Over my short holiday break, I had a lot of time to reflect on a lot of things. The reason for the holiday was that it was a celebration of my 50th birthday. Last year, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for this special birthday and at the time, I dabbled with the idea of having a family gathering and a birthday cake. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I wanted to get some things done off my bucket list. I can have a family gathering any time but I can’t always get to do something really special.
We love travelling to Hawaii. Every time we visit from the US mainland, we will stop over there for a short break before returning home however, we always stay in Waikiki. However, this time around I wanted to tick some things of my bucket list which I have never done before and they were:
- Go on a cruise (on an actual cruise. Just because I was in the Navy, a cruise on a frigate is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, the same as a leisure cruise)
- Visit the place where Captain Cook died
- Try snorkelling
- Visit the other Hawaiian Islands
- Stay at a hotel resort
- Try breadfruit
So he organised the entire trip from start to finish and without going into too many details, every single moment of that holiday was unforgettable. I ticked everything off that I wanted to do and more and I had a permanent delirious smile on my face throughout. You only turn 50 once so why not, if you have the means and the way, treat yourself to whatever you want to do with your life because frankly, we only have one life to live and well, you’ve earned it.
I’m not going to lie that the lead up to the trip but also turning 50 was a big thing for me. It’s such a HUGE number isn’t it? When you don’t feel like that inside, truth be told, I feel like I did when I was in my early 30s, the number itself makes you sit up and think that now, you’re entering a new phase of your life and what would the next 10, 20, 30 years look like for you.
As I looked in the mirror and saw the wrinkles around my eyes and most of all that sagging neck that I would hide with my knitted cowls and scarves (they come in handy), I’d be peeved.
Also, I turned grey early in my life and I’ve been colouring my hair for many years. Last year, I thought I’d “embrace the grey” and went all out grey. Initially, I loved the look because I had also changed my hairstyle and I kept touching my hair because it felt bristly rather than soft but over time, every morning when I’d look in the mirror, I started to have doubts again. I wasn’t ready to go all out grey – so I started dying my hair again. Every morning facing the mirror, I was reminded how quickly the years go by and why had I not taken the time in my early years to look after myself and my body a bit more?
I grew up in a strict household with many rules and although I won’t go into it here, much of my growing up, I tried to not show femininity for fear of showing weakness. As such, much of the usual things girls go through such as an interest in fashion and makeup, I ignored – let alone was allowed to wear. In fact, I was more of a tom-boy because it made life a lot easier. However, I was also blessed with good genes and skin so through my adult life, I pretty much went without makeup. Being in the Navy for many years, I could also do away with the hassle of fashion. I wore jeans and tee-shirt with a jumper or coat and sneakers which was my standard dress for many years.
It was only when I got married did I start to have the confidence to try out new things like fashion and even then, it felt awkward. My husband encouraged me to shop for clothes and shoes because I simply didn’t do this nor get much enjoyment from it.
However, over time, this started to change when I saw the Big 50 looming. It was time to set aside my own hangups of how I look and my dowdy clothes and start to change my mindset about this. It was time to take an active interest in hair, makeup and fashion.
What Did I Learn?
We have at our fingertips, a plethora of tools and resources available now that we can pretty much learn anything we want. YouTube and Pinterest were my teachers here but there were hours also spent experimenting too. On the whole I’m not a fan of Instagram so I prefer to watch people who educate than just photos of their lives.
Now, I’m no expert in any of these areas and I know that once online, you’re going to find every man and his dog have a YouTube channel. I was less fussed about who was doing the teaching more about getting ideas to experiment myself on what made me look good and feel good.
Here are the people and the channels that helped me out and who I subscribed to – or followed their suggestions.
Dominique is a newsreader from Texas and I LOVE her, her channel and most of all her positive messages. She’s someone who is actively curious, experiments a lot with her looks and her style and she loves to teach others. She’s also around my age and even though, she has had work on her face, she’s open enough to explain what she’s done. I’m okay with that because much of what she shares is honest, authentic and she laughs at herself. I like her positive outlook and is the epitome of grace and good Southern manners. I’ve watched every single video of hers that are tutorials and always amazed at how she actively transforms herself, constantly changing, constantly learning, constantly sharing.
Using Dominique’s suggestions, I have used her tutorials to learn how to apply make up and indeed, her hair cut has been copied (I showed the video to my hairdresser) and got the same cut. I think we share the same face and skin colour – and even have the same colour eyes so naturally, I look to Dominique to emulate some of the looks she does so that I know they’ll look good on me. Unfortunately, we don’t have the same body type so I’m at a loss there…. but that’s another issue.
I love love Justine. She used to have a high flying corporate job but loved fashion design and started her own YouTube channel many years ago which set her off into a new career direction.
She is French, she is chic and she knows her fashion. I love her simple, ethical and functional approach to fashion and I have watched every single video of hers. She doesn’t use fancy backgrounds nor is she out in the streets but the majority of her videos have her standing in front of a grey backdrop sharing tips and strategies for looking good in your clothes.
Using Justine’s suggestions, I have cleared out many of my old clothes and shoes that made me frumpy and focus on classic, timeless pieces. I have never had so many stripey tops, pointy shoes, flats and skinny jeans previously – that all thanks to Justine. Her suggestions made me consider other pieces of clothes that simply made me feel like…me. As someone who hates fussy clothes but wants to look “pulled together” using items from my own wardrobe, Justine’s videos have helped me out immensely.
Sorelle is an Australian who won a competition some time ago to travel the world and make videos (how good is that?). Although I admit that I don’t always watch every video she makes, there are some videos of Sorelle’s that have helped me consider how I pose in photographs. She is such a positive and upbeat young woman who comes across as confident and sassy. The other thing that is evident is that she is a constant learner and she does it openly on video and eager to share what she does and how.
The videos that I view from Sorelle are the ones related to doing more with less, or what you have (she is a minimalist -which I’m not nor do I care to be) and I look at the videos about posing and composing shots. I’m seriously thinking of doing her Selfie Course because I hate taking photos of myself so this would be a good way to get out of my comfort zone and do something that would ease this. Besides, it may make my travel photos far more interesting than me posing with breadfruit or some such.
Another channel I watch and try out tips is Erin’s channel. Once again, her videos are all informative, educational and immediately actionable. She’s a fashion consultant and I like her personable style. Much of what she wears is simple, classic and functional. It’s not fussy but I find I have to think with her videos. It’s not always a “copy her style and you’ll be right” because she has a different body style and I have to think about what she’s saying and if it will work with my own body style.
The other thing I noticed is that Americans dress differently to the Europeans such as the French (Justine’s style) and Sorelle’s (very casual), so it was up to me to try and figure out what I preferred. I find Americans are a tad dressier (more make up, more accessories, hair made up) whereas the French have less of everything and yet still have a classic timeless look about them. Also they cover up (no boobs) so I’m far more inclined to when I look at Erin’s videos, I tone down the look by reducing the necklace, having a less dressier bag or getting rid of the heels.
Still, she makes me think about my look so that’s okay.
Dr Dray is a dermatologist and truth be told, I had no idea what to think about her videos. She is a PROLIFIC YouTuber. There’s no way I can view every one of her videos because she shares something daily. Her life must revolve around her fitness regime, skin care and her food. Initially, I thought she was far too thin however, I set those thoughts aside and watch her skin care videos and recommendations. I have learned that I have been basically putting SHIT on my face for years. I had no idea what dangerous chemicals were in creams and moisturisers and as someone who forgets to put SPF50 on her face every day, I know I’m going to skin care hell after watching her videos. As a dermatologist, her videos are educational, and DENSE with information.
She vlogs prolifically however the only videos I watch of hers are her product reviews and her in-depth videos of various skin care techniques and services that are out there. Most of it is enough to scare me away from them. It’s only in the last 5 years or so that I have been actively cleansing, moisturising my face – in the past I just used soap and water.
Have I noticed any difference? Well, using products are far more expensive and I have noticed that my skin is hydrated more (used to be tight). It’s always hit and miss with product but I have been using coconut oil for a while and it’s been the best one over any store brands.
What she said about exfoliants scared the hee bee jeebees out of me because frankly, that’s what I was doing scouring my face in the mistaken belief that my wrinkles would disappear. I’ll also never use a scouring pad again after what she mentioned about smearing bacteria all over my face… yeichs. I had no idea.
Elise in Montreal
I love Elise in Montreal. I want to be Elise in Montreal. She personifies the confidence and sass along with the rocker look which I love. One day I’ll be Elise in Montreal. She’s someone who decided to go out all grey in her 50s and she looks hot! I think she’s an example of just having a wonderful outlook to life and having a laugh at yourself. I don’t watch all her videos but when I do, they always make me smile.
Hot and Flashy
Discounting the title of the YouTube channel (not there yet and I shake my head and roll my eyes that I’ve reached this point in my life but hey, them’s the breaks), Angie shares product reviews of skin care and make up. What I like is that she uses the cheap stuff (Americans call them the ‘drug store range’). They’re the ones I can afford so I have bought different recommendations from these ranges usually bought on sale from Big W, Target or Kmart. I do not buy any expensive make up and balk at big names so her videos have helped me choose some products to buy and test.
For the first time in my life, I have 5 different foundations in my make up bag. That is unheard of previously – I never wore foundation until I was about 45 or so…now they tell me that there’s all kinds like dewey, matt, full, light coverage….who would have thought?
I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of them and found out after a lot of practice and staring at my face in the mirror (and other people staring at my face) that lightest coverage is for me. Anything caked on, is no go. In fact, there’s what’s known as BB Cream (again, all new to me) which is even lighter. That’s the stuff I use now all the time.
However, Americans I’ve noticed like full coverage so once again, what Angie says is not always what Helen does…
Last of all, this is another one I watch religiously because well, she’s Australian, she’s lovely and down to earth and always educational. Schellea Fowler is someone who reminds me of my girlfriends, in fact, it feels like she’s a girlfriend anyway. She shares her videos every week on skin care, makeup, fashion and food. I like to watch the ones about skin care and makeup. Her messages are always positive and she just seems to have a laugh at herself which is endearing. Her videos aren’t high production but they need not be, all her messages are what she says and her explanations and examples.
I’ve followed her eye make up techniques because little did I know that I was DOING EVERYTHING WRONG and I remember that one night, I was actually complimented for my eye makeup. You have to understand that at 49 years of age, it was the FIRST time anyone had complimented me on my eye make up and ASK to for a tutorial on her eyes. This NEVER HAPPENS TO ME. So thank you Schellea.
So these are just the main YouTube accounts that I have been following, watching, learning, experimenting on my face and skin in recent times. I have some Pinterest boards focussed on particular “Look books” (that was a new term for me) too.
For obvious reasons, I have not been “working out loud” through it all because sometimes I believe that learning is an individual experience and process. You need not share everything that you are learning or trying things out but as people have been noticing a change, I thought I was ready to share the simple things that I was doing (and probably that we are all doing in the privacy and safety of our homes). When you get compliments or you start to feel good because you’ve gone out of your comfort zone to try something new, change a mindset or do something that makes you feel good about yourself by watching and learning from others then, why not share this if you’re ready to?
After all, this is learning something new is just a natural and normal thing to do. It need not be embarrassing.