Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today I'm 34... but I don't feel like it.

We're having the most bizarre weather here in Toronto. Today is supposed to be 26-30C when historically, the second day of spring is marked with wild winds and even snow. I've attempted to throw myself birthday parties before, only to be thwarted by the dastardly weather. Hopefully some of the patios around work have opened up and right now I'm chilling at a table full of drinks during an epic 3-hour lunch. ;-)

I guess spring was in the air a month prior, because I started to do some early spring cleaning. While emptying out some bankers boxes full of old crap, I stumbled across a hidden treasure. My old Body Shop perfume oils from the '90s!!!




My favourite was Dewberry. Now that I think of it, it was sort of the first signature scent I adopted. Even back then when I was a teenager with very little allowance, I hoarded perfumes. My mother never wore perfume and everyone else in my family are sensitive to strong scents. Yet I dabbed and spritzed to my heart's content even while getting yelled at.

I think a part of me was so torn at the time that I put it out of sight but didn't throw it away. They were bundled up in a plastic bag and sealed air tight. One sniff of these guys and I was sent whirling down a time warp... to the days of frizzy hair, giant glasses, pimples, celebrity crushes and gossip fests by the lockers and sneaking out during lunch hour recesses to go to malls...!!

The first perfume I ever loved was Coty's Exclamation. I treasured the bottle that was passed on to me by an older girlfriend who was like an older sister I never had.


Then it was Tribe. It was the signature scent of the popular girl whose locker was next to mine, who always spritzed liberally and checked her reflection before sauntering into class. It wasn't long before everyone else had a bottle of Tribe in their lockers!


I was a '90s kid: that era was my adolescent and teenage years. For a while my beauty role models were Kelly and Brenda from 90210:


I didn't do the heavy front bangs but I did try to keep my hair as long for as long as possible! And the debate between brunettes and blondes made me sad because as an East Asian, bleaching my hair blonde was out of the question. I was always Team Brenda, how about you??

I think Kelly and Brenda made me want to wear lipsticks. My mom used only one Lancome but had a few extras laying around. I stole her Elizabeth Arden GWP that was a dastardly shade of orange. (Perhaps this is where my fear of bright lips stems from.) Then I "borrowed" a Marcelle lipstick in some sort of sheer plummy shade that turned out to be a MLBB, which is the first time I realized such a concept existed. I think I've been on a hunt for the perfect MLBB ever since.

The '90s also brought us brown tone makeup. My best friend and I went on a hunt for brown lipsticks and Revlon Toast of New York was as good as it got, until I discovered MAC Spice Lip Pencil a few years later. (Check out Toast of New York on Makeup By Sands!)


And while chatting on Twitter with Dovey of Cute and Mundane, I started watching some Spice Girls videos and came across one that gives you a good idea of what that brown lip liner phase was like. BEHOLD:



Umm... I still know the words. And I saw a woman in the subway yesterday who's still sporting the outlined lips look. Clearly the era had a lot of impact on us! I had a nasty habit of picking up ugly brownish lipsticks that I only gave up several months ago.

Liz in 1992: Shy, awkward, secretly loved beauty and excess, a monster waiting to be unleashed.

Liz in 2012: Temperamental, dry, not so secretly loves beauty but secretly loves excess, a monster when she doesn't get her ice cream and cheesecake exactly when she needs them.

Looking back on my beauty history, I think it makes perfect sense that the repressed teen became a beauty addict and the beauty addict wants to become a simpler being that she never actually was. Lately I've been pondering the usefulness and success of this Reductionista venture and have been tempted to just toss it all aside now and then. I said that I was going to stick by the beauty bans even during birthday month but my March haul is so embarrassingly huge that I'm forced to declare this month exempt after all. (Thankfully most of my fellow ban members have allowed it and even sent me extra things to enjoy!)

What will 34 bring me? Definitely more makeup. But I hope it will also bring me a sense of peace and acceptance about who I really am, the decisions I have made and the goals I want to pursue. One resolution I made recently is to embrace experience rather than acquisitions. But sometimes you need the acquisitions for the experience. As cautious as I can be, I don't think that the drive and desire to experiment will ever fade. So, this season, I venture into brighter and bolder lips, more globe-trotting (Australia, here I come!) and one last semester of academics before I quit my unsatisfactory day job and venture into something more fulfilling. The world is wide open.

What were you doing in the '90s? And admit it: you also sang along to STOP, thankyouverymuch.

54 comments:

  1. Happy, happy birthday Lizbert! Hope your day goes swell and involves lots of cake eating<3

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  2. Happy birthday Spring Chicken! xoxo What was I doing in the '90's??? Oh, I'm getting old, I can hardly remember (except for the Spice Girls)!

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    1. If you can remember Spice Girls, you can't be that much older. ;)

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  3. Happy happy birthday! First off, I totally had that "Fuzzy Peach" oil from the Body Shop and although I never owned "Tribe", I absolutely had several bottles of Exclamation (in my Caboodle)! WOW, talk about strolling down memory lane :) I'm almost 33 (....wait a sec...I need to calculate...yep, 33 this year. Why do we suddenly forget how old we are after 30?) so were definitely growing up on the same things. Loved 90210 and I too, was Team Brenda simply based on the fact that I am brunette. I also, at one time, may or may not have rocked the nude lip/dark lip liner :/ Yikes.

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    1. A contemporary! You are my vintage. *links arms* LOL

      I never had a Caboodle but probably wanted one subconsciously and would have filled it up. A prelude to the train case!

      As for the age thing, I started telling myself that I was 34 half a year ago as mental prep. I've been doing that since I hit the late 20s. It lessens the blow come birthday day. ;)

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  4. Happy birthday, Liz, and many happy returns!

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  5. Oh Liz, not only did I sing along to STOP, I knew the moves off by heart! And I still probably do...LOL but let's keep that one quiet. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Liz! I wish you have an absolute blast today and thanks for sharing your 90s flashback with us. I don't actually remember what my first perfume was, but back in the 90s I definitely over did it some horribly tacky spray on, made-for-teens deodorants!

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    1. Heeeeeeeee, I need you to show me those moves when we meet up! :D

      Thanks, Stacey! I never fell into the deodorant traps but now I have to give a shout out to Vanilla Fields and Malibu Musk! Do those ring a bell??

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  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIZ!!!!! I enjoyed your blast from the past! I still haven't tried Spice lip pencil even though everyone seems to have it. As for spice girls, haha! I most certainly sang along. Can you believe how different Posh is then and now? I hope you have a wonderful birthday filled with lots of friends, family, makeup and cake :)

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    1. Thanks, Dovey! YES, the Posh transformation is the greatest and the best! She went from the least talented Spice Girl to VICTORIA BECKHAM. I don't blame her at all for not wanting to embarrass herself with a reunion. I can only imagine that she now sings and dances worse than ever before! (Still loved her though for being...well, so posh.)

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  7. Happy Birthday, Liz! Hope you have a lovely day :)

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  8. First of all *picture the following being sung hopefully in tune* "Happy Birthday to you...Happy Birthday to you...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR LIZ...Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu"!!! *insert hugs & kisses here*

    All of 34, eh?! You young'un, you! May you have an absolute blast today, and every day for that matter! Enjoy everything life has to offer, because trust me when I say that it's really a precious gift we have & changes rather quickly. As to being so introspective, well....it's who you are & what makes you so unique, so just accept that part of you too! After all, how can you recognize all the good, if you don't throw in a little bad from time to time?! ( ban Liz = bad, indulging Liz = GOOD!)

    PS: what was I doing in the 90's? Why, I got married in 1990! As to all the other stuff, it brought me back to when my nieces were indulging in the Spice Girl craze, the brown lipsticks reminded me of how that dark hue began its popularity a decade earlier, and can you believe that I not only don't own a MAC Spice lip liner, but never even swatched one at the counter? First perfume? Must have been Coty's Love Baby Soft (it was pink & a rollerball!!!)

    PS: when are you headed for the land down under & what big plans are up for today?!

    Sending you tons of luv!! xox

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    1. I bet you have a lovely voice. ;)

      Thanks so much, Eugenia! It was a good day. I've been moody all month (and still am) but I felt loved and that's what matters. It took a long time to accept the introspective part of me and now I'm working on not being so damn serious all the time!

      The '90s was a special decade in many ways! Except for the brown lipsticks, lol. One day we'll flip through your wedding pics. :)

      I leave on April 5! It's primarily hanging around Sydney with a possible overnight trip to a scenic locale. Will probably do a post begging for travel tips from Aussies. ;)

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  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIZ!!!!!!!! I hope you have a great day today that includes some stinky tasty blue cheese and wine! And dessert! :)

    Like Eugenia, in the 90s I got married and had my daughter so I was not into a lot of makeup at that time. I had none of those brown lipsticks and am so happy I therefore have no pictures of me wearing those god awful shades. :)

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    1. There was too much food and I shall have some stinky cheese later this week!!!! :D

      Hahaha, you were so smart! According to Eugenia, those brown lipsticks spanned TWO decades! Shudders.

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  10. Happy birthday, Liz!!! And of course, the birthday month is exempt :) This was a great post - very insightful :) I am waiting for the brighter bolder lips!

    I was in school in the 90's. Not wearing makeup, reading lots of books, playing lots of video games, and plotting my flight into freedom. ;)

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    1. Today was Revlon Tutti Frutti! ORANGE! ;O

      Plotting your flight into freedom... ahhh, you were another smart one. I got guilt-tripped into staying and never managed to escape. I'm with you on books and video games though. :)

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  11. Happy Birthday! I too wore tons of brown lipstick in the 90s. Soo glad that trend died. lol.

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  12. Happy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, darling! Hope you have a fabulous day!

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    1. You have a great time in NYC! Give Xiao a big hug for me!

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  13. Happy, happy birthday, Liz! And I was team Brenda too (and team Scary Spice). I probably still know the lyrics to all the songs from the Spice Girls and still feel a bit awkward remembering how I actully sang 2 become 1 out loud in front of my mum and dad all the time as a little teenager, not really understanding what that "1" means, ayayay. Hope you're having a lovely day Liz and I wish you all the best! xx

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    1. Yes, Scary was my fave also! 2 become 1 wasn't really a big thing with me but Baby had a good voice. LOL Thanks, Klara! :)

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  14. Happy Birthday Liz! 90's was the time I was just becoming a teenager, watching a lot of cartoons and bollywood songs :) I got my first lipstick in 1995/96!

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    1. Thanks, Su! I can't believe you remember the year of your first lipstick. Now I want to know what it was. :)

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  15. Happy Birthday and first day of Spring, Liz dear!!! Uh, I LOVED Spice Girls as a pre-teen and could probably sing along to most of the songs even now :) Did you go see the Spice movie with your girlfriends? I remember how excited I was about watching that :) and Exclamation! I remember the commercials... It's funny how the world really is such a global village, I guess my experience in Poland wasn't so different from yours in Canada!

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    1. Thanks, Monika! :) I didn't get to watch the movie in the theatre because I think I was in university by that time and my friends would not admit to enjoying Spice Girls!! Can you believe?!? I love that we share this global village experience. :D

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  16. Firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Sometimes I wish I was born in the late '70s so I could have experienced the '90s during my adolescent years. (My best friend is also born in 1978 and I am so jealous of his record collection.) How awesome would it have been to go to a Nirvana concert? I think I would have fully embraced the grunge era and rocked those plaid shirts. I started getting into music in the mid-90s, and my first albums (on cassette!!!) were No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom and Our Lady Peace's Clumsy. Of course, shortly after that, I got fully absorbed in the pop phenomenon of Spice Girls and BSB ('cause *NSYNC was for poseurs). I was into platform Sketchers sneakers, butterfly hair clips, Beanie Babies, and shows like Breaker High, Student Bodies, Ready or Not, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step... I watched a lot of TV. :P

    I also LOVED The Body Shop's Dewberry. I remember having the soap, 'cause my parents said I was too young for perfume. I did, however, wear the shit out of those Calgon body sprays... And I also think my obsession/addiction with make-up started because I didn't wear make-up until I was 17 (I wasn't allowed to wear make-up at my super-conservative private high school), and now I'm like, making up for the lost years. :P

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    1. Your best friend is my age??? It kind of makes me happy to hear that for some reason, lol. Um, but I don't have a record collection nor was I into Nirvana. I did go through a plaid shirt stage but I did go to a very grungy high school. Ironically those grunge kids were the rich kids who just wanted to not wash their hair nor mend their jeans. I thought it was so odd. Odd but catchy.

      AND ALWAYS BSB OVER NSYNC. ALWAYS.

      I say we blame our super conservative mothers for our current makeup addictions. I wasn't officially allowed until I was near 20 though I secretly started on the lipsticks at 13. :)

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  17. Happy Birthday Beautiful!!! And I don't know what our 30s should feel like. But I kind of like the person I'm becoming, seeing how big of a spaz/dufus I've been (or I could be delusional and I'm a bigger spaz/dufus now).

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    1. Thank you, my dear! I will say you might be a spaz but never a dufus! ;) I like the person you're becoming too. :D

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  18. Happy Birthday, Liz! I checked my Google Reader when I woke up and "Stop Right Now" was dancing in my head on the way to work and on my way home from work. It was like I was celebrating your birthday all day. :)
    I wish you a better and brighter year than the last.

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    1. Awww, that's so nice. :D Thanks so much! You have me smiling from ear to ear. :)))

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  19. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LIZ! Here's wishing you joy and happiness, may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows (:

    I am a 80s baby so my 90s were spent playing with my mother's small stash of makeup and putting on her heels. I also asked for permission to use her perfume at every opportunity, I think she was using Lancome at the time.

    Australia is a beautiful country, I am very partial to Melbourne having spent 6 years there :D I hope you will be able to make time for your travels!

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    1. Thanks, Xen!! :)

      I remember my sisters and I trying on our mom's heels and making the "clack clack" noise that was so delightful. Now high heels just hurt my feet but they do boost the ego, LOL. :D

      Wow, six years in Melbourne! I'll be sequestered in Sydney for the most part with maybe a side trip to Blue Mountain. I don't have enough time for inter-Aus travels but I hope some day!

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  20. I sang along to STOP so hard that I landed myself a boyfriend at the time LOL!! He thought I sounded swell :P

    Liz, I'm right there with you for a lot of this introspective though. I'm so torn between what's reasonable and what I'm passionate about (beauty). It's tough but I think as we go through this ban (for however long), it will help us see exactly which mindset to take with all of it...or at least give us some direction.

    As for the perfumes, you have such a good memory! I know I had Fuzzy Peach too, and also the ever-popular Satsuma that everyone wore at school. Other than that, I truly can't remember....though I love/hate those trips down scent memory lane, wow can it ever bring everything rushing back in a matter of seconds!

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    1. Ohhhh and Happy Birthday again my dear friend! I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday :) xo!!

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    2. Thank you, my dear! Gosh, maybe I should tramp around the city belting out STOP... lol!

      I have a very long memory when it comes to past experiences - my family never remembers half the stuff I do! I think breaking things down by the decade and trends is always fun. Looking deeper than that... errr, I don't blame you for the love/hate feeling sometimes.

      Honestly, this ban is making me laugh right now because it's completely fallen apart this month. You're doing well though and I'm so proud! *thumbs up*

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  21. Happy birthday!

    Being the same age as you, your post def hit home! The coty exclamation perfume was my scent in the 90's! and MAC Spice was my first MAC lipliner!! ah, I miss those days! don't lose hope Liz- easier said than done but trust me:)

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    1. Thanks, Yessie!

      Ah, you're my exact vintage! :D Exclamation was pretty great, LOL. Thanks for the encouragement. I have some decisions to make but this helps. :)

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  22. In the 90s I was going to a lot of pubs and seeing a lot of bands, not because I was especially into music, but because I hung out with a lot of people who were, and I had a boyfriend for a while who did mixing for shows. I also went to a lot of wanky arthouse movies.

    I think every piece of makeup I owned was some shade of brown, and I had Viva Glam, my first ever MAC purchase and my only one for about 10 years. I loved it. I had dyed long black hair for a while that I wore in plaits and everyone told me I looked like Wednesday Addams (I had more than a passing resemblance to Christina Ricci when I was younger and thinner). And then I cut it short and bleached it white for a couple of years, before finding an awesome hairdresser who cut it into this super sharp geometric bob and coloured it bright red. Loved that guy, whatever happened to...etc.

    My perfume was Jean Paul Gaultier for night time, and Body Shop vanilla or Japanese Blossom oil for day time. I also had a bunch of fragrance oils from this hippie shop in my home town - lots of foodie ones like vanilla, apricot, etc. I loved smelling like food. Still do, if I'm honest.

    I did not sing along to Stop. I was too old for Spice Girls by the time they hit the scene. My teen girl band was Bananarama.

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    1. I learned Bananarama around the same time as Spice Girls because of that movie, Romi and Michelle's High School Reunion or whatever with Lisa Kudrow. '80s was definitely more fun, but I was a kid in ESL learning English at the time.

      Bet Noodles has fun going through your photo albums!

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  23. Happy belated birthday! Your reminiscing on your first perfume was too cute, especially because I recently just cleaned out a drawer and found my first-ever perfume too (some brand called Bottled Expressions, of course I picked "Shy"). Pre-teen me loved Spice Girls and collected the stickers, though I was too young to be a part of the 90s brown lipstick/lipliner trend ;)

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    1. Thanks, Angela. What a coincidence - it's flashback month! I didn't realize there were SG stickers, lol. BUT OF COURSE THERE WERE. What was I thinking. :)

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  24. ughh brown lipstick >___< soo hideous. cant believe it was in style xDD hahah and im superrr sorry but HAPPYYYY (belated by a week give or take) BDAYYY!!!! i hope you had an AMAZINGGGG bdayyy and received many a gifts!!! ;DD and i <3333 the spice girls! ^___^

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