I went shopping yesterday! I’m excited because I don’t generally do that. We are a one car family right now, so I’m stuck at home most days. That’s probably a good thing in the long run, as I can focus on doing what I should be doing instead of roaming around the countryside in search of the biggest ball of twine or something.

At any rate, I stopped at Ulta to get shampoo. It’s very special shampoo, and you can’t buy it just anywhere. It magically takes my straight, dismal, fine hair and turns it into hint-of-curls-fluffy hair. Awesome stuff! But I can’t walk into Ulta without wandering through all the girly things.

Have I mentioned I work from home? The only one who sees my face most days is my husband. He’s probably used to the grunge look by now, poor guy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want the option to look better! There’s still a girl inside here somewhere. Visions of photoshopped models dance through my head as I peruse the many sparkly packages. If I bought all of this stuff I would be bold, beautiful, glowing!

I’d settle for eyes that weren’t so puffy and lip color that stayed where I put it.

“Can I help you find something?” The girl looking at me was young, perky, and had the prettiest, long, curly black hair. I briefly considered running my fingers through it but then thought it might disturb her or the other customers. Whatever products she’s using must be fantastic, her hair was that touchable.

“Well, I need…nothing really. But I’d like cheek color or lip color that stayed. If I could tattoo it on I’d do it, because I forget otherwise.”

She nodded knowingly. I bet she has never stepped foot outside her apartment without a full face on. Especially given where she works.

She peered closely at my face for a minute. Sizing me up. Measuring me. I’m sure thoughts were running through her head like “Doesn’t she ever use moisturizer?” and “Why is her nose so red?”

I try to withstand the scrutiny without blushing or running for the door.

“Did you just get your hair colored?”

Yes, yes I did. Yesterday actually. You could tell because it still had that vivid, surreal sheen to it and because it was perfectly straight, having been assaulted by a flat iron. I think my hair dresser is trying to make me fashionable. It’s a losing battle, but I like to let her dream.

“I love it, it really brings out your complexion. I have the perfect thing for you, it will really enhance the whole effect. You’re going to love this…” and off she went. She pulled products from several shelves and came back with an armload. All I can see is dollar signs floating above each tester.

She spritzed my face with something refreshing. I have no idea what the stuff was but I felt suddenly transported to a tropical island. Then she pulled out a bottle of red liquid.  Blood red. Multiple murders red.

“Don’t worry, it looks strange but this is going to look great on you.”

Her delicate fingers worked a Q-tip full of this red paint into my cheeks and lips. Then she handed me a mirror.

Who the heck is that girl? Wow…I have lips! AND cheeks! Who knew?

She was right, I did, indeed, love it.

I walked on a cloud as I left with this red elixir. The best thing about it? It has to wear off…it doesn’t rub off if you touch your lips to a cup or drag your hand over your face in frustration. I do both things a lot, so this is important!

I got to the car, still elated. I looked in the rear view mirror. I smiled at myself. I felt beautiful! Or pretty, at least. It happens so rarely I decided to savor the moment.

I continued shopping, then trudged home with a car load of groceries and my new happiness in a bottle. When I got there I went immediately to the bathroom to inspect the results again. The color…it’s still there! I have cheeks! I have lips! I have a sparkle in my eye because I’m happy with my purchase!

I admire the person who can do what that girl did for me. She works in retail. She’s on her feet all day, dealing with people who are probably cranky, haughty, or annoying. Despite that, she helped make my day better without making me feel like a burden. That’s a skill. An art, even. It might seem like a little thing, helping a woman find just the right cosmetic. But it’s the little things that end up making or breaking the day sometimes, and this one really made mine. Thanks, Ulta girl 🙂