Studio Cim Mahony

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STUDIO CIM MAHONY
Bredgade 4, 2 TV
1260 København K
T. +45.31.90.17.54


Since we started making semi-annual trips to Denmark, I've been holding off on all visits to randomly researched hair salons in the States to get my hair properly cut and colored at Studio Cim Mahony. From what I learned following Emily Weiss' Instagram, she trusts her hair with only Cim Mahony himself and will fly from New York to Copenhagen just for an appointment. Now, if that's not a true testament to the man and his salon, I don't know what is!

Because it’s located in an upscale apartment, being a client here is akin to visiting the chicest person you can imagine and then having that person give you VIP service. Everything here is tastefully selected, from the unusual floral arrangements down to the teacup from which you're sipping some exotic tea.  It's Cim's ethos come to life. 

I prefer private hair salons because there's a certain level of attention provided that you can't find at the big-name salons. (In other words, it's not listed on Yelp.) There's a sense of calm and focus in this sort of environment. No crazy commotions. Your one stylist does it all, from greeting you at the door to shampooing to putting on the finishing touches. 

While Cim's services are privy only to an exclusive set, his team of highly trained and experienced experts are available to "everyone else". And they all seem to have the same mission: to create healthy and effortless hair that's meant to suit your face and lifestyle. I've seen a couple of different stylists in the salon before but was particularly happy with my recent experience with Sarah Kjærsgaard Sørensen. She has an anti-trendy philosophy in regards to hair, which is common amongst Danish hairdressers in general, but what I really appreciated was that she took her time to get to know my hair history and understood the difficulties I encountered in the past. European women, she explained, don't style their hair with heated tools as is done the U.S. so it's crucial to get the right cut where the mane of hair lays correctly on its own.

I'd banned myself from any trims or salon visits the past seven months, so my ends were raggedy and my old highlights looked brassy. When I came in, I had about five inches of black roots showing, but my color now looks like someone flipped the light switch on from within. Sarah started by weaving in babylights (super thin highlights) throughout my hair and lifted the color two shades up from its natural base for a subtle and soft effect. Then, she gave it a blunt, one-length cut all around so that it has more of a swingy-ness to it. The whole appointment took a surprising four hours from start to finish–and, yes, it was expensive–but, considering the amount of bad haircuts I've suffered in my life, the time and financial investment is totally worth it.

Here's a little Before/After pic:

*I added the waves myself with ghd's Creative Curl Wand.

*I added the waves myself with ghd's Creative Curl Wand.

 

 

 

 

Let the Night Stay Young

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After spending a full day perusing booths upon booths of international galleries at Art Basel last weekend, we were invited to a group dinner in the old town of Basel. The pleasant summertime temps and lingering daylight were further enjoyed by the fact that we were dining al fresco in a cobblestoned square surrounded by quaint Swiss buildings. It was, by all measures, a perfectly fine gathering. There was a mix of familiar faces as well as new–exhibitors (them) and spectators (us). The conversations ambled along in an entertaining enough manner yet marked with the expected distance of a professional tone. As the evening winded down, everyone gently indicated in their own way that it was time to return to their hotels.

"I have to pack for my flight in the morning."

"I've had a long week."

"It was so busy today. I can't wait to go back and decompress." 

But, then, somebody decided to strike that dreadful, off-key chord: 

"Wait, let's get a nightcap after this! C'mon, we're in Basel! Let's check out the scene! Where should we go?"

Cue the silent groans and grumbling heard 'round the table–all except by the perpetrator, of course.

Some nights are ripe for spontaneous extensions into the wee hours of the morn; others, however, are not. The key in distinguishing between the two involves being highly attuned to the underlying vibes of the people around you. Don't be the oddball who, after a lovely dinner, insists on one more nightcap when the group is clearly ready to call it a night. (The absolute worst suggestion I've encountered is when someone desperately tried to round a group into going to a karaoke bar.) This will only lead the evening into inevitable decay.

You'll find that the people to whom you said "It was nice meeting you" at the end of dinner have now become–to your dismay–the people you never ever ever want to meet again. And by this point, they're asking for your contact info.

Trust me, the best thing to do is depart on the heels of the night's crescendo. Abandon any fear of missing out and leave on a high note. Preserve whatever mystery was in the air. You don’t have to become new besties with the person who sat across from you. In most cases, it's best to let the night stay young.

The Unbearable Heaviness of Eating

Many of our meals in Copenhagen included herring (here, fried, brined, and topped with red onion), potatoes, and pork.

Many of our meals in Copenhagen included herring (here, fried, brined, and topped with red onion), potatoes, and pork.

We arrived at the home of my boyfriend's mother, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, just a few days before Christmas. Her two Swedish lapphunds, Sigge and Silop, barked incessantly when we stepped inside, uncertain of who these strangers were. After all, it had been five years since my boyfriend last visited and it was my first time there altogether. The sharp barking ceased once the rounds of hugs commenced.

His mother, Jeanette, lives in a large three-story house that was built on a hilltop in the early 1900s and overlooks a lake. In fact, it's so big that it was transformed into three apartments in which to house herself and her companion Hans, her daughter Pia and teenaged grandson Marcus, as well as Pia's grown daughter Veronica and her boyfriend Kasper, who have their own private dwelling in the attic with a puppy named Belder. 

After such a long journey, we were hungry and eager for a hot meal. Everyone bustled around the table, setting out dishes, pulling up chairs, and pouring cold beer into glasses. A board of traditional Danish dark rye bread sat at the center, ready to be topped by an array of pickled herring, rullepølse (spiced rolled ham), and Gamle Ole, a distinctively pungent cheese. A large brick of softened butter was hurriedly passed around.

The chatter was done loudly and Danish, though, I didn't much mind. I was a fly on the wall, witnessing a Danish family's weeknight dinner. "Jessica!" Jeannette called out from the other side of the table, in her heavy accent,  "I am happy you are here." As a foreigner, those magic words instantly made one feel warmly welcomed. 

Hans, being Swedish himself, carried over his pièce de resistance: Janssen's Temptation, a rich Swedish casserole filled with lots of potatoes, cream, onions, and juniper-and-sugar-tinged pickled sprats. I personally can't resist any home-cooked dish that appears in a casserole dish, but found that–aside from my boyfriend, who requested that dish–none of the others partook. I tried offering some to Pia, who sat beside me, but she smiled and happily pointed to her plate of rye bread and cheese.

Hans peered at me over his glasses and sighed, "Danish people find the taste of 'Swedish anchovies' too strong." Then, he looked at the table and announced, "I have a second one in the oven called Jensen's Temptation," he joked, "which has less anchovies." (Jensen is the Danish version of the Swedish surname Janssen.) Everyone rolled their eyes and shook their heads at him.

"Do you really like this?" Veronica asked incredulously from across the table.

"I love it!" my boyfriend exclaimed, shoveling a forkful into his mouth.

"Well then, that can be your Christmas present!" she deadpanned as laughter erupted.

Hans passed me a shot glass filled with snaps, a Danish aquavit. Soon enough, everyone had one.

"Be careful with this," my boyfriend warned, "People have been known to completely lose it after two."

Jeannette held up her glass and roared, "Skål!

"Skål!" we roared like a band of rowdy Vikings as we downed the shot. A fireball of alcohol raced down my throat. 

It would not be the last I'd see of dark rye bread, cheese, potatoes, cream, butter, herring, pork, or snaps. Day after day, they'd all make their appearance. Don't get me wrong, it was some of the most memorable home-cooking I experienced, but I started to feel like a Christmas goose whose gullet was being filled to capacity. 

After Day 4, I looked over at my boyfriend and wailed, "I don't think I can do this anymore! I just need clear broth and bitter green leaves!"

We were in bed, severely jet-lagged, watching The Americans on Netflix at 2 a.m. He had a made a habit of bringing midnight snacks into bed and I had made a habit out of indulging in them with him.

"Oh, stop it," he said, taking a bite of rye bread, slathered with whipped lard and topped with pickled herring. "It's the holidays."

Sigh.

"O.K. One bite."

 

 

 

The Sliding Doors Effect

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In the movie Sliding Doors*, timing is everything. The story begins when Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is shown running down a set of stairs to catch the train. For the rest of the film, her life is split into two parallels based on whether she makes it or misses it, which is enough to make you evaluate of all of the coulda, woulda, shouldas in your own life. When life seems to splinter into different storylines, what you're experiencing is The Sliding Doors Effect.

This past weekend, I schlepped back to New York for an old college friend's wedding. My best friend offered up the sleeping alcove in her East Village apartment, which she calls "The Cubby." I hadn't been back since I moved out to California in 2013. Sadly, though, it was to be a very short trip: I was due to arrive on Friday night, and was already departing by early Sunday afternoon, so I thought this trip would be a nice and easy in-and-out.

Our original plan for Friday night looked like this:

 1. Drinks at Virginia's
2. 10 p.m. dinner reservation at Lupa 
3. Go home and go to bed straight-away because...

Saturday's activities looked like this:

1. Early coffee session at Sant Ambroeus Soho
2. Go to an 11:00 a.m. Pilates class
3. Lunch at Pietro Nolita
4. Go back home to get ready for wedding

In regards to Sunday, I'd have just enough time to squeeze in brunch with another friend before scooting off to the airport. 

As you know, nothing ever goes according to plan. What can I say, I was in New York with my best friend! We were bound to stir up some mischief. And, boy, did we! (We ended up staying out until 7:30 a.m. both nights, which was obviously not planned.)

After dropping off my bags at her apartment, we did, in fact, partake in fabulous mezcal cocktails at Virginia's, and were halfway through our casarecce with shortrib ragù at Lupa when occurred to me that I owed someone a visit–an artist friend who I had missed while he was in L.A. last month.

"Do you want to meet my friend?" I asked from across the table while texting him on my phone, "He's really cool." 

"'Kay," she replied, taking a sip of red wine.

And so, at midnight, we landed ourselves at a corner bar on the Lower East Side with two artists. After a round of drinks and introductory chatter, we were spontaneously swept into a cab to go dancing at The Blond. "Let's burn off the pasta!" we screamed to each other as we bopped around the floor. After that, we all stumbled down to my huckleberry friend's gallery in Tribeca and smoked Glamour cigarettes while discussing art and drinking cheap whiskey in plastic cups. At some point, I cried. And then we hung out at an apartment somewhere. Next thing we knew, it was 7:30 a.m. 

It was one hell of a night. 

Needless to say, we missed our morning coffee, Pilates class and lunch the next day. The weather turned cold. Sometime around 2 p.m., we both stood in front of a ramen shop in the East Village, staring at their picture menu with bleary eyes. 

Me: What's the difference between these pictures?

Best friend: I can't tell.

Me: I think it's the egg.

Best friend: (long pause) Yes... Yes, it's definitely the egg.

Me: Is it weird that I want the egg with the non-spicy one but no egg with the spicy one?

Best friend: (glazed eyes)

"Is this normal?" my best friend's husband asked her, "Do you guys stay out until seven in the morning when you visit her in L.A.?"

"No... It's not like that at all," she replied. "We usually just cuddle in bed and tell stories."

Our reality would've turned out completely differently had we taken a taxi home straight after dinner. What a difference a text makes.


*It's an oldie from 1998, but still remains one of my favorites. Gwyneth cut her hair into a modern pixie cut for this film and I thought it looked so chic that I went out to the salon right after I saw it and requested it for myself. I was seventeen.