You are heard.

Last weekend, I had the honor of standing up in my cousin’s wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and it was so good to see so many family members and have it not be associated with a funeral–which seems to be our go-to reunion occasion of late. And Cousin Heather was beautiful and so happy. It was a day filled with joy and a feeling of peace.

photo courtesy of Tymber Wenninger

But it also served as a day of reflection for me.

Cousin Heather was my first friend and like a sister to me. As I’m the oldest of three girls, she was the one I modeled myself after.

And it wasn’t a stretch to think of us as sisters. We do look similar and people often confused us as sisters–when I was younger–and even at the wedding.

It was no less thrilling today as it was over thirty years ago.

I wanted to be her. I wanted to be as beautiful as her, as talented as her, as funny as her, as smart as her. My life was playing catch up to a someone who couldn’t have been a better standard bearer. She’s kind, thoughtful and curious. And she never seemed to mind having to spend time with me, even when I was small. And I had to be annoying. Grown-up Lyn can be a lot. I can’t imagine what it was like to deal with me as a kid.

So as far as role models go, I had one of the best.

During the reception, I had a lovely conversation with her youngest daughter. We talked about how gifted her mom is as an artist. She said she wished she had skills like her. I said I did, too.

I remember coloring with her at her kitchen table–and even though she’s a few years older than me–her drawing was the difference of comparing a child with a master. It was discouraging. But she told me I didn’t have to draw to be an artist. She said I would find my own thing.

She was right. And I shared the same advice to her daughter.

One Saturday morning at our Aunt Mary’s house–the usual Saturday hangout growing up–I told her that I wished I had freckles like her. She explained how she put pickle juice on her face to try and get rid of them. To bleach them out.

It was the first time I was ever aware that something I found magical about someone’s appearance could be the thing they disliked most. It was just as confusing then as it is now.

She also gave me the greatest birthday gift I ever received. A 45 of Rick Springfield’s Affair of the Heart and two Star Wars figures: Princess Leia and Yoda. She said I could add the record to my growing collection, and now I would have toys I could bring with me so I could be included when the boy cousins were doing their movie recreations on Saturday mornings. It was perfect.

Through my late elementary school and early middle school years, she helped me navigate tough times. I’m not sure she even knows how much her words mattered to me then and how I’ve held on to them still as a guide to seek safety and strive for success. But I do.

We haven’t reminisced about those times. She maybe doesn’t even remember. Standing in the sun on Saturday, I was reminded that it’s often in moments that are fleeting for you, when you are making an impact on someone else. Without trying. Without noticing. Without effort. Just by being you and being present and connecting.

She and I lost touch for a number of years. I was going through high school and college, while she was married and had her children.

We reconnected as adults. Peers. No longer a young kid idolizing her older cousin. She could lean on me during her tough times, just as I had–and would–lean on her.

We share ideas and talk about the world and encourage each other’s projects. It’s a relationship that means a lot to me. And standing behind her at her wedding helped me understand that it also means a lot to her.

Today is a difficult day for many women. It’s a reminder of memories hidden away. It’s a trigger for emotions we have spent our lives silencing. And it’s confirmation that things are still not equal for us. We are not inherently given spaces of safety and success, we have to seek them out and create them for ourselves.

Some will find comfort sharing their stories. Some will need quiet. All will need acknowledgement that we are not alone.

I’m choosing to use today to think about the women–whether through grand gestures or small moments–that have made an impact on my life.  There are many.

My Cousin Heather is one of those women. And you are, too. Just by taking your time to read these musings makes me feel heard.

And sometimes that’s all you need. A moment. You give me that.

Know that today I hear you, I see you, and I acknowledge you. Do the same for other women in your life. Especially today.

Cousin Heather and me


Songs I think you should know from 2000-2009: indie rock and dance edition

I am fortunate to be the “aunt” to many of my friends’ kids. It’s a gift in my life and it’s so wonderful to be a witness to all their different life stages.

I totally love getting on the floor and playing dolls or LEGOS or whatever their thing is at the time.

I love catching their sporting events and piano recitals.

And I really love to find out what they are listening to–what artists are speaking to them, what songs are on repeat, what music from their parents resonates with them–and checking it out myself.

There are lots of current favorites I first heard about through these conversations–Billie Eilish, Smino, Khalid–but I’m always happy to find we have a lot of the same current artists loading up our playlists. I have always been a pop music junkie, and Spotify and other streaming services makes finding the top tracks pretty simple.

On the flip side, it’s a lot harder today to plug into music from other generations. A family doesn’t have to hear each other’s music if they don’t want to–even radiating out of closed bedroom doors–as listening through headphones seems to be most teenagers’ go-to for their music experiences.

I had to know my parents music and they had to know mine. But that’s not so true anymore.

However–based on conversations with my friends’ teenage kids–they are still as musically curious and adventurous as most teenagers have been in the past. It’s just overwhelming with so much music in front of them and very little introduction from trusted sources to know what’s worth a listen.

In these talks, I’m taken by songs I think everyone knows that are unfamiliar. Or styles that seem to be fading in relevance like guitar rock or experimental pop.

So I decided to put together a playlist of the songs that really opened up the world of indie rock and dance music for me during the time I was discovering this music, too to share with one of my friend’s kids.

A little backstory on why this era of music is so important to me:

Continue reading

Reviewing some new purchases: Flesh, Born to Run collection, Dose of Color and Essence

I’m so excited the weather has decided to return us to what our August SHOULD’VE felt like–sunny, 80s and dry–in September! It gives me an excuse to continue trying out looks and products I picked up at the end of the summer season so I can slowly transition my look into fall.

A trip to Chicago in July lead to a spontaneous Ulta visited where I grabbed some new to me lines: a Flesh Firm Flesh Thickstick Foundation (this name is ridiculous) in 10, Pudding “light medium beige, neutral undertones”and my first Dose of Color product, their Block Party Single Eyeshadow, in Shell We Dance “pink champagne base w/ platinum reflects.”

Another random Ulta visit put the Urban Decay Born to Run palette in my hands, along with two eyeliners from the collection: Double Life, a “reddish-brown metallic” and Overdrive, a “deep green metallic.” I had my eye on this collection for a while but felt like getting another palette and more eyeliners was absurd. Boy, am I glad I gave in and just got it!

my new pick-ups taking my look from summer to fall

Finally, I ended up ordering Ulta online–some deal or something I’m sure–a Dose of Colors, Matte Liquid Lipstick in Campfire “burnt sienna,” and another Flesh stick in 08, Custard “light, neutral undertones.” Plus I started trying out an Essence Satin Touch Blush in Satin Coral and Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara I had acquired along the way but hadn’t started using.

My summer has been dominated by all things peach. I love that fresh squeezed summer shade–really natural but with a little pep in its step. Mostly this summer I kept things pretty light with CC cream or really light coverage foundation, mandatory bronzer, brow gel, mascara, a single swipe of a peachy eyeshadow and a little peach blush and lipstick. (okay–that actually sounds like a lot of makeup–i guess it is!)

typical summer look–all things peachy

This new round of makeup has been a perfect addition to my summer favorites and will definitely carry me into the new season.

Continue reading