Tag Archives: beauty


When I was little, and didn’t want to sit through getting my hair brushed or styled, my nana would say “It hurts to be beautiful”. It’s a statement I’ve known all my life and one I still say to myself. 

And to my own daughter.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged and accepted.  If you’re a woman, it hurts to be beautiful. 

We color our hair, wear make-up, wax our eyebrows, our lips, our bikini lines.  Totter around on stilettos that make our feet bleed and bruise.  Cram ourselves into spanx and forego food for a day to fit in one specific dress.  Inject our faces with botox to eliminate wrinkles.  Undergo surgery to lift our boobs, tighten our necks, smooth our tummies, all to defy the effects of gravity and motherhood.

I’ve done most of those things.  In the end I’ll probably do them all.  If I leave the house without at least a bit of make-up on, you can be pretty sure the only place I’m heading is to the gym.  I’ve got a fair bit of grey in my hair, and I will continue to cover it up with dye for the foreseeable future.  I own — and wear — shoes that bruise my toes so badly that I can only wear sneakers for the next three days after a single night in them, and spanx that squeeze the thickest part of my thighs so hard they leave indentations that last for hours after I’ve taken them off.  I have worn clothes that made deep breaths difficult and eating impossible.  I regularly have hot wax smeared on my face and ripped off to remove the shadow on my upper lip and the caterpillar eyebrows I inherited from my dad.

I participate in my own torture, willingly, because I have been conditioned to believe that I am only beautiful if I do those things.

I hate the concept, but continue to play the game.  And I’m teaching my daughter to play it as well.  I wrestle with the messages and the practices, both as a mother and as a woman.  Am I doing the right thing?  Am I teaching her the right thing?  I’m uncomfortable with it all, but we live in a society that says “this is what it takes to be pretty” and so we follow along. 

Some of it I can paint as pretty harmless: I like make-up, and it’s fun to play with and it certainly doesn’t hurt.  Coloring my hair isn’t painful, just time-consuming, and I like changing my color to suit the season or my mood.  I enjoy getting dressed up and I don’t really mind sucking in my tummy for a while to make the line of a dress lie more smoothly.

But there’s nothing fun about getting the hair ripped off your body with hot wax.  Nothing fun about wearing shoes that bruise and pinch and underwear that squeezes and compresses and clothes that hinder your movement and breath.  I can’t pretend there’s any message but self-torture in there.  And yet I teach my daughter.

Society places a high premium on looks, and the standards to which men and women are held are comically different. 

Why doesn’t daddy look bad without make-up on? Because society hasn’t told him that he does.  His skin isn’t a blemish- and blotch-free poreless canvas, highlighted and contoured in all the right places.  He has circles under his eyes because he didn’t sleep great last night, but he doesn’t need to hide them.  His eyebrows are a bit scraggly.  He has grey in the hair on his temples.  He’s definitely not clean-shaven.  And yet all he has to do is run a warm wash cloth over his face, comb his hair, and he’s done.  Handsome even. 

Can you IMAGINE if men had to undergo the physical modification women regularly submit to in the name of beauty?  Good lord would our standards change quickly.

I have no answers, only questions.  I will still dye my hair and wear make-up.  I will still wear shoes that hurt and underwear that squeezes.  I will continue to have my hair waxed off.  And I will forever ask myself why I do it, what would really happen if I didn’t, and whether I’m teaching my daughter the right lessons.

It hurts to be beautiful.

Thinking Pink


In reality it’s a little ways off, but all the flowers in my yard are already blooming, so I feel like Spring is almost here. 

Spring makes me happy.  And it makes me think in pink — I know Spring is supposed to be green, but for me, it’s pink.  Peony pink.

Here’s the Spring Pink picks that are making me smile today:

spring pink items

  1. Tocca Cleopatra — my favorite scented lotion, it’s a combo of grapefruit and cucumber and my daily go-to.
  2. Chantecaille Lip Chic in Heirloom — this whole line is made with rose petals and SMELLS heavenly, plus it’s a really lovely flattering pink shade.  I wear this A LOT.
  3. Joie linen blazer — pink linen.  I think that’s the definition of Spring clothing.
  4. Kate Spade Cami bag — simple and chic crossbody bag, maybe to replace my favorite bag that just broke.
  5. Suede D’orsay ballet flats — suede is still a big trend for this spring and these shoes would be cute with anything and everything.

What’s on your Spring wish list?

Also, why pink is cooler than ever this year, and a Spring-y reminder.


The Best Face Wash Ever (And Moisturizer, too!)

i love lucy face wash

Cruising through Facebook one day, I saw a picture of my friend Andrea in my feed and just thought, WOW, her skin is seriously amazing.  Andrea is a make-up artist, so I assumed she knew the very best products.  I asked her what she used to make her skin so gorgeous, and her answer completely surprised me.

Coconut Oil.

She washes her face AND moisturizes with coconut oil.  And her skin is AMAZING.


I have always had sort of oily skin, so I steer clear of anything with extra oil.  But after Andrea’s info, I did more research.  Everything I read said coconut oil will NOT make your skin oily.  It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, so it gets the yuck off your skin without harsh chemicals.

I decided to try it, and if my skin went oil-crazy, I could stop and go back to my old stuff.  You guys, It’s been over a month now and I’ll never go back.  No breakouts at all, even though I’m smearing straight oil on my face.  No oiliness at all, in fact.  Just really, really soft smooth skin.  I am IN LOVE with how my skin feels.  (And it looks pretty good too.)

I absolutely love that I am able to use a wholly natural, chemical free product.  It feels so much safer than slathering on products created with chemical ingredients I can’t pronounce.

Although there are tons of recipes for making face wash with coconut oil and essential oils or whipping it into a cream, I honestly didn’t do any of that.  (If you type “coconut oil face wash” into the Pinterest search bar, you’ll pretty much be inundated with ideas.)  I literally just use straight organic raw coconut oil.  I keep some in a small plastic container in the shower and wash my face with it.  I also keep a jar with my make-up and I use it as moisturizer.  (And I now use it to shave and as body lotion.  Apparently it’s the only thing I’ll ever need for my skin care.) 

I think it cost me $7 for a GIANT jar and I use a TINY bit each day, like a dollop the size of a pea.  This single jar will last me months, without a doubt.  SOOOOO much less expensive than the face wash and moisturizer I was buying before, and sooooo much more effective at making my skin look nice.  Winning!

There are tons of other uses for coconut oil as well — for hair growth, weight loss, oil pulling, tooth brushing…you name it.  I haven’t really branched out yet, but I may try some of those now that I’ve seen how awesome it is.

I’m not telling you what to do, but you should totally try it.  (And thank me later!)

Also, there was the time I had a hair care breakthrough, and my favorite products for eyebrow care.


Endless Sky

view from LB

The part of England where we’re living is really flat.  A patchwork of farms, villages, and fields dotted with sheep and cows, the landscape stretches out here in shades of green and brown, now splashed with orange, red, and yellow as the leaves change. 

Our village is situated at the top of one of the only hills around, and as you turn out onto the road leading away from home, the view is just phenomenal.


The sky seems so much bigger here, the horizon so much further away.  The clouds are massive and stretch down to touch the edges of the earth as far away as we can see.

I always imagined England to be a smallish country, sort of closed-in and cozy. But from my point of view, she stretches out larger than anywhere else I’ve ever been.  Here I can see the far horizon all around me with nothing to break the line but the hedgerows that border the farms and the tree lines along the road dotted in autumn hues.

The photos don’t do it justice, either.  It would take a far more skilled eye and hand than mine to ever hope to capture the vastness of this sky.

endless sky_LB

Although I don’t know for sure, having skipped right from the East Coast of the US to the West with nary a stop in between, I suspect that this is what the middle of America looks like: vast, unbroken plains sweeping into infinity. 

It’s hard not to feel awed when you see a sky like this.  You feel small and giant all at once, a speck on the earth so huge and wide it goes on forever.

No matter how many times I pass down this road, I will never take this view for granted.


Also, it’s a good view during a run, and some other things that are different in England.


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