I’m trying to remember the last time I was in New York. I think it was about 5 years ago… much too long between visits to my very favorite city in the world!
Last month we finally got to make a trip to NYC for the grand opening of the first Davines atelier in North America – one of only three Davines flagship salons across the globe.
To our surprise and delight Davines generously offered us a spur of the moment, all expenses paid trip as a thank you for being one of their top 10 salons in the country. (Yay Festoon! You all helped us get there!)
Invitations went out to a select group of successful salon owners who could provide clear, constructive feedback on the products, training, service and experience of working with Davines. We were thrilled to have an opportunity to offer our insights
John and I decided to book a red eye flight so we could take advantage of a full day for adventure, before our day of class at the new Davines studio. Additionally, I scheduled our return flight for late in the day following our day at the studio, so we could do more sightseeing before returning home. We love New York; why not make the most of it?!
Our plane touched down at JFK at 5:00 AM, and we took a cab to our hotel, The Ludlow Hotel, on the Lower East Side. Great location with stylish decor, this hotel is super cool. Even at 6:00AM with very little sleep, I loved everything about it. Arriving way too early for check-in, we left our bags with the concierge and went off to explore.
Pros of NYC in July? Everyone has gone to the Hamptons so you have the city to yourself! Everything is on sale. And, New Yorkers, bored because no one is there, are very playful and happy to see you!
Cons? It’s very hot and muggy. Did I say muggy? And hot? We happened to be there during the hottest two days in two years. How lucky.
Food is one of the city’s best highlights. So, one of the first priorities in NYC is visiting a classic New York deli. Conveniently of us, Katz’s Deli is right on the corner, near the Ludlow Hotel. Katz’s has been an NYC icon for years. Remember the famous scene from when Harry Met Sally, when the little old lady wanted to order what Meg Ryan was having? Yeah, that is Katz’s Deli.
After our meat overload (think pastrami sandwiches that could feed a small village), we walked through our favorite neighborhoods: Little Italy (my personal favorite) and SoHo. Walking the city is the perfect way to stumble upon great people-watching opportunities. We happened on a park where people gathered for Sunday morning yoga and then stayed for a nap in the shade.
The nap was enough of a break that I figured we were ready for our next meal. Since I am gluten free, dairy free and other things free, this can be tricky. Luckily for me, Spring Street Natural Restaurant had lots of tasty options for even my nearly zero-tolerance diet.
Somehow the hours slipped by until we could, you guessed it, eat again! That evening, John and I met up with some friends at Dirty French, the restaurant in our hotel. With a name as intriguing as “Dirty French,” I had to ask about the story behind it. Our server referenced a dirty martini and said “That’s how we kinda do French food here. It’s French but it’s a little dirty.” I loved that answer. We loved the food and the ambiance, too.
After dinner and our long day of exploring, we were ready to get some sleep in our perfectly decorated little room. Tiny NYC room, but big city decor for sure.
Work day. We arrived at the new Davines studio right on time. The space looked beautiful and John and I were ready to go. I immediately recognized the owners, Marco Santini and Leonardo Manetti, from our old editorial Bumble and bumble days! Seeing our longtime colleagues was a lovely treat. After a bit of reminiscing, we got straight to work. Marco and Leo led the class and demonstrated the looks we were going to learn that day on gorgeous professional models.
After the demonstration, we got to pick which look we wanted to experiment with. I chose the hair sewing (what’s that, right?!), and John opted for the small braids and the ponytail. Then, our models walked in. They were professional, too, which was great! They looked beautiful and encouraged us in our work (and texted on their phones, of course). All the stylists there were working on different looks and the whole salon was buzzing. John was working on his braiding while I rekindled my backcombing skills… and voila, two gorgeous looks. And, check out this great video that Davines made documenting the day. John and I are special guest stars!
After we were finished recording the day’s work with photographs, we had a few hours to kill before dinner with our friends and colleagues. I got to sneak in a bit more window shopping and inspiration for me!
Dinner was a short walk away to Huertas a Basque inspired restaurant. The food was delicious and it was accompanied by more hair talk with other salon owners. So ended Day 2, with great food and great company!
John and I woke up, packed and strategized on the best things to do in our last few hours before a 4:00 PM flight. FYI- always be careful to not book a flight after 4:00PM! Traffic gets awful and you can easily miss your flight.
We chose to spend our last few hours at the new Whitney Museum and a walk on the High Line. The beautiful thing is they are right next to each other! Also nearby is the Gansevoort Market, a great place for casual dining and picking up food to go. We got some great eats for the plane. A bit of an NYC picnic to enjoy while we headed back to the Bay Area.
We wrapped up our trip with an Uber ride through heavy traffic, back to JFK. Next time I won’t wait so long to call a cab… and I definitely won’t wait so long to visit NYC ever again. Promise!
Just as the culinary world coined the term “Localvore” to encourage eating locally, we believe that this idea of sourcing locally extends to your neighborhood bookstore, auto mechanic, and yes, even to your hair salon!
We at Festoon Salon are embarking on a Why Buy Local? campaign and we want to share this journey with you! Over the next few months, we will highlight local businesses that are unique and special, places we love, where innovative owners are offering a range of dynamic choices right here in our own community. What makes businesses unique and special? It’s providing products and services that you can’t find elsewhere. But, even more importantly, it is about creating relationships. We believe that it is not enough to utilize social media and exist in a virtual community.
We need real-life communities that are vibrant with connection; the best businesses provide these vital relationships. When clients come to Festoon for our exceptional services and products, they also enter a world of connections – a network of people who share a neighborhood, a community, and interests. Perhaps that business opportunity that you have been looking for will be sitting in the salon chair next to you! What do we feel makes us unique and special?
This is the Festoon Manifesto:
We believe that feeling beautiful changes how we see the world.
We believe that creating beauty makes us better human beings.
It is our intention that our salon is a sanctuary for kindness, service and harmony.
Drama has no place in our salon.
We select well-curated products, which represent our values.
We believe that staying the same is boring.
We believe people can change (if they want to).
We believe in doing great work; therefore working hard is fun.
We believe in partnering with sustainably responsible companies.
We believe constant evolution is necessary for growth and prosperity.
We believe in “Every Client, Every Time”, that we can meet every individual’s beauty needs.
We believe that when we are inspired that we are our truest selves.
We know that our medium is hair and that our relationships inform the work that we do.
We believe that through learning the skills of our craft at the highest level, we elevate ourselves to be our most creative.
Festoon is a salon of interconnectedness in which the success of one builds the success of all. But, what do we do that makes us unique and special?
~We train for an additional 2-4 years after beauty school to make sure we are the best.
~We are open 7 days a week so that we are available at your convenience.
~We continually educate ourselves on the latest techniques throughout the year.
~We are a laboratory, constantly testing new and innovative hair care products.
We love our craft. Our team is committed to hairdressing and creating your most gorgeous self. We are known for our upscale services, but we also offer promotions in our monthly newsletter. And, we have a broad price range, so that when times are tough, or you want a less expensive haircut for your teen, or you need a last minute blowout for a party, you can book at a reduced rate with one of our experienced Apprentices.
We also guarantee everything! What?! Yes. If you are not completely satisfied with your service or product, you may get your hair redone or exchange your product for something new. We aim to exceed your expectations!
We promise smiles, beauty, the best products, and stylists who know how to make the right recommendations. We know you have many choices. Sure you may be able to pay less by shopping online, but buying product through us ensures that we continue to give back, to employ your neighbors, and to strengthen our community. We are a team of 40 employees and we shop locally, too!
Every year we take a look forward at what’s to come. This year when thinking about what will be happening in 2015, it seemed that big leaps weren’t really in the cards. What I still see is A LOT of long hair, mid hair LOBS (long bobs), short hair with undercuts, and pastel shades in hair color. As a stylist, my purpose is to take the looks that are out there and be a translator for you.
We’ve created 3 Pinterest boards to help you find inspiration for 2015!
The first board features haircut looks for women and a few for our guys, too. The mid-length cut is still at the top of the list, with lots of undercutting. Bobs? Yes, they are here to stay. Why? Because for some hair and faces it’s pure perfection. Short hair? Yes, yes and yes. Seeing all of these great short cuts is inspiring us to cut it all off again!
The second board showcases styles straight off the runway. It’s all long hair, with a common thread. There is a naturalness to it. I love the creative ponytails, the headbands, and the bobby pins. There are also many unique braids that are fresh and edgy, or pretty. Here’s what you need to pull off these looks: you have to be confident, and you have to practice what looks natural. Yes, practice being natural. And, your hair has to have texture for some kind of grip. If you don’t already have this with your natural hair texture, I recommend Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray to create it. The biggest takeaway from this year’s runway shows: no clean hair for sure!
Lastly, we put together a board of color ideas. Keep in mind, color can go bad fast without the right vision and technical skills. You can bomb an Ombre (aka bombre). Pastel hues, when done badly, can easily look like a teenager playing with hair color. I recommend that you go for what is tasteful. Bring in pictures for your stylist and remember: maintenance is key. If you can’t manage the upkeep of a high maintenance color – don’t do it. And, if your New Year’s goal is to lighten, lighten, lighten with a transformation to blonde… we are happy to report that we now have a new secret ingredient called Olaplex. It strengthens the hair like nothing else! Going lighter can now be easier, with less breakage and healthier results overall.
Try something new…subtle or not. It’s a new year. Time to refresh.
I’ve always thought about volunteering – always meaning to do something and give back – but I never have. Why? I can come up with 1,000 excuses, let me count the ways. But no more!
Thanks to my great friend Brooke Sevenau, I found a way to actually do something that resonates with me and is very simple to do. Brooke told me about her mother’s idea to celebrate her 60th birthday by skipping presents for herself, and instead creating “giving bags” for people in need. Everyone in the family participated, and putting them together, as a family, was part of the fun!
First, you start with a plastic Ziploc bag. Fill it with things people need – socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, Band-Aids, polysporin, Tylenol, Kind Bars, deodorant, razors, hair ties, and all those mini soaps you’ve been hoarding from hotels. (The dollar store and Target are great places to stock up!) Then, add your extra change from the change jars around the house and the bottom of your purse. Finally – add a note, a poem, or adrawing from your kids, who will love to be involved, too! Anything personal, something that says, “I see you and you are important.” I’m going to have my kids write “Merry Christmas from Quinn and Tristyn.”
Why did Brooke’s story move me? It connected with what I believe: I believe people want to be seen. I believe that if we help out with the little daily needs, life can be that much more bearable. So, this holiday season my family is going to take the time to show someone that we care about their basic human needs, and actually do something about it.
Do I want to teach my kids something? Yes, I want them to love people. I want them to understand that hardship comes in many forms, and that everyone needs a smile and a helping hand sometimes. Having children makes me strive to be a better person. They inspire me to make different choices and show up in ways I never imagined. I want to let my kids experience the joy of giving.
Brooke leaves these care packages in her car, so when she drives by someone in need she can share something and connect on a very personal level. So much better than passing someone on a freeway exit and staring into space, as if we don’t see the human being in front of us!
If you are looking for gift ideas that are less about stuff and more about making our world a better place, there are lots of options. Donating on behalf of someone you love is a great way to give a gift and share your passion. Who knows, you just might spark the giving fire in someone else!
This year, I’m choosing not to buy presents for friends and family. Instead, I’m giving through Heifer International. If you aren’t familiar with their giving programs, they provide a very easy way to support people in need around the world. You can buy a cow, chickens, or a goat for a village. Or, you can buy clean water, irrigation pumps, stoves and other essentials to make someone’s life better. Children love the idea of giving something tangible like this as a gift, especially when they know another child just like them is going to benefit.
At Festoon, we have always been concerned with sustainability. How do we help others in our local community? In our global community? I’m not rich, but I have more than most, and sharing the abundance I’ve been blessed with is a really good feeling. As we end 2014 and begin 2015, I’m starting to imagine the year ahead. How can I change lives in a good way? I’m looking for new inspiration all the time.
In the spirit of inspiring each other to do good deeds, please join our Festoon community on Facebook and share your traditions of giving back! Then, “like” the deeds that motivate you. The person who gets the most likes will receive a haircut on us. Because we are thankful for you!
Can you eat too much pesto?
After 11 days in Italy, I say no!
John and I just returned from visiting two of our favorite places – Florence and more importantly, Cinque Terre on the coast of Italy.
Cinque Terra literally means “Five Lands,” named for the 5 villages connected by mountain path, boat and railway. This region – including coastline, villages and surrounding hillsides – is a national park and Unesco World Heritage Site.
In 2011 many of the paths connecting the towns were washed away in fierce floods. Some of the paths haven’t been fixed yet though it remains a world destination for hikers and food lovers alike!
Each of the five towns has it’s own unique flavor. Some villages are large, some small. Some have pebbly beaches perfect for families seeking a beach holiday while other villages are so remotely situated among the hillsides that they aren’t accessible by ocean at all.
We began our trip in Cinque Terre, a 3 hour train ride from Florence. I had been there 9 years before on an “eating tour of Liguria.” Yes, I said eating tour. And this tour taught me that my favorite Italian food was from the Ligurian region of Italy. Ligurian fare is lighter than other Italian food and features fish, pasta, focaccia and farinata to name just a few of my favorites.
I found Villa Valentina, luxury travel apartments with touches of home, run by an American who fell in love with an Italian, moved to Italy and had a daughter (named Valentina of course.) Through Paula we booked one of her apartments in Levanto – a city just beyond the 5 villages of Cinque Terre and a perfect homebase for exploring the region.
Paula said that she will offer an evening cruise with dinner for anyone who uses the password “Festoon” when booking their stay with her!
We had farm fresh eggs daily, along with a delivery of the best focaccia bread in the area. Every morning was kind of like a visit from Santa but for foodies. After breakfast we would ride our bikes to the train station, pick a village to explore for the day and off we went.
If you like guide books Rick Steves book on Cinque Terre is a great one. We tore pages out of his book going from town to town but we also gave into simply being in the moment. An easy thing to do in Cinque Terre.
The walking paths wind through vineyards, around narrow cliffs, and along rock formations thousands of years old. Along the way we saw French families with delicious picnics and teenagers listening to music, children running on the path.
Food and drink is the true jewel of Cinque Terra! One way of saying “I’m tired” is “I need a drink NOW!”
Thirst is easily answered by the region’s unique wines. The whites are crisp and the reds light. Nothing is too heavy and is a perfect match for the food.
Here are my tips for food in Liguria:
Farinata is a crepe made from chickpea, oil, water and salt. Sometimes there are toppings, sometimes not. I remembered eating Farinata on my last visit to the region and trying it many times afterwards in the states…only to be disappointed. I was thrilled to eat this traditional Ligurian treat again! Done right it’s so healthy and delicious.
Pesto in Italy is heads above anything else you’ve ever tried at home. I ate it everyday.
Pasta. Yep, and lots of it. The shapes, the sauces, the choices! Lots of vegetarian options too.
So close to the ocean there is every kind of imaginable fresh seafood too.
Here’s the wonderful thing: When you are walking for 8 of the 12 hours you’re awake, everyone can eat pasta and pizza everyday!
The other thing? It’s cheap to eat here. We ate well. Sometimes it was as simple as grabbing a farinata slice, a pizza slice and water on the go. But even when we went to fancy restaurants it was very reasonable by Bay Area standards.
Eats in Cinque Terre
La Mela (Levanto) – A roadside pizzeria by Villa Valentina. Don’t let looks deceive you. La Mela has the best Farinata in the area. They also serve a salad with tuna that is amazing.
Il Pirata – An unexpected gem near the post office.
Taverna Del Capitano – A picturesque seafood spot on the square. Don’t bother with the appetizers or other dishes – the serious seafood plates are the way to go!
After Cinque Terre, we spent a few days in Florence.
Florence is a small city – very easy to explore and the sights are beautiful. I am so grateful they closed the center to cars since the pollution before was unbearable.
One of the highlights for me was listening to Gregorian Chants at San Miniato al Monte, named after the martyr Minias who is thought to have been a Greek merchant or an Armenian prince. Minias left his home making a pilgrimage to Rome in about 250 AD. He arrived in Florence where he took up life as a hermit before being beheaded by Empoeror Decius (245-251 A.D.). Legend has it that after his decapitation he picked up his head, put it back on his shoulders and went to die in his hermit cave on Monte alle Croci. That cave is now the location of the oratory and the church bearing his name.
Visitors can listen to the chants most evenings from 6:30 to 7:00. While it is a hike up the hill (we took a cab), listening to the Gregorian chants while sitting in one of the most beautiful churches in Florence was other worldly.
For the more fashionable, don’t miss the historic retrospectives at the Ferragamo and Gucci museums.
Art lovers, there is a great Picasso exhibit at the Uffizi.
Food in Florence was more erratic but we made sure to have Gelato everyday.
A travel tip: If you are visiting any time other then spring or summer when the weather is perfect, you might consider flying into Pisa instead. Florence has a short runway and they cancel flights all the time. How do I know this? Well, my flight was delayed due to fog and instead of a two-leg trip I’m on a four-leg return. Bummer, yes, but totally worth it.