Category Archives: Chaos Coiffure

A year of living grey.

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This is totally not about 50 Shades, so move along if you’re looking for that.

This is about going grey.

One year ago on April 1st, I decided to stop coloring my hair to cover the greys.  The evening of March 31, 2015 was the last time hair coloring chemicals have touched my hair. I had been coloring my hair for about twenty years.

I had been toying with the idea of doing this for about five years and would always chicken out. Always.  My roots would get about an inch long and I’d say to myself, “you can do this, it’s only hair, it’s only a color…” and then two days later I’d be mixing the chemicals and banishing the roots.

I had convinced myself that the grey hairs around my face aged me.  I was convinced that I looked old and tired. I was convinced I was more than 75% grey. I was very persuasive. I believed every word.

By the time March 31st rolled around, I had let my roots grow out almost three inches. This time I was going to do it!  I was going to break free of the chemicals and go natural.  Then I saw my reflection in the mirror at work that afternoon and in about ten seconds flat I had convinced myself again that I should color my hair. That evening after dinner, I mixed up some Revlon medium golden brown and went to work.

By the time I got to the part where my hair “cooks” for half an hour, I knew I had made a big mistake.  My scalp was starting to burn. I washed if all off a bit early, but the damage had been done.  My scalp felt like it had been burned by the chemicals and it was very red. It was the most painful hair experience I’d ever had in my entire life. Coloring my own hair or having it colored had never felt like this before.  Luckily that’s all that happened. I rinsed several times just to make sure that the chemicals were all gone and promised myself I would never go through this again…and then brow beat myself for having given in to my vanity once more. The redness faded after a few hours and my scalp was a bit tender for a few days. I had no blisters and still had all my hair. I felt very lucky.

My free time over the next few days was spent on Google and YouTube searching for ways to “go grey with long hair”.  Most everything involved coloring your hair lighter colors for the next year or so in order to “blend the grey”.  Then there were those that let the roots grow out a few inches and then cut all their hair off. Two extremes I was definitely not going to do to myself.

That Friday, on April 4th, Honey and I went for hair cuts. I sat in the chair and told my stylist it was time for a shorter style.  I went from below shoulder length to short and sassy.

Short and sassy, April 4, 2015

Short and sassy, April 4, 2015

 

I. Loved. It. Honey took a while to adjust to the look but he’s been supportive all along. I had no adjustment time because every five years or so I would tell my stylist “cut it all off”.  I was going to cut it off gradually but decided to just go for it.  It was only hair, it would grow back.

For the next nine months I went pretty regularly for trims.  Surprisingly my roots were a bit more camouflaged than I thought they would be with my hair so short.

August 2015, the grey is showing more.

August 2015, the grey is showing more.

 

Even more surprising was that I wasn’t as grey as I thought I was…I gave myself another swift kick for not stopping five years ago…oh well.

Fast forward to about November. The last of the color was now gone and being swept up from the floor around my stylist’s station. Time to grow it out. Talk about rough times ahead. I’m not sure I’ll survive the growing out bit.

Nov 2015-as grey as it gets.

Nov 2015-as grey as it gets.

 

There isn’t a most recent photo because…vanity. My hair is at an extremely awkward growing out stage and I am constantly threatening to shave it all off if it doesn’t behave.  I shall post update photos if anything changes.

But Donna dear, how do you really feel about going grey?

It’s simple…I love it. I am free of the chemicals that held me hostage most of my adult life.  When I look in the mirror I see my hair as wavy, sticking out where it shouldn’t or looking halfway decent. I no longer see the color. It has been an adjustment for my friends and family, but they know I’m still me. I haven’t changed. There are moments I feel more sassy because…well because…freedom. It comes with a new attitude.

Am I tempted to color again? Hell yes, but I don’t give in…this is me now and I like it.

If you are thinking of doing the same, go to YouTube. Search for “going grey”.  There are so many videos of women who have made the transition. They’ve done it the best way for them and they aren’t going back. Best of all, they are happy with their decisions.

If you color your hair now and won’t stop, that’s ok. Everyone has their own personal reasons. No one but you should make that decision. No one but you can make that decision.

If you are thinking of starting to color your hair, think carefully. It’s an almost lifelong commitment.  It’s a constant decision of continuing the process every time your natural color starts showing. It’s a lot of work, time, and money.  I did it for twenty years and it was worth it to me until the last few years when I started questioning my reasons. Just be true to yourself and make that decision based on what YOU want.

Going grey was the best decision for me, so here I am.

What happened to February and March?????

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, just short of a month to be specific.

Honey arrived as planned on March 5th.  I nervously waited for him to appear on the tv monitor in the arrivals lobby.  Once he showed up on that, it was mere seconds for him to walk through the door.  It seemed like I waited forever, and almost broke down in tears thinking he hadn’t made it through immigration but there he was…

Once he arrived we pretty much hit the ground running.  There is a LOT to do to prepare for the next step in getting him here permanently.

He arrived on Wednesday.  By the time Sunday was over, we had added him to the lease, opened a joint banking account, got a marriage license and bought a car.  That was an exhausting few days.

Monday it was back to work for me and time for Martin to try and settle into the Chaos.

During the next two weeks, we dropped some money at IKEA for new furniture, Honey assembled it all, and we made some more steps forward into getting him even more settled into the Chaos.

Now it was time to finalize the wedding plans and for Honey’s parents to arrive.  They’ve been here 3 days and are still dealing with a little jet lag, tons of rain (they thought they had left that behind!), and the American way of life.

I have the next few weeks off.  My side of the family arrives Thursday and Friday.  We get married on Saturday.

HOLY CRAP WE’RE GETTING MARRIED IN 7 DAYS!!!!

There, got it out of my system for now.  Everything is set, we just all need to show up now.  The wheels are in motion, we just have to go along for the ride.

Now for the boring stuff.

Makeup:
No makeup except for something on my lips.  I’ve come to the conclusion that my perspiration and tears are comprised of acid.  I’ve given up trying to find makeup that won’t run down my face – even though it says it is waterproof or “bulletproof”.  As far as I’m concerned, it does NOT exist!

Hair:
I FINALLY found the size of sponge rollers I’ve been looking for so now my hair is done.  I tried hot rollers, curling iron, all sorts of hair products to keep it in place, etc etc etc.  Not one bit of that stuff worked.  I decided to go all old school and try the sponge curlers like my Mom used to curl my hair with when I was little.

BINGO!  Roll up all hair into sponge rollers except the front.  Sleep in them.  Take them out, run my fingers through my hair, pull it all up and back in a pony tail elastic.  TADA!  Hair is up and with the super curliness I got from the sponge curlers, I look like i have a high bun made out of curled ends.  NOT ONE BOBBY PIN NEEDED.  Just one lonesome hair elastic and lots of hairspray.

Dress and shoes still fit – barely.  Note to self: stop bloating for crying out loud.  Just. Stop.

Think that is all I’ve got for now.  Honey arrived safely, we’ve been busy, his family just arrived the other day, my family is coming in a few days.

Now if the weather could just make up its mind that would be good.  Thank you.

The Beginnings of a Really Good Panic…

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Latest update:
Honey received his Visa on Wednesday via the special courier he had to sign up for…sticky thing in his passport and an envelope marked DO NOT OPEN which contains all the paperwork he has to turn in when he lands on US soil…which is March 5th!!!!
Our wedding is set for one month after that…
Just call it perfect timing:
I went this past weekend to visit our #1 choice of wedding venue.  We were hoping that we would know whether Honey was approved or not by then – and we did!  Antonella and I met up in San Francisco for lunch then toured the venue.  I took photos, we got specifics and asked questions.  I sent the photos to Honey that night and we discussed  everything on Sunday – by Tuesday we had it booked.
That takes care of the ceremony/reception.
We have been busy:
Honey is now at his parents packing up and getting ready to come over.  Tying up lose ends and getting everything necessary that needs doing for such a big move.
Airline tickets and hotels are being worked out for the family traveling into town for the Big Day.
We’re trying to get our heads round everything else that needs to be done.  Choose invites, cake (and topper), flowers, etc etc.  Hoping we don’t miss anything in the process.
It is not easy planning a wedding when the bride and groom are thousands of miles apart.  Thanks to technology though we are getting it done.  And thank Heaven for all-inclusive venues too – that alleviates a lot of stress.  Not going to say anything just yet about what we are doing.  You’ll just have to wait.
Bridal Preparations
The push is on now to get hair and makeup good enough for such an important event.  
Makeup
I’m still not comfortable with putting on and wearing makeup.  I must be honest though and confess I haven’t been doing as much practicing as I should.  That is about to change though as the clock is ticking!  Makeup is not supposed to make you look older – not unless that is the specific look you are going for…  Last time I checked, no one really puts on makeup to look older for their wedding.  It has been very discouraging to say the least.  I keep trying though and switching out this for that to see if it works better.
Hair:
I have spent the last few weeks on youtube looking at hair styling videos and videos about hair accessories and veils.
I have decided on a ‘do for the wedding and have ditched any notions of having a birdcage veil and/or fascinator.  I don’t do well with hats/head coverings of any sort and I honestly look a bit ridiculous with something sticking out the side of my head – and the veil is just…awkward.
With the new ‘do though, I will have a nice hair accessory of some sort clipped on the back of my head.  I can handle that – yes indeedy.  What I need is confidence and comfort.  I get that with the hairdo I picked and the small but fabulous clip I will wear.
Now I just need to find that magical clip.  Or make it.  Lord knows I have enough supplies to open up my own bridal hair accessory shop.
Hmmmmm….there’s a thought!
OK, back to reality.  I went to Michael’s and stocked up on ribbon because I thought I would be making ribbon flowers to go in my hair.  Watched a shitload of youtube how-to videos about making said flowers.  Have now decided I don’t want anything so 3-D on my head.  With the ‘do I’ve chosen, the hair is the star – and one thing I do have is some good hair.  The search is on for the receipt as there are a few roles of ribbon that need to be returned.
Once the floral something was nixed, I decided to go with a nice flat clip similar in size to the one that was in the hair styling video.  I have searched high and low online and have not found anything that jumps out and says “BUY ME”.  They are either too big or too small or on a comb or waaaaaay too expensive.  Looks like I’m making my magical clip. And so began the Great youtube search for videos about clips.  Got sucked into beading videos from there and well…  Goodness knows what I’ll come up with but I’m going for understated but classy with a bit of sparkle.  It will not be a comb though.  Most everything on youtube shows accessories that have combs.  My hair is so thick it basically chews them up and spits them out.  It is OK with having clips in it though so now I have to devise something fabulous that can be put on a clip.  I think I have enough ideas, beads and wire to get this done.  If none of that works, a few crystals wired to bobby pins strategically placed in the ‘do will work quite nicely.
It’s always nice to have a backup plan.
In Conclusion:
From here on out I bore you with wedding stuff and blabber about how I’m trying to get myself together so I look like a bride instead of someone who hardly ever wears a dress, or does her hair up fancy or wears makeup.

Awkward.

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So I promised this past week that I would start practicing with the makeup this weekend.

Well, I did.  Let me tell you, if you want to make yourself feel like you have no coordination at all, start wearing makeup when you are 49.  I usually don’t have much coordination lately anyway, but this really pushed me over the edge.  I think this task is worse than me trying to use a blow dryer and a brush.
It didn’t help that I can’t see a thing without my reading glasses.  I was fine putting on the powder bits around my face but when it came time for my eyes.  Yikes.
I put a bit more stuff on one side of my face than the other, but I’ll get better with practice.  The eyeliner came out a bit too thick and I believe I got carried away with the under eye concealer/brightener stuff, but oh well.  The eye shadow didn’t look right either.
And that is EXACTLY why I’m doing all this now and why I specifically went to a counter and had someone do it for me and then show me how to do it.  I needed a LOT of help and I need all the time I can get in order to get this all down.
I could actually just have someone “do it for me” on the day of the ceremony, but that’s not what I want.  I don’t want to feel like I have theatrical makeup on… I’ve been to a LOT of weddings in my time and I didn’t like what I saw…I mean the brides were absolutely beautiful and flawless, but it all seemed a bit thick on them.  I don’t know, I just don’t want that for me.  What I do want is a natural look on the day, and still be able to use that on any other day before or after the wedding as well.  I’m not looking at this as a one time thing.  Once the hot flashes stop, I may be able to do a bit less, but this seems to be good for me at the moment.
While I had my hair pulled back during my practice session last night, I noticed that there needs to be some coloring going on here sooner rather than later.  I checked my calendar and have a reminder set on Wednesday night to do just that, but I might need to bump it up to Monday night.  I’ll call my stylist in the morning and see if she can fit me in after work…hahaha.
I promise that all my blog posts won’t be just about wedding prep stuff.  I have other things I want to write about too – I have some finished objects to post!  All this wedding prep stuff is letting me see a different way to be a woman though and to me that is very interesting.  Some of it I like, some of it I don’t, but will do it for the wedding, and it’s all just damn awkward because I’m not used to doing any of it.  Most of it I’ll keep in my arsenal of knowledge for when the time comes that I need to get all fancied up.

My Fair Hair and Nails

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Well now.  A woman’s hair.  Speaking from my own experience, I have always had a love/hate relationship with my hair.  Some days I LOVE it, some days I absolutely HATE it so much that I threaten to shave it all off.  Yes I have threatened it, no, I have never pulled a Brittany Spears.

OK, so now on to what I have been doing with it lately.
As many of you may have realized, I am starting “the Change”.  For those readers who have no flippin’ idea what the heck that means, I have started down the road to menopause.  The official term right now for my ‘condition’ is perimenopause.  Which could probably supply enough material for a whole other blog.  Or two or three.
Anyway… Menopause, hormones, and all the crap that goes along with it really messes up things.  Mainly – everything.
One of the more obvious things is the damn hot flashes.  They have been going on for over a year now and seem to intensify as the months roll on.  It has NOT been fun.
The other obvious thing is my poor hair.  First of all, I color my hair. That alone stresses out the tresses.  I use an ammonia-free hair color  that comes with an awesome after-color conditioner to minimize the stress as much as I can and I love it.  My grey hairs turn a bit reddish in the sunlight – it is a cool effect.  The brown is just a shade lighter than my natural color and the grey is gone, what more could I ask.  And yes, I do it myself.  It is not easy lately, but Honey promises to help once he moves over here.  Just one of the many reasons I love that man.  (Hi Honey!)
The thing MOST stressing out my hair is the hormonal fluctuations and the hot flashes.  My hair has run circuit of dried out to straw-like strands,  then not held color, then frizzed out, then gone stick straight (my hair is naturally curly), then been uber greasy.  My poor defenseless hairs have been there, done it all.
It got so bad at the beginning of last summer that I stopped coloring my hair and got a super short cut.  My hair needed a break.   I also started taking a supplement specifically for hair, skin, and nails.  I suffered through way-too-grey hair for a few months until I couldn’t take it any more.  I was terrified to color it again, but I eventually did.  I also kept it short for a while longer to give my hair a chance to absorb all the stuff in the supplement and get strong again. The short cut really helped during the hot mess that was my summer.  Hot flashes and hot summer temperatures do NOT equal a fun time.
The supplement works great for me.  Not only did my hair grow faster, it seemed ‘stronger’, I stopped losing so much of it, the small bare spots that were starting to form filled in, my nails grew faster and got stronger and my skin sort of evened itself out.  My nails had always been healthy, but when all this meno crap started, they got weaker and split.  I also never had issues with dry skin all that much, just in winter.  Now I was having very nasty dry patches in the middle of summer – in random areas all over my body.
Anyway, it took a long time (months even) to notice most of the changes that resulted from adding the supplement to my daily vitamins, but change things it did.  Some people don’t see any changes at all, others see changes immediately, some people it takes a while.
I am just happy it is helping.
OK, stop blabbering and bottom line it already.
Hair Bottom Line:  I am growing it out again.  I get regular trims so it keeps as good a shape as it can and I color it regularly followed by that great conditioning treatment after.
Nails Bottom Line: I occasionally trim, shape, and buff them.  I like keeping them natural, they are a very healthy pink with rather whitish tips.  When they are buffed, they have a natural “french” manicured look.  I have some cuticle specific cream I occasionally put on when I remember, but my nails really don’t take much work.  It’s the same with my toenails.  Easy as pie, and I’ve always treated both this way all of my adult life.
But what is going to be happening with the hair and the nails for the wedding?!?
Nails:  Want to keep the hands natural.  I have problems keeping a manicure looking good more than an hour, so going to keep it simple with a clear coat or two and let their naturalness shine through.  Toes will be done in a neutral polish.  I love to have a bright color on my toes most of the year, but will do something simple for the wedding.
Hair:  Not quite sure what I’m going to do with it style-wise yet.  I do know that it will be colored Medium Golden Brown. hahaha  I’m just going to keep letting it grow and once we get closer to actually knowing when things will happen, then I will start my PANIC about what to do with it for the wedding.
Next up, things I have been learning and looking at as far as dresses and accessories go.  And that is all we’ll do is talk.  Or rather I will talk.  Honey can’t see any of it so I will talk you all to tears. 🙂 
Bet you can’t wait to get into my head and see what is going on in there concerning dresses and stuff.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but it can be a scattered, chaotic, dillusional place.

The Great Frizz-out of 2012

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Here in Northern California, we are experiencing the “GREAT STORM OF 2012”.

I put it in caps and quotes because, well, because it is such a big thing on the news.  It even has it’s own theme song.  Every station has it own “storm weather” music.  So when it plays, you know they are going to be talking about the weather.  Which really hasn’t changed much really.  Wave after wave of storm fronts carrying so much moisture they have no choice but to dump it on us.

The worst of the dumping comes during the peak morning and evening commutes too – I don’t think I’ve taken off my wellies or ducks all week.  And my umbrella has yet to dry out completely.  My world as I know it is a GIANT puddle.

Up until this past week, we’ve had a pretty dry winter.  Our water levels or whatever the hell it is called were at 20-30% throughout the area.

This time last year just about every area that counts such things was at 100% or more.  Most were over 100%.  According to the snow scientists dudes the snow pack was impressive – also close to or surpassing the 100% mark.

What that means is that we have enough water to get us through a summer and a fire season.

Just last week everyone was predicting drought conditions and a very dry summer which would lead to what could only be (in my opinion only) the entire state burning to a crisp in the coming fire season.

We needed more rain and snow if we were going to survive the year.

Well folks, all that wishing and rain-dancing has paid off because your dreams have come true.  It has been raining / snowing since Monday.  Non-stop for five days.  FIVE.

I’m not one to begrudge Mother Nature when she does something that we all need and have been hoping for.  You GO Girl, let us have it!  And all that, yada yada yada.

BUT…

I have a new haircut.

It is short.

My hair is naturally curly.  (those of you who know of such things can pretty much see where this is going)

I had just got to the point where my new hairdo and I could agree on what it should look like after I’d applied the right amount of frizz control/ shine serum and blow dryed it using a multi-bristled round brush. (None of which I have EVER done in my entire life.)

It has taken me many days of trial and error with the serum and many hours of practice with the brush/ dryer combo to get it just so.  It’s not anywhere near what it looked like right out of the salon, but hey, I’m working at it and it gets better every day.

And then the Great Rain Storm of 2012 started…which then triggered the Great Frizz-out of 2012.

Apparently the amount of serum I was applying is only enough to give my hair a shine.  It does nothing for the frizz.  How can it when it’s up against the Great Rain Storm of 2012.

I am reminded of a school photo back from 3rd grade.  It was a particularly humid day that September in Chicago.  My hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail, a front tooth was missing (maybe two?) and my smiling face was surrounded by a slight halo of frizzy little wisps of hair.

Water levels: 50% (that is MY estimate, I haven’t seen any numbers yet, but rain in inches is impressive)

Frizz Factor: 200% (and rising)

Category: Chaos Coiffure, Weather, Wet

Hair Chaos

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With a sassy new ‘do comes not so sassy new duties.

No more wash n’ go hair.

I’m actually going to have to put forth some effort to keep my new ‘do sassified.

Purchased this weekend: smoothing serum and a nice round brush.

Dug out from the depths of the undersink bathroom cabinet and dusted off: one old blow dryer that remarkably still functions.

Just for the record, I’ve only ever used that poor blow dryer when I was desparate to dry my hair.  There was no shaping with a round brush involved.

Time to learn some new skills.

Wishing right now that I had an extra hand or two until I get the hang of all this…

Pampered

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Sassy new ‘do and not a grey hair in sight.

I walked last minute into a local salon that I hadn’t seen before.

Told the stylist, “do what you want”.

She ran with it.

Love. It.

Category: Chaos Coiffure

Back on…

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Going au naturale (grey) is back on again.  I’m holding off on the hair coloring.

Mainly because I really don’t feel like doing it myself – and I don’t feel like sitting in a salon chair for 3 hours (or more) getting it done.

We’ll see how long this lasts as there is a box of color in my medicine cabinet.  I could just flip out one night and decide to crack it open and have at it.

If this was Vegas, I’d say the odds are 50-50.

It’s actually been an eye opener to see my natural color.  I’ve been using a brown a shade or two lighter.  Guess it’s a shock because I haven’t actually seen it in about 17 years.