Beauty Armoire Monday: Dr. Brandt DNA Time Reversing Cream is scary good, in a how-can-this-be-happening way

Expensive. Worth it. Over + out.

Expensive. Worth it. Over + out.

There are a lot of beauty products on this little ol’ Planet Earth.






And I happen to own a few (million) myself.

So why am I writing about Dr. Brandt’s Do Not Age Time Reversing Cream again, after I just freaking wrote about it last month?

Because here’s what went down in Momover Lady-ville since the last time I wrote about DNA:

I decided to double-down, and use only that every night before I hit the hay.

The last go-round, DNA was part of a broader Beauty Armoire Monday post in which I chatted about the lunacy of feeling like you need face and body moisturizers in Florida, where the humidity rages on relentlessly.

(At least in the summer; I’ve only lived here a few months, so I don’t know what’s in store for me in the months to come.)

In that installment of BAM, I was toggling between DNA and another excellent (and far less spendy) moisturizer: L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Perfector Day / Night Cream.

Toggling is fine if A) you’re okay with having a million jars open at once, taking up precious bathroom (or Armoire) real estate and B) you don’t ever want to know whether a particular product really works.

That last point – Point B – is really at the heart of the matter.

Because here’s the deal: Most beauty products, particularly skincare, don’t show results for weeks – many weeks, as in tripping-over-into-months kinda weeks.

And most of us, myself included, don’t have the patience needed to tough it out.

That’s why that Neutrogena miracle creme “graveyard” commercial is so effective.

You’ve seen that, right?


Well here it is. You’re welcome.

Anyway, back to Dr. Brandt.

I love Dr. Brandt the person. He is extremely lovely. But beyond that, he is one of the most highly published derms around. Seriously. He cranks out so many studies, in so many peer-reviewed journals, that it’s a wonder he ever finds time to shoot  Madge’s mug with so much damn Botox and fillers.

But he somehow he manages to not only publish, plump and create products, but also to bounce between his practices in New York and Florida and collect major, museum-caliber artworks in his spare time.

Soooo not a slacker, that Dr. B.

So what’s in his DNA creme, and why is it so good?

Though I attended the press event for the launch of DNA, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what Dr. B’s “Juvenessence+ complex” – the special sauce in the DNA range of products – is all about.

And to be perfectly frank, his website doesn’t shed a whole lot of light on the subject either.

And FYI, DNA isn’t a natural product, so if avoiding chemicals is important to you, you’ll need to sleuth-out another fountain of youth.

At the same time, though, per the website, it contains a few plant extracts, like Babassu Oil, that are meant to both smooth the skin and calm your ass down before beddy bye. In other words, “a joyous and energetic blend of essential oils creates a therapeutic aromatherapy effect.”

How cute is that? Joyous and energetic!

(Actually, “energetic” may not be optimal at 11 pm. But trust me: It’s not like you’re taking speed when you dab this lovely potion hither and yon.)

And most important, here’s how my skin looks after weeks of dedicated DNA use: Soft. Smooth. Even-toned. Glowy. Youthful.

Those are five really, really good things. Right?








Earlier posts that are trending. (I do so love a happy little “listicle”!)

Who needs books when you have old posts?

Who needs books when you have old posts?

There’s no accounting for taste, right?

People like what they like.

You can be blogging your little ol’ heart out about Stuff That Really Matters (I don’t happen to do that btw, but lots of other bloggers do), and World Wide Interweb Surfers will seek out the most superficial, ridiculous drivel.

Happily, this site offers plenty in the superficiality department. And I also weigh in, from time to time, about people – usually women – I greatly admire. (Which is how the late, great Carolyn Bessette stars in one of my greatest bloggy hits of all time.)

Okay, let’s get into the (vegan, fake) meat of this post.

Right now, for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom, here are the…

Top 5 Momover Posts

1. Christian Bale has really luminous skin

Awww…I really like this one too. But be forewarned: It’s almost as much about Casey Affleck’s blinding white teeth as it is Christian Bale’s luminous skin. But it does feature a rare recent pic of the Wee Lass, so definitely worth a gander.

2. Shocker (not): Carolyn Bessette was incredibly cool

In traffic terms, this one belongs in the Momover Hall of Fame. Lordy, I loved that woman…sniff sniff. And obvi a lot of you do, too.

3. More about this SeroVital-hgh jazz

Whoa, there are a lot of ladies (and gents) who want to look younger and leap tall buildings in a single bound! FYI, I had a “moment” with this stuff but I’m not really taking it right now. Which isn’t an indictment, btw. It was just making me feel a little…off. Speedy? Yeah, that’s it. Speedy.

4. Grown-up Alert: I’ve stopped cheating on my eye exam

Since this is a post about something pretty horrible that I did, I’m a bit alarmed that it’s so popular. Why? Because that means lots of other people are doing exactly the same thing. Or at least they want to. Grrrr times a billion.

5. Gallons of lemon water + juice = post-cruise detox 

Fresh intel about blasting bloat: It never gets old, right? Never, ever.




Beauty Armoire Monday: The flat-iron to beat all flat-irons. (So good.)

Uplifting Sarah Potempa-speak.

Uplifting Sarah Potempa-speak, from the styling iron box.

Fact 1: I’ve had personal DIY blowout lessons from giants (giants!) in the beauty business. Including a few from none other than Bumble and bumble founder – and all-around hair god – Michael Gordon.

Fact 2: Despite these extremely high-level custom tutorials, and an unhinged amount of at-home practice, I couldn’t give myself a decent blowout if you put a gun to my head. My lack of expertise is like so, so sad.

But have I completely given up on ever mastering this important life skill? No, not yet.

After all, I’m currently knee-deep in learning two other extremely important life skills: Driving and cooking.

When you live in New York for decades, and you’re completely, utterly besotted with your career, it’s all too easy to kick driving and cooking to the curb.

That’s what boyfriends and takeout are for, right?

But lordy lordy, if I’d learned how to give myself a decent at-home blowout back in the day, I could have saved myself a bloody fortune.

Water under the bridge, babes. Moving on.

So now I live in psychotically humid FLA, and my naturally frizzy hair has basically looked like shite for three solid months. I’m not being mean to myself when I say that, btw; I have many sterling attributes, but good hair isn’t one of them.

Anyway, even though we’re still in Hurricane Season, I’m detecting a slight shift in the climate down here, to something approximating – gasp – fall.

Not autumn in the New York sense…the apple-picking, crisply cool, break-out your J. Crew cable-knits kind of autumn.

Rather, it’s a little breezier, and a touch less wet. A drop from, say, 97% humidity to…93% humidity.

Emboldened by this microscopic change in the weather, I decided to actually fuss with my hair a bit over the weekend.

To help with this project, I dug into a stash of heat appliances I’d been hoarding in my Beauty Armoire. Although I’m not to be trusted with a blowdryer, I’ve had good luck over the years with other types of tools.

Like my trusty InStyler Rotating Iron. Oh how I love that thing. But it went missing in our move to FLA, and I haven’t set eyes on it moons. Sadness.

Since I can’t put my mitts on my InStyler, I broke out my brandy new Sarah Potempa Ceramic Styling Iron.

You über-clued up Momoverettes know who Sarah is, oui? Besides being the cutest (and cheeriest!) celeb hairstylist on the circuit, she makes really innovative tools that have “change your life” written all over them. She made her name with her clever Beachwaver, which spins in this direction and that direction, crafting lush curls, and has since created many more awesome hair devices and gew-gaws.

When I reached into my Armoire and pulled out my Ceramic Styling Iron (CSI, for short…) I was immediately struck by these Sarah-isms on the box:






I want all of that stuff, I thought when I read those words. Sign me up. 

Important: I was already bone dry before I embarked on Project Make My Hair Look Less Shitty. I’d shampooed earlier that morning, slathered on a product cocktail of Redken Blonde Idol BBB Spray and Suave Professionals Natural Infusion Awapuhi Strengthening Light Leave-In Cream, and let it air dry. Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I like to think starting with a dry base before you iron results in at least a little less damage.

What I love about the Sarah P0tempa Ceramic Styling Iron

1. It’s very lightweight. And sleek, sexy and silvery. You’ve heard of “curb appeal”? This slim number has countertop appeal.

2. It heats up so fast you’ll kind of freak outLiterally in seconds. Whoa.

3. Speaking of heat, you can adjust the temperature. It goes up to a scorching 45o degrees. While super-hot is typically the best way to get results, it’s a killuh on your hair. I stopped at 420 degrees. That was plenty hot.

4. It turns off by itself. I work at home now, so leaving an appliance on isn’t the end of the world. But when I lived in Gotham, I can’t tell you how many times I’d get almost to the subway on my way to work and then have to turn around because I was convinced I’d left something on that might burn my pad to the proverbial ground. And guess what? On more one occasion, I was right. Snap.






Momover Lady’s Library: For some reason, I’m on a big ol’ “books about heaven and the afterlife” kick

This pic says 'heaven,' right?

This pic of fluffy clouds and a rainbow says ‘heaven,’ right?

Before I get rolling, please allow me to dispense with two quick housekeeping matters:

1. TGIF my lovely Momoverettes! (I just had to say that…it’s been a long, work-y week chez moi.)

2. “Afterlife” is one word, yes? I hope so, because I’m about to use it as one word about 95 times.

Anyway, I have no idea why, but I’ve somehow stockpiled four (!) books about heaven, written by spiritual types who say they’ve been there and want to tell us all about what it’s like.

Having recently organized Momover Lady’s Library into specific “Zones,” it was easy – albeit freaky – to see all those heaven books wind up in my Crunchy Zone.

I have scads of Zones, btw.

There’s Art History Zone (chock-full of books about Warhol, Picasso, and my favorite painter of all time – Pieter Bruegel, the Elder.) There’s Knitting Zone, and French Zone. There’s Tech-Spaz Zone (featuring “WordPress for Dummies,” “Digital Photography for Dummies,” “Turning On Your Computer for Dummies,” etc.)

Ironically, one of the biggest book buckets is Organizing Zone. Although every single organizing tome I own tells you to get rid of stuff, I just can’t bear to part with a single organizing book. Wack…

Here are the four afterlife books I own:

1. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, MD. Oh my lordy. I’m sorry, but this was off-the-hook fantastic. It is fascinating. Alexander is an academic neurosurgeon, and, at least for me, wholly credible. Spoiler alert: The “earthworm” bit scared the bejesus out of me, but I was really comforted by about 95 percent of this book. Read. It.

2. Waking Up In Heaven by Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski. Honestly, I haven’t read a word of this yet. And I don’t really remember what compelled me to pick it up on one of my many Target outings. Maybe because it says on the book jacket that McVea is from Oklahoma? I’m a proud Okie, even though I haven’t live there since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

3. To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD. I started this, but then got side-tracked by the considerably more zhushy Eben Alexander book. (I’m like that…fickle and despicable.) Neal is an orthopedic surgeon. But maybe, just maybe, not the zhushy-iest writer. I’ll probably get back to this at some point. I think.

4. Life After Death by Mary T. Browne. I’m reading this right now and it’s adorable. How can a book about death be adorable? I don’t know. It just is. Take my word for it. You don’t want to take my word for it? Okay then, Miss Huffy Puffy, I’ll give you an example: Browne, a famous psychic, says there’s a nursery in heaven – which she’s seen – filled with happy babies. “It was enchanting,” she writes. “Children were singing songs and laughing. I am certain that anyone who has had a child pass on in infancy would be overwhelmed to know the care its soul was being given.” Sweet, non?

Full disclosure: I’ve met Mary T. Browne. I’ve even had lunch with Mary T. Browne. And my copy of Life After Death is inscribed, thusly, by Mary T. Browne:

May 15 2008


I predict that we will be friends. My good thoughts go to you.

Mary T.

And since I’ve hopped – firmly – on the TMI train today, I’ll say that it was actually the concept of ‘thoughts’ that lead me to pick up Life After Death again.

I’d been reading another one of Mary’s books – the teriffic 5 Rules of Thought – earlier in the summer. And while I am completely paraphrasing here, she basically says, in 5 Rules, that we’ll basically be held accountable, in heaven, for every thought we’ve ever had.

Yowsa. How does she know this?, I’d wondered.

The answer, as I would come to find out, lay in my rickety old copy of Life After Death. While unpacking a few post-move-to-FLA boxes in the garage, I found it and snatched it right out of the pile.

And now it’s in heavy rotation on my nightstand.

Which Mary T. Browne knows, of course. She’s psychic. And she’s been to heaven.


Beauty Armoire Monday: Meltproof Tinted Moisturizers

Liking these glam, effective  numbers.

Liking these lightweight, skin-perfecting numbers.

Wait – there’s no way in hell I’ll get to experience some kind of actual autumn in FLA, right? Some slight change in the mood and mindset that might push me out of my trusty vegan Birkenstock Gizehs and into real shoes?

(Sidebar: Before we start talking war paint, I just want to make a quick note of this: Shockingly, given its place in the Crunchy Pantheon, not all Birkenstocks are vegan. If you want to avoid leather, as I do, you need to track down the ones made with Birko-Flor. I have no idea what Birko-Flor is, except that it’s cruelty-free and comes in oodles of purty colors. Yay!)

Okay, back to beauty…

Even if the answer to that earlier question is – No, Momover Lady, it is Eternal Summer down here. Suck it up. - I’m feeling vaguely fall-y anyway.

And I’m officially O.V.E.R. running around with an almost-naked face.

Which doesn’t mean I’ll be breaking out my beloved Marc Jacobs Beauty Marvelous Mousse Transformative Foundation  anytime soon; it’s still a little too muggy and clammy around these parts for that.

Rather, I’m on the hunt, and fishing around in my Armoire, for super-lightweight tinted moisturizers, foundations and CC Creams. Ones that I can slather all over and not feel like sticking my head under the garden hose five minutes later.

Here are four I’m liking – and why:

1. Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Tinted Balm This one is oil-free, so if you have super-dry skin, I suggest layering it over a bit of moisturizer. I can hear you now: I thought this WAS a moisturizer. Well guess what? It really isn’t. It’s makeup. But it is lightweight, and it does give the skin a chic, “I’m on my way to work, so get outta my way way” look. And sometimes, that’s exactly what you want. (Minus the heft of a heavier foundation, bien sur.)

2. Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Laced with “30x Vitamin C of an Orange,” this is an antioxidant powerhouse. Is Peter Thomas Roth known for makeup? No, he’s a skin genius. And that’s why this makeup is really good for your skin. Bonus: The texture is glide-on fantastic.

3. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact SPF 25 Sensing a CC cream theme? Good. Because I highly recommend them, especially if you’ve blown out more than a few candles on your recent birthday cakes, as I have. While BB creams – which, at least in the U.S., are multi-purpose “beauty balms” that allegedly do everything from camouflaging enlarged pores to filing your tax returns – CC creams are more targeted. They primarily “color-correct,” i.e. impart radiance and, over time, reduce age- and sun-related hyperpigmentation. So now that you know the difference between BBs and CCs, know this: Clinique makes a kick-ass CC cream. But then again, Clinique makes a kick-ass everything.

4. By Terry Light-Expert Perfecting Foundation Brush The glamorous French broad of the bunch, this is one of those combo brush / foundation numbers that you click until the product starts to push its way to the top. If you’ve never applied your complexion products with a brush – and trust me, lots of mamas haven’t – I urge you to try it. Especially with this luxe-but-light formula. You’ll be taking your look to the next level. And what mommy-person wouldn’t want that?



5 e-mail processing hacks. (No one needs em more than me. OK, maybe a few people need em more. But I do need em.)

A machete. (Kind of.) Get it?

A machete. (Kind of.) Get it? For slicing thru your inbox?

I’m desperately trying to forget something my crunchy-crush (Leo Babauta) recently wrote on his Zen Habits blog:

He tries to keep his email inbox under 50.

Can you imagine? He’s such a beloved dude – such a beacon of light for his faithful flock – that I’m sure his inbox is bombarded / pelted / inundated with pleas for his attention every single day of his bright and shiny, self-disciplined life.

I want to get to that 50-email limit, too. But right now, I’ll settle for getting mine down to 500 from – gasp – today’s count of…9,108.

So let’s figure out how to do that, shall we?

On y va. Allez-y. Let’s go!*

* (NOTE: Most of this post will be Gmail-centric; as much as Hubby urges me to use the classic Mail program on my Mac, it just doesn’t “speak” to me the way Gmail does.)

5 Solid Strategies for Zapping Email

1. If  ”unsubscribe” isn’t working, let big, bad Gmail help you out. I get frustrated (read: ballistic) when I’ve taken the time to unsubscribe from email lists and new ones keep springing up like those loathsome critters in Whac-A-Mole. So I’m thrilled to have found the “Unsubscribe and report spam” feature in Gmail. When you click on an email from a list you want to remove from your life, pan your eyeballs up to that row of action icons on top. Look for the one shaped like a stop sign with an exclamation point in the center. Clicking that will in turn allow you to hit “Unsubscribe and report spam.” Though I feel bad for playing the spam card with companies I’ve ordered products or newsletters from in the past, I gotta move on and seize control of my inbox destiny.

 2. Take full advantage of Gmail’s new-ish organizing buckets: “Primary,” “Social” and “Promotions.” Obvi, when it comes to ruthlessly deleting emails and reducing the size of your inbox, you wouldn’t start with Primary, as that’s what mostly “real”: It’s either responses to emails you yourself have sent, or it’s incoming from people you actually know, or might want to know. For me, Promotions is the primary get-rid-of-it hunting ground, because I don’t want or need 99.9 percent of what’s living in that bucket. In a perfect world, I’d have the time to marvel at the sheer wittiness of J. Crew’s daily missives, but I don’t live in a perfect world. And since I’m not very (electronically) Social, I’m okay with zapping most of that stuff, too.

3. Accept that you can’t possibly read all the completely awesome newsletters you’ve subscribed to. Plug the newsletter name into your email search tool, do a quick scan and save 5 for later reading. Okay, 10. Now highlight the rest and send them off into the ozone. Try to do this regularly. For the most part, you can probably visit the newsletter’s website of origin and read back issues until the proverbial cows come home.

4. Archive….sparingly. I’ve read many “helpful” blog posts that suggest that you not worry about teeming, 10k-plus email inboxes. Just archive them, lock, stock and barrel, these experts tell us. Gmail has plenty of storage space. (Actually, I think it’s even Gmail itself that tells us that…) But IMHO, that’s just sweeping the problem under the rug. Like when I beg the Wee Lass to clean up her room and I find her shoving stuff, ad hoc, into what she calls “random” boxes. “You’re the one who told me it’s always good to have a ‘random’ box,” she’ll say, when I call her on it. Oops! Still, she’s an 8-year-old collector/hoarder. You, on the other hand, are an organized, thoughtful grownup with self-discipline.

5. Set aside a specific chunk of time to process email. You’re checking email 50 times a day, but are you processing email 50 times a day? Probably not. I have a personal philosophy, one that I most definitely don’t adhere to all the time: Do what you’re doing. So when you’re in “process” mode, really, truly process. And that means taking one further action besides just quickly scanning. Really read it, then either respond to it, archive it or delete it. Keep taking that next step until it becomes automatic.

And on that note: My next step is out the door to pick up my sweet little collector / hoarder from school. Bon weekend, chere Momoverettes.


Remember my pledge to spike 9000+ emails by September 1? It didn’t work. Like at all. Sigh…

I desperately want an empty one of these.

I desperately want an empty one of these. ASAP. Now!

While I seriously, actively fret about the amount of beauty products I own (and purses, and books, and ancient fashion mags…), I never really thought of myself as an email hoarder.

Until this past weekend, when I tried to make good on my pledge to reduce my electronic inbox to 500 emails and barely made a dent.

I’m no math whiz (understatement of the century), but if I’m starting with close to 10k, and want to get to > 500, that means 9000+ need to be kicked to the virtual curb.

I promised – right here on this itty bitty blog – to do it by September 1. But then I blew it off, and went on my merry way. Until Friday afternoon, when I had a mini panic attack and started spiking, spiking, spiking.

But this is where it got weird: No matter how many I thought I’d zapped – hundreds and hundreds! – the total count didn’t really budge.

So then I got the brills idea to empty the trash.

Maybe, I thought, if I did that, the count would plummet. After all, I’d spent the better part of Friday afternoon and Saturday morning obliterating everything even remotely junk-y or spam-y in my path.

And still here we are, a few days later, and my inbox is reading: 9095.

Let’s run the numbers. When I first posted about this dilemma in August, I had 9760 emails. Since then, I’m sure another 200 snuck in through the back door. (I’m on a lot of mailing lists…)

So let’s amend that count to 9960. And now I’m at 9095. That means that even with alllllllll that weekend spiking, I still only zapped 905 emails.

Maybe because I sensed I was failing miserably at the clutter-busting goal I’d set for myself, I did some reading about managing your email inbox.

(When I wasn’t watching the U.S. Open, that is, and doing fun stuff with the Wee Lass like visiting Busch Gardens and Great Explorations Children’s Museum.)

In my next post, I’ll share the email hacks I gleaned in my sleuthing. Right now, I need to tackle my Tuesday To Do list.

But before I scoot off, let’s recap why reducing my inbox is so important to me. And why it might benefit you, and that mama over there, and all mamas everywhere:

According to the core tenets of feng shui, jam-packed inboxes – the virtual or actual, touchable kind – restrict the flow of communication.

I think we’d all agree that an open flow of communication is more ideal. Feel me?


Wait – when was it decided kids – adorable, awesome kids – need their school photos retouched???? Gack.

Me, as a snaggle-toothed Okie tot.

Me, as a snaggle-toothed Tulsa tot-lette. Those swoopy bangs!!!

Momover Lady has a big ol’ bee in her bonnet, one I would now like to share with the world at large.

Yesterday, as the Wee Lass and I were speeding thru our Before-School To Do list (eating breakfast, making beds, brushing, combing, fluffing, buffing, huffing and puffing), I was filling out a purchase form for school photos when my eyes seized on this “upgrade” to the portrait packages:


Basic Retouching…$6

- Eliminates Blemishes

Premium Retouching…$12

- Whitens Teeth

- Evens Skin Tone

- Removes Blemishes, Scars & Flyaway Hair


After I picked my jaw off the floor, I became incensed.

Yes, I traffic in extreme superficiality in this blog. (“On” this blog? I never know whether blogs are an “in” or “on” proposition…)

And I’ve been a Beauty Director, at three separate magazines, for a massive chunk of my career. (Or more a massive chunk of my “life”; I never know where my career ends and my life starts…)

But even I draw the line at Photoshopping the bejesus out of school photos.

Apart from extreme situations – and my heart 1000 percent goes out to any child who is wildly self-conscious about some aspect of his or her appearance –  we have to let our kids look like they look.

We also have to let them know that no matter what they look like, they can be a beautiful person if they’re kind and loving to others.

White teeth, even skin tone and frizz-free hair shouldn’t live ANYWHERE on a tiny tater tot’s list of stuff to fret about.

And on that note, I’m flying off on my broomstick to get back to my day. Merci beaucoup for letting me vent.



How to “do you” and not worry about what anyone else is up to. (Hint: It’s challenging, but life-changing.)

This chow puppy is way off-topic. But so cute!

This chow-chow puppy is waaaay off-topic. But so cute! Swoon.

The upfront disclaimer: This post is pretty crunchy. On the Crunch-O-Meter, I’d give it a 6 out of 10. If you’re not up for a little touchy-feely action, move along little doggie…

Sidebar: My beloved Rafael Nadal is sidelined from this year’s U.S. Open for a wrist injury. Faithful Momoverettes know I’m obsessed with the brilliant Spanish tennis player. Let’s all send him our get-well wishes, telepathically, to Majorca. Om…

Okay, onto the topic at hand: Putting on your people-blinders so you can focus on being the best you, not a patched-together, fuzzy version of someone else. The version-of-someone-else bit never, ever works.

I did mucho reading over last weekend, and the following resources helped me flesh-out this blog post:

1. Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power In You to Achieve Happiness and Success by Russell Simmons. I’ve owned this book for a while, and really just need to read it all the way thru already rather than surfing in and out. So good. I also heart Uncle Rush in a massive way because he’s a vegan. I am not a vegan, and have a lot of guilt around that. Maybe I’ll get to it some day – or at least a 50 / 50 split. In the meantime, I will give many public shout-outs to actual, awesome vegans like Russell Simmons. Oh, and on top of all that, Simmons is wildly successful. Yay!

2. Brain Pickings. Am I the last person on the planet to know about this? Such a great site, and beautifully designed. Love. It.

3. This incredible essay – How to Do What You Love – by Paul Graham, which I found via Brain Pickings. I think Paul Graham is some kind of tech god? Anyway, this is longish by World Wide Interweb standards, but absolutely, without question, worth taking the time to read.

3 Tips for Putting On Your People-Blinders

1. Reframe, reframe, reframe. Let’s say you’re on Facebook, and someone in your peer group posts about a major work accomplishment. Not vacay snaps of a Champs-filled trip to Paris, or a boozy stopover in Berlin, or some other place you’re dying to visit. I’m talking about a genuine career win, or an amazing new job. Instead of feeling envious, pivot to one of these two thoughts: A) Sally Sue must have busted her ass to make that happen. Or B) Sally Sue will really have to bust her ass in that gig. Why this works: By shifting your thoughts to the effort it took Sally Sue to nab whatever it is that’s making you envious, you’ll remember that ass-busting is the key to achieving anything worthwhile in life – and everyone can do it. That means you; you’re part of ‘everyone.’ (Apologies for all the swearing…)

2. Limit feedback-soliciting to your inner circle. In Graham’s essay, he recommends worrying only about what your close friends think about your future plans, not the other 8 billion citizens of the planet. I loved this tip so much my head almost split open when I read it. It just makes so much sense. Your pals really “get” you. They know your strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully they aren’t shy about gently steering you down the right path(s). And btw, Significant Others can also be part of your mini focus group. Every time I cook up some bizarre career plot twist – like “Maybe I’ll be a coder!” –  Hubby shoots back: “You would hate that. Coding isn’t you.” Bingo, baby. Why this works: You’ll have clarity. And just as important: higher self-esteem. Wanna be miserable? Spend your day fretting about what everyone else thinks of you. Blech times a billion.

3. Plan your day, your week, your month, your year: This gets right back to ass-busting. And learning. Whoa – learning. Sooooo crucial to the feeling-good-about-yourself equation. I defy you to really master a new skill – or even get a tiny bit better at it – and not raise your “Yay! Me!” quotient exponentially. For me, this summer was all about upping the ante with my cooking and driving. (I’ve been knitting, too, but haven’t yet moved beyond my signature stitch. Stuck in a big ol’ rut…) Why this works: When you actively schedule your take-over-the-world plan of attack, not only will it build confidence, it will crowd-out all the “What’s Sally Sue up to?” hooey. Sally Sue doesn’t matter. You, however, do.


Momover Lady’s Library: The Tidy Closet by Marie-Anne Lecoeur (I know, I know…the endlessly smug French)

Couldn't find a "real" pic, so voila.

Couldn’t find an official book pic, so voila, a low-tech one.

There was a piece in the New York Times recently – which I thought I’d stashed in my subscribers “Save” folder, but of course now can’t find – that boldly posited that the French might be losing a soupçon of their “we’re better than you at just about everything, so go crawl up into a little ball somewhere and get over it” smugness.

I pinkie-swear that such a piece exists. And if and when I finally find it, I’ll link to it right here on this little ol’ blog.

Until then, let’s take an in-depth gander at this helpful number, subtitled: “Tips From A French Woman: EASY STEPS AND MOTIVATION TO DECLUTTER YOUR CLOSET AND ORGANISE YOUR WARDROBE.” (Please forgive the all caps; I’m just typing it as I see it…)

Faithful Momoverettes know that I recently had my new FLA closet professionally tricked-out, and that, despite the tricking, I’m still having a devil of a time trying to fit (read: cram) all my cherished belongings within.

So I’m hoping this author, who also has a blog – howtobechicandelegant - can help me. And by extension, you. The entire raison d’etre of Momover’s Lady Library is to extract excellent intel from my crazy-huge book collection. If there’s nothing good for all of us – this mama, that mama, the mama over there – off it goes to Salvation Army, never to be heard from again here.

On y va. Allez-y. Off we go…

Helpful Intel From Every Chapitre 

1.Chapitre Un: You’re probably a clutterer, not a bonafide hoarder. Perhaps you weren’t worried about this, but I most definitely was. Lecoeur says only 1 percent of the population jumps the fence from pack mouse to pack rat. Still, I didn’t know that being a “clutterer” was an actual thing. She says it is, and that about 30 percent of us are in this camp. (Don’t you love how I say “us”? We clutterers like company.) Best Takeaway Tip: Change your shopping habits and go for quality over quantity. You knew she would say that, right? That’s classic French thinking. But just because it’s classic French thinking doesn’t mean it isn’t 100 percent – not 1 percent or 30 percent – spot on.

2. Chapitre Deux: You probably only wear 20 percent of your wardrobe. No doubt you’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, aka the 80-20 rule. A business example of the Pareto Principle is “80 percent of a company’s profits come from 20 percent of its customers.” Here, Lecoeur applies it to our closets. Hmmm….I might wear a bit more than 20 percent of my wardrobe, but that’s only because I’m much less of a clothing “clutterer” as I am a purse and jewelry clutterer. Best Takeaway Tip: Don’t buy anything that won’t integrate seamlessly into your wardrobe. If you’re weeding out all the dead wood in your closet – i.e., that 80 percent that never sees the light of day – the remainder needs to work together.

3. Chapitre Trois: Feeling bummed every time you open your closet door spills over into your entire life. Okay, maybe this chapter wasn’t so useful. It’s titled “The Disadvantages of Clutter” and is kind of a downer. We get it; tidy is better. Best Takeaway Tip: Until you have a full set of kick-ass classics, steer clear of trendier pieces.

4. Chapitre Quatre: Feeling Zen every time you open your closet door spills over into your entire life. At about this point, I began to think to myself: Is this book, by any chance, self-published? And lo and behold it is. Listen, I’m sure there are many fantastic self-published books out there. But I’ve been buying a lot of them electronically lately, and many of them could use a good editor, someone to help the author see that you don’t need two chapters to do the work of one. Again: we get that tidy is better. But how do we “do” tidy? That’s what I want to know. Best Takeaway Tip: This is super-crunchy, but I think it’s important – a smart little gem in a not terribly insightful chapter. I like it so much that I’m quoting Lecoeur verbatim:

“Unused or unloved objects have a stale energy. Once you declutter, your home, your relationships, even you will feel so much better because positive energy is allowed to circulate.”

5. Chapitre Cinq: Buck up and just get on with it already. Doing things right the first time – like putting everything back where it belongs right after we use it – saves us tons of time and energy later, when, say, we’ve overslept and are rush, rush, rushing out the door for school drop-off and / or work. Best Takeaway Tip: Clean as you go. Which basically what I just said, but a little more succinct. That mindset works when you’re cooking dinner, too. Btw and FYI…

6. Chapitre Six: When cleaning your closet, empty it COMPLETELY and put everything on your bed. I kind of freaked-out when I read this – so extreme! –  but it makes a lot sense. If you do it this way, you won’t get tempted to quit and sneak off to the den to watch “Ladies of London” or some other Bravo TV bullshit. (Um, that’s actually my problem, not yours…) Why? Because unless you want to check into a hotel, you’ll need to sleep in that very bed later. Best Takeaway Tip: Move quickly. The longer you “dither” on an item, deciding its fate, the more likely you are to keep it rather than get rid of it.

7. Chapitre Sept: Your closet is a key place to express your design sense. Which doesn’t mean spending gobs of cash. Unless you want to, of course. Right now, in my new FLA walk-in, I’m honing in on gray – gray round hat boxes and smaller gray square boxes that I’m using for clunky, chunky cuffs and bangles. Best Takeaway Tip: If you’re painting your closet before you move your newly pared-down wardrobe back into it, opt for a pale neutral hue. This will help your clothes and accessories pop.

8. Chapitre Huit: Arrange clothing by type AND color. Maybe you love Momover Lady Pink. And because you love Momover Lady Pink, you have dresses, sweaters, shirts and pashmina-y things in Momover Lady Pink. Do you group them together in some gigantic Momover Lady Pink section of your closet? No, because it would take you 10 hours to get dressed every morning. I think you get my point. Best Takeaway Tip: Those little loopy things on dresses? Don’t cut them out as soon as you get the frock home from the store. Instead, use them to help maintain shape. Zipping and buttoning helps too.

9. Chapitre Neuf: Stay the course. Sorry to be a huge buzzkill, but a great-looking closet requires ongoing maintenance. And that means daily spiffing up. Best Takeaway Tip: Watch your favorite TV shows on-demand, and zip-off to your closet to tidy up during commercial breaks. I just mashed two of Lecoeur’s tips together for a newly improved Super Tip. One that I need myself, btw. Holla, I watch a hella TV.