Over the course of my life, I haven’t been much of a lipstick person. Except for a detour during the 90’s when I spent way too much time and money at the MAC counter. I may have ridden that dark berry lip wave a bit too long. Who’s to say, really?

When I was growing up my mom insisted you weren’t put together if you didn’t have lipstick on and she always had it in her purse. The color that I liked the best was “Cherries in the Snow”. But, she had various shades of fuchsia that she seemed to like better. Especially after she got color draped in the 80’s and discovered she was a “Winter”.

I rejected her opinion on lipstick, but I was drawn to apply an obscene amount of eye makeup for many years. My own thoughts ran toward only being put together if your eyes were heavily ringed with black kohl. Luckily, that went the way of the berry lipstick at about the same time.

For the last several years, makeup hasn’t been much of a priority for me. All that changed just a few short months ago. I had a Lipstick Awakening.

Come with me back to late Summer 2016. My husband and I were in downtown Portland at the Apple store. We were getting a replacement for the iPhone that my son dropped in the Columbia River at his grandparent’s farm and then was able to miraculously retrieve when the tide went out. We had the phone, but it didn’t work despite several rounds in a rice bowl.

While waiting to see what Apple would do for us, I wandered around the store. My husband was playing intently with the new Apple toys. It was taking forever. Then I remembered that I’d been thinking about upping my face game so I decided to walk the couple blocks to Sephora and see if there was a lipstick that caught my eye. Succumbing to the “stay at home mom” story that I didn’t need to pay much attention to how I looked had been wearing on my self-esteem. I was in need of a shake up. A recent trip to Vegas had left me very aware that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in the self care department. Feel me on that?

At Sephora, I wandered around for a while trying to look like I was in there all the time. A clerk appeared to ask if I needed assistance. I took a look at her tattoo sleeves, blunt cobalt bangs, perfectly applied liquid eyeliner and visage of vague indifference to the suburban mom in front of her and nodded. Yeah, I thought, you’re exactly what I need. Help me.

Out loud I said, “Yes please. I need a red lipstick.” I paused, and then I doubled down. “A bold red. But not like I’m a sad, middle aged Taylor Swift fan.”

One of the Sephoraista’s (if Starbucks has baristas, can’t Sephora have Sephoraistas? There’s certainly craft involved. Anyway, that’s what I’m calling her.) rigorously penciled brows arched. She sized me up. She was trying to judge the seriousness of Suburbia’s claim to want a bold red. Finally, she exhaled loudly and gave me a quick nod.

“Fine,” she called over her shoulder as she walked away. “Follow me.”

She zigzagged expertly through the store like she was tracking the wily red lipstick through the wilds of Sephora. She stopped at a Marc Jacobs display. “I recommend this one. It goes on creamy, not too matte. What kind of red do you want? Orangey? Blue? Pink?” She gestured at the options.

I choked over all the choices. I’d seriously never worn red lipstick in my life. I doubted Marc Jacobs produced his lip crème in “Cherries in the Snow”. Sephoraista narrowed her eyes at me, daring me to chicken out.

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “Something…I don’t know…something that doesn’t make me feel so…I don’t know… so frumpy.” And there it was. The Frump Monster had caught me.

“Oh Sister,”Sephoraista said as patted my hand, “we’ll find you a lippy you can wear all day, everyday. Yoga pants, fat jeans, whatever you’ve got on, a slash of this and you’re dead sexy.”

I wanted to hug her so much. She got me. And I was going to have a lippy. Sephoraista made a couple of attempts with colors that didn’t satisfy her once applied. I dutifully wiped the “no’s” away. Her hand hovered over one then she snatched it up and held it aloft. I swear a golden halo appeared around the case. My stomach fluttered while she applied it.

Sephoraista spun me to the mirror. I took a long look.

“Oh yes,” I cooed. “This is it. What’s the color called?”

“Miss Scarlett.”

Of course it was.

(Quick note: I also picked up “Slow Burn” because not everyday needs to involve a red lip. Honestly, I’ve had more compliments on Slow Burn than any lip color in my life. I love these lipsticks because they last and don’t get cakey. And the case is glamorous. Get ya some!)

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