Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Look ma, no sheet marks!

Isn’t it great when a product makes a promise that seems too good to be true come true?

My friend Amy at work has been telling me forever about a quick dry nail polish top coat that she swears by.

Here are some quotes from Amy:

“Lori, you can do your nails, wait five minutes, then go do the dishes.”

“Lori, you can do your nails before bed, go to sleep, and wake up with no sheet marks in the morning.”

“Lori, you can do your nails, uncork a bottle of wine, and still have a perfect manicure.”

SOLD.

Amy brought it to work so I could give it a go. Poshe’ Super-Fast Drying Top Coat is a product I have never heard of (surprise, surprise!), and with all of Amy’s hype I was anxious to sneak into an empty office, close the door, and try it. The bottle said it dried completely in five minutes. I was doubtful. I hoped nobody would go into that office for a while because it smelled like a nail salon in there.

I painted the clear coat on top of my week-old manicure and put Poshe’ to the test. I looked at the clock which read 10:40.

“Okay Aim,” I said, “At 10:45 these nails should be dry, right?”

“You bet,” she said confidently.

At the moment of truth I tapped my nails together. Let me tell you something.

DID NOT STICK ONE BIT.

I put my thumbnail up to my lip.

NOT TACKY AT ALL.

“AMY!” I yelled across the office. “They’re dry!”

I was so excited you think I had just won the lottery.

I went into the kitchen and ran them under water, mimicking doing the dishes. I even mimed washing a pot and a pan.

STILL DRY AND SUPER SHINY.
EVEN AFTER THE MIMING.

So thank you, Amy, because as everyone knows there is nothing worse than sheet marks in nail polish.

Nothing...except maybe wrecking your nails trying to get into that bottle of wine.

Poshe' Spice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I was a babe who sat.

When I was little, I would always get excited when I found out that my parents were going out and that we were going to have a babysitter.

Having a babysitter meant that Judy Darrows was coming over to watch us.

Judy was awesome. She was sixteen years old, had tight Jordache jeans, and wore a roach clip with feathers in the prettiest, most shellacked feathered hair that I have forever filed away in my memory.

My brother Mike and I got to eat pizza in the living room and stay up late when Judy came over. After my brother went to sleep, I was allowed to stay up and watch The Love Boat. As Judy and I got to be closer she let me stay up for an extra hour and watch Fantasy Island too. I liked Judy.


During my teenage years, before my job at the video store I did a little babysitting of my own.

I was pretty bad at it.

I was not a little girl or a teenager who loved babies or kids. I always told my parents I didn’t even want kids of my own, I just didn’t have that maternal chip.

Fake smile.

I babysat regularly for a family down the street, the Marzak’s. They had a girl who was around four and a boy who was around six. They were okay kids, easygoing and obsessed with the game Trouble, the one with the pop-o-matic bubble.

Here are some things I liked about babysitting for the Marzak Family:

Kid food.
I loved the allure of a pantry filled with products that would never be purchased at our house. Twinkies? Little chocolate donuts? Ritz Crackers and a big brick of cheddar? They told me to help myself, and boy, did I ever. If I put as much energy into playing hide and go seek with their kids as I did sneaking spoonfuls of Duncan Heinz frosting, I would have been awesome! Whenever it was my turn to hide I would hide in the pantry. With my spoon and my frosting.

Cool movies.
When the kids were sawing logs, I got bored. I would rummage through their VHS and Beta collection. There was one tape, tucked waaaaaaay behind the others with the words I Love Lucy written on a piece of masking tape on the outside of the case. Guess what? It wasn’t I Love Lucy. It was a vague story about a woman named Lucy, and a lot of guys (and girls) who loved her. I gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up!

Playing dress up.
Mrs. Marzak had a giant walk-in closet with some fur coats and hats. I liked to dress up and fancy myself the lady of the house. She had some great jewelry too. I would pile on her things and stare at myself in the mirror, striking dramatic poses and giving pouty model looks. I also loved her giant, yellow triangle bottle of Liz Claiborne perfume. I wonder if she ever smelled it on me as she was handing me the money I had earned for working so hard.

One day while I was busy standing in front of the food, the kids were running around playing a game of indoor freeze tag when a lamp got knocked over. I swept up the glittery shards of glass from the light bulb and put them where any smart babysitter would dispose of them - in the garbage disposal. I flicked the switch and listened to the grinding and buzzing noise that came from the sink. Crisis averted, I didn’t give it a second thought and didn’t say a word to Mr. or Mrs. Marzak about it. Why the hell I didn’t put the evidence in the garbage can as opposed to the garbage disposal I have no idea. I suppose I was attempting to hide the evidence, but why? A broken light bulb? Come on.

A day or two later my parents got a call from Mr. Marzak. He explained to my dad that they had found ground up light bulb in their sink and that their disposal was broken and now needed to be replaced. I confessed in my usual fashion – by bawling my way through it. I did a lot of free babysitting for the Marzak kids that summer to pay for that stupid disposal.

There were many months of Trouble ahead for me.

“Cuz' you know where there are kids, there’s Trouble...”


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Car-mess.

Is Carmex a required rite of passage for west coasters?

I had never heard of the mentholated little yellow tub before moving to Oregon from Florida.

Everybody in P-town had a little round tin of the stuff in their purse or back pocket. People swore by this stuff, even got addicted to it. Therefore, it must be good!

I started using Carmex when I saw that everyone else was. Typical, I know.

People had that Carmex ring imprint on the back pocket of their jeans, similar to the ring left by a tin of chewing tobacco, which is charming.

I also fell into the “everybody else was doing it” phase during this period of my life with Birkenstocks, Baja pullover shirts, and Grateful Dead concerts. I lived in Oregon now.

Now I am a hippie.

The original jar has been available since 1937 – and I believe it.

The Carmex formula claims to do three things:

• Keep lips soft
• Protect from Wind and Sun
• Help Heal Chapped Lips


Here is the deal. You would have to be in one hell of a windstorm to warrant ever having to put this stinky medicine on your mouth. The sun would have to be molten hot and the closest to the Earth it has ever been to suck enough moisture out of your pucker to need this much moisturizing. I guess the tingling (aka burning) feeling you get when you put it on must mean its working. Or making your lips more chapped so you will continue to buy more little tubs of it.

There are so many better smelling options out there I can’t imagine why one would ever choose Carmex. Nivea makes a really nice lip balm and so does Burt's Bees at around the same price point. Oh, and did I mention that besides being a lip balm Carmex is also a cold sore reliever? If you have those peeling wind/sun ravaged lips and herpes too, you’re all set.

I remember making out with a guy in college who was not only a bad kisser but a Carmex addict. Who wants to kiss someone that smells and tastes like the medicine cabinet? Guess what? That was our one and only make out session – I can’t for the life of me tell you his name, but I remember his Carmex mouth coming at me and that ring on his back pocket.

Blech.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ginger spice.

When I was a kid my grandma and I would walk up to the five-and-ten store (aka Woolworth's Drug Store) and sit at the “luncheonette” counter to get a little something to whet our whistles after the five minute walk from her house to the store.

I love a good soda fountain - egg creams, lime rickeys, malts…and nothing quenches my thirst quite like a milkshake.

One soda fountain staple that I adore is a ginger ale float ~ basically a root beer float but with ginger ale instead of root beer. I guess this drink is also referred to as a “Boston Cooler” but I was not cool enough as a little girl to know that.

I love ginger ale.

I am not a big soda drinker today, but I adore my Canada Dry. Growing up, we always had those miniature glass bottles of them at our house. Is it more of an east coast thing? I don’t see much Canada Dry representation out here on the west coast.

Ginger ale was also medicinal. Upset tummy? I was given flat ginger ale soda to drink. Even flat it was yummy. But ice cold and bubbly was how I liked it best, especially with that scoop of vanilla ice cream in it.

Today I can smell like my favorite bubbly concoction by slathering on Origins Ginger Soufflé Whipped Body Cream. I put some on this morning and honestly, I have never smelled a cream that smelled more carbonated and gingery. It has a tang to it and feels cool, rich, and the scent is long lasting. I like the ginger perfume as well, but I prefer the subtlety and the texture of wearing a soufflé.


And it makes me feel like I’m once again a little girl in pigtails sitting in the vinyl-glitter chair at the five-and-ten, reaching up high to grab my straw and sip a rush of that bubbly ginger goodness.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cult of personality.

I got my first job when I was 16 years old at what I thought was the ultimate place for a 16-year-old to work.

No fast food joint or bagging at a grocery store for this girl, my first job was working at West Coast Video Store in Tampa, Florida.

A funny name for a small, family-owned video store on the east coast, but it was totally awesome.

I loved all types of movies, especially cult and horror movies. My taste in film was a bonus when I was hanging out with the fellas, but my girlfriends…not so much.

I had a theme party where I served orange food and orange soda and made my poor friends watch A Clockwork Orange with me. Imagine a bunch of 15-year-old girls all in their pajamas, innocently eating Cheetos, circus peanuts, and nachos and wondering what the hell they had gotten themselves into. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why nobody thought that Stanley Kubrick was as much of a genius as I did.

My next theme party was a little (actually a lot) raunchier.

A guest at my Pink Flamingos party actually threw up and asked to please go home. No amount of cotton candy or pink lemonade could keep the stop button on the VCR from getting pushed about 30 minutes into the film.

How disappointing for a 16-year-old girl who loved movies.
I figured people just didn’t see art the same way that I did.

I guess most girls at sleepover parties were busy painting each others nails as opposed to watching stuff like that.

Today, I happily paint my own toes while I watch whatever movie I want.

Two colors from OPI that I love always make me think about my theme parties gone wrong.

Atomic Orange is one of the prettiest, brightest damn shades of orange I have ever seen and is gorgeous on tanned tootsies peeking out of sexy sandals. Nothing says Florida to me like bright coral-colored polish.


Pink Flamenco is like a hot pink explosion. For sure a summertime staple, it’s a blinding blast of color that says get me to the beach, pronto. Wear this polish while you lay out in front of the pink flamingos in your front yard.


Eventually, through my Rocky Horror community, I ended up making connections with people who shared my taste in movies and wanted to come eat Cheetos and watch Kubrick with me. God bless Tim Curry. Perhaps it’s time for a triple feature! We could watch:

• The Rocky Horror Picture Show
• Clue
• Legend

And paint our toes in OPI’s Curry Up Don’t Be Late and eat Panang Curry from my favorite Thai place.

What time can you come over?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weight a minute – the early years.

Okay, it’s time to talk about it.
The weight.

Let’s start off by saying that I just finished having two handfuls of Sour Patch Kids, a candy I don’t even like, for lunch today.

Here we go:

Below is the very first entry from my beloved Hello Kitty Friendly Diary.
I was seven years old:


I vividly remember seeing the Friendly Diary at the store “Small, Small World” in the Chillmark Shopping Center in Ossining New York. Small, Small World carried a variety of Sanrio products, mostly the uber-popular Hello Kitty line. On days when I deserved a special treat my mom or dad would take me there to pick out a little something. Like a fun smelly eraser, a bubblegum lip gloss, some Boyton Cat stickers or something from the coveted Hello Kitty line. I had fondled the Friendly Diary many a time, begging my parents to please buy it for me, but it was too much of a big ticket item. My birthday was coming up in February and they kept telling me just to be patient, but I wanted that Friendly Diary badly and didn’t want to wait.

I remember going to visit Dr. Lubell with my mom that sunny afternoon to get weighed. I hadn’t eaten anything that morning, I had just drank a bunch of Hi-C Cactus Cooler and called it good. We drank Cactus Cooler constantly at our house. The sugary concoction came in a big can and you would punch two triangle shaped openings through the top, one side to pour out of and one side to vent for air (which I never understood). It was the color of your pee after you eat asparagus. I thought that by not eating that morning I could trick the scale at the doctor’s office into showing a lower number, but no such luck.

My family was always weird when it came to the issue of my weight. They would feed me crazy amounts of food, praising what a good eater I was, but then make me feel like something was wrong when everybody else got ice cream and I was stuck eating crappy ice-milk. Eeew, ice milk. It came in a single serving cup with a paper lid with a little pull tab on it that you peeled back to reveal the icy, bland tasting “dessert.” All it did was make me sneak more Brach’s Caramels out of the candy bowl that my mom put on a shelf way up high in the living room.

Every Sunday we would go over to Grandma and Papa’s house for Sunday dinner - meatballs, macaroni, and Sunday gravy. There would be a green salad that was never referred to as salad, it was simply called “lettuce” and consisted of iceberg lettuce soaked in olive oil with salt and black pepper. For fruit there was a tray of sliced navel oranges doused in olive oil which were called “oily oranges.” Papa was a butcher and did the majority of the prep work and the cooking while Grandma poured oil on the different food items and smoked her cigarettes, leaving hot pink rings on all of the butts that were in the ash tray.

My grandparents were known for sneaking me food; they were like CIA Agents on a secret mission. They would cause some sort of distraction in the living room, like something that needed fixing by my father. Then my Grandma would command my Papa to “give the baby a meatball” and he would call me close to him over by the hot stove. I would gobble down a piping hot meatball on a buttered piece of Italian bread. Nothing had ever tasted so good. Sometimes instead of eating the gravy on my “ronis” my Papa would save some of the pasta water, combine that with butter, parmesan, and ricotta and mix it all together in a big bowl for me. Butter noodles my ass, this was butter noodles Italian style.

Mission: give the baby a meatball.

My mother would bring dessert every Sunday. She took classes in cake decorating so the deserts were always pretty elaborate as she was testing out her new skills. There would be doll cakes, cakes with a million perfect sugary roses on them, custard cakes, and cobblers.

Be a doll and eat this cake.

And strangely, everyone began to wonder why I was starting to become overweight.

The Friendly Diary became my confidant, the thing I could tell all of my seven-year-old weight-obsessed issues to. I spoke to it like it was a person, begging, “Please, please Diary, help me to be good,” or “I didn’t eat that cookie Diary because I am on a dite.” There are countless entries scrawled in child handwriting with misspellings asking for help and wishing that I could just be normal like everybody else.

I wish I could talk to that little girl today, give her some ice cream along with the rest of the family and tell her that all of this nonsense won’t affect her in the future.

But that would be lying.

Friday, May 20, 2011

You stink so good.

It would be a bummer to lose my sense of smell.

No more smell of freshly baked banana bread.
Or baked ziti.
Or vanilla anything!

But it would be good not to smell stinky things.
Like garbage.
Or litter boxes.
Or B.O.

But sometimes a bad smell can bring back a good memory.
A whiff of these stinkpots manages to make me smile today:

Jean Nate’ After Bath Splash.
We had a gi-normous Costco sized bottle of Jean Nate’ in our shower before Costco even existed. I remember being very excited to have that big yellow bottle with the black script writing because I admired the beautiful women in the commercials who would splash handfuls of that yellow liquid on themselves. They looked so energized and enthused! They also made the application of this product look much easier than it was. I remember soaking our bathroom floor with the stinky alcohol-citrus stink. The room smelled like a lemonade stand blew up in it for about a week. The ads claimed you could “go one step beyond any clean you have ever known before” with this after bath splash. I don’t think the Jean Nate’ made me feel any cleaner than usual, but it did make me feel more lemon-fresh, like a good detergent. I like how they also said it’s a “great pick me up, in the shower…or anytime of day!” I imagined myself fully clothed, unscrewing the rounded bulbous cap of that giant bottle and pouring handfuls of it onto myself. I vividly remember a dream I had about Jean Nate’ after going to see a show at Sea World. I was in the first few rows where they give you that big plastic blanket to hold over yourself so you don’t get soaked. Shamu was swimming in a giant pool of Jean Nate’ that was splashing all over me while I sat with a giant grin on my face.
I gave a wink to the camera and woke up, all lemony fresh.

Charlie Perfume Dusting Powder.
Who wanted to be a “Charlie Girl?” I DID!
My grandma had a big old tub of Charlie scented dusting powder at her house. I remember the packaging, a plastic brownish base with a lid that had a clear apple stem on top that acted as a handle. I would sneak up into her pink bathroom (pink toilet, pink sink, pink toilet paper) and would puff that powder all over me until I looked like a ghost, or like I had just left Studio 54. Those Charlie Perfume commercials were awesome, showing a glamorous woman in a shiny jumpsuit with the most perfectly feathered hair you have ever seen getting out of a fancy car, or going into a fancy restaurant with the legendary Bobby Short on the piano singing:

There's a fragrance that's here to stay and they call it... Charlie.
Kinda fresh, kinda now, Charlie. Kinda new, kinda WOW, Charlie!

I was kinda bummed Grandma didn’t spring for the perfume (again, Like Jean Nate’ with the big script lettering) so I settled for the powder. That giant puff made me feel very glamorous, like an old ‘40’s movie star. The scent of Charlie was different from other sweet women’s perfumes, it wasn’t flowery, it was more musky and smelled like sandalwood, very outdoorsy. I’m sure the scent was nice when applied as a normal person would have done it, but piled on layer after layer in dusty powder form as I did it, it was not so good. I do still love hearing that old jingle and consider myself to be a modern day Charlie Girl ~ kinda WOW!

Polo Cologne.
Holy crap did every boy in the eighth grade douse themselves in this stuff?
Sure, there was also Drakkar and Cool Water, but Polo makes me think of sitting behind Mark and Kenny on the school bus in their Members Only jackets. When their window was open I was overwhelmed with the smell of an herbal pine explosion. All of the hot boys rocked this fragrance but everyone simply wore way too much of the stuff. When I see that hunter green bottle with the gold polo player on the front today my heart races and my stomach churns at the same time. Boys wore this scent regardless of whether they liked it or not, it was like they had to because everybody else was wearing it. Like a rite of passage, every thirteen-year-old boy got their first green bottle for Christmas or Hanukkah. I think the big problem was that the boys treated the Polo Cologne like I treated the Jean Nate’, splashing themselves silly with the stuff.

I think the moral of the story is there can indeed be too much of a good thing. Be liberal with your scent choices my friends, heed this warning.

I am certain that somewhere out there a piece has been written about “that girl in the early ‘90’s with the big curly hair that was doused in Obsession that made me sick.”

Yeah…sorry about that.


Ahhhh, the smells of years gone by.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seven minutes in heaven.

You would think the memory of a first kiss would make you feel all warm and tingly and weak in the knees.

But for most people, I’m guessing that is not the case.

My first kiss wasn’t on a sweet little date with a twelve year old boy. Oh no.
My first kiss was with a sixteen year old guy, in the closet of his bedroom.

Romantic? No.
A good memory? Yes.

My best friend at the time was Stacey, she was the first person who was nice to me when we moved from New York to Tampa, Florida. We hung out constantly and did things that two twelve year old girls should not be doing. Stacey’s parents were very loosey-goosey and kind of let us come and go as we pleased. Needless to say there were a lot of sleepovers at Stacey’s house where we could come in as late as we wanted and sneak out of the house by simply walking out the front door.

One night we had “snuck out” and were wandering the streets of our sub-division at 2:00 a.m. looking for something fun to do. Stacey had fooled around with a boy, an older boy named Dave who loved close by. Dave was cute, very cute. He was from Columbia and had a thick accent. He had dark spiky hair, pale skin and played soccer. We decided to go and knock on his bedroom window and see what he was doing.

We didn’t wake him up - he was up listening to the Led Zeppelin III album, the one with all of the little holes in the front of the record jacket.


Stacey and I crawled through the window, listened to music, and hung out for a while. I remember how much his house smelled like macaroni. Whenever I smell pasta boiling in water on the stove I think of Dave’s house.

After about an hour of me sitting on the floor playing with the Led Zeppelin album cover, poking my fingers in and out of those little holes, Stacey decided it was time for some action. She dared Dave and I to go into his closet and make out.

I remember that feeling of excitement and dread, because I had thought about kissing a boy for so long and wanted to get that “first kiss” over with. But this was an older man, so of course I wanted to impress.

He had sliding doors to his closet with slats on the m so that the dim light shined through. I stepped in first and he followed. We sat cross legged, looking at each other for less than a second before he held my face and gently kissed me. I know I was stiff as a board and just sat there with my mouth wide open, letting him pretty much try and eat my face off.

After a minute or two I stood up, and like a zombie, walked out and sat back on the floor with the Led Zeppelin album, in a haze of dreamy exhaustion. I had kissed a boy!

I haven’t kissed a boy in a closet for some time now. Maybe it’s time to get on that again.

And speaking of kisses…

philosophy has a lip balm that I am loving right now.

kiss of hope” softens and soothes dry lips and has a breath-freshening, vanilla-mint flavor. There is no color to it, it’s more like a standard Chap-Stik style lip balm. The real thing that sold me on it was the feeling four hours later that it was still on my lips. And even after lunch! I like that.'

So for my next closet adventure I am ready.

Put “Immigrant Song” on the turntable and let’s get it on.

I’m a bit more prepared this time.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You're soaking in it.

Remember those commercials in the ‘70’s with Madge the manicurist? She forced ladies hands into a glass bowl of green goo and then “surprised” them by telling them it was Palmolive? They jumped in shock, yanking their upper class hands from the bowl. Madge strong-armed them back in.
Madge had a small beehive hairdo and a good one liner at the end of each commercial.

A customer would say: “Oh Madge, I’m just in love with this Palmolive.”
And she would say, “Uh-oh, does your husband know???”
And the woman would roll her eyes and say, “OH MADGE.”

Madge was pushy and loud; she would tell you like it is.

I am guessing Madge lived alone.

Rude!

How pissed would you be if you paid good money for a manicure and then found out they were using dishwashing soap on your hands?

I would tell Madge she better bust out some something just a little bit fancier, seeing that I was paying good money to get my nails done and all. I wonder what she used for pedicures…Brillo Pads to buff away those pesky calluses?

I prefer to keep my hands soft without resorting to dish soap. I work in an office and touch a lot of paper on a daily basis. Stupid paper, sucking the moisture out of my hands.

Many a bottle/tube of hand cream has graced my top desk drawer over the years.

A good hand cream has to possess the perfect combination of features; it must be moisturizing without being gooey, and it has to sink in, but not to the point that you feel like you spent your money on something that totally disappears. Abracadabra, I want my six-dollars back.

I have a hand cream that I keep returning to like an old luv-ah.

Aveda’s Hand Relief is incredibly rich and leaves my hands feeling soft and smooth. I use it throughout the day and I have a tube of it on my nightstand that I put on before bed. It has that “Aveda” smell that I really dig, fresh, green and pretty without being overwhelming. A little goes a long way which makes the tube last a long time, so I don’t feel bad about spending a little extra money on fancy cream for my hands.

What would Madge have to say about that?

She would roll her eyes, make a “pfffft” sound and blow the hair out of her eyes, all brassy-like.

I bet Madge was receiving payola from those Palmolive people.
She’s probably somewhere soaking in a bathtub full of green gooey money as we speak.





Tuesday, May 17, 2011

She's a runner.

I consider myself one of the least athletic people in the world.

There is no shame in it - it doesn’t bother me, it’s just the way it is.

In elementary school I was the kid that was picked last, or next to last, before the girl with the cast on her leg.

I remember one afternoon during recess telling a girl named Andrea that my family had been in a plane crash over the weekend. I informed Andrea I was now “bionic” and could now run really, really fast and hear really, really well out of one bionic ear. The Bionic Woman was a hugely popular television show at the time and I thought if I believed hard enough I was bionic, perhaps it would come true.


But deep down I knew it wasn’t true. I also knew that my family and I had not been on an airplane that had crashed the prior weekend. Andrea didn’t ask any questions, she just started letting everyone in on what had happened and told them to get ready for the amazing transformation that was about to be revealed.

I stood at one end of the playground with everyone watching me. Andrea stood next to me, ready to race. I was going to prove I was fast, that I was better, that I was special.

Ready…set…GO!

I was just as slow as usual.

Everyone walked away disappointed.

I was willing to test out my exceptional hearing out of my bionic ear at this point, but nobody seemed too interested.

Now was I not only not bionic, I was a liar too.

My grandfather on my mom’s side was very athletic and really into running. When I was 11 I decided that I was going to run a race with him, the “Ossining Road Race.” Grandpa and I would practice together, in preparation for the race. We would run around the block a few times and then I would slow down and he would go ahead of me. Then I would cut through some bushes and few neighbors’ yards and end up back on my front stoop. He would show up eventually and I would give him the old, “I’ve been here waiting for you, I finished ahead of you, you must just not have seen me run past you” story. At first I think he was leery of my speed but then I think he actually started to believe that I was this running protégé of his, that I really enjoyed it and that I was exceptionally good at it.

What I was good at was cheating. Like taking all of the stickers off of my Rubik’s Cube and putting them back on and then saying I solved it, I had Grandpa believing that I was running circles around him.

Finally came the day of the big race. I was excited to have a t-shirt with a big sneaker and the name of the race on it. It made me feel special and like I was part of something that was totally out of the norm for me. The race began and I started strong. Then I fell behind. Then what did I do? I of course took a shortcut and ended up finishing somewhere in the middle. Got a medal and everything.

Some people would feel a huge sense of disappointment for taking the easy way out but I still felt a sense of accomplishment, for even attempting to do something that was so outside of the box for me. And like I said, I got a t-shirt.

Last year after a long break (oh, like 28 years or so since the Ossining Road Race) I took up running again.

I started doing this three mile loop on the waterfront, power walking at first and then working up to a slow run. My run is about as fast as other people walk, but what the hell, I’m running. For reals. And I’m not cutting through anyone’s yard to get ahead of anyone else. I’m just doing it for me, listening to music, running over bridges and looking at the water. I try really hard not to let the voices in my head tell me that I am one of the least athletic people in the world.

Although I do let the voices tell me that I am not bionic, disappointing as that is.

Wish I still had those shorts. And those socks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pretty in pink (isn't she).

I heart James Spader.

I love kinky James Spader in Sex, Lies and Videotape, Crash and one of my favorite movies, Secretary.

But most of all, I love my Pretty in Pink James Spader.

In the 80’s there were a million teenage-movies with the preppy rich a-hole character. Think of Johnny in The Karate Kid, Ted McGinley’s character in Revenge of the Nerds or Bill Paxton’s awesome older brother Chet in
Weird Science.

Bad, bad, bad, bad boys - you make me feel so good.

But in my book, no bully even came close to Steff, in Pretty in Pink.

Sure I loved Jon Cryer’s Duckie and worshipped Molly Ringwald’s style as Andie.
(Sorry Andrew McCarthy, but I don’t have much to say about you…)

But Steff, everybody hated you!
You ruled that high school like you were the principal, walking the halls while smoking, tormenting the ladies, and hosting a party at your parents house while they were out of town like Hef would at the Playboy Mansion. Your style was quintessential 80’s prep - crisp light pink oxford button down shirt, white blazer/pants, and white slip-on shoes with no socks, naturally.

The thing that seals the deal for me with Spader is that snarky a-hole look he can give like nobody else can.
That look to me? Total turn on. Rich, preppy, James Spader turn on.

Big meanie.

Without him, Pretty in Pink would be pretty bad.
It would be more Mediocre in Mauve.

I never thought I was a pinky girl, but I have come to love it more over the last few years. A pretty pink sweater here, a pretty pink bag there…and of course, pretty pink make up.

Second Skin Cheek Colour in Lotus Pink by laura mercier.
I love the flush I get from this blush. Not a color I ever would have tried on my own without the girl at the counter suggesting it, because it looks so pink in the package. Goes on soft and pretty and natural. My go to color when I want a hint of color.

Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Impressive by MAC.
I can hardly stop talking about this lipstick. I am a lip gloss girl by nature but this lipstick; I think it has changed me. The most moist, shiny, hydrating lipstick I think I have ever used. There, I said it. I always top a lipstick off with a gloss but with this one, no need to. The color Impressive is a gorgeous pink that I flip my lid over. Love.

Ballet Slippers nail polish by essie.
Nothing says polished like clean, light pink, pretty nails. I love the size of the little essie polish but I wish they would make this color in a bigger bottle since I go through it so quickly. This color is for sure one of my go to products, I love the way it goes on, the way it is so long lasting, and the pretty pink-pinkiness of the color. This nail polish is the closest I will ever get to a pair of actual ballet slippers.

So there are a few of my latest pink loves, starting with an old love, Mr. Spader.

If I went to high school with you Steff, I would have partied with you, wore your mothers furs and pearls, and smoked in the halls right alongside you.

Boston Legal James Spader, I am going to have to block you from my mind.
You can go hang out with Andrew McCarthy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Anthony Chronicles - the final chapter.

Things started to get a little weird with Anthony.

After the big homecoming dance he got a little possessive of me. Well, maybe more than a little. Here are some things that happened in our relationship that were in retrospect, a bit creepy.

Anthony wanted to keep me chubby. He would make me insanely high-calorie lunches, like a fried egg with Velveeta cheese on a buttered roll. Then he would wrap it over & over in tinfoil to try & keep it warm until lunchtime. We would sneak off together and eat, away from the lunchroom in a corner of the stairwell. He called it a “picnic”, I called it anti-social and lame. He liked keeping me away from my friends; he said he wanted to spend his time just with me and with no one else. That’s not a warning sign or anything.

When I decided I wanted to lose some weight and go to Weight Watchers, he of course joined with me. We went to a meeting in a strip mall once a week in the evenings, and my mom or dad would usually drop us off. Sometimes instead of going to the meetings we would go to Po’ Folks Restaurant in the same strip mall and eat biscuits and gravy and fried chicken. Po’ Folks is a restaurant in the south where the menu prides itself on misspellings. They serve “po-taters” “corn on th’ cob” and “kuntry fried steak” (no joke. Kun-try.) I really got a lot out of those Weight Watchers meetings.

He liked my feet. A lot. He nicknamed my toes “stubbies” and would want to look at them in Spanish class. He would pass me a note and ask me to take off my light blue pump so he could sneak a peek through my pantyhose at my toes. Totally weird, but I knew he liked it so what the hell, I showed him my toes.

He knew that I had dated (or more like fooled around with) a guy who was a senior named Dave. He found out that I had talked to him and got real upset and threatened to kick his ass. That got me all dramatic and upset because Dave was my first kiss, and I’d always had a crush on him. Like if I had a choice between being Anthony’s girlfriend and Dave’s girlfriend my choice would be Dave hands down.

Anthony and I had tickets to the Rod Stewart concert. The Hooters were the opening band and I really liked them. Anthony found out I thought the lead singer was cute and got seriously pissed when we were watching them. He said I was looking at the singer too much, especially when they sang “All You Zombies.” I spent most of that set trying to look at the keyboard player or the drummer to avoid confrontation.

We went to see the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in the theatre and he made us leave because he said that the movie, “was not up to his family’s standards.” I didn’t understand because I thought it was really funny and then I felt dumb for laughing so much. His family wasn’t even there with us. Why did we have to leave?

But the weirdest thing Anthony ever did happened on Valentine’s Day.

I knew something big was coming on this holiday because his friends and family kept hinting about it, like a “Wait until you see what he has in store for you” type of thing.

On Valentines Day I was told simply to go over to his house. I didn’t know if we were going out somewhere, having dinner, or what was going on. I showed up and we ended up having baked ziti or something Italian & fattening that his mother made. “Is this it?” I wondered. I mean, it was nice and all, but his folks were sitting at the kitchen table with us.

After dinner it was time for my “surprise”, and he ran upstairs, leaving me sitting there with his parents. His mother started to go on and on about how much work he had put into this gift for me. Now I was getting excited! Then his dad came over and put a scarf around my eyes like a blindfold. At this point I should have bolted for the door and not looked back. I was nervous. They had let us have some champagne and wine to celebrate the holiday so I was a little tipsy too. This was totally ok and normal for a 15 year old girl.

Moments later I was swooped up in someone’s arms, and I assumed it was Anthony, but like I said I was frickin' blindfolded, so I wasn’t sure. I felt myself being carried upstairs and heard his parents yell, “Bye-bye” and “You two have fun!”

I was placed on something soft and the blindfold came off.
I was on his bed, which was covered in rose petals.
There was a small bear in a coffee mug that said, “I Love You Beary Much.”
A million candles were lit.

I looked up at Anthony. He was wearing the following:

• A top hat
• A bow tie
• A tuxedo jacket with tails
• Red satiny man-undies
• Nothing else

He said it was time for my present and I wondered what David Lynch movie I was suddenly starring in.

He put on the song “Oh Sheila” by the band Ready for the World and started doing a crazy-sexy Chippendales style dance for me. He would lick his fingers and wink at me and take the hat off and put it back on again over and over. He didn’t take off any of his clothes, he just was doing this performance while I sat there with a smile plastered across my face, wishing I was anywhere else but there.

After the one man show I clapped and we made out on his bed.

When I was getting ready to leave his parents asked me if I had a good time and how I liked my present. I said that everything was great and got the hell out of there.

Following that Valentines Day I decided to end our relationship I the same way I poorly ended many relationships in high school, as well as into my twenties: Ignore the entire thing altogether. I didn’t return his calls, dodged him in the halls at school, and just hoped he would go away.

Which he did. Literally.

One day Anthony and his family were just gone. He wasn’t in school, his friends were asking me where he went, and the house he lived in with his family was empty.

I thought maybe I had a power I was previously unaware of. I wished he would go away and he did. No more egg sandwiches, sabotaged Weight Watchers meetings, insane jealousy or stripteases.

So I wished really hard that the lead singer of the Hooters would swoop me up in his arms and do a sexy dance for me.

Didn’t happen.

Hold on tight to your dreams.

Frizz ‘fo shizz.

Frizz has been after me for a loooooong time.

It especially likes to hook up with me when it rains, is foggy or muggy outside.

In high school we got together quite a bit when I lived in the muggiest place on the planet, Tampa, Florida. My friend Susanne would work on my hair when we would get ready to go out, and if time permitted before school in the morning. She would lift a section of my giant mane and rat it up old school style with a pick, spray severely, blow on it with her “magic breath,” or use the hairdryer, and release. The result was gigantic-frizz city, and I loved it and wanted more. Frizz and I were going steady. People were talking.

Senior picture frizz......................18th birthday frizz...................Everyday frizz with friend.

But frizz is also a crazy stalker, and it followed me out here to the rainiest place on the planet, Portland, Oregon.

As a curly-haired girl, frizz has been an issue my whole life.

When people with straight hair say they have “bad hair days,” I want to say, “You have no idea.”

In the ‘80’s the frizz worked to my advantage, it gave me the height and width that I craved. Today, I still enjoy having big hair but want it on a more human level.

I have two frizz control products that I consider my staples.

Living Proof makes a No Frizz Wave Curl Styling Cream. I love any product that is that specific. You are just made for curly hair? I choose you! I apply this to my wet hair after getting out of the shower and blow dry with my diffuser. Guess what? My curls are more defined, my hair looks shinier and…less frizzy. People notice and comment so I know it is really working for me. This styling cream contains something called PolyfluoroEster which is supposed to actually block humidity. If they put a coat of PolyfluoroEster over the state of Florida I might actually consider moving back there.

Schwarzkopf makes another frizz fighter that I like called Zero Frizz 100% Rescue Corrective Hair Serum. The word “serum” sounds very scientific and I like the dramatic idea of being “rescued” from anything. I have been using this product for a while and like it especially on days that I don’t wash my hair, as it tames the bed-head frizz so I look presentable at work.

Although I will never be free of frizz, I find that these two products have helped keep it at bay. Now instead of living in the same apartment complex with me, frizz lives in a condo in a suburb about 45 minutes away.

I can deal with that.


The perfect frizz fighting cocktail.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Face time.

There are certain places people go to when they want to feel as if they have been transported to another world. I love to escape in a dark theatre, or feel like I am visiting another country by eating an amazing meal. In college I escaped reality several times at various Grateful Dead shows.

Today I was transported to another world by visiting Julia at Ethereal Day Spa.

Tucked away in a big old house on NE 28th Avenue, you know Ethereal is special when you walk in the front door. You immediately get a whiff of that lovely “spa smell” and the vibe there is peaceful and serene.

I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to get best damn facial I have ever had.

Let me set the scene for you.

I would pay the price of admission alone just to lay in the beautiful bed where Julia works her magic. When she led me into the room, my eyes teared up. A bed just for me? In the middle of the day? All done up in angelic white? With the biggest, yummiest, puffiest white down comforter you have ever seen? Upon sight, I felt the tension leave my body.
Heaven.

I slipped out of my clothes and into one of those little white strapless towel dresses and climbed into bed. There were candles lit, the room was dim, and there was soft, pretty music playing - not cheesy massage music - dreamy guy singing and guitar music. I closed my eyes and thought if she just had me lay there for twenty minutes and then came in and told me it was all over it would have been worth it.

When she came back in we talked a little about my skin as she rubbed my head with some amazing smelling oil and whisked my hair into a little shower cappy thing. I mentioned to her that a few friends of mine had raved about the way she waxed their eyebrows, and that she is the best in the business. Now I am not a girl who waxes her brows, but I had heard so many raves I wanted to try it. We also talked about waxing some other body parts but I thought I would start with the brows. Bing-bang-boom, she waxed and plucked away saying, “You’ll look like you had an instant face lift.” So right on - I know it's a small thing, but I can’t stop looking at my newly shaped brows.

Now, on to the really good stuff.

I was getting a “European Classic Facial.” I had no idea what that meant going into it but again, I was just happy to be lying in that bed. I have had facials before; I knew there would be some pampering, some pore-popping, and some more pampering. But like I said, this was the best damn facial I had ever had and here is why...

She started out by standing above me and cleansing my face with warm washcloths and a cleanser that smelled and felt so good. To have someone else wash and massage my face made my head sink deep into my pillow and my mind started to go into a little zen-like trance. She used warm washcloths to clean my face, neck and then my feet – wrapping them in warm towels and then covering them back up with my blankie - heaven on a cold, rainy day.

She then exfoliated my skin, followed by one of my favorite parts - gettin’ steamy. While warm steam was blowing directly on my face to open up my pores, she gave my feet and calves a decadent massage. At this point I wanted to marry her.

By the time she was done with my foot massage the steam had worked its magic and she covered my eyes and got to work on extractions. Now some people may not like this part of a facial but I love it. Having an expert with a giant magnifying glass and a big shiny right light get rid of blackheads and clear the gunk out? Sign me up.

She then painted a cool, wonderful smelling (everything she used smelled fresh and clean, not flowery or fake) mask on my face with a brush. Let me tell you, if you have never had someone paint something on your face with a brush while you lie in an altered state you have not lived. When Julia did figure eights around my eye sockets, I felt like I had tiny ice skaters dancing across my face. While the mask set she massaged my face, shoulders, neck and arms.

No, I am not kidding.

The mask was wiped away with yet another warm, wonderful washcloth and a cool toner spray was applied. We ended with a customized moisturizer to send me back out into the world looking dewy.

This all went on for ninety minutes, folks.

My heart dropped a little when I didn’t hear Julia prepping any more lotions or potions.

“Ok, Lori,” she said softly.
“Noooooooooooooo!” I cried.
It was over.

She left and told me to take my time getting up.
I lay there for a minute and then sat up.
Then I made myself lay back down, realizing there really was no rush.

I pulled the big white comforter back over me and tried to soak in the moment just a little longer.

I headed out the door back into reality. As I started to drive away I worried I may get pulled over on the drive home. I was drunk with relaxation and spa-goodness.


Julia Westerbeck
Licensed Esthetician
Ethereal Day Spa
211 NE 28th
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 245-5993

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spanx a lot.

I really thought the Fed Ex guy that comes to my office had a little crush on me.

When he delivers a package that I have to sign for he likes to chat me up a little bit, ask me how my day is, how my weekend was, isn’t the weather nice, etc.

Sometimes I see him when I am out for a run on my lunch hour. He always signals for me to take my headphones off and asks me how many miles I’m up to, what music I’m listening to, and gives me an encouraging “good for you” wink and a nod.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have zero interest in the Fed Ex guy. I just enjoy the feeling that somebody may still find me attractive, getting the old “I still got it” feeling.

But guess what? I know now that he’s so not into me.

How do I know?
Well let me tell you…

The other afternoon I took a package down to the second floor where the Fed Ex drop-off box is located. In our building Fed Ex comes at 4:30 sharp, and there my guy was at 4:25 busy at work.

“Hey, how are you doing?” I asked.

“Good”, he answered, “Hey, you still running?”

“Yes”, I said proudly, waiting for him to say something like “It sure shows”, or “You can totally tell.”

What came out of Mr. Fed Ex’s mouth next was something no man should ever say to a woman.
Especially a woman you don’t even know.

“Can I ask you something?” he said. Oh God, I thought, he is going to ask me out, ugh, this is going to be awkward…

”Do you wear Spanx?” He asked.

“What?” I said, my palms immediately starting to sweat.

“Spanx, do you wear Spanx?”

“Ummm, yeah, sometimes. Why?”
I was already exhausted by this conversation.

And why was I talking to the Fed Ex guy about my underwear?

He went on to tell me that he has a side business where he sells vitamins, supplements, and medical grade garments that are much stronger and more effective than Spanx.

Call me crazy but “medical grade garment” sounded pretty uncomfortable to me.

“Oh nooooo,” he said, assuring me that his sister and mother both found the “garment” extremely comfortable.

He handed me a business card that said "Drop 2-3 Dress Sizes in 10 Minutes" with some clip art of a cartoon woman with measuring tape around her waist.

On my way back up in the elevator to the twelfth floor, I stared hard at that card and for a second thought about following in Fed Ex guy’s sister’s and mother’s footsteps and giving the garment a go.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Spanx. Some days I will rave about them along with millions of other women, touting them as a miracle product and wonder how I ever lived without them.

Other days I wrestle to get into them, curse them, fight with them on every bathroom trip and hurl them across the room at the end of the day when I peel them off my poor tired body.

A few days after the Fed Ex guy incident I wore my Spanx to work under a new dress I had bought. I had gone out for dinner the night before and thought I could use a little extra “support.”

But by 10:30 that morning I went into the bathroom and took those effers off.

Nope, not gonna do it. I looked in the mirror at myself before I left the bathroom. I looked exactly the same, zero difference. I prayed none of my co-workers would see me walking from the bathroom back to my desk with what looked to be my balled up undies in my hand.

I have a recurring nightmare involving me doing a sexy striptease dance up on a stage wearing various Spanx garments. I struggle to suggestively peel off the layers while dancing to “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, tripping and falling and getting all caught up in a web of restraint from the unforgiving spandex.

I think for now I am good going through a ‘natural’ phase. Spanx free. For now.

Fed Ex guy, next time I see you out on the street I’m keeping my headphones on.