Best Feet Forward


I love playing with Ancestry.com.  I love it even more now that I’ve discovered I share my 19th great-grandfather on my father’s mother’s side with a family of ladies I adore.

I came to the appreciation of Girlfriends in my mid-twenties.  Up until then, I was the girl who liked to say she preferred the company of boys because girls were just so…ugh.  The problem wasn’t the girls.  The problem was the fact that we were all teenagers.

I had a couple of good girlfriends, girls who are still my friends, in fact, but until I met the women who would end up making the core of my Tribe, I didn’t have much nice to say about my gender compatriots.  Now?  Ffft.  My girlfriends get me through the day.  What would I do without them?  My droogs.  My dogs of war.  Y’all know who you are!

One of the things I’ve enjoyed with the Listen To Your Mother Austin cast, is how open and welcoming all the women are.  We’ve made Facebook friends with each other, and we’re sharing fears and photos like we’ve known each other forever.  No worry about judgment.  No concern about cattiness.  Just a bunch of women who were strangers 3 weeks ago, who made themselves vulnerable for the sake of art and honesty.

Listen To Your Mother isn’t just happening in Austin.  It’s in nearly 40 cities across the country.  If you are near a show, go.  I went last year, and sat in the audience having All The Feels.  It was a delicious experience, and I want you to have that!

If you are going to be in Austin on April 25, please come see our performance.  We are really, really good.  And I’m not just saying that because I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Also, I’ve seen the shoes that will be up on that stage.  Come for the artistry, stay for the fashion show.

Who’s Afraid of the Dark


I put The Boy to bed last night, and five minutes into my bath, there was a rapping at the door.  “Moooooooooom?”

I asked what he needed, and he snuffled that he had a stomach ache because he was afraid.  So, I drew the curtain shut and told him he could come in.  He sat on the floor and put his toes up under the shower curtain so I could touch him.  I asked him what he was afraid of, and he said he wasn’t sure.  He thought maybe it was just the dark.

“I’m afraid of a lot of stuff,” I told him.  “It’s okay to be afraid of things.  You just can’t let the being afraid of things keep you from doing what you have to do.”

“What are you afraid of?”

I told him to guess–mainly because I was shaving my leg, and I am afraid of cutting off my kneecap.  If I cut off my kneecap, the bathtub sharks might come for me.

We all know this is my greatest fear. This bad boy, and clowns. This bad boy dressed as a clown…ugh.

“Maybe walking alone in the dark?”

“Good guess!  I am afraid of that.  Oooh, and of being by myself in the house at night.  You know when you and Daddy went to New Mexico, and I was here alone?”

“Yeah.”

“I was afraid.  The first night, I was so afraid, I didn’t sleep at all until the sun came up.  Isn’t that crazy?”

With great seriousness, he replied, “No.  That isn’t crazy at all.  What did you do?”

“I read a book.  I played on Facebook.  I talked to my friend in England, who was awake because it was actually daytime there.”

“And then you went to sleep?”

“And then I went to sleep.”

“And the next night?”

“The next night, I told myself I was being silly.  There was nothing in the dark to hurt me, and if something happened, I had the phone for the police, and I had Hoo for his teeth, and I’m pretty mean in a fight.  I think.  I’ve never actually been in a fight, but I think I’d be pretty mean.”

That got a laugh.

“So you went to sleep?”

“I did.  Well, I went to bed and turned off the light, and I listened to all the house noises and worried, but eventually, I fell asleep.”

“Did you stop being afraid?”

“I stopped noticing it so much.  Listen, fear is there for a reason.  Fear tells you to be careful.  Fear is part of your self-preservation instinct.  There is nothing, nothing, nothing wrong with being afraid.  But fear is like a little kid pulling on your arm.  If you’re going to get anywhere, you have to pick it up, contain it, and make it behave.  You can’t let it run away with your mind.  And now I have to get out of the bathtub, so you need to go back to bed.”

“Can I go get in yours?”

“No.”

“Moooooom!”

“Boooooooy!”

“I’m afraid.”

“What should you be more afraid of?  What’s in the dark, or me?”

That got another laugh.

He went to bed.

I am still afraid of the dark.  I’m forty-four years old, and I am afraid of the dark.  But that’s okay.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

Lashing Out


My boy and I are enjoying an evening of Whataburger and Iron Man*.  Bacon and RDJ.  Yessah!

I’m in the process of art for two different books, reading three manuscripts, and still trying to get my look together for LTYM.  It takes time to create a look, and my most recent addition was a set of lash extensions.

I bought a Groupon to Fawn Spa to give their services a try.

I’ve done lash extensions before.  The first two times, I had very sloppy applications.  The third time, I had great application, but hated the length, so I wasn’t happy.  This time, Rachel, asked me for a picture of what I liked, then got to work building out my dream lashes.

I have decent lashes with nice length and good curl, but they are literally translucent, so without mascara, I kind of look like a white rabbit.  Actually, white rabbits have more color to their lashes.  Rachel gave me Hollywood lashes.

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I feel very glamorous.  And let’s face it, feeling glamorous is half the battle.

Rachel’s work gets 5 stars from me.  Spa environment gets 3 stars, but my eyes were closed most of the time, so I’m not sure that matters?

*It really bothers me that Gwyneth can’t walk well in the heels of her Pepper Potts CEO costume.

And this is all the stuff I used.

About Face


As you know, I am gearing up for the Listen To Your Mother Austin performance.  We have two shows on Saturday, April 25, at 3pm and 7pm, and one of those will be video’d for distribution on the LTYM YouTube channel.  If you’ve read more than three posts here, you know that I am more than superficially concerned with my appearance, so in preparing for the show, I decided I needed to brush up my contouring skills.

See, I have a very soft jawline.  This means that from certain angles (like the one I’ll be filmed from for the LYTM show) my chin disappears entirely, melting into my neck, so that I look like a sock puppet with nice eyes.  I could show you my passport photo as proof, but I won’t.

I know how to contour, but have had limited success in doing it on my own head.  I’ve managed to add just enough shadows to make myself look like a sock puppet with nice eyes, and a brown U shape where a jawline should be.  I do not want that for the LYTM show.

I booked myself into BLUSHINGTON for a Camera Ready, Lucky Stars look.  My makeup artist, Desiree, listened, looked, and got to work.  Normally, the first time I see a makeup artist, I walk out looking like I’ve been playing in my mother’s kit.  I was really pleased at what Desiree did for me, and was very happy that she took the time to walk me through not just the How-To of applying contour, but the Why-This.

I walked into Blushington looking like this.  And I took this photo (with flash) from an unflattering angle.  The flash gave me a chin.  Yay for chins!

I walked into Blushington looking like this. And I took this photo (with flash) from an unflattering angle. The flash gave me a chin. Yay for chins!

I walked out looking like this.  Same camera angle with flash, and I did my best to make the same facial expression.  Amazing what a little paint can do for a girl!

I walked out looking like this. Same camera angle with flash, and I did my best to make the same facial expression. Amazing what a little paint can do for a girl!

Here’s what I liked about the look:

  1. I had cheekbones!
  2. I had a jaw!
  3. My nose no longer looked like a little blob of silly putty
  4. Eyebrows!
  5. And the contouring took five pounds off my face

Here’s what I didn’t like:

  1. The product really didn’t work with my skin type, which is nothing to do with the makeup artist
  2. I felt like the look aged me 10 years
  3. I felt like the eyeline was too thin
  4. I like to line my lips before wearing a really bright lipstick, so I can even them out.  My face isn’t symmetrical enough to carry off that much color without building out my lip first.

The big challenge was to get home and see if I could recreate the work Desiree had done.  I loved her, by the way.  She was very knowledgeable about product, trends, and makeup artists.  She was as familiar with the looks in Kevin Aucoin’s books as I am, and that doesn’t happen every day.  We spoke the same look-language, and that made me trust her more.

This is what the makeup looked like in the lighting of my bathroom.

This is what the makeup looked like in the lighting of my bathroom.

This is the profile of the Blushington contouring.

This is the profile of the Blushington contouring.

I washed off the left side of my face, except for the eye makeup because it is so similar to what I normally do.  I did take off the eye makeup that was on my lower lid.  The left side of my face is the more difficult side for me to do.

I washed off the left side of my face, except for the eye makeup because it is so similar to what I normally do. I did take off the eye makeup that was on my lower lid. The left side of my face is the more difficult side for me to do.

I used a highlighter pencil from my last Ipsy glam bag to draw in my highlights.  A funky, half Texas shape under my eye, a skinny triangle just above my jaw, and a blob shape above my eyebrow.  You want to put the light color in places you'd like to stand out, and I was trying to make my super-round, biscuit face into a shapely oval.

I used a highlighter pencil from my last Ipsy glam bag to draw in my highlights. A funky, half Texas shape under my eye, a skinny triangle just above my jaw, and a blob shape above my eyebrow. You want to put the light color in places you’d like to stand out, and I was trying to make my super-round, biscuit face into a shapely oval.

Then, I used my Rockateur bronzer from Benefit to make contour.  This is absolutely the wrong color for this work, but it's all I had.  I'll be picking up some ELF colors soon.  The contour went really close to my hairline to oval out the round, and in a Nike swoosh right on the bone of my cheekbone, and in another swooshy shape under my jawline, starting BEHIND MY EAR.  That's critical.  It makes the shadowing look more natural.   When I blended (and you have to blend like a fiend) I blended into my ear and all the way down my neck-also critical if you want to avoid looking like your head is pasted on.

Then, I used my Rockateur bronzer from Benefit to make contour. This is absolutely the wrong color for this work, but it’s all I had. I’ll be picking up some ELF colors soon. The contour went really close to my hairline to oval out the round, and in a Nike swoosh right on the bone of my cheekbone, and in another swooshy shape under my jawline, starting BEHIND MY EAR. That’s critical. It makes the shadowing look more natural. When I blended (and you have to blend like a fiend) I blended into my ear and all the way down my neck-also critical if you want to avoid looking like your head is pasted on.

I used a tiny brush to make a line down the side of my nose, to make ti look skinnier and less like a blob.  Then I blended like crazy.

I used a tiny brush to make a line down the side of my nose, to make ti look skinnier and less like a blob. Then I blended like crazy.

So here's my face with the highlights and low lights blended, before foundation.

So here’s my face with the highlights and low lights blended, before foundation.

And here's the profile blended before foundation.  I blended out the shadows a little too well, and had to go back and add more.

And here’s the profile blended before foundation. I blended out the shadows a little too well, and had to go back and add more.

I used a damp blending sponge to pat on my MAC Studio Fix foundation, then thickened up my eyeliner with a Lancome artliner, and drew my eyebrow back in with my favorite Too Faced Brownie eyeliner pencil in the color Blondie.

I used a damp blending sponge to pat on my MAC Studio Fix foundation, then thickened up my eyeliner with a Lancome artliner, and drew my eyebrow back in with my favorite Too Faced Brownie eyeliner pencil in the color Blondie.

Profile of the look blended with foundation.

Profile of the look blended with foundation.

I put on my MAC blush, drew in my lipline with NYX lipliner, and put on some gloss by Moxie.

I put on my MAC blush, drew in my lipline with NYX lipliner, and put on some gloss by Moxie.

From the side with blush.

From the side with blush.

And from the front again, smiling.

And from the front again, smiling.

So, I feel like the thicker eyeliner opens the eye more.  I drew a much higher arch onto my brow, which opens up my face more.  I took the eyeliner away from the lower lid, which keeps the cheekbone open, too.

And lest we forget the magic of cosmetics, this is what it looks like with nothing on at all.

And lest we forget the magic of cosmetics, this is what it looks like with nothing on at all.

And this is all the stuff I used.

And this is all the stuff I used.

That’s that.

I do recommend BLUSHINGTON if you ever need your face done up for a special event.  Everyone I saw walking out looked beautiful and fresh.  There were ladies much older than I being done up for a day of lunching and shopping, and girls who were getting done up for the prom.  I overheard one lady in the lobby saying that people thought she was crazy for driving to Dallas to get her face done, but when she showed them photos of a wedding she’d been in, made up by Blushington artists, they all understood.  Neither hips, nor photos lie.

Were You Born? Then This Book is for You.


A year ago, Robyn and I set out to start our own publishing house because we love to read, we love writers, and we wanted to be able to bring new voices to a wider audience.  The very first project we started work on was our essay collection, Mommie Diarist.

Today, Mommie Diarist arrives.

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I am prouder than I thought possible, and I love that I get to share it with you.  I hope you’ll grab a copy for yourself because this book is truly for anyone who was ever born.