Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…..

15 Aug


About a year ago this mirror mysteriously appeared in our house. Nobody claimed it and nobody knew where it came from. In all honesty we’re pretty sure it was a dumpster find. Despite it’s shadowy origins, we found ourselves using it all the time. There was even a minor uproar when it disappeared for a day.

All I know is that I wanted to paint it the instant I saw it. The blank spaces were screaming to be filled in with color. Something whimsical and feminine, kinda like the Women’s Building in San Francisco.


Finally, after staring at it for a year, I got out my acrylic paint and got to work. I wanted to incorporate a quote by Khalil Gibran but the space for it was limited and weirdly shaped. I thought it would look odd with a quote in just one corner so I scoured the internet looking for a few more empowering quotes about beauty.

It was surprisingly difficult. Various writers, celebrities, and sages have said many funny, inspiring, and thought provoking things about beauty (GoodReads alone has over 1,000 matches for the word “beauty.”)  What surprised me was how many of the quotes seemed to feed negative ideas about beauty: Beauty fades with age. (‘Cause old people can’t be beautiful?) Some of them suggested that beauty is only attainable if you are happy, dull, useless, or wearing the right accessory. In the end I found quite a few that really made me think about beauty; both what I believe about it and how it plays a role in our culture. I’ll let you ruminate over them.


“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
~ Abraham Lincoln

“Flawed, we’re truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful.”
~ Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

“Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance.”
~ John Steinbeck

“Let us leave pretty women to men with no imagination.”
~ Marcel Proust, The Captive & The Fugitive


“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That’s deep enough. What do you want, an adorable pancreas?”
~ Jean Kerr

“Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”
~ Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
~ Coco Chanel

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”
~ Gwyneth Paltrow


“A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but an obsession about female obedience.”
~ Naomi Wolf

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”
~ Miss Piggy, The Muppets

“Screw pretty. I’d rather be strong. Pretty fades over time. Strength gets you through the bad shit.”
~ Thea Harrison, Oracle’s Moon


“Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates.”
~ Kate Angell, Squeeze Play

“It’s all mirror, mirror on the wall because beauty is power, the same way money is power, the same way a gun is power.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

“I look my best after an entire hair and makeup team has spent hours perfecting me. When do I feel my best? When I haven’t looked in a mirror for days, and I’m doing things that make me happy.”
~ Anne Hathaway

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata


“Beauty isn’t worth thinking about; what’s important is your mind. You don’t want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head.”
~ Garrison Keillor

“Crying is for plain women. Pretty women go shopping.”
~ Oscar Wilde

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.”
~ Rosalind Russell

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe


“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.”
~ Audrey Hepburn

“Makeup can only make you look pretty on the outside, but it doesn’t help if you’re ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the makeup.”
~ Audrey Hepburn

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
~ Sophia Loren

I loved working on this project. It was exciting to have a project that challenged me to really think about the subject. I hope this mirror will bring as much inspiration and happiness to the people who look into it as it has to me. I kinda wish I had more junky mirrors lying around.



P.S. I decided that I loved the mirror enough that I would be upset if the paint job got scratched. I didn’t have anything to seal it with so I officially broke the rules of the Destash Bash and bought a small bottle polyurothane varnish for $3.99. I may have contradicted the wisdom of Justina Chen, but I regret nothing.

P.P.S. Just in case you can’t read them the quotes on the mirror are:

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
~ Khalil Gibran

“To start telling people that you’re beautiful, or just feel beautiful, just start acting like you are the most beautiful woman in the world.”
~ Margaret Cho

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
~ Helen Keller

“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”
~ Confucius

“Beauty is whatever gives joy.”
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

“Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.”
~ Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously…I’m Kidding


2 Responses to “Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…..”

  1. mara August 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Love what you have done here! I happen to have 2 very boring mirrors lying around, you know the rectangular long kind and one with out a frame that is like the size of one over your bathroom sink…actually I have several more mirrors, waiting, waiting, to see what will happen with at least one of them…perhaps my wait will soon be over?


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