After all your thoughtful hair input a couple weeks ago, I decided I better take action.
I went with short-ish, but a cut that will be easy to grow out. It's just long enough that I can still pull it back. And I have bangs! Or fringe, which is what professionals seem to call it.
The cut itself was really pleasant. I'm a lucky duck because they recently opened an Aveda school a few blocks away from my office. If you are willing to sign a slightly scary waiver and let a student cut your hair, it's only $19 and tipping is optional (I did tip, because they donate the tips to charity, which is sweet). You get a relaxation treatment (mini shoulder massage), hair shampoo, cut, and style and a "facial" (they call it a facial, I call it washing your face, but it was still nice).
The students are new, but there is an instructor who supervises and steps in, so you have some reassurance. I admit I'm glad I don't get my hair colored, because the girl next to me looked a little terrified when her stylist applied goop to her head and then asked "wait, was that bleach? because I wasn't supposed to use bleach." It wasn't, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
I even went ahead and bought the Volumizing Tonic they used on my hair, because I've heard good things about Aveda products and it came in a brown glass bottle that I loved. They give you a discount, so it was $10 instead of $15. All told, I was out $35, which is less than what I would have paid in a salon before you even factor in the tip.
Bottom line: If you're nervous about your hair, or you tend to cry if your stylist accidentally cuts off an inch more than you wanted, you might not want to risk it. If you are okay with the fact that hair grows out and you love a good deal, go for it.