Category Archives: hair

Welp, I got the itch…

Okay, so you know how I mentioned on Monday that the next time I got the itch to do something different with my hair, I might go blonde.

Weeeeelll…

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The idea just kept, ahem, growing on me, and when I texted my hairstylist on a whim, and she had a cancellation, I took it as a sign.

2 hours + I’m pretty sure like a gallon of bleach later…I’m a BLONDE! (I think those caps are deserved; it’s really bright….and quite a bit brassier than I was expecting, but Hollie said that can happen when you go from really dark to really light and that we can do something to fix it if it doesn’t calm down on its own…I believe she said something about toners?).

I honestly don’t know what I think about it yet. It feels (and looks) a little bit like straw, and I definitely feel like it’s going to be a bit before I can style it like I’m used to. BUT. It’s something different.

And sometimes, that’s really all you need. Ya feel me?

More pics to come when I feel a little more “me” again.

I just thought I’d let you know that I got a “wild hair” (there she goes again with the puns) or 100,000.

So, what do you think? Worth the risk? Too much? Be gentle, please! :)

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Making the Cut

I don’t know why I’m so drawn to corny puns in titles, but…I am. My apologies.

But before we get to the subject of my titular corniness…

leigh anne

You are the winner of our Jamberry goodies from last week’s giveaway! I’m not gonna lie. I got really excited when I saw her name pop up as the winner. Leigh Anne is one of my most faithful reader-friends since almost the very beginning of this here little blog, a mama to four littles, and SUCH a sweetheart. We live in the same state but still about 10 hours apart (sigh…Texas), but she has family near me, and I am determined that we get together for a coffee (hot chocolate for me) date the next time she comes for a visit. (You hear that, Leigh Anne??). Anyhoo, she totally deserves a pampering treat, so I’m glad she won!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

About a week and 1/2 ago, I got my first haircut in, oh, 5 months. When my hair was long, I would often go 8-10 months without even a trim, but since whacking it off about 18 months ago, 2-3 months is the longest I’d made it between cuts. But with holiday craziness and Theo’s birth, I just hadn’t made it back for quite a while, and things were getting a bit, um, hairy (oy, with the bad jokes, already, Abbie!).

Here was the situation before my trim.

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Scraggly ends. Poofy on top because it hadn’t been thinned out in forever. Grown-out, limp bangs.

Definitely in need of a tune-up.

I’ve decided to grow out my hair, and with the help the It Works Hair Skin and Nails I’ve been taking, it’s coming along, so I didn’t want to take any length off. Just some weight.

Then again, I did feel like a change.

So, after a fair bit of trimming and a liberal use of thinning shears, there was a nice little mountain of fuzzies on the ground.

hairbefore

It’s hard to have the right perspective just from the photo, but that is a LOT of hair. Which is kind of nuts considering that I lost almost no length.

So, what was this change that I wanted?

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BANGS!

This picture makes me laugh. I kept joking with my friend/hairstylist, Hollie, that I needed to caption this one: “I asked her to do this to me.”

I mean, seriously, that right there is the perfect combo of poodle + “Working Girl” hair.

At-trac-tive.

But less than 24 hours later, after a good wash and a bit of tweaking, it had calmed down a fair bit.

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And then, after yet a few more days for it to completely come of out shock and the first time I actually styled it like I normally would (plus bangs-straightening, of course…follow that link to see all of the products I use), we had this.

haircollage

Because I know you were dying to see not one but four of my goofy expressions. But Ezra was my photographer, and he was really proud of his work (which I promised I would show off adequately here).

Of course, those are mildly blurry phone shots, but he did manage this crystal-clear “real camera” shot too.

new profile

This one too. I look ridiculously smug. But it does show you a bit of the side-view.

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ANYhoo, you may now consider yourself fully updated on my most recent follicular adventures.

I honestly miss my super-easy, funky, short hair, but at least I have the bangs to satisfy my urge for something different every once in a while. Who knows? Maybe next time I get the itch, I’ll go blonde!

Anybody else changed up their hair recently? I wanna see!

What’s the most drastic thing you’ve ever done to your hair? Mine would probably have to be that time I cut mine down to 2 inches or less all over my head (not Shaun’s favorite). (Although…that bowl-cut when I was 8, while not “drastic,” was definitely “dreadful”).

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Floral Twist Up-do (for short hair)

side hair shot

This past Monday, we had BODYCOMBAT launch. If you’ve been reading a while, then you know that means that several grown women get together, dress alike, and then punch and kick the air while hollering and sweating profusely. It’s pure awesomeness, if you’re into that sort of thing. (Read this post if you want a good laugh about things that can—and almost did—go wrong when grown women wear matching exercise clothes).

In addition to the outfits, a lot of times, we try to do fun things with our hair. All three of the other girls have looooooong hair, so braids and poofs and all that jazz are easy. For obvious reasons, however, my options are limited.

Since cutting my hair really short, I haven’t attempted any “hairstyles” whatsoever, simply because any amount of pinning or half-upping tends to make me look like a preschooler. But for launch, I tried a few twists, and it turned out surprisingly well, so I’ve been wearing my hair twisted back away from my face all week long, and it’s been a nice change of pace from the usual pat-the-frizzies-away-and-go look of the last few months.

combat launch updo

My twisty hairstyle kept reminding me of something, but I couldn’t quite place it until I was buying some flowers for my sister-in-law the other night, and I thought of this hairdo that Gwyneth Paltrow wore in Sliding Doors.

flower hair

{I would credit the pic, but  after the Google images, it was a dead link}

I’ve always loved this twisty look embellished with flowers. So, after putting together this bouquet for Hannah…

hannah's bouquet

{via instagram}

…I nabbed a couple of those pretty lilac and yellow flowers and attempted my own spin on a floral twist updo.

Here is it from the front:

front hair shot

From the side:

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And from the back:

back hair shot 

I had just gotten my hair cut earlier that day and hadn’t washed it yet to recover the curl, so it would honestly have looked a lot better without the blunt-cut dull edges.

Still, it was pretty. And easy. In fact, these twists have always been my go-to, looks-fancy-but-isn’t-really hairstyle (I even have a very informal tutorial for the twists—shot in a Chick-fil-a booth, no less), and I’m happy to have discovered that they still work, even with my shorter hair.

So, if you have short hair, don’t despair! (Apparently, I am suddenly Dr. Seuss). This easy, twisty up-do might be just the thing the next time you’re going out to dinner or, you know, to BODYCOMBAT.

I hope y’all have an awesome weekend! I’ve got the Color Vibe run tomorrow, which is awesome, but I’ve still got a fair bit to do to get out the door, so wish me luck because…

Here I goooooooo…

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Late to the game…

Today’s post is about booties. Yes, you read that right, but no, you’re probably not thinking what I’m thinking.

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{This is what I was talking about. What were you thinking?}

I thought about including the word “booties” in my post title and making some sort of pun (the word “bootieslicious” was considered but only briefly). But they all came out sounding off-color (of course), and I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted the traffic I’d get from related Google searches.

Still, as dubious a name as “booties” is for something so innocuous as a pair of footwear, there are those (myself included in the past) that think that the way said footwear looks is the real problem.

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{Top: LOFT, $16; Skirt: J. Crew/Goodwill, $3; Belt: GAP, $2; Booties: Nine West/Ross, $17; Clutch: Pleated Poppy, Christmas present}

I’ve mentioned several times before here on the blog that I’m not particularly trendy. I don’t research trends. I don’t try to be up on them. And half the time when they appear, I downright dislike them.

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Sometimes that never changes (pointy shoulder pads, crop tops, rompers, the monokini, mullet hems…I’m looking at you). But sometimes, gradually, a trend wears me down until I realize that I’ve somehow traveled from giving skinny jeans the stink-eye as I march past to lingering beside the rack thinking, “You know, that pair is actually kind of cute.”

I’m pretty sure the fact that I now own no fewer than 5 pairs of skinny jeans is proof that I have finally succumbed.

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Booties (or short boots if you prefer) are just such another trend that I’ve been reluctant to even consider, even though it’s been around for a good 5 years or so (I think that’s about how long it takes to wear me down if it’s going to happen).

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Here’s the thing: booties cover up your ankle and expose your calf muscle, which for most women (including me, I think) creates a rather unflattering silhouette. My legs aren’t particularly thin nor are they particularly thick, but they are muscular, and I’ve found that 95% of booties I try on just make me look short and stumpy.

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But when I spotted this genuine suede Nine West pair at Ross for $17 the other day, I decided to bring them home and give them a fair shake just to try something new. And also because they have tiny buttons up the side, which genuinely excited the part of me that still wants to dress like Anne of Green Gables during her schoolmarm days.

If you follow on Instagram, then you know this is the outfit I threw on after my 15K to go pick up my husband from the airport. I mentioned on IG that I hoped he would like it, and the first thing he said when he saw me was, “You look great!”

So…mission accomplished there.

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But now I’m curious to know what you think. Did I pull them off?

In general, are you a fan of booties? (oh, good grief, I feel like a 7-year-old)

Did they have your heart from the start or gradually win you over or are you still shaking your head at the idiocy of any woman who would encase the skinniest part of her ankle in shoe leather?

P.S. When I mentioned my hair conundrum the week before last, every single one of you told me not to chop it. And I followed your advice…sort of. I had my stylist shorten the back considerably but the front longer. So far, I really like it. What say you?

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A little chop goes a long way

My brother likes to use the word, “stupid,” as a substitute for the word, “REALLY.”

As in, “This cinnamon roll is stupid good.” Or, “That puzzle was stupid hard.”

I’m not sure how this came about considering that my brother is an engineer, not a surfer dude. But there you have it.

He’s expecting his first kid in April, though, and my prediction is that particular adjective get nixed from his vocabulary pronto.

I don’t usually follow his lead in this particular adjectival choice, but if I had to describe one thing in my brother’s terms, I would say, “My hair is stupid thick.”

Every single time I get it cut, even if it’s only been a few weeks like it had been last time, my stylist laughs and laughs at the carpet of hair on her floor. Then she sweeps it into a mound, and it’s like a fuzzy, disgusting mini-replica of Mt. Everest.

Seriously, y’all. I have so. much. hair. And it’s dense, which means that it doesn’t necessarily poof way out from the sides of my head (most of the time) because the sheer weight of it pulls everything down around my face.

Which brings me to a confession: for the longest time, I was afraid to cut much off of my own personal Hair Everest.

Why? Because I got a lot of compliments on my long, curly hair—a lot of dramatic statements like: “I would kill for your hair”—and I was at least a little bit nervous that I might pick an unflattering cut, and then it would take forever to get back to that place where everybody found my hair attractive.

Don’t get me wrong: I liked my long hair too. I’m not so vain that I would wear a style I hated just to get compliments. But it was just kind of there. It didn’t really reflect my style or have much personality other than its inherent long curliness.

I wanted to be brave. I wanted variety. I wanted to know what it would be like to have a “fun” haircut instead of simply a pretty one, even if it meant fewer compliments. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it.

(Another thing holding me back: the specter of my mushroom bowl-cut from when I was 8-years-old).

But after Ezra was born, everything suddenly seemed much more clear cut. (That happens when you have a newborn who is rooting for breakfast and gets a mouthful of hair instead). I decided it was finally time and cut a good 10 inches off my hair. I tried to talk the guy who cut it into really hacking it and making it funky and layered, but apparently, I wasn’t very convincing because I ended up with a strange blunt bob that looked a bit like a Pharaoh hat.  I had the quintessential “Mom cut,” and I was only 23-years-old (I tried to find you a picture but came up empty).

It wasn’t pretty.

And I sort of thought, “All right, well that’s what I get for being brave.”

But then, 18 months  and a good bit of safe-ish hair experimentation later, Simon came along, and I got really gutsy. I went for a BIG chop, with lots of layers. And each time I went back, I cut a little more off.

short hair simon baby 

This isn’t even as short as it got (I think I traumatized my husband when I cut it almost as short as his).

And you know what? It was incredibly freeing!

I’m not gonna say that some of the iterations were my best haircuts ever.

short hair simon

Note to self: uber-short hair when you’ve still got your chubby post-baby face is not a good look for you. Side note: we look soooooo young.

But they helped me get over my fear of what others would think and confirmed my suspicions that I’m not just a long and flowy kind of girl (although I like that too).

I’ve been experimenting with everything from super-short and layered to long with bangs ever since, and I absolutely love that I got over my hair hang-up.

Which is why it shouldn’t be too surprising that when I went to get my hair cut a little over a week ago, I said, “Let’s go shorter. And more textured. And less weighty. Seriously, thin the tar out of it.”

Which is how I ended up with this:

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Is it my best haircut ever?

 

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Maybe not (my husband is shaking his head emphatically not; he likes it fine like this, but he loves my long hair).

But you know what it is?

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Fun.

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I really like it.

And also?

You know that part in You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks goes on a rant about complicated Starbucks orders and how they’re not just about a drink order at all but instead about an identity?

“TALL. Decaf. CAPPUCINO.”

Well, haircuts are kind of like to too.

And this is me right now: “Short. Funky. Easy.”

Because sometimes a little chop can go a long way towards giving you a “defining sense of self.”

And the best part of all? Lean in close because this is profound: hair. grows. back.

True story. :)

So, if you’ve been pining for a cut but can’t find the nerve, I say do it. The worst that can happen is hat hair for a few weeks. But the alternative just might set you free.

P.S. Since getting my hair cut 10 days ago, I have only washed it twice (yep, that’s how I roll), and both times, it has looked considerably different. It loosens up the longer it’s been since a wash. Here it is after a 2 hour exercise session:

workout hair

Have you ever gotten a big chop? Did you love it/hate it? I’ve done so many different versions of the short hair chop in the last 6 years, and I’ve liked most of them well enough (although when I see some in pictures, I think, “Hmm…not your best look, girl.”). However, I won’t ever go crazy-short again, I don’t think—both for my husband’s sake and because of my “stupid” thick hair, which tends to bunch up and up and and up at the roots when it gets really short.

What’s your favorite hairstyle EVER? I really love the funkiness of my short, tousled, angled hair, but I think I probably look best with longer curls. And I loved my bangs too. Maybe something like this:

floral tights hair

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Try-it Tuesday: How I Style My {Short} Curly Hair

A couple of weeks ago, I reposted my “How I style my {long} curly hair” regimen. And, although my routine is still pretty similar, there are a few tweaks that I’ve made since the big chop.

I start with the same products as before:

hair regime

I have no objections to using other products, but these seem to work as well or better than most for my hair. Plus, they’re reasonably priced, and I can find them anywhere, so I just keep buying them.

Note: I only wash my hair about twice a week. I’ve heard lots of things about shampoo being drying/damaging for curly hair, and I know that those who use the Curly Girl method rarely ever use shampoo, but I’ve never noticed any drying issues with mine. That said, I don’t wash it very often, and because of its fairly coarse texture, it takes a looooong time to get greasy.

STEP 1:

Shampoo/rinse hair in shower

STEP 2:

Wrap hair gently in a towel. I do zero rubbing, but I do gently squeeze the ends to remove excess moisture.

STEP 3:

Remove towel and flip head over, at which point I have this:

hair regime4

{oh-so-attractive, no?}

I don’t comb anything, even with my fingers at this point, and after I squeeze the tips of my hair, I leave the rest of it very damp. (Honestly, the wetter it is when I put the product in, the better). The only thing I do is a tiny bit of arranging (for example, my hair naturally parts to the right, so I sweep my long bangs that direction so they’ll lie right when I start drying).

STEP 4:

Flip my head back over and gently finger-comb the following through my hair:

hair regime1

{Quarter-sized dollop of conditioner; I don’t rinse this out}

hair regime6

{handful of mousse, making sure to get from root to tip}

OPTIONAL

hair regime2 

{If it’s an especially humid day, I’ll smooth a bit of gel over the top of my hair before drying, but I’ve found that, with my shorter hair and how thinned out it is, the gel tends to make it too crunchy, so I usually skip it}

hair regime5

Here I am with all my product in. Clearly, I could stand to do a little more arranging before I start drying.

STEP 5::

One big difference between my long and short hair routine is that I almost always blow dry my hair now, whereas I almost always air-dried before. I just like the volume and piece-yness that blow drying produces.

hair regime9

{Stick ‘em up! Della looks worried}

I start out blow drying with my head flipped over (which I couldn’t get a picture of, not that you needed it), but that tends to make the hair at the crown of my head rather flat, so I only dry that way for a little while before I flip it back over and continue drying the sides and back with my head tilted to allow the teeth of the diffuser to get up inside the hair.

Note: I know some curly girls that blow dry without a diffuser, but all that does for me is produce colossal frizz, so I always go the diffuser route.

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Even with short, drastically thinned out hair, it still takes a good 15 minutes of drying before my hair is mostly dry.

At which point is looks like this:

   hair regime8 

My hair tends to “settle” over time, and the curls loosen up a bit, so that, a couple of hours after this whole process, we have the final result, which looks something like this:

headshot

For days 2 and 3, I just re-dampen my hair, smooth a tiny bit of conditioner over the frizzies and do a bit of fluffing, then let it air dry.

Hope this helps you short-hair curly girls. If you have hair like mine (curly/wavy/crazy thick/combination coarse and fine), feel free to toss some suggestions my direction for ways to improve my results!

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Try-it Tuesday: How I Style My Curly Hair {Repost}

In honor of my recent hair-chop (that I teased you with a hint of yesterday), I thought I’d do a repost of one of my most popular and most asked-for blogs ever. I had planned to update it with a “how I style my {short} curly hair” post. I even took all the pictures and everything, but the whole post is just not happening today (be on the lookout next week), so I thought I’d remind you of how I used to style my hair when it was long (sniff, sniff…just kidding…I’m really digging the shorter cut).

Below is a pretty typical result:

long hair5

It kind of cracks me up to have people ask me how I “style” my hair because, most of the time (as you might gather from the rather wild look in the above pic), I really don’t. It has a bit of a mind of its own, and I often let it have its way.

Still…here are the basics (by the way, if any of my straight-haired friends out there are about to slam your laptops shut in disgust at my ignoring you, DON’T! Please. I have a few tips for you too).

My hair: it’s incredibly thick, people—the kind of thick that gets comments like, “Whoa! You scalped her!” every.single.time people see how much hair is on the floor after one of my haircuts. Then, of course, they look up, see how much hair is still on my head, and do a double take.  The only way to avoid a super-attractive “hair pyramid” is lots and lots of layers and thinning shears. My stylist typically attacks it with a razor until half of it is gone (and I still had a normal person’s head of hair left).

My hair also defies conventional curl wisdom. I only get the defined, ringlet-ish curls when my hair is long and all basically one length (which hasn’t happened since I was 15, I think). And even that only happens on part of my head. The majority of my hair is more wavy/swirly than curly. Also, it’s very uneven in terms of texture. Some parts are kinky/coarse, and others are fine and straight(ish).

In other words, my hair could probably use a straitjacket. Barring that, though, here’s the next best fix I’ve found:

    • A variety of products.  To achieve anything more than a mass of frizz, I can’t use just one thing. I use a cocktail (shaken, not stirred) of these:garnier

Okay, so not that big of a cocktail, but, after many years of experimentation, I have landed on the Garnier Fructis line for curly hair as my go-to brand. It’s not like a “special” hair relationship or anything. I don’t feel guilty when I try something else, and even these products are far from foolproof, but I’ve tried more expensive brands and never found anything noticeably better.

Specifically, I use the shampoo/conditioner for curly hair or dry hair (whichever I can find at the time), the Curl Construct Mousse, and the Curl Scrunch Gel (extra strong).

1.

I shampoo my hair in the shower, and sometimes I condition it too. But usually I just shampoo, rinse, then wrap my hair in a towel and get dressed/put my makeup on. NO rubbing or tousling.

2.

Next, I unwrap my hair, and finger-comb about a quarter-sized glob of conditioner through my hair. I don’t rinse this out. It may not technically be made to stay in your hair, but it sure won’t hurt it, and I’ve found that this step acts as a very effective frizz-fighter.

3.

 Then, I distribute two decent-sized handfuls of mousse through my hair, again with my fingers

4.

I squirt a quarter-sized amount of gel in my hand and gently smooth it over my hair (this step sort of seals everything else, so I try not to separate the curls)

5.

Finally, I grab the towel my hair was wrapped in and carefully squeeze/scrunch sections of my hair to remove any excess moisture

Notice that I didn’t mention a comb at any point during this process. As my hair gets longer, I’ll have to add a wide-toothed comb to my routine, but right now, all a comb does is promote frizz.

I’ll do a bit of arranging of strands if it looks particularly wonky once I flip my head back over. But I almost always let my hair air-dry, only drying it with a hairdryer when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere and don’t want a wet head or when I want more defined curls.

In the case of the defined curls option, I always use a diffuser. Diffusers are a curly-girl’s best friend. If I ever use the diffuser-less dryer option, the results aren’t too pretty.

After all that, this is (more or less) what I end up with this:

{I just threw that shot of the twins in there as a bonus}

Certainly nothing fancy, but it works for me.

And now for the part where I stop ignoring my straight-haired readers.

If you’ve ever wanted curls but despaired of ever getting so much as a wave, try this:

    • Wash your hair like usual
    • Towel it dry and rub a handful of mousse from root to tip (make sure every bit of your hair gets at least a little bit of product)
    • Flip your hair over and blow-dry it with a diffuser (when you dry your hair with a diffuser, you choose sections, stick the “fingers” of the diffuser into that section and then hold it still until that section is dry; no rough-housing!)
    • Stand up and try not to scream when you get a glimpse of your newly volumized hairdo (I hear it’s a bit traumatic to go from smooth and sleek to the wildness that curly-girls experience on a regular basis).
    • Give your hair a gentle shake to see where it falls. Tame any flyaways with just a dab of conditioner or hair-wax, and then spritz the whole thing with hairspray.

Will you have ringlets? Probably not (okay, no, if your hair truly is straight). But I’ve tried this on several friends’ hair who didn’t think they would get so much as a bend in a single strand, and they ended up with really pretty beachy waves and lots of volume (I remember one friend’s stylist saying, “How did you know her hair could do that? I had no idea!”). It depends on the person/hair, but it’s at least worth a shot, right?

And this concludes my dissertation on styling curly hair. Thank you for your attention.

So, what about you? Curly or straight…what works best for your hair? I’d love to hear your thoughts (especially on getting curly hair to straighten well; I’m usually too lazy, but I do enjoy going straight every once in a while).

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