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My new action-packed life

Last month I spent 10 minutes in the makeup aisle deciding between “Rum Raisin” and “Dark Brown” eyeliner. I was absent the day they taught 13-year-old girls how to use makeup, so I’ve only been learning recently. As my red shopping basket grew heavier, I knew it was absurd to be standing there debating the relative benefits of dark brown over a slightly less dark brown with a cutesy name, but I just couldn’t make up my mind about makeup.

“Rum raisin is a much better name than dark brown,” I thought as I picked it off the metal rod.

“Yeah, but you shouldn’t judge a color by its name. Dark brown might better match your coloring,” I thought as I put it back and reached for the other product.

“Wait, if I wear an orange dress does brown break a rule of complimentary colors? Is there a color wheel anywhere around here?” I looked around and had flashbacks to the color theory segment in my Graphic Design I class.

Rum raisin or dark brown? Rum raisin or dark brown? Rum raisin or dark brown?!

I can’t even remember which one I bought.

I think I think too much when making decisions. I want to make the best decision, when I should just make a good decision. That’s why I haven’t bought a bike yet. In the winter I yapped to my coworkers about how excited I was to buy a bike soon so I could ride to work. Spring finally came…and then summer…and we’re now one month away from fall and I still haven’t bought a bike. I researched bikes and I went to the store and I read about a program to get a discount by trading in my old bike and I looked at the pretty streamers and baskets online and I still haven’t bought a damn bike. My old bike is still sitting in my living room scuffing up walls and taking up space.

Bike, taking up space

It’s just as well. My mother and brother have forbidden me from riding my imaginary bike to work after hooligans threw a garbage can at a biker on the trail to throw him of his bike and rob him. Seems I can’t go green without a chance of ending up black and blue.

I’m trying to become more action-oriented and to stop dilly-dallying so much. When I bought a new computer monitor recently, I researched it a bit online and then bought one that seemed to have a decent price. I didn’t wait weeks for a big sale to get the absolute best price. I just got a good monitor at a good price and it’s such a relief mentally. A little part of me was worried that I’d make a bad decision or get a monitor that I’d be unhappy with, but neither one of those things happened.

I’m trying to stop dwelling over my email too. I typically will receive an email, read it, and then leave it. If it requires a response, I’ll come back and read it again, then I might respond to it or I might think, “Oh, I’ll have to get to that later.” Repeat endlessly. Which is why I now have email backed up like a bad toilet. If I would just read it and take action immediately, either by replying or sorting it, I wouldn’t be so buried.

So, I’m going to buy a bike this week. And I’m going to get through my email. And I’m going to stop loitering in the makeup aisle. And I’m going to try to get things done already, because whether it’s rum raisin or dark brown, it’s better to make a choice than to make no choice at all.

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50 Comments

Pamela • September 4, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I completely understand where you’re coming from with this. I tend to do the same thing. It takes me forever to make decisions. I also tend to let my e-mails pile up in the same way. So this post really struck something in me and I’m going to take it up as a challenge. I’m going to challenge myself to “get things done already.” Thank you! Good luck with your bike shopping!

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Alexia • September 4, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I have, for the most part, conquered email with a system that works for me and I can make pretty quick decisions. On some decisions, I can be too quick (read: impulsive)! Maybe we can balance out :D

I understand the need for action, but let me add: managing a team of diverse people, I also respect the balance that having both quick “deciders” and more thorough thinkers offers, you know? So, different personality types all have their strengths.

So you are going to make some decisions this week. And I am going to consciously hold off on one or two :-)

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trishie • September 5, 2008 at 12:55 am

hi pq! good post! thank you for helping me be a little less indecisive today and tomarrow. i will get to my tasks, and do them diligently! If youre looking for a little help on makeup, try visiting your local mall. i know, shudder! pop into macys or lord and taylor, and hit up their clinique counter. Let them know your likes and dislikes, and maybe pick up a few pointers. I reccomend clinique, because they have a lot of hypo-allergenic products, and much of their makeup isnt to flashy. They may just give you the basics of the colors that would work the best for you, and you get to play! Its always fun to learn new tricks for the trade.

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Jennywenny • September 5, 2008 at 1:23 am

Good stuff. I’ve always ridden a bike, or at least recently. My only plea is that you always wear a helmet, please dont worry about how daft it will look.

I adore my specialized ruby but its not really a beginners bike, I started with the dolce and moved up.

Enjoy. If you were in san diego I’d offer to ride around with you to get aquainted!

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Ash • September 5, 2008 at 1:38 am

Hi there,

I absolutely love the look of your blog now! Great makeover- but not one of those “Extreme makeovers” where you can only recognise the person’s eyes! It’s still you!

I have gone private- I will add your email address in case you want to swing by- hey don’t forget to say hello!

Ash

:)

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jae • September 5, 2008 at 3:17 am

Oh man, it’s the worst. I him-haw and him-haw about decisions then when I FINALLY make it I obsess for days about whether I made the right one until I make myself sick. And it’s not like these are life altering decisions, it’s usually something silly.

I think that would be a great thing to try to over come. Heartburn medicine companies would hate me though! ~j

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suburbanhen • September 5, 2008 at 4:02 am

I never considered this an antual problem until you pointed it out! Damn.

OK, so a good decision as opposed to the best decision.

Hmmm.

I guess I could try that, then maybe I’d get started on some stuff, too!

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Inny • September 5, 2008 at 5:13 am

You’re gonna hate me for pushing makeup advice on you but a few years ago I knew absolutely NOTHING of makeup too, so I know the feeling. Your eyes are brown (at least they look that way in the pictures), so a little bit of light purple on the lid and some golden under your brow would look good on them with some classic red lipstick. Oh, and black mascara. Just don’t overdo it and it will look great.

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MizFit • September 5, 2008 at 5:44 am

ahhh the make up thing.

I wear none.

own none.

and it’s NOT BECAUSE IM SO LOVELY WITHOUT IT.

my mom never wore any so I missed that whole thing and I simply never got into it.

nothing makes a grown ass woman feel more like a….pimply teen? than going to her husbands lawfirm soiree barefaced & being surrounded by all the buffed/polished and MAKE UP EXQUISITELY women.

that said I dont care enough to learn.

although i did get me a tube of that pink/green mascara the other morning when I caught a glimpse of the BAGS under my eye.

I know that concealer is the answer—-but that would require more skillz than Ill ever have.

xo xo,

Miz. who is doomed to repeat this makeup cycle with her daughter and, frankly, doesnt mind :)

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Donna B • September 5, 2008 at 7:28 am

Love your point of view today that I just had to post. When I finally got the “bike bug” I asked my brother who had just ridden 80 miles to my house, then another 80 back to his home; all in ONE DAY! His suggestion was right on! Trek WSD 7100. Love it and can’t believe how it rides. Not cheap, but this is one time where I think you get what you pay for, and a reputable bike shop is they way to go. Good luck in your hunt.

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PastaQueen • September 5, 2008 at 9:31 am

@Inny – Is black mascara ok? Someone told me that with brown eyes and brown hair I should go with brown mascara.

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Tena • September 5, 2008 at 9:32 am

Hi, PQ! I am right there with you. I have the hardest time deciding on things, especially when money is involved! I want to get a new TV and I’ve researched till I’m blue in the face and still can’t buy one. I think it’s the money thing.

I wasn’t really like that when I bought my bike. I knew which one I wanted and I just hauled off and bought it. My Electra Townie is perfect. And even though it was a bit expensive, I think I could justify the purchase because I knew it would help me be healthy. The TV, not so much!!

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maggieapril • September 5, 2008 at 9:38 am

You reached the exact same conclusion that a college career counselor once shared with me, “The worst decision is no decision.” And I’ve been preaching and practicing that advice ever since. She also suggested that one approach every decision as if there were no obstacles (such as time or money) then consider the limitations while getting as close to your original choice as possible. Wise woman, she was.

My bike is sitting in the garage with two flats – probably should remedy that…

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PastaQueen • September 5, 2008 at 9:42 am

@Donna B – I think this was one of the two I was seriously considering (partially because it’s so damn cute). Thanks for the rec.

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Jill • September 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

Ooh I can relate. My hang up is not so much about making a decision, but acting on the decision. I have a list of projects to do, but I procrastinate. And then the project nags at me for weeks until I finally break down and “just do it already for pete’s sake”! Then I realize that it took only a fraction of the time that I thought it would to complete, so then I wonder “why did I wait so long do that?” *sigh*

I’ve been trying to live the Nike lifestyle lately – just do it. Do it when you think about it, and then you don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s very liberating… when I get around to doing it.

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Deanna • September 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

I can’t believe how relevant this post it! I was in the MAC store yesterday, feeling the same pressure. I hem & haw over decisions too, about everything not just makeup. I too want to make the best possible choice, but sometimes there are WAY too many choices! I am like a 3- year old with crayons when I put on my make-up – it’s all over, out of the lines etc. I try to put make-up on everyday, and it is really a hit or miss. But when it’s a hit, I really do feel good – the misses, well, you know the story! Thanks for a good read!

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Wilma • September 5, 2008 at 9:54 am

@PastaQueen -

I am a red head, and was always told to wear brown, because black would be too dark. However, times have changed. Black provides the most striking definition. My eyes are not big & are light coloured, so the black mascara really helps to make them look a bit bigger and more defined. I don’t think you would have any problem pulling off black mascara (and it’s great because there is only one shade of black :) ). And I also agree that purple eye shadow looks fantastic on brown-eyed persons.

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Inny • September 5, 2008 at 10:04 am

@PastaQueen – I think they’re both OK for different occasions. If you find brown mascara that very closely matches your hair color it will look more natural for everyday makeup. The black one draws attention to your eyes and makes you look more classy and sophisticated, so it’s good for evening makeup (party, bar, concert, etc.) and formal occasions (weddings, funerals (knock on wood)). Also be very careful with the water proof kind – I had a water proof mascara once and I couln’t get it off my eyes for a week, so it made larger and larger circles. Being short and round, I looked like a panda that escaped from the zoo.

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Erin • September 5, 2008 at 10:05 am

@PastaQueen -

I have dark brown hair and brownish/hazelish eyes, but I have near black eyebrows and eyelashes. I wear both black and brown mascara (not at the same time, though.) If I’m wearing more natural makeup, I wear brown (with either brown eye liner or a purple-ish color, which Almay told me was good for those with hazel eyes ;-)). But if I’m tarting myself up (which rarely happens, but whatever), I wear black eyeliner and black mascara.

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Merry • September 5, 2008 at 10:22 am

Have you tried a virtual makeover? At iVillage, you can upload your photo and try different makeup/eyeliner/hairstyles. I find it easier to evaluate myself in a photo than I do when looking in the mirror.

http://makeover.ivillage.com/makeover/index.jsp

Trek bikes have a good reputation.

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Merry • September 5, 2008 at 10:24 am

Plus the makeup has cool names. I personally went with a lipstick called ‘Diva Red.’

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Zandria • September 5, 2008 at 11:09 am

I’m pretty bad with procrastination, too. I kept saying I wanted a bike for MONTHS AND MONTHS before I finally purchased one in June. I’m loving it now, though! :)

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Dinah Soar • September 5, 2008 at 11:14 am

Yep–I do the same…afraid of making the wrong decision so don’t make one at all…if money were no object it would eliminate the fear I think…but when you have limited resources the wrong decisions always impacts one to some degree…so..if I were rich, problem would be solved…hahaha.

I often ask myself–if money were no object what would you do?–that seems to clear the way for some clearer thinking and get to what I really want, past the money issue.

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Kelly • September 5, 2008 at 11:17 am

A good article on ways to conquer your email.

I love makeup! I just discovered it when I was 23 so I’ve played a lot of catch-up. I started with Bare Escentuals. Its light (you don’t feel like you are wearing makeup), natural (really hard to mess it up), and survives hot weather (Florida humidity is a #@&*(on makeup). If you ever, ever want recommendations just ask! I also have a ton of beauty blogs in my RSS feed if you’re looking for informational blog.

Good luck buying your bike!

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Dinah Soar • September 5, 2008 at 11:18 am

Also meant to tell you–I found that replying to an email as I am reading it is quicker…may not be as poetic…but at least it is “fresh” because I don’t have time to rehash and it is done–finito.

If I have multiple emails I organize them into folders, then read and reply as I read…

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fd • September 5, 2008 at 11:37 am

Hey there PQ, if you’re feeling lost make-up wise, then take advantage of living in the US, where all those nice make-up ladies at the Clinique, Stila, Givenchy…you name it! stands at the department stores/malls will give you tips and make-overs for free. In Europe, they charge through the nose for it. When in the States, I make a point of going and I always learn something new. If you feel awkward about asking for a whole make-over, start with a question about one item: eg “I’ve been thinking I need a pinker blush, could you recommend one and show me the best way. I’ve always had a powder, how do you put those cream blushes on anyway…?”…”oh, i see. I’m not wearing any foundation though at the moment, what would it look like with foundation, I like a natural look, could we try one you have in sample…”. its even quite fun.

As for decision-making, the best is always the enemy of the good. And the day I learn that, I’ll have a whole new life. it’s my biggest battle in this whole weightloss saga. I’d like to go to the gym for two hours, but only have 45 mins so I won’t go at all….

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disgruntled • September 5, 2008 at 11:45 am

I find I dither over the little decisions (I’ve been meaning to replace my bike for over a year now but still haven’t because I just haven’t found one to fall in love with yet), and then make the huge ones (like quitting the day job) in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, welcome to the world on two wheels. It’s much less scary than it looks from inside a car…

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Rachel • September 5, 2008 at 12:10 pm

I think I’m the exact opposite. When I bought my bike last year, I went to the store, picked the bike I liked the best, and bought it. It was only later that I discovered they sold different *kinds* of bikes. But I’m still down with mine. Even though I haven’t ridden it in over a year…

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victoriavictoria • September 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I am less enamored of makeup counters than I am of good how-to books. There are plenty books out there that will teach you basic skills: figuring out what your face-shape is; evaluating your coloring — not just hari and eyes, but skin, as well; figuring out whether you have deep-set eyes, etc. Then they teach you how to choose, and apply, makeup that works for you.

The makeup counter makeovers always disappoint me because

1. the makeup artist always uses way, way too much foundation, and I have beautiful skin that doesn’t need to be covered up;

2. the artist always tries to “correct” my naturally fair, peaches-and-cream complexion by applying a ton of bronzer, so that I just end up looking dirty, and orange;

3. the smokey eye looks terrible on my already-deep-set eyes;

4. the nude lip looks DREADFUL on me;

5. the “minerals” makeup sits on my skin but not my poers, so that its “light-reflecting” qualities just make my pores look bigger, and darker.

In other words, all those trends (light-reflecting mineral makeup, smokey eye + nude lip, bronzed skin, etc.) don’t work for everyone, but those trends are what the makeup artists in department stores are selling.

Whereas if you go to Barnes & Noble and get a good book, you’ll be able to shop with confidence and make good decisions for you.

For example, you’d be abel to choose confidently between a reddish-brown and a blackish-brown eyeliner if you understood the undercolor of your skin: Does it have a yellowish or bluish cast? If the former, you go for “warm” colors (more coral), if the latter, “cool” colors (with a bluish undertone).

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Laura N • September 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm

You know, I hope all this advice on the eyeliner hasn’t freaked you out! Brown eyeliner will LOOK FINE ON YOU. With black or brown mascara. We aren’t in the movies. We don’t have to have perfectly matched makeup to our skin tones & eye color. You’re gorgeous w/o makeup, seriously. Me? If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want my eyeliner & mascara and tinted moisturizer more than anything else (well, you know, I’d also want water & food & a survival man & a satellite phone, but other than those things, my make up bag would have to contain the above 3 essentials).

I like this post–a lot. Many people I’m sure have the same problem about making decisions. It’s cool to put it out there as an issue you are dealing with and going to conquer.

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Debbie • September 5, 2008 at 4:58 pm

@PastaQueen – You need black mascara. I’m your same coloring and you need black. The purple on the top eyelid is good, too. But I wear a smoky purple or smoky green. Don’t forget a little black liner and a little eyebrown pencil. I don’t particularly like Clinique, but love Lancome. Those gals will fix you up if you want a free makeover. Just be prepared to say NO to all the skin treatments they want to sell you. I do love their shadows and wear them, but the mascara (Maybeline) and liners can be had at Wal-mart for much less. About 3/4 finished with your book and must tell you I feel like I wrote it. Love, love, love the happy ending I know has come to you.

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minus10 • September 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm

I do the same thing all the time. Weirdly, I think it turns out better if I don’t deliberate so much. Just a thought :).

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asithi • September 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

@Erin – I got the Almay coordinating eye color for brown eyes too. The purple looks gtreat. But my problem is that my eyes get eye by the end of the day from wearing my contacts, so the purple just makes it look even more red. I love gold color eye shadow though. I even brought the Almay hazel eye shadow for my brown eyes, and I like that effect very much.

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Niagaraview • September 5, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Ohhhh I want to buy a new bike too! But I can’t afford to right now. I LOVE LOVE LOVED Bicycle Garage Indy. They guys there were always really nice and helpful, and they even gave me a discount on some supplies once. I hate you.

Ok, I don’t really hate you, you’re awesome. I hate that the bicycle stores near me are nowhere near as great as BGI. The selection sucks and service workers here are surly.

Can’t wait to see what you pick. :)

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Sarah • September 5, 2008 at 8:43 pm

Oh my goodness! I do the same thing. Which is why I’m probably the oldest person at my college. I couldn’t pick a major because it might be the wrong one, and then I picked French, which quite frankly is the wrong one. Oh well. C’est la vie, n’est-ce pas? I better cross my fingers the doctor thing works out. But good luck to you, maybe your efforts will inspire me to work on that too.

P.S. Depending on what kind of bike you’re looking for, you might want to look at Electra Townies…that’s what I chose because I like the option of being able to put my feet down, which you can do on most of todays mountain and hybrid type bikes. They look a little retro too. I’ve had mine three years and it has held up great and even though it is a little heavier, I don’t have any problem riding 15 miles or so at a time. I also took it paved trail riding in Georgia and 21 gears were plenty.

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Heather • September 5, 2008 at 9:55 pm

I feel your pain! Especially when it comes to make-up. I have an amazing talent for picking out un-fushia colored lipsticks that totally turn fushia on me! And those are the ones that stay on FOREVER! (sigh). Maybe I am destined to turn into my Grandma after all. The woman is in love with Fushia!

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John's Weight Loss Blog • September 6, 2008 at 5:56 am

I couldn’t get past the words “Rum Raisin” without thinking fondly of all the Rum Raisin (or Malaga) Gelato I ate while my wife and I were in Italy a couple of years ago. Yum, Rum Raisin….

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debby • September 6, 2008 at 9:14 am

@PastaQueen – There is such a thing as black-brown mascara–perfect for those of us who have trouble making decisions-ha!

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melissa • September 6, 2008 at 11:39 am

hey,

so…my boyfriend makes bikes. if ever you are in florida or georgia he can make you one.

it wont be purple and shiny and have streamers but it will work, it will be comfortable and it will save the environment from re using parts.

also it will be free, and he can teach you how to fix it….if you want.

he uses his own bike for all of his transportation unless its tropical storming out or he needs to tote heavy stuff.

:)

you can always pretty it up.

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Livia • September 6, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Not that you asked for advice, lol, but I’ve always wondered about those Land Rider bikes that shift by themselves and have extra suspension in the seats to make them comfy, so you can workout for a long time in comfort. And some ancient couple just finished going around the entire world on them. Woo hoo!

Why don’t you get one and review it for us? Maybe they’ll even cut you a deal – the price already looks good for the quality.

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nolafwug • September 6, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I read somewhere that 80-90% of the time people end up going with their initial impulse after extensive dithering. I watched myself and noticed this is true for me so now when I’m at the store and feel a dither coming on I save time and go with my first choice if it’s something small and mostly irrelevant.

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AquaMarine • September 6, 2008 at 6:11 pm

PQ, I have just recently started to get into makeup. I guess now that I’m older it makes me look my age (but still great!) and a bit more polished and put together. I’m really enjoying playing with the different products and I have to say that you’ll get better (and faster) with practice.

May I suggest YouTube for tutorial videos. There’s a ton of them on there. Just type in something like “eyeshadow tutorial” and you’ll see what I mean.

Another great site is Makeupalley.com. You can read reviews of different brand products. And they review everything from the brands you can find at WalMart to Saks.

Have fun!

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Steph • September 6, 2008 at 9:23 pm

It is REALLY worth it to go to a makeup counter to have your makeup done, especially if you are a novice.

They honestly DO NOT expect you to buy everything. The nicest counters won’t even push (and, frankly, with the way drug-store makeup costs are creeping up, it’s not THAT much more expensive if you do).

The strategy I would go for is to say “Excuse me, I’m looking for a new eyeliner…and I’d like to see that new shadow you have….” (you can check on line in advance to see what the liner will cost). When they have the eyeshadow on, if you like it, you can ask them to do a chart (also free). Then, at the end, just say “Thanks. I just want the liner today, but could you write down the names of the color that you used (if they didn’t do a chart) so that I can come back when I get paid”.

Buy your liner and then leave…before I had a grown-up job, I usually took my chart and then found drug-store colors to approximate the department store ones.

Stila is a nice “entry” brand (lots of un-subtle, non-scary neutrals)- and you can buy it at Sephora, which seems lest daunting for newbies.

Sorry. I know that makeup wasn’t the “point” of this entry, but it is one of my life’s passions ;) so I had to chime in.

-Steph

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chidame • September 7, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I empathize with the dilly-dallying. There comes a point when making an informed decision crosses over into unattainable perfectionism.

That being said, I have yet to buy a bike, too. Maybe if I were richer, it wouldn’t seem to be such a big deal. But paying for anything over $70 brings out the worst in me.

Good luck with your bike. I’m looking forward to seeing what you bring home.

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barbara • September 7, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Here’s a piece of advice that was once given to me and I love it: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Or, just do it.

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Cheryl • September 8, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Next time I see you we’ll do a makeup tutorial :)

In the meantime, for drugstore products I recommend eyeliner pencil by Prestige; eye shadow and blush by Milani (a line for women of color, but good for white chicks too; I recommend Java Bean and Antique Gold eyeshadows and Luminous blush); and Maybelline or L’Oreal mascaras (in black, definitely). I like the Burt’s Bees lip shimmers very much; try the Watermelon color.

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Amy • September 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

@MizFit -

I’m with Miz! No makeup here either. I am totally glazing over with the comments about it. Although I have to go to some business-attire fundraiser dinner this week and I don’t even know if I have a suit that fits or shoes to match anymore! Argh.

I am bike shopping too. And agonizing like you are. Keep in mind there seem to be a lot of folks who are into the goofy 80s cruisers and such who might like your bike as a fixer-upper! Figure out what kind of bike you need… talking to the sales ppl helps (and of course riding them) but I’ve also found reading at bikeforums.net has helped me a lot too. It’s not just road vs mountain bikes anymore… it’s road, hybrid (both power-assisted and not), cruisers, touring, cyclocross, mountain… not to mention BMX and fixies/singlespeeds… but I don’t see you on those latter types. Let me know if it all gets too confusing! I saw a couple of promising things on Craigslist this week but it does help to have a bike shop on hand to do adjustments for free!

And I have the same email problem.

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Amy • September 9, 2008 at 10:56 am

@Niagaraview – Hey, Surly is a really popular bike brand right now! hehe

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Betsy • October 26, 2009 at 11:14 am

What brand is Rum Raisin? It was suggested to me and I can’t find it.

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Alejandra • August 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Agree and Agree! Yep, over thinking decisions is one of the worst feelings in the world. Anyway, I was going to suggest that you go to Sephora during the week, during the morning when they are not that crowded. Ask for a free make up consultation, they are usually pretty good and will give you many make up options that will help you in the future.
As for the bike, you have so many students around, go yard sale shopping, you may find a great bike for almost no money. Remember that international students cannot bring big items in the plane. Good luck!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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