Girl Talk

Glam on the Go

If you’re like me, you automatically reach into your purse for your lipstick at the end of the meal.  Applying lipstick in a restaurant is commonplace enough that it often goes unnoticed.  Besides, it doesn’t take any special skill to swipe some color over your lips, even if you don’t have a mirror.

A friend of mine applies her full make-up regalia during her morning commute.  Using her rearview mirror, she performs this act in perfect synchronization with the stop lights along the way.  She can dab on concealer, bronzer, and lip gloss, not to mention perk up her eyes with mascara and eyeliner, all with a steady hand.  By the time she’s reached her office, her face is painted to flawless perfection.  It’s a talent for sure, and one that I couldn’t hope to imitate.  Besides, I don’t drive to work.

I commute using public transportation and the jostling that takes place on the subway or bus, not to mention the other passengers pressed up against you like sardines, and the students who whip around and whack you with their backpacks, all render the application of make-up impossible – or so I thought until the other day.

A woman sitting across from me reached into her tote bag and took out a false eyelash.  It looked like a big bushy caterpillar.  Using the tips of her fingernails as a substitute tweezer, she methodically picked off every bit of caked-on glue from the base of the eyelash.  Next, she took out a tiny tube of glue and strategically applied three dots.  When the glue was dry – remember, this was a moving train – she pressed the eyelash onto her lid.  She then repeated the process for the other eye.  I could not believe MY EYES!  Wish I could’ve stuck around to see what she’d do next, but we had reached my stop.

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Girl Talk, Life Lessons

Don’t Bug Me

Sunday morning, I wake up with the spins.  Instead of going to church, I kneel on the cold bathroom floor praying to the porcelain goddess.  Hazy and dizzy, I crawl back to bed.  This is some bug I’ve got.

On Monday, I swear I’ll never eat again.  But, fearing dehydration, I force myself to drink watered-down juice.  I sleep a lot, awaken drenched with sweat.  The relentlessly-ringing phone saves me from delirium.  Robo-calls alternately congratulate me – I’ve won a 5-day stay at a Florida resort – or warn me there’s a warrant out for my arrest.  And my mother, keeping a long-distance vigil over my weak, limp body, wants an hourly update on my fever – which has climbed from 101.5 to 102.7.

It’s Tuesday and I haven’t showered for two days so I look and feel disgusting.  After a long, hot shower, I still look and feel disgusting but at least I’m clean when I go to the doctor.

She shakes her head.  “You’ve got the flu, all right.  You’ve got it good.”

“But I got a flu shot,” I whine.

She hands me a prescription for Tamiflu.  “Take it with food,” she warns. “It’ll mess with your stomach.”

Wednesday, toast and Jell-O are my only friends.  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  The silver lining?  Surely I’ve lost a couple of pounds.  Unable to sleep, I binge watch several TV shows I’m too embarrassed to name.

By Thursday, the medication’s done a number on my stomach.  I must be down four or five pounds.  I drink flat Pepsi and eat graham crackers.  Just not at the same time.  Bored with television, I answer work email.

Come Friday, I’m out of clean sheets, towels, and PJ’s so I muster the energy to go down the basement and do some laundry.  It’s enough to wipe me out; I take to the love seat, wrapped in a fleece blanket, and moan, in between sips of soup.

Sometime over the weekend, I manage scrambled eggs for breakfast, and broiled chicken with soupy mashed potatoes for dinner.  The worst is finally over.

Monday morning, it’s time to rejoin the world, go back to work.  I step on the scale, anticipating my dramatic weight loss.  No!  It can’t be!  The scale has not budged.

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Girl Talk

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

spring-slidesLast week’s “February thaw” had me checking out the spring forecast – the spring fashion forecast, that is.  Seems THE shoe for spring is a peep toe slide with a block heel.  After living in boots for the past five months, I can hardly wait to slip into a pair of these babies.  But first I’ll need to get my feet back into shape.

Whether you schedule regular pedis at the salon, or are more of a DIY girl, you probably don’t pay the same attention to your feet in winter that you do during beach season.  While I generally polish my toe nails during the winter, how good can they look when I’m forced to keep them clipped uber-short because of the aforementioned boots?  And even though I smother my tootsies in lotion, then wrap them in spa socks in an attempt to ward off alligator skin, my feet are not suitable for public viewing at the moment.

Gotta get to work – heel and toes, heels and toes – my own version of spring training.  So I’ve stopped cutting my toe nails.  In a few weeks I’ll begin shaping them with an emery board, and by Easter they’ll be the perfect length for peep toes and strappy sandals.  There are plenty of gadgets for getting rid of unsightly calluses, and most of them work pretty well.  And finally two words: Epsom Salt.  Dissolve a half-cup of this magnesium-rich stuff in a basin of hot water, and a ten minute soak a few times a week will do wonders for your feet.

Now it’s time to go shoe shopping!red poppy

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Girl Talk, Life Lessons, Mothers and Daughers

A Red Swing Coat

She stepped out of the taxi, so vibrant, so cute, in her hot pink woolen swing coat.  Her lipstick was a perfect match.  She opened her vintage black patent leather kiss lock purse to pay the driver.  Then she was on the move.  She clearly had places to go.   It was many years ago, but I still remember that older lady in the bubblegum pink swing coat, and how I thought: I want to be her someday.

Now let me preface this by saying that my mom has not yet reached the age of that older lady in the pink swing coat.  She has a way to go yet.  But during one of our recent shopping expeditions, the topic of dressing one’s age came up.

Me, I’m of the belief that looking fashionable has no age limit.  My mother, however, was concerned that the pair of dress pants she was trying on were not exactly age appropriate for her.  “Are they too trendy?” she wanted to know.

Forget that we were shopping in a store that caters to women of a certain age.

“No,” I asserted.  “They fit you like a glove – and you look great.”

She shrugged, “I don’t know…”

vintage-red-swing-coatJust then, the older lady in the pink swing coat came to mind.

“Do you like these pants?”  I asked, “Will you enjoy wearing them?” and before she could answer, I added, “Then who cares what anybody else thinks.”

I shouldn’t have had to convince her to buy the pants.  It’s a shame that we, as women, are always questioning ourselves, especially about our appearance.

As for me, I’m still planning to wear a lively swing coat someday.  But I’m not a pink girl.  So mine will be red.  And with it, I’ll wear lipstick that’s a perfect match.

red poppy

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Girl Talk

In Praise of Loungewear

red-silk-pjsForget comfort food.  I’m all about comfort clothing, better known as loungewear.  Which any fashionista can tell you is just a fancy name for pajamas.  Pima cotton, microfiber, silk, flannel – the season often dictates the fabric – but every gal has her favorite.

An old t-shirt and jeans may be the correct attire if you’re puttering around the house on a typical Saturday, re-potting a plant or rearranging your bookshelves.  But to truly luxuriate, and sleep late enough some Saturday morning to call your first meal of the day brunch, after which you sit on your sofa reading a magazine, you best be wearing your favorite striped, paisley, or polka dot PJ’s and matching spa socks.

Me, I can’t wait for the weekend to wrap myself in my comfiest, coziest fashions.  Seriously – I literally cannot wait.  As soon as I get home at night, I slip into my loungewear.  And when I dream of working from home, it’s not because of the commute.  It’s because I’d be wearing my loungewear all the time.

So for the vast majority of us who spend our days in constricting garments and high heels, I encourage you to be kind to yourself.  Loungewear is an affordable luxury.  Put on your fancy pants and matching top and pamper yourself.  You deserve it, girl.

red poppy

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Best of Boston, Girl Talk, Life Lessons

Taking Tea

Last Sunday was the scene of a Boston Tea Party, of sorts.  Okay, it wasn’t exactly a party since there were only three of us.  And technically, we were southwest of Boston.  But there was tea involved.

With Christmas only a week away, we were exhausted, what with all the shopping, the cooking, the cards… and we needed to take a break.  Which meant taking tea.

fancy_thatWe met up in Walpole, Massachusetts, at a hidden gem called “Fancy That.” This unique tea room offers a wide variety of tea, delicious scones, tea sandwiches, and sweets, in an atmosphere that makes you want to trade in your tunic sweater, leggings, and boots for a costume straight out of Downton Abbey.  We truly felt as if we’d been transported to another time and place.

For two luxurious hours, the three of us harried gals sat sipping tea, (I chose a jasmine earl grey called “Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea”) nibbling on lady-like sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and delicate confections.  We chatted and laughed and recharged our batteries.

My usual remedy for being overbooked, overworked, and overwhelmed is to drink more coffee which only speeds my heart rate as I rush around trying to do just about everything faster.  Who knew I could find such serenity at the bottom of a tea cup?

The next time you’re feeling the pressure, take a few minutes, and take tea!

http://www.afternoontea.com

red poppy

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Girl Talk, Life Lessons, Pop Culture, The Brownstone

My House, My Rules

When you live alone, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.  For instance, you have complete 24/7 control of the remote.  You always get to eat the last piece of cake.  And you can decorate your bathroom red – which I did.

My friends who are married are limited when it comes to home decor.  They paint their walls “mushroom” and choose stripes and solids for drapes and upholstery.  I can use colors and patterns no man would ever agree to have in his home.

I inherited a kitschy 1970’s styled bathroom when I bought my condo.  Picture a man cave.  Now picture the polar opposite.  The tub, toilet, sink, and even the floor tiles – pink.  Calamine lotion pink.  But since the fixtures were in such good condition, instead of gutting the whole thing, I decided to keep the pink.  Remember the number one rule of living alone: you can do whatever you want.

That’s when those iconic red poppies came to mind.

marimekko-unikko

“This is either going to be the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done,” I confided to the Marimekko salesgirl, “or else it’s gonna clash so badly that it’ll make me dizzy.”  She assured me I could return all of it: the shower curtain, the matching storage tins, the accent towels, if I passed out.  Once I knew I was on to something, I bought an armful of solid red towels and a lipstick-colored soap dish, tissue box, and waste basket set.  In the end, the pink ran and hid under all that red.

As a single woman home owner, I took on a big responsibility.  But with that responsibility came great freedom.   Recently, I looked with new eyes at the kitchen counter tops I also inherited.  Then I took a trip to that big home improvement store just to look around.

red poppy

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