Goodbye Orange Hair, Hello Furiosa!

By now, you're probably used to me as having a head full of red-gold-orange hair, all thanks to the expertise of my talented stylist, Stephanie. I generally feel very "at home" with my appearance, but suddenly I get an intense itch to do something new. I've discussed plans for seasonal hair changes with Stephanie, or perhaps even quarterly. Whatever we end up doing, I know I'll love it because she's pretty stellar. I'm hopping into her salon today to get all fixed up and have something new. In fact, it won't be all that crazy, but more of a "break" from the dye and damage. If you at all remember my first Halloween costume from this past fall, you have a hint about the new 'do...

So last Halloween Eve, I dressed as Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road. The hair cut was short lived as I immediately had it dyed the next day so that I could be Annie Lennox for actual Halloween day. I feel like I missed out on having a ridiculously rad look by going orange right away. Plus, I just have the biggest crush on Furiosa, so why not imitate an idol? Today I popped into the salon over my lunch break and chopped all the orange off so I am, for the first time in almost exactly 3 years, completely natural! Even the last time I had brown hair, it was dyed. I'm stoked to be able to see my natural white spot again - do you spy it on my right temple? 

Thanks, Stephanie, for being so awesome and playing with my hair! I can't wait to keep trying new things with you!

Photos courtesy of: Abby Giallardi, Ashely KuenstlerAllan Crain, Courtney Miener, and Domineque Wold.

Behind the Scenes: The Big Chop

You might have noticed in a few previous posts that my hair has changed. Quite a lot, I might add! Way back in the spring, I booked a DJ gig for Saturday, October 31st. I was thrilled to find out that it was indeed Halloween-themed, and this gave me the opportunity to go all-out with a costume. I was in a deep hole of 1980s music videos on YouTube one day, and I happened across The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," which has been a long-time favorite song of mine. I spent a good long time staring at Annie Lennox's perfect face and suddenly it hit me - it was time for another big hair change! I ran the idea past my darling stylist Stephanie Mattina of Nova Salon, and we whipped up the plans. 

However, instead of going straight to the fabulous orange crop that Annie Lennox rocked, I decided to make a pit stop halfway there. I booked a gig for October 30th as well, so I realized I had a chance to do two costumes. My favorite movie to come out recently has been Mad Max: Fury Road, so it just made sense - keep my natural hair short and be Imperator Furiosa! So before my gig on October 30th, I headed into the salon and took the dive. I won't lie and say I wasn't nervous. Stephanie treated me to a glass of wine and I held onto that thing like it was a life raft and almost chickened out once or twice while waiting for her to begin.

To be totally honest, I was scared to death! I know my head is tiny, which you can't argue with me over - my hat size is 6 3/4! Also, I hadn't seen my actual natural hair color in over a year, and even in 2014 it was dyed to best match my natural hair color. When Stephanie mentioned during the appointment that we were seeing "virgin hair," I had to giggle, not just for the term itself, but for the fact that I haven't seen my honest-to-goodness all natural hair in forever!

I do have to say that I miss being able to curl my hair, but I do NOT miss having to style my hair, or blow dry it, or worry about it on rainy days. Good riddance to hair ties! The only trouble is keeping the crown of my head under control. In the photo above of the new hair, you can see that the very tip-top of my head stands straight up. Stephanie told me I'd have to "train it" to not be flying around all willy-nilly constantly. And for fun, here are some shots of my hair in Halloween costumed action!

Thanks to my friend Kate for putting up with my antics and still hanging out with me. And thanks again to my amazing stylist Stephanie for making me look so good! The change has been so much fun, and I actually think it makes my face look better. There's no hair to distract you! But that also means I gotta keep up with my skincare routine. I've been trying a new product suggested by my friend Olivia, and it seems to be helping a lot. 

Eclipse Restaurant photos by Domenique Nicole Photography
All others by Justin Barr

Spotlight On: Hairstylist Stephanie Mattina

Today I'd like to introduce you to this super gorgeous babe! This is Stephanie Mattina, a hairstylist at Nova Salon in Maplewood. Born and raised in Saint Louis, Stephanie has two spoiled mutts named Bootsie and Mable with her husband (Corey of Strange Donuts fame). Outside of working on hair, she likes traveling, cooking, eating, pizza, beer, seeing live music, and watching PBS in her pajamas. 

I shot over some questions just like I did with designer Ryan Moore. Stephanie graciously answered all of them with her fun flare, and I hope you have a great time learning more about Stephanie, what drives awesome hairstylists, and looking at silly photos of my getting a trim!

SOSM: What first interested you in hair? 
SM: Ever since I was about 5 years old hair fascinated me and I knew I wanted to be a professional.  My parents said they would pay for cosmetology school only if I tried college at a University for 1 year.  I finished out my freshman year and at that point I positive about what I wanted to do. While looking into cosmo schools in the St. Louis area, nothing really excited me.  After researching other options, I landed on Vidal Sassoon in Los Angeles.  I went out for a visit and interview, was accepted and hightailed it out west.  That year was a whirlwind of amazing opportunity.  I learned from some of the most talented haircutters and colorists in the business and spent 10 months intensively learning "The Sassoon Way".  After graduating, I set out to hone my skills by taking an apprenticeship with Melinda Rodriguez in Chicago.  I shampooed her clients until my skin cracked, watched her do hundreds of perfectly executed haircuts and swept up all the hair that fell to the floor.  I had 2 days of class every week where she critiqued my every move.  Finger position, standing position, partings, etc. Oftentimes my day ended in tears because she was hard on me (she didn't tolerate tears, so had to cry when I got home).  Although this seems like a terrible way to start my career, I could not be more grateful to her.  She taught me how to crate my own signature and was tough on me because she knew what I was capable of.  She always made sure her employees were taken care of, taught me how to be successful, confident and independent.  I'll be forever grateful for her mentorship.  I worked on the floor for awhile as a haircutter until my husband (then boyfriend) was offered a job in St. Louis.  We moved back and the rest is history.

SOSM: How long have you been doing hair? 
SM: 9 years.

SOSM: What do you love most about your current salon?
SM: Literally everything.  I work with the greatest people.  Everyone is extremely skilled, creative and respectful.   We inspire each other, assist one another and collaborate often. We take advanced classes frequently and throw some kickass parties too!  It feel so zen while working because of the atmosphere Paul and Ricca (Nova's owners) have created both design and philosophy wise.  Everyone who sits in my chair comments on how much they love the open, airy and clean setting.  It's also very neutral, so both men and women feel comfortable walking through our doors.  We attract a diverse and contemporary clientele.  Nova turns out solid, beautiful work which speaks for itself, so THAT is our advertisement since we don't do any traditional marketing. 

SOSM: Do you have a favorite hairstyle to cut? 
SM: The box bob.  It's the ultimate test of cutting a perfectly straight line with precision and accuracy.

SOSM: What was your most challenging client request that you can recall? 
SM: I would say the most challenging hair requests are the ones that can't be accomplished in 1 session.  A lot of people will show us a picture with the expectation of getting it all done in one fell swoop.  I hate to disappoint, but sometimes hair goals cannot reached in 1 appointment.  So that, and when someone comes in with a bad haircut and wants it fixed without losing any length.

SOSM: Who is your go-to stylist for inspiration? 
SM: Oh man... too many to name.  Off the top of my head @tracisak_hair, @zgat_mm, @gummybeats1, @thearronjohnson, Tim Hartley, Stacey Broughton and of course Mr. Sassoon.

SOSM: Do you have a secret weapon hair care product you think everyone should own?
SM: Your secret weapon should be your stylist.  A haircut should be the style, then accentuated or controlled by product.  But seriously- leave-in conditioner is often overlooked, but SO crucial to healthy polished hair.

SOSM: If you could style anyone's hair in the world, who would you choose?
SM: Amy Poehler so she could make me laugh until my guts hurt.

SOSM: Do you have any hair regrets from your past? Silly styles, bad color jobs? 
SM: None.  I feel like my path has led me to where I am today and I'm happy.  In the next few years, I hope to offer affordable haircutting classes in St. Louis for those eager to keep learning.  

Stephanie also wanted to add in that if anyone is interested in entering the cosmetology world and has questions, or if there's a stylist out there who needs guidance, she is all ears. You can contact her at stephanie.mattina@gmail.com.

Thanks for getting to know Stephanie with me! I have some pretty cool followup photos to post as well - all about my experience getting my hair totally chopped! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you'll likely already know that my hair is pretty dang different... Stay tuned for that post!

Photos by Abby Gillardi.