Thursday, October 20, 2016

Atomic Thursday: The New 20 Eye Cream

I've been upgrading my cosmetics and skin care collection over the past several months. I've long admired the Atomic Cosmetics line from afar. When Dr. Jen came to visit Los Angeles earlier this year, I spent as much as I could on product. I really believe in her products. Since I've been able to try many things I figured I'd share my product reviews with you on Thursdays.

Atomic Cosmetics: The New 20 Eye Cream

Sample size on top, full size on bottom

I'm 40. This may not come as a surprise if you've done much exploring on my blog. It may come as a surprise if you haven't. Yep. I'm 40. I take care of my skin, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and don't smoke.

That said, I'm an aging entertainer. I need to maintain my youthful appearance. A good eye cream is part of my anti-aging regimen. I tried a sample of The New 20 Eye Cream and was hooked. My eyelids and the skin below my eyes are plump and healthy. They don't feel thin to the touch. I'm a contact lens wearer and this stuff doesn't give me any problems.

It's impossible to notice results from one to two uses of a product. I suggest you pick up a sample container. I use it twice daily and my sample has lasted for months. Apply with your pinky or ring finger because your eye skin is delicate.

I didn't start thinking about eye cream until I was over 35. I didn't think I'd need to worry about it until I might start showing signs of aging because I wasn't showing them yet. Take care of your skin now, no matter what your age. All of the effort you put in today will show in a few years. This stuff is fantastic.

I have to acknowledge the beauty of the containers Dr. Jen uses for Atomic's full size products. The container for the eye cream is beautiful.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Burning the Candle at Both Ends?

Photo by Modern Noir, MUAH by Vivienne Vermuth
It's pretty common for artists to have two jobs: the one that they love and work hardest on, and the other one that pays the bills. I did my turn as just a burlesque dancer (also teacher & costumer) and I felt like I wasn't financially contributing enough to the Snapper household and future. I got another job as soon as I could so someone else could pay me to push paper, a job I could do in my sleep.

Having a day job, doing late night shows and spending all the remaining time on projects so I could do more late night shows takes its toll. Sloppy work at the job that pays the bills, pain and frustration as an artist, mistakes that only happen from being exhausted become too frequent.

I've been an entertainer for my entire life. I started burning the candle any way I could when I was sixteen but I had plenty of young cells to help me recover. Sort of. I wasn't creating the healthiest adult engine by fueling myself with Tom's Hot Fries one summer.

How can you become resilient when you need that day job and the entertainer pursuits? Kick back and old lady Snapper will share some tips.

  • Deal with your funk. We all get the funk.
  • Get more sleep. Your body needs sleep for cellular growth, detoxification, hormonal function, digestion, weight loss, heart health and thought processing. Most people need eight hours or more per night. If you know you have a late gig coming up, sleep in the day of or the day after. Catch naps any time you can. You won't get into the deep sleep that really restores your body in those naps but you will have a little refresher for better mental function.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Juicing is all the rage but juicing eliminates the fiber your body needs to eliminate toxins and waste. Your body needs the nutrients in fresh fruits and veggies. Food is medicine. Take supplements for the things your body doesn't get from food.
  • Reduce your consumption of processed and comfort foods. I know I sound like a grandma. Comfort foods are usually rich in sugars and fats. They pick you up for a hot minute and then let you down hard. Retrain yourself to reach for an apple when you would gobble up a cinnamon roll to give you the energy to make it through the day. You eat more food than you actually need when you're tired from trying to do so much.
  • Sort out some Me Time that quietens your mind. Some people meditate so they can quiet their minds. Others do yoga. I love ballet because I can't think about anything but the moves while I'm in class. It may seem like a luxury to take that Me Time but it's not. It's imperative for your mental and physical health.
  • Prioritize your life and keep a reliable calendar. I won't go out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday if I have a Thursday night gig and an important day job Friday. I'll spend the first three nights of the week getting my ducks in a row so Thursday and Friday are a success. If next week is really busy then I have to prepare anything I can this week. I miss a lot of social engagements. I recognize that I have to perform well at my day job so I can afford to be a performer.
  • Get strong. Find a workout regimen that challenges you and makes you stronger. Sure, losing weight is cool and all. When I was 95 lbs. I was a weakling. I'd rather weigh a bit more and have a strong body that's going to last me a lot longer. I've been doing HIIT for a few months and it's great for strength. You should work that body three to five times a week. If nothing else, take a 20 minute walk every day.
  • Get a damn flu shot. The flu shot contains the most likely strains to hit North America over the next year. Save yourself the hassle of weeks of interrupted work later by getting it now.
  • Keep a health journal. It doesn't have to be fancy. Jot down what you're eating, how much sleep you're getting, any physical changes or injuries, noticeable mood changes. Maybe make a note if you're dealing with work stress or late nights for gigs. Keeping this journal will help you know when something is actually wrong with you (like shortness of breath from medication) or if you just need to change something because you know the triggers (like reducing your stress and going to bed on time because your heart skips a beat when you don't).
  • Reduce contact with toxic people and unnecessary stressors. Cut those bitches loose from your life. You don't need it. You're already trying to be successful at two jobs. You don't need the distraction of jerks.
  • Learn your limits and stick to them. I could do seven nights of gigs per week when I was 35. I can't do that with a day job and my plan for resilience. I can do a week of seven nights of gigs in one month but I can't do that every week. I can do a late night show, teach the next day and hit the sack early before I travel again. I can nap on a plane but I can't get that deep sleep while sitting.
  • Keep finding the new normal. You may wind up with more responsibilities and promotions in your day job as you get older. Theoretically, you also become a more skilled performer with age. Find the right balance for you without sacrificing your money, your passion and your health.
I wish you well.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Atomic Thursday: None More Black

I've been upgrading my cosmetics and skin care collection over the past several months. I've long admired the Atomic Cosmetics line from afar. When Dr. Jen came to visit Los Angeles earlier this year, I spent as much as I could on product. I really believe in her products. Since I've been able to try many things I figured I'd share my product reviews with you on Thursdays.

Atomic Cosmetics: None More Black Eyeshadow
I use a liner brush for a slim line.

I'm reviewing None More Black separately from the other eyeshadows because None More Black is something incredibly special. It is a purple cow in the world of eyeshadows and liners.

I have problems with kohl pencils. They're never soft enough to leave a beautiful line. When I heat the tip it gets too mushy. I also have trouble with liquid liners. Maybe I don't have the dexterity or maybe I get interrupted too many times while trying to apply. They tend to be wet just a little too long so I get smudges when I open my eyes.
I've tried several brands and I've always met with failure. I had the gloppiest wing on my cat eye.

Enter None More Black. I'm great with a brush. (I got my brush through Atomic Cosmetics. A good makeup brush can last a long time if you take care of it.) It's intense black pigment. I got some black eyeshadow from a drug store a couple years ago that has so much filler it looks light gray when applied. Yuck. None More Black is exactly like the Spinal Tap album-- there is none more black.

I scrape a little of my None More Black into the product lid with my brush. I add some makeup sealant and mix it into paint. I use that adorable brush to work from the middle of the lid to the outside, middle to inside, and touch ups on the wing. (It helps to really examine how your lid folds when your eye is open. My wing has to go a little lower because of the eyelid crease.) I scrape it into the lid before wetting so I can use the dry eyeshadow as I like. I don't have to worry about it being crusty from the sealant. It takes 30 seconds to a couple minutes for the liner to set. That's the perfect time to work on your bedroom eyes by barely opening your eyes. I typically spray my face with makeup sealant once my makeup is complete.

I usually let my product lid dry before I close it. Sometimes I spritz the lid with more sealant to reactivate on another day. Sometimes I wipe the lid with an alcohol pad to get a fresh mix. I wash my brush with liquid soap when I put away my makeup kit for the evening. If you work with black liner and black eyeshadow regularly, I recommend getting two.

None More Black has done me right. It hasn't smudged in the hours after application. It does stick to eyelash glue, so I wind up with a naked spot on my lids when I peel those lashes off. I've even used it as mascara in a pinch, mixing it with sealant and applying with a fan brush.
I'll review the eyeshadow in general in future. This product should be a staple in your kit.

I'm a huge fan of Dr. Jen, Atomic Cosmetics and Xerion Skin Science. I love supporting small businesses, especially those run by really cool women.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Atomic Thursday: Glitter Bomb

I've been upgrading my cosmetics and skin care collection over the past several months. I've long admired the Atomic Cosmetics line from afar. When Dr. Jen came to visit Los Angeles earlier this year, I spent as much as I could on product. I really believe in her products. Since I've been able to try many things I figured I'd share my product reviews with you on Thursdays.

Atomic Cosmetics: Glitter Bomb

Small & large size: blue AB, gold & AB

I typically want to look sparkly when I'm dancing. I've tried a lot of glitter solutions to get that sparkle (applying lotion and dusting with glitter that gets all over the dressing room floor, applying glitter and using a spray sunscreen as a sealant, spray glitter that makes the dogs sneeze because they obviously want to help me prepare for showgirling). Glitter Bomb is the best solution for me to grab and go, using it anywhere with little impact on those around me.

Glitter Bomb is a glitter-filled, coconut-based lotion. Squeeze a dollop out of the bottle and slather yourself down. It doesn't feel icky or sticky. It has a pleasant, natural fragrance that isn't horrifying to encounter in the dressing room. (You can order unscented.) You'll find other people are willing to help you get the hard-to-reach places, like your back. The small size is great for travel and the larger size is great for sharing. It does rub off into your clothing a bit so you'll want to wash that glitter-covered tee shirt before wearing it again. I haven't had any issues with staining from the lotion. It's also easy to wash off in the shower so you don't get glitter between the sheets.

Atomic currently has four colors listed: gold, silver, AB (aura borealis, meaning holographic clear) and pink. She also does custom blends, which you can see a fancy blue AB blend on the far left in the photo. Just let her know what you need in the notes for your order if you want something custom.

I couldn't get a great photo of the product on my skin with my phone. The lighting in my house just doesn't do it justice. If you've seen me wearing body glitter at all in the past year, I was wearing Glitter Bomb. It makes skin look ethereal, just not so much in a selfie. If you have a special event and want to have a glow, I recommend using some Glitter Bomb.

Available currently as samples, 2-ounce and 4-ounce bottles. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pack it Up: Showgirl Necessities

A great way to bond in the dressing room is to have something you can share. Ol' broads, new performers, traveling showgirls all want to make friends in the dressing room. Someone always forgets something. You want to be remembered by your colleagues and producers as being great backstage.

Here's my list for the most requested/forgotten items that someone needs in the dressing room.

  1. Pastie adhesive: tape, spirit gum, medical adhesive
  2. Eyelash glue
  3. Safety pins
  4. Body glitter
  5. Hair spray
  6. Lady supplies: usually tampons but pantyliners and pads are not uncommon
  7. Scissors
  8. Pain reliever: aspirin, acetaminophen
  9. Bobby pins
  10. Food: energy bar, tiny bag of nuts, Snickers, fruit leather
  11. Bandaid
I suggest you label containers of stuff that you want back so they don't get permanently rehomed.

If you're a producer or troupe leader, you may consider adding these to your list of necessities:
  • Extra fishnets or pantyhose
  • Spare single-use pasties
  • Break & use ice pack
  • Needles & thread
  • Black duct tape
  • Spare eyelashes
Lili vonSchtupp at the Monday Night Tease typically has a kit backstage that contains some of these items. She asks performers to throw in a couple bucks if they take the eyelashes or pasties so she can replace them.

If you wind up asking for someone to share supplies, be sure to thank the person for helping you out. We all forget something at some point. Don't let the rush of the moment make you come off as ungrateful.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Atomic Thursday: Spackle

I've been upgrading my cosmetics and skin care collection over the past several months. I've long admired the Atomic Cosmetics line from afar. When Dr. Jen came to visit Los Angeles earlier this year, I spent as much as I could on product. I really believe in her products. Since I've been able to try many things I figured I'd share my product reviews with you on Thursdays.

A couple of these have been kicking around my vanity.
Atomic Cosmetics: Spackle

The reason I'm reviewing this first is because this product is leaving the Atomic Cosmetics line. Spackle is gone as of November 1st. White Girl Wasted is the exception; it will still be available. It's a fantastic product so I encourage you to get it while it's available.

Spackle is a pigment-rich, oil-based, full coverage foundation. It comes in small pots or cream stick. I can use it straight out of the container to cover blemishes and under-eye freckles. I typically mix it with a primer to prepare for the stage, applying it with a brush. (You can use a sponge. I'm a brush person with facial foundation and a sponge person for body makeup.) You can get lighter and darker colors for highlight and shadow.
L to R: White Girl Wasted, Porcelain Doll, Nude Beach, Hunty

I use Nude Beach for my face and the sun-kissed parts of my body. (I love that this nudist requires the color Nude Beach.) I use Porcelain Doll under my eyes to brighten up the area a bit. Porcelain Doll is also great on skin imperfections on the paler parts of my body. Hunty is a bit darker. It would work as a gentle shadow for me. It would probably work better on the face of the mister than on me.  White Girl Wasted is white, great for the brow bone, highlights on the inner corner of the eye beside the nose, and below the eye. (Use is on the under-eye area before applying skin tone foundation.)

You can look at the product on different skin tones on the website so you can see what it looks like on someone close to your shade. Nude Beach might be a better highlight for someone else than it is for me.

This stuff lasts a while if you mix it with a primer. I've been working on the same small container for months, using it every time I perform or do a photo shoot. I encourage you to get a full stick now so you can work with something incredible. I feel like it's an ideal, the Golden Mean.

I suggest you pick some up as soon as you can.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Body Makeup: Look Flawless

You want to look put-together when you perform for people. The more of you that's being seen, the more care you have to give your presentation. Make your appearance intentional and unified. Even if you are portraying a character you are presenting something for the audience to view as an ideal of that thing. As an example, a hobo number should fully communicate 'hobo' to the audience with everything that's being presented.

How much of your body canvas is being incorporated into your act? Makeup isn't just for faces.

You can work out like a champ, avoid most processed foods, drink plenty of water and still have skin imperfections that show up under stage lights. Dress for your final reveal and note which areas of your skin don't contribute to the last image you give your audience as they applaud. Sunburns, skin irritations, eruptions and discoloration may need some spackle.

Ingredients for success with body makeup
You have to learn how to camouflage your body's flaws. (Flaws in this case are things that do not contribute to the ideal you're presenting to the audience.) Don't expect the venue's lighting to do the work for you.

I have a varicose vein. It's not from a sedentary lifestyle. It's hereditary. It doesn't contribute to the look I'm going for when I peel stockings and get as naked as possible on stage. Removing it would be painful and expensive. I just cover it with makeup.

You may know the rule to cover bruises with yellow and redness with green. That works best in small areas and when you can see and reach those spots to precisely dab and blend. Drug store concealer doesn't have enough pigment to cover much.

Dermablend is made to cover body flaws. It's $25-$30 per tube. It's worth the expense but it's important to know how to get the most out of each bottle.

Here's my process:
  1. Shower, shave and exfoliate. Let your skin dry completely.
  2. Mix a dollop of Dermablend with two dollops of Skin Zen Body Butter from Xerion Skin Science. (This stuff smells good and shouldn't further irritate your skin.) I highly recommend working in small quantities and using a skewer or plastic knife.
  3. Using a fresh cosmetics sponge, apply swipes of the blend to your legs. Make sure the coverage appears even. Give them a couple minutes to dry before you move to your arms; this stuff gives great coverage but can get pigment streaks when you rub treated areas against each other while still wet. Give your arms a couple minutes to cure as well. It should feel dry to the touch before moving to your torso.
  4. Apply the blend to your body using the sponge. Wait ten minutes as it cures. Walk around naked for a little while.
  5. Check your coverage. Swipe a fresh cotton swab around the opening of the Dermablend tube. Use that pigment to cover any intense discoloration like pimples, ingrown hairs or spider veins. Let it dry.
  6. Did I mention to let it dry? This stuff looks great when it's dry but it will make your clothing nasty when it's wet.
  7. Use alcohol wipes to remove excess makeup from any area that requires adhesive for your garment.
  8. Wash your hands with soap and water. You may need to use dish soap if it got all over your hands.
You can layer glitter on top of this mixture but lotion will reactivate the color and you'll have to wait 10-15 minutes for it to cure.

After the show and before bed, you need to shower so your body pores don't get clogged. I prefer Bathhouse Soapery body scrubs from my hometown. The natural oils reactivate the color so it washes away. These also exfoliate, getting the nonsense out of your pores. I prefer Ciocolotto, Bathhouse Couture, or a blend of Lavender and Mud & Minerals.

Dermablend is also great for photo shoots, especially if you're trying to cover tattoos.