This made me laugh. Because of course, she’d picked them out.
I’d known I wanted a simple white dress for the party and after searching through a number of stores, I’d actually come across something even better than my original vision. It was a plain white dress with a pink border along the bottom (just like the pink logo of this blog!). I was ecstatic. I pulled it from the sale rack (sale, another win!) and quickly tried it on. It fit perfectly. I knew then, it was meant to be.
The only problem was, there was huge spattering of green something or other across the left boob.
“I wouldn’t risk it,” said the salesgirl, shaking her head. “That looks chemical. I don’t think it will come out.”
But after discovering it was out of stock in all the other locations, I decided I would risk it.
“We’ll try Tracey, we’ll try,” my dry-cleaner said when I’d laid the damaged dress on the counter before her. I noted the flash of fear in her eyes.
But, three days later and two treatments behind us, the dress was in perfect condition.
Some things really are meant to be.
I’d brought the dress into work to get Lux’s opinion on shoes and jewelry. She’d immediately demanded I put it on so she could get the full effect.
“Oh my god, this is so embarrassing,” I’d said, as I stood in front of her desk.
“Why?” she’d asked, but didn’t wait for my response. She turned to the computer. “So these are the shoes I think you should wear.” She pulled up a picture of a pair of Steve Madden nude strappy sandals.
They were extremely high.
“Lux, I’ll break my neck in those. Can’t I just wear wedges?”
She sighed wearily and looked up at me. “You can. I suppose. But this is your night. I really want you to shine. Just go try them on.”
So after work, I made my way to Steve Madden where I was greeted by a young salesgirl. “Hi,” I said. “I’m looking for shoes for this dress.” I had it with me because Lux had decided it did not fit perfectly after all, so I was to bring it back to my dry-cleaner, who is also my tailor, and have it taken in at the waist.
“Oh, I know just the pair,” she said and guided me over to the sandal display. She then gestured to the exact shoes Lux had picked out.
“Hmm,” I said. “What about wedges? Could wedges work?”
“Welllll,” she said dubiously. “I don’t know. Maybe.”
A few minutes later I was set up on a little couch with the strappy sandals and two pairs of nude wedges. I hung the dress on a shelf next to me, fiercely protective of it.
I was slipping on a pair of the wedges when I heard, “Excuse me, are you picking out shoes for that dress?”
I looked up and saw a sweet looking young guy sporting a purple mohawk with a matching ascot. “Yes, I am,” I replied.
He put his hand on his hip. “Honey. I don’t know everything but I know what I know. And what I know is that those wedges are not right for that dress. If you want to dazzle, you’ll choose the heels.”
I furrowed my brow. I did want to dazzle. But… “They’re really high,” I said.
“Just try them on,” he encouraged.
So I did.
And it turned out, because they had a strap around the ankle, they were incredibly easy to walk in and quite comfortable.
I thanked them both profusely as I left.
“How’s the necklace?” I texted Lux. “I was worried it wasn’t the right color you suggested.”
“I love it!!” she’d said. “We have to do a photoshoot!”
I felt so great about myself in the outfit, for the first time ever in all the times she’d asked, I replied with an enthusiastic, “YES!”
“Great!” she replied. “Last step, go to MAC and get your makeup done. Then you can buy the products and practice at home. I’m envisioning a pink lip and light eyes.”
“Okay,” I said.
But I knew I had one more step.
I was very, very fortunate in 2012, that my neighborhood was not affected badly by Hurricane Sandy. So many neighborhoods and homes were devastated, I felt incredibly grateful that all we had to show was a few downed trees. However, many of my co-workers were not so lucky.
Transportation was effectively shut down and many people could not even log in from home as they had no power. My company allowed those of us who could work, to work from home and those who could not connect, to just check in when they could. It was a sad and frightening time.
For me, I tried to work but was pretty unproductive because so many people were offline. As a result, I had a lot of downtime. A lot of Tracey time. Like five days of Tracey time. I couldn’t leave my neighborhood so I spent a lot of time watching TV and movies and hanging out with The Cat.
One night, I was watching Investigation ID, per my usual, and a blonde bombshell appeared on the screen. I sat upright quickly, sending a spray of cheese and crackers to the floor. That was it. That’s what I was going to do with my spare time.
I was going to highlight my hair. And do it myself, in order to save money.
My first purchase at CVS that night was a highlight cap. The instructions were simple. Place the cap onto your head and pull strands out through the pre-made holes with the enclosed pic. Then simply add the bleach to those strands.
Except that I couldn’t really figure out how to pull out the strands as every time I’d try to use the pic, it wasn’t strong enough to pull my hair through the little holes and just kept ripping the cap. This was frustrating. After a few glasses of wine, I decided the idea was sound, but the model was flawed. So then I ripped some larger holes into a plastic shopping bag and put it on my head. This worked better somewhat except the bleach was not making any sort of difference in my hair color.
This was because I had black hair at the time. So I then decided, what the heck, I’d just strip the black out and go blonde. Marlie has gorgeous platinum blonde hair and it was her tone that I envisioned as I went back to CVS that night.
What followed, was a harrowing array of nonsensical shades. From neon orange to grayish yellow, to ashy purple. Each time I would remove my shower towel, I was astounded to see my hair did not look anything like the color on the box. So then I’d go back to CVS to get another color to try to fix it. Over and over and over I did this. No less than three times a day. For five days straight.
At the end of it all, not only did I not have Marlie’s beautiful color as I’d pictured, I’d spent way more money than if I’d just gone to a proper salon, and now, my hair was effectively fried.
Over the course of the next few months, I went to a number of hairdressers to get help. This is how the conversations would go:
“Your hair is really damaged,” they’d say with a disapproving shake of their head.
“Yep,” I’d say, and look up from my magazine. “That’s why I’m here. I just want to make the best of it and cut it until it’s healthy.”
“No, but it’s REALLY damaged!” and their voice would start to rise.
“Yeah,” I’d reply. “I know.”
They would then pick up a lock of dead hair. “It’s like melted plastic!”
“Got it,” I’d say through gritted teeth. “Thanks for the feedback.”
I did not go to a second visit to any of them.
So when I’d sat down in a chair at Scott J Aveda with Avery, I immediately fired off defensively, “Look, I know my hair is damaged, okay? We don’t need to discuss it. This is what happened.” And I’d told him the whole unfortunate tale of my multiple CVS visits during my downtime.
“Well,” he’d said with a sigh, as he gently brushed my hair back from my face. “At least you got a lot of store rewards points.”
That cracked me up.
And I’ve been going to him ever since.
“So this is a happy hour?” he’d said, when I’d showed him the picture of my party outfit during my haircut. “Then you’ll want to wear your hair down. Doing an up-do will seem like you’re trying too hard.”
I nodded in agreement.
That night, I arrived home and checked in with Thalia, as of course, she is in charge of organizing the party. She assured me that everything was on track with our sponsor, Solerno, and our venue, Overlook. Everything was set.
We were good to go.
And as I laid out my dress, jewelry and shoes, and noted when I’d get over to MAC for my makeover, and wrote myself a reminder to bring my hair products to work the day of the party so I could get ready there, I realized I was set too.
I was also, good to go.