Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Interview with Nightblooming


Famous in the longhair circuit for her products. (You know you have made it when memes are made about you!)

Author of some of the classic haircare literature.

She can be found on twitter and instagram:

Melissa's twitter
Melissa's instagram

It's been almost a month to the day since Nightblooming launched her book.

Igor: This must have been a crazy busy month for you. How does it feel?

Nightblooming: Pretty surreal. Being a Real Fantasy Authorhas been such a goal for such a long time the reality of Heaven’s Silhouette being out there in the world is still registering. The other day I was thinking about some edits for Mourning's Dawn (book 2!) and drafting book 3 and then I could cycle back to Heaven’s Silhouette… and then realized that flow I’m so used to is broken. There’s no Heaven’s Silhouette to work on anymore because it’s done.

Igor: Okay, so this wasn't really a question but I still had to include it. Buchfreundin commented:
"You better believe that my mouth fell open when I saw this. A collab between Lady Igor and Nightshade aka the best longhairs out there?! Count me in, I'm sitting tight for that interview.
I'm also quite excited for Melissa's book, I've followed her blog over on LHC, where she posted the steps to become a published fiction author. This is soooo cool..... And her author page pictures are just beautiful."
And I have to say, wow. Just from my own point of view I felt both really flattered and really embarrassed!

Nightblooming: Oh goodness, I blushed just reading that, it’s so sweet. My aunt and uncle are photographers (they also shot my wedding photos as a gift), and I was able to take a trip to visit them for a long weekend for my author photos. There were some pretty hilarious outtakes from that shoot, but this one is probably my favorite:


My poor aunt was pretty much on full-time duty trying to wrangle my hair for photos. In the end, they did a fantastic job with the photos and I’m over the moon with how everything went. The strangest thing, though, is the idea of being a somewhat ‘public’ figure now. I was on LHC for almost 15 years before anyone saw my face and now that’s out there, too. 

Igor: *Laughs* Well, what can I say other than I appreciate very much that you shared that? I don’t think a lot of “public figures” would have shared that!

Nightblooming: The sense of notoriety takes still takes me by surprise. For me, I’m just a person writing books and covering her house in henna dust. But I’m always deeply touched and flattered by compliments like Buchfreundin’s. 

Igor: I know what you mean, seriously, I have never been able to make peace with being a "hair guru" or "influencer" or whatever people use to describe it. I mean, that's crazy, right? Me? What? Why? How did this happen? But last year I was recognized out "in the wild", and I have to say it was probably the most surreal experience in my life!

Nightblooming: Ha! I haven’t been recognized ‘in the wild’ yet, but I can see how that would give you a start.

Igor: It really did. I have a question from an anonymous commentator here. And they can of course get in touch if they want their name or link put into this post, but anyways: 
“Can I ask Nightblooming anything for the interview? Because I really want to know about her haircare routine! What does she do for her waves? Are those natural waves? Is her color natural or is it henna? Which of her products does she use?”
That’s quite a mouthful, Melissa. Ready to spill your entire routine?

Nightblooming: I suppose that is the best thing about making your own products--when you’re your own guinea pig you wind up with a routine that works in the end!  To answer Anon’s questions more directly, I think I’ll go backwards. (Also, amazingly, I don’t have this in any sort of blog post and really should!) 

Washing is three times a week, and I use Max Green Alchmey’s Scalp Rescue Shampoo and conditioner. When I get out of the shower, I mist on some Selkie Herbal Detangler (and on my person, too, it’s great for skin and smells amazing), then use a smidge of Freya’s Hair Salve on the ends. After it’s dried to damp, I put it up for the night. I do wear my hair up a lot, all day every day at work and when I’m making stuff for NightBlooming. 

About once a month I give my hair a soak on Alluvial because we have ungodly hard water, and I color my hair (roots-only at this point) with Fire Genasi. So no, my hair color isn’t natural! It is very convincing, though. Once, when I went in for a skin check, I argued with my dermatologist for 20 minutes that I wasn’t actually a redhead (I have really pale skin and lots of freckles and while there is some natural red in my hair, it isn’t see-from-space-copper on its own).

Those are and are not my natural waves! When I started using henna, it knocked my waves down a lot and I went from a solid 2a/b to a 1c. My natural waves look like that for a short while after my hair dries, but henna and the weight of my hair pulls them out pretty quickly. Thankfully, bun waves are my best friend, and that’s what you’re seeing in the pictures--it gives me my natural waves back, but they actually stick around.

Igor: Thorough answer! I can’t believe a dermatologist would argue with you about your own hair colour. I mean, you should know, right? But it seems a lot of people assume the low Fitzpatrick types are only limited to the redheads. 

Nightblooming: You’d think, but I eventually just gave up trying to convince him, or his intern.

Igor: We’re almost henna-twins. I use the Fire Genasi too when I do my carria/mild henna treatment. Just in really, really small doses. It’s mostly just to brighten my natural red tones, not really to colour it.

Nightblooming: I’ll admit, I’d love to see you go full-on firehead, though. *evil grin*

Igor: *Laughs* I’ve considered it, but meh, not entirely convinced I should. So the same Anon also asked me about time management for work and studying and I have covered that in a post for itself. But hey, it might be a good idea to get your input on this too. I mean, you work, you have a house with a big garden, family, hobbies, a successful store and now you wrote a book too. How do you balance all that?

Nightblooming: My go-to answer for that is a joking-but-not-joking “I don’t sleep.”  Which is true, I have something called Delayed Phase Sleep Syndrome which means that I’m hardwired to go to bed at 3-5am my time and sleep late and I cannot budge that. My internal clock can’t be adjusted.The bad news is that I’m a total wreck in the morning, but the good news is that I get my best hours for me. After work I take a nap to mentally reset, and then dig into NightBlooming and writings in the evenings, and often go into the wee hours of the morning writing and making products for NightBlooming.

Igor: I have honestly never heard of that before. Fascinating. I guess that’s also a good point for the Anon. That self awareness and understanding is very important for managing your life when you’re busy.

Nightblooming: I’ve had people ask me in the past why I don’t work a second or third shift job, but the reality is that this way I keep my best and most productive hours for writing and NightBlooming.

Igor: Well, you did hit twenty five thousand sales a while back. That's pretty wild!

Nightblooming: It’s wild for me, too. When a coworker of mine pointed out that NightBlooming is in the top .05% of Etsy stores I about fell over. I could never, ever keep organized without my Bullet Journal. That thing is a godsent for making sure everything gets done and don’t forget to order supplies. When it comes to time management I don’t think there is a better, more customizable way to keep organized than that.

Igor: I felt forced to Google to see how many stores Etsy has! Wikipedia says “As of December 31, 2018, Etsy had over 60 million items in its marketplace and the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods connected 2.1 million sellers.” Wow. That puts things in perspective, even if I don’t think the “handmade and vintage” section covers the entire Etsy?

Nightblooming: You’re right, the big third section is crafting supplies.

Igor: Melina asks:
What is going to happen in the future? Will there be more books? Do you have any plans for new products? How about a youtube channel? Do you have any plans to expand the Nightblooming brand?
And I can already answer one of the questions here: Yes, there will be more books. 

Nightblooming: There are more books!  Iyarri Chronicles Book 2: Mourning’s Dawn is already written and in the editing process. I anticipate having it out in fall 2020, but you can actually track it’s progress here. None of this GoT-style wondering what’s going on or where the next book is at!  I’m currently drafting the third book in the series, have plans for a prequel, and some special side projects tied to Patreon.

If I can get to 100 Patrons, the plan is to go back through Heaven’s Silhouette and do a chapter-by-chapter behind the scenes chat about this. I haven’t decided on a format, but video is one of the options I’ve considered! Especially if I had people submitting questions in advance. I’ve also considered Twitch as an idea, so people could ask questions in real-time, but that might be both outside of the scope of platforms that I’m willing to sink time into.

The next big side project would be an illustrated book on the Iyarri. I have SO much written about them, their society, how their magic works, etc. and hitting that Patron goal would be the kickoff for bringing that to my readers.

Igor: So organised! 

Nightblooming: Hahahaha I have to be or I’ll go mad. For the NightBlooming side of things, I have an entire list of things I’d love to do for future products, but product development takes a really long time, partially because that’s not just the development, but also testing, branding, creating the packaging, taking all the photos, writing the listing, etc. I consider myself pretty lucky if (new oil blends aside)  if I can eek out one new product a year. As for a NightBlooming YouTube channel, I’m not sure. The idea is interesting, but I also know that maintaining a YT channel and producing quality content is an immense amount of work. Maybe that’s something I could consider when I eventually am fully employed for myself between NightBlooming and writing.

Igor: I guess the Nightblooming store on Etsy wouldn’t have remained this popular if you weren’t thorough with all the steps. The longhairs who are into more herbal and natural haircare are famously picky! 

Nightblooming: They are, but so am I, so it works out pretty well for all of us.
Igor: By the way, I’ve been meaning to suggest you get a ko-fi account. I know I’m going to sound like I’m advertising for them, but it is by far my favourite way to show support for the content creators that I enjoy. Their concept is basically that you can tip people by buying them a coffee, something small and simple and it feels less like a commitment than patreon.

Nightblooming: That’s for sure worth looking into. I’ve really enjoyed being on Patreon in part because of that commitment factor. There’s an idea that if you’re a content creator you need to find 1000 True Fans to make it work, and I think Patreon is the best home for those in it for the long haul with me. Ko-fi would be great for those people who are gun-shy about subscription based programs, though!

Igor: Well, I think Patreon is more suited for your customers. I think most people who go with oils and herbal products for their hair and skin like what your Etsy store offers, are in it for the long run. I think the demographic attracted to the Nightblooming products are the people who would like a Patreon subscription. But there might also be the curious people who enjoy your products irregularly and sometimes they want to leave a little “Hey, thanks”. 

Nightblooming: For anyone that’s read this far, I’ve got a discount code for you at NightBlooming. Just click on this link and you’ll get 10% off Oct 16-20!

Igor: You spoil us! Thank you, Melissa. Seriously, this is really sweet of you. You have really spoiled us with Nightblooming discount codes! And thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down and answer some questions. I really appreciate it. 

Nightblooming: It’s always a pleasure! I look forward to doing this again in the future.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Ew, gross

I washed my hair today (Well, CO-washed anyways) and grabbed my trusty scalp scrubber/massager.
And noticed there was some really disgusting residue inside it. Ew!

Unfortunately it makes sense that with the design of this scrubber/massager, you will have water and shower residue trapped inside it. I guess without the soft and flexible "pad" under it, it wouldn't be as comfortable as it is, but that leaves a space for dirt to get trapped in.

I almost threw it out, but I got it in a Memembox five years ago (Wow) and it is just so much better and more comfortable than any other scalp scrubber/massager I have gotten my hands on since. 

So... Cleaning time.
Turned out pretty well, but I wish I could get under that white plastic layer too. Strangely it doesn't look like it gathers residue there?

It did make me wonder about my other hair tools and toys though. Shouldn't things like hair sticks also get dirty from being exposed to leave in-conditioner, sweat, sebum and what else you have going on inside an updo?
Maybe I should gather and clean everything that can be cleaned... Obviously things like wooden tools can't be cleaned, but everything in metal, plastic, silicone and hard rubber should be washable, right?

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Trim day

I don't believe in the Lunar hair care idea, but I also can't see why it could hurt. Of course it doesn't help me believe in this more when the different sources can't agree to what days should be beneficial, and for what aspects, but whatever...
According to the European dates, there is a full moon which should be good for strengthening hair October 10th to 12th.
So why not trim after the dates since I happen to have found a day that fits with when I have the time to S&D and trim anyways? I wouldn't go out of my way to make it fit into my other plans, but why not trim today since I have time anyways?

So anyways.

Maybe some day I'll try the Morocco Method products too. Looking over them, I see nothing special about the ingredient lists. But they list their ingredients on the website! Praise the hair gods! Extra points for that to Morocco Method!
But they are pretty well known in the longhair circuit, so it could be fun to try. It almost feels like one of those "Should try" things.


I had mr Igor trim off two centimeter today and had him take pictures of the results. Unfortunately the weird October light (Sharp and summery one second and completely gone the next) made the pictures basically worthless which I didn't see until after I transferred them to my computer.

And mr Igor didn't check I had enough of my calves in the picture, which is... Pretty important when you have below knee-length hair?

Monday, 7 October 2019

Nightblooming fangirling in progress, part III

Nightblooming aka Melissa wrote a book.
So not only does she have a popular Etsy store, a fairy tale-like home, is a published author, she is also nerdy and has great hair.

Throw in a horse or two, and being a paleontologist, and she has pretty much accomplished every single one of my childhood dreams. I'm jealous.

So. What do I think about her book?


This book is seriously pretty. There is something about a nice, solid hardback book with quality print that just changes the reading experience.

It felt like this book deserved something special... Something magical, something... Colour changing...

I think I brewed my Blooming Grove Caduceus & Mollymauk Butterfly Herbal Tea too strong because I didn't get as much colour change as I wanted to when I added the lemon. Pout.
But it was still very sweet and good.

Strangely it seemed my silicone Nessie tea infuser was acidic enough to trigger the colour change? The drippings on the steel kitchen bench remained purple and the Nessie drippings were a pretty pink. Weird.

Anyways. Back to the book.

Nightblooming wrote a very sweet message for me:
"Ida, I love that we started the longhair journey together and along the way we grew into friends"

It's pretty hard to write a review without spoilering anything.
But I have two points I would like to make about it.

I like how efficient Melissa is at using tropes. If used correctly, tropes aren't tired and overly done, but a very effective way to get the story moving. You get going with the plot faster and more streamlined than if you start trying to explain every little thing about a characters backstory and, well, character. It's nice to get the story going as soon as possible.

I also really like that Aurelia doesn't get all hardened and mean and tough after the things she has been through. It's nice to see a character remaining emphatic and well, herself, instead of ending up a completely different character with different reactions in the end. 

The first chapter in the book can be read for free here and the rest of the 403 pages can be found here.

The second book is expected around fall 2020, but we can follow the progress for Mourning's Dawn here

Friday, 4 October 2019

Mildly interesting

Last weekend mr Igor and I went to Skördefesten in Lund. It's a harvest festival/farmers market and we really enjoyed it.

I spotted this lady wearing a cool, braided hair slide. I've never seen something like this before. It looked like it was made from braided wood and the picture doesn't entirely do it justice.  The lady told me it was made of willow.

Which made sense since she was sitting there working in willow. It's a traditional way of creating baskets and decorations and can even be used for larger objects like fences and the like.

It was a fun festival with lots of interesting foods. We brought a big bag home: Different cheeses, sauces, a bunch of different ecological juices, dressings, honey, spices and marmalade.

It also had a few exhibits like traditional folk dancing.
But no cool hair tools :(

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Nightblooming fangirling in progress, part II

Nightblooming put a really funny (And quite sad actually!) blog post up about people asking for discounts from her. It made me feel really happy she gave us a discount for when she launched her book (Seriously, feels like being blessed by someone famous, which is exactly what it was!) 

My order got here in one piece (Although very delayed thanks to PostNord), but then again, Melissa did a very good job of packing it up both prettily and safely!
Nothing had room to rattle around and it was packed in a good, sturdy cardboard box.
Once you have experienced a package being completely smashed and the contents ruined thanks to poor packaging, you start finding this important.

I've been neglecting my hair a bit lately, so I figured it was time to give it some herbal love with:
Eilistraee: Gray, White, Colorless Herbal Hair Conditioner
Sarenrae Blonde Herbal Hair Color and Conditioner

I really like the description of the Eilistraee herbal conditioner:
Eilistraee, also referred to as “The Dark Maiden,” is a fictional deity in the Forgotten Realms. She is a goddess in the drow pantheon, and her portfolios are song, swordwork, hunting, the moon and beauty. This herbal mix seeks to capture such a glow for your own tresses.
That's a fictional goddess I can get behind!

The strange-looking blue blob on the left is the nitril gloves that just didn't photograph well. It's a really nice detail that Nightblooming adds this to orders, especially since I haven't ordered any hard-dying herbal blends.
I got two tea samples too:
Miruvor Long Hair Herbal Tea where Nightblooming writes:
Appearing in The Lord of the Rings, miruvor is a warm and fragrant cordial of the Elves that gives the drinker renewed strength and vitality. The elves do not reveal how miruvor was made, but it is thought to come from the honey of the undying flowers in the gardens of Yavanna.
The nerd in me (And there's a lot of it) rejoiced at that!
The other tea is Blooming Grove Caduceus & Mollymauk Butterfly Herbal Tea which changes colour from Mollymauk purple to Caduceus violet when you add something acidic to it. It sounds so cool and I'm really looking forward to try/see that! I just really hope I can catch the effect on camera!

The big package on the right is Sunlit Meadow Herbal Rinse for Light Hair 

I like that Nightblooming offers you a brochure on how to use herbal mud. You can take it or leave it. Some people might want help and guidance, some might be experts already or have a specific recipe in mind. I decided to take a brochure and was happy with it. It's good to brush up on the basics and this was very useful both for beginners and those who have used herbal hair conditioning before.

I've mentioned the packaging already, but seriously, I really like the care that was put into this.
The small glass bottle oil blends were put in a separate plastic bag to limit any potential broken glass and spilled essential oils to one place.
I've seen glass bottled mixed in with the rest of the order way too many times, even from seasoned sellers, so this makes me very happy.

Aamon: Iyarri Chronicles Signature Oil Blend
Aurelia: Iyarri Chronicles Signature Oil Blend
Cæl: Iyarri Chronicles Signature Oil Blend
Jasmine green tea (Not part of the Iyarri Chronicles line like the rest of them, but it sounded like the kind of scent I would like a lot. Jasmine, green tea and vanilla are some of my favourite scents and the rest of my favourites would probably make a weird, smelly mess if they were mixed in)
Lucien: Iyarri Chronicles Signature Oil Blend
Tiahmani: Iyarri Chronicles Signature Oil

I have never used oil blends like this before, so it will take some experimenting to see how I'd like them: In my hair, on my skin mixed with lotion, spritzed on skin after the shower dabbed on as a perfume.
I'm in a funny place with the Aamon blend though since it has sea buckthorn oil as a secondary oil and I am wildly and painfully allergic to it. I can't even give it to hubby since I have broken out from products he has used before. I can probably find a friend who would like it.

And of course I received the Heaven's Silhouette: Iyarri Chronicles Book 1 in hardcover.
I'm going to cover this in a separate post, but I have to say it right away: This book is so, so pretty.
It has such a wonderful paper quality feel to it and really clear print. Some books just feel good in your hands and this is one of them.

The Sunlit Meadow Herbal Rinse for Light Hair is so pretty and it smells so good I want to use it as potpourri. Or taste it as a tea for drinking!
And I probably could since it's pure organic leaves and flowers.