Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fans of Cans

I dropped a King's ransom at the make-up counter Sunday…alas, my "problem areas" remain problems.

The impromptu trip to the department store was about as spontaneous as it gets for me.  My dear girlfriend of fifteen years now and I were sitting around in my kitchen chatting, while our husbands watched football and our children swam in the pool.
Then she turned to me:

"Lizzie, what are we doing today?"

Up until that moment, I hadn't thought a mama's adventure was an option for our Sunday but we went for it!  A trip to the make-up counter.  Something neither of us ever have time to do. 

I went first.  Perched upon that stool, I tried very hard to listen to the pretty, young Girl-Behind-The-Counter (GBTC) as she slathered this paint and that, first on the back of her hand, then on my face.  With brushes and sponges and Q-tips and tissues flying around me, I couldn't help but reflect on where it all began.  This love-hate relationship I've had with make-up over the years. 

It all started in the eighth grade.  That was when I finally broke my mother down.  Her first give was frosted blue eye-shadow, her second give was frosted tangerine lipstick.  Something about the combination of the frost and my silver braces just felt soooo right to me.

I next graduated up to mascara, which I wore copious amounts of, in royal blue.  I had decent eye-lashes of my own but they were not naturally blue. 

I then discovered "cover-up" or maybe it discovered me.  The fore-head acne I suffered during my senior year of high school may or may not have contributed to the fact that I was a virgin until college. 

Somewhere in there, powder became a part of the regimen, then blush, then I abandoned blush for bronzer, then bronzer for blush. 

Then in my early thirties, after more than a decade of 50-60 hour work weeks and the birth of my twin sons, I began to explore the magic and wonder of under-eye concealer.   It remains the greatest tool in my arsenal.  And thanks to my Sunday, it's made a couple new friends named "foundation primer" and "tinted moisturizer". 

My under-eye concealer has also been amped up a couple notches:

STEP ONE: Apply Eye Serum (According to GBTC, serum penetrates the dermis, the layer below the epidermis, and works "below the surface".  I'm not exactly sure what "work" needs to be done below the surface but my serum is officially on the clock.)

STEP TWO: Apply Eye Cream (Only treats epidermis and dermis/moisturizes - good for something but not a lot according to GBTC.)

STEP THREE: Apply Under Eye Concealer with a BRUSH (Hello, your face is a canvas!  And in accordance with GBTC bylaws, using fingers will ultimately wipe the concealer completely off during application…What are you? NEW?)  

STEP FOUR: Secret Brightening Powder (I shit you not, you can buy a product with this name, then brush it under your eyes, on top of the aforementioned three layers, click your heels three times and absolutely nothing will happen!  I've tried every day since Sunday.  And I'm not giving up.  I WILL know the SECRET!)

When it was my girlfriend's turn to have a seat on the stool, she immediately harkened back to her adolescence when her mother sent she and her older sister to Barbizon to learn how to apply make-up during the 80's.  She said they giggled together through their hours-long lessons.

To be honest, I was a little surprised that she was a Barbizon graduate.  Not because this friend isn't as beautiful and poised as a girl comes but because this is also my friend who holds a Masters degree in Economics and has helped run her family's real-estate company for a couple decades. 

She was at the counter seeking a refresher course in applying eye shadows and liner.  Shockingly, twenty years of working and having babies has left little time for mastering the smoky eye in plum hues. 

She was also interested in "coverage", though her coverage concerns run deeper than my own.  She takes medication every day now following her breast cancer diagnosis when we were 36.  She doesn't like a few spots of discoloration on her face resulting from the medication.  Frankly, you have to study her face pretty hard to see them.  I imagine for her though, they serve as a constant reminder of the surgeries and treatments she has endured, as well as the loss of her own mother when my girlfriend was just 17.

She finally cried "UNCLE" from the stool before GBTC had finished applying liner to both of her eyes.  This friend of mine isn't too keen on being still for very long, unless she is with her daughters either reading quietly or playing a game together.

We left the department store, new and improved packages of war-paint in hand, and stopped at the market before returning to our families.  We all spent the afternoon together, laughing and playing and discussing shared family vacation plans following the holidays. 

It is in honor of this special friend and many other special friends the world over that we will celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month in 10 short days!  Yes, October is almost here!  And did you know today is national breast self-examination day?  When I find mine, I am totally doing an exam!

I have also included the below link to donate to a Breast and Ovarian Cancer walk another dear friend of mine participated in with a team called "Fans of Cans" in honor of her mother last weekend in Long Beach.  If you are interested, you can still donate to this one.  I know there are a million ways to give to this exceedingly worthwhile cause but the name on this one alone won me over!