Lessons on Hair from Amanda

I've been friends with Amanda for four years.

An unlikely friendship, of sorts, because Amanda is everything that I am not.*

She plays the piano and the organ and has a beautiful voice.
She wears well-planned outfits and knows all of the rules of fashion.
She wakes up at heinous hours of the morning to go running.
She is a fabulous listener.
Her pantry is always (and I mean always) stocked with whatever ingredients I am in need of.
She has organization down to an art. Literally. She has everything in her life organized AND she knows how to make it pretty. (Think magazine holders covered in pretty paper that you would want to display them in your living room.)
And she can tell all sorts of stories that make you lose control of your bladder and knows all sorts of things that my naive ears have never heard of from her years of working as an STD nurse at the health department.

But most of all, Amanda knows hair.

In my quest to become a lady, (T minus 55 days) I solicited Amanda's help with some new hair skills. I should note that my sister-in-law, Angie, deserves all of the credit for everything I know about hair to this point. (Thank you!) Despite my plan to be a mother of boys, so I wouldn't have to learn how to do hair, with Angie's help, I have mastered the art of "the flip". But some days, seven and eight year old girls are too old for flips. They are enthralled with braids, and my tomboy fingers never learned how to braid. (I am, however, an extremely fast newspaper roller.)

Hair is actually a big topic of conversation at our house. But I had written myself off saying, "I can't braid." I was always gawking at Amanda's hair at church. Then the Greener girls started showing up with beautiful braids. And soon I was seeing braids everywhere. The turning point might have been when I read Steve's cousin's series of 30 Hairdos on her blog. Even though it was tempting to wait a few years for Rachel to be able to do all of the hair in our family, I decided it was time to learn how to braid. And just to clarify, I knew how to braid. Just not how to make it look good. Especially those loose side braids that everyone is doing these days.

I have had two official hair lessons from Amanda. And I ask lots of lots of questions every time I see her. This is what I've learned:

1. Bobby pins are your friend. Buy them in bulk. And since we are very good at loosing them in bulk, I am ready to install a magnet strip next to our bathroom mirror like I saw on Pinterest.

2. Don't wash your hair every day. This has been a hard thing for me, but I am getting better. Every time I compliment Amanda on her hair, she smiles and says, "It's because I didn't wash it this morning."

3. Dry shampoo is your friend. No need for the expensive kind, go buy this.

4. You can get away with wearing jeans and t-shirt for the rest of your life if put on nice boots and do your hair up.

5. Good hair takes time and effort. And since it turns out that my girls love me more when I braid their hair, I spend most of my efforts on them, not me. (I will be forever grateful for the two-second lesson on how to do the Wrap Around Pony Tail, since it seems like that's all I ever do with my hair these days.)

The Waterfall Braid is the most-requested hairdo in our house these days. It started as a Sunday-only option, but now I can usually pull it off in eight minutes. That means, if I have to start over and try again, I should still be able to finish in under fifteen minutes. And if fifteen minutes per girl is what it takes to send my daughters off to school happy, then it's worth getting out of bed at 7:30 in the morning to braid hair.

I am in need of LOTS more lessons because I still have LOTS to learn. Like how to backcomb a pony tail and how to do any of this braiding on me. Did you know that I spend less time and effort on my hair than 85 percent of the other people in this family? That means in a family with three boys, only one of them spends less time on their hair than me. Any guesses who that might be?

*Amanda likes good food and she likes to shop so who wouldn't want to be her friend. As a side note, Amanda was the very first person I confided in, just over three years ago, when we first found out that Derrick was going to become a dad. I really wasn't particularly close to her then. . . which is partly why she was the perfect one to break the news to. That part about her being a fabulous listener worked out pretty well for me too. And after dozens and dozens of heart-to-heart conversations over the last few years, it still works out for me.


@udj said...

Wow, what a good post. I'm am SUPER impressed with your posted braiding skills! Truly, truly!

You are more like Amanda than you think, because to me you are VERY organized and a REALLY good listener. I also admire your hair and fashion.

Having 6 brothers and now 4 sons, I have not been forced to learn hair technique. Sometimes the thought has come to mind that I would learn to do my hair in my 20s, but they have come and gone, so perhaps in my 30s, I can learn. But like you, I just don't spend the time on my own hair. Thanks for the tips!

Stephanie said...

You seriously are the coolest friend. How can Amanda not feel like the coolest person in the world right now? You always have the nicest things to say about people. You are so awesome!!! Congrats on the braiding. I need lessons now after those sweet pics. I only do the boring kind:)

Mommy Named Meg said...

Cute Hairdos. I feel the same way about Amanda. She always looks so good at church on Sundays, but I have to say I've felt the same way about you. You have a style of your own, and I'm a bit jealous. I'm still wearing the same skirts I had in high school. I'm just too lazy to update my style. I need to get lessons from Amanda and you....lol

Ryanne said...

I wish I had an Amanda because I am in the same boat when it comes to hair. My poor girls. I am very impressed with your girls hair, it looks great!

The Clawson"s said...

yeah! the braids look fantastic! I have been a terrible hair mother. Poor Emma just always had a cute little a- symmetrical bob so I didn't have to do anything to it. And then there's me. Long hair my entire life and I can do a mean ponytail, but that's about it. I'm learning though thanks to Pinterest (also learning how to tie a scarf as well!) You've inspired me! Way to go!!

Lori said...

she is a pretty fabulous person, isn't she? :) i'm glad you two are friends.

and yes, she has mad mad mad hair skills. very jealous of your lessons.

The Conlins said...

I can braid but not fancy like you do! I did 6 female heads of hair daily for many years but recently realized I need to modernize my skills. Poor Olivia had to endure'70's and 80's hairstyles while we were watching the grandkids. At least she is only 3 and thought she looked like a princess.

Melissa and Mitch said...

Well I love you both. Good work Amanda and Emily. So impressed.

Kristin said...

I need to learn how to braid. After you learn everything will you teach me?