Throwback Thursday Video: When I Discovered Lipstick + Some Thoughts On Burn-out

my pretty purse makeup

My first makeup bag.

The greatest/crayest thing about doing what you love is that you do it all the time. ALL THE TIME. At this juncture, in eight years, I have written at least 7,000 posts/articles about various and sundry beauty products for Rouge18 and my many side-hustles, including, and Refinery29.

I love, love, love it  but lately I’ve been just needing a BREAK. Boxes of products are sent to me each week and while that in and of itself is a veritable pipe dream come true, with each of these products is quickly followed by a stream of emails asking when I’m going to write about these things. The bulk and expectation can wear on me. It can feel a little like the guy who reserves the hotel room and then asks you to the prom, to quote the sage Maureen Dowd. Please know that I am absolutely not complaining and I recognize what a first-world problem all of this is. It becomes hard to balance sifting through things and wanting to be responsive to publicists simply doing their jobs (whom I like and with whom I enjoy working). Mostly, this is pressure I put on myself to answer the majority of my emails, to attend 10-25 events a week to be supportive.

An editor’s job is to sift through launches and determine which products work the best, impart the most stunning sparkle, address the most vital beauty concerns. And yet, increasingly, there’s a latent implication from many brands (not all, of course) that because something was sent (unsolicited, at that) and because I have the autonomy to post what I’d like without sifting through multiple layers of bureaucracy that I WILL just do everyone and her grandmother a “solid” and post about every single thing that comes my way. I’m grateful to Official Mascara Correspondent Ashleigh Ciucci for her reviews and to intern Julia, who helps me by posting and attending events a few times a week. I spend my time going to fewer and fewer in favor of having more time to work, but my days are still quadrisected by events checking the flow of creativity multiple times a day.

Obviously, it’s simply not possible for me to cover everything that launches – there are thousands of new SKUs every month. It would also be a disservice to you, my readers, not to distinguish the best of the bunch from other lotions and potions that, while perfectly fine, aren’t absolutely EXCELLENT in their frizz-fighting, pigment-payoff or skin-clearing capabilities.  Because it’s been a couple years since I cut the cord of my financial day-job and I haven’t had the contrast of the utterly generic versus the passion I had in my early blogging years, I’ve taken on more, more, more stories and have been experiencing a bit of beauty fatigue.  I find myself living in a life-hack inspired way so that I can be everywhere, do everything, write everything and make use of every single second and frankly, it’s making me into an frazzled asshole. I need to get a grip. I have become, as my good friend Felicia Sullivan says, a mass-market version of myself and it is not okay.

But this week, I felt a renewed sense of purpose and clarity on the subject. I recently rewatched a home video of my third birthday party, which was Ms. Pacman-themed (yasss!). My father taped over pretty much all of our home movies with Dr. Who episodes (really), but this one somehow made it and I never noticed that it showcases a very pivotal moment in my life. I was opening my birthday gifts and received a VITAL Fisher Price My Pretty Purse, a yellow clutch containing fake lipstick and a compact. I promptly stopped opening my other presents outsourcing the task to my mother, who unwrapped a second Candy Land with which I was utterly unconcerned… because I have just discovered lipstick and I am fascinated with it and applying it immediately, despite its counterfeit status.

It reminded me how lucky I am to work in an industry that is such a part of my SOUL and in a capacity that I love. I need to stop taking it for granted, but I also need to stop working myself like a lunatic so I can continue to appreciate it. It’s a difficult balance, friends.

What’s your best advice on how to avoid burn-out? Help a gal out. Go.

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