Can I try to sum up the entire year of 2015 in one blog post? Try? Yes. Succeed? Probably not. Isn't that why one blogs in the first place? To document events, thoughts and memories as they occur so you do not forget? There are not enough words in the English language to try to go back and describe the amazing roller coaster I have went on this past year. To say this has been the most incredible year of my life is an understatement. To say that I survived it all is something I am incredibly proud of. It's been amazing, it's been hard, it's been one big learning experience. I've cried and laughed more than I probably ever have in my life.
I've been asked this question a lot lately:
Do you have regrets?
My answer: NO!
I've loved every moment of my life this past year. I wouldn't change a thing even if some changes probably would have made some of the process easier. You live and you learn!
In January of 2015, the salon was approved by the city of Jamestown, the fire department, and passed the inspection by the State Board of Cosmetology! We officially opened on the 28th. My sister LaRissa was my very first client! It was a whirlwind! It was terrifying, not knowing if some or any of my clients and people I have gotten to know so well would come see the new place. They did, and I am grateful. The entire experience was so positive even before the salon officially opened when I let my clients know what was happening I was surrounded by so much positive feedback, support, and words of encouragement! It meant so much to me that the people who I had spent the past 4 years with during their services were on board and ready to make the change with me. It is incredible the bonds you can make with people over the course of so much time.
February- The month of February was interesting, it seemed as though each day or week I would say to the receptionists, well this isn't working NEXT week we'll do it like this. Slowly we came to find what worked and what didn't. The new software began to behave for us, and everything started finding it's place. I was still working 4 shifts a week at Progress on top of 5 days a week at the salon. I was very tired in February. That is my main memory: Being Tired. Ha! But it was worth it and all for good reasons of course. My parents took off for their annual vacation to Arizona and after all the work (blood, sweat, and tears) we had poured into the building day by day I think they were more than ready to be on vacation last year!
March - In March I finally got the website and online booking up and going. That is when things started to take off. My salon schedule started filling up completely and I began to get back into the swing of taking clients back to back to back again. I was still working a lot for progress each week I was putting in 60-80 hours in between the salon and dealing blackjack. Clients were all starting to trickle back and new clients started showing up through word of mouth. Everyone wanted a tour of the new place. I began to feel somewhat like an airline fight attendant when I gave each client the tour of the building and "The Speech" about the renovations that took place. I mostly felt bad for the receptionists having to hear me tell that 5-10 times a day everyday. Every once in a while a new client wants a "tour" and I do still love the tell the tale of what we went through making this building into a salon. :) On the day of the St. Patty's Day Run we set up a table outside the salon to hand out water and snacks to the passerby's. I got a little help from my parents and my neice Isabelle and my nephew Jackson!
April - April went by in a blink, I remember the day of PROM! In the morning I was styling 2 girls hair and makeup for their big day, then I rushed to fargo, hopped a flight and by 10pm that night I was driving a rental car on the streets of LA. Talk about a whirlwind! My friend Kristy made the trip with me and I took my first courses on airbrush makeup at the Dinair Institute. We stayed in Hollywood for 5 nights! It was AMAZING! I want to go back for more! At the class, everyone was SO positive, uplifting, and supportive. The people teaching the classes were experts and had done makeup for Universal Studios, The Oscars, and many red carpet events. Yet, they spoke to you just as if you were as talented as they were. It was an incredible experience. I always think it is good for people to leave the midwest! To go see a sunrise and sunset somewhere else. See people that don't look JUST LIKE YOU, see homeless people sleeping on the street, understand that this world and this life is 10000000x bigger than one single human or what we see around us on a day to day basis. I maneuvered around 6-8 lanes of traffic in LA and Hollywood without a scratch on our little Chevy Spark. We went to the beach, I love the beach. While we were there I got a fortune out of the machine like the one in the movie BIG. My fortune card told me I have been having a hard time balancing work and relationships with friends and family and I need to not let life pass me by. That was 100% true. During the remainder of the trip we saw the sights, and went to DISNEYLAND to finish off the trip. Kristy and I had a blast! I also successfully filed my first round of QUARTERLY TAXES in April. Whew.
May - In May, the salon really started to get busy. To the point I could barely keep up and we were turning people away. Who would have ever thought that would be possible in a matter of months? The phone started to ring more and the online booking was filling up my days. I made the decision to leave my job at Progress and start working extra hours at the salon to take everyone wanting in. May was interesting as someone deliberately severed our wires to our air conditioning unit at the salon. Which is outside behind the building. We couldn't figure out why our air was not working. Arneson's came to look at it we discovered the vandalism. They not only severed the wires, but cut out about a 4-5 inch chunk of our wires. Me, being me, I tried to think of a logical explanation until the guy said "Look, this was no accident, whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing, if they didn't they could have been electrocuted." So that was pretty lame and childish. I honestly could think of a few people in my life capable of that sort of thing but it hurts to think about it too much so I just don't. Life goes on. It very well could have been just a random act of vandalism. No one will ever know. But the important thing is no one was hurt and it was fixed. :) Toward the end of May we went on an adventure to basically Middle of Nowhere Minnesota for my cousins wedding and we had SO much fun! We stayed at a casino resort. On the way back (I was driving) we saw Paul Bunyan Land. I turned my car around on the highway and much against Adam's chagrin we went to see what Paul Bunyan Land had to offer. It was weird and random and it was the best. For Christmas I gave Adam our photos of that Adventure. We look back at it with fond memories and we laugh. May was the month that I found balance in my life. Three of my good friends graduated from college and even though I dealt blackjack the night before I was at the salon at 7am to style all 3 of them for their big day. That afternoon we went to a baby shower for my friend Ashley, then went up to the beer gardens to help Amber celebrate with her friends and family on successfully finishing the nursing program. The next day it snowed. Only in North Dakota! I planted my garden a little too soon!
June - WOW June, is somewhat of a blur when I think back to the whole month but I can pin point specific events. The first weekend in June I was lucky to help style hair and makeup for a good friend on her wedding day. I successfully styled 7 people hair and makeup that day and at the end of it I think I curled my own hair and put on some red lipstick. They all looked beautiful and the very next day we went down to Kulm for another cousin's wedding! That began my summer of weddings! Another Stylist joined us at the salon! AJ began booth renting and has brought more new faces to the salon! My friend Kim and I started our morning walks again to McElroy Park. There is nothing more soothing to the mind than a walk in nature with a good friend. I did some landscaping projects at home. Amber helped me with some of the yard tasks. A house a block up the street was tearing out their brick landscaping and every few days they would pile them up on the curb for anyone to take. I took them. A lot of them. Adam calls me the Brick Lady. Many other brick jokes have ensued for months. As far as the salon goes, a lot of people got highlights in the month of June and a lot of people CHOPPED their hair off short for the summer! It was a fun month, it went by so fast oh and more quarterly taxes were filed.
Isabelle dancing to her favorite song - Uptown Funk at our cousin Sherry's wedding!
Photo Credit: Autumn Wilson Photography - My beautiful friend McCall on her wedding day!
July - We had fun at the fair and celebrating the 4th of July with friends and family. July was busy at the salon and there were more weddings to style hair and makeup for and attend. My freetime was spent trying to reorganize my house and my life. July was the month that I began to just be content and accept what was or was not accomplished in a day. You can drive yourself crazy thinking about all the things you wanted to get done and didn't, or you can be happy about what you did get done. (You can also, lower your own expectations of yourself just a little....sometimes we are too hard on ourselves.) All the sunshiny days and flowers blooming in July made me very happy and thankful for what I have in my life.
August - August was HOT! I had a barbeque bash at my house for my friends and family who I had been way too busy to see over the first half of the year, so I closed up shop and we had a day of fun! There were a lot of long hard days spent at the salon in August as well. Many kids were in to get their hair done for back to school. I have a lot of clients that are teachers and of course teachers gotta look good too! We had a drawing at the salon and gave away 2 big baskets of back to school supplies that went to 2 families that are regulars at the salon. Giving back feels good for the soul. We also went on another road trip into Minnesota to attend another wedding for Adam's cousin! We had a booth at the University of Jamestown's Community Block Party and got the word out to lots of people about the salon!
My nephew Jonas and I at a streetdance this summer :)
September - September weather was beautiful. My friend Kristy and I hit the road to Minneapolis to have a fun girls day walking around the city and to see a concert. I worked on my birthday and closed up a little early to go see friends in Fargo for dinner at Doolittles. September was a busy month at the salon - lots of fall color changes for my color clients. In September one of my very good friends lost her mom. She was someone who was a mom to everyone she knew. I used to work with her back at Anne Carlsen. Her death turned our lives upside down. I helped put donation jars around town to raise money for expenses for the family. The day that I went around to 40+ businesses in town and was able to put up 34 jars was an emotional day. But it felt necessary to be an advocate for this family who had worked so hard their entire lives. Nearly, everywhere I went people already knew of the situation, or knew the family and offered very heartfelt condolences. This town showed us an overwhelming amount of love and tenderness. We were able to bring in about $1200 for their family over the course of 8 weeks. The prayer service and funeral service were both very beautiful. Amber worked very hard to make up many beautiful decorations for the services to honor her mother. I helped her with some of the pallets and we released blue balloons at the cemetary for Polly. The services reunited our circle of long lost friends, even if it was under horrible circumstances. The next day I was at the salon at 6am to style another wedding. The yin and the yang. For every sad moment, there is a happy moment not too far behind. At the same time, my sister's youngest son was sick in the hospital for 15 days. He was eventually sent to the U of M Children's hospital where they were able to figure out what was wrong and find a treatment. He was diagnosed with a rare disease, not curable, but treatable with daily injections. These magic shots take away his pain and will help him lead a healthy life. We are very grateful to have a positive outcome for Leo. September was difficult...but there were some joyous moments throughout and of course through the difficult times we still laughed together. No matter where we are or what we go through we will laugh and cry in the same breathe to support each other.
October - October was busy! In the past October used to be my "slow month" at the salon. This October that was not the case. The salon was busy and I did my best to keep up. I did airbrush makeup for my first wedding party! I was so nervous!! Their makeup turned out great and the pictures turned out beautiful! We had beautiful weather during October and I did get to go out and have some fun on Halloween. Adam and I dressed up as the Joker and Harley Quinn. His makeup looked better than mine, his was airbrushed. :) In October it was announced that we made the top 3 in the best of the best voting for the Jamestown area. UNBELIEVABLE! I was so stunned!!!! We placed 2nd to Top Designers and it is truly such an honor just to be considered. Somedays you may feel like you aren't doing anything right or making an impact on anyone. This helped us to see that we are definetly doing something right! And we hope to keep that support for years to come! I also went back to Progress dealing blackjack on Sunday nights. I do enjoy getting out to socialize a little at the bar and getting paid to do it is an added bonus.
November - Wow! The first 2 weeks of November we did hit a "lull" at the salon. Our appointments were a little gapped out so Shelby and I did some major salon cleaning during those dead times. Shelby is my right hand woman. The girl will help me with anything I need, even if it backfires sometimes or if we get told to get out of the Menard's parking lot with our flyers! HAHA! It got busy again before Thanksgiving. I spent Thanksgiving and the day after with my family and Adam's family! So much to be thankful for looking back at the past year! We celebrated many birthdays in November including: My mom, sister, neice, nephew, brother-in-law, Adam's mom and brother and a couple of friends. Hope I didn't forget anyone ;)
December - The first week in December I took a Wednesday off so I would have my Tues/Wed to decorate my house for Christmas as well as get caught up on some other things outside of the salon. After that, I basically was at the salon everyday even taking clients on Mondays and Tuesdays which are my normal days off. I worked a lot of long days and hours to get everyone in before Christmas. I would hit the bed at night and wake up feeling as if I slept for 5 minutes, but still power through another 12 hours of non stop clients. I had haircuts booked during my color processing times, I was coming in early and staying late. It was definetly the busiest holiday run I have ever worked as a hairdresser. I dealt blackjack a couple times too. I did get to attend my neice and nephews Christmas program, and my neices dance recital for a little bit of balance outside of work. I was closed at the salon the 24th-29th. A total of 5 days off from taking clients and 4 days off entirely from the salon. I was here one day doing paperwork. On Christmas Eve, Adam and I spent the day together, went to church with my family and exchanged our gifts to each other. On Christmas Day we ventured to Bismarck to spend the day with his family. On the 26th and 27th we spent time with my family and on the 28th we did a whole lot of NOTHING! That felt good!!!
In a nutshell - I know this blog is already super long. I know that I missed probably 500 important things that happened during the past year. My goal for 2016 is to blog on a monthly basis and as important events occur. 2015 was about survival and we survived better than I could have ever imagined. 2015 was me taking on more responsibilities than I ever have in my life and trying to find the time to do it all. The goal for 2016 is to keep establishing the salon, maintain our clients, grow new clients, upkeep the building, and fine tune our communication and skills. (Also, I would like to survive tax season :) The goal for 2016 is to have balance between work and non work things.
I cannot say thank you enough to my FRIENDS, FAMILY, CUSTOMERS, CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE TURNED INTO FRIENDS, MY RECEPTIONISTS, MY BOSS AND CO-WORKERS AT PROGRESS, MY ACCOUNTANT, MY FINANCIAL ADVISOR, AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAD A HAND IN GUIDING US OR HELPING US ALONG THE WAY!! AND MOST IMPORTANTLY FOR SHOWING US MORAL SUPPORT!!!! THANK YOU! MY LIFE IS TRULY FILLED WITH AMAZING PEOPLE AND AMAZING THINGS!