Audacious Advice for Living a More Stylish Life
By MidCentury Maven
(inspired by Diana Vreeland’s Harper’s Bazaar column 1932-1941)
Makeup isn’t just pigments and powders used to enhance our features. A tube of lipstick has the power to transform a battered heart into a confident spirit and a dab of blush can give you the courage to face the day’s challenges. As Sali Hughes writes in her first book Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion,
During the darkest periods, beauty takes on an extra significance and, for many, can become one of our most effective coping mechanism. When we’ve lost a job, are going through a divorce, are grieving a loved one . . .
Even in economic crisis, we turn to beauty. Statistics consistently show that during times of recession and austerity, the sales of lipstick go up, due to the instant feel-good factor of buying and wearing a new lippy.
my lipstick addiction
Lipstick is my weapon of choice to combat life’s adversities. For a mere three dollars, I can buy a new tube from my corner drugstore or if things are going well and I want to reward myself or celebrate I can indulge in a more pricey Chanel or YSL.
I admit I tend to stay in the safe zone when it comes to colour choice. As you can see by my lipstick collection above, I prefer peaches and pinks. So when I received the Sephora Favourites lipstick collection I had no excuse not to try some of the darker more daring shades.
My favourite of the darker lipsticks was the red from the Sephora collection. It was just the right blue-based red that complimented my cool-toned skin and made my teeth look whiter. I put it on and, with some trepidation, left the house to run errands. But judging by the compliments I received it will be a colour that I will wear again, maybe not everyday as I haven’t lost my love of pale pinks and gold-tones peaches.
You’re making me blush
I’ve just recently started wearing blush and decided to try Glossier’s new Cloud Paint cheek colours in Blush and Beam. These tiny little packages designed to look like paint tubes pack a big punch when it comes to colour payoff so I’d advise you use just a tiny dot. I mix the two colours and apply it slightly higher up and back from the apples of my cheeks as, makeup artist, Charlotte Tilbury suggests to give a more lifted effect.
I also bought the skin tint and stretch concealer from the line. If you want to find out my thoughts on them you can watch last week’s ASMR Glossier show and tell video.
Unlike the slave in the magic mirror who tells the Wicked Queen how she is the fairest of them all, I have a devilish one who lives in my bathroom mirror and likes to make unsolicited comments as I stare bleary-eyed at my reflection as I get ready for the day.
And she doesn’t look like the imprisoned spirit in the Disney classic. No, she resembles Meryl Streep’s icy fashion editor, Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. And instead of inflating my ego with words of adoration, my Miranda in the Mirror sits behind her sleek desk impatiently drumming her perfectly manicured talons while pointing out all my physical flaws, real or imagined. Sometimes, she switches tactics and spends her time telling me I am not smart enough, creative enough or talented enough to make my dreams come true and that I should just give up and go back to working a normal job.
I suspect I am not the only one who lives with an inner critic who peers out of the mirror as you get ready to face the day. Yours may not look like Miranda Priestly but his or her job is the same; to keep you small in a life that doesn’t really fit by undermining your confidence when what you really need is encouragement and kindness.
I do my best to defend myself from the onslaught of mirror Miranda’s disdain but she can be relentless. It is then that I have to pull out my wards against her black magic by implementing some magic of my own in the form of meditation, journaling, positive affirmations and mantras. Sometimes, I find the strength to ignore her snide comments but, at other times, I feel myself sinking into a depression that calls me to give up on my dreams and instead spend my time curled up on the couch binge watching Netflix.
Occasionally, we can be visited by our own fairy godmothers or fairy godfathers who help to break the spell of unloving inner thoughts. Sometimes they are strangers whom we pass on the street and with an unsolicited compliment or even a warm smile can raise our self-esteem and restore our positive outlook. And sometimes . . . sometimes they are beautiful souls who are part of our special tribe who know just when we need a lift.
I have the most generous people who support me and my work and they have sent me gifts which I always show as unboxing videos on my channel One such viewer called Jorden, has sent me many boxes over the years. She calls them Thoughtful boxes. She never tells me when she has sent one and they always arrive during times when I am going through a challenge. And along with the wonderful gifts it is the time, effort and thoughtfulness that goes into these boxes that makes me feel cherished.
Just recently this happened again. A dear Gentle Viewer by the name of Mette sent me a box of beautiful things but with an interesting twist. She chose things that she associated with me and my channel. When I opened the box there were layers and layers of gifts wrapped in beautiful white and gold packaging. The twist was the tags accompanying each package. They were vintage inspired with descriptions of things I have talked about or showcased on my channel but others were her take on some of the qualities she perceived I possessed. The items she gave me were beautiful and precious but the words she’d written on the tags are gifts I will carry in my heart forever.
After filming the unboxing video, I strung the tags on a bracelet and hung them on the wall above my desk so on those days when Miranda in the Mirror has reared her perfectly coiffed head in order to pull me down, I banish her presence with these magical talismans.
To celebrate Samhain and mark the Halloween holiday, I filmed a mini oracle card reading using a beautiful deck that was given to me last year by a gentle viewer named Karla. Instead of doing my regular layout with the cards I was inspired to use a Samhain layout that I found on Facebook.
As the traditions says, this is the time the veil between the worlds of the living and dead are at its thinnest allowing us to communicate with our loved ones who have crossed over. It is also a time to give thanks and honour our ancestors. The layout was ideal as it uses three cards to reflect the energy of the living and three cards to channel the energy of the spirit world. Hope you enjoy the card reading.
Here is the video I filmed last year showing the unboxing of the Halloween gifts from Karla.
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I have filmed several ASMR videos showcasing my second-hand finds over the years that many of my Gentle Viewers seem to enjoy. The items have been everything from quilts, to tea cups, to home decor and furniture. My sister and I have been picking up these little treasures for years as we have always lived on a fairly tight budget. And after decades of buying pressboard furniture and Ikea flat packs I craved solid furniture crafted to last for decades not months or a few years at best. And I love that each piece we buy has a history to it along with the patina of age.
It is not just a budgetary or aesthetic preference that draws me to vintage pieces. It is the attempt to remove myself, as much as possible, from the consumer machine that dictates one must have the latest trend at the cheapest prices usually at the expense of the factory workers and the environment.
Sometimes, I buy things specifically for a video especially if it is fabric I can use for my backdrops. And other times they are a springboard for ideas. Recently, I have been hunting down particular items for a vintage series I am planning for the new year. This video gives a hint about the subject matter.
We are lucky enough to live in a village that has three second-hand stores within walking distance and a larger one just a five-minute drive from home. And of course, during the summer and early fall there are a plethora of garage sales, estate sales and church bazaars to choose from.
My latest video showcased some lovely items I found in a garage sale held by the condo complex we are renting in. And as I said in the video, it was an introvert’s dream to just pop out my front door and walk a few feet to do some shopping. If you would like to see some of the tag sale tingles I have picked up take a look at the videos below.
I’ve been filming ASMR videos for four years now and I still love making them as much as I did when I was first starting out. I adore the creative freedom, working independently, connecting with viewers, discovering new things and overcoming challenges that inevitably crop up during the creative process.
Having made over two hundred videos, I’ve also noticed an odd occurrence. Whenever I am planning a rather complicated video requiring a multitude of props, logistical issues and days of research, when I hit record, it goes without a hitch. Conversely, the videos that have very few props or none at all, basic lighting and a simple premise end up being the most challenging.
This week’s videos fell into the latter category. Both were viewer requests and because they seemed so simple I decided to film them back-to-back. The first request was for me to run my hands across a grey-blue towel creating a soft shushing sound rather like waves on the ocean. The second video was tapping on different boxes. Both videos were just the sounds with no talking so all I had to do were basic movements for about an hour each to get a finished 30 minute video.
Five minutes into filming I realized how much of a challenge they were going to be. Without me talking throughout the video the ambient sounds became even more prominent and I kept having to stop filming to wait for a delivery truck to finish rumbling by or the ever-present train ( I live so close to the train I can see it out my window) to thunder past my house .
And running my hands over fabric for an hour straight or tapping endlessly and rhythmically was actually physically difficult. My arms and back muscles kept cramping and I would have to stop to stretch. It was quite painful and amusing at the same time. I can garden for hours hunched over or digging and hauling dirt but sitting down and tapping on boxes almost did me in.
But the most challenging aspect was being alone with my own thoughts without any distractions for the two hours it took to film both videos. I have been struggling to make meditation a regular part of my routine and ten minutes is about as long as I can handle before wanting to bolt from the room. And these videos much to my surprise were very much like a mediation. I didn’t need to think about what I was going to say or do next, I could let my mind relax into the sounds I was creating and then I had nothing to do but feel the painful muscle cramps and observe the random thoughts that kept bouncing and nudging around in my consciousness.
It took until the very end of filming before the urge to be distracted and the uncomfortable feeling of just being subsided. What was left was a deep sense of peace. I don’t know if the viewer can sense what was happening to me while filming, I hope they can’t as these videos are meant to be relaxing, but that being said, I also wonder if the switch in my energy to that deeper relaxation could also be felt. You can watch the videos below and tell me what you think.
This month saw a delivery of two surprise boxes from my Gentle Viewers who watch my ASMR channel. One box was from Jorden, who seriously knows how to put together a beauty box. She has sent me three so far and I keep telling her if she ever wanted a change in career, starting her own subscription box would be a wonderful thing.
The second box came from Karla, a wonderful viewer who loves Halloween/Samhain as much as I do. She and her cat, Bibbz, found some amazing items from Salem. To watch both videos just click on the thumbnails below.
Keeping on the theme of feeling such gratitude and support from all of my Youtube subscribers, I wanted to show what I do with all of the lovely cards I receive. I place them above my writing desk so that everyday I can give thanks to all of you who have made my experience with the ASMR community such a positive and deeply satisfying endeavour.
And I can’t do a fall favourites without mentioning the changing leaves and the crispness in the air. Fall is my most favourite time of year and to me signifies the new year more than January ever has done.
1. The Re-release of My Contemporary Romance, The Still Life of Hannah Morgan
This was the first novel I penned and just like the main character, Hannah, it was a book that never gave up. The first publisher that I signed with closed its doors just a month after my book was released. Much to my delight, this year, my current publisher decided to re-release the book. So after a round of edits and revisions and a beautiful new cover, Hannah Morgan’s struggle to find her way and follow her dreams has been reborn. Again.
To Purchase: Amazon
I’ve had several cat companions over the years. Six to be exact. Each one, a rescue from the animal shelter or has come to me after being abandoned. The newest addition to the family is Steve. I’ve never had a kitten before so his antics and boundless energy has been something I needed to get accustomed to. And it is hard to believe that this fuzzy little bundle of goofy energy and loud rumbling purrs almost didn’t make it through his first weeks of life.
It was our local Vet. that introduced Steve to me as he was under her care at the time. He arrived at the clinic severally anemic and infested with fleas. The Vet. said she’d never seen such an extreme case and after the treatment over 300 fleas had been removed. She wasn’t sure he would make it but because of her care and attention he now has a new life with us.
He is now two months old and I still secretly harbour the suspicion that he is really a small dragon, possibly related to Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon.
3. HONEY CRISP APPLES
There are apples and then there are Honey Crisps. I’m not a great fan of apples unless they are baked into a pie or a turnover but I make the exception with these little lovelies. They are sweet and crisp with a delicate skin that makes them the perfect eating apple. They are also atrociously expensive and only available for a few months in the fall so they are definitely an indulgence worth waiting for and savouring for the short time they are available.
Here is the spring box for the all Canadian Beaver Box. The name of this subscription box makes me cringe and smile at the same time. I’m still on the fence on whether this was the best name for a subscription box that showcases Canadian products. No matter how you feel about the name, the products in this season’s box were absolutely fabulous.