A Lesson on Feminism at Sephora

This is what €119.48 looks like

This is what €119.48 looks like


(standing in line at Sephora)

Me: Thanks for suffering through this shopping trip with me, Hank.

Hank: Really, it’s fine, mom. I thought it was interesting and you were smart to come here first to try on all the shades of base (foundation). It was really hard to find your shade in Portugal.

Me: #palegirlproblems

Hank: That is a good hashtag, mom.

Me: Thanks, I’ve been practicing.

Hank: Plus, you had to get a lot of stuff.

Me: I really waited until the last possible minute to replenish my makeup and I have been budgeting for this trip. Normally, I wouldn’t have waited this long and added items slowly. Just wait for it; this is going to be a big bill.

Sephora Makeup Expert: €119.48

Hank: WHAT?

Me: (shaking my fist in the air and handing over my debit card) AND THIS IS ANOTHER REASON FEMINISM IS SO IMPERATIVE! Sure, I don’t have to wear makeup and as you know I only do so when I am in a professional setting, but it has been proven that women are taken more seriously and advanced above their female peers when they “best” present themselves and by “best” they mean with your hair done and a full face of make-up AND THESE THINGS COST MONEY yet there is a huge gender pay gap that we have to endure on top of these out of pocket costs.

Hank: That isn’t fair.

Me: True Story.

Gathering of Sephora Makeup Experts: (slow clapping, nodding in solidarity behind the counter)

Hank: (blushes realizing that our conversation was being overheard)

Me: Remember this conversation when you are of voting age and when you are in the workforce, Hank. You can advocate for merit based inclusive pay for all of your peers regardless of gender and always be aware that the out of pocket expense for women is always higher than men: hair, makeup and don’t even get me started on feminine hygiene products and bras! Am I right, ladies?

Gathering of Sephora Makeup Experts: (collectively nodding and each answering in Portuguese even though Hank and I had this conversation in English because feminism is a universal language) Pois. Claro. Força! Pois e. (Of course. Go ahead! Because it is.)

Me: Obrigado por a sua ajuda e até a próxima. (Thank you for your help and see you next time.)

Gathering of Sephora Makeup Experts: Obrigada nos! (We thank you!) Até a próxima! (see you next time) Tchau, Joy! (Goodbye, Joy) Tchau, Henrique. (Goodbye, Hank)

Hank: (waving goodbye) I want to change this. It isn’t fair.

Me: Me, too! Let’s work on changing it together.

Hank: (taking my Sephora bag form me and holding my hand even though he’s ten) And I like your makeup, mommy. You look beautiful everyday, but the makeup you chose just helps you shine.

Me: Awe thanks, buddy. Thank you for understanding and for complimenting me exactly the way I needed. It shows you’re listening.

Hank: Oh, I am.



The Magic of a Good Book



Molly: (face buried in a book) Scared a cat where everyone is sleeping. (turns page)

Hank: Mana (sister), it is time to go to sleep.

Molly: NO, mano (brother)! I reading! Dog on a boy where everyone is sleeping (turns page)

Hank: But mana (sister), I’m tired and it is very late and mama already read you that book…

Me: (entering the room with a drip of water for each of my children served fancily in stemmed Port wine glasses) Twice.

Molly: NO! I reading (turns page)!

Me: Oh, but did you know that if you put a book, a very special book that you love with all your heart under your pillow at night the story will become your dreams.

Hank: (sipping his water, eyebrows raised, suspect) Mom.

Me: (adopting an air of Mary Poppins) Magic is real as long as you believe it or make it so for others, mano (brother).

Hank: (shifting gears) Mama is right, mana (sister). It’s true! I do it allllllllll the time.

Me: Me, too!

Molly: (finishing her water) Me, too-too! Please?

Me: Well alright, but you have to go to sleep.

Molly: (excited) Okay! (hands me back her empty glass and tucks her favorite book under her pillow) Like this?

Me: Exactly, now close your eyes and turn the pages of your book in your imagination and the story will become your dreams!

Hank: (hands me back his empty glass) Good night, mama.

Me: Good night, buddy.

Molly: SHHHHhhhhhhh, I reading-dreaming!


Wishing You All A Very Merry Unbirthday

This is what 38 looks like.

This is what 38 looks like.


Pai: Is everything on the table that needs to be on the table?

Me: I’m happy.

Hank: Amália needs a water glass.

Pai: Okay, anything else?

Hank: No.

Me: Nope.

Pai: (returning with said water glass) Great, now we can start the birthday!

Me: Hurray!

Hank: Happy birthday, mom.

Me: Thanks, buddy.

Molly: It your birthday?

Me: Yes, today is my birthday, Ms. Molly MaGoo.

Molly: (pouting) Awe, I want it my birthday, too! Share?

Me: You would like me to share my birthday with you?

Molly: (perks up) YAH!

Me: Well, I’d be honored. Happy Unbirthday, Amália!

Pai: Happy Un-Birthday, filha (daughter)!

Hank: (whispers in my ear) But mom, do you think it is a good idea to make her think it is also her birthday, I mean, this is your day.

Me: Trust me, it’s perfectly fine. Today is also your unbirthday.

Hank: Wait, un-birthday? (catching on) Ohhhh.

Me: (winking at him, singing) Aaaaaaaaaa very merry unbirthday to you!

Molly: To me?

Me: Yes, you! (turning to Hank) A very merry unbirthday to you!

Hank: There is a song for this?

Me: (singing) Now blow the candle out my dear and make your wish come true!

Hank: Is this a real song or are you making it up?


Pai: Haven’t we learn yet that with your mother there is always a song.