About Shay

I am a bellydance instructor and performer, and a fashion and makeup afficionado. I also do web and graphic design on the side.

Fashion is a Feminist Issue

VogueA friend over on Facebook posted this excellent article by Greta Christina recently. Here are some key snipets:

“fashion and style are so much like a language, I’m always a bit baffled when people say things like, “I want to be judged on who I am, not on the clothes I wear.” It’s a bit like saying, “I want to be judged on who I am, not on the words that come out of my mouth.””


“It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. And it’s a subtle but definite form of sexism to take one of the few forms of expression where women have more freedom, and treat it as a form of expression that’s inherently superficial and trivial. Like it or not, fashion and style are primarily a women’s art form. And I think it gets treated as trivial because women get treated as trivial.”

The topic of makeup and fashion, as it pertains to my feminist sensibilities, is something I think about a lot. I think about why I do what I do or wear what I wear, and have again and again come to the conclusion that it feels great to ME, but I acknowledge also that I don’t tend to do makeup, hair, or get dressed up when I plan to stay home. See what I mean? It’s not JUST for me. It is also for the way I feel when I go out among people, perhaps collecting a compliment or an appreciative gaze now and again.

The fact is, I am a social creature, and fashion for me is an expression of self–a way of telling the world who I am and what I am about without speaking a word. And quite naturally, I think, as that social creature I want “who I am” to be pleasing to those I come in contact with. Thus the way Greta likens our choice of fashion to a language really resonated with my opinion of “fashion as wordless communication” I always held.

What do you think? Go give it a read and share your thoughts in the comments below!


Urban Decay Haul

It is a blessing and a curse when a friend says “Hey, so I saw a display of Urban Decay stuff for sale at Nordstrom Rack. You should check it out.”

Thanks to my friend, I paid more than I would had I just gone and gotten the Naked Palette I was opining about still not having…but I got THREE UD PALETTES! *pocket book groaning* And I also snagged a couple NYX colors and a jar off Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof gel liner in Deep Purple…for 50% off.

Here is what I snagged:
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BeautyAlong Challenge Maiden Voyage – Simple Everyday Look

FLICKR TAG: BAC2013_05_06

Hello lovelies!

Well the blog has been alive several weeks, but we are now going to have our first official BeautyAlong Challenge! As promised, we still start slow and simple, with basic tutorials to allow those with little or no makeup experience to get their feet wet with very easy, wearable looks. For those who are avid makeup fans, maybe the first few Beauty Alongs will help you revisit some basic skills, or teach you some new tricks you haven’t tried yet.

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Bare Minerals Without Bismuth Oxychloride?

Bare Mienrals FoundationUPDATED 4/2/13!!

So back in 2006 ish when I first tried Bare Minerals, I fell in love with MMU (mineral makeup, for the uninitiated). I loved the way it looked on my skin, the way it FELT on my skin, how it let my skin look natural but just improved–it was the first MMU I tried. But sadly, it made me itch. Doing research, it appeared I might have a sensitivity to Bismuth Oxychloride, and I could no longer use Bare Minerals. Continue reading

Video Review – Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil

I feel late to the party on these, as they are so wildly popular that UD recently added 28 new colors to the line (yes that number is not a typo). Okay, to be fair, I had an understandable bias–I have yet to have found an eye pencil in my entire life that didn’t migrate on me. Even when I didn’t have the fine lines that age has blessed me with, with every liner I ever tried I had at least some minor form of raccoon eyes within a few hours, and pencils were the worst offenders. Makeup setting sprays helped, but never completely mitigated this, and I don’t want to wear a setting spray every day. So I only kept a few pencils around that I felt I “should” have, and no more–black, brown, white, and only recently a blue (because I am obsessed, remember?)–and rarely used them.
UD247PencilEnter UD’s 24/7 Eye Pencils (belatedly) to my life. I was curious, but resisted. I read so many amazing reviews, but it was only when they expanded the line so extensively that I knew I had to finally break down. Now, I am a proud owner of the Urban Decay Foxy Four-Way 24/7 Double-Ended Eye Pencil Set. For a not-so-low-low price of $39, there are 8 colors in this pack, all of which I could totally see using regularly. In particular, I am MAD for Deep End (blue! shocking!), as well as Delinquent (purple! double-shocking!) and Stash (earthy green-gold). And the big question: do they last without migrating? Check my video review to find out.

Airbrush Finish With Liquid Foundation

(I have posted a video at the end of this post with a video demo/tutorial using this product and technique!)

I have been a mineral foundation convert for over 8 years now. I love the finish it gives my skin–glowing, soft, natural. Despite trying many different brands and finishes of liquid makeup, I never quite got the same results, and it always felt heavier on my skin. I still used full coverage liquid foundation for performances, and occasionally for a night out when I wanted a more dramatic look, but not for daytime looks. Not since I found my true love in MMU.

Revlon ColorStayI recently bought some Revlon Colorstay Foundation in order to test it out for a makeup workshop I was giving my students. I wanted to be able to offer a budget alternative, full-covergage foundation for performance. I was duly impressed with the quality of this foundation and can easily see why it tops the budget/drug store lists for foundations. But even with my beauty blender, it felt like it was going on a little heavier than I wanted and not as smooth as I wished. I chalked it up to my not being used to wearing liquid foundations much any more.

That is until today…
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I Taste Amazing–Cinnamon Nutmeg Facial Mask

Since starting my coconut oil beauty regimen several months ago, my skin has been plenty happy…until about the last two weeks…

My skin on my chin–one of my historically bad areas for acne–has flared up something fierce. Hard to say what set it off. Sometimes when I get sick my skin reacts badly, and I had the bad cold that has been going around. The weather is also changing (spring! come on down!) and this is my first seasonal change since starting my coconut oil adventure, so it could be somewhat that. Who knows…

All I know is I have very angry, red, broken acne skin on my chin and I am feeling frustrated. So it was timely that a friend posted this link:


Three (optionally 4) ingredients:
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
optional – a little squeeze of lemon juice

I just so happen to have a jar of Proletariat Honey in my cupboard–that is amazing organic honey harvested from the bees my neighbor keeps just across the street. So really, I am enjoying my own garden flowers’ results on my chin right now!

I will report back on how it works for me!