A Taste of Napa

I was always a bit hesitant to visit Napa. I thought it was too fancy, too expensive and not my style. Well to clear it up, its not any of those things. Yes it has it’s touch of class but we found it affordable, fun and gorgeous. We decided to save money by staying at a Hampton Inn and Suites located in Napa versus staying on a property. It is great experience to stay on a vineyard. We have experienced that in Temecula, but honestly you pass out from being wine wasted so you can’t even enjoy the views. 

Our first day we drove ourselves to a few wineries. I was shocked how far away some of them are. The Napa/Sonoma Valley is crazy huge. We hired Ryan from Napa Driver Tours for our second day of tasting. He was very helpful on making our reservations and telling us where to go. He suggested we do the “bigger” wineries and the next time we visit he will take us to the secret spots. What I love about their concept is they drive your rental car, so naturally we rented a convertible. It made the drive through wine country even more breath taking. Below is my breakdown of the wineries we visited. 

Francis Coppola


When you arrive on property you see their sign, a beautiful drive in and a magnificent stairwell inviting you to your adventure. We went upstairs to their First Flight Experience ($25/pp). This tasting showcases some of their specialty wines. We had 4 tastings. This was the first Chardonnay that I enjoyed ever, the rest were reds.  Our favorite was the Archimedes. Our server was very informative. We learned a lot about the Coppola history, how some of the bottle labels got their labels and his favorite movies. The building has a restaurant and fun artifacts from his movies. We then went downstairs for their Sonoma Inclusive tasting ($18/pp) were we tried 4 more delicious wines. Our hostess was so sweet. I have had a few Coppola wines that I have purchase in local liquor stores but we signed up for their wine club to get exclusive bottles only sold at the winery.  Now as a wine club member we get great discounts, wine shipped to us 4 times a year and member exclusive wines. 
                                                                                                                  

 

Sterling Vineyard


One of my favorites! You can make reservations for your tasting on line day of. We purchase the Silver Experience ($49/pp). The whole tour was so fun. You take an aerial tram up to their property. Our first tasting was a Chardonnay, another one I actually liked, and we were directed upstairs to a gorgeous room. We were greeted by Charlie who served us our tastings. We had 3 more wines paired with charcuterie plate. We had another delicious Chardonnay paired with espresso dusted cheese and dried filet mignon. It was followed by a red blend and a Cabernet paired with manchego cheese, dried fruit and a little pepper. Charlie was great in explaining more in depth about tannins. She also let us try their 2011 Yountville Cab, which we purchased of course. After our pairing, we went along the rest of the self guided tour of the property that had 2 more red tastings and their Malvasia Bianca along the way. The end of the tour had a gorgeous patio to enjoy the views, enjoy an extra glass and soak up the sun. Do not miss this vineyard. 

Cakebread Cellars

Cakebread, what an awesome last name. They offer 5 different types of tastings. We did the Red Wine Tasting ($30/pp). We were greeted with a tasting of rose while we waited for our group to gather. James was our host. He used to be a wine maker and was very engaging and informative. We tasted 7 different reds. Our favorites were 2013 Guajolote Red Blend, 2013 Benchland Cab Sauv, 2013 Vaca Red Blend and 2013 Dancing Bear Cab Sauv. James went into detail his wine tasting ritual he uses to help identify what he is drinking. 

1) Look at the color against a white background. 

2) Look at the legs; the thicker means its most likely a cab. 

3) Smell BEFORE you swirl, this will help you identify the fruit. 

4) Swirl and smell to get different scents of oak or spices. 

5) Taste! Roll in palate to a count of 8. 

Cakebread also has theses awesome pamphlets with tasting notes, vineyards used and winemaker’s process. The best past is there is a recipe to pair with the wine on the back. 

                                                                    

Frog’s Leap

Ryan is obsessed with this wine and now winery. The grounds are gorgeous with a big farmhouse with rustic glam decor. The living room had a grand fireplace with shelves full of the history of the frog including their label designs and their first bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. We were seated out on the porch with views of the vineyard and garden. Frog’s Leap’s vines are dry farmed and organic, which is very impressive. Stephanie was our host and we were also greeted by Abbie, the winemakers dog. Our tasting ($25/pp) began with a delicious 2015 Chardonnay followed by a 2015 Zin, 2014 Merlot and 2014 Cab paired with nuts, cheese and dried fruits. They were all delicious yet the reds can lay for another 20-30 yrs, so cheers in 2037! Stephanie offered us more tastings to take around the gardens and enjoy. Frog’s Leap is the perfect winery to pack a picnic basket and soak up the sun. I am excited to announce that we joined the “Fellowship of the Frog” and brought home a few extra bottles. They had a 1997 collection of 3 reds that came home with us and are excited to taste them. 

Auberge du Soleil


This was a quick stop to grab a bite to eat in between wineries. Our driver told us it was very expensive to stay but worth the views. We sat outside and enjoyed a glass of wine with calamari and truffle fries. Their service was great, the view was worth it and I would come back for a delicious dinner. 

Del Dotto

Del Dotto has 2 properties and one on the way. We visited his Venetian inspired winery and caves located in St. Helena. The architecture is spectacular; cathedral like ceilings with Italian marble and ancient tiles surround you. It felt like we were in another country. We upgraded to the Delicacies by Del Dotto tasting ($95/pp) which included a private cave tour, barrel tasting and lunch with wine pairing. Upon arrival, we tasted a white and were greeted by Simon, our entertainment for the next 2 hours. He took us into the caves, siphoned wine from the barrel and tasted. We had 6 2015 variations of Cab Sauv and one 2015 Merlot. At this point in the tour the multiple reds were hitting me. Simon took us upstairs to our private table where our food adventure began. OMG amazing food and wine pairing. Joshua Schwartz is the executive chef and I highly recommend this experience. For  those of you who follow my IG or blog, know I’m a foodie. Listed and pictured (except for dessert; I was a wine-wasted hot mess at that point).

Maine Lobster Roll on Toasted Brioche   2013 Piazza Chardonnay 

Chesapeake Bay Soft Shell Crab & Osetra Caviar Butter   2016 Piazza Rose 

Garden Kale Lasagna, Sweetbread Sugo & Fiore Sardo   2013 Syrah

SRF American Waygu Beef & French Black Truffle Slider   2011 Villa Del Lago 

Bleu d’Auvergne Brûlée, Beets & Valencia Orange   Dolores

This was the perfect way to end our day in Napa. Simon was so fun and really got to know us and he was very patient with us. Do not skip Del Dotto. 



Castello di Amorosa

We stopped here on our first day but I don’t recommend it. The Tuscan castle is what caught my attention from the Sterling patio and it is absolutely breathtaking with lots of detail but too crowded and overwhelming. It’s a tourist trap winery with too many wines and too much going on. Ryan wasn’t going to taste but we still had to pay for him to enter ($25/pp). Our host was way too busy to pay attention to us because he was trying to sell the guest next to us crazy expensive wine. You could tell they worked on commission. We purchased a sweet white wine for my sister and spent 15 minutes waiting to check out. Please skip it, not worth your time. 

NOLA

This was my first and probably last visit to New Orleans. Let me clarify why. The culture was inspiring, the food was delicious but it is dirty, sketchy and questionable. I do still suggest visiting and experiencing the city for what it can offer. That is the purpose of this blog, to inform you!

The Courtyard Brewery



 This gem was recommended to us and I’m glad we stopped. We couldn’t get into our Air Bnb for a few hours so we sat outside, soaked up the sun and “drank all the beers”. I typically dont enjoy beer but they had a delicious pear sour that was refreshing and their cider beer wasn’t overly sweet. Their offering on tap varies but they had over 15 options. The tables we over sized spools, with comfy chairs, hanging lights and lots of greenery to hide the rest of the neighborhood.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a food truck when we were there, which would have completed the perfect afternoon, but they do feature them.

Bourbon Street 


Interesting. Dirty. Drunk. Wow this street was “memorable”. We arrived early evening after dinner and daiquiris are the common theme. The building are full of character and history but are covered in beads, booze and fluorescent lights. I think everyone needs to experience the $h!t show that is Bourbon Street! You can listen and watch some local talent on the street but watch out for peddlers. Drinks that are a must along this street are Hurricanes at Pat Obrien’s, a frozen hand grenade and of course a frozen daiquiri. Oh and ladies, wear closed toed shoes!!!

Acme Oyster Company


Acme was one of the top rated on Trip Advisor but unfortunately its a tourist fail. We didn’t have reservations but they sat us right away. Acme has a great vibe but I wasn’t blown away by the food. As we walked to our table, you can see the seafood bar and the grill where they chargrill the oysters.  We started off with fresh oysters and chargrilled, those were the best part of the meal. I was unimpressed with the soft shell crab po boy, it was bland and plain (maybe it’s supposed to be but we had Killer Po boy the day before which set a high standard). Side note, we didn’t know you ate the whole crab, shell and all! Oops! The fried oysters were sub par as well. Once again I was craving some sort of flavor in the breading or a unique sauce. I was impressed with the prickly pear mojito. Worth a shot but for an $80 lunch I feel like you have much better options.

 Basin


Highly recommend. We found this place off of an IG account that posted a photo of the crawfish mac and cheese. We stopped here for lunch during our walking tour of the Garden District. I ordered the watermelon margarita, perfect, simple and refreshing. Our table ordered the following which were ALL AMAZING! Crawfish mac and cheese, crab and corn chowder, octopus ceviche, crab and crawfish beignets and the catfish po boy. Nothing disappointed us. Everything had great flavor and good portion size. My fellow diners really enjoyed their beer selection! A great spot to stop after exploring the Garden District!

French 75


French 75 is part of Arnaud’s restaurant. Arnauds has been around for almost 100 years and has a ton a of cool history. Paul was a great bartender! He told us a few stories about the history of the restaurant and recommends we go look at the museum upstairs full of Mardi Gras costumes worn by Germaine Cazenave, the daughter of Count Arnaud. So cool to see. The drinks were delicious! We enjoyed the Contessa, Honi Makai and Candelabra. The bar and bar back are vintage and decorated with class. The atmosphere was relaxing and you don’t need to be super dressed up to sit at the bar.

Cafe du Monde


Whoever said these weren’t good, needs a new set of tastebuds, We went twice! Once on the weekend…crazy, seat yourself and during the week…much more relaxed! The beignets are better fresh and warm. They come 3 in an order but are a decent size where one will fill you up. Watch out, they get messy but this is a MUST when in NOLA. The chickory iced caf a lait was good, but still a little too strong for me.

 

District Donuts


OMG the best place to start your morning, especially before you walk the Garden District. Their flavors change from day to day but I enjoyed the white choclate mocha donut. It wasn’t overly sweet and had great texture. They also had a amazing pork belly breakfast burrito you can not miss.

 

Garden District


My sister downloaded the map for the self guided tour via bigboytravel.com and it was easy to follow. We started with breakfast at District Donut and walked to see 28 spots (I think). Lafayette cemetery no. 1 was neat to see. A caretaker gave us a bit of history for a donation. The self guided tour also had a bit of history written about each stop. The streets, homes and gardens were so pretty. The history linked to these homes are really fun to read. My favorites were the “Cornstalk Fence” house, the Koch-Mays house owned now by Sandra Bullock, and “Seven Sisters” homes.

 

World War II Museum


I’m not a history buff nor would I ever think to go to a museum on vacation but it came recommended by a few people and I am so glad we went. We could have spent the whole day here but we saved it for our last day since it was rainy, so we only had 4 hours. We purchased general admission, the 4D movie Beyond All Aoundaries with narrating by Tom Hanks and the interactive submarine Final Mission. It was worth it. Every person receives a dog tag that you scan on your “train ride”. You are assigned a solider and use that dog tag to learn what he did on either the Road to Berlin or the Road to Tokyo. It brings you closer knowing this was real. The movie went into great detail about the events leading up to the war and every battle our men went through. Most of it I had no idea, 1. Because I was never taught or 2. I never paid attention. There were interviews of surving soldier you could listen to, the huge Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress on display and so many other small details I loved. Do not miss this.

                                                                                                       

Killer Po Boys

This little hole in the wall had the BEST poboys in NOLA. We ordered the shrimp, pork belly and braised beef. There was so much flavor in each sandwich! Their greens were really good too! Yes that is boxed sangria in the photo and it was great. They also have beer as well. It’s hard to find but set the standard for po boys for the rest of the trip.

                                                                                             

NOLA by Emeril Lagasse


Great date night for couples, but its a louder restaurant. The food was delicious. Beware of the Aviation cocktail, its a 1916 recipe and its all booze. I had to choke it down, but I have had one elsewhere and its delicious. We started with BBQ shrimp and our main entrees were hickory roasted duck and New York strip with crispy oysters. Phenomenal taste. You can’t miss the trio of creme brûlée!!!

                                                                                                     

 Side Notes:

A few more MUST DO’s are stop all the Gallery Burguieres if you love animals. Walk through the French Market near Frenchman street (also a must do, it’s where the locals play). We liked Courtyard Restaurant and Bar/RareForm bottomless mimosas and live music. Note that when you sit somewhere and listen to live music they come around with a bucket to get a tip from you. I found this odd and rude. We had one group come up to us after we just sat down.  Jackson Square has a huge tree full of beads but beware of the guys with horses pulling carts. The horses looked mistreated and thirsty. The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone has great cocktails but get there early to get a seat at the bar, we had to watch from afar. My favorite drink was the PIMM’S CUP.  Royalton Street has really cool shops to walk though and be sure to get a macaroon from Sucre.

Blue Apron -Friday Favorite

I love Thursdays! Want to know why?

It’s when my Blue Apron box is delivered with exciting new meals for me to try.

This is a review of why I suggest Blue Apron and how its working for my husband and I.

I was introduced by my friend, who had sent me a free week! $60 worth of food for free…DUH! So I signed up and BOOM, Thursday morning came and my ingredients for 3 amazing meals were at my door step. We had Pork BBQ burgers, a spicy pasta and chicken with korean rice cakes.img_9125 Continue reading “Blue Apron -Friday Favorite”

Highlights of Fort Collins

As you all know I am a huge foodie and most of the times a “drinkie” as well. The main reason I love to travel is to find new palate pleasures and fun adventure. I traveled to Fort Collins and its surrounding areas with my family and stayed with my aunt so unfortunately this blog won’t suggest any hotels, but it will be full of experience.

Hike Lory State Park

We had a 10 month old with us so we could not handle the long trails. We decided on the Well Gulch self guided trail. The hike was pretty easy, gave you a great glute burn and filled with gorgeous sights. You could see the Horsetooth Reservoir  filled with boats at each cove. We also “hiked” the .1 miles to Waterfall Trail, well worth it. The water was crisp and clean. We drove the rest of the path through the park. Lory welcomes dogs, horses and bikes. Cost:$7/carIMG_8411

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

So gorgeous and I have now added “seeing a concert at Red Rocks” on my bucket list. Your legs, glutes and calves will thank you after climbing the 380+ stairs it takes to get to the top. Trust me the view is worth it. The amphitheatre was bursting with people working out and tourists taking selfies. There is plenty of parking (there is a lot up at the top if you want to skip your cardio) and a restaurant at the top. Cost: FREEIMG_8412

Breweries: Fort Collins Brewery/Odell/New Belgium

I am not a beer drinker at all but these breweries were a great place for me to taste. My favorite out of the 3 was New Belgium. I tried the La Folie Sour and the Blackberry Barley Wine. I actually semi enjoyed them (I’m a wine snob).They had a very open space with plenty of seating, games and food trucks. We ate at The Waffle Lab. We ordered the Voo Doo Monkey; waffle, peanut butter, bananas and raspberries and The Spicy Professor; waffle, jalapeños, cheese and bacon.

We went to the Fort Collins Brewery for lunch. The locally source a lot of their ingredients. I dined on the Asian duck salad. Ryan and I “shared” a flight of beer. I only enjoyed the first beer; Hefeweizen. They included their Mexican chocolate cake stout and being that I live for chocolate, I would love it…negative.IMG_8154

Our last stop was Odell. (Fort Collins brewery and Odell are about 2 blocks away) The patio was a perfect place to catch some UV rays and cool off with their many flights of beer; the Classic Tray, Pilot Tray and the Locals Tray. Each tray allowed you to try 5 different beers with a card explaining each one. We split these trays between 4 people! This non-beer chick was 3 for 15!!! My favorites were Food for Thought, Mishawaka and Bobby Kolsch.IMG_8164

Estes Park Aerial Tramway

The tram was so fun but so scary. The views you get during the ride and once you are at the top are well worth it. You can see the snow capped mountains, the adorable town below and trees, rocks and more trees.  Fun facts about the tram; it was built in 1955, the upper terminal is 8708 ft and the highest point off the ground in the tram is 200 ft! The top has a cute gift shop,coffee shop, rocks to climb and places to explore. Pack a jacket and/or scarf, it is cold and windy at the top.Cost: $12/adult

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Nuance Chocolate

This small batch bean to chocolate bar shop was one of the better chocolates I have ever had. When we traveled to the Caribbean, we learned about the cocoa bean process, but this shop explained it even further. Different cocoa-growing areas of the world have diverse soil types, temperatures, and humidity levels, further influencing taste and texture.
Chocolate made from cocoa beans of different origins can taste deliciously unique, just like red wine! No wonder I love both of those things.

They offered different taster flights ($7 each). We enjoyed the Single Origin taster; favorites were Ghana and Madagascar and the Flavored Taster flight; favorites were chili pepper and sea salt. It is a must to purchase some of their truffles as well. IMG_8147

 

Dancing Pines Distillery

I was bummed that we discovered this right before we had to get to the airport, so I was the only one that tasted. Dancing Pines uses natural and local ingredients to create small batch liquors. They offer 3 different trays to taste along with a really fun cocktail menu. I ordered the sweet tooth. I sipped on Cherry tart liquor (and purchased it), Chai liquor, Zoranj (orange and super strong) and Brûlée. Brûlée was my favorite with really sweet caramel notes but I would use Cherry more! When you purchase a bottle you are offered a free cocktail or a token for the next time you visit.

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Downtown Estes Park

Anyone from Minnesota will understand this analogy. Estes Park shops are adorable and very similar to Stillwater, MN but with better surrounding views. You will find antique shops, candy shops, ice cream parlors, places to purchase blown glass, jewelry and other souvenirs. I was on the hunt for the best taffy and old school bubble gum ice cream (the pink stuff with colored square gum pieces). My favorite Taffy was the Estes Park Taffy Company. I purchase one of every flavor that sounded good, you have around 60 flavors to choose from. As far as the ice cream, all the shops had the new “kid” friendly blue bubble gum ice cream and of course I don’t remember which parlor had the good kind. I was in ice cream heaven and completely lost to remember such an important detail.

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Stanley Hotel

I have seen 3 mins of The Shining, so this stop was a little lost on me. The hotel was stunningly beautiful but according to Ryan, very different from the movie (which keep in mind was filmed YEARS AGO). You are surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains, the gorgeous building and great landscaping. Cost:$10/car

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Blue Skies Winery

Go figure I find a winery in downtown Fort Collins and even more shocking, I brought home 2 bottles. Blue Skies had delicious reds and really yummy ports. I tasted their Sangiovese, Barbera, Malbec, Cab/Merlot blend (amazing), Raspberry Pinot Noir (great for sweet lovers) and their Under Canopy (Blackberry Port). The tasting shop was quaint and full of local artists work. They also offer chocolate from Nuance and local cheese.  Cost: $5 for a 3 wine tasting.

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Fort Collins is a wonderful part of Colorado to visit. Very different from exploring Denver and Colorado Springs, but this area is not to be missed. I am excited to go back in the winter and explore the ski slops and more restaurants.

Napa-Style Egg Muffins

This recipe was inspired by an amazing breakfast I had in San Diego. I am all about convenience so I turned the scramble into egg muffins. The recipe makes 12 muffins so you can meal prep and re-heat them for the rest of the week.

IMG_7744INGREDIENTS:

8 whole eggs

6 egg whites

1 cup chopped spinach

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

2 avocados

goat cheese

salt and pepper

STEPS:

1. Whisk eggs and egg whites in large bowl.IMG_7734

2. Add chopped spinach and sun dried tomatoes.IMG_7742

3. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix.

4. Spray muffin tin and fill with egg mixture.  Top with desired amount of goat cheese. IMG_7741.JPG

5. Bake for at 425 degrees for about 15 mins. I used a knife to stick in the middle to check if they were finished. 

6. Once cooled, top with avocado and ENJOY!

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Your hairdresser wants you to know…

1. Just a Job.

I have quite a few stories about how clients don’t quite understand our profession. They think this is a part time job and are still in school, that we need a boyfriend/husband to support us or that its a short lived career. This couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, there are stylists who do this as a hobby, but the serious ones build a business. All of us can support ourselves and have flexible schedules to be with family or pursue experiences. It can be a short lived career if you don’t continue with advanced education and don’t take care of your body. It’s a career that I plan to stick with for life.

2. We value our relationship with you.💇 

I am very close with a majority of my clients. I know their secrets, listen to their stories and support them. We share family experiences, laughter, tears and gossip. In return, they support me and I let them into my life. My clients know WAY too much about me but I want it that way.  I build trust and a lasting friendship. I love seeing my clients around town and love hanging out with them.  If your stylists doesn’t show appreciation, I suggest you find someone who shows gratitude to you. You are part of their business and without you, they don’t have a clientele.

3. TRUST US. 

You are our walking advertisements. We wouldn’t do anything that would make you look pale, heavy or old. We are experts in trends, skin tones and shapes. We have a highly trained eye and will make you look and feel good.

“If you don’t look good, I don’t look good”

4. We love visuals. 

I love it when my clients bring in photos because it helps us get on the same page and I can point out things visually. Some hairdressers would disagree and complain that everyone brings in Jennifer Aniston and Victoria Secret models hair-inspos. They claim that it gives the client an unfair expectation. To me, its not any different than bringing in the “pretty girl” photo off Instagram. Most people look at the photo as a whole before they focus on the hair. I recommend putting your thumb over the face and really look at the hair. A great stylist will explain what works for your hair type and give you a realistic expectation.

5. Sick days

I don’t want you coming in ill,🙅 let alone, do you want me up in your personal space when I’m sick? At the beginning of my career, I came into work many times when I was really sick. I was afraid my clients would be upset if I cancelled and never come back. This could not be more untrue. Now in my career, if I’m not 100%, you don’t deserve less than that, so I am listening to my body and calling in.

Most of you may not know that hairdresser’s do not get paid sick days. At my salon, we are lucky and earn 2 paid weeks off but they aren’t worth using when we are gone only a day or 2. So please realize, we don’t “fake” sick like some people do or can. Clients rely on us to be there.  Understand that we know you have plans and are crazy excited to get your hair done, so we cancel only when its absolutely necessary.

6. Schedules 📆

Most stylists have flexibility, but with flexibility comes lack of respect. For the first 8 years of my career, I was a YES girl. I stayed late, skipped lunch and worked my days off to accommodate my clients. This did help me build the biggest clientele in the salon, but I missed out on self care, events with friends and time with my husband. We understand that your life gets busy and once in a while we can help you out but if you are a repeat offender and constantly ask for special favors, it’s hard to want to keep you.

I let my clients know that if they have difficulty getting an appointment, to book the soonest available and then reach out to me to get on a cancellation list! You never know when it could be your lucky day. Depending on your relationship with your stylist, you might be able to reach out to them personally.

7. Etiquette

 A few little tips…

-Please close your eyes while we are shampooing your hair, unless we are having a conversation. 💆 I don’t need you to see if I have any bats in the cave and its creepy when you stare up at me and it’s silent. Trust me, a shampoo is much more relaxing with your eyes closed.

-When we offer you a beverage, please actually drink it. I throw away so many bottles of water that have been sipped twice.

-We love gifts but don’t expect them.

-When we are done with your relaxing shampoo and condition, please use your core to sit up. I have had so many people dead weight me without warning. Doing this will shorten our relationship due to my massive back injuries. Unless you have a back injury or are uber pregnant, you are all capable of sitting up. Congrats, I helped you do your one sit up for the day.

-You can’t rush hair. Don’t over schedule yourself around your appointment. Most color and cuts, you can expect to be in our chair for 2 hrs.

-If you want a major change, reach out to your stylist before you book an appointment. My clients send me photos for their next hair idea, which is great since some of these colors need more time to achieve this look.

-We understand it if you are late, because we run late. But when you are late and show up with a Starbucks ☕️ and didn’t even get us one…NOT COOL! (P.S my summer order is a Venti iced 1/2 green 1/2 passion tea unsweetened)

8. Products

We recommend products for you because it’s our job. We know your hair needs so why buy from someone who doesn’t know your hair or purchase from a random drug store with “salon quality” products? There are hairdresser’s out there who definitely oversell just to make extra $$, but most of us with integrity sell you what you need. You invest a lot into your cut and color, we just want to give you insurance on your new style. You insure your car and home, why not your hair? Most products last MUCH longer than you think, when used correctly.  Your hair is the most noticed accessory you own, protect it!

Have an honest conversation with your stylist about your needs and budget. Most salons carry various product lines. YOU get to decide how much you want to invest. We won’t judge, but no complaining when your drug store brand product doesn’t achieve your desired look.

9. Advanced Education

If your stylist is raising their prices, you have the right to ask how they earned it. I never get nervous to raise my prices because I have advanced/continuing education to back it up. Not only do I attend classes my company offers, I invest my own money into color or cut classes in NYC, Miami, LA, Nashville and Chicago. Last year alone, I invested thousands of dollars into learning new techniques for you! I have had the chance to learn from the best.  You deserve the best from your stylist. If they don’t care about learning, getting re-inspired and adding more tools to their toolbox, they don’t deserve your business.

10. Cancelations / No-shows

A majority of hair dresser’s are paid commission, meaning if there is not a warm body in our chair, we aren’t making money. Life does get in the way, so we recognize and respect that. Do understand when you do not show up, you are taking money out of our pocket. If this becomes a repeat pattern, we have the right to warn you.

The service industry is a fun, yet crazy business. Just because it is our job to serve you, doesn’t mean we don’t have any rights. We can and will fire you if you disrespect the craft or us. Luckily once you are a seasoned stylist, your clients are almost perfect.

Work/Life Balance

Attention young/all professionals!!!

Trust me, you are going to want to read this…

Most everyone strives for greatness, which is a definition customized to each individual. We all want to be the best version of our selves and work hard to build an amazing career that helps us create one FABULOUS life. That is the definition of myself. My goals as a career driven woman were to be at the top, build my own little empire and live an experience filled life.

Growing up, I was raised in a single income family. My dad worked his full time job and had part time work to be able to provide for us. My mom was great at balancing our spending by giving us some of the “luxuries” (silver jeans, A&F shirts etc) that we could afford, but by no means was I a spoiled child. Once I was able to get a job, I worked multiple jobs in the summer to save for a car, pay for gas and save for college. I was a girl with Tiffany silver plated spoon taste on a wooden spoon budget.

I started working as a stylist 4 days after I graduated Aveda Institute. I built a clientele very quickly and was drawn into the competition of being at the top and hitting all of my goals. In my mind, that meant acceptance. The more hours you work, the more people you can accommodate. I was obsessed with making $$$ and earning bonuses. To be able to achieve both of those things, I needed to make myself available. So I skipped out on quite a few events. It didn’t allow it bother me at the time since I had conditioned myself to think this was all worth it. A few years down the road and understanding life values and myself, I am upset that I missed most of it.

I will be  honest with you, I climbed the ladder of success and hit every goal I wanted but I missed out on A LOT of life’s little joys. I missed out on weekends with my family, evenings with my husband, friends bridal showers, weddings and time to focus on my needs. But on the flip side, I had an amazing clientele, made some $$$ and was able to use my earnings for experiences. I made my choices but would like to pass along this advice.

Honestly, I would change how I did things. Trust me, I don’t have regrets by any means. I don’t believe in regrets. I look at it as lessons and growth. I worked my way out of friendships, bonding with my husband and celebrations. You can’t buy those back or have do overs. Sometimes you are given second chances but most events that come our way are once in a lifetime. We have our whole lives to work hard, make money and become our best selves. I have learned that the BEST version of me is compilation of my hard work, relationships with friends, happy memories and adventures. BALANCE. Balance means a state of equilibrium and finding emotional stability and mental steadiness.

I would advise young professionals to find balance. At the beginning of your career you do need to put in the hours and work hard. You have to earn flexibility, seniority and find your place. I encourage you to speak with your manager about their expectations of you. Be honest with them about the importance of friends events, family get togethers and how important working smarter, not harder is to you. Explain how you have goals to meet and will can meet both sets of needs. Find a mentor who you trust and who can direct you to meet all qualifications. You need to be your own advocate for you life. Management  and companies also need to realize that happy, balanced employees create a successful business plan, rewarding results and a strong environment. 

Best wishes on your career. Stay driven, balanced and cheers to success!

I appreciate you!

A thank you to my clients,

               I truly appreciate every single one of you. Month after month, year after year, you continue to support my business and career. You push me to be a more passionate hairdresser. You deserve the best version of me every time you sit in my chair, and I hope you feel it.

              Thank you for being patient with my schedule this year, allowing me to travel with Ryan and take some time for me. I appreciate your flexibility and planning in advance so that we can continue to create and build our hair-relationship.  In return, some of those trips, I took the chance and invested in my career building on my color expertise at Wella in LA, grew my advanced cutting skills at Bumble and Bumble University in NYC and Oribe in Miami and was taught how to build my career on the business side at Styling your Career at Bumble and Bumble.

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             2015 gave us a lot of laughs, tears, connection, drama and great gossip. I love hearing about your families, travels, great shows and restaurants and most of all, YOU! I’m honored to be your stylist, therapist and friend. I’m excited to see what 2016 brings us.  Cheers to another year of amazing hairdressing!

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Dirty Little Secret

I’m not good enough…

I’m not writing this for sympathy or for you to pity me. I’m not looking for positive reinforcement or judgement. I am simply writing this for myself and for others who might be going through the same thing.

I am depressed and have constant anxiety.  I hate my body. I binge eat super naughty foods. And most days I judge and shame myself.

I am in constant fight mode. My defenses are up because of my need to be’s and not enough’s;

I need to be happy.

I need to be healthy.

I’m not enough at my job.

I need to be the perfect wife.

I need to be a motivator.

I need to be a success.

I don’t fit in with my friends lifestyles.

I need to be more…

Holy $hit! I’m exhausted. I care so much about how other people perceive me, that my ego is constantly on and it’s struggling to keep up. I put up a very good disguise. It’s an act that I’m a part of 24/7.

I have a great life. I am married to an amazing man who loves me for who I am. I have a loving family, awesome friends and a very successful career, so I am supposed to be happy, right?  My career is based on me being happy and making my clients look their best and feel their best. How I am supposed to help them feel better when internally I’m a hot mess and am a fraud? A majority of my co-workers are fun to be around but it’s a deadly combo. You mix a bunch of insecure, judge mental women together and it’s toxic. I’m not attacking all of them but there are a select few I’m distancing myself from. How can I be real when a facade surrounds me?

I always tracked my weight and over the years it goes up and up and up. Currently I am sitting at 170 lbs. Yes I have some muscle but my addiction to sugar to make am feel happy has put a padding around it. My weight goes up and down because my mood goes up and down. I let my weight define who I am and what I deserve.  I am always looking for that “miracle” to fix me. I crash diet, workout like crazy, change my birth control, try blaming it hormones and try any cream or wrap to lose the inches. None of it worked.

I currently talk to a therapist and at the beginning of the year I was feeling great. I had a new plan to fix my metabolism, the witch at work was out of my life, I was turning 30, had an year filled with fun ahead and finally felt balanced. My therapist taught me that my worth wasn’t based on the number on the scale or what others thought about me. Self-care was very important (see Self Care blog). I had confidence. I was traveling with my husband. I was smiling. I felt genuine. I felt like myself and was comfortable being me.

Summer came along and I started to fall off track with my eating, self care, therapist appointments and changed my birth control. I had no idea how sensitive I was with my hormones. I slowly started slipping away from my mantras and beliefs and fell into the “social” norm. I started judging others to lift myself up and hopped on the Shame Train. I started comparing and felt like I was falling short. I was questioning every single thought and move I made and tortured my self with negative thoughts.

I was falling apart. I dreaded going to work. My marriage was passive and I secluded myself from friends and family. November and December were the worst. I was in a dark place…all by myself. I didn’t want to be around anyone. My estrogen levels were so high that every morning I would get up, binge on Caribou donuts, sugar coffee drinks and Starbucks breakfast sandwiches. I would eat, fall back to sleep for 2-3 hrs and get up and force myself to make it through the day. I hated getting ready. I starred at my body every morning, shaming it and punishing myself by eating more crappy food. I was eating fast food (which I had not consumed in 16 months), drinking wine every night, and was a lazy, lifeless body. Joy and self love a a thing in the past.

I would cry over anything and everything. I hysterically bawled when Dumbledore died in Harry Potter, when ever I heard certain songs and every morning when I woke up and saw my reflection. I couldn’t stop. I also had anger issues and my anxiety was through the roof. I was frustrated with myself and fighting. Over Christmas all I did was cry. I was at the bottom and couldn’t see the light.

The Tuesday after Christmas, I met with my “team” of professionals to get me on the right path. I started a cleanse to get all the inflammation out of my stomach and to re-train my taste buds and brain to not rave sugar. My therapist finally pushed me to cry. She helped me come to the realization that I don’t love myself and don’t think I’m deserving of just being me and that being enough.

As of today, as I’m sitting on the plane heading to Miami, I am feeling OK. The past 10 days has been baby steps to a healthier me. I took the time to prep food, enjoy yoga, clean my house when I felt like it, and told myself that Miami won’t be anymore or less fun with the way my body looks. If someone wants to judge me, I applaud them and hope it brings them happiness. My therapist gave me a great mantra from Brene Brown; ” In my defenselessness, my safety lies”. This is from her book Daring Greatly, which I just started reading. Once I put my fists down and was gentle with myself, I knew I could get out of this dark hole.

I AM ENOUGH…

 

 

 

 

 

PRESENTS!!!!

With the holiday season approaching, we are all bombarded with the expectation of gifts, lists and shopping. It’s GET, GET, GET! At work, I started to ask kids what they are wishing to get from Santa. And with the answers I am getting, Santa is loaded. They want Ipads, laptops, Iphones, UGG boots and thats just the beginning.

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I’m not shocked at what kids ask for because 90% of the time they get it and not just at Christmas. Parents and grandparents spend hundreds of dollars on Christmas presents. What kid needs a laptop? I didn’t get mine until I went to college and I had to use my grad party money to purchase it. I almost think that parents spoiled their kids to please themselves.

It’s BPES (BEST PARENT EVER SYNDROME). “I’m the better parent because look what I bought MY kids.” Bravo you are raising a spoiled little a$$holes who get everything they want and will never learn to support themselves. And guess what…if I had kids I would probably be the same way. (reason #437 why I’m not having them). I know both of my parents didn’t grow up with much, so naturally you want to do more your your own children.

I have a cure for BPES and how our future generations can be well rounded! I think for Christmas EVERYONE should take a different approach. Kids and adults should ask for a NEED, a WANT, an EXPEREIENCE and a GIVE. We all make lists, so this year make a revamped list.

NEED: We all have necessities that are purchased throughout the year just because. But what if you could tie that NEED in with a holiday gift. I am so shocked at the high end items kids own and yes I understand they need new winter boots, jeans etc. Well they expect these items because every other kid own it. They need to realize you don’t just get stuff. I know kids who own multiple UGG boots, high end jeans, have the latest phone and wear LuluLemon…Shoot me. I don’t have half that stuff and I’m an adult with money and a job.

I’m not saying they can’t get that stuff but then buy the ONE need for the holiday, not all. My mom used to put a pair of sunglasses and a swimsuit in our Easter baskets to prepare for summer.

WANT: This can be the fun spoiling item. They ask, they receive and then they trash it and forget about it a year later (if that). But we all want things and it makes us happy so once a year its fine. I’m guilty of getting myself what I want when I want it, the difference is I was raised to be independent and work for what I want.  You can also mix their need of new jeans with their want of whatever designer crap kids wear.

EXPERIENCE: Spring Break is 8-10 weeks after Christmas, why is that not a gift? My parents didn’t have the money to bring us on spring break or very many vacations at all,  yet half of the kids I know expect it. Most children are in some kind of sport, why isn’t that part of a gift? The experience doesn’t have to be expensive either, go to a water park hotel for the night, go iceskating, learn to ski, and even just take the time to play a board game or bake cookies. Life is so crazy that just taking time to be around each other is memorable.  The ideas are endless and will last forever in your kids memory.

I know a family whose parents are very well off and she gets worried that her kids are having high expectations since the grandparents bring them on a Disney Cruise every year. It’s their Christmas gift and yes its big, but at the same time wouldn’t you rather your kids spend time with their grandparents making lasting memories for both parties versus the kids just getting the cash later in life.

I’m stressing over what to get my niece and nephews for the holidays. They are just babies and clothes are short lived. I’m thinking of starting a savings account to be able to bring them to Disney World when they are older, making memories with Auntie La La and Uncle Poo Poo.

GIFT: I have definitely spoiled myself over the years and feel guilty about it when I know I have way more than I could ever ask for. Children need to learn at a young age how fortunate they are.  There are so may ways your child can give a gift of need to someone less fortunate. I found a website for my family this year where we are buying them a goat and chickens to provide a food source. I know plenty of churches that have giving trees and all these families ask for is cleaning supplies, coats and other necessities.

One of my girlfriends has her daughter donate the gifts she gets from either her friend or family birthday party. What an amazing idea? What kid needs 10 different presents from their friends and then even more from family? The memory that she has helped put smiles on sick kids faces will shape her to be an amazing woman.

It’s a weird society that we live in. Everyone wants the best, to be the best and we are all insecure. We buy things to make us happy but its very short lived. This holiday season try and focus on balance and teaching others around you to give, trust me the feeling lasts forever. One tip I love for myself as a reminder is EVERYTIME I walk past a Salvation Army Red Kettle, I put something in it. You are walking into a store to spend $$, I almost feel selfish when I don’t donate and honestly I judge people that don’t contribute or even say hello or happy holidays to the volunteer.

Cheers to a SAFE, HAPPY, BLESSED holiday season. Be thankful for the life you have!❤️