Hair and Taxidermy
I afford myself few luxuries. I don’t get regular mani’s and pedi’s, I don’t have an esthetician, and I don’t shop very often (even though I LOVE it). In fact, I think the last time I owned a pair of boots was in 2002. I do like nice things though, I’m more of a quality person than quantity. Meaning that I would rather have 3 pairs of nice designer jeans than 12 pairs of GAP jeans, or one Splendid tank top versus 5 Massimo tanks from Target (have you tried those though? They are really awesome). I am a brat when it comes to two things: My hair and my food. When I grocery shop, I buy mostly all-natural or organic, and when comes to my hair I only use Bumble & Bumble and Aveda. We live on student loans, so believe me when I say that we cannot afford these things generally, but we make exceptions in other areas (i.e. we don’t go out EVER, then “entertainment” category in our budget is basically VOID).
In California I had been going to the same hair stylist, Steven, for 10 years. My sister and my mother have been going to him for the same amount of time if not longer. Moving to NYC made me bite the bullet and find a new colorist and stylist, and it was a bit of a challenge. Because Steven was trained in color at Bumble & Bumble in Manhattan, I went to their site to find an in-network salon… meaning that they only use Bumble products and their stylists were mostly trained at Bumble. If you find a good thing, stick with it, you know? I found Blackstones after a bit of a search. It looked interesting and artsy. I didn’t want to go to a salon where there were fake Gucci and Louis Vuitton paraphernalia for sale at a banquet table upon entrance, or where the girls come up to you with their fake boobs and bleached aura. Hair styling is an art, and if I’m going to pay a decent chunk of change for it, I would prefer it be by someone who takes their profession seriously. Obviously I am generalizing, but this is coming from an exact experience that I had, and it was the worst. Experience. Ever. One that would need it’s own post.
Blackstones is located in the East Village. I took a cab that day because it was raining and the nearest subway station to us is 4 or 5 (city) blocks away from my building. I was so excited to get there, and to have the day to myself to actually get a little pampered that I didn’t even mind that it was pouring out. It was a NYC experience, to say the least.
I arrived a little early so I decided to grab a coffee. The receptionist at the salon sent me down a block to this teeny tiny little coffee shop, with room in it just enough for 3 standing patrons. There was a line coming out of the door, which usually means that it’s worth waiting for. When I finally got to the counter, I realized that there were two baristas, one for espresso and one for the drip coffee. This coffee joint takes their “drip” coffee quite literally, putting the filter & grounds, and hot water directly into the individual cups. When I ordered a soy latte with Splenda, you’d have thought I asked for the Cheshire Cat on toast, the way everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to look. (Suddenly I had a Soup Nazi flash and thought they would start screaming “NO COFFEE FOR YOU!). They don’t have soy, or lowfat milk, or Splenda. They only carry whole milk and real sugar. So I left with my whole milk latte with real sugar, and I was really happy. It may been the most delectable coffee drink I have ever had.
My stylist, Lexi and my colorist, John were ready for my consultation when I got back to the salon. I didn’t have a chance to really look at my surroundings until this point and WILL YOU GET A LOAD OF THIS SALON.
Those are dead animals on the wall. Along with (hair? animal?) cutting scissors and other instruments and gadgets that I really didn’t want to even know about, truthfully. I was trying to focus on my new InStyle Mag that I never have time to read at home, but I was way, way too distracted. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the design and decorations in the salon itself. Apparently Jon, the owner of the salon, was a taxidermist before becoming a hair stylist. You know, cuz that makes perfect sense. Whatever the case, I tip my hat to him. He has passion and he is good at what he does. Even stuffing road kill.
I nearly put a pock mark in the ceiling when I saw this just as he was about to rinse my foils. Good times.
Despite a few heart palpitations, I left the salon happy. Yes it was kind of gross, no I don’t like looking at dead animals, but the people there was amazingly talented and really nice. I even liked my hair. The whole experience made me love New York City that much more. What a cool place this is.
Photo Disclaimer: I know the quality of these photos blows. I didn’t think to bring my Canon, so all I had on me was my iPhone. Maybe next time.