Category Archives: Tips

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 ❤

San Antone To The Bone

Just a couple of weeks ago, I made my annual trip to my hometown of San Antonio, TX. Although my older sister, Annie- who also moved to Pittsburgh, goes home multiple times a year, I prefer to make the trek less frequently. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder… Plus, when I only go home once a year, it makes my parents feel more inclined to buy me stuff like pedicures and Texas flag running shorts (thanks, mom!) and all the food (lookin’ at you, dad!).

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Even though I’ve been going back and forth between Pittsburgh and San Antonio for 6 years now, I only just started noticing just how different my two cities are. The people might as well be from opposite ends of the universe, and don’t even get me started on the differences of the trees in both places! Not complaining, obviously, just making observations. SERIOUSLY, HOW DID I NEVER NOTICE ALL OF THE CACTI?!

Unfortunately, on the third day of the trip we went to the beach and I got the worst sunburn of my life (from the bottom of my butt to the tops of my ankles). I’m not being dramatic, IT HURT TO SLEEP, WALK, SIT, AND MOVE IN GENERAL FOR THE REMAINING 3 DAYS I WAS THERE. That plus the sinus infection/cold I got from God knows what, meant that I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to see, do everything I wanted to do, or even eat everything I wanted to eat. Woe is me, right?!

Nevertheless, I shall share my mental list of the BEST overlooked and underrated places to eat/shop/drink/do stuff in SA, some of which I got to go to this time around and some of which will have to wait ’til next time.

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SHOPPING

  1. Annie Gogglyn– located in the heart of the ’09 zip code, Annie G has been a San Antonio staple for 30+ years. My Aunt Robin worked there right after it was converted from a gas station to a bridal boutique. I worked at Annie in 2012 because I bought all of my clothes there anyway and employee discounts are the bomb (it was no longer a bridal boutique, duh, but a whimsical women’s boutique as well as a trendy children’s store ). A couple years ago, my friend Susi bought the place, but more on that later…
  2. Bless Your Heart– they sell Ban.do and Sunnylife Australia, so you know it’s cool. Plus, my friend Gretchen works there and she might be the nicest person I’ve ever met. 
  3. Aquarius– It’s true, every time I enter this boutique I make a bee line for the sale rack, but just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go there.
  4. Melissa Guerra– This is where Frida Kahlo would do her home shopping had she lived in San Antonio. My BFF got me the prettiest hand painted sugar skull key chain from here.
  5. HEB– had to give a quick shout out to the best grocery store that has ever existed. When we were kids, we used to always ask to pet the live lobsters in the tanks in the seafood department.

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SIGHT SEEING/THINGS TO DO

  1. Mural Hunting– San Antonians know what to do with a blank wall. My hometown might be THE most colorful city in the U.S. of A, which is saying a lot. Do yourself a favor if you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, get in your car and drive all around downtown, The Pearl, the Northwest side, and the West side and let your eyes be amazed.
  2. The Alamo- don’t actually wait in that long ass line to go inside The Alamo, though. Definitely just take a picture in front of it and then cross the street to the woman selling $3 paper flower crowns and buy one. Then go get a popsicle and stop being such a dumb tourist.
  3. Snake Farm and Animal World– The Snake Farm is not only the place where my brothers and cousins used to have their birthday parties as kids, it’s also the place where I got to hold a baby Lemur and where Christina draped an Albino Python over her shoulders like she was Britney Bitch herself. Though it is now under new management and you probably can’t do as much as the cool/dangerous stuff I’ve done at this place and although, technically, it isn’t even in the San Antonio city limits, it’s still way better and less crowded than the zoo. You may have seen it on Dirty Jobs.
  4. The Japanese Tea Gardens– an absolutely picturesque way to spend an evening in SA.
  5. DTSA library–  If you like books and cool buildings, go here. It’s the second best library I’ve ever been to (this is the first, of course)
  6. The Overtime Theatre– I grew up attending local plays on field trips and always loved it so much. The Overtime is the people’s theatre! The amazing array of artistry you’ll see here is insane. SPEAKING OF WHICH, my very first friend I ever made (her name’s Kat, we were 5 and played leap frog down my hallway and have been friends ever since) is performing in the upcoming show, Cthulhu Too: The Stranger In Yellow. NBD, I KNOW HER! So if you’d care to support local art, please click here to donate to this production!
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snake farm, 2008

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FOOOOOOD 

This is a difficult part to narrow down, but here goes nothin’…

  1. Garcia’s– THE BEST BOWL OF CHILI OF YOUR LIFE. YOU’RE WELCOME.
  2. Patty’s– BEST PUFFY TACO PLATE and friendliest staff.
  3. Augie’s– BEST BBQ SANDWICHES
  4. Raspas– a Raspa is a kind of snow cone. Piccadilly is the best/weirdest/my favorite kind to get. Mangonada is good too. DON’T FORGET THE CHAMOY!
  5. Elote- just find any snack shack that sells this and get it then tell me all about it so I can live vicariously through you!
  6. Theory Coffee– damn good coffee
  7. La Popular Bakery– ALL. THE. TREATS.

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Luckily for the whole city of San Antonio, I’ll be back at least twice next year. My brother and sister are getting married…. NOT TO EACH OTHER… and I guess our presence will be expected at both weddings. I suppose I shall just have to keep finding this city’s hidden gems and adding to the list every time I’m there. Tough job, huh?

Some Beach, Somewhere.

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If you ever have a chance to take a giant, rainbow unicorn float to the beach, I highly suggest you DO IT. Christina bought this bad boy (who we affectionately named Dennis) for $25 at Costco this past winter and yesterday we brought him along with us to Port Aransas, our lifelong favorite beach/city to visit in the great state of Texas. After getting Dennis blown (up), we all hopped on and tried to stay on as my brother, Daniel, pulled us out into the waves. Although we had to karate chop the seaweed and swerve around the jellyfish (my sister, Annie, ended up getting stung on her back), it was still the most fun time ever! We felt like kids again!

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Love Bracelet/ Little Words Project

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Daniel ended up falling asleep on Dennis, so to wake him up I put some Fritos on his back so the seagulls could wake him up, ever so gently, as seagulls do. It. Was. Hilarious.

Best part of any Texas beach trip is going to Whataburger after to gorge on burgers, fries, and coffee flavored milkshakes while your sunburned butts stick to the plastic seats. Speaking of sunburns, this might be the worst one I’ve ever had… Here’s hoping I don’t spend my last couple of days in town in complete misery…

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Look Good, Feel Good (Part 1)

Do you feel more confident when you make the time and effort to do your make-up, fix your hair, and dress up? I know I do, but getting there can be a major struggle. All I think about is how comfortable my yoga pants and oversized t-shirt is. And as long as I don’t run into anyone I know, I’m in the clear. Unfortunately, that never works out.

Anytime I decide to stay in my slums, I always without a doubt run into someone I wasn’t expecting. Not only that but anytime I don’t clean up, I don’t feel good. All I want to do is lay in bed and watch Netflix or just sleep. I’ve realized it’s not healthy for me so I’ve decided to put more effort into my everyday routine.

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Go Dodgers, am I right?

Looking Good, Christina

After applying a hefty amount of dry shampoo and scraping out the rest of my “Full Coverage” foundation to cover up my hormonal breakouts, I’m finally looking and feeling better. When I feel more confident in myself, I have more energy to get out of the house and be productive. Even though it sounds like more work, it’s really not—once you’re done, you get things done.

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Dry Shampoo: Monat The Champ. Lips: Lipsense- 1 coat Purple Reign, 2 Coats Party Pink, Matte Gloss
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I’ve been obsessed with my pink frameless mirrored sunnies!

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So take on the challenge. Put in the extra effort, and look GOOD! Don’t do it for anyone other than yourself. You Go Girl!

xoxo,
Christina

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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¡Viva Fiesta!

Fiesta originated 125 years ago when citizens of San Antonio wanted to celebrate the heroes of the Alamo with what they named The Battle of Flowers. It became a tradition and is now ingrained in San Antonio’s culture. And get this, it is the only parade in the country to be planned and directed completely by women! GO GIRLS! When I was a kid, I was in synchronized swimming and our team, The Cygnets (baby swans), got to participate in the parade and had our own float. Being super clumsy, I was never allowed to go on the float so I had to walk. We were told to just throw candy at kids whenever we walked by them, which could be a little dangerous. When you think about it, the parade is a ton of giant piñatas spewing candy all over the place. No baseball bats or blindfolds involved so all the hard work is done.

source: walkerreport.blogspot.com
Photo: TOM REEL, Staff / San Antonio Express-Newsimg_1936

Being born and raised in San Antonio, I have a deep respect and appreciation for my city. When Fiesta comes around each year, I am again reminded of the history and culture of this beautiful city. N.I.O.S.A which stands for Night In Old San Antonio is where the party is at. Every year Sarah’s Dad, my uncle, volunteers and usually always asks for help. He works at the “Ranch Steak” tent. Ranch Steaks are a thin slice of chuck on a tortilla. Can’t get much simpler than that!

If a Ranch Steak doesn’t peak your interest, you could also try the infamous Chicken on a stick, or Steer on a stick, Elote (corn on the cob), or anything fried you can think of. Being a volunteer, you get all the sweet perks. Early entry, private bathrooms, air conditioned lobby, and free food. Whenever I had the chance to help out with my cousins, we would always be the ones taking tickets and banging the cow bell saying “RANCH STEAKS! GET YOUR RANCH STEAKS!” Then when 10pm came around (closing time) all the hungry drunks rush to your booth to get their greasy fill. Things can get a little crazy but overall, it’s a grand time.

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The whole month of April has Fiesta-related events going on, but the main events are from April 20th – April 30th. If you plan on making a trip, I would suggest coming for N.I.O.S.A., you will experience everything “Fiesta” in a span of 4-5 hours from good food, drinks, music, and partying. If you plan on bringing kids, I would recommend the Fiesta Carnival or one of the many parades. All information about the events and details can be found here.
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If you’re ever planning to visit San Antonio, come in mid-April and party like a local!

xoxo,
Christina