December 25, 2007

Bitchin Bleached Blondes Accomplished @ Home

Bleach Your Hair Exactly Like Gwen Stefani's .........exactly
This seems to a very hot subject, not only by emails & comments . . but it is also one of the top Searched subjects with GOOGLE which fascinates me.
I would imagine because it is so hard to get perfect.
I see a whole lot of banana heads walking around so that has to be the reason.

I only work with "perfect" always have
Therefore...we will spend however many days it takes to get everyone's questions answered.
I have begun bleaching a mannequin head giving it "roots" . . so I can demonstrate "overlapping"... "touching up" "timing", "toning" and any thing else you can dream up

Let this be the new home of: Bleach your hair like GWEN'S - .........exactly

When I repeat myself it is because I have discovered many of the newer readers have not gone all the way back to the beginning...and expect to be all up-to-date by reading the past 10 posts...which doesn't really work. When the repeats happen its beCAUSE I feel its important enough to say it again > FYI

 For all of you I would suggest purchasing at least one doll head from them. They have about 40 different types and the really top notch ones even are under $25.00 !!... they even have a miniature human hair head for learning that is $16.95 !! The normal sized models have real human hair heads designed so you can practice color, highlights, blow drying, hair cutting ( practice fringe trimming {bangs} ), bleaching, they have some with Grey roots, or with colored roots ...they even have a 4 section head each quadrant has a different learning technique.

The experience is invaluable....the price incredible.....I cannot recommend it enough if you are really interested in learning & perfecting the craft. Remember if you take what I teach you, learn it >> practice it, you can save yourself a carload of cash over your lifetime....besides having the level of hair you see on magazine covers.

It just hit me to spend the next couple weeks or days whatever it takes to thoroughly cover bleaching hair....Level 1 through Level 8/9 so everyone will have every single question answered. So get your pad & pencil ready I want EVERY single question that has ever occured to you about this subject so I can address it, photograph and if necessary video an explanation. {this is terrible but I have still not figured out my camcorder - but I WILL I PROMISE!! }

No one warned me you had to become a techno geek in order to become a blogger !

Don't get me wrong . . . I Love electronics, I don't mind them at all, its just the "TIME" involved

December 18, 2007

Struc---Tures of The HAIR

Quick course on Hair Structure
Yep, this is boring. It seems every post I toy with the idea of leaving it out….why? I worry you will be screaming at your screen, “when is she going to get to the more interesting stuff” ! Then I remind myself… there was a time I found all of this fascinating and I couldn’t get enough, I will assume that is where you are from now on and keep trucking along.
Below the surface of the skin…………..the hair is called the HAIR ROOT --- Above is the HAIR SHAFT. So the part of the hair that you… color…you brush…you shampoo…you tease… you straighten is called the HAIR SHAFT. The part of the hair that is below the skin that we cannot see or touch is the HAIR ROOT.

The structures of the HAIR ROOT are the FOLLICLE, HAIR BULB, and PAPILLA.

The HAIR ROOT is housed in a sheath called a FOLLICLE which you can see here in the diagram. At the bottom of the follicle, buried deep in the skin, is the HAIR BULB. The cells that become a strand of hair are produced in the HAIR BULB, the living part of hair, from which the hair grows. How many people do you hear say “your hair is dead”??...well that is not (scientifically) the truth. Where one hair grows and dies….another one comes in its place. Therefore,I would not call that dead. That theory is just a matter of tearing the words, and what happens with each hair, apart. They say that because a hair does not “feel”: you can bend, smash, curl and flat iron a hair and it doesn’t hurt, but it “does grow” doesn’t it? I would call that “ALIVE”. When I went on a mission to solve the terrible problem we have in women’s hair thinning and loss, I studied exactly that, ‘where’ the new hair was formed and ‘how’ it was formed. Proudly, I can say that I have that issue solved in a whopping 84% of the women that follow my 12 step program.

At the base of the bulb, nourishing it is the PAPILLA…a mound of tissue with capillaries running through it. The papilla contains the blood and nerve supply that provides the nutrients needed for hair growth.

The Structures of the HAIR SHAFT are the CUTICLE, CORTEX, and MEDULLA.

The Cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair. It consists of a single overlapping layer of transparent scale-like cells that overlap like shingles on a roof. *****A healthy compact cuticle layer is the hair’s primary defense against damage. Remember this fact, this will come in necessary when trying to figure out why your hair or a clients hair is in bad condition. I use a microscope to look at my clients cuticle, that tells me whether their damage is deeper within or just on the surface and in the cuticle. Knowing that piece of information leads me to the type of conditioner I need to use to ressurect their hair condition. {There are very few conditioners that actually address what they claim to ‘in print’ on the packaging, I hate to blow your hopes & dreams. }

A healthy cuticle layer protects the hair from penetration and prevents damage to hair fibers. Oxidation haircolors, permanent waving solutions, and chemical hair relaxers must have alkaline pH in order to penetrate the cuticle layer and reach their target within the cortex. Those 3 solutions goal is changing the make-up of the hair as it is now …to a complete new one….Perms are changing the hair from straight to curly, Relaxers are doing the opposite, Oxidation haircolors are permanently changing the color of the hair from its original to a new one. In order to perform such a major change the change must reach the CORTEX of the hair.

The CORTEX is the middle layer of the hair. It is a fibrous protein core formed by cells containing MELANIN pigment. About 90% of the total weight of the hair comes from the cortex. The elasticity of the hair and its natural color are the result of the unique protein structures within the CORTEX.

The MEDULLA is the innermost layer composed of round cells. It is quite common for very fine & naturally blonde hair to entirely lack a MEDULLA, generally only thick coarse hair contains one. Men’s beard hair contains a Medulla, as far as Cosmetology…the MEDULLA is not involved in any of the treatments we deal with.
You will find the structure helpful as you move into more knowledge of hair coloring as well. Just let it absorb into your brain.....and allow your brain and body to become hair "brilliant" !

December 15, 2007

Everyone Should Cut their Hair Short At least Once In Their Lifetime !

Hair Cuts must not be done by YOU.
That is one thing I fully believe in having done professionally.

Problem is , how do you find a good Cutter?
Three of the best ways?
  • Stop someone who HAS a great cut... {one of the best ways}.
  • Call the top couple Salons in your city and ask if there is anyone that received their License from the Vidal Sassoon Academy ( thousands of Stylists from all over the world have)
  • Ask Receptionist at your local Salon ( risky)
Short Hair is IN <> if you have never worn it, everyone must try it at least once in their life....look at Katy's never looked better...
I dare you . . . .

This is absolutely Smashing
December 14, 2007

Canceling Unwanted Tones in Hair & IN CONCLUSION

I know all these color wheels and colors seem silly to most of you ...there is a purpose.
There is an EXCELLENT reason for busting out the crayons and coloring again....
Hands down .....One of the most asked questions here on Killerstrands is:

HOW DO I GET RID OF THE "_______" tones in my hair......the 2 words that go in the blank are 'Brassy' and "yellow"

Which I have answered many many times.... and promise to still answer many MORE times...

I just thought it might be good to teach you to fish rather than to fish for you.....

Using these Color wheels can help you answer that problem every single many hair stylists just don't understand this simple simple technique. I am hopeful that many of you will begin tosee the light at the end of the tunnel.... let me know if you are

If you have brassy or yellow tones in the hair........where do you find the solution?

Remember . . . a complementary color or the OPPOSITE color on the wheel NEUTRALIZES the tones you find irritating. So what color complements Yellow???? ...............Purple or Violet - - - makes no diffference which name you choose whichever you prefer

Some people LOVE Gold and yellow in their far as I'm concerned its the USA and anyone can have whatever tone they want. I am just here to teach you

"HOW" to get the tone you want.....and get rid of the tones you dont want.

That way you WILL have the beautiful hair everyone desires.

The Color Wheel is simple.
Remember the primaries.
Knowing these, you can name the secondaries.
Visualise these colors arranged on a circle.
Half the circle is cool;
half is warm.
Colors opposite one another neutralize each other
Cool contrasts- out warm and vice versa
Thats all you need to know
December 13, 2007

Keep It Simple, Hair Color Rules That Are Simple As Pie

The More You Know The Less You Fear
....use that as your mantra for learning this crap
Wouldn't you LOVE to understand how to color your hair perfectly?
So if you wanted to have blonde hair one month......and brown hair with just a few blonde ribbons a couple months later, you could do it yourself
and it would look like Julia Roberts hair
NOT Britney Spears

Education - Education - Education....and its not that hard. Promise.

Hair Color = As Simple as Addition and Subtraction

The first of many important coloring facts many Cosmetologists have not learned, so puts you ahead of them
<>When you apply Color(Tint) to the hair you are ADDING Color.
Color + Color = MORE Color, so the hair has more pigment.

f the color used is addition only, the hair will often but not always be darker.

<> Deposit Only tints (Semi or Demi Permanent Color) are frequently used to change tonal value without changing the lightness or darkness of the actual color of the hair. This is about the least complicated method of tinting hair as you will not have a "LINE OF REGROWTH" ( line where the new color has changed the old color) The Demi Permanent line I use called Color Touch (by Wella's European division) is probably the single best line of hair color on the planet. If I had to pick one line to use and get rid of the other 15 lines I carry...that would be it - which would surprize many because it is not permanent. This line imparts the most incredible amount of shine and moisturizers it wins hands down as the "condition" of the hair is the most important factor for me.

<> When hair is lightened (no matter how little) you are subtracting pigment (lifting its called).

many think lightening hair is deposting a blonde color to the hair, it is NOT. Which is why every person ends up with varying shades of blondes. What is actually a happening is the colors are being LIFTED out of your hair to create a lighter appearance. If this is confusing to anyone PLEASE point that out. This is a trough concept the first time around for many, I want to be sure you are getting it, especially before we go on....

<> When you use a tube of hair color (Single process hair color) that is lighter than your own virgin hair that Tube of Color is a wonderful little tube of magic...... it performs many little works of wonder when it is mixed with the developer and applied to your hair.

That color performs "2" main chemical actions on your hair at the same time, it both #1: "lifts"(lightens) hair color out of your hair and # 2 "deposits" new color onto the hair. This is the concept that many do not understand. The chemical process performed once you mix that developer with that tube of color is a 2 step affar.....called Lift and Deposit.

<> Another way of saying this: Single-process hair color uses both (-) subtraction to remove pigment and (+) addition to replace or add artificial pigment.

BROWN is the basis of all Hair Color

Complementary colors ( remember what this is- extremely important) turn a brown of some shade. When 2 complementary colors are mixed they create the presence of the 3 primaries in uneven amounts.

For example: Yellow mixed with Violet will make a pale brown....because yellow, the stronger color, will dominate the formula. Violet is made from Red & Blue

When you mix yellow with Violet, you achieve a shade of Brown.

Mix opposites on the color wheel always results in a BROWN-ing effect. S I M P L E
these theories work in hair color - mixing house paint - dying your clothes - painting a picture - even frosting a cake....which is why I feel these little theories are worth teaching in high school to kids.
they teach kids the difference between
a teaspoon and a Tablespoon in Home Economics in high school, what's wrong with teaching the basics of COLOR?

EVERYONE will color their hair in the future...I am sure of it.

I'm of the belief that the way hair color is going in the very near future HAIR COLOR will be so rich, so conditioning and so strengthening to the hair that it will be mandatory for a good strong head of hair. MARK MY WORDS ON THAT

If hair color is done correctly even now, (that is a big "IF"), hair will be in better condition once it is done. Mine is and all my clients are... so it is nearly there already.

I cannot say this enough >> This does NOT include the boxed Kits, those are disastrous.
All virgin hair is a shade of Brown....which contains all 3 primaries
Whether hair is dark brown,
or black ( the bluest brown; Levels 1 or 2-4)
Auburn ( the most warm brown, Levels 5-7)
or blonde ( the most yellow or lightest brown, levels 8-10)
the color is an uneven combination of the three primary colors.
Uneven amounts of yellow + red + blue = Brown
a lot of hair Stylists do not understand this.........
Equal amounts of Yellow + Red + Blue = Black/Gray/or Platinum depending on the level

1.) Lightening the hair is when pigment is subtracted.
Which creates an imbalance of the Primary Colors.

Remember the Color Swatch charts I've showed you with the LEVELS going from top to bottom and then the 'tones' running across the top. Every line of Color chooses the "tones" they think will interest Colorists so they will want to use their line of color. Remember how much 1 Salon spends on this every month ( $5,000. - $20,000. = A LOT!) Therefore, the "tones" or "Series" that are represented are represented by one letter. You learn to figure them out.

For example a few sure shots are: N = Natural A= Ash G= Gold R= Red

2.) Brown is actually an uneven mixture of 3 primaries - red, yellow & blue

3.)Very blonde hair is brown with a dominance of yellow, Red hair is brown with a dominance of red tones & black is the bluest brown.

When you are lightening color, you are not actually dealing with brown, you are dealing with the Underlying or DOMINANT UNDERLYING REMAINING PIGMENT ( DURP) : which is usually red, orange, gold or yellow.

#1. Warmth is released when you begin to lighten hair.
#2. The 1st pigment to leave the hair during lightening,  is BLUE....therefore leaving Red & Yellow tones ( brassy)
Because blue is the first pigment to leave the hair, you would go quickly into the red zone, which is also the most difficult zone to leave.

We will talk about Hair Color throughout the Blog is in the top 5 most important things to learn to be a sucessful AND popular so your clients love you more than their partner!
December 12, 2007

Neutralizing Hair Color : The Rule & Law of Color

Primary Colors are colors in their purest form

They are the 3 strongest and most influential pigments! Any color on earth can be broken down to yellow, red. or blue...including your hair colors.

The more familiar you are with these basics, the more you will be able to color your own hair, successfully....besides, its fun, useful and who knows....maybe you can color your neighbors hair with your new found knowledge!

Yellow is the lightest primary and is warm in value...its the color Colorists use creates the most highlighted effect & is found in blondes...

RED is the medium bright primary that reflects more light than any other color; therefore, it catches the eye is also the STRONGEST of the warm Primary Colors

Secondary Colors are created when two Primaries

are mixed together, there are 2 secondary colors.

Orange is the strongest WARM secondary color and is made by mixing red & yellow together.

****Note *****
That each Primary Color on the wheel is opposite a secondary color.
These opposites are the true key to success in hair coloration

If colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, they are called COMPLIMENTARY COLORS...What does that mean?

They C O M P L I M E N T one another....
When Yellow is placed next to Purple......both colors look their most VIBRANT..
Same with orange and blue..................Red and green

However when 2 complimentary colors are mixed together they Neutralize ;

neutralizing is the key to being a fantastic colorist
December 5, 2007

Understanding the Color Wheel is the Backbone of Successful Hair Color

Every talented Hair Colorist fully understands the Color Wheel as well as its off-shoots

 Primary - Secondary - Tertiary color wheels which are just as important

So, Please...
I painted my color Sassoon they make you paint them, at the time I thought it was ridiculous. It is one of the best projects one can do as a hair color teacher..... I guarantee you it will make a lot of the theory of hair color make sense to you.....which is not easy to understand.
Lets look at these projects as a stepping stone to the pot of gold: KNOWLEDGE of hair color that is not available anywhere on the planet , especially not to the public.
Lets get this education out person at a time if we have to.
Sunday will be the instruction of what Color Wheels to color and how to do > Please have your full set of felt pens /crayons or Paints ( the best)...and some thick paper to color on. I know it seems lame, trust me its worth it. It just does not work the same if you just must color the colors to implant the ideas in your brain.
I promise when we are done............ you will say........OH, now I get it.............everyone does
December 4, 2007

I’m BACK FOR GOOD. So am ready to gear up for hair education for all. Yahoo!
Tones of Hair Colour

There is not an easy way to teach & explain tones of hair color and especially not through a computer screen, but it is a very important topic. One of the secrets to the success of my work was being a Tonal Fanatic. Truth be told, tones and hues are one in the same, I will use the term “tones” just know they are one in the same in the hair universe.

Neutral- Ash- Matt - Gold - Gold/Red- Red- Red/Violet- Violet - Brown - Brown/Red - Pearl >TONES

(Hair Color Chart mock-up )

In all hair color charts from top to bottom are the Level’s we have gone over & over: Level 1 through 12. Across the top of the chart are the TONES, which have become very specific: natural, ash, matt, gold, gold-red, red, red-violet, violet, brown, brown-gold, auburn, brown-red-violet, & pearl. Each color line has different tones they think will sound fascinating to Colorists. Framesi has 17, Joico has gone with just the basic 5 tones while Wella has 21. 20 years ago the few companies that were making hair color just used the basics: Natural – Ash – Gold & Red –period!
Every single hair company has gone into making hair color because it is the most lucrative of all the hair products. It used to be a "hidden" process women would have done....on the "down-low". Now to have hair color is the mark of a well groomed woman.
There are close to one hundred different hair color manufacturers spread throughout the world. The “behind- the-scenes” look at how it is ultimately decided as to which Salon uses which color line goes somewhat like this...

I would ‘ballpark’ there to be approx 100 lines of hair color available to the Salon owner, and when opening a Salon,
Hair colour will be the biggest and most crucial decision and expense they have every single month. Its one thing to purchase hair color for one person, but when you are purchasing Color for a Salon with 20 Stylists and all 20 have a full clientele, your monthly color bill ( yep just “tubes of color” and Developer -the white stuff . . .) can easily be $5,000 - $10,000 - $20,000! yes!

Therefore ‘before’ the Salon has opened, the owner is ‘courted’ by all the hair color companies. They offer the owner >deals, bargains – offers of hair color educational classes throughout the year for Stylists, guarantees of shipping etc, all in an effort to try to become the Salons only “Color Line”. Color is the most expensive service available in a Salon which I am sure you are well aware of, also the most profitable.

When the Salon’s owner sits down finally to decide which line of color they will ultimately use

6 points need to be considered
  • Grey coverage
  • Tone
  • Variety
  • Shine & Conditioning
  • Vibrancy
  • Lasting
  • &Cost
Top quality Hair color costs between $ 5.00 & $18.00 per 2 or 3 ounce tube of color. To color one head of shoulder length, medium thickness hair doing the roots and lengths, takes about 1 ½ tubes of Colour. So that is $21.00 just for the hair color alone – plus the developer: plus the foils: plus the after treatment cream etc. I want to stick up a little for the “cost” of hair colour, I think many walk into a Salon and drop their shirt when they hear the prices. When I do a head of Slices when I am using 7 or 8 colors
I’m sure you all at one time or another have been shown that big book of hair swatches…which seems to some women like a big box of chocolates ! The bigger the swatch book – the more enticing the line, I say. For a dedicated Colourist, there is nothing more exciting than new tones and hues added to their favorite line of Colour. Personally, when a new color for my fav line is introduced I feel like its Christmas, I can’t wait to try it! Silly I know, but that is how into Hair Color I am. I mix custom colors all the time, because even with the 150 colors I have on hand I still feel like they are missing some tones. Like, I make a mean CORAL ROSE BEIGE….can you picture that? It is beautiful.

Every Stylist has their favorite brand based on their experiences with the 6 points above.. While at Sassoon, we had an advantage, Sassoon had access to nearly every brand ( as an Academy that trains hundreds of future Stylists – getting a brand in the hand would be “key” to brand loyalty for hundreds of careers… for years. ) Sassoon had one brand that was only used exclusively for grey coverage, one specific brand that was used for redheads. A brand for blonde’s, a brand for bleach, for crazy colors…they were extremely picky, which fit right into my neurosis about tones of colors. Brown was NEVER EVER just “brown” to me. I always looked at what tones of brown I could come up with that would be unique and flattering to a clients’ skin and eyes.

According to the dictionary the definition of TONE is : the comparative darkness caused by the interception or screening of rays of light from an object, place, or area or …the warmth or coolness of a color. Reds, Oranges and yellows are all warm tones as are auburn, copper, gold, bronze, caramel or honey. The cool tones are blue, green and violet. Descriptive hair color names in the cool range include ash, drab, smoky, matte, or platinum.
These all matter why?
For multiple reasons that you will see come out as we go on, but mainly for getting that dynamite color that one will be able to achieve by using a tube of color as opposed to that kit. What those kits lack is tones, yes, the Photos on the front of the box have some model that has the color of hair the photo is supposed to be already. Yes, the PHOTO looks excellent, but you must know that the model they have used would never ever use that cheap crappy color, I promise you I did a lot of Hollywoods hair at one time.

Intensity refers to the strength of a color tone. Intensity is described as mild, medium or strong. Strawberry blonde, copper brown, and bright orange are various intensities of red shades.

Artificial hair colors are developed from the primary and secondary colors that form base colors. A base color is the predominant tonality of an existing color. The base color influences the final color result. For example, a violet-based color will deliver cool results and will help minimize unwanted yellow tones. why? We haven’t reviewed this yet but will when we begin formulating…this is where your COLOR WHEEL review comes in. To cancel any unwanted tones in the hair what you do is go across the color wheel to ‘cancel’ it out. Violet is across from yellow on the color wheel remember? This is a common cancellation in hair color, as is going Platinum’s biggest problem is what? Coming out to brassy - too yellow, which is why you see lavender or violet based toners for blondes, they cancel the yellow. Those are the very obvious ones. The tricky ones come when you are talking about Ash, drab, smoky, matte, etc.

The trickiest part of trying to get you to understand tones, is trying to do it over a computer screen. I feel the success of my career is largely based on my understanding of tones so I if I can relay that information to you…you will be a better home hair colorist because of it. The Colors on each of your monitors is going to be different…there are some of you with screens from the 90’s (archaic in the world of computers)and some of you with the newest – coolest monitors on the market. Each of those monitors is going to show the color of one picture completely different.
So there truly is no way to accomplish it, the differences are so slight.

To see what I consider the best array of tones in the hair color industry join Google Groups - Killerstrands
November 24, 2007

Hows Your Turkey Hangover Girls?

Ya gotta love


excellent for the hair

I plan to start a new short series Sunday for the week, had a couple of ideas and then I thought...
Tis' the Season of giving and being thankful....How about requests

I thank many of you for your riveting emails, long chats, and the realization that I wish I could clone a healthier me, to help everyone out. When I was terribly busy in the Salon..I use to tell my clients....If I was super wealthy I would do and teach hair for free.... Just so the right information got out there . I feel that no one has given the American public the proper info about healthy hair and hair color. A very few big conglomerates run the whole mess, and they have you all by the balls (if we had them). People actually think they care about their hair.When I see Heather Locklear, hawking Hair color while at the same time wearing a wig....I ask myself, "where is truth in advertising".. Not even celebs who have plenty of money already, have any morals. There is NO WAY in the world Locklear uses that crap in a box. So there you have 2 complete and outright lies. The Hair color kits that are a billion dollar endeavor are destroying the hair of good women everywhere. It just infuriates me, to no end, can you tell?Its funny how "hair" as an occupation is rated way way down on the Totem Pole...YET, from the responses I get it sounds as though many of you would give anything for a talented and educated Hair Stylist. You get what you pay for....that statement holds true in all facets of life. ALL, even hair.

Is there anything -- anyone is just dyeing (!!) to know about?

I'm getting warmed up again... this will be a good month for those of you dedicated to KillerStrands... I have one request..... Please recommend the site to at least one know. I guarantee you -- the people you would least suspect, LOVE to read about hair.

Check both sites everyday the new daily photos have started as well. The goal: to combine them both on one website.

Thank You for all the warm and wonderfully complimentary remarks...I really do appreciate them all.

I will remind you the idea is to ask questions through the "comments" section so that others can learn from our discussions. I guarantee if you have a question that has been bothering you about your hair there are another 50 people with it as well, and they are ecstatic if they see it being talked about.

When you do ask....please answer the 10 basics ( about your hair)so our conversation can easily solve your problem...

I'm not going anywhere

Killer Chemist
November 8, 2007

A Problem Split in 2 for YOU

Had it with long hair?

Too frightened to go short yet . . .

Mid-length is the answer
. . . . Its a favorite of mine to really defines the face & and can add spark to your step

November 2, 2007

How Dark is too Dark?

The Beauty and Depth of Dark Hair is Undeniable . . . the fall is perfect timing . . . give it a try
this photo of kelly Clarkson has her in "clip-in" Extensions, which are the only type I believe in...all the others are just too hard on your own hair (I believe Britney Spears has been the best testament to that statement).
Add some crazy colors (underneath) . . . they're subtle . . . yet give a hint of "wild & crazy" under your cool and calm appearance....this is a great release when you get that feeling of "rebellion" flowing through your veins....(and is a lot less long lasting than a tattoo!)

An Emu cut for those of you with wavy hair....the trick?... the long pieces

Her Hair was cut for her "umbrella" song....can you see the "umbrella" shape in the cut? Brilliant of her hairstylist
Same cut as Rihanna's...part on opposite side and a hidden block of color for interest.
Blocks -- Ribbons -- and all sorts of pieces and chunks of all sorts of different colors are back in for the winter . . . I love it!