Losing my hair, finding my faith

Okay, it’s time for real talk and honesty. I recently said I wouldn’t hide again when I’m facing a life challenge, so I’m going to hold myself to that promise.

I’m losing my hair. It started the first of October, and I just chalked it up to seasonal changes that happens every year. When the weather starts to get drier and cooler, my skin and hair also dry out, and I shed some hair. Some hair. But the shedding kept coming on. I found hair on my pillow when I woke up in the morning, and it started really coming out in the shower. At one point I cried when I brushed it out. I tried to be as delicate as I could, but it wouldn’t stop shedding. So I freaked. I was losing my hair and bald spots were forming.

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13 is Tough – We Know

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Dear Awkward Teenaged Girl,

It totally sucks, I know.

Every single day you wake up and look in the mirror, analyzing yourself and picking out every single imperfection.  You spend countless hours online, on Facebook, looking at other girls and trying to figure out how their lives are so darn perfect.  Their hair is never out of place and they almost never seem to have a bad day.  But, don’t worry.  They do the same thing.  They may seem perfect, but trust me; they too have image issues just like you.  Try not to judge them too harshly.  Don’t call them names and don’t hate them.  Try to talk to them and find out what you have in common with them.  They are not your enemy and you may find that you have a new friend.

It seems crucial to look pretty all of the time, but I promise you, despite what you see on television, looking perfect is truly impossible.  And the other day when you decided to stop worrying about your hair and you picked up that violin, you transformed.  Your spirit lifted and your eyes were shining.  You are so talented already and there is still so much to learn.  Keep learning.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  That is the very best way to learn!  I know you long for a day when you pick up your instrument and play the perfect sonata.  Take your time and remember that practicing is important, but so is hours of belly laughter with your best friend. Continue reading

Young hearts live free

Youth is wasted on the young, but it doesn’t have to be.

In the early 1980s, roller rinks were the totally rad hangout spots. I did twirls, spins and even attempted a few jumps occasionally. It was so freeing to skate hard and fast, with arms wide open and hair blowing straight back to the tunes of Donna Summer and Cyndi Lauper. Girls just want to have fun, indeed!

But I also fell a lot. I was learning and taking risks on my skates. I had a few scuffed knees, but luckily I never broke anything. When I did fall off my roller skates, I got back up and never missed a beat. Sure it hurt, but the hurt didn’t last long. It sure as heck didn’t stop me from attempting that killer spin-jump stunt I was working on. Continue reading

The great beauty: an American in Rome

I carried a pizza

Walking in the rain carrying pizzas for hungry Italians on the uneven sidewalks of Rome is, well, intimidating.  Squeezing in to the tiny elevator to take a ride six floors up isn’t any better.  But that night we all gathered around the table and this American girl didn’t bother with eating slices.  No, I finished the entire pizza and washed it down with a giant Peroni.  This is how I vacation in Italy.

I got back just over two weeks ago and I’m already looking at the calendar to plan my return.  Italy is now in my bones and doesn’t seem to be leaving my thoughts any time soon.  I arrived on the morning of April 19th and walked in to the arms of welcoming friends, old and new.  My fourth trip to the land of beautiful eyes and amazing food was, in some cases, my best yet.  Since my dear friend Claudio always introduces me to so many people during my visits, I’ve doubled my friend basis in just a few short years.  Italians make some of the best friends in the world.  No matter how long I’ve been gone, be it a year or a day, I’m greeted with hugs, kisses and culinary offerings.   The time passed never makes a difference. It is never too long or too short for a joyful embrace.  I never know where the day will take me when I’m there.   We could be heading to someone’s home for a five-hour dinner or driving to the Almafi coast to spend a few days in a village just miles past the Vesuvius volcano.  As far as vacationing in Italy, I have the absolute best possible situation one can imagine-an Italian best friend and an open mind for whatever may happen.

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Woman aims to shift the cosmetic industry paradigm

The cosmetic industry is ridiculous, according to Grace Choi a Harvard Business grad who told  Business Insider, “The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullshit. They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.” 

The same ink used in a desktop printer can be used to print eyeshadow. Choi said the makeup industry uses the same ink and it’s all FDA approved. Her business model includes selling the printer she calls Mink, along with the raw materials to print eyeshadow, blush and eventually she hopes to add lipstick and foundation makeup.

Choi said you can buy cheap makeup at Walmart type stores because they purchase in mass. However your color selection is limited. If you want a specific type of color, say a rare pink, you’ll have to pay premium prices at retailers like Sephora. Who likes paying $25 for a tube of lipstick that you may not even like once you take it home? And how many of us actually go through the entire tube of lipstick? I usually end up throwing it away because it’s gone bad, which is wasteful.

Choi plans to sell the printer for $300. Steep price, you say? I can drop that easily at Sephora, and I practically have in my past life when I had a disposable income. She also plans on marketing toward younger girls and women as they are in the discovery stage of makeup. “We will grow up with them,” Choi said as they work to refine the printer once consumers start using it and working out the kinks.

I say more power to Choi! Smart girls are doing it for themselves. The makeup industry is ridiculous. Of course there is a lot to work out with this process. Not every face has the same skin type, so the raw materials used to create foundations for example will have to vary. I wouldn’t mind playing with different materials to come up with my own makeup. And besides, it would be nice to put those old printer cartridges to good use! The desktop printer is a dying technology, and Choi just may have discovered a way to revive it.

Ultimately, she’s putting the power in the hands of the consumer.

Watch Choi demo the printer. It’s pretty damn cool: Print Your Own Makeup With Mink

Beauty and the brain

Every day I turn on my television, go to Google, or check Facebook there is a new video or editorial piece on finding the beauty within.  They are clever memes and quick little videos about how someone realizes how truly beautiful they are and how we can help one another find that beauty in each person.  And I believe these are meant to help us out in a world that seems to be driven by outward appearances.  Any time a famous actress wears pants that may cause her to appear heavier, it is front page news.  Weight, perfect skin, beautiful hair, and th outfit seems to be at the forefront of every woman’s mind.

Earlier this week I watched a piece on the Today Show about an experiment conducted by Dove.  A handful of women were asked to wear a beauty patch and record their findings.  This patch was said to work to release something into the women’s blood that would help them feel beautiful.  After a week the women reported a greater sense of physical beauty and self-confidence.  Not so shockingly, the women were told that the patch actually contained nothing.  They somehow found the key ingredient to feeling beautiful all on their own. Hmmmm

Go ahead, define family

Growing Up FisherThe concept of the traditional family is changing, like it or not. The Norman Rockwell days of a two parent household with a mom and a dad are no longer the standard family arrangement, and I’m okay with that. I’ll let psychologist and religious folks sort out the social and psychological implications of this, but in my experience family doesn’t only consist of blood relatives, rather “family” is a community.

My mother, father and sister are the core of my immediate family, and they are my rocks. But I also have other women whom I’ve known most of my life who I consider my sisters. “Sisters from different misters,” as I refer to them, and their children call me “Aunt Dawn.” They are my family, and I am theirs.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Why I loved it

Last weekend we welcomed the return of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the second installation of this Marvel trilogy.  Opening to U.S. audiences everywhere, my only question for the weekend was, “What time are we going?”   I was pleased to see that most showings were sold out early in the day and the only one with two comfy seats was the 9p.m. showing at the AMC.  And while this is about the movie itself, I have to touch on, for a brief moment, the amazing theater situation.  This place has recliners!  And free refills on any drink size!  So, when deciding where to see Captain America, our choice was clear.  RECLINERS!  My gal pal Tuller and I got cozy with our dorky RealD glasses and readied ourselves to be marveled.

Beginning in the middle of action, Chris Evans skipped all formal introductions as this apple pie superhero, jumping out of an airplane and into the ocean. This was not going to be a boring movie.  Of course there were plenty of cleverly choreographed fight scenes, heavy suspense, major explosions, and acts of great strength, physically and mentally.  It is a superhero movie!  It must have all of those things to sustain.  So, instead of mull over this stuff, I’m going to highlight the three points I found most interesting about this particular movie.

1. Social commentary on the treatment of active military and vets

2. Trust issues/PTSD

and finally…

3. Wholesomeness.  Yes, I said Wholesomeness

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