Wednesday, February 10, 2010

when i'm feeling near as faded as my jeans.

Listening To: Wake Up by Arcade Fire
Line Obsession: Every person I meet during the day, each face on the street or bus, is brave, living through common fears and some I can’t even imagine. Sometimes I wish I could tell them like my brother told me, remind them that inside is a person unafraid, clawing joyfully through the dark. - Dyana Herron, Image Magazine

Last week ...

* I interviewed three amazing blog readers, then read all the sweet comments that followed, then walked around with a happy buzz. You people amaze me to no end.

* Followed the links left in the comments. I forgot to actually put the link on this list, but I'm sure if you Google (or GoodSearch!) it will take you straight there:

-Nikki's Place (a site about the Agape Home Orphanage, a home for children in Chiang Mai, Thailand who are HIV+), courtesy of Frannie.
-SAGE Ministries (a Texas based ministry for teen girls), courtesy of Sara.
-Heifer International (an organization that supplies families with livestock, thereby helping the entire community sustain itself), courtesy of Jimmy.
-Love146 (an organization working for the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation), also courtesy of Jimmy.
-join(red) (a movement that partners with vendors and sends 50% of the money earned to Africa for AIDS prevention), courtesy of Steffanie.
-Mocha Club (an organization/movement centered on that idea of giving up two cups of coffee a month, and then donating that $7 to different areas of need in Africa), also from Steffanie.
-Samaritan's Purse (an organization focused on poverty relief in third world countries), ditto for Steffanie.
- Kimmy left two awesome links: an article by Switchfoot's Jon Foreman in The Huffington Post called Goodness Precedes Greatness and a link to a blog called Kisses from Katie, a 21 year old girl from Tennessee who lives in Uganda and has adopted 14 girls.
- Jimmy left a link to Dyana Herron's gorgeous article "Through the Dark," which is posted in Image. (Which is where I pulled the quote up at the top)
- And Ashley emailed me some cool info about This is the niftiest search engine ever: you type in your favorite cause. Then every time you search on GoodSearch, they donate to your cause of choice.
(Let me know if I missed one!)

* I consulted The Great Random Number Generator *cue synthesizer* for my book giveaway. The winner is Abigail from Tuesday's post! Abigail, email me your mailing address at nat.lloyd[at] and I'll ship a copy of Paperdoll your way. Hope you like it :)

* I geeked out over the pictures of fluid motion on the National Geographic site.

* I fell behind on Jane Austen. (But in the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, "Keep to the code!") Instead of talking Emma this week, I'm going to pick back up on two weeks from now. My guess is that I'll still be behind but we'll get there eventually. :)

* The Grammy's happened. I didn't watch them. I'm sad that I didn't because, apparently, they did a segment with 3-D glasses. And the blogosphere was all aglow with comments like, "Who has 3-D glasses lying around?"

Uh, ME!

I kept my 3-D glasses from Coraline. The recycle bin was outside the door when we left the theater and most people happily chucked their glasses inside. I just couldn't bring myself to follow. I stroked my 3-D glasses and called them "My Precious" and decided to keep them. You just never know when you'll need those. And obviously, I was right. Do you know when you need 3-D glasses? WHEN YOU WATCH THE GRAMMY'S. Dagnabit. I did YouTube some of the clips though and they were fun.

Pink sang my second favorite Pink song, Glitter in the Air. I don't think that song sounds like anything else she does. I like what she does. She has strong angry songs with a voice to match (great treadmill stuff) but Glitter in the Air is so different. When I hear it, I think its as much about falling in love with life as it is about falling in love with a person. So pretty. Also, Pink wore a unitard while spinning around in the air and singing at the same time, which was impressive. (I save my unitard for fancy occasions too.) (Sarcasm, in case you didn't catch it.) I thought the performance was very pretty. My most favorite Pink song isn't exactly hers. I don't think it's on any of her CD's (I know it isn't on iTunes because I check weekly). The song is Me and Bobby McGee and Pink's version is the best I've heard. I like it even better than Janis Joplin's version, but please don't tell.

That lyric, "I was feeling near as faded as my jeans ..." is pretty much perfect, no?

* Biscuit got a haircut. I dropped her off at the groomer, just for a trim (a very slight trim ... I wanted her to still be fuzzy :), then went to lunch with Dad. Midway through lunch, the groomer called and said, "I accidentally shaved her nose. I'm so sorry! I forgot you said you didn't want that done!"* So now Biscuit looks like a little puffy fox.

And she's had to tolerate everybody else making comparisons to what she looks like. My dad said she kinda looked like an orangutan (I covered her ears so she couldn't hear). I think she looks like Sir Didymus from Labyrinth (he's the fox at 11 seconds):

My mom thinks Biscuit looks like an Amish man. ?

To offset this deluge of "you look like ...", I occasionally call her Wolfy. I thought it might help her self esteem, make her feel tough and feral. Even though it's odd not to see fuzz on her nose, it is really cool to see her eyes! She has the sweetest face. Hugging her is like an involuntary reaction.

* I had a birthday (have I mentioned that yet?). And the actual day was meh. I'll spare you the whoa-to-the-me's and skip to the part that was bad in a funny way :)

My mom gave me money and made me promise I would not: 1.) use it to buy stuff for somebody else**, 2.) buy books with it (in all fairness - I have like six stacked on my nightstand), or 3.) buy important things. It was birthday fun money. So I decided to use it on clothes and my favorite kind of makeup, Bobbi Brown. Admittedly, BB is a splurge. I've worn the foundation since college but that's pretty much all I can swing these days. I like how natural it looks (and feels). And I really like Bobbi Brown. I've read two of her books (don't make fun ;). One of my favorite quotes is when she said that people should see your face and think about how pretty you look, not how pretty your makeup looks. Makeup only enhances the pretty that's already there. I like that. Also, Bobbi champions all different kinds of beauty (her favorite features on women are big lips, strong noses, and freckles). It was nice to hear a makeup artist who didn't refer to freckles as "flaws" or "blemishes." Bobbi is anti-paperdoll for sure.

So. I go to the BB counter in my mall thinking I might buy some new eye shadow. I ask the "professional" behind the counter if she has a suggestion. The Professional talks me into letting her put the makeup on me. Allow me to fill you in on some necessary backstory:

1.) I am very, very pale. I grew up in a land of tanning beds (every video store in my hometown also has a tanning bed in a back room. Which seems random and shady to me, but whatever...). There were other members of the pale brigade, like me, but many people in my hometown had a tan all year long. Some people had the tanning bed tan. Some had natural tans. My bffMelanie was one of the lucky naturally tan ones. My parents can tan. My bro and sis can tan. I completely lack the capacity. I'm very fair with a ton of freckles. My brother always jokes that it looks like they yanked me out of rehab to go on family vacations - I always wear hoodies, hats, sunglasses, that sort of thing. I should point out here that I don't mind the Casper factor. There was a brief time in ye olden days when I didn't like my skin, but now I like it a lot. I don't like burning within five seconds of sun exposure, but I don't mind looking like a White Stripe wannabe. And the freckles ... I seriously dig those. :)

2.) Because I am pale, makeup is tricky. I don't like to wear much makeup but I need something that covers the occasional Mt. Fuji Zit while still allowing my freckles to shine through. Bobbi Brown makes a shade of foundation called Alabaster that's perfect. Very pretty, natural makeup that covers without feeling clunky. Most of her makeup (that I've tried) is great. Also, the stuff lasts forever.

3.) I have prominent eyebrows. This is an important fact to remember as this story unfolds.

So. The Professional talks me into letting her put makeup on me. I don't know why I agreed to this -- maybe because it was a Bobbi Brown counter. Maybe because I assumed this chick would know how to do makeup for all kinds of skin tones. Maybe because I was kind of hazy from a bad morning. I figured, eh. What's the worst she can do?

Important: The Professional didn't let me see what she was doing until the end ... because she wanted me to be surprised.

First, The Professional smashed some goo around my eyes that she said would take away the dark circles. In this process, she got the gunk in my eyes. Thus, my eyes started watering and my eye sockets started burning like the fire of a thousand suns. And I thought ... how are red eyes better than a little bit of darkness underneath? But I let her do her thing because she was The Professional.

Then The Professional gave me spalshy coral lips. I don't know how coral lipstick looks on all pale people. But on this pale person, coral is a NO. I would compare the color against my skin to a cheap plastic see-through purse you could buy in a trashy beach town. I'm sure it doesn't look that way on most people. On me, it looked uber-tacky.

Next, The Professional lined my eyes in black liquid eyeliner. Again, I know this looks lovely on some people. Or maybe it would look lovely if you were on stage. Or if you're a boy who wears skinny jeans and sings about how the world is unfair and no girl is good enough for you. On me it looked mostly terrifying.***

(Ironically, liquid eyeliner makes my eyes look smaller. Which is not the point of eyeliner, The Professional!)

Those two things alone are bad but the worst was when The Professional said ...

"Bobbi is really into brows this season ..."

And I tried to make some dumb joke like, "Well - I've sure got em'!" But my joke just echoed through the caverns of Belk. I felt my heart start to race as The Professional picked up a brow pencil. Then she told me to close my eyes. Then she started sketching.

There are a few things in my life I'm confident I do not need. Examples of such things: A bumpit. Mostly anything in Sky Mall magazine. A hello kitty toaster (though I've always secretly wanted one). Also, an eyebrow pencil. My eyebrows are already significant. In high school, they looked like rectangular wooly worms marching across my forehead. One fateful day, a very kind stylist named Daniel talked me into letting him wax them**** and once I realized, wowza, I have eyes! .. I was hooked. The waxing gives them shape but my brows are dark and they pack a punch.

Whoa is me, for "Bobbi is really into brows this season." The Professional used her brow pencil to make my already dark brows darker. If I were a super villain, my handle would be Sharpie-Brows.

"Okay," she said. She handed me a mirror that looked like the one the wicked witch uses in Snow White. "Take a look."

I was surprised, no doubt. But it was not surprise in a fun way. A fun surprise happened on my birthday a few years ago when my sweet friends, Kaylene and Jill, went in my apartment while I was in class and filled my entire bathroom with hundreds of balloons.

This was the opposite of that kind of surprise. This is a surprise like when you open your closet and a clown pops out, growls, and says, "I'm hungry." (This has never happened to me but I'm assuming the reaction would be the same.)

I stared at my reflection in the mirror. My black liquid rimmed eyes went wide. I fought back the urge to hum the theme song from The Moulin Rouge.

The Makeup Artist nearly squealed. "What do you think?!"

When I opened my mouth to respond, I could feel my lips peeling apart. The coral gloss was like some space-age adhesive, I kid you not. At first, I thought my lips were sealed shut.

"Uh," I cleared my throat, "This is way more makeup than I will ever ever wear."

And The Professional and the other lady behind the counter were like, "What? No! It's so natural! It's so pretty! Men will love you! Women will want to be you! Your eyes are huge now! You look sooooo much better!"

Something about my face reminded me of an airbrushed t-shirt. But she was nice and I didn't want to hurt her feelings. So I said, "I don't think these colors look good on me," I handed her the mirror. "But thanks anyway."

I still purchased a couple of things (none of the things they put on me). Then I pushed my bangs down over my eyes and walked out of the mall with my head down.

Once I was in the car, I called bffSarah and told her the story. She said, "Please send me a picture. Now. Please!" That is her way. Then I called my mom and she said, "Don't wash it off before I get to see it!" They're so supportive.

After wiping the pound of makeup off my face, the day got better and better. My birthday ending up being a really sweet day. This is what the sky looked like when I went to dinner with my fam:

It's hard to be in a bad mood with a sky like that. I didn't blow out a candle this year, but I did break open a fortune cookie. It read:

Doors will be opening for you in many areas of your life.

I like that :) So here's to another year of sweet surprises and small miracles. A year I can promise will not include liquid eyeliner. Or coral lipstick. Or eyebrow pencils.

How's your week going? :)

* When I got there the groomer kept apologizing profusely and she comped all this stuff. I was like, "Really - it's okay. It's hair. It grows back." But when I left I started thinking about how many people probably when postal over stuff like that.
** Before you go thinking I'm a saint, do know I have a habit of buying people stuff they don't need. I like to buy books for people (the need factor is debatable there ;), but I also have an eye for random. Like, I bought my brother a coffee cup shaped like a leprachaun recently. Stuff like that is what my mom was referring to.
*** I'm not a super stylish chick, but I do have a tip here. If you want something a little more dramatic on your eyes, but you feel like liquid eyeliner is too much for you too, here is my advice: use a small, flat eyeshadow brush (you can find one at Target), wet the brush, and then apply your darkest eyeshadow as eyeliner. It's more dramatic without feeling too harsh. If you try this and it looks stupid on you then just pretend I didn't say anything ... ;)
**** Daniel had to wax my brows in two separate visits. I'm not kidding when I tell you how wild they were. After the second visit, I payed and walked outside and saw him sitting in a chair, smoking, hands shaking. I hope he's not still traumatized.


  1. I am behind on reading AND watching Jane Austen...oh well, c'est la vie! I'll get caught up eventually. :)

    I loved your birthday experience...thanks for the story. Your blog always makes me smile!!

  2. Wow, that is a week! Thanks for sharing that story with us!

    I haven't heard of many makeovers like that which go well... consultants need to know personalities and taste, not just color pallettes.

  3. Okay, I love you and your adorable blog. I laughed out loud in my quiet apartment at least four times :)
    And I'm a lot like you, a big fan of enhancing what you've got instead of painting on what you don't. A few months ago, I spoke at a school event and the admin paid a makeup artist to come and highlight my features so the lights wouldn't wash me out.
    They couldn't if they tried.
    My friends took some pictures, and my face looks so cakey and eerily colorful that it would be easy to mistake me for some figure at a wax museum. Icky.
    Thanks for your post, your words always make me laugh :) Hannah

  4. AWH (:

    That is like so much better than my birthday story a couple of weeks ago lol.
    all i got was pied in the face.
    :) i also still have my glasses from Coraline :)
    and i think Biscuit looks like a cutie :)

  5. Wow, I think it would be best if you stayed at home (or a cave) for a few days to get over that week. I despise make-up counters. First of all the smells give me a headache and second of all I'm just too scared to let someone do anything to me at all. Biscuit is definitely cute. I don't really understand the Amish comparison (??) but it did make me laugh. :) I love how both Captain Jack and Gollum ended up in this post. ;)

  6. LOVED the birthday story. So many things made me laugh, like the eyeliner on boys line, but this one definintely: "If I were a super villain, my handle would be Sharpie Brows."

    And I loved your fortune. So fitting. And so true. Prophecy in a tasteless crunchy cookie.

  7. Natalie, I am with you on the eyebrow thing. I'm too scared to get my eyebrows waxed, but I really don't like them. I think it's hereditary; my brother has a bushy-caterpillar thing going on much worse than mine - at least I use tweezers occasionally.
    I would like to go to a makeup counter sometime, but now after hearing your story, I'm not so sure. I might just have my friend's mom do it, since she used to do Mary Kay.
    Well, at least next year you can look back and say, "Haha, last year I got attacked by makeup on my birthday, so this one has to be better!" :)

  8. Thanks Ruth :) I'm glad you're behind too. That makes me feel better. I might catch up on the movie before I catch up on the book ... don't tell.

    Kristen, I think you're exactly right. Personality has so much to do with it. Very often (not always) I see a makeup artist behind a counter and think they're too pretty to be wearing as much makeup as they're wearing. But I guess some people like it that way.

    Thanks Hannah! Glad it made you laugh :) That's so funny/sad about your assembly experience. I had to pile on the makeup for a speaky thing one time too - and while I get that it might not make me look as ghostly to people far off, it looks WAY clowny close up. (I bet you looked great though!) :)

    Em, glad you kept the Coraline glasses! We will fight for our right to wear 3D glasses! :) I'm sorry you got pied in the face ... I want to ask why but I'm afraid ... :) Happy late birthday!

    Jennifer, the smells are INSANE! I agree. They're not bad at Bobbi Brown, b/c they don't sell perfume (or they do ... but just one kind and they don't hose the air with it when you walk past). Sometimes even when I go in bath and body works my head starts pounding. About the dog: with Biscuit's nose shaved, the fuzz on the side of her face looks like a beard sometimes. I think that's what my mom meant. I think. It made me laugh regardless :)

    JBJ - Prophecy in a tasteless crunchy cookie is possibly the best tag ever! :)

    Rachael, I can sooo understand what it's like to have heavy brows. I wish I could show you pictures of what mine used to be -- they were way thick. I'm really, really glad I waxed mine and glad the first guy who did it knew what he was doing. My brows are still heavy but they have more of an arch now. A good stylist keeps them natural, just cleans up the heaviness. However, I happen to think heavy brows look awesome on some people too. I bet if you're already tweezing yours, they look great. I think getting your friend's mom to do your makeup is an awesome idea - she knows your personality. And she'll probably take her time and play with lots of colors on you. Mary Kay has gorgeous stuff!

  9. It is hardly my personality to comment on blog posts, but this time, I couldn't resist. I used to read your devotionals all the time in Brio and loveloveloved them. Today, as I was browsing at the book store, I discovered that Susie had started her own magazine (not sure how I missed that). I flipped to the back, hoping to find an article by you, and I wasn't disappointed. Since the article contained your blog address, I decided to investigate, and I'm so glad I did. I've only read the first post, but I already have laughed out loud several times (and I feel much better about my pale skin and thick black eyebrows). Your writing is so refreshing, so honest and hilarious. I can't wait to read your book!
    -Another Natalie

  10. I'm glad your birthday turned out good, anyway. =)
    I don't wear make-up, except on very special occasions (like being a bridesmaid, going to homeschool formal). And even then, I only have one person I trust to put it on me- my older cousin, who is amazing with clothes and make-up and stuff.
    I know I've said this before, but I can definitely relate with living in a town where everyone has a year-round tan. =)


  11. This cracked me up. I have never let anyone besides my mom and myself do my makeup. I use mineral make up though, so it's hard to mess it up. But you can definitely put too much on. : )

    I hope your birthday week was fantabulous! :)
    That picture is gorgeous. I haven't seen sun here in OK in a while haha.

    I made those pretzel things for my pom class and they were a total success!! : )They loved them. I put a chocolate M&M on the Hershey Kiss. Thanks for the idea.

    Lots of love, Steffanie

  12. OMG, I really wish you had an "after" pic of your make-up appointment. Hilarious.

  13. I don't think we can ever say enough about how much some brow shaping has helped us-such a small step, yet such a huge difference!
    Also, thank you for the reminder...whare is my "after" picture of the makeup? :)

  14. Natalie, thank you so much for your kind comment! I'm so glad you discovered Susie Mag. I think it's going to be even better than Brio :) I'm so glad you decided to comment on the blog and say hello. It made my day. :) Those of us with pale skin and dark eyebrows must unite. You are welcome here .. ;)

    Steffanie, glad the pretzels went over well! Anytime pretzels and chocolate are involved, I think the chances for excellent are good. It's hard for even me to mess up something like that. Hoping you see some sunshine soon. Even though I think snow is pretty, I'm starting to miss it bad :)

    LiLa, the after was horrific. It would have haunted your dreams.

    mc, I tried to take a pic but the camera phone didn't do it justice ... I'll show you sometime. Just know it was far worse than what you will see.

  15. Kristin, I'm glad you know what it's like to live in the land of the tanning bed. And emerge pale :) That's so fun when you find the one friend or family member who always does makeup awesomely. My college roomie Roya was like that - she could do makeup on anybody and make them look gorgeous. Roya and your cousin need to give The Professional a tutorial.

  16. I've been reading your blog for quite awhile now, and I figured commenting might be a good idea at some point... Haha. The makeup story cracked me up. Sounds like something that would happen to me, actually. I'm pretty sure good senses of humor were invented specifically for days like that.

  17. I'm so glad you said hello, Brittany! And I agree a sense of humor is a must. Whenever weirdness happens, I usually just try to roll with it. And think about how fun it will be to write about on the blog :)

  18. Ahahaha. Thanks, Natalie. You had me giggling for sure.
    And remembering the time I went to the MAC counter on a Christmas g.c. before going to work...*shudder*.
    As a fellow uber-pale-with-freckles-type, well...I get ya. :) Funny aside: last time I went to get my eyebrows waxed (which I've been doing since I was 11--they're THAT bad) they had grown in so much the lady was talking me through it like it was my first time. Sigh.
    Have a great week! I'm sure you'll see more comments as I keep reading back into your blog!