Healthy Hair Styling With MONAT

by Jennifer Thai in

I have naturally straight hair, but I love to curl it and create wavy, textured locks! Other than the occasional mist of hairspray, I'm hesitant to put other products in my hair - mainly because I don't want to load it up with harsh chemicals and partially because I don't need any more oil in my hair than I already seem to accumulate.

MONAT reached out to me to see if I'd be interested in trying some of their hair products - I was really interested in the fact that the ingredients in the products are naturally-based and sustainable. What's extremely helpful is that all of the items in their online storefront have the ingredients listed, so you know exactly what's in the product you're purchasing. I was also interested in finding out whether I could discover a new product that wouldn't add shine and oil to my hair, so I happily agreed and received the Replenish Masque and the Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy.

This Jenn Girl - MONAT Global 1
This Jenn Girl - MONAT Global 2

I used both of these products for three weeks - the Replenish Masque replaced my usual conditioner and the Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy replaced my hairspray. I am in love with the smell of these products! The best part is, there are no harsh fragrances, harmful colors, parabens, sulfates or other nasty chemicals that can slowly destroy your hair and effect your health.

I also love the way my hair feels. I've been happily running my hands through my hair, noticing that it's got more of a bounce and lightweight feeling, and most importantly, no added oiliness. The Replenish Masque revitalizes my post-shampoo tangled hair and makes it feel so smooth and nourished, while the Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy does an amazing job of adding texture to my hair and keeping my curls from losing their bounce in the Florida humidity.

Day 1 Post Shampoo

Day 1 Post Shampoo

Day 2 Post Shampoo

Day 2 Post Shampoo

Overall, I'm extremely pleased and impressed with the MONAT products I've tried so far. At $50 and $34 price points, the Replenish Masque and Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy are at a higher end than your usual drugstore hair brands, but considering the all-natural, botanical ingredients and how they've made my hair feel and look in just under a month, I truly believe that they are well worth it.

*Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided by MONAT Global for feature/review. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of MONAT Global.

Irresistible Me Clip-In Hair Extensions

by Jennifer Thai in

I always cut my hair in April, right when the weather in Florida starts to heat up, and spend the remainder of the year growing it back out before I opt for my yearly chop. As much as I love the low maintenance of short hair, I do miss the length sometimes!

When Irresistible Me reached out to me asking if I'd review its line of 100% remy clip-in hair extensions, it was perfect timing, as my sister's engagement party was approaching and I wanted to rock long, wavy curls on the day.

This Jenn Girl - Irresistible Me Clip-In Extensions 1
This Jenn Girl - Irresistible Me Clip-In Extensions 2

I chose to review Irresistible Me's 14" Royal Remy extensions in Royal Natural Black in 100g - I prefer less weight on my head, of course! The extensions came in a variety of widths, and since I planned on styling my hair curly, I curled the extensions and my hair separately before I attached the extensions.

I super happy with the way it turned out! The extensions curled amazingly well, kept their shape even after enduring a humid day, and the Natural Black added a great lowlights effect to my hair.

The best part is, the quality of the extensions allows them to last for up to nine months. Since I only plan on using them for more special occasions, I know they'll keep for the full nine months, if not longer.

*Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided by Irresistible Me for feature/review. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Irresistible Me.

Local Bites: Daily Eats

by Jennifer Thai in ,

Last week, I was invited to dine at Daily Eats in South Tampa to get a taste of the breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes that make Daily Eats unique. I invited my blogger bestie, Jen, from to join me on this foodie adventure - you can view her thoughts on our tasting here.

I was really excited to find out that Daily Eats serves Ginger Beard Coffee nitro cold brews! I know the Pour House at Grand Central Channelside serves Ginger Beard, but it's a bit further of a drive than I would like to make for coffee, so it's fantastic to discover I can now drive down the street for my daily jolt of caffeine. Both Jen and I opted for the Peanut Butter Cacao nitro brew - it was aromatic and delicious, with a great peanut butter cup finish. 

My blogger bestie, Jen, from

We were able to taste a wide range of menu items across Daily Eats' breakfast, lunch and dinner sections. As usual, I'll let the images do the talking:

Cap'n Crunch French Toast

Gluten Free Banana Walnut Pancake

Benny the Green

Good Morning...Honey

Tuna Taco Shredder Bowl

Spicy Buffalo Cheesy Mac

Sweet Potato Fries

Tuscan Shredder Bowl

Tater Hater

Hand Spun Stay Puff'd Milkshake

My must-order picks:

  • Gluten-Free Banana Walnut Pancake: I'm honestly still surprised I liked this so much! Even if you're not on a gluten-free diet, I don't think you'd be able to tell the difference with this pancake - it was moist, fluffy and full of delicious, banana-walnut flavor.
  • Benny the Green: This was hands down my most favorite item from our tasting - I've been disappointed many times by eggs benedict dishes, so much so, that I stopped ordering them completely. The Benny the Green is fantastic - the poached egg is perfectly runny, and the house guacamole the perfect amount of flavor to spruce up the multigrain toast underneath.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: I'm a regular fries kind of gal, but these sweet potato fries really did me in! The fries are tossed in a sweet and salty spice mix and topped with a honey drizzle - so, so, so good.
  • Tuscan Shredder Bowl: This particular shredder bowl had quinoa, spinach, shredded chicken breast, roasted eggplant, broccoli, diced tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It was such a robust and flavorful dish, and for anyone on a low-carb diet like pH, I think this would be a great dish for you as long as you omit the quinoa.
  • Tater Hater: It's really difficult for me to dislike tater tots, bacon, scallions and jalapenos. Add them all together and I'm in heaven.
  • Hand Spun Stay Puff'd Milkshake: I loved the texture of this milkshake and really enjoyed the flavor profile - it tasted exactly like eating s'mores around a bonfire.

After this experience and tasting the lineup of dishes, I can certainly see why Daily Eats is always so packed, and why they chose to open a second location in Sarasota! I had such an enjoyable experience that I took pH there that same weekend for breakfast - he loved it, too.

Daily Eats Tampa is located at 901 South Howard Avenue in Tampa, and Daily Eats Sarasota is located at 8491 Cooper Creek Boulevard #107 in Bradenton. Both locations are open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can view the menu here. For additional updates from Daily Eats, follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Local Spots: Royal Palace Nail Spa

by Jennifer Thai in ,

When it comes to nail salons and getting my nails done, I hold my standards very high. Having done my own nails and blogged about nail art for nearly four years, in conjunction with being a perfectionist in every way, shape and form, it takes a lot for a nail salon to impress me. 

This past month, I was blown away by a nail salon just 10 minutes down the road from me. I discovered Royal Palace Nail Spa when my good friend and fellow Tampa blogger, Mrs. Jen Frick posted a photo of the interior to her Instagram. It is gorgeous - don't you dare be fooled by the lackluster exterior of the building. My girlfriend Corrine and I went to check it out for ourselves a few weeks later, and I was so taken aback by the entire experience, that I had to come back and take photos to share with you.

Selection of regular nail polish.

Selection of gel nail polish.

The moment you step into the salon, it's like being transported into a world of glamour and luxury. This isn't an overexaggeration - the interior is absolutely beautiful. Royal Palace Nail Spa offers an extensive range of regular nail polish and gel polish colors to choose from, on opposing walls of the entrance.

I like to pamper myself and treat myself to a little rest and relaxation, so my go-to service is an organic pedicure - a step up from the basic pedicure that is also offered. There are several "flavors" of treatments to choose from, my favorite being the lavender. For $45, it comes with:

  • Lavender bath salt that is added to the hot tub
  • Lavender-flavored scrub, combined with real ground dried lavender buds
  • Lavender clay mask, infused into your skin with a hot towel wrap
  • Lavender moisturizer, massaged into your legs and feet
  • Hot stone massage

Holy moly, talk about indulging yourself! I have gone to many nail salons and have experienced similar services for around $60, and they don't do nearly as much as what Royal Palace Nail Spa offers. What really makes this a true gem to me is the amount of dedication they put into your service. It's not an in-and-out type of experience - they are truly immaculate about every detail.

Even if you're not in the South Tampa area, I personally would drive out of my way to come here. And if you decide to give Royal Palace Nail Spa a try for yourself, be sure to mention that you're a new customer and you heard about them from This Jenn Girl - you'll receive 10% off your service.

Royal Palace Nail Spa is located at 3018 West Kennedy Boulevard, Suite B in Tampa. The nail salon is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To view images of other nail services they've completed, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Curious about the fact that I used to blog about nail art? You can get a little glimpse into my "past" here.

Father's Day 2016 Gift Guide

by Jennifer Thai in , ,

Have you figured out a Father's Day gift yet? Father's Day is just two weeks away and I'm sharing some of my favorite and unique gifting ideas this year, fit for every father figure in your life:

This Jenn Girl - Father's Day Gift Guide
  • For the dad who appreciates when fashion meets function, treat him to stylish, lightweight eyeglasses that convert into polarized sunglasses with Zenni Optical's Magnetic Snap-On Eyewear Sets // Starts at $35.95
  • The perfect sweet treat for Dad to eat! Cookie Cups are bite-sized cookies in the shape of mini cupcakes - available in eight different flavors and gluten-free // Six cups for $7.50, 24 cups for $28.95
  • Make a special memory in his life last with - canvas prints are printed and stretched in-house and come ready to hang or display with a classic semi-gloss finish // Prices vary
  • The technie/foodie dad will have a blast with SodaStream - this sparkling water maker helps him create customizable drinks that hydrate and taste delicious // Starts at $79.99
  • I'm loving this comfortable, European (and ecological!) footwear from Novesta, who recently launched a U.S. collection just in time for Father's Day - these shoes are crafted with natural rubber and 100% cotton and linen // Starts at $89.00
  • The perfect for Father's Day and summer - Tom & Teddy is a Australian-born swimwear line that features the most fun prints (I love the ice cream cone ones!). The best part - they're UV-protected with UPF 50+ and salt water and chlorine-resistant // $94.95
  • I can't forget about great bourbon whiskey - I've been loving Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. It features a smooth flavor profile with a nice, long finish. // Retails $25.99-$29.99
  • Pacific Shaving Company has a caffeinated line of shaving cream and aftershave that helps reduce the appearance of redness and keeps skin looking and feeling healthy - it's the perfect morning boost for Dad // Retails $7.99 and available at Target and Rite-Aid
  • I love this fun throwback homage to slap-on bracelets! Watchitude is a fun line of durable slap-on watches with a variety of laser prints // $21.99

Happy Father's Day gift-giving! And don't forget to treat yourself, too.

Local Bites: On Swann in Hyde Park Village

by Jennifer Thai in ,

Last week, pH and I were invited to a preview of On Swann, a new restaurant in Hyde Park Village, brought to fruition by a group who know good food very well: Chef Chris Ponte and his lovely wife, Michelle Ponte (CafĂ© Ponte), Trudy Cooper (one of the founders of Outback Steakhouse), John Cooper (former president of Bonefish Grill), and Chris Arreola (former executive at Bonefish Grill).

It was perfect timing, falling on the week of pH's birthday, and it did not disappoint. I love, love, love the space. The vibe of On Swann is very community driven - a long community table greets single diners looking to converse with others equally passionate about food, while a long row of booths offer a homey feeling of togetherness.

My handsome leading man.

Honey, It's Thyme

Spiced Carrot Soup: Red lentils, buttermilk creme, radish, mint-pea pesto.

Warm Parm Zeppole, served with a whipped ricotta-corn dip.

Lamb Meatballs: Minted ricotta, tomato-date sauce, Anson Mills grits.

Tomahawk Pork Chop: Stone fruit salad, hazelnut, summer beans, Anson Mills grits.

Corn Cobb: Piquillo pepper butter, cilantro, cyprus salt.

Roasted Half Chicken: Chorizo, paprika, garlic, piquillo peppers, olives, tomatoes, potatoes.

My must-order picks: 

  • Carrot Soup: This isn't your ordinary carrot soup - the flavor is robust and delicious, and the consistency perfect. There's just a right hint of spice from the red lentils and the soup was served nice and hot, just how I like it.
  • Warm Parm Zeppole: Oh my goodness, I could eat a million and one of these. The zeppole are amazing in texture - slightly crisp on the outside, and warm and fluffy on the inside. You can expect an unforgettable combination of flavors when you dip them into the ricotta-corn dip - this is a must-must order.
  • Tomahawk Pork Chop: Aside from bacon, I'm not the biggest fan of pork - you can ask pH, he's very well aware. On Swann's Tomahawk Pork Chop is the first pork dish to ever change that for me. The pork chop is very tender, juicy and filled with flavor, and pairs wonderfully with the Anson Mills grits served on the side.
  • Roasted Half Chicken: This hearty dish easily makes its way onto my list of comfort food dishes. It's a pretty large dish, so be kind and share with your date. The juice at the bottom of the dish is so savory, you'll definitely want to use the spoon that is brought out with it, to scoop up the flavor and douse your chicken and vegetables with it.

On Swann is located at 1501 Swann Avenue in Tampa. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. You can view the menu here. For additional updates from On Swann, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Local Bites: Carriage House Tampa

by Jennifer Thai in ,

A social haven is coming to downtown Tampa, and I cannot wait for the official launch! Last week, I was invited to a special preview of Carriage House, a new restaurant in partnership with Saltblock Catering Co. built off the concept of handhelds and baskets.

The idea is to pair great eats with entertainment offered at soon-to-open Franklin Manor, where Carriage House will be housed. A huge outdoor patio will also welcome furry friends with open arms.

The preview was such a great time, and the food was phenomenal. As usual, I'll let the images do most of the talking:

FrosĂ©: Blended rosĂ©, vodka and fruit purĂ©e  

Cuban Nachos: Mojo pork, queso, mixed pickles, cotija cheese & chili-scallion sauce

Queso, ceviche & black bean hummus

Meat & Cheese: Genoa salami, soppressata, Irish cheddar, queso, fried bread sticks & olive tapenade

The Double Burger: American cheese, bread & butter pickles, minced onion, Saltblock sauce

Wings: Sesame-soy, classic buffalo & bourbon BBQ

Grouper Taco: Chili-rubbed Gulf grouper, pickled onion, cilantro, chili-scallion sauce & Texas Pete aioli

Roast Pork Taco: Shredded cabbage, pickled onion, cotija cheese, jalapeno mayo

Strawberry Shortcake Soft Serve

S'mores Soft Serve

True to Saltblock Catering Co.'s philosophy, each dish was thoughtfully crafted and creatively delivered. I absolutely loved their take on a classic double cheeseburger - it was juicy, savory and all-around delicious. Each handheld/basket was full of flavor and paired various textures for a well-rounded meal that definitely satisfied my palate. I really enjoyed the deconstructed soft serve and waffle cones - I'll admit, it was fun to break off waffle cone pieces and dip them into the ice cream like chips and dip.

I'm really excited about the location - between Fly Bar and Restaurant and the Tampa Theatre, this portion of downtown Tampa is barren and calling for rejuvenation. The addition of Franklin Manor and Carriage House will help bridge the gap in this part of downtown and hopefully pave the way for additional establishments to cultivate the area.

In about 6-10 weeks, Franklin Manor and Carriage House will open its doors at 912 N. Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. For additional updates from Carriage House, follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Surprise Date Night

by Jennifer Thai in , , ,

I adore surprises - both getting and giving them! pH would tell you otherwise, but I'm talking actual surprises, not those "it's a surprise," or "I have a surprise for you," shenanigans where you know it's coming, but you don't know what the heck it is and have to wait x amount of days to find out - I'm not a fan of those.

I know that not everyone is a romantic like myself, but every now and then, I think it's the sweetest thing to be surprised with such a gesture, and even more so to plan one for your significant other (s/o), to thank him/her for putting up with your weird, crazy self and to say, "I love you with all of my heart."

In celebration of This Jenn Girl's two-year anniversary, both myself and pH, with help from Delane Ashley Photography, have put together some inspiration for surprising your s/o with a well-planned out date night, whether you're a gentleman or a lady!

Choose the right dateProbably the most vital aspect for making this work is making sure that you're taking everyone's schedule into consideration. Double-check and make sure that your s/o doesn't already have plans for the day/evening you're planning the surprise date night.

Time for some detective work. If you plan on purchasing an outfit for your s/o, it's time to figure out sizes. If you live with him/her, see if you can find out his/her shirt size, pant size, dress size and/or shoe size. If you don't have access to his/her clothing, use subtle conversations and friends or family members to figure it out.

Time to shop. Whether it's at a local shop, like A. Haley Boutique, or straight from his/her closet, it's time to lay out the outfit. It helps to choose one item to help style the rest of the outfit around. In this case, pH chose to develop my ensemble around a pair of Forever 21 black, open-toed heels that I already had in my closet.

Romper: {a} haley boutique | Cuff: {a} haley boutique (in-store) | Necklace: {a} haley boutique (in-store) | Purse: c/o pursecase

Time to get ready. As the recipient of the surprise, the outfit that your s/o has laid out for you is a hint toward how you should primp. In this case, a blush-toned romper and delicate jewelry calls for a "romantic pretty"-esque look - pink blush, soft eyes and loose curls.

Curling Iron: Rehab Curling Iron c/o Cricket Company

Time to eat. And really eat. It might be date night, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for a knife-and-fork entree because you don't want to get wing sauce on your fingers and outfit. My biggest belief is that a date should allow you to be exactly who you are, and if you're craving a seafood boil complete with unpeeled shrimp, snow crab legs and crawfish on a date, go for it. Why not?!

In our case, we went to Flybar, one of our favorite spots in Tampa and one of our first date spots, too. We ordered the Poutine, Sofrito Green Beans, Broccoli & Cauliflower SautĂ© and Shrimp & Grits. I always enjoy everything that I order from Flybar, but if you have to order just one thing, you must get the Shrimp & Grits. It's my favorite shrimp & grits dish in the Tampa Bay area!

Time to wind down. Whether you decide to walk around town or snuggle up on the couch, don't let the end of your meal mean the end of your date. pH and I watched the sun set from Downtown Tampa, and it was the perfect ending to a perfect evening.

Special thanks to:

Delane Ashley Photography: Website | Facebook
Tim Halperin: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
{a} haley boutique: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Fly Bar & Restaurant: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Cricket Company: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
pursecase: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter