Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Comme un garçon

About two months ago I did something crazy : I got my hair chopped.

This is most probably the last picture of me with long hair.

But ... why cut that down? Well let's say my hair has not been quite in great shape since I arrived in Lyon. The water here is much calcareous than in Quebec and well the air pollution doesn't help either. At first I thought I was crazy when I realized my hair was turning into hay but my other friends were experiencing the same problem as well. Even with a very nutritious treatment the ends would still look like dead cat hair (and my scalp would get super greasy).

So I had been walking past this very cool hair salon for a while, Underground (9 cours Lafayette, 69006) and at some point I thought : let's do this. Didn't take me too long to make a decision (for once, lulz) but my main arguments were :
1. My hair looks like hay ;
2. It's a lot easier to take care of when you do sports/travel often ;
3. I have a lifetime to let it grow back.

So I went there and took an appointment. There are two guys and one girl. Julie took care of washing my hair upstairs. Hakim asked me how short I wanted my hair, if I had any special request, etc. I told him I wanted it short but how short was up to him, but I wanted to keep my bangs in the front and still be able to style the whole thing without too much hassle. So he studied the shape of my face, my neck, and decided to chop the whole thing really short to emphasize my jawline and my neckline.

So the chopping started. The whole time the team was being funny, nice, and lovely. Hakim is very interested in his customers' stories and listens to them passionately.

So I got my hair cut ... the shortest I ever have. I remember in high school when I went from waist long to shoulder long and I thought that was extreme. But this ...

At first I was kinda shocked but I really liked it. You know, I can't play with my hair the way I used to. I was sort of afraid it would look bad on me but I often pulled my hair up just to see what removing some length would do to me. Also some of my friends told me I'm the kind of person who would surprisingly look good with a shaved head.

But then the shorter you cut your hair the faster it grows back ...

According to Phil, I look like a Pokemon on this picture ...

Freaking Mudkip ...

The past weeks I've been having fun styling it up like that. Obviously the bangs were getting long so I had to use a small hair clip to ensure the whole thing would stay into place.

And yeah, apparently I look like another Pokemon because of the roll ...

Ew ... Clefairy ...

Anyways! Sides and back were getting long so I had to go back to update my hairstyle a bit.

So I went back for a little more chop-chop. Hakim took care of me once again (and even massaged my head because he knew it was the last time he'd get to cut my hair). Once again the team was being awesome, I even got kisses and hugs! I am coming back for sure to say goodbye before leaving.

This time I asked Hakim to cut the bangs shorter so I can style my hair properly. He even went some extra length by cutting in a way that this time my hairstyle will last about four months rather than just two.

And this is what it looks like when I style it.

Not bad, right? Still gotta get used to the new lengths and style the whole thing properly. Now, what do I use to obtain that up-do? Three simple products, a hair dryer and a small toothed comb.

First, dry that hair. You don't want no curl in there. Lucky me my hair doesn't curl at that length but still.

Second, pull your hair back with some wax and blow dry it upright. The wax will create texture while using heat will ensure it stays up (or else it just falls back). I've been using this wax from the new L'Oréal #TXT line.

Be careful not to use the #TXT02 wax. They don't do the same shit. The #TXT01 helps shape your hair while the #TXT02 is used to give that messy look.

When needed I use a comb to comb back or up my hair because sometimes some strands just want to act on their own.

Third, I pull a few strands up that really wanted to act on their own or just to give a little more edge to my hairstyle using this super gel from Schwarzkopf (lesson of German : schwarz means black, Kopf means head, hence the black head logo. You're welcome).

Brand new product. I couldn't resist when I saw the ad on television.

And fourth step, the last one, finish it off with a mist of spray to make sure the whole thing holds properly. You know, just so the wind doesn't flatten it out.

Any spray will work as long as it's made to hold shit right and for a long time.

The cool thing with short hair is I can use a ton of products without damaging my hair too much. The counterpart is I have to wash it almost everyday. But eh, my hair literally dries under a minute now.

So that's it for today! Which is a lot since I'm just talking about my hair ... and those selfies. So many selfies. I hate selfies.

Just for fun, go check out Underground's website and Facebook page :

Also, go have a glance at the new L'Oréal #TXT line :
(The ad was made by awesome Yoann Lemoine aka Woodkid)

And another thing to do for fun is watch the ad for Schwarzkopf Taft's new Super Glue Gel :

Until next time!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Strasbourg; Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

While I was in Strasbourg I visited the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, well known for its pink hue rocks (sandstone from the Vosges) and its asymmetrical form. It's also one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture.

Located on the central island of Strasbourg, basically in the pedestrian part of the city, it's pretty easy to spot and it can be seen from far. Can't locate yourself on the map? Just look for the cathedral and you'll know where you are.

So we got there and the cathedral is surrounded by a public space that, surprisingly, is not to scale with the cathedral. Usually, important buildings, and especially churches, have an important public space in front in order to welcome the most people possible. For the size of this cathedral (both on the ground and in height) I found the front space rather small.

Please don't mind the big white spot ... it's a raindrop.

It was unfortunately pretty much impossible to photograph the cathedral in whole with my camera. Then we got in and were overtaken by a feeling of extreme peace.

As you can see the inside is pretty dark. Every side features enormous stained glass artworks and some "rooms" are closed or contain artworks that need to be restored.

In one of the rooms there was a complex artwork featuring a clock. I didn't quite get what the whole thing was about, but there it is anyway.

More pictures of the inside of the cathedral, though I have to admit some stuffs were creeping me out.

What really mesmerized me the most was the organ. It was enormous and beautiful, and when you get in, the angle from which you perceive it makes it look like it's just floating in the air. I increased the light sensitivity to brighten up the whole scene but it was in fact much darker than that inside, making the plated gold stand out even more.

After having seen pretty much everything we went outside and took a look at the south face before heading to another place.

See? The south tower was never built, giving the cathedral its interesting look.

Oh, hey, what's that?

Erm what?

The cathedral seemed to be going under a lot of renovation, which is understandable. You know, things tend to get older with time.

It was kind of raining, like Mother Nature was teasing us or something. Here, have just enough drops to bother you but not enough to ruin your day and make you have to spend it indoors. Sigh. My poor camera lens didn't quite like this.

And so that's it for today! Right now it's 3:45am in France. I made the mistake of taking a nap in the afternoon so I thought, well, might as well write a blog entry. See you next time!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lyon; La Jonque d'Or

I have been eating Vietnamese food since I was a kid. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm not Vietnamese, but that's what my father would often cook since it's healthier than other Asian food ... or that's what he would say.

Obviously, the Asian is sometimes strong in me, and being far from home exaggerates this craving I have for Asian food. The problem is I know the right places in Montreal but not in Lyon. I had read reviews on the web stating that La Jonque d'Or is THE place for Vietnamese food. Now, is it, really?

By the way, pictures were taken with my cellphone.

At first when you get in, opening the door is slightly awkward and you realize how kitsch the interior decor is.

It's not too bad, but eh, could be better. But then, you see the people behind the cash register and in the kitchen and you think it might be a family business and it's their way to feel cozy at work. Besides, you come here for the food, not for the decor.

I went there twice already. The first time I had a classic : pho dac biet. When I go to Pho Lien in Montreal I always have a small pho dac biet, spring rolls and che ba mau (no1 small, no18 and no45). Basically it's "special" Vietnamese soup. There are many recipes for pho, but in Montreal the "special" one is made with tripe, cooked and rare flank steak, fat, and tendon. In France it's different.

Rare and cooked flank steak, beef balls. Also, you can see on the picture that this one is quite fat (I love fat). The herbs are also slightly different. But then, I am not a pho expert and I have never been to Vietnam. Every family has a different recipe. I thought the pho was good but maybe too ... flavorful? I know it's weird but I like it when the broth is not too strong so I can enjoy the taste of the other ingredients. I also found the presentation was meh, like the meat had been thrown into the bowl. And, well, slightly pricey. Around 10€ for a bowl of soup? That's double the price I pay in Montreal.

The second time I went I had bo bun (bun bo on the menu? people write bo bun on the Internet? I don't speak Viet but someone's gotta have to explain that to me). They have different kinds : pork and nems (or chia go), lemon grass beef, grilled shrimp, etc. Bo bun is basically a rice vermicelli salad, served warm, with grilled meat, vegetables, and drenched in nuoc mam (watered fish sauce with sugar, garlic, and other stuffs). I had the pork and nems bo bun.

The whole thing looked fat and delicious. The pork was grilled perfectly (you know, slightly burnt on the edges) and well seasoned. The chia go were warm and crispy, not too fat, and their shape held perfectly. Now the part that sort of disappointed me was everything else. The lettuce at the bottom wasn't minced thin enough, making it sort of awkward to mix and eat. The mint and peanuts were almost nonexistent. I sort of tasted them but I seriously wondered where the heck they were. And, mostly, the vegetables. No minced carrot? No minced cucumber? Now I know there are most probably thousands of ways to make bo bun, but so far I like the one from Pho Lien better. Still the plate was huge and filled me up properly, and it wasn't too expensive (8,50€).

What about service? I went on lunch time both times, so the service was fast and satisfying. The people are nice, ask you where you'd like to sit, ask you if you're doing good, and they're always smiling. Now I don't know what it's like in the evening, but I hope if you go during dinner time they're still as nice.

Do I recommend La Jonque d'Or? Yes and no. I wasn't a fan of it because I am used to the way it is at Pho Lien. I'm not saying the food is bad, it's actually good. But my standards have been quite high since I started eating at Pho Lien (been eating there for seven years) and so I tend to be quite bitchy when it comes to Vietnamese food. A lot of people seem to like that place though, and I think I saw a man who seemed to be a regular (the way the waitress talked to him she seemed to know him) but then again, I have seen places I qualified as bad crowded. Then again, I'm not saying it's bad : it's like mama's home cooking, simple and hearty. But it didn't stand up to my standards.

Still I think you should give it a try and let me know what you think. Maybe I'm just the one who's too difficult after all.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Strasbourg; Petite France

Hi guys! Back in February I went to Strasbourg, in Alsace, with two friends. We stayed at a guy's place, a student in architecture, who lives with two other students in architecture. Since they were not far from the Petite France, the first and second day we spent a lot of time there.

The Petite France is basically located not far from the train station, it is mostly closed to motorized circulation, a river goes through it and it features buildings with an architecture of German inspiration.

Picture time!

Most of the pictures were taken on the first day, while walking along the river. We had also spotted the Ponts Couverts, which we came back to on the second day.

Here's a nice view of the Ponts Couverts from the Barrage Vauban.

The next one is a view of the Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg.

I've always been fascinated with cities built so close to the water, where you can see and sense a deep relationship between the buildings, bridges, the river, etc. Instead of trying to avoid it and see it as a problem we work with it.

The next pictures are mostly randoms from walks. It rained a few times during our stay so whenever I could I tried to snap as many pictures as possible.

This building is so thin!

Apparently if you like gingerbread, Mireille Oster is THE place to go. Or so I've heard. I haven't tried myself.

So that's it for this quick tour of Strasbourg! Once again I am sacrificing some precious *cough*cough* hours of studying so I can provide you guys with news and pictures ... okay I'll just say it, I'm not in the mood for studying. Oh well.

Until next time!
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