5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting A New Haircut

Well, I can’t think of the last time I had a new style. It was probably when my kids were young and I had just moved to Arizona, which would have been in the early 1990’s. It was a short wedge cut and the hair hugged my neck. It was cute, but I got bored with it and grew it out. I’ve had my hair long for so many years and held on to it because I could style it in so many ways. You can still get some updo tips from my tutorial here if you have longer hair and want to try something new. Hair Boredom is my issue, so I have known that a new cut would have to offer at least two styling options, but hopefully more.

This summer, my boredom and laziness showed up because I found myself wearing it in a pony tail or up in one of those donut/top knot-wirey-mesh-things due to the fact that my hair down made me hot and dewy. My part time job does not require fancy hair, so I haven’t been able to bring myself to put the time in for a job that is so casual. In the past when I worked in a salon, ponytails were discouraged because they don’t exactly require much creativity. Some women look fantastic in them, but for me, they have been used for exercise or housecleaning. But here I was, doing the very thing I don’t like. Enough is enough. That’s when I realized it was time to either muster up the energy to style it in new ways or get a haircut that is cute, flattering, and suits my lifestyle.

Over the years, I have changed my hair color to dark, but eventually went back to blonde. As a licensed hairstylist, I have been pretty boring and unadventurous. No pink hair during beauty school or broken hair due to over-bleaching. I also have enjoyed seeing jewelry and scarves on people with shorter hair. I was now intrigued with the fun-factor. No wonder I don’t think to wear my scarves when my hair is down. Too Hot! Silly stuff like this was adding up and moving me in a new direction. And what about all of the new infinity scarves I’ve been making? Gotta wear them, right?

You probably take more chances with your hair than I do, which means that you are better with the thinking that ‘hair grows’ and nothing has to be permanent. That being said, not every haircut is a winner or that more questions could be asked so that you are thrilled with the next cut and style.

Are you ready for a change, or just thinking about it? Here are some things I can share that may help:

1.) Keep looking around to decide what you like and don’t like in a haircut/style. Use magazines, people-watching, internet photos to help narrow the choices. Maybe there are aspects of a cut and style you have had in the past that worked. Live with the idea and see if you keep going back to a particular style. Make a checklist and compile pictures. Here is an example of my list.
-Shorter than the shoulders. Check.
-Volume on top. Check
-Styling options; Curly or straight. Check.
-Flattering to head shape, features. Check.

2.) Don’t be shy. Compliment someone you see who’s hair you admire and ask for their stylist’s name and salon. Most will take this as a compliment. This word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to feel comfortable about getting a new resource. Make sure to get their first name to use as a referral when you make your appointment. The stylist will be thrilled the referral got you to their chair.
(FYI–My stylist is a great friend and former co-worker).

3.) Compare your hair type and texture (fine, course, curly, wavy, straight, etc.) to the styles you like. If there are no similarities, it may not be realistic, will be a struggle and won’t be satisfying. The best haircut compliments your hair type. Accept any cowlicks and recognize hair growth direction. Ultimately, considering these certainties will make for a lower maintenance style.
-Fine hair, but volumizing mousse and a blow dryer has worked before to provide volume. Check.
-No known cowlicks or hair direction issues, but be careful to use a mirror to check back views before leaving the house! Check.

4.) Be honest about the time you are willing to put into maintaining the new style. Wouldn’t it me nice to jump out of bed and have your hair look fantastic? Maybe men get to do this, but there are few women who can pull this off successfully. If you are one of those, good for you! I know I am a futz-er with my hair; some are NOT. Either they don’t don’t know how or don’t care enough to put the time in. This is why these questions are even more important to ask. Are you willing to get it cut every 6 weeks? How about color retouches every 3-4 weeks? How about the cost? Does it suit your lifestyle?
-Shorter hair requires more frequent cuts. I’m okay with it. Check.
-I can afford the color maintenance, both time and money. Check.
-Less hair = quicker drying time = faster out the door. Check.

5.) Are you ready for the backlash? Change is difficult for many and the loved-ones may not be ready for a big one. Are you confident and self-assured to take the plunge and withstand the disapproval, should there be any? Compliments are great, but ultimately, you have to be happy with all of the above considerations and ready to present yourself every day as your best self. If a new haircut gets you there, then great. If not, wait. It isn’t the right time. When the time is right, you will know.
-Am I still liking the idea of a new cut days after considering it? Yes. Check.
-Have I wavered? No. Check.
-Will my friends/family/employer still have me around? Hope so. Check.

Oh, and by the way, I DO NOT push the theory that when you turn a certain age, you must cut your hair to be ‘age appropriate’. In fact, I hate that. If long hair is well maintained and flattering on you, go for it. I just turned 50 and I may grow my hair long again, but only if I am willing to put the time and energy to have it look it’s best.

My philosophy is to put a little time in to look your best more often than not because it feels better, and has multiple pay-offs. You may not like that appearances matter so much, but they do. Studies show that we are all guilty, to some degree, of making snap assumptions about others due to their presentation….but that is for another post.
A new style after 10+ years!

How To Do An Easy Updo

Easy Updo

Easy Updo

I receive a lot of compliments and questions about my updo so I thought I would give you the details and demystify what looks like a time-consuming hairdo.
It looks complicated, but with a few items, I hope to show you how easy it can be.
Okay, a little disclaimer; I have a cosmetology licence and I did hair for a living. Don’t get too discouraged. I’m going to keep this as simple as possible.
Supplies needed:
– Hair Brush and or Comb
– Bobby Pins
– Barrette or Clip
– Curlers (I use Caruso Steam Curlers from Sally Beauty Supply. I Love These! I’ve been using them for years because they don’t burn my head and work quickly.
– Styling gel (optional) Put in hair before blow drying)

1.) Prepare hair; either wash, towel dry hair and apply a gel or setting lotion and blow dry or let dry naturally if I wash my hair at night. (Have you ever heard that slightly dirty hair is easier to style into updos? It’s true. Not greasy, but maybe a day or two after washing. You be the judge.)
2.) Section hair, and roll hair under on sponge curler toward the back of my head. Make sections about 1″ x 1″ which makes for tighter curls.

Sloppy Sectioning is Okay

Sloppy Sectioning is Okay

As you can see, this looks like a disaster, but it works out. No updo ever looks the same and I like it that way. Here are some views from the sides:
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3.) Allow hair to cool. This is when I do my make up, get my clothes ready. By the time I do all of that, the rollers are ready to come out.
4) Remove caps on rollers and let hair fall.
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I think you get the idea. The other side looks pretty much the same.
5.) Run fingers through hair to separate curls. DO NOT BRUSH. I find that brushing makes my hair frizzy and I lose the look of the curls.
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6.) Twist hair upwards, piling hair high on head.
7.) Fasten with Barrette or Clip.
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Keep twisting, then fasten with a barrette or clip. Can you see the brown barrette?

Keep twisting, then fasten with a barrette or clip. Can you see the brown barrette?

8.) After clipping, arrange curls to cover barrette and fasten with bobby pins. I often cross bobby pins over each other in a “X” pattern to secure. This way the bobby pins don’t work their way out and curls stay in place.
9.) Continue to arrange curls around head hiding the bobby pins if possible. I also try to cover the clip with a few curls. If you like tendrils, pull a few pieces of hair out at temples and let fall naturally. If I don’t like the way they look, I will touch up with a small barrel curling iron, holding the curling iron vertically.
10.) Spray with favorite hair spray to help it last all day. Sometimes, I may even get another day out of the curls and can repeat with a claw clip for a more relaxed look.
ENJOY!
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Thermal Iron Cover Tutorial

1Blue Cover up closeWhat do you do when you have to pack a hot curling iron? Well, my mother gave me a thermal cover for either a flat iron or curling iron and I thought it would be great to make some for my Sit and Sew ladies for Christmas. They make great gifts, or make one to keep in your suitcase. I studied it carefully and remade it my way. Here’s how I did it.

Getting Started

Getting Started

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Step 1. Supplies Needed:
– Tracing paper, medical paper or something to use as your pattern piece
– 1 Outer fabric approximately 10″ x 15″
– 1 Coordinating fabric for inside lining and outer bias binding (You can use purchased single fold bias tape if desired)
– 1 Small 10 x 15″ piece of Thinsulate or ironing board fabric with a heat barrier layer
– Ruler for drawing quilt lines
– Quilt guide that attaches to sewing machine (optional)
– Scissors
– Matching thread
– Chalk or disappearing marker

Sandwich three layers

Sandwich three layers

Step 2. Layer and Draw:
– Layer the fabrics by sandwiching the Thinsulate between the two coordinating fabrics, with wrong sides to the Thinsulate.
– Pin
– Using your ruler, start drawing lines diagonally with your chalk or marker (whichever shows up best on your fabric) from one corner to the other. Continue drawing 1″ lines on either side of your original line until you have lines on the whole piece.

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Draw One Inch Diagonal Quilt Lines

Sew Your Lines

Sew Your Lines

Step 3. Sew Your Lines.
-Using a quilt guide attached to your foot, sew the 1″ diagonal lines across the entire piece. Feel free to sew the lines any way you wish as long as the layers are kept together. I chose 1″ diagonal because it was fast and easy.

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Round Edges, Trace & Cut Out

Step 4. Pin, Trace and Cut.
-Take a pencil and round the edges of your 10″ x 15″ pattern piece. (It makes it easier to bind later). Trace around your quilted piece and cut out.

Get Ready to Baste

Get Ready to Baste

Step 5. Baste the Raw Edges
-Set your machine on baste and sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ around raw edge of quilted piece. This will prepare the edges for binding.

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Cutting Sloppy Bias Strips

Step 6. How to Cut Some Sloppy Bias Strips
I know, I know. This is NOT how you make proper bias strips. Use a cutting mat and rotary cutter for pretty bias strips. I am giving you the quick-and-dirty to get this done. Remember, I know our sewing time is limited and we need to get these projects done pronto. Reduce the UFO’s. (Un-Finished Objects)
-Place fabric on grain and fold up one edge to a 45 degree. Insert your scissors on the fold and cut. This is what I call sloppy bias because it is fast and doesn’t use a ruler, cutting mat or rotary cutter. Remember: I shave off time if it works for me and gets me great results; otherwise, do it the right way. As you will see in the following steps, the sloppiness just disappears.

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Piecing Bias Strips Together

Cut 1″-1.25″ strips from the chosen fabric for the binding. With right sides together, take two ends as shown. Stitch and press open. When you press these open, they should continue in a straight line, not a 90 degree angle. Cut off corner of one end of bias. Fold under 1/4″. Start pinning this to the bottom edge.

Attaching Bias Binding

Attaching Bias Binding

Step 8. Bias Strip Attached to Edge
Starting at the lower edge, with right sides together (RST), align raw edges of bias binding and edges of thermal cover. Overlap the raw end of your ending bias strip (you may need to trim off a little) over the beginning folded edge. (The raw edge will be sandwiched between the folded edge and the thermal cover). Pin. Sew in a 1/4″ seam all the way around the outer edge. This is where some of the magic happens IF the sewing is straight and even.

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Pink, Clip or Trim Seam Allowance

Step 9. Trim Edges.
Clip corners and trim around the entire thermal cover to reduce the seam allowance and allow for the bias to turn nicely around the corners. Press when flipped to underside.

Binding Pressed to Underside

Binding Pressed to Underside

Step 10. Magic Happening
Gently finger press the bias strip to the underside. It will naturally fold and curl on the corners. Turn raw edges in so that the fold is just covering the stitching line.

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Steam a Seam to the Rescue!

Step 11. Making Life Easier
I used the 1/4″ Steam a Seam fusible tape on the trimmed seam allowance to help the folded bias edge stick until I can sew it down. Pin and press. On the right side, you should notice that the bias edge looks pretty good and is ready for some final decorative stitching.

Fancy Stitching

Fancy Stitching

Step 12 Pick a Favorite Stitch

Time for Tacos

Time for Tacos

Step 13. Fold In Half
You are almost done! Fold in half so it looks like a taco. Pin in the ditch of the stitching, trying to match up your binding stitching lines from both sides. You will then ‘stitch in the ditch’ through all layers in a straight seam from the bottom up to the top leaving an opening 2″-3″ from the top edge. This will leave the opening for your curling iron or flat iron.

Stitch In the Ditch

Stitch In the Ditch

Ready for a Hot Iron!

Ready for a Hot Iron!

You are finished. Now you can pack a hot iron and not worry it will burn something while it cools!