Blog - Candice Motley |
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The reopening date is getting closer and closer and I can’t wait to be back in the studio transforming hair. As we work to get all of our ducks in a row, it’s starting to feel more like we’re preparing for a grand reopening event! It’s crazy to think we’ve been closed for two whole months.

Today, I wanted to talk about two things.
1. Rescheduling everyone from the last two months
2. My new virtual consultations.

First up, I want to assure everyone who had an appointment that was cancelled due to Covid-19 that we will be prioritizing your appointments as best we can. My entire team will be working to get you into the studio as soon as possible so we can get you back to loving your hair and feeling good in your extensions. I know it’s been stressful having to color your own roots and even take out your extensions, and I promise we cannot wait to have you back in our chairs so we can take care of everything for you.

And for all the women who are waiting to begin your hair extensions journeys, I wanted to make sure I was doing whatever I could to shorten the wait time for you. That’s why I decided to offer virtual consultations during this time while the studio is closed. Our studio phone is actually a cell phone which makes it much easier to communicate with our guests. This allows me to connect with you via FaceTime for our virtual consult. While FaceTime doesn’t allow you the chance to come into the studio and have the full Garnish experience, it does allow me to provide all of the information you might need and answer any questions you might have.

The process still begins with the application found here.

The application gives me some much needed information and also allows you to upload a current photo of where your hair is at and an inspiration photo for where you’d like it to be. Once I am able to determine if you will be a good candidate, a member of my team will reach out to schedule your virtual consultation.

Appointments are currently offered on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The consultation cost is $50, which is redeemed off the cost of the extensions if you choose to move forward. The fee covers the virtual consult, all information personalized to you, and a custom quote (sent by email or text following the consultation).

While I will be prioritzing my current guests’ appointments as they had to be cancelled due to the state-mandated shutdown, the first new guest appointments I will be scheduling will be anyone who places a deposit for their extensions while the studio is closed.

Those appointments will be scheduled sometime around early July and there will be limited availability. I’m so excited to be able to offer virtual consultations and take advantage of this time we have to get you closer to your hair goals. Creating amazing extension transformations is my passion and it’s been heartbreaking to not be able to provide that over the last couple of months. I want to do my absolute best to get you started on your hair extensions journey as soon as I possibly can!

A few weeks ago I shared my list of the top 10 things I’m most grateful for. Gratitude has been a part of my daily routine for so long that it felt pretty much unshakeable. Then this quarantine happened and my business was shut down and I turned into a homeschool teacher all at once. I know I’m grateful for those 10 things I listed, but I’ve found myself really having to dig deep to find things I’m grateful for each and every day. I like to call this getting real gangster with your gratitude.

Before quarantine began most mornings I would wake up, say out loud something I was grateful for, and go about my day. Gratitude was part of my day, but not something I necessarily kept at the forefront of my mind. A second month inside of quarantine and you really have to integrate what you’re grateful for into your daily routine like a habit.

When every day is the same it’s easy to slip into a depression or even comatose state if you don’t keep your focus. During quarantine I really have to keep what I’m grateful for with me in my mind as I go throughout my day. Even though I know what I’m grateful for and I’m still grateful for those things, I had to make it more of mindfulness practice.

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For example, when I’m spending time with my kids, instead of just living in the moment and just hanging out with them I’ll pause and actually try to capture the moment. I’ll close my eyes in the middle of whatever we’re doing and just say, “Thank you for THIS moment.” Before I would have just said, “I’m grateful for my kids.” Now, I’m making a point to stop and feel the gratitude for a specific moment.

Another one off my list was that I’m grateful for my health. I’m not sick and no one I know is sick and I’m grateful for that, but digging deeper I found myself the other day having a moment of gratitude for the fact that my legs are strong. I’ve been moving furniture, and lifting heavy shit by myself doing house projects. I don’t have a partner or another adult in my home to help, so if I can’t lift it by myself the project is over.

So I am grateful I can lift this heavy ass piece of furniture up the steps by myself.

NBR Hair Extension

Ultimately, I’m most grateful at the moment for my ability to adapt. When I get into a space that is not so pleasant, I am grateful that I can maneuver my way out of it and not get trapped in it. Right around the time when the quarantine got extended I had a few days where I got trapped. For three days I didn’t move or do much of anything. After those days I told myself, “You know what, get up, you still need a plan and to get through this.” This practice of going a step further into gratitude and becoming even more ruthless and real with it has really been a survival skill during this time. Next time you’re engaging in your particular gratitude practice whether it’s journaling or speaking it aloud to yourself, try going even deeper into what you’re grateful for.

I say May Day… because we’re leading into may, but also…

Send help! Surrender! White flag! It has definitely been a very tumultuous month. A month of stillness, but also a month of high anxiety. My emotions have been all over the place. I’ve been pouring myself into projects that typically bring me so much joy, and they still did bring me joy, but in a different way.

NBR Extensions

You don’t know how important something is until you aren’t able to do it anymore—I realized pretty quickly that when you’re a creative whose craft is suddenly taken away, you start to go a little crazy. Without my usual outlet for creativity, I needed to find another way to channel that energy, and the house projects were just that. Tack on homeschooling two young children, other home responsibilities, and just being home all day and you could see why my emotions have been all over the place.

We’ve really been taking the stay at home order seriously which means all day every day we’ve been in the house. I’ve done curbside pickup only for the things I absolutely need like groceries and household items and the only other place I’ve been is when I’m at the studio sending out color orders.

The first couple of weeks were kind of nice in a weird, eerie, strange ass way. Now that we’re rolling into week six, and knowing we’re going to be closed for another 4 weeks, it’s starting to feel scary. One of the things that has helped me to survive this time so far has been finding those creative outlets and pouring a lot of energy into my house.

NBR Hair Extensions

I’ve also realized during this time that before I can sit down and write or get my thoughts out, the space around me has to be clean and organized. I can’t sit down at a junky desk or work in my kitchen if it’s dirty. That takes precedence even if it doesn’t take precedence. I should be able to work on my business’s livelihood during a pandemic because that’s first priority, but no, I can’t, because I need to organize everything under my bathroom cabinets first. So I’ve been taking care of all of the little things that I never really have time for.

Organizing, painting, hanging wallpaper.. does not help my business at all. But, doesn’t it? Because every time I walk into my bathroom now it feels like a completely different space, and that feeling is the key. The feeling that I feel when I actually accomplish a goal or check something off my to-do list is what helps catapult me through the real shit that I have to do.

This habit has even translated into a part of my everyday routine. Even if I wake up in a very clean, organized space. By the time my kids run through the house, cooking every single meal here, Amazon packages, putting together color kits at the house… it all quickly turns my space into chaos. Once that’s wrapped up and the kids are in bed, I’ll spend the next hour to two hours picking things up.

I’ve been giving myself grace for the fact that I actually need to do this. At first I was beating myself up like, “Candice why do you need to spend so long every night putting this stuff up when it’s just going to get messed up in the morning? You could be taking an hour every night working on an amazing business plan that’s going to get your business through the storm.” Yet here I am spending an hour a day, 7 days a week, cleaning. But that’s what I need to do to create the feeling that’s the foundation for me being able to attack the things inside of my business that need to be reworked or course corrected to weather the storm.

As far as the last 30 days are concerned, I have learned a lot. I have gained a lot of new skillsets. I thought I was resilient, a good business owner, and a good leader before this began, but when those things get blasted to the forefront and you don’t have a choice—you either sink or swim. I would be damned if I was going to sink on things that were important to me like my team, family, studio, vision, goals, and clients.

NBR Extensions

It really shows you what you fight for when there’s potential to lose it or lose even a piece of it or have it disrupted. You really go out swinging. That knowledge is what I’m leaving this first month of quarantine with. I proved to myself that this truly is the person that I am deep down at my core. Everything else was stripped away. My income was stripped away, my “busyness” was stripped away, my title wasn’t necessarily stripped away, but with my business mandated shut, people taking their extensions out, etc, titles don’t really matter.

What  matters most is how people feel around me and connections and making sure I have a solid plan for recovery to make sure my family and team and the people that I love are able to come out of this storm in a good position to maintain some sense of normalcy.

I hold a weighty responsibility for other people’s livelihood inside of my space and my studio and the people who are connected to me. It really makes me go to sleep early, get rest, wake up, fight for the cause all over again, and push through to get to the other side.

I’m taking you guys on a home tour and sharing some gratitude for the process of making my house into a home! When I first found out I was going to be spending at least a month in my house, if not longer, my first thought was man, I have so many little projects that I can work on to keep me busy!

Here I am, two weeks in, and almost every single project has been done and I’m kind of running out of things to do. Inside of spending so much time inside of the house and working on all these little projects I really have found another level of love for my home. This house by far is a dream come true for me; I never expected to find a home like this that met every single one of my needs and more. AND I absolutely love the visuals.

If I look back, I’ve pretty much had this exact home on my vision board for almost 10 years.. big sliding glass door, space upstairs that is functional as my gym.. so many features I wanted in my forever home that this house has. This house has truly turned into a home because of the love that is poured into the house itself. I treat this house with as much love and respect and kindness as anyone else that I love because I’m just so grateful to be able to call this my home.

It’s such a different feeling because I’ve lived in apartments and condos and had roommates pretty much my entire life including into my thirties. I’m 37 now and it really just changes your perspective to be living in your own home for the first time. When you’re sharing your home with other people sometimes you have to let go and let live and I haven’t always been able to pour as much love into the home in the form of projects and little things because of sharing space and having to take into account what other people have wanted.

This is the very first home that I have lived in by myself in my entire life. Single, no roommate, and I’ve finally been able to create a space that looks, feels, and smells, exactly how I want. It changes my mood every time I walk in because this house is me and I’m really proud that I’ve been able to acquire this house on my own.

You may or may not know that about a year before purchasing my current home I really thought I was going to buy a different home. I lost a lot of money on that house, and it deeply affected many aspects of my life. It left me with a bleak outlook on if I was even going to be able to find and afford another house that I love.

Trying to purchase that first home was really traumatic for me and I just had little hope for what the future held in terms of home owning for me. To find this home a year later and to have the ability to not just find it but fund it and purchase it has truly been a dream.

Mom Files: Home School

Now, over a year after THAT, as I found out we would be quarantined in our homes, I found myself actually looking forward to spending time in this home. Even though it’s been challenging, I’m really grateful to be able to say that I’ve been able to pour more time and energy and love into my home. If you’d like to join me on a tour of my in-progress home, check out the video below!

Let’s be real…nobody really saw this coming.

Mom Files: Home School

Even if you were keeping an eye on the coronavirus, you probably did not foresee that you were about to become a full-time homeschool mom in the foreseeable future. Just like everybody else, I was up for the challenge, but it is definitely a challenge.

I was never homeschooled, and I have never been a homeschool mom so I had zero reference for all of this. Getting into the mindset of homeschooling your children out of nowhere is kind of a big thing to take on, especially considering schools may not even be opening back up this school year.

Mom Files: Home School

I’m used to training and teaching inside of hair and extensions both nationally and inside my studio, but when you ask me to train my 5 and 6 year olds? I immediately tense up. Their attention span is… well, what’s an attention span? Thank God my son was tracked out when this went into effect because it gave me a little time to prep and practice.

The teachers sent home an itemized list of things we would need and their curriculum for the rest of the year and gave us some guidance via email. From there, I’ve been setting up and starting little lessons to get us all in the groove. Houston is in preschool still, so thankfully doesn’t require quite so much structured teaching, but she has been having Zoom calls with her class for fun.

Mom Files: Homeschool

Kingston is in kindergarten so it’s not like I’m teaching calculus, but even just sitting down to teach the letters of the alphabet and going through his mood and keeping his attention on track is just like… holy shit. So this is really just part one.. the figuring it all out phase.

I’ll let you know how everything goes once we’ve been doing this a little longer. My fear right now is that I’m somehow going to f this up but I just have to remind myself that this is kindergarten, this is my son, and if I don’t get everything “right” it’s okay. As long as we are learning lessons through play and outside and as long as I’m putting my best effort forward, I’m sure everything will be okay.

Maybe we can start a support group for moms for each grade level.

Can there be wine? Can I be kicked out for drinking wine on the job?

Signed, Scared

But also attacks my allergies… The struggle is real.

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Spring is one of my favorite seasons because it’s not quite hot yet and there’s still a little bit of crispness in the air. It’s all about newness as we roll out of winter into the warmth. The first touches of spring always make everything feel so much better. You can tell we’re getting ready to hit a season switch and that brings so much excitement. It’s also not humid yet here in NC and that’s a pretty big deal (if you know anything about our North Carolina summers).

In addition to the newness of the weather, Spring is pretty much all about new things in general. I absolutely love Spring fashion. I love seeing all the fresh ideas and new trends showing up throughout Spring. Overall, Spring is just a really nice time for me.

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NBR Hair Extensions

NBR Hair Extensions

Spring has also been a little something “different” for me over the last couple of years. Last year I moved into my house around December so Springtime was all about getting new furniture and settling in to my home. The year before that is when I began transitioning my studio from full service to extension exclusive. January is that new new, but three months later when Spring rolls around it’s still pretty fresh, but a little more lived in and a little more comfortable.

This year follows suit.. this season it was hiring new team members at Garnish. I hired my two new team members a couple months ago so by now they’re settling in, things are becoming more normal with their schedules, and they fully understand the expectations of working at Garnish. It feels really good to have the whole team flow really well.

Another thing that always shows up for me in the Springtime is the desire to do something a little different with my hair. Lately I’ve been thinking about going bright ass orange like my hair was years ago. Except this time it would be long, thick, bright orange featuring two to three rows of extensions. Stay tuned to see what I decide…

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Lastly, there’s one new thing this Spring that I very much do not like… this coronavirus that has seized the attention of the nation. I cannot wait until things start to get back to a normal place so we don’t have to be so wrapped up in all the fear and uncertainty, what’s going to happen with the economy, how is everything going to look and feel, etc. Getting back to a place of normalcy and feeling good is something I’m really looking forward to as the season progresses.

That said, Spring is usually a time of bliss for me, and I hope it is for you too.

This Sunday launches the next Garnish Your Growth episode and this week Niko and I are talking about superpowers and how to monetize them. Are you wondering what the heck a real life superpower is? Your superpower is something that you do that you’re naturally (or trained to be) really good at.

NBR Hair Extensions - Monetize Your Super Power

It’s something people compliment you on. It’s effortless for you. My superpower is definitely my drive. I don’t even have to try to work as hard as I do. I do work really hard and put energy into my work, but the level of drive that I have is unnatural. For a lot of reasons, that’s a really great superpower to have. It’s gotten me to where I am today. It’s also created a bit of chaos in my life when it comes to working with other people and both balancing and organizing said drive.

We also explore Niko’s superpower in this episode.

When we first discussed it, I told her I thought her superpowers are resilience and the ability to walk through every open door. Her initial response was to think it was a “lame” superpower, but that ability is not something a lot of people have. If you’re around the right people, being in tune with your intuition and trusting the process can be such an incredible superpower. Niko has the ability to just give in to the destiny of it all.

I talked to Niko’s dad and he said the same was true of her when she was small. She’s always had that openness about her.

NBR Hair Extensions - Monetize Your Super Power

NBR Hair Extensions - Monetize Your Super Power

So why are we talking about superpowers anyway? Well, if you can find a way to monetize your superpower, it can change your life. If you can take what comes to you naturally, what you do great, and harness it into making money then you won’t have to work quite so hard with that one thing.

For example, I have a lot of drive and I’m pretty naturally gifted when it comes to artistic expression in the form of beauty. I’m constantly looking at new hairstyles, at beauty magazines, and I’m pretty much obsessed with all things beauty industry. The perfect position for me is owning a salon in the beauty industry.

It’s something I’m naturally good at—my drive, combined with something I’m passionate about—beauty. Now I have a career where I really get to dive deep into the art of beauty, and I get to beautify someone every day. I still have to push myself, but it takes less effort when you’re in love with what you’re doing. I would not have as much drive if I owned, say, a tax accounting firm.

Monetizing your superpower is combining something you’re great at with something you are intrigued by or love to do. This combination inevitably creates explosive results. People work really hard to find something they love to do, but consider what do you do anyway every day? What are you intrigued by? When you can take these things are turn them into your career or even side hustle, this is what turns work into filling your cup. Tune in Sunday when the newest episode drops and listen to Niko and I dive even more in depth on this topic!

I just had to let you all in on a little secret about me… Music is my WHOLE mood. I am such a creature of vibes and music and need it playing pretty much all the time. If the playlist at the salon stops for more than 5 seconds it completely throws me into a tailspind. It’s that serious.

NBR Hair Extensions Trainer

That said, I have been working on a playlist for a while now that I wanted to send out to all of you. Music is such a big deal for me so I wanted to share this personally curated list.

At Garnish, we often talk about having all five senses met when you experience our space. One of the things that’s a really big deal is our playlist. It’s our sense of sound. It really does help me get into a good flow when creating beautiful works of hair. And it’s SO hard to find a good solid playlist that you can play for hours and hours. If you’re a salon owner, hopefully this can help you!

One of my friends started making this playlist originally and I completely fell in love with it. it’s just full of good vibes and great music. The end of it mayyy have a couple of songs that have some dirty words, but nothing you can’t play if you’re cool with that or you could take out those songs to make it your own.

Check it out here!

If you download and play this list in your salon, I would love to hear about it. Shoot me a message or send me a DM on instagram.

February marks 4 years since my mommy makeover. I get a lot of questions from other women about my experience so I thought I’d take a moment to answer ALL your biggest questions.

A little bit of backstory first… I had my two babies back to back. I had Kingston and then at my postpartum appointment I was told I was pregnant with my second child, Houston. I gained 60 pounds with King, and wasn’t really able to lose weight knowing my body was getting ready to make another baby. I tried to get as much off—safely—as I could. Then, after having Houston, I could tell a difference immediately in how my body looked.

I worked really hard to lose the weight over the next year and got down to a really thin 140, even though I naturally sit somewhere around the 155 mark. I went a little bit off the deep end trying to get my stomach to look how it did before I had children. I saw all these moms and women on Instagram who snapped back within just a few months and here I am with my skin stretched out.

So I decided to do some research on what I could do to feel better about how my stomach looked. I went in for a consultation at Specialists of Plastic Surgery with Dr. Carlino. He told me my skin was probably not going to bounce back from having two kids back to back. He said the only thing that would correct it was a full tummy tuck. So a year after Houston was born I had the surgery.

It was the best decision I ever made when it comes to me feeling good in my own skin and being able to wear the clothes that I could wear before. The first two weeks were incredibly painful. I actually ended up getting into a car accident on my way to a post-op appointment that caused some complications.

I was messing with one of the drains, which is something you don’t really know about until you have a tummy tuck, and the seatbelt was right where the drain was poking out of me. I looked down just a second too long and rear ended the car in front of me. Despite the additional pain from that, the care I received from Dr. Carlino & Specialists of Plastic Surgery was amazing.

Q & A

What is a “mommy makeover”?
I had a tummy tuck and my breasts done at the same time, reduced by two cup sizes.

Did it hurt?
Extremely. It was probably the most uncomfortable surgery I’ve ever had in my life—and I’ve had my jaw broken!

Was it worth it?
Yes. When it comes to feeling good in my own skin again I would recommend it over and over.

How much did it cost?
It was around $12,000 for both procedures to be done at the same time.

What was the recovery like?
Other than being extremely painful, I took two weeks off of work.

Is there a scar?
I was left with a scar that stretched from one side of my body all the way across to the other side. I had two laser treatments done on the scar and then opted not to continue with further treatments. I was concerned from the beginning about having a scar, but was still caught off guard seeing it. Until you see a scar that goes almost all the way around your body, you don’t really know. I had to really get comfortable with it and I’m still not 100% used to seeing it now, but I would take the scar over the saggy skin. It hides really well in a bathing suit and underwear as it’s placed very low.

How does it feel after?
The feeling in your stomach is just kind of weird. In a tummy tuck, they cut your belly button out, pull the skin down around it, and cut a new position for your belly button to be in. Which means it doesn’t feel like my stomach anymore. When I touch the skin around my belly button that skin used to be much lower than it is now so it’s a weird sensation. You almost feel like you have a corset on. It’s not uncomfortable, but it does take some getting used to.

Last advice?
Do your research and find someone who speaks your language and you feel confident doing this surgery for you. I highly recommend my surgeon, Dr. Carlino. This type of surgery is his specialty and my entire experience with him was top notch.

This is my second Valentine’s Day holiday inside of being single. It gives me an opportunity to make “self love the new relationship goals.” This Valentine’s Day I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to treat myself to something that I rarely ever do—which is to actually take a pause.

Instead of going out to dinner or scheduling a massage, I am going to spend some time in my house. I’m going to get some take out so I don’t have to cook, I’m going to take a bath, read, journal, watch a movie… or whatever I want to do. My typical nights are spent looking at calendars, scheduling things, grading papers, answering emails, and other work related things. Valentine’s Day is going to be when I hit the pause button, decompress, and rest.

I also want to take a moment to share with you all about the self love that I’ve been able to pour into myself over the last couple of years. The first year single I was just focused on learning to co-parent, creating a safe space for my kids, buying a house, and transitioning my salon from full service to extension exclusive. This second year, however, I’ve really been able to focus on creating balance inside of my life. For me, balance is a form of self-love. Creating the time and the space to feel balanced even when it can be difficult is so important. I’ve tried really hard to make sure that this stays at the top of my priority list, which is really just taking the time to do the things I love to do. Which, for me, is really just getting back to basics.

One of the things that I love to do is find time in the morning to work out. That’s a really big version of self love to me. Vanity speaks to me—I want to look and feel a certain way. I gave myself permission to do the things that make me feel pretty inside and out. Going to therapy makes me feel like a better person so that’s something I want to start doing again. I love getting my lashes done, getting my nails done, pedicures, and of course I cannot exclude getting my hair done. I’ve allowed myself the freedom to do those things and feel good about them.

I love the way these things make me look and feel, so about a year ago I decided I was going to let myself treat myself and find time to do those things. I make an appointment and make it a priority. Self love for me is loving the way that I feel about these services so much that I put them in a special place in my calendar and treat them like an important appointment with myself to pour in or to work on something that is going to make me feel better and feel more confident.

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I encourage all my ladies, whether single or not, to find the thing that makes you feel good, and prioritize it and do more of it. You don’t have to do it weekly or even monthly, but find the time to do the things that you really love to do and don’t make yourself feel guilty for wanting to do those things.

Make loving you and the things that you love a priority, so that you can feel like the best version of yourself when you show up for every body else every single day.

C A N D I C E G R A M

Owner of @GarnishExtensionStudio | Transformations are my Specialty | Fashion is a hobby | Fun is a Necessity
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