Monday, December 15, 2014

10 TIPS FOR GROWING LONG HAIR {From moi, a licenced hairstylist} :)


Can you believe that Christmas is only 10 days away?? This month is flying by! 

Is it a crazzzzzzy, busy, happy time for you and yours too?

As some of you know, I work as a full time hair stylist and this is the time of year that is the absolute busiest for me. Everyone wants to look good for Santa, for their Christmas parties and for those always unflattering Christmas morning photos where you don't realize you have slobber stains on your cheeks till mid afternoon.

Lately I have been asked a bunch of questions about hair, but beyond being asked questions on how to treat troublesome tresses and how to tame unruly hair, I am asked "How do I get long hair?"

The truth is, we cant all be like Rapunzel with magically growing hair, but by keeping a few key points in mind along with tweaking our daily hair regimen and with a dash of patience we CAN in fact give Rapunzel and her lonnnnngggg hair a run for her money.

For those of you who have asked and for those of you who are curious on how to grow long hair, here are my top ten tips on how to grow your hair long and luscious without breaking the bank -- or your ends. ;)

  1. First and foremost find a stylist who you genuinely trust. Im not saying you need to be able to give them your first born child, but you DO need to trust their abilities and talent. Look at his or her work to see if they can deliver on what they promise. Check to see if they have clients who have hair colour, length and style that you would love to emulate and then discuss with them your commitment for growing out your locks. Long hair typically takes five or more years to grow. Think about it, the average persons hair will grow about half an inch a month and in a typical year their hair will grow six inches. Basically, you need to make a five year plan with you hair stylist.
  2. Once you have a hairstylist on board with your commitment to growing your hair you need to make sure that your chosen stylist is passionate about quality coloring services. Let me explain, if you are highlighting or colouring your hair every few months, it is KEY that your stylist does not jeopardize your hair growth by overlaying lightener on already lightened (blonde) hair. (NOT ALL STYLISTS PUT IN THE TIME AND WORK TO AVOID DOING THIS!!!) If you have dark locks, make sure that your stylist is only retouching your regrowth at your scheduled appointments and being very selective when coloring the whole length of your hair. If you want long hair, you will want healthy hair and you cant achieve long, strong hair if you or your stylist are applying chemicals, of any form, on hair that has already been processed.
  3. Now that you all are on the same wave length (no pun intended) you need to commit to visiting your stylist every 8 weeks for a small trim. I know, I know, this seems like it would be counteracting GROWING your hair, but trust me that by "dusting" the ends of your hair (that may be breaking or about to break) you can stop damage before it happens. When you get split ends through normal day to day wash and wear, those darn split ends will continue to split your hair strand until they are chopped off. True story. To maintain your length, annual trims are a must.
  4. Skip the shower. This will be hard for most girls to hear, but ladies, if you are going to grow healthy hair you will need the natural oils of your scalp to condition your hair on the daily. If you are subjecting your hair to everyday shampooing, blow drys and hot tools, your hair will want a rest from all the heat, heat and more heat. My suggestion for all of you who are daily washers is to try cutting out one hair wash this week and the following week try cutting out two. You should be aiming to wash your hair only three times a week for optimal hair growth. TIP: When converting to washing your hair three times a week instead of seven, you may want to purchase a dry shampoo. I have clients that swear by dry shampoo and I know it can help you as you learn NOT to wash your hair daily.
  5. Protect your hair. We all know to wear sunscreen when we are at the beach, but do you think of protecting your hair the same way?? If you are one of the lucky ones going somewhere south this winter, don't forget to pack your sunhats. This is soooo important if you have processed hair and even more important if you are going to be swimming in chlorinated water. Wearing a hat over your hair can protect you from unwanted heat damage and it can also pull double duty as a way to avoid facial wrinkles. #winwin
  6. If you are cutting out shampoos and blow drys you will most likely be relying on some styling tools in the morning to smooth your hair. If you are using a straightener for this make sure that you are extra careful smoothing and straightening the sections around your face. These delicate hairs are usually the first to get singed if you aren't paying close enough attention. To avoid doing damage to the hair you have so carefully grown, keep your straightener at a very low heat when you are working around your hair line. If your straightener doesn't have a heat dial (ask for a new one for Christmas!) and try to straighten the front sections FIRST, before your straightener heats to its maximum ability.
  7. When you straighten or curl your locks make sure to section your hair and take small subsections at a time. Though it seems like one would be able to straighten their hair faster by taking large sections at a time, that is untrue. The only thing you will get from doing that is an uneven finish where some sections received all the heat and others received barely any. Be fair to your hair and use small sections. ;)
  8. Be gentle. After you have figured out how to only wash your hair three times a week, I suggest you take special care when brushing out your wet locks. Section your hair and work slowly when combing out tangles and knots. Hair is more likely to stretch and break when it is wet so being gentle post shower will be amazing for your hair.
  9. Be on a mission to condition. That sounds cute, but really, make sure that you are conditioning your hair every few weeks with a deep conditioning mask, and that you use hair serums and oils to add back the cnditioning agents that get stripped from your hair when you wash it. Besure your consitioners are free of silicone that build up over time on your hair and cause breakage. Also remember to apply your conditioner to the longest parts of your hair while avoiding your roots. Over time conditioner can plug your hair follicles and completely slow the growing process you are working so hard on achieving.
  10. Lastly, remember that hair will not grow if you are not feeding it sufficently. Hair thrives off of a healthy diet complete with iron, zinc, viatmin C, and B vitamins. Iron is vital for transfering oxygen to all cells in the body, hair included, zinc helps your body repair damage to cells as well. Vitamin C is necessary for producing collagen which your hair is made of, B Vitamins dont help the hair necessarily grow but it does help the prevention of old hairs from falling out! Maintaining a healthy diet or supplementing with vitamins will definitely help you reach your goals or a head of long healthy hair!
 There you have it Lovelies! 

These are the top ten things you need to apply to your daily life if you are truly serious about growing long hair.

If you have any other hair questions or inquiries that are house and/or hair related you can always message me at 

I will try my bestest to reply as soon as I can.

I cant wait to hear if you dare to challenge Rapunzel. 

No tower allowed though, ok? ;)

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

A casual dining area {and the process of buidling a home you love over time and on a budget}

Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved rearranging furniture. 

Which, is totally saying a lot since I was the runt of my mother's litter and most of the things I moved around were bigger than me. Think, couches, heavy metal desks and full armoires.

Somehow I acquired the nickname Mighty Mouse, and Betsy Wetsy.

Today, in my own home, I am constantly rethinking the furniture we own and the house we live in and how I can move things, take things away and add pieces in to make our house work better for us.

Which brings me to this picture of this $10 Kijiji table!

I guess I have been forming this house switchover, in my head, for a couple years now. Last Christmas I even rearranged our main level and moved our long dining table in the blank area that is our "landing", which is right across from our kitchen.

I figured then, like I figured a few months ago, that having a table in view of the kitchen meant that I could serve the kids breakfast at it (Seeing as our island only sits two and we now have THREE children) I also figured it would make a great spot for the kids to do homework when they come home from school.

The desk we had in our space was great, but again, it only served one child when we have two now in full time school. (Yes, my kindergarten daughter and I are both fine and adjusted now, thankfully. We also kept KLEENEX company in business. ;))

This is what we started with four years ago. 
One long living room with the kitchen to the left and beyond that a dining room to the back left.

Our home has evolved so much over time. As you can see from the above picture.

I like to call our first attempt at decorating this house, the "dark days". 

Even before this picture, I had painted all of the walls a deep chocolate brown (You can spy it in the pictures below.)

We recruited my sister for some painting. 

Seeeee? Lots of dark and lots of projects.

PS: we also had dark brown curtains. It was the era of burgundy, reds and dark tones. When we moved in, we fully embraced the trend.

Phase One also included building up this wall and moving it over slightly.

And here is another view point of the first version of our main level. 

This picture proves that with time, some bargain shopping and some DIY, over time you too can redo a space and do it on a shoestring budget.

It also accurately shows that the area I am referring to, is super close to our kitchen.


When we first moved into our house we used what we had to utilize this corner and turn it into a little desk/organization area.

Phase one was this desk, a storage bench and a lamp I had since I was 15.

For phase two of this space, we added a rug that we later sold, and a comfy chair and re purposed filing cabinet and some glitzy pulls.

Although it served its purpose as a homework area for our son, once our daughter wanted to practice writing her letters and numbers, I knew we needed to really rethink this space.

With a little ingenuity, some paint, some elbow grease and that little round table I showed you at the beginning of this post, we went from this which was our lower levels second phase...

To this...


Current and third phase. :)

I took a chance on that ten dollar table and went to pick it up. I cleaned it up, took it apart and spray painted the iron base in a glossy white and primed and painted the top in some left over white paint I had on hand.

The light above it is an IKEA orb-ish light that I also found at the thrift store for $9. (Update: these pics were taken a few months ago #badblogger and we now have a new light in place. I will tell you alllllll about that deal in a future post.) 

Since this area wasn't typically made for a table, there was no electrical above where our table now sits. 

Not a problem. 

I simply bought a little white hook from the hardware store and attached it to the ceiling, then I swagged it over until it was centered over our table and wired the whole thing in. Later on down the road I'm sure we can do some electrical work to make it look a little better, but for now, all I did was install the fixture, step back and smile.

I paired the round table with a long bench from Homesence. I couldn't wait to see them together and to prove to my husband that this little set up wouldn't take up the whole space like he had thought. ;)

Remember our kitchen island with the two painted Target stools that the three kids always fight over?

Well there is no fighting any more! (in that department)

If we want to sit as a family at the more casual table, the kids simply pull up our Target stools from the island making room for everyone.

Now, we can see each other from the kitchen and they can see me from the table and bench, or, we can all it together.

I added some layers for coziness to the bench. (All thrifted)

Our bench was the only splurge in this little area and I am so pleased with how well it is made.

Also, those little wheels! Eeek! Love them. I also love how they tie in the black curtain rod that frames this space.

And I cant forget the nail head trim! Love!

Also guys, would you ever guess that this woven wicker "tray" is actually a lid to a laundry hamper?? I like to re-think and re-purpose everything around here. ;)

Finally, after being in our home for four years, we are able to really utilize this space.

And do you know what? That is what I love most about living in a space. Changing it up on the fly and on the cheap!

What about you? 

Do you have a space in your house that could work even better for your family, a space you would love even more, if you changed it slightly??

If you keep a vision for your space at the forefront of your plans and remember that a home goes through many different phases, you will truly enjoy the process of turning your house into a home.

You dont have to move or break the bank. The space that comes to mind when asked that question CAN be changed. 



So, stick with it!

I hear Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was your dream space. Remember not to sweat the small stuff, to be thankful for what you have in the moment, to change things around, to sell what you don't love, to shop your home, to look at all those things at the thrift store with a critical and creative eye and to believe in the power of paint.

If you remember those few things you will love your house and the process.
I promise you, if you are embarking on the journey of building a comfy nest that your whole family can feel relaxed and thrive in, that with time and some shuffling every once in a while, you will end up falling in love with your home, all over again, all of the time.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chritmas Home Tour {A rustic glam christmas}

Around This Little Estate, we love Christmas. 


In other words, around here, we have been singing for weeks, "Let it snow, let it snow" so we can put on a fire that is so delightful, so we can hang all the mistletoe and so we can deck the halls with boughs of holly.  

Quick, let it snow let it snow!

 So we can hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch, so we can see chestnuts roasting on an open fire, so the tree tops will glisten and the children will listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.

Quick, let it snow let it snow!

  So we can see little tots with their eyes all aglow while outside it is snowing and blowing up bushels of fun, so we can strike the harp and join the chorus and so together we can sing fa-la-la-la la-la-la-la-laaaaaaaaaaaaaa.


It is safe to say, that around here, we really love all things Christmas.

This year we began decorating a bit earlier then usual, because as with everything around here, we like to involve our three children in all of our projects, which obviously takes twice as long. ;)

I have to say that leisurely decorating has been so organic and fun for all of us. Not to mention, decorating little by little has fit into my busy schedule as well.

We started by making our very own knock off version of the hand painted Pottery Barn sign.  
(Seen above)

Then we added some festive elements to our front porch.

Our design motto has always been to use what we already have and with this years Christmas decor, we did just that!

Inside we added some festive faux garland to our entryway. On top of that we combined some yummy smelling natural cedar and hickory branches, some pretty out door lighting, some outdoor twinkly deers (that opted for a warmer home this winter!) and some twirly ribbon and glittery ornaments.

Already our glittery entry way lights have been used so much. It is dark here by 4:30 pm! 

(challenging to take photos in too!)


We have two standing dressers in our entry way and both were similarly decorated this year.

Our kitchen is a hard working area that is typically cluttered with dishes and homework and lunch pails so I felt their was no more room need to fill it with Christmas decor as well ;)

I thought a few key pieces could be added, making it pretty without impeding on our constant cooking, baking and messes.


Our new shelves, that hold our every day dishes, got spruced up for the holidays. 

(No pun intended. This is cedar guys, not spruce.;))

In our kitchen we have a little, out of the way corner, that gets switched up all of the time.

It has been a baking corner, a coffee spot, a smoothie station and now it is the prime spot to make a hot chocolate with a side of candy cane.

For the Christmas season, our vintage jars now hold marshmallows, twisted colored peppermints and yummy chocolate squares that all melt perfectly into homemade hot chocolate.

Our kitchen island now holds two of the major food groups for this time of year.


Sprinkle donned Christmas cookies and the sweetest little oranges one ever did peel.

Beyond our kitchen we have made a little sitting area. It is now complete with a small, circular, painted table and a tufted bench for a more casual eating area.


Beyond our new casual bench and table we have our living room and dinging room. 

It is simply visually separated by a vintage blue chest and a chandelier covered in natural goodness.


Our living room holds our Christmas tree, our decorated mantle and a few sparkly and natural elements. 


Some ebony sequined pillow cases add a pop of glam to our light and bright room. 

The kids picked some pine cones and added them to our glittery centerpiece.

There is something special about rustic elements mixed with shimmery shining elements. The combination makes me so happy.


We added some more dramatic black, in chalkboard from, around our DIY gold deer bust that lives on our gallery wall.


Across the room from our gallery wall we have a love seat with a console table behind it.


This year, it is right beside our neutral, glittery, metallic Christmas tree.


We decorated this area with a simple boxwood wreath and some more garland.

We are still trying to find the perfect combination between adding real elements and ones we already have. I love the combination of adding outdoor natural sprigs of trees and bushes into our decor. The kids like to help as well. And by "help" I mean shake the branches like a Polaroid picture or like Taylor Swift when she sings "shake it off ".

I have just accepted the fact that we will be cleaning up needles and twigs for the subsequent entire year. 


Together, the kids and I found the perfect spot for our nativity set.

Pretty and out of the way of curious two year old hands.

Our Christmas tree has settled into the same spot it has loved being in for the last three Christmases.

This year we added tons of gold and metallic ornamental balls to our tree and the kids happily learned how to swoop and sway pretty ribbon.

Our DIY bells from last year and some new thrift store finds made this years tree.  

(More on that in another post!)

This year our focus is on giving and loving others, rather then on receiving gifts. 

I still couldn't help myself though and have already wrapped a few necessity gifts under our tree, making it actually feel like Christmas is right around the corner!

Chalkboard labels from Michael's and The Dollar Store make the perfect gift tags!

Across from the love seat and our golden tree, we have the brick wall we built up three years ago, when we were bright eyed and bushy tailed and had first begun our suburban renovation. ;)


Some more metallic pretties, some twinkly lights and some neutral accessories complete the look.


Again, by adding a few natural elements, we were able to get the most out of our faux garland.


Across from our tree and fireplace we have our little dining room area.

I glitzed this part of our place up with some dramatic black and white and of course, gold.

We placed some pretty icicles on our chandelier for some whimsy and sparkle.

A DIY black "NOEL" hanging now graces our DIY plate wall. 

Painted candle holders, painted wooden tree stumps and slim silver candle sticks make a perfect varied centerpiece.

I have been looking for a chance to get to use my collected and mismatched gold tea cup collection. 

Some Target gift wrap from last season tied the entire table together with all of its pretty tones while acting as a table runner.

This year, I taught my babies how to fold a napkin and how to place silverware. They felt so accomplished when everything was all set out and looking pretty and ready for some photos.

This years dining room table was all dressed up for a leisure family breakfast complete with a delicate gold rimmed teapot and sparkling apple cider to mix for a yummy kid friendly mimosa.

I am so pleased I get to show off how each collected tea cup and saucer is unique and beautiful in its own right.

Beyond our main living area, we haven't gotten the chance to decorate too much. 

I mean, it isn't even December 1st yet, right??

So far, our upstairs hallway has been dolled up for Christmas with a sprig of pretty.

Just enough to draw you down the hallway. 

Our family room holds our newly painted piano, which got a little festive with a collection of pretty blue glass bottles adorned with little green wreaths.


All my favorite colours all in one place.

HAPPY Sighhhh.

Too bad there weren't actually open waters and sail boats floating about during this time of year.


For now, I will just visually soak in all of the blues and greens and instead dream of next summer, while enjoying the joys of winter.

Through the years we have started our own traditions around here.

Our kids now get excited to have their own mini trees in their bedrooms. 

You know, so all of the macaroni crafts and hand cut snowflakes have somewhere to hang loud and proud. 

They love redecorating their very own tree, over and over again.

Just like their Mama. ;)

I hope you enjoyed sneaking around our house today. 

If you want to follow along with a bunch of creative and innovative Canadian designers and decorators you can follow along on the entire Canadian Bloggers Home Tour of 2014. 

Simply click on the links below and check out the past and present bloggers and their beautiful homes.

I am sure you will be inspired and pinning away! 

Thanks for visiting!




We invite you to link up your own Canadian Christmas house tour below!

Canadian Bloggers are invited to link up their home tours through to December 31st, 2014. Show us your best stuff - you may be invited to be part of future Canadian Blogger's Home Tours! 

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