The Picture on the Box

By Rose Ann Sinay

I walked into one of the popular beauty specialty stores and began searching the shelves of the philosophy® brand section for their newest promotional kit.

“Can I help you?” a young saleswoman asked. “Are you looking for a cleanser? Bath and shower gels? This brand makes a wonderful moisturizer.” She opened a tester jar, dipped the end of a cotton swab in the white cream and spread it on the back of my hand. “We have several to choose from.”

“Actually, I’m not sure,” I said, rubbing the lotion into my hands. “I’m looking for the box with the little girl on the front.”

“They’re philosophy® products,” the woman replied with a hint of arrogance. “They all have a picture of a little girl on the box.” She tapped her long, painted nails on the glass partition.

“I’m looking for the one with my daughter, Kailey, on it,” I tried to clarify. “She has curlers in her hair and lipstick all over her face.”

“Uh huh,” she replied raising her eyebrows ever so slightly. “Don’t think I’ve seen that one, but I will check in the back for a new shipment,” she said, her heels clacking as she disappeared through a door.

I had taken the photo on Kailey’s third birthday. We had spent the morning getting ready for her party. I had curled her blonde hair on sponge rollers like I did mine when I had a special evening planned. She had looked in the mirror and giggled when she saw her head completely covered with the black curlers. She was so excited she nearly shook them out of her baby fine hair.

She tagged along behind me as I made the lunch preparations for her five tiny friends and their mothers. Kailey fidgeted and chattered, until I strongly suggested that she sit silently and read her books.

After a while, I realized that it had gotten quiet…too quiet. It occurred to me that it was her special day, and we should be celebrating every moment. I grabbed my camera and tiptoed into her room. Expecting her to be looking at her picture books, I was surprised to see my basket of makeup, brushes and moisturizers spread all over the floor. Her left hand held my compact in front of her as she gleefully admired her artwork. Blue eye shadow colored one side of her forehead – in a wide approximation of her eyelids. Moisturizer from a squeeze bottle squiggled down her pajama clad leg. Her right hand held my favorite and expensive, Pretty and Pink lipstick. The vibrant color ran circles around her lips, her cheeks and her chin. I sighed at the mess and snapped what was to be one of my very favorite candid shots.

She looked up at the sound of the click. “Almost ready,” she said proudly, parroting one of my well used expressions.

Twenty years later, when Kailey called with the news of her new job with the trendy skincare company, I took the picture out of her baby album and sent it to her. And now, she would be featured on the front of a box…the beauty industry’s version of the Wheaties box.

I saw the salesclerk returning – empty handed. “Sorry,” she said with feigned sincerity. I just smiled and bought the same moisturizer that I already had three bottles of at home.

Disappointed I called my daughter. “I don’t think she believed me,” I said, my ego bruised.

Kailey laughed. “Mom, when it comes out next week, I’ll make sure you get your very own, hot off the assembly line.”

When it arrived, she had included the original photograph for safe keeping – which I promptly marched back to the beauty boutique. I asked for the salesclerk by name.

“Hi,” she said brightly. “How can I help you?”

“I would like the newest philosophy® box with my daughter’s picture on it,” I demanded, showing her the snapshot.

“How adorable,” she gushed, obviously remembering me and my previous visit. “I think this is the cutest picture I’ve ever seen on their products. Hey look at this picture,” she called out to the other salesgirls. Okay – I melted – maybe we could be friends. I made my purchase and returned home, my pride intact.

Today, an executive in yet another beauty company, Kailey still plays with makeup and skincare and writes a beauty blog aptly named…and I have the pictures to prove it.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

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16 Responses to “The Picture on the Box”

  1. Cathy says:

    I love this story and I have seen the box

  2. Diane Quackenbush says:

    Once again Rose Anne makes me see it with her words. Love it!!!!

  3. Colleen Wenthen says:

    Felt all the emotions all the way through. Loved it!

  4. Jody says:

    I love the line, “Okay–I melted–maybe we could be friends.” I like how this shows the narrator softening towards the rude sales clerk at just the right moment.

  5. Kailey says:

    My now favorite story… your words bring this special picture to life!

  6. Robin Calicchia says:

    Great story from a very proud and loving mama!!

  7. Ida Konow says:

    Whenever I hear of another story by Kailey’s Mom I immediately read it. I am NEVER disappointed. This one so beautifully descriptive of 3 year old Kailey with her Mom’s makeup basket.

  8. Tammy Rohlf says:

    What a wonderful story of how a young girl turns her passion for beauty into a successful career. Great picture!

  9. Jill Neil says:

    Beautiful story, beautiful daughter, Rose Ann! I miss working with her in LA!

  10. britt sinay says:

    Really enjoyed this story. What a memory. Britt

  11. Kalei says:

    What a charming and heartwarming story. Very beautifully written.

  12. Jen Newton says:

    Awww, love this story! I can’t believe that is Kailey on the box. She’s a superstar – which we all know, but now she has some personalized packaging to prove it. What a great story! And a great reminder to appreciate every single moment with my 3-year-old daughter!

  13. Philip says:

    Wow! Some story – I would have loved to have seen the expression on the shop girl’s face. Ha!

  14. I’m not much of a make-up person, but I love this story and the picture is adorable and I’ll look for it next time I’m in the make-up area!

  15. Pam Martin says:

    Hey Friend! Loved this story as I have all your others and the picture is just precious! So glad Sasee is treating you well and taking your wonderful stories!

  16. Rose Ann Sinay says:

    Thank you all for reading and taking the time to comment!

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