Even Superman Goes to the Doctor

Okay so maybe we don't know that. Mainly because Superman is an immortal, indestructible fictional character. But to all the real Supermen out there, I hate to break it to you: you're not immortal, and you're not indestructible, and you do actually need to go to the doctors. Regularly.

Did you know that the life expectancy of women is longer than that of men? Why is that? I would like to say, the number one cause of death for men is stubbornness, and though stubbornness is not an actual diagnosable condition, it actually is the reason for this phenomenon. It is shown that men tend to avoid doctor visits and ignore their health. Most diseases and illnesses can be cured and treated if caught early, but this lack of health monitoring doesn't allow for this to happen until it's too late. 

According to WebMD, the top five "killers" for men are:

1. Heart disease

2. Stroke

3. Suicide (Mental health is just as important.)

4. Prostate cancer (Men should start going to the doctor for prostate exams around age 50.)

5. Lung cancer

Although testicular cancer is not listed up there, while doing my research, I found it alarming that half of testicular cancer cases are of men between the ages of 20-34, and that even infants and kids can develop it as well. So fellas, regular self- examinations and doctor screenings of your testicles should be done. Males should have a testicular exam by their doctor every year.

So hey Supermen out there, what's it gonna be? Are you really gonna let us Lois Lanes of the world outlive you? I know we women often say "Men... We can't live with them"... But we almost always follow up with "But we can't live without them." And not to get all mushy, but we really would love to live WITH you... Just go to the doctor guys.

Once You Go Wax, You Never Go Back

wax stick.jpeg

If you've considered switching from shaving to waxing for your woman-scaping, I'm here to give you that extra push in the right direction. I've been a wax advocate ever since I got my first Brazilian and I wouldn't dream of any other method of hair removal for down there... and I mean, I've tried it ALL. Shaving, Nair, at-home waxing kits, you name it. First and foremost, shaving is horrifying. I'm always nervous that I'm gonna cut something down there, and then you never get that baby-bottom smooth feeling. It's prickly and uncomfortable in a matter of minutes and the growing back process puts you two steps behind where you began. It grows back thicker and then God forbid hair bumps happen. Gross. As far as Nair and that god-awful smell... I mean c'mon. I would never put that near my lady-parts, let alone my legs or armpits. It smells like a chemical burn waiting to happen. Then at-home waxing kits....... who came up with that? Estheticians go to school for 1,000+ hours to perform waxes and yet I'm trusted to wax myself? A huge LOL to that. Let's just say spending almost an hour in the shower trying to wash wax off places that wax should never be is something I would never wish on my worst enemy.

So now that we've covered the dark side, let's step over into the light.

I've pushed my belief of waxing onto my friends and kin as well, and you can ask them yourselves- they've all been converted. I can't count the many times an esthetician looked at me baffled for bringing a +1 with me to my waxing because they wanted to see first-hand, and I've even gone to a couple of my friends' first times too for moral support. (I'm  that friend that will literally show you how to put a tampon in and call me crazy, but we females gotta stick together right? As a friend, I vow to never let you go through the horrors of female-hood alone.) 

The two main types of waxing are bikini and Brazilian. Bikini waxes remove the hair around your bikini line so you're swimsuit ready. Brazilian waxes wax it all off... Mister Miyagi (sorry I had to do it). That includes in between your buttocks too. I went all the way with a Brazilian wax my first ever waxing encounter. I've always been an all or nothing type chick. Go hard or go home right? However, I do suggest if you're not as adventurous (or again crazy), start off with a bikini wax just to ease yourself into it and get comfortable with the feeling. But seriously, if I can do it, you can too, and you can't beat the results. You'll be super smooth for days, plus the hair grows back softer and thinner. It only gets better with more waxes.

Traditional Waxing

Traditional waxing is done with wax and paper or fabric strips. Warm wax is smoothed over the area and then the strip is smoothed over top of it and quickly ripped off to remove the hairs.

Sugaring

Just when you thought waxing couldn't get any better, sugaring came along. I personally prefer it. It's so much better for your skin in so many ways. The sugaring paste (it's more of a puddy) is all natural, made up of sugar, lemon, and hot-water. And of course, natural anything is always the better alternative, so that's a no-brainer. Now the process is a little different from waxing. You or the esthetician will take a handful of the sugaring paste and smooth it over the area to be waxed in the direction that the hair is growing and then quickly pull in the opposite direction. Here's a video to explain the process as well as the benefits better: https://youtu.be/SjujXoi2z7w

Peel-off Wax/ Hard Wax

Okay so maybe this is my favorite. I personally believe it's the least painful out of all waxing options. With this method, the wax is smoothed on the area to be waxed, and then it's left to cool and harden. Once it reaches that point, you roll and peel the wax off taking all the hair with it. Voila! Here's another video to visualize it better.

 

Before/ During/ After Waxing Tips

To enhance your waxing experience, here are some tips from a pro like myself.

Before:

1. Exfoliate the night before.

2. Don't shower right before a wax. Your pores will be open, making it a little more painful than normal. I know you want to be fresh and clean before a stranger gets all up in your oven but opt for using a baby wipe beforehand.

3. Don't put any lotion or oil on the area before a wax. Rough it out. 

4. If you can't take the pain, take the pain pills. There have been times that I've popped a couple ibuprofens an hour before my appointment to help cope with the pain. The good news is that the area gets numb after a few rips of the wax, so each strip after the other gets easier and easer.

5. Wear loose clothing and cotton undies (or go commando). Freshly waxed skin get easily irritated with the friction of anything rubbing against it.

During:

1. Scope out the facility. Make sure it's clean.

2. Make sure your esthetician is wearing gloves before she touches your bare skin.

3. Make sure the esthetician is using your own cup of wax and/or using new popsicle sticks for every dip. Cross-contamination can occur and infections can be passed if an esthetician is double-dipping in the same wax for each client.

After:

1. Go for the baby wipes after too. Wipe yourself to remove any leftover wax or powder or perspiration or germs.

2. Try to shower as soon as possible after a wax for better cleansing.

3. Use a topical treatment on the area to help prevent in-grown hairs or aloe-vera gel to soothe the area. I like to use PFB Vanish with Chromabright- Skin Lightener/ Bump Fighter. It helps to prevent in-grown hairs and bumps as well as lighten the skin from hyper-pigmentation, scars, or dark spots.

4. Lay-off the tight clothes and any non-cotton undies for at least 24 hours to prevent irritation. I know you wanted to wear those super cute lace cheekies you just bought from Victoria Secret as a reward for your pain but try to resist them. Your skin will thank you.

Go Organic. Period.

More specifically, go organic with your period. I'm always for trying things that are better for my body and health. With that, I've always been interested in trying organic tampons and pads. When organic feminine care first debuted, it could only be found online. But seriously, who's gonna order their monthly supply of period absorbers offline? I mean, am I really going to pay the extra shipping and handling ON TOP of organic prices for something I already hate having to spend money on in the first place? No, thanks. Fortunately, I came across a whole section of organic feminine care during one of my recent Target trips. I took advantage and bought the whole shebang- pads, tampons, and mini-pads. Surprisingly, they weren't too much more expensive.

So why go organic?

Welllllll in case you didn't know this, most tampons and pads are bleached with chlorine and made from recycled cotton, which means pesticide residue and toxins can still be present in the finished product. Just think, these items are touching one of the most delicate parts on and inside your body, and these toxins have been found to cause cancer, hormonal imbalance, and even infertility.  Need I say more?

I have pictured below the items I bought. Of course they have flows and sizes of all type, and they work just as well as the pads and tampons we all know and (used to) love, if not better. 

So now the question is, why not go organic?

Linda, Listen...

Okay fellas, this post is for the ladies, so if you want to skip this one out, do so. But if you actually care and want to educate yourself about female health and all that we must endure, knowing that you actually might want to live the rest of your life with one of us creatures one day, brownie points for you. Keep reading. 

Now let's get up close and personal. Let's talk about Pap-smears...

So what's the purpose of these super awkward doctor visits every 3 years? Pap-smears are done to screen for cervical cancer and HPV. At the age of 21 is when a woman should schedule her first Pap. I recently just had my first Pap-smear. I was a year late (yes that makes me 22 guys) but I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get it over with. I had mixed feelings about it. On one side of the spectrum, I had heard horror stories, and on the other side, I had women telling me it was no big deal. So here's the verdict: There's totally nothing to be terrified of ladies. Once you come to terms with the fact that this screening is totally normal that millions of women have gone through and that your doctor has seen many vaginas of all kinds before yours and will see plenty more after yours, you should get comfortable.

Personally, my experience was a breeze. I opted for a female doctor, because that's what I was more comfortable with. I undressed and slipped into my oh-so-chic paper gown and laid on the table. My particular doctor began the exam by checking my breasts for any lumps or abnormalities. Then here came the expanding instrument part (the proper name for the device is a speculum). When getting a Pap-smear, the speculum is inserted into your vagina to open up things down there so that they can sweep your cervix with a little soft brush to collect cells for the testing. That might be the scariest part, but not because it hurts at all. It's slightly uncomfortable and of course awkward, but not unbearable. After that, your gynecologist will insert their fingers in your vagina and push on your pelvic area to check for any unusual pain or abnormalities. Again, so awkward, but in just a few seconds, you're done! Plus my gyno gave me this cute little blush-pink goodie bag with knick-knacks and more info. on women health. So cute.

After my exam, I opted to get the optional STD test. I personally try to get one at least once a year. No matter how often you have sex or how many partners you have or whether or not you're married or in a committed relationship, I feel regular testing (and of course protection) is a part of being a responsible sexually-active individual. And I'm not just speaking to the ladies on this one. Guys, this is for you too.

All in all, no matter how much we hate them, ladies, Pap-smears are vital to our female health. One sure way to fight cervical cancer is by getting regular Pap testing. It takes less time than a pedicure or a trip to the hair salon, and it could save your life unlike that super cute bob cut. It was such a good feeling to get the results of everything and know that my health and my lady-parts are in good shape. I truly feel to be on top of your health is the best beauty regimen out there. 

 

Stay dope,

B. Monet

Cruising

Okay so, let's talk cruises and how they might be the best means for a vacation. I've been on three cruises so far in my 20-something year old life so I think that makes me an expert now right? Either way, here's my take on cruises and their many benefits.

Benefit #1: Depending on the cruise you take, you get to cover a lot of "bucket-list destinations" in one vacation. 

Benefit #2: This may be the most attracting benefit of cruises. If you're looking to get out of the country but don't yet have your passport, a cruise is your escape. With most cruise lines in the U.S., you're able to board the ship with your birth certificate.

Benefit #3: If you truly want to relax and get away from society on vacation, a cruise is the definition of that. And I'm not just talking about the ship's hospitality service and the fact that you'll never have to lift a finger to pick up after yourself. You'll never have to lift a finger to text or type either because on cruises, there's no cell reception or wifi. There will be no scrolling through Instagram or snap-chatting every move you make. There will be no calls from your job or emails to respond to. You will have no choice but to live in the moment and just relax. You'll be completely cut off from society. Sounds wonderful if you ask me... Okay, okay, so you can purchase wifi access on the ship, but that's only if you wanna pay an arm and a leg. Totally up to you.

Benefit #4: Cruises are all-inclusive. That means once you pay for your cruise, your room, all the activities on the boat (pool, basketball, ice-skating, mini golf, casino, night club, comedy/broadway shows, happy hours, shall I go on?), food, plus your travel via the ship to those cool, dope countries are covered. The only thing that will be extra is the alcoholic beverages. With that being said, cruises are fairly inexpensive considering all that comes with them. 

Benefit #5: Like I said before, FOOD IS INCLUSIVE. Not just food, but endless food. Not just food, but gourmet food. Not just food, but food at all times of the day. I think you get my point. Cruises hire chefs from all over the world so you get all these different styles of cuisine and cooking throughout your whole vacay, and there is usually some sort of access to food no matter what time of the day even outside the normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. The fact that you don't have to pick up the tab is just the icing on the gourmet chocolate mousse cake. Feel me?

Now here are some tips to cruising:

Tip #1: Like mentioned before, the alcohol on the ship is not free, but you have two options here. You can purchase each drink as you go with your own card or the ship offers drink packages where you pay one set fee and the drinks are unlimited. My recommendation is to go with the package. Considering the cost per drink and the length of your stay on the ship and how much of a drinker you are, the package will pretty much pay for itself, and more. The packages are purchased as one per adult, and they put this special little sticker on your room card which is what you'll show every time you go the bar to grab a drink. (But if you happen to buy only one package and split the cost between you and a buddy, and appoint one person as the drink-go-getter, you didn't hear it from me. Wink wink.)

Tip #2: Do not buy any of the excursions on the ship. I repeat. Step away from the concierge counter. If you really wanna take a bus tour or jet-ski or kiss a dolphin, go right to the source and through the locals to avoid inflated rates.

Tip #3: The rooms are small on cruise ships so pack lightly. Regardless of the tight quarters, you shouldn't be spending too much time in the room anyway!

Bon voyage and happy cruising!

It was always fun coming back after a long day of cruising to see the cool towel art housekeeping would create.

It was always fun coming back after a long day of cruising to see the cool towel art housekeeping would create.

Cirque Du Soleil

If you're a renaissance individual like myself and enjoy the arts like I do, a Cirque Du Soleil show is a must-see in your lifetime. Cirque Du Soleil is an entertainment company based out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, that has certainly made its mark in the theatrical world since its beginnings in 1984. I had my first Cirque Du Soleil experience a few days ago as its "Kurios" tour came into the area, and I'm already looking for other tours that they have currently running so I can go see them. Phe-nom-enal. Without giving too much away, the plot of the Kurios show is based on a mad-scientist who reinvents the world around him in every way, as they say "where impossible meets possible". There are a series of nail-biting acts including contortionists, acrobatics, stunts, and more. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time!

The Kurios show is currently in Washington, D.C. through September 18. Their next stop is New York, NY and then Miami, FL. Head over to https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/ for more info. on tour dates and stops, and also check out their other shows.