Reliable Recital Hair 

It’s that time of year again: blogging rampage time since my juries and finals are over and I don’t know what to do with my free time! 

It’s also junior and senior recital season, as well as banquet and graduation season. 
That said, every girl needs a fallback hairstyle that is elegant, timeless, and EASY. 

Here’s my go-to updo. 


  1. Good bobby pins that match your hair color 
  2. One sturdy hair tie 
  3. (Optional) fancy clip 
  4. Curling iron
  5. Hairspray 
  6. Heat protection spray


  1. Curl all of your hair. To be safe, always spray it down with a heat protection spray. For best results, start curling at the root and then work to the ends; this improves the hold of the curl. 
  2. Once the curls cool, separate them using your fingers and shake them out for extra volume. 
  3. Choose the side opposite the part and put the hair on the underneath of that side into a ponytail, leaving the sides and top of your hair down. 
  4. Twist the ponytail into a loose bun and pin it. 
  5. Take a small chunk of the loose hair and twist it loosely; wrap this around the bun and pin it. Don’t worry if the ends are loose as you can secure them later and, as they are curled, they will look intentional anyway. 
  6. Continue to take chunks of hair and either wrap them around the bun or wrap them around your fingers and then pin them to create curls surrounding the bun. This adds poofiness! 
  7. When you reach the sides, loosely twist them into the bun as you did the other pieces. However, you can leave shorter pieces down around your face to frame it. 
  8. The result should look something like this. 
  9. Add a pin as needed to secure your bangs; usually I use a sparkly barrette. 
  10. Optional: touch up the curls around your face and hairspray the whole creation. 
  11. Also optional: add a fancy hat and pretend you are a wealthy widow with a dark secret. 

Hope this helps any of you looking for some hair inspiration! ūüôā 

A Lesson from a Hat

I remember Meg Ryan’s character in one of my all time favorite movies,¬†You’ve Got Mail, saying of a wayward butterfly, “I believe he was going to Bloomingdale’s to buy a hat, which will turn out to be a mistake, as nearly all hats are.”

giphy.gifI recently learned from a particularly unique hat that this is not necessarily true. On New Years Eve, as a joke, I dressed up as Janet Snakehole, a character within a character from Parks and Recreation. Described as a “wealthy widow with a nasty secret,” Janet wears a vintage black netted hat, which I was able to purchase for $5 on Amazon. I was dared to wear it all day, including to a pottery place, Starbucks, the Phoenix Symphony, and the grocery store.

“I am going to look ridiculous,” I said, grimacing into the mirror.

My mom, in response, simply said, “Own it.” (Imagine her snapping sassily if that helps the image.)

“Own it” turned out to be the lesson of the day and one of my resolutions for the new year.

53040709This hat was a joke and I felt like a major dork (“Major dork!” *salute*). But I stood up straight, added a fancy black dress and fake pearls to the ensemble, and faced the world. I tried to pretend I did not notice¬†heads turn and people point it out. I felt my cheeks burning, feeling as ridiculous as I had expected to. Until….

An elderly woman and her friend stopped me. “You sweet young thing, wherever did you get that hat? You look right out of the 40s! I wish more young people dressed so elegantly.”

“Oh,” my eyes widened, surprised. “Thank you!”

Not two minutes later, a young couple stopped me and asked where they could purchase such a hat.

Then more women stopped me to ask about it.

Best yet, as I walked through the grocery store, a butcher came running out from behind the counter to shout at me, “You look like you’re from Paris!”

Um. Um. Um. What?!img_6017

I wore this hat as an inside joke! And yet, somehow, it seemed to have started a small fashion riot.

I figured, in accordance with the¬†You’ve Got Mail philosophy on hats that this little number would be a mistake, but I had not factored in feigned confidence. Act like it is intentional and people cannot help but believe you! Standing up straight makes any outfit work and owning it turns into true confidence.

This philosophy, realized through a ridiculous hat, extends to so many other areas of life. All of them, really. For instance…

In high school, my friends and I were music nerds and I remember being pressured by a couple “cool” friends to ditch them because the “popular” girls would think I was weird. But you know what? I’d rather spend my lunch hours playing improv games and singing along to musicals than gossiping. To all you teenage music nerds, OWN IT.

In elementary school, I hated sleepovers and always left them early. I know the other little girls thought it was strange, but guess what? I got more sleep! To you introverted little girls, OWN IT.

In junior high, I spent more time practicing piano than hanging out at the mall. And when I was at the mall, spent most of my time in the bookstore. To you bookworms of all ages, OWN IT.

All through my life, my mom has emphasized the “Own it” mentality, saying things like, “You’re taller than most people. Who cares? Own it. Stand up straight and be the tall girl.”

However, in college, I lost a bit of the “Own it” philosophy during my first year. Bless this bizarre hat for helping restore it.

I mean, I play the pipe organ. That might be the nerdiest thing ever.

SO OWN IT and play Phantom of the Opera at midnight!

Rather discuss books than go out?

OWN IT and work that copy of Plato like it’s a Kate Spade purse!

Don’t like contemporary music?

OWN IT and blast that KJazz!

Want to wear a modest dress to prom?

OWN IT and work that dance floor! (Or, in my case, ditch the dance floor and go play boardgames.)

Quirks?  OWN THEM.

Fandoms? OWN THEM.


DO NOT own hindrances:

Don’t own your mistakes; own up to them and move on.

Don’t own your anxieties; face them and own your victory over them.

Don’t own your temptations; own your strengths.

But overall, learn from the hat and own what makes you you! My favorite things about the people I love are the things that are most unique and “weird” about them and, once they themselves own these things with confidence, everyone else comes to admire them too!

An Epic Workout

You probably clicked on this link thinking it was an actual fitness article with instructions on how to run a 5K or do one-armed pushups, so I am sorry to disappoint you. But then again, this is a book blog, so if you came here looking for fitness inspiration, then you came to the wrong place and it’s your own fault. ūüėČ This once, however, I am actually going to focus on exercise. You see, I am reading The Iliad in preparation for my first semester as a student in my college’s honors institute and finding that although it is epic (hahahaha…that was awful. Sorry.) it can be a bit tedious. How does this relate to exercise? Well the characters in this book do tend to be the beefy, shield-bearing warrior type and even the women are pretty swift on their feet, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. To cope with the restlessness I feel when reading The Iliad for extended periods of time, I have devised a workout game to not only help me stay in shape as I read, but to emphasize important aspects of the book. It won’t make you into a “Glorious Hektor” but it’s about as good as it gets for us book nerds. Here you go:

1. Whenever a title is used to describe a character (for example: “Brilliant Odysseus”): 5 jumping jacks

2. Whenever someone dies a particularly gruesome death: 5 sit-ups

3. Each time a sacrifice is made: 10 squats

4. Each time a god or goddess pretends to be a human: 30 second plank (This one is nice because you can read while planking.)

5. Whenever a motivational speech is made: 20 lunges

6. Every time a Homeric/epic simile is employed: 5 push-ups (wall push-ups count, despite what the athletes say)

7. Whenever someone or something is compared to a “blazing fire”: dance around for 30 seconds (I recommend making sure you are alone)

8. Each time someone’s armor is described: 20 crunches

9. Every time the noise of the Trojans is mentioned: 5 single-leg squats

10. Every time the ships of the Achaians are mentioned: 10 high-knees

I should mention that I didn’t actually do any of this…just thought about it. But that counts, right?

7 Steps to Overcoming a Haircut Crisis: by Rapunzel, Anne, Jo, and Me

My face post-haircut. Goodbye braids..

“It looks so good!” gushes the stylist.

You nod vaguely, but inside you’re screaming, “Since when does ‘two inches’ mean ‘take it all’?”

You came in wanting a simple trim (freshen up the layers, cut the split-ends, the usual), but one ambitious beautician and several pairs of scissors later you’re sitting open-mouthed in a nest of¬†your own hair.

I’ve been there.

We’ve all been there.

In fact, haircuts-gone-wrong are so common that some of the most beloved characters in fiction have also been there and can offer great advice for getting over the horror of your hair disaster. So here you go, 7 Steps to Overcoming Your Hair Crisis, brought to you by some of your favorite fictional ladies:

1. Recognize that your new ‘do is…unexpected.¬†

"I just wanted a trim!"
“I just wanted a trim!”

Especially if you’ve had the same hairstyle for a long time, change¬†can be shocking¬†and it’s perfectly normal to be startled.¬†On the bright side, unlike Rapunzel, your hair probably did not turn brown and lose its power.

2. Cry a little if you want.

"I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair, but green is ten times worse!" - Anne Shirley
“I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair, but green is ten times worse!” – Anne of Green Gables¬†by L.M. Montgomery

It’s okay to miss your hair; it was a part of you. And, like Anne Shirley, it’s okay to shed a few tears. After all, you were promised a “beautiful raven black” and given a sickly green; that is a serious disappointment!

3. Be prepared for others to notice the change.

"I walked in, asked if they bought hair, and what they would give for mine." - Little Women
“I walked in, asked if they bought hair, and what they would give for mine.” – Little Women

Even if you cut your hair for the best of reasons, people will notice the difference. Sometimes this is affirming, but other times…not so much. There will always be that one Theodore (“Laurie”) Laurence who sees your new cut and blurts out “You look a little like a porcupine, Jo, but l like it.” Learn to take these awkward acknowledgements as compliments; it will help ease the self-consciousness of having everyone commenting on your hair.

4. Accessorize and experiment!

Princess tiaras make the best accessories. :)
Princess tiaras make the best accessories. ūüôā

Yeah, your new hair may not be your best look, but there is a whole world of accessories that can make it more, well, you! Rapunzel totally rocks her short hair with the crown adding some sparkle.¬†(And no,¬†her hair isn’t perfect just because she’s animated…it’s obviously due to the accessorizing.) If headbands and clips aren’t your thing, try other styles (straight, curly, braided, etc.).

5. Take advantage of this opportunity to reinvent your style.

Mrs. Harris: "Is that all your own hair?" Anne (laughing): "Every bit!"
Mrs. Harris: “Is that all your own hair?”
Anne (laughing): “Every bit!”

Green hair wasn’t ideal, but Anne used it as a chance to exchange her girlish braids for a sassy short cut and, later, sophisticated up-dos. Cutting her hair was a turning point in her life, marking the end of her rough childhood and the beginning of better¬†years. Chopping off your hair probably won’t be as climactic as this, but it is still a chance for you to alter your¬†style. Short cuts especially can look both hip and vintage if paired with the right outfit! (I speak from experience on that.)

6. Remember that it’ll grow back…unless you’re Rapunzel.

"And then I'll brush and brush and brush and brush my hair." -Rapunzel, Tangled
“And then I’ll brush and brush and brush and brush my hair.” -Rapunzel in¬†Tangled

Unfortunately, Rapunzel’s hair did not grow back, but yours will! Brushing and brushing and brushing like Rapunzel might help it grow faster too. There are tons of ways to boost hair growth (try searching Pinterest!) but time is definitely the best remedy. Your hair will grow again and be as beautiful as ever. Meanwhile, Flynn Rider has a thing for brunettes and short-hair… ūüėČ

7. Be confident.

"My head feels deliciously light and cool! ... soon I'll have a curly crop that will be boyish, becoming, and easy to keep in order!" - Jo March
“My head feels deliciously light and cool! … soon I’ll have a curly crop that will be boyish, becoming, and easy to keep in order!” – Jo March

Fake it ’til you make it applies to this situation; if you act like you are comfortable with¬†your new haircut, others will accept it and you will get used to it. If Anne could make¬†short hair look good even after dying it green, Jo could sell her hair despite it being her best feature, and Rapunzel could love her non-magical locks, then you can survive and rock this hair crisis. Who knows, maybe you’ll start a new trend? After all, somebody somewhere was the first person to get a pixie cut and now they are everywhere!

I wasn't sure at first, but am starting to like my short hair! :) (On a separate note, I do not know how to take a good selfie...)
I wasn’t sure at first, but am starting to like my short hair! ūüôā (On a separate note, I do not know how to take a good selfie…)