What’s uP: I’m Making a Bold Move

29 09 2012

Welcome to the Whittemore House…

After 3 wonderful years of coloring heads in Meatpacking District, I’m leaving my ‘hood and returning to my West Village roots as a colorist at the Whittemore House. This team of seasoned professionals is led by the former creative directors of Bumble and Bumble and is doing incredibly fashion forward things with color. It’s an honor to join the team and I look forward to learning their incomparable techniques.

Whittemore House salon is conveniently located on a gorgeous, tree lined block at 45 Grove Street (between Bedford and Bleecker Streets) and is steps away from the A-E-F-V-1 trains.

My days and times will be as follows:

Tuesday: 11-8

Thursday: 12-9

Friday: 12-9

Saturday: 10-6

My color prices will remain the same but will include a blowdry done by me or an assistant.

For more information on the salon or to book an appointment, please visit whittemorehousesalon.com or call 212-242-8880.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Whats uP: RED Carpet Style

27 02 2012

For stylists and colorists, Oscar Night is the Superbowl of events. Every year we watch anxiously, a glass of wine clenched in one hand and our cell in the other, waiting to text our friends with the funniest comment of the night. We can’t wait to jump all over the train wrecks and Ooh and Ahh those who thought outside the box and NAILED it.

What really stood out to me this year (and warmed my heart just a little bit) was the fact that so many stars gave credit and thanks to their stylists. In a world of product placement and how many millions of dollars are wrapped around one’s neck, it’s nice to have a shout out to those of us behind the scenes. And for me, the hard work was most evident in the ravishing redheads that graced the carpet.

As a colorist, I often hear from my clients “I’d love to go red, BUT…I don’t know if I can pull it off with my coloring.”  After watching the Oscars last night, I want to tell them “YES, you can.” I saw four glorious women, all so incredibly different each owning their copper color.

On the lightest end of the spectrum was best supporting actress nominee, Jessica Chastain, radiant in a pale copper. This can be easily attained for any blonde simply by applying a demi-permanent, high shine glaze. I love WellaColor Touch for a natural, long-lasting red.

Jessica Chastain

Emma Stone and best supporting actress nominee, Berenice Bejofall into the rich Celtic copper hues. These shades tend to work better on skin tones with pink undertones and are easy to achieve with minimal lightning and a medium copper glaze.

Berenice Bejo

Emma Stone

The home run of the night for me, however, was the wonderful Viola Davis, who wowed me with her natural style and complementary auburn hue. For women with darker or more olive complexions, I’d go a bit less orange and more auburn like Viola. You can add lighter pieces to the ends, but I’d keep the root a deeper red.

Viola Davis

For those just dipping their toes into the red sea, I’d suggest a few well-placed highlights around the face in auburn or copper shades or else a demi-permanent glaze that will wash out in 4-6 weeks. Your colorist will work with you to determine the best palette for your inner celebrity.

What’s uP: Boom Boom Brow Bar

4 12 2011

I have a unibrow. I’m not proud of this and I do everything in my power to keep my eyebrows two separate entities at all times, but at the end of the day, I’ve got a serious uni. Over the years I’ve shaved, plucked, trimmed, waxed and threaded those suckers. I’ve groomed them myself once or twice after a few too many cocktails and emerged from the bathroom looking like a five-year old’s self-portrait. I’ve also been shamed by Korean manicurists into adding a brow wax to my bill only to leave the nail salon with pencil thin, old lady brows.  At the ripe old age of 35, I’ve finally come to the understanding that I am not to touch my eyebrows for any reason and that all eyebrow refinement must be done by a professional. What good fortune that I found the Boom Boom Brow Bar!

Boom Boom Brow Bar is a sweet little rockabilly shop located in the heart of the Village. They are uber-clean (No Double Dipping!), fast and precise and don’t charge an arm and a leg to get a brow wax. In addition to brows, Boom Boom does all body waxing (for ladies and gents) and lash tinting, a great alternative to mascara! Appointments aren’t necessary but they can get crowded during lunch and after-work hours. Added bonus: they use their own wax which is never too hot and virtually pain-free.

Boom Boom Brow Bar (35 Seventh Avenue @ 13th St. NYC/ 212.229.2666)


What’s uP: Where’s the pH?!?

5 01 2011

Or, where the heck I’ve been hiding for the past 3 months.

I’ll be honest, the second half of 2010 was one of the hardest years of my life. In addition to trying to survive in a luxury business through a still dreadful economy, my husband and I each braved very difficult health issues. And, sadly, my writing took a huge backseat to getting physically and mentally well. Six months later I’m happy to report that business is getting better and better and the hubby and I are both A-OK. I’m also thrilled to announce that at the end of that huge shit storm there was a beautiful rainbow: We’re expecting our first baby in April and couldn’t be happier about the addition of  baby pH! I also promise that this will not turn into a baby-centric blog, although every once in a while something may sneak in there.

When I started feeling better and then my husband received his clean bill of health, I decided that I needed to do something to “give back” and keep the good karma flowing, despite my complete lack of free time. It was through my boss that I got involved with an amazing organization called Curly Tail Pug Rescue and decided to become a foster home for unwanted dogs. Curly Tail’s Mission is “to rescue homeless, unwanted, sick or injured pugs.” They “fully rehabilitate medically needy pugs and/or provide behavior modification to help place them into loving, permanent homes.”

Everyone who works for Curly Tail is a volunteer and within two days of applying to be a foster home, we got our first pug, McKenzie. She already had a home lined up and was only with us for a few days. About two weeks later, we received Onyx, a.k.a. “Little Bear” who would go on to stay with us for three months.

When we first picked up the Bear my first thoughts were “Oh my God, that’s the fattest, dirtiest pug I’ve ever seen.” He was a whopping 35 lbs and looked like he’d been rolling around in a baseball field all day. We got him home, immediately threw him in the bathtub and began what I like to call The Biggest Pug Loser program to get the Bear back into fighting shape. Onyx was perfectly house broken and never had a single accident in our house. He loved being around people and while he wasn’t the most outwardly loving dog I’ve ever met, all he wanted to do was be by your side. We put him on a strict diet and exercise program and before long he had lost 5 lbs. Although it was clear that Onyx had no signs of abuse from his former owner (thankfully!), I don’t think he was ever walked a day in his life. We’d get him outside and that little chunk would want to walk for hours. For three months, I put all my time and attention into training and loving this little giant, getting him prepared for his forever home.

The Little Bear

On January 2, we tearfully dropped Onyx off to meet his adoptive family. He’ll be living up in Massachusetts and, thanks to Curly Tail, will get a second chance at a wonderful life. And while I’m remaining active with the organization, taking on more responsibility, I’m taking a break from fostering for a short time. While it’s incredibly fulfilling to rehab these pups, it’s even harder to see them go. I still expect to see my little bear at the door when I come home at night or next to my bed staring at me at 7 am every morning. To paraphrase my husband, nobody said altruism was easy.

So here we are: January 5, 2011 and in the words of the late, great Nina Simone: “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me… And I’m feeling good.” I look forward to another great year of posts and I thank everyone who takes the time to read my musings. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2011!!

For more information on how you can help the pugs, please visit http://www.curlytailpugrescue.org

What’s uP: The pH is now on Twitter!

7 10 2010

I’m happy to report that the pH is officially on Twitter! If that’s your sort of thing, click the link below and follow my stream of consciousness @whatstheph on a daily basis.

Follow whatstheph on Twitter

What’s uP: A Few Words on Long Hair

2 08 2010

When it comes to long hair on women, there is a very fine line between sexy and religious cult.

Scary! Crystal Gale, admiring her hair cape

Sexy! Julia Roberts knows when it's time for a trim

Now before you write me off as one of those chop happy hairdressers who believes that every woman over the age of 35 must surrender to the dreaded mid-length mom cut, let me say that I love long hair on women of any age. As a matter of fact, my own 33-year old hair is what I refer to as “mermaid length” this summer, simply because I haven’t come up with my next look yet. But despite my long locks, I insist on getting a haircut every 6-8 weeks to get rid of my pot scrubber ends.

Hair brings up many strong emotions for most women. We tend to hold on to styles (perhaps for too long) that we wore when we felt our most confident or sexy and while we probably can’t recall the best haircut we’ve ever received, we will never forget our worst. And that scars a lot of us. One of my worst haircuts ever came from my father by way of a bang trim. It was the summer of ’89 and I was a hotshot (ha!) middle schooler who had recently traded in these enormous coke bottle glasses for soft lenses. My self-confidence was on the climb from non-existent to hanging on by a thread when my dear father offered to trim my bangs in order to get them out of my newly contacted eyes.

It seemed easy enough. I had the “waterfall fringe” of New Jersey in the late 80’s: a huge bouffant of hair that was teased up and to the side and then sprayed into submission with a few pieces that were curled and combed onto the forehead. I gave my dad strict instructions that he was only to touch the fringy forehead pieces and NOTHING ELSE. But my dad, being the armchair Vidal Sassoon that he was, decided to mess with the waterfall. It took him about 0.25 seconds to comb the whole sculpture down and cut it straight across with a pair of eyebrow scissors and in the blink of an electric blue eye, I was left with a look to rival Pee Wee. I literally didn’t leave the house for three weeks (Thank God for summer vacation and Blockbuster) and I wouldn’t wear bangs again until my late 20’s.

Something like this has happened to just about every woman I’ve ever met. One childhood friend of mine has never grown her hair long because on a school trip to the zoo, a llama chewed off her ponytail when her back was turned. Another friend has never worn her hair above her bra strap because her mom insisted on giving her at- home Dorothy Hamill haircuts for the better part of her childhood. Women flee to a safe hair haven and in doing so, tend to go to the extremes.

Now when it comes to long hair, many gals think it’s the definition of womanly. And those silly, extension wearing Victoria’s Secret Models aren’t helping matters (Good God, where is Linda Evangelista when we need her?!) In their quest for long, flowing, underwear goddess hair, women either bypass a regular trim entirely, or go to the hairdresser with a year’s worth of scraggly ends and ask to please leave the length because they are “growing it.” To these women, I have only this to say: You are a half inch and a French braid away from Branch Davidian. So unless you have religious convictions that state otherwise, please, PLEASE shape that hair up. You will still be hot. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/lover/parent will still love you if they are worth a damn and your hair will actually grow faster. Yes, you heard me correctly. Your hair will grow faster. Because all those nasty split ends won’t be causing breakage.

Here are my tips to having long luxurious hair:

  • Have regular haircuts or trims (every 8-10 weeks if possible)
  • Every once in a while, have your hairdresser cut an inch or more off the length
  • Deep conditioning masks every week. I am in love with the Mud Mask by Aestelance right now

    Mud Mask by Aestelance

  • Folic Acid and Biotin are incredible for hair growth and health. If you don’t like to take a million pills, I recommend an over the counter pre-natal vitamin. They are packed with Folic Acid and Biotin
  • Don’t forget about your scalp. Healthy hair starts with healthy insides and continues with a healthy scalp. When lathering, really manipulate the scalp to stimulate hair follicles
  • Throw out those stupid glued in extensions. They ruin hair and feel disgusting. If you absolutely must add length, I recommend the ones that clip in.
  • Brush your hair. It seems like a no-brainer but many women will brush their hair in the morning and forget about it for the rest of the day. Brushing your hair with a bristle brush stimulates hair growth and disperses natural oils through the ends
  • Trust your stylist! The best haircut I ever had was a shoulder-length shag with full bangs. It was like nothing I had ever worn before and made me feel sexy and completely badass. I never would have thought to do it but I left it in the hands of a very gifted stylist and was treated to something very special.

    One of my favorite looks

What’s uP: Broke-Ass Stuart’s Goddamn Website

17 06 2010

For the Love of Carlo Rossi

Liquid Amnesia

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, I took a trip to my neighborhood liquor store to stock up on my Sangria accoutrements. I’ll never give up the entire recipe but I can (freely) admit that one of the ingredients is a small jug of Carlo Rossi red. When I returned home I got to thinking, “What kind of wine IS this, exactly?” One hour of googling later, I still don’t have an answer to that ridiculous question but I may have found my new favorite website: Broke-ass Stuart’s Goddamn Website.

In their own words, the site states:

“We write for busboys, poets, social workers, students, artists, musicians, magicians, mathematicians, maniacs, yodelers and everyone else out there who wants to enjoy life not as a rich person, but as a real person. Namely, we write for you.”

During my wasted time searching for the key grape varietal in a $6 jug of wine, I stumbled upon Broke-ass Stuart’s ode to Carlo Rossi and got a good laugh and a wave of nostalgia just thinking about that liquid amnesia, Carlo Rossi served in a plastic cup. Here’s the link to that post and I urge you to check out the rest of the site. I love it.


What’s uP: Babo Botanicals

9 04 2010

Babo Botanicals Full Hair Care Line

Any woman who spends money coloring her hair knows how important a good shampoo is. We think nothing of spending just a little extra to make sure our locks are shiny and glorious and most of us simply do not trust cheap supermarket shampoos. So why is it that we don’t put the same care and effort into what goes onto children’s heads?

Kate Solomon, founder of Babo Botanicals, has created something very special: a professional hair care line geared towards children and their mothers. The Babo line, consisting of shampoos, detanglers, soaps and lotions, are:

  • Certified organic
  • 100% Vegan
  • Produced locally on a certified organic New York farm
  • Sulfate Free
  • NOT tested on animals
  • Free of synthetic fragrances and color
  • Dermatologist and allergy tested
  • Color safe for Mom or Dad’s hair

Babo comes in four different lines:

Pink (Berry Primrose) for smoothing and conditioning; especially effective on curly or wavy hair

Green (Cucumber Aloe Vera) for cleansing; especially after sports and swimming

Yellow (Oatmilk Calendula) for newborns and those with sensitive or dry scalp or skin

Blue (Rosemary Tea Tree) for lice removal

Since I won’t support anything on this blog that I haven’t tried personally, I put the shampoos and detanglers and the Oatmilk Calendula Baby Lotion to immediate use.

For one week, I used the Berry Primrose on my own hair and noticed that it was wonderfully shiny and full and that the spray detangler was more than enough conditioner. I also sent a Cucumber Aloe and another Berry Primrose to my nieces to use and their mothers reported that their girls’ hair had never looked better and that the kids loved using the spray detanglers on their own.

As for the lotion, I placed it in the color area of my salon and the staff descended on it like hungry dogs on a chicken wing. Our hands are constantly in water and chemicals and the lotion is incredibly soothing and non-greasy. We’ve also had a number of clients comment on the very light and comforting fragrance. Working so close to people’s faces, it’s important not to use anything that’s too overpowering, so the Oatmeal Calendula lotion is just perfect.

For kids, Babo offers a clean, honest product that is non-irritating and fun to use. For mothers, Babo is a natural alternative to the excessively perfumed shampoos that act more like a  detergent than a shampoo, stripping hair of its natural shine and vibrance (not to mention hair color).

I’ve already begun to recommend the Babo line to my clients with children and will continue to buy it for people as gifts. Thank you, Kate, for providing us with such a wonderful, responsible product line.

Babo Berry Primrose Gift Set

What’s uP: Blogs That Make Me Laugh

25 03 2010

People often send me links to blogs that I look at for a few seconds and move right along. These three blogs, however,  have been cracking me up for a week straight and I thought I would share.

Blog #1: These Colors Don’t Run: A Gentle Reminder That Tattoos Are Permanent http://aseriesofchoices.blogspot.com/

A biting commentary on some unfortunate body art. My personal favorite is from February 1, 2010.

Blog #2: Hot Chicks with Douchebags http://www.hotchickswithdbags.blogspot.com/

I think the name pretty much says it all. Loads of pics, full throttle snark and haiku!

Blog #3: Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber http://lesbianswholooklikejustinbieber.tumblr.com/

I have no idea what the obsession is with Justin Bieber. Even if I was 14 I’d still think he looked like a fetus. But this blog is hilarious; even New York Magazine thought so.

Move over, Timberlake...there's a NEW Justin in town


What’s uP: Top Ten Drugstore Finds

19 02 2010

How many times has this happened to you? You walk into CVS to buy something simple like cotton balls or tampons and you end up in a drug store wanderlust, gleefully filling your basket with things that you absolutely can NOT live without (Pedi Egg, anyone?). Then you get to the counter only to find that your $3 trip to the pharmacy has turned into an $80 free for all.

For me, it’s almost a monthly occurrence. As much as I love my Beauty Professional makeup and shampoos, I’m a complete sucker for a drug store shopping spree and these are the top ten items I’d be lost without:

1.)  Burt’s Bees Original Lip Balm ($2.99)- I can’t even remember what my life was like before I started using this product. This is simply the best lip balm on the planet. Don’t mess around with the honey flavor or the red topped one, the original is the one and only.

2.)  Johnson’s Baby Oil ($5.25)- The single best eye makeup remover there is; a few drops on a cotton ball will dissolve even the most stubborn waterproof mascara and keep your eye area incredibly moisturized. Plus, nothing gets your skin softer than baby oil applied to wet skin after a shower and patted dry with a towel.

3.)  Maybelline Great Lash Mascara ($5)– I’ve tried every mascara on the market from $2 Wet-N-Wild to $50 Lancôme and the original pink and green Maybelline remains my absolute favorite.

4.)  St Ives Apricot Scrub ($4.25)- I like the Invigorating; husband likes the one for oily skin. At four bucks a tube, we can have one of each in the shower.

5.)  Vaseline Intensive Care Total Moisture Lotion ($4.50)- My hands are in color and water all day, every day, and this is my secret weapon to keeping them from looking like ugly old paws.

6.)  Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid ($10.50)- Oil of Olay was good enough for my Nana (who had gorgeous skin at 90) and it’s good enough for me. I like the one for sensitive skin with extra SPF.

7.)  Neutrogena Night Calming Cleansing Cloths (say that 5x fast, $7.99)- Some nights I’m so exhausted I literally fall right into bed. This is why I keep a package of these makeup removers in my nightstand.  They’re super gentle, even for contact lens wearers, and take makeup off in one fell swoop, no rinsing required.

Neutrogena- helping lazy girls everywhere remove their makeup in bed

8.)  Epsom Salt ($2)– It’s very rare that I have time to take lengthy, luxurious baths, but I still like to keep a box of Epsom salt in the bathroom to soothe muscle aches and pains. A10-minute foot soak with Epsom Salt is an absolute necessity for any runner or anyone on their feet all day.

9.)  L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Compact Makeup ($9)– I hate the feel of a heavy foundation on my face, but in the winter I need a little more coverage than just powder. This product is incredibly light, lasts all day and comes in a huge range of colors for all skin types and ethnicities (score!).

10.) Kushyfoot Knee Highs ($5/pair)- Part trouser sock, part reflexology massage, these ribbed bottom beauties are light years ahead of any other thin sock on the market. After wearing the Kushyfoots for one day, I went home and immediately threw out all my old Kathy Lee Gifford for Kohl’s trouser socks.

Tip: To avoid a drug store hangover, don’t even think of picking up a basket. The “All I can carry in my hands” rule generally keeps me out of serious trouble.