Does Makeup Make Up Me?

A weird thing happens when I am at work. I am a librarian at an urban high school. I have 11 individual, twelfth-grade, ladies that are my assistants each day. Here’s the weird part. Every single girl watches makeup tutorials in their spare time. They also speak about makeup like … I have no words to describe it… like it is a real part of who they are, and it is also what they have in common with other people.

They vary in myriad ways… as all of us do. But not when it comes to makeup tutorials or how they view wearing makeup. I noticed these commonalities, and because all parts of everything they do surrounding makeup is so foreign to how I view makeup, I started asking questions. Maybe this was generational? I asked all my assistants, my twelve year old daughter, and some coworkers how they learned to put on makeup, and what they think wearing makeup (or not wearing makeup) means.

Almost all of us “grownups” were taken to the mall or the drug store and guided. We believe that you should be loyal to a brand because all products work together. (I’m pretty sure this is an urban legend to trick us into buying everything at one counter.) The most important thing to figure out was which foundation blended perfectly with your skin tone and you tested it on the back of your hand, or on your jawline. If you were brown or yellow (like me) then you should steer clear of Cover Girl’s pinkness. We have day (natural), evening (reserved for prom and now that we are grown a night out), and no-makeup faces. If we wore makeup to high school we almost always wore the same products, the same ways, even if we had a special day. Wearing makeup means nothing except that you feel “polished,” “pulled-together,” or “professional.” Everyone my age says it takes less than ten minutes to do their daily makeup. If they are going out, it takes fifteen or twenty minutes. If you don’t wear makeup it means that’s not how you choose to finish your look; maybe you wear jewelry, or have great hair. All of these women’s responses were very similar.

The teenagers also gave similar responses, but they were vastly different from my generation’s answers. First, they have a zillion products. They spend real money on brushes and sponges. They shop online, at Ulta Beauty, Walmart, and they talk about Sephora like it’s the promised land. None were taken to the mall. None were told that brands have “chemistry.” They say things like, “My silly sponge came in yesterday! I had to wait two months for it,” and “Jeffree Star is my spirit animal.” Today they were talking about where to buy “falsies.” I thought they were looking for those silicone bra inserts. Nope. They were looking for fake eyelashes. They see nothing wrong with donning “full-face makeup” one day (my equivalent of putting on makeup for prom) and then wearing nothing the next day because they didn’t feel like it. They feel confident both ways.

Whether or not the girls wear makeup, they all watch tutorials. They like Carli Bybel, Nicole Guerriero (“they’re best friends”), Haley Wright, Glam and Gore-Mykie, and Kimberley Margarita. I’ve no idea who those people are. They choose their favorites not based on a similar face shape, or completion color, or even if they are using products they have. They pick based on who seems friendly, who is funny, and if they give honest feedback about products.

Almost half of the girls signed up and really, really look forward to their monthly Ipsy Box ($10 a month for five samples – click the picture to sign up!). When I ask how long it takes to do their makeup I cannot get a simple answer. They all start speaking about “baking,” contouring, and the difference between “full face” and whatever they call the opposite of full face makeup.

I am fascinated by how differently we approach makeup, because my daughter will start wearing some soon. I’d like to make sense of what they are doing and why before my kid starts. When I asked my daughter questions, she responded the same way as my assistants, even though she is nowhere near 18 years old, and she does not wear any makeup. Well, she does not wear makeup in her day-to-day life.  She dances competitively, and she wears a lot of makeup on competition days. I want J to think about wearing (or not wearing) makeup before she starts layering it on. I also want her amazingly beautiful inner beauty to shine brighter than Kat Von D brightening powder!

I asked each young lady what they wished their mothers understood about their makeup habits and choices. They all laughed. I don’t think they believe that they can bridge the gap between what we Gen X mamas think and their Millennial mindsets. After pressing them, they said, “Makeup is like art; I can express how I feel about myself,” “Let me have the time to apply my makeup. I really like doing it,” and my favorite comment, “This is something that we can talk about. I can do her makeup and we just … click. It’s giving us one more thing to connect with.”

Are any of you MammaTech mamas watching makeup tutorials? Do you squeal with glee when your Ipsy Box comes in the mail? Are you baffled or excited by the thought of your daughters not only wearing makeup, but using it to show the world who they are? Please comment. My daughter has already asked for makeup for her birthday!

How To Be A #MomBoss: An Interview With A Work-From-Home Entrepreneur

As the daughter of entrepreneurs, I have always had the itch to work for myself.

After attending college for broadcast journalism, spending a few years in the cutthroat field (and discovering it wasn’t for me), getting married, having a baby, and wanting to be a stay-at-home mom while still earning a little money of my own, I began looking into the world of freelance and haven’t looked back! Truth be told, the thought of adventuring out on my own like this and trying to balance motherhood and work was completely daunting in the beginning, so I began reading interviews with smart businesswomen and/or fellow stay-at-home mammas who boldly ventured out into the world of working for themselves.

Hearing straight from these smart and flat-out amazing women was exactly the inspiration I needed to kickstart my now thriving writing (and part-time marketing) career, which is why I set out to interview one of my girl boss heroes. My hope in sharing this story is to inspire those of you who have a dream of owning your own business, working from home, earning a little extra money while raising babies, etc. to take a leap of faith and be your own boss, make your own hours, and do whatever it is you love to do!

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Online Management Tools: Keep Your Kids On Track

“Mom, Paul was on again!!”

“I was not!”

This conversation has been rehearsed about 500 times since my children discovered that silly website. The standard fix would be to monitor their online time or just take it away altogether. The Paul mentioned above is only six-years-old, surely he does not NEED to be on the internet, right?

Unfortunately no. Since my children “attend” a virtual school, a lot of their day is spent online, accessing much of their coursework through the school’s website. This problem is confounded by the fact that I have multiple children in school at the moment — four to be exact. In addition I have three more not-quite-school-age children running around, as well. But we are going on our third year with this program and we really do appreciate all it has to offer. So what’s a busy momma to do? — Get smart!

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How to Help Your Child with Math at Home

Math is a four-letter word that leads to the exclamation and consumption of other four-letter words.  As a high school business teacher, I frequently find myself helping students with math and occasionally teaching business math.  Because I’m not a math teacher, I have a few tricks up my cardigan sleeve that I wanted to share with you! Read more

Grocery Shopping: How Our Mothers And Grandmothers Used To Coupon

I just had a lengthy conversation with my Aunt Vicki about grocery shopping. Why would anyone want to talk to their 70 year old Aunt on the phone for 40 minutes about groceries? Because first off, she’s hilarious, and I may or may not have received some one my strange sense of humor from her, and second, it was one of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in a long time. Yes, about groceries.

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Self-driving cars; Ready or not, here they come.

Yes; you read that right. Cars that drive themselves. Cars not dependent on human intervention. Would they be safe? Would they be affordable? What about maintenance? Who gets blamed when they crash? Clearly there are many uncertainties blanketing this concept. But that’s not stopping auto engineers from designing and testing self-driving cars. The list of car makers currently creating self-driving cars totals 30. Look here to see it in full. Clearly many, if not most, see this as a worthy pursuit.

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I’m Sorry, But I Will Not GoFundYou

Yes, I know the title of my article maybe a bit harsh, but please hear me out before writing this off as a post slamming anyone in need of a little extra help.

It seems like more than ever, I have seen people sharing different GoFundMe campaigns for friends, family members, or complete strangers whose story has touched them deeply. In my opinion, this is wonderful! In this day and age, it seems as though humans have lost their sense of decency and compassion, choosing to film human tragedy or error on their phone versus actually stepping in to help, which makes the concept of crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Indiegogo all the more heartwarming.


However, when it comes to some of the campaigns I have seen on said crowdfunding sites, that feeling of a warm heart quickly turns to flat out heartburn, as some people are either abusing the system or — in some cases — creating fundraising campaigns that shouldn’t be allowed in the first place. Allow me to expand on this point by explaining who I will personally GoFund (and why):

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Fighting Against Bullying

My daughter was the victim of girl-on-girl meanness just before Christmas. For an unknown reason, her little clique of girlfriends stopped talking to her, for four long days. She didn’t tell me until their last day of the silence. She kept asking them if she had done something wrong. The girls would shrug and walk away. Then, it was over just as quickly as it started.

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Donate Your Gently Used Goods and Make Your Heart Happy

Cleaning and organizing makes my heart happy.  So does making a difference in my local community.  If you feel the same way, here are some places to donate your gently used goods and make your heart happy! Read more