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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.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been asking everyone the same question—to Resolution or Not to Resolution. I just assume because I am a “Resolutioner” that pretty much everyone has resolutions or new goals. What I’ve found out, however, is not everybody is into setting resolutions. So I pose this question.. for everyone who creates resolutions for the new year—why?

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NBR Hair Extensions

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My why is two-fold. First, it forces me to take some time and really take a look at what I’ve done throughout the past year. It allows me to ask myself if everything I wanted to accomplish actually was achieved. The second aspect is that it gives me a starting point for the next year’s evolution. As we move through the year, every day can feel like you’re just putting one foot in front of the other—especially when you have life coming at you super fast.

And that life stuff doesn’t always come back to being a mom or business owner (the things you hear me talk about the most). I talk to a lot of different people who have life coming at them fast from every angle. Women who open up to me about things that have nothing to do with kids or hair. It could be their spouse, mental health, family, and so much more. Sometimes it takes every ounce of you to muster through everything that showed up at your door. Setting a resolution helps guide me through these things, even if it’s not something I’m focused on every day.

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For me, the actual resolution is just one part of the puzzle. The other part is who I have to become to attain that goal. A resolution, for me, is really just a goal. Who I have to become needs to change in order to achieve that specific goal. Who I am in January 2020 is hopefully very different from who I will be in 2021. If I can master that, then the resolution is just an offset of what I need to do inside of my own mindset.

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Reflecting on this and creating my resolution makes me assess and take some time to write things out. I set my resolution up and every once in a while I check in and see if I’m going down the right path or if I’m on the right trajectory. There’s been some years I look back and think… what was I thinking? Why did I even want that? New Years provides a perfect checkpoint to touch base on my goals and plans.

While it feels like a no-brainer to me, so many of the guests I have spoken to have told me that they do not set resolutions. They’ve said everything from “I know myself and why it won’t work” to “I don’t want to be cliché and set them with everyone else.” I can certainly appreciate that answer even if it’s not how I see it. I would love to hear some more feedback from both sides… If you do make New Year Resolutions, why do you choose to put them into affect?

Why January 1st? If you do not set them at the beginning of the year is there another time of year that you do set them? Do you set them throughout the year? I would love to know what YOUR resolution practice is!

Drop a comment below.

Last week I shared a little bit about my vacation in Jamaica, but I didn’t really go into too much detail about the actual vacation. Even though I had an amazing time and the weather was beautiful, and even though you’re in an incredible place and don’t want to complain… the experience still matters. While I was in Jamaica, I had one of the worst experiences of my life at a luxury resort all-inclusive stay.

NBR Hair Extensions - Garnish Extension Studio

NBR Hair Extensions - Garnish Extension Studio

As a business owner and a part of the luxury service industry, I feel like I need to be an advocate for what the experience is like inside of a luxury business. This particular resort was brand new—it had only been open for about 2 weeks. We were not told in advance (or at all) that there would be places not open on the resort, that the staff would not be trained, that there would be rooms without hot water, and that there would be flies all over because nothing had been treated yet.

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The whole time while I was having this horrific experience I was trying to talk to the manager on duty or get ahold of someone in some capacity. It was clear the manager was completely overwhelmed and irritated from all the people staying in the resort. Whatever you want your culture to be, it comes from the top. Even though the entire facility was beautiful, the experience is just as, if not more, important than the appearance. Throughout this experience I found myself just wanting to sit the entire staff down and say if you all are unhappy with how things are being handled, you need to give feedback to corporate about what’s happening.

Overall, it was such a big lesson that when I returned home I wanted to take an outside look at my own business. I wanted to really evaluate things not as the owner of the business, but as our guests see the entirety of Garnish. I looked at what people see walking in, how guests are communicated with after the service, how complaints are handled, and all the little details that can easily get overlooked.

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It took a lot of digging, but because the experience hits home so much for me, I knew it was important to look through every aspect. Even with the experience being such a high priority for me, there’s always room for improvement. I did find a few things on how we can elevate the experience even more and will be sharing more about them in the coming months.

If you are looking for an amazing experience inside of hair extensions, I want to invite you to visit Garnish because it’s something we hold near and dear to our heart. Unlike my Jamaican vacation that was beautiful on the outside, but definitely needed some work on the inside, one thing you can always expect at Garnish is for everyone to love what they do and for it to really come from the top.

For the last week of 2019, I took an actual break. Shocking, I know, but I chose to take a week off to really not do much of anything so I could just decompress from the whole whirlwind of a year I just had.

Everything from transitioning the studio to be extension-exclusive to having a first time Kindergartener and everything in between. I just did so much this past year and wanted to do something completely different for New Years—I wanted a different temperature, a different country—so I chose Jamaica. I was in complete relaxation mode the entire time.

I took this trip with my friend Nicole, who also owns her own business, and being there with her forced me to have a mindset that I usually do not have. We made a pledge to each other that if we made this space in our calendars, we would have the time of our lives and not let work/life demands take away from the experience. And that’s exactly what we did.

I was a little concerned because we talk about all the things you can and cannot do with hair extensions, particularly when it comes to vacation, but for the first time I threw caution to the wind and just went for it. I went whitewater rafting, I climbed up a waterfall… everything got drenched. I did bring my dyson blow dryer with me, but for the most part I kept my hair in two braids the whole time to prevent tangling.

Since it was super humid, my hair curled up to its natural texture, and I was reminded of why I’m so dedicated to texture matching with hair extensions. Even though I was relaxed and not wearing any makeup, I still wouldn’t want my extensions looking crazy. Having my hair extensions in the same curl pattern as my natural hair meant that no matter what, my hair still looked great.

The entire trip I felt really confident. And that’s something I want all of our guests to feel. I loved being able to look in the mirror and still feel amazing and still feel like this is exactly what I needed and exactly what I wanted the pictures to look like.

Even though I’ve had long hair for a couple of years now it still feels like a dream sometimes, having had a pixie cut for 10 years. I had much shorter hair for a much longer time in my life so it’s kind of crazy to look at photos of myself with hair down to my waist and feel more like myself than ever before. Having hair exetnsions really just puts a completely different spin on your day to day life, vacation, etc. when you just feel amazing the entire time.

And at the end of the day, I had a super incredible New Years trip and came back with no tangles, no dreadlocks, and no hair loss—just a bunch of great memories… and in need of a really good blowout.

This Christmas for me was all about the gratitude feels. I found myself looking back on where I was at this time last year and just feeling so blessed for how much has changed and settled in the last year. This time last year my current house was in boxes and I was in the process of closing on the home I live in now—my dream home. So while Christmas last year was great and there was lots of love, it was also very much a transitional sort of chaos as everything in our home was packed up, there was no Christmas tree, no décor, etc.

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Having that experience last year led me to be so grateful for every little part of the holiday this year. Christmas felt amazing because I had the opportunity to host it in my brand new house, with everything set up, and see just how far I’ve come in the last year. Every time I walk in the door to my home I feel so grateful.

My kids are going to grow up in this home, their schools are right around the corner, and I’ve really just put a lot of energy into making it go from a house to a home over the last 12 months. It’s such a different feeling from where I was at last year and it has amplified how fortunate I feel to have such a home.

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

Being able to see my kids run down the steps Christmas morning and light up when they see all their presents, and see them experience that in a home I purchased on my own truly made me want to pause to thank the universe for giving me the opportunity to make that happen.

The gratitude also showed up in how blessed I am to have been able to spend time with my family this holiday season. It’s so fulfilling to have your family around and feel that connection with them. Being able to share this holiday with my family in my home is such a huge blessing, and I am so thankful for every moment.

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

I hope you and your families had an amazing holiday season and look forward to sharing more with you in the New Year!

It’s inevitable—every year the holiday season brings out every possible emotion. It’s everything from super enthralled and grateful and the spirit of giving and all the warm fuzzies… alongside overwhelm and frustration and feeling like there’s never enough time.

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This constant up and down is one of the reasons the holidays can be so exhausting and why we find them so stressful. In addition to all of that it’s also the time to close out the current year and make sure everything you have coming up in the next year is in alignment. The pressure of January honestly starts in December.

If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking it’s a brand new year and you want to start it off right. You’re probably obsessing about all the things you’re trying to accomplish when the reality is that it’s just the next month. But something about the transition from December 31st to January 1st hits me super hard every year.

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I always want to make sure that every goal has been checked off, every I has been dotted, and every t has been crossed. Of course it hasn’t… because human, and I just have to remind myself to accept that. Am I the only one who feels the immense pressure of closing out the year and starting a new one?

This whole season is such a hodge podge of emotions, but it’s been happening long enough now that I’m used to it. It all starts creeping in around Thanksgiving. My studio usually has 5 days off for Thanksgiving because work/life balance is so important to me, but I typically spend most of that time planning out December.

December is typically the salon’s busiest month and we’re always kicking off and launching things in January. A lot of what I’ve learned as a business owner is that your prep game has to be so strong. The videos that I want to release in January I’m having to find time to record in December. The campaign I want to launch in January has to be put together in December. The gift card promotion we launched for December had to be decided in October. It’s all about being prepared!

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On the flip side of all of the stress and prepping there’s a whole dose of excitement as well. 2020 is going to be such a big year for my studio. Our national education launches in January—more about that in next week’s blog post—and we are ecstatic for what’s to come.

It’s such a mix of emotions, but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Do the holidays bring you stress or excitement or a good mix of both?

This year for Thanksgiving my family and I decided to do something a little different. This is the second year that my family is in a co-parenting space. Last year was the first holiday season since my kids’ dad and I split and it wasn’t the easiest. This year we have a little bit of footing and know where we’re going. I really wanted to do something that was inclusive of everyone—my whole family AND his whole family. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for his family to join us, but it still felt amazing to be able to bring my immediate family (my mom, sister, and my two littles) out of town with me.

We decided to go to Massanutten Resort in the mountains of Virginia almost 5 hours away. I wanted us to go out of town so that no one had to cook and everyone could just relax. My mom has always been the one to spend the entire day before and the whole day of Thanksgiving cooking so that she barely gets to enjoy the meal herself. It was so cool to be able to treat her and allow her to actually enjoy the holiday.

We drove up the morning of Thanksgiving and got there just in time for their amazing Thanksgiving feast. The resort was beautiful and everything for the Thanksgiving meal was already set up when we got there. The food was delicious… my favorites were the cranberry encrusted salmon and the marshmallow sweet potatoes.

The best part about being in the mountains with crappy WiFi is that it forces you to connect with those around you. I got to spend time with my kids doing all kinds of fun things from ice skating to pony rides to karaoke to board games. I also got to talk to my mom for more than just 20 minutes. Typically when I see her it’s because she’s coming over to watch my kids so I’m rushing out the door. It’s rare that we are all purposely and intentionally sitting down together. I also got to connect with my sister and find out what she has going on. It was so nice to be able to spend real, quality time with each of them.

My biggest takeaway from the entire experience is that I want to spend more time just like that. I’m already planning to incorporate it into my 2020. I want to spend more time with my family and my kids actually going somewhere, doing something, connecting, and being intentional. Truly experiencing things together as a family.

I’m a big advocate of work/life balance and try to maintain that as much as possible for a business owner. I have always been a proponent of having holiday time spent with family where you do not have to worry about work. For the last 4 years my studio has had a 5 day spread where my employees had time off. We come in and work the Monday before Thanksgiving so we can have that full time to connect with family and friends. This has become a tradition that my whole team really looks forward to.

I am so thankful to have had such a wonderful holiday and am looking forward to how I can incorporate more intentional quality time with my family and kids in the new year.

A couple of months ago, I launched a YouTube channel called Garnish Your Growth. I’ve shared this with you before, but today I wanted to share something I’ve learned since starting the channel, and how I’m revamping it to be even more authentic.

When I decided to start a YouTube, I knew I wanted to make a channel that spoke to creatives of any kind. Creatives in general have a different mind and different struggles. I wanted to shed some light on things from my perspective, through both my own experiences and those of my lead stylist, Niko.

I’ve experienced an immense amount of growth in the last 5 years since launching my own business and becoming an entrepreneur of a brick and mortar space. I’ve learned so much and wanted to have a channel that was both devoted to growth and helps stimulate thoughts about growth. Growth is great, but sometimes it really sucks; sometimes it will bring you to tears; and sometimes it makes you feel like you’re completely failing.

I really liked the content we were giving, but I noticed when the episodes were put out that while they were very open, honest, and transparent, they were also very curated. I looked at my own content and realized I had left a big chunk of a story out because I knew it would bring me to tears or I didn’t go into something because it would open up a portal to something else that wouldn’t fit in the set timeframe. It didn’t sit well with me that I told a story, but kept some of the information to myself.

I wanted to be more real, open, honest, and vulnerable. We learn and grow from other people telling their truth. And believe me, it’s hard to tell the unadulterated truth of something you’ve failed at. But I knew if I was going to put out the content of my growth, I wanted to give you real life scenarios and ultimately do a better job in telling my story.

This means starting from the beginning. If you’re just finding the channel, you don’t know who I am or what my story looks like or why this is so important or how it saved my life. So I decided to switched up the style of the video and amount of content I have. It’s less about specific topics and more about real, honest conversations.

So we are unofficially relaunching Garnish Your Growth with this week’s episode. You can expect it to be more real, raw, and less edited. We’ll be sharing more of who we each are and why we wanted to pour ourselves into this to begin with.

Below I’ve included a preview video for what you can come to expect from this channel in the future. I hope you’ll join me in this important conversation as we normalize the challenges of growth and share the relatable ups and downs of our journeys.

This blog post is more of a message of gratitude.

I wanted to share with you all exactly why I feel like I truly have the best job in the world. When I first joined the hair industry at 18 I chose it because I’m very creative, love the beauty industry, and love being around people. That was all I really knew about the career I was choosing. Now that I’m 36 and have been in this career for nearly 20 years, I feel so much stronger about what I do passionwise than ever before.

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Being inside this industry for so long I have watched it grow so much and my career has evolved rigth alongside it. On a daily basis I get to talk to such dope ass women. A lot of women that come in to my studio are part of our tribe because we connect on more things than just their hair.

Because I specialize in extensions, the guests I see are in the studio longer than they would be for just a cut and color, which allows us to connect on a deeper level. Every single day I come home having had the best conversations, and having met the most interesting people. Not only do I have amazing clients whom I love, I also work with a bomb team that I pretty much handpicked that choose every day to be there.

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I have been doing the same thing for nearly 20 years, but I have not had the same feeling about it the entire time. I believe you can fall in and out of love with a career just like anything else in life. Around the 8-10 year mark I felt stale and stagnant—stuck in my current salon space feeling complacent and scared to leave.

The clients coming in were not my people, and the services I was doing were not what I was most passionate about. Almost 10 years later, every single person who walks into my studio has chosen me to connect with and to invest into themselves with. I have worked my ass off to offer something in a niche specialty that boost womens’ confidence and helps them feel better. I am the person that gets to give women that mindblowing-holy shit-never felt better transformation that they are craving.

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Overall I just feel so fulfilled and in alignment with what I’m supposed to be doing. I didn’t know this was my path starting out, but once I saw it years ago, I’ve been working my ass off to get to this place. I feel really grateful and really fortunate to have found it at a young age and have been able to make it come into fruition. And to find like minded people to work inside my studio and help me bring this vision home and keep it growing is just an added bonus.

To anyone who has ever offered encouragement, given blessings, or offered support–thank you. I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have this as my career path. I’ve truly never been happier inside of my career than I am now.

It’s official—I have a kindergartner.

This is my first year with a child in the Wake County school system. For the last 4 and a half years I’ve been inside daycare, live-in nannies, childcare, grandmas, etc. The first year sending your child to school is very different. But I can honestly say, from 2 months ago to now as I’m writing this, I’m so proud of Kingston. There have been some things that caught me off guard about kindergarten and I wanted to share them with you.

First of all, Kingston is going to school downtown at a charter school that is very different from your typical school. They focus a lot on interpersonal skills, leadership,  and on not just being aware of what’s going on in their own neighborhood, but also world issues. I’m used to A, B, Cs and learning to read, not putting together campaigns for water consumption and looking at global warming. Not only does Kingston work on his reading and writing, but he comes home talking about things that really matter. It’s really amazing to hear.

They also do a lot of affirmations and talk about goal setting and being a good human being. All things that you know I love. To hear these things coming out of my 5 year olds mouth kind of blew my mind. I didn’t expect that kindergarten would be like this at all. I’m really shocked and amazed to have him in a school that has such a different philosophy. I’m also super thankful and really excited that he was able to get in. I had no idea that Charter schools are set up on a lottery system. You have to apply, and are selected solely based on the lottery. Kingston originally didn’t get in, but a month and a half later we got the call that he had been accepted! It’s been really special to see him thriving and coming home with stories and meeting friends.

A perfect example of this is a conversation we shared recently. He said, “Mom I’m a big boy, I’m going to fill up Houston’s bucket.” And I asked him, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, I want to fill her up with good things and love so that she can give that to the next person that she talks to.” Talk about an amazing thing to hear from your 5 year old!

With all of that goodness, there had to be at least one hiccup. For us, that’s the morning routine. So far it’s been a little bumpy—trying to get him downtown—there’s no transportation and no lunch so we’re having to pack everything and drop him off. The biggest battle is having Kingston going to one school and Houston going to another school.

Thankfully, my friend Amber just moved into my neighborhood. Since then she has been taking Kingston to school with her daughter because she goes to the same school. It’s been a huge blessing and I’m so grateful.

Kindergarten has certainly been a new experience, but a very rewarding one so far. If you have any specific questions about the school, feel free to reach out and I’ll give you the information.

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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