Tag Archives: beauty

Save the Panda

25 Sep

It started the day I ran out of eyeliner.

Not the first time. The first time I scrounged together five dollars that I didn’t really have to spend and I went to Rite Aid on my lunch break and I bought eyeliner and applied it with my iPhone in between the set of doors that pretend to let you in and the set of doors that actually do.

This happened the second time. When I seriously couldn’t afford any more because the only five dollars I could have gathered was laundry money and without the ability to purchase more underwear when others need laundering, I had to face the music: I needed clean underwear more than I needed eyeliner.

For some reason I convinced myself a long time ago that my eyes were best viewed when outlined with a thick black crayon. It might be because when I was 16 there was a girl who worked the register beside me at Kmart who showed me that in the world of eye makeup, too much can never be enough. It could also be that I’m hyperaware that my right eye is smaller than my left and I think that somehow I’m fooling everyone by distracting them with panda eyes. Probably, though, I’m a creature of habit since I’m used to seeing myself like this:

 panda

It’s kind of jarring to look in the mirror and instead see this:

 naked panda

And then I realized: this is beginning of a slow and steady decline into poverty-induced unattractiveness.

This has been going on for quite some time. The eyeliner was really the last thing to go. A few weeks ago I ran out of new contacts and found myself without funds to replace them. That means I’m back in geek glasses. That’s right: geek glasses. The glasses I left on my desk at recess because I would have rather been half-blind for kickball than have to wear them in front of people.

Let’s be honest: I was terrible at kickball regardless.

Anyway, as those of you following for any extended period of time know, I’ve descended the stairs from full-time corporate America to part-time nonprofit land and have had to adjust accordingly.

This has led me on all sorts of adventures. Last week, for example, my fridge was completely naked of offerings. It also happened to be the 60th birthday of a dear friend who thought that if 100 people RSVP on Facebook for a party, they should buy 100 hot dogs and 100 hamburgers. That worked out really well for me because they’re supremely generous and lovely and now my freezer and fridge are full of everything I could possibly need to celebrate Labor Day every single day from now until Christmas.

And I have.

Please note that this means I’m on a diet comprised almost entirely of hot dogs and hamburgers. While without contacts. And eyeliner. And other various first-world comforts.  I have a hole in the crotch of one of my pairs of jeans that I’ve become very strategic about keeping hidden while I walk or sit so that I can still pass them off as one of my two pairs of jeans.

I’m going downhill, guys. Way downhill.

There are some things that naturally work out to balance these inconveniences I suppose. Like the fact that I’m walking to work now because I can’t afford to reload my bus card so I’ll stay fit. Or that my hair is down to my butt because paying for someone to cut my hair seems like an absurd waste of fistfuls of cash. Perhaps these required inconveniences that will keep me fit and long-haired will help balance out the required inconveniences that keep be dangerously close to no clean laundry and no shaving.

The good news is that this Sunday I conquer the beast that’s been chasing me since January: the 10K. Longtime readers will recall that 2011 was the year I wrote a post every day for my 365, 2012 was the year I missed having a 365, and 2013 is the year of a fitness 365 culminating in a 10K at the end of September. We’ve arrived. On Sunday, it’s do or die. If it’s the latter, I’ve already appointed a ghost writer to finish up the blog. If it’s the former, I can ride out fitness through the rest of 2013 and look long and hard down the barrel of 2014’s 365.

From the look of my fridge and eyes, I’m leaning toward a financial one. I could make it a campaign. Something like Save $10,000 in a Year or I Have to Donate an Egg.

Or maybe just Save the Panda. 

naked panda

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In This, the Passing of My First Life Quarter

11 Jul

I’m right there with ya, kid.

I am writing this post in the last hours of my 25th year.  It is the end of my first quarter-century;  I have completed one fourth of my supposed long and happy triple-digit life.

I am enduring this home stretch with a set of very troll-like eyebrows.

You see, I’m doing this thing for my birthday called destressing.  I’ve spent this past week preparing for a day of complete and total self-indulgent bliss.  I start with getting my hair done, progress to getting my brows “designed” and then get a long, lovely massage.

That’s right, I said “brow design”.  Apparently that’s a thing.   This entire time I’ve been walking around with normal human eyebrows and thinking it’s socially acceptable but it’s not.  They need to be expertly crafted.  Doing so will change the way people look at my face, perceive my hairstyle, and receive my opinion in large groups.

That’s what I’ve convinced myself of, anyway. My 26th year is going to be an expertly crafted Year of the Brow.  There’s only one catch.  In order to properly have your brows “designed”, you have to grow them out.  Like, stop tweezing them altogether for 6-8 weeks.  

I’m a generally fuzzy human being.  No brow maintenance has been difficult for me. In the midst of my neglect, my eyebrows have taken on a life of their own.  I have almost no discernible arch remaining and tiny hairs are sprinting away to my hairline in fear of what may become of them.  

I’m spending the last hours of my 25th year as a common troll.

Aside from tomorrow morning signifying the beginning of The Year of the Brow, it will also be a day for complete and total relaxati0n.  To prepare, I woke up at 5:30 this morning and worked until this post was complete.  Because I’m at a point in my life where I can’t actually take a day off unless I’m going to agree to not sleep another day to make up for it.

I think that’s called adulthood.

Anyway, I’ve been celebrating my day of stresslessness by slowly eradicating awful, stress-inducing things from my life.   Today I even cleaned out my refrigerator and cupboards so that they didn’t sneak up on me in a week and cause a stroke.

I also quit my job.

You like how I just threw that in there?  All casual and whatnot with the fridge and the cupboards.

I am indeed headed to a spa tomorrow as a birthday celebration.  But the real gift I gave myself is walking away from a death-inducing job.  I’m so tickled I might pee myself during the spa celebration just thinking about it.

I would have much preferred to write about all the details surrounding that bundle of joy, but we’re not in the early 90’s anymore, kids.  If I’m going to write about my job, I’m going to have to put it in a tell-all book that will be ravishing enough to make millions – because I’ll never work again.  And I’m just not that confident in my following yet.

So hey: Happy Birthday to me.  I’m overtired, unemployed, and I look like a troll.

Sounds like I’m just a skip and a jump away from 30. 

Hair Salon Pressure: The Final Chapter

29 Oct

My hair is back to normal.

For those of you who don’t care, I completely understand.  For those of you who want to care but don’t know what I’m talking about, read this or maybe even this to catch up.  For everyone else, carry on.

So yes, my hair is back to normal. Well, as normal as normal can be after having chemicals and goop and heat thrown at it.  All things considered, I’d love to go back to the moment when I thought “hey, it would be nice to change things up a bit” and save my money and my time.  But that stupid moment is forever etched in history, along with all the other moronic things I’ve done this year and will continue to do until I rot in my grave with a wealth of knowledge that would have been best applied when I was ten and older, not dead in the ground.  And with the money I spent on my hair, I could have bought fifteen things that are much more important.  I’ll cry that out a little later on.  Now is not the time.

The good news is that out of all of this I may have found an actual competent hairdresser in my area that’s enjoyable, fast, and does

The blossoming of a potentially awesome future hairdresser.

good work.   But she’s also a manager and was tasked with fixing my atrocity of a head and trying to squeeze any more money out of me with product sales if possible.  She kind of succeeded, because I am weak.

Like a little lamb.

Maybe I’ll just take a note and in the future just go to the most crazy-haired, tattooed girl in the salon.  I’ve read so many articles that tell you to go to the person whose hair you like or who seems to have a style close to yours, etc. etc.  

That’s a bunch of malarkey. 

Just go to the nuttiest nut job you can find.  Find someone who expresses themselves almost entirely through body alterations.  Those are the people who are passionate about self-expression and will help you find a way to do the same.  Hot pink hair is a plus.  So is a nose ring.

So anyway, lesson learned.  But this year is all about not holding back out of fear, so I’m also kind of pleased with myself for getting a dye job when I was pretty darn comfortable staying where I was.  And I even had the cojones to call and go back.  That’s pretty cool.

My ‘redo’ stylist rinsed me out right beside the stylist who made the mess the first time around.  That was a tiny dab of awkward sauce.  I forgot to mention that.  She knew what she did.  I wish I could have taken her tip money back.  All of it.  But then, why was I polite enough to tip when I absolutely hated what she did?

Because I’m an idiot.  Lessons learned, my friends. Lessons learned. 

Hair Salon Pressure Part Deux: The Aftermath

27 Oct

I know you’re just dying to know, so here: I ruined my hair.

Remember this from yesterday in regard to taking the plunge? “Is it possible that tonight I will ruin a perfectly good thing?  Yes, yes it is.” (Jackie Baker, October 26, 2011: pre-ruined hair)

Or perhaps this charming picture of what I thought I could expect from such a venture –>

Well I guess you could say it all pretty much came out as feared.  Except I don’t look like a dog.  Not my face, anyway. …I don’t think.

My appointment last night was at 7:30.  At 6:30 I got a call asking if I could come in earlier, so I aimed for 7pm and made it there by 6:45 because I’m awesome. After I sat there for only 5 minutes, the manager came over and explained that my stylist was running behind.  Why did you call me and ask me to come earlier if she’s running behind?, I asked.  Someone called you and asked you to do that?, He said.

This is never a good sign.

He proceeded to explain that I could have another stylist work with me.  She’s a more “senior consultant” he said, but he would charge me the same price.  I told him the whole reason I was there was because the night before, the other girl cut my hair and we talked about color. I came back specifically at a time she was available so I was wary to go with someone else.  He told me he’d supervise my coloring himself.

Getting the manager to supervise with a “more senior consultant” seemed like a fair shake so I thought what the heck, why not. (Note: Wrong.  Totally wrong.)

When it comes to hair advice, the more is not the merrier.  Five minutes later I was seated in the chair with four different stylists huddled around me, talking about how beautiful my natural color was.  One even said, you’re not getting that colored are you?! The correct answer should have been No.  No I’m not, followed by walking out the door.

I told them I used to be more of a redhead and over the years, I’ve kind of morphed into a dishwatery blonde that I don’t prefer.  I wanted a few highlights to bring out the red in my hair, I wanted it to look natural, and I wanted it to be subtle.  They all agreed – I made a great redhead, and I should return to it.

I could reenact in my sleep what happens to stylists when they look at the back of my head and see the huge blonde chunk that runs down it. It’s the same thing every time.  First, they assume it’s a weird dye job by me.  Then they check the roots and see that there aren’t any.  Then they ask me what’s up with it and I explain I was born with it.  I get too detailed sometimes and explain that it’s a matter of genetic co-dominance, much like when you see a horse with spots.

Then they geek out.

Which I really appreciate.  It’s nice.  It’s something interesting about me and I appreciate them making me feel special.  But last night, this discovery led to an all-around consensus that I should highlight blonde like this chunk.  I told the cluster of people around me that I really prefer red and that the blonde would have to be very subtle and only around my face.

2.5 hours later, everyone who chimed in was gone and I was left in the chair with my stylist at closing as she roughed through my hair with her fingers, trying to blow dry it as fast as possible so she could leave.  As my hair dried and came to light, it was obvious that they decided to go with their plan and not mine.  And since she started at the left side of my head and worked around to the right, there was a huge, platinum blonde streak running right down the side of my face, which leads a gradual and noticeable fade all the way around my head.  It was a stripey, skunky strangeness from which I could not recover for another 6 weeks.

I was devastated.

I told her I expected it to be more red and that there was a looooot of blonde.  I told her I felt more like a blonde than a redhead.  I told her I was having trouble adjusting to the shock of the blonde.  I told her lots of things, when I really should have just told her I wanted to cry.  It looked a lot like skunk stripes.  Little baby skunk stripes.  And when the manager was speaking with me, he confirmed three different times that I wanted to be red, I wanted it to be natural, and I didn’t want stripes.

I’m not sure what he did with that information.  I think he communicated it to my stylist via paper cup and string.

I ponied up too many of my hard-earned American dollars, and walked out of the salon with an ample amount of wetness to my eyes.  I had just wasted a lot of money to feel worse about myself.  I loved my hair the day before.  I had a new cut with a little bit of movement and a subtle change.  And even my awesome blow out from that evening was ruined by last evening’s half-inspired styling.

Supposedly, I have two weeks in which to request an adjustment for free.  

This bus shelter advertisement mocked me on my way home.  I’ll be calling today. 

There’s Nothing Like Hair Salon Pressure

26 Oct

Me, tomorrow morning.

Going to the hairdresser is such an excruciating experience for someone who doesn’t spend time on their hair.

Not the shampoo part.  Or the head massage part.   Or the combing, cutting, or texturizing.  All of that’s quite lovely.  Actually, I told the woman who last massaged my head that I would marry her.

Don’t judge me – she made me drunk on the tickly goodness.

The part that’s awful isn’t the actual hair getting done.  It’s the interview process that’s difficult to endure.  Or rather, still feel feminine after.  First of all, it’s obvious to any passerby that I don’t do my hair. I clearly have no skills.  Zero.  I wake up, I wash my hair, I comb it, and I go to work.

Sometimes I put it back in a ponytail.

These are obvious signs of a malnourished beauty skill set and yet they ask the questions.  With their perfect hair and their nicely shaped brows and their awesome makeup.  They stand there and they ask me all these questions as if they don’t already know the answers.  She, rather.  It’s always a she.  Men don’t ask me questions when they do my hair; they just make me look fabulous in silence. So last night, she (let’s call her Meg.  Meg is cute enough name to be a hottie but also cool enough to be better than you at things) interrogated me before she would even touch my hair. Do I put anything in my hair when I style it, do I do anything in the morning to it before I go out, do I blah blah blah. I finally just stopped trying to skirt the issue and said “look, I really don’t do anything.  Like, anything.  I wake up and I wash it”.

I could see the concern grow in her face as she asked the final, telling question: “So you just towel dry it and go?”

I don’t know why she had to make me admit it like that.  Yes, I just towel dry it and go.  And usually put it back in a ponytail within an hour.  I just take all my shame and throw it behind my eyes so I don’t have to have any self-realizations.  Like that I look like an exhausted, 40-year-old housewife.

Maybe 35.  Still.  It’s not pretty.

I almost felt a bit more feminine when she told me I had fantastic hair, great texture, and that it was incredibly healthy.  I like to think it’s because of the lack of gunk and blow drying and teasing, but hey: that’s just me.  So she proceeded to gunk and blow dry it, and golly do I look a lot better.

Really, I do.  I’m getting it colored today.  She’s a very convincing woman.

I told Dave he’s in for a treat.  I’ve been eating better for a long time now, kicked up my exercise this week (thanks, no car!), got my hair done yesterday, and am getting it done again tonight.  I will finish out the week about one hundred times hotter than I was when I started it.

I’m not sure if I’ve been brainwashed or if I just had a realization that I shouldn’t look sad and weary when I’m in my mid-20’s.  I think it has a lot to do with the latter, but that’s what someone with the former reality might think.  So you know, it’s hard to tell.

I’m having day-mares of a striped, hellacious colorfest that ruins the first haircut I’ve enjoyed in a long time.  Is it possible that tonight I will ruin a perfectly good thing? 

Yes, yes it is.  Here’s to female brainwashing.  And hair color. 

My Big, Dumb Teeth

17 Oct

For quite a long time, I’ve been hoping to someday save enough money to fix what is to me a monstrous overbite.  Of course, things always seem incredibly exaggerated when you’re the one attached to the body parts you’re criticizing.  But nonetheless, it’s  my reality. I took the time this weekend to look up what such a procedure would be like should I choose to finally embark on the journey.

It’s awful.  Truly awful.  Turns out it could rock my world to the tune of $50,000 and may or  may not lead to a few months with my jaw clamped shut.  Not to mention a decent sized percentage of lip and chin numbness for the rest of my life.  All things considered, it appears as if my perfect teeth-wielding dreams will have to be put to rest.  And in honor of the fact that I must do so, I’ve decided to repost a tale of those teeth, written by a much younger, much more blog-neglecting, equally tooth-0bsessed Jackie.  Enjoy. 


I’ve had several less-than-glamorous moments that compose the fuzzy collage of what is my childhood. From leopard pants paired with bright blue tops, fuschia skirts and lime green blouses, to even day-glo, all-green Reeboks, I didn’t have a care in the world for what it thought of me and was more than happy to show off my fashionable fashion taste I could display as I debuted the new seasons of hand-me-downs and thrift store pizzazz. One could say I was the Vera Wang of the lower class.

The beauty of those times is encapsulated in how gorgeously apathetic and ignorant I was to the opinions that surrounded me. I gorged myself on books about Jim Carrey and aspired to be him. My face got stretchier, my clothes more exotic, and my life even more enjoyable. Yeah, I wore big glasses and had permed hair long enough to adequately lustrate my lower region, but I had spunk. And big teeth.

Lots of them, actually. Lots of big, freakin teeth.

One could say I hated them from the beginning. I scooted around the house as a toddler with teeth to the wind, running at full speed toward any solid object that dare enter my field of vision. By the time I was 6, they had to be removed. They were black, cracked apart, and dead to me. Success!

Until they grew back.

They grew back with a vengeance. All of them did. Angry at what I’d done to their brothers and sisters, they came back fiercer, bulkier, and more demanding than ever before. Jutting out from all sides of my jaw, I wondered how it was that I would avoid swallowing them. On the roof of my mouth, in every crevice, outside every natural jaw line, and even deep in the roots of my wisdom teeth, they multiplied. And at the front of the militia, two perfectly straight, perfectly large teeth shone for all the world to see, forcing their way past the others in a desperate cry for attention. … and that they got.

I became instantly famous for a gag called “The Bunny Face” in which I embraced my curse, scrunched up my nose, put my fingers behind my head, and chomped up and down as a small woodland creature might chew upon a small twig. Instant fame. The cheers and pleads for The Bunny Face lived from 3rd grade up until my freshman year of college, when I officially retired it and publicly announced that it would no longer be featured on the Jackie Baker Showtime Hour.

My mouth retaliated.

A trip to the dentist revealed more troops; at the back of my jaw, six wisdom teeth had begun to move in. That’s right: six. If indeed an average person has all their wisdom teeth come in, it often denotes four. I, however, am a special case. A small percentage of lucky, tooth-blessed folk get what are called “super incisors,” which grow in immediately behind the regular two on the upper jaw. Super Incisors. Sounds almost… bunny-like.

I underwent a ridiculous procedure in which eight teeth were removed. At the same time. Six wisdom teeth and two regular asshole teeth that wouldn’t behave, one of which was located right on the roof of my mouth. Really.

By my sophomore year of college, my mouth was looking good compared to its sordid, toothy past. My smile line was lookin’ swell, and I was on my way toward worry-free dentistry.

Cue senior year: audition feedback meetings. After a silent two years, my front teeth are back and bold. It is brought to my attention that my overbite is interfering with my ability to speak well. My front teeth are older, wiser. With no Bunny Face with which to bombard me, they have struck in a much more intellectual way: by stunting my ability to easily handle the speech mechanisms that compose the Shakespearean language. Blasted!

And so my battle begins again. I care more about what the world thinks these days than I did in my thrift store fashionista days. After two years of pride, I’ve been reduced to The Girl with the Overbite. I struggle, I pine, but alas, I can do little to help my moneyless estate.

Since the dental procedure required involves a great deal of money, I must settle for investing in one-holed ski masks. I will immediately cease talking and will invest in a variety of bold and bright colors and they shall mask my pain. … and my overbite. Leopard print, bright blue, fuschia, and lime green. I’ll wear them with every outfit, I’ll set new trends, I will overcome the setbacks of my toothy past and shoot for the stars. I shall return to my childhood splendor and set new standards of fashion amongst the criminal demographic.

I, Jackie Baker, will no longer be set back by my bulky, malicious front teeth. 

Deep Inside the Hell Bowels of Sephora

3 Jul

Yesterday, I ventured into the dark, grimy bowels of Sephora to whip my sad and scrappy makeup bag into something socially acceptable.

If you have a penis, you should know that Sephora is an upscale makeup store.  You’re welcome.

I don’t like Sephora.  I try to avoid going there as much as possible.  While the makeup itself is enough to make me orgasm on entry, I simply can’t stand the black suit saleswomen getting up in my grill about whether I’m using a good primer before I put on my foundation. I don’t like their insinuation that I should use the makeup they like to use, and I don’t like the pressure of being talked to. 

Also, all of them sort of look like whore clowns.

Sephora Beauty Store Opening

Exhibit A: Sample Whore Clown. Photo by "br1dotcom". Click to check out their Flickr Photostream, which also features some ridiculously adorable pictures of a French Bulldog.

I’ve been trying to avoid shopping in Sephora for a long time now and as a result have bounced around to several different department store makeup brands trying to find things that stop small children from screaming bloody horror when they see my face and that stay on all day long.

My face has needs.  Real needs.

I would avoid the store entirely and shop online, but I can only do that to refill something I already know I like.  I can’t ever get a new color or a new brand because without the luxury of sampling, there’s no way to know if the super expensive makeup I’m about to buy is actually going to bring me any sort of shallow, material happiness.

Seeing as how I used to work at Victoria’s Secret – the ultimate in black suit pressure saleswomen – you’d think I’d be able to the Sephora challenge.  But I can’t.  I’m just awful at it.  I spend most of my time discreetly moving from one color to another without looking like I’m actually interested in what I’m looking at.  A face that shows interest is a face that shows weakness.   So I casually swipe a bit of a sample onto my finger, mosey over to the mirror, and try to look casual about painting my face.  It’s quick and odd – like when I try to check my armpits for a suspicious odor.  I pretend I’m doing something else altogether, but the trained eye is incredibly aware.  

My casual ruse was almost foiled by my inability to locate the disposal bin for the samples.  I had all the eye shadow sticks, square wipes, and gloss applicators I could possibly hope for but not one single trash can in sight.    Everything blends in there.  It’s all black, white, and bright lights.  People shouldn’t even be allowed to drive for at least 15 minutes after they leave.

So, unable to find a garbage can for all the pieces of used makeup wipes in my hands and with each of my fingers entirely coated in a different makeup color from my ‘casual swiping’ as I moseyed by the products, I resolved to continue to feign disinterest and certainty and promptly shoved all the wipes into my purse.  Heaven forbid I ask where the garbage can is and get asked what kind of airbrush foundation I’m using. 

In case you’re interested, the answer is none – airbrushed makeup is for whore clowns.

I eventually emerged from the innards of the elitist makeup shop with my mental sanity (almost entirely) in tact.  I also somehow acquired twice as many products and I initially entered for.  Which is a bit of a quandary, seeing as how not a single person approached me during my browse.  

I would have felt badly about my terrible display of self-control if I hadn’t gotten a free sample of mascara that blew my mind and a free bottle of super yummy-smelling body wash because it’s my birthday month.  Those little bits of pleasure made the price tag of my purchases not even noticeable until I got home, at which time I wallowed in self-despair.  I tried to make myself feel better by painting my face with my new makeup, but it mixed my tears to produce a sort of awkward-girl-upset-that-she’s-not-prom-queen look.

I’m now one day past my initial buyer’s regret and the feeling is not subsiding.  I should have known better.  I should have stayed away.   But hey – lesson learned.  …Again.  Shop Sephora online or don’t shop it at all.   It looks like I’ll be replacing my makeup with the same exact colors and brands for several years to come.  

I’ll need some time to muster up the strength again. ♣

Today’s RAK: Mailing a thoughtful gift to someone I’ve only just met for an hour.

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