Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Curious Power of a Plastic Hair Elastic

It started out like any other plastic coily hair elastic, just keeping my hair out of my eyes, or occasionally living on my wrist. But then it became a symbol of survival.

My red plastic coily was part of a giftbag I took home from my second ever #NYFW. Unlike a few of the other items in the goodie bag, it was immediately useful and practical. I had just moved to my dream city, New York, after years of struggles with anxiety, panic, depression, and the lingering physical aftermath of a serious concussion. Arriving in the city was a Big Deal in every way. I was thrown into a new job, a new home, and around millions of new people. I rented a room in the Bronx for a few weeks, working almost every day at a catering company. The little red coily became part of my uniform, helping me keep my hair in the tight bun style that my bosses required for catering gigs. Everything seemed a bit overwhelming, but extremely exciting too. And then it all spiraled out.

In the course of three days, I discovered the place I was staying had bed bugs, threw away most of what I'd brought with me (which wasn't much!), including a few items of extreme sentimental value, and most everything I'd gotten in my NYFW goodie bags. I threw everything that could be washed on high heat into a garbage bag and fled the Bronx, heading to Bushwick to stay in a place I'd found on for a few days. The red coily stayed on my wrist, a salvaged part of the good parts of living in this crazy city. My first night in Bushwick, my phone and laptop were stolen out from under my bed as I slept.

It was the typical NYC story. Girl from the suburbs moves to NYC with nothing but a couple bags, $400 and big dreams. Girl gets robbed and becomes almost homeless.Girl couch hops for weeks while living off ramen, bananas, and the free coffee at Trader Joes. Girl calls home crying to her mom on her $30 pay as you go phone she had to buy to replace her stolen phone. Girl cries a lot in general, but tries to be plucky at Macy's, where she's taken a job at a cosmetics counter. Girl somehow moves to Brownsville and almost gets shot.

I lasted until early January in the city. My sinuses were destroyed from getting sick three times in a row between December and early January. Seeing gun violence in person was enough to shake me out of thinking I could continue to live in Brownsville. My financial situation wasn't great. In a swift move, I decided to flee back to New Hampshire "just for a little while," to get healthy again and catch my breath. I brought that red coily with me, holding my hair back on the over night car ride from NYC to New Hampshire with my brother.

"A little while" stretched into months. Months stretched into seasons. I fell into the worst depression I've ever had, getting so low that I dragged myself to the doctor thinking I was suffering a serious physical ailment. I felt so exhausted all the time that I could barely function. This wasn't the light fatigue I had envisioned depressed people experiencing... this was such strong exhaustion that I felt as if someone was feeding me Benadryl in the water. It was a dark time. The red coily became a comfort blanket of sorts, because it reminded me I had lived in New York City, and had survived so much.

(The coily in happier times)

In summer, I took a job at the Starbucks in Concord, NH. The job, and the wonderful people I worked with, helped bring me out of the depression cocoon I had sunk into. Despite my fears that I might never be able to master the countless drinks that Starbucks offers, I soon realized I was actually.... good at the job! I loved my team, and I was earning decent money that I could save for going back to NYC. Every day that I worked, that red coily was on my wrist or in my hair, a visual and physical reminder of my goal: Get back to NYC.

We lost one of our customers while I worked there. He was a kind man who used to live in NYC, who loved it desperately and loved to reminisce about it. He once held my hand and said I had to go back to NYC, for both of us. When he passed away, I knew I had to work even harder to get back there for him.

In January of the following year, I was in Boston for a scifi convention when a friend connected me with another friend who knew someone with a room for rent in the city. Everything happened very quickly... from the time that I heard about the room until the time that I moved into it was a couple short weeks. And even though things went much smoother for this move, that red coily was still always firmly attached to some part of me. I wore it even with nice outfits, because I had become superstitious about leaving the house without it. A few times I thought I had lost it and almost panicked. Every time I found it, I thought, you can't lose it! It's your good luck charm!

A few days ago, as I took the coily out of my hair at work, it snapped. I felt like Samson when he lost his hair. My power was gone, leaking right out, all of my bravery and sense of adventure following after. The feelings of superstition were too strong to ignore, especially when I ended up running into an almost comically weird disaster that night. What would this mean? Had I really just lost what made me cool enough to move to NYC not once but twice? Was I really about to dissolve back into the girl I was years ago, when I was still too afraid to move, to start a new job, to even leave the house?

An NYC friend, upon hearing about my lucky charm breaking, had a different perspective. She said maybe I don't need that coily anymore. Maybe its job is finally done, after having gotten me through some tough times. Maybe those particular challenges had played all the way out, been resolved, and I didn't need to carry them around with me anymore. My best friend, a few hours later, agreed with that.

So I'm going to give it a few days, let things reset, and then go in search of my new coily companion. Maybe it'll be gold this time, shiny and optimistic for whatever comes next. And until then? I'll be like Dumbo, and learn how to fly without my magic feather, cheered on by friends and family who believe in me.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Makeup Recommendation: Cover FX Custom Enhancement Drops

There haven't been too many makeup products in the last couple years that have truly surprised me... but Color FX managed to do exactly that! It's pricey, but this product is something special and new, and I truly believe all makeup lovers need to try.

In a variety of colors, the mostly golden-toned drops make all skin tones look fabulous, glowy, and young... and even better yet? All it takes is a drop. Really! A small drop of this, mixed on my oval brush with my foundation, and wow. It makes your foundation go further, and it makes your skin look perfect! 10/10, would recommend. Buy at Sephora:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mermaid Parade 2017

This year was my first ever Mermaid Parade! I had so much fun attending with my friend Charlotte and some friends. It might also be the first time I've ever actually shown up to a party wearing LESS glitter than everyone else! Seriously, this is one of the most glittery events I've ever seen!

Below are some pictures from the parade. Have you ever been?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Welcome back!

As you've probably noticed, I've been very busy since February. I relocated back to NYC, had a book come out, and have been working hard to finish two other books. It's been a crazy, but exciting time! Apologies for how long it's been between posts, but I do have some exciting content to share with you in the coming months leading up to NYFW17.

Feel free to comment with which kinds of posts you like seeing best... interviews? Product reviews? Fashion talk? Makeup talk? Let me know!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

MUA February: Jamie Lynn Maynard

Your name: Jamie Lynn Maynard
Your IG: @jlynnmaynard
Your Twitter: JamieLMaynard1

Where are you from? Mount Pleasant, MI

What made you fall in love with makeup and beauty? What made me fall in love with the beauty industry (makeup and beauty) is the fact that it allows so many people to truly be themselves. However you feel that day you can create a look that perfectly represents what you are feeling at that exact moment in time.

What is your go-to moisturizer? Allure Medical Spa's Face Silk. It is an amazing moisturizer that I purchase at my plastic surgeon's office in Shelby Township, MI. 

Matte lips or lip gloss? Matte. I like a glossy lip once in awhile but I need longevity in my line of work (professional Hairstylist\Makeup Artist).

What time period in beauty do you most wish you could live in for  a few days? I would love to go back to the 60's and 70's when the mod look was really in. Big doll eyes, intense graphic winged liner, simple flawless clean complexion, just a touch of color to the cheeks. I love those looks.

Favorite beauty IGs to follow: @mua_underdogs @jamiegenevieve @jaclynhill @itslilchaos

Best way for fans to keep up with what you're doing? To follow all my social networks. I try really hard to update all of them, so my followers and subscribers know what is going on in my life right at that moment. I upload my YouTube once or twice a week, but I'm constantly posting throughout the day to my IG and Twitter

What is your advice for plus sized fashionistas who want to look and feel fabulous? Be comfortable in the skin you're in. I may not be plus sized but I am a size 8/10 and I do crossfit. Being a girl with thicker thighs and a voluptuous booty really can make me feel like I am on the outside of what is acceptable. I do feel now, any size, shape, and color is acceptable and if you are confident in the skin that you are in and love yourself, the entire world is going to love you back. Be unapologetic about who you are, because being you is what matters most.

What can we do, right now, to make the world a better place? Let go of being so judgmental. We are sadly a world right now that will take something so small that someone said or did and cut them into as small of pieces as we can. We need to stop doing that. We need to come together as a community and build each other up. And always give constructive criticism to help people become better and grow as a person, instead of beating them down and making them go back into their shell. We have created so much hate, and it's time to create more love and support. 

What's your favorite...
Red lipstick? Jeffree Star Cosmetics Designer Blood
Song, currently? Lukas Graham You're Not There
Website for buying beauty? Sephora, Ulta, and a lot of the smaller independent brands like Lime Crime, Gerard Cosmetics, and Jeffree Star Cosmetics
Nail polish? Harmony Gelish Gel Polish in the shade Twinkle

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

MUA February: Tory Barefield

Your name: Tory Barefield
Your IG: @torybarefield_makeup
Your Twitter: I don't have twitter!
Where are you from? Texas!

What made you fall in love with makeup and beauty?
I've always loved things all makeup and beauty. My mom and older sister definitely were a huge influence on my makeup journey.

What is your go-to moisturizer?
High end- Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+
Drugstore- Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer for combination skin.

Matte lips or lip gloss?
I love the look of matte lips!, but hate the feeling! So definitely glossy!

What time period in beauty do you most wish you could live in for a few days?
The 60's! I love everything about the mod makeup, fashion, and even hair!

Favorite beauty IGs to follow:

Best way for fans to keep up with what you're doing?
Definitely snapchat or Instagram. My snapchat is tory.barefield

What is your advice for plus sized fashionistas who want to look and feel fabulous?
Fuck what society claims is beautiful. It's YOUR body, your happiness. KEEP DOING YOU!

What can we do, right now, to make the world a better place?
End the hate. End the violence. We as people, shouldn't be afraid to walk down
the street solely because of our race, religion, or sexuality. It's sickening.
What can we do right now to make the world a better place? Love. Learn to love

What's your favorite...
Red lipstick? I hate red lipstick!
Song, currently? I can't name just one song. I listen to everything from rap, to pop, to country, to 90s boy bands.
Website for buying beauty? Sephora or Ulta, they have everything!
Nail polish?
OPI "To Be Continued..."
OPI "Rose Against Time"
OPI "In Pursuit of Purple"
OPI "Withstands The Test of Thyme"
... anything by OPI.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

MUA February: Natasha Katrina

Your name: Natasha Katrina
Your IG:@makeupbynkc
Your Twitter:n/a

Where are you from?
Miami, FL

What made you fall in love with makeup and beauty?
I fell in love with the art of makeup when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and I was watching my mother apply makeup to herself and her friends. I loved the creativity it allows you to have, but even more, I love the empowerment and confidence you feel knowing you've artistically expressed yourself. To me, makeup even in its simplest and purest form can evoke an emotion. And the community surrounding makeup artist is so encouraging and bountiful. I fell in love with the art, the community, and the soul behind makeup. 

What is your go-to moisturizer?
My all time favorite is Purpose, it's my hidden secret! Hypoallergenic, non-scented, and very light spf gives me everything I need, and even blends great with my foundation palette for my clients. 

Matte lips or lip gloss?
Ughhhhh so hard!! I'm from Miami, FL, so clear gloss is EVERYTHING to some of my Latina friends and family. As I've grown as an artist, I have an equal appreciation for a fierce matte lip and mayyy apply a quick shine at the end. Can't get enough.

What time period in beauty do you most wish you could live in for  a few days?
Although I love the NOW of makeup, as we as a community have evolved and become so progressive with trends and support different ideas of what is "beautiful", I do wish I could spend a few days in the mid-century era, the 1950's. With one of my all time favorites, Ms. Marilyn Monroe, and the love of a fuller body image on the big screen. 

Favorite beauty IGs to follow:
I just LOVE Huda Beauty!! I follow many, so it's hard to pick a true favorite, but bold and glamorous and then clean and modern are my favorite style to follow.

Best way for fans to keep up with what you're doing?
I'd love for fans to follow this amazing journey through my instagram, @makeupbynkc and my FB page @makeupbynkc. Website launch coming soon!!! 

What is your advice for plus sized fashionistas who want to look and feel fabulous?
BE FABULOUS!!!! I AM a plus size fashionista and I say in order to feel beautiful, you have to believe that you ARE beautiful ! Embrace the curves; imperfections in our lives are what make us unique. Slay no matter your size and charge the rest to the GAME! 

What can we do, right now, to make the world a better place?
We need to be compassionate. In this day, so many emotions and opinions are shielding the ultimate golden rule- do unto others as you would want to be done to you. Have compassion for those who are less tolerant, as fighting combat with combat will lead us nowhere. Stand for what you believe in and remember the change comes from within, and starts with just one person. 

What's your favorite...
Song, currently? Flute Down, Karl Denson- it's so random but a big dance party. Imagine Ron Burgundy meets Bruno's instrumental band!
Website for buying beauty?
Nail polish? Essie, Lady Godiva (my go to winter color). Summer is Essie, Fiji.