New Autumn Lipsticks and Rayma

The 12 BLUEPRINTS shop has reopened after a move to Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.

To find PEI on this map of Canada, look over on the right side for the tiny red crescent shape.

The Mi’kmak Nation called PEI Epekwit'k, spoken today as Abegweit, meaning cradled on the waves.


Being here is a circling back to where the 12 BLUEPRINTS story began. Newly trained as a colour analyst, I brought my drapes on holiday and proceeded to analyze my entire family. My first client was my then-85-year old father, a Dark Autumn.

It was July, 2009, and I was walking through the forest thinking of how to describe a hair colour to a True Autumn relative. I looked up and there it was, in the branch of a spruce tree that had changed colour in the fall and stayed on the tree, a solitary little sprig of soft rust among the green.

Season Snapshot: Rayma

Throughout the book, readers find Season Snapshots. Each snapshot is a recounting of one person’s path to discovering and engaging with their own colours. I’ve been told, “These were the best part of the book.”

Each of us has received the gift of breathtakingly beautiful colours. We could have been created gray or transparent, but that's not what happened.

Once we know our colours, we find our purpose for them, the place they will have in our unique journeys. Some pull out their palette for special occasion purchases only. Folks like me transform their world. Explorers standing on the deck of a ship, who see land after weeks of open ocean, would have had a similar sense of, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Today is not the same as yesterday.”

Each snapshot is a blend of at least two real people. Clever questions and solutions from a third or fourth person appear in every story. I’ve met Rayma’s situation many times in all 12 Seasons. Parts of it could be Copy&Pasted into all of our stories.

“I don’t look the part.”

Last week, Rayma retired from a managerial position with a national insurance group. She looked forward to cooking, bike tours, and joining the Meditation and Martinis group that her book club buddies talked about. Mandalas and mysteries sounded grand altogether.

This week, she finds herself seated with the board of directors, a diverse group of people from the community. In her years as a manager, her work was expected and accepted. She figured the transition would be easy, knowing the work inside out and sideways. In the past, as long as she stayed the course, her appearance wasn’t noticed. The work had its own identity.

Not quite what happened. The board table was new in territory, culture, and language. For the first time in a long time, her work wasn’t there to carry her. Others seemed neutral towards her, listening but somehow not trusting or acting, the same greeting that a visiting sales rep might encounter. The distance felt excluding, until even she wondered what she was doing there.

Rayma wasn’t sure how to read the cues but her career had been spent solving problems. She was going to solve this one in the same way she always had, which she shared with us here:

#1, separate the people from the problem.
#2, separate the feelings about the problem from the problem.
#3, name the problem.
#4, solve the problem.

Naming problems makes them smaller and manageable. If it’s hard to do, ask this way: From your appearance, what do you want that you don’t have today?

Appearance is a skunk of a topic, psychologically complex, rife with emotion, and bursting with history.  We can still answer the question, same as we can answer,

What do you want from your career that you don’t have today?
"I want to be there for Christmas concerts."

Peel away the layers, look in the mirror, and find the words. If it’s worth it to you, get busy.

Rayma narrowed the problem to, “People need two or three meetings to accept me on the board.”

She’s loving this new opportunity; she has the motive and the means. It’s not a case of writer’s block. She can write this story but she feels conflicted.

Am I seriously supposed to start fussing about lipstick?

Is getting glammed up really the answer?

Am I supposed to get rid of all my clothes and start over?

“Just tell me what to do.”

She takes a few stabs at changing her look.

Black suits = bulky shoulders.

Bright colours look surfer or silly instead of creative.

Blonde highlights make for a washed-out chubby face, neither younger or friendlier. Not even blonde, if you want to know the truth.

Nude lipstick drains the energy from her face. In the mirror, she sees a beige circle with eyes. So does everybody else.

This isn’t working.

Rayma Googles ‘how to choose colours’ and finds Colour Analysis.

We meet, she tells me her story, along with “I don’t care if I’m warm or cool, or if I have full lips or thin lips. Just tell me what to do with it.”

I say, “Rayma, your days of wandering in the jungle will be over in two hours. Have a seat.”

Rayma is a Dark Autumn.


This week’s checklist

1. The revelation that your own colours are the most normal and balanced of all takes about a week to settle in. “I was more glam before.”, she said.

2. Getting white right is huge for everyone. Steer clear of it and remember why; it’s light and cool and you’re warm and dark. Your white is like white by a fireplace in a room with burgundy accents, golden and blushed.

3. Daytime lipstick becomes burnt caramel orange. Evening calls for spicy red with a bronze metallic sheen. From the image below, of True and Dark Autumn colours in the BLUEPRINTS cosmetics line, we try a few and find the best, normal and fantastic at the same time.


4. Pulling a look together with off hair colour is work. Switch beige blonde for medium chestnut, not too dark to acknowledge the natural colour of medium-dark gingery brown. This move alone will give your face back its shape, slimmer, better outlined, with more refined bone structure.

The whole Rayma

Rayma is highly tuned to how others feel and adapts her own behaviour to what they need in each moment. I admire this about her, probably why she was nominated to the board in the first place. At first glance, the darkness of her Season feels serious or uncompromising, when her intention is the opposite.

Most everyone feels hesitation about some aspect of their Season, the foreboding of, “How am I going to get this part of me to fit?”

To meet, she is equally lovely and determined. She thinks she is lovelier than determined but nope, or not to me. Another surprise.

Rayma reflects upon the real Rayma, the Rayma that she wants to know she is, and where she finds this person within her colours. She likes the sense of purpose, of security and support, decisiveness and sound judgment, and will honour these while keeping the loveliness.

With time, softness arrives in texture and print, with scarves and florals. To her, they express patience and kindness. Rayma never interrupts, a quality to which I so aspire.

She loves girl stuff and is thrilled to finally know her pink. She gave pink priority status and if almost any Autumn pink appears, she buys it, knowing how to adjust it with the outfit and that she will never look powdery or cartoon again.

Light colours, like parchment beige and lemongrass yellow, appear often near her face to express a light touch in relationships. 

"I want to know the styles to buy."

We all know ourselves in unbalanced parts. We rarely perceive the balanced whole with whom others interact. For Rayma and thousands of others, the black suit would have been fine in a different design.

 Before their session, I ask clients what they hope to gain from their colour analysis. Rayma was among the many who answer, “I want to know what styles I should be buying. My body type is hard to pick clothes for…”

Rayma, every body type is hard to pick clothes for. The solution lies in narrowing down your choices, as you have with colour. Expert advice can be a revelation, the word I hear most often from clients who have had the experience. The information is easily available because it can be done entirely online and I was able to connect her with the resource that will help with this step.

The Before jewelry did little and said less. Five minutes after meeting her, you might say, “Earrings? What earrings?” The colour palette gave her the colours, the style consultation gave her the size and shape. “Different way to shop, ay?”, said I.

Among her new skills, she attracts the most amazing coats and jackets. It’s not even a skill, rather a built-in that floated up, like a freckle that one day appeared. Rayma also arrives early for meetings. People want to talk.