#TBT – My Vintage Jacket

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On Today this morning, the theme of a short Throwback Thursday segment was repeat outfits. The topic was inspired by a recent article about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who’s been wearing the same tunic since 1996. For the average person, repeating outfits is not a big deal. I, for one, do not have an unlimited budget for an expansive wardrobe. But, I do ok. If I used every item in my closet, I could go for a good stretch without wearing the same thing from head to toe twice. (Does anyone else remember those fashion articles where they took 10 pieces and made a month’s worth of outfits? I will have to try that.) Eighteen years, though, is a long time. Initially, I couldn’t think of any item of clothing I’ve had for nearly that long. Jewelry? Bags? That’s another matter entirely. Clothing, I thought, just doesn’t last like it used to. Plus, I’m a little fickle, and I purge at the several times a year. Then I remembered this Caro of Honolulu jacket I bought at a church yard sale. I don’t remember the year I bought it, but I do remember I still lived with my parents. That was at least 15 years ago.

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The jacket was dingy and reeked of old perfume. But it was only $1, so I gave it a chance. An overnight soak in salt water proved my dollar investment worthwhile. Every now and then, I have to touch up a small section of embroidery, but this baby has stood the test of time. I LOVE this jacket. I wear it every spring and summer. It looks great with jeans or layered over a sundress. It’s apparently also a great maternity piece, because I could only find pictures of myself wearing it while I was pregnant. I know I had it on last week.

What item of clothing has stayed with you through the years?

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Relaxed to Natural: New Stylist, New Hair

I spent the better part of Thursday on pins and needles. I had an appointment with a new hairstylist that evening.

My relationship with my previous stylist, L, ended somewhat suddenly after a 21-year run. I spent a good six weeks in denial before I made an appointment with T, a stylist who specializes in natural hair care.

Three good friends sang her praises, but that did little to ease my nerves. After 21 years, I was spoiled. I could walk into the salon, sit in L’s chair, and know that whatever she did would be fabulous.

I first met T for a consultation. She examined my hair while going over a list of styling options and prices. I pointed to the small halo of gray forming at my brow.

“How do we get rid of this?” I asked.

T explained (as L had months before) that rinses didn’t take well to non-relaxed hair. A full-blown color treatment was the way to go. I took a deep breath and told her I wanted color and a rod set. We made the appointment for the following week.

I changed my mind by the time I got home. I wasn’t ready to color my hair. I want to grow out the relaxer completely before I layered on another chemical treatment. It would be nice to see my natural hair completely natural.

Plus, rod sets barely last a week, which meant I’d be doing my hair again before I knew it. The thought of planning my after-next hairstyle before the next one was even done made my head hurt. I needed a break.

I sent T a text message and told her I wanted to get an interlock weave instead. It would hide my halo, allow me to play with color, and give me the break I needed. But, it would also be a drastic change. Other than blond highlights I had during my college years, I had never worn a weave. That’s when my nerves went haywire.

By the time I sat in T’s chair, I was a wreck, but I tried to hide it. She could sense my uneasiness.

“A few things,” she said. “The hairstyle you picked is really BIG, but I’m going to try to keep it as small as possible.”

“Ok,” I nodded.

“And,” she went on. “The colors you picked — I bought more dark than light. I’m going to put the lighter color around your face, like highlights. It looks more natural that way.”

I nodded again.

“Some people are afraid of color, so I didn’t want to overdo it. If it were me, I’d go for it with color.” I looked up at her hair. It was nearly bleach blond. It was brown with gold highlights last week.

I kept nodding.

T worked fast. She shampooed, blow dried, and braided my hair within an hour. It took two hours for her to put in the hair and style it. When I finally saw the finished product, I was thrilled. It didn’t look ridiculous or overly fake. It just looked like me.

I sent a pic to L to see what she thought.

“I really like it. I’m proud of you for being adventurous. You look like the creative person you are!”

I can’t wait to see what Hubs thinks. He gets home later this week.

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My Hairstylist Quit Me

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After nearly 21 years, my hairstylist quit me.

Even though I somewhat expected it, I was still caught off guard. L hand me an envelope and a bag of product samples at the end of our last appointment.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“You can open it later,” she said.

Later was while I was sitting in my car on the parking lot.

The envelope held a handwritten note. L started by thanking me for my years of support. She went on to explain that she is taking a break from hairstyling. She recently took on a new job that is highly demanding, and it was increasingly difficult to manage both responsibilities.

I understood, but that note was a kick in the stomach. I went through the five stages of grief in unexpected order. Before I drove off the lot, I picked up my phone and contacted two friends for the names of their stylists.  (Acceptance is the last stage of grief.)

Then I got mad. She dumped me with a note? We’d been together for 21 years! There is no other person on the planet that I trust to touch my hair. How did I not get a face-to-face conversation and a little notice? (Anger is the second stage of grief.)

I reminded myself of what I’ve learned of L during the past 21 years. She is caring and extremely sensitive. Saying goodbye, even if in the short term, was something she just could not do.

I drove to the nearest Ulta Beauty and filled a basket with non-needed cosmetics. I caught a glimpse of my eyebrows as I was testing out lipgloss. I had forgotten to ask L to shape them. I put everything back and asked the consultant at the beauty bar for help. She complimented me on my hair, and I nearly started to cry. I told her my hairstylist had just quit, and she tried to console me as she ripped wax strips from my brow. (Depression is the fourth stage of grief.)

I spent the next six weeks believing L’s new job would ease up so that she could come back. I hoped she would decide to take on a few customers at a reduced schedule. As my color grew out and my ends showed signs of needing a trim, I continued to ignore the stylists recommendations I had requested. (Bargaining and denial are stages one and three.)

I wised up about a week ago after realizing that my mom has had not one, but two appointments with a new stylist. If she could move on, so could I. I scheduled a consolation with T, someone who came highly recommended by three good friends. She’s doing my hair tomorrow.

I won’t lie. I like her, but I’m scared. I remember feeling the same way 21 years ago, and that worked out just fine. This probably will too.

 

Relaxed to Natural: Curl Today, Straight Tomorrow

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If you’ve been following along, then you already know I’m in the midst of growing out my relaxer. So far, the journey has been a mixed bag. Some days, I’m extremely happy with the way my hair looks. On others, I wish I could wear a hat to the office.

Speaking of the office, it appears my evolving hairstyle has attracted the interest and occasional confusion of my coworkers. The first day I wore a twist-out, I was showered with question-laced compliments. Colleagues wanted to know if the curls were my natural texture, and upon learning the answer, they then inquired about how I created the curls.

“You’re hair looks great,” a woman said. “Did you get a perm?”

“Um, do people still get those?” I asked.

I went to a nearby whiteboard and drew a squiggly line with a straight end. I explained my hair was in the process of returning to full squiggle. Until I cut off all my relaxed hair, I wouldn’t know its true texture. I told her we’d find out together. She nodded, but I think she was still confused.

The following week, my hairstylist flat-ironed my locks.

“What happened to your fancy new hairdo?” someone asked me as I stepped onto the elevator.

“Check with me in two weeks.” I replied.

My curl-today-straight-tomorrow phase has attracted more attention than I expected, but I’m glad I’m doing it. Trying new styles and techniques has made this experience fun.

I have a hair appointment on Thursday, and we’re doing something totally new. Friday will be very interesting.

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Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Not too long before my wedding, a coworker handed me a large cosmetic bag. It was filled with things a bride might need in a pinch, like hair pins and stain remover. It even had crayons and an miniature activity book for my daughter.

I honestly can’t remember everything she gave me, but the gift went a long way in helping me feel at ease on my big day. There are a million things that could go awry during a wedding, but with my emergency kit, I was prepared for a lot of them. Plus, the cosmetic bag itself was awesome. I still use it for travel. It was by far the one of the most thoughtful wedding gifts I received.

Since that time, I’d taken the idea and tweaked it for birthdays and baby showers. But I had yet to return to the original concept.

I took the opportunity to do so for a coworker who is getting married soon. Because I blanked on what was in my kit from five years ago, I did a little digging online for suggestions on what to include. It turns out you can purchase pre-made kits for anywhere from $16 – $100. I wasn’t really impressed, so I stuck with the decision make my own.

Before I go through my list, here are few things to keep in mind.

Make a list first. This will keep you from going overboard in the travel aisle.

Check your personal stash. Even with a list, a visit to the travel aisle can get pricey. So it’s good to start by seeing what you already have. You probably don’t need to put 100 bobby pins in the kit. Ten or so will do. Also take a look at any miniature freebies you may have collected from travels. Those little vanity or dental kits are perfect for this type of thing. Samples and cosmetic bags from beauty gifts with purchase are great too.

Keep an eye out for sales. This past winter, I raided clearance sections for deeply discounted stocking stuffers, like manicure sets and mini nail polishes. (Those mani kits were 25 cents each!)

Get creative with packaging. I have countless little envelopes and baggies from spare buttons. Those are just the right size for hair pins or earring backs. You can also attach bobby and safety pins to a strip of ribbon.

A fancy cosmetic bag is cool, but not necessary. An organza gift bag or even a plastic zip-top one work just as well.

Here’s what I assembled for the bride-to-be:

General Healthcare
Tissue
Pain reliever
Bandages
Breath mints
Dental floss
Cotton pads
Cotton swabs

Clothing Repair
Sewing kit
Safety pins
Stain remover
Lint roller
Wrinkle release
Fashion tape (I found this after I gave her the kit…BUMMER!)

Hand and Nail Care
Hand cream
Nail clippers
Emory board
Clear polish
Polish remover wipes

Hair
Hair pins
Bobby pins
Hair spray (I forgot this too.)

Misc
Earring backs

If you decide to make one of these, I’d love to hear how you customized it!

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