Melody’s Makeup Musts:

For Beginners Like Me….

How It All Started

One of the worst experiences I had with makeup was at a middle school dance. I had too much foundation on and when I went to the bathroom to wipe the sweat off my face, I took all of the foundation off as well. We didn’t have YouTube or Instagram tutorials when I was growing up. All I knew was lipstick went on the lips, blush was for cheeks and so forth…. I’ve never felt confident about my makeup skills.

When I turned 39, I treated myself to a Vegas trip where I spent the day in a spa. Besides getting a pedicure and my hair styled, I made an appointment to get my makeup done professionally. My skin had been breaking out for months at that time, from my nose, around my mouth, to my chin. The esthetician covered all that up and I felt so beautiful! She suggested I get some facials when I went back home, to help heal my skin. I took her advice and after three facial treatments, a month apart, my skin was healed. In fact, three years later, I may get a few tiny little pimples during PMS, but they are barely noticeable and are gone in less than two days. My skin looks better than it has in years. 

A selfie I took that I used as my professional headshot. This was taken after getting my makeup done in Vegas!

During the pandemic, there was no one open to get my makeup professionally done again. So I started watching Instagram reels about applying makeup. I learned about contouring and smokey eyes…and the more I watched, the more I played around, and the more confident I felt about how I apply my makeup. 

I like showing the Before & After because I love myself even without makeup! The transformation that takes places is pretty epic, I think!

My favorite makeup tutorial influencer is Ashley Steading. I was following quite a few people, but her tips felt the most doable. Also, I just like how she is not over the top. She seems to be for every woman. I really admire that. Plus sometimes she even checks out my Instagram haha! That always makes me feel good. So if you are looking to learn from someone, check her out first. She uses Seint makeup. It’s cream makeup and one of these days, I’m going to invest in her brand and buy from her. But before I spend some serious cash on makeup, I wanted to see if cream makeup was even for me. That’s why I bought a basic cream kit off Amazon. 

Regardless if you buy the brand she sells or not, she still has great tips. I no longer use eyeliner, which is great because it always made my eyes itchy. She shows how to use eye makeup for liner and even though mine is not cream, it still works. She also shows how to use different makeup brushes to be able to do that! She knows all the hacks!! FOLLOW HER! 😉

This is NOT perfect placement, but it all works together when I blend. I can place the different shades in less than two minutes.

I’m sharing my makeup musts in this post. Everything is pretty inexpensive. You can get most of the items from Walmart or your preferred drugstore/pharmacy. (If you do decide to purchase from my Amazon shop, to be completely transparent, I do make a tiny commission that does not increase the price.)

Almost in same place in this before and after. Lighting is not different and I’m not using a filter. Makeup can enhance features and this photo really highlights that!

Here are my steps:

  1. Moisturize daily, I prefer Oil of Olay Regenerist.
  2. Prime your face (I use a pore minimizer primer) so the makeup stays! 
  3. Use the Youngfocus cream as your contour/foundation. It comes with a pamphlet to show you how to apply color, but short tutorials from Ashley Steading will help you, too.
  4. Apply Bronzing pearls all over with a large blush brush. 
  5. Use the Wet ‘n Wild Ultimate eyebrow kit to enhance or fill in your eyebrows. Use the lightest shade to apply right under your brow. The directions come with this kit as well. 
  6. I use the lightest taupe color from the eyebrow kit as my bottom eye liner, using a very fine makeup brush, on the end of the brow brush. 
  7. Apply makeup. I learned a hack from Ashley how to make it smokey. Darkest color goes on edges, then middle color, and the lightest (and most sparkly in my preference) goes in the inside corder to middle lid. Blend like hell. If it’s crap, start over! Or add some lighter shades. 
  8. Use the darkest color (I use black) as your top lid liner. 
  9. Add a heart shape of your favorite lip color to your apples or cheeks for blush.  
  10. Add lip color, if you use the matte, apply a gloss if you don’t like it to be so matte. 
  11. Finish with a setting spray. 

Practice Leads to Confidence

It’s okay if you make a lot of mistakes! I do it all the time, but I love the process of transformation! A good hype song always makes it more fun, too. Right now, Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” on repeat gets me going.

I listen to this on repeat when I’m getting ready!

After some practice, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can do this!!! 

Someone DMed me after I posted a reel that I didn’t need to wear makeup and I know they had good intentions, so I’m not mad. But I don’t wear makeup because I need to…I like to! It brings me joy! That may sound silly to you, and that’s okay, no one is forcing you to contour! LOL!! 

In fact, no one needs to wear makeup. I’m sharing because as a forty something, I’m just now feeling confident about my makeup skills. I’d love to help others like me get that confidence, too, and it’s not as hard as you think! 

I love a good selfie! I use the Lensa App to give me that soft lighting with the shadows. I do not feel the need to correct my face or take away my wrinkles. Filters can be fun! I was getting ready for date night to see Top Gun: Maverick. I felt so hot that night, Ladies!

Let me know if you want to learn the basics!

Email me or comment on this post: and use heading “Melody’s Makeup Must Haves Basic Tutorial” and I’ll make it happen!! Let’s just have some fun!

DISCLAIMER: I still consider myself a Beginner. I can teach you basics to help you grow in confidence.

Seeking Peace

Love this message from TobyMac’s social media that showed up in my Facebook memories a few days ago. The older, and hopefully, wiser that I grow, I realize that my peace means more to me than being right.

You know, some people are never going to follow you. Some people are never going to LIKE you. Some people are never going to accept that you have changed. And maybe the most painful is that some people will be your people until one day they decide that you’ve changed too much for their comfort level. You might not even see the breakup coming, but when it does, it shatters your heart.

All I can offer is wish them well and keep moving forward.

If you can, work on forgiving what you can’t change, that which has caused you grief. Remember that your peace is worth fighting for, but winning an argument, or trying to keep someone in your life who doesn’t want to be there anymore, is not.

It’s Ok To Have A Bad Day

A couple of days ago, I had a really bad day. That’s not entirely true. Since we’ve been practicing social distancing, I’ve had several bad days. But two days ago it felt worse. The day began okay but when my husband came home from the grocery store, worry set in. All my worries and the reality that my kids might have to face came crashing down on me. Then the physical symptoms began: fever, chills, and fatigue. I ended up going to bed with a headache.

Before I went to bed, one of my friends tweeted me asking me how I was doing. It’s a typical thing we do in our #PLN but I decided to be honest and admitted that I was having a bad day and there wasn’t anything I could do to get out of it. In response, came messages of support. It was definitely needed and appreciated.

Fortunately, when I woke up the next day, I felt better. Wanting to share my experience, I posted an honest summary of my bad day because posting those truly honest emotions of feeling anxious and sick are not things I usually post about. But maybe someone else needed to know it’s okay to have a bad day? The response from my community was of overwhelming support and love. Friends messaged me on my post, texted, and sent direct messages asking me how I was doing. It truly made me feel loved, encouraged, and strengthened. If you are reading this and you are part of my community, thank you.

However, I don’t normally post about those kinds of feelings. Why? Because I am afraid that I’ll appear weak, that my faith in God is lacking, and fear that others would assume wrong things about me. And while I did receive some well-intentioned messages along those lines, I chose not to feed that kind of spirit.

This past week we celebrated Easter. When you read about Jesus and the hours leading up to His arrest and eventual Crucifixion (Mark 14 or Luke 22), He prayed with His friends in a garden. His friends, unfortunately, did not stay awake and pray with Him as He hoped they would. His prayers were of desperation that God would take this cup from Him if there was any other way. He was emotional, to the point of sweating blood, about what He knew He was going to face, and understandably so. I mention this because being scared and feeling anxious is part of being human, as we see in our Savior. It doesn’t mean our faith is lacking. It doesn’t mean we are ungrateful for all we have. It means we need support, and like my friend Mandy Froehlich says, it’s our responsibility to get the support we need. Sometimes just sharing what we are feeling helps us, but other times, we need to see a mental health expert. Because we are human.

Two days ago, I had a bad day, and I know I’m not alone. This pandemic is proving to be a roller coaster of emotions for many of us. It’s wonderful to find the good things that come with social distancing, but it’s also okay if you need extra support. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out. It’s a sign of strength.

Positive, Self-Talk Can Transform Our Lives: And We ARE Worth It!

Isn’t it so crazy that we can find grace for others, and yet, talk so maliciously to ourselves when we’ve messed up? We may know that making mistakes is part of the learning process, but what is the first thing we say to ourselves when we make one? If you are like me, it might be “Ugh, I’m so stupid!”  Lately, I’ve been more attuned to this and I’m trying to change the way I think and talk about myself.  

A huge reason I am more aware of my self-talk is because I’ve learned that when I cheer myself on at the gym, I can go farther and burn more calories.  I push myself and meet goals. This is no small thing as just the thought of going to the gym used to bring up only fear and self-doubt. One day when I was jogging (after committing to a monthly goal of going to my local gym) on the treadmill, I started telling myself that I was proud of getting over my fear, that I was proud that I was making a real, life change, and I was proud of myself for deciding to put in the work.  That was the first day exercise felt enjoyable, and it kept me going back. Deciding to be kind to myself has also helped me to love myself for exactly who I am in this moment. There was an epiphany that if I couldn’t love myself as a plus-size woman that even if I ever reached a goal of being a smaller size, I wouldn’t know how to love myself and I’d never be satisfied with how I looked or felt.  

Another reason for positive, self-talk is the message I’m sending and teaching my kids.  They are soaking up everything I do and say. When I hear them say they are stupid, after getting something wrong, I know exactly where they learned that.  Teaching them to appreciate the mistakes they make along the journey is one thing, but when they see me being a hypocrite, they pick up on that more than anything I’ve said.  It was easier teaching others’ children to have positive, self-talk because my students didn’t see me like my own kids do. As their mother, it hurts me when my kids say ugly things to themselves.  When I look at each of them, I see beautiful beings with so much potential. I want them to see that too, so it’s time to make a change. And…it’s working. Last week, my son described why he was proud of himself.  He used the word proud and asked me if I understood that he wasn’t bragging, but he felt good for his accomplishment. I told him I knew exactly what he meant and I was proud of him, too.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned this to a friend and she invited me to a group she created on Facebook that is about being kind to ourselves.  Not only have I made new friends and have a support system, but I’m learning so much from them. We discuss healthy boundaries, things we are grateful for, and celebrate our growth.  When we are finding it hard to be kind to ourselves, we reach out and are lifted up. It’s absolutely amazing and has helped me tremendously in my self-care journey.  

Why do we find it so hard to love ourselves? Why do we go overboard to help others and put ourselves last?  Why can we see beauty in others and not ourselves? If you ever ask yourself any of these questions, I encourage you to look in the mirror and try and see what others see. Stop zeroing in on your acne.  Stop looking at your stretch-marks or any curves you find disgusting. In fact, remove some of those ugly words like disgusting, right now. I knew something amazing was happening inside when I first saw myself as beautiful and told my reflection so.  I saw a woman who birthed five, wonderful humans. Those stretch-marks are beautiful in their meaning. I don’t want a flat belly. I’ll work for a healthier body, but I don’t want to erase who I am to reach some image of beauty that was never meant for me.  

Our paths look differently.  It’s not always about body shape or physical health, but many times, taking care of ourselves is offering ourselves the olive branch we naturally extend to others.  We’ve done some stupid things, made errors in judgement, and if you are like me there is a list of things you truly would go back and do over with the knowledge you have now (but thank goodness we can’t).  One way to show love to ourselves is to talk kindly to that person in the mirror. Speaking ugly about her doesn’t encourage her to reach for anything but instead find another way to avoid taking care of herself. But finding one thing to love about her will definitely fuel your desire to find another good thing and another…until your inner dialogue has been transformed.  

You’re worth the kindness.  You are worth the love. You may even find that your love for others grows more deeply and that when you stop judging yourself so harshly, it’s even more natural to accept others, too.  It’s a pretty awesome cycle, don’t you think? It’s free, but it’s costly if we never make that decision. The way we show kindness to ourselves can help our mental, physical, and spiritual states.  The opposite is also true and can exacerbate illness and stress levels.  

You are worth the self-kindness, my friend.  And honestly, your whole self is ready for this change, too. Best wishes in learning to love yourself and it starts with how you talk to yourself.