Beauty & The Beasts

13 Jul 2010

Holidays can be transformative. It dawned on me one morning as I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror: I look different here. Maybe it’s because I suddenly had a tan or maybe it was just one of those “pretty bathrooms” that you find only on holidays that are so awash in golden light that your skin glows and your eyes sparkle like a fairy princess. Still, I have to admit it was slightly disconcerting. I mean I rarely even look at myself in the mirror anymore, there just seems to be far more important matters at stake here between our family and the farm. I began to ponder, have I actually stopped noticing myself?

After living in the Irish countryside for the last five years, basically having only my immediate family and the animals to socialize with, I am beginning to have mixed emotions about all that us girls feel need to do to keep up appearances in this world. For instance, I had been anxiously waiting and waiting to arrive on our holiday in the USA so that I could immediately dart out to the nearest Sephora, Bliss, Nordstrom, Neimans and whatever other bloody store I can nip into in order to stock up on all of my perceived necessary and long overdue beauty supplies.

As it happened, once I had acquired everything, I felt ridiculous.  While I love all of my: potions, creams, infusions, tonics, conditioners treatments, moisturisers, serums, soufflés, glosses, shines, gels, scrubs, spritzers, peels, masques, oils…and the list goes on, the truth is, I simply don’t know what to do with all of this stuff anymore. I’ve never been much of a makeup person, but I’ve always prided myself on slathering and sweeping copious amounts of sweet smelling concoctions on my face and body each morning in addition to indulging in evening home facials and hair treatments. When I lived in America, I had a standing pedicure/manicure appt every week along with frequent trips to my hairdresser and aesthetician each month.  I worked in an image-conscious field so those things seemed absolutely essential.

But, is it all really necessary now? Must I reinstate my previously painstaking routine de beaute’? Suddenly it seems so banal and exhausting. I wonder how I ever managed to get up each day, work out and get ready each morning applying twenty different items and still get to my office on time for work. {alright, so maybe I didn’t always make it “on time”}

Nowadays, being a mummy and living on the farm, I find myself hastily slapping on moisturizer and lipgloss then just braiding my hair to one side or putting in cute pigtails after a quick morning shower. When we have a dinner party or fancy event such as the Annual Milk Producer’s Dance, I go into the city to have my hair/nails/makeup done for the occasion. It makes me feel pretty all over again and is so much more fulfilling than it ever used to be.  I wonder, do I need to do more?  When you live on a farm in the Irish countryside is it okay to cut back just a wee bit?

While on this American holiday, I saw a sappy commercial on the television…the jingle went like this  {orchestral music under} “sometimes when we go to a place where no one knows us, we become who we really are”

Minus all the extras?

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Next week I will featuring my first “Farm Fresh Food” post with a traditional Irish dish and recipe. I hope you will pop by and take a peek!

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7 Responses to “Beauty & The Beasts”

  1. Judi Harris says:

    You know, like everything else, “we” change over time. I used to live and work in California and have been a secretary most of my adult life. M-F; 8-5. The dress code in ALL the offices I worked in in CA was skirt, blouse, pumps OR a dress outfit with jacket. You were “required” to look your best. Make-up included. However, now that I live in Montana; things have changed. I’ve worked at the same place for 6 years now, am again a secretary, and I come to work in T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. What’s important here in Montana is not what you wear, but that you’re clean and that you show up. It’s also important here to work hard. Montanans are the hardest working people I’ve ever known. If you don’t work hard, you’re no one in their eyes. On the weekends, I wear the same things I wear to work. When we have a special evening out, I dress up in a skirt, top, make-up and jewelry.

    • imen says:

      Thanks for your reality check Judi….it’s been a transition for me, and I see things so much differently than I used to that’s for sure! Trying to find a pair of overalls that will fit me is my current obsession =) Loved your comments, thanks again! xx

  2. This is a great topic, keep em comin!

  3. Melinda says:

    I’ve been enjoying your blog recently-very quirky and enjoyable. I did very much enjoy this post and am now going to post that lovely quote on my ‘board’. I discover a new part of myself every time I move someplace new and I love that! As for the beauty products-I felt like I was reading a post about how I used to be – for years I felt it was so necessary to have a full supply of Lancome and Mario Badescu products flooding my washroom cabinets (and I used every single product). Then at the end of the year, as I calculated out how much I spent on these and many others, I nearly fainted (or felt like it). So I started making my own and miracle of miracles, I now use three products (wash, scrub, moisturize) and the occasional mask. My skin not only looks better but I save a ton of $$$ each year. It took awhile, but I don’t even miss all of those products- such freedom from mass commercialism! I even started giving myself a mani/pedi and doing my own hair, completing wiping out the need for a salon of any kind (perhaps Ireland and I would do well together). 🙂

  4. Clare says:

    I struggle with this constantly, maybe because I am single and am always hearing about how I need to always be “prepared” in case I meet someone (by “prepared” one usually means I should don makeup/hair/cute clothes even for a short trip to the grocery store). On the one hand, I understand that first impressions are important; am I going to give a scraggly looking man a second look? Probably not. But at the same time I find myself totally exhausted at the thought of having to put on foundation every time I step out of my apartment. But I suppose that’s a “being single” thing, not necessarily an Irish thing, lol. I think I’m still trying to figure out who I really am, even after over four months of living here.

    Total sidenote: I will say that I miss those great $15 pedicures at the Vietnamese nail places that leave my feet looking absolutely perfect. I cannot, for the life of me, find a decent pedicure place around here (they charge $40 to basically soak and polish). That’s something I used to do just for me, because it made me feel pretty and happy. I’m also desperate for a good brow waxer.

    • imen says:

      Clare,
      I miss the pedis too…found a good brow waxer finally, the “light pedicure” drives me mad..I’ve begun doing it on my own.
      We will have to chat more about this when I see you next week. x

  5. tas says:

    “sometimes when we go to a place where no one knows us, we become who we really are”

    so true… you should never feel sorry or that you are missing out on something. you actually should look into extending it to become a character treat, resist the temptation …
    not being your self, the continual attempts to impress, compete, artificiate, are tools we use to get something or reach something we want. if our tools became an obsession like in todays’s “modern societies”, they basically became burdens on one’s mental sanity, not to mention wallets 😛
    allow your self to indulge from time to time….
    use the system, just dont allow the system to use you 🙂

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