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….

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.

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.

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.,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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Ms. M

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


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.


* Full discussion, which I find to be rather snarky, but whatever, can be found here:

(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?


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.


*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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