The Twinkle in Your Eyes: 4 Generations of Beauty Thoughts

…..only YOU can care for you. –Advice from my great grandma to my grandma Suzi.

While visiting my Grandma Suzi this Christmas, I got to thinking about how cool she is, and what interesting female progeny she has inspired…….3 generations of, kind, smart, zany, strong women with strange quirks and a real zest for life.

I decided to do an interview with 4 generations of women on my mothers side, on the topic of beauty. Just to see if I could get some golden wisdom about what brings the beautiful twinkle into the eyes of these women. I asked them each the same questions about beauty, inside and out……Where they find it, how they hold on to it, and what they learned from their own mothers about it.

You can set your clock by my mother’s look. What a sense of security we all extract from my Mother’s dependable, clearly defined appearance! –My mother Ann, on her mother Suzi.

I’d like to introduce you to 4 generations of women in my family. 7U6A0991

Here is my grandma, Suzi VanderStoep, formerly Margaret Sue Hayne, age 90, born In Seattle, to Scottish and English parents, by way of Nova Scotia. Raised in Aberdeen, Washington. Like Kurt Cobain. Mother, daughter, sister, wife, teacher, general badass. (Sorry about the cuss word, g’ma. ) We call her Grape Grammie because as Marley puts it “She is wrinkled up like a beautiful grape.”


Here is my mother, Ann VanderStoep, age 64, born to Scottish, English, and Dutch parents in rural Chehalis Washington. Professer, author, sister, daughter, mother, former Jane Goodall chimp co-studier. General sun-lover, should have been born African woman.

7U6A2911Here is my older sister Brook Celia Barajas, age 34, born to Scottish, English, Dutch, and Norwegian parents in Seattle, Washington. Mother, daughter, wife, sister, friend, clay figure maker, studier of tiny things, cutting edge cancer biologist lady at Stanford in Palo Alto, CA.

IMG_9994 And here is my oldest daughter Marley Mae Apple Ames, age 7 almost 8. Born to Scottish, English, Dutch, Norwegien, Irish parents in Fayetteville, AR, in an inflatable tub on the kitchen floor. Big sister, 2nd grader, karate kid master, maker of everything, idea factory think-tank, enthusiastic dreamer, manifester of magic in Seattle WA.


The Twinkle In Your Eyes


To what do you credit the lovely twinkle in your eyes?

IMG_1814Brook-I try to spend time finding reasons to be grateful.  There are so many, and if I count a few every day, I can always find something to make my eyes twinkle.  It might sound trite, but there really is a lot of joy in the world, and I try to see it.

Marley- Using my lovely voice.

(boy that’s no shit. The girl has the gift of gab)

I eat a lot of carrots. Making pillows….Without any help. Doing a fun project, start to finish. My eyes twinkle when I am being creative, I feel like an artist…..Making beautiful things. Once I woke up with a real Artist’s Eye! Everything I saw was a masterpiece!

I feel strong when I am doing karate, I love to ride my bike or scooter around Greenlake. I am generally awesome.

Ann- For the twinkling eyes, I credit an appreciation for the ironies of life, big and small. I like thinking of each of our lives, mine and yours, as a canvas with broad brushstrokes and colorful details. The twinkle comes from appreciating the aspects that are common to all canvases as well as the humorous, wonderous, annoying details that enliven and personalize each individual canvas.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.15.19 PMMy eyes twinkle in appreciation of the simplicity and complexity in our days and in the creatures with whom we cross paths. I love the spark of connection that can ignite between any two of us and the warm flame of enduring friendship and caring that keeps us close over time.

Suzi- Maybe it is listening to others and interest in a new topic- A curiousity to learn new things. I try to see beauty in the common things of life and seek joy and peace around. ( Thanks grandma, for passing that on to me, your Filth and Beauty granddaughter.)


What beauty advice or words for general grace and happiness would you like to give to the generation below you?

Brook- All it takes to be beautiful is to realize that you are beautiful.

Marley- Always stand up for what you believe in. Never give up. Be creative. Live a long life, if you can. Try to have a positive attitude. Try to smile a lot.

Ann- Get as much sun as possible! But don’t tell Brook that:)

MOM!!! You are not supposed to say that! remember? The sun will make you die! Your eldest daughter studies skin cancer, jeez. Thing is, though, I too am a reckless sun lover too. Hopefully, I will just end up with a body covered in beautiful protective moles like my mom.

Suzi- To feel beautiful? Take a walk outside rain or shine, breathing deeply. Get regular sleep. Different people seem to need different amounts of sleep, just make sure you keep it regular.

What beauty advice (or general advice that really sticks out) was given to you by your own mother?

Brook- My mom was a general vortex of beauty advice. I would say that she led by example, and really was so unconcerned with the outer parts of beauty and that is what made her so beautiful to me.

By osmosis, she taught me all about the beauty that comes from strength and confidence.  Also she is the only one who ever really loved me for being such a furry mammal covered in body hair  – I’m still trying to love that about myself the way she does.

Marley- Mom taught me that Beauty means strength. She taught me that my heart and brain believing in something enough can make it real, most of the time. But that you still have to work hard and take your time to do it right. And she taught me to braid my hair and that once you can do a regular braid, then you can start making up all kinds of other braids!

Ann- My mother’s guiding principle was, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I have heard her repeat this mantra many times over the course of 60 years. For the first half of my life, I internalized it as a moral teaching, as if it was more holy or laudable to give than to receive.

I was to sanction “selfish” impulses and replace them with acts of other-directed generosity. In so far as I could do this, I’d get a higher grade or more brownie points. This is a tall order for a child, adolescent, and young adult.

A turning point came in my mid-adult years, I realized that giving didn’t mean self-denial, that giving was intrinsically rewarding. So instead of giving and receiving lying at opposite poles, they were, in fact, on the same side of the equation. “Blessing” meant rewarding to self and other. The whole was more than a sum of its parts.

IMG_3463Suzi- My mothers advice to me when I was busy raising 3 active children and a husband, and tending the house and yard was this “only YOU can care for you” No one else can tell you what your body needs so pay attention and be sure to care for your own needs.

What defines beauty to you, in a woman?

Brook- I seem to keep saying the same things, but as I grew up the women I always found the most beautiful were the women who felt beautiful.  When a woman is not just comfortable with herself, but actually loves her body, not because other people tell her she should but because she enjoys being in her own skin, you can’t help but notice.

Ann- Radical self-acceptance, the willingness of a woman to take who she is and run with it, is awesomely beautiful! I find self-doubt to be sad and unattractive. Warmth exuding from eyes that reflect a keen appreciation of another is beautiful. As far as clothing and jewelry go, I like it when a woman puts it all together with humor that invokes a heartfelt laugh and a “Wow! I never would have thought of that…good eye, good instinct!”

My mother was tall, 3 inches taller than me. I gravitate towards tall women.

Suzi- Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

What do you swear by, product-wise for your general beauty and health needs ?

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.22.13 PMBrook- Old Spice Pure Sport Deodorant.   It’s the only deodorant that seems to work for me, plus it smells like sexy man.  I love that musky man smell, and my husband isn’t into scented products, so I just cover myself in it instead.  I have been using it for years, and I still love smelling it on my clothes.











Marley- I love my liquid soap. I mix soap and water in a ShamPHree bottle. I use soap that I make myself or soap my friend Kiki makes. I let it sit a while, and then give it a shake before I use it.

IMG_3396I love doing mud masks in the bath with my mom. I like to use Shiny Dancer in my hair. I ShamPHree my hair and my sisters hair once a week. I love to brush my

hair, I have my own brush. I don’t use hand lotion because I want my callouses to stick around. That way, I can touch fire without getting burned and swing on the bars better.IMG_3319









Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 12.39.14 PMLike my mother, I used to apply Oil of Olay face cream daily. About 15 years ago my daughter told me that animal experimentation was part of production of OoO, so I switched brands. Applying a bit of face cream each morning is important.


Like my mother, I use Dial Soap. We both have pretty strong body odor, and we are both convinced that unscented Dial serves us well. I take a bath in the tub every morning. After applying Dial, I rub a wonderful, rich, lavender or verbena-smelling bar of soap all over. Yumm…makes me feel as if I am luxuriating and that I will bring pleasure to myself and others (particularly to my granddaughters!) throughout the day.


Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.17.49 PMThere is one perfume I love. I discovered it in 1978. It is called, “Je Reviens” and it comes from France, made by a perfumer called Worth. I can conjure up the smell in my mind’s eye. I wore it daily for 5 years or so. I haven’t worn it or any perfume in 25 years, but I still think of Je Reviens as “my perfume!”

I have been a shampoo chaser my whole adult life. I use one for a while (usually about ¾ of a bottle’s worth), and then it seems to “wear out” and leaves my hair limp. I’m then on to the next brand. What’s up with that? The beauty industry cranks out appealing sounding shampoos at a fast pace. I could never keep up at my 4 month/shampoo pace. So, although a bit curious, this habit is not stress-inducing.

Mom…..You know you could go ShamPHree right? But maybe that would be like admitting that Whole Milk is not the only key to having strong bones. Ha! gotcha. Let me know when you are ready and I willshow you the way. Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.19.45 PM


Suzi- I use Oil of Olay lotion on my face because my daughter Jo supplies me with it. Our local drug store sold my lipstick, Revlon Persian Melon (no longer available!) Now my favorite is #575 (I LOVE that pink) but I can seldom find it!

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.24.35 PM








I use Dial Soap, because I heard once that surgeons use it on the job.

Do you have any beauty routines that you stick with?

Brook- I feel beautiful when my body is strong.  I do a lot of running, and if I can I swim or do a little yoga. After struggling for years with my body image, I have found that if I am fit and am taking good care of myself, I feel good in my body no matter what my weight or size.

7U6A5074Marley- I love to have my mom Rag Curl my hair at night. It is fun to look different sometimes by changing my hair. I like to play around with pretending to be different people by changing the way I look. It feels exciting. I like to braid my hair at night too, after a bath. It makes my hair all wavy.Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.29.08 PM


Ann- As with my mother’s mantra, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” I have found great reward in healthy pattern that includes a restorative 7-8 hours of sleep every night, preferably riddled with thought-provoking dreams that I can remember, meals with lots of fresh raw vegetables, hearty breads slathered with creamy butter, and seafood, and a daily morning run at Green Lake! When I stay up too late, eat too much meat, miss a morning run, I don’t feel my best. And I love to feel alert and alive and ready to indulge in a meaningful, productive day. The taking care turns out to be more “blessed” than the not taking care.

I love to bathe in deepish pools in mountain streams, particularly where the bank is dappled in morning sunlight. Backpacking, I take a bit of soap and a ½ of a small towel and relish my refreshing daily “ablutions” where dust disappears, fingernails get cleaned, face and body relinquish the organic sleeping bag odors.

Suzi- As far as hair care, I have found that your hair gets used to whatever you impose on it and it will adjust.Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.02.52 PM

pin curl my hair nightly. I don’t like to have it roll around my face when I sleep, and I love a little curl in my naturally straight hair.I had a few perms as a young woman, but I didn’t like them. They were the ones that attached you to a machine.

I only recently discovered the magic of having a good hairdresser. Although I seldom use their many services…just the chopped off hair cut…but I think lots of people benefit lots because they help their spirits.

I used to paint my nails but since I cook 3 meals a day and do dishes with steel wool, I had to give it up.

What are the most beautiful things to you about your mother, inside and out?

Brook- My mom has this wonderful combination of serenity and infectious enthusiasm and joy that makes her so incredibly beautiful.  I feel like the serenity comes from having weathered so many painful and difficult things and realizing that she is strong enough to get through them, and the joy comes from never learning to fear those painful and difficult things still to come.  So her appearance and personality have both exuberant youth and graceful age. To me that really sums up her inner and outer beauty.7U6A6111

Marley- My mother is very nice. I like her tattoos and her freckles. She is so strong, too!. She is so good at sewing! She is good at playing, she helps me with projects. She teaches me to be clever.

Ann- I love my mother’s outside. At 4 months shy of 90, her looks are 100% radical or even minor changes from her becoming hairstyle, her sun kissed face, her natural fibre wools, cottons, linens.

I love my mother’s inside. She is strong in every way…physically, emotionally, intellectually. There is a wonderful irony about Suzi that absolutely delights and inspires me. While she has a strong, fixed opinion about everything, big and small, about which an opinion can be held (for example, she strongly dislikes sentences that end in prepositions), she will ALWAYS bend to meet up with a person she loves. . While she has strong loyalty to all of those zillions of opinions and preferences (i.e., Pringles potato chips are incontrovertibly better than Tim’s), her loyalty to all of the wild and disparate people she has spawned and chosen as friends is overriding.

Thank you too all the mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters  out their for the gifts of beauty that they give.

Beauty, as we know, comes from inside first and foremost. This is the where the soul of beauty lives….The genuine laugh, the free, wild true-ness of us. This inner beauty is reflected through sparkle in our eyes.

xo, HTHG



Crimper Magic

crimp magicHi there. Yesterday at VAIN, some fellow stylists were talking about cool things you can do with a hair crimper. I was inspired.

I grabbed a TIGI Travel Mini-CrimperScreen Shot 2015-04-25 at 3.33.24 PM (my favorite one!) and Megan, who has incredible long silky hair.

I sectioned out a panel of her hair, flat ironed it, sprayed it lightly with KM Session Spray, and started playing around, making diagonal crimps, and then criss-crossing them with more diagonal crimp.

This magic happened. I think there will be more crimping fun in the future around here.

In the meantime, if you don’t already have one, then get yourself a little hair crimper and start playing around.

xoxo, HTHG

Pippi Longstocking, Positivity, and Having Fun.

7U6A8412All over the world,Pippi Longstocking has inspired generations of girls to have fun and to believe in themselves. She can shoot a revolver and sail on the seven seas. She is both cheeky and kind; always standing up for the weak and oppressed. Pippi is assertive, and has superhuman strength (inside and out), being able to lift her horse one-handed. She frequently makes fun of unreasonable adult attitudes, which reminds us every day to not take ourselves so damn seriously! She never wants to grow up and is a great inspirational hero for womyn of all ages, colors, and sizes everywhere! Pippi reminds us to HAVE FUN.
We wanted to write about Pippi to honor all of our Pippi Longstocking strength inside of us. Pippi is fun because she breaks with conventional ideas about how girls should behave – and also, perhaps, makes fun of adults’ gender roles in the process. She herself is not as concerned about her appearance as many other girls and women. Pippi is definitely not an object, and evidently not prepared to succumb to the cosmetics industry, either. There is a sign in a shop window in the small town where she lives that reads, ‘DO YOU SUFFER FROM FRECKLES?’ Pippi doesn’t. She is not interested in the anti-freckle cream on offer but nevertheless goes into the shop to make her position clear. ‘No, I don’t suffer from freckles’, she declares. ‘But my dear child’, says the startled assistant, ‘your whole face is covered in them.’ ‘I know’, says Pippi, ‘but I don’t suffer from them. I like them. Good morning!’

Thanks to the incredible Corrina Yu, general badass, author and model from HTHG’s Urban Foraging Series. This post was written by her, and it was her idea, and she has so many more great ideas to share with us here, so watch out;)

If you haven’t read The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking book, get it here:)

xoxoxox, HTHG and Corrina Yu

Glitter Dandruff. The Next BIG Thing for Hair.

Dandruff is an over self-diagnosed condition of the scalp which nearly none of us actually have. Many people suffer from ‘dandruff.’ Many more people suffer from glitter.

Glitter has been deemed the ‘Herpes of Crafting’ because once you see it in your craft kit, you are likely to never be able to get rid of it. Generally, people who don’t like glitter REALLY don’t like glitter, because chances are, they have had a bad experience. Maybe they have been infected with it against their will (My waiter the other night had a sparkle on his cheek, unbeknownst to him, which glimmered and gleemed every time he spoke.)

Wearing glitter is a great way to unnerve uptight people in social situations, because it makes them afraid that you might get too close and accidentally touch them. It is also a fantastic way to decorate any and everything, especially if you want to disguise small mistakes…….Messed up nail polish, scratch on your car, scuffed boots etc.

I happen to love glitter. Here is why…..When there is something that you really can’t avoid drawing attention to, glitter will always both attract the eye by sparkling, and distract the eye by diffusion. Which makes Glitter Dandruff the perfect way to distract from ‘dandruff’ or grown out roots.

Here is how to get Glitter Dandruff.


Begin by getting some loose glitter, like this kind ( my favorite for crafting and hair.)

Now find a willing friend to glitter-bomb you. 7U6A8814

Dump a tablespoon of loose glitter into their hands.

7U6A8784Stand back, lean your head over towards them.

Have your friend go “1,2,3 BLOW!”7U6A8798

Wait a couple seconds for the glitter to settle in. 7U6A8800

Now go about your day, shining like a diamond. And if the haters hate, give em a nice big sparkly hug.7U6A8828

More on glitter here.

xoxo, HTHG




Fierce Braids #4: And what PMS feels like.

7U6A2382Black Cloak BraidsDo you ever have days where you feel 100% off your game and you can’t focus and your mind appears to be slipping between layers and dimensions of time and space without your control? I am having one of those days today. Technically you can call it PMS but I prefer to think of it as a mystical state of womanhood that goes way beyond my monthly cycle.

I am supposed to be writing an article for Huffington Post about ‘Taking Back Your Beauty!” which I am actually really excited about…….but…….today is just not the day. It’s a self-imposed deadline anyway.

I feel incredibly nostalgic all of a sudden, missing my slowed-down country life. Maybe I will pick up a copy of Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, a great book by one of my all-time favorite authors, Donald Harrington. Check him out if you want a mystically sordid and juicy look at rural Ozark life.

But first, I will tell a little story.

In Arkansas, outside of the little Ozark town that I lived in for 7 years, there was an old road called Black Oak Road.

To me, this road was shrouded in mystery. It may have been because it had such a powerful cool name. It also could have been the haunted folklore that went along with the area, or maybe just the stark rural-ness of it.

Black Oak Road was a 10 minute bike ride from my house, and it shocked me to see how quickly the townie landscape turned to deep country. Where the pavement turned to gravel on Black Oak Road, time slowed way down, and all the sudden I found myself in a past century altogether.

I tell this story because I picture a girl with these featured fierce braids living in an old stone house on Black Oak Road.

Here is how to do the Black Oak Braids.

Remember lace braids? Where you french braid the hair, but you only add hair in on one side instead of both sides? This hairstyle is just essentially 2 lace braids. Super-duper easy. That has been the theme with the Fierce Braids Series……Hairstyles that look complicated but are actually quite simple to do:)

The Black Oak Braids are best done on medium to long hair, and I always recommend using a sea-salt texture spray before embarking on a braid. Masterbraider is my favorite, and you can get it here:)

Begin by parting the hair down the center.

Starting one one side of the front hairline, begin a braid as if you were going to french braid the side. When you begin adding in hair, only add it from above the braid, not from the hairline side. So you are adding in hair every other overlap.

As you add hair in, guide your braid straight downward. The braid itself should fall against the face, unattached on the hairline side.

Your last add-in section should be a vertical parting that lays roughly behind your ear. Then, stop adding hair in and braid your way down the free end of your section. Stop a couple inches from the ends, and secure with a clear elastic.

Now repeat these instructions on the other side.

Once you have completed both braids, overlap them across the back of your head.

From underneath, stick a large bobby pin through the braids and secure them to the head. Let the ends hang free.

Channel a mystical woman from a forgotten time. And be easy on yourself. Take time when you need it. Eat a cookie or somethin’ if you want.

BTW, in trying to explain what ‘PMS’ is like to my Jonny, here is as far as I got.

Imagine that you haven’t slept well in days, and you accidently lock yourself inside an old phone booth. You are sweating and on the verge of panic. From inside the phone booth, everything sounds grating and harsh. The smell offends your senses. You can see out, but it is blurry because the window-ed walls are scratched up and all scuffed so nothing is very clear. You know that people can see you in there, but they can’t hear what you are saying, so they assume that you are

A. a crazy person


B. Just fine and don’t need their help.

You rationally know that you will get out of there in one piece but you can’t logically form a plan of escape. So you just breathe and wait for it to end and try not to make any sudden movements.

Anyone out there have a more positive way of framing PMS? Please share.

If you don’t experience PMS symptoms consider yourself either lucky or out of touch with your body……….But just WAIT till you have children. If you plan on not having children, that is great, you will miss out on an insane rollercoaster ride of hormones. Power to ya, either way 😉 Fist bump.

xoxoxox, HTHG

Next Page »