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27 Nov

Tape-In Hair Extensions for A Red Carpet Look with Novak Hair Studios

Hairdreams Tape-in Extensions

The 411 in the 817: Hair Edition

Red carpet hair extensions featuring Novak Hair Studios, the latest and greatest solo artist, eco-friendly salon in Fort Worth.

Most of you know Jason and I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Academy Awards this past March alongside our wonderful friends Angelique and Mike De Luca. But before we headed out to La La Land, I needed to kick my beauty routine up a few notches.

So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a few things I hadn’t done before, including Botox and fillers (this post coming soon) and a total hair makeover, which included hair extensions.

SoFortWorthIt Hair Extensions

Anyone who knows me knows I am very particular when it comes to my hair. Through the decades, I have had multiple experiences at different salons and various stylists that ranged from not-so-great to exceptional. Check out the homemade perm job from my grandmother and a run-in with Sun-In at Camp Longhorn. NICE, huh?

My signature-look for the longest time was blonde hair, and it perfectly fit my bubbly personality. After transitioning to a more healthy, brunette color a few years ago, I thought it would be fun to experiment with extensions to keep that full-bodied, voluminous look.

Christy Dunaway Smith Chair for Cancer Care Services 2013

Being the research queen that I am, I reached out to a few experts in the beauty industry in search of the top stylists who specialized in hair extensions. Ben, the co-owner of Novak Hair Studios, and his ultra-talented sidekick Madalyn were recommended with the best of the best reviews.

I knew that Madalyn at Novak would provide the service I was looking for, and would ultimately understand what I needed to take my hair game to the next level.

Ben Novak and Madalyn Porche

I may be biased, but I am here to tell you that Ben’s team is indeed the best in the industry, and that is no exaggeration. In fact, Novak Hair Studios is the official sponsor for Mrs. Texas, Mrs. Oklahoma, Miss America Texas, and Miss Teen Texas. Whoa, that’s kind of a big deal, right?

Not only that, local Trinity Valley student Brenna Flynn of Fort Worth took the crown as reigning Miss Texas Teen USA 2018.

HAIR EXTENSION 101

Highlighting the hair extension process and procedures.

I started this process by booking a complimentary consultation with Madalyn so she could asses my hair and pick the best extensions that matched the color, texture, and length of my current locks.

SoFortWorthIt Hair Extensions Novak Hair Studios

Although Novak Hair Studios uses several different extension brands, Madalyn chose Hairdreams, a tape-in brand that uses real human hair and is known for its natural texture. Human hair just feels better over synthetic, and it is by far the superior way to go.

Tape-in extensions are best for keeping your hair thick, happy, and healthy. Plus, they can be reused up to 4-5 times which will save money and time in the long run.

Hairdreams
Hairdreams tape-in

The extension process didn’t take nearly as long as I had imagined. For my hair, the installation was around 45-60 minutes, in addition to the standard amount of time it takes to color, wash, cut and style.

I go in every 5-7 weeks to have the extensions taken out, cleaned, rebound, and moved up closer to my scalp, on top of the services mentioned above. A reinstall day is always a little bit longer than the 1st time you have them put in.

Overall, I always plan for 4 – 4 ½ hours in the salon on extension day.

At the moment, I am on my second set of tape-in extensions this year. The 1st set, which were installed in February, lasted all the way through Halloween while taking a Memorial through Labor Day break. Since we are at the lake as much as humanly possible during the summer months, I really wanted to preserve the integrity and longevity of my Hair Dreams extensions by not exposing them to harsh conditions like lake water, sunscreen and chemically treated pool water.

Remember above when I mentioned how tape-in extensions don’t damage your hair? This picture was taken right after I had them removed for summer break. I believe using these particular extensions has actually made my hair healthier.

How Much do Extensions Cost?

So here is the scoop, Novak Hair Studios truly wants to take care of their customers- so much so that they do not mark up their hair extensions when they purchase from a third-party distributor. Instead, they pass their cost directly on to the customer.

When I originally had my first set of extensions put in before the Academy Awards, Madalyn used seven packs of hair for a fuller Red Carpet, glamorous look. Each pack included six pieces, so we used 42 extensions total, which came to $500 for all of the hair.

For the first time around, it is about $900 for the average person to walk into Novak for a full extension service, including color/hi-lite, cut and style. Paying for your hair upfront is the priciest part of this gig, but after your initial appointment, your regular maintenance is most likely similar to what you have been paying for a typical hair appointment.

For everyday purposes, Madalyn recommended we go down to six packs at the next install to maintain a more manageable look.

Novak Hair Studios is in a League of Its Own

Now let me highlight this luxury solo artist salon in downtown Fort Worth a bit more for you. There are so many unique characteristics that make up Novak; it’s just too exciting not to share.

Novak Hair Studios
Novak Hair Reception Desk

Novak Hair Studios is partnered with Green Circle Salons, a sustainable salon solution that helps recover and repurpose beauty waste to ensure that 95% of everything is recycled, including the hair trimmings.

Novak
Novak

Their eco-friendly model also goes as far as using water-saving Ecoheads on their European wash bowls (reduces water and energy usage by 65%) and an HVAC system that is continuously cleaning the air from chemicals released throughout the day.

The customer service at this salon is unparalleled. A concierge service will check on guests periodically to make sure they are being taken care of and comfortable, and who can resist a complimentary glass of wine from their digital beverage menu.

While you are waiting for your foils to set, enjoy that glass of Chardonnay in a PRIVATE processing lounge so you can rock your lovely foil-covered head without other guests seeing you.

And I’m head over heels with the organic and cruelty-free Eufora hair product line that is exclusively sold at Novak Hair Studios. This stuff is the BOMB!

Eufora

Last, but not least, the attention to detail that Novak prides itself on is unlike any other. Novak’s fantastic staff members and stylists radiate passion for their work and continuously strive to create a positive pampering experience for all guests. I immediately feel right at home when I walk into Novak.

Photography by Maria Ciszek & Novak Hair Studios

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY

Who is ready for a very exciting giveaway from Novak Hair Studios! After all, what says red carpet more than having red carpet hair?!

Start your night out with an Oscar inspired HotTools Pro 24k Gold 1.1/4 inch curing iron with a pure gold finish, along with an arsenal of the styling products you will need to be ready to make headlines for your academy awards debut. Eufora Retain Spray to help retain curls and provide heat protection, Eufora Tame Spray to help lock out frizz and provide additional memory for curls that will last through the after party, Eufora Full Effect Dry Texturizing Spray to help separate and add fullness to any style, and lastly Eufora Uplift Extra Firm Finishing Spray to finalize and perfect those locks. But that’s not all, Madalyn is throwing in a full blowout and style for your next big night out on the town.

Please read the TERMS & CONDITIONS for full details and disclosures located in the Rafflecopter link below.

19 Sep

11 Tips for creating your next Outdoor Patio Party

Riedel PS The Letter

Fall into Autumn with my personal favorite tips and tricks for hosting the ultimate outdoor social.

Dining al fresco surrounded by close family and friends is the optimal way to welcome the beautiful fall weather that’s right around the corner here in Fort Worth.

And boy, I am really looking forward to the change of seasons in the Lone Star State! Don’t let the door kick you on the way out, 110-degree weather!

Outdoor social events and patio parties have been a staple in my family since I was a little girl. I watched my mom throw both elaborate and opulent events, to the more simple of gatherings.

In my eyes, she was and still is the ultimate queen bee of entertaining. I enjoy following in her footsteps while putting my own personal touches and a little flair to my parties.

1. Please, Don’t Come In!

In order to avoid the doorbell ringing a hundred times, I will put a sign near the front door to direct people around to the back of the house. Not having to answer the door multiple times allows you as the host to enjoy mingling with guests.

Porch Party
Patio Sign

2. Conversation Starters

When entertaining, I always have something humorous or a good conversation starter located at the bar. Usually, the napkins or Styrofoam cups do the talking, but I’ve been known to bust out a bowl of penis mints to get the ladies laughing.

Adding your own personal and/or humorous touch to parties helps create the belly-laughing moments that you and your friends will reminisce about for years to come. BTW, I always find lots of humorous goodies for entertaining at the Ft.Worth Junior Leagues’s Christmas in Cowtown Holiday Gift Market every October.

fun styrofoam cups
fun cocktail napkins

3. Garden Clippings

You can go hog wild with garden clippings when it comes to decorating your space for a patio party. Even if you don’t have blooming flowers on your property, different types of greenery make for a lovely botanical look.

Of course, you can always run to Central Market for some colorful stems to pair with your fresh cuttings. For this event, I actually did go to Central Market and I arranged the flowers the evening before.

garden flowers
Central Market flowers

4. Food for Thought

Sky’s the limit when it comes to feeding your guests, but when entertaining outside, be mindful of items melting or spoiling in direct sun.

Claudia Sheddy, the owner My Sweet Roots, has catered several gatherings for me, and I absolutely love her presentation of food. Every time I’ve used her, I receive calls the next day asking for her contact information.

My Sweet Roots
My Sweet Roots

5. The Bar Scene

Although I always have at least one server for parties, even patio parties, there are times when I love to set the bar up for self-service. There is always at least one invitee who takes the initiative to man the bar and pour the refills. It’s also the perfect way for guest to mingle with one another- especially if they have never met.

Patio Bar
Patio Bar
Patio Champagne

6. Stemware Don’t Care

Throughout the years, I’ve lost many Baccarat crystal glasses when I hosted parties. To minimize stress and broken stemware, I decided to keep my sanity and my crystal intact and invest in Riedel stemware from PS The Letter. If one of these glasses were to break, I’m not calculating additional cost in my budget for party planning. Phew.

Plus, there’s nothing better than enjoying a drink out of a Riedel wine glass. The impact you will experience from the shape and size of their grape varietal specific glasses brings out the true flavors of your wine grape.  Ahh…

Riedel PS The Letter
Riedel Wine Glass Patio Party

7. Always Overbuy

I always overbuy for an event to ensure I never run out- especially when it comes to the limes and alcohol. It is so much easier to return unused items than send someone to make another run right in the middle of your party. I also make sure everything I use for patio entertaining is disposable except for the serving pieces and stemware. This makes for easy cleanup and just an overall less stressful event.

Patio Liquor
Topo Chico Patio Party
Patio Party Limes
Plastic Flatware

8. For the Smoking Guests

Ashtrays are imperative. Although most of my friends don’t smoke, it never fails… a few cocktails in and a some of them will bust out the cancer sticks and get their social smoking game on. I can guarantee a few of your guests will be itching to light up a fresh stogie while enjoying the crisp fall evening at your party.

Crystal Ashtray

9. Let’s Get Comfortable

For this party, I set the bar up on the center table in the loggia, where people usually sit down to eat. Although there are plenty of fun places to serve drinks, being mindful of shade is crucial to keeping your ice from melting and glasses getting warm. Small details to consider such as making sure there are enough shady spots for guests to mingle around before the sun goes down. Keeping guests feeling comfortable and happy is imperative.  It will also make you look like a seasoned hostess!

Patio Seating
Patio Seating
Patio Party by the pool

10. Big Ass Balloons

And sometimes, you just need a few Big Ass Balloons as your statement pieces to tie in the full look. This Dallas-Houston company knows how to float a party when it comes to helium. Big air, don’t care!

Big Ass Balloons patio party
Big Ass Balloon party

11. Keep Them Entertained

I usually add a bit of entertainment when I host an event. If it’s not a strolling magician, it might be a balloon artist, lip reader or DJ. But for this occasion, I turned the satellite radio on and piped in through the outdoor speakers.

Alta Drive patio Party
Alta Drive Patio Party

Photography by Maria Ciszek

SoFortWorthIt GIVEAWAY

All in all, keeping your patio party fun, lighthearted, relaxing, and simple will make for a great time! Don’t stress about the small details and don’t be afraid to hire a few extra hands so that you can enjoy your own party. So, sit back, relax, grab yourself a chilled glass of Rose, and make sure those Texas mosquitos don’t bite as you host a beautiful patio party of your own!

PS The Letter
Central Market
Big Ass Balloons
Junior League Christmas in Cowtown

Now who’s ready to kick off these gorgeous temperatures with the perfect giveaway for your next gathering? One lucky hostess will win an entertainment spread to kickstart her next outdoor social.

– A Box of 4 Riedel Wine Glasses from PS The Letter $45

– Floral Arrangement from Fort Worth Central Market $35

– Big Ass Balloon gift certificate $50

– 2 Tickets for Christmas in Cowtown $25

Please read the OFFICIAL RULES & DISCLAIMERS located in the Rafflecopter link below.

15 Feb

SoFortWorthIt Gets a Sweet Treat with Eleni’s Cookies

Hey friends! You must be shocked to see two posts from me in one week. I know it’s been a little while since I’ve busted out some content on SoFortWorthIt, but I promise you, it was worth the wait.

If you follow me on social media, then you’ve probably heard me mention the words, Academy Awards or Oscars a few times. Well, let me fill you in on the goods! It’s true, Sweet Hubs and I are beyond thrilled to attend the 90th Academy Awards in just a few weeks.

You can check out the nitty gritty of who, what and how in the world we get the opportunity to check this off our bucket-list HERE. In the meantime, I’m kicking off the first of several articles about this once in a lifetime weekend, starting with these sweet treats. We’re not just talking about any sweet treat, we are talking about the uber-famous Eleni’s New York cookies and cupcakes.

Eleni's New York Logo

What I love most about these slightly crisp, not too sweet and intricately hand-decorated confections? They make the perfect dessert to either give or serve for every occasion. Speaking of occasions, every year Eleni’s celebrates the Oscars with her Signature Illustration Hollywood Cookies honoring Best Actor and Actress Nominees.

This year’s Academy Award gift sets pay homage to Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Frances McDormand, Sally Hawkins, Timothee Chalarmet, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Gary Oldman and Denzel Washington.

SoFortWorthIt and Eleni’s New York are Long Time BFF’s

I tasted my very first Eleni’s cookie way back in the late 90’s when my parents gave us one of the coolest Christmas gifts. It was an Advent-like green Christmas tree from the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog, and Eleni’s Christmas cookies hung from ribbon on these long wooden dowels. It was magnificent, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

And, In the mid-2000’s, I hosted a book signing for the ever fabulous Kimberly Schlegel Whitman with a breathtakingly delicious dessert-themed tablescape. This event was so yummy, the calories were even swinging from the chandeliers. I sourced desserts locally and nationwide. I knew this event wouldn’t be complete without Eleni’s playfully unique cookies and I couldn’t resist adding these fashion staples to the buffet. 

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Eleni's Cookies at book signing
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Eleni's Cookies at book signing
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Eleni's Cookies at book signing

Plus, Eleni’s came to the rescue when we needed the perfect thank you gifts for my husband’s overseas clients. We sent high-res files of each company’s logo. In return, they produced the best gift for Jason to honor their business relationship. A set of cookies with the MSmith Exporting logo were placed next to the client’s logo-cookies in a box tied with a big red bow to signify luck.

Thanks to Eleni, we scored big in gift-giving etiquette with the Chinese. Below is a picture of the MSmith cookie and us in the airport hauling huge boxes of cookie gifts.

Eleni's gift-etiquette perfect for business trip to China

The sky’s the limit with corporate or special occasion cookies from Eleni’s.

ElenisCustom

Below are some of my favorite sets. I’ve ordered these summer cookies to take to the lake, and I’m going to order these ski cookies to take with us on spring break.

Eleni's Lake Cookie Set
Eleni's Ski Cookie Set

Wouldn’t these make the perfect thank you gift for that special friend hosting you in their luxury sports box or to watch the big game in their home?

Eleni's Cowboy Cookie Sets
Eleni's Play Ball Cookie Set

We all know the flu is running rampant. This gift set would get someone well real quick, I’m almost sure of it! You know what they say, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Eleni's Get Well Cookie Set

Giveaways Galore!

Here’s the yummiest part of it all! Eleni’s New York is giving away their signature Academy Award set which includes Best Actor and Best Actress cookies valued at $100. These will be the hit of any Oscar-themed party.

Eleni’s is also extending a 10% discount to all SoFortWorthIt followers. Enter promo code SFWI10 at check out. Good through February 2019.

Head on over to my Instagram for a chance to win this signature New York, New York Gift Set valued at $46! Drawing a lucky winner on March 2, 2018.

NYNYEleni's