To Blathe

This is a texturizing technique I call “Blathing” as in, “to Blathe”.


Oh Donald, you ol silly racist you. On the record.

I try very hard not to be publicly political.  I do try hard to live by my politics instead.  But I also live and work in a state that does not align politically with me.  I know and respect many people on the other side of the isle.  But this is not about politics or policies.  It’s gotten too personal and has gone on too long for me to stay silent.  Shame on me for waiting so long.

I guess if there was ever a chance, which there wasn’t, I would say Donald lost me when he first made his racist remarks about Mexicans. I’d like to think he’d have lost me by being racist about anyone. But full disclosure: I’m Mexican.  Yep, I’m one of those. No wait let me say it like full on say it.  I’m a Mexican.  Ya, there it is.  I’m not just of Mexican decent.  No, no, let me say it like I mean it…. “I’m a Mexican”.  Ya baby let that sink in.  Yes, I know you thought I was Italian or just tanned easily but no, I’m a Mexican.  As some white people have pointed out with a tone of encouragement, “You’re Mexican?  Hmm, you don’t really look it….I mean….”.  Oh, thank you.  Now, let me be clear from the start…. most white people that know I’m Mexican are just fine with it.  No biggie.  My mom is white as the new driven snow. Irish/anglo.  She gave me green eyes and a slight bump on the “exposure photo filter” if you know what I mean.  Though not 100% Irish, she identifies as Irish.  Not unlike the way I feel I’m Mexican.  I’m more Mexican than anything else.  But my mom, the lassie fell for some South O Mexican back in the day and there you have it. My Dad was full blooded Mexican as in yes, he even looked Mexican. He worked hard to lose his accent by the time he was an adult. Very hard.  He was a loving, attentive father for the most part.  Oh sure he was a little old school and beat my ass a few times too much for my liking but by the standards of those days nothing to report.  He worked hard at everything. Not your “typical lazy free loading Mexican” thank god!  No, he wanted very much to be as American as I am.  No accent, no past, just another west Omaha suburbanite.  And that’s what he became.  Kind of.  No one would ever hear him speak Spanish except at gramma and grampa’s house.  On occasion if we ran across a Mexican waiter for instance, he would speak Spanish to him or her to make them feel comfortable but it was rare.  He never spoke it to us kids even though he knew we thought it was cool.  I never really realized what that was all about until I grew up and saw how the world worked and how a lot of Americans looked at Mexicans.  I experienced a few racial incidents growing up that slapped me cold in my Mexican face, but it was such a rare occurrence, it seemed more of a novelty.  I just shrugged it off or even laughed at how silly it seemed.  “You’re acting racist to me?  Have you seen my mom?  Hell, I lived on 128th, I went to St Roberts!”  But eventually you do learn.  And here’s another thing I’ve realized.  The older I get, the more Mexican I feel.  I’ve talked to other people of various ethnicities that feel the same way.  I guess a lot of parents that busted their ass to get here usually tried to get their kids to be as “American” or white acting as possible.  Some do a good balance of continuing their cultures but others are happy to leave that all behind.  I’m sure they just wanted the best for their kids.  I regret not learning Spanish.  I’ve always wanted to speak it fluently.  I love going to Mexico and being surrounded by Spanish speaking Mexicans.  I can fake it a little but it’s embarrassingly bad.  And yet I love it.  There is something that pulls on me.  It always has.  I didn’t get it until years later.

My dad had always told us a bogus story about how he was born in Kansas shortly after he, his parents and little sister had moved here.  He stuck to this story till the day he died.  But I always felt there was something off.  I don’t know how I knew but I swear I always did.  His story was told to us as the gospel truth.  Even mom was in on it.  We didn’t learn the truth until he was practically on his death bed.  Too late for chats to edify the story.  Unfortunately, most of the truth died with him.  We don’t know much about it.  Just some patchy details mom can recall my gramma telling her years ago.  As little as we know, the story we can imagine was horrific and harrowing at best.  As secretive and horrible as the story of their crossing was, we always knew they had moved around the midwest as migrant farmers for some years before settling here in Omaha.  Extremely poor and fighting for their existence, you can guess the rest.  Not pretty.  But it’s amazing how very little we ever heard about any of this.  Dad never complained or talked about it except occasionally letting us know that he came from nothing but love.  His mother so loved him and he loved and respected her with everything that he was.  His biological father, Pedro Sena died not long after they got to the US.  My dad was very young.  My gramma remarried George Hernandez Negrete, who was no better off but did a wonderful job helping to raise the kids and serving as the only grampa we ever knew on Dad’s side.  He was strong, quiet and spoke virtually no English but seemed to understand us just fine.  Of course, gramma rarely let him get a word in anyway.  She spoke Spanglish well and would translate for him whether he wanted or not.  We loved and respected them to no end.   A typically ethnic gramma’s house.  They stayed in south O and lived very meager lives.  She worked at the Campbell Soup plant and he worked in the UP rail yard until retirement.  But you couldn’t get out of her house without getting fed, nor would you ever want to.  The smell of cumin will forever send me straight back there.  My mouth still waters at the thought.  “Ohhh hijo!” she would say.  Just sit down.”  She would roll out tortillas with an old metal pipe and flip them back and forth on an iron plate over gas flame with her bare hands.  I can cry thinking about how perfect her tortillas were.  Don’t get me started about her food.  She would love on you like she’d never see you again.  Then in junior high came the day I would never see her again.  She died just days before she and grampa Negrete were going to be sworn in as US citizens.  They had done all the work, come so far for so long and against their biggest fears had studied hard to finally become legal citizens.  Grampa, with everyone’s encouragement went ahead and became a US citizen without her.  The family petitioned to grant her citizenship posthumously but was denied.  For my grampa’s lonely effort, the Omaha World Herald did a piece on their bittersweet story.  George Hernandez Negrete would die a US citizen not long after.   Years later when I had my own daughter I would use my gramma’s name as her middle name.  Claire Bacilia Sena.  Oh god there goes the water works.

It’s funny, I actually try to get my kids to feel they are Mexican.  I want that.  Just the opposite of my dad’s experience.  I don’t have to fear they will be looked at as inferior because the sad truth is they don’t really look that Mexican.  They’re even lighter than me.  That’s hard for me to say.  Not about how they look but about how it works.  It cuts right to the heart of racism.  It is the sad reality we live in.  There is a spectrum of racism based on an actual spectrum of color.  It’s that simple and ridiculous.  For all of our advancements we still can’t quite figure that out.

Donald and his supporters will try to tell you he was just talking about criminals, drug dealers, rapists and murders that are also illegal immigrants from Mexico.  But that’s not what he said is it?  No it isn’t.  He referred to illegal Mexicans as criminals, drug dealers, rapists and murders.  That’s what he said.  Do you get that’s an entirely different and RACIST thing?  Not just semantics, not just that one speech and not an accidental slip of the tongue.  This isn’t about political correctness.  He’s racist and he’s doubling down on Muslims.

My dad was an illegal Mexican.  Get it?  He served overseas in the US Navy and paid US taxes his whole life.  FUCK YOU DONALD!  He was more “American” than Donald will ever be.  If you are going to vote for Donald, you are either making a grave mistake or you’re a RACIST.   There, I’ve said it.   As a fellow American I respect your right to disagree with me politically but as a human I do not respect your support of this racist fuck or his behavior.  It’s like you can’t kind of be pregnant.  It’s not kind of racist.  It’s racism.  There is so much more I’d like to say about all of this but you’ll have to wait for the book.  We can argue all night about policies and motivations but at the end of the day, words mean shit and actions mean even more.  WORDS like Donald said, and ACTIONS like VOTING for the guy that said those WORDS.












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From Dark to Bey


Subtle Lightening on Dark Hair Color

If your client wants to lighten her dark, artificially colored hair, talk to her about highlights.  They might be thinking they want an all-over color and/or have had disastrous results in the past.  If they haven’t had a nice subtle highlight before they might think you are talking about putting blonde stripes in their dark hair.  Assure them you won’t give her really light highlights and because of that they will blend nicely with her dark hair to give an overall softer look.  AND you can do it without it looking brassy.

What she had:

She had a level 2 neutral (almost black) artificially colored hair with 3/4 inch of natural outgrowth (natural 2.5 with 5% gray)

What she wanted:

Something lighter and softer without brassiness.

What I did:

-Retouched her outgrowth all over at the roots with permanent level 3 neutral to cover her level 2.5 (2 1/2)natural blended with 5% gray with a slightly lighter color than she had on mid-shaft.  (this only works if you are going to blend with highlights).

– Then highlighted right over the retouched color and all the way out to the ends.  I weaved a LOT of fine pieces with 35volume with bleach as quickly as possible.  I remixed more bleach for the back when I got to that.

-Put her under a little heat for about 5 min around the 20 minute mark (after the entire head was woven) and then rinsed.

-Toned her all over with semi-permanent ashy level 7.5 (7 1/2) for 25 minutes.

-Round brush styled her for luxe finish.

Common mistakes:

Stylists don’t take time to really consult with clients about past experiences and what they are wanting.  You will often hear clues to what problems might have happened in the past or why they believe something that you know may not be true.  Magazines and stylists have passed along a lot of misinformation.  Also educating your client about what you know you can do and why it will be better.  But don’t use absolutes like, “always” or “never”.  Every head of hair is different and will react differently in every different condition.  Explain it’s a “process” and that you will work together through it.  Making them feel comfortable about you and what you are doing.  They are usually scared.  It’s understandable.  Let them know you know that, it’s ok and you’re on their team.

For this look you need to weave fine pieces to help you lift lighter.  Chunkier pieces are resistant to lifting because there will be hair in the middle of the chunky pieces that don’t lift.  Also, chunky can end up looking like stripes.  Fine pieces help you lift lighter than the target color you will eventually be toning to.  Doing this will help you eliminate the remaining warmth (brass).

A lot of stylists rinse toner off very quickly.  I believe if you are rinsing it quickly then you are using the wrong toner.  I understand time is money but if you don’t use the right color (and level) and processes it at least 15 to 20 minutes minimum, it’s going to fade out too fast.  I also think you will get a truer tone for a better looking color.  Plus it’s easier to duplicate when they come back in.

ALWAYS finish (style) your clients so they walk out looking and feeling amazing (even if they’re going home to do laundry.  Doing the laundry isn’t as bad when you look great.


This was the first time I met her or did her hair.  She posted this on social media later that week.  Happy clients are priceless!

and the right clients :)
and the right clients 🙂

Your spark may become another’s.

Please excuse me for more than a bit of self indulgence here.  I recently received an email from a young woman that asked my permission to do a school project about me.  “Um… ya, but are you sure you have the right guy?”  Needless to say I was very flattered, honored and happy to be her subject.  There’s nothing better to find out you have made a spark somewhere in the world.  Thank you so much Chaele Redding.  Here’s her letter and finished project.


I am sure you do not remember me as it has been probably about 12 or 13 years since I met you originally. I was a student at the Nancy Bounds modeling agency when I was a freshman/sophomore in high school. During that program, my class spent an evening at T’eez getting our hair and makeup done. I don’t think I knew it at the time, but looking back now, that experience changed my life. It was the moment I fell in love with cosmetology. I will never forget how great I felt about myself leaving your salon that evening and a part of me knew at that moment that I wanted to do the same thing for others. …
… I was accepted to the Aveda Institute Denver in March and I began my 15 week journey toward my cosmetology degree 2 weeks ago, on July 13th. I am so incredibly excited for this opportunity and I really would like to make the most of it.
Part of my first phase in the program is to compose a presentation on an “Industry Icon” and I have chosen to do my presentation/project on you. I have followed you and your work via your blog and social media. I really believe that you have so, so many accomplishments in this industry. Your work is amazing and something I find truly inspirational. Although I currently live in Denver, I am from Omaha and I would just love to show my class, educators and fellow students your amazing work and tell them about your accomplishments. 
Chaele Redding

Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy3Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy9Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy2Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy11Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy4Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy

8Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy10Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy12Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy
5Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy6Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy 7Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy14Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy15Industry Icon project by Chaele Redding for Aveda Academy





New styles added.

New styles added to Hair by Thomas Sena on Pinterest.

Bridal Updo.
Bridal Updo.



Why Dave?

Why I think you should watch the last shows of David Letterman.

What could I possibly add to what is already being said about David Letterman? The answer is I probably have nothing original to add but I still feel a need to say something.

As I watch the stars line up to get on his final shows I’m particularly struck by the ones that seem genuinely moved and why. See I’m at an age where I fell into the sweet spot of Dave’s career arc. Old enough to have really appreciated Johnny and know why but young enough to have gotten caught up in the genius and originality of Dave when he came on the scene.   Both of these things are important to understand why the standup comedians over 40 making their final appearances on Dave are so uncharacteristically moved and demonstrative. It is in this you will find the key to why the end of Dave is to be acknowledged and fully appreciated.

We all know Johnny was the true king of the late night talk show. He wasn’t the first but he was the best and proved it for 30 years. Back then it was just Johnny and no one else.   Some tried to compete and they all failed. There were only 3 channels on tv as well. Actors had movies, tv stars had their own time slots and musicians had records and tours but if you were a standup comedian and you wanted to be seen by more than a vegas showroom you had to get on Johnny’s show. That was it. He was the gate keeper for comedians. Johnny launched Joan, Rodney, Dave, Jay, Jerry, Louie, Chris, and a million more household names that are standup legends. But then Dave came on the scene and was totally different. He is very modest about his standup chops but it’s because he was so unique. He didn’t fit into any known style of comedy. In fact he was more of an anti-comedian. He didn’t sound or look like he was telling jokes. He was a slacker ex weatherman making fun of stuff. The everyman. He found his voice in unadulterated snark. Was Bill Murray channeling Dave in Groundhog Day as a weatherman that hated being a weatherman and himself? We may never know but it’s and easy stretch to make knowing what we know now about Dave and Bill.

Johnny left when he knew the institution was in good hands.  And I don’t mean the Tonight Show. I mean the institution of the late night talk show. Dave had created the Late Show after Johnny’s time slot and did it in a way that was so juxtaposed from the Tonight Show and Johnny. It was made in Dave’s image and voice. Snark and anti-convention. He redefined the genre and Johnny loved it. I loved it and my parents hated it. He took it in a whole new direction and when the time came Johnny knew it was ok to turn out the lights.   Dave was given Johnny’s blessing to take over the tonight show. But it was not to be.  NBC executives, later lambasted by Jerry Seinfeld on his own show on the same network for their unimaginative, inane wisdom made the decision to go with Jay instead of Dave. Bla bla bla, we all know that story. Turns out it doesn’t matter.  After Johnny it didn’t matter what you called it or on what network.

Dave took it to CBS and the rest is history. His show always had an edge. If Dave wasn’t impressed with someone, we knew it. If someone said something Dave didn’t like, he got pissed and we saw it. But if he liked someone or someone made him laugh or even did the unthinkable and made Dave uncomfortable or embarrassed, it was brilliance. Either way it has always been pure entertainment.  Jay always seemed vanilla. Our parents stuck with Jay after Johnny left. That’s about all you need to know about that.

But about those stand up comedians…

Dave had already been on the scene a long time by the time he started his CBS Late Night with David Letterman show. It was a time before anyone was watching Comedy Central or any other cable shows, before Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Vines and all other social media.  Comedians still had to go through the late night gate keeper to get to a national audience.  Dave had long since put his snarky stamp on comedy and late night talk shows and in doing so launched a whole new brand of  comedy.

These comics making their pilgrimage to NYC to pay final homage to Dave are thanking him not only for giving them their break on national TV, but for many, helping give them their voice.

Like Johnny before him, Dave isn’t being forced out by the new direction of the day. He appreciates it and he knows it’s in good hands now. He’s ready to let it go. So he’s bidding us all a “very heartfelt goodnight,” but in his own voice. I can’t wait to watch it but I’ll surely miss him when he’s gone. Thanks Dave.