More pics: Hair Stuff

Perhaps starting this project around the Christmas season was unwise. I haven't been the world's most responsible blogger.

Hair Products: 1

Same hair stuff: different angle
I don't have these products with me, so I'll have to finish my hair products inventory with prices when I get settled back in in January. However, to update the log:

Time: 25 minutes
Products: N.B.W., CVS 28spf Moisturizing Lotion (new, $11), Almay concealer, Neut. 3-in-1 concealer, Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara, Chapstick, Samy Styling Wax
Event: Hanging out around the house

Time: 20 minutes
Products: N.B.W., CVS 28spf Moisturizing Lotion (new, $11), Almay concealer, Neut. 3-in-1 concealer, Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara, Chapstick
Event: Travelling

Time: 45 minutes
Products: Everything I have with me: soap, lotion, foundation, cover-up, hair product, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick. Shaved legs, did hair... the whole nine yards.
Event: Christmas Eve service at church and opening presents! (Our family does presents after church on Christmas Eve.)

Time: 45 minutes
Products: Same as above
Event: Christmas Day dinner with mom's boyfriend's family, really sweet people. I see them once a year, so you know... gotta look good.

My family is SO supportive of the Experiment, so I got some modest clothes and smell-free bathroom stuff (like soap and sesame lotion). I also got hats, scarves, and boots! Yay! I received Uggs, which are usually too trendy for me-- but I actually NEED them, and they were a gift so I'm not counting them among the things I've bought to make myself more stylish. It gets icy in ATL, and I actually slipped and fell a week ago; plus, they're comfy. I can certainly appreciate comfort and utility, even though they're the "in" thing right now. :)

OK, time for bed... I would like to say, though, how fortunate I feel this year. I got all the things I needed (including some things I needed but would have never asked for because they're too expensive) and my time with my family this year has been really wonderful.

Hope you've had a great holiday too!



Time: 20 minutes
Products: N.B.W., Neutrogena spf 70, Almay Clear Complexion Concealer, Body Shop Eyeshadow Quad, Tarte Cheek Stain, CG ColorStay Lipcolor; Samy Under Control molding wax (hair)
Event: Christmas party with MF's friends
- I wanted to look cute-- I knew some of these people, but the ones I didn't know I wanted to impress, cause they've known MF for a long time. You know how it is: you're "the new girlfriend," so you want to look nice, but not overly done-up. It just so happened that I wasn't feeling particularly slim that night, so I wore looser stuff than usual. Because of MF's preference for the "less is more" look, I was significantly lower key than I ordinarily would have been for this sort of thing. If we had been at my place with ALL my makeup and various implements of beauty, it would've been at least 45 minutes.

Time: 30 minutes (lots of changing of clothes)
Products: Same as above, only without any lip stuff
Event: Meeting and hanging out with MF's family
- This was hard to figure out. Since I've been worrying less about my physical appearance lately, I've actually felt much less attractive. Every time I look at myself in the mirror I go, "Meh. I'm not disgusting," but I never think, "I'm beautiful!" like I sometimes do. So I HAD to do something with my hair (looked in the mirror and thought my face looked pudgy) and wore something cute with jeans (but thought my tummy was poofy cause it's about time for my Aunt to show up) and wore little makeup (because I left my mascara at home). All in all, I felt distinctly unattractive on the 19th, especially when I caught glimpses of myself in the mirrors at Target and the mall that MF and I went out to to do some Christmas shopping afterwards. I'm trying to ease myself into this, but it's proving to be really difficult.

Time: 5 minutes
Products: N.B.W., Neutrogena spf 70
Event: None. Trip down the street to CVS to get more face lotion with sunscreen, chapstick, and... OK, OK. Cheap mascara.
- Wore a hat cause it's cold as hell here, but something interesting happened. I went to get stuff to protect my skin from the elements, which I mean to continue wearing during the experiment, but I also could no longer stand not wearing mascara. This is because I think that my eyes are my best feature, and without it they looked boring, which took the focus of them from my awesome cheekbones to my not-awesome wrinkly chin... good grief. Anyway, I got the cheap stuff cause I won't be wearing it long, but it still cost... ah, SH*T. I thought I got the $5 stuff, but it was $9! DAMMIT! (Maybelline Lash Discovery, $8.49) Rargh.

But the interesting happened when I found myself engaged in my age-old battle of "I really want that and I don't need it and it costs money I don't need to spend but maybe I'll get it anyway" that I end up in whenever I go to Walgreens or CVS (see my first post about why I can't go to those places). There was $8 nail polish and some GORGEOUS $12 eye makeup-- cause I need more eye makeup-- and the only thing that stopped me was reminding myself that in a week and a half I won't be wearing any of the things I wanted, which made them a huger waste of money than usual. The word "investment" came to mind when I thought about it, as in, "This stuff isn't an investment in my appearance, like usual."

That's a funny way to think of makeup.

This was the first official instance of the Experiment saving me money: approximately $10.

Time: 30 minutes
Event: Initially, hanging out with MF's awesome best friend (who is female and beautiful and younger than I, but not at all shallow or weird or ambivalent about me dating MF).
- Then, just before I started writing this post and despite the fact that no one will see me today, I suddenly had the urge to make myself look as beautiful as I could. I did this for two reasons: one, I wanted to look at myself in the mirror and see myself as beautiful, and two, making oneself up is FUN. So I broke out the brushes and everything, including hair products, and now every few seconds I look at myself in the darkened window beside me and flutter my eyelashes at the imaginary person who appraises me.

Like I said, I can be vain. Right now, I think I am quite beautiful for the first time in days... which upsets me in an unfamiliar way because of course, soon I won't be able to satisfy my urge to make myself up and admire myself. I'll want to look at myself and think I'm beautiful, but I can't do it with makeup and hair stuff, which makes me feel like crying. Very soon, I will only be able to control my appearance to a certain extent, and it's a much lesser one than usual. The only comforting thought is knowing that I won't have to do this forever.

This is LUDICROUS, how upsetting this is! Hmph. It's a good thing I've committed to do this and hang on for the whole nine months come what may, because it's going to be really hard for me sometimes.


Since the 15th...

Time: 15 minutes.
Products: Neutrogena Body Wash, Neutrogena SPF 70, Almay Clear Complexion concealer, Sephora Mascara
Event: Meeting with friend, then errands. Wore hat.

Time: 10 Minutes
Products: N.B.W., Pantene Pro-V Color Preserving Shampoo, SPF 70
Event: Travel. Lots and lots of travel. Definitely wore hat.

Time: 20 minutes.
Products: Same as 12/15, but including Neutrogena 3-in-1 Concealer, Tarte Cheek Stain.
Event: Movie, dinner, dancing with my boyfriend.

Tonight: Parties! I'll update how long it took me and stuff tomorrow, but I anticipate it taking awhile cause Significant Other (forthwith to be referred to as M.F., "My Fella")'s friends and stuff will be there and I'll want to look polished. Sunday, I get to meet his family!... And there is no way in hell I'm going there NOT looking my best.

I haven't actually been wearing as much makeup and spending as much time as I usually do on hair and stuff these last few days because I've been with MF. MF is the wonderful man who regularly told me he thought I was prettier without makeup, and this led to my considering going without, which led to my panicking about it, which led to me going, "WHOA I'm scared of that. I wonder why?"

Being around someone who has not only seen me in the morning and on my worst skin days, but also actively prefers me bare-faced, makes me much less concerned about wearing makeup. This isn't to say that MF and I have some magical relationship where physical appearance doesn't matter-- in fact, he first made contact with me by leaving a comment on a photo of me on a friend's Facebook page telling me how beautiful I was, and when that photo was taken I was definitely in full-on done-up mode. But... meh. Now I find myself not wearing makeup because he likes me better that way. I wonder what that means? I'd like to expound upon that, but the party is at seven and I need at LEAST two hours to get ready.


Sort of.


Scheduling Insanity

Hi all,

I've been super busy these last few days with holiday plans, but I've been keeping records of the time and products I've used. I'll post them sometime tonight or tomorrow, as soon as I have both a computer and some time.

Thanks for your patience!



$698.64 worth of makeup. Holy crap.

Whoa. I thought this was going to be an easy project... silly Lauren. I feel weirdly vulnerable as I take these pictures, like it's me the pictures are of, and I suddenly regret committing to do this.

Some of these are listed online as costing much less than I paid for them, so I estimated on about 1/4, but it's amazing how the monetary values have stuck in my head. I've omitted the items that were gifts or free, but they're in the pictures to show just how much I have.

Eye Makeup first:

Eye Makeup, Left to right:
1. Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush (4): $5.35
2. Maybelline Cool Effect Eyeliner (2): $5
3. Cargo Eye Pencil: $6.95
4. Tweezerman Eye Lash Curler: $20
5. Love Me 365 Eye Cream: $5
6. ST Liquid Eyeliner: $6.95
7. Maybelline Amazing I-Liner: $8.99
8. Urban Decay Liquid Liner (3): $18
9. Smashbox Liner: $5
10. Rimmel Colour Rush Shadow: $5.95
11. False Eyelashes: $7
12. Maybelline Shimmer E.S.: $3
13. Sephora Eye Shimmer: $5
14. Profusion Eyeshadows: $10
15. Physician's Formula Quad: $8.95
16. Stila Smudge Pots (3): $20
17. Cover Girl Singles (2): $3
18. Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow: $6.95        
19. Bourjois Eyeshadow: $13.95
20. Santee Beauty Secret Palette: $5
21. Victoria's Secret Silk Wear: $12.95
22. Milani Crystal Eyez: $7
23. (My Favorite) Too Faced Collection: $30 (ouch)

Eye Makeup Total: $320.04

Now, on to lips:

1. Physicians Formula Plump Palette: $9
2. Cover Girl ColorStay Lipcolor (3): $8.95
3. Neutrogena Glossy Lipcolor: $10
4. Essence of Beauty Lip Frosting: $3.95
5. Neutrogena Lip Boost (3): $10
6. Cover Girl Lipstick: $5.95
7. L'Oreal Endless Wear: $9.95
8. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick: $10
9. NYC Lipcolor: $3
10. The Body Shop Longwear L.C.: $7.95
11. Maybelline Lipcolor: $5
12. Rimmel Lasting Finish: $6.95
13. Cover Girl Outlast Lip Stain (2): $8.95
14. Cover Girl LipSlicks: $5.95
15. Jordana Lipliner: $3.95
16. Victoria's Secret Shine Lip Lacquer (2): $6.95
17. Lip Power Lipstick Sealer: $5
18. Wet 'n' Wild Mega Last: $4
19. NYC Longwearing Lipcolor (2): $7

Lip Makeup Total: $193.30

OK, this is officially not fun anymore. Cheeks and skin:

1. L'Oreal Blush Delice: $8.95
2. Neutrogena Glow Sheers: $12
3. Neutrogena Daily Sunblock: $15
4. Cover Girl Classic Color: $8.95
5. Physician's Formula Finishing Powder: $15
6. Wet 'n' Wild Ultimate Minerals: $5
7. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash: $8
8. Airspun Loose Face Powder: $12
9. Almay Clear Complexion Concealer: $7.99
10. Neutrogena 3-in-1 Concealer: $9.99

Skin/ Cheek Total: $102.88

I need a break. I'm hungry and cranky. It's been four hours now that I've been doing this.

...And I'm back! There's an episode of "Scrubs" on where Elliot struggles with how much makeup she wears: too much, she gets made fun of. None, she gets made fun of. I can't decide how I feel about this as a show topic. (Blog, absolutely. Show: BLASPHEMY!)


1. Neutrogena Body Oil: $9.99
2. La Fleur Organique Hand Lotion: $5
3. Eucerin Original Moisturizer: $12.49
4. Aussie Tanning Solution/ Sunscreen: $8
5. Pond's Cold Cream: $4.99
6. Burt's Bees Baby Lotion: $9.99

Lotion Total: $50.46

The stuff I overlooked in the process of picture-taking (there's also some hair stuff in there which will be counted with hair stuff tomorrow, plus a few things that were counted in the right categories, like that eyeshadow in the front -- Maybelline Expert Wear Eyeshadow):

1. Sea Breeze Astringent: $4.99
2. Almay Pure Blends Foundation: $9.99
3. Clearasil Overnight Lotion: $8.99
4. Cover Girl Pressed Powder: $7.99

Misc. Total: $31.96

Grand Total: $698.64

This is just makeup, and about half of what you see was free, from my mom (who knows how much I love cosmetics and smelly things) or as free gifts from wherever. I haven't even covered my nail polish, hair products, shoes or clothes, all of which I was intending to do today. I took pictures, but after just doing my makeup I am thoroughly sick of this. I have to resume tomorrow.

My eye and lip stuff all together.

Now that the start date is coming closer, I really don't want to do this experiment. Making myself up every day and wearing cute clothes are what I know how to do. I move through the world feeling like I fit in. I won't fit in anymore when I look plain -- worse, I'll look boring. But I was thinking about something today: people tell me I'm pretty often, and I recognize that as something to be very appreciative of. But secretly I think, "No I'm not. I just make myself up and dress really carefully. If you saw me without it, you wouldn't say that." Without projecting an image, I feel like I'm somehow losing time, like I'm leaving for Mars for nine months or something. It's a really odd feeling.

All this angst, of course, just shows me how much I need to do this. People may not tell me I'm pretty anymore (and those of you who see me a lot, don't tell me I'm pretty just to make me feel good cause that sorta skews the data). But if they don't... who cares? I mean really, why, with all my education and talk of female empowerment, is this so difficult for me to do? If it doesn't matter, why am I so scared?

I suspect I'll find out during this experiment.


It begins... gradually

So. I went through all my clothes and found the stuff that made me feel uncomfortable in some way: stuff where I had to suck in mah belleh, or couldn't lift my arms too high, or couldn't dance in because it would rip (this has happened. Never lindy hop in a skirt that's too tight to let you spread your legs when you swivel.).

Now, this constitutes about a third of my wardrobe:

Also, that's my cat. He doesn't make me feel like I need to suck it in.

I am proud to say that all of my clothes are either gifts or second-hand: found at thrift stores, donated as hand me downs... I actually got my favorite, sexiest dress in the trash in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I put it on (after washing it, of course) and someone said, "That dress looks like it was made specifically for you." So in terms of monetary value, let's say that each piece cost me $7, which makes up for the more expensive stuff ($85-- gift) and thrift store purchases ($3 on average). I counted these items:

32 shirts
8 pairs of pants/ shorts
11 skirts
15 dresses
2 pairs of shoes
68 items of clothing x $7 = $476 worth of clothes.

And that is a third -- a third -- of what I own.

Yes sir, not wrapped up in appearances. Totally comfortable with myself. And when I want to look really pretty, I put on something that makes me feel not-quite-pretty-enough and make myself uncomfortable all night long, physically and psychologically. Sometimes there is strange underwear (anyone reading this wear Spanx?), stockings with control tops, double-sided tape, bras that lie about my size, safety pins, underwear that is DESIGNED to ride up....

Looking at all these shirts and dresses and jeans, it astounds me that I own almost $500 worth of clothes that make me feel bad about myself. Every time I wear this stuff a little voice says, "If you were a little thinner you wouldn't have to suck it in. OTHER girls don't have to, but you can fake being as pretty as other women if you wear restrictive underwear and remember to arch your back." And yet I wear it anyway, and far from making me feel prettier, it serves as a constant physical reminder that I'm not pretty enough.


So, that was Step One; Step Two, tomorrow, will be taking inventory of all my makeup and stuff, and at least estimating the total amount and cost of my clothing (including shoes... oh dear). I'll keep posting pics.

And Wednesday, the fun REALLY starts: timing how long getting ready takes me, what I use and (from Step Two) how much that stuff costs. I'll prolly take pics of myself, too, for examples of the "look" I like to don, for comparison with the modest clothing coming in January.

Thanks for reading, and I'd like to welcome all my new readers. Glad to have you!


Will I Be Pretty?

This was sent to me just now by the director of The Vagina Monologues for this year. Wait until you get to the part about the perfect cocktail dress: it's beautifully applicable to this experiment. Warning: she drops the f-bomb.



God vs. Sex: A Somewhat Unrelated (But Also Related Cause It's Feministy) Post

(This is a rant, having nothing to do with clothing but everything to do with reinterpreting religious or spiritual womanhood and leadership. You've been warned, and I promise not to do this too often, or at least start another blog in which to do it.)

I just watched the documentary The Vagina Monologues as part of the cast prep for the show (Feb. 17,18,19-- tell your friends) and I have a message for all my empowered laydeez (and those who love them) out there, especially those of us who work in ministry:

There are now officially more women graduating from seminary than men. It's time to make the church into a place that faces and ends violence towards women, not counsels an abused wife to "submit to her husband" or "pray" or commits some such act of complicity in the abuse. I cannot tell you how many women mention "the church" as the main silencer of their voices, and folks: that just ain't Christian. "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin... Those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me." John 15:22-16:3

Yeah, God's referred to in the Bible as male, and women were seen as property or second-class citizens, or somewhere in Leviticus it says that a woman should be stoned if she wears a ponytail on a Tuesday or whatever. But I say that no one in their right mind would pray to a God that sanctions violence against women -- in fact, I would posit that this is part of why the church is dying: because allowing our God to be one who values men over women makes all of us look like crazy woman-haters. OK, so there's a lot of misogyny in the Bible. But just because it was OK then doesn't make it OK now, especially in light of Jesus' message of love and protection of those who have been or are being victimized.

I'm putting the unrelated soap box away now. I'm not sure how to take specific steps about this except to tell the abused woman who comes to me for help that God loves her and isn't teaching her some lesson about submission but that she should get the hell out of there, or that Jesus loves her and doesn't want her to endure sexual abuse no matter how high up in the church her abuser might be. I will never, ever, ever use God as a weapon of oppression.

My fellow seminarians: won't you join me? If some can use selective interpretation to condone, then we can use it to condemn.

"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." - 1 John 3:1 NRSV

"For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." - Gal. 5:1

"Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you." - Matt. 7:6


Why not hijab?

If you look at earlier blog posts, you'll see that the "modest" style of dress that I was originally considering adopting was hijab, or the style of covering up that many Muslim women choose to don (and some are, admittedly, forced to accept). (See www.wikipedia.org/hijab)

However, this would be a somewhat dishonest way of going about the central aim of this project, which is to wean myself off of the idea that I have to project a certain image daily with the way I look. It would be trading one "costume" for another, and I would be looked at MORE, not less, if I dressed this way for the full nine months. It would run counter to what I'm trying to do here.

So, my wardrobe will be more along these lines (courtesy of www.junees.com, www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com, www.hannahlise.com, www.alhannah.com, www.cbazaar.com and www.cjhats.com respectively):

Stuff without sleeves will be worn with something underneath.

As you can see, the problem here is that... well... this stuff is cute. I won't completely fade into the background; in fact, this is just a small sampling of the awesome stuff I've dredged up in my search for wtf I'll wear. So I guess my aim when it comes to narrowing down my categories of what I can and cannot wear is to don stuff that is a minimum of hassle and isn't an attempt to fit into what The Man says I should look like. They can't be attempts to express an image of who I am. (Although I'll be expressing who I am by being a part of this experiment -- so there's no foolproof way to NOT express myself by how I look. Which is part of the human condition anyway, that we judge based on appearances. So whatevs.)

I dunno. I'm conflicted about all this. I need to be sure this isn't just a big ol' attempt to get a new wardrobe. It needs to be genuinely challenging for me, but at the same time... men get to wear clothes that hide their imperfections, but they can still look "good." Is it still vain to look "cute" but not "stylish?" What do you think? I need some help here.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I'm still going to wear hijab for maybe a week or something just to see what happens, but again, doing it the whole time would defeat the purpose of this project.



My project will "begin" on 12/15: I'll take pictures and do fiscal inventory on everything I have and/ or use which has to do with maintaining my physical appearance, on a daily basis, until 1/1/11. I'll also document the time I spend daily getting ready for the day or getting ready for bed. This will start on 12/15 for two reasons. One, I really don't do all too many things differently from day to day (and the fancy-schmancy days over the holidays will be inventoried over this two-week period anyway); and two, finals are coming and I have a crapton of work to do. I can't let myself get distracted with starting a new project right now, and I'm really tempted to.

BUT. On 1/1/11, here are the rules I'm thinking about adhering to, along with the internal voices of resistance that cry out at each one:

1) No makeup of any kind. Not even powder. (Ohhhh, shit. But what about my bad skin and undereye bags?)
2) Hair covered at all times. Neck optional. (But I look so CUTE with this haircut! People like me because I have red hair! Awwww.)
3) Arms and legs covered at all times with non-form-fitting material (like skirts and loose pants). Covered past elbows and past mid-calf.
4) Jewelry is allowed, but it should be practical, like a silver necklace or a watch.
5) Nothing so fitted that I feel like I have to suck in my tummy. An item can be cut in a flattering way, but it can't be tight or let me worry about any imperfections I might be showing (like muffin-top). If I have to sit or stand funny to look good in it, I'm not wearin' it. (But what about that gray dress?? I look so HOT in that...)
6) No nail polish. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!)

More rules as they trickle through my very resistant subconscious.