Monday, December 31, 2012

My year in movies

The closest I came to any sort of resolution in 2012 was to tell myself I was going to see 52 movies released this year, so an average of a new movie a week. Not an unreasonable or undoable resolution. Only instead of seeing new movies, I caught up on some older fare, watched TV, and read some books. I also became a fan of original online programming (I recommend The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and Burning Love.) So while looking at the running list of new movies I had seen this year in early December, I realized I was woefully behind on my goal, and had to see an average of one new movie a day before the end of the year in order to meet my goal. Out went any discretion in movie selection. It was a movie released in 2012 and it was readily available on Netflix or Amazon? Well, then I was going to watch it. Among those movies were some not-so-bad surprises. And some truly godawful clunkers. Below is a list of everything I managed to see by December 31st.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Go to your happy place

The weather is getting cooler, kids are back in school, the leaves are starting to change color - all sure signs that autumn is on it's way. Fall/autumn is by far my favorite season of the year. I love the colors of the trees, the pumpkins, the cinammon-y baked goods, the crisp weather, and the seasonal makeup releases in shades that tend to right in my color wheelhouse.

It is currently beautiful outside my window - what I consider perfect weather. Sunny, cool, slightly breezy - and you might be able to see in the picture above, taken from my balcony, the leaves are now just starting to turn those beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow that just warm my heart. It's the kind of day that just pumps up my mood, and brings a spring to my step. The kind of day I need to wrap myself in and fully enjoy, so I can remember it on those not-so-perfect days - which unfortunately, can make you forget the great ones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oh, memories

This morning a friend posted a link to one of Rick Springfield's many bizarre videos, which reminded me of what may be his video magnum opus, the video for the song Human Touch. And that is saying a lot, the man was like a machine of weird cheesy music videos with inexplicably grandiose plots. Human Touch is a lovely time capsule of what the video's director must have thought "the future" would look like back in 1983. Folks, in just 4 years (the video is set in 2016)  after some sort of apocalypse, people who were frozen in the 80s wearing some uncomfortable looking clothes, will be forced to use some really outdated technology, and will be in such dire need of human touch, they will spontaneously burst into bad choreography with their fellow survivors. Wonderfully kooky. I've watched the video about 3 times today, and giggled each time.

I was a teen in the 80s, and have the pictures of me with feathered hair and blue eyeshadow to prove it. As such, I have wonderful memories of all the incredibly bad music videos of the era, time capsules of the bad fashion choices and horrible acting that happened when musicians were forced to make music videos in order to reach the MTV audience. Most of the videos that I enjoyed at the time do not hold up well - and I'm pretty sure people watching them for the first time would be too busy laughing to enjoy the music. I have wonderful memories of incredibly odd videos from Duran Duran, Billy Idol, Hall and Oates, Pat Benatar, and of course my fav, Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart. I have no idea what the names of the boys in One Direction or The Wanted are, or how their music will hold up, but I know they don't have the moves of the first boy band I remember dancing to, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike (plus Ralph), aka New Edition.

Anyway, I always love a trip down 80s music memory lane, especially if it features an awesomely overblown music video. If you have a fav, let me know, and let's keep this little nostalgia trip going. If it features a dream sequence, even better!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Singing gibberish

My recent obsession with PSY's GANGNAM STYLE and a conversation with friends about music in French made me think of all of the songs I've danced/bopped my head/sung along to without knowing what in the world the singers were saying. Given the popularity of English-language music worldwide, I'm sure I'm not alone - there are kids in South America singing along to Justin Bieber not really understanding the words coming out of his mouth - but I think it's super rare for that to happen here in the U.S., partly because we're generally not as exposed to world music.

I didn't grow up in the U.S., and I had quite a few friends who didn't speak English. As a kid, I found it hysterical to listen them sing along to their favorite Duran Duran song, because they thought it sounded just like what Simon Le Bon was saying, and to me it sounded like complete gibberish. Unfairly, they couldn't in turn laugh at me when I sang in Spanish - well, except to laugh at how horrible a singer I was.  The great equalizer was when a song in a language than none of us spoke became popular - then we all sang along with our own nonsensical lyrics.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Worth your cash

My love of makeup has been established. I wish I had a relative who worked in the cosmetics industry, or a friend who worked at a beauty supply company and could hook me up with an employee discount, but I don't. So instead I take advantage of sales, coupons and rewards points to help reduce the cost of my habit, yet still end up spending way too much...because, well, pretty and shiny and new! I do generally try to research products before I buy them - but am not immune to the occasional impulse buy, particularly if I need a pick-me-up.

Most of my friends know that I'm always reading up on all things beauty, and often ask me for recommendations when they are looking to buy something new. As someone who has spent a lot of my hard-earned money on makeup, I thought I'd share some of my favorite makeup items under $10 - which also happen to be what I've been wearing the most this summer. So if you're not as much of a addict as me, but would still like to add something new to your collection, here are some things I believe won't leave you feeling like you just wasted your money. I've grouped my favorites by brand.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic love

I love the Olympics. I don't follow regular team sports and am not athletic myself, but every four years, I become glued to the TV watching people run, jump, and swim to their bodies maximum potential. (And boy, oh boy, those are some bodies.)

I must admit I'm more of a summer than winter Olympics girl. The summer Olympics just seem less elitist. More countries send delegations, and although I don't want to bother looking it up, I get the feeling that more countries are represented in the final medal count too. Sure there are like 4 countries that seem to dominate, but there is always one event, be it archery or weightlifting or long-distance running, when one person from a country with a small, practically non-existent national sports program can make history.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A rainbow connection, I mean collection

As is clear if you know me, or becoming clear if you've read several posting in this blog, I have have a deep love for cosmetics and beauty-related products. Someone asked me recently when this love, some might say obsession, began, and I honestly couldn't remember. My age was definitely in the single digits.

One of the first beauty products I remember being obsessed with was nail polish. All those pretty shiny little bottles held some sort of magic for me. I REALLY wanted to paint my nails bright red or just looked so cool and grown up. I was so determined to paint my nails, that when my father told me I wasn't allowed to use nail polish, I decided to circumvent the ban by coloring my nails with red permanent marker. After much scrubbing, my nails still looked orange for a few days, maybe weeks, and I do believe I was issued various forms of punishment. I lost that battle....but ended up winning the war. Soon after, I was allowed to use a polish made for kids, that washed off with soap and water. Not my end goal, but it was a start. It was not too much later that I was allowed to get the real stuff. And not too much after that when I starting venturing from pinks and reds to blues and yellows.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Picky eater

I don't generally consider myself a picky eater. I'm lucky not to have any food allergies, and I'll generally game to try just about anything once. I love the cuisines of the world, and have eaten at Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Indian, Afghan, Mexican, Salvadoran, Bolivian, Peruvian, Brazilian, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Chilean, German, Lebanese, Ethiopian, and Cuban restaurants many times. (And other types of international cuisine I'm forgetting at the moment.) Most people who don't me very well wouldn't think of me as a picky eater. I've eaten frog, alligator, turtle, tripe, octopus, and snails - no problem. I'm not saying I love all those foods, but I've tried them without any fuss. That all changes when confronted with a "breakfast food 24 hours a day" restaurant. When confronted with a plate of eggs, THAT's when I balk. That's when my crazy comes out.

The thing is, generally all the things I'm picky about eating fall into the breakfast food category. Eggs being the top offender. I like eggs, and eat them at home all the time, but that all changes when eating out. I don't like them fried or poached, only scrambled, well done. I don't like eggs to be runny in any way. "So what about hard boiled?" you ask. Well, in that case, I don't like the yolk. Omelets suffer from my disdain for eggs that are runny or shiny in any way. When I do order order eggs scrambled well done, half the the time they're burned, so I can't eat them anyway. In summary: I am extremely picky about eggs, so I generally don't eat them out at all. I know, I have issues.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Feeling like a grown-up

Although every once in awhile I'll see a recent picture of myself and think, "damn, I'm OLD", most of the time I think I'm still like, 20, tops. I like watching silly teen movies and TV shows.  I read young adult fiction, I buy accessories at Claire's, I love Hello Kitty, and paint my nails funky colors. I secretly in the privacy of my home sing along with The Wanted and Carly Rae Jepsen. I will still occasionally get carded when buying alcohol, and I LOVE it. But I also have to dye my hair to hide the increasing number of greys that are popping up, find it harder to bend down, use anti-aging eye cream, and find myself saying horribly old things like "what is WRONG with kids these days?"

Nothing made me feel as grown-up as signing the mortgage paperwork for my home. There are a lot of things that make me feel old, like kids I used to baby-sit getting married and having kids of their own, or seeing 25th anniversary releases of movies or albums I loved in my teens. Making the long-term commitment to home ownership though, was the first time I remember thinking, damn, I'm an adult now. And every time I see that payment come out of my account, I'm reminded that I'm a big girl, with big girl responsibilities.

We all have little things that make us feel "grown-up" at different times of our lives. The first time I wore a pearl necklace comes to mind. Or the first time I drank a martini. The makeup geek part of me remembers feeling super grown up the first time I bought my first high-end (department store) item. Weddings can sometimes bring out the inner teenager, but having to organize a funeral is another one of those things that really make you feel an adult...sometimes too much so.

We're keeping things light here though, so I'll let you know that the thing that currently has me feeling like a grown up is my new purse.

My new purse - it came with accessories!
Now, generally, I'm not one to buy high end purses. Most of the bags I own come from discount stores or from the dude on the corner with extra colors in the back of his van. I generally balk at anything over $40. I appreciate the craftsmanship and smell of a nice genuine leather bag, but I prefer to spend my money on other things. Recently though, the huge purse I bought for travel about 4 years ago and have been carrying around almost daily for about 2 years began to literally fall apart. (It was a splurge, on sale, for about $80. I think I got my money's worth.) So I was in the market for a new one. And I happened to get an email from a shop-at-home channel telling me they had a sale on Dooney & Burke bags. Even on sale, it was more money than I've ever spent on a bag. But it was so pretty and grown up! Plus I could spread the payments out over several months. So now I have a fancy big-girl purse.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Not all pies are created equal

I think pie is swell. I love making and eating all kinds of pie. Apple, pumpkin, key lime, pecan, and chocolate mousse are all delicious. Savory variations are also fabulous in my book: a good pizza pie is worth traveling for, and I do enjoy a good slice of quiche for brunch. But not all pies are created equal.

Now, I know tastes are a very personal thing. I know this as someone who does not particularly like cake. That being said, I give a lot of extra leway to pie-type foods. I even give what is blatantly a cake trying to go undercover, AKA Boston Creme Pie, a pass. But if there is one style of pie-like concoctions that I am just not ok with, it's the German kuchen.

Now, I don't know if anyone who is reading this grew up in a German family or perhaps is from Germany. My paternal great grandparents were German. I love hearty German breads, cheeses, and deli meats. I think Ritter Sport make a pretty tasty chocolate bar. And I think German cars are very cool. So please know this is my personal opinion and I mean no offense when I say that I. HATE. KUCHEN.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I'm loving

I love to talk about things I'm currently digging, be it entertainment or food or whatever, so I thought I'd write about it too and continue to spread the love for those of you who don't see me on the regular (or ever). Here are some of the things I haven't been able to shut up about lately:

Monday, June 18, 2012

I need to learn Irish

A good friend of mine and I have had an inside joke for many years about how we have to learn Irish. This running gag started because we're both fun-loving gals who like to comment about our surroundings (some people might say we like to gossip) but want to avoid potential conflict by having our comments overheard and understood. We're both bilingual English/Spanish, so usually can switch into one or the other, or a combo of both, to get away with our narration. However, while I was visiting her some years ago, we found ourselves in a situation where we were surrounded by crazy and wanted to talk about it, but the crazy were all bilingual too.

Picture this: two friends who hadn't seen each other in awhile, and have just spent the afternoon walking around eating, shopping and laughing while catching up. It's the end of the day, and they find themselves watching the sunset at a boardwalk in Key West. All around them are people who appear to have just been released from or about to go into a mental institution. They want to comment about all the crazy, but are afraid of getting their asses kicked. After a lot of pointed looks, attempts at code Spanglish, and eye rolling, one turns to the other in frustration and says: "I wish we could speak Irish." The other takes a long pause, then replies, "Don't they speak English there?" They then embraced the crazy surrounding them by laughing hysterically for way too long over this "joke".

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm a makeup geek, and Happy Father's Day

I love makeup, it is known. My love of beauty supplies has been acknowledged and accepted or ridiculed by my friends and family for many, many years. I have hosted many days of beau-tay, involving everything from facials and makeovers to hair dye and styling. Friends have had me do their makeup for special occasions, and I've even had the privilege of being asked to do my best friend's and a cousin's makeup at their weddings.

I honestly cannot remember a time in which I wasn't fascinated by articles about the latest beauty trends, spent way too much time in the drugstore makeup aisle, or said "no" when offered a free product demo/makeover. Most people have something they spend more money than they should on, and for me that something has been makeup. 

Despite my love of cosmetics, I have never considered myself an expert of any kind. I have watched many a makeover show, read many a beauty tips magazine article, even watched the video and read the cards that came with that Victoria Jackson makeup kit I bought back in the dark ages (the 90s, from an infomercial!), but haven't really practiced these techniques regularly. I love making recommendations of products, especially when I find something I love, but I'm not a professional, and the only face I feel truly comfortable applying makeup on is my own. I love it when folks let me make them over, and trust that I won't make them look like clowns, but I know I'm not contouring their faces or hiding any imperfections as well as a professional could.

I know I'm a geek about makeup, but finding others with my same obsession has been tough. All of my really close friends indulge me, but none of them get as excited as I do over a new limited edition release, or know their favorite eyeshadow shades by name. The closest I came to finding others who shared my love of cosmetics was at department store makeup counters - but those people were always trying to sell me something. Ditto with those at-home cosmetics sales ladies. I thought we were bonding over finding the best mascara ever, but they were just trying to recruit me into their pyramid scheme sales team. Thankfully we now live in an age where everything is easily searchable, so the resources for beauty junkies like me to find others with the same obsessions have dramatically increased.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Booze tourism

I love booze tourism. I don't mean I like to get drunk when I'm on vacation, I mean I like to visit places where alcoholic beverages are produced. Generally speaking, I don't really care for getting drunk, but I do enjoy some good cocktails. If there is a vineyard or a distillery somewhere in the vicinity of where I'm traveling, I'm going to want to visit.

Santa Rita vineyard, Chile
Booze tourism is AWESOME. You get to see different parts of a city or a country, learn about local customs and traditions, and drink booze. Now, it's not always good booze, sometimes it's fantastic, sometimes it's mediocre, but you almost always learn something new.

Things I've learned during some of my booze tours:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prepping for summer

Summer weather is upon us, which means my great appreciation for the inventors of air conditioning and refrigeration increase along with the outside temperature. In my opinion, these two inventions are what make summer bearable. I love the longer days, but I hate the heat and humidity that come along with the summer months.

Summer sun and heat alter my primary beauty concerns. Although I am a fan of the extra sunlight, it brings out a heightened paranoia in me regarding sun damage and skin cancer. Especially after reading articles like this one about the aging effects of the sun. I wear a face moisturizer with sunscreen every day, and my makeup has sunscreen in it as well. (Side note: I am currently slightly obsessed with Asian BB creams as my daily makeup and want to try other Asian beauty supplies next. So glad Amazon broadens the availability of products from around the world.)
A selection of sunscreen products currently in rotation

In the summer I increase the SPF of my daily moisturizer, plus add a daily body moisturizer with sunscreen in it, and layer extra sunscreen over it if I'm going to be outside for a significant amount of time. Even the bug repellent I use has sunscreen in it. I read that Australia has more stringent standards for labeling sunscreen, so now I'm all about products that pass the mustard down under. I have even started carrying a little sample size sunscreen with me at all times, just in case I spend more time outdoors than originally anticipated. Next step: getting myself a pretty parasol for when the sun starts to really ramp it up. Basically I really, really don't want to look like that leathery tan lady that was in the news recently.

The other thing I obsess over in the summer months is not stinking. Let's face it, increased heat and humidity equals increased prespiration - which in my case means that in addition to all my sunscreen layering, there has to be a lot of deodorant layering as well. It also means that I have to keep a stash of toiletries in the office for reapplication and touch-ups after my commute, especially when the air conditioning on Metro fails me (which is more often than I care for.)  There have been many a commute with my face stuck next to some stranger's sweaty, stinky armpit, and I try to avoid being that gross person to someone else.

An essential for the summer
For others with similar concerns, I found a product a couple of years ago that I highly recommend to dealing with the extra moisture of summer: Gold Bond Ultimate Comfort body powder. Powder is something that many of use quite a bit of in the summer months, and really love this one. I like that it has a fresh scent, is corn starch not talc, and it really works to control odor. So if like me you are looking for an adult alternative to baby powder, check it out. I do have to say that I've found it hard to find in most drugstores. I heard rumors it was being discontinued, which had me tempted to stockpile it in my bunker, but thankfully it still easily available on all the drugstore websites I've checked.

With my stash of sunscreen, deodorant, and powder, I'm braced for the summer heat that is surely coming. Now I just need to get a new filter for my AC and make sure the freezer has plenty of ice. And maybe double check that I have sunscreen in my purse. And powder in the office. Shoot, I'm not ready at all.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A thousand wasted hours a day

I was just listening to the JV Club podcast with Jen Kirkman, and in it they talk about the music that influenced them as teens, and shared how much they loved The Cure's Disintegration album, which of course made me want to pull out my Cure playlist. Something about those long moody guitar intros take me straight back to high school.

The first The Cure song I remember hearing was In Between Days, still one of my favorites. I was in middle school. I immediately went out and bought Standing on a Beach, which was a greatest hits compilation that included that song. The real superfans, the ones who dressed like Robert Smith, looked down their noses at my Johnny-come-lately fandom - they owned Pornography on vinyl and I just had a cassette. But whatever, their last name was not the same as the name of the band so they were probably just jealous. And I'm pretty sure they didn't have to buy their album twice because they wore it out.

My first non-compilation The Cure album was Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, and it remains my favorite to this day. Sure it has some catchy poppy numbers like Why Can't I Be You and Just Like Heaven, but it was the moody If Only Tonight We Could Sleep and A Thousand Hours that really spoke to my angst-ridden teenage soul. And continues to speak to my inner 14-year-old.

   A thousand wasted hours a day, just to fill my heart for a second. 
   A thousand hours just thrown away, just to feel my heart for a second.

I mean, these lyrics were written specifically for angsty teenagers, right? Plus I love that the album cover was a giant pair of bright red lips....wait, is that where my red lipstick obsession first started?! (OMG, did I just have an epiphany while writing this?)

I know Disintegration is the favorite album of quite a few people, and I love quite a few songs from that album, but it's not the one I pull out to play from beginning to end on rainy days. That honor belongs to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, the album that reminds me of the girl I used to be.

   Yeah I know who you remind me of
   A girl I think I used to know
   I'd see her when the days got colder
   On those days when it felt like snow
   You know I even think that she stared like you
   She used to just stand there and stare
   And roll her eyes right up to heaven
   And make like I just wasn't there
   And she used to fall down a lot
  That girl was always falling again and again
  And I used to sometimes try to catch her,
  but never even caught her name

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Let them eat cake (but I'll pass)

I don't like cake. There. I said it. Go ahead and judge, I'm used it.

Look, I LOVE desserts. I have a neverending sweet tooth. I believe in eating ice cream year-round. I'm known around the office for almost always having a stash of chocolate. I like to bake, and have been told I'm pretty good at it. But I have never been a fan of cake.

This goes back as far as I can remember. As a kid, my least favorite part of going to a friend's birthday party was the part after singing "Happy Birthday" and blowing up the candles, because then came the cake distribution. My love of sweets was well-known, and I wasn't exactly a skinny kid, so of course every parent assumed I'd want a big chunk of cake....and they were all mistaken. My sense of tact wasn't exactly well-formed at the age of 5 or 6 (or today for that matter) so I'm pretty sure my "polite" decline involved some sort of face of disgust. Didn't matter if it was chocolate or vanilla or caramel cake....I wasn't having it. I'm pretty sure there was a temper tantrum that led to my early departure from a party because of a parent insisting I just try the cake. (I try to block out my memories of acting like a brat.) Now, if the parents were kind enough to have ice cream available, I could easily just pass on the cake and focus on the good stuff, but that was rarely the case.

I have a hard time explaining why I don't like traditional cake other than to say I prefer to consume my calories in a different format. I also don't like whipped cream on top of things, another thing that caused issues when I was a kid - who doesn't like whipped cream on their sundaes? Me. I prefer my calories to come from the hot fudge, thankyouverymuch.

Back to cake. I think a big part of my dislike is that I'm not really a fan of buttercream icing, no matter what it's flavored with. Put some cream cheese frosting on it, and I will give it a go. The thing is, I spent a significant portion of my formative years living outside of the U.S., and cream cheese was not something that was available at the time. Which means I was deprived of the wonders of cheesecake until I was in college. It must be said: cheesecake in its many variations does NOT fall into the dislike column.
(Nutella cheesecake, an original recipe which I have not time-traveled to share with my childhood self.) 

I don't dislike all cake - in addition to the aforementioned cheesecake, I'm a big fan of carrot cake, pineapple upside down cake, fresh apple spice cake....basically, cake with stuff in it. And if that "stuff" is ice cream, I'm all over it. Ice cream cake is the bees knees, and discovering Carvel's masterpieces at the age of 7 permanently changed my birthday party outlook.

I know a lot of people love cupcakes, and there are many TV shows and bakeshops dedicated to them, but they are really not my thing. I think many are very pretty and decorative, but unless it's some sort of "weird" pineapple passionfruit almond cake or peanut butter chocolate chip with cream cheese frosting, I'm not going to be all that tempted to try it.

I firmly believe everyone should be able to have their cake and eat it too, I just ask that my cake come layered with chocolate ice cream instead of chocolate buttercream.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I put a sock in it
I love wearing my hair in a bun. I have since I was a kid. I think it looks way more sophisticated than a ponytail or a braid, the other two default ways I have of keeping my hair in control and out of my face. Why do only ballet dancers get to be called bunheads? I mean, what about Princess Leia? Can I use the term if I danced ballet for about a year in first grade? Do I get bonus points because I got to dance with the long tutu? I'm claiming the word for those of us who don't pliĆ©.

In the past year I've heard about both a novel and a TV show called Bunheads, apparently completely unrelated. I actually want to check both of them out - but they are both about dancers, not about women who like to shape their hair into donuts on their head just for the heck of it.  In the past week I've heard of a technique that I was previously unaware of to obtain a nice puffy bun - using a sock. It's quick, and is way more work appropriate than my previously mentioned default dos. I highly recommend Googling sock bun tutorial if you have longish hair that tends to drive you crazy in the summer.

So for now, and for probably a big chunk of the summer, I am wearing a sock in my hair. I am really digging being a (sock)bunhead.


I’m literally a red-headed stepchild. I’m not sure where the phrase comes from or why it’s negative, but I have to say in my case it’s been pretty positive. Other than a rough patch during my obnoxious teens, my stepmother and I have always gotten along and truly cared for each other.

I did grow up a redhead in a family with no redheads. My parents didn’t have red hair, and although two of my aunts had reddish hair, they started dying it before I was born, so it looked nothing like mine. Not sure what genetic mutation caused my hair color, but I’ve always embraced it…..I’ve also always clung to other redheads in pop culture, because I never saw them in my day-to-day life.

The first famous redhead I remember embracing was Annie. She sang some catchy tunes and ended up living in a sweet mansion, but I was NOT a fan of her signature red dress – not a flattering shade (her hair needed a good deep conditioning mask too.)  The soundtrack to the movie got A LOT of play on my little plastic record player as a kid, but unlike say, Wonder Woman, I never dressed up as Annie.
Another redhead who made a big impact on me was one Anne of Green Gables, aka Anne Shirley. One of my aunts (different one, without reddish hair) gave me a book that contained a compilation of several stories starring this feisty/fanciful/sensitive Canadian redhead when I was in middle school. I instantly found a kindred spirit, and had to read everything L.M. Montgomery wrote about her. My love of Anne carried over to the 80s miniseries based on the books, and still has me talking about kindred spirits some 25+ years later.

My soft spot for redheads carried over to music. I loved that both Alison Moyet and the lead singer from T’Pau had strong voices and catchy tunes. In the heyday of music videos, I not only loved their music, but also tried to recreate their looks; unfortunately all that black eye liner didn’t do me any favors.  Another favorite I love to this day is Cyndi Lauper– even if her red hair was fake.

The redhead that probably made the biggest impact on my young life was one Molly Ringwald. I was first introduced to her while watching Sixteen Candles at a sleepover at a friend’s house. I totally related to her character Sam, and rooted for her and that dreamy Jake Ryan. Molly and John Hughes made two other movies that to me are classics: The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. I wanted to dress like Claire in The Breakfast Club (and coveted her nail polish color) and was inspired to take fashion risks by Andie in Pretty in Pink. So maybe Molly's other 80s work wasn't my cup of tea, not a huge fan of The Pick-Up Artist or For Keeps or Fresh Horses, but I definitely saw them all, and looked to Molly and her on-screen characters for fashion and makeup tips.

(Seriously, what was that polish color?)
Looking back at all the redheads that influenced my youth, it’s nice to see that they were spunky characters that carved their own paths. They may have inspired some poor fashion choices on my part, but as far as role models from pop culture go, I could have done a lot worse.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A bag full of kisses

I honestly cannot remember a time when I did not love makeup. I was one of those little girls that you see trying to play grown-up while applying clown face makeup at age 5. Not only was I in my 4th grade play, I appointed myself the head makeup artist for that production. My attempts to show off all the techniques I had learned reading Seventeen magazine, trying to contour and do smokey eyes on my peers, were rejected. Believe it or not, my work was ruled too subtle for the stage. If only Herb Ritts had been around, I know my work would've KILLED in editorial. I didn't actually learn to apply stage makeup until high school drama club - it only took one production for me to appoint myself makeup artist assistant.

I wasn't allowed to wear makeup off-stage until middle school - and even then I was only allowed to graduate from cherry Chap Stick to lip gloss, but that did not stop me from saving my money and pouring over magazines trying to ensure that by the time I was able to purchase the real stuff, I was prepared. So when I finally started buying makeup, I went straight for department-store brands, and just knew I could apply mascara without poking my eye out. (Okay, I wasn't living in the US at the time, so Revlon and Max Factor were department store brands for me.)

Long story short, I fell into a signature look pretty early on - mascara, some eyeliner, an earthy brownish-red lipstick, and concealer as needed. I found the perfect shade of red for me pretty early on: not too bright, a little orangy, didn't clash with my red hair. How often does one find the perfect shade of lipstick in HIGH SCHOOL?! Really, I want to know, how often does that happen? Problem is, I graduated and came back to the US for college. And not too long after I started my higher education, I found out that Max Factor had discontinued that particular shade of lipstick. (I can't remember the name. It's been 20 years. It was something about the earth or clay.) Then I lost my last, precious tube. And THEN they stopped selling Max Factor in the 'states. So, as any lifelong makeup lover does, I began my search for a dupe of that illusive shade.

I lost that tube in 1991. It is now 2012. I cannot tell you how many tubes of red lipstick I've purchased in the past 21 years. I've tried department store, drug store, at-home-sales companies...and although I have found many, many lipsticks I've liked, none have been that perfectly flattering shade.

This all came out of my purse. I carry a big purse.

Lipstick is my default makeup purchase. If I'm feeling a little down, all it takes is a new tube to lift up my mood. I literally pulled all of that haul in the picture above from my purse. That isn't counting everything I have at home. I like, even love, all the lipsticks I currently own. But still, I look at pictures of me in that red shade and I go back to the store, hoping to find the tube that will recapture the magic.

What can I say other than I totally agreed with Peggy when she said "I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box." That was in the Mad Men season 1 episode titled"A Basket of Kisses," otherwise known as the episode where I fell in love with the show.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

First post

So, I've started a blog. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to build up a huge army of readers, but it should be way to share things I think are cool or funny in more than 140-characters, and possibly work on my writing. It's either that or actually start working on the novel I thought of in 1999 - and I'm way too much of a procrastinator for that.
For this first post, thought I'd start off by sharing some random facts about myself, maybe setting the tone for what's to come.

  • I think music feeds the soul. If you take a look at my music collection, you'll see that this means my soul is made up mostly of cheese. (I love cheese.)
  • I'm a sucker for fresh, warm bread. I find it almost impossible to resist, and do not understand or relate to people who don’t find it tempting. (Warm bread + soft cheese = fabulous)
  • Should I ever win the lottery, I'm spending a big chunk of the winnings just traveling the world.  
  • I love Chinese food, and have eaten at Chinese restaurants in 6 different countries and visited 6 cities’ Chinatowns. I think the movie Eat Drink Man Woman is food porn. As part of my tour of the world, I want to continue trying different interpretations of this fine cuisine, particularly the regional variations in its country of origin. 
  • I still know the choreography for Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much" video. 
  • My most embarrassing moment is more of a highlight reel than just one single event. 
  • I love to travel to new places, but hate to fly and hate to drive. Despite my dislike of getting there, have visited 10 countries and 30 US states.
  • I am constantly looking for the perfect lipstick, and still miss that one that was discontinued circa 1991.
  • As of today, I have rated 3182 movies on Netflix. Most of it is NOT highbrow…10 of those ratings are for movies starring one Mr. Freddie Prinze Jr.
  • I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry at commercials, listening to the radio, while reading, watching ESPN, sometimes sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. (Off to listen to John Denver now.) Basically, I have to have tissues with me at all times.
Hope that those of you reading this enjoy it, overlook the gross grammatical errors that I will surely have, and let all the sarcasm and snark slide.