Eye Opener

I love a good beauty shortcut.

Sometimes I suspect that when it comes to hair and makeup I’m one of the laziest and least educated fashionistas on the internet:

I got laser hair removal so I don’t have to wax or shave my legs (painful and expensive, but so, so worth it!)

I use a BB cream as my primer/moisturiser/foundation/suncream.

It’s a good day when I remember to put on blush or lipstick, and I haven’t the smallest, foggiest idea of how to use eye-makeup. Which is kind of sucky, because I have quite terrible eyelashes.


They’re sparse, and short and straight, and I get serious eyelash envy from just about everyone else I look at. Especially boys. Boys always seem to have the best eyelashes.

I get them tinted regularly, which at least makes them seem a leeeetle thicker and a leeeetle longer, but really the difference is negligible. Mascara just makes them clumpy, then smears all over my cheeks. And I’ve never mastered the art of using an eyelash curler without pinching my eyelids painfully in the clamp. I’ve tried growth serums (useless) and I even had them permed once, which was tedious, expensive, and absolutely ineffectual.

So mostly I just shelve my frustration away with my big-tits-means-I’ll-never-wear-a-backless-dress gripe, and get on with my life.

For Very Special Occasions though I like to go all out and treat myself to eyelash extensions. I got them done for my wedding, and they looked amazing. And considering I’d be spending days in the company of some of the world’s most stylish plus-size fashionistas getting them done for FFFWeek seemed like a good idea, too.

I went back to Play: Brow and Lash Bar, where I get my eyebrows threaded, and my technician Christina proceeded to painstakingly attach wow-worthy extensions to my stumpy lashes.

The process is pretty time-consuming, so make sure you allow yourself at least an hour. And relax… you’ll be lying on your back for some time with your eyes closed; use it as an opportunity to have some me-time.

I chose the full natural set of acrylic lashes, which meant that around 45 to 60 lashes were attached to each eye. To start with they prime your lashes to make sure there’s no oils or makeup that might make the glue less effective. Then – one by one – each extension is applied by bonding them along the length of your actual lash with a black glue. Theoretically they should last as long as your own lash does.


The result is very effective, and lasts for weeks.

You have to be a bit careful with them – don’t tug at them or rub your eyes – but you don’t have to wear any mascara… which is perfect for a shortcut girl like me.

After 2

And for Melbourne readers, Play does a special price on lash extensions every wednesday and Sunday – only $95 for a full natural set.


Now, I wanted to get all serious for a moment and just clear the air a little about some comments that I’ve had over the last few days about my body, and whether or not I’m losing weight.

To be honest, I don’t know.

A few years ago I decided that too much of my self worth was dependent on what the numbers on the scale said, so I threw them out. It was the healthiest decision I could have made for my body and my wellbeing.

Now I don’t judge myself according to what I weigh. I judge it according to how I feel (great) how my body works (fine) and whether or not my Doctor says I’m healthy (I am).

What I can say, unequivocally, is that I am not on a diet; If I am losing weight, it’s not because I’ve made a deliberate choice to do so.

The fact of the matter is that there are two kinds of people in the world: those that eat for comfort, and those who in times of great stress or unhappiness find that the thought of food makes them nauseous. I’m the latter.

These last few months have been particularly challenging emotionally. Work has been rewarding, but stressful. I hate change, but I’ve had to pack up and move house twice in the last five months. Long-distance has taken a toll on my personal wellbeing; it’s been harder than I could have imagined to live on the other side of the world from my other half.

I don’t want you to worry about me because most of the time I’m fine. I’ve moved to a lovely house, and I’m living with one of my oldest friends. I have a wonderful network here, and understanding and supportive workmates. But sometimes I spiral into misery for a few hours, or a few days, or a few weeks because of one reason or another. And when that happens it’s an effort to eat.

I don’t mind if people ask me if I’ve lost weight because I don’t consider my dress size to be a defining factor of who I am, but I’m afraid I have no diet or exercise tips to offer. However, I’m also not offended by the idea of dieting and weight-loss; It’s not the right choice for me, but I’ve always believed that everyone’s body is their own to maintain however they want to.

So that’s my two cents on the issue. Sorry to get all heavy for a moment, but I just wanted to put that out there before things got carried away.




19 thoughts on “Eye Opener

  1. oh my… I don’t know what to write… life sucks a lot sometimes and I know the feeling. It’s not much, all I can do right now is to send you big huge fat HUG!
    your eyelashes are sooooo awesome! you are awesome!

  2. Beauty is about confidence. Period. So if lash extensions (or tinting) makes you feel more confident, then it’s not a shortcut or cheating. It’s beauty! The lashes look lovely, enjoy!

    And thank you for your honesty. I’m different from my mom & sisters (and you!) in that stress makes me gain weight, even if I’m eating less. It makes no sense & is really frustrating (since I can gain 5-8lbs in a two week period!), not to mention physically uncomfortable at times. I am hoping that you get some stress relief soon! I can’t imagine going through all of what you’ve had to deal with, so for your best health & happiness, I hope an end is in sight! You are smart & talented & kind & beautiful always, please take good care!

  3. Hi,
    I did notice that you had lost weight. I thought that it might have something to do with your life stressors so I didn’t say anything.
    I hope you are ok but I hope that you and M are reunited soon
    Cilla x

  4. Hi Lilli – I too thought you might have lost weight, but I also thought it might be because you had chosen to post what I consider more flattering outfits! I too tend to lose interest in food when I’m heavily stressed. When my father died suddenly I sat watching my sister hoe into a crumbed sausage (remember those?) and then a combination chow mein with fried rice the day after we were told. I still remember how nauseous it made me to watch it and how it further put me off my plain white bread roll and water that I had *thought* I may be able to keep down. When I was 26 I lost 10 kilos after a devastating breakup and all the while I was forcing myself to just.keep.eating. because I didn’t want to wreck my metabolism because of a period of disinterest in food. People told me how great I looked, but if they knew what I was struggling with they would have shut up (though there are of course some idiots who think that weight loss is worth it at any cost). I hope things improve for you soon and I hope if they don’t that people learn to mind their own business. I live in Melbourne too, it’s been a miserable winter, especially this cold, wet and blustery weekend. Many hugs to you and I hope The Sophisticate isn’t away too much longer.

    Also, you’ve motivated me to go get falsies like this! I have the same stumpy and sparse lash problem. I have found a good mascara though (Clinique waterproof, washes off with warm water), it doesn’t look clumpy, doesn’t smear or smudge, even if there’s a bit of crying (though I don’t wear mascara when I expect to cry – it’s not worth it). Though because of these properties it doesn’t give you WOW impossible lashes, but they are still incredibly improved on my natural ones. 🙂

    1. I’ve come back to apologize because my earlier comment came out sounding harsher than I meant it. It’s just that some career moves/life decisions come with a high price and you can always change your mind. Go easy. I love your blog. Take care.

      1. No worries, Valerie. I’m actually not the one working abroad, but I do agree. The choice to put ourselves through the long distance wasn’t an easy one for either of us.

    2. Valerie you do what I do! Make very straight down the line comments with heart very much in the right place and then end up apologising for it! Lady after my own heart 😀

      Generally I absolutely agree with the sentiment, but don’t know enough about Lilli’s situation to comment.

  5. I can agree with you on the stress of moving house – I have just moved after 15 years in the same place – so much stuff! All the packing and sorting and unpacking is so stressful – especially in winter when it is cold and dark and uninspiring. Eating just seems to get forgotten.

    I have wanted eyelash extensions for ages but have heard horror stories about infections – your results inspire me to give it a go. Lovely long lashes have a dramatic effect and since I can’t master false eyelashes (I have given up trying) – this seems the best option.

    I hope things get better soon xxx

  6. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that being halfway around the world away from your most loved one has felt so thoroughly miserable at moments. But, I also think that sounds incredibly normal and well-adjusted. Please remind yourself that sometimes feeling miserable is the only sane response — you know, providing it doesn’t dominate your worldview for weeks on end.

    Thanks for talking about the role of the scale in your sense of well-being. I threw away my scale long ago and it has been such a good decision for my self-esteem. I was getting far too caught up in the numbers and it made for disordered thinking and disordered eating. Not knowing your weight is not the same thing as not caring about your health! Bravo, you for everything you do to support your readers in their personal well-being.

  7. Long distance is completely sucky, my other half and I were apart for 6 months while he was working in Frankfurt, which is much less fun to visit than NYC! I wish for you that your Skype connection is always clear and that Suki gives you good cuddles! Be kind to yourself. Thanks for the story about the lashes…I tried falsies once…it didn’t go quite as planned..yours look amazing!! And I’m with mrs B, the clinique mascara is the only one I’ve ever found that stays put, even in sweaty Sydney where I usually end up looking like a panda!

  8. Ok, to the LASHES.

    I have been dying to get these re-done (haven’t had them since ’07). Do you find your own lashes worse for wear when the acrylics shed or do you keep them up with re-fills?

  9. Hi Lilli,
    Thanks for your thoughtful explanation. You have wonderful healthy attitude about this and more patience than me, I am simply fed up with being asked the question (I get it all the time) hence my not so thoughtful comment on your last post – I’m sorry if I offended your readers/commenters.
    Also, I’m sorry you’ve had a challenging time lately and hope things improve for you.
    I’m loving your blog, and you’re so right boys often have really long lashes, my partner’s are certainly longer than mine!
    Cheers, Lucy

  10. Gorgeous. I had the exact same eyelash extensions done once before going on a tropical holiday and I LOVED them. I definitely want to do it again… soon!

  11. This is one of my favourite of your blog posts – I agree whole-heartedly that how you feel and how healthy you are should be the only things you need to worry about, and that getting rid of the scales is a great idea. Thanks for writing such a direct and great piece!

    Like all your other readers, am really sorry that you’re going through something so difficult. It must be so hard for both of you, despite Skype and email and everything else – obviously nothing can compensate for lack of hugs and chats and togetherness. Fingers crossed that there’s a change for the better soon. And keep looking after yourself!

  12. I’m sorry things are so stressful for you at the moment, especially not being able to be with your husband. I know how hard this can be – you just have to try and hold onto the fact that eventually you’ll be able to be together again. I also think you’re always very smartly dressed and made-up, with a lot of polish and flair, and I love the way you talk so honestly about your feelings. You’ve helped me (a plus size 47 year old) understand that I can damn well look and dress any way I want to. I have become much more adventurous in my style – clothes, hair & glasses – and I have you to thank!

  13. Hi Lilli,

    Sending you bigs hugs. Long distance is far from easy. Here’s hoping the end is soon in sight or that you can both decide when it will end & you can start counting down. Do whatever you need to do to look after yourself in the meantime.

    And wow! What a thoughtful, eloquent response to those you asked questions about your weight. I’m very impressed that you have such a healthy outlook on it all. Although I personally think it is rude to ask someone about weight loss (or gain) at all even if the intention was good. If asked the same questions I don’t think I would have given such a stellar (& polite!) response.

    PS Great eyelashes 🙂

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