Makeup: “No Makeup”

I’m on vacation at home in Colorado, and I have a lot of time on my hands for the next few weeks. Expect many makeup posts!

Today, I went for the opposite of yesterday’s heavy-duty vintage look. The “No Makeup” look is very popular, even though I have a lot of makeup on to achieve this style.


The most important thing is to be able to look put-together in about five minutes. I have practiced enough that it’s pretty easy now (barring some kind of mascara-in-the-eyeball-oh-dear-god-why moment). Maybe I’ll post my makeup that I wore for work this year tomorrow, with a timer and video to prove it is in fact only five minutes.

Due to having more time on my hands, I should be able to crank out the rest of the TEFL for Newbs series this week. Let me know if you have topics that you want to see covered, especially for new teachers living abroad.

How long does your makeup routine take? What do you prefer between the more natural look and the heavier eyeliner? 

Makeup: Old School

I fell in love with the vintage look while living in London, and it just keeps getting more refined as I go on.


Winged eyeliner is my every day look now, along with bright blush and defined eyebrows. I finally was able to purchase some more makeup after a year of living in China and not buying much because it’s too expensive.

I’m managing to put the makeup on blind, too! I had an eye problem and cannot wear my contact lenses at the moment, and with -7.50 myopia in both eyes it’s hard to get close enough to the mirror to see clearly.

Do you like the vintage look? What makeup tricks do you recommend to me? 

Late Winter Outfit


Revolution Mug

This week it’s Chinese New Year, which is like Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one. We’ve been enjoying warm weather for a couple days, but early in the week it was freezing cold (as is usual in Shanghai’s winter).

It’s hard to be fashionable when you are cold all the time, but I’m managing.


Outfit for work. 

It goes like this in the winter time: bra, shirt, other shirt, dress, other dress, sweater, coat, scarf. On the bottom: long underwear, tights, other tights, knee-high socks, skirt. I’ve taken to wearing colourful skirts as petticoats for extra layers. And yet, one will still be cold as the humidity means it just cuts right through it allllllll….

I did a little DIY for CNY, too. Lanterns made from Hong Bao, the lucky envelopes that people use to give gifts of money at this time of year. One I managed to do backwards, but it looks like a red sun (sorta).

It’s the Year of the Monkey, so our Christmas monkeys are in style still.

We made a Wishing Tree and wrote things we want for the new year, and made a feast of fish and cheese (much better than it sounds) for the night of the new year. Happy 2016!



I’m Sick of Curated Online Personae

I’m from Louisville, Colorado. It’s not unique to L-Ville, but a great many people from my hometown are super into making their Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and general online persona look as perfect as can be.

Many people I know get professional photography done, in just gorgeous lighting, with all the derpy faces removed. For like, every single occasion imaginable. Anniversary? Better shell out a couple hundred dollars to get those portraits. Pregnancy? Time to pose pensively with a large belly.  Grocery shopping? Here I am with the canned beans, just chillin’. Wedding? Don’t even get me started.

At our wedding, the photographer didn’t believe me when I told him again before the ceremony, ‘Thanks, but we only want shots from the ceremony itself. We will not be available after the ceremony.’ He did a fantastic job and the photos he returned to us that very day were beautiful. But there was no posing after the ceremony. There wasn’t a professional photographer in the room while I got ready to be a bride. There were no professional photos of the rehearsal dinner, much less the reception.

I have an online persona. I generally curate it well. I post well-lit, well-exposed, heavily-processed shots of myself when I put them on the blog, and they inevitably end up on Facebook these days. But I think the desire to have a professional take one’s photos and post them on social media, as if they are just how you look all the time, is deeply flawed. It’s as if we are trying to project an image of our lives that is perfect; it is what we wish life were instead of what it is (BOOM subjunctive in English hahahaha). I find in my bare-bones psuedo-ethnographic analysis of the women of suburban Colorado that the pressure is huge to maintain a certain image not too dissimilar to that of our early-20s selves.

Many of the women I know have all but disappeared from social media as their bodies have changed in motherhood and aging, such that I don’t even know what they look like anymore. Women are constantly told that if we aren’t young, ‘unspoiled’ by pregnancy, and perfectly beautiful…well, we simply aren’t worth looking at at all.

I know that my great-grandchildren will probably be able to see a lot of unflattering photos of me online (assuming that it hasn’t become an existence like The Road by Cormac McCarthy). There are photos of me on the web being a dork, pulling stupid faces, and doing things like drinking in the Campo of Chile. I will have to be more open about these things than any previous generation. I think that’s a good thing. Why take the path of hiding everything I did that’s normal?

Recently, I decided to take a bunch of the most unflattering photos of myself from the last couple months and put them into this post specifically. In one place, I hope to dispel the notion that my life was perfectly lit and always well-posed. I hope to show that I didn’t always look nice, and that I sometimes had the misfortune to be caught mid-blink by the shutter. This blog is a self-portrait in progress, after all.

Thus explained, here I am. In all my glory. Laugh along, friends, and appreciate that life isn’t that perfect picture we all might wish to put on Facebook.