My Jellyroll


I basically hate shopping for myself.

When I am on the lookout for a gift for someone else I invariably find a thousand things that I want for myself, but when I am looking for clothes for me I usually end up stomping off to my car feeling  gross, having nothing and thinking the fashions these days were NOT designed for me.

Don’t get me started on jeans.  Holy denim, what are these manufacturers thinking?  First of all, why would I want to spend $125 on jeans that are  ripped?  I don’t get it.  Everybody wears them, young and old.  I see them everywhere and at times I think I might cave and buy some, but then my brain screams “Don’t do it you fool!”.

Jeans used to fit me before menopause.  Well, at least better than they do now.  Now there is this thing that used to be my waist.  I’ll call it my “jellyroll”.  I am aware that many folks call this unforgiving geographical body part a muffin top, but I don’t think that does it justice.  I mean, muffins don’t roll and neither do they wiggle, so I feel that jellyroll is a more apt nom de plume.

Now, to get the jeans to sort of fit, I have to get them big enough to close over the afore mentioned jellyroll.  The problem with this is that I also have seemed to have lost my ass, and I’m not talking about losing money at the races.  I have a tush with the convexity of a pancake.

So, what happens is the jeans fit me around the waist and sag at the butt, so even with a belt I am constantly hiking up those suckers.  It takes more time than I have.

I wish I liked my legs enough to just wear dresses, but that’s another story.

Cause No Pain

I am somewhat ashamed to put this story into print, but it is another example of the crazy stuff that has happened to me in my career…so here goes.  This is the truth and nothing but the truth.

The first year I worked at the wonderful salon on 13th street, we really didn’t have a receptionist to speak of.  Whoever was available usually answered the phone, and since I was the newbie, I had ALOT of free time.

The phone rings and I answered it professionally, “Thank you for calling________________, may I help you?”  A male voice says to me, ” I want to make an appointment with Lisa, I’ve heard she is the best stylist in Austin.”  WELL, I think my ego grew about 5000 feet and I said, “Sure, I can do that!”, not revealing to him that the best stylist in Austin was making his appointment!

The next day the time of his arrival had come, but no client!  Alas, I was disappointed, but he called back a couple of days later and guess who answered the phone?  Yup, you got it.  I didn’t reveal my identity and made him the appointment for the next day.  On this particular phone call he talked quite a bit, telling me about his job and how successful he was.  Great, I thought, Big Tipper.  Guess what?  He didn’t show.  How hard is it to remember an appointment that you make the day before?

So, repeat performance a few days later.  He calls again, apologizes, talks a bunch about himself and his girlfriend,  and the nice receptionist (me) makes him another appointment.  For the next day.  He was a no-show, AGAIN.  When he called the next time I told him that he needed to find a different stylist.

About 2 weeks later, I had a new client named Robert (fictitious name to protect the NOT innocent).  I introduced myself and began the shampoo.  As soon as he opened his mouth I knew that this was no Robert.  This was HIM.  I’ll call him Eric.  I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t 100% sure yet.  As I was cutting his hair, he starts telling me about himself, and strangely, it was the exact same stuff that Eric had told me on the phone!   I also happened to notice that he had a big ‘ol belt buckle on with the initials E_.  Then, to top it all off, he was telling me a story about his girlfriend and he says to me, “Then she said, Eric, when are you going to blah blah blah.”

I had him!  I was almost finished cutting his hair and was trimming around his ears when it happened.  OOPS, didn’t mean to take a little chunk out of your ear.  Honest, it was an accident.  But I wasn’t sad.  Not one bit.

When I got done, I spun him around to face me and said,  “Hey ERIC, you’ve got some pretty big balls coming in here with a fake name.”  And he says, “How did you know?”

Well, long story short, he gave me a $50 tip, BEFORE I told him he really needed to find a new stylist.

THE ENDpexels-photo-897262.jpeg

Where Does The Time Go?

Today is Saturday, April 14, 2018.  Yesterday it was Christmas.  Honestly, that’s what it feels like.  The more times around the planet I go, the faster it spins.

The last entry I blogged was about a year ago.  Shocker.  I graduated from Beauty School in 1981.  And I was 26.  Dang!  I’m freakin’ 62.  How in the world did that happen?

Most of the stylists that I have hired over the past 20 years are at least that much younger than I am.  Or maybe 30 years younger.  I could have given birth to all of them.  They are all gorgeous.  Seriously, I have not seen a homely person in forever.  Unless I look in the mirror.  Wrinkles.  Sags.  Bags.  Not fair.

So, after I tell all my clients how beautiful they are, BECAUSE THEY ARE, I look at myself and wonder, “How in the hell did THAT happen?”

I think we all carry a version of ourselves in our mind, the best we ever looked, and when we see the truth in our reflection, it is hard to swallow.

My opinion on this matter is that God created us as eternal beings.  That is the spirit that is the real us.  That spirit never ages.  Just this hunk of flesh that changes with each passing year.   The two don’t jive with one another.  It’s a never ending friction between me and me.

So I say to myself, why do I care?  With age comes wisdom, and that wisdom needs to scream at me, “STOP, STOP STOP!”.  Stop thinking about myself and keep doing the next right thing, which is reminding YOU how gorgeous you are (because you are!), and get me off my mind.



Vanity or Insecurity

She is sitting in my chair processing right now.  Highlights and lowlights.  She has a super cute short, spunky hair cut, and the color is as individual as she is.

The whole time I was applying color, she talked about how she needs to lose weight, how her husband thought her hair looked good today before she came in (which to her meant that he is not really paying attention), and how she doesn’t go out and see anyone really, and that heck, what difference does it make anyway……….she is doing this hair thing for HER.

It has got me pondering how many people are thinking about the way they look not because they are vain, but because they are insecure.  I know it is like that for me.

When I weighed 70 pounds more than I do now, I tried on 3 outfits every morning, which was bogus anyway because they were all boxy tops and elastic waisted pants.  I couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror, all the while saying horrible things to myself, about how fat and ugly I was.  But no one else knew how I felt.  I wasn’t about to share that self indulgence in hating myself.

I was brought up learning that beauty comes from the inside, not the outside, that someone can be aesthetically pleasing to look at and be the cruelest person on the planet.  So WHY, did I not extend that acceptance to myself.

Why doesn’t my beautiful client see how she looks to me?

I consider that a bunch of us are like this, but never talk about it.  I want you to know, that no matter how much you weigh, no matter how old you are, no matter that your husband doesn’t tell you anymore that you look pretty today, or that you don’t have a mate to tell you how pretty you are………no matter all these things(they are lies) you are beautiful, and God created you beautiful.

When I am done with her hair, I will tell her how gorgeous she is, cause she IS, and hopefully when she gets home and looks in the mirror, she will remember.

A Day in the Life

My second job as a stylist was at a sweet, fun, trendy salon in the early 1980’s.  First, it was close to downtown Austin in a big, rambling kind of Victorian house on 13th street near the capitol.  I loved it except for the unpleasant fact that there was no parking to speak of.  When a client parked, they would have to be in a sort of parade line of cars in our diminutive parking lot, if you could call it that.  It was more like a parking pad.  When the client left, one of us would go outside and see which cars were blocking this person, and then we would go back in the salon, and politely call, “Who has the gold Isuzu?  Or, who is driving the maroon Taurus?”  Then we would get their car keys and move how ever many cars we had to to get the one car out of there.  Poetry in motion.

I loved this building despite the parking shortage, with it’s high ceilings and many large rooms .  We tread upon weathered, wonderful hardwood floors.  It was a great old house.  Until it was winter and the good old pipes froze.

Picture this, My 60-something year old client has a head full of color and I have her in the shampoo bowl.  Instantly, the water had disappeared, like the well had dried up.  NO WATER.  I had to get this color out of her hair, so I ran next door and they had water, only no hot water because their hot water heater was dead.  It was around 20 degrees outside.  So, I got a bucket and filled it up with FREEZING cold water.

I schlepped and slopped it back to the salon, and my poor client was still laying there in the shampoo bowl.  I said, “Beth, I can shampoo your hair now, but I’m afraid this is going to be a little chilly”.  She told me to continue on, so I did.  Let me say that this H2O was so cold my hands started cramping and throbbing.  This poor woman was a soldier, I tell you.  She didn’t scream or hit me, which I felt was quite the coup.  I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had.

My boss called the plumber, and they got there, only too late to have Beth’s head not turned into a popsicle.  The name of the company was Clark Kent Plumbers.

I wish they had sent Superman instead to thaw the pipes with his xray vision before my client had to endure my frozen treatment of her head, and my poor hands.

This kind of disaster in the salon is more commonplace than our clients are aware of.

I’ve got some other great stories forthcoming that are just another day in the life of a stylist.


Be a River

In the hair world, I always wanted to be a pacemaker, one of the coveted ones that other stylists looked up to and wanted to emulate.  In the old days, before hair shows and seminars were controlled by manufacturers, I traipsed around the USA and once to London attempting to learn how to be the most bad ass hairdresser known to mankind.

It was so much fun.  The whole salon leaving Austin, Texas and going to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Hammond, New York, London, and I can’t remember where else.  Going to these places we would see the cream of the crop in the industry and it was thrilling.  We all wanted to be the best.  I wanted to be the best.

Before I opened my Austin salon, my favorite boss in the world gave me my first apprentice.  I scared the hell out of her.  When she was introduced to me, I growled at her like a dragon.  That’s a sure fire way to get someone to want to be like you.

I never became one of the “it” stylists.  Never a platform artist, never a trendsetter, but I did train a flock of young stylists.

I have since had a sea of apprentices.  I have loved each one.  A good handful of them are successful salon owners, and that pleases me to no end.  It is like watching your kids graduate with a PH.D.

As it is in life, the best way to own your gift is to give it away.   It’s like a river that flows into the sea, strong and vibrant.  But when that river is blocked it becomes stagnant.  Sharing what I have learned creates the most satisfaction that I have known as a stylist.  It is the same for every aspect of life.  Passing on wisdom is rewarding, and gaining wisdom is essential.  Its an awesome exchange!

Keep your river flowing.

Beauty School Iteration 2

How can I express how much A&C College of Beauty changed my life?  The name alone evokes scenes of curlers, hairdryers, blue hair,  and the smell of stinky rotten eggs otherwise known as perm solution.

I remember the time, the ONE time (thank God) that I was required to trim a man’s beard.  He had come in for a haircut, but he asked me to trim his beard.  The fellow was probably in his late 40’s, kinda dumpy and none too clean.  His hair was greasy and pretty gross, but his beard topped the charts for digustingness.

When I got close enough to his face to take a look at the shape of his beard, an aroma wafted past my nose, and it was not good.  I wonder if I can really write here what the smell of his beard reminded me of.  I will attempt not to insult anyone as I write this, but the bottom line was this guy’s facial hair smelled like a private part that had not seen a bath in a month.  At least.

And to top it all off, he had a good deal of his last several meals lodged in that nest on his face.  I had to use Silva Mind Control to keep from gagging.

Because I was, and still am, a people pleaser (very common in my industry), I cut the beard, and promised myself that I would never do this particular service again.  Thankfully, the other male clients that were to be in my future enjoyed bathing and grooming their beards, so I went back on that promise I had made to myself on that horrible and fateful day.

That day I learned that perms smelled infinitely better than I ever thought they could.

Compared to you know who:)


I love when someone sits in my chair feeling horrible about themselves.  I’m not hard hearted.  I just know that this is my gift to give to them, a way for them to look into the mirror and see a different side of themselves, a side that has been hidden for whatever reason.

Sometimes that reason is divorce, or illness, or loss of a loved one, or weight gain, weight loss, menopause, financial stress, or a million other things that make our heart’s rip and make us want to give up.

The only way I know that these situations are temporary is because I have lived through many of them, and as my dear mother in law tells me, “It came to pass”.

It does come to pass; physical and emotional pain, death, breakups, heartbreak, ad nauseum.

But on the flip side, which is the God side, is resurrection!  It is life, new beginnings, springtime, babies, the ones we cherish, new relationships, long lasting relationships, family, breathing, SMILING.

So many wonderful things for us to be thankful for.

So when my client sits in my chair, it is my privilege and opportunity to remind her just how beautiful she is, and how important she is to this world.

It’s fun to do hair, but even better to open a person’s eyes to newness in themselves.  It’s spiritual and it’s resurrection.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!  Jesus lives!

The day before Easter.

Not much reminiscing in this entry…………..

Today I am taking care of just one client.  On a Saturday.  The day before Easter.  This is usually a day that I would be sweating to the oldies, or any music for that matter, and feeling the pain.

Why just one client on such a traditionally BUSY day, you might ask?  Because I can, that’s why.  And cause I hurt.  Everywhere.

This is one of the big reasons that I wanted to start this blog.  I want to hopefully help and encourage young pain free stylists to stay that way, and to encourage their bosses and mentors to be in on this with me.

When I was new in the industry, no one taught me what shoes would be best for my feet, or how important it was to take mini breaks during the day to stretch my body, or to take baby sit down breaks during the day. Noooooo, I wanted to work, work, work, and make money$, money$, money$.  And I did, only now I live the consequences, which I am working on changing.  Its slow and a lot harder than it would have been if someone had told me the things I’ll be sharing in the blog.

The best boss I ever had did tell me how messed up her feet were from wearing the wrong shoes, which gave her very painful bunions and made it hard for her to wear most shoes.  I think she quit cutting hair because of it at around age 50.  I am 61.

I have friends in this industry that have chronic pain because we were never told how to stand, or hold our arms,  or maybe we were told but we didn’t listen.  Cause we were young and perfect and strong and capable of ANYTHING!

Repetitive motion.  It’s a bitch.

So amongst some of my reminiscing I’ll also share my insights with you, so you won’t be hurting 20 or 30 years in.

I’ll let you know some of my magic bullets in blogs to come.

Happy Easter.  He is risen!


The People I met

I was a college graduate, feeling pretty haughty and dare I say, superior to most of my classmates, who mostly consisted of barely high school graduates, still freshly pimpled.

However, there were a few as cool as me, although I didn’t want to admit it.  My first day there, I sat down in an empty chair, the kind like I had in elementary school thru high school with the desk part attached to the seat.  Gimme a break.  I was 24 or 25, I can’t remember, but I was thinking, “REALLY, IS THIS 6TH GRADE?”

The girl in front of me turned around as soon as I sat down and grinned at me with a big toothy smile while saying “HI, I’M KAREN!”  I gave her a dirty look.  I was a punk rocker, for crying out loud.  I wasn’t allowed to be friendly OR cheerful.  She ended up being my best friend.

Then there was John, or as he liked to be called, Karen.  I’m not kidding.  He was 17 and had decided to become a woman.  You have to picture the times.  It was 1980, and talking about sex changes was not out there yet amongst the public.  Even the cool public, as I thought I was.  He also had a very inflamed case of acne, and I felt really sorry for him, UNTIL, he asked me out on a DATE!  I said, “John, I thought you wanted to be a girl.”  HE said, “Call me Karen”, to which I replied, “No way, and I’m not going out with you.  I have a boyfriend”, which I did.  Besides the fact that he was confused about which gender he wanted to be, he was 17!  That was a no way scenario for me.  In some states I think they call it statutory rape.

Anyway, there were some very cool and fun people there that I finally allowed myself to get to know, and I’m very glad I did.  Especially since I spent a year with most of them.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of our antics next time.