Happy Memorial Day!
Summer is upon us, which means it's time to talk summer hair.
Your hair is kind of a big deal. Cut and color can mean everything, and a good cut and color can change everything - your mood, level of confidence, outlook on life... the list goes on. (So can a bad one, in a bad way, so let's focus on the positive.)
The other thing that matters, like, a lot? The experience of having your hair cut and colored (and the dent that it makes in your wallet).
I was a loyal client of my friend and stylist Carol Clock in Kansas City for YEARS. She saw me at 14 when I wanted the Joey Potter haircut (yes, a simple, blunt cut, and yes, I brought a photo of Katie Holmes that I'd ripped out of Seventeen Magazine just to be crystal clear). She saw me through high school and college when I wanted Jennifer Aniston hair. And she saw me at 23 when I wanted Reese Witherspoon bangs and highlights (obviously, yes, I brought a picture - this time ripped out from Elle). Carol owns Moxie Studio in Kansas City, and if you live there, you should go see her immediately because she will make you very happy. Not only will the experience be super fun, but your hair will look great.
Now that I live in New York and am unable to get back to Kansas City every two to three months (as would be required to keep my naturally blonde hair looking, you know, natural), I have had to find a stylist here. Let me tell you, it has been stressful - but it has also been a super great learning experience! I am a hair stylist monogamist, but I've had to play the field for, like, years here, and it's terribly uncomfortable. Since moving to New York eight years ago, I've been a la recherche de the perfect stylist and have been to a distressing number of places (please don't judge): starting with Frederic Fekkai Soho (an awesome, horrendously hip, money hemorrhaging experience), I followed that colorist (Alex Safdari, who is phenomenal) to Pierre Michel (a much less pleasant, less cool and even more expensive experience), jumped ship to a mix of Mark Garrison (a rough go), Laicale (lovely and super hip, but my guy Jesse left so I too panicked and left), Vidal Sassoon (a standard upscale salon experience), John Barrett (ditto but with a smattering of celeb), and the Upper West Side Aveda (a truly horrendous color experience), finally settling on Frederic Fekkai Uptown for a year where I saw Brooklyn (who lived in Brooklyn) for color and the amazing Roz (who's married to my original colorist Alex - go figure!) for cut before coming to terms with the fact that I simply couldn't afford to be a Fekkai blonde. At that point, I followed a Gilt deal to Bumble and Bumble (where I attempted to do color at Bumble and maintain cuts with Roz at Fekkai because I loved her, but eventually I gave up), to then Oscar Blandi, Fekkai Soho once again and John Freida (a pleasant, hip experience, but too far for me to travel and too expensive post-Gilt deal). One of the hard things about finding the right salon is finding both a colorist and a stylist that are at the same place at of equally awesome caliber and enjoyable to talk to.
This brings us to last summer, when I found myself in a boot/crutches and unable to get around town. And so I made a switch to a sweet little local salon near my apartment... and I finally found The One. (That was long-winded and I probably could have just jumped right to this part, but no great love story -- that doesn't leave you sobbing -- starts at the moment that you fall in love, does it?)
Enter Alice Hair Care. It had amazing reviews on NYMag, promising uptown hair at downtown prices, and it did not disappoint. I made an appointment with Alice -- who gloriously does both cut and color and also charges the same as all of her stylists, which is fabulous -- and hobbled my way over to 70th & 2nd Ave. The salon is tucked behind some pretty horrendous temporary buildings that have been erected to support the Second Avenue subway construction, so you could actually walk past the salon without noticing it. As residents of the Far East Side, Matt and I make an effort to give business to Second Avenue stores when possible (e.g. , dry cleaning, and even then our sweet little dry cleaners just went out of business) so this felt like a perfect match!
You walk in the salon and are greeted by friendliness all around. Alice and a number of her staff are Irish, and I could just listen to them talk for hours. They are all so lovely. Alice sat down with me and went through my "Hair" board on Pinterest. I explained that I wanted blonde -- but not too blonde, more like bronde (I find that term both hilarious and grating) -- and a cut that could easily air dry because 1) I am eternally lazy and 2) I couldn't stand for very long periods of time to blow my hair dry. She listed, said, "I totally get it," then mixed up my hair concoction, which involved both highlights and lowlights and included -- in her words -- a "signature" color! I would get to have my very own signature color? Why, yes please, that sounds lovely! Fast forward a few hours, and I was released into the world with exactly the hair I'd requested. I was so happy. Even with my boot on, I had a skip to my step. And the rest is history. I've been back maybe six times now, and I am now delighted to be a "regular." People remember me, they remember my foot plight, they are all just so nice and wonderful, and I look forward to going every time.
Why do I bring this up now? Because Alice just brought me back to life last Friday, and I am once again reminded of how important a cut and color -- and the experience of having that cut and color -- are. What's even better? I can get a cut and color for something like $250 plus tip, and at the bigger, "fancy" salons, that wouldn't even cover color! She also gives 10% off for first timers and during ur birthday month (she loves birthdays)! We went blonder this time -- for summer and for my sanity -- and when Alice said this would require more upkeep -- "try to come back in six weeks" -- I didn't cringe with (much) pain. Full disclosure: Alice saw me cringe, said, "Don't worry, we'll just do it every six weeks for the next one or two and then I'll bring you back to something a little darker and more manageable for the fall" (all said in that charming Irish accent). "Ok Alice! Six weeks it is." I already can't wait to go back.
Alice Hair Care
1324 Second Ave., New York, NY, 10021
at 70th St.
Happy hair care!
Happy Hump Day!
I've been in an inexplicably cheerful mood this week. I think it's the hint of spring that is in the air. It's subtle -- I mean, really, you have to try to find it -- but it's there.
I've recently realized how dreadfully appreciative I am of the little things. As you know, I've had quite a year in the injury department, and on Monday I finally decided to ditch my cane and walk about town with two free hands. Don't get me wrong, the cane was great -- really, it was -- but it was time to say goodbye. I'd done a few test runs in my neighborhood over the weekend and felt satisfied with the result, and so, on Monday morning, as I rushed out the door (late, as always) to catch my far East Side van service, I took a look at my cane and, after a moment of silence and contemplation, decided to let it go. (RIP, dear cane.)
Once downtown, released by my van service on Water Street, I walked the remaining few blocks to my office, taking great pleasure in my newfound freedom and ability to swing my arms about as I walked -- not hobbled, but walked! The sheer joy! And, as I turned from Wall Street to Pine Street to William Street and passed under scaffolding and observed some business travelers milling about the strange hotel where I took GMAT classes just a few years ago, a Strokes song came on my Spotify playlist. And just then, at that moment, I was hit with a gust of brisk air and a wave of those business travelers' cigarette smoke that, together with all those other factors, brought me immediately back to my commute to school when I lived in Paris ten years ago. Not just the romantic Jardin des Tuilleries Paris, but the gritty, oft overlooked, outer edges of Paris that tourists rarely see. And suddenly I was there with my roommate Rebecca on our school-bound half mile trudge to the Gambetta metro stop from our host family's apartment in the faraway 20th Arrondissement (where we were known as "les Americaines" in the internet café and local bar and tabac because we were, in fact, the only Americans in the neighborhood), both of us shuffling in our black Converse, listening to the Strokes on our first generation iPods, complaining about our host mother's odd breakfast rituals (mostly to justify our daily stop at Paul for a Viennoise), and aggressively smoking Gauloise Bleues (when in Paris, do as the French do) in the brisk morning air that was always a little too damp and cold for our liking (because neither one of us had bothered to look up the weather before packing for "spring" in Paris). Little did I know that I would later cherish those long, cold walks so very much and that, on certain spring mornings in New York, with just the right mix of smoke and chill and damp air mixed together, I would remember those Paris days as if they were happening all over again.
On any other morning, I would probably curse the cigarette smoke or the drizzling rain and my failure to remember an umbrella or that it was April and I was still wearing a winter coat, but on Monday morning, the morning when I removed my cane-shaped shackles and strode through the streets like every other hurried person trying to get him- or herself to work in one piece, I was struck with that delightful notion of how great life is, how seemingly mundane things can actually be so special, and how the passage of time is at once so fleeting and so glacial.
As I came to from this fabulous memory and moment, I glanced up and saw that I was entering one of my favorite spaces downtown -- Chase Plaza -- which was closed for years (first for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and then for construction). Why is this a favorite space? Who knows. For one, it's a nice shortcut. For another, it has interesting art, like Isamu Noguchi's Sunken Garden and a sculpture by Jean Dubuffet (pictured above). And for another, I have always had a thing for carved-out public space. Whenever I cross into and through Chase Plaza (which I believe has now been renamed Rockefeller Plaza?), I appreciate how the space is both enduring (as it was thankfully landmarked in 2008) and incredibly temporal. It is not a destination, but a passageway. I think of the people who have traversed the space in the past, those that do now and those that will in the future, and I am moved by the massiveness of the space, the emptiness that immediately surrounds me (because it's never terribly crowded -- a novelty in this city), the sky overhead and the imposing buildings that loom all around just far enough away to let me breath a cleansing sigh as I either begin or end my work day. It is the kind of space that you don't realize you appreciate so very much until you no longer have access to it, and when you are once again able to traverse the space and be in it and feel that simultaneous sensation of heaviness and lightness, you look up at the sky, drizzle and all, you take in a deep, clean breath of chilly April air, and you say thank you for all things great and small.
Never did I think I would be writing about the beauty of a morning commute, but there is a first for everything. There can be such beauty in the mundane. And isn't that what life is all about? After all, it's often the little things that can have the biggest impact on us over time, that quietly stay with us as happy reminders of what once was and still remains somewhere deep within, that make life and the world around us so incredibly wonderful.
Happy commuting, happy remembering and happy appreciating the little things!
I don't know about you, but this week has felt particularly long. And during weeks like that, I tend to forget to appreciate life quite as much as I should. It is so easy sometimes to get wrapped up in being busy and to forget to be grateful for the present. Just a little reminder to be grateful for today... everyday. Happiness is being grateful for the now.
Happy Friday! Happy weekend!
Happy New Year! Wishing you all peace, love, happiness and a dash of whimsy this year!
I recently happened upon a super fun peace sign hand sculpture that I hope will find its way to my home in the coming weeks. It just perfectly captures what I hope 2014 will bring: peace, whimsy, and strength... and happiness.
Matt and I were discussing New Year's resolutions yesterday, and I said that one of mine was simply to be happy. "Happy? Is that a resolution?" he asked. "Absolutely!" I said. Happiness, at least to some extent, is a choice and can at times require a great deal of resolve to obtain/maintain. The old adage "fake it 'til you make it" comes to mind here, and the payoff once you "make it" is enormous and enormously worth it. If that's not a resolution, I don't know what is. The universe can have a pretty sick sense of humor at times (and at others, a delightful one), and it's up to us to decide how to handle it. 2013 was a year of some pretty phenomenal ups and some pretty brutal downs, but even now, as I close in on month ten of a debilitating foot injury and finish up week three of a painful surgery recovery, I feel an extreme sense of gratitude for the hand that was dealt to me this year. I'll never know how it happened, or why, but I like to think there was a reason and that the experience will make me a stronger and more compassionate person (even though it is easy to feel pretty worthless and woe-is-me in my current state). Who knows? A girl can dream.
So how did I find that fun little hand? On a whim of course, which is my favorite way to find things. I'll take you on a little tour of my search (a window into my meandering, "creative" (i.e. mildly ADD) mind), because I stumbled upon some great blogs along the way! During a delightfully aimless Google search for gold side tables yesterday (I am planning out a reno of our living room - inspiration board coming soon!), I happened upon a fun blog entry on gold/brass and marble color combos (one of my favorite combos) on a fabulous blog called The Covetable. This led me to The Covetable's "Apartment Envy" section (OMG, what fun!), which featured the apartment of Amelia Canham Eaton, who co-founded the blog The CHICago Life (also a fab blog). In Amelia's apartment tour, I saw this image and thought the peace hand was just super fun:
Then I saw this image and knew I'd found a kindred spirit - she has my pig bookends!!
I separately had been looking at the Jayson Home website (a Lincoln Park based home décor store that I wish existed in New York) where a brass peace sign captured my attention. Could it be the same thing? I thought when I saw the hand in Amelia's Chicago home. I do believe it is! At $168 plus shipping though, it's not the steal of a deal that my $29 pig bookends were and thus not something I can just purchase on a whim. I did a bit more digging to see if this happy hand was sold elsewhere, and I think I've found the same one (or an excellent replica) at Zinc Door for $137 plus free shipping. Same dimensions and similar coloring (unclear whether the coloring is in fact different or the photography is causing the difference):
So, what can this funny little hand represent? Many things! For me, it will be my adaptation (plus an addition) of the "10 to Zen" that has been cheesily circling about Pinterest recently. In other words, the pursuit of happiness.
What are your New Year's resolutions??
Happy New Year! And peace, man!
I have a little "daily quote" posted to the "wall" of my "office" at work (an open air cubicle pod). It is from an old "funny thoughts for women" daily calendar that a work friend of mine, Dana, gave me as a Secret Santa gift years ago. I dutifully ripped away each day's little piece of paper for a year (chuckling along the way) until December 29, 2009, when I happened upon the one that is still posted to my desk "wall" (and I am someone aggressively opposed to those "life imperative" posters that are so trendy right now, so you know it has to mean something to me):
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
I didn't think the quote was particularly funny, but it was certainly poignant -- poignant enough that, nearly four years later, I still have it tacked to my "office" "wall" (and not necessarily because I'm a hoarder, though my coworkers may beg to differ). The quote is so simple and yet, says so much. It's applicable to every facet of life, and I find myself looking at it daily, reminding myself to either make a change or adjust my attitude.
With the daily grind weighing on us day in and day out, it is often easy to fall into a pattern of complaining and not appreciating the lives that we have and the people that have touched us. When bogged down with stress, the day-to-day can seem exhausting, and we often forget that we have the power to effect change - both in our own lives and in the lives of others. Whether things are going swimmingly or things could be going better, we have to remember to look around, to smell the roses, to be inspired - by others, by the world around us, and in particular by ourselves - and to appreciate the lives that we have, messy as they may be at times (after all, isn't there a certain beauty in chaos?).
If we don't have the power to change certain circumstances within our current situation, we certainly have the power to change our attitude about those circumstances. We have the power to be grateful. Proust said:
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Isn't that just the most fabulous imagery? As Thanksgiving is upon us and a Nor'easter is hitting the East Coast (as bad weather conveniently does so well during the holiday season), making travel to loved ones difficult, the time seems right to take a moment and give thanks to and for those around us who give us shelter from the storm, who make us happy and help our souls blossom.
I am grateful for family, for friends, for the kindness of strangers, and for the beauty of the world around us. For promo codes and Craigslist deals, for antique lamps and room diffusers. For Spotify, for sunsets, for slimming jeans and sleeping in. For ikats and iPhones and Tasti D-lite's Peanut Butter "ice cream." For color, color, everywhere. For sky, sun and smiles. For the warmth of summer and the bite of winter. For animals in general, for dogs in particular, and specifically for my parents' two big poodles and in-law's Norwich terrier, who greet me with the enthusiasm that only family dogs can. I am grateful for love, for lavender, for the lessons I have been taught. For Pinterest, for anticipation, and for putting pen to paper. For this kid who made me laugh today, for my brother-in-law for sending that link to me (and for everything else he does), for the joy that whatshouldwecallme inexplicably brings me, and for traveling the world one journey at a time. For the fact that every moment in New York reminds me of an episode of "Seinfeld" and that I really do feel like I'm friends with the friends on "Friends." For new friends and old friends and lifelong friends who are always there. For family here and there and near and far. For coworkers, who are their own type of family and who are there for us in good times and bad. For my husband, who has proven time and again that he's in this for better or for worse. For gold paint and miracles and throw pillows aplenty. For creativity and sympathy and, above all, for empathy. For the beauty in everything - for big things, for little things and for everything in between. For life as it is, messy as it is - though in some cases not.
As you think about your own Thanksgiving, who you will or won't be spending it with and what you are grateful for, I hope that it brings a smile to your face, that life's joys outweigh life's burdens. Proust said to "always try to keep a patch of sky above your life." Let's remember to be grateful. To say thanks. To be inspired. To wait out the storm(s) and always to look for the patch of sky that may be hiding at times. It's there -- sometimes we just have to change our attitude to find it.
Gratitude is the ultimate gift. And we can show our gratitude by doing something kind -- big or small -- for those around us, particularly for those who could use some shelter from the storm, whatever that storm may be. People don't always ask for help when they need it - and often they want to, but pride gets in the way. We can offer a helping hand and, together, weather any storm, keep a patch of sky visible, and, in the process, help one another's souls blossom.
We can also take the time to capture our gratitude in writing. And what better way to capture our thoughts than in a beautiful notebook? One that beckons to you to bear your soul as much or as little as you dare. My mom recently told me about these Fortuny notebooks, $55-$105, at Gumps - expensive but seriously gorgeouso (and an excellent holiday gift). I also found this fabulous Nepali paper silk brocade notebook, $25, on Etsy - that color is another thing I'm grateful for (there's only one available, and if you don't buy it, I will!). If simple and to the point is your style, you can't go wrong with a classic Moleskine black softcover or hardcover notebook, $12.95, from Moleskine. Whatever your outlet of choice, it's fun and gratifying to capture and share life's happiness. To be grateful to ourselves for "showing up" and being present each day (something they teach in yoga) and to be grateful to and for those charming gardeners around us who make our lives beautiful.
We can give new meaning to having a 'tude.
Thank you everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving!
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.