Thursday, June 21, 2018

Connection, Positivity & Good Hair--A Drybar Review

The world feels overwhelming. Not just my world, our world. The level of bad news online and on TV is exhausting and so upsetting. It seems strange to write a blog post reviewing a new business that focuses on drying people's hair. But maybe it isn't that strange because when I visited this new business it felt more about community, connectedness and positivity than hair, and boy do we need more of that right now.

I had the opportunity to go to the new Drybar that opened in the town next to me. All I really knew about Drybar before going was what I learned on celebrity Instagram feeds and Twitter--they loved it. Getting the chance to go to the grand opening celebration and getting to feel like a celebrity sounded pretty awesome to me.

The only problem was the grand opening was on the same day as my kids' last day of school. It meant I might not make it back to see them get off the bus and hug them and do the happy dance while saying "happy summer vacation!" I mean I'm not sure the high schooler and middle schoolers would miss me all that much, but my second grader might. I scheduled my appointment early enough so that I could race home and hopefully do the dancing and hugging with Wade.

On the morning of my appointment I called Tim and said, "Maybe I shouldn't do this, I mean it feels excessive and I should stay home and make a summer vacation cake and be there for the kids." He reassured me that it was okay and told me to have fun. I said a reluctant "ok," parked my minivan in the parking garage, and followed the blinking light on my phone navigating me to Drybar and my shot at feeling like a celebrity. "Arrived," my phone told me. But there was no Drybar in sight. I walked up and down the street frantically looking for the salon and checking the time, watching my appointment time slip away. I walked and walked but couldn't find it. Not going to lie, I started crying just a little bit. In my defense I was probably crying because the last few weeks of school are insanely busy and tiring, I felt stupid and like I was letting down Drybar and the PR firm who asked me to review it, and I hadn't done my big project for my college class, I started worrying that my stylist would be mad that I had planned on going here I mean is it cheating on her?, I was low on gas, and well bad stuff is happening everywhere and ahhhhhh. Right when I was about to say "forget it" and go home, I saw yellow balloons swaying gently in the breeze. "There it is," I said. 

I walked in and was immediately greeted by friendly people everywhere. Many of them wearing the coolest yellow earrings. Music was playing, hair dryers were blowing, and people were talking and laughing. 

The salon is all white with cheerful and sophisticated yellow accents everywhere. 

I went straight to the front desk and apologized for missing my appointment and told them I would write a review about them anyway. "No worries, we'll fit you in," a woman said smiling. "Would you like water, coffee or a mimosa?," another woman asked me. "Yes, please, thank you, ahhhh," I said.

Drybar is based on the simple concept of focusing on one thing and being the best at it: Blowouts. Here's the lowdown straight from their website: "The idea was a natural one for curly haired founder Alli Webb, a longtime professional stylist, who constantly found herself overpaying for blowouts at traditional salons. In addition to 100+ locations throughout the US and Canada, our growing product line (created specifically for the perfect blowout), is sold through our own shops, as well as Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta and Bloomingdale's."

I sipped on my mimosa (which was given to me with a napkin that said "feeling crumby, I can help" like they knew exactly how I was feeling before I walked in!), sat in a comfy chair by giant windows and exhaled.

I looked at the Lookbook to pick a style I wanted. It's so fun--all the styles are named like drinks at a bar, get it? There's the "Straight Up" and "Dirty Martini" and the  "Mai Tai" to name a few. There are also braid and updo options.

My stylist, Cindy, came over to where I was sitting and asked me what I wanted. I chose the "Mai Tai" which was a blowout resulting in "messy, beachy hair" according to the lookbook. 

She washed my hair, massaged my scalp, asked me about my life. Then she did her magic. As I sat under her cheerily bright hairdryer I looked around and saw so many women talking and laughing and supporting each other and affirming each other with kindness and positivity. When I was done, I took a boomerang selfie with my stylist because duh, that's what I do.  We hugged and I said I'd be back (because I'm totally coming back and bringing friends and my daughter!).

It was actually over so fast I wanted to do it all again. But I looked at the time and realized I could make it back home to hug the kids after the bus. I said goodbye, took a last look at the smiling women and yellow accents everywhere and walked out into the world feeling pretty darn great about people, and my hair. 

It turns out it's not just a good idea to do something for yourself sometimes, but it's also a good idea to go be a part of a positive environment at a business that cares about making you feel good. Even with good hair the world is full of things that are upsetting, things we need to care about and be mad about and worry's important. Connecting with other other women, supporting women-owned businesses, laughing together, finding community with people other than's important too.

I made it home for the last day of school hug!

For those of you that live near me, the Drybar is located at 137 W. Maple in Birmingham (not 137 E. Maple like I typed into my phone navigation app! ugh). They have great hours, 2-hour valet parking for clients, and the blowouts aren't that expensive, $45.  They also offer monthly memberships and sell products at the store. 

Click here for information about Birmingham's Drybar.
Click here to find a Drybar near you. 

I participated in grand opening event at Drybar and was provided a blowout to review my experience, all opinions are my own.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A calmer, less scattered future....maybe

This past Saturday I took medicine for my ADHD for the first time. I was nervous and scared and hopeful all at the same time. Would it change me? Would I still want to dance? Would my superpower of hyper-focus be gone? Would I still be able to do 3000 things at once? I just don't know. But I do know that I hope it gives me more clarity and peace. I hope it makes me more reliable. Forgetting to pay bills isn't cute in your mid forties. Neither is being completely scattered so much of the time. Hormones have amplified my ADHD which has mega-amplified my anxiety and made me a complete, I took medicine and now I wait and hopefully still dance but worry less.

My post medicine selfie. I think I look calmer, maybe?
I know for sure that I really will only take selfies laying down from now on. The gravity pulling my worry wrinkles back definitely makes me look calmer and a tad younger.

I've always been pretty fun. I like to laugh and dance and talk. Most of the time I'm pretty easy to talk to and be around. Most people like me or at least don't have a problem with me. Unless you are the people that I forget to call back. Or the people I let down because I commit to something and then don't do it. Or my kids when I am the last mom at pick up or totally forget (lose) the sign up sheet for everything.  Or my husband when I have a panic attack because I just can't calm my brain down and it scares me and I pick a fight or cry to him.

It wasn't until my brother and I took a quiz on vacation about eight years ago in a magazine that I thought I might have ADHD--attention deficit hyperactive disorder. He and I were laughing and checking boxes on the quiz until we weren't laughing. "Holy shit, this is us," I said to him. I threw the magazine across the room and we went to the beach. We didn't want to have a disorder. We didn't want to think about 'what if we had known this years ago and gotten help....maybe I could have...maybe I would have..." Um nope, we wanted denial and the beach.

Then a few years later my son, JT, was diagnosed in third grade. The similarities between the two of us are/were undeniable. It was like taking that magazine quiz. Do you get lost in daydreams, like really lost, like you don't hear or see what's happening around you? Check. Do you like routine but also want freedom to do what you want? Check. Do you have a lot of energy and feel happy when you are moving/running/jumping/being active? Oh yes, check that. Are you loveable but moody? Yup. Do you lose everything? Um, yes. Do you feel like you are always trying to play catch up? yeah. Do you lack follow through? Uh-oh.

The more I learned about ADHD, the more I was convinced I had it for sure. 

This past winter it all came to a head. I was tired of being "flaky" and forgetful. I was exhausted by losing things. Everyday I felt like a failure. Everyday I worried I was letting everyone down everywhere. Ahhhhhh.  Then I got an opportunity to go back to school and knew that if I was going to do that and work two jobs and keep up with four busy kids, I was going to need help. I decided to go to  a psychiatrist and get some help. Actually I had gotten a referral two years earlier, but you guessed it, I lost the paper with the name and number on it. 

The doctor suggested extensive testing to rule out mood disorders, personality disorders, and depression. The test involved IQ testing and a whole bunch of questions and pictures and it took hours. When I went to get the results I was nervous. My mother has been diagnosed with bipolar, depression and personality disorder...that could be me. It was all a bit overwhelming. The doctor walked into the room looking at a file. He said hello and then he said the most shocking thing I ever heard-- "You are an incredibly intelligent woman," he said. 

I laughed and blurted out, "No one, I mean no one, has ever said that to me, ever."

He went on to tell me I also had ADHD, but nothing else based on the testing. One word on the paper was highlighted under the personality-- "turbulent." Which was exactly how I'd been feeling the past few years in my head...turbulent. 

I explained to the doctor how I have tried everything to try to think clearly and feel less turbulent--running everyday, meditation, diet changes, oils, vitamins, running more. Those things helped but not all the time. 

He suggested medicine. "I'm nervous," I admitted to him. "I understand," he said.

After the appointment I sat in my minivan and I cried. It all felt like a very big deal...the testing, medicine, the acceptance, the fact that I hadn't been dumb and flaky my whole life. My inner child was doing a happy dance and saying "I knew it, I told you I wasn't stupid." All those years of extra studying, losing papers, stressing, failing, apologizing over and over..."I'm smart," I whispered out loud to no one. I wiped away my tears, smiled at my wrinkled middle-aged face in the mirror and put the car in drive. I felt nervous, but ready to face the future.