Category Archives: Beauty

5 Best Beauty Buys Around (Or Under!) $5

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The post I did awhile back on 10 Best Beauty Buys Under $10 has been a surprisingly big hit–as in numbers of hits. That tells me that you, like me, would like to keep the buzz on beauty bargains alive and fresh. I’ve learned over the years that some of the best beauty tips, as well as consumer tips, tend to come from friends. Advertising for products may be persuasive and highly convincing that this or that product is the one for you. They pay a lot of people a lot of money for that. Marketing is also a science and there is quite a bit of research behind making all of us buy things…or think that we can’t live without things. But, like I said, the best recommendations come from average people, with average budgets practicing the fine art of girl talk (or guy talk, as the case may be). 

So…here are a few little inexpensive beauty products that I really do love and use all the time. If you have one you’d like to share with me and any readers who happen to stumble on my blog, please do so in the comment section! I have purchased all of the products below for either exactly $5 or under. As you know, some retailers gouge, so it pays to shop around to get the best buys on your favorite brands. 

Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara For Lash and Brow

I use this as an eyebrow fixative. I have…er…substantial brows which, even with a religious tweezing ritual, are unruly to say the least. Not unlike the person they belong to. This stuff is amazing! I’ve tried other brow waxes and such, some expensive. This one works very well. I smooth it on every day, then use an eyebrow brush (a specially set aside toothbrush works just as well) and I can get through an entire day without looking like Andy Rooney. As much as I loved Andy, and admired him journalistically speaking, I do not want his eyebrows! Unlike some brands, this formula does not flake off either–it stays put and looks great.

Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm

Everyone probably knows by now (or maybe they don’t) that you should always use a natural ingredient lip balm. Using the ones with artificial ingredients can actually make chapped lips worse, which is obviously counter productive. My choice for combating dry lips is Burt’s Bees lip balms, which come in a variety of flavors and formulations, all natural. My favorite is the honey–it smells good, and is sort of rough on the surface, thus somewhat exfoliating too. Honey is also naturally moisturizing!

Garnier Expert Exfoliator Daily Exfoliating Gel 

 

I’m actually a big fan of a lot of Garnier products…they seem to make their share of quality items for less. This facial cleanser is no exception! It’s been out for awhile now, so I’m not sure why they are still calling it “New”, but it is a superior daily facial wash. It’s a scrub but is not harsh at all, and it has a cooling, tingly effect. And, it’s a scrub that you can use every day according to Garnier. So, if you’re like me and love the glow you get from a scrub, but need a gentle one–give it a try! 

Bath & Body Works Body Lotion

Over the last few years I’ve really gotten into Bath and Body Works products! They’re always adding new fragrances, and have such a wide variety of different scents that I know you can find one you love too. Their lotions and creams are exceptional, I think, and are very moisturizing without being greasy or overly fragranced. I have a few favorites like the one pictured here, White Citrus. This 3 oz. travel sized lotion retails for $5 but I can honestly say that I’ve never paid full price for it, or anything else at Bath & Body Works. That’s my tip–sign up for their coupons and wait for their specials because they run so many of them. Paying full price at BB & W is just silly! 

Revlon Nail Enamel

In my last bargain beauty blog, I featured Revlon lipstick and a different nail enamel. This stuff is just as good, if not better than Revlon lipstick. It goes on smoothly and beautifully, probably thanks to the perfectly sized brush, is highly chip proof, and comes in literally every color in the rainbow. Almost all of my nail polishes are Revlon. Honestly, it really is just not worth it to buy the pricier salon brands when you can get everything you need in these colorful little bottles with the signature black cap. I’m wearing “Pink Freeze” now, but am going to switch to my all time favorite, “Frankly Scarlett” this weekend–just in time for Valentine’s Day…:-) 

With the exception of the Bath & Body Works lotion, all these products are widely available at any drug, grocery, or WalMart and Target stores. To purchase Bath & Body Works products online, click here: Bath & Body Works

Happy Saving! 

10 Great Red Carpet Looks; The 2011 Emmys

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I always watch the award show red carpet arrivals with great interest…the actual shows, not so much. Who wants to hear and see a bunch of actors pontificate about the finer points of their “craft”, phony air kiss one another, and bash conservative politicians? Yawn…

So, without further ado, here are the ten overall looks, not just dresses, that made me say “Wow!”, along with a lot of difficult names that I had to look up proper spellings for… 

This may seem like an odd choice, as others have expressed strong dislike for Kaley Cuoco’s Emmy look…But, I thought she looked cute, unique, and age appropriate. 

I love just about everything about Kate Winslet–she’s one of my all time favorites…Last night, she looked flawless as usual, and although red was a really popular color for a lot of ladies last night, Kate did it best! 

Christine Baranski–classy, gorgeous, and age appropriately HOT! 

Jane Krakowski…I would have advised against the overdone spray tan, but other than that–she looked fantastic! 

Dianna Agron was a vision in violet…

Julia Stiles…great fitting, beautiful strapless gown–perfect! 

I thought Kate Flannery looked beautiful and elegant…and her gown is an exact match with her eyes–did you notice that? 

Padma Lakshmi…not sure what the heck that is on her arm, but she was a goddess last night…

Sofia Vergara–perfect! Someone should steer the redhead from Mad Men in this direction…you don’t always need to have everything spilling out of your top, we all know it’s ample and impressive already…

And finally, my absolute favorite look of the night…Cobie Smulders was perfect in every way! I loved the color of her gown, her flawless hair and makeup, and gorgeous accessories….WOW! 


5 Women of Style…Iconic Because They Made their Own

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A lot of the stylish women featured in magazines, both entertainment and fashion, are listed as such because they follow fashion trends set by others, and look great doing it. That’s an accomplishment, I suppose, but the style icons that really interest me are those who march to the beat of their own drum and develop their own style. The ordinary women who pull this off are never brought to our attention, unless we know them personally, but here are a few of my all time favorites that I think you’ll recognize…

STEVIE NICKS

Why She’s Iconic: Because she took a few different looks, and melded them into her own unique signature style…Always ethereal, slightly mysterious, and cool–to this day! 

Click here to watch the ladies of The Talk interview Stevie about how her unique look was inspired, and has evolved. Stevie talks style around 19 minutes into this full episode, and sings at the end so it’s well worth watching the whole thing.  

Stylish Quote: “I think they all went too far. Their jeans got too low, their tops got too see-through. Personally, I think that sexy is keeping yourself mysterious. I’m really an old-fashioned girl, and I think I’m totally sexy”.

COCO CHANEL

Why She’s Iconic: She made sophisticated, simple, and elegant an always acceptable style option for women. You can never go wrong with a Chanel-esque look…this was true in her heyday, and will never go out of fashion. 

Coco Chanel on Biography.com 

Stylish Quote: “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous”. 

MADONNA




Why She’s Iconic: Madonna’s unique style literally symbolizes the 80’s. We’re glad a lot of it is permanently lost to that decade, hopefully never to return, but say what you will–this woman was definitely a style trendsetter who played by her own rules. 

Madonna, The Early Years, Singing “Borderline”  

Stylish Quote: “I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.” 

CLEOPATRA

Why She’s Iconic: Let’s face it, who knows exactly what she looked like? However, Cleopatra is and always will be a well known fashion icon, emulated still today. Any woman who can pull that off when no modern person ever even saw her deserves a place on this list! 

Here’s a fascinating article detailing a scientific study that found that Cleo’s infamous eye makeup was actually healthy–who knew? Cleopatra Eye Makeup 

Stylish Quote: “Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought.” 

PRINCESS DIANA

Why She’s Iconic: Not for the reasons you’ve always heard…The late Princess Diana is a style icon in my book because of her successful style evolution, which mirrored her life. She evolved, matured, and found out who she really was over the years…And she took us all along for the ride. Her early years were filled with style bloopers, in my opinion, and she was responsible for me looking hideous more than once in big flouncy ruffles that were so not me, or her, for that matter. But, even when she was a world famous style icon who set trends all over the globe with her less than fashionable fashion, she demonstrated that quality that every style icon possesses–fearlessness. You can’t be truly stylish if you’re afraid to take a risk to express yourself! 

This is an article on the latest news of the ongoing auction of Diana’s famous dresses: Princess Diana 

Stylish Quote: “I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.” 

Excuse Me Hot Bag Boy, Did You Just Call Me Ma’am?

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“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. ~ Mark Twain

 

I’m coming up fast on my 46th birthday. Cognitively, I know that that I’m aging…but inside I feel just the same as the day I walked across the stage to take my high school diploma. Realistically, I know that was a long time ago…a very long time ago now. And would I go back? Oh no way! I had no idea who I was that day in June of 1983, let alone my worth or what I could accomplish when I set my mind to it. I like myself today, I truly do. I didn’t back then, I truly didn’t. Now, if I could go back knowing what I know now, as who I am now, would I? Now that is the real question. Maybe, I think. There are advantages to youth…most of them directly related to an 18 year old body and a lifetime ahead of 18 year old possibilities. And that does make me a tiny bit sad, truly it does. 

I think we all go through this. It’s what is known as a Midlife Crisis. Some of us handle it better than others…I’m handling it okay. I mean, I’m not about to go around lying about my age, or trying to prove in some overt way that I still got it. I’ve seen people, particularly women, doing that…up close and personal, and trust me folks, it ain’t pretty! Besides, I’d much rather state my true age and have people say, and actually think, “Wow, you look great for 46!” Instead of saying, “Wow, you look great!” But really thinking, “Geez Louise! Have you been recovering from some godawful disease? Because you look like crap for 36!”  Granted, I look good for my age, but the physical changes are there too…the mirror tells me so. That’s why, when I saw the group get together on Facebook, looking into the initial phases of planning our 30th reunion (for 2 years from now), I began to wonder…where did that girl go? “She’s still here!”, I shout, as the bag boy asks if I “Would like some help out with that, Ma’am?” “Er, not just no Hot Bag Boy, but hell no! I’m fine thank you!” As I push my cart out of the store, I can’t help but check myself out in the big round security fun mirror and think to myself, “Oh, you bet I’m fine! Damn fine!” And then about halfway out to my Jeep I really wish I’d accepted that offer of help, because my middle aged back really, really hurts….:-( 

The lines are blurred for all of us these days–especially women. We live in the age of Cougars and MILFs, and Ashton & Demi, where a woman who spends every waking hour of her life on trying not to look or act her age, can still get a hot young guy to notice her–even marry her, in Demi’s case. And good for her (I guess). And we also live in the age of all sorts of anti-aging creams and fixes, plastic surgeries and “procedures”, to help us look younger than we actually are. And that’s fine too, I guess, but I have to ask…to what end? Aren’t we still 46 (or whatever age we are) when the day is done? Why put that much effort into trying to fool other people, and ourselves, that we are anything other than what–and who–we really are. 

I guess I’m here to state, for the record, that there’s nothing wrong with being 46. For me that’ll happen in about a month. And I feel good about it, really I do. It’s just those shifting paradigms that I need to fully adjust to. I’m not 25 anymore. And that bag boy is perfectly right to call me Ma’am. That’s how he sees me, realistically, and I’ve earned that respect–in spades! 🙂 

In order to help me fully adjust, I pulled a dusty book off my shelf today. It’s a volume I bought myself in anticipation of turning 40. Truth be told, I didn’t really need it then–but I am probably beginning to need it now. It’s entitled Not Your Mother’s Midlife; A Ten Step Guide To Fearless Aging by Nancy Alspaugh and Marilyn Kentz. The authors offer these 10 steps to so called “fearless aging”:

1) Accept it.

2) Take a good look at what to expect. 

3) Let go of what’s not working. 

4) Shore up spirituality. 

5) Get a new perspective. 

6) Find a new passion. 

7) Don’t just vent–reinvent. 

8) Make new goals. 

9) Get a coach. 

10) Awaken to the muse. 

These are great general suggestions. As I read through the chapters, if I find anything specific that is blog worthy, I’ll be sure to write about it. 

I’ve already started on a few of these (all on my own), so I guess I’m doing good already. And I’m probably more okay with the aging process than a lot of women out there, truth be told. But, also in truth, my life is quite literally half over. If I’m lucky, that is, and it’s not actually more than half over. And, although I am still that girl in the white satin cap and gown…I am her and she is me…I have to make some adjustments in my perceptions and sense of self to make sure that young girl can get the very most out of this phase of her life.

And she deserves it…you all really have no idea just how much she deserves it! 

Middle Aged Beauty Contestant Wins Big For Charity…Film At 11

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My tendency to enter contests that I don’t have a snowball’s chance of winning was well documented in my archived blog, The Art and Pathology of Pessimistic Optimism; Confessions of a Middle Aged Beauty Contestant. In it, I “told on myself”, as we say here in the South…and confessed that I have a penchant for finding online contests based upon some type of creative entry and driven in some manner by numbers of click votes, that I realistically have no chance of winning, yet am always sure I will win–and win big.

When I turned 40, I was stoked about the MORE 40+ modeling contest, and was sure I was going to win that one despite the fact that I, throughout my well nourished life, have always been consistently a size bigger than what is considered “plus sized” in the  modeling industry–that being a tiny size 10. To my shock and horror, I didn’t even place in that one. Then came the Bare Escentuals Women of B.E. contest, in which I explained in my characteristic entertaining prose, why I am the Woman of B.E. In that case, it was my lack of click votes, and apparently friends, which was the reason behind my stunning defeat. Most recently it was MORE’s Beauty contest, formerly known as MORE’s 40+ modeling contest. I guess the magazine finally realized that there truly isn’t much actual fashion industry call for models who are older than the usual just-potty-trained ones after all, and have morphed their annual contest offering into something more realistic for women over 40.  But, alas, I didn’t win that one either, despite my compelling essay entry on beauty that is so much more than physical. 

Earlier this month I actually found, and entered, a contest that I have a real shot at winning! It’s Capella University’s Inspire Action contest, in which my video entry “Help Me Make An Even Bigger Difference!” is climbing daily in click votes and currently stands at number 2 in its category, “Community”. I won’t actually win anything personally if I get this one…better yet, I’ll secure a $10,000 donation to “my favorite charity”. So, no makeup kits, trips to the QVC studios, cash prizes, or chances to be the next Cindy Crawford for me this time. Nope, it’s better!

The charity I’ve chosen is my organization, Women’s Resource Center. Like most struggling nonprofits WRC needs that donation, and truth be told, I need this win. I’ve had a rough year…okay a rough last few years if I’m being honest with myself and with you. Nonprofit work is my passion and nothing makes me feel more alive than doing good in an organized fashion. Knowing me that’s probably some sort of psychological disorder… nonetheless, I’d really love to get this one…for women in our community who could use a hand up to become independent and to succeed in life on their own. And for me, a woman who could really use a win right about now…

Click Here To View & Vote For My Video Entry:  Help Me Make An Even Bigger Difference!

 

An Hour of Everyday Beauty

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I woke up today feeling overwhelmed…you know, one of those mornings when there’s just too much of it and not enough of you? Then I just said to myself….stop. Breathe. Look around you, not at the house that needs cleaning, or the paper that needs writing, or the errands that need running. Just look around at all the beautiful things, and take in the beauty of your life…things you look at every day but never really see.

So, I grabbed my camera and from 7:30 to 8:30 this morning I purposely looked for beauty in the things I take for granted every day of my overwhelmed existence.

And this is what I saw…

A butterfly, lounging on the side of the house next door…

Morning, on the lake…

Beautiful flowers…

My best friend, waiting patiently for me at the front door…

Unique Southern tree decorations…AKA Spanish Moss

And peaceful neighbors…

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it”. ~ Ivan Panin

Our Moms Burned Their Bras, We Need to Burn Our Tape Measures

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I am not a person who is easily offended…truly. Nor do I take up causes without a lot of thought. But I think I’m about to now. Since I was a young girl, I have been bothered by the diet culture of females in this country. Women always worrying about their weight, always talking about their weight, and passing that on to their daughters, who seem to be worrying about it more and more these days, younger and younger. And now, it seems I cannot turn on my t.v. or go to a movie without seeing a female celebrity who is so underweight that I worry about their health. Frankly, this looks especially bad on those of us who are over 40, because it makes a person look older than they are. Yet, inevitably, everyone continually talks about how ahhhh-maaaaa-zing they look, and how “rockin” their “bod” is. Am I the only one who sees that these poor women look like they should be in the hospital, hooked up to an I.V., not on the Red Carpet?

Clearly from the looks of her collarbone area, this woman is meant to have probably another 20 pounds on her at least. Starvation is NOT sexy!

There are no words for how bad this is….

I love Teri to pieces, and I think she is probably the nicest, most genuine celebrity out there. But, she is way, way too thin. Think back to how she looked even in her Lois and Clark days…this is not even close.

Love Mary, LOVE her show “Weeds”, hate that she doesn’t feel as if she can put on about 30 pounds more and still be hot!

And she’s often the one with the microphone fawning all over the emaciated celebrities and telling them how ahhh-maaaa-zing they look. No wonder she feels as if she has to be just as thin, if not thinner than they are….

I was especially disheartened to see a report this week stating that magazine editors routinely cut size tags out of clothing for celebrities, so that they can stroke the celebs’ egos. Therefore, if a star is a size 10, but wants to be a 6, the editor will play along so as to not upset the cash cow, I guess. While I applaud More’s editor for being honest, I am extremely troubled by this practice, not for the individual star, but for the promotion of a culture where women and girls feel that they must be underweight to be beautiful, sexy, and minimally acceptable. We’ve gone too far, folks, and we need to put a stop to it.

Here’s the thing, I am a huge proponent of health and not being overweight. Everyone, male and female, should strive to stay within their healthy weight range. That’s according to this scale: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/  Note that there is a very wide range of healthy weights at every height, and there are NO women who will fall within the healthy range at 5 ft. 8 in. and a size 2—that just doesn’t add up. And, we should all consult our doctors at our yearly checkup to make sure that he/she thinks we are on track with not only weight, but all of the health indicators as well. We should all get some exercise every day—I prefer walking, myself.  If you’re spending hours a day exercising and it’s not because you’re training for Iron Man, then you’re doing too much. Period.

I went today to try on bathing suits and felt anxious the entire time. The fluorescent lights and three way mirror didn’t help, I’m sure….BUT, enough is enough. I’m not overweight, I do exercise, and I look pretty dang good for a 45 year old who has had three babies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way I look, and nothing wrong with the way I looked in that suit I bought either. I am bigger on bottom, always have been, and the only time I ever had legs that were even approaching the thinness I see on celebrities, I was underweight and in my 20’s.

Your body is your body, and the only way to make yourself thin all over probably is to starve yourself. Very few of us are born with perfect proportions. Maybe you have bigger legs like me…maybe you have a thicker waist….etc.. Everyone is different. I say we don’t tolerate this extremely thin celebrity culture anymore—tell the editors of your favorite magazines that you don’t want them to cut the tags out of celebrities’ clothing anymore for a photo shoot. Don’t envy that star on the Red Carpet anymore either, because God only knows what she had to do to herself to get that thin.

Be Healthy. Be Yourself. Be Happy. EAT! Let’s don’t pass this on to another generation….