BRIDAL PREP

So you said yes right? You're getting married, yes? You're about to go down the rabbit hole of wedding planning yes? I'm engaged too and planning a wedding so I know how much attention that can take but it's important not to forget yourself in this process. You know how your wedding books tell you that you need to have your dress picked by... so you can have it altered by... You need to have your venue booked by... and all that jazz. I'm not a wedding planner so I can't guide you on that but I am all about beauty so here's a timeline you should follow for your bridal beauty preparation:

Megan G.jpg

BROWS - 6 months out start growing them out! Find a great brow girl (if you have a Nordstrom near by see the Anastasia Brow Studio for your initial guidelines). Then make sure you get your final wedding clean up 2-3 days before the wedding.

FACIALS - 3 months out at the very least. Take really great care of your skin during this time and if you plan on changing products or your routine, you don't want to do that too close to the wedding in case you react negatively to the new ingredients. Plan to get you last facial a week to ten days before then use a gentle exfoliator (like a pumpkin enzyme or AHA) frequently to keep up the facialist's results.

HAIR - Most brides I meet started growing their hair out the day they got engaged but that isn't always necessary. CUT: If you regularly get your hair trimmed then you stop for months and months, the likelihood of your hair being crappy and damaged looking by your big day is really great. If you're planning on an updo then yes, settle down with getting a lot of layers cut since those tend to make some braids and updos a little challenging. COLOR: I love my dark hair but I will say that highlights do make your hair look fuller and bridal styles have more dimension so even if you only want to commit to baby lights that's enough. Your color should be touched up within 3 weeks of the wedding so it can settle in. EXTENSIONS: If you want to wear your hair down work on keeping it healthy all the way to the tips and don't panic, chances are you will want length and thickness added so you can always pop in extensions (I make them by the way - look in the more. section). If you have a great stylist, take them with you to your hair color appointment to make sure they match or can be colored to match your hair.

MAKEUP - Whether you are hiring a professional makeup artist or not, I suggest you investing in a great foundation that not only matches you flawlessly but also you know that it photographs beautifully (meaning, test it out in different lights and with different cameras ahead of time). Your makeup artist might keep limited shades and formulas and if you are like me, I break out over any change so I'd rather know that what is being used is guaranteed to not bother me.

So darling... add these to your massive TO DO List in your wedding binder and make sure you don't neglect YOU during this hectic time!

xoxo

Trichotillomania: A Look At The Disorder & How to Improve the Look of Your Brows

You've probably met someone suffering with Trichotillomania but like most of us you didn't notice because even if you see them pulling or what looks to be playing with their brows or eyelashes, you don't immediately think that they are actually tearing out their hair causing pain, bald spots and in some cases causing their hair to stop growing completely.

Trichotillomania before microblading
Trichotillomania before microblading Austin
PHOTOS: Client's own from iPhone

PHOTOS: Client's own from iPhone

Trichotillomania (TTM), also known as hair pulling disorder, is an impulse control disorder characterized by a long term urge that results in the pulling out of one's hair. This occurs to such a degree that hair loss can be seen. Efforts to stop pulling hair typically fail. Hair removal may occur anywhere; however, the head and around the eyes are most common. The hair pulling is to such a degree that it results in distress.

I recently met someone who has been dealing with this disorder since the age of 12. I offered to microblade her brows in hopes to help her save the integrity of her brows before it is too late. Her name is April and she agreed to do a little interview with me before her session. 

KS: What made you interested in microblading?

AC: I've had issues with my eyelashes and eyebrows for as long as I can remember. When I was about 12 years old I remember seeing an article that my mom left in the bathroom talking about a disorder called Trichotillomania and I immediately identified with it and knew that is what I had.

KS: When do you struggle with it the most.

AC: Anytime boredom or stress sets in I find myself, with whatever finger nails I have, just pulling or picking at whatever hair I could grab, whether it was my eyelashes or my eyebrows, it doesn't matter.

KS: So you seem to do it most during high stress times... when things are going well and everything is under 'control', do you still struggle with it?

AC: Well as much as it is heightened by stress or boredom, it's like a compulsive disorder for me. I'm a big face toucher, so if I run my fingers over my brows or lashes and I feel a hair that is "out of place" that would trigger me to start pulling in that area to get rid of it.

KS: And would you stop after you got THE hair?

AC: Sometimes. Normally I don't do it in front of a mirror, I'm usually sitting on the couch or doing something that is distracting me so I will just pull and pull until I feel like it's gone but by the time I get to the mirror, there is usually a big hole because I've totally overdone it and I look ridiculous with a big chunk missing.

KS: When you were young, did you ever talk to anyone about what was happening?

AC: I don't think so. Years later I told my mom and she oddly started laughing and said that she does the same thing.

KS: Do you remember seeing her do it when you were a child?

AC: No, I remember that she did and does have sparse eyebrows but growing up I really never noticed which as an adult means that she was probably just really good at hiding it.

KS: You've gone back and fourth pulling your eyebrows and eyelashes, is it ever at the same time or always one or the other?

AC: No, its usually one or the other. I can't remember ever doing both. In fact it's usually just one brow or one eye, not both.

KS: Does it seem to be your right or left side more?

AC: I don't think so. It's just both.

KS: When we first started talking about you being a candidate for microblading, I told you for your best results you would have to grow your brows out which would mean forcing yourself to stop pulling. You've obviously done that because your brows are so full! How did you keep yourself from succumbing to the urge?

AC: I think just having a goal. Knowing that if I truly wanted a good result I couldn't keep pulling. There were plenty of times where I caught myself, stopped myself and restricted even my access to tweezers. I had to try so hard not to touch my face because I knew at the end of this KS: There was a reward. AC: Yes, my goal was the reward.

KS: I am blown away at your brows right now and how much brow you have because when I met you there was barely a single line of hairs.

AC: Honestly I've never seen them like this either. I know even if I grow them out they are still sparse, that I'd never have the brows I wanted so to me it didn't matter. Then when I found out about microblading and you told me how great my results could be if I just grew mine out before doing it, I thought, this could finally be the way to get the look I've been hoping for.

KS: Have you noticed that you've been pulling your eyelashes out since you can't do it to your eyebrows?

AC: No. Actually I started an anxiety medication that I feel is helping with those compulsive things right now. That has been really helpful. Honestly I've been more stressed in the past few months than ever but I think with the medication and the goal of getting this done, I think that has really helped. Plus I constantly see your before and afters and that is encouragement for me too when I'm feeling weak.
KS: I assume you've spoken to various doctors over the years about this, what has been their advice in conquering your disorder?

AC: They really haven't given much. I guess because it's not a health issue, they don't see it as a problem that needs attention.

KS: That's what's really shocking to me because I've been several people with Trichotillomania and it doesn't seem like they get any help or guidence. That's odd to me because obviously I'm not a doctor but if something is happening internally to you that is causing you to harm yourself externally, there is clearly a bigger issue at the core and if the actually ACT of pulling your hairs out isn't a concern, what's going on inside should be.

AC: I don't feel like it's looked at very seriously. Maybe eventually it will be. It's embarrasing. There was finally a point where I showed my husband what I was doing. He didn't know. That was really hard for me. Letting him see me being very vulnerable. Seeing that embarrasing side of me. It looks awful. It looks ridiculous.

KS: What is the worst point in your life that it has gotten?

AC: I mean, to the point where I've stayed home from work to give it a few days. I've had to get more into makeup to try to hid it. Sometimes I'll draw my brows on really really dark to camouflage it and that looks really crazy. I used to dye my hair really blonde so penciling my brows in so dark it looked really bad. I avoid eye contact with people or direct face to face conversations.

KS: In the long run, how do you see having your brows microbladed will impact you dealing with tricitillomania?

AC: I hope by doing this it will make me feel more proud of how they look and be an incentive for me.

KS: Well thank you for being so open and honest. I hope by doing this interview, anyone out there suffering with this can find somewhere in their area who can give them an incentive through microblading and so that those suffering know that they are not alone.

Trichotillomania before and after microblading
Trichotillomania before and after left brow microblading
Trichotillomania before and after microblading right brow

 

I am going to follow up with April in five weeks time when she returns for her touch up. Let's see if microblading her brows does help her. Fingers crossed! Check back next month for an update on how she's doing.

Thank you for reading.

xoxo

-Kara

 

Travel Series: LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

5 places to go while you're there

1. Best breakfast/brunch in the city is Square One Dining at 4854 Fountain Ave 90029 I had the garlic/lemon thyme chicken sausage with roasted tomato and gruyere omelette but asked them to do it as a scramble which wasn't an issue. The fresh squeezed oj is killer but the small is like a shot glass so go for the large. They have plenty of organic, gluten free options too.

Square One Dining Los Angeles

2. For shopping check out 3rd street. Stop yourself from buying needlessly and save your pennies for New Stone Age at 8407 W 3rd St it is chalk full of curiosities you won't find anywhere else but it is a little pricy so be prepared to spend a little coin on something that you love. FYI their website only features a fraction of what they have in store.

New Stone Age

3. Looking for a little peace & serenity? Visit the self-Realization Center at Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades. It's a no phone zone so leave it in the car, parking is free as is the center itself but they do except donations and once you see how meticulously the grounds are kept, believe me, you'll want to give. You'll want to find a bench around the lake and sit awhile to take in the fountain, flowers, ducks and turtles. There's even an indoor meditation center if that's more your speed. 17190 Sunset Blvd 90272

4. Best Thai in LA is Ganda Siamese Cuisine at 5269 Hollywood Blvd 90027 I ordered my staple Chicken panang with potatoes, carrots and baby corn medium spicy and it was killer! I usually hate leftovers but couldn't wait to have it again the next day. The portions are enormous so if you're at a hotel with no way to reheat it, consider sharing with your mate. The shrimp coconut soup is also outstanding.

Ganda Siamese

5. Take a blanket and head to Malibu! The drive is lovely between 11-3 on HWY 1 and street parking is free (which we found out after we paid $6 for the lot). Zuma is a great place to stop and even if you don't want to make it a total beach day you can spend a few hours relaxing with your toes in the sand listening to the waves and watching the surfers.

It seems work and life keeps taking me back to LA and every time I go, I experience something new... You can expect to see a few more posts about California next month because I will be there twice more in September. Let me know if there's anything you just love in the city of angels and I'll be sure to add it to my list!

xo - Kara