January 24th, 2013
Ashley visited her parents at the beginning of winter. Over her previous visit for Thanksgiving, she had heaps of support from visiting relatives, but this time Ashley had fewer allies — mostly just her brother, who gets her name and pronouns right all the time.
Her parents still use the wrong pronouns, and Ashley thought it might be because they didn’t know how much it hurts her. Wanting to remove any doubt, she braced for confrontation and told them how deeply hurt she feels when someone refers to her with male pronouns. She was shocked when her parents reacted with indifference.
In addition to the pronoun problem, Ashley’s parents have switched to using a childhood nickname for her instead of the name she chose. She was okay with that for a while, but she’s come to realize that her parents still use her birth name when she’s not around.
Ashley wonders whether writing a letter would work better than her attempt to ask them person, although a similar letter last spring didn’t seem to have much effect.
Ashley laments that L’Oreal’s Double Extend Mascara with Beauty Tubes tend to irritate her contact lenses, so she went to look for an alternative. She got a recommendation from her hair stylist for Smashbox’s Full Exposure Mascara, and discovered that it worked well for her without irritating her contacts in the same way that L’Oreal’s mascara did.
Ashley also offers a positive review for Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray, which you can spray onto your face after you apply your makeup — but before applying any mascara — to help your makeup last throughout the day. Ashley mentions that Urban Decay’s Makeup Setting Spray makes a difference on those days where her makeup really has to last.
(Ashley’s nail polish in this episode is Aruba Blue from Essie. We aren’t being paid to say this — just thought maybe you’d like to know.)
November 21st, 2011
Ashley talks about her parents’ recent visit and how she asked them to consider calling her Ashley rather than her birth name.
She also recounts the reprimand she received from her employer for using the bathrooms matching her gender presentation rather than those of the gender she was assigned at birth. Ashley struggles to grasp her employer’s rationalizations, but she resigns herself to workdays blighted by elevator slogs to restrooms on different floors.
Jay follows up on his earlier suggestion that Ashley buy some “girly glasses” and asks whether HRT has tempted her to drink more so-called “girly drinks” (even though Jay admits there’s no logic to that question). Ashley announces her nail polish bottle count and suggests a way to trade some of her lesser-used polishes in exchange for others she might rather have.
Ashley talks about which polish she finally decided to wear during her parents’ visit, Nite Owl from Orly’s “Birds of a Feather” collection, a taupe with just enough shimmer to keep things interesting. Ashley also espouses the value of the common cotton swab and makes the case for Johnson’s brand over Q-tips for this tiny but essential makeup tool.
November 16th, 2011
Ashley attached her Flip camera-sized camcorder to her shower door (with a Gorillapod flexible tripod) and recorded her makeup routine the morning of her transition at work through the reflection in an adjacent mirror. Then, among the editing process, she adjusted the video to play back at 8x speed so that the sequence could fit within about 5 minutes. She also added educational notes about which product is being applied at each stage as well as a running timer at the bottom of the screen (a timecode).
It so happens the batteries in Ashley’s camera ran out just before she did her lips and hair that morning, so while those bits didn’t make it into the video, you can imagine if you’d like tacking on a handful more minutes toward the end to take care of those.
November 14th, 2011
Ashley celebrates her first week presenting as her gender full-time, with warm words and open arms from her coworkers, a more comfortable wardrobe (as well as a new laptop bag), and some entirely unremarkable bathroom visits. She and Jay also talk about how it’s been different carrying around one’s day-to-day items in a purse rather than a wallet nestled in one’s back pockets (or, in Jay’s case, a messenger bag).
Ashley recounts some early shopping trips with friends soon after she had come out to them and how they had come along with her for a gleeful day of shopping while also playing the role as sort of a fashion tour guide to help Ashley learn the ropes of her new clothing options. She also reminisces about a recent trip to Nordstrom in which they not only had shoes in her size — oodles of them — but also shoe clerks with the attentiveness that made her feel like she had acquired her own shoe sommelier.
As time drew closer to her transition at work, Ashley sprang for a series of makeup lessons from both an independent makeup artist as well as one from her local MAC store. Eager to share some of what she learned, Ashley conveys how one can use a sponge wedge to help smooth one’s foundation and a trick that can make it easier to recover from small mistakes when applying one’s eye makeup.