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Pucker Up Baby

December 3rd, 2010

I’m truly not a big cosmetics girl, but there is one beauty product I cannot live without: lipstick.
< Whenever I read those questionnaires asking what you would bring to a desert island I always think: duh, lipstick. I think I went about a decade where I didn't wear any eye makeup but wore red lipstick every single day. I think Lipstick can brighten up your face exponentially. I like the matte in the shade Fire Down Below (what’s not to love about these other names, too: Catfight, FunnyFace and HotVoodoo). I’ve heard about Nars for years, mainly in connection with celebrities:

Because of that, I guess I always thought the product line was out of my price range, but its really not. I did a little investigating and looked at lipstick, lip laquer and lipgloss.

As a mom who stays home with the kids, I can sometimes be stuck for months inside the house, only going out for food or other necessities (yes, this climate is horrible), but darn if I don’t wear lipstick each and every day even if the only people who see it are my husband and kids.
A friend of mine who works outside the home commented on the women in our area of town. She said she liked me because I was the only one she knew who always wore lipstick. What a funny thing to notice, but I think it does make a difference.
It was only recently that I heard the term Lip Lacquer, (did I mention I’m not a big beauty product girl?) but I had no idea what it was at first. Since I’m the type of girl who would never, ever in a million years wear her hair in a shellacked hairstyle that was crusty-with-hairspray-to-the-touch hair, it sounded terrible, but when I checked it out it was actually a cute idea, but not enough color for me. I also looked at the Nars Lipgloss but all it did was reinforce that I truly am a lipstick girl. As much as I would like to be the French Girl who looks like she has no makeup on, in reality, I’m more like the French Girl with the red lips and the smudgy black eyes.

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  1. December 3rd, 2010 at 17:49 | #1

    Bring it on. Try as I might, I cannot get used to a neutral lip. I prefer color, specifically red. You’re right, it really does brighten up the face.

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.