Micro what?

In May 2017 I decided to get some microblading done to fill in my over plucked eyebrows. I started this post and there it sat until now.

I had been thinking about it for sometime and a friend of mine had it done and it looked amazing. Then on a vacation I found out that my mother in law had hers done too, and they looked amazing also. So I thought what the heck, go for it! What’s the worst that could happen?

Well… the worst thing that can happen is not doing the research first so that you know what to expect. I had NO IDEA what I was in for other than that it’s basically like getting a tattoo. Since I have a couple tattoos I figured that was all that I needed to know. And at the core of it, really it is, but had I done a bit of reading first I would have been better prepared.

So this is for anyone thinking of getting microblading done on your brows: everything you wanted to know about microblading but didn’t even know to ask.

First off, for those who have no idea what microblading even is, it’s basically getting strands of hair tattoo in to fill in your brows. It’s not as deep as a tattoo so it lasts about three years before you need to get them touched up. This is great as you are not stuck with the same style for the rest of your life, but it does mean that you will have to go through the whole process more that once.

So, THE PROCESS:

When I set up my appointment with Megan Klimkowski (Instagram: Brow Design by Megan), who came highly recommended by my friend with the new great brows, she sent me a list of dos and don’ts leading up to our first appointment.

1.  No plucking your brows for at least a week.

2. No facials, chemical peels etc one week before.

3. No Advil, Tylenol etc 24 hours before.

When I finally met Megan I was excited and nervous but she was fantastic about giving me a run through of what was about to happen. She drew out the shape of what my brows would be so that I could see and agree to it.  She recommended the colour to match my existing dark brown brows, but with a blend of a lighter brown so that they didn’t look too heavy against my bottled blonde locks.

After showing me the blade, yes that’s right microblading used a blade, not a tattoo gun, that looks like a scalpel but with tiny forks on the end, she explained that as the blade pierces the skin it sounds like Velcro being ripped apart. Which some people find unnerving. Amateurs, I thought.

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The microblade tattoo tool.

I opted to skip the numbing gel to avoid the accompanying redness she cautioned would be a side effect (and because with most things in life I tend to think that because I play roller derby I’m tough enough for anything) and soon my head was back in the chair and the blade was about to make it’s first slice. Yup, Velcro. The sound of Velcro ripping over and over as she created perfect little strands of hair. That was the sound of my skin being sliced open over and over. Not so bad. Just a little annoying. Then a little uncomfortable, like when getting a tattoo and you’re near the end and just need it to be over.

Soon it felt like it was to be a death from a thousand slices. I could feel myself starting to do some deep breathes, exhaling with every slash. You know the ones, when you’re getting a massage and it feels like you’re gonna barf. The deep breaths that women use while trying to push a baby the size of a football out of something the size of a lemon. Dramatic? No.

Once the gazillon slices are done – it’s dye time. The custom dye that Megan whipped up for me was applied and we waited for it to soak in. I looked VERY glamorous and obviously had to capture the moment:

Once it was all done I gazed upon my new, VERY DARK CATERPILLARS. Wtf?! They sooo very dark and were going to last for three whole years?! Shit! What had I done, I thought to myself. Megan, accustom to seeing that look of panic I’m sure, quickly reassured me that once the cuts healed over and the scabs flaked off, the colour would be lighter. I was skeptical, but it was too late now…

Here’s what they looked like right after. Not too bad if my hair was anywhere near its natural colour, but very stark against the blonde:

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As they healed, they darkened about 20% more thanks to the tiny scabs – but as they healed, they did indeed light up as promised – of course they did, Megan knows her stuff after all – and now they look natural. No more pencil needed!

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So if you are considering getting microblading done, my recommendation is to go for it! And if you live in the Ottawa area, I highly recommend Brow Design by Megan. Just make sure you don’t have any big events in the following weeks to given them time to heal up.

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Fashion Fun Friday: #UglyChristmasSweaterDay

Well this blog has become the mechanic’s car that never get’s fixed. But today is Fashion Fun Friday AND #UglyChristmasSweaterDay – the perfect day to get back to blogging!

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, celebrated since 2011 on the third Friday of December, is one of my favourite days of the holiday season. And according to Bloomberg Business, it’s become a booming business with the number of new businesses increasing every year along with the demand. Retail stores report that the sale of Christmas sweaters has reached the same heights as the 1980s!!! (Will be hair be next? She asks in a hopeful tone…)

Google reports that searches for “Ugly Christmas Sweater” is up 30% over last year (source: inventors.about.com). There are a ton of online shops that offer these sweaters and as this trend continues to grow, the cost for these sweet babies grows too. Websites dedicated to the Ugly Christmas Sweater have spread across the internet. Thrift shops can’t stock enough of them. Ebay has seen record prices set on the sale of vintage Christmas sweaters, collectors are now willing to spend hundreds of dollars. So what’s a girl to do in all this madness?  Get creative and make your own.

#DYK: The official #UglyChristmasSweaterParty began in 2002 in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)? What started as a house party by friends, Jordan Birch and Chris Boyd, has grown into The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party(TM) an annual fundraiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation celebrating its 14th year!

Step 1: Go to local thrift shop and find hideous sweater – doesn’t have to be a Christmas one. Or use an existing sweater. Or hit one of many mainstream retailers and buy one as your launch pad. You may already have an idea of what you want to create, or maybe the idea will come from the sweater.

Step 2: WASH THE SWEATER. Because you know, cooties.

Step 3: Decorate the sweater. Need inspiration? Pinterest is full of ideas! From Grumpy Cat to the Grinch:

And check out this sweet creation that one of my coworkers broke out today! There’s even candy canes in the outer stockings – yum!

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And finally this brilliant idea found on today.com:

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So what are you waiting for? Get cracking. Ugly Christmas Sweater Day isn’t over yet.

 

Fashion Fun Friday: Summer Blazer

A well-made blazer can make denim dressy, party dresses polished, accentuate curves or make us look five pounds lighter! White is a hot colour for blazers this season – making me ahead of the trend as I spent much of last season searching for one with no luck. This season that all changed! White blazers are in abundance and I was elated to stumble onto the perfect one at Simons.

Turns out my perfect white blazer is the Yang to my favourite black blazer: 3/4 sleeves, winter white, rounded hem. Side note: The word Yin comes out to mean “shady side” and Yang “sunny side”.

Blazers have joined the ranks of t-shirts as a style-staple, meaning every woman should have a few in her arsenal. Here’s what to look for:

  • It should be fitted across the shoulders, but not stretched tight.
  • A classic fitted business style blazer hem should skim your hipbone.
  • If buying a full sleeve, they should hit mid-thumb when your arms are straight in front of you.
  • You should be able to button it without pulling, but it should retain its silhouette when worn open.
  • If you are between sizes, or any part of the blazer is too small, size up and hit the tailor.

Rack up some serious style points this season and grab yourself one of these beauties:

FLORAL KIMONO BLAZER available at Simons

HANOI BLAZER available at Simons

'Poppy' Double Collar Blazer

TopShop ‘Poppy’ Double Collar Blazer available at Nortstrom

Image 1 of CREPE BLAZER from Zara

Crepe blazer available at Zara

Image 2 of FRAYED SHORT BLAZER from Zara

Frayed short blazer available at Zara

PAINTERLY FLORAL JACKET available at Simons

Fashion Fun Friday: Toques

Spring is on its way. Or at least that’s what the latest issues of magazines like LouLou and Glamour are telling us. Their glossy pages show bright colours, fun playful heels and light jackets that are the new must-haves for spring. Meanwhile here in Canada, at a balmy -20C, we’re still choosing what toque to wear with our parka.

Funny thing about the toque; it’s a Canadian thing. Eh? According to this National Post article about Canadian-isms, the word toque is only used by Canadians. Apparently every culture that has cold weather (and access to sheep) has some national variant of the knit cap: Afghans have pakols, Americans have beanies, ski caps and toboggan caps; and we Canadians have our toques.

Did you know that toques were popular from the 13th to 16th century in Europe? Although they didn’t look exactly the like the toques we know today, I can see the resemblance. Can you?

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Did you also know that the toque was worn in France? By chefs? They chose to wear white toques as it was deemed “more sanitary”. The chef hat we know today was called a toque blanche aka white hat. Feeling smarter yet? According to the ‘all knowing’ Wikipedia, the modern toque was credited to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême, who was thought to have created the original toque blanche. Take that and stuff it in your French beret!

Of course today’s toques have come a long way from the puff-pastry looking chef’s hat. Thankfully for those of us living in sub-zero temperatures right now, there is a plethora of styles to choose from. Check out these Canadian sites below for playful, fashionable and patriotic options. Happy shopping!

The Canadian Pook Toque. Bonus: it’s reversible!


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Then there is the classic maple leaf toque from BC’s Toque.ca. Also reversible!

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And for a more hipster look, there’s the Ginger Snapped Toque from the WhistlerHatGallery.com. (Also available in grey.)

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Fashion Fun Friday: Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Happy #UglyChristmasSweaterDay!

Last year I wrote about the challenges of finding the perfect ugly Christmas sweater. I had searched high and low at thrift shops, discount stores and even my mother’s closet with no success. I had highlighted the many online stores that offered the best of the uglies such as TheSweaterStore.com and MyUglyChristmasSweater.com.

This year, retailers have finally gotten wise to the demand for tacky holiday sweaters and started mass producing a wide variety of choices. H&M, Forever 21, Macy’s (for my US friends) and even Walmart are offering cutesie tacky sweaters.

While I agree that half the fun is trolling the aisles at your local Sally Anne or Value Village to find the perfect one, if you need a sweater in a pinch, hitting the mall instead of the thrift shops is going to net you a better success rate. I grabbed this one for $20 at Walmart:

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Here’s a couple other cutesie options that you can easily grab online or at your local mall:

 

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H&M Fine Knit Sweater $19.95

 

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Forever 21 Puppy Holiday Sweater $23.90

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion Fun Friday: The Humble Cardigan

As the temperature drops, I’ve noticed that the cardigan sweater has become a wardrobe staple of women working business-casual environments. A friend of mine commented on her growing collection of cardigans as a testament to the length of time she’s been working for the government. Office workers, especially government office workers, don the cardigan on a daily basis. Now that I find myself working in a business casual office, I am acutely aware of the number of cardigan wearing peers. The blazer is something I’ve fully gotten behind. Ask anyone I work with and they’ll confirm my love of a good black blazer. In fact, I currently have five black blazers in full rotation.  The cardigan however is not a staple in my wardrobe. Or so I thought.

Over the years the humble cardigan has evolved from its knitted beginnings with buttons; to zippers, different fabrics and, as I discovered, a more modern version that just hangs open by design. These I have in abundance (in black, of course), so imagine my surprise to discover I’ve been on the cardi-wagon all along! When done right, the trusty cardigan can look like a million bucks.

Here’s a couple ways to rock your cardi at work:

  1. Wear a skinny belt on a light-weight medium-length cardigan. Bonus Points: over a pencil skirt for a classic corporate look.
  2. Layer a longer cardigan under a cropped leather jacket.
  3. Pair a floor length cardigan with a short skirt and tall boots.
  4. Tuck a fitted, waist-length cardigan into high-waist skirt or pants.
  5. The draped open-front cardigan (my fav!) looks sharp when matched with skinny jeans, tank and kick-ass heels. Bonus Points: Add a statement piece necklace.

Now it’s time to rock our brains! When someone compliments your awesome cardi-look, segue into this history lesson:

The cardigan was named after James Thomas Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who introduced what came to be called the cardigan jacket in the mid-1800s. (Thank you Encyclopedia Britannica!) Cool right? It’s gets better…

Brudenell was also the British general who, in 1854, led the charge of the light brigade of the British cavalry in the Battle of Balaklava. This battle was the memorialized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

 

Fashion Fun Friday: White After Labour Day

No white, no floral patterns, and definitely no sandals after labour day.

We’ve all heard these “fashion rules”, but have you ever stopped to think about where they originate? What’s the deal with no white after labour day anyway?

You can blame high society snobbery for this one. Basically a bunch of women from old-money families were upset that their exclusive richie-club was being run over by new-money. So they came up this fashion rule and a few others to ostracize the new-money wives who were not in-the-know. (High school flashback to the year of the must-have Club Monaco sweatshirt!)

Even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred women, over time it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, fashion magazines made it clear that white clothing came out after the May long weekend in Canada and Memorial Day in the US, and put away after Labor Day.

These days, fashion is more relaxed and there is no longer a hard and fast rule about what colors to wear and when – think winter white! For example, even through we’re well into September I wore a pair of floral pants to the office this week. Why? Because it was sunny and warm out. Weather should play a more important role in our fashion choices rather than a date on the calendar. And while I’m sure most of you would agree, we still hear people make comments about ‘no white after Labor Day’ – all thanks to some snobby millionaires from 100 years ago.