The Meaning Behind #FlexYourFemale (& the Flex Your Female IG Challenge!)

flex your female

In this video I share the meaning and story behind my hashtag, #FlexYourFemale. In this post #MeToo and #TimesUp world, I wanted to create a more positive hashtag that celebrates our strength as women, and gives us a chance to highlight our accomplishments.

I invite you to join me in the Flex Your Female Instagram Challenge – share something you’re PROUD of and tag #FlexYourFemale and @brainsoverblonde, and tag 5 more people to challenge next!

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  • RacquelMarch 16, 2018 - 12:30 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I’ve been seeing the #flexyourfemale hashtag being used more and more – congrats! I love looooove that you’re bringing so much positivity to the movement!-RockyReplyCancel

Your Complete Guide To Botox (& Botox-Shaming)


Is that a big deal? Is it taboo? Is it vain? Not to me.

I’m not writing this post because I think you should get Botox; that’s a personal choice. I’m writing this post because most people don’t talk about Botox… or worse, judge others for getting it (especially in the corporate world). I want to change that.

My personal Botox story

I first got Botox about a year ago. I was in business school, and maybe the stress and sleepless nights started to age me a bit (or maybe it was all the beer pong tournaments and the fact that I was 27). I would come home, look in the mirror, and study my large, OVERLY-expressive forehead, which was starting to show the first signs of fine lines.

I’ve always been obsessed with how technology can enhance our lives – and to me, researching how Botox works isn’t dissimilar from evaluating the specs of the new iPhone. So I’d always been curious, and had researched Botox before my forehead lines started bothering me. But once they did, I wanted to talk to someone who had actually tried Botox. Because don’t get me wrong, it WAS a big deal to me at the time, and I was pretty scared to try it.

I asked a bunch of friends who I thought might have dipped their toe into the Botox pond. I got nothing. Apparently, none of my friends, ranging from mid-20s to early 30s in age, had ever tried Botox. Since losing my Botox virginity, I’ve been an open book about my experience. Some of those same friends have since come clean to me that they DO get Botox. Some of them started as young as 20 years old. (What’s with all the secrecy? I’ll get to that in a bit.)

Anyway, after a few months of over-analyzing both the procedure and my face, I YOLOed and decided to go for it. What ultimately convinced me is the fact that Botox has phenomenal preventative effects – and could actually help me avoid more invasive procedures later on (more on this below).

I told my fiancé Tracy (who was v supportive, even though he thought I was nuts), made a consultation appointment, and drove myself there (anxiety in full-swing). I peppered my doctor with the list of 20+ questions I had in my phone notes. What does it feel like? Am I too young? What if I don’t like it? WHAT IF MY FACE IS FROZEN FOREVER?! She was remarkably patient, and after about 45min, I decided to get my very first Botox injections.

My first Botox injections

My doctor pulled a frozen water balloon out of the freezer for me to use to numb my face. She had me make all sorts of expressions while she marked up my forehead with white chalk. She even gave me a stuffed animal to hold, but my OCD got the best of me and I was too afraid to touch it for fear of other patients’ germs. Stuffed animal aside, everything else she used – the Botox itself and the needles – were brand new and individually wrapped. The whole place smelled super sterile tbh, which of course I loved.

I asked her to go SUPER conservative (Botox is the only area in which I’m conservative). She pricked me a few times on the top of my forehead. Some hurt more than others – but in general, I’d say the whole thing hurt about as much as an eyebrow wax. Really not that bad. I got 10 units (which at $14 a pop, came out to $140).

I should mention that people with small to medium foreheads often don’t get Botox on the top of their forehead to maximize eyebrow mobility. I have a big forehead, and this is where I saw the lines, so that’s where I got my Botox. Many people get their first Botox in the frown lines between their eyes (often shaped like the number 11), but I didn’t get any there my first time bc I wanted people to be able to tell if I was pissed off.

The whole procedure took about five minutes. Honestly once she was done I was like… that’s… it? I had a few tiny mosquito bite marks on my forehead that disappeared in about twenty minutes. I started to see the effects within the hour, but the full effects took about three days to show up. When they did, I was legit AMAZED. My forehead was smooth and glowy! The only problem was because I didn’t get any Botox in my frown lines, my frown lines were now more prominent. I went in for a touchup and got a few more units between my frown lines and BAM – I had this refreshed, relaxed look – basically me but after a really good sleep and facial. I loved it!

Since then, I’ve gotten a Botox touch-up about every 4 months. I just got my Botox done last week, in fact. Depending on how long it’s been, I get between 5 and 20 units. I later learned that this is referred to as “Baby Botox” (basically, lower volumes of Botox used in super targeted areas — NOT Botox for actual babies).

I haven’t touched my eyes / crow’s feet (nothing wrong with this, but I like my lines there) or my smile lines (be careful with those – you don’t want to affect your smile). I started getting a bit in my jaw muscles for TMJ (teeth grinding) at night – which has been life-changing (because let’s be honest… I was never going to wear that night guard retainer).

And in case you’re wondering, I have ZERO regrets. I LOVE BOTOX. It makes me happy, I like the feeling (as masochistic as that sounds), and I look forward to getting it!

I DO wish I had friends to answer my million questions beforehand though. SO I’m going to preemptively answer those questions now.


What is Botox?

Botox, or Botulinum toxin type A, is a commercial neurotoxin that reduces muscle movement and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Basically, it paralyzes your facial muscles. That sounds scary, but it’s temporary. It’s also totally safe. In fact, Botox is one of the most studied and tested medical aesthetic treatments out there.

Is Botox preventative?

Yes! To me, this is the most exciting thing about Botox. I’m ALL about prevention.

Imagine your skin like a piece of paper. As you fold a piece of paper over and over, the deeper the creases get. With Botox, your skin doesn’t fold along those lines repeatedly, which means that wrinkles can’t form.

What’s the difference between Botox and fillers?

Botox prevents muscle contractions, which prevents the formation of wrinkles and lines.

Fillers like Juvederm and Restylane are used to FILL those lines in order to hide the wrinkles – they don’t prevent wrinkles. Botox prevents the wrinkles from forming in the first place, so you won’t have to fill them later on.

How much does Botox cost?

The average cost of Botox is $9 – $20 per unit, depending on where you live and where you go. By the way, I HIGHLY recommend you go to a plastic surgeon (MD), rather than an aesthetic nurse. Some aesthetic nurses are great, but a doctor doesn’t necessarily cost any more money. Either way, do your due diligence. This is not the time to use a Groupon or go to a “Botox party” in someone’s home (that said, no one’s ever invited me a Botox party – I’m not a Real Housewife).

The number of units you need is a matter of personal preference and the areas treated, but each area is usually around 10-20 units.

Botox typically lasts 3-4 months, but everyone metabolizes it differently. I’ve found that since I’ve had a few treatments, it builds up and lasts longer for me now.

What are Botox’s pre and post-treatment instructions?

Before getting Botox, avoid Retin-A, waxing, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, herbal supplements, and Omega-3 capsules for a few days to prevent topical reactions and bruising.

After Botox, it’s possible you will experience light bruising (I’ve barely had this though, and I bruise REALLY easily). You can apply an ice pack if you need, but I haven’t found it necessary. Avoid exercise and direct sunlight for the day.

Does Botox have non-cosmetic benefits?

Yes. You’ve prob seen the migraine commercials for Botox. THIS IS REAL. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t get Botox to treat my migraines. But I DO get migraines much less frequently – which has been a total added bonus of Botox. It’s also helped my TMJ.

Botox is also used to treat underarm and hand sweating (um… I want this), over-active bladders, cross-eyedness, painful sex, tremors, and more.

When’s the best time to start getting Botox?

This was the #1 question I wanted the answer to before getting Botox. I never got it, because there is no right answer – it’s completely individual.

The “right” time to start is whenever the hell you want. I don’t get Botox for anyone other than myself, so 27 was the “right” time for me to start getting Botox, because that’s when I started wanting it.

Keep in mind that everyone has different facial features, ages differently, and has different aesthetic desires for the future.

And yes, many people will recommend treating lines before they even form. I know plenty of people that started getting Botox under the age of 25. Do you “need” Botox that young? No. Do you ever “need” it? No.

How common is Botox?

More common than you think, especially because most people keep it on the DL. As my doctor not-so-politically-correctly put it, “even the mousey girl on the street is getting Botox.”

It’s also becoming more and more common. There were over 7 million Botox procedures in 2016 (up 4% from 2015, and 854% from 2000). It’s also becoming increasingly common for men.

So if Botox is so common, why is it so taboo?

Botox is kinda like online dating. No one talks about it, but everyone does it. Is that because everyone wants you to think that their faces are naturally taut, glowing, and wrinkle-free? Maybe. But I’d argue it’s deeper than that.

Botox-shaming is a real thing

Just like Marikh accused Chelsea of “glam-shaming” on The Bachelor, “Botox-shaming” is a real thing.

brains over blonde botox

Think about it. Have you ever seen a woman get praised for getting Botox or other cosmetic procedures? I haven’t. Quite the opposite. In my experience, at even the most obscure RUMOR of a cosmetic procedure, women are scorned for being fake and vain. I once had a friend tell me she felt like she had to “come out” as having had a nose job for the rest of her life, just to avoid the rumor mill. Even so, she didn’t avoid the judgment.

I’ve said this a million times, but as women, we’re constantly walking a fine line. Society has trouble seeing women as multi-faceted. So if a woman’s had plastic surgery or Botox, she’s vain, and she can’t possibly ALSO be smart/driven/philanthropic/fill-in-the-blank. Men don’t face the same dichotomy, which is why male celebrities’ nose jobs regularly go unnoticed while female celebrities’ are scrutinized. I was even judged for having a (medically necessary) breast reduction, and my guess is at some point you’ve been judged or seen as less competent simply based on your makeup/hair/clothing… which is ridiculous.

Botox isn’t any different. Botox doesn’t make you less competent. I could even go so far to argue that Botox isn’t too dissimilar from getting braces to straighten your teeth or white strips to whiten them. Is waxing your eyebrows or getting a piercing any less vain than Botox? Nah.

So why haven’t cosmetic procedures like Botox found their place in today’s body positivity movements? I think most people associate cosmetic procedures with vanity and insecurity. For what it’s worth, I didn’t get Botox because of insecurity. Vanity? Maybe a little. But who cares? That “vain” procedure made me feel confident and empowered! Isn’t that what matters?

I’d argue that most people that get cosmetic Botox are doing so because they love and appreciate how they look, and/or because it gives them that extra boost of confidence (just like a new outfit does). In fact, it’s been widely proven that the confidence boost patients see from cosmetic procedures extends to many parts of their lives – including their relationships, career, mental state, and more.

Why I’m open about my Botox

I made the decision to get Botox by myself and for myself. I’m proud of my decision and thrilled with the outcome. I have no reason to hide it.

I think there are a lot of people out there that would otherwise be open about their Botox and/or other cosmetic procedures, but fear being judged. (Which is a very real fear. I venture to guess that someone reading this is judging me right now.) If anything, that makes me even MORE confident in my decision to be open about my Botox and breast reduction. I hope that my stories can help someone feel less alone and make the decision that’s right for them.

If you find yourself judging others for getting Botox, I challenge you to ask yourself WHY. Shouldn’t every person be able to make a choice about her own body without the fear of backlash?

So, have YOU tried Botox? Do you want to? Do you think it’s the worst thing ever? I want to hear your thoughts! Share them below. I’m also here to answer any of your questions below!




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  • DanielaMarch 6, 2018 - 10:49 am

    This is by far the best blog post I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for always keeping it real! I’ve kept my botox from my own friends because of comments I’ve heard them make about other women – and it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’m a little closer to “coming out” with my botox! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • AnnaMarch 6, 2018 - 3:48 pm

      Thanks so much for this Daniela. Here’s to celebrating REALNESS!ReplyCancel

  • kateMarch 6, 2018 - 3:16 pm

    omg, i had so many questions and you just answered all of them. i’ve been too scared to ask anyone else! i just made an appointment for my first botox treatment next week 🙂ReplyCancel

    • AnnaMarch 6, 2018 - 3:47 pm

      Kate – I’m so glad I helped answer your questions! If you have any more, just let me know, I’m an open book 🙂ReplyCancel

  • SamanthaMarch 9, 2018 - 11:36 am

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for posting! What was your process for finding your doctor? And what made you feel comfortable wth the doctor you chose?

    Samantha ReplyCancel

    • AnnaMarch 9, 2018 - 5:27 pm

      Hi Samantha! I went to Yelp and scoured the best reviews – then I checked them out on Instagram! A lot of docs have amazing before/afters and videos on there. If you’re not 100% sure, just go for a consultation (that’s what I did at first) – and then you can decide if you want to move forward or keep looking. Good luck! <3 AnnaReplyCancel

      • SamanthaMarch 16, 2018 - 1:09 pm

        Thanks Anna!ReplyCancel

Is Trump The Rocketfuel Feminism Needed?

Is it possible that in a few years, feminists will be grateful that Trump was elected President?

Trust me, that’s a question that I never, ever, not in a million years, thought I’d ask myself. But I’m convinced that the answer is yes.

In 2011 I wrote my UC Berkeley honors thesis on “Making diversity in the workplace a strategic advantage.” Believe it or not, the idea was novel at the time. In 2014 and 2015, I facilitated the Unconscious Bias diversity training course at Google – and as a seasoned Googler let me tell you… there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm around that training.

But 2017 is different. Just six months ago, I launched Brains over Blonde, a feminist lifestyle platform for women who refuse to choose between femininity and success, and my Instagram account has organically grown to over 18,000 followers. Brains over Blonde celebrates women’s strength and power through content, tools, and coaching. The energy is palpable.

Who do I have to thank for this expeditious growth? Donald Trump. The deplorable, abhorrent, sexist man who inspired me to launch my business in the first place.

November 8th, 2016 is a day I’ll never forget. My roommates and I were huddled on the couch in my living room, wine in hand. Our eyes were glued to the screen in disbelief as our arrogant quips turned to silence, and eventually, tears.

I felt, heck, I knew, with one-hundred percent confidence, that Trump’s presidency was the worst possible thing that could happen for the feminist movement.

In many ways, I was right. The Trump administration has threatened women’s reproductive rights, legal rights, LGBTQ rights, and equal pay. But when a man who gloats about grabbing women by the genitals is running our country, how much more can we expect?

Turns out, a lot. It started with the largest protest in U.S. history, the Women’s March, which took place in over 500 locations in the U.S. and 198 in 84 other countries. On October 5, 2017, news broke of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. This spawned a cascade of accusations against powerful male moguls across industries, including Kevin Spacey, Shervin Pishevar, and Matt Lauer. Meanwhile, the #MeToo campaign broke the silence and took social media by storm. More women than ever before have decided to run for office. And who’s Time’s Person of the Year in 2017? The Silence Breakers. 2018 has already been named the Year of the Woman, and an 18-year-old bisexual high schooler named Emma González is leading the charge against gun violence.

anna wood brains over blonde feminist trump

This isn’t just about civil rights. It’s not just about rape culture. It’s not just about #girlboss. This is a whole new wave of feminism. For the first time ever, women are speaking up and people are actually listening without skepticism or judgment.

A year ago, some of the strongest women I know struggled to identify themselves as feminist. Now I don’t take a trip to the grocery store without seeing all genders rocking t-shirts with slogans like “Smash the patriarchy” and “Hands off my ovaries.” There’s rage in the air.

Women tell me that the night Trump was elected they felt helpless, hopeless, and small, like they didn’t matter. I believe that on that night countless women independently decided they’d never let anyone make them feel like they didn’t matter again. In the following months, they discovered other women made the same decision. They joined forces and built up support systems. They dethroned industry leaders. They went viral.

anna wood brains over blonde feminism trump

Trump gave the feminist movement something it desperately needed: a common enemy. People of all genders, races, and backgrounds look at Trump and see a physical manifestation of what they want to change in the world. His sexist comments helped Democrats and Republicans bridge party lines and rally together for gender equality. Trump gave feminists clarity about what they’re fighting for, and now it’s a full-blown war.

This is just the beginning. The shift we’ve seen in just the past few months is greater than the past ten years combined. Something BIG is about to happen. And when it does, maybe we’ll look back with gratitude that in 2016, Trump was elected President of the United States. Not because of his politics or who he is, but because his election spawned a gender revolution.

As today marks the first day of Women’s History Month, I invite you to #FlexYourFemale with me by tagging @brainsoverblonde and sharing why you’re PROUD to be a feminist. After #MeToo and #TimesUp, the next step is to celebrate women’s strength and power!

anna wood brains over blonde feminism trump

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    Dear Feminists: Settle For Nothing Less Than Intersectional Equality

    PSA: You’re not a woke feminist unless you’re intersectional.

    You’ve probably heard the term “intersectional feminism” a LOT more in the past year, after the 2017 Women’s March was chastised because none of its organizers were women of color. But intersectionality has been around much longer. It was popularized in 1989 by race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw, but the actual concept dates back to black abolitionist Sojourner Truth in 1851.

    WTF is intersectional feminism

    So here’s the skinny. “Intersectional feminism” is the sociological theory centered around the ways in which women’s overlapping identities (sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, class, mental and physical abilities, and more) impact the way women each experience oppression and discrimination differently.

    If you’re a straight white cisgender* woman like I am, it’s natural to feel the discomfort and guilt that comes with recognizing the ways in which our privilege can overshadow other women in the feminist movement. No one wants to feel like the oppressor – but the bottom line is – the feminist movement needs to be more diverse and inclusive.

    *cisgender means my gender identity is the same as my sex at birth

    As a white woman, I’m disadvantaged by my gender – so it’s easy to focus on gender-specific issues like the gender wage gap. A black woman faces disadvantages from both her gender AND her race – so closing the gender wage gap isn’t enough. And what about women who are sex workers, fat, trans, gay, disabled, or poor? Pro-choice activism isn’t enough when you can’t afford basic health care.

    What’s “white feminism?”

    Basically, white feminism is “feminism” that focuses on the disadvantages of white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied women – without acknowledging the different interwoven layers of discrimination faced by marginalized subgroups of women.

    I’m not saying this to make anyone feel bad. I’ve been accused of “white feminism” before – and it hurts, because let me tell you that is NOT what I’m about. But I understand where it comes from. I’m not perfect. It’s essential that we examine our own role and privileges.

    A good friend of mine from business school, who also happens to be a black female, once told me that privilege is “freedom from consideration.” All of us are privileged in different ways. Privilege doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have your own challenges. It doesn’t mean you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth. It just means that you’re free from experiencing certain types of struggles because of who you are.

    Why is intersectionality important to feminism?

    As feminists, we fight for equality of all genders.

    There are MANY different factors that affect how women experience discrimination – because forces of oppression (sexism, racism, etc.) intersect. “Women” isn’t a single category. Every woman has her own experiences, advantages, and disadvantages. But our oppressions are all interconnected, and we’re stronger fighting for equality together.

    If women from all different intersectional groups don’t fight together, discrimination specific to less mainstream subsets of women and gender non-binary people will be ignored and unaddressed. A classic example is that when the 19th Amendment awarded “women” the right to vote in 1919 – that right was noninclusive to black and Native American women.

    One of my favorite quotes is by civil rights activist Audre Lorde: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” As women, we all have different burdens to carry. But instead of saying “that’s not my burden to carry,” we can all help each other by sharing the load. We’re stronger as women when none of us are left behind!

    4 Quick Tips For Intersectional Feminists

    1. Be a good ally for groups you’re not a part of. Check your privilege – and use your privilege to protect and defend others.
    2. When talking about feminist issues – ask the other question. Instead of asking how the issues relate to gender, also ask how it relates to race, sexuality, etc.
    3. Eliminate cissexist, transphobic, inter-sexist, and any other discriminatory language from your vocabulary. Stand up when others use this language.
    4. And the most important one… DON’T ONLY SPEAK OUT WHEN YOU HAVE SKIN IN THE GAME. Speak out for equality for ALL genders.

    That means, as a feminist, I proclaim that I am:


    All of these issues don’t exist separately from each other in some type of vacuum. They are interwoven – which is why women experience the oppression in many different ways and at different degrees of intensity. Everyone has a different “intersection” of various forms of discrimination. To quote my girl Audre Lorde again, “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

    Let’s support each other and help each other grow

    Disrespecting sex workers, trans, intersex, fat, lower class, or disabled women ISN’T feminist. Pretending they don’t all face different forms of oppression isn’t feminist either.

    If you ask me – failure to celebrate intersectionality is one of the greatest dangers the new feminist movement faces.

    If we only fight for people who look like ourselves, we’re fighting other women for one of the limited seats at the table. If we all fight together, we can demand a BIGGER TABLE.

    What do YOU do to support ALL your sisters (not just your cis-ters)? Share your tips below!



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    • KristenFebruary 28, 2018 - 1:47 pm

      Thank you so much for this post, Anna! I’m so self conscious of my privilege and your words really changed my perspective. Keep doing what you’re doing you inspire me every day!ReplyCancel

    My Career Journey

    HOLY TOLEDO, today is Brains over Blonde’s 6 month bday. Can’t believe it. Mostly, I can’t believe how incredible all of you are. I truly feel that we are creating this Brains over Blonde community TOGETHER. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!

    I’ve gotten lots of questions in the past 6mo about my career journey to date and how I came up with the idea for Brains over Blonde – so here’s a lil vid I made!

    More questions? ASK ME ANYTHING BELOW! (Nothing’s off limits here…)

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    • Eric BrooksFebruary 21, 2018 - 4:19 pm

      Happy Monthaversary! ReplyCancel

      • AnnaFebruary 27, 2018 - 1:48 pm

        Thanks so much, Eric!ReplyCancel

    • EveMarch 16, 2018 - 1:39 pm

      thanks for sharing! I love that you are unapologetic about wanting to be a boss when you grew up – so many little girls (including this one!) felt/feel the same!ReplyCancel


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