Category Archives: Style

Reykjavik Street Art

Since we’re on the subject of street art anyway, let’s take the appreciation for colorful walls and murals across the pond… Back to Reykjavik, Iceland; a city that looks like the inside of a psychedelic kaleidoscope!

I mentioned before that when we went to Iceland last month, we didn’t venture far out of Reykjavik. Which is fine, because holy color explosion, it’s a vividly chromatic feast for your eyeballs. Hue won’t be disappointed (color pun, I’ll stop talking now)…

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you ain’t got no alibi

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don’t be fooled like I was, this is NOT a real cat.

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Whether it’s the outside of a bakery, the inside of a parking garage, or the entrance to the Punk Rock Museum, those talented Icelandic artists won’t leave you hanging when it comes to all things colorful. If you find yourself needing to kill some time on a stopover in Iceland, but you don’t want to spend a small fortune on excursions, just go for a wall crawl. And while you’re out and about, spend $4 on an Icelandic hot dog, just don’t ask what it’s made of…

Pro tip: pay $8 and go up to the top of That One Church to scope out the nearby street art.

 

Pittsburgh Street Art

There is a hefty handful of really cool gals in Blog World/Instagram Land who have perfected the art of Wall Crawling. Although it may sound silly to some people, I believe that street art makes our world a better (i.e. more colorful) place, and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my way of thinking. Imagine you’re walking down the street and after seeing nothing but bland buildings one after the other, you look up and see a mural that sticks out like a sore, beautiful thumb. You can’t help but smile and appreciate the fact that there is art running wild in the real world, not stuck in a museum with a partition and no flash photography.

As far as cataloging murals around the country goes.. Jen has San Antonio, Bianca has Austin, Rosemary has Philly, Baltimore, LA, Vegas, and D.C. totally covered, but what about Pittsburgh?! Yinz guyz know we got cool murals n’at?! Technically, someone already made an extremely detailed website with the addresses of literally every single mural in town, but I thought I’d add to it by making an Instagram account (@PittsburghMurals) for the same thing… just because it didn’t exist.

Actual murals aside, finding a wall to have my picture taken in front of that is a solid color and coordinates with my outfit is not only my specialty, but what I get asked most about via email or direct messaging on IG. So Anyway, these are a few of my favorite walls:

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Best Mural In Town, 5482 Penn Ave
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Lavender Wall, Highland and Penn intersection
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YELLOW AF WALL, Gas Station where Butler and Penn Ave intersect
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Pink Wall, Hamilton Ave
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Chartreuse + Gray color block wall, Liberty Ave and Main St
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Swoops There It Is Wall, Smallman St and 29th
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Green Stuff Wall, Butler and 57th
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RIP Skull Mural (it has since been painted over)
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Cool Wall On The Way To Kish House, Address Forgotten

 

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Rainbow Crosswalk, Ellsworth Ave

Even if you’re not a blogger who favors ridiculously colorful photos to accompany your posts, murals could still be part of your life. My DIY/Travel Blogging friends, Sarah and Nick, took their engagement photos in front of Pittsburgh’s Pink Wall and how cute would it be to find the best blue wall for a photo shoot with your newborn baby boy?! Whatever the occasion, there’s probably a wall for you!

I think I said “wall” too many times and now it doesn’t sound like a real word anymore.  GOTTA GO. BYEEE.

Cheap Dates: Paris Edition

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty big fans of frugality around here. Is it just me, or do I keep talking about how we’re trying to pinch pennies while simultaneous livin’ it up? Okay maybe it was just this post where I mentioned saving money while visiting one of the most luxurious cities in the world, but that’s how Joel and I are most of the time. Well, that’s how Joel is and how I’m learning to be (adulting is hard sometimes). We have a weekly budget that we stick to as well as a travel budget where we dump any extra cash we get from babysitting (me) or leftover per diem (Joel).

Even though 95% of the time you’ll find the two of us being a boring old married couple at home, on our couch, with our cats, binge watching something (rn it’s Rick and Morty), we still like to do fun stuff with the remaining 5%. I think that it is important in a marriage to date your spouse. Dates are great, right?! Especially when you’re already married to the guy and you don’t have to worry about shaving your legs or whether or not he’s going to murder you when you go home with him! See? Great!

I started this new “Cheap Date” category on here because dates are fun and, according to my husband, so is saving money. For the first installment, I thought I’d talk about how we went on super cheap Parisian date while we were in Paris last month.

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Did you know you can eat a fancy dinner on a boat on the Seine? Did you also know that a lot of people say it’s overpriced and overrated? We opted for the cheap-o version. We dressed up hella fancy on our last night in town, took the metro down to Pont D’Alma where we hopped on a 1 hour river cruise via Bateaux Mouches. When all of the tourists wearing cargo shorts pushed and shoved to get a good seat at the top of the boat, Joel and I high tailed it to the side where we could be all alone. We bought champagne. We snuggled and whispered sweet nothings to each other the whole time. It was perfect. We didn’t need a fancy, expensive dinner because we knew we’d get crepes on our way back to the hotel.

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Side note: since 2009, I haven’t been able to get on a boat without this song getting stuck in my head. Not complaining, it’s awesome.

“We drinking Santana champ, cause it’s so crisp…”

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12 Euros for boat tickets, 20 for champagne + plastic flutes, a few more for late night crepes compared to 99 per person for shitty cruise food? Yes, please! Cheap dates for the win! BOO YA.

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On the next installment of Cheap Dates, we see if our marriage can withstand All You Can Eat Appetizers… See ya then!

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Dress/Storets, Earrings/Amazon

The Subtle Art of “Being Extra”

I should preface this by stating how NOT “with it” I am. Do I know the cool new jams on the radio? No because I only listen to my downloaded 80s rock, The Lonely Island, and NPR. I only ever hear about the new Bruno Mars songs when I hang out with Christina. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to a festival of any kind, unless, do church festivals count? I sure as hell have never referred to anything as “on fleek,” and I, like, just now found out what “Netlfix and Chill” actually means (which, btw, is so dumb. I JUST WANT TO WATCH NETFLIX. AND CHILL. NO SEXUAL INNUENDO).

All that being said, the new term”being Extra” is something I totally get and am 100% with.

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If you haven’t figured out (using context clues and the photos posted) what being extra could possibly mean, I’ll give you the low down. Urban Dictionary defines Extra as “over the top; excessive, dramatic behavior; when you have to be better and overly go up and beyond for unnecessary reasons”.

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Being Extra resonates with me, but out of necessity for my self esteem and only when in reference to how I dress on weekends. You see, 5 days out of the week I don’t fix my hair, only put on minimal makeup, and solely wear yoga pants. I clearly do not have an office job (livin’ that #NANNYLIFE) and although I could put a little more effort into my weekday beauty/getting dressed routine, the hour and a half I have in the mornings is much better spent sipping my coffee and watching the news (or whatever guilty pleasure show I watch sans husband).  Plus, I feel like if I’m not already dressed to exercise, it’s so much harder to motivate myself to do so after work.

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When the weekend hits though…

I make sure my nails are painted, my hair extensions are clipped in and styled, my outfit is over the top and loud, my shoes get me closer to God (the ones I’m wearing in these photos make me 6 feet tall, NBD), and I pile on the mascara by the pound. Bam! EXTRA!

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Top & Pants/Target, Glasses/Annie Gogglyn, Cat Purse/SheIn

In my case, “being extra,” like guac at Chipotle, is a treat for myself. It’s not that hard to go from zero to Extra! Extra! Read all about it: “Sarah Put Clothes With No Random Stains On Today,” and it’s something that I look forward to doing even if I have nowhere to go. If you need me, I’ll be at home being extra for Joel and our cats… BYEEE.

Goodbye, My Friends.

An accessory that I can’t live without: sunglasses.

An accessory that I, apparently, can’t live with because I lose almost them all too often: sunglasses.

Now that Summer (aka Sunglasses Season) is officially ending, I thought it’d be the perfect time to eulogize all of the sunglasses I’ve loved and lost over the years. Click here for background music while you read this post.

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Ohhhh Oversized Matte Cat Eyes, you were the best. Why, oh why, did I have to sit on you when I got into my car, crushing you in half?! There is a happy ending to your story though, you were under $10, so I ordered the another pair. The memory of the first will live forever through the second pair (as long as I don’t sit on them too).

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Marbled frames with blue mirrored lenses. Quay Australia. You were the most beautiful sunglasses I ever owned. Too bad my sister “accidentally” punched you off of my face in the Gulf Of Mexico this summer. Don’t worry, sunnies, we got our revenge when she got stung by that jellyfish soon after.

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Sunglasses with an eyelet lace pattern on the frames? How unique you were! Too bad you had some screws loose and kept jumping off of my face. I wasn’t surprised when your lenses just popped right off and shattered. Nice knowin’ ya.
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Wait… These clear acrylic frame sunnies aren’t even mine… I hope you’re still making Christina as happy as you made me for the 15 minutes you were part of my face.

 

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Ohhhhh oversized mirrored Quays. You made me look like a super sexy fruit fly. You met your fate when I sat on you too. You’ve been on life support in my center console because I plan on super-glueing you back together someday. Don’t lose hope, I still love you!

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Not really sure how you made it onto this post, $4 Forever 21 Light Blue glasses. You were crooked soon after I bought you and I don’t even care that you’re gone. #BYE.

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Red Mirrored Quays. I tried you on at the store and Joel said “don’t buy those, they look weird” but I did anyway. According to my Instagram photos from 2015, we did everything together, sunnies! You were with me in The Netherlands, where the Dutch would whisper “look at that cool girl and her red mirrored sunglasses” as we’d stroll by. And remember when we went to Kennywood and decided we hate rollercoasters, sunnies, do you? You don’t. Because you’re lost. Claimed by the Caribbean Sea, when we were in the Dominican Republic for our friends’ wedding. I still think about you all the time.

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I had all the heart eyes for these heart eye glasses… Where the hell are you, heart eye glasses? I can’t find you.

Not pictured in this post: the two pairs of Ray Bans I lost in Canyon Lake.

Note to self: stop wearing your good sunglasses in bodies of water, you fool.

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.

Becky With The Great Hair

img_8263Because your hair shouldn’t be just good when it could be GREAT.

Being a hairstylist for almost 7 years, I am constantly asked what are the “best” styling products out there to use on a regular basis. I attended an amazing cosmetology school and learned from some of the best educators and took pride in the culture behind the company. It wasn’t until I got out of the salon and began working for myself that I started playing with other brands and products. I very quickly had a wide spread amount of products but they all came from different companies. I couldn’t commit to 1 line because there was always something that worked better from a different company. All of that craziness ended the day I found Monat, or I guess the day Monat found me.

So why do I keep talking about Monat?

One day, scrolling on Facebook, my friend Ali posted about how she just started a new business with a hair care line. Ali is a dental hygienist, not a hairstylist, without major experience in hair care, so naturally I didn’t give it a second thought and kept scrolling. But she continued to post results and give a little insight into how much money she was making. And not just any results, I witnessed

  • her hair transform from dull to vibrant,
  • her brother-in-law’s receding hair line grow back in, and
  • her daughters’ unruly, tangled hair smooth out to angelic, tangle-free locks.

I said, “Take my money.” Fast forward 3 months and I’m where she was at, doing what I said I would do and continually blowing myself away. My absolute favorite part about this decision is helping people bring their confidence back.  It’s like I can keep being a hair stylist without being behind the chair!

Charlotte loves the Junior Line! It’s specially formulated for kids 10 and under and smells like apples!

A little backstory

Before becoming a part of the company, I was constantly battling myself about wanting to stop working and focus more energy and time into my family. About a year ago, my father was diagnosed with a very rare form of stage 3 prostate cancer, one that only affects 2% of prostate cancer patients. It has been a crazy rollercoaster of a year with highs and lows but it has opened my eyes to how precious and short life is. Do I want to be able to help support my family so we can live the life of our dreams? Of course. But I don’t want to spend many hours of each day on my feet with increased pain in my hands, feet, and lower back (hairstylists, you know what I mean). Thankfully, my husband has been extremely supportive of my decision and insanely proud of my success so far. I am so thankful for all of his help- helping me set up spreadsheets and a contact list that I would have had a hard time doing myself. With each paycheck I make, we take half and put it towards our silly 20-somethings debt that’s been part of our family since we got married. Once we pay it off, I would love to start putting that income towards our children’s future and our dream vacations! Writing this out is bringing tears of joy! I can’t express enough how thankful I am for joining this company.

Enough about me, who is Monat?

Monat stands for Modern-Nature. Monat is an anti-aging, botanically based hair care company that DOES NOT LIE! It does what it says it’s going to do which is huge. It’s very hard to find a hair product that actually does what it’s supposed to do, and continues to do so while giving you the best crown of hair you’ve ever worn.

The main selling point is hair regrowth and reduction of hair loss. I’m constantly finding new baby hairs growing in and getting longer and stronger. Sarah even said her hairdresser asked if her hair was thicker, and that was only after a couple of weeks of use! Aside from hair growth, we pride ourselves in our “no’s”. In all of our products, you won’t find any phthalates, PEG, DEA/MEA, sulfates, parabens, harsh salt systems, harmful colors, or harmful fragrances. Um hello heaven! My color will forever be protected and my damage restored! I’ve hit the jackpot!

@kristinkamaile very talented make-up artist and photographer, started Monat a few weeks ago and has loved the results so far. Restored split ends, healthy scalp, and majorly reduced styling time.
My beautiful mermaid friend, @_erikaguerrero after her first wash with Monat!

 

What about me?

If all of this sounds intriguing, you can take this short quiz to help determine what products would be best for you! If you have more than one main concern, select your biggest concern first and then combat the next soon after.

If you’ve had major hair challenges or just looking for healthier, fuller hair, talk to me and I’ll get you the hook-up.
email: christinajoy16@hotmail.com
Instagram: DM me! @xtinatheunicorn

 

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My favorite 3 products: Rejuvenique Oil, Blow Out Cream, and The Champ Conditioning Dry Shampoo.

 

Post-use: If you use the product, I would LOVE to see your results! Document your results with progress pics and feel free to send them my way with your success story. We can be friends! 🙂
With love,
Christina ❤