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smitten to the core

apples are synonymous with fall, especially with dessert. as we embrace the first official week of fall, the peak of apple-picking, and this change of season - we are delighted to share with you one of our favorite autumn recipes! our own sara who is based on the east coast has grown up making this classic dessert using a recipe by the beloved barefoot contessa, ina garten. hope you enjoy the below and happy autumn! 



old fashioned apple crisp 


5 pounds mcintosh, macoun or honeycrisp apples 

grated zest of 1 orange 

grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 cup of granulated sugar 

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

for the topping:

1 1/2 cups flour 

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup oatmeal 

1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced 


  1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees f. butter a 9x14x2inch oval baking dish.
  2. peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. pour into dish.
  3. to make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electronic mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. scatter evenly over the apples.
  4. place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. serve warm. enjoy! 


color me fall

with the fall season approaching, we've been striving to identify ways to "refresh" our look for the new season, and we are delighted to share with you this kai conversation including some of the latest expert tips & trends from our friends at esalon! if you haven't heard of esalon yet, this might be the best kept secret to your new hair color/grooming/styling routine. their products are amazing, and we encourage you to check them out. similar to kai, they've donned the prestigious list of allure's "best of beauty" award winning brands, and in 2020 they were awarded allure's "best of home color" for the fifth year. their color offerings are formulated-to-order by their team of experts, completely unique to you, and conveniently delivered to your front door. esalon is celebrating their 10th year this fall as well, happy anniversary and here's to many more remarkable years ahead! hope you enjoy our kai conversation below with their team! 



how are you taking care of yourself and your business during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/inspiration? if so, please feel free to share.

one of the things we're doing here at esalon to take care of ourselves and the business is putting in extensive efforts to stay connected - this is more important than ever. we have at least three ongoing weekly zoom meetings for our teams to share successes, weekend highlights, and our top priorities. this helps us stay connected as a team and to celebrate each other's accomplishments. it also enables us to stay updated on projects, brainstorm ideas, and share inspiration and information that can be applied to help grow the business. we are also like a big family here at esalon, and we honestly do miss seeing each other. so we also create fun activities such as scheduled zoom parties where we have "happy-hour" and talk as we would in the office or we play online games together. we also have a book club, and movie club where we get together over zoom to discuss the latest books or movies we're reading and watching. we obviously believe hard work is important, but staying connected, feeling connected and knowing we are all here for each other is what makes us so successful. 

do you have any advice/ guidance that you can lend to the kai community as it related to the pandemic and best tips for hair care & grooming? 

the most important hair & grooming tip during quarantine is to put down the scissors and avoid store-bought hair dye! DIY cuts & box colors can ultimately cost you a lot of time and money to get fixed. we receive tons of calls asking our online colorists to help with color corrections because their store- bought dye didn't work. instead, keep it simple and use this time to give your hair a break, avoid using hot tools, and give it some extra TLC. for example, you can braid your hair at night (bonus if you sleep on a silk pillowcase) to help prevent tangles and breakage, and you will wake up in the morning with natural beach waves! adding a treatment or mask to your new routine will soften your hair and prevent breakage. look for moisture treatments for coarse and curly hair and protein for previously bleached or more fragile hair. check out our holy grail moisturizing mask, weekly retreat, which will intensely hydrate your hair and even prevent color fading. 

as a fellow allure "best of beauty" winner, we admire your dedication to providing a custom hair color experience for individuals at home. what are the key hair styling + color trends that you are seeing for fall?

hair styling and color trends for fall will be on the more low maintenance end this year as many salons are still not open and a lot of people are still not ready to go back to them just yet. these styles & colors will look great air dried and even as they grow out! 

for brunettes and black hair we recommend simply matching your base with your natural hair color. this will allow you to go longer between color applications since you won't have a noticeable line of demarcation. then we suggest adding golden mahogany tones a few shades lighter than your base to give your hair more dimension and richness. 

going red for fall is always such a fun and great idea. we recommend starting with a light to medium brunette at the root mixed with red and copper tones to give it a bold and vibrant finish. combine your vibrant color with a one length cut for an effortlessly stylish fall look. this cut can help your hair appear thicker and fuller, support almost any hairstyle, and the grow out is almost unnoticeable! 

our colorists are available to answer any questions, and work with you to craft you perfect custom hair color. 


kai conversations with... staci woo, founder of the house of woo

as we gear up for labor day and the traditional end to the summer season, we've been looking for ways to create that "endless summer vibe" within our wardrobe and keep true to our california style year round! for us the brand that comes top of mind for achieving fun, hip yet functional and fabulously comfortable california style is house of woo, and we are delighted to share this beautiful kai conversation with their founder, staci woo. staci is the warmest soul and a longtime friend of ours (we have fond memories of kai being a part of her chic pacific palisades poolside popups); as well, we are as huge fans of hers, both personally and because of her thoughtful and sustainable creativity and designs (this includes woo's soft blankets i've held onto for years and still use!). we hope you enjoy learning more about staci and her amazing brand. 


how are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this time? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/ inspiration? if so, please feel free to share.
slowing down and focusing our energy on health and family has been such a gift. we all have been operating at such an unsustainable speed, and now we are humbled by this pandemic and forced to reset and focus on what really matters. i've been so inspired by all of the healthcare and essential workers who never stopped working and have sacrificed so much to help and provide for others. the severe shortage in PPE in early march motivated us to shift our production capabilities to face masks literally overnight. we started cutting into past season fabrics and turned them into face masks because if these essential workers could risk their own health to help others, the least we could do is try to provide as many of them with face coverings. 

how do you embody kai's "breath*life*flow" lifestyle?
i am a very go-with-the-flow kinda person. i try not to stress if things don't turn out the way i've intended. sometimes the best results are from mistakes. i believe in timing and the path of least resistance. life might not always be how i'd envision or wish it to be, but i am always thankful for the opportunity to experience and grow.

do you have a mantra you live by?
be kind whenever possible. it is always possible.

what's your beauty secret? or must have beauty product? 
my skin has changed so much since i've had kids and i'm now in damage control and moisturizing mode all over my body. for my face, i've tried every moisturizing/ sunscreen/ foundation combo out there and my favorite is the Ilia skin tint mixed with a bit of The Foundation from Clé de Peau. i also love the Sheisdo Waso sunscreen. 

go-to lip stick color? 
Ilia tinted lip conditioner in arabian nights.

what color nail polish are you wearing right now? 
i'm a buff/ no color for my manicure... i use my hands too much and can never keep a manicure fresh for more than a day. 

who is your role model? 
Michelle Obama.

what do you love most about where you live? any secret spots you love to go to? 
what i love most about where we live is our neighbors and community. i could live almost anywhere as long as we are surrounded by great people. our favorite (not so secret) secret spot is our local beach. we've spent our best quarantine days and evenings there. 

describe your perfect day. 
a sweat yoga or box union class in the morning, get to work downtown and spend a productive day at the office. and home in time for a beach session with my kids and husband... surf, food, wine until the sun goes down. 

favorite date spot? 
Gjusta outdoor patio. 

ultimate getaway? 
Southeast Asia, Italian coast, Turkey, Morocco... i love traveling where the people are inviting and the culture is transformative but where i can also find creative inspiration for work. even on a getaway, i'm still always searching for ideas involving my business. 

how would you describe your personal style? 
permanent vacation meets comfortable chic. 

favorite food?
my mom's ox tail stew.

kai obsession? 
i've been obsessed with the kai signature body butter for over 10 years, it's the perfect fresh and light gardenia scent (my all time favorite flower). but my new obsession is the rose body glow - it's the perfect hydrating body mist post shower or a refresh after a long day. 

morning person or night owl?
morning person! 

current craving? 
carciofi arrostiti from Pizzana 

ideal way to relax/ unwind? 
any form of sweaty exercise, a cleansing shower and moisturize with kai body butter! 

what book are you reading currently? 
Educated by Tara Westover. 

what's the most adventurous thing you've done?
i'd rather not say.  

thank you, staci!