Growing up with an artist mother was a blessing as a human being.

Reading, piano playing, writing, singing, art – all this took precedence over primping and prepping. In fact, none of that was allowed in the totalitarian art mecca of Mother Johnson.

When I tried to shave my legs in junior high, I was caught and chastised. A sign of makeup was ninnied off as rubbish. Uniforms made choosing my own clothes a non-issue and I would often play sick on free-dress days from the stress of being out of uniform.

As an adult, I can remember shopping thrice and it all involved travel. Once, when living in London I picked up a wild African print outfit at Camden Locke. Another time I bought purple walking shoes in Paris at Le Printemps. ingle parenting took that I lived in Doc Martin shoes and oversized clothes I’d inherited.

So, when the car jacker took makeup I’d acquired as swag from Sundance and LA parties, I was at a loss. I was a sinner, according to my friend. I’d never even heard of Ulta.

Of course, as everything with me, it became complicated. Quickly. I really thought I just wanted a deep shade of brown for my crease, some purple to replace that Mac glitter and the Urban Decay electric teal all-night long eye pencil. I found out that I was supposed to need and want all sorts of accessories to go with it all. And of course, they were having a buy five-get one sort of sale just when I was shopping. Of course, there were rewards to tally up. Of course, I had to hit every Ulta in existence to see what I was dealing with, just in case I was missing out on something. Can nothing be simple? Do I long for a Communist state, without the Stalin, where the choices are limited, freeing me therefore from brand overdose and allowing me access to my own brain?

Thorough researcher that I aim to be, finding out about Ulta turned into hitting all Sephoras, then all department store makeup counters, then chanced-upon boutiques. I was going nuts with varying shades, creams vs. powders, palettes vs. individuals, mattes vs. glitters, matte vs glossies, nudes vs. deeps. Do you know how hard it is to find a good shade of brown? I now do. And the brushes!!! Agh! Hidden colors within the shades bring out different pigments and hues in different types of light. Sheesh. It takes a mighty power to be a makeup artist, I suddenly appreciated. Sifting through all kitsch was killing me. I should have just gone with the Urban Decay’s Naked in the first place, but then the Wicked palette excited me – though I had to buy the whole thing to get the one color I liked. No, I’d gotten in so deep with individual colors, I couldn’t turn back. I had to build my own and forego certain shades.*

Instead, I made my own palette converting an empty chocolate box. I’m proud of this chocolate box filled with assorted shades of highlights and daylights, that never in two lifetimes would I be able to finish. Hopefully, there won’t be another car jacker, but if there is, he will certainly be able to paint his face pretty.


Author’s Note: I found the Urban Decay Wicked palette on sale for 5 bucks!