I'm kind of a bad 'client' to some businesses because my love of trying new things often trumps my support of service providers. One exception is my hair stylist. I have been going to her since I pretty much moved to Houston; since the very 1st time she cut my hair when the guy who was recommended to me didn't have an appointment available. I don't see her as often as I should but luckily I have pretty low maintenance hair... But, when I need a cut it's usually gotten to the point where I really need it.
I had an appointment for June 16 at 10 AM with my stylist. I needed it. I had 2 big things that week and Wed was the only day I had a sitter for Wee One. You can imagine how my heart sunk when I picked up my cell phone Wed morning to see a message from the salon that my stylist wasn't going to be able to make it in to work due to a family emergency. She is a mom and I am a mom and of course I understood, but I still needed a haircut. I quickly started running down a mental list of all the places I knew of close to home. It had to be that morning and I had a lunch date so it had to be before or after lunch but I would have to be home by 3 to relieve my sitter. Pretty small window.
I searched the archives of the Heights Kids' Group forum to see who had been recommended. A friend had posted a rec for Maryanne at Shine in the Heights and her comments had been echoed by a couple other moms. I called. Voicemail. It was not quite 9 am. I got worried.
In the reviews section of the mommy mafia forum there were 2 glowing recommendations for La Paz Day Spa. I've been to La Paz for waxing before and always had a great experience. I called. Someone answered! They were booked. They offered to put me on a waiting list. Sigh.
I remembered there is a little spa on 19th called Heights Spa. I googled them and pulled up the site. They don't do hair. I went back to the Heights Kids forum.
The 3rd recommendation I saw was for David, Etc. I knew the salon well even though I had never been inside. It shares a building with Berryhill and, yes, my family is one of those where the parents drink margaritas on the patio while our kids go feral. We go quite often, always walking by the doors for David, Etc. The praises on the forum were for Wendy, but I wasn't even going to try to get a specific stylist. I needed my bangs out of my eyes and a trim along the bottom and I needed it now.
I couldn't find hours of operation on the site but I called and someone answered. I started talking and the voice on the other end stumbled, something about they weren't open yet but never really completed that thought and instead asked how he could help me. I explained the situation and he said he would check the schedule. I was in luck! He had a stylist with a 10 am slot open. It really couldn't have been more perfect since I was having lunch right across the street at Zelko Bistro. I wouldn't even need to move my car.
When I got to the salon it was just opening and was still on the quiet side. Music was playing but chatter was absent until I was introduced to Ludmila, who would be cutting my hair. We started talking about my hair, how Amelia usually cuts it, what I wanted today. I tried to use professional terminology that I hear Amelia say, "point cut" and "tapered" and "asymetrical." It's hard communicating another stylist's vision and technique. I figured at the worst, it's just hair, it will grow back out.
After the hair part was over, I asked Ludmila if she lives near by. Sure enough, she and her family have been in the Heights for about 6 years. They live in a restored bungalow in Woodland Heights. The relocated to Houston from Hungary, where they had been living for her husband's job. Their daughter was born there, which makes her story interesting from day 1. American father, Latvian mother, born in Hungary. I love the stories the ex-pat creates. When I was growing up, everyone I knew was from where I was from. I felt like moving to Texas was moving to another planet until I started to meet people from all over the world. I am fascinated by stories of people who have lived, not just travelled, but lived as ex-pats... Anyway, my hair...
Typical shampoo, good smelling conditioner. Comb and cut. It was pretty much what I expected and looked great. Blow dry, shine spray. I loved it. Was it exactly the same as what I get from my regular stylist? No, but that is what makes me enjoy cheating on my other service providers from time to time- just seeing what else is out there. Of course, my loyalty to Amelia is unflagging in the end and my next cut will be by her, but it was nice to try somewhere so close to home. If you're looking for a new stylist, you have lots of options in the Heights!
David of David, Etc, and Ludmila, who sure came through for me in a pinch.
FYI- David has been operating in the Heights for 10 years, six in his current location but some of you may remember he was the last long-term business to occupy the little green gas station across the street.