The Clock Stops Here...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Home Stretch (Part 1)

Women, all over the country, are getting very resourceful. There is a strong uptick, toward D.I.Y., (Do-It-Yourself) beauty. As a Personal Shopper, I can also attest to the latest shopping phenomenon, S.I.M.C, ("shopping in my closet"). Believe me, I get it and I am doing both...The recession, it seems is new Mama of invention.

It's not your imagination--- CVS beauty aisles are packed, with women loading up their hand held, shopping baskets...What is flying off the shelves in record numbers??? Nail care, hair color and waxing and depilatory products. Apparently, when push comes to shove, we can dip and rip, with the best of 'em.

Here is what I am doing, to stretch my beauty and fashion budget this spring:

1) My "weekly" manicure now takes place every 10 days. To accomplish this, I am wearing my unworn rubber gloves, refreshing with a coat of Nailtiques, every other day and have recently purchased Sally Hansen's, Insta-Dri Nail Color, (in Petal Pusher). It does dry, as promised, in 60 seconds and one coat, refreshes my manicure, acceptably. I also buy, Milani nail polishes, to fill in chips and nicks on my pedicures. A full coat will buy me another week or two, between visits.

2) I have "Brogged", (Brag/Blog), about my being the real inventor of Clairol's, Root Perfect Touch-Up Kit, (Deep Roots, April 2008). To keep my grays at bay, for years, I improvised, by using Just For Men's, Beard and Moustache kit, with pretty much, the same result. Now, in addition to stray grays, I purchase 2 kits, and actually use one as directed at the 5-6 post salon visit, mark. Root Perfect is simple and effective. It allows me to stretch my professional visits by another two weeks. If your hair looks faded, try a color infused shampoo. For brunettes with highlights, try Aveda's Clove shampoo.

3) Instead of monthly bikini waxes, I am taking care of my own business, with my Venus Embrace razor. This thing could scrape barnacles off the hull of ship. You might be surprised, how little you will miss, contorting like a Chinese acrobat, in a wisp of panties, before a wax wielding stranger.

4) I love CVS. CVS, has a "no questions asked", return policy with their Beauty products. Simply hold on, to your packaging and receipt and take it back!!! (try that, at Bloomingdales). I appreciate it for two reasons; I find that product is significantly less test driven in the store, because people know if they goof, they can bring it back. The second, is because, I do goof, all the time, but I have also found some incredibly, great products, that rival my faves from Nars, Laura Mercier, Smash Box, Fresh, and other great companies, for a fraction of the cost. Just this week, I picked up a N.Y.C.'s, "Union Square", eyeshadow quad, for $3.99. It is beyond perfect. I haven't used all four colors in a quad, since 5th grade. Rather than feeling deprived, I simply feel clever.

That's how I am surviving on the beauty front. Next time I will tell you how to spend some quality time, shopping at home...How YOU doin??? Email me your tips and tricks...after all, we are all in this together.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tightening Our Belts

We are just about to officially pass the 100th day mark, of the new administrations ministrations. It seems pretty clear, that we are pretty smitten, with our fit and fashionable First Lady. The rest of the planet has also taken notice and it is a welcome distraction, from praying for signs of recovery daily.

After enduring 16 years, of bottom heavy, jewel toned, pantsuits, our eyes are now firmly focused above the waist on Michelle's cardigans, biceps and belts. Michelle's figure, defies anatomical reality, (see Divadebbi, Pears and Squares March 2008). Despite being very short torsoed, Michelle tops everything with an (often too wide) belt, that sometimes settles on her upper rib cage. Against all odds, it works! I am also grateful for her reinvention of the cardigan. I too, wear them over all my sheath dresses, extending the length of functional calendar time I can wear them. They look less fussy and are more comfortable, than the dozen or more blazers, (I have no idea what to do about), that I will haul into summer hibernation, for another season. The "new" cardigan is shorter, shaped and is often adorned with ruffles or tulle. It is perfect for the office or an overly air conditioned restaurant, it dresses up jeans and a tank top, and is perfect for travel. Of course, it also looks great belted.

Yup, the President has huge shoes to fill, (they look like a 41 Jimmy Choo to me). Michelle, single handed, is resolving fashion woes, worldwide. What would become of us, if everyone invested in a set of 5lb. dumbells too? A nation of fit and fashionable women...and another notch, on Michelle's belt.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Who do you think started the old, beauty wives tale, that after awhile, hair gets, "used to" shampoo's and conditioners and become less effective??? It wasn't me, but that doesn't mean I've actually finished any shampoo, I have ever started. Fess up, Girls, I am not the only one who has to fight for space in the shower with their products---and maybe that should change.

With a nod to Earth Day, I decided to try Nexxus' new line of nourishing Botanical products. They appeal to my green side, because they are made without dyes or parabens, are not tested on animals, are infused with rose hip, sunflower and grape seed oils and the bottles are made from partially recycled materials. It's a small step, but if companies like Alberto Culver and consumers, think a little greener, things can only get better.

I shampooed with, Botanoil and conditioned with, Botanphuse ...nothing out of the norm. To, "achieve best results", I took the next step, by abandoning my trio of Warren Tricomi products, in favor of just one, , Botanluxe Leave in Conditioner. It's a tall order to expect one product, to smooth, lift, sculpt, strengthen and style, but remarkably, Botanluxe, did it all!

I'm impressed. This really does have potential---easy on the earth, easy on my wallet..,that's the kind of green, we can all get used to and when that old wives tale starts ringing in my ears, I will just recycle. How about you???


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nice and Toasty

I don't have to remind anyone, who lives in the Northeast, that we have not had two consecutive days of sun, since September. Let's just put all that Global Warming nonsense to bed, shall we???

I was at a Birthday luncheon a few weeks ago, for one of my gorgeous, gal pals and was seated across the table from my friend Janice, who was looking deeply burnished and rested. Though we had dinner, a few weeks before, (at Richard Gere's insanely over priced, under portioned, Bedford Post Inn) I couldn't recall any upcoming travel plans. What gives??? At the first private opportunity, I cornered her to ask why she was so tan. Janice is a girl's girl, so I knew she wouldn't hold back. "I got spray tanned at Beach Bum Tanning". "OH, MY GOD!!!, you look amazing. I am going tomorrow"...and I did.

The Beach Bum Tanning chain, is a fake bake emporium, dedicated to those who pale, at the thought of being pale. I have passed it numerous times, and assumed it was exclusively outfitted with tanning beds, filled with over muscled twenty somethings, with tats and buzz cuts. It is definitely, all that, but in addition, you can get spray tanned, by appointment, or, you can "spray yourself", buck nekid, in a tanning booth...who knew???

I arrived sans, make up, in flip flops, and loose fitting yoga clothes. The sprayer, was not on duty, so I was going to take my chance in the auto zone. I was instructed to cream my toes and fingernails, put on a shower cap, push the button face wise, and stand like a scare crow, without breathing, until the icy mist of (flammable noxious chemicals), stopped. Then turn around and repeat on the flip side. I am panicking, because I am pretty sure I inhaled, and imagine my lungs, permanently, penny stained. Afterwards, I blotted with a hand towel, disposed of my paper hat and shoes, and gingerly, put my clothes back on, tastefully, balling my thong, into my tote.

Gasping, I drove home, with all the windows, and the sun roof wide open. I might have saved on UVA and UVB rays, but being doused in chemicals, emanating from every pore, probably is not what the Surgeon General has in mind, for a Sunday outing. But then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror...I was, already, tan!!! Oh, joy!!! Instant favorite stuff. My "tan" continued to develop throughout the evening and despite some concerns about staining my sheets, I abide by the, "no showering for at least 6 hours", rule.

I woke up, and admired my head to toe, front to back, even, natural looking tan. Suffice to say, there is only one set of cheeks, I have ever seen with color, so I really was looking at a whole new me. I recounted this story to my friend Suzanne on our instant Blackberry Messengers. "Gotta hop in the shower", hope my tan doesn't wash down the drain", I mused. 5 minutes latter, I text back, "it did"!!! Come baaacccckkk!!! But it was too late. Was it all just an illusion? Not entirely. After I put my moisturizer on, I could see signs of revival. I asked everyone I saw that day, if they liked my "tan". No one knew what I was talking about...but I did! I wasn't offering a show and tell, but believe me, I was much darker than before, and I had the toasted buns to prove it.

Vanity, be thy name. Stay tuned for more fake bake stories---I just bought Jergen's new self tanning mousse, on a CVS run yesterday...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wrinkles Are a Bitch

On Tuesday night, our special guest speaker and good friend Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, wowed the crowd at Richards, with our first ever Girls Night Out event.

My friend and colleague, Angela, partnered with me, to talk about our best fashion finds for Spring '09. We shared our favorite picks from Valentino, Pucci, Hermes, Cucinelli, Lela Rose, Etro, Dolce and Michael Kors ready-to-wear and accessorized them, with bags and shoes from Jimmy Choo, Gucci and Prada. We also, got to see the Spring collection from H. Stern, one of our latest designer jewelry additions. It is a knock-out collection of bold, modern, sculptural pieces gold pieces, some adorned with diamonds, others, with chunks of soft hued quartz.

The truth is, our audience was friendly and polite, but we were all just the Miley Cyrus warm up act, to Elizabeth's, Britney. Her amazing credentials and experience is really, what all the fuss was about and why everyone turned out--- No hard feelings!!! We couldn't wait for Elizabeth to get started either...

"Our" Elizabeth, is the type of woman you could hate, if she wasn't so warm and down to earth. Tall, thin, beautiful, an accomplished Dr. with a training from Johns Hopkins, Yale and a residency at Harvard, a mother of 4, a Marathoner, a Breast Cancer Advocate and a colleague, at the N.Y. Group for Plastic Surgery, her plate is a platter---and you would never know it.

She spoke with ease, to an extremely, savvy group, who came prepared with questions, about sunscreen, Renova, Botox, Restylane, Collagen, Sculptra, Juvaderm and even Latisse, the drug developed for Glaucoma patients, that inadvertently grows eyelashes to daddy long leg proportions. We nibbled and drank, laughed and learned. We were treated to a Botox demonstration, on my WASPY, level headed friend, Ginger, who never flinched, heeding all of my warnings, not to scare the audience! Interestingly, there was a bee line, straight for the vino, in a pique of squeamishness---jeez Girls... remember childbirth???

All in all, it was a fantastic success and we look forward to having Dr. Thompson join us again. She graciously offered a discount, of 20% off of a first Botox or Restylane treatment, at the N.Y. Group for Plastic Surgeries, Tarrytown office,( 914-366-6139), to our guests at Richards. Many of you, had R.S.V.P.'d, with wistful regret, due to prior commitments...Generously, if you call for a first appointment, and mention, "Divadebbi", Dr. Thompson will honor this for my Blog readers.

So, you did miss a great Girls Night Out, but you don't have to miss out on meeting a great Girl...even if it is just for a consultation.
See you next time...


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yes, it CAN

One of the lovely perks, of dedicated Beauty Blogging, is receiving products and press kits, from various P.R. team's. I have my own moral code about reviewing and it is three pronged; 1) If I buy it, anything goes, 2) If I didn't buy it, but am participating in a program that requires feedback, anything goes and 3) If I didn't buy it, but want to try it and hate it, I am not telling...If I love it, you will be the first to know.

Graham Webb's, Advanced Therapy Treatment, from his Silk Repair Collection, falls into the latter...My hair, if such a thing was possible, is glowing and I can't keep my hands off of it.

I was surprised to see it was a product on Proctor & Gamble's beauty roster, since I never heard of Graham Webb. I did a little Internet research, and found out, this extensive British hair care line was acquired by P&G in 2003. After reading about his extraordinary career, succeeding, despite suffering from child to adulthood with undiagnosed Spina Bifida, how could I not, bring him to your attention?

Graham Webb products are used at many high end salons, but the products are available to purchase, through various Internet sites that specialize in hair care. The Advanced Therapy Treatment, can be purchased, for a nominal amount, as an add on at hair salons, or for at home use.

I am a huge proponent of deep conditioning. Everything that follows, blow drying, styling and color, can only be improved, if you resign yourself, to deep conditioning 2-4x a month. Besides all of that, shiny hair is youthful looking hair. What I am always trying to outwit, is having to apply product, post shampoo, waiting naked, for it to activate for a chilly 20+ minutes, (while sitting on the seat down, toilette), reading a dog eared magazine... This is my idea of beauty hell. Instead, what I usually do, is, (fully clothed), spritz my hair with water, microwave deep conditioner for 20 seconds, apply it and than wait 20+ minutes, reading a dog eared magazine. I then shampoo, skip additional conditioner and hopefully, pneumonia. It's far from perfect, but it works.

At last, I have something waaaaay better, that saved time and produced fantastic results, right in my warm shower. Advanced Therapy Treatment, is a two part formula, that opens easily and mixes right into your palms, after shampooing. The activation period, is a mere 3-5 minutes, so I was able to perform my shaving tour of duty, while the silk proteins and keratin amino acids, did their magic. I could tell my the way my hair felt as I rinsed it, that something good just happened and it did!!!

Graham Webb's personal mantra is, "It CAN be done". His success in business, as a motivational speaker and a loving Father of four children, is certainly a testament to that---In terms of getting manageable, silky hair, without freezing your arse off???...that too, CAN be done and I am sold!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Leave It To The Pro's

Last night, I finished my last schmeer, of Pro-X Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, that I received from TotalBeauty, as a, "sneak peek". Weeks before, I donated, the Age Repair Lotion with SPF 30, to my friend Linda. Maybe it's that whole year she has on me, but Linda doesn't mind the chalky white residue, that accompanies an SPF 30 moisturizer, and I do. What is left, is a bit of the Eye Restoration Complex, designed for the , "delicate" under eye area. This regimen, was part of a 4 week a.m. and p.m., protocol, to achieve, "maximum results", from Olay's latest launch of Professional Pro-X Products. The mission is a good one, "Protect, Treat and Transform".

Frankly, my skin, is in such good condition, that it is getting harder for me to distinguish results. I find myself, glancing around the supermarket, wondering if I can enlist some very ripe faces, to participate in a free trial, without offending---not likely.. You already know, I re-gifted the daily moisturizer. The eye cream, though pleasant, did not stand out. The Wrinkle Cream, had a nice, gel like consistency, but personally, I prefer my last beauty licks of the day to be richer and more hydrating. If you live up in the Blue Ridge Mountains somewhere, I guarantee, Olay Pro-X is your fountain of youth.

What is ground breaking, is the marketing behind Olay's latest launch...Olay is the first mass market skin care manufacturer, attempting to woo a more upscale clientele. I think they have done a superb job, convincing drug store customers, that they are brilliantly outsmarting this same group, by purchasing Regenerist products. I love hearing Sela Ward crow about Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, whooping the pants off of $700 creams. You can make your own assumptions about whether she is talking about La Mer or La Prairie. Do they care if this customer, trades up to the much pricier Pro-X, (though coupons and specials abound). I am not certain---The prize, would be to capture the Lancome, Lauder or La Mer woman.

Will it work??? Time will tell...I love firsts, so I will be listening for the verdict, it may well be a work in progress. Olay's timing couldn't have been more prescient, the economic recovery is a work in progress too...Recessionista's may just start flocking to their local drugstores, in search of good science and quality skincare, at affordable prices. If they are really smart, they will start stocking it at the supermarket too.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

10 and Under

For the first time, in my adult life, I am really thinking, about everything I purchase. Now more than ever, I am looking for value. What I have learned along the way is, that it is entirely possible, to find great beauty products, for under $10.00..

I am certainly no worse for wear, so check out my CVS faves and please, email me with yours as well!

1) $9.99- Essence of Beauty Pure Powder Brush. Made from "authentic hair and fibers". I am not sure I want to know whose hair, but I have found to my delight, that Essence of Beauty Brushes do not shed, the way others have, at 4x the price.

2) $8.49- CVS Nighttime Whitening Gel. Now that I have finished using my CVS Whitening Strips, (significantly whitening my teeth, without the needle through the cornea, sensitivity that I have experienced with professional strength gels), I will be using this, easy to apply product, before bed, for maintenance.

3) $7.99- Dove Cream Oil Intensive Body Lotion. I love this fast absorbing, deeply hydrating lotion. I have also started spiking it with long pulls of Neutrogena Sesame Oil. This one is a keeper, indefinitely.

4) $7.99- Maybelline Volume XL Seduction Lipcolor. This lip enhancing product glides on like an expensive balm. There is a 10 second zing delay, (pepper spray)?, that some might find alarming. Love the soft, natural palette. I still can't figure out how both me and my blond haired, blue eyed friend Ilissa, can both look good in Petal defies all logic. Iliss, let me know how you make out with Tantalizing Toffee.

5) $7.49- TreSemme 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray. I received and used up, a sample of this, from the TreSemme booth at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It is my first, ever, TreSemme purchase. Lightweight, frizz fighting, touchable and long lasting...Need I say more?

6) $6.49- Revlon ColorStay 12 Hour Eye Shadow. I already own it in "Sterling Rose" and just bought it in, "In the Buff", a gorgeous quartet of nude browns. Frankly, I like this eyeshadow as much as anything I have tried and I have tried them all, ("just say NO", to the nasty sponge applicators).

7) $5.99- Olay Daily Facials. I don't care for messy, oily makeup removers that require me to frisk my bathroom, in search of a hand towel. I much favor, these packable, dry cloths, that handily remove all traces of make up. I will use these for life.

8) $4.49- Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar. Sometimes, I just want to wash my face, with old fashioned soap and water, so I like having this available. Something about the scent, soothingly, reminds me of my childhood. This should be a household staple...milk, bread, coffee, Cetaphil.

9) $3.79- Milani Nail Polish. Though I thoroughly lack mani/pedi fine motor skills, Milani Nail Polishes, come in similar shades to my Essie favorites, making chips and dings, a thing of the past.

10) $1.99- N.Y.C. Liquid Lip Shine. I am struggling to perfect a nude/bronze lip, ala Kara Dioguardi and Eva Langoria Parker. My failed attempts have left me looking like an anemic alien, so starting out on the cheap, with 553U Au Naturel, was a painless investment. To my amazement, it is rivaling my Nars, in texture and wear ability.

Will I be shopping this way forever, I honestly can't say...In the meanwhile, I will keep you posted on how successful I am at translating this new reality to fashion---I plan on visiting the new Topshop store in Soho, next week...Stay tuned.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Second Time Around

I have Blogged about my affection for Sunday morning Infomercials before, ( I'll Have What She's Having...Maybe, 5/28/08). While we are on the subject, does anyone have any feedback on the AbRocket, they would like to share???

Long before the mineral make up craze became mainstream, I found myself mesmerized by Leeza Gibbons. Leeza, was artfully brushing the imperfections, off every passerby in the Mall of America. Acne scarred youths, rosacea laden proboscis' and 30 year old liver spots, on 60 year old cheeks, magically disappeared, with a dip and a swirl of Sheer Cover. Skillfully, memorizing the 800 number, I ordered my, risk free trial

My package arrived promptly, with product, tools, an instruction manual and a DVD, on how to get started...Geez---it didn't look like it was all that complicated, (did they think I was going to attempt an at home face lift)? I followed the directions to the letter and bravely faced the world, the next morning, in a tight, flax colored, Kabuki mask. "Yes, she looks flawless", morticians must muse to themselves... and so did I. "Please accept the return of my order. I'll have someone get back to you, in a couple of decades", I scrawled on the top of the box.

Fast forward several years, when I find myself, as usual, at CVS, and notice their, 24.7 Anti-Aging Mineral Makeup Get Started Face Kit. Anything, promising a, "96% reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles", has my undivided attention.

The kit contains two shades of foundation, (to blend for a custom match), Radiant Bronzer and Illuminating Blush, the Essential All-Over Face Brush for basic application and a smaller Essential Correcting Brush, for areas that need extra help.

24.7 Minerals contain a proprietary GABA complex, that nourishes and hydrates. In addition to daily, instant improvement in tone and imperfections, 24.7, promises to improve skin, with continued use. I think makeup, that does double duty, beauty and treatment, is a fabulous, under utilized concept.

Now for the good news---though using loose powder is a tad messy, application is, virtually, fool proof! (I could apply this seamlessly, in a coal mine). The Radiant Bronzer, brought my face a dewy, glow. the Illuminating Blush, is actually more of a highlighter, but also served to take my blush down a notch, making it appear more natural. It is completely weightless, so there is no sense of adding layers of makeup to your skin and it lasted, up until the point that I was ready for bed. I am pretty certain, I am a convert.

Can't you just see me, dipping and swirling my brushes through the Westchester Mall? It's not your imagination, I am wondering if you have a minute to improve your appearance...24.7 Mineral Makeup definitely will help you look better today and if we are lucky, in 365 too.



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