Bargain of the Season: $52.50 Kenneth Cole Trench Coat

Rated four out of five stars by customers who’ve purchased, this gorgeous Kenneth Cole trench is perfect for transitioning from Winter into Spring, plus it’s a classic item (recommended by Tim Gunn…hello!) that will wear beautifully for years. Available in classic khaki or basic black for only $52.50, on sale for a limited time.

$53 Kenneth Cole Trench Coat

$7 Mascara: No Clumps, Long Lashes

Maybelline Lash StilettoRecently I received a sample of Maybelline’s latest mascara creation, Lash Stiletto. I’ve been using it all week. I like.

Results: Very nice. I wouldn’t say amazing, but honestly I’m impressed. For around $7, Lash Stiletto offers lovely, fringed lashes (perfect for a wedding) with plenty of added length.

Application: Lash Stiletto goes on smoothly, coat after coat — and the more coats the longer your lashes. The first time I used it, I held back and only applied a couple of coats — reason is, I’m always a little nervous trying new mascara. As a contact lens wearer, I almost always end up with dark smudges or flakes under my eyes after a couple of hours, especially if the product isn’t water-proof. But Lash Stiletto went the distance. Plus, it washed away easily when I was ready to take it all off.

The ONLY complaint I have is that Maybelline claims you’ll get “black-patent shine.” No so. By the way, unlike some other reviewers, I did NOT detect any weird odor — perhaps Maybelline (smartly) reformulated Lash Stiletto.

Otherwise, Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto — in its fun spikey-stiletto-heel tube — is a hit! And for around $7, you can’t go wrong.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara

GirlPaint here. I'm taking a momentary break from beauty to focus on success and inspiration. Here goes…

Image by Svilen MushkatovWhat is success? What is marketing? How do you make money on the internet?

All good questions (thanks, I thought so). I’ve been attempting to answer these questions for myself. And there are plenty of “experts” out there, both real and not-so-much. In fact, my yahoo reader is littered with lists of posts from top bloggers who write about these very topics every day. And, damn them, they make it all seem so easy.

Who are my favorites bloggers, you ask? Okay, well, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you ‘cuz that’s just the kind of blogger I am.

One of my all-time favorites is Naomi Dunford over at Ittybiz. She’s my favorite writer. Her common-sense, plain-spoken approach to marketing and business is refreshing. Her personal story is compelling, and I wish I had her a fraction of her expertise (I’ll get there). Also, she writes in explicatives (sometimes). I like that.

Clay Collins, another fave, started The Growing Life, became blog-famous overnight then shifted directions with Finance Your Freedom. Clay speaks to me with his “quit your day job, get up late and work when you’re at your peak” message. Bless you, Clay, for giving me permission to sleep in. One of the most important things I’ve learned about myself is that I am NOT a morning person—I’ve accepted it, I’m okay with it, and it’s largely because of Clay. He’s the epitome of success in my book. He found something he’s REALLY good at, something that no one else has figured out nearly as well as him, and he actually likes what he does. He works for the clients he wants to and pretty much works the hours he wants. Plus, he makes a good living. He’s left himself plenty of breathing (and sleeping) room. I admire that.

Copyblogger (where incidentally Clay and Naomi have both contributed) is another favorite. I do a lot of things well, but writing copy isn’t one of them. I’ve been a top sales person, winning awards in every industry I’ve worked, but I’ve come to find out that sales success doesn’t necessarily translate into marketing and writing success. Granted, I have a few blogs and I enjoy writing posts well enough, but I struggle. Coming up with ideas for posts, writing them succinctly without a lot of sales jargon, and sounding like a human being when I write …frankly, it doesn’t come easy to a former sales goddess like me. So I turn to the best blog writers on Copyblogger for help. Their expert contributors give sound advice and tried-and-true techniques, and they do it all in a consistently smart and simple language I hope to emulate in my own writing. I want that.

Finally, there’s my husband and life-partner, Joe Ed White. He’s been an artist his entire life. And over the past five years, he’s become a screenwriter. Fact is he’s a born storyteller. His writing is fun to read, exciting…his screenplays are page-turners. He knows how to keep the action moving, develop character arcs — and his stories always contain an unexpected twist. I love that.

I could go on about writers and bloggers I enjoy, but there’s still those nagging questions I posed at the beginning of this post. Guess what? I still don’t have those answers. What I do know is that there are many answers. Reading blogs has yet to make me rich, successful or a marketer a la Donnie Deutsch (dammit). But, what it does do is give me encouragement through stories, information, writing styles and advice. And someday I will find my success… my favorite blogs and writers keep me inspired to keep digging for the answers to those nagging questions.

Image by Svilen Mushkatov http://www.sxc.hu/profile/svilen001

What's the Opposite of Oscar?

Heath Ledger as The JokerI  knew EVERYONE and her dawg was going to be blogging about the Academy Awards today, and for some reason I just wanted to avoid the whole thing.

To be honest with you, I haven’t enjoyed the Oscars–much less any of the other awards shows–in a few years. It seems they’ve all changed their focus from the stuff being honored to the stuff coming down the red carpet. I know, I know. As much as I’m obsessed with beauty and fashion (look at my blog for Gawd’s sake), I’m just afraid “it” has become so homogenized, vanilla, dare-I-say boring? I mean, have you visited the Oscars website? Front and center is a video embed featuring some Entertainment Tonight “correspondent” selling us the latest red-carpet story. Geez-louise.

So, here I am wondering what to post. The opposite of Oscar? But what though? Something sorta punk-rock, independent, vintage, intelligent…?

That train of thought immediately led me to London street fashion, especially in the 1970’s. Iconist images of torn clothing, brightly-colored spikey hair, highly contrasting stripes, the Union Jack, leather, plastic, safety pins.

PunkThen I remembered: every bit of London Street had been packaged and sold, too. Vivienne Westwood, Malcolm McClaren, ForbiddenLondon.com (oh really?) and the endless stream of individuals and corporations paying homage to these creative kids and their crazy duds…guess what? That homage became none other than a new fad, the latest fashion trend, packaged, homogenous. I see it even now reflected in the skinny jeans and leather jackets the young hipsters are sporting. All the way down to Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker (okay, that might be a bit of a stretch but not much of one).

Westwood Fashion MontageI began to wonder: is nothing safe? Sacred? Above being bought and sold?

My answer: no. And that’s the nature of the world of beauty, fashion, and yes, even movies and Hollywood. In fact, Hollywood is one of the biggest “homage-payers,” or offenders, whichever way you want to look at it. The old saying, “everything old is new again” rings true year after year, collection after collection, movie after movie.

So what’s my point? Honestly I’m not sure if I have one, but I think my avoidance of all things-Hollywood this past year right up to Oscar is further evidence of my need for inspiration, something new and fresh. Some thing to pay homage to, if you will.

So I ask: what inspires you? Oh yes, and did your Oscar predictions win?

Got the Economy Blues? Beat 'Em with These Beauty Values

Economy got you down? Have you — like most everyone else — had to pare back your beauty regimen to just the basics? I’m here to tell you that just because there’s less money in the coffers (or in your pocketbook) you don’t have to give up on having the latest cosmetic finds.

Here are a few AMAZING values for your beauty box that won’t break the bank.

Smashbox Try Me collection
Smashbox Try Me collection, $29

Smashbox gives us sooooooo many options when it comes to looking for a great bargain. One of their best is the Try Me collection featuring best-selling signature items, all in portable trial sizes to give you a flawless face at home or on-the-go. For $29 (!!!), Smashbox generously includes Photo Finish Primer, Photo Op Under Eye Brightener, Brow Tech & Cream Eye Liner Pallette, Double-Ended Eye Liner & Brow Brush, Lip Enhancing Gloss in Crystal (sheer), and a special instructional DVD.

Sephora Deluxe Palette
Sephora Deluxe Palette, $32

Sephora’s Deluxe Palette (only $32 but valued at $200) is a sleek, triple-tiered compact that opens to reveal eyeshadow, blush, lip gloss, and powder on stackable, sliding trays. A selection of applicators and a mirror embedded under the lid give you all the tools to create a polished, impeccable look anytime, anywhere. This savvy, multitasking set has it all: 18 eyeshadows, two cream eyeshadows, two blushes, two compact powders, 24 lip glosses, two double-sided sponge applicators, a double-sided blush/powder brush, two lip gloss brushes, all in a chic black case.

Bare Escentuals Go Bare Kit $32
Bare Escentuals Go Bare Kit, $32

Bare Escentuals helps us beat the bear with its Go Bare Kit, a six-piece set of mini BareMinerals must-haves. This set features a miniature versions of Eyecolor in Joy, Blush in Golden Gate, Mineral Veil, Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish in Eva, a Contour Shadow brush, and a Flawless Application brush, all housed in a portable box with a built-in mirror.

So there you have it. It really doesn’t cost a fortune to look beautiful, or have the latest and greatest beauty buys from some of the best around….

Stila Shine On Gift of Glaze: another great value collection!

Halston is back

from the Halston fall 2009 collection
from the Halston fall 2009 collection

The news from NY fashion week is all about the return of the ’80s. Officially, they are back.

From neon brights (see also Michael Kors) and cashmere-blend wool suiting to heavy black eye-liner and heavy black tights, the catwalk was screaming, screeching and slithering with styles borrowed from the decade that did much of the same.

While this turn may be disheartening to some, many are harkening the return of the ’80s as the return of classic pieces that can be pulled out of your closet season after season and still look fresh, crisp and beautiful.

My take? Designers who embrace the ’80s trend are smart to do so. With the economy in recession (ehem, dare I say depression?), more fashion-saavy buyers are looking for long-wearing (read quality) pieces with punch…those that are versatile, simple, wearable — and beautiful.

Leatrice Eiseman of Pantone summed it perfectly, “Designers recognize the desire for fundamental basics that speak to current economic conditions.”

What do you think of this heavily ’80s-influenced trend? Are you in?

An accessible ’80s accessory from Kors: MICHAEL Michael Kors “Montauk” Leather Medium Crossbody Bag

Welcome to the new and improved GirlPaint blog!

GirlPaint
GirlPaint

Welcome! After nearly a year without posting to GirlPaint, I decided it was time to come back. I missed you. I missed writing about some of my favorite things: make-up, skin care, beauty, self-improvement.

I invite you to take a look around and let me know if you have questions, feedback or suggestions for improvement. Plus, if you like what you see, subscribe to my feed and come back again soon.

Uninspired.

(c) Steven Knight courtesy stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu). All rights reserved.
image courtesy stock.xchng (www.sxc.hu).

Lately I’ve been so uninspired. Can you tell? FYI: that’s NOT me in the picture; it’s actually the photographer. The expression on his face so perfectly represented how I’ve felt lately, I had to put it up.

Anyway, as you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t posted since election day. And let’s face it: that was a lazy post.

Ya know, probably like a lot of you, I’ve got a list of really great blogs to read when I’m feeling less than inspired. Except that over the past few months when I read one of my guru’s posts, I’m either less inspired than I was before I read it, or worse, I just get mad.

What is that?Where did this blah-anger (blanger?) come from?

Well, I’ve thought about it a little– ignored it mostly — but here’s what I’ve come up with. The recent election, while incredibly inspiring (sorry if you’re not an Obama supporter…I clearly am), was exhausting. Then, a close relative was all but taken down by a stroke. Next, the economy tumbled…some more, and then took a nosedive. Then the holidays hit. Then we were expected to be all happy it was 2009, and make some exciting new resolutions for ourselves. And I did. And I haven’t kept any of them. And now everything seems that much worse.

It comes down to this: mid-winter is hard for me. And it’s hard for a lot of people. Just do a google search for “mid-winter blues,” and you’ll see what I’m talking about, if you’re not already a fellow sufferer.

I suppose I’ve always been a little low-energy this time of year, but this year, it’s more magnified. With all the bad news of late (and yes, I’m a total news hound), I’ve been absorbing it all. Plus we (as in, the U.S.) have experienced a harsher-than-usual winter. And that equals less time outside in the fresh air. Guess what? Lack of sunlight is a proven depressant. Not to mention the lack of exercise that naturally accompanies lengthy indoor stays.

So, what’s the solution? One guy with the Chicago Sun-Times suggests playing hooky and going ice fishing. Some genius over at Cosmo swears flavored lip gloss is the cure. And yet another recommedation to beat the blues? Poetry.

I’m definitely on board with staying home from work, and I do love my lipgloss. Poetry? Maybe.

Honestly, the trick to pushing through the winter blues, mean reds, the blahs…also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), isn’t really a trick at all. Being patient (difficult, I know), giving yourself a break (go ahead, take a day off), recognizing it’s a stressful time and doing your best to mitigate it…these can be the best “cures” for what ails those of us who aren’t their best this time of year.

Of course avoiding known stressors helps too: lack of sleep, poor diet, worrying, too much caffeine or alcohol, and the like…you know what your s are.And taking care of yourself will help, too. Eating breakfast, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, savoring a cup of your favorite tea or cocoa, enjoying a nice, long soak in the tub…these are all simple ways to get through the winter.

And although you might not be able to go for a jog — or you just can’t seem to drag your butt to the gym — doing a little gentle stretching before bed or incorporating a couple of minutes of squats or lunges while you brush your teeth in the morning will make you feel like less of a slug.

And guess what? Spring will be here before we know it. Spring in all its bountiful glory. Ah, just thinking about it inspires me.

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