Tuesday, September 12, 2017

That time I cut my hair so I could look like my Bitmoji....

So, my hair has been bugging me lately. This is not new. I have very curly, very thick hair that does its own thing no matter how much money I spend getting it cut and styled. It's a wild mane, and I spent my formative years cursing my hair and longing for silky, flowing locks. Alas, my hair has remained wiry, frizzy and unmanageable.

The ends of my hair dry out the fastest and when I'm in need of a haircut it's pretty obvious how much needs to be cut by looking at how much length has gone from curly to frizzy. I've been needing a trim. And the other day, I realized I like how my Bitmoji's hair looked, so why not get that haircut?

For those who do not know what a Bitmoji is, it's an animated version of yourself - essentially a comic/cartoon version that you create. Once created, your Bitmoji can be used essentially like an emoji - to express a certain feeling or sentiment in a text or social media post. It's silly and completely useless but it's also kind of fun. When you create your Bitmoji, you have to be really honest with yourself. For instance, you have the option to add wrinkles and make yourself pudgy.

This is what my Bitmoji looks like. Notice I gave her some wrinkles! 

So, last night I went to bed with my hair wet from the shower. It was freshly-washed and there was no product in it (although I did condition liberally in the shower). Here is what it looked like when I woke up today: 

As you can see, it's very.......electrified. Normally when I go to bed with my hair wet, I just have to dunk my whole head in the shower the next morning and get it saturated. Then, I proceed to put massive amounts of styling products in my hair and hope for the best. But, today, I decided to try something different. I thought, perhaps, I could use the flat iron to smooth and curl my hair into something more manageable. So, I spent several minutes smoothing and twirling and smelling burning hair and this is the result: 

Besides being a little less frizzy, I'm not exactly sure how this improved things. Clearly, I needed another strategy. Styling product! Yes, that would fix it! 

Except....it didn't. This is after I slathered a liberal amount of shea butter leave-in conditioner in my hair. Definitely not improved. It was clear I needed to employ my tried-and-true method of dunking my head in the shower. But first, I fluffed it. 

Who needs volumizer? I got your volume right here, baby! 

The drowned rat look is becoming on me, no? This is me with my hair dripping after spending several minutes twisting and turning my head to saturate my hair with water. 

And this is me, using my trusty "Turbie Twist" towel that squeezes my hair up tightly, wringing all those drips out. Might as well do my makeup while I'm waiting........

This is what I start with. My trusty Olay moisturizer. It has SPF 15 and isn't terribly expensive. I've been using it for years and it works, so I'm not changing things. Mostly I just appreciate that it keeps my face from getting sunburned since I can't remember to sunscreen the rest of me. 

I also use this - neck and chest moisturizer. I don't know if it works, but I read a book once by Nora Ephron entitled "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and it made me self-conscious so I decided I better start moisturizing below my chin. Also, I heard a commercial for this lotion and decided to try it. It's probably nothing special but I recently noticed some wrinkling on my neck area so now I'm paranoid. 

After that I use this cream. Well, today I did. Because I just bought it. I had another one but I got this one for reasons I will tell you about below. P.S. I liked this one. #notasponsoredpost

I was using this cream. It was a "sample" at Sephora, but it cost like $23 so that's hardly a sample price. I figured if "BB" cream was good "CC" cream had to be better, right? Plus, look at that SPF! And honestly? I really liked this CC cream until I accidentally spilled a big blob into the sink. I tried to rinse it with hot water. I used soap. I used shampoo. Finally I had to just wipe it out with paper towels. This stuff is water-resistant to the point that I wonder if any of it really ever washed off my face when I was using it and maybe I just have layer upon layer of greasy, impenetrable cover-up on the surface of my skin. I prefer cosmetics that actually wash off with soap and water, hence the new purchase of BB cream. Taking a step back. Also? Calm down, Sephora. 

Next I use this expensive powder that was a gift for my birthday last year. It's nice, but my $8.99 Cover Girl loose powder works just as well. 

Then I "do" my eyebrows. As you can see from the first make-up-less photo, my eyebrows are pretty much non-existent. I USED to have lush, bushy eyebrows that needed to be tamed with a hedge trimmer. But suddenly I got older and they disappeared. Now I have to enhance them with eyebrow stuff. I'm not sure what the official term is. 

This is the eyebrow stuff. As you can see, there is a waxy, dark substance you are supposed to apply with the brush end of this applicator. What brush end, you ask? Oh yes, the brush end that fell apart when I tried to wash it once. All the bristles fell out so I just don't use this portion any more. Instead, I use the applicator to apply the medium brown stuff to my eyebrows to make them appear and then I used the other side to apply this "highlighter" stuff that really doesn't do anything at all. 

After the eyebrows, I do the eyes. This involves a neutral eye shadow, applied with a brush however I feel like it because I have no idea what all the brushes and techniques are about. And so I get this: 

Also, I'm not sure why my face is so long in this picture. But, as you can see, the eyelids have some color on them. Yay. I'm done.  Except for mascara. 

Today I used this, but I have about six different mascaras in my drawer. This is because ALL mascara smudges under my eyes, no matter what I do, and so I keep trying new ones in an attempt to find one that doesn't. This one smudges LESS so it's the preferred brand at the moment. By the way, it needs more than one coat and does not thicken the lashes, despite what the container says. 

Oh yeah! Back to my hair! This is what it looks like when I take off the Turbie Twist towel. Like wet noodles. There's still a lot of work to be done. 

Remember - I wanted the haircut of my Bitmoji.  But I am very impatient and I don't have time to wait for a salon appointment so I figured I could do it myself! 

I know - it SEEMS like a bad idea. I am not a hairdresser. I have no skills or experience. I am attempting to cut my hair to look like a cartoon. Is this wise? Is it even sane? Probably not, but I was going to attempt it, regardless. First, I combed my hair out. 

This is what my hair looks like after I comb it out. My comb is permanently bent at a slight angle because of all the tangles, and I usually have a small handful of hair to remove from the comb afterward from all the tangly, dry, damaged hair that gets yanked out from combing. 

Then, I combed my hair into basically the style of my Bitmoji. Clearly I was going to need to remove some length here. My hair was quite long - it shrinks up about 50% when it dries. So, cutting it wet can have disastrous consequences if you're not careful. Also? I am not careful. 

As I began my careful cutting hack job, I realized my hair was drying pretty fast. This part was getting frizzy already! 

These are all the products I currently have in my arsenal. On any given day I will have at least one but up to five of these products in my hair. None of it is enough. I could put mayonnaise in my hair and it would not look greasy. My hair sucks up these products and more, including straight coconut oil, and still has a halo of frizz. There will never be enough styling product for my hair. 

Since my hair is so thick, I started with it half-up so I could work on the underside first and work up from there, layer by layer. Can you see my gray roots? Yeah, I color them every two weeks and I still get this. I should probably just give up and embrace the gray, but I am NOT READY. 

Ok, almost finished. I think I did it. I know the back and sides have some uneven places, which I had my daughter correct later, but for now, it's looking pretty good. I cut quite a bit off. Want to see? 

This actually doesn't look like much, but it's all length. When I thin my hair, which is accomplished using a pair of weird scissors that makes random cuts along the hair, I've filled the entire sink before! 

Ok, now I'm dressed for the day and I can't believe it! I actually did it. I cut off my hair so I could look like my Bitmoji. Who DOES this? 

It feels so much.......less. The tangly feeling I get when I run my hands through my hair is gone. My bangs need to grow a bit longer, but for the most part, it's pretty close! 

Done! Yay! 

I made sure I could still pull it up into a pony tail, too, since that's how I wear my hair most days. But now I can actually wear it down and not worry about "triangle head" or the fact that my hair grows all day long (well, actually that still happens but there's less to tame now). I will enjoy looking like my Bitmoji for now. And once it grows out again, maybe I'll just change my Bitmoji to match ME! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The first day of no school............

Today was the first day since 1998 (19 years!!) that I have not risen early to take a child to school (or put them on the bus). Our yellow "first day of school" sign, made hastily one year and never intended to be used for as long as it was, stayed in the top of the closet where it has lived for the past several years. Each year, I would drag it out, add a piece of yellow paper to the bottom with the current year, and take the requisite pictures with each child.

But not today. Today I slept in until almost 8 a.m. Didn't get out of bed till 9. I didn't have to be anywhere (substitute teaching generally starts a week or two after school starts and teachers have time to catch all the germs from a classroom full of biohazards). Heck, I didn't even know where my kids WERE. I knew one daughter had to work at her nanny job, my son didn't work today, and my other daughter was apparently in bed until almost 2 p.m. but I thought she was at work. When she came downstairs I realized she had been in bed the whole time and she could have been DEAD and I didn't even check on her or worry about where she was. Because my "kids" are adults now. My youngest graduated last June and I will never dig out that "first day of school sign" again. I don't know what to do with it. Have a ceremonial burning? Hang on to it for my grandkids? Wipe my tears with it?

It's weird having all adults where my children used to be. I saw pictures on social media of the neighborhood kids at the bus stop. Those days are gone for us. I remember when my kids made up a good chunk of that bus stop crowd. Year after year, we'd take pictures and the following year, post all the old ones to see how much they had changed. Everyone says "it goes so fast" but what they should be saying is "I'm SERIOUS. It goes so fast, don't blink!" Because it did go fast. Faster than I could have ever imagined.

I didn't have to go back-to-school shopping either! Once upon a time I could easily spend $500 on supplies for four kids. That was before clothes and shoes! This year, nothing. I clipped coupons for school supplies and put them under a magnet on the fridge for the taking. If they want to save money on college supplies, they know where to find them. They buy their own clothes and shoes now. They drive cars and pay bills and spend most of their disposable income on food. They come and go, and I often don't know where they are or what they're doing, but a quick check of Snapchat usually lets me know they're at work or having coffee with a friend, or on some adventure they certainly can't be old enough to navigate on their own. But they can. And they do.

Back-to-school is significant when you work in education, too. There are meetings and professional development and getting classrooms ready. Unless you are a substitute teacher. Then, there's just waiting for the phone calls asking you to fill in. Eventually, you get busy and your work schedule becomes pretty routine. But at first it's all over the place and so your days have no rhyme or reason. There's nothing to anchor you to that September-June schedule. It's weird.

Summer's off are a huge bonus and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a busy summer with a wedding, traveling, home improvements and lots of fun squeezed in. The house is in disarray from new hardwood floors and a big painting job, so I have plenty to do, but the chaos sometimes paralyzes me and I find myself delving into something mundane like cleaning out my closet when I really need to unpack boxes of china that need to be returned to their hutches. I know it will all come together eventually but I'm going out of town again in just over a week and so I need to balance the order and chaos and eventual return to the classroom so I can earn a living.

So, today was the first day of school. And it was just a regular day around here. This new life is different. And it's also good. I miss my little kids but I don't have to pack their lunches anymore and I am NOT sad about that. Plus, the chances I'm going to forget to pick them up from school have gone down infinitely. No more curriculum nights! No PTA guilt! No chaperoning! Life is good. Different, but good.