Foto Friday – Clicks of Carnival

Oh well it’s Carnival Time & Everybody’s Feelin’ Fine

While the rest of the nation is sending out Valentines, shopping for chocolate and roses, or possibly caring that it’s President’s Day on Monday, many residents around Louisiana, especially here in The Big Easy of NOLA, are simply concerned about securing their spot for the next parade (Neutral Ground or Sidewalk Side? IT MATTERS), making sure they have a wristband for a restroom, getting their dresses or tuxes dry cleaned between Krewe Balls, and stocking up on booze and snacks for the route.

The Carnival season stretches from the Epiphany or Kings Day through Mardi Gras

The “big weekend” starts tonight and will run through Lundi Gras on Monday and Mardi Gras Tuesday, with the Super-Krewes rolling through the streets over the next few days. Here’s a look at my Mardi Gras happenings so far this season:

The Coronation Ball for Endymion

Endymion Coronation

Black Tie is a requirement at the balls

Endymion Coronation Float

The floats line the Convention Center for viewing

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Mardi Gras Traditions 

Traffic Selfie

The “waiting in traffic” selfie floods social media

Collectible & Bead

Porcelain collectible of a permanent float from Super-Krewe Bacchus & a vintage bead like the ones originally thrown in parades.

King Cake

King Cake is EVERYWHERE! Work, home, parades…

The Parades 

French Quarter

Decorated balconies & flags bring Carnival Spirit to the French Quarter

King Dewy

My sister and I with King “Dewy” Andoullie, King Barkus 2015. We marched in the parade as part of his escort!

Muses shoes

Catching the coveted shoes at the Krewe of Muses with my friend Lauren

“Throw me Somethin Mista!”

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This is just a small sampling from my Mardi Gras fun so far. Over the next few days I’ll be snapping many more in between hikes to different friends on the parade routes, shouting for the best blinky-throws, stuffing my face with king cake, and just generally enjoying one of the biggest parties in the world!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Merry Mardi Gras Mah Mates!!!

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?

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!