Thursday, September 30, 2010

30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30

It's my birthday, y'all.  As I reflect on the last 24 years of my life, I realize that there are things I have not done yet.  In order to avoid a full-blown quarter-life crisis, I have compiled a bucket list of sorts: 30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30.  I will be blogging about each item as I slowly cross them off my list.

1. Earn a Bachelor's degree.
2. Get a tattoo.  Completed November 20, 2010
3. Travel abroad.
4. Commit to having blonde hair again.
5. Visit New York City.
6. Get vajazzled.
7. Splurge on a designer item.
8. Learn how to swim.
9. Get a credit card in MY name.
10. Drive on a major expressway. Completed February 15, 2011
11. Sing in a band.
12. Learn to cook a meal.
13. Embark on a romantic getaway.
14. Pay my own rent.
15. Take a dance class (and stick with it).
16. Start doing yoga. Completed October 26, 2010
17. Go to Lollapalooza.
18. Get paid to write.
19. Pose for a professional photographer.
20. Go to a drag club.
21. Touch the Pacific Ocean.
22. Eat a fried cheese stick.  (This is at the insistence of my sister.)
23. Catch a fish.
24. Participate in an activist march/rally.
25. Go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
26. Gamble.
27. Start a mini-garden.
28. Give blood.
29. Go to a shooting range and fire a gun.
30. Take a pole-dancing class.

So I've got six years to do all these things.  Time to get crackin'!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday To My Sisterrrrr!

Today is my sister's 22nd birthday and I just wanted to do a photo post to look at our time together and celebrate the fabulous life of Samantha Jane.  I like to think we have had a pretty typical sister-sister relationship.  We were terrific playmates as young children.  We collected Barbies, ran through the sprinkler in our backyard, and were forced into vaguely matching outifts together.  There was a roughly 10-year rift that consisted of pre-teen annoyance and adolescent bickering.  I recall the word "poser" being bandied about quite a bit.  But we were young and immature, so it was to be expected.  In the last five years, my sister has transformed from the younger sibling who annoyed the shit out of me to a best friend who shares more inside jokes with me than should be humanly possible.  (We have inside jokes that are so insular that they can be merely expressed through a facial expression.  Ridic.)  She is beautiful, unique, vibrant, and a whiz with a pair of scissors and a bowl of hair dye.

Sambo, remember today (and every day) that you are loved.

Sam is the on the left and I am on the right.
See the vaguely matching dresses?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random Things That Tickle Me-- Baby Pigs

Have y'all seen the Geico commercial with the pig who goes WHEE WHEE all the way home?  Shit, I just started a post with a question.  ANYWAY.  It sounds kind of silly (as, let's face it, most commercials are), but it is actually quite delightful.

I seriously giggle every time I see this commercial.  I sort of love baby pigs.  They're so pink and sweet and I think that the teeny little oinks they make are ADORABLE (which explains why i own a bulldog).  I would love to keep a pig as a pet.  Put it in little outfits, take it for walks around my neighborhood, tickle it's belly.  I am squealing on the inside just thinking about it.  I mean, come on, who didn't come away from a viewing of Babe thinking baby pigs were precious?

Try to tell me that this is not precious.  I dare you.

The Geico commercial is especially delightful to me because not only do we have a baby pig but we have a baby pig hanging out a car window, SQUEALING.  HOLDING PINWHEELS.  AND SMILING!


Look at that happy piggy.  Even if you don't have a thing for baby pigs, this is delightful.  This pig is experiencing pure JOY from a simple car ride home.  His squeals are heartwarming, his delight reminiscent of simple childhood pleasures.  When is the last time any of us just hung out to feel the wind on our faces (while sober)?  When is the last time we let inhibitions go and let out a squeal of delight?  Hell, when is the last time any of us held a pinwheel?  Maybe we should look at the Geico piggy as a reminder to slow down once in a while and enjoy life's simple, innocent pleasures.

Also, the Geico piggy should serve as reminder that someone needs to get me a baby pig for m birthday.  CAN'T YOU JUST PICTURE ME GIVING THE PIGGY A BOTTLE OF MILK?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No Makeup Week BONUS-- Stage Makeup

So the challenge of No Makeup Week was to go through my daily life without makeup. I’ve learned that things like school, running errands, and singing karaoke don’t require makeup. I can choose to not wear makeup or wear less makeup than normal and I now know that my life will not be affected by what’s on my face.

However, there wasn’t something I wasn’t thinking about until Friday: There are actually aspects of my life that do require makeup. So since I’ve pretty much said all that can be said (in my opinion) about my experience not wearing makeup and why I wear regular makeup, I’m devoting my post to discussing my relationship with a different kind of makeup: Stage Makeup.

One of the worlds I live in is the world of theatre. The theatre world has been a safe place for me ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always been socially awkward and not entirely comfortable in my own skin and acting provided an escape for me. If I was in a play, I had instructions on what to say, how to move, and how other people would react to me (provided that nothing went wrong or was improvised). In short, theatre allowed me to be someone else for a short time. I’m definitely more comfortable with myself now, but there is still an element of excitement at the notion of developing a new personality and viewing the world from that character’s perspective. It can be such an eye-opening experience philosophically.

Because of the technical elements of theatre productions, makeup is a crucial part of being an actor. Stage lights wash out an actor’s face and flatten it, so no matter what kind of makeup a character might wear, the actor must wear special foundation that enhances skin color and use special contouring techniques to accentuate the various contours of the face. Makeup is also used to transform your face into your character’s face. This can involve making your face appear older/younger or creating physical evidence of an illness or an injury, but it also involves choosing makeup that reflects your character’s specific life experiences. I for example, have played women who are dancers (and possibly secret prostitutes), so my makeup choices are outlandish (and sometimes a little cheap). Other times, I’ve had to tone my makeup down because I need to play a character who appears sweet and innocent. (The anti-feminist makeup rules in musical theatre: a potential future blog post? TOTALLY.)

Putting on makeup for a show has always been one of my favorite parts of being an actor. It is an extreme form of my daily makeup ritual. A common phrase that I hear in dressing rooms is that “There’s no such thing as ‘too much makeup.’” I find that I can get away with more intense looks because, under the lights, the makeup does not look as heavy as it actually is. I definitely find myself taking more liberties with my face because of this wiggle-room—insane drag queen false eyelashes, the thickest line of liquid liner imaginable, layer upon layer upon of blush, insanely bold lips…THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS!

So right about now is the point where I admit that this post came to me after seeing Rabbit Write’s photo gallery of her personal history with makeup. My “Mommy Rachel” complex kicked in a bit. “I WANNA DO A PHOTO GALLERY, JUST LIKE RACHEL.” But since I’m now an AH-dult and am my own person and have my own ideas (PROGRESS!), I am doing a slightly different thing by giving you a gallery of my face transformed by stage makeup. Enjoy. (Some of these photos go back as far as high school, bee tee dubs.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

No Makeup Week-- Weekend Adventures

A little behind on posting, but whatever, I’ve been having adventures.  Adventures without makeup, y’all!

Okay, so between the end of Day Four and Day Five, I had done two things sans makeup that I would typically never ever do, even if you gave me a large sum of money and a baby pig: 1) I went to a bar without makeup and 2) this suburban girl went to Chicago with no makeup.  This is huge stuff for me.

Going to a bar

Going to school without makeup is one thing, but going to a place where your main focus is socializing?  SURELY YOU MUST BE JOKING.  Buuuuut I did it.  Not only did I go out to a bar without makeup, but I was complimented on how I look without makeup.  It was such a confidence booster!  Perhaps in the future, I won’t be so concerned about using makeup to be the alpha female in the room; I can be the alpha female all on my own. (Insert sassy finger snapping.  Maybe a neck swivel.)

Going to Chicago

I am such a self-conscious suburbanite.  I have this ridiculous fear that I’m not cool enough to be there, so I have to create the illusion that I belong there with fashion and makeup.  I always have this fear that I will stick like a really lame thumb.  But here’s the thing: THAT DOESN’T MATTER.  I mean, really, what are the odds that the people on the sidewalk or the other passengers on the Blue Line are actually going to stop, look at me, and say, “That girl SO does not belong here”?  PFS (translation: pretty f-ing slim).  I need to stop trying to “fit in” with “city people” and just be ME, because that is who my friends want to hang out with.  So yeah.  Bare-faced in the city was totally free-ing.

So I’m totally aware that the text of this blog is pretty lame and sparse, BUT I am compensating for that with a fab video that I shot during Chicago trip for Rabbit Write.  In it, Rachel interviews me about why I did No Makeup Week and we make some other stray observations about what this week has meant for us.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Makeup Week-- Day Four

No Makeup Week is going quite smoothly.  The world hasn’t ended and I am not a social leper.  I am learning things about myself and reading blogs about others’ experiences with makeup has been enlightening and empowering.

Part of this experiment has been to reflect on why we wear makeup.  I have mentioned earlier that I use makeup as mask to hide behind as well as something to get me noticed.  Noticed by whom?


Being a bit spazzy and socially awkward, I am always curious about what men find attractive.  So for this experiment, I went straight to the source: real live boys.

The responses I got when probing the minds of fellas this week were similar to what I have heard from every boyfriend I’ve ever had: guys prefer a girl with a simple, clean-looking face.  This has always confused me and typically, I assume that guys are lying to me make me feel better about myself.  No Makeup Week is allowing me to realize that the guys are right.  My face has so much worth and beauty without makeup.  I talked to my boyfriend, Justin, about this last night, even though I already know what he thinks.  He adores me, makeup or no.  He loves more than just my face, although he thinks my face is beautiful.

I’m a bit tired and lazy, so I’m just going to list some of the comments I got from guys.

- The general consensus amongst guys is that the thick, cakey, over-the-top makeup is so not attractive.  If a guy can feel the makeup on your face, he is not a fan.
- My boyfriend loathes lipstick.  Why?  “Because I can’t kiss you.”
- Makeup is a nice bonus for enhancing features that are already beautiful, but it is not a necessity.
- Guys seems to understand that, socially, there is a time and a place for certain makeup, like a fancy event, but wearing a full face every day seems silly.  Guys can also rationalize a woman wearing makeup when she is out at night, looking for a mate.  In a relationship, makeup is unnecessary.
- Justin mentioned feeling almost intimidated when we’re out and I have a full face of makeup on, and other guys I talked to felt similarly.  Men seem to be uncomfortable when their woman looks too good.
- A friend of mine talked about an ex-girlfriend who caked on makeup every single day.  He said that he “appreciated” the days when she went light on the makeup.
- For all the women who wake up early to put on makeup before their partner wakes up: guys really don’t care.  Seeing you without makeup isn’t going to make a man feel any different about you.
- A comment on the last post: “I prefer a girl without makeup simply because she isn’t hiding anything and to me that shows courage and i find that attractive.”

The most interesting (and touching) thing I heard in my discussions came from a member of my Forensics Team.  This is a guy who has an extremely conservative view of politics, can talk your ear off for hours about Firefly, and enjoys making anti-feminist jokes simply to get a rise out of me.  So imagine my shock when he started telling me about the women he sees at work.  He works in a shoe repair shop and most of the female clients that come in are "older."  He sees these women with their makeup caked on and their hair dyed and overdone and spending so much money on high-end clothing and shoes and he just doesn’t get it.  This is what he said that blew me away:

“I think the most beautiful thing a woman can do is to age naturally.”

I just thought that was the sweetest thing ever and I think it says a lot.  While makeup has been present in cultures all over the globe for an inconceivably long time, men love what is natural about a woman.  Yes, makeup can enhance the beauty of a woman’s face, but a man who has feelings for that woman sees through the makeup.  He knows the beautiful, vibrant creature underneath the powder and the lip gloss.  He doesn’t need the makeup to remind him to love her; she does that all on her own.

 Justin and I, love love love

For more factual information about the male perception of makeup, check out Rachel Rabbit White’s chat with an evolutionary psychologist.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Makeup Week-- Day Three

More big news for No Makeup Week!  Rabbit was interviewed by The Huffington Post’s Chicago division!  SO.INSANELY.EXCITING.

I was feeling sooooo SASSY today.  My hair was doing all the right things, I got a great night’s sleep, I knew I was seeing my boyfriend; the stars were aligned for a good day.  MAKEUP BE DAMNED!

But little did I know that temptation was lurking just around the corner…

Living makeup-free has been difficult, obviously.  Not just psychologically and socially, but my daily routine is now completely whackadoo.  I have to remind myself, “No, Kait, no makeup!”  With my makeup routine so ingrained in me, it only seemed natural that I would be tempted to fall back into my usual patterns.

It was a bottle of face powder.  Sitting on the corner of the bathroom counter, staring at me, BEGGING to be used.

“Hey, Red.  Yeah, you.  You know you wanna use me.  Come oooon, just a little bit.  Pick me up, that’s it.  Just a little bit of powder, you’ll have a glow!  And look at my name: ‘Bare Naturale.’  No one will even know I’m there!”

The argument was both convincing and seductive.  The powder is light and it does create a fresh, porcelain glow.  And I don’t really look that different with just the powder…what’s the harm?

Flirting with danger...

The harm is that I would be admitting that makeup has power over me.  I cannot learn to love my bare face if it only appears bare.  By cheating No Makeup Week, I would only be cheating myself.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve held the belief that makeup is what gets a girl noticed.  Makeup makes you pretty and a pretty face stands out in a crowd.  After feeling invisible for most of my life, I turn to makeup to make sure that I am seen.  I am most comfortable with a full face of makeup because I know that someone must be looking, admiring.  With no makeup, I am convinced that I would just disappear into the crowd.  That thought terrifies me.  To be honest, I spent Monday and Tuesday under the assumption that I was going through life unnoticed.

Until today, when something totally awesome happened.  I was walking to class in my natural-faced glory and I totally caught a guy checking me out.  Like, hardcore.  Full up-and-down, long eye contact, the “How you doin” head nod.  It was such a nice surprise to me.  WHO KNEW that I could be noticed without makeup?  Does this mean that guys are being honest when they say that makeup doesn’t matter to them?  I felt so empowered, so confident in a completely natural way.  I wasn’t hiding today.  I was me; totally exposed and comfortable with it.

Stay tuned, kids.  Tomorrow, I attempt to figure out what guys think about makeup!  Will I solve the mystery of the male mind?  HELL NO.  But it should be interesting.  J

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Makeup Week-- Day Two

I have to start with a big WOOHOO!  This afternoon, Jezebel picked up Rabbit’s original No Makeup Week post.  This thing just got big.  Way to go, Mommy Rachel!  <3

Over the last two days, I have spent a great amount of time explaining No Makeup Week to people.  Several of my fellow women have responded with similar sentiments: “I don’t wear much makeup anyway.”  “Every week is no makeup week for me.”  I came away from these reactions with a big WHY floating in a bubble over my head.

I can’t speak for Rabbit or any other woman participating in this experiment, but I can do some personal self-exploration as to why this is an important week for me.

I mentioned in my Day One post that I have rules about makeup.  Anyone who has taken a basic Psych 100 course can see that this is obviously rooted in low self-esteem.  That’s an easy assumption.  Let’s explore what we don’t know.

I was not allowed to wear makeup in middle school, save for translucent and/or scented lip gloss; I was the Queen of Bonne Bell.  I watched other girls my age blossom into their training bras, batting their mascara-coated lashes at boys with spiked hair.  I was awkward, flat-chested, and bare-faced.  I felt invisible.  For three years, I floated underneath the yellowing fluorescent lights, gliding past the purple lockers, completely unnoticed.  It wasn’t until the very end of 8th grade that I found a bag of my mother’s discarded makeup.  Inside the bag I discovered what would become my new best friend: liquid eyeliner.  Choosing to live dangerously, I applied the liner ever so carefully to my lids and just like that, I was someone new.  I looked older and cuter.  I saw the inherent beauty in my large eyes.  Paired with a nude-pink gloss, I looked chic and edgy (well, as chic and edgy as a Buffy obsessed 14-year-old could look.)  I don’t remember what my mother said about the new look, if anything, but I do know this: I did not get in trouble.  Makeup was no longer taboo and I could finally mature with my peers.

For the last 10 years, I have been brainwashed by black eyeliner.  The black liquid against my pale skin and piercing blue eyes completely transformed my face.  This was a face I could learn to like.  I slowly started to feel pretty.  The makeup became a mask not just for my face, but for my personality.  It was all a fa├žade created to hide the shy, insecure, spazzy girl that lurked beneath the heavy eye makeup and bold lips.  With makeup, I could be whoever I wanted to be, as long as that person wasn’t me.  Aside from being a byproduct of low self-esteem, hiding behind eye makeup caused quite a problem with my self-identity…I didn’t have one. 

This is the crux of why No Makeup Week is an important experiment for me.  Only in the past few years have I slowly started to establish self-identity, but I’m still entangled in my special relationship with eye makeup.  I know I’m an intelligent, snarky, passionate person with a great deal of worth and people seem to respond positively to my presence.  Despite knowing this, there is still a part of me that believes that I’m none of these things with naked eyelids.  I feel like I am defined by my makeup.

Sometimes, when I’m getting ready for a night out, my boyfriend, Justin, will ask why I need to wear the makeup.  “Babe, you’re beautiful.  Who are you trying to impress?”  I used to give the response, “It’s for me, not for anyone else.”  The line was delivered with confidence.  I played the part of a confidently sexy woman who lavished in the feminine feelings of being dolled up.  What I’ve realized over the past two days is that, yes, I am wearing the makeup just for me…it is there for me to feel normal.  I do love putting on makeup, but I'm loving it for the wrong reasons.  I love how it changes me and hides my flaws, rather than how it showcases my natural beauty.  That’s just not the right attitude and, frankly, I need to stop lying to myself.

I have not touched my liquid liner since Saturday night.  I have had a completely bare face since late Sunday afternoon.  Nothing horrible has happened to me.  I still crack the same jokes.  People I know still greet me in passing.  I am still ME.  This is why I desperately needed No Makeup Week.  I needed to be reminded that I have worth and that my beauty is more than eyeliner and lipstick.  My beauty emanates from my natural looks and personality.

So listen, black liquid eyeliner, I love you, but I feel like this 10-year relationship has become a bit controlling and abusive.  I KNOW, I know, you didn’t mean to make me feel this way, but this is what is happening.  I just feel that we need to take break from each other and get to know ourselves.  I’ll never forget the positive things you’ve done for me, but I need to forget the negative parts of our love.  I hope that we can remain friends and be there for each other when it’s right.

Bright-eyed and eyeliner free!

No Makeup Week-- Day One

[This was written late Monday night and does not include the epic events of Tuesday.  My reflections on today will be posted later tonight.]

Blogger Rachel Rabbit White (who also happens to be my cousin) has proposed a daring idea for this week: She has declared September 20-27 No Make-Up Week.  She is encouraging bloggers to post photos of themselves without make-up, but Rabbit is taking it a step further—she is living her life this week sans make-up.  I’ve been inspired to do the same.  This is where I will chronicle my experience.  (To learn more about No Makeup Week, click here.)

Monday, September 20—Day One

I have to be honest.  I was NOT looking forward to going through with this challenge.  I have these “rules” about makeup.  I am a pale, Scandinavian girl and I fear that if I go out bare-faced, I will look sickly or tired.  Even if I’m just running to grab a Slurpee or fill a prescription at the pharmacy, I need to be wearing, at the very least, the following: under-eye concealer, mascara, eyebrow pencil, and some kind of lip stuff.  The same rules apply for going to school.  If I'm going out to a movie or to dinner or anywhere "social," I MUST have a full face of make-up; I must look pretty or sexy or glamorous.  If I’m not wearing make-up, I am uncomfotable and feel as though everyone in the room is staring at the girl with no makeup.

Even worse than the rules for wearing makeup in public are the rules for being photographed.  I MUST be wearing a full face in a photograph in order to be satisfied with the image.  If I am taking a photograph of myself (Myspace-syle, kids), I must be wearing FRESHLY APPLIED makeup.  It’s completely cray-cray.

So imagine how I must have felt preparing to take my Official No Makeup Week photo.  I was not thrilled to bare my true face for the camera.  Naked, exposed, and just not myself.  I found that I couldn’t smile the way I normally do.  I couldn’t play cute.  I couldn’t have a good time.  I was afraid of seeing what the camera was going to capture, what exposed flaws would be digitally immortalized.

When I uploaded the photos onto my laptop, I was pleasantly surprised.  My skin was still just as porcelain-like without powder or concealer.  My eyes were still big and blue without the enhancement of black liquid liner and mascara.  I actually felt good about posting that photo on Facebook and Twitter.

My morning prep for school was a bit shorter without make-up application (not too much shorter; I don’t go full-on glam for school and I can put on a face fairly quickly).  But still, a bonus.  The few people I interacted with in the Forensics office noticed that I was sans-makeup.  “You look younger.”  “It’s more…fresh.”  “Hey!  No Make-up!  You look really good.”  It made me feel good, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but think about how noticeable the difference must have been.  Does my face change that much with make-up?  Just how different do I look?  How different do I become? 

I’ll continue to address questions about myself and my identity through the lens of make-up as the week progresses.  For now, I'm...adjusting.

Yeah, you read the title of this blog correctly.

Hello, blogosphere!  I’ve been meaning to start blogging again for months and I’ve finally forced myself to start.

About me in less than a minute: 20-something community college student, member of the Forensics Team (that’s giving speeches, not doing solving crime and poking at dead bodies), film/television/art/politics enthusiast (read: I spend my day reading all kinds of shit on the Internet when I should be doing more important things).  We’ll learn more about me as this blog “blossoms.”

If you’re reading this, you might be wondering about the title of this blog.  It’s a little weird, right?  Allow me to explain:

In one of my all-time favorite films, Ghost World, “social misfit” Enid (Thora Birch) has to re-take a remedial art class the summer after her senior year of high school (lame sauce!).  The class is taught by a completely insane and stereotypical performance artist (Illeana Douglas).  If you haven’t seen this film, YouTube search “Mirror Father Mirror” and enjoy.  ANYWAY, there are a few scenes in the film where we see the artwork of Enid’s peers.  In Enid’s class, we find one of those girls.  You know, the girl that sits in the front row, listens attentively, writes down EVERYTHING, knows all the answers, etc. (That girl is totally me, btw).  Well that girl, Margaret, brings in a “found art object” sculpture.  It is, quite literally, a tampon in a teacup and it is absolutely ridiculous.  It becomes even more ridiculous when Illeana Douglas starts posturing about the hidden meaning of the piece (a statement on repressed femininity!), like it is the most brilliant thing to have ever been created.  SO, long story short, this is hilarious to me, so hilarious that I chose to name my blog “Tampon In a Teacup.”

Wait…what’s that?  You were hoping for more of an explanation?  You thought there was some actual, thought out REASON why I chose that name?

Shit.  There’s really not.

BUT WAIT, I can fix this!  I can just do some Margaret-style bullshitting to give this blog some meaning.

When Margaret is asked to discuss what her piece means, she struggles to say anything other than what it literally is.  To me, this indicates that she really has no idea what she is doing and lacks focus…much like me!  I have no idea what I’m going to do with this blog and at this point, the blog has no specific focus.  It’s just…whatever I come up with.

So this has been a lot of rambling without much substantial content.  I have a feeling this might happen frequently.  Enjoy. J