Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Commitment To Helping Others

I would like to share with my readers a very exciting moment in my life. I was recently awarded the Suzanne Pincus award from the WIN (Women in Need) organization for my dedication to helping families in homeless shelters.

What gratitude I feel for this recognition! However, I am even more grateful to families at WIN that have changed my life forever. They continuously show love and share their wisdom. Their stories are with me and for that, I will forever be changed.

A big thanks to all my donors who have supported my workshops, helping others in times of struggle. A special thanks to Orlando Pita and Orlo Salon for their continuos love and support!!

(Above standing with 2 amazing staff from WIN, Alyssa Montoya & Cierra Jordan.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Getting Ready For Fashion Week NYC Spring/Summer 2015!!

As we prepare to head to the Fashion Week NYC in a few weeks lets take a look back at some images over the years working with the amazing Orlando Pita!!! Stay tuned for whats hot with images as they happen behind the scenes!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Orlando Pita Hair Mask

I have tried and tested many hair masks over the past 15 years. Some I loved and some were, well, good enough. Today I share with you the Orlando Pita Hair Mask, a hair mask that works! 

Do you have dry, frizzy hair that's color treated? How about thick hair? By that I mean hair so thick, it takes a few minutes before water hits your scalp. And let's not forget double processed hair. If you fit any of these descriptions, then I have a hair mask that will work wonders.
This hair mask delivers fast nourishment, tames frizzing and makes it easier to blow dry hair. What else do we need in life? ;)

Hair tip #1
If you use a lot of silicones, Moroccan oils or any other oils in your hair, I recommend getting a clarifying shampoo. Why?

Most women who use oils and silicones have buildup on their hair and scalp. It can be caused by excessive product use, a shampoo that's too moisturizing (not enough cleaning action), or not rinsing out shampoos and conditioners enough.
In other words everyone should have two shampoos, one recommended by your stylist and a clarifying one. I recommend the Phyto Phytoneutre Clarifying Shampoo. It's not over-priced and yet contains loads of natural ingredients. If you want your new hair mask to work, then give it a chance by starting with a clean head of hair.

Hair tip #2
For thick hair, use a clarifying shampoo every 3 – 4 days. For color-treated hair, mix with a little bit of regular shampoo to dilute. This is to avoid color fading.
If you have hair that's dry, fine and brittle, only use a clarifying shampoo every 6-8 weeks. Mix your clarifying shampoo with your regular shampoo to weaken the clarifying shampoo a bit. This little tip will make all the difference before applying a great hair mask.

Shampoo and rinse your hair, squeezing out as much water as possible. For thick hair apply generously throughout. It's a big jar and a little goes a long way so lather that hair baby! (The thickness of the hair will determine how much product you should use.
With a super wide-tooth comb, start combing from the ends, to the scalp. Rinse very well, by well I mean don't leave any residue in your hair thinking it will help. Your hair will have already absorbed all the nutrients it needs.
FYI - I don’t have any advertising on my blog, so their are no kick backs…just my honest opinions on products that I tried over time and that actually work!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Difference Between Giving-back And Giving

A friend recently asked a question about a quote I said. "Remember it's about giving not giving-back."

I thought it deserved an answer.
After researching the definitions of both words, I found that there was not much difference. However the literal meaning of words, can sometimes have a very different meaning when expressed verbally.

To me the words "giving back" in a sentence goes like this: "I really should do volunteer work and give back for what I have received in life."

Personally I feel this means "Since I've received something, I should take the action to return it." I'm not sure when the term "giving back" originated, but it's not very helpful. Saying it can sound like an action, when the action really is the word giving. Don't get me wrong, overall it's a noble gesture, but maybe a different approach can be taken? For example..

"I really should GIVE to my fellow man in need of help," or "Although I have a roof over my head and my life is miserable, maybe I really should focus less on my troubles and GIVE to those who have less."

What's the "back" part about? And when we say it do we actually do it?  Or do we wait to receive something else to remind us once more that we should be "giving back?"
I believe if we start saying, I want to GIVE, we will be faced with a huge question. The first is, do I honestly want to give? The second, do I fully understand the meaning of giving? I know I don't...

And what it is that stops us from giving? From my own experience the biggest problem was myself.

In my heart I wanted to do what was best but I was afraid of where to begin. Which charity should I donate to? Who should I help? I pondered that question for years without actually lifting a finger.

 And if I started and couldn't handle it emotionally, I will feel like a failure!

Another favorite was, "I actually have nothing to give."

Eventually the pattern was obvious. Fear was standing in my way (and some judgement).

So how did get over my fears? Desperation is the answer.

Have you ever felt like your life has no meaning no matter how much so-call fun you have or no matter how much stuff you accumulate?

Have you ever felt suicidal, tired of being depressed and wanting a way out, not even strong or brave enough to do it? (Whatever "it" is...)

I definitely have! For most of my life I was crippled with depression, often thinking "I can't take this anymore." No one really knew but the few people I shared my secret with.

After being desperate enough, I walked into a hospice to volunteer, a recommendation by my late friend Dale from Miami. His words actually were, "Dude, even in the midst of your depression all you can do is think about yourself. Try thinking about someone else!"

I was pissed. How the hell could he be so insensitive??

He was right.

I realized I was blinded by self-pity and blaming others for my troubles.  From the minute I walked into the hospice, I forgot about myself. I had no idea what lay ahead but I knew it was better than my present state of mind.

The appreciation I received for being there, by the staff and patients, I had never felt before.
While I thought it was a one-way street, (me helping them) it actually worked both ways. They were healing my depression.

Three years later my depression has vanished! The combination of giving and thinking less of myself lead to a spiritual awakening. 

Over the years I realized it would take more than therapy to beat my depression. (10 years later I still see and love my therapist.) Anti- depressants was another help. I'm not advocating them. However I will advocate volunteer work. Being in recovery from addiction, was another key for me. It opened the door to being available to show up for volunteer work.

What can I say...if you're desperate enough you'll do what is suggested, it may change your life. It changed mine.

Today I'm a happy man. I love helping others, I love my family, I love my job and I look forward to living.

If you have any comments on this please feel free to reach out.


Monday, April 21, 2014

The Least Stressful Job In 2014, Please!

The Wall Street Journal recently published a post on the most & least stressful jobs in 2014, based on rankings from The report places hair stylist as #2 on the least stressful list.

Let me clear my throat for a second…actually give me 10 minutes.

WSJ, I generally enjoy your articles but your research team must have spoken to a hairdresser on a beach in Hawaii who had just taken a puff of "the good stuff."

Now don't get me wrong, I love my job. However, as an established stylist, it's still stressful. Allow me to provide some insight on how “easy” it was to get to where I am today.

The minute you finish beauty school and start assisting at a salon, the stress begins. No one can prepare you for this, not even the hair gods. Some hair dressers tend to be diva-ish, they think it's their birthright. (I crack myself up.)

As an assistant you are at the bottom of the food chain and have to eat mucho humble pie. You see everyone doing hair and making major money, but because you have not put in your 2 years (at least) you have to be patient. It’s common practice to assist a busy hairstylist till midnight and get a $1 as a token of appreciation.... (Tears!!!)

The training process of "actually doing hair" on humans is extremely difficult. You think you are talented only to realize you have two left hands and eight fingers. Although training on actual clients is an amazing learning experience, you can ruin a client’s hair and still have to pretend it looks fabulous. "It's hair, it grows!" Well tell that to the person who is missing a piece of hair that's now on the floor...(Constipation!!!)

After the trial period is over, you finally get on the floor to start working with clients and the next level of pressure is on. You realize you have no more tips from shampooing and/or a basic assistant salary. Now you're sitting, waiting for clients, with your mouth wide open catching flies, with no money to pay your rent. Sounds little stressful right? This can go on for a full year depending on how much walk-in traffic the salon has.

Seeing another hairstylist being super-friendly with the front desk and getting all the new clients, can be very distressing. But it happens all the time.

Now for most, building up a clientele is rewarding. At this point you realize you're not only a creative being, you're a sales person.

In many salons (not all) your creative skills are also measured by how you can convince women to get services "they don't need" and selling a certain amount of products per client (3-6 items.) Some may believe this is perfectly normal (I once did.) However it is possible to build a clientele by being honest; the problem is the salon may not think so. Major upselling as opposed to being creative can be incredibly stressful when the security of your job depends on it. 

Upselling is a term used in the industry to sell products or services to clients that they don't need. If they need one product, you have to sell them three or more. That way they will at least buy one. Years ago during a coloring class an educator said, "If you get every client to want highlights, you'll be a rich man." Translation - offer it to as many people as you can, even if their hair is at risk. (This part is so sad and stressful....)

Now here's the really hard part. Cultivating people-pleasing skills. When you're new on "the floor" it’s frustrating when you don't have the knowledge that comes with time. If you're a plastic surgeon, I'm assuming you will not operate on someone till the government, your supervisors and peers think you're ready. With hair it's not so strict, even after getting your license. 

Then there's the myth that as a hairstylist, I'm a therapist. I have a therapist, so I always recommend to clients that they find their own.

In today's world with the media, press and the beauty industry putting pressure on women to look like anyone but themselves; it all adds more stress to your chair. You have to talk clients off the cliff of "I'm not beautiful," or "I want to look like her." (Generally a celebrity)

You must possess the gift of "being honest" while being respectful and encouraging. Not as easy as it sounds, especially if you work in a salon where you need to sell, sell, sell.  Getting a client to see her own individual beauty takes time and patience.

Then you have the client whose happiness depends on their hair and overall appearance. They want their hair to remove all of life's insecurities, solve all of life's problems and save them from the inevitable. (Pressure!)

They may be genuinely nice people, but their dependence on their appearance makes it impossible to make them happy. I get it though. Once upon a time, I too was racked with major insecurities and a lack of self-love.

Then you have the clients that are a breeze. They are realistic, daring and confident. This generally covers a large group.

Keep in mind that you are as good as your last hair cut. So you need to always be on point, ahead of the game and anticipate your clients’ needs.

To wrap things up I want to remind everyone that there is no advertising on my blog, so I can be very honest. Also I'm here to support my co-workers and clients equally. 

I'm blessed to be in a salon where I can express myself creatively first. I'm not perfect but the support is there and that keeps me humble, honest and constantly learning.


Monday, April 7, 2014

I Am Malala- Inspiring Girls In Homeless Shelters

As some of you may know I've been asking friends to donate one book in particular for my workshops with teenage girls in the NYC shelter system. That book is I Am Malala, The Girl That Was Shot In Her Head By The Taliban

One day, while doing my standard workshop, I decided to change the flow and read a few paragraphs from this book. While reading, I noticed some of the girls were in shock, some had tears in their eyes, but I had their full attention. They were in awe that a 16 year-old girl would stand up to the Taliban because she believed in education for all.

When I was done there was a silence. The girls were inspired that someone their own age could be so brave. Words cannot describe their faces in that moment.

I then asked, “Is there anything they would like to see changed in their communities?” Before I could finish, one girl shouted "Gun violence!"  "More support for teen moms raising a child," said another. Then one tiny 12 year-old girl said, "…bullying against children who live in homeless shelters." My heart literally broke.

Next I asked them, "Do you think you have the power to change these things?” I could see the frustration in their faces as they thought about the question.

We discussed ways each girl could inspire friends and their families to help create ideas to make a change. We discussed the power of organizing within the shelter to create a stronger, unified voice.

In the end I gave each girl a copy of the book. They were ecstatic!

So far I have done two workshops using this book to inspire girls at two
different shelters. I hope to get more copies and spread her message to even more

Want to know more about Malala? Here's a video of Malala’s interview on John Stewart’s, The Daily Show. It’s pretty incredible.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

From Runway To Everyday

These two looks are inspired by the hair from Carolina Herrera Fall 2014 RTW and Elie Saab from his haute couture show in Paris 2014. Both looks were originally created by Orlando Pita.

Look 1
The first look is a high chignon. I decided to alter the shape and technique a bit for everyday.

First I made a tight, clean ponytail. Using a packet of hair, I purchased at the Wig Shop on 14thstreet, I cut it in half without unraveling all the hair

 I pinned one half above the ponytail and one half below.
I then curled the hair with the T3 Body Waver to seal the cuticle adding shine and bounce to the ponytail. You can see it on the table:)

Next I wrapped the three pieces into a bun. It's very important to use hair pins as you work, as it's the only way you’ll have control.
After pinning the bun in place, you can literally squeeze the entire chignon into a shape that flatters you.

Look 2
The second style looks simple but was a pain in the ass! Lol! I'm not perfect… :)

I removed the bun, brushed the hair out and sprayed some Revive Dry Shampoo by Orlando Pita.

I started by taking a section from ear to ear (above the top of the head).

Next I flat-ironed the back section of her hair using my new SinglePass Flatiron from T3 and back-combed the crown for volume.

I made a short, clean center part. Then I rolled the two front sections about 2 inches above the ear. To get rid of the two pieces (or tails) of hair you're left with after rolling, simply pin them underneath the back section (at the back if the head.)

Looks good…however I need to chat with Orlando Pita to perfect this.

Photographer Jiyang chen
Makeup Gina Daddona