Fresh Lipstick

In extolling fashion and beauty in this blog it’s not my intention to dwell on fluff and not substance.

In my Visionary way I simply wanted to branch out from the typical standard mental health reportage because there’s so much more to life than the pain a person can be in.

If dressing up and wearing makeup is going to make a person feel better I’m all for this. It’s precisely when we’re in pain that we should do what gives us joy.

From my view today I understand what it’s like to be going through “the Change” or menopause.

Our bodies and our looks are evolving. Some of us don’t like that the direction everything’s going in is south.

There are genetic wonders among us who have creamy flawless skin and look good without makeup.

There are other women who simply choose not to wear makeup at all.

I honestly believe that everyone living on earth is beautiful.

I admire women who can rock their natural face and look good without makeup.

I say: to hell with what other people think of you, your body, or your face.

Living in menopause is precisely the time to tell our critics: “I’m hot. Are you blind? Can’t you see I’m hot.”

We need to look in the mirror and like what we see by the time we hit mid-life. If we agonize over our looks or our bodies now it’s only going to be worse when we turn 60 or older.

I’m a 53-year old woman. I don’t feel so hot going out without wearing lipstick. My new favorite tube cost more than I care to admit.

This week I checked out of the library Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism.

The book flap inside Fresh Lipstick:

“Argues that wearing high heels and using hair curlers does not deny you the right to seek advancement, empowerment, and equality.”

In here I will argue too that dressing in your own authentic way and taking pride in your beauty can empower you to take risks to achieve other goals you have in life.

It’s a double-edge: looking good to feel good and feeling good to look good.

Let’s face it: post-50 most of us aren’t going to have bodies that are Thin AF.

This is precisely the era in our lives when we should think about remodeling ourselves from the inside.

We benefit from asking ourselves now:

Where do I want to be tomorrow? What can I do today to get closer to that goal?

Is there a habit holding you back? Are there negative thoughts persisting in your head?

Changing what we’re able to and accepting what we can’t change–the Serenity Prayer–is a good solution.

At 40, at 53, at however old you are, this isn’t the time to give up on yourself.

I say: make your own happiness a priority at mid-life. Do what gives you joy.

If that’s swiping on fresh lipstick or putting on your dancing shoes, by all means go for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Not Wanting to Be Thin AF

In the September issue of Glamour Jameela Jamil “Is Done With Advice on How to Look ‘Thin AF.'”

She is an actress, activist, and writer who excoriates the focus on women’s looks and bodies.

Jamil weighs herself in “achievements and experiences, not pounds.”

She started the I Weigh movement “So that we stop and look closely at what is rightfully ours to celebrate.”

Taking pride in your appearance shouldn’t cancel out everything else that makes you who you are, according to Jamil.

Her contention is that we shouldn’t berate ourselves with harsh words we wouldn’t use toward a friend.

To wit: “Would you tell her she didn’t deserve love or happiness because she had cellulite or some wrinkles?”

Spending every waking hour of your life trying to become Thin AF isn’t the way to go.

The fact is every person you meet–particularly a romantic partner–is going to have their own idea of how you should look, act, dress, and think.

To continually try to makeover ourselves each time to satisfy every new person that comes on the scene is a mistake.

You and I aren’t octopuses to be pulled in different directions.

It’s far better to please yourself than to deny your nature and pretend to be someone you’re not.

I’ll end here by saying:

Being Thin AF isn’t the goal. Not ever is it the goal.

Running a 5K marathon? Serving on the board of a company?

Or just simply living your life without any superstar achievements?

This all counts more than how much a person weighs.

The Number on the Scale

I want to write about how following trends in fashion is a mistake.

Not every item of clothing offered in stores or online will fit and flatter every person’s body. This shouldn’t deter us. In the Bobbie Thomas book The Power of Style she has a section on determining your body type and the clothing choices that will flatter it.

Now Loft and Banana Republic online have Plus sizes as well as Petites. It has been a long time coming for this victory.

Repeat after me: the fit of your clothes is what counts not whether the clothing is popular this season. Going to a tailor for alterations will perfect the fit of your clothing.

If you’re in a store trying on clothes refrain from attempting to squeeze yourself into a smaller size because it’s “your” size. Size doesn’t matter: only the fit of the clothing item does.

To wit: I have four different sizes of pants and jeans hanging in my closet.

It’s also a mistake to rely on a single number on the scale as a barometer of how healthy you are. Some experts believe each of us might have a “set point” where our body stays in a certain weight range.

This is undoubtedly true. I’ve been lifting weights for over 7 years so far and I’m the same weight I was as before I started this intense exercise regimen.

The difference is I dropped one pant and skirt size because I gained muscle.

If you think you have to be or should be “skinny” that’s a mistake too.

I’ve excoriated Bethenny Frankel in here before for writing a book that claims you can be skinny forever.

It might not be realistic to want to weigh 127 pounds when you weigh 200 pounds now. Even losing just 10 or 20 pounds to start can be perfectly fine if you ask me.

Improve your health by exercising in some fashion and you’ll feel better even if you don’t lose a significant amount of weight (according to research).

Thinking in terms of having “functional fitness” is the way to go.

I’m happy that I’m fit, energetic, and can carry packages home from a store.

Yes–I’m not naturally thin. I’m “thin” because I exercise and eat mostly healthful food.

In my twenties I used to be 20 pounds overweight. By changing what I ate, seeing an M.D. that had a private nutrition practice, and starting to exercise consistently, I lost the weight in six years and kept it off.

You’re going to be miserable if you aspire to be “skinny” because a reality TV housewife star tells you it’s possible to do this by adhering to her latest scheme.

I’ll end here by telling you: relax. You shouldn’t feel or be made to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re not a certain acceptable number on the scale.

When I was 20 pounds overweight in the 1990s, I wore nothing but Esprit mini skirts.

So there–your weight shouldn’t deter you from dressing in style.

Buy clothes with the perfect fit or that can be made perfect with tailoring.

Doing so you’ll look and feel like a million bucks.

Fashion and Makeup Books

Today I want to give a directory of books on fashion and makeup.

I’m 53 and here to tell you that mid-life is not the time to give up on yourself.

There’s a world out there that would look better with you in it.

Wanting to feel and look your best isn’t a sin nor is it frivolous.

__________________________________________

Fashion Books:

50 Ways to Wear Denim Lauren Friedman

Before You Put That On Lloyd Boston

The Cool Factor Andrea Linnett

Know Your Style Alyson Walsh

Life in Color Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo

The Lucky Shopping Manual Kim France and Andrea Linnett

Nothing to Wear? The 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo

Parisian Chic Look Book Ines de la Fressange and Sophie Gachet

Paris Street Style Isabelle Thomas and Frederique Veysset

Paris Street Style Shoes Isabelle Thomas and Frederique Veysset

Parisian Chic Ines de la Fressange

The Power of Style Bobbie Thomas

Ready-to-Wear Mary Lou Andre

The Sartorialist Scott Schuman

Terms of Adornment Deborah Chase

Makeup and Beauty books:

Bobbi Brown Living Beauty Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual Bobbi Brown

Editor-in-Chic Mikki Taylor

Commander-in-Chic Mikki Taylor

Makeup Michelle Phan

Makeup for Ageless Beauty Linda Mason

The Makeup Wakeup Lois Joy Johnson

 

Another Year Older

2018 sephora

I’m 53 now and I’m still here.

Contrary to the myth that everyone with SZ dies 25 years earlier.

Do I look like I’m ready to kick the bucket?

Going to Sicily is on my bucket list of things to do before my hair turns totally silver.

I’ve decided to get a Sephora makeover once a year at this time.

I was told I have a heart-shape face. So if your face is like mine you might have a heart shape face too: wide forehead and prominent cheekbones and narrow chin.

The rocker chick bangs haircut is courtesy of my new hairdresser: an old school Italian lady. I stopped going to my old hair stylist I’d seen for about nine years.

One day last summer I woke up and couldn’t take how my hair had been cut. I tried to wear a hat to my job because it was August.

“No hat indoors. It’s a sign of disrespect.” The supervisor put an end to my bad hair day cover-up.

Every day was a bad hair day. I just refused to get it cut again until the fall.

On the day after Columbus Day I went to the new hairdresser a Sicilian woman told me about. Finally: a great haircut.

This isn’t a matter of world peace or any other kind of injustice in terms of the significance of having had a bad haircut.

Yet I think all women have been there really not liking how their hair stylist has been going cutting their hair at some point.

Plus my haircut is now thirty dollars cheaper.

Paying too much to look like a bald falcon? I think not. Get yourself to a new hairdresser right away if it’s time for a change.

 

15 Things I Learned at 52

Style is forever and fashion fades so with this in mind I present 15 Things I Learned at 52:

  1.     Turquoise eye shadow is  not ever a good idea.
  2.      Thirty is the cut-off age for wearing mini skirts.
  3.      Stay away from ripped and torn jeans.
  4.      Mid-rise dark-rinse denim is your new best friend.
  5.      If you wore it the first time it’s not for you the second time around.
  6.      5 or 6 lipsticks total are all you need.
  7.      Only wear red lipstick if it suits you.
  8.      Dark lipstick is not your friend post-40.
  9.      The shoes make the outfit.
  10.      Low-hanging earrings aren’t attractive. (Better a modest stud than a torn earlobe.)
  11.      A woman shouldn’t ever apologize for her existence.
  12.      You should leave the era before it leaves you.
  13.      Wire coat hangers? Of course not.
  14.      Smile more…you’ll feel better.
  15.      Who you are matters more than what you wear.

The Secret to Aging Well

Sometimes a fresh swipe of lipstick can swizzle your mood.

If I can look in the mirror without judgment I’m going to have a better day.

The key is to have the self-confidence to stand tall and shout:

“This is who I am, take me or leave.”

We don’t need critical people in our lives. We don’t need to have other people judge us.

Tony Robbins is quoted to the effect:

“If you judge another person you lose the power to influence them.”

If you judge yourself you give others permission to not like you either.

As a 52-year old woman I strive to be gracious towards others. I act as best I can without judging anyone else for I can’t see inside their heads.

Mid life is the best time to meet new people, do new things, and adopt new beliefs about what’s possible.

To do this we have to let go of the past and re-frame our perception of who we are and who we can become.

Self-neglect is the foolproof way to age yourself faster than the expiration date on a carton of milk.

Liking yourself is the key to changing your life for the better.

I think the key to success at 40 and beyond is to have a restlessness; a desire to “see the world” with a fresh outlook.

Success at mid life involves not getting stuck. It requires weekly exercise of the body and mind and spirit.

The way I see it: to always be moving forward is the goal.

To not remain stuck we must move our bodies and move our minds out of their comfort zones.

That is the secret to aging well.

Making room for others in our hearts and making peace with our imperfections.

This is all part of remaining youthful regardless of our chronological age.

Rock On, Females!

Rock on, females!

Though I find it all very sad that when a woman turns 50 or older–and she dares look like she’s fifty or older–she’s considered not attractive.

It’s women editors at magazines setting this tone of an expiration date. They’re complicit in this vanity trap–for perpetuating that a woman is only as good as she looks.

We’re complicit for buying magazines that endlessly preach salvation from old age via anti-wrinkle products.

Even Deborah Harry of Blondie has gotten a facelift. She’s 71, and still rocking. Harry was interviewed in Bazaar recently.

Facelift aside, I commend Harry for having her own sense of style, her own imaginative use of language, and her own tempo. Harry marched to her own beat–and Blondie now has out their 11th album.

I say: if you want to get a little wrinkle relief or get Botox or do something: that’s your choice. More power to you for wanting to make yourself happy.

Only I just think it’s sad that women often choose to go under the knife not because they want to be empowered. A lot of them might be doing it because they think they’re all washed up at 50. There’s a difference.

By all means, go under the knife if that’s what you want to do. It’s a personal choice that each of us has the right to make.

It’s just that I think there’s a double standard: women are held to a higher standard of perfection. And men get to go around acting like they’re hot shit regardless of the scowl on their faces or how they treat other people.

I’m going to use a photo here of Deborah Harry. In a way, it might illustrate the case for a good facelift. That’s not my intention.

My goal is to show women that we can be rocking at 50 and beyond, at 60 and beyond, and yes–at 70 and beyond.

You live that long–you get to choose how you live your life. Rock on.

deborah harry

 

 

 

Birthday Makeover

This is the Before photo of a makeover session at Sephora:

2017 before.JPG

The After photo is below:

 

2017 after.JPG

Using primer before you add foundation and blush definitely helps make the blush look smoother.

I wouldn’t brush up my eyebrows with powder like this IRL on an ordinary day.

The lipstick is Poeme by Lancome that I chose because I arrived early and browsed the makeup lines. 

The makeup artist chose the blush: Nectar by Lancome.

Though this was a birthday makeover I’m not keen to keep doing this every year. The cost can add up.

I also bought the concealer that the artist chose for me. Alas I have dark circles under my eyes and haven’t kept up with using concealer. Now I would like to try using the concealer.

You need something to hang on to that makes you feel good when you have a mental health challenge. Having a makeover can be a bright spot in your life when you’re going through a hard time.

It can also be a mood boost “just because” you want to get a makeover.

I picked up some tips and tricks from the makeup artist that I’ll start to use on my own.

Fifty-two isn’t so bad really. I’m newly fifty-two.

The secret to loving life whatever your age is doing what suits you and discarding the rest. I’m in full swing with the writing and editing of the career book and with the writing of a second memoir that is a collection of essays.

I will tell readers everywhere to have no fear: the future can be brighter than your life was in your twenties.                  

More Inspiring Stories

This is a photo of Joan Smalls the fashion model who is highly coveted on the runway:

joan smalls

I use her photo to illustrate that beauty comes on the inside too. Her inspiring story was used along with other fashion models’ stories on the Allure magazine website a couple of weeks ago. Their stories were part of the “Beauty and Diversity” feature.

Reading the fashion models’ stories empowered me to have no fear. I thought: If those beautiful women can face down their detractors and be victorious, I can carry my head high too.

Joan Smalls’ quote was the most inspiring: “If someone else doesn’t like me that’s their problem not mine.” Mental health peers should take this tip from her as regards so-called stigma.

I’ll be 52 in three weeks. Soon I’ll have been in recovery 30 years. This month I want to write a blog carnival about the beauty of getting older and the beauty of individuality.

Having lived in recovery 30 years I know that for too long mental health peers have internalized shame about having a diagnosis, as if our illness is transparent for others to see. We’ve given up on ourselves because other people gave up on us.

Though it seems unrelated, the Joan Smalls’ quote inspires me now to take this stand: “The diagnosis is on the table. Take it or leave.”

The gloves are coming off by necessity. It’s because turning 50 is one thing. Turning 52 is an entirely different, bigger thing. I realize now that my time on earth is getting shorter–so what do I want to achieve in the time that’s left?

At mid life another quote sums up perfectly what the fashion model alluded to:

“The only power a person has over you is the power you give them.”

Right–absolutely right. All of a sudden I’ve been buying fashion magazines and obsessively poring over the photos of the models in clothes. Who knew they weren’t just pretty faces?

Yes, reading the Allure Beauty and Diversity feature empowered me to have no fear in going after what I want.

I’ll end here with this: it’s high time to not only honor “diversity” it’s time to embrace “individuality.”

In the next blog entry I’ll talk about a recent experience that changed forever in me the notion of judging a person by their appearance.