Monday, December 31, 2012

Salutations from Paris

As promised I am keeping my eyes and ears open to the sights of hair and fashion as I visit and revisit new and favorite Parisian haunts such as Montmartre, The Effiel Tower, and The Arc de Triomphe.

These visits have included many Metro rides and a lot of walking.  Parisians and tourists alike are sporting a variety of hats and scarves.  A popular scarf appears to be the striped scarf, tres elegant!

Under most chapeaux Parisian hair appears to be strikingly similar to what I see and create myself back home in Oakland, California at Right Angle Salon

I have noticed more women sporting short hair but what has really caught my attention is the attention to detail for one's entire look from the hat to the boots!  Men, women, and children wear an ensemble that strikes an elegant, coordinated effect. 

My husband and I have been asked more than once for help from tourists - perhaps the Parisian look has rubbed off on us as well : )

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

5 Hairstyles Everyone Should Try At Least Once - Daily Makeover

Happy 2013!

Will this be the year you try a new hairstyle or hair color?

I am on my way to Europe where I will be blogging about the European styles over the next ten days. I will be scouting out the Paris trends as well as the trends in Brussels and Amsterdam.

In the mane time see the link below for a Stateside view of five hairstyles everyone should try at least once.......

5 Hairstyles Everyone Should Try at Least Once

We are boarding in five minutes and I'm so excited. It has been a long time since I have been to Europe.  I am traveling with my American passport since I became a citizen in 1995.  I feel so lucky to have grown up in one part of the world and to live in America, especially in California.

Stay tuned for updates from across the pond!

It's time to board!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Chic

It is the busiest month of the year in the salon and I am getting ready to go to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam for my 25th Wedding Anniversary!!

Me pre Paris

I am so excited!  I grew up in London and believe it or not went to Paris for the first time for a school trip when I was ten years old.  I am so glad my mum and dad said I could go.  I felt so grown up going off to Paris with our headmistress,  Mrs Gibbs, my favorite teacher, Mr Stretton and my school friends.  It was a magical time, seeing the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee and Nortre Dame for the first time.

I like to think that growing up in London and visiting Paris influenced me in my love for the beauty industry and the world of fashion.  London always on the cutting edge and the French always so chic.

Speaking of chic I have added a link below for you of 20 holiday styles to view for inspiration!

Top 20 Holiday Hairstyles - Daily Makeover

Also here is a helpful hint, for a quick day to evening pick-me-up, mist your hair with a spray shine product.  I recommend, Unite D Frizz Argan Oil, we have it at the Right Angle Salon where you will find me counting the days to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Au revoir pour maintenant and until we meet again have a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

See you in 2013 - when the deep side part will be the height of hair fashion.......

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tis the Beauty Season Tips!

Busy, busy blessed, busy, busy, stressed, busy, crazed, busy, dazed!

Must be the holidaze season!

My beauty tips for Thanksgiving on my Facebook page were:
Smile, breathe, use your products, drink water and remember only your hairdresser knows for sure!

My beauty tips for Christmas are as follows:
Smile, breathe, use your products, drink water, and remember only your hairdresser knows for sure!

Your hairdresser knows that you earned every grey hair on your head. Your hairdresser knows that you miss the long golden locks of your youth, but you do not miss your youth. Your hairdresser knows that you have tales too tender to tell. Your hairdresser knows that your heart bursts with joy and for one hour you can share each and every precious story with us.

Tis the season to shop, to eat, to drink to be merry!
And tis the season to dress up, product up, backcomb, spray, shine.
Tis the season to show off your beautiful self!

Life is short, love your hair!
Happy Holidaze!

Monday, November 12, 2012

What mum thinks : )

I have to say, it is much easier for me to whip out a haircut than to whip out a blog.

The past month was busy, busy with the stuff of life and I did not write my blog three weeks in a row!

Then I had blog block!!


My mother in law, Carol passed away in mid October.  I was tending my own grief and the grief of my family.

Carol lived in the Dallas area of Texas.  I liked my mother in law, we got along well. Many times over the years I cut and highlighted her hair. Carol got a kick out of calling me for "hair advice". She asked me for "her formula" and the name for "her cut" so she could tell her stylist in Dallas, just what she wanted!

Along with my mum, Margie, Carol  thought I was the best hairdresser on the planet. They were two of my number one fans!

I suspect if they were both alive today and following my blog they would think it was the best blog ever!

This one is for you Carol and for you mum. Carol for appreciating and valuing my hairdresser skills and mum for the endless hours I played hairdresser as a young girl with you as my guinea pig : ).


I miss you both.

In the meantime dear friends and clients  - life is short - love your hair!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't Be Scared!!!

Fall is in the air and so are fall colors, so if you are worried about changing up your color for the new season don't be, even a tiny change in a haircut or color can be really scary for long-time clients.

Recently, several  of my long-time clients have opted for a bit more of a change.  For one of them, we made a change to her haircut.  I showed her a picture and too my surprise she went for it.  Yeah!  It was so rewarding for me to "modernize" her style, less layers, heavier side swept fringe and she let me cut four to five inches off the length. ( I heard it makes her look younger!)

Another long-time client, even longer than the first one came in for highlights to blend and disguise her grey.  A natural blond, it was time to refresh and add some depth to her overall hair color. During the consultation she asked, "Could I have some red highlights too?"  Something must be in the air!  Of course, I said "Yes!"  Ta da!  Her color looks great, fresh, shiny, and a little spicy!

Another client whom recently retired, opted to celebrate with some chestnut dimensional highlights in her all over black hair.  Fun!

Fall 2012 Looks from New York Fashion Week

Fall is here, and so are Fall colors. Use the natural seasonal colors to inspire a change in your color, or even try a shorter style.  It is time to start thinking about heavier fabrics, layers, boots, scarves and sweaters.

This is a good time to adjust your color to darker hues, think about a new haircut, break out of the routine...there's nothing worse than celebrating the holidays in a style rut!

Long time clients and their stylists can become very comfortable with each other.  I am grateful that after all these years my clients trust me and ask me to change their look, or say a bold or timid "yes" to my suggestions.

Don't be scared, love your hair!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


In 2006 I wrote this article when I began consulting with Durocher Enterprises, who had recently started working with the medical spa field. Bryan Durocher asked me to write this article for his monthly newsletter, and when I recently found it in some files I thought it would be great to post on my blog. 

Today, I am an Independent Business Consultant and this article reminds me of the importance of having personal and professional cheerleaders as we navigate our busy, busy lives.

Mentor - a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

One who advises another, especially officially or professionally?

To give recommendations to (someone) about a decision or course of action.

Men-tee one who is mentored.

"It takes a village to raise a child," this popular phrase reminds us that we are all part of a larger community.

The salon and spa industry is a worldwide community full of dedicated professionals who nurture people from all walks of life.  Whether you are a cosmetologist or a medical spa practitioner your hands have transformed your clients time and time again.  It takes passion, education, and inspiration to maintain continuous dedication to the ever-changing field of beauty.

Once in a while an individual appears in the form of a mentor to guide us as we navigate a myriad of decisions – "when the student is ready the teacher appears."  By the power of example a mentor can make a huge difference in the life of a struggling salon owner, entry-level stylist or a spa director merging the medical and salon worlds.  Through consistent advice an individual at any stage of their career can benefit from the support of a veteran who loves what they do, makes it appear effortless and is willing to share their wisdom with their men-tee.

When I moved to this country from my birth city of London, England to Omaha, Nebraska in the Midwest, I was a long way from home.  A long way from the land of Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus, the fashion forward capital of the world.  How would I learn to be a high-level stylist away from my roots?  To my amazement the late owner of the cosmetology school I attended showed an endless capacity to mentor each and every one of his students. He brought to his corner of the world the latest in hair, skin, and nail trends.  We were immersed in the latest fashion crazes far from the big city runways.

Who have you mentored?  Who mentored you?  Our medical schools and cosmetology schools are full of fearless souls clamoring to enter our industry.  With our help their path could be a little smoother.

A doctor takes the Hippocratic oath to heal all.  Today, as we merge the salon and medical spa world we find there are many similarities and many differences as we strive in our endeavor to nurture people and transform their appearance.  As one young woman told me,  "after visiting my dermatologist and getting my skin cleared up I was able to confidently attend my senior prom." 

I recently had the privilege to mentor a young woman from an impoverished background.  Her mother was unable to care for her, her father managed to provide a home in an undesirable neighborhood for her and her siblings.  After spending some time with this young women I asked her what she would like to be when she grew up and she told me a doctor.

If a low-income child can aspire to be a doctor, a cosmetologist, a salon owner; and a dermatologist a medical spa owner – there will be endless opportunities to be a mentor and to be mentored.

We are all members of a larger community – and we can give recommendations to (each other) about a decision or a course of action.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Friendly Reminder

If you don't want to miss out on fabulous hair during the holiday season, now is the time to book your holiday hair appointment.  It is true, busy hairstylists book up fast and smart clients book ahead.

It is seven weeks until Thanksgiving and thirteen weeks until Christmas and of course the time will fly by!

When I was a salon owner I would coach my staff to remind their clients to prebook each time they left the salon.  It was part of what I called the WOW client experience.  I was a salon owner for sixteen years and I attended tons of classes in both salon management and hairstyling.  My salon survived two economic downturns and I sold it in the most recent recession.  I brought all the knowledge I required to my staff.  My salon meetings were a mix of business skills and salon trends. As the years went by and my staff were younger and younger, I saw more and more eye rolling and more and more success.

I credit Bryan Durocher of  Durocher Enterprises, and Deb Hunt of YBN. Without them I would not have had the muscle to fend off the whinning and complaining of my staff on the grueling days, or a place to go when all our hard work paid off and we were widely successful. I of course credited my staff and then went to my coach to gloat.  It's lonely at the top.

Yep, a coach, consultant is a good thing.  It's been over a year since I sold Topps Salon Day Spa and now that I am nicely settled in my new spot at Right Angle Salon I am gearing up to launch a consulting practice.  It's in the formative stage.  My vision is to consult with small business owner's like me who have put their heart and soul into their business and need outside eyes to help them see what they are doing well and where "there is opportunity for growth."  Mmmm, maybe there is something to this blogging business.  This once a week discipline of getting your thoughts on paper. Just like the weekly staff meetings a chance to see what's working well and what needs your attention next.

In the meantime, like you, I must book my holiday appointments.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Autumn Forecast

I was enjoying a short break in a sunny cafĂ© in the middle of a busy hair day, sitting across from my lovely young marketing assistant, Katey. We were discussing my blog and how it is going so far.  Katey said that I should mix it up a bit. Even though I agreed with her I could feel myself becoming self-conscious. Writing is different than standing behind the chair with my trusty scissors in my hand.
In the words of the late Lyal McCaig my first hair mentor, “you're only as good as your last haircut” – is this true of your last blog too?

Lyal McCaig was the founder of Capitol Beauty School where I got my first Cosmetology License.  I loved Lyal McCaig. For a man from the Midwest he was very hip, a breath of fresh air for my then twenty something self, recently immigrated to Omaha.  From the streets of London to the streets of Omaha - Lyal was my savior.

And I suspect  he liked having a girl from London with punked out hair in his cosmetology school.  Lyal encouraged his students to learn all aspects of hair styling as well as too study fashion and hair magazines. Right now the fashion and trade magazines are forecasting fall and here is what they say:

This fall we will see cooler blondes and brunettes and spicy reds.  Sunny golden blondes will become beige-y blondes with icy highlights.  Redheads will spice things up with shades of burnt copper and hidden pieces of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Brunettes will become heads of cool chocolate. 

My fingers are itching – my Framesi Hair Colour Book is ready for show and tell. I think I will put a highlight of icy blonde in my blu-black low lighted hair too.  

See you behind the chair or blog side soon.

Happy Fall : )

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mirror Mirror

Run towards your life
And look in the mirror
At your beautiful self along the way

I have noticed over the many years that I have stood behind my chair, that one or two of my clients have a bit of a hard time looking at themselves in the mirror, and in that moment my work has begun.

My client has made up their mind that there is no hope for a transformation from old to young, plain to pretty, awkward to gallant, no hope for a physical change let alone a nice cut and color.

Before and After Make-Over articles are very popular in magazines and in the media.  It is true that I can transform the outward appearance of my individual clients but it is beyond my scope to transform their spirit when they are down in the dumps and having a "bad hair day."

Recently, one client sat in my chair with a serious case of the "old and uglies."  I  listened, and listened some more. Then I took a breath.

I know more about this client than just her hair.  I know, that like many of us, she is bone tired, over worked, worried and on the edge of being burned out. I also know it is her wish I create a style for her that requires little to no effort to look great.

In our youth we can roll out of bed, throw on a t-shirt and jeans, brush our teeth, run our fingers through our hair and go. But, when one is a little older it takes a bit more effort.

Yet, many adults resist the reality that we need to make more effort.  The truth is it is important to choose the correct products, have regular salon appointments, and embrace the daily rituals of self care.  All of which can help lift one's spirit  in the midst of a hectic life.

We cannot roll back time but we can run towards our lives with our eyes wide open and see the beauty we are today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life is short, love your hair.

Life is short, love your hair.
It begins when you look in the mirror and are grateful that you can see.
Grateful that you can see the hair you have or not.

Feel the skin on your body and scalp.

Smell the soap and shampoo in the shower and hear, yes hear the blow dryer.

Daily rituals of beauty, we can so easily take for granted.

After seventeen years of owning and operating a salon just one block from my home in Old Oakland, I relocated to Right Angle Salon in Rockridge, Oakland.

At first I was uncomfortable, it has been a long, long time since I have been the new girl.

And just as long a time since I have had a commute, taking BART some days and some days driving the car I share with my husband.

One day, shortly after the move I came home with a new hat.  One of the stores between my new salon home and the BART station had sucked me right in.  My husband said “this move could be expensive” and he was right, because shortly thereafter I came home with an Interior Decorator.  I saw a sign for a furniture sale and the next thing we knew we were sitting down with Leann Sebastian from Rockridge Furniture designing a plan to redecorate, sort, and purge our loft.

Sitting down with an Interior Decorator, an expert in the field of home decorating has turned out to be a valuable experience.  Through her expertise we have learned new and different ways to work with the home we have, to appreciate, love and see it in a whole new light.

I like to think that my clients feel that way about me.  That by sitting in my chair they come away with a new appreciation for the person they see in the mirror.  With my consultation they come away with a plan for their own image and daily rituals of beauty.  They can appreciate, love, and see themselves in a whole new light.

 Life is short, love your hair.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Hair Story

My very first job, as a Saturday girl was in a small, charming hair salon in North London, England.   Shampooing, sweeping, removing rollers, blow drying and styling, I was in my element at the impressionable age of 13 years old I was hooked. North London was a brilliant place to grow up, a mecca of fashion, music, art and style. I absorbed this smorgasbord of beauty and culture deep into my bones.

Here in America I am delighted to blend my English “roots” with my American dream, and, much of my American dream has been very wrapped up in the world of beauty. My instruments include my sissors, my comb, my brushes and products! My days are full of cutting, styling, highlights, lowlights, all over color, a whisper of blond, a shock of bright red, blending and toning greying tresses – my client is my canvas.  In the mirror I see the physical changes my hands create. Yet, I know from many years behind-the-chair as I am witnessing the transformations of my clients, my work is just one part of the manifestation of an individual’s beauty.  Beauty is so much more than our outward appearance – it is the spiritual aspect of beauty combined with the physical that brings forth each individual’s own unique beauty and style – to witness and participate in this transformation day after day is a gift and a privilege. 

As one of my clients Mary H. would say, "I love the way you color my hair Suzanne, I am 60 and proud of it, and yet my friends and family think I am hardly grey  – little do they know!!"

I suspect that what they do see and know is Mary’s beauty and spirit as she navigates the trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows of life. Over the years that I have been apart of Mary’s life, I have witnessed these changes too.  I gave her a mid–length bob haircut when her marriage ended and her world turned upside down.  I gave her a smart and elegant haircut for her new position in her professional world.  When romance re-entered her life I gave her a super sexy haircut!!  And when her younger son left for college, it was time for a haircut that is fringy and free.

I have an affection for beauty -
I love to see the extra lift in my clients step when they leave my chair.  I love that moment my client sees their gussied up, gorgeous self in the mirror and they smile.

I have an affection for spirit - 
I love to see the spirit in my clients shine forth – newly coiffed ready to take on the world.