Hello Philly,

I am getting into your grooves man. I was under the weather for some reason or another for about a month, stuck in my apartment and cranky. After that, skipping down street to my hair appointment was unavoidable. I was something like twenty minutes early I was so excited. I have been here for three months and have searched for a reasonably price good salon for that entire time. True story, I actually researched it before we even moved here.

I had a good friend who cut my hair for over ten years. I miss her more than anyone could possibly understand, for practical and impractical reasons. I just knew I would never find anyone to replace her skills and would feel ugly and downtrodden.

Center City prices for a simple hair cut are ridiculous. I don’t understand why anyone, in their right mind, could possibly even remotely believe paying ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS for a haircut was not crazy pants. Those people are straight up wasting their money. I guess my Midwestern upbringing makes me cheaper or more frugal than the average citizen of city center, but seriously just for the hair cut. I was so hesitant to go get my hair done because of the exorbitant pricing, it took my husband buying me a groupon to finally get me out the door. I was so excited and luckily I wasn’t let down.

The ladies at the Nail Hair Spa are wonderful and it is truly the best priced salon I found. I got my hair cut, glossed, colored and even massaged for around one hundred dollars and they gave me a coupon to come back. They did a great job on my cut. It looks good even when I only finger brush it, which happens when I just hang out around the house and clean. I have not made a friend there like my old salon but no one can replace Shannon in that regard.

See, haven't even run a brush through it!!!
See, haven’t even run a brush through it!!!

Afterwards I was feeling generous to myself so the next day I went to Rittenhouse square to do some more bargain shopping. No seriously…Ulta was having a sale on their brand of nail polish. They were selling them two dollars apiece, normally six or eight dollars! I was in heaven.

After that I went to some other stores I was curious about L’Occitane and Swarovsky. Those are some beautiful stores. Everything in Swarovsky glistens and I ended up taking several pictures for my Aunt back in Boise. I felt like I had sort of stepped into the emerald city.

L’Occitane made me feel like I was one of the richest people in the world. I am glad that they don’t look at clothing clues to see who really has money. I usually have a problem with spending twelve dollars on a one ounce tube of lotion. I was engulfed in so much beauty it was as if I had been beauty bombed. They really assault all your senses with buy me, don’t they? It is a pleasant temperature, the displays and packaging are classically beautiful, the representatives are friendly and encourage you to try everything and the smells are…wow. The Lavande flavor is so complex and fresh even my husband loves to put some on his hands before bed. Not to forget, who feels fancier than when they put on something French? Everything on the label is in French!

The Twelve Dollar  Lotion!
The Twelve Dollar Lotion!

Basically I describe this to you so that you will see how beautiful I feel Rittenhouse square stores are. I didn’t even get farther than two blocks into it and this was my experience. Retail beauty is the standard in Rittenhouse with all the designer everything – I am sure. I don’t think I can afford to spend much time there. The wallet seduction is strong in those parts. I felt as if I was in a trance with all this beauty, and this isn’t just a story I am telling my husband to get away with buying twelve dollar lotion.

What felt weird was, in between these three stores, I got asked for money more than in the three months I have been in Philadelphia. The dichotomy between these two things were stark to me. Maybe I only notice this because I am coming from smaller cities and usually do my pamper me shopping in a Mall of some sort.

Living in a one salary home, I have always felt guilty spending money for non-incidentals. So I was feeling guilty for my twelve dollar lotion and then I came out and was reminded that there are people who have no money at all. My friend pointed out that the thing about me is I probably felt guilty enough anyways.

She also told me to stop thinking about it in terms of myself and the man asking for money and more about the systems that brought both of us to that moment. She had hoped that would help me to wrap my head around it, a seeing the forest for the trees kind of thing.

My aunt said that I put myself through school and worked really hard to get where I am, and deserved a twelve dollar lotion. While all those things are true, I can’t help but wonder more and more what I can do to help all those that ask for money in this city. I keep researching volunteer opportunities for women’s groups and resources for the homeless of this city.

I know from personal experience that anyone can be two or three decisions away from being homeless and alone. I guess for me it just tempered my shopping high a little. That is not a commentary on why people are homeless, how it happens, or how I feel about it. It is only a comment of the polarity of Rittenhouse Square.

Thanks for listening.

Danielle

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