Bold, Bald, and Beautiful: Part 2

inked by Julia

I started this blog post in the hospital when I was anticipating my homecoming. I arrived home last Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday afternoon, the deed was done—I shaved my head.

I couldn’t take another day of looking like a balding middle-aged man. I took a before shot of my hair and sent it to my sisters and I don’t think they really knew how to respond because it was that bad. My goal of hair loss was to not reach Gollum status, which I think I succeeded in, but it’s a close call. 7

Along this hair loss journey, I feared how I’d feel buzzing my head. When the day came, the mood in the house was quiet and somber, and no one really knew what to do or say. My mom and I cried together.

Being an all-girl-plus-a-dad house, we were unsure of how to even use clippers. Luckily, my mom had not given away her mother’s (a former hairdresser) clippers, and we dusted them off to give ‘em a whirl. I have an awesome husband, like I’ve said a billion times, who offered to go first. We all laughed watching my mom shave a head for the first time. Once his head was shaved, it was my turn. It’s strange—after all the tension building up to that point, I wasn’t nervous after seeing Michael shave his head.  My head shaving went smoothly and easily.

Now I’m five days into being a bald beauty, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s really not that bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong–there are times when I look in the mirror and don’t recognize myself. I also feel pretty self-conscience when people see my baldhead for the first time, and I’m aware of the stares I get out in public. I don’t blame them, either, because I’ve been there! But most of the time, I embrace the new look. Getting ready takes no time at all. I do miss having the feminine look that long hair gives me, but a baldhead shows off the rest of my face. I’m ready to give bald a chance!

I searched the internet for tips from other young women who’ve battled cancer and lost hair in the process, but I couldn’t find much. Here are a few tips (I wrote them when I still had some hair) for any other women out there who might be in the same hair loss boat:

Depending on the length of your hair, it’ll shed like crazy even as you cut it shorter and shorter (which I highly recommend).  For most of the stages of hair loss, you need a lint roller. Rolling up the mess is a lot less sad than picking it up strand-by-strand, and it’s much easier.

I would also recommend a silk pillowcase. They are much most gentle on your little head, and I think they are very comfortable. I used a head wrap instead of the hospital towels after showers. In the early stages, it didn’t pull any hair out. Now, it’s a little bit different, but I still think it helps.

Accessorize! As I approached the end of the first phase of treatment, my hair was mainly thinning out on top, but the back was starting to go as well. I found the cutest headbands to cover up the top of my head and make it look super stylish! Stock up on every type of hat, scarf or headwrap that tickles your fancy. I tried not to wear anything in the hospital, because I felt like it pulled out the hair I had left, and it just littered the inside of my clean hats and headbands with hair.

Lastly, don’t leave the house without confidence. I say that as a pep talk for myself, because I want to share my new look with you. I do this with hesitation, but here I am, world!IMG_0043

Anddd here’s one to tug at your heartstrings.

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Discovering Dallas

Perhaps for the first time ever, all the neal ink girls spent the 4th of July holiday traveling separately. We’ll be sharing about our journeys over the next few weeks. First up is Alissa with a Dallas travel guide!

inked by Alissa

Having a best friend in Oklahoma and dating a guy in Texas has culminated in several trips to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area this year, including last week over the 4th of July. Thankfully I’ve had the cutest tour guides I could ask for!photo3photo(1)

Here’s a little guide to some of my favorite places in Dallas, should you ever find yourself in the Lone Star State:
NYLO
I’ve stayed at several different hotels, but one of my favorite Dallas hotels is the NYLO. The rooms are incredible with a touch of modern flare, but my favorite part is the view from the infinity pool and bar/restaurant area. We spent an entire day just lounging by the pool, enjoying the delicious food and drinks, and even headed back out to the pool area to socialize with many of the locals who frequent that spot in the evenings. photo2

Dallas World Aquarium
On my most recent trip to Dallas, we spent a morning at the Dallas World Aquarium. We felt like little kids checking out all the fun creatures. Not only do they have sea animals of all kinds, but also tons of birds and even a jaguar! We had lunch over-looking the flamingos and it was beautiful! photo4 photo1

Stockyards
A can’t miss while in the Ft. Worth area is the Stockyards…a place I never thought I would get so much enjoyment! From a cattle drive down the main street to yummy BBQ, this place is a blast for the whole family. Don’t forget to see the real cowboys riding live bulls at Billy Bobs while there! The bulls even sport bright green glitter on their horns– I can always get behind some good bedazzling.photo5

JFK Museum
If you’re into history (or even if you’re not… like me), check out the Sixth Floor Museum. You learn about the President Kennedy and his assassination by taking an audio tour through time.

Medina
While visiting Victory Park in Dallas, we went out for an incredible Moroccan meal at Medina. The atmosphere is amazing and the food is to die for (I highly recommend the sea bass, but I hear the shrimp pizza is great, too). The authentic music playing in the background was a hit with our group, and be sure to make a trip to the restroom for a salt scrub treat for your hands! photo8

Crawfish Boil at Taps
You have to find a crawfish boil while in Dallas– it’s quite a unique experience! We went to a friend’s local bar and restaurant called Taps in North Richland Hills for my first crawfish boil. I learned there is a fine art to eating crawfish…you remove the head to get to the meat in the body, peel it like a shrimp, and eat! If you’re a hardcore crawfish fan, it’s traditional to suck the head of the crawfish for the juice. The locals were so friendly and cheered for us during an intense game of life-size Jenga! I guess everything is bigger in Texas. ;)photo6 photo7