Mel dishes on some of her favorite boneheaded moves while everyone else laughs at her.
Mel breaks down some steps we can all take in an effort to infuse kindness into the way we regularly speak to ourselves.
I came across this on Instagram a while back and saved it because it resonated so strongly with me. To tell you the truth, I may have put my old therapist's kids through college discussing this very subject (and I’ll likely pay for my new one’s retirement the same way!).
I have to say that the month of June has been…Busy? Stressful? Overwhelming? Emotional? How about I go with this: June has pretty much been shitshow all around. As such, I’ve had to work quite hard to remind myself of this every day, and then sometimes even harder to put it into action. But it’s totally worth the effort, because if I hadn’t put it in I’m pretty sure I’d have lost my mind weeks ago.
While saying “No” to beliefs, actions, or even people, who don’t serve us is simple...it sure aint easy. When I re-read this today I got to thinking about the long list of “stuff” I’ve worked to keep out of my metaphorical shopping cart.
Things that cost me my happiness, smile, peace, or all three:
My peace, happiness, and smile are the ultimate goal, always. It’s my job, and my job alone, to keep them in mind as I move through this crazy life. The opportunities to make impulse purchases pop up a million times a day. So, having a clear list of all the crap that I really don’t want to be spending my time and energy on, before the opportunity to spend on them arises, goes a looooong way to helping me stay true to myself (and maintain my sanity!).
What’s on your “that's just too expensive” list?
Ashley and Mel discuss one of their biggest obsession...Grey's Anatomy. They break down their most and least favorite episodes and how the show has affected their lives.
I’m a total self help junkie. Not sure why, exactly, but I know that I always have been. Anytime I’m facing a personal problem I can’t solve on my own, or simply want to understand myself a little bit better, I pick up a book and get to thinking.
In terms of bang for your buck, a self help book and an open mind are where it’s at when you need to get your shit together. I’d say on average I take one or two key points from each book to assimilate into my world. Over time, a few takeaways from a few books really add up, and before I know it, I’ve changed.
Oh. And Podcasts. If you’re looking to make a change, they help too. I listen to podcasts by people I respect, and so often they have great book suggestions. Once you’ve found a couple of books and a couple of podcasts that speak to you, the rabbit hole you can find yourself in is pretty intense.
So anyway, like I said, I’ve pretty much always been this way. But it wasn’t until recently that I really began to embrace the nerd inside of me who just wants to read and work on herself. I was listening to the Jillian Michaels podcast a few years back, and she had Tara Mohr, the author of Playing Big, on her show. I don’t remember what they were talking about, but I know it spoke to me enough that I bought the book. This was the one that sent me down my rabbit hole.
I could spend a ton of time spouting off all of the takeaways, but there is one chapter that resonated with me immediately. It was the catalyst I needed to make some major changes.
You guys. We are so MEAN to ourselves!!! I’m not talking about the collective we being mean to the collective them. Although that is definitely a thing, too. I’m talking about the fact that we talk so much shit to our own selves in our own heads. It’s ridiculous. I had no idea how hard I was on myself and how rarely (if ever) I cut myself a break.
Not only did Playing Big teach me how unkind I was on myself in general, but it also gave me tools to spot the times when I’m being unkind (because if you can’t recognize it you can’t stop it), and then the tools to change the dialogue inside my head. This in and of itself is pretty profound if you ask me.
But the magic of it all happened after I got in the habit of not being a jerk to myself. My confidence skyrocketed. I’ve come to the conclusion that when we're talking down to ourselves all the time there is no room left in our head for all of the good stuff we could be telling ourselves. We can’t simultaneously build ourselves up and tear ourselves down. It just doesn’t work that way. We kind have to choose one or the other.
I mean, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I have my insecure moments every day. It’s just that being kind to myself helps me believe in my own amazingness, and that belief then helps me to move past the insecure moments with greater ease than before.
I definitely have some specific tips that helped me start to make this change. I will compile them and share them on an upcoming podcast episode.
But the short of it is this: pay attention to how you feel. When you're feeling a crappy about yourself, that’s the time to ask “Hmmm...what am I saying to myself right now?” Chances are whatever is going on in your brain ain’t nice. Once that’s confirmed, think about how you’d respond to a trusted friend who was saying the same things, out loud, about herself. Then, respond that way to YOU.
I know it might sound a little bit silly and kind of woo-woo affirmation-y or whatever. But seriously, it works. We all deserve to love and trust ourselves. We all deserve to feel confident in our own skin. And you guys, world deserves what we have to offer when we are confident, when we love and trust ourselves. In my experience, there’s just no way to do any of this if we are constantly talking down to ourselves.
So, do yourself, and the rest of the world a favor. Be nice…to YOU! You deserve it.
Ashley tells Mel and Tyler about her recent lesson in nipple reconstruction.
As I mentioned a little while back, I finally got it together and asked Ashley to do my brows. They’re in process right now and once they are all done, you’ll totally be seeing before and after photos.
In the meantime though, I thought I’d share some photos of the process as well the answers to the questions I asked before I decided I was was comfortable letting someone TATTOO MY FACE. I trust Ashley implicitly, but I still had to do little bit of research before getting started. Because IT'S MY FACE. And it’s (semi) permanent.
Here are the questions I asked in advance as well as some things I learned along the way:
Tattoo guns are not involved.
At this point we probably all already know this, but for anybody who’s just researching this for the first time...yes, microblading is actually a tattoo, but all that means is that the skin is opened up and pigment is inserted. The microblading hand tool looks more like a pen than a tattoo gun - i.e. it’s a lot less scary.
Microblading is semi-permanent.
This isn’t the same as the daisy I had tattooed on my lower back when I was sixteen. And before you judge me for that…this was twenty years ago, before tattoos were mainstream and lower back tats were cliche. BTW I have the coolest mom ever for making that my 16th birthday present. Sorry! Back to brows...because microblading only penetrates the top layers of skin it will last for anywhere from 2-4 years, at which point I’ll have to go back for a touch up. I’m cool with that. I’d rather go back to re-up my brows than have them there forever and ever. I feel like I have more control that way.
Yes, the brows will be symmetrical.
This one really freaked me out. Again, because…FACE. But as soon as I saw that fancy eyebrow measuring tool, I relaxed. Height, length, distance from the center of my face, angle, everything was measured before any tattooing began, as well as during the microblading process.
From start to finish the first appointment took about two hours.
Here’s how it went:
She numbed me up and I looked like a wannabe Karate Kid.
We talked, she stared, she drew. I laid down and she went to work. Probably about 30 minutes per brow. And no, it didn’t hurt. The numbing cream is pretty awesome.
I’ll need a touch-up.
I go back under the needle next week, once my skin has healed completely and Ashley can see what needs to be adjusted. I’ve got plenty of "regular" tattoos, and I expected the healing process to be pretty similar to all of those. I was wrong. I think because microblading doesn’t penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin, it’s harder for the skin to retain the pigment. I mean, that’s why it’s only semi-permanent to begin with, right? Anyway, this is exactly why there’s a second appointment built into the service. A little bit of pigment loss is expected and the follow up will take care of that.
Aftercare is key.
There are quite a few pieces to the aftercare puzzle. The most difficult thing for me was sleeping. I’m a belly sleeper so adjusting my sleeping habits while my brows healed was exasperating. But I figured it out. The other components to aftercare were keeping my brows dry for a few days, keeping the skin moist, and not letting anything touch them.
Dry brows weren’t too difficult. I adjusted my showering routine and that took care of that. Keeping my animals away from my face was a little more challenging, but easy enough to manage. I had my liner touched up at the same time my brows were done, so my lids were a little bit sore. This made it easy to remember there was something going up there. We’ll see how well I avoid animal kisses to the face without the lids as a reminder.
Keeping my skin moist wasn’t difficult. However, I do think that I probably pressed too hard while applying my ointment and that may be why the pigment faded a little bit more than I expected. Oh well. That’s what the touch up appointment is for.
I just had to come to terms with looking a little silly for a few days.
The pigment oxidizes and becomes much darker than the end result will be. I had to keep ointment on my eyebrows so that the skin didn’t dry out. And I couldn’t wear eye make up.
Plus I’m special. And of course my eyebrows are too. And by special I mean challenging. While I wanted the shape of my brows to be improved, I am certainly not someone who needs additional hair strokes added in to make them appear thicker. In fact, if Ashley had ONLY used the microblading technique, there would be a very noticeable difference between my own brows and the tattoo.
So, I get a combination brow. She basically made a solid base to microblade over. The solid base is created using a technique called SofTap. Same process and aftercare as microblading but instead of inserting the pigment in lines to mimic hairstrokes, its inserted as lots of little dots, close together. It will create the illusion of thickness and then the hairstrokes go on top.
I share this with you for two reasons. One, because I’ve been using the term microblading, as that’s what we all think of when we think eyebrows. But I actually had SofTap done to me this time. I’ll be microbladed next time. And two because SofTap creates a much bolder brow to begin with, which leads me to this photo.
I had very dark, very defined, very shiny brows. I looked like one of those Angry Birds.
(But it only lasted a few days. Now the pigment really matches my natural brow color and the lines have softened a lot. Probably by about 50% if not more.)
I wish I had done it sooner!
Now that things have healed, and even though they aren’t complete yet, I love the look of these new brows. They make me feel prettier and more put together without having to do a thing. I can’t wait to show you guys the final product!
Ashley and Mel let you in to their weird little worlds…powdered cheese and all.
I always felt “wrong." I didn’t even realize it until I was well into adulthood. I was constantly guilt-tripping myself into caring about things I didn’t actually care about. Into doing things I didn’t really want to do. Into believing things I never really believed. I felt so out of place and I assumed it was because I was doing something wrong. I believed I just didn’t understand the world around me and I needed to work harder to do so. It was exhausting.
It wasn’t until I met Tyler that I learned it was actually okay to be different. He is a little quirky, so he made it okay for me to be a little quirky, and when I realized that he was attracted to the quirky instead of turned off by it, a whole new world opened up for me.
I’m going to use a Grey’s Anatomy reference here and say that he was like needing glasses. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this clip. It’s actually a really cool analogy. For the sake of clarity I'm not coming out as a lesbian. There was just no way to cut this clip after the leaves part and play only the relevant section without violating a bunch of Youtube rules.
Meeting the man who is now my husband changed me, for the better! Tyler and I are similar in some ways, but for the most part we’re pretty different. He has worked to understand me over the years (and vice versa). At this point he can sometimes tell what I’m going to do even before I know it (and vice versa). He knows me so well. And I love him, and I really think he’s amazing (and hopefully vice versa, right?!).
But Ashley is my soulmate.
I had a conversation with my mom the other day. I expressed concern over a mutual friend's constant thanking me. I told her I thought it was sad that he felt so grateful for actions I consider to be simple, basic, and exactly what he deserves. I don’t believe thanks are required, and it hurt my heart that he felt the need to say it, as if he didn’t believe he deserved my time and attention. Mom told me I was overthinking it. She was probably right. She said that saying “thank you,” for everything, is simply this person’s preferred way to share his feelings of appreciation. Makes sense. (Moms are really good at putting things in perspective. Especially mine.)
In passing I mentioned this person to Ashley, and I told her that he thanked me for doing something I deemed an obvious “duh, of course I’m going to help you with that,” kind of thing. She commented EXACTLY as I did. That’s so sweet, but it makes me sad that he feels he has to thank you for it.
Nobody, not Tyler, not my mom, not any of this person’s other friends thought about it like that. But Ashley did. It made me feel so…relieved, pleased, less crazy?? I don’t know, exactly. Actually now that I think about it, I do. It made me relax.
She knows what I’m going to do before I do it, not because she’s worked to understand me, but because it’s what she would do, too. Do you know how refreshing that is for someone who feels as though she has always had to explain herself to everyone?
With this friend, for the first time in my life, I feel truly understood.
That is not to take away from all of the incredible people in my world who have worked to accept and understand me. Or from those for whom accepting and understanding isn’t work at all, it’s just how they roll. It’s easy for someone who thinks the way I do to get on board. It’s harder for someone who sees the world differently to be there anyway. So there’s something very special to those relationships as well, and I truly cherish them.
But for someone like me, someone who seems to have a take on life that’s slightly off-center, someone who looks at things a little bit differently...it’s like I’ve found myself in finding this friend. Meeting someone else so much like me has grounded me, built my confidence, and helped me learn to trust myself. These are things I kind of knew I needed in an abstract way, but never understood the power they would wield until I felt them first-hand.
Here’s another cool thing - feeling more grounded and being more confident has allowed me to just be myself. No facades, no going with the flow just because it’s easier, no pretending to care about things I really don’t, and no guilt about all of the above. (Okay, okay. Less guilt. Because old habits die hard. I’m working on it!) And you know what happened as I made that shift? I was able cultivate even MORE friendships with people who make me feel grounded and confident instead of the opposite. It’s a beautiful thing.
Perhaps if I'd had a sister, or just one friend on the same wavelength as me when I was younger, meeting Ashley as an adult wouldn't have been quite so impactful. But that's not what happened. And I'm here now, making it seem like friend is my lesbian lover. Which she's not, for anyone who's curious. Sorry if that disappoints you. She's simply my person and I can't imagine life without her.
So here’s to soulmates. I hope that everyone reading this has at least one of them. ♥
Ashley and Mel discuss their recent trip to the Korean Spa for za-hoon herbal steam treatments and nude body scrubs.