Okay, so in 2009 I was nominated for an Alberta Literary Award for a story that had been published the year before. It was crazy exciting, and the experience was totally new to me. I drove down to Calgary, where I was put up in a super swanky hotel for free, got a free dinner, and got to attend the awards ceremony.

SIDENOTE: I did not win the award, but I felt pretty damn good about myself, because the other four nominees were all well established writers in the community, and I was the youngest by at least 20 years. Yes, I’m bragging a bit. Deal.

I took my mom as my date. Because I’m cool like that.

This was a pretty huge deal to me, so naturally, I stressed over it. I bought a new dress, dyed my hair, and made a game plan for the day of the awards. I wanted to look fabulous. Who wouldn’t?

We got to Calgary and got settled into our hotel room, which was absolutely beautiful. I started primping right away. I felt like a bit of a rockstar. (Apparently it doesn’t take much.) The bathroom was huge. What a dream. I curled my hair and put on my makeup. I had tons of counter space. I felt great. I looked hot.

Then I stepped out into the room.

“Oh…is that…are you…ready?” my mom asked.

“…Yes? Why are you looking at me like that?”

I watched my mom trying her best to be tactful. Her right eye twitched. Her lip quivered. She cleared her throat.

“Um…it’s just…that’s – uh – you’re wearing a lot of blush right now.”

I’m human, so I got defensive. I admit it, I like blush.

“Mom, stop it. I like blush. Don’t criticize me.”

“No, Andrea, really – ”


“Andrea, really.”

Then she held up her small mirror for me to have a look in the natural light of the hotel room. And I looked something like this:



I spent the next 15 or so minutes panicking at my mom and trying to lighten the monster blush that was all over my face. That fucking bathroom lighting had LET ME DOWN.

For the record, I eventually got normal looking.

Normal blush.
Normal blush.

But that was the day I learned to ALWAYS double-lighting check my makeup, because you never know. Alternatively, always use the buddy system when getting ready for a special event. (And you do what you gotta do – I have even texted “getting ready” photos back and forth with BFFs to ensure I look acceptable and vice versa.)

Friends don’t let friends leave the house looking like LiLo!

(Sorry, LiLo.)


P.S. Got any horror stories about getting somewhere and realizing something was horribly wrong/off with your appearance? My mom partially sparked this blog post by reminding me of the day she got to work and realized she had forgotten to put on a bra. (Which, no offense to my mom, would never happen if she had big boobs, because…well, you get it.)