I am by no means, a fashion/beauty blogger. Sometimes, I dabble and by dabble I mean that I constantly seek for the best quality services as well as the more reliable resources of information. I did thoroughly enjoy attending the DRESSBAR event hosted by J’s Everyday Fashion. The hardest part has been the trial and error in my search for my ultimate Orlando-based glam squad. I chalk up binge watching The League for driving me to draft my fantasy glam squad based upon Orlando-area businesses, but with the underscore of friendship in mind. When I lived in NSB, I would drive into Orlando in search for the best places and muses to help me work on my confidence game. Don’t misunderstand. It isn’t that I am uncomfortable in my own skin. In a world where presentation is an essential key to success, I simply want to learn better presentation techniques so i can put my best foot forward.
Born in upstate New Jersey, I started calling South Florida home in summer 1989. I attended UF from 1997-2001, and called Gainesville home for six years. After living in Japan, working in upstate New York, and hopping around the map as a globe-trotting stewardess, I started calling Central Florida home in December 2012. Ever since my parents moved to New Smyrna Beach, I turned toward Orlando when searching for the mainstays of my beauty routine. Over the last five years, I’ve hunted for my golden team, and slowly but surely, I am solidifying and locking in my line up.
Hair: Alchemy (Orlando, FL)
I have to credit my beautiful sister for introducing me to the hair styling slayers and mane tamers at Alchemy. Bailey, and her colleagues, Jen, Sara, LT, and some killer assistants at Alchemy, aren’t merely stylists, they’re family. Since my first visit to Alchemy in 2010, I haven’t let any other salon touch my hair. When I want to freshen up my hair style or go for a completely dramatic color, I scramble to schedule my appointment because I refuse to go anywhere else.
The boldest style I selected was back in 2013, when I asked Bailey to give me a two tone color where the shorter top layers were a dark brown and the longer pieces were a fiery orange. At the time, I was flying and extreme hairstyles were considered out of compliance with the uniform guidelines. I jokingly attached the moniker “Color Mullet” to my hairstyle because when I was on the corporate clock, I would wear it swept up in a bun, hiding all the orange, but when downtime came around, I could let my hair down and show off my personality. I’d like to think I have a wild streak buried way down beneath my mild, responsible exterior.
I love being a brunette and a redhead. I look ghastly with raven hair and I make a terrible blonde.
When it came to the coloring game, I always brought a picture because I know zilch about fashion trends, mores when it comes to hair style. Previous celebrities whose looks I requested included Christina Hendricks, Kristen Kreuk, Jessica Biel, and Stephanie McMahon. In between radical color changes, I tend to color my hair with the dreaded boxed color and do my best to maintain my color by following the prescribed protocol, including taking ice cold showers to ensure that I was stripping out the color too soon. One of my favorite things about Alchemy (aside from the amazing staff and the wonderful hot tea they serve) is that they provide a recommended product analysis for the hair type of their clients. I love the Bumble and bumble products, and they make it so easy to stock up on products, too.
I’m still working on figuring out how to style my hair. After I volunteered to participate in a hair cut seminar in January, I’m working on growing my hair back out. I do not regret lopping off my hair because after years of coloring and regularly frying it with old hotel hair dryers, I was long overdue to start from scratch. I’m really missing that ombre look, I wonder is there is a Winter 2015-2016 version of it. My goal for 2016 is to find the right products for curling my thin but dense hair as well as mastering a proper blow out style. I know there are plenty of places in Orlando which can do either, but I want to be able to do it myself, so it isn’t a once-in-a-very-blue-moon sort of occasion.
Brows: Oh La La! Brow Bar & Waxing Studio (Orlando, FL)
In January, I unwittingly got my brows butchered at a local nail salon. I ignored the cardinal rules of doing my research and judging a technician’s ability by the quality of their work. My brows were in the throws of winter coat to help keep my forehead warn during all those Minneapolis and Detroit layovers. “Would you like me to do you brows, too?” she asked while I laid there blissed out from my long-over due facial for my winter-dried skin. “Sure!” I chirped, completely oblivious to her lack of arch or brow definition.
Ten minutes later, I wandered out of the salon, heart broken.
My over-enthusiastic salon tech butchered my brows, making one far thinner and shorter than the other! My forehead got scalped, and I groggily still paid the full price for my service. Swearing I’d never go back to that salon for anything but nails, I polled my friends to see who they used. Since 2011, I had gone to Benefit Brow Bars, but every single one in Orlando managed to disappointment me with mediocre service. I had been to three different locations ranging from Sanford all the way down to the Mall at Millennia, and the only one with on par, consistent service was Winter Park Village (located inside the Ulta) because I always managed to get the same brow specialist. My greatest frustration that there weren’t any brow bars in the part of town where I lived, so I ventured outside of my comfort zone, and entrusted the word of mouth marketing from some very discerning Ladies of Orlando: my Yelp* Sisters.
Working my way toward complete eyebrow rehabilitation!
My gal pal recommended Oh La La Brow Bar and Waxing Studio in the midst of my hunt for my search for a brow rehab facility in The City Beautiful. One day, I got a bunch of tags on Instagram suggesting I check out OLL. Why? Because this tiny local business was responsible for the unbelievably strong brow game of the WWE NXT Divas, including Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke, Lana, Alexa Bliss, Tough Enough winner Sara Lee, and former diva Devin Taylor (now Brittany Fetkin). Move over, magical Disney Cosmetology Department, I’ve unlocked the secret to the best brow game on the block.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received from a brow master goes to Natasha on my first visit: “Next time, bring in a picture of the brows you want just like you would your hair.” I hadn’t even thought of something so simple as bringing in a picture! I confided in Natasha on my first visit that the photos of her and Jessica’s work on the WWE NXT divas was the reason I decided to come in. Some may laugh at the common sense behind the statement, but it simply didn’t dawn on me to do this. In my subsequent visits, Natasha and Jessica helped with maintenance as well as developing a regrowth plan to help my wimpy brow. The hardest part in between visits was simply allowing my brows to grow with wild abandon. When I was flying, I would adhere to a strict 6-week maintenance cycle, including chasing up layovers with a brow bar in close proximity. So when I was told the average hair follicle cycle was 90-days, I came to the startling realization that I would need to shift my grooming schedule from a rigid regimen to a quarterly affair.
Although my fancy TweezerMan slanted tweezers begged and pleaded to be put to work as my brows grew in, I resisted temptation and adhered to my Brow Sages’ advice. There were times where my travel tweezers whispered, beckoning to just let them take a hair or two, but I shut that down. It has been a battle of epic proportions, working toward the highly coveted “Brows on Fleek” (on point; looking very strong) status. Slowly, but surely with the guidance of this fabulous team, I’ll get there. I just have to master the Jedi power of patience.
Makeup: Currently Recruiting!!
I want to learn how to master makeup. I have my work day routine down to a science. After several years of flight crew life, I managed to get my daytime game face on in less than ten minutes. When it comes to makeup brands, my go to brands are Urban Decay, Benefit, MAC Cosmetics and Too Faced. In between my fancy shadow palettes, I divide my drug store loyalty between Revlon, CoverGirl, and Neutrogena for the items I use regularly. While I have stockpiled palettes with vibrant color, a combination of living in Japan and working for a commercial airline has relegated my color preferences to neutral colors.
Sephora and Ulta are my mainstays when it comes to holiday gift cards, but what I really want to discover is someone who can teach me how to master that every elusive smokey-eye, the art of the perfect wing-tipped liner, or the perfect, smudge-and-budgeproof ruby red lip. I’ve chased up YouTube tutorials, but there are so many of them that I feel like a schooner tossed amongst the waves. I don’t want to spend $500 one makeup and tools to be able to begin to learn how to do this. I want to use what I have without buying similar items. I have the basic tools, I just need someone to teach me! My local muse is makeup artist Nicole Dupre also known as The Empress of Orlando. She’s encouraged me to work on trying out the bold, red lip, and I can’t thank her enough!
Nails: Marilyn Monroe Spas
Part of my Blog Fete swag bag included a $25 voucher for services at the Marilyn Monroe Spas’ North Mills Avenue location. In preparation for my friends’ wedding, I cashed in, getting a manicure and pedicure. After the butchering of my brows at the nail salon near my house, I attempted shopping around for a better salon experience. Today, I discovered the place I want to plan my future manicure endeavors. Unlike the standard spa experience with snug chairs which almost feel like they are on top of one another with a merciless, unrelenting machine massage, MMS has the equivalent of an Adirondack lounger without the grind of a built-in massage.
Emma, my nail technician, was very informed about the products available and not only made quick, efficient work, but also refused to sacrifice quality. One of my favorite things about finding the ideal spa experience is value compounded with an air of relaxation. Unlike many countless other spas, there was no loud phone chatter, blaring music or television as background noise, or overwhelmingly cramped salon stations. I enjoyed chatting with Emma throughout my pedicure and later gel manicure.
I have my friends and family to thank for helping me discover some great local business with outstanding products and an exceptional quality of service. I know that a proper quest can neither be rushed nor provides any short cuts. I am looking forward to my next opportunity to test drive a new look or experiment with new style tips and trends. If you call Orlando home, which resources do you summon when preparing for a quest? Which brands are you most loyal? Which local businesses do you frequent? Think you can do better? Try me. I’m game.