Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Resove To Have No Resolutions!

New Years time is here once again, it has a habit of doing that. I am that person who aggressively refuses to make a resolution every year. I do not make resolutions, I just do things. I refuse to make promises that when failed will act as another thing to make myself feel bad about. I instead make changes throughout the year, I am the person angry at the gym around new years because when it is usually empty it is filled with New Year one monthers. I guess that if a few of those people keep going in the long run then it is a success. I speak only for myself and my personal motivators. I will also not be making any promises to be a nicer person, every day begins with that opportunity and I have decided that I am happy with my particular mixture of sweet and spice.
I will however take this opportunity to showcase some of my favorite products that although may not all be new 2010 releases were unknown to me until this year. I will also take this time to reiterate my whole reasoning in starting Dollface Factory and that is to have beauty of all kinds recognized. There is no reason for anyone to, for one more day, feel poorly about themselves based on what others find beautiful. The techniques and ideas that I introduce here and through my tutorials are not the “beauty law” but simply ideas and flexible guidelines shared to allow you to explore looks, almost an allowance to play and start viewing your features in different lights and for you to look closely at what is so plainly, beautiful.
My favorite products stumbled upon in 2010
Smith’s Menthol and Eucalyptus Balm by Rosebud Perfume Co. Inc.
I know that this balm in a tin comes in a variety of flavors/scents but this one is my favorite. The menthol scent is soft, not overpowering but noticeable. The shine is glossy and not sticky when you apply it to lips. I also use this as a salve when I burn myself with hair irons, in Beauty school that is often, and on dry weather chapped hands and cuticles. This product is sold at Sephora and Ricky’s stores.
Benefit Erase Paste
My blemishes and under eye circles reach out in praise for this product. I like this creamy concealor for a quick fix to under eye dark circles, thanks Sicilian genetics mixed with my very fair German skin! My advice is to apply thin layers and with a small eyeshadow or concealer brush. The smooth consistency will get heated very quickly with your finger temperature and slide all over otherwise.
Smashbox Photo Op
This illuminator will put a healthy glitterless shimmer wherever you desire. I gently pat with my ring finger a bit above where I apply blush all the way around my eye orbits. This glow takes a night look over the edge, it is so subtle but almost angelic looking. Naughty.
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Cottage Cheese
I know it sounds gross as a color name but it is fantastic. I use this glowing white pencil as a shadow base from lash line to brow bone under vanilla and pearl white shadows. I also tap it onto inner corner of my eye to make me look more awake after a long day or night.
NYX loose pigments in all and any color
I love the shimmery pearl colors as a shadow and highlight. Piece of advice, either mix with visene to make a cream shadow or use dry but push the product into your shadow brush and tap on lids, do not swipe. Loose pigments are feisty but I know you are too. They can also be mixes into glosses to create your own custom colors.
Go, Play, New Year, Old Year. Make them all Your Years.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain Review

Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain and Balm Review
I am a makeup artist and I am well aware that I am supposed to be programmed to love lipsticks and apply them often. In this aspect I am a huge disappointment to the makeup gods. I will put lipstick on in the am and not reapply it all day. I will even just use a liner and chance looking like a dry flaky mess rather than have to tote and reapply lipstick after I eat or kiss or live.
I like the freedom and options allowed by cosmetic companies as they begin producing second generations of longwear lipsticks and stain formulas. Although these new products come with their pitfalls, dryness and uneven application if not done carefully, I believe that the benefits outweigh the annoyances.
One such product that can be found at most drugstores is Revlon’s Just Bitten Lipstain and Balm. It is a felt tip marker holding a lip stain and the other end is a balm to moisten after coloring. Although I have heard many complaints about the marker-like tip that is used as an applicator, I understand it completely. These stains by themselves have a water like consistency and when applies with a brush or roller applicator are very messy and not very precise. Removing lip stain that has “runneth over” your lip line is like removing hair dye that has dripped its way to your forehead, rub, rub, raw skin rub rub. The felt tip does not bother me in the least. I like that I can easily apply the stain with little mess or fear of going over my own lip line. I also like that I am free to make the pigment more intense by going over my lips a few times if I wish. I will warn you to exfoliate your lips with either a lip scrub or a damp toothbrush rubbed lightly in a circular motion so the stain does not settle in any dry patches. The balm is ok too, It is a tad eraser-ish long and does not retract so it does tend to break or get shaved off if you are an aggressive capper. I also apply balm often and it was soothing to my lips.
I recommend this product that will run you around ten bucks. When I tested it out at work, I received many compliments on the vibrant color (Crave) and had fun attempting to kiss it off on random objects and people. The entertainment alone made it worth it but the freedom to have a pop of lip color without thick or creamy lipsticks to reapply was a welcome addition to my routine.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Take me home or lose me forever, Red Lips

The red lip can be worn with many different eye looks, feel free to pair them with many looks and wardrobe options. Usually the red lip should be the focus of a look, be careful pairing a dark eye like a grey or black smokey eye with such a bold lip, although if you are looking for drama, that is a sure way to get it!
-Lip balm, nothing puts the kibosh on lusty lips like flaky lips.
-Lip liner as close to your lipstick color
-red lipstick, blue undertoned lipsticks work best with a variety of skin tones but don’t shy away from deep berries or dark wine colors either.
-a tissue
-a face powder or translucent powder
-thin concealor brush
1. Always start with well exfoliated lips, Lush has a killer lip scrub but a toothbrush across the lips with light circular motion will also do the trick
2. Moisturize, rub a balm into your lips but do not leave residue, wipe off what was not absorbed.
3. Sharpen your liner and line your natural lip line. I know that in an ideal world, unlike ours, we all have symmetrical lips. I must tell you, it is ok to go slightly above your natural lipline but be prudish with how much.
4. Fill in your entire lip, upper and lower, with the pencil, this will ensure the longevity of the color.
5. Apply the lipstick with a brush, not from the tube.
6. Blot on one ply of tissue
7. Hold that same ply flush against your lips and using the powder and a fluffy brush powder the tissue that is against your lips.
8. Reapply another coat with the brush
9. Dip your small concealor brush coated lightly in foundation and trace around your lip-iujiline. This will deter bleeding color as well and ensure that the edges of your lips look crisp.

There you go; a correctly executed red lip is like sex walking around on your face. People cannot look away. I disagree when people say that they cannot pull off a red lip. Yes, you can. It just takes the right shade of red and the right amount of spunk. The classic red lip surpasses time and trend.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Day

The Holiday Season has been forced down our throats with the most financially inclined intent. With the season comes seeing many people that we do not get to see as often as we’d like and attending events that may have dress codes that we normally do not adhere to any other time of the year. By dress codes, I of course mean the rich, deep velvets, spicy animal prints, sequins and this year, feathers. Along with our holiday attire needs comes a great opportunity to change up your makeup to fit the festivities; if you are rocking jeans or a brocade strapless number.
As a fan of burlesque looks and any opportunity to be bold and doused in Glitter, the holiday allots me the perfect opportunity to “up the ante” in all of my everyday looks. My advice is to punch up the shimmer, a more sophisticated way to shine than glitter and watch your entire face glow. Use dark red and berry lips to offset your wintry white shadows or sport a fuchsia pout.
I will be explaining two of my favorite holiday looks in this tutorial one is a Golden look with shimmer that can be pared with either a nude, pink or red lip. The second look is a ethereal winter white washed eye that can be pared with the same three lip shades or just a sparkly gloss. The best part of both looks is that they will make your eyes pop and you will look less like you just stumbled out of a last minute toy store run because you forgot to buy your friends kids gifts lol.

Snow Day Look
-Black eyeliner, liquid and/or pencil
-Black mascara
- off white or pearl white eye shadow with a shimmer for subtle glow or all out showgirl glitter if your personality calls for it.
-a white eyeliner, or cream pencil, your illuminator stick can be used here too.h NYX jumbo pencil in cottage cheese is one of my favs.
-your regular foundation regimen, go dewy or matte
-a highlighter stick or liquid that will add an amazing glow wherever you apply it, or a loose pigment close to your skin tone will work too
-bright blush, I like to pull out the brutal pinks for this
1. Dab shadow base to thinly coat your eye from lash-line to brow
2. Using a medium sized shadow brush, cover your eye with your pearl or white shadow from lashline to brow, do not skip the brow bone because a shimmery shadow will pick up great light here.
3. Line the upper lashes with a smudgy black liner of a slick liquid liner. Also, use the pencil to line the waterline.
4. Take the same shadow you used on your lids and lie under the bottom lashes and dab some near the tear duct area of your inner eye.
5. Use your highlighter stick or liquid to bring out any area you would like to call special attention to, browbone, eye orbit, upper cheekbone.
Remember, this is the season when your outsides will easily reflect what is going on with your insides. Nothing looks better then feeling your best. The winter weather and life stress is the first to show up written all over that pretty face of yours. Keep hydrated inside and outside with plenty of water and facial creams, get sleep and take vitamins. Feeling good always looks good!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sexy Smokey Eye Time

Last week I became a wife. The process went smoothly and with little stress as far as the event itself. I was surprised at the frantic nature of the text messages I was receiving from my friends who would be attending our reception the week before the event. The wedding reception took place in a unique venue that brought the sexy. I insisted that my guests as well bring the sexy and dress to feel good and ready to party. My guests, heads set on not letting me down, started their outfit and makeup shopping and constructing their evening looks. This is when my phone began vibrating, hey now, with questions about the mysterious and apparently frustrating smokey eye.
I giggled when my coworkers frantically typed that they looked like Rikki Raccoon and how they wanted to return the smoky eye palettes that they had purchased strictly for my day and support of my own lust for makeup. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and getting these hysterical messages so much that I set up a lunch time beauty lesson with some of my coworkers to quell their fears. I dedicate this smoky eye tutorial to them and all the ladies who fear the smoky eye. Smokey eye, you sly hussy, you win the most feared eye makeup look of the decade.
I want to begin this lesson by mentioning that a smoky eye is like a kiss, nobody does it the same. Some end up being respectful in broad daylight and some are better saved for the dark evening hours in your bedroom but all in all they are all fun and to be played with and there are no rules set it stone.
Your Smokey Supplies-I am a product whore but worry not, I love all good products regardless of price and I will be giving you all sorts of product options and alternatives.
1. Eyeshadow base of your choice.
2. Two brushes, one medium brush to lay the base shadow and a crease brushes, NYX brush b13 and b15 can be used as an example and easily references on NYX website.
3. A vanilla shadow, shimmer or matte, closely one shade lighter than your skin tone would work well. NYX, colors white, nude, pearl, Urban Decay’s Virgin or Sin
4. Grey or silver shadow NYX Deep Charcoal, Frosted Flake, Grey or Urban Decay’s Gunmetal
5. Black or navy shadow NYX Black Sparkle, Deep Space, Navy or Urban Decay Creep. (Any brand’s smoky eye palette will work too as long as there are at least three levels color, light med and dark.
6. Black or navy eyeliner, liquid and pencil
7. Undereye concealer or foundation of your choice
8. Mascara of your choice
9. Nude liner, gloss or lipstick to polish off your look

1. Apply a light coating of shadow base or foundation on your eye area. This is optional and will elongate the wearing of your shadow and richness of color but I will not lie and tell you I always use base, I don’t.
2. With the larger of your two brushes, apply the lightest color of shadow from eyelash line to eyebrow. Fear not about being overly precise here.
3. Apply the medium color with the same brush just on your lid, go above your eyes natural crease, use a light hand for this step, you can always add more. Fear not if you feel it is too dark; just use a brush with no shadow on it to brush away excess.
4. Now it is time for the Sexy, use your crease brush to pick up some of that dark deep pigment color and prepare to smoke. The secret to the smoky eye is your discretion. Start in the outer crease you your eye and work your way inward. Use small circular strokes to spread the darkest shadow across the lid keeping closest to the lash line, gradually becoming lighter but not going much above your crease.
5. This step is optional and is used to pump the smoky up to another level. Use a small angled brush to smudge a bit of the medium or darkest color to smudge a bit of shadow on the bottom lash line.
6. If at any time you feel the look is to dark, feel free to add some of the lightest color on top or use a clean brush to shade the already on your lid color in the same circular motion, this will pick up excess shadow. The secret to a well blended smoky eye is to shade and smudge the shadow where you want it, this look is not one where you lay down shadow once and leave it as is. The skill is to play with it until you accomplish your desired amount of smoke. I also use a light vanilla color or illumination stick and dab a small amount near the inner tear duct area as a highlight.
7. Use a puffy brush, baby wipe or concealor to clean up the undereye area.
8. Line your upper lash line with the liquid or pencil liner and if desired, line your lower waterine with pencil as well.(Waterline is the area above the bottom lash that contains your tear ducts and runs along the length of your eye) Add mascara to the top lashes.
9. Blush cheeks with a neutral color and do the same with your lips; the eyes should be main focus here.

• I want to the press upon all of you trying this look for the first time that there are no die hard rules here. Play and have fun. Use other colors to smoke if the Black, Blue or Grey is overbearing. Just use the light and medium colors only if you like, use three shades of browns, use greens, blues etc. Leave the liner out if you wish. Have fun. It is makeup and the only goal is to have you feel and look your best and only you can know what is right for your taste.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Inspurbation, it is a word I recently made up so do not try to look it up; however feel free to use it in Scrabble and Boggle if you cheat like I do.
I have had a very interesting few months, they have sadly kept me from writing as much as I enjoy. I will be getting married in two weeks, stop laughing because I am aware that I can be a tad unfit in the eyes of some. I am also deeply involved in Cosmetology School three evenings a week and Saturdays while continuing to teach full time. I am busy but happily so because I feel that I am not simply dreaming of changes but being the “game changer” in making such life alterations.
Back to the Inspurbation. If your mind pure and your libido average then you probably have not come to what the definition of Inspurbation is. In any case, I will walk you through it; fear not, I will keep my hands to myself. During these recent times of stress and life change, I often look outside of myself for good examples of people with drive, character and passion. These people become my inspiration. That makes up one portion of the Inspurbation. These people seem to have an innate ability to make positive, fearless change and never notice how their lives affect the people around them in the most genuine of ways. They are my inspirational porn. They are the pros.
Many of the moments that I reach out to these inspirational people and their expertise and bravery is when I am alone, making this a solo mission. This is where the second part of the word originates. Ah yes, the Urbation. It is almost when I sit and marinate in the success of others, and I know that I can have those feelings too.
So, my working definition of Inspurbation is the watching and enjoyment of the inspiration of others when you are alone and using it to please and drive yourself.

We all have our own inspurbation tastes but below are a few of what I call, my Inspurbation Heavyweights:
-The guy who comes home from a full day of work, cares for the apartment and dogs and stays up late writing and reading comics. He is constantly praising others with the same dream and will take any opportunity to drag boxes of his work to a convention because more important than being “found” is that someone else with the same dream of being a writer likes his work as much as he enjoys writing it.

-A friend who revels in the chance to fitness train people willing to work hard after he has worked a full day. He is without fitness judgment and full of information and drive. Puts his daughter to bed and learns as well as teaches others how to reach past their physical boundaries. Willing to drag his family out to a field to kick tries, falling on his arse, because that is just what you do when someone poses a challenge to you, you try and then keep trying until you can do it better.
-All the people who make livings doing things that others could but just don’t.
-The people who work and raise families and still drag themselves to night school because they want to learn better and be better. They have been harboring their career fantasies for too long and now are taking action and acting out in their own inspurbations.

Now tell me that you did not get all hot and heavy reading about these professional inspurbaters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Urban Decay, I dig your porno makeup names, even when they disgust me

I had always hoped that my makeup hoarding and opinions about products would come in handy and now as I have you as a semi-captive reader of my blog, you may be subjected to both. I thought that, for you fellow makeup enthusiasts, some reviews may be of use. I as well intend on adding a few rad tutorial videos of certain looks in the near future, once I secure my makeup victims.

Urban Decay, I dig your porno makeup names, even when they disgust me. Roach, Sin, Naked and Creep to name a few. I cannot tell you how unique it is that I have had this "Naked" Palette for a week and I still giggle when I open it and peek at the naughty names. This is indeed not my first Palette from Urban Decay and it will not be the last.

The most frustrating part of this palette was that it was not to be found in any Sephora in the tri-state when I wished to requite it. After a short waiting period and shipping, it arrived in all it's glory.It came with a mini bottle of Primer Potion and a half Whiskey and Zero eyeliner pencil, I wish they were liquid but that is just a personal preference. I know that as a MUA I am supposed to love eyeshadow primer but I have never been of "camp primer", my foundation/concealer has done fine for me but I can see someone with oilier skin using one.

The palette colors are fantastic, they range from Virgin and Sin, what make fantastic under brow highlight colors, to taupe colors like Sidecar, Buck and Smog as well as great smoke out colors like Hustle, Creep, and Gunmetal. I am down with this Palette because it can take you from day to evening and it will also be a great compliment to the Book of Shadow Palette that i got a few years ago. There is only one repeat in the two palettes and that is Sidecar so I do not mind. Urban Decay you may have made a brown lover out of me just in time for fall. It is also a treat that not all of the colors are shimmer or glitter, some are a smooth matte consistency so you may mix finishes.

So, give it a try and I cannot wait to see you getting

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Future Mrs. R'Vera

It is currently four months until I walk down, well there is no isle, till I get hitched. The plans are being made and so far so good. All the important things are here for a fantastic union, trust, love, common interests, future goals, goofy quirks. We have family and friend support etc., etc.

Yesterday we assembled the invitations and since there are two separate events going to occur on Nov.20th, there are two sets of invites. As Dan filled out those little pre-slugged spaces for our names, I burst into tears. It was weird and uncontrolled. I was suddenly just leaking. I saw the worry in his face for he is aware that I have been a runaway bride once before. As much as I tried to explain that the leaking was caused by the disbelief that I will be with such a kind and awesome man, I know he knew I was fibbing.

Truth is, I like my last name. I am not taking a feminist stand of any sort about ownership and all that jazz. One peep into our lives and you would know that there is no machismo in our home just he being him and me being me.

I just like the fact that I have two capitals and an apostrophe in my long standing but soon to be maiden name, D'Angelo. I love it! I love how people spell it wrong and how credit cards deny my apostrophe. How the students call me Ms.D out of laziness and how they ask me what the D stands for as if it was an initial out of their sheer doopyness. I love that on a trip to Italy my father insisted on posing for multiple pics with a photo of a menu from a Cafe D'Angelo. It is a very fun last name. My reasons for missing it's leaving are all lighthearted, I mean I have two nephews who will, most likely, carry on the namesake.

On the other end of this story is my future name, that probably does not even want to be near my first name after I have shunned it above. Rivera. It is a wonderful name. I am proud to be a part of the Rivera family. I mean it is the ethnic flair that I have been searching for my whole life. It speaks of Salsa dancing and table moving fun, of good Puerto Rican foods and people. By the way, it lies because my fiance refuses to Salsa with me or move the coffee table to dance and eats only white rice and no beans. Still, Rivera, it speaks of hot breezes and mango.

My idea to rectify my situation is to morph the two last names in writing not speech. The apostrophe taking place of the "i" in Rivera would work fine because it sounds of "re". The capital letters will be at home spooning the apostrophe quite nicely in this situation. So, R'Vera it shall be. All in all I will just be a proud R'Vera and roll in the excitement when people see my name and expect a long haired bronze, JLo goddess and instead my pale, no ass, purple haired self shows up. Ahhhh the future is looking good.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No, I do not want to cash your brother from East Coslopus' check!

The quest for viable advertisement for my Makeup business continues. I have even taken to watching Madmen for inspiration, that is a blatant lie, I watch Madmen because I am in love with Joan. That being said, I have for the moment, swore off Craig's List. How I can post an innocent advertisement for makeup services and receive nothing but Spam? It both horrifies my empty work bank account and intrigues me to read these ill created and in broken English pleas to totally screw me. "No, I do not want to cash your brother from East Coslopus' check for 12,000 bucks and take half." First of all, ummmm, why would I? People who are honest do not often offer you money for nothing, nor would anyone who I wanna interact with even trust a stranger to cash their invisible check. Thirdly, how cute and insane that you would think that I even have that amount in my account to cover cashing that large of a check. If I indeed did, wouldn't I simply PAY FOR ADVERTISEMENT INSTEAD OF POSTING ON CRAIG'S LIST? I wanna meet the sober or non sober person who falls for these scams, somebody must or they would not be so often and many.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Here is my card, please do not kidnap me!

I am still staying the path, I am still trying to find a way to have my passion for Makeup become a reality. Lists have been made and remade and made once more. The making of the lists is easy, it is the execution of the items on such lists that seem to be the tricky, shady part. I have been making moves to accomplish certain things and of course avoiding the completion of less desirable tasks.

I am at this time creating content for my website and gathering pictures of Dollface beauties whom have allowed my to come speeding forward towards their eyeballs will makeup brushes and sheer excitement. I have set a web launch date of Aug. 1st and it will probably me myself, fiance and his generous pal Janine who has given me numerous amount of both time and advice on my site, drinking beers in celebration of meeting the chosen date. I have many payed weddings and makeup trials under my belt.I am CRUSHING it!
I have been reading up on other artists and viewing their awesome pinup pictures. I have heated my hot rollers and perfected the medium length haired victory roll with a Rockabilly spin, and I have bought Social D tickets for their NH concert, unrelated but excites me still. My biggest issue still looms. ADVERTISEMENT!

I am an awful self promoter. This has always been my problem. I can talk to anyone and inflict them with my excitement over almost nothing but I cannot give my business card out or push my services on anyone, even when they may need it. I am and have always been a take it or leave it kind of person. I am not even talking about "pushing" people to get services they do not want, I mean I have issues even making the suggestion. I have tracked this feeling of awkwardness back to my parents trying to avoid an after-school special-esque kidnapping of my younger self.

When I was a mini Dollface, around four to six, I was informed of this kidnapping thing that was happening in the world. My neighbor who was older and more, let us say sleazy mature, told me that someone was going around taking pictures of kids and coming back to kidnap them later. I was a kid so I had no concept of how they knew where I lived, I just knew that Connie wore a bra, so she must know what she is talking about. So. I spent the rest of the year avoiding the flashes of everyone's Polaroid cameras, including the school photographer who chased me around for an hour to only end up with the back of my head in our class photo. Years went by and I accepted that my Uncle George was probably not taking pictures of me and my brother in front of the x-mas tree to kidnap me and I let down my photo guard.

High School approached and it was time for me to get my first Sports letter jacket. I sucked at sports but insisted on playing them all and the jackets were very in during the 80's. My parents forbade me from getting my name on my jacket because, "Someone may call your name and kidnap you!" Here it was again, this kidnapping thing from years I thought were long passed. I was older and a little more "On my game" and I thought, "If someone calls me by my name and I do not know them, I will not think they know me just because they call my name," and looking back on pictures, nobody would have wanted to kidnap me? When I was 13 I looked like I was 30 and now that I am in my 30's I look more like I am 13.

The point to all of this is that a small part of me still feels that if someone has my name, picture or even public information I deep down wonder, are you going to kidnap me? It seems nutty I know, I am.

So, I will give out my card, my card with all my contact information on it. After all, I suppose this is a very important thing to have on ones card when attempting to freelance as a Makeup Artist. Still, in my mind with every card I give out I will utter, "Here is my card, please don't kidnap me."

Sunday, May 9, 2010


There are some events in your life that you wish you could just think about and not have to share with anyone. I believe that when someone we love dies, we may try to put feelings of grief and sadness into that category. Many people publicly grieve at the funeral but the larger part of grief happens alone, without the comfort that others can bring. If you are lucky, your mind eventually won't let you grieve alone in your head for long and life will give you a way to express your pain to others so you can manage life.

I recently had a friend pass and his passing has and will cause a ripple of changes amongst everyone who knew him. Although I have a supportive family and my friends family to rely on, I as well did the majority of my "healing" alone, driving to and from work in my Honda, sobbing through traffic. A month later my mind and spirit gave me an outlet to manage my grief. What I am about to say now may seem self indulgent but that is at times writing's very nature. Since our friends death, before this moment, I have been unable to write a word. My mind and emotions have organized a writing paralysis. I finally admitted to myself why, I was trying to resume my writing like nothing had happened, but something had, someone who I had cared for had passed. The only way for me to write again would be to write about Sasha Victory. I can only hope that I can do him justice.

The loss of our young friend is sprinkled with a plethora of emotions some regretful, some hopeful but all intense. That is the one fitting word that I can without a doubt use for this loss and the person himself, intense. He lived with a strong pull around him that nobody ever wished to resist and intense musical ability. Thankfully, his band mates both present and past have joined together although miles apart from so that his sounds will never be lost.

After the funeral services for Sasha, his family had the grace and strength to plan a reception in his honor. Catered by his favorite restaurant and accompanied by the music played by his own hands we laughed and wept. Old friends and strangers alike embraced and laughed genuine laughs and wiped away the most sincere of tears. Our magnetic friend would have laughed to see the mingling of his worlds and his mother and his new love being cradled in the warm arms of friends from all stops on his life's journey. Sasha would have laughed his contagious, physical open mouthed laugh, eyes shining behind dark lashes, woolly arms slapping his lap.

There was a moment towards the end of the evening where the lights were turned down low, my nephew lay in the corner playing his hand-held video game. The glow of the screen comforted me. Grown folks in dresses and suits huddled together on the floor with various instruments, playing along with a recording made during Sasha's intense and full life. In that moment Sasha's friends played the soundtrack of his life, sometimes smooth, sometimes riddled with jagged tones and heartbreaking mistakes, often played with love, laughter and tears. The drums became his heartbeat and the guitars, changing hands from musician to musician, wrote his biography in musical notes and sounds. Sasha was in that moment. I am forever changed by that moment.

During the celebration of Sasha's life, that fantastic display of love and respect for our friend, when people danced, cried and played instruments, I sat. I first sat alone and watched, I then even tried to join in. I could not, I wanted to belong to that moment from deep in my being but could not. It was not the way that I could celebrate him, writing these words for him is.

So, this will be my reception for you my childhood friend. Thank you for playing with me, all chubby and awkward as I was in the lonely school yard at Kew Forest, thanks for finding it amusing that I, your best friend's little sister, had a innocent crush on you, thank you for being a true friend to my brother Chris and loving his kids. Thank you for throwing yourself into everything you did with intensity,and making the last days of your life about helping others. Thanks for inspiring me to grieve in my own way as well as live it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hit by an Anvil, my story of Anvil

Hit by an Anvil, my story of Anvil

This past weekend in an attempt to avoid the heavy rains and soggy pant bottoms, I sat down to watch a Netflixed copy of Anvil, The Story of Anvil. It left me with a mixed bag of nuts feeling that was a combo of salty pity and sweet envy. As a side note it also left me referring to everyone with “yea Man, totally Man,” in my best Lips (the lead singer/guitarist's) voice.

For those unaware it is a documentary story of a rock band from Canada who were on the way up in the 80's, they shoulda, woulda, coulda, but never fully made it with their counterparts Whitesnake, Iron Maiden and yes Jersey, Bon Jovi. Mind you, all of these go to 80's bands state that Anvil was what moved them to play, they looked up to Anvil. The band still has a large international following and a more modest domestic one.

I dare you to watch and not root for Lips on lead vocals and Robb Reiner on drums not only for what they were then with their bondage gear outfits and their affinity for playing instruments with dildos but for who they are now. They are clearly, out of date, near out of time in the eyes of some, 50 year old family men who through sheer insanity and talent have not given up.

Anvil's kind of perseverance can only be a result of a special brand of insanity that we could all use exposure to. I myself envy their “never give up” attitude. It is almost as if it is not possible by some force of inner nature for them to throw in the towel. Their disappointment is for a moment sad but their diligence heroic for a lifetime.

Although, I do wish that they would one day make it bigger then even they have imagined, I see why they have not-yet. We need them not to give up the fight. I need them to keep trying. Society without even knowing it needs these 50 year old rockers to keep believing so that we may. These two would shovel shit for days if it meant they could play to one authentic fan for an hour in a dungeon. All they want is respect and to be payed for their work but something tells me that appreciation of their quest is their real dowry.

I get it, I am this kind of crazy. I am armed with the same kind of childlike wanting and hope that hard work and passion does and can work. My one lacking element that sets me aside from these warriors of rock is that they are fearless about their own abilities. They do not doubt their talent, they do not question their fans taste they just soldier on figuring that they can be casualties of the business that will hopefully catch on to their Anvil Fever again.

In a world where so many of our celebrated musicians fall to the gods of drugs and vice and never return, these guys are still fighting for the right to visit the temple of rock. They just want to be able to pay their bills and fulfill the dreams of their families who as hard as it has been, support their efforts the best they know how.

So, I in the name of Anvil will keep up my own quest. On days when I doubt myself I will instead flip my makeup brushes around and pound on my compacts and trudge on. I will not allow myself to wallow in pity or call my becoming a makeup artist a dream. I may show up, 50 yrs old with ten pounds of makeup on and 5 sets of fake lashes caked on top of each other but I will still show up. I may be Lips to someone else but I will be Russian Red from M.A.C. Lips.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cosmetic Porn

I am a mess, I would like to be able to say that I am more often a "hot mess' but that would be an untruth. There are times that I am just a disaster area, much like Pig Pen on Peanuts, I always mean well but I usually enter a room create a cloud of physical chaos and as fast as I appear, I am gone.

As a youth(I cannot lie, still to this day), my space is cluttered with piles of my belongings. I can not for the life of me organize or be into cleaning, no matter how I try. I did not inherit the Italian mama on the floor using her own nails to scrape grime off the kitchen floor gene. I am a teacher who is unlike most teachers in the way that I do not always know where my markers are or that there are some missing. Fear not, I do notice if there are kids missing and I have not ever had a major catastrophe due to my clutter. I often utter the saying, "I wanna live life, not clean it".

The opposing part of my personality hates the fact that I cannot make a room look immaculate, that I always have one sock missing, that I will never like cleaning, that I do misplace things and that more then once I have left the house with the remote in my purse and have used a spatulla in public to eat my yogurt when I had no clean spoons. Confession, I just had no spoons, I think I had thrown them out with the Tupperware that I should have saved from lunch but did not.

The TV show Hoarders gives me mixed emotions. It makes me fearful that I could be one and also makes me want to throw everything out while making me think, "Hell, I am not THAT bad, am I?"

I will be approaching my point soon, fear not. Although I lean toward disorganization, there are certain things that I am insanely particular about. Since I was a teen, and I shoplifted my first lipstick I reveled in the perfect form of the slope that is to ever so lightly spread bright colors on your lips. How perfect the beads of moisture look on the lipstick sides. Palettes of eye colors so neat and well packed in their tins. A pattern particular to each brand gently pressed onto the top so gloriously I hate to disturb it. Eyeliner tips always sharpened like tools of tribal warfare lined up just so. It is crazy, in the midst of clothing chaos my makeup has always been displayed as if in the Egypt room at the MET. The creams and liquids, so level I could skate atop of them. I am sure that my cosmetic porn has gotten you all hot and heavy. I know that there may be some deep rooted reason for my makeup psychosis because after all, makeup always fits no matter what you ate last night. Still, it amazes me.

The other day I came into our bedroom, and was convinced that there had been a home invasion and we were ransacked. My Dan suffers from the same clutter virus I have except I think he piles his clothes so he can always be surrounded by his good fashion. I looked around at both his piles, my piles, then all my open drawers and thought "Blasted, we have been had!". Then my eyes gazed over to my makeup display and all my shadows were in a row, my lipsticks and glosses in color order and my liner spears sharpened as always. I sighed with relief. We had not been robbed, and I left every piece of clothing where it lay.

Maybe I have always known, maybe inside each of us have always known what it is we want and where we want to be. Look around at your own strange habits and what they focus on. They are telling. Now, where is that channel changer?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Today's entry is a call for simplicity and in honor of the old beauty practices of the woman who proceeded me. No, not Sophia, Marilyn or Betty but my very own GRANNIES ! I am dedicating this blog as well as the call to simplicity to my Grannies. These woman are 86 and 90 each looking like they could be in their 60's. They grew up in the face of depression, joining a mans workforce, probably not wearing pants until they were 40 and calling jeans dungarees. They used lipstick as “rouge” Vaseline as mascara and aloe for everything. Olive oil was used for and is the only reason their hands are so soft and they are tough and important forces in my life. Sure they have gray helmets for hair and still smack me when I am sassy, yes one of them collects scary dolls and puts bags on their heads to preserve them. There is nothing more intriguing then looking at pictures of them from the past, they way they held each other and their babies. The way they wore their aprons and their heads up high with dignity. They were the woman behind the men and I have always noticed them.

Someone told me that we are in a recession. OK every newspaper, reporter parent and coworker as well as my finances have told me that we are in a recession. I thought that this would be a great time to explore the ways that glamorous woman from yesteryear dealt with cash shortages and stressful situations while still looking put together and pretty as punch.

Woman are still buying overpriced and limited use products because they make us feel better for the moment. Buying a $18.00 product is not going to break the bank as a larger ticket item might but it gives us the “spoil fix” that we need from time to time. Many of these products eventually sit in drawers and collect dust, becoming caked separated pieces of colorful clutter. Many of these products do not live up to their claims or our hopes when we first see those glorious packaging masterpieces.
I am guilty! I am a sucker for a new product, even when my right brain has analyzed its claims and very well knows that a foundation can not make me appear like a magazine add and that no mascara will ever make me look as doe eyed as having fake lashes on does. Only fake eyelashes look like fake eyelashes. DER.
I would never ask my readers to do what I am not willing to do myself. So I will take the same simplified beauty challenge that I will urge you to take. I will use homemade products as often as I can in place of buying new ones.

Below is a list of easy products that are found in most homes or are natural and can be inexpensively bought for this challenge and what to do with them.
-Milk for smooth skin in bath or on face, it brings down swelling and blistering too for hair iron or waxing burns
-Olive oil as makeup remover and skin softener, straight or in bath water
-Vaseline as a skin protector and lip smoother. Also, use it if you do not have mascara. My students use this to make their faces slick before fights too,lol.
-Epson salt mixed with essential oils for a kicken bath.
-Oatmeal soaks for soft skin
-Toothpaste for blemishes
-Cucumbers for puffy eyes
-Grated raw potato inside cheesecloth placed on under eye dark circles for 20 minutes
-Witch Hazel for deodorant and astringent
-Aloe for everything
-Mashed banana as a wrinkle treatment
-Beeswax grated and melted with coconut oil for lip gloss. Add cocoa butter, vitamin E mashed berries or vanilla extract for pizzazz.
Try and send me your own. Ask the glamorous lady in your life what their home secret is.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can we please take SHIT off the menu?

I know that I stood on my fancy, probably LUSH brand soap box a few blogs ago and preached that this will not be a technologically advanced complaint department. I want to point out that I was talking directly about not bitching about work related topics. As usual, teen age kids are shitty in a general way,so I can now complain about neighborhood ragamuffins and not my own students.

I was walking my one, very large, wolfish dog as my boyfriend walked his very wiener shaped dog, I am aware that it seems mismatched but that is another blog. As we discussed the days uneventful events, a red laser dot appeared on the side of my big girl dog's body. I am Sicilian so, I of course start to scout the area for snipers. The only possible culprits around are two shitbag preteens who have no business skulking around the neighborhood after dark on a school night. I am not only the "Niceness Police" but also the "Curfew Cop of Queens". These little fools proceed to ring about 4 doorbells of dining old folks and hide behind parked cars to dodge the unsuspecting aged. I am at this time fuming, that friggen red laser beam hits us again. Although he is just curmudgeon enough to be sexy, my boyfriend is much calmer then I. At this point even he wants to kick the asses of these kid's parents. I calmly state that I would love to shove that laser up there arses and light up their eyelids from the inside!"
We walked on and talked about how we would be very upset if our "make believe" kids ever had the Gaul to bother innocent people or be out this late. We talk of these things I think to quell the fears that all non parents have about the competence of their ability to parent in the future. Well, I'll be damned, that red laser appeared again, we were being followed. We are so boring, why follow us? "Damn, if I were your parents, I would not want to hang out with you either!" I guess I am mean and boring.
It is just that after a while, you get tired of eating shit. I know that in my profession I am always subjected to nasty comments and absurd tests from students. These kids engaged me, this means my involvement is different. So, technically, I DO NOT HAVE TO EAT THEIR SHIT, SHIT IS OFF THE MENU!
As I calmed down, I just hoped that those kids get an internal makeover of their own.
The sad thing is that these kids should not have to be hanging out on the streets of Queens on a January evening. They are bored. They are not being paid attention too enough or I can only assume that they have not found a "thing" that interests them enough to keep them home and doing it. They do not have a passion yet. I probably would have been reading magazines and listening to Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, my first Cd, at their age. I would have been twelve and as plump as a young Ricki Lake, looking at the difference between one purple lined eye and one attempted smokey one. I would have been reading Bukowski poems and hating my parents from the safety of their home where their company and attention was in a doorbells reach, the doorbell of my own home and I would not have had to have hidden behind a parked car either.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My students think I am stupid.

When you become a teacher there is a part of you that must leave your pride, ego and you ability to be embarrassed at the classroom door. It just goes with the territory. Kids are not who they were ten years ago, they are dealing with a very different world, different families and standards of behavior but the old adage that "kids are vicious," still rings true. It is what it is, they are judgmental and quick with attitude and misdirected anger at the drop of a hat, and many times the person with the biggest bulls-eye is standing at the front of the room pointing out to them that they are not the center of the universe and that indeed many of the behaviors that they are exhibiting are not acceptable.

I am an adult I understand that being a kid is a stinky mixture of feeling that you do not understand. I battle it with being beyond embarrassment. Usually I accomplish rising above blushing by being just over the top enough to be able to get them to see that it is not always so serious and being silly can be fun. I have been known to wear a mustache necklace to work. So, today I will dedicate this blog to us all being able to see something silly, doing something harmless and funny and during these times of real worldly sadness to be slightly ridiculous in the name of celebrating life. I however, cannot stand when something is hilarious and does not acknowledge itself as such.

On that note I want to mention something that was brought to my attention that is indeed silly. It is something that may be worthy of infomercial status. Actually, it is not even infomercial worthy because I would not want to insult my leopard snuggie. It is the L'Oreal True Match Roller I thought that I was reading the Onion when I the advertisement but alas it was no joke. Please, let this be a makeup companies attempt at a joke to lift our spirits. I am not a lier so I will admidt that I have not tried it and I will promise you that I will as soon as they are back in stock on the L'Oreal website. That alone made me giggle.

I am not a brand snob, I think that great beauty products come from multiple sources, even your own kitchen. I just hate what the ad for this product promises,"an ultimate airbrush finish". It just seems absurd to me. First of all, how does something that rolls on give the same effect as something that is airbrushed on. When you paint a strip of wall with a roller it indeed does not look like a path that has been spray painted, it is not supposed to. The claims that it will adjust to the contours of your face is silly sounding. Secondly, an airbrushed look is not something a woman even needs everyday or for many woman there will not be a day it is needed. After all, thankfully for me, most people do not have HD eyesight. I would rather a company come up with a mini airbrush system for everyday use. Then it would be fine to suggest an airbrushed finish because, well, it is an airbrush.

I understand that the makeup industry is looking to introduce new products in order to keep people buying. I am asking my modest yet wonderful reader base to share the silliest or stupidest products they have seen or tried.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I am not here to make your dreams come true!

This journey is not about complaining about what is but deciding to reach for what I would like to be. I have decided that this will not be a forum to complain till exhaustion about the things I dislike about my job and present situation. Everyone has complaints and things they wish they could change about where they are. Bitching and moaning is too easy and in all honesty an insult to you as readers, my profession, other educators and myself. It would be easy to sit and recite to myself all of the pitfalls that could be lurking in the wings of my plan. Shit like that can keep you up at night, I mean it did keep me up at night, o.k., last night. Instead, I will take some of the offbeat things that I find myself saying to my own students and apply it to myself.

Yeah, I did it. I told my class that I was not here to make all their dreams come true. Well, I am not. I am here merely as a person who can tell them where to find the resources to do that for themselves. At the time I blurted it out may have been a statement I uttered to get them to be less needy and to stop pulling me in a million directions at once but it became much more in conversation. They must take on the responsabilety and develope that hunger for something they love on their own despite what others may say,even what I may say unless someone is being maimed. At times I feel that my real job is to just expose them to as much as I can, to step back and then see what sticks. I have finally found what sticks for me.

Just as my students must learn that they are the only person who can in all actuality move, motivate, convince and accept what gets them going, I am the sole provider of doing that same thing for myself. I feel like a madwoman now that I have finally gotten this very simple idea. I can both generate and distroy this whole journey all by myself by listening to nay sayers who often say "nays" out of love and true concern and my own negative head.

So, here we go, my mom wants me to be a psychologist, not the worst thing to want for your kid but I will make simulated bullet holes and zombies instead. Dad, he would like me to tutor kids, it is good work and meaningful too but so is making a bride feel like her most beautiful self on her day. The two Grannies, they want me to cook and clean and be a good Italian wife, I will be, first, let me make you both up to look like the most fantastic of Drag Queens. I have been let loose. Join the journey.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

You may want to smudge that a bit

There has been a change in my mindset. I am unsure when it exactly occurred but I have been looking at things very differently. The focus I now have while watching movies and TV has become less about plot and more on visual technique. I have been more interested in the makeup and visual aspects that are used in film making then anything else. I love when things are not what they seem.

I had not noticed how much my focus had changed until I was at dinner with a friend I have had consistently from high school. There was a female waitstaff who was applying eyeliner to a male staffer while hovering over our table. My normal reaction would have been, "Can you get me some water please and get a room!" Instead I stood up as a surprise even to myself said, "You may wanna smudge that a bit, the line is to defined to be considered smokey, it is a bit more Elvira then you may want." As the two waiters looked at me like I was sent by Rue Paul in a makeup mission from Fabulous Land, the female worker handed me over her brushes. I smudged that man's liner in the middle of the restaurant. Against some health code, probably, but the impact it had on my journey, fantastic. That "drive by makeup-ing" reminded me of when I began teaching and I became the niceness police for the neighborhood. I protected the publicly shunned from neighborhood bullies and told kids I did not even know, to check their Halloween candy for razors. It was natural to me at that time. Smudging the eyes of unsuspecting could be makeup victims is natural for me now. The journey begins.