Being a girl.

I'll just come out and say it: I'm not great at being girlie. I figured out pretty early on that I was no Helen of Troy. My face will never launch 1,000 ships. I'm no Estella, no Daisy Buchanan. My beauty will not the stuff of legends make. And that is 100% OK. I've always been terribly pale and freckled and I went through a handful of rounds with home-perms that were pretty sad and a little distressing.

  Hula skirts and home-perms.

Hula skirts and home-perms.

  That's me, wearing the pelican inner-tube in the driveway. I was, in no small way, obsessed with those pink rain boots.

That's me, wearing the pelican inner-tube in the driveway. I was, in no small way, obsessed with those pink rain boots.

I made up for it by being very smart and a bit bossy. What I lacked in natural wow-factor, I made up for with a smart-ass demeanor and holier-than-thou attitude toward my peers. I didn't need to be pretty. I was brilliant instead. (And before you jump to arms and defend my looks and tell me that I'm beautiful, give it a rest already. We've all seen my baby pictures. I was a cute and awkward and strange little human, but I was not a beauty. I'm looking at you, Mom.)

 

Now that I'm older-- and, I'd like to think, a lot less insufferable-- I've come to really like the way I look. My face might not sparkle with all the loveliness of the night sky, but I adore my freckles. I see nods to both of my parents there, too: my mother's eyes, my father's nose. My face suits me, and I've grown to appreciate and respect and find my confidence in how I look. The punchline is that I don't have to look like Ginnifer Goodwin or Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Alba or Charlize Theron to know that I can, and do, look wonderful. I look like me, and that's exactly how I want to be. 

Maybe it was my early acceptance that I was not Marilyn Monroe or maybe it's because my mother's entire beauty regimen didn't require or consist of more than mascara and a light tan, but I never really threw myself into The Beauty Regimen. I wore too much makeup in middle and high school, then oscillated to wearing almost no makeup through parts of college. It was part magic and part science and, to be honest, just too much work. I focused on other things instead, like shoes

When a sorority sister introduced me to bareMinerals Mineral Veil it changed my whole world. For the first time in my life, I looked dewy and shimmery and less like a shut-in who never saw the light of day. I can totally do this, I thought to myself, buying the entire bareMinerals face line. I am going to figure this out.

Then I met Kallie, the creative tour-de-force behind Happy, Honey + Lark, and my world changed again. We were both dating guys in the same group of friends (I married mine, she just moved in with hers, those lucky boys) and immediately bonded over having things-we-do-not-like in common. It might sound odd, but disliking the same things and appreciating different things is what makes my friendship with Kallie so rich and immensely satisfying. She and I can teach one another about new things in the way that only women who trust their relationship is big enough to support the weight of all the differences can. We have enough respect and love for each another to empower one another to step outside our comfort zones. And that is precisely how I learned about BB Cream. 

 The exquisitely lovely Kallie of Happy, Honey + Lark. ( Source )

The exquisitely lovely Kallie of Happy, Honey + Lark. (Source)

"I can't believe you're not using this! It's going to change your life," she promised, and she was right. A handful of frenzied text messages from the beauty aisles of Sephora and Target (where sanity GOES TO DIE, folks) and I suddenly feel confident that I am now equipped to take care of my own face. I might not know much about foundation or finishing powder, but I do know that I my pale Irish skin needs more love and attention than I've given it in the past. I swear some summer days, it's just waiting for me to forget the SPF so it can betray me, and betray me it does, any chance it gets. 

The punchline, because I'm rambling a bit, is that I'm about to turn... older... in a couple more weeks, and though I have no intention of fighting it, I do think it's time I grow up a bit and start taking care of myself. I'm drinking more water. I'm taking off my makeup at night. I'm giving yoga a fair chance. 

And now I'm protecting my face every day with the help of Kallie's recommendation, Dr. Jart+'s SPF 45 BB Cream. Two days in and I can already see a marked difference. The first step has been taken; It's all strawberry cake from here!

-MMV.