salon thoughts

So many things can change in a year.

This time last year, my husband and I were in Colorado with my best friend from college and her husband.  I had originally picked August for our trip because we usually slow down a little after school starts.  Last year, after I made those plans and blocked the days on my calendar at work, we got the news that there would be changes.  A new boss, a renovation, a transition to booth rent, open salon to suites– we didn’t even know where we would be moving during the renovation.  There were so many unknowns.

Today, we are moved into our suite, booth rent is awesome, we’ve added new services, and Chloe has added a new member to her family.  This time last year, she wasn’t even pregnant yet, and I had no desire for another dog.  Now she has her precious daughter Stella, and I have my standard poodle puppy,  Fletcher.  My daughter started Kindergarten, and I started going in to work earlier.  And, sadly, our amazing Mindy has moved on to another job.

Mindy was our receptionist extraordinaire.  She held us all together during that renovation.  She has helped us all move furniture into our suites.  She went with me into the demolition area to save my old salon chair– in a dress and cowboy boots, too, I might add.  She has cleaned and cleaned.  She even fixed our shampoo bowl leak.  And last week, she helped me reconnect a button on our pedicure chair!  Do you have a coworker who would get on the floor with you and look up under a pedicure chair, just to help you out because she loves you so?

Her customer service is the best I’ve ever seen in my life, and it kind of spoiled me. When I go to other businesses, their people just can’t compare to her level of awesome.  She also gives the best hugs.  Friday was her last day, and it’s bittersweet because she is going to be awesome at her new job as well.  She can’t not be.  She’ll still come for lunch and to get her hair and nails done.  But still.  I’m a little verklempt about it.  *Talk amongst yourselves.  I’ll give you a topic…*

In the summer of 2013, I started working the front desk at the salon. I had quit teaching and needed a paycheck while I studied for my cosmetology exam.  Shawna bought the salon in October of that year.  She started advertising and growing the business.  One of my husband’s cousins had married another stylist, and we talked about it a lot that Thanksgiving.  I was pregnant by then, and I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I wanted to work there, but I was unsure if the clientele would grow.  It seemed that all the other stylists had such a great client base.  How could I ever grow like that?  Tasha, the fellow family stylist, was working at her mom’s salon in Kentucky, and I’ll never forget what she said.  “If you have a boss who supports you and truly has your back, then that’s where you want to be.  The clients will come.”

So after my pregnancy brain fog cleared, I took the first part of my cosmetology exam before Christmas.  And then I took the second part of the exam in January.  Shawna put me behind a chair almost immediately.  Then, 2 weeks later, she hired Chloe.  And 2 weeks after that, she hired Joena.  I was really worried then.  How could we all gain clients?  But Jessie, another stylist, assured me that Shawna knew what she was doing.  We’ve all been at the salon ever since.  And you know what?  Tasha and Jessie were right.  The salon grew.  The clients came.  And Shawna knew what she was doing.  Especially when she hired her friend Mindy to help with the front desk a couple of years later.

How could I ever have known that Shawna buying the salon allll those years ago would lead me to adding to my family?  We’re going to miss our sister, Mindy, that’s for sure.  She has taught me so much.  And for that, I am forever grateful.  And y’all better know that if she doesn’t come to lunch every week, we will be tracking her down!  🙂

This picture is from the year she started.  This was the Christmas party that year (2015!), and we all had a BLAST. We laughed and laughed.  She and I got there early because I had a toddler at home and needed some girl time.  We sat at the bar and waited for everyone to arrive.  That’s when I knew she would be my friend for life. I can’t thank her enough for that.



Here’s another reason we love her.  That’s Chloe’s little girl Lena.  And some nostalgia from before the renovation!  Everything about this photo makes me laugh.  IMG_8379

new beginnings, salon thoughts

I’ve been thinking about the weather.

This past week, we had some severe weather here in Middle Tennessee.  Our babysitter stayed at our house while we watched the warnings and prepared to go to our safe space.  I couldn’t help but remember a time my friends and I lived through a tornado outbreak that tore through our college and the surrounding town.  It’s been 16 years.

I was in Jones Hall, sitting next to my friend Michelle. I had been working all weekend as a server, and I was just so over it. They ALWAYS called us down to the first floor. I had my pillow and my cell phone, a Nokia with a bright blue cover and purple keys I had picked out myself. Some of you remember those, right?  We were laughing and joking, lamenting how we had these warnings all. the. time.  Until the lights went out. Then we heard it. I didn’t think it sounded like a train. Maybe a really low flying plane?

Then we heard screams as our smoker friends rushed in from outside and the glass in the stairwell shattered. Michelle and I hugged each other.  It was so fast.  Our dorm was separated from the destroyed gym by tennis courts and a road. I had walked across that road so many times I can’t even count.  My room on the fourth floor looked out over those tennis courts.  I loved hearing the tennis players out there, the skid of their shoes and the tennis balls on the court, and I had often opened my window just because of that.

When we emerged from our safe space, we saw utter destruction.  The gym was destroyed.  The art building was in bad shape.  There were cars in the parking lot with shattered windows. It was like a scene from a movie. Flashing lights, darkness. I had just started dating a guy at the time who worked at the Air Force base.  I can’t remember what his job was, but he was involved with the police on base I think.  He showed up in full tactical gear, and I thought it was kind of funny.  And then he got deadly serious as he said he could smell broken gas lines.  I remember him navigating us out of the destruction and telling me not to step in any of the puddles.  My dad would have liked him immediately.  We met up with some friends who had also gotten out of the zone.  It’s better to be with friends when there’s no power in most of the town, right?

My dad came up the next day to escort me back home in case anything had happened to my car that we couldn’t see. Amazingly, my windows hadn’t shattered, but there were several pressure cracks in the middle of the front window. Now that I’m a parent, I can only imagine what my parents felt when the phone lines were down and couldn’t reach me. Most of Columbus was dark.

Here’s the thing, it helped me realize I wasn’t in control. There was NOTHING I could have done except what I did– hunker down with my friends and hope and pray. I recently saw where a W alum in Ohio is going to the Senate. She credits her time at the W for a lot of her strength. And I have to agree. Every single day, I use something I learned there. I see my friends living their lives on social media and am thankful for their influence on my life. They helped me become who I am today. Mississippi University for Women (and smart men, too) was a magical place where I learned about strength and grit and follow-through.  I learned confidence from my friends and professors there.

Today, the campus is as beautiful as ever with her magnolia trees and azalea bushes that show out in the spring.  They have rebuilt the gym and the art building.  I still feel the magic when I walk on that campus. I know I wouldn’t have had the confidence to branch out to go to beauty school if it wasn’t for the W (pronounced dub-ya).  I wouldn’t have known I could organize myself enough to do this booth rent thing.  All those late nights writing papers and pledging a social club prepared me for the rest of my life. It taught me that encountering difficult people is just part of life, and a very survivable and small part at that.  So today, in the spirit of this lovely month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful that tornado didn’t destroy us.

If you want to read more about that tornado outbreak, you can visit the W’s website below.  This is an article written 6 years ago.