Wax On, Wax Off

I’m just going to say right off that bat that I really hope my parents don’t read this post, because I’m not sure how much they’ll approve of the topic we’re visiting today. What topic is that, you ask? Why, the magical world of bajingo waxing, of course!

See, I find this sort of thing wildly fascinating to hear about, but it’s not really a topic of conversation that gets brought up too frequently in my world. I mean, people need to know, you know?! And since I have now taken in my very first down-there waxing experience, I figured there might be a few other like-minded folks interested in hearing what all the fuss (or rather, what the fuzz – see what I did there?) is about. But, fair warning, if you’re not one of said folks, I strongly suggest X-ing out of your browser now, because who knows how quickly this conversation might deteriorate? I only have so many euphemisms for ladybits at my disposal, after all.

Anywho-ha, this all came about because in just a few not-so-short, very loooong-seeming days, I’ll be headed to the sunny sands of Cabo San Lucas. And, being that I pretty much plan on spending every waking moment of every day in my fatkini with a pina colada in one hand and my Kindle in the other, I thought it might be a good idea to head to Mexico with a, a-hem, clean slate, shall we say?

And since, as Miranda learned in Sex and the City, this face is pretty much the last thing you wanna see in response to your bikini line spillover:

I figured some preemptive steps might be a good idea. So I took to my friendly neighborhood Yelp and started doing research on waxing places. A few popped up, and after doing my due diligence, I ended up deciding to pay a visit to Sugar Baby Wax in Alexandria.

Now, I’ve been getting my brows waxed for years, so the general idea behind waxing as a hair removal technique is not exactly foreign to me. HOWEVER. One’s eyebrows and one’s chachi are not exactly the same thing, are they? And, being the masochistic individual I am, in the end I decided not just to get my bikini line cleaned up, but to take a full on visit to Brazil.

Spoiler alert: I’m bald.

Anyway, we’ve covered the why, so onto the ow. I mean, the how. We’re officially venturing into serious TMI territory here, folks, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I don’t even want to think about how many hoo-has my technician Valerie has come face-to-face with, because she was a total pro from start to finish. She asked me if I’d ever been waxed before, and walked me through the entire process when I informed her that this was my first time venturing below the browbone. She gave me a towel to drape over my nether-regions and left the room, instructing me to disrobe below the waist (I wore a maxi dress, so I just hiked it on up) and showing me that there were wipes in the changing area if I wanted to “freshen up” (which, as the conscientious and polite person I am, I really was worried about! #mindreader). So off came the laundry day granny panties, and I hopped up onto something that was reminiscent of the same kind of table-bench-thing you sit on at the gynecologist, only minus the classy stirrups.

She came back after a few minutes and all the security and safety I felt with that fluffy white towel draped over my thighs was literally whipped away within seconds. The towel came off. And there I was.

It took me a little while to get over the fact that I was on display like that (I’m a lady!) but Valerie was a consummate professional and never made me feel awkward about it at all. And from there on, it was pretty much what you would expect. On went the wax with a little tongue depressor-lookin’ thing, on went the fabric strip, off came it all. There was absolutely no double-dipping into the wax pot (run, don’t walk, from double-dippers!) and Valerie was wonderful at keeping my attention on her and not on the hair-stripping that was happening down below. She worked very quickly in small sections, and it was over before I knew it!

Of course, there’s one major part of this whole thing that I haven’t addressed yet: how much did it hurt? If I’m being totally, 100% honest… it really wasn’t bad! Believe me, I was SHOCKED. I expected to be wincing, tearing up, and breathing in through my teeth the whole time, but honestly, it was no worse than ripping off a bandaid. Just, you know, a lot of times in a row. And actually, it probably wasn’t even as bad as that.

Valerie was really great about keeping the conversation flowing, so there wasn’t too much time for me to worry about what was happening, and there were only one or two spots that stung enough to distract me from our conversation. Things did get a little bit awkward for me when I was told to hug my knees while she worked on the, er, rear-ish region (I basically just laughed obnoxiously through that part) but, again, it was quick and relatively painless.

After all was said and done, I got some soothing cream stuff for my tender, but hairless, skin, and that was that! It was definitely super weird at first, but I adapted pretty quickly, haha. Apparently regrowth takes anywhere from four to six weeks, although allegedly you might start seeing a few hairs earlier than that due to hair growth cycles (not 100% of your hair has surfaced at any given point – this is also the reason why laser hair removal has to be done over a long period of time.) Either way, I don’t think this is something that I’ll maintain on a long-term level, but to make vacations hassle-free (which is, of course, the whole point of a vacation, right?) then hey, why the hell not?

Have you ever ridden the bajingo waxing train? How do you maintain your down-there hair?

The Evolution of a Blog

Between the time I launched my original bloggity blog in August 2010 and now, it’s gone through no less than three major redesigns (I don’t even have screenshots of the original layout because it was just so atrocious) and header updates. I’ve written and re-written and edited and re-edited my “About Me” page, I’ve created landing pages and reworked navigation menus, I’ve moved widgets and installed plugins and worked and zonkified and given myself heart attacks by accidentally inputting wonky code and crashing my own blog.

Indeed, this blog is no stranger to change.

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Whether it’s because you desire some stronger, more professional branding…

… or you’re just itching for a fresh new theme…

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… updating and refreshing your blog is something I’d consider both healthy and necessary for most bloggers. But then why, one might ask, did I decide to take things a few steps further this time and change my entire blog — title included?

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The obvious answer is that I had lost quite a bit of my blogging mojo over the past few months… half a year… whatever… and needed a change in scenery to help me get back into the groove. Which, of course, is true, but it bears noting that all my past blog updates have generally yielded the same result. I mean, getting a shiny new header pic, changing a fontset, or installing a new theme is usually enough to stoke the flames of my blogging fire, so why’d I have to go so far as to change my name, my URL, my blogging identity?

Well, the truth is that I wasn’t just unmotivated to blog. It’s not that I didn’t want to write, to keep up with you guys, to be able to bear my soul (and/or vainly force you to look at pictures of myself) on a regular basis. It’s that when I did try to blog, I felt disingenuous. After all, I had a weight loss blog and I really wasn’t into losing weight anymore.

I tried to keep it up, to kick my weight loss efforts back into action and utilize the accountability that this blog has always provided me, but something just wasn’t right. It felt forced, it made me resentful, and thus, I continued to get worse and worse about updating this blog.

Of course, I know that not all of my readers were coming here solely for updates on my weight loss progress, and that many of my awesome internet friends actually (bewilderingly) seemed to enjoy posts simply about the goings-on of my daily life. But even when I did write about that stuff, I felt like I was ignoring the mission of my blog. Which made me feel like a fraud.

I felt like, because of the specific focus from which my blog was born, I still had to address my body and my attempts at losing weight. So, instead of being able to truly blog about whatever I wanted to, I still had to somehow fit in a line about my weight loss attempts… which had become nonexistent… which just meant I was coming up with excuses… and that made me feel lousy.

So. Where did that leave me? In a very sad place, of course! I was a blogger without a blog, essentially. At least, without one she wanted to contribute to. And so, after a few weeks of soul-searching and a few failed attempts at journal-writing (I mean, hello, what’s the point of baring my soul if people can’t comment on my thoughts?!), I decided that what I most definitely did not want is to stop blogging all together. But maybe I just needed to broaden my horizons a bit and open up the focus of this blog.

Now, let it be said that blogging without any kind of focus is really, really hard. A lot of people (myself tooootally included), say that they want to start a blog, so they go ahead and do just that. Only, their blog isn’t really about anything specific, so it becomes very difficult to think of things to blog about. And so, inevitably, they give up after only a few posts, because it’s just too hard to decide on something to blog about on a daily basis. (Again, I’m speaking from experience here. I must have tried to start at least 10 different blogs between my Xanga, Livejournal, and WordPress attempts combined.)

I liken it to being given a writing assignment in class. The teacher says, “Write a story.” And you spend an entire week just trying to figure out what you want to write about, let alone doing the actual writing. But when your teacher says, “Write a story about a kid who discovers a time machine,” your brain is immediately alight with ideas. You’ve got a focus, a direction, and you still get to figure out all the details on your own, but you’ve got a good place to start.

So when I started Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! as a weight-loss blog, it was great. I had a never-ending slew of inspiration for posts because, even if I ran out of ideas or things weren’t particularly exciting in my life that week, I could always bring it back to one thing: my weight loss efforts. I could blog about what I ate the day before, or I could report on my latest weigh-in, and that was that.

Until, of course, I didn’t want to blog about those things anymore, as mentioned.

So, here we are! I made the executive decision to rebrand my blog, which has had the simultaneous effects of rejuvenating my blogging mojo (because, y’know, it’s all shiny and new again) and also refocusing my blog mission to more accurately reflect my interests. And while I am taking a bit of a risk, since my new focus (body acceptance and love, partially, but mostly just my life) is much broader and less specific than my last one (weight loss and health), so far it seems to be working out pretty well! After all, it might be harder for me to think up interesting topics from time to time, but at least I won’t feel like a bit fat phony when I do.

All About That Bass

I am not a petite woman. This we know. At 5’9″ and 200 pounds, nobody would ever describe me as a small person. Which, as the mission of this blog tries to convey, is something that I’m coming more and more to terms with every day. Hey, I’m curvy, I gots booty, it ain’t no thang, right?

Well, unfortunately, as most of our media-laden, celebrity-stricken society continues to perpetuate bias against the big gals, just because I’m getting more comfortable with myself doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. Sure, there’s less straight-out animosity towards us totally lazy and disgusting fatties, but all that former vitriol seems to have simply been replaced by concern-trolling under the guise of being worried about the health of every plus-sized person in the world.

And while there are songs out there that celebrate the whole concept of being beautiful on the inside (Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” comes to mind), there has yet to be a Billboard chart-topper that specifically celebrates what we’ll go ahead and call the non-ideal body standard.

Enter: Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” which my friend Lara sent to me just yesterday. First off, this is the catchiest song you’ll probably hear all summer, and I apologize in advance for the fact that once you listen to it, you will DEFINITELY have it stuck in your head for the rest of eternity.

Aside from possessing an outrageously catchy chorus, however, the song also has a pretty empowering message. As Meghan (looking absolutely fab-u-lous) sing-talks:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

Of course, it’s difficult to ride the line between empowerment and appreciation for one body type without dissing another. As a cursory glance at the comments section on Youtube will tell you (once you’ve tossed out the ones trolling on Trainor’s appearance, since we know all the dregs of humanity hang out in the Youtube comments section), there are quite a few folks who feel that Trainor’s song crosses the line into body-shaming, particularly with this line:

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that

“Skinny shaming!” they cry. “I don’t have a booty, so you’re saying boys don’t want me?” they ask. And, to be honest, with my new persona of a body positive lady (and that’s all bodies, yo!), I was ready to jump on the bandwagon with them at first. After all, body image issues exist for women who are 80 pounds, women who are 280 pounds, and women everywhere in between. So regardless of whether you are bootylicious or a skinny bitch, I can see why some people took offense to that line.

But I also think it’s more complicated than that.

Putting aside the fact that the music industry is just as responsible for perpetuating the ideal of thinness as the television and movie industries (I swear, if I hear one more person say something about Adele’s weight…), if you really look at the full lyrics of the “skinny bitches” line, I think it’s obvious that there’s a different kind of message at play here:

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
Nah, I’m just playing I know y’all think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

So, sure, it’s in a lyrical, rhyme-y way (since, let’s remember, this is a SONG which means the lyrics have to sounds good first and foremost, which has the potential to affect the clarity of one’s message), but Trainor is obviously not saying, “Skinny bad! Fat good! Yarrrr!” Rather, she’s saying that everyone’s got messed up body image (which they probably do), and in spite of that, everyone is already perfect (which they probably are). So instead of dissecting her word choice, let’s go ahead and bask in the warm fuzzies of that sentiment, shall we?

Here’s the bottom line for me: just having not-Megan Fox’s body in today’s day and age is hard enough on a personal level, let alone on a public one. Weightism is one of the most accepted forms of discrimination still occurring today, and since it’s just a fact that being fat is always going to garner way more criticism and judgment than being thin, I say that any attempt to make The Ideal Body more realistic is worth it.

So, yes, I am indeed all about “All About That Bass,” and its outrageously catchy bottom-line message:

Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate’s Life for Me

I imagine that the majority out there will very quickly tire of hearing this, but I really do have the best job in the world.

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I mean, in what other possible world could I get paid to do things like hang out with awesome people, eat free food, and drink beer… all while dressed like a pirate wench?

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Of course, Elite Events are but one facet of this job, which has me doing all kinds of stuff — from marketing to business owner education to public speaking to writing — but since events are the easiest to show (and show off, hehe), I figured I’d share a few pictograms from my event last night at Heavy Seas Alehouse in Arlington!

The kinds of events that I plan range very far and wide (I’ve done everything from 20-person wine dinners to a 800-person mini-festival!) but ones like yesterdays are by far my favorite. You know, ones that are not too big and not too small, which gives everyone a real chance to mingle and get to chat with one another, and are all about promoting a great local business. And, of course, it always helps to have a fun theme to boot!

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Anyway, you probably get the picture so I won’t drone on for too much longer about how much I love my job. But, I mean, you can’t really blame me for wanting to talk about it, right? Also, I didn’t want to make this post take a floppity jillion scrolls to get through due to having too many pics, but check out the slider at the top of this post to see additional photos of the event, taken by my fabulous brother and sis-in-law (and you can see ALL the photos from the event here.)

If you’re interested in getting in on awesome events just like this where you live, just head on over to Yelp.com/Elite and see how you can get on the squad! After all, pirate-themes are just the beginning. I mean, I haven’t even gotten around to planning my Harry Potter or Hunger Games Elite Events yet…

Lean, Green, Dyeing Machine

So I don’t know if you realized this, but I have turquoise hair.

Heh.

Getting to rock super bright hair has honestly been one of the best unexpected perks of my job with Yelp. I mean, maybe it’s just because I’m a huge attention whore, but I really do think that having fun hair has really made me more, well, me. But, of course, as anyone who’s ever dyed their hair any color knows, dyeing is not forever. Color needs to be maintained. If it ain’t the fading that gets ya, it’s these dang Whasian roots.

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And while I have an absolutely amazing hair guru and colorist — Linh with Be Scene Studios — and I love my trips to the salon, my hair both fades and grows too quickly to be able to have him take care of my locks 100% of the time. So, for the sake of my pocketbook and the mileage on my car, I decided it was time to take things into my own hands.

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I’ve actually touched up my own roots before, and since I successfully managed not to burn all my hair off last time, this time I decided to document it so that I’d have an excuse to take a lot of selfies you can see what the process is like! I should probably note that this really doesn’t replace my necessity to go have Linh work his magic on me, primarily because I can’t see the back of my head so it’s probably still a root-y trainwreck back there. But it does lengthen the amount of time I can go between visits, so it’s definitely still worth it to me!

First up, let’s take a look at my toolkit:

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I’ve got some L’oreal Quick Blue Bleach Powder, Ion Sensitive Scalp 20 Volume Developer, a mixing bowl, some color brushes, combs, duck bill clips, a hair cape, and, of course, some rubber gloves. I personally got everything off of Amazon but if you have a Sally’s Beauty Supply store near you, that’s also a great solution (especially if you don’t want to buy an entire bucket of bleach powder, haha.)

Then comes the prep:

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I parted my hair into five sections (front right, front left, back right, back left, and bangs) and prepped the bleach. I use one scoop of power with around two ounces of developer. You can use a food scale or actual measuring cup if you want, but I just kinda eyeballed it using the measurement markers on the inside of my mixing cup, until the mixture had a frosting-like consistency.

I wasn’t too concerned about the ratio of developer to powder because Linh blasts my hair with 40 volume developer in the salon, so I already knew that 20 volume is like, nothing, in comparison. This also meant it took longer to lift my color, and it didn’t get quite as light as it does with Linh, but hey, better safe than hairless! Plus, as I’ve already said, this process isn’t meant to completely replace my regular salon sessions, just to help bridge the gap between them.

Anyway, from there, it was just about moving through each section, using the end of the brush to left my hair line by line and apply the bleach. Then I waited through exactly one episode of Scrubs and one episode of Switched at Birth (those are very precise time measurements, clearly), and when my roots seemed like they had lifted enough, I washed out the bleach with shampoo — no conditioner! — and let my hair dry… for as long as I could (I’m very impatient.)

Then, it was Manic Panic time! Since I already owned canisters of all my previous hair colors for past touch-ups (I combine a bit of color with conditioner and keep it in the shower so I can refresh my color), I thought about attempting some kind of crazy awesome rainbow hair… but then I realized that if I can’t even properly bleach the roots on the back of my head, how in the hell am I gonna balayage myself myself some rainbow hair?! So instead of using all five colors, I limited myself to doing a dip-dye look with just two.

So I couldn’t exactly take photos of me actively applying the bleach and color (for obvious reasons), but here are some truly beautiful photos of the process, just for you:

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Aaaanyway, after letting the new color sit in my hair through an episode of The Fosters and several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta (I basically let it dry into my hair), I took another shower and… went to bed. It was late by then, y’all!

And when I woke up the next morning, I looked like this:


Well, after some makeup application and a bit of PhotoMirror magic, that is. ;)

So there you have it! For those of you who don’t know, Manic Panic is a vegan, semi-permanent dye, which means it doesn’t damage my hair to use it (unlike bleaching, which is obviously awful for it, haha) AND it can go on top of itself (which is why I was able to do the green dip-dye even with turquoise hair underneath.) But it also means that it rinses it out a little bit every time I wash my hair. So, as I’ve discussed in a previous post, there are certain steps I take to maintain my color as well as keep my hair as healthy as possible. These include:

  • Washing my hair as infrequently as I can stand it (dry shampoo is my BBBFF)
  • Rinsing my hair in cold water only
  • Conditioning from root to tip
  • Refreshing my color with dye-infused conditioner every now and then
  • Stop touching it so much (still working on this one — it’s just sooooo preeeetttyyyy!)

Any questions? I love talking about my hair and pretending like I know what I’m talking about so fire away!