Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Anthony Chronicles, chapter two.

Things got really serious really fast between Anthony and I.
I was fifteen years old and we were talking marriage.

That’s normal, right?

Not only did Anthony love me to death, his parents did as well. But I was shocked when I met his mother because when I first laid my eyes on her, I couldn’t believe who was standing in front of me.

We lived in a sub-division called Northdale, and in Northdale there was a local legend of sorts that my family had nicknamed, “The Northdale Walker”.

The Northdale Walker took power walking to a whole new level.

Picture a short Puerto Rican woman with big, curly, permed hair, tons of makeup, a giant fashionable headband, short shorts, big bazooms, and a tank top speeding by you in a blur of power and color when you least expected it. With her arms pumping, legs pounding the pavement at full speed, and a Sony Walkman blaring so loud even you could hear it, the Northdale Walker was a sight to behold in the oppressive Florida heat. Everyday she would speed walk by, and someone in our house would yell “there she is!” and we would all run to look out the front window.

And now, here she was in my life as my future mother-in-law. I remember running home to my parents and saying, “Oh my God Anthony’s mother is the Northdale Walker!”

His father was 100% Italian and looked like Alfred Molina. He was a surgeon, or so he said. He never went to work. All I know is that Anthony told me his dad had an “accident” of some sort and was no longer able to operate, his hands were insured for millions of dollars and he would never work again.

That can happen, right???

His parents would talk to me about going back to Italy with them. Sounded good to me! Then they started talking to my parents about taking me away with them to Italy. Didn’t sound too good to them.

One night while watching a movie at his house in the living room, Anthony got down off of the couch, got down on one knee and asked if I would do him the honor of going to the high school homecoming dance with him.

You would think a wedding was about to take place.

I will never forget going to Burdines department store at Tampa Bay Mall to look at dresses with my mother. I had some specific dresses in mind that I had seen in my Seventeen magazine, but none of them looked quite right on me. My poor mom, who in retrospect was so nice about all of the dresses that I wanted to wear that were not at all age appropriate for me.

Trying them on, I must have looked like I was in the cast of Dynasty or Falcon Crest - all these really elaborate ‘80’s gown-type dresses in jeweled colors like green, purple and hot pink. After shooting me down several times, I remember my mom pulling this sweet white dress off the rack. It was a Gunne Sax dress, which was a cool label, but on the hanger, it didn’t have the oomph that I truly wanted. But as soon as I tried it on both mom and I knew, this was the dress. It may not have been as hip as I wanted, but it was demure enough to please my mother and showed enough skin to please me. Done.

The day of the dance I remember having a full day of beauty - taking a long bubble bath, my mom doing my nails, and me doing my makeup. Wow, did I ever do my makeup. To hell with what colors would look best on me, I wanted what was popular. This meant blue eye shadow and eye liner and red-as-hell lipstick over my mouth full of braces. I also got my hair done and had the hairdresser put a sprig of baby’s breath in it. Perfection.

I was picked up, of course, in a limo.

When Anthony came to the door you would have thought he was seeing the Virgin Mother Mary. He wiped away tears, telling me I looked like an angel.

I was nervous about the dance, because Anthony was a junior and I was a freshman. Homecoming was for juniors and seniors only, so my circle of friends wasn’t going to be there. I was only there because I was dating an older man.

I don’t recall much about the dance itself, I think it was pretty typical of any other high school dance - crepe paper, streamers, a DJ, etc. I do remember slow dancing with Anthony and feeling very special, like I was in a club that other friends of mine didn’t get to be in. I also remember all of Anthony’s junior and senior friends being very nice to me, taking me under their wing and making me feel included and part of the group.

I was just as Anthony had nicknamed me - a princess. Especially on this amazing homecoming dance night.

Homecoming dance, not child bride.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The bottom line.

Here are some things that are just better when they are smaller:

• The balance on my Visa
• My waistline
• Mascara brush designed just for my bottom lashes

I was skeptical of Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara, not for any other reason than it had the “why bother” factor to it. Really? A special mascara made just for my bottom lashes? I mean I have lived all of my years without it and…so far, so good. But, I had a reader, Lisa, e-mail me and ask me if I had tried it and since I hadn’t, I thought I would.

And I ask myself now, how have I lived all of my years without it?

The teeny-tiny brush is just perfect for those babies on the bottom. No smearing, smudging, or having to bust out the Q-tips. It is also great for touching up the top lashes, especially in the corners where it’s hard to stick that big ol’ wand. And guess what? It’s only ten stinkin’ dollars. That’s like two foofy coffee drinks. Wouldn’t you rather have pretty, flirty eyes?
When I asked for it at the Clinique counter, the makeup artist in the white lab coat (I love that they still do that) got all excited.

“You will love it! The formula is water-resistant, so when you cry it doesn’t come off” she said, like crying is an everyday occurrence.

“Wow, I’ll have to test that out!”, I replied.

“You should!” she said, taking my ten bucks and giving me a big smile.

As I walked away I wondered what could possibly make me so sad, since my new mascara had made me so happy!

So…I’m off to watch Terms of Endearment, I’ll keep you posted.

If you have a product you would like me to try for you like Lisa did, just e-mail me at I am happy to be your test driver!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's my birthday too.

I am a big-time birthday girl, always have been and always will be.

I love buying a special someone a birthday present, going to birthday parties, and especially birthday cake.

My mom and dad always made my birthday so special for me.
When I woke up on my birthday morning, I’d run downstairs, and laid out on the couch were beautifully wrapped gifts with perfect ribbons and bows that my mom would take the time to create. There was also usually a banner hanging in the living room, along with a balloon or two.

My mom would bake beautiful cakes - remember “doll cakes”?
Half of a Barbie Doll + half of a round cake = birthday magic for a little girl.

And remember when our moms would dress us up a little bit to go to a friend’s birthday party? Girls came to a party wearing sweet dresses, knee socks and Mary Jane shoes.

One party that especially stands out for me was for my eleventh birthday, which was a slumber party. We always had an “activity” at my parties – and that year, my girlfriends and I made ribbon barrettes. We braided two different colors of ribbon onto a goody barrette and let the ribbon hang down to the length of our hair, and then added beads or feathers to the bottom to flow with our lovely locks.

After eating insane amounts of pizza, cake, and ice cream, we wet each others hair and then put it in several chunky braids before bedtime so that when we woke up, our hair would look all glamorous and wavy.

MTV was new and exciting in 1982. They had maybe fifteen videos in rotation, and one of them was “Centerfold” by the J. Giles Band. Every time the video came on throughout the night (which was a lot) my friends and I would get out of our sleeping bags and dance our asses off, hooting and hollering like wild animals. But my friend Susie would only open her eyes when Def Leppard’s “Bringing on the Heartbreak” video came on so she could mouth every word of the song (how cool that she knew every word) and kiss the screen when Rick Savage, the bass player, came on the screen. Who likes the bass player? Susie did.

Finally, after being woke up for the umpteenth time and having issued several warnings to us to go to sleep, my dad stormed downstairs and told us to simmer down. But in the morning, he was friendly again, and made us a big breakfast. Then my tired guests were sent on their way, with their beady-feathery creations in hand to show off at school on Monday.

These days I have discovered someone else that likes to celebrate birthdays.

They like to give presents - fun, delicious yummy presents!

This year, as a “beautyinsider” (it’s free to become one at any Sephora store or online, you get a card and can redeem points for perks) I got a six-ounce bottle of the sweetest “Happy Birthday Beautiful” shampoo/bubble bath/shower gel from Philosophy for my birthday. Do you know what it smells like? Vanilla birthday cake. Did I mention I love cake?

Sephora, you know me so’s no homemade ribbon barrette with feathers, but it is pretty sweet of you to think of me every year.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bonus schmonus.

I like to get something for nothing.

When I win - even one stinkin’ dollar on a scratch-it ticket - my heart races and my hands sweat. I would be the ultimate lottery winner; the media would not have to do any prompting to get an insanely excited reaction from me.

Seriously, I get jacked up if my cereal is on sale at Safeway. You want to see me go really crazy? Hand me a five dollar Starbucks gift card; I will bounce off of the wall. Or even better, you know when they make that ‘mistake’ drink and ask if anybody wants it? Yeah, that will be me taking that five dollar frappucino while biting the side of my cheek trying to contain myself from letting out a little squeal.

But Bonus Time at the cosmetics counter, I have a hard time with you.

You make me tag on an additional fifteen to twenty-five bucks so I can spend enough money to get you.

You look so pretty in your Lucite display case, but when I open you up and lay you out on my bed, I have to say I am mostly disappointed. Sure, there is mascara here or an eye makeup remover there that may peak my interest, but overall, you are small and mostly not my style.

But you still tempt me with your pretty colors, fancy packaging, and something-for-nothing appeal. Like a hot one night stand at a bar, I will try to avoid you, knowing it may feel exciting and good in the moment, but I will most likely wake up with regret.

And if I throw one more plastic/fabric “free” makeup bag under my bathroom sink I will have to find a new place to keep the medicine I might actually need.

Bag Lady.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Breakin' some springs.

Growing up in the early ‘80’s, there seemed to be certain movies that were running on a loop on HBO:

• Mask
• Mommie Dearest
• American Graffiti

American Graffiti was a movie made in the early 1970’s about rock-n-roll music and cruising set in 1962. The movie basically took place in the cars of the different teenage characters, showing them driving up and down the street, winking, smiling, and flirting with each other through open windows and jumping in and out of each others cars.

Some things never change.

Susanne and I, going on our third hour of "getting ready"

In high school, my girl gang and I would take off on Friday and Saturday nights to cruise the strip at Clearwater Beach in Florida. We would get all dolled up, doing full on hair and makeup and borrowing clothes from each other to achieve that perfect look. This was all so we could sit in my fathers maroon Mustang convertible and drive up and down the strip at Clearwater Beach over and over again until it was time to go home.

When I moved to Florida from New York I had no idea that I was moving to the spring break capital of the world. In this one insanely awesome week out of the year, hundreds and hundreds of out-of-towners would invade our sweet strip, which we found annoying and exhilarating at the same time. It was annoying because the line of cars on the strip would come to a standstill, but exhilarating because, well, boys from all over the country were hooting and hollering at us now.

My all time favorite pickup line was said to me by a teenage cowboy with no shirt and acid wash jeans. He drawled, “Hey baby, what you say we go upstairs to my hotel room and break some springs of our own?” Classy.

My girl gang and I would rent hotel rooms of our own on the strip and stay most of the week. I don’t recall how five to ten seventeen-year-old girls were able to rent a hotel (or should I say motel) room, but back in the day we were able to do it, no questions asked.

Some of the gang in front of the infamous Spy Glass Motel - Clearwater Beach, Florida

We didn’t refer to it as spring break; we called it “beach week”. Beach week involved a lot of hairspray and makeup, lying out in the sun, spraying endless bottles of “Sun In” and diluted lemon juice onto our hair, loud music, eating junk food, multiple outfit changes and multiple boys.

Luxurious Amenities.
Since we had a motel room we didn’t need to cruise the strip.  Instead, we would walk the strip and get cat-called by the tourists. I have so many diary entries of long lost loves from various beach week encounters. After the week long love affair was over, the “tourist” (or in my mind “love of my life”) would return back to Ohio , Nebraska , or wherever their pasty white selves were from never to be heard from again. Of course there would be letters mailed back and forth (remember letters? I miss letters) and long distance phone calls made, but alas, the beach week love-hookups did not seem to last.
But the core of beach week was that girl gang of mine. The boys were in and out of our cars and we were in and out of theirs, but the memory of my best friend Susanne doing my hair before a big night of sitting in a car, jumping on beds, throwing wet toilet paper on the ceilings of motel rooms and stuffing water balloons in our tops to make giant boobs is what warms my heart today.

By the way, no springs were broken with the shirtless acid wash cowboy. Thank you, young Lori, for surprisingly having some common sense.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Honey, draw me a bath.

Here are things I like:

• A hot bath
• Crème Brûlée
• Twenty minutes of solitude

Now I am not suggesting eating while in the tub, particularly a hot tub. An ex-boyfriend of mine liked running hot baths for me and then serving me things like Brie while I soaked away. Let me tell you something, this will make you very nauseous and does not make for a romantic evening.

Shortly after this past Christmas, A male co-worker asked,

“Lori, what was the best Christmas gift that you got?"

“This amazing Crème Brûlée bubble bath and body lotion,” I answered without hesitation. 
“It’s really decadent and makes me smell yummy.”

“Uh…wow, that sounds great!” he said uncomfortably, looking at me like I had crossed a line by talking about being in a bathtub and rubbing lotion on my bare limbs.

But, I spoke the truth.

Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Honey Bath and Crème Brûlée Soufflé Body Crème are wonderfully decadent and, let me say again, yummy. I don’t really take a lot of baths, I usually find them to be boring - but I love the idea of soaking inside a giant hot Twinkie, and that is exactly what this feels like to me.

The bubble bath is thick and has the consistency of honey; it even comes with a wooden honey drizzler like you would get with an actual jar fresh from the beekeeper. You hold the wand under the faucet, and once the burnt sugar sweetness hits the running water, you know you are in for a treat. It smells like a bakery and the bubbles are aplenty.

After your bake yourself in your hot bath, you can then frost yourself with the thick body lotion that comes with the set. This stuff is like crack and I have to dole it out so I don’t run out of it too quickly.

If you are going to a wedding shower and are tempted to get the bride one of those dumb kitchen torches she has registered for to make crème brûlée, my advice would be to get her this instead. She will enjoy it more, and God knows she’ll use it more often.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Start Me Up.

I always loved the Stones.

My love affair with Mick started when I was around ten years old and was living in New York. Twice a year, on Easter and Thanksgiving, my family would six hours upstate to Rochester to visit my mother’s family, which consisted of my grandparents and two uncles - Uncle Tom and Uncle Bob.

We would always see much more of Uncle Bob, (or ‘UB’ as we nicknamed him), since he was still living at my grandparent’s home where we stayed. UB was in his early 20’s and I loved to hang out in his room .It was the coolest room I had ever seen - tiki gods, coconut heads, posters, and record albums. Lots of albums.

I loved taking my time to leaf through the records and admire them all, reading the liner notes, and checking out the artwork. Certain ones really made an impression on me, like ‘Candy-O’ by the Cars and ‘Revolver’ by the Beatles, but the ones that stood out the most were by the Rolling Stones. UB had every single Rolling Stones album.
My top three?

1. Tattoo You – Just sexy and hot and fun.
2. Some Girls – Not their best album by any means, but one of the best album covers/jackets ever. I loved sliding the overlay back and forth making the different faces go in and out of the wigs.
3. Sticky Fingers – The ultimate. You know, the one with the crotch and the real zipper on the cover. I would zip and unzip the fly on those jeans until my fingers got little red marks on them.

I would daydream about Mick all the time, getting lost in my thoughts especially at church. We were Catholic, so I had a good hour to envision our first kiss and plan our wedding. What did he see in Bianca anyway? Since I was at church I would say a little prayer for him as well, I mean, hey, I was in church, I might as well, right?

I would send him a card on his birthday and I still think of him on July 26th every year. At first I would send cards to the general fan club, but then…I got a real address for him from a girl named Leann, who was the only other girl I knew that liked the Stones. I had no idea where she got the address from, but at that age it all felt very secret and real. I loved walking to the post office and sending something airmail. Whoever got those cards and letters over in jolly old England must have laughed their ass off.

In March of 1983 I was twelve years old and must have gotten some bad information. See the diary entries below, from my ‘Hello Kitty Friendly Diary’:

I refer to an attempted ‘assassination’ of Mick Jagger in a previous diary entry. Poor young me, I remember being so stressed out about Mick’s safety and well being. Thank God he is safe and sound today. When I do make it to church I can’t help but smile as I quietly pray for my family, friends, and automatically throw in a little shout out at the end for him.

God Bless you Mick.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's New, Bobbi Brown?

I never thought in a million years I would like cream eye shadow. It's always had that ‘old lady’ vibe to me.

But today, I moseyed on over to the Bobbi Brown counter on my lunch break just to see if there was anything new and exciting on the menu. When the woman helping me was going through the new products and got to the cream shadows I must have grimaced.

“What was that for?” she asked, catching me mid scrunched-up-nose.
“I’ve never tried that stuff” I said easing into her chair.
“Well you’re trying it now” she slapped me on the leg and got to work.
I like a makeup artist that takes charge.

So begrudgingly, I let her put some cream eye shadow on me, and let me tell you, I cannot stop looking at myself in the mirror this afternoon. And that is not normal.

The cream shadow goes on velvety-smooth, and has not creased one bit all day, which I totally suspected it would have. I went with a really pretty spring color called ‘Heather’, a lilac-y mauve shade. You can layer powder shadow on top of it to make it last longer, or to make the color more dramatic.

Okay cream eye shadow, you win. You are not just for old ladies.

I have to go now so I can look at myself in the mirror one more time.

This Bobbi, not that Bobby.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Anthony Chronicles.

I was dancing fast and furiously to ‘Conga’ by Miami Sound Machine following a second-place win in the big lip sync contest at Faces Teen Night Club in Tampa, Florida. I was 15 years old, and wearing a hot pink corset, skin tight black skirt, and black ‘pumps’ as we called them back in the day. All of the sudden mid dance move I felt somebody watching me through the strobe lights and the smoke machine. I turned suddenly and he was standing right in front of me, like a giant Italian mirage.

“HELLO”, he shouted over Gloria Estafan.
“HI”, I yelled back.
“May I dance with you?” he asked.
“Yes” I said.
“You will have to excuse me, you are such a beautiful girl and I am sweaty, that is very disrespectful”.
“Um, that’s ok. My name is Lori,” I said.
“My name is Anthony,” he said, taking my hand in his sweat-drenched one as he pulled me close to him.

I had two thoughts:

1.       My Dad will be coming to pick me up soon and I don’t want to leave.
2.       How old is this guy???

Anthony had a mustache and a perm. He was wearing a button-up shirt, lots of gold around his neck and on his fingers, dress slacks and nice shoes. No wonder he was so sweaty, lugging all that jewelry around.

We did all of the getting to know you stuff over mocktails and loud bass-driven music. He was very intense, and extremely attentive – when he talked to me, he made me feel like I was the only girl on the planet. Also, he was a big guy, like someone other guys would not want to mess with, which at that time was very appealing.

We danced for a few more songs. He whipped and flung me around like he was a professional on 'Dancing with the Stars' and I was, well, the star. He obviously did not want to leave me because he told the guy that he came there with that he was going to get a ride home with me.  I was not sure how my dad would feel about giving this “man” a ride home.

He ain't my teacher - he's my boyfriend.

“How old are you?” I asked.
“Seventeen,” he said.

When my dad arrived to pick me up I’m sure he was surprised to see I had a new friend. I introduced them to each other and Anthony did this handshake that each member of my family still imitates to this day. It starts way up high by the side of your face and kind of slides in, with a very firm, tight, I AM DAMN HAPPY TO MEET YOU AND I AM AN ADULT feel to it.

I'm sure my dad was confused, but what was he going to do? We gave Anthony a ride home. It turned out he lived in the same sub-division as we did and that he was going to the same high school that I would be starting in the fall. He was very respectful and kissed my hand goodnight, very gallantly, like a knight.

I gave him my phone number, and he immediately called me and we quickly became exclusive. I had worn other guys Members Only jackets before, or their gold nameplates around my neck, but I would say this was my first official relationship. I was a little less nervous about starting my freshman year now…I had a boyfriend! He was going to be a junior - a freshman dating a junior! I had a big Italian-Puerto Rican boyfriend. This was going to be AWESOME.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Three You Need.

I won’t lie and tell you I haven’t thought about Botox.

I look in the mirror sometimes, pulling or tugging at my skin to get a nice hello from ‘youthful Lori’ in the reflection staring back at back at me.

I know I don’t have a lot of wrinkles but the fact is; as we age so does our skin.    

So yeah, I think about it sometimes. No surgery, no scars, just needles full of botulism shot into my fine lines and wrinkles - paralyzing my face giving me creepy, frozen eternal youth.

Then I say, eeeeeeeeeeeeew.

I usually pull bits and pieces of product from a variety of lines but for the lines on my face, I stick with one.

Revitalift by L'Oreal Firming Eye Cream, Firming Day Cream and Anti-Wrinkle Firming Night Cream each work so well for me that I don’t consider switching it up to try something new. Both the eye cream and the day moisturizer sink into my skin beautifully. The night formula is thick and creamy and whips my face into shape while I get my beauty sleep.

Your face should tell a story. My story would include the fact that I like to smile and laugh. A lot. And I am more than ok with that.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Hairspray has always been very important to me. Very important.I was born bald as a
cue-ball and stayed that way until I was about two. Then I had very thick, wavy, kind of wiry hair as a kid until puberty hit. Then BLAMMO. Curly hair! Not just curly hair, big, crazy wild curly hair out of the blue and totally weird for the formerly bald me. The curls came at a good time though - we were fast approaching the '80's and the height of the big hair phase. Now, I may not have been the prettiest girl, I may not have been the most popular girl, but damn, I had good hair.

I used my Stiff Stuff hairspray (which was basically glue) and made my hair HUGE. I would spray it on wet hair and use my hot pink and turquoise Goody pick to pull my bangs up high before shooting it with hot air from the blow dryer. I was 5'3 but grew to 5'5 with the hair. Since I was chubby, I thought that the big hair kind of balanced me out and made me look smaller (it did not, I just looked like a chubby girl with big hair).

I still love my curls, and my hair is still bigger than most, but I went to the doctor last week and discovered I am back to 5'3 again, which is good.
I have a new favorite hairspray (sorry Stiff Stuff) that I have been using for years now, Kenra Volume Spray 25. This hairspray is a six-time stylist choice award winner for favorite hairspray, and those stylists know their hairspray. The '25' hold is just strong enough for my mane and doesn't leave it sticky, not that it would matter. I mean I have a big thick head of curly hair so no one running their fingers through it anyway.

Cue Ball + Divine Intervention = Hair that will not fit in frame

I am Italian. I am hairy. Deal with it.

In the tenth grade I lost a significant amount of weight. My parents had taken it upon themselves to put me (under a doctors orders) on a liquid diet. This diet involved a shake for breakfast, pudding for lunch (no joke) and a sensible dinner. Going from fat to thin in a short amount of time (because I was eating pudding for lunch - under a doctor’s care. PUDDING!) led to new attention from a new league of high school callers.

One of these callers was Jesse. Jesse showed a great deal of interest in me...he was kind of a bad boy but somehow looked preppy and clean cut at the same time. We started dating and I would drive out to the mall in my bitchin’ poop brown Camaro to meet him after work. We would listen to my 'kick' by INXS tape over and we would get all sexy when 'need you tonight' came on. Jesse had a lot of good points, but his best was that he would tell me I was smokin’ hot, which no guy had ever said to me before. And he worked at Oak Tree men’s clothing store in Tampa Bay Mall, which was like, awesome. He also holds the record for giving me the biggest damn balloon I have ever seen in my life on Valentines Day emblazoned with 'I Love You'.

This was our romantic Valentines Day dinner, taken on the same day as the photo above,
I think I aged ten years in an afternoon.

But Jesse did one thing that was really, really bad.

We were sitting in the Camaro saying goodbye after school one day. The scorching Florida sun was shining on my lovelorn face and he looked deep into my eyes while stroking my cheek. The moment was right, I was sure he was going to say something amazingly profound to me.

“I love you” he said sweetly

“I love you too…” I replied

“You are so hot” he added

“Thank you” I said trying to accept a compliment

“What a cute little moustache you have”

What? What did he just say?!?

THE HORROR I felt, just writing this it gives me a stomach cramp way down deep inside.

At that point I immediately knew something had to be done. I raced home and cried to my mother and after much begging she purchased an Epilady 'razor' for me.

It was my own personal torture device. For those of you who do not remember the Epilady it was this: A plastic giant white electric ‘razor’ with circles and circles of endless metal coils that would rip and pull the hair from your body. The big draw to the Epilady was it claimed to remove the hair and over time the hair would grow back lighter/finer and eventually not at all. A miracle product! I ripped and pulled the hair out of my poor teenage face one by one and left it a pink puffy mess. I have since heard stories from others who used the Epilady saying it was so painful that they had to consume large amounts of alcohol before getting up the gumption to use it. Each time I used it I would cry, because the pain was so intense.

Obviously Jesse and I were not meant to be, but this was nowhere near the end of my battle with unruly hair.

After Jesse I dated a guy named Eric. Eric actually had a moustache and in retrospect having a moustache in high school is creepy. We were at the beach for the first time together. I had a new hot pink one piece bathing suit on with zig-zaggy lines that were meant to flatter in every way; I thought I looked pretty good. I took my t-shirt off and I noticed Eric look my way giving me an approving nod and eyebrow raise. Then I took my shorts off and I saw him look over again, this time not so approvingly.

“Damn baby, it looks like you have Busch Gardens going on down there”

I knew Busch Gardens was a theme park in Tampa that combined roller coasters and beer but beyond that I was puzzled as to what he was referring to. He repeated it and I looked down.

This was a time I think every girl has in her life where you realize hey, something could be done about that. No one had ever brought it up to me before so I had no idea you were supposed to be tending to that garden. Again, the horror.

A new hair mission was asked of my mother. Now that we were living in Florida we did what all mothers and daughters do together. In the summer, we went for bikini waxes. We would go in to the little room together and yelp and scream like little girls. The woman who did it was always amused with us. I have to say, waxing hurts a hell of a lot less than that damn Epilady.

In college I was dating Don; he lived a few hours away and would come and visit me often on the weekends. The sunlight must have hit me the wrong way once again because I convinced myself my chin must be waxed before he came to visit. So the day before Don came I went to the salon. I remember the woman who was getting ready to wax me saying something along the lines of “are you sure you want to do this? You really don’t need to…” but I was determined, convinced that I had a beard. She waxed my little chinny-chin-chin and I went home red as a beet. I was sure by the next morning the splotchy swelling would have disappeared but no, if anything it was worse. I tried covering it with makeup but it was impossible. So I came up with a story. If Don asked I would say that I had burned myself, with a bowl of soup. Yes I was so clumsy at eating I had a terrible misstep and my chin went flying into the bowl of steaming lentils and this was the result. Poor me. It would work, it had to work! Don never mentioned the botchy chin, bless his heart. I remember scrambling to get up before him the next morning to needlessly cake on foundation. He probably left thinking what the hell was up with that and was relived the next time he saw me to see that everything looked back to normal.

Today I will of course do the occasional bikini wax when I know I am going to be in a bathing suit or if I just want to feel sassy. But I don’t mess with wax on my face at all. No eyebrows, no moustache, no chin. If I see something going astray I can break out the tweezerman and call it good.

Torture Device

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'Night Mother.

Holy crap I am tired.
I have kids. Both boys. Two of them.
There is one big difference between me and the kids. I enjoy sleep – they do not.

They fight going to sleep every night and they call from upstairs with various requests ranging from "I want a story" to “I’m hungry”. It is hard to relax with two small, loud people shouting constant demands at you. Sometimes, one of them will come into our bedroom at 2:00 a.m. with bathroom issues, a request for a glass of water and conveniently for them, they fall right back to sleep. I do not. My mind starts going over everything I need to do and doesn’t stop – we need dish soap…milk…did I send a thank you card to my dad and his wife for the birthday gift? What should I wear to work tomorrow, etc. until it is 6:00 a.m. and almost time to get up for work.

Guess what? I have dark circles under my eyes.

Oh my God, I sometimes think about the glory days just a few years back. It seems like a million-bazillion years ago when I had long, restful evenings - eating dinner in the living room while watching Entertainment Tonight and The Simpsons, watching endless hours of crappy TV and movies and staying up until 2:00 a.m. on a Friday night and sleeping in until 10:00, maybe 11:00 on Saturday morning.

People keep saying those days will come again, and I hope I can retrain my brain to sleep in. I know when my boys are 16 and sleeping until 1:00 in the afternoon I will be hounding them to get out of bed, just like my parents did to me when I was a teenager. There was no reason to get up, they just didn’t want me sleeping the day away. I can hear the “because I said so” coming out of my mouth already. Ugh.

To keep those circles covered up I had to find a certain type of concealer, one made specifically for under the eyes. I am thankful every day for Revlon ColorStay Under Eye Concealer. The coverage is so good you would never guess that I am running on fumes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Three You Need.

Tools. They are not just for boys.

I have an arsenal of brushes, applicators, wands and sponges in my kit, and just like anything, (kidding) there are some I love more than others:

  1. Smashbox shadow tapered shadow brush #7 ~ Fluffy lovely shadow brush that covers your entire lid in one soft swoop.
  2. Clinique blush brush ~  Clinique's brushes all are antibacterial. Nice.
  3. MAC eyeliner brush #263 ~ Oh my goodness they better never stop making this brush.
Those are the three you need. Go get 'em!

Monday, March 14, 2011

You're either an eyelash curler girl or you're not.

I curl my eyelashes. Everyday. Even on Sunday when I try to give my face a break and wear no makeup. I have done this pretty faithfully since the eighth grade. Is this is why I have puny eyelashes? Maybe. I've spent years crimping and curling even doing it on top of old, dry mascara (yes, ouch, and yes I have done it ~ lots). When I pull out that big old tool in front of people they have one of the following reactions:

  1. "What brand of curler do you use?"
  2. "You curl your eyelashes?"
  3. "What the hell is that?"
Reaction three often comes from a guy.
I used a Shu Uemura curler forever, a cult fave that you can no longer buy at Nordy's or Sephora or anywhere else (WHY???) So now I use the Sephora one which I actually like a lot.

On top of my perfectly curled lashes I of course love a good mascara. Believe me, I have shelled out some serious cash on some brands that have failed to thrill me.

My friend Molly is the Queen of Mascara. Seriously, she has the prettiest blue eyes and her eyelashes always look amazing - not in a creepy tarantula-Kardashian kind of way but in a clean, beautiful, everyday way. There are not many women where you notice not only their eyes, but their eyelashes, and Molly is that girl. Here are her picks for favorite mascaras:

  • FAVORITE hands down ~ Benefit BAD Gal Lash, because the brush is huge and it plumps up your lashes like no other
  • Any MAC mascara ~ works great and surprisingly reasonably priced!
  • Lancôme Definicils ~ A classic. Lengthens, plumps, goes on beautifully.
Those heated eyelash curlers have always fascinated me, but I am sure I would burn my eyeball and pretty lashes aren't worth going blind. For now I will stick to my "what the hell is that" contraption until I win the lottery and can afford to be like Brooke Shields and get a prescription for that Latisse stuff.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cream, not Crisco.

When I was in the eighth grade and living in Tampa, Florida, my best friend and I used to lay out on the roof of my house to get tan. We wanted to get as close to the sun as possible so we would climb out the window of my parents bedroom, lay down our towels on the steep incline and rub ourselves down with one of two products:

  1. baby oil
  2. Crisco
No, I'm not kidding.
As if baby oil wasn't bad enough right? We slathered ourselves with shortening and tried to bake like pork chops on the roof of my house in suburbia. (We also tried smoking banana peels while we were up there but that is a story for another time - and by the way, it doesn't work).

Obviously when I was a teenager being tan was important to me. And in retrospect, that was stupid because I am already olive skinned and I was living in frickin' Florida so I was super tan to begin with.

Now that I am older and a little wiser, when I want that bronze glow I know that Crisco is not the way to go.

I use Jergens Natural Glow moisturizer. After just a few days I notice a healthy, natural- looking tan without sacrificing my skin by frying in a tanning bed or on a roof top.

Post roof layout with friend.
Lookin' good!


Three reasons I love Top Ten Nails on Hawthorne:

  1. 'Crazy Train' by Ozzy plays on the muzak, and the xylophone is involved.
  2. Two drag queens came in while I was getting my nails done yesterday wanting french manicures.
  3. You can get a really good mani for only 13 bucks.
I've come crawling back to Top Ten after being away for a little over a month...I was seeing another salon due to a Groupon and that the offered Shellac (see previous post, it all ended very messy) but now I am back and it feels like I am again in the arms of an old luv-ah.

Top Ten is no fancy-schmancy salon, it is admittedly bare bones but the ladies (and gentleman) who work there really take their time and do a great job. They are also not super chatty, so when I just want to close my eyes and shut out the world while they work on my cuticles they don't seem to mind.

Honestly, for $13 you really can't ask for a better cheapie-quickie afternoon-delight indulgence. We can all afford that can't we? For aesthetic reasons and for our minds, it's good to escape sometimes.

Top Ten Nails
3415 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 236-7827

Friday, March 11, 2011

I guess my face needs minerals.

There was a big buzz years ago about powder form mineral foundation that peaked my interest, but I wasn't about to stray from my liquid foundation that I would apply to my t-zone every morning with a triangle-shaped sponge. How could a powder be a foundation? Wouldn't it leave my face dry and cakey? So I refused to try it. What a fool I was! All those years wasted when I could have camera-ready gorgeous glowy skin thanks to my Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Matte SPF 15 foundation and my Mineral Veil Loose Powder.

Here is the deal:
  1. Swirl
  2. Tap
  3. Buff
That is what I say in my head every morning when I apply my foundation, and I love the way it goes on with my 'buki' brush. I was really concerned the coverage wouldn't be as good as liquid foundation, but it was and I can control the amount by adding another 'coat' to my face. The Mineral Veil powder sets it all and gives you that flawless finish that every girl wants.

Without fail, I will always sit and watch Leslie Blodgett, the company's founder on her hour long infomercials, or watch her banter with the hosts on QVC. Yes, I watch QVC. They have great makeup segments and I like to watch that guy David make insane faces after eats a heats a bite of Juniors Cheesecake.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Three You Need.

If you only have three lipglosses in your purse, these are the ones you should have. Regardless of your coloring these are pretty much foolproof and work on us all:

  1. Star Nova by MAC. As mentioned in a previous post, the go-to-be-all-end-all of lip glosses. Goes with everything. Perfect.
  2. Stella by NARS. My blond-haired bestie introduced me to this shade years ago and it is one I replace over and over. Beautiful rich pink-y brown color. Gorge!
  3. Candy, Baby by Beauty Rush for Victoria's Secret. This is a sheer sheer pink almost clear gloss that looks fab when you do a smoky eye or on the weekend when you are just wearing mascara and lip gloss. And guess smells like candy.
Those are the three you need. Get shopping!

Shellac Attack.

I don't know about you Shellac...
I am a big time manicure fan. I like to go every two weeks and treat myself to a cheapie indulgence. My grandmother always would comment if we went to a store or a restaurant and somebody's nail polish was chipped she would dissaprove of how bad it looked and lecture that your hands are a reflection of who you are and that you should take care of them.

I love dark polish. The deep reds, browns, and the hot blue-y-blacks. But I usually go with a neutral pale pink so the chips won't be so obvious. Then my friend Kristen told me about Shellac...she had the same gorgeous red polish on for almost three weeks and not a chip! And even better it's not 'fake nails', it's not super-expensive and doesn't take two hours in the salon.

So I tried it.

The first Shellac encounter was with red polish, three weeks and not a chip, I was SOLD!
I told all of my friends about it and was pumped.

I went back for more, french mani (short and clean, not 'Real Housewives') and had one chip towards the end of week two. Hmmmm I thought, but tried again.

Third trip, I chose red again and uh-oh. Not even two weeks into it and three bright red perfect nail shaped bursts of color popped off my nails. This weekend I will be needing a manicure. Do I give it another chance? Or go back to ol' reliable ballet slipper pink?

Fave Under Five.

Can you get something truly amazing for under five dollars?
I want you to try this product because I have yet to hear anyone else mention it and I am up all night with my soft lips, concerned that no one is buying it except for me and it will soon be going to the beauty graveyard.

Neosporin Lip Health Daily Hydration Therapy has SPF 20, and unlike vaseline-petroleum jelly based products, this goes on feeling smooth and not gloppy. It reduces dryness and locks in moisture, which is perfect for your pucker. And it's from Neosporin, the healing power experts ~ they can fix burns and open wounds, so it goes to figure they can help your dry lips! There is also a nighttime therapy version available but I just use the same one at night. I figure my lips are protected from the moonlight with the SPF in case I go out for a sleepwalk. For under five bucks at the drug store, you have to give it a go!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I like to smell like a cookie.

Oh, vanilla, how do I love thee?

My girlfriends and my family know that vanilla is my thing. In food and in fragrance.

When I step off the plane in New York the first place I want to go is to Carvel for a giant soft serve ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles. My aunt gets annoyed and asks, "Why the hell do you want to go to Carvel? It's just soft serve?" She just doesn't understand. To me, it's not just soft serve, it is a taste of my childhood. And it's cold but somehow warm yummy sugar vanilla goodness.

Not surprisingly I have always gravitated towards vanilla based fragrances as well. Right now I am going between Laura Mercier Eau de Toilette - Vanille Gourmande which I l-o-v-e. It has a vanilla booze-y scent to it, like warm bourbon. My other favorite is Escada Magnetism. I would say this is a more sultry vanilla, with hints of musk and even patchouli but not in a college kind of way.

If you get a whiff of a bakery and you don't see one on the corner, that was probably just me walking by you.

A little taste of home...

Acne Stinks.

My skin used to be bad. Really bad.

It was probably my junior year of high school when my flare-ups went from pimples to full pledged acne. I went to a dermatologist named Dr. Hendrixx, a very small man with crazy small hands who would examine my face like a hilly bumpy road map. He had a high voice with a slight lisp and a strong southern accent. He would say things in his squeaky sing-song-y voice like:

"Oooooooh, that's no goooooood"
"Oh my my my my my my my"
"I think we are going to prescribe to you just a liiiiiiiiiitle bit o' Minocin"

If you are thinking this guy sounds like a character on Twin Peaks you are right there with me. Minocin was a pill, that would supposedly help. I tried it, along with ye old grey tooth-tetracycline and a barrage of creams and lotions that dried out my skin worse than the Sahara Desert.

When I went to college my acne got better, then worse, then better again. When it was worse I would go to my dermatologist and get cortisone injections into the acne cysts. Some days it was so bad I literally felt like a human pin cushion. I still get flare ups from time to time and still get an injections to knock them out. Acne is a mean ugly little bitch.

One over the counter product that I use daily now is Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Pink Grapefruit Facial Scrub. I love the exfoliating beady scrubbiness of it and the grapefruit smell is clean and invigorating. It helps in keeping the breakouts under control. A pimple as a teenager is mortifying. But, as an adult I am just over it.