Honoring our Daughters with Braids

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

 

Mother’s Day Hair Transformation

72666AE2-E646-4036-8EA1-E838BE7721A2Life is full of transformative changes, and our hair has been used as an emblem for life change for thousands of years, and across all world cultures. This is powerful. Today, with access to chemistry and knowledge of color theory, we have so many options for transforming our hair and marking our paths of change. This story is for all the Mamas out there, and it is my offering for Mother’s Day, because I want to honor the transformations that we go through as mothers.

I want to start by summerizing the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly, because it is beautifully stunning.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 1.48.07 PMA close lady friend recently pointed out to me when caterpillars become butterflies, they don’t evolve from one form directly into the next as a fetus becomes a baby. Nope. Catepillars enter their crysalis (Their preparatory pod of of transition ) and then they digest themselves and turn into catepillar soup. Then, somehow, the cells that are spared in digestion organize themselves to create all of the magnificent parts needed to grow a butterfly from scratch. What the fuck. Nature Wins Forever. I am just floored by this.

B1A1BF9B-E47A-4CCD-8171-DEF8BDEFC235What a beautiful way to embody a transition in life. This fact about butterflies was the inspiration for my sister’s hair transformation.

how would you feel about me doing something wild with my hair?

My sister Brook asked her new boss this. She had just started a new job as a science babe in an HIV research lab, turned 35, had a baby, moved to a new city with her husband, defended her thesis, and tried out for lead singer in an all girl punk rock band. It was time to celebrate some major life transformations with new hair.

Her boss answered……

Regarding work, my philosophy is that appearances have nothing to do with what kind of scientist you are, so your appearance is your choice. On a personal level, I would love it if you did something wild with your hair – I think it is nice when people feel comfortable with personal expression. And on an ethical level, I think we should all find our own ways to encourage our colleagues and the world in general to be more tolerant, and not afraid of people who don’t look like them. Especially these days. So go for it!  It will be fun to see what you and your sister come up with 🙂

This, we took as a green light.

PicMonkey CollageWe both new It was time for butterfly hair, to honor the recent transitions in her life and help her start anew. I spent a few days thinking about what to do with her hair (she gave me full artistic license to design, bless her.) Then, the day came to transform.

Please feel free to not read through the entire description of how her hair was done, it is quite technical, hairdresser talk and you may or may not be interested. You may also just look at the pictures if it suits you. If you want to learn how to do this hair, please read on:)

Brook’s Butterfly Hair

Here is what we did to create her cut and color……First, a major chop. I had been obsessing over the idea of shaggy bowl cuts, and decided that it would be the perfect hair move for Brook. She was game for anything. I basically did a center part on her dry hair, then pulled everything straight forwards to a stationary design line that ran parallel with the tip of her nose. In two chops with my shears, she had a rough bowl cut, and was ready to bleach.

I bleached her virgin hair with 30v developer and Olaplex.

Then, touched up that shaggy bowl cut, by working through her hair in diagonal sections, beginning at the hairline, pulling the hair forwards to that same original design line, and cleaning up the line. The haircut honestly barely needed any work.

*Cheaters guide*

If you want to DIY this haircut, do a center part, brush your hair all straight forwards, even hang your head forwards to make it easier. Gather all of the hair and brush it neatly into a ponytail that gathers at the tip of your nose. Pointcut that ponytail right off. Let the hair down and check out your gorgeous kitchen shag.

IMG_5312 I began by mixing her colors. I knew I wanted the shades to match her eye color, so I took a picture of her eyeball, then saturated it a bit and used it as a guide for mixing. I also knew I wanted a pop of pink. IMG_5053IMG_5054

Then, I began by sectioning of a circle on the top of her head, which would fall down over the top of that shag, radially. I wrapped it into a tight bun and clipped it off, to keep it out of the way. Then, I carefully painted her roots with the deeper teal color. C3B7C507-F75C-4CC8-A32C-42BBA4863565

Once I had applied the teal to her roots, I carefully applied it to the roots of her circle section, and then re-clipped it off. brook

Then, I applied the lighter teal to the rest of her hair, (excluding her circle section) and I also left out the ends of the hair around her face, wanting to incorporate some yellow into them.

Now, the fun part was coloring that top circle section, using the ColorPrint Technique!

I knew I wanted color to encircle her hair in a way that would really make her bowl cut pop, because when color is designed around a haircut, It takes the hair to a whole new level.CD446D4D-E3A3-4B0B-92C9-71753A764C9E

Here is what I did………..I made a half inch deep sub section, straight across the top circle section. I combed the hair from the subsection straight forwards, onto a piece of foil. Then, I taped it off, straight across above her ends, leaving about 2-3 inches of ends exposed. I made sure that the tape was securely sealed on top of the hair.

Then, with pink and a small art brush, I lined either side of the tape, creating 2 pink lines through the hair which would outline the resist image of the tape. AB737325-7A9A-40F0-B6F4-9D811A577FB4

Then, I gently feathered the top pink line upwards, and the bottom pink line downwards, so that they would gently melt into the next colors.

With separate art brushes, I applied the lighter teal between the roots and the upper feathered pink, and I appllied the yellow to from the ends of the hair, feathering upwards to the pink. ( ends first, so as not to bleed too much pink downwards.)

Once this sub-section was colored, I made a second sub section behind the first, a half inch deep, and pulled it down and laid it directly on the first colored subsection. I repeated the steps, taping off the hair right over the first tape (layering tape/hair/tape/hair.) and then applying color in the same way. I knew that by bringing all the hair from this top circular section back to our original design line, and coloring it in the exact same manner all through the entire top section, we would end up with a circle around the head, when the hair falls naturally.

I worked my way through that entire top section, making half inch deep sub-sections, layering them, taping and coloring them one on top of the next. This, my dears, is hairdresser magic :).

Once all the color was applied, she sat for 20 minutes. Then I rinsed her with cool water, top section first, tape still on. I rinsed with medium water pressure, leaving the tape attached until all the excess color had been rinsed from the section. ( This helps keep the resist image clear and crisp!)

Once top section was rinsed, I rinsed everything all together, until the water ran clear and her hair felt clean of product.66C9442D-85B3-447A-9A8C-CF59F5C0C61D

Then, I rough dried her, and showed her herself in the mirror. There is just nothing like that moment of embodying the transformation. Butterfly wings sprouted from her back and she fluttered home, stopping to smell every flower along the way.

DC87D44E-1655-4858-9E70-072AB839F489FF46561A-8DF4-4801-9CD5-08BE21939B1DWhen she got home, her 2 year old son wouldn’t look at her, at first. Then, a little while later, he took her face in his hands and smiled and told her she was beautiful.

Happy Mothers Day!

As an extra token of my love today for mamas far and wide, head over to HTHG Instagram and enter our Free Your Hair Brush Giveaway.

xoxox, HTHG

 

 

Tiny Punk Rock Girl: Letting our Kids Do What They Want With Their Hair

Hair is a great teaching lab for children to develop their senses about body autonomy- Dr. Laura Kastner

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.43.48 PM

 You know how some people just radiate who they are unapologetically and unquestionably so hard that it makes you want to follow suit? Grayson is that chick. This is Grayson. She is 3 years old, a true threenager, and she is a budding radical non conformist with a healthy sense of ownership of her own body.

Grayson and her big brother Eli are friends with our 4 year old Selah through preschool, so I have had the pleasure of hanging out with G when she comes over for playdates, and more recently, have had the opportunity to play with her hair.

Grayson has insanely beautiful apricot red naturally curly hair that grows straight out into a cloud of fuzz and ringlets, and it has brought her a lot of attention in her life. Any curly red-haired person can relate. People want to touch it and make a big deal of it. Grayson is quite unconcerned.

A few months back, her brother Eli got a haircut. His long curly locks came off, revealing a more independent, grown up kid. Inspired by the power of his transformation, Grayson decided she wanted her haircut too.

She asked her folks, and they agreed. They asked me if I would trim her hair for her. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

DSCF4280All color photos in this post were taken by my friend Bill Anthony🙂

Grayson came and sat in my hair chair and I brushed her hair out. She smiled and shut her little eyes as I pulled and tugged my way through her hair, acting like a happy cat getting groomed.

I trimmed her ends for her, while she sat still and at full attention. I sensed her satisfaction with the whole experience, a little boost in her self, a little ownership of her choices. It is such a subtly powerful shift that I witness in people when cutting their hair.

I had a feeling that this trim was the beginning of something bigger for her. I knew that she would be back for more. She wanted to see herself in a different way, she wanted a bigger change, she wanted to make the choice, she wanted to feel big like Eli. A trim was not enough.DSCF4301

The next week, she came over and wanted more hair cut off. (Her parents, by the way, are impressively cool about letting her decide what to do with her own hair, which is an important point that totally drives this whole experience.)

So, we shaved her sides. She spent quite a while examining herself with this new look. She liked the look of herself, liked the experience of transformation. She really liked the larger pile of hair on the ground afterward.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.43.33 PM

This far into the process of Grayson going full punk rock girl and getting her head shaved, I started thinking about the importance body autonomy for young children.

Body autonomy, as defined by Getting to Calm author and famed clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Kastner,refers to the human right of people to have control over their own bodies. This right grants people self-determination regarding how their body is used or treated, personal boundary inviolability, and choices about who touches one’s body and who doesn’t.

 We, as parents, have a responsibility to make sure that our child’s health is maintained , which includes feeding, cleaning and protecting their bodies from harm. But ideally, we explain our reasoning and respect their need for control as much as possible. Even with food, it is our job is to supply healthy food at appropriate times, but it is the child’s job to decide what and how much to ingest. Because health decisions will be mostly non-negotiable, encouraging your child toexplore his or her unique tastes and whims with hair style is an ideal way tosupport your child’s understanding and rights to body autonomy.’

DSCF4364A week later, Grayson told her parents she wanted her hair all gone. Her dad Asa said this about the request: ‘There was a definite ‘oh shit’ moment for me, when I realized that the only reason we weren’t letting her shave it was because she is a girl’  So, being the cool parents that they are, they shaved her head for her. A beautiful example of supported autonomy between a parent and a child.

Dr. Kastner continues…’ I learned early in my adolescent development training to encourage parents to let kids make their own hair decision. To do so is harmless. It’s respectful of their burgeoning identities. Parents control so much of their children’s lives that they should rejoice in having hair as a safe realm in which they can support body autonomy.

 Encouraging personal exploration in safe ways builds self-knowledge and competence! As parents, we can sometimes have big opinions about “what looks best”. However, if we dig deeply enough, we know that our notions about physical appearance and hairstyles are culturally constructed, influenced by our identities (not respect for our children’s budding ones), and potentially biased by our needs to bend our children toward conformity.’

IMG_2127-3 Grayson is a great example of a child who has a very healthy sense of body autonomy (and a great sense of style). She rocks her shaved head proudly and beautifully, exploring herself in a creative and expressive way and experimenting with non-conformity. And damn it if we don’t need more non-conformist, think outside-the-boxness in this world.

Dr. Kastner sums it up…..’What’s wrong with conforming, you ask? Naturally, teaching your children to obey many social rules is imperative and your job as a parent! We want them to settle squabbles nonviolently, pick up litter and show kindness. However, when itcomes to their bodies, do you want them to learn to subjugate themselves to others’ opinions about their bodies, desires to touch their bodies, or others’ beliefs about crossing personal boundaries? I don’t think so.

Giving children control of their bodies at a young age will empower them to standup for their rights later in life. You can talk to your toddler or young child about hair, knowing that you are communicating deeper meanings. This is your hair and you get to choose how to wear it. You know best about what feels best to you. The great thing about hair is that if you don’t like it, you can change it!’

 Thank you Grayson, for demonstrating this lesson in such a badass little way.

Sick Day, Hair Chalk, and a Pony Doll that only a Child Could Love.

7U6A9285Last night, I barfed my brains out almost literally, while my kids barfed next to me. We apparently had a freakish stomach flu. The next day, I was supposed to co-teach a Social Media for Hairstylists class at VAIN, and had to cancel, which disappointed the shit out of me.

Needless to say, the girls stayed home from school and we found ourselves feeling slightly under the weather and also stir-crazy and bored with the meak menagerie of crafting supplies at home. So, I took them to the BABE CAVE! It was the kids first official studio day with mom.

I had to set some initial ground rules……No bickering, no negativity, breathing through frustration, etc…..The Cave is a sacred creative space, after all. 7U6A9384They agreed, after a bit of backtalk.

When we got their, I pulled out my craft kit, and the girls dove into the hair chalk. I found this artist chalka couple years ago that is made for art but perfect for hair, and it is cheap and easy to find. The kids are obsessed with it.

7U6A92717U6A9379Fully chalked, the girls moved on to other projects. Marley made Goddess Eyes with yarn and sticks, ( Which was the PERFECT start to finish project for a creative 8 year old)7U6A9409

and Selah………..Selah. First she rubbed my crystals all over her face for a while.

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Then, she directed me through the construction of a terrifying pony doll named ‘Nightmare Moon,’ a project which consisted of me cutting out a winged-pony out of a doubled up old t-shirt that Marley had previously tie-dyed, 7U6A9395

digging around in my beautifully chaotic thread box to choose thread to sew it with,7U6A9419

sewing it together and then sewing yarn hair on it, 7U6A9439

then violently stuffing lumpy beans down it’s extremities hoping it wouldn’t explode, and then……… loving it entirely for it’s perfect weirdness. Pinterest, you won’t see this pony within your beautifully refined DIY’s.7U6A9441

7U6A9431All in all, I would say it was a good day considering it was a flu day. 7U6A9455

Hope you all are enjoying your June, (without the flu.)

xoxo, HTHG

Motherhood and Life, Her Way.

7U6A7852I know this is a hair blog, babes. But every once in a while when something stirs me enough…..a person, a story etc…..I feel the need to share it with you. This is one of those instances.

A few months ago, a beautiful woman sat down in my hair chair for the first time. She was getting her hair done for the first time since enduring a hellacious twin pregnancy and birthing two perfect babies, a boy and a girl.

7U6A7890As I did her hair, she told me her story of how she decided to have babies on her own, without a partner. What she described about her life and choices  was both captivating and empowering.

I mentioned towards the end of our time together that I am working on building my photography portfolio, and she excitedly said she had been looking to find someone to take candid shots of her and her babies.

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2 weeks later, we embarked on a photo shoot which involved her and I, her incredible newborns, a team of women on hand to distract, hold, prop up, feed, and swaddle the babes as needed, several important family heirlooms for props, and torrential rainfall.

Her photos turned out gorgeous, and really conveyed her dark, beautiful powerful sorceress-ness contrasted by the sweet innocence of her babies. After we shot, I asked her if she would let me ask her some questions for an HTHG interview, and she obliged.

Friends, I give you Charla Pereira…..Mother, Badass, Boss lady, Doing it Her Way.

Charla…Where did you come from, where did your parents come from, and how did you end up here.
I am quite a few things – Portuguese, Anglo-Indian, Romanian gypsy, Ukrainian, German – the babies now also have Croatian and Scottish to add to the mix  – my dad was born in India / Calcutta / my mum in Canada / she is first generation Canadian. I was born and raised in Canada as well.  My grandfather always said that my widows peak made me a seer. The gypsy in me goes where I want, do what I want and create my world how I want it.
You are a designer at Microsoft? Tell me a bit about how you landed there and what you like about designing.
I am a Senior Design Manager at Microsoft Studios Canada, I eat the world with my eyes, I want everything in the world to be easier, prettier, and more fun.  I have painted the world around me since I can remember and before that. Microsoft has allowed me to work on projects that excite me and make me feel like I am able to bring the future to life.
What is your superpower, as a woman/mother?
HMMMMM – I don’t know. I think all woman are in general super heroes in so much – If I were to say what everyone says to me about how I am it is that I know my babies instinctively – again I believe all women of course do  – I think it goes back to my deep watching of the world around me – in a sense it is photographic to everything around me – but its deeper, its emotional not just physical.

Knowing peoples emotions before they know them and having the same reaction to my children that way – I love being able to know them better than anything in the world.  It’s something everyone always notices about me – how my empathy mixed with my seeing abilities creates this ability to see into peoples energies, needs, and how I can help them.

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You decided to have babies without a partner. Tell me a little bit about that choice, and why you are glad you made it.
I’m more than glad I made it!!  I have been married, been in love, plan to be again but wanted to be put my energy, love and effort into having children rather than a relationship at this time.  These babies are perfect. I knew that the universe wanted me to have children – I knew in my heart and soul.

I don’t believe you need a partner to have the things you want and thank goodness for technology you don’t need one to have a baby either. I also think it comes to seeing others so unhappy in their relationships, what happens to those relationships when you have children etc. I didn’t want to chance that – I wanted babies and I wanted them to be all mine.  Mostly having a partner is not a priority for me. Before kids the priority was me, my work, my art and then it just morphed into wanting children to share it.
I was struck by the support you have in your team of women who have help you with your babies. SO cool. Describe a typical day/night with you and the babies and your crew of ladies?
I had the worst pregnancy ever. Hospital and almost losing them, bedrest for 6 months, nerve damage, diabetes and a list of other crap – my mother, the most amazing woman is to be praised for keeping us alive.  
I am so grateful for these amazing ladies, friends, and mothers coming to my aid and giving me and the babies love and compassion.
I was so lucky to have the doula that I have, Angie Dobbins-Frisbee. She has been available day and night, supported me with breast feeding the twins, making enough milk, sleeping a little. 

She introduced me to a team of doulas that helped me around the clock to make sure the little babies were able to thrive and I didn’t die in the process.
I don’t think that there is anything better than the energy of woman, young old and in-between, around babies.
The nurturing, support, understanding and love that just comes out  – watching this for me has been so amazing – you can feel this strong woman energy all around. It’s really beautiful.
A typical day for us is nothing typical, everything changes!  I observe how they are that day and how I can make that day the best day ever for them – and not die of sleep deprivation in the process!
Obviously you have NO TIME to spend right now on your hair, but I’m curious…..What is your general hair MO? Ponytail everyday, no wash?

My hair is long, up and away from being pulled lol – but always a part of me to express my creative side…….when I have the time.

Charla, we salute you! Thank you for sharing your story with us and empowering us with your experience. I look forward to shooting more photos of you and those sweet babies some day.

 

xoxo, HTHG

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