Dirty Thirties HANDLED

“Stella, I’m 37. What a completely lame age to be.” I said out loud to my golden retriever this morning as I slurped shrimp-flavored ramen for breakfast at 11:15am.

I stayed up really late last night migrating images from my personal Instagram with the business name to a business Instagram with the business name per the instruction of my cousin slash best friend slash marketing consultant, Rachel Hyde. She thinks my personal life is too tied up in the business and it’s difficult for first-time clients to navigate the social media platforms. She’s right.

So, to completely defy all reason, I have decided to use this particular platform to … tell a completely hypothetical story about something that could happen to anyone (it’s totally about me.)

A stand-out, sure fire way to tell that you’re plummeting into the depths of mid-life crisis is looking in the mirror to find that the head of hair that frames your face is grey. NOT the natural kind that you get from living a pure and decent life but a grey that started out grey but was covered up with brown followed by a more striking black, stripped down to a ginger color, tortured into an ashish blond, covered in royal purple, faded to a yellowish lavender, bleached of all remaining dignity and strength, tapped, foiled and woven into a frenzy, coaxed back into a periwinkle color and finally DYED grey for the low, low price of roughly $1,300. THAT is when you re-evaluate your beauty standards. And your life.

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Default Beauty

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Being a person of less than advanced ability with all things technology, I had owned my Samsung Galaxy S6 for 8 months when I discovered the “beauty face” setting on my phone’s camera.

Beauty Face is a sliding scale that one can use on the selfie setting.  It activates by default (#8) if you use the front-facing camera. In effect, it airbrushes your face and gives you options to make your face look slimmer and your eyes look bigger.

“Wow Samsung. When you get a brand new phone and go to take a selfie and realise that the default setting on the front camera is automatically on “Beauty level 8” which evidently means: seriously airbrushed face. This means everyone who gets a new Samsung phone and flicks the front camera on is automatically being told ‘Hi, we’re Samsung and we think you look way better when we automatically airbrush your selfies for you, x 8!!’ Thanks @samsungmobile for the vote of confidence, I think I’ll keep my freckles and imperfections since this is how I look in 3D and this is how all my friends see me in real life. I hope young girls are buying iPhones instead of Samsungs. (Wait, do iPhones do this too?) To clarify – no apps here – this is Samsung’s DEFAULT FRONT CAMERA SETTING.”  ~Mel Wells, the author of “The Goddess Revolution”

So, I tried to be mad. I am, after all an advocate for loving your body just the way it is, a fighting feminist and a mother of three teenage girls. But, I’m not angry and here’s why:

Samsung isn’t forcing us to use the tool just like your local tattoo artist isn’t forcing us into their shops to get phoenix birds on our shoulder blades. It’s just a way to alter your image if you choose to. I do this most days with makeup.

“I’m going to do my makeup real quick”

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This is make-up + Beauty Face “2”. Please note that I love both images. I enjoy how BF2 smooths my forehead scars, neck skin tags and cleavage wrinkles in photos although I’m still proud to share them with the real physical world.

I tweeze, exfoliate, moisturize, prime and conceal. This is followed by foundation, contouring, blush and highlighting with a translucent powder set.  Next, brow conditioning primer, powder brow fill followed by colored brow pomade and concealer sharpening. Next, I prime my eyelids, apply 3 shades and liquid liner. I then curl my eyelashes, glue and set false lashes and after that dries, blend my natural lashes into the false ones. Time for the last layer of overall face- another coat of concealer (under eye) and all over “warming” with a medium contour shade. Spray set. Then lip exfoliator/conditioner, lip liner, base color, blot, powder, liner, top color, blot, gloss.

If they ever sell a Beauty Face slider that transforms your actual face on the days that you chose to, I will buy it. (As long as I can still do my own brows- I really love doing that.)

Conclusion

Now, the “default” setting weirds me out a bit. Having to physically dial down the beauty setting just to look like you really look..that sends a message I think.

At Hot Tomato, you get to choose your “Default Beauty”. Did you know that? We don’t have a single box we put everyone in.  We want to photograph you. You get to tell us what kind of beauty you would like to capture. Here’s where you start- Tell Us

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I’ll update the post with your comments.

Email them to hottomatopinupacademy@gmail.com

Hot Tomato Pick of the Week!

ALARM ALARM! Calling all current and aspiring GDHT’s! The Parkersburg Art Center is stepping a bit out of the box with this event and we all need to show our support so we keep more fun workshops coming!

Stumped on what to get the lover that has it all?? Here is your answer! Heart. Shaped. Pasties. I KNOW!!

An event such as this is guaranteed to attract some of the funest girls in the MOV! (Of COURSE I’ll be there!)

Feb 3, 2017 6-8pm

All craft bits and instruction supplied.

BYOB

$40

Get your ticket HERE!

Fierce Mama Love

 

Can they ALL be my favorite session? For serious. Look at these.rfp_7288-2

This Mama knows how to rock a bump, now. Week 38 didn’t exactly look the same on me if memory serves. “Fierce” isn’t just a sexy buzz word I’m putting in here either, I’ve seen this mama bear with her THREE other littles! (You read that right) The love, the snuggles, the..ahem..”shaping of character” that is the hardest and best gift we can give our children…this Mama has it all!

She’s brilliantly funny, drop dead gorgeous and happens to be married to a lifetime friend of our photographer in training (yeah, you read that right too). Training.

Jocelyn: “A boudoir maternity shoot..this will be a first!”

My jaw flopped to the floor when these proofs were placed in my hand. STUN.NING. Just pure magic! I mean, here we have a great photographer that adores what she does, photographing a super sweet and hilarious friend who is blissfully expecting an already flipping ADORED baby girl! Mama is also super hot and had a brilliant hair and makeup team and was photographed in the most kickin studio in Marietta…maybe even the WORLD!

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So yeah, you could say I was pleased with the results ;)

ALSO, guess who’s birthday is TODAY? That’s right! Happy Birthday, Kennedy Sue <3

You got one fierce Mama, sweetheart!!

Hot Tomato Holiday Special!

Hot Tomato has a pretty kickin special for all of you! You and a friend- You need this!

Here are the details!

$599- gift it or split it (Big O Session for each of you)

Three outfits each.

$200 gift product credit from us to each of you!

Plus, we will gift $50 to your favorite charity <3

Several dates available to have gifts in time for Valentines Day.

Click here to book your boudoir or pin-up session now.

Second Annual Men’s Night

THE DEAL-12/6/16 5-8pm only:

Hot Tomato dollar amount gift certificates up to $500

Big Spender Special- Free Big O session ($395 value) with package purchase of $1299 or more.

 

 

 

TO DO: My next 48 hours are not too shabby, folks.

  • Pack sun dresses, bikinis and passport into a carry-on amr_1738_bw-2
  • Shop for top shelf whiskey and meaty snacks
  • Spend an evening playing Black Jack in the glitzy Hot Tomato Parlor with the finest men in the MOV
  • Package special gifts for some very lucky ladies
  • Drive to the airport overnight to catch a flight to sunny Aruba

Dear sweet men of the Mid Ohio Valley, this is it. Tuesday night from 5pm until 8pm, come and get your lover the gift that every woman will envy before I leave the country!

wm-22Want to know a little secret? Not only will you give a most magnificent gift for Christmas, BUT it’s pretty certain the you will reap the rewards of this fine gift come Valentines Day (if you get my drift).

Hot Tomato offers an experience that will help HER see what YOU see! We celebrate all women and show them how beautiful they are right this minute. We offer any type of photo experience that speaks to them, be it head shots, boudoir, vintage style, dark and moody, or simply dolled up in their favorite attire and celebrated as the special women they are! We do it all.

Check out some of our standing packages here.

We will also have some specials on Tuesday night that won’t be offered at any other time!

Not sure where we are located? Let me give you “Our Card”.

Text or call to make an appointment or just stop in!

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You and Me, Sister!

Sometimes it’s tough to justify booking a day to pamper yourself. “Oohh, look at me, I went and got all sexified and had a luxurious day to myself!” *Your friends hate you already. Not really. But sorta ;)

HOWEVER, you totally want that for your friends, right? BUT, it’s kinda weird to be like “Here, you go and do this fabulous thing and look all gorgeous and I’ll be over here super happy for you.” Yeah, your heart was in the right place but…Awkward!

Wouldn’t it be swell if you both got to do something glamorous AND and do a little good in your community? Read on. We have a solution!

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NOVEMBER HOT LIST

Okay, Let’s get to it! So many fabulous businesses to experience in our sweet MOV :) Here’s a few of our November FAVES!

EATS

Nacho Average Taco

Guys, listen. I’m what they call a bit of a foodie. One thing that I demand to declare a place AMAZING is freshness! This place is consistent on that point. Another feature that I happen to adore is big, giant HEAP of freshness! This place delivers! Know what else is cool about a place that uses fresh ingredients? A menu that changes every week!15058723_10208679152194602_1167903518_n

As a pescatarian (an eater of a vegetarian diet including fish), I am delighted with the fresh options that are healthy as well as bursting with flavor! I have too many favorites to name but I did ask the crew to shout out a few of their must haves! Jocelyn adores the bourbon chicken taco as she is a self-proclaimed “whiskey gal” and can’t get enough of the home-made green salsa. Awesome Roberts loves the fish tacos and fresh, made daily slaw! I have to admit, I like them a little better than the ones at Iguana Joe’s in ARUBA!

Also, they cater! Oh yeah, it’s totally going to happen in 2017 in the Parlor so make sure you don’t miss that event that I haven’t planned yet but is going to be completely awesome! Here’s a sample peek their catering menu <3

ONE MORE THING! They are moving across Putnam Street to a new and perfect location where the Skyline Diner used to be, 114 Putnam Street, Marietta Ohio! Grand Opening is November 26th!

WELLNESS

McCarter Health Center

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How awesome is it when you have super good friends that are also brilliant magicians er…I mean doctors…like MAGIC DOCTORS! I mean, when you feel totally broken and cannot function or walk upright like evolution suggests or push the clutch in without yelling and you text them way late at night and beg them in ALL CAPS to come in the next day when they are schedule off and they DO IT because they give a serious hoot about your wellness! Meet the good folks at McCarter Health Center.

My personal care regimen includes EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) to relax and warm the muscles in my lower back to allow for easier adjustment. This is followed by vertebral traction to lesson pain. And finally, physical manipulation of my lower back and neck. I’m allowed to rest in a comfortable position while I feel energy sparking again in areas that were blocked moments before then gently helped up, usually hugged and lovingly admonished for waiting too long to come in. Going to McCarter Heath Center is one of my most important modes of self care. I’m so grateful to call the staff friends of mine.

Aside from being a place where you can get outstanding chiropractic care, get a load of all the other services they offer. Physical Therapy, Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Hormone Testing & Treatment, Hair Mineral Analysis, K-Laser Therapy, Massage Therapy, and Worksite Wellness Programs!

Located at 4315 Emerson Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26104 directly across the street from Walker CAT and Mulberry Lane. Call today to get your wellness on with really cool people that know all kinds of stuff and care…a LOT. 304-428-8300

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Boogie Shoes Productions

Sometimes, DJ’s are locked into a playlist and that’s generally reflective of a couple of people that are the party focus, cool. But, you know when I enjoy a DJ most? When they are allowed to read the crowd and play accordingly. NO ONE does this better than Boogie Shoes! Courtney is someone who understands that “Music is what feelings sound like” as her cover photo states. You think “YES! THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG! I’ll sit down right after this one. But NOOOO..The next song is just as flipping awesome and the body can’t deny the crowd another dance! We are thrilled to have her back in our sparkly corner for the 2016 Sparkly Ladies party (Sparkle Tickets still on sale, follow the link for details!)! She will play a crowd pleasing mix of 1920’s swing and modern rock n roll for us to get our speakeasy shimmy on! She has a handful of party dates available through the end of the year. Message her here on the facebook page or email at courtneydalden@gmail.com.

STYLE

Terri Ann’s

I love to shop in a place that is filled with women gathered around the counter laughing and enjoying the day. This is ALWAYS the case at Terri Ann’s! They are more than happy to assist you or let you leisurely browse on your own. The energy and flow of the space and inventory is really thoughtfully put together. Always showcasing the latest fashion and season, one glides through furs and sparkly jewelry to the perfect accent scarves and footwear. It’s a brand new store every time I walk in. I especially like the back room. Spotlights on glamorous gowns and special, delicately wrapped panties and stockings! SO glad to see a female-owned business carrying high end underthings. Let’s bring all that back!

Hot Tomato is also honored to have Terri Ann’s as a sponsor for this years Sparkly Ladies Party! Online tickets available online or in person in the shop beginning this weekend!

Happening this month at Terri Ann’s:

2016 Holiday Open House

Holiday Girlfriend Night

Terri Ann knows fashion for every occasion, season and generation.  Family owned and operated since 1861, I’m so glad to see such a downtown staple doing so well and offering class and style to the Mid Ohio Valley. Located at 290 Front Street in Marietta, Ohio.

 

 

A 300 Hour Day

Do you ever feel like your life is one giant metaphor? The moment I entertained the notion that we might all really be connected and that nothing is really random, it seemed that all the forces in the universe high-fived each other in celebration that I finally “got it.”

My last post “Tomato Roots” came bursting out all at once. I could hardly wait to follow it up with the VINES! Yep, this was it. Felt totally right. It was a next step, a level up, a tying together of everything we all bring to Hot Tomato. I would spend the rest of October creating brilliant marketing and getting women into the studio to help them celebrate their stories and scars, family and history. EVERY very kind of beauty!! The ROOTS, the VINES!

Stay Tuned

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“Stay Tuned” was how I ended my last post. The next day my sister overdosed on heroin.

Mom held her as she seized in the ER. Dad paced the hall with his hand fixed over his mouth. I made phone calls. Our work, political agenda, domestic duties, holiday preparations, social obligations and personal priorities were checked at the hospital doors until further notice.

The last two weeks have have been more like one very stressful 300 hour day. Being in the ICU with a loved one, for me, is sort of like being an on-call journalist and news reporter, while going to medical school during a family reunion in a minimum security prison. Information in a hospital is a giant game of telephone only using words like dialysis, fasciotomy and rhabdomyolsis. It’s also a terrible time to be introduced to strangers but here they come in droves bearing worried looks and awkward embraces. Your conversations are like recordings that are played again and again. It still feels good be useful. You lead an odd parade past your unconscious family member and together you stare at them, stroke their hand and then stand there and chat in hushed tones as if remarking on a museum display. It’s all very strange.

Back to My Roots

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I was pretty sure I understood what I meant in my last post when I spoke of the power and possibility in my roots but I had just scratched at the proverbial surface.

There’s nothing quite like a large scale family tragedy to check the quality of the ol roots. Holy numerous branches and fibers, Batman! I knew I had some serious, deep family veins but I truly had no idea my network of support was so beautiful, complex and far-reaching. Support, nourish, encourage growth…yes indeed. In every kind of way.

I shared this glimpse of my last two weeks because I recognize that we all have life events that afford us the opportunity to grow. Our crew often is privileged to be part of that growth. Being a witness to change, a hand in healing and a new root system of continued support…

I love that part most.

 

Tomato Roots

I want the same thing for myself as I want for my vegetables…To grow strong and colorful, to nourish those that care for me, to leave behind quality seed and to die as organic compost”

~Jesse Hyde

I wrote that note on Facebook soon after I opened my account in 2009. Hot Tomato wasn’t a twinkle in my eye or even ink on my skin yet. I homeschooled. I gardened. I hung herbs around my kitchen. I watched my little girls chase butterflies and build fairy houses.

Facebook recently asked me if I’d like to update my bio. I read the current version and thought “Oh geez, how antiquated! Yes, I must update with something sassy that tells the world that I am a powerful Hot Tomato!” Then I read it again.

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