I Will Send You A Comforter

I know when Jesus promised to send a Comforter to us, he didn’t mean this,
but for a minister with easily inflamed skin, it feels like a miracle:

Origins Comforting Solution
Sensitive Skin Soother

I’ve been using it for a week morning and night, and no more red blotchy spots when I get flushed or have a glass of red wine.

Alleluia!

Make-Up Tips, Part I

[This post appeared in March, 2006 on my regular PeaceBang blog. It was the inspiration for Sister of PeaceBang to begin nagging me to start a Beauty Tips blog. Okay, sis, this is for you! – P.B.]

Oh wow!
PeaceBang is ecstatic!

I’ve had several e-mails off line asking for make-up tips for those women who never ever wear the stuff. I clap my hands with glee! I’m still waiting for the hate mail from women who will accuse me of being in league with the patriarchy, or at worst, with the ghost of Estee Lauder. But really, you have to understand that on rainy days when I was little, Mother of PeaceBang put out big shoeboxes of her old make-up (I shudder to think of the bacterial festival contained therein) and set up a little Hollywood-lit make-up table for my sister and me. We carefully made up our wee little faces and the glamour was thrilling! How could we go back to fresh-scrubbedness? (Although Sister of PeaceBang can get by to this day with a tiny brushing of bronzer, a light lick of black eyeliner and her favorite Clinique lipstick in something like Ballerina Pink. She is ageless, and although we argue about over-plucking eyebrows, she hasn’t cut her own bangs since third grade and has looked smashing ever since. Even during the Perm Era). But I digress. You asked about make-up.

1. Start with the cheap stuff, but take your time choosing shades. Shop at a store with a good return policy, like Rite-Aid or CVS.

2. Listen up. These products are wonderful:

> Maybelline Express Make-up 3 In 1. It’s less than $5, and it’s a handy, blendable make-up stick that you can use to blend away ruddy spots and other blotchy skins sections, or use it lightly all over your face. Blend, blend, blend. It’s very lightweight so you won’t feel like you’re wearing make-up at all.

> Covergirl Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara. In black. It washes off but it’s waterproof! How genius is that? Safe for contact wearers. Also under $5. Best with an eyelash curler, which I have been using for 25 years with no mishaps, but I don’t want to push you too far. Let me just say this: they totally open up the eye.

> Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator. This is a light powder that is gorgeous and shimmery. You don’t want to use it all over your face: get a basic pressed powder compact to blot away shine (for heaven’s sake, you at LEAST have a powder compact, don’t you?) and use this on your cheekbones and eyelids to create a dewy look. Good for those who don’t want to graduate into eye shadow just yet. Makes you look rested and radiant, especially if you haven’t exfoliated recently (which you should have, with something gentle. Throw away that nasty apricot scrub by St. Ives immediately, girlfriend, it’s just like using sandpaper!).
Use a light touch with this product. You don’t want to look like Reverend Disco Fever.

> I cannot LIVE without CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor in Blush Pearl. It’s a neutral color that I think would look great on any skin tone no matter how light or dark (but you’ll have to write and tell me). You paint your lips with it, let it dry, and you’re gorgeous for hours and hours and hours. It comes with a moisturizing topcoat that keeps things shiny and comfortable. It doesn’t come off on your coffee cup, it doesn’t come off on your lover, it doesn’t come off through a morning of preaching and meetings although if you’re like me, you have seventeen or eighteen lip glosses on your person and in your car that you layer over anyway. And speaking of which, Rimmel makes a FABULOUS $4 gloss that actually has a bit of lasting power (by which I mean maybe an hour, which is a long time for lip gloss). But the CoverGirl is a lip color that doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing lipstick. If you want to look like you’re wearing lipstick, there are thousands of choices. But keep in mind that anything too purply will age you and bring attention to jowliness, and too waxy is very out of fashion. Sheer is a good bet, and save the bright bright red for either a very tailored suit look, or keep it away from church altogether unless you’re a fairly dramatic type (and even then, you don’t want anything too drippy and vampy).
Men should have a lip balm, too. Chapped kissers don’t look nice on anyone.

3. When it comes to applying make-up, blend, blend, blend. Do invest in a nice powder brush, again available at the drugstore. When you buy blush, don’t imagine that the cheap little brush in the package will be appropriate. And you should buy blush. Consider a creme blush that you dab on with your fingers, and blend, blend, blend. All of which does not mean that you should use so little that we can’t even tell the difference. Play at home! Find your look!

4. You asked about eyebrow pencil. I admit that I spend $25 for a Lancome item called poudre something, which just means that it’s powdery. It lasts for about five months, so at $5 a month or 16 cents a day, I’m willing to pay. The color matches my natural eyebrows perfectly, and to me it’s worth it. The trick to eyebrow pencil is to get a good grip on the pencil, and with a LIGHT TOUCH, fill in your brows with feathery strokes. No drawing big, strong lines unless you want to look like an ancient eccentric drama teacher. You’re just filling in, you’re not trying to look like Nelson Eddy in one of those operettas with Jeanette McDonald.

5. Skin care is for everyone, boys and girls. Use SPF, for God’s sake, or you’ll look like my colleague with the bright pink honker and cheeks whose sunburnt skin comes off in big patches during the summer and makes you want to choke into your gin and tonic. Dandruff care is part of skin care: your scalp is skin. Take care of it.
Exfoliate, gently. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Kiehl’s makes a fabulous undereye gel with SPF. Pat it on gently and it will give you a dewy glow after it dries (but it will smear your eyeliner if you’re wearing it on your lower lid, which I mostly don’t). Don’t be afraid of bronzer, white people, which can warm up your whole face in the dead of winter and spare you from overdoing it with the blush. Bronzer is the new lipstick, and they make it even for the fairest of skin. I had my doubts but I now own a beautiful bronzer by Trish McEvoy and it’s wonderful stuff; you can hardly tell it’s there but I don’t look pasty anymore. Dust lightly over the cheeks, forehead and nose – everywhere the sun hits. And if you’re a chubby and have two chins, I’ll teach you a little shading trick I learned from Pam.

6. And this is very important: Have a Booger Patrol. When I was installed, I gathered my Search Committee around me and said, “Your job is over, but I have a sacred trust to extend to you now. You were the Search Committee that got me here to this church, and from now on, I need you to be my Booger Patrol. If I have sand in my eyes or toilet paper sticking on my shoe or my skirt tucked into my pantyhose or my perfume is too strong or I have something crusty in my nose or spinach on my tooth, you’ve got to tell me.”
They solemnly agreed. Everyone in public leadership needs a Booger Patrol. Mine has told me more than once that my slip is showing or I have a glob of hair product in the back of my head that didn’t get worked in enough. They are the ones who will tell me honestly if I have garlic breath.

Don’t read this and groan, “how much time does she think I HAVE in the morning?” Once you get the hang of it, this is a five minute operation. I, of course, take about 25 minutes to do it all (including hair) on Sundays because it’s a form of meditation and preparation for me. On other days, it’s a quick brush and curl and paint and I’m done.

Embrace the possibilities! Go forth and make-up!

PeaceBang recommends:

Maybelline Express Make-Up 3-In-1
CoverGirl Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara
CoverGirl Outlast All Day Lipcolor in Blush Pearl
Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator
Decent make-up brushes
Trish McEvoy powder bronzer (available in finer stores and salons)

Ministerial Attire

[This post originally appeared on my regular PeaceBang blog in March, 2006. — P.B.]

I had occasion to talk about dressing for the ministry with a group of seminarians recently, which was a kind of fulfillment of my secret desire to host a show like “What Not To Wear.” You’ve seen it, right? You trust and love Stacy and Clinton, right?

I was a bit nervous about leading this session because I did not want to come across as hopelessly shallow and/or judgmental, because who am I? Just a little fat chick with a penchant for Franco Sarto shoes and liquid black eyeliner.

But they LOVED it, and we had such fun analyzing outfits, talking about the necessity of a good tailor, the comfort in having some classic, timeless pieces in the closet, why not to wear casual sandals while officiating weddings or funerals, and why not to preach in drippy sleeves (you might set yourself on fire during some chalice ritual). We talked about hair and make-up and panty hose and the Norelco nose hair trimmer, which is your friend.

We determined the following truths:

1. If you insist on wearing sandals, have a pedicure. Men, too. Feet are intimate. We do not want your hairy fungus toes near us at a meeting, and we do not want to see them peeking out of the bottom of your vestments. We know Jesus wore sandals. He probably also bathed once a month, and you wouldn’t do that to us, would you? Also, he is Jesus. You are not.
P.S. This does not give you permission to simply add socks to your sandals.

2. Don’t be afraid to accessorize!
P.S. Don’t over-accessorize. And don’t get too matchy-matchy. Your necklace does not need to match your earrings and shoes. Gentlemen, what do I have to do to make you stop wearing bolero ties? Nothing says “Hey, what’s your sign?” like a bolero tie. If you don’t live in the Southwest, we should not be seeing any bolero ties on you, unless you’re wearing them ironically with an otherwise very spiffy outfit from the 21st century. [They’re called bolo ties. Sorry. – P.B.]

3. We are living in an extremely beauty and body-conscious culture. You do not need to dress like a sexless, shapeless being. You can be a human being with a body and not go overboard into “sexy.” Ladies, it’s high time to lose the long, shapeless A-line skirts. They’ve been OUT since 1985. Anything above the knee, however, is too short.

4. Church going is an entirely voluntary option in today’s society. In most parts of the country, no one will look askance at you if you do not attend church. So clergy can no longer slide by assuming their and their congregation’s relevance to today’s world. If clergypeople believe their ministries are hip and relevant to today’s world, they should look hip and relevant. Even if you wear a collar, you should have a hair style of some kind, and there’s no need to persist with those aviator frames you bought in 1972 because they looked so good on Lee Majors or the guy on “Welcome Back, Kotter.”

5. If you wear a chalice necklace, there’s no need to wear chalice earrings. And vice versa.
P.S. Sticking a chalice around your neck does not mean you’re “dressed.” Did you shine your shoes? Are your pants appropriately hemmed? Did you check that your blouse isn’t gaping at the bosom? Are there sweat stains at your armpits? Have you asked anyone you trust if your perfume is too strong? Have you trimmed your beard and if necessary, your eyebrows? (Milo O’Shea can get away with crazy stickin’ out eyebrows. It just makes you look eccentric and distracts from your eyes). Have you cleaned your spectacles and gotten off the smudges? You know you were up ’til 3:00 a.m. working on your sermon. Your congregation shouldn’t be able to tell. That’s why God made ice packs and concealer (which works just as well on male skin as on female).

6. Just because you’re on your feet a lot does not mean you need to move into Cobbie Cuddlers. Women, heels are not just a torture implement designed by the patriarchy. They are also elegant as hell and very much in fashion. A little 1″ heel won’t kill you. I can stand around all day and run for the bus in my 2″ pointy-toed Franco Sarto cowboy boots. They look smokin’ and they’re comfortable. My personal rule is: I don’t get into orthopedic shoes (or the rough facsimile thereof) until I’m eligible for Medicare.

7. Eyebrows! According to my very small sampling, 50% of female ministers over 40 have invisible eyebrows due to gray or just fading. Eyebrows frame the face. Invest in a $1.99 Maybelline eye pencil and experiment. You’ll be glad you did. Men, see my above point about Milo O’Shea.

8. I know we’re feminists who believe everyone is beautiful without make-up and facials. I agree wholeheartedly. However, without make-up, my beauty resembles that of Ernest Borgnine. As Sister of PeaceBang says, “You don’t have to wear your political convictions.” If you look fresh, vibrant and camera-ready from the pulpit with nothing on your face but Ivory soap, God bless you. I require a bit of concealer, a luminizing powder from Revlon on the cheekbones and eyelids, blush, lipstick/gloss, mascara and eyeliner. I also pencil in my brows (see #7). You know why? I am a PUBLIC leader. Which means that PEOPLE need to look at me. If only *I* (or my mother) have to look at me, I’m gorgeous with a freshly scrubbed face.
Wait, scratch that. Even my mother would say, “Sweetie, you need a little lipstick.”

9. T-shirts are OUT. Again, you don’t need to wear your political convictions. If you’re 22 and have a great figure, maybe you can rock that “Free Leonard Peltier” shirt under a fitted blazer with a pair of bootcut black trousers, but if not, then not. Unless you’re meeting with the youth group, in which case they don’t know who Leonard Peltier is. Get with it.

10. If you’re clothes-phobic and you have no idea what looks good on you, or what basics to shop for, take a friend. Take PeaceBang. That’s what she’s here for.

11. So, would it kill you to look at a fashion magazine once in awhile?