Through those years I discreetly applied mascara to my blonde lashes and restricted my lipstick to a natural pink gloss. But I never lost my love for rouge and eyeliner. It was a relief to welcome the eighties and female power dressing. Broad shoulder pads needed to be balanced by strong lipstick and big hair! I always had the big hair, and I was a very part-time hair and lifestyle model for a few years.
I loved the excuse for piles of make-up and studied the craft of careful and exaggerated application whenever a make-up artist worked on my face. I envied my brunette friends who did not look like lash-less rabbits without eyeliner and brow pencil. My ex-husband nicknamed me Casper for my translucent skin that wouldn’t ever tan beyond a milky beige no matter how many hours I sunbathed. And even a half hour in the sun with sunscreen gave me a smattering of freckles across my nose.
Around this time I worked at the office of a renowned plastic surgeon in New York City. And what I learned there changed forever the way I regarded and treated my skin.
One day a lady came into the office to accompany a friend to her appointment. As staff we were all accustomed to evaluating the faces of visitors with a knowing eye to see what kind of cosmetic work had been performed. When we saw this stranger’s face, we were all struck by the glow and lack of wrinkles, despite the fact she was no longer young. Honestly, I had seen baby’s bottoms that were not as smooth as her face. Boldly we asked her who she had seen and what she had done to achieve her lovely skin. In the lilting accent of the Isle of Skye, the lady laughed and replied, “Oh, you New Yorkers. Everyone asks me the same question. I’ve done nothing to my face. We only see the sun about once a year and every ladies’ face looks like mine.”
That was an epiphany for me. I had lovely skin, but was in my early twenties, so it was little wonder. But I decided then and there to keep my face out of the sun. From that day forward I wore sunscreen religiously, regardless of the days planned activities. That was before we worried about Vitamin D, and I will write more on that later. And whenever my husband called me Caspar, I just smiled, knowing that I would never again have to sweat in the sun, trying to force a tan from skin that God and my Irish ancestors obviously never intended to be anything but white. And I had a beauty secret that I could implement for only the cost of sunscreen, because even then I wanted to age well, instead of looking well aged. I recall that one of my school friends had a mother who spent most of her summer days sitting by their backyard pool. The mother’s face was both deeply tanned and deeply wrinkled and, although she was slim enough to sport a bikini, her arms and legs were brown and sinewy, like all moisture had been sucked out. Nice enough as moms of friends’ went, we all found her rather scary looking because none of the other mothers looked like that. Our friend assured us that all that was wrong with her mother’s skin was too much sun, and she shook her head at her mom’s obsession with maintaining her suntan.
Since my skin has been one of my best assets, I have done much to nourish and maintain it since then. I am asked often how I have lovely skin, and that is partly the reason for starting this blog. I am also asked often about my make-up, and how others can achieve a similar look.
My intention is to share my beauty secrets. Of course, eating well is a big part of it, but it is not all I do. One of my long-term goals has been to age gracefully. Intelligence, humor, family, purpose, and deep spiritual awareness all play important roles. It is no fun to see gravity takes its toll and watch the bloom fade. What can one expect from the ageing process and how much can one fight back, is another question I am often asked.
I will share with you what I know, as I am embarked on the process. And I plan to invite others with skills to share to blog and share their successes and products with you. We have all seen the excesses from too much surgery, or over-used dermal fillers, and make-up that becomes a mask rather than an enhancement.
When I was introduced to the lady who arranged the flowers for my wedding, I recognized her immediately. She had been a famous model, featured in all the fashion magazines, right before the term “super-model” was coined. But now, 20 years later, I could hardly bare to look at her face. Her skin looked as if she had been a sea captain, rather than a Westchester, NY floral designer. She chain-smoked during our appointment, and I recognized the signs of alcohol abuse. Her looks were ruined, and it was heart breaking to see how her life difficulties and choices showed in her face.
Years later I spent Augusts in Sardinia, where yachts lined the harbor on the Esmeralda coast. One of the favorite social events was a concert held at one of the top hotels, featuring entertainers like Barry White. The guests, a mix of Europeans and Arabs, arrived in style, men in white summer suits or blazers and the ladies in flowing dresses. The Italian “ladies of a certain age” were the most chic to me. They were curvy and voluptuous, but never fat. The skin glowed, make-up was artfully applied and hair was curled and colored. Old enough to be grandmothers, these ladies were still feminine and sensual, projecting confidence that said their age did not define them. I don’t recall that any one of them was a great beauty, yet I have never forgotten how womanly they seemed. Then in my early 30’s, I hoped that I would be able to age as gracefully.
And now the time has come for me to follow that inspiration. This blog is for women who want to be attractive, vital and energetic, no matter their age. As time passes, hopefully we have seen and learned what escaped our youthful selves. Wisdom and experience have been gained; just as hormones wane and our bodies dance to a slower rhythm.
What we see in the mirror shapes our ideas about ourselves. We live in America, where youth has been cherished. But, just as we baby boomers defined the 60’s, we continue to define our times. Our parents might have been old at sixty, but we don’t have to be. Biology tells us humans should be living to be 120-130. Those added years could bring many interesting challenges, physical, mental and economic.
So, let’s explore how to keep the game fresh and keep our passions alive. I will never be a voluptuous Italian, but being feminine and vital is within my grasp. Beauty is not just about the lines on the face. A strong and healthy body, engaged and curious mind, and a spirit that reaches out to others, despite our own worries or concerns, breed beauty of the kind that lasts. And the right shade of lipstick can just be icing on the cake.
I hope to bring you beauty tips and products from different beauty pros, and a sense of fun about outward beauty reflecting the inner you. Let me know what questions you need answered and any suggestions you have.