Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mommy Makeover Part 5

I went for the second to last visit of my makeover on Wednesday March 8th, 2017. I was going back to Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center, to Dr Freund, to check my Xeomin, have my teeth whitened, and to possibly get filler.

I got the whitening done first. I think it took forty minutes initially, then twenty, then ten, to finish the whole treatment. The product is called Opalescence. It didn't hurt or make my teeth feel sensitive during the treatment. I think for some people it must, because Shirley, the technician doing the procedure, kept asking if I was okay or if it was bothering my teeth. She was also just being attentive, but I think all of these whitening treatments can be harsh on the gums and teeth.

I took a Motrin before and after because you never know how the whitening is going to affect you. It was exactly like Zoom, which I'd had before. I got those little "zingers" after for about the next twelve hours. Like, where you're talking, and next thing you know, you get a zing, like a lightning bolt of pain. It's a quick hit, but some of those zingers could just about knock you to your knees. They lessen over hours though so it's definitely not bad enough not to do the whitening, but if you've never had it or haven't done it in years, you forget what those zingers are like!

The results were great. Not Ross from Friends, but natural whitening that just gives a brighter smile.

Opalescence syringe for teeth whitening

Filler Experience: 

Wrinkled & Wrinkle-Free

I have to say, I've rarely experienced this, which is sad, but this is one of the few times I can recall, not feeling like a doctor is all about the dollar. I spent a decent amount of time asking Dr Freund questions about the aesthetics part of his business (he is a dentist, with a dental practice downstairs). He had plenty of time to spend, I didn't feel rushed, and I could just tell by the stories he was telling me, that he really cares about what he does.

My friend told me that if I was going to do filler, the only filler I should do is Belotero. I'd never heard of it, didn't do any research, but I trust her. She does all these treatments, she researches, and her sister works in skin care. If I'm going to take advice about aesthetics from anyone, she'd be the one I'd pick. I'd heard of all the others- Juvederm, Restylane, etc. I'd seen one of them being injected into someone before and it looked thick and more painful. Both my friend and Dr Freund told me that Belotera is thinner than the others, like Botox. He did say that a reputable doctor shouldn't hurt you at all. I was still just more comfortable with getting Belotero so that's what I did.

Dr Freund gave me a lot of time on this visit, so I asked a lot of questions. He showed me how the fillers come, the syringes, and how all the others come mixed with lidocaine or without it mixed in, except Belotero. He said it's the doctor's choice what he wants to order, with or without Lidocaine. With the Lidocaine is a little more expensive, but the common sense is that you want your clients to have the most painless experience possible. You want repeat clients, so you make them as comfortable as you can. So because Belotera doesn't come pre-mixed with Lidocaine, he did mixed it in himself.  They also used a numbing creme for about twenty minutes prior to the injection.

It didn't hurt any more than Botox. That's little pinches here and there. It really wasn't anything like I thought it would be like. I imagined more pain and looking like Brandi Glanville. Glad to say that neither was the case. I could see results immediately though.

I didn't realize filler came by the syringe versus by the unit - like Botox, Dysport and Xeomin. Now I understand what it means when I see a special or Groupon for an aesthetics office where it says, "Buy one syringe, get the second half off" or something like that. I needed a whole syringe to fill the wrinkles under my eyes, above my cheeks.

I don't even know how to explain how amazing the results are. I have before and after photos, of course, which show it, but just the personal high of having them erased was awesome. It was like the Magic Eraser.

As I was sitting there, waiting for the numbing creme to do it's job, I noticed an advertisement for Bellafill. I asked what that was because I thought it might be related to the one I was doing, because of the name. I was told that it is a filler that is supposed to last five years for nasolabial folds and twelve months or more when using it for acne scars. Five years? My next question was then if it's a good thing to try to sell because it keeps people from needing filler for too long. I really liked the doctor's answer. He said that it's true that they won't need to buy filler, but it's still a positive to sell for them because then that frees their money up to get other things done. If they feel good and have good results, they're motivated to other procedures. I hadn't thought of it that way. Instead of having to make the choice then of filler or Cool Sculpting, their filler is taken care of, so they can try the Cool Sculpting. It makes sense. It's like wanting to be someone's one stop shop for treatments, instead of having someone go to shop around.

The Bellafill is an investment. I believe it's $1000 for one syringe or you can buy a box of five for $4000, so you get a deal. Then you always just have syringes "in the bank" for when you want to use them. The actual product expires, so you don't get that actual box of syringes kept there, but you keep your credit for fresh, unexpired ones. (I asked how long the product itself lasts). I would love to try that one day on the last of my acne scars. The before and after pictures are fantastic.

I asked on my out what a syringe of Belotera costs, and I was told it would be $750. That's why I feel like Dr Freund is just all about making people happy and having positive results. I asked for the Belotera, he didn't try to convince me to do something cheaper- I'm sure there has to be something cheaper. He just said, ok, sounds good, and did it, with a smile.

I'm THRILLED with the results. I asked how long it lasts and he said it really depends on the person. It could be anywhere from five to eight months. Or more. So we'll see. I just took a freelance writing job to pay for the next one because I'm never letting these wrinkles come back.

The only things left are at Iluminada. I'm getting a blowout, a pedicure, a wax, and make-up applied. Then the "Finished" photos. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Calling All Wild & Crazy Parents

As much as I'd like to be Jersey Shore 2.0: Parent Style, I don't have time for this. However, if you have the time, your kids go to sleepaway camp or want to, and you want a great vacation that happens to be filmed, this is for you. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Kind of insane, but fun. If you're going to party anyway while the kittens are away, you might as well do it this way.

E needs about one more summer home (after this one) before he's ready for sleepway. Or at least just this summer home. But the way this is worded, it sounds like maybe they'll send your kid to camp as part of the deal? If so- JUMP ON THAT. Camp parents- we are well aware what just one summer can cost. If E was ready to go this summer, and they told me this was part of the deal, I'd be on that faster than I could pack a trunk.

It's all about making memories...and getting the good story!

Here's what they want from you:

1. Name and Age
2. City, State
3. Occupation
5. Husbands Name and occupation
6. Kids names and ages.
7. Your story-  who you are, who your married to, what is your life style like and why you are fabulous! 
8. Please include several pictures of you, your family and your home.

**Your kids do NOT have to already go to summer camp!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

First World Problem: iPhone Edition

This is probably going to be the dumbest thing you read today. If not the dumbest, the most superficial. I'm going to go on anyway, because I've been a two trick pony lately, only talking about beauty enhancements and politics. Now I give you something truly ridiculous, but something that I'm sure resonates with many of you.

I'm lost without my phone. Lost. Not just a phone- not a flip phone or a landline, but my smartphone. An iPhone 7 rules my life. I've succumbed.

I don't just mean simply addiction to being online or social media. I mean, I rely on it for just about everything. From the weather, to ordering my coffee, syncing my fitbit, synced to my fitbit for texts, looking people up on imdb, to using it as a second screen to do work, I realized the past two days how much I *need* it. Where am I supposed to take my notes on Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives to write my recaps, for Pete's sake??

Last Saturday night we went out with another couple, for dinner, practically at early bird special hour. Hey- I like to eat early. Steal bread early. The reservation was for six-thirty, and my funny, not-usually-punctual-but-punctual-for-me friend was totally on time. I thought we'd have dinner, maybe hang a little after, and still be home and ready for bed, at least by ten o'clock, the latest. Sure.

You know how it is when you like people, time flies out the window. Next thing you know, you kid is up until eleven, playing with their kid, your voice is hoarse from talking so much, you never looked at your watch, and you're cuddling up on your friend's giant bosom. While it was well worth it, we got home way later than we intended, which meant I wasn't ready to go to sleep until about one o'clock in the morning. I needed wind-down time!

Mind you, it was also Daylight Savings Time. LOSING an hour. Yay for more light, not so yay for less sleep.

I had plans with the same friend in the morning at eleven, to take the kids somewhere for about an hour or so and we again, were on time. Then I had to get cake to go to our surrogate family for a special luncheon to see their family that was in from another country. People I hadn't seen since I was a kid maybe? Not sure when was the last time.

I was exhausted, but I also had plans after that to meet with a new friend who lives in my town. From Facebook it seemed like we share a lot of core values and a similar sarcastic humor. (I was correct- she's great). I was meeting her at the local pub at six o'clock.

I only had like FORTY-FIVE MINUTES between getting home from the luncheon and going to meet my new friend at the bar. I know I took my phone upstairs to check the weather for the week so I could set E's clothes out for the week. *Yes I do that. That's another conversation.* After that, it's anyone's guess. I could've sworn I took it back downstairs to plug it into a charger in the kitchen. I remember it was at around seventy-seven percent charged and I just wanted it to be as full as it could be by the time I left.

I realized that while I was laying out the clothes and putting away laundry between our bedrooms, I'd left the doors to the bedrooms open. We like to know where the cat is, and I don't want her in my little "dressing room" (really small third bedroom I use as my closet, make-up, junk room). I remember looking for her, going up and down the stairs, checking the basement. I don't know if I took the phone or not, because I was really ready to walk out the door. I found the cat, said goodbye to B and E, and I left.

I thought I had my phone. I drove the sixty seconds to the bar, parked, and got out. I didn't see my phone, but then thought it was in my bag. It wasn't in my coat pocket. I met my friend, checked my bag, and it wasn't there. I assumed I left it home. Enjoyed my time out immensely, but also wondering in the back of my head- where the F was my phone?

I got home and couldn't find it anywhere. B called it, and it went straight to voicemail. THAT, was odd. I never turn it off. Because it was offline, I couldn't use the Find My iPhone app. Not very helpful Apple. What's the point of having it if I can't track it regardless of whether it's online? I couldn't get it's last location either. I couldn't lock it or erase it. All those things can only be done when it's online. Awesome.

I still had hope. Our cleaning people have left things I hadn't seen in months on the counter when they left. Just out of the blue, found this or that, and left it for us to find. I thought maybe a different set of eyes could make a difference. Nope. I got home from work on Monday and still no phone. I bit the bullet and made a claim through Asurion, the phone insurance company. They send a new one out overnight.

Except this time, there was a huge snowstorm the next day. I knew logically, it wouldn't come. Knowing it was stuck in the facility in Mahwah, like twenty minutes away, was killing me. What was also killing me was that even if the Mahwah FedEx facility was actually open, my one and a half year old car WAS DEAD. I wasn't getting to Mahwah in the blue Mini Cooper. Sometimes we can't get up our non slanted driveway in the blue Mini! F'ing Jeep Renegade. You need an I.T. person, not a mechanic to fix no matter what, but whatever. *Again, another post*

I realized how much I use the stupid phone for everything! The weather, my calendar, looking stuff up faster than on my laptop! I felt like I couldn't do anything! It's how I take pictures of things to post on Tradesy to sell. I'd just taken pics of a bunch of handbags I want to get rid of, and I didn't have them. I have an iPad, but it's so clunky in comparison, and for some reason (I'm sure it's my non-techy fault), the stuff on my iPad is different than what's on my phone. I know, I know, Google photo backup, blah blah. I have all this, but it just was all going to take me more time to figure out than I wanted to deal with.

I TOLD YOU THIS IS A DUMB, FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. If you're thinking of all these things to tell me I could've done, or how it wasn't really that bad, please, don't bother. I'm fully aware of what I could've done or how I should just learn to live without a phone. I did live. I'm fine. I'm just musing on how I didn't even KNOW how much I rely on this stupid little thing.

Of course E got a casting call for a voiceover yesterday. Oh, and it had to be in an hour and fifteen minutes from when I got the call (email). Normally I'd take audio of him on my phone and send. I had no idea how to do this with the iPad. Luckily, I was able to download an app with a microphone thing that converted the recording to an mp.3. Nevermind this scenario, but I also submitted him for a casting call that they would've called me for, not realizing the only phone number they had for me was my cell phone. Oh well. I'll never know if he'd gotten a callback for that one.

I don't normally even TALK to anyone on the phone, ever. Except my one friend, lately, who seems loves the art of the actual call, so I'm getting used to that. She also happened to have my kid on Monday evening, for like four hours, while I had no phone. I had to give her B's number in case she needed us for any reason. Did I mention that B had a meeting out that night too, so if she'd called him, he wasn't home to tell me. I could get texts on the iPad, but I'd have to check every five minutes because it wasn't signaling my Fitbit.

None of these things normally happen- someone having my kid for hours, casting calls all at once, snow, work I'd planned on doing at home where I needed the phone in addition to my laptop, photos I wanted to post to sell things. It's like one of those laws- Murphy's or Karma, whatever- I don't know. Everything happening at the same time to show you just how the tiny piece of technology rules your life.

I got my phone last night. Just before I had to send the voiceover mp.3 in for E. I went to set it up, and of course, the SIM card was missing. I just about lost my mind. It turned out that it was stuck in one of the bottom flaps of the box. I was literally about to walk out the door to go to Verizon when I picked up the box it all came in to use to cart it with me. When I picked up the box, the card shook loose from it's hiding place. I was THRILLED. Not having to go to Verizon on Rt 4 at seven o'clock at night in the cold and snow? Awesome. My silver lining.

I'm back to being connect. Reunited and feels so good. However, I will forever be baffled by the mystery of the missing phone. I can't, for the life of me, imagine where it got to in that forty-five minutes I was home. The only plausible thing I could think is that in my exhaustion haze, I dragged it, hanging out the door of the car, to the bar, and it ripped off somewhere? And I ran over it? It's still "offline" and never turned on, so it would be weird if someone had it, not to connect it. I guess it could turn up, but I've really looked everywhere- inside, outside, you name it. I guess I'll just have to live not knowing this one, and being happy that the new one is here and fully functional!

That's all folks. Told you this was silly. I wasn't trying to be one of those "no technology martyrs" who give up technology for a week or a month or whatever. I clearly know that's not an option for me. I'm fine with my addiction, thanks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Please Vote for Best Of Bergen 2017!

It's time to vote again & we would love your help!

You can write us in for 1-3 of your write-ins (Lighting, Lampshades, Lighting Restoration) and/or for Interior Design in the Home & Personal Services section.


Thanks- we really appreciate your support!! 

Also- find us on instagram @shadeofsoho and like our page(s)!  
Link: https://www.instagram.com/shadesofsoho/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shadesofsoho 

-Shades of Soho

Monday, March 13, 2017

YWCA Tiger Sharks Need YOU

The YWCA Tiger Sharks are looking for two assistant coaches for the spring team season, ASAP. It runs from March 22-June 20th (around). Someone with swimming experience who can help teach technique. The kids are 5 years old to 18 years old.

Contact Heather at 201-444-5600 x327

YWCA Tiger Sharks Swim Team

Also, there is still room on the team for kids also. There are tryouts on Friday, March 17, 2017 and then by calling Heather, you can do a try-out by appointment if you can't make it on the 17th. It's a really great, close-knit environment. E came from a big US Swim team and we've been much happier here!

Yes this is on his old team but it's the only one I had of him alone. Come join us on the Tiger Sharks!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

When We Rise

Two weeks ago, B and I watched the miniseries, "When We Rise". It was an eight part miniseries, shown in two hour blocks over four days. It's the timeline, from the beginning of the gay rights movement. It was extremely powerful and emotional. It wasn't just about gay or lesbian or transgender; it was basically the story of how any minority gets equal rights. The miniseries was actually an adaption of the memoir of the LGBTQ activist that started the AIDS quilt. He just had his book come out and this was the movie depicting his experience over the years since the early seventies.

I'm not even writing this because of the LGBTQ topic. I'm writing because watching this miniseries, it made me think about oppression, passion and activism. Switch LGBTQ with black or interracial. We had a time with black slavery. Segregation. There was a time interracial relationships were illegal. Now, if you said we should go back to slavery, segregation, and having interracial relationships/marriage be illegal, people would be up in arms, and calling you a racist. They wouldn't be wrong. It would also sound crazy to think we could go back to that. Because it's morally wrong and reprehensible. So how are other forms of discrimination allowed or okay?

Then I thought about passion and activism. What it means to really make a difference in the world. I watched as these gay, lesbian, and transgender people were threatened, shunned, beaten, raped, and arrested, just standing up for the same rights everyone else has. They didn't care about being liked or who they might offend. They just knew that they had to fight for what they believe in at any cost. They fought and fought and some, or many, died for their fight.

They believed in the cornerstone of those rights being just having the ability to live, free, equal and safe from harm. Those are just basic human rights, not just words on parchment. Like women should have. Like, Mexicans, Jews, Syrians, Africans, and everyone else should have. Unfortunately, all minorities don't have those rights.

I suppose you can say on the other side of that is also people standing up for what THEY believe in. However, I see the difference as this- one side fighting for all people to equal and the other side fighting to oppress and marginalize groups of people, using the defense of religion.

We don't have a national religion. The idea of a "free" country is not having religious oppression. I believe that equality means you have the freedom to practice your religion as you see fit, on yourself, but it doesn't give you the permission to push it on others. If your religion doesn't permit you to believe in gay marriage, abortion, or whatever- then you don't partake in them. I just fail to understand where anyone feels that their religion is superior or more right than any other and supercedes other people's ability to decide what they believe in. You can say all day long that my thoughts or beliefs are wrong based off your religion, but that doesn't make you correct.

B gave his very respectful, differing opinion, to an article written by a conservative writer, and shared on social media, by someone he used to know. In response, he got a written verbal assault about women rallying and marching by someone claiming to be uber-religious and her reasoning was all about religion. It was totally judgemental, really off-base and off-topic. It's amazing that people can't see their hypocrisy at all.

Just because you practice a religion also doesn't automatically make you a good person. If you use your religion for discrimination or to hurt other people, you're bastardizing what most religion was meant to do. Sitting in a house of worship daily, weekly or monthly doesn't absolve you from the responsibilities of being part of a society. A society that needs to take care of and stand up for those who can't do for themselves. Be that children, seniors, vets, poor, mentally challenged, etc. Otherwise, we might as well act out Lord of the Flies. "Kill the pig...slit her throat!..."

It's also living a bubble life that's a huge part of the problem of people not seeing past their own experiences to what they could and should be doing for others. Buying a cup of coffee for the stranger behind you in line for Starbucks is nice, but it's certainly not changing the world. If someone is on line at Starbucks, chances are that they can afford their four dollar cup o'Joe. While it will make that person happy, it's not the act of helping that is for the betterment of society. It's giving one person a free cup of expensive coffee. Do it- it's nice. Just don't pat yourself on the back for it and then go back inside the comfy bubble, thinking your work is done.

International Womens Day was last week. A rally took place in my town to celebrate women and to bring awareness to the continuing lack of equality that women still deal with. I heard and read all kinds of things against the rally, from other women. Things were thrown out there like- "I'm not oppressed- I'm fine". Or- "Women got paid less than men under Obama, why do they have to speak out now?" And - "they're not rallying for me...."

It's amazing to me how easy to it is to live in that bubble. Again, reminding me of that poem, "First they came for X. I'm not X so I did nothing..." No, as women, we don't have equal pay to men, as a gender. YES, there are instances where you'll find the woman as the breadwinner. Those are certain situations, NOT the gender as a whole. You may have enough that you don't even have to work, so you feel that the women rallying have nothing in common with you. What about your daughters? Will you be cool with them only making seventy-two cents (or whatever it is, less than men, at any given time) on the dollar that her male counterparts make? You're okay with male counterparts thinking it's acceptable to grab her by the pussy? Make her reproductive choices for her?

Women celebrating women, working together for womens equality makes us stronger. Taking yourself out of the fight because you don't feel like you need it or that you're equal already just weakens us all. If you don't stand with your own people, who is going to stand for you?

Everything is not just about you. If you have children, you can't just worry about where they're going to have their birthday party or what sports they're going to play. Or even where they're going to go to college. Those are important in the minutiae of daily life, but they're certainly not the bigger picture. You want to make sure you leave the world at least little better than you lived through.

We only get paid what we do get paid because SOMEONE else rallied for THAT. I don't know what's so hard to understand about that. We only get to vote because someone fought for it. Hell, we don't have to wear corsets because someone fought for that too. You don't have to rally or understand the personal reasons other women choose to use their voice. Those other people are doing the work that you're able to reap. That's okay. Not everyone's a doer. I'm not active in the parent association of school. I don't volunteer in the school. Other people do. I reap the benefits of their involvement. It's part of being a society.

Just have some respect for what other people are doing to make society better for you, your kids, and your grandkids. And the kids long after that. Don't call those doing the work whiny or privileged. The reality is- the privileged ones are the ones not believing anyone has a reason to do it, or thinks it is not benefiting them. That's also called taking things for granted. I heard or read the saying- "Any time you're fighting against human rights, you're on the wrong side of history". I believe that.

Going back to When We Rise, those characters, some real, some were depictions of the kinds of people affected, they inspired me. I didn't care much what people thought before this, but now I really don't care. You're offended that I'm part of groups actually doing things to help large groups of people who are discriminated against? You think it's stupid, goof on me, or don't understand why I wear a "vagina on my head" in protest of misogyny? Oh well.

I'm not going to let my armpit hair grow out (like Roma Guy, When We Rise) or get arrested, but I'm not going to stop plowing through the hate, fear, and discrimination to help achieve equal rights for all. In the end, that's going to be the winning side, so you might as well get used to it now! Has there been some collateral damage from using my voice, that I wish didn't have to happen? Sure. I think there always is when you are part of a bigger movement you believe in. I haven't said anything I didn't believe, and I don't have regrets. I just wish this fight wasn't so bloodied. The collateral damage on my periphery was purely accidental and not intentional. I just have to keep plugging along, staying focused, and doing my thing.

I urge everyone to watch When We Rise. It's beautifully done and worth the watch.

Young Roma in When We Rise

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mommy Makeover Part 4

My hair appointment finally happened! It was put off a week because of illness, but we got back on the makeover train this past week. Sobeida, the owner of Iluminada Studio, told me to come with hair inspiration so I picked a little Sarah Jessica Parker, then some random heads I put together on Pinterest. I'm still not Pinterested in using Pinterest, but it helped for saving all the heads I liked in one place.

Color inspiration
Color inspiration

I got to Iluminada at ten o'clock in the morning to start the whole process. I didn't ask what was going to be happening because that's been the theme of my whole journey. They told me, but I didn't pay that much attention. I put myself in capable hands and didn't ask questions.

I knew she was planning to get rid of my gray hairs, do some kind of highlights, a cut and an express keratin treatment. It was funny, I never thought to ask prior what products they use because I don't really know the difference. Don, my hairdresser of 20+ years, has been using Eufora for years, and I don't remember who makes the pink/purple I used to get with my regular highlights. However, my friend had JUST told me how upset she was because her regular salon always used one brand and switched for her last appointment without telling her. Believe it or not, while her hair didn't look bad, it isn't look as commercial ready as her hair usually does. So I guess it can make a noticeable difference. However, I do not know the difference between brands because I've been with Don using Eufora for a very long time. The few times I went to other people, like when I worked in NYC and couldn't make it to Don, in the early 2000's, I have no idea what they used.

I asked Sobeida what brands she was using and she said Kleral Magicolor and Zerran.

Sobeida did a single process first by painting my head. I'm explaining it how I saw it because I don't think I've had this. Don makes sure to do only the minimum by my request, to keep the cost down. I only see him every three months though. I don't watch what he's doing either, because we're talking. Since the last time I saw him, my grays are coming in around my hairline like mad. I'm starting to look like one of my old Hebrew School teachers. Since this whole day of beauty was free to me, Sobeida wanted to go the whole hog and do it up. Of course I had no objections. I don't like people telling me what to do in my store- I wasn't about to tell her what to do in hers. After the gray painting, she did a full head of highlights.

While I was waiting for the color to be ready to wash, Sobeida had a lovely woman there give me a massage and then give me a paraffin wax hand treatment, which I'd never had. The wax treatment was kind of weird and cool. My hands were super soft after. I definitely recommend it.  Of course I always recommend a massage at any time, for any reason.

Then I went over to Shannon McLoughlin for a haircut and the Express Keratin - that means to me, only twenty-four hours (versus seventy-two hours) of keeping my hair totally flat and straight with no denting, washing, or wetting. I showed some pics and she knew what to do. Shannon is friendly and funny so the time also went very quickly. For me. Probably not for her since she was doing all the work. I showed Shannon some haircut ideas, not totally different than my normal cut, just more layers and such. A little more bold. She did just that.

Shannon couldn't really *do* my hair because of the keratin treatment. So I don't have pics of me all done up. I only have a pic of how shiny my hair was after I was done there, and the color, from the back. I loved everything they did.

I'm actually coming back another day, some day soon, after my next appointment (tomorrow) at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center. Tomorrow I am getting my teeth whitened, my Xeomin checked to see if Dr Freund is happy with the results, and to possibly do Belotero (filler). Then, when I go back to Iluminada, I believe Rhonda is going to come, with the make-up artist person they use. Sobeida will have me get a pedicure, waxing, and a blow-out, so BC Magazine can have their pictures for their story on my makeover journey. FYI, there will be no photo of my waxing. In case you were wondering.

And then I'm DONE. All beautified. I don't want to gush too much about everyone now, because I will after the final, but I feel so lucky to have been picked for this, to have had all these treatments, and to meet all these amazing people.

Me later the night I got my hair done. I used B's bandana to keep my hair flat.

Oh, also notice in this bandana pic, my lack of facial brown spots. Thank you Pam!

Cool Sculpting Update: SIX WEEKS

Procedure was 1/24/17. I can say with 100% certainty, that it DID work on me. I can say that right after you do something like this, you totally think it did not work. Honestly- I didn't think it did. Because you're swollen and in pain. But I seriously can't even believe the results at six weeks (today). I stood in the mirror, naked, today, trying to take pics but I really couldn't do it well. All I know is that if my cloud ever goes public, I'm in for a WORLD of embarrassment.

Anyway, back to the results talk. Standing in my worst posture, bending over, there is no...under pouch. Like, under my belly button. My weird pregnancy related indent is GONE because there is no fat pouch there to indent.

It's so weird (but great, obviously) to bend forward and not have really much to grab.  Or even to stand in bad posture with no first-trimester-looking pouch.

What's really interesting is that I'm seeing where or why someone would have a second treatment in the same area. The area I had done above the belly button isn't as flat as the bottom area. It's definitely not something someone would notice besides me, or on yourself. I'm just trying to explain, to the best of my ability, how it works, and why some people need more than one time.

I can see how it would be addicting too, after seeing results. Now I'm like, well, I wonder what this could for my bat-wing arms. Or my inner or outer thighs. I'm glad the under the belly pouch is gone. That was something I always hated. I don't think I could/would go through doing so many at once again. Like, on me, I could see if I was going in for a kind of tune up, I would just do that top piece, and then totally other places- like the arms or thighs. I don't know what you'd wear on your arms for compression though. They must have something specifically made for that because I *know* people do have liposuction or other surgeries on their bat wings.

Photos from the beginning to today-

This was today. At work. B had to take the pics for me.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Three's Company TV

I always really disliked the TV show, "Three's Company". Everyone seems to like this show, but I don't. I don't know why but the whole general Three's Company formula of telling a story just kills me. Remember how they'd always have a scenario where we, the audience, know something, but the characters don't. Then, because they don't, there is always a huge misunderstanding. The whole scene gives me anxiety. One person would overhear something, it would be misconstrued, and trouble would ensue. Resolved in the end, but the whole episode, I'd have anxiety.

I feel like this is the formula for a lot of TV now. I want to be surprised along with the character. I don't want to know stuff the characters don't know. For instance, I've been watching The Good Wife on Amazon Prime, for months. At one point I almost quit because I couldn't take the anxiety. When Cary and Alicia were leaving Lockheart Gardner to start their own firm but still working for LG. Everyone convinced me to stick it out. But I did take a few weeks break before I could go back. Now I'm at the end of season six, Calinda is downloading files at Lamont Bishop's and doesn't see him coming in on the monitor. That's where I had to stop it because I can't bear to see what's going to happen. I need to push through because I WANT to watch the new spin-off with Diane, but the anxiety of what will happen to Calinda AND the back and forth Three's Company scenario of the is she or isn't she with Alicia vs Cary, Diane and David Lee is JUST. TOO. MUCH.

Why couldn't Diane, Cary and/or David just walk into the goddamned conference room and say to Alicia - "HEY, I THINK WE HAVE OUR WIRES CROSSED"!! Instead, she's working against them, they're working against her, all because of a misunderstanding we all saw and know but they don't.

I'm just at standstill! And I want to just finish it already! 

It's soap opera storytelling. I can deal on General Hospital because GH moves pretty fast. Story arcs just don't go on forever. And I can fast forward when the story is too long and the anxiety gets too much. However, that's why I can't watch Days Of Our Lives. It was ALWAYS that kind of audience-knows-but-character-doesn't plot lines. The story arcs would also go on for years. I bet if I tuned into DOOL today, I'd still know what's going on.

Before Cary and Alicia left LG, the stories weren't like this. They were riveting and you didn't know what was going to happen, but you found out the plot twist the same time the characters did. It was more about relationships and the cases. Then it went all Three's Company. You can tell a compelling story without it being like that. If I want anxiety, I can just read my Facebook feed or watch the news. When I watch Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, or Grey's, coincidentally or not- all "Shondaland", the twisty-turny plot lines surprise you. Not just relieve your anxiety because the story ends. I had NO IDEA McDreamy was going to die. It would've ruined the whole episode if we knew and were just waiting for Meredith to find out.

I want TV to be my escape, not the source of my anxiety. I have enough anxiety in the real world. Yes, there can be suspense and cliff hangers. It's not about that. It's about the misunderstanding part. All the medical shows- Chicago Med, Grey's, Code Black- they all surprise - who lives and who dies. Who is fired and who stays. But WE don't know until they know. We don't find out then wait for them to find out later. We didn't know Alex was asleep in Meredith's bed when they didn't know whether he was in jail or not. We found out, together, with Meredith, at the end of the episode, like we SHOULD.

Ok, that's my TV rant for the day. Because now I'm done with this week's Chicago Fire, Grey's, and halfway through the finale of The Affair. Although, I have to say I'm pretty tired of Chicago Fire's overused plot devise of angry bad guy targeting someone in the fire house or the house as a whole. How many times is there going to be a baddie threatening everyone? It's happened like ten times already. Lather, rinse, repeat. I'm pretty much hate-watching it now, just for Severide.

I'm looking forward to Chicago Justice. New cases to be involved in. And The Affair- B will be glad I just watched without him. What the F kind of finale is that?? I'm a little more than halfway through and all I can ask, is, who gives a crap about the French lady and her family? I get that the show is "The Affair", and technically, Noah was having an affair with a married woman. But no one cares about her! I have to assume most people want more Cole and Alison. At this point, Alison's life and Noah's life could be two totally different shows. I'm not done with the finale but I'm assuming it's just Noah and the French lady. I'm going to be so annoyed. I could barely get through the first half hour! I'm on the treadmill having to read sub-titles? No.

Looking forward to The Catch coming back. I feel like GIRLS has been hysterical in the first two episodes of the final season. We're liking Big Little Lies so far after one episode. I have the first two episodes of Doubt on tap to watch and This is Us is everything on Tuesday nights. This is Us has plot twists and lots of drama, but we find it out with the characters. We didn't go a season knowing William was sick but having Randall not be in the know! We knew when he did! And he knew early. It wasn't a secret. There are some other things starting- American Crime and When We Rise. We plan to watch both but they are both mini series.

I still have all of Summer House (Bravo) & Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce (also Bravo) on DVR. I just haven't gotten to Summer House, and GG2D, I totally just hate-watch because I'm already invested.

And yes, maybe I need some kind of medication if TV is giving me anxiety. Whatever. I just like my stories told in a certain way!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cool Sculpting Update: Almost 4 Weeks After

Update on my Cool Sculpting:

I got it done on January 24th. It's been almost four weeks. I'm still wearing the compression garment. I'd say that by today, I have ninety-nine point five percent feeling back in my stomach area. It's still a HAIR numb but not painful or anything. Just a slight numbness. Yes, I was told it could be numb this long, but when it's your body, it feels like a really long time.

The million dollar question that everyone really only cares about is- Did it work? Yes. YES. I believe it has worked. *I* definitely see a difference. And you're not really supposed to see the full results for one to three months I think. They're going to take the "after" photos for BC Magazine the second week of March so it'll be in the middle of that "recovery time period" but I'm okay with that. I'm not a water retainer or whatever, so I think for me, whatever results I'm going to get, it's going to be on the sooner end, rather than later.

I can tell when I sit, if I'd bend forward, I'd have a big roll of fat. Always though- even when I was a teenager. Now that I had a kid, it was a baby pooch. It wasn't like a kangaroo pouch but just a roll. And a muffin top. I never really had back fat, like women have around their bra, but I'd always had what I call a butt muffin. Too much chub that could get pushed up by jeans. I never had those two dimples that most people have above their butt because it was like back then right to butt. If that makes sense. It's definitely flatter there now. It's hard to get a pic of it myself. I tried to have E take one but I'm not sure how well that came out. If you see me in person, ask me to pinch my fat for you and I'll show you.

I'm wearing the compression garment still because that's what I do. I get into a routine and then that's that. I think it's just one of those things that can only help. Weirdly enough, it seems to help my lower back pain from just getting old, not from any procedure I've done. It helps with that a little bit. I know they sometimes help your posture, so normally, I could see that being it, but my posture still kind of sucks. I like the garment though, so I'll keep wearing it until it's really inconvenient or hot. It's inconvenient because I only have two, and I wash one daily. The washing is a pain. The laundry never ends in my house though, so the daily washing just helps keep the laundry pile small.

My ending thoughts for now on cool sculpting. If you have the money to do it, and a decent pain tolerance, I would say that it worked for me. You want to make sure you trust who is doing it because you want to know that you really have the kind of fat, and kind of body it's going to work on. I don't know it would work great on someone with more of an apple shape that has a lot of fat. You also don't want someone to tell you that you could just do one piece or something when you really need four to be even.

I look at it more like tradition liposuction. It's not for weight loss. You lose as much as you can and then you use this or liposuction as the finish line- to get those spots that are never going to respond to diet and exercise. Even when I was doing stroller strides six days a week and probably in the best shape of my life post-baby, my belly still had a pooch. The way I stand too, in pictures, people have asked if I was pregnant. Thanks, girl-from-college-I-barely-knew for that one.

Now, I feel like my stomach is just flatter. It's still loose because I'm not doing crunches or anything specifically targeted to give me a six-pack or anything. But it's not sticking out like it did.

Would I do cool sculpting again? I really don't know. On one hand I feel like the cool sculpting worked, so if it worked, imagine how it could look if I did it in the same spot again (as is recommended by the cool sculpting company in their literature and what I've read online). But I am kind of a baby. So the jury is out on that one. My advice to others is to do it once, then you'll see how your body responds and where you fall on the recovery spectrum, from it not bothering you to being too much. It's a very personal thing. Right now, while it's no longer numb or itching, I can say to go for it. You only live once. If you have the means to freeze your fat off, you have to try!


Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mommy Makeover Part 3

I can't believe it's been three weeks since the last update! A lot has gone on since then! I have to first just thank Rhonda, Pam, and everyone else at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center, and Sobeida and staff at Illuminada Studio in Englewood. They've all been so amazing and fantastic in this transformation. I feel like "The Swan" from that reality show in the early 2000's.

Ok. So after the Ulthera and Dermapen, I had to wait two weeks to do anything else to my face. A week ago I went back to Pam for another session of Dermapen, which Rhonda okayed on Pam's recommendation. We're trying to eliminate my acne scars as much as possible in this short amount of time in the least invasive way possible. Pam felt I should do another session so that's what we did. She also did one session of Microdermabrasion and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).

It's funny- I felt like Pam was really concerned about the Ulthera and the Dermapen hurting, which I didn't feel at all. It was totally fine. She used so much LMX 4% (numbing cream) that I didn't really feel my face at all. I would say the IPL was a little more painful. Not painful where it was real PAIN, but just if you were to compare the Dermapen/Microdermabrasion/Ulthera to IPL, I'd have to say- I "felt" the IPL where I didn't feel the others. It certainly wasn't unbearable or anything. I think maybe it's just the little light jolts are like tiny sizzles. That's the best way for me to describe it.

Not that it matters. I'd do it all again. I can't even BELIEVE how my face looks. I guess I never really inspected the sides of my face. I knew I had the acne scars, and those were the most bothersome. Maybe I ignored all the brown spots? I knew I had brown spots, but I didn't know how many and how prominent they were. I've also always been somewhat tan from indoor tanning, all winter, every winter since I was fifteen years old. I think the tanning definitely had to obscure some of the brown spots since the rest of my face was at least somewhat brown. I haven't been indoor tanning since around Thanksgiving, so this is the whitest I've been since I was pregnant. The brown spots were everywhere.

Now, NOW, they're almost ALL GONE. Literally, gone. It's so amazing. The IPL really targets the brown spots. What it does is zap them, they crust up, and just flake off. Whatever is left, you just exfoliate off. I don't normally wear make-up to work anyway, except concealer. But without it, my skin apparently looked terrible. I would just use the pore minimizing "blur" stuff from L'Oreal. Sometimes I'd throw some kind of loose powder on top. I could totally use nothing right now and I wouldn't look like a troll.

With my acne scars, they aren't totally gone. I knew that going in. I think I'm going to save up to try to do a Dermapen treatment on them again in the future. I am SO impressed with how much they've been plumped up. It's like night and day. It's hard to get a good picture, but *I* know how deep they were before. I didn't look like Crater-Face from Grease, but they were definite indents that really bothered me. Now, they're not really noticeable probably except to me. Especially with make-up on. I don't wear heavy make-up ever- I use Almay Smart Shade Anti-Aging, which to me, is sort of like a cross between a tinted moisturizer and a BB Cream. When I put that on, and a loose powder, I really think having had the Dermapen twice, makes a world of difference. More important, I can go without make-up and not feel like- "oh well, you can really see the acne scars...".

I'm beyond in love with Pam's work. I highly recommend her. You don't want to let just anyone just touch your face with light zaps and needles. I trust Pam implicitly. Not just because she's pretty and her skin is perfect, but she clearly knows what she's doing. And you know, once I have my person, I have my person. I don't seem to have any good before pics, but these are the after. I will see if I can find better before ones.

Today's face with hardly any brown spots and less acne scarring
 I also went to Dr Freund (at ARC), last Thursday for Xeomin. It's another kind of "neuro-toxin" (sounds great right?) that paralyzes the muscles that cause wrinkles. Like Botox, which I've had cosmetically and for migraines. Xeomin is cheaper. I'd done it once before, but I don't think as many units as Dr Freund was doing for me. I was actually kind of wary that it was Xeomin and not Botox, because the time I had it done somewhere else, I didn't feel like it worked that well. However, this time, I do feel like it's definitely lessened my wrinkles.

I am posting a before and after- the spot by my temple is a bruise from the needle, which happens often and has happened to me before. It goes away in as long as any regular bruise. He said he wants me to come back to see how it worked and then decide if I need filler. I think I need the filler because no Botox/Xeomin is going to do anything for those bottom of the eye-socket wrinkle. I know that from two plastic surgeons I've seen for Botox prior. Maybe a little more of the Xeomin would help, but it still wouldn't eliminate those wrinkles.

Before & After Xeomin
 I told Cunningham about the filler part. She's my person when it comes to beauty treatments. She always looks like a supermodel, she researches all this and I don't, so I'm going with her recommendation. She told me the only one I should agree to do is Belotero. She said it's thinner and can be fixed easy if it's too much. She did it- I went and watched until I had to leave. I'm a little afraid of doing filler but I do want to try it and this is my chance. I'm just going to make sure to ask for this specific one. I saw Stein get Juvederm once and I could tell it hurt like a mother. I think because it's thick. I don't know but I'm not doing that. I don't want Lisa Rinna's lips under my eyes. Not to mention that B will FLIP if I mess up my face. That was his only concern of this whole thing.  

Speaking of my person, part of this makeover is getting my hair done. So I'm having to cheat on Don, my hairdresser of over twenty years, and trust the team of Illuminada. I went to meet with the owner, Sobeida for my consultation. She and her staff put me at ease immediately. In fact, Sobeida and I ended up chatting well after the shop closed for the night and we became fast friends. Time flew. I'm putting everything they're doing in their hands, and all I'm doing is bringing photos for "Hairspiration".

I will do a whole write up on my experience at Illuminada after it's done. I'm actually going there tomorrow for the better part of the day. I know I'm doing an "express keratin", a full head of highlights, and a cut, but not really sure exactly what that's all going to amount to. I trust them though- the salon is IMMACULATE. Like, it looked like it was camera ready while they were working. The sinks shined like the top of the Chrysler building. Everyone was super friendly, and I think it's going to be a great experience.



My thoughts on everything so far:

Beauty treatments are addictive and expensive. Expense is all relative though. I needed all these treatments more than I need new shoes. If I had the money, I'm thinking I'd put it in the face stuff. That's the first thing people see. That's why in the 80s and 90s we only teased the front of our hair- that was your hair entrance. Seeing the amazing results on my face has me, ME, seriously considering wearing sunscreen at the beach this summer on my face. I know that's common sense for most people, but that's like a lifelong anorexic saying she's going to eat cheeseburgers daily. It's a TOTAL change of mindset. I want to keep these results though and I'm already trying to figure out how I can do other things. I've always hated my big pores, like on and around my nose. So I'm thinking there has to be a treatment for that too. Although, my next stop is a dermatologist to see about fixing this weird red spot under my right eye. I was told that needs to be looked at by a dermatologist.

I'm almost at the end of the total makeover at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center. I'm happy to have my stuff done, but bummed to be leaving them. I really feel like they're invested in the end result, not just because of how it makes them look, but because they're really into seeing my transformation. They seem really genuine about me being happy. They could've been really whatever about it, and really nit-picky about sticking to whatever the cost of the treatments they wanted to give. They assessed me and then made a whole treatment plan tailored to what would make me look best. Then they tweaked and added where necessary or where they knew I'd benefit, and didn't make me feel like I was wanting too much. I don't even know what any of these treatments cost besides the Dermapen and the Cool Sculpting- because I specifically asked, in conversation. And they didn't make me feel like I had to keep to a tally.

I have the hair stuff tomorrow, then Rhonda is having me come back to get my teeth whitened. I have to make an appointment to get my teeth cleaned at my dentist though and no one has any idea the level of dental fear I have. So I'm just psyching myself up to make that phone call and appointment today. Or tomorrow. I'm going to do it because I want my teeth whitened. But the anxiety of going for the cleaning might kill me first. I'm more afraid of the dentist (any dentist, not my dentist) than I am of cool sculpting. If I do the filler, it will be the same day. We shall see!

The previous blog entries about all my treatments:
Part 1:
Part 2: