Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dialing it back a notch

So I was a low maintenance kind of a girl growing up.  I've been obsessed with lip products for as long as I can remember, but until at least college, that was all I wore in terms of makeup.  I also got through pretty much the entirety of high school carrying only a little woven change purse instead of an actual purse.  It held my money, my lip gloss and that was about it.

During college I started occasionally wearing a little makeup, but that mostly entailed concealer/powder and eyeliner to add to my lipstick/gloss.  As the years wore on, blush got added in as well as eyeshadow, and in just the last year or so I've started to wear mascara on a consistent basis. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still pretty low maintenance in terms of how long it takes me to get ready, esp. when it comes to makeup.  My makeup routine takes five minutes tops.

Recently on weekends, I've been trying to dial it back with makeup.  If I have something to do, I'll keep it on the normal usage, but for a Sunday lazing around with BF and his daughter?  I'm working to pare it down.  Right now I just make an attempt to ditch the mascara at the very least, and sometimes the eyeshadow.  Liner and lip products, as well as probably concealer, will likely not be taken out of rotation unless I'm too sick to bother!  I feel like the eyeliner makes my eyes look awake and the lip product makes me look healthy.  I am working to shift away from lipstick on those days to tinted balms, and when I'm feeling REALLY crazy, just a clear balm.  My favorite is the EOS vanilla mint balm.  So good!

I also got into blowing my hair straight with some regularity (ie 1-2 times a week) this past fall. Problem is that it requires getting up earlier (boo) and is just overall more work than I'm really interested in for my hair.  So I've tried to dial that back as well, not only for ease, but for the health of my hair.  I blow dried my hair straight last Friday morning and that was the first time I'd done it in probably at least a month, if not longer.  I'm trying to re-embrace my curls, and I think I've done a good job.  I cheat occasionally and touch up some face-framing pieces with the curling iron, but mostly it just is what it is.  Do I get compliments on it like I do when it's blown out?  Not nearly as much.  But oh well.  I still manage to make it through my work day without the praise and adoration of my coworkers.  ;-)  Instead I get compliments on earrings, or my nail polish color.  That works!

My last effort at dialing it back has been the most recent, and that's with regards to my shoe choices. I love cute shoes.  I've never been someone who pines for or indulges in insanely uncomfortable shoes for a good look, but I have plenty of pairs that are fairly uncomfortable, but I love, anyway. Again proving my status as a late bloomer, I never really wore heels until I was beyond age 30.  Angry Ex got me into them and for awhile I really relished them.  Heels made me feel sexy and powerful, even when they made my feet hurt!  I liked how they made my legs look, too.  But for me, they are NOT comfortable.  I know some women wear them enough that they are as comfortable as a regular shoe, though I can't fathom that.  But for me, not the case.

I started trying to be smart by wearing one pair of shoes for my commute and changing into another at work.  I walk a block to the bus stop every morning, then 4-5 blocks from Metro to my office, plus any walking I do over lunch, and then the same 4-5 blocks to Metro and block from bus stop to my apartment after work.  It's a good amount of walking!  I've almost never tried that commute in real heels, though I've done it in wedges and chunky heeled sandals, as well as cute flat sandals and cute flats.  THEY ALL HURT.

Lately I'd been wearing one pair of black booties a lot, and I realized recently that they were turning out to be murder on my feet.  They were that middling kind of shoe where they weren't horrifically uncomfortable to commute in, so I'd get lazy and just wear them for everything.  Ouch.  I paid for that laziness with horribly sore feet lately.  It legit hurt to walk on them at all!

So this past weekend I went to DSW and found a (GASP!!) sensible pair of black shoes that can be worn for both commuting and the office.  No, they are not going to elicit compliments.  Ever. But they are not horrific, and they are comfortable.  For the time being I'm aiming for comfort all the time, wearing good shoes at work and out of it.  Running/athletic shoes on the weekend when I don't have much going on.  I can already feel improvement after less than a week of this effort.  Eventually I will surely transition some cute shoes back in, though they may be fleshed out with some nice gel inserts to soften their impact.  But right  now....I'm dialing it back with the shoes, too.

Maybe this all just means I'm getting old, I don't know.  The shoe thing definitely does and I'm okay with that.  I worked out with my trainer last night and I left feeling strong and capable (and totally exhausted) and that matters more to me than getting a compliment on some cute shoes that are making my soul cry.

I guess I just am at a point in my life where I want to look in the mirror and feel beautiful with or without a full makeup effort, with or without a salon blowout, with or without an awesome pair of heels.  I want to recognize that I have pretty eyes, or a nice smile, and that sometimes my curly hair is really lovely.

I've taken a couple of selfies in the last month or so where I've had little to no makeup on, and I was pleasantly surprised.  I still looked pretty!  I may not catch the eyes of strangers in a crowd, but I was happy enough, anyway.  I'm a selfie person, btw.  Sure, it can seem self-indulgent or silly or juvenile. But I choose to view it the same way some others have described it....selfies allow me to capture myself in the way I feel beautiful.  They show anyone who sees them the version of me that I feel is most beautiful.  They are personal and can be like little diaries of a certain moment.  It's rare that someone else can take a picture of me that I like better than a picture I could take of myself.  And lately, I've managed to find those beautiful moments in myself when there's no lipstick to be found, no perfectly coiffed hair, no mascara-rimmed eyelashes.

Anyway, I know this is a random post, but it's just something I've been thinking about.  I like that I'm getting more comfortable with going low key appearance wise these days, and that I can still bring it to the table when I want to look really nice.  I like that as a general rule, no one is going to be shocked if they see me without makeup and tell me that I look like a totally different person.  When I wear makeup I'm just trying to accentuate the me that's already there, not camouflage myself into another person.

When I was growing up I never felt pretty.  I hated my freckles, my unruly curls, my ears, my paleness.  I felt like at best I had moments of cuteness.  My hair was awkward through high school and even into college.  I never really felt put together, even on my wedding day.  I swear, I never started to really feel beautiful until I separated from my husband.  I know that sounds really weird, but it's true.  I think I always felt like a shadow, an afterthought.  I'd never tested myself in any real way, or forged my own path.

Separation and divorce forced me to grow, and forced me back into the world.  I had to re-discover who I was evolving into, and somewhere in that discovery I started to feel pretty.  Confident.  And when I started dating M, my first relationship after my separation, I felt sexy for the first time in my life.  It was empowering.  And when I dated Angry Ex, even though he made me horribly insecure in many ways, I will credit him for getting me to try new things, like heels, and dresses and other fashion choices I wouldn't have tried without him.  Those things further empowered me, and once I broke away from him and grabbed my self-esteem back, I had those in my pocket as well.

After those relationships ended and I went into my 3+ year stint of singlehood, I really came into my own in terms of confidence.  I vamped it up on occasion, wearing heels and skirts and the like. I've now mellowed back out from those high points of self-discovery, and am finding the happy in between.  :-)

I'm learning that I can look quite lovely in certain makeup free, crazy haired moments.  But I'll also never forget that I can do a full tilt makeup effort (still mild compared to the masses, ha), get a rock star blowout and put on a pair of skinny jeans, heels and a cute fitted top and feel like I'm the hottest thing around.  To me, that is winning.  :-)


  1. I like this post and I think women should be more comfortable with 'dialling it back'. I'm happy going out without make-up and in my 'geeky' spectacles; the funny thing is, when I do go out this way, I am 'id'ed' if I buy a bottle of wine (the legal age is 18 in the U.K. so it's great that sales assistants think I'm 10 years younger than my actual age!!!)

    I don't think it's your age showing when you're sensible about shoes and cosmetics. I pretty much always wear flat shoes - converses or some leather ankle boots, orthopaedic insoles (even with heels), because my mother and grandmother have collapsed arches and I've seen the agony they were in and want to avoid that.

    Like you say, it's important to be able to recognise in the mirror that you are beautiful. Your hair sounds amazing, I've always been jealous of curly hair! Equally BF thinks you're gorgeous, plus I remember your Christmas outfit (hot!) and that's all that really matters. I always wonder about those relationships where the guy never sees the girl without make-up on - sounds too high maintenance to me... Like you say, it's how you feel and finding a nice balance :-)

    1. I totally agree, this is something that really is just about balance. :-) I feel lucky that with age comes the wisdom of wanting to take better care of it's just a matter of doing it!

  2. You may think I'm a weirdo but I never wear makeup!! Ahhhhh. I did for awhile in college and then when I worked my corporate job right after but slowly I started scaling back and for years I just don't anymore! Really helps with saving money :). I do wear makeup if I go out at night but not day to day. Oh the heels. Ugh I wore them daily for so many years when I worked in finance, and I didn't even have sensible commuting shoes! Now it's been years since I've worn them. I usually wear flats or boots out at night and luckily I get to work in sneakers now.
    I think these changes may have a bit to do with getting older but more to do with the fact that you are getting more comfortable with who you are no matter what your current appearance is. I also think it's an indication if how happy you are right now too!

    1. That's not weird, it's lovely! I think you're definitely right, it's a combination of getting older and wiser. I'll take it. :-) And yeah, I'm definitely happy in general. Once I get my health checked back into place I'll be even happier!

  3. I rarely wear makeup, I really don't like the way it feels on my skin lately. Especially foundation. I generally wear Boscia BB cream for my foundation, if I wear it. I never do my long hair. I dress like I'm going to or fro a workout. So, if you ever feel bad about not doing enough, just remember, I ain't doing shit. Lol

    1. I've actually never worn foundation. I was never a makeup pro and so I was always terrified of being that oblivious person with a foundation line! I just use a pressed powder and concealer and call it a day. It's all about what we're each comfortable with, I guess! I like this gradual process of feeling more comfortable with my base line. :-)

  4. The only thing this has to do with age is maturity and coming to terms with yourself. Growing up, especially as teens, we're so preoccupied with what other people thing and fitting in that we don't focus on just loving ourselves. That comes with age and maturity. Also, I think the older we get, the less we care (

    I'm with JBean. I almost NEVER wear makeup. (Couldn't imagine being one of those people who have to have makeup on all the time, even in the morning.) I also dress for comfort, especially since I spend most of my time on a bicycle. Heels? Ha! I had to go digging through my storage to find the 1" heels I wore on my wedding day so I can wear them to my first salsa lesson next week. And hair - I've come to the conclusion that if I let my hair do its thing, it looks better than when I try and tame it.

    You're clearly happy and have people who love you for who you are, so work what mother nature gave you!

    1. I think you are so right. The older I get, the more I realize that I need to make decisions based on what is good for me and what I like as opposed to what the world is telling me to like. It's really quite liberating, and while I know I'm not always immune to outside influences, I do feel like each year I get a bit closer!

      I do love my curly hair and would never banish it completely, I just really enjoy the versatility of doing it straight on occasion. But most of the time? I'd rather sleep! :-)

      Thanks for your comment!