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!

Feeling “Off”

Man, I don’t know what it is about this week, but I have been out of it.

After having an amazingly productive first three weeks of January — setting up events for Yelp’s Fit Club, rockin’ the first phase of P90, planning a work trip to Savannah in a couple of weeks — these past couple of days have hit me hard.

On Monday, I fell asleep at 5 PM.

Like, legitimately fell asleep.

Until morning.

WTF?

Granted, I’d been up until 3 – 4 AM the few nights before that, so maybe there really is something to the idea that your body eventually needs to catch up on sleep, but… still. That’s pretty crazy, right? I slept for like… 15 hours. And when I woke up, I was still tired!

Which meant that despite my extra long Goldilocks-esque sleeping sesh, I ended up going through most of Tuesday in a bit of a haze. I spent most of the day on the phone for work and then preparing for an event that I had that night, and while the event itself was super fun, I was definitely wiped out by the end of it.

I figure that there are a few possible reasons for this week getting off to such a rocky start. Maybe I’m getting sick (likely, given my piss poor immune system, but other than being exhausted I don’t think I have any other symptoms), maybe it’s stress-related since I’ve got so many things on my plate right now, or maybe it’s the weather (though not the snow — I legitimately loooove snow and am so happy we finally got some inches! I’m sure any of you who live in Boston do NOT feel the same way though… sorry.)

As far as being impacted by the weather beyond the beautiful white fluff on the ground, it’s a definite possibility. It’s been crazy cold this week, so I’ve been spending more time indoors and I hear that sun exposure (or lack thereof) has a tendency to mess with you. I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, though.

Sure, I’ve experienced my share of the winter blues, and during my very, very brief stint with tanning, I can’t say I didn’t notice how spending a few minutes under the UV bulbs lifted my mood, but I guess I never really paid attention until recently as to whether all of it was connected. Y’know, whether my mood might have been bluer due to the weather, or just due to me being me. (It’s not like I’m known for my general mood stability, after all.)

Now, I’m not trying to self-diagnose myself with SAD or anything here. Rather, all of this conjecture is just to further illustrate the point that it’s been a bit of an off week for me so far. And unfortunately, this also means that I totally failed on the workout front on both Monday & Tuesday. So much for that flawless 90-day plan! Womp womp.

But! Snaps for me, I did get back on the wagon yesterday, so, hey, we move on. And, really, it’s not like taking two extra days off from working out is that big of a deal. I mean, let us not forget how many rest days I was taking before all of this. (Hint: all of them. It was all of them.)

Well, hopefully today will prove to be a very good day, even if it is once again jam-packed, because I’m off to see The Master. The master of hair color, that is! Yep, I’m heading back to Be Scene Studios so my main man Linh can work his hair color magic on me. The top half of the grey part of my hair has officially faded (interestingly enough, it’s faded to a blonde-ish color, which basically means my hair is like two-toned right now, aha!)

Any guesses as to what color I might come back with next? Here’s a quick reminder of what’s been done so far (in chronological order, but of course!):

Hair Collage

Aaaaanyway, I figure that gettin’ my hairs re-did is a good way to try and salvage the rest of this weird, weird week. Hope you’re all faring less strangely than I am this week!

Do any of you find the winter weather messes with you around this time of year? As with all things in my life, I do find it ever so comforting when I hear about all the various ways in which I’m not alone. 🙂

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!