I still hate you, Christina Aguilera, but you have an excellent song

There’s a scene from Mean Girls (one of my favorite movies of ALL TIMES) that’s pretty poignant (no, not “You go, Glenn Coco” or, my personal favorite “You smell like a baby prostitute”).

Damien is singing at the school’s holiday pageant (not very well), but clearly giving it his all, despite being booed and heckled. Hell, he even gets sassy in the middle of the song and fights back.

While it’s clearly a very funny scene (um, hello, isn’t ALL of Mean Girls basically perfect?), there’s a certain seriousness to it.

Some may not get it.

But I do.

A few months ago, my one of my perennial favorite ladies, Jennifer Weiner, wrote an essay in Allure Magazine called “The F Word”. The dreaded word so many women beat themselves up over (and over and over again)? Fat. After past-his-prime critic Rex Reed insulted actress Melissa McCarthy by calling her “tractor-sized” and a “female hippo” last week, (and his refusal to apologize), I wanted to share J-Wein’s gem of an essay.

Jen gets it. We’re chubby soul sisters.

To summarize (but really, just go and read it for yourself—it’s worth spending a few minutes), Weiner recalls a recent conversation with her nine-year-old daughter, Lucy. Lucy is complaining about a “frenemy” (come on ladies—we all had/have them) and in explaining why she doesn’t like this girl, she says, “She’s mean, she’s bad at math, she’s terrible at kickball. And…she’s fat.”

Weiner, who calls herself “a size 16 on a good day,” then is forced to have a talk with her “blithe, leggy, honey-blonde daughter,” about using the “f word.” Weiner explains, “I’d spent the nine years since her birth getting ready for this day, the day we’d have to have the conversation about this dreaded, stinging word. I had a well-honed, consoling speech at the ready. I knew exactly what to say to the girl on the receiving end of the taunts and the teasing, but in all of my imaginings, it never once occurred to me that my daughter would be the one who used the F word. Fat.”

Weiner then recounts her own struggles (and shame) with her weight. In reading it, I saw myself. In recalling incidents from her life, I cried. I cried for Jennifer. I cried for every girl who has ever been taunted, mocked or made to feel she’s ugly, unworthy or unlovable. And I cried for myself. But, in truth, I didn’t need to read Jennifer’s accounts of her life. I’ve lived it.

I’ve struggled with my weight for nearly as long as I can remember. And, like Jennifer, I’ve never been at a point in my life when I haven’t been keenly aware of my size. A particular passage of her essay stuck with me:

There are five girls named Jennifer making their way across the Promised Land with my group that summer. “Oh, not the fat Jennifer,” I hear one of my tour mates saying matter-of-factly to another as we hang out by our kibbutz swimming pool, holding his hands out a good foot away from his hips to indicate my girth, “the other one.” So that is me: not the Jennifer who loves to read, or who listens to the Smiths and is the most sought-after babysitter in town. Not the Jennifer on the honor roll, the one who can swim a mile without stopping: the fat one.

I am incandescent with shame, knowing that fat is, by far, the worst thing you can be. Fat is lazy, fat is gross, fat is sloppy…and, worst of all, fat is forever. Michelle has a full-on Frida Kahlo moustache. Kim has terrible skin. But Michelle could wax and Kim could go on Accutane; I am going to be fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

It’s like Jennifer got into my brain, pulling out all of the fears, insecurities, and feelings I had supressed for most of my life. And she nailed it. I’m not Stacey with a killer sense of humor, who loves to read, and listen the Black Keys and Grace Potter and is great at her job. No, those things aren’t important. I’m Stacey—the fat one. That’s the only identifier that matters. And, for a long long LONG time, I believed that.

Jen managed to put down what every girl struggling with her weight is afraid of: I am going to be fat—and, hence, undesirable, unlovable, a walking joke—for the rest of my life.

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you’re so vaaaaiiiinnn…

When I was little, my favorite doll (aside from my beloved Barbies), was “Little Miss Makeup”

teaching "lil" girls of the 80s how to apply blue eyeshadow!

As you can see,  LMM came with a sweet jumpsuit that turned into an even sweeter dress/leggings combo (I’m pretty sure I tried to replicate the outfit. Multiple times) and a sassy bow for her hair. By applying cold water to her face, “makeup” magically appeared (eyeshadow, mascara, blush, lipstick, etc.). I loved this doll so much that I went through TWO of them (and I bet if I looked through old boxes of stuff in the basement, I could unearth one).

I was eight years old and completely and totally obsessed with makeup.

I loved playing around with my mother’s makeup, giving myself, my sister (and probably on occasion, my brother) and all of my friends “makeovers” that usually consisted of blue eyeshadow to the eyebrow, hot pink lipstick and more blush than Tammy Faye Bakker (Rest In Peace, Mama Makeup). Being a kid, I thought the “Mimi from Drew Carey” look was a good, nay EXCELLENT look.

beauty inspiration!

But, as I’ve grown up and my taste level has (slightly) improved, that doesn’t mean that I’m not still utterly smitten with cosmetics. Gone is the frosty blue eyeshadow, but my devotion to cosmetics hasn’t waned.

I suppose that makes me a little vain. But I would just like to point out that wanting to look your best and helping others feel great about themselves isn’t exactly the pinnacle of vanity. I like to (and help my girlfriends) look in mirror and go “daaaayyuuummmnn, I look HOT!” It gives you an extra boost of confidence and an extra bounce in your step. Feeling beautiful is something EVERY woman should experience and I believe that a little lip gloss and mascara can give you that boost. I definitely don’t advocate only being concerned with your appearance and not your mind or spirit (because then you would be Paris Hilton or Heidi Montag and then I would be forced to hate you), but I don’t think that caring about how you look (or getting excited about the new Marc Jacobs perfume) automatically revokes your membership in the “Feminist Club.”

So today, I thought I’d start something new that I’d like to call “Stacey’s Top Ten ____” (insert random category). Everything is fair game from songs and movies to legendary gaffes and people.

Today’s is (surprise!) all about my ten FAVORITE makeup items right now (in no particular order)

1.  Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation

 I am a foundation junkie—I LOVE it and I am forever changing brands and allegiances. Bare Minerals was my go-to…until I found this liquid foundation. OMG, I am in love. It’s not a full-coverage foundation, so if you’re looking for something that’s going to cover EVERYTHING, look elsewhere. But if you are looking for something that will hide minor imperfections and give you the prettiest lit-from-within, your-skin-but-better, J-Lo worthy glow, this is your product. I don’t exactly understand what they’ve put into the product (something about light-refractures), but whatever it is, it works.

2. MAC mineralize skinfinish natural

 My favorite powder, hands down. What I love MOST about it is that it can be worn alone as a light-coverage powder foundation but it’s still lightweight enough to use as a setting powder. I use it both ways, depending on what look I’m going for that day (I hate a full face of makeup when I’m just running to the post office or to Target). Because I don’t have SUPER oily/shiny skin (and I spent ridiculous amounts of money on products that promise to make me dewy-faced), I don’t like matte powders. I like them to have a little “something-something” to them (precisely why I swore by the mica-filled bare minerals for so many years!). This gives you a gorgeous glow without making you look like a glitterbomb exploded on your face. I like using a big, fluffy brush, but I think a sponge applicator would probably work well too.

3. Nars Sin/Casino duo

 Kind of a cop out, since there are two separate products, but I’m counting it as one anyway. I love love love Nars products. Their colors and pigment/quality are INSANE. Seriously. I’ve had the same blush in “orgasm” for like four years and even with a lot of use, there’s still a TON of product left. A little goes a looooong way. Nars has two blush/bronzer duos—this one and the Laguna/Orgasm. I’m a huge fan of both Orgasm and Laguna, but I’m a recent convert to this one. Sin (the blush) is a light, shimmery plummy-rose color and Casino (the bronzer) is a nice medium warm bronzey color with a hint of shimmer. Worn together you’ll be the prettiest, glowiest and most gorgeously bronzed girl on the block.

4. MAC cream color base in Hush

 I know everyone always goes bananas over MAC’s “Pearl” CCB, but I like the champagney-beigey “hush” instead. As you can see in the swatch, it’s super pigmented and SUPER shimmery. I like wearing it as a highlight on the tops of my cheekbones, under the browbone and on the inside corners of my eyes (you know, to give that “super bright-eyed” look). I like that it comes in a little pit and it applies really nicely with your fingers (I’ve never tried it with a brush…maybe I should just to try it out). I’m such a huge fan of highlighters and this is currently my #1 stunna.

5. Benefit They’re Real Mascara

I like mascara but I don’t LOOOOOVE mascara. It wouldn’t be my desert island beauty product (concealer or maybe blush is my go-to). But I really love THIS mascara. The formula is thick and not watery (I hate watery mascara) and I’m a big fan of the plastic bristle brush. I ESPECIALLY like that the bristles extend to the point of the wand to help get every.single.teeny. lash. Combined with my trusty Shu Uemura eyelash curler (what? you don’t have an eyelash curler? Go and buy one. Now), two coats of this mascara and my lashes look false. I have pretty long lashes, but they’re thin and have NO curl (hence the need for the eye lash curler), and this mascara makes them look way thicker & darker then they actually are.

6. Laura Mercier undercover concealer pot

Laura Mercier makes the BEST concealers. This combines the two (secret concealer for undereye and secret camouflage for blemishes) and her brightening powder. I’m lucky that I don’t get a ton of blemishes, but when I do, I want them covered. Now. The Secret Camouflage is a slightly heavier, drier concealer that’s perfect for those blemishes (you don’t want to use creamy concealers because of their consistency, they’ll slide riiiiight off). However, I do have horrendous dark undereye circles (thanks, law school!) and the Secret Concealer is probably the best undereye concealer I’ve ever tried. It’s a creamy consistency (perfect for undereye, but not blemishes, people!) with a hint of a brightening agent (with the MAC ccb in Hush, it’s basically “what dark circles? I’m always this wide-awake, glowy and well-rested?”). And I have no clue what she puts into the brightening powder (magic?), but applied with a (clean) fluffy eyeshadow brush, you’ll look like a million bucks.

7. NARS the Multiple in Orgasm

If you’ve ever read a beauty blog or a fashion magazine’s “Best Of” awards, you’ve likely heard of the cult classic blush, Orgasm. According to some, it can cure cancer, do your taxes and vacuum your house (but not really). As a blush, it is awesome. But as a cream blush/highlighter, it’s INSANE. Like I said before, NARS does it right and their Multiple (meaning for use on eyes, lips, cheeks/face) is probably my favorite product of theirs. Orgasm itself is a peachy pink with a little bit of gold shimmer (but not so much that you look like you should be performing the 11:00 show at Girls! Girls! Girls!). It basically gives you a pretty flush. The best part about the color is that it looks good on EVERYONE. You read that right. Everyone. From my super-fair sister to my “she wishes she was Jamaican” big (sorority sister that is). The powder blush is fine and all, but I love the consistency of the sticks and I think they blend better too. And way easier to apply on the go. I can throw this in my bag and be all set (because it can be used as a blush/highlight/lip color/eye color).

8. Stila In the Light Palette

 I know everyone in their uncle freaks out about the Urban Decay Naked palette. I like that one too, don’t get me wrong. But I like this palette just a LITTLE bit better. They are all neutral shades in browns/nudes/grays/blacks. I think it might be the shadows themselves—UD NP has a ton of shadows that have mad glitter in them (resulting in the glitter fallout/Ke$ha glitterbomb look that is definitely not work—or life—appropriate). Out of the 10 shadows, 6 of them have some shimmer (but not overwhelming shimmer) and there are four (an ivory, a beige-pink, a chocolate brown, and a black) that are matte (i.e. no shimmer at all). Stila’s eyeshadows (in my opinion) are the best, probably comparable to Dior or Chanel (the gold standard of eye shadows). They are incredibly soft and pigmented and have fabulous staying power, with or without primer (but I always say, go for the primer. Your face will thank you for it after a 16 hour day and you don’t have raccoon eyes). Plus, this has my all-time, number one FAVORITE eyeshadow: KITTEN. Seriously. There is no eyeshadow that is better. Believe me. I checked. Kitten (in case you didn’t know) is a shimmery champagne (I think I’ve said “champagne” sixty times in this post. I apologize.).


"i'm the best eyeshadow of all time(s)!sorry MAC shroom"

and on the eye. so pretty, i want to die.

Plus, the palette comes with a kick ass chocolate brown smudge stick liner, which is an excellent brown liner.

8. Laura Mercier Bare Lips lip sheer

The best everyday lip color that I’ve found. It’s a nude-pink sheer lip color. The shimmer in it looks natural, not frosty (eww, frosty pink lips. gross). I’m not the biggest fan of lip products—I HATE HATE HATE lipgloss (too sticky and shiny) and a lot of lipsticks are either too waxy, too drying or too sheer. While this is a sheer color, don’t think that there’s NO color. There is. It’s subtle enough that you don’t look like you tried to hard, but still enough that it doesn’t look like you don’t have ANYTHING on your lips. It falls into the “your lips but better” category. (also good: Bobbi Brown’s Brownie, MAC’s Viva Glam V, Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey).

10. Dior Addict Lipstick in Fashion Week

When I want a little more color than what Bare Lips (but not ready to rock the hot hot hot pink that is NARS Shiap), I turn to Dior’s Fashion Week. It’s billed as a sheer plum, but it definitely has hints of pink and rose in it. I love the Dior Addict formula (it’s similar to the new Chanel Coco Shine lipsticks, but, in my opinion, provides more color). The lipstick itself is hydrating and glossy but still provides enough pigment and color to keep me happy (because, again, I HATE lipgloss). If plum/pink isn’t your thing, try New Look (a bright shimmery red).


So that’s it. My current makeup obsessions. Check ’em out (and, FTC, I’m not being paid nor received anything gratis from any of these companies. I purchased them all with my own cash. However, if any of these companies would LIKE to pay me, I am more than willing to listen—especially you, Christian Dior).