5 Reasons Why Going To The Salon Is The Absolute Best

Is there a more transformative, relaxing, all-sensory-encompassing experience than a trip to the hair salon? I say no, there isn’t.  We are so #blessed to live in this time and space where you can walk down the street and find yourself in a salon in a matter of minutes, or if you’re like me, you have a regularly scheduled 6-7 week appointment.  As I sat in the chair today letting the bleach process, it dawned on me that getting your hair done is just tops.  Ace.  Here’s why:

The Unrivaled Pleasure That Is Someone Brushing, Washing and Overall Playing With Your Hair

I mean, this is legal heroin.  Your entire life could be quite literally falling apart (and sometimes this “my life is f*cked” vibe is precisely how one finds themselves in the stylist’s chair in need of a life/hair makeover) but a few minutes of a brush or comb running through your strands can lull you into a deep peace.  And don’t get me started on the hair wash – head scratch combo.  Bonus points if your stylist has long nails.  I don’t want to turn this into a graphic romance novel but…it’s just the best and you know it.

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The Gossip.

GIRL.  Did you hear? The salon is where all of the juiciest gossip is served.  I don’t know what it is about getting your hair done, maybe it’s the relaxation, the hum of the blow dryers, or the fact that your stylist is standing very close that makes people let some cats out of the bag.  Whatever it is, I love it.  

I like to think of myself as a Professional Eavesdropper and just on today’s trip alone I heard about a woman who is in a bind because her best friend treats restaurant wait staff terribly but always picks up the check, and a man who genuinely thinks that his girlfriend doesn’t know he colors his grey hair (she knows, dude).  And of course, I filled my stylist in on my love and work life.  Which brings me to my next point…

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Stylist = Therapist

Most women are incredibly loyal to their hairstylist.  My mom, for example, has been going to the same stylist for over 30 years (!!!!).  With that much longevity and time spent together, it’s almost expected that you’re going to talk about some subjects you may not talk about with anyone else.  You trust your stylist with the hair on your head so why not with matters of the heart?  Or that idiot at work that keeps getting on your nerves?  You can vent and ask for advice freely because, well, your stylist is basically trapped there with you until your hair is finished.  I’ve always wondered if stylists enjoy being our makeshift therapists or if it gets annoying.  I’m hoping for the former.  Maybe I should start tipping more…

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Apparently the eyes AND hair are the windows to the soul

That Little Buzz You Get From Bleach
Okay, maybe this one is just me, but I enjoy that weird scalp tingling, bleach-inhaling buzz I get when my color/bleach is processing.  Is it healthy?  Hell no.  Does it stop me from drifting into a chemically-induced daze while I read the latest Us Weekly?  Also hell no 🙂

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                                      I’m a very un-natural blonde.

That Fresh Cut Confidence

Finally, when all of the dye has been washed out,  hair has been cut and styled, the blow dryer and flat iron are off, the stylist spins you around in the chair and you look in the mirror.  GOT DAMN.  You look amazing.  Who cares how much it costs because you’re going to pay and walk out of that place feeling like a supermodel on the runway.  You stare at yourself in every car and store window you pass, running your hands through your hair and feeling like a million bucks.

 

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That is….until you have to wash your hair two days later and remember that only a trained professional can ever make your hair look that good.  But it’s okay, you’ll be back soon.

 

Eyelash Extensions: Experience & Review

There are milestones in life: birth, death, graduations, relationships beginning and ending.  Sure, those things are important, but allow me to add another milestone to that list – the day the wonder of eyelash extensions enters your world.

As I’ve talked about before, I’m a huge fan of lashes.  Real or fake  – doesn’t matter, give me ALL of them.  I’ve spent countless hours and dollars in the pursuit of the long, lush lashes that will open up my hooded eyes and help me channel my inner Beyonce.

I believe that at long last I’ve finally found the solution: Eyelash extensions. Let the church say AMEN.

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Warning: Extensions cause excessive selfie taking

After doing extensive research (i.e. did my Googles) and telling myself that yes, I can fit this into my budget even if I have to live on grilled cheese for 2 weeks, I decided to plunk down some cash on eyelash extensions.  Soon after I found myself lying on a comfy bed in a suburban Chicago salon for 90 minutes while a very nice lady glued an extension on to each of my individual lashes.  Yes, it takes a long time.  Yes, it’s worth it.

First I’ll show you how my God-given lashes look without any makeup.  Prepare yourself for blurry iPhone photos:

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As you can see, my lovely hooded lids tend to swallow up my lashes and make them pretty much non existent when my eyes are open.  My natural lash hairs are also very fine.  According to the extension applier, I have a lot of lashes, they just aren’t thick or particularly long.  But hey – I have a sparkling personality.  God’s working on all of us.

The process itself is pretty simple – lay down, have your lower lashes taped down (it feels weird but is necessary) and take a little snooze or meditate while the extensions are applied.  It’s actually quite relaxing.

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Photo Credit: edenenvy.com

Typically the salon will have a variety of extension styles.  My salon gave me the option of a more natural look or a more dramatic cat eye and I figured if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna DO IT so of course I went with the cat eye style.  I’m very happy with how they turned out.

Here’s how they look open, closed and from the side without any other makeup:

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As you can see, one of the biggest advantages of extensions is you don’t have to wear mascara or curl your lashes anymore! It’s taken a couple days to get used to waking up and seeing myself with “done” lashes but it saves time in the morning and makes me look so much more awake and put together even when the rest of my face is completely bare.  An unexpected but very welcomed side effect is that the lashes seem to make the always-present bags under my eyes much less noticeable.  Woo!

The only slight downside is that you cannot get your lashes wet for the first 24 hours and it’s recommended to be very careful to not rub your eyes or pull on your lashes in any way. So, I’ve said goodbye to splashing my face with water in the morning and standing with my face in the water while in the shower, but there are bigger tragedies in life.  I’ve seen the suggestion to wear swimming googles while in the shower, not a bad idea.  Makeup wipes are also a gift from the heavens. The only real day-to-day maintenance is to brush them out every morning with a spoolie as the lashes can get a little tangled and wonky during the night.

The lash extensions are glued directly onto the natural lash and will fall out with their natural cycle.  The salon suggests coming in for fill-ins every 3-4 weeks to keep everything looking great.  I’ve already scheduled my fill-in appointment so I think it’s safe to say that I LOVE lash extensions and highly recommend them.

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Do you have lash extensions?  Do you love them, too?  Let me know!

Inner Beauty: Meditation

You’ve no doubt heard the saying “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” and I believe that’s very true.  I focus quite a bit on outer beauty on this site, and while that’s a lot of fun and beauty products can certainly help boost confidence, enhance physical features and disguise “flaws”, it’s time to talk about something even more important: inner beauty.  The real deal.  The soul behind the lipstick.  (Sorry, that was cheesy).

My favorite way to cultivate inner “beauty” a.k.a peace is through daily meditation.  I’m not talking about religion, I’m not talking about selling all of your possessions and living a life of silence in a monastery.  I’m talking about simply setting aside a few minutes every day to do nothing but breathe.  That’s it.

Sitting in silence may not sound like much but meditation can have a profound impact on mental peace and clarity, reduce stress and lead to improved overall health. (Check out this link for more info on the many benefits of meditation.)  All of the makeup in the world won’t help you feel beautiful if you’re not feeling content on the inside, so why not set aside a small slice of your day to slow down the incessant thoughts and reeeeeelax?  The world can be crazy; you deserve a break.

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If you’re brand new to meditation, start with just 2-3 minutes of sitting silently with your eyes closed.  Find a quiet place, set an alarm on your phone for 2 minutes, silence that bastard, close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Gradually add one or two minutes every couple of days until you’ve worked up to a 10-15 minute session.  Or, if you’d like a bit more instruction, I highly recommend downloading the Headspace app.

The point of meditation is not to stop all thoughts or to completely clear the mind, although it is a very welcome bonus when that rarely does happen, the goal is to let your thoughts float in and out of your awareness without getting attached to them.  Sometimes I find that the second I close my eyes to meditate my brain wants to start making lists of things I need to do, recall embarrassing moments, or recite Whitney Houston lyrics.  Not exactly the way to inner peace.

Instead of getting caught up in those thoughts and spending the whole 10 minutes thinking, I try my best to focus all of my attention solely on my breath.  The feeling of air coming into and going out of my body. The sounds my breath makes. The sensation of my chest rising and falling.  Any time my mind wanders I acknowledge that I’m caught up in thinking and return my attention back to my breath.  This definitely takes practice but gets easier with time.

Enough background – let’s get down to it.

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Here are my best meditation tips:

  1. Meditate at the same time and in the same place everyday.
    I try to meditate for 10 minutes in the morning before work and 10 minutes in the evening.  Some people like to sit cross legged on the floor on a cushion to meditate, some people like to lay down, some people like to walk.  I personally meditate sitting in an old blue La-Z-Boy chair.  Whatever works.  Setting a daily repeating event reminder in my phone and sitting in my designated meditation chair helps keep me in the habit.
  2. Set a timer, silence the phone, leave it alone.
    Nothing will take me out of the flow of meditation faster than my phone beeping with a new Snapchat notification, so before beginning I’ll silence my phone, set an alarm for 10 minutes and leave the phone on the other side of the room so I’m not tempted to peek.  Pro tip: Use the Chimes alarm sound if you have an iPhone – I find it’s the least jarring when the alarm goes off.
  3. Let it go.
    Yes, your mind is going to wander.  That’s what it does.  Don’t beat yourself up or get frustrated with it.  Notice when you’re starting to get caught up in thoughts and gently bring all of your attention back to the sound and feeling of your breath.  As long as you let the thoughts come and go without fighting them or getting attached to their story, you’re golden.
  4. End with gratitude.
    Gratitude is a powerful thing.  It’s also a great way to end a meditation session.  It can be tempting to jump up when the timer rings and rush back into life, but I find giving my meditation the same ending each time helps tell my brain “We’re done now” while easing back into my normal routine with positivity.

    So when the chimes ring, I silently tell my inner being/God/the universe/whatever you want to call it: “Thank you.  I appreciate you.  I love you.”  Now I know that may sound incredibly cheesy and I admit I did feel weird saying it the first few times (even though I’m just thinking it!) but I swear it helps. Give it a try.
  5. Enjoy the benefits.
    A daily meditation ritual can help you feel more relaxed overall, build better concentration, help with maintaining emotional balance and generally give you a more content, peaceful feeling during your non-mediating time.  Perhaps most importantly – meditation teaches you that thoughts are just thoughts.  They come in and out of your awareness all day long.  Instead of getting wrapped up their endless stories, you’ll find there is always a deep inner peace underneath all those thoughts that you can always connect with whenever you need to.

Here are some guided meditations from YouTube I really like, if you’re into that sort of thing:

Namaste 🙂

How to be 30 and Single

When you’re single in your 20s, it’s assumed that you’re having the time of your life and in no mood to settle down.  When you’re single at 30, it’s assumed that the world is no longer your oyster, you’ve begun collecting cats and spend your time staring off into the abyss waiting and hoping for a potential mate to come along.

I’m here to tell you that being 30 and single is not the end of the world. In fact, it can be, dare I say it…enjoyable.  Like everything in life, there are good parts and bad parts about being single at this age. The bad parts are things like being stuck at the kid’s table for Thanksgiving dinner; the good parts being enjoying ample free time, meeting new people and sprawling across your bed with ALL of the covers.

While I’m certainly not the authority or a certified expert on how to be single (it’s different for everyone), I have enough experience to know what works for me.  So, here are my three best suggestions on how to make the most of it:

Be prepared for The Questions

Yes, The Questions can be annoying and frustrating.  It seems that everyone wants to know the answer to the million dollar question – Why/How are you single? This is inevitably followed up by the asker listing a litany of reasons why you shouldn’t be single – you’re attractive, you’re intelligent, you’re fun, etc.  People may think they’re being helpful or flattering when listing these reasons but sometimes it can leave you later saying to yourself “Yeah, why the hell am I still single? What’s wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?” when really, you haven’t done anything wrong.  You’re just not in a relationship right now. Point blank.

My advice is to take these questions in stride.  It may seem odd but I find having a stock answer helps.  I tend to go with “I haven’t found the right guy yet but he’s out there.  I’m enjoying myself in the meantime.” That response usually shuts down the questions (and the pity party) and hopefully allows you to change the subject to another topic, if you’d like.  I try to remind myself that, depending on the setting, I may be one of only a few single people in attendance, and being different will inevitably make people curious and want to ask questions.


Enjoy It

So often the “single” label is looked upon with pity, disdain and as a problem that needs to be fixed.  But there is another side to being single that needs to be talked about – the side that I like to call Do Whatever The F**K You Want.  Want to spend the day at the beach reading celebrity gossip magazines? Go for it. Want to listen to your favorite songs as loud as possible and have a dance party in your apartment on a Tuesday? I feel you, and I raise my glass of wine to you.

The joy and freedom that come with being single should never be overlooked or taken for granted.  Use this time to do the things that you want to do, things that you may not have the time, energy or money to do a few years down the road.  Pick up new hobbies, read more books, spend time with friends and family or work on yourself. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good.  Being single isn’t a prison sentence that needs to be served.  It’s an opportunity to expand your life.


Love Yourself

In the immortal words of RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?”  I know, I know.  It all sounds cheesy but it actually is true – we accept the love we think we deserve and we attract people who mirror how we feel about ourselves.

You may not have a partner at the moment but you have yourself, and really, that’s the only person you can be certain you’ll ever have in this life.  You don’t need to wait for another person to come along to make you feel worthy of being loved. Treat yourself well and take care of yourself in the ways you want to be treated, and you’ll find that you’re ready and able to accept the love of a great partner heading your way.

*Photo Credit: thesinglewomansguide.com

Treat Yo Self Essentials

It’s the end of a long week and you know what that means: it’s Treat Yo Self Time.  Everyone needs a pamper day or night and being the Queen of Relaxing that I am, I thought I’d share my tips on what you need to have the best Treat Yo Self experience ever:

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Treat. Yo. Self.
  1. Candle or incense

Scent is essential in setting the mood for a relaxing pampering session.  Before you do anything else, light a candle or some incense.  I’m a fan of incense because 1. I’m a huge hippie deep down inside and 2. No open flame to worry about potentially burning your apartment/house down.  Light a stick of lavender or rose incense or, if you’re a candle person, light whatever smells closest to a cupcake.

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Photo Credit: dharmarose.com
  1. Music

Music is definitely a matter of personal preference so I won’t tell you what to listen to, just put on whatever relaxes you and makes you feel luxurious as hell.  Spotify has a million great “chill out” playlists (or you can listen to my Mellow Music playlist).

  1. Bath Time

There is a law on the books somewhere that states one must take a bath (or at least a very long shower) during a Treat Yo Self session.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Body Scrub – Yes, it is pretty gross to think about shedding your dead skin cells but try to put that out of your mind and just focus on how smooth and soft you’ll feel post-soak.  I’m a huge fan of the Body Shop’s Shea Sugar Scrub.

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Photo Credit: amazon.com
  • Sheet Face Mask – If you’re going to scrub your dead skin off, why not wear a terrifying-looking mask at the same time? Throw on a sheet mask while you soak and your face will be hydrated, brighter and plumped up by the time you step out of the tub.

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Photo Credit: essencious.com
  • Hair Mask – We’re sticking with the mask theme and moving on to hair. Treating Yo Self is all about taking an absurdly long time to focus on you, and hair masks are meant to be worn for a good amount of time, so it’s a win-win.  My favorite is the One N’ Only Argan Oil Hydrating Mask.

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Photo Credit: ulta.com

Other essential items you’ll need:

  • Wine. Duh.
  • Robe. Fluffier the better.
  • Chocolate/ice cream/cake/chocolate ice cream cake.
  • IDGAF attitude.

Now go out there  stay inside and Treat Yo Self!