get to know me

my darling husband took this photo on my birthday: 9-9-18

My name is Tina. Ha. Well, actually it’s Cristina but I have virtually always gone by Tina. My parents spelled it the Spanish way because they dreamed early on of being missionaries to Argentina – and here’s a fun fact: there was another Cristina Hoyt born on the SAME DAY in the SAME HOSPITAL?! The other Cristina was Hispanic and we did not look alike but they still had big signs in L&D about not mixing us up! I just turned 32 and for once I did not have to Google “how old is someone born on September 9, 1986” to remember how old I am. I have done that before though.

me as a fat baby hanging with my big bro | looking super sneaky and cute

I was born in Florida, we moved to Michigan when I was two, and other than brief stints in Uganda and back to Florida for a year of college, I lived in the midwest until April 2018 when we moved across the country to spicy Las Vegas, NV! We are LOVING it but I miss berry picking, fall color, and small-town life (even though I totally love living in this big, exciting city!).

My parents homeschooled me and my brother. No, we weren’t totally weird. Yes, we had friends. I actually loved the experience and I am going to give homeschooling a whirl with my own kids! (and if it ever doesn’t work for me, my kids, our personalities, learning styles, etc… I am totally fine with sending them to a public, private, charter, whatever works for is school)

makeup artist at age 4 | fashion designer at 5 | snuggle queen at 6

I grew up in the church and while that didn’t save me from my sins I am thankful for that constant in my life. I’m WAY WAY more thankful for God’s amazing redemption plan and that I am a sinner saved by grace through faith. I’ll never understand it all but I’m crazy blessed by a God who loves me.

My parents had a couple different jobs over the years but most of them were geared towards helping people. From being houseparents at a group home to various positions at our church to being missionaries in Uganda for a year when I was in high school and then missionaries to Argentina for eight years after I went to college. Their heartbeat for helping others has been a constant in my life and definitely effected the way I live.

getting that diploma | early photo of me and Kyle | biker babe when Kyle rode motorcycle

Me and my husband met online! And then we (ok, mostly I) lied about it. Guys! I was embarrassed! For one, it was a sketchy dating site, and when I say sketchy basically I just mean free. If you want to try online dating, do it! But shell out some money for or something. C’mon. All that said, I am forever grateful that my sweet Kyle used proper spelling, punctuation and grammar in his profile. I messaged him because of that and the rest is history.

Hubby has been in RV sales for years and kills it. He knows the industry so well, he’s a natural salesman as well as manager and has an amazing mind for marketing, I’m so proud of him. We were both communications majors in college and I used my degree for a hot second and worked at Grace College as the marketing project manager before becoming a stay-at-home mama.

I LOVED school and learning and thrived in a classroom setting (all the praise hands for homeschool co-ops and taking college classes in High School). I thought for a long time I would go on to get a master’s degree but now that I’m into this motherhood phase of life I cannot imagine going back to school.

first came Simon | then came Betsy | the whole fam bam

We have two kids and I think I want one more but Kyle AND the kids are done. I ask my oldest once a week if we should have another baby in the family and he has not wavered once from his NO stance. So that’s that. For now. 😉

I think it’s super neat how little interests and passions can turn into more if you let them. My mom instilled in me a love for photography and capturing moments. She took so many pictures when I was growing up and then got those rolls of film printed in triples! By the time I got the itch digital photography was a thing and in high school I started taking pictures of friends for fun and now over the past 5 years I have built a successful photography business.

In 2008 I started reading fashion/lifestyle blogs faithfully and now I have my own blog! My photography business landed me the most amazing opportunity taking photos for Living in Yellow for three years and getting to see first hand some of the ins and outs of running a blog lit the fire in me to go after that dream. I landed on the name “Tina in Real Life” pretty quickly because I knew how important authenticity is as a reader, but also knew how easy it is to put up a facade when you’ve got lots of eyes on you. I don’t do it perfectly but I love always having that reminder to show my “real life”.

wannabe fashion blogger in 2010 | life in Uganda circa 2001-2001 | creating a marketplace for Ugandan jewelry through Noonday

When I was 15 my parents moved us to Uganda for a year to work at an orphanage, I fell in love with the country and the people and brought back all these amazing pieces of handmade jewelry from the marketplace to give to my friends and now 15+ years later I get to create a marketplace here for handmade jewelry from Uganda and 11 other countries through Noonday Collection.

Being a mom is wonderful and annoying and exhausting and fulfilling and draining and… well, it’s where God has called me right now. Those little people mean the world to me and I am so thankful I have an amazing partner who understands how hard it is, parents WITH me 100% of the time and encourages me to chase my dreams.

my tiny humans | hold the friends close that you can work through issues with, they are precious

Female friendship is hard and I’ve failed at it so many times. But it’s also one of the most life-giving things when we get it right or are at least trying to get it right. Having female friends in different phases and walks of life teaches me SO much. Being vulnerable with women who also choose vulnerability and can speak into my life with truth and positivity has been one of the best things I’ve ever done to become a better person. I think there is such power when we are honest with each other through the hard things in life, my absolute lowest points were the times that I put up the walls and didn’t let anyone in to see the ugliness inside. Encouraging women to be authentic in a way that breeds positivity and personal growth is a passion for me.

There’s the basics of who I am, where I came from, and what my passions are.

Feel free to contact me at I’d love to hear from you!


6 thoughts on “get to know me”

  1. This was an awesome “get to know me”, I really enjoyed reading it! I love your honesty and transparency 🙂 So excited for you as your blog grows!

  2. Loved reading this and getting to know you some. I’m also a stay at home mom. I’m from the Midwest too and live in AZ. I also miss it. My husband prefers the heat over cold though. Love that you want to encourage women to be authentic. Looking forward to reading more posts.

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