Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stopping the Waiting Game

Beside their name and age, what seems to be the first question that adults always ask kids? "What do you want to be when you grow up?" As if a five-year-old has his entire career path planned at this point. And who decided that you could only be one thing when you "grow up"? And what does that even mean? I think that we start putting unnecessary pressure on kids to figure out what they're "doing with their lives", and that never goes away. I mean what eighteen-year-old is really ready to commit to one thing for the rest of their lives? I think the statistics of how many people change their majors and how many people end up working in a field other than their major, speak for themselves. And that pressure continues once one actually "grows up". Its almost as if life is a waiting game until you "accomplish" something and become whatever your plan was to be when you "grew up". You might have some fun moments or good memories before that point, but it doesn't amount to anything significant because it is sort of the "purgatory" phase of life.

Where did this faulty perspective come from? We do it with so many things - we have everyday clothes and shoes and makeup and dishes, and we save the nicer clothes and shoes and dishes and the glam makeup for Sunday, or going out, or some other elusive "special occasion". We spend our lives waiting for that occasion to feel pretty or successful. Life shouldn't be a waiting game for any reason. Every day is a gift and every moment has the potential to be a life-altering crossroad, or to make an amazing memory. So stop putting everything on hold. Without wearing clothes out of season, or wearing a cocktail dress to the gym, wear whatever you want! Every day. Each morning is your chance to walk your own personal runway and make your own impact on the people around you. You will act the way you are dressed, so go ahead and the wear the glitter eye shadow and heels on Monday morning. The prettier you feel, the more confident you will be, and the more likely you will be to seize your day and what you want from it.

That's the last part of this mindset change. Part of not playing the waiting game is not waiting on your dreams to be just handed to you. But at the same time just because you're working at Cracker Barrel to pay bills while you're auditioning for an anchor job doesn't mean you're a failure. You still get to seize every day and every opportunity remotely related to what you love. You never know who you will meet or what might be offered to you. Live every day so that you don't have to look back and say 'if only I had looked nice that day", or "I looked awful in that picture because I didn't care that day". Have no regrets. Always be the best version of yourself inside and out and you won't ever have any.

"Walk like you have three men walking behind you." - Oscar de la Renta

"In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous." - Elsa Schiaparelli

"Vain trifle as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us." - Virginia Woolf

Friday, April 15, 2016

Top Ten Beauty Must-Haves

So have you ever just stood in the aisle at the drug store and stared at all the beauty products and wondered if any of those high priced bottles actually worked? Yeah, me too. Way too often. Now I'm all for experimenting and trying new products until I continually ended up with all of these half-used bottles jammed in a drawer and I used barely any of them. Most of the time I didn't even what most of them did. I would just go to bed with my makeup on wishing I looked like Blake Lively. And then one day I grew up and realized I could have the skin and hair I wanted if I only put in the work. That's the only difference between "us" and "them". They put in the work because their faces are their money, while the rest of us run our rat races and don't take five minutes for ourselves at either end of the day. But that is a change we can make for ourselves and something that will make us prouder of who we are. And those five minutes start by having the right products on hand that you know you can trust so there's no more guesswork. So here's my top ten list. Feel free to post yours in the comments!

1. EOS Chapstick 
So all of us have seen the adorable, brightly colored balls in the check-out line at Target and Nordstrom Rack, but do they really do any good or are they all ad hype? I'm here to tell you that they work. Miracles in fact. I keep them everywhere around my house - in my bedside drawer, in my purse, by the couch. Its become my mantra to never have one out of reach. Not only do they feel like gold on your lips, they taste and smell good too. But beware because your puppy will agree with me and use your EOS as a snack. Also babies think they make fabulous toys. 

2. Merle Norman Super-Lube 
I've tried a lot of oils and creams to keep my cuticles from drying out, but this is the only thing I've found that works. I remember as a kid my aunt kept a pot in her purse and used it daily and her nails always looked amazing. Rub it on your nails before bed and let it do its work while you sleep. Don't worry, it won't hurt your manicure. In fact, it helps it stay shiny!! 

3. Miracell 
I discovered this gem in a quaint corner drugstore in Aspen, Colorado. All it is is a mixture of different oils and vitamins and natural stuff. It can be used on any skin ailment from acne to cold sores. However my favorite uses are as eye-makeup remover and to get rid of red scars. Its the best makeup remover. I've found it only takes a little bit and the mascara slides right off. Plus it conditions your lashes and helps them grow. 

4. Too Faced Extreme Lip Injection 
So don't freak out, there aren't any needles involved. It's just a good old-fashioned lip plumper gloss. I tried a bunch of these too, and I actually found one I really liked . . . and they quit making it. But then I found this one and I fell in love! You can feel the plumping action start as soon as you put it on, and the heavy gloss gives you all-night moisture. I can definitely tell the difference if I accidentally skip a night. 

5. Loreal Youth Code Serum 
This started as an experiment that now I couldn't live without. This serum does a lot of things at one time. It smooths away fine lines, blends in brown and red spots, evens out skin tone, revitalizes and moisturizes. I cover my face in it every night before sleeping. It makes such a difference! It even helps erase the effects of tanning beds and over-exposure to the sun. 

6. Obagi Hydrate Luxe 
I have bi-polar skin. It looks oily but I have to douse it in moisturizer to keep it from flaking and getting super dry. After years I had finally perfected my routine to get the perfect balance. And then I moved to Indiana where its cold all the time and there is barely any humidity and my skin threw a fit and staged a full-scale rebellion. So I had to go back to the drawing board and try something new. I have used other Obagi products and loved them so I figured this product was worth a try. And it was a rewarding experiment. This is a very heavy lotion but it feels light on the skin. It doesn't take very much to create a fairly thick layer and yet it still sits well underneath foundation. It doesn't make your makeup grab on or look thick and goopy. I love it! 

7. Secret Outlast Deodorant 
This product is simply a life-saver. Know those annoying white marks that deodorant leaves on clothes that even washing machines won't get out? Those days are over! This gel deodorant dries so fast that it never gets on your clothes. And I love the fact that it comes in an unscented variety so the scent doesn't interfere with my perfume. And one other fabulous thing about it is that it lasts for at least 48 hours. No lie. 

8. Tea-tree Oil 
I absolutely love this stuff! I put it on my face every day after I wash it and before I put on my moisturizer. It cleans off the excess dirt that the face wash missed, and it calms down inflammation on pimples and helps them heal faster. I also use it on my arms and back after I shower. It works like a dream. Its easy to find at an organic food store such as Whole Foods, Earth Fare or Fresh Thyme. It's worth every dollar. 

9. Mabelline Colorsensational Lipstick 
This is sort of cheating since it isn't just one product its a line. But I love these lipsticks. They are my go-to when I need a new color. They aren't waxy and the color is consistent and doesn't pull like some  lipsticks do. Also they moisturize while giving intense color. And they have matte finishes and shiny and even lacquer. And they are only like $8! 

10. Urban Decay Naked Palate Eyeshadow 
Yep. This is the only brand eyeshadow that I will ever buy from now on. The Naked Palate is a great place to start because it has ever neutral you could ever dream of. They have sparkly and matte eyeshadows in the palate, and the sparkly ones are actually look sparkly on your eyes and not just on the palate. They blend well without grabbing and they stay all day long without fading at all. And if you put Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer underneath it you won't have to worry about it creasing all day long either. And it comes with a brush that is absolute perfection. I completely love everything about it! 

So that's my list of favorite beauty products. Hope it helps! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Journey of Fashion

When I moved with my husband to Indianapolis a month ago I had no idea how different the life and the people would be. I had been to the city before and I thought I knew what moving here would would be like. I envisioned the romanticized cosmopolitan life of New York City on a smaller scale. I fancied we would be like Carrie Bradshaw and a middle-class Mr. Big. I anticipated wearing heels everywhere that I went and for the first time I would actually fit in, and as I walked down the halls of the Fashion Mall for a brief interlude of time I thought I might've been right. But then the grind and reality of life set in and the only places that I was going was the grocery store and the pharmacy and Michaels to buy wedding decorations. And the more I looked at the people I shared a town with, the more disillusioned I became in my expectations. Apparently Indianapolis has a dress code - everything that the fashion industry would frown upon. Specifically, a sweatshirt, leggings and Ugg boots. I'm beginning to feel like Blair Waldorf in Brooklyn. Every day as I walk out the door of my painfully suburban apartment I feel like yelling "Leggings aren't pants!" But unfortunately I'm not Queen B and I don't get to send girls home for how they dress so therefore I just stick out like a sore thumb.

When you get dressed to go out and your husband gives you a quizzical look and says, "Is that what you're wearing?" the automatic female response is, "Oh crap he doesn't like my outfit," but his comeback is always, "Well you don't dress the way my friends' wives do. I'm just not used to it, that's all." While I'm all about being different and being an individual and standing out, the undertone of fashion disapprobation I'm getting from this town has thrown me for a loop. So much of my life has changed in the last couple of months that some days I feel like I can't get my footing in anything solid beside the love of my amazing husband. Fashion and music have always been my rock in the darkest of times, but I can't seem to get a handle on it here. I try very hard to show the world the strong confident woman that I see in the mirror every morning but so much of that is based on where I see my footing in the world and this time I can't seem to find it. Some days I stand in front of my closet and just want to sell it all and start over. (P.S. If I do, it will be on Poshmark and you're all invited to the sale.) I'm starting not to see myself in any of them anymore: the fashion T-shirts help me fit in but I feel too mainstream and not the best version of myself. When I wear the chic dresses and pencil skirts in my closet I feel overdressed and showy but its the only times these days that I'm comfortable in my own skin.

I always saw my own personal style as rather an established fact with room for a few minor variations but never as something that would ever change. But now I'm discovering that my sense of fashion is a journey just like everything else in life. I started out as a Southern belle, then ended up in college that expected professional skirts and dresses everyday, and now I'm living in the land of sweatshirts and leggings. I sort of just thought that you matured into your sense of style and that was the way it would be from then on. But this move has made me realize that as you change and evolve as a person your style changes and evolves too. While I always preach that ultimately there is no right or wrong in fashion, I think I just needed to take that to heart for myself.

 I also had never considered the fact that your region partially dictated your fashion. I mean I thought about it from the swimsuit versus coat perspective but nothing beyond that. As steeped in the whole fashion world as I always have been I don't know why this never occurred to me since I knew that Charleston definitely has its own style. So how do I assimilate without looking like everyone else and betraying my own fashion sense? And that brings me back around to me standing in front of my closet and not seeing who I see myself to be in any of those clothes. There were days when they made me confident and happy and feel beautiful, but today is not one of them. Now I feel stiff and inhibited and way too proper. The last ten years have made a huge difference in who I am as a person and in my personality. So why did I think that continuing to wear the same clothes was going to work? No wonder I felt completely out of place in everything I put on and in every situation I went into. You can't expect to feel at home in a situation if you aren't at home in your own skin. So if you don't feel at home, the answer is to change something. So I did. I dyed my hair.

I started writing this post several days ago right after I dyed my hair. It accelerated my personal style journey. So remember that closet sale party I promised? Yep, that's happening. So make sure to keep checking your facebook feed for the next week!! I started going through the closet and just throwing things on the bed. It was interesting to think through all the memories that I had associated with each garment. And I began to realize that those memories were a huge part of why I had kept some of those clothes this long. But I also didn't see myself making any new memories in them. So that is the indication its time for them to go to a new home!

Now a few days later, a shopping trip, a reorganizing of my closet, and a new hair color and my husband is now saying I look like a rockstar and he loves my new look. So this moral of this rambling post is to never be afraid of reinvention. Most of the times when everyone else doesn't see the need for it is exactly the perfect time! Never settle when someone tells you that its good enough but you feel like it isn't. Fashion is about making your outside look like your inside so when you grow as a person and your inside changes never be afraid to make changes to your outside; even if they're dramatic! Being true to yourself is always the most important thing in fashion.

Oh yeah, and my answer to the legging problem? I bought "peggings". Pants that look like leggings but are made of actual fabric. So now Queen B wouldn't banish me from the steps of the Met but I can still incorporate into my wardrobe some of the style of my new city.

"A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes." - Vera Wang

"Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It will be the journey to find yourself." - Anonymous

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Treating Your Friends Like Your Shoes

So the last couple of months have turned out to be a whirlwind for me. Some of the air currents have been warm and pleasant and some have been incredibly cold and biting. But the end result was that I got married to the love of my life. I couldn't have survived all the ups and downs of this adventure without my dearest friends. As I thought about packing up my life to start a new one, I thought about what were my greatest treasures in my house and how I would care for them in this move. I began to realize that among those things I valued the most is my extensive shoe collection. Now to my usual readers this should come as no surprise as the revelation wasn't a huge surprise to me. What did surprise me was that on further reflection I realized that the way I select and care for my shoes is almost a metaphor for how to create and maintain friendships.

Now hear me out on this one; I promise I didn't lose my marbles in the move. In fact quite the contrary. It has given me far too much time to think. So to my metaphor. Lets start with the extremely obvious fact that I have tons of shoes. Anywhere I go I always have my eyes open for something new, something unique, something special to add to my collection. I pick my friends the same way. Any time I end up in a new situation, I always have my eyes open for new people to add to my acquaintance. But being a slightly eccentric and artsy soul myself I look for the slightly outré and unique in my friends. I think of it as the mixing patterns of life. Think of it as me being a pair of leopard heels and my friend as a floral skirt and together we make the world more interesting and beautiful.

Now having as vast a collection of shoes as I do, it is physically impossible to not have some that are at least somewhat similar. But though similar maybe in style or color, no two pairs are alike. Each one serves a different function in my wardrobe and each one holds a different place in my heart. My friends are exactly the same way. Though some may share preferences or hobbies or characteristics, each one of them is intensely unique. Each one has a different story to tell about their life and how they became the person they are today and each one has a different impetus that caused our lives to collide and each one has a different role to play in my story that is still unwritten. Some are the sky-high platform heels that get brought out when you've had a bad day and you need to remember why you're in love with your life to begin with. Some are the trusty pumps that you wear to work every day and yet never manage to tire of their constant presence in your life. And some are the artsy pair that never seems to quite fit with any outfit yet manages to make each one look better and stand out.

After all this I began contemplating how I take care of my shoes. Since I'm so fond of all of them, I would really like to keep them around for a long time since their uniqueness makes them irreplaceable. I feel the same way about my friends. My girls that have been with me through the sunny days and the rainy ones are the girls that I plan on keeping around me forever and introducing to my children as the examples of genuineness that is nowadays hard come by. But just as all of my shoes aren't made of the same materials, so my friendships are built on different memories and circumstances. So the suede ones have to be handled with care and kept out of the rain, so the sensitive souls must be loved on more and told the truth with care and compassion. The patent leather ones however let everything roll off their toes and are always ready to be of service. Just as each material requires a particular type of maintenance so each friendship requires a different type of care particular to the disposition of each.

As dearly as I love my shoe collection and much as I reply upon them to complete and vary my wardrobe, I realized how much more I love my friends and reply on them to complete and my life and to keep it interesting. Though I know everyone is partial to their own friends and family, I feel that I am indeed blessed with the most wonderful friends who have become my family and mean the world to me.

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"The only way to have a friend is to be one." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Friends are like shoes, some loose some tight, some fit just right, and they help us as we walk through life."