Saturday, March 9, 2019

History Lessons: Beholding Beauty

Yesterday (March 8) was National Women's Day. I raised my coffee mug, thought about and celebrated all the women who have influenced, inspired and encouraged me throughout my life. I even celebrated the women who haven't been so nice to me (there have been a few). I've learned a valuable lesson: Life is way too short to waste precious time with mean, ugly people.

Ugly word, that word "ugly"! They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, society has always had unreasonable expectations and unhealthy definitions of what is beautiful and what is not. Thanks to Hollywood and the media, we tend to judge ourselves based upon how "beauty" is defined for us, how it is marketed to if we're all a collective of lemmings...when the truth is, there is beauty in everyone and everything. To me, being beautiful is a choice. I will never understand why some women pride themselves on being a "bitch". Years ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read: "Warning: Bitch on Board". Now, that's attractive. Yeah, I sure wanna get to know/be around someone like you!  (Not. Thanks for the warning.)

In the 90's, I took on some part-time modeling jobs with an agency in San Francisco. I lived in the San Jose Bay Area at the time, and my kids were in grade school, so I'd have to get up pretty early - do the 280 commute - in order to make it to hair and makeup by 6 a.m. Sometimes the job was on location, sometimes the jobs were as far south as Gilroy...but I made it clear to my agency that I had to be home before my kids got home from school. Yes, I learned a lot about the industry with each job I took, very last modeling job made me realize that it really isn't a career path for a young mother whose priority is her kids.

During that time, I learned a lot about makeup and skin care from a dear friend and beautiful person, John Trau. Today he is the Director of Sales and Education at Immunocologie, but back in the day, I had the distinct advantage and pleasure of having him live with us for a spell, and during that time he taught me much of what I know today about skin care and,

The biggest lesson? Be a beautiful person! No matter what is going on in your life, be beautiful, to yourself and to others. It absolutely slays me when people call themselves "ugly". "There's nothing I can do about this mole/wart/acne...I hate my big hair is so dry and brittle...why did God do this to me?..." We can rentlessly pick ourselves apart until there's nothing left of our self-esteem, but I'll tell you this much...there was a time in my life where I may have looked beautiful on the outside, but was slipping into depression, negativity and "bitch" mode because I let those kind of people into my life. I blamed myself because I chose to let the toxins in. But once I shed myself of them, I swore I would never let them in again...and I've been all the happier for it.

I've had many friends ask me for my beauty I do my makeup, what I use for skin care. I've already summed it up with my motto in life: Be good, be nice, be strong. But yes, I do have a daily regimen that includes everything I learned from John, and also from several beautiful women in my life. Women like Brandy LaRae of the Amador Wellness Cottage in Plymouth California...Briget Kisling Bunker of Studio 402 here in Riverton, Wyoming...Quilter extraordinaire Kathy Allen of Quilts by Kat, Sutter Creek, California...LaTonya of The Lotus Dawn in Ogden, Utah...Cheryl Payton of Dragonfly Beads, Casper, Wyoming...I've been following [way too many of] my girlfriends on Facebook and their trials and journeys with cancer and various other illnesses. All beautiful, strong women that I am abundantly blessed to call my friends!
I love you all. celebration (and an extension) of National Women's Day, and for all of my women friends who have asked...below are a few of my beauty tips. I'd like to thank Andy Robinson Wirth, Dominic Vicari, Ellie Caputo, Rich Hoffman and Charleton Churchill...and all of the photographers I've met through the years, for their amazing talents.

- Drink lots of water. Hydrate! Water is cleanses every part of your body, flushes out toxins. Always carry a water bottle with you.
- Think natural. Your skin is the largest living, "breathing" organ of your body. The first thing you put on your skin is what is absorbed (within minutes), so make sure it isn't loaded with chemicals. I use organic coconut oil, collagen and hyaluronic acid serums, tea tree oil. Avoid products with perfumes and dyes. I like to sample products before buying them, but...I'd much rather use coconut oil, or crack an egg and put it on my face, than waste my money on, well...utter crap.
- Sweat. Exercise for at least 10-15 minutes per day. I have a bad hip, so I have to be careful about what activities I do, but get those pores and sweat glands goin', then take a nice hot shower (feels so great)! Your skin is a miracle - how it involuntarily reacts, absorbs, sheds. It's always working!
- Exfoliate. Slough off those dead skin cells. I use those egg-shaped exfoliating sponges. I found a pretty good microdermabrasion scrub for under the eyes. Be very gentle when you exfoliate, as your skin is very delicate. Doesn't take much to scratch and tear the outer dermal layer.
- Diet. Eat healthy. You are what you eat. So if you eat a bag of Cheetos...LOL, just kidding. I eat a lot of meat and veggies. I try to balance the carbs and sweets (not much of a sweet tooth these days, though). And sure, I have a few pounds on me that I'd like to shed...but you know what? I'm happy. I'm in a great place in my life right now, and I'm not going to let folks judge me because I'm not a Barbie doll.
   Avoid alcohol. I know that if I overdo it on the beer or wine, I not only feel like crap, I look like crap and my entire body hates me. So try to minimize/balance your alcohol intake.
Now, coffee? Sorry, not happening. 😉 Hehehehe...
- Makeup. Makeup is an art...your face is a canvas, your hair is a frame. For those of you who have that natural beauty and can get away with a little mascara and lip gloss, I salute you! But I happen to really like makeup, and have learned a lot, not just from John and makeup artists in the industry, but by observing and studying women whose faces I just can't take my eyes off of...and then there are those who get you wondering if the circus is in town.
   Avoid the extremes. Fashions and fads come and go, but I personally ignore them and gravitate towards a more classic, "timeless" look, conducive to my own identity and personality. I might try a different eye shadow or lipstick once in a while, but I always have my daily "tried and true". Like an artist, I do have a lot of different brushes to achieve certain effects. Experiment. You know what you like, but also get honest feedback from your friends who will give you constructive criticism. What looks good on someone else may not necessarily look good on you.

A clean canvas. Yes, that's me with no makeup!

Photo by Andy Robinson Wirth
Photo by Ellie Caputo

Photo by Rich Hoffman

Photo by Dominic Vicari

Photo by Charleton Churchill
My high school Senior photo. LOL!

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