Tag Archives: teens

Beauty in the Movies: Heathers

This week I present to you one of the best teen comedies ever, and by far one of the darkest. Heathers is one of those movies that just keeps getting better as the years go by, and you discover something new each time you watch it.

There are four girls who rule Westerberg High, Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty), Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk) and Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder). They spend their days torturing geeks like Martha Dunnstock (Carrie Lynn), who they call Martha Dump-truck, doling out witty dialogue, and playing croquet. When new guy JD (Christian Slater) arrives at school, he shakes up Veronica’s world and forces her to confront how awful the Heathers really are.

When we first meet JD, he’s the epitome of the cool, mysterious new kid, he comes on the scene to save Veronica from a world of Heathers and expose the popular crowd as the self-centered assholes they are. It’s set up like other teen movies; two characters meet and seem to be a perfect match, but things go off in a very different direction from there. It’s Veronica’s story, but instead of spending the film mooning over a crush, she spends it frantically scribbling in her diary while wearing her monocle and cursing the idiocy of her peers.

The American high school is a nasty place, and Heathers was the first movie that exposed it as such. In high school everyone is labeled, every dark secret is fair game, and even death is a way to up your social standing.

Heathers came out in 1989, at the end of an era dominated by John Hughes movies where teenagers are fun, sweet, and adorable—the most bad-ass things they do involve dancing at parades and skipping out on their detention homework. The Heathers teens range from vapid to down right evil, a sharp contrast to the charming geeks and lovable jocks of the Hughes Cannon. In Heathers, house parties are replaced by funerals, and instead of the cute male lead turning out to be surprisingly sensitive, he turns out to be a murderous psychopath. Sadly, in some ways it’s a much more realistic portrayal of what high school is really like.

Heathers established its own vernacular, it gave us phrases you still hear in modern high schools, even if those kids have no idea where they came from—like “what’s your damage?”, “I gotta motor”, or “How very”. Virtually every other line is a memorable quote, who could forget “F*ck me gently with a chainsaw” or “I love my dead gay son!”?

Teen suicide has been making headlines again recently, which means it’s time to start re-running Heathers on cable, because this film actually makes a great case against suicide. It demonstrates how killing yourself just makes your hateful classmates pretend they liked you, and that they will use your death as a means to garner attention for themselves. High school is a war zone, and sometimes it spills over into college, but life does get better. There are still jerks in the world after high school, but you get to choose if you want to be around them or not. Sure, offices can sometimes recall a bit too much of that old high school cruelty, but for the most part people mature and realize life is too short to be so worried what everyone else thinks.

Heathers held up the mirror and forced us to look at the way we treat tragedy, the sensationalized accounts of death and suicide have only grown with the internet age. Teen suicides provoked (at least in part) by bullying are in the news every other week these days. The cavalier attitude and lack of responsibility from peers is always a major focus of disgust—more than twenty years later and Heathers is truer than ever, yet we still act surprised by the actions of empathy-free teens and their victims, showing that we would rather run a “shocking” news story than try to solve the problem. All I can say is, in the words of Big Fun, “Teenage suicide—don’t do it”.

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Back-to-School Cool

This day has long been dreaded by students and teachers alike, it’s the day when summer is over in an official sense, and school is back in session. Growing up I always had a love/hate relationship with going back to school. On the plus side it meant seeing friends again and finally getting to wear my back-to-school clothes. On the minus side was the whole school thing—including homework, bullies, and getting up unbearably early. I know it’s bad to get so excited by material things, but I also know that for those of you headed back to the classroom this year, sometimes it’s one of the few things to look forward to.

I haven’t been back to school five years, but I still get that little buzz of excitement each September. The urge to buy something plaid, to stuff a new backpack full of binders and pencil cases that will break or get lost after the first week. Anticipation and apprehension mingle together to create a feeling like no other—new possibilities, or maybe just the pleasure of being one year closer to graduation, or retirement.  Whether the new school year is thrilling or depressing, when that first bell rings, summer is over, and Autumn is ushered in.

I always had my first day of school outfit picked out weeks in advance, whether it was a matching lime green skirt/leggings/tank combo with pink LA gear sneakers and scrunch socks in second grade, or JNCO jeans and shiny new doc martens in Junior high. I spent most of the summer daydreaming how cool I would be as I marched through those double-doors in September. Of course, the novelty of new clothes and school supplies wears off fast, especially when you find yourself back at home with ten million homework assignments.

The idea of back-to-school fashion still carries a certain nostalgia though, a strange rush of exhilaration that is lost without summer vacation. I’m surrounded by teachers in my life and I’m sure they would all tell me it’s very different sitting on the opposite side of the classroom, but maybe they can indulge me for a moment, and remember back to a time when sharpened pencils and a perfectly matched ensemble made something dreadful seem better.

(Click to enlarge, and see itemized list below)

I personally love seeing people’s old school pictures, so you should send me yours; because sometimes they’re funny and usually they’re incredibly cute. Below I will share some of mine and my family’s. Send me yours and we’ll do a whole feature—90’s styles, funny glasses, cool backgrounds, braces and side ponytails especially encouraged! If you have any of you actually on the first day of school that’s even better.

This is me at age 5 in late 1980’s Queens, probably pre-school, which means it was my first ever school picture. I had a boys haircut because I had a penchant for cutting my own hair with my Crayola safety scissors, which never worked out too well for me. I also lost a few friends by trying out my stylist skills on their hair too—whoops!

My older sister, probably also in pre-school, she doesn’t look like she trusts the photographer much does she? I like her blue velvet hippie dress—too cute!

This one is my mother, sometime in early 1960s New York—we’re a family that loves bangs, what can I say?

Aww, that’s my fiancé—mid 1980s also in Queens, I like his little vest/jacket.

I had to include this one because of the awesome laser background, and also because I remember this school picture the most vividly. I chose my own outfit (that’s pastel sweatshirt material with bows) it had a matching ruffle skirt and pants. I also remember it was the first time I had brushed my hair in ages and I was shocked by how long it had grown, I’m pretty sure that’s the longest hair I had during my childhood.

Send me your pictures—come on, it’s fun! I’ll even contribute some hideously bad class pictures of myself from high school, which aren’t cute at all.

And to all you teachers and students out there, I hope you have a great first day back!

back to school by justinez featuring a travel bag

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Beauty in the Movies: Whip It

I wasn’t expecting to like this movie as much as I did. I’ve had moments where I’ve found Drew Barrymore incredibly annoying, but recently I’ve been liking her. It could be that she is one of the few people in Hollywood who has the pull, and the desire, to make more films about women.

Whip It is the story of Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), a high school outcast in her Texas town of Bodeen. Her beauty pageant obsessed mother (Marcia Gay Harden) keeps Bliss on a tight leash and is mortified when Bliss seems less than thrilled about the world of pageants. Bliss and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) dream of escaping their “hick town” while working at local eatery—”The Oink Joint” where they wear aprons with pigs on them. After discovering a Roller Derby flier while shopping with her mom in Austin, Bliss and Pash trick their parents into letting them attend. By the end of the night Bliss has a new dream, and despite being only 17 (the league’s only requirement is that you be 21) she sneaks out to the auditions for the team and makes the cut.

Bliss joins the Hurl Scouts, the league’s underdog team who have never won a game. The team also includes Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Rosa Sparks (Eve), and Bloody Holly (Zoe Bell), their frustrated coach is played by Andrew Wilson (he’s the third Wilson Brother, as in Luke and Owen). As you can imagine there are some great sports montages and team bonding. There is also a boy, (Landon Pigg) and a great soundtrack. Juliette Lewis captains the league champions, and the Scouts biggest competition, the Holy Rollers, she is pitch perfect as the bitchy, mean, cool-girl you love to hate, but can’t actually hate at all because it’s Juliette Lewis and she’s awesome. There is also a charming performance by Daniel Stern, looking much changed from his Home Alone days, as Bliss’s dopey, but sweet dad.

What’s really freaking great about this movie is that it portrays female relationships with honesty, in a completely un-sappy way. Pash and Bliss have a relationship that reminded me of the ones I had with my close friends in high school. You do stupid things to each other, and then it hurts really bad, but you know you messed up—and then you cry a lot. In this film you understand the characters motivations, you care about them and they feel convincing too, which is a triumph because Ellen Page as a Rolly Derby girl could easily be hard to believe.

This film handles the mother daughter relationship in a way I haven’t seen in too many movies. In a lot of films there are moments where a mother and daughter who fail to see eye to eye have a moment of understanding, but you never really believe they love and care about each other in a profound way. Often, the mother especially, is a cardboard cut-out of an overbearing mother. In this film, you feel the pain on both ends of the conflict, and you see how a mother and daughter can be completely different, and yet need and love one another even when it’s hard to. This isn’t Gordon Bombay dealing with his daddy issues as it relates to the sports competition at hand (I had to get a Mighty Ducks reference in there). This isn’t just a sports movie, it’s also a coming of age story, and it’s about family, friends, and the search to find what you love.

There is also a pretty cool underwater make-out scene.

While my Fiancé and I were watching this movie he turned to me and said “You know, Drew Barrymore makes movies about girls having fun”, and as Cyndi Lauper taught us, that’s really all we want isn’t it? There are a lot of movies where women are trying to find love, or trying to be sexy, but there aren’t too many where they’re trying to find themselves and having a whole lot of fun while doing it. You can tell everyone involved in this movie had a good time, and it really shows through and gives it a great energy. I hope Drew Barrymore continues to make films like this, whether she produces them or directs them, because there is a sad lack of fun female movies available, and us girls really do just want to have fun don’t we?

Put this film on your Netflix queue people, it’s a good time—if you don’t like it, I give you full permission to send me angry e-mails.

Have a GREAT Labor day weekend everyone!! Have some fun, hang out with good people and eat some tasty food, and I’ll see you back here next week!

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Beauty in the Movies: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains

I am in love with this movie, but not too many people are familiar with it because it got a raw deal, and that’s a huge shame. There are so many reasons to appreciate this film, the iconic fashion, the kick-ass make-up, the power and angst of these girls, amazing punk music, and much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains stars a 15-year-old Diane Lane as Corinne Burns, a frustrated recently orphaned teenage girl who in an effort to get the hell out of her small town, enlists her cousin (Laura Dern) and younger sister (Marin Kanter) to start a punk band. The three join a tour run by “Lawn boy” (Reggae artist Barry Ford) a Rastafarian with a mission to make enough money to save a musician friend of his who was wrongly imprisoned. The tour consists of two other bands; aging rockers The Metal Corpses who wear Kiss-like stage makeup and rest on the laurels of their one hit, and The Looters, a group of young cockneys, three of which are played by legendary punk musicians—Paul Simonon bassist for The Clash, and ex-Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook. The Stains are put on the tour to ease tensions between the two other bands, but Corinne has bigger plans. She shows up for their first gig in tights, boots, a see-through blouse, and awesome hair and makeup, despite her band-mates leaving the stage and the audience heckling her, she makes an impression when she reveals herself to the audience shouting “I’m perfect! But nobody in this shithole gets me, because I don’t put out!”.

After grabbing the attention of local newswoman Alicia Meeker with her message of “don’t put out” which Corinne describes as meaning “Don’t get screwed, don’t be a jerk, don’t get had”, The Stains start to gain a following. Their fans call themselves “skunks” and put white streaks in their hair like Corinne. They range from adolescent girls to their original fan Ms. Meeker, who trades her 80s power suits for bright colors and red eyeliner. The lead singer of the Looters, Billy (Ray Winstone), is also taken with Corinne, and after rejecting his advances, she finally gives in to him. The rest of the film features a lot of angst, revenge, teen girls, and of course more punk music, but you should really just see it for yourself, because despite the plot holes, this movie is iconic and damn awesome in so many ways. Unfortunately, the studio didn’t agree—it wasn’t commercial enough, so they held the release, re-titled it (the original title was “All Washed Up”), and tacked on an MTV music video ending in which the punk-rock Stains have turned peppy and look more like the Go-gos, bouncy, fluffy hair and all.

This film was made in 1980, that’s before Spinal Tap, before Cyndi Lauper or Joan Jett were mainstream, and before there were any all-female rock bands prevalent in the United States. This movie was ahead of its time. Lady Gaga and Corinne have virtually the same everyday attire—black tights, black underwear, heels and maybe a sweater. It’s still rare to see a character like Corinne in a movie, watching her gain and quickly lose—the upper hand with her love interest is pretty amazing. She can be a pouty brat, but she also has incredible ambition and knows how to take care of herself—even though she’s just a girl.

It’s obvious that the movie industry has changed. We attack Miley Cyrus for doing a sexy lap dance off-screen, meanwhile in 1980, at barely 15, Diane Lane has shower sex scenes, shows her boobs and ass, and plays a character who openly showcases her sex-appeal. Let’s look what happened to Diane Lane—she’s a successful, Oscar-nominated actress with an amazing career under her belt, and she seems pretty damn well-adjusted. Then there is Laura Dern who, despite towering over all the girls in the film, was just 12 (TWELVE!) when this movie started filming, she had to be emancipated from her mother, but she seems to have turned out pretty well too. This film showcases how different teenage girls are from their male peers. At 15, you’re a woman, you may be awkward and have no idea what you’re doing, but the world sees you as a woman and it makes you mature pretty fast. We like to pretend in this country that until you’re 18 you are a child, and that’s simply not true, teens and adolescents are equally engrossed in our world, love, hate, sex, drugs—they know all about it, whether some people want to believe it or not.

This film is about commercialism, gimmicks, and obviously the music industry too. Corinne has a good message, and it appeals to young, angry girls and grown women as well. Sadly, to the men around her who don’t understand the appeal, it just comes off as a shtick, and well that might be part of it, it’s not everything. Corinne is a pissed off 15-year-old girl, and she uses her body and her angst to rally other women who feel the same as her. The character of Corinne is a multi-faceted one, Diane Lane works perfectly, because if she weren’t vulnerable she would come off as too angry and bitter, it’s the moments where she seems like a scared girl that you really feel for her character. By the end of the film, Corinne has bought into her own image, and later she lets herself believe it was the only thing she had going for her, at 15 she’s already been eaten up and spit back out by the industry. But it wasn’t just the make-up, the hair, and the outfits, there was something else, something that appealed to women, something strong, maybe the men around her just couldn’t see it, or maybe they were threatened by it, either way, it was much, much more than just hair.

I feel kind of out of practice with my makeup artistry recently, but while I was watching this movie I decided I just had to try out the look. I used MAC blush in frankly scarlet with a MAC angled brush to do the points on the eyes. I used Maybelline Line Stylist Eyeliner in Black Sparkle eyeliner to get the fine under eye line, and I finished off the eyes with Covergirl Lash Blast Mascara in very black. On my lips is MAC lipstick in Russian Red. It’s not my best work, but it was fun and it was 1:00AM.  I also read that they used a stencil in the movie and I did this freehand—so HA!

I’m trying to look angsty here, it’s not working out too well.

I’m a skunk!

My Fiancé did this one, yes we’re PhotoShop nerds.

Try the look out for yourself, and then send me pictures! You know you want to!

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The Mythological “Perfect Bra”

Last week I wrote about boobs and how frustrating it can be to walk around with them attached to you. Breasts can be a constant burden, and in order to deal with them, somewhere along the line, the bra was invented. Compared to its predecessor, the corset, a brassiere would appear to be far less constricting and vastly more comfortable. Unfortunately though they’re still a constant source of torture for most women.

The way I see it, there is a holy triad of awful-to-shop-for items; jeans, bras, and bathing suits. The only reason I find bra shopping the least painful, is because I’ve pretty much given up. No, I haven’t been going bra-less, (though I would if I could) I’ve just settled for a brand that’s alright, and I deal with it. I’m sick of everyone from shop assistants who are toted as “miracle workers”, to Oprah telling me what size bra—and what kind of bra I should be wearing. Especially when after spending way too much money, and way too much time obsessing over it, I still haven’t found a bra that works for me. I’ve tried Victoria’s Secret, Olga, Bali, Natori, Calvin Klein, Wonderbra, Wachoal, Lilyette, and dozens of others. I don’t expect miracles (it’s underwear for god-sakes!) but I would like ample support, and not to feel like I’m wearing a torture device everyday.

I’ve been measured for bras three times. Once it was in Paris, which resulted in a purchase of one of the prettiest bras I’ve ever seen, but also hands down the most itchy and painful. Maybe in France you’re just supposed to suck it up and deal with it, or go bra-less. I’ve been told I was a 38B and a 32DD and neither of them were anywhere near comfortable. The variation in those sizes has led me to believe this whole thing is just a ploy to make money. I’m not sure if Oprah is in on it, but I’m disappointed in her. It’s not easy to find a good bra, and it’s not cheap either. I’ve found myself very frustrated while watching Ms. Winfrey expound the wonders of getting your bust measured, because it used to bring me hope, now it just pisses me off. The 32DD that I purchased actually bore welts into my back, I couldn’t believe it. I knew I wasn’t a 32, I had never worn less than a 34, but I let that saleswomen convince me that I had been misguided all my life and that with one $45 purchase everything would change. When you get measured, I swear they always tell you you’re a dramatically different size than you’ve always been, that way you get excited and buy a new expensive bra—it’s devious. I’ve learned my lesson and now settle for cheap, comfortable bras that don’t fit perfectly and require many wardrobe adjustments and, forgive my language, it’s a total pain in the ass.

The perfect bra is elusive, maybe you’ve never found one and are constantly in search of it, or maybe there was a bra somewhere in your past that seemed so flawless you constantly seek to find its match. It’s depressing that in order to appear “decent” women have to invest large amounts of money in a garment that is both painful and difficult to find, wouldn’t it be nice if they were subsidized? The real problem is we’re just all too different, no two breasts are ever the same, sometimes even if they’re on the same body.

My breasts are two different sizes, that’s a very personal and uncomfortable thing to admit, but I’ve learned that as women, we don’t talk about this stuff enough and if we want our voices to be heard (yes, even if it’s about bras) we need to speak up. So I’ll admit, one of my breasts is a C/D and the other is a D/DD, it’s not even noticeable, but it effects bra shopping and I know for a fact there are other women who have this problem. Tons of people have two different sized feet, so yeah, some of us have the same problem with boobs, that’s life. It’s also just one of many problems women encounter in search of a good brassiere. Some of us need a bra with extra padding, or thick straps, or generous coverage, or maybe we’d like one that actually managed to look somewhat attractive and didn’t make wearing scoop neck tops impossible—and heck, maybe some of use would like all those things at once.

A bra has to be form-fitting, it has to be precise or you get pinching under your arms or spillage over the cup, and then there are straps that slip or bands that rub. After years of wearing bras, and trying them on and being measured for them, I’ve come to this conclusion; we needs bras in more sizes, and those sizes need to be more available. I know it’s expensive, I know it’s hard, but I also know there is an enormous market for it—North American women spend $16 billion a year on bras, for real. I know so many women (myself included) who have sunk at least hundreds of dollars into the search for a perfect bra without success, so someone needs to start researching (any architects out there?) and come up with a new system, because I think this one has failed.

Bras distribute the weight of the breast in such a way that the pressure ends up on your back and shoulders. Even if you don’t have large breasts a bra can contribute to shoulder and back pain, there’s also research which shows wearing a bra may actually make your breasts sag faster, because the pectoral muscles atrophy from lack of use—I don’t know if I buy that one, but maybe I’ll start working my chest muscles more often, just in case.

Wearing a bra makes me feel more pulled together, I feel rebellious if I leave the house without one, but I’m not sure whether that’s because I’ve been wearing them so long, or that it actually feels strange to have my boobs out there with no restraint. I often feel bad for my breasts, all smooshed into a skin-tight garment, tucked and squeezed until they fit a shape utterly different from their natural appearance, it seems unfair and I think they deserve better.

Do we need bras, or do we wear them to appear appropriate? I understand the need for modesty in everyday situations, but why do they need to be so painful? I’m still waiting for the solution. I currently have the same bra in several different colors, and most of the time I feel like I’m popping out of it, but if I go up the next size (either cup or band) it’s way too big. I’ve worn supportive bras that lifted and separated my breasts until they were no longer recognizable, and no longer looked sexy or attractive with the added bonus of making it impossible to wear even modest necklines without bra peek-age. On the other side I’ve had bras that made my breasts look great, but also looked risqué even under a t-shirt. The search for the perfect bra may never end, but I continue to hope for that miracle invention, a bra that supports, pads, and comforts, while also appearing attractive. It shouldn’t be that hard, because boobs are pretty damn sexy all by themselves, and maybe we could work with that.

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Filed under acceptance, health, shopping

Breasts, Boobs, Jugs, Knockers, Whatever You Call ’em—Let’s discuss…

This post was originally going to be about bra shopping, but I decided to make it more basic than that, because as much struggle as I’ve had shopping for bras, I’ve had a lot of trouble just dealing with breasts too, and I have to talk about that first. This subject might seem a tad vulgar to some, but it shouldn’t, because we all have them right? I mean, even men have boobs, so there really shouldn’t be any shame in talking about them, especially since most women have spent a portion of their lives thinking about having them, or not having them, or how to keep them from sagging, or why they grow, or shrink, or provide nourishment, or become infected with disease. Our breasts and our relationships to them make up a large part of being a woman for a number of reasons.

I’m busty, I developed pretty young, I am embarrassed to talk about it, but when I think about it, that seems silly since it’s something I had absolutely no control over. When I was ten my mom finally bit the bullet and told me I needed to start wearing a bra to play soccer, and I know she was long past due in that conversation. I was trying pretty hard to ignore my chest, especially since I was the only girl I knew with visible breasts at that age. It’s why I could never relate to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret., it’s why I hated that book, particularly because I kept being told to read it. I hated stupid Margaret and how she thought boobs and periods were so great, because I wanted nothing more than to make them both go away so I could go back outside with my super-soaker and play until the street lights came on.

By Jr. High School I had started wearing a minimizer because I was embarrassed of my chest. Finally, I just said “screw it”, and at my ninth grade promotion dance I wore a delightfully goth brocade dress with insane cleavage, and I was proud. That is until I actually got to the dance and saw my peers, then I covered myself with a shawl for the rest of the night, but you know, it was still a statement for me at the time. I wish I had thrown off that shawl and made no apologies for my risqué ensemble, but I wasn’t there yet. I’ve gone through phases of showing and not showing cleavage and usually I feel more comfortable showing less. After working in an office for a few years I learned that if a woman shows cleavage, she is unfortunately not taken seriously at all. Which sucks, because if I saw a woman rocking some cleavage at a meeting I’d think “damn straight, wear that low-cut top, you look awesome!” but at the same time I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing it myself. I know I’d feel the same way about a man who came in wearing incredibly tight pants, I think it’s great, but it’s not for me, and why should I care what someone else wears anyway?

It drives me nuts when people talk about boobs being distracting, because first off—control yourself, and second off, if you can’t look at a woman’s breasts and focus on what she is saying at the same time, you don’t only need to work on your self-control, you need to work on your multitasking. I can do it, I think women check each other out all the time, but then you look away, do it covertly, quickly, and be respectful. If I wear a low-cut top I know some people are going to look, and I’m not going to get pissed off about it, because we tend to hide our parts away so often that when we do show them, people stare, and I understand that. But you can also be polite, there’s a difference between a cursory glance and a glaring, perverted, unapologetic ogle. I hate when I see a girl in the subway tugging at her shirt to hide her cleavage, but that’s why I don’t wear low-cut tops. I hate that there are some people who think showing skin is an open invitation to stare, that it somehow forfeits basic courtesy.

When I do wear a low-cut top, I’m usually not doing it to be sexy, most of the time I do it because I have a cute new dress or top and I just don’t want to wear a camisole under it. Maybe I don’t have one that matches, or it just ruins the line of the dress, or it’s a million degrees outside, or maybe I’m just sick of it! If my boobs are prominently displayed, especially if it’s out in the city, I usually end up regretting it, because I don’t feel comfortable, or I don’t like being stared at. And I’m not saying “oh woe is me, I’m just so beautiful people can’t look away”. If you have ever taken the subway late at night (or even during the day) in any large city, you know it doesn’t take more than a crack of cleavage or a normal knee-length skirt to incite pervy stares.

Obviously a lot of women would like larger breasts, some get implants, or padded bras, and I’m not complaining here, I love my breasts, but it’s other people’s reactions to them throughout my life that have altered my feelings for them. I do like the way my cleavage looks, so maybe I’ll try to show it off more, because why not? I hate that us well-endowed ladies are taught to be embarrassed so early in our lives. I’ll never forget walking down the street in Manhattan with my parents when I was around eleven years old and having a guy shout out “can I get some fries with that shake?” I didn’t even know what it meant, but I knew to be mortified.

I always wonder if women who get implants feel more comfortable showing cleavage, maybe it’s just a personality thing. I hate that I let what I wear be dictated by other people’s reaction to my boobs, but that’s what is considered “decent” and as much as I try not to give a crap what others think, sometimes I just don’t want to deal with worrying about it, so I cover up. I know other women have these problems, I’m sure that small breasted women have this problem all the time too, because it extends to all of us, and it’s not just our breasts either. Somehow showing your body in our society has become an open ticket for tactless torment, and not just by men, there are plenty of women who see showing cleavage as brazen and slutty, and I’m not sure why, I just wish it would stop.

So what’s the solution? Should we all just show what we want, ignore the stares, and screw what everyone else thinks? Should we cover up to avoid uncomfortable ogling? I think it’s a personal choice, but I wish it wasn’t a choice that was so powerfully influenced by the reactions of others, and I can’t help but hope one day it won’t be.

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Beauty Bullseye: Sephora

Truth be told, I’ve probably spent more time in Sephora than in any other store in my adult life. It’s one of those places I go when I’m meeting a friend who is late, or if I just want to kill some time or escape from the wildness of the street for a few minutes. I can see how, to some, Sephora might seem like a nightmare, there are dozens of women pushing past each other, fighting for mirrors, or the attention of salespeople, perfume may get sprayed in your eyes if you’re not careful, and sometimes the lines are incredibly long, but if you love makeup—it’s heaven, all the things you love conveniently in one place to enjoy. Oh Sephora, how I love thee, let me count the ways!

The advantage of Sephora is that, unlike the drugstore, you get to play with the makeup—to me, this is a huge advantage, because if I had a dollar for every product I bought in a drugstore that I never would have purchased if I tested it, well I’d have a lot more money to spend at Sephora. Some people might like to shop the makeup counters at department stores, but not me. I hate having to jump from counter to counter, trying to shake off salesgirls who are so bored they won’t stop following me around making suggestions, or trying desperately to get their attention so I can just buy what I need. At Sephora there is usually a sales girl around if you need help, but once they’ve politely asked you if you need something, they leave you alone—I wish retailers would realize this is the perfect way to provide customer service. I’m someone who has worked a lot of retail, including department store make-up counters, and I can tell you, people don’t like you in their face, but they do want your help when they need it.

They also have their own brand of products, and for the most part they’re really great and reasonably priced too, I have often opted for a Sephora brand product when the name brand was just way too expensive, and I haven’t really been disappointed.

Flashy Liner Waterproof, $8Colorful Duo Eyeshadow, $8, Ultra-Shine Lip Gloss, $7

Sephora has been around since 1997, it originally opened in France in 1993, and is owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). I couldn’t find anything too negative about the company either, so that’s a plus. They have a generous return policy, and regularly offer free shipping over $50 on their site too. If you like Sephora you’re probably already a beauty insider, which means they give you a card so when you buy stuff you gain a point for every dollar spent, once you hit 100 points you get a fancy deluxe sample, and then once you hit 500 points you get a mini-kit or sample set, right now it’s a benefit best of sampler kit. I have 474 points in my bank right now and I’m not sure what happens if I just keep saving them, either way it’s better than other stores offer. A lot of places don’t even give samples anymore—or they’re inconsistent about it, and who doesn’t love free samples?

As a beauty insider you also get a birthday gift, for the past couple of years it has been a mini bottle of Philosophy birthday cake shower gel—or at least that’s what I’ve gotten. You have to pick it up in stores, but it’s a smart little incentive to get you in.

In fact Sephora is very good at getting you into their stores to spend money. They send e-mails with 15% off coupons, and I’m a total sucker for them. I go in thinking I’ll outsmart them and buy a product I was going to buy anyway, but then I see a new lip balm, or an anti-frizz spray. Suddenly I’m thinking “well, it is 15% off the whole purchase so I should probably buy some more stuff too” and then I leave having spent $65 and saved $9. Coupons are all about justification, I can walk out of there feeling proud that I was so thrifty, when really I wouldn’t have even considered buying that stuff if it weren’t for the discount—damn you Sephora, you get me every time!

Another sneaky trick they institute are the mini products strategically placed in front of you as you wait in line. I have seem many women (myself included) add-on an extra $5-$30 picking up one of those tempting little guys. Sometimes you think they’re going to be cheap because they’re small, but you have to be careful, because they throw in some expensive full size items to trick you. I’m sure if you have will power it’s not hard to resist, but miniatures are so appealing for some reason, it’s a phenomenon, it’s so pleasing to see something shrunk down small, I just can’t help it!

FileMate by tweezerman $5 each, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser To Go $15 for 1.7 oz., Sephora for OPI Daily Hand Moisturizer To Go $5 for 1.7 oz., Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine Mist To Go $9 for 1.7 oz., Some Kind-A Gorgeous To Go $9 for .09 oz.,

When I walk in to a Sephora I usually don’t even know where to start, because the fun of it is the ability to play. Put a lipstick on, wipe it off, spray in some curl enhancer, why not? Alright, I assume a lot of women do this but maybe not—If I’m on my way somewhere else and I pass a Sephora, I like to run in and try on some new perfume or makeup, and then just pop back out in to the street and be on my way. It’s an awesome way to really figure out if you like something. Often I’ll forget I even did it and then on the way home I’m wondering “what’s that gorgeous smell?” only to realize it’s coming from my own wrist. Other times I go in there with a mission, or even better, with a gift card, but usually I go in to see what’s there. I like to play a game with myself, it’s called “if I had all the money in the world what would I buy?” I’m sure you’ve played it before too. It’s similar to the game “What would I buy If I had to buy something” which I only play in stores I don’t like. Here’s my list of what I’d be buying at Sephora today if I didn’t have to worry about silly things like rent, health insurance, or credit card payments—hey, you can always dream!

I have a purple eyeshadow obsession, also a Shiseido eyeshadow obsession, they go on so silky smooth and blend together beautifully, too bad they’re $25 each.

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color in Ghost, $25 for .07 oz.

Recently when I go into Sephora I’ve been sampling the Tocca fragrances, they all smell amazing. What I love about them is how they really change when you spray them on your skin, they are scents with a great deal of depth, there are so many lovely notes to discover as you wear them all day.

Tocca 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Sprays, $68 for 1.7 oz.

I’ve posted before about the Tarte lip stains, but little did I know that was just the glossy collection, now they’ve come out with a collection of matte shades too. I want one, they’re very similar to the others, but without the shiny glossy finish, and they come in a whole new set of bright colors.

LipSurgence™ Natural Matte Lip Stain,$24 for 0.1 oz.

I hate washing my hair, it’s long, easily tangled, and takes forever to dry, so I’m a big fan of dry shampoo. I’ve been reading good things about this one from Klorane, I’ve tried it in stores and it seems really nice, but I have tons of Oscar Blandi at home, so I have to use that up before I can justify buying more. It’s also nice that it’s made without Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes and a bunch of other bad stuff.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Extract, $18 for 1.7 oz.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy this Clinique skin-tone corrector because of the price, I have the moisturizer and it has helped lighten some sun damage around my eyes, so I really want to see how effective this product is. I’ve tried it in stores, but with a product like this you really need to keep using it to get results. It’s also supposed to be great for lightening acne scars.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, $49.50 for 1 oz.

Sephora keeps trying to get me to buy this eyeshadow compact, no seriously, they’ve sent me e-mails recommending it and it’s all over the magazines. It calls out its siren song to me when I’m in the stores, but the price is steep and I already have more eyeshadow than anyone I know, maybe one day though…

5-Colour Eyeshadow – Stylish Move 970, $58

For many years I’ve dreamt of a hair iron that could do anything—barrel curls, soft waves, or straight and smooth. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying this baby out, but in my imagination it’s amazing, so I’m going to go ahead and believe that for the price, this iron can do anything—I wonder if it can crimp too?

The Seductress: Curl, Wave & Straight One-Inch Iron, $230

Let’s be honest though, if I really had all the money in the world I would just buy a whole Sephora store and live there, or attach it to my house as an extra room. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about storing all of the products I buy either, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Anyone else have a deep love of Sephora, what are your “if money wasn’t an issue” dream products?

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Filed under cosmetics, shopping