Philosophy in Blue

Although I pursue photography as a creative outlet and enjoy taking pictures of others, I hate having pictures taken of myself.

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That’s hard, considering I’m a makeup artist and kinda, well, have to take pictures of myself in order to sell my services. Selfies are easy, though. It’s just my face. My skills are pretty good. I’m pretty much the selfie queen! I bet y’all don’t know how many I take before y’all see the two or three I ultimately post, though.

It’s a lot more than just two or three, let me tell you.

Is it a confidence issue? Maybe. I was always one who hid as a teenager. Even with all of the work I’ve done to help build myself up, I still use the fact I have such a fancy camera to stay out of pictures.

I mean, someone has to take the pics, right?

At any rate, it’s hard to proclaim myself a fashion blogger and y’all rarely ever get to see me in any fashion.

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I can’t keep allowing myself to hide like this. Even with the strides I’ve made to put myself out there, go out and socialize, make some new friends and have some new experiences…I still shy away from something as simple…as a camera.

Something’s got to give.

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I figure that in some cases, the best thing to do to combat something that scares you is to just do it. I called up a talented photographer friend of mine to come and take some pics of me for the blog. So y’all could see me. So I could really see myself.

And maybe not be so scared.

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Don’t get me wrong. I got some hangups. I looked at the shots like…but my belly. But I’m so wide. But, but, but. Just all types of self-depreciating thoughts flowing through my head. I wouldn’t let anyone close to me speak about themselves like that, but that’s the fun part about internal dialogue. No one knows how I was ripping myself down but me.

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When I got home and got a good look at things, though? I won’t tell y’all I did a 360 on my thoughts. I didn’t. But I can say what I love about myself. I can say I looked amazing. I can say that, when it’s genuine and I’m truly amused, I have a nice smile. When I showed some folks the pictures, I was surprised that the ones I didn’t think were the most flattering were the most popular.

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Like this one of me smiling. Cause with these braces, I don’t. I’m still very self conscious about both them and my teeth. Stephenie, my photographer, said “Okay. Let’s get one of you smiling.” Me: *stare* *skeptic look* Her: “I know, I know. But come on, smile.” I gave her the most half-assed smile I could come up with. She took the pic, and it looked just as tortured as could be. I hate smiling on purpose, I really do. A few minutes later, however, I’m cracking up at something Stephenie said. She seized the moment and snapped.

C says: “Your smile is radiant!”

J, my coworker, goes “That is just a genuine smile! You look so good!”

My coworker looks at the pic and goes, “Your niece has your smile. That’s so cool!”

My niece does have my smile. She’s just adorable.

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Maybe I’m pretty cute, too. I’m getting there. Slowly, but surely.

Outfit details: I’m wearing a really, really old (6-7 years?)Lane Bryant sweater (here’s something similar), Lane Bryant Genius Fit Trouser Jeans, and Nike Sneaker Wedges (on sale!)

Photo Credits: Stephenie Valentino’

Makeup Looks Positivity Stories

Fatshion Friday: I Wear What I Want

I wear what I want.

Even if it scares me, even if people think I shouldn’t.

I wear what I want.

Yesterday, I went to FFF Week’s trunk show, and got to meet some lovely designers (and a baker), and I wore my new shirt from Feminine Funk. This is the one I picked up at Wednesday’s event, and spoke so cryptically about yesterday.

I cannot tell you how many compliments I received. I love this shirt to itty bitty pieces.

The kicker?

It’s a crop top.

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I never in a million years thought that I would do a crop top. It’s a look that I covet but never thought I would be able to pull off. But bolder looks, like hair and makeup, take confidence to pull it off. If you think sexy, you are. Words to live by. Now, I put a vest on with the outfit because I was worried about my love handles being out–a great option if, like me, you want to take baby steps towards such a bold statement. And as I walked the New York streets, as I walked around the trunk show, everyone loved the statement.

I wear what I want.

Including wearing my hair free and lavender lippy:

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My hair is much shorter than it was before and I love it so! The lip is a combo of bright blue lipstick and pink gloss.

Anyone can wear anything. It’s all about finding a look that speaks to you and makes you happy.

So, join me. And wear what you want. 🙂

Hair Makeup Looks Positivity Shopping

Taking Up Space

Author’s Note: With all the talk of going bold this week, I figured I’d share this piece from my idea journal. NSFW language in here.

I’ve made it a point to shrink. I don’t want to take up space.

Being fat will do that to you.

I don’t want to draw attention.

My love of bright color is tempered during the week. An all black wardrobe doesn’t turn heads; a neutral eye and lip color palette doesn’t raise an eyebrow.

I’m exhausted, but I don’t want to take that seat. I don’t want to inconvenience those I have to sit next to. If I can’t estimate I can fit, I’ll stand for the whole 45 minute ride home.

And if I do sit, I squish into my seat, hoping I don’t encroach on someone else’s space. Arms folded, bag held against me or resting on my feet so that even my bag doesn’t take unnecessary room.

But I take up space, no matter what I do.

My hair, whether in a high puff, free, or pinned, takes up more space. If I am off and have on loud lipstick or bright shadow, even if I am in the most neutral of outfits, I am noticed. Sometimes people express their admiration with a smile; their dissension with a raised brow. I pat my hair self-consciously. It flattens, then springs back to life, reaching full height.

I still take up space. No matter what I do.

It’s something like springtime. It’s getting warmer; soon it will be hot. I set my arms free, full and squishy. I go to yoga class and stretch them skyward in Warrior 1. I spread them wide in Warrior 2. I notice the fat hanging. I fling them back in Warrior 3; take flight.

Easy to fly when you can’t see the “problem”, right?

I work hard to stay on my mat; keep my mind on my practice.

Taking up space. No matter what I do.

I can’t help taking up space. I’m done apologizing for it–whether it’s changing my outfit because “no one wants to see all that” to putting on all neutral makeup forever and ever amen because I don’t deserve color.

I don’t deserve to take up space. I don’t deserve to demand it.

I reject that shit.

I deserve space, I deserve to take it up, I deserve to adorn myself as I please and take up as much space as I need.

As much as I desire.

Don’t like it? Then move and create your own space elsewhere. Leave me to mine.

I’ll still be here. Taking up space.

Deal with it.

Dedicated to those who need an ego boost this week.

Positivity Stories

Nail Polish: A History

It’s no secret to anyone that reads this site that I am a nail polish junkie.

I collect polish like most people collect shoes or handbags.

It’s a rare occasion when at least my toes don’t have some kind of glitter on them, and I feel naked when they are bare.

These days, it’s a hobby, but when I was younger, I did my nails even more frequently than I do now. Typically I’ll do a design once a week, and then maybe a polish change when it starts to chip. When I was in school? It was as often as I had time to do it. Even while I was rocking my tomboy glam, I had a manicure to match (typically it was a metallic blue.)

It gave me something to focus on when homework and school projects couldn’t distract me from feeling like an outcast. Is it a day where we can socialize in class? I only had one friend; she and I didn’t have class together, and a bunch of acquaintances I suspected dealt with me out of obligation rather than actually wanting to be around me (admittedly: this probably wasn’t true. But you couldn’t tell 14 year old me that.) So while everyone conversed, I would listen and smile where appropriate. My mind wasn’t there, though. I was thinking about if I’d saved up enough money for a new color for my hands.

It also helped to keep focus off of what I perceived as my flaws. Imperfect skin and teeth. I was fat. What I had going for me, in my mind, was that I was smart, and all of my insecurities added up to me being pretty obnoxious about it. Overcompensation, perhaps.

Folks were able to look past everything to ask how my nails were so perfect. In my mind, my nails were the only thing that could be perfect.

Perfection, like beauty, is a state of mind that manifests into the physical. If you say you are, then it’s true. 14 year old me was not aware of that revelation.

14 years later, I still love to do my nails. But these days, it’s all about perfecting a craft than it is pursuing this idea of perfection or trying to distract from perceived flaws. I could say I’m saving money by learning to do this myself, but let’s be real. With the way I buy nail polish, any savings are negated. But it relaxes me when work stresses me. It inspires me when I have writers block. It helps me break the ice when I’m around new people. And for that, I am profoundly grateful that something as simple as some nail polish came into my life.

This is only about 1/4th of the collection.

This is only about 1/8th of the collection.

Lord knows I don’t need any more polish; the three bottles I bought a few days ago notwithstanding. What I could use is a better organization system for all of them. Anyone have any ideas? 🙂

Nail Adventures Stories