So… THAT’S why I Don’t Go to Salons!!


Image <<—GRRRRRRR! 

Please excuse my contrary tone. This is my first time posting while upset so I won’t go into great detail… just know that I’ve been into hair care for nine years. I apply my own lye relaxers; I apply my own color (a couple of times I had a friend, Maggie do it); I style my own hair, roller set, and flat iron.

I’ve been to my fair share of salons but I’ve found that Dominican Salons are the best (do a Google or Youtube search and you’ll find out why). When I move to a new city, I make it a point to look for a Dominican stylist for my styling needs and for hair care products (i.e., Silicon Mix, Capilo, Nacidit, Miss Key). 

I had always heard that there was one Dominican stylist in the Phoenix area named Melania. She is mentioned on the Long Hair Care Forum and also on the forum. I heard she was fan-tab-ulous! For over two years I heard about it. It was about time I give her a call.

I knew she would be busy because she’s the only Dominican in town so I called her just to schedule a meeting. I SCREEN MY STYLISTS after a four-inch “trim” some stylist gave me years ago. Here’s the initial phone convo:

Ace: Hi is this Melania?

Mel: *thick Morena accent* Yes this is Melania.

Ace: I have heard that you are the best in the city from several of my internet friends. I would like to know if I can stop over one day and look at your work before setting an appointment. 

Mel: Yes, but not today.Very busy today. Booked until next week. I come in tomorrow from 6:30 am – 5:00 pm. 

Ace: No, that is no problem. When is the best day that I can watch you work from start to finish?

Mel: Saturday at 3:30. Do you want to set an appointment?

Ace: No, but I would love to see your work first at the shop on tomorrow. I’ve heard great things about you and I look forward to seeing you!

She took down my name and I was excited! She also mentioned she uses products from the Dominican Republic such as my beloved Silicon Mix. Yay! Dominican! 

I did a roller set on my hair this morning and kept it in rollers, Dominican style before driving over to the shop. The salon location was beautiful, inside an upscale salon boutique building in Glendale.

It took me some time to find her suite/room. I saw two rooms– one shampoo room and one stylist Room. Melania was the Morena who was in the styling room. She had three clients at once; one client in the styling chair. One client either under a salon hair dryer or just sitting down in a chair (I don’t remember if I saw a hood,” and one client with a spacesuit on! When I say spacesuit, I mean a soft bonnet hair dryer that wraps around the neck (too lazy to copy what one looks like). I was unsure if she was in rollers or was just getting a steam treatment.

My first thought was: Oh no! I know she is not going to try to dry my hair in that itty bitty hooded dryer (because I use big rollers) or that soft bonnet spacesuit because the hair at the crown will not get dry.

I peeked through the door and asked, “Melania?” and the Morena replied, “Yes, I am Melania.” Her hair was short, neck length and kind of choppy. Now, I have bad hair days too, don’t get me wrong. But most Dominicans I know have their hair done and it is not short or choppy. And I have a stigma… I can’t have anyone with short hair do my hair, unless they are a man. I don’t care if they keep it short on purpose. 

I introduced myself as the one who asked to sit and watch her work while she did hair, which seemed very awkward, as she had four clients in her area. I didn’t have a place to sit. I could tell she didn’t remember the conversation as she looked at me as I just landed from Mars. She gave me her card and told me that she only works by appointment. I explained again that I didn’t come to get my hair done, that I only came for information (such as pricing, the products she uses, her hours, if she had a picture portfolio). I was upset that I was unable to see any of this. 

I really wanted to see her work. Should I call for an appointment just to be able to have a seat in the salon so that I can ask her questions? No. This first impression just left me with a sour taste in my mouth and I am thankful that I know how to do my own hair. I now have her email address so maybe I can just interview her first that way. 

I’ve decided not to let her do my hair but I’d still want the info. —> END RANT!! 



Missing in action… FOOD to keep you company!



East meets west in my first blog post from my phone….

The steak was marinated with over 14 spices along with red wine. Then grilled until medium-well. Garnished with additional spice rub. Very American.

Bhindi masala- whole fried okra….only that the oil is infused with cumin, garam masala, curry, and love! East Indian.

Batata Harra – baked potato cubes, tossed with cilantro, garlic and cayenne pepper… With added extra virgin olive oil. Lebanese.

What a great meal!

I Can’t Run Away From Russia – Part 1 – Childhood

St. Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral – The most recognizable building of Russia.

Aceey’s preface: Want to finally know why 1 out of 10 posts I make on Facebook has to do with Russia? This was originally meant to be a complete blog post about my fascination with Russian culture and history from childhood to adulthood. Unfortunately, the original post was somehow deleted. Also the drafts of the work were mysteriously deleted from my computer and in my email.  I don’t want to call it a conspiracy so I am slowly rewriting them.  *Looks at my own skin color* Wait, I’m black. Why in the world has Russian culture invaded my life? Find out in this series!

My first brush with Russian culture came to me on Christmas Day at age four. My mother bought me a record player complete with “See-and-Say” style books and their respective recordings. There were also several music recordings. The one that I listened to over and over again was “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” by Tchaikovsky. The sound of the chimes and another instrument that I didn’t know the name of intrigued me—I became addicted to the song. I didn’t know at the time that the other instrument played in that song was the celesta. Was it a coincidence that my middle name is Celeste?

One year later, my kindergarten class took a field trip to see a ballet called The Nutcracker.  I began to hear that familiar celesta again. My eyes grew big and my heart melted to hear my favorite song again, and the dancing to it… there’s a dance to it? I wasn’t a dancer but whenever I heard that song, I pretended that I could.

Jasmine from "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" in The Nutcracker

Jasmine from "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" in The Nutcracker. Photo from

Was it a coincidence that one of my favorite actors of all time was Yul Brynner? And it had nothing to do with “The Ten Commandments” either! When I was little, my mother and I would watch Cinema 12 together (WYES Channel 12 – New Orleans) when they would show silver screen and movies in Technicolor at 11:00 am and 11:00 pm. My favorite one to watch by age 9 (that I still watch) was Anastasia, featuring Brynner. He made me fall in love with him over and over—supreme acting, the perfect body, the showcasing of his skills on the guitar and ukulele. At the time, I had no idea he was Russian—I just thought he was good at playing Russian people.

Cast members of "Anastasia"

(Left) Yul Brynner in "Anastasia" with his FINE self.

The movie about the ill-fated faux grand dutchess sparked my desire to learn about the political climate of pre-revolutionary Russia. I read books and searched pictures of what it was like to be a Romanov. I was enchanted in imperialism, but not the common people, unfortunately.

Reading Rainbow, a television show hosted by Levar Burton, had an episode on the Shavuot (Passover). A little old lady of Russian descent was teaching how to make challah bread, latkes (potato pancakes), and matzo ball soup. Who knew that I would be making delicious challah bread for loved ones years to come!

Mrs. Katz

A cover of the book read on the television show, Reading Rainbow. The episode featured Passover. Wait, I just noticed that little boy is black... just like me! Yay! I don't feel like an anomaly anymore!

I couldn’t run away from Russian music for some reason. While still in elementary school, my brother had a cassette tape of classical music and I learned of Stravinsky—I couldn’t really pick a favorite between Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. They were two different styles in two different periods. Listening to their waltzes made me appreciate anything in 6/8 and 12/8 time signature, though. In general, I loved the use of several minor chords in the beginning, followed by a bridge in a major key, and going back to a minor key. By age 10, I was already reading music with two years under my belt, learning music theory, and understanding how composers could make a statement without saying a word:

From "Inside Overture 1812" Website by Adam Sebire.

"Overture of 1812" Photo Taken from the "Inside Overture 1812" Website by Adam Sebire.

For example, Tchaikovsky boasted the retreat of France at the Battle of Borodino in The Overture of 1812 (click to listen) by adding pieces of the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise, in major and minor keys. What a genius way to say “Nanny-Nannie Boo-Boo” to the enemy! I laugh every time I heard this song when I was little… I still laugh today (This actually, shouldn’t be funny, as I am from New Orleans, a French colony. Or maybe I should continue to laugh, as France was always trying to dominate somebody. Shoot, finally the underdog got to hold down the fort, hahaha! 😉  Whose side am I on anyway?).

The song would eventually haunt me after the movie, V for Vendetta, was released.

One day, Momma brought home a VHS cassette of a movie called “No Way Out.” In it, Kevin Costner plays a hero and at the end there was a shocking twist—he turned out to be a Russian Sleeper Agent! I became a Russian fortune’s fool again.

No Way Out - Featuring Kevin Costner

No Way Out - Featuring Kevin Costner. My first movie regarding Russian Spies.

All of this happened to me before the age of 12. The spiral down the rabbit hole became deeper as I got older…

To Be Continued…

Parts 2 and 3 coming soon!