The Secret to Chic: lessons from a photograph

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Let’s talk, for a second, about all the things this woman has going for her. (photo source)

  • She is beautifully dressed–complete with a broach and jaunty little hat
  • This is the outfit she chose for an ice cream date (no polyester here)
  • She obviously knows that silvery gray looks beautiful on her–and why mess with a good thing
  • The hair around her hat is styled (but I like to think that under the hat, it’s all tussled–because she is good at keeping secrets)
  • She isn’t wearing blush–probably because she isn’t trying to look younger
  • Her smile is adorable and genuine–she obviously has a wonderful sense of humor
  • She is eating ice cream (if she really is eating ice cream by herself, all the more proof she has a great sense of humor)
  • She is wearing red lipstick while eating ice cream
  • She chose vanilla, because you can never go wrong with a classic (and I’m going to guess it is not sugar-free)
  • She has good posture
  • She didn’t decline her photo being taken, which might be a sign that she feels good about the way she looks

Of course, this is a lot of speculation mixed with observation. But it’s what my subconscious would be screaming at me if I passed this darling woman on the street. And if I sat next to her at a dinner party, I would want to get to know her for the interesting person she is. I would start by asking her opinion on hats. I have a feeling she would tell me her late husband caught her eye many years ago because he looked so handsome in a hat.

Now let’s take a look at a recent photograph of Kim Kardashian and do the same kind of speculative study. Just kidding. But I think that brings up a wonderful point about what being chic is all about, Charlie Brown.

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P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Red Apple Lipstick giveaway, if you haven’t already! You have two days left to enter.

 

Red Apple Lipstick Review + GIVEAWAY!

(This post is NOT sponsored, but if you click on the links in this post and make a purchase, you will be helping to support JenEric Generation. So, thank you!)

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I have never been a huge fan of wearing lipstick. Not because I hate the way it looks, but because I hate the way it makes me feel like I need to constantly check the mirror to make sure I don’t need a touch up. I like makeup that makes me feel natural and not self-conscious. My prejudice was admittedly based mostly on my experience wearing my mom’s lipstick for ballet performances. It was not a fair judgment, and I realize that now.

As bright and bold lips started popping up more and more, I began re-thinking my feelings about lipstick, and wondered if there could possibly be a brand that wasn’t full of parabens and didn’t feel like my lips were wearing a chalky mask. When I came across Red Apple Lipstick (look at their beautiful color selection!), and read that there lipsticks are paraben-free, and had great reviews, I decided it was time to take the leap.

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First of all, the more natural a makeup product is for me, the more points it gets. If I am going to be eating food with a coating of colorful chemicals on my lips, that’s hardly worth it. But if it is possible to wear a beautiful shade of color without worrying about digesting anything harmful, then I’m game. I decided to try one of their bold red shades from their new holiday colors, hollypeno (here). I am such a daredevil!

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This was basically my inner dialogue verbatim after applying it, if it helps form your opinion at all: “Woah. This is definitely red. I am not sure how I feel about this. Actually, it feels really good. Is this actually moisturizing my lips? It feels like I have Burt’s Bees on, not lipstick. Hmmm. I think I’ll eat a sandwich while I think it over. Weird. It’s not getting on the bread. WEIRDER: I don’t need to reapply after eating a sandwich?! I think this is growing on me. Eric doesn’t think I look like a clown, so that’s positive. Okay, I think I am excited about this.”

If you didn’t catch on to the overall message there, I am a big fan of how Red Apple Lipstick feels on my lips. That was the most important thing to me. Second, the color is highly pigmented and really lovely. Curious to try it? Well, you may or may not be in luck.

 

Because I get excited about things I love, and love to pressure my friends into trying new things, I am giving away one tube of hollypeno Red Apple Lipstick (the same shade I am wearing), and here’s how you can win:

You can enter in three different ways below. Do one, or do them all for a better chance of winning. Good luck! You have until December 18th at midnight to enter. :) May the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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‘Tis the Season

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It’s about this time of year when I start making a lot of lists. Lists of things I need to do, want to do, can’t forget to do, lists to empty my brain and transfer some of my stress to paper. This year, I have the added stress of feeling like I need to do a lot of things before the baby gets here. I really don’t have a lot of things to do before Baby gets here, but one just feels like there is much to be done when a new human is expected to enter this world in a few months.

Every year, I make a promise to myself to start Christmas shopping in say, August. And every year in August I think, oh come on, I have plenty of time. And the truth is, I do. I still have plenty of time. Christmas is not here yet. Every year, no matter how much I have to do, it all gets done. And the anxiety becomes pretty pointless once family is together and the celebrating begins.

My good friend, Amanda, wrote a blog post about expectation during Advent season that is really beautiful. It is a great reminder that in our looking forwardness, we should be childlike in our anticipation. We don’t have to stress and worry, but can prepare and wait for what we will receive. Because yes, Christmas is about giving to others, but it is also very much about receiving what we don’t deserve with gratitude.

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P.S. Speaking of gifts, I have a little giveaway coming up on Thursday that you may want to look out for. If you follow me on instagram, you might be able to figure out what it is…hint: it’s red and oh so fancy.

How to Use Creativity to Find Contentment

We are far too easily pleased.

That’s the tagline of my blog. The full quote is the basis of my “about me” (also illustrated below) and since I came across it years ago, it has been replaying in my mind as a recurring theme.

What exactly does it mean to be far too easily pleased? I take it to mean that human nature keeps us stuck in ruts of our own design; boring ruts full of mediocrity that we tell ourselves are fine–that they are good enough. It doesn’t mean that we are pleased all of the time, it means we are often content with something that is a mere shadow of the real thing. According to C.S. Lewis,when we settle for what is right in front of us, we are missing out on infinite joy. It is so much easier to make our own mud pies–mud pies we get to design and have full control of!–than to trust that God has created something better for us, already. But if you have no concept of what a holiday at the sea is, it is easy to be content sitting in a pile of mud in a slum, isn’t it?

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The reason I use this quote for my blog is that I like to write about creativity, and I think that creativity is a way to get us out of the slum–to get us to look past our mud pies. A lot of people don’t think of themselves as creative. They think being creative means being talented or that it’s the hour or two they set aside to pull out their old art supplies once a year.

But creativity is so much more than that. Seeking creativity in everyday life means not being content with what society tells us is worthy of our times and efforts. Conversing with someone beyond small talk takes creativity. Making dinner for your family takes creativity. Getting through another day of changing diapers and wiping up spit-up takes lots of creativity. Creativity is one of the things that sets us apart from animals. As humans, our goal is to do more than just survive on a daily basis. We want life to be more than just passing time. Yet, so often, we are far too easily pleased with the mediocre, the bland, the good-enough.

Creativity is a powerful tool that should be used to fight mediocrity in everyday life. Creativity, as thinking outside of the box, thinking beyond what is comfortable, and deciding that some things are more important than our fears, leads to a more fulfilling life. Because when we refuse to settle for the scraps human nature has to offer us, and instead recognize that we have a Creator who has already given us so much, then the mud pies become less appealing. When we are far too easily pleased, things like poor posture, worrying about things we can’t control, and owning a too-large wardrobe that stifles our creativity, become things that slow us down and make us less of who we should be. Yes, even poor posture. So many things in life that stifle creativity are very little things.

I really believe that when we use creativity to combat the mediocrities of everyday life, we become more content. It seems strange to say that we should not be content with the mediocre, in order to be content in our lives. But when we aren’t so easily pleased with average, we become more human–more of who we were made to be. And when we are more of who we were created to be, we are set free from the smothering nature of our natural tendencies.

Being creative, then, is looking outside ourselves, and believing that there is something out there we might not yet understand. We might not fully understand that a holiday at the sea is better than making a mud pie in the slum, but if we trust that there is something better, then there is hope for us. There are so many “better versions” that we have yet to discover in our day to day lives. There is a more content way to live based on the idea that we refuse to settle for what comes most naturally to us. Using creativity as a tool to pursue contentment makes life more exciting and more adventurous. It reminds us that there is always more to discover, always more to find pleasure in. We just can’t be afraid of what we don’t fully understand. We can’t choose what is easy over being creative. We can’t be too easily pleased. We would be missing out on so much joy.

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What do you think? Do you think creativity plays an important role in your everyday life? Do you find yourself settling for the mediocre rather than looking for ways to be creative? I’d love to know what you think!