Wednesday, February 27, 2013




If you know me, even slightly, then you know that one of my favorite subjects is hair. Haircuts, hairstyles, hair color, hair anything. You need a haircut, a trim, highlights or an update??  I'm there. I have been known to travel to the salon with a friend as a self-assigned liaison, assistant or quasi-stylist, sometimes much to said stylist’s dismay. I can talk the talk: weight-line, bulk, layers, point cut, bangs, and I can walk the walk.

My mom went to beauty school when she was 17 and cut hair in a salon and then in our kitchen and dining room for my entire childhood. So I believe that I come by it naturally. I love to watch a good haircut almost as much as a good movie. 
                                     My mom cutting our neighbor Dean's hair

I come from a long line of big hair. Passed down from my grandmother, Ginny, to my dad, to us four kids. "More hair than God," as Gramma Ginny was known to say. 

                                            Gramma Ginny and her "hair-looms"

I have been known to cut my own hair, often in the middle of the night, and upon ever so slight urging, cut friends’ and family’s hair, not always with stellar results.

One summer while on a family vacation in Minocqua, Wisconsin, inspired by our boredom and a pair of scissors in the cabin kitchen drawer, I convinced my sister Lorijo that she needed a make-over and a change. (Meg Ryan was on As the World Turns at the time. This was pre-pixie and pre-America’s sweetheart. She was sporting a bulky, helmet-like shag. Her texture was similar to Lorijo’s and that was inspiration enough.) I gave Lorijo a haircut out on the dock. Her hair was thick and unruly that summer and I was convinced that I could transform it into something silky and smooth. The results weren’t too spectacular and she was furious with me. Unlike my older sister Kim and me, Lorijo didn’t have curly hair. She had straight thick hair that didn’t hide my mistakes so well. Oopsie...she wasn’t happy.

I decided to bake Lorijo a cake and as a peace offering brought her a bowl of leftover batter to our bedroom where she was crying and hiding. She shoved the bowl in my face and hair and told me I ruined her life. I knew she must have been mad because, who refuses batter?! Surprisingly, years later she trusted me to henna her hair in my dimly lit New York City apartment. The results were equally horrifying but since I was almost nine months pregnant, she contained her wrath. When we made our way to the sunlit street I couldn’t stop laughing: Her hair was the color of carrots. Not what we were going for.

Now, years later and still sans training, I remain unwavering. Somehow I always trust myself with a scissors. Especially on my own head. I’m a change junkie and even though my hair has probably remained a variation on a theme for the last 12 years I would like to think that I have experimented with those variations. Often with the help of a stylist and many a photo.

Although I admire the longer locks, I have always been a fan of shorter hair and am constantly on the lookout for cute ways to update the bob and the shag. Or what I have come to know as the shaggy-bob.

                                 Audrey Tautou with the most adorable shaggy-bob

Over the years I have collected what I now refer to as the "Hair Files": a prized collection of magazine tear sheets and photos. They are prized, but I share, and if I loan them out they are signed out on a log just like a library book. For the record, my son Zeut has had his own "Hair File" since he was one. Call me obsessed.

                                                    Hair files unearthed

Since the beginning of the year is a great time to embark on change, and short hair and its many variations on a theme are my main hair obsession, I thought it appropriate to post a few great haircuts. I have a grand selection of cuts at Pinterest on my "Hair Files" board as well for your viewing pleasure.

If you are looking for something low maintenance check out a few of these short-hair variations for some update inspiration. 

Arizona Muse's choppy bob

Charlize Theron's daring pixie at the Oscars

Meg Ryan: an oldie but a goodie

What are your favorite styles? Post 'em here.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ORGANIZING, PART TWO: When the Professional Organizer Leaves

Taking Life One Drawer at a Time

On the heels of the meteor crashing in Russia and Downton Abbey’s devastating season 3 finale, I probably have very little to complain about. I mean, my room is messy with piles of items that have nowhere to live but, my house and my husband are still here and there are no crater-shaped holes in the neighborhood. 
Be that as it may, I have been experiencing my own fallout in dealing with the aftermath of what happens after the organizer goes home. I now know that organizing isn’t for sissies. I have agita. And my son Zeut just called my blog “stupid!” He's grounded. And where is my sister Lorijo when I need her?!

I am not good at this. I think I made that clear in my last post. Posting a “part two” is really just an exercise in masochism. Can’t I just go shopping and forget about it?! Or take a nap?! This is my idea of hell! I think I was happier before I took this plunge. But at this point freaking out isn’t solving anything and turning back doesn’t seem to be an option.

Since organizer extraordinaire Teresa Nicola of Collected Spaces left to go back home to Portland I have been sorting through my stuff. Stuff that has taken me years to accumulate. I am talking a lot of stuff. 

Where has all of this stuff come from?! It’s not just the clothing and shoes and purses. I have costumes and props from past shows and murder mystery parties! And there are the endless hatboxes filled with photographs and old letters and cards. Now that is a rabbit hole of its own. And down it I went. While I was supposed to be organizing drawers and throwing things away I took a long journey down memory lane. Oh Alice, have I learned nothing from you?!

Luckily, I had someone to pull me out of that hole: Teresa, who has been advising me remotely. And thank God for that. When she checked in with me I started whining about my feelings of overwhelm and the tornado remains of my room and my mood swings. She calmly advised me from a distance. 

She said: “Book hour increments to work on the undecided piles and the drawers that need organizing. Book two hours to make the returns and drop off the discards for donations. The key is to schedule it. Small steps, tiny actions to stay on top of it all. Even one drawer a day. And be realistic about the things you need and wear. Just because something was a good deal or conversely if it was expensive, is not a good enough reason to keep it.”

Okay, I can do this. Take a deep breath and get it together. I began sorting through my drawers and creating more bags of items to donate. 

Then back to the Container Store I went to return my unused items and purchase a few others. On this trip I met Tree, a very helpful employee who led me to these particular items. A 32-compartment drawer organizer, a back-of-the-door, 10-hook rack and another box for my purses. 

                                  Me and Tree at the Container Store

This translucent honeycomb-like drawer organizer is helping me keep my yoga tops and  T-shirts organized. It is an assembly required puzzle piece made to accommodate your particular drawer size. Scissors are needed. I like the way that everything is separated in little coils. 

                                    compartmentalized drawer organizer

This darling 10-hook, over-the-door bird hanger was great in theory to hang up clothes, but it wouldn’t allow me to close the door. The 7-day rule applies so back it goes and back I go in search of a replacement. 

                                         back-of-door bird hooks

On separate excursions to Home Goods and Urban Outfitters, I found this cute bird hook hanger for my belts and these darling owl jewelry hangers for my necklaces and bracelets. 

                                             belt hanger

                                              jewelry organizer

                                                              coordinating hangers inside my closet 

I am loving the new closet system and all of my coordinated hangers. I can find everything so easily and have been wearing combinations of things I hadn’t thought about before.

My husband even got in on the action and brought home two 35-pack boxes of the black no-slip hangers from Costco for $9.99 a box. As well as  couple of bamboo shoe/storage racks for $24.99 a piece. Score!

                                                     bamboo shoe organizer

Teresa also introduced me to a file folding system that not only saves room but allows you to see your items more clearly. What a concept. T-shirts and lightweight sweaters are folded into envelope sized shapes and then filed, one against the other in an upright position.

                                            file folding system

Perhaps this post will make those of you who haven’t managed to get organized this year feel a bit better. The rest of you may just be taking pity on me and my missing organizing gene. But I am actually starting to feel more organized, sophisticated and grown-up. I really am.  For now, I am taking it one drawer at a time.

If any of you have any organizing tips, please feel free to share.

I'm going to take a nap now. I hope this was helpful! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organize Your Closet

I believe we all have our roles in life. For years my sister Lorijo’s was to make sure that my side of the room stayed clean. I was perfectly happy to co-exist with my messy side, but she wasn’t. She dreamed of being a Cleaning Lady when she grew up and I did everything in my power to give her the practical experience she needed. This came in very handy for the entire childhood we spent sharing a room.

                                                         Me and Lorijo in 9th and 7th grade

But old habits die hard and after leaving the Midwest and moving to both coasts and Atlanta, twice, she was a little sick of flying out to unpack my stuff and set me up at my new locations.

Many years and four kids between us later I can no longer  take advantage of my sister and her career aspirations. P.S. She cleaned houses to get through college but is now a successful yoga teacher and photographer in Portland, Oregon.

One of my roles has always been being masterful at functioning in the midst of chaos. Not only functioning but existing quite happily. It’s a special skill, I’m convinced. I can find anything for anyone at any given time. I have radar on all of my stuff and everyone else’s, and although it might not seem orderly or systematic, up until now I have been perfectly happy to exist in this semi-disorganized state.

Although this is probably a great trait for responding to natural disasters or family crises, I am fairly certain that maintaining a war-zone-like environment in closet, car and purse, is hell on the adrenals. 

Since I like to keep my adrenals in good working order I decided to hire an organizer to help me smooth out the rough edges of my life.

Enter Collected Spaces professional organizer extraordinaire, Teresa Nicola, who is Lorijo’s friend from Portland. Are you detecting a pattern here?! Our first agreement was to dig in-deep.

                                                                Teresa doin her thing

One look at my closet and it’s a wonder I can put any outfits together. I’ve got my talents but honestly, organizing isn’t one of them.

Not one to judge,Teresa wasted no time and before I knew it had the entire contents of my closet emptied onto my bed, or what she referred to as the staging area. 

We began with an acronym she uses for successful organizing.

SPACE: S=Sort; P=Purge; A=A home; C=Container; and E=Equalize.

We powered through at a crazy pace. Forty minutes into it I hit a hypoglycemic wall. I was starving. I have a crazy fast metabolism or as my friend Amy once said, “Your metabolism is on crack”. Seeing all of my stuff piled up before my eyes was making me break out into a cold sweat. I believe it is part of my fight or flight. I chose flight and retreated to the kitchen.

While I took a nutrition break she continued to sort my clothes by what she referred to as “like with like.”  Similar items sorted by color and a system called “Cap the Rainbow.” The good old Roy G Biv capped on both ends with neutrals. White, cream and brown on one end and gray and black on the other. Prints are worked into the like-with-like mix with the predominant color determining the placement.

Well three hours later the results were pretty impressive.I had purged about two trash bags of items and I could make out every piece of clothing individually. I had the habit of collecting more than one item on each hanger, with the logic that I was already predetermining outfits I would need, for auditions and life’s other roles. Teresa quickly disabused me of this system and I was rapidly running out of hangers. 

We made some major headway, but, I still had some homework to do.

The next day I found myself feeling quite cranky, with a lengthy to-do list and a pile of undetermined items that still needed sorting and hanging. I was off to the Container Store for the first time ever. How could this be?! How have I have lived and shopped for this long and never set foot in this Oz-like place! Within minutes of my walking in, employees Brett and Dawn were leading me around and helping me fill my two carts with anti-slip hangers, flat wire stacking shelves, linen storage boxes and a box made especially for my handbags! What?!

Once I was back home, these items transformed my closet into a kinder gentler place, a place where finding a pair of matching shoes was no longer an all-day affair.

This new way of life may take some getting used to, but I am beginning to have some respect for the system. 

I still have some work to do. Teresa and I will be attacking my desk soon and then I will team up with each of my kids to get their closets in order. God help me!

I encourage you to find a partner and dig in. Check out Teresa’s site for some tips and ask her questions on her blog. 

Good luck and happy organizing!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Field Trippin’ At Warby Parker


I have always loved a field trip. I am the first mom to sign up for anything my son or daughter goes on. The Getty—I’m there. The zoo—I wanna go too. A good field trip can always offer up some inspiration.

In second grade I had just flown up from a Brownie to a Girl Scout. At last I had my wings. And the first item on the troop’s agenda was a field trip to Jays potato chip factory in downtown Milwaukee. I remember the big open warehouse space, the metal staircases everywhere, the workers with their pale blue uniforms, plastic gloves and hats. I remember the sound of the conveyor belts and the fresh aroma of hot, crisp potato chips rolling down them.

At the end of the tour we all walked out with a big warm white box with Jays written in blue across the front filled with bags of freshly made chips. The purpose of trip was to show us how potato chips were made so we could earn our research badge. But I also think they were secretly recruiting future factory workers. Hey, a job opportunity is a job opportunity, but I had no intention of working in a factory. Becoming a junk food tycoon? Maybe. Creating my own line of snack foods?! Dreamy!

Riding home on the bus proudly holding my warm box of Jays I knew I was changed by that trip. My perspective on the world was expanded and my future just a bit brighter. Well maybe I can be idealistic. But that’s the power of a field trip, and I do believe I was changed by that potato chip factory.

Perhaps the boys who brainstormed Warby Parker were fortunate enough to peer inside the workings of a factory in their youth! Or not. But these are four smart guys. Graduates of Wharton, they created a business model that is hip, accessible and affordable. Warby Parker is named after two of Jack Kerouac’s earliest characters, Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker, uncovered in his personal journals.

Warby Parker is eyewear with a purpose. Buy a pair, give a pair (to someone in need), the frames and prescription lenses are $95, no matter how you slice it.
On a recent trip to the pop-up store in New York City’s Meat Packing district, I was delighted with the design of the store and the aesthetic of the brand.

Back in LA on a recent field trip, I discovered the store-in-store behind the boutique Confederacy in Los Feliz and was equally pleased. Many of the stores offer a complimentary photo booth to shed some fun perspective on your choices, and the online virtual gallery is extremely accurate. To get $5 off any Warby Parker glasses, physically go to the Confederacy to receive the code to use in store or online.

These folks are very accommodating and want you to be satisfied. My daughter Wyni’s purchase arrived and she wasn’t pleased with the frame color and they were more than happy to exchange.
I wanted to feature a few pairs on real faces, so here you go.

           Zeut in the Zagg and Wyni in the Preston 

    Danny in the Crosby, Cortes in the Sinclair and I am wearing the Willoughby fade 

                 Frances wearing the Winston

I’m choosing my pair this week. Let me know what you find!