Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bookish Rambling from the South

There’s no disputing the fact that we are all born with DNA, and the instant we make our appearance in this world, we’re affected by the environment. There are some psychological experts who believe that our personalities are formed by the time we’re four years old. I’m not sure about that, but it sounds right.

You are You 

We are who we are who we are … Why do some people fight it? Are they ashamed or embarrassed by some part of themselves that will reveal a hidden secret that will make them seem less than desirable if people ever find out?

In my opinion, that’s just silly. It doesn’t change anything, and if someone thinks less of you for any part of you, that’s their problem, not yours.

Even though my dad was in the Air Force and I’ve moved all over—from Alaska to Hawaii and Japan to a bunch of places in between—deep down, I’m a southern woman since both of my parents were from Mississippi. I grew up saying, “y’all,” without thinking there was anything different about that. And I like a sushi appetizer before chowing down on fried chicken and turnip greens.

As an author, I enjoy writing stories set in the South because I can relate to the culture, the relationships, and the food. (I mean, it’s always about food, right?) I like to show that everyone has the same feelings and needs, regardless of where they come from.

Old Insecurities 

Something I've learned over the years is that everyone has insecurities. While some people may project an image of total self-confidence, somewhere beneath that veneer is a real person who has the same issues we all have. They might be concerned about what you think, wonder if they're actually as good as people think they are, or worry that people will think they're a fraud. That's normal.

My 3-book Class Reunion series has characters from all walks of southern life, and when they come back to this fictional town of Piney Point, Mississippi, for their 10-year, 15-year, and 20-year reunions, they resort to some of their old behavior until they realize a few things about themselves and their classmates. Some of them take a little longer, but they all eventually see the world through a more mature and developed viewpoint. I think the takeaway from this series is that everyone has insecurities, even those who seem to have all the confidence in the world.

Messed Up Family (Gotta Love 'Em)

Now I’m working on a 3-book Family Reunion series set in another fictional southern town—Pinewood, Mississippi. The people in these stories come from farming roots, and they find their way through life the best way they know how. Some start out as poor rednecks, strike oil, and become rich rednecks. Others work hard and find a way to accomplish their goals. All of this is done with southern sensibilities and of course plenty of food. I’ll let y’all know when these books are available. It should be sometime in 2017.

Friday, January 13, 2017

E.L.F. Cosmetics - Best Customer Service Ever!

Several weeks ago, after watching Jessica Braun’s video on YouTube—the one where she talked about her favorite E.L.F. Cosmetics products—I placed an order for some things that I thought I would like. They were running a great sale, so I expected a long wait. This morning I finally got an email from them stating that my order was being shipped today … and then a few hours later, I got an email that the entire amount of money I paid was being refunded.

That confused me, so I called to find out if there was a mix-up. There wasn’t. The customer service person said that they’re sending me the product for free to thank me for waiting so long.

I’ve received good customer service before but never like this. I’m stunned by the fact that I’ll still be getting the products I know I’ll enjoy, and I’m not having to pay a dime for them. Even at full price, E.L.F. isn’t expensive.

As soon as I receive the products, I’ll try them out and let y’all know my thoughts. You can pretty much count on a favorable review because I’ll be smiling as I apply them. And I’m sure I’ll be placing many more orders with them in the future.

Have you ever had great customer service?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Foundation for Mature Women

In my search for a healthy youthful glow, I've decided that there's nothing wrong with using makeup to enhance the good parts and hide what I don't want to show. So I'll be sharing some of what I've discovered along the way.

Gone are the "Naked-Face" Days

I’ll never forget the days when I could get away with wearing no makeup, with the exception of a light dusting of powder to keep the shine away, and maybe a little blush when I hadn’t been outdoors for a while. Those days are gone, and I find myself on a constant search for the perfect foundation that doesn’t settle into all the lines and creases that have found their way to my face and neck.

It’s really annoying, having to worry about my aging face, but I’m happy that YouTube has come to the rescue. I started out searching for some tips and tricks on applying makeup to “mature” faces, and now I’m subscribed to more than 30 different Youtubers (including some younger ones) who have taught me everything from how to apply primer to contouring to make the face look more lifted and alive.

Foundation Findings

Here are my thoughts on some of the foundations I’ve tried:

Clinique is my current favorite, specifically the Clinique Beyond Perfecting. I purchased it after seeing what it did for makeup artist Kandee Johnson. It covers most of my age spots, hides my pores, and doesn’t settle into the fine lines around my mouth and eyes. I can actually get away with not using powder, but I still like to do a light dusting before applying powder blush and bronzer. The lady at the Clinique counter said I don’t need to use concealer, but the circles under my eyes are so dark I like to anyway. This one has a doe-foot applicator.

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Estee Lauder comes in a close second. I’ve been using the Estee Lauder Double Wear, which has been a favorite high-end brand, for years. It provides decent coverage (although not quite as good as the Clinique), and it stays put throughout the day. It has a pour spout instead of an applicator. I generally apply it with a dense foundation brush, Beauty Blender, or Real Techniques sponge.

Smashbox is one of my least favorites of the high-end foundations, and I’m extremely disappointed that it didn’t work out for me.
I actually went into Ulta wanting to purchase the Urban Decay All Nighter foundation, but the saleslady who helped me recommended the Smashbox instead because of my dry skin. I still might give the UD All Nighter a try, but I need to work through the makeup I currently have. One thing I do like about the Smashbox is that it comes in a pump bottle. To apply, I put 2-3 squirts on the back of my hand and dip my foundation brush or damp Beauty Blender into it. The consistency is a tad watery, so on days when I have more redness on my face, I have to apply a second layer.

Maybelline Fit Me foundation from the drugstore is okay for everyday wear but never when I want to look my very best for a special occasion. It starts out providing medium coverage, but over the course of several hours, it fades in some spots around my cheeks and forehead. I like it okay, though, so I’ll continue to use it until I run out.

I’d like to try the Revlon Colorstay foundation. I’ve used the Colorstay lipsticks, and they last better than most drugstore lip products, so next time I make a run to the drugstore, I might try to find one that matches my skin. Some of the makeup artists have touted it as a dupe for Estee Lauder Double Wear. We’ll see.

I’ve watched Youtuber Jessica Braun’s video on E.L.F. Cosmetics products, and she recommends the ELF Flawless Finish foundation, so I’ll probably try that one too. She’s obviously quite a bit younger than me, but I’ve discovered many great products by paying attention to what the younger girls are doing.

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I’ve used some of the Lancome products, but I like L’Oreal just as much, and it’s quite a bit less expensive. Remember that price isn’t always an indicator of how well it will work on you. Everyone’s skin is different, so request a sample or purchase a trial size of the product before you commit to paying high prices for your makeup so you can see how it works for you.

Something I’ve found interesting is that so many of the lines are sisters (same parent company). For example, Clinique, Smashbox, Bobbi Brown, and Mac are owned by Estee Lauder. I’ve heard rumors that they’ve recently purchased even more companies.

Your Favorite Foundations

If you have any suggestions for a foundation you think I should try, please let me know in the comments. I’m looking for something that goes on well, provides medium to full coverage, and doesn’t settle in the lines. A tall order, maybe, but I’m going to keep looking!