I'm just a girl standing in front of a lipstick, asking it to love her.....

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Finding the Muse Again, and Talking Gloss and Dirt With Shannon Ray.


As you can see in the above photo, I'm more of a silver fox these days, than a redhead.  My utter devotion to a fabulous lip, however, hasn't changed!

Welcome to An Occasional Redhead!  

I've been on, let's call it sabbatical, for a while, and it's a pleasure to be back!  If you're a returning reader, you may know some of my life for the last year. If you're new here, I'll fill you in a bit. 

As of Nov. 17th, I've been on weekly low-dose chemotherapy, for Lupus, for a year.  It's been a roller coaster, but it's going to be worth it.  I might not have a lot of hair for a while, my skin is a bit bananas, however, the fact that I'm writing words which seem to be sensible is a huge step in the right direction. Couldn't do that last April!  Or August!

One thing that I've been struggling with has been inspiration. I felt like warmed-over death, looked like it too, and could hardly keep a coherent thought rolling around in my head for the first six months. I didn't show my mug on social media for ages. How was I supposed to be a voice for beauty, when I felt like I had none?  Inspiration was in desperately short supply. 

I had no idea how to get my groove back, so I decided to strip everything away and figure out why I started writing a blog in the first place.  I'm so glad I did! It was almost cathartic to just let the muse find me again. No deadline, no stressing about pageviews, only finding the joy in sharing this part of my being with the world!

There were a few different things that inspired me to take the leap into blogging, and keep An Occasional Redhead going. Over the next month or two, I want to share some of those things  with you. The ladies that I want to talk about in these posts have made me smile, say WOW, laugh, and want to be better, both personally and on An Occasional Redhead. I think you'll enjoy them as much as I do!

First, I want to tell you this.  If I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, there are two things that I know would be true. Since the climate is dry, my arthritis would be far less bitchy, and Shannon Ray and I would the kind of friends that drank wine on the porch and had serious, occasionally loud-ish, discussions regarding the eyebrow situation of everyone on the street. 
Shannon Ray is the brains and beauty behind a blog called Gloss and Dirt.  Gloss and Dirt is a marvellous blend of honest, thorough beauty reviews, clever tips and tricks, snark and glorious pop-culture. I discovered Shannon's blog about 3 years ago.  I had stopped work a couple of  years earlier, because I couldn't get my health under control and still didn't know what was going on with me.  Had NO idea what to do with myself.  I liked reading blogs, but I was not nearly sweet and flowery enough to write one.  Or so I thought.  Once I read Gloss and Dirt, that all changed!  This lady had a gorgeous face, kick-ass makeup skills, lots of knowledge, a semi-dirty mouth, and a mountain of personality!  I saw that I didn't have to be ultra-bubbly to write a beauty blog!  Some snark and an honest voice are what made me want to read more of this blog, and I figured that I had those qualities, so I gave it a whirl!
What makes this blog different is that it's not just about what's new.  It also features products that perform regardless of how long they've been available.  One person's stand-by may be brand new to someone else, and I love when an oldie-but-goodie is shown in a new light!  It's certainly not the standard review-the-same-collection-that-600-other-bloggers are swatching as we speak, and that's part of why Gloss and Dirt became Allure Magazine Best Blog in 2012.  Shannon still posts on the Allure website till this day!
Gloss and Dirt was started in 2012, like many other blogs, as a creative outlet.  Shannon had owned a women's clothing store for several years and started working at a Dermatologist's office.  This was, ultimately, boring and had zero creativity involved.  At this point, a friend, Shannon says, "was like, 'Why don't you start a blog? You could talk about makeup and celebrities and whatever the hell you want!' He was on Ambien at the time, so I didn't take it TOO seriously, but it stuck in my brain. So, I finally decided just to do that crap,"
The thing Shannon enjoys most about blogging is the total creative expression, and the fact that she's free to work with 100 percent freedom.  A job has guidelines to be followed, this doesn't.  "When you're writing or creating something of your own, it's like a little piece of your heart and brain that other people might just read. And might just relate to.  So, when other people are like 'OMG I THINK THAT TOO!' it's just kind of the best."
 You may notice, that Shannon has some spectacular brows, among other things, and if we want hot-ass eyebrows of our own, she spills her secrets in this post. There is now no excuse for bad brows! ;)
I hope you guys are well, getting ready for the holidays, and most of all, being good to yourselves!  Keep your eyes peeled, Boys and Girls, because there's some fun and a lot of pretty coming to the blog.  Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates!  Also for doggies, tv shows, and nonsense.  It's how I roll.  Don't forget to check out Gloss and Dirt on Twitter for updates and a whole bunch of entertainment, too!
Donna Xoxo