Showing posts from October, 2012

My Biggest Successes and Mistakes: Read This and Save Yourself Time

Biggest Successes:

1. I was 24 and had been a government reporter for three years. All my life, I'd dreamed of going to New York City. To jump from small-town reporting to financial writing in the city was one of the scariest moves of my life. At the time, I had a love interest who was looking for a woman who wanted to settle down, get married, and have kids. I chose my heart. I chose New York City and making my own way. Occasionally, I see him: He's married with kids. It's the life I could've had, but I would've always regretted pursuing my dream.

2. The workforce can be a tough place: Very few people in corporate America are transparent. In two instances, I've paid professionally for upholding something morally important to me. I won't climb at others' expenses or by neglecting my own sense of what's right. Has it cost me some rungs on the professional ladder? Possibly. But I sleep soundly at night.

3. My closest friends are people I trust infini…

The Legacy of Helen Gurley Brown and Influence of Cosmopolitan

When I was a kid, I once saw my father paging through Cosmopolitan magazine in a check-out line and asked him to stop looking at porn. He replied that it was actually a woman's magazine. It took me several minutes to process the information that women were looking sexy for other women.

This was the early 1990s, when models were celebrities (unlike today in which celebrities are models). This was the era of huge hair, cleavage, layers of makeup: Think Kim Alexis, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, and Stephanie Seymour. This was when models could refuse to "get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day" and still have jobs worth getting out of bed for.

Around the same time, I saw an episode of "Oprah" with Helen Gurley Brown, longtime editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan who was a figurehead for the magazine. During the episode, she coached women on the importance of looking sexy even when running errands, since Mr. Right might be fleshing them out whi…

Review: Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation

I love Revlon Colorstay liquid foundation, so when a whipped formula came out with largely positive reviews, I was intrigued. The original formula's universal fault is that it sets quickly and can look so matte it appears flat.

The new consistency was quizzical and seemed a little gimmicky: I guessed it was Revlon's answer to the criticism by creating a version that seemed rich and creamy. It took a while, but when I had a coupon I caved and tried this formula.

Each time, I ask myself if it's the same product by the same brand: Everything I love about Revlon Colorstay liquid foundation is lacking in this whipped formula. Even in cooler Fall weather, the formula wears down in a matter of four or five hours. I wouldn't attempt it in any kind of heat. It appears more smooth and dewy than the original liquid version upon application, but it wears down very quickly and turns streaky. Colorstay is the gold standard for being budge-proof makeup, so this product has been a di…

In Defense of Cats

Whenever I hear a self-described "dog person" talk, there's an inevitable "I hate cats" thrown in. This is because cats and dogs love in very different ways. Dogs are stage 5 clingers: Think Taylor Swift, a typical Bachelor contestant. My parents' dog greets me like the President every time I come visit, but that enthusiastic love grates in a matter of hours when I can't go to the bathroom without her.

If I'm eating, the Oscar moment starts: She looks at me like she's never eaten before, and she will never eat again. Is this charming? If you did this to anyone, even once, you'd be banished.

I'm a self-described "cat person." Before the scoffing starts, let me explain why. I understand them. They want space; they don't need you constantly; their love is transparent (feed me and I love you). They also don't eat to the point of gluttony. I've always thought this was a marker of intelligence. Dogs will eat their weight…

My Mother's Beauty Style

I don't know where my love for beauty products came from. I know for sure wasn't taught: My mother was my antithesis in this area (and in most others). Her only form of "putting on her face" was applying Revlon lipstick while backing out of the driveway. Twenty years later, it has the exact same smell - an olfactory trip down memory lane.

The other glaring discrepancy: She bought no more than $30/year in cosmetics. No no-buy intact. No self-restraint. No penny pinching (well, maybe a little of that).. She just wasn't interested. In the mid-80s, she hosted a Mary Kay party for a friend. Her purchases sat in our bathroom closet until somewhere around 2000. She didn't use them, but she didn't throw them away.

She never wore sunscreen until her 50s and her skin looks like that of a much younger woman's. She never had skin cancer. She never taught me any beauty mantra as I reached puberty: Perhaps because we didn't bond in that way, but mostly because…

What I Think of Beauty

When I see a woman in her early 20s there's a running thought: You're beautiful; your skin bounces back; your weight resists a Big Mac; your hair grows fast and luscious. I'm not envious, but I'm 10 years out of that period in my life. And I wish I could give her a little lived-in advice: Things change, so don't count on your looks.

As many advances as there are in the beauty industry, the reality is none of them will truly stop time. When I was 24, I got into the best shape of my life. Just as I was savoring all the male attention suddenly thrown at me, something humbling happened. One night I yawned and dislocated my jaw. This led to a four year orthodontic journey in which I lived with a visibly crooked jaw. I had to slowly come to terms that my face had gone a few degrees against the definition of beauty as symmetry.

Our physicality is vulnerable to time, accidents, and countless things beyond on our control. As much as I love beauty products, makeup, and the…