Friday, August 29, 2008


I have been lucky enough to run into some pretty big events so far. I must really know how to be in the right place at the right time because I was living in Salt Lake during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and this year I was in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. I don't live right in downtown Denver, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to check out any of the festivities. But to my surprise, I got a call with some very exciting news. John Paul and Eloise DeJoria (the owners of Paul Mitchell, Patron Tequila, House of Blues..) were coming to the DNC and needed hair and make-up for the events they were going to. I was very excited to find out that she wanted my boss, also named Kara, to do her hair.. ME to do her make-up.

After freaking out a little, and an expensive trip to the MAC counter for extra supplies I was feeling pretty good about things. This was kind of an intimidating job, because not only is she a celebrity, but an ex model, and she and her husband own one of the biggest hair companies in the beauty industry.

We first met up with her on Tuesday. Rather than staying in a hotel, they were staying on the Patron Tequila Express, a train car parked outside of Union Station. It was somewhat of a tour bus situation, but way cooler! The it had an India type theme inside. Tons of handcrafted wood, the original curtains, and bottles of Patron EVERYWHERE. I learned that Patron makes like 6 different kinds of tequila, including a Coffee flavored one, and one that costs $500 a bottle! Of course I opted out of tasting any of them, but I did have some lemon cake that was made with Patron and it was delicious!!

Doing her make-up was actually pretty easy. But her skin was basically flawless, and even though she's 51, she looks like she's 41. I ended up doing it 3 separate times. Once for Hilary's speech, once for a breakfast with other female celebs, and once for a private concert hosted by the Black Eyed Peas. She was SO incredibly nice and laid back. She kept asking for fashion advice, told us about her and JP met, talked a ton about her kids.. it really made it easy to not be so nervous! Seeing John Paul running around was kind of surreal. But he was so polite, and made sure that we were comfortable and having fun. I didn't get very many pictures (and none with JP unfortunately!), but here is what I got.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


We're going to go for more of a picture book than a novel today.

Here's Peri on Friday. We went to Salt Lake and took pictures so that we wouldn't have to do them all on Saturday. It was a great idea, because we spent about 4 hours downtown! I can't imagine doing that on Saturday.

This is my favorite shot I took of Peri and Jacob. The light was perfect!!

Peri and Jacob in front of the Salt Lake Temple. SO so so beautiful!!

Me and Sam. I am looking haggard after the all day wedding. And Sam isn't wearing make up but she's always gorgeous.

Hailey is getting SO big! She will be 2 in December. I love seeing her when I'm in town.

This is Brady. He was my client in Denver, but now lives in Salt Lake. Isn't he a hottie?

Julianne moved to New York City to become a rich and famous photographer. She is so very talented, and an amazing friend. I am going to miss "J" very very much!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

taking a break

I'm headed to Utah, again. I feel like I just left, but I am still really looking forward to going. After losing Neva, I am extra appreciative of my family, and my friends. Especially the ones I don't get to see very often.

Peri is getting married on Saturday, which is the whole reason for my trip. Her dress is SO amazing, I can't wait to see her in it. I did her make-up for her bridal photo's a few weeks ago, and the pictures turned out awesome. She is so pretty! I am so lucky to have her here in Denver with me, and have her as my best friend. It's crazy to think of the good ol days at PMTS and Cosmo. When I decided to move to Denver and she brought up coming with, I never in a million years thought she'd actually come. Now a year and a half later, not only did she end up in Denver, but met her fiance here. Totally nuts! Tomorrow night we're going to dinner at Baja Cantina in Park City and having a sleepover at a condo up there. I'm excited! Then the wedding is Saturday morning in the Salt Lake Temple, and the reception is that night in Oakley.

This will definitely be a much needed break. The salon is semi back to normal, or as normal as it can be right now. I'm still having a hard time, but the water works have slowed to a trickle. We have started a fund for a scholarship in her name, and her clients are being so generous. Even people that didn't know Neva. It's cool to see everyone come together over such an amazing person. Here is an article printed in Sunday's paper.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The girls got back from Vegas last night, so today was our first day having everyone back at the salon. We all came in early to have a "Foushee Family" meeting, and talk about what's the best way to handle the situation. It's been really hard so far, even before everyone was back. Clients have called because they've heard the news, and many people have called just to schedule appointments with her. It seems so wrong to break the news of Neva's death to her clients. I think they're just as lost as we are, some have even just hung up when they've heard the news. Unfortunately it's going to take awhile before everyone's found out. Even though a lot of people in the area know about the accident, her name wasn't even released until Monday morning. This morning we all cried, a lot. It was hard to be together without her.. I really consider the girls at the salon to be family, and having Neva missing is going to make a huge impact on my daily routine.

They had a memorial service for her tonight, and her funeral and burial will be this weekend in Alamosa which is about 6 hours from Denver. We decided that we aren't all going down for the funeral, but instead will go when they lay her tombstone at her grave. The service tonight was hard. Her family sat in the front row, they all looked as if they were on auto pilot. Some of her extended family spoke, and then Kym and Kara both talked about all of the things we loved about Neva. Kara told this awesome story about how they went to France and took the stairs all the way up the Eiffel Tower and she had to carry Neva on her back to the top. It was great to remember the things we love about Neva. I am so lucky to have known such an amazing girl. She was such an inspiration to me, and I looked up to her.. even though I had to look down to her since she was a full foot shorter than me.

Here's a story that the Rocky Mountain News printed.

Man comes upon fatal accident involving his fiancee

By Hector Gutierrez
Monday, August 4, 2008

Neva Christine Mondragon was expecting to celebrate one of the most memorable days of her life later this year.

The 27-year-old was getting married in October.

On Saturday, she was planning for another big day: her fiance's birthday on Sunday.

But Mondragon was going to Las Vegas on Sunday, so she and another couple decided to celebrate her fiance's birthday on Saturday evening.

She headed out Saturday morning to get her nails done at the beauty salon where she worked, Betty Valdez, her aunt, said. "She left us at 7:30, and we kissed her goodbye."

It was Mondragon's last moment with her family.

When she didn't show up at Salon Foushee and Day Spa in south Jefferson County, her co-workers phoned her aunt.

Her boyfriend, Jose Carlos Maez, was running errands when Mondragon's aunt called him to say she had not shown up at the salon.

Maez decided to look for Mondragon, traveling the route she would have taken south on South Santa Fe Drive.

Perhaps her car had broken down.

Perhaps her cell phone simply was turned off.

When he reached the 5200 block of Santa Fe, Maez came upon a wreck involving three vehicles.

A crushed red Ford sedan belonged to his future bride. She was dead.

"This is what makes it so tragic. He did come upon the accident," Valdez said.

Another driver, Richard S. Hogsett, 36, of Jefferson County, also died at the scene. A third driver, Kelly Joan Horan, 26, was seriously injured and was being treated Monday at Swedish Medical Center.

Littleton police said they think Hogsett, who was driving a Mercedes sedan, was heading in the wrong direction on Santa Fe Drive when his car plowed into a Honda driven by Horan before smashing into Mondragon's Ford.

Hogsett's father was too upset Monday to comment.

Maez proposed to Mondragon last Christmas Eve at the lavish Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. "She was getting married Oct. 18," Valdez said.

Mondragon was born in Denver and attended school in her father's hometown of La Jara in southern Colorado. She graduated from Centauri High School. She then enrolled in beauty school at Emily Griffith Opportunity School, where she earned her cosmetology license in 2002.

Valdez said that she and Mondragon's mother, Ana, own a salon in Cherry Creek, and her niece had followed in their footsteps. Mondragon lived with Valdez in northwest Denver.

"She enjoyed traveling and she loved camping and cooking," Valdez remembered. "She liked to cook and give parties - any kind of outside party - so she could cook and have all her friends over."

In addition to her parents, Mondragon is survived by two brothers, numerous aunts and uncles, and her two grandmothers. Her brother had a 6-month-old nephew who Mondragon just adored, Valdez said.

"She was wonderful, and she had a big, wide smile," Valdez said.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Last night as I was driving south on I-25, I passed an accident. It was after midnight and probably caused by someone under the influence. As I passed I looked over to the lights of the cop cars, and the dented in vehicles affected from the crash. The drivers and passengers were close by, staring at the damage caused by the collision. I had a good 20 more minutes of my drive, and being late at night my mind wandered and I thought about how we never know what's going to come at us. I was thinking about how unfortunate it is that we often think, "I'll be happy when..." instead of just appreciating each day we have on earth.

It wasn't until this morning that I realized how my reflections last night would prepare me for the challenges of today. This morning while on her way to the salon, Neva was killed in a car accident. For some reason a car entered Santa Fe going the wrong direction, collided with a car head on, that hit and killed Neva on impact.The driver of the first car was also killed. They don't know why the driver was going the wrong direction, or if he was intoxicated. I saw photos of the scene this afternoon on the news, and they literally made me sick to my stomach.

Most of the girls from the salon are headed to Vegas today, so there were only a few of us working. Neva was supposed to leave for the hair show in the morning, she had delayed her trip until tomorrow because today is her fiance's birthday. Time was moving so slow today... from the time where I got to work and found out she was already an hour and a half late, my client telling me that Santa Fe was closed for an accident, calling her cell phone, receiving the news, and finally breaking down. I have never once seen my boss cry, and as she received the news I watched her eyes over flow with tears. How could it be that "little Neva", only 27 years old, who was engaged to be married in 2 months, was gone? Her empty chair next to me haunted me all day. How will the salon ever be the same without one of our best stylists?

I am going to miss her ridiculously good smelling food in the break room, her extra crazy clients, her amazing blow drying skills, her using a stool the reach the tops of clients heads, her crazy dancing, her little laugh, her being as proud as her nephew as I am of my nieces, parties in her backyard, her taking naps EVERYWHERE, and everything else about her... It's still hard to believe it's real. I think it will take a few days, when the girls are back from Vegas, for me to realize that she's not going to be returning back to work. This is the first death in my "adulthood" that I've really had to deal with. Neva was a constant in my life, I saw her nearly every day and it's hard to picture my life without her in it. Please remember Neva's family, friends, and coworkers in your prayers. We could all use a little extra comfort right now.

Here is a photo from the scene of the accident. The news reports that the after Mercedes SUV hit the first car, it landed on top of Neva's red Ford Sedan.