Wearing Makeup at a Young Age

I’m completely aware that it’s been a while since my last post. I’ll save you the “my students have been keeping me too busy to pee” explanation, and head right into a post that I’ve had in my drafts for a while now. Since my blog is based most of the time on health and beauty (with some of my own rants and to-do lists tossed in), the idea of wearing makeup at a young age has been on my mind for a while now and we also had a great discussion on this in my class the other day. You’d be surprised at how many of my young, liberal, and open-minded students were appalled by the idea that mothers allow their daughters to wear makeup. I’m also wondering where other bloggers stand on this issue, especially those of you who, like me, have a passion for new products and love buying them.

For me, I first wore makeup when I was 4 and it was for dance. I danced ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe from the age of 4 until I was 18. Makeup was a thing! We had to doll up for pictures, competitions, and of course for our end of the year recitals. I never thought makeup was a big deal because my Mom did it for me, and it was just something that I was used to. It was nothing different than simply doing my hair for a dance number (but that’s another blog post). I didn’t start wearing makeup to school until I was about 9, and in third or fourth grade. I was allowed to have my Mom put a little bit of blush and lipgloss on, but that was about it until 6th grade when I decided it was time to go with the 90s trends of dark eyeliner (as inspired by the raccoon living in my yard at the time) and nothing else. Today, I wear makeup on a daily basis for work, but to me it was never something I abused because I was taught to do it naturally, and because it was just part of my young life. I feel like when makeup is treated as something forbidden that’s when young girls want to try it out for themselves and it becomes more of a problem. I also think that depending on how parents show and put makeup on their children makes for another problem, typically with what I see on the “Toddlers and Tiaras” shows and the multiple spin-off’s of young pageant girls and their overbearing Moms.

Simply stated, for me, makeup is something that is fun and can be very age appropriate depending on how the concept of makeup is introduced in the household. I also think that guidance is key when it comes to how parents and guardians introduce it. My Mom introduced me to makeup and it was something that was done for dance until I was old enough to ask if I could wear some to school. It was introduced with restrictions (No, you cannot wear my Chanel Lipstick to school for 4th grade photos), but there was a balance (Why not try your Bonne Bell clear lipgloss instead?).

Here are two pictures of me in the 3rd grade at about age 8. One is of me “au natural” for school pictures, and another one is me all dolled up for dance. Are the differences really that stunning?

Either way, I think that letting your daughter experiment with makeup is just fine. There was nothing better than trying out my Mom’s Shalimar or looking at my Mom’s eyeshadow and trying to “look like her.” Moderation is key, and I think that if we can moderate how we introduce makeup into our young girl’s lives there’s nothing wrong with doing it.

What do you guys think? How old were you when you first wore makeup?

Things I Love: iPhone Edition

I’ve done some reviews of apps for the iPhone before, but I’ve since re-jailbroken (yay for a 5.0 untethered!) and cleaned out some of my dusty apps that were taking up valuable space for my illegally downloaded music files. So, if you’re on the search for more apps to waste your time, make you look pretty, or turn you into a certified gangsta, you’ve come to the right place. It’s Apple time!

First up, Life is Crime! I’ve been absolutely addicted to this game and it finally came out for iPhone USA users in January. In fact, I haven’t updated about it because I’ve spent the last two and a half months playing it. I kid, but it is addictive. Basically, this game uses your GPS setting to turn your nearby locations into a virtual battleground. You can form a gang, steal locations for other gangstas, become the Kingpin of your locations, drop packages of stolen goods, and more. To be honest, this game is one of my favorite for my phone. I run my end of town, and it’s just a fun time waster that makes you look like you’re doing something important. Best of all? It’s FREE! Red Robot Labs offers R2 coins that get you real swag for real money (much like FarmVille), but you can actually achieve good gameplay without having to spend real money, which I appreciate. Take a lesson from them FarmVille and Pet Society. Here’s to hoping that they won’t get greedy in the future.

Remember Tamagotchi? Boy, did I love those little plastic eggs of happiness. Portable Pixels recently released their own rendition (and the best I’ve seen so far) of a Tamagotchi app complete with adorable pixel design! Hatchi is a virtual pet that doesn’t take control of every second of your life. I load mine up three times a day and play whenever I feel like i. It does cost .99 cents, but I chose to pay the money to support the app developer. Portable Pixels tends to listen to their fans and the updates have been coming in like wildfire which means they’re listening. Besides, is less than a dollar really that much to pay when real Tamagotchis are going for a couple of Bens on eBay?

Last up, the Weave app! I’m a sucker for a planner app, but I tend to end up sticking to my pen and paper planner from yesteryear. However, the new Weave app is fabulous and FREE! The interface is clear, it’s easy to navigate, and doesn’t lag when you load it up. I think I’m also a sucker for an app that talks to me (It sends me a good morning text each day, haha!) but if you’re looking for an app that is functional, free, and without all of the bells and whistles (this one keeps it simple unlike 2do which overwhelmed me), this is the planning app for you. I’m currently using it for my thesis planning and it’s working like a charm.

What new apps have you been using to keep yourself inspired, organized, or entertained? I’m always looking for some more to try out!

End of an Era? Review of: Tucker Max’s Hilarity Ensues

When one of my best friends, Lea, told me about a hilarious book about a guy who writes about his drunken antics and his love of slutty women, I was intrigued. His name was Tucker Max and the book was I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. It was 2009 and I was finishing my B.S in English and Secondary Education and I hadn’t read a book for fun in approximately three years. I bought a copy and finished it in three days. Hilarious, yet vile, I passed it on to my boyfriend and one of my other best friends, Kelly. I couldn’t believe that someone had actually published and gained recognition, from first, posting stories on his website, from telling stories about his life and the crazy shit he’d gotten himself into. Flash forward to September of 2010, I find out via Twitter Tucker Max is not only releasing another book, but doing a signing an hour away from where I live. Keith, Kelly, and I made the pilgrimage to NYC for his release of Assholes Finish First and I got to meet him for a brief five minutes and he signed my books. Here is a photo from my moment of glory:

All of this brings me to his latest, and final, book from the Fratire genre he so gracefully created, Hilarity Ensues. Still funny, still offensive, and still able to piss off numerous women with his comments and digs, the book had a completely different tone for me as a reader. I still loved it, but like I mentioned, this is his final book in the “series” that he has come to own. You’ll learn how to get through law school without even attending class, how HILARIOUS sexting with Tucker Max can be, and my personal favorite, how to roll with the guys from Deadliest Catch. With all of that being said, the final portion of the book wraps up this portion of Tucker’s life in a snarky, yet contemplative mode, that only Tucker Max can master. Read the final portion of the book and you’ll get to see each of his law school friend’s bachelor parties and weddings. His writing style made this section of the book fit the mold that you’ve all come to love and know from his previous books, but also demonstrates growth, for lack of a better word to explain it. He and his friends are moving on, moving from the rowdy law school kids who paved a path of sex and destruction to “adults” who are settling down and as Tucker says, passing the torch to someone else.

I’ve gotten questioned many times on to why a raging feminist English teacher would read something like this. I’ve heard, “He’s degrading to women” or “He hates fat girls” or “All he does is drink and have sex–what’s the point?” The point, my friends, is Tucker Max was smart enough to document it and to do it well. As a woman, a lesson my father taught me when I was young echoed through my mind while reading these books, “Act like a slut, and you’ll be treated like one.” As I read, and laughed, at many of the girls in Hilarity Ensues (especially the used condom girl–but I’ll let you enjoy it on your own), I also thought to myself, “Well…the treatment you’ve received is pretty much par for the course.” Act like a bitch, and you’ll be treated like a bitch. Act like a slut, and you’ll be treated like one. Tucker Max doesn’t hate women, he hates bitches and people who pretend to be smarter/hotter/more experienced/etc than they really are. End of story. If anything proves Tucker Max’s love for women, it’s his ex-girlfriend Bunny who in three books HE HAS NOT SAID ONE NEGATIVE THING ABOUT! Why? Because she obviously did not fall into the above criteria of girls who try to battle with the Max and lose terribly. I imagine Bunny would be a pretty cool person to hang out with just based off of what I read about her.

Tucker Max, whether you want to admit it or not, has made a mark on the literary community and will continue to entertain and horrify readers for years to come. Maybe we’ll see courses based on analyzing Fratire at colleges (sign me up to teach that one!) or maybe we’ll see a barrage of stories coming out within the next few years that will try in vain to measure up to the original. Whatever the future holds for the Fratire genre, we will all pay homage to the one who started it. With all of that being said, Hilarity Ensues was a fabulous send-off, and an invitation for all of us to invent and share our own stories, whatever they may be.

My Favorite Movie Fashions

I find myself paying close attention to what the leading characters wear in some of my favorite movies. It might be the blogger/shopaholic inside of me, but it’s something I just can’t NOT notice. Here are some of my favorite movie fashion outfits and why they rock. And before we get into that, Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! Enjoy, have fun, and be safe!

Katherine Heigl in “Life As We Know It”

I loved almost EVERY outfit she wore in the movie whether she was at her bakery or at home taking care of the baby. My favorite outfit is her easy, yet elegant, way in which she masters the blazer and skinnies. I have one black blazer and have still been too chicken to wear it with jeans. Sadly, it’s been lost to the world of interviews and conferences. Either way, throughout this whole movie she looks real, sexy, and fun. I have a girl-crush on Heigl to begin with, but her outfits in this movie were fabulous and menswear is just gorgeous when done correctly.

Drew Barrymore in “Donnie Darko”

The quirky, funky English teacher who reads aloud from Graham Greene’s “The Destructors” was enough to make me fall in love with her, but her retro styles made me love her even more. I loved how she paired a simple dress with a funky belt–and the glasses around the neck took the cake for me. When I’m older, I’m buying into the embellished glasses/necklaces and I don’t care who makes fun of me for it.

Natalie Portman in “The Black Swan”

As a former dancer, ballet fashion has always been a favorite of mine. The delicate layers, the tights and legwarmers, it’s one of my favorite looks. Natalie nailed it, though I had no doubt she would, and has the poise to pull off the look perfectly. I love her long sleeved shrugs and slinky camisoles. I’ve pulled this off with a pair of flats and skinny jeans and brought my long forgotten ballet style back to my every day wardrobe. Now if only I could find a way to wear my old pointe shoes…

Brad Pitt in “Fight Club” and Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery in “The Boondock Saints”

Because I do know that I have some quiet male readers (I see you, vaultmen!) I think it’s only right to include some of the most impressive male character fashionistos (?) I’ve seen in a long time. The awards go to Tyler Durden’s outlandish fur coats and sunglasses (and overall badass-ness) and to the “Saints of South Boston.” Even when they’re kicking some serious butt they still manage to make sure that their pea coats are pressed. Maybe I just love hard core guys who have tattoos and a good sense of mixing funky with classic, but these boys win the award from me.

Who are some of your movie character style icons?

Author Spotlight: Z.A Recht

This is a post dedicated to a talented, young author who has since passed away. He was an amazing writer who literally put me in the place of each of his characters, and who I was sad to finish reading his sequel. It’s been said that his parents have found his notes to his third book in the series, and the publishers might be making it into the final installation.

Plague of the Dead was one of the most ‘realistic’ apocalyptic zombie novels I have read. The story follows characters Lt. Colonel Anna Demilio who is a scientist specializing in the Morningstar virus. She is studying, researching, and trying to find out where the virus has come from, what it does to its victims, and most importantly how to stop it. Her close friend, Major General Sherman, of the US Army and her communicate to see what they should do to warn the public without causing a major uprising. But once the virus starts to spread, chaos erupts, Anna and Sherman are no longer able to communicate, and the story goes between Anna’s experiences and the people she meets, and Sherman’s command over his soldiers and how they escape to try to find salvation. I’ll stop there without giving too much more away. The zombies themselves are also more “real.” Shamblers are the show ones, while Sprinters are the ones who are more or less like humans. If you’ll read the book, you’ll learn more about the two and WHY this is so important. Recht, to me, did an amazing job os capturing the essence of human nature in times of crisis. There are two types of people in this book, the ones who help, and the ones who will do ANYTHING to obtain help, including murder. There is plenty of zombie fighting action in this book, snarky dialogue, and suspense. I was literally fighting to stay awake one evening because I HAD to know what would happen. The book shows how people from all different walks of life (A Red Cross Volunteer, a jerky soldier, a mechanic, to name a few) pull together. When a character was taken out of the book (for any reason), I was truly sad. This is one of the few books where I felt these people could be real, somewhere.

In Thunder and Ashes, we pick up right where the first left off. After a final email from Anna to Sherman, they agree to meet in Omaha where there is a center that Anna believes has not been hit by the virus, and she can continue her work and try to find a cure for this devastating virus. We meet some new characters who help with the survival, and also some characters who would actually come into play in an actual disaster situation. The groups battle looters, gangs, and bandits, and manage to save some people who have been abducted or injured along the way. Human nature, again, plays a major role in this book. The government who has since gone underground since the outbreak comes back and they want Anna and Sherman. They believe that she can find a cure and help their already infected loved ones (who they are keeping under wraps in jails and prisons). The story unfolds with tons of action, fighting, and even a secluded “safe town” created by its sole survivors. We meet people who have seen their loved ones torn limb from limb by the virus, and people who have lost loved ones in the shuffle of trying to survive. The stories of the characters are truly heart wrenching. At the end, Recht brings back a character who has a big surprise for all of us.

Both books are permanent favorites in my ever growing reading collection. For suspense, amazing characters, great dialogue, and zombie killing action, I give each of these a 10/10!