Excellent Phone Apps for Family History

I am super excited to share with you an excellent presentation on phone apps for doing your family history!

One of my friends, Crystal Beutler, taught a class at RootsTech a few weekends ago called Family History on the Go.  Fortunately for us, they recorded the class and have shared it online for FREE.  I love FREE!  Crystal co-taught the class with creative app developer Rhonna Farrer.  I use her app Rhonna Designs to create fun Instagrams with quotes and designs.  If you go into my Instagram feed(@familybringsjoy) you will see what I am referring to.

Family History is the perfect activity during snow days like today!  It’s Saturday, so the kids wouldn’t normally have school, but the roads have iced over.  It’s not too safe for us to be going anywhere.  I’m excited to show my kids what I learned.  I believe this class completely revolutionized my way of doing Family History.  Genealogy can bring family unity like nothing else.

Learning brings joy,

Happy Families

I’m really enjoying this new video series titled “Happy Families.”  It’s refreshing to see what other happy families do.  What makes them happy?

I thought you might like it as well! :)

Blessings to you,

How Many Red Flags Does It Take? (The Very Bad Haircut)

I learned recently I have been blessed with good hair stylists for the majority of my 44 years on this earth.  Some may say that is completely debatable upon perusing through pictures of me at various points in my life.  However, I can’t recall having an experience at the salon where I have to hold back tears as the person is cutting my hair…until my last hair cut.  I’ve heard nightmare salon stories over the years, but I just think to myself, “hair grows.”

My many haircuts

FullSizeRender_3Here’s the deal…I have LOTS of hair.  When I say I have thick hair…it is THICK.  It is also coarse in nature, not thin.  This is not a complaint. This is merely a fact and is partly the reason why I like having a short hair cut.  The times in my life when I’ve had long hair…oh my goodness does it take a LONG time to shampoo, condition and DRY.  Not only that, if I want to pull it out of my face, say by using a pony tail, I will have a headache by the end of the day, due to the weight of the hair pulling on my scalp.  In addition, I would usually end up with a little sore on my scalp.  My hair grows super fast, again not complaining.  Since I have a pixie haircut now, I usually have to go to the salon every 4 weeks to have my hair cut and colored.  I’ve earned every one of my grey hairs, but I’m not ready to be entirely grey haired.  I’ll save the “I don’t like growing old” post for another time.

Now that you have a better understanding of how my hair is, let’s proceed to the story at hand.

When I moved to Oklahoma (remote small town) I went to 2 hair stylists in which I came to the conclusion I might need to travel (two hours) to Tulsa for a hair stylist.  It wasn’t uncommon, as many other women there also traveled the distance to have good salon experiences.  After making the two hour drive every 4 weeks, for about 6 months, I was ready to find someone local to do my hair.  Fortunately, I found someone!  I asked a friend of mine to share who cut her hair.  She referred me to the lady I ended up going to for about 5 years.  She was the one of the owners of the salon and extremely talented.  Oh how I miss her!  I did travel to Oklahoma to get my hair done after we moved back to Texas in July for a couple of months. The following is the before and after of when my stylist from Oklahoma cut my hair from a bob to a longer pixie cut.

from bob to long pixie3 familybringsjoy.com

I finally decided I would take the leap and find someone here in North Texas.  I figured, I’m in the big city now, it shouldn’t be so difficult to find someone to cut my hair.  Well, I figured wrong.

The following is a sample of photos I showed the hair stylist of how I liked my hair cut:

Instagram Hair Collage familybringsjoy.com

bad cutIMG_5625My first salon experience back in Texas was an ok experience, but I didn’t like how she cut my hair.  The stylist came highly recommended by several people.  She was super sweet and I enjoyed our conversation.  At the beginning of our appointment I showed her pictures of my hair the way I liked it.  My hair was longer because I had gone 2 months without having it cut.  I also noticed the next day after her coloring it…there was grey still showing.  She was super nice and recolored it for me at no charge.  I just didn’t feel like it was a good fit.  The photo to the left was the one I texted to my husband after the appointment…way too short for my taste.  The black and white photo to the right shows how long it was before she cut it. :(

I promise I’m getting to the real story. I felt the need to share a bit of background first.  Okay, so we ended up spending some money at the Aveda store on products for my oldest daughter’s naturally curly hair.  When we checked out, the Aveda sales representative {because of our sale} gave us certificates for 2 free haircuts to a local Aveda salon.  Now let me tell you something…I used to go to an Aveda salon in my home town (Arlington, TX) when I was in high school.  I had an excellent hair stylist who cut my short hair back then.  I was so excited to think I could find someone at an Aveda salon again!

RED FLAGS:

  1. When I called to schedule me & my daughter’s appointments they were able to book us for the very next day.
  2. The hair stylist called me the morning of our appointment to say they were out of electricity. (Not the salon’s fault. Workers for another business in their complex cut the wires.)
  3. The hair stylist did not look professional. She was wearing worn out jeans, a t-shirt and boots. Nor did she wear makeup or do her hair. Her hair was pulled up into a ponytail.
  4. She looked extremely young.
  5. She asks me, “Do you know what color your stylist used on your hair?”
  6. She asks me, “So how much length do you want taken off here and here and here?”  (after I show her pictures of how I like my hair)
  7. She didn’t set a timer after she put the color on my hair.
  8. It took her an hour to cut my hair.  We were in the salon for a total of FOUR hours! It usually only takes about an hour and a half to color and cut my hair.
  9. “What kind of styling product do you use in your hair?” she asks.
  10. It was free.

too good to be true
Red flag number one: I should have realized right off the bat, it’s not a good sign if you can get an appointment for the next day.  Usually, good hair stylists can not get you in right away because they are booked weeks in advance.  My daughter and I were in desperate mode so we thought we were lucky she could squeeze us in.  Can’t blame us for trying to be optimistic.

Red flag number two: The fact the electricity was out should have been another sign…warning!  It’s not their fault at all, but walking into a salon which is dark with extension cords running through out, hooked up to a generator does not make for the best salon experience.  Fortunately, the electricity was restored while she was applying my color.

Red flag number three: If someone is going to do my hair, which has to do with my outward appearance, I kind of would like to see they care about their own appearance.  She looked as though she just got out of bed, pulled up her hair in a messy pony tail, threw on the first thing she could find, and went to work.

Red flag number four: Looking young is not bad at all.  However, it told me she may not have very much experience with doing hair.  I found out she had been a hair stylist for 5 years…but for some reason I don’t know if that was the truth.

Red flag number five: If I am paying someone to color my hair (which I did actually pay for the coloring service,) I would expect them to know how to match my hair color.  It was lucky I did know what color my previous stylist had been using.

Red flag number six: Again, if I am paying someone to cut my hair (lucky enough I did not have to pay for this particular haircut,) then I expect them to know how much length they should take off.  She also asked me what kind of scissors they used…seriously?!  I have no idea!  If I knew how to cut my hair, I would do it myself.

Red flag number seven: While the stylist was coloring my hair, she cut my Daughter’s hair.  Fortunately, my Daughter liked her hair cut (she has long hair.)  However, she spent about an hour cutting her hair and I was beginning to wonder if I would have any hair after leaving the color on for so long.  I asked her about it and she said, “I’m watching it.”  Hmmmm…that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Red flag number eight: I know because of my thick hair, my unique cowlick at the base of my neck, and the pixie short style, it is a little difficult to cut my hair.  This is why I want someone with experience cutting short hair or cutting hair in general.  I’m not sure she has cut very many short hair cuts, but normally someone can cut my hair in about 30 minutes.  It was complete and utter agony watching this girl cut my hair for an hour.  I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to yell, “STOP CUTTING!” and get up and run out the door.  I didn’t.  I didn’t want to hurt the poor girl.  She was doing the best she could, but inwardly I was crying and holding back the tears.  Four hours was way TOO LONG for the service we had done that day.

Red flag number nine: I expect my hair stylists to know what products they should use on my hair.  I’ve never had a stylist ask me what to use on my hair before, ever.

Last but not least, with red flag number ten, which technically should be number one, I should have known, if it’s free, she must need business…which means she is not very good.  Bless her heart, I feel bad for her.  And I can only write that now because it’s been 3 weeks since she cut my hair.  I was livid after my haircut.  I know everyone has to start somewhere.  Thing is, maybe this occupation is not best suited for her?  I’m grateful I did not have to pay for the haircut which made me go home and cry like a baby.

My Facebook status on November 25, 2014extremely bad hair day facebook status

FullSizeRender_1I would like to mention one other aspect I did not like about this salon in particular…the music.  Music is a very powerful medium.  I’ve been known to walk out of stores that are playing the music too loud.  I also don’t feel you should play only one genre of music in a store except for in the case of a spa.  It is completely acceptable and encouraged to play soft relaxing music in the background at a spa.  This particular salon (and no I will not be sharing names) played the same Christmas CD 3 times before I asked her if they could play something else.  Normally, it might not bug me, but this was the day before Thanksgiving and I don’t really like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  They replaced the Christmas CD which included 4 songs.  Ok, I don’t care what kind of genre of music it is, even if it’s my favorite 4 songs in the whole wide world, I don’t want to hear them repeated over three hours.  The four songs on this CD were Gospel Worship songs, with one being a live concert version.  Here’s the deal…I’m a Christian.  I really like Christian Contemporary music.  Worship music is different.  I didn’t mind listening to the songs the first time I heard them, because I am a Christian.  However, I am not accustomed to listening to the Worship genre of music, as my church does not play those songs in our worship service.  Putting that aside, what about the clients in the salon who are not Christian?  Wouldn’t that be kind of a problem with them?  When I go to a salon, I feel like not only am I paying for the expertise of the stylist, but I’m also paying for the atmosphere in the salon.  When I go, I want it to be a pleasant and relaxing experience.  I want to feel confident my hair stylist knows what she’s doing and I will leave feeling good about how I look.

hair salon chair familybringsjoy.comI recommend salons and stores play a variety of music (with the exception of heavy metal where they are screaming the lyrics, one of the major reasons I don’t shop at Hot Topic.)  This way everyone will hear a song they might like and enjoy listening to the music.  Volume of the music is important as well.  This particular salon had their music volume up so high we had to raise our voice to speak.  Background music should set the mood and be in the background, not in the fore front.  Being the ADD person I am, if I’m shopping at a store where the music is so loud, I can’t think or focus on finding what I’m shopping for, I want to leave and I do.  The store lost a customer.  I also leave stores playing the same genre of music (especially the ones I don’t listen to as much or care for.)

This experience was sort of traumatic for me…enough for me to write about it.  It has me feeling somewhat hopeless about my hair, which tends to have me feeling a little self conscious.  I want to explain something about me.  I’m the type of person who does her hair & makeup in the morning and then doesn’t look at it in the mirror throughout the day.  I’m not a vain person.  This horrible haircut has me looking at myself in the mirror throughout the day to check and make sure the shorter patches are not sticking up.  I was hoping after it grew out some those pieces would lay down more…nope.

Here are the pieces after 3 weeks of growth without styling product on them to flatten them down. (don’t look at my roots!)

one side with more grey edited

yuck haircut

back of my head

Sometimes even the styling product doesn’t keep them from sticking out.  I guess I’m going to have to say goodbye to my pixie haircut because I can’t keep reliving this horror story over and over.  That makes me sad.  I like my pixie haircut.  Just last night I dreamt I had several wigs I wore. :(

I didn’t realize this post was going to be so long.  I’ll stop ranting now.  I hope this finds everyone enjoying the Christmas season and doing well.

#firstworldprobs,

Bad Days Can Have Good Endings

Alexander screening familybringsjoy.comSaturday our family had the wonderful opportunity to screen the upcoming movie Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  That is a very long title for a movie.  Try to say that fast!  I will refer to the movie as Alexander for the rest of this post. ;)  Oh and in case you are wondering what the full movie poster looks like (since I couldn’t squeeze it all in my selfie pic to the left.)

Alexander movie poster

I’m always super grateful when there is a movie in which every member (our kids ages 16 & 11) of our family can enjoy watching it together.  Family values movies seem to be few and far between these days.  I watched the following trailer once before going to the movie.  In case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

I wonder how many other moms might have cringed a little while watching the preview…wondering to themselves, “do I really want to pay to see a bad day?”  To be honest, I thought that.  Yet, I knew Disney would make it right and they did.  Alexander has something for every member of the family to relate and laugh about.  It turns out the movie is based on a children’s book written in the early 70’s by Judith Viorst.  If you liked Steve Carrell in Date Night then you will like him in this movie as well.  Steve plays Alexander’s father.

“As a dad I can totally relate to this movie. Things tend to not go the way that you think they’ll go. But there’s always a contingency plan. There’s always a backup. Things go wrong in life and I think that’s part of the charm of this movie: Everyone experiences those days. It’s all about how you struggle through and keep your dignity and your sense of family and fun and the kind of love that is pervasive between the characters in this film.”  Steve Carrell

steve as ben

I am a huge fan of Alias, so I’m always excited to see Jennifer Garner.  I enjoyed seeing Jennifer play the mother roll in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  She doesn’t disappoint in this movie too.  It’s interesting I brought up Date Night and The Odd Life of Timothy Green, because if you mix those 2 movies together, you can sort of sense how Alexander is (without the magic aspect.)

“I don’t think I’ve ever played anything closer to my real life. Not that I have days as bad as this, but just days with the chaos of having a bunch of kids in the house—when there’s a kid peeing on the floor, and the dog is throwing up and somebody’s about to step in it, and you’re trying to get dinner on the table. I can definitely relate to the idea of trying to do too much in a day.”  Jennifer Garner

jennifer as kelly

The family portrayed in Alexander does have a really bad day, but what I like is how the family deals with the bad things.  The Dad is an optimist and is always telling the children to hop on the ship of positivity.  Families can learn a lot from these characters.  My 16 year old son really laughed out loud during the driving test scene. He is about to take his driving test, possibly tomorrow.  I’m truly hoping it doesn’t go the way this one did.

Alexander driving test scene

There were so many good quotes I wish I had written down while watching Alexander.  Most of them were said by Alexander.  The following quote, however simple, is completely true. “You gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days.”

Alexander card

Alexander is a definite family values movie…a must see!  You won’t be disappointed.  Let me put it this way…I don’t like to buy movies or watch them more than once.  Yet when I left the movie I thought to myself, “We need to buy that movie when it comes out on DVD.”  Bravo!  Well done!  Take your family to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day this weekend.

Just for you, my awesome readers, I’m including the recipe to Ben Cooper’s Quiche he made in the movie.  Quiche is one of my favs.  Can’t wait to make it myself.

alexander quiche

Click on this link for a PDF copy of Ben Cooper’s Crustless Quiche Recipe

I will conclude with the Cooper family sitting down at the table for meal time…hope you’re family is sitting together for meals. (You know how I feel about that)

Hash Tagged blessed,

Change Is Good

First Day of School Collage familybringsjoy.com

Hey there!  It’s good to be back!  I’ve missed blogging.  We are somewhat settled into our new abode here in TX.  It feels good to be back in my home state and very close to where I grew up.  Today is the kids first day of school! (at least my 2 youngest ones.)  I enjoyed walking my daughter to school.  Yes, I did say walking.  Our town home is directly across the street from my 6th graders school.  It was THE best first day of school experience EVER!

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{I hope you overlooked the second who above, because I sure did! ugh! :( }

My 6th grader familybringsjoy.com

Now that 2 of the 3 kids are back in school, I have time to blog again…yippee!  I’m looking forward to sharing more special features about our house in OK (which is still for sale…boo hiss.)  I will also be posting a really cool DIY craft tutorial I made for our new mantel here.  I hope this finds everyone safe and in good spirits.

See You SOON,