Fun Hair for Impatient, Busy, Long-Haired Women.

If you’re a long-haired busy mom, a traveling career woman, an overcommitted entrepreneur or an enthusiastic festival go-er, this blog post may help you. Your hair may lose its pizazz 3 days post- washing, or multi days exposed to the elements outside. Whatever the situation, this may be your answer to easyFullSizeRender (1) stylish hair.

Here’s a quick and simple upgrade for your tresses. Like me, you may admire the trends of braids and twists, but aren’t very patient with the attention and time these do’s require. This mix of side twists and single braid took me about 10-15 minutes total. No, it’s not absolutely polished-looking, as my hair is layered, and I had to tuck some stray ends with hairpins.  Anyway, unless you work in the entertainment/beauty, no one will be analyzing your hair that much. This works well if you’re hair is a little unwashed. You’ll need less hair product, too. The build-up in your hair will help conceal frizziness, and make it easier to secure pieces together. Freshly washed hair may make strands silkier, slippery and may take longer than the time I mentioned. If you want an easy, fun, style that can look elegant, too, give this a try.

Directions –

  • Take 1 (or 2 like I did, if you’re feeling ambitious/adventurous) sections of hair on the side of your head of roughly equal thickness on both sides. Twist them and pin them snugly together  in the back center of your head.
  • Then take the excess of the twists and tuck these into any one of the three sections of hair you use to create your braid.
  • Wrap the end of the braid with an elastic band of your choice.
  • As mentioned earlier, secure any stray hairs with hairpins.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Following My Mother’s Example (kind of) – More Caring, Less Minding Our Own Business.

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It’s been over a year since my Mom started discussing the details of being kidney donor to her brother. I told her I’d be there for her – as she’s been for me my entire life (I know I’m fortunate to be able to say this).

I wasn’t truly ready for how I’d feel as she was being prepped  for the surgery itself, or how I’d feel just afterward as she rested in her private room. Maybe it’s the idea that the person who was the authority, the quiet strength in my childhood is in a weakened state.

It was scary. I felt alone as I stared out the window of her room. Crazy feelings! My mom is still alive. Why did seeing her in a hospital bed recovering from a kidney donation freak me out?  She could die from anything – old age, tripping on a sidewalk gap, a spider bite in her sleep. Hospitals and medical trappings not required.

Does everyone feel that way upon seeing their mom/dad/parent-figure in a hospital bed – Even if they only have a broken leg? I wondered. No one has taken a poll. No one is standing outside the patient rooms, in the hallways comparing these heartfelt thoughts. Hallmark doesn’t make cards for us.

As the children of these moms, dads or caregivers of parent-figures, what’s wrong with us sharing our vulnerability with others in the same situation – on the same hospital floor? Is it because we are adults? Are we to pull up our big girl and big boy undies and walk on? Society might say that’s fair. It’s our turn to give back to the person who did their best to raise us as upstanding citizens of this planet. But what, and who does it help – this not sharing, this stiff-upper-lipping? Are we too busy applying the phrase we heard as kids, “Mind your own business?”

My mother told me to mind my own business often when I was a child. However, she also taught me to be a caring, compassionate human being. She is a living example of these traits. I think a happy middle is possible. Let’s show we care. Let’s wear our heart on our sleeve sometime. It may be the only way others know you need some support.

After spending just a few days or more in a hospital, I can imagine for some, like me, minding the business of caregiving for a loved one is intense – at least some of the time. Sharing such business with someone else who is going through a like situation but doesn’t have heartstrings tied to your loved one (or yours theirs) can take some of the pressure off emotionally. Who else wants to not mind their business with me?

Because Surprise Periods, Tampons are Mythical in Some Corners of the World. Demand Businesses and Lawmakers Get with the Flow.

Recently, I’ve had the kind of  fun that comes with having an unexpected  period at a gym during a workout. Thankfully, I wore black that day and a friend was with me to offer support when I learned there were no tampons in the women’s bathroom. What?! This is a customer service, health and sanitation issue.

This is an upscale gym that I infrequently patron. The interior is sleek and modern. The women’s bathroom and locker area are big, have large mirrors and cushy cream-colored seating in the dressing area  – you could host a party in there.

shutterstock_391747558-1024x683The vanity area is stocked with hand soap, Q-tips, mouthwash and cups with which to swish and rinse. However, there are NO tampons/sanitary napkins. Really?! You go through so much effort to make sure one end of our bodies is fragrantly fresh, clean and hygienic, but ignore the other end?

I can see it now –

Regular upper-class gym members, heatedly pointing out that blood isn’t part of the gym’s décor. They demand a refund, or at least a discount on the membership that month.

I asked the young, tall, polite, cheekily smiling, gentleman at the front desk if they have any feminine napkins/tampons  in the emergency supply kit.  Because, when it’s unexpected like this, it may be an emergency – right?

Our exchange after my request:

Gym Concierge – “ I’m sorry we don’t have any in supply. You’re the first person who has asked me about it.”

Me – “Wow!” I say (my eyes widening in disbelief). “NONE of your other female patrons have asked you about it? Sign me up for whatever magical exercise program they’re taking that stops their periods in its tracks.”

Gym Concierge – While laughing, and maybe a bit embarrassed, he says again, “I’m sorry.”

Me – “Yes, it’s a sorry situation, but not your fault though. Please tell your management that providing these items are a health and sanitation service for your customers. Thanks.” (I plan to send this blog to their corporate office, too.)

It IS sorry. It’s sorry that tampons can be more expensive than the other goods offered at this gym. My friend pointed out that there is an old tax applied to them as a “luxury item.” What?! This is no luxury, it’s a necessity! Last I checked luxuries are nice-to-have items –  liquor, or a designer watch.  Feminine napkins/tampons, like toilet paper are basic essentials.

I think it would be more work and expense to deal with unclean facilities, stains on cream-colored furniture AND keep the gym goers calm about it; instead of having have a small supply of feminine products in the women’s bathroom. Schools in other parts of the U.S. are offering them for free, so why can’t retail and service businesses see the necessity, too?

Here is a petition to make sure the tampon tax is removed and to make it easier for companies/institutions to go with the flow – stock feminine products for their patrons/customers. Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Those Rarer Times when Awkward Discomfort Leads to Creativity. (Cabin) Pressure Creates a Little Gem.

creativityCreativity – what conditions are best for it? In a recent conversation with a dear friend, we agreed that most of our good creative ideas come when we are doing one of the following – washing our hair, staring out the window, driving, or meditating. We are typically, physically at ease and relaxed. Even when I worked in busy, noisy office spaces, I was able to shut my door or put headphones and be productive. However, about three months ago, a strange thing happened to me. I was able to be creative under very different and unusual circumstances.

I was on a plane trip where I was pretty uncomfortable. The woman next to me had space in her seat to leave me one arm rest for at least part of the flight. She overtook the arm rest between us and randomly leaned a bit into my seat space. Additionally, she was coughing and sniffling into crumpled tissue. There was another seat on the other side of her, in which she could’ve sat. I asked her why she didn’t want the window seat. She told me that in case nature calls, she’d like to be closer to the aisle, so she was fine with the middle seat. I told her I understood and for the same reason, prefer my aisle seat. I added to this with a hopeful smile– “I’m sure we’re both good at sharing an arm rest.” She proved me wrong.

About 4o minutes into the flight, I asked a crew member if there were other empty seats on the plane, and of course, there was not. Not that it seemed to matter much, the majority of passengers sounded sick. So, besides feeling physically cramped, I was having a mild to moderate case of germ-phobia. I decided to make the best of it. I asked the flight attendant for some orange juice. I applied hand sanitizer generously. For a moment, I considered lathering up with up it – smearing it on my face, neck and arms to see if it would disturb my seat neighbor enough to move over. But, I didn’t have much left and wanted it to last the flight. So, I put on my ear buds and started reading a book I got for Christmas – Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, her funny, inspiring, and down-to-earth, nearly mid-life memoir. In it, she described her challenge in writing it –

“ Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or hard it was . . . writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room with leather novels and chai tea . . . what a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.”

Creativity and inspiration soon spark. A poem started forming in reply to her writing challenges. I wrote about my struggle with writing a fiction book:

Scribing Story or Sticky Sludge?

The pen is my balancing cane,
as I sludge
through molasses in
purple goulashes.
Hoping I don’t land on
my ass or in a pile of ashes –
the ashes of books burned
which never saw their finish.
Should I stick not to the molasses,
but the telling of a story to the end?
But what end? Who decides the end?
Is it I, they, or it – the molasses of gray
matter that is my mind of late?
Is it the moles, the curious on-looker of critics,
do-gooding book-readers who poke out their heads
and opinions? Or is it the asses,
the naysayers, and whybothers?
I continue on.
My pen is my support and ally as
I slip and slide down the street of molasses that seems to not end, 
doing my best to shake distracting moles and asses along the way.

 So, feeling the pressure of being confined to a small, uncomfortable space seemed to force me to intensely focus on other thoughts and ideas – and get some results. Have you had similar moments of creativity? Share your physically, awkwardly, uncomfortable, but creative moments with me in the comments below.

Stay Authentic in Pursuit of Goals, Dreams & Keep the Respect.

Authenticity. It’s a great concept. For me, it’s being able to bring my real self (all aspects of my personality) to work, a party, and life in general.

I’ve joined a few networking groups that are strong advocates of authenticity and are the backbone of why the groups exist. I’ve met some great people within them. Of course, I’ve met others outside these groups that are about being authentic, too. Sometimes they are harder to spot though.

Over the past years I have had a few weird experiences while being my authentic self in professional networking scenarios. In calling attention to them, I hope to create awareness and hopefully a new kind of authenticity.

Have you ever been in a situation where a colleague/acquaintance agreed to help you out with one of your fledgling ideas/businesses? This interaction was short-term and it turned into a barter exchange that was quickly fulfilled. Since then, you’ve learned what you want and don’t want to do with this business idea. You didn’t feel the need to check in with the colleague/acquaintance who helped, as they didn’t express interest. A year later, when asked about it, you said you weren’t sure you wanted to pursue that route anymore, though you did appreciate their help. Shortly after, this person soon cut ties with you on Facebook/LinkedIn, etc.

This has happened to me in a few different ways over a decade after I told a few people I was switching tactics/interests, etc. I was being real. I wasn’t clinging to an idea that didn’t hold my interest for the sake of stick-to-itness. In the name of authenticity, I get it if a person no longer identifies with my plan, or purpose and vice versa. As humans, and if you’re an entrepreneur – a dynamic one, you are likely evolving regularly. Shouldn’t those who’ve changed their game plan be allowed the same option for authenticity as those who authentically step down from supporting us? We should be allowed to change our goals and or, change our minds without losing respect.

So, do these authentic networking groups offer space for this? Yes, at least the ones I frequent do.

It would make sense that bringing our true selves to these groups mean connecting and then, reconnecting if we no longer identify when a colleague switches direction. I think there is a peaceable, authentic way to show support of someone when they do, without ditching the relationship and or, fading out.  Is closure necessary for authenticity in ALL relationships? I would think that there’s a good middle ground for everyone to be real with each other without acting like jackasses. Maybe it could be a simple as this –

You: Hi, I’m changing my game plan for this business idea X. I don’t feel xyz details are a fit for me anymore. I am going to focus on idea Y now.

Colleague/New Friend: I’m sorry to hear that. I was excited for you. I don’t relate to idea Y, but good luck! (Alternate reply – I’m sorry to hear that, I was excited for you. I don’t relate to idea Y, but I wish you the best with everything. If I come across any resources that’ll be of help to you, I’ll pass them on.)

You: Thanks! 

The second response is not necessarily ending the relationship in this conversation. Either way, I suspect such acts of closure don’t happen regularly. Most of us were not taught how to have such conversations with friends or colleagues. At best, we know how to end a romantic relationship, a volatile friendship, and sales-y/spammer/stalker situations. For these relationships that are in-between, we tend to let them fade out. Sometimes this happens naturally because one or both parties move away, etc.

Whatever your life changes, I believe maintaining authenticity with others is important as your plans evolve. Does the level of commitment/interaction in the relationship change the need for closure? If the interaction was nothing more than a casual one-time meeting, it doesn’t call for it. However, if an exchange of some sort over a few meetings or more – yes. Offering some follow-up I think shows respect. Maybe I care too much?  Maybe it becomes too much work to do on a one-on-one basis for those that are very busy/overwhelmed? I know that some will define respect and authenticity differently from me. So, I am curious – what’s your experience and preferences? Leave a comment and join the conversation.