Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes.
- Sophia Loren
It’s been a while. And I’m a little rusty on the writing, so forgive me. For more than four months I’ve been dealing with my own personal empire of dirt, and the computer rarely made an appearance in that place. Nor did Facebook, Gmail, Twitter….or even WWD.
Oh how I’ve missed the fluff.
They say that mood swings are to be expected in early recovery. If that’s the case, I am the perfect poster child. One minute I’m 100% happy (and joyous and free), and the next, I’m Queen Cranky Pants. At my best, I’m like a walking smile—content, cheerful and calm. At my worst, I could give Mel Gibson a run for his money in the crazy-ass rant department—except without the misogyny, anti-Semitism and bigotry, of course. I mean, I’m pretty sure. One would hope.
So in an effort to keep myself semi-sane, I’ve decided to embrace my inner erratic child, at least for the time being. And of course I’ve found the perfect products to play with as I do.
Okay, so the mood chart is pretty hokey, and I cringe if my color gets too close to “Feeling Frisky” status. Nevertheless, this shade-shifting gloss gives my lips a number of nice, warm-toned pink tints. It goes on clear
and usually stays pretty light, depending upon my PH. And I appreciate its unpredictability. It’s kind of all over
the place, just like me.
I can’t lie. I am going to miss the bar. But I realize that I romanticize memories of my old happy-hour haunts, and that the cons of entering those all-too-inviting doors far outweigh any pros. I’m much better off if I drown my sorrows in—or celebrate with—the shimmer of this pretty purple eyeshadow.
Often, all I have to do is look at my nails to gauge my emotional state. In an effort to not take my frustrations out on my cuticles, I’ve been getting manicures as often as I can. Right now I love Essie’s Limited Addiction, my perfect shade of springtime red.
The smell of this handcrafted oil makes me happy, plain and simple. On mornings when I’m particularly sluggish, I add a drop to my moisturizer. The scent makes me smile and reminds me that, most likely, everything is going to be okay. In short, it’s the perfect fake-it-‘till-you-make-it potion.
I can check into a tub-time rehab whenever necessary with this great ache soother. I’m always being told that self-care is key right now, and this scrub really works if you work it. It always untightens my super-tense muscles and mellows me out with its minty smell.
I could go on, but it's time for Queen Cranky Pants to get off her product-obsessed ass and go to therapy. Because nothing will get better if I don't continue to check my thinking, and sadly no amount of makeup can keep me away from a drink.
That's up to me.
I wish that tears were really good for the skin. Because they’ve been streaming down my face for weeks, and if I applied
La Bella Figura’s amazing Moroccan Face Gold as religiously,
I’d look 25 right now.
I won’t be posting for a while, for obvious reasons. But I do
hope that I will move forward and eventually write more when
I return. About both beauty and illness. About both eyeliner
But I did feel compelled to put up something semi-coherent before I left. Something a little less heavy than my last offering. So my subject is a perfume.
Sadly, I can’t take this sweet Jingle G scent with me (god forbid I try to drink it), but I love it, I love the smell, I love that it can also be an ornament, and beyond all, I love the character.
Because while she’s all decked out as a Gwen Stefani-inspired mini Claus, she also looks a little sad, doesn’t she?
As I’m sure many of you know and have experienced in your own lives, the holidays aren’t always happy. They can bring such joy, but at the same time an equal, unrelenting pain when all is not right.
Which why I love Jingle G. Even if it’s not what Harajuku Lovers intended, her mysterious, semi-maudlin expression gives me great comfort. It feels real in a way that so many packaged products do not.
I for one have NOT been good this year, so I know I don't deserve anything in my stocking. (Except, perhaps, the
the merciful gift of acceptance, God willing).
But since sweet Jingle G is limited edition, it may not be around in a month! So I did buy two when I learned I
was going away.
Because my hope is that, next year at this time, I’ll be able to sport this spicy scent with a smile. Or at the very least, with sobriety.
Paired with a killer smoky eye, of course.
I swear to God I feel like one of these. But instead of craving flesh, I want booze!!
When you stop living anything that bears even a tiny resemblance to a life, then you know you have to surrender.
At least that’s how it’s happening for me. And I am one stubborn piece of alcohol-addicted shit. I mean, I will not let this go. I’m still determined to do whatever it takes to keep this monster in my life. I am desperate to learn to control it, to harness
it, to work with it. I am still clinging to the unrealistic hope that I can find a way to let it live and allow myself to live, too.
Or die trying, which I believe to be a perfectly acceptable outcome at this point. My god am I sick.
The following is a ridiculous analogy, but since I was raised by a television set, it works for me. The Walking Dead. That barn. That poor sweet old farmer who could not accept the fact that his bitten loved ones were no longer human beings. He kept those killers alive because he believed they could get better. But as his denial grew, so did the zombies. And eventually, reality had to be faced, in the form of a 10-year-old “infected” child. A ten-year-old walker. A killer. Pssst---nerd alert.
And wait, where was I going with this?
My alcoholism is my walking dead. My zombie. My walker. It is turning me into a non-human-being that craves one thing only: alcohol. Obliteration. That cool liquid comfort that becomes more fleeting with each new, substance-addicted day. And as long as I let this continue, I will always drive people away. If only it were as simple as a shot in the head.
I know I’m not saying anything new. I’ve read words like these a million times over, but I never got it. Never really understood it. Never ever believed that it truly applied to me. Because I’m special. I’m different. I’m going to be the one alcoholic who learns to tame her walker. I'm going to be the one zombie who can play nice with the unbitten.
Ha ha ha.
So I guess it would make sense that I'd take beauty tips from the people that create these hideous beasts. I've decided to stop hiding behind the fresh-faced editor facade and instead embrace what I really am. What, sadly, I've become. A booze-drinking zombie.
I wish I had a great ending for this post. I wish I could say that I've embraced AA (which I so respect and long to understand) and am on my way to a life of sobriety.
But sadly, I can't. I am still struggling. I am still bantering with the beast. But at least I can write about it. At least
I can be honest. I have no shame in admitting the fact that I'm an alcoholic--that's not my issue. My issue is much more simple (and sad). I just can't give it up. I just can't let it go. I want to drink.....that is what drives me. I'm now a zombie, with only one thing to long for. Not flesh, but fantasy. Not death, but denial. And a drink. Drink, drink, drink.
I’ve Been Using This Amazing Lip Stain Combo For One Year and Six Days….(Oh and I’ve Been Married For That Long, Too)…
Last year, I was lucky enough to marry the love of my life. We had an amazing ceremony, a killer reception, and a DJ who kept everyone cutting serious rug until
we were all kicked out of the venue.
And on that very same day, something else quite magical occurred: I fell
newly—and deeply—in love with a product combination that would change
my lips forever.
November 13, 2010 was indeed a big day.
My amazing makeup artist introduced me to the following fantastic lip stains, both of which are lovely alone but beyond beautiful when combined:
For me, this pair is pure perfection. It’s ideal for my skin tone. It can be worn any time of year. It’s appropriate for work and also pretty for play. Essentially, it’s THE COLOR my lips would be if we all lived as cartoons and sported the same face and hair each day. Which is one of my (now not-so) secret fantasies, by the way: already drawn makeup and perfect hair/skin/teeth from the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed. No face washing! No teeth brushing! No teeth flossing! Am I insanely lazy? YES! But whatevs, a slothful beauty editor can dream.
Anyway, back to what? Oh right: Laura Mercier + Bobbi Brown lip pots = gold!
They just fit me. I wanted a subtle lip color for my wedding, because I wanted to go bold with my eyes. But I never imagined that day would create a look that I could carry over into my everyday life.
I did learn a few other important things on this day, of course.
A) Don't spend a fortune on wedding shoes. No one can see them and you'll just kick them off when the dancing starts, anyway. I'm not at all ashamed to say that mine were made by Chinese Laundry and acquired at Loehmann's. And cost about $68, I believe.
B) Do remember that YOU need to get from the church to the reception, not just your guests. True story: While our party was being bussed down to Bubby's, I was turned down—while wearing my wedding dress (and amazing makeup)—by a mean, mean cab driver. SWEAR. TO. GOD. Makes for a great story, though.
C) Do splurge on a photo booth. Best party photos EVER.
D) Do dance. Without fear. Your hair may get messy, you may start to sweat (that's what blotting papers are for),
but it's worth it.
And finally, if you're lucky enough to find the perfect partner (and makeup combination, natch), be grateful.
Francois Nars definitely knows what he’s doing when it comes to creating amazing pieces of makeup—and naming them. From Super Orgasm to Sexual Healing, Golddigger to Galactica, each and every NARS product bursts with pep and personality. Not just because of its color, but also because of its name.
Which is why I squealed with delight (literally, it was embarrassing and I’m pretty
sure the Sephora lady shadowed me for the rest of my visit thinking I’d stolen something) when I found this. It’s one of NARS' fantastic Multiple cheek and lip tints, and the shade--a creamy concoction of red, orange and coral—has the best name
ever: Turks & Caicos. Which is where I’ll be at this time tomorrow.
Yes, be jealous. My husband and I are going on vacation, but man do we need one. I’m hoping it will halt any
stress-induced mental breakdowns that might be looming in my future.
And this tint, which is perfect for a vaca because of its super sheer, barely-there shade, is of course coming
As are these other fantastic products—all musts for beach bums. And blondes, too: take note of the hair care booty.
So there you have it, the contents of my Caribbean-bound toiletry bag. Product is always what makes me over-pack. Otherwise, I don't need much more than a couple of swim suits, a pair of flip flops, and a smile.
FYI: This is NOT me.
I’m sure this isn’t true for everyone, but it sure is for me. I have a beauty-oriented alarm that tells me I may be going a tad cray-cray.
It’s my nails. If they’ve been bitten, picked at, or even just ignored, something is wrong with my mental health.
It’s actually a great barometer to have because thankfully, for the most part
(or at least since I turned 30), I’ve kept them pretty and polished. Or at the very least, filed and kempt.
But when things are amiss for me mentally—man, do I let my nails get ghetto. And I am so glad for this fact now, because when I become unraveled, I am almost always in a state of denial. However, the minute I notice my unpolished, uneven, and often times bloody (ew, I know) nails —I snap back
And let me just quickly site one of my loves, dear Britney (shut up, don’t judge). She was (is?) a known nail biter and had quite a few of her own major meltdowns (which, unfortunately and unfairly, were crazy public). I guess I call her out only because she’s made this great comeback, and no matter how calculated it may be, AT LEAST SHE CAME BACK. It just makes me believe that no matter what, SO CAN I.
Anyway, maybe for you it’s not your nails. Maybe it’s not even something that affects your appearance. But I bet, if you are struggling, there is some kind of clue.
And it’s really helpful to learn what that is, because it can save you from continued self-destruction down the road.
As I said before, I tend to bury things. Deny it all. But if my nails (which, as a beauty editor, always need to be pretty and pristine) are chipped, ripped, or purposely torn at, I know there’s a problem. Even if my mind can’t admit it—my nails, to me, are truth. For some reason, they say it better than any other person on this planet.
But enough of that, here’s the segue to polish, which is really what all this babbling is about. My recent visit
to the newly opened Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics store on Stanton Street in NYC gave me every reason to get my shit together. Because I LOVE their lacquers. They are colorful, easy to apply, and even have two different types of top coats--one to make the color matte, and one to give it extra shine.
Seriously these polishes are such fun, and while I can’t be sure they will prevent a breakdown, the colors do give me extra incentive NOT to take it out on my nails. I mean, I was horrified just the other night when I realized that I had picked off most of my amazing pink Palare. Ugh! I knew then that I needed to go home, get cozy, drink (calming!) tea, and get to sleep STAT.
And you know what? It worked. I felt better. Of course my problems had not disappeared, but at least I had acknowledged them. Which, in the end, is the first step in improving any awful life issue. At least for me, Susan Linney, queen of denial.
*When speaking of my beloved Britney, when I say she's gotten better, I mean that she's back on her career track. She's probably still got lots of stuff and that makes me love her even more. My point is that she has gotten it together enough to reclaim her previous pop-star-status, and whether you think that's bullshit or not, I don't care. I'm still impressed. Because honestly, when she was bald and beating the shit out of that car with an umbrella, I thought she was a goner for sure.
Point blank period.
A last minute "peacock" attempt (which I was actually quite proud of) means nothing if you can't spread your wings and fly.
Which I couldn't.
It means even less if you are an asshole.
I LOVE this stuff.
I love face masks. They have a way of transporting me to another place, usually some wonderfully lux, too-good-to-be-true spa. Or Barbados.
Masks give my skin much-needed TLC, and now that I use them regularly, I’ve noticed such a difference in my face.
It’s subtle for sure, but my skin IS softer, smoother, and continuously calmer. I have less oil eruptions and fewer unexpected breakouts. Basically, using face masks regularly keeps my skin (more or less) consistent.
There are a lot of good ones to choose from. Boscia’s Luminizing Black Mask is amazing, as well as Proactiv’s white Refining Mask. I also like Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Face Treatment.
But for me, the holy grail of face masks is made by Borghese. Their Fango Active Mud for Face and Body is BEYOND fantastic. It’s cool, tingly, and incredibly calming. It’s green (which is the color I imagine all masks should be, probably because I grew up in front of the television where everyone from Mrs. Roper to Dana Scully sported these
ugly-looking aqua treatments).
But I digress. Borghese’s mask is available in two sizes and while $64 is a lot to spend, the big jar is totally worth it. This stuff lasts a long time, and the glass container closes with a seal so the product won't go bad.
BONUS: Borghese’s Acqua di Vita Complex, in addition to doing all of those moisturizing, anti-aging things, is a mood booster. Or so the company claims. And god knows I need it, as clinical depression, anxiety, and a host of bad behavior over the years has really messed with my mind.
Are endorphins really released into my blood when I smooth on this Fango skin smoother? Who knows. Who cares? The mask DOES make me feel better the moment I put it on, and I’ll take the placebo effect over the alternative anytime. Just see below:
See how happy I look (minus the red eye that I just don't feel like correcting)? Try it. I really think, if you're a face mask fan, you'll love it. And if not, let me know. I want to hear from you--good, bad, ugly, whatevs.
I’m big into beauty sets. Sure, they’re great for gifts, but to be honest, I buy them more often for myself. They have such pretty (and often re-useable) packaging, are a great way to sample new stuff, and are (usually) quite reasonably priced. Below are some of my current favorites.
For the Orgasm-Obsessed
Ahem…who isn’t? But I’m talking about an orgasm of the NARS kind. This Yorokobi Super Orgasm Set contains
a blush, nail polish, and lip gloss, all in the best-selling, gold-pink-peach shade.
For Lip Color Lovers
Too Faced Gorgeous Lips Everyday set will give you just that. It’s a five-piece collection that includes some of
the lines best lipsticks and glosses, as well as a sweet satin makeup bag to carry all your colors.
For Party Girls
Glitter polish is the ultimate beauty accessory this season, and no one makes them better than Deborah Lippmann. Her Get This Party Started set contains 3 shiny shades—Happy Birthday, Candy Shop, and Forget You. Hate removing this kind of sleek, but sticky, lacquer? Check out these tips.
For the Eco-Conscious
HollyBeth’s Natural Luxury is a line that I just recently discovered. All of her products are USDA certified organic,
so if you’re looking for truly eco-friendly fare, she’s got it. I love this beautiful Birch Box Gift Set, which includes a Snowflake Lip Balm, Orange Chocolate Peppermint Shea Butter Body Cream and Sugar Cookie Candle.
For Skater Chicks