The HBH Shopping Philosophy: Remove the Zero.


Trust us, the Highbrow Hippie philosophy came about organically. We love to shop, but since we both are entrepreneurs (read: don’t have a set salary), we have to be smart about the purchases we make. Recently we’ve noticed that our shopping habits allow us to remove the zero (or another digit!) from the original price. Meaning, if we see a gorgeous Ralph Lauren sweater for $600, we make a mental note of the shape, color, etc. and then set out to find something comparable for about $60. 8 times out of 10 we can find something to fill that need. If we can’t find something that gives us that same look, we will stalk that original item until it goes on sale. Having a great relationships with sales people at different stores makes this a lot easier. In fact, it’s really the key to getting what you want at a great price. See more about shopping relationships here. Mixing it up allows us to be creative as well as cost conscious. Saving on items that we can find somewhere else (removing the zero!) gives us space to splurge on the items we really love and will wear for years to come. Recently we’ve both picked up some great finds, both high and low that will take us through the fall.

Pierre Hardy Boots originally $1200, scored on sale for $425!
Vegan weekender bags from Les Pomettes from $155 – $230. Total Bottega Veneta knock off, but by removing a zero we still get the look And remain eco-friendly in the process!
Zara sweater $60. Inspired by a Ralph Lauren one for $600.
Ralph Lauren Mirror Sandal $695. Got on sale for $200
Leather dress by Kahlo $385. Originally seen variations on Net a Porter for $895 – $1200.
Jewelry from a street vendor on Abbot Kinney. Necklace $70. Originally spotted something similar at Ralph Lauren for $700.
Zara studded ankle boots $189. We originally drooled over some similar ones from Alexander McQueen for $1895.
Originally priced at $1200. This dress was purchased for a mere $250 by saving up on Ralph Lauren gift cards that were gifted on different occasions.



What’s Good in the Hood


In prior years my work ‘hood was the infamous Rodeo Drive. I know, cry me a river. But the thing is, I was working for a company that, though they gave me my start as a colorist, was stifling me creatively. Like the polished Rodeo Drive, I was required to show up to work every day in uniform, blending in with my coworkers like a robotic tribe. Corporate thought our get-ups were chic, and provided “comfort” to the clients because we all looked streamlined and the same. Meanwhile, I thought I looked like a damn waiter and it robbed me of all individuality and expression. To this day I never wear a combination of black and white ANYTHING because it reminds me too much of that time in my life. Scarred for life I tell you. But I digress.

4 years ago amongst other reasons I found a new salon home. I left the perfect mirage of Rodeo Drive behind and headed east to Melrose Place. Yes, like the show. Since I made the move to work for Serge Normant at John Frieda, I can say that hands down it is the most gorgeous place to work (people are often surprised to see the swimming pool in the middle of the salon surrounded by bougainvillea and to hear the salon was once Neil Diamond’s recording studio), and the Melrose Place block has the best neighborhood vibe. And, I was finally able to wear my own clothing and express my personality. No matter how tough the day, at some point I glance at the pool and I burst with gratitude. The upside and downside of my beautiful hood? The best shopping right at my fingertips. It takes sheer willpower not to stroll the street in between clients and pop my head in all the amazing stores. I lose that battle every time. But my loss is my clients’ gain.

Two subjects that women like to talk about endlessly is hair and shopping. Sometimes before the hair color consultation the first questions my clients ask is have you bought anything lately? What’s in the stores? What are you wearing? I’ve managed, to my bank account’s dismay, to develop a really friendly relationship with the stores surrounding the salon. A few current choices are perennial fave DVF, the amazingly curated TENOVERSIX, and newcomer makeup legend, Nars. What’s a girl to do but frequent these awesome establishments?! What really makes the experience of visiting these stores special for me are the relationships formed with the employees there. Cat and Mariel at DVF are gorgeous inside and out, and helpful without an ounce of pressure or pushiness. I feel confident recommending my clients to them because I know they will be treated with the utmost of care. Kim Howe at TENOVERSIX is educated about everything from the coolest local designers to the best accessories to gift your nearest and dearest. I’m simply obsessed with this impeccably curated store. And Nars. I bless the day this makeup mecca opened on neighboring Melrose Avenue. I kid you not when I say the staff could not be any nicer. My favorite employee there, Andrew Toma, is a girl’s dream. Knowledgable and complimentary, he helps me navigate my tried and true makeup staples, and also what’s new. Currently they have an Andy Warhol collection that is whimsical and cool, that I’m tempted to purchase just for the packaging alone.

Day in and day out, my block is solid, combining world class shopping with a personal feel. We all strive to make all the visitors to the Melrose Place area happy and feeling like their experience was unique and second to none. And in this economy, I can’t think of a better mission. When strangers start acting like neighbors, communities are reinvigorated. I certainly didn’t feel like this on Rodeo Drive….

Yes, I actually work here everyday…..;)


Waxing Poetic


 And I own a waxing studio, so I consider myself an authority on waxing. What to do, what not to do and what to do it with. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past 3 years of having my own waxing studio is that not everyone who offers and performs waxing services knows what they are doing. Waxing isn’t the most fun service, but for those of us who indulge it’s a necessary endeavor. So in order to have the best waxing experience possible, I have come up with The 10 Commandments of Waxing:

1. Thou Shall Commit

At WAX we always say, “Once you go wax, you never go back.” So if you go back and forth between shaving and waxing, I have bad news for you. It’s going to affect your wax. Your hair grows back differently after waxing, so when you shave, it’s not as easy  to wax and it’s more uncomfortable for you. Try your best to get waxed every three to five weeks.

2. Thou Shall Choose Wisely

Listen, we’ve all been there. Sneaking in a quick mani/pedi at the place next to the grocery store while you wait for the dog to be ready at the groomer. It comes to your attention that you need a brow wax (only $5!) so you go for it. Only to regret it once you see your thin, uneven brows. Not to mention the disgusting waxing pot with the same stick that’s been used over and over on who knows how many clients…Make sure that you pick a reputable waxing place where everyone is licensed and trained, they don’t double dip and you know they are clean.

3. Thou Shall Be Honest

Please don’t lie to your esthetician about your skin care, medications and lifestyle. These things can greatly affect your wax and do you really want to have a reaction from an eyebrow wax the day before a big event? I think not. If you are using topical retionoids such as Retin A or any glycolic, lactic or salicylic acids you are unable to get waxed until you have stopped using these products for at least 2 weeks based upon strength. Same goes for Microdermabrasion and chemical peels. And if you are on Accutane – forget about waxing for at least 6 months after completing treatment.

4. Thou Shall Not Be Shy

It’s kind of like going to see your OBGYN. You know they have seen a million and one. Waxing specialists went into this profession knowing they would have to look at them all day, so when you take your pants off, don’t feel weird. They’ve seen all kinds and yours is no different.

5. Thou Shall Let it Grow

For your hair down there, it’s much easier to work with when it’s longer rather than shorter. We know it might get a little uncomfortable to keep it anything but clean for a few days, but the result will be worth it. Same goes for brows – a little patience and no tweezers goes a long way!

6. Thou Shall Follow Instructions

If your waxer tells you to do or not to do something after waxing, listen. No spray tanning, swimming, hot showers or working out for at least 24 hours.

7. Thou Shall Hold Thy Tongue

Let’s face it – we know that getting a bikini wax is no walk in the park. However if you are unable to make it through a Brazilian without crying out – then maybe it’s not the thing for you. No biggie – it’s not for everyone.

8. Thou Shall Come Alone

Sometimes first timers can be nervous. Maybe you need some emotional support so you bring a friend. I get it…but maybe that friend can provide support from the waiting area and not in the room with you? Trust me – good vibes travel.

9. Thou Shall Exfoliate

In order to prevent ingrown hairs it is imperative that you exfoliate between waxes. Some of my favorite products are PFB and a great sugar scrub. I’m obsessed with Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Scrub. Not only does exfoliating keep the dead skin at bay, but it also keeps you soft and smooth and gives you a mini spa vibe at home.

10. Thou Shall Moisturize

Especially in the winter months skin can become dry. Yep, even down there. Take time to add a little extra moisture to areas that might not get it as often, underarms, bikini line, etc. Dry skin can result in skin being lifted – and trust me,  no one wants that. Coconut oil is great, as is grape seed and jojoba.


Give it Back, Pay it Forward….


When we first had the idea for Highbrow Hippie and drafted our Manifesto, we made a commitment that we would always try to be as transparent and authentic as possible, offering our readers the good, bad and ugly. One subject in particular we wanted to focus on from time to time was the importance of giving back. Often life gets so busy and stressful that we forget that we are very blessed, and there are others in the world that are truly suffering and would gladly trade their problems and worries for ours. So whenever we feel like shit is truly about to hit the fan, we have found that the solution is to get out of our own heads, and focus on helping others in need. Let us tell you that the timing of Aids Walk Atlanta 2012 was just what the doctor ordered. Last weekend offered us the chance to explore the new Atlanta Beltline project, while re-connecting with friends old and new while we raised money for an incredible cause.

Exercising outdoors in gorgeous weather, helping others, followed by post-walk al fresco cocktails in Piedmont Park and a nostalgic tumble down a large hill circa 5th grade? Sounds like a perfect Sunday afternoon to us. We are blessed, indeed.


Warm It Up


As I spent my teenage years in CT, pictorial reminders of the glorious change of season in New England really strike a chord within.Though the temperature starts to steadily drop, a warmth permeates the air of the region as the landscape becomes alive in technicolor tones of gold, red and brown.

The fall foliage has also been a long source of inspiration for me as a colorist, as my aesthetic has always leaned towards colors found in nature. Many clients have finally begun to start their own hair color transitions for fall, and I’ve been thrilled with the numerous requests for warm, rich golden tones, as it’s the perfect solution to compensate for the paler complexion that inevitably awaits all of us ahead. Darker, warmer hair reflects light and will give hair amazing shine throughout the colder months, achieving an effect of the hair being lit from within, which is key since our skin will no longer have that effortless glow that comes with summer.

Though the color process begins at the salon, it really is a process that continues at home. Scalp care is key, and two of my favorite tips include massaging one or two vitamin E capsules directly onto the scalp, and coating the lengths of the hair with pure coconut oil for at least 2 hours and then shampooing at most 3 times a week. I like to do a light clarifying shampoo with apple cider for extra shine, followed with a color safe moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. When styling, it is key to remember to use a thermal protectant, because though slick straight styles are everywhere for fall, your beloved blowdryer and flatiron can strip your color at twice the rate of oxidation, quickly taking your color from rich and warm, to brassy and dull.

Ladies, it’s also time to put the harsh, contrasted ombré trend of summer to bed. Seriously. The trend is beyond played out. In transitioning your color to fall, focus on a softer blend, still keeping ends light, but toned down a notch. If you are a blond, beige, buttery and golden tones will keep your hair looking healthy all season. Brunettes should focus on brown on brown highlights, keeping the shade variance to 3 shades at most. Honey, chestnut, coppery and rich chocolate browns give a wide array of choices to keep brunettes interesting and versatile for fall. I haven’t yet decided what direction to take my own hair color yet for fall, but I’m leading towards a rich chestnut brown. Even darker skin like mine can appear sallow and flat, and I’ve begun to notice the last remnants of my summer glow fading away. If I can sit still long enough, it may be time to follow the lead of my clients, and warm my locks up too…..

A huge thanks to my client Barbara Hall for allowing me use of her fall foliage picture, my fellow (amazing) colorist Kaytee Joyce and my irreplaceable assistant Evelyn for letting me photograph their gorgeous brunette hair, and my clients Moe Razi, Alana Stewart, and Michelle Engstrom for being such beautiful muses….