Summer’s over: Views on single life from movie View from the Top!

This was my first summer as a single girl in about 5 years, can you imagine? I have been in a long term relationship since then that ended early this year in the spring, and I have never looked back.  Not even once.  How is it that I have found so much comfort in being on my own, when the whole world seems to be looking for relationships and romance?  I don’t know, but the reality of it is…a relationship is a lot of work!  As women, we put so much into dating and our boyfriends, and when we think about it, how productive would we be if we were single, spent our time on ourselves, our work and career, our family and friends?  We could finally be the “super” women that is expected of us–to be everything and more.

I recently saw the movie “View from the Top” again, as it was playing TV, and I remembered why I liked it.  It was on the W Network, which is notorious for showcasing sappy rom coms that bombed with critics and viewers alike.  And the movie “View from the Top”, from 2003, was no exception.  It was a critical flop, but I actually really loved this movie many reasons: It talked about beauty, ambition–it was about a woman’s journey for love and career, and it was also pretty funny (Mike Myers was in it). Donna Jenkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a woman with a mission to become a flight attendant, but not just any flight attendant, but to be the best.  She has to choose between the man who loves her and her career destiny, and is back stabbed by her girl friend along the way, hence an over the top cat fight scene with Christina Applegate.  Loved it. So much fun. (**spoilers of the movie ahead, beware…)

I like the retro glam of this movie...as it seems to make reference to the hey days of flying...
I like the retro glam of this movie…as it seems to make reference to the hey days of flying…

Reasons why “View from the Top” was not a turkey: (*spoilers)

  1. It is about following your dreams. Whatever they might be. Donna wanted to be a flight attendant, and loved the glamour and worldly prestige it gave her: to be elegant, classy and well-traveled, which seemed to be the antidote of her upbringing in a trailer park in a no-where town.  Even if you have no desire to be a flight attendant, it is a metaphor to go for your dreams whatever they may be…and to be ambitious about it.

    A great scene from the movie with her gal pals as they try to get out of their small town beginnings...
    A great scene from the movie with her gal pals as they try to get out of their small town beginnings…
  2. Donna put her career before her man. Here she was, with Ted (Mark Ruffalo) telling her he was in love with her, and to stay with him in Cleveland, but she chose to go to Paris, as a first class flight attendant, because she believed it was her true calling.  She put her needs first.

    Mark Ruffalo before being the Hulk. Just the perfect boyfriend to tempt a gal to lose sight of her goals!
    Mark Ruffalo before being the Hulk. Just the perfect boyfriend to tempt a gal to lose sight of her goals!
  3. After realizing she made a mistake, Donna takes responsibility for it and fixes it.  When Donna realized she loved Ted back and had proven to herself she could be the top at what she does, only then does she go back to Ted in Cleveland, and tells him she wants to be with him.  It proves she is on her own journey, and not on his.

    When Donna finally makes it! love the perfect make-up and hair. Gone were her tacky trailer park ways.
    When Donna finally makes it! love the perfect make-up and hair. Gone were her tacky trailer park ways.
  4. Paltrow gives a great performance on the eternal struggle of beauty vs brains vs ambition and is always super pretty, whether in her hicktown get ups, or in her evolution to classy Parisian lady. Fashion and make-up wise, what more can you ask for?

    Go girl, you classy fashionista! What a gorgeous departure from how she used to look. What a make-over!
    Go girl, you classy fashionista! What a gorgeous departure from how she used to look. What a make-over!

But back to my own thoughts of my summer on my own:  I’ve loved it.  I’ve launched my company selling online cosmetics with natural ingredients: dreamecosmetics.com, spent quality time with my kid, friends and family, and have just realized how nice it is to not have a boyfriend.  To be my own person, trying to make a living, and trying to live in this world. 🙂  I am not saying that “View from the Top” was negative for making Donna need to be with Ted in conclusion (as so many people had complained). I respect all choices of women, but boy am I glad to be on my own and aiming for the top, with no regrets or desire to settle any time soon.

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Movie inspiration: Makeup from the “Flowers of War”

I’m not very political.  Well, not from being shamefully ignorant of current everyday world matters, but by choice.  I am individualistic, and things that move me are personal and internal.  But I recently watched a movie called The Flowers of War, which came out in 2011 about the atrocity that was the Japanese occupation of China in 1937 during WWII in the city Nanking. There was a lot of violence and rape during this invasion, and the Japanese Imperial Army was painted as sub-human, and most heinous in this movie, attacking the innocent civilian women of China with dehumanizing rape and murder. Any female was a target, even school children… The premise of the movie is that women from the two most farthest social groups: school girls 13 years of age and prostitutes from the red light district, are thrust together while hiding out in a Swiss Catholic Cathedral, trying to keep their lives, while being led and aided by an American posing to be a priest.  It’s based on terrible events, but one that needs to be heard.  My family background is Chinese, and it hurts me deeply to learn about how savage the attack was on the city of Nanking.  Without putting too much blame on the Japanese, I still can’t believe how one Asian nation can rape and pillage another Asian nation with such ferocity and dis-compassion.  I will forever be scarred knowing this war actually happened.

But politics aside, I really loved the fashion and make-up in this movie. The actresses playing the prostitutes in this film really “brought it” in terms of vintage Chinese make-up and fashion.  The times were sad, but the visual feel of these glamorous women were not.  If Western culture is guilty of objectifying and overly feminizing Eastern cultures in the past, this movie totally justifies it.  So many beautiful Chinese actresses, so much wonderful fashion and make up looks.  I examined the looks in this movie and was inspired to create my own modern day Chinese prostitute make-up to beguile and enchant here in present day North America.

The hookers were well spoken and smart in this movie, without sacrificing their femininity.
The hookers were well spoken and smart in this movie, without sacrificing their femininity.  Look at their gorgeous make-up palette!  Minimal, but so striking.
Ni Ni as Yu Mo in The Flowers of War (2011).
Nothing dreary about the colourful fashion of the times. The star actress Ni Ni wears this vintage dress with the confidence only a real lady can possess.

How I made my version of the look:

1.  Thin eyebrows. Vintage Chinese make-up had the thinnest eyebrows possible, lined to perfection.  Update it by perfectly grooming your brows, a bit on the skinny side.  Not a hair should be out of place.  Line and fill with brow shadow.

2.  Thin and exaggerated black liquid liner on the top eyelid.  Make it fluid, make it thin and as pointed high as you can go, without looking too pronounced or prostitute like.  After all, we want to be inspired, but we don’t want to look like a 1940’s hooker.

3. Lightly line the bottom eyelid or skip altogether.  I still want to line the bottom, even though in the movie, the bottom eyelid looked bare and bright.  I think bottom lining is important to make your eyes pop.  But lightly line so that the star of the show is the top lid’s liquid liner.

4.  Minimalist eye shadow.  This is important…because the star of this make-up is the exaggerated liquid liner, the eye shadow should be barely noticeable, but still important, to create a look of polished elegance.  I used a slightly tan shadow on my top lids to give warmth while staying true to this vintage look.

5.  Red, red lipstick. Or tinted red lip balm.  Whatever you are comfy with!

6.  What do you think?

This is my take on this movie inspired make-up.  Not as amazingly stunning as Ni Ni’s, but passably pretty for day to day?