Friday, January 19, 2018

The Vitamin C Showdown

I've gushed to y'all before about Vitamin C Serum. I'm still in love, and apply it religiously every morning. I could also slather it on at night under other anti-aging creams since it plays well with retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids. 

I've become a bit savvier in how I shop on Amazon; there is a whole "fake review" business that goes on there. There are multitudes of serums being sold with questionable user feedback. 

Additionally, I'm not crazy about the standard dropper dispenser; product shouldn't be constantly exposed to air and contaminants. That means pumps or tubes only. 

Yet there aren't many of those. Most of the Amazon options were of a watery, gel-like serum, a consistency I wasn't crazy about. I even tried an expensive product from Sephora, but the texture was worse—sticky and bright orange, and the results aren't any better than the others. 

I found one now that I like: Kleem Organics.
The pump emits a smooth, non-sticky serum that sinks directly into skin. The results are on par with the others I've tried so far. I ignored the reviews, like I tend to ignore Amazon reviews nowadays. I've decided to trust it.

Enjoy the collagen! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

She's Out There

A few weeks ago, a regular contributor to a Jewish magazine wrote of an episode which is a common experience for the singles. 

She begins by saying she is a shtikel shadchan, meaning she tries to set up people but has not yet made a shidduch (*cough*). She continues that there is this lovely older fellow her husband learns with, and every woman she has suggested he has politely declined. He happens to be particularly brilliant, and he would like his life partner to share his intellect so they can conversate. 

"Pish tosh!" says she. The usual arguments followed: You aren't marrying a chavrusa. Brains doesn't mean a good mother. If anything, it will make her a neglectful one, since her head will be on loftier matters and she'll misplace the baby. Picky picky picky. 

He remains firm in his resolve. She pities him for his stubbornness, which is obviously preventing a wedded state.

One of the most common questions put to singles is, "What are you looking for?" The single replies, perhaps listing two, three, at most four attributes that are of primary importance, and another one or two that would be perks but not dealbreakers. 

The questioner then poo-poos the responses, and proceeds to sell the inappropriate shidduch. The single wearily wonders why, if the answer was to be ignored, why the question was asked. 

This fellow had ONE criteria. ONE. He stated what he would like—nay, needs—in a relationship. Not a laundry list of qualities that is impossible to find in one individual, but ONE attribute. And it's no good. 

Service announcement: We are not all the same. What is important to me is not important to you, and vice versa. But the same way I can tolerate another's love of peanut butter and coconut (ick), I can accept that relationships are not one size fits all. 

I shall cheer on this chap. Don't stop believin'. She's out there.  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Borg Face

Finding makeup tutorials that talk to me is a difficulty. I can scroll, constantly, unsuccessfully, as they are often the same

Like the cat's eye eyeliner look. I'm not a fan. I think it narrows out the shape of the eyes. Additionally, unless one is a professional, it often requires—oh, the horror—stretching the eyelid into a straight line to apply. The potential for saggy skin!

Doesn't anyone use basic pencil? Friendly, non-diva pencil? Apply and smudge? Simple as pie? Hello? YouTubers? 

Brown lipstick—no. Pink eyeshadow—hell no. And I would like blush on the apples of my cheeks, not bronzer. 

You know how hard it is to find a tutorial that meets my desired image, even though there are thousands out there? 

It's called "Instagram Face." The Borg got there too.
There are plenty out there who disagree with me. They adore cat's eye. They pink their lids. They bronze their apples. That's fantastic! Everyone should know what they, themselves like. 

But if it's just because it's the top rated image on Instagram? Give it a think.    

Thursday, January 4, 2018

"Beauty Can Be a Pleasure"

The point of this post comes from a review of the Netflix series, Anne of Green Gables (to my shame, I have not read the books). The below paragraphs jumped out at me: 
Anne longs to be beautiful. Not only does she wish for her hair to turn a more dignified auburn, she also tells her best friend, Diana Barry, “I’d rather be pretty than clever.” Praying at Marilla’s behest, she asks God to let her stay at Green Gables and to “please let me be good-looking when I grow up.” She loves pretty things, because she has had none, and swoons over cherry blossoms, an amethyst brooch and the possibility of one day having a stylish dress with puffed sleeves, which sensible Marilla refuses to make for her.
If “Anne of Green Gables” were written today, it is easy to imagine that over the course of the book, Anne would come to learn that none of these externalities matter: not the color of her hair, not the sleeves of her dress. Instead, in the novel, her hair mellows to the coveted auburn, and Matthew, in a moment of tremendous fatherly kindness, gives her a dress with puffed sleeves. Rather than dispense the message that it’s only what’s on the inside that counts, “Anne of Green Gables” conveys something more nuanced, that beauty can be a pleasure, that costumes can provide succor, that the right dress can improve your life — all things that adults know to be true, sometimes, but that we try to simplify for our children.
“Green Gables” is rife with complications like these; it’s an artifact from a different time that, instead of being outdated, speaks to ours in an uncanned, unpredictable voice. Anne has survived for so long because she is more sophisticated than she initially seems.
This is what Hungarians understand. God gave us a beautiful world to enjoy, didn't He? In A Beautiful Mind, Alicia says, "God must be a painter. Why else would be have so many colors?"
People are different. Some do not need nor recognize beauty; they find fulfillment elsewhere. But appreciation of aesthetics does carry its own spiritual weight for many. "Basar v'dag" is for man to elevate yuntif; women are to be provided with new garments and jewelry. Is there not majesty to a sparkling Shabbos table? To a decorated sukkah? To a gleaming menorah?
Do they not provide succor?   

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

For the Health of It

Mo'Nique used to be the face of "Big is Beautiful." She once declared, "Skinny b****** must be destroyed!" She viewed her weight simply as being contrary the current cultural aspiration to thinness. 

“When my husband asked me my weight, I answered and he said ‘…That’s too much weight. I want you around for a lifetime and that’s not healthy.’ It was at that moment that I went through guilt, I went through shame, because of my size. Because I never felt love like that before.”
Reports differ as to her weight loss, but 80 pounds seem to be the average.
She's eating right. She's exercising. She doesn't look like a starving waif, yet she's healthy. 

I constantly bully my audience with healthy recipes because I am trying to spread the gospel of the Rambam. We have the responsibility to care for our bodies, Shabbos brisket aside. Once, if—and that's a big if—a cow was shechted for a Shabbos, do you think everyone got a slab of their own to consume? Um, no. 

I know of a woman who beams with happiness when her husband wolfs down heaping, fattening seconds. I am quite sure she is trying to kill him. 

We can enjoy, in moderation, the sugary, the salty, the fattening. But not every day, all the time. Respect our selves by respecting our bodies. 

Yes yes, getting hit by a bus is still an option. Freakish, inexplicable diseases are a possibility. But why not avoid the avoidables, if possible?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Married BFFs

Should spouses be best friends?
There isn't one answer to that question. 

Bruce Feiler asks the question, and black-ish tackled it too last year ("Plus Two Isn't a Thing").

In terms of the latter, Bow feels like a third wheel when Dre's bestie from the hood, Gigi, shows up for a visit. However, Gigi is currently in a relationship, and all the outings she used to do with Dre she now does with Napoleon. Bow is initially gleeful—until she feels the sting of nasty kibitzing, the "perk" of being besties. Both she and Napoleon are eager for Gigi and Dre to be best friends, and they are happy to remain significant others.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_1200/141471-7130.jpg
Feiler's article approaches the matter from a few angles. According to one expert, spouses who consider each other best friends have an added edge. According to another, "friends" is a great understatement for the complexity of marriage. Then chimes in a third, that while friendship is about companionship, marriage is ultimately about change. 
. . . “It’s the in-between ones, when they use the language of friendship, my stomach turns,” Dr. Bader said. “It’s a red flag for a lot of conflict avoidance and intensity avoidance. It often means they’ve given up on the complexity of being with somebody. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, well, that’s who they are,’ it’s better if they try to work things out.”
Dr. Bader said that she wished popular magazines would challenge the notion that you shouldn’t get married to change someone. “I think that’s what marriage is about,” she said. “It’s where some of the juices come from, and it’s also how you get the best out of the person you marry.”
A good marriage, she said, is when people “push each other, challenge each other, encourage each other and, yes, change each other.”
Ezer k'negdo, I hear?

But doesn't change ultimately come from within? I don't want to be constantly bullying some poor fellow all day—nor do I want to be bullied in turn. I would think that initially, simply moving in with someone means that two people are exposed to different lifestyles, which, in turn, can make them rethink their previous go-tos. They have been given another pair of eyes

On the other hand
,  Nietzche did say: “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Vive La Liberté!

Besides for no one messing with me on the subway, another reason I adore my height is that I was spared the wobbly horror of heels. 

Do not mistake me: I think heels are beautiful, on women they are magnificent, but personally I am happy to avoid the "requirement" to wear them. Luckily ballet flats have come a long, long way since my teens. There was nothing—and I mean nothing—flat and attractive to wear back then.

But high heels may be no longer ubiquitous, as Bonnie Wertheim reports. Women have had enough, for feminist, health, and comfort reasons. 

The alternative shoes made me shudder. Crocs. Birkenstocks. Clogs. No, not clogs! Anything but clogs! 

I blame Louboutin for this. He had to add on so many inches that women's backs were broken. Three inches were the max, once. That was fine. Women found that acceptable. But then Christian had to go overboard until the females rebelled.
The cohort of high-profile high-heel naysayers is vocal today. Gal Gadot wore flats throughout her “Wonder Woman” press tour earlier this year.  . . When asked why she ditched heels during the film’s promotion, Ms. Gadot told USA Today that it was a matter of health and safety. “I love wearing high heels — I think it’s beautiful, it’s sexy, whatever,” she said. “But at the same time, especially stilettos, it puts us out of balance. We can fall any minute. It’s not good for our backs. Why do we do it?”
Frum women can limit heel wear to Shabbos and simchas, so perhaps we aren't putting our spines under constant torture. Yet there are so many options today, pretty, dainty, appealing alternatives, not like in my youth when I was reduced to the lamest flats ever.
Gal's still wearing Louboutin's, though. Ha.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Fluent in Love

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a slim, non-threatening book that made me go "Ooooooh." 

Personally, I've never associated gifts with love. Someone else goes out, decides what I like, then spends money on something expensive I'm obligated to adore? What a waste of their time, money, and my acting skills! It doesn't make sense! 

I've translated love as when someone else does something for me that makes my life easier. Taking out the garbage. Folding the laundry. Letting me play my favorite song when the other can't stand it. That's what I do in turn as well. Chapman would call that language "Acts of Service."

Physical affection, too. I'm big on cuddling the kinfauna and arm-stroking adults.
There can be tensions in a relationship—in marriage or parenthood—when expressions of love miss each other. He's vacuuming the house in love, she's weeping that he doesn't talk to her ("Quality Time"). She's murmuring sweet nothings to her son, but he doesn't feel loved without hugs and kisses. 

This explains so much to me. I couldn't understand how gift giving was an expression of love. I couldn't understand how a child could feel unloved when I knew, fo sho, that that kid was. They speak in different tongues, and that means—yaaaaay, more work—that we have to figure out how to communicate across the language barrier. 

So if one shows love with making dinner, that may not be enough for the receiver. One may have to start talking about love, even if one is really uncomfortable with "I love you."

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

CCs, Continued

"Your face is glowing," Ta said approvingly. 

"It is?" I said in surprise. Ta comments only in the most flattering of circumstances. 

Perhaps you may recall my discovery of the BBs and CCs—and my debate. As the days passed, I used the Smashbox less and the It more, to the point that I decided to return the Smashbox, and purchase a second It in a lighter shade and mix the two. Walking one day past Sephora, I bolted inside, grabbed a tube in "Fair", and scurried out (obviously after paying). 

The wrong tube, alas. It turns out the CC cream comes in two versions. The original and "Illuminating," which means "sparkly," my nemesis. Well, I have mellowed a little against sparkly. But not that much.$detail$
But after Ta's positive feedback, my intent on returning it wavered. I purchased the original in Fair as well to compare, yet find myself—again—selecting the Illuminating. Shucks. Are all my principles sailing out the window? 

Never say never, my sweets. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Plight of the Picky

What does it mean to be "picky"? 

That he must be a specific height? That she must be of specific features? That he must have specific employment? That she must have specific hobbies? 

I used to think that that was "picky." But then I became less sure. We all function on varying degrees of depth. In an episode of Black-ish, Zoey is dumped by her French exchange student boyfriend, and takes it hard. When Junior asks him why, he replies, "Your seester is shallow. Like ze kiddie pool."
When Dre tentatively breaks the details to her, she sighed in relief and hops out of bed. She had been prostrate with worry over her looks. 

She is not on the search for what others are. And that is fine. 

Let us take it further.

Is it being "picky" when one hopes to be able to actually converse with her significant other? That she enjoys his company as much as he hers? That they share core values? That they look forward to seeing each other again when they part ways for the evening?  

Those who declare "picky" project their own wants and needs onto the single. If they didn't require a, b, or c, why should anyone else? It worked for them. It was enough for them. It should be enough for you. 

But I am me. And it shan't do.