Try it Tuesday – Self-esteem Selfie

#20BeautifulWomenChallenge

I’ve noticed the above hashtag circling around social media sites. Perhaps you have too. So I decided to look into it…

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After doing some interweb digging I actually came up pretty short on the origins and meaning behind the latest selfie phenomena.

I did find there was a 20 Beautiful Women book that the Huffington Post gave an exceptional review. Author Sabe Tekle shares her own story alongside 19 other women she gathered for the 2013 publication. These stories of women conquering their battles, discovering their virtues and understanding what enabled them down their paths, sound like the kind of collection I need to get in-between the pages of, and QUICK!

But back to the hashtag.

The #20BeautfulChallenge can be described as a cyclical series of selfies to spread self-empowerment and self-esteem. (Awesome alliteration!) A nominated person posts a picture of themselves in which they feel beautiful. They then tag, and so nominate, 20 other people to do the same. The idea of the selfie is not to grab “likes” but to confidently share an ideal of yourself with others. The pictures I saw ranged from facial beauty shots to quirky faces, from travel photos to action shots. There are group shots along with the singles and members of the male gender as well.

While there are mocking pictures and negative feedback on sites like Twitter and Instagram, the negativity seems to be aimed at the self-serving-selfie takers interested more in posting for lust or likes and perhaps gathering followers through the movement.

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One Twitter follower seemed to be against the need for the movement the way people are against Valentine’s Day as a need to show love; if you love someone you should show it everyday, or in this case, friends don’t need to tag you for you to feel beautiful:

All-in-all, applied in the intended context, the movement seems to be another hash-mark in the positive column for hastags and the power of social media, much like the #nomakeup hashtag inspired clean-faced selfies and natural-beauty acceptance.

So in honor of the challenge here is my most recent selfie that is by far one of my favorites:

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This is my sister Ann & I in the Royalty Room with the King of Barkus and crew, before the parade this past Sunday, 2/8/15. This picture makes me feel beautiful because it captured the true excitement in our eyes to be spending such a fun day together. My sister is the other half of me in a way no one else will be and only a few can understand. Any time with her is fantastic. She is so ridiculously beautiful, inside and out, and she makes me feel more beautiful just by proximity. The sunlight of this gorgeous day shines on our faces and radiates from our smiles. I just think there are few things more beautiful than sister-love; especially when it’s glittered with the magic of Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

“A beautiful woman is peaceful: she has made peace with her past. A beautiful woman is passionate: she is on fire with a strong desire to change the world. A beautiful woman is purposeful: she knows why she was born and does what she was created here to do. Be beautiful.” Sabe Tekle

So my beautiful readers, I hope you will get inspired to post your own #20BeautifulWomenChallenge picture and nominate women you see as beautiful!

Spread Stupendous Self-Esteem

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Share your thoughts on the #20BeautifulWomenChallenge. Love it? Think it’s just a bunch of selfies? Know more about it? Have you done it?

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Try it Tuesday – Bag Balm

 

Made for Cows – Great for Humans

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The Bag Balm Clover and Cow Logo


The only way that I can think to properly begin this post is to start with a confession…”Hi, my name is Alicia, and I love the reality show Laguna Beach.” I share this  because the show was the first place I saw Bag Balm. In a montage of behind-the-scenes footage, the product was raved about by almost all of the female characters. Me being the kind of gal who loves to try cult products (& now to blog about them) I went out to investigate.

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I was pleased to easily locate some Bag Balm at my local pharmacy but I was utterly confused to read that it was made for use on cows! (Utterly…cows…get it? Get it?? Ha. OK, I’ll stop.) Seriously though, the product says that it’s made

“…to provide moisturizing and softening…For use on cows…teats & udder…”

However, turning the signature green, square tin, I read it was

“For chapped conditions and superficial abrasions.”

IMG_5597Checking out the ingredients, it was clear that the “petroletum, lanolin base” are what provide most of the moisturizing properties.

I decided if it was a hit with California girls who dealt with the sun and salt water in Summer and wind and snow on ski trips in Winter, I was down to loose the less than $6 it cost if I hated it. I would be a fibber if I said the packaging, with it’s vintage, slightly apothecary look, wasn’t a significant factor in my choice to purchase. But then again, that’s why companies put so much research and money into packaging; it sells!

I got home and opened the signature, clover covered tin. I found exactly what I expected, a naturally colored, waxy salve.

IMG_5592Bag Balm has a fairly neutral smell and, thankfully doesn’t taste like much. If anything, a faint hint of minerals is present, but nothing overpowering. Because of this and due to it’s soothing qualities,  Bag Balm is excellent for all kinds of dry/chapped skin needs.

I had decided when I first got my hands on the packaging that I was not carrying the cumbersome cube around in my purse as the Laguna girls had done (note they do come in 1oz cans but are sometimes harder to find individually. Online, you can get them in packs) and choose instead to keep it on my nightstand. It comes in handy for all sorts of nightime rituals. I slather a considerable sized glob on my hands and then place them in moisture gloves, letting the balm soak in while I soak up a satisfying half-hour of whatever Bravo show I’m currently addicted to. I rub some on dry elbows, knees and feet. I have made coating my lips with a serious swipe a do-not-skip nightly step, the result of which has been soft, pleasantly plump lips when I awake.

Use on nails and cuticles. Take off stubborn eye makeup and waterproof mascara(carefully). Mix with lipstick remnants for a D.I.Y. gloss of a color you have almost used up. Treat burnt or blistered skin…The list goes on.

As we move into the winter months and our skin will soon be exposed to frigged outside air and drying inside heat, I highly recommend you grab yourself some udder jelly and make Bag Balm a part of your soft-skin regimen.

*Readers: Are you a Bag Balm lover already or have you taken my advice and purchased some of your own? Leave comments below and let us all know how you

Blob on  Bag Balm 

 

Try it Tuesday – A is for All/Almost Natural

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I rarely read the Letter from the Editor in magazines, preferring to instead skip ahead to the pages with pictures and a visually stimulating layout or a cover article I’ve been dying to devour. Linda Wells, Editor in Chief of Allure changed my mind awhile back with her honest, poignant opinions, and now I make it a point to pause my page flipping and read what she has to say.

In her July letter (magazine addition, the online addition is different) Wells writes about self-acceptance, self-assurance and beauty issues in women.

“…since perfection is an impossibility, many women feel inadequate from the get-go. – We begin and end each day before a magnifying mirror, scrutinizing our flaws, blind to our beauty.” 

Even as  most of us women analyze our appearance as we apply our makeup in the mirror in the morning, again each time we touch-up our faces in the restroom and perhaps in the car in-between, the hashtags of #nofilter and #nomakeup accompanying “fresh faced” pictures, are trending.
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 “People who are never oblivious about their appearance-Beyonce’, Gwyneth, Rihanna, Miley-have posted no-makeup selfies on Instagram lately as part of a trend in going bare-faced and proud…the no-makeup selfie is a declaration of self-acceptance and unadorned beauty.” 

 

 

I’ve seen the “Stars Without Makeup” articles in magazines several times and while these stars may not have makeup on, they do have a few things working in their favor: genetics, lighting and post-shoot editing. This may be why the #nofilter and Instagram #nomakeup pictures are becoming so popular; it’s meant to be the truest, most real picture of the celebrity or average Jane who posts it.

“The no-makeup selfie is an effort to reclaim confidence…until we feel comfortable in our own, unadorned skin, we’ll never feel truly beautiful.”

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So in an effort to boost my own acceptance of my God-given, natural beauty, and inspired by the words of Lauren Bacall in last week’s WWW, here’s my no-makeup selfie. This is me in the morning, skin washed and moisturized with nothing tinted or colored; #nofilter. I did employ mother nature’s best gift for photography, sunlight and bit my lips for a bit of natural color. It’s a little scary to know this picture will be online for the world to see but, that’s the point, now isn’t it!

To be realistic though, I, along with most of the women I know, wear makeup practically every day. While not a requirement, it is the standard in most work environments and day-to-day situations. As Wells points out, the trend toward natural beauty

“…doesn’t have to mean a repudiation of makeup, just as beauty doesn’t have to require 14 products and an hour in the bathroom…Makeup isn’t the enemy of self-esteem; it’s an extension and expression of it.”

And while  my friends would rightfully put me in the “14 products and an hour (or two) in the bathroom” category, I reserve that kind of attention to getting ready for outings, night clubs, special occasions, etc. My typical daily routine for life and work is significantly more edited because, to me, 10 more minutes of sleep is  more rewarding than extensive contouring. So when there may be camera or man of interest involved I am likely to spend considerably more time with products and technique, but a clean, fresh-faced look is perfect for sitting under florescent lights or “making” groceries (as we say in NOLA).

Here’s a few tips for a simple, pulled together, almost natural look of your own:

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  • Make BB creams or tinted moisturizers your bestie! Most you can find are packed with anti-aging ingredients including the most important one, SPF, so if you’re rushed or want to skip moisturizing first, feel free. They are sheer so they can be applied quickly. I like to use a stipple brush because I can swirl on the cream more evenly and faster than with my fingers. Bonus, stipple brushes distribute so well, you can use less product.
  • Get a concealer with an applicator tip.  My favorite for daily use is Maybelline’s Age Rewind Eraser thanks to its spongy tip. Dab the concealer on with the applicator tip and blend. In the case of concealer where your goal is to blend in a concentrated area, fingertips make the quickest and best tools.
  • Say it with me, Cream Blush. Quite possibly the easiest makeup product to apply. Treat it like modified finger painting and tap on the color rather than smearing. Tapping allows you to build color  and gives you the most natural flush. Bonus use: buy a color that’s more peachy than pink and dab on eyeslids too.
  • Multi-tonal powder and a fluffy brush are a power duo. Choose a powder that has several tones in one compact so that you can customize the blending to fit your skin-tone of the moment. A Monday after a weekend beach trip may require more swirl-time in the bronzer area than a Thursday during a regular, indoor week. Swirl color accordingly with a large, fluffy brush and apply all over to set your cream and blush.
  • Brush those brows. This step may seem excessive if you are trying to speed up your routine however brushing your eyebrows neat can make a world of difference and takes 5 seconds with the right tool. Run a clean, mascara wand in an arch shape through the brows.
  • Brighten the lids, darken the lashes. A light sweeping of an ivory or bone colored shadow on the eyelids will help brighten the face and a coat of mascara is arguably the makeup step with the most positive impact. Use a fluffy shadow brush to dust the eyelids and finish the face with a few coats of mascara. (Find tips to pick the best mascara for you, here.)

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So now it’s your turn to Try It! 

If taking the #nomakeup selfie is not your thing and neither is forgoing makeup for a day, just try a lighter, quicker, almost-natural look and see how it feels!

I encourage my readers, take a day (or two) this week and enjoy

Being Beautifully Bare!

 

 

 

 

I’d love to read comments about your experience with #nomakeup selfies or natural makeup tips. Please share below!

Woman’s Words Wednesday – Lauren Bacall

I had a completely different woman and words planned for this first WWW but with the passing of a lady I’ve heard described as “The greatest dame of the Hollywood Dames”, I felt it only fitting to share the words of the incomparable  Lauren Bacall.

At the young age of 19 she held her first leading role opposite her future first-husband, Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not. They would go on to make several more film noir style movies together, for which her husky voice and stunning features were perfect.

Growing up a “theatre person” I have always been fascinated with the overly dramatized acting and impeccable lighting of  film noir style movies. Bacall’s features may have been captured in black-and-white but her jaw was sharp, her lips were full and her fiery spirit shone out of expertly lit eyes, zoomed in on and framed tightly by the adoring film directors of the 40’s.

 

 

 

This first quote of Bacall’s I fell in love with for its way of challenging us as women. We spend immeasurable amounts of time, money and attention on the appearances of our faces.  (Heck, it’s one of the main topics I will address in this blog.) Bacall’s quote touches on the importance of aging gracefully. The lines on our face are said to be the road map of where we’ve been and how we got to this point in our lives. I love that Bacall praises that and encourages us to as well.

 

 

 

 

 

And because she was such an iconic leading lady of the Golden Age of film, Bacall get two quotes on today’s post. This second quote, a call for us to remember that failure is not loosing, but rather not trying.

 

 

 

So love the face that reflects your journey and the fights you fought to get to this day!

Wishing Women a Wonderful Wednesday!

 

The beauty born Betty Joan Perske passed away yesterday, August 12, 2014 at age 89. (Her IMDb bio)

 

 

Makeup Monday – Mascara, Buy the Best Brush

I love, love, LOVE mascara and the way my eyelashes look when I apply the right formula with the right brush, which I have found is the key. (For my money, nothing has ever come close to the awesome results I get with L’oreal Double Extend Mascara in Waterproof Black as a standard for everyday use.) Since I tend to play around with about 3 mascara’s at a time, depending on the lash look I’m going for, I like to try different formulas and brushes. Sometimes it’s a waste of money, though, if the brush wasn’t meant for the results I’m after…

This month Sephora  opened their Buxom® Mascara Bar which they are describing as:

“A collection of seven mascara brushes, each customized for a head-turning lash effect.”

I first read about the Lash-Bar opening in the August issue of Allure magazine. What I found most helpful about the article was the breakdown of types of mascara brushes and their results. This is the kind of information that sends Jackpot bells ringing through my head!

I have spent many 10 minuet periods of time staring at the VAST array of mascara’s out there, each one promising 100%, 200%, 500% more lashes! Or longer lashes, thicker lashes, doll-like lashes! With each new mascara comes a differently shaped brush.

Buxom® takes the guess work out of the process by breaking down the results each brush is meant to create and how the brush is designed to get these results! Thanks Buxom®! So whether you purchase from the Buxom® Bar or from a different brand, check out the Buxom® wand chart, or rollover the wand heads for descriptions on the Buxom® page,for insight into the kind of eye-fringe you’re after!

Bonus read from Allure online: 6 Steps to Perfectly Thick Eyelashes

Wishing you: Enticing Eyelashes Everyone 😉

 

A if for…A Blog and An Author

 

August – Since the first letter of the alphabet happens to be A, which happens to be my favorite letter, I consider it fitting to begin the blog in the month beginning in the same fashion. It also seems fitting to start the blog in a transitional month; it’s not quite summer but it’s not quite fall. School is starting and it feels like the 2nd NYE of the year. So welcome to the second half of the year, a new season change, and to Some Alphabet Soup, which I hope will soon become your alliteration addiction! (see what I did there) 😉

 

Author – Keeping with the alliteration theme of the blog, A is a perfect letter to also  introduce the author of the blog because…it’s me! & my name begins with an A! You can find out a little bit “About Me” in the section “About the Author” under the “About Alphabet Soup” tab. You can also gather some insight into the blogs inception and naming there too. Check it out! While you’re at it, find me on Twitter and send me a shout!