Real Confessions of a Hairstylist, Words with Jenny Strebe

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I have been following Jenny Strebe, blogger at The Confessions of a Hairstylist, since I began my blogging journey. She published a hair tutorial on Pinterest that became my hip mom 2 minute hairstyle mantra for years to come, that’s how I originally found her.

I have watched through the interwebs as Jenny Strebe’s blogging voice strengthened, her babies were born, her career exploded with her braiding skills, she started traveling in her VW bus teaching braiding and up-do workshops, and more recently she co-founded Pulp Riot Hair Color with a collaborative crew of very talented hair colorists.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.02.57 PMConnecting with people through the digital realms is interesting, watching someone else’s life transform in a curated way. Jenny’s ability to be a powerhouse career woman and artist while raising a family really inspired me to want to know more about how she balances everything, in real life.

The sense that I got from her was that she knows when to make appropriate sacrifices to be able to keep the balance of work and family, like as of now……She isn’t working with clients in the salon.

As a mother and a very ambitious person, It can be very hard to balance the work/life thing without feeling like we are lacking somewhere and I’m always looking for advice and encouragement on ways to keep the balance without the burnout. We salute you, Jenny Strebe, for being one badass mama artist in the hair industry which really needs more badass mama artists to lead it.

Today, words with Jenny Strebe, platform artist, master-braider and blogger at The Confessions of a Hairstylist.

Real Confessions of a Hairstylist, Words with Jenny Strebe

 

We begin with this sweet moment, a snippet into Jenny’s MO with raising her daughter to believe in her own dreams.

 Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 1.59.56 PMPhoto by Sara Bishop

Yesterday when I got home from my work trip, I picked up my daughter from school and Instead of telling my sweet Magnolia I missed her so much I said “I’m so happy to see you my sweet Magnolia, mommy was gone because I was out chasing my dreams, and someday you will to.” Magnolia got tears in her eyes and said “I know Mama” that brought so much joy to my heart to hear her say she understands. So moms out there, don’t feel guilty to follow your dreams too! You can have it all.

Jenny, where are you from, where do you live now?

 I’m from Walla Walla Washington originally but I went to school in Portland OR and am currently living in Scottsdale, AZ now with my husband and 2 children.


How long have you been doing hair?

 For 16 years!

What are your specialties and why do you love them?

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.02.44 PMCutting and styling are my specialties. But I’m known for braids and simple up-dos. I love braiding the most now because believe it or not, I didn’t know how to braid up until about 2 years ago! I didn’t want to do them, but then one day I tackled them and fell in love with braiding and its become a strength!

Tell us about your jump from stylist to educator.

I like tackling my fears, and as a young stylist i wanted to be a platform artist. I actually got anxiety and could barely speak in front of other people 8 years ago. I started going to beauty schools and educating my staff to get used to talking in front of my peers. It became addictive to see my students have aha moments so then teaching became a passion of mine!

Jenny Strebe, encouraging words on educating………

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.03.38 PMPeople have been telling me that I’m a natural educator. Little do they know my story. I used to have a panic attack teaching at beauty schools when I first started educating 8 years ago. I then made it a personal mission to become comfortable teaching and presenting in front of audiences. I spent years teaching for free going to beauty schools until I landed a position as an educator and art team member for a number of years. After I left to booth rent and create “confessions” I then taught a number of free classes to my peers to get a feel for my new found love of educating and figure out who I was as an educator. It’s crazy to think one of my biggest fears have now become one of my biggest passions. I want to be a living example that you too can be whoever you want to be, and to make your fears or your weaknesses one of your biggest accomplishments and strengths. You can be whomever you want to if you put your mind to it!

What inspired you to teach? 

The addictive feeling of helping raise other stylist’s confidence in their own ability to do hair.

What do you find the most effective way to teach other stylists? hands on? Demo, both? theory? discussion? etc. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.06.10 PM I like to do a hands-on class with a demo. I think its important to do the hands on and demo because as hairstylists we are creative and tactile, we learn in all sorts of different ways, so doing both helps lock it into our brain.

You are a mother, how do you juggle motherhood and a career? any tips or tricks? share any secrets you may have? 

I don’t really have secrets but with anything, you have to sacrifice something to be good at something else and right now I’ve sacrificed my clientele. I don’t work inside the salon as much, and I think that’s how its easy for me to juggle. When I have my kids I’m 100 percent a mom, but when I’m working I go full force.

Any tips for keeping up a strong marriage while on the road following your dream?

Always respect your spouse and their dreams. My husband is my rock, he supports me 100 percent and I support him. Too be honest, he is really special. I’m not sure how many other men out there would do the same.

Where do you see our industry headed?

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.03.07 PMA more digital, connected world. I see everyday hairstylists having so much more of a voice in the industry. I love that hairstyling is being seen as a more well respected art form. I’m really excited that having cool and colorful hair is now normal instead of being looked at as too alternative. This makes our job as stylists so much more fun:)


Tell us about Pulp Riot?

 Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 1.55.40 PMPulp Riot is a brand new vegan color line developed by stylists, for stylists. Our goal with it is to show the color community that this line is for them and as a collaborative team, we will inspire and educate them every step of the way!

……..I have been told NO, I can’t or that my ideas and/or dreams couldn’t become a reality over time and time again. Over the years of working on my brand, I have finally made a voice for myself and have been searching for my tribe, my squad, my hair family where I could help positively impact the industry with like minded individuals. Little did I know that all the times I was told NO was going to help push me the direction that I was destined to go

– Words from Jenny on finding her Pulp Riot Color Family. More Here!

 

Can you share what your favorite hair creation is, all time?

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.10.56 PMI loved this combo braid!

What is your Favorite Color?

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.20.05 PMMint green
If your 16 year old self saw you now, what would you say to yourself? Would you be a fangirl?

 I would say things will get better, it’s okay to be different! I had a tough time as a young women. I totally would be a fan girl!
Favorite music to do hair to?

Hip hop! I may listen to kids bop on the way to drop off the kids, but I love me some hip hop, especially old stuff.

 Product you are obsessed with?

My old fave was Bed Head spray wax but it’s no longer available. But my fave now is texturizing/volume spray.

Where do you draw inspiration from for color/styling?

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 2.19.52 PMEverything! Right now its muted metallics. I like to look at the intricacies of stones and rocks and check out the different shades inside them.

Are you ever afraid you will run out of ideas?

 Yes, but then after awhile something will always trigger new ideas. But I find out when I’m burnt out and uninspired, I just need a vacation to help me re-engerize.

Jenny, we wish a vacation on you any time you burn out, because we love to see your inspired work. Thanks for kicking so much ass.

 

xo, HTHG

 

 

 

 

 

Love Battle at Foxglove City

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7U6A8051Here are some shots from a recent afternoon Foxglove Love Battle session that transpired in my neighborhood with two of my dear young muses, Birch and Cameron.

In a city without many empty lots left overgrown, I love this one lot that we chose to shoot at, to it’s fullest. It is like my own wild piece of countryside behind a white picket fence, old knotty apple trees, plants made lush and green by years of goat manure from the former homes previous owners, who were urban goat farmers and edible weed lovers.

Welcome to Foxglove City, please enjoy the photos:) 7U6A7948 7U6A7725 7U6A7896 7U6A7884 7U6A8094

And lastly, this beautiful shot of the braids coming down ( The deconstruction shots are always best!)

Do you have a little secret garden around where you live? If you don’t, I encourage you to find one:)

Secret Garden Braids

xo, HTHG

Honoring our Daughters with Braids

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IMG_7527Hello hair friends and sisters:)

This post today is dedicated to the daughters of the world, which is all of us with possibly some additional sons, and this is for them too, if they are into braiding their hair with flowers, and if they are, we salute and love them for it.

I want to be the kind of mom who honors my children for truly who they are, and I want them to be the kind of kids who understand that and know it deep in their hearts. And it is so hard sometimes to nurture that connection and love when we are stuck on the hamster wheel of ‘normal life.’

A month ago, I took my kids out of school for 2 weeks because I wanted them to be able to run free in the Ozarks and spend time with their loved ones and friends in our other hometown of Fayetteville Arkansas. And I needed a chance to remember who I am, and who they are, and why and how I love them.

I had been feeling increasingly out of touch with them in our busy Seattle life……Our days a routine of rushing them around and then feeling frustrated at their slow pace.

IMG_7417Being a mom is really hard because I often feel like the asshole, or I like to call it a momhole, if you will ( DON’T google it! No DON’T!) We simply don’t get enough time to just relax together (much less on our own!) , follow our curiosity, and just be without plans to keep us rushing around like rats in a race. We desperately needed some time to slow down together.

On top of feeling like a momhole in general, there is also the guilt of motherhood and womanhood, where everything we do is in opposition to what we should be doing, no matter what we are doing. What?????????? wtf. Makes one want to just say fuck it, I’m just going to do whatever I want forever.

IMG_7447Which is what we did in Arkansas last month, and it was divine. We crashed couches, we invited ourselves over to the homes of some of our favorite people, we ate, we danced, we played, we slept, we spent mothers day in our underwear lounging around like sloths, and we worshipped the great mama in the river with some of our best friends.

2 full weeks just BEING with our daughters, letting our little community hold us, not rushing, and just letting our days unfold was the best therapy that we could have asked for.

IMG_7512As we drove back to the airport at the end of our trip, a 4 hour journey to Kansas City, the guilt started to creep back in. What kind of mother would give up this sort of life? What kind of mother would leave the sweet community that raised her a mother, to move to a city that is no longer hospitable to part-time working parents who refuse to not be there to watch their kids grow up?

We drove past a sign advertising the Gentry Animal Safari…….Just 15 miles up the road!

IMG_7503What kind of mother would drive past the Animal Safari and not stop so her kids could see the weirdness of totally not native animals roaming the land that WallMart bought? What kind of mother would not let her children hand feed a kangaroo white bread while drinking coke and eating red vines and hot dogs cooked in rancid oil?

What kind of fucking mother am I.

And then, as if by magic, a literal field of beautiful wild flowers entered my vision on the side of the freeway. Hark! A Park!  I pulled the car over, and we ran together into the middle of the field. We all knew what to do. We sat at flower level, watching butterflies flutter by and listening to the sound of the flowers sing.

As I watched them frolic in absolute joy and wonder, I forgave myself for all the things I don’t do for them. As I braided their hair, I bowed to them in my heart, honoring them for being who they are and reminding me to stop beating myself up for not doing more for them. In my own annoying mom way, I tried to telepathically beam that straight down their throats and into their joyful little hearts.

There is nothing like braiding someones hair to show them that you honor them:)

If you are a mama, braid your kids hair. If you have a mama, braid her hair for her.

Thanks for reading my rambles:)

Here are the braids I gave them.

selahsparrow

marleymae

Pretty self explanatory, although the trick for this second one is that I pulled out all the hair along just the outer edge of both braids, instead of both edges. Then used pins to secure the braids across the back of the head to the other side, and tucked and pinned the ends of the braids underneath.

Honor yourselves, Honor your daughters. Lot’s of love.

Also, PS. Our youngest daughter Selah is graduating from Preschool today so I’m feeling very sentimental.

xoxo, HTHG

 

Spirit Weaving the Crown

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IMG_8985IMG_8340Hello dears. I hope you all are doing well! I just returned from the Spirit Weavers Gathering where I set up the Adornment Space with Stefani Padilla and Rebecca from Heartfire Henna as a sacred area for adornment through hair cuts, braiding, and henna.IMG_8674

I spent an entire day, dawn till dusk, decorating redwood trees with flower garlands and mandalas. Twas absolute heaven. Then spent 10 days within that beautiful sacred space, braiding hair and bonding with incredible women. IMG_9014-1IMG_8994

I also facilitated a Braid Workshop (Weaving the Crown) and Braid Circle which was incredibly fun and the women who came to learn blew my mind with how quickly they picked up braiding and how empowered they felt by learning the ancient craft.

I have so much I want to share about it, but I reckon all the jewels of memories and knowledge I learned and shared will be coming out slowly in posts to come. It was such an honor to offer my skills and have them be so lovingly received. Let’s just say this…..My heart exploded. Thank you all who were a part of it.

And I have many photos to share.

Interested in booking a Braid or Beehive bar or a Braid Workshop for a party or an event? Email me at howtohairgirl@gmail.com

More soon, HTHG

When Curly Friends do Each Others Wedding Hair

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IMG_7021Hi dears! Today I am sharing a little fun and heartwarming project that I did last month in Arkansas with some dear lady friends at the river. Here is the story-

Christina was getting married in the Ozarks, to an Ozark man who she loves dearly and I was leaving town 3 days before the wedding (Cry!) so I wouldn’t be able to make it to do her hair and celebrate in the union of their sweet family.

So, we decided it would be a good move to teach her best friend Audrey how to do her hair for her. We met at the West Fork of the White River, near a lone goose who was clearly offended that we were around.

We set up our picnic blanket, and stripped down to our swim suits and set up shop. The goose hopped into the river to find a new place to hang.

Both Christina and Audrey are naturally curly women, with wild golden curls. We chatted a bit about what kind of hairstyle Christina wanted, and I gave her my bride hair shpeal which goes like this

For your wedding the most important thing is that you feel like yourself but at your very best and most elegant. So, let’s take your ‘usual’ hairstyle (a low loose bun on one side.) and fancy it up a bit. Can’t go wrong that way.

She was down with that. We decided which side to put her hairstyle on, knowing that we wanted it low and slightly off center. I

Now, for curly haired babes who are getting married, I generally like to leave the hair in it’s most natural texture without disturbing the curl pattern as I style it. Christina had a deep side part, and her heavy side falls naturally into a really lovely sort of fingerwave pattern when left to it’s own devises, so I planned the hairstyle to work around that, preserving that gorgeous natural feature of her hair that she loves.

I began by sectioning (gently) her sides, from the top of her head to behind both ears, pushing all the side hair forward of her shoulders and out of the way so I could build from the center of the back.

With all the hair in the back, I began a braid down the back, pulling the braid slightly to the side as I braided.

Halfway through the braid, I started at the top on one side of the braid, pulling the edges out to widen that side and create petal-like shapes on one side of the braid.  These ‘petals’ will run along the outer edge of the bun, creating a floral design.

I didn’t braid too tight, but also not too loose. I continued braiding to the end, then pulled the rest of the petals out all the way to the ends of the braid. I secured the end.

IMG_6915Then, holding the braid flat against her head, I wound the braid into a bun, pinning as I went, securing the braid to the head discreetely, with the ends tucked out of the way.

Next step, I created another braid on the light side of her part, pulling the petals out on the outer edge of the braid as I worked my way to the ends.IMG_6919

I secured the ends, and then wound that braid below and then up and around the bun, pinning it into place as I went. This made the bun bigger and more intricate.IMG_6925

Then, I created a third braid on the other (heavy) side of her hair in the same way, pulling the petals out of the outter edge as I braided. I secured the ends, then wound that braid into another small bun (flower) pinning it discreetly nestled up against the first bun. (Braided Rosebud:)IMG_6927IMG_6929

Then, I did my favorite little trick that adds volume to the back of the head…….Holding the buns tightly to her head with one hand, I used a bobby pin in the other hand to lift up the hair at her crown, threading it in underneath the hair at her crown and then lifting it towards me to create a bit of space, but without pulling too hard. I did this a few times around the back of her head to add a bit of oomf.IMG_6930

Then, she got flowered. Peony flowers and leaves and Queen Anne’s lace.

The whole while, Audry watched and asked questions to clarify……..Making sure she understood the directions so that she would be ready when the big day came.IMG_6960IMG_6958

Then, Audrey got a haircut in the wind (my favorite sort of challenge). All the while, the goose watched us from the river.

Hair Friends for Life.

The End.

xo, HTHG

UPDATE!!!!!

IMG_7815Here is a photo from Audrey of the finished hairstyle the day of the wedding, complete with succulents. SO beautiful. Nice job ladies.