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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Recently, I had a conversation with a guest that really got me thinking about the beauty industry, and how much it has changed over the last decade. Everything from eyebrows, to lashes, to hair extensions has completely evolved to look more natural and provide an even better result. The technology of pretty much everything—from healthier hair color to more effective lash glue to the science of botox and fillers… it’s incredible to think about how much has changed and how significantly.

Ten years ago, it was tattooed everything. Whether makeup or eyebrows, tattooing was pretty much the only option. Cosmetic artistry has made huge advancements even in the last few years. Now, you can have your brows powdered, ombred or microbladed, and they look so much better (and not at all like tattoos.) The world of lash extensions has also advanced in so many ways. They used to be just strip lashes or clusters that would take forever and cost $400, and now we have all kinds of choices. Mink lashes, different lengths, different curves, and options like Amazing Lash.

Medical advancements inside of the industry have also taken a huge leap up. Botox and fillers used to just be for wrinkles, and now they are being used to contour, create jaw lines, and even enhance booties. Everything from lasers to medispas has changed and improved. Even the options for plastic surgery have gotten so much better than years ago.

The hair industry has evolved in much the same way. Both hair color and lightener have improved in how they affect the health of the hair, and in the results we are able to achieve with them. And having specialized in extensions for the past decade, I can tell you firsthand just how much they have changed. What used to be hand rolling fusion hair extensions that did the job but weren’t the prettiest, has now become full, seamless hand-tied hair extensions. Hand-tied hair also comes in more colors and textures, and can be worn in pretty much any style. Gone are the days of low ponies being the only possible way to tie back your hair extensions. Now we can wear top knots, pigtails, big fluffy braids, and no one is the wiser.

 

The evolution of technology is so inspiring to be a part of within the beauty industry. Even looking back on hair transformations I loved years ago, I can see how much different that guest would look with today’s hair extensions. Having NBR hand-tied hair extensions as an option for my guests is life-changing. Everything today looks so much more natural, which is always the goal. I can’t wait to see how the industry continues to evolve and grow, as technology continues to improve with time.

Microblading

Microblading by @ivey_artistry
What’s your favorite aspect of the industry that has changed? Brows, lashes, botox?

Drop a comment below and let me know!

It’s a beautiful Friday, so let’s talk a little bit about what might often seem like a dirty word in the beauty industry. Celebs deny it, there’s tons of misconceptions about it, and I’m here to tell you a little bit about my personal experience with it. What am I talking about?

Well, Botox. I’ve always had a fascination with instant gratification–it’s part of what I love about extensions and hair transformations. The feeling of being transformed within just a few hours is amazing. It’s no wonder I’m slightly obsessed with every and anything beauty, including all of the latest innovations inside of the medispa world.

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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
So you need a revamp huh? Garnish Hair Extensions - Garnish Studio + Extension Bar