Me, on Facebook Messenger: (Imagine this said in one long breath) “I would like to fine tune my image. So I’d like to take my interest in the gym and work towards physique more than performance. I hope that doesn’t sound vain and ‘fitness model-y’ but I would like to have a fit, strong image. Of course, I have deep roots in triathlon, so I would love to incorporate it, but instead of a Training Peaks account where FTP rules, I’d like to see the results on my body. Your name popped into my mind for a few reasons- 1. I like you. 2. You have a strong triathlon background. Duh. You’ll get me. 3. I believe you train people in fitness and nutrition as well. (Because I’m well aware a huge portion of this is what goes in my mouth) 4. You don’t know me very well..lol. So, I wanted to see what you thought about all that. And if you would be interested in taking it on and chatting/working further.”

 

Kenneth: “You have a few minutes to talk?”

 

Me: “Sure”…..shit, think of something reasonable to say, Lindsay. Don’t say ‘like’ too much, try to keep your pitch down and whatever you do, don’t finish every sentence like you’re asking a question. Your self respect is on the line here.

Jesus, that sounds like a 15 year old kid trying to ask a boy to prom. It’s so much more elitist to say- I want to race this triathlon, so make me fast. There’s something ‘bigger than yourself’ about that statement….even though let’s be honest, spending a bunch of time getting faster at triathlon is just as selfish as saying, ‘I want to look smokin’ hot in a bathing suit.’

Truth was, I didn’t know Kenneth Jones all that well. Interestingly enough though, I met him at my own dinner table. The hubs invited him to join us for dinner when he was at the grocery store earlier that day. Next thing I know, I’m leaning over in the kitchen saying to him- ‘So, who is this dude you brought home randomly?’ I was assured, of course, that he was very cool and a fellow triathlete. And apparently hungry just like everyone else at dinner time. (This is all very typical Matt) And no, we didn’t become training partners or BFFs, but I can say that every time we passed each other running, he would always say hi; sometimes stopping to chat for more than your typical breathy ‘nice work’ runner salutation. Plus, he’s no slouch of an athlete, having run the Boston Marathon in the lower part of 3 hours, and becoming sickeningly close to qualifying- not by roll down either- for Kona (the mack-daddy of all Ironmans, Mecca, THE World Championship) And, more importantly, I caught him buying a whole key lime pie at Publix once, insisting that he was going to eat the entire thing and not feel a damn bit sorry for it considering he was going to knock out 20 miles of running the next morning…or maybe he had done it that morning. Whatever the case, I can’t not like someone who says that.

So, I brushed off the embarrassment and swallowed hard when he said- Ok, I’ll train you as though you’re doing a fitness competition. ‘Triathlete!”, I wanted to scream. “I. am. a. TRIATHLETE!” Not a vain, selfie-obsessed, model wannabe, stereotype with hair extensions and an ongoing spray tan appointment! (No judgement if you are any of those things. Full judgement if you are all of them.) And I would like to clarify that, as of today, I have ZERO plans to do a fitness competition. Tiny bathing suits with heels, really scary spray tan colors, judges, and nothing to blame (rule #1 of triathlon: Always blame the equipment.) but BMI sounds like a trip through Hell. No thanks. I’ll pass.

So….full disclosure, while I’ve always maintained that triathlon was the ‘sport for the ADD.’, I can officially say I’m bored with it. I’ve met most of my goals. The ones remaining take more time and emotional/physical/mental dedication than I’m willing to give. But here’s me: I can’t just do theater. I can’t just do fitness. I can’t just do makeup. And I can’t just sit in front of the damn TV every night and zone out. I need them all to make me feel alive, engaged and present. (And I do need to continue to fit into the clothes I own, so having a fitness outlet is imperative.)

Anyhow, after surviving the whole awkward exchange with the internal monologue sounding something like: ‘You sound like an idiot’…in many different ways on a continual loop… we set up a time to meet, and get this rolling. Ok, so now I have a personal trainer.

I have always maintained the mantra- ‘Based on a typical American diet, I eat very healthy. Based on an elite athlete, I eat like a slob.’ That worked for me. But I’ve always wondered, What If? What if I actually ate ‘clean.’ What if I tried to change the way my body looked? What would it look like? How would I feel? Would my confidence change? Or would I still feel embarrassed to run the track in a sports bra? But, shit, if I’m going to pay a personal trainer to make me look good, I sure as hell am not going to sabotage it by not eating right. So, I downloaded My Fitness Pal (again), and started logging. Kenneth was kind enough to give me some ideas on how to eat more like a body builder (why is there no ‘eye-roll’ emoji on here??) and less like a carb obsessed triathlete. All prefaced by- ‘I’m not a nutritionist.’ Yeah, yeah, doubtful I’ll allow myself to become malnourished- I like food too much for that nonsense.

So here are my takeaways from my first month-ish eating clean, spending time lifting heavy shit, and without swim/bike/run.

1. Food is sacred.

This might sound a little ridiculous, but I eat deliberately- and because of that, I respect everything I eat. I measure. I chew. I taste. I prepare. I don’t mindlessly munch. I don’t ‘just have one.’ I don’t eat without thinking. I eat veggies and fruits that are in-season and taste good. I sip and relish my singular glass of wine…or bourbon. And food actually tastes better- every bite of something indulgent is, in fact, fan-freaking-tastic. Every bite of something healthy makes me feel nourished. I log my food. No, it’s not hard. I see my My Fitness Pal app as a game: How can I get that micro-nutrients pie chart broken down the way I want while still eating enough, not ignoring my social or work life, and sure as hell not giving up the things I love… Old Fashioned, anyone?

2. Prepare.

I’m not going to meal prep for the week. I’m not that organized or structured. But I do do things like: look up the restaurant and pick out (and log) what I’m going to eat before I walk in the door. You know what that allows? Less time staring at a menu, and more time enjoying my friends/family. And for anyone who knows me, I like to talk, so this is a total win-win! Or, if I’m going to be on set for a 10 hour day, I’ll bring (and log) everything I plan to eat that day. I pack it all in my Six Pack Bags and off I go. (Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love that damn bag) This really comes in handy when the box of Panera cookies (glorious things they are) are on set making me question if I might be dying of starvation. Nope, just my sugar addiction talking.

3. I still swim/bike/run.

Turns out, swimming is not just the first leg to a triathlon one must suffer through- it’s actually a great full body workout, and I find I don’t hate it (as much) when I’m not obsessing over workouts that belong in a calculus lecture! (Who knew?) I will always love to be on my bike with my friends and that requires endurance and fitness just to keep up them. (Why are they so fast???)  And while I’m not running long, the short intervals on the treadmill have been- dare I say- fun. I guess now that I’m not training for a timed race, I not so overwhelmed by it all. And while, deep down, I look forward to being re inspired to race competitively again, I’m happy not doing so currently.

4. New Activities!

I like the stair stepper! Who’da thunk it? I love dripping with sweat all the while reading my libretto for my next show. The multitasking opportunity makes me feel less guilty about spending yet another hour working out. I also like the weight room. This I sorta already knew since I’ve been going to ‘triathlon strength’ sessions for like 3 years. It’s a different type of physical exertion than aerobic endurance, and it’s been fun getting fit without worrying if your heart is going to explode, if you’re going to pass out from heat stoke, or wondering if skin cancer is growing on your shoulder. It’s also been nice not to have to fuss with tons of gear, pool schedules, or that feeling of ‘geez, I’m a really far way from the car/home right now’.

5. Being Social Makes Me Tick.

Don’t get me wrong, my training sessions aren’t easy- but I’m much better with someone expecting me to meet them 3 days a week, than depending on myself to do it alone. Sometimes, I wonder if my legs are going to work in the morning, or if I’m going to be able to hold a brush steady to someones face. It’s all very satisfying. And fun as Kenneth and I chatter on about racing, injuries, and whatever else triathletes can fill hours talking about. (And we can fill endless hours about it, just in case you were wondering) Oh, and very expensive. Previously accustomed to a monthly bill for coaching, this per session cost is not for the less than dedicated…but for me, money is a huge motivator. I’m not going to throw it at something and not see any results! However, dear god, don’t increase your rates!!

6. I Truly Like To Be Fit.

Having spent the first 24 years of my life never doing anything remotely athletic, I have often wondered if I spent all this time racing and training simply because my boyfriend—>fiance—>husband and friends do. When I’ve rebelled against competitive triathlon in the past, I just found myself grumpy that my clothes didn’t fit and uninspired in other aspects of my life. So, it turns out, I am better when I have some focus on fitness, but not to the point where the rest of my life has to orbit it. I have energy to bounce around an outdoor shoot, I have a clear mind to think creatively about my business, and good focus to learn my lines. Plus, since most of this is done indoors, I’m not constantly sleep deprived from late night rehearsals leading into early morning training sessions just to beat the heat. Therefore, I feel as though this has been a good life lesson.

So, I’m in my 6th week. Sometimes that feels like an eternity, and sometimes it feels like a blink of an eye. But I’ve lost 5 lbs, just about 1.5″ all around- legs, waist, hips, etc., 1 point on both the BMI and Body Fat scales, there’s tons more definition in my upper body than I’ve ever seen, and- sometimes, usually first thing in the morning, I can actually see a little ab muscle definition…something I’ve never ever seen before. All in all, I’ve learned you can change yourself….and I find it rather fascinating honestly.

So, I ask you- What has a fitness routine brought to your life? Anyone relate?

 

Thanks for reading.

Take a Pretty Powerful Leap of Faith.

 

Disclosures:

  1. I know nothing about nutrition. I have no degrees, no right to give advice, and this is nothing but my story and my perspective. Have real questions? Go find someone who’s earned the right to answer them.
  2. Weight is not something to be solely considered. This isn’t about the scale. It’s one metric of many and in a constantly changing priority list.
  3. I don’t think I’m fat. I’m not fat. I have a completely normal BMI, I have no health problems.
  4. A lot of my friends are serious athletes- more serious than I’ll ever be- and they look it. I’d be crazy if I didn’t acknowledge their impact on me.
  5. I’m always looking to Just Say Yes.

Before and After You, Bridges.

Before and After You, Bridges.

It’s amazing how fast things can change in your life. One small choice leads you down a different fork in the road and 10 years later you realize how much of an impact that made on your life. Firstly, I make it a point to never regret anything. Mostly because I have no idea what my life would be if I had made different choices- large or small. And even though I may not be playing out my wildest dreams in my day to day life- I’ve got it pretty damn good. I mean seriously. My life is awesome. Here’s just a little sample-  I have an education, I have a husband who loves me; a dog who can’t get enough of me; lifelong deep friendships; temporary fantastically fun friendships; trusted colleagues; a constantly evolving and growing business I own that takes, honestly, little to no effort; I’ve raced triathlons all over the world; I’m healthy and fit- and have friends to do that with too; and, probably the most coveted, I know what I love to do.

I’ve been a tad bit overloaded recently, so to stay sane, I’m functioning on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. It’s not allowing for a whole lot of long term planning, but I know there’s a light at the end of this narrow tunnel, so I’m ok with it. Therefore, this post is all about my current situation.

Bridges of Madison County, Manatee Performing Arts Center, Feb 9-26. Regional Premier.

When I first accepted this show, I had mixed feelings. I was super pumped to be apart of such a gorgeous score and storyline. (Yep, I’m the sucker for a tragic love story…’they lived happily ever after’ endings annoy me..I mean, let’s get real- no one lives happily ever after, so can’t we just cut the bullshit??…I digress…that’s a future blog post about how Disney is to blame for how eff-ed up the modern day relationship is. Stay tuned! LOL!) But, in the same breath, I was offered a place in the ensemble. I don’t mean to sound elitist, but I was signing up for a 2 hour drive per rehearsal/show and I’ve been spoiled with a string of leading roles that offer lots of attention and, of course, a final bow at curtain call. #priorities. But I listen to my gut. Whether I understand it fully or not. And I said yes (Ah, there’s that phrase again…that phrase.) Now, 4 months later- 4 warp speed months later- I’m about to close this absolutely wonderful chapter in my life. It won’t go at the top of my resume- the true value of it’s importance cannot be expressed on such a vain and surface level document, but it will forever be on it- reminding me to stay focused, follow my gut, and always give everything. There are times when I’ve sat on that stage and my whole heart is full. You see, there’s no pressure- there’s no lines to forget or tough notes to hit, so, I’ve gotten a chance to almost be a fly on the wall, analyzing my true and deep feelings for being a performer. At 17, when I was last as knee deep in the theater as I am right now (as of today, I’m cast in 3 future productions, all running within the next 4 months), I didn’t know that I would never love an activity/job/career/whatever-you-want-to-call-this as much as I love being a performer. There’s bliss in that ignorance, but there certainly isn’t wisdom in it.

I didn’t know to protect it- to nurture it- and to, most of all, not let a single soul try to take it away from me- not even my own self.

And now, 15 years later, I know better. I know because I walked away from it with a flip of my hair. Like I would just move to the next career path that I would, obviously, love just as much. And I’ve been searching ever since. I have a business and a trade I’m good at and, honestly, really really like. (I’m lucky to have that over a job I hate any day.) But it will never be my passion. It will never keep me up at night. I will never do it for free. I’m glad I have it- it keeps me grounded- and my bills paid. And I have no intention of giving it up or slowing it down. Most importantly, it’s taught me a very valuable lesson- how to create a business out of my own skill-set. And thanks to the soul searching I’ve been allowed to do in this show- I can say that it’s time to translate that lesson to my skill-set as a performer as well.

Opening night, I won the Gypsy Robe. In the world of MPAC, this means  I was the ensemble member chosen by the director who ‘went above and beyond the call of duty.’ (A tidbit of knowledge- the Gypsy Robe also exists on Broadway. It is also awarded on Opening Night, however, and it is given to the actor who has done the most Broadway shows. Clearly, that’s not applicable in our little pond of the Tampa bay Area, so here we are.) I was pretty honored. Not that I had ‘won’, but that my fervor was embraced. How many times has eagerness and excitement been shut down, or met with indifference? Or how many times has the job simply been done, unemotionally, and without much thought? Hearing the kind words from the creative staff and my fellow cast members just reinforced so much. Isn’t it amazing what a small comment or gesture can do? I hope I can be the same for others in the future.

Before all this, I was basely satisfied with one show a year. That held me over. Kept me going. After this, I’ve realized all it takes is a choice. And I’ve been nothing short of astonished at the response I’ve gotten…like I said- 3 working shows right now- all a far cry from the quite supportive ensemble.

Every positive reaction has reinforced my choice, and I write this to refer back to on the day when I don’t get it. I know better than to be easily shoo-ed away now. Right?

Closing night was emotional, and hysterical, and exhausting. It’s been a long time since I had to dry my tears (let’s call it what it was- ugly crying) after a curtain call. Not that this show really helps…I mean, shit, I’ve cried in rehearsals too. But, the much needed gorge-fest at Culver’s afterwards was cathartic and helped to bond us even further. A group of theater people after the end of a show are pretty much unstoppable and we took over the restaurant with laughter, singing and a rehashing of every line, character and (of course) mistake in the show. We finally tore ourselves apart, knowing that reality of tomorrow was near, but content in the solace of a new, shiny Facebook secret group. Ah, modern technology. Let the memes, memories, and planning of future shows and outings commence!

Anyhow, as I say goodbye to Winterset, Roseman Bridge, and some of the most gorgeous music I know, I also say thank you. For your lessons. For your friendships. And for the path you’ve put me on. You are special.

Thanks for reading.

Protect what makes you Pretty Powerful.

Pressure is a Privilege.

Someone said this to me. And I don’t have a clue who it was, so I’m very sorry if it was you and I just flat out don’t remember. And apparently it’s the title of a book I never read. But the phrase has always stuck with me. Pressure- that thing we either buckle under or rise above; the feeling of dread mixed with battle cries; the ultimate feeling of uncomfortable. And Privilege- the feeling of superiority, control, and power. How is it that they can be so closely connected?

It’s a simple adjustment of perspective, I suppose (as is so much of life). Someone- a boss, a director, a spouse, a friend, has looked to you to DO something. They see you as the person they trust to get it done. The one person that fits the bill. They bestow this pressure onto you like a gift. Therefore, it is actually a privilege to have the pressure, in the same way it is a privilege to receive a gift. For some reason, that notion releases the tension in my chest a little. The pressure morphs from something I feel oppressed by, to something that I feel proud of. Most likely because the one thing I need to feel more than anything else in the world is an important and needed piece to the puzzle. No matter what environment I’m in and no matter how hard that requires me to work- this is always what makes me feel fulfilled.

However, I’m not sure if this phrase allows me to be any more productive or effective. Full disclosure, I’m sitting at a desk with a growing list of To-Do’s to one side, a heavily highlighted script to the other; a pile of things I should try to sell or donate behind me; and one workout on the books this week. And here I am writing on my blog about pressure instead, because, truthfully, I’m slightly paralyzed by the thought of all of it.

But I said- Just Say Yes, right? I committed to a year of believing in myself, doing what I love, trying new things, and putting myself out to the universe that I’m ready and available for all the wonders it might have in store for me. My lesson so far? There’s a dark side to it. It’s amazing how deceptive and strong fear can be, disguised as so many other things: I’m busy. I should instead be doing this….. I should be making money…. I should be… I can’t be… Society expects me… My family/friends/spouse need me… It all boils down to fear of being authentic. Saying yes makes you rip the mask of fear off, stare at it, and step out from behind the completely unarguable, reasonable, finely tuned excuses. Once you’ve done that- once you’ve exposed yourself, you can either knowingly slink back behind the curtain, or take a deep breath and fight onward. Ok, maybe that all sounds a little melodramatic- but tell me you haven’t felt the same intensity for something rather benign in the great scheme of life?

So, I’m not going to patronize you with a list of ‘5 steps to overcoming fear.’ or ‘Rules for an Authentic Life.’ Instead, I’m going to keep this short (cuz I clearly have things to do) and simply leave you with this:

You are not alone. You are capable of handling your pressure. And you are worthy of being authentic. Say yes. Your pressure is a privilege.

Thanks for reading.

You are Pretty Powerful.

Building the Next Generation.

A few days ago a friend of mine asked me some questions for his daughter as she begins her career as a makeup artist. She’s just out of high school, and learning not only how to navigate life as an adult, but to do it as a freelancer. When I sat down to write my response, I realized how many opinions, pieces of advice and learned lessons I had for her. When I was done with a long email that probably made this poor dad’s head spin, I realized that I had inadvertently written a blog post. So, I’ve cleaned it up, taken out the names and specifics of my original recipient, and put it here. I think the first important thing to recognize, about an opinion piece really, is that everyone has and opinion.

The key to learning and growing is to listen to all of it and then follow the nuggets that resonate with your gut. And your gut is just like any other muscle- the more you work it, the stronger it gets. And nothing- seriously nothing- is more important than a strong gut in the freelance or entrepreneurial world. So get to working out.

With that I have 3 (rather detailed) lessons I have learned over my 8 years as a business owner and 13 years as a makeup artist.

 
PASSION vs JOB.

I’m assuming you think these are two different people. Passion is for the crazy artist who throws paint at canvases at 3 in the morning, or the poet who spends her time at an open mic composing beautiful lyrics about GMOs or Oedipus complexes. On the other hand, a job is for the people who made their parents (and their bank accounts) proud- the account executive, or the project manager. 9-5, Monday-Friday workers with a 401k and health insurance. But I’m here to tell you, you can have both.

However, if you want to (successfully) work for yourself, own a business, invent something, create, and pay your bills- you’d better find both elements within your career. Here’s the key if you want to stay grounded (and sane): Don’t ever let them mix. For example: when I’m working IN my business- meaning I have a brush in my hand and I’m standing in front of a client- I can be all passion. It’s what makes me good at my profession- people love the experience and they love my art because of the passion. But, when I’m in front of my computer; discussing the act of applying makeup; booking jobs; signing contracts; etc, I am all job. In order to work like this, lay your ground rules early. Know what your pay rate is. When you’re willing to work. Where you’re willing to drive. How you require to be paid. Create your invoice template, your contracts. Know your pricing structure. Function like a corporate entity. Memorize it and get comfortable talking about it.

And when you aren’t working in your business, detach from your emotions and do your job, which is to find yourself as many opportunities to be passionate as possible.

This is business and the less emotion you have tied up in money and business, the better off you are. You wont be successful if you don’t have both. Each person might find ‘passion’ and ‘job’ in different elements. But you have to LOVE what you do as a business owner. It’s the one element that truly sets you apart from the big corporations. Because, lets be honest, the main goal of any cosmetics counter in a department store is for you to buy something. Sure, maybe you’ll find a gem that has the passion for the artistry part of it. But I guarantee you, that company doesn’t value that skill as much as it does the ability to sell, so chances are, that person won’t be there for long. And consumers feel that. Sometimes, it’s not important to them- maybe they are planning to buy a refill of their foundation and figure they can get their makeup done for the hell of it. But when it comes down to an important moment- they want someone who cares about them as much as they care about the event. I’ve built my company’s reputation on my and my artists personalities and passion.  On the other hand- if you are unable to separate yourself and be a business person- function within the job- you will never be able to succeed as a business. I spend a significant amount of time managing my inquiries and clients. And it takes the organization of an accountant to make each one of them feel special so that I am given the opportunity to include them in my passion as an artist. Not to mention, the IRS likes you to pay your taxes, and you won’t have any idea how to do that if you don’t invoice people properly. Actually, lets start from the beginning- know what an invoice is and how it’s used.

Hey, you may enjoy one side more than the other. And that’s fine. But you have to do both like your life- and the success of your business- depends on it. Because, it does.

Which leads me to the second part of this point: Following your passion is hard. It will make you cry. It will scare you. And you’ll feel like ‘you’ve arrived’ for a split second every once in a blue moon. Otherwise, you kinda feel like you can’t do anything right. But if you’re where you belong, you will look at those ‘W2-ers’ with a ping of envy and pity at the same time. There’s no one for you to blame for your failure but yourself. But here’s the kicker- no one can take credit for your success, either.

 
FIND YOUR TARGET MARKET:

1. Many, many successful makeup artists have had makeup counter experience at one point in their life. It’s a fast track to learning a lot about products and a lot about working on all sorts of different faces with little to no pressure. If you jack up someone’s face, it’s not the end of the world and you’ll still have a job tomorrow. There’s also a never ending supply of faces to work on. Plus, you can have a steady income, health insurance and a retirement plan. For some, this fits what they want in life- a bit of security and a bit of fun. I have known counter makeup artists who are for-lifers and are damn good at their jobs. If you know your end goal isn’t that, stay quietly focused on your end game during your time at the counter. There’s a lot of kool-aid to be drank in retail cosmetics and before you know it, you’ve got yourself tangled in all the politics and drama that just comes with the territory. However, don’t ever insult an artist by saying retail cosmetics are beneath you in any way. Why?

Because when you’re a freelancer, every single person you come in contact with could lead to your big break. Treat everyone this way, and watch as your business, career, and life experience blossoms in front of you. Ignore this, and you’ll probably find yourself bitching that no one hires a makeup artist. Don’t be that fool.

2. Another option is to  join an MLM. I know….ewwww….scams….red flashing lights….bad idea. Well, let me tell you- it won’t make money for you if you don’t work at it, but I’m living proof you can make money in an MLM. Here’s what I told one of my newer artists who expressed interest in the line that I chose to sell: You can make $15 an hour at a makeup counter, work every weekend and holiday and find it very hard to work production or editorial shoots into your life. Or, you can take products to people and sell your artistry skills along with makeup, which in turn, will have a direct effect on your freelance business. As long as you do what? -Treat every person as though they are your big break. The hardest part of this is getting comfortable to have no one to blame but yourself for the outcome of your business. This is uncomfortable until it is the only way you can imagine living your life. Beat the pavement and love it. Never look down and entertain failure. Continue to troubleshoot everything to get better.
3. Go to makeup school. Now- heads up here- know your licensing laws. Know what you’re paying for. Know what you want to do. Acknowledge the financial burden. Ask yourself if you’re willing to live where the work you want is. There’s a lot of people out there selling a bill of goods. So, do your due diligence. Research, ask questions, and make sure you are picking the best option for you.

IMAGE MATTERS:
You might be surprised by what I have to say here. I had a very successful NYC artist give me the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten- she said, when you show up to fashion week, come in understated clothes you can move comfortably and quickly in, and wear minimal makeup. She suggested it because other seasoned makeup artist are tough on newbies who show up with a beat face like they know everything. (Surprise surprise). But I say it because your client needs to trust you. It’s a lot easier to convince someone you can put a shit ton of makeup on them when you have nothing on your face then it is to convince someone that you can make them look super natural when you look like you’re about to walk down the cat walk. The other wonderful nugget I took from the makeup artist for the TV show Empire, Ashunta Sherriff, was- your clients (no matter how normal or famous) are vulnerable when they sit in your chair. They hand over their confidence and image to you. If you look 500 times better than they do, the walls will go up and you’ll have a tough time getting them to trust you and fully place that confidence in you- therefore you will be completely incapable of doing your job.

Trust is everything in the makeup artist-client relationship.

I’m not suggesting that you abandon your personal style. I’m just suggesting you be sensitive to your client’s needs. When I work with powerful New Yorkers, I show up in very conservative clothes and very clean makeup. When I’m on set outside, I’m in dress shorts and a tank. When I’m doing a wedding, I’m in dark clothes with sleeves and not low cut shirt  (the bride should be the only person in white allllll day and makeup shots are always the arm and chest of the MUA, so put those puppies away). I’m always in shoes I can move quickly in. Why- because being a makeup artist is never about you. It’s always about the client. If everyone in the room is gushing over your pink hair, your fierce wingtip liner, or blue lip- you are stealing that focus. And no leading lady wants their focus stolen. Want to rock your face out? Go to a networking event. There you are a walking billboard for yourself. My last point is this: artists- people in beauty in particular- don’t have the reputation of being very business savvy and smart. So, dress in a way you will be taken seriously by the person signing the checks. Command yourself in a powerfully assertive, yet amazingly accommodating, and artistically talented manner. Each person finds this balance in a different way. But find it early and always work like, what?  -You’re going to meet your biggest client. (Have I made that point yet?)

Sure, people make a big deal about getting more girls in STEM. But you know what I want to see? More women everywhere. More women who have built something. A career, a business, a product- Something. More women who show other women that having a family and being successful aren’t mutually exclusive, but can be. Bringing the female into a role of assertion. Into leadership. Not into imitation of a male, but to be gloriously female. And this exists in beauty. It is created in beauty. It is, ultimately, Pretty Powerful.

 

Thanks for reading.

Theater, Magic, and A Tale As Old as Time.

Theater, Magic, and A Tale As Old as Time.

Community Theater is magical. Well, fine, all theater is magical. But community theater, that’s a different type of magic. 15+ hours a week, people come to the theater and work their butts of- for free. Free. Did you hear me? Free. And it’s not for lack of talent, either. Personally, I’ve been lucky enough to share a stage with people who’ve performed for a living and have had Broadway billing. I’ve also been inspired by people who’ve never been paid, but talent just oozes from them. You see, life has plans for people, and oftentimes it doesn’t include a grueling schedule of audition, tour, audition, don’t get paid, audition, pray, repeat. And that is a non-negotiable requirement for a professional performer.

I may be a little biased, but The Manatee Performing Arts Center has even more magic. Firstly, let’s discuss the facility itself. It’s what you want Morsani Hall at the Straz Center to feel like- Intimate and warm, as opposed to a gigantic hole where the price of seats should come with binocular rentals. But the stage is huge, and the fly space is vast, so the environments created on stage are beautiful and believable and a treat to the eye. And even with a restricted budget (this is community theater, remember), the costumes, sets and props fill the space to draw you into the action.

So naturally a community theater should take on the kinda sorta, unbelievably ambitious project of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (that’s the original cartoon trailer…you KNOW you want to click on that!). Naturally. Easy-peasy. Low budget friendly. Sure that sounds like a great idea! Phish….

Wait, what? You mean, a cartoon where all the characters are talking household items and an Icon Princess so strong generations of kids have dressed up as her for Halloween?? Not to mention big location changes- like provincial town to castle?? This sounds like a terrible idea- pull the plug! No way! This is going to be a disaster…..

But you know what- they did it. The Manatee Performing Arts Center DID it.

Let’s talk performances first- Belle is literally everything all us 30 something little girls at heart want her to be. She’s gorgeous. She’s sweet. She’s strong. Her voice is exactly how we remember her in the movie. She’s damn near close to perfect. Gaston- is big. I mean he’s a big dude! And his presence on stage is bigger than his stature. He’s even more ridiculously arrogant than the cartoon, and as adult little girls, we really appreciate it. We’ve grown up to be feminist women, and the last thing we want is for some chauvinistic jerk to be attractive. He hits the nail on the head. Lafou- is a carton. I’m serious, I’m not sure this guy is a real person. His physical comedy is fantastic and he is the perfect visual complement to Gaston. Beast brought us out of the cartoon and into the struggles of a character we were too young to understand. He was passionate and insecure- precisely the type of protagonist you route for. Lumiere and Cogsworth were also a perfect pair of comedic relief and entertainment. Truly laugh out loud worthy. Mrs Pots, I think had another tough role to recreate because, let’s be honest, Angela Lansbury is kinda an outlier. But her kind voice was what we expected and her crystal clear singing voice transformed the famous ballroom scene to a real life version of the movie. And Chip- omg cuteness overload, I couldn’t get enough of her. *squeal*

Production– I’ll note that I haven’t seen the Broadway version (that’s the link to the ’94 Tony’s if you want a comparison), however I feel like I know good work when I see it. 1. A++++ goes to the costume designer. The yellow ball gown and wig took my breath away. And each household item was perfectly fitted to their human counterparts. Details were paid attention to, and the result was brilliant. 2. Sets: The moving castle set piece was a wonderful response to ‘we can’t throw money at this’. It was interesting, allowed for the audience to fill it in with their imagination while also filling the stage and allowing space for actors to work. 3. Lighting added elements to this show and allowed for our imagination to wonder.

Direction– Cory always pushes his performers to the edge- especially his dancers. There are some super fun numbers in this production that had me tapping my toes and bouncing along. The other thing he’s really good at is allowing his actors to do things that feel natural while keeping the action moving. Mission accomplished, sir.

No honest review (especially of a preview performance) is complete without some constructive criticism. And this I mostly leave to the tech crew. Hopefully this is a ‘growing pains’ issue of getting the show up and running and will be fixed asap, but there were some egregious offenses that need to be addressed. Know your cues! Also as time usually fixes, props caused some logistical and cumbersome issues. Lastly, some of the chorus are young and/or inexperience/trained dancers and they are a beat (or two) off the choreography. I urge them to stay focused, keep perfecting, working together and expect nothing less than the best from themselves and each other. Do that- and the show will be super duper crisp in no time! And listen- this is community theater- it’s the place to learn and grow and get better. For first timers to fall in love. And for careers to begin. It’s imperative. It’s important. And it doesn’t translate to the stereotypical terrible high school musical. This is enjoyable entertainment.

So, GO TO THE SHOW. Support local theater. Be an audience for young kids hoping to make it big one day, and adults who love it so much they are willing to do it on top of their 40 hour work week. And beyond all that, ENJOY yourself- because it’s a wonderful evening out. Let’s be honest- Netflix will be there tomorrow.

Dates: December 1-18. Wed/Thurs: 7:30p, Fri/Sat: 8:00p, Sun: 2:00p

Location: Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Avenue West
Bradenton FL 34205

Price: $27-$37 (and not a bad seat in the house)

Tickets: You may purchase tickets by phone, in person at the Ticket Office or online.  Mon – Fri, 10 AM – 5 PM, Sat, 10 AM – 2 PM
One hour before curtain on performance days

http://www.manateeperformingartscenter.com/

 

New Group, New Experiences.

New Group, New Experiences.

In the last few years, there’s been a new trend of triathlon or endurance ‘teams’. When I first noticed it, I was content with my team of athletes that were all coached under the same local umbrella. My philosophy being that I wasn’t competitive enough to be on a team. And, honestly, wasn’t committed to the sport enough either. I mean every year, I reevaluate how ridiculously frivolous all of this is- yet somehow all very necessary.  But more and more people have joined these national groups, some connected to race organizations, some to product companies, and some just for the sake of the team. (Full disclosure, I’m still not sure what the difference between Wattie Ink and Moxie is…and why they exist in the first place…despite half my friends being on the team and attempted explanations. But they all seem to love it, so more power to ’em!) And, because I have this deep rooted belief in organic change and growth (for good or bad), I didn’t go hunting for something to join. I have 2 coaches companies worth of Teams, so it’s not like I train and race solo. (Hahahahaha… the mere thought of doing this solo makes me laugh out loud!) Don’t get me wrong, I have my opinions. I like the products I like because I’ve tried a lot of shit. I have strong beliefs and philosophies on life, politics, and philosophy. I have generally figured out where triathlon’s place in my life is. But I’m always open to new things, and new experiences. I’m constantly waiting for something to warp my world.

So, when a deeply respected friend of mine tagged me in a post to apply for a national endurance team, I stopped and read it. She and I have the same philosophies. We support the same causes. We see triathlon similarly. I knew that she wouldn’t be a part of something that didn’t fit in line with those values, therefore my values. So I looked into it with interest. Because organic growth doesn’t happen if you aren’t willing to acknowledge the open door in front of you.

The team was for Coeur Sports, a women’s specifics endurance clothing company. Now, I already had lots of experience with Coeur because, you see, I freaking love their tri shorts. When I did my full Ironman, I ordered just about every short on the market- you care how your shorts fit when you are going to be swim/bike/running in them for just over 12 hours. And Coeur beat the hell out of the competition, so I’ve been a customer ever since. The bonus with them is their commitment to women in endurance sports. The application predominantly focused on inspiration and positive energy and I truly enjoyed filling it out because it gave me an opportunity to write about things that matter to me. Clearly, I also have a strong belief in empowering women and I’m all for companies who create new options or opportunities for women- especially in sports. Just yesterday, I was told a company didn’t even offer a womens cut for a cycling kit because they weren’t allowed to order men’s and women’s under the same minimum order requirement. Uh… bullshit, but pretty much common practice. I’m delighted to see women owned and operated sports companies. That’s how things change. We change them.

So, with great pride, I’d like to scream from the rooftops, that I was accepted (out of apparently 1300 applicants) to be on the Coeur Ambassador Team. I’m not a pro, I haven’t changed my values or priorities. I’m not pretending to be something I’m not. This is simple:  I am going to stand tall as the makeup artist, wife, dog mom, business owner, musical theater performer TRIATHLETE I am and be proud to support a business that shares my values. And, I won’t lie, I can’t wait to fill my closet with great new gear!!

Thanks to Caitlin for inviting me to be apart of this and thanks to whoever said- we should put her on the team. My FB friend requests are exploding and I can’t wait to meet all these women!

Thanks for reading.

Be the change.

Be Pretty Powerful.

Why your husband, fiance, or boyfriend is the wrong person to ask about your makeup.

Over the years, I have updated and rewritten this post many times mostly because I request every Bride to Be to read it and I want it to stay fresh and relevant. This time around I want to make something very clear about how I feel about makeup right off the bat:

Makeup is not for him. It’s also not for your friends, your coworkers, the cashier at the grocery store, the bartender, or the barista. It’s not for you to be taken seriously in the boardroom, the interview room, or the office. It’s not for the world to judge you on.

Got that? 

Makeup is for you. It’s for you to feel good when you don’t. It’s for you to feel powerful when you don’t. It’s to remind yourself that you are beautiful when you don’t feel it. It’s to help you smile; stand up tall; and be a strong, beautiful, intelligent, woman.

And you don’t need makeup to be any of those things, sometimes it just helps.

 

Now that we’ve got that straight…

The Catch 22: ‘Honey, what do you think about my makeup?’

FREEZE. These are the common answers I’ve seen, and I’ve therefore come to the conclusion that there is no right answer to this question.

  • Response Option 1, The Affirmation: ‘Wow, you look super sexy!!’ Now, tell me this isn’t what goes through your mind: Hmm…maybe he’d prefer me to wear more makeup than I normally do? What about this does he find sexy anyway? {the train continues….} Does he want me to look like this all the time? {it starts to speed up…} What if he doesn’t like it when I don’t wear any?? {The irrational thought….} Doesn’t he think I’m sexy with nothing on my face??????  #fail
  • Response Option 2, The Supportive: ‘You’re beautiful without any makeup.’ It’s meant as a compliment; he thinks you’re beautiful- of course he does! But all the sudden the doubt and self-consciousness within us overrides good judgment. Now the makeup you felt confident and beautiful in has dulled a little; maybe even made you feel a bit garish. Or rebellious, as though to say- I don’t care what you want- I’m wearing this makeup, goddammit!  Annnnddd I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his intended reaction.
  • How about Option 3, The Clueless: ‘That’s a lot of makeup.’ Face palm. Maybe it’s not even a lot of makeup…maybe he wouldn’t even have noticed if you didn’t ask him. But you caught him on the spot and he didn’t know what to do and now, you’re left with nothing- not feeling pretty, not feeling rebellious, nothing. And he’s in ‘fix it’ mode….not a good start to the evening.

Asking a man (yes, every single man…stay with me here…) about your makeup will get you a response that comes without experience. Because no man alive has ever lived in a society that allows them the luxury of having makeup to be an accepted form of self expression. Even male makeup artists will never know what it’s like to be a woman with a deep social understanding of makeup. It is a luxury that we, as women, have this option, this element, that we can use to our advantage at all times. Maybe sometimes it’s a hassle (so is taking your luxury car to the shop when it needs serviced), but when we get a pimple, have a bad night sleep or get sunburned- makeup is there to fix it for us. Honestly, I’ve always felt bad for guys- they have to walk around with it all in broad daylight, no matter how they feel about it! The option isn’t even there for them to try. For all the reason I stated above that I believe makeup is for- it does not apply to men. That’s why I call it a luxury.

If you want an opinion- ask a woman you trust with the same style as you. They will tell you- ‘Lighten up on the black eyeliner’ or ‘That is a great blush color.’ or ‘Your skin looks great/ashy/shiny/matte.’ This is constructive feedback (for you and your makeup artist) because they know the dynamics of makeup in the first place and they know what is causing the effects. Therefore, you won’t be left with vague feelings, and together we can get you to the look that you love.

And here’s the thing about makeup: if you love what you look like, you will look amazing. Because confidence is more powerful than any wax or powder. And after all these years, I could write a book about the transformation my work takes on when the person wearing it puts life into it. It’s one of the most satisfying moments of my job.

So if you’re coming to sit in my chair- leave the guys at home. Take the opportunity to spend some time with your mom, sister, or girlfriend. Or have some solo time getting pampered. I, for one, won’t let you leave looking a hot mess!

If you’re coming for a wedding makeup trial, definitely leave the guys at home- he doesn’t even know what your dress looks like, how on Earth do you expect him to help you decide on what you’re face is going to look like?? Take him to the cake tasting instead. He’ll thank you. Here’s the thing: Every single groom I’ve ever seen has thought his bride was beautiful as she walked down the aisle. So don’t worry about him; he’s already in love.

 

Thanks for reading.

Makeup is pretty powerful.