My name is Tatum Lynn Garcia and I am 27 years old. I was born in Glendale AZ, but I’ve lived all over the Phoenix area and moved to Prescott when I was in 8th grade.
I have lived in more houses than I can count; I attended three different elementary schools and two different high schools.
Growing up, both of my parents were realtors. I credit us moving around a lot to their carrier choices. I come from a relatively large family, with an older sister, a younger sister, and two younger brothers. Being the second oldest of the bunch, I felt like I was the one always causing trouble… or, at least getting caught for it.
Nonetheless, my siblings and my parents truly are my best friends.
I’m also very close with my grandmother; she’s someone I aspire to be like as I grow up. She has taught me that age is just a number and there is nothing wrong with going dancing even when you’re 80. I swear, her schedule is busier than mine some days. My mom is the same way; such a young, free-spirited person full of life.
My dad is the calm, levelheaded one in comparison to the rest of us. He has taught me that things aren’t handed to you; that you have to work hard to achieve your goals. He gets up at the crack of dawn almost every morning and goes hiking. Nature is something I really value in life and I think I get that trait from him.
We are all very independent people, but I would say my family are my biggest supporters and motivators. We’re all loud and get togethers are always chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When I was a child, I wanted to be a nurse. At one point, I contemplated doing hair, but my dad told me hairstylists work long hours and don’t make very much, so I kind of put the kibosh on that desire. Even still, I know he would’ve supported me, had I chosen that path earlier on.
Throughout high school, I still envisioned myself becoming a nurse. I filled out all my paperwork to join the air force and wanted to attend school while I was enlisted to pay for my college. However, sometimes the world has different plans. I was a couple months from graduating when I found out I was pregnant. Needless to say, it was a shock and I felt like my world was crumbling, but I knew I had to step up and take control of the situation.
I was lucky enough to have an amazing partner and husband, Jonnie, who I’m still married to today.
@caitlino’neil – makeup & hair; @melissaannephoto photography
We’ve been together since eighth grade… that’s right, eighth grade. As you could imagine, we’ve been tested on so many levels, but we’ve always come out stronger, working through everything life throws at us.
After high school, Jonnie ended up joining the Air Force; once basic training concluded, we (me, Jonnie and our one-month old baby boy, Braylon) moved to Texas, without so much as a car.
After that training was over, we were stationed in Germany; not soon after, we found out baby number two was on the way.
Jeremiah was born 9 months later, as the story goes, and soon, our lives had routine. We’d finally acclimated to life in a foreign country; I got a job as a waitress on base and once the kids started getting a bit older, I decided it was time for me to go back to school.
I did two years of nursing prerequisites while in Germany, but then, life threw another curve-ball.
Jeremiah just stopped talking, he started throwing tantrums all the time, and he would hit and bite. Initially, I just chalked it up to normal two-year-old behavior, but he kept failing the well-checks at each doctor’s appointment so we connected with a developmental pediatrician; within an hour, he told us our son had autism.
Jeremiah’s treatment became extensive after that. He had speech therapy once a week for an hour, occupational therapy once a week for an hour, and ABA (Behavioral Therapy) 5 days a week for 3 hours. He was also enrolled in an early intervention program which allowed him to go to preschool three days a week.
All the while, I continued to take classes but lessened my case load.
About a year after his diagnosis, we got stationed back in Arizona. We bought our first house and got settled in, making it a home.
At this point, Jeremiah was still having a lot of social and emotional problems, which just seemed to exacerbate the loneliness and isolation I felt living in a new city, however, I was able to (finally) finish the prerequisite classes I needed to apply for the nursing program.
So, I applied… and I did not get in.
I told myself I was going to re-apply, but deep down, I knew the clinical hours would be more than challenging, given Jeremiah’s needs, Braylon’s schedule, and Jonnie getting ready to deploy.
So, I dropped out of school, again.
I was at a crossroads, wanting to be there for my family completely and feeling deeply troubled as I knew a piece of myself was missing. I kept myself busy, which is my style – staying productive – but it was always for other people.
I spent the next three years waitressing at nights in attempt to find myself again, but I was always tired. I’d wake up early and take care of the kids, then go to bed around 2am…
I told Jonnie I couldn’t keep living that way and strongly considered going back to school. He told me if I really felt called to be a nurse, to do it,
but he urged me to actually try something that would be fun and make me happy.
With Braylon in second grade and with Jeremiah starting to talk in complete sentences, I decided he was right – it was time to go after something that would (hopefully) fill that missing piece.
Almost instantly, I started thinking about what I’d been drawn to growing up – in middle school, girls in my neighborhood would come over so I could do their hair and makeup before school and in high school, I would help my friends get ready for homecomings and prom.
I never strongly considered this until I really saw it as a possibility through social media.
Maybe because it can be seen as vain; people can look at the industry as a whole as a way to cover up, but I’ve always seen it as an art form – self-expression to enhance the beauty everyone inherently has.
So, I enrolled in a cosmetology program one month after our conversation.
At first, school was light, easy, and fun, but once we actually started working with people, things became real. I realized ego is not something you can have in this industry; sometimes, something you love can have the opposite impact on your client, which is never a pleasant feeling when you put so much time and effort in.
It’s all part of the process, though – you can never take it personally, which I have to consistently remind myself, given that I’m somewhat of a perfectionist.
Perfectionism can be a positive quality because I am very self-motivated and driven but it can also be negative as I tend to push myself over the edge sometimes, taking on more than I can handle.
I’m coming up on thirty soon, which I know is young in the grand scheme of things, but most of the girls in my class are in their early twenties so I feel like I have to work twice as hard to make up for lost time. Thankfully, though, I picked up school work with relative ease – it’s actually the turning off that’s hard for me because I enjoy it so much. I tend to come home and start trying new techniques, new hair formulas, or new makeup methods.
I understand the beauty industry is always evolving and if artists don’t change with it, they’ll be left behind. It may sound harsh, but I actually thrive under that pressure; it keeps me on my toes.
Funnily enough, though, despite my love for makeup, when I started school, my only interest was in hair.
Then I met my boss, Heather. She found me through Instagram, which is how I got into bridal work. Heather took me under her wing and introduced me to the working side of the industry, which is vastly different than what you learn in school.
I think the desire to incorporate makeup into my repertoire really solidified after this one wedding.
I finished a bridesmaid’s makeup and she burst into tears once she looked in the mirror; she did not have a tissue, so we had to do some touch ups, which, I was totally fine with. She told me she’d been through a lot in her life and recently lost a significant amount of weight; she said she was able to finally see her beauty again. It struck a chord; something so seemingly small making such a real impact on someone’s life.
And sure, naturally the industry breeds vanity, but who are we kidding? It’s human nature to want to look your best – people think about the clothes they wear, the style of their hair, and what their face looks like. I mean, right? People change up their hair for summer or cut it after a major breakup. We all have our favorite lipstick or lip gloss. And don’t tell me you don’t have a go-to outfit when you want to feel extra spicy.
Yes, intrinsic happiness is bred on the inside and there should be a deep value everyone places on keeping their mental health in check, but there’s no denying the external beauty we want to accentuate said happiness, so if I can help do that, and bring forth confidence, while at the same time, feeding my creativity, why wouldn’t I want to do that?
And to those scrolling through social media comparing themselves to others, I would say be mindful… as much as people want to show their followers they’re living their best lives, they also want to show their best face, which is extremely easy now with editing and filters.
Just do YOU, girl… or boy.
Where do I see myself going in this industry?
Well, as of right now, I’d like to get a job apprenticing in a salon; I think it’s extremely important to put in the work and understand all aspects of a business before trying to take it on yourself… otherwise, it’s a recipe for failure. Although I do see myself owning my own salon within five years, I’ve heard many people with the same dream say they’re much happier renting a space, so I’ll just have to listen to my intuition when the time comes.
In another vein, I love editorial style and e-commerce work, so I could see myself exploring that route as well, potentially working with a team for fashion weeks. Again, I just have to listen to myself and trust the process… clearly, the universe has shown me if it doesn’t want me somewhere, I’ll know it.
In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude for the obstacles put in front of me as they’ve shaped who I am as a person. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff and I’ve learned I must show up for myself through hard work. I’ve also filled that missing piece – I’m constantly excited, interested, and challenged and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Well, okay, maybe I’d trade it for my family.
Devon asked me to put together a list of my current favorites, for those looking for some direction – so, if that’s you, carry on, friend!
- Good makeup starts with good skin – it always wears better over exfoliated, hydrated skin – one of my favorite brands is, Image. I love their ormedic face wash and vital C serum.
- Supergoop sunscreen.
- The Ordinary is another brand I’ve really been impressed with lately; they have high quality products at a reasonable price point.
- My skins been on the dryer side, so I have been loving the It Cosmetics cc creams. Dior backstage glow face palette in 001 universal (just got this recently and can’t get enough of it)
- NARS – Laguna bronzer – either liquid or powder form.
- NARS Orgasm or Torrid blush – liquid form. Makeup forever blushes B308 B302.
- Natasha Denona shadows just blend so beautifully.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills – Brow Wiz.
- Ardell naked lashes in 421.
- Amika leave in conditioner.
- Aveda damage remedy mask.
- Batiste dry shampoo for dark hair, for my brunette gals.
- Fanola purple shampoo for my blondes.
And lastly, just a little tip – I don’t always use makeup the way it’s intended. Getting creative with things is part of the fun, use eyeliner as shadow, lipstick as blush, bronzer as shadow, etc.
Happy creating, all, and thanks for joining!