image - Flickr / haylee -
image – Flickr / haylee -

Most of us women are familiar with the old saying “pain is beauty“, but that doesn’t even account for the time, money and (typically as a result of trying — and not succeeding at various products and procedures) frustration that are typically par for the cosmetic enhancement course.

As lovely as it is being a woman, let’s face it, we really did not wake up like this … we just didn’t! (But thank you dearly Beyonce for the ego boost. Love you).

We’re all guilty of going to extreme (possibly embarrassing) measures to build up our inner goddess. From life-altering acne treatments to Botox (which some men absolutely hate), we asked 11 real women to dish on the lengths they’ve gone to for self-improvement— and wow, are they intense. One woman used an actual iron to straighten her curly hair! Ouch.

After this we’re almost convinced, we’ve officially heard it all. But we could be wrong, so ladies, leave a comment below and let us know the most outlandish, maybe even agonizing, thing you’ve tolerated —or tolerate—to enhance your beautiful self. No judgement. If it’s crazy enough we may just add it to our list.

  1. I got Accutane. “After a decade of awful skin, I decided to go on Accutane, which meant giving up drinking for seven months and going on birth control, not to mention having to deal with insanely chapped lips. I couldn’t even smile without first applying a coat of Aquaphor!” – Lindsay, 26
  2. I used a blow dryer with at-home waxing. “When I was a teen, my best friend and I experimented with at-home waxing for the first time. When we went to remove the wax, it had cooled too much to stick to the strips. We then used a blowdryer to heat the wax back up (on contact). It was the most painful bonding experience I’ve ever endured, and even left bruises behind. Our (secret) nickname for each other has been ‘Purple’ ever since.” – Nikki, 29
  3. I used breast-pumping lotion. “I bought breast-plumping lotion from Victoria’s Secret and massaged it into my breasts daily. I actually thought I saw a little bit of a difference, but it could have also been a mental thing.” – Jamie, 27
  4. I got a Brazilian… laser style. “I got a full (as in back-door-friendly) Brazilian laser so that I’d never have to shave again. Watch out — a laser shock where the sun don’t shine proved one of the most painful moments of my life!” – Michelle, 29
  5. I used an actual iron on my hair. “When I was younger (in my teenage years), I hated my super curly hair as most girls with curly hair do. So I thought of what in my mind was a brilliant, easy idea for getting straight hair… to iron it with an iron used for clothes! Well, not such a great idea as it turned out as I not only burnt my hair and neck, but also melted the carpet in my hallway!” – Mayra, 31
  6. I shaved my eyebrows. “When I was about 14, I used to shave my eyebrows to prevent a unibrow, which I had to be pretty careful with or I’d shave too much and end up patchy. A few years later, I got the strength to wax.” – Lindsay, 29
  7. I fasle-lashed in high school. “In high school, I spent a brief period of time obsessed with individual false lashes. I would spend about half an hour every two weeks having them put on for a more ‘natural look’.” – Nhya, 25
  8. My hair-removal of choice is needles and electricity. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been extra self conscious of my excessive hairiness. Thanks to a genius who somehow thought to combine needles and electricity, I no longer have to be. Every few weeks, I sit in a chair holding an ‘Indifferent Electrode’ (a conductor that makes my body an electric cell) as the seemingly sweet woman sitting in the chair next to me sticks a needle into the hair follicles (above my lip, on my chin, boob, belly, finger, toe or any other place where hair grows). She activates the electric current and it surges through my body, sometimes causing tears to flow from my eyes. There’s a buzz and, just like that, another hair is gone. If you ask me, it’s a small price to pay for confidence!” – Veronica, 30
  9. I got chemical straightening. “When I was 16, I endured chemical straightening so i wouldn’t have to straighten my hair every day. It put me out somewhere between three and four hundred bucks, and became a real annoyance because as my hair grew out, so did my curls (which meant having to manually iron it regularly anyway).” – Bianca, 24
  10. I get botox. “I had no idea what to expect from Botox when I first tried it in my mid-20s, but since I’m so expressive when I speak, my face was showing lines early. Now I completely love getting it and think it has taken years off my face. I only go twice a year and am thrilled with the results.” – Kristen, 33
  11. DIY Nair Brazilians. “In college, I couldn’t afford the maintenance of a Brazilian wax, so I began giving myself Nair Brazilians… you learn how to minimize the burning, eventually.” – Kiarra, 21 TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.

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1. You might not be able to film the birth. You probably didn’t even know you wanted to. Before your wife went into labor, you thought birth videos were at best indulgent, at worst disgusting. Now you are holding one of your wife’s legs wide and the nurse is holding the other, and the doctor will not allow you any video, even though you are sure you could do both without losing focus (get it?). The reason you want the video now is because you will only have one chance to show your daughter how she was born. What do you do? You hold the leg.

2. Her belly does not go away immediately. You knew it would take a while for her to lose the pregnancy weight, but for some reason, you didn’t realize she would still look pregnant. You thought the belly would deflate as soon as the thing keeping it up, the baby, came out of it. Now she appears about seven months pregnant. You realize, now, that those women pushing newborns around who you thought were having Irish twins were simply pushing newborns around.

3. Everything hasn’t changed. This is a big one. Everyone tells you everything changes. And everything has changed for you. But this is what you should remember: for everyone else, everything is still the same. You may not be able to believe this. It will be hard for you, with your friends, because for them their lives are the same as the day before. People on the street will not treat you differently. You will not understand how no one notices: a comet has hit the earth and you are the only one who knows.

4. Hormonal is as hormonal does. You thought the mood swings would go away with the birth, didn’t you? Now hormones (some of them) are flooding out of her body. But changes are changes. And there are so many changes. Maybe you’re hormonal, too.

5. Remind your significant other that you love them more for being the mother (or parent) to your child, too. Just say it. They want to hear it. The old rule is still true: a happy wife (or husband) makes a happy home. If you forget, they will remind you. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the baby. Loving your partner more is loving the baby more.

6. Breastfeeding can be difficult. In your case, maybe very difficult. It takes a while for the milk to come in. Breastfeeding is new for everyone, stressful for everyone. The baby is confused, and bites. Your wife is tired, and in pain. You will want to remind her how she has drilled the importance of breastfeeding into your head, but you should just stay quiet if she wants to give the baby a bottle. You should do whatever she tells you. Later, there will be time for adjustments. You will be more excited about nipples than ever.

7. The baby will sound like an animal. Actually, like many different animals. Your wife will identify them: goat, cat, bird, squirrel, monster. You will ask the nurse about these sounds, then the doctor about them, then another doctor, then your mother-in-law. They will all say, normal. You know it is normal, but what you want to know is when does normal stop being normal.

8. There is never too much you can say about poop. Or maybe you have crossed that line a long time ago. You will call your daughter the Champion of Poop. You will tumblr about it. You will tweet about it. You will be covered in it. Every time you say she’s set a new record (for distance, for amount), she will soon surpass it.

9. Help is not always help. Everyone will have advice. Sometimes, that help will be helpful. Sometimes, it won’t be. A lot has changed since your parents and in-laws were new parents. Medicine and theory changes constantly. Your in-laws are Korean and have their own ideas about newborns and postpartum care. Your parents adopted you when you were 2. Even the older nurses contradict the younger nurses. Listen but do not follow. You will know your baby. You will be the one to bring her up, to grow up with her. Your baby is not any other baby—even you, when you were a baby, or your wife, when she was.

10. Rest is not always rest. You will sleep when the baby sleeps. But two-hour naps all night is not enough. You will take turns. Four or five hours should be cherished. All sleep is half-sleep. Sometimes, during the day, your wife will let you rest (and you will return the favor). If you are not sleeping, though, rest is not rest. You will always be resting, the way you used to think of it. You will lie around and cuddle with the baby. You will have energy for nothing else. TC mark

On racism, Jeremy Lin, Psy and the model minority myth.

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Photo by Rommel Nicdao
Photo by Rommel Nicdao

Previously, I published a list of personal branding tips culled from my conversations with Domino Damoiselle, a 29-year-old cam girl and stripper I met while researching a story about phone sex a few years back. As well-rounded and business savvy as Domino is, however, it would be silly not to tap her for advice in her most obvious area of expertise.

Lo and behold, 5 wonderfully simple, insightful sex tips from a professional sex worker.

1. Be inquisitive

Even after logging hundreds of hours as an accomplished cam girl, Domino never relies purely upon intuition in deciphering a client’s sexual likes and dislikes. “Whether the person you’re getting down with is lying next to you naked or staring at you through a computer screen, they’re naturally equipped with a lot more information about their body and their innermost desires than you are,” says Domino. She begins every session with a new customer by spending a few minutes getting to know them. In addition to circumventing the tedious process of trial and error, “speaking directly about sex can be really sexy,” Domino promises.

So if your goal is to please your partner, and not just to get your own rocks off, you might as well ask what your whoopee-making accomplice likes rather than waste time trying to read their mind. Since we’re all different, there’s no standard pre-sex script. But Domino recommends being as specific as possible, and listening intently so you can respond to subtle cues like tone in devising follow-up questions. For instance, if someone admits to being into humiliation, ask, “Do you like being told that you have a small penis?” If your query is met with silence, maybe try: “Do you like being called names? Or being told to eat your own come?”

2. Stay open minded

No matter how compatible you are as a couple (or hookup buddies), your partner might develop the sudden urge to try something in bed that doesn’t appeal to you, or intimidates the hell out of you for whatever reason. As long as you’re in a comfortable, safe, consensual situation, it can be worth it to maintain a don’t-knock-it-‘til-you’ve-tried-it attitude. “If something I’m doing turns my client on, it’s bound to turn me on too,” says Domino, who does everything in her power to accommodate most requests. When someone suggested covering her entire body in slices of American cheese, for example, she went with the pasteurized dairy flow.

The thing is, regardless of how certain you are that anal play feels like reverse crapping, there’s always a chance you’ll end up loving the sensation of a finger in your butt. And even if your initial butt hunch proves accurate, it can be fun and intimate to push your personal boundaries with someone you’re really into. Meanwhile, the risk of refusing to experiment is that your arousal triggers remain as much a mystery to you as to everyone else. Why miss out on your own orgasmic potential? Above all, whether or not you choose to cooperate, it’s wise to withhold judgment.

3. Know your limits

To be clear, keeping an open mind doesn’t preclude knowing your personal limits. Domino is well versed in unconventional sex practices, but not even she’s immune to erotic shock or discomfort. During one camming session, for example, a customer suddenly waved a vile in the air and screamed: “You want me to strap you to a hospital bed and shoot you up, don’t you?” Then he proceeded to inject himself. “As someone who’s not into drugs, watching people do drugs isn’t something I’m comfortable with,” says Domino.

The line between testing your boundaries and knowing your limits may be blurry, but introspection and honesty will help you sort things out. From Domino’s experience, “If something requires too much additional cerebral power or energy, it’s generally not worth it.” When in doubt, trust your gut. In the camming world, there’s always the option to hang up, but even without the luxury of digital distance, it’s always okay to cut things off with a stern “no.”

4. Be Creative

According to Domino, no matter how experienced you are, creativity is critical to maintaining a good sex life. “As a cam girl, if you don’t think outside the box you don’t stand out and you don’t tempt customers enough to come back for more, so I understand firsthand the importance of making things interesting.” In the non-virtual world, falling into a routine is undeniably boring, even if the regular program involves reverse cowgirl and a giant dildo.

The good news is that there’s no big secret to being sexually imaginative. Toys, costumes, and the ability to impersonate are useful, but unnecessary. “The best way to innovate is to dig deep within,” says Domino. Trust your instincts, whether that leads you to be silly, serious, or downright weird in bed. It’s also a good idea to stay in touch with your immediate environment. Some basic household items (hairbrushes, rulers, scarves, etc.) make great props and/or sensory tools.

5. Fake It

“The way I have my cam room set up, I can sit and text on my phone while I’m in the doggy style position,” says Domino. She’s also able to multitask when customers ask her to zoom in on specific body parts, such as her pinky toe, or her pussy. “They think I’m pleasuring myself, but I might be making notes in my calendar, writing a grocery list, or editing photos.”

The lesson here isn’t that you should tackle chores while fucking, but that it’s normal for even the horniest among us to feel bored during sex on occasion. And that’s okay! As long as your ennui is temporary and not an ongoing phenomenon, there’s a workaround: Mask your waning interest by acting aroused. Vocals are particularly helpful here. Whatever you do, don’t stare up at the ceiling or lay there like a corpse. The main benefit of faking enthusiasm is that you avoid offending your partner. Plus, a little fakery should propel the show forward, if you know what I mean. TC mark









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1. That first brutal day of winter, the one where you contemplate quitting your job or quitting school just so you don’t have to go outside. But your moment of weakness passes. So you grab all your winter gear and put on a brave face as the bone-chilling wind hits you mercilessly.

2. Your first real spring or fall run or bike along the lakefront. Especially in the early morning before the sun comes up or in the evening when the sun is about to go down. And it makes you feel like you have no worries left in the world.

3. That first true day of summer where you know the winter and “still winter” (what other places call “spring”) has finally gone and the sun beats down on you, and the air is warm, and you know this might actually last for a while.

4. Playing volleyball on Fullerton, North Avenue, or Montrose beach after drinking a little too much the night before. But then you think, “Wait, college me is still here?” No, college you is long gone but you did have a veteran night.

5. The feeling of wanting to die inside on Michigan Avenue where tourists take up the entire sidewalk, and can never seem to walk at an appropriate pace.

6. The constant anticipation for the health and well-being of D. Rose. (Even if the Bulls are not your #1.)

7. Feeling underwhelmed by every visitor’s desire to go and see The Bean. And the panic that ensues that they might also want to go to Navy Pier.

8. The anxiety of taking the Red Line when there is a sports game and you’re completely surrounded by intoxicated fans. Add extra anxiety points if it’s on a Cubs game day.

9. The intense hatred you’ll have for college students (even if you are college student) when you’re riding the Red line, especially between Fullerton and Jackson.

10. Getting irrationally mad at someone for how little their rent is compared to yours. And genuinely starting to re-evaluate all your life choices for cheaper rent.

11. Bringing friends to Lou Malnati’s for the first time and watching their entire experience of eating pizza change completely. Same goes for Piece Pizza as far as thin crust goes.

12. The shame of being in Belmont after dark whether it’s for Big City Tap, Berlin, or Cheesie’s. Because really, you should have just gone home.

13. The feelings of both judgment and nostalgia every time you see a couple making out on Clark Street’s Northside at 4 a.m.

14. Visiting a friend in a different neighborhood and feeling like you don’t belong. Never mind the fact it might only be 15 minutes away from your neighborhood.

15. Being exasperated at the slowness of the Brown Line whenever you have to ride it. SERIOUSLY WHY IS THE BROWN LINE SO SLOW?

16. Realizing at some point that you’ve got used to the smell of all the L trains. Especially when you’re coming back from out of town and then you think to yourself, “Red line piss smell…I am home.”

17. The cringeworthy feelings that come with being around the New Yorker transplant who finds every reason on earth to compare Chicago to New York. (And and rolling your eyes every time they do.)

18. When you watch someone from the burbs try to claim they are from the city of Chicago. So you just side-eye and let them be.

19. Being in Wrigleyville during a Cubs game, a holiday celebration, or really just being in Wrigleyville in general. It makes you think bad thoughts about people.

20. St. Patrick’s Day. No explanation needed. You really just have to be here.

21. Getting defensive about the city when people try to talk about the South Side and West Side. Like yeah, we’ve got a lot of work to do but please don’t act like you know anything about those parts of the city unless you do.

22. Negotiating how much you really love this city every March when the winter just won’t go away. And your mental health and emotional stability have become questionable.

23. The fuzzy feelings you get when you witness an act of kindness on the L or having the conductor be humorous throughout your ride, or the random strangers that will say hi to you ever so often. And you’re reminded that however tough the city can be, Chicago is undoubtedly one of the friendliest big cities. Period. TC mark

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1. A man who robbed a bank in Pittsburgh was caught after stopping to bum a cigarette off of a construction worker. After retelling the story on his Facebook page, the cigarette received over 300 likes for his act of heroism.

2. A baby bear cub was spotted in a Rite Aid in Oregon. The bear cub was subsequently filmed walking through the greeting card aisle, wondering why none of the cards simply couldn’t say “happy birthday.”

3. San Francisco-based radio stations have banned Lorde’s ‘Royals’ for the World Series. No word on whether or not Kansas City has banned Rice-A-Roni commercials.

4. A California woman got stuck in a chimney after trying to sneak into the home of a man she had met online. Amazingly, no muggles have uncovered the actual story behind the  floo powder gaffe.

5. One of the largest US tobacco companies is banning smoking in its offices starting next year. The news was praised by health organizations, who evidently did not pick up on the announcement’s subliminal messaging.

6. Toys R Us removed Breaking Bad action figures from their shelves after Florida mothers cited that they toys didn’t align with family-friendly values. One furious mother later tweeted that she was tearing through season 4 with her teenage son, and was thrilled that they finally had something to bond over.

7. Adorkable, twerking, and photobomb are now in the print edition of the Collins English Dictionary. The Collins English Dictionary has over 722,000 words, and has plans to implement GIFs of Amy Poehler by 2015.

8. A toddler in Tennessee had to be rescued after climbing into a claw toy vending machine. He reportedly acquired an impressive amount of toys, but they all fell out of his clutches as he was being rescued.

9. A New York City carriage horse broke free from its handler on Sunday, and was filmed trudging through the crowded city streets. The horse was filmed furiously galloping against traffic, which is just something you have to do when you’re an hour late for brunch.

10. A Washington man robbed a bank, then, feeling remorseful, waited up for the police. When the police arrived the man chided the officers, saying that he was about to head to the party without them. TC mark









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