Friday, August 14, 2015

Other summer favorites

After I went to the extreme trouble of outlining in excruciating detail my elaborate, expensive, and time-consuming skin care regime, could I possibly have more favorites?

I could.

Here are some--absolutely random, I promise.

Favorite sun block

Ocean Potion SPF 70

I wear this from the neck down because it's a little greasy under makeup--not bad, but not like one of those dry-touch sun screens. It does the job and it smells good. No, really. It smells like Creamsicles (combination of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, in case they don't sell them down under.) I've actually gotten compliments--been told I smell good when I'm wearing nothing but my sunscreen. I KNOW, right? Plus it's cheap. My tube cost me $5.99.

The Nordstrom Liberty of London pop-up sale

It was still on when I wrote this, but now it's been replaced with another brand. Anyway, I paid full retail for some of their ditsy floral gorgeousness, including a pair of gardening gloves and matching apron, but my favorite thing might just be the graphic they used. I grabbed it and I'm using it as a desktop background.

Feel free to grab it from here, and if for mysterious computer-y reasons it doesn't work, email me at poppy2006 at and I'll send you the file.

A lazy susan on the bathroom vanity

I realize these things smack of Ye Olde Tupperware Partye circa 1972 (which might actually be when my mother acquired it, before passing it along to me) but I Marie Condo'd the spice cupboard (you know, that Japanese organizer who wants everything you own to spark joy) and took it out, and on a whim, tried it in the bathroom. That's the stuff I use every day or at least, every week, and believe it or not, having them huddle together on a lazy susan makes me look slightly less vain than stringing them along the entire counter top. I mean, you don't walk into my bathroom and think "Holy overpriced products, Batman!"

Also, I now have room for the all-important white orchid and Diptyque candle that every self-respecting beauty blogger/Pinterest addict is supposed to have.

So if you have a pretty tray or a nice basket or something, you can use it to hide how vain you are and how many products you use on the regular. Just saying.

The Miracle Suit
Not me, but close enough.
I recently went to Jen Lancaster's to play Pooly Ball and drink too many Singapore Slings and eat amazing food with Jen, Fletch, and some of their friends. When I arrived I told Jen that my bathing suits were so old that the spandex wouldn't spandex anymore, so she let me wear one of hers. Which she then gave me.
Trust me when I say those things really are miraculous. My rack looked GREAT.

Hybrid Tea roses

John F. Kennedy may or may not have been a wonderful President (I'm too young to remember) but he makes a wonderful rose.

John F. Kennedy

I know I'm supposed to prefer antique roses, and I have some, OK, haters? But my deck is planted with hybrid teas in pots, and as my funny invisible internet friend Faux Fuschia says, I luff them 11/10.

McCartney Rose
Sally Hanson Diamond Shine nail polish

Nice on its own, but brilliant as a topper. Slap a coat on your toes on top of whatever polish you're wearing and watch them twinkle. It's glitter for grown-ups.

Jelly Sandwiches

OPI Dating a Royal with Sally Hansen's Over the Rainblue and Finger Paints In the Monet

Did I just say "glitter for grown-ups?" Bah, humbug. I've decided that glitter is for everyone. Especially in a jelly sandwich, which tones it down a lot. A jelly sandwich is when you apply a coat or two of sheer polish, a coat of a glitter and top it with another coat of the sheer polish. It then looks like the glitter is sort of floating in colored syrup, and honestly, it's mesmerizing. I find myself staring at my nails when I'm driving.

Chanel's Pirate with OPI Minnie Style glitter

So far no crashes, though.


It's sweet, yet spicy. LIKE ME.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

My latest skin care regimen

Things change, skin changes, and I get influenced by bloggers and YouTubers who are the Boss Of Me. Having fallen under the spell of Caroline Hirons, I have upgraded my regimen. As she so succinctly puts it: "It's your face." This is what I'm doing these days--with the most important changes in bold. The things pictured are what I'm actually using, an assortment of low-, high-, and insanely-high-end products.


1. First thing in the a.m.--cleanse with a wipe or Micellar water. That's enough to remove any mascara smudges, the vestiges of my evening treatment, and whatever oil I've built up. (The Vichy is probably the best alternative I've found to Bioderma's iconic Sensibio water, which used to be impossible to find in the States, but is now available at BeautyLish.)

2. Five drops of Vitamin C serum over my face and neck, with the remainder rubbed into my hands. This one is a 15 percent solution with a little Vitamin E added. (Link is to Amazon, and if you buy it I might get money. I never have, but it could happen. Someday.)

After working out and/or in the shower

1. Cleanse with my Clarisonic Mia, using the sensitive skin brush head. I've mentioned before how I love the Clarisonic + Cetaphil combination, but I had this tube of cleanser

sitting around, and it turns out I like it. It seems gentle, but its skin-brightening claims are absolute rubbish. It's crazy expensive, and I wouldn't buy it again.

2. Five drops of Vitamin C serum.

3. Pat on a miniscule amount of Amore Pacific eye cream.

4. Either BB cream, tinted moisturizer with SPF, or Estee Lauder moisturizer with SPF 25.

5. On goes the makeup.


1. Double cleanse almost EVERY DAY because unless I'm bed with the flu, I'm usually wearing either some kind of spackle or sunscreen. First step is SKII facial cleansing oil. It's a little heavier than my first and best-beloved facial cleansing oil, a Shiseido product I bought at a Japanese supermarket for $16, but it's doing the job. One pump or two on dry skin followed by about a minute of light facial massage, then a scoop of water, which emulsifies the oil into a milky fluid, then rinse clean with running water from the tap, not the sink.

2. Pat face dry-ish. Then I use the Clarisonic + Chanel combination. The almost dry face means the foam stays where I want it to be and doesn't get into my eyes or dribble down my neck. Then I splash my face clean using running water and one hand. Not two in that way you see in the commercials.


I used to do that until I realized that some nights I used a little Micellar water and called it quits simply because I was unwilling to douse everything in sight--including me and my nightwear of choice--with pints and pints of water. My XXX-Large Boston Red Sox World Series Champions t-shirt deserves better than that. And so does my face. So don't do as I did; rinse with clear water. Just don't splash it all over the place.

3. Apply Estee Lauder night crappe in the brown bottle because hyaluronic acid. P.S. When I want to look especially beautiful, I also apply it under makeup--it leaves skin dewy and plump.

4. A tiny bit of Amore Pacific eye cream all over the eye area and even over the browbone because apparently it migrates while you sleep.

5. Some other cream all over my face. Sometimes it's an oil,

sometimes it's Estee Lauder's Swiss Performing Extract,
sometimes it's a sample (how they get $450/jar for Guerlain's Orchidée Imperial cream continues to elude me) and lately it's been Amore Pacific's cream

because it's unbelievably slippy and a tiny amount cover the whole face and if you read my last post, you'll know that I'm currently in love with the line and just bought a ton of it. (Except I just checked out the price for the full size of this and holy $#!+.)

6. Something for my neck. Usually the oil or Swiss Performing Extract, because they're easier to spread.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, this takes a bit of time. But I find that it's worth it. As dear Caroline says, "It's your face." And don't you notice that whenever you lavish care on something, it has a way of thanking you? I mean, except children, of course.

P.S. If you've read this far, you'll probably enjoy Caroline Hiron's posts on cleansing, eye cream, and top tips for great skin.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I bought beauty crappe at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Of course I did.

I didn't go mental with color, though--just one thing. The Guerlain "rainbow ballz."

Guerlain Les Météorites Summer Edition Perles, exclusive to Nordstrom

They give a nice glow and aren't as crazy pearly/glittery as some other Guerlain limited edition ballz, so yeah. Nice! But not necessary unless you have a thing for violet-scented prettiness.

On skincare, though, I kind of went mental.

Can you handle a little backstory?

You know those "Buy $150 worth of cosmetics and get this tote of deluxe samples!" deals that show up from time to time at high end stores? I've caved many times for those. Many times. Also, I used to subscribe to a couple of beauty boxes.

As a consequence,  I'm drowning in samples. Lately I've been using a variety of tiny sample pots of eye cream, mostly to clear out the clutter. I'd never noticed that one cream seemed better than another.

BUT (and everyone's got a big but)* lately I've been using this Amore Pacific eye cream--a tiny pot of cream that lasted me a full month, using it twice a day. I really, really liked it. And this in spite of the fact that the company uses the usual blather in its promotional materials, and the cream contains the usual unique, exotic ingredients (this time green tea stem cells, whatever the hell that means) that claim to do everything except fold my laundry and put it away.

But I swear, my eye area really did look fresher and felt firmer. I was jonesing for a full-sized pot.

And I don't care what Paula Begoun says; she'd be all "too much fragrance!" and "no open jars; air destroys the product!" But in my opinion, the proof is in how my skin reacts. And it was reacting well to this stuff.

So I'd been trying to figure out how to buy this stuff slightly less painfully, because the retail on the full size is $260. I KNOW. But I really wanted a jar, so I was thinking--wait for a department-wide discount? Ebates? Mr. Rebates? All three?

Then the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale was going online, and I was browsing through the beauty exclusives, and feeling very underwhelmed ("Oh goody, MAC travel sized brushes ... I bet they won't be scratchy and all but useless, no siree, not at all ... because MAC would never release outlet-quality brushes for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale ... Oh, look, here are--what--three? four? beige-to-brown eye shadow palettes to choose from, in case I don't have enough ... YAWN) and I saw this:

'Time Response' Luxury Eye Collection ($473 Value)

- Time Response Skin Renewal Crème (0.27 oz.)

- Time Response Eye Renewal Crème (0.5 oz.)

- Treatment Enzyme Peel Exfoliator (0.7 oz.)

- Time Response Targeted Eye Masque (4 masks)

Basically, they're charging the regular price for the regular size of the eye cream, and including three small sizes of some other stuff. I'd like to try the Time Response face cream because I really like the eye cream. And the exfoliator and eye masks will be fun to play with (and hopefully not fall in love with.)

But then! I saw they had an Amore Pacific gift-with-purchase! If I spent $300. Oh Nordstrom, you  manipulative minx!

Here's the GWP:

-Time Response Skin Renewal Crème
-Eye Renewal Crème
-Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque
-Luminous Effect Brightening Serum

OK, now I can score another tiny pot of eye cream, and another tiny pot of face cream, plus extras.

But I need to spend another $40 to make it happen. So what was my extra Amore Pacific purchase, so I'd qualify for the GWP?

Glad you asked:

'Time Response' Introductory Regimen ($175)

- Time Response Skin Renewal Crème (0.5 oz.) 

- Time Response Eye Renewal Crème (0.1 oz.)

- Time Response Skin Renewal Toner (1 oz.)

- Time Response Skin Renewal Fluid (1 oz.)

-  Time Response Skin Renewal Serum (0.17 oz.) - 

- All Day Balancing Care Serum (0.33 oz.)

- Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System (1 oz.)

OK. More eye cream, more face cream, and a crazy amount of samples. Clearly, this is tiny pot overkill. And why on earth would someone want or need the Skin Renewal Fluid and the Skin Renewal Creme? Aren't they the same thing, except the fluid is ... more fluid?

But where do I get off trying to sound logical now? Whom am I trying to kid? Not thee, Gentle Reader.

On the down side, I have clearly not helped the drowning-in-samples situation.

On the up side, I've been using the eye cream and the face cream assiduously since they arrived, and I love them. They're so light, yet rich, with incredible slip. Two expensively-moisturized thumbs up.

Also, I've purchased my first Korean cosmetics, which means I can sit with the cool kids at lunch.

But yes, I just spent over $400 on my crow's feet. Apparently, that's who you're dealing with here.

p.s. I opted for Ebates. (That's a referral link. I'll make $5 if you sign up. I know, I know--but I've got crow's feet to pay for, people.)

* Trust me to toss in a Pee-Wee's Big Adventure allusion. Eighties comedies FTW!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Aging disgracefully

People, I am frankly tired of the crap old ladies get. Particularly on the internet.

I'm not talking about how women over the age of 45 become magically invisible. I'm not talking about how some elderly women become "style icons" because they've managed not to devolve into crones. This is particularly noxious, because it looks like praise. Except it's not; it's condescension. You see it in sites like Advanced Style. "Wow, she's eighty and she still cares about clothes!" Really? Why shouldn't she care about clothes? Do you expect her to go out naked?

So yes, I could be complaining about the zeitgeist in general, or sites that make my neck itch, but I'm talking specifically about the comments people post on Makeup Alley, Guru Gossiper, and YouTube, and for all I know Tumblr, Instagram, and Snapchat. Comments to the effect that people like me are too old to be posting there.

First of all, these commenters act like they own the internet, which hello, they're only using because of geezers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Richard Stallman--baby boomers all.

The other thing that bugs me is the use of "old lady" as a pejorative term.

Mind you, these commenters didn't invent the concept. Charla Krupp has published two or three books, and the first, How Not to Look Old used "OL" as the ne plus ultra of how not to look. Red lipstick? OL. Pantyhose? OL. Matching your jacket to your skirt? OL. And it went on and on.

Frankly, everything I once aspired to when I was a child: sophistication, elegance, well-thought-out outfits that were perfectly coordinated, cruelly expensive French perfumes--has been tarred with the epithet "Old Lady."

When I was a child, I wanted to dress like Barbie. But not this Barbie:

this Barbie:

Which was probably inspired by this real-life outfit:

And now, just when I'm old enough and wealthy enough to buy expensive suits, matching shoes and pocketbooks, and add a few drops of Joy to my outfit, all the things I craved when I was young--Countess Isserlyn makeup, "the costliest perfume in the world," my grandmother's Schiaparelli stockings, my mother's tweed suits and "good" jewelry--have all been declared fusty and old-fashioned.

I expected the passing years to rob me of my youth--that's as it should be. But it seems that they have also robbed me of my aspirations, and that's just mean.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's been over a year. Where have I been?

Right here! I swear. Except very busy with non-internet, real-life, 3-D stuff, and not the kind of 3-D stuff that comes out of those fancy printers.


1) Gained weight. (Boo!) Working on getting rid of it.

2) Took Master Buxom, now 20, for his freshman year at college 900 miles away, and was surprisingly good with it. I think it's because he's having such a great time and learning so much and becoming so articulate about his ideas--what's not to like?

3) Got Miss Buxom, who is now 18 and a high school graduate (YAY) into Interlochen Academy for a post-graduate year to study voice for a year. She also got into a couple of colleges, but isn't delighted with her choices, so there will be more college-application fun down the road. Whee! Because in case you were wondering, college applications for music performance are even more enjoyable than the regular kind, what with the auditions and travel and anxiety and general frenzy of it all.

4) Realized that I am officially pushing 60.

5) Started using eye cream on the regular, instead of just when I get a sample.

6) Bought a bunch of clothes from St. John, which I said I'd never ever do because dowdy. And expensive. Unfortunately, flattering trumps both.

7) Fell back in love with my Clarisonic Mia, because it turns out Micellar Water, while handy, doesn't exfoliate or give me the deep clean I need.

8) Bought the Couch-to-5K app, which I actually sort of enjoy, in a thank-God-for-sports-bras-and-an-uptempo-playlist kind of way.

9) Fell in love with Louis Vuitton. I KNOW. But you can get amazing bargains from Japanese sellers. Plus, when you're about to become an empty nester, you need something to lavish care on, so now I can lovingly polish the brass grommets of my circa 1990 Epi Petit Noe with a Q-tip and some Maas metal polish.

10) After a long hiatus, started polishing my nails on the regular. I have no idea why my nails were breaking off and peeling and being so uncooperative, but for a few years, they were, and now they aren't. They are clicking away like anything as I type, I assure you.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I'm a makeup addict, but I don't buy these brands

And the reasons are really stupid. I mean, of course I'm influenced by packaging. We all are. But aside from that, my reasons for avoiding certain brands are pretty dumb. And so, as a favor to marketers everywhere, I thought I'd list them here.

(BTW, so I don't feel alone in this, feel free to chime in with your pet makeup prejudices in the comment section.)

Nars, because

icky black rubber packaging that shows every fingerprint.


because hello, crayon colors! Also, the lack of shade names. What's with all the numbers? How is that evocative? Or even slightly mnemonic?

Dolce & Gabbana, because

their print ads bug. We get it; you guys are Italian. But am I supposed to want to look like an extra in a Fellini movie? I'd end up cast as the lady in sunglasses. No thanks.

Laura Mercier, because

it looks clinical. And uninspiring. And less than glamorous. What--you couldn't make lids from silver or gold? Are the elements not modern enough?

Aerin, because

they can't fool me; it's Estee Lauder.

Trish McEvoy, because

that whole planner thing has no appeal. Maybe if I were on the road all the time, or felt satisfied using the same shades over and over and over. But I'm neither.

Tom Ford, because

he needs to get over himself.

La Prairie

because $200 for a foundation? No.

Kevyn Aucoin, because

although I'm sad he's dead, I have no desire to buy makeup from his ghost.


is the biggest makeup company in Japan, and yet, I forget it exists.

Le Metier de Beauté

because nine years of French, and I still don't know what this means.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why scooping up weird shit at sales might not be such a terrible thing.

I talked to blackbird yesterday and heard about her accident, and it made me want to blog again.

Yes, I realize that sounds bad. "Internet, if you want me to blog, you have to almost get hit by a car and break your wrist in multiple places."

But really, when you're trying to catch up with your friend, and she's telling you about the trauma unit and her orthopedic surgeon, and you counter with the changes you've been making in your wardrobe because you realized--at the age of 57, mind you--that you looked better in brown than black, you have no recourse except to turn to the internet. Because even in the throes of my angst, even I realize that the all-consuming question: "Am I a Winter or an Autumn?" is a little lacking in drama.

But enough of the obligatory sorry-I-haven't-blogged-in-so-long and in-case-you-haven't-noticed-this-blog-is-deeply-shallow. Let's get on with it, shall we?

I found out by accident that I've been wearing the wrong colors for years. Do you remember Color Me Beautiful? Well, when that book came out, I thought in pretty much binary terms. The system is based on hair color, eye color, level of contrast between your hair and skin, and undertones. You had blue eyes or brown; brown hair or blonde. Or you were a redhead, which I wasn't. Since I didn't have blue eyes or blond hair, I had to be a winter.

Over the past three or four years I've managed to accumulate items of clothing that aren't my colors (classic Color Me Beautiful winter shades like black, black, navy, red, pale pink, pale blue, and black.) I may have gotten them because they were on sale or were the only dress that fitted or one of those half-assing-it shopping scenarios that make people end up on What Not to Wear.

However, some of these sale purchases netted me more compliments than the stuff I liked and paid full retail for. I'll illustrate my point with a series of selfies taken over the past year and a half.

Here I am trying to tell whether the coral shades in my clearance faux-Liberty Gap shirt are flattering:

If I remember correctly, I was trying to wear warm-toned makeup to complement the shirt.

Then back to black:

Black leather jacket only mildly marked down at Brooks Brothers; faux Alexander McQueen scarf courtesy of China via Susie Sunshine.

For the record, I took this picture in the bathroom at my hair salon, so the lighting is terrible. I look even more sallow than I actually am, but the black is doing my complexion no favors. I think.

Gray dress by Lafayette 148 (old) necklace J. Crew (old)

In this picture, I'm wearing a charcoal gray dress with a J. Crew necklace in tones of bronze and pale lilac. I've got on a full face of spackle (except I guess I wasn't filling my brows every day at this point.) I think this is on my front porch, so it's filtered daylight, which explains why I look about 27 years old.

Suit from a sale Neiman Marcus catalog (old)

OK, this is Easter Sunday on the way to brunch. It was a very sunny day (it may be the last time the sun shone in Chicago this year.) I'm wearing a very pale coral silk suit and a full face of spackle.

This is the most recent picture--I'm wearing a darker coral sheath, full face of spackle,  hair up and glasses off. Indoors at lunch time, no flash.

Coral Ponte knit with raffia center panel by Worth New York

So. I've pretty much decided that I am not a winter. Black is not my color. Neither is hot pink, or bright blue. Even pale pink is a little trying. As a result, I'm wearing colors that I haven't gone near since the 1980s, when black/cobalt/fuschia triumphed over the earth tones that had ruled the 1970s. Colors that until recently I wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole. Colors that I had formerly categorized as redhead colors. Autumn colors. But not the full on pumpkin shades that real redheads wear. I've been buying things like these, in colors like primrose yellow

GAP fitted boyfriend shirt, on sale for $27.99

 or coral

Worth New York pencil skirt in white with coral branches, from a post at Pam Lutrell's blog, Over 50 Feeling 40

or teal

Salvatore Ferragamo "Varina" flats

I'm still wearing Lilly

but I'm keeping the hot pink away from my face. It's OK in shoes.

Ferragamo Vara pumps in Agata Rosa Arancio on sale at Zappos for $329.99

but not makeup. Instead, I'm wearing soft corals, pinky corals, beiges, and browns.
Chantecaille Coral Reefs palette

Me, myself, and I

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