Primer Twenty Eight

A pretty young woman in a denim coat seems to follow my makeup rules.

Yesterday I talked to you about makeup and how, so often, we overdo it. We also talked about proper mascara application. So often, we use powders and creams to cover up what exists and to create a blank canvas.  That’s fun to do on occasion, but in the every day, you want to be treating your skin beautifully by keeping it clean, by keeping it calm (as in, not irritated, enflamed, or clogged), and by eating well and drinking lots of water so that it’s healthy. A person who looks healthy and well groomed will look more gorgeous than someone who is unhealthy and covered in colored, scented goo.

That’s why my recommended makeup routine is very simple. I already taught you how to apply mascara in Primer 27, and I promised you the rest of my makeup routine today.

Now I want you to apply one of two possible cosmetic choices: lipstick or eyeliner. Either carefully apply eyeliner and then put on mascara, or apply mascara and then apply lipstick.  Don’t do all three.  Whichever you choose, apply your cosmetics carefully and slowly; hug that eyeliner close to the base of your eyelashes. Follow the natural curves of your lips with that lipstick.

Then leave the rest of your face alone.  If it’s clean and healthy from the inside out, your skin should be looking really good.  If it’s not, applying foundations, powders, and blushes won’t improve the state of your skin over the long haul. Sleeping, exercise, drinking water, and eating right will help your skin.

Now we know what habit 28 is: Wear either eyeliner or lipstick; apply either meticulously.

One to the scoring! Give yourself 1 point for each task you accomplished and post your score in the comments.  I’ll do the same.

 

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.
23. Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.
24. Give your conversation partner your full attention.
25. Pay someone a sincere compliment.
26. Only wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather.
27. Put mascara on your top lashes only; two coats!
28. Wear either eyeliner or lipstick; apply either meticulously.

- Miss Fitzgerald

 

 

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Primer Twenty Seven

A woman applies mascara while she gazes into a mirror.

Cosmetics. Whoa. Most of us wear either no makeup or far too much makeup.  The truth is that cosmetics function as a mask; they hide what we don’t like and brighten what we do like.  Cosmetics don’t make us beautiful.  Physical beauty comes more from personal fitness and wellness than it does from makeup.  It’s better to have clear skin, excellent posture, and a healthy body than it is to have a $100 lipstick.   That’s why I’ve been asking you to apply chap stick, to sit and stand with excellent posture, to clean your nails, to exercise, to wear perfume,  to stretch, the take good care of your teeth, and to smile… and, and, and.

Beauty stems from good health and good will, in other words. I want you to wear only a tiny amount of makeup.  In Primer Twenty Eight, I’ll be telling you about the makeup routine that I sincerely hope that you’ll adopt.  For now, I want to talk to you about mascara.  I think that mascara well applied will always be of help to your appearance.  So, I want you to put on mascara every morning. I want you to put on two coats of mascara, preferably black mascara.

Do you know how to put on mascara? Here’s how I do it:

1. When you pull the wand out of the pot, scrape it free of excess mascara goo.

2. Place the mascara wand at the base of your eye lashes and roll it upward until you reach the very tips of your lashes.

3. Most of us miss the very tips of our lashes, so gently swish the wand from side to side when  you reach the tips to make sure that your eyelashes are coated up their entire length. You want to make sure that your full length is appreciated!

4. Wait a moment for the first coat to dry and then apply a second coat.

I don’t apply mascara to my bottom lashes. Ever.

This leads me to habit 27: Put mascara on your top lashes only; two coats!

Notice that we’re adding to your morning routine here.

Hey, how well did you score? Give yourself 1 point for each task that you accomplished.  Then post your score in the comments; I’ll do the same.  Ooh! Are you new here? Go to Primer One and start at the beginning.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.
23. Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.
24. Give your conversation partner your full attention.
25. Pay someone a sincere compliment.
26. Only wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather.
27. Put mascara on your top lashes only; two coats!

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty Six

A young woman wears a bikini in the snow.

Don’t wear a down coat in the summer. Don’t wear a short skirt in winter, unless you’re wearing opaque tights underneath. People notice when you seem to be dressed inappropriately for the weather, and they’ll ask you about it. “Aren’t you cold?” or “Aren’t you really warm in that?” Far from looking cute or unusual in an intriguing way, wearing weather-inappropriate clothing makes you the focus of critical or confused attention. Plus, you know, you’ll feel less comfortable. Take a peek outside before you dress, or read the weather report. Wear clothes that’ll keep you comfortable throughout the day.

This leads me to habit 26: Only wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather.

It’s scoring time! Give yourself 1 point for each task you’ve accomplished and post your score in the comments below. I’ll do the same. Are you new here? STOP! Go back to Primer One and ease yourself in by applying your chap stick.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.
23. Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.
24. Give your conversation partner your full attention.
25. Pay someone a sincere compliment.
26. Only wear clothes that are appropriate for the weather.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty Five

A little girl communes with an adorable, friendly pony.

Part of being finished is being able to step outside of your own head. When you look around at others, I want you to be able to really notice what they’ve put effort into. It’s all about empathy. When you see someone who’s clearly put effort into something, I want you to compliment them–and I want you to mean it. Furthermore, I want you to do this at least once every day, and that’s habit 25: Pay someone a sincere compliment.

This works best if you do it in person or over the phone; digital compliments lose a lot of their oomph.

How well did you score today? Give yourself 1 point for each task you accomplished and post your score below in the comments. I’ll do the same.  If you’re new here, don’t dive in here! I’d love it if you went all the way back to Primer One. This finishing course is all about slowly and steadily building up habits, so don’t shortchange yourself by blasting ahead–win this race tortoise-style.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.
23. Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.
24. Give your conversation partner your full attention.
25. Pay someone a sincere compliment.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty Four

A monkey gazes at the viewer.

Silence your cell phone and put it out of sight. Stop gazing at the waiter behind your conversation partner’s back. Stop picking at your nails and peering at the hang nail on your thumb. Stop thinking back the the irksome fight you had with your sister last week.  This is habit number 24:  Give your conversation partner your full attention.

I mean that you absorb every word, that you listen carefully, and that you contribute to the conversation with interest. Nothing sends an unintended snub like answering your cell phone during a coffee date or falling into a day-dreamy doze when your gal pal is trying to describe her work woes to you.  You already know that building up a store of social good will is fun and good for you, and actually paying attention to people is one of the fastest ways to accrue it.  Be present with the people you’re talking to; don’t cast about madly for something more fun to think about or someone more engaging to talk to.

Do this and you’ll build trust with those you talk to, display dignity and self-assurance, and, to be plain, be respectful. Respect is in such short supply that you’ll rise above the ranks with this one.

Let’s move on to the scoring! How well did you do today? Give yourself 1 point for each task you accomplished and post your score in the comments. I’ll do the same.  If you’re new, don’t start here! I’d like for you to hop back to Primer One; we’re building habits day-by-day, and I want you to really learn these concepts without wearing yourself out. It all starts when you apply chap stick.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.
23. Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.
24. Give your conversation partner your full attention.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty Three

 

A pair of new sneakers.

It’s time for habit 23: Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.

This is a habit that will improve your health, your appearance, and your posture. Gone with scuffs and tears on your shoes. Gone with shoes that blister your heels or make your toes bleed or that cut into the tops of your feet.  Your shoes should be comfortable and they should be clean and in good repair. Make a habit of wiping your shoes with paper towels or rags to remove dirt and mud. Sprinkle baking soda in them to keep them from getting smelly. Replace them when they’re too old to be attractive or supportive.

I have a special fondness for cute lace-up shoes (because in those, you can take out the garbage or go hiking at will), but you can wear whichever kind of shoe suits you. If you’re going to wear open-toed shoes, make sure that your toenails are trimmed and cleaned; and I hope that you’ll have a pedicure. But I won’t mandate the pedicure part.

By the way, if you own shoes that don’t fit my criteria, get them out of your life. Donate them, throw them away, or give them to a friend–but don’t leave yourself with the temptation to wear shoes that are ugly or that hurt your feet.

It’s time for scoring! Give yourself 1 point for every task you accomplished during the day and post your score in the comments. I’ll do the same. Wait! Are you new here? Don’t overwhelm yourself by jumping in; start by reading Primer One and putting on some chap stick.  We’re building up habits one day at a time, and I want you to have time to really learn all of the concepts.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.
23. Only wear shoes that are in excellent condition and that fit you well.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty Two

A neatly made bed in a spartan room.

Here’s habit 22: Make your bed. We’re adding to our morning routines today. A neatly made bed adds to your polish; it’s tidy throughout the day and feels more comfortable when you slip into it.  You’ll be treating yourself and your home with more respect. Visitors will notice. Don’t obsess over this; I’m hoping that you’ll spend a minute or two spreading up your covers, not that you’ll spend fifteen minutes making your bed perfect. Perfection is the enemy, but a bit of tidiness is truly our friend.

 

How well did you score today? Give yourself 1 point for each task you accomplished; then post your score in the comments. I’ll do the same.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.
22. Make your bed.

 

New to the Willow Finishing Course? Start at Primer One and work yourself up through the primers, one day at a time.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty One

An elegant woman reads a newspaper.

Three weeks! Congratulations; you’ve built up a strong store of skills. In eleven days, we’ll be finished with the primers and we’ll be moving along to routines. This is good stuff.  So far we’ve been working on your health, elegance, and dignity. Now I want to focus a little bit on the life of your mind. Here’s habit twenty one: Read the headlines.

We’re adding this to our morning routine. Every morning, I want you to either pick up a newspaper or fire up your computer and to take a gander at what’s going on in your community and in your world.  You don’t need to read every word. In fact, just reading the headlines on the main page will do. I just want you to be current.

This benefits you in many different ways. Let me list a few of those benefits: You’ll find some interesting headlines, for one thing, and you’ll genuinely find them fascinating. You’ll find yourself commenting on the news in conversation; by reading the headlines you’ll have conversation fodder. And you’ll be more educated, so you’ll come off as more educated.

Reading the headlines, to be plain, makes your more interested and more interesting.

Let’s move on to the scoring! Give yourself 1 point for each task you achieved today. Then post your score in the comments. I’ll do the same.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.
21. Read the headlines.

Are you new here? Don’t dive in all at once! Start with Primer One and apply a new concept each day. We’re building habits one day at a time so that we’ll really absorb the lessons. Move slowly, grasshopper!

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Twenty

Here we see a mouth in the act of speaking.Today we’re adding to our daily deportment skill set.  This one’s a doozy, but, on the bright side, you can practice it all day. Here’s habit 20: Pronounce every syllable when you speak.

I don’t mean that you should sound like TNG’s Data; you can use contractions and colloquialisms, but I want you to pronounce every consonant and round out every vowel. Don’t be lazy; speak a bit slower than usual and really wrap your lips around those words. Pay special attention to the ends of words and sentences; we tend to forget about enunciating those bits and bobs of speech and they turn into rapid-fire mush. Really speak the end. I want you to practice this all day; be as clear as possible when you speak by pronouncing every syllable of every word.

Are you new here? Start at the beginning, at Primer One. We’re building up habits one by one, and I want you to spend an entire day absorbing each concept. Start by putting on some chap stick!

It’s scoring time! Give yourself 1 point for each task that you’ve accomplished today. I’ll post my score in the comments, and I invite you to do the same. How well did you do today?

 

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.
20. Pronounce every syllable when you speak.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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Primer Nineteen

A wee tabby kitten gazes just a little bit to the right of the camera.

Let me walk you through some logic here. Eyes are the window to the soul. All people want to be acknowledged and seen. Therefore, gazing into their eyes is an effective way to acknowledge their humanity and worth.

This leads me to habit 19:   Look your conversation partners in the eye.

I’m not talking about staring here. Don’t peer at their eyeballs relentlessly as you talk; just make sure that gaze meets gaze a few times over the course of the conversation. Doing this demonstrates that you know that you’re worth something, and it proves that you respect your conversation partner.  Today (and tomorrow, and the next day, etc.) I want you to make sure that you get in at least a bit of eye contact during every conversation. See what happens.

Scoring! How well did you do today? I’ll post my score in the comments section, and I invite you to do the same. If you’re new here, head back to Primer One and start there–we’re building up habits one day at a time, and it’s important to give at least one day to each concept.

1. Apply chap stick.
2. Drink a big glass of water.
3. Sit and stand with excellent posture.
4. Exercise for thirty minutes.
5. Clean your nails thoroughly.
6. Dress in clothes that fit you perfectly.
7. Apply lotion to your feet and hands at bedtime.
8. Wear one piece of pretty jewelry.
9. Wear a dab or a spritz of perfume.
10. Stretch gently for five minutes at bedtime.
11. Floss and thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day.
12. Smile at everyone.
13. Refuse to say anything bad about anyone, including yourself.
14. Remove profanity from your speech.
15. Go to bed in time to get eight hours of sleep.
16. Wear a signature piece.
17. Cook at least one meal with healthy ingredients.
18. Don’t criticize anyone.
19. Look your conversation partners in the eye.

- Miss Fitzgerald

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