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Accidental Ombre: Tales of a Debutante's Domestic Failings

So in my mind, I like to think I'm a total Domestic Goddess. I'm Martha frigging Stewart (without the jail time)... I'm Donna friggin Reed (without the dated gender roles). I can cook, I can clean, and I can do it all in heels. I had one of my best girlfriends tell me recently that she has always appreciated this quality in me. Since freshman year of college, she said, "You've always had your shit together. Like while I was in so and so's dorm getting wasted you were planning people birthday parties."

I had a good laugh at that but it's true! I was not your typical college freshman. I wasn't your typical college STUDENT, and this "domestic goddess" reputation I seemed to perpetuate followed me. Sophomore year was my first Easter ever spent away from home (I was rehearsing a play at NYU and couldn't fly home for the weekend) so I put Easter Baskets together for the kids in my class... each one filled with easter eggs and the recipient's favorite candies. Junior year I had a friend come to me for help baking red velvet cupcakes for his AIDS Walk fundraising bake sale. They were gorgeous.

Senior year, I made three of the dishes for our Ex-Pat Thanksgiving in London, all of them from scratch because you can't find Jiffy cornbread mix for Cornbread Dressing, canned yams for Sweet Potato Casserole, or French's Crispy Onions for Green Bean Casserole in The United Kingdom (the only time I have EVER been known to say something negative about my beloved London). I wore pearls and a dress from Anthropologie (pictured) and didn't spill a thing. If that's not Donna Reed I don't know what is.​​

All that said it's no wonder I have such a high opinion of myself in this regard. But remember how I started this blog... "In my mind.." This is a phrase my grandmother likes to invoke, spoken in her thick southern accent that I adore so much, whenever something isn't how it was initially perceived. So while "in my mind" I am a Domestic Goddess, as any Debutante should be, in practice I can actually be a bit of a domestic disaster. Here and now, I am finally ready to come clean. (I'm not, however ready to come clean about how long it took me to photoshop my face onto this other girl's domestically challenged body.)


I love Food Network. I especially love The Barefoot Contessa. Her show isn't about teaching people how to cook, her show is about making people feel terrible about their lives under the guise of walking you through a three course meal. It is as if everything that comes out of her mouth is laced with a "bless your heart". Oh, my kitchen alone is the size of your whole studio apartment? Bless your heart. Oh, you don't have a veranda on which to host a casual cocktail party? Bless your heart. Oh, you don't have vanilla beans flown in directly from Madagascar? "Store bought is fine" (translation: Bless your heart). Her signature line and the title of one of her cook books is "How easy is that?", which is eternally frustrating because whenever I'm planning on attempting one of her recipes and hear her ask that question after perfectly executing something with a sauce pan that I am bound to screw up later in my tiny kitchen, all I want to do is shout at my television NOT AT ALL INA... IT'S NOT EASY AT ALL. And she knows... she totally knows. But somehow it makes me love her all the more.

Or how about when I'm on Pinterest (I've discovered Pinterest - OMG) and find a cute little DIY project that they make look so simple but that I inevitably end up botching royally, as the massive hole in my wall from when I tried to hang shelves can attest to. Turns out thin layers of dry wall over old brick are not DIY friendly. Or when I find a new hair style tutorial on YouTube that promises to teach me how to create "the perfect pony tail" in 4 simple steps but I just end up looking like a cone head with a rat tail. Not cute.

Or take the most recent addition to my domestic shortcomings: Yesterday I was doing a deep clean of my apartment. It needed it desperately and I needed an excuse to stay in my apartment all day without feeling totally worthless. So I pulled out my bucket and my Clorox (any Southern Girl worth her salt knows that there is never a reason to buy expensive home cleaners... 1 part Clorox 2 parts water does the trick every time) and went to work. I had the bathroom sparkling when I decided to move to the kitchen. I did the counters, the stove top, the sink, even my oven before moving the the floor. I was on my hands and knees leaning over the bucket scrubbing, thinking to myself (again... in my mind), "Look at you... you are a Domestic Goddess, Mary Lane Haskell... you are - " and just about that time my hair decided to come loose from its clip and fall forward INTO THE BUCKET OF BLEACH.

Sidebar. There is a new hair trend sweeping hip women and current/future Bachelor contestants alike. It's called ombre and people pay big buck for it. The look? The ends of your hair are a different shade, usually lighter, than the roots and top of your hair, as pictured here. LADIES... there is no need to break the bank! Just dunk the ends of your hair into a bucket of Clorox solution and live your life! Luckily for me, according to "", in order to turn brunette hair blonde the bleach has to set for 20 minutes and you better believe I ran screaming in panic to my shower the minute it happened, jumping in fully clothed and proceeded to wash my hair approximately 5 times. So by the grace of God an accidental ombre situation was averted... but that shouldn't keep you from going all the way!

My clothes and carpet, however, didn't fare so well. The shirt I was wearing was instantly splotched in white bleach spots, and my carpet now shows a trail of bleach splotches where my hair dripped as I ran from the scene of the crime to my bathroom that will serve as a constant reminder of my HUGE domestic fail. Not to mention potentially losing my security deposit but I'm gonna pull a Scarlett and "think about that tomorrow".

In a ditch effort to feel a LITTLE better about myself after this whole debacle, I cooked myself dinner last night. Baked chicken seasoned with herbs and garlic mozzarella with steamed broccoli and Diet Dr. Pepper out of a mason jar. At least I nailed that... if I hadn't the women of the Southern Debutante Assembly would have had EVERY right to revoke my status as a Deb. I would have turned over my white kid gloves willingly... but for now - I'll live to clean another day. But not until I invest in better hair clips.

With Grace and Good Humor,

My name is Mary Lane Haskell and my two "claims to fame" are that I have Dolly Parton's fax number and that Reese Witherspoon once liked a post on my Instagram.  I am an actor, a writer, and a profound Chipotle enthusiast making my way in Los Angeles while trying to stay true to my family's southern roots, all with grace and a touch a good humor.  I'm so glad you're here!


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