Oscar Fashion; A Little Midnight Snack of My Best/Worst Dressed

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I had a lot of fun today dishing Oscar fashion with my girlfriends on Facebook. Yes, I went back to Facebook :::sheepish grin:::  I never actually watch the award show itself, but I absolutely love the carpet show and in the case of the E! Channel on Oscar day, the pre-award show. I actually got to see Jose Eber do a starlet’s hair on that one, and he is just as fabulous as he ever was when he tells a freshly coiffed client to “Shake your head, darling”. 

So, without further ado, here are my picks for Oscar 2012 Red Carpet, Best & Worst Dressed. And why…because with me, you always get a why…

The Best of Times….

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Penelope Cruz took my breath away in this blue gray, off the shoulder gown. It was elegant, luminous, and so very Oscar appropriate! I loved her hair (a little 40’s thing goin’ on there), her makeup, and her accessories. Aside from a little wrinklage on the carpet from having been in the limo, she was perfection. Besides, we have minions to follow behind us and steam those out before we go into the auditorium, don’t we? She looks like a young Sophia Loren…

And the Worst of Times…

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True to form, the talking fashion heads gushed all over Michelle Williams and her Oscar getup. But, I have a different opinion, although I love her to death just like everyone else does. Who wouldn’t? At Oscar, however, I expected more. I expected her to shake things up a bit, stop channeling Mia Farrow with the perfect blonde pixie ‘do (double yawn), and not just wear a substantially less attractive version of the dress she’s been wearing for about a year now. Sure, it’s a flattering hue on her, but do something different Michelle…I’m bored. I was especially disappointed with the look because she is being recognized for a movie about everybody’s favorite blonde bombshell. Lose the sweet, bring the sexy! 

And that’s a wrap…have your people call my people…or just leave a comment below. 🙂 

Valentine’s Day Inspiration; 10 Romantic On Screen Moments

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Well, tomorrow is the big day! This blog is really for you guys who are out there today–or worse, tomorrow–frantically schlepping around looking for the perfect card, box of candy, jewelry, or lingerie to let your girl know you care. Or, because there will be hell to pay if you show up empty handed.

Now, mind you, that is not a waste of your time by any stretch of the imagination. However, I cannot overstate the value of the following gestures acted out so brilliantly on silver screen and television. Because, guys, along with that overpriced ring and silly sappy poetry courtesy of Hallmark, this is what she really wants from you...

 

1) Rhett Sees Scarlett For The First Time

Look at her like she’s the only woman in the room…

2) “See…He’s Her Lobster!” The Ross & Rachel Prom Tape Moment  (Click Photo Below To View)

Do amazingly sweet things for her benefit, not for the recognition you’ll get for doing them…

3) John Cusak & The Boombox Scene from “Say Anything”

Say it with music…

4) William Hurt Breaks The Glass In “Body Heat”

Don’t be afraid of the grand gesture… ***Note*** For inspirational purposes only! Actual duplication of this one can lead to restraining orders and cancellation of home owner’s insurance policies. 


5) The Ending Scene Of The Notebook…True Love

Say you’ll love her forever and no matter what–and really mean it… Hint: Actions speak louder than words. 


6) From Here To Eternity, The Beach Scene

Kiss her like nobody’s ever kissed her before…


7) Any Scene From Ghost–Take Your Pick 

Self explanatory…


8) Sheldon & Amy Negotiate Love on Big Bang Theory

Compromise and give in just to make her happy…


9) I’ll Always Love You–Titanic

Give up your spot on the life raft for her…even if it costs you big time! 


10) Harry Declares His Love For Sally 

Love her not despite her flaws, but because of them…and be her lifelong best friend…

 

Good luck, guys….And Happy Valentine’s Day! 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 

You Want To Make A Difference, You Say? Encourage Someone!

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A year ago I got some of the worst news of my life. Someone I loved dearly, someone I just assumed would always be around as long as I was, died suddenly, and at a relatively young age too. This past year has seen me pretty much at a loss trying to fully accept it and to move forward. Truth be told, you never really get over or past something like that. It’s just too shocking, too rage inducing, too sad….and too much. But, you can learn to incorporate the new reality into your reality. And you can find something positive to make of it, because there is always something positive to be made from what is left behind, no matter what. 

The friend that I lost was largely responsible for a major positive turnaround when I was in my mid to late 20’s…when I’d lost faith that I’d ever overcome the circumstances of my life, and “make something of myself”. When it seemed that everyone who was supposed to love me the most had turned a blind eye, or their backs, or both–this person believed in me. I mean really believed in my potential, and even in who I was right then and there, because he didn’t seem to think there was a damn thing wrong with that either. And then a funny thing happened…I started to believe in me too. 

If you’ve ever had someone like that in your life, when your life happened to be particularly hard, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. If you’ve always been surrounded with people like that, and grew up with loving, unconditionally supportive family around you, you may not totally get it. But, I think just about everyone can appreciate the value of encouragement…sometimes it’s a special teacher, or a career mentor, a family member, a religious leader, a friend, etc. 

I think it is Native American culture that honors those who have left this world by adopting one special trait that person displayed in life as your own. That has to be about the smartest thing I’ve ever heard. And it is definitely the best way to ensure that someone you loved, who was important to you, lives on forever. So today, January 11, the same date on the calendar that my friend left this world, I will make it a point to encourage someone who needs it, and to help them believe in themselves, because that is the thing that will make a lasting difference. I’d like to ask everyone who reads this to do the same. 

Choose someone who is having a bad day…or a bad year…or maybe yet another day of what has been a chronically bad life. And then say something, or do something, that will make a difference to them. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, or anything that seems like a big deal. Trust me, it will mean the world to them and they’ll never forget it–or you…

“I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down”. ~ Abraham Lincoln

 

The Value Of Role Models; 5 Women To Admire

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I guess people have always been sort of a hobby of mine…not that I enjoy being around them all the time, because I’m really more of a loner in that regard. But, I love to learn about other people–the experiences they’ve had, the traits and quirks that make them unique, their perspectives, and finally, how they tend to respond to the circumstances of their lives. This goes double for famous women, who always interest me more than their male counterparts because I can relate my own life more closely, I suppose. 

I get the distinct impression that, when you get to be my age, you aren’t really encouraged to have role models. Women over 40…scratch that…women 30 and over are supposed to either BE role models, live to serve, or be invisible. But, since I also think that no matter how old we get, until we’re six feet under and it really is over, we should enthusiastically pursue our own growth and development–just like we did as children. People shouldn’t say, “I’d love to do/be/pursue __________________ , but I’m too old and/or set in my ways” nearly as much as I hear them say it. While I never would want to be exactly like someone else or emulate them in a creepy “Single White Female” way, I think its healthy for people of all ages to have role models. 

Each of the following women made my list because there is something about them that inspires me…something that strikes a chord. When I sat down to write this morning, as often happens, I’d planned for the tone of this blog to be different than how it has turned out. I intended to write a light sort of piece–slightly humorous, fun, etc. But, maybe that’s too much to ask of myself during the annual period of reflection, analysis, and New Year’s resolution lists…

So…here are a few female role models you may catch me clumsily trying to channel in 2012… 

BETTY WHITE

 This retro cool lady is making a lot of lists these days…for all the right reasons! 

Admirable Quality:  I love her for all the same reasons everybody else does…she’s funny, she’s adorable, she’s sassy, etc. But, the trait that I admire about her most is her ability to seize an opportunity when it arises and make it work for her–not the other way around. I can’t think of anyone else who has had this sort of resurgence of popularity in virtually every era in which they’ve lived. Bravo, Betty! 

To watch Betty White in action on her hit sitcom, Hot In Cleveland, click here: Hot In Cleveland on TVLand

NIGELLA LAWSON

 It’s hard to not love a woman to eats real butter, probably every day, and is damn proud of it! 

Admirable Quality: Aside from her fabulous recipes which I’ve been copying now for a few years, this woman lives life with gusto–eats it up with a spoon! She has a real passion for life that shines through. She’s not afraid to try new things, loves learning about other cultures, and incorporating all of that into a career she loves–cooking. A few days ago, on her Facebook page, she was inquiring about Italian cuisine…that will have delicious results, I’m sure! 

For all the latest Nigella news and recipes, go here: Nigella’s Blog

CAROLINE GLICK

Whip smart…controversial…utterly fearless.

Admirable Quality: I’ve been getting her columns in my email for a few months now and they never fail to impress me. Caroline is a journalist, and probably the most serious, no nonsense woman on the list. What I love about her is that she is not afraid to tell it like she sees it, and always–ALWAYS does her homework to support the facts of what she writes in her pieces. The lesson for me? Think it, research it so you won’t look stupid, say it–no regrets. 

To read Caroline Glick’s column, click this link: Caroline Glick

DANA PERINO

Poise, grace, Christy Brinkley-esque good looks–hands down, the best Press Secretary a President could ask for…

Admirable Quality: This woman possesses truly astounding public speaking ability. No matter what she is asked, she responds articulately, comprehensively, and graciously. This holds true even when she is caught off guard. I’d love to develop this more in myself…I can write circles around most topics if I put my mind to it, but I really need to hone my public speaking skillset. 

Watch Dana hold her own on “The Five” here: Dana Perino

STEPHANIE NIELSON

Photo Credit: Stephanie Nielson, Nie Nie Dialogues

A blueprint of how to not only survive, but to make your life count in a big way…

Admirable Quality: This remarkable woman is probably also the least known famous person on the list, but I want everyone to know her name. After surviving a life altering plane crash, she demonstrated to all of us, myself included, what is really important in life, and how to keep your problems, handicaps, pain, and loss from crippling you. That is no easy feat for anyone, but Stephanie’s ongoing story is inspirational and humbling. She is the gold standard of role models for women in my book. Speaking of books, I read that her autobiography is coming this Spring–can’t wait! In the meantime, treat yourself and visit her blog here: NieNie Dialogues

Read more about Stephanie here: Mommy Blogger and Mother Warrior

Pretentious Like Oprah; A Few Of My Favorite Things

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The Original Diva Who Told You All About Her Favorite Things

While there is always a lot to be annoyed with and stressed out over during the holiday season, there are those aspects of Christmastime/Holidaytime that I truly look forward to every year. And, if Oprah Winfrey can hold her head high and publish lists of things she simply cannot live without and simultaneously assert that you shouldn’t either, why can’t I? 🙂 So here is my list…be it ever so humble…

FESTIVE CHAMPAGNE ON ORDINARY DAYS

Around Thanksgiving, I start to crave champagne, so I drink it all month instead of whatever else I’d normally drink like wine, beer, and the occasional shot of my beloved Jack Daniels. Hey, I gotta support my home state of Tennessee! 😉 Champagne is festive…it tickles your nose…and it feels fancy. And Korbel Brut is, hands down, the best lower priced champagne substitute on the market. Because, as all the year round fancy people will tell you, it’s not really champagne unless it comes from Champagne, France. But, truth be told, I’ve tried Dom–once. And I wasn’t convinced that it was any better than this.

FUNNY CHRISTMAS MOVIES

You know the ones…those Holiday themed gems that make you laugh every time, no matter how many times you’ve watched them. A Christmas Story and Home Alone top my list….

SPECIAL HOLIDAY MAKEUP PALETTES

They always come out this time of year, just in time for wallet emptying. And they’re always too beautifully packaged and marketed to resist. This year, being a huge fan of Bare Minerals makeup, the Ready collection eyeshadow compact in “Playlist” got me. But, luckily, it was worth every penny!

MERRY TUNES

I think we all have a favorite holiday song that always makes us sing along…mine is Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

CHRISTMAS MOVIES THAT HELP YOU GO ON

When the season gets you down, like it does so many of us, these are the movies that you watch to get the inspiration to rock around the Christmas tree another day….

My two favorites are It’s a Wonderful Life and, of course, the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, that has been done by literally everybody….




AND…AN OLD FASHIONED GUMDROP TREE….

These are nearly impossible to find now (the good ones anyway), but I got one from Signals a few years ago. If you want to find this kind (chrome plated) just search Google with those terms “chrome plated gumdrop tree”. Retailers will fleece you for one nowadays, but I daresay it’ll be worth it. I looked around for the history of them, but couldn’t find it. If you can, please post a link in the comment section. I seem to remember that they gained popularity during WWII. Anyway, what a fun holiday decoration! You simply decorate them with a package of multicolored gumdrops, also known as “spice drops”, and you’ll have a really great, apparently highly unique Christmas decoration. Oh, you’d better buy a few packages of drops, because they tend to get emptied pretty fast. 🙂

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Winter Solstice to all! Because, however you celebrate it…however you feel it in your heart, you ought to be able to say it and wish it to others without an eyeroll, or a citation from the PC Police, or offending anybody. And I’ll leave you with that thought this year–please let people wish you good cheer in the way that makes them feel good. Because at this time of year, of all times, we all really need to lose the militant, uptight ‘tude over what is correct and is or is not “offensive” and just try to be happy…

Until next time…

5 Things You May Not Know About Juliette Gordon Low

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Recently I visited Savannah, Georgia for the very first time–a beautiful, interesting, and historically rich city I highly recommend! It is the birthplace of the Girl Scouts of America, and also the birthplace of its founder, Juliette Gordon Low. As a former…well, okay, very former member of both Brownies and Girl Scouts, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tour her home which is located right there in historic downtown Savannah. If you ever have the chance to get to that area, you’d be missing out if you didn’t see it. For information on the house and tours, click here: I’m Interested In Seeing The Home Of A Rockin’ Visionary And Authentic Womens’ Rights Advocate, Way Ahead Of Her Time! 

I’ll be honest, other than a paper I wrote a few months ago where I used Girl Scouts of the USA as my nonprofit topic, I have not thought much about my own experiences as a Girl Scout over the last few decades. And, as a mom of boys, it’s not come up in conversation either. I dropped out around 4th or 5th grade, as I recall, which is sadly pretty common. There were two young ladies in our tour group cohort who were still Girl Scouts and in high school, and they confirmed that it is unusual for girls to stick with it to the end. They are a rarity, and were there earning their pin for touring the house of the founder. They were extremely polite, gracious, intelligent, and enthusiastic young women–just the sort we want to transition into being our co-workers, friends, mothers, and leaders of our society in the years to come. Hmmmm….could there be a correlation? I think so! Maybe we all need to encourage the young women around us to stay in Girl Scouts for the long haul. They do sort of kick folks out at 18, and after 12th grade, so girls can’t stay in indefinitely, but “finishing” Girl Scouts is a trend I’d like to see, wouldn’t you? 


Anyway, back to the reason I started writing a blog this morning…On the tour I took, and thanks to some materials I browsed after taking the tour, I learned a few lesser known, but fascinating factoids about the founder of this truly amazing organization. And here they are…

1) She was an extremely accomplished painter/artist. I mean, we are talking professional artist quality here. Throughout the house are examples of her work, including a gorgeous, one of a kind set of hand painted plates on the dining table. 

2) As an adult, she was mostly deaf in one ear. This was due to a freak accident that happened on her wedding day when a grain of rice lodged in her ear. When the doctor took it out, her eardrum was damaged during the procedure. 

3) She made a poor choice of a spouse, and paid the price with a bad marriage. Of course, when a marriage is bad, no outsider really knows what happened, and as they say, it takes two. However, the impression I got was that her husband was not a very nice guy. In fact, he asked her for a divorce, she refused to grant it, and then he died shortly thereafter. Hence, Juliette Gordon Low remained Juliette Gordon Low–for always. 

4) This next one is copied and pasted right from the official Girl Scouts website–the section on Juliette’s life: “One of her special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes”. 

5) Juliette was BFF’s with Rudyard Kipling. They used to go fishing and camping together, and he taught her a lot about both. Just think, all those Girl Scout tendencies to go camping, hiking, and in general to appreciate and learn to navigate the great outdoors may have their origins in this friendship between two famous people! 

Just in case you didn’t know it, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of the USA…it says so right there on my commemorative t-shirt….

To learn more about the Girl Scouts of the USA, and just how it supports the leadership development, skill building, and self esteem of girls who then grow into the women who will shape this world, please visit their very impressive official website here: Girl Scouts of the USA

Until next time…