I'm it!

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The lovely Kwana, who loves beauty products, watches Top Chef, writes and knits, (I suspect we’re twins separated at birth) tagged me this morning.

The rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leave a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? I was living in New Hampshire. Not many black people but no state income tax or sales tax either. I wrote short stories for the confession magazines, to support my novel writing. And wondered how my 75-year-old dad could get up every morning at 5 am for a 4-mile run. (Now I wonder how he still does it at 85 and WHY!?!?!)

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today? Go to Curves, write, work on copy for new website, drive over to mailbox to see if my second shipment of MAC goodies arrived, pack suitcase.

3. Snacks I enjoy: I’m addicted to Late July Organic Mini Bite-sized Cheddar Cheese Sandwich Crackers. I skip meals and eat ‘em all day like a maniac.

4. Places I’ve lived: Chicago; Tallahassee; Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Pompano Beach; West Palm Beach; Pittsburgh; Nashua, New Hampshire; Nashville

5. Things I’d do if I were a billionaire: Give every nickel to Mr. PBW. Before you roll your eyes and say, “What a dumbass!” I quit a good-paying job to write romance novels and it took me a long, L-O-N-G time to get published. He believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. When I wanted to give up and go back to work he’d say, “You got a job – writing!”

6. People I want to know more about: Right now I’d really like to talk to Michelle Obama and ask her, “Where did you get those cute shoes I saw you wearing in this week’s JET?”

Okay, I’m tagging Chelle, Product Junkie Diva, Soul Pretty, Divine Blackness, Writer & Cat, Beautylogic

Book Review: Eat This, Not That

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Did Memorial Day weekend catch you by surprise?

Try to slip into last summer’s shorts or swimsuit only to find you couldn’t pull them up over your gut, butt or thighs?

Then looking down at the button that wouldn’t fasten over your expanding waistline, vow - “No more eating out!”

Time and convenience can override the best of intentions. If you’re like me, the promise to bypass fast-food restaurants and snacks will only last until your stomach starts growling for lunch.

Waiting in line at Wendy’s or the drive-thru at Chick-fil-a is the perfect time to consult Eat This, Not That: Thousands of Simple Food Swaps That Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds-Or More! by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding. This picture-packed book features just about every food joint you can think of and tons of popular grocery store items. It lists the not-so-good choices and gives you at least three healthier alternatives. Calories and fat grams are provided for most foods - good and bad.

I’ve read books like this before, but this one is the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. It even has a section for food typically served at holiday gatherings from New Year’s to Valentines Day, even Halloween.

Here are a few examples:

KRISPY KREME

Eat This: Whole Wheat Glazed Doughnut; Original Glazed Doughnut Holes; Very Berry Chiller

Not That: Glazed Blueberry Cake Doughnut; Caramel Kreme Crunch; Mocha Dream Chiller


RED LOBSTER

Eat This: Garlic Griller Jumbo Shrimp and a baked potato with pico de gallo; Live Maine Lobster with cocktail sauce and seasoned broccoli; Broiled Flounder with lemon juice and a garden salad with red wine vinaigrette

Not That: North Pacific King Crab Legs with melted butter and Wild Rice Pilaf; Snow Crab Legs with melted butter and a Cheddar Bay Biscuit; Crab Alfredo


MC DONALD’S

Eat This: Quarter Pounder without cheese; 6 piece Chicken McNuggets; Egg McMuffin.

Not That: Premium Grilled Chicken Club; Filet-O-Fish; Hotcakes.

I keep my copy of this book in my car glove compartment for easy consultation when Mr. PBW tempts me with P.F. Changs, Popeyes or Sonic.

Do I think this book will make me skinny? No. However, I do think it will help me make better choices, and I’ll soon be able to zip my favorite summer skirt.

Eat This, Not That is $19.99 and available at bookstores and online. I snagged my copy at Amazon for $11.97.


And since you’re already thinking books, check out Farrah Rochon’s latest novel Release Me. Farrah and I, along with the awesome Stefanie Worth, are sharing real estate in Dorchester Publishing's October 2008 anthology, The Holiday Inn.

I’m three chapters into Farrah’s new book so far and loving it!

Actually, I picked up two copies of Release Me - one to read and an extra to drool over the gorgeous guy on the cover. Is he hot or what? I have to give myself a cool blast from my Evian mister every time I look at him.

Prettiest Skin in the Poor House

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Two hundred bucks for a face brush. In this economy.

Are you outta your freaking mind?!?!

That’s the question I asked myself as I watched the salesclerk swipe my debit card for the Clarisonic® Skin Care System - $195.

So why didn’t I give in to my common sense and yell, “Stop! I changed my mind” and run out of the store?

Because there comes a time in the constant battle with Father Time, when you've got to pull out the big guns. You can’t sit on the fence while dullness, flakiness, fine lines and huge pores take over your face and slowly transform it into one you dread seeing in the mirror.

Also, if it doesn’t do what it says it will, I’ll boomerang it quicker than you can say, “Gimme my money back!”

They claim: Clarisonic® is proven to remove more dirt (sebum and makeup) than traditional, superficial cleansing, allowing your serums and moisturizers to absorb better. The sonic micro-massage clears your pores, loosening dirt, makeup and oil. The result? Skin that’s clean, clear and radiant.

My experience: A one-minute cleansing with this waterproof brush will make your face feel and look like you’ve spent two hours with ageless diva Vanessa Williams’ aesthetician.

That’s right, ladies. Just sixty-seconds to baby-smooth, buffed and polished. Afterwards, my moisturizer seemed to seep into my ultra-clean skin, instead of just sitting on top of it. I didn’t even want to put on make-up afterwards.

The skin care system consists of a brush, cradle charger, face cleanser and a brush head. While I love the brush, I wasn’t so impressed with the cleanser that accompanied it, so I alternate between Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.

I've been using the brush for three weeks now, and my fortysomething skin is looking nice enough to skip my usual dusting of mineral foundation.

The verdict: The only trip I’ll be making back to the store is for extra brush heads ($25 each at Nordstrom.com), which Clarisonic suggests you replace every 3 – 4 months. This gadget has a permanent space on my bathroom counter. It’s totally worth forgoing the snazzy sandals and purse I’ll have to skip this summer to pay for it.

Is It Just Me?

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I want to love Covergirl LashBlast Mascara.

Drew Barrymore praises it in television ads. Fashion magazine editors adore it. So do a lot of fellow beauty bloggers.

I don’t.

But you can’t dislike a product the world loves, can you?

Maybe I got a bad tube. Of course, that had to be it, I thought. So I picked up another one at a different store.

Still don’t like it.

Covergirl says: LashBlast mascara’s brush has 50-percent more bristles than the leading mascara. Every lash gets singled out and coaxed up, out and away.

My experience: While the brush is indeed dense with bristles, they’re too short to grip and separate my lashes. It went on thick and gloppy, leaving me looking more like Tammy Faye Baker than Drew Barrymore.

Anybody else ever give thumbs down on a product everyone else raves about?

Beauty and the Brain

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Now what was I going to blog about today? I can’t believe it totally slipped my mind. I had the topic in my head just a moment ago… And what did I do with my glasses anyway?

The above was an example of a forties moment. Scary, ain’t it? It’s one of the surprises awaiting you once you cross into middle-aged land.

I know you stopped by to read about anti-aging skincare or make-up, but what good is a gorgeous new Dior lippie if you can’t remember where you put it?

Scientists say brain teasers are a good way to stimulate your brain and hold off the effects of mental decline. So the folks you see with sprinkles of gray in their hair working crossword or Sudoku puzzles aren’t just passing the time. They’re giving their noodles a workout.

Basically anything that challenges your mind is helpful.

So I’m whipping my flabby brain into shape by learning Italian. I started with a continuing education class offered by a local college. I supplement it with language tapes I listen to when I’m on the elliptical.

Who knows, one day I may be able to sit through an opera without peeking at the subtitles or go shopping in Milan without a phrasebook.

At the very least, I’ll remember where I put my lipgloss.

Ciao!

My First Tag!

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I was tagged today by n_vizion at Relaxed Hair Health. It’s my first tag, so I’m buzzed!

Ah, now for six quirky things about me. I’m so weird, where do I start…

1. I don’t like pie, jelly, jam or syrup. All are too sweet and slimy. So yep, I take my pancakes and waffles dry.

2. I can’t sleep unless the television is on. If the husband turns it off, I’ll wake up out of a dead sleep and say, “Hey! I was watching that!”

3. When driving, I obsessively follow all rules of the road. If the speed limit is 15-mph on a wide open highway, I’m going 15-mph. So when I see a cop with his radar gun out or pulling someone over, I smile, wave and say: “Do you duty officer.”

4. I can drink black coffee or espresso at midnight and sleep like a baby.

5. I buy cheese puffs from Whole Foods and lie to myself that they’re healthy.

6. My sister says I dress like Barbara Bush.