Mrs. Doubtfire might’ve been onto something…

Years ago, an acquaintance gave me a gift book I wasn’t sure was real or gag, Joey Green’s Amazing Kitchen Cures: 1,150 Ways to Prevent and Cure Common Ailments with Brand-Name Products.  Just as the title suggests it has one suggestion after the other for everything from A-Z; well, A-Y anyway (Acne to Yeast infection).

One of my favorite “cures” is for insomnia:  Twinkies.  It’s rationale?  ”Having a small snack before bed, like a Twinkie, subdues hunger pangs that might otherwise keep you tossing and turning.”  Joey does have a point…!

There are antidotes for many health-related issues (headaches, kidney stones, nosebleeds) and injuries (bee stings, blisters, cuts and scrapes), and then there are beauty remedies.  Oh, my…following a few of these suggestions will save you hundreds of dollars at the department store….

*If* you’re brave enough to try them!

Facials

  • Elmer’s Glue-All ~ Coat your face with a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue-All (avoiding eyes).  Let dry (takes about 20 minutes), then gently peel it off, exfoliating a thin layer of skin.  Elmer’s Glue-All is water soluble, so you can always wash it off with warm water should it stick to your eyebrows.  Your skin will feel baby smooth.
  • Dannon Yogurt. To tighten pores and cleanse skin, spread Dannon Yogurt (plain or flavored) over your face, wait 20 minutes, then wash off with lukewarm water.
  • Reddi-wip ~ Using Reddi-wip as a facial mask moisturizes dry skin and gives it a healthy glow.  Leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash off this dessert topping with warm water, followed by cold water.
  • Tidy Cats ~ Mix two handfuls of unused Tidy Cats with enough water to make a thick, muddy paste.  Smear the mud oer your face to create a deep cleansing mud mask, let it set for 20 minutes, then rinse your face clean with water.  The clay from the cat box filler detoxifies your skin by absorbing dirt and oil from the pores.

Makeup

  • Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening. A dap of Crisco removes makeup and moisturizes the skin.
  • Cool Whip. wet face with lukewarm water, spread a handful of Cool Whip on face, rinse clean with lukewarm water, and blot dry.  The oils in Cool Whip also moisturize the skin.
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.  A dab of Vaseline cleans mascara, eyeliner, lipstick and rouge from skin.

Shampoo

  • Comet.  To strip styling gel and hair spray build-up from hair, dissolve one tablespoon Comet (without bleach) in two cups water, pour the solution through hair, and let set for three minutes.  Shampoo and condition as usual.
  • Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar. Add one tablespoon Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo and sake it well.  The vinegar thickens the shampoo (so you use less), helps rinse styling gel and hair spray buildup from your hair, and restores natural acids.
  • Listerine.  If you have oil hair, use a cotton ball to apply Listerine to your scalp after shampooing.  The mouthwash, being both an antiseptic and an astringent, will slow down oil secretions.

Those are just a smattering of what the book has to offer, and I have to admit, my poor children who suffer from occasion warts have tried a few remedies (Band-Aids and Morton Salt, Elmer’s Glue-All, Hydrogen Peroxide); none has worked worse–or better-than over the counter helps.

As for me, when my children were in diapers I used Huggies Baby Wipes to remove makeup successfully.  And though I’m not sure if it worked, I slathered Vicks Vapor rub on my toenails when I discovered a dreaded nail fungus after a pedicure.

Have home remedies worked for you?  Did they do further damage or accomplish what you hoped they would?

Beautifully said

Zest is the secret of all beauty.
There is no beauty that is attractive without it.

~ Christian Dior

Sitting in a room full of women, at a dinner generously hosted by Therapon after Blissdom’s closing key note, paradox struck me:

How could we be different and yet so similar at the same time?

Christina asked each of us to share our thoughts and perspective on inner beauty; what could have been repetitive or even trite, ended up being an affecting, heartfelt symphony about beauty, and I reached for the only scrap of paper I could find–a deposit slip!–to record those thoughts to share with you.  These are only slivers of our discussion and I missed a few women, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on real beauty after you consider their list.

“Confidence!”~  Lindsey

“Sharing laughter…and tears” ~ Kim

“Knowing and loving yourself” ~ Ria

“Embracing your gifts and loving what you do” ~ Lise

“Learning from suffering” ~ Esther

“The idea of contentment and peace with what you have, where you are” ~ Angie

“Joy and simplicity” ~ Jessica

“For my boys to grow up good” ~ Deena

“Accepting myself” ~ Dawn

“Before you became aware of everything around you and worried about what people were thinking,” ~ Kristen

“Embracing your own style and OWNING it!” ~ Tobi

“Being in the company of other women,” ~ Tori

“It comes from within and no one can take it away” ~ Jamie

“Real beauty is red hair (ha!).  Respecting self and others.” ~ Melanie

“When my little one says ‘Mommy, you’re pretty!” ~ Jill

“Being kind and welcoming” ~ JoLynne

“Embracing curly hair!” ~ Stephanie

“Realizing you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, in addition to how you treat people” ~ Sarah

“Self acceptance, loving unconditionally” ~ Valerie

“Smiling and making a connection” ~ Jolan

“…from making people laugh” ~ Lora Lee

The room was fully alive as each lady shared her heart, and more than a few times we were moved to tears from the sheer beauty of story and perspective.

: : : : : : :

Your turn:  Close your eyes and contemplate what real beauty means to you?  Now tell us!

A compliment-ary challenge

I can live for two months on a good compliment.
~ Mark Twain

When someone pays you a compliment, how do you typically respond?  I know what my go-to mechanism is and I’m curious if you can relate.  The clip will take less than two minutes…and I’d love to know your thoughts!

Buh-bye under eye circles & red dots!

I have perpetual dark circles under my eyes.   Whether it’s hereditary, due to not enough sleep, or allergies and sinus issues, bruisy black and blue half circles rim my bottom lashes, rivaling any of the vampires Twilight manages to dish up.

That’s why I can’t believe there’s a trick out there that really helps camouflage the issue:  using a pink corrector before you cover with your skin tone concealer.  Dotting on a small amount of corrector under my eye and on the inside corner next to my nose (before topping with concealer) considerably brightened my eyes and camouflaged the darkness better than my concealer alone.

I also have a few tiny blood vessels that refuse to die even when lasered.  For those, I use a green corrector underneath my concealer, and voila!  They almost disappear!!

There are probably several great products on the market, but the inexpensive corrector pallet I’ve recently discovered houses pink, green and two skin tones, available for just $3.00 from e.l.f.

Your turn: What are your best camouflage beauty tips!!!  DO SHARE!

Saving face

Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.
~Author Unknown

With all the fame and all the fortune associated with being a celebrity, I feel sorry for them; I cannot imagine living under the unforgiving and relentless microscope of public scrutiny.  Many have gone to extreme measures to look young, imagining them to be their magical Fountain of Youth.  Plastic surgery can turn back the clock, but some take it too far–thoughts of Kenny Rogers, Wayne Newton, Mary Tyler Moore, Joan Rivers and even Michael Jackson make me shudder! There are even sites devoted to celebrity plastic surgery disasters!

Our culture is youth- and beauty-oriented, and it’s impossible to avoid the bombardment of grocery store aisle magazine covers and mall images, isn’t it?  So what can you do?

I can’t begin to solve that kind of world hunger issue for you, but here are two thoughts that might help:

  • Change your perspective
  • Take care of your body

I lost my mom when she was much too young, 38.  When I turned 39 I realized I lived longer than her, and at 40 I was thankful to still be here for my own children.  Rather than dread that age milestone, I understood how fortunate I was to celebrate it!  My life experience–loss of my mother as a child–has shaped my perspective on aging, I think for the better.  Though I don’t long for gray hair or wrinkles, I’m thankful I’ve lived long enough to earn them.

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.” ~ Coco Chanel

Oooo, that’s good! Yes, we’re subject to genetics, but we can take care of what we have!  Given one body to steward for a lifetime, we’ve got two choices:  neglect it or tend it.  Eating well and staying fit are foundational, but I realized only recently that it’s just as important to take care of my skin.  The alternative isn’t pretty, and though I can’t indefinitely stave off wrinkles and other signs of aging, with even a little bit of intention, I can slow down the process.

Keep reading Connect and share the link with your friends and family.  Here, you’ll find a team of writers devoted to bringing you information to help you take care of your body and the inspiration to follow through.  What a great way to begin a new year!

Miracle worker

Ten years ago I stumbled across a product that worked so well I’ve been a loyal fan and brand advocate ever since.

For my 20th reunion, I had acrylic nails put on for the first time and although they looked beautiful, I wasn’t interested in the cost and inconvenience of maintaining them afterwards.  Plus, I never could get use to their feel.

Because I had no idea what it entailed, I removed them from home.

Let me rephrase that:  I tried to remove them from home.

Even using pure acetone, it was a nightmare!  Between having acrylics put on by a strip mall “professional” and having them removed by a hack amateur, my nails were horribly damaged.

A friend suggested I try Nail Tek; she spoke with such strong conviction, I tried it.  It wasn’t cheap, at the time around $17 a bottle, but I began to see its healing powers not long after.  When the damaged part of my nails grew out, new growth proved to be stronger!  For the first time in my life, my nails were beautiful…to the point strangers complimented them!

Word-of-mouth motivated me to try Nail Tek; the product delivering what it promised and more won a zealous customer!

Over the years the formulations have changed; the price has actually dropped substantially.  I’m happy to share that when I use Nail Tek regularly (once a week to ten days), my nails remain healthy and strong; if I don’t, my nails let me know.  (In case you’re interested and want to try the product I used–since there are so many choices!–it’s Nail Tek Intensive Therapy II.)

What about you? Is there a “miracle” product you’ve tried to remedy a beauty issue or disaster?  Here’s your chance to persuade Connect readers!  Do tell!

Beautiful music, beautiful message

Giving birth to a daughter made me acutely aware of the messages I send to her, both verbal and non-verbal.
I desperately wanted her to have a healthy body image and not fall prey to the relentless cues by our culture that focus on superficial externals–flawless skin, couture fashion, model-thin–especially since most of what we see is airbrushed perfection.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest most women in our country struggle with body image. We can’t open a magazine, step foot into a mall, or walk through a grocery store aisle without seeing dozens of beautiful faces staring back at us, their age-defying bodies taunting us.

It’s just not fair…but mostly it isn’t realistic!

As a mother, one of my most important jobs is to instill confidence in and build the esteem of my children. It has been a battle but I’ve tried to steer away from self-disparaging comments in the presence of my kids, particularly my daughter–”I hate my hair,” “I’m so fat,” “I feel ugly.” Some days those things are more true than others, but if you don’t intentionally plan not to speak these negative thoughts, you likely will.

It’s also important to be careful and intentional with how I parent her; the words I use can encourage and challenger her…or deeply wound her.  I’ve caught myself more than a few times starting to say something that needed to be rephrased. S i g h…parenting is not for sissies!

“Garbage in, garbage out” is great life philosophy.  Make destructive choices with regard to diet and exercise and eventually it will take a toll on the body.  The same is true to what we read and listen to; fill our minds with junk and negative thinking, and it will affect our outward perspective.

I discovered a simple way to encourage positive, healthy thinking about real beauty for my daughter, even when I wasn’t around to do it myself:

Music.

If you listen and ask for recommendations from your friends, you’ll find great artists and groups to download on your family’s mp3 player.  Here are a few songs that encourage, inspire and cultivate healthy self image; I’d love to hear your suggestions in comments!

That’s a start…please share your favorite inner (and outer)-image affirming songs!

Photo credit:  From Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty

My beauty BFF

Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie.
~Robert Brault

Recently I polled friends on Facebook and Twitter about their favorite beauty item.  The one thing they never leave home without, their “Survivor” personal item, the item that makes the difference in their beauty routine (I’ll share mine in a minute).  I was surprised on two levels:

  • There was only one item mentioned more than once (mascara)
  • No one mentioned my can’t-live-without item

Some responders interpreted my question in terms of skin care and maintenance items; others saw it as their favorite cosmetic product.

On Facebook, guy friends chimed in but I’m not sure they were much help.  With answers like “Dapper Dan’s Men’s Pomade” and “personal valet” if I didn’t know better, I’d say Jeffrey and Joe were mocking my questions (and then there was my friend Amy who listed “sunglasses” as her must-have beauty item)!

The ladies took it seriously:  Nivea Cream, black mascara, Mark Blemish Banisher Anti-Acne Treatment Pads, Nivea Chapstick, Estee Lauder Perfectionist Serum, Mentholatum, Clarisonic Brush.  Based on how enthusiastic some of the responses were, I’m actually curious to try some of these recommendations (after reading, are you?).

Which begs the question: Is there any better form of “advertising” than word of mouth by people you trust? No wonder brands have begun to engage bloggers!

Then there was the fella who’s up for Husband of the Year for his response–

Michelle is gonna die when she sees that!  Mucho husband brownie points!!

My go-to, must-have beauty product is one I didn’t need in my 30s; but with the onset of presbyopia, my favorite item is one of necessity:  a high quality magnifying mirror!

The one I have is Zadro’s OVLV68 Lighted Oval Dimmable TableTop Makeup Vanity Mirror; it has 8x magnification, is distortion free and optical quality.  I also travel with Tweezerman’s Tweezermate travel mirror; it’s small–about the size of a coaster–but its 12x magnification shows me “anything” I might need to take care of.

The downside?  You’ll see every pore enlarged to moon crater size and wrinkles will look like rivers instead of creeks.  But the upside?  Something you *might* not realize you need to see?

Those blasted eyebrows that forgot where they live and migrated down South to your chin!

Which answers my second favorite, must-have beauty item:  Tweezers!

:)

Do share…we’d love to know what beauty favorite you can’t live without!  Please chime in in comments!

Therapon is coming to YOU!

Therapon is doing something few, if any, skincare companies have done before:  they’re coming to you instead of waiting for you to come to them.  They’re accomplishing this a few ways ~

  • First, (and obvious to you if you’re reading this right now) they’re engaging you through a site committed to exploring all facets of beauty.  By constructing a talented, diverse team of writers, their goal is to bring you insight and information beyond what you might expect for a traditional “beauty” site.   Therapon understands there’s more to beauty than what meets they eye.
  • Second, Therapon has created a Facebook page and Twitter account.  They want to hear from you, answer your questions, talk about the things you’re interested in relative to skin health and beauty.  If you aren’t following Therapon in these places, won’t you take a minute to do so now?  They don’t want to talk at you, they want to talk with you.
  • Third–and yes, I saved this gem for last–Therapon is hosting Face2Face events across the country, to allow those who live close enough to attend, the chance to experience the essence and indulgence of Therapon products.  Listen to what attendees had to say after Therapon’s first Face2Face event in Tennessee:

“I’ve been using the product faithfully, daily, and can’t even begin to describe the wonderful changes in my skin!  I’ve got *almost* everyone in my office ready to buy!!!!  Yippeee!  My skin feels like a baby’s butt — literally!  And I can’t tell you how long its been since my skin was this smoooooooth :) !” ~ Susan

“I LOVE the products!” ~ Dedra

“[Face2Face] is one of my most favorite “blogger” events ever!” ~ Malia

“Absolutely love the product.  Intend on continuing to use it.  I can see a real difference in my skin in just the short time I’ve used it.  Thank you again.” ~ Laura

Face2Face events are scheduled this weekend for Los Angeles.  If you are in the area and want an invitation, let us know in comments.  You won’t want to miss out, we promise!

The beauty of becoming real

One of the most beautiful lessons on real beauty came to me as a child.  Sealed in the story of a child’s stuffed animal, the lesson has clung to me ever since like velveteen on rabbit ~

 

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

~ From “The Velveteen Rabbit” or “How Toys Become Real” by Marjorie Williams

* * * * * * * * * *

My daughter’s favorite lovie was Princess, a three-dimensional, acrylic fur security blanket.  When she was two Rachel first met Princess regally enthroned atop a store’s grand display bed.  I misread her price tag as $125 and believed it–it was that kind of store!  When my daughter’s Grandy discovered it was only $25, he purchased it for her on the spot.  For the next eight years, Princess rarely left her side.

Over time and through many a necessary launderings,  Princess lost her physical beauty.  Long before that she had become real, though, infused with life because of the love poured into her.  She was never more beautiful to me than she is present day, ratty and matted and missing an eye.  Like the moon reflects sun’s brilliance, Princess radiates love’s luminescent glory.

The beauty of beholder and beheld.