I’m not sure when I began following 1213 Hair Studio on Instagram, but I do know that the second I did, I completely fell in love with the magic they worked on different lengths and colors of hair. I couldn’t believe the icy blondes, dramatic reds, and magnificent ombrés that filled their feed. I knew immediately that they were who I wanted to perform this same magic on my tired, lifeless locks. I first dyed my hair red in my senior year of high school, and aside from one random summer a couple years back when I decided to bleach it blonde (definitely not my smartest beauty move), it’s been red ever since. I just feel the most “me” when my hair is a vibrant black cherry color. However, it has been several years since I’ve actually visited a salon, and after countless box dye sessions, I knew it was time for an upgrade.
I got in touch with Kelly, the owner of 1213 Hair Studio, and told her what I was looking to do. I wanted to keep my red, but I was hoping for a more vibrant ombré style. However, upon chatting about my hair and its overall lack of health and luster, we decided not to bleach the ends to create that vibrancy, but rather melt my color from purple to red. I’m honestly so glad this was our decision, because I’ve never loved my hair more in my whole life than I do right now. I got it colored over two weeks ago now, and I’m still shocked at the color payoff. I especially love when the sunshine catches it and practically makes it sparkle. It feels so much more healthy with the ends trimmed up a bit, and I love the rainbow of reds and purples that appears whenever I run my fingers through it.
The salon itself was to die for, with a slight boho feel mixed with a bit of Richmond-city chic 😉 They provide you with a robe so nothing gets on your clothing, and the giant mirrors in front of each styling station make for excellent mirror-selfie opportunities. However, my favorite part wasn’t even the decor (as stunning as it was) but rather, the incredible team of stylists and staff working at the studio. I was beyond impressed with the family dynamic and the incredibly welcoming, kind, and courteous gestures offered not only when I first arrived, but also throughout my entire styling experience. I can easily say that this was the best salon experience I’ve ever had, and I cannot wait to go back and continue experimenting with Kelly and the rest of the 1213 Hair Studio team! Local babes – stay tuned for an exciting giveaway coming soon!
before – totally lackluster and damaged 😢
after – vibrant, healthy, and beautiful!
thank you so much to Kelly and the 1213 Hair Studio team for giving my locks some serious color and life!
This may very well sound crazy to you: in my twenty-three years, I have never experienced any sort of spa treatment. This might sound even crazier: I actually worked at a spa a few years back, had an incredible discount, and still never had anything done aside from eyebrow waxing! Why have I not treated myself to something so pampering, you might ask? Well, I hadn’t found the right place, that’s for sure. There are plenty of spas in RVA, and some of them are large chain spas you’ve probably heard of, but after so many things went south with my health, I didn’t want to risk my body being in an environment that was even slightly risky – which meant, I wanted to steer clear of chemicals. So, a couple months back, I started doing my research, and when I heard about Scents of Serenity Organic Spa, I knew I wanted to learn more. I set up a “consultation appointment” which really just turned into me interviewing the owner, and I was certainly not disappointed with what I learned.
The owner, Melanie, started in the spa biz as a message therapist, but after a year of just going it alone, she decided to bring in organic skincare. This was easier said than done when so many brands just slap “organic” on the label, but the ingredients themselves aren’t actually what they preach to be. When she had finally discovered a line of products she felt comfortable using on herself and her clients, she brought on an awesome team. Let me tell you, I only spoke with a few of these ladies, but they are fantastic! I loved the family environment – a rarity in the beauty industry! Melanie now has two locations in the RVA area, and while the Grove Avenue spot just opened up last year, it’s just as beautiful, following the same stunning, earthy vibe as the original spot.
I went ahead and planned two treatments at Scents of Serenity Organic Spa – an organic spray tan and a clear skin facial. Let me give you a little info about both services!
Organic Spray Tan
You’ll want to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate the day prior to your tan. Make sure to focus around those rougher places like your kneecaps, elbows, ankles, and wrists. If you don’t mind a little peach fuzz, shave two days before – I shaved the day before, and I could still see the tan cling to the hair follicles on my legs. Do not wear lotions (including facial moisturizer), deodorant, or makeup to your spray tan. You want the tan to cling to your skin, not to anything that is laying on top of your skin. Wear loose, dark clothing to the appointment – and go without undergarments if you can. Some people prefer to wear a thong and pasties, but you’ll get the most even tan if you’re willing to just rock your birthday suit. Don’t make plans for the rest of the day. You’ll be looking a little Snooki-esque from the bronzing makeup that’s sitting on your skin, and you’re gonna smell something fierce. I was thankful that my boyfriend happened to have a cold the day I got my tan because he never had to experience my bizarre odor. It’s just the reaction between the DHA and the PH in your skin, but it’s definitely weird if you’re not used to it. Make sure your bedsheets are either old or dark so they don’t turn orange when you sleep. If you can be patient enough to wait a full 24 hours between the tan and a shower, do it! I hadn’t showered the morning of, so by the 12th hour, I was ready to get clean, but your tan will last longer if you can wait longer, so it’s totally worth it. Be prepared to glow. I felt like I’d been at the beach for two weeks straight when I woke up the next morning. Wearing white was the best ever, and my teeth looked like they belonged in a toothpaste commercial. If you already have relatively even skin, you can probably get away with not wearing makeup, because the tan evens out your skin the rest of the way. You’re gonna feel like a goddess – and for me, that feeling lasted about five days, before the color began to fade. I was sad to see it go, but it was fun while it lasted. Sadly, I got sick right after my tan, and the only photo proof I got of my bronze skin was a Boomerang on #NationalDonutDay. You can see it here.
Clear Skin Facial
I was told that I chose the least “pampering” facial, but I beg to differ! The clear skin facial may be considered more of a maintenance facial, but I definitely walked out feeling more relaxed than I had in weeks. I struggle with the most obnoxious adult acne – partly due to hormones, partly due to my gut – along with some seriously frustrating hyperpigmentation. This is definitely not a fun combo. I constantly hear “but your skin is so pretty!” and while that’s super sweet, I learned how to wear a full face of makeup when I was 13, and I’ve been perfecting it for the past ten years, so there’s a reason my skin might appear “flawless.” I can assure you it’s not, but having this facial seriously helped. Okay, it may not have gotten rid of all my acne overnight, but 1) the esthetician let me know that I was actually taking really good care of my skin, she could tell, and 2) the products she used and sent home samples of with me really made a difference. Let’s just say, it’s a rarity that during “that time of the month” I’ll have any less than 20 nasty breakouts, but I looked in the mirror this morning and was shocked at how good my skin appeared! I’ll definitely be scheduling another facial in the near future, because at this point, after years of trying countless products, medications, diet changes, etc., I’m ready for something to help my skin!
I may not have gotten any footage of myself during these treatments, but I made sure to photograph as much as I could of the locations. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram, and watching my stories, because that’s where I post all my updates during these beauty experiences! Oh, and also make sure you’ve liked my page on Facebook, because I’m gearing up for a seriously exciting summer beauty giveaway soon, in partnership with Scents of Serenity Organic Spa!
(the rest of these photos are from the Grove Avenue location)
thank you so much to Christina for my spray tan, Tracy for my facial, and Melanie – the owner at Scents of Serenity Organic Spa – for making me feel like a whole new person for the summer!
I’m sure you’ve already heard (but if you haven’t, here’s your chance) eyelash extensions are all the rage. From celebrities to bloggers and everyone in between, people are buzzing about this not-so-new trend. Move over, tricky-to-apply falsies, and say goodbye to trying every mascara and lash lengthening serum to get your eyelashes the way you’d like. My lashes are so itty bitty, and after lots of thinking and research, I decided to take the plunge and get mine done! I met with Shaquana, the owner of AboutFace Makeup and Beauty, a local lash salon and beauty center, to chat a little bit about how she got into the business, and what I should expect with my own procedure.
Shaquana got her beginning in a beauty school in Washington, D.C. because she wanted to have a job that could follow her anywhere, and it did! She lived in Japan for 2 years, and it was there that she was introduced to the world of lashes! After moving back to the states and settling down in Richmond, she came to realize that there wasn’t much of a lash hub in the city, and it was a challenge not to give up, but she kept moving forward. She worked as a coach at Virginia University for several years before recently deciding to pursue her beauty dream full time! Not only is she a talented makeup artist and lash queen, but she also offers waxing, facials, and even microblading at her fabulous studio in RVA.
I was privileged enough to receive a full eyelash extensions experience and discovered that it certainly lived up to the hype! If you’ve been interested in getting extensions, but you aren’t sure what to expect, here’s a little rundown for you:
The service can take anywhere between an hour and a half to three hours. Since it was my first time and I was getting a full set of lashes, it took me that full three hours, but I was incredibly comfortable in the chair, and with remixed jazz and Beyoncé playing in the background, I really couldn’t complain!
She will first prep your eyelashes, cleaning the lashes and the lid to remove any debris or makeup. I came wearing no eye makeup and just face makeup, but next time I’ll probably go sans-makeup to make it even easier! If your lashes have no curl at all, she’ll curl them, and then she will get to the extensions!
Rather than what you may expect with false lashes (a full strip of lashes), Shaquana applies lash extensions one-for-one, meaning each eyelash receives an extension, creating the fullest and most natural effect. It’s not uncomfortable in the slightest. My eyes watered a bit when she had to tape down my lower lashes, but I never once felt any pain or abnormalities.
You can expect your lashes to remain full and voluminous for at least a week before they begin to gently “shed.” Shedding is a natural process because your real lashes fall out on a somewhat regular basis. Don’t be surprised to wake up with a few on your pillow. Today marks two weeks of having my lashes, and while there’s still enough there for me to not feel the need for mascara (PSA: do not wear mascara on your extensions), I did need a little assistance in the form of some eyeliner to draw the attention to my eyes. A full set is worth $150, but don’t worry, you won’t be spending that every time you need a fill. The price is cut in half, so think of it the same way as getting a manicure – you get a full manicure and pay a set amount, but to get the color filled, it’s less each time you go in, so maintenance isn’t something you need to be concerned about! 😊
In the first week of having my lashes, I almost felt the urge to walk out of the house without a lick of makeup on. Because my eyes popped so perfectly, I barely noticed my uneven skin tone or acne 😂 I also found myself fluttering my eyes pretty frequently – to the point that my boyfriend playfully asked, “do you feel pretty, babe?” Needless to say, this is a treatment I 100% recommend, and I also recommend Shaquana for the job. I did my fair share of research when deciding who to see in RVA, and I am so glad I picked AboutFace Makeup and Beauty!
Sometimes I wake up in the morning, look at my baggy under-eyes, messy hair, and lifeless skin, and I wonder if I ever actually sleep at all or if I spend the entire night sleepwalking a marathon and don’t even realize it. It’s hard to constantly get good rest, and even harder to look well-rested, but I’ve narrowed down a pretty good routine to give my body the best night of sleep possible, and wake up feeling (and looking) refreshed. Here are my tips:
Stop looking at screens at least 30 minutes before bed
Most research articles will tell you to even go an hour or two, but sometimes I have trouble turning mine off that far in advance. All I know is that if the bluelight causes your brain to continue working hard right up until the second you close your eyes, it’ll be harder to lull into sleep.
Practice meditation and/or deep breathing
Another reason I like to keep my phone out just a bit longer: I use the Headspace app for ten minutes of concentrated meditation and centering before bed. I also love using it in the morning, but when I use it at night, it’s primarily to help slow my breathing and heart-rate so I get tired faster.
Drink a cup of (decaf) tea
My favorite is the “Calming” tea by Yogi. If I don’t have that on hand, chamomile will do just fine.
Take a hot bath
In the same way that hot tubs relax the body and make you sleepy, a hot bath will knock you out in no time. Throw in whatever LUSH products you have on hand, and let the stresses of the day melt right off of you.
Read a good book
I actually like to do this while in the bath. Somehow I’ve managed to never drop my book in the water. The only hard part about this tip is if you’re a bookworm like me, you might want to stay up even later because …. just one more chapter, please!
Do some bedtime yoga
I use this yoga routine almost every night, and let me tell you, by the time I’ve wrapped up, I can’t stop yawning!
Diffuse lavender essential oils
I love to put a few drops of lavender essential oils into my diffuser before bed. Sometimes I even put a little in my bath, then again on my pillow. The scent is incredibly calming and almost like an all-natural muscle relaxer.
Use VIIcode’s “Oxygen Eye Mask for Dark Circles”
I just recently discovered this amazing product, and I am hooked! I recently shared with my Insta fam about how my under-eyes have looked like I got punched in the face since I was a little girl. No, really, people used to think I was getting beaten up. A lot of it has to do with allergies, and the rest is just a pigmentation thing. However, after just 3 uses of these eye masks overnight, I am shocked with how much brighter and lifelike I look when I wake up. The masks are meant to be worn for eight hours – a little different from your typical 15-30 minute masks – so they suggest overnight use. You don’t need to wear them every night to see results, just 2-3 times a week. Three boxes is considered a full treatment, and there are six packets in each box. The gel-like material is cooling and comfortable under the eye, which I’m grateful for, since that area is very sensitive. There’s nothing to wash off after use. You’re just left feeling refreshed and looking much more awake!
Highlight/line your under-eyes with white
This is a relatively new trick for me. After I put on all my makeup, I like to go back with my Stargazer powder (a bright white powder – so I wouldn’t suggest this product if you’re not fair-skinned), and dust it on beneath my eyes. I also use a smaller brush to pack on just a little bit of the powder to my lower waterline. This helps counter the red in your eyes, and brightens your whole face. I’ve found that it dramatically reduces the appearance of dark circles!
So, there are all my tips. After many years of trial and error, I’ve gotten this down to a science, and my life is all the better for it. I no longer look like an absolute zombie when I totter down the stairs each morning, but instead, I feel and look much more awake! What are your tips for a good night sleep or appearing well-rested?
While it may so often seem as though the life of a full time blogger is incredibly glamorous, you may be surprised to find out that the majority of us have normal mornings just like yours. We love our snooze button a little too much, and trying to choose a healthy smoothie over that chocolate muffin is a challenge (the muffin wins more often than not). My morning routine is nothing to brag about, and definitely drags out a lot longer than in the video. Since my gastroparesis symptoms are at their worst in the morning, I tend to do the majority of my work in bed for about an hour before I even get up and go eat. However, any opportunity I get to actually easily leave my bed without pain merits a morning very similar to what I filmed!
I usually wake up between 8-9 AM (even though my first alarm goes off at 7:15). I spend a few minutes catching up on Instagram, Facebook, looking at my emails on my phone, and of course snuggling with my kitty, Luna. Then I get up and stretch… and shimmy. Yes, that sounds bizarre, but I add a little shimmy or a little dance before I actually get moving because it gets the blood flowing and makes me happier! Plus, if I’m wearing this adorable Adore Me pajama set, it’s just way too comfy to not shimmy in! Next I’ll pour a few drops of grapefruit essential oil into my diffuser for a bright scent throughout my room as I begin my day. If my stomach is alright, a smoothie or bowl of yogurt and fruit is in order. If I have extra time, I might even make myself an omelet! Back upstairs I go to sit down at my MacBook and do some serious work. I’ll check and respond to emails, post on Facebook and Twitter, and plan out some of my work for the week.
Next I head to the bathroom to get ready. I’ve been using my Clarisonic Mia 2 brush for several months now and it’s been life-changing for my skin! I recently switched from a Neutrogena face wash to the Bioré charcoal cleanser and I love the fresh, almost cold sensation it has on my skin. I like to wash my face before I get in the shower, because I don’t like submersing my Clarisonic in the water, and sometimes, if I’ve curled my hair the night before, I skip the shower. Next comes makeup, and I’ve put together several makeup videos recently that you can view here, here, and here! Once my makeup is finished and my hair is dried and either flat-ironed or curled, I’ll pick an outfit and head out to conquer the rest of my day!
Some tips to keep in mind for a relaxing, un-rushed morning:
1. Set your first alarm for a good hour before you want to actually get up. This way, you can hit snooze several times before moving, and you’ll give your body the illusion of sleeping in.
2. Pick out your outfit the night before (this is something I’m terrible at). If it’s already laid out and ready, you won’t spend time agonizing over that “I have nothing to wear” feeling.
3. Get food and coffee (or tea) in you before you really begin moving. You’ll have more energy once you’ve fed your body. It’s true what they say – breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
4. Burn a pleasantly-scented candle or essential oils in a diffuser to help wake you up naturally. Picking citrus or bright scents make a huge difference! Whatever you do, don’t choose lavender or you’ll be falling back to sleep!
5. Don’t try a new hairstyle or makeup trend in the morning. If it doesn’t turn out how you’d like, you will either be rushing to fix it or you won’t have time to and you’ll head out looking a hot mess!
6. Crank some tunes! Spotify offers a bunch of “morning” playlists, but my recent favorite has been this one to get me moving!