Bespectacled and makeup-less — or, how I got through a Friday

Lip products

On Friday, I swept into work without makeup . . .

. . . and in my glasses.

A decade ago, friends, this would have been unfathomable. Atrocious. Awful. Embarrassing. To be blunt, if I couldn’t wear concealer and Chapstick at a bare minimum, I might have called in sick. Wish I were joking.

But let’s back up.

Though far from a beauty maven, I’ve worn some combination of cosmetics daily since I was the awkward 10-year-old try to mask her first acne break-out. I lived in fear that my fellow fifth-graders would notice the spots, so Mom took pity on me and bought me my first bottle of liquid concealer. I tried dismissing the marks as “mosquito bites” on my chin and cheeks, but . . . eh, you know no one bought that nonsense.

Indoctrinated into the world of makeup, I became reliant on its life-changing abilities. It became a way of life.

From my early dalliances with concealer to a new love affair with blush, I eventually begged my mom to buy me my first tube of mascara after seeing friends experiment with full lashes at a sleepover. On a related note, who didn’t learn the rites of womanhood from giggling with classmates at 3 a.m.? Everything I learned about being a girly girl probably stems from those early parties — and coveting Seventeen‘s how-to articles as a teen.

But I digress.

Once I started wearing eyeliner, there was really no going back. I don’t go thick — a thin black line around the upper and lower lid is all I need — but I do, without fail, wear it. Daily. But it’s subtle, I think. I’m all about a natural look and, though I take care with my face and have perfected my beauty routines, I don’t think it’s too much.

For proof of this, a coworker recently asked me why I don’t wear makeup. And I was like, ????

To be fair, my beauty routine is pretty minimal. My oily skin means most of my “daring” eye products are pooled on my cheeks by lunchtime, so it’s not really worth the bother. Once I’m showered, doing my face can take less than five minutes. On goes my concealer, followed by blush; then I move on to dark brown eyeliner and a swipe of sheer shadow across the eyelids. Some sort of lip product (usually a butter), mascara and — poof! Instant Meg. Just add coffee.

When I woke up Friday, I went about my routine like any other day. Before Spence was off, I went to put in my contacts and dig around for something business-casual. Unlike every other morning, however, my right eyeball suddenly erupted as though dissolved by dragon’s breath. It felt like a hive of bees had descended on my cornea, and I was left cursing and flailing and weeping crocodile tears from the injured organ.

It sucked.

I’ve worn contacts since I was 15 and have never, ever had pain like that. Once I pried my lens from the eye (harder than it sounds), I couldn’t believe how much it burned. After cracking a lid open and finding no eyelash or hellspawn or detectable grit, I thoroughly rinsed the contact to try again and . . . NOPE.

For only the second time in my adult life (the first being when I had pink eye — glergh), I wore my glasses to work.

And for the first time in my adult life, I just shunned makeup completely.

It felt weird at first . . . and uncomfortable. Not wanting to be late for work but not yet resigned to wearing my glasses all day, I toyed with the idea of packing my contacts or rinsing my eye again or doing something — anything! — to avoid having to go to work looking like a bedraggled, one-eyed monster, but there was nothing to do.

I saw an eye doctor on my lunch break and was informed my eye was “perfect,” just irritated, so no serious damage done . . . probably just the result of not thoroughly rinsing all the soap from my hands before I touched my eye, or something torn on the contact. No big. But walking around makeup-less and bespectacled, well . . . it was what it was.

And you know what?

It didn’t matter.

If anyone was looking at my mascara-less lashes, I didn’t notice. Or really care. Not just because my eye felt like a flaming orb from a devil-controlled volcano . . . I just, meh. Because I’m a married lady now, maybe? And I’m just not really out to impress anyone? It’s not that I don’t like looking and feeling good . . . I do, of course. But on this particular Friday, with nothing to do but put my head down and work on a series of sections at work, I was just . . . whatever.

It was kind of great.

Thirteen-year-old me — she of the blue eyeliner and pink lipstick, mind — would have been horrified by my plain appearance, but 28-year-old me was content to look a little crazy for one day of her life.

And I did powder my nose, at least.

Yes, Meg, there is a Nail Polish Claus (and he likes pink)

Something really exciting happened to me this week.

No, I haven’t yet found “The One” — or even “the one” of the moment. As of this posting, friends, I haven’t gotten to a third date with any of the gentlemen with whom I’ve been seeing recently. Casually. In a casual way.

I haven’t won the lottery or gotten a raise. And while I’m at it, I haven’t made great strides in finishing my fourth novel or returning to the infamous querying process in order to find someone who will value (and promote) my snark-tastic musings. I did win a heaping pile of books from The Book Studio — more on that later — but I’m so stressed and busy, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to crack the spine on any of them. Yes, things are insane — in a good way — and I’m feeling overwhelmed, but . . .

I found the perfect shade of
pink nail polish.

I’ve pranced around the planet for almost 25 years and polished up these pretty fingers more times than I can count. In terms of obsessions, I’m a bit of a nail polish junkie — and it doesn’t help that I frequent some fabulous fashion blogs which make me want to whip out the ol’ credit card and order everything in sight. If I’m strolling through Target, I have to detour into the makeup aisle — just to get a glimpse at all the tiny, pretty bottles, all perfectly lined up and promising I’ll become sassy or saucy or sexy while wearing these shades.

I’m pretty saucy on a daily basis — or try to be, anyway — but there’s something about those clear bottles promising me a mini-makeover that I find utterly irresistible.

But up until this week, I’d never been able to find the right shade of pink.

Because on top of being sassy and saucy, I’m very particular. My sister’s room is full of the pink cast-offs I’ve purchased over the years, trying to find the right color, only to decide that while it’s pretty or cute or whatevs, it’s not The One.

But it’s a brand-new day.

It’s called “Party In My Cabana” and is made by none other than OPI, that most fabulous (and, er, costly) of nail companies. Since I cycle through so many bottles of polish on a regular basis, I usually can’t see paying $8 or $10 a bottle for something I’ll probably wear once and then shove in a bin, but let me say this: I’d pay every cent of that $8 for this hue (and did), and I think you’ll see why. Glance to the very top.

It’s dark. It’s a fun, dark pink. It’s not bubblegum, but it’s not salmon. It’s bold and bright and fun, while still being sophisticated and work-appropriate.

Basically, it’s Heaven In A Tiny, Black-Capped Bottle.

I was about to stop believing, but my faith in cosmetics has been restored. Yes, Meg, there is a Nail Polish Claus — available on the OPI site — and it knew what I wanted even before I did. Once there, click “Try On This Color” and, you know, spend a few minutes (er, hours?) finding the shade that works best for you. Then head over to Amazon or your favorite retailer, find it cheap and go for it. Paint those nails. Or, in my case, come have a “party in my cabana”!

Not sure that sounds right. But, ladies, you know what I mean.

Juice Gems — a few of my favorite things

mark_lipglossLike many women, I’m on a constant quest to find a new makeup product that will somehow change my life. I can’t believe I’ve never blogged about it before, but I’m totally obsessed with . . . lip balm. I’d say Chapstick, but I’m pretty sure that’s a brand — and I’m not obsessed with the brand, just the product! I can’t stand having chapped lips. Few people actually enjoy having chapped lips, I’m sure, but I mean it really drives me crazy. To the point that I actually carry around about five different lip products in my purse, ranging in color and texture for the look and feel I’ll need at any given moment.

There’s one big problem with lip products, though — some of them are . . . gross. They don’t taste good. And they wear off easily, or they’re sticky, or they’re too glossy or flat or strange. Okay, that’s actually a string of problems with lip gloss!

But I’ve found one that has made me insanely excited — Juice Gems from Mark, the Avon-based company. We have an incredibly sweet Avon representative, Corinne, and it breaks my heart not to place an order with her, ah, every week . . . so, you know, I’m constantly stocking up on Avon products. Just to help her out, see. There’s nothing really in it for me . . . besides tons of lipstick, eye shadow and affordable jewelry!

So in my never-ending attempts to help Corinne, I picked up a set of the Juice Gems in holiday flavors. Once I saw gingerbread listed, I was sold. Honestly, I’d sort of purchased them with the intention of giving them to my mom for Christmas . . . but found an alternate product for her that I think she’ll love (no, Mom, it’s a secret — you’re going to have to wait until Dec. 25 for all to be revealed). In addition to the gingerbread flavor, we also have candy cane, apple cobbler and iced cookie. They all taste nice — not that I’m licking them or anything, but you know what I mean! — and the color is really pretty without being over-the-top. And — most importantly — they’re not sticky! I can’t stand sticky lip gloss — the kind where you’re constantly pulling your lips apart, they’re so weighted down with goop. Gross.

So my great lipgloss search is, for now, temporarily suspended! When I find a product I like, I usually stock up for fear that my town will become flooded, the stores will close and I’ll never be able to find that perfect shade of mascara or eyeshadow again. Unlimited supply of gingerbread lipgloss, here I come!