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Functional Girl: A column

Functional Girl CJ LEGARE

Dear Functional Girl: I love the look of a smoky eye, but I have no idea how to create one. Got any tips to help me make my eyes smolder? — Jen B.

Dear Jen: Creating a sexy, smoky eye isn’t as arduous a task as it may seem. I’ve got some great tips to ease you through the process.

Keep in mind that black isn’t the only shade that you can use to make your eyes smolder. Grays, browns, purples, coppers and silvers are great alternatives. On occasion I’ll even smudge a deep blue around my eyes when I’m feeling a little retro.

Make sure that you don’t put any eye cream on your upper lids before applying eye shadow. Start with an eyelid primer or a matte concealer to prep your lids and under-eye area to bond with the pigment. Brush a little loose powder just under the lower eye area to catch any shadow flakes.

You can use several different tools to apply eye shadow, including brushes, sponge-tip applicators, Q-tips, shadow crayons, as well as your very own fingertips—the latter being my preferred method. I feel like I have more control over the application when I use my fingertips. Always use your ring finger when working around your eye area. It’s the weakest finger, and less likely to pull and tear at the delicate skin.

Start by patting a good layer of pigment from the lash line to the crease. For those of you who are new to this, start lightly and build your coverage until you get more comfortable. Once you’ve applied the first layer, wipe your finger, then use it to blend or “smoke” the shadow upwards toward the brow bone, and laterally toward the outer corner of the eye. The idea is to have the color saturated around the eye, and softly graduated outwards.

Next, use a medium-sized eye-shadow brush to apply a highlighting shade (lighter and contrasting) to the brow bone, and to blend the lighter shade seamlessly into the darker. Some smoky looks involve strong lines to contour the eye area, but I think soft blending is more suited for someone just learning the method.

Finally, use a Q-tip or small eye-shadow brush to take the darker shadow under the eye. Again, build the coverage gradually. Sweep the brush from the inner to the outer corners. If the shadow line feels heavy or severe, use your highlighting shade to soften and blend it. Apply a little highlighter to the inner corners of the eyes to make them sparkle. Apply a coat or two of black mascara to your upper and lower lashes. Finish up by wiping away the loose powder.

Dear Functional Girl: I recently decided to take the plunge and start my own floral business. I’m working with limited funds, so I’m going to have to build my own Web site with one of those easy-to-follow templates. Got any tips? — Crystal L.

Dear Crystal: Congratulations, girlfriend! You are taking a very brave and very rewarding step. I started my own company four years ago, and it’s been a roller-coaster ride. But I have no regrets.

Being a small-business owner, I network quite a bit. That’s how I met my Web guru, Sam Fullman. When I mentioned your question, his eyes lit up and he began to throw phrases like “digital shopping cart” and “SEO” at me. I laughed, and said, “Let’s just help her put up a functioning site, and then we can tackle search-engine optimization.” He offered these easy tips.

  • Learn to write. Every business owner must be passionate enough about her product to write or talk about it. Most small-business owners can’t afford to hire a professional writer, so learn to enjoy writing about who you are and what you do.
  • Depending on your product, you may need to learn to work with digital photos. A digital camera for a hundred dollars or less will do just fine. The key to a great product photo is a lot of light and a steady hand. Shoot from several angles so that you’ll have a variety of photos to choose from. You’ll also need to understand pixel size. A pixel is simply the smallest dot of color in a picture or on your monitor. Most web pages are about 900 pixels wide, while most pictures from your digital camera will be about 2500 pixels wide. Learn how to resize your pictures, but save the originals for graphic-design projects and business cards. A good, free software for resizing pictures is VSO Image Resizer ( You’ll find an excellent tutorial on how to use this software on YouTube. Finally, learn how to compose your photos. A common photographic mistake is the inclusion of a lot of extraneous items.
  • When you start to build your Web site, do your homework. There are countless options out there. I have friends who prefer to use Homestead (, but it is well worth trying a few different services. There is an inverse relationship between ease and flexibility. Typically, the easier it is to get started, the less likely that you’re going to be fully satisfied with the end result. I encourage small-business owners to worry about content over appearance. Having a Web site with a homespun appearance and well-written content can actually work in your favor. Remember, Google and Yahoo can’t see how pretty your Web site is. They can only see the words on the pages. If your site’s layout is not exactly what you want, good-quality photos of your product will more than compensate.

Sam Fullman is a Web developer and database consultant. His San Marcos-based company Compass Point Media ( has been in business for 10 years now, and has a monthly newsletter. You may contact him at (512) 754-7927 or

Functional Girl CJ Legare lives in Kyle with her husband, Joshua, and is addicted to 2 percent organic milk. If you’ve got a question or comment for Functional Girl, email her here. She blogs at

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