$49 – violentdelights.co.uk
$28 – pieces.com
Last month, I went to the iFabbo conference in San Francisco. This is a conference for fashion and beauty bloggers, so everyone was fashionably late, dressed to the nines and super excited about all of the panels. For me, it was nice to be in a room full of people like me. I truly enjoyed shoe gazing and talking to people who are just trying to make it in the world. It’s also fun to chat with people about clothes and hair and makeup without them looking at you like you’re a shallow, vapid moron. While hobnobbing with all of these fine people for a day netted me a goody bag full of awesome products (which I will give you the scoop on in coming posts), it also gave me a new perspective on my approach to people.
I have lived in “Girl World” (thanks, Tina Fey) for my whole life. Even though I lived in a small town, and there weren’t a lot of people, the cliques started early. In 3rd grade, my friend Marisa started a club called, “The Sassy Sisters.” Thankfully, I was in the club. We took over the monkey bars at recess and sneered at people who dared to climb them. Middle school, high school and college were no different.
My time spent in and out of these cliques taught me how to judge a book by its cover. Fitting in is a method of survival during your teen years, so it’s not uncommon to carry the sneering into adulthood. As a young woman, I always made snap judgements about people based on what they looked like. Thankfully, I always got to know people anyway, and most of the people I thought I would hate have become some of my closest friends. While at the iFabbo conference, I looked around the room and thought that most of the women there would have been tagged in the “bitch” category, simply because they had interesting style and a lot of makeup. I can’t speak for all women, but I know that several of us are intimidated by people we deem, “prettier” than us, so it’s not uncommon to go on the defense.
But guess what? These pretty girls are people too, and they are nice, enthusiastic and sharp as tacks (well, not all pretty girls, but anyone who wants to make their passion into a business is intelligent in my book). I can’t imagine my life without some of these people whom I initially discounted on appearance alone. They have been there to support me through all types of situations. These days, when I hear people calling out others because they are “stuck up,” I want to intervene. You can’t infer that about someone unless you make an effort to talk to them for a little bit. I also hate the term, “real women.” It implies that we all have to look the same, or we’re fake. Guess what? Every woman on earth is real. We all walk around and eat and breathe and sleep. My thighs touch. My friend who’s 5 inches taller than me has thighs that don’t. I’ve got other friends who are on the plus size of the catalogue, and guess what? We are all as real as can be. Next time you want to write someone off because she’s dressed a certain way or does her hair and makeup a certain way, swallow your pride and talk to her. You might make a friend.
I admit it. I was a late bloomer. In high school, I was the weird girl with glasses, braces and an odd personality. I didn’t eat play dough or anything, but I was into platform shoes, disco and all things New York City – which is hard when you live in a small town in the Colorado mountains. Once I left the hills and small-town life behind (in Denver, mind you… baby steps), I grew into my face, found my sense of style and started hanging out with people who liked me regardless of my odd hobbies. I even had someone with me when we went to a retro club for my 21st birthday and did the hustle with old people. It was a blast.
Once I got into college, I started routinely getting attention from guys, and found it to be quite awkward. After all, I was used to being passed over for my friends and ignored. That was the status quo, and it was my comfort zone. Though I’m not quite as weird around men these days, I have never been a “sexy” person. When I try to do things that are stereotypically sexy, I feel like a moron. I’m the, “cute girl.” I’m not the kind of girl who’d feel comfortable in a pole dancing class, or a burlesque class or doing a boudoir photo shoot.
In college, I met my friend Kristina, who is one of the most confident people I have ever met. She is an eternal optimist who is always comfortable in her own skin, and she turns heads everywhere. When we were 22, she convinced me to be a promo model with her. The gig entailed barhopping in barely there attire and selling shots to patrons in each bar/club. On my first night, the owner of the agency told me that I needed a push up bra and showed me how to make my then B cups look way more boobalicious. It involved two bras, including one with a lot of padding, and lots of safety pins, but my cleavage ended up looking amazing. I still use that trick from time to time, though it’s not as necessary now that I’m not taking dance classes four nights a week.
Kristina is one of those people who is inherently sexy without trying too hard. She likes herself and believes that she can do anything – and she has accomplished a lot. When I took dance classes in college, I became friends with a lot of people like her. I took theater classes with two girls who were already Broncos cheerleaders and a couple of other girls who would become NFL cheerleaders later. To me, these girls were the definition of sexy, and they were always nice and fun people to hang out with. I wanted what they had, but always found reasons why I couldn’t be them and reasons that they were better than me.
We as a society are constantly being bombarded with images of what sexy is supposed to be, and I’m fine with that. I am not going to bash the fashion industry or the entertainment industry for “exploiting” women. I don’t see NFL Cheerleaders or Victoria’s Secret models as sexist or exploitative. I think that it’s empowering, and I know that a lot of girls dream of having those jobs. It takes discipline to stay on the path needed to get those jobs. You have to deal with a ton of scrutiny and failure before you make it. And those girls believe in themselves to get back up and do it. To me, that determination is way sexier than wearing a tight dress and shaking your boobs in someone’s face.
So, each day, I strive to gain and maintain the inner confidence and belief in myself that it takes to be a sexy person. But I may just continue being the cute girl, because it’s who I am, and that is good enough.
I’m a nail polish enthusiast. For as long as I’ve been allowed to wear nail polish, I have always loved having well manicured nails. I was lucky enough to have been born with amazing nail beds and strong nails. I have had exactly one acrylic manicure in my life, which ruined by aforementioned nails. It took a year to grow them back out.
I love trying new manicures, so when I heard about gel nail polish, I was intrigued. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I found a manicure shop that offered gel manis for a reasonable price, so I decided to get one. This process gets some flack, because the polish has to be cured with UV light. Being San Francisco, the manicurist slathered my hands with sunscreen and proceeded to place a miniature tanning bed on the table with which to cure my color.
The manicure held up as well as, if not better than advertised. After 3 weeks, I still had perfect polish, but I was getting annoyed with the length. I found out that gel polish is practically impossible to remove. I will never bemoan glittery nail polish again. I looked around the interwebs and found instructions on how to remove the polish with acetone nail wraps. First, you have to take a coarse file and remove the top coat of polish. Just don’t do it too hard, or you’ll risk ruining your nail.
Thankfully, I happen to have a bottle of 100% acetone nail polish remover, so following the filing, I soaked 10 cotton balls and wrapped them in foil around my nails. The result is awkward, so I had to do one hand at a time. After about 15 minutes, the polish slid off with ease. It was kind of like peeling old wallpaper with steam and a scraper. However, my nails still have a residual texture on them, and I did peel off some of the nail.
My verdict on gel is that it’s great for those whose polish tends to chip easily. But given the amount of time spent in the mini-tanning bed, as well as the difficulty required to remove the polish, I would leave this technique to about 1-2 times a year. I will stick with my suitcase full of OPI, Essie, and Butter London shades for weekly wear.