The art of the care package.

You know how some kids are just cool, even when they’re, like, 10?

This usually has something to do with athleticism, or clothes, or some kind of natural charisma.  In my old money San Antonio community, it also had to do with what family you came from, and what traditions you participated in.  My family and I were A) not natives, B) not wealthy, and C) not traditional.  Evidenced by several things, but most notably our lack of church-going, our kitchen cabinets onto which Mom had painted cow spots, and our annual Christmas cards that occasionally required my father to cross-dress.

“Are you in the coronation?” a friend asked me once in the third grade.  I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Because my older sister is a duchess,” she boasted.    

“Duchess of Dreams?” she said with an exasperated sigh, registering the confusion on my face.

“She rides on a float?  During the BATTLE OF FLOWERS PARADE?”

I looked at her blankly.   It was like she was speaking a foreign language.

Clearly wasting her time on someone not bred to know about The Battle of Flowers, or how very momentous her sister’s duchess appointment was, she turned tail on her Cole Haan loafers and angrily stomped off.

This was pretty much the story of my life from first through fifth grade.

But then in the summer between fifth and sixth grade, something magical happened.

I went to summer camp.  And I was the coolest one there.

It all started with my mom, closet exhibitionist that she is.  She was going through a wig-collecting phase at the time, and insisted I pack three in my trunk.

“Because you never know!” she said brightly.

Holding a clump of synthetic Tina Turner hair in my hand, I felt extremely skeptical. 

But as soon as I started unpacking my things, tentatively laying a wig onto my bunk bed mattress, I heard a high shriek of excitement.

“OH MY LORD!” screamed my bunk mate.  “That’s like SOOOOO awesome.  Where did it come from??”

Mom wouldn’t let me down during the rest of camp, either.  She sent the most epic care packages, packages for sharing.  Her favorite thing to mail was a batch of “Buffalo Chip” cookies, named so graphically for their size (of roughly a dinner plate) and their ingredients (containing every cookie ingredient imaginable, from macadamia nuts to raisins, because apparently this is what buffalo eat).  They were a smashing hit every time, making my bunk bed the most sought-after real estate in town.

* * *

So I appreciate a good care package, one composed with love and thought.  Recently, Paloma Botanical Beauty Parlor sent me a post-SXSW care package, and I have to say, I was absolutely tickled.

Isn’t this a tiny, pretty box?  I gave it to my friend Kathryn, whose daughter is named Lucia.

The package came with several large glossy photographs.  Left: Owners Evette Richards and Levi Dugat, husband and wife.  Right and below: The parlor.

Is this a miniature pope?  Dressed in a ball gown?  I love him!

I loved the styling in this photograph.  In fact I decided to bust out a feather earring of my own and wear it out of the house.

My feather and I went to Starbucks that morning and no one knew what was going on. “Is that a…?” the woman in front of me said.  “Feather?” I suggested, but it was too late.  She had already turned back around to the safe, normal world of non-footlong-feather-wearing Starbucks baristas.  Away from this dangerous rebel.
Paloma, thank you for my care package!  I will be coming in soon.  Do you have a blowtorch?  That may be what my over-processed hair needs at this point.  I’ll let you be the judge.