Because I love you, I want you Momoverettes to pick your V Day fleur-delivery services verrrry carefully

This "deconstructed" bouquet is by ProFlowers.

This “deconstructed” bouquet is by ProFlowers.

This is a decidedly uncheery tale to tell you, but with Valentine’s Day knocking on our doors, I feel compelled to share it you.

So a few months ago, my sister celebrated a “benchmark” birthday – the kind that warrants a major shout-out, and many thoughtful prezzies, from assorted loved ones.

My brother and I went in on a gift certificate to a spa in her area.

And then he also took her out to dinner and I had fleurs sent to her home.

These fleurs were not inexpensive. And they were to be delivered to her doorstep on the morning of her big day.

I didn’t give her a heads-up about the delivery. Instead, the plan was to go about my business and just wait for one of those “You shouldn’t have!” texts to come in over the transom.

I waited.

I waited some more.

Finally, circa 10 pm her time, I get the news that the fleurs had indeed arrived, but that they were so bedraggled and destroyed from tooling around in a truck all day – in the blazing Las Vegas sun! – that she immediately called the fleur-delivery service and demanded a do-over.

Ballsy, non? J’adore ma soeur!

The fleur-delivery service was nice enough about her request, she said. And promised that an un-wilted replacement would be in her possession early the next day.

Instead, what she got was an equally bedraggled and destroyed – and now a day past her birthday – bouquet late the following evening.

“There’s no way you should pay for those,” she texted. “Promise me you won’t?”

I was so mortified and pissed-off. But of course when my Amex statement arrived a few weeks later I just went ahead and paid it. I kept thinking to myself, “They tried, right? Back-to-back deliveries?”

But trying really isn’t the point. Getting it right is the point.

Enter the PSA portion of this blog post:

A concerned operative from ConsumerAffairs.com reached-out to me via email with a new interactive tool that may help cut down on the “tons of complaints” the site receives about crummy bouquets. Apparently, we thoughtful, loving individuals spent over $1.5 billion on Valentine’s Day fleurs last year, and you can bet your sweet bippy that some of those bouquets were riding around in a truck in the blazing Las Vegas sun all day before landing at their destination. Grrrrr times a billion…

I have to get the Wee Lass up and at ’em for school right now, so I’m being very lazy and cutting-and-pasting the email the concerned operative sent me about the new Valentine’s Day-friendly interactive tool:

“In order to help consumers better prepare themselves this year, we ordered 5 bouquets from the most popular online flower retailers, deconstructed each one and discovered which retailer provided the greatest value in the following categories:

– Best bang for your buck
– Most romantic
– Best deal
– Best match to website description

The interactive tool is pretty awesome. You can hover over individual flowers to get information such as wholesale price, retail price, scent and meaning for each bloom in the bouquet. I think your readers would be fascinated by our findings.”

But even more important than being “fascinated” by this clever tool is not being ripped-off by a bad V-Day bouquet.

Here’s the link again. Bon shopping!

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Introducing Deuce Box: A tennis blog within a mommy blog

The Wee Lass on her first day of lessons.

The Wee Lass, ready for action.

How do you get better at something – anything – you’re really trying to learn?

You commit.

You show up.

You throw a lot of tools at the situation – lessons, practice time, books, DVDs etc etc etc.

But here’s what you don’t do when you want to get better at something you’re trying to learn: Give up when the going gets rough.

Since moving to Florida from New York roughly 18 months ago, I dove into learning four big buckets of skills: tennis, knitting, cooking and driving.

Before I circle back to tennis, I’ll quickly walk you through my progress in the other three areas:

Knitting

I’m super-stuck here, but it isn’t a front burner issue. I keep making the same Monster Scarf™ over and over for my pals up north. I do want to expand my horizons, and move onto projects that are more FLA-friendly (i.e., shawls, shrugs, ponchos, etc.), but I don’t honestly know when I’ll get around to that. For now, I’m perfectly happy to keep knitting the same dang thang over and over while I’m welded to my sofa watching major tennis tourneys and all manner of Bravo brain-mush (cough cough…Vanderpump Rules). When I run out of friends in need of Monster Scarfs™, I’ll then push the panic button.

Cooking

Whoa. I have to say I’m pretty proud of my progress in this all-important arena. For decades – basically the entire time I was Manhattan vampire workaholic – I had Fear of Kitchen. Now I cook All. The. Time. Thank you, thank you Jessica Seinfeld and your incredible third book. It changed my life.

Driving

Um, I’m definitely doing it. I buzz all over town. But I’ve yet to drive on the highway, which is a massive, massive bummer. One of my besties, who finally learned to drive in her mid-40s, now routinely hops in the car for treks all the way down to Charleston from Joisy. She tells me not to stress about the fact that I don’t venture beyond a 20-mile radius from my home, but I feel realllllly lame about it. I want freedom. I want to buckle up the Wee Lass and do day trips to Disney like all the other school moms. We just got me a gorge new car though, so maybe that will prove to be the incentive I need to finally get rolling.

Now onto the subject du jour…

Tennis

As I’ve blogged recently, I’ve put my innate wussiness and pride aside to keep attending the weekly Women’s Clinic at my racquet club. There are several seriously good players who show up for this Tuesday night outing (some even ranked by the USTA), and it can get intimidating. I go anyway. And when I feel like a giant jackass for missing a shot, I just suck it up and get back in the game.

I’m also taking at least one Cardio Tennis class per week, plus a group lesson with a few other losers (jk) hosted by someone who will be referred to going forward as Coach Patrick.

Coach Patrick also teaches the Wee Lass, and he’ll be leading her 10-and-under group in Team Tennis | Junior League, which starts this coming Sunday.

So given that the Wee Lass and I are both embracing new learning around tennis, Deuce Box™ will be split between what’s going on with each of us.

I don’t know what to expect from Team Tennis yet, so I haven’t figured-out what types of goals I think the Wee Lass should be setting for herself.

So, for now, here’s what I want to work on:

1. Finding actual tennis shoes that are A) super-cute and B) super-comfy. So far, I’ve just been wearing regular running shoes, and I know that’s soooo Amateur Hour. But I’ve also seen plenty of women at my club limping around because their tennis shoes chafe. Evidently it’s très difficile to land on the ideal pair. Project!

2. Serving at least half-way decently. This should really be my first priority, but, you know, great-looking footwear is key. Allow me to share a sad story: For a while last fall, I was receiving regular invitations to play with the cool girls at my club. But gradually, as they came to see that I can’t serve my way out of a paper bag, all my other sterling qualities (i.e., my immense personal charm) became vastly less important. The invitations stopped. I get that. I’m still hugely pissed about it, but I get it. Those broads want to win; they do not want you screwing with their game with your sh—y serve.

3. Controlling my backhand. No one is as surprised about this as I am, but my backhand can be surprisingly forceful. Still, that’s not always what you want. If you’re whacking the ball so hard that it goes out, you lose the point. Plain and simple, pardner. I need to rein it in, be more strategic. I want to win.

 

 

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Beauty Armoire Monday: I can’t pronounce it, but I’m loving the scent (and results!) of Pai-Shau hair goo

Pretty bathroom counter-worthy for hair brews, non?

Very bathroom counter-worthy for conditioner, non? Chic.

Whoa – I seriously slipped down a rabbit hole, didn’t I? It’s been two weeks since my last post.

In my defense, I’ve been working. I wish I could get better at blogging mid-project, but since those projects are 99.9 percent of the time writing projects, I just kinda can’t. Alas, I am a big ol’ mono-tasker when it comes to writing. Great for my clients; not so great for my blogs…

Okay, enough with the excuses.

Let’s get back to what really matters in this world of ours: the eradication of frizz.

Frizz is not groovy. Frizz is the bane of my very existence.

That’s why I’m always all ears whenever a beauty company emails me and asks if I’d like to try this or that new miracle frizz-buster. Invariably, I say “oui” to those kind and generous offers. And it is at those precise moments that I feel everything is going well in my life. My hopes are officially up.

I should know better. Because on the frizz front, I’m an impossibly tough nut to crack. I can reduce it, but I can’t cure it.

And really, is there an actual cure for frizz?

I remember once, a thousand years ago, I was writing an on-the-set story for W about the filming of a Frizz-Ease commercial.

John Frieda – the John Frieda, handsome devil – had to pop in front of the camera and speak his big four words of dialogue:

“The cure. Frizz-Ease.”

This was in the mid-90s, and I’m guessing it was the first time the term “cure” was attached to frizz.

And here we are, 20 years on, still searching for one.

It’s at this point in this blog post that I’m sure the makers of Pai-Shau are completely flipping out.

“Wait – why is Momover Lady nattering on about her writing process, and John Frieda? Isn’t she supposed to be reviewing our products?”

Désolée, Pai-Shau. When I haven’t blogged in a while, I can get rambly…

So here’s what I like about Pai-Shau, which is a salon brand and a tad spendy:

1. It’s vegan. I love animals so damn much. Whatever we can do to leave them alone and let them live their lives in peace, we should.

2. The Replenishing Hair Cleanser and Replenishing Cream Conditioner smell fantastic.

3. Ditto for the Supreme Revitalizing Mask. Plus, it makes my straw-like hair far less straw-like.

4. The Biphasic Infusion is really nice for a quick shine fix. Even though I live in the land of 1000 percent humidity, we’re actually going through some semblance of a winter right now. (Translation: It’s 60 degrees instead of 80 or 90). Consequently, I’m shampooing less, even after an hour of Cardio Tennis. Sometimes I just like to slather on something light, to tamp down the fuzz, just as I’m headed out the door. Biphasic is great for that.

Okay, time to catch a bit of the Australian Open. I’m pulling for Vika this year, big time. Love that feisty Belarusian powerhouse. Thwack!

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On the hot mama / Golden Globes front, L’Oreal Paris kinda killed it last night

Soooo glamorous. Goodness gracious, Anastacious.

Soooo glamorous. Goodness gracious, Anastacious.

My email inbox has been pelted – pelted, I say! – this morning with hair and makeup recaps of the Golden Globes.

So in keeping with the prestigious-awards spirit, I will now bestow my Momover Globes Beauty-Awesomeness Crown on L’Oréal Paris for waving the flag for gorgeous mothers everywhere.

In their spokesmodel mama ranks – and all looking incroyable last night – are…drumroll, please…

Jennifer Lopez

Taraji P. Henson

Julianne Moore

Olivia Wilde

Heidi Klum

I’m on a big deadline leash right now, so I’d like to just quickly drill down to the specifics of La Lopez’s lewk.

Although recently I’ve seen her in frocks that I’ve felt were a tad too bootay for my taste, last night she was all covered-up in Giambattista Valli (and 200 carats of necklace!) and off-the-charts chic. Swoon.

And the hair! Amid a sea of birds nests (cough cough…Katy Perry), JLo brought the coif polish.

Since L’Oréal Paris was kind enough to provide me with every last shred of tress goo, macquillage and nail lacquer intel, I will now, in turn, share it with you:

—-HAIR—-

Hairstylist: Lorenzo Martin for L’Oréal Paris

Inspiration: Classic Hollywood, with a saucy side flip

DIY It (all prods available on L’Oreal Paris website or @ ur fave nabe drugstore): 

1. Lorenzo first washed Jennifer’s hair with L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner

2. For texture and volume, Lorenzo sprayed L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Air-Blown Texture Mist

3. Using a small round brush, he then blow dried hair in small sections

4. Next, Lorenzo sprayed the hair with L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Blow Out Heat Spray

5. Using a 1” barrel curling iron, he curled the hair in one direction, pinned it and let cool

6. He then added shine, spritzing L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Extraordinary Oil Lustrous Oil Serum on the front and ends

7. Lorenzo finished the look by brushing out the hair and setting with L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray

—-MAKEUP—- 

Makeup Artist: Mary Phillips for L’Oréal Paris

Inspiration: That killer frock, says Phillips!

“ If you saw the Giambattista Valli dress, you’ll instantly get old Hollywood glamour with the shape and even the mustardy, marigold color. The cape and the diamonds, it’s perfection. Her skin and that lip color are the hallmarks of this look. It’s very elegant, gorgeous, and beautiful, while still being very modern and today. We’re always experimenting with her looks, and I think that tonight perfectly reflects that, with this classic, old school dose of beauty.”

DIY It: 
1. Mary first applied Armani Prima Eye and Lip Contour Perfector  on the upper eye lid and around all around the mouth and lip, as lips should be just as hydrated as skin. [NOTE FROM DANA: This isn’t out yet. Look for it on the Giorgio Armani Beauty website in spring ’16]

2. Next, she created a natural 3D effect by layering sheerer colors of L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation (C5.5 NATURAL TAN, 5.5 Perfect Beige, and W3 Nude Beige).

3. She used darker shades in the Infallible Pro Contour Palette in 814 Medium along the jawline, underneath the cheek bones, on the temple and hairline of the forehead and along the nose. The highlighter hue was applied to the center of the forehead, nose, directly above the jawline, and underneath the browbone.

4. Mary’s self-proclaimed “holy grail” blush, L’Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Blush in Spiced Plum C7-8, was added to the apples of cheeks for a fresh pop of color and extra dimension.

5. On eyelids, with special attention to browbones, is L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Eyeshadow Mono in 306. Shade 201 is the backdrop color applied in the crease and 205 is added at the center of the upper lid and along the lower lash line.

6. She drew a verrrrry thin line of L’Oréal Paris Infallible Black Velvet Liner on the top lashes only, and concentrated on making the line a little fuller at the ends without “winging out” too much, as that can tend to look too costume-y with the rest of the look. Mary finished the liner look by applying L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte-Matic Liner to the upper and lower lashlines, making sure to get in-between lashes to add drama in an understated, “un-heavy” sort of way.

7. To achieve long, lush eyelashes that had the perfect hint of depth but wouldn’t compete with the lip, Mary primed and coated lashes using L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Superstar Mascara

8. Mary mixed three lip shades, building up colors in different areas – i.e., applying darker colors to the outside of the mouth, and then working her way in. She wanted the lips to be dark but not vampy, and also have dimension and not come across as a one-note color. She customized the lip just for Jennifer using L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss in Rouge Envy, Nude Allude and Forbidden Kiss for a very full lip effect that was neither too wet nor matte.

—-NAILS—-

Manicurist: L’Oréal Paris Global Manicurist Tom Bachik

Inspiration: Like Phillips, Bachik took cues from the dress, and opted for a “clean and chic” burgundy red

DIY It: 

1. First, Tom filed nails into a classic round shape.

2. He next applied L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Nailcolor in Always a Lady. After dry, Tom applied the top coat side of the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Nailcolor and let dry.

3. Tom advises maintaining a manicure using L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Facial Oil; a drop on each nail 1-2 daily will keep nail color looking fresh and shiny, and cuticles hydrated.

I love that last tip – use a facial oil as a cuticle fix!

Keeping it real down here in Momover-ville.

 

 

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Crummy sleeper comme moi? Nab the February issue of Consumer Reports, stat

Examining insomnia from every angle (er...position?)

Examining insomnia from every angle (er…position?)

Merci beaucoup, Texture! You are saving me sooooo much moolah!

So the other day the Wee Lass and I were strolling – slowly and methodically – through our local Target, eyes peeled for goodies in all manner of categories: Books, boots, tennis togs, etc.

Historically, she and I have done intense damage at that fine establishment, returning home triumphant, laden with bags and bags of merch. We learned a long time ago not to go to Target with Hubby. He has many fine qualities, but he’s a total Target buzzkill.

As I was scanning the magazine rack, my heart leaped at the February issue of Consumer Reports.

Faithful Momoverettes know how much I struggle with what I call “situational” insomnia, and how I’ve worked my way through virtually every alleged fix on the market, from Zzzquil and melatonin to good old-fashioned Xanax.

So when I saw that the cover story was on the topic of sh—y sleep, I came thisclose to tossing it in our cart. But then I remembered I had Texture, and that it just might be available digitally.

And lo and behold, it is. Was? Is, I think. It’s still in my “downloaded” queue.

Anywho, whoa. It is soooooo comprehensive, poking and prodding at every conceivable angle of the rawther multi-faceted topic of sleeplessness.

Sidebar: Is every issue of Consumer Reports like this? Taking a single topic and knocking the stuffing out of it? If so, it’s pretty fantastic, in a no-stones-unturned kind of way.

I’m feeling list-y, so I’ve decided to cull…

5 Scary, Depressing Factoids from the Sleep(less) Issue of Consumer Reports

1. Despite those adorbs TV commercials featuring weird fuzzy “sleep pets,” the new Rx drug Belsomra is not only pretty much useless, it can also cause temporary paralysis. Call me crazy, but being paralyzed doesn’t sound even remotely restful.

2. Think you’re going the “safe” route by downing creepy, heroin-y ZzzQuil rather than gobbling prescription meds? Think again, my little insomniac. Because they seem relatively harmless, we tend to take too much of the drugstore stuff – dangerously high doses, in some cases. On the less dramatic end, they can cause cause constipation and confusion. Yay!

3. Next-day drowsiness is a Capital D Disaster when sleep med gobblers get behind the wheel of a car. All the many, many collisions caused by pill-poppers has even caused the FDA to cut the recommended doses for popular drugs Ambien and Lunesta in half.

4. The benefits of taking meds are microscopic. In a study of Belsomra users, participants only fell asleep 6 minutes faster than their placebo-taking counterparts, and slept, on average, a whopping 16 minutes longer. Remember the paralysis bit from Factoid 1? Hardly seems worth it, right?

5. Good ol’ melatonin has an even crummier staying-asleep record than Belsomra, yielding 8 whole extra minutes of shut-eye. Grrrr….

Happily, amid all this gloom and doom are solid suggestions for finding our snooze mojo through healthy bedtime habits, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a few gadgets and gizmos like blue-light eyeglasses for iPhone addicts and the Sleep Shepherd knit beanie.

Plus there’s an exhaustive comparison of mattresses, and a deep dive into the hallmarks of a primo pillow.

It’s definitely worth a read. Especially since you’re up anyway…

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It seems I’m on the Anna Wintour Weightloss Plan: Tennis, tennis + more tennis

Shocker: My scale's being really nice to me lately

Shocker: My scale’s being really nice to me lately

Bam! 2016 is on, bruthas and sistahs.

It’s only Wednesday, and I’ve already worked my ass off this week. Rest assured I’m not super-happy about that – I was sooooo into the cozy, end-of-year do-nothingness (and the Champs + Pina Coladas) of the past few weeks – but what are ya gonna do? Sadly, those bills won’t pay themselves.

When I’m not peck peck pecking away at my keyboard, I can mostly be found at my trusty Racquet Club, building my game brick by gruesome brick. Last night at the Women’s Clinic – although I totally just blogged that I was going to stop being intimidated by the better players who show up for this weekly bloodfest – I was utterly mortified when my pal Dina and I got sequestered to work with one of the coaches all by ourselves.

Dina and Dana: Newly Bounced from the Big Kids’ Table

I’ll spare you the mechanics of my bad attitude and temper tantrum around this sequestering (I know, I know; I am perpetually, eternally two years old), to bring you some incredibly awesome news:

All my recent intense tennising is doing wonders for my waistline.

I haven’t been eating especially well, and cocktailed up a storm on our Xmas jaunt to Key West, but my weight is the lowest it’s been since Town & Country sent me to that starvation spa in Texas and I literally wasn’t allowed food for three days.

Sidebar: I just – 11 seasons into it – finally started watching KUWTK, and I’m blown away by how frequently Mama Kris says “literally” in categorically non-literal situations. Like she’ll say: “I literally peed my pants when I saw Caitlyn for the first time,” when we viewers know her tighty whities are in fact as dry as the desert. What gives? Isn’t she a kloset genius?

Anway, during one of my crack-of-dawn slurp coffee and scour the Interweb sessions this week, I was reading a piece – I think on HuffPo, I’ll get you the link later – about the workout habits of extremely successful people. And lumped into that un-lumpy lot was Condé über-czarina Anna Wintour.

I knew Anna was a hardcore tennis nut, but evidently, at least according to this article, she plays an hour every day. That’s a lot, and probably a key reason she’s as thin as a whippet.

I have to hightail it to Bible Study, and then the Dali Museum, and then food-shopping for tonight’s dinner – so I gotta get a move on and stop blogging (and maybe even bragging) about the fact that logging all that court time is helping me look halfway decent in my skinny jeans.

Notice I didn’t say I look incredible in my skinny jeans; incredible is probably a lot further down the road for me. Well, more precisely, maybe seven more pounds down the road for me. I’ve been wanting to see 100 on the scale for a verrrrrrrry long time. Like literally a hundred years.

 

 

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Beauty Armoire Monday: Gooey, gloppy balm cleansers are pretty parfait for “winter”

These are very Euro-y, which I really like

These two babies are very Euro-y, which I really like.

I wore leggings to Cardio Tennis this morning rather than one of those miniskirt numbers – you know the kind with the attached hot pants, that allow you to stuff balls up the legs? – so that’s pretty much code for…the temperature dipped below 70 degrees.

That doesn’t happen much in my neck of the woods, but when it does, anyone with even an ounce of fashion sense does a festive little jig. Why? Because we get to pry ourselves out of our Birks and Bermudas for a hot second, and wear some actual clothes for a change.

Let’s put it this way: I just did my semi-annual “closet flip” from spring / summer to fall / winter yesterday, on 3 Janvier. When I lived in New York, I’d be flipping out circa mid-Septembre.

Another delicious change I’m making, at least at night: Switching from my industrial-strength cleanser (Clinique Wash-Away Gel Cleanser…discontinued and bootlegged on Amazon for 80 smackers!!!) to the lush, soothing formulas pictured here.

Right now, at night, I’m toggling between Eve Lom Cleanser and Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm.

The Eve is incredibly storied, and has won multiple awards and countless raves from editor in-the-know types. (I’ll boldly count myself among those editor in-the-know types; I’ve been writing about beauty since before many of you hot mamas were even born. Or at least before you were out of Huggies…)

It comes with a signature Muslin Cloth, which is equally storied.

But if I had to pick a favorite among these two – like if I were literally forced to pick one, and only one, gooey, gloppy balm cleanser – I think I’d have to go with the Elemis.

OMG, it is divine. And yes, it comes with a cloth, too.

Cloth = exfoliation. Cloth = old school Clarisonic.

Still, the Elemis may not be for everyone. It’s very scent-y. (Aka “sensorielle,” as the French say, although Elemis is a British brand.) And it’s borderline oily, which I realize isn’t everyone’s cup o’ tea.

For me, right now – in the dead of our 65-degree, Gulf Coast of Florida “winter” – it’s just what the skin doctor ordered.

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Making small tweaks to my morning wakeup routine, i.e., lots of H20 + mindful Interweb surfing

"Sistine Madonna," one of Raphael's most famous works

“Sistine Madonna,” one of Raphael’s most famous works

Bonjour + Happy New Year, my lovelies!

I trust we all enjoyed our two-week break from the real world? I certainly did. I love how everything comes to a screeching halt during this time of year and the leash of daily obligations gets loosened. Just the sheer fact of not having to get the Wee Lass up and uniformed for school at the crack of dawn feels utterly fantastic.

Plus, if you live in FLA, as I now do, you can easily squeeze in a fun little trip. On our end, Team Momover Lady nipped off to Key West, which we seriously enjoyed. I had no idea how much history was packed into that tiny sliver of sand.

SIDEBAR: We visited the Hemingway House, and I have a newfound appreciation for the old dude’s working process. Although the “Wife Wall,” in which Ernest is surrounded by images of all four of his betrothed, is a little off-putting. Not that I wasn’t expecting that. Please, he was such a cheating bastard…

Okay, onto the cheerier version of this blog post, when I unpack a few, easily do-able shifts to my roll outta bed scenario that you might also find helpful.

Typically, I get up early – at least an hour before I need to be anywhere, or doing anything major. There is no way in hell I could sleep in until the last possible nano-second and then jet out of bed and right into a rushed, crazy day. I know that works for some folks, but I ain’t one of ’em.

Nope, I like to ease into it, slurping coffee and catching up on the world via my ancient, first-generation iPad. I have a mini iPad, too, which I use to read my Texture app and Kindle books. But before I’m fully awake, I find comfort in the big clunky guy.

So without further ado, here’s what I’m adding and subtracting from my mornings:

1. Before I do anything else, I drink a huge glass of water. This is a change for me, and a good one. Before, I would maybe have a tiny sip of H20, just enough to get my thyroid meds down, and then move right on to coffee. But a lot of times, I wouldn’t even do that much. And consequently, I was alllllways forgetting to take my thyroid meds. Drinking a giant tumbler of water before coffee serves two purposes: One, it forces me to remember to take my pill, thereby reducing chubbiness. And two, it gives me much-needed hydration. I’ve been playing tons of tennis lately , and there’s zero doubt I could benefit from having more water in my system.

RELATED POST: Why staying hydrated is key to feeling up, up, up + energized

2. I swap-out mindless surfing for looking up a topic I want to learn about. I have a smattering of website musts in the morning, including The New York Times and New York Mag. Often, I’ll also pop by Huffington Post. But when I start to drift over to Daily Mail, I know my day is veering into unproductive territory. While I don’t mind ending my day with a dose of stupid celeb gossip, possibly over a glass of wine, I don’t think it’s a brills idea to start my day that way.

So now my new “trick” is to to think of something I need a solid debriefing about, a little snippet that drifted through my thought process within the last 48 hours or so, and then look it up.

Two recent cases in point:

A) On the tours I give as Docent for the Dali Museum, I tell the tale of how our hero – Salvador – got himself intentionally kicked-out of art school in Madrid. I won’t go into too many details here, except to say that the story is centered around the painter Raphael. Previously (as in before this morning), I would kind of gloss-over the specifics around Raphael himself, by saying: “…Raphael, the famous painter from the 15th or 16th century…”

Blech, non? A Docent shouldn’t waffle between two centuries, right? So now, after doing my World Wide Interweb sleuthing rather than slipping down the gruesome Daily Mail rabbit hole, I know not only precisely when Raphael lived, but also the works he’s most known for. Including Sistine Madonna, pictured here. I’ve only ever seen a portion of this gorgeous painting – the adorbs cherubs at the bottom; I had no idea those little guys were part of a much larger scenario.

Thank you, World Wide Interweb.

B) Tomorrow morning, when I start to feel the siren call of the Daily Mail, I’ll be prepped with the next search on my To Do list: The Indian Ocean. This will sound absolutely insane, but given how geographically challenged I am, it actually makes perfect sense.

So the other day, at our Racquet Club, one of my fellow players made reference to the Indian Ocean. And immediately, my Bubble Headed Barbie brain was set in motion:

“Oooooh, the Indian Ocean,” thought Momover Lady. “That sounds so sexy, and tropical, and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ Wait – the Indian Ocean can’t possibly be in the Caribbean, right? Doesn’t the Caribbean have its own ocean? And have I ever been to the Indian Ocean? Like when we were in Phuket?”

Before I start my day on Monday, I’ll know the answer.

 

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Knock On Wood Edition: I’ve totally committed to raising my tennis game and it seems to be working

Wait, is that Novak + Maria I spy here?

Wait, is that Novak + Maria I spy here? Thwack!

On my birthday last month (I’m a Scorpio…..hissssssss), Hubby gifted me with the killer Head racquet you see here. Love, love, love.

I’d had my previous “stick” for so long that the grip was literally disintegrating, so it needed to go bye-bye. Plus it had seriously bad juju because it was given to me by someone I refer to as Practice Husband. (PH, for short.)

I don’t harbor especially fond memories of PH, but at least he kept me sporty during our time together. Holy moly, I would just want to lay around eating bon-bons and reading British Vogue and PH would have me up and at ’em. Skiing! Golfing! Tennising! It was exhausting.

SIDEBAR: I realize it’s a tad unseemly to blog about PH when I have a super-awesome RH (Real Husband) in my life. But trust me, RH isn’t even remotely threatened by PH, nor any other former beaus. Including that wildly disciplined Johnny Depp lookalike I’ve told you about, the “Are You a Doer Or a Talker?” dude. That chap was actually really inspiring. So in the Momover spirit of self-improvement, I will continue to extract useful nuggets from my relationships – past and present – for you, my beloved readers.

So back to my birthday, and my new racquet, and tennis…

That evening, I headed to our club for the weekly Women’s Clinic. Quite frankly, the Clinic can be super, duper intimidating, so I’m a little surprised that I chanced it on a happy occasion like my birthday. Some of the best players at our club show up for this hour-long she-bang, and it can get real out there.

For me, it went south pretty much from the get-go. Because it was the first time playing with my new racquet, I didn’t know how much more power it had compared to my disintegrating-grip / bad juju number; my shots were flying all over the place.

I also got paired with players who were way above my skill level. When you’re mentally prepped for it, hitting with better players is challenging but uplifting. You learn from them, and that’s the entire raison d’être of the Clinic.

But when you’re feeling less than confident about your game, as I was that night, it can be utterly demoralizing.

By the time I got home, I was a bit shattered. And right as I walked in the door, my sister called to catch-up.

Sis: How was your birthday?

Moi: Not good. I’m a terrible tennis player and everyone at the Racquet Club hates me because I always make us lose our points.

I’m ashamed to say that I continued my pity party even after I got off the phone. To the extent that I even said to RH – the very RH who had just that morning gifted me with a new racquet:

“I’m at a fork in the road with tennis. Either I really commit, or I quit.”

We all know the happy-ending-in-process that’s coming next, right?

In the past six weeks, I have seriously seriously seriously doubled-down on my game.

1. I take Cardio Tennis class at least 2x a week. Whoa.

2. I show up for Women’s Clinic like clockwork, and I do everything in my power not to get anxious and discouraged if I’m partnered with some rockstar. I also don’t apologize profusely for bad shots; no one wants to hear that. Suck it up, babe. Move on.

3. I partake in a weekly doubles group lesson with my “snowbird” buddies Elise and Mary, who are super-sweet and, more important(ly), at the same level as me.

4. I hit with Hubby when he lets me. That’s usually only for a few minutes before he starts his games with the guys. That’s okay, I understand. He’s really good. Besides, he’s my RH, my not my PH, so I just enjoy our time together. Mr + Mrs Tennis Nut. Thwack!

 

 

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Beauty Armoire Monday-Slash-Tuesday: Pureology Smooth Perfection haircare has cracked the code

Oh my. This stuff. Good. Great, even.

Oh my. This stuff. Good. Great, even.

Jingle bells, jingle bells…

Here we are, 3 days before Xmas and I’m thinking about…frizz.

But for once in my ever-lovin life, my thoughts around frizz are cheerful.

Sparkling.

Unafraid to face the future.

There are two key reasons why I’ve been lifted out of my coarse hair despair: One I’ve already blogged about – my spiffy new T3 PROi dryer. The other I’m about to clue you in to this very second: Pureology Smooth Perfection.

I first learned about this groundbreaking goo – a full range including shampoo, conditioner, styling prods – this past summer, while researching and writing a DIY blowout story for the NY Post.

Sooooo good. I’ve already chewed through the shampoo and conditioner, so I need to re-up. But thankfully I still have plenty of the Intense Smoothing Cream, which I slather – lightly, lightly – on freshly washed hair right before drying.

Evidently, camellia oil plays a pivotal role in the Smooth Perfection collection. I’ve never really done much deep-thinking about camellia oil, but perhaps I should. Apparently it’s quite the hair-beautifier. Want proof? Here you go: Japanese women have sworn by it for centuries for hydrating dry, rough ends and revving up elasticity.

And, please, who has lovelier locks than Japanese women? No one, that’s who.

I’m not Japanese, not even a little bit.

I’m just a girl with naturally frizzy locks, who, because of Pureology Smooth Perfection and my trusty T3 PROi dryer, no longer wants to pull her hair out.

Sweet.

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