Aura is auditioning for The Next Food Network Star!

The process goes like this:

Submit application, photos and video by mid-September.

Call backs will be October & November.

Filming of show is scheduled for January/February.

Since we have no way of knowing how many hundreds (or thousands!) of applicants attempt this,  the goal is to sparkle in the first round so that the application catches the judges eyes.

The first step to that is new photos (the last publicity photos were done for the book in 2005 and that is way too long ago to keep using!)

Yesterday was a photo session with an inspired local photographer, Jason Ganwich. He did a marvelous job of getting the real Aura Mae on camera.

Next step is the video. Some footage will be filmed at our Grand Opening Open House on August 22 ( “Aura as the Sparkling Hostess”) and then at home for a quick kitchen demo.  Still pondering what to demo…something easy and quick because it is only a 3 minute video!

If chosen to be on the show, Aura would be out of the salon for about 5 weeks. As luck would have it, January is traditionally a slower time in the salon and a great time to get away.  New York in January, however, sounds a little chilly!

We will keep you posted!  If you want the most timely info, add Aura Mae as a friend on Facebook.  (Lots of food photos there, too!)

Here are a couple of the pictures from yesterday.  We can’t speak highly enough about the photographer. Next time you need some professional shots for work or home, call the Fabulous Jason!

Oh, and if anyting comes of this and Aura gets an infusion of cash,  a fancy new stove is in her future!

And don’t worry. Even if she wins the whole thing and gets her own show, she will still be in the salon seeing clients!  Hosting a TV cooking show is not a full time, year round job requiring a relocation to New York! :)

Aura Food 2009

texas blackberries


Sure, Aveda president Dominique Nils Conseil runs the first beauty company to offset 100 percent of its electricity with wind power, but for the 53-year-old executive, green living begins at home. Each day, Conseil and his wife, Misato, carpool to work—a practice they adopted instead of purchasing a second car (hybrid or otherwise). And for short trips around downtown Minneapolis, where the couple lives, Conseil opts to ride his bicycle. “I’d travel by bike to work if my commute didn’t include 25 miles on the highway,” he says. At home, the Conseils’ environmental efforts range from using energy-efficient lightbulbs to stocking the kitchen with products from the Wedge, a natural-food co-op.

Read the rest of the article here.

Azarra in the press

May 4, 2009

All this talk about selling wine in the salon has gotten us some press.  Last week we were visited by South Sound Eats and The Weekly Volcano.   We are appreciative of the attention!

Read the articles online here:


South Sound Eats (Kris Blondin)


The Weekly Volcano (Jessica Corey-Butler)

We are in our new space

April 28, 2009

Wine Tasting
Image by Andrew Albertson via Flickr

I can’t tell you how excited we are to be in this new, luxurious space.  We are all very much enjoying having our own space, and no, we don’t miss each other.  There are still lots of opportunities for us to be together, but with the private rooms, when the blowdryers are all going, you don’t have four hairdressers and four clients screaming to be heard!

We have extra space, so we are actively recruiting new team members.  As you can imagine, we don’t want just any old hairdresser.  It takes a special person to be on the Azarra Team!  We hope to have news to share with you by summertime.  And speaking of summer, we will be having a Grand Opening in June.  I will get a date to you as soon as I get it hammered out.  We will be getting a banquet license for that day, so we will be able to serve wine.  (Yay!)

As to the wine: just to clarify, we are selling bottles of wine for off-premises consumption.  That means you may not consume on the premises.  Got it? And don’t try to talk us into any hanky panky, because doing so could cost us our license.

Here’s the kick: if wine sales make up 50% of our total retail (not services) sales, then we can do tastings.  A tasting is defined as a 2 ounce pour of no more than 4 different wines.  This is really what our customers want, because it gives them an opportunity to sample items before purchase.  Until we get there, you will have to rely on our judgment and suggestions.  Rest assured the staff will sample all the wine on your behalf!  As luck would have it, we have a Tasting Room with a bar all set for when this happens.  So you are all on notice: if you want to do tastings, buy lots of wine from us!

Now, here are some pictures of the new space, but to really get the full effect, you are just going to have to come see it for yourself!  And don’t bother pointing out to us that there are a lot of bare walls.  Art will take a while to collect.  We don’t want to throw things up just to fill space.






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Big News from Azarra!

March 26, 2009



We have overgrown our current space and are moving into a larger space.  Same building, Same floor.  Heck, we’re still going to be Suite 210!

There are a few great things about this move about which clients and staff can both get excited.

We have a window!  No more peeking through the slits or walking out into the hall to see the weather!

Private rooms!  Each hairdresser can work in as tranquil a place as they like.  But don’t worry, the shampoo bowls and processing machines are in the common areas so there will be plenty of time to interact with other clients and staff.

Wine!  We have applied for a license to be a wine store.  I know you all are buying wine somewhere.  It may as well be from us.  Grab a bottle of shampoo and a bottle Chablis.  Efficient, no?  Hey, we are here to help.  Just for clarification: it is not legal for a salon to serve wine to their clients.  A wine store can do tastings if 50% of their retail sales come from the alcohol.  So, if you want to taste wine in the salon, buy lots of it and we can get to that 50% quickly.

The move will happen sometime in April.  We will start painting and moving things a bit at a time.  There may be a week or two when we are doing the hair in the new place, but walking back to the old space for the shampooing.  Moving the plumbing is the biggest task and we are at the mercy of the plumbers on the timeline.  There will be additional lighting installed, but that should be less of a chore.

We will keep you posted as each step happens.  Set yourself a bookmark for the blog (or subscribe) so you can be in the loop.  Of course, we will have a party when we get it all put together.

In the meantime, enjoy these Before photos.  We’ll post some During photos as we go along.  See you soon!















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As the mother of a teenage daughter, I have watched the recent troubles with Chris Brown and Rihanna with a heavy heart.

Since I am terminally un-hip, I only know of Rihanna because she has cute hair and clients bring in pictures of her for inspiration.

I am old enough to know Tina Turner‘s story, and I have known enuogh women in my time to have heard stories of domestic violence.

Years ago I colored the hair of a family of blondes to make them a family of brunettes to decrease the chance that their abusive father would find them as they fled for their lives.

When you are young, you are handicapped by the lack of life experience that allows you so see patterns in life and human behavior. I know you don’t want to listen to us old hags because you think the world is different now than when we were young.  People, however, are the same.

Know this:

  1. If he hits you once, he’ll hit you again.
  2. If he says he’s going to kill you, he means it.
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I spend a lot of time explaining to people the concept of “community” and how it relates to salons.  People who hop from salon to salon will never know the feeling of belonging that comes from having the same hairdresser for decades.  Carrie and I met in beauty school more than 20 years ago.  We still have clients from our first years as working stylists.  Children who’s hair we cut on booster seats now have children of their own they bring in to the salon.  Through proms, weddings, babies and sometimes divorces, we are a part of their lives and they are a part of ours.  I came across a sweet story this morning that paints the picture nicely.  Check it out.

Louise Galbraith said what’s discussed in the chair isn’t
necessarily shared with husbands or siblings. “But they can talk to us
about anything. And it’s supposed to stay here.”

“You become like friends,” said Fiona Lyon, whose hair she has
cut since 1974. “You tend to share with the hairdresser because they’re
usually impartial. They’re not family, they’re someone you can talk

“I’ve shared the joys and life’s challenges with her,” said Mary Mainland,
who’s been a regular in McLeod’s chair since 1975.

“And it goes both ways, you know. Not only our family life story
but hers. When you’re with a person that long, she’s exceptional, she’s
like a psychologist.”

“You bitch about your husband,” Mary Prout added brightly,
within earshot of him. The retired school teacher started getting her
hair styled by Pat Osborne, even before she opened the Golden Shears 25
years ago.

“We do a lot of joking and have fun in here,” said Meredith
Ball, who has been cutting hair since she was 16. She’s grown close
enough over the last 40 years with some customers to confide in them.

Read the rest of the story here.

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We’re #4!

October 27, 2008

OK.  So it doesn’t have the same ring as “We’re #1,” but we’ll take it!

We never forget that we are a tiny blip in the cosmos and the admiration of our devoted fans is always appreciated.  If it weren’t for you, there would be no Azarra.

You can read the rest of the results here.

Johns Hopkins UniversityImage via Wikipedia

When I was an 18 year old college student writing for the campus paper, the federal government bullied all the states into making 21 the legal drinking age.  It went something like this: Do what we say, or we will take away your federal highway funds.  We all know who won that power play.

Impassioned as I was by this new legislation, I used my weekly column as a venue to voice my incredulity.  Now, for the record, I remember very little of what I wrote for the Tacoma Community College paper.  Most of it was, I am sure, drivel.  But I remember the closing line from this particular column.

Raising the drinking age to 21 does not keep 19 year olds from drinking.  It just takes them out of the bars and makes them criminals.

Now, a group of college presidents has gone on record saying the current legal age does more harm than good.

Top university officials in Maryland – including the chancellor of the state university system and the president of the Johns Hopkins University – say the current drinking age of 21 “is not working” and has led to dangerous binges in which students have harmed themselves and others.

Six college presidents in Maryland are among more than 100 college and university presidents nationwide who have signed a statement calling for a public debate on rethinking the drinking age.

“Kids are going to drink whether it’s legal or illegal,” said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody, who supports lowering the drinking age to 18. “We’d at least be able to have a more open dialogue with students about drinking as opposed to this sham where people don’t want to talk about it because it’s a violation of the law.”

The presidents of the University of Maryland, College Park; Towson University; the College of Notre Dame of Maryland; Goucher College; Washington College and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute signed the statement, along with the presidents of Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State University.

You can read the rest of the article here.


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GNU-FDL License by author Mike LaneImage via WikipediaThe results are in. We are thrilled to announce that Aura Mae (that’s me) won Best Haircutter for the second year in a row! (Thanks to all of you who voted!)

There are also lots of interesting “Best of” items like Best Reason to Live in Tacoma and Best Eyesore. It is an interesting issue. If you didn’t pick up a paper copy last week, you can check it out online.

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Remember Semaj Booker, the kid who got caught trying to leave SeaTac by sneaking on a flight (after having successfully done so previously?)

Well, he has found himself in trouble again.  This time for residential burglary.

Read the details over at the Trib.

By the way, did I tell you that I was interviewed by a reporter working on a story about juvenile crime for a parenting magazine?  She asked me to tell her my story and about 10 minutes into it, she started muttering things like “Oh, my!”

Poor thing.  She usually writes stories about how to handle toddler tantrums and parent teacher conferences.  This was quite eye opening for her.  The article is supposed to come out later this summer.  I will post a link to it when I get it.

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Perhaps it is just me.  I can barely understand why a woman in her forties would want to have a baby, let alone a woman in her seventies.

Yup, you heard me right.  seventies.  A woman in India is now the oldest woman to give birth.  Spending their life savings (and also taking out a loan) on IVF, she and her husband had twins.  Twins!  At 70!

Imagine chasing two toddlers in your seventies.

Imagine dealing with two teenagers in your eighties! (OK, now I am dizzy and I need a drink.)

And all this, just because they wanted a male heir.  (Although, if they spent all the money, I am not sure what affairs the boy will have to handle, but what the hell do I know?)

Feel free to pop on over to the BBC to read all the gory details.

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Much ado about mayo

July 5, 2008

Heinz hired a new ad company to launch their new deli mayo.  The company came up with a funny TV spot, but it has sparked controversy because it shows ….are you ready?…two men…aparantly married and raising children…kissing!

Not making out.  Not having sex.  Just a little “I’m heading to the office, see you later” kiss.

I always forget that there are some people that think “the gays” shouldn’t have families and can’t be “normal,” so this kind of thing always seems like a tempest in a tea pot to me.  As a hairdresser (and a theater major) I may have met a few of “the gays” in my time.  And some of them have families.  So it just doesn’t seem strange to me.  (I am always excited when kids have two parents of any gender because it is WAY HARD to do it alone.)

So, without further ado, here is the link to the silly little video.  Don’t watch it if it is going to upset you.

There.  You have been warned.  And don’t bother leaving any cranky remarks about how gays getting married will be the end of civilization as we know it.  To do so would be assuming that I thought the way things are is good and should be preserved.  Go bark up a different tree.

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One day last week our cute FedEx driver brought us an envelope containing a copy of Short Cuts ( a consumer magazine.)  It seemed an odd thing to be FedExed, so I gave the mag to my client and asked her to flip through and see if she could figure out why this was sent to us.

It took some time, because this is almost at the end of the magazine, but she found the reason.

In their Salon Directory, there were two salons reviewed.  Gary Manuel in Seattle, and little old us.

I only have one question.

Who the hell told them we were “warm?”

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I am tired of clients asking me what is new and trendy in haircolor and then dismissing my answer when I give it.

The trend in haircolor is toward the incorporation of colors that don’t naturally occur in human hair.

What ever.  Don’t listen to me.  What do I know?

How about the North American Hairdressing Awards?  Is that a reputable enough source for you?

You may recall that I assisted at a photo shoot for a friend who entered this competition.

I am sorry to say that his beautiful work did not make the finals.  And as I look at the finalists, I can see why.  His work was in a more traditional palette.  No blue.  No green.  No pink.

Click over here to see what the judges found appealing for 2008.

There are 5 finalists.  Clicking on their name will show you their entries.  There are six photos for each entrant.  These are three sets of before and afters.  (If you can’t tell which is the before and which is the after, I will have to smack you.)

If you would like to see the finalists in the other categories (like Student and Master Stylist) click around on the row above the bold HAIRCOLOR heading.

Now, when ever you are ready, we can book an appointment for you to get some of these trendy colors.  And yes, you can just dip your foot in the pool, you don’t have to dive in head first!

Irvine Robbins, the founder of Baskin-Robbins died last week.  I imagine some of you are more informed than I and knew that he attended Stadium HS and that his first store was in downtown Tacoma.

For those of you who didn’t, click on over and read the article in the Trib for more details.

Have I told you that I would rather open a vein than open a restaurant?

While I love to cook and enjoy watching Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, I have no desire to run a restaurant.

There are, however, no shortage of people who find the idea appealing.  God bless them.  If it weren’t for these crazy dreamers, I would have to cook all my meals at home.

Pacific Avenue is home to many restaurants, large and small, and they all have a story to tell.  If you heard that La Costa had closed and re-opened under the name Gringo de Loco, you may have been excited to give it a try.

Well, hold on to your hats, kids, because Gringo de Loco is gone.

Read the whole sordid tale in the buyer’s own poignant words here.

I debated whether to put this under the Come Here So I Can Smack You heading, but I decided it was too sad.  Like many of you, I am shaped a lot like my mother.  And I am OK with that.  It is who I am.  Thank God I am not famous enough to have paparazzi and the attention of The Daily Mail.  I always felt sorry for Sarah Ferguson.  I was once the fat daughter-in-law (my former sister-in-law was a former model and ballerina) and it was never fun to be the ugly duckling in comparison to the beautiful swan.  I thought I understood how she might have felt when she got crap for not being as perfect as Diana.

So, now, here we are, a generation later, and it is Sarah’s daughter who gets the crap.  Very sad that we can’t let people decide for themselves whether they are happy with their body.

Bea, beach bodies and the thorny problem of the Mummy gene …

By AMANDA PLATELL – More by this author » Last updated at 23:49pm on 29th April 2008

Comments Comments (21)

Princess Beatrice emerges beaming from the Caribbean Sea beside her boyfriend, Dave Clark, and the first impression is how in love they seem.

The second thought is how comfortable this comely 19-year-old is in her own skin – so at ease with her curves that she’s happy to be photographed in a skimpy blue bikini.

Thirdly, it hits you that a young woman can run, she can hide, but there’s no escaping The Curse Of The Mummy Gene.

Scroll down for more …

Fergie and Bea

Curvy: Fergie in St Tropez in 2001. Beatrice in St Barths this week

Read the rest of the article here.

I want to smack Miley Cyrus AND Annie Leibovitz.

Miley works for Disney.  Seems like she is old enough to know that she is too young to take her shirt off for pictures.  And Ms. Leibovitz is old enough to know that a child who makes her living appealing to children shouldn’t pose in provocative photos.  Man!

(CNN) — Annie Leibovitz on Monday defended her provocative photograph for Vanity Fair magazine of teen heartthrob Miley Cyrus — aka Hannah Montana — who has expressed embarrassment about the pose.


A photo of Miley Cyrus in Vanity Fair was meant to be artistic, said the teen superstar.

“I’m sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted,” the celebrity photographer said in a written statement. “Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it. The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful.”

The statement came a day after the 15-year-old apologized to her fans for her participation in the photo shoot, which took place February 9 in Calabasas, California.

“My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy,” Cyrus said in a written statement. “For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie.

“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. The pictures of me on the Internet were silly, inappropriate shots.

Read the rest here.

I much prefer the logic of Sophie Simmons on Gene Simmons Family Jewels.  When a photographer came with wardrobe and told Sophie she had something really sexy for her, Sophie reminded her that she was 14 and sexy wasn’t really appropriate.  Thank God some famous kids have their head screwed on  properly.

Another school has banned a kid over a haircut.  Has the whole world gone mad?

School bans boy, 3, over haircut

Tavis Cook

Tavis chose the hairstyle himself

A three-year-old boy has been banned from his Tyneside nursery school class for his trendy “tramlines” haircut.

The mother of Tavis Cook was told the youngster’s distinctive hairdo broke the rules of Riverside primary School in North Shields.

Donna Cook has been told to keep her son away until his hair grows back.

Read the rest of the story here.


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