“Polished: The Beauty School Journey” is a Salon Institute student-produced column that gives an inside look at the excitement, fears, challenges and triumphs of our student stylists from their perspectives.

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Caio, Bellas!

I’m still stuck in Italian mode. As most of you know, some students,  including myself, recently took a trip to ITALY. We flew out the 30th of January from Detroit, had a quick (long) stop in New York and then made our way to Milano!

The whole purpose of the trip was to learn from the prestigious Ames, LeAndra hsItalian TIGI Collective Team. We took class with the talented group Monday through Wednesday of our Italian week. During the class, we had the pleasure of learning some of the new 2016 Collection cuts and color techniques from Pietro Denaro (cuts), Jessica Keim(cuts), Alfredo Luciani (cuts), and Marco Gilento (color). From what I took in, the collection stays pretty true to the Bedhead, Catwalk and S Factor categories to keep each client happy. My personal favorites were the Bedhead style cuts. We saw quite a few disconnected cuts and hair being worn more toward the face and in a messy manner. I feel like we all learned so much from the Italian instructors and are so eager to be back in the States and try them out on our clients.

Once classes were over for the week, we had a full itinerary of fun sights to see. We saw the Duomo in Milan, along with the DaVinci museum;  I’m not sure I even have the words to explain what I felt when I first looked at the Cathedral. It was absolutely enormous and every inch of it was beautiful. It was a full week of getting used to trains for the American clan, as we had to ride the metro almost everywhere in Milan. We stayed right off the canal in the Navigili district, which was great night life and a fantastic way to see young, hip locals.

“Overall, the trip was literally a dream come true. Italy was the perfect venture for us. We had fantastic food, beautiful sights, and a phenomenal class on what we love to do: hair.”

On Thursday, we hopped on a high speed train and arrived in the picturesque Venice. With no cars, we we didn’t have to question whether or not Italy has traffic laws the way we did in Milan. The weather was beautiful and brisk as we walked through the city, trying to take in the view. We happened to be there in the beginning of their Carnival season, so we were in awe at how their celebration brought such unity upon St Mark’s Square. Not only was their celebration on one end of the square, but look to the other side and you saw the beautiful Cathedral. We took a step inside, and there literally wasn’t even a peep. I was absolutely speechless. Even if you’re not a religious person, you can’t help but be taken aback by the detail that goes into the decoration of the church.


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On Friday, we took our train ride to Florence. Florence was my favorite city that we visited and I’m pretty sure it’s also my favorite place in the whole world. We shopped around the markets in Florence (I haggled the vendors and got a great deal on leather bags) and then strolled over to the square and were once again awestruck by the beauty of the Cathedral. It’s hard for me to even explain Florence because I am so in love that I feel like my words just can’t do it justice.

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On our final day in Italia, we took a bus to Lake Como, where we were presented with beautiful fog-dusted mountains right off the Swiss boarder and a boat ride on the lake, where George Clooney has a personal villa. Overall, the trip was literally a dream come true. Italy was the perfect venture for us. We had fantastic food, beautiful sights, and a phenomenal class on what we love to do: hair.

— LeAndra Ames is a student stylist at the Salon Institute, TIGI Creative School Toledo Campus. She loves MAC lipstick, snarky Facebook statuses, and anything involving Beyonce`.