Recession Mama

{April 10, 2009}   I Am So Much Better Looking In A Bull Market

By Carla

I cannot tell you how much money I’ve spent lately in an attempt to save money since my layoff. Unlike Katy, we don’t have a year’s worth of savings in the bank. Today I force myself to rationalize my “normal” expenses. At the very least, I can laugh at this. So here’s a little Friday fun…

Ok, so getting my highlights done at my fancy Dallas salon could wait. I’d simply color my hair at home, right? Probably not a terrible idea if you’re sticking close to your natural color, but not me. Nope, I was bored and wanted lighter hair. (Hair therapy. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Don’t act like you don’t) The box of color at the grocery store was about $8. Lovely, I ended up looking like a penny. Stupid copper hair. That does not look good on anyone. The next box..another $8, made things even worse. Now I was a borderline redhead. NOT a good look for a Lebanese girl with olive skin. So the third box was supposed to fix everything. Supposed to. “Born Blonde”, it was called. Cool. Ok. Let’s just say that this box was $10 because it’s all a blur at this point. And let me be the 1st to admit: I was not Born Blonde. Total disaster. Now I was begging for copper hair because my new bright orange hair was downright embarrassing. Stupid recession! I’d have to go to my fancy Dallas salon to have this fixed. I had no choice. So instead of just going to the salon in the first place to have my highlights touched up, I ended up spending $30-something dollars THEN going to the salon where I had to shell out around $150 to have it all fixed. For the record, I did call the hot-line number on the back of the color box. Not once, not twice, but about 5 times. They started asking me how the kids were doing after a while, we got to know each other so well. I did see a news story a few weeks back saying that the phones were ringing off the hook at the do-it-yourself hair color companies. I guess that means there are lots more copper heads out there wandering around wearing ball caps.

I tried to hide it as best as I could for my trip to the salon that day.







I tried to hide it as best as I could for my trip to the salon that day.

Next … the clothing fiasco. Again, trying to save money has cost me so much damn money lately…because I’m just not used to it! I’d buy whatever I wanted (within reason, or course). A few weeks ago I saw a table of $6 clothes at a store that specializes in Gardens and Ridges, not clothing, but hey… $6 sounded good. Until, that is, I brought them home, forgot to read the labels, plopped them all in the washer on the totally wrong settings and ruined not just the NEW clothes, but all the existing clothes that were in the wash. DAMMIT! So, now my $6 clothes had turned into $12 clothes because you better believe I went back to buy the same clothes I’d just ruined. Arrrrgggggg!

There is nothing wrong with your computer. The blouse and pant should be white. And see the string on the other one? Said Hand Wash. They clearly meant that.







There is nothing wrong with your computer. The blouse and pant should be white. And see the string on the other one? Said Hand Wash. They clearly meant that.

Then there’s the mani/pedi crisis. Shelling out $35 for glorious toes and another $30 or so on lovely hands had to end. I gave myself my OWN “Recession Manicure”. Honey, I just cut those nails OFF. The toes are a different story. With a 2-year-old and a baby, it’s hard to find time to kick back, clean ’em up, slap some paint on there, then wander around like a penguin with those toe separators until they dry. It just isn’t happening. I HAVE decided to scrape together my pennies and get a pedi, it’s just a matter of finding the time to go do it.  Plus, if you have 1 good pedi, you can keep up the work at home with some easy touch-ups. I happen to be way past the touch-up point.  

And don’t even get me started on eyebrow maintenance. I do those myself now. And of course it’s had disastrous results. It looks like half of my face was singed in the oven. (I’m an over-plucker, what can I say.) Shortly before I was laid off, I started feeling guilty about spending $30 every 2 weeks (or so) on eyebrow shaping. So I cut back. Instead of going to my OTHER fancy Dallas salon, I found a place at the mall. There, I said it. The mall. And it wasn’t even a salon. It was….ready? A kiosk. I had started getting my eyebrows done at a kiosk in the mall because it was much cheaper than the fancy salon. But even now, it’s too much to spend on a regular basis. I see that money and all I can think about is how much food I can buy with it. I will go every now and then because after all, I am Lebanese and we like to grow hair and if I don’t keep up with it, I WILL end up looking like Chewbacca.

...I'm just sayin'....







...I'm just sayin'....

Yes I will be getting those bad boys worked on. And again, when you have it done once and done well, it’s easy to keep it up at home.

Unless you’re an over-plucker.


Heather B. says:

You are so funny! Don’t give in to the hair therapy. And always go darker (not lighter) when trying to repair a hair disaster. A long time ago… I went red for a few months. That is until my best friend saw me. I asked for her honest opinion. She told me it was awful and that it made me look old. Say no more. I changed it immediately. My husband was grateful, but never complained about it.

Honest girlfriends can save you hundreds on style mistakes.

Here are my broke girl tips on hair. Never do “all over” color. It’s too high maintenance. (every 3 to 4 weeks) Highlights can go a LOT longer. Especially if they’re close to your natural hair color. (you won’t look like a skunk if they grow out) I get mine done about 3 times a year. That’s it. I NEVER do color all over.

A really great haircut can also last longer too. So don’t get a cheap one. And make sure it’s exactly how you want it before you leave. If you have bangs, most salons will trim them for free in between visits ( just leave a little tip). They don’t want to repair a “do it yourself” disaster. I get a good haircut about every 3 months. Now that it’s longer I get it cut less.

If you have that cute blunt bob, let it grow (Carla). That requires a good cut at least every 4 weeks. That starts to add up. So let it grow baby! You need a pony tail anyway. Especially if you’re a mommy.(Carla) It’ll keep your hair out of baby puke and other kid disasters. Also it’s a snap to fix.

On clothes washing… I wash almost everything in cold and hang most clothes too. (less shrinking and fading) I also sort like crazy. Don’t wash your bras w/ towels and socks. And don’t dry them! They’ll lose their shape. Wash them in a mesh bra bag and hang em up girl. And don’t buy a cheap bra either. Get a good one and take good care of it. If you take extra care of your clothes they will last so much longer.

Clothes buying… get yourself a uniform. 3 pairs of black pants, 2 crisp white shirts, a black suit and a couple of good pairs of jeans and a few “going out shirts” that can mix and match. It’s better to have a few good pieces than a bunch of crap. Skip those 6 dollar bins. There’s a reason it’s cheap. And don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Make sure it fits and fits well.

Hopefully these little tid bits will keep you looking like the Queen you are instead of a “broke” mess. Take it from a former broke girl. A few good things are always better than a bunch of crap you can’t use. Good luck!

Carla says:

Heather, I gotta love your honesty, woman! You are so right..and I know most of those tips deep down, I was just trying to save here and there, which clearly didn’t work. You DO get what you pay for…SO true.

Katy says:

Really funny, Carla. I wish you had more pictures of your red/orange hair, but I’m sure no one really takes photos of themselves with bad hair. I’m going to do a video in the near future on how to dye your own hair. I love doing stuff myself, but hair is something I never touch. But a friend of mine has been doing it herself lately…in this recession. I told my amazing stylist (Shout out to Dax at the Argyle Salon in West Hollywood) of your dilemma, and he says to NEVER do it yourself…because it will just cost more to fix at the salon later. And I guess you just proved his point.

Heather, wow! You have a lot of great tips!! I like the ponytail idea. I can’t remember the last time I saw Carla’s hair long.

Heather B. says:

Her hair does look great long. I would DIE w/o my ponytail. I didn’t have time to fix it today. So I slapped it up in one. I’m not saying I’m a beauty. but it gets the job done. Also ladies… just FYI I got bangs a few months ago. I call it my “cheap” botox. The bangs cover the wrinkles on my forehead and I didn’t have to inject myself with costly poison.

Katy says:

I also like to put my hair up in a ponytail or bun when I don’t have time to do anything with it. I think it’s just so much easier. And awesome on the bangs! I’ve had bangs for years now…and love it.

Carla says:

You always have had amazing hair, Katy…and now I know why…you leave it to the people who are trained to deal with it. SO smart. But you’re a smart mama…and I knew that about you : )

virginia yunis says:

hoy me hiciste reir mucho, carla. està muy divertido el blog, felicidades!!!

Carla says:

Gracias por leer lo! WOW…un fan en Mexico. Padrisimo! Besos …!

Claudia says:

If you want inexpensive maintenance on haircuts, don’t forget about local salon “schools.” There’s an Aveda Institute in Dallas!! Their salon isn’t open just yet.. it’s due in the fall, but these school “salons” are great places to get inexpensive mani/pedis ($12 and $14) and brow waxing at Aveda schools costs only $8. Haircuts are $15 and a 30 minute facial runs $20! I wish we had one in Knoxville!

And I agree with Heather on the highlights. I’ve gone for months in between appointments and people still ask, “did you just get highlights?” As long as you have them done really well, there’s no reason to worry. There are some things you just can’t scrimp on!

Carla says:

Good point on the schools. I never thought of that.

Heather B. says:

I went to go to a massage school once to get a cheap massage. (my back was killing me) They put us in a room with several other people. I thought what the heck it’s dark they can’t see me. My male student tried to rub my abs when I clearly marked on the chart to avoid them. Then he gave me his personal phone number and said to call him sometime. “I like your style” he said. I had NO clue what that meant. I practically ran from there and have never been back. MY POINT: sometimes it’s best to stick with the professionals.

Carla says:

Girl, you’re killin’ me! Your life is a sitcom! I hear ya…this time, I’m letting the pros take my money. I booked my hair apt (cut AND color thankyouverymuch) for next Friday. I’m not eating dinner all next week just to pay for it. KIDDING!

Katy says:

A male therapist at a really nice day spa inappropriately told me that I had a nice body. Yikes! So, it’s not just the cheap massage places. There’s a Thai massage place near my loft that’s so cheap…but excellent. The women there work hard! Also…to spice up your marriage and to keep it cheap…give each other a spa night!! Get in the tub with really good bubbles and lots of soy candles, or hot tub (don’t both of ya’ll have one at home?)…and either before or afterwards, give each other a nice long massage. Aren’t great massages better than anything in the world, sometimes? I could use one right now. When’s my masseuse getting home from work?

Carla says:

Nice idea, Katy, but I can count on 1 finger the number of times the husband’s rubbed my back. : |

Katy says:

And how many times have you rubbed his? Give and ye shall receive? Or…if that’s too much work…just do the bubble bath thing…soothing music, lots of candles, you’ll soon have a lot of reasons to be very affectionate and spend some quality time talking about your day together.

Carla says:

Tried it all. It’s just tricky when you have kids…I guess.

craig says:

My life is appearing to be better everyday. Being a man is oh so much easier.

Heather B says:

My husband’s massages feel like flies landing on my back I would rather rub up against a door jam. But he is very generous and let’s me get massages.

Katy says:

Oh my! That would not be good. I guess I never thought about all the bad massages out there. My fiance gives amazing massages…sometimes better than the high end spas. I’m marrying him for his massages!

Jennifer says:

If I am lucky enough to get my husband to stop watching t.v. long enough to rub my back it last about 10 seconds. I frequently resort to long soaks in the tub to relieve the stress of the day.

Maggie says:

A GOOD hair cut is my weakness. You’d think straight asian hair is the easiest to cut, but its not and I wish that weren’t the case. For 6 years, I’d pay for the senior stylist at the best salons in Gainesville & Dallas to just trim and layer my long locks…but it was always the same ending. I’d walk out with blunt cutted nightmares that I’d have to find someone at the MALL to fix. Costing more than $100 from start to not-even-what-I-wanted finish.

Then I found my hair heaven in PARIS!! I found a salon with Japanese girls who knew how to cut my hair! Shelling out the 55 euros was no problem every 4 months, because I trusted them and they gave me the best hair cuts.

The last time I went to that salon was April 2008. I got a trim when I returned to the states in June 2008, saying that once I returned to Paris I’d go back to my salon. All I trusted the salon in Gainesville to do was a basic trim. It’s been 10 months now since I had that trim…I’ve been back in Paris for 2 months. Before I left everyone commented on how long my hair was…its way past the halway point on my back now. I told them I was waiting to get it cut once I got back to Paris at my salon. I have yet to do that because 55 euros is just way too much at this point. I’m so sick of my long hair..its becoming shaggy now. Now the story’s changed..and I tell people that I’m waiting to cut it when I get back to Dallas in a few weeks.

[…] made sense to me to hire a professional to do the heavy lifting if something really boggled my mind …(see: hair nightmare). I simply cannot imagine myself hunkered down on the floor in the family room surrounded by piles […]

Debbie says:

Great ideas! You can also find lots of free stuff at

[…] I Am So Much Better Looking In A Bull Market recessionmama @ 12:20 am [filed under Carla’s Chat tagged baby, beaten down, busy, cooking, devil, economy, freelance, gravy train, hair fiascoes, husband, job, laid off, laundry, lawn, mop, mowing, orange hair, think tank, toddler, training No Comments » […]

[…] 10) I would have never started coloring my hair all those years ago. (It’s so worth repeating) […]

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