Category Archives: How To

Top French Sayings To Know In Paris

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Fact: a little bit of an effort to speak the local language will go a long way in a foreign country. I mean, that makes total sense, right? To give you some perspective, imagine you’re in your hometown and a stranger comes up to you and starts speaking a language you only kind of understand. You’d be like “yo, I took Mandarin in high school, but I don’t understand this specific dialect… English? Maybe?”

I’ve heard stories of Americans going abroad and just assuming everyone speaks English, but you know what they say about people who assume, right? Don’t make an ass of yourself, learn the bare minimum of a new language to at least skate by without annoying everyone you meet! The effort goes a long way, especially in France. Hence why this post you’re reading has come to fruition: it’s not just me blabbing, it’s actually useful (I even included links to youtube pronunciation videos)!

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French Phrases You Should Know In Paris:

  1. Bonjour/Bonsoir“- GREET. EVERYONE. OR YOU’RE BEING RUDE. Okay, greet everyone you encounter in businesses (the hotel concierge, taxi/uber drivers, the coffee shop barista, the boutique employee, the checkout guy at the grocery store, etc). Don’t greet strangers on the street or you’re being a creepy American weirdo (the beautiful French person doesn’t give a shit if you like her scarf). Bonjour means “good day,” so when evening rolls along, be sure to change your greeting to bonsoir (apparently 6 p.m. is a safe time to make the switch).
  2. S’il Vous Plait/Merci“- Please and thank you. Because manners are important, duh.
  3. Pardon“- Manners, remember? If you’re thinking “excuse moi” is the acceptable version of “excuse me,” well you’re wrong.. It’s not your fault, “excuse moi” just translates closer to “sorry” than “pardon me”.
  4. Apres vous“- We’ve all done that awkward hold-the-door tango, right? Gesturing and saying “after you” in French will get you into the building much faster.
  5. L’addition, s’il vous plait“- This is probably the most useful thing you’ll learn to say en Francais because once you’ve been given your food at a restaurant, your waiter will probably leave you alone until you’re ready to pay. When you do grab his or her attention, asking for the bill in French is sure to get you a smile of appreciation.
  6. D’accord“- Okay! Look at you being all agreeable!
  7. Au revoir“- Much like greeting, it’s important to say your goodbyes as well. Too bad I can’t say “au revoir” without wanting to yell “SHOSHANNNAAAAA” after… you know, because of Inglorious Basterds? Oh, just me then…
  8. Parlez vous Anglais?“- Sometimes the answer is “no,” so it’s much more polite to ask people if they speak English than to assume that they do.

I was going to include “puis-je épater votre chien?” but the answer to “may I pet your dog” is always “non” anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

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Yes I took French in high school, but that doesn’t mean I don’t butcher this beautiful language when it comes out of my mouth. I’d say that in Paris it’s okay if your pronunciation isn’t perfection, and that a little effort goes a long way. Even my husband (who has never spoken a lick of French and actually kept accidentally saying “hola” the first time we were in Paris) had these few phrases on lock down and used them everyday!

It’s also a good idea to have the Google Translate App downloaded and ready to use. You know, just in case the one person who doesn’t speak English at all happens to be the pharmacist you’re trying to buy laxatives from. That’s not something you want to mime out. Trust me.

Can I Get A Hand?

Being a mother, you learn quickly that there are not enough hours in the day. You have kids that you actually have to keep alive! That means, feed them, make sure they use the bathroom (hopefully in the toilet), sleep, stay clean, and learn something in day. That is a whole day in itself. So how in the world are you suppose to get everything else done? You just figure it out.

 

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Kids had one too many macarons!

 

I won’t lie to you; most days, I have one or multiple piles of clean laundry laying around waiting to be folded and put away. I go to start, and then a kid starts screaming and I get distracted and have to make lunch then find out we are late for a doctor appointment… and the laundry gets forgotten about. “Maybe Tomorrow” is spoken way too often out of my mouth.

In the midst of all the madness, you have to remember to take care of yourself too. Recently, I’ve taken up BUTI Yoga. I got a subscription so I can workout at home, anytime I want and my kids can join me if they want to. It’s been a good way to focus my physical energy to better myself and know that it’s helping me focus on one thing for a restricted time.

I’ve been trying to go “hands-free” as much as possible. I recently finished up a whitening session with Smile Brilliant. I first sent in my personal compressions and had custom teeth whitening trays sent back to me. It turned out to be way easier than I thought. Sometimes I would pop them in before leaving the house since they can stay in anywhere from 45min-3hours. Pop them in, go grocery shopping, come home, work out, and during all of that, I’ve whitened my teeth. Being an avid coffee and wine drinker, my teeth were desperate for some attention.

My teeth before starting my whitening trial

After being approached by Smile Brilliant, I started my whitening sessions. Most of them were done in the evening before bed but I also whitened on the way to the beach, and once while at my grandmother’s house for a few hours. Simple, comfortable, and efficient. Perfect for a mom on-the-go!

Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit!

 

Before starting my sessions, I looked through some teeth whitening testimonials and a little research on what to expect before whitening. My teeth do tend to be a little sensitive so I made sure to get approval from my dentist. Other than some slight tingling on my gums, I never had any issues or side-effects. My smile is my favorite feature, It’s not perfect but it gives everyone else a spark of positivity and joy! If there’s a way to make it shine brighter, I’m all for it.

My pearly whites after completing my Smile Brilliant Whitening Kit

Aside from being able to whiten my teeth hands-free, I’m always trying to do some sort-of social gathering through the week. As much as I love staying home in my yoga pants, being around others gives me energy and lifts my spirit! It can be a lot to juggle but I always try to remember there are only so many hours in the day and to make sure to spend those good hours focusing on what’s worth living. My family, my friends, and myself! If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of everyone else.

 

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Multitasking while watching the eclipse, not watching my children…
For a chance to win you’re own Whitening Kit, enter into our giveaway we are offering from today: August 30, 2017 until  September 6, 2017
For a coupon when you order for $20 off, use the code: thatswhatsarahsaid20

 

Hair Extensions (For Dummies!)

Joel and I have this one friend, Ben, who is an actual real life genius. He is a neuroscientist with an IQ of, like, 160 (probably). THE ONLY time I have ever seen Ben stumped or in disbelief was when we were all hanging out around the time of our wedding last year and he saw me casually pull out my hair extensions… The “waaaait, whaaaat?!” look on his face led my to believe that if I could fool someone so unfoolable, I must be an expert… yes, an expert at clipping in hair extensions, but an expert nonetheless.

I’ve been wearing hair extensions for a longgggg time because my stupid hair won’t grow all the way down to my butt no matter how hard I will it to do so. Also, I keep cutting it on top of forgetting to take my biotin so there’s that.

Back in high school, I used to buy the hair and sew in the clips myself, but these days, ain’t nobody got time for that. My friend suggested eBay for buying extensions, which is what I did this last spring. I would definitely recommend buying these if you want to give hair extensions a try. They’re inexpensive and good quality and if you need to tweak the color to match your own hair, it’s easily accomplished (my cousin applied a toner to mine and now they blend perfectly).

Here is my tried and true method to hair extensions:

HOW TO

  1. Begin by sectioning off the very bottom two inches of you hair. Clip the rest on top of your head.
  2. Using a teasing brush, back comb your roots (I read in a magazine once that this helps the clips stay in place)
  3. Clip in a two or three clip piece of hair and curl in sections (I like to use my trusty old curling iron, since my curling rod is MIA, to curl the top of the strands first then pull the curling iron down to the bottom instead of trying to wrap all the hair around at once.)
  4. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Sectioning, teasing, then curling. When your head feels like it’s 15 lbs heavier, you’re probably good to go.
  5. Lightly brush through all of the curls before adding hairspray and/or texturizing spray.

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Other Uses For Hair Extensions

  • Add extensions to a top knot to make it look like an avant-garde birds nest.
  • Misplaced your Groucho Marx disguise glasses? Use hair extensions to make yourself look like a sexy unibomber and go spy on your neighbors.
  • Need material to make a rope because you’re camping or on a boat or something? Braid your hair extensions and use those.

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Additional Tips

  • Brush your hair extensions both before and after every use.
  • Wash your hair extensions semi-regularly (obviously not as much as you wash your own hair, but don’t never wash them).
  • Definitely unclip and pull out your hair extensions in a public place to see peoples’ reactions.
  • If you’re wearing hair extensions when you go visit your sister and she asks in that patronizing way of hers if  “that’s all your real hair?” say “yes”. I mean, it is your hair, you paid for it.
  • Name your hair extensions. I call mine Sylvia.
  • Stop calling them hair extensions and refer to them only as your “weave” or by the name you gave them in the last tip.

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As someone who will never be able to pull off sexy, short hair, I appreciate the hell out of hair extensions (I mean “my weave”! I MEAN “SYLVIA”!). I plan to keep these luxurious locks for an unbe-weave-ably long time.

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