How I became a hair salon snob

As you may know, I am a short-haired lady.

However, maintaining my short hair now that I live in a small town has turned out to be a challenge. This is the story of why I continue to drive three hours to L.A. to get my hair cut. The story of my evolution into a hair salon snob.

The beginning

I lived in Santa Monica. My aunt, ever the model of frugality, suggested I get my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon Academy. It’s only $20. It takes three hours, sure, but it’s only $20. For the next five years, I go to the academy because I believe in education.

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Actually, living in a cute college town has some down sides. Let’s make a list.

Ah, graduation. A time to celebrate an important entry into adulthood. With this momentous time in mind, I’d like to reflect on red plastic cups in the bushes, and other realities of living in a student neighborhood.


Ithaca, New York is often rated the #1 college town.


Admittedly, I knew a lot in college. Possibly everything. Certainly much more than I know now. That’s because I had shit figured out. Where the man went wrong, where the government went wrong, where the world went wrong. I was also pretty sure I could live on $7 an hour forever.

Now the only things I know for sure are that 1) I will continue to eat dairy no matter how lactose intolerant I may become and 2) we’re all going to die.

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Dreamy illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Brenna Daugherty has an Etsy shop called Hep Threads Vintage. That’s how we met, so to speak. She created a lovely illustration — the one you see of me on this website, where I’m looking right at you, like I know something. It’s a strange and delightful thing to see yourself as an illustration, mysterious almost. How does she do that? I wondered. I asked Brenna if she was willing to do a short interview about her process. Happily, she agreed.

You studied art at UC Berkeley. Did you know you always wanted to be an artist?

Yes! I’ve been enamored with all things creative and artsy since I could hold a crayon. In high school and at UC Berkeley I studied fine art, but since then I’ve delved into the world of illustration and I’ve found that that is my true calling.

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Your store, Hep Threads Vintage, is also a vintage clothing store on Etsy. How does your love of vintage and your love of art play out in your work?

I’ve been fascinated by nostalgic imagery, history and vintage fashion for almost as long as I have been interested in art. Not surprisingly, much of my illustration work carries sentimental and vintage themes, sometimes subtle, sometimes overt.

In the case of your portrait illustration, Lauren, I drew inspiration from vintage botanical illustrations and postcards as well as 1940’s dress details.

What do you enjoy about doing illustrations? What do you look to translate from a photo to an illustration?

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

I love illustration because it’s art for the masses; you don’t have to be an established art critic to understand its merit and it resides in everyday life, not solely in galleries and museums.  Illustration is also an incredible (and fun!) challenge because at the end of the day the goal is to create a unique representation of something or someone that is both aesthetically pleasing and satisfies the client and finding that balance always keeps me on my toes.

When it comes to using a reference photo of a person to create an illustration, I strive to capture an accurate rendering of the subject as well as some essence of their personality. My illustration style is fun and cheery and I’ve found that my clients are too, so it’s usually quite easy to capture both.

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Illustration by Brenna Daugherty

Is this your full-time world, or are you also at a day job? If so, how do you balance those different roles?

Illustration is unfortunately not my full-time world…yet! My dream career is absolutely illustration, but as I work towards that, I also have a day job where I work as an art assistant at painting classes in Sonoma County, CA. Luckily for me, my day job is art-related so balancing illustration with that isn’t too tough; being around aspiring artists every day always inspires me to come home and work diligently on my illustration projects.

*Visit Brenna’s shop, Hep Threads Vintage on Etsy, to order your own illustration or a very sweet dress.

Thank you, Brenna!

Free short story on figuring out first times: Bea’s Notes, May 29-31

Featured on Freebooksy

Bea’s Notes was selected!

Bea, a university bio student, is approaching her new love life methodically. Want to know more about her quest to have a fulfilling experience with her maybe boyfriend?

Find out free! Bea’s Notes is free to download May 29-31. I’d love to know what you think of the story, so please let me know.

I’m delighted that Bea’s Notes was featured today on Freebooksy!

Hooray for reading and for discovering new authors!

More about the story: Bea is a transfer student at a mid-tier public university in California. She’s happy to have left home to study biology and live in a dorm with four girls crammed into one tiny room. She is even happier to finally be doing it. Unknown to Peter, her maybe boyfriend, she is keeping notes, just like she does for biology class, so that she has a baseline for their new experiment in getting it on.  



Can we be kind all the time? Really?

I’m all for kindness. It’s a big deal. It’s a gesture of our shared humanity, a nod to how hard things can be. But that’s just it. Life as a human can be hard. So why expect that people be on their best behavior ALL THE TIME? Isn’t the expectation of universal, 24/7 kindness a form of oppressive perfectionism that gets in the way of our humanity?

Sometimes things suck and we can’t spare a smile. I think the world can deal with this. It’s not an affront. I’d rather know reality than a weird sunshine-y rainbow version of your day.

This isn’t meant to be a rant so much as a demonstration of concern. I work with young adults (new adults?) – college students – and there is a culture of positivism that threatens to crowd out real feelings. Being in your early twenties can be a tough time.

Even more importantly, there isn’t a universal experience. Not everyone has had kindness shown to them. Not everyone has had a charmed upbringing. Not everyone feels like the world is theirs for the taking. The culture of positivism seems dangerously like a culture of privilege. Or, a means of denying our full humanity.

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