Room 104 (aka: how to make a great barbershop promo)

June 28, 2012

I've highlighted some barbershop videos on here before ( Inspiration Part 5 ) but I saw this promo from Room 104 posted on Facebook today and I just wanted to share it with you all.
I think it's fantastic. It conveys a strong brand identity, class, style, it's nicely shot and edited, and the atmosphere is kept light and real because of the 'out-take' style shots included (where the models 'break character' etc.).

Room 104 from Jeremy Toth on Vimeo.
Now maybe you don't like this style of barbershop, or the model's 'look' isn't your thing, but you can't deny that this video has great presence to it.
I love how they have those moving-stills shots like something out of an American Crew poster. 
And the little details - the stitching in the clothing, the book on cigars under the bottle of whiskey, the motorbike, and my favourite... a moment so 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' that its barely noticeable, but if you look at the model's hands at 47seconds in you'll see a patch of dried skin peeled off the thumb-tip. For me that's brilliant. These hands not afraid of hard-work. These hands lift and push and carry and work. The model is somewhat stereotypical "handsome, not-young/not-old, just enough grey to look classy, gentleman" but these hands have seen life. I love it. Probably not intentional but that's even better. 
Videos like this just get my mind racing, planning the day when I'll have my own place and all the little details to go with it... someday...

The Smallest Thing

June 25, 2012

Potentially moving barbershop... 
(*edit* update - nope! Still, I'm keeping this blog entry here for memory's sake)
With the highs come the lows, and this change meant saying goodbye to two workmates of mine who have been simply amazing to me over the last year. These people affectionately called me their "Irish daughter", and I laughed, sang and even invented a Bulgarian-Irish Hybrid Dance with them! We met up last week for a coffee and promised to keep in touch but what had me almost in tears was something so small and so touching that I can't truly express how much it meant to me without seeming silly:
About a two months before I finished up in my old job my colleague 'N' dropped one of the cups there and it broke. He then came in with two new mugs the next day and told me to pick one so we could have one each. I picked this one (the other has Bart Simpson on it). I'd never had 'my' mug at a workplace before so having a tea or hot chocolate in this cheered me up in work each day. When I left this job it was quite sudden, and I never though about the mug, but when we met for coffee 'N' said "Oh I have something for you" and pulled this out of his bag. I was so moved, and thrilled I get to keep my mug and have a constant reminder of great days working with these two people. 
I keep the mug at home now instead of moving it to my new job. The new barbershop will create memories of its own, and a cup of something warm in my Mickey Mouse mug will put a smile on my face of an evening when I'm tired and need to relax. 
Sometimes it's the smallest things that we treasure.
- BE

Product Review: Alsatian Soaps "Knitters Hands" and "Harry & Louise" Lotion Bar

June 17, 2012

This product has put this song in my head for the past two weeks so in order to get the full multi-sensory experience of this blog entry please click play before reading on!:

I first discovered these wonderful hand lotion bars from Alsatian Soaps when I was out at a party with my good friend Aoibhe Ní (for anyone into crotchet and crafts please check out her blog here: http://www.aoibheni.com/blog.htm). Now Aoibhe is somewhat of a mini-celebrity in the world of crochet, being published multiple times, flow to London to teach etc. so when she opened her handbag that night and took out her "project bag" I gave a peak over to see her pulling out a tube of something to rub on her hands. Barbers and crocheters share a similar problem of having dry hands, and trying to keep them properly moisturized can be a pain. I have worked through countless hand creams trying to find "the one" so, not recognising this one at all, I asked her what it was. Aoibhe raved about this product and kindly gave me a tube to try. So, after going through the whole tube and pretty much exclusively using it for over 6 weeks, several times each day... well, as the song says: 
"Is this love, that I'm feeling? It this the lotion that I've been searching for?"
(yeah sing along in your head, or out loud, you know you want to!)

So a bit about the company. I contacted Kathy at Alsatian Soaps to tell her I would like to write a review of her lotion bar having used up the one Aoibhe gave me and was eager to try the other scents. She's a lovely, very helpful woman and, when I asked is she could send me out sample discs of the scents to review, and so I could plan my next order, she kindly send me out this haul!
It contained 5 Knitters Hands lotion bars in tubes (one of each scent available) and two of her Harry & Louise lotion bars in re-usable tins. I should noted that my love of the product had already been formed before receiving these and, as always, I keep my reviews unbiased and as my personal opinion.
It was the Knitters Hands tube that won my heart originally and I find it so handy to be able to pop it into my bag and just bring it everywhere with me, I can put it on my hands without having to handle the bar itself so I can close it back up again before rubbing it into my skin. However, as Kathy pointed out (being an environmentally conciousness lady that she is) most people will bin the tube once the product has run out. This is why she developed the Harry & Louise range. They are the same product in gorgeously shaped pucks (you can see the celtic heart one I have in the photo above) and they are packaged in reusable tins which you can buy refills for.
But stop the press! I'm a traditional wet shaver, and what's the one thing I see being asked about time and time again in shaving forums? It's how to store your shaving soap sticks! Well once you are finished the Knitters Hands tube it is the PERFECT size to mill or shape a shaving stick into (44ml/1.5 oz) and voila! No more popping the stick into an old pill bottle or something. You can easily clean these out and they come with a lid and everything so they are perfect for your travel shave bag too! 

So back onto the review. Regardless of if you buy the puck or the tube, the results are just fantastic. Rub a little on your hands and the heat of your skin will do the trick to melt this and just rub it into your skin. At first it feels a bit oily and greasy but this doesn't stay at all, it rubs in well and actually leaves your hands feeling protected and like they have a good barrier on then with no residue (the last thing I want it to grease up my clippers or scissors). My hands are softer and better protected than they have been in a long time and I finally found a bar that's not too creamy/thick/oily/etc. It has great hydration power without having to be caked on. A little will go a long way. With fantastic natural ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, cocoa seed butter and natural oils this product is just perfection.
They come in a variety of fragrances, including fragrance free, and can be bought for $9 a tube, or $10 a puck in a tin (with $7 refills) from http://www.alsatiansoaps.com/index.html
Here is a short review of all of the scents I was sent, however more are available on the website, including the intriguing peppermint and eucalyptus mint!
Aloe: This is my favourite. It's a fresh, juicy, plant-like smell. Would suit either gender well.
Apricot: Perhaps it was just the one I got but this was the least fragranced out of the lot in my opinion. Just a hint of apricot. A subtle scent of fresh fruit. 
Apricot Freesia: This reminds me of those candy peach rings you can buy. However it's not sickly sweet, it's more peach-like then apricot to my nose.
Sandalwood Vanilla: Sandalwood take dominance in this scent with just the lightest addition of vanilla to prevent it from being too heavy as an overall frangrance.
Tahitian Vanilla: A nice warm vanilla with a sweetness to it. Like vanilla mixed with milky candy and just a hint of a floral undertone. 
Verbena: Lovely, light and musky. Nothing too heavy, with a warm, fresh, slightly spicey scent. This scent works very well with body heat and really comes to life when applied.

Now it's time to get back to my air-guitar!
- BE


Barber Eile Goes On IrelandAM!

June 11, 2012

I'm yawning as I write this as I was up at 5am this morning (there's a 5am? - Who knew?!) for my early morning TV appearance on IrelandAM. I have to say I felt very nervous and embarrassed but thanks to the magic of TV (and the TV3 make-up artist who not only made me look bright eyed and bushy tail, but also helped hide my blushing) I think I actually come across quite well.
So without further ado here's my tv début and 5 minutes of fame!
Sorry the quality is a bit grainy. I'll fix that if I can. 
Now you may notice that the lovely presented Anna mentioned my "top five tips", I was asked for these prior to the day and was told that they would be shown on screen during the interview but I'm guessing they never got around to that so for anyone curious, before I log off and snuggle into my bed, I'll leave you with my concise "Five Top Tips For Getting The Perfect Shave At Home":

1. Map - Map the direction of your hair growth. 
Facial mapping templates are available here: Facial Hair Mapping
2. Prep – prepare the skin and hair before shaving with preshave oil and a hot towel or steam.
3. Lather – create a good, cushioning lather with a quality shaving soap and brush. The brush will lift the hair and exfoliate the skin.
4. Tension – Keep the skin taut but don't over-stretch as this can lead to razor bumps. Using a single blade traditional razor, as opposed to a multiblade cartridge razor, also helps.
5. Aftercare – use an alcohol-free moisturising balm afterwards and/or witch hazel to tone the skin.

- BE


    As Seen On Tv! (Tomorrow)

    June 10, 2012

    Yes, Finally! Tomorrow morning at 9am I am going to legitimately going to be able to use the phrase:
    I will be on IrelandAM morning television show, on TV3 channel, at 9am and again at 9.20am for a 5minute interview. I'll also be doing a make-over, and giving shaving tips (trying to promote traditional techniques of course!). I will try my best to record it somehow to upload on here so my readers from across the waters can view it also. Also, if you can't catch it when it's broadcast then you can watch it online here: http://www.tv3.ie/ireland_am.php after it's aired. Anyway I must dash as I have to be up around 5am and I still have lots of things to get together - I hope I don't yawn through the whole interview!
    - BE