28 Years Young

So, I know it’s been a minute since I’ve been back in these parts, and I don’t even have a single excuse (other than, well, y’know, life). I truly, honestly, genuinely meant to get back to blogging much sooner than this, what with all the wedding DIY projects I want to share, various trips I’ve taken, and additional hair colors I’ve gone through.

So I apologize for taking so long to get back to my blogging roots. But today I make my triumphant return to the interwebs and we begin again!

First off, some updates:

  • I chopped off my hair basically the minute I returned from my honeymoon, and have proceeded to dye it varying shades of purple and also shave designs into the back of my head. I’m kind of loving it.

  • I got a new tattoo about a month ago. It’s a vial of Felix Felicis, the liquid luck potion from Harry Potter, and I think it’s pretty rad. I got it done at Patriots Tattoo in Fairfax.

  • Sean’s grandfather sadly passed away at the end of February, so we took a quick trip down to San Antonio to be with his family. We are so grateful that he was able to be at the wedding and that we got as much time with him as we did. <3

  • We had our annual Yelp regional conference a few weeks ago, which not only gave me the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by my coworkers (our team spans from PA to NC), but also to bust out my trusty Pikachu onesie. (#bestjobever)

  • My niece/goddaughter Mia also turned 3 at the end of March! Unghhhh, look how little she used to be…

  • And finally, speaking of birthdays…

Today is mine! Huzzah! I am 28 years young today which means it’s time to update my bio and start thinking about what to put on my before-I-turn-30 bucket list, heh. Fun fact: I don’t know if I’ve already shared this, but Sean’s mom and I actually have the same birthday! So did he luck out or what? He only has to remember the one date for both of us! 😉

I spent this past weekend in Macon, GA with my family for my baby niece Kira’s baptism, but we also snuck in an early birthday celebration while we were all together. We went to Dovetail, this awesome hyper-local farm-to-table concept — my kinda place.

I know I probably say this every year, but I think that 28 is shaping up to be my best year yet! I mean, I’ve already got a blizzard wedding under my belt, so pretty much everything in life seems easy breezy in comparison. I’m still loving my kickass job with Yelp, I’ve got a rad family, a home into which I can pour all my post-wedding extracurricular energy (a post on my obsession with my new bar cart is forthcoming), and my awesome grumpy old man pups (plus I basically timeshare my brother’s dog Pixel).

And as a perfect birthday present, I just received my wedding video! So please, feast your eyes on the wonderful video that the wonderful Doug Stanford created, which really showcases just how awesome and crazy and sentimental and special our wedding day really was.

Those last shots at the end are my favorite. 🙂

With that, I leave you for now — with the promise that much more is to come soon. (Although, I realize that my promises mean essentially nothing to you, since I’ve been promising to blog more for like, a year. Hahahaha…haha…ha.) I fly back to DC tonight (still in Macon for the day), so I’ll catch you on the flip!

Blue Steel & Broadway

Hola amigos!

First things first: apologies for failing to give you the ol’ hair update back on Friday! The light gray of old has given way to…

 
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It’s now this awesome blue-ish gray with a dark base on top. It looks totally different depending on the light (sometimes darker and more blue, sometimes more like a slate gray) and I’m loveloveloving it. Hair Master Linh has done it again!

I took my new hair out for a spin several times over the weekend, first with a couple of nice snowy walks with this trio of mischief makers:

Actually, make that a couple of very WINDY, snowy walks:

Love seeing those ears flopping in the wind, hehe.

Saturday night was spent celebrating my coworker Mike’s birthday with an epic Chinese feast at Shanghai Lounge — if you’re ever looking for a seriously solid authentic Chinese restaurant in Georgetown, I highly recommend this place. Their szechuan green beans are OUT OF THIS WORLD and the xiao long bao ain’t bad either. The new management is wonderful (the manager is SO friendly!) and the food was so good I couldn’t even restrain myself long enough to take photos of it — THAT’s how good it was.

Then, yesterday while most people were watching some kind of football game or something, I went to the theatre, dahhhhling.

I went to see Gigi at the Kennedy Center, which is showing on its pre-Broadway preview run. This revival stars High School Musical alum Vanessa Hudgens as the titular character, which is, let’s be honest, given my totally age- and taste-inappropriate appreciation for that particular Disney franchise, is the main reason why I wanted to go.

 
But, as it turns out, it was a seriously delightful musical! I am always a bit skeptical of seeing a show in its preview form — a lot of the time, there are still a lot of kinks they are working out and changes that will be made. When I saw If/Then starring Idina Menzel while it was in previews at the National Theatre, I was admittedly unimpressed. Not by Idina, of course, since she is flawless, but by the show itself. They had a lot of stuff to work out, including the staging, dancing, and even the songs.

But Gigi? I would see this show as-is on Broadway today! It was really well done. Everything from the costumes to the set design to the music was wonderful — and I thought Vanessa Hudgens really held her own! She was well-cast as Gigi, as her youthful singing voice really worked for the purposes of her character. The entire musical just screams “FUN” from start to finish, and I had a huge smile on my face for most of the evening.

The show really harkens back to the golden days of musical theatre, which is something that the theatre geek in me absolutely adores. It’s all about big group numbers and lots of dancing, seamless scene transitions and even addressing the audience. Again, it’s just so FUN! Gigi’s already been given approval to transition to Broadway in March, so if you didn’t get a chance to catch it here in DC, it’ll be in the Big Apple before long!

So that catches us up to today — I can’t believe it’s February! This is what I’ve officially deemed my “Hell Month,” as it’s going to be pretty much nonstop from start to finish. Between all my Yelp’s Fit Club events, my upcoming work trip to Savannah (I’m interviewing folks for the position of Yelp Community Ambassador there — we’re still accepting applications if you know of anyone who might be interested!), and a myriad of other things, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to be a giant ball of stress from now until the 28th.

But! It’s all really good stuff, too, so I know I shouldn’t complain too much. I just am not used to being so busy! With, like, real, legit stuff! Not busy doing, you know, nothing. Which is the kind of busy I prefer to be.

So, wish me luck this month — and maybe I’ll see some of you local cats out at a Fit Club event? I should be easy to spot because I’ll be the one who is dead. Since I also forgot to mention that in addition to the bazillion fitness classes I’ll be attending this month, I’m also moving on to Phase B of P90 today (finally!) so… stay tuned on how that turns out, heh.

Happy Monday!

Babies, Black Eyes, and Bobs

Hello!

I know, another week+ long blogging hiatus has occurred. My only defense is that I was pretty much permanently camped out at my parents’ house the entire time my sister and niece were visiting, which meant zero access to my desktop, which is where I edit all my DSLR photos.

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The good news there, however, is that this means I actually took a lot of REAL photos over the past week! Which really worked out since, as you already know, Mia is pretty much the best thing to take pictures of ever.

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I rest my case.

Although, I do have to admit now that I have an iPhone 6, my phone photo game has stepped up significantly anyway. Guess that means my excuse really doesn’t fly, ahaha.

So, as tends to happen when life is, well, being lived, lots of stuff happened over the past week. First and most importantly, as you already know,  Jen and Mia came up for a visit. This meant lots of time spent hanging with my family, listening to baby babble (it’s the bessssst!), and emotionally reverting to my sixteen-year-old self. (Oh, and if you were wondering, Mia LOVED the Elsa doll I got her!)

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Also, I managed to slam my eye socket into the corner of a chair and give myself a black eye.

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I actually think it makes a much better story if I just say that Mia punched me in the face, so let’s pretend that’s what happened. You know, instead of me getting into fisticuffs with an inanimate object, mmkay?

All kidding aside, it actually was pretty awful. I’ll spare you some of the much uglier, nastier pictures I took, but suffice it to say that my whole eye was hugely swollen for a couple of days, and the bruise on my eyelid is just finally starting to lighten up now. (Thankfully, it just kinda looks like I’m wearing purple eyeshadow, and also that I must be reeeeeeeeally tired… in one eye.) I definitely realize how lucky I am not to have damaged my actual eye or vision though, especially given the $4K I spent on LASIK not too long ago.

Aaaaanyway, self-inflicted injuries aside, we all tried to cram in lots of hometown nostalgia for my sister while she was here, but I couldn’t let her leave without introducing her to something new, too. Specifically, my absolutely wonderful hair stylist, Linh at Be Scene Studios. I booked her an appointment so Linh and I could both try to convince her to do something fun and fashionable with her hair. And the result of our persuasive effort?

A fabulous, chic bob — Linh’s specialty! And it looks even better in person, and is nice and low-maintenance for someone who doesn’t even own a blowdryer… like Jen.

Sadly, though, ultimately my sister and my beautiful niece did have to return home. How did I soften the blow of their departure?

Why, by volunteering to groom Sully from Monsters, Inc, of course.

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Er, I mean, by hunting down a unicorn and cutting off its tail.

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Jk, jk. Obviously, I went ahead and let my own hair go under the knife, as it were. Yes, merely days after Jen got her rad new ‘do, I headed straight back to Be Scene for some new locks of my own. I guess seeing my sister’s stylin’ new haircut just made me crave one too badly to wait!

For good measure, here are a few final pics to remember my (faded) hair as it once was:

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The during:

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And, the after:

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As it turns out, it is actually really easy being green!

It’s funny, every time I’ve gone to see Linh in the past, I’ve always been that girl, all “Keep the length! Not too much off the bottom!” even though I was more than game for pretty much any color on the rainbow spectrum. Also, it’s a little weird that I was so stubborn about the length for so long, since it’s not like my hair has never been short, right? I mean, my hair’s been everything from pixie-short blonde to super-long rainbow. Oh well, at least I finally got to a place where I was willing to shed more than an inch or two, ’cause I’m loving it!

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Plus, this color, man. It’s beautiful! It’s like a super vibrant emerald green, and I am having SO much fun with it! We’ll have to see how it ends up fading (hopefully it’ll still be pretty), but for now it is so bright, so flouncy, and it actually shimmers in the right light! I’m thinking… Elphaba for Halloween?

Wellps, that about catches us up with what’s been a-going on over the past week or so. While camping at my parents’ place, I did get to do a lot of fun cooking, including a sous vide dinner with Sean that I actually managed to document in photos for once! So keep an (unbruised, unblackened) eye out for that, amongst other things, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

My Little Pony: Hair Dye is Magic

First things first, let’s all remind ourselves that I’m actually a small child inside. Which means that not only should you not judge me for the alarming number of stuffed animals that still reside on my bed, it should also come as absolutely NO surprise to you that I have watched every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Netflix. Now, not only is this show adorable and home to the catchiest damn songs on the entire planet, I maintain that it’s also totally legitimate viewing material for adults because of all the Easter Eggs they slip in on a regular basis that kids could not possibly be meant to get.

I mean, HELLO, there is a DOCTOR WHO PONY. I rest my case.

Anywho(oves), I bring this up because yesterday I went to see the ultimate master of all things hair color, Linh at Be Scene Studios, and he transformed my formerly faded mermaid-hair into something about 20% cooler

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Just call me Unicorn Gretchen.

Now, I know I already walked you through what it’s like dyeing my own hair, but I thought it might also be interesting for those of you who are less inclined to play with fire bleach to see what it’s like for a professional to get his hands on my hair (literally!). I actually had planned on just taking some progress pics throughout the dyeing process to show you, but as luck would have it, Linh had a photographer visiting the salon yesterday, so I convinced him to snap a few shots!

I think you all know how this story begins. BRING ON THE BLEACH!

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Linh started by bleaching my roots, as those had a good 1/4-inch or so of dark regrowth, and then sat me under a dryer to torture me help the bleach process faster.

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After a while (I’m not sure how long it was exactly), I emerged from underneath the dryer and Linh’s beautiful fairy assistant Ara gave me a “silk bath” (I *think* that’s what they called it?) to help take out the rest of the green color in my hair. Basically, she mixed some bleach with clarifying shampoo to help remove my color in a much more gentler way than straight-up bleaching over it… because that part of my hair is already super bleached. Unfortunately, as it turns out, green is a damn hard color to remove, so all I really ended up with was white-blonde roots and mint green lengths.

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I was pretty paranoid about not damaging my ends any more than we had to, so we went just went with it, drying my hair to an almost-dry-but-not-quite level of dampness. Then we crossed our fingers and hoped that the colors Linh chose for my new ‘do would be bold enough and bright enough to be unaffected by the green…

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… and off he went!

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Linh crafted a colorful cocktail of purple, blue, turquoise, magenta, and pink, painting each color onto different pieces of my hair, using foil to keep colors from bleeding onto one another.

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And I waited for a liiiiitle while longer until, at last, after one final rinse, some conditioner (oh, blessed conditioner!), and Ara’s awesome styling, I was reborn with beautiful rainbow hair:

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Ta-da! I feel like a beautiful unicorn and I am so, so happy with deciding to go for multiple colors this time around. Of course, this being my very first time with multicolored hair, I have absolutely no idea what subsequent washes might do to the color distribution and how it fades, and my trick of making my color last by putting some hair dye into my conditioner won’t really work since, well, you know. But, given how pretty the colors all look together right now, I have no doubt that they’ll continue to look pretty even if they mix and match and fade together even more.

Another successful adventure in hairdom, I’d say! And my new rainbow hair will hopefully go pretty perfectly with another new something that I’m planning on getting today… So stay tuned for that, have an awesome weekend, and see you on the flipside!

The Next Step in Hair Evolution

So I realize that in the photos I posted yesterday, it seemed like my hair made it through my entire pool-dipping, ocean-swimming, sun-bathing, sweat-sweat-sweaty Cabo vacation, but, alas, that wasn’t exactly the case.

The photo on the left was taken just a few days before I left for sunny Mexico, and the photo on the right is, well, very clearly an after. The day after I returned, to be precise.

As you can see, there’s juuuuust a little bit of difference in how well my color lasted through the trip. Bear in mind that I did actually bring a bottle of conditioner that I mixed with hair dye to re-color my hair while I was there, too. Alas, it appears that chlorine truly is The Enemy, and the seawater and blazing sun and outrageous amount of sweating I did while abroad probably didn’t help either.

Now, it’s really not too bad looking, if I do say so myself. It has kind of a reverse-seafoam-ombre kinda thing happening. But, nevertheless, it is fading, and that coupled with the fact that my roots are rearing their dark heads again (doesn’t it seem like I *just* re-dyed them, too?!) forces me to consider where I’m going to go next in my little colorful hair journey.

Now, I know that this probably sounds absolutely CRAZY with a capital C to most of you, but as much as I lovelovelove having this turquoise, mermaid-ish hair, I’m actually getting a little bit, well, bored with it.

I know, how does someone with such outlandish hair get bored? Believe me, I feel foolish just admitting it. But I guess that I’m a woman of a short attention span, and hey, I’m itching for a change. I went turquoise back in March, after all, and 5 months is the longest that my hair has stayed one color in a while!

After all, while the whole multi-colored thing is a relatively new thing in my life, I have long been a person who changed her hair at the drop of a hat. Chopping it off, dyeing it blonde, black, red, brown, getting bangs — I’m no stranger to any of it. And while my color has gone through quite a few different iteratinos, my actual hair style has remained pretty constant for a long while now.

Now, normally I’d get to a point like this and feel the need to chop all my hair back off buuuut I actually am kind of loving the length. It’s fun. It’s pretty. And I can do really awesome things with bobby pins. And while I have no doubt that one day I’ll get to the point where I simply MUST shave a pattern into the side of my head or go pixie or go chin-length or get an asymmetrical bob, for now, I’m gonna stick to these rad color changes.

Enter my current inspiration:

 
 

Oh yeah, baby. We’re going rainbow.

Now, I’m pretty sure that the two photos on the right are actually the result of Photoshop magic and not actual hair dye jobs, but I also have no doubt that my main man and ultimate color guru Linh would be able to turn them into a reality. So, whaddya think? Is this yet another bold step into the world of head-turning hair color (the best reaction is always from little kids, “MOM, LOOK! THAT LADY HAS GREEN HAIR!”) or am I just totally kidding myself?

Feel free to weigh in a la the comments section, but bear in mind that I’ve totally already booked my appointment for next week. 😉