Archive | August, 2008

Sassy’s “Top 10 Beauty Tips” (August, 2008)

27 Aug

When it comes to humor, I think the one-liner joke is severely underappreciated. They are timeless and tacky but always remembered. “Men are like parking spaces—all the good ones are taken.” “If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is it naked or homeless?” “What is invisible and smells like carrots? Rabbit farts.” Priceless! Simply priceless! “Take my husband….please!” Okay, you get the idea.

Sometimes I feel like I am the Henny Youngman of beauty tips. I have many that are short, sweet and right to the point. It probably is the only time I have the ability to give suggestions and opinions in less than 10 seconds too. Of course, after I throw in my two cents under fifty words, I can only hope someone will respond with a “Why?” so I can then talk for 10 minutes giving a detailed explanation that would put most men into REM sleep.

Today you will find the first of my “Top 10 Beauty Tips” that I have personally found to be priceless to my beauty routine. They aren’t just given lip service here… they all have been or are being used by myself at some time or right now. Plus you will see that whenever possible, I will try to avoid suggesting a specific name-brand product too. I’m not here to promote the sales of any specific item. Well, unless I am paid to put in some shameless product placement plug to generate me some coin. Then a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. But primarily, my duty is to just bring you great ideas because I get great joy to reach out and touch someone. (Cha-ching!)

  1. Apply your body lotion, cream or butter when you get out of the shower while your skin is still damp. Don’t dry off completely! The oils in the body lotions will help seal in the waters and keep your skin hydrated AND moisturized!
  2. Enjoy those long hot showers in the morning? Remember to splash your face at the sink with cool water after you get out and before you begin putting on your makeup. You want to make sure you close your pores so the makeup doesn’t “sink” into them.
  3. Witch hazel is a fabulous toner for normal /combo skin. Diluted (with distilled water) apple cider vinegar is a perfect toner for oily skin.
  4. Whenever possible, put your under eye concealer on with a specially designed brush. The bristles help fill in any lines and creases and the long handle of the brush helps to prevent any heavy-handed tugging around the eye area.
  5. Sweet almond oil should be a staple on your bathroom counter! It’s great for moisturizing your lips, face, cuticles and hands. It also has scar reducing properties for face imperfections and doesn’t clog pores for those that are acne prone.
  6. Got yourself a great eye cream? Make sure you use a little of it each night before bed around the edges of your lips. The fine lines around your eyes are very similar to the ones around your mouth.
  7. Moisturize and exfoliate your lips at the same time. Mix 1 teaspoon olive oil with 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar. Place mixture in a small sample or cosmetic jar and into lips for a minute each night. Gently wipe off any excess sugar with a soft towel.
  8. Don’t throw out an old banana! Once the skin on the fruit has turned dark brown, mash it up in a bowl till it’s almost creamy like pancake batter. Spread it all over your cleaned face at bedtime and let it set for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. Bananas are one of nature’s best anti-aging foods!
  9. Feet tired? Take a bag of dollar-store marbles and put them in the freezer. Fill a basin with cool water. Add your favorite foot soak (or just drop in two Alka-Seltzers and a slice of lemon or a sprig of fresh mint) and put the frozen marbles into the basin. Sit back and roll your feet on the marbles for about 15 minutes. Ahhhhh.
  10. Your pillowcase is not your washcloth. Always always always take ALL of your makeup off before bedtime. Someone once told me that if you sleep with your makeup on, it will prematurely age your skin by ten days. I have no idea if that is true, but even if it was only by ten seconds, that’s ten seconds too much for me!

The list isn’t seasonal, but the tips are “must knows” and will be the basis for other lists to come. Like any good house, it all starts with a good foundation. Now that I think about it, so is a good glamour look!

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When Enough Just Isn’t Enough….

23 Aug

Shopping is better than sex.

If you’re not satisfied after shopping

you can make an exchange

for something you really like.

~ Adrienne Gusoff

This past winter was the season from hell for me. I was pretty much sick from February through June with some sort of allergy-induced virus. For four months, my life revolved around Benadryl, nose sprays, vitamin C and boxes of lotioned tissues. In addition to developing a sensitivity to just about everything that grew or pooped in my backyard, I also developed sensitivity to most of the cosmetics in my bathroom. I was afraid to smooth, scrub, lather or line any part of my face or body. The skin care and glamour items that I had used without problem for almost five years were now the on ramp to the irritation highway. I began a new quest for products that would keep my skin illuminating instead of inflamed.

After endless trials and tribulations, samples and specimens, I managed to replace each irritating item in my daily routine with something that didn’t turn me into a spokes model for “Hives R Us”. Of course, to do this wasn’t cheap. Most of the products I found were high-end items designed for sensitive skin. Almost all had to be free of common fillers that were the new enemy to my overactive allergies. I did, however, discover recipes to make my own cleansers, exfoliators and moisturizers out of natural ingredients found in my own kitchen. I was able to save a few coins with my diluted vinegar toner but of course I had to turn around and invest them back into things like finely ground, talc-free mineral foundation. But for the sake of youthful itch-free skin, it was worth it.

Now that I had a skin care routine mastered with products that were perfect, I should be happy. Right? Ummmm, kind of. See, it’s in a woman’s nature not to be satisfied when it comes to shopping. We could save a hundred dollars on a clearance-sale dress for a party and then spend that savings plus fifty more on a new pair of shoes, lip gloss, eyeliner and perfume to accessorize. Heaven knows we all have THE perfect lipstick in our drawer. It matches every outfit, makes our lips feel like satin, stays on for hours, and never goes out of style. So if this precious tube is everything we ever wanted in a lipstick, why do we have 20 others? Some are too dark, too dry, too sparkly or too blah. Some we’ve never even broke the safety seal on! So why do we have them? Because at the time we found them, we justified a need for them. Each and every one of them. All women do this. I admit it, I do this. And I do it often. No jury needed….guilty as charged.

The advertising departments of the major cosmetic companies are trained to target the hard-core makeup shopping junkies such as myself. They know we are way past the gateway drugs of the 99 cent lip glosses and need-to-burn eyeliners and they tease our senses with brightly colored polishes and packages to lure us into their circle. We know what we have on our bathroom counter is good enough. In fact it’s probably better than good enough. But still we yearn for more. We want the rush of discovering something new and fabulous, and being the first to do so amongst our friends. We want to be the one to find the new solve-all, fix-all glam item of the century. This was evident today as I flipped through a copy of my latest fashion magazine and discovered a well-known cosmetic company had come out with a new line of cleansers and foundations. My heart began to beat erratically as I read about the new state-of-the-art ingredients in their fast-paced, anti-aging formulas that were shown to stop the hands of time. Oh heavens. Gimme gimme gimme. I mean, I knew what I had at home was perfectly fine. It worked exactly how I wanted it to. And it didn’t turn me into a piece of red flannel. So why was I planning on rushing out of the dentist’s office where I was reading this article, across the street to the local drug store, and buy stuff I did not need whatsoever? Because I’m a woman!!!!

Ten minutes, two makeup products, one bag, and one credit card receipt later, my latest fix and I were driving for home. It was just like a scene out of “Intervention”. I left my laptop and purse in the car, and rushed into the house with my little baggie of goodies. I spoke to no one, ran directly into the bathroom and locked the door. It was time to “use”. I first grabbed the innovative cleanser and held the bottle in my hands. I inhaled the scent of the new drug, and rubbed it around in my hands. Ahhhhh. This was good. Every wrinkle, every line, every problem would be gone with just a squirt and a scrub. I lathered up my face, stared in the mirror, and enjoyed the rush. I splashed my skin clean and enjoyed the fresh feeling of my newly rejuvenated face. Then I took out the new foundation that I was convinced was going to be so great, it would be nominated for Nobel Prize. I played with the packaging and applied it with sheer precision. I stepped away from the mirror and admired these life-changing products with a smile a mile wide. I was in awe, and I had made it happen. I looked good. Well, I thought I looked good. Because whether it be in life or in the cosmetic aisle…”love is blind.”

I exited the bathroom, feeling like America’s Next Top Model. I was a stunning, wrinkle-free woman. Hear me roar! As I saw my husband standing in front of the microwave, I couldn’t help but toss my hair and give him a sexy grin as I struck a pose. And he immediately responded to my self-proclaimed Cosmopolitan-like look. “Geesh, you look sick. You’re pale. What did you do to your face? You makeup looks like ass. Are you doing something new?” NOOOOOO! This was not the response I was looking for! Where were the flawless-gorgeous-timeless comments I was told I would get in the ad? This isn’t possible!! When I told him what I had done and what I had bought, he told me I had made a mistake. A big mistake. Even before I could tell him that he obviously knew nothing about what was en vogue and high tech, he called for our daughter. Because he knew I was going to tell him he was a fashion-clueless male, and he was right. He knew I would need a female’s opinion to back him up. Now my daughter is a thirteen year-old glamour guru. She is the girl whom I taught to be smart and not to do or buy anything on impulse. Ouch. He asked her “How does mommy’s makeup look?” She got close to my face. REALLY close. For twenty seconds I stood there while she inspected me like Number 14 inspects your underwear. Then, after an uncomfortable silence she gave me the devastating blow. “Your face is getting red and blotchy. And I see wrinkles. And your pores are huge.” With no expression, she just turned and left me in a daze. My legs got weak and I had to sit down. This can’t be happening. How could this be? Sigh. That’s what I get. I had cheated on my makeup with a (not so) cheap fling. I fell hook, line and sinker for the “new kid on the block”. Why did I stray? Why did I think the skin was softer on the other side of the fence?

I sulked back to the bathroom and collected my thoughts… and my new products. I put them back in their little bag and threw in my receipt so I could return them to the store. I hung my head in shame. And what was worse was I knew deep down this probably wouldn’t be the last time I let my glamour regulars down. Why? Because we are fickle. We are women. And just like it’s a man’s nature to hunt, it’s our nature to shop. At that moment, I looked over at the bathroom counter and saw my regular cleanser and foundation staring at me in a hurtful way. I’m sure they were wondering if they could ever trust me again. I couldn’t even look at them with those other substandard products on my face. I turned on the faucet and began to wipe the slate clean. Literally. As I eliminated all traces of the facial affair, I promised myself to be true and loyal to those who have been there for me… through the good and the brash.

Well, at least until the next supermodel tells me her new lipstick will make me the next Gloria Steinem.

Cosmetic Review: Stila Lip Glaze

13 Aug

Stila Lip Glaze

By Stila Cosmetics

Price: $22 at Sephora.com and Sephora retail stores

Item Description:

What it is: An ultra-high shine lip gloss in a nifty click pen.

What it does: Stila’s ever-popular lip glaze is back in action with larger pens (twice the size of the original) guaranteed to keep your lips glossier, longer. The gloss gives lips a punch of color and adds a delicious scent. Whatever sweet flavor you are in the mood for, it is sure to be found in this collection of classic shades.

Things I like: High gloss shine; moisturizing; long wear; tons of awesome shades and flavors; pen-style applicator with “clicking” dispenser; built-in brush.

Things I don’t like: A little steep in price; twistable dispenser takes a while to master, but once you do you’ll love it.

Rankings:

Packaging Design: 5 out of 5

Portability/Convenience: 5 out of 5

Wearability: 5 out of 5

Shade/Color Variety: 5 out of 5

Value: 4 out of 5

Overall Ranking (on a scale from 1 – 10): 9.5

Likely To Buy It Again? Absolutely

Why?

When it comes to shine, this might be the product that all others will look up to. I can see why Stila called this a glaze and not just a gloss. It’s thick like a melted frosting and makes your lips shine like a newly waxed car! I could see the thickness being a problem for some, as it is a hair and fuzz magnet. But that’s what makes it extra super shiny and moisturizing. I love the fact there is a color and flavor for every mood and style I have. Now that it is summer, I’m enjoying the Banana and Grapefruit shades the most. I can see that fall might entice me to pick up the Brown Sugar and Plum colors. I personally prefer a lip gloss with a brush rather than a spongie applicator. I think the spongies can get nasty if they are used over different lipsticks. The brushes seem to be more precise and put more product on instead of taking existing colors off like the spongie applicators do. This price is a little higher than what I have used in the past. But I have to say, I use these glazes much more frequently because I like how they look and feel so it only makes sense I am getting my money’s worth. I can see how lip glosses can be a personal preference selection, but I will definitely put Stila Lip Glaze at the top of my list. It’s a must have glamour item that goes with me everywhere, every day!

Perfume: The Smell or the “Scent”?

9 Aug

I received a sample of a new perfume while visiting my make-up heaven a while back. I’m very hesitant to try new perfumes because I’m very particular about what I like. I generally have a cologne rule of thumb: if it smells like ass in the bottle to my nose, then it probably is going to smell like ass on my skin. This sample, however, was right up my alley. I tend to lean towards fruity, crisp, light scents and this had a tone of fresh summer berries to me. It wasn’t like wearing a fruit cobbler, but it was sassy and summery. I wore the sample for a week and decided to invest in a small bottle.

Most women will say they have their “signature scent” and wear the same perfume every day. I think women who do this are boring. I’m not like that at all. I tend to match my perfumes to different things: weather, mood, clothes, occasion. I don’t have a ton of fragrances, but enough to change it up when I feel like it. Keep it interesting, I say. I feel the same about men’s scents too. Don’t bore me with the repetitive “in” fragrance of the year. Keep me curious. I once dated a guy who wore Polo Green, every day, by the handful, for our entire relationship. We dated for over 5 years. And yes, it was in the eighties. To this day, I cannot smell that cologne on a man without my stomach turning every time. It may be from the memories of big hair and gummy bracelets. But I’m leaning towards the Polo.

When it comes to perfume advertising, I have noticed that all of the ads in the media portray perfume to be the “missing link” to a connection with the opposite sex. Smell good? Get lucky. Rub this here? Get rubbed there. The industry even “teaches” us to put spritz cologne where our bathing suit covers! Fashionably, perfume is similar to clothing. You wear it as a reflection of your style. It’s no different than wearing your favorite jeans, your sexiest top, your designer shoes, or your Fredericks’ unmentionables. And honestly, who do you want to notice your fashion statement more than anyone? My guess is male prospective possibilities! Think about it. You’ll pour yourself into a pair of pants and know you won’t be able to sit all night just to make your butt look good for the bartender of your favorite club. You’ll jam your blistered toes into a pair of pumps that are as comfortable as wearing tomato soup cans on your feet just so you can strut for the executive who sits by the window of the coffee shop that you pass each day. You’ll do all that for someone else’s attention. But this is where perfume veers off the fashion highway. Ultimately, who is the first person who will think you are sexier because of your new scent? The guy who is numb to anything except the smell of mojitos? The java junkie whose senses are steamed and frothed? Nope.

You.

Go out and get a new perfume that you are just dying to have. Watch and see how you act after you put on your new aroma. Maybe you’ll put your lipstick on a little darker. Or you will make your eyes look a little more smoldering. Maybe you’ll smile a little more flirtatiously. Or you will have a slight swank to your step. Now you take that aura that is newly surrounding you to the streets. You’ll notice people noticing you. They glance longer at you from across a room. They do the infamous “double take” as you walk though the market. They smile at you…just because! What is it? What’s new? Is it because you smell different? Nope. It’s because you are giving off a new “scent”. A scent of self confidence. A scent of assurance. A scent of sexiness.

“Happiness is like perfume. You can’t give it away without getting a little on yourself.” – Anonymous. When it comes to feeling sexy, there is a fine line between the enticing smell your perfume gives off and the seductive “scent” you emit yourself. You owe it to yourself to cross that line. Dare to put yourself out there and own the sexiness that only you can feel with a scent you love!

(By the way? The perfume I recently ordered and almost attacked my UPS man for was Escada’s Moon Sparkle.  He had no clue what was in the box, but I guarantee you he wanted to know!!)

Hurry Up, The Maids Are Coming!

6 Aug

You would have thought the Queen of England was coming to my house with the way I was acting last night. “Put those shoes away! Get those dishes out of the sink! Who’s going to sweep this floor? Take the garbage out of the bathroom!” The members of my home were running around like hamsters on a wheel. Time was running out. I’d never get everything done in time. I’m getting a stress headache.

So who was coming over that was so important that I made my family clean up till the stroke of midnight? Were Branjolina and the new babies coming to visit? Maybe it was the Publisher’s Clearing House crew with my 26 pound check. Or was it was the Absolut Vodka hunk, Jason Lewis, coming to drop off a case of booze in person? Unfortunately no, it was none of those fantasy friends. It was a group that was even more ‘in-the-know” and my house had to be ready for them. Who were they, you ask?

….the maids.

Yeah, okay. Take a minute to process that one. I’m cleaning my house so the maids won’t think my family is a group of slobs. Now if any of you have or had a maid, you know exactly where I’m coming from. There is a line between what is acceptably clean and what is “Oh you’ve got to be kidding me!” dirty. I’m sure for the most part I was being obsessive compulsive. But then again, if I was that OCD I wouldn’t need a maid in the first place.

For the most part, I’ve always been able to handle my house on my own with the help of my husband and two kids. It’s been much more difficult, however, since I had had three shoulder surgeries and four hernia operations within the past 8 years. I’ve had to cave in to the fact I can no longer reach, grab, push, pull, lift, carry, and stand for long periods of time. That pretty much takes away my ability to do much cleaning now at all. My husband isn’t the most together person when it comes to cleaning either. He was the only child of a stay-at-home Italian mom and didn’t realize that clothes didn’t wash and fold themselves till he was around 25. In fact, while helping me after my first hernia surgery, he actually called me on his cell phone from our basement to ask me what the knobs on the washing machine were for. Give me strength.

With a foot surgery on my upcoming agenda and no idea how long I will be out of commission for, I decided to break down and hire a cleaning service. I don’t feel bad that I am now aware that I can’t take care of my house by myself. Hell no, I’m not that proud. I’m upset because I have to let a van full of women see my cluttered, disarranged abode. There is no privacy paper you sign when the maid service comes to your house either. Everything they see will be discussed amongst the living before the end of the day. And because of this “all seeing, all knowing” clause that you know is in fine print, anything not in place must be put in place ASAP. Things such as all dirty socks buried under the couch. All of the toenail clippings on the floor that no one will claim must be disposed of. All pay stubs must be filed. All wine glasses must be washed and their accompanying empty bottles must be disposed of. And the collection of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues must be “put away for safe keeping” as per my husband.

So if all this is going to be done, why bother to get a maid? I guess it’s because a home is easy to de-clutter but not easy to clean. And when the time comes to remove the clutter, somehow accumulated crud appears where clutter once was. By that point, to most wives and moms, it’s overwhelming to the point of tears. Cleaning services are awesome. They get down on their knees and scrub the bathroom places that I only see when tying my shoe while taking a pee. They will clean my kitchen and dining room floor with a nail brush. They chisel off the Spaghettios that have become a permanent fixture in my microwave. They will suck out the fuzz from under the refrigerator. They will polish the candlestick holders that Aunt Melva gave to my mother-in-law who in turn gave to us which honestly don’t match a damn thing but my husband says we can’t get rid of due to sentimental value. At this point, they have accumulated sediments … not sentiments. They will tackle this home with a shop vac, old t-shirt scraps and Windex. And for this I will pay them. I will pay them well, and I will nominate them for cleaning sainthood.

So as soon as I finish getting my house in order, I will be ready for them to come in and tackle my dusty, dingy but full of love and appreciation home. I just hope to hell they don’t open the hallway closet. If they do, the chances are good they will be attacked by a hockey stick, a computer charger, 15 X-Box games, an empty six-pack of coke, Christmas decorations, and a box of stale Cheerios. I’ll have to make a note to get that cleaned out before next Spring.