Category Archives: Life

Makeup and Beauty Focus: Eyelashes

I am devastated by the sudden death of George Michael, one of my idols. I must distract myself with something amusing to take my mind off sad things. I am getting into makeup and fashion. Suddenly I am interested in mascara, eyelash curlers, and false eyelashes. I instantly go looking for a guide for beginners and I found this one. These are a makeup beauty focus that takes you beyond blush colors and types of lipstick. Most women limit themselves to a touch of foundation and a smear of lip color, but I think the eyes get short shrift. When you see before and after photos with and without eyelashes, it is amazing how good the model looks. Women say they worry about their eyelashes falling out with too much brittle mascara, but I know for a fact that the newest products are gentle and nourish these little cilia.

For everyday wear, mascara can be enough. If you like drama, two coats are requisite. But for really amazing results, put on a strip of eyelashes. If you don’t mind taking an hour to make yourself look good, you can apply the lashes one by one. That is a labor of love for sure. I stick with simple tricks and they work well enough. Maybe save the individual lashes for special events. If it is really a big deal like a wedding or special occasion, they can be professionally applied to last for up to two weeks. For some women, this is a requirement in their lives. More and more eyelash specialty salons are popping up.

If you are going to want to remove the lashes right away, get a good remover that is for sensitive eyes. You should worry about an allergic reaction to some products. I like the solutions that also nourish your natural lashes. You don’t want them to fall out because you are torturing them with too much adhesive glue. The glue is another story and must be the very best. Use only a product designed for false eyelashes. I made the mistake of using something sitting around in my bathroom and the next morning I unexpectedly awoke with raccoon eyes. What a disaster! I should have known better. Now I am in a position to give advice so I can tell you what I say is true from experience.

If you are having your picture taken to commemorate an event or to give to a loved one, false eyelashes will shift the focus nicely to your eyes. After all, they are the windows to the soul. Make them look deep, dark, and exotic with a simple strip of lashes. They will make you look very special. I personally like the glamour idea from time to time and not every day. Then when you wear the eyelashes, you will stand out. If you have a new outfit, power it up with the right makeup.

Take care of your eyelashes and they can be used more than once. Why not be economical if you can. If they start to stick together, toss them in the trash.

Getting Fit, Getting Equipped

There are big decisions to be made in life. They have to do with milestones like getting engaged, becoming married, having children, selecting and changing careers, traveling, relocating, and so on. On a smaller scale, there are decisions to be made in between that pertain to the quality of life. Not that mine isn’t good. It is. It’s just that I want it to be better.

So what did I decide to do for myself? It wasn’t to take a trip or a new job. It wasn’t to commit to someone new or move. It was the big mind-blowing decision to exercise on a regular routine basis – without fail and with specific goals in mind. It’s not about being fat or even a pinch overweight. It’s not about following a fad or doing something at the suggestion of a nagging mom. It is all about fitness and health in and for itself. It is about starting young to make sure it is easier later on when it really counts. It is about planning my life with some future orientation. Wow. That is so mature.

I know that young people, as we are called, don’t often think like this. I did read a few articles and I did start to ponder the subject of personal growth—a great euphemism. The next step was getting some good home gym equipment. (My gym is the spare room by the way but I like the idea of the name “home gym.”) I was very particular about what I acquired since the last time I did this a few years ago, it all ended up unpacked in the closet.

Some three to four years later, I am now equipped to get fit. I envy celebs with all that muscle tone and I know how much work it takes—and money if you want to hire a trainer. I am on my own, but I have some good examples to follow. I am not naïve. I know there is a certain regimen to it and you have to know how to use the simplest gear properly. You can’t just read the diagrams and go wild.

I am doing my homework to set forth a program tailored by me for me. I will involve some 8 pound weights, a set of the best resistance bands for stretching, a large plastic balance ball, and a yoga mat. A mini trampoline is flitting through my mind as are some boxing gloves just because they are so cool. So much can be done on the mat if you like the spare approach: sit ups, pushups, the plank, scissor kicks, and so on. I won’t run out of exercises on my bare bones fitness plan. I wish I had room for a treadmill. To me that is the ideal way to keep in shape and feel productive. Maybe some day.

Let me tell you that exercise gets addictive! I like to listen to some music and use the rhythm to set me on a course to my fitness destiny. I plan to keep toned and taut for all the world to see.

My Mom and Grandma Used to Sew

I am not much good at it, but mom and grandma were whizzes at sewing and all things handmade. Mom used to tell me that nana used to make a lot of her dresses when she was little, which was what she wore in school most of the time. She would get very creative by adding embroidering, trim, and appliques. They were little gems from what I can see in old photos. As she got older, the skill was passed on and mom would fashion great tops and jackets to pair with her jeans (store bought of course). She had dozens of them. She would fold and stack them in the cupboard—neat as a pin. She could even make a scarf with rolled edges.

I did not inherit this sewing gene; and from what I can tell, it is a good one to have. I don’t even have the fashion habit. Throw on what’s lying on the chair and I’m gone. But I do have great admiration for what these two were able to achieve however. They looked good, saved money, and got lots of kudos to boot. Clothing, especially imported, is very, very costly. Just a simple silk blouse can cost a couple hundred dollars.

Grandma had this old Singer without many bells and whistles. It did the basic work of seaming, buttonholes, reverse stitching, and even zigzags. You could make a few adjustments manually. Mom was pretty excited about her state-of-the art Brother with a computer inside that could produce dozens of options within seconds. It was easy to change the size of the stitch, adapt for stretch fabrics, and create super cool designs. She often made baby clothes for relatives that were first rate. One pleated two-year old dress with collar can set you back $100. People really looked forward to her birthday gifts.

Christmas was another world altogether. Of course, we had home-made stockings and special hand-knit sweaters. But the crochet table cloth with holiday flowers was just stunning—and with matching napkins! Way beyond the simple doily phase many women acquire. Easter outfits were no problem and Halloween was a fun challenge each year. Winning the best costume prize in school was a no brainer.

After looking at a few sewing blogs like She Likes to Sew, I’ve been thinking about taking it up as a hobby too, and see whether I am actually any good at it. I doubt that I’ll ever be as good as grandma though. She could even make sequined evening clothes like a veritable professional seamstress. One by one those little circles get applied with painstaking love. I wish I had an occasion to wear one! Mom wore a pretty strapless silk ankle-length beauty for her high school prom fashioned by this couture genius. It was right in style, not retro, and very sexy.

So I have some pretty nice memories associated with sewing. At this moment, the subject is nostalgic since I have not ventured a stitch; but the more I think about it, the more it starts to do its magic. I have been looking at photos online of recent runway shows and have made a few notes that just might come to fruition in the near future—with mom’s help of course.

Showering into Adulthood

We all get a bit nostalgic now and then. I was watching a TV movie about a mother and daughter whose lifelong bickering wasn’t resolved until the latter was in her late 20’s. This kind of rang a bell with me and I started to remember some very good times (and a few bad). Mostly my thoughts were a paean to youth and what life was like when I was still in the parental embrace. Or cocoon I should say. You don’t miss it until it’s gone.

Moving out was dramatic for sure. It was a landmark point in my life and the beginning of true independence. Young adults make more out of it than it merits. Freedom at last! It was pretty heady stuff given the arguments and ersatz fights that defined my teen years. (Nothing special, typical of the nature of the beast.) Now in retrospect, I can admit that I miss those home cooked meals, a nice clean bedroom, loving listeners whenever I needed it, and a friendly canine greeting whenever I returned home. You don’t realize how charmed life is as an adolescent. You need distance to see it in its true surreal perspective. (Having your laundry washed and folded, and placed neatly on your bed. Aah!)

My apartment isn’t bad, but it isn’t like the abode of my childhood. In fact, my parents had just done some remodeling when I was fifteen and I got a brand new bathroom. New toilet, sink, tile décor: the works. They even let me choose my showerhead thinking this was a safe enough project for a flighty female. And choose I did. I had to visit at least ten hardware stores and high-end appliance outlets before committing. It took weeks. Why? Because I had no idea how complicated this decision was going to be.

First, what finish: chrome or brass, shiny or matte? The look: ultra-modern, space age, traditional, faux antique? Did I want to conserve water, make soft water, have a million choices of sprays, and/or a twist neck design? Whew! It was too much for a girl who couldn’t decide what lipstick to wear that day. I found out about flow, temperature settings, ease of manipulation, height requirements, hand-held models, and lots more. It all became so important! After all, it is very important for a girl to have A Great Shower!

Actually, I was pretty proud of myself when my pride and joy choice from Kohler arrived for installation. It was a mid-range product, but the best rain shower head that I could get with the budget that my parents had allocated me. It was befitting our nice middle class suburban bungalow but good enough to feature everything a growing girl could want in a luxury shower. I would spent hours deluged by warm pelting water, listening to music, humming alone, and just being young and happy.

I think my parents instinctively knew that decision-making was maturity-making. Without risk, they gave me my first real adult contribution to the household. They set something in motion inside me that I will never forget. They said they agreed with my perfect choice–who knows. All in all, I was pretty proud of my entrance into adulthood.