Not long ago, I was helping a bride get dressed for her wedding. More specifically, I was helping her to lace up her corset. Sidebar: I’m actually pretty good at lacing up corsets. Because I am who I am (I love pomp and circumstance), I make an entire production of it too. I tell a bride that I need two attendants to help her get dressed. So, while Mom watches, I have her bend over to position the girls. Then, I get the two bridesmaids to stand on either side of her to hold her steady while I pull. I let her know that the first couple of pulls are the most important because if it’s too lose when we start we can’t fix it at end without taking it a part completely. Thus, the goal is to make sure she can breathe, wiggle a bit and maybe even jump (we don’t care too much about sitting!)….and to make sure the girls looks like they are sitting up on a shelf (Think Jill Scot and Patti LaBelle).
As I tied the final knot in her corset, I thought, “there are far too many people who follow traditions that they don’t truly value.” At a minimum, I would encourage people to at least create personal stories to go along with the various traditions they choose to honor rather than doing it “just because”. For example, and call me a cynic, why wear white when your children are at the wedding unless you really like that color? I know many women who only chose to wear other colors because they have experienced divorce. What gives?! So, you can take your non-virgin self down the aisle in a white dress, but you’re “tarnished” after a divorce and opt for beige?
In a world where most wedding symbolism is only for show, why not create stories and moments that will help you look back on your wedding preparations, ceremony and various activities with joy, love, intrigue, pride and personal significance woven completely throughout? So, as I helped my bride get dressed, I thought about how much headache it was going to be for her husband to undo that last knot and thought, “wouldn’t it be a great tradition if one of his wedding gifts was a pair of sharp engraved scissors for the purpose of cutting the corset ribbon?” Rather than spending time trying to undo that little bitty knot, just cut the ribbon, particularly when cutting just the ribbon doesn’t mean destroying the dress. Note the picture above: if the man just cuts the black part, the corset ribbon, that can easily be replaced. The groom could create a story about how he delicately undressed his bride (assuming he isn’t drunk and doesn’t cut the woman and the ribbon). If the family values chastity, remnants of the ribbon could be given to the children (note: not just the daughters).
There are lots of things this couple could do to create their own traditions; however, it must start with a commitment to writing their own story. In my not-so-humble opinion, many couples struggle because they do marriage they way they think other people are doing or have done it. Your marriage/relationship must tell the tale of your unique love affair and through the vision you’ve set for it.
What will be your love story? What matters to you?
Today, I went to church. I didn’t go because I was excited about the message. I went to church because Mrs. Kate died. Ironically, I’ve been reading Stephen Covey materials, The 7 Habits (google Habit 2).
Ms. Kate was one of my grandmother’s friends from church. She was 83 years old and passed suddenly. Given that I grew up with my grandmother, there were many days when I came home from school to find my grandmother and Ms. Kate talking and sharing a drink (whereas I drink wine, “Grandma nem” were big dawgs and drank that other stuff).
When I left for college, Ms. Kate gave me a towels. When my grandma died, she gave me solace with a quiet hug. The last time I saw her, she gave me love straight from her heart.
Again, Ms. Kate died last Sunday and was buried yesterday; thus, I went to church today. Although I live many miles and hours from my family and childhood church home, I attended her service virtually through Facebook pictures and my imagination. I can hear Ms. Jeanette hit that high note and the Anointed Voices of Zion singing Home Over the Mountain. I can see the serving line in the fellowship hall during the repast. I can see Ms. Kate’s children, particularly Barbara and Earnestine and the host of her grandkids and other family members. Home-sickness sat in my stomach like a boulder.
I went to church because Ms. Kate died, and her funeral made me see how she had nurtured such wonderful relationships over her life. I left home in my early 20s, have moved across the country twice and feel quite transient. I feel like I could pick up and leave tomorrow and nary would a tear be shed. Then, it occurred to me that I’ve built this life, this life of shallow attachments…and I can build a better one. I realized that I am not just home-sick; I am love-sick. Since, I happen to like the people at church, why not start with them?
I shall not have a small funeral. There will be tons of people there. By “people”, I don’t simply mean that I want a large number of attendants at my funeral. Rather, I mean, I want lots of people, people who I genuinely touched and interacted with to come to my home-going service. I want one of those Old Zion services where they had to put extra chairs (the metal folding ones) on the sides of the pews. And they will cry…and cry hard. My funeral would be a total fail if the only people who come are “colleagues” (I feel the same way about people who have large weddings full of colleagues). Where are the people who love you and who you have loved?
In the hustle and bustle of trying to build my life, I worry that I don’t make “life-building” and “relationship-building” enough of a priority. I think somewhere in my mind I think that it’ll happen on its own. Deep down, I think I know that isn’t true. Yes, chemistry between people is organic; however, relationships require investment if they are to thrive.
While on my way to church, I called my favorite aunt (never mind the fact that I have three favorite aunts). Ms. Kate, thank you for reminding me that I must water the flowers in my life. Starting with the end in mind…
I decided to try a new wine and chose this one. I would describe it as smooth and a bit spicy without any after taste. Interestingly, I would also describe it as hollow. It tasted like the wine itself was empty with spices on top. I would say the liquid was a delivery mechanism for the spices. It was almost as if the tannins were largely masked (Tannins alone can taste bitter, but some tannins in wine are less bitter than others. Also, other elements of the wine, such as sweetness, can mask the perception of bitterness. You sense tannin — as bitterness or as firmness or richness of texture — mainly in the rear of your mouth and, if the amount of tannin in a wine is high, on the inside of your cheeks and on your gums. Depending on the amount and nature of its tannin, you can describe a red wine as astringent, firm, or soft (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-tannin-affects-red-wines-taste.html)).
I wondered if full-bodied wines have a higher alcohol content than lighter wines because I felt it almost immediately, and I drank only the quantity seen in the picture on the left. So, I looked it up and found that the alcohol content doesn’t simply vary according to the what the manufacturer wants to me. Indeed, the alcohol-content increases from light to full body. Wines Under 12.5% alcohol (the alcohol percentage should always be written on the wine’s label) are said to light-bodied. These are generally the white wines we think of as crisp and refreshing. Good examples of these wines are Riesling, Italian Prosecco and Vinho Verde. Wines between 12.5% and 13.5% are considered medium-bodied. Good examples of these wines are Rose, French Burgundy, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.Finally, any wine over 13.5% alcohol is considered full-bodied. Some wines that are normally over this alcohol level and considered full-bodied are Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec. While the majority of wines over 13.5% alcohol are usually red, Chardonnay is a great example of a white that often can also be considered full-bodied (http://vinepair.com/wine-101/wine-body-guide/).
Despite the wee bit of sleet that my South Jersey friends and I experienced on tax day, I do believe spring is trying to kick in! While we wait for it, I encourage you to start obtaining your skincare appointments now! This is the ideal time for treatments like chemicals and aggressive at-home regimens that include Vitamin A and other exfoliating acids. As the mercury soars, you’ll want to be more careful about what you put on your skin as many products will increase your propensity for sunburn and irritation.
Consider this: the body’s outermost layers of skin functions as both a protective barrier to keep disease and other “unwanteds” outside the body. Those same layers of skin simultaneously function as the body’s first line of defense against sunburn. Meanwhile, it is these layers of skin that are also impacted most by skincare treatments and products! In order to prevent acne, reduce signs of aging, and address a host of other skin challenges, the outermost layers of skin are thinned out or completely removed with various acids, treatments, and scrubs! The hotter the weather, the more you want to be cautious about these treatments in light of your lifestyle and everyday routine! Sunscreen is a must as is protective clothing, like hats and light gauzy clothing, when you know you’re going to be outside.
Help me take care of your skin! Now, here’s the second part of the skincare situation: Skincare treatments are great for helping you address skincare problems like hyperpigmentation (dark marks) and acne; however, it is best if you think of them like a boost to your daily routine. In fact, you can undermine your skincare treatments when you skip effective daily care! Or, look at it this way: you could see more benefits from your treatments when you couple them with a consistent home-care system. Although there are lots of steps and products that you could include in your skincare regimen, minimally, you should have the following items: 1) cleanser; 2) sunscreen; and an 3) exfoliant. Whether you add additional products depends on your particular skincare challenges. Personally, I recommend skincare products by Circadia. While I love the entire line, there is a special place in my heart for their sunscreen! If you have any questions, ask me about it!
Did you know that people who have hay fever, eczema, asthma also have an increased propensity toward eczema and asthma. Yup, if you have one of these, there’s a good chance that you have one of the others! Have you found this to be true among your friends and fam?
FYI – During the summer, cream-to-powder eye shadows are your friend! Makeup Forever and Stila have great products. Additionally, this is the time to begin taking care of your skin, if you haven’t already, because full coverage foundation and sweat do not mix well. Your summer day-time look should be as fresh as possible. So, if your skin is clear and even, you’ll feel more confident with less makeup! Contact me today to discuss your skincare needs!
Welcome to SPRING!!!!
Check out this season’s makeup trends! Which ones will you rock?
1) Berry lipstick
2) Orange lipstick
3) Blue eyeshadow
4) Cat eyes
5) White eyeshadow
6) Gilded lids (gold eyeshadow)
7) Glowing skin
8) A pop of green
True or False: Your daily skincare routine is more useful than facials!
The answer is true! Think of your daily skincare routine in the same vein as you would regular work outs. Think of facials like boot camp or a jump-start; they are good to have; however, how you take care of your skin daily matters most! Now, inbox me about when you can schedule a consultation!
Pretty Faces & Beautiful Souls…………..About those pimples that you can feel, but can’t see (yet): DON’T pop them! If it feels like a painful knot INSIDE your face, let it be! If you have a spot treatment, use that! However, squeezing it will only make it more painful and may cause bruising and dark marks. If you’re feeling the beginning of a cystic acne breakout, squeezing only pushes the infection further into your skin. STOP IT! NOW!