Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Questions, More Answers

Ask The Pretend Goddess

*Pretend Goddess, 
I'm throwing a holiday party in my home next weekend. I invited many people but only people I consider a friend. I invited co-workers and friends I have outside of work. Apparently, a co-worker that I did not invite found out and approached me at work about my upcoming party. She seemed hostile and angry that I didn't include her. She told me she would have invited me and that she was hurt. I told her I was sorry and pretended I was in a hurry and walked away without talking to her further. I avoided her when I saw her yesterday. Did I make a mistake by not including all co-workers? 

A: You only made a mistake if you're the boss. If you're the boss then you don't include your employees in a holiday party that takes place outside of the office. The exception is if all employees are invited. Then I would keep it in the office or a public space. 

However, you said co-worker so I'm assuming you are not the boss. You are though in a delicate situation because now you have a co-worker, someone you probably see and have some sort of relationship with on a daily basis who is upset with you, which has already affected your work environment. With that said, no, you did not make a mistake by not including this person. You said in your question you only invited people you "consider a friend" and the fact that this person confronted you about it at work tells me you made the right call. First of all, you never confront someone you have a personal issue with at work. If you had any friendship with your co-worker outside of the office, I'd think they'd ask you about it outside of the office or via email so not to be in ear shot of would-be gossipy co-workers. 

Unless there is some office policy against socializing outside of work, you are entitled to invite who you want. You really don't owe this person any explanation but since you work together and I presume you'd like your working environment to be pleasant, then I suggest you address the fact that she was not invited. You won't be able to avoid her forever. 

Keep it short, direct, and don't be overly nice. You are, after all, a little put off by the hostile approach. I'm going to assume you are, as I would be. You never know who the crazies are. This person sounds a little too intense for my taste. Send an email. Simply write: "I apologize that you are upset that you were not included in my holiday festivities. Space is limited and I chose to only include those who I have a personal relationship with outside of the office. Thank you for your understanding." Had you been approached differently, my advice would be different. 

*I've been engaged for over four months and my wedding is in less than two months. No one has offered to throw me a shower. I'm surprised that my best-friend hasn't offered. I was engaged twice before. She threw one and co-hosted the other. Since it doesn't appear that anyone is going to throw me a shower, can I throw one for myself?

A: I have to first note that I've been staring at your question for ten minutes. Not because I don't have an answer, but because I'm genuinely worried about your state of mind and your narcissism. Okay, no, you do not throw yourself a shower. That's tacky. Do you blame your friend for not throwing you a shower? Give your friend a break, and dear misguided reader, you're lucky she's still your friend. Instead of wondering why no one is throwing you a shower, you need to start examining yourself. I believe you have issues. You're on engagement number three. Why? Ever make it down the aisle or do you just like people throwing you parties and receiving free kitchen goods? With two previous showers down, I'd say you have enough place settings and blenders and don't need anymore. 

*Pretend Goddess, I wear white after Labor Day but people tell me you can't wear white in the winter. I say they're wrong. Who's right?

A: You are. Tell your friends to pick up a Vogue every now and then. Heard of the color, winter white? Even regular white is acceptable. To clarify if I may, your stark white denim, cotton capri pants, and white shorts should remain put away as should your white sandals. Last week I wore a white cashmere sweater from this season. Common sense with all clothes. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Smokey Eye or the Bold Pout?

Perfect eyes

I'm not saying you have to choose between having smokey, smoldering eyes or a brightly painted lip, you can have both. Granted if your goal is to look like a Joan Collins reject or a low-class call girl, then yes, by all means cake it all on. 
Now, there are always legitimate exceptions to every rule. Drag queens on stage, those attending red carpet events or a runway model can get away with bold eyes and lips. I'll even say you, on occasion, can get away with both, but darling, if you don't know how to do it properly and are not familiar with the phrase "less is more" or how to tone both down a bit, then you can't wear the look so don't even try as you will fail. 


I can't tell you how many times I'm at a store or restaurant and see such horrid make-up offenses. My maternal arms want to give the misguided offender a hug. I then of course want to wipe their make-up off and drag them caveman-style to my headquarters and show them the error of their ways. Oh dear readers, it's all about color selection and application. 

Just last summer I admired the lipstick that a friend of mine was wearing. She's a little tanner than I but we both have the same color hair and eyes. I didn't even test the lipstick before I bought it. Shame on me! When I stood in front of my mirror and applied the nude lipstick, I gasped. Yuck! I looked like a washed-out corpse. 
I suppose I thought nude lipsticks are created equally, though I should know better. There are pink, peach, brown, mauve, and many other shades of nude. You must know which ones are best for you. 

Until you find your perfect nude, this works: if you look at the color of the inside of your bottom lip, that is your color. You want that color enhanced. Don't match it completely. Use it as a springboard, if you will. Take that color and take it up only slightly. Day or night, that color lipstick will work despite what you choose for your eyeshadow, without fail. Personally, I prefer a sheer lipstick. My go to is Chantecaille's Tea Rose. On me, it is a cross between a sheer natural light red/pink. While not usually a fan of gloss, and I don't consider this collection a true gloss, I'm quite fond of Laura Mercier's Mini Lip Collection in Soft Nudes. The collection is great for all skin types. There is a pink, peach, brown, and mauve color in the collection and all match my skin type. Try it. Might be a great collection for you as well. Just dab a little on the center of your bottom lip and pat all the way around, smack your lips, and there you go. 

Nudes and sheer colored lips are perfect for the smokey eye look. If you cover your entire lid with any color without defining and blending, you have failed. 

I highly recommend asking a friend who knows how to apply make-up to teach you the correct techniques or ask them who they know who applies make-up well. Most people will know someone. If you were to ask me, I'd show you. After I lose my patience with you and I inevitably would, I'd send you to one of two people. The first woman is who I buy my make-up from here in Dallas. She works at a certain counter and will get whatever I need from four or five different counters. She can also tell me who knows how to apply make-up and who just sells lipstick, if you know what I mean. The other woman is a make-up artist in Dallas. I'm lucky, I have a trusted make-up saleswoman and access to a make-up artist who taught me a few application tricks and how to correctly buy make-up.

Department store saleswomen or men are sometimes helpful with the application. One made me look like a hooker and one did a fantastic job (making me not look like a hooker). Both tried selling me an assortment of products with each stroke of their make-up brush. Stay quiet and let them finish. If they don't do what you asked, simply cross them off your list, wash your face and maybe try again with someone else. A little advice if I may, you don't have to layer on the mascara for the smokey eye look. One "artist" thought creating tarantula eyelashes were key to the look. It's not. 

Like I said, I've had bad experiences and good. I hesitate to say to go straight to a make-up counter and ask them to do your make-up. I don't care what you say, their job is to sell you the products they sell. It is important to note that just because they sell make-up doesn't mean for a second that they know how to apply make-up. I assure you of that. Ask them. That's key. Tell the person behind the glass counter what look you are trying to achieve and who their best artist is and make an appointment to see them. Rule of thumb: a good make-up artist uses more than one brand. 

I must digress even further from the original point of the post for a moment. If you are at the Chanel counter at your department store to buy a must eyeliner (Precision Eye Definer), your sales associate can go to other brand counters to get anything you request. They work on commission and want your business and for you to be a return client. Don't be afraid to say to the Chanel associate that you'd like to try say the Trish McEvoy Barely There Essential Lip Pencil, which is a must anyway. It's a chubby lip pencil/lipstick and it belongs in your make-up bag. My point is, don't feel pressured to buy all your make-up from one counter. 

While I encourage certain drugstore brands, it is rather difficult to test lipsticks when there are no testers and no one there to tell you that you're blind. Same goes with eyeliners. You want an eyeliner that is easy to apply and blend. It should go on smoothly without force. Blending your eyeliner is key to creating the perfect smokey look. And you really need to play with different colors under the right light and mirror. You won't know if the color is right if you're judging the color based on how it looks in plastic wrapping at your local drugstore. Regarding eyeliner, if you have to pull your eyelid to apply the liner, then it's not right. It's not the best pencil for blending. Though I will say that Revlon has a great budget friendly eyeliner. It goes on smoothly and is true to color. 

To save money at the make-up counter, I like to buy eye shadow palettes with the shades I wear most. Neutrals for day and anywhere from grays to plum shades for evening. 

When I choose a bold red lip for a night out, I like to use creamy light eyeshadows with a dark liner. Laura Mercier cream shadows have a classic look. They pair well with not only the right shade of red but will also work with most any lip color. Please know, that not all reds are the same. My best red is one with blue undertones, yours may not. 
Two of the above Laura Mercier brand eye shadows that blend well together and look great on most skin types are: Platinum and Gold. With that said, I encourage you to test for yourself. 

Pale skin tones cannot always wear the same colors that someone with olive skin can wear. Everyone can wear nude lips, though. I promise! There is a nude color made for every skin tone. I can't stress that enough. 
Everyone and I mean everyone, even red heads, can wear red lipstick (if it's the correct red), and everyone can have the smokey eyes. If you don't know how to do it, then wait until you learn. You may have to try several different make-up artists or read a few how-to's but you'll get it. 

Jennifer Lopez can sometimes get things right

Hilary Duff 

The infamous home-wrecker  (Angelina Jolie) does know her make-up
or her make-up artist does. 

I dislike Kim Kardashian's make-up
more times than not (see below) but this time she got it right. 

WRONG!! This doesn't work. Best example of tarantula eyes. 

For tips about eyeshadow techniques I recommend these two sites:

Chanel Precision Eye Definer

Some of my chosen products: 
Laura Mercier Eye Basics
Trish McEvoy Beauty Emergency Card For Eyes
Laura Mercier Metallic Cream Eye Color

Chanel Professional Eyeliner Duo

Trish McEvoy The Essential Pencil
Cover Girl LashBlast Volume Mascara

Laura Mercier Portable Palette (Warm Neutrals)
Chanel Luminous Intense Lip Color
Laura Mercier Soft Nudes
Chantecaille "Lip Chic" Lip Color