Tag Archives: beauty


In a few short years, I’ve gone from washing my hair every single day to betting how many days I can go without washing my hair.

bloggess wannabee back

who’s that girl?

I suppose I could call it a matter of health. Most hair stylists agree. It’s not healthy to wash your hair every day. (I’m speaking of women here. Men, wash at will.) Over washing can mean over drying, especially as we get older and our hair loses its natural moisture and shine.

Good grief. That sounds like a shampoo commercial.

What was once a luxurious cleansing ritual now results in tresses crisp as sun-dried straw. Not pretty. Plus it takes so long to blow dry. Once upon a time, I thought nothing of spending hours on hair and makeup. Today it’s different. Pardon me, but I need to wash and go.

You know, I think it all started with that child I have. My hair was voluminous and glowing when I was pregnant with him. A few sleep-deprived months after giving birth, my hair (and the rest of me) looked tired. I barely had a moment to shower, much less dry and style. Besides, who has time for hair when there’s a boy’s childhood to be lived? There are Legos to assemble, imaginary wars to fight, books to read. Alas, I succumbed to the inevitable. I got mommy hair.

I cut it short. Then shorter. Then shorter. Then I saw myself in a photo. Shocked back to my senses, the race was on. A race more grueling than any marathon. Many of you recognize this perilous trek. Cursed is the day you agreed to layers and bangs. Your psyche bears the scars of the race to grow out your hair.

Since crossing the finish line about four years ago, I’ve kept my hair long. Pinterest helps me cope with impulses. When I see a photo that inspires me to cut my hair like hers, I pin it instead. Then I can think about it before I act on it. Maybe I’ll cut my hair short again some day. For now, I’ve relinquished my daily shampoo in order to preserve some semblance of health on my head.

I have to wonder if all this dryness has to do with our environment. No, not global warming. I’m talking about humidity. My hair was raised in Southern humidity. Most of my time in the Midwest has been spent in the drenching, river town seasons of St. Louis. It’s only recently we moved to the arid prairie-land of Kansas. Even the snow is dry here. Surely that must take a toll on my hair.

bloggess wannabee

I am not the bloggess (as if there was any confusion about that)

One of my friends has her hair done at the salon each week. She swears by the blow out. Says she doesn’t have to do a thing between visits. My stylist suggested pricey keratin treatments to make my hair like silk. Moisturized, manageable, lustrous silk.

But I know stress shows up in my skin. Makes sense it would show up in my hair. Forget the humidity, the expensive treatments, the weekly blow outs.

What I need is a vacation.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30 NIV

Props to the 90s and Swedish bands. Beautiful Life by Ace of Base.

What do you and your hair need?


Filed under humor, women's studies

For the Love of a Scrunchie

Scrunchie. Fabric covered rubber band. Vintage hair accessory. Friend of the weary and downtrodden, color-treated and conditioned Gen X tresses.

scrunchie leopard print 100 percent silk

scrunchie fierce

“Do they still make those?” said my stylist when I mentioned tying my hair up in a scrunchie for yoga class.

“I don’t know if they still make them,” I said. “But they’re magical.”

My hair stylist is in her twenties. She doesn’t know the power of the scrunchie.

In my hair history, I’ve owned sponge rollers, velcro rollers, hot rollers, steam rollers, curling irons, crimping irons, banana clips, bobby pins, barrettes, crab claws, and an ocean of ponytail elastics. I have not owned a Flowbee, and I’m resisting the urge to buy a flat iron, though my BFF swears by hers. Her flat iron, that is. Not her Flowbee.

scrunchie close up

pair of scrunchies

The scrunchie has staying power.

I’ve saved two from the 90s. I keep them safely stashed behind my collection of plastic, hotel shower caps. Secret weapons of my hair care arsenal.

Scrunchie A is a cotton calico gem from 1992. It boasts a saturated red that glows like rubies. Bought it on clearance at the Gap for $3. (I remember all my significant fashion purchases the way I remember song lyrics.)

I wear it to the pool. The cotton dries fast, and the bright bathing suit colors of this past summer breathed new life into the 20-year-old accessory.

Scrunchie B, my favorite, is a silk-covered leopard print. It’s fierce.

My sister gave it to me in 1995. Little did we know animal prints would become the new neutrals. Thank you, Ballard Designs. Ordinary scrunchies may fall by the wayside along the runway of trends. The leopard scrunchie goes to yoga class.

Don’t get me wrong. I still care about my appearance. I want to be presentable, respectable, approachable. You and I, we have to wear clothes in public, so we might as well put some effort into it. And we need to do something with our crowning glory while it clings to our heads.

But I find, as the decades roll by, there are compromises to be made on the personal catwalk of life. 

good-bye glamour

good-bye glamour

Comfortable shoes instead of stilettos, so the plantar fasciitis doesn’t anger the wicked sciatica. Untucked shirts and higher rise jeans, so I can belly laugh with abandon rather than sucking in my tummy or perpetually donning Spanx to squash the muffin top. Sweat pants worn occasionally even though fashion experts rage against them and the flip-flops.

Best regards, Vogue, GlamourElle, Stacy and Clinton. I’ll keep my scrunchies and wear them when I must. Because to me, they’re the epitome of style: comfortable, confident, magical, fierce.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV

From 1990, Groove is in the Heart by Deee Lite. Unless you’re wearing a scrunchie. In that case, groove is in the hair.

Do you own a scrunchie or other outdated fashion item you just can’t let go of yet?



Filed under humor, women's studies

The Parable of the Toner

Clinique Step 2 Skin Type 1

step 2

Riddle me this. What does toner do exactly?

Not the laser printer kind. The skincare kind. I know it’s supposed to exfoliate. Every skincare program includes it. But it’s way too harsh for my very dry skin.

I tell the whitecoats at Clinique I won’t use their Clarifying Lotion toner. I’ll skip Step 2 in the 3-Step.

“Oh, no! You can’t do that!” they say. “You just need another formulation. You must exfoliate with a Clarifying Lotion in Step 2.”

Must. A small but mighty manipulative word.

There are skincare lines that boast of a kinder, gentler exfoliation. A-thousand-points-of-light toners, smelling of orange blossoms and chamomile. Might as well splash cold tea or rose water on my face.

Seriously, what does toner do? Is it necessary when an occasional 7 Day Scrub does the trick to get rid of dead skin cells?

Daily cleansing and moisturizing is what my skin needs to be healthy. Like confession and restoration. Toner is optional. Like legalism in a bottle.

very dry to dry

very dry to dry

It’s an added step. An upstanding thing to do perhaps. A requirement by those who added it. Usually does more harm than good. Absolutely not a deal breaker to get the desired results.

I don’t want to get by with less than what I need or less than what’s best. But I don’t want the unnecessary, heavy, drying burden of add-ons either.

I can’t earn salvation with add-ons. I can’t earn salvation with faith plus add-ons. Faith alone brings salvation and inspires actions of courage and obedience. There’s no earning to it on my part.

My time’s too precious to succumb to legalism. My skin’s too dry to use toner.

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

You tell me I’ve been made Free, by Dara Maclean. Sing it, sister.

Have you ever encountered legalism? How did you let go of it or have you?

Disclaimer: I’m not being compensated to promote Clinique, nor do I mean to pick on them. Personally, I like and use Clinique products. Just not the toner.


Filed under faith, humor, women's studies

Bellies on Vacation

I’ve fallen off the yoga wagon. Hard.

bikini belly

not my belly

Our summer schedule doesn’t allow time for the mom to make it to yoga class. I bike and swim with my son, but yoga quest is officially suspended.

I can hear my instructor. “I see some bellies that look like they’re on vacation,” she’d say when we weren’t properly engaging the core in class.

She’d be mortified to see that now my belly really is on vacation. It’s on a Mediterranean cruise, complete with an endless antipasto bar and a Big Gulp Coke. Sip on that, Mayor Bloomberg.

It’s gone to Disneyland where dreams really do come true whether you exercise or not. You’ve never seen Snow White on a StairMaster, have you? All you need is a little Tinkerbell, a pumpkin, and a pair of glass slippers.

My belly unfolds like a beached whale on the sand. It spreads out like a jellyfish washed ashore. I took it to Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s for crying out loud. Can you say Vermonster?

Enough! It’s not that bad. It’s not yoga-belly either. My pilates paunch has gone kaput. The core is no more.

My wellness coach friend Lisa Hautly wrote an uplifting, common-sense post: A Health Centered Approach to Living Well.

ben & jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough

Ben & Jerry look strangely familiar

“Love your body,” she writes.


Listen to your belly.”


Reduce stress.”

I’m sleeping. I’m listening. I’m moving. I’m loving my body. Incredible, expanding belly and all.

Summer is flying by. School begins in six short weeks. The normal schedule will resume. I will drag back to yoga class.

My instructor may not recognize me sporting my new abdominal baggage, but she won’t turn me away. It’s the Y after all.

The core will engage. The belly will flatten. Equilibrium will return.

In the meantime, I’m not missing a moment of summer. And neither is my belly.

Wise words satisfy like a good meal;
the right words bring satisfaction. Proverbs 18:20 NLT

Something’s Gotta Give by Ella Fitzgerald.

So how’s your summer been?


Filed under humor, women's studies

Intuition Visits the Nail Salon

The first time I visited Chicago I was in my early 20s. A lovely, drunk Chicagoan took it upon herself to counsel me in a bar.

choose your color

“You’re cute,” she said. “But your nails just ruin it! You must get a manicure.”

Nothing like one woman’s criticism to motivate another woman to action.

I don’t get manicures every week. I get them when I can. When I must.

And I throw in a pedicure. Need it to exercise. How can I be expected to do yoga with unpolished toenails?

As you know, we recently relocated. Had some free time one Friday. So I’m thinking, I’m in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas. I’ll just pop in somewhere and have my nails done. No problem.

No appointment, no service was more like it.

“We’re booked until 4:30 p.m.,” said the first shop.

tools of the trade

“How about next week?” said the second.

“We don’t have time to do both,” said the third. “Manicure or pedicure?”

I have to choose? But I’ll be unbalanced. (Please hold all comments until the end.)

My free time was evaporating. Desperate, I tried one last shop.

“How long for a manicure-pedicure?”

The row of women paused their filling and filing to stare like I was from Mars.

“No, wait!” said one woman as I turned to leave. Must have been the owner.

“She can take you now.” The owner pointed across the room to a beautiful, young woman reading a magazine.

The young woman looked up and rolled her eyes. Red flag number one.

“No. No. No,” said the little voice inside me.

pedicure station

I sat down in the pedicure chair anyway. I needed to have my nails done.

As the young one began removing my old polish, I smiled and said, “I’m so glad you could take me today.”

She looked up and snarled. “You’re lucky you got in,” she said. “We usually only take appointments.”

The little voice inside me whipped around and wagged a finger. “No, you’re lucky I’m sitting in your chair, sister!”

In real life I was stunned silent. My feet literally in hot water. Better not to speak lest I lose a toe.

Forty-five minutes later, I had ravishing, plum toenails. They were shaped kind of weird, but they were all still there.

We moved to the manicurist station where the young one placed my hands in little dishes of water. Then she disappeared into the break room. For 10 minutes.

The skin on my fingers pruned and the little voice shrieked, “GET OUT!”

candy dish

Back in St. Louis at Ladue Nails I would have been done with all this in less than an hour. No coffee breaks allowed if you have a customer in the house.

Should I call her out of the break room? Pay the owner for the pedi and leave? Run screaming from the building?

Finally she reappeared, all smug and caffeinated.

“You know what?” I said. “I have to pick up my son from school. Let me pay for the pedicure and go.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay?” she said.

“You’ll listen to me next time?” said the little voice as we drove away.

Count on it.

Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you. Proverbs 2:11 NIV

Intuition by Jewel.

me and Nini


Despite this experience, there are many fabulous salons in Wichita. For example, I found a terrific manicurist at a friendly salon that boasts of the best candy dish in town.

Nini, at Nails and Spa on Central near 127th, advises me to be on the safe side and always make an appointment.


Filed under humor, women's studies


“There are no salons where you’re moving,” said my hair stylist of 10 years.

model hair

No salons?”

“No salons that carry our line of coloring,” she said.

“Oh, Lord, have mercy,” I said with all reverence.

Women spend more time finding a new hair stylist than they do finding a new gynecologist.

“Our line is pretty exclusive, but I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “There are no salons with our products anywhere near Wichita. None.”

“I think I’m going to be sick,” I said.

“There are other lines I can recommend,” she said and rattled off the secondary choices. Then she scurried away to pick my poison.

Ten years of successful haircuts and six years of spot-on color. All about to be sacrificed on the altar of corporate relocation.

pick your poison

She returned with my color in one hand and a small piece of paper in the other.

“This,” she said handing me the paper, “This is your recipe.”

“My recipe.” Cue Indiana Jones.

“And here’s my card,” she said. “Any good colorist should be able to translate your recipe. Have them call me if they have any questions.”

Whimper. What have I done?

“This is the last time I see you before you move, right?” she said.

“No!” I said. “I mean, no. I think I have another appointment in December. If I don’t, I’m making one. I must see you again before we move!”

“I’m sure we can work something out,” she said and slathered on the magic.

My mom colored her hair over the bathtub. She had her cosmetology license and her nursing license. All the bases were covered from peroxide to triage. She could bleach your hair, splint your sprain, curl, crimp, suture or stitch.

image from freefoto.com under creative commons license

The thought of me coloring my hair myself terrifies me more than going gray.

There would be no one to blame if I turned my brunette sherbet orange like an apricot poodle. Or platinum blonde like a towheaded surfer. Or jet black like a black, black sheep. Baa.

Look younger, longer,” reads a Clinique tagline.

Look younger, longer? So at what point after longer am I to concede it’s a lost cause? When do I give up and go gentle into that good night?

what happens at the salon stays at the salon, unless you blog about it

One of my friends is a decade older than I am. She’s in better shape and runs faster now than she did when she was my age.

Her hair color? Vibrant, luxurious auburn.

There’s hope for me yet.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NIV

You gotta keep your head up, and you can let your hair down.


Filed under humor, women's studies

Lipstick, Interrupted


In admiration of Ilene Beckerman’s book Love, Loss, and What I Wore, I give you my life in lipstick.

L’oreal Mica. Love at first sight. Faithfully wore it under Bonnie Bell rollerball lip gloss until the 80s crumbled with the Berlin wall.

Neutrals flooded the early 90s. I fell for Clinique’s Honey Ginger in a free gift with purchase. Head over heels, I broke up with Mica and never looked back.

But Honey Ginger was too orange for me. I began seeing Think Bronze on the side.

Then in 1995, I got married in real life. A Clinique free makeover introduced me to the soft, creamy neutrality of Tenderheart. It would be my steady companion for 10 years, with interludes of Bronze Leaf.

In 2005, I emerged from a postpartum haze looking a little worse for wear. Time for another Clinique free makeover. The gentlewoman in the white lab coat coddled me.


“You’re a Winter,” she said. “I’d hate for you to miss out on color. Let’s try some berries.”

She spoke my language. I was a Winter. I am a Winter. I needed berries. I needed Berrylicious.

Berrylicious sang on my lips. A soul mate in a tube. We spent four beautiful years together. Until that fateful day in Macy’s.

“What do you mean it’s discontinued?!” I said as the salesgirls cowered. All I have left are the flattened remains in the silver cylinder, tarnished with years.

Tried Water Violet for a spell. Tried Heather Moon. Returned to Tenderheart, with interludes of Chocolate Ice.

tenderheart & chocolate ice

Finally, I could stand it no longer. I took my pitiful, leftover Berrylicious on a mission to color match.

After a few discouraging tries with other brands, I stood staring forlornly at the Macy’s Clinique display. The gentlewoman in the white lab coat approached.

“Have you tried Perfect Plum?” she said, “It’s the Butter Shine formulation.”

The heavens opened. Perfect Plum wasn’t Berrylicious, but it was, well, perfect. We’ve been inseparable.

perfect plum

I go through tubes of it, relentlessly applying and sealing with gloss. Bonnie Bell rollerballs are no more, so I’ve taken up with the seasonal delicacies of Philosophy high-gloss, high-flavor sweet candy lip shine instead. Mmm.

Had a scare earlier this year in the makeup capitol of the mall. Couldn’t find Perfect Plum in the Clinique case at Sephora.

“Do you have any Perfect Plum?” I said breathlessly after a sprint to the Macy’s Clinique counter.

They did and I do. Clinique headquarters assured me it’s not discontinued. Yet.

Berrylicious is gone forever. So is Honey Ginger. My other past Clinique colors are still available. And recently I bumped into Mica at Walmart.

Mica looks good. I was tempted to buy. But I look good too. So I’m dancing with the Perfect Plum who brought me. For the time being anyway.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NLT

perfect plum stash

Finally, a link up to The Go-Go’s! Our Lips Are Sealed.


I’m not being paid to endorse any of the companies mentioned in this post. One company could, however, consider throwing me a bone for all the press I give them here and in The Great Clinique Heist of 2011. We’ll call it even for discontinuing my favorite lipstick.

Title inspiration thanks to Girl, Interrupted.

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Filed under humor, women's studies