Category Archives: Beauty

The Highs and Lows of Royal Expectations

It’s been 53 day since Kate Middleton last carried out an official engagement.  In the 28 days since the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted in pubic, there have been two Yeti sightings, the latest at the ski resort Formigal, making something that doesn’t exist a higher profile figure than an official representative of the United Kingdom and the British Royal Family.  Her first official engagement of the year is today, celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.

Meanwhile Kate not being seen on holiday with the Middletons in Mustique is so out of character, it’s become newsworthy, leading to all sorts of theories as to why the duchess who never turns down a get-away has skipped this latest opportunity to slather on the Coppertone.  The most popular theory is that Kate is pregnant again and concerned about the Zika virus spreading through the Caribbean.  The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitos and poses the risk of microcephaly in babies if their mother was infected while pregnant or a month prior to conception.  A trip to Mustique requires changing planes in Barbados where there have been three confirmed cases.  While it’s not unusual for Kate to be MIA for long periods of time and in the past she’s skipped working in January altogether (in 2014, her first official engagement was on February 12th), her missing a Caribbean holiday is rather shocking.

Hello! has suggested the reason for Kate skipping Mustique this year has to do with Charlotte’s age and Prince William’s job at East Anglian Air Ambulence, forgetting they were the magazine that secured the exclusive photos of Kate taking six-month-old George to Mustique with the Middletons when Prince William was supposedly too busy to go because of the ten week agriculture course he was taking at Cambridge but still somehow made time to go boar-hunting in Spain with ex Jecca Craig and then take a romantic get-away with Kate to the Maldives before the course wrapped.

Despite the endless complaints about invasion of privacy by the press, the Cambridges have been able to sneak away for holidays under the radar in the past, so it’s possible Kate and William have been able to get in some frolicking in the surf or some time on the slopes.  But if Kate really did skip the Middleton Mustique holiday and has been around, the Cambridge’s Communications Secretary, Jason Knauf, has really dropped the ball.  This would have been a perfect time to have Kate papped doing one of those “secret charity visits” or engaging in one of those things on which she’s reportedly so “keen” because skipping a holiday and being shown working would have helped rehab Kate’s image in the minds of those who still believe she isn’t a lost cause.  Maybe there just aren’t enough left to make the ruse worth the effort.

Sometimes what someone doesn’t do can be more interesting than what they do and that certainly seems to be the case with Kate.   And let’s face it, not a lot is expected of royals to begin with.

At the age of eight-months-old, Princess Charlotte topped The Tatler List of The People Who Really Matter.  Now an older and wiser nine-months-old, Charlotte has had a Marc Jacobs lipstick named after her, currently sold exclusively at Harrods.  According to Catherine Gore, Vice President and General Manager of Marc Jacobs Beauty, the £24 lipstick was “inspired by the deepest saturated pink tones of an English rose”.

Le Marc Lip Crème in Charlotte posted on marcbeauty Instagram

Le Marc Lip Crème in Charlotte posted on marcbeauty Instagram

Unlike Butter London’s “No More Waity, Katie”, the sheer goopy glittery grayish lavender nail polish issued to commemorate the royal wedding that wound up primarily being used as pedicure polish by only the most loyal of Royalists, Marc Jacobs Beauty has a solid track record for consistently high quality products.  “Charlotte” is a gorgeous hue that will last longer on the lips than “No More Waity, Katie” lasted on fingertips.

NoMoreWaityKatie

Le Marc Lip Crème lipsticks are made without parabens, sulfates or phthalates, are creamy as the name suggests, richly pigmented with some pretty impressive staying power (not the ten hours it boasts, but Marc Jacobs wouldn’t be the first man to exaggerate how long he can go).

“Charlotte” was specially created by Marc Jacobs with the little princess’ coloring in mind.  While there aren’t many pictures of Charlotte to go by, it looks like she’s got similar coloring to her Mum.  The product photo of the lipstick looks like it has blue undertones and would look best compliment skin with cool tones (if you’re not sure if you have warm or cool tones, check your wrist, if your veins are blue, you’re cool, if your veins are green, you’re warm).   Le Marc Lip Crème lipsticks are very opaque, the color in the tube is very close to what it will look like on your lips.  The color looks like a more muted and demure version of MAC’s “Rebel” lipstick which is one of my personal favorites and I would probably order this £24 lipstick if it weren’t for the £25 international shipping fee.  I object to shipping costs that are greater than the product price on principal.

Le Marc Lip Crème in "Charlotte"

Le Marc Lip Crème in “Charlotte”

Each of Le Marc Lip Crème Lipsticks are cosmetic homages to iconic women who have inspired Marc Jacobs in some way: “So Sofia” was named after Sofia Coppola, “Je T’aime” after actress/singer Jane Birkin, “Oh Miley!” after the wrecking ball hammer-licking singer and “Rei of Light” after fellow fashion designer Rei Kawakubo.

At 9-months-old, Charlotte is already a designer’s muse and is Tatler’s reigning queen bee which is rather surreal considering Charlotte has said nothing of inspiration because she can’t yet talk, nor has she achieved anything of great significance on her own merits because she’s still developing her motor skills and can’t yet walk.  Charlotte may grow up to have a powerful voice and change the world in positively profound ways but until she’s capable of reading the magazines proclaiming her more important than anyone else in the world and old enough to wear the makeup named in her honor, such accolades seem premature.  Being elevated  to such lofty heights simply for being royal sends a bad message to both Charlotte and her mother, who in five years since becoming a duchess and future queen consort has publicly uttered very few words and done very little, earning Kate the distinction of being the “UK’s Laziest Royal”.  With the future of the British monarchy in question, likely to end not with a bang but with a whinger, Charlotte will need to aspire to more than simply being royal.

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Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe!

MarilynMonroe

If Marilyn Monroe were alive today, she would be eighty-eight years old.  The same age as Queen Elizabeth II and grandmothers everywhere in sensible shoes who still call salons beauty parlors.  It’s hard to imagine the blonde bombshell pulling a hankie from the ever-present purse filled with swiped restaurant sugar packets and hard candies.  Tragically, Marilyn’s life ended at the age of thirty-six, her dream of family never realized, she suffered two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy and famously taped a handwritten note to her stomach pleading with her surgical team, “Please, I want to have children.”  A rekindled romance with her second husband, Joe DiMaggio was a love-story left incomplete, but never forgotten by the baseball legend who had flowers delivered to her grave three times a week to honor a promise he had made on their wedding day.  His dying words were, “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”

Marilyn Monroe’s death remains shrouded in mystery, officially ruled a “probable suicide”, the suspicious circumstances still debated.  An empty pill bottle found next to her body, a conveniently reappearing glass, and a 4:30am load of laundry that remains one of the few undisputed facts on the timeline of her death.  Her body disappeared for six hours on the way to the coroner who changed Marilyn’s time of death from 9:30-11:30pm on August 4, 1962 to 3:50am on August 5, 1962 to match the revised witness statements.  The cause was an overdose of chloral hydrate and Nembutal of which there was no trace in her stomach or intestines, indicating they had not been taken orally, nor were there any injection marks on her body.  When the pathologist ordered tests of her other organs to determine how the drugs were introduced into her system, they had already been destroyed.

The theories on her death reveal a complicated and tortured life, it’s possible her death was at her own hands, a medical accident, or murder, potentially at the hands of the mob, a doctor, an angry wife, a scorned lover or a Kennedy, more than one had an interest in seeing her silenced.  It’s likely we’ll never know what happened, despite the discovery in 1972 during renovations of Marilyn’s home by the new owner that every single wall had been bugged with hi-tech surveillance equipment known to be used by the FBI.

The little girl born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California and baptized Norma Jeane Baker spent her childhood moving around between foster homes and orphanages suffered from depression, agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder, issues that both plagued and compelled her.  She went from teased tomboy to the film siren known as Marilyn Monroe, her ambition rooted in her desire to be loved and adored.  Marilyn is temporally frozen in the gleaming amber of Hollywood’s Golden Age, devoured by the life she was driven to create.  She remains forever young with the vulnerability of a child, the bursting voluptuous of a sex symbol and the savvy of a business woman who knew the smartest thing she ever did was play dumb.  Marilyn was a contradiction, a mystery even to herself.

The actress was able to turn being Marilyn Monroe on and off like a light switch.  She was able to walk down the street unrecognized but sometimes would decide on whim she’d like to be Marilyn mid-stroll.  Friends marveled at how she could transform from pretty blonde to international celebrity swarmed by fans without losing a step.

Marilyn believed in being very dressed up, very dressed down or not dressed at all.  When she wasn’t in skin-tight evening gowns, she wore jeans, complaining that Parisian designers didn’t make clothing for her hourglass body shape.  At home, she preferred to wear a robe, a bikini or nothing at all.

Marilyn worked closely with make-up artist Whitey Snyder to create the iconic Marilyn looked and became an expert in applying make-up in her own right.  The process sometimes took Marilyn hours because every single product had to applied perfectly, if it wasn’t she would take it all off and start again.  She was notoriously reticent about sharing her beauty secrets, but over the years revealed some while others have been disclosed by friends, industry professionals, unsealed medical records and her first ex-husband James Dougherty.

In celebration of the life many consider to have been the sexiest woman of all time, below is a glimpse into the crafting of the cinematic icon.

redheartbulletpoint Born a blonde, Marlyn’s hair became a mousy light brown in her early teens.  She was advised to dye her hair because blondes were more in demand in Hollywood, so over the years she experimented with twelve different shades on the road to her iconic platinum blonde shade.

redheartbulletpoint In 1950, the “Chinless Wonder” as she was referred to in Hollywood had rhinoplasty on the tip of her nose and a sponge chin implant.

redheartbulletpoint For filming, Marilyn wore hormone cream, Nivea and Vaseline under her foundation.  A side-effect of the hormone cream was peach fuzz growth on her face which she refused to get rid of because of the glow it created on film.

redheartbulletpoint Marilyn Monroe was so concerned about blemishes and any dark marks on her skin from the daily grind, she washed her face fifteen times a day, rinsing her face fifteen times with each cleansing which also probably had to do with OCD as much as it did with beauty.

redheartbulletpoint When she wasn’t wearing make-up, she slathered olive oil on her face to protect her face, from what I don’t know.  Dirt ninjas?  Airborne vinegar?

redheartbulletpoint Her famous wiggle walk was created by shaving down one of her heels a half inch.

redheartbulletpoint While her dress size is often debated, Marilyn’s dressmaker revealed that Marilyn was 5’5 ½”, her fluctuating weight stayed within a range of 118lbs and 140lbs and her measurements were: Bust 35″-37″, Waist: 22″-23″
 and Hips: 35″-36″.  Her bra size was 36D.

redheartbulletpoint Marilyn created her trademark red pout with lip liner, five blended shades of lipstick, lip gloss and a highlighting cream in the center to make them look plumper.

redheartbulletpoint When talking with others, she would often fix her gaze on their forehead because it gave the illusion that her eyes were bigger.  The conversational habit was said to infuriate a number of her peers.

redheartbulletpoint She used an eyebrow pencil to give a natural beauty mark more definition, creating an iconic feature.

redheartbulletpoint She knew the appeal of intelligence and was always reading to expand her mind.  She had a personal library of over four hundred books which contained titles like Metaphysics by Aristotle and The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud.

redheartbulletpointMarilyn rarely took a bad photo because she studied herself in the mirror so thoroughly, she knew what she looked like at any angle.

For anyone wishing to create Marilyn’s iconic make-up, there’s a YouTube tutorial I found that’s the most authentic out of all the tutorials I have ever seen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAneUTr8mog

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A Royal Excuse To Talk About Diamonds

There are some conflicting reports about the status of Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas’ relationship.  Some are claiming an engagement is imminent while others are speculating that the adorable couple have already split because Cressida was a no-show at the Walking with the Wounded charity event she was reportedly co-hosting with Prince Harry.  Ladies, don’t start bedazzling “I Heart Gingers” t-shirts just yet, there are several legitimate reasons that could explain why Cressy wasn’t there.  First of all, it’s possible she was never actually going to co-host with him at all and that was just a rumor.  Secondly, it’s possible she was sick or had a family emergency.  Or maybe it was because everyone is so eager lately to make their every glance proof that they are marriage-bound, Cressida didn’t want to take the focus off the cause.   When you love someone, you think about things like that.  Recently I made a similar decision, I was concerned my presence could cause distracting speculation that would have been inappropriate for the occasion.  Sometimes the best way to support someone you love is to not be by his side.

It’s understandable why there’s so much excitement over the possibility of Prince Harry getting engaged.  Women especially love engagements, not only because they are celebrations of love, but they also give us a reason to talk about diamonds.

A diamond is really just a mineral made up of repeating units of carbon atoms joined to other carbon atoms by a covalent bond.  Contrary to popular belief, diamonds do not come from coal.  What makes a diamond a girl’s best friend is the high refractive index and dispersion coefficient.  In layman’s terms, light makes them sparkly.

Despite their durability as the hardest mineral, diamonds haven’t always been the go-to choice for engagement rings.  Before the discovery of African diamond mines in the 1870s, diamonds were incredibly rare and expensive.  The most commonly used stones for engagement rings were rubies and opals.  It wasn’t until the late 1930s that diamonds became a popular choice for engagement rings.

The first ever diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, the diamonds formed the letter M.  The ring sparked a trend among nobility to use diamonds in engagement rings, often incorporating other colored gemstones.  One of the most exquisite diamond/ruby engagement ring combinations was given to Princess Märtha of Sweden by fiancé (and cousin) Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1928.  It is now worn by Princess Mette-Marit.

Princess Märtha of Sweden's Engagement Ring

Princess Märtha of Sweden’s Engagement Ring

In the British Monarchy, engagement rings with both sapphires and diamonds were the choice for several royal brides including The Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Princess Diana and Duchess Catherine who wears Princess Diana’s ring.  When Princess Diana passed away, Princes William and Harry each were told to select an item that had belonged to their mother.  Prince William chose her Cartier watch, Prince Harry selected her sapphire engagement ring.  Eventually they swapped so Prince William could propose to Kate Middleton with the twelve carat sapphire that had belonged to his mother.

Princess Diana's Engagement Ring

Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring

For Prince Harry’s future wife, that leaves the door open for a new ring.  Princess Diana’s engagement ring is very elegant, but there’s a formality to it that I just can’t see on any girl Harry winds up.  Prince Harry likes the kind of girls who would go camping on purpose.  Adventurous, kind, low-maintenance and of course, blonde.

The “traditional” diamond engagement ring as we know it is actually the creation of diamond cartel De Beers’ marketing campaign that began in 1938.  In 1947, De Beers they introduced the “A Diamond is Forever” slogan that has become part of betrothal’s collective unconscious.  As an enduring symbol of everlasting love, the suggested amount of money that should be spent on the diamond increased from one month of a man’s salary to two.   The diamond engagement ring became a symbol of a man’s socioeconomic status.

These days, engagement rings are more about the women wearing them.  They should reflect her personal style and lifestyle.  More and more women are deciding they aren’t the solitaire types.  The Tiffany and Cartier diamond engagement rings girls used to oooh and aaah over seem a bit uninspired.  Trends are returning to the pre-De Beers campaign days with colored stones being used more and more.  Rings have more personal meaning beyond how much the fiancé makes.

Even though I’ve declined a few marriage proposals (and accepted that one where I assumed he was joking), I never really gave much thought to what kind of engagement ring I would want if I ever did say yes.  Until one day I stumbled across this, my fantasy engagement ring which also comes in white gold and yellow gold.

"Gatsby" Ring in Rose Gold Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Gatsby” Ring in Rose Gold
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

And there’s even a more cost-effective white sapphire and diamond version.

"Gatsby Ring" in White Gold with White Sapphire Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Gatsby Ring” in White Gold with White Sapphire
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

This designer, Heidi Gibson, is a GENIUS.  She creates beautiful pieces at all different price points, offering different size stones and different gems, working within customer budgets and customizing it for the individual.  That kind of flexibility and personalization is what the soon-to-be betrothed are looking for these days.

"Lindy" Ring in Gold with Morganite Designer: Heidi Gibson www.heidigibson.com

“Lindy” Ring in Gold with Morganite
Designer: Heidi Gibson
www.heidigibson.com

One of my favorite engagement rings that moves even further away from the traditional styles of the last seventy years adorns the ring finger of model, socialite and Princess Eugenie pal, Poppy Delevingne.  Unique, yet romantic with its two heart-shaped diamonds flanking the center stone.

Poppy Delevingne's Engagement Ring

Poppy Delevingne’s Engagement Ring

Poppy Delevingne and Prince Harry’s present girlfriend, Cressida, both have a boho-chic aesthetic sense.  Cressida tends to gravitate towards more organic style with romantic prints and flowers in her hair.  A simple solitaire isn’t going to cut it for this boho-chic kitten should she and Prince Harry decide to take a walk down the aisle.  I could see Cressida going for a modern take on floral-inspired engagement rings that became popular in the Victorian era and have been reinterpreted throughout the years.

BeautifulPetra on Etsy has some gorgeous flower-inspired rings, like the Flower Rose Diamond Engagement Ring:

Flower Rose Engagement Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Flower Rose Engagement Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

The Love in Bloom Ring:

Love in Bloom Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Love in Bloom Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

And the Rose Diamond Engagement Ring.

Rose Diamond Engagement Ring Designer: BeautifulPetra Available on Etsy

Rose Diamond Engagement Ring
Designer: BeautifulPetra
Available on Etsy

Of course, Prince Harry could always go rooting around in the Royal Family jewelry box to see what gorgeous bauble might be available should he and Cressida choose to become engaged.  The Queen Mother stopped wearing her sapphire engagement ring in favor of a pearl ring around 1950, and I don’t believe that ring has been used by anyone else.  If Prince Harry was looking for an opal engagement ring, he would be hard pressed to find one, the Royal Family is very superstitious about their gems.  Opals are believed by some to bring bad luck to a marriage unless they are surrounded by diamonds or worn by a bride born in the month of October so the British Royal Family steers clear.  They even are apprehensive about rubies in engagement rings, a superstition unique to the House of Windsor.  Given that opals and rubies were the most common stones used in engagement rings by the masses prior to the 1930s, it’s possible the commonness of the stone is what made rubies undesirable to the Royal Family and is at the root of that superstition.  In 1960, Princess Margaret accepted the ruby and diamond engagement ring shaped to look like a rose from Antony Armstrong-Jones.  The marriage ended in divorce, which did not help the ruby’s image in royal eyes.  Of course, the unhappy marriage could have in part been due to Princess Margaret still not being over Peter Townsend, with whom she fell madly in love and wanted to marry but her sister, Queen Elizabeth II, refused to grant permission on the grounds that as a divorced man, he was unsuitable.  Still, the ruby in the engagement ring shouldered some of the blame.  Some were concerned when Prince Andrew gave Sarah Ferguson a ruby and diamond engagement ring.  Their divorce didn’t help the Royal Family’s wariness of engagement rubies either but Sarah still wears her ruby ring from time to time and she and Prince Andrew still care deeply for each other.  Some think the two will eventually get back together again, love triumphing over ruby.  Even though they are divorced, I think they’ve always been and always will be the love of each others’ lives.

I hope there’s another royal engagement soon and not just because I love talking about shiny baubles, but because Prince Harry seems to truly want to settle down and have a family of his own.  Prince Harry has said, “I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young. And so… I’m waiting to find the right person, someone who’s willing to take on the job.” The women who Prince Harry dates aren’t the type who are after the perks of a royal title, their lives are about more than just salon appointments and shopping trips, they are aware they wouldn’t be just marrying a man, they would be marrying an entire country and with that comes expectation.  I hope Cressida is “willing to take on the job”, everyone deserves to have a love that will last forever.

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Kate Middleton Crowned New Madame Déficit

When it was announced that Prince William and Kate Middleton were engaged, comparisons were immediately drawn between the late Princess Diana and the woman who was now wearing her sapphire engagement ring.  Beyond Kate referencing the mother-in-law she never met through her clothing choices and photo ops, there really are very few similarities.

Back from the Maldives vacation, Kate logged one more official engagement, presenting shamrocks to Irish Guards in Aldershot, Hampshire on St. Patrick’s Day, which brought her total up to four for 2014.  Kate was wearing a brand new outfit, to the relief of the most loyal royalist fashionistas who worried she would try to pull off the dreaded coat threepeat, the effects of which would be more cataclysmic than a meteor the size of Texas hitting the Earth.   Then Kate put a Do Not Disturb Sign on the door to her oblivious privilege and devoted herself to redecorating the redecorated Kensington Palace as well as the couple’s Anmer Hall ten bedroom country house with no more official engagements to clutter her calendar or pretty little head until the Australian/New Zealand tour next month.

Amidst recent unflattering press, Kate’s frivolous spending habits and work-shy approach to her duties have her being compared to another royal figure, a former Queen Consort named Marie Antoinette, who was single-handedly blamed for bringing down the French monarchy.

MarieAntoinetteKateMiddletonRedHat

 

 

Marie Antoinette Kate Middleton
Earthquake in Lisbon on her date of birth Earthquake in Canada & New England on her date of birth
A bit of a tomboy when younger A bit of a tomboy when younger
Marriage arranged by mother Marriage orchestrated by mother
Had to go through French Princess Bootcamp Had to go through Duchess Bootcamp
Described by the Abbé de Vermond as “rather lazy and extremely frivolous” Reportedly described by Queen Elizabeth as “vain, vapid and lazy”
Sisters disfigured by small pox Sister disfigured by strange orange-hued skin
Had teeth fixed as condition of marriage to French dauphin Had teeth fixed by French dentist prior to marriage
April Bride – Married April 19, 1770 April Bride – Married April 29, 2011
Waited 7 years for her husband to have sex with her Waited 10 years for Prince William to become her husband
Intentionally powdered her hair white Gray roots caused global freak-out
Initially loved by the people for her beauty Initially loved by the people for her beauty
Conception rumors early in marriage (Louis XVI rumored to be impotent) Conception rumors early in marriage (Kate rumored to be infertile, William rumored to be Antichrist)
Brother helped address couple’s sex issue Brother no help wearing a dress
Spent a lot of money on clothing Spends a lot of money on clothing
Favorite Designer: Rose Bertin Favorite Designer: Jenny Packham
Obsessed with her hair Obsessed with her hair
Wore heavy makeup with kohl around eyes & lots of blush Wears heavy makeup with black eyeliner & lots of blush
Not permitted to bring pug Mops with her to France Not permitted to bring cocker spaniel Lupo to Sandringham at Christmas
Nicknamed Madame Déficit  & Madame Veto Nicknamed Waity Katie, Lazy Katie, Duchess of Doolittle & Madame Déficit
Most cruel nickname: The Austrian Whore Most cruel nickname: The Mattress
Good dancer Good dancer
Strong presence of domineering mother throughout marriage Strong presence of domineering mother throughout marriage
Had a lady in waiting in charge of her underwear Probably should have someone making sure she’s wearing underwear
Icy relationship with King’s mistress Rumored icy relationship with Prince Charles’ once former mistress
Extremely chummy with husband’s brother, Charles Extremely chummy with husband’s brother Harry
Liked to redecorate Likes to redecorate
Cost of La Petit Trianon renovations spiraled out of control Cost of Kensington Palace renovations spiraled out of control
Indecisive dull homebody husband Indecisive dull homebody husband
Unsubstantiated rumors she slept with son Unsubstantiated rumors she slept with brother-in-law
Considered not very bright Ditzy comments suggest the bulb is low wattage
Enjoyed hunting Enjoyed hunting, or at least pretended to until she bagged William
Constantly featured in gossip pamphlets called libelles Constantly featured in gossip magazines
Loved bonbons Loves bonbons
Seemingly oblivious to suffering of people Seemingly oblivious to suffering of people
French Invasion of Privacy – ladies in waiting watched her bathe French invasion of Privacy – Paparazzi snapped topless & bottomless pics
Enjoyed putting on plays Enjoyed being in plays
Marrieta, Ohio named after Marie Antoinette Butter London’s “No More Waity, Katie” nailpolish named after Kate
Wore purple shoes to her execution Wore purple shoes & black dress to a wedding & faced fashion firing squad
Frivolous spending contributed to French Revolution Frivolous spending revolting
October 16, 1793 – Beheaded to cheers of once-adoring public October 16, 2013 – 220 years later, Kate goes shopping, Quelle surprise!

While Marie Antoinette has been historically vilified, she wasn’t malicious, she was a rather dull superficial woman whose capacity for kindness was dwarfed by her weakness for extravagance.  She lost the connection between her heart and mind at a time when those who were struggling looked to the monarchy for reassurance and instead saw profligacy.  It’s up to Kate how she is historically remembered, there is kindness within her, hopefully she has the strength of character to not to be lured further away from it by the siren’s song  of decadence.

March is Women’s History Month.  Perhaps Kate can be inspired by the women in this article who are changing the world: http://act.mtv.com/posts/8-women-who-are-changing-the-world/

I know the incredible women behind Thinx: Miki Agrawal, Antonia Dunbar and Radha Agrawal and I am lucky to count Antonia Dunbar as one of my dearest friends.  Antonia radiates warmth, embodies strength, and possesses graceful invincibility.  The luminous beauty of her heart, mind, body and soul co-mingle in molecular and metaphysical fluidity.  Each and every day she strives to make the world better and each and every day she succeeds.  As co-founder of Thinx, Antonia was driven by the discovery that there are 67 million women in the world whose lives were adversely affected by their sanitary needs.  An idea to provide sexy underwear with powerful purpose became a mission.  Three women changing the world, something each of us has the capability to do.

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Spring Beauty

With the first whisper of spring in the air, there’s the promise of new life about to break through the desolate emptiness of winter.  As we pull off our hats and gloves, preparing ourselves to embrace the outdoors again, we assess the casualties of winter’s gloom and one of the first things we notice is our hair didn’t quite make it.  Winter is the harshest season on hair, the frigid blustery conditions outside make hair brittle while indoor heat has the same drying effects as several hours of daily blow drying.

Studies have shown that our hair is one of the first things other people notice about us, and it is the feature that becomes most closely identified with our personality.  Women experiment the most with their hair in their early twenties, when they are still trying to figure out who they are.  Once we obtain a better sense of self, we are faced with the challenge of finding a stylist with the intuition to understand who we are and the skillset to be able to sculpt our hair into an expression of that while enhancing our best features.  It’s no wonder that women are always salon-hopping, we’re not just looking for a hair stylist, we are looking for a psychic therapist hair artist wizard.

Don’t go scrambling to put back on your winter hat, because your hair needs you more than ever now that winter has taken its toll on it.  I happened to have already found one of these elusive psychic therapist hair artist wizard creatures and even if it means I have to book him farther in advance, I’m willing to share because everyone deserves to look and feel beautiful.  My stylist’s name is Enrico and he’s now based out of Cristiano Cora Studio in Manhattan.

EnricoAs an artist, Enrico understands hair as a medium, working with hair’s natural texture and factoring in lifestyle so his clients always look their very best.   He has an instinctive grasp on who his clients are and who they want to be.   Ever since Enrico has been cutting my hair, I can just let it air dry for the California beach waves look I used to expend a lot of effort trying to achieve.  In addition to this magical effortless option, sometimes I wake up with bedhead that looks like it was professionally styled in my sleep.  My best theory on these strange phenomena is that the scissors Enrico uses are forged from the sword of Excalibur, there is a very Sir Galahad-esque quality to his nature.

As difficult as it can be to find a stylist possessing Enrico’s level of talent and intuitiveness, there are others like them, and they have found their way to Cristiano Cora Studio.  I followed Enrico there from another salon and immediately fell in love with the space.

cristianocora

I’ve been to a lot of salons in the city, I haired around quite a bit before committing to hair monogamy.  My hair’s past has been filled with celebrity stylists, salons that blared club music because the ability to hear is just so last season, salons that were pretend-posh, and one that was pretend-clean, I was afraid to touch anything because the doorknobs looked like they probably had syphilis.

What I like about Cristiano Cora Studio is that unlike every other salon I’ve ever been to, it doesn’t have to try to be something it isn’t.  The space is sexy and sleek, creating a clean backdrop to showcase the salon’s talent.  Despite the modern crisp white décor, it never feels cold because of the warmth of the people in it.  From the moment you walk in, you are instantly greeted by a friendly and professional receptionist and sometimes by the founder himself, top stylist Cristiano Cora.  Despite all of his success, his talent, the role he plays shaping the industry he loves so much, Cristiano is a very unassuming man.  I don’t think he realizes he’s Cristiano Cora.

The man whose name is on the door has set the tone for the salon which offers an extensive menu of services and a luxury experience at all price points.  Unlike at other salons in the city, the creative team seems thoroughly unaware that they are the best at what they do.  There is something so refreshing about a group of individuals who are sincerely united by a love of craft and a dedication to providing the best client experience.  Colorist Whitney, renowned for delivering the exact perfect shade for every client, left a thriving career styling hair for the television and fashion industries because she craved being in a salon surrounded by other people who shared her passion.  At Cristiano Cora Studio there is an abundance of passion.  Fellow colorist Alexandra began her love affair with color at an early age and has developed a technique one Google Review described as “by far the best I’ve ever seen”.  The way she expertly weaves in notes of color has an almost musical quality.  Colorist and stylist Jordan also has wanted to work with hair since a young age, there’s a joy he brings to his work, each client experience isn’t merely a color or cut, it’s a collaboration to create the best look for his client.

No matter who does your hair, the focus is always on your beauty.   I’ve walked in there feeling like the Crypt Keeper and walked out feeling like Scarlett Johansson, wondering if I should don shades just in case the paparazzi was waiting below.

A taste of celebrity-level pampering is far better than being an actual celebrity, there’s no invasion of privacy, hounding for autographs or stranger selfies.  Fame seems attractive from the outside because people see the fabulous hair and flawless make-up and think it’s oh so glamorous.  The artists behind those envied looks don’t exist merely for celebrities, it’s not like they turn to statues or morph into cookie-making Keebler Elves when their artistry is not in use by the famous, any of us can hire the glamour-creators.

I was very excited when I saw Ida listed on Cristiano Cora’s site under Team.  IdaShe is a celebrity makeup artist and she gets to go by one name like Madonna or Cher because she’s just that cool.  Her extraordinary talents have been seen on celebrities ranging from Mariah Carey to Sarah Jessica Parker to Kate Upton and throughout the glossy pages of fashion magazines, examples of her work as well as contact info can be found on her website: http://idamakeup.com

I have seen Ida’s work up close and it is flawless.  While her artistry is very versatile, one of her iconic looks is fresh, natural, makeup that isn’t overly made-up, perfect for spring.  Just like clothing, makeup is seasonal as well.  Switching out makeup can be hard to do and unless you have a friend who is a makeup artist, you are pretty much on your own when it comes to figuring out how to best enhance your beauty.  Sales reps at makeup counters are unqualified to make the recommendations hesitant shoppers tentatively seek, they are not required to have any sort of beauty background or training, makeup counters look for retail experience because they don’t care how their products look on you as long as you buy them.  Having makeup done by a professional makeup artist is a whole different experience from having Jenny who just transferred over from housewares smearing lipstick on your hands.  I would always pay close attention when professional makeup artists put makeup on me, checking out the products and how they applied them.

Most people think of hiring makeup artists for weddings or special events, but shouldn’t our lives be packed with more reasons than that to look our very best?  Spring itself is a celebration of new life, the awakening of nature after her winter slumber.  It is the seasonal incarnation of hope, expectation, anticipation, promise.  Certainly that deserves being celebrated with a little pampering.

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Beauty Secrets

Despite a lifelong love affair with beauty products, in recent months, I’ve been going much more low-maintenance than usual.  Lately my hair has been pulled up like Tinker Bell’s, my make-up is more minimal, sometimes it’s just lip gloss and overall I’ve been looking like someone who is cramming for finals.  And yet despite the lack of effort, never in my life have I been hit on by so many men as I have in the last few months.

Okay, so the guy who chased me out of Gristedes and down a dark side street a few weeks ago might have been a serial killer, it was a little odd he kept trying to get me somewhere alone at 11:50pm “to talk” after I turned down his first few date offers, but still, even eliminating the number of men who potentially had blood-caked rotary saws in nearby vans, the count is still disproportionately high.

Huh. I wonder if I should change my ring tone from screaming lambs to something else.

Huh. I wonder if I should change my ring tone from screaming lambs to something else.

The only thing to which I can attribute the recent surge in men who have expressed interest is that a girl’s best beauty secret is love.  Maybe my far-away gaze has made men wonder what dreamy wonderland retreat my mind has taken, maybe there’s a glow to my skin that can’t be attributed to oily skin, it’s possible my smile is now on a hair-trigger, or maybe it’s just because they find my total disinterest in them appealing.  Whatever it is about foggy-headed candy-coated blissfully oblivious love, it seems to work.

If love is all we need to look our best, then why do Americans spend well over $10 billion each year on beauty products?  The use of cosmetics to enhance appearance can be traced all the way back to 2500BC, however it was movie star make-up artist Max Factor who made it accessible to the masses in the 1920s.

Max Factor with Michnometer

Max Factor with Michnometer

We tend to think the more we spend, the better the product, but that’s not always the case.  Most people don’t know that there are very few companies which actually own all the brands sold at department stores and drug stores.

It’s generally accepted that the two best mascaras on the market are Lancôme’s Definicils and Maybelline’s Great Lash.  Both Lancôme and Maybelline brands happen to be owned by the same company, L’Oreal, which is also the parent company of Kiehl’s, The Body Shop, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Redken, Matrix, Ralph Lauren and several other well-known cosmetic, hair and fragrance brands.  Estee Lauder also owns M.A.C., Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives, La Mer, Smashbox, Clinique, Tom Ford, Aveda and Bumble and bumble.  The brand that brought make-up to the masses, Max Factor, is now owned by Procter and Gamble which also holds Cover Girl, Olay, Frederic Fekkai, Pantene as well as many brands found in showers across America.  More expensive doesn’t always mean better.  A recent study proved the most effective anti-aging products aren’t La Mer or even the ones that retail for $1,000 an ounce, the most effective wrinkle treatment for the face is L’Oreal Revitalift and the best for eyes is Olay Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex, available in pretty much every drug store.  Some products are worth paying a little more.  Some might balk at the price of Tom Ford’s lipstick, but Spanish Pink is the creamy nude pink love of my life.

TomFordSpanishPink

With beauty products, it’s more than just finding out what works best, it’s what works best for you.  Body chemistry is an important factor so you need to try things on.  The packaging isn’t important, it’s about how it makes you feel.  I think love is like that, it doesn’t matter where we find it, all that matters is we try it out and find the one that makes us feel like better versions of ourselves.  Love should enhance the beauty we already have, it should never turn us into someone we don’t recognize.  Never stop looking for love, even if it doesn’t make sense and shouldn’t work, every now and then you can find one that makes you feel so beautiful, you will turn heads even when you don’t have a stitch of make-up on.

Even though I rarely kiss and tell and when I do, I use aliases, I will always name names when it comes to cosmetics.  This winter, I’m madly in love with TINte’s flavored lip gloss, it’s wonderfully nourishing and comes in delicious flavors like Double Bubble, Cake and Haute Chocolate.

TINte's Double Bubble The grown-up version of youth's sweet candy kisses without the curfew.

TINte’s Double Bubble
The grown-up version of youth’s sweet candy kisses without the curfew.

Their tagline is absolutely brilliant, “Products tested on boys, not Animals”.  I definitely think I need some mistletoe this holiday season.

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Love,

Lola

27 Awesome Things About Being A Girl

Being a woman is sort of like being Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.  We are mysteries, even to ourselves at times.  Freud said, “The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?'”.  The greatest insight I’ve heard into the matter was uttered on the television show, “Psych”: “You treat a woman like a person, than a princess, than a goddess, than a person again”.

I love being a woman.  I love lipstick, perfume,  the feel of satin on my skin, a man’s arm wrapped around my waist, the freedom to express emotions or say nothing at all, the ability to see beauty all around me and within myself and others, I appreciate the gentility of a man holding the door open for me or kissing my hand, not because he thinks I am in any way weaker than he, but because he values that I am a woman.

Women are a force.  We can manage to have it all while wearing four inch heels or we can claim the heart of a man with just a glance.  We love, we nurture, we’d give any of our friends a kidney if it was needed, we understand what words like “duvet cover” and “valance” mean and we don’t have the heart to tell you that our chocolate chip recipe is on the back of the Tollhouse bag.  We’re not angels and we don’t always use our powers for good.  I don’t think there even needs to be the specification of rejection in the phrase, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.   Hell hath no fury like a woman.  We will unleash our wrath if our blood sugar gets too low or if our significant other doesn’t know why we’re acting irrationally even though we don’t know why but they should know because their ex-girlfriend is prettier than we are and maybe we wanted dessert and there still aren’t any stamps!  Oh, yeah, every now and then without warning a tornado will rip loose from inside a woman.  Not often, but when it happens, there should be a relationship equivalent to FEMA.

I came across a link to an article on 27 Slightly Annoying Things About Being a Girl on a friend’s Facebook page that was dead-on.  The underwire from my bra has tried to kill me and recently I was the victim of a tragic ponytail elastic incident.  But along with the bad, there’s a whole lot of good that comes from being an XX-er.  Inspired by the article, I’ve written my own list of 27 Awesome Things About Being A Girl:

1. You can own 87 pairs of shoes and not be considered a hoarder.  Instead, you are labeled a Fashionista.

2. If you say something like “did you guys see that fleaflicker in last night’s game”, men will start telling you military secrets.

3. You can wear a tank top in public without looking like a douchebag.

4. No one ever reprimands a woman for throwing like a girl.

5. If you kill a bug or use a piece of paper to escort a spider outside, you are instantly elevated to Joan of Arc status.

6. While PMS is dreadful, sometimes resulting in the transformation from woman to werewolf, Fake PMS is a blank check any woman can use for erratic behavior or simply because she doesn’t want to do something.

7. You can completely derail a man’s mental process and make him flee with one word: gynecologist.

8. Women can wear makeup to enhance their best features, when men wear make-up, they’re in The Cure or a KISS Tribute band.

9. We’re able to appreciate Carter Oosterhouse on so many more levels.

10. No woman ever has to pay for sex, she just has to go to a bar.

11. Men are so afraid of tampons, you could hide anything in your box of Tampax: a flask, a secret sex tape, or plutonium in case you need to generate 1.21 gigowatts of electricity to go back to the future.

12. There’s no female equivalents of the phrases “Man Up” and “Take It Like A Man”.

13. You can sit at a table with Stephen Hawking, Chuck Norris, Snoop Dogg, Derek Jeter and the ghost of Harry Houdini, and every guy will still find your breasts the most fascinating thing at the table.

14. Spanx.

15. People never ask women to help them move a piano up a flight of stairs.

16. We don’t have to go looking for anything in a hardware store, men will bring it to us.

17. From Salome to Lola Montez to Mata Hari, femme fatales have shown that men can be manipulated and consequently destroyed by dancing for them.  The most shocking thing a male dancer has ever convinced a woman to do was when Mikhail Baryshnikov got Carrie to move to Paris and that was scripted.

18. We can ask men their weight or age, if men dare to broach the same subjects with us, it’s generally accepted they have to pretend to believe whatever lie we tell.

19. We can be anything we want to be for Halloween, including the sexy version of it.

20. If a woman wakes up with morning wood, it means there was an earthquake and the crown molding didn’t make it.

21. A stacked woman in a tight v-neck sweater is hot, Simon Cowell has proven why the same isn’t true for men.

22. Adam Levine’s 2011 Cosmo UK pic.  In addition to deepening my appreciation for red nail polish, this pic has officially replaced raw cookie dough in my Top Five Happy Thoughts.

23. We can have multiple orgasms, so even factoring in the number of orgasms we have faked, we’re still ahead of the guys.

24. Everything a man carries has to fit in his pants’ pocket.  Carrying a purse enables a woman to also carry a book, a water bottle, make-up, a toothbrush and toothpaste, emergency Valium, a snack and various other items that make us walking survival kits. We are set for being stranded on a deserted island or for that day when the chipmunks finally attack.

25. A woman can make a car purchase without anyone speculating that it is related to the size of  her penis with the possible exception of Lady Gaga and Ryan Seacrest.

26. Our threshold for pain is three times higher than a man’s which makes us a third less annoying when we get a boo boo.

27. No matter how badly we screw up a relationship, we know we can fix it by dressing up as Princess Leia in the gold bikini.  We don’t have to understand the why.

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Love,

Lola

 

 

The Fountain of Youth

Most people associate the Fountain of Youth with sixteenth century explorer Ponce de Leon.  The legends of springs possessing restorative powers date as far back as 400 BC.   Ponce de Leon was in search of the mythical land of Bimini when he stumbled upon Florida.  According to Historia General y Natural de las Indias 1535, what Ponce de Leon was really searching for before he hit our most phallic looking state was Bimini’s impotence-curing water.  Whether or not Ponce de Leon was having problems hoisting his flag (almost went with the seacock joke but the hoisting of the flag by Spanish ships actually has historical relevance), if it were not for his discovery of Florida in 1513, Spain wouldn’t have had it to trade to Great Britain for the release of Havana and then maybe Florida wouldn’t have good Spanish food and cool pubs for my friend Lise and her husband today.  There’s actually no real evidence to support Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth.  What make the story interesting is that it is filled with as many confused facts and misguided attempts as the quest for recapturing youth is today.

Despite the fact that I love that Florida might have been discovered by a man in search of a good boner and I never really get to say seacock enough, the direction I’m really heading with this that all water does have restorative properties, it’s a simple way to look and feel younger.  The legend of Ponce de Leon searching the world for something he had all along isn’t the only time in history that’s happened with a man.  Wow, still a little bitter after all these years.  Good to know.

We live in a youth-obsessed culture, I don’t think that comes as a shock to anyone.  Women have their faces lifted, lasered, peeled and injected, some spend hundreds of dollars for a bottle of moisturizer and *gross alert*, even drink urine.  Vomit.  Ultimately whatever a girl can stomach to make her feel more beautiful, she should go for it if that’s what she wants.  The one thing I think is important, though, is that a woman should only do these things for herself, no one else.  Not a husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend.  Not to not to look less Crypt Keeperish next to the new perky little twenty-two year old intern, not because there’s a class reunion coming up, and not because someone else did it.  Beauty really is just being comfortable with yourself because there’s nothing sexier than confidence, if you believe you are the most beautiful woman in the room, you will be.

Not all attempts to look younger need to be drastic or expensive.  Ultimately, how your skin ages is genetic.  There’s a reason why all of the women in my family lie about their age, we can get away with it.  Don’t hate me because I won’t have to worry about crows feet until I’m fifty, I got genetically shafted in other areas.  But like any other woman, I’m always looking for ways to turn back the clock even a little more.  Here are some basic non-evasive ways to cheat age a bit:

1. Water.  Regular spring water is fine.  Our bodies are 60 percent water and it’s happy when we replenish it with more.  64 oz daily flushes out toxins.  Skin cells are organisms, and all of our bodies’ organisms need water.  Keeping them hydrated keeps them happy and happy cells don’t wrinkle.

2. Sex.  And I’m not just saying that because I’ve got seacocks on the brain.  Sex increases a woman’s collagen levels and collagen makes skin more youthful.  It also produces more estrogen which makes hair healthier and shinier.  And of course it releases  endorphins which are the body’s natural wonder drug… endorphins reduce physical and emotional pain and most importantly, you don’t have to worry what it’s cut with and it’s nearly impossible to overdose on endorphins.  Pain ages people.  I’ve got back problems and today the pain is a little worse than what I normally deal with.  Earlier I passed a mirror and noticed I was hunched over like Father Time.  My face always looks a little ashen when I’m in extreme pain.  The word “endorphin” literally means inner morphine.

3. A white smile.  I actually didn’t believe it until I had my teeth whitened a while back… my OCD draws me to anything involving bleaching which is why I tried it.  It makes sense, though.  As we age, things like coffee, wine, blueberries, cherries, and countless other things we consume yellow our teeth.  Younger people don’t have that stain build-up.  That first whitening made me look and feel younger.   All of the equipment that was used was a little Silence of the Lambs and it wasn’t cheap.  Fortunately, it’s much less expensive to whiten nowadays and you aren’t tempted to ask anyone if the lambs have stopped screaming yet.  There is one product line with which I’m obsessed called IntelliWhite.  The Pout and Polish pen is great to carry with you in case you have a spontaneous rendez-vous and ate tunafish for lunch. You use the polish pen to erase that tunafish furry film from your teeth and the lipgloss on the other side makes your lips kissably minty as well.  The Pro White Professional Whitening Duo from the line is also phenomenal.  You have to brush your teeth anyway and it’s an effortless way to a brighter smile.  The entire product line is great because it’s invented by a woman who understands what women want.  You can check it out at http://www.rxbright.com/index.php?cPath=65

4. Anti-aging products. Do you know what always beats out those ridiculously expensive anti-aging products in product studies? Oil of Olay.  The stuff our grandmothers use.  I follow these studies just in case anything new that’s magical comes out, but to date the winner is always Oil of Olay.  If it feels weird you aren’t getting ripped off for the most effective products, go to a movie and hit the concession stand.  You’ll be broke before the previews.  Or take the money you saved and donate it to your favorite charity.

5. Play like you did when you were a kid.  I have a pretty serious Peter Pan complex and have concluded that spending part of your time in Neverland slows down the aging process.  I wholeheartedly believe that adults should play. Think about it, when you were a kid, you would probably ride your bike until the sun came down, maybe you had a hula hoop or a basketball net, would go exploring, swim or at least run through the sprinkler, all of which burned loads of calories and didn’t feel like working out at all.  The term “working out” has “work” right at the front of it.  That’s why I started going to the batting cages.  It’s exercise that feels like playing.  Exercise always gives your skin an extra boost and when it doesn’t feel like exercise you’re more willing to do it.  I don’t have an inner child, I have an outer adult.  I think it’s important not to get sucked into all the stresses of adulthood.  If you don’t take yourself too seriously, you don’t get those little frowny lines.  Childhood was a happy time for most people and when you connect with that and celebrate it, it’s a fun little endorphin party.  Earlier I took a trip to Imaginationland because my tv remote isn’t working.  First I tried to telekinetically turn it on because it’s always possible I suddenly developed superhero powers, that’s why I always randomly check.  Judging by the size of the moths lately, there definitely could be some kind of radioactive action going on around here.  Shockingly my telekinetic  attempt didn’t work.  Then I tried to figure out if I could craft a long stick out of anything near my bed that I could use to hit the power button which as it turns out I could but it would have involved damaging some pretty expensive stuff and my outer adult can be a buzz kill sometimes.  Then I tried to think if anyone had the keys to my apartment who I could summon over but no one does so I just turned on the tv in my head and started to picture Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus starting a bar fight but that ended quickly because apparently Mr. Snuffleupagus has a lot of pent up rage from all of the years of never being seen and he’s pretty bad-ass with whipping a broken beer bottle around in his trunk.  Then I started to imagine which Sesame Street characters would win one-on-one fights. Obviously Ernie over Bert.  Anybody who spends that much time in the tub with a rubber duckie is just mentally off enough to fight creatively.  Definitely the Cookie Monster over Elmo because people with serious addictions like the chocolate chip monkey on Cookie Monster’s back get surges of adrenaline when they are in need of a fix.  Plus Elmo is really ticklish, one brush with Cookie Monster’s blue fur and he’d be down in giggle fit.  Then I started pitting Muppet against Sesame Street character and Miss Piggy just had too much of a weight advantage over Abby Cadabby and broke her wand before Abby could go all fairy on her.  Sadly Animal and the Count were next and it was hard to see my two puppet crushes go at each other like that.  Drummers have a freakish amount of upper body strength and the Count was down for the one, two, three ah ah ah count.  Most people don’t know that the Count has a very sensitive side.  He’s a lover not a fighter.  So that’s my most significant contribution to the world at the moment.  The only vaguely adult thing I did was momentarily wonder why I smelled like Elmer’s glue and decide I didn’t care.  Frivolous days like that remind us of our carefree youth. They rejuvenate the soul.  Without the inside taken care of, it doesn’t matter what you do to the outside, our souls are our life force and that’s what makes us beautiful and youthful.  That’s the best make-over tip anyone can give.

Love,

Lola