Sunday, August 31, 2008

There is a french lady in my room

This painting overlooks my bed in Paris. I thought the wifi was going to be free at my hotel but it is not, so my blogs will be few and far between until we get back to the states. 5 euros for 45 minutes. Je suis whatever. UPDATE: I will find some spots outside the hotel and keep the blog up. So far everyone I have seen outside is beautiful. I am feeling insecure. Oh my.

This is us trying to be beautiful on the RER train after flying on the lovely red eye to Charles de Gaulle. So very perty and fresh.

One of my two windows overlooking Le Rue de Tourville. My room is very pink.

This is the view from my room. I am going to stop now before my 45 minutes are up and go get some bread, wine and cheese. Trying so hard not to go to sleep right now. I need to get on Paris time. Will report more on French beauty later this week.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Orr's Island Pearl

We stayed at Calef Brown's family cabin on Orr's Island. The one bedroom house was purchased by his father for $700 a long time ago and moved to it's present location.

Cooking in the cabin has been a treat. We picked blueberries off the bushes and made a pie! The salmon and corn taste like nothing else. At night you can see so may stars. I slept so solid. Enjoying the land with friends and family has always been my idea of beauty.

In the cabin, I found a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe titled "The Pearl of Orr's Island," a story of a young girl growing up among strong women and fisherman on the tiny Island. I adore reading about a place I am standing in, from a text written years ago. It reminds me how special it is to be alive. How very similar and so differently we all look at the world around us, each in our own time.

Beauty on the Inside

I was trying to figure out what beauty on the inside would look like. I think it is gold and sparkly and flowery. You might not be able to see the sparkles on this. It does sparkle. REALLY!

It is our last day in Maine, maybe I'll finally catch up on our trip before we leave for Paris. I believe I left us off on the Turnpike. Here is Esther in a different Turnpike bathroom. There sure are a lot of tolls on the east coast. DANG!

Next stop Lenox, Massachusetts to meet up with the people from Blue Q. Blue Q is a great company that makes funny cool stuff. You have seen there stuff everywhere. Cat butt magnets, dirty girl soap, I am not gay but I love rainbows air fresheners, always hilarious and smart. They published a book by Esther and one by her husband Mark.

Dinner was at The Dream Away Lodge. Couldn't tell you how to get there because it seemed like we went to another world via a small windy road through witch forests. It is a roadhouse type place that maybe used to be a brothel and hippie musicians used to hang there back in the day? I think that is what they told me. It was a perfect place, a nippy cool breeze through open windows, fresh flowers, lots of cool stuff to look at, packed with people and BBQ smoky smells wafting in. YUM.

I liked this place so I posted a bunch of pictures. I guess it is in the Berkshires. This sounds so fancy, the Berkshires dahling.

So dinner was with Mitch and Caitlin Nash and Sara Paul who works for Blue Q. After dinner we went back to the Nashes and talked about beauty. I think one of the reasons I am obsessed with wigs is because my mother had cancer when I was a teenager and she wore wigs while going through chemo. I guess it stuck with me. Wigs are used to cover up things or change your appearance dramatically or make you feel normal, so it was nice to talk to Caitlin about her experience with chemo. She has such a healthy attitude about it and she is so beautiful herself, glowing and confident.

One great thing she said was that while she was going through it she got letters and gifts and notes and help from the whole community. She said she had to switch from giving (I can attest for the giving nature of this family) mode to receiving mode and now she had a whole box of these letters and notes saved that she can go back to when she needs some good cheer and beauty. It meant a lot to me.

The next day we went to visit Blue Q and interviewed Sara Paul. She is the one who said "everyone has their shit they have to deal with, we should all just give each other a break." I love that, it really is true. We all have those things we worry about too much, like wrinkles or an extra 5 pounds, that really don't matter at all. We shouldn't judge other people over these dumb things cause we all do it. You dig? We should stop being so hard on ourselves too. Right? I gotta get on that myself. She also talked about her mother having cancer and dealing with it in a very different way using make-up and wigs to cover it up. Like she said, everyone has their shit.

So we left Lenox with chunky yummy sandwiches and goodies packed by the Nashes and set out for Maine which is where I am now, writing from Calef Brown's studio in Brunswick. We have taken a little break from the beauty part of the trip and are having a little vacation, although there is beauty everywhere and you can't really turn it off. I am looking at things differently. Here are some pictures.

Esther bought this awesome painting from a place called Spindleworks. They have amazing stuff here. I bought a beautiful handmade scarf although it was meant to be a table runner. If you ever come to Maine, you should stop here.

I had to have lobster and steamers and it was delicious and amazing. I thanked the lobster for letting us eat him cause you kind of feel bad when you crack his body apart.

Here's an apple tree. We used to have an apple tree in our yard. Brings back memories.

Calef and Anissa, our hosts in Maine. They rule. We miss them.

One more thing. I was born in Maine and lived here when I was teeny. Then our family used to come up here in the summers way back when. It is really wonderful being here. Maine is BEAUTY to me.

So our next stop is Paris. I hope to write while there but my computer is hit or miss. Right now it is working and I am happy. Think good vibes.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Confidence Cream

Confidence cream is good but confidence cream with FREE RADICALS is better! YAY I finally did some art. Got more coming.

So back to our trip. After New Orleans we went to Atlanta and had a tremendous beauty day as you can see from our Hollywood Shots. I don't wear a lot of make-up so it was weird to be coated with the stuff. To be honest, I felt freaky and thought it made me look older. I am back to normal now.

This is my friend Cathy, we have known each other forever since our 20s. She got her make-up done too. I don't think any of my friends need make-up. This is her without the make-up at Sun in My Belly. This is a good place for lunch. We met a bunch of great people in Decatur. Got some wonderful interviews.

I took a picture of some gowns at the North Dekalb Mall. We stayed two nights in Atlanta because we were sick of driving. So the next day it was a POWER drive to Philadelphia. The states were whizzing by. Stopped in Virginia. Below is a bathroom in a truck stop. Had to buy a romance novel on CD cause we were going crazy in the car. The CD is brilliant. Desert Rain. We'll have some sound bites for you later. Can't wait to find out if Linc and Holly do it! Two more CDs to go.

Got to Philly late. Fast and furious. Not much time. Hung out with my pop and step mom. I had wine and cheese with Matt Curtius, Gina Triplett and Mike Miller. Beautiful people.

Got up. Left Philly. Hey I am in long-story-short mod, buzzing on a latte. Speedy. On to Lenox, Massachusetts to visit Blue Q. Spent a lot of time on the Turnpike. Here are some women primping in the bathroom. Men, this is a glimpse into the world of the ladies room. Holla! The magic happens here.

We liked this girls nails.

I'll tell you about Lenox later. Gotta get off the computer and go swimming in the cold Maine ocean.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Unique is Beautiful

The more we interview, the more we find that people celebrate uniqueness and find it refreshing. And why not? We are Americans. Individuality is a major part of our ideology. Most people we meet, school teachers, PTA parents, shop owners, young kids, all consider themselves non-stereotypical. They don't look like slim white models in magazines, and we haven't met a individual yet who wants to or finds that their idea of beauty. But the stories we have heard are filled with people like ourselves, dealing with the twists and turns in life. We have heard from a breast cancer surviver that "asymmetry is beautiful" and from a kindergarten teacher that "choices I have made, right or wrong, lead to a beautiful child."

Justin from Austin, Texas told us stories of when he worked for Glamour Shots. He said many people used their photos for online dating. He had three poses for his clients: thumbs in belt loop, bed sheet with rose petals and portrait with hand under chin and eyes gazing off camera. Then he could clone the clear skin spots all over the person's flaws. He said, it was as if the photos were trying to fool everyone. "Beauty isn't looks, it's what you're about." Justin said.

That is what I am learning from this trip. People find each other's differences comforting, reassuring and real.

Ayisha from Austin, Texas said, "If you have a flaw you should accept it and embrace it. That's a beauty mark."

Martha and I are staring to feel a transformation in our beauty road trip. Here's the big message I am hearing over and over:

Be honest, be yourself and embrace your life experiences with confidence. That is what people will find beautiful.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Everyone has their shit

Writing you from Maine. YAY. My computer has been acting up and there are no Apple stores here. So I am doing the best I can. After we left Austin we headed over to New Orleans. Got caught in a wicked awesome (met a bartender at the train station in Boston who talked like that) traffic jam on the 10. Stopped for 1 1/2 hours!! Here are some mud flap girls.

Traffic finally moved and we was HONGRY. On recommendation from Max we went to this off the path restaurant called Pat's. Esther drew the owner (you can see it in an earlier post). It was perfect. Good "bad" food, bad meaning covered in cheese, deep fried dipped in tartar sauce. Saw some gators and a large amount of cats milling about the parking lot. Friendly people.

Next stop New Orleans. The traffic jam threw a kink in our plans to relax in New Orleans, made us very late. Really wanted to sleep but you just can't do that in N.O. Esther of all people insisted we go out. You'd think it would have been me. Anyway...Headed to Bourbon street. Very surreal if you aren't drinkin. It was full of sweaty, drunk businessmen in khaki's and golf shirts holding neon plastic daiquiri sculptures. Seems to be more strip joints than I remember from my jazz fest days. Finally found a place that wasn't blaring Def Leppard covers, listened to a little jazz drinkin' a glass of bad wine in a plastic cup. Old people. Here pictures of ladies of questionable intentions.

Next morning. Our French Quarter hotel had a make your own belgian waffle bar. Yeehaw! Headed to Jackson Square, got iced cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde. GOOOD. All the wait staff in Cafe du Monde are Asian. Curious. Could feel the sweat dripping down my back. Dang it was muggy. Wanted to interview someone there but they were super busy.

Instead we had our charicatures done by James. We interviewed him about beauty. Esther wrote about him earlier. He was headed to Venice Beach to work for a few weeks on the boardwalk. You should go visit him, if you are down there. He was cool. Ended with hugs.

Then we drove through the 9th ward on the way out of town. We had planned to interview folks, but somehow felt icky and intrusive and shallow talking about beauty when people are trying to rebuild their lives. I don't know, maybe people would have wanted to share. We didn't want to be gross. Maybe we shouldn't have been chicken. People surprise you sometimes. You know? I do think there is beauty in how people overcome the terrible crap that happens and that life keeps going on. Most people don't give up.

So I'll end on this note with a quote from Sara Paul, who we interviewed in Pittsfield, MA. "Everyone has their shit they deal with. We should just give each other a break." More tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Glamourous Shots

Martha and I went to North Dekalb Mall in Decatur, Georgia. We had our make-up applied at two different make-up counters in a major department store. Walking past the food court, we came across a photo studio called Hollywood Shot. Two seven- year-old's picked out our backgrounds and we were on! We tried three different poses with props. Then we had to go wait for half an hour at Applebee's while our photographer named Bruce Lee, photoshopped out Martha's forehead wrinkles. Finally we picked up our 8 x 10 glossies. Bruce said, "If you have a good attitude and a smile, I think you are beautiful." I noticed this bit of wisdom was not shared at the make-up counters.

Martha asked to sport a large rose and is in front of the "Titanic" background.

I'm in front of a digital background simply called "R17." The cowboy hat is a store prop. A nice touch.

We want to hear from you

If we can't interview you in person we'd love to hear you answers to the questions we have been asking.

Tell us your name, what you do, your age, and where you are from and answer the question "What is your idea of beauty?" in the comment section. Send us a picture too if you want!

I don't hate people anymore: Part II

Left Waxahachie and headed out to Austin. Stayed at the Austin Motel. We appreciated the unusually shaped sign.

In July, Mark and Esther met some guys from Austin (Zack and Justin) at Comic-con. We looked them up and they took us to Sam's BBQ for brisket and sausage, brisket and sausage piled HIGH on the plate.

Below is a picture of Zack with lemon cake. He nabbed the last dessert (but shared it). He thinks girls with slightly crossed eyes are beautiful. That made me happy.

BBQ is a beautiful thing. You have to be a BBQ artist to do it right. There is love and obsession involved in good BBQ. Sam's was a beautiful place, felt like someone's home.

After we ate, we worked up the courage to talk to strangers about beauty. There were a bunch of people in Sam's and I just went up and asked. They were completely open to being interviewed. We talked to Brian, Ashley, and Aisha. They talked about inner beauty and respecting women. We'll write more about this later. It was a perfect day.

Didn't want to call it a night after the sausage so we headed over to some random place called Doc's and met up with Andrew Bakowsky (one of our students visiting home on break) and Randy from Yard Dog Gallery. Justin came too. This is where we found out that Justin used to work for Glamour Shots. Esther can tell you more about that. She found out the best poses for looking glamourous.

So there is a whole lot more coming. When we get to Maine I am going to be finally be able to do some art. YAY. Looking good!