Thursday, January 31, 2013

How come you taste so good?

Brown sugar - so much tastier than plain ‘ol granulated white sugar, right?

Thick. Chunky. Melded together in the bag in big gobs that I can pick out and suck on like candy.

Brown sugar makes me think of the following things, all of which are good. Really good.

Naturally, there's this.
A really good song about a really good thing.
And this...

When we would go visit my grandma she would always make me Cream of Wheat, perfect on those cold, snowy Rochester mornings. Just like your Grandma, my Grandma made the best Cream of Wheat - on the stove with tons of butter, cream (not milk) and teeth-hurting-cavity-inducing blobs of brown sugar. The smell of it would send me off of the pull-out-davenport (not couch) into the kitchen. That was some good Grandma-Lori time, over a two big bowls of the sweet stuff.

And lately, brown sugar makes me think of this:

This past Christmas my sweet next door neighbor dropped this little goody by. She is crafty, grows vegetables, makes a lot of soups, she's all earthy and pretty - and I don’t know this for a fact but I bet can probably sew. All things I am not good at.

She told me it was a brown sugar scrub that she had made (of course) and that I should use it in the bath or shower on my bod, my face, my feet, whatever.

To be honest, the little jar of goodness sat for quite some time in my shower - becoming waterlogged - me not knowing the full potential of the contents inside it.

I decided to try it out a week ago when I had some spare time in the shower. Being a mom to two young boys, the shower is pretty much the only real “me time” I get (that and regular dental checkups every six-months.)

And a lot of the time, shower-time isn’t even sacred. Do you know how many minutes have been taken off of my life because one of them has come in as my eyes are closed and I’m rinsing soap out of my hair? Sometimes they say my name and I scream - or sometimes I open my eyes and see a fuzzy body through the haze of soap and steam and I scream like Janet Lee in Psycho.

Anyway, it must have been on a weekend where I wasn’t rushing off to work and my hair wasn’t an issue - anyway - there was time to spare while bathing. I opened the little Gerber jar and too a whiff - it smelled like Grandma's house - really early in the morning in the late 1970's. Yum.

I scooped some out and rubbed it on my elbows and legs. I wish I could give you and old school scratch-and sniff sticker to put on your homeroom notebook so you could smell it on your fingers all the rest of the day.

Brown sugar, oil, and I don’t know what else is going on in there, but when rubbed on the skin it lets off a hot, tingly, sugary sensation.

And guess what? My next door neighbor has moved. I have no forwarding address. No phone number. I only wish I had tried it earlier so I could ask her HOW THE HELL DID YOU MAKE THIS RIDICULOUSLY GOOD STUFF?

I’ll use my baby food jar sparingly. And no one else is allowed to use it. Especially the two small ones that take baths in there and unknowingly scare the crap out of me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest blogger - Laura Faye Smith.

Laura Faye Smith is a theatre, voice over, and commercial actress living in Portland, Oregon.
Her blog
Finding Lagom explores her complicated relationship with her stuff, and her attempt at a simpler life.

It also recently inspired me to clean out the glove compartment of my car.

I had the good fortune of meeting Lori while working as a touring actor - we met the night before we both embarked on our first tour to Europe. I knew everyone else on the tour, but was a little wary of this new woman I didn't know anything about - what if we didn't like her? What if she was crazy? But my worries were for nothing - I loved Lori from the moment I met her, and so did everyone else. Lori and I would do two more overseas tours together, and the gift of her friendship has been life-changing for me. I couldn't have done better if I had sat down with a team of experts and designed a friend.

So when Lori asked me to do a guest post for Once Upon a Product, I of course said yes. And it seemed only appropriate to write a post relating to the thing that brought us together - travel!

At the time of that first tour, I had only previously been on an airplane four other times in my life, and I'd never been overseas. I bought a GIANT rolling duffel bag from Eddie Bauer and stuffed it to bursting with WAY more stuff than I needed. My bag weighed almost as much as I did, and contained countless items I never used on that trip. (Lori and I also proved to be shopping partners in crime, so we made matters worse by continuing to cram our luggage full of t-shirts, shot glasses, and other souvenir-type crap from every country we visited.)

I've traveled extensively since that first trip, and become a much better packer. Now when I travel, it is rare there is an item in my suitcase that goes unused. I have traveled in Europe in the winter for two and a half weeks with only a small roller bag that could fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane, plus a tote bag. Experience has taught me how to mix, match, re-use, and pack only what I really need.

It did take me a while, however, to figure out the perfect travel makeup kit. Right after 9/11, when airline restrictions around liquids became so intense, I had to check my bag even for a short trip, because I couldn't figure out how to pare down my products. Today though, I am carry-on ready, and never lacking a thing.

Here is my makeup bag:

It's pretty small - 7.25" x 3.25" to be exact.
Yet it is comfortably full and still easy to zip closed.

What specifically is inside? Take a peek:

1. Daytime Moisturizer: I have pretty dry skin, and am starting to notice the signs of age (sigh). So I decided to start using an retinol cream during the day that contains sunscreen. There are fancier, more expensive ones out there, but Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream by Neutrogena can be found at any drugstore and I'm not allergic to it (which is no small selling point, since I am allergic to a lot of products. Stupid sensitive skin).

2. BB Cream: I am a huge fan of BB creams. They moisturize, provide sunscreen, and cover your blemishes, all in one product. I do realize I am kind of double-dutying it by using a moisturizer AND a BB cream, since the BB cream is supposed to cover all those needs. But like I said, I have pretty dry skin, so I feel like using both is the right combination for me. Clinique's Age Defense BB Cream is the best one I've tried, again for how well it works with my sensitive skin. I've been hearing a lot about CC creams lately too, but haven't tried one yet. I apply the BB Cream with a makeup sponge by Laura Mercier, that is great for blending but also super dense so the product doesn't seep in and get lost in the sponge.

3. Blush: Nars Blush in Orgasm is just the BEST okay? It goes with everything. It looks good on pretty much everybody. I also take this squat little travel blush brush, that came in an Estee Lauder travel kit with a bunch of other brushes I've either lost or broken. It's the perfect size.

4. Mascara: I'm always experimenting with mascara. I'm a sucker for ads that promise fuller, thicker, longer lashes - even if it's pretty clear that the model is wearing false eyelashes. Right now, I'm using Mac Extended Play Lash. It works pretty good, and I do like it, but I guarantee in a month I'll be trying out a new product.

5. Eyebrow pencil/brush combo: I mostly use the brush end of this Lorac tool to groom my eyebrows - I don't usually fill in my brows unless I'm doing full on eye makeup. But combed brows just make you look more put together, don't you think?

6. 2 lipsticks: One reddish, one neutral pinkish. I'm constantly trying new lipsticks. The ones pictured are two of my standby colors - Laura Mercier's Bare Lips, and Mac's Hot Tahiti

7. Sheer red gloss: I love a good sheer red - it punches up a more muted red lipstick, and gives more dimension to a pink. I have quite a few glosses, but I do love this Girlactik Beauty Ooh La La Red, because in addition to looking good over lipstick, it looks pretty all on its own.

8. Lip Balm: Again, I'm constantly experimenting, with everything from fresh's Sugar balms, to Nivea lip balm from the drug store. This little sample from Mox is great at moisturizing, smells and tastes awesome, and is made locally in Portland where I live.

9. Blemish treatment: Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treament is the best blemish gel I've tried. And I should know, because I've been treating pimples since I was a teenager. Will the zits EVER end? It's kinda depressing to be treating my skin for wrinkles AND acne. Sheesh.

10. Makeup Remover: I've tried many other makeup removers, but I love Clinique's Take the Day Off Makeup Remover, and I love this little travel sized bottle that came in one of those gift with purchase bags. I just keep refilling it. This remover gets my mascara off easily - even waterproof mascara.

11. Cleanser and night lotion: I use Cetaphil cleanser with my Clarisonic at night to take my makeup off, and then moisturize with Cetaphil lotion. It's super hypoallergenic, and was recommended to me by my dermatologist several years ago after he chastised me for experimenting with so many products on my super picky skin. I have a big pump bottle of both the lotion and cleanser at home, so I just put some in smaller bottles or travel containers when I'm on the road.

And that's it! I'm terrible at applying eye makeup, so I don't usually wear it. But when I do, I still have room in my bag for a little 2 color palette and some brushes to apply it. I used to bring a lot more options with me when I traveled - more lipsticks, a couple different shades of blush, eyeliner, nail polish, pencil sharpener, etc., but they just ended up being extra weight and clutter. The great thing about this travel combination is that only a few of the items have to be put in a Ziploc bag to get through security at the airport (the moisturizer, BB Cream, gloss, cleanser & lotion, eye makeup remover, and blemish cream). They still leave plenty of room in the bag for my other liquids like travel toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray.

What about you? What do you take with you when you travel? What can't you live without?

1995 - Shots in Belgium.

1996 - Fish market - Seoul, Korea.

1996 - Just hangin' in Tezar, Hungary.
Laura, Lori, luggage.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This chick loves her chiclets.

I love gum.
I’m kind of a gum-a-holic.

Like Violet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I chew gum all the time - except usually I don’t turn into a giant blueberry, fill with blueberry juice, and have to go and get drained by a bunch of Oompa-Loompas.

But other than that, I’m totally just like her.

Certain scents of gum, stickiness of gum and flavors of gum remind me of various times in my life. Like all throughout college when my parents would come visit they would bring me clean clothes and a pallet of Extra Spearmint Sugar-Free Gum (the neon green one) from Costco.

My grandma always chewed Freedent because it wouldn’t stick to her dentures. She would share a stick with me and I always enjoyed how truly slippery and un-sticky it was. I wondered why I only got half a stick - greedy grandma with her precious Freedent.

That lady sure is happy with her gum. She hates a dry mouth - who doesn't? And that guy sure likes to rub flower petals on her face, watching her as she chews her gum.

I would take my Freedent and get out of that garden quick if I were her.

There are certain brands that I loved as a kid - Freshen-Up, had that liquid goo center that exploded in my mouth. I used to take a Freshen-Up and throw a Velamint (remember Velamints?) on top of it for a gooey, crunchy, minty, disgusting gum cocktail.

If the Incredible Hulk chewed gum, he would chew this.
I adored Chiclets, with its old school candy shell, old-timey calligraphy and flavor that lasted five-seconds. I again relate Chiclets to my grandma, who always had Chiclets poorly “hidden” away so my brother and I wouldn’t eat them all in a drawer along with Fun-Size Milky Ways and butterscotch discs. I loved that drawer.

My brother Mike and I would play a game where we would take a box of Chiclets and throw the contents onto my grandma’s living room floor then we would race to see who could get the most - Grandma kept her living room immaculate and didn't really care for this game. Since I was four years older than Mike normally I enjoyed declaring myself THE WINNER. I happily sat drooling, with ten pieces of gum jammed in my mouth as Mike sat with his two.

"I'll take a box of Chiclets and ten-cents worth of shoe laces please."

I still buy Fruit Stripe and Juicy Fruit, which both remind me of Slush Puppies and flipping baseball cards with boys in the summertime.

And speaking of baseball cards, yes I was in the “big league” and loved to chomp an entire bag of Big League Chew. Because what little girl doesn’t love to have a big dip of sweet chewing tobacco in her chaw?

Today I continue to hold the title of biggest-bubble-blower in my family.
In my mind I am a world champ.

People tell me that I smell fruity and yummy. Thank you, Fruit Stripe horsey.

Lastly forgo the little trees - if you leave a pack of Fruit Stripe or Juicy Fruit in your car overnight, your car will smell AWESOME the next day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

P is for party.

Happy New Year!

To begin 2013 I have happily found three new products that I think are positively perfect.They are each so pleasant, that a picturesque pretty-pretty princess would find them particularily pleasing.

Did I spit on you with that mouthful?

Anyway - Happy New Year to me, I love these products:

Arbonne Pampermint Foot Scrub/Foot Cream.
Now I have never been a girl who has really thought twice about her tootsies, especially in the winter. Sure I love a good pedicure, someone to rub my feet, looking down and seeing some pretty bright polish staring back at me. But as far as a daily routine to keep my piggy’s pretty? Not so much. Until now. Have you ever wondered how it would feel to have candy canes for feet? You know you have. Because that is what this feels like after a few days of using this stuff – all soft, smooth, tingly and good.
Dear Feet,
I am sorry for neglecting you for so long.
Love, Lori

Gettin' scrubby with it.
Treat your feet by clicking here.

"Party Nail."
So I am a newcomer to the party nail thing and I kind of love it. What the hell is a party nail? One fingernail out of the ten, painted a different color that the rest. Silly, fun, done. I rocked the party nail this holiday season, my ring finger was a little disco ball just waiting to get wasted, dance all night long, make out with several different boys and do the walk of shame home the next morning.


bare escentuals mineral veil Illuminating Face Powder.
I am a sparkly-firecracker girl but I also know I’m not twenty-two anymore (thank God.) But guess what? Every day I slap this sparkly powder on my face and it makes my skin look awesome. Like airbrushed and dewy, hot but not sweaty. It’s velvety smooth and gives me a “photo-finish”, which is so convenient when all those photographers are taking pictures of me. 

My resolution for the upcoming year is to be as dewy, sparkly and tingly as possibile.
I hope you do the same!