Wednesday, November 30, 2011


On my lunch hour yesterday I was on a mission.

I was making my way through Macy’s fast and furious, heading toward the elevators. I needed to go to the fourth floor to check out party dresses, to find something I could wear to my office holiday soiree.

I was hoping to find the perfect dress in sixty minutes, use a coupon, get a great deal and check this task off of my list of things to do when I breezed past the benefit counter and heard these magic words:

“Would you like to take a break, sit down for a few minutes and let me touch up your make up?”

The dress shopping was going to have to wait.

I love the look of the benefit line, 60’s inspired, kitschy and fun. My make up artist, Shelly, tried several products on me and I liked all of them a lot. But there was one very stand out, one star of the show.

It's true.
They're not false!
They’re Real – this mascara is beyond belief and may be…ahem…this is a bold statement, the BEST DAMN MASCARA I HAVE EVER USED.

There, I said it.

This mascara makes my puny lashes look so crazy long and thick, it seriously looks like I am wearing falsies. Now, this is not the first time I have been accused of wearing falsies, I have told you before that I developed at an early age - but guess what?

They’re real…on all fronts.

I loved batting my eyes the rest of the afternoon in the office, feeling like I was an extra on Mad Men.

And the dress? I’ll have to find a flirty little retro number to go along with my new falsies. We’ll see if I can make it past the cosmetic counters today at noon.

Maybe I should go in a different entrance.

Good Lord - what wouldn't you buy from this woman???

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Six hours.

The week of Thanksgiving my family and I would take a trip up north to Rochester, New York to visit my mother’s family and stay at my grandparent’s house.

We did not go by plane or train, oh,
We went by automobile.

The days leading up to the big six hour drive were super exciting. Yes, I was excited to see Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Bob, Uncle Tom and Bee-Bee the wonder dog; but I was also excited as hell to sit in the "big brown bomber" - aka our family car.

I had to get organized – I had six hours to kill in the giant couch-like backseat with my brother, Mike. Here are some provisions I remember thoughtfully packing for the big trip:

Hello Kitty Friendly Diary – where I could write about how excited I was! I was going on a trip!
Colored Pens and Pencils – for writing about my trip in various colors, in said diary.
Smelly Erasers – I vividly remember my “Little Twin Stars” erasers that smelled like bubble gum.
Nancy Drew Mystery NovelsSecret of the Old Clock and Curse of Blackmoor Manor  were feverishly read on these road trips.
Afghan – bright pink and green, made by my other grandmother, to keep me toasty warm.
Handi Snacks – compartmentalized crackers + “cheese,” + red plastic stick = YUM.

The car trip in itself was like a vacation. My dad would smoke in the front with all the windows rolled up (naturally, it was the late ‘70’s, and it was November) we would listen to The Doors and The Eagles on the 8-Track player, my mom would cross-stitch or write down the menu for Thursday’s big meal.

Mike and I would divide the back seat in half, with his apartment next door to my condo. It was seriously so big back there we never got in each others way. And nobody even thought about wearing seat belts, I could lay down with my afghan and take a nice nap after being exhausted from reading, writing, and eating nine Handi Snacks.

Every year on the way we would make stops at two very important places:

Stop #1: Stuckey’s Truck Stop.
Stuckey’s was famous for their pecan log rolls, soda fountain, and clean bathrooms. But my favorite part of Stuckey’s was my dad would buy Mike and me one of those invisible ink mystery books. This marked the half way point to Rochester, so helping solve a mystery with invisible ink was just what the doctor ordered. That and an egg cream.

Stop #2: Howard Johnsons.
Howard Johnsons was famous for their sea foam green walls, soda fountain, and clean bathrooms. Favorite part of Howard Johnsons? Getting a soft serve cone with the little cookie in it that read HO JO TO GO. Because there is nothing like trudging back to the car in knee-high snow with a soft serve ice cream cone in late November. Yeah!

Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family was always wonderful and special – we saw them all twice a year, so it was a treat. Mike and I shared the pull out sofa (or “davenport”, as Grandma would call it) in the living room – I remember Grandma in her housecoat (or “duster”, Grandma would call it…Grandma called normal things by different names) coming downstairs at five in the morning on Thanksgiving to get the turkey ready to put in the oven. I would get up and she would make me Cream of Wheat with lots of butter and brown sugar. I called that damn good.

Me and Grandma's wax fruit.
Mike and Uncle Bob's cap gun.

The Thanksgiving meal was delicious, Grandma and Mom worked furiously to make everything from scratch. There was a small television that my Uncle Bob and Uncle Tom would roll in halfway through the meal so they could watch football while we ate. Grandma tolerated this.

The centerpiece on the table was the same every year; it consisted of one of those felt turkey heads that you stick onto a pineapple (grandma had a bowl of wax fruit, we used the pineapple from there), along with various ceramic pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys. My twenty-something uncles would crack us all up by taking the pilgrims and making them commit suicide into their glasses of water, pools of gravy or jello molds. I remember an Indian getting chipped after Uncle Bob catapulted him across the room with his fork. Grandma was not amused.

Turkey, pineapple, and suicidal Pilgrim.

During another Thanksgiving Uncle Tom knocked Uncle Bob’s tooth out. This happened during a big Thanksgiving Day boxing match in the basement. Again, Grandma was not amused.

After five days or so it was back in the car – a sad goodbye to Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Bob, Uncle Tom, Bee Bee the wonder dog, the suicidal pilgrims and the pineapple turkey.

Until next year.

Girl pilgrims wore socks. 
Boy pilgrims wore really long khaki pants.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A picture worth framing.

What did you have for lunch today?

Ham on rye?
Slice of pizza?
Cuppa chowder?

Today on my lunch hour instead of eating, I decided I should go and get some hair ripped out of my body.

I quickly ate at my desk and then rushed in my car to see Julia at Ethereal Day Spa. She is a master waxer and all around cool person. You want a cool person pouring hot wax on you. Especially when the hair is on your face and you are in a hurry and on your lunch hour.

For my main course today I decided to go with the eyebrows – what did you expect? I wasn’t about to go with the full-meal-deal then have to come and sit for four more hours at work, if-you-know-what-I-mean.

I wanted a little pick me up, something cheap, so I thought what the hell.

Once and a while I have my brows tended to, I don’t know why I don’t keep up on them. Because I always love the way it looks, it’s almost like getting a mini face lift, or a little Botox, but a lot cheaper and without the botulism.

So...I fly in my car across the bridge to get to Julia, I lay down on a heavenly downy bed, bing, bang, boom, I have new sassy eyebrows. I struggle to get up from the comfort of the heavenly bed, fly back across the bridge, rush back to my desk and notice that I sit a little bit taller and feel like a million bucks.

Totally worth the fifteen I paid to have it done.

Lunch Special.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just another mascara monday.

Get excited people…I got another tube of mascara in the mail today.

This is my third surprise product that I have so graciously received from a reader and let me tell you…it does not get old.

Once again, it feels like Christmas morning!

I tore open the package, excited to see what could be inside.

To quote the dad from A Christmas Story as he lifts off the top of the fra-gee-lay box containing the leg lamp, “There could be ANYTHING in there!”

I get giddy pretty easily.

This package was from my old friend from high school, Jocelyn.
Jocelyn is a goodie.

At Gaither High School in Tampa Florida, Jocelyn and I loved the following:

• Cruising for boys in my dad’s convertible
• Being thespians (that’s THESpians…with a TH)
• Making our hair super-gigantic:

Thespian Awards.

The envelope included:

L’oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara
• Two pieces of Laffy Taffy (sour apple and banana)
• The best damn review for a mascara ever:

Jocelyn, thank you for the mascara, and for your review…I do love it.
But based on your letter I do have two tiny pearls of wisdom for you:

Please don't sleep in your make up; this kept me awake last night.


Please don't let Drew Barrymore's cuteness talk you into anything anymore. Back in the day she got me to buy some Guess? Jeans, see a movie multiple times called Poison Ivy, and in 1995 she made me pay for a Playboy Magazine. She has some secret power, I think.

You always did have beautiful eyes and eyelashes, and just so you know, whenever I hear “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle or “The Flame” by Cheap Trick, I totally think of you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I’m a belie-ber.

When I am in need a shopping buddy - I call Laura.

Among a million other things that Laura does for me, here are two important things shopping-related things that she can do:

• Justify what may seem like a ridiculous purchase.
• Talk me out of buying something I may regret tomorrow.

She’s just good at that stuff.

We have known each other for over sixteen years and have shopped the world together. Laura and I met while performing for the troops on a Department of Defense tour – we spent most of our down time shopping or trying to figure out where the good shopping was in whatever country we were in. I ended up lugging home some great purchases (wool peacoat from Korea that I still wear today) as well as some crummy purchases (tea pot from Japan with sleeping cat on the lid.)

Last Friday Laura and I had lunch together but we never got to the eating part – we were too busy scouring the aisles of Sephora, where we are like kids in a candy store. A candy store…full of MAKE UP!

We are in our element, I am showing her sparkly eye shadow and she is showing me Tarte lip gloss sticks. We mosey on to the back of the store to take a stroll by the fragrance section.

I am looking for Fendi, which I wore in the tenth grade, just to take a whiff to see if it is as stinky as I remember it being when I am distracted by a purple and hot pink flowery bottle.

I pick it up, jokingly, and show it to Laura.

“I heard that stuff actually isn’t too bad”, she says.
“Seriously???” I am shocked.

We spray it on the paper testers and take a whiff.

Kind of yummy – it passes the initial test and we spray it on our wrists.

Really yummy.

I put the bottle down and continue to wander around the sore and continue to smell my wrists. Oh Lord, I like this perfume.


Someday by Justin Bieber is fruity and delicious, just like The Biebs himself. No wonder I like it, it’s all creamy and food-like with notes of vanilla, mandarin, wild berries, and juicy pear.

I spent eighteen bucks and got the roller ball perfume, I really wanted the full size bottle that came with the “crystal-encrusted heart shaped charm that can be removed and attached to a keychain or zipper pull – so I can carry Justin’s heart wherever I go.”


Beliebe it - I bought it.
I was having a hard time throwing thirty-five smackers Justin’s way…knowing how he really needs the money and all. Then I found out that 100% off the proceeds of Someday go to charity. Now I have no idea what charity it is, none whatsoever. But when the salesperson told me that I was up at the counter getting my debit card out, I was doing something good. For humanity.

As I walked out the door with Laura I was all buzzy and happy, because of my new purchase - but also felt a little dirty - because of my new purchase.

I looked over my shoulder at Laura as I sniffed my wrist again.

“Don’t judge…” I said, seeing a smirk on her face.

“I’m not judging you,” she said, “I’m giving you warm support and nodding approvingly.”

Now that’s a good friend.

This child knows what I like to smell like.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm bringing sexy back.

Remember Stiff Stuff?

If there would have been a Stiff Stuff Fan Club back in the mid-eighties I could have been the President.

Stiff stuff was more than a hairspray; it was an industrial strength glue, a varnish, a shellac. Stiff Stuff was my drug of choice; I used it religiously to achieve...well...this:

Four of my mom's heads = one of my heads.

Stiff Stuff allowed me to survive Hurricane Elena in 1985 in Tampa, Florida while still looking fabulous. My father dubbed my hair “hurricane-proof.” It was so stiff thanks to the stuff, it could have stood up to a tornado, a monsoon, and a tsunami. Golf ball sized hail bounced off of my helmet head thanks to the protection of Stiff Stuff.

Remember the can? So…perfectly…80’s. Big yellow cap, and a white can with those turquoise, lime green and hot pink cool new-wavy graphics? Makes me feel like I am back in the third row of the Information Society concert just thinking about it.

Removing Stiff Stuff from my hair was a bit of a process – before getting in the shower to wash my hair I would have to take a pick and pull through all of the dried goo. You know how shampoo bottles say, “Rinse, Lather, Repeat?” With Stiff Stuff you actually had to do the “repeat” part.

Today I think I have found a modern day Stiff Stuff, that isn’t quite as…well…1985.

Big Sexy Hair - The All Nighter is like a good man – strong, not tacky, and lasts a looong time. It resists humidity and provides really good hold while adding shine. It is my go to spray for dramatic up dos, it keeps my hair big, sexy, and secure.

I’m not so sure if The All Nighter makes my hair hurricane-proof, which is probably a good thing.

David Coverdale from Whitesnake???
Oh, no, wait...that's just me.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If not now, wen.

I am a sucker for buying things off of the TV.

Like I love to watch infomercials, especially those half hour ones totally devoted to one product. Ones that involve “characters” can suck me in even more, like that one for the Magic Bullet. I stop on that puppy anytime it’s on and let me tell you, it’s on A LOT. I love watching Hazel in her housecoat sitting at the kitchen counter with a ciggy dangling out of her mouth and seeing surly Berman take a sip of that smoothie that includes vegetables…and liking it!

Yay Berman!

"Yuck, I hate broccoli!" ~ Berman

Right now I am secretly pining for the Ahh Bra (just shop your top!), Pajama Jeans (pajamas you live in, jeans you sleep in!), and some Oxy Clean (It’s not clean unless it’s OXY CLEAN!)

When I was home on maternity leave I started ordering things off of QVC; that was a turning point in my life. I knew it was time to put on some clothes, (that were not Pajama Jeans) some make up, air myself out and go shopping at an actual store.

Then along came Chaz Dean and his wen haircare system…and I was once again, a goner.

What had I been thinking, using regular shampoo all of my life? Up until now, it has been stripping my hair and scalp of their natural oils. Wen claims to take the place of five (yes five) products that apparently I should be using everyday:

• Shampoo
• Conditioner
• Deep Conditioner
• Detangler
• Leave-In Conditioner

I was so happy to have one product to take the place of all of these other pesky products but was a little confused; I was currently using only two out of five of these products - and not on a daily basis.

So thank God this infomercial came into my life, right?

Chaz Dean and his piercing blue eyes
that make you buy things.
What made me want wen was of course, the infomercial – Chaz Dean (celebrity-stylist? I had no idea) takes sixty minutes to walk me through his showcase showdown of pretty girls with a variety of hair types, testimonials, and “but-wait-there’s-more” incentives. And the whole shebang is hosted by none other than Laura Ingalls herself, Miss Melissa Gilbert.

Watching a childhood icon and Chaz banter back and forth about hair care set off an explosion in my brain that forced me to pick up the phone and buy now. Now. NOW!

I love getting shit in the mail - it’s like Christmas! Even if I paid for it, it's like getting a present - even though I paid for it myself and I totally know it’s coming, it’s still like a present.

Wen my wen arrived (tee-hee) I could hardly wait for the morning to take my shower and experience my new, favorite product. It even came with a free comb - thank you Chaz Dean! I was mentally planning what outfit I would wear to work the next day that would best go with my new fantastic looking hair!

So along comes the next morning, and, well, ummmm...

My hair is thick and curly and the only time I am ever able to comb through it is wen (ugh) I comb through my conditioner in the shower. But I wasn’t able to get through the tangles in my hair…not even with the free comb.

Wen (enough already) I got out and dried my hair, instead of feeling moisturized and healthy it felt weighed down and heavy. And it looked a little frizzy. Not shiny and lustrous like the girls wearing the wen t-shirts in the infomercial.

I think I have used this product before and it has another name - Pert.
That was another shampoo/conditioner in one that didn’t really work for me.

Sorry Chaz Dean, that wen went under my bathroom sink to the graveyard of products that don’t work for me but cost too much for me to just throw away. Have fun under there wen, along with the blush that was too orange for me, the face wash that burns my eyes, and the vanilla lotion that gave me a rash.

I did keep the comb though.

It’s a nice, wide toothed one that I use to comb through the conditioner that I use in my hair – BECAUSE MY HAIR NEEDS CONDITIONER.

So if you’re looking for the girl with the fanciest $29.95 comb on the block in her shower, that would be me.

And for some strange reason I still stop on the infomercial wen (kill me) it comes on, and I have to stop myself from picking up the phone and ordering it…again.