The Samson Effect

Since I can remember, my hair has defined me. I’ve only cut it short three times in my life. Today was número tres. By short, I mean a bob or somewhere around my shoulders, but never shorter. My long hair has always been my prize. It’s defined who I am and how people describe me. The crazy thing is, I’m not alone. Many women I’ve spoken to in the past have mentioned their desire to have long hair or their fear to lose it. I’ve always been afraid of having a bad haircut. Maybe it’s a control thing. It’s certainly not logical at all. It’s what I have always called my strength, like the story of Samson in the bible.

FullSizeRender 7The first time I ever had a drastic haircut was at the age of six or seven, according to my mom. I can’t say that I know exactly why I decided to chop off my long hair or if my mom had convinced me to do so, but I remember how it made me feel. That night, after hours of crying, my mom found me in front of the mirror, still awake and still crying. “Why did you do this to yourself. Why! Why!” I remember the words perfectly as I smacked the bottom of my bob, both left and right. I felt ‘less than’ and not pretty and definitely, not my idea of what beautiful should be. I don’t know who or what told me that. All I know is that I felt this horrible feeling and so, that became what short hair felt like and I didn’t want to feel that way again.

The second time I had short hair was in high school. It was tenth grade and I was getting ready to attend my first homecoming dance. Now that I think about it, it’s funny, but I decided to go to the worst possible place to get my hair done. EVER. No, it wasn’t a barber shop or some lady’s house, it was my grandmother’s hair lady. This should have been my first clue. I remember sitting in the chair and telling her how excited I was about dressing up in 40s glam for my first ever homecoming dance. Suddenly, in the midst of chatting, I felt her section the crown of my hair and comb it high above my head. Snip! Snip! That was the start of a horrible experience. I hoped and prayed that somehow she’d make it look okay, but I knew better. The hair that went down to my bellybutton was now a hot mess and I had a party to go to. Thankfully, mom and I went to work and disguised the mess that night by curling the horrible layers, but the next day was another story. Ever since that day, I’ve been scared and nervous whenever a hairstylist first takes his or her scissors to my hair. If I don’t trust them, that feeling comes back, strong as ever.

IMG_0022Today was my third day. Now, this wasn’t a decision I spent months or weeks working on. I knew I wanted something different, but I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I liked the lob haircut (long in the front, short in the back), but… no way! Too short for me! Then, I called my hairstylist and decided to just talk to him about it and come up with something different together. It had been years since I did anything other than the same boring layers and the same boring color. I wanted some color and new style, but most importantly, I wanted a change.

My stylist sat down to discuss my options for the lob haircut  and I agreed that I wanted the longest part to end up mid-breast and that we’d go conservative in the back. Although I’ve been going to him for three years now, the feeling came back. I was sweating, indecisive, and increasingly nervous with every move he made with the scissors. Then, I saw it and ran my fingers through my hair. It was short. Perhaps shorter than I anticipated, but I was okay. That ‘feeling’ had subsided.

IMG_0036Soon, my dear friend Darlene came by with her boyfriend to pick up some things and I saw that she was surprised, but loved the new look. Minutes later, another dear friend, Sharon, showed up for her appointment. She was surprised, but raved about it too. Of course they were surprised! No one had seen me with anything shorter than very long hair and here I was taking a ton of inches off– in one sitting. So, while she did her roots and I finished my color, we sipped wine and got caught up with life and work. It was great, but now, I couldn’t run my fingers through my hair. In the back of my mind, that little feeling was creeping back. Ever so slightly.

Now, I know I sound like a crazy person. I mean, c’mon! It’s just hair. After my stylist was all done with color, he tried something different for the finished look based on the pictures I showed him. It was a curly, mousse and diffuser version of my locks, something I don’t ever do. I loved it. I really did, but the locks looked shorter and that fed the little feeling inside me, growing stronger.

On the car ride home, I called my boyfriend. He could hear it in my voice and soon he said, “Baby, it’s hair. It’ll grow back and I’m sure you look beautiful no matter what.” I wish that had been enough, but I raced home and did a quick blow dry just to calm my nerves.

Why did my hair make me feel like this?

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Simple. I’ve always hidden behind my long hair. It’s been what I drape over my shoulders if I’m uncomfortable with the way I look, what I’ve always known to be desirable by the opposite sex, and what I’ve allowed to identify me. But, man, I’m so much more than that.

I’ve always heard of women changing their hair after a breakup or divorce, college rebellion, or motherhood, but I’m as stable as ever in my personal life. Maybe, just maybe, being good and happy and confident in my own skin as I get older is the reason for this. Maybe, what people think or don’t think matters less now than it ever did.

April 5, 2016

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I was listening to the SoulFeed podcast on iTunes about two weeks ago and came across this quote during one of their conversations. It spoke to me because I realized that every time I say I’m not ready yet, what I’m really saying to that challenge before me is “I’m scared and you intimidate me.” By starting before you think your ready, you learn along the way, leaning into the discomfort of the unknown. Life happens every second we are alive and if we spend our time waiting in fear, we’ll never do the great things we want to achieve. Mostly importantly, if the opportunity passes, we’ll always wonder why we didn’t take that chance. Have you ever done something before you think you’re ready? What did you learn? How did you grow?

A Sunday in Santa Barbara

Today I had the loveliest day in Santa Barbara. It’s been a place I’ve been meaning to go to, but just couldn’t seem to find the right time for a visit. We tried going for my birthday this year and Valentine’s Day, but it just wasn’t happening. Then, this past week, my boyfriend Craig and I got the awesome news that his friend Will had just gotten engaged to his girlfriend Gia in Big Sur (Yes, another place I’ve been meaning to visit). A few days later, they invited us to join them in Santa Barbara as they narrowed down a location for their wedding in November 2016. Finally, it was happening! We quickly said yes and got up early this morning for the hour and a half drive.

SOLVANG, CALIFORNIA

Our morning breakfast was at a little diner in the quaint town of Solvang, also known as the Danish capital of America. It felt as if we had left California and were somehow transported to a tiny town in Europe where men walk around in kilts and folks meander like tourists at a theme park. Founded in 1911, the town keeps its authentic roots, from the unique architecture of restaurants and stores to a replica of the Copenhagen statue of The Little Mermaid.

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After a few mimosas and a hearty all-american breakfast, we left our Danish time travels to find a venue for the bride and groom.

WHISPERING ROSE RANCH

whisperingroseranchwedding.com

From the moment we drove up to the venue, we knew this place was really special.

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Sycamore Lane, pictured above, is full mature trees that create an impressive entrance into the property. Many brides have chosen to have their dinner reception here, adorning the street with long table and elegant lanterns, giving this area a magical feel.

Our tour continued on to the groom and bride’s quarters beside Monty Roberts’ stunning home overlooking the valley below.  Monty, the owner, is a famous American horse trainer and author who developed a world-renowned equine training technique called Join-Up using non-verbal language. Yes, he’s a horse whisperer and was once a Hollywood stunt double for Elizabeth Taylor among others. Today, he just happened to be in England at Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth’s request.

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Of course, before leaving, I had to meet the horses on property for a quick selfie.

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I gotta say, this horse’s selfie skills are on point and I look slightly terrified. He was a bit of a biter and wanted all the attention to himself. So Hollywood…

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From here we found ourselves in the coolest bar we didn’t know we loved.

MAVERICK SALOON

http://www.mavericksaloon.org

This is a legendary bar with one of the most impressive collection of George Washingtons. Recommend to us by the tour at Whispering Rose Ranch as the best after-party wedding spot, the saloon serves as the only real bar in town. We walked in during a slow Sunday afternoon to the near empty bar, but that was not the case the night before. Our bartender shared with us that four separate wedding parties had all crashed the bar. Weekends at Maverick are nothing short of fun and we’re looking forward to partying at this place later this year.

*Note: When you go, make sure to leave a dollar bill tacked to the ceiling. The bartender has the tacks and markers. It’s a must!

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After a cold Corona, we made our way to Los Olivos for some wine tasting.

SAARLOOS AND SONS TASTING ROOM

http://saarloosandsons.com/

This little place has two of my favorite things ever: wine and cupcakes! For $10 you get six different mini cupcakes and pay for the wine separately. We had a blast trying out the different wines and cupcakes as I searched like a mad woman on Pinterest for table centerpiece inspirations, unconventional dessert options, dresses, colors… AHHH!!! Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, work, and decision-making skills. So glad we had sugar and vino to calm me down.

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Oh, and these wine glass holders built into the deck chairs are perfection!

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SANTA BARBARA MARINA

Our day ended with a trip over to the Marina, where we finished our trip with a quick dinner by the Maritime Museum. The view was nothing short of spectacular.

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I can’t wait to go back and explore this amazing California gem! Thanks so much to Will and Gia for taking us along for the ride. It was a really good day.