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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.

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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’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

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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.

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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!

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.

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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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.


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