 9 or 10 am. In the evening, the body would be too tired to be able to still stay awake till wee hours. I managed to do that and it started working. My sleeping pattern started to slowly improve.

 

In the end I did find a job and I was forced to wake up at 6 am. It was still way early for me. That job wasn't meant to be, but I did learn some stuff, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. Plus I got paid too, so I can't complain too much - plus I'm trying to be positive here ;) .

 

†Η€ ρℜ€š€η† - that reads "the present"

Currently I wake up at 8 am, though the alarm is set for 7:51 am, no exceptions allowed. This means that even on Saturdays and Sundays I continue waking up at the same hour. I go to bed at midnight sharp and I get enough sleep.

 

Of course, I was forced to go to bed later than midnight, however I still insisted in waking up at 8. I only lingered in bed till 9 for two days [one of them being today] and I'm not happy about it.

 

I do consider that sometimes is OK to wake up a bit later, especially if there is nothing waiting to be done on the spot. I just need to make sure this doesn't slowly revert to my old habits.

 


©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Tips on testing a new cafe

Publié le par Charly Cross

Last week I went out to have a drink and relax. I had no idea where to go and I just wandered around until I found this cafe called The Drunken Lords.

 

The cafe, or bar -as I'm not entirely sure what its label is- is located in the Historic Center of Bucharest. This area is full of cafes, restaurants, bars, night clubs, and even random shops, especially those selling wedding gowns. I may show some of these stores in a future entry.

 

I never went here before, and I often go to new places just because. The downside is that I never know how the service or the drinks are. I came up with a simple and rather sure way of testing out new cafes. I will share my observations with you, because you know, "sharing is caring," and I started this blog for this particular reason.

 

Check out the atmosphere of the place.

 

This means you need to observe "each detail." For instance, what do the seats and the tables look like? Do they seem comfortable? How many people can they accommodate? What type of decorations are there on the walls? Is there a funny scent, or is it too smoky?

 

The Drunken Lords had tables for two but tables for 4 or 6 persons as well. The  owner or the designer thought about using a combination of chairs and sofas [or couches] to appeal to the preferences of more people.

 

I sat on a chair, while my friend used the sofa to sit at the same table.

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

I really liked the wall decor and this is why I took two pictures of it. One of the walls was completely covered in these old books - most likely nobody would have read them anymore. Among all those books, some really old fashion suitcases were also sprinkled. You can actually see a little bit of one of them in the above picture.

Tips on testing a new cafe

I didn't take a better picture because it took me minute to realize what was I looking at, and was feeling self conscious taking pictures. On another wall, the designer used the portrait of a gentleman [see below] - too bad my phone and the spotlight were at a bad angle. I really liked how the middle section was left as it was while the upper and the lower sections seem painted over.

 

Check the bathroom

You may not need to go, but you should still go wash your hands before consuming anything. This is exactly what I also did. Having a look at the cafe's restroom is a great indicator of the care they put in serving their clients.

 

Luckily most of the restrooms I went to while being at a cafe, were CLEAN. They might not have someone to clean the place after each person, nor advanced Japanese toilets, but you won't feel like throwing up while walking in there.

McDonalds restroom. [post edited in 2017]

McDonalds restroom. [post edited in 2017]

I never sit on the toilet seat, but that's a different story. This restroom was not only clean, but it was nicely scented too. They have one for the ladies and one for the gents, separated, unlike many other places. 2 people can go in 2 separate stalls at the same time, and there were 2 sinks with soap and paper towel dispensers as well.

 

Can you tell I was nicely impressed?

 

Pay attention to the staff

Of course, many people would pay attention to the staff, and notice faster if the staff is rude or not polite enough. The guys on duty on that evening were all smiles and excited to talk to me and my friend. This made the experience more relaxed and much more pleasant.

 

There is one slight minus that happens virtually everywhere I go: when the order came, there was no napkin in sight! 0.0 I realized this when it was too late, and took my own out [taken from another cafe. When our waiter noticed, he got upset, but he didn't say a word. ooops] I should have asked for some, but I'm not sure why I didn't.

 

The way your bill is presented at the end is also important. Since you're going to a more fancy place, you should receive it inside a little something, and not just given in your hand. Different locations have different ways of presenting it: in glasses, inside small fancy looking boxes, or specially created cases.

 

Place your order

This step is one of the most important one when going to a cafe or restaurant. However you must be prepared ahead of time.

 

What I like doing is quite simple, and uses common sense [I noticed not many people still have it these days, sadly].

 

I order some drinks I really like and that are super easy to get right or fail. [Well, I also pay attention to the quantity and the price, to see how 'fair' they are or if they're trying to rip customers off - this is something that happens at times].

 

We ordered a lemonade and a hot chocolate with a side of a standard drink - Pepsi Cola [hey, Pepsi folks! can I get some change here for advertising your drink? =P LOL]. Pepsi was the last resort if we hated the other two drinks ;)

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

the handle i used to have and the former name of my blog

Lemonade is something REALLY easy to make. And it might sound ridiculous to some of those reading this entry, but I had a few places bringing me a NASTY lemonade. If they don't know how to make a decent lemonade, how are they going to make other more complicated drinks?

 

The staff at The Drunken Lords made a nice lemonade for me. Its size was decent too - not too large and not too small either. I also found its price rather fair, so I can't complain in this regard.

 

Hot chocolate is something that I had a bad experience with on a few occasions. This one was a good one, and therefore I have no complaints here either. The bad experiences were related to watered down chocolate, and the drink not being hot enough [at the same time too at least once], OR it being a pudding chocolate.

 

Hot chocolate is supposed to be like hot Nutella and a bit more creamy or liquid when hot. And the barista at The Drunken Lords did just that. YAY! [can I get some cash for advertising Nutella as well?]

 

All in all, I had a nice time there. I also liked it because at the time it was mostly empty, so it was more quiet. The music was nice as well. At least in the beginning of my stay, because I can't remember the whole playlist, but the music was pleasant all the way.

 

If you're in Bucharest, you should totally check this place out. This is their website.


©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. Re-edited in March 2018.

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I'm not too Eco-friendly but YOU can be!

Publié le par Charly Cross

(if you want to, of course)

 

This post is not meant as a brag, nor as a judgment towards those who don't do what I'll talk about next.

 

Being Eco-friendly is seen as a good thing these days. And why shouldn't it be? We actually take care of our planet by paying attention to what and how much we consume or throw away.

 

But what inspired this post?

You wouldn't believe me, but my kitchen sink clogged and my floor flooded as a result. The clog was well down the pipe, in the wall, and pretty bad. I used some products for this issue, and I thought I got rid of it, but I was wrong.

 

I tried doing the dishes in the bathroom, but it was a nightmare, and not very hygienic. Then, a better idea popped into my head!

 

Why not using the kitchen sink, but letting it drain into a large bucket? [you know until the plumber would come to fix it] I used the bucket meant for mopping. The idea worked like a charm! But there was still one tiny problem: the bucket would contain just so much water and needed me to empty it constantly. 

 

Of course, I needed a different solution. The solution was to use less water when doing the dishes. Said Thought and done! This second solution worked even better: I needed to empty my bucket more rarely. YAY!

 

I used the method for some 3 or 4 days, and noticing just how much water I'm wasting scared me. It scared me because I never realized just how much water I use.

 

I then noticed the same thing when showering, because guess what? A few days after I manage to have my sink fixed, my tub's drain pipe got clogged as well. I never saw the clog from the kitchen, but the one in the bathroom looked as if the ghost from The Grudge would emerge from there at any minute. 

I'm not too Eco-friendly but YOU can be!

I had to shower while containing the water in the tub, and then remove it somehow else with buckets, and what not. I almost never leave the shower running while using shampoo or shower gel. I removed about 4 or 5 buckets of water.

 

I think this is a lot. It didn't look like a lot, and perhaps other people use more water. But, do we really need to use 4 or 5 buckets of water? I think not!

 

For instance, sometime last year, they had to stop the hot running water, and it was actually during one of the cold months. I clearly needed to shower, and I boiled 1 big pot of water. When I used it, I mixed it with cold water, so it would have a good temperature. Do you want to know the result?

 

It was enough! I managed to wash my long hair, use conditioner, wash my body, and then properly rise everything off!

 

One thing IS certain: even if I mixed cold and hot water in a proportion of 1:1 I wouldn't have had 4 or 5 buckets at the end, but 2 big pots of water just good to wash my body and hair with.

 

So, what am I doing wrong? Why do I waste so much water? Anyone experience this? Talk about your experiences in the comments below!


© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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Shopping only for fitting clothes

Publié le par Charly Cross

Hello everyone~~

Shopping is an activity many women simply LOVE. Everyone knows that! And it takes them a lot of time to buy a cute new outfit, or a perfect shirt, whatever other clothing item they want.

 

Men, however, don't spend as much time shopping for the stuff they need. Could it be that they know better what they want? Perhaps it is so, but maybe this aspect has something to do with this fact:

 

Men's bodies seem made in the same mold, while women have a curved body. The curves of a lady don't always fall in the same places, but this is due to their height! Women's bodies come in all shapes and sizes, or so they say. This is why women must try on all the clothes they're interested in, to make sure they fit and look nice.

 

To add insult to the injury, the amount of patterns, colors, and items in general, is reduced for men's clothing, so it's easier for them to choose something!

 

I read the stories of many women complaining about how their shopping trip was a failure:

 

Some of them couldn't find something they liked, others got stuff they weren't 100% happy with, and and and. I think a shopping trip should always end with 100% happiness. I'll share with you THE secret to always buy nicely fitting clothes.

Shopping only for fitting clothes

So, the question is, how can women go shopping and come back home happy? There is a very simple way of knowing if a pair of pants will fit you, for instance. All you have to do is to measure yourself before leaving home, and remember to take the measuring tape with you. You would have to measure the pants you like, in the store, before going to the fitting room. However, this is a rather complicated method and you would have to remember numbers, where to measure and so on. Plus, there is an even easier method you can use:


Take your favorite pair of jeans with you when going shopping and place them against the ones in the store! As long as they seem to be the same size, you can then try them on. If you're self-conscious, shy, or if a lot of people are in the store, you'll:

  • save time: by not taking to the cabin pairs of pants that will never fit, by not getting into the changing room if there are no pants in your size.
  • save face: by not having to ask for yet a larger size, by not taking 10 pairs with you instead of 4 or 6 pairs that actually fit you
  • be done faster with changing clothes, and shopping
  • enjoy your day of shopping for pants.

One important thing you should pay attention to is the rise of the pants: low, high, or regular rise pants will definitely fit different even if the waistband is just as large. You still have to try on the pants in the store before buying them. This way you will see if you would like yourself in them or not.

 

This tip can be applied to pencil skirts and even bras. It is well-known that different brands will fit differently even if you select the same size. This goes well for bras and pants. I learned this tip from my stylish mother.

 

See you next time.


©Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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5 Reasons Why Men And Women Lose Weight Differently

Publié le par Charly Cross

Everyone wants to look and feel good regardless of their gender, with people often being rated based on their attractiveness level. Having a body that is on a slim side looks attractive and is also deemed healthier, and the number of those who want a slimmer body seems to be on the rise. This brings a new problem into the spotlight: men and women lose weight in a different way and at a different rate. Let’s have a look at 5 reasons why losing weight is different for women than it is for men.

 

A different approach to losing weight based on gender

Numerous women are visually attracted by a male who is muscular and lean, while most men fantasize about a slender woman, with an hourglass figure. These ideals make men and women use different routines when it comes to losing weight. A male will spend many hours in the gym lifting weights while women generally prefer the cardio machines. In addition to that, more women choose to hit the nearest eatery right after working out, as a reward for their efforts. This action defeats the purpose of the exercise routine, and causes the entire weight loss process to become difficult. It has been observed that men are more prone to stick to a regular workout regime without distractions, thus adding to its effectiveness.

 

Men have a more competitive mindset compared to women

Men's competitive nature exerts a certain degree of influence on how the 2 genders view fitness. Males typically look at a workout to reach their goal: improving health and endurance levels. At the same time, the gym can be seen a place for friendly competition. Women, however, view exercising as more of a chore and not a healthy hobby. At the end of the day, feeling pressured to keep up a workout routine can decrease its benefits by a great deal. Women adopting a more competitive way of thinking have noticed faster results when it comes to losing weight.

 

Men and women approach hunger and food differently

Men usually eat only they feel hungry, while often times women use comfort food as an emotional crutch to relieve boredom, stress, or work related anxiety. Females are known to be emotional eaters while men prefer dealing with their feelings in a different and maybe more pro-active way. The way both genders deal with hunger and food in general is also dictated by the different hormones their bodies produce. Men release more leptin, also known as the "satiety hormone". Women's bodies release more of a “I’m hungry” hormone called ghrelin. Furthermore, men and women have different types of comfort foods: men prefer “mom’s cooking” while women mostly enjoy foods that give a quick pick-me-up such as cookies and chips.

 

Different percentages of muscle and fat compared to total body weight

Healthy and fit men are genetically designed to have a higher percentage of muscle compared to body fat. As an opposite, a female body is built with more fat and a softer appearance. Muscle growth is influenced by the higher levels of testosterone in a male’s body. Muscles need increased energy to work properly, and this is one of the reasons why men burn more calories at any given time. When comparing people of both genders with similar proportions, specialists noted that women have much lower metabolic needs. This translates into burning fewer calories for basic functions like breathing, brain activity, and even walking.

 

Hormonal fluctuation

Women are affected by monthly hormonal fluctuations, while men have a constant level of hormones released into their system. This is an aspect that influences everything related to the body’s well being. These hormonal changes also play a significant role in how much women eat compared to men. Women are genetically programmed to keep up a certain weight for a regular and healthy flow of reproductive hormones, and a significant drop has negative effects in the long run. Harsh dieting is linked to loss of fertility in women due to the body not being able to release enough reproductive hormones.

 

While these are a few guidelines worth taking into account, each person is different and a weight loss program should be chosen on an individual basis. If you pay attention to your body, you have much higher chances of achieving your fitness goal.

 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

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12 Ways To Improve Your Happiness Level

Publié le par Charly Cross

Focusing on today and the present moment is essential if you want to look back on the positive experiences in your life. There are a few key tips which you should pay attention to in order to seize the moment.

 

  1. Pursue your hobbies and make new ones

Most people lead extremely busy lives where work comes first. However, take the time to rejuvenate your spirit and pursue the things you are really into. So, if you have a passion for music, sign up for those piano lessons you always postponed, or buy a guitar and start practicing. Unleashing your creative spirit will help you take advantage of every moment and improve your life.

I made this and I didn't want to use any name...

I made this and I didn't want to use any name...

 

  1. Get personal

Each of us has a different life path and personal journey. You can make today worthwhile by paying attention to your feelings and do something for yourself. It doesn't matter if this is a project you never had time for or simply starting a journal. By doing this, you will learn more about yourself and keep grounded in the present moment. When revisiting what you wrote, you may uncover a lot of meaningful things you never knew about yourself.

 

  1. Take a challenge

Not everyone is competitive and sometimes the only one you should compete against is yourself. You don't need to push yourself up to the point of exhaustion, rather just learn how to give it your best in every situation. A lot of people go throughout the day without truly attempting to improve, regardless if it’s work or a fun hobby. Sometimes we need to know the areas which need working on and just take it from there. At the end of the day, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and every day will be something to remember.

 

  1. Let go of past patterns

A well known Zen proverb says “Let Go Or Be Dragged.” We all have various things and events in our past that keep us stuck and thus disabling us from fully enjoying the present. Take a look at your past and try to distinguish anything to which you might still be holding on although its usefulness has run its course long ago. It doesn’t matter if this is a past relationship you couldn't get over, or a missed career opportunity: our past experience make us who we are today. Let go of negative experiences and focus more on what you can do today.

 

  1. Practice meditation

Depending on your set of personal beliefs you may find meditation to be a quite pleasant experience and something to benefit from. For example, mindfulness meditation teaches us how to accept the present moment for what it is and live in the now. You don't have to spend hours on end in a meditative state, and 15 minutes every morning are just as effective. Try to find something that works for you and keep up with it: it will help you both in present difficult times, but in the future as well.

 

  1. Just be yourself

Instead of being a people pleaser and follow what everyone else says, find your own path in life and meaning. We are all individuals with needs, dreams, and desires. Don't compare yourself to others and how they live their life, and choose to become your own person. There will always be others who achieved more, but you should rather focus on what you can do with what you have. Becoming a “better you” will bring you the much needed peace of mind and help you seize the day.

 

  1. Give yourself credit

Make sure to give yourself a much deserved pat on the back whenever you accomplished something you are proud of. Don't put yourself down for what you perceive to be small failures, and find a way to reward yourself when you feel you did something good. After all you are the one you have to answer to at the end of the day.

 

  1. Find meaning in simplicity

At times the most simple things in life are also the most rewarding. Even a 10 minute walk in the park can refresh your mind when you feel tired and burnt out. If you can, walk to work instead of driving and find the time in your day to fully enjoy a meal. All these things may seem small, but together they will add up and provide you with several health benefits.

 

  1. Take up volunteering

Giving back to the less fortunate is important and you can do that by engaging in a volunteering program. This will give you a sense of doing something good for yourself but especially for other people, and will add a dose of positivity to your life. You don't have to go far out of your comfort zone, and sometimes just volunteering at the soup kitchen a couple of time a week is enough to make a difference.

Fostering an animal in need is also helpful. This kitty only needed a forever home and she found it.

Fostering an animal in need is also helpful. This kitty only needed a forever home and she found it.

  1. Work on your social skills

Having a wide social circle enriches our life and helps us see things from a fresh perspective. Relating to other people's life experiences is an essential part of self growth and you can achieve that by making new friends whenever possible. Keep an open eye for opportunities to meet new people and you will soon notice the benefits this brings.

 

  1. Have fun and enjoy the moment

Laughter is good for the soul so don't miss out on the chance of engaging in any fun and lighthearted activities. Reconnect with your inner child and you will see how humor can change your life. You can watch a comedy show that makes you laugh, or perhaps listen to your friend's jokes. Either way, your mood will improve and problems may not appear as important. Don't take life too seriously and keep a positive mindset.

this is how i generally have fun

this is how i generally have fun

  1. Learn about the power of forgiveness

Keeping grudges causes bitterness, while forgiving others makes you a stronger and better individual. Try to acknowledge everyone is doing the best they know how, and don't be afraid to sincerely apologize to someone you have wronged in the past. You may just reconnect with them and learn from each other's past mistakes.

 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. Edited in Feb 2018.

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Being productive.... as a freelancer

Publié le par Charly Cross

So earlier today I was thinking about posting a blog entry, however I was out of ideas. And I started wondering why was that... Is like when I have work to do, my head gets filled with 10000036487234 other things I want, need, or have to do. I also get many more ideas of what to write about in my blog. When I actually have the time to do whatever .... guess what? all my inspiration is gone, all my motivation is gone too... everything.

 

Is it only me? I don't think so. In fact, I noticed many people in a similar situation. How do we work around this, in our favor?

 

 

My friend came up with the best, most perfect solution. That is to create a schedule and a rewarding system. Say I work for some 30 minutes straight, or an hour, with NO distractions. Then, I take a short break, no more than 15 minutes, when I do whatever else I want to do. Sounds, awesome, doesn't it? So WHY don't I do that?

 

To be honest... I have no idea why. Some might call it being lazy, not enough motivated, lack of a strong will... and who knows what else.

 

Well, maybe I should try harder to break this nasty habit... Wish me luck?

 

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved.

You can now buy "productive freelancer" merch from here. By default you can see a spiraled notebook, but many other types of items are also available. 

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Washing my hair with plain water

Publié le par Charly Cross

I may not be the cleanest person out there, nor the most organized, but I make sure I don't stink or look dirty when going out. I like showering right before going out. I wish everyone had this much courtesy.

   

Some of you like to use eco-friendly cleaning and grooming products, or products that are natural as they can be. This is perfectly fine, and I kinda envy you for going the extra mile. What I know for sure is that many people out there also try to find budget-friendly solutions for cleaning and grooming.

    

I also know that some tips and tricks work and some don't. This is because I tried some of them out. The most recent one is the trick, or was it a piece of advice?, said that we can clean our hair just fine with plain running water. Crazy? Yes, I know.

   

It's been at least a month since I read this trick, but I was too intrigued by it to let it go. So yesterday I tried it out. Not because I ran out of shampoo, but because I thought any day is just as good. I have greasy hair, but lately it doesn't become as oily as it used to. I also had to wash it one day sooner, but I was busy doing other stuff.

   

Went in the shower and did my routine, without shampoo. I was nervous, weirded out, and dieing of curiosity to see if it works. I also haven't used hair conditioner, to have a better glimpse of the result. Having to go out for a bit, I let the outside air dry my hair.

look at me being cousin It ... or the ghost from The Ring XDD

look at me being cousin It ... or the ghost from The Ring XDD

METHOD

I used hot water, as much as I could stand, with high pressure. I let the water run on my hair while scrubbing the roots. I tried to do this for as long as it takes me to use shampoo, rinse, use conditioner, and rinse again. I probably should have done it for longer for better results.

   

In case you were wondering, I did use shower gel to wash my body. Plain water does little for me especially in summer.

 

CONCLUSION AND IMPRESSIONS

It worked. It wasn't perfect, especially at the roots, but I may have had to stay in there for longer. I don't know. My hair felt heavier yesterday, but today it felt and looked better. My friend didn't tell me I have to wash my hair, so I am pretty happy with the result.

     

I must warn you though, that the results depend on each person's type of hair, and water. I don't think I will do it again, unless I don't have any shampoo left anymore. I wouldn't recommend it as lifetime solution, this is up to whoever tries it.

  

Take care until next time.

© Charly Cross 2013 - present. All rights reserved. 

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