Famous Not Famous

My dad was outside by the shed he built in the back.  Woodworking as usual, even though he didn’t have the room we had in the country.  He apparently couldn’t do without it, even in the city place.

I had just gotten home from the new school.  It was my first week there.  I watched him for a minute, his long back toward me, hammering away with nails in his mouth.  I hoped to be tall like him when I got older. But I doubted it. Mom was shorter and I’m a girl.  I do look more like him, though.

“Dad,” I said, pitching my voice above the hammering.

He turned around, took nails out of his mouth, and brushed his black hair out of his face.  I know how thick and unruly it can be. I have his hair, though not as dark.

“Hey, hey, Rosie-Rose, how it goes?” my dad chanted with his precise diction.  He made every word sound crisp and round.  Marine trained.

“Ok,” I said, wandering closer for a quick hug.  He smelled like wood and September sun.  “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure,” he said. “Hold these.”  He handed me the nails.  He sat on his stool; I on a box.

I hesitated.  I wasn’t sure why. I always felt like I could talk to my dad about anything.  Granted, he traveled a lot for work, but when he was home, he was always with Mom and me.

“What’s up?” he asked.  The sun peeked through a cloud and glinted on his glasses.  He shaded his gaze with one of his big hands.

“Are you famous?” I blurted it out. It was so absurd I felt ridiculous saying it.

His eyebrows rose above his glasses.  “Whaaa—ttt?” He used his highest pitch. My dad had an expressive range.  “What?  Why? Why do you ask?”

“Oh, ok, that’s stupid.  It’s mom, right?  She’s famous?”  Although I had a hard time imagining that.  She dropped me off and picked me up every day from school.  She was pretty much always around.  Unless she traveled with Dad to…well, I didn’t quite know where.  I stayed with my grandparents up north.

Dad said, “What is with the famous stuff, Rosie?  Where is this idea from?”

“My new school.”

Dad pursed his lips but said nothing.  Mom always said Dad’s face was like an Easter Island statue.  She showed me a picture once of long-nosed, carved-lipped statues.  He definitely had that frozen look.

“Well, are you?”

“Honey, who said that?”

I told him the story.  “I met this kid named Snow, who said every kid at this school has famous parents.  She said her mom was called Kate Pepperdine but was really Kate Dekkeman.  I guess she’s a famous singer who tours all over.” I paused.

Dad said nothing.

“Anyway, she pointed out all these different kids in my class and named a bunch of famous people, I guess.  I hadn’t heard of all of them.  Most of them, really.  But she swore they all were celebrities.  She asked me who my mom and dad were.  I said Adam and Sarah Fischer.  I’m Rosalyn Fischer.  But she didn’t know you guys.”

“Ok,” Dad said, nodding and still looking like a statue.

I rushed on.  “But she said a lot of times famous people use other names.  Like David Bowie was David Jones… or…” I couldn’t think of anyone else.  “So, are you?  Do you have another name?”

“Nope,” Dad said.  “I could get one if you want me to.  Adam…”  He squinted at me.

“Wood,” I said.

“Perfect,” he said.  “I am now Adam Wood, famous wood …. uh …. person.”  He stood up and brushed himself off.   “Snack? I’m hungry.”

I rolled my eyes at him.  “You are always hungry.”

“I’m growing,” he said, taking a giant step with his long legs.  He was six foot three.  “I will eat every snack in the house.  Beware!  Beware!”

“Noooo,” I yelled and ran.

 

It wasn’t until later that I realized my father had not really answered the question of fame.  We ate everything our housekeeper Mrs. Randolph left out on the counter. She’s a wise lady. She left out food enough for me and Dad.  He does eat a lot, even though he is thin.  He has a weight room and works out.  Mom says he needs the extra protein and fruit to fuel all that crazy mad energy he has.

I forgot about fame and all that while I did homework.  It came back to me later in bed.  I started thinking that Dad didn’t seem to play any instruments.  Any singing he did was to make Mom laugh when she was exasperated with him.  He did this whole cowboy thing with his voice.  He put on a ridiculous country accent and ran his deep voice up and down the scales, wailing like an idiot.  It was quite awful.

Dad didn’t look like a movie star either.  I guess.  I didn’t watch many movies or spend time on the internet, even at Grandma’s house. There was too much else to do.

Dad was an average person, or as average as a six-foot three giant could be.  He dressed like a lumberjack, Mom said, as she tried to stuff him into a suit occasionally.  He had glasses, unruly hair, and big freckles on his face.  He wore dorky hats everywhere.  He was the least likely person to be a star.  It had to be Mom, who was pretty and elegant.

 

The next day before school, Mom was pinning up her long, blonde hair.  I hung out in the doorway.

“Need something, my Rose?” she asked, still pushing wisps into a sleek knot.

“Mom, are you famous?” I asked.

She stopped and stared at me.  “Good heavens, no.” She hesitated and appeared to make a decision. “Dad said you asked him, too.”

“Yeah.”

She turned and held out her hands.  I put mine in hers.  She squeezed my hands lightly. “Do you like your new school?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Ok,” she said firmly. “Not everyone who attends the school has famous parents.  At least, not in the way that Kate Pepperdine is.”

“I don’t really know who she is.”

“I know.  It’s ok.  You don’t have to know who she is.  You can be friends with her daughter anyway.”

I shrugged.  “Does it matter if we’re not famous?”

“It doesn’t make any difference in your life or your studies.  And your real friends will not care about fame.”

“What should I tell her, then?  You know, if she asks.”

My mom frowned.  “What is this child’s name?”

“Snow.  Snow, uh, I don’t think she goes by Pepperdine.”

Mom patted my hands and let go.  “You can tell Miss Snow that your private life has nothing to do with her.  If she would like to be friends, she can be friends with Rosalyn Fischer.  That should be good enough.” She got up from her vanity.

It was time to go to school.

 

“Do you look like your mom or dad more?” asked Snow at lunch.  She had a cell phone under the table.  “I look like my mom.” She showed me a picture of a made-up, blonde lady with a long, sequined gown.

“My dad,” I said. “Mom says he has strong genes.”

Snow looked me over.  I have Dad’s thick dark hair, long nose, and full mouth but mom’s higher cheekbones.  Or at least that’s what he says.  She rolls her eyes and says, “Face it, Adam, our baby looks like you.” At which point I tell them I am not a baby.  I am 13.

“Hmmm,” Snow said. “Male, black hair, probably in his, what, 40s?  Or, no, maybe older. You aren’t pretty. So he must have money and married a younger girl.”  She scrolled her phone furiously.

“No,” I almost shouted.  Snow is so mean.  I almost hate her.  She won’t let it go.

“They aren’t famous,” I told her.  “They met in college in their 20s and got married.  They have never been apart.”

“Ahhh,” she said, having successfully needled more info out of me.  She would not believe that one of them—or both—she says gleefully—isn’t a celebrity.

“Miss Dekkeman, please put that phone in your locker,” Mrs. Doan stated, whizzing by our table.

“I need it in case my mom calls,” Snow called behind her.  She crammed it into her side jeans pocket where it stuck out dangerously.

 

Mrs. Doan is pretty strict and quite crafty.  She saw Snow’s phone in 5th hour.  She and Snow had a conversation in the hallway.  Snow told me it was no big deal.  Mrs. Doan took the phone until the end of the day.

Snow dragged me back to Mrs. Doan’s room to get it after school.

“My mom is here,” I said in protest.

“Oh, goodie,” said Snow.  “Can I meet her?”

I stopped dead in the hallway.  Snow grinned at me. “Oh, come on, you said she isn’t famous.”

“Ok,” I said.

“Do you need to text her?” Snow asked, hesitating at the door of Mrs. Doan’s room.

“No, I don’t have a phone.”

She stared at me.  “Really?”

“Yes.”

“How do call your nanny?”

“Um, the office?” I said.  I didn’t really have a nanny but felt too dumb to say so. I was already feeling like a total alien.

She raised her brows and knocked on the door.  We went in.

Mrs. Doan was seated at her desk.

“Hello, girls,” she said, pleasantly.  “Snow,” she began, with the phone in her hand.

“I know,” interrupted Snow.  “Keep your phone in your locker.  I know.  Hey, Mrs. Doan, is Rosie’s family famous?”

Mrs. Doan looked at me and then at Snow.  She paused.

“Snow, this is a private school for children of celebrities, primarily.  You know that.  Why are you asking?”

Snow jerked a thumb in my direction.  “She doesn’t know.”

“I do know,” I said, not knowing a thing.

“Nope, you don’t.  You don’t know that you have a famous family or parent or whatever,” Snow said.

“They aren’t,” I said.

“They have to be,” Snow shot back.

“Girls!” Mrs. Doan said.  “Stop it.  Snow, you should know that people deserve privacy.  If Rosalyn doesn’t want to talk about her family, let it go.  Please and thank you.”

Snow pocketed her phone and whirled around, stalking out of the room.

“It’s ok, dear,” Mrs. Doan said in a whisper.  “Your dad likes his privacy.  We know that.”  She smiled at me.

 

Snow was nowhere in sight.  Mrs. Rudolph was in the car to pick me up.  My parents were not home.

“Where are they?” I asked Mrs. R.

She seemed surprised.  I didn’t ask that often.

“A meeting in town,” she said.  “I think.  Not really sure.”  She hesitated.  “Your mom said you can call if you want to.”

I didn’t.  They would be home later.

After homework and dinner, Mrs. R invited me to play a game of scrabble in the kitchen.  I couldn’t concentrate on it.

“Are we different?” I asked her.  “Are we different from the others you know?”

“Sure,” she said.  “Everyone’s different.  All families are unique.”

“What’s yours like?” I don’t think I had ever asked her before.

“Mmmm,” she said, pouring herself another cup of coffee. “It was noisy and loud. Now, it’s quiet.  My kids are grown and gone.  We were always busy, though.  Just like your folks.”

“Mrs. R,” said. “Are they famous?”

“What now?” Mrs. Rudolph said, sitting down.

“Famous.”

“Well, now, where did you hear that?” she asked mildly.

“At school.”

“Ah.  A teacher or that Snow?”

I looked at her for a minute.  She was stirring her coffee slowly and looking into her cup.  I realized that what I said next would be important.

“Snow.”  Even though my teacher had said something about my dad.

“Well, I wouldn’t put too much stock in what that girl says,” stated Mrs. Rudolph.  “Her mama doesn’t seem to be around much.  And her daddy doesn’t live with them like yours does.  Snow is probably looking for something to do.  And you’re it.”

“How do you know her mom and dad?”

“Well, I don’t.  But there’s a lot of gossip swirling around those two.  Kate Pepperdine has a lot going on in her life and Tommy Dekke is always on tour.  Likely, both of them are out of touch with their daughter for long periods of time.”

“How do you find these things out?” I asked.

Mrs. Rudolph squirmed a bit in her chair.  “It’s all over…” she hesitated. “It’s just everywhere and people like to talk about other people.”  She stood up.  “All right, you, time for bed.”

“Really?” I looked around at the clock.  “It’s like 8.”

“Well, yeah, up you go.  Go read or color in your room.  I have work to do.”

I shrugged and hopped up the stairs.

I sat at my desk with colored pencils and drew my dad and mom.  Black and brown for him.  Yellow and beige for her.  I drew Dad with and without his goofy chin hair and mustache.  I drew Mom with her hair down and up with and without her earrings.

How did Mrs. Rudolph find out so much about Snow’s family without knowing them?  I jumped up and wandered into my mom and dad’s suite of rooms down the long hall.  There were pictures of them and all of us on the walls.  Young Dad smiling, hair tucked back behind his big ears.  Young Mom with long platinum hair holding me proudly.  Another picture showed Dad in a suit, mom in a fancy dress.  They both looked uncomfortable as they stood together.  Dad was holding a statue of a golden man.  I had seen that thing before.  It was in Dad’s workout room with a hat on it.  He said it was a fancy hat stand.

There was writing on it in the photo, but it was too small to read.  I had to see it in person.

I quietly crossed the room to the other door and opened it.  The light was out, and I was a little nervous to turn it on.  I felt like I was invading Dad’s privacy.

Mrs. Doan said he was a private person.  But I never felt that.  He was warm and loving and goofy.

I made my way to the desk without falling over any of his workout equipment.  I switched on a small lamp.  His desk had papers on it and a few thick bound documents.  They looked like homemade books.  One was stamped “CONFIDENTIAL.”

But I was looking for the hat stand, the golden man. I found him on the shelf behind the desk with Dad’s old hat on him.  I lifted the hat and turned the statue around.  It was an award.  It was heavy.  It said nothing.

Maybe it was just a hat stand.

I heard a noise downstairs and jumped a mile.  I put the golden man back on the shelf, switched off the light, and barreled out the room.  I slid into my desk chair as I heard my parents come up the stairs.

“Waste of time,” my dad said. “Complete and total.  I’m not doing that again.”

My mom sighed. “Well, you never know, Adam.  It might work out.”

“Huh.”

They paused in front of my door.  I held my breath.  Someone knocked lightly and I pushed my artwork in my drawer.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” they both echoed, still outside the door.  We were big on waiting for permission to enter someone’s private space.

I hesitated for a second and then opened the door for them. They stood there looking at me like two beautiful swans.  Dad was in a black suit with his hair actually combed, though it looked like he might have raked it a couple times.  It was getting too long, Mom would say.  Mom was in a gray business suit and heels looking cool and composed.

“How’s life, kiddo?” Dad asked.

“Good,” I fell into their embrace.

Mom pushed us all to the sitting room I was just lurking around in.  Dad took off his jacket and tie.  He fell dramatically into the couch.

Mom pulled off her shoes and curled up with a sigh.

I snuggled into her. Life was ok. It was a hat stand, like Dad said.

 

Snow invited me over to her house after school a couple of days later.  Maybe Mrs. Rudolph was right.  Maybe Snow was bored. Maybe I was, too.

I asked my dad, who was in his workout room.

“Do you want to go?” he asked, looking up from the book he was reading.

I shrugged.

Dad looked me up and down for a couple of seconds.  “That’s not an enthusiastic response.”

I shrugged again.  “She wants to show me her stuff, I guess.”

“What stuff is that?

“She says she has a new game and she’s bored playing alone.  Her dad sent it to her.”

“Well, I say don’t go if you aren’t excited about spending time with this girl.”  He focused his full attention on me.  “Is she the one who’s been bugging you about celebrities?”

“Yeah, but Mrs. R said Snow doesn’t see her parents a lot.  Not like you.”  I looked at him to see if he reacted. His brows raised slightly above his glasses.  “Are you leaving again sometime soon, Dad?”

He looked away for a second.  “Not for long, Rosie.  Mom will be here.  We are not like Snow’s family.  We don’t work like that.”

“Do you know about them, too?”

“Only what Mom tells me.” He smiled, wide and happy.  He opened his arms and I moved around the desk to hug him.  “Mom’s our spy,” he said after a big squeeze.  “She knows all and sees all.”  He fake laughed like a madman.  I couldn’t help but giggle.

“Should I ask Mom about going to Snow’s?”

He looked offended.  “Hey, I can say yes or no, too.  I am your father.”

“So, what do you say, Father?”

Dad closed one eye behind his glasses.  “Um,” he said.  “Well.”  He patted my back.  “Yeah, you better ask your mom.”

“Ok,” I said, walking away.

“But make sure you go because you like the idea,” he called behind me.

I gave him a thumbs up.

 

Mom gave me a reluctant yes after calling Snow’s house and talking to whoever was on the other end of the phone. I could tell she didn’t really like the idea that much.  I told her that Snow had backed off the celebrity thing and seemed to want company.  It was kind of true.

“I guess I can’t keep you hidden forever,” Mom muttered.  I had no idea what she meant.  She shooed me out of her office shortly thereafter without answering any further questions.

Snow and I were picked up by a driver and the nanny, Connie, who rode in the back of the black car with dark windows.

Connie talked on the phone while the driver said nothing.  Snow chattered about things I didn’t really understand.

“And my dad sent the whole rig to hook up to my new computer.  It runs through Steam, you know.  Hey, what’s your Steam handle?  You can play on my old computer.  It’s still set up in my suite.  It won’t have the Vive on it for VR, but…  Or maybe my mom can send me another one and you can use that.”

She looked at me.  “I don’t know,” I said.

“What games do you play online?”

“None,” I answered.  “My mom has the internet on her computer at her office.  I don’t think it is on at home.  Or, well, I don’t know.”

Snow had a strange look on her face.  “You don’t play games at home?”

“Oh, well, yeah,” I said.  “Charades are the best.  That’s our family favorite.  Or Pictionary.  Mom can’t draw, so Dad and I usually win.  And I play Scrabble with Mrs. Rudolph, our housekeeper.”

Before Snow could comment, the car pulled up to a gate.  The driver talked into the speaker and the gate opened.  He drove into a long driveway that ended in a circle in front of a huge house.

“We’re here,” Snow said.  She bounded out of the car and left her bookbag behind.  Connie picked it up. I hoisted mine onto my shoulder and followed Connie through the huge double doors into a slick-floored foyer with two staircases leading upstairs.  Snow was halfway up the right stairs.

“Food should be up here already,” she shouted.  “Come on.”

I followed her up and to the right.  “This wing is mine, mostly,” she said, stopping in front of the first door in a long hallway.  “Connie lives down the hall.”  She pointed to another door.  “But these are my suites.”

Snow opened the door to a large room painted baby blue with white trim.  It housed a computer area with a desk, two large computers and four monitors, a lot of discs all over, and other electronics I couldn’t identify.

“That’s my shit,” she said.  “My dad had to send a dude to set it all up and he fucked up my system.” She walked to the desk and messed with some wires.  “But I kicked him out and did it myself.”

Near the desk was a table with snacks laid on it.  Snow opened a pizza box, grabbed a piece, and shoved a huge bite in her mouth.  “Have some,” she offered. “Or any of it.”  She waved a hand toward soft drinks, a jug of milk, energy drinks, chips, candy, cupcakes, and cookies.

“Thanks,” I said, grabbing a chocolate chip cookie.  Mrs. Rudolph would have my head for not eating any fruit or yogurt or cheese.  There was no fruit that I could see.

Snow flopped down on a plush white sectional in front of a massive television set.  She clicked the remote and a huge picture came on.  Dad always said he was bored by TV.  We didn’t even own a set.

“Soooo,” she said, “why won’t you admit that your dad is famous?  He’s Adam Fischer, right?”

I looked at her.  “He’s not.”

Snow giggled, “He’s not Adam Fischer? But you look just like him.  He has to be your daddy.”  She poked at her phone and a large photo of my mom and dad popped up on the screen.  They were dressed up in evening clothes.

“It took me a minute to figure it out.  But I did.”  She looked pleased.  “Here we go.  ’Adam Fischer and Sarah Buckley walk the red carpet for the Oscars,’” she read.  “Wow. Hmmm. They don’t much like your mom and dad.”

I stared at her and couldn’t think.  I stared at the next picture she put up.  It was Dad looking solemn and gazing directly into the camera.  I had never seen a picture like that.  His face seemed different somehow.  He looked plastic and unreal.

“Whew.  Your mom gets the worst,” Snow said.  “Listen.  ’Sarah Buckley, always looking hatchet-faced, haggard, and unhappy, makes us think she’s on the verge of leaving her longtime husband, Adam Fischer.  He can’t be easy to live with, sources close to the couple note.  He is a former Marine with a drive to excel and snaps at everyone around him.  He is private to the point of paranoia and rarely goes out. He and Buckley are only seen together at award ceremonies, though there are plenty of those.’”  Snow paused for breath.  “Jesus Christ.  No wonder you don’t want to talk about it. Your dad is fucking Adam Fischer.”  She laughed and shook her head.

I stared at her, not getting any of it.  Dad was a Marine, for sure, but he used his training to work out and stay strong.  He loved being active.  He didn’t snap at people.

“They must not let reporters take pictures of you,” she mused.  “Ah, this is the only reference.  ‘Rumor has it that the couple may be raising a child. But it’s not clear if it’s theirs or a family member’s child.   She might be in her early teens by now, but few have seen her.  It’s rumored that she is Adam’s stepdaughter or maybe his biological child from another relationship.  No spokesperson for the couple will confirm the child’s existence.  She is rumored to be a girl.’”

Snow looked up at me.  “Well, there you have it.”

Pictures of my father continued to scroll on the screen.  Pictures of him younger, older, wearing different costumes, holding weapons, hanging out of cars, conversing with strangers.  I just stared.

“Your mom is here, too, but it looks like she might have retired when your pop hit fame and fortune,” Snow said, pressing more buttons on her phone.  My mother’s image replaced my dad’s.  She was in giant hair rollers, clearly shouting at someone outside the frame.  Then she was crumpled on a couch with a man standing over her.  Not my father.

“What does this all mean?” I whispered.

“Oh, you don’t know?” Snow asked. “Seriously?  How did they keep you out of the loop here?  How did they stop you from knowing who they are?”

“I don’t know.”  I fell back on the couch, unable to process.

“Well, then, this is going to fuck you up.  Your dad is a bad guy.”

I stared at her. “What?”

“A villain.  A bad guy.  That’s how he came to fame.”  Snow laughed.  “Ok, let’s watch this.”  She switched out the phone for the remote and pressed more buttons.  The screen showed the title, Galactic Battles: The New Generation.  My dad’s name flashed on the screen.

Snow pressed a button and people flew into action.  I couldn’t hear them talking.

“What are you doing?” I asked.  “Why are you telling me?”

Snow shrugged.  “It’ll fast forward until we get to the good parts. Your dad got famous being a bad dude.  He is pretty great at it.  He’s the one everyone loved to hate.”  She stopped and a large figure all in black with a mask strode into view.  His voice was muffled, “Kill them all.”

“There’s Daddy,” Snow whispered.

“No,” I said.   I watched the figure and others with helmets and guns smash and shoot people on screen.  The masked figure pushed one person down to his knees.  The man croaked, “I will not beg you for my life, Storm Invader.”  The masked figure breathed heavily.  “I would not spare you anyway.”  He swiped the kneeling man with a bright sword.  The man fell, split into two pieces.

I heard myself scream and covered my eyes.  I heard Snow laugh again.

“Gotta love your dad, man. He’s the best,” she muttered.  “Next scene!”

Snow forwarded further until she found another part.  I couldn’t stop myself from looking.  It wasn’t my father in that mask.  It couldn’t be.

There was a young woman strapped to a chair.  She was saying she would die before talking.  She would not speak to a mask.  The masked figure from earlier gazed upon her and slowly pulled off his mask.

I stared at a younger version of my father.  He advanced upon the woman and put out his gloved hand.  It was my dad’s big hand for sure.  He gripped her head and put his mouth near her ear.

“Shut it off,” I shouted at Snow, lunging for her.

She laughed and slid off the couch.  “Your daddy is a baddie,” she chanted.  “He is considered cute by some, though.  My mom thinks he is sexy, even if he’s bad.”

“Stop it,” I growled, making a grab for her again.   She jumped over the back of the couch.

The scene played on.  My father’s crisp diction and low voice boomed through the speakers.  “I can indeed take whatever I want.”

“Shut it,” I shouted again, tripping on the edge of the couch and falling forward.  I jumped up again.

“Oh, but why?” Snow taunted. “I can’t believe you didn’t know.  How could you not know the greatest villain of our time?  I know it’s a couple years old now, but everybody watches Galactic Battles.  It’s a whole fucking industry!”  Snow grabbed up a figurine from her desk. It was obviously based on the character in the movie.  She threw it at me.

I ducked and it hit the carpet with a thud.  I ran out of the room and down the stairs.  “I want to leave,” I told the first person I saw.

Connie came down the stairs, holding my backpack.  “We will take you home,” she said.

Snow stood at the top of the stairs, hoisting the figure and laughing.  “See you in school tomorrow!” She waved gaily, like she hadn’t just destroyed my world.

The driver drove me home in silence.  I couldn’t cry.  I couldn’t move.  I was mad at myself for not realizing.  For being stupid.  Everyone else had phones and TVs and computers.   Why didn’t we?

Why didn’t they tell me?  Why was I hidden?  I wasn’t theirs?  They were ashamed of me?  They were ashamed of Dad for being a horrible person?  Why did he have to do those things, even in a movie?  He should have told them no.

 

With those thoughts swirling in my head, I ran into our house, hoping I wouldn’t run into either of them.  I was not lucky.  Dad was walking out of the kitchen with a protein drink, ready to crack it open.

“Hey! How was it?” he asked, cheerfully, smiling at me.

I loathed him at that moment.  “Fuck you,” I shouted at him.

His brows rose and his glasses glinted.  “Pardon me,” he said, in a low rumble.  Same as on the movie.

“You heard me,” I yelled. “You are a bad person.  Why would you do those things?”

He reached out for me.  “Rosie,” he said.

“Fuck off,” I shouted and ran out back to the shed.  I could hear him running after me.  He was fast, but I had a head start.  I wedged myself behind the shed.

“Rosalyn Fischer, come here,” he said.  He used his dangerous voice.  The one he used when I was in trouble. He only spanked me a couple of times in my life, but that was the voice he had used.  And it wasn’t pleasant.  I breathed for a second.

Then I was beyond it.  White rage hit me.  Let him kill me.  He would have to fight.

I shouted, “I don’t care.  You are a bad person for doing that stuff in a movie.”

I ran out and attacked him head on.  I was going to take him out with me.

“Whoa,” he said, trying to grab my arms.  I was furious.  I smacked and tore and beat with my fists before he bear-hugged me.  I was aiming for his face.  Maybe I could stop him by tearing at his famous face.   But he was over six feet and had me pinned.

“Stop,” he gritted out.

“Go ahead,” I gasped, still trying to fight him. “Beat me. I don’t care.”

He said, shaking me slightly with every ground-out word, “Rosalyn, I am not going to beat you.  I have no idea what you are doing.”

I went limp in his arms.  It was no use. He was huge and I was doomed.  My anger drained out of me and I started crying.

My father turned me into his chest.  I beat at him a little with fists, but he just put his giant bear paws on my hands.  “Get it out,” he said.  I sobbed.

After a while, I stopped crying.  I was wiping my eyes and nose on his shirt.  He stepped back and said, “Ok, enough.  You need a tissue.  March.”  He turned me toward the kitchen.

He wasn’t happy with me.  I felt it as I walked into the kitchen.  Mrs. Rudolph took one look at the two of us and left.

He ripped off a piece of paper towel, pointed to one of the bar stools, and said, “Sit. Blow. Talk.”

I did.

“Snow showed me,” I said, not willing to look at my father.  “She showed everything from those movies.  The one where you’re a bad guy and kill people.”

“Shit,” he said softly.  I had never heard him swear on purpose in front of me.  “Sarah!” he bellowed.  I jumped.  He was really scary.  He bellowed again, striding to the door.

My mom came into the kitchen, a bewildered look on her face.  “Why are you yelling, Adam?”  She took one look at me.  “What is going on?”

Dad began stalking around.  “Number 1, that child from school…” he paused to breathe, “showed Rosalyn Galactic Battles.” He swung around to pin me with a furious stare. I was sure he was going to shout again.  Instead, he poked a finger at me.  “Number 2, my child shouted ‘fuck you’ at her father because she believes I am a villain in real life or…” he trailed off waving his long arms in the air.  “I don’t know.”

My mother’s mouth twitched a little.  “It was your idea to keep Rosie unaware of our careers. How’s that working out?”

My dad turned on her. “What?” he said, dangerously.  “You are going to stand there and say it’s my fault?”

My mom shrugged.  She turned to me. “Your dad is trying to protect you from…well, everything. That’s on him.”

I opened my mouth to say something.  She cut me off sternly.  “However, you are not allowed to shout or swear at your father.”

“Or anyone,” my dad added, frowning.

“Or anyone,” my mother added.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t tell me,” Mom said.

I turned to the tall thundercloud still stalking around the room.  “Dad,” I whispered.  He turned and looked at me.  He took his glasses off and put them on the table.  I saw it.  The scary man who went after those people.  I saw it in him.  I swallowed.  “Sorry,” I almost squeaked.

His eyes were flat and expressionless.  “You should be.”

“Adam,” my mother said.

“You are forgiven,” he said, snatched up his glasses, and walked out.

 

I stared at my mom.  That was not my dad.

She came over to me.  “You need to be in your room for a while.”

“Dad’s still mad?”

“Yes. That was awful behavior, Rosie.  He did nothing to you.  You poked the bear and got the claws.  Good for you.”

I started crying again.  Mom sighed.  “I understand that this is a shock.  I didn’t realize that Snow would do such a thing.  Clearly, she is unsupervised.  It’s my fault for saying yes to something you couldn’t handle.”

“However,” I said. There was always a however inside her.

“That doesn’t excuse your outburst.  It only explains it.  Please go to your room.”

“Am I in trouble? Will he punish me?”

“Yes, and you should think about how you can make up for your bad choice.”

I fled to my room.

 

I never heard a thing.  I don’t know if they argued or talked it out.  I suppose they did.  Eventually, there was a knock on my door.  I had stopped sniffling and was staring at nothing, wishing I wouldn’t keep seeing the same scenes over and over.

“Come in,” I said.  My punishment had been decided.

My father walked in clean-shaven and somber.  He was wearing an outfit he used for traveling.  He was leaving.  At least he looked almost normal again, even though he was wearing his contacts instead of glasses.  He still looked like a stone statue with his lips tight.

“Dad,” I said.

He raised his hand.  “I know, you are sorry.  So am I.”  He sighed and sat down on my bed.  He patted the space next to him and I slid over to sit by him.  He put an arm around me for a sideways hug.

He sighed again.  “I am a simple guy from a small town in Michigan.  I never meant to be famous,” he said.  “I worked hard at Julliard with your mom and we both did well.  She was popular on stage and I ended up acting in films.  When you are older, you can see anything we’ve worked on.  Right now, the stories are too grown-up.   That’s part of why we didn’t show you or talk much about them.”

He paused.  I nodded.

“Also, when you were born, people took pictures of me without my agreement.  And they were trying to get to you.”

“People do that?” I asked.

“Yes, they do.  Mom and I were determined to shelter you from those people.”

“Do they write those awful things about you, too?”

He made a face. “Yes, and your mother and I were objects of…” he searched around for a term, “ridicule and speculation.  Most of it was false.  Most was hurtful to us.  We decided to remove the technology from our house.  It was hard to see such meanness and not get upset.”

“Like you did today.”

“It was worse when I was younger.  I have a temper that I keep under control with diet, exercise, and your mom.”

I smiled.  “Is that why they wanted you to be the bad guy?”

Dad cocked his head to one side. “Yes, smartie, that is one of the reasons.  I kind of act it out so it doesn’t come home with me.”  He paused.  “I’m not a bad guy, Rosie.  Really, I’m not.”

“Do you snap at people?”

“Yes. Sometimes.  I want others to work hard, be on time, respect privacy, and…”

“Like we do here.”

He patted my hand.  “When others don’t do that, I can be …”

“Grumpy?” Mom said from the doorway.  “Overbearing?  Intolerant?”  She was getting into her groove.

Dad rolled his eyes, “Yes, yes, and yes.  Don’t sound so excited about it.”

“Your dad is intense.  It makes him an excellent actor,” she said.  “But he needs a place to leave that intensity behind when he is not working.  We make that space for him.  He is not a bad guy here or anywhere.  He is a very good person.”  She sat on my other side.  “And a good father.”

I leaned my head against my dad’s shoulder.  He kissed the top of my head.

“I have to go for a while,” he said, softly.

I nodded.

“Can you look at me?”

I met his dark eyes, which looked a lot like mine.  He looked sad.  “I don’t like to leave, but I have to go to work.  It will give you some time to think.”

“I don’t want to think,” I said.

“Yeah, I know.  But you have to.”  He paused.  “It hurt a lot when you swore at me and called me a bad person.”  His gaze didn’t waver.

“I know,” I said. “I was mad.”

“You tried to hurt me,” he said.

“I’m sorry.”

“I am, too, for not telling you the truth.”

I hugged him.  “Don’t go.  You are going to be the bad guy again,” I whispered. “I can’t stand it.  That’s what people think of you.”

“Yeah, I know.  But it’s ok.  I chose to do it, Rosie.”

“Why?”

“I am good at it.  I have qualities that the director and writer need to tell the story.”

“Oh,” I said.

“But,” Dad said, standing up.  “This time, it is different.  I am playing a bus driver from Jersey.”

“What?”

He laughed. “There are different movies out there. Different stories.”

“Are you playing a villain.”

“Nope,” he said, grinning, “a poet.”

“Can I watch it when you are done?”

He and Mom exchanged glances.  “Maybe,” he said.

That was good enough for me.

 

My punishment was to help Mr. Morris clean the backyard area to get ready for the winter months.  Dad wouldn’t be spending a lot of time working in the shed, except for chopping wood for our fireplace.  He loved splitting logs and bringing them inside to make fires.  I asked Mom if chopping wood helped Dad with movies.

She let me watch some of Dad’s sword-training videos.  She showed me how hard he trained.  He was graceful, focused, and intense.  I understood the wood-chopping and exercise a lot more afterwards.

“He keeps his instrument tuned,” she said.

I looked at her.  “Instrument?”

She laughed, “His body.  He uses it daily for work.”

He’s not a bad guy.  My dad is a working man.  An actor.

 

My other punishment, which was not my mother’s doing, was to return to school and face a smirking Snow.  I had two choices.  I could cower and cry and let her talk shit about my family.  Or I could be my daddy’s daughter and punch her square in the face.

Guess which one I chose?

 

 

Glambot Review

High-end makeup for less buckage?  Yes, please.

Glambot is “used”  makeup site that sells high-end (Tom Ford, Chanel), mid-range (Benefit, Nars), and indie (Lime Crime, OCC) products.  If you are concerned about the safety and quality of “used” makeup, fear not.  In my opinion, Glambot is the most reliable site on which to shop.

This site is not a direct seller site, like eBay, Makeup Addict Blog Sales (MUABS), or Poshmark.  Those sites allow sellers to create profiles and sell directly to consumers using the site as a way to connect.  Sellers on those sites set prices and send products to consumers.  I have had many successful purchases on those sites.  There is nothing wrong with them.  However, Glambot is different because it provides an extra layer of protection between you and seller.

Sellers on Glambot send in products to be inspected, sanitized, publicized, and mailed by people at Glambot.  In effect, buyers purchase from Glambot, not the seller.  Buyers are protected by this process and receive clean, inspected, and sealed makeup.

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Glambot also does not accept items like mascara or liquid lipsticks if they have been opened already.  Those products are new if sold on the site.  Items are marked new on the listing if you want to stick with completely unused items.

Sanitizing Makeup

Glambot’s site has a video posted about how they choose to accept or reject makeup and how they clean and sanitize it.

They also post blogs on Tumblr called Fakey Friday, if you are curious as to how they know the difference between authentic and fake makeup.

Trade-Offs for Makeup Sellers

The trade-off for sellers is that Glambot offers those who send in makeup a particular price and sellers have to take it or leave it.  Sellers on other sites are free to set their own prices and negotiate deals.  Some sites allow trades as well.  Some sellers have been disappointed by Glambot’s financial offers and the lack of control over the situation.  Also, Glambot doesn’t sell drugstore or Target companies, like Maybelline, NYX, or Flower and some indie companies are not on their list either.  Sellers might like the freedom of MUABS to sell drugstore products

However, Glambot customers, such as myself, like the safety of this site.  Glambot does not fail to send items.  Sometimes sellers on other sites are slow to send products or don’t send them at all.  I have registered complaints through PayPal to receive some of my purchases, which is not how I want to spend my time.  Glambot has been slow to ship at times, truthfully, but I have always received what I ordered.

Trade-Offs for Makeup Buyers

The trade-off for Glambot customers is that prices may higher than other used markets and there is no negotiation or trading between sellers and buyers.  Price reductions do happen on Glambot and there are sales and price cuts on shipping.  Customers might have to wait to see if Glambot drops the price of an item–and risk losing it if someone else buys it.  Current popular items are not usually discounted much.

Buyers also do not see pictures of sellers’ products in the listing.  Pictures are stock photos and do not offer much information about the item.  I have to search product websites for information on color selection or performance.  That is an extra step in the process.

Reliability

That being said, though, the items I’ve ordered have been clean, sealed, and sanitized.  Most look new or barely swatched.  I will pay a higher price for reliability.

I also receive rewards, called Glambucks, that count toward later purchases.  Glambot offers lots of deals every week through email.  There are plenty of discount codes and shipping deals to find.  I sometimes fill up a cart bit by bit and find a deal before purchasing.  A word of warning, though:  if the item is popular, don’t wait.  Or if you really can’t live without it, grab it so you don’t lose it.

Why Buy From Glambot?  Why Not New?

Some of Glambot’s products are definitely not worth the price.  Sometimes the price is only lowered by a dollar or two.  In those instances, you may want to just buy the item new and save money in another way.  You can rack up points through Sephora, Ulta, or Ebates just as easily.

Glambot is great for other purchases, such as limited edition products, brushes, ride-or-die items you need to back up, high-end products you want to try for fun, practice or comparison items, older popular products, and staples.  Also, if you watch the site, you can find deals and items will be discounted regularly.

Limited Edition

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You may be able to purchase limited edition items no longer available.  These products will likely not be discounted much and will be sold out quickly.  I check the site almost daily if I’m looking for something limited edition.  You may not find the latest and most popular items coming through…like the Jacyln Hill x Morphe palette or KKW contour sticks.  Those are often too new to hit Glambot and would not last long on the site.  I was interested in grabbing the earlier Jacyln Hill collab with Morphe and found it within a week or two of monitoring the site.  I also found Laura Lee’s collab with Violet Voss, which I wanted to purchase as well.  Neither palette was hugely discounted but I was willing to buy them since they were limited edition.

Brushes

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Glambot has great deals on brushes, both high-end and moderate.  I purchased Morphe brushes for less than offered on the regular website.  I grabbed Mac brushes on sale and others that looked good for my collection.  For someone new to brush usage in makeup, these deals can save you money and allow you to try higher-end brushes.  Kathleen Lights mentioned two brushes she liked to use for blush and highlight in a video last spring.  She talked about how they were both limited edition and no longer available.  I paused her video and popped onto Glambot.  Both were there if I wanted to purchase them and try them out myself.

I can clean and sanitize brushes myself and have zero worries about them being used.  Frankly, they look newer than those I received from MUABS.

 

Ride-or-Die Back-Ups

I live in fear sometimes…that something I love will be discontinued.  Like, for example, Benefit’s Dandelion blush.  I love that pretty ballerina pink blush.  I hit pan on one already and am half way through another.  I got a back-up on Glambot.  Yes, I did.  Just in  case I want to take it with me somewhere and leave it behind.  Just in case Benefit loses their mind and stops making it in Dandelion and somehow there’s an apocalypse and no stores have it any more.  I don’t know.  But this blush comes through Glambot every couple of months and I’m always tempted to stockpile it.  Same for a couple of other items.  I got two more Jeffree Star liquid lippies in Celebrity Skin, too.  What is wrong with me?

If your ride-or-die is too popular, this strategy may not work.  But for me, it’s fine.

Fun High-End Products

Every time an influencer tries a WTF item or raves about something that costs $100 a jar, I want to try it immediately.  I don’t because I don’t have that kind of money, but I want to… Some of these high-end whatevers pop up on Glambot for half price.  It might be half-used, but if I’m interested enough, I might go for it.  I wanted to see what Tom Ford’s $50 lipststick was all about.  I was, with Glambucks and free shipping, willing to test it for $20.  Some companies don’t have many sales, like GlamGlow, so finding an expensive skin treatment for less is a good way to see if you want to spend the cash.  (Obviously, testers or samples are free, but I usually have to use a product more than once to see if it will work.)

 

 

Practice or Comparison Items

Sometimes I am interested in trying out a few different kinds of the same product, like powders or blushes, and may grab a couple of different brands used to swatch or play with.  Again, you can do this with samples and testers, if you prefer.  I prefer to test products under different conditions with certain foundations, etc.  I can save a little money and have more than a sample of the product to play with.  New makeup artists can also employ this strategy without a lot of cost.

Older Popular Products

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Some products that were super-popular a year ago can be found on Glambot.  If you didn’t get a chance to snag them then and you are still interested, sometimes you can find them.  Like the limited edition products, items that were popular sometimes appear on Glambot.  I remember wanting to purchase the entire Too Faced Melted Chocolate collection when it launched.  It was sold out everywhere for a while.  Then it was restocked at full price and I had to limit myself to choosing two of them because they were expensive for me.  In recent months, Glambot has had most of the colors in stock.  Makeup companies create shortages and buzz to sell products, of course, but if you are willing to wait, you may find it cheaper.   Or, if you wanted to complete a collection for less, you might check Glambot and see if it’s there.

Staples

Glambot regularly carries primers for less, setting powders, banana powders, concealers, blushes, lip liners, eyeliners, single shadows, highlighters, contour of all kinds, foundations, brow products, and other staples.  Mascara and liquid lipsticks are harder to find, but there are a few listed.  You can choose from high-end or mid-range for any of these products.  They have Mac, Chanel, Bobbi Brown, Benefit, and indie companies like Ofra Cosmetics, OCC, Dose of Colors, Makeup Geek, Colourpop, etc.  They continue to add to the list.

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I always buy Mac paint pots for less on Glambot.  It’s just so easy and cheap.  Every single one I’ve gotten has looked completely untouched.

Conclusions

I am a big fan of Glambot.  I have found great deals and easy shopping, particularly if I check the site regularly.  I have not been disappointed.

NOTE:  I’m new to the world of codes and affiliates, so bear with me until I learn more.  I have offered the following links with my affiliate code, if you would care to purchase these items.  However, Glambot has a quick turnover, so no guarantees these items will still be available.  Let me know if you have suggestions as to ways to use codes and all that…

Recent Finds

Marc Jacobs Eyeliner

Marc Jacobs Highligher Gel Crayon in (Luna) Tic $5.00

Tarte Eye Shadow

Tarte Waterproof Eye Shadow Stick in Copper $3.00

Bobbi Brown Matte Lip Color

Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color Lipstick in True Pink 4 $5.20

Tom Ford Blush

Tom Ford Cream Cheek Color Blush in Pink Sand 01 $32.50

 

 

 

 

 

Old Gold

This is a summer of gold!

I love gold in the summer.  I can be bronze gold, green gold, yellow gold, or cooler white gold.  A wash of gold looks good with minimal makeup and just adds a little shine to a hot day or warm night.

So last December, I jumped on the golden lip bandwagon with Bite Beauty’s Creme Lip Gloss in Gold.  I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.

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I usually want to wear gold for the winter holidays for warmth and glad tidings.  But this color didn’t work with my skin tone and it seemed too thick and sticky in the winter.  I didn’t consider it a lip topper at the time and really couldn’t see how to use it.  So I put it aside, especially after the holidays had come and gone.

Then when spring came this year, I was thinking about gold glosses and lip toppers and lipsticks of all sorts that were considered “gold” in one way or another.  Gilded, golden, anything like that.  Companies were launching bronzers and golden tan products.

As I said, I love golden summertime looks.  I dyed my hair blonde and started looking at gold makeup to complete my look.

I found two golden lipsticks from higher-end brands on Glambot, a used makeup site that I haunt frequently.  The Tom Ford lipstick was 1/2 price, so it was only $25.  Same with the Burberry.  I looked at them for about two weeks on the website and finally decided to buy them.

Tom Ford’s is a lip shimmer called Solar Gold 02.  Love that name.  The Burberry is a lip mist, which is an interesting idea, and is called Gold No. 217.  (I should be thankful I could read the bottom of the Burberry lipstick.   The writing is tiny and my eyes ain’t what they used to be.)  The two look very different, though.  Neither are opaque.  Neither have much pigment, relying primarily on shine to impart a sense of “gold.”

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Here I’m wearing the Tom Ford Solar Gold.  Mostly shine.

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The other one is about the same.

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Ok. Not exactly what I was looking for in my summer of gold.

Next, I grabbed a gold lippie from Mac also on Glambot.  It’s a metallic called Digging for Gold.  (Pardon the blurry picture with the other two.  My camera was being ridiculous.) It’s more opaque than the others but still doesn’t have a lot of pigment.

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The above three swatched on my pale-ass, old lady arm.  Top is Tom Ford, next is Mac, and finally Burberry.

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They work best with a no-makeup makeup look, like the one I did for my husband’s birthday party.

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Unless you want to wear them as a glossy topper for another color, but without much gold pigment or shimmer or flecks or glitter, these three impart little goldness.  Goldy-ness?

Sometimes…no, make that “usually,” I am looking for GOLD.  BIG GOLD!  Gold summertime eyes, lips, highlight.  Gold shimmer everywhere.  If we are going to wear gold, let’s wear GOLD.

And if you think you can’t wear it, don’t worry.  Yes, you can.

I did some golden homework to see what would work best–at least on my skin tone with my lovely Full Bloom, textured skin.  Feel free to modify any advice herein.

I revisited the Bite Beauty lip gloss.  I decided I could make it work.  I had to sheer it down, though, because it pulled so darn yellow on me, which made my teeth look strange.  (I didn’t even take a photo! Yikes.)  I mixed the Tom Ford with the gloss and found a nice combo.

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Next up, I was looking for some good golden eyes.  Nope, no contacts to turn my brown eyes gold.  Eye shadow is what I had in mind.

Here I used a combo of browns, bronzes, and golds mainly from Colourpop.  I used Kathleen Lights Super Shock Shadow–a bronzy gold–and Nillionaire, which is an awesome shimmery gold.  It isn’t too hard to find great gold shadows.  20170610_141155Even glittery or shimmery shadows can work on older eyelids.  If you are concerned about wrinkles or texture, you can just use a spot of gold on the center of the lid or at the brow bone.  More or less, whatever your preference.  My preference is glowing to the skies and not giving a damn about texture.

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Below is a monochromatic yellow gold eye look with a muted lip.  This look comes from Lorac’s Unzipped Gold palette.  Lorac’s palette has lovely, buttery bronze and gold shades to try.

This picture is from last golden summer.  I was concerned about mixing gold with grey hair, but I was pleased with the result, since the gold created a vivid contrast to the grey.  It’s a versatile color and can work on many skin tones.

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I played with bronzers and highlighters for more golden summer looks.  As stated before, I am not concerned too much about texture or wrinkles.  I don’t mind showing off my “Full Bloom” face.  I don’t care if the bronzers or highlighters emphasize my age.  I’m completely fine with my age and my skin.  I am lived in.

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Feel free to highlight to heaven.  Here, I’m using my very favorite Jaclyn Hill x Becca Champagne Pop.  The highlight is popping!  I added some Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Celestial as a base for the Champagne Pop.  Great glowy combination.

 

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One of my very favorite lip colors for summer is bronze gold.  I’m wearing it in the picture above with my sparkling highlight.  Below are two favorites, Milani Amore Metallics Lip Creme in Chromatic Addict and Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lip in Pussywhipped.  Both have long-lasting, creamy, comfortable formulas.  Both dry down completely and are transfer-proof.

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Below, I’m wearing Milani Chromatic Addict along with the Lorac Unzipped Gold palette.  I love this bronze-gold look.

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Gold pairs well with other colors, too.  I experimented with rose-gold, green-gold, and purple-gold pairings, focusing on lip colors since that’s what I found in my collection.  Apparently, I like those colors…

Rose-gold has been very popular recently, and though I love the color, only specific rose-golds look good on me.

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Lime Crime’s Happi is one I can wear.  I haven’t found too many others that fit with my complexion.

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Green-gold is a fun dramatic look.  It might not work for every day, especially a green-gold lip.  But Ofra has a wearable bronze-gold-green lip color called Emerald City.  I wore it repeatedly to work and felt totally comfortable wearing it.  The Lip Tar by OCC Cosmetics in Derelict is too dramatic for me to wear every day.  But it is so pretty I want to wear it for an evening out, if I can stay awake that long.

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I paired the two for a softer green-gold.IMG_20170609_111209_002

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The combination of the Ofra Emerald City and Lip Tar in Derelict created this dark bronze that I would wear for a special occasion.

Purple and gold might seem like an odd combination, but they are two of my favorite colors.  Those were my colors when I got married.  I didn’t have any of the wonderful lip or eye products featured today back then.  I contented myself with purple and gold nail polish, which was fancy enough at the time.  I had rarely seen a true gold nail polish.

These days, with so many metallic lip and eye colors, gold and purple combinations abound.  Jeffree Star and Ofra have two nice metallic purples in No Tea, No Shade and Fantasia.

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I also used Colourpop’s Nillionaire and Jeffree Star’s Beauty Killer palette for my eyes in these photos.

And last but not least, my golden summer includes a golden mani with a green accent nail on a purple background with gold trees!  I’m nothing if not completely color-matched.

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I do believe that we at any age can wear gold either as a holiday color, or in my case, as a summer color.  In this post, I barely scratched the gilded surface of golden possibilities.  Every day, companies develop and launch new versions of this versatile color, some more shimmery, some less dramatic.  Lots of options exist and experimentation is always available.  Glambot sells used, sanitized makeup to try out for less cash and you can sell to them if you have makeup you don’t love.  Or if you buy something new and it doesn’t work, mix it, like I did with the Bite Beauty lip gloss.

Never say you are too old for gold.  Old gold is the best gold.

Affiliate link Glambot:  https://www.glambot.com?affid=7376rtgch

Many Mani’s for Mature Nails

Many Years O’ Biting

I’m a nail-biter from way, way back.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t bite ’em.  Over the years, the many, many, many years, I have tried to quit.  Here’s what happened.

When I was about nine or ten, I discovered nail polish.  I can’t remember if I was biting then.  Picking cuticles and ripping off my poor, sad, flimsy nails…  Probably.  Anyway, I discovered polish.  Cutex, to be specific.  I loved every color.  I wanted every color.

My mother bought nail polish for me, along with a cuticle kit and files and all the trimmings.  I purchased more bottles with babysitting money or allowance.  Then I proceeded to paint my nails repeatedly.  I did manicures with friends, by myself, and on any pet that would sit still.  I painted my mother’s nails, which were big and smooth and oddly shaped because she never bothered with them.  They broke all the time, like mine.

My father was a biter like me.  I asked my mother how he stopped.  She shrugged and said that one day he just quit doing it.  I’m wondering if it had to do with smoking because he was big into cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.  She said no, he bit and smoked at the same time.

One afternoon, I remember painting my nails repeatedly with different colors, one on top of the other, just because.  I must have been bored.  I barely waited for the coats to dry as I applied and reapplied every color I owned.  The polish became a thick layer on my nails.  I kept messing them up as I was listening to records or reading magazines.  Finally, one nail stopped sticking.  I peeled off a thick layer of polish, all different colors, and spent some quality time inspecting it.  I peeled the other layers off and placed them on the table to investigate.  They were little smooth oval plastic dots.

After a thorough inspection, I started over with a fresh layer of polish, carefully applied on each nail again.  I was trying to apply it perfectly so there were no marks on my fingers, but at a certain point, I gave up.

I remember going through periods of time when I stopped biting and grew the nails out.  Then I would lose focus and peel them all off.  Not the polish, but the nail itself.  I repeated this pattern for a long time.

Nice Nails

When I turned 50, I didn’t think I would ever have nice nails.  It wasn’t in the cards.  I just bit and picked my way through life.  But after speaking with the wonderful people who are involved in The Balance and Beauty Collective, I learned that Yolanda Britt, nail artist and founding member of the collective, would help me break my habit.  All the people I spoke to at the Collective told me Yolanda was the one.

She was and she did.  Yolanda looked me in the eye and talked to me about nails.  She showed me how to take care of my nails and still keep them natural instead of using extensions.  Not that extensions or acrylics are a problem…but I wanted to keep mine shorter and natural.

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This is an early picture, when I first got my nails done.  I can’t remember if this is the actual first picture, but it is close.  Yolanda enticed me with gorgeous Shellac color and hand-created designs.

The Advice

Yolanda told me to oil cuticles all day every day, as much as possible.  We identified when I felt most compelled to pick and I thought of other things to do with my hands at those moments.

I had to learn to be a little careful with the nails.  These babies are totally mine.  I can eat pie, grade papers, and write assignments on the computer.

For more strenuous work, I need gloves.  Rubber gloves for washing dishes and cleaning, which is fine, because I was using them anyway.  I purchased heavy-duty, waterproof work gloves and now I make myself use them for outdoor work.  I use them for some indoor work like moving boxes or furniture, etc.  If I can remember.

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I can spray paint a backdrop for a project, but it does have to be the same color as the shellac.  I forgot my gloves and got lucky.  My mani was fading anyway.

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Usually, I need to sit and enjoy the mani for a day after it is completed.  My day is often Friday or Saturday morning.  Friday is better because I can do more teaching work and less physical work.  I have to let the mani cure…haha…before I do any heavy lifting or else I will have wasted my money.

One time, I came home and canned tomatoes afterwards.  Not a good choice.  The shellac peeled off after one week.

If I’m careful and oil my cuticles, I can make the mani last a solid two weeks.  My nails are very dry as is my aging skin.  I have to keep track of oiling and lotioning hands all day.  Some days I do better than others.

If, by chance, I lose a piece of shellac, I want to pick and peel.  It’s just there looking at me and it’s hard to resist.  Yolanda does not recommend peeling off the polish as it peels off a layer of nail, too.  I don’t have much nail to begin with.  I need all the layers I can get.  I try to trim off any parts the might flake or peel back instead of pulling them off my nail.  Sometimes I’m successful.  Sometimes it’s too much for me to resist.

I have started to purchase “dupes,” that is, duplicate or similar colors of polish, from the drugstore.  I use these to cover up areas of nail that have peeled or chipped.  I don’t see the chip and refrain from picking.  Mind games!!!

You know what gave me that idea?

Yeah, the spray paint.

To Rest or Not to Rest

Some people question whether or not you should have ongoing manicures or whether you should let nails rest and breathe.  For me, it’s not a question.  The shellac is both weakening and strengthening, I guess.  If it’s off my nails, as happened one time when I took off the polish myself, I’m more likely to pick.  The nails are weak and break off.  I can’t get enough moisture or oil on them to compensate.  Regular polish does not strengthen my nails the way gels do.

That being said, though, my nails are weak and breakable to begin with.  They are like my mother’s nails, which were soft and bending.  I have never had strong nails, so I don’t mind keeping them covered at the risk of “weakening them.”  Hell, they are already weak.  So it’s better if I keep them covered and strong with gel than to take time off and let myself start up picking again.  I was not successful when I removed the gels myself and had a couple days before my next appointment.

I would rather cover my nails with pretty colors and pay money to keep my hands looking good.  If you are someone who has never bitten nails, you may not understand the depth of my feelings about this topic.  But it’s very important to me.  And gels didn’t exist when I was younger.  Regular manicures peeled and chipped in a day or two.  It wasn’t worth it then.  It is now.

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Living Happily Ever After

Overall, I’m really happy.  I have broken the habit of peeling nails and picking cuticles.  My hands are something I can be proud of and I receive compliments on my nails now.   I don’t mind having shorter nails.  I ask to keep them short so I don’t break them off or get annoyed with them.  I believe the longer they are, the more I’m going to mess with them.  And the more likely I am to damage them as well.  I’m bashing my hands against everything in this house as I go about my day.

Now and again when I’m anxious, I try to start something.  Find a baby hangnail and start working it.  But these days I’m able to catch myself.  I oil up, lotion up, and woman up.

I love my nails.  Seriously.

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My Mother’s Makeup

My mother had an on-again, off-again relationship with makeup.  She grew up in the south in her older brother’s household on a farm where makeup was not a priority.

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When she ran off to the big city up north with my father, it is clear she embraced the big city ways.  There are various pictures of her in her eimg038arly 20s wearing lipstick and eye makeup.  Her hair was “done” in the latest styles and different colors popular in the 1950s.

 

She briefly did a few photoshoots for local ads in Chicago.  I don’t believe she was signed to any particular agency.  If she was, she didn’t mention it to me.  All I heard was that she did “a little modeling a long time ago.”  She told me this as I was ransacking her makeup at the age of nine.

 

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My mother continued to wear some makeup for her job–she worked all while I was growing up.  Pictures of her at work show lipstick, brows, and foundation at least.

However, she stopped dyeing her hair after she experienced a bad allergic reaction to a red dye.  She called herself allergic to hair dye until she was 70 years old.  Her stylist and I had to reassure her that the dyes had improved a lot in 50 years.  She finally allowed Brenda to dye it for about a year.  Then, that was it.

Somewhere in the 1970s, my mother only wanted to use brow pencil.  She considered her brows too light and said they disappeared halfway around her eyes.   She was correct.  Her brows were well-shaped, though she stopped tweezing them.  They were darker by her nose and trailed off blonde (or gray) toward her temples.  Mine do the same.So if she planned to attend an event, she would pencil her brows and maybe slap some kind of lip gloss on.

She left all her old makeup hanging around her bedroom along with jewelry, scarves, and hats.  I was always a girlie-girl who loved digging through all the makeup.  My mother’s complexion was darker than mine.  I have my father’s lighter skin.  But I slapped on her Max Factor Pan Cake in some kind of beige.

I played with the tube of Erase, which was a thick concealer she said she used to cover her “bad acne.”  She told me pregnancy cured her.  Erase looked like a bad beige lipstick in a gold tube.  I thought it was lipstick at first and popped it on my mouth.

My mother also had this thick, greasy, gritty medicated makeup pan with sulfur in it, called Sulforcin.  It smelled awful and made me itch if I put it on.  The medicine itself is still in existence.  That stuff was quite horrible.  I can’t imagine trying to wear it daily with powder and “rouge.”

She had a couple of Cover Girl brow pencils in medium brown, her natural color.  She had a couple of short, stumpy pencils and one or two longer ones.  The outside was red and looked like a colored pencil.  I may or may not have used them as pencils… accidentally, of course.  Or not.

And then she had lipstick.  Lots of lipstick in all colors.  The idea was if ladies wore nothing else, they should powder a little and add some lipstick for color.  My mother had full-sized sticks, some almost used up.  She would dig a small brush into those and apply the color.  She also had a large collection of tiny samples of different colors.  These baby lipsticks were the best because there were so many to play with.  I tried so hard not to mess up the perfect point when I put the tiny lid back.  I could never decide if I liked the light pink or the fuchsia…or the creamy orange.  The blood red or the maroon.  All so pretty.

My mother had cake mascara and a little brush that looked kind of like a tiny toothbrush.  She showed me how to wet it and make a paste.  Some girls, she said, would spit in the mascara to wet it.  I could see in the pan where she had added water and swirled the brush.

I do not remember any eye shadow.  My mother has hooded eyes, as do I, and perhaps she didn’t wear any.  She didn’t seem to know how to apply eye shadow.  At a certain point, when she got older, she would ask me to apply any eye shadow she wore.  It was my eye shadow, though.  I have no memory of hers.

My mother gave up wearing makeup sometime when I was a child.  She didn’t wear makeup much at home on a daily basis.  She reserved it for photos and special occasions.  Even then, her makeup became more and more minimal as time went on.

Now, me, I loved makeup and all the trimmings.  I did my nails and put stuff all over myself from the time I was a tween.  Which, by the way, was not a word back then.  I was a preteen.

At 13, I remember wanting to wear makeup all the time but could only wear some clear lip gloss to school.  Preferably that sticky roll-on lip goo in root beer and strawberry.  I also had bubblegum lipstick in an impossible light shimmery pink.  Tasted awful.  Lip Smackers were the new thing and I had to have Coke and Dr. Pepper flavors.

I suppose I was about 15 or 16 when makeup became a daily thing.  Meanwhile, my  mother wore none at all.  She asked me to help her do her makeup if she somehow needed to wear it.  Those were rare instances.

The last couple of times my mother wore makeup were unusual.

At age 60-something, she decided out of nowhere to apply some of (I’m sure) my old eye shadow and lipstick for a casual party.  I happened to be there.  She rolled in looking like someone had popped her in the eyes.  She had lost any ability to apply shadow, if she had any skill to begin with.  I never saw evidence of eye shadow in her kit.  At the party, I simultaneously wanted to wipe it off and fix the shadow.  She was so excited and proud of herself.  I did neither.

Around the same time, my mother was recruited to film a commercial.  Yes, one on TV.  For a local company.  Unbelievable.  She asked me to do her makeup, but the folks on set did both hair and makeup for her.

The final time my mother wore makeup was when she won an award.  She called and asked if I wanted to do her makeup for the event.  I suggested she talk to her stylist, Brenda.  My mother got a new dye job, haircut, style, and professional airbrushed makeup all for this event.  She wanted to look good.  She didn’t want to look as sick as she really was.

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I have no idea if my mother did her own makeup for the few times she modeled in the 1950s.  I imagine she did and showed up in heels and stockings, with perfect hair, powder, and lipstick.

Later, when life got busy, she no longer wanted so much upkeep and let the daily makeup fade and the hair turn into wash and wear.

At the end of her life, though, she allowed herself to be dolled up by professional stylists and makeup artists.  She wanted to look and feel her best.

And that’s really the whole point.  Makeup can make us look and feel our best, whether under special circumstances or just on the daily.

 

Color Works

Do you think you can’t pull off bright colors?  Here are some ideas to think about.

Choose the occasion to use color.  Going out?  Choose a bright lip and pair it with a matching sheer eye.  Choose a color that you like or that matches you outfit or compliments your skin tone.  Liquid matte lip colors are very vivid.  Jeffree Star Cosmetics has a gorgeous range of colors if you feel adventurous.  More affordable options include Milani and NYX.  Below is a picture of me wearing Jeffree Star’s Watermelon Soda liquid lip color.  I have a light wash of eye shadow in a complimentary color from bh Cosmetics Galaxy Chic palette.  I used no eyeliner and little mascara.

If this lip color is too bright for your comfort, keep the same color scheme but tone the brightness down with a metallic overlay.  Metallics are popular right now and they keep some boldness with a slight blur and shift of color.  Here I cover a metallic that’s in a similar shade and add a pink overlay on top.  As I toned down the lip color a little, I added some liner and more mascara to balance the look.  But that is completely optional.

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Still too much?  Going to work?  Maybe you want a more casual look.  You can further tone down lip color and create a more pastel color with concealer or powder.  Start slowly and build up to where you like the look.  Below, I patted concealer in the center and moved outward until I liked the color.  It’s an ombre lip with dark on the outside and light in the middle.  You can put as much or as little as you like.  I added a dusting of powder to further mute the color.

Don’t forget that the final look may include glasses, which create another focal point on your face, so a dark lip or smoky eye isn’t so prominent.  Unless you want them to stand out.

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Color can be great for mature skin.  Even if we aren’t totally dewy and wrinkle-free, bright, vivid colors can still work, depending on your level of comfort.

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In the interest of total disclosure, I do use a filter on my pictures.  Here are two in outdoor light show the texture of my skin.

 

And here are the products used.  I hope  you try some different colors!  Let me know in the comments.

Color My World

I do love color and I don’t care who knows it.

I used to read books about how people of a certain age should stick to soft browns and beige, nude lip colors, and light blush.  That’s fine.  I love that look, too.

Then again, I like color.  I like the different colors that cosmetic companies develop and promote.  Not all of them look great on me.  I wouldn’t say that.

However, we do not have to necessarily stick to neutrals for eyes or lips or cheeks if that is not what we like.  I have not been interested in what others think. I am interested in what I think.

If you are uncomfortable with color, you can always play, take a picture (or not), and take it off again.  I have done that many times.  Or I have toned down the brightness for going out in public.

When I go to work, I switch between brighter and softer colors depending on day, time, and season.  I usually don’t want to wear a dark lip to work because it tends to get in my way after a while.  But I do like a darker, smokey eye.

I also plan times when I can go out to a club or bar with friends and play a little dress up.  Then I can wear whatever I like and enjoy the look in public.

Don’t be afraid to play at any age.  Try colors.  Many makeup lines these days carry inexpensive, brilliant, and good formulas.  Some fun ones to try include Colourpop, BH Cosmetics, ELF Cosmetics, Ofra Cosmetics, and Morphe Brushes (which also makes eyeshadows and lip colors as well).

Color my world.

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Lady of What?

Well.  Here I am at the ripe old age of 54, determined to share my interest in makeup with everyone.

I’m not a professional artist.  I am learning more about how to work with makeup every single day.

I started wearing makeup and dozens of coats of nail polish when I was a tween.  We were called pre-teens back in the 1970s.  I slapped on anything my mom had in the bathroom cabinet and went looking for more.

When I was 19, I had my look:  eyeliner, mascara, and brown lip gloss.

Here I am:

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Many years later, I decided not to wear any makeup at all.  I didn’t have time or money to do it.  I felt that my natural beauty was plenty fine.  And it was and still is.

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In 2015, I made a friend who loves makeup.  She hooked me into a Facebook group called Makeup Madnesss.  It’s a body-positive, supportive, loving, uncritical environment with a group of feminist women and men of all ages and persuasions.

The makeup light shined right in my eyes and woke me up again.  I am now older and interested in makeup and skin care for older people.

But we will not be dull or lifeless, clinging to the idea that older equals colorless or moderate.  Maybe it does.  Maybe it doesn’t.

My idea is wear what you like, what brings you joy.  There are lots of products and techniques to help makeup look good, blended, smooth, colorful, and fun.

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Lady of Face Welcome

Welcome! I am a 54-year-old person who enjoys makeup and color. I am not professional makeup artist–just an enthusiast. I love glam and glow. I’m not interested in beiges and mattes as a primary look. We are bigger and bolder. We are orange and green and yellow. Purple! Blue! Silver! Come and shine with me.

We appreciate beauty in all forms and ages. Let’s enjoy makeup and color and glow and glam and glitter and shine–at any age. Let’s encourage companies to make products for mature individual–ones that are not bland and typical.

Lady of Face delights in makeup tips and reviews for the mature individual.

LGBTQ-friendly, body-positive space.

Find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest @LadyofFace.  Snapchat coming soon.

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