Friday, May 15, 2009

Beauty Secrets

I knew Mom was my beauty-partner-in-crime the day she took me to get my ears pierced.

After years of pleading tears and pitiful begging, I had managed to convince my parents that having a couple of little gold balls in my lobes would not be the first step on a path to teen pregnancy or delinquency. I promise-promise-promised that, even with holes in my ears, I would still choose good friends, be on the Honor Roll and clean my room.

(And, actually, I'd probably do these things a whole lot more effectively with the added confidence and self-assurance one can only achieve wearing a pair of green, plastic m&m studs.)

Whatever the argument, Mom gave in. Or maybe she just let me think she was giving in. It was my twelfth birthday and I got her all to myself as we drove to Castleton's Department Store for the Big Event.

(Moment of silence in memory of Castleton's, please. You SLC gals of a certain age know what I'm talking about. Was it not THE place to shop? Smaller than ZCMI, classier than Penney's and the nicest salesladies, ever. You could pay for your entire back-to-school wardrobe of Espirit camp shirts and chunky cotton vests with mountains of crumpled babysitting dollar bills and they wouldn't bat an eye!)

Anyway, Mom walked me to the jewelry department, held my hand while the deed was done and then (wonder of wonders!) announced that she'd like her ears pierced, too. The rest of the summer we were religious about using hydrogen peroxide and twisting our studs. We went earring shopping together, too. I felt beautiful and grown up and thrilled that I was sharing it all with Mom--the most glamorous woman I knew.

I think my mom was smart to share beauty secrets with her daughters. While other mothers were tsk-tsking about miniskirts and Maybelline, Mom would sit down at the kitchen table with a stack of fashion magazines and clothing catalogs. While her teenage boys were drawn to the Doritos in the pantry, her teenage daughters were drawn to J.Crew and marie claire. As we girls flipped casually through the pages , Mom was subtly sharing classic style secrets, encouraging modest clothing choices, and getting the lowdown on life at the high school. It's amazing the profoundly life-changing discussions that can occur while leafing through the Nordstrom summer shoe circular.

Instead of treating makeup like forbidden fruit, Mom took me to the Clinique counter. She spent hours looking for clothes to suit my hard-to-fit shape. We got our colors "done" together and took an aerobics class and made facials out of eggwhite. I had so much fun with Mom that I forgot I was supposed to be a teenage rebel. Of course, I made plenty of hair and fashion mistakes (it was the Eighties, after all) and, of course, my mom was still the Strictest Mother Alive when it came to being home on time, respecting adult authority and helping around the house.

But it's a whole lot more fun helping around the house when you're wearing navy blue mascara.

This Mother's Day my mom gave me a beauty book. It's fun and light and helpful and the perfect kind of reading when you're sitting at baseball practice or waiting for piano lessons to end. The book is full of tips and products and fun "insider" stories. Still, all my tried-and-true glamour tips come from Mom. Here are a few of the beauty secrets she taught me:
  1. Red shoes go with everything.
  2. Spend the most money on the clothes you wear most often.
  3. An organized closet will save time, money and space. (Check out her closet...she practices what she preaches!)
  4. If you're old enough to wear makeup, you're old enough to wash it off every night.
  5. Don't try to look like anyone else. Emphasize your own beauty assets.
  6. Beauty is not about size or age, it's about style and attitude.
  7. The goal of looking your best is to feel confident, forget yourself and focus on others.

What are your beauty secrets?


Lindsey said...

Gab! Your momma sounds like one great woman, and being the mom of now TWO daughters, I love this post! It is a good reminder about how to make this crazy immodest world an ok place to be. :)

marta said...

gabi, you and i are thinking on the same page.. BEAUTY SECRETS are my next panel series. whooohoo!

gotta love the millions we have spent on makeup. beauty isn't skin deep, but i still wear lipstick to the gym these days.

Christie said...

Your mom is so fabulous. How much do I love her? Such great inspiration for a me having daughter already obsessed with clothes, jewelery, and fashion.

Emy5 said...

This is good for me to read, having a thirteen year old daughter. Your mom is s good example.

I don't really have any beauty secrets as such, but I really need my beauty sleep at night!

Annemarie said...

I am excited about that book! I love that you have these memories with your mom. I have some similar memories with my mom, especially the time she splurged on an Esprit outfit (even shoes!) for the first day of 9th grade.

Jenibelle said...

I worship your mother from afar (sometimes I feel like a stalker!)
now my idol worship is more cemented.

Jenibelle said...

Oh...and my other taught me that you ALWAYS wear mascara and lipstick, it's the female version of throwing unfolded laundry back in the dryer or cleaning the bathroom mirror so the whole room looks clean....a quick fix!!!

♥Shally said...

Love the red shoe advice!

I still need to work on the washing make-up off at night...

Lauren in GA said...

Oh, Gabi...this post took me way, way, way back. I remember Espirit, J. Crew and blue mascara.

I love how you wrote about it. What a great Mom you have.

Holly said...

Your mom is so wise--and she would be soooo fun to go shopping with. Lucky you!

I agree about the red shoes, they perk everything up. I feel better when I have at least a little of *my face* on even if I'm just around the house (I don't always do it though).

brooke said...

I can attest your mom is awesome and classy and well-dressed. I hope to be the kind of mom your mom (and my mom) were when my daughter becomes a teen-ager. This was a great post. I'm printing it out and keeping it!

Claire Wessel said...

Dang. Your MOM blogs?? Mine is still considering playing a game of solitaire on the computer at her job! hahaha Well, her blog is as cool as yours! I guess I have another blog to read now :) Your mom and I seem to share philosophies on beauty, so I don't have anything to add (except that I don't have a closet even remotely approaching the organization that she has going on, and my bracelets have all been stolen by my toddler, so I don't wear those anymore!)

Ilene said...

My beauty tip: Take lots of pictures of yourself with your kids. They are so cute that they can help distract from any flaws on your own person.

Secret: On my wedding I grabbed some water-proof mascara. I thought it was the black bottle but it turned out to be dark blue. Luckily you can't tell in my wedding photos. I'm such a dork.

diane said...

So just today my baby girl and I sat on the couch while thumbing through magazines and discussing what is cool at High School these days. She even let me fix her hair like one we found in a mag. I got the inside scoop and we bonded a bit.

My mom taught me to never leave the house without some bling and you can tell a lot about someone based on their choice of shoes. Maybe why I'm obsessde with shoes.

I love your Mom's newest accessory, the yellow bike.

My beauty secret...botox baby. Plus lots of sunscreen.

Travelin'Oma said...

You make our life sound so fun! I'm glad you remember it that way, because the reality was a little more real.

You started giving me tips on what not to wear when you were only about three, and since you were my only female roommate, I listened. All that I am, or ever hope to be, is a result of your style guidance.

Melissa-Mc said...

No beauty secrets, but in my teenage years I was a huge fan of electric blue mascara.

Kara Jayne said...

Are you kidding me?! Castleton's was THE BOMB and was where I got my ears pierced too! I remember it well...and my Mom was my partner in crime also. I was supposed to wait until I was 8, and she surprised me and took me 4 months before my birthday. I felt so spoiled and special.

What great advice for moms and daughters.

Lara said...

I enjoyed reading this post. It reminded me of my experience of getting my ears pierced for the first time. Like you I had to beg my parents and so at age 12 they took me into the college cosmetology to get it done and my mom decided to get her ears pierced too! I thought it was so funny - but we had fun together looking for new earings and helping each other out with our new studs.

polly said...

your mom was also my clothing stylist. I couldn't wait until she went to school, so I could sneak into her closet and "borrow" some darling outfit. (her closet was well organized back then too) she always knew when I got in there!

calibosmom said...

You have a very cool mom! My tips: moisturizer AM & PM, layer clothing, great shoes, a smile on your face!

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