Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Hairy Revolution

One of my quarter-life crisis birthday resolutions is to learn how to do my hair... ahem, do my hair cute. I know, I know, I'm a 25-year-old woman. You'd think I would know how to do my hair by this point in life. Well, let's take a look at my hair history.

Birth: I was born with a TON of hair. I had my first haircut at 6 weeks or 3 months or something like that (right, Mom?)

Little Kid-hood: My mom made lots of pretty bows and did very cute hairstyles on me every day.

Elementary School-hood: I started to get VERY picky about my hair. NO bumps. I was absolutely horrified at the thought of any bump sticking up out of my hair when it was in a ponytail or bun. Everything had to be perfect and in the center with no hairs hanging out funny. It was bordering on OCD. Hair OCD. Most definitely a trial for my mother.

And don't let me forget that I was on a swim team and/or water polo team from age 7 through college. I endured the nickname "Green Queen," and endless comments from hairstylists about how my slimy chlorine hair would slip right through their scissors.

2nd Grade: Oh the bang cut debacle of 1992. You see, my mom used to cut my hair herself. I guess this particular time she had trouble getting my bangs even (and she surely knew the flip-out she'd have on her hands if they weren't EVEN!). So she took a little off one side, a little off the other, a little more off the right, now a tiny more from the left and middle and before we knew it, my bangs were an inch long. She even had the gall to make me go to school the next day. Oh the shame. I remember being completely shocked when I wasn't mocked and ridiculed. Needless to say, I didn't let my mom cut my hair ever again.

6th-ish grade: My mom decides it's high time for me to start doing my own hair. Oh the tantrums. And the terrible hair OCD beast roaring her ugly head. Oh the crunchy, crunchy snap clip-filled hair. Did I mention how crunchy my hair was?

Junior High: I finally got into a groove that involved pony tails, half-up (or as we call it, "Some up, some down"), messy buns, and curling irons. Oh HI, Boys.

High School: Early morning swim and water polo practices led to me going to class with wet and uncombed hair. This is also when I tried to stop caring what people thought. I would comb my hair in my first class of the day and just let it air dry. Eventually I really did stop caring what people thought. I considered my hair "styled" when I took the time to blow-dry and straighten it.

Oh and there was that time I used Kool-Aid to dye several inches of my long hair green for a state swim meet. Apparently Kool-Aid is not a temporary dye. Lesson learned.

College through now: My hairstyles have been blow-dryed and straightened, high ponytail, low ponytail, high messy bun, low messy bun, bangs = none or swoopy or straight-across. I've rocked the long hair, the really long hair, and the really really long hair.

While I don't have too many regrets about my life-long hair saga, I have recently gotten this unfamiliar desire to have prettier hair. I decided to start with a classic french braid.

I have been telling myself for awhile that I can absolutely learn anything I want to with just the internet for a teacher. Let me tell you, the internet can't make your arms stronger. My main problem with practicing the french braid is that I can't hold my arms up long enough to get anywhere! They would start shaking and I would give up.

I decided to switch away from braiding straight back to braiding down the side of my head in hopes of achieving one of these (click each photo for source):

French-Braid-Hairstyles Photobucket

Very pretty, right? These braids are a little easier on the arms, but let me tell you, there were many failures before I even got a recognizable braid. Embarrassing, I know.

Without further ado, here's my first attempt that resembled anything besides bedhead (please excuse the mud-stained shirt I'm wearing. It was Jonathan's Dirty Dash shirt and I was spray painting):

Not exactly my finest hour of success, but it was a real braid!

Unfortunately, it's not something I would consider wearing in public. Yes, even me.

Second Attempt... something obviously went very wrong:
In my defense, bangs are difficult to braid into long hair. Also, I randomly grew a new row of hair when I had Hattie that's just a couple inches long now. So annoying.

Third Attempt. I asked Jonathan if it looked better or worse than the first. He said he couldn't tell. Sooo basically they both sucked:
You can really see my new row of hair in this photo (above). Hot.

My most recent attempt happened as I was sitting on the couch watching the news. No mirror this time. I actually wore this one out of the house. YAY!
I realized with this attempt that french braiding without a mirror is much easier and less confusing for my fingers.

I plan to keep trying and eventually master the french braid. No more boring ponytails (if you happen to see me wearing a boring ponytail, please don't say anything).

Here's to the next 25 hair years being much better than the last.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm officially on my quest to learn what I didn't learn in college.

Web Design.

I'm not sure when the desire to create a website came to me, but during my last semester of college I decided to figure out what this HTML business was all about. I signed up for a free class sponsored by the U of U's Marriott Library. Hmmm, well the guy who taught it ended up being a little old school. At the time, the world of website creation and web design were completely new to me and I just assumed I was learning cutting edge stuff here. It was a little disheartening when I realized that the teacher had taught us mostly outdated practices. Using table tags to format web pages. Tag names in all caps was best. Using old HTML tags instead of CSS to style a web page.

Anyway, try number two. I got a book and researched online. I'm now teaching myself from the latest sources (I hope) and I've decided to build a website completely from scratch.

Lest this post gets too boring for those with absolutely zero interest in the behind-the-scenes internet, a picture! This is a screenshot of the very VERY beginnings for my trial website. It will eventually be a working website for Jonathan's graphic design work, portfolio, blog, etc. On the right side is the HTML document and the left is how Internet Explorer displays it. Pretty cool?

Screenshot 1

Well even if you think it's completely lame, ugly, and boring (I hate you), the point is, I'm doing it. I'm learning something I've wanted to learn for a long while. Maybe it'll be a hobby, maybe I could make some money. Maybe once I'm done I'll realize there are other things I'd much rather be doing with my time. Who knows? But isn't it so exciting?!

I'll give occasional updates on how it's coming. Keep me on it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Making a Life

I've had a surge of motivation and inspiration lately. You just can't let those pass by. At least, I won't this time.

I want to learn things.

I've heard a lot of people say things like, "Learning shouldn't end when school ends." Now I realize that yes, that little saying and all its variations may be trite, maybe they're cliché, but the idea behind them? It hasn't lost it's meaning. It's true.

When I graduated from college 2 years ago, I was so excited to finally have the time to learn what I really want to know. Outside the confines of class requirements, professors, and syllabi, I could learn whatever I wanted! Instead, I was caught up in making a living, helping to support my family, the duties of life, watching tv.

My mom-in-law emailed me some Maya Angelou quotes today. One of them was:

"I've learned that 'making a living' is not the same as making a life."

I love it when you read something someone else wrote that feels like it was written for you. It just shows you how similar we humans are to each other.

I'm going to start making a life. It will be full of learning how to do things that I'm interested in. I will make an effort to go out and do things that I want to do. Your life can end at any time. Your knowledge and memories and experience stay with you forever.

The things I learn and do will make me a more interesting and thus hotter wife. Jonathan won't argue with that. I'll be a smarter and funner mom. I'll be more likely to cross paths with people who I can help and who can help me in some way. I'll be better equipped to help them. I'll be more aware of the world.

Next year I probably won't care or even remember who won So You Think You Can Dance, but I bet it'll feel good to wear a skirt that I sewed myself. So what if I sewed it while watching crazy talented people bust a move on tv? No one said I can't multi-task.