Thursday, January 15, 2009

Aveda Day

I would venture to guess that it is definitely midwinter. You see what I did there?

We've had a number of days near freezing, and the past week has been below freezing. Yesterday it went all the way up to 42F/5C and people were wearing sweaters and jackets. I was hot in mine. I went out to get some more substantial winter gloves than the ones I have now. The current cold snap blew in last night with winds that rounded the corner and shook the house - and my bed with me in it.

Ralph Lauren - no surprise there, as I am a proper RL girl. Eye-catching gold buttons (I love buttons don't you know?) with cuffs of finest suede. But the lining is not thick enough to keep my fingers from aching and the sensitive nerve in my left ring finger from shooting pains when the temps go below a certain point.
By the way, that's my flannel winter sheet set underneath. Honestly, the preparation you need to live in these cold places! I have never needed to own so many types of clothing and textiles as I do now.

Ugg - definite surprise there and probably the last brand I ever imagined owning. I hate their skanky boots (with a passion) but I spent an hour evaluating hundreds of gloves and these came out on top with the padded cashmere lining and a little extra space above each fingertip creates a bubble of warmth. I love how buttery soft the leather is, and found out it's because they are deerskin. Wow.
One question, though: When do Australians need to wear gloves?

So today it was a frigid 21F/-6C and I ventured out to get a haircut - it had gone totally wild.
Normally my Aveda is in SoHo between Prince and Houston streets, but it's being renovated, so the staff are camping out at the Aveda Institute in Greenwich Village, only a few blocks over. The place is huge at 4,000 square feet, with high ceilings, saturated with light, with stations well-spaced out. The decor is like Thai Arizona, with cacti and succulents scattered about on shelves and in clusters on the floor, and many forms of antique Thai wood carvings hanging from the ceiling, mirrors and decorative pieces on various wall areas, some marble lotus bowls on the reception desk, and even golden temple bells in the window.

What I love about Aveda is ... everything. Sometimes, you really get what you pay for.
  1. You arrive and change into a luxurious silky black kimono.
  2. Once you're in the chair, the first thing your stylist does is give an honest to goodness shoulder, neck and upper arm massage. (I always have tense shoulders.)
  3. Earrings, rings, and watch go into a little olive wood bowl.
  4. The assistant washes your hair and gives a scalp massage, and whatever specialized treatment you need (I had a moisture infusion).
  5. Back in your seat, you have a cup of herbal tea.
  6. Your stylist offers a choice of aromatherapy oils for another little head massage.
  7. A cape goes on over the kimono, THEN you get a haircut...
  8. ...and a rinse, so you don't have to wash it when you get home.
  9. Right around the time the stylist brings out the blowdryer, balms and pomades, another assistant comes round with a hot towel for your hands, and some enriching lotion for a hearty hand massage.
  10. A final brush down for stray hairs and you're off.
I try to limit this to once every two months, but for under $100 it is so worth it. And surprisingly, costs only a little more than the salon where we used to live in The Woodlands. Slight comfort there.

Despite the subarctic temperatures (and the annoying wet eyes and runny nose they give me), I went on a little walking adventure. I took the subway from Greenwich Village to Chinatown and went to a little dim sum place near the dental office where I used to work ;)

I had 3 types of steamed dumpling: duck, shrimp and chive, and crab. They were quite pretty too, and one set was green. It was only after I'd eaten them - inhaled them rather - that I realized I had forgotten to take a photo for you.

I like the condiments they provided: one dish of ground onion, garlic and ginger, another of vinegar and chili oil, and another of dried shredded smoked duck in chili oil. I mixed them together and slathered it all over my dumplings :)

Then I decided to try tiny fried whitefish seasoned with salt, onion, and chili - you know, what the Chinese takeaways usually sprinkle on fried chicken wings or fried squid. The whitefish were absolutely tiny with little black specks for eyes.

On the way to Canal Street for the train home, I walked through Federal Plaza, which you are familiar with from previous photos. I took in the quietness around City Hall, the courthouses, and the federal and municipal buildings in the dark and cold.

First hasty shot without flash

Took more time to frame the shot and used flash (but couldn't wait to get my gloves back on)

Which one do you prefer?

P.S. It may snow Thursday, and temps are set to drop further, with the high on Friday at 14F (-10C). How can it be colder than it is now???


Palm Springs Savant said...

oh that cold weather climate garb is ever so glam Olivia. You wear it all well, I'm sure.

As for the last two pics I think I prefer the one without the flash actually. I'm often torn as well with such things.

Olivia said...

Rick - haha, despite feeling immensely unattractive in my down coat, I have to admit I did wonder why so many people were staring at me. Was it my riding boots? Or did I have a mark on my forehead?

I like the mood of the one without flash, as well as the presence of the buildings to the right and left, but am dissatisfied with the hunk of concrete at the bottom.

In the one with flash, I like the greater detail (sans mood) on the lamp, but it feels incomplete without the building on the left.

nikkipolani said...

That's quite a little treat when you go in for a hair cut! I'm often short on time and tell my stylist she doesn't need to dry my hair. Your dumplings sound wonderful! Maybe I'll have to make some tonight (from frozen) as you've put me in the mood for them. Stay warm!

Selba said...

Wow.. what a great service for hair cut that Aveda provided to their customers!

I don't like pictures with flash, thus, I prefer the first pic :)

Christopher said...

mmmm Aveda! I wish there was a way that they could bottle the scent of the shop when you walk in has a distinct fragrance from everything (I believe) that seeps from the bottles fragrance wise...I feel bad for people who have allergies to fragrance, they are missing a feast of smell when going into Aveda!

Love the pics...cute gloves too!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Yep, getting warmer here. Therefore, it's getting colder there.

RL. My wife likes it, too...which is why it now dominates my own wardrobe (of which I myself have admittedly purchased very little).

Holy (insert any appropriate word)! Is that a hair stylist or a therapeutic treatment center? Or herbal/holistic medicine? Or a combination thereof? Yes, I'd say it definitely suits you, m'lady; it's all about atmosphere!

(And buttons?)

Olivia said...

Nikki - I used to be like that, preferring the natural dry, but that was when I wasn't living in the Arctic, and the curls took care of themselves. This straighter mess I am stuck with needs a bit more attention. :(

So did you eat those dumplings after all?


Selby - yes, I rarely take photos with flash, even at night, but I couldn't tell how they would come out on my computer screen so I tried both.


Kissy - the effect of Aveda's aroma is so powerful that when my mother started going there, she kept calling her stylist Rosemary even though her name was Jean.

I too pity people who can't stand fragrances - like my roomie, she gets a stuffy nose with many things, so I don't get how she can smoke - which she has suddenly increased 5 fold since last night and now I have a cough because it comes back into the house.

I bet you and I would spend hours sniffing things at Sephora.


Minstrel - Yes, buttons!!!

You are spot on. Aveda calls the holistic thing a "complimentary sensory ritual".

meimei said...

Aveda sounds great. I wish I could afford a time like that. Sadly I can't. So I am going to pamper myself

Um Naief said...

now... that's a hair cut! we get a scalp massage at the place i go, but that's it. ok... tea or coffee, but that's it.

i love aveda products, so no wonder the salon indulges the senses.

i love ugg! i bought a pair of knock off's from M&S and just love them. :) their gloves look fabulous and warm. much better than the RLs. i'm not one for having my fingers cold. never understood ppl who wear the gloves w/out fingers, since my fingers are always the coldest!

Glo said...

Well, thanks to you, Liv ~ I've just googled and found an Aveda salon and spa close to home I might just have to go and have a little visit! I'd probably fall fast asleep with a head massage ~ very soothing!

Sounds like your gloves will do the job! The cold weather's not so bad if you're dressed for it. Warmth is the first consideration over style for me!

Olivia said...

Mich - have fun with the home spa!


Um Naief - The first salon I frequented in London gave a pretty good head massage and a cup of tea with a cookie.

There was only one Aveda in London and it was nowhere near where I lived, and very very expensive.

I don't understand fingerless gloves either. Other than the dusty librarian in an old castle who needs to keep hands warm and write at the same time. Most English.


Glo - well done, I think you deserve a treat having had all that snow and starting a new job.

As soon as the weather goes back up to normal temperatures I will be back in the RL gloves, otherwise my hands will sweat. I do have naturally warm hands.

In London my gloves were even thinner.

beginninghere said...

Liv dear, don't know how you stand the cold. You've got no insulation. I like both your gloves. The long ones are very chic and I like the long cuff on them. The others look warmer though so I bet I would have those on more often. Would have like to go with you for the message, etc. I know all about tense shoulders. Hey, did I hear correctly that you may make your way out here this year? Or was that just something I imagined...

Olivia said...

BH - I don't know, you get used to it. Today it's 37 and feels so warm.

Hehe, yes it is a resolution of mine, so pray I get a job quickly. And don't give up on the idea!

Anonymous said...

Aveda is so well-to-do. I thought about going to their institute, for cosmetolofy. They have very up-to-date equipment and they're eco friendly.

I lovereading about your trips around the city! I so need to get out more.

steve said...

Would Ralph Lauren have been successful if he had kept his original name of Lifshitz?

It was about 20 degrees below zero on Friday in Illinois. It's what we Midwesterners call "a tad chilly."

Olivia said...

Miss Fluff - YOU need to get out more? I feel like I do nothing for ages and then do only one thing worth talking about every few weeks!


Steve - LOL Nope. Who wants to buy things from a guy called Lifshitz? Specially the -shitz part.

nikkipolani said...

Actually, I prefer having my hair blown dry, but then the stylist likes to put stuff in it (mousse, gels, spray) that I don't care for. I wonder how I'd like that head and shoulders massage they give you. Usually, the only one who can loosen my muscles is my chiropractor.

beginninghere said...

Oh Liv, if you do come we must work it be when I have a break at school so I can see lots of you. If it turns out you can't come this year we'll make you give us an I.O.U.!! And yes praying about your job/move etc.

Jo said...

I think I missed this post earlier, or had to stop after your glove love, but I missed the best part! AVEDA!!! OMG! I LOVE THEM!!!

Whew! Glad I got that out of my system! Don't you just adore the blue oil? I keep a little roll-on vial in my purse, so when I feel a little tense I just rub some on my shoulders and neck.

And the second shot is better, although I dislike camera-mounted flashes.