Category Archives: How To

How To Be A Good House Guest

Two weeks ago, my mother-in-law/BFF, Sheila, and I flew to Nashville, TN to attend my beautiful sister-in-law’s baby shower. After flying out of a blizzard and straight into a thunderstorm (a plane ride deemed “too bumpy” for us to be served our complimentary Chardonnay) a relaxing 38 hours in a new city was just what the doctor ordered. Since all the rooms at Laura’s house were filled with friends (and one perfect baby boy), Sheila and I had the pleasure of staying with Jeremy and Elsie Larson. I’ve been crushin’ on The Larson House via Instagram for a while now, so it was truly an honor to get the invite to actually sleep there. My main goal for the weekend (besides feeling Gummergal‘s baby bump as much as possible) was to be a good guest and not embarrass myself. I can’t speak for E or J, but I think I did a pretty GD good job… For the most part, anyway.

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Although we’ve been Internet Gal Pals for a while now, I couldn’t help but think it might be, idk, a little weird not only meeting Elsie in person, but staying in her house. Would it be like sleeping in a museum? Would I be allowed to touch stuff? Would her dogs like me? Would my habit of waking up early annoy the shit out of everyone like it usually does?  I soon realized that this would be my first time being a real guest (staying with family or long-time friends doesn’t really count) in someone else’s home and I’d have to be on my best behavior.

Full disclaimer, it wasn’t even a little bit weird and the Larson Dogs, Dolly and Suki, totally love me. Elsie Larson, YOU REALLY ARE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS.

The weekend went by so quickly, but I made the most of my short time in Nashville. Most importantly, I now have some good tips on how to be a good house guest…

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I mean, how freaking cute are these Palm Springs themed shower treats?!

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HOW TO BE A GOOD HOUSE GUEST:

  • Don’t quote obscure movies or TV shows, no matter how funny you think you’re being. Example: Elsie gave Sheila and I a tour of her home and when it was over, I turned to her and said “your house has a real ass on it” (a quote from an episode of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia). I got a polite smile from Elsie and an elbow to the ribs from Sheila.
  • Watch where you’re stepping, you clumsy fool. I kept walking into all the cactus and getting poked.
  • Do take advantage of all the cool mirrors. If they didn’t want you to take mirror selfies, they probably wouldn’t have bought them.
  • Make your bed! I never, ever make my bed at home, but it seems like a polite thing that people do, so I did it.
  • Make yourself at home! I definitely did wake up early to sit in the living room, kick my feet up, and read my book like I do at my own house every morning.
  • Don’t just slink out into the night when you leave like some kind of cheap hooker, say goodbye to your hosts.
  • Resist the temptation and don’t snoop (even if going through medicine cabinets is one of your favorite things to do).
  • This should go without saying, but don’t steal anything… we know that pink ukulele is calling your name, but buy your own on Amazon. GET OUT OF HERE, YOU CAN’T EVEN PLAY THE UKULELE.

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A big thank you to Jeremy and Elsie for letting us stay with you and for not thinking it was weird that I took so many pictures inside your house…. Oh, you do think it was weird? We’ll work on it next time!

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Turn And Face The Strange, Ch-Ch-Changes

Being a blonde hairstylist with ADHD, I can get bored with my hair really fast! I need change often and change can be expensive and damaging when it comes to your hair! I try as best as I can to take care of it and keep it healthy. Washing it only once a week, and doing deep conditioners every other week. When I was at a hair appointment last summer, my stylist told me about a brand of shampoo called Pure Blends by American Culture Hair, you can use the shampoo to help either maintain colors, enhance colors, or use it to temporarily stain your hair. This immediately got my attention. It’s hard to go back and forth with most fashion colors which are semi-permanent, you use a lot of bleach and it can take a lot of time. I decided to try it out and I loved the results! The color mixtures I used came out vibrant and the fade is always a new shade. I would get excited to shampoo my hair because that meant it would be a different color when I was done.

The first trial I did was with the red shampoo on dry hair for 20 minutes. It came out to a soft pink and stayed vibrant until my next shampoo, then it turned into a rose blonde with my next wash, and by the third wash, it was almost all gone. Since I only wash my hair once a week, this color was the perfect amount of time to try something out without getting bored.


Next, I wanted to try purple which I loved so much because it faded into a silver. I re-did this color probably 3-4 times because I loved it so much! With the balayage/root-look being in-style, I was about to go a few months without getting my roots touched up. The purple/silver hair off-set the fact that I had 4 months of grown out roots. Saved me money and I got to change my hair color all at home!

Throughout the process of using this shampoo, I had been posting a ton on Instagam and making sure to tag American Culture Hair in the process. A few months passed and a representative of American Culture Hair contacted me about a blogging opportunity.  She sent me a few products to test out and that’s where I am at today.


Today, I used the Pure Blends Temped Pink Conditioner. I applied it to my prelightened hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. Viola! My hot pink barbie dreams came to life!


This is an awesome product to try out if you want a fun change! It’s also amazing to help maintain your natural colors and enhance the vibrancy of your hair. All of the shampoos are sulfate and sodium chloride free. They also smell like candy so it gives your nose a nice little treat when washing. If interested in trying out the conditioners, you can use my discount code to save 25% XTINA25 at their website. (Conditioners only) the price is not bad at all and you’ll get free shipping over $46!

Shampoo Cocktail recipes:
Soft Pink: 2 parts Chestnut – 1 part Cherry
Lavender: 2 parts Cocoa – 1 part Violet
Ice Blue: 2 parts Orchid – 1 part Violet
Rose Gold: 2 parts Sun – 1 part Cherry
Silver: 2 parts Violet – 1 part Orchid



p.s. if you have any questions at all about the products, feel free to message me, comment, or email me and I’ll answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Lazy Girl’s Guide To Party Decor

An alternate title to this post is: How To Decorate For A Party So Well That Nobody Notices When You Leave Said Party To Hide In Your Room To Read… Because The Decorations Look That Good.

With the exceptions of our annual 4th Of Juluau and Halloween parties, our hosted social functions mostly consist of spur of the moment shindigs involving a lot of running around and throwing stuff together at the last minute. Okay, wait, no… that’s how we throw all of our parties, even the ones we’ve been mentally planning for months. Maybe that’s how everyone throws a party? Procrastination is somewhat of an art in this house, and I’ve got my last minute party decoration set up down to a science. As you may or may not know, it’s pretty easy to break the bank when you’re setting up for a grand event, but I’ve come up with some surefire cheapskate ways to decorate that will save dough and wow your guests. Plus, they’re easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Exhibit A: the gender reveal party we threw for some of our best friends who are expecting their first baby. I was elated at the chance to get to put this soiree together because it combines so many things that I love: Babies! Booze! The colors blue and pink and yellow! Pregnant friends! Secrets! Guessing games! Secrets Revealed!

I set this all up in the span of 2 hours, then I had to stand back and applaud myself because everything looked so cute.

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TIPS FOR GOOD/INEXPENSIVE PARTY DECOR:

    • get creative with balloons and streamers! cover a wall with streamers or balloons and you have a great photo back drop to impress all of your friends on Instagram.
    • two words: Candy Tray. two more words: Make One
    • THROW CONFETTI EVERYWHERE, WORRY ABOUT CLEAN UP AFTER.
    • spray paint is your best friend! (I spray painted our recycled Topo Chico bottles and some old vases different shades of blues and pinks and can always repaint them for future events)
    • use paint samples from the hardware store to make triangular, colorful garland.
    • make a signature drink with whatever is in your liquor cabinet.
    • match La Croix boxes and cheap candles to the color scheme.
    • don’t tell spray paint, but food coloring is also your best friend (dye the shit out of some ice cubes)
    • HAVE. A. CAKE. GUY. (my sister is a culinary genius and my go-to Cake Guy)
    • keep whatever decorations you can salvage because you can reuse more than you realize.

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Okay now that I’ve listed some of the ways I decorate for a party, I don’t sound like such a lazy gal after all. Effort or not, my favorite part of any party we throw is the part where I can sit back, drink a beer, and let everyone thank me for putting it together. YOU’RE SO WELCOME!

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Unicorn Bark

Have you ever felt the need to ingest some magic into your belly? Now you can with this guilt-free SNACK!


I pulled the original recipe from glow by pop sugar. Since trying the original, I’ve made my own revisions that I personally think make it taste a little sweeter. It’s completely sugar-free but is naturally sweet to enjoy.

Recipe

5-6 chopped strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

3 cups full-fat plain Greek yogurt (separated into 1 cup portions)

3 tbsp honey (separated into 1 tbsp portions)

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

3 tbsp chopped sugar-free chocolate, or sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Lily’s Chocolate)

Directions

  1. Microwave each fruit in a separate bowl for 90 seconds
  2. After being microwaved, mash down each fruit with a fork
  3. Add 1 cup of Greek yogurt to each bowl and mix with a fork
  4. Add 1 tbsp of honey to each bowl and stir until combined
  5. Grab a baking sheet and line with parchment paper
  6. Scatter big spoonfuls of each mixture across the baking sheet until full.
  7. With a butter knife, marble the yogurts together
  8. Sprinkle coconut flakes and chocolate on top of the yogurt
  9. Cover with saran wrap and freeze for 4 hours
  10. With knife or a cookie cutter, cut out yougurt into small chunks and serve
  11. If not eating right away, store them in a covered, freezer-safe container.


Enjoy your magical snack, tag me when you make it! @xtinatheunicorn
xoxo,

Christina

Mambo Italiano

According to science, it takes 66 days to form a new habit (here’s a great, boring article about forming habits with zero pictures to distract you from the info). Now that the beginning of March is upon us, people who made New Year’s resolutions are either about to form habits out of said resolutions, or they gave up on their #goals back in January. As far as my Mother-In-Law, Sheila, and myself are concerned, we used January 1st as a jumping off point to… learn a new language! Italian, to be exact. It’s always good to have a partner to hold you accountable for your “homework”, no? It’s going well for both of us, and not to toot my own horn, but I’m actually 20% fluent in Italian as of today. *toot, toot*

So, why learn a new language? At your age, good luck! Why Italian? and, um, how?

Calm down! I’m here to answer all of your burning questions…

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Manarola, you beautiful son of a bitch.

Why learn a new language?

Why not?!!? I grew up in south Texas, where being bilingual was about as common in the residents as the cactus growing in their backyards. I took 6 years of Spanish, 4 years of French, and a semester of Italian in college, but with the exception of a handful of words and phrases, nothing really stuck. All of the three languages I’ve studied have sort of blended together into my very own mash-up that I call SpaFrenchian. I’ve always envied anyone with the ability to speak multiple languages, but until now I never really wanted to work to get there myself. On our honeymoon, I loved getting to say a few things in French and a few things in Italian in France and Italy, respectively, and can’t wait to practice some more on our next trip to Europe. Plus, there’s no time like the present. And again, WHY NOT?!

They say that the best time to learn another language is at a very early age, but I am a prime example of why that’s not always the case. I can’t speak for Sheila, but I never wanted to put in the effort until now, at the not-so-tender age of 27.

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Bella, Burano!

Why Italian?

Because Italian rolls off the tongue like sexy, sexy word vomit. More so than any other language in the world, in my “humble” opinion.

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Grazie for the good hair day, Venezia.

How are you learning Italian?

This is the best part…

Did we hire private tutors? No. Did we shell out hundreds of dolla dolla bills for a downloadable computer program? NOPE.

WE ARE LEARNING ITALIAN FOR FREE… omg, did you just faint? Get up, I’m being serious!

Thanks to the brilliant minds behind Duolingo, learning a new language is not only more doable and easier than ever, but it’s fun.. and did I mention, completely free of charge? You can download the app on your phone and practice while you’re sitting with your cats and drinking your coffee in the morning, or go to the website and knock out some lessons while your husband watches the hockey game next to you!

If you have the bare minimum of storage on your smart phone and 5 minutes to spare everyday, you should definitely give Duo a go!

I am eat, pray, LOVING it. Arrivederci!

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How to create/wear GLITTER ROOTS!

Because Coachella is always just around the corner…

There’s a new trend where people put actual glitter in their hair, it’s like totally a thing! Whether you’re at home with your cat, going to the grocery store, or hanging out with friends, this is the perfect look to make you shine.  To help me model, I had the alien princess Mikhala help me with some interstellar looks!


Here is what you need:

1 mixing bowl

1 color application brush

1 TBS clear hair gel

1 TBS fine or coarse glitter of your color choice (I used silver)

1 TBS of star confetti

8-10 star stickers

if needed- bobby pins, rubber bands, and hair spray

Directions:

  1. Section out your hair. I did a zig-zag part with space buns but you can also do a half-up/half-down with cute buns.
  2. In Mixing bowl, combine hair gel and glitter.
  3. Apply glitter gel to roots or apply to about 1-2 inches of hair at the scalp down the part line.
  4. Sprinkle in star confetti.
  5. Place star stickers throughout part line.
  6. Go out and party!

 

Isn’t she the cutest? I just want to shrink her and carry her around in my pocket!

 

To remove:

  1. Jump in shower
  2. Shampoo at least 2-3 times, I did 3 times.
  3. Condition your hair and comb or brush out hair before you rinse.
  4. If there are still signs of glitter, DON’T REMOVE IT! All of your friends and coworkers will just think you’re a unicorn!


So what are you waiting for? Go out, glitter yourselves, and tag me when you do it! @xtinatheunicorn

Peace,

Christina

Phun With Photoshop

Over Christmas break, my graphic design major/professional blogger sister-in-law gave Joel and I a free lesson in how to use Adobe Photoshop. Mostly we learned how to enhance photos using filters, brightening/darkening tools, etc; but we were also introduced to the Liquify tool and our lives have changed for the better with this new way of entertaining ourselves…

Let us show you:

We took this boring old wedding photo and made it much more interesting. See how natural my boobs and butt look before? ughhhh, BOOOORINNGGGG! My favorite part about the after is Joel’s hunchback.

One, two, three, KARDASHIAN! I’m a big fan of my big fanny in the after photo.

I guess our kitten, Peter, was kind of cute before, but he looks even cuter as a bug eyed big eared cat!

Installing Photoshop is different than it used to be. Instead of paying for the whole program at once, it is now $10/month (which is a total steal if you’re adding it to your entertainment budget). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cry from laughing so hard.