Monthly Archives: June 2013

Porcupine Skull

“How is it possible …to put her hair in pincurls every night, to look attractive for me?”  Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

ImageMy cute haircut has now fallen into a flippy mess, and so the other day, while watching Gypsy on Netflix, I decided to give pincurls a try.  Upon returning home from work, Ian said I looked like Miss Tiggywinkle, when she dresses up like a washerwoman.  


The pincurls themselves?  Well, they were kind of a mess.  But thank HEAVENS for cloche hats!


U Jelly?

“The best massage oil for the face is good old Vaseline” Gloria Richards, A New You (1980)

I take this even further and recommend Smith’s Rosebud Salve.  I discovered this miracle while playing mini-golf in Austin, TX–someone had just left an unopened tin on the 3rd hole!  So I took it, and have sworn by it ever since as a night cream.  It’s petroleum jelly with cottonseed oil and it smells amazing–plus it’s light enough so that you don’t go to bed all greasy.



Saying No To New Clothes

“Don’t buy anything you don’t adore.  Yes, this could easily mean fewer clothes!” Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and The Single Girl 

I love clothes and always have.  My first apartment had a walk-in closet, so I used to buy, alter or make clothes on a whim.  I doubt that in my freshman year of college, I ever wore the same outfit twice!  

But my tastes are in the process of changing, and that means admitting that I will never wear that long black lace Lip Service dress from Hot Topic or that pleated skirt I’ve had since 9th grade (and still fits!)  So into the garage sale pile they go, to make me a little extra cash to spend on, say, a new Betsey Johnson dress.

The other side of that is that I’m less impulsive about what I buy.  I’m now buying less on what I think I “should” have or what “might” work.  It may look good in a magazine, but I am not a paper girl!

The other day, I was at TJ Maxx and I saw this beautiful blue peplum dress.  I thought “I bet I could wear that to work,” and, even better, it was only $16 …but when I tried it on, I didn’t gasp in wonder at what was looking back at me in the mirror. 

Would it have worked?  Yes.  And I would have gotten plenty of compliments on it too.  But I didn’t adore it, which meant it had NO PLACE in my closet.  I barely have time for the clothes I wear–why waste time on ones I don’t love?*


*If you have tee-shirts, don’t throw them out–instead, pick up Generation-T and make them into cool skirts and housewares!


Happy Six Months!

We’re six months into this project and already I’m seeing a real change.  I’m starting to take more pride in my appearance–learning to put on makeup, finally doing my hair (more or less; still learning) and updating my wardrobe.  

I had one of those backdoor brag moments the other day; I was at Target and realized I could no longer fit in a Jr. Size 1.  Totally bummed.  I’m a Jr. size 3 now, and at first, I panicked, because I want to be thin and pretty.  Then I tried on my size 3 shorts, and I felt GREAT.  I felt voluptuous.  I felt comfortable.  I felt really beautiful.

But most importantly, I’m learning the importance of making your partner feel special.  And that’s not just Ian, it’s Mike, it’s Matthew, it’s my sisters, it’s my father-in-law.  Everyone in every relationship likes to feel like their needs are being met.  I sure do.

I don’t think this a gendered issue and I’m not trying to make it one.  I’m not saying that women belong in the kitchen.  I’m saying people belong in the kitchen because food is awesome.  I’m learning that asking an opinion about a haircut or an outfit is important because we all crave feedback and validation.  I would want any of my friends–male or female–to say “Eh, that doesn’t really work for you” when I ask how a dress looks.  And I’m learning the value of choice.  Now if I want to put on leggings and my SVU hoodie and watch MST3K, I’m doing it because that’s what I feel like doing, not because it’s a lazy, default position, and that makes the experience something to look forward to.

And I’m revisiting things I used to love–wearing contact lenses, high heels, dark nail polish.  I’m reminding myself that I am worth the time and the energy these things require.  I like the way I look in my Betsey Johnson booties.  I like giving myself mani-pedis.  I like putting effort and energy into my outfits because just throwing on on something slopping makes me feel sloppy, and I don’t perform well unless I feel my best.  When I’m in my office in a pencil skirt and heels, I feel like working.  When I’m wearing my apron, I feel like cooking.  Maybe it’s my theater background.  Maybe it’s because I inherited my grandmother Cora’s vanity.  But whatever it is, I’m really feel like this project is teaching me.

We’ve come this far together–and I can’t wait to keep at it.

Lemon Face

A slice of lemon daily rubbed on the lips just to cause tingling leaves them pleasently red”  Cora Brown Potter, The Secrets of Beauty and the Mysteries of Health

Another food-based treatment that doesn’t really work.  My lips looked no more red than before, and plus, if you’re all lemony, what man is going to want to kiss those luscious red lips?

Aunt Libby

“Let your sons see what a glamour girl they have for a mother” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

Today I became Aunt Libby for the fourth time.  My sister Laura gave birth to her first child, a boy, Max Vaughn, at 12:03 a.m.  Max joins my nephew Jacob and my nieces Rachel and Lucy.  I went to visit Laura, Max and my brother-in-law Chris at the hospital, and while I held a very sleepy Max, Laura glammed herself up.  Laura has always been very glam, never going out without her hair done and her makeup on from a glitter clutch purse.  The fact that 15 hours ago, she gave birth to an 8 lb, 10 oz human being was not going to turn her into a slob.

My sister Shaun, mother of my nephew Jacob, has that seemingly-effortless glamour that many New York women have.  When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was look like her.  She had long, thick dark hair that fell in beautiful curls down her back and she wore silver glitter platforms to her prom.  She has a mysterious elegance to her, even if she’s wearing jeans and a black tee-shirt to push her kids on the swings.

I’m on the fence about having kids.  Right now my life is to hectic to even consider it, but I’m finally at an age where I can really start appreciating what it means to be an Aunt and how much fun I can have doing so.

Girls in Glasses

“Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses” Dorothy Parker

I’ve worn glasses since I was in third grade, except for my mid-teens/early 20’s, when I wore contacts, and then switched back to glasses from about 24 on.  

Lots of babes I know wear glasses.  My friend Rachel is a knockout and she wears wire-rims.  My friend Melissa just got a really sexy new pair of cheaters.  And when I asked the Panel of Gentleman, not one of them said they ever have a problem making a pass at a girl in a pair of spectacles.  In fact, several of them said they prefer it.

But just as a test, I put in a new pair of lenses and . . . nobody noticed.  I take that back–Mike noticed because he complimented my new blue eyeliner, which he might not have seen if I was wearing glasses.

Dorothy Parker is witty and wonderful, but in beauty tips, she couldn’t be more wrong.