Librarian Lifestyle

Historically Accurate Makeup Tutorials for Your Carnival (or other) Costume

In Beauty, Fashion on February 10, 2015 at 4:32 pm

This was my dilemma yesterday. I had bought a fantastic Cleopatra costume for Karneval in Köln, but I had no idea how to do my makeup Cleopatra-style. Being more of a nerd than a beauty queen, I have always struggled with makeup. 

Last semester when I was the embedded librarian for a great class of English 1302 students at the University of Texas – Pan American, one of the students wrote her research paper on YouTube beauty gurus. It was like a light bulb went off. OMG – of course, all of this is on YouTube! (My lack of awareness is no doubt a product of coming of age in the 80s! These beauty gurus came as no surprise to the students! :) )

So, when it came time to prepare for my Karneval look, I went to YouTube and discovered a great video on how create a historically accurate Cleopatra look on the MACshadowcombos channel created by Zabrena. What makes her channel so special, and why I think it is appealing to librarians, is that she has done a great amount of research to create historically accurate makeup tutorials for different eras.

I haven’t asked her about her sources, LOL, but it was great to learn about the history of makeup and how to create a great look at the same.

Before with no makeup:




It was such a dramatic transformation that after seeing my pics on Facebook, my own mother emailed me asking if this was me! With these results, I will be definitely going back to her channel to prepare for more of my Karneval looks.

Check out the other historically accurate videos by Zabrena on her YouTube playlist.

By Karen Holt. Karen is currently enjoying a sabbatical in Cologne, Germany, just in time for Carnival season! Kölle Alaaf!

Want to be happy? Slow down

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Originally posted on

In 1972, Matthieu Ricard had a promising career in biochemistry, trying to figure out the secrets of E. coli bacteria. A chance encounter with Buddhism led to an about turn, and Ricard has spent the past 40+ years living in the Himalayas, studying mindfulness and happiness. In this free-wheeling discussion at TED Global in October 2014, Ricard talked with journalist and writer Pico Iyer about some of the things they’ve learned over the years, not least the importance of being conscious about mental health and how to spend time meaningfully. An edited version of the conversation, moderated by TED Radio Hour host Guy Raz, follows. First, Pico Iyer on how he became taken with the idea of staying still:

Guy Raz (left), Pico Iyer (center), and Matthieu Ricard (right) discuss mindfulness and the importance of being still at TED Global 2014. Photo by Duncan Davidson/TED. Guy Raz (left), Pico Iyer (center), and Matthieu Ricard (right) discuss mindfulness and the importance of being still at TED Global 2014. Photo by Duncan Davidson/TED.

Pico Iyer: When I was in my twenties, I had this wonderful…

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Want to Have Better Meetings with Your Direct Reports? Turn Your Weekly Meetings Into Walking Meetings

In Careers, Workplace Issues on June 8, 2014 at 2:53 am

For the last few weeks at my university, we have been doing a wellness challenge. This involves walking 50,000 steps a week, and many people from my library, and my team specifically, are participating.

I didn’t realize until I started this challenge that I am super competitive! Like many librarian jobs, my job is fairly sedentary,  so I started thinking about the different ways I could increase my steps during the day. I then remembered a conversation I had somewhere in the middle of Latvia during Cycling for Libraries with the inspiring Åke Nygren of the Stockholm Public Library. The details are a little fuzzy (Forgive me, Åke! Maybe you can add more details in the comments?) but basically I remember that he had organized a walking meeting at a conference, and I thought at the time what a genius idea! To walk and talk about ideas with your colleagues. During Cycling for Libraries I found that I had the most inspirational and reveltory conversations while biking alongside fellow librarians, so that experience had shown me how creativity flourished and ideas flowed when you talked about work while exercising at the same time.

So, I decided to try implementing walking meetings at at my library with members of my team who I thought would initially be the most receptive, and it has been amazing! We have a mile long trail around our campus, so our meetings last the 20 minutes it takes to walk the trail. Along the way we talk about work, we talk about ideas and solutions to some of our challenges, and we chat about things going on in our personal lives.

Walking next to each other as opposed to sitting across a desk, completely changes the power dynamic. Instead of being in a defacto adversarial setting by sitting across from each other at a big rectangular desk, we are truly teammates, walking together side-by-side. I think it breaks down some barriers that exist between a manager and a direct report, which leads to more open communication, something I regard as the cornerstone of success for my department and for my library.

I also think that the combination of being outdoors and getting a boost from endorphins created by exercise allows space for creativity and inspiration to happen. It is the ideas resulting from this boost to creativity that will make us better librarians.

I’m not sure how this initiative will fare in the heat of the Texas summer, but creating a space for more open dialogue while improving your health is a combination that is hard to beat.


By Karen Holt

Karen is the Head of Reference & Instructional Services at The University of Texas – Pan American on the Texas-Mexico border. She loves traveling and biking. Her next destinations include Cycling for Libraries in France, IFLA, and (fingers crossed!) the LIBER Book Fair in Barcelona.







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