Out For a Walk

Could it be any more beautiful out today? Warm, sunny, dry, but not too warm. How unusual for DC!

The Real Woman’s Once-A-Month Spa (Yet another excuse to get away from the house)

Come join us in the exclusive (overpriced) spa made especially for women. We offer gentle support (because you paid us lots of money) with the use of herbal digestives (Lipton’s tea), healing salts from the ocean (potato chips) and potent curatives from the mountains (chocolate) to reconnect to mother earth, our main source of vitality and spirit (necessary oxygen). Women banding together at “that time of the month,” will be a source of comfort (seeing that someone else is worse off than you are), safety (in way too many numbers) and well-being for each other. Along with herbal remedies (Smith Brothers Cough Drops), a soothing touch (sympathy as you pay the bill) and sumptuous (pretentious) atmosphere. Where growth (girth) and regeneration (of the many more cells per pound of gained weight), will be the result. In almost every culture women have been separated from men (they feared us) during our monthly cycle. Let’s continue this (foolish) perceptive tradition (see how they do without us for three or four days) in an extraordinary healing and communal environment. Continue reading

Black is the New Black

I have been in the tv and film business a long time. Just long enough to love it, hate it and love it again. About 35 years all together. As a freelancer, shows come and go. Recently I have lost one of my major network shows that I have been with for 28 years. It feels like relearning to walk in a snowstorm, on one hand and on the other, the air is fresh and clean! Because of this I am all of a sudden free to be someone else that I haven’t been for years. There was an identity associated with that position, I am no longer the person that’s been with a famous network show for half her life and knows all the DC insiders. Along with this work-fabricated-character-adjustment, I can now for the first time in decades, act and dress like a normal person! Continue reading

Putting On Eye-liner When You Have to Take Your Glasses Off

A spokesperson for a major cosmetics company put out a twitter tweet a while ago that said women with glasses should really make their eyes stand out since so much is lost because of the frames and the lens. Do this by using lots of eyeliner. I answered back and said that eyeliner is very difficult to put on when you have to take your glasses off in order to get to your eyes. The response was less than helpful and in fact said something to the effect of  oh, I hadn’t thought of that, thank you. My response to myself was that this must have been written by a young person who has little to no experience as a makeup artist. Was that too mean? It was to myself she didn’t hear me, it’s okay. Continue reading

From Years of TV and Film

I am embarking on a new adventure. Although I’ve done many weddings before, this will be more of a concerted effort to do more. Not as a photographer the way I once had but as a makeup artist. I’ve worked several and am just waiting for the photos to come in to show off. Will writing this blog get more work for me or do I really need to beef up my website. I know the answer to that. My website had been created to show off my photography. What happened to that expensive endeavor? Everyone is a photographer and in order to keep up not only did I have buy gobs of equipment but also had to haul it around. I’m 56 and even though I walk constantly and lift weights there is no way that I am going to be a grip for my own equipment. So much for photography, onto weddings!

This was done many years ago but I loved the bride and her groom. It was a cool, grey day but delightful none the less. She was nervous, sarcastic and effervescent all at the same time.  After the ceremony standing by the water, the sun finally began to break through. It was late in the day by then but the glimmer of light was enchanting. I wish I had gotten more photos from the photographer.

Running around with my bag of touch up makeup and a camera didn’t give me much time to get the shots right but the family did look beautiful.

When A Real Flower Turns Plastic

I’ve had a petal peel, lip and leaf augmentation and tipping, stem cinch and split and of course I’ve had my lips, eyeliner and blush permanently stained. Botox is a must and I wouldn’t be seen without my roots wrapped and died pink. My eyes are now lavender, and I have permanent eyelashes.


No wall flower here, by golly!

Desert Island Makeup

If you all of a sudden found yourself falling out of an airplane about to crash into the pacific ocean and the only thing you could save was one piece of makeup from your overly stuffed cosmetic bag – what would it be? There you are, all alone on a deserted desert island with your__________? I’ll give you a hint. Blush, mascara, foundation, eye shadow, eyebrow pencil, lipstick and powder.

From my mother’s generation, I know it would be the lipstick. Hands down, nothing else counts except for that little tube of stain to make an otherwise drab pursing pucker into a luscious, mouthwatering kisser. What one would do with a mouthwatering kisser on a desert island, is a mystery. However, there are those that feel that is the key to beauty.

In the International Journal of Cosmetic Science there was a study done, using white women in a social setting like a bar. They were to determine which look, with and without makeup on, would attract more attention. The wearers of heavy makeup attracted the most notice and communication by same age white men, while the au natural women got less interest and the ones with just the lipstick, did not attract any one. Well…sorry mom. However, they didn’t specify the ages of the woman or the people they attracted. Keep going mom, what do they know about octogenarians?

Me? Mascara. But does it matter at this point? All of this fall into the same social psychology, and it’s all about attracting a mate, for procreation. However, at age 54 and having had two kids, I’m not sure what I would do if I attracted a mate for baby making….perhaps it can simply be for copulating rather than populating my island. In any case, I see my face looking brighter with mascara but if it’s not for charming the pants off a man (literally I guess), then who am I really making up for? Perhaps I just want to present a flashier appearance to compensate for my shyness. But I am curious, did batting ones eye lashes in cave-man days really bring on a plethora of eligible bachelors?

So what’s the point if we’re not populating the world? I was just wondering what all the other makeup is for? Yes, it can enhance and give color to pale skin and hide bags under the eyes and all that. So why not pick the one thing that we need for our desert island and not stress about the rest? Do we need all the other stuff? Ok, as a makeup artist, I’m supposed to push the stuff in large quantities, not deter you from ever buying the chemical laden stuff (oops next week’s article). Maybe for those of us that are at this odd point in our lives where we need a little brightening, I would say go for it. In your twenties or even thirties and sometimes 40’s and 50’s, do we really need the full makeup regime? Definitely not when you get too much older, it just looks silly after that.

I’ve spoken with some women about this and am met with wide eyed amazement that equals thrill, relief, gratitude and an almost theophonic revelation!

“You’re kidding, you mean I don’t have to wear the whole mask with the mismatched foundation or the clumpy mascara? All I want is blush, is that okay?”

“Uh, yeah!” my ‘no duh’ answer.

Next time you find yourself on a desert island, (that would be the bathroom or wherever it is that you put on makeup), maybe think twice about narrowing down the tons of makeup you might normally race to get on, to the bare minimum of what you can get away with. Do what you think makes you beautiful, not what Estee Lauder and Vogue tells us to think. Believe it or not that desert island isn’t so deserted.

Tribal Markings

I’m noticing a bit of a split in behavior in the world, especially with women. First, all we want is to stand out and be different, more creative, smarter, more athletic, energetic and outgoing (a key trait employers want you to have). My question is why do we all follow fashion trends like a herd of cattle? Most every woman has long hair, we all are now wearing boots, Michael Kors handbags and  skinny jeans. Car trends, remember when we all bought Cadilacs because the pimps were doing it, then it was SUVs’ and now it’s becoming ever so hip to go ‘green’ and get a hybrid. With all this social conformity, the need to belong – where then is our individuality?

I’m a freelance film and television makeup artist. I’ve seen many styles come and go but my favorite is the one that we do ourselves without the guidance of a “professional”. In television right now the trend is to put a very dark eyeliner on the lid, on top of a very light color that gets ever darker as you go towards the crease. Then the outside of the eyelid is blended with a darker smudge going towards the nose.Sometimes the inner part of the lower lid is blackened and the whole eye is smudged to look like smoky dark patches. And we all do it, as a makeup artist I’m expected to know how to create these two looks and not to deviate too much because then it just doesn’t follow the trend.  Here we are back to being sheep and yet we constantly are looking for the one unique outfit to set off above the rest.

I’d like to offer a path into the unknown, an adventure in aesthetics and a question to put in front of the mirror. Do I really want to look like everyone else? Perhaps by just adding a lighter color to my eyelid and nothing else, that will define my face more. Or just some blush to add color to otherwise sallow skin. In any case, I’ve seen people do their makeup and with an almost reckless abandon and it’s perfect. It’s uniquely them and I loved it!!

“Doesn’t it just make you want to tell them how to do right?” I’m asked all the time. “No,” I have to say, it really doesn’t. It really makes me want to tell them how wonderful and extraordinary they look and to not change a thing! They’ve done something so unique  and so individual, that they own it like a singer owns the song she sings. It’s the freedom from contemporary norms that artists continuously strive for. They pound their heads on the pavement to get that kind of liberation and here it is for free! It comes so naturally for so many woman and yet we still go to the makeup counter to learn how to do it “right”.

I’m sure that the person that puts the black slashes of eyeliner with nothing else around it, has narrowed this design down from a full makeup routine, probably taught to her by an over-anxious department store makeup artist, who just has to get her sales figures up.  Along we come and buy everything that’s suggested but when we get home and have to run out the door with trails of oatmeal and coffee strewn around the kitchen sink, those last-minute black slashes, we decide, will do the job just fine. I say it just can’t get any better than that. It makes us feel complete, even though we forgot to get our lunch out of the refrigerator and the dog is still inside – the kids are off to school, we have our black slashes and so what if we traded the report that was due for the scarf in the hall closet?

Look at Lady GaGa. She follows no norms, no restrictions or codes of beauty and builds out her cheekbones with ridges or completely paints her eyes with kohl black. She might be the extreme example but why not? She is so unique that the rest of us drool to see what she will come up with next. So what makes us follow the magazines and become sheep-like to everyone else’s idea of style?

The reason I titled this article tribal markings, is that in native cultures, we see all kinds of makeup, jewelry and strange adornment that have developed over the centuries and the people who use them see themselves as very striking and important. As strange as some of the embellishments are to us, they see beauty and high art. The woman who made those little black slashes or the one doing the sky blue eye lids, have some very deeply rooted idea of aesthetics (when they’re not in a hurry). Probably ideas they’re not even aware they have. When they look in the mirror do they really see themselves or do they see someone else that they’ve seen in a magazine and it’s an attempt to copy it? Is it a distant childhood memory of what some else did? Is it because they were given a positive reaction from having done it once and they continue to do it not realizing that it’s evolved over time? Ultimately makeup and style is all a part of belonging to the tribe to society, but how many different ways do we have to conform? Can’t we let go just a little? The tribe will always be there.