Friday, April 29, 2011

Gotta dance?

I have never been one of those girls who has “the moves” when it comes to dancing. Don’t get me wrong, take me out dancing and I will follow your lead and look like I know what I’m doing. Or let’s go clubbing and I will enthusiastically dance my butt off. But try and teach me an eight-count routine that you want to show me twice and then expect me to do it on the spot for you? Prepare to be disappointed.

I think you either have that chip in your brain that can process that type of information or you don’t. It’s kind of like math. Or computers.

Speaking of dancing, I love the movie Showgirls starring Miss Elizabeth Berkley. My friend John and I watched the movie over and over again in college and decided that Showgirls is about the following:

• Driving really fast
• Eating really fast
• Having sex in a pool really fast

Oh, and dancing, Showgirls is about dancing.

I love the scenes where our heroine, Nomi Malone played by Miss Berkley, is learning new routines. When they count off the “five-six-seven-eight”, she watches once, and then pops right into the lineup and performs it like she has been doing it her entire life. I want that chip. Not the topless showgirl chip, (well sometimes I want that chip too) but the ability to get a dance routine down pat so quickly.

In the tenth grade my best friend Susanne and I decided to try out for our high school dance team. We were the Gaither Cowboys and the dance team was called “The Starettes”. They wore little cowgirl dresses with more fringe than French drapes, topped off with a big white ten-gallon cowgirl hat.

Now I never had any interest in trying out to be a cheerleader, I knew that was WAY out of my league. But a Starette? Something in me told me there was a remote chance that maybe, just maybe, I could do that.

That was until I got to the audition.

My friend Susanne was way more coordinated than I was and overall a better dancer. She was tall and slender and I was short and squat. Her movements were fluid and pretty, while mine were more Showgirls-y - angry, hard and choppy.

We had to learn three routines. First, a baton routine which I must have messed up so badly that I have totally blocked it from my memory. Next, a flag routine, which I remember very vividly since the music they used was “Bizarre Love Traingle” by New Order which was totally awesome. I loved twirling that flag above my head, totally out of sync from everybody else. And lastly, the dance routine.

I was mortified. We went in groups of three and it was just like in Showgirls but on less of a stripper level. The girls who were already Starettes taught us the routine, and at this point they seemed like untouchable goddesses to me.

I knew I was dead meat. I couldn’t get beyond the ‘five’ in the five-six-seven-eight. We were sent into the hall to practice it before coming into the gymnasium to perform. I thought if I just smiled and showed some personality I might make it through alright. I have a distinct memory of the other two girls doing a grapevine move to the left while I went to the right, and then I was toast. I continued to smile, sweating and praying it would all be over soon. I was relieved when it was all over, and knew that for me, it was literally over.

I watched Susanne’s group from the sidelines and cheered her on. She rocked, and I was thrilled that one of us might get something out of this. We had agreed that afterwards we were going to Wags Restaurant to get milkshakes, so at this point I was just hoping for things to hurry along so we could get the hell out of there.

When it was time for the results, we all gathered around the coach who spoke into a microphone and told us all how wonderful we had done (lie). We had all been assigned a number, and she started calling them out in order as to who had made the team. Not surprisingly, she passed right by whatever my number was. I was ok with it, but at the same time I wasn’t, thinking there was this teeny-tiny glimmer of hope that maybe the sparkle in my eye had gotten me by. Nope. Then something surprising happened - Susanne’s number got passed by too. She started to cry and I felt awful. If I didn’t make it, I really wanted her to make it. I knew she was REALLY upset when she said she was too sad to go get milkshakes. I was really upset too, both about the milkshakes and that she wasn’t a Starette.

I tried to talk myself into the fact that I really didn’t want to be a stupid Starette anyway. How dumb. Although...if the coach had called my number it would have been the most exciting thing in the world.

These days I’ll stick to mimicking Nomi in her big Showgirls number and call it good. And I will also stick to drinking milkshakes, dance audition or no dance audition.

ONE (not so) singular sensation.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yes, we have no bananas.

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

Most of the time I don’t.

I have never been a ‘mixed nut’ kind of a girl. I started eating almonds just recently because everybody says how good they are good for me. I will eat peanuts if I am at a bar and the novelty of throwing the shells on the floor exists. And cashew chicken? Sure, I’ll eat that.

Here are places where nuts should never venture:

• Cake
• Ice cream
• Banana bread

My mother makes legendary banana bread, if I may say the BEST banana bread in the world. Many have tried it and many agree, and guess what…there are no damn nuts in it.

She began making ‘The Legend’ when I was little.

The Legend is super-moist, and I have vivid memories of my brother Mike and I sitting in the living room with it on our little tray tables - mine had Wonder Woman on it and Mike’s had Spiderman. We would plop ourselves in front of cartoons and mash our pieces of buttered banana bread into greasy balls and eat them like apples. Weird, but delicious.

In high school my best friend Susanne and I ate The Legend at two in the morning after getting home from Rocky Horror. We could go through almost a whole loaf, just the two of us, before passing out, bellies full of bananas.

When I was in college mom would send a care package, and a new group of friends was introduced to The Legend. It would barely make it out of the cardboard box before it was gone.

In my early twenties when I was travelling in London I ended up at a lotion and potion place that I fell in love with called Lush. I thought Lush was handmade for me. It was like a bakery/upscale grocery store/yummy product place all in one. It was in an open air market and when you walked in it just smelled fresh and delicious. They displayed their hand made soaps like they were displaying fresh fruit in wooden apple crates. There was a refrigerated section with facial masks, bath bombs that looked like giant pastel-colored jawbreakers, and massage bars that could be mistaken for fancy chocolate bars.

This is where I discovered a cream that was so luscious and delicious, that from the moment I smelled it and tested it on my hands I knew I had to have it. Sympathy for the Skin Body Lotion smells like banana custard. The packaging totally got me - back in the day it came in a white tub with two cheeky red devils with pitchforks on it. It was like my mother’s banana bread and “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Stones got together and had a baby. YUM! I had to have this stuff. And it was extra special, because I discovered it while travelling with friends, in one of my favorite places in the world. Every time I used it back home I would think of that trip and that store and how wonderful it was. When I ran out I would order more from overseas. I felt very adult.

Today Lush is all over America, making it much easier, but not as fun, for me to get my fix.

Who knew bananas were super-emollient and moisturizing? I guess I should have, thinking back to making those banana bread balls with my brother.

My mom asks occasionally, “Do you have any rotten bananas?” She brought over a loaf of The Legend last night. Tonight I had it after dinner, toasted with vanilla ice cream on it. And tomorrow I’ll have it for breakfast again.
The Legend lives on.


I have to share a good thing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You've got (actual) mail.

Remember as a kid when getting the mail was exciting? Waiting for a letter from your pen pal, a postcard from your cool uncle who was backpacking in Europe, or those x-ray specs you ordered from the back of your comic book?

As a teenager, the mail took a more ominous turn. Was a letter on the way from a teacher regarding missed assignments? A phone bill that included payment due for hours of conversations with Danny from Ohio that I had met over spring break? Or the worst…report card time? The mail had to be intercepted before my mother got to it.

Adult mail is usually boring. Junk and bills. Boring and not fun.

But the other day I got something in the mail that made me feel like a kid again.

A padded envelope showed up unexpectedly. I opened it up and it was from a friend of mine that knows my passion for product and my love of a good deal.

It had a sweet note card with a pink frosted cupcake on the front of it.


This mascara starts off by simply having a fantastically kitschy name – The Falsies Volum’Express Mascara by Maybelline. Could you ask for a better name? The Falsies? Come on! She wrote in her note that the name, the hot magenta tube, the fat and flexible wand, and the six-dollar price tag had sold her. She raved that she was smitten and that since I am a “product guru” (high praise!) she would love to know what I think.

Oh, I love what I do!

I have had other people comment on The Falsies so I was excited to try it. Let me report that I can totally see what the hot fuss is about. The brush is curved and thick and puts a really nice, dramatic, black as night coat of mascara on my puny lashes.

And after trying it, I get the name - I stopped thinking of fake boobies (finally) and I thought about fake eyelashes.

So I left for my day feeling flirty and foxy and wearing my falsies (tee-hee.) I also left feeling lucky that someone took the time to pop a surprise in the mail to me and make my day. I am totally paying it forward. Get ready; a lip gloss is in a padded envelope on its way to someone out there.

This............................not that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get a head.

If you ask someone to name the best gift they have ever received in their life, most will come up with schmaltzy answers like “my children” or “the gift of being alive.” For me, the best gift I ever received was on Christmas morning when I was seven years old. It wasn’t a puppy or a little brother; it was my Barbie Styling Head.

My Barbie Styling Head came with lipstick, eye shadow, and hair accessories. Finally, I had a willing subject to practice my childhood makeup and hair skills on! Looking back, it was bizarre having poor Barbie’s head on a pink plastic tray with those giant dead blue eyes staring creepily back at me. I think she even had a weird choker necklace on as her ‘head accessory.’ Barbie put up with a lot of experimentation.

I gave my Barbie head all sorts of different looks, from demure and sweet, to punk rock bad girl. I styled her hair into sweet curls (the texture of the hair was kind of wiry and held curl really well) and then totally ratted and frizzed it out. I loved my head. I wanted her yellow blond hair, creamy complexion, and big blue doe eyes. I loved my Barbie head so much I would kiss her goodnight when I was done making her up. We were close, me and Barbie.

I had a bunch of Barbie dolls and one Ken doll. Ken was a player and had dates with all of the different Barbie girls. He even liked Skipper, Barbie’s younger sister. Scandalous! As I grew a little older and my friends and I would ‘play Barbie’, things got hot and heavy in the dream house. Being the only male Ken was now not just dating the girls - he was having hot and heavy make out sessions with all of them and even got one of them pregnant. My Ken must have been exhausted with all of the heavy petting and double duty he had to pull. Good thing he had that purple ascot to wipe his sweaty brow.

Ken dated outside of the box. He wasn’t only partial to the Mattel girls, he liked the Kenner girls as well. Anyone remember Covergirl Darcy? I can still hear the jungle in my head, “She’s Darcy, Covergirl Darcy, what a beautiful covergirl doll.” The commercial for Covergirl Darcy showed a real woman as a fashion model, going to photo shoots, getting on a motorbike with her boyfriend, and skipping rope with some kids in the park. I also remember the voiceover saying, “you can put her in a fashion pose, make her do exercises” and showed the doll going into a full cheerleader-style side-split. Barbie couldn’t do that. Darcy was bigger, taller and rounder than Barbie. Darcy had giant bazooms and a big flower around her neck. Ken dug Darcy.

Ken also liked the famous ladies. He asked my Marie Osmond doll out and she totally got some Ken action too. He may have also dated Donny, based on the flaming purple and hot pink jumpsuit that Donny wore. Donny came with Marie, but I never played with him - there was something creepy about Donny. I stuck with my Ken.

I so vividly remember the carrying case I had for my dolls, a hot pink vinyl rectangle that housed the girls along with their various outfits, shoes and accessories. It had a black handle on top so I could take them anywhere with me. I would close the gang up in the box and fasten the latch at night and dream about being Covergirl Darcy or having a date with handsome polygamist-Ken. Who knows what went on in that pink box when that latch clicked shut and the lights went out? All those girls and just one guy? Oh, and Donny, I guess. Bow-chicka-bow-wow.

There are some toys that are more than just toys to you, and you should just never get rid of them. I would do anything to have that vinyl box of plastic with me today.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shed your skin.

Oh Lord, what we put our faces through in the ‘80’s.

I was having coffee with some girlfriends this morning and we were reminiscing about what we used to slather and scrub our skin with. I was like a soldier headed off to battle with my teenage skin. And I was going to win, no matter what the price was, or the pain or mental anguish it caused me. Oh, and I was highly influenced by television, advertising jingles and what girls I looked up to were using or doing to their faces.

First, let’s cleanse:
I used Noxzema, the end all be all of teenage girl facial cleansers. Before it came with a pump, it was simply packaged in a round, navy blue plastic tub that would fill up with water and germs from continually scooping your grungy hands into it to get the freezing cold white paste out. Ahhhhh, that Noxzema smell, who can forget that? In the commercials they always talked about that “tingly, fresh clean” feel you should get after using Noxzema. I don’t know if tingly and burning mean the same thing, but that is how it made my skin feel - in fact, the perfect way for me to describe it is ‘so cold it’s on fire.’ But of course I continued to use it because, well, everybody else did.

Now, let’s exfoliate:
Here is the deal with Buf-Puf Facial Sponges: First of all, they didn’t need those extra ‘f’s in their product name - they didn’t have time for that. They were too busy creating a Brillo Pad that you could use on your face. I don’t know how many layers of skin I scrubbed off while using this product, all I know is that when I was done I looked like I had just been involved in an unfortunate kitchen grease fire. Buf-Puf promised to help you achieve a deep clean that would prevent dull skin and breakouts. It practiced what it preached, as my skin certainly was not dull since there was none of it left to break out. I of course continued to use it just because, well, everybody else did.

Don’t forget your toner:
Beautiful skin can be a breeze with Sea Breeze”, sing along with me everybody! I’m not talking about that wussy blue stuff that’s around now, I’m talking about the old school, sailboat emblazoned, pee-colored alcohol I used to saturate a cotton ball with and rub all over my face and neck. My girlfriends and I would proudly show off our soiled cotton balls to each other exclaiming “look, eeeewww, gross! Look how dirty my face and the back of my neck was, eeewww!” It was like some weird sort of competition of whose ball was the darkest. Again, the burning. And again, the continued usage, EVERYBODY WAS DOING IT.

Finally, let’s prevent those pesky breakouts:
Ahhh, Stridex Pads…who knows what the hell those peel-apart wet circles were soaked in, but I gladly rubbed them all over my face. And the smell, whew! Like a chemical explosion. These also had the “eeewww” factor of the ick that ended up on them from your face, and the burn factor from the alcohol and whatever else was in them. I remember my face turning beet-red after using them and waking up the next morning with flaky, peeling, alligator skin. The peeling must have meant it was working, right? If the skin on my face all flaked off, it wouldn’t have the chance to breakout, so problem solved. Yes, I kept using it and you know the reason why.

Today I am much kinder to my poor face. Thank God I realized that one product does not work for everybody. I also discovered something called moisturizer. Guess what? Your face needs moisture.

Sometimes in the grocery store I will take a stroll by the facial cleansers and sneak a whiff of Noxzema, just the smell of it can make me feel fifteen again. Like a junkie, I realize that I can look, but I can’t touch. I'm afraid I'll get burned again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good friday.

I was raised in a very Italian, very Catholic family.

Growing up it was expected that we go to church every Sunday. It was just part of our routine, no questions asked, no fight, no fuss, no muss. You went to church, you went over to Grandma’s house, you ate a big meal and cookies and cake. Sundays were good!

Catholics like the letter ‘C’:
And my favorite…

As a kid I hated confession, it made me nervous. My friend Laura who is a fellow Catholic said going to confession ranks on her list of most dreaded things, right up there with shots, blood draws and pelvic exams.

I mean, when you are six years old, what do you really have to confess? I was mean to my brother. DUH. I had impure thoughts about Mick Jagger. YEP. I snuck Brachs Pick-a-Mix out of the candy bowl, hid the wrappers, rearranged the remaining candy so it looked as full and bountiful as possible, and then when asked who ate all the candy, said nothing. YOU BET I DID.

But still, I had to go into a booth and tell the priest these not-so-bad things that I had done in anonymity, and he would act like he didn’t know my voice, even though he was over at our house for coffee cake the day before. He would give me a penance of Hail Marys and Our Fathers to say, bing-bang-boom and there you have it. Cleared of all sin – absolution!

I was one of the first female altar servers at my church, St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in Briarcliff, New York. I think I was like nine or ten. Altar servers had always been boys up until this point, but if they could do it why couldn’t I? I was never the girl who wanted to be on the football or wrestling team, but an altar server? I could handle that. All I had to do was hold a little tray under peoples mouths when they received communion, light some candles, and ring a bell a few times (I loved being in charge of the bell). I thought of it as a part in a play - I got to wear a costume and everything!

To this day, I love Easter pastels - pale pinks, butter yellows, and mint-chocolate chip green. With spring and Easter in the air, here are a few goodies any girl would be lucky to find hidden away in her basket:

MAC Nail Lacquer in Mischievous Mint.
Oh my goodness how fun is this color? It makes my fingers and toes look like Cadbury Mini Eggs (the best Easter candy EVER.) It is really chip-resistant and super shiny, which I love!

Clinique Butter Shine Lipstick in Pink Goddess.
A creamy, rich, pretty pink shade with a touch of shimmer. Hey, somebody put their lipstick in my lip gloss! Somebody put their lip gloss in my lipstick! It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg, giving you a wonderful taste of the best of both worlds.

Pink Sugar perfume by Aquolina.
This perfume makes me think of jelly beans. And cotton candy. And all sweet yummy good things. Very flirty and fun with hints of vanilla and caramel. Again, yum.

So treat yourself and have a spring fling with some of these fun pastels. And if you feel guilty about spending too much or fibbing about the box of Peeps you ate, go to confession and say a few Hail Marys. It’s all good.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eat me.

How much lipstick does the average woman consume throughout the course of her life?


No wonder I can’t button my jeans anymore, it must be all that lipstick…

I figure I have been eating lip gloss and lipstick since 1975 or so, starting with Bonne Bell’s Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. Remember those gi-normous, thick, dark-maroon colored tubes? I ate those for dinner! Followed by my Maybelline Kissing Potion for dessert. Those rollerball glosses were the consistency of water, I loved them in strawberry and watermelon.

A few years ago Jessica Simpson came out with her “Dessert” line, and boy, was I hungry for that. She made a sweet body butter that smelled and tasted like rich, butter cream frosting. Call me cupcake, I was all in. There were delicious lip glosses, perfumes (“Taste Kissable Perfume” – yes, perfume that you could eat) and some sort of sprinkles you could pour on yourself. (Do I eat it, or does someone else? I was confused.) The line lasted a few years, went from department stores to Walgreens, and now from what I can tell, Dessert is defunct.

Urban Decay also tried to spice things up with their Sparkling Lickable Body Powder in Cocoa, Honey and Marshmallow scents. I received the Cocoa one as a Christmas gift and knew deep down I should exchange it for Honey, but I decided to give something different a go. It came with a big purple puff that I used to slather myself in a shimmery chocolate dust. It totally made me nauseous. It took me back to this specific memory I have of getting a soft serve chocolate ice cream cone as a kid after a swim lesson, and eating it the backseat of my parents’ car. We stopped to get gas, and the smell of the gas mixed with the chocolate mixed with the swimming, well you get the idea. That is the same feeling the chocolate-sexy-dust gave me, which was not conducive to a romantic evening. At all. This product is also now discontinued.

Today, I think I can just taste like me and that is okay. I don’t need sprinkles - although if I did have sprinkles, they would be the rainbow kind, because the rainbow ones are so much better than the chocolate ones.

I’m sure that memory of throwing up my chocolate ice cream cone is why I have such an alliance with vanilla over chocolate. And I still can’t stand the smell of gasoline when I have to fill up my tank.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just a pinch.

I have read that back in the days before makeup (shudder), ladies would bite their lips vigorously and pinch their cheeks really hard before entering a room to give themselves that healthy glow we all strive for today.


Thank God I have my Tarte Cheek Stain gel blush.

When I first heard about this gel blush it made me think off rouge, which made me think of my grandmother. When I was a little girl I would lay on her bed and watch her put on her make up, which included a beautiful, ornate, emerald green tin of creamy rouge.

I think she pulled out that same exact tin when I went to visit her last August. I guess rouge can last you a long time, like a lifetime!

Tarte Cheek Stain is not rouge.

I love this stuff and have had the same chunky tube of it forever - not as long as Grandma but for like a year. A little really does go a long way. It is foolproof to use, just dot it on each cheek and blend with your fingers. After I put it on I look like I just had a visit from my Aunt Phyllis, who is a big cheek pincher.

The cheek stain is a water-based gel, so it won’t dry out your skin, and it is oil free so it won’t clog your pores.

It is so natural looking, and a refreshing change from the powder stuff. It is a “stain”, and true to its name and lasts all day long. The shade I wear is called ‘flush’, a perfect sheer berry color that makes me look like I have just been out in the sun, working out, or doing other things that may cause you to, ummmm, have flushed cheeks.

Heck, even Scarlett O’Hara pinched her cheeks in Gone with the Wind to get that healthy blush. Remember that scene? If Scarlett gave a damn enough to get that rosy glow than I should too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love bites.

I was a teenage telemarketer.

I was selling and renewing newspaper subscriptions for The St. Petersburg Times, which was weird, because I lived in Tampa and we read the Tampa Tribune. I had never actually seen a copy of The St. Petersburg Times, but I sold the crap out of that newspaper.

There were six of us in a small, closet-sized, freezing cold, air-conditioned room, all sitting really close together and reading off of a script to convince potential subscribers why they needed this newspaper. We were all young, like high school to early twenties. Have you ever gotten one of those calls, and could tell the person was sitting in a room full of people, and in the middle of their spiel you heard them start to bust up laughing, and despite desperately trying to pull it together they just couldn’t and ended up hanging up on you? Yeah, that was us.

My permanent seat in the closet was next to a guy who I would end up becoming very close to. He drove an El Camino (rockin), his favorite band was Def Leppard (extra rockin), and he had the sweetest damn mullet I had ever seen. Soft and pretty, his hair glistened in the Florida sun, all shiny and smooth with soft curls in the back.

His name was Gary and he was soon to be my senior year homecoming date.

Gary was funny, and smart too – this was his last summer job before heading off to the University of Florida. He was a total butt rocker, which was a departure from my usual type of man. He was also crazy thin. I would always joke and say I didn’t want to date a guy that I could carry around on my back, and although I never tried it, I am damn sure I could have carried Gary on my back with no problem at all.

Besides being twice Gary’s size, I was also going through one of my really bad acne phases. My hormones and skin were going crazy and my face was just a painful mess. With homecoming on the horizon, I had to find something that could cover up the problem that was on my face.

I had an appointment with my hairdresser, who I loved, and he told me he had a friend who was a makeup artist that I could pay to do my makeup the day of the dance. He said he was the “best in the business” and that he had worked on some actual celebrities. I was sold and booked it, without meeting the guy or having a consultation. I saved $75 from my telemarketing money to get my makeup done for that special night. That was a lot of money back then for a teenage girl or anyone to pay to get her makeup done, so I figured this guy must be good. A real professional.

Some of the best men in my life have been my hairdressers.

I had an emerald green dress, black elbow length gloves, and super high heeled black shoes. I had a seamstress make four little green bows that matched the dress, two that went on the shoes, and two that went on the gloves. A classy way to tie the whole look together.

The day of the dance David, my hairdresser, did my hair, and boy did he ever do it. The bigger he made my hair the prettier I felt. After my hair was done, Tony the makeup guy started to work his magic. He was all in black, and dressed in a suit, which seemed oddly formal for being like 3:00 in the afternoon, and for the fact that he was just going to do a seventeen-year-old girls makeup. But it was impressive.

I was bare faced, which was devastating and humiliating for me. But Tony laid out a myriad of tools and began to get to work.

Tony worked with makeup the way other artists work with clay, or oil paints, using several little tools to individually cover the painful blemishes that were on my face. It was almost like he was a construction worker, since it felt like whatever he was using was the consistency of spackle or caulk, not makeup. He just kept piling it on - cover up, foundation, and powder until I felt like I had a couple of good inches of makeup on my face. I knew if I had an itch I was screwed, because if I scratched I would dig a hole in my face and I would look like a victim in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or one of those other horror movies that I loved.

After what felt like hours he was done, and wow, the result was…really dramatic.

I totally looked like a hooker.

I remember the look on my parents faces when I stepped into the house through the garage door, you know, when you get that really high pitched “OOOOOH” that in retrospect you know was not good.

The gang gathered at my family’s house and we took pictures before heading out for our big night. I remember Gary and I danced to three slow songs - “Always”, “Love Bites” and “I Will Always Love You”. And then all of us as a group went to an all night diner to eat, and then drove to Clearwater Bach and got a room at the good old Spyglass Motel for $51 bucks. (Again I ask, how was a group of teenagers, this time in all in formal wear, able to rent a motel room? Thank you Spyglass Motel.) I remember sleeping in my dress with its itchy-scratchy crinoline, and all of those layers and layers of makeup that were making my already bad skin a million times worse.

Gary went off to school and we stayed together for a while. There were a few trips back and forth to visit each other but alas, my butt rocker and I were not meant to be.

As with any of my teenage relationships, I was devastated when it ended and tried desperately to get over him. I quit the newspaper because the job reminded me too much of him. It wasn’t fun anymore. The closet seemed chillier than ever without him there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

'Cuz I'm the taxman.

Get excited, it’s officially tax day.

Did you get a big refund? What are you going to do with it?

Pay down your credit card debt?
Get started on your Christmas shopping? (Hate those people.)
Buy some fun new makeup?


And guess what, you don’t have to break the bank to go out and treat yourself to a little goodie. You work hard all year! You deserve it! This is like free money! You need a treat! Treats are good!

Here are ten fabulous things you can get for under twenty-stinkin-dollars at Nordstrom:

$18 - deborah lippmann nail polish in ‘glitter is in the air’ or ‘happy birthday’.
Ok, I know $18 seems like a lot of money for a little bottle of nail polish, but come on, how fun is this? It’s glittery without being gaudy.

$10 – l’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream.
There is a reason people swear by this hand cream, it’s super-nourishing and sinks right in with a light, pretty, kind of almond-y scent.

$8.50 – Clinique Take the Day Off.
For your lids, lashes, and lips – the best waterproof mascara eye makeup remover I have ever used, it takes it all off in one swoop.

$18 – Twirl fragrance by Kate Spade.
"She had a cocktail in hand and confetti in her hair." Oh, does Kate Spade not have the cutest little quotes to go along with all of her products? Does that quote not make you want to try that perfume? For $18? Very fruity and spring-y and even claims to have a touch of French macaroon somewhere in there. I’m in.

$14.00 – MAC Dazzle Lash Mascara in Black Dazzle.
Gotta say I love the price points at the MAC counter. I’m not ok with spending $30 on mascara, but $14? Sounds pretty reasonable for a big tube of mascara with a glittery black cap. In addition to having a great brush with no clumping, this formula is built to help curl puny lashes, making them look upward, not outward.

$16 – laura mercier eyelash curler.
I love the size of this puppy. It’s little and cute and fits in my purse. A nice alternative to my everyday big clunky apparatus.

$15 – Juicy Tubes Lip gloss by Lancome.
This juicy was juicy way before people were wearing velvet sweatpants with the word ‘JUICY’ across their backsides. Super shiny lip gloss. Fun colors. Good price. Doesn’t make your butt look big.

$19.00 – ‘Try It Kit’ by Smashbox.
What a great way to try so many new things! You get some of their bestsellers, including their famous eye and foundation primers, a lip gloss, mascara and a liner. Spread that out on your bed and say to anyone who will listen, “Look what I got for nineteen bucks!”

$14.00 – Nail Corrector Pen by Essie.
What are those people called who can use their right hand and their left interchangeably, ambidextrous? I always wish I was one of those people whenever I paint my nails. My left hand always looks so much prettier than my right one. This pen helps the right one look a little bit more presentable.

$14.00 – MAC 31 Lash Eyelashes.
Yes I know false eyelashes may seem a bit much, but if Oprah wears them every damn day, why can’t I? The “31” is a very natural length, and the look is pretty and flirty. And yes, I have worn them to work a few times (again, if Oprah can, so can I.) Life is short, make your lashes longer and see what kind of attention comes your way.

Put the 'fun' back in refund!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tattoo you.

Regrets? I’ve had a few…

• Shoplifting in the eighth grade.
• Dancing suggestively at the office holiday party to “Pour Some Sugar on Me”.
• That damn tattoo.

Let’s just get it out of the way right now.

Mom and Dad, you were right.

I was just out of college, it was 1996. Ahhh…the nineties, the heyday of the resurgence of tattoos. People were getting tribal tattoos, arm cuffs, tramp stamps and dolphins on their ankles left and right. I wanted one, badly. But rather than do a little research on where would be the best pace to go, which shop is the cleanest or had the best artists I decided to do things a little differently.

How about in a marine’s barracks in Okinawa in the middle of the night drinking shots of Jack Daniels and smoking Marlboro’s?


I had just graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and nothing else to do so I thought I would travel around the world to places like Japan, Macedonia, Bosnia and Okinawa with six strangers I had never met before in my life.

I had auditioned for a local theatre company that put on those audience participation, murder mystery dinner “shows”. Every show followed pretty much the same pattern: the audience mingled at the bar, while actors with either a crazy costume, wig, or accent came in one by one to drop hints about who they were, what they were doing there, or who they were sleeping with.

The show included one (or all) of the following “characters”:

• A hillbilly
• A bimbo
• A detective

Two murders happened throughout the course of the evening, one during the salad course, and one during your bland pasta, chicken or bloody prime rib.

After the first murder, the detective revealed himself, interrogated suspects, and asked the audience to try and help solve the murders. Cheesecake was served, the murder or murderers were arrested, and everyone went home wondering how they spent fifty dollars on that.

When I was cast, I was honestly pretty excited about it, I mean I was going to get paid to act! The producer was a woman who reminded me of Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous, with her constant use of the words “sweetie” and “dahling”.. She asked if I would consider going on a ‘tour’ and travelling with the group. What the hell, I thought – it sounded good. I figured we would be going to the Oregon Coast, or maybe somewhere fun like Las Vegas.

But no. I was going on a Department of Defense tour, or DOD tour as Bob Hope liked to call it.

When you are in your early twenties and you find out you are going to travel the world, get put up for free and get a weekly per diem, that is pretty damn exciting. However, when you find out that everyone else already knows each other and has been performing together for quite some time that can be quite nerve-racking.

Needless to say it was a lovely group of people, and I met my best friend Laura on that first tour, so for that I am forever grateful, sweetie-dahling.

The accommodations varied from four-star hotels (Brussels) to tents in the dead of winter where if you cried, the tears froze to your face (Bosnia).

Tent City.
I am sure my face is covered in frozen tears inside of one of these tents.

So fast-forward through many countries.

Lots of mess halls.

Lots of sitting around waiting for luggage, planes, and taxis.

Lots of really fun and grateful soldiers who loved to get us off of the base and show us some of the local culture. Who knew Reykjavik, Iceland had such fantastic nightclubs? Or that the food in Zagreb, Croatia was to die for? For a girl who had never traveled outside of the United States, this trip was pretty sweet.

Private Benjamins.
Do these hats go with our outfits?
Here is what I can recall of the night of the tattoo.

We were performing on a base in Okinawa, and I was playing the role of “the Baroness”, a wealthy woman with a Russian accent, wearing fur and gi-normous fake diamond jewelry. While mingling with the soldiers I came across one wearing a lovely tank top t-shirt displaying his artwork for me to admire. In character I asked him about them.

“Oooooo, I lick all of yur luvlee tatoooos. Whur did yoooo git thim?” I asked, in the worst Russian accent you have ever heard in your life.

“I did them myself” he answered. I was intrigued. I sat closer. He had an armful of them, and he was big and muscle-y and no, I couldn’t tell you his name if my life depended on it.

“Vow, I vould luv to git a tattoooo tooooo.” I purred.

“I could give you one after the show,” He said.


So with zero thought, no cell phone, and absolutely no common sense, a few of us adventurous types went back with said marine along with some of his buddies to his barracks. We listened to music, sipped booze from the bottle, and discussed what tattoo I was going to get. Honestly I hadn’t put any thought into it, I just knew that I wanted one. I racked my brain for something meaningful, something important. Then…a-ha! A yin-yang! You know, one of those Asian symbols that mean, I don’t know, good and bad? Happy and sad? I don’t know, I’m in Japan right? Nope, Okinawa. Okay, a yin-yang it is. And of course, on my ankle! Because that is awesome and everyone will be able to see it. Yes, that is what I have always wanted, a yin-yang on my ankle. He crudely drew it out on a scrap of paper. It was pretty unimpressive but I thought it would look better once it was permanently on my skin.

I don’t remember it hurting, I just remember smoking and drinking and having no doubt in my mind that this experience and this time in my life was beyond perfect and that every time I looked down at this symbol on my ankle it would bring incredible memories rushing back and I would be flooded with energy and yin-yanginess.

I thanked this stranger who just carved up my skin and stumbled back to my barracks.

And here we are today and guess what – my tattoo is just okay. A yin-yang, really? What the hell was I thinking? The symbol meant nothing to me then and continues to do the same. All I know is that when I want to wear a skirt and a sexy pair of high heeled sandals in the summertime, I cover it up with makeup. Not because I am embarrassed to have a tattoo, but because a tipsy marine did not give me the best tattoo that I want to show off to the world.

I wish I could afford to get it lasered off but I know that costs big money. So I’ll stick with my cover up.

I have used several over the counter concealer/powder/foundation combos which work ok, but aren’t made to cover my blobs of color. The coverage with regular makeup lasts for a while, but starts to lighten up and it ends up looking like I have a giant bruise and then I have to come up with a story of how someone tried to take me down by clubbing me in the ankle.

Not anymore.

I have finally found the end all be all of tattoo cover up.

All thanks to my friend Amanda at the MAC counter.

Studio Finish Concealer makes my tattoo disappear like magic! And with the warm summer months ahead I am beyond thrilled to finally have found something that truly works. The formula is water-resistant, so it won’t sweat or run off, which eliminates the need for topping it off with powder. And it is specifically formulated to cover other lovely things like moles, blemishes and yes, tattoos. A little goes a long way, so the little pot of product will last you a long time.

And here is an insider tip that Amanda let me know: Instead of finishing off with powder, finish off with hairspray. Yes, the same glue that sets your tresses can set your leg or lower back makeup as well. Try it, it works!

Ahhhh, no more waking up a half hour earlier when I want to be bare legged at the office.

I supported my armed forces. Now I finally have something that can support my legged forces.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The three you need - cult favorites.

An oldie can indeed be a goodie, as proven by these three old school, hard working staples of the makeup bag.
These three have withstood the test of time, and get better with age without changing things up or messing with their formulas. Kind of like a fine wine, or Mick Jagger.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve.
I never pictured myself as a salve-y kind of girl. Generally I like products that are new and exciting; not something that was created in 1895. Smith’s has become a cult favorite and is on a variety of ‘must have’ lists that are out there. I have been using it for years in a variety of ways. Chapped lips? Yep. Dry cuticles? Yep. Diaper rash? (not on me) Yeppers. A little tin of Smith’s will last forever, since a dab will do ya. My girlfriend Laura even put it in her husbands stocking this past Christmas because he kept sneaking into her little tin. No girly smell with the salve. Get the salve, and you will wonder how you ever lived without salve in your life up until this moment. Okay, I think I never need to say or type the word salve again.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.
Oh my goodness, how long has the pink and green tube been around? A long-ass time! Well, since the ‘70’s, which isn’t exactly 1895 ‘salve’ long (sorry.) Great Lash is a staple in any makeup artist’s bag working on a film or television set, and the reason for its cult following is this: Simply put, it is a great, clump free, very reasonably priced everyday mascara.

Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1.
Wow, I love this lip balm. I am not kidding when I say a new tube of this simple stuff puts a big old smile on my face. This baby has been a best seller at Kiehl’s since 1969, and it’s easy to understand why. As a lip gloss fanatic, this is one I have several tubes of - one in my purse, one in my gym bag, and one by my bed. It is shiny enough to wear on its own during the weekend, and looks fantastic under or over lipstick. This product really does prevent and help heal winter-chapped lips. I suppose if I did anything athletic and outdoorsy like skiing, this lip balm would be ideal. It contains sweet almond oil and vitamins A and E. Yummy and nourishing.

So there you have it, the cult faves. Your eyes, your mouth and your baby’s bottom will all thank you for trying, I promise.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I walk the line.

I dig liquid eyeliner.

I love the cat eye look from the ‘60’s - not the overdone mod look, but more along the lines of Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, or Joan Holloway on Mad Men. Simple, flirty, and sexy.


What I don’t love about liquid eyeliner is that it can be messy and awkward. One slip of the brush and you look like you got punched in the face. It also doesn’t seem to have the staying power of a pencil. The color gets lighter and lighter as the day goes on, leaving me with a light grey line across my top lid which doesn’t lend to the “I am alive” look that I am going for.

A reader named Natalie asked me if I knew of a liquid liner that was in a pen form that had some serious staying power. Like me, she loved the felt tip pen version in basic black.

I was on a mission and tested three drugstore brands.

You would think that black liquid liner wouldn’t vary too much.

Guess what? It does.

Liner #1 – e.l.f. Waterproof Eyeliner Pen.

This liner caught my eye for two reasons. The package said ‘waterproof’ and it was one stinkin’ dollar at Target. I ran into the store to grab a loaf of bread and a birthday present and left like I always do when I go to Target, with things I did not intend to buy (hello Rubbermaid container and popcorn from Skedaddles). And of course, I took a walk down the makeup aisle. I had heard of the e.l.f. line (which stands for eyes, lips, face), but had never purchased anything from it.

The point on the pen of this liner was extra small and pointy. Too small, actually, as I had to draw several lines across my upper lid to make it look right. Oh, and they mean it when they say waterproof. I drew the line on my hand to test it out, and a tissue wouldn’t take it off. I looked like I had just cheated on a big exam or had some hot young thing at a bar scrawl his number across my hand. Ahhh, memories.

The color was extra black, like Halloween costume black. No likey. After I applied it I wondered how the hell I was going to get it off that night. Maybe e.l.f. makes a one dollar eye makeup remover? Nope.

Liner #2 – Cover Girl Lineexact Liquid Liner.

This is the pen that I have used before and it turns out it’s the same one Natalie had been using as well. I love the size of the pen tip and it goes on flawlessly, smooth and easy.

But…halfway through the day and the shiny black does start to fade. I say this is perfect if you are getting ready to go out on a date and want to feel sassy for a few hours, but it is not the right liner if you are looking for all-day-eight-to-five-sassiness.

Liner #3 – Revlon ColorStay Liquid Eye Pen.

Out of the three, this was my favorite. I tested it on the same day as the e.l.f. liner so I had one product on each eye, and boy, you could tell the difference. The Revlon went on so easily, in one perfect swoop of the pen, and the black wasn’t as intense as the one-buck-e.l.f., It was a perfect look for going into the office or going out at night. I dig the Revlon, eight bucks, bing-bang-boom, thank you Halle Berry.

So there you have it. Now I have one great eyeliner and my kids have two new magic markers to play with. Everybody is happy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eye believe in miracles.

I love the philosophy makeup line.

I love their shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath combos, especially their vanilla birthday cake, spiced cookie, and cinnamon buns “flavors”. What can I say? I like my cookie to smell like a cookie and my buns to smell like buns.

I love the nostalgic photographs on their packaging, and their decision to never use a capital letter – adorable!

They also have really cute names for their skincare line - hope in a jar, purity facial cleanser, the miracle worker, etc. Again, adorable with a lowercase “a.”

I decided to try their ‘eye believe’ eye and upper lip cream. I am not kidding when I say this product fights wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes and soothes the lines above your upper lip. You know, those lines we get from smoking (not anymore), drinking through a straw (don’t do it ladies) or whistling (I highly advise against whistling. I had to break up with a guy once because when he wasn’t speaking or eating he was whistling a jaunty tune. It made my heart race and gave me horrible anxiety.)

Eye believe has a nice velvety texture, and has some substance to it, which I like. It doesn’t run off after I apply it at night, especially when I am yawning my head off, which usually causes my eyes to tear up.

I am also trying it on the parentheses lines on the sides of my mouth because I saw a reader review on philosophy’s website saying it fights those as well. (Please don’t tell them I am using it on unauthorized body parts.)

I think I will suggest a “don’t give me no lip” lower lip cream to philosophy.

The photo on the package could be a little girl pouting, sticking her bottom lip out, wearing a birthday hat and patent leather Mary Jane shoes.

You’re welcome philosophy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Purple reign.

Who else remembers those little radios you could bring in the shower with you?
Back in the day I needed one because I could not possibly last fifteen minutes without music blaring.
I needed music blasting while I put conditioner in my hair.
Even commercials. I needed commercials screaming at me while I was lathering up my bod.
Eventually I moved on to a small tape deck that lived in the bathroom that I shared with my brother. Free from commercials, now I had a cassette player, no, a boom box, very high tech.
I recall one Christmas morning getting the soundtrack to Purple Rain from Santa or Rudolph or Crystal. (You know, Crystal? Frosty’s wife??? My mother, bless her heart continued to make our Christmas gifts from The Grinch, Hermie the Elf, and yes, Crystal, up through our adult life. Very sweet.) I don’t remember which character Purple Rain was from, but hot damn, I was happy to have it.
I remember going to take my shower that Christmas morning, tearing the cellophane off of that little plastic box, and popping the tape into the bathroom boom box. It was blaring so loud that my dad kept banging on the locked door (of course) and hollering at me to turn it down. At least I think he was, I don’t know for sure; because I was too busy listening to Let’s Go Crazy while shaving my legs. It was Christmas after all.
The color purple always makes me think of ‘80’s Prince, not change your name to a symbol ‘90’s Prince, or modern day Jehovah’s Witness door-to-door Prince.
I like my Purple One suggestively crawling out of a bathtub in my direction.
Purple is the perfect alternative to black.
I always feel good when I wear it in my clothing and in my makeup. Here are three purple products that I am currently loving:
BeautiControl Intense Mineral Shadow in Drama Queen – Vibrant and long lasting shadow, no primer needed, this mineral shadow lasts all day long.
Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes in Starry Plum – This liner is my replacement liner for my beloved Prescriptives eyeliner that has passed on. I never thought a plum eyeliner would work for everyday wear, but on brown eyes it is truly natural and really, really, pretty.
MAC Tinted Lipglass in Pop Mode – A gorgeous plum that I wear over lipstick or by itself, I have bought this color for years, and it’s one of my go - to glosses!
(On a side note, every time I open up a new box of Dove soap I sing When Doves Cry in my head. For some reason, Prince and the bathroom will forever go together for me.)

Friday, April 8, 2011


I watched a ton of television and movies during my childhood and teenage years. There didn't seem to be all of these rules back then about how many hours your kid should be in front of the magic glowing box. My mother always says I learned to read watching Sesame Street and The Electric Company.

School, who needed it?
Bert, Ernie, and Morgan Freeman dressed as Dracula taught me what I needed to know.

Looking back at old pictures, I think I learned to dress by watching Dance Party USA, John Hughes movies, and MTV:

Look #1 – The Jo Polinaczek.

I loved The Facts of Life. I’d take the good, take the bad, take it all...from a young Molly Ringwald in the early incarnation of the show, to the we-need-a-new-tough-chick-to-come-screaming-in-on-her-motorcycle-and-breathe-some-life-into-this-dorm Jo Polinaczek. I thought Nancy McKeon was awesome, she reminded me of my Aunt Barbara who kicked ass. This look worked best when I pulled my hair into a wimpy ponytail and let the ‘wings’ hang down on either side.

Look #2 – The Andie/ZZ Top tribute.

I loved and still love the movie Pretty in Pink with Molly Ringwald. I was smitten with Jon Cryer’s Duckie Dale, and would write his name all over my denim three-ring binder. What an idiot Andie was to choose Blane over Duckie. I remember this awful, elephant grey dress so well; I can still feel the polyester and see the sparks flying off of it. Nice touch with the ZZ Top ankle socks and very expensive looking white pumps. And to cap it all off, how about a little cap? No wait, how about a Fedora? CHECK.

Look #3 – The "Now I am “Punk Rock”.

Holy sh*t.
When I first saw this picture again, my initial instinct was that this was from a Halloween party but honest to God I don’t think it was. I think it was just a Thursday evening. This look draws inspiration from several sources that should never have gone together. The movie Valley Girl (note neon green plastic glasses and hip plastic bracelets) Chachi Arcola from Happy Days (note bandana tied around leg) and Bozo the Clown (note wiglet of blue hair.)

Look #4 – The Young Professional.

I credit this look to the “high school is over” movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and Less Than Zero. I, of course, was still in high school trying my best to look like I was heading off to a very important business meeting. Good God, if I knew then what I know now I would have fought this look tooth and nail. Oh, and shoulder pads? Yeah, triple check on that one.

Today I am pretty happy just to look like me, on most days.

But you bet I still have an old makeup bag full of gummy bracelets, lace gloves, and crucifixes for when I want to look like a virgin.