I was super bummed that I couldn't attend their media day a few weeks ago during Blo's grand opening so when Blo Boss Gina invited me to come in yesterday I jumped for joy!
(The Blo South End team at the grand opening!)
If you're unfamiliar with the idea of a "blow out", let me explain. It will change your life.
You know when you see a celebrity on the red carpet (or even at the grocery store) and her hair is smooth and shiny but has that right amount of bounce and swing? She wasn't born that way and she didn't style it herself! Some lucky (or unlucky, depending on the celebrity) stylist took an hour or so to wash, blow dry, flat iron and possibly curl her hair to perfection.
Most of us only go to the salon when we need a cut and might be lucky enough to have freshly blown out hair for a day or two every six months or so. With a blow-out, the only thing your stylist does is wash, blow dry, and style. If you're not getting a cut most stylists at salons are not happy about giving you a blow out. It's too much work. And they'll charge you an arm and a leg to do it.
Blo, started in 2007 by some savvy Canadians, is the answer to the question,
"Why isn't there a place to get quick, affordable, catwalk quality blow outs?"
As soon as you walk into Blo South End, you know you've found a special spot.
While their slogans (Blo Me, Bro Job, Blo U) lean to the naughty-cute side, the bar itself is a sophisticated spot decorated in calming grays and whites with punches of Blo's signature hot pink.
Every one is super warm and friendly, so I felt immediately comfortable even though I wasn't dressed in my usual Fashion-Blogger-Finest.
(Blo's Front Desk & Candy Jars)
Fortified with a freshly made glass of pink lemonade and some pink & white candy, I sat in my "Bloer" (or stylists) chair and was handed Blo's Menu.
For just $35 (no matter how long, short, thick or thin your mane may be) you can pick from one of seven signature Blo styles. Usually, I want my hair to blown stick straight and smooth (known at Blo as The Executive Sweet) but I was feeling adventurous yesterday so I went with The Boho Braid.
(The Boho Braid and Holly Would styles from Blo's Menu)
As soon as I had chosen, I was whisked over to the shampoo station for my wash and conditioner.
Blo exclusively uses Unite hair products, a celebrity favorite that is PETA approved and certified vegan. I was little skeptical that an all natural product could tame my textured tresses but my hair is so unbelievably soft and smells so delicious that I have to admit that Unite really works.
(Comfy chairs at the sinks)
(I love that the space has a lot of windows and natural light)
Then it was back to my chair where my hair was dried about 80% with a diffuser before being sectioned off and straightened with the blow dryer and round brush. I have a lot of hair so it usually takes forever but my stylist has it down to such a science that I was surprised how quickly, it was dried! With a couple of snazzy maneuvers with the brush and flat iron I had smooth waves ready for Coachella and a perfect side braid pinned neatly behind one ear.
Big thank you to Gina, Hilary, Emily, and especially the entire Blo South End team!
(All pictures in this post are by TheBostonista except for The Blo South End Team Shot and The Blo Menu Illustrations provided by Blo. My appointment at Blo was complimentary but the review is honestly my own.)
It's always great when I come across a new website or store but it's even more exciting when it's from a Boston-based company.
Recently, one of the companies I'm excited about is UsTrendy, an online marketplace devoted to cultivating new, smaller designers and providing them with opportunities to sell their designs.
If you're part of the Boston fashion scene you're probably already familiar with UsTrendy, one of the biggest fashion marketplaces on the web!
UsTrendy president Sam Sisakhti had watched a designer friend struggle with the business aspects of a successful line, and decided to find a way to support independent design talent while providing shoppers with unique, exciting design at great prices.
If you're an aspiring designer you can create a portfolio to enter into contests. Prizes include receiving funding to launch the line and promotion at international fashion weeks!
The fashion industry is often cut-throat so it's wonderful to see a local company helping to launch new, independent lines.
Not a designer? UsTrendy is also a bit of a social platform where fashion fans can shop unique items, vote for pieces you'd like to see produced, and set tomorrow's trends by providing personal feedback to designers.
One of their labels that really caught my eye is MonTree, with its emphasis on clothing for the modern, urban bohemian. I think sometimes designers see "urban" women as wanting black but MonTree designer, Monica Wontorski, infuses her pieces with bright colors and prints.
I'm particularly crazy for the Mexican Heart top with it's bat wing sleeves and printed heart. Plus, it's made from recycled polyester and bamboo meaning it's stylish and sustainable.
If black is more your game and you're looking for something elegant UsTrendy can satisfy that need as well with designers like FROCK Los Angeles. Frock is one of the labels that is growing quickly thanks to its design philosophy of ignoring trends. Instead, designer Victoria Tik, focuses on solid colors and timeless cuts for an overall minimalist asethetic. Like MonTree, Frock is also committed to being eco-friendly using only vegetable based dyes and certified organic materials.
So, if you're looking for something special and want to be able to support small labels and upcoming designers, USTrendy is the place to go! I love browsing their 14,000 designers and creating outfits especially since UsTrendy makes it easy for MY opinion to actually impact the store in a positive way!
Oh, Katie Holmes, I've had such a love/hate relationship with you since the 7th grade.
I hate your sideways smirk, but love the huge grin.
Joey Potter seemed so fun but Jen Lindley was always so glamorous.
You showed so much promise in Pieces of April and then I endured Mad Money.
I love Suri but Tom creeps me out.
Actually, you probably feel the same way about that last one, Katie.
But I have to admit, this "divorce tour" you're taking on the streets of New York this month has me captivated. You look amazing, Scientology is scary, and Suri is still the best dressed woman in town.
Besides, as a former student of The Sacred Heart, I'm thrilled that Suri will be attending Convent of the Sacred Heart in September.
Since Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman transformed their bodies into ballerinas for Black Swan the ballet barre fitness trend has swept the nation! Recently, it's completely taken over the Boston area with no less than six different studios offering their takes on the fitness movement.
I was extremely nervous walking into the studio as I really haven't worked out in any form in years. I danced ballet as a child (it was a required class at my snooty middle school...yes, seriously) and was on the cheerleading squad in high school but I can't even remember the last time I did a serious workout as an adult!
I needn't have worried; Melissa (my instructor and the manager of West Newton) understood my reservations and made me feel immediately comfortable. While Boston Body has locations all around the greater Boston area that offer Barre, Pilates classes, private lessons, and spinning, the recently-opened West Newton studio is focused solely on their Body Barre program. The lobby is bright and welcoming with plenty of space to store your stuff and a nice reception area. I went to a class in the middle of the day so it was peaceful and Melissa was able to give students a lot of individual attention.
Boston Body Barre is a combination of Pilates and dance based cardio that incorporates a ballet barre. The idea is to use only your body weight as resistance but do a lot of reps of each exercise to build long, lean muscles.
I was honestly expecting to be standing at the barre the entire time and basically just doing ballet exercises. I could not have been more wrong! While you do use the barre for stretching and balance the class is very much a cardio workout mixed with Pilates mat work set to really fun music like Rihanna.
(The West Newton Boston Body Barre studio)
Melissa was incredibly encouraging and helpful. I was sweating hard by the middle of the 60-minute class but Melissa encouraged us to listen to our bodies and take breaks as needed. I definitely needed a couple, so I just sipped on my water and watched the class from the back. No one made me feel bad or uncomfortable for stopping and when I re-joined the group I got a lot of encouraging smiles from the other girls.
I'm not going to lie, it was difficult and, at times, my muscles were screaming, but it was also really fun and when the class was over I felt amazing. It really made me feel powerful and strong. It was a great experience and I'm definitely planning on going on a regular basis.
Interested in trying it out? I definitely recommend that you do!
This summer the West Newton studio has a special where first-timers can drop in to the 5:30 PM class on Wednesdays and try out Boston Body Barre for free. You just need to register for the class online beforehand!
Boston Body Pilates has five locations in the Boston area (including one right on Newbury St in Boston) so its easy to find a location and class that's convenient for you!