Every holiday beauty column written will likely be filled with suggestions on how to look great while preparing holiday meals. I want to share some beauty secrets that will make you look fabulous while spinning multiple plates, timing everything perfectly, and entertaining guests. But I believe that looking great during the holidays has everything to do with the expression you wear, the mood that defines you, and the bounce in your step.
Perfect makeup can't beautify a frowning face. Great clothes can't hide the stress that oozes from your every pore when you are upset and uptight. The most essential accessory you need this holiday season is a smile. Nothing else is in vogue this year. I am declaring that this is the year of the smile for moms.
Last week I was working on my blog while cooking dinner, and at the same time monitoring my children's homework. My 8-year-old daughter bounced up to me to ask me a question in the cutest way. I turned to her smiling and she stopped in her path. She walked up to me, put her little hands around my face, and said, "Mom, I love your face. You are so beautiful. I want to look just like you when I grow up." Now that has to be one of the best compliments ever, yet I was wearing no makeup, had my hair tied up with a writing pen and was dressed for comfort at the time. What she found beautiful was that I turned to her with a smile on my face instead of any of the other emotions I could have shown.
This holiday season, do everything you can to wear a smile on your face. For the last few years I have taken an unorthodox approach to holiday meals. Traditionally, I had made all the dishes expected for every holiday. A few years ago I thought my head might explode if I took on one more task in my life when Thanksgiving rolled around. So instead of allowing stress to overwhelm me, I chose what would bring a smile to my face and ordered a complete Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant. I spent the holidays heating up an already prepared meal that was more cost-effective, less stressful and more enjoyable than previous Thanksgiving dinners. I'm not saying that this solution is for everyone, but sometimes, you need to give yourself permission to not be Wonder Woman. Ask yourself, "can I do it all this year while wearing a smile?" If yes, have at it Betty Crocker; if no, then put your cape in the closet for a year.
My favorite holidays dos and don'ts are so easy that any busy mom can do them:
1. Don't do your holiday cooking dressed in your PJ's, sweats or grubbies. If you look frumpy, you feel frumpy. If you dress nicely, you will feel better about yourself while you work.
2. Do wear a child or two by your side. Your children will remember the experience of cooking with you better than they will remember the taste of the food. Give them an apron and age-appropriate tasks. Don't be afraid of the mess they will create - loving one's children is sometimes a messy business.
3. Don't sport the bed head look while you are cooking holiday meals. Upswept hair is less likely to fall into the food while you are cooking, so put your hair up with a cute clip or my favorite, the HairZing. The clip or HairZing will also make your hair look better than your everyday rubber band or scrunchie.
4. This is the perfect year to wear cute aprons and pearl necklaces. With the movie Julie and Julia out this year, the latest kitchen fashion is the old kitchen fashion of Julia Child. Have fun with it and wear your favorite jewels, cute shoes and a retro apron.
5. Wear simple and light makeup to cook. Keep in mind that you are likely to sweat and get steam in your face.
Above all have fun, let the kids help, insist that they help with cleanup, and be sure to wear a pure and honest smile. Whether you cook this year or not, do whatever you do with peace, joy, and patience.
Kayla Fioravanti, R.A., is the Chief Formulator and cofounder of Essential Wholesale and Essential Labs - www.essentialwholesale.com.