Tutorial: Maroon Smoky Eye

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Happy March everyone! Today I’m back with a new tutorial and mini review post of a look I’ve been loving for the past couple months. Maroon and mauve colors are super big in the makeup world right now, and I’m excited to share an eye look I created by accident from a bunch of random colors. Read on for the new product I used for the look above! Continue reading

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Keeping your New Year’s Resolutions Realistic

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Hey all!

As another new year approaches we come across a common tradition: resolutions for the future. 2017 has been rough on a lot of people including myself, so we see the new year as a time for reflection and making changes. Most of you probably feel like I did and wanted to exorcise the bad elements of 2017 from your lives, but I’ve also found over the years that new year’s resolutions can be damaging and negative to my self-image and mental health. So I decided to share a few tips on resolutions to help everyone have a great 2018 (and to work on one of mine, to write blog posts more consistently this year).

The main idea I’m trying to push here is to be realistic. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with aspiring to improve yourself. Big dreams are important. But unrealistic resolutions are doomed to failure because you have to be patient and kind with yourself as well. We are often our own harshest critics because we don’t have a broad perspective on our own lives. This is why we are often cruel and insulting to ourselves in a way we would never be to our friends. So it is important to keep our resolutions simple, doable, and considerate to our well-being.

For physical resolutions, this means starting small and working up to bigger goals. If you want to exercise more try setting a goal of exercising once a week. It doesn’t seem like much, but once you achieve a smaller goal, you can work up to 2, 3, or even 7 days a week. But in the interim you aren’t disappointed in yourself for failing. Cold turkey is a difficult thing. Cutting soda, alcohol, or indulgent habits all at once is often virtually impossible. Usually I end up breaking the resolution once and then quitting altogether because I’ve disappointed myself. If you start small, you have accomplishments to be proud of. It’s amazing to make even a simple lifestyle change! Then you can manage your goals over time instead of putting all your hopes and dreams into things magically “getting better” as soon as January 1st hits each year.

I think it is also important to be kind to yourself and pick a few resolutions that are not physically based. We are such a body-stressed society. As soon as 2018 hit I noticed a huge uptake in diet meal plan and exercise ads on my Hulu. These are noble aspirations to be sure, but focusing on mental health is equally important and in some ways easily looked over. Sometimes we focus so much on the number on the scale or the size of our waistbands that we forget how we feel. Does your body feel good each day? Do you feel a sense of contentment in life? Weighing less isn’t a mental health magic bullet. Inner goals can be big like going to therapy more often or getting off social media to prevent negativity. But they can also be small, like hanging out with friends more or taking more time to do a cherished hobby. I often find that these goals make a huge difference in my life and keep me from staring in the mirror and entering a shame spiral.

A new year can be hard for a lot of people. Many of us lose loved ones or have a hard time being around our families for the holidays. So encouraging kindness around resolutions is important. We are human beings who are imperfect. A resolution is not a test to fail, and breaking one does not make you useless or stupid. It is more important to be realistic in the ways we improve ourselves because we are each special and so important to this world. I hope all of you have an extremely wonderful 2018 full of changes and exciting growth, and thank you again for reading this blog. It means so much to me!

-Kate

Clothes Should Fit You, Not the Other Way Around

Hey all! I know I’ve done several tutorials in a row for the past couple of weeks and I thought it would be nice to write something a bit longer again. I want to discuss one of the most stressful parts of being a woman with a body in this society.

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Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

When I say that I’ve cried in a dressing room I’m sure it sounds shocking to some readers. But I guarantee that if you’re a woman it might sound a little familiar. Women’s bodies are constantly being pushed to fit certain standards. You have to be as skinny or as fit as every celebrity. You can’t have rolls, cellulite, small boobs, or a flat butt. I find one the most pervasive ideas we have is that we have to fit into certain clothing sizes. The goal is to be a size 5 and squeeze into those jeans that cut off your circulation.

But as I’ve reflected on this idea I feel like it makes no sense. Why do we have to fit into clothes when clothes should fit us? Despite what some fashion companies and designers would like you to think, it is actually easier to make clothes that fit all shapes then to lose weight or cause yourself injury trying to create a body type that you just don’t have.

Every woman looks good in some article of clothing. If something fits your unique body it looks good, no matter how “unideal” your body type is (that’s another discussion for another day). If you wonder why celebrities always look good it’s because they have all their clothes fitted and altered. That’s what you would look like if you had a personal tailor. Women used to make their own clothes and they fit perfectly which caused a lot less body insecurity. But instead of doing that now we are cramming ourselves into sizes that just don’t work because companies prefer to think that all women are size 2 when the majority are size 12-16 (and anyone outside of this range should have options too).

So yes, I’ve cried in a dressing room. Every year my numbers kept going up. Instead of celebrating my growing body and development in middle school I was worried that my pants might go over a size 8 when everyone else was wearing a 0. It’s like a game; when the numbers go up you are somehow a worse person. It’s no wonder men are allowed to feel good about themselves at a variety of median body sizes, they just use inches and centimeters to determine their sizes. But we can’t possibly give women that level of security. Make sure they are a 31 in one store, a 12 in another, and a 40 in the stores that want to make you feel extra terrible.

It’s like we’re gas lighting women every time they enter a store. You thought you knew your size but “surprise!” you’re fatter than you ever thought! It doesn’t matter that we just forgot to tell you that we arbitrarily change the numbers every 6 months. So we sit in the dressing room and cry because we don’t “fit” even when the problem is that nothing fits us.

I’m definitely not over my body image issues. I probably never will be completely for a lot of reasons. But I haven’t cried in a dressing room in several years. A lot of women find ways around this shame. We order online or find awesome sites that are ahead of the game and creating beautiful pieces for women of all sizes (see modcloth and Lane Bryant!). For me, I finally put on the “biggest” size number of jeans that I had ever worn in my life. But I looked good. The jeans fit all my curves and didn’t smash my stomach so much that I was afraid to eat. The clothes I wear aren’t a size small, but they look great. They make me feel confident. And when something doesn’t fit I throw it out. Why do I need to hang onto things that make me feel bad? I don’t have any obligation to fit into clothes that are too small. And I feel great about the clothes I wear. And guess what? No one knows or cares what size they are anyway.

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Photo Credit: Modcloth.com

As a disclaimer I know I haven’t had the hardest time of all people. I still fall into the range of people who are not discriminated against because of their weight. We also need to remember that other people’s bodies are NEVER our business. I don’t care if you are “concerned about someone’s health”, it is never ok to comment on someone’s body or tell them how to live. This is why the clothing sizes are super important. They send the message that it is okay to look however you look in this society.

So next time you’re in the dressing room depression I encourage a little rethinking. The cute skirt doesn’t fit you? That’s fine because it wasn’t made for you. It should be perfect for YOU. I promise there is someone else thinking the same thing and they made that skirt in the correct size in another store. It’s taking a while for the world to catch up, but people are starting to realize that selling clothes to everyone is the best thing for business and your moral compass. Maybe someday we can wake up and feel amazing for how our bodies pump blood to our organs and how our eyes reflect light to create images. It is a goddamn miracle that our bodies run how they do every day. So I try to create a little inner peace by covering my beautiful amazing mind vehicle with things that make me happy. Cellulite, extra cushioning and all.

-Kate

Tutorial: Two-Toned Eyes

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Hi all! Today’s post was inspired by the beauty section of Glamour magazine (not atypical of me). Sometimes the makeup trends are a little too intense for me (especially those terribly unwearable glossy lids), but going bold can also be really fun! My bold looks are often the ones I get the most compliments on because they are interesting and noticeable. Today’s look is all about bright colors and bold lines, so read on for more! Continue reading

Tutorial: Mono-toned Blush Look

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Hey all! Today’s look combines two of my favorite things: popular trends and simplicity. I have noticed the all-blush look popping up all over the place, from my Glamour magazine to the videos of some of my favorite Kpop stars. Granted, I think this look has been popular in Korea for a while, but I’m super excited to try it out! Read on for the details. Continue reading

Tutorial: Sunset Eyeshadow

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Hey all! Today I’m sharing an eyeshadow look that I stumbled upon by accident. I was out at brunch with some friends a few weekends ago and decided to experiment with different colors in my Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette. One of our friends said my eyeshadow looked really sunny, and I decided to make a little tutorial of the look! Read on for more. Continue reading

How I Learned to Love My Moles

If any of you have been reading my blog for a while you’ll notice that I have many freckles and moles on my face and body (these things are pretty obvious when you stare at close-ups of my face all the time). I’ve been noticing a trend lately where people use makeup to create artful splashes of freckles across their noses in all sorts of pretty colors, and it made me want to write about my own feelings about my spots.

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Freckles are all the rage lately… if they look like this. Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

I’ve always been a fan of light layers of foundation and concealer that look like skin. You might have noticed that I gravitate toward beauty blenders, powder foundation, and CC/BB creams for this reason. The first thing I always said to myself when I started wearing makeup is that I would never wear a heavy enough base color to cover up my moles and freckles. Initially I decided on this idea because I thought it would look weird to try to cover all the brown (which is true), but lately I’ve really come to appreciate my freckles and moles as parts of myself that are worth showing.

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I think my moles are special. Even though they aren’t multi-colored. Photo Credit: mashable.com

I’m sure many of you have complicated relationships with your birthmarks and scars like I do. For most of my childhood I was frustrated by the number of moles on my body. I thought that freckles were cute, but not moles. Freckles that fell across the noses of my palest friends were a sign of “being adorable” while moles were big ugly blemishes that grew on witches (It doesn’t help that my lip mole likes to grow long witchy hairs). All I wanted to do was have delicate little freckles and erase all my other spots.

It wasn’t until I got older that I noticed things I really loved about my moles. I have one little spot right on the tip of my nose that is my favorite thing ever. And I found 3 moles on my leg that connect to make a perfect equilateral triangle. I used to trace them with my finger when I wore shorts. Eventually I realized that my spots were something unique instead of a problem. I remember a girl in my middle school dance class insulting my moles. She told me that I was definitely going to get skin cancer because I had so many. In that moment I realized something: I didn’t give a crap what she thought about my body.

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Natalie loves her moles and so do I! Photo Credit: natalieportman.com

Ever since then I like my makeup to show my moles fully and I’m proud of them. I put sunscreen on to protect them and I can’t imagine my face without my upper lip beauty mark. I think this journey of self-discovery is really important in an age where we are adding freckles we don’t have to our faces. It’s considered “cool” to add freckles or wear glasses you don’t need, but not when these things are part of you. Because fashion is broadening so much, it’s time to appreciate our natural spots as beautiful too. Why would I be ashamed of my moles when people are drawing on beauty marks left and right?

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Winnie Harlow is a beautiful model who embraces her skin pigmentation. Photo Credit: Instagram.com/winnieharlow

I encourage taking a little time to get familiar with your so-called “flaws”. Take a look at the chicken pox scar on your cheek, that skin pigmentation on your chin, or that scar across your eyebrow. Life gets so much better when you realize that those features make you unique. Without your spots you would look like someone else; you wouldn’t be YOU. If we all wear a layer of foundation as thick as sunscreen and conceal our every flaw life is no fun. I hope if I can learn to love my moles (even the big ones and the hairy ones) others can learn to love their unique complexions, whether you’re drawing on a little something extra or not.

-Kate

Tutorial: Riverdale’s Betty And Veronica

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I’m sure I’m not the first person to get totally sucked into the show Riverdale after its recent release on Netflix (my sister can attest to that). I personally didn’t think I’d get into a show about the Archie comics since I’ve never read them, but The CW has always known how to create a good drama! One of the things I like best about Riverdale is its slew of interesting and capable female characters. I didn’t expect much after older and less progressive shows (Sorry Gossip Girl), but I was incredibly impressed with Betty and Veronica from episode one. They have a few mishaps, but generally their friendship transcends stupid boy fights and played out drama. They are there for each other and their friendship feels like the strong relationships I have with my best girl friends.

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Photo Credit: riverdale.wikia.com

As a makeup-obsessed TV watcher, I admired the way Betty and Veronica were styled and how their personalities showed through these choices. It only took me a few episodes to decide that I wanted to create makeup looks inspired by them! Read on for my looks as I channel two mystery-solvin’ ladies.  Continue reading

Are Makeup and Feminism Compatible?

I’ve had a lot of thoughts on this topic for quite some time. I graduated with a Women’s Studies minor, so feminism is really important to me. I also started using makeup more heavily and creatively in college, so I’ve been in constant conflict with my desire to do my makeup and to support a feminist lifestyle.

I know that plenty of women have popularized the idea that “makeup makes me feel empowered so makeup is feminist”. While I like the sound of that idea, there are definitely complexities we have to consider. Makeup is implicitly tied to capitalism and cooperations. Makeup companies want to sell their product to consumers. This is often done by reminding people that imperfections are unacceptable or that there is always another product that they don’t have and need.

Makeup as empowerment is also flawed because it ignores intersectional concerns of feminist theory. Options for women of color have greatly expanded in the past few years, but there are still far fewer choices for them. People of color can’t necessarily explore makeup artistically the same way that a white woman like myself can, and that leads to unfairness. There are also wealth disparities between those who can afford every new Sephora product and those who save a few weeks for one item from the drugstore.

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Kim declares that she feels empowered by both makeup and nude photos. Photo Credit: twitter.com/KimKardashian

All of this is leading up to my personal opinion on makeup and feminism. This is my opinion of course, so it is neither right nor wrong. It’s just what I think. But I wanted to point out the multiple points of view of this issue before I dived in.

I’ve had a complicated journey with makeup. I wore no makeup at all until I was a freshman in college. I occasionally wore it for dance recitals, but otherwise I was disgusted by the use of makeup. I knew I didn’t need to cover anything up and I judged other girls who were “vain” enough to wear makeup in high school.

In college I started to wear eyeliner and mascara. In my junior year things evolved with bold lipsticks and a bit of shadow. Now I’m in a place where I have many palettes and lipsticks and love to create looks. It’s quite a reversal from my judgmental high school days.

I think my attitude in high school was wrong in many ways. I was a little bit of a female misogynist (I’m better than “regular” girls), so I was comfortable judging other girls when they were simply responding to our society’s training that their faces weren’t good enough. I was also ignoring the artistry of makeup. I truly believe that makeup can be used independently from a cover-up as something artistic. My main motivation for using makeup today is that it soothes me in the morning to do something creative just for myself. It is exciting to pick out what colors I will use that day and enhance my favorite features.

In some ways makeup helped me to embrace the femininity I always feared. I always thought I wasn’t girly enough or couldn’t be pretty. Makeup gave me my superpower. When I wear makeup and certain clothes I can make myself “visible”. I used to be completely invisible. I could sit a certain way, wear my hair a certain way, or exude an energy that made me unseen. With makeup I suddenly had the power to switch from an invisible person to a visible one at will. And it was a fascinating study in self- confidence.

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Alicia Keys has been going “no-makeup” for a while because of the stresses of looking put-together constantly. Photo Credit: lennyletter.com

I consistently try to go out without makeup to reassure myself that I don’t “need” it. But I still don’t go to work without a full face and would never attend a first date without it. Because makeup still has some control over me as it does for many people. I still look at my eyelashes and hope they could look like they have mascara on all the time. I have many friends who would rather have a quick routine with no makeup, but know they can’t do so professionally. So we have a long way to go with normalizing makeup as an art independent from female insecurity.

But I don’t see makeup as a flaw in my feminism. Because feminism is about women making the choices they want to without people imposing societal constraints on them. In some ways women don’t have a choice about wearing makeup because we are expected to have it on. This is why many women are told we look “sick” or “tired” when we don’t wear makeup. But judging someone for enjoying makeup and judging someone for wearing none are both incompatible with feminism in some way.

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Cara both declares herself a feminist and wears a full face of makeup in the latest issue of Glamour. Photo Credit: abcnews.go.com

What we need to understand is that there is no perfect form of feminism. Maybe you feel troubled because you like a partner to open the door for you or enjoy being dolled up every day. But what is most important is that we learn about the complexities of societal pressure and try to dismantle them without putting too much pressure on ourselves. Being happy is important too. So put on that red lipstick if it makes you feel good. Support companies that are ethical. And cheer on artists that post no-makeup photos and normalize natural faces like Alicia Keys. As for me, I’m going to keep taking selfies of my makeup skills while ranting about female superhero movies on twitter.

-Kate

How To: Fill in Your Brows 3 Ways

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Hey everyone! I recently had a few friends request a post on doing your eyebrows. I already wrote a post about the way I most often do my eyebrows here, but this post is more about giving newbies options and details on various methods for doing your eyebrows. My method isn’t right for everyone, so I decided to branch out a bit. Read on for more! Continue reading