Overcoming Anxiety: Grease Fires

Overcoming Anxiety: Grease Fires

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

Last week, while Brie was cooking up some DELICIOUS fried chicken, we had our first kitchen fire. Thankfully it was localized to the burner on the stove top, and Brandie and Brie’s mom knew exactly how to safely put it out. Nothing was damaged and no one was hurt, but it helped me realize that I’m in desperate need of a fire safety refresher. I figured I’d share it. šŸ™‚

Imagine with me for a moment…


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  • Most important thing: DO NOT THROW WATER ON IT.Ā Water will pretty much make it explode. Exploding is bad.


  • If you can safely turn off the burner, TURN OFF THE BURNER.

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  • If possible, smother it with a pan lid (use caution if it is a glass lid — they can shatter from high heat).

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(Do not use a pillow, use a metal pan lid).

  • If you a lot of baking soda on hand, you can also smother the flames by tossing baking soda on the fire (DO NOT USE FLOUR — it will ignite. Just baking soda).
  • You can also put it out with a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

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(This is not the optimal technique for actually putting out fires. Make sure to read the instructions.)

  • DON’T try to carry whatever is actively on fire outside. You risk spreading it as the grease sloshes around.
  • If your clothes have caught on fire, stop, drop, and roll. DO NOT RUN.
  • If you cannot put out the fire yourself,Ā evacuate your home and call 911.

The hardest part here is that you should try very hard not to panic. The best way to avoid panicking is to be prepared and have a plan of action. That way, even if you are shaking from the adrenaline burst that happens during a crisis, you can force yourself to go through the appropriate motions to keep yourself and the people and animals in your home safe.

A few tips to prepare ahead of time:

  • Make sure that there is a modern, working fire extinguisher near any room where cooking occurs.
  • Make sure that you know the location of said working fire extinguisher.
  • Make sure that you know how and when to use the fire extinguisher.
  • Carefully monitor your kitchen when you are cooking or using the oven. Fires can spread quickly, and the sooner you react after they begin, the more likely you are to be able to put them out yourself.
  • Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in appropriate places throughout your home.
  • Lean about the different kinds of home fires and read up on how to appropriately and safely extinguish them (DO NOT PUT WATER ON GREASE FIRES).
  • Keep in mind that the safety of yourself and your loved ones is more important than any possessions — do not endanger yourself once you realize a fire is out of control, quickly evacuate your home and call in people who are trained to appropriately handle fire emergencies.

Additional resources:

Wishing you all a safe and happy home!

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(P.S. Don’t do that ^!!!)

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Overcoming Anxiety: Five Tips for Surviving Sephora

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

OA is back after a long hiatus! Life got away from me for a bit there – things have been quite busy. To help this column continue, I’d really appreciate it if you’d reply in the comments section and let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like to see us cover. Thanks! You ROCK!


Now, on to today’s topic: Sephora. Or Ulta. Or Origins. Or any other stand alone, brightly lit, intimidating makeup store.

(This is an actual picture of the inside of a Sephora store, plus a presumably friendly and helpful sales associate helping another terrified victim. Er. Customer.)

First of all, if you find yourself intimidated by Sephora, you’re not alone.


There are two close friends of mine who actually refuse to go in there and, honestly, it still makes me kind of jittery. Which is why tip #1 is simple:

1. If you don’t HAVE to go, then maybe don’t.

That’s what internet shopping is for. BOOM: Sephora.com

I mean, I’m all for challenging your neuroses when appropriate (that’s what this whole series is about), but sometimes it is okay to decide a thing is too much. You’ve gotta take care yourself in whatever manner you think is best.

Reasons to still give the in-store experience a go: a) you really need to see how a color looks in person, next to your skin tone, b) you want to try out a sample to see whether you like it and/or your whether your skin has some kind of weird reaction to it, c) you don’t have the time or the money to order it online, get it, realize it’s the wrong thing Ā for some reason, then return it, then get a replacement thing, d) anything else, really. Again – whatever feels right for you. šŸ™‚

2. Understand what you are getting into.

This includes things like:



B. Seriously, what is with the lights?
(Okay, fine, they want us to see all our “imperfections” in as much detail as possible.)


C. Decision fatigue.
How many shades of pink can there possibly be? Correct answer: when you’re at Sephora — infinity billion.


D. Sometimes it is super busy and there are a zillion loud strangers all clamoring for the latestĀ whatever-it-is-people-get-excited-about.


E.Ā Sometimes it is super slow and you discover it’s just you andĀ one sales person.


Also remember that the stores (hours of operation, size, etc) will vary by location. You can check out online reviews to see if they provide pictures so that you can get a good sense of the individual storeĀ and what the area around it is like. How busy the store will be also varies by location, as well as by time of year (the weeks before Christmas tend to be quite busy, for example). There will likely be a few sales people in the store when you arrive – they’re often dressed in black (and have cool makeup on)! They’re there to help you — you can ask them where specific items are located or for general advice. If you call ahead, you can even schedule an in-store makeover (but be warned, when getting a makeover, there’s a general expectation that you will then buy at least one or two of the items they used).

4. Familiarize yourself with what they carry and have a plan.
Check out the website ahead of time (and any reviews of products you are interested in)Ā andĀ make a list of things you’re wanting to actually check out in person. Make a note of general prices for things so that you’re not surprised when you hit the register.


5. Consider bringingĀ a friend. Moral support can help when you’re feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed.


And that’s it. Now all that’s left is actually going. You can do this!


More from Overcoming Anxiety:

Overcoming Anxiety: Setting a Table

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.


Bad news: there are lots of ways to set a table. Good news: there are some pretty clear guidelines out there that will make it easier on you.

The first thing you should consider is the occasion. Are you setting the table for you and your BFF, or is the Queen of England coming to tea? If it’s your BFF, relax and do what’s easy or fun. If it’s the Queen of England, send me an invite. Please. But also make sure you spend extra time thinking about the formality of the place settings, your dinner menu, and the utensils and dishes you need to make things run smoothly/appropriately.


The basic components of a place setting are:

Utensils – fork, knife, spoon

Dishes – glass, dinner plate, bowl

Other – napkin

Don’t already have dinnerware? This is a nice, basic set that you can pair with these utensils and some drinking glasses. Oh! And don’t forget napkins (cloth are more formal and work great for things where you want to be fancy – like holidays, while paper are better for casual or large scale events). šŸ™‚

A more complex setup may include:

Utensils – fork, salad fork, butter knife, steak knife, spoon

Dishes – water glass, wine glass, appetizer plate, salad plate, dinner plate, bowl

Other – Napkin, placemat, charger

Find wine glasses, steak knives, placemats, chargersĀ (a charger is a decorative plate that goes under the dinner plate – don’t put food directly on it!)Ā and more at anywhere from Target to Amazon to Williams-Sonoma.

What dictates the complexity of your place setting is the formality of the event and also the serving requirements of the food you will be serving.

These may vary a bit by country or occasion, but frankly, most people will be impressed/delighted that you’re having them over for dinner in the first place. šŸ˜‰


Let’s pretend you have fiveĀ friends as dinner guestsĀ who will all sit at the same table.


Fine. If you don’t currently have fiveĀ friends, you can check out this OA article on how to be interesting. That should bring some new people into your life.


Now that you have the friend thing sorted out, let’s look at the table.


Pretty plain and boring, isn’t it? We should set out one example place setting, then you can repeat it. Ready? Pretend you are sitting at the table – here is what you should see in front of you.


Fork and napkin on the left, largest plate in the middle, knife and spoon on the right. Appetizer plate is slightly in front of the fork and drinking glass is slightly in front of the knife/spoon.

Now lets do that five more times – we are setting six place settings because you are presumably going to be sitting with your friends. I hope.


Look! It’s a nicely set, casual table. And thereĀ areĀ even spaces to put other things! Try a vase of flowers or candles for something pretty and festive, or feel free to have your serving dishes full of food out to be passed around at will. Like this.


If you have a small table, you can serve the food away from the table you are eating at. Instruct people to grab their plates and direct them to where the food and beverages can be found.


Preferably in your home, already set out by you. Ahem.

What’s that? Oh, you have FANCY friends.


Not to worry! Let’s start back at the first place setting – here is how it will look directly in front of you.


Bottom row from left to right: folded napkin, tallest fork to smallest fork (if you need to add forks, just keep ’em in descending order of height),charger plate in the center with the dinner plate laid on top and the soup bowl on top of that. Knife (tallest to smallest again if you have more than the steak and butter knives), and extra spoons beyond the soup spoon can go to the right of that. Top row from left to right: salad plate, appetizer plate with butter knife on top, soup spoon, water glass, wine glass (additional wine glasses can continue along to the right). This may not be the most formal setting on the planet, but it should serve you quite well for nearly any “nicer-than-usual” occasion.

Now repeat it 5 more times.


Since you’re being fancy, now you have all the more reason to add a few decorative touches. Flowers, candles, table runner (a piece of decorative fabric that runs length wise down the center of the table. Different from a table cloth in that a table cloth covers the entire surface of the table while a table runner “runs” down the center lengthwise). Make sure your decorative touches don’t block the view your guests have of one another – keep the vases, fruits, and most candles below eye level.


Look at that lovely table! Well done. šŸ™‚

Still in need of other examples? There are lots online! Try not to get too nervous about how much variation there is – because there are so many ways to do it, it means that most of them are right. You’ll only get into trouble if you do something big like run out of forks or try to serve soup with a knife. You got this!



Something got you anxious? Get Cat’s perspective by emailing her at cat@qwertycafe.com.


More from Overcoming Anxiety:


Overcoming Anxiety: Throwing a Dinner Party at Home

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

So, here’s the deal with throwing a dinner party in your own home: there are severalĀ decisions to make and a fair amount of prep work. Some choices will make for a lot of work (which can be enjoyable), some save you time (and leave more room to fix things if something doesn’t quite go as planned). Since it’s a LOT, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Decision #1: What kind of party would you like this to be?


Formal? Casual? Themed? Special occasion? What is the occasion? If you are just having a casual get together with good friends, you don’t necessarily need a theme, but it can help you decide on what to serve (Chinese food makes a great theme, as does French food, movie theater food, or a taco bar)! Formal events are usually substantially more time-consuming to execute, but can make for wonderful memories. Casual events are low-key, require less worry and effort, and can still provide memories that will last a lifetime (especially if you post pictures to your favorite social media channels). šŸ˜‰

Decision #2: Do you want to cook?


You can certainly throw a dinner party without having to cook (and this can absolutely reduce some of the stress of hosting the affair!). If you don’t want to make food, you can either buy already prepared food (Costco and Sam’s Club have nice pre-made trays of things to eat), pick up some items from the restaurant of your choice, or have something delivered (there is no shame in an old-fashioned pizza and wings party). You can also get your guests to cook for you/eachother, pot-luck style.

Decision #3: Who do you want there?


Who would you like to spend some time with? Just one person and it’s more of a date (even if it’s a platonic one). Two or more help reduce the conversational stress of having to think up things to say (if you’re not naturally chatty). More than 6 becomes a lot of work and requires a lot of space. Think about whether the people who you want to spend time with have anything in common. You may want to avoid throwing a party whereĀ your conservative Republican pastor uncle and your best friend’s liberal atheist mom are in overly close proximity.

Once you’ve decided upon who you want thereĀ and what their chemistry will be like, you can send out the invites. Text, email, or a phone call should work fine, depending on the formality of the event. Just a casual get together? Pick whatever method of communication feels most comfortable to you. A highly formal dinner (for a special occasion or where you expect people to dress up)Ā and you may want to consider actual invitations (Paperlesspost.com is great, but mailed invitations can be fun for *really* special occasions [formal New Year’s Eve parties, weddings, etc]).

Make sure you let them know the date, time, place and provide an indication of what the event will be like. “It’s just a casual get together with some friends.” “It’s Annie’s surprise birthday bash – we’re all dressing up for tea and make sure not to tell her ANYTHING!” Etc. If they cannot make it, do not ask why or make them feel guilty about it. Just respect that they are otherwise occupied at that time and leave it at that.

If they say yes, it’s polite to ask if they have any special dietary restrictions (allergies, etc.). If someone indicates that they do have an allergy, make sure to provide enough food options so that they do not go hungry. Ā You don’t necessarily have to center the entire menu around one person’s needs (unless they are so allergic to peanuts that even being near them can be deadly – be extra careful with things like that!) , but do try and make them feel accommodated for and well-fed.

Decision #4: What will you eat?


Even if you decide to order pizza, you’ll want to think more about the menu. What kind of pizza? From which delivery place? Should you order a few different flavor combinations? Should you also provide an appetizer and a dessert? What will you drink? Alcohol? Soda? It’s usually expected that you will have a few options, including and other than water. For a more involved meal, you can check out some of our menu recommendations or hit up sites like Pinterest, FoodNetwork, and EpicuriousĀ forĀ ideas.

If you are planning a potluck, it is generally convenient for the host to provide beverages and sometimes to even recommend the type of dish each guest should bring. That way you don’t end up with 7 desserts (not that I would personally complain about that, in all honesty). You’ll want to make sure anĀ appetizer, main dish, side dish, and dessert are all represented. You can also suggest soup and/or salad. How many dishes you’ll want of each type will depend on how many guests you have. It’s better to err on the side of lots of main dishes, so that people leave with full bellies.

Decision #5: Where will you eat?


We’ve already established that you are hosting the event in your home, but it’s time to get more specific. Where in your home will your guests be eating? Will you sit around the coffee table in your living room? Seated at the dinner table? Outside on the porch/patio/balcony/lawn? You’ll want to consider what spaces will be the most comfortable and that there is a seat for every person. The patio may not be the best choice mid-winter, while your kitchen table may be too small if you’re not careful to limit your guest list properly.

Decision #6: On what shall you eat?


Make sure you have enough plates, bowls, forks, chopsticks, etc. for yourself and each of your guests. If you are low on dinnerware, you can always head to Goodwill for some low-cost options, or look for biodegradable disposable dinnerware. The added bonus of disposable dinnerware is that cleanup is a breeze.

Decision #7: What needs to be prepared in advance?


Consider the following – what rooms will your guests visit? You should make sure the entry, living room, kitchen, dining area, and guest bathroom are all neat, clean, and tidy. Also make sure that all of the required dishes (for cooking, serving, and actual dining) are clean and still in good condition. Do you need to shop or prepare any dishes in advance? Clear out space in your schedule to get as much accomplished as possible before the actual day of your event.

Decision #8: Do you need a backup plan?


Have you decided to cook a difficult dish from scratch? Just in case it falls flat (or catches fire), you may want to make sure to have some kind of a backup plan. This can be in the form of preparing a second dish (which may lead to leftovers – not the worst thing ever), or being emotionally ready to order pizza in a pinch. Did you plan to have your party outside? You may want to think about what to do if rain suddenly decides to drop by for a visit. Try and think over the variables that the evening will bring with it and prepare a plan or two to make sure there’s a comfortable place to be and food to eat. Everything else can be taken care of as it happens.



TheĀ lastĀ thing you need to worry about isn’t a decision, per se. What you need to do, once you think everything is taken care of, is revisit your to-do list and make sure you didn’t forget anything. Check your guest list, review their dietary restrictions, make sure everything really is clean, double check that you got all of the items on your grocery list ahead of time, etc. Make sure to take a moment to clear your mind and evaluate what has actually been done vs. what you *think* you have done. Then prepare to have a rockin’ good time!


Overcoming Anxiety: New Year’s Resolutions

Overcoming Anxiety: New Year’s Resolutions

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

First and foremost: Happy New Year!


I hope you were able to ring in 2014 in the manner you prefer. šŸ™‚


Now let’s get into the business of making resolutions.

First of all, many of us overwhelm ourselves with big, scary, unattainable goals. Lose 100 pounds. Quit Ā smoking. Etc.


They’re lofty and they’re too big to tackle realistically. Partially because you’ll feel like you’ve failed before you’ve even begun.

To take the stress out of planning goals for your year, I recommend breaking them down into smaller pieces.


For example, instead of, “lose 100 pounds,” aim for a series of smaller goals. Something like:Ā “get to the gym three days a week in January.” Then make sure you create a non-food reward for yourself for when you’ve accomplished the goal – indulge in a night out at the movies, a new gadget, or even another physical activity you’ve wanted to try – bowling, wall-climbing, a swing dancing class, etc. The idea is that you want the goal to be very achievable and limited to a short period of time.

If your goal is to stop smoking, try reducing the number of cigarettes you allow yourself each day. Taper it, rather than go cold turkey.

If you want to meet the love of your life, start by breaking out of your routine and trying new things. Take a class, volunteer, or even create an online dating profile for the first time.

Come February, you should evaluate how your first set of goals have served you. If things went poorly – scale back a bit and make it more realistically attainable. If things went well – add or upgrade a little. Instead of “get to the gym three days a week,” make it “get to the gym for at least 45 minutes three days a week.” Ā  The more you’ve achieved, Ā the more you’re allowed to add.

Keep at these progressive goals with regular check-ins and you’ll be much more likely to look back at 2014 and feel like you’ve really accomplished something great.


OR, if you find the idea of a to-do list for your year too stressful – throw it out. Seriously! Look inside yourself – does the idea of setting a specific goal cause you terrible stress? Don’t worry about it! Screw the resolutions and just live your life from moment to moment. It’s about finding and doing what works best for you personally. Don’t let any self-help guru make you feel like what you’re doing already isn’t enough.


Best of luck to you!


More from Overcoming Anxiety:

Overcoming Anxiety: Makeup Part 4

Overcoming Anxiety: Makeup Part 4

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

Finally! Part four has arrived! If you’re new to this series (or makeup in general) make sure to check out parts 1, 2, & 3. My apologies for being a bit late with this one – I assure you, I was off doing something totally worthwhile with my time.


First things first – start with a very clean face. If your skin is prone to being dried out, you can apply a very light layer of moisturizer, but make sure to give it some time to sink in before trying to apply any makeup.

No judging, but here’s my bare face.


Crap, wrong file. Try this.


Here’s the after we’re going for (smile and frizzy hair are optional):


Skin is a more even color and appears smoother, dark circles under the eyes are reduced, and both lips and eyes are more defined.

To get there, grab your foundation or tinted moisturizer. Smooth a super thin layer over your entire face using your fingertips, but skip the lips and upper eyelids. That means your forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, area between your nose and upper lip, etc. Very carefully make sure there are no lines where the skin with makeup meets bare skin. If there are, very very very gently rub (aka “blend” in beauty terms) the line until it smudges and creates an invisible transition from makeup zone to non-makeup zone. Pay extra attention to the perimeter of your face – it’s the most likely place for an obvious foundation line. I’m talking hairline, by your ears, the edges of your nose/nostrils, and your jaw line.

Time to move on to your eyes. Start with an eyeshadow primer – dot it lightly across one of your eyelids like this:


Now careful smooth the primer around the following area of the lid using your finger until it is blended in:


Next, take an eye shadow brush (looks something like this) and work a bit of the eye shadow that’s closest to your skintone onto your brush. Now gently color in the entirety of the area I have circled above. It should be a very light layer, and the edges where the rest of your face meets the eye shadow should not appear like a harsh line – it’s more of a soft-focus, blurry change of zone. Here’s how it looks on me:


It’s a small difference, but as we go, all of the small changes we make will add up. Now I want you to take the darkest of the eye shadow colors I had you select and fill in the following zone:


Again, try to avoid and stark lines and instead use the brush to “blend” and soften the edges. Make sure you start with a very light layer of shadow – you can always add more if you think it’s too subtle. Build up layers until you find something you’re happy with (it usually only takes me one or two layers for a subtle “day” look). Ā Here’s how it looks on me:


Now we’re going to add a highlight. Either carefully clean your brush by rubbing it on a clean tissue, or switch to a new brush (I prefer using separate brushes for dark and light colors when possible). Using the brightest eye shadow color, fill in the following zones:


Make sure the area directly under your brow is well blended. The spot by your inner eye can be more bold.

If you’re planning on curling your lashes for the upgraded day look, do that now BEFORE you put mascara on (here’s a nice tutorial video to help). Next, carefully apply your mascara to your upper lid’s eye lashes (like last time, just gently brush it onto your lashes without touching the wand to the skin around your eyes). If you mess up, you can use a lightly damp q-tip to remove the problem spots. Here’s how my eye looks at this point in the process:


Now do the same thing (but flipped, like a mirror image) to your other eye lid. Try to keep your eyes looking as symmetric as possible.

Great news! You’re done with the eye area and you’re nearly done with the whole look! Lets move on to blush.

You’ll want to avoid adding too much of a rosy glow. The key is very light layers of blush.


Using a blush brush (it’ll look something like this) you’ll add a light layer of blush along your cheek bones and blend back into your hair line. Exactly where you should apply the blush varies a bit by your face shape. Don’t freak out too much about where – if you’re using a light hand, it should be fine pretty much anywhere you put it. Here’s where I put it:


Do that to both cheeks (again, with an eye on symmetry) and take a peek in the mirror. How are things looking so far? Any overly defined lines? Spots that stand out as too harsh? You can fix them by using a clean brush to blend blend blend the line away.

Holy cow, we’re almost done with the basic day look! Just color in your lips using the lip gloss and you are set!


MWAH! All together, it should look similar to that after picture I showed you earlier:


It’s a fairly easy look that’s great for the office or just feeling a little extra snazzy when you’re in the mood. If you found this super easy and still want just a little bit more to the look, get out the extra tools listed in part 3 and we’ll upgrade things like so:


The differences are: liquid eye liner, highlighting powder, bronzer, brow powder and an eyelash curler (as mentioned previously, you should curl your eyelashes BEFORE applying mascara – here’s a nice tutorial videoĀ for how to curl them).

The hardest part of all of that is the liquid eyeliner, so we’ll tackle it by first. Only attempt if you have a fairly steady hand. Let’s take a closer look at it:


I essentially “drew” a line starting near the inner corner of my eye leading out to just past the end of my eye opening. The line starts very thin, and then gradually widens, eventually coming to a point at the end. To recreate this, just start by drawing the very thin line that starts near the inner eye and draw it outward. Then, going the opposite direction, draw another thin line where from where you want the “point” to start back towards the thinner line. Color in any area that’s accidentally left bare. For a more dramatic look, you can try this out. Ā The hardest part, really, is getting your other eye to match. Practice will make perfect, so make sure you’re not trying this for the first time before some big, important event.

As for the highlighter, just very lightly dust it over the bridge of your nose, above your blush, the area between your eye brows, and dot it just a tiny bit above your cupid’s bow. Like so:


Brow powder should be used to make your brows look just a bit thicker. Just fill in using the natural shape of your brows as a guide. Here’s a before and after – see how subtle the change is?


Bronzer should be applied slightly below your blush and not as far into the center of the face and along the sides of the nose if you’re wanting it to appear a tiny bit more narrow. Like so:


Make sure to step back from the mirror to get a better look at yourself from far away. Are there any harsh lines? Is anything lopsided? Blend blend blend your way to a look you like. šŸ™‚

That’s it! A day look and a slightly upgraded day look. I hope my instructions were pretty clear – please let me know if you Ā have any questions in the comments!

Happy makeupping!


Next time, we’ll tackle a more dramatic “evening” look. See you then!

(Featured image fromĀ iStockphoto)

Overcoming Anxiety: Makeup Part 3

Overcoming Anxiety: Makeup Part 3

Overcoming Anxiety is a series where Cat shares tips for balancing a desire to be social with various phobias/fears. If your life is severely impacted and/or limited by your own anxiety, please consult an actual mental health professional. She is not one.

I’m assuming that Parts 1 & 2 of these makeup tutorials went okay for you – otherwise, why in the world did you come back for more? šŸ˜‰


This week, we’re pulling together the supplies needed for a simple “day” look. It’s more complicated than Part 2, but with a little practice, could become an easy part of your routine (if that’s what you’d like).

The goal with your typical “day” look is to actually appear as though you’re not wearing any makeup.

I know, I know. Don’t get me started on that Catch-22.


In order to achieve le “day” look, you’ll need the following supplies*:

Makeup Brushes




Buying your first brushes can be a little daunting, but you don’t have to go the pricey route. This set by Sonia Kashuk is available from Target and has more than what you need for a starter kit. If you can’t find a pre-assembled kit that suits your fancy, make sure to at least get your hands on a blush brush, tweezers, a few eye shadow brushes (usually a bigger, thick one, a shorter thick one, and a thin one), and maybe maybe maybe a foundation brush. Some people prefer these sponges. I just use my fingers. Each brush really can make a difference in how the makeup gets applied to your face – sometimes you want big swaths of colors with blurred edges, sometimes you want tight, precise lines. It all depends on the look you’re going for and the part of the face you’re working on. The tweezers are for eliminating any unwanted facial hairs.

Eye Shadow Primer


I highly recommend this primer from Urban Decay. I use it, my friends use it, and I’ve constantly read good things about it. Primer helps any eye makeup you apply go on smoothly and also stick to your eyelids a lot longer than it would without it. I used to skip the primer and the oil on my eyelids would end up causing a weird buildup of shadow in the crease of my eyelid, or everything would migrate below my eyes for a raccoon look (not immediately after application – it usually took a few hours for problems to pop up).

Light, Medium, and Dark “Neutral” Eye Shadows



Another Urban Decay recommendation here.Ā (Cheaper alternative here). Regardless of skin tone, you’ll want an eyeshadow close to your natural skin color, one that’s a few shades darker, and a third that’s substantially lighter. Make sure none of them have much, if any, shimmer or glitter. The light one helps create highlighted areas, the dark one creates shadows and contrast, and the natural skin color one helps you blend the other two so that there are no unwanted harsh lines.



Blush is a bit tricky in terms of choosing a color, but as long as you apply it lightly, you should be okay with nearly any pinkish color (really!). Nars brand in Orgasm is a cult favorite (and it does look great!), but there’s nothing wrong with a drugstore brand alternative like Physician’s Formula. When in doubt, bring a friend (to help cut down on any social anxiety) with you to a Sephora near you and a salesperson should be able to help you pick out something appropriate. Blush helps give your face a healthy-looking glow.



If you are incredibly fair skinned with very blond eyelashes, you’ll want a brown mascara. Otherwise, black should be just fine. I like DiorShow, but have heard great things about CoverGirl’s ClumpCrusher. Oh! And as someone with allergies, I highly recommend going with the waterproof formula whenever possible. Mascara is great because it makes your eyelashes stand out and appear longer – and anything that helps bring attention to your eyes is generally a plus when it comes to makeup.

Foundation or Tinted Moisturizer/BB Cream


This is another item where you’ll likely want to consult with a helpful makeup expert in-person. Sephora is great, though I ADORE the people at Laura Mercier. Social anxiety tip: if you go to Laura Mercier, they’ll likely expect you to buy something. Check their website for prices to make sure their stuff suits your budget. You’ll know foundation is the right color when, if you apply a thin layer on your jawline, it seems to disappear into your skin. Double check how it looks both in the store and outside in sunlight – different lighting conditions can make it appear a slightly different shade. Tinted moisturizer and BB cream is a lot more forgiving when it comes to color, but you’ll still likely want to try it on at the store rather than attempt to buy it online. All three products help smooth out the color of your skin and mask any discoloration or unwanted redness. BB cream and the tinted moisturizer are generally more sheer and have some level of SPF. Foundation gives you more coverage. I tend to use BB cream for day looks and foundation for evenings.



You’ll want concealer to be just as close a match to your skin color as your foundation. Consult a makeup expert in-person. Concealer is much thicker than foundation or BB cream to help cover up really stubborn discolored spots on your skin, dark circles, etc. I rarely use concealer, but when I do, it’s Maybelline CoverStick.

Lip Gloss


I really love Nars’ Frisky Summer and think it can work well for a range of skin tones, but you should really try and find a lip gloss that’s a few shades deeper than your natural color. I’ve heard good things about Revlon’s Colorburst. Lipgloss adds shine and color to your lips without being too dark (it lets a little of your own natural tones through), though it can feel a bit sticky.

If you’re feeling bold, you can also pick up these additional extra items:

Eyeliner Pencil or Liquid Eyeliner


These help to better define the eye. I like Kat VonD’s Tatoo Liner in Ink BlackĀ and Urban Decay’s 24/7 glide on pencil in Matte Blackest Black. This is another instance where, if you have very pale skin and very light hair, you’ll want to go with a lighter, more brown shade instead of black.

Highlighting Powder


This product adds more dimension and brightness to the face. I like Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder, but have heard great things about Revlon Mineral Finishing Powder in Brighten.

Shimmer/Glitter-Free Bronzer


Bronzer does the opposite of brightener – it shades and contours areas of the face that you want to appear to recede. This helps give your face additional dimension. Try Physician’s Formula pH Matchmaker Bronzer for a simple drugstore version. You may want to also invest in a bronzer blush, which gives you a little more control than a blush brush.

Eyebrow Powder


Eyebrow powder helps fill out and define your eyebrows – and a strong eyebrow draws in more focus on the eye. Talk to a makeup counter expert for advice on color. Benefit, Urban Decay, and Anastasia Beverly Hills all have nice options for eyebrow powder. You’ll also likely want to look for an eyebrow powder brush to go with it.

Eyelash Curler


No, that’s not a torture device. Eyelash curlers essentially crimp your lashes so that they appear longer than they really are. I use this one from Shiseido, but you can make do with a drugstore find if need be.

Next week, I’ll show you how to use all these items and you’ll be well on your way to exploring makeup at an intermediate level.

*Note: I write from the perspective of a light-skinned, multiracial individual. A LOT of important things have been written about the dearth of good products available for dark skin. I’ve heard that Iman Cosmetics and Smashbox are good brands to turn to, but have not used them myself. If you’ve had luck, please tell us about it in the comments section!


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