Hair Spray, My Grandma, And Ladies Room Baskets | MitzvahMarket | MitzvahMarket

Hair Spray, My Grandma, And Ladies Room Baskets

Hair Spray, My Grandma, And Ladies Room Baskets


We are two months out from my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I know the scramble is on the horizon, so I am trying to check off as many boxes as I can now to help myself later.

There are a few things I can do to get ahead of myself and prepare in advance so that when it becomes crunch time, I remember I have a “go bag” already done for something.

Today, this means the bathroom basket for the ladies’ room.

I do not know about you, but I have always loved this little gifted oasis of emergency saviors and pilferable toiletries. Yes, I have seven thousand hair bands at home, but the ones on that card always look so exciting and inviting. Bobby pins, yes – I need them. I mean I do not, I do not use them, do not need them… but now that I see three hundred on a card, I must have a few… because they are there.

It is always fun to go through this basket. It is always fun to see how a proposed party crisis is managed in lavatory swag. Are you with me?

I will say that when I think of these fun little loot bins, my mind always comes back to the pinnacle of 80’s and 90’s glam – the hair spray. More often than not, I think of Aqua Net. The gold standard used by “Hair Bands” gracing the cover of your Power Ballad or “Lost in Love” CDs (obviously ordered from a tv commercial or 800 number) and your friend’s cool older sister.

But do kids or adults still use hair spray? I do not, but to be fair, I never really did. Or at least did successfully…

As a teenager in the 90’s (my Bat Mitzvah was in 1991), I spent more time dealing with my perm and bangs than anything else. (At this point, I would like to pause so you can close your eyes and smell a perm). I never quite got the gist of hairspray (or successful bangs), but I always wanted to be that girl who could. At the time, that meant the simultaneous flat-down, and flip-up look. Using hair spray was a status symbol (not really) and one I aspired to master. I will not mention the clear braces or pimples that accompanied this look to keep a little bit of a mystery alive.

My Grandma was a hair spray master. You could find her walking through a windstorm and her hair would not budge. It was also always perfectly “quaffed” at a salon and frozen into place. There may be a direct correlation between the hole in the ozone layer and this generation, but my gosh, that hair did not move. I remember she used the brand VO5. That was her jam. I also remember that when they changed the formula, it caused a “code red” throughout our family resulting in a mad rush to everyone’s nearest pharmacy to stock her up with the OG.

So where does that leave me for a 2023 party? What do people put in this basket now, when tweens and teens have perfectly slick hair, no frizz, and dresses that look like band-aids? Well – like all good moms in this decade do, I started with google. Luckily, in just a few seconds, I found the perfect article of what to put in said basket right here.

Copied and pasted into notes, I headed to the store and picked up all these shelf-stable accouterments. Anticipating this, I saved a gift basket that I could repurpose for this exact moment. Finally, I was off like Little Red Riding Hood to fill her up and then put it aside until duty called (she bows for the pun).

I love drug stores and sample-size things. Like, too much. I always find it fun to see what companies can make in small sizes. For this reason, making a basket was one of the Bat Mitzvah tasks I really enjoyed. It is also easy and quick and does not involve an email or phone call.

As I browsed the list, I noticed hair spray was in fact absent from it and laughed. Much like The Clapper, and EG Socks, I guess the world has moved on. But then I saw it on the shelf… that beautiful purple bottle of Aqua Net, with the same mesh design, aerosol spray, and white cap. It made me smile and thus, I debated if it was needed. I thought of my daughter saying “ew mom, no one uses hair spray, you’re so cringe” (her usual comment no matter what I say these days), but then with the rebellious moxie of Cindy Lauper, I threw it in my basket.

I know when the moment comes at the party, and someone needs something from this basket, it is more likely to be Tylenol or an antacid. However, I also have faith that this little bottle of hair spray will make someone else smile – and even at the same moment as the DJ plays some good 80s pop.

More importantly, this moment brought back a really nice memory of my grandma – who we will honor at my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.

I am finding as I move through all the planning and minutia for this epic event, I am reminded of so many parallel things from my own Bat Mitzvah. Things since forgotten that were meaningful to me. So, if hair spray made me smile and think about my grandma, and someone gets to score some new hair ties, the party is already a win.

Now who is going to make her a memory glass?

Stacey Wallenstein is the founder of the parenting & lifestyle blog The Mint Chip Mama. Visit her website at and find her across all socials at @themintchipmama

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