Musings on beauty and fashion, then and now, for women of substance, style, laughter and love.
The Clock Stops Here...
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I hope everyone has been enjoying their Holidays! December is a busy month in retail, (though I've been busier), so I had less time to devote to my Blogging.
Christmas Day was a fabulous family gathering at our home, with guests from Geneva, California and Toronto. I know I must be doing something right, when my younger brother Steven, pulled me aside to find out some skin care tips...,"What's the routine"? "Way too complicated, you wouldn't have the patience". "Okay, then just tell me the one thing, I can't do without".
Easy. Get yourself a prescription for Retin-A. Despite terrific advances, in over the counter creams and "cosmeceuticals", as designed by well known Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons, nothing, has proven more effective, in over 25 years of study.
In my book, this is the key to jump starting any skin care routine. Retin-A and it's cream based cousin Renova, are clinically proven to increase cellular turnover, reduce fine lines and lighten age spots. I like mine in a micro gel formulation. Retin-A works best in moderation, and the stronger strengths should be worked up to over time. You can avoid redness and peeling, by using a pea sized amount every other night, then applying your night cream over it.
"That's it"? "Yup, it's the MVP in my arsenal". "But I would be embarrassed to ask for a prescription"..."Gee Bud, that's your problem. You could always confess to "adult acne", intstead".
For the record, nothing zaps zits better than something cooked up at the pharmacy. Sometimes, a little dab, will do you, as long as there is a little chemical zing to it.
Monday, December 22, 2008
The Simple Life
I recently had a watershed moment...The reason that I continue to shop for new beauty products, is not born out of boredom or wastefulness. It is the quest to find, "the One".
When I finally find "the One" best, mascara, foundation, lipstick, shampoo, deep conditioner or hairbrush, than in the truest sense, I am simplifying, honing, and creating mental and physical space. Literally, one less thing to think about, (and a little more shelf space).
I recently purged my linen closet of 11 hairbrushes...One of them was a flat paddle brush that could have been a Jr. in high school. Round brushes, in every diameter, including one the size of a bowling pin, vent brushes, Goodies, Mason Pearson's, and 2, that were styled after flat irons, Warren Tricomi's version was an upgrade from it's step sister from CVS.
Why??? Because I found "the One"...The perfect hairbrush. I noticed my hair cutter Billy, (who owns the eponymous Billy's of Mount Kisco), always uses this type of brush, when he blows out my hair. It is unusual, because it is neither round nor flat...it is triangular. It is it's own eighth wonder of the world...Watch it straighten, flip, smooth, curl, and create height at the roots and crown. This time, I wasn't leaving the salon without one. (Sidebar: You know you have found a hairstylist, who is "the One", when you don't drive into the curb, restyling it on the ride home, and then bee line it to the bathroom to continue the do-over, neglecting the dog and the mail).
So, with the the help of my Google tool bar, I found the One, for you. Go to www.creativetools.com. Scroll to the "Triangle Collection" and there you will find the Triage Triangle Natural Bristle Brush, (top picture, CR100C1- Med. Pro). The company describes it as unique and universal for all types of hair. The round edge creates, "bend" and the flat edge, creates, "tension", so there is less, "spinning" and therefore less, "work". You can purchase it for $16.90, which is less than the salon price.
WOW!!! A bahgin to boot...
Underneath it all, I am just a simple girl, striving to lead a simple life, one great product at a time..."Simplify". It's my new lifestyle...it has an nicer ring to it than "Recessionista", don't ya think???
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Two to report: I woke up yesterday, with a tell tale scratchy throat. Translation, a cold will be in full bloom within the next 12 hours. I was at work, scrounging around for some Advil, when my friend Linda said, "no, no. Let's go to your office. We have to swab your nostrils with "Zicam". Huh? "Just come on, this stuff is incredible"...
Zicam, is a homeopathic medicine, that when taken at the onset of symptoms, clinically, reduces a colds duration, by 75%. Linda swears by it and goes as far as carrying it in her handbag and leaving some packets, in her car. She popped a swab out of a sealed foil, that is presoaked with Zincum Gluconium. It has no unpleasant smell and does not require you to access your brain cavity, just the inside of your nostrils. "Swab on one side, than the other and inhale deeply. Do both sides again and repeat in two hours". You are going to thank me.
Linda, thank you!!! My first sneeze occurred three hours later, followed by two more. Today, barely a sniffle!!! Zicam, in my opinion, is right up there with Penicillin. Why aren't more people talking about it??? I am going to start carry them to parties and will administer it personally, if necessary, to get the word out. This is a momentous contribution to the evolution of man kind. Git going to CVS, pronto.
Revelation number two: My friend Angela, who is a knock out, (picture a blond Anne Hathaway), had a sample of Diorskin Forever Foundation. She never uses foundation. Did I want it? Naturally! .
The following morning, I put a small amount in my palm, and applied it with my fingers. The next day I used a synthetic foundation brush...either way, I was flawless!!! It is almost hard to explain the difference between Diorskin Forever and any other foundation I have used...rather than feeling like something else is being applied to your skin, it seamlessly vanishes, yet the comfortable, silky, gel like consistency covers every pore, freckle and capillary. The icing on the cake, is that it is extraordinarily, long wearing (yet washes off easily). All day perfection!
I immediately called my sister Loren to report an off the charts, cosmetic score. She hightailed it to Sephora, and called my cell. "Which Dior foundation is it"? "You didn't write it down"? "No". Like a separate species, Dior of course, has several foundation offerings. As I continued steering with my thighs, I rummaged through my handbag, to rummage through my make up case, to find the sample. "It's Diorskin Forever".
Verdict??? "Forever" is forever. She loved it, as much as I did and you will too. Git going to Sephora.
So there you have it. Two giant steps forward in the world of Health and Beauty. Here's to miracles and the women who share them. The world is a better place because of them.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday night was my book club's annual Holiday Dinner. I can honestly say, I look forward to this night, every year. Traditionally, we eat at Lusardi's, a fabulous, slightly old school, Italian restaurant in Larchmont. They have a terrific private room, that features an enormous square table, so everyone can at least see, if not hear, each other. One of these days, I will eat something other than the amazing Parmesan crusted, "Veal Martini". It is simply delicious and was ordered by at least 75% of the table, everyone else, feeling exactly the same way. The annual gift swap, is formatted so that gift "stealing" is encouraged, and usually includes, a goody or two, that could have been purchased at a West Village sex shop, for laughs.
The front page of this Sunday's New York Times Style Section, featured a story on women who fired their book groups. They complained about pedestrian book choices, bickering over politics and too much time spent socializing...For sure, they would have fired us too!!!
We talked about the article last night, and reminisced about some of our reads, favorites included: The Pavillion of Women, The Nazi Officer's Wife, The Kite Runner, Interpreter Of Maladies, American Pastoral, Drowning Ruth and Water for Elephants. Mixed consensus: The Corrections, We Were the Mulvaney's and a few of the joyless Pulitzer Prize winners and Oprah picks, that left us uninspired and depressed.
I read this article and sensed that the complainers, felt that the groups taste, was simply too low brow for them. What they missed entirely, I am certain, is the opportunity to bond, with some fantastic women. When we take turns hosting, there is no "competition", just some tasty bites and a few good bottles of Merlot and Chardonnay,(alright... many). Eventually, we do discuss the book. Sometimes at length, sometimes not. But we always laugh, catch up with one another and discuss local (and occasionally, national), politics. We gossip, congratulate, commiserate and swap beauty tips, (this blog was partly inspired by our musings).
I wouldn't care if we decided to pursue the Classics via Dr. Suess...I would never opt out of my treasured seat. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I doubt we would have invited these cranky souls to have joined us in the first place...To those who would have missed out on Veal Martini, or the chance to go home with a red velvet bralette attached to a matching thong, I say, "Bah Humbug" and lighten up. You don't know what your are missing...
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The Nose Knows
I have a longstanding relationship with three fragrances: Calandre by Paco Rabanne, (spring, 30 years). Christalle by Chanel (summer, 25 years) and First by Van Cleef and Arpels,(winter, 20 years). Newer additions include, Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, (summer) and Bond #9 Bryant Park, (fall). Everything else I have tried, may smell divine on a friend, or at the fragrance counter, but will end up smelling like muskrat, on me, in a matter of hours.
My bedroom dresser is dressed with far more than five flacons, and hosts many of my failed attempts at finding a new "signature" scent. What do you do with the orphan rejects? Some of the contents look like Johnnie Walker Blue Label at this point, but they remain, dusted weekly, on a mirrored tray.
Fragrance is a touchy thing...I dumped a guy I was dating because he refused to give up his penchant for Geoffrey Beene's Grey Flannel, which had a way of triggering my gag reflex. Come to think of it, maybe he used the olfactory offense, as a ruse to dump me.
I recently opened a scent strip in a magazine for a new fragrance launch by Van Cleef and Arpels, called Feerie. Because of my devotion to First, I opened it and was intrigued... In the weeks to follow, I found it was not available at Sephora and not available at Saks. I did some on line research, and discovered, it is being launched exclusively, with Neiman's and Bergdorf's for the Holidays. Shoot me. Another trip to the Mall.
Feerie means "Fairy" and the perfume stopper hosts an elegant nymph, that looks like a silver Tinkerbell. I have now been burned, way too many times, not to spritz first and leave with a sample. When I was in London last year, Elle, by YSL, had not yet launched in the States. I spritzed it a Harrod's and thought I had found a winner. I picked it up at Duty Free shop at the airport and opened it on board. Maybe the freesia picked up steam in an air compressed cabin, but for the next five hours, me and my fellow passengers,were trapped in a cloud of lychee and jasmine,...Good thing airplanes are equipped with special paper goods, for travel ills, even if they are self inflicted. Now I know, I need at least a 24 hour test period, before handing over my plastic.
The stores are filled with Holiday gift sets. Beautifully boxed, perfume, soap and body lotions trios, that offer a clear value. It's a wonderful gift, providing you know exactly what the recipient actually wears. I'm in my ninth hour of my Feerie test drive and there is no Fairy magic... Another one bites the dust, but at least it is not on my dresser.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Simply the Best...Better Than All the Rest
My intention, was to write only about my renewed loyalty to YSL cosmetics...I have long been a fan, (and have Blogged about) Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils. Translation? "Luxurious Mascara for a False Lash Effect". Yes, it's pricey, but Effet is effing perfect. The same holds true for Rouge Pure Shine Sheer Lipstick, SPF 15. The consistency of this lipstick is lightweight and comfortable and the finish has a subtle, glossy sheen. Where it stands apart from it's drug store brethren, is that it also imparts a nice amount of pigment, and does not require frequent touch ups. Then there is the infamous Touche Eclat concealer, another product, that I return to again and again obsessively, like a spurned lover.
My crush doesn't end with the products, I am also obsessed with the packaging...Of course I know I am paying extra for the substantial metal containers and glossy golden boxes. What would you rather discreetly pull out of your evening bag between courses? A run of the mill tube of plastic, or an elegant gold rectangle with a YSL cut out logo??? I rest my case...
Sloppy segue way to my latest epiphany...Last night, my friend Jini, the Rock Queen, got us amazing seats to see Tina Turner in concert. (Jini has earned that title. How many people do you know who have seen the Rolling Stones perform at a private concert and on several continents)?
I am still in awe!!! Her luminous skin, voluptuous curves, shimmering costumes, gorgeous legs, powerhouse vocals and ability to shake her booty in 6" Christian Laboutin's, would be a tour de Force, for a woman half her age. At 69, Tina is one gorgeous Goddess and I want lessons...
Throughout the night, Tina radiated pure joy, performing for a diverse audience, who couldn't get enough of her. Tina also enjoyed sharing the credit for this incredible show, with her band, back up singers, dancers and production crew. What a lady!!!
So, I got to thinking...I guarantee you, that every woman, would buy any anti-aging product that Tina chose to become the face of. She is literally, more beautiful than ever. How many women over 50 can say that?
I think Tina should team up with YSL, (two golden beauties), and become their celebrity endorser. I would have so much more leisure time, if I could be loyal to both a cosmetics and skin care line and I swear, I would only accept a microscopique commission, for brokering the deal.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Bought in the U.S.A.
There has been a lot of chatter about, The New Reality", as of late. It is a stone cold fact, that most of us are about 40% poorer, on paper anyway. OUCH!!!. Holiday parties have been cancelled or scaled back, along with gift lists, (O.K., who else is secretly delighted about not having to buy another whimsical nightie for their sister in law)? I have the perfect solution for beating back the blues...
Stop hibernating and stop obsessing. Start making thoughtful purchases, that make sense for your household and loved ones. Get together with your friends and family. No one cares what's being served or poured, or if your floors need refinishing, pot luck is more than acceptable...It feels good to be out, it feels great to laugh, it is amazing to have the chance to get to know someone better and add new friends to your circle. Crank up the music and dance!!!
We are all in this together...times are challenging, but if you are here and healthy, appreciate it. I am buoyed by the fact, that everyone I have talked to, has put aside their political preferences and is supporting President elect Obama and his team, with a true heart. That unity, is in and of itself, a great step forward.
I am getting ready to do my part...Though I have never exited the same way I entered, and will break out in hives looking for my parking ticket while a dozen cars, pile up behind me, I will go to the Westchester Mall today. And purchase. Shopping is not just my hobby. It's my duty...Who's with me???
P.S. Don't forget to contribute to your favorite non-profit
organizations...they will be needing help, now more than ever.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Sweet Smell of Youth
My sister Loren called me recently, from the ubiquitous Duane Reade, N.Y.C.'s equivalent of our suburban CVS. Her body was parched and flaky, what could I recommend for a moisturizer???
I did a mental inventory of some of my past staples, Olay's Quench, Dove's Cream Body Oil, and both Jergen's and Vaseline for Intensive Care's offerings with Alpha Hydroxy infusions; all solid and dependable...But the most effective product I ever used, was one I discovered years ago, when I was a student in Boston. Being from N.Y., it never occurred to me that Boston would be substantially colder...until I caught my first gust, whipping off the Charles River. Within weeks, my skin was scaled, like a striped bass.
I had a posse of "interesting" roommates, Bonnie, my first, was on the Women's Basketball team and grew up on a potato farm in Maine. She studied me the way a Marine Biologist might, a Mermaid...The second was a Militant Millicent, who made it quite clear, that our tenure as roommates, was going to be very short lived. The last was Leesa, who had me totally snookered. Leesa dressed exclusively in Ralph Lauren and wore her waist length hair in a single braid, despite my pleas. She possessed the air of a Long Island, Gold Coast heiress, and dated both sexes from both races. It was my turn to study the Mermaid...
Though I later found out that Leesa, grew up in a modest colonial and dated the usual assortment of jocks in High School, her saving legacy, was to introduce me to a spectacular product, Neutrogena's Sesame Oil. It has it's own heavenly smell, and its surprisingly, sheer formula, glides on the body and instantly absorbs on damp skin.
This, was just the product for my Sis, so she purchased it and promised to report back...Rave reviews, were texted, the next day, so of course, I had to buy it and re live this slice of my youth---(Isn't it interesting how a scent can completely transform you back to another time, place and old boyfriend)???
I am so happy to have this back in my beauty repetoire, particularly with this pre winter, Bean Town snap of cold, we are experiencing. Leesa may have been a phony, but Neutrogena Sesame Oil is the real deal.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Good Things Come in Small Packages
My friend Laurie came to shop with me the other day...She was performing a familiar marital ritual, selecting and having her own Birthday present wrapped. Been there, done that. I am much happier about actually loving my gift, than pretending to love my gift. No awkward dancing around a possible exchange, followed by mopey, hard feelings, or worse, having to wear something, better suited to your Aunt Esther and having to feign joy, in the process.
Smart girl that Laurie and a doe eyed beauty too. Laurie and I have been sharing beauty tips since she joined out book group, 3 years ago. I have always noticed her perfectly applied, never smudged eyeliner. I asked her what she was using three years ago and got the same answer when I posed it again, "Trish McEvoy's Finish Line Shadow Transformer". Laurie swears by it, "I applied it at 7 a.m. and I am going out tonight. I won't even have to think about touching it up. It won't budge".
Alright already...I'm in.
It is a very cool little product. It comes in a small glass vial with a dropper. The clear drops are applied to a damp eyeliner brush. You can then, "transform" any powder shadow, to a waterproof eyeliner. (Of course Trish is recommending Trish, duh, but it worked beautifully, with a charcoal grey Nars shadow, for me this morning). It required a less steady hand, than my beloved Bobbi Brown eye liner gel, and I have scads of shadows in plums, browns and navy's that could make terrific liners. Sure enough, it lasted all day, without any tell tale kanoodling, with my under eye concealer.
So my lovelies, don't wait three years to try this Trish treasure. Laur, you picked a winner...and I loved the Transformer, too.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I am the Spike
In times of economic woe, three pearls of fashion wisdom always crop up sooner or later. The first, is that hem lines will drop, precipitously, the second, is that clothes will be offered in somber shades of black and grey and the third, is that lipstick sales will skyrocket.
The Spring 2009 fashion shows, were held in September before the world imploded, so the offerings early next year won't reflect this. Depending upon what happens in the next few months, (can't they figure out a way for President elect Obama to squeak into office a little earlier...like tomorrow)???, we will find out if, collectively, the Designers will be dressing us like Eleanor Roosevelt, come Fall.
Last Sunday's New York Time's Style Section, reported that lipstick sales recently spiked, 40%!!!. Ping...that struck a nerve bundle. I have always been a new lipstick a week kind of girl, but YIKES, I may have single handily, inflated that number.
There were the three Bobbi Brown Lip Crayons, in Warm Rose, Naked Pink and Red Plum. The Clinique High Impact Very Currant and Plush Pink Lip liner, (a perfect, nearly impossible to find pinkie brown, I might add). There was the Revlon Creme Gloss in Raisin the Roof and the MAC classic Lustre. There was the purchase (and return) of Bare Escentual's Bronze trio, of lipstick, line and gloss. (LOVED the gloss, which unfortunately cannot be purchased separately. The bronze liner and lipstick looked vaguely Nancy Pelosi-ish on me). The Beauty God's rewarded me, with a freebie, as a Sephora Insider, a new plumping gloss called Buxom, that is a keeper. That's about it for now...
Oh, except for YSL's Rouche #8. Too my great joy, Sephora has finally added YSL to their mix. Though the new fixturing is up, only the tester's have arrived. I have already checked in twice, but they are still running on empty. Mia and Sal, both have me on speed dial when it arrives. Those infamous Hermes Birkin bag, customer waiting lists are probably a lot trimmer these days...I hope things don't trade down that quickly...I was first on that list. The lipstick list, that is.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The Mind-Beauty Connection
I am a habitual crammer. I was as a student and I am as a Book Group member...I work best under pressure. When I heard from my fellow associate, Judy Brooks, that Dr. Amy Wechsler, was going to be doing a book signing at Richards, (Saturday, November 22 at 11:00 a.m.). I knew I wanted to read her book, The Mind-Beauty Connection beforehand. My Beauty expertise is self taught, trial and error, dabbling. Dr. Wechsler, is Board Certified, not just in Dermatology, but Psychiatry, as well. Now those are some impressive credentials! In person, she is known to be warm and nurturing, with a devoted patient following. It will be fun for our clients to have a chance to meet her in person and share a few moments together.
Dr. Wechsler's frame of reference with her patients and readers, is to, "treat the body, as intrinsically connected to the mind". She believes that stress, creates a chain of chemical reactions in our bloodstream, causing negative effects on the skin, that is as damaging as too much sun exposure. Though there are medical explanations included through out it was explained simply and succinctly.
Refreshingly, she is not a huge fan of expensive creams and cosmeceuticals, preferring products like Cetaphil, Eucerin and Neutrogena, for cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection. She is a fan however, of better quality foundations and concealers, like Laura Mercier and MAC. For proven results, increased collagen and fine line and age spot reduction, she prefers, proven prescription medications like Renova, Retin-A and 4% Hydroquinone. For those who are looking for more dramatic results, she is not opposed to Botox, fillers, like Restylane and Sculptra, lasers, and moderate to mild chemical peels.
Her starting point for healthier skin, is not topical but internal. Lifestyle, stress, sleep deprivation and diet are areas that she recommends taking a good hard look at. She then suggests a 9 day plan to help balance these areas and believes rewards can be reaped quickly and more permanently, if long term changes are made. I think 9 days, for most people, is a doable number. As well, none of Dr. Wechsler's suggestions are so drastic, that one would be led to standing in the kitchen at 4 a.m., inhaling Almond Joys.
I am looking forward to meeting Dr. Wechsler and having her sign my copy. It is the type of book that you would reference back to. As a trained Psychiatrist, she is adept at picking up on non verbal cues based on appearance...I will let you know if she suggests, that I lie down on a nearby chaise, so she can take a stab at breaking my Sephora addiction.
Put it in your Blackberry right now!!! I promise to save you place on line!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Biting the Bullet on the Bullet
I have been using the same, Roux Tween-Time Temporary Hair Color Touch-Up Stick, for quite some time...22 years to be exact. There is still, an inch and a half a remaining. A thousand years from now, Archaeologists will happen upon them, and if it matches their roots, they can still, moisten and apply.
I was visiting with my friend Mia, at Sephora in Greenwich. Mia is a stunning brunette, with gorgeous dimples. I am a regular, regular, so we always enjoy a nice chat and I count her to help me navigate the rafters. I am on the prowl for a particular, Bumble and Bumble hair masque, when Mia informs me they don't carry the line. Remarkably, with a store full of thousands of products, I am always in search of something they don't stock, (Trish, Lauder, MAC). How can this be???
But I digress... I happen upon Oscar Biandi's, Pronto Colore, Root Touch-Up and Highlighting Pen. It's sleek and portable. The product dispenses after a few dozen twists, onto a nylon tip brush. I first try the Dark Brown/ Black pen, because my Roux bullet is a lovely shade of chocolate Ex-Lax brown. I ratchet up my locks and find a snowy patch that would be perfect for a test run. I don't think there would have been any difference, if I took a black Sharpie to my scalp...it looks inky and severe. I move on to the Natural Brown. Though it has an odd, baby poop brown cast in the tube, it blended into my hairline seamlessly. I can't deny its effectiveness.
I tell Mia all about my two decade plus, bullet shaped Roux stick. She is both aghast and fascinated, and I promise to bring said specimen in a doggy bag, on my next visit. What to do??? Mia assures me, that they cannot keep the Oscar Biandi pen in stock. Customers are always asking for a product that performed this particular girl task and Oscar B., alone, filled the need, (that's what she thinks)...
It is pricey. I am not a bit hopeful, that it will beat the Bullet, giving me 23 years out of my $23 dollar purchase. I look forward to being able to discreetly carry it in my make up bag, (the Bullet has long lost its case and stands next to my dental floss). Time to toss???...Ya think?
No can do. Not until I show it to Mia, anyway. Maybe I will get a little plexi glass stand and store it under my sink...it just may come in handy, when I am in my eighties.
Hey girls, this is my 100th Blog!!! Thanks for reading and all your feedback and support. I love my Blog!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Position Wanted: White House Personal Shopper
Background and Experience: 25 years experience as a Personal Shopper and Fashion Consultant. Lifelong Democrat and optimist. High profile clientele. Impeccable taste, unerring sense of appropriate attire. Ruthless editor. Discreet. Diplomatic. Funny. Will be the first person to tell you to, "take that shma'-teh off". (Last night's Narciso Rodriguez dress, would have been a good start)...Likes children. Love puppies. Will travel.
Side note to C.: Hope you had an amazing time at the victory celebration, in the Grant Park tents!!! Did Michelle admire your head-to-toe perfection??? If so, please put in a good word... Sometimes our future First Lady, absolutely, nails it. Other times...not so good.
Hope, change, and good health to all,
Friday, October 31, 2008
Better than Candy
It is the last official day of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month...but you knew that!
Yesterday, I attended the Breast Cancer Alliance of Greenwich's annual luncheon, and spectacular fashion show, provided by Richards. Over 900 (!!!), gorgeous women, joined together, in support of the BCA's mission, to support the best and the brightest researchers with over one million dollars in research grants annually. WOW!. The show finale, featured a group of survivors, who had participated in the photographic exhibition, "Faces of Light". It was an honor to see them well and celebrating their health and beauty. I am very proud to have been on the benefit committee, working with an amazing group of volunteers, who work tirelessly, all year long, to create this day of magic.
This month, my fellow Beauty Bloggers at Total Beauty, have joined forces to raise money in support of the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Several cosmetics companies have participated in raffle giveaways, to readers who made donations. It has been quite amazing to see women from all over the country, band together, via the Internet, to make this happen.
We particularly wanted to honor Kristen Nelson, a friend to all, and the dynamic Vice President of Development for Total Beauty Media, Inc. Kristen was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. In true Kristen style, she scheduled her surgery between N.Y. and Paris Fashion week, so she wouldn't miss a nano second of what's new for spring. In true Kirsten style, she succeeded!
So, in my usual better late than never fashion, I am hoping that you will support me, by donating any amount of your choosing, by clicking on the Pay Pal donation button at the top of this blog. I will of course also be donating.
For every dollar you donate, I will enter your name in a beauty give away raffle, (simply email me at Debbio@richardsonline.com). The goodie giveaway includes:
1) Tommy Hilfiger's Dreaming Perfume (3.4 oz)
2) Michael Kor's Island Fiji Perfume Spray (1.7 oz)
3) 2 Estee Lauder Lipsticks ("Candy" and "Bali Rose)"
4) 3 Estee Lauder Lipglosses in a bright pink zipped leather box (perfect for travel)
5) Classic, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, (yes,of your youth)!, in a special gigunda size
6) Ojon's, Revitalizing Mist for Hair, a 5 oz., alcohol free, pre blow dry lotion
Every 3 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with Breast Cancer. What really needs to happen, is that, every month, becomes Breast Cancer Awareness month, until we find a cure for the sucker.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Christopher, (my darling colorist), if you are starting this particular blog, STOP!!! You have been gracious about my other antics, but this one might forever sever us.
I have blogged about Christopher before, when I wrote about the newly refurbished Warren Tricomi salon in Greenwich. Christopher is an oasis of calm. Despite the fact that I have come in with sun bleached, root dyed hair, that has turned paprika, under the pin lights), he masks his horror dutifully.
On my first post summer visit, he politely inquired about, "what particular Root Perfect shade are you using, in between visits"? "Medium brown". "Ummmmmm, long pause. Alrighty then". Right then and there I pledged to myself, to get my bootie back sooner, so Christopher would not have to be overly taxed about fixing my handiwork. (I have visions of him in the back room, frantically leafing through thick Color Textbooks, and jotting down reverse formulas, after reviewing the entire Periodic Table of Elements).
In a master stroke of genius, Christopher has resurrected my head to a rich, glossy brunette, with a smattering of caramel highlights. As usual, carpool duty beckons and Chris never gets to do a final inspection.
I am all about the tweak...I am fastidious about fit, and always ask my clients to try on their alterations, just in case we need a little pinch in, out, up or down. Same goes with hair, but the process is a lot more time consuming. I notice that the hair that frames my face underneath was looking a little, "solid", (Christopher's word), and schedule a revisit.
Chris, if you really are reading this, really, please stop. I cannot be responsible, for your resuming your nicotine habit.
I was in Target, yes Target, (God, do I love this place), to pick up generic Claritan (120 tabs for $13.97, unbeatable), and as usual leave with a trunk full of junk.
In my travels, I spy Garnier's "Color Breaks", an at home highlighting kit, to, "break-up your solid, color-treated hair". Ummmmmmmm. Alrighty then.... Into the cart, goes the kit for medium to dark brown hair. My revisit is already scheduled, and I already know that I probably can't bring Christopher anything worse to fix, than I already have, over the last 9 years.
This morning, I was the chemist, easily mixing the powder and activator, and I applying the mixture, as directed to damp hair. The directions call for 20 minutes, but I know I am pushing this whole project and hop in the shower after just 7.
Sooooo, what the verdict??? Did I keep my revisit or cancel??? Christopher, if you are still reading this, you already know...cancelled. I done, done it, and it looks fab...Beginners luck, I am certain. To me this is the equivalent of doing a home appendectomy...better left to the pros.
Christopher darling, see you in six, unless of course, I am fired.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Covering New Turf
I received my Smashbox, (Volume 3), Master Class, "Complexion Perfection" kit from Sephora, promptly after ordering it on line, (some proceeds to Breast Cancer research, thank you).
The kit comes with an instructional dvd, (which I will never watch) and a step by step, easy to follow plan, on how to best use the products.
Hands down, my favorite is the Photo Op Illuminating Primer...If I was the kind of gal, who could scoot out to the grocery store, with no make up and a ponytail, I would cheat with this product and slip it on over moisturizer. Instant glow!!!
The foundation, comes with a, "foundation brush". I have tried this gizmo before. I like it in theory, but I never feel like I see any coverage, so, I always go back to finger painting. Nonetheless, the instructions called for, "warming" the foundation on the top of my hand and then using the brush to apply it in outward strokes. The one time, I will absolutely do what I am told, is the first time trying a new product, (after that, all bets are off), after all, wouldn't the sweat in my palm be a better heat source)???
I saw no difference in application and as usual, saw no foundation on my face. What I did see, was something quite remarkable...less fine lines, no visible age spots and a fading of the hunter green veins, on my hands!! Why hadn't this occurred to me on my own??? I spend nearly as much time obsessing about my aging hands, as I do my face and neck. Why not, give my hands the same benefits???
This morning, I took it one step further...serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation. Yes...on my hands!!! Oh, stop tsk tsking...you know you can't wait to have at it, tomorrow morning. Would love your feedback. Worth it? Or whacky? I already know which camp I fall in.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I had a wonderful early Birthday brunch, with an old roommate. I cherish my long time friends, since in many ways, we, "grew up" together. 5 years in a one bedroom apartment, in N.Y.C. is nearly a lifetime.
L. and I were polar opposites, she was uber Felix, to my, "sorry I left some crumbs in the toaster". L. was fiscally responsible and content in jeans and sneakers, while I mortgaged my soul to buy my first fur coat, barely meeting my end of 6 months rent.
We knew we were in it for the long haul, when our bathtub/shower stall backed up one morning...plunger less, we had to make do. I can't remember which one of us entered each others 6 inches of scummy, grey, still muck, but I think I may still have crust on my ankles.
To our astonishment, we did, find husbands, have children and moved to the burbs. We have both changed in many ways, all of them for the better.
I love that she enjoys my blog, and thought to purchase a gift that would enhance it;, an 1167 page beauty tome, "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me" (7th edition), by Paula Begoun. It is chock full of no nonsense product reviews, definitions and comparisons. She also debunks many of the myths behind the marketing rhetoric, I want to believe in, as much as the Easter Bunny.
Interestingly, she does not mention the new industry of Beauty Bloggers and websites, like Totalbeauty, that are also wearing her shoes as a, "Cosmetic Cop".
Naturally, I couldn't wait to see what she thought of my faves...Paula is a stickler for alcohol and SPF 15+, that must also block UVA rays. If you have it or don't, you are on her short list. I checked her take on my night cream, day cream, glycolic pads, make up remover cloths, neck serum, face serum and current mascara...frowny faces on all!!! What are the odds???
If I love her lesser list, am I in store for a whole new me, with her picks??? Time will tell. If this book is as reliable as my friend L., the best is yet to come.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I.C.E. call Divadebbi
I have been fielding some interesting phone calls lately...panicked pals, calling me from their cell phones, from CVS. In a blur of sensory overload, they are trying to navigate the Olay emporium, that has sprouted on the shelves.
My first remembrance of a "special" face cream, was the bottle of Oil Olay Beauty Fluid, on my grandmother's dressing table. A clever marketing feat, Oil of Olay was never described as a moisturizer or creme...but a, "beauty fluid". The original formula was pink and lightweight with a gentle scent. "Share the Secret of a Younger Looking You". My grandmother, Constance, was nearly lineless, (even until her death at age 89), and I remember thinking, "gee... this stuff must work".
If only it was that easy today!!!...Olay has not one product, but 5 complete lines, Definity, Regenerist, Total Effects, Complete and Quench, that all fall in their, "anti-aging" stable. I don't have the vaguest clue, how any consumer could figure out which of these brands, would benefit them most. I am not sure why they are competing with themselves, because in addition consumers are also sorting through CVS's private label Olay knockoffs, Loreal's multi brands, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Roc and Garnier's youth potions.
So, girls, I feel your pain, because I too, need to focus, focus, focus to find my tried and trues: Olay Total Effects Age Defying Cleansing Cloths, for normal to dry skin, (packaged in a black box). These babies, remove 98% of your make up, including waterproof liner and mascara and travel beautifully, in a zip lock Baggie. Follow, with, Regenerist Daily Mini Peel, (large black tube, cap on the bottom). Infused with glycolic acid and gentle exfoliating grains, this lavender cleanser warms to your touch, removes the dregs of any leftover make up and will leave you beaming. Next, apply some type of serum to prep your skin and bind to Regenerist Micro- Sculpting Cream ,(burgundy jar, look for it on sale, for $24.99). This the cherry on your post cleansing nightly routine, repeated in the a.m. along your jaw line. Please print this blog for future reference.
In a pinch, In Case of Emergency, it's still O.K. to speed dial me. Oh, the things we do in the name of friendship.
Friday, October 3, 2008
In the Pink
Well, it's October already and Breast Cancer Awareness month is in full swing.
On Tuesday, members of my Force group (Facing Our Risk Against Cancer Empowered), were invited to be members of the Good Morning America audience, have a studio tour and face time with Diane and Robin.
Under normal circumstances, the only thing that could get be out of bed in still darkness, is a town car headed for the airport. But, it sounded like fun and a great opportunity to see some of my Force pals and meet new ones. I would rally...Big disappointment.
First of all, where was my seat??? If I knew I was expected to stand and watch, it would have been an automatic deal breaker. Second, why were we asked to be here? The content of the show had nothing to do with breast cancer. Third, do I look like I am from Peoria??? Do I care about what goes on in the control room and green room??? I think not. Fourth, where was our face time with our hosts? Smile, nod and a quick, perfunctory group shot and in a nano, we were kicked to the curb. Wha happin??? We were duped.
At 4:00, Christina Applegate was appearing on Oprah to discuss her decision to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis and testing positively, for a Braca 1, mutation.
My Force pals, have dreamed of our Oprah moment for years...Bravely, a very public figure, was putting a face (or bust) on the challenges of being at familial high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Oprah would lay bare, all the misconceptions what the media loves to call a, "radical approach" that has women, "mutilating themselves" and "chopping off their breasts".
It was not to be...Oprah was in a fog, not prepared and definitely, not, someone who has experienced any of this, in any first hand way. Christina, struck me like a deer in the headlights, shell shocked and not truly informed. Her oncologist left out many important points and gave, incorrect, numbers, instead of risk ranges for those with BRCA 1 & 2 mutations. No plastic surgeons were featured, to explain the fantastic improvements and beautiful reconstruction results, that are now possible. Insensitively, they had a former guest who was losing her battle with breast cancer, in deep recurrence with brain, liver and lung metastasis, SKYPED in from her living room, to discuss how little progress has been made. I am sure Christina was shaken to her core. Duped again...
Fortunately, my week brightened considerably! Wednesday, Joanna Rudnick's film, "In the Family", (which I saw at a Force Conference in May), was being aired nationally, on PBS. This is Joanna's deeply moving, personal journey, about finding out about her Braca 1 mutation, and the stresses and challenges she faces while undergoing surveillance and contemplating prophylactic surgeries. It is available for viewing all month on PBS.org. Her brave, funny, sad, informative film is a must see for any woman at high risk. Don't miss it, either way. This is the real deal.
On Thursday, a lovely thank you lunch, for Breast Cancer Alliance committee members, was held at the Belle Haven Club, where Ellen Matloff, M.S. was the speaker. Ellen Matloff is the Director of Cancer Genetics at Yale. She is preeminent in her field. How I wished, she was on Oprah, clearly and specifically explaining who was at high risk and would benefit from Genetics Counseling. In a nutshell:
*Anyone diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 45
*Any diagnosed with ovarian cancer, at any age
*Multiple cases of breast or ovarian cancer on either the maternal
or paternal side
*Male breast cancer
*Multiple breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancers in a family or individual
*Jewish ancestry, with even one case of breast or ovarian cancer
*Tumor pathology that indicates medullary or "triple negative" breast cancer.
Individuals with Braca mutations have a 55-87% breast cancer risk, before the age of 70, and a 15-60% chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Conversely, the general population has a 12-13% chance of developing bc by age 70 and a 1-2% chance of developing ovarian cancer.
This, is the information that needs an "Oprah" forum. This is the real deal.
Thursday evening, was a joy. My original Breast Oncologist, world re known breast surgeon, Dr. Roy Ashikari, was honored at a fundraiser for the Ashikari Breast Center, at the Ritz Carlton in White Plains. His partners, colleagues and patients came out to pay their respects and kick off a fundraising effort to continue to make the Ashikari Breast Center a top U.S. destination, for first class, caring, breast health and cutting edge reconstruction. I was extremely proud to be featured in the patient testimonial video. As well, to be acknowledged by Dr. Ashikari, as the person who started the brigade, (of high risk patients from all over the country), to choose their brilliant, nipple sparing, "one step" prophylactic mastectomy, with Dr. Andrew Ashikari and Dr. Andrew Salzberg. I am so pleased to call many of these women my dear friends, and to have been a small part in helping them reduce their breast cancer risk to less then the general population (about 2%) and have gorgeous, natural looking reconstruction, that leaves them feeling whole, and safe.
This is the real deal.
Lastly, Totalbeauty Bloggers are joining forces this month, to raise money toward a breast cancer cure. I hope this weekend, to figure out how to post this information and put up the features for sponsor giveaways and donation opportunities. This too, is the real deal...
And we have a whole month to go...
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I've got the itch...not just to update my fall wardrobe (which is shaping up to include pencil skirts, lots of knitwear, some crisp cotton shirts, chiffon blouses, trimmer trousers, with both wider and narrow bottoms and flat boots. I can't figure out anything else for footwear. Flats for me, are an off duty only option. I confess, to feeling awkward and trannie at 6'0 ft., in 4 inch heels, the only height being offered this fall. A conundrum, to be sure, but, I digress).
Part 2, of any new season, has to include new make up, and while I am not suggesting blindly following any make up trend that doesn't personally suit you, fresh, updated product just feels like the finishing touch.
After exercise class today, (which the divine Cindy Sites, taught personally), I crawled into the Sephora, on Greenwich Avenue. I just love it there---ample room to browse, friendly helpful help, and exclusive specials.
What caught my eye, was a gorgeous Smashbox kit, called Master Class (vol. 3), Complexion Perfection. Beautifully packaged, this nearly full sized kit, contained 7 pieces, including their cult favorite Photo Finish Luminizing Primer. The kicker was the price...a $175.00 value for a mere $59.00!!! The High Definition Healthy Foundation, in Medium, matched my (self bronzed) cheek to perfection...usually I have to bump up 6 shades, so I don't look like a Geisha. I then tried the, Photo Op Under Eye Brightener and topped it with a tiny dot, of the full coverage concealer. Nicey, nicey. Also included were a pressed powder, a bronzer, a Baby Kabuki and travel foundation brush, and a DVD, to explain tips and tricks, step by step. Wowza!
Now the kicker...sold out in the Medium!!! "Will I be able to purchase this online"???, I asked with a catch in my throat. "Absolutely"! As well, as a Sephora Beauty Insider (a worthwhile perk, that offers wonderful goodies to sample), I did not have to pay shipping. Yippee!
I recently met Davis Factor, in the IMG hospitality suite, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Laid back and charming, I didn't make the connection to Max Factor, his great grandfather!
Davis and his brother Dean, founded Smashbox in 1991 in L.A., as a professional studio for models, celebraties and photographers. Their ingenious, sweat proof formulas, created flawless images for stills and films. Industry insiders clamored. Inspired to bring the same high quality products, sleekly packaged to consumers, a hugely successful brand was launched. Today Davis and Dean have expanded their L.A. headquarters to include 5 studios, a sound stage, a beauty agency and a production company.
So, I have met two cosmetic family titans in the last few weeks, the Lauder's and the Factor's. Anytime you want to do lunch guys, I will see what I can do, to arrange it. Can you tell??? I am lovin this...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Despite what the calendar says, summer is officially over, when I no longer have a place to wear a bathing suit to. Despite all of my efforts at keeping my wrinkles and freckles at bay, I always do succumb, to a medium tan on my body, a touch of real sun on my face and a healthy dose of faux glow, daily. (Faux tanning for me is a hobby, much the way someone else might play bridge or do needlepoint).
Recently, I noticed a new spray of freckles on my cheeks and forehead. Yes, that is what SPF 8 has wrought, instead of 30. My bad. But how do undo the damage done??? I am starting to develop a good stash of products to review and as luck would have it, two that have been receiving raves were at the ready.
Estee Lauder's, "Perfectionist" (CP+) Wrinkle Lifting Corrector for Lines/ Wrinkles/Age Spots. Check, check, check, plus, I love a good serum. (People swear by the Olay Regenerist Serum I have been using, but I a have always been tepid about it's texture and performance). I have been using Perfectionist, night and day for about 2 weeks now. It has a velvety texture, no discernible smell and my freckles have nearly vanished. Who cares that one of the ingredients is, "saliva sclarea (clary) extract"? Surely, saliva is just a synonym, for peptide...don't you think??? No matter, I am loving it, and will finish it, to the last drop, of whatever.
The Grandaddy of age spot reducers, is Dr. Howard Sobel's, "DDF Discoloration Reversal-Pods", a 28 day program, for skin renewal. It has received numerous editorial accolades for it's stellar performance and my interest has been keen.
When I received a Totalbeauty "sneak peek" of his newly launched "Protect and Correct" daily moisturizer, with SPF 15, I was intrigued---This was not just protection, but a sunscreen and moisturizer with treatment ingredients to lighten hyper pigmentation. I eyed it with suspicion, expecting the usual white opaque, zinc concoction, with the consistency of Aquaphor, from past disappointments...but it was not to be. DDF Protect and Correct has a lightweight texture that leaves a luminous finish. Best of all, I am sure it is working in tandem with the Perfectionist Wrinkle Lift Serum to increase my whitening, at lightening speed.
If I continue with this routine, by mid winter, I will look like a milky hued, brunette Nicole Kidman...that is of course, until I slap on my self tanner, bronzer and hopefully, squeak in a sun filled holiday.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Lucy and Rickee (1949-2008)
My sweet, zany friend Rickee, trooper extraordinaire, lost her battle with lung cancer this weekend.
We, (my fellow co-workers, who love each other like sisters), are reeling. There is something quite surreal, about losing someone you love...particularly in those first few days without their earthly presence. How is it possible that we can still laugh??? How is it possible, that we will never laugh again with Rickee???
Rickee was a hoot. Warm, loving, energetic, uncomplaining, full of life and compliments, she loved to laugh and make us laugh. She was a great wife, Mom, sister and friend. She enjoyed her work and cared about her clients. She was a girl's girl, who adored clothes, jewelry, make up and a great score from T.J. Max. Rickee was avid about exercise and worked out daily. She was 120lbs on the outside, but 220lbs in her head...she loved good food, but liked her trim figure more, so she watched her calories (and every morsel of food at the table). Dinner time at Greenwich Hospital, her last whispered words to me were, "make sure they brought the lobster", (and where else but Greenwich Hospital would they be serving it)??? Classic Rickee!
Rickee was diagnosed with lung cancer last July. Her fortitude and optimism was magnificent. Through chemo, radiation and Gamma Knife surgery, she pushed through, working and smiling, amazing everyone around her.
Rickee had baby fine curly hair and was vane enough to know, it was not her best feature, (for sure her twinkling green eyes were). Obviously, one the most traumatic things about chemo, is hair loss. My friend Angela and I, went with Rickee to help her pick out wigs. We were all nervous, but Rickee was a sport and tried 3/4 of the wigs on display, just to amuse us. The best part was that her new do's looked fab! For the first time, Rickee had great hair and she was the first one to laugh about that.
Tomorrow we will say our goodbyes. We are honoring our girl, by dressing to the nines. Rickee would adore that. There will no doubt, be a huge crowd, because she was someone special. Rickee would adore that too...
Gone, but not forgotton. We will remember you, Rick, with love and laughter. You were a joy and we will miss you, always. Thank you for brightening our world.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Little Green Martians
How did you get that bruise??? What bruise??? I must have bumped into something...I had some dental work...Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Those tell tale spots, glowing green beneath 6 layers of primer, foundation and waterproof concealer, are none other than post injection botox/restalyne/juvaderm bruises. Why lie??? Do you really know anyone over 40, who hasn't considered it? What happens when most of your friends are shooting up and you, wearing your age badge proudly, look like Granny, from the Beverly Hillbillies???
So you can't bear the thought of putting all those toxins in your body...Good excuse!!! Keep reminding yourself of that, cause once you take the plunge, there's no going back , (to your aging gracefully, wrinkled self).
What's the next blockbuster cosmetic product? I am betting on Benefit, Queen of the niche product, (for whatever ails you), to create "truth concealer" or "lie deflector", to touch up your touch ups. Ka- ching...and get going, already!
Monday, September 15, 2008
A Dip in the Fountain of Youth
About a month ago, TotalBeauty and ZO Skin Health, hosted an event in NY, to launch Dr. Zein Obagi's, new skin care line. Dr. Obagi is world-renowned, board-certified dermatologist. I had know idea that Obagi was a person. The name had a vaguely oriental ring to it and I just assumed it either meant something pleasing in Mandarin, or tested well in focus groups.
Obagi products have always been sold through dermatologists offices. I once went in for a light Obagi peel. Despite the oscillating fan, my face felt like it was being singed from the bone, for five minutes...No biggie, I will suffer for beauty and fashion, anytime. The next day my face was shiny and taut and I spoke only through clenched teeth. By the third day and for the next week, I molted. It wasn't pretty. If you like to get up every morning and greet the world in full maquillage, as I do, then peels, no matter how light, require some down time. I also somehow, left the office with the full complement of Nu-Derm Obagi products, so my "lunch time peel", ended up costing 4 times more than I bargained for. Nonetheless, Obagi, has been the brand of choice, sold through thousands of dermatologists offices, for the last 20 years. Highly concentrated and effective, there was no down side to giving it a whirl.
I liked it, but didn't love it...Next.
Flash forward 7 years and nine zillion products later...Dr. Obagi was there to greet us personally and tell us about his new line, ZO Skin Health, which would be available through select retailers. Dr. Obagi was charming, passionate and animated. He believes in potent, pure products that deliver results. The presentation ended with a beautiful cake, in honor of Dr. Obagi's 65th Birthday. I couldn't take my eyes off of his skin... The man was pink and radiant!!! "Was that manure you mentioned as your key ingredient"? OK, I'm in. Seriously, I would have gone that far...
4 weeks later and what is the verdict? Our generous sampler kit, included an exfoliating cleanser ($45), Occlipse Sun Screen and Primer ($85), Growth Factor Serum ($195) and Radical Night Recovery Cream ($325). To this mix, I added my usual Nutrimin C daily moisturizer and Olay's Regenerist Firming and Sculpting cream.
Nothing, in the perfectly packaged press kit, indicated the cost of these items. I got the bad news only after going to Obagi.com. Had I known, I would have sacrificed my neck and chest, so that my face could enjoy the good stuff for a while longer. The products are wonderful, but very pricey. If I added in the ZO daily moisturizer and night cream, a 2-3 month supply, would come in at a whopping $840. (The only product I know I couldn't live without, is the Sun Screen and Primer. It contains melanin, doesn't leave a chalky film and make up applies flawlessly on top of it).
Just think...if I put my ZO money in a coffee can, in a few years I will have saved enough, to go see one of Dr. Obagi's board certified colleagues, and take care of all my skin matters---permanently.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
"Mrs. Estee" and Me
Some nights, just exceed all expectations!!! On Monday, a gorgeous, clear, N.Y. evening, TotalBeauty Bloggers received the royal treatment, by the Estee Lauder Sr. Management team. Perched atop the General Motors building, overlooking Central Park West, we sipped cocktails with Chairman Leonard Lauder, CEO William P. Lauder, President Dan Brestle, Bobbi Brown and other top executives from various Lauder divisions.
It was thrilling to see the beautiful reception area, site of many special evenings, "Mrs. Estee's" awards "alley", and her lovely, feminine, office, quietly festooned with pictures of family and close friends, (who just happen to be past Presidents)! In this picture, I am seated at her desk... Goosebumps!!!
We all enjoyed hearing from William Lauder, that his grandmother would have loved the blogging community...one more medium to, "tell a woman", and that he imagined, she herself, would have had one!
The cocktail party, also kicked off their October 2008, Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. We learned this is their 16th year of raising global awareness and funds. Special products from many of Lauder's most glamorous brands, (Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Prescriptives, Aveda, Jo Malone and others) will be sold in October, with proceeds going towards the BCA campaign. In addition, the Company hosts employee-driven fundraising events, fostering a spirit of community amongst the divisions. We were generously provided, a treasure trove of these products in our goody bags and I am already loving Lauder's Perfectionist CP+ Wrinkle, lifting serum, (I could barely contain myself from using it on the train ride home).
I never knew that the Pink Ribbon symbol, was the brainchild of Evelyn Lauder and Alexandra Penny, nor that the Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative, (which illuminates landmark buildings and monuments all over world in October, in glowing pink), was another one of her inspirations. Both efforts, aim to provide awareness and inspire women to be mindful of their breast health.
Separately, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by Evelyn Lauder, in 1993, supports top research scientists, globally in their quest towards prevention and a cure for breast cancer. In 2007 alone, BCRF donated $32 million dollars, towards achieving this goal!!!
As a breast cancer survivor, I honor the Lauder Families dedication to eradicating this disease. Evelyn Lauder asks, "wouldn't it be incredible to have a world without breast cancer"? Indeed.
My thanks to the Lauder company for a beautiful evening and for their dedication, to making women beautiful and keeping them healthy.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Sunday in the Park With...
All the girls, J.Lo, Venus, Leighton, Rachel, Eva, Anna and Tim. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, has morphed from seven days to nine and the fashion glitterati were all, at Bryant Park yesterday.
My dear friends, Peter and Linda Levy, graciously hosted me at the IMG and MB hospitality suites. The afternoon ended with a trip to the Amex Skybox, where Venus held fashion court and chatted with reporters about her burgeoning biz. In between, we caught the Herve Leger and Diane Von Furstenberg shows. I somehow forgot to factor lunch into my day, so I may have hallucinated those angels with harps...Either way, this is my idea of heaven!!!
I don't care how jaded you are, if you are there, it's a blast! The shows never start on time, and if crowds make you anxious, pop a Xanax, or watch it at home, on Full Frontal Fashion. The people watching is fab and when the house lights come up, I have to force myself to focus on the clothes instead of whose in the front row.
The first show we saw was Herve Leger by Max Azria. The real Herve Leger, best known for his "bandage dress" silhouettes from the early 90's, no longer owns the right to his name. He gave that up, when his fashion company, was bought by BCBGMAXAZRIAGROP, in 1998. In the last few years, vintage Leger dresses were showing up on fashionable, media darlings. Max Azria re-launched the label, and is now producing his own versions of the iconic, bandage dress. They are already having a moment and at about 2/3 of the original price, the new Leger's will wrap themselves around a lot more bodies, than ever before.
The most striking thing about the show, was the models. I have never seen thinner girls on the catwalk, EVER!!! These women made Kate Moss, in the grunge years, look like Kirstie Allie. If you shot a cannonball between their thighs, no skin would have been grazed. We are talking women whose weight is measured in double digits!!! The looks were not particularly memorable, and for a strictly one note collection, (literally, 34 bandage looks), it was oddly disjointed, with no unifying pallette. The buzz here, was the bones.
I met Herve Leger, in Paris, when he was designing for Guy Laroche. Since he did not have the right to use his name, he was called Herve LEROUX, (a nod to his reddish hair). His clothes for Guy Laroche, took advantage of his magnificent use of jersey and his spectacular eye, for dressing a woman's body, to it's best advantage. I still love the cocktail dress that I own from his 2005, Fall collection. What's left of his red hair, must be up in flames over BCBG winning fame and accolades over the look he created. Herve Leger is a genius...I hope this stokes his creative fire, and inspires him to bring us a new look, all his own...again.
I had high hopes for the DVF show. I like her work and loved her Fall collection. Her inspiration this season was Diana Vreeland and she named it Rock Goddess. The cover of her line list was a gorgeous print of orange, magenta, marigold and iris and white. How could it miss???
The whole collection looked like something, Kate Hudson, Rachel Zoe and those wascally Olsen twins, would wear to dinner in St. Barts. You can usually count on DVF, to produce great clothes, that could be worn to work, daytime, for example, but not here. So, if you happen to be the Hostess at Dune in Southampton, look no further...DVF has you covered (and if you don't mind showing a little bootie, pick up a few Herve Leger's).
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Last night I had the pleasure of dining with some of my fellow TotalBeauty Bloggers at ultra hip, Socialista. What a gorgeous, diverse, group of women!!! The event was organized by TotalBeauty and underwritten by Bobbi Brown and Aveda. TotalBeauty and some of the Bloggers are covering the makeup for the Spring 2009 shows, back stage. I will make plans to give this a whirl in the Spring for Fall, (go figure, the crazy timetable of the fashion world).
September is my busiest month of the year. There is, something irresistible about Fall clothes. I love putting together my client's wardrobe for the season, and helping them find their new favorites and build on past investments.
TotalBeauty has created a program, called Beauty Bytes, fun, informative round ups of favorite, (and least favorite products)!, trends, and fashion and beauty slam dunks and disasters. If I am totally swamped, I may include them in place of a blog, otherwise you can access them on the right side of my blog page. I have also included a roster of links to my sister Bloggers...do click on them! I have learned a ton!
I am totally impressed with what TotalBeauty has accomplished in one short year. Led by the dynamic Kristen Nelson, V.P. of Business Development, TotalBeauty has already partnered with some of the largest, most prestigious cosmetic companies, including Estee Lauder, Bobbie Brown, MAC, Loreal, Bliss, Aveda, Obaji and many others. Erika Valente, Sr. Manager of Business Development, keeps all the Bloggers up to date on beauty events, "sneak peeks" of new goodies for us to try and review, and new enhancements for our blogs.
I love the concept of the site! Products are rated and reviewed not just by the terrific Editors and Bloggers, but by anyone who wants to be a member. I often check review first, before buying products now. If it's a wow, I am more likely to make a purchase, if it's a bow wow, I'll skip it, and research a better option. In kind, I will also write reviews of anything new I have tried, to keep the system flowing. No one else has created a place for women to share their picks and pans in an unbiased, easily accessible format, uninfluenced by sponsorship. See for yourself!!! There is a link that will take you to visit.
I wonder if any of the Dating websites allow a rating system??? I can tell you one thing, if people were as picky about their dates as they are about their conditioners, singles bars will be having a renaissance...
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Bah Dah Bom, Deh Bah Dah Bom....
I am chomping at the bit to see the real Ms. Palin, sans bee hive and granny glasses. She is obviously, a stunner, but she keeps it under wraps, looking more like Rock Hudson's milquetoast secretary, from a 1967 Doris Day movie.
If her primness is fueling my imagination about whipping off her specs, and spring releasing the bee hive to reveal a flowing mane, you can imagine what the boys are saying behind closed doors.
For those Mad Men aficionados, I am hoping to relive Sunday's episode, where Joan, (the office manager and resident bombshell), tells Peggy, (the Donna Reed like copywriter), why the big boys don't let her play in their sandbox. To paraphrase, 'you need to dress like a woman instead of a little girl'. Later, Peggy shows up at the strip club, her male co-workers are reveling at, in a cleavage revealing cocktail dress, without her ponytail and spit bangs. Now, she has our attention, and it won't distract a wit from her intelligence. Chances are, she will get more recognition, not less.
I haven't a clue if Govenor Palin will stick to her armor, or morph into a babe, either way, for now, she has got our attention.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Some of my best moments last week, were spent, immersed in the September fashion issues. There is always a consistent thread in the season's trends together, it is then distilled and reported in "Must Have", "Top Trends" and "Key Pieces" columns.
It is not a random process; it starts with the Panetone color forecasts, which are picked up by the mills and dyed into fabrics and selected by the Designers, who weave them into this season's frocks. It is not a coincidence, that Oscar, John Galliano and Donatella Versace, (of NY, Paris and Milan) all chose cherry, for dresses in their Fall collections.
When I sort through what I will both be wearing and recommending my clients purchase, I respond with my heart to what visually thrills me, but will ultimately, buy only what looks great, not falling into the trend trap: Will this be hopelessly dated next season?
Loves- All the rich colors, plums, aubergine, raspberry and cherry. If these are your colors, dig in. You will look just as pretty in them next fall. Lace- There are some fabulous LBD"s in lace. It may not be as hot every season, but it will live happily in the closet. Knits- belted long cardigans, sweater dresses with boots, classic investments. Ladylike structured handbags, in rich, neutrals, Think Kelly and Birkin. Enough said. Metallic clutches and shoes-look terrific with anything neutral, ditto for bags and shoes made from exotic skins. Ruffles- just a touch paired back to something structured, will always look feminine and modern. Bold cuffs- Why do you think Diana Vreeland always wore one Maltese Cross Verdura cuff on each wrist?
Likes- Tuxedo Dressing- We are having a "Le Smoking" moment...probably with more to come this spring, in homage to YSL. As long as you don't look like Ellen Degeneres on her wedding day, dabble, if it suits you. Florals- fresh and sweet, but I wouldn't invest in anything I couldn't buy at J.Crew. Statement Necklaces- I love the look, but this is a one season Johnnie. If you must, (and I may), make sure it's cheap and cheerful. Bright Accessories- beautiful, bold handbags and shoes, to mismatch with other brights or wear back to black. Dip don't dive. Shooties- Yes those cut out shoe boots. I will love seeing them on other people. If I do wear them, I will wimp out and wear them with pants. They are having a moment. It will be fleeting, so best not to Choo, with this trend.
Losers- Bold Plaids. No need, unless you are Charlotte York MacDougal at Trey's families annual Highland Fling. Mid Calf Skirts- Frumpty dumpty...don't even think about it. Pleated Pants- Is you last name Olsen? See above.
Rev your shopping engines ladies. Tomorrow is September, which in our world, is the offical start of Fall. Have fun!!!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Summertime... Those of us who live on the East coast are split firmly into 3 camps for beach getaways; The Hampton's, The Vineyard/Nantucket and the Jersey Shore. It is written in Rosetta stone, that wherever you summered as a child, is where you will head, at some point Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you are smart, you simply accept, that each of us think we have the better slice of heaven. So, unless you are conversing with your fellow brethren, zip your lip and smile, when one of the "others", is extolling the virtues of their pristine pastures.
I am a Hampton's girl. Part of what is so soothing is the familiarity and the rituals... Breakfast at the Candy Kitchen, dishing the dirt with my delicious friend, Mark Olives, owner of the American Wing antique store, or taking an exercise class at Exhale, with the magnificent Fred DeVito, who never forgets a C-curve. Everyone looks fabulous at the Hampton's Classic Horse show, it's casual chic, but effortlessly studied and I am sucking it all up, smugly congratulating myself for nailing the look, down to my Hermes bangles. The real stars are the lean and leggy equestrians, who make the rest of us look like porky posers...God, I am in heaven.
Old friends, Lunch at Lunch, Dan's Papers, ogling the fall goodies, on Newtown Lane in East Hampton, THE beaches, loading up the car with just picked corn and flowers on the way home...It doesn't get better than this and if you think it does, I have a pretty good hunch, none of this , really compares to, "wah wah wah"...
O.K., I'll zip it.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Just kidding! Even if I could wrap my brain around harpooning smelly, slimy things on a hook, to harpoon smelly, slimy things on a hook, I would never survive the boat trip, without the Patch, Bonime and 6 of those wrist bands with the steel pellets...and we would not have even left the dock.
Off to the Hampton's for some end of summer R&R. I will be devouring all of the September Fashion Magazines and will be reporting back, when I return. Right off the bat, I am loving the spectacular, whimsical, bedecked and bejeweled "statement necklaces", that are being shown everywhere. I just haven't figured out where us mere mortals, will be wearing them. Do you think mine will be too over-the-top, with my pajamas???
Enjoy the last licks of summer...I am teary, but those 9lb. fashion tomes are like a Rosebud salve, for my psyche.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Out, Damn Spot!
I don't know which term sends a bigger willy up my spine--"age" spot or "liver" spot. For those who prefer medical terms, we can call yours, "solar lentigos". All, conjure up bark colored, octogenarians, sidled up to the canasta table, in Vero Beach. Why must I contend with these amoeba shaped atrocities, sprouting randomly on my body???
I have been freeze dried and lasered, leaving behind, 12 days worth maroon scabs, before flaking off. It's all I can do to keep from scraping them off with my bi cuspids. The coast is clear, until you happen to be driving in dense fog, without a teaspoon of SPF 50, on your newborn part, when WHAM!!!...you are back to splotch one. I have gone the prescription route, and non co-paid, 0.4% Hydroquinone Creme. I can't remember which blood cancer it is loosely associated with, but sadly, my bigger concern, is that it turns doodie brown in the tube, after just few days. Won't that only make my spots darker???
I had to do a CVS run yesterday. I had a rewards coupon, for $10.00, that was expiring at midnight. Do you have any idea, how much you have to spend to get that kind of freebie? The cashier had to ask the manager, how to tender it, if that gives you a clue. Anywho, since I have been very nostalgic of late, I decided to purchase, "Porcelana Fade Cream", same, of my youth. I can't remember the tag line, but I do remember the dreamy, sing song voice over, promising to fade the dreaded spots, I didn't have, way back then.
I figured it was worth a try, half the hydroquinone, plus sunscreen built in. My spots won't fade as well, but the sunscreen will keep them from getting darker. If this doesn't help, I am thinking about purchasing a hajib.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The Dog Days of Summer
Yesterday was a glorious summer day in N.Y., blue skies, sunshine and low humidity...It doesn't ever get better than this, in August, ever. My wonderful Mom spent the day with me, lunch, laughs, lounging at the pool with a half a dozen magazines to peruse... This is my idea of happiness.
I can't remember where I am supposed to be on Tuesday, but I can recall the name of my craggy faced, dour, Nursery school teacher, Mrs. Reilly, who hated me on sight. My total recall for the entirety of my childhood is either uncanny, or a sign of pre senile dementia.
My Mother, still has to bear the full weight of my wrath, for missing my first day of Nursery School as well as my Kindergarten Maypole dance. It is to me, of little consequence, that on the first occasion she was giving birth to my brother and on the second, in the hospital for minor surgery. She missed it!!! All is not forgiven.
As we spent the day tripping down Memory Lane, I reminded her of another summer long ago...Throughout the summers of 1976 and 1977, there was a deranged serial killer on the loose in the N.Y.C. area, nicknamed the, "Son of Sam" or the .44 Caliber Killer. In a year's time, the Son of Sam, was responsible for killing 6 and wounding 7, mostly young couples, out on the "town". It was tragic and frightening. Nerves were raw and frayed. My boyfriend, the Captain of the football team, with hulking 18 inch biceps, could barely get me to leave my house. I would only drive in his car at night, if I was wearing a baseball cap, (S.O.S., liked long haired brunettes), lying down in the back seat, my face ringed with imprints from the floor mats. His biceps were no match for a 44 caliber bullet. Son of Sam was the Bogey man, and rumors of which area he was stalking next, had us all, (alright, me), crazed.
We grew up in a idyllic time. A posse of neighborhood kids, who played together from dawn to dusk, gleefully awaiting an afternoon visit from Mr. Softee. All was perfect and would remain so, as long as we never had contact, with the cherry bombing, squirrel killing, teenage son, of one of our neighbors...Creepy, silent, watchful, "stay away", our parents warned. So, we heeded and grew up without incident.
The moniker, the "Son of Sam", originated in notes written by the killer, found at crime scenes and in letters addressed to some of the N.Y. dailies. During this time, the police released a psychological profile of the killer: Single, white, male, in his 20's, a loner, a war veteran, someone who may have tortured animals in his youth and possibly living with a widowed mother. While reading this in the car, driving home from the City with my mother, I literally froze; check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.. "Mom", they are describing "X" to a tee. "Don't be ridiculous. "But Mom, he's got to live next door to somebody. What if it's him"???, I whined. "Don't be ridiculous. "But Mom, the police are asking for help, there's even a hot line. MOM!!! Isn't the widowed mother's name *Margaret"? "Yes, Debra, so what"? I couldn't answer yet, but something kept gnawing at me. My synapses where spitting their own little bullets..."What was the father's name?" "I don't remember". And then it hit me...drum roll, the father's name was *Simon. "MOM!!!!, it's an acronym,
*Simon and *Margaret, Son of SAM!!!... "O.K.--- I'll call".
The next day, our neighbors house, was surrounded by patrol cars. The police were receiving thousands of tips, but *Simon and *Margaret, tipped the scales. "OH MY GOD!!!! "X" is the Son of Sam"!!! We were paralyzed with anticipation as we peered out the window...and then, they were gone.
No SWAT team, no stand off, no handcuffs, no killer. We didn't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. One thing for sure, if we weren't paranoid before, we were now, fearful that the police might have tipped "X", about our tip.
The real Son of Sam was arrested on August 10th, 1977, undone by a parking ticket he received at the scene of his last crime. He confessed the next day. SAM, it turned out, was his neighbors dog. New Yorkers everywhere, breathed a collective sigh of relief. My Mom chided me about our folly, but I knew, she knew, we did our civic duty. After all, he was, somebodies neighbor---just not ours.
Thus, I finally got to enjoy my summer and I am doing now, what I did then...letting my hair down and enjoying the twilight of the summer. Hope you do the same.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This is shaping up to be a memorable summer Olympics...Lately, there has been a bit of chatter, about the technological tweaks that have given us more spectacular fireworks, in the opening Ceremony (through digital enhancement) and record breaking swim times, possibly from lighter, tighter, swimwear. As far as I am concerned, no harm, no foul.
I take exception, when it comes to crushing little girls souls,, because they are, not deemed pretty enough to represent, "the image of our national music, our national culture", according to Chen Qigang, the Ceremony's Musical Director.
After a grueling competition, 7 year old Yang Peiyi, was awarded the honor of singing, "Hymn to the Motherland", at the opening Ceremonies. During rehearsals, it was determined by committee, that her mainly because of her jumbled teeth, Yang's appearance would be a national disgrace. It was then decided, that 9 year old Lin Miaoke, perfect in pigtails, would lip sync to Yang's vocals. Lin, who went on to become an overnight sensation, was interviewed repeatedly for popular newspapers. Chen Qigang, thought it a perfect solution, "a perfect voice, a perfect image and a perfect show. Perfect???...but what about poor Yang. How publicly, heartbreaking and humiliating for Yang and her family.
Now this is where a some tweaking might not have been such a bad thing, but in the U.S., we are image crazed, but not censorous. Someone might have suggested putting some hair extensions on little Yang and maybe a little bonding on the upper and lowers. Presto chango, problem solved. We are, no doubt, an image conscious country as well, but when it's all said and done, I would like to think, we still have a heart and soul.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Diva in Wonderland
I get to spend a lot of my time dressing beautiful clients, in beautiful clothes in a beautiful environment, and I wouldn't trade a minute of it...A good chunk of time is also devoted to chasing the latest in beauty, makeup, skin and hair care, blogging, attending parties and events with friends and family, and participating in fundraising, for organizations that are important to me. This is the more glam side of my life.
The unglam side, is spent on aluminum bleachers, frost bitten in April and desperately seeking shade in August. No athlete's Mom's trunk, is complete without a blanket, boots, a sweatshirt, a rain poncho, gloves, an umbrella, sunblock, bug spray, bottled water, Gatorade, granola bars and one of those collapsible canvas chairs, that come with their own matching tote and cup holder. (I am in awe of its creator and hope he is enjoying his riches...I would be happy, just being able to get the chair back in the tote, that I have long abandoned). Welcome to my world.
While waiting for my son's long delayed tournament to begin, frustrated that I had nothing more to do, than swat yellow jackets and fill out dollar raffles for a 42" flat screen T.V., my friend Irene, brought me a little gift, she knew I would devour... two issues of "Newbeauty", a gorgeous glossy tome, that I have eyed on the new stand, but dismissed, frugally, after spotting the $9.95 price tag. OH JOY!!!
Newbeauty, bills itself as, "The World's Most Unique Beauty Magazine", and I don't dispute that. The content is primarily editorial, so it is, chock full of cutting information from the beauty disciplines of Plastic Surgery, Dermatology and Cosmetic Dentistry. There is very little traditional advertising. The book is financed by the glittering roster of Doctors, who are profiled by specialty in the back, (and less frugal folk, like my friend I., who pay 10 bucks for it, on the news stand). I am in heaven: F.D.A. approved, hand held wrinkle zappers, for at home use, the latest in products to eliminate sun spots, the best in over the counter teeth whiteners, "liquid face lifts", hand makeovers and the big kahuna, scads of "before" and "after" pictures. I can't take my eyes off of them...there are miracles being performed out there, all right, and many of these women are only, in their forties and early fifties. How could they look so lousy already? I couldn't wait to get to a mirror. Nope, not me. Not yet, anyway. How were the "after" shots??? Amazing!!!. I hope they got a hefty discount for revealing themselves, because these shots are up close and personal, (unlike the grainy, bikini photos for 'slim quick' products, in the back of US Weekly).
My head is spinning with new information...both books have dozens of pages folded back, to review again later, (last time I did that, I was looking for bridal gowns). These are keepers...Beauty Encyclopedia Brittanica's, so to speak. So will I spring for the Fall edition? Abso-uckinlutely. Oh, and by the way...we lost.
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