“Beauty Tips” from a Semi-girly Tomboy – Skin Care

Woman in green dress by JulieAnn Corbin

I may be just a smidge sassy 😉

Growing up with two older brothers has perhaps made me a bit rough around the edges and something of a tomboy. Nevertheless, I also have a “girly” side and understand the importance of inner and outer beauty. I am not a “beauty expert” by any means but I have established a beauty routine that has benefited me and I share it in the hope that it may benefit others.

Why I started caring for my skin

When I was around 16 years old, I read an article in a magazine about the importance of washing, hydrating and protecting facial skin from the sun’s rays. That article featured a picture showing the skin of an older woman who had taken care of her skin and a similar age woman who hadn’t taken care of her skin. The creases, spots and wrinkles on the woman who hadn’t taken care of her skin were enough to convince me to start caring for my own skin. I started washing my face every day with Noxzema, always removing any makeup I wore and applying a facial moisturizer with at least SPF 15. I’ve been applying sunblock to my entire body in the sunny weather for at least that long because I was not fortunate enough to inherit my father’s dark skin and I tend to burn instead of tan. I’m also prone to a prickly rash if I go out in the sun without protection. Those are some very good reasons why I prefer being “pale and healthy.”

Daily facial routine

Every morning and night, I follow the same routine to care for my face.  To wash my face, I apply warm water and an apricot scrub and then use a small spinning facial brush to work the cleanser around my face. I then wash the cleanser off my face with splashes of warm water followed by cold water because I read somewhere that it helps close my pores (though I can’t remember why that’s important). I pat my face dry with a cotton towel and then my routine differs a bit from morning to night. In the morning, I place few drops of argon oil in my palm to work gently into the skin of my face and neck because I find that my face feels dryer in the morning. I follow that with Painted Earth Skincare Boo-Boo Gel and then Aveeno Positively Radiant Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. At night, I skip the argon oil and Aveeno and just use the Boo-Boo Gel. That Boo-Boo Gel is amazing stuff! I sometimes apply it after a day out in the sun doing yard work or attending a pow-wow and it makes my skin feel instantly cool and refreshed. It’s also great for bug bites and minor skin irritations.

Skin

To moisturize the skin on the rest of my body after a shower, I apply pure coconut oil everywhere while my wet hair is wrapped in a 100% cotton t-shirt. Once the coconut oil has been absorbed by my skin, I take my hair down out of the towel because otherwise my hair gets “greasy” from the coconut oil. When I need to moisturize between showers, I either apply more coconut oil or the generic equivalent of Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion such as Equate Ultra Restoring Lotion.

Makeup

First off, I want to salute the women of the world who love makeup and can apply it flawlessly because I do believe makeup application is an artform in and of itself. Women should do whatever they want to in order to look and feel beautiful for themselves and not worry about the judgement of others. That said, I’m not one of those women who loves makeup and can apply it flawlessly and I know that I never will be. I don’t believe that makes me better or worse than anyone else, it’s just who and how I am.

When I do wear makeup, it’s usually clear mascara and long-lasting lip color that doesn’t require re-application. Now and then I put on eyeshadow and blush, but I’ve never found a foundation that felt comfortable on my skin. I’ve used liquid, powder, mineral, magical, mystical…okay, I made those last two up, but I imagine even they wouldn’t feel right on my face. Plus, I like my freckles and “flaws.” I do occasionally use black mascara on my lashes but it rarely looks very good. As I don’t wear eye makeup often, when I do, I tend to forget I have it on, rub my eyes, cause myself stinging pain and look like someone beat me up. Suffice it to say, a full face of makeup and I will never get along.

Sith warrior by JulieAnn Corbin

Halloween 2015. The most makeup I’d worn in a while.

Stay tuned for my “tips” on hair care, nails, vitamins and eating healthy-ish. 😉

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All dressed up…for groceries?

Rocking the beaded jewelry I made.

Rocking the beaded jewelry I made…and a new scrape on my knuckle because I’m a klutz…

I went out last night. It wasn’t exactly a hot date with myself, just out to get groceries, but I decided to “glam” myself up a bit for the heck of it. Glamming up for me is putting in contacts (usually I’m wearing my librarian glasses), curling my hair, putting on some lipstick and accenting my lashes with clear mascara. I will occasionally put eye shadow and blush on too as part of this glam process but I hate foundation because it always feels like paint and it hides my adorable freckles. Most of the time I don’t wear any kind of makeup and I’m happiest that way. My future guy will never have to worry that I’ll look scary “without my face on” because my face is usually natural, bare, and beautiful 😉

I haven’t curled my hair in several months but I managed not to burn myself with the curling iron, which is always an impressive feat! One side of my hair always takes the curl better than the other side but overall I was pleased with how it came out. I then donned a black headband to keep a majority of my hair out of my face and off my neck a bit. I put on my blue peasant blouse top and my favorite pair of jeans. Last night was the first time I’ve worn jeans since spring and I was quite happy that they were comfy and properly accented my assets. I have to wear a belt with today’s jeans because they refuse to stay up properly even though I have curves in all the right places. I also have to cut 3-4 inches off the cuffs jeans because I’m apparently too short for today’s fashions. Since when is 5’5″ short?!

After closing Jazz safely in her crate with her peanut butter filled Kong, I donned my black flats and headed out. It actually felt really good to be dressed up to go out. Practice for future dates perhaps. I wasn’t expecting to find my future guy at the grocery store. I go to the grocery store all the time and have yet to see anyone who strikes my fancy. Regardless, there’s nothing wrong with looking good for myself and being confident in my beauty, as I’m sure my fellow single ladies understand.

I’d promised to treat myself to some Chinese food and sushi if I got my work done that day and as I had, I headed to the grocery store food court as soon as I arrived. Their versions of that food aren’t the greatest, but they’re the safest option I’ve found around where I live. I grabbed some spicy salmon sushi and loaded up on a variety of Chinese and Indian selections from the food stations. I ended up with enough food to last me through several meals, which is fine because I like to plan meals ahead.

10 11 14 blog5

Enough food for the week!

Finding a small table by the windows, I sat down and began sampling my choices. Some of them were a bit spicier than I expected and the sushi fell a bit flat but overall, I was content. After eating perhaps 1/4 of the food I had, I tucked the containers into my cart and headed out into the rest of the store to get the few groceries on my list.

Friday night tends to be busy at grocery stores and the aisles were full of couples and families filling their carts. As usual, I was dismayed by how grumpy so many couples and families seem to be together. They don’t seem to appreciate how lucky and blessed they are. I do understand that grocery shopping is an unpleasant chore for people, but honestly, every single moment counts and life it too unpredictable to waste being unhappy. I was happy with myself for going out, glamming up, and grabbing the grocery cart of life with both hands.

So exhausting being me ;)

So exhausting being me 😉

Freckles and fluff

I say natural beauty is beautiful!

I say natural beauty is beautiful!

I have freckles and my hair has a natural wave that makes it rather fluffy, cocker spaniel like when I let it air dry. If I listened to all the drivel beauty product ads are constantly blabbing at me I’d try covering up all my freckles with foundation for a “flawless finish” and I’d put all sorts of mousse and/or hairspray in my hair to “tame” it. I’d also continue coloring my hair to cover all those “unsightly” gray hairs but I haven’t colored my hair in months as I’m letting the natural, dark color grow back in. I don’t listen to all that junk on TV and in magazines because I believe that natural beauty is actually beautiful!

Why the obsession with making women resemble mannequins? Why should any woman want to be a stiff, untouchable creature whose beauty shatters the moment you touch her? Trying to kiss a woman covered in pounds of makeup makes as much sense as trying to kiss a wet oil painting. No one should smear that crud all over themselves so they can be “pore-free and perfect.”

I love my freckles, every last one! I love my fluffy hair even though I sometimes resemble a grizzly bear in the morning. Yes, I do blow dry my hair sometimes to make it a bit smoother but it retains its natural wave and I have no desire to flatiron it into submission. I love who I am and how I look. I’m not going to slather lotions and potions all over my scars and “imperfections” so I can fit in with today’s ridiculously skewed idea of what beautiful is.

I’m a mother to two little girls and those girls are growing up knowing that their mother is happy with who she is and how she looks and that they’re perfect just how they are. That is beauty, that is elegance and that is timeless grace. You’ll never find that in a bottle!

Blessings on Bird Wings – Part 1

My feeders filled with finches, chickadees and sparrows.

My feeders filled with finches, chickadees and sparrows.

I love watching the birds at my back feeder. It’s a daily reminder of how blessed I am and how precious life is. Watching the birds has taught me new levels of patience, observation and silence. I’ve learned so much by just being still and allowing nature to continue in its normal routine around me.

As I eagerly looked forward to spring a few months ago, I had the neat idea to transform my little bird feeder area into something more. As the snow continued to fly, I imagined creating a little fenced in garden at the base of my bird feeders so that I could look at lovely flowers and my feathered friends from my kitchen window. A framed garden also means not having to mow so close to the feeder pole that I whack my head.

Well I’m still waiting for spring to actually arrive and stick around in Upstate NY but yesterday I decided to set my plan in motion. I felt I could at least get a new fountain style bird bath and a second shepherd’s hook for hanging more of my feeders in one central location. I found exactly what I needed running errands yesterday and got some great ideas for flowers once I figure out how my little garden design.

I’ll explain the process of my new arrangement in a later post (hence the Part 1) but for this post, I thought showing pictures of my feathered friends would be more fun. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say and I figure a video must be worth about a million for demonstrating exactly how my birds reacted to the new birdie oasis. If you don’t want to watch the whole video, just skip ahead to 1:16 to see proof that sitting still and watching has amazing rewards!

The male cardinal landed but wasn't sure about the new set up...

The male cardinal landed but wasn’t sure about the new set up…

He's still not sure and eventually flew off.

He’s still not sure and eventually flew off.

A male finch investigates and then lands. Followed soon by his friends.

The goldfinches were only a little bit hesitant at first, then they dug in!

finch scope2 flurry of finches

The skewed concept of “beauty”

Image courtesy of bodyheart.com

I admit, when I was sick I watched a lot of TV. I happily caught up on several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as they show it every day on BBC America. I used to watch that show all the time with my father and we even saw the movies together in the theater. So I don’t consider watching TNG a waste of my time. What I do consider a waste of my time is enduring endless commercials hawking cosmetic products and potions for women.

If I were to buy into all the nonsense cosmetic products say to women, I’d believe that in order to be considered beautiful I’d have to have no pores, no wrinkles, no stretch marks, no skin discoloration and no uneven skin texture. I’d also have to have long, dark lashes that stretch out like spider legs, eye makeup caked on so heavy I look like a peacock, lips smeared with so much lipstick it looks and feels like lacquer and hair that flows to my shoulder in perfect, gray-hair-free waves. Well I’ve got news for you, none of that applies to me but I still know with 100% certainty that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

What I found really interesting about the commercials is that many of them say “9 out of 10 women noticed a difference” “90% of women saw less wrinkles” and so on. So basically it’s just women who are worried about how women look. Ask a man if he notices a reduction in a female significant other’s wrinkles, pores whatever and he’ll avoid that question like the plague! Thing is, I don’t really believe men give a flying monkey about women’s pores or fine lines. I highly doubt they want the woman in their life so shellacked in makeup that they can’t even touch her without getting it on their face, hands and clothing.

I believe that the best kind of person thinks that the women in their life are beautiful just as they are without loads of cosmetics and creams piled on. People who see the genuine, inner beauty of a woman don’t notice or care if she looks like a drowned rat from being caught in the rain or that her body isn’t as impossibly thin and flawless as the photoshoppped women on magazine covers.

Seeing the quote by Kate Winslet that I posted at the top of this blog was a slap upside the head for me. I have two daughters and the last thing in this world I want is of them to feel bad about themselves. From the moment I read Kate Winslet’s words, I’ve stopped saying negative things about my body. I told my girls that I love my body and the amazing things it’s done and will continue to do. I don’t care what advertisers try to shove down my throat, I refuse to buy into their skewed concept of beauty.

Life Lessons via Skin Care

Natural me, freckles and all!

Natural me, freckles and all! 9/17/13

I’m feeling a bit burnt out from freelance work today and I’m not up to writing Part 2 of my previous post tonight. Speaking of burnt though I mixed up a new batch of homemade facial scrub this morning. I do believe I put too much lemon juice in it this time because wow did that burn…er tingle excessively when I applied it! I don’t know if it cleansed my pores or burned them off but my face actually looked quite lovely after the shower. Oh how we women suffer for beauty!

My little skin care adventure this morning reminded me of a post I wrote in my Corbin Creations blog. Yes, I’m reposting again. Rolling your eyes is quite acceptable as long as you return them to their normal reading position promptly.

The piece I’m reposting is entitled “Don’t Cry with Makeup On” and it’s quite useful advice. I actually used to wear makeup more often than I do now. As I don’t go into an office every day it seems silly to put on lipstick and mascara for Jazzmin to admire. I also used to apply chemical products to my face to try to combat the passage of time but now I prefer a more natural approach. My face might not resemble flawless marble like it does on those women in commercials but I’ve taken care of my skin and protected it from the sun. I choose natural beauty even though it means being pale and showing my freckles. Not to mention that when I cry, it doesn’t physically sting as much…

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Don’t Cry with Makeup On – 9/5/2012

I was texting my best friend yesterday evening and I jokingly told her that I should write a self-help book entitled “Don’t Cry with Makeup On.” It really is good advice actually. The reason I recommended removing your makeup before crying is not because I’m concerned your mascara will run or your blush will streak, but because it hurts! It hurts crying with makeup on because the stuff gets in your damp eyes and burns! I’ve made the mistake of crying after I applied anti-wrinkle cream more than once and that pain is even worse! Alpha hydroxy and tear ducts do not get along.

I do understand that fits of crying do not always wait until one is safely home and free of the day’s makeup but if you can make it home after a rough day and know the tears are coming, whip out the makeup remover towelettes and take that important first step. Wait to apply anti-aging cream until after…if you can even still see where your eyes were. I am not implying that only women cry, I know men cry even if they won’t admit it. Do I think everyone cries as much as I do? Certainly not. Do I think there’s something wrong with me because I cry as much as I do? Heck no! I held a majority of my emotions inside for most of my life, especially the negative ones. I had no problem expressing joy, amusement, excitement but sadness, forget it. I knew once I let that dam break it would never be whole again and I feared the weak, worthless creature I’d become.

Here’s the kicker though, it isn’t weak to cry; it’s called being human. If we weren’t meant to feel then we wouldn’t have been blessed with emotions. Yes, I said blessed. Me, the woman who now cries at the drop of a hat so well she could star in an overly dramatic soap opera, believes that emotions are a blessing. Do not misconstrue what I’m saying and think that I’m sad all the time because I’m not. I have accepted though that there are certain things that I can’t think about without crying. My father’s death, my mother still without a man who loves her, my oldest daughter’s sensitivity, my youngest daughter’s developmental delays, my friends’ pain, my myriad of creatively broken hearts, my constantly misbehaving car…these things make me cry. I don’t cry because I’ve given up hope, I will never do that, I cry because I feel.

Feeling is good and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! There may be times in your life when you have to store away emotions until they can be tackled at a time you have more strength and that’s fine. Just remember to tackle them first or they will overcome you. None of us can really master our emotions completely, it’s like trying to tame a wild animal. That wild animal might be sweet and cute as a domestic pet until one day their instinct takes over and they remember the wildness in their blood that enabled them to survive and evolve. Never forget that we humans are animals too and we are constantly evolving and if we do it right, we evolve into better versions of ourselves.

A good cry really can do wonders and if you have a shoulder to cry on, that’s even better. I have friends who are there in spirit offering their shoulder and that is a great thing. I also have my lovable pup Jazzmin who is always at my side when I cry and she never minds if I get her fur all wet as I hug her. She will also lift her paw for a friendly shake as if to say “I understand, Mama, now give me some paw” and that always makes me smile and laugh. Having a friend, lover or pet who can make you laugh amid your tears is a huge bonus. Laughter is an expression of joy and it is just as vital as expressing sadness. Do not wallow in your sadness, that is not its purpose of being. Sadness is a cleansing emotion and expressing and releasing it facilitates the arrival of more light and energy into your spirit and your life. The sun always breaks through the storm eventually and when your tears dry (and the puffiness of your eyes diminishes) you will finally be able to clearly see the beauty of the sky above and accept all the gifts bestowed upon you.