SOMA Water Pitcher


I’m picky about my water. Ever since I lived in Paris and discovered Volvic (and the water bar at Colette) I’ve been a water snob. When I lived in Europe, I would have bottles of water delivered by the case, happily returning them for recycling once they were empty. A very eco friendly way to consume water.

Fast forward to 2009 when I moved back to the States and there were no stores offering delivery of water. What’s a girl to do? It seemed so primitive to lug loads of glass bottles (plastic bottle leach chemicals into your water) up 3 flights of stairs to my house and then back down again to the recycling bin.

I looked around and my only option seemed to be the dreaded Brita pitcher. We all know how I feel about design so clearly that wasn’t an option. I opted for refilling a 5 gallon container at Whole Foods and setting it up on a ceramic dispenser. This seemed to do the trick – I only had to smile sweetly at my neighbor and he was willing to lug it up the stairs for me each time.

I was happy with my set up until I met Mike Del Ponte, the founder of SOMA, at The Unique CAMP. He too wondered why there couldn’t be a better (read: prettier) way to drink water and so set out to redesign the dreaded filtered water pitcher. What he and his team came up with is so functional, so beautiful and so eco-friendly that I immediately threw out my water dispenser and bought one. It’s my favorite find of the last year – so much so that I gave them out as Christmas presents.

Using a plant based, biodegradable carbon filter, the SOMA water pitcher filters out all the yucky tasting stuff providing a great tasting water. They will also automatically ship replacement filters automatically every two months which is super convenient.

Not only is this product beautiful and sustainably made but SOMA supports charitable giving by providing clean drinking water throughout the world through it’s partnership with charity : water. Beauty and brains? Right up my Highbrow Hippie alley.

So do yourself (and the environment) a favor and buy one of these. Buy two. Tell them I sent you by entering barbato10 in the coupon code area and save $10.


Balayage 101


I am obsessed with hair color. I stare at everyone’s hair color at the airport, on the subway, even when I get my morning coffee…

It began when I first started beauty school as practice for my consultations. I would search for the worst hair color I could find, and in my head I would silently practice what I would say to the client if he or she needed to fix it, and then I would try to formulate a solution as fast as I could. ( Little did I know how much this weird habit of mine would help me as I progressed in my career. Most clients REALLY appreciate a firm and decisive hair colorist. It gives them assurance that you know what you’re doing.)

Within the first minute of a client sitting in my chair, while they give me their backstory, I assess the situation, formulate a plan, and try to determine if what the client wishes for is a reasonable possibility. With clients that highlight their hair in particular, the FIRST thing I look for is whether their hair was done by foil or Balayage. I can quickly determined if foils were used by spotting a strong uniformity in color pattern and unfortunately at times by a harsh demarcation line at the root. Let’s just say, sometimes, it ain’t pretty.

Balayage is the most popular hair coloring request in many salons today, but the technique has been around forever. The term comes from the French word meaning “to sweep”, and was developed in the 1970s by the French as a freehand technique where the color is applied by hand rather than foils. The hair is painted using one of three (or a combination) of three paint designs. These designs are singles, slants, and V’s.

Because I went to work for a French salon directly after beauty school (Frederic Fekkai), the last time I picked up a foil was almost 15 years ago. I had to completely unlearn everything that I was taught in school, and was forced to approach hair from a completely different perspective. It was no longer about applying color in a pattern, but now about seeing every head of hair as an individual canvas that would be painted according to need. The entire picture had to be visible and customized. It took me years before I was confident enough to say that I had mastered this approach. Everyone who knows me can vouch that I am NOT a natural Francophile. (That’s a whole different blog post;)). However, when it comes to hair, I have to admit, the French know what they’re doing. Interestingly enough, my current boss and mentor, Serge Normant, is also French, but his approach to hair is the polar opposite of Frederic. Even with the newfound freedom to explore hair that I had at Fekkai, there was still a textbook “Fekkai” approach to hair.

In NYC in the early 2000s, it was easy to spot a Fekkai client. Chic, sun-kissed color, but “done”. Over time, my work has become decidedly undone. No two clients are ever the same.

I truly believe I got to that comfortable place because of the freedom that Balayage has given my coloring style. Balayage is also a very economical way to color your hair as you never have a solid demarcation line or regrowth, so if you can’t afford to get it done for another month it won’t look atrocious.

However, if your balayage isn’t done correctly you can end up with excessive overlapping that can cause damage. The process varies depending on the length of the hair and the desired result. I find that all my Balayage clients are going for different looks and need to maintain it at different rates. From ombré to the most natural sun kissed highlights, to highlights that mimic an all over color, it can all be achieved with just a paintbrush.

If you need a little celebrity inspiration to give your respective colorists, look no further than Giselle Bunchen, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Julia Roberts. Happy painting everyone…..

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2014 Highlights


The “Year in Review”. Time Magazine does it…so do countless fashion mags. Hell, every social media outlet has even gotten in the game. So, not to be left out, we wanted to compile our own reel of 2014 highlights. We have big plans in store for the upcoming year, both individually and collectively, but before we jump ahead to resolutions and tackling our goals, we want to throw it back and pay homage to another year, lived perfectly undone. Farewell 2014…


Myka moved WAX to a new location….


This isn’t it. YET! She bought this building for a more permanent home so she will never get kicked out again. It will definitely look better than this. More like this…

IMG_4134 But that’s 2015... Stay tuned….

In yet another major move, Myka got divorced after 2 years of separation, upped her meditation practice and started Yoga teacher training.   She also got a new boyfriend and did an epic drive up the West Coast.





Upon her return she was stoked to find out she was named a Style Arbiter by Atlanta Magazine.


She then turned 40 and busted up a piñata in Tulum….


The end of the year was quiet. She now has design on the mind, as she continues to settle into her loft and make it her own as well as help others with their design dilemmas….



Kadi’s year began with the opportunity to color and style the hair of one of Highbrow Hippie’s biggest inspirations, Diane Von Furstenberg, in anticipation of the opening of her “Journey of a Dress” exhibit. The experience went to another level when Diane graciously extended an invitation to attend the event.

Diane Von Furstenberg's Journey Of A Dress Exhibition Opening Celebration - Red Carpet

She continued an exciting January by visiting Jackson Hole, a place close to her heart.


Kadi then served on the board of Otis College of Art’s Scholarship and Benefit committee for the 5th year in a row, raising over $1 million worth of scholarships for students in need. 


While visiting New York City for work, Kadi was invited to attend The Unique Camp, a 4 day tech-free conference for entrepreneurs in Big Bear, California. She convinced Myka to come along and they had the experience of a lifetime.

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Post CAMP, Kadi decided to embrace a new community, and found true joy, friendship and support in the village of Venice Beach.


For her birthday, Kadi collaborated with One Nine Design and Steven Lake Photography to host her friends for an east coast themed lobster bake.



In her “spare time”, she realized a 10 year goal of writing a pilot based on her experiences as a Jamerican hair colorist in Beverly Hills who specializes in blonde hair. Working title, “Roots” ; )


Speaking of blondes, Kadi’s hair color on actress Julia Roberts graced the cover of the September issue and 20th anniversary of InStyle Magazine.

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But most important of all, she continued her role as “fairy godmother” to her beloved Zac, Bella and Rocky.

photo The year wrapped with an annual Thanksgiving trip to Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica where Kadi achieved a first in her golf game, THREE birdies in a row.



And here we are, after a tumultous 2014, revived, re-focused and excited about the year to come. There are lots of things in store for these two Highbrow Hippies.

We wish you all love, peace and joy in the new year and beyond. Bring it on 2015!


XOXO Myka + Kadi


Scaling back


In Christmases past I’ve always been obsessed with decorating.  I would venture out and find the largest tree possible for my space, and pack it full with ornaments.  Growing up I never had many holiday traditions, so going overboard was my way of changing that.  I even asked (forced) my friends to join in.  My departure from this madness started last year, when instead of doing a tree at my house, I surprised a close friend of mine who was expecting her first child and decorated a tree at her house instead.  The entire covert operation was completed while she was running errands, and it gave me renewed joy to be able to make someone else’s holiday season bright.  Not to mention the tree was tossed and the ornaments packed away after the new year by someone else.  I think we can all agree that the clean up is the worst part, right?  After not having to deal with pine remnants and tangled lights and broken ornaments, I knew that there was a slim chance I would be decorating a tree this year.  So Thanksgiving came and went, and with it, so did my decorating madness.    Working in the service industry often leaves me very mentally and emotionally depleted by year’s end, and last week I started to feel a tinge of the Christmas blues, and knew that I needed to inject some holiday cheer STAT into my home. So on my way home a few days ago, I made a quick stop at Whole Foods to take a look at their floral department to see what I could put together in the way of holiday cheer.  While there, I got the idea to do a centerpiece for my dining table that was seasonal and festive, flanked by rich, red, beautiful flora.  The end result is fragrant, cheery, and best of all, can be dumped in the trash with one motion of the arm.  Merry Christmas to me indeed:)….

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Shop Small. Shop Local.


This summer Kadi and I had the opportunity to spend 4 glorious technology free days in Big Bear at an Entrepreneurs camp called The Unique Camp. We had an amazing time in the great outdoors and connected with a great group of creative, inspiring people doing amazing things. We took seminars on fundraising, social media as well as made t-shirts and had a futuristic themed dance party.

CAMP is the brainchild of Sonja Rasula the founder of UNIQUE USA, a trade show featuring small, independent makers. Sonja created the show as a way to bring local-made design and art to the masses while helping to grow and support the US economy and small businesses. Right up our HBH alley.  1417891105203

This weekend December 6th-7th is the LA Holiday Market in Downtown LA. So if you are in LA this weekend, pull out your shopping list and head on down. Because nothing says spirit of the season like supporting small independent businesses. Shop small. Shop local.


Lessons Learned


In case you hadn’t noticed, it has been noticeably quiet on the Highbrow Hippie website. The reasons are varied, but valid.  It started out with a site redesign, but then, between the two of us, we experienced job loss, divorce, relocation of a business, purchasing a building and a strained friendship weighted with hurt feelings, growing pains and misunderstandings.  In essence, we needed a big fucking time out.

Then, something interesting started to take place at the beginning of 2014.  Because of the forced silence, we both collectively began to get quiet.  We began to hear the sound of our voices, and started the process of moving on.  The lesson that began to emerge was clear- slow and steady wins the race, and that this too shall pass.

A long standing HBH tradition has always been our trips to Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica. It’s a place that always manages to fill our memory bank with joy and good times.  Last week we took a few days there to map out some plans and initiatives for our relaunch in 2015.  As we took a walk down the path, we spotted something moving on the ground, and upon further inspection, saw that it was a struggling blue-grey baby sea turtle.  It was literally the cutest thing either of us had seen.  Along with another guest, we helped it find its way back to water, and then launched into typical HBH mode to look into the symbolism and meaning behind sea turtles.  Because we look for symbols from the Universe at all times.

What we found out not only made us smile, but further cemented what we already knew. The brilliant message from this little turtle was to not push yourself so fast that you make errors and miss opportunities. The turtle has the wisdom of knowing that all things come in divine timing, sharing the golden lesson of patience.  Further, the resilient sea turtle makes vast journeys in the sea, letting the tides take her where they will.  She surrenders in infinite trust that all will be okay, and that she will arrive when and where opportunity will serve her.

This is a beautiful lesson of enjoying the journey of your life, trusting in the flow, and partaking of the blessings that are bestowed upon the way.  In life, there is no absolute destination, but a myriad of journeys.  This is the magic that the sea turtle represents, the symbol of serendipity and experiencing happy accidents.  Of course, in our haste to help said turtle, we forgot to take a picture.  Because in true HBH style, we are usually too busy living life than worrying about documenting it, with a filter.  So, you’ll just have to take our word for it, and enjoy instead this picture of us post spa treatments in our favorite vintage Mexican dresses.

 Cheers to faith, friendship, serendipity and sea turtles.  Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!




As former residents of New York City, we can firmly say that at this point in our lives that there is no love lost between us and the Big Apple. Now don’t get us wrong, there are things that we miss and pine for from time to time. Walking, the unparalleled culture and the spontenaiety that no city does quite like NYC. The shopping. Ohhh the shopping….All the things that we soak up during a 3 or 4 day trip. We admire New York from afar, and appreciate the fact that we spent our 20’s there being broke while still having the time of our lives. But now that we are older and “grown”, our needs for a healthy and happy life have definitely changed.

On a recent trip to NYC we happened upon the Urbanspace market in the meatpacking district. What would have otherwise been a delightful find of cool and diverse artisans and food booths was juxtaposed by a stall selling t-shirts with such catchy slogans like, “LA is for pussies”. Ummm, ok. That brings us to the first reason we hate NYC. Why so bitter y’all?? It’s pointless to pit other cities against NYC, because in the New Yorker’s mind, there is no competition. For a long time all the cities we loved coexisted peacefully, until one day the NYC aggression just wore us down. We get it. You’re cool. We suppose we were once cool too. But if you constantly have to state it, then maybe you’re just trying to believe your own hype? Bottom line, being a loudmouth is the biggest sign of insecurity. If NYC is the center of the modern world, does that mean that anything else is automatically second rate? We can name some pretty amazing other cities that are walkable, cultured, diverse, have a great energy and are clean with subway stations that aren’t repulsive. Paris, anyone? Some other things we don’t miss about NYC? Winter, the astronomical prices, the filth, the constant grime on your windows, the tourists and the biggest gem of all, the cabbies. We both had stints living in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, and there is no deeper depth of misery than waiting in the cold rain while taxi after taxi races off, (sometimes with your hand still holding on to the door!), once they hear the destination “Brooklyn”. This is long before the days of Uber, when we were forced to deal with their bad attitudes.

So we bounced, one of us heading to Europe and eventually Atlanta, the other to Los Angeles. While our lives slowed down, they also got richer in spades. In Atlanta, starting a small business became a reality. In Los Angeles, the craving for green space was a breeze, and only required driving a few hours in any direction to experience some of the most picturesque places in the country, from Napa Valley, to Big Sur, and our personal favorite, Palm Springs. Expensive meals out were replaced by our own vegetable gardens and an endless array of amazing farmers markets. We took the thousands of dollars a month it took to just to rent a studio in NYC and put it towards renting a spacious guest house and mortgaging a fabulous loft. We started to shop for groceries like real adults, and could finally afford to throw proper dinner parties with seating for everyone, a feat hard to come by in NYC unless you’re truly living like a baller. We also both rescued dogs, and while yes, there are thousands of happy dogs in NYC, they don’t have their own backyard and countless canyons where there can hike to their heart’s content. While nothing can replace Broadway, the Hollywood Bowl, and countless performances in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park are a fine substitute. World class entertainment where one can picnic with friends and dance under the stars? Umm, yes please.

Our worlds both got smaller, but also expanded in ways we never anticipated. Our friendships deepened and our community bonds got tighter. Instead of living to work, we began working to live, in true highbrow hippie fashion. We live in places where you can say good morning to your neighbor and people actually respond. And as we navigate our 30’s, and crave moments of peace and solitude more than ever, our migration out of NYC just made sense. Do we really hate NYC? Not a chance. But when the city that never sleeps became a lousy bed partner, we decided we’d rather just admire it from afar…..


Think Pink


Described as “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”  Interestingly enough, here at Highbrow Hippie, we’ve been rocking variations of this hue for years, starting with NARS Funny Face semi-matte lipstick, to respective closet favorites from American Apparel and Diane Von Furstenburg that have long been in steady rotation in our wardrobes.

According to Pantone, “Radiant Orchid is a modern and surprisingly versatile shade. It enlivens the skin, making all who wear it feel more healthy and energetic. Blending both cool and warm undertones, purple is an appealing hue for distinctive combinations and flattering to many hair, eye and skin tones.  This multifaceted hue pairs well with its sister shades of lavender, purple and pink, and also acts as a brilliant finishing touch to nails.” We couldn’t agree more.  Our hands down favorite nail polish interpretation of this vibrant color is Habit’s Cosmetics ‘The Sweet Life’,  proving to be the first choice and official “February Mani of the Month” for clients at Myka’s own Buff Nail Bar in Atlanta.

Radiant Orchid, when used in the home, offers a gorgeous combination when paired with light yellows, turquoise or teal, and can be an amazing accent color, especially when paired against olive and deeper hunter greens. The color is sure to add vibrancy when paired with neutrals including gray, beige and taupe. Think gorgeous peonies in a classic vase, or a single stem of orchid used as an accent when paired with a multi-hued green arrangement.

Designers such as Nili Lotan and Manolo Blahnik have also included versions of this rich color in their current collections, and Diane Von Furstenburg recently used Radiant Orchid as the accent color for the gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of her iconic wrap dress. From disco balls to the floral accents throughout the party, the color of the year could not be missed.

This is a color that has already demonstrated true staying power for us. We’ve been wearing it for years and are super happy to keep bringing it into our wardrobes, and our homes.


The End of History


The End of History. I would go in multiple times a week, chatting with the owner and admiring all the beautiful glass. The colors and shapes were so intriguing, so simple and elegant. Something of a past era – they just don’t make things like this anymore.

 I would often have my dog, Amber with me and prior to entering would give her a quick little talk, advising her not to wag her tail and knock anything over. Some of these pieces were thousands of dollars, and a quick swing of the tail could have cost me. But even Amber understood how precious and irreplaceable these items were; upon entering her normally overactive tail showed just the slightest of hint of wag. She got it.

It was my place of inspiration, there were so many colors, so many shapes and it was there that I began to develop an appreciation for vintage glass and ceramics. I’d been doing vintage clothes and furniture, but this was a whole new world. Ashtrays, beautiful ceramic lamps, decanters….it was an abundance of color and shape and I loved every inch of the crowded colorful space. However, since I was a poor grad student, I couldn’t afford anything there. The thought of spending $500 on a glass vase, no matter how beautiful, was not one I could afford to entertain. Not to mention, where does one display beautiful glass in a studio apartment with low ceilings and an overactive labrador? Not ideal. So I left the glass where it belonged and visited it regularly – picking out my favorites and fantasizing about the day when I’d have both the money and the space to amass such a collection of my own.

When my Grandmother passed she left me some money. I could have used it for something mundane like paying off debt, or investing, but I decided that the end of history warranted a visit to The End of History. My grandmother was also a huge inspiration for me – she taught me about being gracious and kind, she showed me what real love meant,  how to live with elegance and to be confident in the person I was. I spent 2 hours in there, going over each piece, deciding on a color palette that worked and that would be a reminder of my grandmother for me. I finally settled on 3 pieces; a lavender 1950’s Italian cased glass handblown triple decanter, a teal 1950’s Italian cased glass lidded jar and a 1960’s Swedish handblown glass vessel signed by  Erik Höglund for BODA. While these items marked the end of history for me, they also represented a new phase in my life. You see, I didn’t really feel like an adult until my grandmother passed. That might sound weird, but something about having my grandmother pass showed me the passage of time. I saw how my mother took care of her mother and realized that one day, I would have to do the same. And it didn’t make me sad or morose, it made me grateful. Grateful for all the time I had with her and for all the time I have had and will continue to have with my mother. Grateful to these women who are a part of me and who have made me who I am today.

While I’ve since collected many more and my color palette has grown, those 3 original pieces are still the most precious to me. I think of my grandmother every time I look at my growing glass collection. And I realize that when one thing ends, something else invariably begins.