A DMV FOTD, and the Kindness of Strangers

Published in: Face of the Day (FOTD)

“Aww, you’re not smiling in this pic. Get back there and take it again.”
— DMV Picture Lady

Nope, I wasn’t smiling. I was at the DMV this afternoon for what felt like ages, breathing in the scent of humanity — which, by the way, smelled like a mix of cigarettes, man funk, greasy roots and barbeque potato chips — and listening to teenagers fight with their mothers (was I ever that bratty? I’m pretty sure I was, sigh).


I was fussy because, you know, the DMV, and because I ended up not having enough time to put on false lashes before going (boo!).

Eyes: MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot (lids), NARS Cyprus Eyeshadow (lids), NARS Galapagos Eyeshadow (outer third and lower lash line), MAC Bare Minimum Eye Shadow (brow bone), Dior Diorshow Artpen Liquid Liner (upper lash line), Bobbi Brown Jet Liner (waterlines), Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara in Prune (upper and lower lashes)

When they finally called my number and I walked up to window No. 9 with my ticket, I was on the verge of going orange alert, but then the DMV Picture Lady who helped me was really, really sweet.

It reminded me that a little bit of kindness can totally turn things around. She was friendly and sweet, and even offered to retake my picture after the first one wasn’t my best.

Face: Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in Honey, Bobbi Brown Corrector Concealer in Peach, Hourglass Oxygen Powder in No. 4; Cheeks: Guerlain Nerolia Bronzer and NARS Amour Blush

This is a look I actually wear all the time. Golden brown eyes, black liner, bronzer, peach blush and a rosy lip.


Lips: Too Faced Perfect Spice Lip Liner (all over lips as a base), NARS Dolce Vita Lipstick and NARS Dolce Vita Lipgloss

Not a ton of color, but there’s enough for me to feel polished. πŸ™‚

I think I’m gonna wear it to the movies tonight with El Hub (I want to see The Place Beyond the Pines with Ryan Gosling), but I might switch out the lips with something brighter to give it more flair… Maybe a hot pink or coral, or the sparkly new Chanel Glossimer in Daydream.

How about you? What did you do for your makeup today?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 34 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nima says:

    Great look! What eye shadow are you wearing??

  2. Rica says:

    In Canada, we’re not allowed to smiled in driver’s license, health card, or other government ID. It’s nice that your DMV lady reminded you to smile. I love that your look is natural and with an oomph πŸ™‚

    For me, my makeup today was just concealers and mascaras. Gonna do something more tomorrow though, it’s kinda my pattern XD

    x Rica

  3. Hyzenthlay says:

    I remember using tips from your site about taking a new DMV photo a few years ago πŸ™‚ turned out well, considering! I think you look beautiful in these shots πŸ™‚

  4. camille says:

    Love your everyday look! You nailed the look of simple and polished. πŸ™‚ I’m going to have to order the Bobbi Brown foundation stick, and give it another chance…

    Today’s make up was simple. I have switched to Revlon’s “Skin” foundation, due to sequestration. πŸ™ I found a shade pretty close to Bobbi’s 4.5 warm natural, but knowing that it’s not Bobbi makes me feel less…..”Yowzers!”, yeno? Peach corrector under the eyes, and I actually tried her concealer today so I don’t use up my corrector so quickly! A quick dusting of Benefit Coralista, Hourglass Ambient powder to set the face, MAC’s Hot Tahiti for some lip colour, and the day was set!

    Cheers to the DMV lady! Must be rough dealing with different characters all day, so her attitude is something to smile about. πŸ™‚ Glad she turned around your mood. DMV is not fun.

    Happy Friday!

  5. Mandy says:

    Love your makeup! I wish we were allowed to smile in our driver’s license photos, but the DOT (same as DMV) in Iowa made it against the rules recently. πŸ™
    Mandy recently posted … NOTD: Wet N Wild Nail Polish in “Sprinkled With Love” (Review, Photos, Swatches)

  6. What a lovely DMV lady! Wish I had someone like that help me at the DMV, since my latest DL picture is an aberration… Here in LA they think it’s a great idea to put the camera at about your waist level, to supply everyone with a few extra chins. Then they snap that shot just about the time when you’re wondering how much longer this is going to take and whether the clerk behind the counter even knows you’re standing there. Before you know it, “Snap!” and you’re captured for posterity as a multi-chinned deer in headlights.

  7. P.S. Your everyday look is very polished and elegant! Who needs those false lashes? Nothing is missing, IMHO. Very pretty and just right.

  8. Sarah says:

    You look gorgeous. πŸ™‚


    Sarah recently posted … The Sparkler in ‘Enchanting Gold’!

  9. gio says:

    I love this look, it’s simple but pretty! You look beautiful!
    gio recently posted … QOTW: Do You Ever Throw Away Makeup?

  10. Angela says:

    You look so fresh-faced and gorgeous!

  11. Sunny says:

    Aww the lady sounds so cute! I really like this look on you! There are combinations I wear all the time as well, and it feels like they just woooork πŸ˜‰
    Sunny recently posted … For a Summer Day Outdoor, Try Kiehl’s Actively Correcting & Beautifying BB Cream

  12. Agata says:

    This make up look is gorgeous on you. I like how much versatility make up gives you- you can play with all kind of colors but sometimes just simple neutral colors make a huge difference too.

  13. Juliana Glumac says:

    In Australia we are not allowed to smile either and I don’t know any one with a decent photo. Think they want us to look bad.

  14. indoorkitty says:

    Oh gosh, last time I went to the DMV I got into a mondo argument about what weight to put down, as I’d lost like twenty pounds and the man assigned to me didn’t want to change it. I was like, do you know how hard it is to lose that much weight? What if I go missing? You’ll be looking for the wrong-sized person!!! Finally a sweet DMV supervisor lady intervened and got him to change the numbers. Then she told me to smize big (can’t smile on our licenses I think, I harsh projected everything I’d learnt from Tyra on ANTM) and head home right after.

    I’m glad you had a nicer time and probably a way nicer picture!

  15. Kim says:

    You worked Daydream in there on purpose, didn’t you? HAHA! This is a great look for your license and I’m glad you got a nice DMV lady. I’m still using a pic from ages ago because my situation was similar. We must have taken like 6 shots and I’m not exaggerating. The lady taking them was like “oh, I don’t know.. I think I liked the other one better. Let’s try again.. OK, this time turn just a little to the right, tilt your head down juuuuust a bit, perfect!”. We had a blast and it is my fave ID pic ever. Even people waiting behind me in line were laughing and getting into it. πŸ™‚

    PS How was the movie???

  16. yelena says:

    I haven’t been allowing enough time for make up the last few days so its been really simple:
    garnier bb cream, TF endless bronzer (loving this btw), Clinique airbrushed concealer under eyes, and mascara. tons of it!
    also using cover girl lippie in Rush (beautiful color but a bit drying).

    I love that we can wear more colors right now but I haven’t quite taken full advantage of that just yet!

  17. yelena says:

    p.s. you look gorgeous!

  18. Chelsea says:

    Definitely better than the picture on my driver’s license!

  19. Alison M says:

    Gorgeous! How nice that you got to retake your picture. It’s not very common to meet a DMV employee with a bit of decency. Today I opted for Too faced colors. Day look from the Smoky Eye Palette, Sweetheart’s blush, Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, and So Berry Sexy La Creme as a stain on the lips. It was a great toned down look for spring πŸ™‚
    Alison M recently posted … NARS Mata Hari Blush Swatch and Comparisons

  20. Lorraine says:

    This is a perfect look for everyday! I swear a MUA with a portable kit could make a killing in the DMV parking lot doing pre-photo mini makeovers! Kinda like a taco truck only with makeovers instead of food. Have you seen those tv shows where they surprise people at the DMV with makeovers before their photos? Love love the rosy lip- I wish Nars Dolce Vita looked this good on my lips. it is the perfect rose for you. Don’t change it for your date. Enjoy that Ryan Gosling movie!

  21. Jaye Brown says:

    You’re making me jealous, I want a new photo on my license. I look like Honey Boo-Boo’s mom in mine and it’s just not right.

  22. Arianne says:

    You look SO good. I’m bookmarking this for the next time I’m getting my driver’s license renewed.
    Arianne recently posted … Spring Trends: Pantone Fashion Colour Report Spring 2013

  23. Kimmwc03 says:

    Like many others that posted here, we are not allowed to smile in our photos here in Virginia. The photo is also black and white. I tried to wear more makeup for my last photo but it just looked bad. Anyone have hints on how to look better in a black and white pic?

  24. Olivia says:

    Gorgeous look!
    Olivia recently posted … My Spring Style (on a Budget)

  25. Lydia L says:

    Karen, u look STUNNING!!! Luv yo” makeup!!!!

  26. Janet says:

    1. You look lovely!

    2. Do not see The Place Beyond the Pines. It stinks. Despite the loveliness of Gosling and Cooper, it feels like three different movies smooshed together and is way too long, boring, and preachy. A girlfriend and I went to see it and we walked out both going “Whaaaaaaaa? Waste of our $$!!”

  27. Steph says:

    Gorgeous! I’m glad you got a nice DMV lady!
    Steph recently posted … Beauty Blogger Tag!

  28. I love seeing your “everyday” look! We see so many different looks on you all the time πŸ™‚
    Gotham Polish recently posted … Weekend Shopping: butter LONDON’s Royal Baby Polish, Last Day of Zoya’s Earth Day Exchange, Deborah Lippmann’s Newest Mermaid Polishes, and more!

  29. Tatyana G says:

    I love your makeup here and you look stunning. This is my kind of look.

  30. I wish I could smile in my DMV photo πŸ™ The lady who took my photo told me I could smile without showing teeth, but I never smile that way. I tried and now my photo looks like I’m doing this weird smirk…sigh. That’s a pretty everyday look! Mine is pretty similar. Basic and polished πŸ™‚
    Jay @ Wayfaring Beauty recently posted … Resort Ready ’13 – Essie In the Cab-ana and First Timer Swatches & Review

  31. Lisa says:

    I was inspired by your look, and picked up the Nars lipstick and gloss. I love it! I suspect I have something similar in the eyeshadows- would love swatches! I haven’t mastered the waterline lining. I need something for the dark circles under my eyes, now! I’ve tried all kinds of products, and have trouble finding one that works without looking like spackle.

  32. KK says:

    You look gorgeous! Such a stunningly polished look! Wish I could replicate!

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