Monthly Archives: February 2012

Vintage Hair?

I remember watching “Gone with the Wind” at age 5.It made a huge impression on me. I instantly fell in love with movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. I knew the names Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Irene Dunne, and Vivian Leigh before first grade. In middle school, I always won when we got the “old” movie category in Scattergories. When I discovered American Movie Classics in the late 80s I was in heaven. I watched every Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movie ever made. I got to know Don Ameche and Claudette Colbert. I fell in love with Carry Grant just like every young girl should.  He took a back seat to Clark Gable who already owned my heart.

This morning, as I was getting dressed I got inspired to try a vintage hairstyle. Of course it’s nothing like what I saw in my favorite black and while films, but I thought I’d share it with you none the less. Let me know what you think.


Vintage inspired updo

P.S. I still miss the AMC of the late 80s. TMC is okay, but not the same. I am glad there is an outlet for classic films. My favorite colors are Black and White.

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Unique Beauty

Every woman I’ve spoken to has a feature she’d like to change given the chance. I don’t know why it comes up in conversation so much, but somehow it does. I’ll admit my physical flaw or weakness to you, if you will to me. “If you could magically change or improve any part of your body, what would it be?” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question. It might be worded differently, but the subtext is always the same. “What part of you don’t you like”.

I’ve heard little girls doing it. I’ve done it as a teenager and college student. I’m sad to say that as a mother in my mid 30s I still take part in this behavior occasionally. I know it’s destructive. I know it’s reinforcing that I’m not good enough. I know it’s showing my two young girls that it’s okay to find flaws with your personal appearance. Oddly enough, the women I find beautiful aren’t picture perfect. There is something unconventional about them.

When Barbara Streisand was 18, all of her Jewish girlfriends were getting nose jobs. She never did.

Cindy Crawford was uncomfortable with her mole as a young girl, and almost had it removed. Thank goodness she didn't.

Brooke Shields wore full natural eyebrows before they were popular. She's the reason I didn't shape my eyebrows until after 30.

Madonna has had the same gaped tooth smile since childhood.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker was told to get a nose job prior to her Sex and the City days.  She refused, saying that today’s stars are “airbrushed, stripped of any quirks and defining features”, making them look “common”. I admire the strength of these women to keep their unique features. I agree with Sara Jessica Parker, all the younger women who have lots of plastic surgery may be pretty, but are unremarkable.

I’ve learned to love the bump on my nose and my freckles. I wish I could say the same for my thick ankles. I’ve come to terms with them knowing I can’t change them. They’re a part of me. I’ve also learned that the more I think about what I don’t like, or imagine what I’d like to change, I continue to be unhappy with my appearance. I foster an overall feeling of unhappiness. This is not a trait I’d like to perpetuate. I’m happiest knowing that I am a unique person. It’s okay that I never grace the cover of a magazine, or make it on the silver screen. I’m okay just being me. It’s taken years to get to the point where I like being me.

I hope that when I turn 60, I can be as fabulous as another amazing non traditional beauty: Angelica Huston.

Angelica Huston

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Home Hair Color: What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

I don’t know about you, but I have to get my hair dyed. It used to be something I did for fun, something that was an expression of my fashion sense. Not these days. If I don’t get my hair colored, I start seeing huge grey patches of hair. The women in my family don’t grey all over, we just get it around our hairline. It’s like a giant crown of white hair running ear to ear. A skunk with the stripe going the wrong way. I cannot tolerate this kind of color change. Some women let the grey come in naturally and look so elegant. I am not one of those women. I NEED hair color.

For 12 years I’ve been going to get my hair colored professionally. Right after college, when many of my friends were running to the drugstore to try coloring their hair themselves, I found myself a colorist. “You see these natural highlights?” I asked. “I want this same color, just more of it.”

With the exception of a very unfortunate Princess Diana cut in 3rd grade, and a man hair cut to accommodate the shaved head I had back in 2004 from brain surgery, I’ve always had long hair. My goal is always to have it look “natural”. I never saw my friends get a “natural” look from a box from Walgreens. Boxed hair color always seemed flat, too brassy, or way too dark. Of my friends who I knew colored their own hair at home, no one inspired me to try it myself. I was willing to pay $125 every time for color that looked natural, and perfect for me. I didn’t want flat, one dimensional color. I didn’t want to look like Carrot Top. I didn’t want to look like a goth kid. I just wanted to look like myself, only better. I thought $125 was worth it.

Then last week, a tweet changed my life. It’s from my friend Freya: “Toplessness and a glass of wine. The keys to home haircoloring.” I was astounded. How is it that she gets that color from a box? First of all, you have to understand that Freya has the most beautiful blond hair. It’s not flat or one toned, it’s not brassy, or too bleached out. It’s perfectly natural. I assumed she payed good money at the salon for that color. Her tweet rocked my world. If someone I know and trust gets results like that from a box, then maybe, just maybe I can too.

So I jumped in with both feet. Which is to say that I recalled all of my previous research about home hair coloring and thought it over before going to the drugstore.

  1. Never go more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color
  2. Don’t go by the model’s picture on the front, always look at the color swatches on the side
  3. Don’t choose a color by its name
  4. If you have long or thick hair, purchase more than one box. Nothing’s worse than running out when your hair is half up in color
  5. Read the instructions, and follow them

First I called Freya and asked which brand she used. She recommended John Frieda Precision Foam Color. After a chat and her encouragement to give it a go, I left to find my perfect natural color. One hour later I made it back home with two boxes of John Frieda color and a fearlessness I never thought I’d have. I told myself the worst thing that could happen would be a trip to the salon for a color correction. It would be expensive, but I’m already used to paying a lot for my hair color. The best that could happen was inexpensive natural color.

John Frieda Precision Foam Color in 6G Light Golden Brown

After foaming up and applying it, with my two kids and husband watching me like the freak show it was, I sat down for a break. My home hair color experience was messy, but it was my first time. After the rinse, I started to dry my hair and was amazed at the color I saw. It was a bit darker than I expected, but really quite lovely. It wasn’t a disaster. I hadn’t ruined my hair. I didn’t need to go and have that horrible conversation with my colorist about how I’d done something stupid, and could she please fix it for me. This is something I’ll do again. I did use two boxes of color because I have long and thick hair, but I only spent $26 dollars buying it.

With encouragement from the right people, and a little fearlessness, home hair coloring can be amazing. I’m a believer.


Before and after pictures. Salon color on the left, At home color on the right

P.S. If you loved Freya’s tweet and want to hear more from her, you can find her on Twitter @_Freya or here.

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Peer Pressure is Great!

I suppose that blog post title might be a little misleading. My very dear friend Freya, who writes, was kind enough to clue me in that my choice of using Blogger for my fledgling blog was a terrible idea. Yes, this is what good friends do. They look you in the eye, or as in Freya’s case, gently told me over the phone that “all the cool kids” use WordPress. So I caved to peer pressure. Here I am. I’ve moved my blog.

I’ll continue to share my experience of trying to ditch the tired zombie mommy look, and find my inner glamour girl. I might occasionally blog about random things. I give myself permission to do this because . . . well . . . why not?

I hope you’ll swing by occasionally and enjoy what I’ve been discovering about new products and old favorites. This zombie mommy is wearing tangerine lipstick tomorrow!


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Fast Track Beauty

Yes, I’ve already admitted I’ve been looking a little dowdy recently. Well, a lot dowdy. Being a mom of two children under the age of 4 can really take a toll. I hate to admit it, but there have been days that I’ve left the house and forgot to put on deodorant. Days without brushing my teeth, even days where I’ve been so busy that I’ve left the house in my fuzzy slippers and not known it. It’s amazing that I forget these things now, when before children I would never have left the house with out make up, much less deodorant.

Recently I spent an evening with a good friend who just had a baby. We were talking about lack of sleep, expectations of working moms, and how she just didn’t feel as glamorous as before. We laughed about the changes in our lives. Her enjoyable afternoon no longer consisted of a leisurely afternoon at Sephora, but rather just getting the baby to nap. I’d trade a full spa pedicure for a chance to shave my legs AND wash my hair in the shower before the kids start to scream and argue. I no longer have time to do both unless I want to mediate an argument while naked and soapy in the shower. Um, no thank you.

I know not all of us have children. That’s just my excuse. I do know that we’re all busy. Somehow I haven’t met a single woman who isn’t overcommitted. With all the things we have to do in a day, we all need some fast and easy beauty items. Here are a few things that put me on the fast track to feeling beautiful, in a minimal amount of time.

When I have time to sit down and do a proper manicure I’ll use a base coat, two coats of color, and a high shine top coat. When I don’t have time and want an instant pop of color, I reach for my Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nail polish. Right now, I’m in love with grey tones, the perfect neutral that’s not a nude. This one from Sally Hansen is called “Slick Slate”. It makes my short nails look chic in no time flat. Two minutes later I can safely dig in my purse for my keys and not worry about my nails. Really.

Color – Slick Slate

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for lipsticks. I currently am carrying around 8 different shades in my purse. (this count doesn’t include the 3 glosses and two lip balm products I also have in my purse) I have a weakness for lip color. My all time favorite is a deeply saturated red. If you’ve ever worn a deeply saturated red, you know how it’s best to take care to prime the lip first. Balm first to moisturize, then line the lip and fill with liner, finally apply red lipstick with a brush. This does not fall into fast lane beauty items. What does, are the new shades of Clinique’s Almost Lipstick. Most every woman I know has at one time tried the cult favorite “Black Honey” and loved it. Even if they borrowed it from a friend in the bathroom at a party. More than a decade ago Clinique used to have a plethora of shades in the Almost Lipstick line. Most were forgettable. After creating some beautiful new colors that work on nearly any skin tone, they’ve released 7 new colors to go along with the original favorite “Black Honey”.

Clinique’s Almost Lipstick Collection

All of the Almost Lipsticks from Clinique qualify for fast track beauty. They are sheer flattering shades that you don’t need a mirror to apply. Instead of picking up “Black Honey” again I decided to try two different shades. I am now the proud owner of “Tender Honey”. It’s like my own lip color, but better. Not too pink, not too nude, with a soft shine that makes them look perfectly natural. For the woman who always wears red, this is strange, but it’s so pretty. I also have “Chic Honey”. On my lips it looks like a sheer berry wine shade, and is so lovely.  A nice alternative to red. You can truly apply both colors without a mirror. I have one in my winter coat pocket so I have it handy all the time, and in a week, it’s already starting to run low. I guess I’m using it like lip balm.

The hardest part of my beauty routine is my hair. I have long, wavy, frizzy hair. Hair  that needs lots of product and a diffuser to tame it. When time is running short, my favorite thing to do is pull my hair up. I can’t just put it in a cute pony tail, because  it always looks like someone ran over it with an SUV. If I’m going to put my hair up,  I have to hide all the ends. This is where a french roll, or a loose chignon looks so  purposeful. I can manage this in just minutes with a few amazing items from Goody. I found the Spin Pins nearly two years ago, and they have changed the way  I do my hair. Two or three Spin Pins hold my hair in a bun or an updo all day. I don’t  have to worry that it will come down. I also love the Modern Updo Maker. It’s a  giant U-shaped pin that makes holding a french roll easy. One pin for a french roll? Yes please.
These come larger, but I love the minis
One pin to rule them all!

Just a few things in my beauty arsenal that I love to use when I’m in a hurry. Here’s to looking fabulous in no time flat! If you have a beauty short cut, let me know. I’m always looking for new tricks.


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Out With the Old

I admit it, I’m a creature of habit. I have a set routine that I follow every day. Get up, dress the kids, make breakfast. While the kids eat, I take a shower. After breakfast I put on a video for them and while they watch “Bob the Builder” or “Blue’s Clues” on Netflix, I clean the kitchen or do laundry. Just about 20 minutes before I’m supposed to leave for work, I realize that I’m still padding around in my robe.

This is where I start scolding myself. If I had gotten up earlier, I could have done my hair. If I hadn’t eaten breakfast, I could have time to put on make up. If I hurry now, I might be dressed before the babysitter shows up. This is what my weekday mornings are like. Every. Single. Morning.

If you were to look in my cosmetic bag, you’d be reminded that I’m a creature of habit. I have countless neutral eye shadows. I own nine shades of red lipstick, and I can’t find a single eye liner that isn’t brown. I learned early on what colors looked best on me, and have never strayed. I’ve played it safe with make up for the past fifteen years.

I remember when cosmetics were for playing. I used to see my make up bag as the grown up equivalent of a crayon box. Pick any color, and have fun. No color was scary. I just had to know where and how to use it. In the past fifteen years, I’ve thrown out so many colors. I used to have the big box of 64 crayons, I’ve parred it down to the small box of 8.

I’m changing that. I’ve decided that it’s time to restock my cosmetic bag with color. I’m officially out of my comfort zone, but I like it. I’m trying out the tangerine lip that’s big this spring. With a little help from my local Lancome lady, I am now the proud owner of Rouge in Love “Miss Coquelicot”. It’s a lovely saturated tangerine hue that has staying power. I’m going to pair it with a fresh face, neutral shadow, black eye liner and baby doll eye lashes. Just enough in the eyes to balance the lip, but not to overwhelm it.

Lancome Rouge in Love “Miss Coquelicot”  146,default,pd.html

It’s time to break out of our beauty ruts. Try something new this month. Whoever said eight crayons was enough never saw the big box.


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How it all Started

The truth is, I’m a 37-year-old mom of two. I’m tired. I’d rather sleep than get up and spend time looking like a person. I’m totally rocking the sloppy mom look. This needs to change. Now.

I don’t remember what it feels like to spend time doing my hair, or putting on make up. I haven’t worn high heels in nearly 5 years. Yes, I know having kids will change your world, but this is crazy. I’ve decided that it’s time to reclaim my sophisticated feminine side. My birthday was 2 weeks ago, and since then I’ve ordered two boxes from, one from, and signed up for “Little Black Bag”.

I’m attempting to spend this year looking like a woman, not a tired mommy zombie. Time to dust off the high heels, pull out the red lipstick, and bring on the bling.  “Good-bye Tired Mommy, Hello Gorgeous!”


Buxom Lip Polish deluxe sample in Katie,Two Faced Primed and Poreless primer, Fresh Sugar Kisses mini lip duo, Nars blush in Orgasm, tarte emphasEYES inner rim brightener, Two Faced Shadow Brushes
Kat Von D True Romance Eye Shadow in Sinner, Sephora Glass Nail File, Tweezerman Pushy with Nail Cleaner

Zoya nail polishes in (left to right) Salma, Carmen, Jana, Trixie

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