Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

I DARE you…

DARE to dream BIG and fly high

DARE to push out of your comfort zone and take risks

DARE to trust the universe and open up to miracles taking place in your life

DARE to say “NO” sometimes

DARE to question your old beliefs and adapt new ones

DARE to quit caring about what others think

DARE to be outrageous

DARE to smile at the face of obstacles and see them as opportunities in disguise

DARE to admit it when you’re wrong

DARE to ask for help when you need it most

DARE to follow your intuition and listen to you inner voice

DARE to dig deep to the core of your soul and understand the real YOU

DARE to love, to care, to share, to give

DARE to make that really tough decision. Whatever happens you can deal with it

DARE to speak the truth even if it isn’t popular

DARE to walk where you haven’t been before – to face the unknown

DARE to surrender and let go of what you can’t control 

DARE to forgive the past and move on

DARE to refuse to listen to the voice of fear

DARE to view life as an exciting adventure

DARE to be less critical of yourself and appreciate who you are

DARE to be your authentic self

The Good Opinion

“We can be bad company to ourselves.  As long as it is seen, it can be fixed”

Sit beside yourself and take a good look at what you see?  Do you speak and carry yourself as someone who likes who you are? 

One of the most powerful influences on your attitude and personality is the opinion you have of yourself.  Your self-opinion is the most important opinion that you will ever have.  It plays an important role in how much or how little you value yourself – its the foundation of living a life that is worthwhile.

In order to value others, you have to value yourself first. It’s about appreciating your self-worth and taking pride in your abilities, skills and accomplishments.

They see you as you see yourself..

We all have faults and weaknesses, but we should never go through life being against ourselves.  How you see yourself  is your perspective lens for your world – showing others how to treat you.  If you constantly send out unworthy messages, you will receive unworthy responses.

Too many of us go around feeling low on the inside and not realizing that how we feel about ourselves affects how we’re perceived by those we come in contact with.

When you think good about yourself – you are putting a high value on yourself and your capabilities.

You owe it to yourself and those you love to take good care of your most valuable asset…YOU!

My Lost Asset

A few weeks ago I did my usual saunter past my husband in my snug jeans before I headed out to meet with my friends for dinner. I do a little wiggle, then say, “So how does my ass look in these jeans?” He says, “Nice and flat”

“What? I’ll  have you know I was voted ‘nicest ass’ in high school.”

He laughed and said, “Are you sure you didn’t leave it there?”

Don’t get me wrong; my man loves my tushie. It’s just that we will do the banter dance whenever we learn something quirky about each other. It’s our way of keeping each other grounded. So in this case, he likes to throw it back at me whenever I mention my “high school badge of honor”.

I didn’t find out about this “label” until I was in my early twenties, while being out on the town with a few high school friends. Of course the conversation always goes back to the good ole days. One friend says, “I see you still wear your title proudly.” Puzzled, I said, “What title?” She laughed and said, “Don’t you remember being voted nicest ass in high school?” My other friend then piped up, saying, “Oh, yeah, that was common knowledge around school.” I was shocked at what I was hearing.

Sure, I’ve always had guys comment about my butt, but I didn’t know that a “best ass” stamp was branded on me during my high school years. 

Well, at least my rump made an impact, considering I never had a date during those years. I guess closely resembling Dustin Hoffman’s Tootsie would be a setback in anyone’s love life. With my tight curly perm, bad make-up and don’t forget the HUGE glasses – which I can now fondly look back on and refer to as being my form of birth control.

During those school years, it was standard procedure for us to find creative ways to paint on our jeans. My personal favorite was lying on my bed and using a fork to pull up my zipper. The motto back in those days was “the tighter the better.” It just didn’t matter how much discomfort we were in, just as long as we looked good in our second skin.

After finding out about this prestigious title, I thought it was only right that I wear it well.  So I did my very best to take good care of my most recognized asset – wearing all the right clothing to accentuate my curves and I welcomed the compliments. I exercised regularly – working hard at keeping my lovely lady humps plump. 

A few years ago, after stepping out of my morning shower – I caught a glimpse of my naked side profile, and that’s when my life changed forever. I quickly put on my glasses and wiped the steam off the mirror so I could get a better look at this earth-shattering moment that left me so crushed.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The sizzle had fizzled!!! My once bodacious bubble butt had deflated. It seemed to have melted into the back of my thighs. What, when, why, where and how? kept spinning in my head.  It was like – one day.. “Baby’s got back” and then….“poof,” it was gone.

I did all the right things to keep it “up and out” but somewhere along the way it must of sprang a slow leak and left me as I graduated into my forties.

It’s easy for me to accept the inevitable – to see my boobs lose their shape and make their way south. With today’s bra technology, I can still create the illusion of my once perky breasts without considering surgery.

I also accept the changes I see in my face – skin not as plump, becoming dry, and the fine lines starting to creep in. But to lose my full backside…well, that just wasn’t as easy to accept. Maybe because it was a part of me that really resonated with my youth – having that special something that I won a prize for and I just don’t want to give it up.

Butt…can I get back what I lost?

I’m as curious as a cat so I had to investigate what options are out there for those who are looking for a little extra cushioning when exercising can only do so much.

There are “shape enhancers” – underwear with padding. I wonder if I can get padding the size of Jennifer Lopez’s humps? More than likely that would be a custom order.

The good news is, the pads are removable – wash and wear. Maybe I can do an “R&R” – rotate and recycle.  After the padding gets used and abused from covering my backside, I guess I can then use them as inserts in my bra for when deflation really sets in.

I also did a little digging about butt implants (or, to use the proper terminology, buttock augmentation).  I squirm in my seat as I write about this unusual surgery.

The incision is made where the cheek meets the back of the thigh, or down the buttock crease.  The doctor then creates pockets large enough to insert the butt implants. The recovery is very painful and can lead to a long healing time. There’s also the high risk of repetitive surgeries due to implant shifting or deflation.

After reviewing these not-so-natural remedies, I think its best that I just accept my “little” tushie just the way it is. I will learn to love and cherish it just as much as my butt from the past.

Now when I put on my snug jeans to go out with my friends for cocktails and dancing, its no longer shake my bon bon…it’s ..shake what’s long gone. Sure, I still get the odd compliment. But it’s no longer “you’ve got a great ass.” It’s more like “you’ve got a cute little butt.”  I figure that a compliment is a compliment – I’ll start to worry when I no longer get any.

Ageless Attitude

I recently read the book “I feel bad about my neck” by Nora Ephron. I chuckle as I study the cover and remember hearing about this book when it first came out in 2006. I guess it just wasn’t my time to read it until now.

From the first page, my laughter started and hit its peak when I read the line.   “If you want to get really really depressed about your neck, sit in the backseat of a car, behind the driver and look at yourself in the rearview mirror”. At that moment I collided with her words – it was a true déjà vu moment.

One week earlier before awakening to Nora’s “rearview mirror experiment”, I accidentally stumbled on it.  I was sitting behind the driver’s seat and within minutes of starting out on a road trip, I made eye contact with the person looking back at me through the review mirror.

I just wasn’t prepared what I saw – it was as if a stranger was staring back at me. The mirror opened a window to what middle age has in store for me – giving me a glimpse of a thinning and maturing neckline, eyes losing their luster, noticeable nasolabial folds and a sneaking presence of a softening jawline.

I sunk low in my seat and said to myself “What the heck am I going to do? I can’t possibly sit here staring out the window for the next two hours, avoiding the rearview mirror –  which I now refer to as the “evil eye”.  At that moment, I knew I had to do whatever it takes to get away from its wickedness. I switched seats with the person beside me, giving her the excuse that the direct sunlight was giving me a headache.

For someone who spent 10 years in the skincare/beauty industry, this is the first time I’ve been stumped in finding ways to hide the evidence of aging without the interference of injections and/or surgery.

I do everything right – use all the right lotions and potions, eat well, drink lots of water and get lots of sleep. Being an expert illusionist – I pride myself in knowing all the tricks of the trade when it comes to applying make-up. With a swirl of my brushes and some magic dust I can make anyone look like a superstar. But no skincare certifications, workshops or even my mother prepared me for the “crossover” from dodging my real age to suddenly looking my age.

I’ve now reached that reluctant pinnacle stage in my life when the mirror’s reality has slapped me across the face – blatantly letting me know that I’m no longer the fairest in the land. The ghosts from years of excessive tanning and late night celebrations are starting to carve their stories out on my face.

Acceptance: With or Without Grace

We worry about wrinkles because we view aging as a downhill road. Our faces sag, our bodies sag and we let our attitude sag along with it.   

Aging gracefully isn’t always easy, but having a positive attitude towards it matters greatly.  Maybe we should stop chasing after the past and look forward to the future and embrace what we see in the mirror.  

Here’s to looking at the bright side of aging…we may not have total control over the wrinkles that form on our faces but we can certainly control whether or not we let wrinkles take over our mind, soul and attitude. 

Commit yourself today to living life with an ageless attitude.  It’s more than half the battle and it makes a world of difference.

Your Image! How Important Is It?

I conducted a little survey asking random people,  “How Important Is Your Image? The results are unanimous; everyone said Image is important to them.  The surprising thing is that everyone viewed Image differently.  Some people relate image to grooming/appearance, while some think it is all in how you conduct yourself professionally.  Then there are the ones who think it’s the whole package from grooming, style of clothing, how you walk, talk and conduct yourself in different environments.

Image is different for everyone. Personally, I think it boils down to how you wish to be recognized by the people you come in contact with.

I’ve always taken great pride in my Image.  Since my early twenties I always did my best to conduct myself in a professional manner when it comes to my work experiences.  Based on the different industries I work  in, I would conform to that environment from the way I dress, to how I interact with the people I worked with.  I work hard, have fun and always maintain a professional image even when socializing with my employers and coworkers. 

As for my social image when hanging with my friends, well, I used to be a bit relaxed without totally letting my guard down and never really put much thought into it until I had my wake up call summer of 2007.  Since Facebook has come into my life I’ve been getting reacquainted with old friends who I went to middle and high school with.  So I jumped at the opportunity to meet up with my home-girls for a night of cocktails and dancing. 

It was certainly a night to remember because I was absolutely horrified the following morning when a friend uploaded photos from the night of oblivion.  Lets just say I was one big Mess!  I felt more nauseated from seeing my drunken stupor then I was from the actual hangover itself.  I laughed off the jokes and comments from my friends but I felt completely humiliated and embarrassed. 

Facebook is a fun place to check out friends’ pictures of their families, vacations and party moments but it can also be very dangerous.  Whenever friends post pictures, you really don’t have any control over what they upload.  So you need to keep in mind that there could be hundreds, if not, thousands of people who will see pictures that you might not want to share. Not to mention the fact that potential employers are not only checking your references but are also checking to see how you conduct yourself in Social Media.

This experience was an  Aha moment for me!   That horrifying nightmare experience helped me come to my senses and realize that my Social Image is just as important as my Business Image.  

Do your own Public Relations

It’s not just about being in control of your own photos and what gets uploaded to your social medai profiles – you also need to be conscious of your Image when others are taking photos of you. Always stay alert and protect your Image!  Once it’s released in cyberspace, you can’t take it back.

Make Up Can Be A Girls’ Best Friend

**above photo used isn’t my creation..just added for a chuckle**

I’m not overly proud of this, but I’ve been wearing make-up since I as 13 years old.  At the time, it was my way of covering up how I was feeling inside about my acne problem and low self-esteem.  I thought by wearing foundation it would some how magically make my inflamed pimples disappear.

Years later, while reminiscing about the past with my brother Paul, I come to find out that I actually looked like a clown in those early days.  He told me that all he could see was this dark circle around my face and jaw-line.  In his words “I looked like I was wearing a mask.”  At the time, I didn’t know the importance of “blending and matching foundation to my skin tone.  Paul not telling me at the time, I guess was his way of having a big ole’ laugh at my expense.

During my years as a make up artist I was fortunate enough to work in the entertainment but my most favorite clients were “regular folks” who didn’t have much experience with make up and wanted to look glamorous for special events.  I remember one customer who was in her mid-40’s who came to see me because she wanted to look hot for her date.  She never wore make up before and I knew instinctively to keep her look somewhat simple with a hint of glamor.  After I finished, she looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe how she looked but more importantly, how she felt. 

She called me the next day to tell me that her date was a hit and that she was surprised to see that other men at the restaurant/bar were checking her out.  She felt like a movie star.

Know When To Keep It Simple and When To Do It Diva Style

Size up your setting before you get started.  Ask yourself “When” (day or night), “Where” (type of event), “What” (wearing – casual or formal) and “How” (keep it simple or go diva).

Your make-up should reflect your personality and the industry you work in. Splurge on a “high end-good quality foundation” that matches your skin tone.  By doing so, you won’t have to spend a fortune on the rest of make-up collection.  Using a good quality foundation is the secret to making your skin look flawless.  It will make even the cheapest pressed powders, blushes and eye shadows appear high end and polished.

· Use a sponge to get best coverage – take time to blend down below your jaw-line and close into your hairline.
· Natural light is best when applying make-up, as it will give you a true measurement of balance and good coverage.
· Play Up Your Best Feature – whether it would be your eyes, cheeks or lips.  Ensure you give all three areas good coverage but really put emphasis on one feature only.  Stay away from over emphasizing all three areas as this will come across as overpowering and make you look older.

What You Should Have In Your Bag Of Goodies:

foundation, concealer, pressed powder, quality brushes, multiple shades of eye shadows, black and brown eye liner, bronzer (can be used for blush and eye shadow), black mascara, multiple shades of lip-gloss and or lipsticks

One more little tidbit for a flawless face:

Well-groomed eye-brows is important for adding symmetry to your face.  When groomed and penciled correctly, they will make your eyes pop and give you more of a youthful look.

Recommended Foundation Brands:

Elizabeth Arden’s Flawless Finish Bare Perfection Make-up with SPF 8.
Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Plump Perfect Make-up with SPF 15 (great for mature skin)
Estee Lauder – Double Wear light – SPF 10
Laura Mercier – Oil Free Foundation

These are just some of the selections of high quality foundations that I’ve used and like.  Most cosmetic counters carry samples and/or will test the foundation on your skin to ensure correct match and feel.  I strongly suggest you take advantage of this before you make a purchase.

And ladies, don’t forget to blend, blend and blend some more…. 

 

Back To Basic Skin Care

I’m a bit surprised by the amount of women I know that really don’t have any sort of skin care program.  Some just use the soap that’s in the shower and never bother wearing moisturizer. 

I suffered from acne as a teenager and at that time, early 80’s, there wasn’t much on the market to help us sufferers.  I guess caking on tons of foundation didn’t help – as it would cause inflammation and made matters worse.  Once I hit my 20’s, I became really interested in looking after my skin and began educating myself on the importance of skin care.  I can honestly say, I’ve pretty well tried every skin care product on the market.

As a former esthetician, I still preach to women about the importance of getting yourself into a regular skincare regimen. 

This basic 4 step program is simple and can be used by women of all ages.

1:  Correct Cleanser:  Simple is key here.  You need to find a good cleanser that your skin responds well to. Avoid bar soups as they tend to dry out the skin – soap should only ever touch your skin from the neck down.   It’s important to know you skin type – your local esthetician can help you with this.

I recommend cleansing your face at night and in the morning, just splash luke warm water over your face as you shower.  Also be careful about over-cleansing as this will very drying to your skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate: Exfoliation is a very important step that most people skip in the weekly skincare routine.  But trust me, if you start properly exfoliating your skin, you will notice an almost immediate difference.  One of the reasons men’s’ skin looks more youthful than women’s is because men tend to exfoliate daily when they shave.

Scrubs work by removing the top layer of dead skin cells that tend to dull your complexion.  Exfoliating skin once a week with a microdermabrasion kit keeps skin glowing year-round. Make sure you use a gentle scrub with tiny grains. Big grains in cheap scrubs can tear skin and cause more harm than good.

In my opinion, one of the best over-the-counter microdermabrasion kits is NeoStrata’s Advanced DermoSystems – 4 Step Program.

Step 3: Moisturize: A basic law of beauty is that everyone, no matter her skin type, should moisturize.  Even if your skin is oily, it will benefit from moisturizers.  Look for one’s that offer SPF sunscreen

Step 4:  Facial Mask:  I’ve used a lot of different masks at different price ranges and I’ve found that most of them are good.  We are now coming into winter so it is best to look masks that are for “hydrating” your skin.  The winter months can really zap our skin of moisture and just drinking water just isn’t enough.

Apply a hydrating mask after your weekly exfoliation.

Recommended Product Lines:

Body Shop’s Vitiamin C Products – These products are fantastic – gentle for everyday use and ideal for keeping breakouts under control and to even skin tone.  This is perfect for any age and I highly recommend this line for anyone who suffers from “mild” breakouts.  Will keep it under control as it reduces redness and calms inflammation. These products are 100% Against Animal Testing.

NeoStrata – This is a wonderful line for your basic and advanced skin care needs. Their Moisture Infusion Ultra-replenishing mask is one of the best I’ve ever used.  You can find this product line at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Aveeno Active Naturals – This is a great line for those of you who are on a budget.  Suitable for all ages and different skin types. 

You can find NeoStrata and Aveeno Products at your local Shoppers Drug Mart.  Don’t forget to use your Shopper’s Drug Mart Optimum Card.  Great program for collecting points on all your SDM purchases so you can redeem them at a later date to help save you money.

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