Doodad Kind of Town


BOOO! Beauty Product Challenge: Maybelline Expert Eyes
October 31, 2007, 10:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Trick or Treat!!!! Happy Halloween to all!

In the spirit of the holiday, I’ll have some words about pumpkin treats later, but first…. the beauty product of the day.


Maybelline calls this palette their Expert Eye Shadow Quad. I call it Eye Shadow for Dummies.

I mean that as a compliment.

‘Cause when it comes to wearing more than two eye shadow colors at a time, see, I’m a bit of a dummy.

I’ve loved playing with makeup since I was 13, but when it came to eyeshadow, somehow I was never able to get it quite right.

(We won’t talk about those scary teen years when my everyday look was blue shadow on the lid, frosty white on the brow bone, dark blue inside the lower lash line and navy Great Lash to finish it all off. Or the equally scary family portrait, circa 1986, in which my severely overplucked brows are barely visible above two wide swaths of frosty lilac.)

I’ve purchased lots of lovely shadow sets over the years (favoring combos of brown or pink/violet/burgundy shades to set off my baby blues), but I can never remember which colors go where. Which goes on the brow? Which one goes in the crease? If any directions were included, they were usually on the cardboard outer wrapping which got thrown away as soon as I got home from shopping.

For years, I played it safe by rocking a neutral (or neutral-ish, at least) matte shade from lashes to brow, accented with one darker, deeper color in the crease and maybe at the outer corner (e.g. MAC Naked Lunch, accented with Sable). It wasn’t hideous, but it wasn’t really doing anything for me, either.

Then one day while browsing the Maybelline rack at Ulta, I found this amazing four-color eye “Expert Eye” shadow palette which told you where to put each color by actually writing the proper area of application on the shadow itself! Just look at the illustration above – the colors are clearly marked as being for Brow, Lid, Crease and Outer Corner. Huzzah! Finally an eye shadow compact for ditzy girls like me who are usually putting on their makeup on in a half-caffeinated morning stupor! Sure, the printing wears off after you’ve used the shadows for a couple of weeks, but by then, you’ve got it mastered. At last, my eyes have drama and impact!

Meanwhile…

I love the flavor of pumpkin; however, I do not love to look like a pumpkin (i.e. round).

Come this time of year, I love to indulge in pumpkin treats and they are everywhere! Dunkin Donuts has pumpkin donuts. Edy’s makes a yummy “limited edition” Pumpkin ice cream. Starbucks is cranking out their amazing Pumpkin Spice lattes. (And we haven’t even gotten to pie!)

If the waistband of my jeans is any indication, my unbridled passion for these autumnal goodies is starting to catch up with me. Soon it’s going to be a choice between fitting in to the clothes in my closet or making one more trip through the Dunkin Donuts drive-through and then heading straight to Lane Bryant. Even my health club even posted a warning about Pumpkin Spice Lattes on the bulletin board last week (“Danger! A Venti has 510 calories!!!” That’s a whole lotta treadmill time to burn off a beverage.)

Fortunately, I’ve been doing a little ‘net research lately, and there are low-cal, low-carb pumpkin goodies available, if you know where to look.
For example, I discovered a sugar-free Pumpkin Pie syrup from DaVinci Gourmet . Ever since I became the proud owner of an Aerolatte hand-held milk frother (like the one Cindy Crawford was using on Oprah yesterday!), I’ve been whipping up tasty lattes in my own kitchen. Now I can add a low-cal Pumpkin Spice variety to my home repertoire.

And here’s an interesting recipe from Hungry Girl for a Pumpkin Peach Smoothie (click here and scroll down a ways to see the recipe). It sounds a little weird, given what’s in it (canned pumpkin and Diet Snapple Peach Tea are key ingredients), but it’s actually delicious. I made mine with Dannon Light Vanilla yogurt, 2 Splenda packets and a generous sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Totally filling and really satisfied my pumpkin jones. If you haven’t discovered Hungry Girl yet, you should check them out. There are plenty of other tasty treats on their site – all low-cal, low-fat and with Weight Watchers points listed to boot.

(photos from Google images, Maybelline.com,)



Beauty Product Challenge: Dove Pro Age Eye Treatment
October 30, 2007, 10:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Everyone has a quest. For years, my quest was to find a really good daytime under-eye moisturizer. My only criteria were: 1) it must have SPF; and 2) it must actually DO something – really make those lines a little softer, those bags a little less baggy, those dark circles a bit lighter (and not just promise to.)

This year, I finally found what I was looking for: Dove Pro-Age Eye Treatment.

Ok -first, a smart aleck-y note about that PRO-age thing. I know Dove is making money hand-over-fist with that whole “Real Women” campaign, but are they really PRO age? How can you be in favor of aging while, at the same time, you’re selling a whole slew of products to eliminate all evidence of it? Wouldn’t PRO-age products be more along the lines of, say, wrinkle deepeners? Skin driers? Jowl enhancers, even? I’m just sayin’….

The good news is that, even as they cleverly disguise their intentions, Dove is selling some pretty good products. I loved their eye treatment the first time I used it. It has a very thick, slightly creamy texture that I haven’t found in any other comparable product. (Now that I think of it, its texture is strangely similar to … spackle! Hmmm, well, make of that what you will.) Anyway, it goes on easily, without tugging. I swear I can feel it actually firming up my undereye skin as I apply it. The SPF is a little lower than I would have liked (8, where my preference would be a minimum of 15), but it does the job. And it comes in a fragrance-free version for sensitive skin.

The bonus for me is that this product – being from Dove as opposed to say, La Mer – is very reasonably priced. I picked up my latest tube from Target for $14.99. I’ve paid a lot more in the past for eye creams I liked a whole let less. This one is a steal.

(Photo from http://www.doveproage.com)



Beauty Product of the Day: Q10 Facial Sheets
October 29, 2007, 12:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


This week – all week – I’m participating in a “Beauty Product of the Day” challenge handed down by my good friend, Jen, who writes the funny and fabulous blog Monkey Posh (check it out here). Each day, for the next 7 days, I’ll be writing about one beauty product that I absolutely love!

Today, I’m here to sing the praises of DHC’s Q10 Facial Film Sheets – a new Co Q10-enriched cleanser which is ingeniously packaged in individually wrapped film sheets, each about the size and depth of a blotting paper. You simply add a little water to a sheet, and it dissolves into a creamy, sudsy facial cleanser.

CoQ10 is everywhere in skin care these days – it’s touted as a free-radical-busting, antioxidant, anti-aging wonder. I don’t know about all that – but I know I love these facial film sheets. Here’s why:

Number one, I love the way my skin felt right after using them. As I get older, I find too many cleansers – even some that are labeled as “moisturizing” – leave my face feeling tight and irritated immediately after use. The Q10 facial film sheets, however, provided a soft, clean and (dare I say it?) dewy effect on my complexion.

Number two, because I love to travel, I’m always on the lookout for beauty products that are easy to pack, not prone to spills or leaks, and don’t have to be stuffed into a danged Ziploc bag to get through airport security. You can toss a whole handful of these individually packaged sheets right into your carry-on bag and use up hardly any space at all. Gotta love that! .

DHC has two other Q10 products – a lotion (which is actually a toner -go figure) and a cream. I used the cream after cleansing with a facial film sheet. It went on nicely and left my face soft rather than sticky (as with some creams), so I liked that, too. All the Q10 products are on sale through November 30- check out the website for details: http://www.dhccare.com/dhc/.

Bonus Beauty Product suggestion: DHC also makes a great foundation primer, called Velvet Skin Coat. It has a slightly powdery feel, not unlike Smashbox’s Photo Finish primer, and a very little bit of it goes a long way.



Today’s Movie Talk : "Say Anything" vs. "Titanic"
October 27, 2007, 6:34 pm
Filed under: John Cusack

So last night, I was enjoying a tasty, well-earned margarita and an enormous chicken burrito with a couple of good friends when the conversation turned to movies.

My friend, Paige, told us she had read somewhere that “Titanic” actually lifts a lot of its major plot points from “Say Anything.” This cracked me up – since I can’t think of two more dissimilar films – one a quirky late 80s teen rom-com and one a blockbuster late 90s disaster/romantic drama. But then as she started to tick off some of the similarities, I realized she was right! “Titanic” really isn’t much more than Lloyd Dobbler and Diane Court in period costumes on a big boat. Think we’re crazy? Consider:
Say Anything: Lloyd takes Diane to a graduation party where she socializes with less stellar students she never would have partied with otherwise.
Titanic: Jack takes Rose to a party in steerage where she soicalizes with working-class people she would never have partied with otherwise.
Say Anything: Diane invites Lloyd to dinner with her father and his business associates where they grill him about his future plans, and he reveals himself to be a free spirit with no plans.
Titanic: Rose invites Jack to have dinner with her mother and her society associates who question him about his work, and he reveals himself to be a free spirit with no plans.
Say Anything: Lloyd teaches Diane how to drive a stick-shift.
Titanic: Jack teaches Rose how to “spit like a man”

Say Anything: Lloyd and Diane make love for the first time in the back seat of a car and the windows get all steamed up.
Titanic: Jack and Rose make love for the first time in the back seat of a car and the windows get all steamed up.

Say Anything: Lloyd ultimately saves Diane from living the life that had been planned for her by a controlling parent.
Titanic: Jack ultimately saves Rose from from living the life that had been planned for her by a controlling parent.

Pretty freaky, huh?



A WTF Moment with David Chase
October 24, 2007, 9:48 pm
Filed under: The Sopranos

“Why would we entertain people for eight years only to give them the finger?” –David Chase, in response to the accusation that he “pranked” audiences into believing their cable had gone out by ending “The Sopranos” with a black screen.

Oh, please!

The final moment of that series is nothing but a defiantly raised middle finger at the audience that made it a hit for 8 years.

Chase’s remarks are included in a new volume “The Sopranos: The Complete Book ” which was published this week. Excerpts from the interview that popped on up CNN today have the whiny, petulant tone of a man who fancies himself to be not only an underappreciated genius, but one who operates on a far higher moral plane than the people who loved his series.

For example, here’s Chase on why “Sopranos” fans are schmucks for getting so worked up over the final show: “There WAS a war going on that week, and attempted terror attacks in London. But these people were talking about onion rings.”

Frankly, that sounds like something AJ would say.

Here’s Chase on the subject of the audience’s Tony Soprano fixation: “They had gleefully watched him rob, kill, pillage, lie and cheat. They had cheered him on. And then, all of a sudden, they wanted to see him punished for all that. They wanted ‘justice’ . . .The pathetic thing — to me — was how much they wanted HIS blood, after cheering him on for eight years.”

Well, DUH!!!

After 8 years writing a mostly terrific Mob drama (not to mention a drama that centered pretty heavily around its lead character’s psychotherapy), does Chase really not understand why people love to watch his show? Or any Mob drama, for that matter? Of course, we live vicariously through the lives of fictional mobsters! Of course,we cheer them on! They get to do and say things we NEVER can get away with in our own lives, and usually wouldn’t even want to. But in the end, we all want to see justice done. We all want and need moral resolution, the reassurance that the world works the way it’s supposed to and that evil really does NOT triumph. We need that safe distance from bloodthirsty, larger-than-life characters like Tony Soprano. And I don’t think it represents any great artistic achievement on Chase’s part to deny it to us. In fact, it’s more like he’s spitting our moral rectitude back in our faces in a self-righteously snotty way.

And besides, it’s not like Chase hadn’t been building to an apparent comeuppance for Tony all season. Let’s review shall we: The New York guys go gunning for him. Christopher dies. Silvio is incapacitated. And finally, even Dr. Melfi abandons him. That haunting shot at the end of the next-to-last episode – Tony alone on his bed in the safe house, clutching his rifle and waiting – pretty much set us all up for a bloody denouement. Instead we get family eating onion rings and listening to Journey, and no clear indication of what – if anything – happens to Tony. But you all know that.

You’ve got to wonder about a TV series writer who berates viewers for enjoying the characters he created just a little too much. I believe that’s called “biting the hand that feeds you.”

For the whole story on the Chase interview, check out this link: http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/10/23/tv.sopranos.davidchase.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch

(Photo from cnn.com)



Notes on Getting Older
October 23, 2007, 1:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My next birthday will be rolling around on January 5, and I’m already starting to get used to this idea.

Actually, this is annual ritual for me. Around the end of October each year, I start to “practice” thinking of myself as being older, gradually acclimating myself to the fact that in a couple of months or so, I’ll be increasing the righthand digit in my age by one.

“I’m going to be 48 in January,” I tell myself each morning. I start to imagine myself as 48. I try to picture myself as a smart and sexy 48-year-old with many adventures still ahead of her. Because, in some crazy way, this will help to soften the blow when I wake up on January 5, 2008 and have to tell myself “I AM 48 now!” It won’t come as such a shock.

(Paranthetical note: It totally sucks to have a birthday on January 5. No one wants to celebrate it with me: the holidays are over, and they’re all fat, broke and tired. January 5 is a great day to take down the Christmas decorations or start on the Slim Fast plan – not to drink martinis, eat cake and dance till dawn. But I digress.)
It was a sad day when I opened my mailbox to find a catalog called “As We Change” (!) featuring everything from herbal hot flash relief remedies to “slenderizing” jeans. (I get the Victoria’s Secret catalog, too, but that has come to be just as depressing. I flip through its pages, and have only two thoughts: “These models are young enough to be my daughters!” and “I can’t wear THAT anymore!”) To my chagrin, I have actually started reading books with titles like “The Wisdom of Menopause” and “Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Your Life.” With great interest, I might add.
And I’ve started my list of “Things I Never Got Around To Before, but I’m Gonna D0 Them Now That I’m Over 40, Damnit!” Predictably, mine includes travel (stand on the Great Wall of China, see the Taj Mahal, stand on the Skelling Rock in the Ring of Kerry, wander through fields of lavender in Provence,etc.) It also includes learning to speak French.
I took a year of French in college; it was not an entirely happy experience. For the entire duration of high school and my freshman year, I had taken Latin. Yep, that’s right – five years of a dead language. There’s no such thing as Conversational Latin, because, well – who would you talk to? A reincarnated Roman? (In high school, there was a persistent rumor that Latin was still being spoken in one small town in Switzerland, but I think that may have been an urban legend.) So imagine my surprise when my college French instructor – a bubbly, blond graduate student – bounced into class each morning cooing things like “Bon jour! Comment ca va? Q’uest-que tu va faire ce soir?” at me every morning. I eventually got proficient enough to give brown-nosing answers like “Ca va, et toi? Je vais allez a la biblioteque etudier Francais ce soir,” but that was as good as it got. I distinctly remember choking on my conversational final in the language lab and answering at least one question with the unfortunate “Merde! Je ne sais pas!”
So now I am spending my middle-aged evenings making up for lost time by dutifully pressing through Rosetta Stone’s Level 1 French lessons like the good little student I used to be. And let’s just say – If I ever do make it to Provence, and have the opportunity to observe that “the children are drinking milk” or “we have a red book,” I will be SO prepared!

Lavender fields, here I come. Je court! (photo from colorsofprovence.com)


It’s "Serious Movie Season" and I’m Back
October 21, 2007, 8:56 pm
Filed under: John Cusack, Victor Garber

Where the hell have I been? Good question!

When last I blogged, the flood waters were receding from my basement storage room. Since then, my brain cells have been fully taxed by my day job, and evenings have been for vegging in front of the TV or getting together with friends.

As the days grow cooler, and my work days get less taxing, I’m ready to write again.

Some Random Sunday thoughts:

** What a delight to see my Number One celebrity crush, Victor Garber, showing up on “Ugly Betty” as Betty’s nasty new creative writing instructor (“like Simon Cowell, but with a Pulitzer”). He is snarky, snarly and laugh-out-loud funny, the perfect foil to America Ferrera’s sweet, optimistic sincerity. I hope we’ll be seeing more of him!

** Now that we’re in Serious Movie Season, the theatres are full of films themed around corporate greed, government corruption, and, of course, the Iraq War. On the multiplex screens right now: “The Kingdom,” “Rendition,” “In the Valley of Elah,” “Michael Clayton.” Coming soon are Brian DePalma’s “Redaction,” Mike Nichols’ “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Lions into Lambs,” “Grace is Gone,” and some assassination hoax thriller with William Hurt and Dennis Quaid whose title I can’t for the life of me remember, even though I’ve seen the trailer three times in the last 2 weeks.

Which bring me to my main point: Why do these films all look so boring? Go to the movies any night now, and be prepared to sit though about 20 minutes of trailers that pretty much all look and sound the same – the same deadly earnest speechifying, portentous music and close-up after close-up of award winning actors looking grim, determined or shocked. Ho hum! Even the non-topical dramas from directors I love, like “There Will Be Blood” from Paul Thomas Anderson and “No Country for Old Men” from the Coen Brothers, have a numbing sameness.

(One notable exception is the trailer for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” probably because it’s funny and uses music like “All Along the Watchtower” and “American Pie” to great effect. Plus it features not only the always-wonderful Tom Hanks, but also a nearly unrecognizable Julia Roberts in a cotton candy bouffant blond hairdo. I’m pretty jazzed about this one, especially ’cause it’s from Mike Nichols. His “Primary Colors” was one of the best films – maybe the best film – about politics I’ve ever seen.)

And then there’s “Grace is Gone,” which I sincerely hope does not turn out to be the shameless, manipulative ploy for John Cusack to win an Oscar that it appears to be. Cusack plays a father of two girls whose wife is killed while serving in Iraq; the film is about his decision to defer breaking the news to his girls by taking them to their favorite amusement park for the day. Now, I am not a unkind person, nor is my heart made of stone or anything else as hard. I am moved to tears very easily by movies like these, and don’t normally object to being shamelessly and calculatingly manipulated into doing so. I fully expect “Grace is Gone” to break my heart.

And yet…

Something about the trailer for “Grace is Gone” made me queasy. There’s John Cusack, all cuddly and nonthreatening in ill-fitting, unstylish “Dad” clothes and big, nerdy eyeglasses. John Cusack, for God’s sakes! What makes Cusack interesting on screen is his edge, that ever-present suggestion of barely concealed darkness or rage that informs his best performances. Even Lloyd Dobbler of “Say Anything,” his sweetest character, had a slightly explosive, unpredictable complexity that made his character far more interesting than the usual teen comedy hero. I’d rather see how a character like that grieves, than one who’s been detoothed and desexed for the the comfort of Oscar voters.

What I’d really like to see right now is a great black comedy, a 21st century “Dr. Strangelove.” Maybe we’ll get it. Cusack’s next project is a war profiteering satire called “War, Inc.” which co-stars Ben Kingsley, Dan Aykroyd, and his big sister, Joan. That’s the kind of John Cusack movie I can get excited about.