A Dashing Duo: Benefit They’re Real Duo Shadow Blender in Sexy Smokin’, and the Unwritten Rule of Middle School Dancing (Circa 1989)

Published in: Benefit, Eyes, Makeup

benefit theyre real sexy smokin

Wearing the new Benefit They’re Real Duo Shadow Blender in Sexy Smokin’ ($24) on my eyes and They’re Real Double the Lip in Pink Thrills on my lips

Middle school dances were the worst. I don’t know why anybody thought they were fun.

Well…I know that there were some kids who probably had fun, like the kids in the popular clique who planned the dances. I bet they had a good time, but I never did. I always felt awkward sitting there in the bleachers, wringing my hands and tap-tap-tapping my lace-less Keds.


This was before it was OK to dance with a group of your girlfriends out on the dance floor, so you had to wait for someone to ask you, ugh! So painful. Nobody I ever actually wanted to dance with would ask me, which wasn’t a big surprise. I mean, I was beyond shy and awkward and nerdy.

I did get asked a couple times…which leads me to the unwritten rule of middle school dances (circa 1989), which is that two is the magic number.

I’m thinking about this because I’ve been all about “the twos” today. I’m rockin’ a new eyeshadow duo and a new lipstick duo from Benefit — They’re Real Duo Shadow Blender in Sexy Smokin’ ($24) and They’re Real Double the Lip lipstick ($20). They’re part of Benefit’s new spring collection (available now at Benefit stores and counters), which is all about duos.

With the eight neutral powder eyeshadow duos and the eight lipsticks, and they’re basically um… the whole deal is they make your eyes and lips look bigger, instantly.

The shadows have a funky round sponge applicator, which you swipe across the pan (the pan has the two shadows stacked on top of each other horizontally). You swipe the funky sponge across the pan, and then across your eye, with the darker shade closest to your lash line.

The idea is to make your eyes look bigger, brighter and schmexier with just one swipe.

And you do something similar with the lipsticks. They have a teardrop-shaped bullet, with a slighter darker color at the tip, so that when you swipe the tube across your lips, the darker edge makes the lighter part in the center pop.

So your lips look bigger. 😊

benefit theyre real duo shadow blender

The eight new They’re Real Duo Shadow Blenders ($24 each)

I plan to do a full review of the whole collection soon, but today was all about Sexy Smokin’. It’s a dark, satiny, cool-toned brownish taupe, and a shiny, silvery taupe shimmer.

I’m all about the darker taupe, and when I wore it with my NARS primer last Saturday, it stayed put all day long.

benefit theyre real sexy smokin

Benefit They’re Real Duo Shadow Blender in Sexy Smokin’ and They’re Real Double the Lip in Pink Thrills!

So, back to the unwritten magical rule of twos… It was one of those things that nobody ever told my me or my friends. Ever.

You know how there were things that your friends never told you, and you had to figure out on your own? Well, one of them was that back in the late ’80s at middle school dances, you couldn’t just move your arms and feet to the beat however it moved you. There were, like, actual dance moves that the kids in my school did, like the snake, the running man, the kid ‘n’ play and the robocop #datingmyselfsohardrightnow. And the unwritten rule was that when you were dancing with somebody, you couldn’t just do one of these dances… You had to do two of them. Two dances.

benefit theyre real sexy smokin pink thrills

Swatches of Benefit They’re Real Duo Shadow Blender in Sexy Smokin’ and They’re Real Double the Lip in Pink Thrills

For example, you could do both the snake and the robocop together, or the robocop and the wop.

Nobody ever explained why it was done this way, either. It was just understood.

Maybe it was for variety, or maybe it was because if you just did one dance by itself for the duration of a four-minute song, you would have been completely exhausted, because those dances were taxing! Maybe it was easier on your cardio if you did them together… 🙂 I dunno… Too funny.

So there it was — the unwritten two-dance rule.

The Santa Clarita Diet

In other news, I’m watching the craziest show on Netflix! It’s called The Santa Clarita Diet, and it stars Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant, aka the guy I always mix up with Fergie’s husband (conspiracy theory: they’re the same dude).

It’s about a family in Southern California, and ruh-roh! Mom is a zombie.

Hilarity ensues.

It’s bananas! It’s clever, smart and random, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.


I’m six episodes in, and there have already been so many times when I’ve gone, “WHAT THE WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!”

Anyway, it speaks to my sense of humor. If you give it a watch one of these days, let me know what you think. 😊

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 22 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Holly says:

    I literally just saw the shadows on the Ulta website this evening and wondered how well the applicator actually worked. I’m always on the lookout for pinky (pinker? pinkish?) nudes as I think they brighten my eyes and make me look more awake. Yesterday I ran errands barefaced as I was just going to go home and get in pajamas again (day off!) and I had two people tell me I looked tired. I wasn’t tired in the slightest (9.5 hours of sleep!) but as I’m so fair-skinned with light colored lashes and brows, I admit that I’m rather ghost-like when I don’t wear makeup. All that to say, I like the concept of easy-to-apply eyeshadow duos.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Holly,

      The applicator thing-a-ma-bob is fun to use! I tried it a couple times with this duo, and it looked a little funky on me, so I’m going to try it a few more times to see if there’s some sort of trick to making it work. 🙂

      Totally jealous of your 9.5 hours of sleep, by the way.

      • Holly says:

        I was so sleep deprived: I don’t have children of my own but I watch two sets of kids for two different families during the week and I had just com off of six days in a row. I know small children disrupt your sleep and I hope you can occasionally cat-nap during the day!

  2. Divina says:

    Great look! It becomes you. 🙂 And yes to Santa Clarita Diet. It’s so nice seeing Timothy Olyphant in this role — he is hilarious! Killed the whole season in one day! Have you watched Justified?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Divina,

      I’m on episode 8 now and I’m still loving it. It’s so weird and wacky! It’s funny that you should mention Timothy Olyphant, because I was thinking it was an unusual choice for him. I know him from Justified, where he’s such a smooth and tough guy. I never knew he could do comedy so well.

      I cracked up when I saw Loki playing guitar at the club, LOL!

  3. Taylor says:

    There’s got to be a Santa Clarita Diet season 2, right?! They can’t leave us on that cliffhanger! That lip color is lovely on you.

    • Karen says:

      Girl, I’m not at the end yet! Now I can’t wait to find out what happens, AHHH!

      Was I the only one who kept trying to see what makeup Drew Barrymore was using throughout the series? I would think she’d be rocking her line Flower. LOL

  4. Oh, I have been wondering about this series for a while and thought it would either be hilarious or completely odd. But I just started watching the Gilmore Girls for the first time, so I guess I am set for a few months.
    School dances arent really a thing in Germany, or at least they werent back in 89, so I did not know about the rule of two. Or any other school dance rules.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … We get the glow – Looking back at week four

    • Karen says:

      It’s not a real rule, more like an unwritten thing that everyone did without expressing it, LOL!

      Definitely Santa Clarita Diet on your list. It’s great.

  5. Lulle says:

    The eyeshadow duos sound intriguing, but does it really work? I mean, do you end up with a nice looking smokey eye in just one swipe?? That sounds a little too good to be true, lol!
    Lulle recently posted … #FrenchFriday : New Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur Lipstick for Spring 2017

    • Karen says:

      I mean… I don’t know if I’ve got the right eye shape for this type of sponge, but I could see it maybe working? I dunno, I’m gonna keep trying. Maybe there’s a trick I haven’t figured out quite yet.

  6. Looking forward to the full review already! Good to hear the colors stayed nicely put with a primer 🙂
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Make-Up Look | The Ritual Of Cleopatra

  7. Fran says:

    Middle school is *such* a painful time for so many people! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of (or read about) someone having a great time in middle school. Even the so-called “popular” kids (popular with who, exactly? who actually liked them) must have been going through some stuff that just wasn’t apparent to the rest of us. (Or they have the sense to know that bragging now about what a great time they had in middle school is likely to get them ostracized in adulthood, lol!)

    I *love* the way Sexy Smokin’ and Pink Thrills look on you 🙂 Not sure I’d actually want to apply the eye shadow with that sponge, though.

    • Karen says:

      Ugh, I’m dreading Connor having to endure middle school. I just hope she makes it through with relatively few mental traumas, OMG! Was it hard getting your son through that time?

      Re: eyeshadow. The sponge in this duo is kind of cray. But I’ll keep trying to see if I’m missing something…

  8. Fran says:

    My son was “lucky” in that he was on homeschool/homebound instruction all thought middle school, lol! One of the few benefits of being really sick was getting to miss middle school.

    He was pretty odd at the beginning of high school, but, oddly enough, did not seem to get teased a lot. Or else he was oblivious to it. He took vocal music for two terms even though he was tone deaf, and I never heard about anyone being mean to him about it! He graduated with the award for ‘most improved’ or ‘made the most progress’ or something like that, which was basically the award they came up with so that one of the special ed kids could get an award. He did deserve it, though. He started H.S. quarter-time, in sped only, and by the time he graduated his only sped class was homeroom. And this was a kid who really struggled with reading and writing (forget arithmetic). He even got into the main university in a state school in a neighboring state (not even our own state) in the honors program — but he really wasn’t ready, ended up back home on a medical leave of absence and is still getting ready to try again seven years later. Hopefully he’ll grow up before he loses all his hair! He’s a joy to live with, but I won’t be around forever. But, he couldn’t even go to school from halfway through third grade until the beginning of ninth grade, and then did so well in high school, I will continue to have faith in him.

  9. kellly says:

    I like those! And they’re not mattes!! (Finally!) I am going to check those out. I like that taupe. I’m into wearing taupe quite a bit lately. The price works for me, too!

  10. Kim says:

    Your middle school dances sound horrific. I’m sorry for you guys. 🙁 I’m a little older than you but we were much more carefree out here in the country. Everyone could dance together in groups. Girls, boys or mixed. All the boys did a dance that we called the hockey shuffle, which was sort of dragging each foot behind you, in alternating fashion, while twisting slightly at the waist. It was almost never done to the actual rhythm of the song. The girls all did the “Courtney Cox in the Dancing in the Dark video” dance. You know the one. 🙂 You only had to be asked by a boy to dance a SLOW dance. My boys dance like dodos in a group of their friends or, more often, not at all at their Middle School dances. They have other activities now, like foosball, etc. for those not inclined to dance.

  11. Tatiana says:

    The minute you said “middle school dances” it brought up a whole bunch of painful memories of Dear Daughter crying afterwards. Turns out one of the boys she liked is gay. Explains the showers, cologne and clean pressed shirts. They ended up going to her prom together as friends and they’re still friends. But the tears shed over the other boys…oh dear.
    I kinda want to try one of these. They look alot alike in color. I like that they’re rather neutral.
    I saw a preview for Santa Clarita diet, I just need to find the time to sit down and watch it. I love Timothy Olyphant. From Die Hard to Deadwood to Justified, he’s just a fun actor to watch. Right now we’re finally getting around to watching Travelers on Netflix and really enjoying it. Colony and The Expanse also returned, so we need to make time to watch those. Hard to watch a lot of TV when I crash on the sofa or Dear Husband crashes in the recliner soon after dinner.

  12. Erin says:

    I never went to a middle school dance, as I was homeschooled. I only attended a few in HS/College. I didn’t know the rules. The only one I had fun at was at Jr. Prom. The DJ was on fire and that is when I learned you can dance away negative emotions. I was on the dace floor for probably 4 or 5 hours. Pretty much the whole time.

    That show looks great! I’m going to wait until my hubby comes home to watch it!
    Erin recently posted … Sunday Riley UFO Ultra Clarifying Face Oil

  13. Chelsea says:

    Santa Clarita Diet was so good! I love the kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge