This morning I opened the door of the small, private hair salon I go to and was greeted with great joy and excitement. Right at the door stood my stylist/friend Nicole and one of her customers, who immediately started shouting things like, “And here she is! There’s one on each side of you! [laughter, applause]. This is so great! [More applause]. Let’s roll out the red carpet! [Nicole had a brown towel in her hands and laid it on the floor in front of me]. Oh my God, she’s here at last! Hooray!” So I laugh and shout with them, and I step onto the towel and bow and give a Queen Elizabeth wave to the two women. I’m complimented and applauded some more. I applaud them back. Mind you, I did absolutely nothing but walk in the door. Continue reading
You know what’s exciting, in a Christmas-y kind of way? Getting a box in the mail, a box full of clothes that you will probably love and that will probably be in your size but that you have no idea what is in there (I apparently wasn’t up to the challenge of that grammatically tricky sentence). Anyway, that exciting Christmas feeling is what I got with my first box from Stitch Fix. I promise, this is not an ad or a sponsored article. I wish it was, and that Stitch Fix would pay me. In free Fixes. (Stitch Fix people, hint hint…)
I’m feeling sort of fashion-y today because of the change in seasons and the resulting opportunity to wear different outfits, so I’m going back to the roots of this blog for a bit of non-professional fashion advice.
Now I know why photo shoots for models take so long. (Well, I’m told they take a long time. I wouldn’t know from personal experience.) I was taking a picture of myself for this blog, and here’s how the process went:
Remember what I said last week, about not wanting to be an adolescent girl again? Turns out, I AM an adolescent girl again. Look at the horrifying evidence:
- Struggling with unwelcome changes in my body;
- Ready to explore the world and (re)find my place in it;
- Staring deeply into my own eyes while looking in a mirror and studying a book on how to look pretty.
I’d better explain that last one.
Today I was singing a song from Into the Woods which begins, “He’s a very smart prince.” But instead, I sang, “He’s a very smart shrimp.” My middleaged brain has been mangling words right and left lately.
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.
So, you know how I’ve been playing around with makeup lately? And I got this great new Kevyn Aucoin makeup book and palette for Christmas? Well, my father-in-law gave me the nicest compliment recently: “Wow,” he said. “You look absolutely radiant today.” I instantly felt beautiful. And loved. And it felt really, really good.
Sweet, right? But my next thought was, “It’s just the makeup.” Then, I remembered that a couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law told me he had made one of the nurses at his retirement community happy because he called her “radiant.” And further, he had told me that he annoyed one of his friends by taking the man’s wife’s hand, kissing it, and saying that SHE looked radiant.
I began to feel disappointed… but the glow inside was still there. Dammit, I thought, I AM radiant. And I allowed myself to feel radiantly happy… not because someone thought I looked pretty (or stylish or well put together or young or skinny). The truth is, being called radiant made me feel like I mattered to him, that I had a positive effect on him, and, just maybe, that I brightened his life a little bit.
It didn’t hurt that Paul took my hand and agreed that I looked radiant, and kissed me. I love him.
It would have been quite easy to dismiss the compliment, especially after remembering he likes to use that word “with the ladies” (his phrase). But you know what? I’ll take it. Women have a hard enough time feeling that we are okay just the way we are. Yep, sometimes I feel crappy about how I look. Sometimes I just feel crappy in general. We all do. But on the other hand, I often feel happy and loved and full of life and, yes, radiant, no matter what I look like.
My friends, you are all radiant. Celebrate yourself! Go out there and shine tomorrow.
Hey! I actually sat down to write tonight feeling a little out of sorts. And now… woo-hoo, I feel radiant! I can’t wait to shine tomorrow, with you all. Let me know how it goes.
**I never made it to Broadway, but I can always flash those jazz hands…
What a Christmas break! I’d say it was about 3 months long… not that I vacationed from work or life (as if!) but I haven’t blogged in ages. It’s like when I was an angst-filled teen and young adult. I’d keep a journal for months or years, but if I skipped a certain amount of time, I’d begin to think that I had too much to catch up on, and the task was too daunting… and it became more daunting the more time went on. And it’s not like I had to fill in all the missing days — nobody was reading it but me. But even here, the longer I was away from writing, the harder it became to get back to it. Which, I guess, is the same for everything in my life, and maybe in everyone’s life. Exercise, healthy eating, enjoyable passtimes: the farther I get from the days when I engaged in those things, the more difficult — and eventually nearly impossible! — it feels to get back to them.
Finally got to shop with Nordstrom Liz again — she moved to a more distant Nordstrom a year or so ago and I hadn’t gone to see her since the move. Friday night I took Lizzie and a bunch of her friends. We had dinner with Nordstrom Liz and then tried on a bunch of clothes in the fancy, large dressing rooms that Liz had put together for us. I could hear the girls giggling and trying on clothes and hats and boots, while I shopped and got some fashion advice from Liz. For example: