April 23, 2015

You Don't Have to Try

As I worked in the office last summer, there was a song I jammed to that had inspired me to write a blog post. The song was 'Try' by Colbie Caillat.

Obviously, it's been a year since I was listening to this song at my desk, and I've only now gotten around to typing up the post. Although I think the timing is actually perfect because I recently had an experience that gives me a - not necessarily new - but better understanding of the issue at hand.

What I want to talk about today is makeup. My mom has always been a strong proponent of no-makeup, and has been firm about wanting me to look natural. As a result, my encounters with makeup were few and far between. I used to wear it as a kid when I performed in The Nutcracker ballet on stage, and wore some of it during my Grade 12 graduation. For things like job interviews or events, I will generally swipe on some lipstick. Day-to-day, I wear absolutely no makeup.

While the lyrics of this song aren't groundbreaking, it was the message that resonated with me. I remember girls in my junior high who depended on their mascara; to be seen without it was their worst nightmare. But I think as Caillet would say: that's not the point of makeup.

Why should you care what they think of you,
When you're all alone by yourself,
Do you like you?

First and foremost, you need to love yourself. Makeup is most powerful when it's clear you would be just as confident about who you are without it. I've always admired girls who aren't afraid to post photos of themselves bare-faced because it shows that when they do put on makeup, it's for their own happiness - not for the approval of others. Makeup is about enhancing the natural beauty you have, but if you don't like who you are underneath, then makeup will only ever be a mask.

I mentioned the timing of this post is particular because, just recently, my friend agreed to help show me what I would look like with makeup on. She came over to apply eyeshadow, eyeliner and lipstick:

I wanted to share this because putting makeup on helped me change the way I look at myself. I used to be so jealous of girls who were pretty, wondering why I wasn't graced with the genes to look as stunning. I used to hate taking off my glasses because I thought my eyes looked awfully tired and flat. Yet as you can see, I'm not wearing glasses in these photos - and that's a big deal for me. I have never taken a photo of myself without glasses, nor have I ever been so happy to see myself without them.

But the real moral of the story here happened when I took my makeup off that night.  I looked at my once-again bare face, and realized that the features I so loved with makeup on were still there. I realized that the eyes I once thought were dull were actually quite wide and exploring, that the lips I hated for being too big were actually nicely plump, and the face I always thought was too wide was actually due to the way my cheeks pop when I smile.  Funny how I had to see myself with makeup in order to love myself without it.

I still adore the way I look with makeup, and I have a whole new appreciation for what a simple cat eye can do. I would definitely wear makeup again if I had the chance, but day-to-day, I will continue without it because I know I don't need it to feel good about myself. After all, the most important question you have you ask yourself is: do you like you?

April 12, 2015

Color Me Beautiful

Blondes have more fun. Redheads have a fiery personality. We've all heard of these sayings, and we all know amazing people who prove that, at the end of the day, these are simply stereotypes. Nonetheless, these expressions got me thinking: what does my hair color say about me?

Before we can even begin to delve into this question, I must first establish what my hair color is. I have what most people would classify as black hair:

Those with dark hair are said to be reserved, sophisticated, intelligent and mature. I mean, sure, I'll happily take those descriptors! But joking aside, I actually don't think these are all too far from the truth. I am very shy and timid (socially awkward is my middle name), and despite having a blog where I talk about me and my thoughts for days on end, I'm actually quite uncomfortable being under the spotlight. In real life, I prefer to be the one asking questions - the quiet observer. My sense of style errs on the side of sophistication and elegance, and while I won't call myself intelligent, I do value brains over beauty. School and career have always been my top priorities, which in hindsight, has helped me avoid all the craziness of the infamous teenage phase. I've always been known as mature, to the point even my Grade 5 BFF knew ten years ago that I'd grow up to be the type to relax with a glass of wine after work. So far, it appears I'm fulfilling all the stereotypes.

But wait!

In a plot twist worthy of a Christopher Nolan film, my hair isn't actually black. It's a dark brown. I once had a confused classmate ask me if I dyed my hair because under direct sunlight, it becomes a warm golden brown. I also specifically selected the above photo of myself because my hair happened to reflect a blue-ish tinge from the late afternoon sun streaming through my window. All in all, there's more to it than meets the eye, and I like to think the same can be said of me. For those who get to know me, they might realize I have a deep passion for fashion and writing, that I speak in strange self-made accents when I get particularly hyper, and that I love laughing (sometimes loudly and uncontrollably).

In the end, it's not about what your hair color says about you - it's about what you make it say. Because hey, I may not be blonde, but I sure do have a lot of fun.

I teamed up with Madison Reed to share my thoughts on hair color and personality. Madison Reed is a hair care company that specializes in hair dye free of PPD, sulfates, resorcinol, ammonia and gluten.

April 3, 2015

A New Chapter

I can't believe it's already been one year since my business faculty's year-end banquet (which I documented in This Is the End). How time flies. Last night, I attended yet another banquet, but this time, it served to celebrate our graduation. However, while my friends mark an end to a chapter in their lives, I am staying behind one more year to complete my dual degree program. I have yet to feel the buzz of excitement and nervousness of my peers as they advance into real world, but I am filled with both happiness and sadness as I see them begin their new adventures, knowing that I cannot join them. I wish them all the best, and know that they will do great things.

I'm pictured here with two friends on my left and right, both looking fabulous. For myself, I actually chose to wear the same outfit as the one I wore to a fashion show last month. The only things I changed were my hair, tights, and nails. I've mentioned before that my own attempts at curling my hair have never quite been that successful, but this time around, my wonderful friend offered to do it for me. The results are definitely worth applauding considering my hair is very flat and hard to work with:

The same friend also lent me her Essie Merino Cool nailpolish, which I applied literally an hour or two before the banquet was to start  It was my first time using Essie nailpolish, and I loved it! The brush was tiny enough for a clean application, and the formula went on very smoothly. Essie, along with Joe Fresh, are definitely on to my list of best nail polish brands. As for tights, I had opted for classier opaque tights during the fashion show, and so decided to go with sheer patterned tights for the banquet.

Overall, I had a fantastic time. There was dancing at the end of the night, and despite my generally reserved character, dancing is one activity I absolutely love. When I finally got the chance to make my way to the dance floor, my night was made right then and there. But more importantly, I was surrounded by the company of great friends who provided plenty of laughs throughout the night. The banquet was likely the last time I will see many of my friends, but the bond we've developed over the course of our time together will stay with us for years to come. And perhaps one day, if our paths cross once more in the next chapter of our lives, we'll pick up right where we left off.