It all started with a creative writing exercise during which I was asked to write a vignette about my hair. Sitting at my sewing machine table that doubles as a writing desk, I smiled to myself as I typed the first words of my personal hair story. Here was a Pandora’s box, opened wide. At the time of writing the story, I was determined to let my hair grow. I wasn’t going to touch it until mid-December, when I was planning to return to a salon for a simple trim that would keep me looking presentable and avoid the awkward in-between stage that is inevitable with the growing out of hair. For a reminder of how my hair looked a week ago, refer back to last week’s post.
My hair and I have been the best of friends and we have been sworn enemies. A few times, I painstakingly grew my hair long only to get bored with it, walk into a salon and confidently say to a stunned hairstylist standing behind me and facing me in the mirror, “Just chop it off!” Okay, maybe my words weren’t as bold. Instead, I would sigh and say, demurely, “I think I want to go short again.” It feels liberating to have the old hair drift onto the sleek hardwood floor. There is something akin to a feeling of true pleasure as I would take a deep breath, look at my reflection in the mirror and realize how fantastic my hair looks. After each dramatic transformation, it looked — and felt — like a different person was gazing back at me. I would walk out of the salon, standing a bit taller, and catch myself constantly bringing my hand up to my freshly cut hair to play with my new short style.
The last time my hair was long, in September 2011. This photo was taken in San Francisco.
And then, I would get bored with it. Suddenly, everywhere around me were images of gorgeous women with luscious long locks. Long hair envy. That’s what it is. Likewise, after years of growing my hair, I would get that old familiar pang upon seeing a pretty gamine pixie cut on someone who looks perfectly chic. I would turn to the person next to me (usually Pawel) and say, “Oh, I really want to get my hair cut short again.”
This is what my hair looked like on most days, as I would wear it tied back in a bun. Nothing to write home about.
And one more photo from that SF trip, just because I’m feeling nostalgic. See what I mean? Boring, pulled-back hair.
Each journey to growing my hair has been long and arduous, taking years. My first short haircut, in 2004, was inspired by Meg Ryan’s hair in You’ve Got Mail. In 2008, I decided to get a chin-length cut on a whim. Unfortunately, I went to a terrible new salon and the hairstylist was a bit over-enthusiastic when I told her I’m comfortable with having my hair cut short, so I ended up with a shorter style than I had expected to see. Nevertheless, I loved it. And in 2011, I did it again with an inverted bob, donating 10 inches of my hair to be made into a wig. Since then, I have been attempting to grow it, only to get bored with it once my hair reached a shoulder-length bob style.
Long hair is easy to hide on a bad day when we don’t have much time to style it. On most days, I would wear my hair in a ponytail or wrapped in a bun. Short hair is practically impossible to hide, especially on a humid summer day when I leave the yoga studio following a sweaty class looking every bit like a mad scientist, with curls sticking out in every direction. And yet, short hair is easier to style and looks fabulous with a great cut. So, what to choose? That was my embarrassing inner dialogue, and yes, I will confess — blushing all the while — to thinking about my hair too frequently, obsessively.
So, I decided to step into my grown-up shoes and make a decision about my in-between hair. I called the salon and booked an appointment.
Et voila! The result is a pixie cut that I personally am very happy with.
So, I will keep my hair short for the next while and enjoy it to a hilt (an expression that I will shamelessly confess to have adopted from Audrey Hepburn). Thankfully, Pawel has gotten accustomed to my hair antics and is no longer shocked by my inch-long hair. At the end of the day, it’s just hair and I love to feel great.
Last week, we shared with you a recipe for our butternut squash and apple soup. This week, the apple theme continues…
While I was growing up, my mom, who is an excellent chef but doesn’t enjoy baking all that much, would sometimes get the baking bug and make a rustic apple cake. She passed on the recipe to me, and it’s actually a simple traditional Russian recipe for an apple cake that goes beautifully with tea on a chilly Autumn evening. We made a few substitutions to the original ingredients.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup milk (almond milk would also be great in this recipe)
1/2 cup butter, melted (feel free to use coconut oil)
3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (be sure to use tart apples that will remain firm while baking)
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Melt the butter in a saucepan and use a small amount of the butter to grease a baking pan (we used a pan that is 8 by 10 inches in size).
2. Whisk the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Whisk the eggs, milk and melted butter together in a separate bowl.
4. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then, stir in the chopped apples.
5. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake on the middle rack for approximately 30 minutes or until the cake appears golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool. Slice and serve with a cup of your favourite tea.
Over the past weekend, Pawel finished this beautiful piece, inspired by the goddess Pele.
Both Pawel and I are big fans of mythology from different places around the world. The story of the Volcano goddess Pele is truly fascinating. And really, who isn’t interested in the magic of volcanoes? Right?
Do you have a story about your hair that you would like to share with us? How about a favourite recipe that features apples? Or, you can simply let us know what you think of the Pele piece, or any other material from this week’s blog post.
Have a great week!