photo: Meagan Fredette

A year and a half ago, I went through the toughest breakup of my life. While it was the right decision for both of us, I was ruined. I’d never experienced such a painful breakup. Suddenly all the songs and movies and art about heartbreak made sense. I cried a lot, pined a lot, and felt like my heart would never heal. But slowly, very slowly, the grief subsided. And while grief never really goes away, I made a decision to find happiness within my grief — not in spite of it. 

Being the jolly, vain Leo that I am, I decided to give myself a breakup makeover, or breakover, if you will. Trust me when I say that nothing makes a Leo happier than an excuse to stare in the mirror, and a head-to-toe refresh would be exactly what I needed. 

photo: Meagan Fredette

First things first: a serious pair of jeans. I wanted a pair of black jeans that would make me feel sexy and powerful, but also fit in with my wardrobe. I was looking for a very specific shape — I wanted a pair of high-rise, cropped ankle-length inseam, flat black color, with a slight flare. 

I ultimately decided on these Rag & Bone Hana jeans, which I got on sale at the Outnet's clearance sale for $49.99. They were the last pair and just happened to be in my size, so I knew it was meant to be. The Hana jeans are sold out everywhere, but here's a similar black jean by Rag & Bone that may do the trick if you're looking to steal my look.

photo: Meagan Fredette

Here, you can see the jean's gorgeous high-rise and slim fit throughout the legs. The flare is more obvious from the side, which was exactly what I wanted. I LOVE THESE JEANS. 

photo: Meagan Fredette

Next, I decided to dye my hair blond. With my fair complexion and green eyes, I thought blond hair would look really cute. As you can see, my hair is naturally medium/dark brown, and I hadn't gotten it colored for several years. Much of my hair was virgin hair, so I felt comfortable attacking it with bleach. I didn't want to spend upwards of $200 to get my hair colored professionally, so my mom and I decided to tackle this project at home. 

Predictably, it was a disaster.

photo: Meagan Fredette

My mom and I tried the Madison Reed Radiant Hair Color Kit in Amalfi Blonde. After buying the kit and letting it sit on the counter for a couple of weeks, we made our first terrible decisions: We decided to dye my hair while watching an Ohio State college football game. Meaning, we were trashed at 2 in the afternoon. Folks, do not do this

As you can see, the result was patchy at best. My mom, try as she might, missed many sections of my hair, especially toward the inner layers and shaft ends. 

The color itself was not blond, but a brassy yellow-orange that turned more orange over time.

Mom did her best, but bless her heart. This was a mess. If you are going to dye your hair several shades lighter, and cannot go to a salon, do it while you are in a sound state of mind. Not during a college football game when the team you like is doing so well that you're downing several tequila touchdown shots. But ideally, go to a salon.

photo: Meagan Fredette

I knew that our initial bleaching session would need serious correction. So for two weeks, I slathered on generous amounts of the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector to keep my hair texture from frying. I also applied reparative hair masks after shampooing my hair. I went through several packets of The Renaissance Circle and The Wake-Up Circle masks by Davines, both of which smelled incredible and made the experience of cleaning orange-brown hairs out of the shower less stressful.

After my hair felt better, I did another bleaching session with the Madison Reed kit and got it to look somewhat even. But the brassy tones were still there. I tried every purple shampoo under the sun and it toned my hair for what felt like a single day before it turned orange again. Weirdly, I got lots of compliments from friends and family, so I felt encouraged to keep pursuing my blond hair dreams. 

Next, I knew that several inches of hair needed to go. I hadn't cut my hair since before the breakup. I was way, way too sad to think about my appearance, so I just let my hair grow. Any semblance of a style had long since grown out, and two bleaching sessions had caused my ends to split up the shaft. This time I went to the professionals.

photo: Meagan Fredette

Bless the magicians at Adel Atelier Salon in New York City. The salon reached out to offer me complimentary services, and I jumped at the chance to fix this ... situation. The master stylist Adel Chabbi and colorist Miranda Shaffer assured me that I would walk out of the studio looking like a star. In this "before" photo, you can see the disaster they were working with.

photo: Meagan Fredette

The first step? Cutting off 10 inches of hair. My chest tightened up as I saw the loooong strands of hair hit the floor, but Adel reminded me to breathe, to relax, and trust in his wizardry. By the time he'd hacked off all my split ends, I was feeling excited for my hair transformation.

photo: Meagan Fredette

Miranda is truly a saint. Fixing my color took an entire day, and she did so patiently and with an exacting eye. As she explained to me where I went wrong with my color, I vowed to never again let boxed dye touch my hair. Professionals are paid to do what they do for a reason. Thank you, Miranda. You didn't just fix my hair color, you helped me heal a broken heart. 

photo: Meagan Fredette

After!!! Look at this color and style! Adel and Miranda truly worked magic on my hair. I can't thank them enough. The length is trendy and easy to manage, while the color is dynamic, refreshing, and full of dimension. As I walked out of the salon, I felt like a brand-new woman — one with a broken heart, but with the confidence to love again. 

photo: Meagan Fredette

I also got a dog. Yes, I have my own dog, and she fills me with so much love and hope. Her name is Bluebell and she's an 11-pound senior miniature Dachshund that belonged to my parents. Bluebell and I have always been close, so my parents decided to make me her official mom, and my therapist made her my official emotional support animal. As my ESA, Bluebell helps me deal with symptoms of bipolar disorder. Those symptoms have been exacerbated by grief, but with Bluebell, I'm forced to get out of my own head and be mindfully present with her and my own life. In this way, Bluebell is just as crucial to my happiness as medication and therapy.

Being her mom has also given me a sense of purpose, and has eased my broken heart. Loving Bluebell has reminded me that my ability to love isn't gone forever. And I'm never lonely when I'm cuddling up with this little angel.

photo: Meagan Fredette

Thanks to a sexy pair of jeans, a gorgeous hair transformation, intensive therapy, and a cute dog, I've finally achieved my final form. Today, I'm the happiest I've been since the breakup and am really excited about the future. Sure, I will always mourn that relationship, and I may not be ready to get back into dating right now, but doing this breakover helped me feel confident again. Once I jump back in the dating pool, I'll do so with renewed energy and happiness, with contentment in myself and love in my heart. I have a lot of love to give and am showering myself (and Bluebell) in it first.

photo: Meagan Fredette

Revelist was gifted the products from Davines and cut/color from Adel Atelier free of charge, but that in no way influences the way we comment on or review them.