Friday, August 30, 2013

The Unsung Generosity of Lisa Frank

Did I ever tell you my Lisa Frank story? It really is quite charming. This memory is about 25 years old so details like dates and exact contents may vary slightly. But it is true, and it did happen.

For those of you who don't know, Lisa Frank is a person, an artist and a company. She founded Lisa Frank Incorporated at the age of 24. She is known for her use of bright colors and cute, glossy eyed animals on stationary and school supplies. Designer Jeremy Scott's Fall 2012 show even featured a corset covered completely in Lisa Frank stickers.

Found this pic of the corset on the Squaresville blog. Link attached to pic.

When I was a young girl in the 1980's, Lisa Frank items were among my most coveted. I always have had a thing for stationary items and I thought her designs and colors were nothing short of magical. They were practically tailor made for me. Today I am 34 years old and I have still not outgrown rainbows and lollipops. But anyone who has grown up in a military household can vouch for the fact that there is not always extra money for things like colored stationary and erasers with unicorns on them. Although the belt was tight most times, we had the things we needed. Food and the like. But like I tell my daughter today when there are similar tight belted times, there is a difference between things we desire, and things we require. Money set aside for desirables, my daughter and I call "foolish money". I use that phrase so that I don't deny her request for some desired object by saying "I don't have any money", because those words can terrify a child like mine who tends to worry. If I say "We don't have any foolish money right now", she knows that the food and house and gas money are still there and she has nothing to worry about. She just can't attain her desirable right this minute.

So going back to nineteen eighty-something, I would always stare at the various multicolored, animal adorned items but have to walk away empty handed because my allowance just wasn't enough to cover it. So one day while I was holding a package of stickers or pencils and turning it around in my hand just to admire it all, I noticed an address on the back that you could write to if you had questions or concerns. Well I had a question. How come this stuff meant for little girls was too much for little girls like me to buy? I asked my mother to please write down the address for me, and as soon as I got home I broke out the (non-decorated) paper and pencil and wrote Ms Frank a heartfelt letter. I remember saying:

                               Dear Lisa Frank, 
                               I really love all your stuff but I can't get any of it 
                               because I don't have enough allowance. Can you 
                               please lower your prices so I can buy some?

                                                                                      Love, Brandy

I asked my mother to mail it, and waited to see if my request would be heard. I checked the prices in the store a time or two to see if my letter writing had made a change. But without the internet, without knowledge of how the world works outside of "the best things come to those who wait" (thanks to the ketchup commercial), that was all I could think to do.

I don't remember how much time passed, but maybe a few weeks later (said with uncertainty) a package arrived that was addressed to me! What? You can imagine the excitement and wonder I felt. It wasn't my birthday. It wasn't Christmas. Who would send me something? In a big box! What could it be? OHMYGAWDWHATISIT?! As the scissors finally cut the tape on the box open and I got a peak inside, you could almost hear the fairy dust in the air. My eyes got big, my mouth fell open, I sucked the air out of the room. I was so confused and shocked and...just...*cue freak out*. It was a box filled with Lisa Frank goodies sent from Lisa Frank itself! My first ever Swag Bag. And I swear to you, any swag bag I could ever receive in the future will never hold such magic and wonder and mean so much to me as this box from Lisa Frank did. Paper and stickers and pencils and folders, probably a Trapper Keeper in there. I was too busy having my first orgasm to remember if there was a letter accompanying all the plunder. But if there was, I now desperately wish that I had kept it. This was also before my family became a people of shutterbugs, so I don't believe that we even have a picture of it. But trust me when I say, and my family backs up this story, that this absolutely did happen. Some WONDERFUL person at Lisa Frank took pity on a girl with a small allowance, a dream and a taste for brilliantly colored school supplies festooned with adorable animals, sparkles and rainbows, and sent her a veritable smorgasbord of dreams come true.

I wonder how many other children they did this for. I wonder if those kids remember it like I do. This event was such a landmark occasion in my childhood. It totally backed up my already present belief that dreams come true, good people and generosity exists, magic is in the hearts of people everywhere and if you believe it, you can achieve it. What a wonderful person this was that sent me so much more than just stickers and paper. They sent me a lifetime of fairy dust, magic, hope and the desire to give people the same feeling that I felt that day. To this day, my room is decorated with brightly colored objects of all sorts. Lisa Frank isn't just for little girls. It's for the little girl in all of us.

Let this be a lesson to those reading. Little things you do can influence and inspire someone else their whole life long. Let your words be kind and uplifting, let your actions be selfless and generous, let your mind be kind and your heart filled with love. Let your inner child live on and overrule your bad habits of letting cynicism enter your mind. Be bright. Be a beacon. You can touch one person and change a lifetime. All this from a box of stickers, you say? Yes. All this from a box of stickers. No kind gesture is too small to give hope to someone who is willing to receive it. And to whoever it was that sent me that box of childhood fantasy, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your thoughtfulness has never been forgotten.

Back in my letter writing days. Campaigning for fair pricing for kids.

Still today, Lisa Frank continues to inspire young girls. Just a few minutes of clicking around on her website showed me things like an easy to follow "how to" feature called A Girl's Guide to Following Her Dreams, an empowering and informative article called Sunshine for your Self Image, and something that you've seen me write on often, at home DIY beauty treatments for young girls called Beauty By Nature. How fun is that? Lisa Frank, you go girl!

Another example of support and encouragement to be found on the Lisa Frank website.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Get Ready With Me: Date Night Facial Routine

As I have stated before, I don't date much. (see blog) (also see this blog)
That being said, when I do date, I take it pretty seriously. Especially the all important "First Date". I take pride in putting my best foot forward. I think to properly cleanse and ready yourself, including your face, your clothes, your hair, your scent, your breath, all shows that you respect the person you are meeting and respect the date itself. It shows that you are all in, even if you only make it through that one date. If it all falls apart, at least you can take pride in knowing that you showed your date the respect that you would hope to receive from them. I didn't mention behavior, because if you haven't gotten that under control by your mid-thirties, I don't know how this blog about a facial can help you.

Anyway, it's something I like to do. I enjoy being a girly girl, even if I don't get to relish in all the wonderful and fun things that that can entail as often as I would like. So, inspired by an adorable video tutorial I saw on YouTube entitled "Get Ready With Me! <3 My Bedtime Routine" by missglamorazzi, I decided to let you all watch my upbeat optimism give me an excuse to play with my face for a few extra minutes.

I started out by exfoliating and cleansing my face with some softened and crushed aspirin, ala the honey and aspirin facial. Only this time I didn't use honey. I just didn't want to add any more residue to be washed off today. All I did was take a few uncoated aspirin and add a few drops of water. Then you crush them up with a spoon.

Just the aspirin. It stayed on pretty well.

For those who don't know, aspirin contains salicylic asid, which is a main ingredient in acne treatments. Aspirin is also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. And you can get some uncoated aspirin for about $0.88 a bottle at your local Walmart.

I left that on my face for about twenty minutes or so while I completed the next step, which was a coconut oil treatment on my hair. I had never done this one before, but I have read a lot of wonderful things about coconut oil. Apparently it's a multitasking miracle worker. You can cook with it, moisturize your skin and hair with it, remove eye makeup with it and do about a thousand other things. All of which I plan on trying out. Eventually.  

I got this jar of Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil at Walmart for about $10
When I first bought this jar, the oil inside was a coagulated solid. I guess you are supposed to scoop some out and heat it up. BUT, Texas weather in the summer being what it is, even inside the air-conditioned house, when I went into the cupboard to fetch it, it had already liquefied all by its widdle self. So I wrapped a towel around my neck and just started pouring the oil into my hair a section at a time. I worked it through to the tips of my hair, really saturating everything, and then twisted my hair into a makeshift bun. Then I placed a bag over my head to let it simmer a while.

As slick as a used car salesman.

So then I grab a fresh new razor and hop in the shower. 

Those of you who know me on Facebook know that I have recently become obsessed with obtaining a Clarisonic Mia 2.
How CUTE is this Peony color??
Everyone I talk to swears by them and does nothing but sing praises of it's cleansing power and ability to ward off wrinkles and such. But at $150, it's going to be a good long while before I snag one of these little beauties. Some of you may say, "$150! That's preposterous!" To that I say, maybe. But as one very wise hairdresser once said to me "People will spend $200 on an outfit or a pair of shoes, wear it once, and then retire it to the closet forever but skimp on hair and face care. You wear your face everyday! And it's the only one you get. Spend your money wisely." Wiser words had never been spoken to me. I am guilty of skimping on my hair, especially lately, with disastrous results. (Check back later for a blog on how I accidentally ombre'd my hair. *eye roll* That little mishap has left my hair uncharacteristically dry and yuck feeling. My hair is normally smooth and soft, so this depleted, juiceless hair is really pissing me off.)

But until I've got an extra $150 hanging out in my pocket, I picked up the "poor man's Clarisonic" from the dollar store. It's just a little non-fancy face brush. But it's gonna have to get the job done for now. I used it along with some Olay Foaming Face Wash. 
Olay Face Wash about $5 from Walmart
"Klarisonik" face brush - $0.99 from the $0.99 store.

As you can see, it doesn't really foam. Even when I don't use the brush.
I wouldn't really recommend this. I'll be moving on a different product once I finish this off.

Washed my face. Washed my hair. Shaved my legs. Got out. Wrapped my hair in a soft t-shirt, which I have heard is much better for your hair than wrapping it in a towel. Unless you have a microfiber towel. Then that's cool too.

Once out of the shower I used some toner on my face and neck. The exact difference between toner and astringent continues to baffle me. But from my reading, I see that adding toner after washing your face can help to remove any excess face wash and balance out your skin and close your pores and yadda yadda yadda. Whatever it does, everyone says that you need some. 

The next step was to steam my pores with some chamomile tea infused water. Chamomile tea, like the almighty coconut oil, has many health benefits. Some of which are reducing swelling and fighting bacteria. 

Camped out over a boiling pot of tea.
Right about now I wanted to die. I was already hot from showering (even after a cold shower, I am hot. Always) and now I've just spent five minutes with my face over a boiling pot of water. I needed to go take a little break and lay out under my ceiling fan. 

post steam cleaning 

Now I apply a clay based mask. I chose Freeman Facial Clay Mask with Avocado and Oatmeal (about $4 at Walmart). Mostly because that was the only mask I could find that had the word "clay" in the title. Clay masks are said to be useful at sucking dirt right out of your face. I've used this a few times now. I can't really tell if it makes any difference, but I like using it. It feels neat and I'm sure it's helping to keep me clean. You apply it and wait a few minutes until it dries up, then rinse off with warm water. 

My face was dried up, it was too hard to smile.
Had a little spot on my chest that I wanted to take care of while I was at it. 

All cleaned up. I've got a few nice blemishes peaking out there.
Thanks guys, I was worried you wouldn't show up for my date. 

Okay, I seem to be having trouble with my photos once they're uploaded. They look like they're a little glossy and photoshopped, but I swear this is not the case. They're doing it by themselves. My honest intention with this is to show you real results, and my photos do not seem to agree with me today. 

Anyway, with my face all spiffed up and ready for a night on the town, I turned my attention to re-polishing my nails. 

I chose Sinful Colors #113 Dream On, which is WAY prettier in real life than I can capture with my camera phone. Highly recommend this color, which I got for $1.98 at Walmart. You can find it here on Amazon, but for five stinking dollars. 

After all of that, I was so into getting ready for this date that I FORGOT to take pictures of my makeup or my outfit. *forehead slap* But at any rate, I am happy to report that the date went well. He was very cute and talkative, but in a good way. He was polite enough to ask me about myself and actually listen when I spoke. Which is a vast improvement over some of my past experiences. Lest we forget this guy

All of this prepping took a while, but I honestly enjoyed it. As I've said before, it's good for us ladies to take care of ourselves. And I really delight in indulging my girly girl side. I swear every time I get ready for a date, I sing at least one of the following songs. 


That's all for now, my gal pals. I leave you with this positive affirmation and wish you a happy day and a life blessed with love. And remember, it's your face. Have fun with it!