Girl Talk



make up1We all have our products that we love.  My beauty arsenal consists of foundation, blushers and concealers, eye shadow and pencils, lipsticks and mascaras.  I’ve got a stash of lotions and potions, brushes, and of course, my all-time favorite beauty product, nail polish.  Then there are the shampoos and conditioners, sprays and gels, any and everything to make my hair straighter and shinier.

In a case of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” my mother is the same way.  In fact, I’d wager that nearly all women – whether they be fashionistas or all-natural types – have a few faves they absolutely need for survival, even if they found themselves stranded on a desert island.  And they’d be heart-broken if said item, or items, were suddenly discontinued.

Just last week, my mother experienced her latest retail dilemma.  “It’s happened again,” she solemnly announced, “I’m the kiss of death.”

“What’s wrong?” I was almost too afraid to ask.

“Everything I like gets discontinued…”

This time, it was the demise of her favorite liquid foundation.

“I’m going from store to store trying to get the last of the “pure beige # 2,” she sadly reported.

That’s what we do when something gets taken off the shelves – we stockpile whatever we can get our hands on, hoping it will last until we find a suitable replacement.

For me, it’s always about nail polish. When OPI discontinued their rich red shade “vodka & caviar,” I hit every beauty supply store in a twenty-mile radius and snagged a half-dozen bottles that I stored in my fridge to preserve their longevity.  I only have one left.

This retail tragedy happens in the supermarket as well.  I lost my favorite salad dressing and my dear friend her favorite yogurt.  How many times do we see the dreaded phrase “new and improved” when there was nothing wrong with the original?  I ask you: Why can’t things just stay the same?red poppy


Best of Boston

The Staycation Vacation

Here in Boston, tourists abound.  I regularly see them taking pictures in the Public Garden, walking the Freedom Trail, milling around Faneuil Hall.  Beyond the city limits, they visit historic Plymouth and Salem, scatter all along Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.  Sometimes I see them struggling along our cobblestone streets with their luggage, but mostly they look as if they’re having a good time.

brownstone 020At the risk of sounding like “Trip Advisor,” Boston’s a great vacation destination with its rich architecture, abundant historical sites and museums – not to mention great seafood.  In fact, not long ago when friends visited for the weekend, we went on a harbor cruise and took a tour of Fenway Park.  And of course, we ate delish Italian cuisine in the North End.

My vacation is coming up and, this time around, I won’t be getting out of Dodge, but I’ll surely dodge the usual travel hassles, lost luggage, and second-rate hotels.  I also won’t end up more exhausted than when I started, and I won’t spend a fortune doing it.  Call me crazy, but I’m taking a staycation.  I’ll sleep decadently late, go to the Museum of Fine Arts, meet a friend for lunch, stroll through the Copley Square Farmer’s Market, get pampered at my favorite Newbury Street day spa, and spend the day at Singing Sand Beach.

No matter where you live, a staycation could be the ideal way to spend your leisure time.  I’ll bet there are some places you’ve been meaning to go – a day trip, perhaps – or a show you want to see.  Maybe go hiking or biking, or try that restaurant you’ve heard so much about but haven’t gotten the chance to try.

Remember, like Dorothy once said, “There’s no place like home…”

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Girl Talk

Hot Mama

My grandmother’s generation did not speak of it.  My mother’s generation at least began the conversation.  My generation has no filter.  We are hot mamas.


That’s right – we’re is-it-hot-in-here-or-is-it-just-me, somebody-get-me-a-fan, let-me-stick-my-head-in-the freezer-for-just-a-second, hot mamas. 


fanThis may be TMI but I, myself, am a hot mama.  At work, my officemate wears turtlenecks and fleece sweaters, while the gal down the hall prefers a blouse and blazer, then wraps herself in a pashmina.  Most days, I go sleeveless as I flush and shvitz my way through one menopause-induced hot flash after another.  Then at night, I pad around my apartment barefoot, wearing an oversized man’s tee-shirt, my hair up in a high ponytail, as a ceiling fan is whirling overhead so fast you can hardly see the paddles.


But don’t get me started on the nightly routine.  After a shower, when it’s time to dry my thick, curly, frizzy hair, I need an 1875 watt blow dryer before step two, the flat iron, set at 400 degrees.  By the time my hair is dried and set, the rest of me is wringing wet.  So it’s back in the shower wearing a silly floral shower cap to protect my freshly straightened hair.


decorative fanI remember once, years ago, asking my mother how she felt when a hot flash hit and she said very calmly, “You feel as if your head’s about to come popping off.”  Do you suppose that the genteel southern belles who had “a case of the vapours” were really just trying to describe their hot flashes? 


What’s the up-side to all of this?  For one thing, there’s fashion.  As long as women have hot flashes, I predict, twin sets will never go out of style.  You know, take the cardi off, put the cardi back on, take the cardi off…  There’s no need to slather on an expensive facial cream to have a youthful dewy glow. The flop-sweats will keep your face and neck hydrated while the flushing adds some color to your cheeks.  And finally, with all that sweating, there’s no way you can be retaining water, so you’ll surely be down a pound or two when you step on the scale.

red poppy

Life Lessons

Table for One

dinner for one

You’re on your own.  It’s late, you’re out, and you haven’t eaten dinner.  You’re starvin’ like Marvin.  What do you do?

A- Go home and eat a bowl of cereal, which is fine for breakfast but…remember you are very, very hungry.

B- Get take-out which will become cold and considerably less appealing by the time you sit down to eat it.

C- Resort to the fast food drive-thru window where you’ll be handed a paper bag full of calories, but lacking in nutrition.

D- Choose a respectable restaurant and have a proper meal.

My choice is D.  I want a place setting, a menu, and some good food.  Besides, dining alone is nothing to be ashamed of.  Sure, it requires a certain confidence.  But experience has taught me that this skill can be acquired.

In my twenties, I ate alone at the burger joints and coffee shops where nearly everyone eats alone.  Anything beyond that was outside my comfort zone.  By thirty, I’d mastered the art of reading a book or magazine while dining alone in upscale eateries.  Nowadays, a smart phone and earbuds provide company at a table for one.  But I no longer need props when eating out alone.

Recently, I went to one of my favorite restaurants on an uncharacteristically slow night.  There were only a handful of people at the bar, and several tables remained empty.  As I sat at the bar waiting for my meal to arrive, I chatted with the bartender, another single woman like myself.

What was her take on a table for one?  Eating alone is not an urban phenomenon – the suburbanites do it too.  Many more women eat alone than do men.  She observed that men appear more self-conscious about being without a partner.  From her vantage point behind the bar, she could tell that most people don’t even notice when someone is dining alone.  It’s just not a big deal.  Finally, she admitted that she enjoys eating alone because she finds it relaxing.  I had to poppy