I'm Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I'd love to connect with you!

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The Space Between: Military, Makeup, and Motherhood, Oh My!

Military, Makeup, and Motherhood

You may not know that before my business came to existence, I was a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. As a matter of fact, I decided to continue my military service part-time in the Air Force Reserves after I separated from Active Duty. Being in the Reserves simply means that I must meet the same physical fitness standards and medical readiness standards as I did on active duty. I fulfill the same training requirements, I just do accomplish one weekend a month and two-weeks a year. I separated from Active Duty service for a number of reasons but the most important reason involved my family and keeping us all together.

Photo Credit: Elisa Demarest of 11th Door Photography

Breaking Stereotypes: Sorority Sister + Cadet

See, I really didn’t want to enter the military but my father told me if I got a full ride scholarship, that he’d buy me a car. So I applied for and got a {mostly} full ride ROTC scholarship to University of Colorado. Of course that scholarship had stipulations. I had to wear a military uniform 1-2x a week and would enter the military as a commissioned officer upon graduation. “No big deal,” I thought. I just wanted my car!

So here I find myself 18 and at one of the more liberal universities in the country, an out-of-state student, and with zero friends. I thought joining a sorority would be the best way to make a close group of friends. So I did! I became a member of Gamma Phi Beta. For two years, I was the only ROTC cadet (that I knew of) in a sorority. See, I really did not want to be categorized as a ‘military’ girl but didn’t want to be stereotyped as a girly girl either. Anyone who has known me knows this about me.

​I would wear my uniform and apply makeup to compliment the shades of navy blue or camo green. I would sport my Tiffany heart ring and diamond studs. My nails would be polished in a soft, neutral pink. I mean, let’s not lie… I was not the best performing cadet, far from it actually, but I made it through all the requirements {by the grace of God} and was able to show to balance and showcase femininity and fierceness at the same time.

Sorority Sisters - Gamma Phi Beta

Feminine + Fierce

After entering active duty, it was a little bit different. See, I didn’t want to appear too feminine because I wanted to be taken seriously as a commissioned officer by my male subordinates and peers. There was no “military makeup routine” so to speak, but I also didn’t want to appear frumpy or disheveled because I’m not confident when I’m not put together.

So, I toned down the matching/complimentary eye colors and sparkly lip gloss and opted for neutral earth tones and neutral chapsticks. It was during this time I felt most beautiful and honestly, it was during this time that I yearn to return to. My daily makeup routine took about 10 minutes including my skin care regime. My skin was glowing and eyeliner just glided on like butter. I met my husband shortly after entering the military. We got married a few years later, and then welcomed our son into our family a few years after that.

First Lieutenant Promotion Ceremony

Military and Motherhood

This is where everything, in my opinion, went south. Sure, after my son was born, I would do my makeup on occasion for special events but because I didn’t sleep for the first year, I just never felt like taking the extra time to do makeup. I mean, I would apply a little but it wasn’t the same. My skin wasn’t glowing. My eyes were dull. Under eye bags couldn’t be hidden and I was too lazy to apply concealer. My diet was crappy. The wrinkles in my eye made applying eyeliner too hard. The list goes on.

I kept making excuses instead of just making feeling great a priority.  For me, feeling great and looking great go hand in hand.

My son is older, but we just found out another one is on the way in Spring of 2015. I am already starting to build ‘me time’ into my schedule. I’m not going to make the same mistake twice of just giving it all up. Happy mommy, happy baby!

Although sometimes I bring my family and/or son to my military drill weekends and annual training and now that bambino is in preschool, he needs to stay in Monterey. I’m so blessed for the support my family has shown in traveling to California to take care of him while I drill. So while I’m at drill, I get to… rest. Well, I get to work, network with amazing and dynamic professionals who have chosen to wear the uniform part-time,  go to bed early (or not), veg out (or not), watch Bravo/HGTV/TLC programming {terrible, I know}, create, and catch up on me. I have time to wash my face and run through my entire skin care regime. There’s plenty of time to do my makeup. I even have time to nap after work. I have me time.

Military and Motherhood

I’m so excited to return home to my babes, unbox my Julep package that arrived last week, and start reviewing some of the items I’ve received through these boxes. But right now, I’m just soaking in my last night of quiet. My last night of blogging an entire post without interruption. My last night of me time.

I’m fortunate that the Reserves have given this time to me – but also know not everyone has the same opportunity. So I urge you new mommas, working mommas, stay at home mommas, single mommas…carve out some YOU time. Make it an appointment. Make it official. Ask for help. Do an exchange with another mom friend of yours. Communicate with your spouse. Make sure that you find time in the space between.

Do you want me to do a video on my military makeup routine? Comment below or send me a message! You could work in law enforcement, a male dominated industry, or in a job where femininity is scarce. I have a lot of tips and tricks and an amazing post from how a police detective balances her fierceness and femininity here.

As always, stay beautiful!


Natalie Setareh

Leave a Reply

Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

kevyn aucoin

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