Saturday, April 19, 2008

NEW CUT


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DESTINATION WEDDINGS PART ONE




How lucky are we to have the ability to splurge and actually travel to celebrate our special day? Although I have not had the opportunity to celebrate mine, I have been lucky to have been asked to do the hair and join in on the fun. From spectular St. Johns to breathtaking Telluride and even in our own backyard Florida (no shoes and all). They were all so enjoyable and well planned. Speaking of well planned see, James Abel Events for a detailed, tasteful and flowers to die. See James for a great Wedding experience any where in the world!!

back to hair baby! The idea of finding a hair stylist to do you hair for your wedding is hard enough much less in a strange City or a strange Country like Timbucktoo. Yes there are great hair dressers all over the world.

If your wedding is in a major U.S. city, chances are you can find someone that can do a great job. Smaller cities are a challenge. Some "cultures" have different tastes. So, depending on where your wedding is in the U.S., you can end up with, well how can I say it, a hair style influenced by that city's flavor. Have you ever heard, "The bigger the hair, the closer to God?" You catch my drift.

I can tell that I am going to have fun writing this one!!!

TO BE CONTINUED

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TAKING CARE OF BLONDS



As usual, I love sharing photos of my clients as they leave my chair. Enjoy!

I know that it's early, but looking after your blond hair this summer should be one of the key things on your agenda! Start the conversation with your hair stylist as to what's best for your hair and how to maintain it.

Let's begin with your tools and hair products. Some of the must haves are:

MASON PEARSON BRUSH

Eva was the first person that I met that really believed in this brush and she passed one down to me. These brushes are that amazing! They are like gold for the hair dressers in our salon. We have them under lock and key. The mixture of the bristles and the cushioned base makes this brush the perfect match for healthier hair.

WIDE-TOOTH COMB

These are ideal for combing your hair when wet. Always start combing from the ends working your way up to the root.There are so many great leave in conditioners to match with this tool and please don't be afraid of making the hair too heavy by over conditioning. Just apply 3-4 inches off of the scalp through the ends.


HAIR CLIPS

Stay away from hair clips that look like they can hold a house together in a hurricane! All they do is damage the hair. Find professional hair clips that have no sharp jagged teeth and while you are at it please do not use rubber bands or elastic hair bands that have tiny metallic threads in them. Listen to me sista!!


SHAMPOO

My favorites for blonds are Kerastase Age Recahrge, Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco, Paul Mitchell Modern Elixirs Color Therapy and AlpaParf Splendore Shampoo


CONDITIONERS

Bumble & Bumble Super Rich, Paul Michell Modern Elixir Conditiner and Biolage Hydra-seal leave in Conditioner.

MASQUES,

Ultra-hydrating balm by Biolage, Diamante by AlpaParf, Age Recharge by Kerastase and Redken All-Soft Heavy cream

And for the blonde that has to soak in the sun from head to toe, the Gelee Aqua is the perfect "wet suit " for your hair. This is amazing and I have many confessions to confirm that it's worth it.

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THE Q&A ON HAIR RELAXERS

Here are some honest answers to help you with your choices...

THE BASICS

Q: Are relaxers bad for the hair?

A: It's a chemical so where there is ammonia and sodium hydroxide, it will effect the surface layer of the hair. It opens the cuticle and changes the structure of the hair. So, it's important to know the better condition of your hair, the better the results will be and the healthier your hair will appear.

Q: Are some relaxers better than others?

A: Are some men better than others? Hells yes!! Relaxers have come a long way. They no longer need to fry your scalp and deplete gray matter. Some of the best relaxers I have used are:

-YELLOW
-AFFIRM



Q: Is it safe for children?

A: Yes it is. It's really a matter of choice. Do you want to have your 12 year old child develop a complex about the features she was born with? There is enough time as an adult for one to do that on their own. (oops)


Q: Would my hair be perfectly straight with out any frizzing?

A: Relaxers generally come in MILD, REGULAR and SUPER, so you can have it relaxed with a stronger product and it can be really straight. Relaxers break down the structure of the curl but the frizzing is most of the times still lightly visible. Don't forget that naturally straight hair can have a light frizz on the surface as well, so this is where a styling product will be very helpful.


Q: Can men relax there hair and not look like Little Richard ?

A: Yes, men of all races can relax their hair. Sometimes he may just have very course or curly hair above the side burns which never blends with the hair cut. In these cases, the mild relaxer would be perfect to gently soften this area allowing the sides to blend well.


Q: Is it safe on color treated hair?

A: It depends, the answer generally is no, but as we know rules are made to be broken. If the condition of the hair is great after being colored that helps. It's safe on semi-permanent hair color, safe-ish on permanent and I will not do it on highlighted hair.

I hope that this Q & A was helpful. If you have anymore questions, feel free to contact me via email @ hairbyantonio@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for Q&A about Japanese Hair Relaxers

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FEATHERED BANDS BY ERIN BARR




Some of you must know Erin. She's the tall, hot blond in our salon that went to London to study fashion. Well now she's back. Still doing beautiful hair, but now I would like to introduce you to her first creations in fashion.

Erin has put a new chicness to the classic hair band by adding feathers, jewelry a whole lot of glam. They are gorgeous! You must have a look for yourself. If you would would like to order or request more information on Erin's bands, please send her an email @ e.erin.barr@gmail.com.

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A Conversation with Elaine Armstrong, Visual Strategist

Since spring is all about new beginnings and fresh starts, I thought that this month I would feature a conversation with someone whose purpose is to bring clients a fresh perspective on their look, Visual Strategist, Elaine Armstrong.

ANTONIO: First off, could you give a quick explanation of what Visual Strategy is, and why it is important?

ELAINE ARMSTRONG: In our everyday lives we create strategies for all facets of our lives; our career, our money, etc. A strategy gives you an advantage in that it is a clear path for what you need to do to get results. One area that people often neglect or don’t understand is the importance of their own visual strategy, their outward appearance that the world sees. In a split second of exposure, this forms people’s perceptions of who we are and where we are in our lives.

ANT: Can you give me an example of how the “strategy” part comes into play?

EA: Let’s say you are in upper management and you are moving jobs from a very corporate environment (business suits everyday) to one that is less rigid. The strategy here is to communicate that you are still to be taken seriously, yet fit in with the new company’s more laid back culture.

ANT: How would you go about helping that client out?

EA: First, I would do an assessment of her current wardrobe. Even though it may consist of “serious business attire”, there still may be items that can be put into the new mix. Let’s face it, there are certain classic pieces like an Armani or Chanel jacket can be worked into any wardrobe! I am a big believer in shopping in your closet first, then filling in the gaps.

The key would be to combine new separates in interesting ways that soften the look to create a new style while still communicating authority. I am a big proponent of the odd ball piece. Be it a shoe, bag or jewelry, instant style can be achieved by incorporating one into your wardrobe. Ditching the oversize, drab black office bag and investing in one that has color or an interesting texture like patent or skin, instantly communicates that you have some style and aren’t afraid to take risks.


FURLA “CARMEN” Bag in silver embossed leather (pic)



You would use this bag as if it were your new “black” carry-all bag. Bags, shoes and jewelry are always good style bets, because no matter what the scale says, they always fit! And, if you make a mistake with a shoe, it’s just a shoe. But, that’s why I am here so you won’t make any mistakes!

ANT: So true! If you could name 3 things that women need in their wardrobes, what would they be?

EA: 1. A classic collared, fitted white shirt. I know that this one has been said many times before, but truly, a great white shirt can be the starting off point for many an outfit. You can wear it on its own, as a jacket over a dress or shell, belted, under a jacket, etc. The key is to find the correct collar size and cut for your figure. Some of my favorite resources for great white blouses are Anne Fontaine, Brooks Brothers and Theory.


THEORY Classic blouse.


2. A black pencil skirt or pair of black tailored trousers. Whether you are a skirt or a pants girl, the importance here is to have a “foundation” garment that you can build on. I prefer black but it could most certainly be any dark solid color that can be built upon to create a wardrobe.

3. The oddball piece. It is worth repeating. As I mentioned before, you can create/express individual style by choosing that bag, shoe or accessory that is surprising or unexpected.

ANT: Can you tell me how your process works? How do people get started with you?

EA: When I first meet a new client, we define what the objectives are, or what is it that individual hopes to achieve by our engagement. For example, perhaps the goal is to project a more serious image at work, or maybe the client is feeling as if they are in a style “rut”. These are all things that we would talk about first.

The second step is to do an assessment of what the client already owns. Literally digging in those closets to see what can be utilized and what should BE PURGED!!! (Yes, I am talking about items you haven’t worn in 5 years and you know who you are!) From whatever remains (and in some cases it may not be very much!) we identify what are the crucial items that need to be added to create their new style.

The third step is to go shopping. I do this either with the client, or I shop and then bring it all to them to try on. I tend to like the second way better, because I find that when people go into stores and see items on display, they immediately make a judgment as to whether or not they would wear something, which makes it more difficult to get them to try something new. When the item is removed from the context of the store display, I think clients have an easier time with trying something new. (Cuts down on the “Oh, I could never wear that!)

The last step in the process is to put it all together so the client can understand how it’s supposed to be worn, etc. Sometimes I will even take digital pictures of the outfits as a reference for the client to make things easier. My goal is to leave you with clothing and accessories that translate into your new personal style.

ANT: What do you think people’s biggest mistakes are when it comes to fashion?

EA: Bad fitting clothing and really bad undergarments!

ANT: Can you tell me what your clientele is like?

EA: I have a varied clientele, both women and men. They are all at different levels professionally and financially. I tailor my process to their specific needs.

ANT: And lastly, how would you describe your style?

EA: Minimally mismatched! I do try to combine textures and patterns when I dress, but I do always ground it in some way, utilizing a relatively classic piece as a foundation.

ANT: How can people get in touch with you?

EA: They can email me at info@elainearmstrongco.com or through your contact information on this blog.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ASK ANTONIO

Now that I'm back from my vacation and well burnt, I decided to share with you not only some great beauty ideas and tips, but some photographs as well. I've also sprinkled in a few tidbits about the best of Trinidad and Tobago's food, culture and accommodations.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!

STAY TUNED FOR UPCOMING TOPICS...

-RELAX: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HAIR RELAXERS

-NEW CUTS

-MORE ABOUT TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

-MY FAVORITE DRUG STORE FINDS

As always, remember to click the "Older Posts" button at the bottom of the page to view my archived topics.

Enjoy,

Antonio



This is a picture of one of my favorite beaches, Grafton Beach; not too far from my hotel.


My niece, second from the left, and her girlfriends.


My nephew ,on the right, soaking in the rays with his best friend.

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TRINIDAD CARNIVAL


Here is a picture of my two friends and Carnival designers, Christopher Santos and Gregory Medina. They have been a blessing to have in my life. I was thrilled to spend some time with them.


My friend Sunil and me wearing head pieces that are being sent off to St. Martin for Carnival. Both Pieces were designed by Christopher Santos and Gregory Medina.


A big part of my creative influence was Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. Not only is it the greatest show on earth, it's where my introduction into the world or the arts began. There is a huge island wide costume competition where children compete. When I was 8, my cousin entered a competition dressed as a huge Rose. It was about 8 feet wide and on wheels. She was in the middle of the rose; barely touching the floor. As she swirled across the stage (which seemed so big back then) behind her was yours truly! I was her mascot dressed as a rose bud in green tights from the neck down and a big rose on my head which fastened under my chin. I was in such a bliss that they had to drag me off the stage so the other kids could get a chance! And, Yes my friends a star was born at that very instant.

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A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR FLAT IRON




Is the Flat Iron bad for the hair?

OK Let's get down and dirty here! I am so tired of hearing how bad the flat iron is for your hair! Well, I have seen my share of damaged hair that was caused by hair color, like when they keep sticking you under the heat to help process your bleach and you end up with, well...bleach + heat most of the time equals BREAKAGE!

Let's not talk about other tools like the Hairdryer for example. I see some hairdressers placing the nozzle directly on the hair and child it smell like burnt toast. So, give me a break! Once it has been used properly you can remain with gorgeous, hydrated hair . Now that I got that off my chest....

Which is better Metal or Ceramic ?

When they first started making flat irons they were huge and had metal plates. We loved them because finally there was a heated tool to help make the hair straight that was manageable and it worked. It could also be used on all hair types giving a finish that did not look like an old fashioned hot comb was used. Then like everything else they improved the quality, design and started making smaller irons. Before you knew it, everyone and their dog was making them. The problem with the metal plates was it dehydrated the hair, while placing the metal on the hair. This became very abrasive and the plate would eventually become dark and burnt looking.

The ceramic iron was introduced and became the popular iron on the market, not only were they a lot, smaller they are far more gentle on the hair shaft leaving the hair with a silkier, more polished feel.

Is there a difference between a cheap and an expensive iron?

If you mean business and want straight hair, a professional iron is the way to go .
The cheaper irons may not last for a year, they will never get your hair straight enough and work best only on hair that is naturally straight (taking care of fly-aways and leaving the hair some what tamed). The ceramic plate on the cheaper irons are also just a thin layer of ceramic that eventually flakes off and you can see the metal peeping through.

My professional ceramic Iron last me at least year if not more. I have a CHI flat iron, and it is by far my favorite on the market. Not only does it have a thick ceramic plate, Honey you can iron to your heart's delight. It will make that hair slide down your shoulder. They also come in great sizes and provide the ability to curl.  So you don't have to look like you were strapped to an ironing board and "pressed"  Even when you flat Iron the hair with a loose curl, the cuticle is flattened and allows the hair to repel frizzing a lot longer than normal.


What conditioning should the hair be in prior to using the iron?

It's all about the prepping. After shampooing and conditioning, towel dry and apply a smoothing product. This helps achieve the break down of the curl without dehydrating the hair; eventually leaving it brittle. I often hear, "I never use product on my hair before blow drying or flat ironing" and can I tell you that it feels like a swift kick in the nuts! Using the right products protects your hair from the intense heat of the dryer and iron and it will cut your time in half by easily smoothing the hair. It also makes it manageable and keeps it healthy. So, blow dry the hair keeping in mind that you will be spending time slowly ironing your hair. Be sure to get the hair line as well and achieve a nice polished look at the ends.

Products to use prior to blow drying:

Matrix Smoothing Lotion, Super Skinny Serum by Paul Mitchell, Straight by Bumble & Bumble , Lait Nutri Sculpt or Oleo Relax by Kerastase (depending on the hair type).


VERY IMPORTANT

Always before using any iron, use a little serum for heat protection. Decide before ironing if you want to have a real straight finish or more movement with a light bounce. Section the hair into 4 sections, then start with the first section working with very thin sub-sections. Place the iron near the root area then slowly apply pressure to the iron and slide through the ends. when you see steam coming from your hair please don't drop the iron and call 911! It's just product that's protecting the hair. Can you imagine not using product what happens to the hair ? Remember the ads on TV when they will demonstrate your brain on crack by using eggs on a hot plate? Exactly !!

Products to use will be Diamante by Alpha parf, Dee-frizz by Bumble & Bumble, Serum by Kerastase and Biosilk

To be continued.....

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YOUR HAIR AFTER CANCER TREATMENTS (CONTINUED)

I want to thank everyone for  your feedback on this topic. I am happy to know we all feel that its a topic worth talking about because some way or another this is part of our lives.

So, now you have some great products to help manage your hair as it is at that awkward in between stage (where it has not fully taken shape  and the texture is still settling in). Here are some tips on things you should look for as you go back into the salon looking for subtle changes to get you to a comfortable place for now.


1) Be gentle with the choice of colors, use demi and semi- permanent colors  that have little or no ammonia rather than permanent colors. It maybe a case of trial and error as you begin to color again. Sometimes the hair may not respond as the stylist expects so be patient.

2) If you decide to highlight... Stay away from Heat, the less stress the better.


3) If your hair is growing in finer than usual at the beginning, stay away form razors and thinning shears. I know, it sounds like everyone should know that right ? Well don't take any chances be aware.

4)This is the time you may want to invest in a great cut, a cut that is strong enough to support any fineness you may have, while leaving you feeling comfortable with your new style..

5) Stock up on great products from shampoos to styling products you would not regret it.


6) This is a great time for change as well, try something different you may like it. So, get your photos ready kick open that salon door and treat your self well. You deserve it dammit!!

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AFG's Guide to T & T: ENCHANTED WATERS TOBAGO








"Come as a guest, leave as a friend and return as a part of the family!" This would be the easiest way to sum up an experience at Enchated Waters.

Located on a small fishing village called Buccoo, this hotel and restuarant is by far one of the most pleasant experiences I've had in Tobago. There are very few water front properties on the island, and being a local I feel that they are all over priced. I like staying at Patino's being that it is centrally located near three beaches (a five minute drive to each) They have incredible food and service. My foundest memories of the hotel are of me falling asleep to the relaxing sound of the fountain outside my room and the cool island breeze. Oh! I wish I was there right now!

Thank you to all of the staff at Patino's Enchanted Waters Tobago. I had an AMAZING stay and I miss you all!

Make sure you visit www.enchantedwaterstobago.com for more information.

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AFG's Guide to T & T: GENERAL 'G' TAXI SERVICE

General 'G' Taxi Service

While in Tobago, if you are looking for the best and the safest tour guide for the island (which takes about 1.5 hours to get across), General 'G' is the person you want! To be honest, I was really blown away by his politeness. He absolutely REFUSED to even let me open the door. There's a photograph of him and a woman three times his size giving him an award. As you enter the cab, General 'G' quickly points out that that is not his wife. He comes highly recommended by me, if you are ever in Tobago. He'll definitely put a smile on your face.

General 'G' Taxi Service
Email: supergeneralg@hotmail.com
Phone: (868) 620-5496
www.generalgtaxi.com

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AFG's Guide to NYC: SINGH'S ROTI SHOP






And, finally to end the blog... here is my favorite find yet. If you are looking for the best food from Trinidad (including Creole and Indian) this is the place to be!
Walking into Singh's... is like walking into a rum/roti shop in Trinidad. From the sights, sounds and smells, this is a true must. It's a small journey out of Manhattan, but I guarantee you that it's worth every bite. Try one of my favorite's which is an aloo pie with tamarind chutney (with slight pepper as we say in Trini).

Singh's Roti Shop
11806 Liberty Ave, Jamaica, NY
(718) 835-7255‎

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