Four Things That Happen When You Dress Up Early for Halloween

By Cazey Williams I know readers have been refreshing their email to see what I'll be this Halloween ever since I wrote about my memorable costumes.

So I guess I'll tell you: I'm going to be a skeleton. "A glam skeleton" according to the tutorial.

Yes, those are females, but I think we can agree that skulls are pretty androgynous. I just won't wear the leggings.

All in all, this costume cost me $20 in makeup – which I think is the scariest part. There was a moment in Target when I debated whether to spend an Andrew Jackson for one night’s play or if I should get another car wash.

Anyway, after my purchases, I decided to practice. Here is what I looked like:

Cazey as a Skeleton

This is what followed:

My mom texted: “I don t like . too scary.” And then “u look too thin. Are u eating.”

Don’t you like how I captured her vernacular? So Baby Boomer.

Anyway, I was proud of my handiwork (yes, I did it myself – with the assistance of my roommate, because me: “How do I put on eye shadow?”), so I sent my mom a pic. And my mom, a former Sunday school teacher, responds that I look “too scary.” Sorta what I’m going for? But I should have expected this. In seventh grade, when I read “The Exorcist” and was obsessed with cryptids like Sasquatch (omg, my worst nightmare) and the Mothman, she bought me some religious texts and instructed me to read “happier things.”

On the subject of am I too thin? Well, if you want to toss a few toward my grocery budget. (But thanks for complimenting the drawn on neck bones!)

You meet your upstairs neighbor.

After submerging my pores in chalk and paint, I had to show it off, so I decided to walk to my friend’s. Except as I’m going out the door, I run into my neighbor. I live in a duplex, so our doors are side-by-side. Neighbor moved in two months ago, and I don’t even know his name other than what’s on his mail, and I can’t even remember that.

We’re going out the door at the same time, and then we pause to stare at each other. I wouldn’t have paused except he’s locked to my face, and I’m thinking, “What is he looking at?” Because you remember how you would forget you have face paint on after a carnival in elementary school until you saw yourself in the bathroom mirror? Yeah, I forgot. (Why can’t we forget when we have zits on our face?) And other than my face, it didn’t look like I’m rearing for a party or something. I’m in flipflops and sweats. I’m your Goth neighbor.

Finally, Neighbor says, “You look good.” And we moved away from our doors.

Your grandmother comments on your photo: “How could someone I know and love change so much????”

This is another one of those generational gap things. On my walk to my friend’s, I obviously had to Facebook (and Instagram) my getup. So I’m checking my notifications, and my adoptive grandmother – aka my elderly neighbor from my childhood – has commented on my photo.

How am I supposed to respond to that? Did we need four question marks? Such a millennial move, that excessive punctuation.

And then I’m mulling, Do I comment back and graffiti my Facebook post (which grandma has already graffiti’d, mind you), or do I ignore her? But poor woman, she thinks I’ve sold my soul to Satan. I decide I’ll comment back in six hours after my post has its heyday without adding to the graffiti unnecessarily. (Does anyone else ever have these thoughts? No one?)

Someone asks, “Have you seen my missing black cat?”

Still en route to my friend’s (I know, will I ever make it?), these two women stop me. They don’t even flinch that I’m wearing skull makeup.

“Excuse me, have you seen a black cat? He’s missing.”

Despite being an extrovert, I don’t do well with unexpected communication when brooding how to respond to Facebook comments, so I just gawk at them. Pursed lips, too. Gotta show those painted on teeth.


scary clown

They hand me a flyer.

“What’s his name?” I say.

I don’t remember his name, so I won’t make it up for this blog, but they tell me he’s just a year old cat, and I keep staring at them. I’m not a narcissist, but are we not going to address I look like a skeleton? (Or do I not? Does my makeup suck?)

No, let’s talk about your black cat that’s missing five days from Halloween. I can’t imagine where it’s gone. I probably look like the freak who took it. Yes, let me help you find it. (I would expand on this tangent, but I don’t want to appear insensitive. I really do like animals.)

Anyway, it was a weird night.

When the Life Plan Doesn't Happen

When I was growing up, I had my life entirely planned out. Now that I am at the threshold of my life that I was planning for, I have realized it is in no way what little me thought it would be.  While what I pictured for myself was pretty fantastic- depending on which version of now we are talking about- the "plan" I have for my life now is even better. When I was in elementary school, I had a plan that I was going to be married and be a meteorologist by now. I also envisioned living in a house similar to my Barbie's mansion, which was pretty cool. Needless to say, that version of my life didn't quite pan out.  While the Barbie mansion would be an upgrade, I must confess being unwed and not wrongly predicting weather is better than if this dream had come true.

In middle school, I thought by now I would be at NASA launching rockets into space. I'm not even kidding, I thought it was someone's sole responsibility to press the button to make the rocket go into space.  When I found out that those people are called "Rocket Scientists" and do excessively more than pressing a button, that dream died.

During my high school years, I did not have as much of a "plan" as before, but I did focus all of my energy on finding a way out of my town. I applied to no college within the state, except for my "safety" school. Then I proceeded to pick a college to go to based on how far away it was and how affordable it was.

When I was a freshman in college, I remember picking my major and knowing that by the time I graduated, I would have a job working for a huge public relations firm and in a serious relationship. I am 0-2 in that category.

However, working for a tiny social media company and selling makeup on the side (while not planned) actually perfectly fits me.  I have more leeway on creativity than if I was writing structured press releases all the time. I get to dapple in a bit more of everything because it is such as small company too, which keeps me from getting bored.  I am making less than I would elsewhere, but I get a whole lot more say in what we do, as well as more flexibility in what I am doing.

Despite having failed at every career and milestone goal I had planned out for my life thus far, I am glad none of my previous plans came into fruition. Sometimes you can't plan the life that you should have. It just happens and makes you happier than any other plan could have in ways that you couldn't have even imagined for yourself.

Positive Space

One of the best lessons I've ever learned from my Mary Kay director was about space. It's totally unrelated to makeup, but absolutely perfect. Think of every person in your personal space. Then strip them of how you know them, how you're related, the history between you, etc, and think only about their presence in your space. Is it positive, negative, or neutral? Then make changed based off of your assessment. Get rid of the negative people (or limit time if you're related or work with them and can't just block them out). Then consider the neutral people. Why bring them around if they don't add anything? At that point, you can just be by yourself.

Why waste time with anyone less than a positive influence on your space?

For the first time in awhile, I actually took someone's advice and listened. Naturally, since I am in social media, my first inclination was to apply this to my Facebook and Twitter. I went HAM on the unfollow and unfriend button. If you are on my newsfeed sub tweeting your ex, calling out your "haters" or whining about politics, you became dead to me.

While some may think it's harsh, the effects of getting rid of people that bring negativity into my space has been amazing. Rather than getting sucked into drama, I am now filling my space and thoughts with positive and meaningful messages. Viewing my social networks became actually a release from stress and a way to refresh myself and keep tabs on people and messages worth looking at.

It's your social network. Fill it with people worth being surrounded by.

A Reason to Stay

So my friend and I were trying to move a tv and accidentally dropped it on my foot. I ran to my nurse roommate who dumped hydrogen peroxide into the wound and we called it a night. When I woke up the next morning, I freaked at how bruised and nasty it was, so me and nurse roommate took a field trip to a mediquick. The point of this blog post is not to talk about my doctors visit, but let's just say it could have gone way better with a lot less judgement.

Fast forward a few hours.

I'm sending a picture of my war wound to everyone, even my Mary Kay director (she asked for it).

Injured foot

Then she shows her doctor husband, who offers to help. It's 1045 at night and I have never met him before. Obviously I want to put my toe in the best possible environment to recover, so I go. He cleans it up, gives me a few tips, butterflies it up, and sends me on my way.

I sell (well try to) Mary Kay under the direction of his wife for less than two months and he is putting my foot back together on his off time. If that kindness and generosity does not perfectly explain how everyone wants to be treated, I don't know what will. To know that there are people out there like that gives me a lot of hope for the world. It's also why I'm falling for Mary Kay.

I definitely didn't join Mary Kay for the medical benefits (there typically arnt any) but it's one of the reasons I am re energized to stay. Not the fact that it connects me with doctors, but that the network it creates takes care of one another. Not successfully selling makeup in a makeup industry is pretty demotivating, but to know that the people I'm surrounding myself with are actually fantastic humans keeps me going.

Selling makeup might seem trite, but being immersed in a culture of giving and genuinely helpful people is not. Having people that care about you beyond just numbers is what sets Mary Kay apart from other multilevel marketing companies. Despite being an independent contractor and basically only having minimal responsibility for me, my director went out of her way to help me and demonstrated an unparalleled level of compassion outside of the job related requirements. That's why I'm proudly staying with Mary Kay.

How to do Better than me in the Makeup Industry

I've been in the makeup business for 2 months now and have sold a whopping 100$ in the industry. Here's what I've learned so far: 1. Just because people are your friends doesn't mean they'll buy from you. - They tell you to use your network, but sometimes your network just isn't into it. None of my friends want to buy from me and its weird harassing them to. Keep it rolling and find new markets.

2. Face to face is still essential. - I thought I'd take the easy way out and sell online. No one wants to buy makeup online when they can try it on and look at it elsewhere in person.

3. If you don't take you seriously, no one will. - I secretly still don't wear enough makeup to be a viable makeup seller. It's tough to persuade people to do something if you don't do it yourself.

4. Do something. - I made a fancy website, Facebook page, and twitter feed for my new job, yet have not backed it up with any amount of skills, promotion, or tactics. Just because it has a pretty facade doesn't mean it'll succeed.

5. Do you. - When I first joined, she basically told me the boys line was irrelevant. I knew more dudes supporting me then women, yet I didn't even bother selling to them because she sort of told me not to. I should have known to do me and sell to them, since in the end they're 80% of the meager sales I've had.

Sometimes, there CAN be such a thing as too much enthusiasm

So now that I'm running my own independent beauty consulting business, I decided that I needed to back it up with social media. This was a natural inclination, as social media is my daytime profession. Plus, I had it worked out in my head that the more I sold online, the less legwork I would need to do in real life. So along came my alter ego, Sara at Mary Kay. She has this fancy little fan Facebook page and a Twitter handle to match. I went through and invited my friends to like the page and gave about a 10 second thought as to what to schedule onto it. Then I turned my sights onto my new Twitter persona.

I really saw Twitter as my outlet to new fans for many reasons, such as Twitter's longer history of hash tags, trending topics, and a general attitude that its not creepy to follow strangers. So I went Twitter-crazy. @SaraAtMaryKay went through and followed almost anyone talking about makeup, Mary Kay, skincare, or even just in the geographic vicinity of Richmond. Then she started retweeting like it was going out of style. Just to top it all off, she started mentioning lots of people that she whimsically decided would be interested.

Then Twitter blocked @SaraAtMaryKay.

Down went my non de plum. Thankfully, it only lasted for about an hour, and @SaraAtMaryKay was back in the game.

One may assume that after being blocked for being considered spammy, you would breathe and reign in the crazy Twitter horses. Nay. @SaraAtMaryKay continued to trek on. I had that account go through my real account and follow everyone that I thought would want to follow my makeup persona. I did a bit more retweeting, and just like that I was suspended (which means that you have to sit through several days of Twitter jail while they decide if you are allowed back on the site).

I was livid. How was I going to launch this great new endeavor if Twitter keeps taking me offline? So what if I condensed an entire day of reasonable Twitter engagement into an hour? So what if I spent my lunch hour blowing up the feeds of my followers?

Then it hit me.

Twitter is about people. No one wants to see me throwing myself at them. It was basically Twitter trying to tell me I was being desperate and needed to get my shit together. Basically I was being that drunk girl at a bar that just won't shut up so that everyone else can enjoy a bit of discourse. She just keeps blurting things out and hoping someone latches on to at least something she said, when in reality they're just rolling their eyes.

Sometimes, there can be too much enthusiasm. It's great that I wanted everyone to know I was selling markup, but I needed to direct all that emotion into digestible packages. I wouldn't want people doing that to me, so why was I doing it? Better yet, I work in social media, so how was I so deluded into thinking that this was okay?

My best answer is simply  one word: enthusiasm. It's hard to gauge how much is too when you're excessively excited about something. Not everyone will want to hear about your passions 24/7. That doesn't mean they don't want to hear it, just that they want it in moderation. Keep your readers in mind and just consider: how pissed would you be if someone blew up your feed with all the content you are producing?

From Tom Boy to Tweezers

On the day that I was left alone in office and was tasked with compiling the components of a proposal into a succinct and elegant binder, I quite literally ran to Panera to grab a sandwich for lunch before the big push was going to happen. As I was waiting in line, cursing the skies that I happened to come during the lunch rush, this petite blond girl told me the color of my dress (coral) was very in season (the middle of a Southern Virginia summer), and complimented my skin tone (flushed and sweaty from the jog over to get a sandwich). Then she asked me to enter in for a free makeover, so naturally after the plethora of compliments I had just received, I half-assed an entry and put just my name and number in. A few weeks passed and I got a phone call from the petite blond girl telling me I won. My life at this point was nothing short of a clusterfuck. Most days I couldn't tell you which way way up, so when she asked me to give her a date and time that worked, it was a miracle that I even picked a day of the week that I was free.  So then my friend and I embarked on an adventure that led me to make some very spontaneous decisions.

We rolled up a few minutes late to our free makeover, and were soon welcomed by the petite blond girl, who showered us with compliments, free drinks, and promise of cookies. Then we went into a mecca of makeup, in which she had an entire room full of product and pink, and spent about 2 hours smothering our faces in a myriad of products. By the end of the seminar and $100 later, I had somehow decided that selling makeup was going to be my new part-time job.

When I called my mother to tell her about it, she laughed.

When I called my sister to tell her about it, she laughed.

When I told a few of my close friends about it, they laughed.

Why was this new part-time job so funny? Probably because I had grown up playing sports, started wearing makeup my senior year of high school (let me clarify when I say "wearing makeup" I just mean mascara and eyeliner), and was basically a bro. So what I had never applied an entire face of makeup? And who cares that I can't put eyeshadow on myself without looking like a drag queen.

It was this reason exactly that I wanted to sell makeup (other than needing a bigger budget to maintain a somewhat reasonable lifestyle as a twenty-something respectable, yet fun, young professional). I thought that this opportunity presented itself so that I could learn how to be a lady.  In order to sell makeup, I'll need to learn how to to apply makeup, as well as consult people about what to get for themselves. Surely all this pretty girl stuff will rub off on me.

Even if this is the best it's going to get, at least now I know what the difference between foundation and bronzer is.