Listen closely: don’t let your makeup tell you what to do, or be all intimidating and, like, “You better use me the way I’m meant to be used,” and mocking you because you may never be a movie star. If your makeup talks down to you, you need to show it who’s boss. Say you spend $30 for some facial packed powder with just a touch of shimmer, and the shiny box demands that you treat it regally, and the instructions tell you to dust it gently across your cheekbones — guess what? You can simply use that as a guideline. Go ahead: put it on your eyelids as a softly glowing eyeshadow. Or brush it across your chest for an evening out, to show off your cleavage. Wearing an off-the shoulder shirt? Try it on your shoulders. Hell, dust it on the tops of your feet to draw attention to the awesome color of your manicured toes if you want. There are no rules.
Or, if you’re wearing a bright pink lipstick and your shirt is sort of a coral color, and you feel like you clash a little, and you have a variety of different pinks and oranges and reds in your purse, it is totally OKAY to layer a few lipsticks on top of each other until you have the right shade. And if the lipstick is all, “You’re ruining my beautiful rose shade by smudging me with that burgundy crap,” you can respond, “Shut the hell up, know-it-all,” and whip out a Q-tip and wipe off the offending burgundy until the rose color is good as new. Or, if you want to teach the arrogant rose a lesson, leave the burgundy on there for next time… maybe it will be your new favorite look.
My point is, you are in charge, not the makeup (and not the beauty industry!). Don’t be afraid to use blush as eyeshadow, or eyeshadow as eyebrow pencil, or face powder as a way to turn glossy lips to a matt shade. You never know what you’ll discover, and I can tell you from personal experience that it is a lot more fun to play around with makeup and your appearance when you stop feeling in awe of, and intimidated by, the pretty little shiny boxes and soft brushes and sparkley newness of your purchases. Pretend you’re five and playing with finger paints. Keep a giant box of tissues by you so you can wipe off and start over. Go to Sephora and try on everything and then cleanse it all off at their handy little makeup removal stations and start over again. (My God, I can spend hours in that place. And make sure you ask for a couple of free samples before you leave. I always ask for a sample of eye cream, because that shit is expensive. They give you a little teensy tub of it, and when it’s gone, you can go play with more makeup and ask for a different sample of eye cream. I haven’t purchased eye cream in ages. I feel so wicked!)
The other tip I have today is this: If you’re in Boulder and your husband and father-in-law are in the used bookstore, and you’re pretty sure they’ll never leave, and if you and your daughter walk by a boutique shoe store having a deep-discount sale of handmade Italian leather shoes, then you either better be prepared to open your wallet, or you need to NOT GO IN THE STORE. Especially if the sales girl is a BRILLIANT sales girl, who responds to your reservations and uncertainties in this way:
ME: I don’t know, Lizzie. This is our first store, and if we get these shoes, we are spending nothing else today. Nothing. If we find a Bath & Bodyworks, I am not buying you even the smallest bottle of hand lotion.
SALESGIRL: Here’s how I think of it. Bath & Bodyworks will always be there. These shoes will not.
Then another stylish salesgirl wanders past, admires the shoes you’re trying on, and shows you the amazing shoes that she is sporting, saying, “These are the same brand. They’re my favorite shoes! They’re so comfortable! They last forever!” And as the two young women — in their twenty-something outfits of leggings and asymmetrical shirts and statement jewelry and tiny, tight asses — as they admire your feet, the supple, soft-as-butter leather shoes themselves pipe up, and they lie, and they tell you that you will die if you leave the store without them.
So I’m just saying: if you find yourself in that situation, buy the shoes. Lizzie and I did. They are now “ours.” (Not mine. Oh, no. Ours.) Lizzie got to wear them first, of course. I admired her in them all day. None of the men we were with noticed: not little Mike or Paul or Big Mike. But Lizzie and I both had the special glow reserved only for the stylish woman who has purchased her first pair of handmade Italian shoes and knows she looks great. And it was definitely money well-spent.
Yes, rule the makeup and buy the shoes and remember that you’re worth it. Have fun and stay in touch.
PS: Just for you, to have the best picture possible, I went online to research La Bottega di Lisa shoes to see if I could find a better picture of the shoes we bought, which I could not. What I did find, however, were page after page of shoes that I now believe I cannot live without. I blame you.