The Clock Stops Here...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Listen Sister...

My sister Loren called last night...She enjoyed reading about my chipmunk streaked legs, that resulted from a self tanning misadventure. Loren, who is fair and casually freckled, always burned before tanning. In our teens, we would come home from Jones Beach and while I spent hours admiring the contrast between my Lilly white rear and my walnut hued thighs, Loren would be applying cool, aloe compresses to skin that looked like raw chop meat. Needless to say, she never developed the affection I have for a tan, because she never got to have one.

Loren is a patient of a well know Manhattan Dermatologist, Dr. Diane Madfes. She couldn't wait to tell me, that Dr. Madfes is now a great fan of, Neutrogena's Sunscreen with SPF 55 and she was going out to buy it immediately. "Uh huh", I mumbled between stifling a yawn. Frankly, she might as well been discussing pork belly futures.

"Yes, she thinks it's perfect for everyday use. By the way...what number SPF do you use???

"Whaddya mean???... at the beach"?

"No, no. Everyday. What SPF do you use everyday"???

Drum roll---long pregnant pause, "Uh, none???

"OH MY GOD, I know you know better". "You spend a fortune on your skin and neglect it in the most basic way". "I don't understand you". She's right,
I do know better.

Baby steps, sometimes that's the best way to approach a seismic shift. One of the things I usually don't like about sunscreen, with SPF over 15, is the chalky, white residue it leaves behind. I recently received a sample of Erno Lazlo's Total Face and Body Protection SPF 30and for a change, the sun index today was strong, so it was a perfect time for a debut. I make it a habit, every night, to use the same anti aging products on my hands, neck and chest that I do on my face. Today, I started anew, thoroughly "shielding, nourishing and hydrating" my hands.

To all good things, come to those who ignore and procrastinate??? I think so!!!
Erno Lazlo Total Face and Body Protection SPF 30 was silky, instead of chalky, absorbed quickly and had a vaguely beach, Coppertoney smell. Could that have been intentional? Breaking me in slowly??? I'd like to think so.

Tomorrow, hands and chest. At this rate, I will have the body thing locked up in a few weeks and for now Sister, that's as much as I can commit to. I know you have my best interest at heart, just like I had yours...I never skimped on that Solarcaine spray, now did I???


Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Ending

I do love the look of a tan, but I am a long way from the baby oil and iodine days of my teens and the N.Y.C. rooftop tans of my twenties. A little sun is good for the soul and the bones, but a great self tanner, is even better.

The first self tanner I ever used was Clarin's Auto Bronzante Self Tanning Milk. You could confidently use Auto Bronzante and never have to worry about waking up tangerine. In the interim 20 years, I have tried dozens of sprays, mists, lotions and creams, all promising to provide an even, gradual, golden glow. Since most of them are still lounging in my vanity, I decided to shop at home, and chose one that applied as a clear gel. I didn't think twice about it, till my work pals, Angela and Naki, fell off their chairs laughing as I exited. Sure 'nuff, the back of my legs looked like two striped chipmunks, Chip and Dale...Funny??? Yes. Pretty??? Not so.

I realize, I am much better off, with tinted self tanner, so I could see exactly where the product is placed. I decided to go back and give Clarin's, my first love, a second chance.

I stopped into Sephora, where I was greeted like the class Valedictorian, returning to their Alma mater...hugs and smiles all around, laments about too much time spent away... Gee, it's nice to be missed and I was delighted to see that business was strong and familiar lines, had formed to check out.

First stop was Clarin's, but unfortunately, none of the self tanners were tinted. We moved on to Lindsay Lohan's, Sevin Nyne, which was recently launched. Sevin Nyne is a clear mist of Pina Colada. If you could live through the smell, it very well might simulate a tan...for me, all it did was stimulate my gag reflex. Lindsay Doll, stick to rehab...

Mia (my Sephora Beauty Advisor) and Mi, toured the aisles in search of a tinted self tanner...alas, on a Victory Lap, we discovered Lancome's Flash Bronzer, whose fine reputation, proceeds it. I'm happy and all set, until I hear those five little words, that always send a chill up my spine, "we are out of stock"...Uggggghhhhhhh. I know for sure, that they will call me when it comes in, but it is sweetly, pointless. On a beauty mission, I am a Navy Seal. Product will be found and purchased within O one hundred hours.

Next stop, CVS, where I hit pay dirt. I have always had great success with Loreal's Sublime Self Tanners. They don't smell cancerous and are extremely effective and well priced. How fortuitous, that they just launched, Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer, a new tinted lotion, that provides instant glow and illuminates with "micro-pearls". The color that develops is a healthy, golden tan, and for $8.99, I don't feel obliged to dole it out, with an eye dropper.

So, it all ends happily...kind of. I am sure it feels like summer somewhere. Those folks, are out playing golf and tennis, sailing, walking and enjoy other outdoor activities. They have a different agenda...sunscreens and should the need ever arise, I promise to Blog about them, too.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Imperfectly Perfect

This post party picture was taken, so y'all could see how my hair fared, through rain, mist, humidity and a night of dancing...Forget the hair for a second, let's all agree, there was A Lot of cleavage going on---Big hair and big bubbies...I am a 45 minute drive, from becoming the next Real Housewife of New Jersey.

I had received a Totalbeauty, "Sneak Peek", of Clairol Herbal Essences new, "Tousle Me Softly" hair collection. The promise, is hair that is frizz free, shiny, "tousled"... in other words, imperfectly perfect. I am not delusional...Jennifer Aniston was not going to step out of the shower, but if the wild violet and pomegranate infused shampoo and conditioner, could help my hair look intentionally messy, I would be way ahead of the game.

Next up was Tousle Me Softly Mousse, which promised loose, frizz free waves. At this point, I have already drank the Kool Aid, so I began drying and scrunching with abandon...Do you think Jon Bon Jovi was a scruncher too??? At this point, how much could it hurt to toss in a few spritz's of Tousle Me Softly Spray Gel., for a little targeted control, in case anything was getting rough around the edges.

To my surprise, my hair did look tousled and messy, but good tousled and messy. Why not throw in a few spritz's of violet scented Flexible Style Hairspray and smooth any flyaway's around the hair line, with Finishing Touch Cream? I already have six products in my hair, (see previous Blog), but can still run my fingers through it. Extraordinary!

Best of all, I made the right choice. I might have made a sleek start, but the do would have been done in no time, had I gone the straightening balm and flat iron route. I have a feeling I will be making good use of the Tousle Me Softly hair collection this summer---The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a lot more you know what. At least my hair will be looking good and so can yours---take a know what they say, "a picture, is worth a 1000 Blogs".


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Penis Envy

Just for once, I wish I was a man. A carefree, ego less, being, with very few wardrobe concerns and even less hair worries, none of which are influenced by barometer or mercury. At the moment, I am seething with (penis) envy...There. I said it.

We have a wonderful party to attend tonight. After the death of the market in October, there has been a dearth of parties, even in Greenwich, which is notoriously social. Our hosts, are relaxed and fun loving and clearly enjoy entertaining. Invitations are coveted and no one declines. Even if your kid was having an appendectomy, you would be taking shifts with your spouse, "just to go and say hello". Alright... I would.

If you accept an invitation, I think you have certain obligations to your host; to show up and leave at an appropriate time, to be gracious and if there is a dress code, to follow it to the letter. Being a guest is a privilege and to do less, is in my opinion, is disrespectful. (Thank you Miss Manner's).

This is long winded way of getting to my beauty dilemma, shared by all the women who will be attending, and never once, entering the cerebellum, of the men, not even for a nano second. What to you do, about your hair, makeup, clothes and shoes, when you will be dancing under a tent, the temperature is cool, the humidity is high and tornado's continue to loom?

First, there is hair. 3 options: tie it back, beat it into submission, let it go.. Second, the makeup. Primers and waterproof everything or bare face and let it go. Lastly, attire. That adorable dress you bought in February, to wear to a, "great summer party"? Put it back your cedar closet, at least, for a few more weeks. Those gorgeous sandals you splurged on, because you were "only going to buy accessories" and they would "go with everything"? Keep 'em stuffed and cosseted in their little cloth cocoon, back in that cedar closet. If you wear long sleeves, it will eventually be hot and disrobing is not an option. If you wear no sleeves, it will be undoubtedly chilly until the food and drinks kick in.

I have a towel on my head and a few hours to figure it out. Tomorrow, I will let you know my battle plan and how it all fared. When it's all said it done, none of it will be worth worrying about, because it will be a sensational party and all of this worrying, will have been for nought--- I will be carefree, ego less and just one of the boys...


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Low Brow Big Time

You all know, I had high hopes that The Real Housewives of New Jersey, would provide some mindless entertainment for a few Tuesdays. The only thing I got right, was the few Tuesdays.

Someone over at Bravo, obviously slipped on their thinking cap and decided to cut their losses pronto. The season "finale", came with the 6th installment. I never made it past the third.

The RH of NJ, made Carmela Soprano, look like Letitia Baldridge. No!!!... big hair, big "bubbies", big hubbies, big Botox, big cars, big teeth and big mouths, cannot best, tacky, tasteless and tedious. Your bad, Bravo.

I was hoping to feel some sense of simpatico, with this crew, since I am half Italian and in the end I did. To borrow a phrase from Theresa, I, "shkeeved".

That's all...


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beauty Duty Bound

At 2:00 p.m. today, I was still in my nightgown. I was prepared to stay that way all day, until a miraculous thing occurred...the sun came out. How many weeks can this go on? I am contemplating a bone density test---by now, surely, every bit of calcium and Vitamin D, has been leached from my bones. I am way past cranky, I am officially surly.

I owe the Totalbeauty team a review and Blog about two Loreal HIP, (High Intensity Pigment) products I received. What are the odds, that of the 5000 or more beauty items available, I already purchased them both??? This is where it gets tricky too. I am obliged to write about them truthfully. Take the HIP Kohl Eyeliner.

I purchased it two months ago, in the same navy color I was sent. I was attracted to the idea of "kohl", because it triggered memories, of an early obsession, with Madeline Mono's kohl eyeliners, that I used to save up to buy, at Gilliar's Drug Store in Great Neck. I had high hopes...I always do, but I wasn't prepared to be assaulted, by an applicator that was as sharp as ice pick. Fortunately, this could never have been tested on an animal. If it had, the howl might have prompted someone to give it a whirl on a human. Were they really recommending we line our delicate lids with an awl??? Apparently.

When all is said and done, I can forgive pain, if in fact, the "loose powder did glide on velvety-smooth" and stayed put. Instead, I ended up dotted with nit sized, navy freckles. Removing them, without having to start my makeup over from scratch, required the delicate skill of a neurosurgeon.

Better things can be said for HIP's Presso Lip Gloss. Cleverly, two lip glosses are packaged together. You can either use them individually, or squeeze the tube together to combine them. The colors are flattering and have a slight iridescent glow to them. Best of all, the applicator didn't hurt!
That's always a plus. It actually fits comfortably, on the contours of your lips. It did take me 45 minutes to figure out how to open it, but I may be in the minority here.

I know my Mother is tssk tssking as she is reading this Blog. On the one hand Mom, I did use common sense and did not continue putting a sharp object near my eyeball. Believe me, I didn't forget the golden rule, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all", but like I said, it's tricky. My fingers are simply tied. Would I have kept this tale awl to myself? Absolutely, (and Loreal would have probably preferred it), but they asked and I answered...yup, I am Beauty Duty Bound and I take my Blog seriously, ya know???
First do no harm...


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When the Moon is in the Second House...

I am not handy and have never aspired to be, though if your a gal who knows her way around tongue and groove pliers, you have my deepest respect and admiration.

The other day, I found myself, tibia deep, in shower water that was at a complete standstill. Yuk. What could be the problem??? I have heard of the term, "gallbladder sludge", I just couldn't figure out how it found its way into my bathtub. Or perhaps, the soy and olive oil in my beloved Dove Body Wash, had triggered the problem?

If I could find it, I wouldn't know what to do with a plunger, so while I was out buying Mr. Plumber, I started thinking, I might be better off with a body wash, that doesn't have the consistency and ingredients of mayonnaise. Amazingly, in a flash of beauty kismet, I arrived home to a package that included, a new body wash, that will hit the shelves within the next week or two...Love that!!!

What's in a name? Well for starters, if I like it, I am more inclined to try it or buy it. I always thought Tone was a great name for a soap, so why not a Body Wash?. Tone's Blueberry Antioxidant Body Wash, with vitamins A, E and blueberry extract, looked cheery, (much needed, since it now rains Monday through Friday) and it will be very well priced, ($3.99 for 18 oz.)

No one would ever confuse me for a, "morning person". Given my druthers, the American work day would begin at 11:00, but alas, I am in the minority here, so I participate in morning rituals, despite catatonia.

The next day, I opened my new, Tone Blueberry Body Wash, and was instantly awakened by a sweet, pungent "blueberry" fragrance...ooooooooh, did I goof here??? Actually, not. Once the rich, antioxidant infused wash, met the pouf and a little H20, it diffused into a creamy, fresh smelling lather. It left my skin feeling like silk and rinsed clean. I used less moisturizer and was told I smelled, "delicious". 16 hours later, I still felt like a newborn.

I prefer a sludge less morning, don't you? Blueberry Tone, also promises radiant skin and I think it will live up to its billing. Maybe I will luck out and get radiant, toned pipes as well---here's hoping for a little more beauty's my favorite kind of lucky.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Life Lessons We Can All Learn From

I don't think I am alone, in my obsession with Bernie Madoff. I simply, cannot wrap my head around how anyone could knowingly hurt so many people, simply so he could regularly afford $2000 trousers. It's troubling. My heart particularly goes out to his elderly victims, who are now bankrupt and struggling to make ends meet. I promise, I am not blaming them, BUT, somewhere, deep inside, there had to be years of ignoring that inner voice, that said, "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is".

Which brings me to the Lifestyle Lift. Have you ever seen this infomercial? You would remember, because it is virtually impossible to turn off.

I am a sucker for all things, "before" and "after". I give the producers of Lifestyle Lift infomercial, huge props, for not making the women take their before (mug) shots, after rolling out of bed. They mostly feature, middle class women in their 60's, who realistically, are not looking to lop off 20 years, but would appreciate help finding their chins. The Lifestyle Lift, promises to achieve this, ("though individual results may vary"), in less than one hour, with local anesthesia, all performed, of course, with a, "Board Certified Plastic Surgeon". The "afters" look superb, but let's face it, they probably would not include the Schnauzer's in the infomercial, to begin with.

This Thursday's New York Times Style section, (which yes, I read online), ran a feature on the "branding" of face lifts, like the Lifestyle Lift and it's kin the Quicklift. I read it, still trying to find out how these procedures are achieved. No such luck. Part of the reason that over 100,000 women have undergone the Lifestyle Lift, since 2001, is no doubt cost. Even if you travelled to a third world country for a lift, your expenses would still top the $4000-$5900 Lifestyle Lift costs, once you threw in travel expenses.

I did a little online research and discovered that only 37% of those who have this procedure are satisfied with the results. I guess that means that another 63,000 people are a wee cranky. What do you get for your money? An appointment with a non-medically trained salesperson, who will show you a video and inform you, you are a "perfect candidate". You will next, be booked for surgery, without your ever having consulted with the scalpel wielding fellow, (who might also be using fish hooks and bob wire) and give a non-refundable $2000 deposit, (maybe a pair of dove grey cashmere Kiton pants for Bernie). Oh, and on your way out, don't forget your pre-stamped scripts for antibiotics and narcotics. Whoops!!! Allergic??? Who knew???!!!.

So, let's hope we have all learned a thing or too from Bernie. Judging by pictures of Ruth, (Bernie's spouse and accomplice), I'd say she got her nips and tucks the old fashioned way...for $20,000+ with a fine Park Avenue surgeon. Ruthie knew it all along..."if it seems to good to be true, it probably is", and now we do too.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Girl Tech

One of the all time smartest, beauty promotions ever created, is a, "Gift-With-Purchase". This nugget of marketing genius, was hatched by none other than the legendary Estee Lauder. Wildly successful and frequently copied, women have been enjoying their freebies, for the last 50 years, without feeling like they spent an extra dime, (maybe because they spent an extra $20).

Sometimes, those gifts felt like they packaged all the left over discontinued lipsticks, Brick-a-Brac, Blood Money and Iced Tea with all the long forgotten shadows, Aqua Net, Lovely Lilac, and Meadow Grass. In other words, all the dogs.

In my teens, I became addicted to Clinique's 3 Step skin care program...The gorgeous Cleansing Bar , the size of a babka, came wrapped in it's own mint green house. The liquid Clarifying Lotion, acted as the exfoliant, and came in different numbered strengths... some of my happiest beauty memories were of experiencing that first tingle and glow. The icing, was Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion , which had the color and consistency of a good cake batter...Loved it bad.

I never knew whether my sister Loren knew, that her 3 Step, was actually a 6 Step, and more so when "we" used it twice a day. I do remember, that whenever it was Clinique gift time, I would prey for a 3 Step bonus, in hopes of having my own stash and that my prayers were often answered. As a form of payback, I sometimes gifted back, the spectacular Black Honey Lip gloss to my unwitting benefactor...boy, am I ever a class act, don't you think???

Today, I received an email from one of my contacts at Estee Lauder. EL, is encouraging us, to share this generous promotion, with out readers. This smartly packaged promotion, allows you to choose the best moisturizer for your skin type, as well as a gloss, lipstick, eyeshadow stick and 8 shadow quad, in your choice of cool or warm tones. In addition, every gift comes with a sample of Aerin Lauder's Private Collection, Tuberose and a chic, white and black cosmetics bag.

This offer is worth over $100, and it is yours, free, with any purchase of $39.50 or more. This limited offer ends of June 14th. Both gifts include gorgeous, wearable colors---you will want to use, not a single barker in the bunch...I swear.

O.K., so I double dipped on my sister's 3 Step, a long time ago...
doesn't mean you can't trust me now. See for yourself...go to Today's Gift-With-Purchases, have come a long way, baby. I think Mrs. Lauder would have loved, all of the new media. Your gift is just a click away


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