An Ode to the Men and Women of Salon Group


hair-scissors-clip-art-advertisement-clipart-nTE5oykTA To You,

I haven’t written on here in months, for good reason however. Much has happened in my life to the point that I truly required time to gather my thoughts, gather my sanity, and gather many overdue hours of uninterrupted sleep. Over the past couple of years I have gone through many relationship-based life changes, and at the end of it all I believe in taking a moment to reflect, analyze, and take time to appreciate all of those who have helped me along the way. However, in my little tale on this site of being in a long-distance relationship, to getting engaged, to eloping and getting married, to commencing the agonizing process of family immigration, there were a few unexpected people in my life who honestly came to know my journey more than most. In all honesty, they were not close friends, we didn’t hang on the weekends or do dinners together (I’m a loner at heart and so awkward at the very nature of socializing that this was all for the best), and at first impressions I felt completely at odds with these people (jokingly referred to as “your” people, Randy *cues inside joke resulting in me probably sounding like an ass to many outsiders*), but in the end, these were my go-to folks who not only cared for my story each and every day, but always celebrated and bitched in it when I needed that companionship. So today I will further digress from telling the tales of the past few months of immigration happenings to express a truly appreciative thankfulness to my coworkers of the past two years, the guys and girls who manage not to use their sharp tools to take out their long days on others (something I think is a testament to self-control), who stand there day in and day out to be tipped a few dollars for their talents, and endure many days of empty complaints for not making their short-haired clients look like JLo – this is an ode to Salon Group.

To this day, I am a long-haired lass who cannot figure out how a pony-tail would not require 10 bobby pins to keep the frays from poking in this way and that. I only started tweezing my eyebrows in university (thank god because at least I still have brows to this day after growing up in the 90’s) and had my first Pedicure two years ago. And I colored by hair during only one few month phase of my life (I think I went through an Asian crisis since I dyed it bright fire red… other Asians know what I’m talking about), and since that time 10 years ago have let my tresses sit au naturel. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I am beauty-industry-stupid. I don’t understand make-up, or what the range of make-up brushes are for.. I admit here and now I thought eyeliner pencils were real pencils…. and I used them as such to write notes in people’s lockers in high school. I admit to using Pantene Pro-V even after my hair wouldn’t stop shedding mid-shampoo.. I mean the commercials guaranteed its shininess, so maybe it was only the dull strands swiftly falling to the ground? I thought facials were luxury services of pointless lotioning of the face, and putting cucumbers on your eyes instead of in your mouth. But, after receiving my Master’s degree from Durham University in the UK, I was without a job but with much debt. I needed income, and somehow found myself working front desk for a local upscale salon and spa business in my hometown. And I somehow ended up being there for over two years. And in the end, I can only say this in response to my experience: We walk into these industries and we bitch. We look down upon these men and women due to the aesthetic-based nature of its purpose. We complain when a hair cut is a certain price, we blatantly scoff at the notion of paying someone a certain dollar amount for 2+ hours of services. We are rude, we are ignorant, we are beyond incomprehensible in our judgment towards others within those walls due to the notion that we feel we have the right to comment on someone’s beauty, someone’s size, someone’s style of choice due to the fact that they work within the beauty industry, and therefore this somehow makes them an exception in our decency from refraining from blatant and public objectification. Your hairstylist and your esthetician are not lesser than, and these individuals have passion in the health of your hair and body.

Yes, there is drama, and yes there are those moments when I hated being surrounded by constant beauty-standards. I was questioned by some on the point of my academic pursuits as it only lead me to working a front desk job. But in the end, we have one opportunity to learn in life, and no knowledge is bad knowledge. No education is wasteful. It is the means to opening doors, opening conversational platforms, opening your hearts and your minds to all walks of life, and it is a means for comprehension and endless lessons learned. These individuals with whom I worked are talented chemists with their color concoctions, they are therapists in sitting there day after day hearing about your divorce, your custody battles, your battle against cancer, the death of your spouse. They may not be high on the list of employment rankings as doctors, lawyers, and peace makers, but they will help style your newly grown hair after chemo has stopped, they will take their time to treat a elderly woman whose husband just passed and doesn’t have the efforts to set her own curls the morning of his funeral, and they will talk to your teenage sons and daughters about how they look awesome no matter who else disagrees. They may run behind in their schedules, but only because we as clients have unrealistic expectations of the beauty industry and demand the impossible because one of the Kardashians could do it (remember people… they are kind of loaded in the dough). Yes, your haircut may cost $50.00 for what you consider to be a few strands trimmed off your ends. But do you bitch at a Chef for their restaurant charging you $70 for a prime piece of steak that sits at the size of your thumb sided with a lettuce leaf? Or at the bartender for charging you $12 for a delicately sized cocktail? I suggest you try that sometime and see if they waiver on their prices too. It’s honestly embarrassing.

To wrap this up, I just want to say this to all of those I worked with for the past two years: Thank you. I was going through a personal roller coaster of hell, and your hugs, your jokes, your time meant the world to me. Now being able to say I worked a role within the beauty industry, I can only offer advice to you in that you should take the time at least once a week to appreciate the man whose in charge of your job, who trains you with his knowledge, and who presents opportunities for you to train in New York city or attend product training in Mexico. To some, get off your ass and work for him with everything you have. Your feet may hurt, and your legs may tire, but if a knowledgeable man who has been in this for over 50 years can come to work everyday without unwarranted sick days, so can you. Unless you suck. He only hires talent, and if you’re still there, you clearly have it and so grow up and prove it. A life not lived with pride is one completely wasted. I came to work and worked my ass of at something I am still clueless about and for that man alone- not for a love of hair, or aesthetics, or beauty. There is always an opportunity to learn, always an opportunity to grow your mind, and in the end, you are all intelligent masters because of it, but always still learning. To the women in the joint – there are some of you who personally astound me, and I am so much better for knowing you. I am a full blown feminist who truly values the upholding of strength, intelligence, and skills of other women, and your personal pursuits in your career and academics and personal individuality are inspiring – so don’t stop. Never stop. To those of you still lost in life, whether young or young at heart – opportunities only knock at the doors of those willing to open it. If you want something, go get it. Or stop talking about it.

And to Sal and Jill: just, Thank You.

And to any other readers – remember these people are in the service industry, and they deserve your appreciation. So thank them. Oh, and show up on time. It’s not funny when you’re late. And yeah, there are some who do actually suck in that industry of hair and aesthetics, but in the end none are lesser than and as human beings all deserve respect. If you don’t believe that, then cut your own damn hair and massage your own stupid feet. 😉

Peace & love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Advertisements

Far & Wide Collective


To You,

Within the past couple of months I have started working with the organization Far & Wide Collective, a social enterprise dedicated to creating market access for talented artisans in post-conflict and developing economies, as their Digital Communications Manager and PR Associate. With products from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, and Kenya, the company offers a range of quality goods from gorgeous jewelry, stunning home accents, to sophisticated hand-carved pieces. Take a look at the site (which I have been working my arse off towards these past few weeks) to learn more about the founder Hedvig Alexander, her history within development and NGO’s in Afghanistan, and about the organization’s mission.

13015FAW_PRO_PanoPillowsOnly Striped Chapan Jacket 13015FAW_PRO_Bowls

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

What Makes Up a Story


To You,

It’s funny how life seems to coordinate and choreograph the many components that add up to define one’s day-to-day as a ‘life’. These components which we use to self-define a ‘successful’ life, or a ‘meaningful’ life can not only blind one from acknowledging the true efforts being made to make an entire life an unequivocal story with depth, but they also allow us to become clouded as to how our efforts affect the life of another.

In another tale, yet one which associates itself to the self-descriptive complexity of a successful life, as life develops its numerous layers of co-dependent experiences, it adds obstacles into being able to accept a fruitful story, however one chooses to define it as such.

Lately, I’ve felt a difficulty in understanding, accepting, and focusing on what defines itself as a success in my life. My life has various components: experiencing loss at a young age and many times thereon afterwards, social struggles as a youth, successes in athletics, moving out of my home country at the age of 18 to only drop out of university at 19 and moving abroad a year later at 20; embarking in a long-distance relationship, returning to university at 23, graduating quite successfully at 26, entering a second long-distance relationship and moving abroad again, completing a Master’s degree from a top university at 27, and finally returning back to my home country as a resident just before turning 28. All superficial components that can be dissected into all of the delicate petals and pricking nail heads that make up the substance of my life. But now, I’m struggling with this picture as it continues to unfold. My substance is built up of extreme effort, troubleshooting, sincere sweat and tears, and lessons of which saying I have learned from would be a massive understatement. High school teachers didn’t think much of my academic endeavors in the culmination of my four years, even though 75% of my time there was rewarded with Honour Roll status and my name being listed on many athletic trophies. What I’ve noted in the past decade is how easily one’s credibility can be erased due to superficial circumstances. Job titles, grades, university rankings, income, relationship status, geographic location, exotic travels… all superficial if we ignore the story of substance, the explanation, the details.

I have found it hard in the past few months to understand my story versus my status. I have pride over my postgraduate degree due to the massive personal struggles leading up to that exhausted success of which was so condensed in its timeline that there is no shortened version to its story. However, now in what appears to be a shortcoming in my employment and professional ‘success’ following my academics I feel obligated to explicate the pride and ranking of my achievement to level myself out with my peers. I know my story of working through my degrees, paying my living expenses through an undergrad and postgrad degree, managing my limited yet earned finances, immersing myself in challenges to engage in personal success (as I truly define it), and maintaining a loving long-distance relationship. But the superficiality to my success (or lack thereof) are clouding my pride in my plan. My life’s plan. The components I want included in my storyline.

I’m trying to figure this one out.

Ciao ciao,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Hire Me. Please and Thanks. :)


To you,

So the job hunt has begun. It’s quite daunting for once looking into the upcoming months and not foreseeing a grounded opportunity of employment, nor academic institution awaiting my registration. Nope. There is nothing. The future is empty.

Okay, perhaps I am being slightly melodramatic and a tad bleak on the outlook of future endeavours into the working world. To be honest, I’m rather ready for it and prepared to get going on a new set of learning experiences and projects.

The only glitch in my excitement: I need someone to hire me. I know –lame, right? But such is life. I’ve much experience in the arts, communications, nonprofit, and cultural projects and I would be highly enthused at the prospect of continuing my professional education of sorts.

So yes, as the title requests ever-so-politely yet with a smidgen of indelicacy – Hire me. Please and thanks. 🙂

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

CLICK HERE!
Curriculum Vitae ONLINE

I Have Returned From Whence I Came. Well, Not Really, but I Was Hoping for Some Kind of Dramatic Proclamation of My Blogging Return.


To you,

Yes, I have been rather rubbish at writing for the past couple of weeks. For many different reasons I took a slight hiatus from the blogging-sphere, and now with the assistance of returned power to my lovely MacBook Pro, I am briefly here to proclaim a continuing existence on this little diddy.

Reasons for my hiatus: well, they vary somewhat. From the emotional and mental to the electrical, my oh my what a tale of such woes and fury these thoughts could dispel. Okay, not as such, but what a great description for my futuristic romance novel debut if I ever decide to choose that authorship path in life, eh? In all honesty, there were emotional, mental, and electrical dysfunctions of sorts but none so woeful and filled with fury. I have been having some on and off bits of stress and worry causing my moods to hit a rather low slum. I obviously miss those back home, but there are some definite significant kinks in my situation of which make living so far away that much harder. I’m still kicking though! Also, the battle of landing employment on this side of the pond has been rather frustrating, to say the absolute least. I have lived the past four years only being able to work a legal set amount of 20hrs/week as an International student in the U.S. and now here, I am fully legal to work whatever I can manage. And I have not been able to find anything past 20hrs/week. Having struggled for the past month being here without working – it truly has driven me mad some days – I have now found a ‘Casual’ position within catering at Durham University which is providing me with substantial wages to live. And when I say ‘live’ I by no means mean food, coffee, mobile phone bill (although that’s probably the least of the three). I of course mean rent, and rent alone. So I can live indoors, but I’ll be skin and bones. 🙂 I am rather pleased to have found work though finally, because the few of you of whom I’ve spoken to most definitely know that my mood has suffered. So to those few, I will send you my employer’s address and you can mail him a letter thanking him for my halt in depressing phone calls and messages 😉 .

In addition to said employment, I have also landed a week’s long gig of which I am extremely enthused with. I managed to secure a position as a Project Apprentice with the upcoming Lumiere Festival, which is a huge light-based art event in Durham. With local, national, and international artists collaborating and creating numerous light installations throughout the city, it is organized by a creative projects team from London and I’ll be working with them while they’re in the city. It also includes numerous workshops which will give further insight into what working within artistic related events on the grand scale entails. This apprenticeship alone pays almost a month’s work at my other job, so I’ll be banking a decent penny and working with people within the arts sector. Big air high fives all around!!

Apart from my employment updates, school is going well – the readings are still somewhat foreign to me and I’m having some difficulty with the fact that I am so academically behind these young grad students, having never studied European political history, or any political history for that matter. I’m indulging in some academic lectures of which I’m enjoying, such as the David Miliband lecture, and the lecture with the head of the Human Rights UK. More are approaching next week regarding the Arab Spring and other relative matters.

Having mentioned this to others, and possibly within my writings as well, I feel as though this was the year of all years thus far where me living on my own has been the right move. I’ve always wanted to experience living on my own, but have never had the financial means or opportunity to do so. It’s still a stretch here regarding finances, but I’m managing. I’ve definitely hit emotional and mental realizations in reference to the healing processes of which I’ve never given myself the time to ponder over in regards to numerous occasions tracing all the way back to Purdue (2003) and possibly even prior. I feel like my mind is slowly realizing that I have no roadblocks in making my way through the healing process – no roommates, flatmates, awkward unannounced interruptions, etc. I’ve a schedule, and I’ve my own space and time. Its been most definitely difficult the past couple of weeks, in trying to sort out my post-postgraduate plans because there is so much I want to start experiencing without hesitation, but unfortunately many of my dreams take place in numerous varying locations, and do not correlate with the others. Its been a struggle, and quite a significant one causing many days of feeling quite grey.. neither here, nor there. And as I mentioned, I have very significant things of which mean the most dearest of all my experiences right now and it can be very challenging to experience said things with my current set of events, a.k.a studying in Durham. I hate to be one of those people, but yes, I am sadly and pathetically complaining and crying over all the wonderful things occurring in my life right now. Go on. Looooaaaathe me. But to be quite honest, I think I am coming to realize and witness the surfacing of much hurt and pain that I’ve experienced over the past many years, which is refreshing to see it come to light, but not quite an assisting factor with all other stress occurring in the present! Oh well, one can’t control everything… or at least I haven’t discovered how to do so just yet..!

So that’s me right now. Part-time employed. Fantastic opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks within the arts sector. Financing the dream of living indoors. And spending such a dream moping in said indoor space. Oh, and I’ve mailed out a bunch of letters, and more will be sent in the next few days. Watch those mailboxes people. I’ve yet to create my postcards, so you’ll have to settle for the even more old school letter writing. Pen and paper. My two most loved tools 🙂

To add a brief catch-up to the not-so-brief tale of my woes and sorrows, here’s my latest timeline to catch you up even further!
Oct. 14 – Oliver (bruvah) and Georgina (pesty bestie) came to Durham in two separate yet highly coincidental visits
Oct. 17 – interviewed for Lumiere Festival, and received an offer 🙂
Oct. 19 – Human Rights UK lecture (awesome awesome awesome)
Oct. 21 – went to Baltic Contemporary Art Centre for the Turner Prize exhibit in Newcastle
Oct. 21 – David Miliband lecture (fantastical)
Oct. 28 – did some temp work in a kitchen and was oddly offered a catering/front of house position literally as I stepped in the door
Oct. 29 – went to London for Oliver’s 29th birthday shindig
Oct. 30 – mysteriously misplaced my laptop charger in Oliver’s apartment only for it to be found after I had returned to Durham, therefore eliminating all computer usage until today
Oct. 31 – started my new job
Nov. 1 – discovered a small contemporary gallery in Durham which was to open an exhibit from the Tamarind Institute in New Mexico featuring one of my fave printmakers, Jim Dine’s pieces
Nov. 4 – my grand return to this blog thing, and my first night working a Durham formal dinner
Tomorrow – I shall longboard my way to the gallery to gaze at the Lithography featured pieces and attend a lecture from some art folk from London and abroad
Nov. 14 – 21st – Lumiere Festival and Apprenticeship take place
Dec. 7 – completion of the Michaelmas Term
Winter Hols – ???xoxoxoxox????

That’s me. How’s you?

Peace & love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo