Tag Archive: Beauty



pile of clothing

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This is something I have long pondered over the years. Sometimes my folks get annoyed by the way I dress, as in I dress too ‘young’ for my age. That is, my workplace attire is rather casual. A lot of the time I can be seen in jeans and t-shirts with some kind of playful or cartoonish graphics on it. Novelty prints, like Star Wars or my favorite, a Labyrinth movie print. Some people think that a 36 year old woman shouldn’t dress this way, that they should be wearing a proper suit and heels to work or in public. My workplace isn’t precisely suitable for formal dress, as in I get dusty, skirts can be awkward to move about quickly in, and long ones can get caught under office chairs. My coworkers have never seen me in ratty pants, or shirts with holes, or even dirty clothing. I think they’d be shocked and worried if I ever showed up looking like that. They also don’t see my looks as detrimental to my abilities either.

I suppose my appearance also bugs people, because of the type of earrings I wear in them. I mentioned in previous blogs I have stretched lobes, but they’re not very large. Most of the time people hardly notice them. I’ve been fortunate to work in a place that doesn’t mind them. Or my tattoos–I ONLY have two, and both are mostly covered up.

There is the mindset though, that certain personal styles define a person as less than intelligent, or that they’re being immature. If I do dress casually, it’s never trashy or unkempt. I would never allow myself to leave the house looking like a complete slob. Sometimes I do dress up a bit, such as pairing a classy top with some tailored jeans, nice shoes, something in that vein.

I think I’m eclectic, but not juvenile. That’s the mistake some people make when they judge people on looks. Look at celebrities; they wear just about anything they want, even if it doesn’t look so great on them. They get ridiculed by the fashion mavens, but I don’t think it necessarily stops them from repeating those errors. Prime example of such: Lady Gaga.

Some people adopt a certain style because it helps define who they are, that it’s a fashion trend they enjoy. Some people can get away with it, regardless of age. Some do it for attention; they dress provocatively because they have a need for attention. Maybe it’s because of something in their history, or maybe they just like being the center of attention. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to say once someone reaches a certain age, they can’t dress in a particular manner. Some bratty kids told me I was an old maid and shouldn’t wear graphic-print tees because I was in my 30s. Then again, they were teenagers, and clearly didn’t have much wisdom in their remarks.

But what defines a person’s competence? Is it one’s appearance, or is it intelligence? I know it’s various factors that play into this, but I don’t think because one looks a little out of the ordinary it automatically lowers their intelligence or competency. I understand workplace standards, and regulations, but I think because this world is becoming more diverse, we need to be a bit more accepting of others. I think this applies mostly to the older generations, because they find it bizarre and uncomfortable to see people who look so different in public. A person can look completely polished, impressive and popular, but that can just be a facade. Behind all the dazzle, there’s not much to that person. The same could be said for someone who is very homely, plain and quiet, but their actions can change minds. Or someone who’s covered in tattoos and piercings; they could end up being the kindest person you ever met.

It’s a double-edged sword. We want our own sense of individuality, but we also don’t want to be seen as a joke. It’s a tricky balancing act. I have my moments when I feel like being a little silly, or I want to look edgy and dark. I’ve pulled off looking goth and then looking very girly. For me, it’s more of the mood I’m in, and I know when I want to carry off such looks. I know my boundaries and I also know what looks right on me and not. It’s style, it’s how you present yourself to others that is the game-changer. I was never happy about my physical appearance, but through others encouraging me, I’ve learned slowly to accept what I have. It’s the blessing and curse of being unique. When you love yourself, you take care in how you present yourself to others. I had to learn that for myself. I don’t necessarily have to take so much time in how I look when I go out, but it makes ME feel better about myself. How we look is just one part of our being; what we say and do are even more important. Clothes, looks are just on the outside. What really matters is inside. We need to dump stereotypes because they don’t help anyone, to be honest.

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Time to be frivolous again. I had to share some of my favorite M.A.C. combinations with you ladies. Hey, if you like a certain brand, stick with it. Now I’ve based these eyeshadow styles on the colors I have, so that’s the range I’m dealing with. One look is in blues and a bright purple-pink. I think it works great for a club look. For the eyes, I used the M.A.C. shadow Tilt all over the lid. To highlight the browbone, I dusted a little Idol Eyes and blended it out. Finished the eye with jet black eyeliner and mascara. To go a bit bolder, I used the Pearlglide liner in Industrial along the lower lid. Blush would be a pale baby pink. Lipcolor is Up The Amp with Dazzleglass in Funtabulous on top.

Another combination I put together is a kind of smoky meets funky eye. Use the shade Club on the lid, blend out a little. In the corner of the eye, add a dab of Steamy with a small brush, blend slightly out. Accent browbone with a touch of Gorgeous Gold. It picks up the green tint in Club. For liner, I used the Pearlglide pencil in Undercurrent. Lashes done with black mascara. Blush I used was Hipness, and lips I kept very neutral. You could probably use Icon on the lips, blot it lightly.

Another look I dubbed Mandarin Sunrise, because of the shades I used. This one uses Expensive Pink across the lid. In crease, blend in Star Violet. For highlight, I used Hex, which catches the pinks of the other two shades. For a little extra funkiness, you can add a pop of Gorgeous Gold to the inner corner of the eye and just above the crease. Hipness was again used on the cheeks and lips were done in CB96. I think this makes for a terrific summer look, all the simmering peach tones. I think it looks best with either a black eyeliner or a deep brown.

For a look with bold lips, I tried out this combination. On lids, up to the brow, I used the Mega Metal shadow in Prance with a simple, crisp black eyeliner and lots of black mascara. Blush is minimal, just enough to tint cheeks. Lips were done up in Kissable Lipcolor in Scandelicious.

My latest experiment is with their Big Bounce shadow; it’s a liquid-cream shadow. I picked up the shade Up the Ante!. I was thinking of something glam, just a lot of fun, so this would go all over the lid, blended out. Maybe a bit of Woodwinked shadow in the crease for a little contouring. Cheeks–probably either a sheer touch of color that picks up the gold theme. Lips are done in Liquid Lurex Dazzle lipstick. It’s a fun party look if you want, for the summer, or perhaps a costume party. I also came up with some color combos inspired from Tron, believe it or not. I’ve been dying to share this with you all. For this look, you’ll need a matte black shadow, or to lessen the severity, a smoky matte charcoal shade. This goes solely on the contour of the lid. Liner uses Pearlglide in Industrial. Don’t blend, keep the line solid and bold. Line upper and lower lids. On browbone, you can use a sheer shadow with a tint of blue. For a gold version, use a gold liner (M.A.C. has one and I can’t remember the name). I think Gorgeous Gold would work nicely as a highlight. For a Siren look, use liner in a shimmering white with a pearly white highlight. Lips should be kept neutral with either a clear gloss or one with a subtle sparkle. Blush should be something light and not too strong.

Just so you know, I am not a professional make up artist. I’m an artist (as in drawing and painting) by training and hobby. I love playing with color and trying different combinations. One of these days I will try to add pictures of these looks here, so stay tuned.


orchid

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To be truthful, I have never felt normal. I haven’t led exactly the most normal life either. Most kids don’t spend half their childhood in and out of the hospital for reconstructive surgeries, or dealing with years of braces, headgear that look like a catcher’s mask, or getting half you head shaved for a procedure. That was not fun, and I would get so mad when someone mistook me for a boy. (It was in the summer, I was six years old,and spent most of that time in shorts and t-shirts. I also wore a baseball hat to cover my bare scalp).

I dreamed all the time of living a life without complications, without going to doctors, not being teased and bullied in school for my looks. I wished I had the ability to turn invisible, because I just wanted everyone to stop staring at me, so I could just go on and not be bothered by anyone. I hated the popular kids, and yet, I wanted so desperately to be like them. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to fit in, but no matter how hard I tried, I still was the butt of insults and humiliation.

There was a very bitter realization when I came to see I wasn’t going to be transformed into something devastatingly beautiful. This was me, I wasn’t going to be able to make my nose look perfect, I wasn’t going to make the scars on my face go away (unless I got creative with foundation), and I wasn’t going to have a perfect set of pearly whites to flash when smiling. It sucks big time, but it’s something I need to accept. At this point in my life, I’m pretty much there. But for all this time, a bit of wisdom from my college years came back to remind me. Where he’s gone now, I’ll never know, but he gave me the most profound advice I have ever heard in my 36 years being alive. Why be like everyone else when you can be unique? That’s what this acquaintance told me. Louis, of the scraggly goatee, glasses, and the Russian Army greatcoat. Louis, with the six-inch mohawk and steel-capped monster boots. I might add, one of the most eloquent and intelligent individuals I’ve ever met. Why would I want to be a carbon copy of every other girl out there when I can be completely myself? There was not another person on this earth like me who looked the way I did, thought the way I did, had my own particularly shrewd sense of humour. I should be embracing those attributes instead of burying them. At the time, I laughed at it, trying to deny to myself that they actually did make a lot of sense. At that time, I saw myself, or tried to make myself a sort of non-entity. I wanted to just fade into the background. Thing is, no matter how hard I tried, I was still visible and after a while, I got tired of it. What was so terrible about being different? Why is standing out in a crowd so awful to us, especially in America? Why did I want to be a part of those snotty, nasty girls in school? Because they always had the latest fashions? Because they were popular and had lots of friends? When I think about it, their lives were very shallow compared to mine. Theirs was all surface and attention, while mine was a matter of survival. I never asked for what happened to me, but it did. I get frustrated at times because of what I’ve been through, but I think it’s also taught me some valuable lessons. Some people may have just given up, after going through what I did, ended their life because they just couldn’t deal with the pain. I’ve been close to that point several times, but never broke. Maybe it makes me stronger, or that it shows I’m a survivor. Kids thought I was mentally handicapped because of my birth defects (shows how much they know!), but here I am, blogging! I’d like to think I’m fairly eloquent in my posts, and clearly that means something to those who read what I put out here.

So I’ve decided to embrace my uniqueness, because honestly, normal is really boring. Normal is not challenging the imagination, or the rules. Normal is living in a rut, because getting out of it means entering unexplored territory. I am different, and I’ve come to like it. I would rather befriend the shunned girl with the dyed blue hair than all the Abercrombie & Fitch outfitted brats, because there’s got to be a great story behind that blue hair. I’m blind in one eye, and for a time, it was a mark of shame for me. Now I accept it as just a part of who I am, and have developed a wicked sense of humour about it. I’ve played pranks on people with it, much to my immense delight. That’s empowering. I don’t have typical interests. I love being a sci-fi nerd, reading graphic novels, getting technical over computer special effects. I like wearing unusual makeup, or dressing a little outside the norm. I like bending the rules when it comes to my appearance. I have two tattoos and stretched lobes, because I like it. I have musical tastes that span the spectrum, from chamber music to metal and electronica. I don’t think it makes me a frivolous person, but much more dimensional. I’m always changing, because I am trying to figure out who I am inside. I never let myself embrace that growing up. The most amazing thing that I have discovered is that people think I’m beautiful. They have told me to my face I am an attractive woman, and I have never been able to express how amazed that sounds to me. They say I’m beautiful also because of who I am inside. I care about what people say, and I care about what I say to others. If all these different little facets are what make me shine, then I’m happy to say I am unique. I’m not better or worse than anyone else. I’m human, which is something I have overlooked for a long time. Every single orchid is unique in its shape, and rare, and beautiful. That’s how I see myself. Unique.

I have to offer thanks to someone who inspired me to not be afraid of being different. La Carmina, I truly enjoy looking into your world and seeing how I can apply it to my own. Thank you for helping me see my own strengths and potential. Plus Basil, who is my furry life preserver.


Ana

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I hope everyone has had a wonderful New Year’s, and looking forward to this brand new year. A conversation I had last night with my mom and some friends we invited to celebrate with got into the subject of appearance. One of the major subjects of scorn was stretched lobes, piercings, and tattoos. The other ladies were much older than I am, and therefore  a bit more conservative in views of fashion. They were complaining about how tattoos detract from one’s looks, how they uglify a person. Same with ears and piercing. My mom was griping about a student she sees in the halls at her school who has enormously stretched lobes, and how she finds them grotesque. She declared that this kid would never get a good job, or be taken seriously in life because of what he did to his ears. She was upset that the boy’s parents seemed okay with him stretching and considered it irresponsible. My mom also doesn’t like tattoos and considers them a mental aberration. People who get tattoos, she feels, have some kind of mental instability and a desire for attention. Several of her fellow teachers have tattoos, and she’s never said anything to them, but it’s clear she disapproves.

I got read the riot act for mine, told I was stupid, irresponsible, unhinged and sick for doing so. My parents grumbled about one of my younger sisters getting one, plus she got her nose pierced, but were not quite as harsh on her as they were with me. Maybe it’s because she’s not suffering from depression? I don’t know.

What the ladies last night were commiserating over was that they felt anyone with extensive piercings and tattoos would never get far in life. No company would ever want to hire them, or anyone take them seriously because of their appearances. Is that true? Is there any concrete facts to support that accusation? Have any of you been turned down for employment because of extensive tattoos and piercings? What jobs were you forced to take? Were any of you treated differently than others? Did people consider you less intelligent? They said it was okay in other cultures, like in Africa and Asia to have enlarged piercings and such, but not in America, because it’s not publicly acceptable. According to them.

I think there are different levels to ideals of style, beauty, fashion. What we consider attractive here in the States may not be in other parts of the world. This country, and Europe, keeps trying to force the standards of Western beauty on the rest of the world, because we think this should be the worldwide standard.

So what qualifies someone to be socially acceptable by the public now? Does having a great deal of tattoos and piercings automatically make someone unworthy of intelligence, kindness, the ability to be a parent, teacher, skilled professional? Should we view these people as sick, psychologically disturbed for doing these things to their bodies? The people I’ve met who have body modifications, piercings, tattoos, have generally been intelligent, NORMAL people. I’ve met some weirdos too, but by far, they have been very down to earth folks.

People who look down on this will often dredge up obscure bits from the bible about not defiling one’s body with cuts and such. What about surgery, then? Does someone needing life-saving surgery risk spiritual condemnation? They also say someone who modifies themselves is just desperate for any kind of attention because they didn’t get it as a child. Or the person is acting out against a repressive society by being defiant, being deliberately provocative in appearance, acting outrageous. Sometimes they accuse these people of being perverted, for having all those piercings and the like.

I have never been truly comfortable with myself in regards to my looks, because of the surgeries, the scars, the emotional imapct. I knew people would stare at me openly when I was younger, wondering if I was in a car accident, or if I had Down’s Syndrome. It made me very angry and bitter towards everyone. My parents asked me why on earth would I do these things to myself after all I’d gone through. I was making myself uglier, in their view. Really? So because I chose to stretch my lobes and get tattoos, I’m a sick freak. I’m a loser, baby. I know my limits, thank you very much. I’m not as stupid as they consider me at times. I did my research to prepare myself. I took a lot of time to consider what I wanted to do. I didn’t get a butt-ugly tat of a cartoon character, or some misspelled phrase. I chose my images very carefully. I considered placement, and how it would look over a long period of time.

I see this world we live in as growing more global, as we embrace different cultures. Look at America–we are no longer all white WASPs. We are a culturally and ethnically diverse nation that cannot be classified into one simple category. As for standards of beauty, I think we need to change that too. Instead of these sickly, wasted twits tottering down the catwalks, we should be embracing the idea of a healthy body and mind. Thinner doesn’t mean better. I don’t think appearances equate ability or intelligence either. I think it’s wrong to judge based solely on one’s looks, or lifestyle, or even religion. We can have our dislikes, but we shouldn’t be forcing them on the unwilling.

I’ve had my share of prejudice towards things in terms of body art and modification; there are some kinds of piercings I will never appreciate. There are tattoos I will never like because I just find them incredibly tasteless and unattractive. I have to wonder about the person how they will feel when they get older. Will they want to maintain stretched lobes when they are elderly, or whether those full sleeves they got as a young person still look good when they are in their 70s? It’s nothing to sneeze at. It’s common sense, and being practical. I know I’m going to retire my stretched lobes when I’m older, because it just won’t look right.

Normal is overrated–part 2


I hope by writing these particular entries that people will begin to look at the idea of self-image in a new way. Young people are so vulnerable to the distorted messages that bombard them in the media. They have to look a certain way, they have to have the latest fashion or risk being laughed at for not fitting in, or they have to be stick thin. Go look at the major fashion magazines out there and flip through the pages. Look at the models in the fashion spreads. I personally think these women are ugly. Some of them are so thin you can count their ribs, and to fashion moguls, that’s apparently attractive. I guess anorexia and bulimia are necessary fashion tools as well. When you think about it, the models you see are freaks. It’s not normal to be six feet tall and weigh one hundred pounds. They’re genetic flukes, simply through their parents’ genes. It’s not healthy either, come to think of it.

Why do you want to torture yourself into becoming this false idea seen in a magazine? Do you think you’ll be more accepted? The stuff advertised in these fashion rags no normal person could get away with wearing as everyday wear, for starters. Maybe Hollywood, but then, some celebrities have no accounting for taste. It’s insulting to delude girls into believing they have to be skeletally thin, have fat lips, and wear a size zero in jeans. Looking like a famine victim minus the bloated stomach is not what I consider beautiful.

Much as I like perusing the pages of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and others, I could never wear any of those outfits and not look ridiculous. I don’t think many average women could either.

What is beauty anyhow? It’s become so warped and perverted by the fashion industry that people are killing themselves in order to fit that category of ‘beauty’ the fashionistas trump. When I see those wasted, vacant-eyed models, I see a brainless, unattractive twit. I do mean it when I think they’re ugly. Why would I want to look like them? I don’t think it would gain me any more friends (not that I HAVE any friends to begin with). I will never be model-grade material, not with my face. I would go crazy if say, Lancome or MAC plus some big name label gave me a huge makeover, but that’s not going to happen. I DARE them to take me up on the offer, but that’s just a dream. I know I’m poking the metaphorical bear with a stick, but I think these fashion gurus need a reality check.

I’m not normal looking; I never will be. I have struggled nearly my whole life to accept the way I am and be happy. I get so mad at times when I see regular people whining about their looks, how they feel ugly. Really? I’d take their looks over mine any day, honestly. I’d take the nose with the bump over mine, or the freckles, or the funny ears. My god, I’d be weeping for joy if I had two eyes instead of sight in only one eye! I get so angry when I see these idiots getting plastic surgery because they want to be beautiful. There was nothing wrong with them in the first place!! They had to go be brainwashed by those stupid fashion stereotypes about how they should look. Have they ever taken a look at kids with severe facial birth defects then? Let them consider how they felt about their face and then see the torment these kids go through. Some of those kids can’t even afford to have their defects fixed, and there are perfectly normal people who have to carve up their faces because they’re not pretty enough. It’s incredibly selfish and stupid. Instead of worrying about your own face and wrinkles, maybe you could do something to make someone less fortunate a bit happier. All that money you’d waste on a nose or boob job you could donate to an advocacy group, like FaceForward, or CleftAdvocate. They help out families whose children are born with facial birth defects.

Let’s consider beauty again. Overweight kids and adults don’t have a good time of it, and are often the butt of tremendous cruelty by others. Being overweight is not a good thing, but humiliating them and making them feel less than human does not fix things either. There was that moronic woman who wrote that horrible piece in Marie Claire about overweight people and I wanted to punch her. It was despicable. These people want to feel good about themselves too, so why can’t we help them out? Hey, look at Gabourey Sidibe–she won an Oscar. She has beauty about her, because of her attitude. I think she’s an amazing woman. She is beautiful to me.

Anyone seen that Dove beauty campaign recently, about how a woman’s appearance is tweaked and altered through makeup and computer to literally transform her into something different? That should stick in our heads, ladies. Beauty is just a facade. A person can be downright gorgeous, from head to toes, but be the most ugly person because of their attitude. Someone who looks homely but is kind and loving, can be just as beautiful, but we ignore them because they’re not ‘pretty’. That’s sad and pathetic. This is what kids learn, what drives them to such extremes at times.

We need a fashion revolution, I think. We need to change the way we see ourselves, to learn to LOVE ourselves. We need to get rid of the know-nothing fashionistas wo have dominated our idea of beauty. Maybe I can get Oprah to help me out; this is something I’d consider right up her alley. I need to come up with a good battle flag now–care to help me out?  We can be the Real Beauty Crusade…..


my MAC makeup

I have to admit, I’ve become a real fan of MAC Cosmetics. I have a sizable number of their products, because I really like how innovative they are in regards to color and style. I love their themed collections as well.

I’ve gotten to be pretty chummy with the ladies who work at the MAC counter in the Macy’s at Crossgates Mall, in Albany, NY. I like chatting with them, getting cosmetic tips from them on how to perk up my makeup style. Sure, I know they need to make sales, but from talking with them over a period of time, they have helped me recognize my own sense of self, and my own personal beauty.

I am not the most beautiful woman in the world, but I do the best I can with what I’ve got. Someone like me, who’s had all kinds of reconstructive surgery, shouldn’t be turned away from feeling good about herself either. When I get my cosmetic ammo out, it’s because I enjoy looking nice when I go out in public. It’s why I’ve become so enamored of this particular line of cosmetics.

One of their more recent color collections was their cat-themed line, and I went all goofy over it. I picked up the eye shadow quad in Burmese Beauty and the lipstick in Aristocat. I also snagged their Lipglass in Jealous, which is this funky translucent greenish, pinkish, tinged with gold gloss. It sounds odd, but it goes on very sheer and I love it. The quad and lipstick I wore for a cousin’s wedding, and the colors coordinated with the dress perfectly. I jazzed it up with a touch of Creme de Violet above the crease and a pop of color with the Pearlglide Intense liner in Undercurrent. (I’m quite fond of green). Another combination the ladies introduced me to was the lipstick in Up the Amp with the Dazzleglass gloss in Funtabulous over it. I liked to pair it up with the eyeshadow in Tilt and Idol Eyes. Nice combo for a club scene.

Their Disney Villains collection was a lot of fun as well; I picked up the Amplified lipstick in Violetta and the Mineralize shadow in She Who Dares. Yes, brown eyed girls like me can pull off that color. In fact, it intensifies the brown of my eyes, which I like. I think my eyes are my best feature, frankly.

When perusing a Vogue magazine recently, I saw that MAC had done a collection with Rodarte, and I wished I could’ve seen that collection. They showed a picture of one of the layered lipglosses and a marbelized shadow in lovely shades of pink. I suppose I’ll have to look it up online.

Another thing they do which really earned my loyalty to the line was that they recycle. When you finish the container of cosmetics, you can mail it back to the company, I believe. That’s great. I wish more companies had that mindset. I also liked their Viva Glam line–I got the Viva Cyndi lipstick. What is great about those is that ALL the proceeds of buying one of that particular line goes to AIDS research. Not a part of the price, but all of it. That’s something worth appreciating.  I think that’s a truly worthy cause.

Well, time to wrap up my cosmetic love-fest here. I would like to give kudos to the girls at the Macy’s who have become my favorite people to visit in the mall. A tip of the hat to Sabeen Pervez, who’s the manager of the MAC counter there. Now there is one beautiful, cool, lady!

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