Category Archives: Birthdays

Biting into Beauty (and Celebrating a Birthday!) with Custom Lipstick

If you know me well, you’re aware that I love birthdays—my own and others’. I think we all deserve to be acknowledged and appreciated on this special day. Another year of life, love, and experience is truly something to celebrate! (Take a look back at this blog post for more on why I think we should all set aside time to savor and celebrate birthdays, no matter how many candles are on the cake.)

Whenever I can, I try to find ways to celebrate birthdays that aren’t standard gift exchanges. In my experience, it’s much more fulfilling and memorable to spend meaningful time with family and friends. Last month, I had the opportunity to do just that with my good friend Donna. To celebrate our birthdays (which are only a week apart), Donna and I made an appointment at BITE Beauty Lip Lab in SoHo, New York City, where we were able to design and purchase lipstick. Afterward, we shopped at Deco Jewels and had dinner at one of our favorite spots, Gotham Bar and Grill.

Sharing this adventure with Donna was so much fun, and I’ll be recommending BITE Beauty Lip Lab to friends and clients who would like to have a custom-colored lipstick. Here’s a look at our lipstick-designing experience:

First, our assistant showed us pots of color and asked us to choose a few shades we liked best. I chose warm tones in peach and coral that I knew would complement my skin tone. Donna, who prefers cool colors, chose pinks and rose tones.

We also had four textures to choose from, starting with glossy and finishing with matte. Donna chose gloss, and I picked a satin finish. Both had a creamy texture and went on well.

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Once Donna and I had picked our preliminary colors and textures, our assistant mixed what we’d chosen and gave us a little brush so that we could try on the lipstick. She continued to mix samples with different combinations of colors until we were satisfied with our shade. Since my lips have a lot of natural pigment, we added more warm tones to my shade so that it wouldn’t look too pink when worn.

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The next step was choosing the lipstick’s flavor. I wanted something very light and chose vanilla with a drop of mint. No fruity flavors for me! I loved that the Lip Lab provided samples of real fruit and herbs to represent each flavor.

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Now we were ready to mix our creations. The correct combination of color and flavor pods went into a machine that looked like a centrifuge.

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Once our assistant confirmed that the final mixed color matched our samples, she poured the lipstick mixture into a mold to dry. Then the lipstick was placed in a tube, and we were ready to go! At $35 a tube for quality, customized lipstick, I thought this experience was well worth the money—especially because it was a lot of fun to do with my good friend.

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Since creating my lipstick, I have worn it several times. The color is saturated and stays on well. As we move into spring and summer, I look forward to trying various gloss colors on top of it.

If you’re in the New York City area and decide to visit BITE Beauty Lip Lab, I’d love to hear about your experience!

The Year of Thoughtfulness: Six Simple Actions to Show Others You Care in 2015

Have you ever heard someone comment that thoughtfulness seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs? Perhaps you’ve had the same thought yourself from time to time. We’ve all experienced an every-man-for-himself attitude at work, given gifts that weren’t acknowledged, walked down streets that seemed full of bad attitudes…and much more.

I think that as a society, we might be becoming less considerate to others than we were in the past. But let me be clear: The problem isn’t that we don’t care or that we’re trying to be rude. We’re simply busier, more stressed, and more overwhelmed than ever before! As we navigate our hectic everyday lives to the best of our ability, going out of our way to make others feel good simply doesn’t cross our minds. We’re so focused on checking all the boxes on our growing to-do lists that we don’t have extra mental bandwidth to devote to anyone else. Believe me, I get it!

Fortunately, acknowledging others in a positive way doesn’t require very much of your time and energy—which means that being more thoughtful is a New Year’s resolution that will be easy to keep! Taking one or two minutes to engage with someone else won’t set you back very far on your to-do list, but it can completely change the tone of that person’s day (and improve your own mood, too!).

In 2015, I hope you’ll join me in committing regular acts of thoughtfulness. Here are six simple ways to do just that:

Remember birthdays. In the age of smartphones, electronic calendars, and automated alerts, it has never been easier to remember when a friend’s, loved one’s, or colleague’s birthday is coming up. And even though many of us downplay the significance of this occasion, deep down, it feels nice when someone else acknowledges us on our special day.

I have always enjoyed wishing people in my life a happy birthday. To me, birthdays are a very important day of the year, and no matter how many candles are on the cake, I believe they’re occasions to celebrate. Sometimes I call the person. Sometimes I mail a card with a personal note, or do both. These actions take only a few minutes to accomplish, and they make such a wonderful impression. They make me feel great, too!

Ask, “How are you doing?”…and mean it. We all have challenges. We’re all dealing with various issues in our lives that most other people have no idea exist. That’s why it’s so meaningful to sincerely ask others how they’re doing and what’s happening in their lives.

If someone doesn’t want to share the details of his or her life with you, it’s easy for that person to say, “I’m fine” and leave it at that. But many times, the other person will be grateful for a sympathetic ear and perhaps some advice. Devoting a few minutes of your time solely to someone else can make a huge difference in letting that person know he or she is not alone and that others care.

Pass compliments along. Picture this: You’re talking to a friend, and she mentions how much she loves your mutual hairstylist. The next time you have an appointment, don’t just describe the cut and color you’d like; make a point to let the stylist know how much your friend appreciates her.

When I hear something nice about someone, I love to pass along the compliment. Recently, I worked with a client who has cancer and is going through chemo. She was always cheerful, upbeat, and inspiring to the designer, salesperson, and me. When I called to see how she was feeling before a big family event to which she was wearing one of her new outfits, she was so touched that I had called. She thanked me and mentioned how nice the designer and salesperson had been to her. I couldn’t wait to pass along the compliment. The salesperson and designer were thrilled to hear that our client was doing well and were so grateful that I’d passed along her kind words.

Send handwritten thank-you notes. We’ve all heard this suggestion before—and for good reason. Handwritten notes are so much more meaningful than texts or emails. They’re a tangible reminder to the recipient that you are grateful.

It’s so nice to receive and open a thank-you card. I love knowing that someone else truly appreciated the present, dinner, or weekend visiting our home, for example. Remember, handwritten thank-you notes don’t have to be literary masterpieces. A few sentences that take less than five minutes to write can make someone’s day!

Smile. The next time you’re out in public—taking the bus to work, picking up groceries, or walking your dog in the park, for instance—take notice of other people’s demeanors. How many of them look happy? How many of them smile at you in greeting? Chances are, you’ll find that most people go about their business with single-minded purpose, avoiding eye contact and connection with others. Their faces look closed-off and serious—some of them may even be scowling!

That’s why a simple smile can be so meaningful. Smiles can lift the moods of strangers and friends alike, whether you’re engaged in conversation or not. Try to make it a habit to smile at everyone you encounter: your boss, the cashier at the store, the people you pass on the street. Trust me; you will make a positive impression. You’ll start to feel better too, because genuine smiles open your heart and cause your body to release mood-boosting endorphins!

Acknowledge good news that you hear. When you read about someone you know winning an award, publishing a book or article, or hear news of a birth or a promotion, take the time to send a note of congratulations or mention it the next time you see that person.

Those are just a few examples of the good news that is all around us. Unfortunately, we mostly tend to talk about bad news instead. It is much more gratifying to talk about and share good news than to share unhappy news or gossip. If you’re going to engage with someone, make it a positive interaction.

 

Give it a try. Resolve to commit regular acts of thoughtfulness in 2015. You’ll have a positive effect on other people’s lives and on your own outlook. There’s no reason why our to-do lists should dictate our moods and relationships!

Birthdays Are Back in Style

In my observation, birthday celebrations can become less and less exciting as we age. When we were children, we anxiously looked forward to each birthday for weeks, daydreaming about the gifts we hoped to receive and planning exactly what we wanted to do on our special day.

But as we age, almost without thinking about it, our birthdays take on a different overtone. When asked about gift ideas, we’re more likely to ask for things we need instead of things we want, and we’re lucky to squeeze in a dinner at a favorite restaurant in an increasingly busy schedule. And for most people, birthdays are the dreaded day that means they have to add one more year to their age, and hope that nobody else even remembers it.

Well, friends, I have news for you: Genuinely enjoying your birthday is back in style!

Why shouldn’t birthdays still be exciting and fun when we’re grown up? Getting older is great news. It means that you’ve lived through another year and are gearing up for one that has prospects to be even better. Personally, I absolutely love my birthday—it’s the most important day of my year. Actually, my friends and family do such an excellent job of making me feel special that I’m usually still going out for celebratory lunches and dinners a month afterward.

Since my own birthdays are my most important day in each year, I try to help my family, friends, and clients feel that way about their birthdays, too. I keep a list of everyone’s birthdates and make sure to remember them with a card, email, or call. Above all, I want the people I care about to know that they are valued.

Recently, I planned a dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was so refreshing to have friends and family stand up and tell him what they thought of him and what he meant in their lives. Afterward, I told my husband that it was almost like being present at his own eulogy, but in a much, much happier setting (and, of course, he was able to hear what everyone said!). What a great gift it was for him to be told how special he is to so many people. It was my extra special treat when my husband later told me that I had given him the best birthday he had ever had in his life.

From now on, I hope that you’ll decide to look at birthdays as opportunities to celebrate life!