Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
CoverFX N35, N60 Custom Cover Drops
Sephora "Ultralight" Luminizing Drops
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Trio
Sephora "Blonde" Brow Thickener
Benefit "Medium Brown" Gimme Brow
MAC 24 Hour Eye Base
Saucebox Cosmetics "Etude" Palette
Sephora Full Action Mascara
MAC "Faux" Lipstick
This photo set is from Saturday morning. I worked a wedding so I opted for a simple fresh face to start the day. What also gets the morning started for me is my seashell mug of jasmine tea, of course.
In preparing to finish this project, I have been more committed to taking pictures on a daily basis, and then dong batch edits and pre-posts every three days. It didn't cross my mind until I started importing and filing photos come Saturday afternoon that the morning's batch ended up being the final day.
I had toyed with the idea of going out in a blaze of color and glitter, but didn't aim to work it into my schedule. It's kind of perfect that the last moment is an honest one: just me going about my day. The realization of finality came afterwards, and I find it rather ironic. Day 365 is not a showy exit, but a subdued wave goodbye.
Day 365 has always seemed intangible to me. But, it's here. It's today. It's February 14 2017, and I published Day 1 exactly three years ago on this date. It was important for me to finish on the anniversary, perhaps to give this endeavor some extra meaning.
I started this project because I wanted to create a makeup blog after really observing what was going on in the makeup/beauty world on Reddit and Instagram. This was around late 2013. I stumbled upon some blogs here and there, but the blogs and vlogs were all the same: bad content that was chewed up and repackaged the same way in the form of tutorials and product reviews. Furthermore, their web presence and content management were poorly structured, and oftentimes nothing was mobile friendly. Any written content was full of fluff. Nothing had meaning. Information architecture was nonexistent. Shitty graphics, bad web scaling and cookie cutter molds ran amuck.
After I started mentally cataloging all this garbage, I decided to break the cycle and create something that was sleek, minimal, and up to web and modern content standards that DIDN'T follow suite with other bloggers. The content would be makeup-oriented, but the presentation would be chic and the content itself would have to be different (i.e. no tutorials or product reviews).
During this time, several friends and colleagues ask me if I'd ever do tutorials. I never will. I never wanted to. I never wanted to add more noise to the cyber babble. There are DOZENS of tutorials on how to achieve any kind of technique you can imagine, oftentimes made by people who have the equipment and time to make them.
I kept thinking about what kind of content I could produce. And then, in mid-January 2014 it hit me: a catalog of self portraits highlighting my makeup. The focus would be high quality self portraits with the written content being only a running list of products used, and perhaps a passing anecdote. I could see it crystal clear in my head, and put the wheels in motion to make it happen. I ordered some equipment and settled on Squarespace as my platform. I took a couple weeks to play around with templates and get the publishing system set up the way I wanted. After I put my ducks in a row, I was ready for launch and Day 1 was Valentine's Day 2014.
Back then I was working a day job in project management, my first "big girl" job after college. For the most part I enjoyed it, but I was stewing in post-grad existentialism and wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with myself. I didn't want to design (sorry, degree, but you still come in handy!), I didn't want to be a programmer, I didn't want to be a project manager, but I didn't know what my "it" was at the time. The blog gave me a lot of joy in my 9-5 days and was a solid outlet for creativity.
Initially, I anticipated completing this thing in 365 consecutive days. I was very good about posting once a day for about five months. In the morning before heading to work, I would photograph myself. After work I'd scour the photos, do some post production for web, write the post and publish. This whole process would take about an hour.
A few months later, April 2014, I had a "aha" moment: makeup was making me come alive. And the greatest lesson I took away from college is that following your joy, chasing your bliss, however you want to put it, is what gives meaning to life. And my life didn't have the meaning I wanted. Makeup has given my life meaning, and when I put the pieces together it was clear: quit my job, become a makeup artist. From there, I started building an elementary portfolio separate from my blog. I worked on my posts and then worked on my portfolio. It started to consume me. I contacted local hair and makeup artists, built some relationships with mentors, and come May I got my first huge gig with Lavender Magazine.
That summer, I slid into a depressive state. I stopped working on this project for months. And at that moment, I knew I wouldn't finish in 365 days and I got unbelievably mad at myself. Not only mad, but disappointed. I almost suspended the project all together because I had let myself down. But along the way in talking with close friends and family, I started to learn that sometimes timelines don't play out in our favor. But that doesn't mean we should give up. As long as we finish what we started, that's all that matters. Life gets in the way: we get busy, we have mental health issues, we go on vacation. I started to see that all that mattered was getting to Day 365 when I could and being understanding with myself when obstacles arose. I stopped hating on myself and changed my mindset.
It's taken my three years, which means an average of 100 posts out of a 365 day year. But I'm here now. I followed through. It was hard but I didn't give up. Along the way I've struggled with self image, ego, and vulnerability. This project has seen me through three moves, two breakups, several hair changes, and many past identities. It's a living anthropological diary of my last three years. Since Day 1, I have done the following:
1) quit my day job to pursue makeup artistry
2) joined WarPaint International Beauty Agency
3) started my own sole proprietorship business, Makeup By Naseem
4) worked with Lavender Magazine
5) worked with Aveda
6) worked with ESPN
7) traveled for professional development
8) brought joy to many brides
9) art directed photo shoots
10) built relationships with some awesome creatives, near and far
This blog catalyzed me into my career and has opened a lot of doors for me. It goes to show that if you follow your heart, if you follow your joy, it'll lead you to places you never even dreamed you could go. Take a chance on your creativity, and do it for you. Don't do it for likes or subscriptions or followers. I don't have clout like other beauty bloggers, but that's not what I wanted in the end.
Thank you for encouraging me, for reading my posts, for sticking it out each day. Thank you to my parents, my family, my friends, strangers, lovers, haters, and everyone in between.
I'm finally done, and the finale is surreal.