Friday, June 25, 2010

Convenient Service

Tuesday this week, I was searching through the talent section of Craigslist as I do daily, in search of modeling gigs. I came across a post titled "Free Blowdry" and it simply stated if interested in getting your hair blowdried for free to reply to the ad with a photo. You may be wondering: Why would someone be offering to hair for free? The answer is simple: students! Hairstylists need to practice and the tradeoff is a volunteer receives a complimentary hair service (people do free color and cuts as well). I hadn't gotten my hair done in a whileeee and I love free stuff (who doesn't?) so I sent out an email and was invited to the salon. I was scheduled to come in at 5:50 pm the following day (Wednesday June 23rd). The address of the salon I went to is 149 5th avenue (between 21st and 22nd street) on the second floor.

I did a little Google investigation of the place beforehand and was pleasantly surprised to see I would be going to a glossy (wouldn't expect anything less for 5th ave) salon called Butterfly Studio. (there were fish in there)

When I arrived, the place exceeded my expectations. I knew it would look pretty and new but I didn’t think it would have snacks! It has a counter in the waiting area with glass jars containing an Asian rice cracker mix and a fruit (dried cranberries) & nuts one.

Water was available, of course. However, there were a few drinks to choose from; I noticed the stylists offering clients their choice of a Coke, Corona, or wine. Fancy! After sitting on an orange couch observing the atmosphere, Veeka, the woman that contacted me, retrieved me and confirmed my suspicion that she would be the one doing my hair.

Shortly after I began to follow her to her station I noticed another luxury feature of the salon: shinny gray robes the clients are given to wear.

Veeka had a brief chat with her supervisor about my hair, took a “before” picture on her phone, then proceeded to wash my hair with (I assume) some expensive lightly perfume-smelling shampoo & conditioner (I like the scent).

She let me know that she wasn’t new to doing hair but was new to the salon. Veeka’s supervisor gave her tips and demonstrations on sectioning techniques, how to work the brush, and the direction to blowdry the hair. I watched most of the progress and took a little nap towards the end. When the process was complete I shook myself out of my snooze and admired my shiny strands in the mirror. Veeka took an “after” photo and then we said our thank yous and goodbyes. I scoped out the chic salon some more and made sure to take a candy from the reception table before exiting.

What a lovely experience at a salon I wouldn’t be able to (or willing) to afford. If you have spare time, take advantage of hair ads on Craigslist. (PS. You may be able to be a hair model for an event or class and that usually pays money. I refuse to participate in a hair model gig because you have to be open to change at the stylist's discretion. I can't take that kind of risk: short hair or blonde would kill my soul. Also FYI, if you are interested in a bob cut there are usually a lot of opportunities for that.)

(all photo cred to me)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

CafePress Appreciation

I noticed my friend had an event called "T-shirt Day New York City" posted on her Facebook and it caught my attention (I love t-shirts!) I read the details and discovered I could receive any t-shirt of my choice from CafePress for free! All I had to do was browse the assortment of tees on the site (or use the option to design my own), add one to my cart, save, then forward the order to the email listed (instructions here) The order had to be submitted by June 14th and I didn't know about the deal until around 11pm on the 13th, just in time to meet the deadline! My last name is Berry, as you know, and I like to use strawberries as my icon (people really remember me for it) - they are tasty and aesthetic. I typed "strawberries" into the search bar and was impressed by the selection. Actually, I was impressed by the selection of shirts for any keyword. After a couple of moments of debate, I chose a white tee with a huge (artsy) strawberry on it. From the brief exploring I did on the website, I'm confident that CafePress has a tee to meet anyone's desires (and if not they can customize). I picked up my tee this past Monday June 21st at the t-shirt event (from 6-8pm) in the bar Sweet and Vicious, located at 5 Spring Street. Upon walking in, there was a sign-in table and boxes of tees besides it. All I had to do was say my name to claim my t-shirt.

My original plan was to get my t-shirt and leave but my friend (bestie from middle school that I haven't seen for a couple of years) was waiting to meet up with her sister so I decided to stick around. The event included free sweet treats: chocolate chip cookies, brownies -brown sugar & pecans-, sugar cookies, and rice crispys. Alongside the snacks, laid out on tables, were free t-shirt day pins. There was a photo station set up equipped with tacky props (such as a sequins pink cowboy hat and a rainbow feather boa) for anyone willing to pose wearing their new tee. Outside of the bar, in the back, there was a crowd waiting to get their t-shirts altered.

All around the bar there were various t-shirts decorating the walls.

At first the venue wasn't too full but as time went on more and more people showed up. There was a DJ and drinks and mingling filled the atmosphere.

I left at 7 content.

(All photo creds to me)

Bring the Sadness

I recently read The Last Song,
(and not because the movie was released recently! My mom recommended the book to me way before we knew a movie was made - a movie I will not be watching because I do not believe in Miley's acting ability--she got bad ratings in the film-- plus she doesn't fit the role)
by Nicholas Sparks, and while I enjoyed the book I came to realize I do not like the trend of Sparks' work. The Last Song is the only book of Sparks' that I've read but I've seen several of the movie adaptations (A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Dear John) and all of his stories greatly upset me! Nicholas Sparks is an expert in crafting romantic tales but he is also a master of mixing in tragedy. Why does he feel the need to build up beautiful relationships between characters and then throw them off balance with a devastating event?! I know why, because that's reality...the themes of love and death that Sparks continues to display are constants in our world but I don't like to confront them. The Last Song is about a teen romance (a topic I always find interesting) and maturing, more specifically realizing what's important in life. Its messages put me in a contemplative state, I started questioning my values. Even though the story made me cry (the common effect of Nicholas Sparks works) it made me think and I'm grateful for that. I also appreciate the positive ending after the unfortunate occurrence. I just always feel such tremendous empathy for characters I engage with, either in a novel or on a screen. I'm not sure if I'll involve myself with Nicholas Sparks' work in the future (I already vowed never to watch A Walk to Remember ever again); I'm not sure if I want to endure the emotional tumult again...but who knows, it's partially addicting. Dear Mr. Sparks, you enchant me and piss me off all in one, over and over again! What a gift.

(photo cred: me)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Revisiting Appetizers

I don't dine out much because I'm not a fan of spending (a lot of) money on food. A 20 could buy me a new shirt instead. haha However, eating is a great bonding activity and an easy date to set up. I wanted to catch up with my fashionista friend and fellow blogger Audrey (Audrey Allure), so we met up for dinner in the city on Friday June 11th.

(photo cred: Audrey)
I suggested a restaurant I've been to twice in the past: Cafetasia, in the Greenwich Village location (8th street).

(photo cred: me)
This inexpensive Thai restaurant has a great vibe with candles on the tables (cafeteria style & 2 seaters) and candle lights hovering above.

(photo cred: me)
The only downside is it gets packed and is obnoxiously LOUD. I ordered a small portion of chicken and shrimp shumai (aka dumplings) and calamari fritters. I also got a lemonade which is extra tasty from this place because it has some other fruit in it.

(photo cred: me)
That was my second time ordering the lemonade and wondering about the fruit inside of it: What is it called? What is it?! I just looked it up on Google and the name of the foreign (it's from China) small, white, soft, sweet fruit in the Cafetasia lemonade is lychee.

(photo cred: Audrey)
As far as the food goes, I’ve made the same order both of the previous times I was at the restaurant: July 08 to celebrate the end of a journalism workshop I participated in at NYU

(photo cred: me)
and January 10 for my bestie’s birthday dinner.

(photo cred: me)
Once I like a certain food, I develop a slight addiction to it so I like to place the same order multiple times no matter where I go. Additionally, I don’t like to step outside of my comfort zone with food in case I don’t like it. It’s nice to live life taking chances but I prefer to know that I will enjoy what I’m paying for to eat. In any case, the majority of Cafetasia’s menu looks appealing to me. Even though the restaurant is dim and noisy, I definitely recommend it. You may want to check out what the atmosphere is like at a different time: it’s open all week, morning to night! Cafetasia is a great place to eat with friends and everyone will appreciate the prices! PS. To the 21+ crowd, I’ve been told the drinks are delicious. Craving Thai food or want to try it? Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lifetime at Last Looks

On Friday (the 11th) I was a beauty model for Last Looks Make-up Academy for the fifth time. I've been working with them since August 2008. Originally, I found the opportunity to model for them through a casting posted on Model Mayhem (my profile). Since then, I've just been called back every time they have a NYC gig. I'm pretty sure my relationship with Last Looks with sustain for years to come. Last Looks Make-up Academy is a make-up school with classes available in several major cities throughout the US (check the site for more info + MM Account). The company travels between cities so the classes they offer take place in a hotel. I model for "Portfolio Beauty Week." The way it works is students have make-up classes for a week from 9-6 each day and they end the course by completing 4 different make-up looks (5 max) on 4 different models. The looks consist of mostly natural, 50s, or super glam. Each model is photographed and a disk of photos is mailed to both the make-up artist and model in a matter of weeks. The hotel this usually takes place in is the Affinia on 7th avenue and 31st street (right across from Pen Station).

The duration of the portfolio class is also from 9-6. Artists and models get an hour break once two looks have been completed.

(I didn't get my break until 2 because the people doing my make-up took their sweet time. I went to the Dunkin Donuts right downstairs and got a hot chocolate to warm me up. I used my shades to hide the make-up.)

The process of events is a student chooses which model he or she wishes to work with, does the model's make-up, asks the teacher to evaluate it, makes corrections/additions/improvements if need be, hands the model over to get their hair done by the teacher, and sends the model to get photographed. The student then proceeds to clean up their station and the model goes to clean up their face and then both participants get ready for the next round.

(Make-up station.)

Each model is paid $60 (in a check given to them before they leave) and is only required to bring a strapless top... and a good attitude! The teacher I've had the pleasure to be in the presence of time and time again (except for the first time and I don't remember who was the teacher then) is Mitch Ely (his site bio, note that he has shaggy hair now). He is a funny easygoing guy who definitely knows his stuff. The photographer I was shot by every time (except recently) is Andrea Thompson (Impressive , MM Account) . She is super bubbly and chilled out. Last Looks offers a relaxed fun environment to be in. Everyone is friendly and professional. Mitch usually plays music, everyone has conversations with one another, and there are laughs here and there. I always have a good time with Last Looks and that's mainly why I keep coming back. This was my fourth time modeling for Portfolio Week. I also worked with Last Looks for a class on make-up for TV and Film. I was the only model present for that class (which was small) and there were no photos taken - the students were just practicing. It was still a 9-6 shift with the same pay rate. Mitch was the teacher of course. The class I just modeled for was small and consisted of 7 students. Since the class was small, the portfolio session took place in a little suite all the way up on the 26th floor. The photographer was Richard Cordero (his stuff, MM Account) and the shoot took place on the balcony!

(Looking over the city.)

(In and out of the room onto the balcony to shoot.)

(Photog doin' his thing. The model is wearing a wig.)

(Dramatic look in super sunlight.)

That was a refreshing change because every other time I've worked with Last Looks the shoot was inside the suite with different colored backgrounds. I'm excited to be receiving beauty shots with natural lighting!

(Didn't realize I still had my camera on zoom and got his nice eye shot.)

This photographer was definitely a nice guy and focused with direction. For these classes I always worry that I don't switch up my facial expressions enough but the main point is to show off the make-up so it doesn't really matter. (Side-note: Above all categories I would really like to be a prof. beauty model. I have the eyes, lips, and skin for it!) I get to show off a lot of the same make-up. I'm not fond of the repetition but I'm just destined to attract classic red lips, winged liner, and make-up that makes me look straight up like a doll. No doubt I embrace what I'm given but one day I'm praying for some color. I want neon eye day! I love modeling for Last Looks but it's tiring (I almost fall asleep while getting my make-up done because I had to wake up at 7am) and I absolutely despise washing my face, it hurts after a while. It never fails that all of us models bonds in the bathroom over the rawness of our skin as we wash off the makeup. It also sucks how cold it gets in the room with the AC - I haven't learned my lesson to bring a warm sweater. I only endure these trials I face as a make-up model a few times a year as I work with Last Looks every couple of months. I had a lovely time this past Friday and didn’t expect anything less. Shout out to Gregory Salavas for always booking me!

Looks for the Day (I only had to do 3, yay!) :

(End of day: I cleaned off the heavy shadow, left the white shimmer, added more liner, and was on my way.)

(--all photo creds to me--)

To Possible Future Make-up Artists, My Sincere Mini Promotion:
Last Looks Make-up Academy is super legit! I don't know how much their classes are but they are definitely worth it because the teachers and photographers have been in the business for years. The photos we receive for our portfolios (we as in the artists and models) are GORGEOUS and definitely useful. If you are interested in make-up artistry I suggest you check em out.

Past Picks (some of the photos/looks from the 3 other portfolio beauty weeks I modeled for) :

February 2010
August 2009August 2008 (the first and the worst ha....I think retouching was added to the other shoots)