The Makeover: Part 1

The Makeover: Part 1

Before anything else, allow me to start out by addressing some comments a few people at work made about my makeover. Those people will never read this, but it''s been bothering me, so I decided to say something anyway just to make myself feel better.

A couple of women expressed shock at what I spent on treatments, specifically on my eyelash extensions. They essentially made me out to be a fool for paying for them, and rolled their eyes, and said things like, "Well, I think your eyes look just fine the way they are."

Oh really? Well good for you. I''ll make sure to run my appearance by you next time I decide to do something for myself, because I''m obviously hinging everything on your opinion. Thanks.

To be clear, this weekend''s makeover was something I did FOR MYSELF, not to please anyone else. Could I have gotten fake eyelashes from the drug store instead of extensions? Sure. I could also have gotten stick-on nails, and plucked my eyebrows instead of having them waxed, painted my own toes, bought a can of spray-tanner, and flat-ironed my own hair.

That wasn''t the point.

I wanted to give myself a couple days of real self-care, with treatments that relaxed me and made me feel taken care of instead of stressed and exhausted. Having other people do a professional-quality treatment on me while I sit back and enjoy it is a totally different feeling than sitting with you feet propped up at an impossible angle as you try to reach your toes and hope to keep the paint inside the lines.

For the record, I love my lashes. Were they expensive? Yes, they were about $200, and will last about 6 weeks. But I don''t need to explain to anyone else why I decided to finally treat myself; I wanted to, and I''m happy I did. End of story.

So, on with the photos. :)

The first thing that I had done, and arguably the thing that everyone was most curious about, was the eyelash extensions. They are individual, single lashes that are painstakingly glued to each of your real lashes. The ones I got were the Xtreme Lashes; I went to Luring Lashes in Paoli, and Kathleen was just awesome. I got stuck in terrible traffic and she waited for me patiently, and did such an amazing job! Here is the before set of photos:

And here are the afters:

You can see that my eyes are pretty red in the second photo; Kathleen had just finished about a minute earlier and the glue can sting a little. It went away in less than 5 minutes. Also, the lashes stand up a lot right after they''re done, but they settle into place after about 24 hours.

Here is a closeup after having them for a few days:

I mean, really. Would you EVER know they weren''t real? (Also, this pic is kind of a spoiler since it''s post-spraytan; what a difference!)

I don''t know when I will be able to get the money to do them again, but I am enjoying the SHIT out of them while they''re here. No need for mascara, and they somehow give the impression that I''m made up even when my face is totally bare of makeup. It''s really amazing how much they open up my eyes and make my face more youthful. LOVE it!

The next morning, I got my Coppola Keratin Treatment. For anyone not familiar, Keratin treatments fill in the gaps in the hair follicle that cause your hair to curl, thereby rendering it straighter and glossier. Apparently I got the Keratin Express (which I didn''t realize when I bought the Groupon, grrrr) which only lasts for, like, 2 months tops, and might not leave my hair as straight after being washed, just less curly and more manageable. I haven''t washed it out yet; my stylist (from Salon Charisse in Haverford) said, "You are allowed to wash it out after 8 hours, but why would you want to? The longer you leave it in, the better bonded it becomes, and the longer it lasts, so I always recommend waiting three days like the original Keratin." So that''s what I''ve done.

I''m including both a photo from that morning in the salon, and a photo from earlier in the year, since the salon photo isn''t indicative of what my hair normally looks like (it was a tangled mess).

The first photo was from last year, when my hair was a little longer. I got even more chopped off before getting the treatment.

How it works is they wash your hair with an intense shampoo to get everything out of it; no color, product, or residue of any kind is allowed or the Keratin won''t bond properly. Then, they add the Keratin, blowdry it, and flatiron it into your hair. If you''re getting a cut, they normally cut after the treatment, but with me they cut first because I was going so short it was just going to be a waste of product. Here''s the first after photo, but there''s someone sitting behind me with dark hair, so I look like a have a weird lump on my head:

So far so good. At first I wasn''t a huge fan of the cut: I had wanted bangs that were a little more swoopy, but I guess she had to keep them pretty straight until I washed it AND she couldn''t use any product, so I will just restyle it once it''s washed. I DID like, however, how much the highlights I had already put in showed up once it was straight; there is still some purple, plus an awesome bluish-green from where the purple began to wash out, a reddish from the color I put in before the treatment, and blond from where the color had totally come out.

It''s actually incredibly funky and awesome looking, I''ve gotten a lot of compliments on it already.

Originally intended to be my last appointment of the day, my mani/pedi at Salon Ba Si was going to be the most involved. I was getting SNS tips put on, which are a newer type of false nail that is supposed to be healthier for your actual nails, are less prone to chipping, and don''t require UV light to set. And of course, I was getting a pedicure.

Unfortunately, when I got there they had filled my spot because I didn''t call back when they left a voicemail to confirm my appointment. OOPS. I had totally forgotten about the message, but still, I didn''t realize that not confirming resulted in forfeiture of my appointment time.

They managed to fit me in, but there were only 3 technicians working and it took a LOOOOOONG time. From start to finish, I was there about 4 hours. However, the techs were really really nice, and the pedicure was so awesome that it was all totally worth it. There are no pictures of my feet because I didn''t want to scare you guys, but they were pretty bad. There was a tiny dot of nail polish left because so much of it had rubbed off, and they were just lopsided and crazy looking. After soaking, cutting, filing, and trimming, they coated my feet and calves in some kind of scrub and gave me a massage that practically had me drooling. I swear, despite the fact that the massage was only below the knees, my relaxation skyrocketed just from that.

I DID take photos of my hands, but unfortunately forgot to do it soon enough; they already had put the crazy-long tips on when I remembered, so rather than having the stubby-fingered hobbit-hands that I normally do, I had terrifying claws.

The SNS system involves painting a coats of a sealer, dipping the nails in a powder, and repeating until the coating is fairly thick, then buffing it down and painting. The technician was meticulous about making sure they were perfectly even in length and thickness, and I think they came out really well.

I got my eyebrows done as well; to see a before and after of that just take a look and the last eyelash pic compared to the first three. I can''t believe the difference the waxing made to my face; arguably even more than the lashes! I just looked more...feminine? Polished? All of the above?

Last (but definitely not least) I got a spray-tan at Baked. I was a little nervous about this because I had had one done at a fancy salon that shall remain nameless RIGHT before my wedding, and it looked like I had been dipped in apple cider. Streaky, orange, a complete hot mess. So needless to say, taking the plunge and getting it done again was a big leap of faith for me.

Adrienne was SO nice, and the salon was really low-key and pretty. She explained the different types of tans, and I decided to go for the longer-lasting, darker one. It took about 5 minutes total, from getting undressed, to getting sprayed, to getting dressed again. Wanna see? Yeah you do!

BOOTY SHOT!

I tan pretty dark very easily, so the color actually looks extremely natural on me. A lot of people at work didn''t even pick up on the fact that I was tanner, they just thought my skin looked more even. Nice!

Now, I''m saving the full-body before-and after photos for later this week, after I have finished setting up the dressing room, because I want to show you all my new clothes. But here''s a face before and after (the first one is pretty accurate to how I looked most of the time; hair carelessly thrown back into an elastic, no makeup, and often my glasses instead of contacts):

Wow. I didn''t realize what a difference there was until I saw these side by side. Jeez, I really needed a makeover more than I even knew!

I feel so incredibly different and great. The change happened so gradually, to my eyes, that I didn''t think it was too dramatic, until I came to work. The reaction there was almost explosive. "Ohmigod, you look AMAZING! Holy shit, I didn''t even recognize you, I thought we had a temp filling in! Wow, you look GORGEOUS! What a difference, you look so much younger/older/more sophisticated/more glamorous!" On and on and on, gushing and fawning. It was totally awesome.

But the most common comment? "You had a whole weekend makeover? Wow, I wish I could do that. I''m jealous. I want to get my hair/nails/eyebrows done, but I never have the time/money/energy."

Ladies (and gents), listen up. My husband and I have been pretty broke. We are finally getting on track, but it took about 2 1/2 months of saving and planning and working extra hours (mostly on cookies) and scouring for coupons online to get all of this done. I have been relentless about checking online reviews to make sure that I got the best possible services, and I planned ahead with my husband, creating a schedule several weeks in advance to make sure that I got the car all day and that we didn''t make any other plans that weekend. I called salons early, sometimes up to a month ahead of time, to make sure that I got the services I wanted at the times I wanted. And you know what? The planning and scheming was just as much fun as the services themselves.

If I can do this, so can you. It may take even longer to get it planned than it took for me, but so what? I can guarantee that when you''re sitting in the spa chair getting your feet rubbed and soaked, you aren''t going to regret a second of it. When you get your hair done and people at work gasp when they see you and exclaim, "Oh my God, you look GREAT!" you won''t think to yourself, "I should have spent the money on a bottle of wine and dessert last night."

Yesterday was the first time in at least two years that I truly felt beautiful. I even noticed myself walking differently, with more confidence, and there were small changes, like how I didn''t feel like I needed to apologize to people for my presence when I got on the train to head home. I took up the space I wanted, and felt GOOD. I got checked out a couple times, and I don''t think it all had to do with my appearance; people can tell when you feel good about yourself, and they respect it.

I am thrilled with my makeover, and I can''t wait to share the rest of it with you! Stay tuned for Part 2!