The custom stained triangle

I love telling stories of how things came to be, especially about Cannon Beach Salon and The Union Knot. I like to share how our space transformed and the details of how each piece came into play. I think the reason I like to share is that everything in our shops is very all has purpose and/or meaning. And if something is a little off, it has reason. If something doesn’t seem just quite right, or a little out of place, it has a story. I’m going to share a little story about one such thing. It’s probably going to be long but stay with me, it’s a good one. Here we go...



Just this week we had a day. A day that we couldn't do anything about. Some days you can try to salvage and others you just have to laugh and make the best of it. This was definitely a “laugh and make the best of it” kind of day.

It all started with Brigitte and her client (who, btw, is a rock star and was the absolute best during this whole disastrous, yet seriously awesome, day in history at CBS!). The last time this particular client was in, she got a beautiful soft strawberry blonde kind of red that was absolutely stunning. She, of course, wanted to do the same thing this appointment. Brigitte was 95% sure of the formula she used last appointment, but wants to double check the client color card before she just jumps right in. Problem is...this clients color card is nowhere to be found. Now, before we go any further I must tell you that we have two FULL boxes of color cards!! Like, eight hundred million index cards filled with formulas of our clients. We have a computer scheduling system (which is still fairly new to us) that DOES have the capacity to hold those notes, HOWEVER, it’s all the hours and the days and the weeks and the months of inputting all that information into the system that we haven’t quite tackled yet. We will eventually get there...but as of this moment in time, we’re not there yet. So, after not being able to find the card, Brigitte goes with what she is pretty darn positive was the color she used last appointment. But of course, as luck would have it on this particular day (and only on this day because that’s just how this day had to go down) we are out of that color. Brigitte checks everywhere: the drawer, the cupboard, the overflow storage container, the overflow cabinet and even the extra storage cabinet in the bathroom. She checked EVERYWHERE!! It’s gone. We have none. Zip, zero, zilch. We be out.


In the meantime, Stephanie is STILL searching for the client card (because let’s face it, at this point it’s just baffling and we are now on a mission. After all, it couldn’t have just disappeared into thin air, right?!) and I am with my own client. Now, I have a situation unfolding of my own while this is happening. I have a client who is naturally very dark and she is greying. She is very adventurous and we have done numerous cuts and colors throughout our last several years together. She currently has a very short haircut and is all over platinum blonde. We use an “on the scalp bleach” to lighten her roots every 3 weeks. (And for all you professionals out there, don’t get your Judgey McJudgerson pants on! Yes it’s bleach. Yes we have tried other products. Yes I use a bond builder. Yes, yes and yes. We know what we are doing. We have tried everything under the sun, this client and I, and we are good. We got this.) The particular product I normally use has been out of the developer I need that for at least 2 months. I tried another developer of thiers the last time and it just didn’t give us the results we were looking for. The product line was recently bought out by a large company in order to mass produce their products and get them in that hands of more stylists nationwide (“worldwide” really) which is great BUT, tiny little places like our small coastal town in the PNW just can’t get our hands on the products. So, the long and short of it is, I’m explaining to my client that we are going to be using a different product today. Same procedure, same results, just different product line. I explain to her that it says right on the packaging “on the scalp”. I absolutely love this product for foiling, and use it quite often, but I have never applied it directly to the scalp. Im telling her this so that she lets me know if it starts burning or if we wash it out and it’s not quite right, we know that it’s because we used something different and we adjust accordingly. Consultation is key and extremely important and I, personally, believe it's what makes the service.

Brigitte has since got out the color swatch book and the two of us (I’m now done with my consultation and on my way to mix her formula) have come up with a concoction of our own that would be the same as the MIA color that was “hopefully” the last color used on Brigittes client.

(((I’ll pause a minute while you catch your breath)))

* Also, side note, this is exactly why we take Chemistry classes in beauty school.


So, we gather everything up, write down the formula, and Brigitte gets to mixing. She’s got her color bottles out, the developer ready, the bowl has met the scale and she starts mixing. Im behind her grabbing my own supplies: a color bowl, a whisk, a brush and so on. Stephanie is in front of Brigitte (this is all happening at the front desk/check out counter/ mixing station) on the computer and possibly the phone (it’s all a blur really...and if truth be told, Stephanie is STILL graciously looking for that darned card!) and my 14 year old daughter is, bless her heart, taking coffee orders (we have a God sent coffee shop directly behind the shop). It’s a lot right? I know. But if I’m honest here, that’s the way we function every day. It’s kinda just the life of a salon. And’s quite fun. It’s a good energy and it usually flows pretty efficiently.


But on this day, this particular day, it was different.


In slow motion, as these things usually go, the bowl of color that Brigitte has made basically just spills itself.


Our custom made, on point, absolutely perfect color spills all over the counter. (((gasp!! I know, right?!?!)))


Brigitte has this look of shock on her face that says both “OMG, what just happened?!” and “Seriously?! Seriously?! Like, what the what?!”


I think we all just stared at it for half a second like maybe it would rewind in slow motion, just as it did in forward motion, and put itself right back into the bowl. It did not. It did not put itself back in the bowl. Matter of fact, it kept moving. It ran down under the glass that holds our price sheets and it soaked into the fabric that we have as decoration under the glass. Best part is this:


During our latest upgrade to the salon, we did some construction. One small detail, that made a huge difference, was to this particular counter at the front of the shop. You see, when I first opened this shop, my dad custom made me my front counter. I gave him ideas of what I wanted and measurements of thing I needed the counter to hold (mini fridge, microwave, my bags, my purse, some filing drawers and so on)  as well as how tall/wide I wanted it. I wanted glass over the top to put my price sheets/notifications under as to not take up room on the top (where it would likely display those documents in picture frames and such). In order to achieve what I was after, without it being too bulky and heavy, my dad made it in 2 pieces.


The way the shop is laid out, those 2 pieces sat at a funny angle for a very long time. The wall and the back counter that hold the sink are not in symmetry. They weren’t equally parallel. That was fine when it was just me in the shop but as it grew and more stylists were added, it became an issue of trying to SQUEEZE more than one person behind the counter. So to fix this, Brigitte’s husband (being the amazingly talented guy that he is) came up with a solution. He made a custom fit triangle that popped that second counter piece out just enough that we can easily fit more than one person at a time back there. The top piece is flush with the top of the counter and along the inside, facing us,  it has shelves for us to use as we see fit. It was only matter of inches but it changed the game entirely. I tell you this because when he put it in, he didn’t paint it or stain it or anything. It’ just raw. Raw, open, untreated, unstained, unpainted wood.


Until now.  (((insert sideways Katie grin here)))



That color could have spilled anywhere but it didn’t. It could have been directly on top of and, therefore contained to only to, the glass but it wasn’t. Heck, it could have been mixed at the sink and just easily wiped up off the rockin piece of laminate that decorates the sink but nope. It wasn’t and it didn’t. It spilled right onto that perfect triangle of the only raw service anywhere remotely close to that bowl.

So you know what I did?

I grabbed the towel and I rubbed it in.

I rubbed it all over the whole triangle.


That triangle was built with love to be the smallest solution to the biggest problem and it’s now been stained accidentally on purpose with a lovely shade of custom mixed color to resemble a 7KG. And you know what? I kinda sorta hope it stays that way because I kinda love it. What I love most is that, as I was rubbing it in, we were all laughing. We laughed so hard I almost cried. I kept saying it was fine and it was great the whole time Brigitte is trying to clean up and REMIX a new batch of color, the whole time shaking her head in disbelief. And I kid you not, Brigitte got her color mixed up lickety split and just I started to mix mine for my “on the scalp bleach” client, the bleach jumps out of the container and onto my apron. It looked like when you’re baking and the mixer turns on too fast and your whole front is covered in flour. Only my whole front was not flour, it was blue bleach powder. And guess what...we laughed some more. Actually, we were still laughing from the color spill so technically, we just laughed harder I guess.

My “advice” that  I’m going to tell you next is not about being careful or about being cautious and watching what you are doing. I’m going to tell you the REAL lesson in this fiasco:



Surround yourself with good people. Build your tribe with people who lift you up, people who embrace your imperfections and your mistakes and celebrate who you are. Surround yourself with people who can laugh WITH you not AT you and people who make you feel like you are the best version of yourself. It’s not good to be with people who criticize you and bring you down or people who act like you are a burden. Nobody wants to be surrounded by people who make you feel like you are annoying or can’t do anything right. Create a positive circle. Laugh. Smile. Shake it off. Life is imperfect. Embrace it. It’s what gives us character...just like the triangle.




Life is full of choices.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if you would have done something different in one specific moment in time? Think back…would you be a different person if you had moved when you were 9? If you decided to try out for the musical? Or focused more on grades than sports? Maybe you could have married someone different, had you given that boy/girl (who had a major crush on you) a chance. What about if you had followed your heart and done something creative in college instead of what paid better. Or maybe you got a dog/cat. What if you traveled more? Or maybe took a different job? Or maybe you went ahead and had another baby? So many moments in life, monumental or insignificant, could have completely changed our path had we chose differently.

Had. We. Chose. Differently.

I am a believer in life. And life is funny.



I believe that we all have choices. Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in a moment where we have complete control. We can make obvious choices. “I like the blue one. Oh, no thank you I’m full. Sure I’ll help. I don’t feel like going out tonight. I’ll take the chicken please. Yes, I can wait. I better put on a coat. I’m going to bed early. I’ll take the one on the end.” There are a lot of choices that lead to a pretty easy decision. “Do you want fries with that?” A direct question in which we are allowed to make an instantaneous decision. Most of time, no one is forcing us to take the fries. It’s a choice. Do we want them or not. Yes or no.  Then there comes the moments in life where we may make a choice but we don’t get to choose. Moments such as having a baby. You might ‘choose’ to have a baby, but you don’t get to choose what KIND of baby. Will it be a girl or a boy?...will it enter the world chubby or not so chubby?...bald or born with lots of hair?....How will it’s voice sound when it starts to talk? Will this baby be born fearless and wild or soft spoken and sweet natured? Some choices are beyond us. But we still have the choice of how to handle what has been given to us. Being forced to move is a good one. That may not be a good situation but choosing to handle it with grace and a positive outlook helps to  see it as a new adventure. This is completely different than choosing to not accept what has caused these circumstances, which usually ends in a negative snowball of stress and anxiety and a downhill slope of catastrophes. You see where I’m going with this?




I think that, sometimes through our choices, we find ourselves.



Take, for example, my choice to become a stylist. Now, keep in mind that I did not always want to be a cosmetologist. It’s definitely not one of those things that I had been dreaming of ever since I was a little girl. No. I wanted to be a teacher for the longest time.  (SO happy that I didn’t do that! I grew up, had two children of my own and realized that I don’t really care for other people’s children. Lol. Although, I wouldn’t mind teaching/running a beauty school some day but that’s entirely different.) What changed my mind I was coming to my senses and realizing that I didn’t want to teach, I asked myself what it was that I really wanted to do. You know what my answer was? My answer was: a mom. I knew that I wanted kids. I always knew that I wanted to be a mom. But guess what...being a mom doesn’t pay. (and, omg, before you jump all in here with the “stay at home/work from home, network marketing, crafty/diy/etsy make stuff and sell it” craziness....that’s totally not what I’m talking about here. I am definitely a supporter of all of that. But thats not what I'm referring to in this moment)  I wanted a job that I could work, be happy and enjoy what I was doing, and be able to still spend time with my family. I wanted a job that I could make my own schedule so that I didn’t have to put my kids in daycare all day and a job that I could watch my kids play sports. I wanted a job that I could attend band and choir concerts as they got older and a job that I could take family vacations and not have to worry about who would cover my shift or if I had enough PTO. That’s when I decided to go to beauty school. I figured that, anywhere I went in life, I would have a job. No matter my marital status, if/when/how many kids I did or didn’t have, where I ended up living, how much I wanted to work, how much I wanted to wouldn't matter. I would always have a job. So that’s what I did. I went to beauty school. It was a choice. I chose to do that.



Little did I know, that by making that choice, I was surrendering to something greater than myself. I am a firm believer that when you let go and fully surrender, you will find your place in life. Even if that place is just for the time being.



I may have chose this path but this career chose me.



I can’t explain the feeling of finding your place in life. I can only hope that you can experience that for yourself at some point. I love what I do and I love the people I get to encounter every day in this industry. Do I get burnt out? Absolutely. Do I sometimes  think about just saying “screw it” and learning to bartend? Sometimes. For half a second. Until I realize that I make just as much money without having to deal with drunk people. But for real...I’m lucky. And I know that. And I’m thankful for that.



Don’t get me wrong, this career comes with its own set of sacrifices FOR SURE!! But I think that, for the most part, I’ve handled it pretty well. So far anyway. (ha!) I’m excited to see what the future holds because it’s far from over. I feel it deep down in my belly...that fire is brewin’.



Now I’m no motivational speaker. I’m not a life coach or a mentor or any sort of career guru but I’m gonna leave you with this:



Think long and hard about the person you want to become and make a choice to become that person. Take that path. It may lead you exactly where you hoped it would, the path you intentionally set out on. Then again, it may take you so off course that it leads you to exactly where you are supposed to be. Either way...embrace it. Life is beautiful. It’s a crazy, messy, beautiful thing and if you open your eyes, you might just catch a glimpse. And believe don't wanna miss it.


~ Katie