Finding the perfect wedding dress

For many young girls who dream about their future wedding, finding their dress is supposed to be the most magical thing in the whole world. In reality, the experience is a little more complex. There are so many emotions and thoughts that get piled in and heightened during an appointment at a bridal salon: excitement, anticipation, nervousness, budgetary concerns, and high expectations. Shopping for a wedding dress can be overwhelming, so I’ll walk you through it and offer advice based on my own experience.

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Media, Shopping, and Body Image

Shopping is one of my favorite activities. I can spend upwards of five hours at the mall at once, and that is not an exaggeration. Going shopping can be like going to my “happy place;” I like to go by myself, preferably when the stores are not very busy. Thinking about gender and the media stirred me to also think about shopping. I examined my attitudes about shopping and asked myself whether or not the advertisements that shoppers are bombarded with have an effect on me. I did research to see if other young women notice or admit to any psychological effects of advertising while shopping; what I found is disheartening, but there is hope.

I wanted to create a video about my findings to add my voice to the many that have been raising awareness about the harm that the media has done to women. I interviewed my future sister-in-law, Jamie, to see how the data I collected might look on real people. Jamie is just one voice, and while she does not speak for all people her age, I believe her experience speaks truth to the experiences of many. She is fifteen years old, and many fifteen year olds like her are concerned with conforming how they look to what is socially acceptable and desirable. Teenagers and young women are constantly bombarded with images of unrealistically thin women on social media and in stores. My hope is that the video I created speaks the truth of their experiences in a way that people will identify with.

Ombré DIY for Christmas

I haven’t dyed my hair in about a year, so when I saw Loreal Ombré Touch hair dye at the store yesterday I couldn’t help myself– I had to try it.

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My lovely sister agreed to dye my hair for me (she is the best), and she said it was pretty easy. All you have to do is mix the dye, apply it with the mini comb, and then rinse it out.

It only made a subtle difference in my hair, but it still feels fun. I have natural red and dark blonde tones in my hair, so the ombré turned out to be like a light orangey brown.

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Ombré is a fun trend, like a more sophisticated way to do highlights. If I decide to keep it, I’ll probably go to a salon and have it done better. But doing it out of the box was good for a fun experiment.

Day 7: Be you

Today was the last day of my makeup-free challenge. I have to say I’m rather proud of myself for making it through this entire week without wearing makeup– I honestly didn’t think I could do it.
In one of my classes last year we were discussing gender roles, and the topic of makeup came up. In the middle of the conversation my professor asked if any of the girls in the class wore makeup every single day. Most of my classmates were laughing at the ridiculous notion of wearing makeup all the time, and I felt too ashamed to raise my hand and say that I do.
Our culture is extremely judgmental. There are people who “make-up shame” girls who wear makeup all the time, and there are people who look down on girls who don’t wear any makeup.
I think we can find a middle ground. We can acknowledge the fact that we are all different, that we express ourselves in different ways. Wearing makeup is fine. Not wearing makeup is fine. The only thing that matters is whether or not a person feels comfortable, confident, and like the best version if themselves.
The makeup-free challenge has been a great experience for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve been able to grow through this journey.
I encourage you to try the makeup-free challenge, even if just for a few days. You’d probably be surprised at just how much you can benefit from facing the world with all of your natural beauty.

Day 6: Perfectionism and grace

Perfectionism. It’s a beast that constantly lurks under the surface, changing shape everyday. Your body has to fit into that dress in a certain way, your grades have to be phenomenal, and your eyeliner can never smudge.

I’ve struggled with perfectionism for almost my whole life. I know I’m not perfect, and I know I never will be, but something in me is always striving to be flawless.

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Day 2: Facing the world

Today, day number two of my makeup-free week, I decided to be a big girl and take off my glasses. I went to work with nothing but a smile on my face, and everything went fine. Customers chit-chatted with me just as much as usual, I still made a lot of sales, and nobody said anything about my naked face.
But I still felt ugly.
I felt ugly, plain, and rather ordinary. When I got home from work I cuddled with my fat cat and wondered why I felt so ugly and dull. This is my face, the face God gave me, and I felt ashamed of it. And then I heard a thought like a gentle whisper saying “You are beautiful.”

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Taking off the mask

One morning when my big sister and I were getting ready for school, she looked at me and said, “Mimi, you really should start wearing more makeup. You look dead and ugly without it.” My 15-year-old self took those words to heart, and five years later I guess I still haven’t shaken them.

For the last five years I haven’t been able to leave my house without at least some amount of makeup on. I have to be wearing makeup, even if it’s just eyeliner, or I feel ugly and super insecure. Now, I suppose my loving big sis is not entirely responsible for this attitude of mine; there seems to be something in our culture that convinces us that painting our faces is a necessity. When I think about it, it’s kind of a crazy concept considering that I survived the first fifteen years of my life without wearing makeup and felt completely fine

I was inspired/challenged by a Buzzfeed article to go a week without wearing makeup. My journey starts tomorrow and, too be honest, I’m scared. I don’t know if I can make it through this entire week without makeup, but I’m going to give it my best shot and see what I can learn along the way.