Donating your Hair... more than just cutting.

My daughter’s first “haircut” was at the age of 2.  She was born with a head full of fast growing hair. By the time she was 2, her dark brown hair was shoulder length with gorgeous silken baby curls hanging at the ends. Once she had her first haircut, the curls were gone (I cried a little), but her hair grew even faster. 

Now, at the age of 7, she’s had a few trims (a couple of inches at the time), but never even considered having an actual haircut with style. 

Until this summer…

We were watching American Ninja Warrior when one of the contestants, Kevin Bull, came on the screen followed by a story clip of his condition, alopecia. 

My daughter asked about it, and she was very curious to know why there were people that didn’t grow hair…especially the children they were showing on screen. We had a long conversation about medical conditions, including cancer, that some people endure and why some treatments make you lose your hair. She was devastated to learn that there were kids out there that had to go to school with no hair. She was worried about bulling among other things that go on inside a seven-year old’s mind. 

We looked at pictures of kids after undergoing chemo (she likes visual learning), and she asked if they can get wigs. YES! I said.  I told her that people donate long hair to make wigs and kids with many conditions can get them. 

Then she decided (on her own) that she wanted to cut her very long hair and donate it. 

I was shocked, and emotional, but it is obviously a decision that she was making, and I saw how firm she was in her determination. Either way, I gave her a couple more weeks for her to think about it. I mean, ALL her life she’s only known to have her long hair. Cutting it so short is a big decision, even for an adult, and I needed to make sure she was sure. 

And she was.

We scheduled the appointment and I could see she was a bit nervous before hand.

The awesome hairdresser measured her hair and began to cut.

Her face says it all when she realized the cutting was actually happening, and she feels the scissors going through her hair…

She styled it and placed two small red hair extensions for some added flair (she has been asking to get red highlights…but I refuse to bleach her hair at such an young age).

The highlight idea was a hit! She was so excited and happy with her new haircut.

And we are shipping the ponytail!

That night, she was crying, and although she wouldn’t tell me, I knew it was because she missed her hair… but it got better once I reminded her of the good act she was doing by donating her hair. I can only imagine what was going through her head... change is hard enough for an adult, developed brain, just imagine what it is for a kid. Abrupt change can be stressful. Thankfully, she is mature for her age and quickly came to a point where she was fine.  

It’s been almost a week, and she’s rocking her new do. 

Now the task continues as I haven’t decided which entity to send the hair to. Wigs for Kids is the one I originally chose, but I’m afraid they won’t accept her hair as it is just short of their 12 inches minimum requirement.  I would HATE for her hair to go to waste. 

Our next choice was the Pantene program, but my daughter insists that it must go to kids.  After researching, I realized Pantene does adults.

And there’s also Locks of Love. They donate mostly to kids with alopecia, and not cancer as our intentions were…but I think we are okay with that. They only require a minimum of 10 inches, and we got 11…. So I guess we have a winner!


If you have long hair, consider donating it when you cut at least 8 inches.... Don't let it go to waste!!!

As for my daughter, she said she's going to let it grow so she can donate her hair again.  I'm a proud parent. 



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Bloggess Book Signing

In case you guys didn't know, my birthday was this past week! (I am still accepting gifts, flowers, and dinners for the entire month of March just FYI) In addition to the freaking amazballs picture she drew me for my library room *see below*, Mia  took me on a day trip to Raleigh, NC, for the book reading/signing event for Jenny Lawson’s latest book, "You are Here". (She's kinda the best that Mia). 

Review coming soon!

Review coming soon!

A "Mia" original drawing.

A "Mia" original drawing.

Jenny Lawson, or The Bloggess as she is known on her blog, is the type of blogger we can only aspire to be. Her quick wit and ability to humorously and ironically write about all the shit life throws at you is hysterically relatable.

I stumbled across her first book, "Let's Pretend this Never Happened" while googling a memoir to fulfill a 2015 Goodread Book Challenge item ("a memoir"). I was hooked from page 1 and started following her blog shortly after. I laughed, snorted, and chuckled my way through her first book and preordered her second, "Furiously Happy" as soon as I was able through Amazon. 


Of course, I got Mia hooked on her hilarity, and we were both pumped when we read she would be making a stop in Raleigh, NC (at the beautiful independent book store Quail Ridge Books- seriously guys, a must see) on her latest book tour (about a 2 1/2 hour drive from our house). Being the super friend that she is, Mia pre-ordered us copies of the book, and snagged us seats for the event!


Y'all I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous to meet Jenny. I know, I'm a weirdo, but what can I say? It's irrational, yes, but that didn't make it any less true. Rest assured y'all, she was a doll. Just as humorous and kind as I had imagined she would be.

We waited three hours to get our books signed, and you would think after so long to sit and ponder on just what we were going to say during our 45 seconds with Jenny we would have something witty and fun, something that would make her laugh and remember us by, but sadly, no.

Of course we were tongue tied, and awkward, and the best we came up with was a few rambling sentences on how we were worried about her hands after signing so many books..... yeah..... I mean, who says that?!!!

”I’m worried about your hands” *insert face-palm here* and “embarrassed emoji” why not.

Us and Jenny!

Us and Jenny!


Anywho, we came, we saw, we listened, we had signed, and we made it home in one piece. 

Thanks Mia for a fun day trip girls day- you truly are my best friend and only you could make 3 hours of sitting in hard plastic chairs fun.

And thank you Jenny Lawson for not giving us a look of total bafflement when all we could talk about for those 45 seconds was your hand health....

LET US KNOW HOW YOU HANDLE BOOK SIGNINGS OR MEETING YOUR IDOL! We would LOVE to hear your stories! Comment below!!!!

The Elusive Miss Jean Louis

The Elusive Miss Jean Louis, A Little Known History

Little is known of the background and upbringing of the elusive Miss Jean Louis, she seems to have popped up on our radar sometime back in 2011 with the advent of GISHWHES. Beloved by all, and the well-known leash keeper of our friend and comrade Misha Collins, she has quickly won the love and adoration of Gishers worldwide (I myself have a 5 foot statue made out of kale displayed in my home in her honor).

As for what we do know of Miss Jean Louis, it’s mostly conjecture and hearsay but I do have it on good authority that she actually saved Mishas life, which henceforth,forever more, bonded the two rapscallions to a lifetime of friendship.

The year was 1994 and Misha was just a young buck, only 20 years old. Taking a break from his woodworking and carpentery in the Berkshire Mountains, he decided to indulge in a week long cruise to the Caribbean (he always was one to indulge, that Misha). Lounge singer and sometimes stand-up comic, Miss Jean Louis was working the cruise lines. It was a hard life, on the road (or seas) months at a time pandering to drunk, happy go lucky cruise goers. No friends, alone and adrift in the world, it was a lonely life, one she despised. But still she carried on (like a wayward son) for it was all she knew.

It was day 2 into the cruise when the high winds and rough waters began. Tossing the large cruise ship like the ball in a drunken game of hot potato (not that I would have any experience in that, obviously..), the vessel was tossed and heaved for 2 long days and nights, battered with rain, winds so high as to give you wind burn if you so much as dared to step out on deck.

Being the unwaveringly dedicated soul that she is (I’ve heard that she once won a staring contest against the Mona Lisa- but that’s neither here nor there), Miss Jean Louis sang for those 2 days, without rest or nourishment to provide comfort to those fearful (and at this point severely nauseous) cruise goers. Never wavering in her commitment to fulfill her job duties of providing quality musical entertainment for all aboard.

It was the end of day two when the winds, rain, and waves had finally reeked so much havoc on the ship that it could bear it no more. Under the strain and stress, it began to take on water. It began to sink.

The deck was filled with screams and panic as people quickly made their way to the life boats. Having no clue about proper emergency disembarking procedures (he had enjoyed perhaps one too many Mai Tais during the mandatory safety class on day 1) Misha panicked and jumped overboard. He quickly realized his mistake as he had never mastered the art of swimming began screaming for help.

 Miss Jean Louis witnessed the incident and quickly jumped into action, diving overboard to the rescue (it is rumored she once competed in the Olympic Games back in 1984 bringing home the gold in the 800 meter freestyle or the USA under the pseudonym Tiffany Cohen- but that’s just conjecture at this point).

Floundering around like bacon grease on a griddle, Misha gasped and gurgled. Miss Jean Louise quickly and deftly free styled her way to Misha, battling the choppy waves and needle piercing rain to grab ahold of Misha , flip him on his back, and safely place in a the America Red Cross approved hold while making her way to the nearest life raft. (There is some debate at this point if she delivered a death dealing blow to a circling shark with nothing but her well chiseled right leg, scissor kick style but I feel it’s worth mentioning in any case.)

Once they were both safety aboard the life raft (Misha a blubbering mess at this point so I’m told), Miss Jean Louis had an epiphany. Amid the torrid waves, unrelenting rain, and hurricane like winds, a small ray of sunshine peeked between the clouds, shining almost as if Rob Benedict himself was highlighting the significance of the moment. Bathed in a heavenly glow of otherworldly light, Misha (laying on the floor of the raft, fetal position) suddenly became her mission. It was clear to her that her lifetime of solitude was over, she had found her cause. From that moment on she left her life of riding the high seas and devoted it instead to babysitting…errr….friending Misha. The two became thick as thieves, inseparable. In fact, it was due to this life changing event that Misha finally decided to finally become a certified lifeguard.

And so goes the tale of the beginning of the lifelong, inseparable bond between Misha and Miss Jean Louise. 

Fathers Day

There are all types of dads out there. The fun dad, the strict dad, the goofy dad, the intellectual dad, the stay at home dad, the working dad, the single dad, and the every other weekend dad (sometimes by choice- others times not). Sometimes you aren't biologically a dad but for all intents and purposes you are a dad. Sometimes you are a single mother who fills the role of mom and dad. Whatever kind of dad you have, let me let you in on a little secret, they won't be around forever.

Take my own dad, pretty easily dubbed the "goofy" dad, you could catch him dancing around in his tighty whiteys on a  Saturday morning in the living room, or sneaking McDonalds happy meals as an after-school snack. He was the first to volunteer at the annual Christmas tree lot sale at church, and was front row at all my basketball games. He relentlessly embarrassed me by jiving around the house when I had sleep overs, much to the chittering amusement of my friends. 

He paid out weekly allowances in crisp $2 bills and never skimped on book fair funds. But don't even think about ordering a drink at a restaurant ("that's where they get ya is on the drinks!") water only for the Barlows. He took me on my ever fist roller coaster ride (and promptly instilled in me a fear of heights... to which I still cannot get over to this day) and terrorized me while watching Nightmare on Elm Street (really who lets a 3rd grader watch that?!) but he never complained when I faked falling asleep in the car so he could carry me inside and put me to bed.

So many people tell you to enjoy every moment with your children, "they grow so fast" they say. "Don't blink or you'll miss it" we are constantly reminded as we watch our children enter various stages of development and growth. What we don't hear enough of, is to enjoy our parents. We take for granted that they will always be there for us with a quick call or drive across town. Words of wisdom to calm pre-motherhood jitters, or interest rates and home loan questions when you purchase your first house. We simply take for granted the one constant in our lives, the one thing that's always been since we've been old enough to create memories, our parents.

My dad is terminally ill.

I have had to watch as the past decade has eaten away at the goofy, loud, tighty whitey dancing man that I have loved. Due to a degenerative brain disease he has slowly faded away both physically and mentally. The big tall man I remember from my childhood looks so small, frail in comparison. While that light and fire can sometimes be seen beneath the medicated sleepiness in which he so often finds himself, he is relegated to a bed, or a wheelchair unable to walk, needing help with everyday activities of living.  Gone are the days of bookfairs and dancing. 

So readers I leave you with this, enjoy your parents, they won't be around forever. They may not be perfect, in fact they are most likely equal parts infuriating, embarrassing, and loveable, but they are yours. 

I would gladly ride another million roller coasters to have my dad back, healthy and happy.






Best of Stephanie: Part One

Mia and I have a pretty amazing circle of friends. From bombarding each other with a million texts in the group chat (thanks for that as I try and sleep in the mornings after a 12 hour night shift- 92 messages?! Really?!), to (at least)  monthly game night sessions where we sip cocktails from plastic princess cups while we argue over whether or not one of our hubbies is cheating in HeadBandz (he was by the way), to planning international adventures to Europe (summer 2016 can't come soon enough!) we have a lot of fun. 

An integral part of this group is our dear friend Stephanie, known for her quick wit, sarcasm, and tough as nails attitude. Don't let her fool you though, beneath the hard exterior this chick has a heart of gold (and she makes a mean cheese dip for game nights- she may have to guest blog on a Fatten me Up Friday). She's the friend who will deck out in Panthers garb for the Superbowl because she knows you're a die hard fan even though she isn't even sure what the Superbowl means, she drops her plans on a Saturday to go to a Halloween party with you so you don't have to go alone, and she buys special toys and coloring stuff for your kids for the annual Christmas party so they will have something to do. But seriously she's the best- she completes this crazy gang we roll with.

I have been compiling a list of my favorite things we has said/posted/texted (much like our list of crazy things our kids have said- read that here).  Without further ado- the best Stephanie-isms of recent:

- The most unrealistic thing about watching Friends is not how they can all afford those apartments, but how they don't come home from work and immediately change into pajamas.

- Beach when your 16 vs 32:

 Where should we set up?

16: next to all those cute boys so I can show off my swimsuit

32: Where are there less people?

"Don't forget skin care"

16: *slathers on copious amounts of suntan oil

32: *meticulously covers every inch in SPF 50 waterproof

"What should we eat?'

16: Whatever greasy thing the street vendor is selling

32: I brought a cooler with snacks!

"What do you want to do?"

16: Let's play football! No, swim! No, let's go jump off those rocks!

32: *applies more sunscreen*

"Now what?"

16: Let's lay out and get more sun?

32: Ohhhh, that's a cool seashell!


- If I make it through today unmediated, I deserve an award.

- Does anyone know anywhere offering classes for Adulting? Or How to Adult? Or perhaps one of my dear FB friends is an Adultier Adult that I could consult?

- Anyplace I can shop and drink is OK is my book.

- I feel like Trump is the same guy/girl running for student body president back in middle school who promised free pizza for lunch every day just to get the votes...and we all know how that turned out.

- For anyone who's said that Ikea is the ultimate test of a relationship has clearly never pained a bathroom with their S.O.

- I just got an email notification to remind us of Channing Tatums birthday...does anyone remember why?? (Btw, we all got this reminder and can't remember how it got set)

- I don't think I have the stamina to be a girl

- There's nothing that ruins a "hey-I-look-pretty-decent-today" mood quicker than when you turn your phone on and it's in forward facing camera mode. Hello chins. Good morning to you.

- I think we'd be one step closer to achieving world peace of everyone would just use their freaking blinker. 

 We love you Steph! Keep entertaining us with your witty comments!


Workshop experience with Dr. Brian Weiss

signed copy of my book (english version)

The Many Lives, Many Masters Workshop by Dr. Brian Weiss in Atlanta, GA.  February 20, 2016 was an awesome day.

When I was a teenager, my uncle handed me a little paperback book, and made me promise that I was going to read it with an open mind. 

When I read the title of this book, “Many lives, Many masters by Dr. Brian Weiss” I didn’t know what to expect.  So, keeping my promise to my uncle, I read it. 

I can’t tell you how this book changed my mind because, the complexity of the subject is such, that it could take me writing a whole book in order to explain it. 

I was a new person. I was actually grateful that I read this book as a teenager. I don’t think I would’ve been the person I am now if it wasn’t for the things I’ve done, and reading this book is one of them.  I know it sounds a tad dramatic, but it is true. 

Dr. Brian Weiss is a world renowned psychiatrist and hypnotherapist from Florida, who has been researching the field of regression since the late seventies. He has written several books with real stories and experiences as well as wonderful lessons of spirituality and personal growth. 

I attended one of his all-day workshops in Atlanta.  I didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time at an event like this. I was surprised to hear him talking. He was very calm, almost peaceful in the way he spoke (as if he was in a constant relaxed state). 

He spoke of his work, a little bit of background on the subject of regression. Then he had the audience engage in relaxation exercises. Hypnosis is not the elaborate dramatization you have seen on TV by phony hypnotists. This was more like YOU exploring your own mind. 

Guided by his very soothing voice, you were prompted to imagine yourself in beautiful places while being very well aware of your own body. The connection with mind and body in this state is unique. It was an experience everyone should engage from time to time. Regardless of religious backgrounds, his techniques and his knowledge in the subject have something for everyone. 

            meeting Dr. Brian Weiss

            meeting Dr. Brian Weiss

I left the workshop like a new person; a new person with the will to explore my own mind even further, while relaxing my body. Relaxation and meditation are great tools for a healthy mind and body, and I am grateful to have experienced it at this workshop. 

Signed copy. Spanish Version

After the seminar, I got a chance to meet with Dr. Weiss and have my books autographed. I had my English and my Spanish version of Many Lives, Many Masters and he gladly signed them both. He told me he had been to Colombia (South America) four times. I was glad to hear that since that’s where my family is originally from. When I left I realized that, without me asking, he had signed my Spanish version in Spanish! What a thoughtful, humble man. Thank you Dr. Weiss. And thank you uncle for asking me to read this book so many years ago.  

You can follow Dr. Weiss on Facebook  and twitter @DrBrianWeiss