Me, Bitter???

November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I plan to be. As you may have heard, Mr. Tom Ford has a new cosmetics line out this month and I just had to have this polish:

It is called “Bitter Bitch” (Provocative, Tom Ford…same thing) and it is the next logical step for those of us who may want something a little more purple than the grays we’ve been wearing since last year — Chanel’s “Particuliere” is my favorite and I still intend to wear it — but not so dark as to make us look Kardashian. (That’s a little tired, no?)

Other loves of mine from all things Tom Ford include two of his fragrances, Black Violet and Champaca Absolute and one of the most beautiful movies made in the last few years: A Single Man.

Enjoy!

xx

P.S.

Links should you need them:

Nails

http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod75020004&parentId=cat272802&masterId=cat243413&index=2&cmCat=cat000000cat000005cat243403cat243413cat272802&isEditorial=false

http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod14300008&parentId=cat329804&masterId=cat329903&index=1&cmCat=cat000000cat000005cat000017cat10022cat235903cat329903cat329804&isEditorial=false

Scent

http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod31380002&eItemId=prod50430007&cmCat=search&searchType=MAIN&parentId=&icid=&rte=%252Fsearch.jhtml%253FN%253D0%2526Ntt%253Dblack%252Bviolet%2526_requestid%253D5453

http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod41780002&eItemId=prod41760003&cmCat=search&searchType=MAIN&parentId=&icid=&rte=%252Fsearch.jhtml%253FN%253D0%2526Ntt%253Dchampaca%252Babsolute%2526_requestid%253D5466

Film

http://www.asingleman-movie.com/#/home

And let me just add that Colin Firth was robbed of his Oscar that year. Robbed!! And I don’t care if he got it last year. So there you have it.

Hankies should you watch said Film

http://www.dporthaultparis.com/www/#/collections/gifts-&-accessories/printed-handkerchiefs/

 

(Photo: Some Cozy Night)

Extraordinary Machine

November 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

Miss Fiona Apple’s last record with the above title is one of my all-time favorites. I am humming it to myself right now as I type. And honestly, I think it is about time for another album from her. Six years is long enough, no?

In the meantime, another Extraordinary Machine has come into my life:

No, it isn’t a Space Age Hole Punch, as I first guessed when I found it in my office the other day. (A gift from Mr. H — he gets me.) It is a vintage letter opener from Pitney Bowes. And it is the best thing to happen to my office in forever. Except for a few pieces of furniture and this lovely mirror I recently picked up…but you catch my drift.

It basically slices off the top part of  any envelope, eliminating the need to use my horrid knife-style letter opener that I struggle with daily. Finally, I look forward to opening the mail!

Extraordinary.

xx

(Photo: Some Cozy Night)

Other Things I’ve Learned

September 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am writing this as a group of men are using very loud equipment to chip off the existing facade of my house. (It will then be replaced, I sincerely hope.) Getting to the “destruction” phase of this project has highlighted how much knowledge one can amass over time that is not necessarily something that you would pass on to younger generations unless you made a point of remembering to do so. And since I probably won’t be writing a book on the topic of Managing Your Life, I thought I’d put some of it down here.

So here we go!

Starting Out

Relationships

Don’t get too set on marrying your college sweetheartTrue, I know of three couples that met in college and are still happily together, but the odds are not in your favor. Try to think of these relationships as Starter Marriages Without the Paperwork and carry on.

Also, enjoy the insane amount of time you have with your friends now…it gets harder and harder as you get older to find enough hours in the day. And I know people say this all the time, but that is because it is true.

Living Situations

This is a good time to start getting into the habit of keeping things tidy and organized. Sure, it can be fun to ignore all housekeeping rules you lived under as a kid for the first few months out on your own, so do what you must to feel “free”. But after a bit, really, make your bed, do your laundry (and put it away), keep your bathroom clean, dust and, for Pete’s sake, WIPE UP THE CRUMBS. These are good habits to develop now so that you don’t have One of Those Houses later in life.

Wardrobe

When you leave the house, try not to look like La Sonnambula. (Although, that is a lovely costume in the ballet.) Dressing with purpose gives you a little lift. Also, I can’t be alone in appreciating the effort when someone is dressed like they care. In fact, I know this to be true, since shopkeepers and the like will almost always treat you better when you are dressed properly. This isn’t about expensive or trendy…it is about pride and good manners.

Also, regarding women’s shoes, a possibly earth-shattering bit of information: A pair of nude-colored shoes are a better investment than a pair of black ones. Neutral goes with everything; black goes with very little. Trust me on this one and spend wisely. Same with handbags and the like. Although I tend to like purple for evening bags. But that could just be me.

Money

It has been my experience that I never regretted spending my hard-earned dollars being generous or doing the Right Thing, if that makes any sense. Just make sure it comes out of your “nice to have” budget and not the “essentials” portion.

Now You’re Really In It

Wedding Bells?

Seriously, the best part of my wedding (aside from getting hitched to Mr. H) was going down the aisle and seeing all those smiling faces of the people in attendance to celebrate with us. So, whichever end of the aisle you are at, take a moment to take it all in, as I am pretty sure you will remember it for the rest of your life.

Also, figuring out the seating plan at a wedding will make you feel like a Ninja when you are done. Keep in mind what you have learned and put it to good use at dinner parties and the like later.

Homeowner

So, you now “own this piece of s***”, as Samantha Jones once said to Carrie. Congratulations and my condolences. It is going to be great and a lot of work. Please, for your own happiness and sanity…

– Test paint on each wall before you do the entire room. ON the walls…in big, wide strips.

– Be patient when decorating. Rushing often leads to wasted money.

– Appointments with home care professionals are always “tentative” on their end. This is especially true for Electricians, HVAC Servicemen, and The Cable Guy. As such, schedule several on one day so it isn’t a complete waste when one or two don’t show. (And don’t drink too much water on these days for obvious reasons…)

– Believe and live “Cheap is Expensive”, since it is.

– Know that you will probably spend more time waiting for your new windows to come in than you will spend finding your dream job, perfect mate or even that perfect place to live. (Which will probably need to have the windows replaced.)

Wrinkles??

Catherine Deneuve is believed to have said that when it comes to aging, you have “to choose between your a** and your face”. I don’t know if this is true, as my a** pretty much has a mind of its own.  But I do know that if you haven’t been, you should start getting very serious about skin care. Moisturize (everywhere!!) and be careful in the sun from here on out.

OMG, There’s More???

Indeed. 

You are no longer young enough to be completely carefree, and you are too old for hooey. So I say do only what you have to, what pleases you and what you feel like trying on for size.

Green Thumb

Since you probably don’t have much time for gardening and arranging flowers, it might be comforting to know that you can get an orchid to bloom again. I know because I have done it myself and it is easy: After the first round of blooms have died off,  cut that stem down by about 50% below the nearest notch and just let it be in not-so-direct sun. It takes a while, but when they do bloom you won’t believe how fresh an orchid can be.

Host

I used to throw bigger parties (think 40 – 50 people), but realized that I never got to spend time with anyone and was exhausted by the end. So now I keep it to between four and ten guests, create a menu that does not require a lot of time and attention, and set a table that looks inviting but not “table-scaped”. (Is there a more stupid entertaining trend? Avoid.) Also, for weekends with  guests that inevitably include lengthy, wine-soaked dinners that frequently start with cocktails and end with nightcaps, water glasses must be full at all times. And, it does not hurt to keep individual coconut waters on hand for everyone before bed and in the morning.

What’s Next

Generally, it is never as good or as bad as you think it is going to be. And, more importantly, you never know what “it” is going to be, no matter how much planning, imagining or worrying you do. So it simply isn’t productive to obsess over what could happen. (This is a Development Area for me.)

Also…

It does not take a lot of time to have a little fun. So make sure that you do.


xx

(Photo of a rather sensible shoe: Some Cozy Night)


Maintenance

June 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

In my teens, attempting to look “good” centered on pimple and nail management.  I added eyebrows, cellulite (we’re besties now), and figuring out my hair in my twenties. More of the same in my thirties, but I also began began to combat those “early signs of aging” that I kept hearing about, super dry and sensitive skin and gray hair. I completely understand those who give up:  It takes a lot of time to look human and maintenance is a b****.

One of the best things about turning forty is that I know things. Lots of things. And some of them help keep me looking human and feeling less insane. Here are some of my top picks:

1.) Cellular Patch Cream by Sonya Dakar

The packaging is so unattractive that I keep it hidden at all times, but all of this company’s products are top flight. I have been using them for just shy of a decade now and anytime I try some other line, I regret it. The facial washes, daily hydration lotions, eye creams and various other concoctions are staples in my Skin Maintenance Routine, but I think the one product that has truly kept me from looking eighty at forty is the Cellular Patch Cream. For get Le Mer, this is the stuff. I don’t know how, but I believe it stimulates collagen which keeps things bouncy. And bouncy is the goal. Who cares if you don’t feel that way….

http://www.sonyadakar.com/index.php?l=page_view&p=sd_search

Not inexpensive, but not negotiable for me.

2.) Astara Daily Refining Scrub

If your skin is like mine, you cannot use this every day. But I use it at least three times a week for the exfoliation portion of my SMR. Gentle, but serious. Also good on the elbows if you accidentally squeeze out too much.

http://www.astaraskincare.com/shop/Astara-Daily-Refining-Scrub.aspx

3.) Astara Golden Flame Mask

Let’s say you fly a fair amount and have hideously dry skin. Pre-flight, put a light coating of this on your face, carefully avoiding the eyes (really…it burns), and prepare to have air travel stink a little less. I sometimes put it on again as a mask post-flight for a little extra hydration.

http://www.astaraskincare.com/shop/Astara-Golden-Flame-Hydration-Mask.aspx

You’re welcome.

4.) Kiehl’s Ultimate Something or Other Hand Cream

Should you be in a situation where you are washing your hands constantly, or live somewhere so inhospitable to skin that your hands look like cured meat, this is your new hand cream. We’ve had a thing going on since Mr. H and I decided that getting two puppies at the same time was a great idea. Trust me: This works.

http://www.kiehls.com/Ultimate-Strength-Hand-Salve/522,default,pd.html

5.) Esse’s “Sugar Daddy”

Now that your hands are all nice and pretty, you need a polish that isn’t needy. This is lovely and shows very few dings and cracks, especially if you are diligent with your top coat applications.

http://www.essie.com/shop/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=sugar%20daddy

6.) Bliss Foot Patrol

We’ve been together since 2000. Get yourself some kind of pumice/paddle thingy and this lotion and enjoy wearing sandals again.

http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P6869

7.) Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien Soap

Sadly, my beloved soap won’t be available until the end of the year per my sources in Paris. (Yes, I confirmed with contacts in France. Or rather Mr. H confirmed with contacts in France, since my French is non-existent. He likes me. He really, really likes me!)

This is the world’s most perfect soap and while it may not make you more human-looking, it will make you feel that way. In the meantime, their Eau du Sud soap is an extremely able substitute.  Thank you Kind Gentleman at Annick Goutal near the Place Vendôme.

http://www.annickgoutal.com/fr/home.aspx

8.) Aqua di Parma

Moving south to my “homeland”, let us celebrate all that is lovely about the classic Aqua di Parma fragrance. The bath gel is divine — especially when mixed with epsom salts per prior posts — and the candle is a little bit of humanity accessible via match. (Remember those matchbooks, people.) Go classic yellow on this — none of that blue stuff.

http://www.sephora.com/browse/brand_hierarchy.jhtml?brandId=Acqua%20Di%20Parma&om_mmc=esv103203-GG&om_kwpur=104593140&ppc_crid=6456849377&sbanner=us_search&esvcid=S1306978300_ADOGOE_AGI1091892_CRE6456849377_TID104593140_RFDd3d3Lmdvb2dsZS5jb20%3d

And aside from suggesting that you get cozy with your hairdresser, find a good dermatologist and facialist and — most importantly — try to  have as much fun as possible given one’s Life Contraints, that is all I have for this evening.

xx

Ms. M

(Photo of the Magnificent Eight: Some Cozy Night. For the record, this was a hard photo to take.)

“Harrogatha”

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Who cares if it is a made-up word? I have loved “Harrogatha” since I first read it in the September ’07 issue of Vogue. Plum Sykes was interviewing hairstylist Ashley Javier, and he used it to describe what I can only imagine from context was a pretty horrid apartment. (A horrid New York apartment, which to me means something out of “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” or “Taxi Driver”.) Some time later I read that the term is used when “something is so horrible, so horrendous, so bad that it’s practically infectious”.*

Yes, I believe I’ve had a string of days that can be accurately described as harrogatha. OK, maybe not that harrogatha, but harrogatha enough. And they’d left me feeling red, limbless and frowning.

Thankfully, a few very special people made it their business to see that the cycle was broken and I guess this is a little valentine to them.  (You know who you are.)

Life is complicated and sometimes hard. Things can get harrogatha. And it’s easy to forget that being sure to show the ones you love how much you care is one of the best things Humans on Earth can do. (Sorry if I am being sappy, but there it is.) The people who took time this week to show me how much they cared are darn perfect examples of that important fact. I hope I can always do the same in kind — without it becoming uncomfortably weird, of course.

Thanks, guys.

xx

* Full discussion, which I find to be rather snarky, but whatever, can be found here: http://www.glossedover.com/glossed_over/2007/11/sykes-mystery-f.html)

(Photo: Some Cozy Night)

So I got a Flu Shot

January 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

And find myself to be quite ill today, nonetheless. So, while I patiently wait for the NyQuil to kick in, here are some random musings. Maybe some will be of interest to you.

– Method Tub and Tile  wipes are really kind of  excellent — especially if you get a stopped up tub and then need to deal with the aftermath on your own.

– Speaking of stopped up tubs, I recommend that we be unafraid to give people plumbing snakes as house warming or shower gifts. Everyone should have one. And someone in the house should probably know how to use it. (Word on the street is that this is another Development Area of mine.)

– I’d like to celebrate the wonder that is Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. The best hand cream I’ve tried. I keep one by every sink in my house. (Now if I could only remember to use it after every hand wash…)

– You’ve heard me say it before, but I want to be on record on the internet that Epsom Salt Baths are a wonder. Mix with a little of your favorite bath bubbles and make sure you use the full two cups of salts per bath!

– NyQuil takes longer to work than one expects. Should I be asleep by now?

xx

Ms. Quil

Not Feeling Cozy on Account of Adulthood

January 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The World over-promised on Adulthood.

All I ever heard about was staying up as late as I wanted and eating whatever I wanted and generally doing whatever I wanted. A very attractive proposition.  I could not wait to be one. As a Marketing type, I am impressed. As an Adult, I feel a little deceived.

My biggest gripe of late regarding Adulthood’s  purported benefits involves the “Set Your Own Bedtime” feature. Now that I am no longer 20, I have no desire or ability to stay up as late as I want without repercussions. I wish I could go to bed at 8:30 or 9:00 at night…but no.

If it isn’t my own schedule that keeps me up way past my bedtime — I have determined that I am a Nine Hour Girl — it is the things running around in my head that keep from actually sleeping. Last night I could not fall asleep on account of a man on the phone who just start yelling at me before I had a chance to say anything except “Hi! I placed an order about an hour ago”. Telling him he was being very rude in my best Emily Gilmore* voice helped some, but I still could not get it out of my head and myself  off to dreamland until well past midnight. (And Fresh Direct was coming at 6:30AM!) There would most definitely be repercussions.

What to do?

Well, in the spirit of making something positive out of something utterly negative, here are some things that seem to work for me when I am certain that I am never going to fall asleep — EVER:

1) Bitch and moan for a while.

Even if it is just to yourself. OK, this isn’t positive, but it does sometimes make me feel better. The key is to not do it for too long, I guess. Otherwise, you risk becoming a cliché, especially if you are a New Yorker. (This does happen to be a Development Area for me.)

2) Listen to an Audiobook

The more New Age-y, the better. Seriously, this stuff knocks me right out. I imagine that Richard Feynman lectures would produce similar effect.

3) Warm Milk with Honey

THIS REALLY WORKS. I don’t know if the chemical reaction is at play for me, or just the idea of drinking warm milk and honey that produces that warm and fuzzy frame of mind that makes it easier to nod off. Whatever. I recommend.

Things I DON’T recommend based on actual, not infrequent experience:

1) Watching television

Nothing good can come of this. One time, I actually found myself viewing The Jersey Shore — the episode where one girl punches another. (Or does that happen in every episode?) A cautionary tale, no?

2) Going on the Internet

Even just to see if I have posted anything…or what is going on over at Facebook. Again, you will be up forever and may wind up purchasing that really lovely coat you wanted but thought was impractical and too expensive when you were in better control of your faculties.

3) Counting Sheep

If you are at all Type A, this could be mildly dangerous. I mean, shouldn’t the sheep be lined up all nice and orderly? And are they fenced in? And what if one of them hurts themselves while jumping over the fence?? No, this isn’t a way to quiet the mind. Pure hooey.

And that is all I have for today. Baaa.

xx

*Emily Gilmore: Mother of Lorelai Gilmore  on one of my all-time favorite television shows, The Gilmore Girls. The Anna Wintour of Television Mothers, but with tons more to say and much more conservative clothes.

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