All dressed up in a pretty black label

All dressed up in a pretty black label

Here’s the one thing that annoys me the most about being in the entertainment business and as a total film and TV nerd: people forget it’s all subjective. Your taste in music, books, TV, movies, sports, all of it. No one has to like the same thing you do. And you do not have to like the same thing someone else does. Land of the free, yo.

I view skincare and makeup much the same way. What works for me, might not work for you. The choices my friends make, they don’t need to be the choices I have to make. But I am always open to advice and/or suggestions. So keep that in mind as we proceed with this post, friends. These are the products I am using and either love or just kinda like. I will always be honest. I personally treat reviews on Sephora the same way I do reviews on Rotten Tomatoes – it’s all relative. I encourage you to have the same mindset. However, I  do still want to share because one, sharing is caring. And two, I don’t know a tremendous amount of other women who care to put such an obsessive amount of time into this. So take full advantage of my emotional issues, ladies!

Because I am almost 40, a fact with which I am not dealing well, and have no kids – therefore extra disposable income – I choose to spend a fair amount on skincare. I am fully aware not everyone is in this same situation; Sunday Riley is not always an option when you have summer camp to pay for. However, very few things I use actually cost a lot. And if they do, I make sure it’s something that, via one way or another such as limited use or rotation, will last a significant amount of time.

I spent the last couple of years exploring the Korean skincare craze. There are a lot of amazing products out there in this category and most all come at reasonable prices. I am getting away from it for two reasons. One, I am trying to go with more (not all, but more) all natural products and two, I am now shopping cruelty free brands only. This doesn’t exclude all K-beauty, as South Korea is phasing out animal testing, but some are too ambiguous to take the chance.

An additional fact, which affects a LOT of well-known brands in the U.S., if a company wants so sell in China, they’re required by the government to test on animals. Just something to keep in mind if you feel any sort of way about this.

You will see a lot of samples show up in both this and future posts. Two of my girlfriends and I attended Indie Beauty Expo Dallas a few weeks ago. If there is actually a heaven, it’s a beauty product trade show. We had a wonderful time and all three purchased the VIP ticket, which came with a goody bag loaded with product. I couldn’t believe how much was in it, a collective value significantly more than the amount we paid. I will not be finished trying out these products for quite some time, so I will keep you updated as I continue to explore my beloved stash.

With all that being said. Let’s click to it.

Continue reading “All dressed up in a pretty black label”

You got a lot of luggage in your name

You got a lot of luggage in your name

Fun fact: I’ve had a fear of white denim for quite some time. I think it makes a wonderful outfit at any point of the year, despite what our grandmothers taught us, and is a really sneaky way of wearing “jeans” to work Monday through Thursday, you know, for those of us who aren’t necessarily supposed to. But as a true pear shape, I’ve always stayed far, far away from it.

I finally bought a pair of white jeans at my trusty Old Navy at some point in the second half of last year. They were on sale for something stupid, like nine bucks, so I made myself do it. I only wore them a couple of times and couldn’t help thinking to myself, “should I really be doing this?” You know, like I was committing some crime against humanity. As if wearing white britches when you’re not a size 4 or less is akin to drowning small children or buying heroine in a back alley.

Naturally, they’ve sat in the closet since then. Totally unworn. In my somewhat defense, they’re not my favorite fit to begin with, regardless of being white. However, several weeks ago one of my favorite Insta-bloggers, Liz Urso, was rocking some white denim and I was like daaaang, homegirl looks GREAT; I really need to get on board with this. So last week I finally pulled them out of the closet.

Now, I’m not saying I walked into the office like a supermodel. But I am saying it’s highly likely not a damn person with whom I work thought “Nikki look likes a fat ass, why come she thinks she can wear white?” Chances are nobody even noticed. So I wore them again this week. #Scandalous.

We should all be here for White Denim. After Labor Day. And no matter what size we are. Down with the establishment. I mean, LOOK THESE CUTE ENSEMBLES, Y’ALL.

I grabbed all these pics from Pinterest. So if if this is you, know I think you look fabulous and am sorry for being a thief. And clearly I have an Outfit Type. Who knew.

It’s amazing the amount of rejection that I see

It’s amazing the amount of rejection that I see

This isn’t the first time I’ve ever written about this, it certainly won’t be the last. But there’s a new, unfortunate twist to it – so here we go.

Like many humans, women specifically, I have struggled with weight my entire life. I was super young – around five – when I became aware I was bigger than the other kids, especially the girls. There didn’t (and still doesn’t) seem to be much of a problem if a boy was a little bit chunky, not saying that discrimination doesn’t exist, but if you’re a girl? Forget about it.

I was in first grade when a boy made fun of my weight for the first time. We had 50s day at school and I was so excited. Although I am a complete 60s girl now, I was absolutely obsessed with the 50s as a kid: the music, the clothes, the cars (even my Barbie had a T-Bird), all of it. So this was My Day. My mom spent a lot of time on my outfit (she was always amazing at costumes) and I won best dressed for girls. As a reward, if you even want to call it that, I got to do the twist with the best dressed boy. As if dancing in front of hundreds of immature little brats wasn’t terrible enough, the little boy told me my tummy was like a bowl full of Jell-o.

That tiny bastard ruined my day. And 32 years later, I still remember it. Because it was just the beginning. I was on Weight Watchers – the first time – before I even hit 10. I can tell you, by name, whom I had a crush on every year of school. And why I remember this is, none of them ever liked me back. And 90% of the time it was because of my weight; they made that clear. Generally speaking, adolescents and teenagers are domestic terrorists and these are things a girl just doesn’t forget. And unfortunately, it all builds up over time and the amount of space and energy it takes up within your head manifests into a beast that is nearly impossible to control. Instead, it totally controls you. I’ve had body dysmorphia for several years, and although terrible on its own, it comes with massive collateral damage.

Here’s what frustrates me the most. The thought that people who are overweight are lazy and just don’t try. That’s some bullshit. Ask any one of my friends how hard I’ve tried to lose weight the past five years and how many different ways. I’ve had two nutritionists, a trainer, countless workout routines, a wide range of weight loss programs, supplements, prescription drugs. Basically, you name it, I’ve tried it. I always joke anorexia wouldn’t even work for me. Ultimately, as mentioned before, I found out I have the metabolism of a post-menopausal woman. So no matter how healthy I am, no matter how hard I try, losing weight (and not gaining at superhuman speed) is genuinely difficult for me.

I won’t go into Hollywood and the beauty industry and all of that. There is already plenty to be read about it, but we all know it will never fully change. Skinny will always sell. I am aware there is an increasing number of body positivism movements, which are fabulous. But none of them have quite done the trick for me yet. Three decades of shame do not disappear with a few ad campaigns. I am not trying to play the victim here or ask for compliments or for you tell me “but Nikki, you look fine!” The logical part of my brain knows this; I know if a person judges someone based on weight, it actually makes them look like a dick.

But now, I have received a truly heartbreaking wake-up call about all of this.

Facebook has a new feature that allows you to set up Messenger for a minor that is controlled by a parent’s account. My sister did this for my niece. And I love it. We video chat and I get random emojis, texts and even voice memos from her, including one while I was in Vegas at 4:45 a.m. local time that said “wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!” Gotta love her. A few days ago, I asked her when the last day of school was and how she was doing (she transferred schools this year) and she told me “the kids at school make fun of me and call me fat.”

She is only eight and to me, the prettiest, most wonderful little girl I’ve ever known. And I am not just saying this because she will most likely be responsible for my nursing home decisions one day. I say it because I think she’s amazing. So when she told me that, I honestly didn’t know whether or not to cry. Or get angry. Or drive to Denton and beat some kids’ asses (shout out to my friends who offered backup). Or what. I tried to explain to her how growing up can really suck and what insecure means and how it causes other kids to project their feelings and act out, but I know, I know – that’s difficult to comprehend at her age. Hell, it’s still hard to accept at this age. Because all you can concentrate on is how you feel. How hurt you are. How terrible it all is.

I don’t want this for her. I know what this does over time. Maybe that won’t happen, maybe it will all be fine and she’ll learn to give them the finger and walk away. But the last thing I want is for her to still deal with this damage 30 years later. I quickly realized I have a huge responsibility in this situation, as does my sister. We have to learn to love ourselves more, not only for our own well being, but also for my niece. It’s not like I text her pics and ask “do I look like a fat ass” or tell her she shouldn’t be eating pizza (my god, I would never stop anyone from eating pizza). But we carry our energy with us wherever we go. And the last thing I want is for us to be the ones projecting on to her.

I don’t have kids, so I try not to judge anyone’s parenting skills. Cause I know from watching my siblings, cousins, and my friends that it’s the hardest job ever. However, kids don’t come out of the womb a bunch of jerks. Our society does enough to screw them up and they’re clearly going to pick up bad habits from other children. But so much of what the little sponges absorb comes from home and family, you know? As adults, we shouldn’t let kids hear us call anyone fat or talk about looks or weight loss or anything of the sort. Especially us women. We still have a great responsibility to each other and the younger generations when it comes to this subject, even with the advances that have been made. I don’t have the answers; I certainly wish I did. But I do know we each have a role to play.

But don’t get me wrong, I will still track those kids down if I need to.

I can hear her now sayin’ she ain’t gonna have it

I can hear her now sayin’ she ain’t gonna have it

When I think of my mom, many different things come to mind. Her pigs in the blanket on Christmas morning. How she always used Clinique makeup. And Youth Dew perfume. Her love of horses (and cowboys). When she would make breakfast for dinner and how it was my absolute favorite. Our trip to San Antonio with my great-grandmother and my sister, who was still in a stroller at the time. But most of all, I know how proud she is of me these days. Which means a lot, as I am not always proud of myself.

You’ll hear (read?) me say, “I didn’t imagine I would be single and childless at 38” or 39 or 40 (um, if this blog still exists then: high five, Nikki) many, many times. That’s the whole point of this thing. Dealing with the fact that, if you had told me how my life would be now when I got a divorce 10 years ago, I would not have believed you. And probably would have said well fuck this shit and moved to France.

But hey, at least I have good skin.

So having said all that, a little real talk for Mother’s Day: I get somewhat mixed emotional on this day. I go through the motions of wishing a happy day and showing gratitude for my mom, sisters, sister-in-law, and all my beautiful friends who are wonderful mothers. But there’s a part of me, somewhere deep down inside, that gets sideways.

I posted about this in a group of which I am member on Facebook, Forever 35 Listeners with No Kids. (Forever 35 is a kick ass podcast you’re fidna here me talk about a LOT). I know I am not alone on this and wondered exactly how others deal with it. All of us in that group don’t have kids for various reasons, whether by choice or nature or why ever. If it’s by choice, it doesn’t mean we don’t get to be upset about it on occasion. That’s not how it works. For the most part, I am now fine with never having my own biological children. When I take 2.5 seconds to stop mentally berating the shit out of myself, I can see my life is pretty great. I have a job I figgin’ love and my career is back on track after years of derailment; I’ve had the chance to visit three different countries and countless cities over the past couple of years; I am finally paying off quite a bit of debt; and as always, I have more friends than anyone I know. And I only have THE BEST FRIENDS.

In short, this road I am on doesn’t suck as bad as I sometimes think it does. But every once in awhile, something will happen that will trigger a minor meltdown. Like yesterday. A memory popped in my On this Day section of Facebook (that page is both a blessing and a curse), from five years ago when my lovely paternal grandmother was dying. I ended the post by saying, “I hope when I’m a mom I’ll be as strong of a woman as she was.” And oh boy. That did not sit well.

I don’t want anyone’s sympathy. Or judgement. Or advice. This is just one of those things a girl has to deal with herself (but it helps to know you’re not alone, nonetheless). Cause as of today, I am back to normal and looking forward to mimosas with some of my besties in an hour. But I had a moment there for a bit; I was down a rabbit hole of “gosh, where did I go wrong?”

The truth is, I did not go wrong. I’ve had many nights and many boys with which I’ve gone terribly wrong (I won’t list names), but overall, this is my journey and I don’t need to wish any of it different. And you, my friend, who is reading this and relating to it: you did not go wrong, either. The universe knows what each of us has to offer in this lifetime, and the next, and we are here for it.

Besides, after those mimosas? I get to come home, lay on the couch, get the shit scared out of me by the new episode of Handmaid’s Tale and actually take a nap. All interrupted.

So shout out to all my friends and loved ones for whom this day is a little strange, maybe a little sad. For whatever reason, it matters not. Your story and your feelings are yours; you get to have them. And Happy Mother’s Day to those of us who are woke up every day with a good cat pat in the face because there’s only a quarter cup of food left or a 13 year-old dog who has to go outside at 1 a.m. Our struggle may not be the same, but it’s super real, too.

______

This is the first post I’ve shared publicly, for many reasons. Mostly fear. So if you found yourself here and want to read more, there’s already plenty – my trip to Austin, my family reunion, drinking (shocking, I know), St. Paddy’s day and more. Hit HOME in the menu. Let me know what you think. Xo. 

Daytime boys and nighttime boys usually don’t see eye to eye

Daytime boys and nighttime boys usually don’t see eye to eye

So here it is, the tenth post. If I counted correctly. I don’t exactly speak numbers well. I originally told myself once I had a minimum of 10 posts and could manage to throw something up at least three times a week, I would start sharing. But we’ll see about that, cause I DO speak deathly fear of judgement well.

These last few weeks have been, to put it lightly, a lot. I spent six days in Vegas, entirely too long for any one human being; a few days back at home; and then, as previously mentioned, a weekend in Austin with LA friends. This trip was their first Keeping it Weird, so I wanted to make sure they did it right. Tacos. Dirty Sixth. Live music. Beer. All of it.

Here’s the deal with Austin and me. I’ve had my heart broken not once, but twice, in that city. So as fun and fabulous as it is, when I think of it, it never fails I also think of how much I suck at dating. But even drinking an old fashioned reminds me how much I completely suck at dating. I can find the suck in almost anything. Nevertheless, I had an amazing time on this trip. I was able to spend quality time with one of my absolute best friends whom I don’t get to see nearly enough, hang with a handful of other wonderful people from California, see one of my oldest friends and a couple of other pals who live in ATX.

Given how hippy liberal I am, I often have people ask me why I don’t live in Austin. My short and superficial answer is, I don’t want to live any further south. But the genuine answer is, if I am going to live single in Texas, it’s going to be in Dallas. Really, if I am going to live single anywhere, it’s going to be here. Dallas is home. Dallas has my friends, most of my family and most importantly, NorthPark.

Having said that, I love visiting ATX. As long as there isn’t a boy making me cry, of course. The food is good, the people are super fun, the music is on point, and turns out I am a lot more attractive in Austin than I am in Dallas. We were walking around South Congress and happened into a true hat store, and because I love a good hat, I bought myself a fantastic one (IMO). That night we went out on Rainey Street, an area with which I wasn’t yet familiar, and that hat was a complete dude magnet. I had three guys come up to me. I tell you this not to brag, cause the thought of me bragging about men is hilarious, but because I am still confused. And super mad at myself.

Wait, what’s happening? Are you just trying to talk to my gorgeous Persian friend? Did you need directions to the restroom? Are you drunk? I mean, it is Cinco de Drinko, after all, so poor judgement is understandable. Oh is it the hat? It’s totally the hat.

Those are just some of the things that went through my head each time a guy approached. I didn’t think I would get to the point I would no longer know how to react appropriately to cute boys anymore, but goddamn here we are. I had a couple of somewhat confident years in my late 20s and early 30s. But now it’s just…not okay. I am an example of self-sabotage at its finest. The majority of the voices in my head won’t stop LOLing and criticizing long enough for me to chill the fuck out. They’re particularly annoying to the tiny voice in the back screaming “hey, so does he just want to make out? Cause girl, it’s been a minute.”

Normally, I can deal with all of this with a firm stance of “whatever, BEING SINGLE IS FINE.” But this time, it’s really bothering me. And because I’ve recently discovered I loathe journaling, you get to read about it here. Congrats.

Why it bothers me is because of the first guy. His name was Mike, he lives in New York and he was so nice and absolutely ADORABLE. I’m sure he was all of 29. Regardless, boy I totally blew it. I was so completely flabbergasted, I kinda thought he was trying to get us to dance with his super drunk friend? Apparently that was not the case. Because The Voices were giggling, reminding me how old I am, how much weight I need to lose, the fact I live in Dallas, “boys don’t like me” and this guy was clearly too hot for me, I was Not. Paying. Attention.

And I have not stopped thinking about it since. Because here’s the really shitty part. I will be in New York the first week of June. And that was on the tip of my tongue when he said he was from NYC. And I didn’t say it. Because all I was thinking was, “like that would matter.” Once we got seated, I could still see him and his group. I kept thinking Nikki, you need to man the fuck up and go back and talk to him. But I didn’t. And they left. I’m not still percolating on this because I think this guy was my soulmate or anything so ridiculous, but because I know this is indicative of a terrible, terrible habit.

I am dumb. I know.

Comes from a long line of blue collars and lace

Wrapping up a great weekend with friends from LA. We spent most of it in Austin – more on that later – but today I am showing them my forever favorite place in Dallas, NorthPark Center. First stop was lunch at the Mermaid Bar in Neiman’s. Mermaid Legends and a Spiced Iced Tea. Please and thanks.

I am by no means a lady who lunches, but it’s certainly fun to pretend to be.

Out here it’s like I’m someone else

Out here it’s like I’m someone else

I don’t have a traditional family setup by any means, not that many do nowadays. My parents divorced when I was seven and I was the only kid they had together. Knowing each of them as well as I do as a somewhat grown ass person, I have zero clue how they even dated. Each of their personalities are inside of me and quite often at war. It’s a crowded nation with the only common ground being an uncanny ability to over-worry about EVERYTHING.

I have an older (half) brother and sister from my dad’s first marriage and a younger (half) sister from when my mom re-married. I don’t typically refer to them as halfsies, to me they’re my full, red-blooded siblings.  I am much closer to all of them now than any of us ever were “growing up.” Age and geographic distances kept us figuratively and literally apart then. But now it’s totally different. I’ve vacationed a handful of times with my brother and sister-in-law and talk to my little sister almost every day. We even have Real Phone Conversations. But that’s because I am secretly 85 and get tired of texting and force her to speak to me.

For quite some time, I haven’t felt like I fit very well into either side of my family. I’m not saying I don’t get along with them, because I do. But I am just…different. I am the pro-choice, pro-same-sex marriage, anti-gun, anti-religion, legalize marijuana in all 50, will forever love Obama hippie liberal who moved off to California for three years and probably would have ended up in the Haight in the 60s . I know being the “odd one” in the fam is a situation to which many of my friends can relate. But I’ll admit, this has affected me quite a bit over the years, especially since November 2016.

I am not ashamed of who I am by any means and usually won’t shy from telling you exactly what I think about something. But because my perspective is so entirely different, I’ve often felt isolated. It’s genuinely bothered me many times, as being closer to family is a major reason I moved back to Texas. And because I don’t have a “family of my own,” the loneliness has been slightly magnified. The great new is, I am surrounded by a very large support system of friends of all shapes, sizes and beliefs. Not to mention, my therapist and I have spent quite a bit of time on this subject and I’ve done a lot of individual soul searching about it. And then, last year happened.

Very long story short, as its not my story to tell, in 2017 my dad and his siblings met a brother they never knew of growing up. I was able to slightly get to know him and his wife on Facebook before we met in person at Thanksgiving. Come to find out, I DO have a lot in common with them, especially New Aunt. Trying to explain this in full is difficult, especially without bawling my eyes out, but no one can entirely comprehend what a tremendous amount this has meant to me and the collateral benefits it has had.

Brené Brown’s newish book, “Braving the Wilderness“, to which I’ve been listening, explains these feelings in beautiful detail – our overwhelming, yet often unnecessary, need to be belong. To be accepted. I highly suggest the Audible version, as Brené narrates it herself. It explains the aspects and nuances of these feelings much better than I can.

Basically, I didn’t feel like I belonged before New Aunt and Uncle came into our world. I know through therapy and the four thousand books and articles I’ve read that it was never my family that intentionally made me feel any sort of way; I 200% did that to myself. I am solely responsible for my feelings, reactions and responses. This is why I am writing this, because I think this is something many people don’t understand in the Era of We Are Always Offended. Only YOU are responsible for how you feel.

I now look at my family in a whole new way. There are many things I admire about them. For example, there is a very strong entrepreneurial spirit throughout my siblings and cousins, a trait I do have but it’s hidden beneath layers of absolute fear. Therefore, I am always in awe of what many of them have accomplished. In addition, as I have been close to my niece since she was born eight years ago, I’ve often wished I had the opportunity to spend more time with all of my aunts growing up. Clearly nothing can be done about the past now, but we always have the chance to alter the future.

We had our annual family reunion a couple of weeks ago and despite the fact I had two ear infections and just got home from six days in Vegas (enough to obliterate anyone), I couldn’t tell you when I had such a wonderful day and overall experience with my entire immediate and extended family. We may never have religion, politics or even college sports in common. But we do have blood and humanity in common. No one can change that. And I now have a whole new appreciation and immense amount of gratitude for it. Knocking on the door of a new decade of my life, there are still many things of which I am uncertain, but family is no longer one of them.