Remember last week, when I said that all my “resting” (code for binge-watching Ray Donovan and Bloodline, and reading a fantastic new stack of books, including “Always Pack a Party Dress” by Amanda Brooks that I am loooooving) has prevented me from blogging on a more regular basis?
Well guess what, my lovelies? I’m still in the exact same headspace.
Meaning I’m feeling less than bloggy of late. It isn’t that I don’t want to communicate with you – I do! I do! – it’s just that I also write for a living, so sometimes I can get a tad burnt out on blogging.
Quelle probleme, non? Won’t my site traffic plummet if I don’t post, post, post – even when I’m not feeling it? Probably. But I’d rather not blog just to blog. Feel me?
So for the moment, I have a better idea: Why don’t we just look at some pretty pics I nabbed from the Spring / Summer collections, which are happening, as we speak, in the sexiest city on Earth: Parigi.
Did I tell you Hubby and I are taking the Wee Lass on her first trip to Paris next year? I’m counting the seconds, believe you me. I used to go all. the. time., and now I go none. of. the. time., and I am NOT a happy camper about that.
Okay, so let’s get back to Planet Zen, shall we?
I just screen-grabbed a bunch of shots that I love, which I’ll share with now. (I’ll go back in and try to attach photographer creds tomorrow, if my day doesn’t run away from me. I know it’s deeply uncool to run photos w/o creds…)
Bonjour my lovelies. Apologies for not checking in recently.
Okay, maybe I’ve been watching a little Ray and Blood, but it’s only because they are so very, very good. Noirish, grim, positively peppered with handsome individuals of the male persuasion.
And Blood features the added bonus of being set in the Florida Keys, so I get to see oodles of gloomy, stormy oceanscape.
Have you met me? I live for gloomy, stormy oceanscape..
Ooh, I just connected the dots between gloomy, stormy oceanscape and one of the products I’ll be writing about today: Phytomer Hydrasea Night Plumping Rich Cream.
While it’s true that I write about a lot of Phytomer products, it’s only because A) they keep showing up on my doorstep and B) every time I try one, I love it.
Trust me, not everything that lands in my lap is A) tried by me or B) loved by me.
But you’ll never read about anything here that I don’t love; life is too short for me not to radiate intense positivity 24/7. I’m a unicorn, basically. A beauty unicorn.
SIDEBAR: Should I put that on my business cards? DANA WOOD, BEAUTY UNICORN. It has a nice ring to it, non?
So what do I like about the Phytomer Hydrasea Night, you ask? It’s light and soufflé-like, and sinks right into cleansed skin. Always, always, always clean the bejesus out of your skin before you hit the hay at night; it’s roughly a thousand times more important than scrubbing your mug in the morning. You need to “get the day off” – with a thorough cleansing, removing not only makeup, but city grime, too.
But here’s what I really, really, really love about the Phytomer Hydrasea Night: The scent. According to the press materials, the fragrance is a mashup of floral and “aquatic” notes, which doesn’t tell me a whole hell of a lot. But it’s just very crisp and clean, like a Disney version of ocean. And I mean that in the best possible way, despite the fact that I’ve harshed on Disney in recent months…
Since day follows night, I will now shift my focus to the other lovely unguent in my current lineup: Gemstone Organic Rose Quartz Creme.
I got this little number in the goodie bag of a pretty fabulous NYC media event put on by Organic Spa Magazine, and oh my lordy, it. is. delicious.
Like the Phytomer, it smells fantastic. But the texture! It’s slithery, and oily, and tacky and slimy and my dry, thirsty skin looooooves it. I know I’m making it sound horrible, but it is the polar opposite of horrible.
Even if it weren’t cloaked in crunchiness, I would still adore this Rose Quartz Creme. But I was also really psyched to read about its special powers on the Gemstone Organic website:
Rose Quartz créme is made with Gemstone Essence from rose quartz, kunzite, smokey quartz and other select crystals. This unique gem blend is made to reveal a softer, smoother complexion. It carries a loving energy, helping you with acceptance and forgiveness. Open your heart chakra to attract all forms of love (self, universal, family and romantic).
Love brings you inner warmth that will reduce stress and elevate levels of happiness!
So good, right? I think I’ll slather some on tonight (after cleansing, bien sur) and watch a few million episodes of Ray and Blood. Project.
In the spirit of keeping my promises, I was all set to post an “after” pic to go with my “before” pic of exactly four weeks ago.
But then I just thought: No. That won’t be happening.
Why not? Because it recently dawned on me that any woman my age who posts tons of selfies – especially closeups – has had work done.
Period. End of story.
Otherwise, why would you open yourself up to that level of scrutiny? Bottom line, if time is marching on, and you’re not shooting your face full of fillers and Botox – and possibly also getting sliced and diced by a plastic surgeon – then you’re not that keen on selfies.
Period. End of story.
And the fact that I refuse to publish another image of my un-filled, un-Botoxed, un-sliced and diced eyes isn’t because I don’t think the NeoStrata Bionic Eye Cream has helped, because I believe it has.
There’s reduced puffiness, and less crinkling in the dreaded “crow’s feet” area. And I’d like to believe that’s the result of the cream and not the fact that A) I don’t have the raging sinus infection I had four weeks ago, and B) I’ve been drinking a lot more water than I’d been just before kicking off this challenge, C) I’m back in the 1000 percent Florida humidity rather than the relative dryness of the Pacific Northwest, where we’d gone on vacation in early August.
So I’ve decided I’m going to continue to use the NeoStrata. In order for beauty prods to work their alleged magic, we need to keep on trucking. Not get bored and bail on ’em, as I’ve done countless times.
Still, I don’t see myself morphing into any maje type of Selfie Machine in the near future. So you’ll have to read about my results rather than see my results.
What can I tell you? I like to control my “brand.” And my brand could most definitely use some fillers.
Tennis nerd that I am, I spend countless hours parked in front of the telly watching tournaments.
Sure, I try to make all that sofa time worthwhile. (Don’t tell my BFF Lisa, but she’s about to get a deeply awesome, whopper of a scarf I just knitted her during Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.)
Mostly, though, during those matches, there’s just lots of screaming going on…at Novak Djokovic.
Whenever ol’ Nole is on one side of the net, I’m invariably rooting for the chap on the opposite side of the net. Especially if it’s Rafa, my fave. Or Roger, my other fave. Or Stan, my other other fave.
But as much as I don’t love the frequency with which Djokovic clobbers my most beloved players, I have to admit that he actually seems like a very nice guy.
This past Monday morning, for instance, I was charmed by his appearance on the TODAY show. He was clutching his second Open trophy (which made me sad all over again for graceful, gallant Rog), but he was such a gentleman – very gracious in giving credit for his win to his team, his fans, even the competition.
SIDEBAR: You should have seen the way Savannah and the other TODAY broads were fawning over Djokovic. That made me squirm. Him too, needless to say. Super uncool.
But here’s what IS cool: The next day, my impossibly glossy pal Jenny posted the cute pic here, with the caption:
“We ran into a lot of people today…great surprises.”
It seems that after attending Rosh Hashanah services at their temple on Monday, Jenny and her hubby and sons popped by Bar Italia for a little lunch-y. And who do they happen to find but Mr. World No. 1?
I love this shot so much because it says: “I’m not too fabulous, or too busy, or too Mr. World No. 1 to snap a quick pic with a few young tennis fans.”
A new dad himself, Djokovic has said that his baby boy Stefan has helped him and his wife Jelena find “new dimensions of love.” Or something to that effect; he’s been doing a lot of press lately.
Clearly, the guy likes kids. To wit, the goal of his Novak Djokovic Foundation, which raises money and awareness through scores of global initiatives, is to bolster early childhood education among disadvantaged families. In Djokovic’s home country of Serbia, not even half the kids are enrolled in preschool. Some don’t even have access to a preschool in their area at all.
Djokovic believes – and this is backed my reams of data – that children who receive early childhood education have a much better chance for success later in life.
To become a winner. Maybe even a winner like him.
And the organization’s tagline pretty much says it all:
BELIEVE IN THEIR DREAMS.
I do. And so do you.
After catching up on buckets of sleep over the weekend, I woke up on Monday morning raring to go.
Hubby and I were both headed to our Racquet Club – me for Cardio Tennis, he for a private lesson – but since I’d already committed to meeting a friend at Gold’s Gym afterward for yet another class, we decided to take separate cars.
I take Cardio Tennis classes a lot, and I generally really love them. Well, maybe “love” is a little over-the-top. I like them, I get a great workout, and if I really apply myself, I improve my shots while burning calories.
You’re fed the ball, though, in Cardio Tennis, so you can’t really move the needle on your serve. And I, for one, desperately need to move the needle on my serve.
Right now, there is a passing-of-the-torch thing going on at my Club; the current Cardio Tennis teacher is wicked over it, so he’s moving on to private lessons and the night time clinics, and making his Number 2 take over Cardio and run us ragged.
The good news: Number 2 is adorable, and super-cool, and teaches the Wee Lass and the other tots and tot-lettes. So I know him already.
The bad news: Number 2 is a killah in Cardio Tennis. Oh my lordy, he is soooo not effing around.
Of course, since this is the first time Number 2 led the class, I didn’t know what I was in for. But here’s what I did know: There were only two of us who showed up. Trust me – you don’t want to partake in a Cardio Tennis class with just two members, because you will not have one second to stop and catch your breath.
You’re running, you’re hitting, you’re running, you’re hitting, you’re picking up balls, you’re running, you’re hitting. It’s endless.
To make matters worse, my other classmate – a toughie if ever there was one – hit me so hard with a ball I almost doubled over. And now, some 30 hours later, there’s a bruise the size of Texas on my right thigh. Grrrr…
If I were smart, which I’m obviously not, I would have gone straight home after Cardio Tennis. Instead, I pushed myself to keep my gym date with my pal and slogged through a really tough class.
I’m really not class-y, by nature. At least not indoor class-y. Cardio Tennis is a class, but maybe because it’s outdoors it just feels a little more free-range.
Anyway, until I just looked it up on the Gold’s Gym schedule, I thought what I’d taken was Core Training. But as it turns out it was something called “Perfect Tens.”
Here’s the description:
Total body training workout, in sets of ten, often using only your body for resistance
Well, whatever it was, I just wasn’t up for it. And I – stupidly – didn’t bring my water bottle into the gym with me. Midway through the class, I came this.close to full-on barfing.
Can you imagine??? I’d be banned for life!
An hour and change later, I left the gym. And I haven’t felt right since. I’ve had a raging headache, almost non-stop, and I just feel crummy, crummy, crummy.
I don’t know why I’m telling you all this; I know it’s a big ol’ bummer. But I think there’s a mini moral here, something to be gleaned from my suffering:
Know your limits. If you’re feeling dodgy mid-way through your workout and you’re pushing yourself for no good reason, Just Don’t Do It.
Good morning, fellow Crunchistas and star-gazers! Are we all champing at the bit for the upcoming New Moon this Sunday at the crack of dawn?
SIDEBAR I: It is “champing,” btw. Not “chomping.” You’re so welcome, my grammar-challenged friend!
SIDEBAR II: Actually, the New Moon arrives at precisely 2:41 EDT on September 13, which is more like the middle of the night rather than the crack of dawn. WHAT. EVER.
I’ve previously blogged about harvesting the power of New Moons to move our personal, ahem, agendas forward.
Uh oh…I sense another SIDEBAR coming on…
SIDEBAR III: Is “having an agenda” ALWAYS a bad thing? It sounds selfish, non? I can’t decide. I just know that sometimes I am completely, utterly in tune with my own personal agenda. Snap.
Okay, I’ll stop SIDEBAR-ing now. Focus, focus. Hocus pocus…
Evidently this New Moon is partnered with a solar eclipse, which makes it especially powerful in terms of setting the stage for any plans you might be making, or maximizing opportunities that arise.
For anyone who’s new to the New Moon-maximization idea, it’s fairly simple to wrap your mind around: The two weeks that follow a New Moon are considered ideal for executing plans.
But first, right before a New Moon, it’s a good idea to set your intention. Don’t go too cray with this; no 50-point, Napoleon-on-the-eve-of-Waterloo, insanely detailed battle plan.
Just pick one or two things you really want to try to work on and zero-in. Maybe you want to hit the gym four times a week instead of two. Maybe you want to whittle down your mindless World Wide Interweb surfing to 30 mins a day, max, from your typical two hours.
Or maybe, like me, you want to turn your walk-in on its ass, and decide the fate of every stitch of clothing, every shoe, every bijou, every fashion mag (yes, I have a few stacks of Vogue, Bazaar, Porter and Town & Country in there, so shoot me), every everything.
Although my Kindle informs me that I’m only 48% of the way through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I did read the section on “Clothing”.
And I gotta say…it kinda freaked me out. Ol’ Marie (Kondo, the author of Tidying – we’re on a first-name basis) wants you to place your every everything on the floor first before figuring-out whether it stays or gets the boot.
I won’t be doing that with my every everything. Well, maybe I’ll do it, but only a section at a time. No way am I doing it lock, stock and barrel. I have a Hubby I love very much, and I don’t want to subject him to our master bedroom being turned into a complete and total hovel while I’m Kondo-ing.
While I’ve never consigned anything in my entire life (or even been on Ebay), I’m going to try to sell some of my purged loot via thredUP.
I ordered a bag moons ago, even before our fab trip last month to the Pacific Northwest.
And now that this solar eclipse-strengthened New Moon in Virgo is upon us (this Sunday! 2:41 EDT!), I figure it’s finally time to set my intention. And it is: Clean + org my closet.
But first, there’s a little something called the U.S. Open…
Seriously loving the idea of this new Brit etiquette school. The Wee Lass & I just might hop The Pond…
I am a stickler for excellent manners. I positively live for excellent manners.
One example: My insistence on using a proper greeting in texts and emails.
Here’s what I mean:
I’m in frequent (as in several times a week frequent) contact with my neighbor Lynn, who lives down the street.
Not only are our daughters in the very same class at school, they’re extremely tight buds who can never quite get enough of each other.
Lynn and I are also in Bible Study together (she invited me, actually, and it’s been so great), and we like to occasionally e-suggest books we’ve loved and think the other might enjoy.
(A mutual fave: Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. So, so good.)
But despite the frequency of our interactions, I never – nev. er. – kick off an email chain without a “Hi Lynn” before launching into my spiel.
I’m not such a nut that I continue to use the “Hi Lynn” greeting as we’re pinging back and forth with playdate specifics, à la: “Make sure she brings a swimsuit!” Or: “We’re heading out for dinner soon. Please give her the 5-minute warning!”
Still, I err on the side of formality.
And speaking of heading out to dinner, here’s another example of my etiquette rules-iness:
As soon as we sit down in a restaurant, if I don’t see the Wee Lass immediately making some core place-setting moves, I say:
“Napkin on your lapkin!”
She is also to order her meal herself, addressing the waitperson with plenty of eye contact and oodles of “Pleases” and “Thank yous.”
Thus, given my propensity for being borderline uppity, you can imagine my glee when I heard about a new London etiquette class offered by a combo pack of Debrett’s and Tatler mag.
I don’t read Tatler much, but I love it when I do. It’s gossipy and fun, with lots of ladies wearing kooky hats and flower-strewn frocks, and the occasional rando sighting of a “Downton Abbey” cast member out and about looking eerily 2015. It’s like a cheerier, more overtly class-conscious version of VF – minus all the 50-page listicles of “Silicon Valley’s Top 100 Tech Titans” (yawn…).
Debrett’s is a different beast altogether. Established in 1769, it’s basically the Who’s Who of England’s – wait for it – ruling class. By painstakingly tracking family lineage, Debrett’s has aided many a social climber in her quest to scale the heights of Mount Snobbiness.
With its handy list of “Britain’s 500 Most Influential People” – broken out by such categories as Science & Medicine, Fashion and Food & Drink – Debrett’s is actually quite VF in its power-broker listicle-ness, now that I think of it…
But back to this new etiquette “academy” that Tatler and Debrett’s have partnered on, which sounds both fabulous and incredibly useful to young women growing up in these god awful, gadget-obsessed, Tinder-y times.
Just read this course description:
Coming of Age
This course equips teenagers aged 13-16 with the confidence and skills to sail through social situations and make the most of every opportunity. They learn how to be the perfect guest, make contacts for life and develop awareness of their personal – and online – impact to ensure they make the best impression on whoever they meet.
A sampling of Course Content: “Confident first impressions”; “How to be a good guest”; “The impact of social media”; “Managing your reputation”
Or how about this one?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This course builds natural personal qualities, further developing social language, presentation and people skills, to help young adults put their best foot forward socially. They will be equipped for that transition from school to university and beyond.
A sampling of Course Content: “Don’t cross your arms and other body language pitfalls”; “Can I eat asparagus with my hands? And other dining conundrums”; “Confidence vs. arrogance”; “Coping with failure”
Personally, I would love my daughter to learn every bit of this stuff. I want her to be able to glide, seamlessly, through any and all situations, be they social or business.
Flawless, napkin-on-the-lapkin manners will take her anywhere she wants to go.
If you’re beaching it (again???) this weekend, protect those long, fried locks with this super-cute hairstyle
Maje merci beaucoup to NYC’s beautiful Butterfly Studio Salon – specifically hairstylist Jill Engelsen – for this simultaneously adorable and healthifying look.
If you’re like the grown-up version of the Wee Lass and her long-haired pals, your sun, chlorine and wind-whipped ends are fried beyond recognition, and you totally need it.
Heck, my locks barely scrape my shoulders (and I couldn’t French-braid my way out of a paper bag) and I totally need it.
That’s why I’m just gonna steal the masque portion of the program.
Okay, off we go:
1. Wet your hair, towel it off a smidge, slather it with an intensive conditioning, masque-y type of product (Jill’s faves are below) and comb it through.
2. Part it in the middle and start French-braiding one side, from the tippity-top of your crown.
3. Once you get to the nape of your neck (yup, it’s called the nape…you’re welcome), switch gears from French to a regular braid.
4. Securely bobby-pin the end of the braid to the top of your noggin. And I mean securely; no doubt you’ll be chasing your tot all over hell’s creation this Labor Day weekend, the last (sob, sob…) gasp of summer.
Adding a side pic here so you can see what I mean about the French braid morphing into a regular braid, and the secure pinning:
5. Repeat the whole she-bang on the other side. Like I needed to tell you that? LOL…
And now, as promised, here Jill Engelsen’s fave prods for this style:
2. Philip B Rejuvenating Oil (Sensing a Philip B theme yet? Couldn’t agree w/ Jill more. His prods are incroyable. Slightly spendy but Worth. It.)
Okay, I gotta go whack some tennis balls.
Enjoy your long weekend! Protect your long hair!
I’ve been reading about best SEO practices lately, and evidently I’m supposed to kick off every blog post with a super-focused lead sentence front-loaded with IMPORTANT KEY WORDS.
If only my Mommy Barbie brain worked that way…
When I’m writing for hire – and have a very specific word-count target I need to hit – I can focus like nobody’s business.
But here, in my Happy Place, I can take as long as I damn well want to get to my point.
And that’s how I get distracted, with what I like to label “SIDEBARS.”
Here’s an example:
SIDEBAR: Wait, I was doing so well with my embargo on public swearing! And now I just used “damn” up there a few sentences ago! Grrr…
So please excuse me while I do a “set-up” on the Core Thesis of today’s post:
How feeling grateful makes you happy
After years and years of being a champion sleeper (please don’t hate me: I just got lucky), the Wee Lass has been experiencing several bouts of insomnia lately.
Especially on Sunday nights, which I’ll circle back to in a minute.
Alarmed at this new development, Hubby and I did a lot of sleuthing, and back-and-forthing, and finally landed on these probable causes for her newfound sleep issues:
1. She’d recently “discovered” Sweet Tea (a totally Southern thing), and had taken to ordering it at dinners out. Definitely not a great idea; not only does Sweet Tea pack as much sugar as a Coke, it’s laced with caffeine. Talk about a double insomnia whammy!
2. She’s becoming a tad attached to her devices. In addition to watching endless “Miranda Sings” videos on YouTube, she’s constantly texting and FaceTiming her pals up North and down here. On the one hand, I’m loving that she keeps in touch. On the other hand, I’m not loving that she’s dialed-in like El Presidente of AT&T.
3. She can be super lazy on Sundays. If she doesn’t have a playdate, she can often be found lounging on the couch, remote in hand, for hours at a pop. This is a big shift from her Monday thru Friday routine. During the week, she has tons of PE, tennis lessons and impromptu after-school swim parties with her pals.
So bearing all this mind, Hubby and I instituted the following changes:
1. No Sweet Tea. Ev-er.
2. No gadgets of any kind after 8 pm, and that includes television.
3. No excessive lounging on Sundays. Even if she’s by herself, she has to hop in the pool, run around, do stuff. Be active, get fresh air, etc, etc.
And guess what? She’s only been following this New World Order for a few weeks, and she is soooooo much more relaxed at bedtime. She sleeps like a rock – even on Sundays, even with her school week – and all the mental agita school and kiddie life can generate – looming.
Other bonuses: She’s been reading up a storm in the 8 to 9 hour before bed. And she’s even been organizing her clothes and school backpack. Before, she would device-it up until the last second before bed, and then, the next morning, be scrambling to get out the door in one piece.
But here – at the very tale end of this blog post – is when I finally get to my Core Thesis:
Last night, as I was tucking her in, she said:
“I’m so grateful for my friends, and my family, and everything I have.”
OMG OMG OMG, right? I get on her all. the. time. about not being appreciative enough of the general all-around awesomeness of her life.
And despite my countless sad “Mommy was poor when she was little” stories, and tales of how meticulously I kept my Barbies and my other (few) toys compared to the way she flings all her stuff around, she just wasn’t getting it.
So, to capitalize on this moment, here’s what I said back to her:
“I feel EXACTLY the same way. I’m grateful all the time for our life. Doesn’t that make you happy?”
“It does,” she replied. And then she went to sleep.
Kaia Gerber notwithstanding, it’s the boy descendants of catwalk superstars who are getting all the props these days.
Cases in point: The lavish, Ingrid Sischy-penned piece on 7-year-old Hudson Kroenig in September Vanity Fair, in which we learn that the little dude literally travels the world to trot the runway for Chanel.
(Weird. I’m a VF subscriber, and I can’t get the link to that story for you guys. Apologies. But you chic-ettes probably have that issue already, anyway. For anyone who doesn’t, here’s Hudson. His dad Brad is a pretty much a legend of longevity on the male modeling circuit.)
In keeping with the thesis of today’s blog post, there’s also the gorge père et fils pictured here – Parker and Andre van Noord – whom I just learned about when I cracked open my digital edition of WWD this morning.
Trying to link to that tale here. If you don’t have a subscription to WWD, it may not open for you.
And while he isn’t (yet) a model, I’ve recently seen a few impossibly adorbs Instagram shots by David Beckham of his son Romeo sporting a version of Pop’s questionable man-bun. “Someone is trying to be like Daddy!” reads one caption.
Finally, just to circle back to the Gerbers for a sec, let’s not forget that before he married Cindy, became a bar / nightclub mogul and launched a tequila brand with his bestie George Clooney, Rande modeled. Why shouldn’t Presley get in on the family biz? He even has Mommy’s signature mole!
I guess I should get on my soapbox and shout that we shouldn’t be objectifying our kids – boy or girl – and placing so much value on what they look like.
And that is 1000 percent, unequivocally true. To survive and thrive in this cutthroat world, children need multiple arrows in their quivers: Academic excellence, tech-savviness, resilience, ingenuity…
It’s just that in the VF and WWD pieces – and even in David Beckham’s Instagram feed – you just feel how proud these dads are of their sons for following in their footsteps.
And for me, at least, it’s really fun to read these charming, way inside-baseball, fashion-industry stories.
Besides, my lovely Momoverettes: It’s. Friday.