Beauty is as Beauty Does

I think YouTube’s beauty community tends to be a bit underappreciated. Underneath the drama and obviously forced collaborations lies a community that inspires me. No, seriously.

It’s easy to forget that the talented young people on YouTube do more than apply makeup under carefully positioned lighting. These influencers run a business. Although it looks like fun, I imagine that they work hard. I’m not sure if it’s worth multi-millions a year hard, but still. I can’t even get my life together to buy groceries and gas in the same week, and here these people are, figuring out contours and crafting the perfect cat-eye all while maintaining cosmetic sponsors worth more money than I could ever hope to have … and that includes my “win the lotto” retirement plan.  And have you seen the ones that can curl their hair WITH A FREAKIN’ FLAT IRON? I didn’t even know that was a thing. It’s impressive.

I can’t do makeup for shit. I’m horrible at it. But I do find myself giving the tutorials a try from time to time. Is it always a successful recreation? Ummm, no. Is it a hell of a lot of fun to try? Absolutely. Well, mostly. Okay, usually. Fine, if I’m being completely honest, it can be almost as frustrating as driving in heavy traffic, and we all know how I am when I’m driving in heavy traffic. One side of my face ends up tolerable and the other side, well, it turns out different, shall we say.

I still like watching the videos though. The whole thing with social influencers profiting from these beauty tutorials is a relatively new phenomenon.  Back in the day, if you wanted to learn how to do makeup, you experimented with a best friend (makeup… yeah, we’re talking makeup here…sheesh, get your minds out of the gutter, people!). Or had a visit with your friendly Avon or Mary Kay representative – and the pushy sales pitch that went with it. The lovely Elizabeth Arden coined the phrase “makeover” and provided the service in her salons with many others following suit. However, this was – and remains – an unattainable decadence to many, if not most. Now all you need is a WiFi connection and boom! you’re on the road to a perfectly contoured and highlighted night out on the town.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that a lot of you are rolling your eyes right now. YouTube in general, and especially the “influencers,” are an oft-maligned group. However, much like the song lyric sites that save us all from embarrassment during our daily mobile concert commute to work, online tutorials (makeup or otherwise) are changing how we access information and learn new things… and they’re making this information available across the board. And given the fact that the individuals who do these sorts of things have managed to snag jaw-droppingly lucrative sponsorships as recompense for their time, I can’t help but think this younger generation has got it all figured out.

Anybody Home?

I love haunted houses. I think if you have some common sense and keep a respectful attitude, you can live happily with a ghostie or a demon. And, you’d always have someone to push down that can of peas off the top shelf you can never reach.

Some residences just ooze the “murder house” vibe.  You might remember the post that I did a couple of years back called, “Horror House For Sale.” For those of you who don’t (you can click the link and check it out… just sayin’), I shared a few images of a house that I found on Zillow. You could feel the presence of well… something, just looking at it. Maybe a mutant creeper still living in the walls somewhere, just waiting for the new owners to move in. Wouldn’t that be something!?

I came across the above image recently (don’t ask) and it took me back to the day when I first found Zillow’s Most Haunted Property. That all-familiar sense of excitement I mean, fear… of course I mean fear, I’m not a psycho (good movie by the way!), the fear crept back in and I started to imagine all the possible fun dangers lurking within those walls.

This led me to wonder: what exactly is it about haunted houses that fascinates us so much? Now, I understand this might sound like a stupid question. Obviously, everything that makes a haunted house a haunted house is what makes it thrilling scary. I guess what I mean is, what is it about an old, rundown house that makes our skin crawl?

As I’ve said before, most people are terrified at the idea of living in a haunted house, and I get it; it’s a pretty universal feeling. I mean, imagine driving down an old country road late at night (I seriously recommend you find a better way to spend your evenings) and seeing a house like this one! No lights on the road (and if you’ve ever driven down a country road at night with no lights, let me tell you… it’s freakin’ DARK) or in the drive or visible in the home. Or worse yet, just one light dimly glowing in a shadowy window.  I’m willing to bet you’d think, “someone definitely died there and in a gruesome horror movie kind of a way too.” I know I would.

Why, though? Well, if you ask me, haunted houses invoke one of the biggest fears known to humanity – the fear of the unknown. The weight of all that ambivalence can be crushing.  There are few things in the world that can toy with our sense of security as much as haunted houses.

I have to say that Hollywood understands the root of our fears when it comes to haunted houses and boy, do they capitalize upon them. Haunted house movies make a killing (no pun intended, oh, who am I kidding… of course it was) and in a sick twist, this oft-used trope works to spread the universal fear to generation after generation. When we find ourselves face to face with a house that in any way resembles the Amityville Horror House (there’s a story that Hollywood really beat to death by the way), everything in us tells us to run. Well. Most of us anyway.

Horror movies and ghost stories have taught us that all run-down houses host paranormal entities and demonic forces intent on charming claiming our souls. Of course, the logic-angel sitting on our shoulder reassures us, “oh, that’s just hogwash,” even if it sometimes does so in a quiet, slightly frightened voice. Because you see, ultimately, it’s the uncertainty of their presence in the dark that is the most terrifying thing of all.

The Curious Case of the Cart in the Wild

We all know the old (new?) adage: without pics, it didn’t happen. But I swear, yesterday, there was one Target cart sitting on the corner in my mother’s neighborhood. It was odd, I’ll admit, and I wondered about its sudden appearance, and truly, its very existence in such an incongruous place. However, I will repeat, there was ONE cart.

Today, taking the same route to drop my dogs off at my mother’s aka their sometimes daycare aka their grandmother’s house, there was another cart! Right next to, and even touching, the Target cart. This one was grey and inconspicuous… maybe it’s in the witness protection program? But if so, here it was, breaking all the rules by being out in public and fraternizing with a ne’er-do-well from Target.

Or maybe, they were in the middle of a clandestine meeting.

“Hey, our toilet paper is on sale for $500 this week, just thought you should know so that you can adjust your pricing scale accordingly.” *looks around guiltily* “Just don’t tell them I was the one to spill the beans. They might send me for scrap.  I’ve got kids, you know!”

Or, maybe they’re just two fated lovers making a plan to elope, and they were waiting to catch the 4:50 bus.

Or, maybe this is how store carts are born in the wild… they utilize fission (ha! Bet you didn’t think I knew that word!) to regenerate and the new entities are grey until they grow into their color. Like Dalmatians grow into their spots and Flamingos grow into their lovely rosy pink hue (spoiler: it’s the Flamingo’s diet that causes their color!) Anyway, if this is a case of grocery cart reproduction, at this rate, there will be a whole fleet taking over the neighborhood next week.

I know, I know, how do you think up such wonderful ideas, Wendy? Well, to be quite honest, I think I might need some sleep.