Gratitude Attraction Experiment on Facebook

I decided to try an experiment on Facebook by starting a group called Gratitude Attraction in which I asked people to post three things they were grateful for that happened that day.

My thinking was that the more gratitude expressed, the more the universe would provide to be grateful for. I figured I’d be lucky if 10 people joined, yet in a few short months we have close to 2300 members from all over the world! It’s so inspiring to read the posts, see their photos, and realize there is ALWAYS SOMETHING to be grateful for.

The stories people post are sometimes mind blowing. People are grateful for horrible things that have happened in their lives because they find the good in it.  A man even expressed gratitude for having been stabbed and had the photos to prove it!  If that’s not truly amazing, I don’t know what is.  He’s had the most horrific things happen to him, yet he has found a way to be grateful for all of it.

People post lovely photos and share wonderful moments from their daily lives. It really does make one realize how much we have to be thankful for.  I am also thankful for simple things like finding a dollar on the floor at work or a warm smile from a stranger.

Even on the darkest of days I have to remind myself how blessed I really am.  I have my sight, my hearing, a reliable car, a cell phone, a home, a TV, a computer, a husband of 22 years,  food in my fridge, clothes on my back, credit cards, etc. I am indeed more fortunate than most.  I may not have the life I once had, or all that I want, but I know that by being grateful for what I DO have will bring me more of what I want.

There are still many moments when I complain and feel really sorry for myself. Focusing on those problems will only bring me more of them but sometimes it’s hard to ignore.

Focusing on gratitude changes everything – immensely.

Here’s a great example: I was at my job, which I hate beyond comprehension, and went outside to go on a rampage of appreciation.  I sat on a rock and expressed gratitude for EVERYTHING I could think of – the sun, the stars, the breeze, the grass, my car, my senses, my health, my car, my home, the roads – you get the idea.  I just kept going and going.

I went back into work and a few minutes later the Governor of New Jersey appeared.  I started speaking to him and told him I had once worked in state government.  He asked me if I wanted to get back into it and I said YES!  He took out a slip of paper, wrote “Erica, I want to help,” and signed his name.  Then on another piece of paper he wrote a name and phone number of his personal assistant and told me to call her.

The result of all this? I have a meeting with the head of Gubernatorial Appointments on May 11, which just happens to be my late father’s birthday.  I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe that my being grateful and expressing it to the universe gave me more to be grateful for. Furthermore, maybe the universe, in it’s ultimate wisdom, put me in the horrible job so that a great job could happen.

Remembering to be grateful isn’t always the easiest thing; however I’m learning to monitor my thoughts, words and actions.

Give daily gratitude a try and if you’re on Facebook come join us in Gratitude Attraction and share your stories!

Horses touch our souls and hearts

horse-eyeHorses don’t just touch our lives; they touch the very core of our souls and hearts.  Horses are a blessing and good for our mind, body, and spirit.  For horse people, the obsession usually begins early in life and becomes a lifelong passion.

There’s nothing like hearing the little nicker from your horse as you walk into the barn, the gentle nuzzle from that super soft muzzle, or when he checks your pockets trying to find those peppermints he knows you have.  Just being with your horse transcends the problems of everyday life, because when you’re with your horse, nothing else matters; all is well with the world.

The pure pleasure from being around horses can’t be measured. It’s a feeling deep within you and something you ache deeply for when deprived of it.

Being in a horse’s presence is soothing. 

horse-groomingA good grooming session helps build the bond between horse and rider, and should be pleasurable for both.  Watching your horse stretch his neck in bliss as you curry the “itchy spot” brings a smile to your face.  Taking the time to carefully untangle every knot in a bushy tail can be calming, as your mind isn’t concerned with daily worries – not to mention the pride you feel in seeing the finished result.

An amazing trust is built between horse and rider.  Think about a 150 pound person getting a 1000 pound animal to willingly and happily succumb to his rider’s wishes.  That’s trust and a unique bond.  It doesn’t matter if you’re out for a trail ride on a crisp fall day or getting blue ribbons at indoors, the bliss is the same.  Even a good lesson can leave you on a high for days.

Horse people understand all of this.

Quitting your job – the gift of freedom

i quitQuitting your job is a gift of freedom.  I know it might sound crazy, but that’s what I just did.  It was my birthday and I gave myself the gift of freedom by quitting a job that was literally making me physically sick.

I had been searching for a full time job in my field for more than 5 years, all the while working a part time job that paid me peanuts and was easy but not fulfilling in any way, shape or form.  I finally landed what I thought was an awesome job.  The people seemed great, especially my boss, and the money was something I could actually live on AND it had benefits! WOO HOO.

So I left my five year job and started the new one, all excited for this new venture.  In the five weeks I was there I felt like I was in prison, chained to my desk for 8 hours every day.  Originally I was working nights 3-11pm which wasn’t so bad.  Then they switched it to 1-9pm during the week and 3-11 on Saturdays.  This meant I had no time to do anything; but; that wasn’t the worst part.

I was learning new software that is very complicated. I’m not stupid and ever time I had figured something out they threw me a curve ball, which would throw me into a panic. I started having nightmares about the place.  I was physically sick.  Every time I thought about going there I would start crying in my car. This was no way to live; but, I have bills to pay.  Every meeting with my boss resulted in his telling me how he had hoped I would be further along.  I felt like I couldn’t do anything right and should keep a box in my car because I could be fired at any moment.  Then my boss went on vacation and things went from bad to worse.

Let’s just say, when you give young people power bad things happen and indeed they did.  On a Friday night, after enduring what felt like torture the entire week, I had a meeting with the young woman who had just been promoted to Operations Manager. I told her how I felt.  I told her I had been set up to fail.  She was very kind and gracious, said to take Sat. off, have a three day weekend, and I could talk things over with my boss on Tuesday.

It was my birthday weekend and my husband was off (we never get any time together). We tried to do fun things; bu,t all I could think about was that horrible conversation I was going to have to have on Tuesday.

My mother begged me not to go back.  I told her I had bills to pay and she said she would help until I could find something.  I told her at my age it wasn’t going to be easy, she needed her money, and I didn’t know how long it would take me to find something, especially since it had taken me five years to find this job. Yet, she insisted and she was right.

After an hour on the phone with my mother on my birthday, I nervously drove up to my office, packed up and told my boss I was leaving. To my pleasant surprise he was totally gracious and kind and said the door was always open. In fact, when I told him I felt I had failed him, he said he felt as if he had failed me.  He said I looked awful when I came in and he could see the relief in me.  I didn’t feel relieved at that point.  I came home and curled up in a ball in bed.

I just jumped out of an airplane without a parachute!

What a great way to spend my birthday.  But my husband was right when he said anything we tried to do would not be fun, yet.

This morning I woke up with a sweet smell in the air – the smell of freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom.

There’s a saying I’ll believe it when I see it, but that’s backwards. It’s I’ll see it when I believe it.  So now I am putting my trust and faith in the universe that there’s something much better for me that lies ahead.

The point is, life is short and there is no point in wasting it being miserable at a job in the name of paying bills. I wish I could get my husband to believe the same.  He’s in an awful job because he says he has bills to pay.  I understand; but, he’s too tired, mentally and physically to try to find something better.   I told him it’s time to put our heads together and figure out what we are both good at and start another business. We used to have a very profitable business which he foolishly shut down on the promise of another job that didn’t happen.

At this point I’m taking the next week to just enjoy life for a change.  I’m going to play with my dogs, relax (try to), and maybe tackle some projects in the house that we never have time for.

Don’t waste your life doing something that makes you miserable. It’s not worth it. As Dory says in the new film Finding Dory, “there is always another way.” It’s all about faith and believing, and as Marissa Peer says, go find a lipstick and right I AM ENOUGH on every mirror in your house.

 

Southern Charm Not so Charming

Southern Charm is not so charming. In fact, I’m not even sure why I am still watching this group of useless southerners.  There was a time when I was dying to live in Charleston, South Carolina. It seemed totally charming and amazing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve changed my mind, although I still want the black bean cakes from Magnolias.

The only one on Southern Charm worth a damn is Cameran. She’s beautiful, charming, has her shit together, actually works and I can’t figure out why she hangs cameronout with the rest of them.  You notice her husband doesn’t.  (Smart guy) She married a doctor and I think it’s completely adorable that the saucepan she got as a wedding gift more than a year ago was still in the box when she went to throw her first dinner party.  I remember when she started in real estate and was working out of her mother’s house. Now her career seems to be thriving enough to hire an assistant; however, I’m not sure she’s making the best decision on who that should be. However, I do have to admire her for wanting to help a friend.  That being said I think she needs some new friends or should start hanging out with her husband’s friends.

When it comes to Thomas Ravenel I don’t even know where to begin.  This guy is a dirt bag, pure slime; he should be a politician. Oh wait! He was and went to jail!  The only thing remotely appealing about T Rav is his wallet and that’s not enough for me; but, it seems to be enough for a lot of women to sleep with him.  What this guy is doing sleeping with a 20 year old, let alone having two kids with her is beyond reproach and borders on child abuse.  Now that he’s got TWO kids with Kathryn he doesn’t even step up to the plate to support them.  This is disgusting.  He exhibits absolutely no intention of helping support these kids, yet complains about not seeing them enough.  He actually seems proud of the fact that Kathryn isn’t “getting any of his money.” It doesn’t even phaze him that his baby momma has to live with her parents.  T Rav is phlegm in a nice suit.  Where is the Southern Charm in this guy? Forget Southern, what is there to like about this ass hat? He’s got enough money for a house, plantation, string of polo ponies, etc. but doesn’t spend any money on his kids? He was boasting about it!  Hey dude, ever hear of condoms?t rav and katheryn

Kathryn has her haters, but I actually feel sorry for her. What 20 year old wouldn’t be seduced by a guy with lots of money, proclaiming his love, and promising to take care of her forever?  Obviously someone with daddy issues, but I won’t go there.  Kathryn is smarter than people give her credit for and the fact that the rest of the group has shunned her is a blessing; she just doesn’t realize it yet.

As for Shep and Whitney, I’m not sure what these two do or why they merit being on TV.  Whitney appears to live off his crazy mother (we’ll get to her later) and have no life of his own.  What does he do exactly?  Shep? Well, I’m just confused as to his existence on the planet.

patriciaPatricia, ah yes, Patricia.  I suppose she’s supposed to be the epitome of the old fashioned southern belle who married (and divorced well) but quite honestly I find her revolting.  She’s so full of herself wearing her bed jackets and being served by her butler.  Then she takes the butler with her to someone else’s house?  The way she and the butler interact with one another is creepy. It’s like modern day slavery, although I’m pretty sure he’s got nice accommodations and a decent salary.  This caftan-clad, condescending, judgmental Patricia seems perfectly content holed up in her mansion being waited on hand and foot, throwing elaborate dinner parties and mingling with the other socialites.  She’s another one who seems totally useless. If she’s so upper crust, why on Earth would she have Thomas Ravenel at her house? Why would she even be seen with that convicted felon, low life, scumbag.  If Patricia epitomizes Southern Charm, I think I’ll stay in NJ.craig

Then there’s Craig.  He might be the next Cameran – or not.  After being a total disaster last year and going home to Delaware, he seems to actually be getting his shit together, getting a job, and rumor has it will actually take the bar exam?  The only thing that’s a little odd is the long distance relationship with the French chick.  After an 8 month long distance relationship, he moved in with her and proceeded to buy her a promise ring? Is this high school? A promise ring?  WTF?  The only thing stranger than this is that Cameran (the voice of reason) thought it was a great idea. Cameran, were you drunk?

The only other person on Southern Charm I have a fondness for is Landon. I feel for Landon.  She seems like a sweet kid and divorce is tough. I give her a lot of credit for rebuilding her life, on camera no less, and maybe she can be the next Cameran.  She does seem to actually have Southern Charm and she’s humble.

When it comes to Bravo programming I get the appeal and drama of most of it; however, when it comes to Southern Charm this show is a bust.

 

Less is More when it comes to makeup

Makeup Tips for Middle Aged Women

Being over 50, I’ve come up with some makeup tips for middle aged women.  The most important epiphany was  that less is more when it comes to makeup and good skin care is the secret to looking better and younger.

Last year I went on a makeup kick with all kinds of products – eye shadows, concealers, correctors, powders, etc.  What I noticed? I looked OLDER – a LOT older.  I even started wearing contact lenses again and much to my chagrin, discovered that my glasses were hiding a lot of my not so nice eye area.  I have discoloration under my eyes, some lines, and a hollow look. UGH!

So being over 50, I started to do some research and experimentation and discovered less makeup made me look younger.  Take a look at older celebrities – Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Lisa Edelstein and you’ll see they aren’t sporting the same makeup as J Lo or Beyoncé.  In fact, Lisa Edelstein doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup at all!

Good skin care is essential and there is so much out there that promises virtual miracles. I’ve tried ultra expensive to the drug store brands only to find none of it really works.  All they do is moisturize, which is important, especially with an SPF.

The exception to this rule has been Renergie Eye Cream from Lancôme.  renergie eyeI really have noticed after about a month of twice daily use that my lids are way less hooded and the lines under my eyes are smoother.  I’ll get to my other skin care picks later.

I still use concealer (MAC) but I gave up the powder and sometimes even add a dab of moisturizer over the concealer. Sometimes I’ll use a brightening pen (MAC) under eyes and blend with a BeautyBlender. The powder (everyone said was mandatory) was actually accentuating the lines under my eyes. I’ve tossed the powder all together. The same with foundation.  Primer really didn’t help and powder on top of the foundation made the makeup settle into my laugh lines, making them even more noticeable. I stopped using contour.  I definitely cut down the eye shadow and sometimes don’t wear it at all.  I think it draws more attention to hooded eye lids, which are far better since using the Renergie.

Mascara is every day – waterproof always because my eyes tear. When it comes to mascara I think the only difference is the brush.  There is no need to spend $30 on mascara which is going to get clumpy and tossed after a couple of months. I like Rimmel Scandal Eyes which is about $8 at CVS.  I now tend to skip eyeliner as it accentuates hooded lids unless you are really good at a small wing at the end.  An artist I am not.  By the way, Never line your under eyes, especially with black liner; it just makes your eyes look smaller.   I also think black eyeliner is too severe and prefer a dark brown. Clinique makes an inexpensive pen with a felt tip that I like a lot. I’m not sure if it comes in brown.  They only had black when I bought it; but it’s very easy to apply a nice thin line right at the base of your lashes.

As for lipstick, I stick to sheer or nude colors because bold colors when you’re over 50 seem to accentuate  lip lines.  As much as I love the bold colors and was particularly in love with a new matte purple, my husband looked at me in horror and said “no one has purple lips!”  That made me think of dead people with purple lips and now that lipstick is in the drawer of “never to be used again” makeup.

I do swear by Bobbi Brown finishing mist after my foundation as it eliminates any cakey look. It is filled with ingredients that are good for your skin, it dries quickly, and feels and smells great.finishing mist

 

For my foundation: I’m still hooked on Too Face Born this Way. born this waySometimes I’ll use a stippling brush for foundation, sometimes a BeuatyBlender.  The coverage is better with the brush.  I have dark spots that get covered with my foundation; but as soon as I put blush on, those dark spots spring back to life.  I’ve tried everything to cover them and nothing has worked.  Prescription creams didn’t fade them, so now I just dab blush on ever so lightly with an angled blush brush. Milani baked blush stays on all day and it’s about $8 at the drugstore.

Now over 50 skin care:

I’ve been using Lancôme Geneifique for 6 weeks without noticing a difference. Then I use Josie Maran’s Argon Oil Milk as my serum. During the day I’m using Lancôme Renergie moisturizer with SPF. At night I use josie maran eyeJosie’s Maran’s Face Butter over the milk and lock it all down with straight argon oil.josie maran face butter

I haven’t noticed much in the diminishment of my wrinkles but definitely have noticed firmness, especially around my jaw line.  I have noticed my neck lines are significantly improved.  Now if I could get those results in other areas of my face like above my lip and in between my eyebrows. By the way, how do I still have wrinkles there when I have Botox?

As I’ve been cutting down the amount of makeup I use, I definitely look younger so when you’re over 50, less is more when it comes to makeup.

 

Frequent Flyer Miles, Try to Use Them!

Screen-Shot-2013-01-30-at-5.30.48-PM Frequent Flyer miles,- try to use them.  Go ahead, I dare you!  Let me know how you make out.

I have lots of frequent flyer miles on United, American, Capital One, and American Express.  I am trying to fly from Newark to London or Dublin in April and use some of them.  The joke is on me.  Frequent flyer programs aren’t what they used to be.  Basically, you can’t use them.

Continental was a great airline. I flew everywhere from Newark directly – Switzerland, London, Paris, Rome, Prague, Budapest, and more.  Then the merged with United (the worst airline on the planet) and stopped taking American Express points for miles.  Well, I still had frequent flyer miles so I thought no problem! WRONG!  I couldn’t get a direct flight from Newark to either London or Dublin. There was a co-share with British airways that was 132,000 frequent flyer miles (just for the first flight!) and $699 for the co-share plus taxes.  Mind you, the price of the ticket was $750.

I have to mention a little side note about United.  You can’t even get a snack or watch TV unless you pay for it, not even a bag of peanuts (Jet Blue at least gives you a snack.)  Continental used to give you a sandwich and TV.  In fact, on the newer planes TV isn’t even an option because a flight attendant told me that is an after market addition and the planes would have to go back to have them installed. REALLY?  Then you have the surliest crew members. I think it’s a requirement that you be a truly miserable person to work for United. But here’s my very favorite thing about United……

They kept the Continental logo but changed the name to United after the merger.  When I inquired as to why, I was told United was more recognizable world-wide. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? What marketing genius thought of this and who approved it? Why is United a more recognizable name? Gee, who doesn’t want to be reminded of 9/11 every time they get on board? Seriously, this is the most egregious marketing error in history! This airline needs to hire me as their new director of marketing.

OK, I digressed…..

American Airlines basically doesn’t fly anywhere from Newark.  The last time I used frequent flyer miles to fly to London I had to leave from JFK.  At the time I was able to leave my car at my brother’s house in Long Island, use 20,000 frequent flyer miles each way and it was easy. Now I can still get those flights, but since my brother wrote me out of his life with two vitriolic letters (a story for another day), I can’t get home from JFK.

Virgin Atlantic no longer accepts Amex points for frequent flyer miles and no longer flies out of Newark. British Airways will accept frequent flyer miles BUT the flights I found had layovers from 4-28 hours.  28 hours? Seriously? I’m going to spend 28 hours in Brussels after flying all night?  Shoot me.

So I thought I had the system beat when Capital One said I could use my miles anytime, any flight, etc. Score! Wrong again!  I have more than 60,000 miles on Capital One; however, they aren’t really frequent flyer miles – they are cash towards travel.  Apparently my 65,000 miles equates to $600 and the ticket has to be that price or less. They won’t accept the $150 difference if I’m willing to pay it.  I was told that I could use that $600 for rental car or hotel.

Take a look at American Express airline partners.  There are very few left.  I used to use Amex points for all my travel and even flew Air Mexico with them. Now the choices are few and far between. I have 200,000 American Express points.  Maybe if I get another 300,000 I can trade it in for a first generation Ipad.

It’s really a shame that these airlines tout these frequent flyer programs but fail to tell you you can’t use the miles for anything. Also did you know they expire? Oh yes they do!  If you don’t travel on that airline within a certain time frame, those miles are history.  I have an American Airlines credit card so I make sure I use it occasionally just to keep my miles from expiring.

All I want is a vacation.  All I want to do is go visit my friends in England and go see Ireland for a few days.  I have ff-program-newvacation time I’m going to loose if I don’t use it and now it seems my vacation is going to be spent at home cleaning the house or staining my deck if it’s warm enough in April!

So now what is one to do with all these unusable frequent flyer miles?

If you have any suggestions please let me know. Also if you live on Long Island and will let me park my car there for 10 days I can actually use American Airlines frequent flyer miles to get to the UK!

Finding a Job when you’re over 50

Biz-Finding-A-Job-May-Mean-Getting-More-Niche Finding a job when you’re over 50 is darn near impossible.  Gone are the days of company loyalty when they treasured their hard working, long time employees. Now as soon as you hit a certain age and are at the height of your career, they get rid of you and find some youngster who will work for a fraction of the money.  Companies don’t value experience; they value their money.  I’ve seen it happen to many of my friends.  How very sad and frustrating.

I’m in my 50’s with 30+ years in my field and a Masters Degree. This makes me virtually unemployable and over qualified for everything. I’m currently working part time (not in my field) earning a whopping $358/week.  You can’t live on that amount of money, especially in New Jersey.  I’ve been searching for a writing/editing/publicity job since 2008.  I’ve even tried jobs at such places as Target and Walmart with no luck, just to supplement my current salary.  Don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful for the job I do have and I think the company values me as well – to an extent.

It’s illegal to ask someone’s age when they apply for a job so companies are getting around this with computerized forms that make you put in the year you graduated high school. This sneaky little trick lets them figure out your age and you can’t go further unless you fill in the box.

All this ageism makes it almost impossible to find a job when you’re over 50.  My husband is facing the same problem and stuck in a dead-end job.

If I had kids right now I wouldn’t even send them to college.  I’d have them learn a trade.  Plumbers and electricians charge a fortune and always have work. In fact, try finding a plumber or electrician when you need one. Let me know how you make out with that.

So finding a job when you’re over 50 is frustrating and can lead to terrible depression, not to mention the stress that comes with the financial hardship.

I’ve been handing this “job over 50” thing in a multitude of ways, none of which have been successful.  I’ve subscribed to dozens of job boards, given my resume to recruiters, temp firms, and pretty much anyone who will talk to me.  I’ve even tried to resurrect my freelance business and despite many nibbles, not much has panned out.4-tips-for-finding-a-job-in-your-niche-48b2d207b9

The biggest problem with finding a job when you’re over 50 is the way the job search process has changed. There is no more face to face, no more opportunity to make phone calls to hiring managers, and many times you can’t even submit a cover letter to sell yourself.  People don’t even read your resume; it all gets sent through a computer that makes the decisions.  At one point Obama talked about making this illegal; but, nothing ever happened with it.

So how do you find a job when you’re over 50 and highly qualified?  At this point I am open to any and all suggestions. If you need a highly accomplished writer, editor, proofreader, or publicist, let me know!

The last suggestion I was given was that I write a blog post about it. So I did.

Is Lisa Vanderpump Ruling the Roost?

Is Lisa Vanderpump ruling the roost on the new season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?

This is probably one of my favorite casts of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and while this season has been a bit boring so far, I’m not missing the hot mess that is Kim Richards or her equally host mess side-kick, Brandi.

erika jayneLet’s talk first about the new addition, Erika Girardi, aka Erika Jayne.  There are lots of reasons to hate her; but, alas I find myself irresistibly drawn to her and am growing fonder of her with each episode. First, she looks like Malibu Barbie. She’s married to an uber wealthy attorney 33 years her senior.  She’s the trophy wife living the jet-set lifestyle complete with private plane.  She has an alter ego, Erika Jayne who makes dance videos that the other women seem to find scandalous. I watched a bunch of them and find them totally benign. She seems to have some talent and basically just shows her ass a lot.  Of course if I had an ass like that I’d run around with no pants on at all.  She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, but she has incredible candor and honesty that’s so refreshing. While she has every reason to be a snob, Erika Girardi appears totally grounded. Her compassion for Yolanda exceeds all the other women by leaps and bounds.

david and yolandaI miss Yolanda being part of the regular cast and was shocked to hear that she and David Foster were divorcing. However, since she was wife number four for the Grammy winning musician, it’s not that much of a surprise. My guess is he’s no angel in the marriage department.  Yolanda appears to be really suffering and Lisa Rinna’s suggestion of Munchhausen’s Syndrome was appalling. Yolanda’s surgery showing all the free-floating silicone in her body was truly disturbing and I hope it’s the answer to all her suffering.  Yolanda Foster seems to be an incredible woman and I have nothing but well-wishes for a speedy recovery.

lisa vanderpumpLisa Vanderpump gets paid $500,000 per episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!  That’s a staggering number.  I thought she was terribly rude in the questions she asked Eileen Davidson regarding the start of Eileen’s relationship with husband Vinny.  However, Eileen should have stopped the discussion in its tracks. I imagine Lisa Vanderpump is very intimidating and this is why Eileen let the conversation continue despite her obvious discomfort.  Lisa Vanderpump appears to have a perfect life. Yes she works hard and has her hands full with her bat shit crazy Sur employees.  (I’ll have to do a blog post on Vanderpump Rules although at this point I can barely stand to watch it.)  Lisa Vanderpump can best be summed up with one word: excess. Who hires a private plane to transport a miniature horse?  I did love when Kyle said that can’t possibly be her biggest problem!  There must be something that keeps Lisa up at night and maybe it’s the British in her that just keeps a lid on things and she doesn’t talk about it. Everyone seems a little bit afraid of Lisa, yet I predict Erika Girardi will confront her at some point. Lisa Vanderpump has too much money, way too much. I’ve never seen a Louis Vuitton purse with pink trim anywhere except on the arm of Lisa Vanderpump. Custom made? $$$$$$

This is a person that takes one of her swans to the vet – in her car no less.  Everything she does seems to be over the top, done well, but over the top.  The luncheon she threw for Ken’s 70th birthday came complete with a new hat for each guest. Who does that?

Then there’s Kyle Richards. This woman bores me to tears.  I honestly don’t see what she contributes to the show.  There was the conflict with her sister Kim, but that’s been eliminated and it seems no one in Kyle Richards’ family is speaking with her, although Kyle has not gone into any details.  The whole thing with Nicky Hilton’s wedding was brushed over without explanation. This was probably the most interesting thing about Kyle all season. The best thing about Kyle is her hair and her incredibly good looking husband.

The current cast of the RHOBH gets along really well, maybe too well for the season to be interesting.  While I’m not a fan of the f-bombing mess Brandi, she did at least add some spice and there was always some argument or something crazy going on caused by her.

I will continue to watch this season in the hope that something interesting happens; but, so far it’s been a snooze fest.

 

 

Josie Maran’s argon oil miracles

Josie_Maran_-150x150body butterJosie Maran and her argon oil products are true beauty miracles.

I have to say, I’ve been watching Josie Maran on QVC for years and finally took the leap, buying a kit of argon oil, body butter, divine dip, and a shower milk – all in a caramel apple scent that is beyond heavenly.  I want to eat it.  The only product I’m not crazy about is the shower milk because I find it doesn’t lather very much, I don’t feel it cleanses, and you have to use quite a bit of it.  That being said, it does smell amazing.

I had been using Volumagen, because it was inexpensive for getting eye cream, serum, and moisturizer. Besides not wanting to put more money into the pockets of Heather and Terry Dubrow, I didn’t see any results after 90 days.  My face was the same as with the Vichy I’d been using from CVS.

argon oilEnter the beauty miracle of argon oil.  First of all, I have replaced my moisturizer with pure argon oil, which is NOT greasy at all.  It hydrates, has no chemicals and after just a week have noticed a reduction in fine lines, especially the annoying line above my lip. Unfortunately, it hasn’t eliminated any hair frizz. I need my keratin treatments.

My neck has been the bane of my existence. I’ve tried everything to no avail. However, the Divine Dip (combo of honey and argon oil) has virtually eliminated the “tree like rings” at the base of my neck.

The body butter is sublime.  It’s whipped into a deliciousness I cannot describe. Not only does it smell good enough to eat, but the changes in my skin are incredible.  I have been to several dermatologists for the red, scaly patch on my left elbow and nothing has worked – except Josie Maran’s whipped body butter. The red patch is barely there and  the flaky skin is gone.  My thighs also seem to be getting firmer!

I’ve been using it when I get out of the shower and I can’t tell you how amazing the caramel apple smell is. Josie, PLEASE make this scent available on its own. The 8 oz. tub is supposed to last three months. There is no way that’s going to happen. I’ve also seen a huge difference in my cracked heels and dry feet using the body butter.

Josie Maran makes a host of other products including lip balm, lipstick, concealer, eye shadow and more, all comprised primarily of argon oil.  I plan to be switching exclusively to these products when I run out of all the stuff I currently have.  Unfortunately I have a LOT. Josie-Maran-Argan-Black-Oil-Mascara

I just started using Rimmel argon oil mascara and really like it; but, Josie has a mascara that’s next on my list to try. It has a unique brush that curls, defines, volumizes, and lengthens, all with argon oil.  She even says to sleep in it as a lash treatment!

argon lipstickThe lipsticks are unique in that the color is in the center with a core of argon oil around it.  It seems amazing, although without lip liner it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.  I drink water constantly and without a lip liner underneath, I’m constantly applying my lipstick.  I have the perfect nude shade with a combo of a MAC lip liner and Bobbi Brown lipstick, so it’s going to be tough to transition.

As for Vollumagen, I’ll be selling it on Ebay as there is no need for it and I have 4 months worth of unopened product.  (If you’re interested, let me know.) Josie Maran makes an argon oil milk that takes the place of a serum and since I was lucky enough to get a sample at Sephora, I’m going to start using that tomorrow.  Sorry Heather and Terry, your proprietary blend of peptides doesn’t do a thing.

I keep noticing more and more Josie Maran cosmetics and I am craving them all. Basically I want a head to toe Josie Maran argon oil makeover.  How nice it would be to get rid of everything I own and just use argon oil based products if I can get the coverage, concealing, and contouring I need.  There is a concealer; but, I’ve been bugging poor Josie on Twitter to make a contour kit! Wouldn’t it be nice to get everything you need that’s good for your skin, gets results, and has no chemicals?  Even though my makeup has good ingredients for my skin, there’s still a fair amount of things in it that I can’t pronounce.

I am now totally obsessed with all things argon oil and all things Josie Maran.  The problem is when I get obsessive about something I tend to go a little nuts, which is why I have a TON of things I use daily.  When I find them at a good price I stock up; hence, the back stock of Volumagen. Now I’m dying to throw it all out and buy all of Josie’s products.

I would love to see Josie come up with a full face kit starting with the pure argon oil and moving on to all the necessary products for a full makeup look.  Um, Josie are you listening? I really really want a Josie Maran makeover!

 

 

Mac Makeup and Too Faced top the list for 2015

Mac tops my list for makeup this year along with Too Faced; but, here are all my picks for the year. mac logo

I’ve recently become a makeup junkie and have been busily trying everything I can get my hands on (thank you Mac and Sephora) and here are my top picks for the year when it comes to looking your best, especially as we get older.

Skin care is the number one priority.  I’ve used everything from drugstore brands to the most expensive products on the market.  As much as I hate to put more money into Heather and Terry Dubrow’s pockets, I found their Volumagen (found only on Evine Live) to be the best bang for the buck.  After two months of use, I am finally starting to see the fine lines around my lips disappear and the creases under my eyes begin to diminish.  At $98 (on six easy pays) for a two month supply of eye cream, serum, and moisturizer it’s a great deal and does seem to help. However, that being said, I do find their eye cream is not hydrating enough and the solution is rose hydrating eye cream by Fresh.eye cream If I use that after the Volumagen, my eyes stay hydrated all day long.  The package says 30 hours of hydration.  It’s $40 for a small jar; but, it’s worth it.  (Fresh’s soy cleanser is a joy; but, it’s pricey. I got a tube free when I bought my Clarisonic.)

A Clarisonic is a MUST have for removing all the makeup you think you took off.  Take off your makeup with a makeup remover wipe and then use the Clarisonic. You’ll be shocked at how much was still on your face.  If you search hard enough you can find great deals on Clarisonic.  There are a million different bush heads and it’s confusing. I’ve tried several.  The deluxe cashmere brush is heavenly; but, the radiance brush works great too; although, I didn’t find any reduction in dark spots, even when I used the matching cleanser.

Once you’ve applied your creams, lotions, and potions, it’s time to prime! Yes, I’ve tried them all and I keep going back to Too Faced Poorless Primer.  It has healthy ingredients for your skin and keeps your makeup looking perfect all day.

beauty blenderThe Beauty Blender (I’ve written an entire blog post on it) is the perfect way to apply liquid foundation.   If you think you don’t need foundation, you DO.  Trust me on this.  born this wayMy preference is Too Faced Born this Way Foundation, applied with the Beautyblender.  I follow that with Mac Pro Longwear Concealer (although the mineralized one is great too and more moisturizing) and blend it all in with the Beautyblender.  To brighten the under eye area, bridge of the nose, forehead and chin, Mac’s Prep and Prime Highlighter Pen is awesome.  The Radiant Rose is a great color and I put it under my eyes, out to my temples, down the bridge of my nose, middle of my forehead, center of my chin, and a wee bit at the center of my Cupid’s bow. I blend it all in with the Beauthyblender too.  After foundation and highlighter, I set everything with Nars pressed setting powder, although just about any setting powder will do the trick. The Nars was highly recommended and pricey and probably doesn’t work any better than anything else.

Contouring – just about any dark color will work, like Too Faced Chocolate Solei.  I will be buying this soon.  Smashbox makes a compact of a contour, bronzer, and highlighter but I find that the bronzer really doesn’t add much and the lighter color seems to do nothing.  It’s nice because it’s relatively inexpensive and comes with a great brush; but, honestly, I don’t think all three colors are necessary.  I definitely contour my nose, under my jaw line, and just under my cheekbones.  I put a little of the bronzer right above the contour, and blush above that.  Another nice thing about the Smashbox kit is that it has a mirror and a little card that shows exactly where to put what.

When it comes to blush, I can never get it to stay on. Urban Decay’s blushes do stay on; however, save yourself the money and go to the local drugstore for Milani Baked Blush.  These do stay on just as well and are only around $8.

Once you’ve applied contour, foundation, and blush, blend, blend using a large fluffy brush.  If you want a little extra glow, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is perfect. It’s about $36, but will last you the rest of your life.  Take a small fluffy brush and give a little sweep right on the bone under your eye.  You can also put a little but above the end of your eyebrow.

Onto the eyes.  Don’t forget the primer!  Elf primer for $3 works as well as anything more expensive that I’ve tried. I recently purchased the Mac Burgundy x 9 palette and couldn’t be more excited about it. There’s only one color out of the nine I don’t use on a daily basis.  The Mac girl (thanks Nicole) showed me how to mix and match the colors, often using two at a time to create a daytime or evening look.  I’m anxiously looking forward to their skat von dpring palettes and the Amber x 9 is a great set of neutral browns.

I’ve used every eyeliner imaginable and forget pencils, gels, and everything else. Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner has a really thin tip, allowing you to get right down to the base of your lashes for an inconspicuous look or build it up as much as you want. Go wild, wing it out if you dare!  I got a mini black one as a sample, then bought the brown.  The brown, however, is just about black and there isn’t a whole lot of difference.

When it comes to mascara, save your money.  They are basically all the same except for the brush.  That being said, Estee Lauder makes a cool vibrating one that keeps lashes totally separated, if you’re willing to pay $35.  I’ve tried every mascara and keep coming back to Rimmel Scandal Eyes.  It’s inexpensive so I don’t mind that I only get a couple of months out of it before it gets clumpy.  It’s the one in the solid lime green tube (not the new metallic looking one).  I wear the waterproof (orange tube) because my eyes tend to tear a lot; but, I’ve worn both.  I’ve tried other Rimmel mascaras; but, the Scandal Eyes has a big fat brush and it’s the one I always go back to.

Now the lips! I have tried everything out there because lipstick dries out my lips, no matter what …. until now.  First exfoliate your lips.  You can use a damp washcloth or an inexpensive lip exfoliator like Elf ($3), then apply a small amount of lip balm.  I’m a sucker for those cute little Eos ones.  Let it sit for a while. Mac’s Prep and Prime for Lips is awesome.  Apply it while smiling so you get in all the creases of your lips and smack your lips together (don’t rub them together) and let it sit and get a bit sticky.  Lip lining is a life saver when it comes to prolonging your lipstick.  Line your lips and fill them in!  You must fill them in or you wind up looking ridiculous if the lipstick wears off.  Mac’s Pro Longwear lip liners are creamy and invest the $10 in their sharpener, because it’s worth it.  It doesn’t destroy your pencils, just gives them a nice point again.  Now pop those lips together a couple more times.  As for lipstick, Bobbi Brown’s Blue Raspberry is my favorite “nude,” although it doesn’t have much staying power. Mac’s PatentPolish lipsticks are awesome, especially in Ruby and Sultana (a dark wine color.)  patentpolishThey wear pretty well; but, you do have to reapply after eating or drinking. This is where the lip liner is a life saver.  The Ruby combined with the lip liner in Dark Out is just gorgeous and will definitely be my next purchase.  By the way, if you’re looking for a new fragrance, Mac’s Turquatic is heavenly.  It’s also on my wish list.

If you don’t want to spend $20+ for a lipstick, Revlon has a couple good alternatives. Their liquid lipstick comes in a good assortment of colors, is not too drying, and stays on almost all day without transferring.  Their new gel matte lipsticks are also good but is a bit drying as the day wears on.  I also find, as I’m getting older, matte makes my lips look older too.  I like a bit of shine, but I find lip glosses to sticky. There’s nothing like having your hair stuck to your lips every time the wind blows.

I finish everything with several sprays of Bobbi Brown Face Mist which keeps my makeup fresh and makes my foundation smoother.  I hate when you can see the foundation on someone’s face and this mist eliminates that!

So there you go.  My top picks for 2015.  I’m sure I’ll be trying new things in the coming year; but for now, I’m pretty happy with this routine.

Let me know your faves!