Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Personal Guide to the Best of New York

Living in New York City for the past 12 years has been a hoot! Now that I have moved, I would like to pay homage to this incredible city by sharing my own "Best Of NYC” guide. This is an honest guide with real people, no kickbacks and no paid advertising. :)

Feel Food opened not too long ago and has quickly become a favorite for many. Always consistent, with fresh, clean, simple food and friendly staff, I give them the thumbs up. Because I have a reaction to gluten, it’s very hard or boring to eat at most cafes and coffee shops. Thank you to the management of Feel Food for delivering goodness!

Best Smoothie
Juice Press is one of the few juice bars that serves fresh almond milk with their smoothies. Why...when almond milk is so easy to make? Shame on you other juice bars!!! This minor detail alone makes all the difference in a healthy, tasty, easy-to-digest drink. They also offer a variety of fresh ingredients to custom blend a smoothie of your choice. You rock Juice Press!!

Best Coconut Water
With the current coconut water craze and all those companies selling dishwater liquid in cardboard boxes, I just have to mention my favorites. The best place to get fresh coconut water, where the nut is opened in front of you, is on the corner of 173rd Street and Albion in Washington Heights. Take it from me, an island boy who was literally born under a coconut tree! 

Also Organic Ave has the cleanest coconut water out of all the juice bars in NYC. I don't know how they do it, but it’s damn good.

After years of digestive problems that were so severe I had to be hospitalized, Path For Life literally saved my life! Jeanette Bronee is not only very successful, her knowledge of food is like Wikipedia. When we first met she instantly eased my pain and educated me on how to survive the crazy, industrialized food system we live in.

When I learned that Blink Fitness was owned by Equinox, I almost fainted! How could an over-priced, pretentious gym like Equinox have an affiliation with such an amazing brand!! Cheap, clean, efficient and well managed. Please note that I belonged to Equinox in the past for years, but as a smart savvy Trini-Yorker, you know what’s worth it and what’s not.
Thanks Blink!!

I have never seen anyone touch hair like Mr. Orlando Pita. His relationship with hair is that of a true visionary. His ability to rocket a client to the 4th dimension through a haircut is something to experience (even if you're just watching.) Backed by his humility and natural instinct to really listen to a client is simply inspiring. Having your hair cut by someone who set's the trends worldwide is simply incredible.

Joe Martino is a friend, mentor and hairstylist whose standards I aspire to.  He is the most versatile hairstylist I know in NYC (and I know many.) Brunettes with amazing shine to blond-to-die-for (foils or balayage)....his skills keep him at the top of the NYC fashion pyramid. Over the years I have seen so many colorists become limited by their preference for foils and balayage, which only hurts the client. If you can't get a haircut with Orlando Pita, Joe is as close as you are going to get to the real deal!! Joe's love for cutting hair with every tool available, wet or dry has made him a hard man to get an appointment with. When I started working with Joe over 4 years ago, he shared his vision and passion while nurturing me, the same way he was guided and taught by Mr. Orlando Pita. To all the other hairstylists in NYC I say, bow down bitches!!! LOL!!

Best Pedicure
Yes there’s all those fancy, schmancy spas with piranhas nibbling at your toes and organic, grass-fed cow milk to soak your feet in. Well if you just want a regular manicure and happen to be in Chelsea, stop by Bloomy Nails on 8thAvenue and 21st Street. Ask for Michael, he will get those toes looking like new. His attention to detail makes all the difference!

The AMC on 68th Street and Columbus offers big, soft, sofa-like seats that recline. The first time I sat one, I forgot I was in public and proceed to get "too comfortable." I quickly realized that I was not at home on my big sofa (that I don't own.) But you get the drift! You can also reserve a seat without the hassle of waiting in that long, annoying line or through the ticket machine that spits out a ticket at you. The staff is super friendly too!

Oh yes I'm old school like that. I get confused online with all the hype and sites promising you too much. I call Richard Pampinella at Kennedy Travel Service and he hooks me up in minutes, literally! I have never had a problem with his choices in destinations, hotels for flights as he knows the world like the palm of his hand. He specializes in travel to places that host carnival celebrations. He also specializes in gay travel destinations. Thanks buddy, I really appreciate you.

I hope this was helpful to both locals and visitors looking for a great experience in the Big (organic) Apple.

Thanks NYC you rock!!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Have You Heard Of The Lululemon Stepford Wife Syndrome (Of NYC)

As a hairstylist I am very fortunate to be part of an on-going, creative team backstage at NYC Fashion Week. There's nothing like watching incredible fashion and hairstyles come to life just before they hit the catwalk….and the rest of the world. It’s a crazy, yet ecstatic environment.

Once Fashion Week ends, people always ask, "So what do you see as the latest hair trends?" My response has become the same as my mentor who always says. "It really depends on how the public is inspired and how they interpret what they see."

I love that response. Because there is actually room for an individual to express themselves while being influenced by the big designers, being inspired from the street and elsewhere. And of course, in the past how could NYC not inspire so many?

However, are New Yorkers expressing themselves less and less by following so call trends, both for hair and clothing?

In my opinion, it seems that young people’s individuality is being sucked dry by society's obsession to look like a celebrity or follow so-called trends…trends which are being pimped out by the media daily.

Hmm…come to think of it, there is a Lululemon, Stepford wives syndrome happening in Manhattan. This group likes to consider themselves the privileged ones. During the day, some sport hair extensions, which have been curled with a big curling iron, a fad that died over 5 years ago, (but whose counting) and all cloaked under a baseball cap, with some Lulu Lemon tights.

Then at night, they run to the blow-dry bar and have their hair fluffed, throw on a cute, expensive dress and feel they are ready to rule the fashion world... Yawn.
continue being individuals.

My personal feeling is that following a trend is really a thing of the 80's. When a client sits in my chair, I do my best to inspire them and lead them away from the "new normal." Um hello? This is New York City girls!!

Here are two you women I saw on the corner of 9th ave and 14th street, just chilling having ice cream. I just had to capture this because they were working what they were feeling. The colors, the head wrap, the hair honey, and the attitude.

I urge you all to dare to be different like we used to be. Mess it up, mix it up or just don't give a hoot. Remember, celebrities are trying to be individuals. Don't give up your individuality trying to copy them.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Orlo Salon Celebrates 10 Years!!!!

A very happy anniversary to Orlo Salon owned by amazing Orlando Pita!! Orlo salon became my home over 5 years ago and my world of hair has changed forever. Orlo I wish you many more years of success and look forward to seeing you all soon!

Love you Orlando Pita!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thank You

Three years ago a phone call changed my life. After a painful, soul-searching year in Tobago and Miami, I promised the universe that I would commit to volunteer work. Having just moved back to NYC, a friend reached out and said she had two gallons of shampoo and conditioner from her salon that she needed to give away.

I saw this as my opportunity to fulfill my promise to the universe. I googled “homeless shelters for women.” The first one that popped up was A call was made.

When I met with the staff, which included Alyssa Montaya, I was nervous, vulnerable and emotional, but eager to listen to the voice in my head that was saying, "Ask for help…to help others!" I explained to eager ears that my hope was to share tips on beauty, self love and donate gift bags. I also explained a little bit about my own personal history and struggle with feelings of self worth and selfishness.

I explained that I would not be doing makeovers, but an inner beauty makeover. Beauty makeovers are wonderful and give people an incredible lift, but what happens next? Most of the time, our clients can't afford the products, don't have the time or the skill. How about giving them something they can build off of…a feeling of support from a stranger in the beauty industry helping them feel better as a person first.

The staff expressed similar values around how we should view our fellow brothers and sisters. It was very clear that I was in safe hands. Someone said, "First, we love the idea and are very open to seeing how it progresses. Our clients are very important to us and their well-being and safety comes first."

Those words were music to my ears and heart, but one word stood out…"clients." They did not say, people, women, or homeless. They said clients.

Since that first encounter, has been a pillar in my life. A pillar of support, respect and a prime example of how people should be treated no matter their race, class or sexual orientation.

Their commitment to protecting their clients showed itself in many ways. From their willingness to help volunteers, the availability to listen to ideas, the sensitivity to their clients needs and by just being open to me as an individual.

Over the years, together we have held a multitude of different workshops.  From yoga for teenage girls with, yoga for adults, personal fitness for women, skincare for teenage girls, fashion parties for both mothers and their teenage daughters (where we have personal shoppers helping each woman choose a beautiful outfit from clothes that were donated) and support for women in recovery from addiction.

But most of all, WIN gave me a gift that was priceless. They not only helped me grow as an individual, they helped me heal relationships that I thought I would never mend. They helped me beat my life long depression and have become my family.

As I embark on the next chapter of my life out of NYC, I will take all that you have taught me and apply it to help others around the world.


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Next New Vegan Haircare Miracle

Why is it that every time there is a new discovery around a fruit or vegetable providing health benefits, it shows up in a shampoo or hair product?
We've all seen the ad campaigns… 
"Do you want healthy shiny hair? Well try our new shampoo and conditioner infused with acai to revive damaged hair, leaving it shiny and healthy in just one use." Or "…with this aloe vera-infused shampoo, very dry hair can experience fast hydration!"
Honestly, as a professional in the beauty industry, when I see these ads, I feel sorry for the consumer. Many unsuspecting victims, who are looking for an answer to their hair problems, honestly believe that if it’s on TV or recommended by a magazine, it’s true. 
Well you may want to rethink and see those ads for what they are…the "reality tv of haircare." But like those shows, it's not all "real."
With all these food-based hair care products drowning the market, lets take a closer look at their list of ingredients. There’s coconut, green tea, bamboo, strawberries, olive, avocado, wheat, watermelon; the list goes on and on… (I'm starting to feel hungry.)  :)

What about the foods (also with amazing benefits) that you would never in a million years imagine could be added to a shampoo, conditioner or hair color? Here are a few products and ads I made up that you may see soon.

Hair color with quinoa contains proteins, which strengthen hair, while seeping into your body, preventing the need to actually eat quinoa. (Apparently it can stop hair color from fading so it has been added to shampoos and conditioners.) I almost fainted when I saw the product.

Cod liver oil has for centuries helped fight cholesterol with its incredible health benefits.  It can now be used on your hair, leaving it shiny like the scales of a fish, reflecting moisture in the atmosphere as if you were swimming in the ocean.
How about my super foods like watermelon? Now available in a hair mask (with or without seeds) it can add never-ending moisture to your hair without the annoying visits to the bathroom.

But my favorite is a kale and garlic daily conditioner. Not only does this combination have the approval of nutritionists and heart surgeons across America, it can grace your hair regimen, leaving you vampire-free and with hair that will never be constipated because of the high fiber content!! (I'm still giggling because I also stumbled upon a keratin and garlic shampoo!!)

Consumers, we need to stop being gullible and believing all these flashy ads. Often that amazing hair was transformed with either a wig or tons of extensions…and it’s often had some help from a computer to give it that incredible liquid flow that’s to die for (or die trying.)
Before you grab that new product ask yourself this these questions.
1) What am I (or my hairdresser) currently doing to my hair that maybe damaging it?
2) Who do I trust more, the celebrity on the TV screen whipping her hair back and forth with a fat check in her bank account or the hairdresser that you see regularly?  

3) Is my existing shampoo or conditioner working? Did it live up to its promises? And what were those promises?
4) Can these foods actually make a difference in my hair? Says who??
So the next time you see a hair ad telling you that they have revolutionized the use of lettuce in your hairspray, run!!! 
We should consider eating all these ingredients and maybe we will actually have better body and hair…


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Michael Kors Spring/Summer 2015

The last show this season on our lineup was Michael Kors. I always look forward to the casual, slept-in look we create for him, even though it’s never that easy. ;)

Yes it was a loose braid, but it had to be the right texture. It had to have a wave, but not an intentional wave. It should not resemble a bridesmaid-style braid!

I laughed when Orlando said that!

Orlando's new product, Lift and Plump Volumizing Spray Mist helped to achieve the texture and his Revive Dry Shampoo finished the look. What a great combo!!

Thanks to #Quentonjay (on instagram) for this photo of Orlando Pita conducting a hair orchestra! 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Working At Oscar De La Renta SS 2015

At the Oscar de la Renta show, the hair was all about “…the perfect ponytail,” as described by Orlando Pita. Using his own personal line of hair products, Plump and Lift, Straight 72, Revive Dry Shampoo and the Absolute Anti-Frizzing Shine Serum, we sent each model down the runway with hair that was flawless!

“It’s about prepping the hair first by blowdrying…and then designing your ponytail with hair spray only,” reminded Orlando. So no gels or waxes to create that sleek look…it has to look like hair you want to touch.

Once the hair was styled, we finished the look with Absolute Anti-Frizzing Shine Serum on the tail to keep it shiny and touchable. 

(Black and white photographs courtesy Quenton, follow him on instagram @quentonjay)

To purchase the Orlando's products, go to Beauty's Most Wanted, Costco  or Orlando Pita Haircare


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Working At Rosie Assoulin SS 2015

Yesterday at the Rosie Assoulin fashion show, we had so much fun with the hair. To complement her beautiful designs, Orlando Pita had us follow him in creating a rough, twisted knot. Why is it that messy hair is never easy as it looks to recreate?

This hairstyle was about being messy, loopy and hitting the back of the neck. Most importantly, it should NOT look like a bun. To prep the hair, we use a variety of products from “Beauty’s Most Wanted List” from Orlando’s hair care line…Lift and Plump, Straight 72 and Revive Dry Shampoo which were all amazing to work with!

All products are available at:
Orlando Pita Hair

On another note, as I moved from model to model, one of them asked me, “Where are you from?” I replied, “Trinidad,” and she screamed, “Trini!!” I had the lucky pleasure of meeting Trinidadian-born model, Akua Williams.

 Here’s a short video we made, paying tribute to all our beloved “Trinis” back home.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Assisting Orlando Pita At Carolina Herrera Ready-To- Wear- New York Fashion Week

Starting at 6am this morning, we knew we were in for a treat with the Carolina Herrera Spring/Summer 2015 runway show here at New York Fashion Week.

This season’s clothing line embodied a strong sense of Japanese shapes and style with a modern twist.

Orlando followed suit and presented us with a new masterpiece to create to complement the collection and the Biosilk Hair products to help achieve it. And boy…it took some strength to deliver his vision. As usual with his guidance we got it!!!

 Don't forget to follow Orlando Pita on Inatagram!

Great show Carolina Herrera! 


Assisting Orlando Pita at DVF New York Fashion Week SS 2015

This pretty much sums up yesterday’s show at DVF… 

Diane Von Furstenberg stood on a chair, just minutes before her runway show began and addressed all the models, “Ladies, you’re beautiful and confident….so smile, smile!”

Orlando Pita created a hairstyle that was based on Bridget Bardot, a sexy, inspired style with a twist!!

We blow dried each model’s hair and then set it with a curling iron. The magic is really in the way the brush is handled and the products are used. Thanks to Biosilk!!

                           Below are some images to give you the real effect of yesterday’s show. Don't                            forget to follow orlandopita on instagram!!!


Assisting Orlando Pita At Derek Lam New York Fashion Week 2015

Do-Rag Honey! Yassss!

Only Orlando Pita can bring realness to the mainstream catwalk. Today's hair style for Derek Lam was a head turner!  First we applied 
Phyto Phytovolume Actif spray throughout the hair and blow-dried it with a paddle brush. It was mainly dried to remove the waves (not to create perfect smoothness.) We then sprayed the crown of the head with Phyto Spray De Coiffage and tied the do-rag in place. 

Don't forget to follow Orlandopita on Instagram!

Once this was in place, we added Phyto Matte Texturizing Paste to the rest of the hair to achieve even more texture. This gave the overall hair style a very smooth, lacquered top.


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