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Every few years, I get it in my head that I want to grow my hair out really long. Then, after a couple of years of letting it grow, I remember that I don’t really like how I look with long hair, and I cut it all off. This has been going on since I was about 9 years old. Seriously. I don’t know why I keep thinking I’m going to love my hair when it’s long, because I never do. It’s a pain to take care of, it gets tangled and frizzy, it feels hot on my neck in the summer, and in the winter it’s a static-ridden mess.

I just am not a long hair person.

I’d had a hair appointment scheduled for a couple of months and didn’t really know what I wanted to have done, but on Monday morning I hit my breaking point. This was just WAY too much hair (for me). Also, change is good. Who wants to have the same haircut for years on end? Hair grows!

Inspiration:
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Photos from (L–R): Lula via Rubi Jones; Dia Frampton; Hello it’s Valentine

These are the photos I took with me to my haircut appointment on Monday evening. I like my bangs shorter than this, but the overall style is what I wanted. A short bob, parted on the side, with lots of layers and texture. For the past year or so I’ve been getting my hair cut (and colored) by the amazing Danielle Peters at Fox & Jane in Brooklyn, and she really nailed it. Getting 8″ of length cut off is a big deal no matter how open-minded you are when it comes to haircuts, but Danielle understands my hair type and my personal style and my grooming habits—so I trust her with my hair completely.

Speaking of grooming habits…

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Fox & Jane recently started using the R+Co. line exclusively in their salons, and as a packaging design enthusiast, I cannot stop ogling all of these tubes and bottles. I inclination is to always choose styling products based on how they’ll look in my bathroom (heh), but Danielle steered me toward four products from the line that will help give my hair the beachy, textured, messy look that I like. In order of application: Dallas thickening spray, Chiffon styling mousse, Jackpot styling creme, and Death Valley dry shampoo. That might seem like a lot of stuff to be putting in my hair, but I’m a product-lover. My hair is also pretty fine and fluffy, and it needs a boost in order to look like it has substance. I’ve tried going days on end without washing in order to get that effect naturally, but unwashed hair and I just don’t work together. New York City can be gross, so I want to wash New York City off of my head at least 4 or 5 times a week. My hair is in relatively good condition, so I’m not worried about it being too much. For me, dry shampoo is more about getting texture and thickness than it is putting off shampooing.

See that curling iron? That’s an optional item, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it! I have a Hot Tools 1-inch barrel iron, purchased after taking note of what Danielle uses in the salon. On most days I just blow-dry my bangs and let the rest dry naturally, but if I want a little extra wave, I can throw in a few curls here and there. Danielle showed me the trick: Alternate directions (under/over) as you work your way around your head, only curl the top layer, and let the ends hang out of the clamp so they stay straight. That’s it!

p.s. While looking through my “haircuts” tag, I just noticed how similar this cut is to one I had in 2008. A little looser, though, which I think flatters my (fuller/aging) face a bit better. Also, allow me to quote myself from 7 years ago: “I don’t think I am a long-hair person, though I keep trying it out every few years.” HAH! HAH! I am such a broken record.

I thought about titling this post “ME ME ME ME ME ME (and a little more ME),” because let’s face it—this is a whole bunch of ME. I don’t post a lot of photos of myself on the blog, I guess because it just always feels awkward. I hate having my picture taken by other people, and I don’t like taking a photo of myself unless the camera/phone is visible in the picture as well. Having the camera visible makes the resulting photo less about documenting the subject and more of a marker of that specific moment—which is the act of taking the photo.

Am I over-thinking it? Maybe, but all of that over-thinking made me realize something: I am my own design project. Here are some Instagram snaps from over the past few weeks.

So yeah. I mean…I pretty much look like my house. I don’t really draw any distinction between designing myself and designing anything else. I have a set of limitations that I need to work with, and a knowledge of how to use certain tools and materials in order to achieve the results I want. I never think about what would be perceived as “sexy” or whatever, that’s just not something I’m concerned with. I do like to look attractive, of course, but for me physical attractiveness (in anyone) is determined not by a specific set of features, but by a series of proportions, contrasts, textures and colors—exactly the same things that make a room or a book cover or a garden appealing to me.

OH, AND: Here’s me matching my dorm room 18 years ago.

I’m curious: How about you? Do you “match” your home? If you’re an artist or designer, do you feel like there’s a correlation between your professional work and, say, your hair?

Is it just me, or it next to impossible to snap back into work mode this year? Maybe it’s because I took two weeks in a row off in December, but I just don’t feel like I’m fully present and engaged in what I need to be doing every day. I think the weather might be partly to blame—it’s been unseasonably mild in lower New York this year, and I constantly feel like it’s either late fall or early spring. I’m just sort of floating from one day to the next.

I did just have a really great weekend, though. Jen from Honey Kennedy came to stay at my house in Newburgh for three whole days, and we had a wonderful time. Jen is terribly sweet and funny and really, really nice to be around (just ask Fritz and Bruno, who fell deeply and madly in love with her), and I’m happy to have finally met her in person.

Aside from holding the very first semester of Anna’s School for Unicorns (a.k.a Photoshop classes), I also made us some very very thick and rich and spicy and almost too delicious hot cocoa using Vosges Aztec Elixer. And tofu scramble. And burnt kale chips. And reheated pizza. I’m pretty sure it was like going away to a fancy resort for Jen! (Or, um, not…)

I got my hair cut again, too. More of the same! I’ve been back to Mariko at Dlala Salon four times now since I got the best haircut ever 8 months ago, and that has to be a record for me in terms of frequency. Can I add that NOT ONCE have I taken a pair of manicure scissors to my bangs in a fit of midnight desperation since I started seeing Mariko? Her cuts look so good growing out that I don’t have to.

It’s pretty neat having LONG hair, too! I haven’t had this much hair since I was a freshman in high school, which was…um…23 years ago. I’m going to just let it keep growing. Now that I know about layers and deep parts and stuff, it’s nice to have waves and partial buzz cuts and long bangs.

On a side note, I just want to put this reminder out there: Much like paint is just paint, HAIR IS JUST HAIR. The great thing about it is that even if you do something stupid and it looks terrible, you can always just cut your hair short and eventually it’ll grow out. As a side bonus, you get to have a million different hairdos as it gets longer. If you want a fun haircut, get a fun haircut. It’s just hair.

Fritz turned four years old a few days ago. I can’t believe he’s four already! It seems like it was just yesterday that were were bringing home this insanely adorable, sleepy lump of fur. He was so cute! (And then he ate our sofa.) Fritzy is so good now. Yes, he has his moments when he does an ultra-annoying Chewbacca/seagull vocal impersonation for seemingly no reason at all and for lengths of time that are highly unnecessary, but he’s a total snuggle bug and just an all-around great dog. He’s also really warm and he likes to sleep under the covers at night, so our heating bill is less with him around. And he’s still really cute.

Oh, clothes! I found that nice triangle-print shirt at Target! The proportions really aren’t as weird as the photo on their website makes it look. It’s quite flattering, actually. And Martha has a the same one of course.

Yeah, that’s a new black + white iPhone case. I ordered one from Society6 because I’ve been thinking about selling some stuff through them and I wanted to know what the quality is like, and I’ll be honest…as cute as the illustration (by Dawn Gardner, whose work I love) on my new case is, the quality is really, really sub-par. I’ve had a capsule case from Uncommon since I got my phone in May (that’s the multicolored one in the top photo, designed by Marco Cibola), and I love it. The plastic is smooth, strong and durable; the edges are smooth and comfortable to hold; and the design is actually embedded in case. The case from Society6 is unbelievably flimsy, and you can literally scratch the printed image off with your fingernail. I fully expect it to look terrible in a couple of months. Both cases were about $40, and while that’s pretty steep for something so small and made out of plastic, it’s definitely way too much for the ones from Society6. Bummer! It’s definitely cute, though, so I’ll keep using it until it breaks.

UPDATE: Society6 contacted me after reading this post, and they have very kindly offered to send me a replacement case as they believe I may have been sent a defect. Fingers crossed that the new one is better. I’ll update this post when I receive it!

UPDATE 2: I received the replacement and it’s exactly the same. The quality is too poor for me to recommend it, sadly. It should also be noted that Society6 has a no-return policy except in the case of defects, so if you’re disappointed by a product upon arrival, you’re out of luck.

UPDATE 3: I purchased a new case from Society6 in July 2013 for my iPhone 5, and it’s MUCH better quality. You can read my updated review here.

(Like I said, RAMBLY.)

Okay, first of all, someone really needs to offer a course in “how to not look like a complete loser while taking photos of yourself for your blog in the office bathroom”. I will sign up immediately and I will study hard, I promise. Seriously, I don’t know what’s wrong with me—the second I turn the camera on myself, I forget how how my face works and I start doing some weird smirky half-smile and looking off into the distance or up at the ceiling. And of course I’m doing this really quickly so nobody walks into the bathroom while I’m taking pictures of myself. (Can you imagine? But the lighting is so flattering in there.) Ugh. Anyway. Sorry.

So! I got this great haircut last week, and I’m pretty excited about it. It’d been almost a full year since my last haircut (I can’t believe that post is from a year ago…woah), and after three stylists in a row split town on me, I was holding out until I found just the right new person to supernaturally change me. I got a recommendation by way of my friend Laurel in Austin, who has a friend in NYC with great haircuts. Sometimes these roundabout references are the best kind, and that was the case this time! Reviews on Yelp confirmed the recommendation, and I booked an appointment.

My fabulous new stylist is Mariko at Dlala Salon on the Lower East Side. Mariko spent a lot of time with me before she started cutting, talking about how I imagine my hair looking (rad!), whether it matters what my hair looks like for work (nope!), and how much time I spend styling my hair in the mornings (not much!). Before she even stuck my head under the faucet, she’d made sure she had a really clear idea of what I wanted, and told me what she thought would look best on me while keeping my vision in mind.

These are the two images I had in mind most when I walked into the salon. The one on the left was drawn by the wonderful illustrator Paule Trudel Bellemare (she did that great drawing of Fritz, remember?), and the one on the right is me…16 years ago. While I wasn’t looking for something quite so extreme as what 19-year-old me was sporting at Disneyland that summer, I did want to keep the spirit of that haircut in mind. Paule’s illustration came much closer to what I was hoping for.

(Funny to read this post now! I really have no new ideas, do I? I might as well be a teenager again.)

Mariko thought it would be better to make the short part of my hair a bit more subtle, and I think she was right. At first glance, it’s easy to miss that my hair is very short on one side—it almost looks like it’s just tucked behind my ear! I love that. She also managed to cut my bangs exactly the way I’ve always wanted (but no other stylist has ever really understood), and she cut the perfect amount of layers into my long hair so that it dries with soft, easy waves with almost no effort.

This cut really feels like me. Next time I might go even shorter on the short side! I’m still getting used to being totally exposed on one side of my face since I’m so accustomed to hiding behind my hair (I never wear my hair back in public), but I’ll get there. I’m grateful to Mariko for being so patient with me and really listening to what I wanted. I’m definitely going back—I just hope she doesn’t wind up moving away like everyone else who’s cut my hair!

My old stylist moved to the other side of the world, so today I got a haircut from Lisa at Fringe on Broome Street for the first time. The salon is super cute, the staff is very sweet, and Lisa did a great job. I’ll be going back to her again for sure.

I’m also modeling my new sunglasses from Anne et Valentin (this is the “Hello” style). I’m really bad about wearing sunglasses even though I know I’m supposed to, but since these are so crazy cool and fancy (check out the detail on the frames—love those ridges), I’m hoping I’ll be more inclined to put them on.

Fringe is conveniently located next door to Babycakes, an all-vegan bakery. Right now there are vegan carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes chilling in my refrigerator, waiting for it to be dessert-time…

Post-haircut, I headed over to Teany, (formerly) Moby’s vegetarian cafe and tea house. Teany had a fire last year and were closed for a long, long time afterward, and this was my first visit post-renovation. It’s not quite as cute is it used to be (I guess because there are a lot of new materials in there and it’s not as charmingly ramshackle as it once was), but the food is still REALLY, REALLY GOOD. Between 2002 and 2006, I ate so many of their vegan “turkey” club sandwiches that it’s kind of absurd. I actually don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything else (though I’ve eaten plenty of nibbles off of other people’s plates!), and today was no different.

A couple of months ago, a D16 reader asked if I was in the Teany book. I’d never seen it before, so I actually had NO idea that I am indeed in there! I saw a copy on a shelf at Teany today, so I took a picture of the page with my photo so you can see how goofy I look when someone else takes my picture. I guess I was having a bad bangs day, too!! I vaguely remember a Teany employee taking my picture years ago and asking me to fill out a little survey, but I never questioned what it was for. Hah!

On my way out, I stopped to take a photo of the floor in Teany’s bathroom. Look familiar??!! So funny.

My giant cowl-necked sweater is hiding the fact that my hair is now SHORT, but trust me, it is. I was inspired to go short/messy by my beautiful friend Leah (who, in turn, was inspired by Lily Allen’s recent spread in Nylon). My hair isn’t as thick as Leah’s or Lily’s, sadly, and my bangs were already too short to duplicate the style exactly, but the length and choppiness are exactly what I had in mind.

Last April I started getting my hair cut by Pattie at Soon Beauty Lab, but she’s since left the salon and moved to another state (ack!). I called Soon and asked them to recommend someone else who’s good with short cuts on straight hair, and they suggested that I see Tina. Well, let me tell you, Tina is AWESOME. She totally loves what she does, too, and she’s not ashamed to express that. I have a feeling Tina is going to be cutting my hair for a good, long time. I just have to make sure she never moves!

I have had pretty much the same haircut (with slight variations) since I was 3 years old. Maybe longer, even, but this example from 1978 is the earliest I can find. Every now and then I try something different, but it always comes back to blunt bangs, cut short enough that the expanse of skin above my brows is roughly equivalent to size of my eyelids. I noticed the consistency of that proportion a few years ago, and I do my best to maintain it.

When my bangs get too long, I get crabby. Trims usually happen past midnight, in a fit of frustration and inability to wait for an appointment with a professional. That’s where I was last night, after watching Project Runway sandwiched by DNC speeches by Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.

Now I feel like me again.

I keep forgetting to take photos of the new haircut! Which actually isn’t so new anymore, and has already grown in a little bit. Getting the bangs cut asymmetrically was a smart choice—it works with my cowlick! I feel so much better with my hair shorter. I don’t think I am a long-hair person, though I keep trying it out every few years.

This isn’t the greatest photo of my new hair because it’s sort of tucked to the side so it looks shorter in the back than it actually is, but I’m very happy with how it came out. Of course it looked more perfectly perfect immediately after the appointment (hairdressers have that special blow-drying skill that I have yet to master in my own home), but this is day-after reality!

Pattie at Soon Beauty Lab was great, and the whole experience was definitely worth repeating. It was also one of the cheapest haircuts I’ve had in my life ($50!), so I really don’t have any excuse for not going back to get regular trims. I have to stop with the late-night self-trims. She could tell that I’d been butchering it!

A side bonus of Soon is that they are dog-friendly. There was a very, very sweet little Havanese (I think she may have been a mix, because she was tiny) named Boo snoozing on the chair next to me the whole time. People who love dogs and think they should be a part of everyday working life automatically get extra good-person points from me!

Many thanks to all who replied to this post from me few weeks ago with great suggestions for hairdressers in NYC. After much mulling, I finally decided to make an appointment for 6:00 PM today with Pattie at Soon Beauty Lab. Five hours to go!

I’m bringing along a montage of photos of Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara. I’ve never even listened to them (actually I’m listening to something right now online, and…well, I think my appreciation begins and ends with the haircut, oh well), but I saw this haircut while searching for photos of blunt bangs, and WOW! It’s a great cut. I always feel kind of goofy bringing along photos to the hairdresser, but surely that’s the easiest way to communicate what I want, right?

I’m also going to have a discussion with her regarding hair color, and what can be done about mine. I’ve been dying my hair for 19 years (!)—black for about 15 of them—and I’m sort of curious about how I might look with a totally different color. Say, pastel blonde. Who knows? If I do it and I hate it, I can always make it black again.

I’m nervous! I always get this way before a haircut. Tick, tock…