About MAMA's JOURNEY

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from stylist, to mama, to balancing a new career, and adoption news.....

I rarely share about my work-self on Fifi + Mo, but after my most recent experience I thought it was time to put it down in writing.  A little over 6 months ago I found myself facing a new chapter.  I'm in my early 30's, happily married, mother to the sweetest little girl, a Hairstylist... throw blogging + active instagrammer into that mix and I can assure you, I didn't need a "New Chapter" LOL. 

When I was in salon, before Finley was born, I was what you would call a work-a-holic. I worked very hard to have a successful business, 40+ hours a week behind the chair and grew to be number one hairstylist on yelp in Orange County.  My girlfriend and I started a successful Wedding Business, Privé Beauty Group (to date, we service over 150 weddings a year), and I was THRIVING as a Product Educator.   

All to have that come to a screeching hault.

(Dramatic, I know. lol.)

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waiting... waiting... waiting...

When Josh and I decided we were ready for baby, we hit a wall after about 15 months of trying. And I mean trying: diets, schedules, charting, tracking, supplements, massage, acupuncture, and I even gave up baths... People told me "not to stress" but that just made me stress about my stress.  My father was killed in a motorcycle accident amidst this time period. He and I were very close.  His death shattered my world and put extra stress on my body.  A few months after we buried him, we received news of Infertility.  First round of tests showed that I have LOW AMH levels, making it unlikely for us to conceive naturally and highly likelihood of miscarriages. This news crushed my world again.  But we rallied and turned (almost immediately) to adoption.  We were matched pretty quickly and couldn't wait to experience our daughter's birth that following September. In between Doctor's appointments with our daughter's birth-mother, I worked worked worked (I LOVED my JOB). On a drive home from working a beautiful JULY wedding in SD, I received news that the baby was coming sooner.  She was born at 2am the following day, 9 WEEKS early and weighed a miraculous 3.9 pounds. She was the most precious thing I've ever laid my eyes on and meeting her was the greatest single moment of my life.  We didn't know if she would potentially have a disability, only time would tell...  My motherhood JOURNEY is why I started my "secret" Instagram account which has transformed into Finley's Beautiful Story of Dreaming Big and Overcoming Obstacles. When she came into this world, I went into immediate survival mode- completely letting the hairstylist in me disappear.  This is the story I'm writing about today.  It took me a long time to realize it's ok to be both: a Mom and a Career Woman.

Once Finley arrived my work life behind the chair was non-existent. I still did weddings here and there and LOVED it when I got to create with my hands. With the new "spare time" I found a true passion for the ADVOCATING and INCLUSION world.  I started the Fifiandmo Instagram right after Finley was formally diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 15 months old.  This is where I discovered the wonderful world of SMALLSHOPS, and became PASSIONATE about supporting the mama's behind these businesses.  A year after the Instagram started, my Mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 Brain Cancer and she passed away due to a stroke following brain surgery.  I wrote my first blog in the hospital, I looked around at the waiting room and realized I was awfully comfortable in it.  After all, I had spent the last 3 years of my life in hospitals, doctor's offices, and medical facilities. Sitting, waiting, hoping, in the cold and unwelcoming chairs.

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FINLEY'S MIRACLE

In October 2016 Finley underwent a MAJOR Spinal Surgery called the Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, to permanently remove her spasticity.  We fundraised over $60k in a few weeks utilizing social media and a global movement called, "The Dare to Dance Challenge." The LA FIRE DEPT kicked off the Challenge with an incredible video and it spread like wildfire;

Beyonce's Backup Dancers, ABC's The Bachelor: The Ferguson Twins, Perez Hilton, and THOUSANDS of amazing people posted videos DANCING for our sweet girl.  All so she could one day DANCE by herself.  She was bound to a walker, and had just been fitted for a wheelchair before her surgery. We are still BEYOND GRATEFUL to those that supported us during that trying time in our lives. We will NEVER forget you.

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So basically, I never returned to Salon. Our life was way too demanding. I did some hair from home, but considered that something that hairstylists do toward the end of their career.  About a year ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Tamra Judge, from the Real Housewives of Orange County for a shoot with my photographer friend, Christine Bentley.  Tamra asked me to style her hair for the following season of RHOC and I was in tears.  The only words I can use to describe it is like, "Stella got her groove back y'all!!" VALIDATION, if you will. She is even sweet enough to allow me to bring Finley to work if I need to. She's a gem.

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then it happened....

About 9 months ago, I had a few friends/clients asking me about being invited to "Wine and Wash" parties.  I knew what they were referring to, pesky Direct Sales Haircare products.  Without any hesitation I told them they absolutely didn't need to waste their money, and there was no way these products did what they claimed to. I might have even posted to my clients on FB to beware of said products.  I am an accomplished, well-educated, professional hairdresser, I know BEST.  

Well, TWO things happened to flip me from skeptic to believer:

1. One of my best friends suffered from severe psoriasis.  Having done her hair for over 10 years, I'd seen her try EVERYTHING under the sun to heal her scalp: Topicals, Orals, Tars, Treatments, some steroids so harsh she couldnt even use them when she was pregnant.  She sat in my chair and I said, "Are you on a new medication? Your wounds are healed?!" She responded, "No.  I'm using that stuff you told us not to use."  I instantly felt so bad, I almost stopped her from trying something that ended her long battle with psoriasis.  Not only that, her bleached blonde hair was actually shinier and appeared to be healthier. I was definitely intrigued.  

2.  A few clients later, her mom came in.  She has a more dry, coarse hair type who definitely could use a Brazilian blowout a few times a year.  She took out her ponytail (the only way she was comfortable wearing her hair) and her hair felt like silk.  I said, "You got a Brazilian!"  She responded, "No. I just have been using Monat for 6 weeks."

I knew at this point I needed to get this stuff in my shower to try it for myself.  I had seen two completely different TRANSFORMATIONS, I wanted to see what happened to mine.  

I fell in love on the THIRD wash.  The products are super concentrated and contain a different technology, so you've gotta follow the instructions exactly. I was in shock, a PLANT BASED product line that actually PERFORMS. I knew I was going to support my friends that were selling these products.  Seriously, I had ZERO free time to add anything else to my plate.  We're at weekly doctor's appointments, school, dance, 3 hours of therapy a week, client days behind the chair at home, weddings every weekend, fifiandmo keeps me VERY busy with emails and collaborations, and top it all off that I work on a reality TV SHOW.

I was stretched pretty thin. 

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the lightbulb went off...

I went to a gathering with the local distributors to learn more about the products, during all the conversations I saw what this opportunity could potentially do for our family.  Josh and I were heavily debating adoption again, but there was just NO WAY with my already limited schedule.  Plus, I've already dabbled with some MLMs and made $500 bucks a month at max.   Being a Stylist, I've tried everything my clients were selling.  I've always been intrigued with the thought of "making a little extra money on the side."  Though I discovered, there's hardly ever true success with "pyramid schemes".  Everyone on this inside swears their company is different, and everyone on the outside swears they're all the same.  I watched my girlfriend's checks grow and grow, and knew there was something truly proprietary about this company.  I had only ever seen one girl at the top of ANY MLM company with her car and make the big bucks, and it was after a few years of her being the first one in the business.  I looked at our California team that is only 8 months in and close to a couple dozen girls are already driving their Company Cars! A lot of them were able to become SAHM's and quit their 9-5's. This was unusual.  It's surely  set apart. I decided to go for it and had another "STELLA" moment in my life.

December 2017- I was asked to share my journey for an audience of 40,000 LIVE... (not intimidating at all. LOL, yeah right!)

To date, I have been able to spend more time with Finley and was SO BLESSED to be present when she took her FIRST STEPS in our Home.  I had waited over 3 years for that moment and I would have been devastated to miss it.  I have grown a TEAM of over 200 women that all just want the best for their families.  Josh and I have  spent more evenings together, and now we are able to GROW our family by Adopting again. We are adopting a SON, hopefully by the end of the year.  Finley cannot wait to be a big sister.   

Last week I got home from my FIRST WORK trip EVER and I had so much FUN.  I was able to fly to Nashville and "work" an event with women who all VALUE the same things as me. I spent my early 20's soaking up knowledge of the haircare industry, education, and training myself to have as much work ethic as I could artistically manage. I have spent the past few years passionately educating myself and ADVOCATING for Adoption, Cerebral Palsy, Inclusion, and dedicated hours of my day connecting people to resources that will help them.  Joining this company connected so many dots for me.  I'm getting to do ALL the things I love. This is my SMALL SHOP and I'm just a mama doing the best for my family.

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Can't wait to see what the future has in store...

If you find yourself interested in learning more
 please EMAIL ME: Christina@privebeautygroup.com
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