Wednesday, March 4, 2015

a few favorites

We all have them.  A few beauty products we use every day and think, I am so glad I discovered this.  

This, compared to the drawers and cabinets of barely-used blushes, lipsticks, and other must-haves at the time.  I probably have enough make-up I never use to last  the rest of my life.  I know the beauty blogs say that make-up expires, but I don't believe it.  Mayonnaise? Yes. Cream blush? No.

While I'm not an expert, I know what I like.  So here is the short list of my tried and true favorites.

Body Moisturizer

I've written about this before but it really is a miracle cream for dry skin.  My dermatologist recommended it to help solve my ever-complaining whine of scaly dry legs.  You need a prescription, even though my dermatologist doesn't understand why. It's only $25 for a 16-ounce jar of fragrance-free cream. It works better than anything I've ever tried, and I've tried a lot.  You just have to remember to use it to see its effect.

Bath Gel

I gave up soap a few years ago and replaced it with Neutrogena Bath Gel.  It lasts longer than soap, doesn't get scum all over the bathtub, and does everything soap does but better and neater. I get the 40-ounce at Costco.

Lip Moisturizer

Love this.  I keep it on my desk and use it throughout the day.  It's only .35 ounces but lasts a very long time.  There's also a lipstick-sized version.

Under Eye Brightener

I had a facial in 2005 (the day before Alexander's Bar Mitzvah) and the person doing the facial recommended this product.  I've been using it ever since, and have recommended it to friends who also love it.   It's a creamy liquid that easily brightens the area under your eyes.  And because you use so little, it lasts forever. It's by a company called Colorescience and it's a must-have.

Clé de Peau Concealer

This is not cheap, but worth every penny.  M told me about this product about a year ago, and it's become one of those, how did I not know about this until now?

Clé de Peau also has the best lipsticks.


I recognize that blushes are a personal thing, and surely the colors that work for me won't work for everyone (I tend toward the blueish pinks). But the performance and consistency of these make them worth the recommendation.

Benefit Cheek Tint
This product is messy to put on but worth it, as it stays on all day. My favorites (and the only ones I use) are the ones on the two ends, Benetint and Lollitint.  You control how light or dark you want it.

Any of the cream blushers by Illamasqua
My favorite is the color Promise. 

Dior powder
Here's the description.  I'm copying it directly because it really does what it says. 

What it does:
Recreate the look of just-pinched, rosy cheeks with this finely-milled light-pink blush. The unique formula adjusts to your skin’s natural chemistry to create a customized look and the universal shade, Petal #001, is flattering on all skintones. Its ultra-fine, powder texture and irresistible rose fragrance offer a moment of pure indulgence with each application. 

And finally, my new favorite thing (unrelated to beauty)

I recently received an amazing early birthday gift —  a tiny product with a big sound: the Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker. 

It's easy to set up and sounds incredible. 

So that's it.  If you have any favorites, please post them.  Who doesn't want to discover a new, great product...for beauty, or not!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I am one of those people who keeps lists.  It's hard for me to imagine people who don't.  

I have lists of varying lengths and immediacies.  

There's the to-do list for the next few days. 
The long term list. 
The future purchase list, for when I win the lottery. 
A list for things I've asked Alexander to do and am still awaiting. 
A list of museum exhibits I'll probably never go to. 
A list of books I will likely read. 
And even a list of Groupon expiration dates.

Today's list is filled with mind-numbing to-do's. If nothing gets crossed off, it really won't matter.  

But one of the items is something I've been putting off for weeks.  

When I send an email from my J. Hilburn account it doesn't show up in my sent mail folder. But call apple re: mail is something I've yet to cross off my list, as I know it won't be a five-minute call.  

Looking at some of the other unrewarding things on my to-do list (go to cleaners, wrap and mail baby gift, research using Harvard Dental School Faculty for next cleaning), I decide to finally call Apple.  I am lucky to get a senior tech person from Ohio named Misty.

After some unsuccessful troubleshooting, Misty concludes that we need to call J.Hilburn for confirmation on some settings. This results in a three-way conversation with Scott, the tech guy at J. Hilburn. Eventually the problem gets fixed.

By the time I hang up, I know of Misty's three boys (7,8,9) and she knows of mine. I know it took her a while to lose all the weight she gained from being pregnant for three years. And I know she is incredibly knowledgeable and patient. I look on my phone and see that it says: 141:30. It's taken two hours, twenty minutes, and thirty seconds to resolve this problem.

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "Whatever you are, be a good one." He would have liked Misty.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

a mini vacation

Thursday afternoon I board the Bolt bus to Boston.

I pack little in the way of clothes, but much in the way of stuff. My carry-on tote will keep me from becoming thirsty or getting bored, should we hit a ten hour delay along the way.   

It's been a long time since I've been on a real vacation; you know, the kind where you stay in a hotel, relax, and eat great meals while hanging out with people you want to be with.

Then I realize, my three days in Boston qualifies. There is only one difference. My hotel is free, and is called M's house; it's nicer than any Ritz.

Here are the highlights:

*    Having Thursday dinner with my sister Jean at Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant in South Boston.  It’s a great little place in a neighborhood that used to be a lot more downscale when I lived there.

*    Sleeping in Sam’s large king Tempur-Pedic bed with the room temperature kept low.  I love my bed; I love Sam’s more.

*    Running around Boston, Newton, and places further south with M all day Friday. It doesn’t matter if it’s shopping at Whole Foods, strolling around Wrentham, talking to the owner of a small boutique, or selling old text books on Amazon; it is never dull with M.

*    Eating lunch on Saturday at Aquitaine Bar & Vin Bistro with M, my sister Jean, and my mom. The mussels are lacking in substance and quantity; but are more than compensated for by the fries, atmosphere, and of course company.

*    Being treated to a luxuriating experience at a small, nondescript place in downtown Waltham called Happy Feet Reflexology.

The place belies its nondescript exterior.  It's clean, efficiently run, and very popular. $35 for a 60-minute body massage, about 2/3 of it on just my feet.  I lie in a dark room, next to M, along with five other women.  Each of us is tended to by a non-English speaking man. The treatment is beautifully choreographed, as I kept peeking. I can feel layers of stress exiting my body.  I know it’ll find it’s way back, but for the moment, it's heavenly.

*    Celebrating V’s birthday at Catalyst in Cambridge. 

V looks exactly as she did when the three of us met at Gillette in 1981. She could be celebrating her 30th. The food (described as modern American cuisine) is excellent and plentiful.

*    Driving through Boston and Charlestown.  I haven’t lived here since 1984, and in that time, the city has transformed itself in many ways. It really is a beautiful city, even as seen through a dirty windshield.

I love Boston's spirit, strength, pride, and history.

New York is my home; it is where my heart is.  But a big piece of it will always be reserved for Boston.