The 80/20 Beauty Rule

You know what sounds like a fabulous idea?  Taking economics and turning it into a (likely untrue) hypothesis about how to stay beautiful.  

“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity)[1] states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “...the 80/20 rule…” in a podcast, I would have enough money to buy myself a bottle of gel polish (or half a sheet of jamberry).   So it was only a matter of time before the light bulb went on and I realized what a gold mine this term was.  Mostly in validating...exonerating (?) my extremely complicated beauty regime.  //cough cough//

So here goes…


Your beauty products should work for you, not vice versa.  

If you’re spending 45 min doing your hair, but you live in a climate where it takes less than 3 hours before it looks worse than when you started… then the 80/20 rule is here to save your life (or at the very least give your more time in your day).  Currently, the trending beauty wisdom revolves around specific tips, but everyone is different, so the 80/20 rule is a system wide perspective vs a detailed one.  Pick the hairstyles, hair colors, makeup etc based on the intersection between your personal values and effectiveness.  Your body knows this even if you don’t, so listen to it.  Also, if you find yourself always skipping over a certain eyeshadow or mascara or lipstick, but you keep thinking you’ll still wear it?  Toss it or put it in a separate bag reserved for costume parties and small children.  You’ll have fun scrubbing off of the walls at some future point.

I ignored this to my detriment last week when I spent an obscene amount of time beating my hair into submission for a family portrait the beach.   Poseidon in all his fury wrecked havoc on my wanna-be Repunzelness in less than five minutes. may have been a record breaking 30 seconds, but I was in denial.  

Which leads me to my next point.  

It’s ok to have long hair that you only wear down when the President comes to town.

 Maybe this is dumb, but it was an epiphany to me.  It’s ok to have long hair you wear up 80% of the time.  Historically/anthropologically etc this wasn’t so unusual (You wouldn’t want to get suckered into weaving gold or anything because you forgot to put your cap on), but these days it seems like you need to defend long hair otherwise the temptation and pressure to cut it off gleams like shiny green grass on the other side of the fence.  So in case you needed an excuse for keeping your hair long even if you normally keep it in a ponytail or messy bun: It’s just the magic 80/20 rule at work.   

Only abuse your body occasionally

I love high heels, feel comfortable in high heels and would wear them all of the time if I didn’t live barefoot 80% of the time (are you catching a theme?).  I've noticed though, that feet tend to take on the shape of whatever shoe you force it to live in.  They’re like an old married couple where they gradually look and act so much like each other, they start to resemble each other. So don’t wear the same shoes all of the time unless you like pointy shaped feet with bunions.  Mix it up, go barefoot or wear something something structurally healthy.  And then wear killer high fashion whenever you feel like it...make that 20% count.  You win. Your feet win. Everybody wins. The same goes with your skin.  It's hard to keep your skin happy when you're constantly slathering it with dozens of products containing everything from ground wart hog eyelashes to the dw off the newborn skin of an endangered Colombian newt.  So you end up with the same dilemma: use organic makeup that costs twice as much (and you're pretty sure is just campfire soot mixed up with coconut oil) or feel guilty for ruining the environment and polluting your body's biggest organ (your SKIN! in case you missed the memo).  But feel guilty and stress out no longer.  With the 80/20 rule, feel free to go minimal and satiating most of the time and pull out the polyjuice potion for the 20%.  Ensure your face lasts a good 30 years longer.  Make your 20% work for you.   


(The 80/20 rule is one of those things you see everywhere once you know about it, so feel free to enlighten me.   I'm sure there are many more shortcuts to add.)    


Thoughts On Kids Starting School

If I got a nickel for every time someone stopped me in a store, surveyed my passel of man-cubs and told me to “enjoy this goes so fast”, I would be a wealthy woman.  But apparently unlike the rest of the interwebs, this phrase doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact I always thank the person while agreeing profusely and sometimes...when you know they’re of the race that knows Joseph...we see something in each other’s eyes and we nod.  It’s like a secret handshake.  We know.  

(this was just a year ago!)

What is it we know?  I have no clue.  But it’s all of those indescribable things that go into parenthood and can never be summed up no matter how many scarymommy or huffpo articles we all share.

I like to blame my parents (in a good way) for this.  As someone with siblings 16 years younger, I was a parent myself while my parents were (are) still parenting.  And while older sister status is definitely not the same as mom and dad status, it’s definitely a front row seat...on a roller the splash zone.  And I would happily, happily add gnawing-limb-from-bear-trap to the usual getting up every night with a teething baby, a puking toddler and a nightmare ridden grade-schooler over dealing with some of the stuff my parents have.  Any day. In some ways, I’m sort of like a pre-loaded pessimist for teenagerdom and so please do stop me and tell me your best parenting advice because I love all of the thoughts and feedback from the women who have gone before me.  

But really I just wanted to say. I’m loving all of the back-to-school pictures, it’s one of my favorite seasons on social media. Your kids are all freaking adorable. And so I say this seriously and yet somewhat tongue-in-cheek… Enjoy this stage.  ;-)


How To Read More Books When You Have A Million Kids

...or just four kids.  

If there is one thing I think all moms universally long for (besides babies who sleep through the night and a cyberoptic forehead readout that tells you the optimal way to raise your particular child) it’s that we all wish we had more time to read.

My mom used to find me hiding under a giant pile of laundry or stuffed between the beds feverishly trying to consume a book on the down low. After oh so gently fussing at me, she would say something along the lines of, “Just wait until you have your own kids…”.     Well... Cough Cough.  She seriously underestimated my ability to get sucked into a new book.  And since necessity is the mother of invention, consider this a trade secret swap because you can never have too many ways to sneak books into your life.  Here are a few tried and true strategies.  


Read in the car

Buckle everyone in and then read 5 min before you pull out of the driveway, and another min in the grocery store parking lot.  


Make Tacos for dinner

Or something else that can be mindlessly done on auto pilot. I have found flipping tortillas is the most mutually beneficial dinner strategy.  You can easily do that and brown ground beef while also flipping pages.  


Get an Audible account

This one is boring, but effective.   Everyone has mental “muscles” with some working better than others.  For the sake of evenness I try to exercise the auditory ones because they don’t work as well as my visual processing ones, but it’s difficult.  Still, laundry becomes so much more interesting when you’re listening to Diana Gabaldon's reader say “Sassenach”.  


Lay on the floor

Debut as a human jungle gym.  Kids usually just want to be around you, they don’t always need you to follow them around describing things like an interactive preschool app “Yes, ball...roll ball….good roll ball”  (although let's be real, we all sound like therapists these days thanks to Daniel Tiger).  Sometimes the most serviceable solution to buy yourself a chapter is to lay on the floor and let your spine become a deck and your feet a rudder as you’re tossed to and fro on a sea of fishy crackers.  While the wee pirates sail on grand adventures, you can consume a few precious pages.   


Spontaneously declare a 15 min “Super Secret Book Club”.  

Solemnly inform your kids they need to clean their rooms, empty the trash and wash the dishes.  Then freeze, cock your head like you’re listening to some invisible messenger and say “I’m getting an incoming order from the Interplanetary Secret Reading Order and they need us to drop everything right now and read for fifteen minutes….hmmm...can we? should we?  Perhaps we have no choice but to put off chores and attend this very important super secret club meeting.”  Reluctantly set the timer for another fifteen minutes afterwards when everyone clamors they’re not quite ready to go clean yet.  


Of course all of that assumes you haven’t been banned from your local library and have a healthy relationship with Amazon.   Ahem.  But what say you?  What are you reading and how/where do you read it?