12 September 2008

Product Review Time!

Looking around my house, I realize how much bloggers have affected my buying patterns. (Are you listening, marketers? LOL).

I'm as clueless as the next person when I walk into a store, so when someone I virtually know and truly love, like Jonniker (aka Jonniker the Pregnant Puker) says they think Secret Platinum anti-perspirant is the best thing ever invented, I make a mental note.
Secret for a blog post
This is the Vanilla Chai scent, which, if you know me, is probably making you say "Hey, I thought you were Unscented Girl?" to which I am answering, "Why yes, I am Unscented Girl, but my Vons Market is apparently not aware of that." Why, why, Vons, do you have dozens of weird scents but no unscented? Are you trying to hurt me? Why do you hate me so?

Anyway, it was a sweat emergency and Vanilla Chai (OMG is that the MOST ridiculous underarm scent you can imagine?? Like people are thinking "I would love to have my pits smell like Starbucks!") was better than Tropical Typhoon or Floral Bash-to-the-Head. It smells kind of like a rum-filled Tiki Bar drink, so all day long I walk around feeling slightly tipsy and as if I am holding a carved-out pineapple in one hand.

What was I saying? Oh, Secret Platinum anti-perspirant works great, especially the UNSCENTED kind.


My next item came to me on a recommendation from Amalah, probably on her beauty thingy over at AlphaMom, Amalah's Advice Smackdown.

Curel, for a blog post I was always the person most likely to have crusty elbows and scaly calves until I found the Magic Curel in the Blue Bottle (notice - unscented!).

I am super sensitive to lotions. Most scents give me a throbbing headache. Most lotions give me pimples. But Curel is perfect and makes my skin soft and lovely.

One day I got chastized by some beauty people who asked me about what lotion I was using because the Curel is "drugstore brand" instead of their $60 Miracle Mouse Milk or whatever.

I wanted to wave a copy of the wonderful Paula Begoun's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me book. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Paula lays it all out in simple but scientific terms. What works, what doesn't, what is good for your skin, what is bad. You can scare the hell out of those chicks in the white lab coats at Macy's with this. Check it out.


Yesterday I knew I would have a couple hours til dinner and I was at the drug store, trying to puzzle out Dad's latest prescriptions (mix a forgetful, cranky old dude with 8 prescriptions, Medicare, a complicated benefit structure and clueless pharmacy techs and what do you get? Me, making multiple cell phone calls and standing at the counter for 30 minutes) so I bought a box of these:Fiber One for a blogpost I thought that they would be sticky and sweet, which seemed about right at the time.

I was right on both counts, but I underestimated the good people at GM and their commitment to Fiber. Look, I'm a vegetarian, so it's not like I need a lot more fiber in my diet. I eat oatmeal mixed with wheat bran for breakfast every single day, and I honestly think that fulfills my daily fiber needs for about 3 weeks at a time.

These Fiber One bars take the sticky thing a little too far by actually seeming to contain sticks. I didn't SEE sticks, but it sure felt like I was chewing on them. I have no idea what is in here to be so...persistently chewable, but it is in there, and unpleasantly so.

The other problem is with the sweet. These aren't just sweet. They are so sweet they remind me of the times I had pancakes and would lick the syrup off the plate when my mom turned her back...The kind of sweet that makes your eyebrows fly up and your head shake involuntarily.

So thumbs up on the Secret Platinum and the blue-bottle Curel. Thumbs down on the Fiber One bars.

Any questions? Any finds of your own?

10 September 2008

9/11 Tribute: W. David Bauer

Two years ago on September 11, I became part of Project 2,996, a blogging effort to honor each of the people killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Thanks to Issa who re-posted her remembrance, I decided to do the same.


The victims. We hear it over and over again about Sept. 11, 2001. The 2,996 victims.

The person that I am writing about, W. David Bauer, Jr., may have been a victim for one short moment of his life. But for the rest of his 45 years, he was clearly a winner. From what I have read about him, he was a player and a competitor, someone who took to the field of life with gusto and determination and who gave it all he had.

In the NY Times tribute article, it mentions that he competed in a triathlon on the weekend of Sept. 8-9, 2001 before coming home to watch his sons play football and the to grill steaks and to drink good red wine with his family and friends.

He also played football in college at Villanova. One of his friends from college said: "His nickname was "Superman" because he could catch the bullet passes of our starting quarterback, Brian Sikorski, with one hand, either hand!"

He also had a lifelong love of basketball and volleyball. His teammate Tom Dooley said "I knew David as a competitor on the basketball court when we were both well past our prime playing days...[He] was a gentleman of the highest caliber on and off the court."

In business, too, he competed and thrived. He climbed up through the ranks at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse First Boston before becoming head of global sales for eSpeed, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald. He was one of 658 Cantor employees who died in the World Trade Center towers.

Mr. Bauer, who was 45 years old at the time of his death, was married to his wife Ginny and had three children, David, Steven and Jackie. He lived in Rumson, New Jersey.

So this is a man who lived, who really lived. He was someone who made good things happen for himself, his family and his friends. The type of hard-working, hard-playing family guy who is the backbone of our country and whom you would probably love as a neighbor.

My very best wishes to the Bauer family. I am sorry for your loss and I hope this tribute did Mr. Bauer justice.

Here is a link to the 2,996 project.

09 September 2008

Why I am voting for Barack Obama

This post has been a long time in the making. I knew I was going to vote for Obama, but getting around to writing all the reasons has taken time. My reasons aren't about policy, generally. Policy is a large, complex machine that can be derailed at any point. These are more general.

Let's go.

1. I want a smart guy to be President. I'm sick of having an idiot (or someone who plays one on TV) in the White House. I don't want someone I can have a beer with. I don't want someone who is like me. I want the smartest guy in the class. Where do the smart kids go? To the best schools they can get into. Obama went to Columbia as an undergrad and to Harvard Law. YOU try getting into Harvard Law. Then try getting onto Law Review. Then become editor-in-chief. Out of an average of 7500 applicants to Harvard Law, around 560 are accepted. And only one becomes Harvard Law EIC. It isn't proof of genius, but it's a good start. And it is a lot better than graduating fifth from the bottom of your class, as John McCain did.

2. I want someone who is well-spoken to be President, someone who can act as a statesman. Obama can speak clearly and intelligently to foreign leaders. After eight years of President Bush, we need someone who can step onto the world stage, as Obama did in Berlin, and show the people that things are changing in the United States. I am tired of my country being represented by people who are crude and unsophisticated and who say and do stupid things in public.

Compare and contrast:

3. I want someone who isn't white to be President. Oh my Gah, she said something RACIAL!! I think it is about time. The United States has a gaping stomach wound around race that is gushing blood and that won't heal by itself. A biracial President would help stitch us back together. Obama's connections to Africa via his father, his international family and even his middle name of Hussein help send the signal that we are ready to move on and include people other than old white guys at the highest levels of power.

4. I want someone who inspires people to be my President. Much has been made of Obama's "celebrity." Obama is famous and beloved because he speaks to people's hearts. He talks about our deepest values and asks us to be better people. This is something we respond to in a much bigger way than "I'm going to cut your taxes." He speaks to young people and people of all colors like no other politician out there. Yesterday online I read someone sneering that they were sick of him talking about hope. Since when is hope BAD? I want that inspiration. I need that hope.

5. I want someone with good values to be President. Obama's life has been about improving himself, serving other people and raising a good family. Despite 18 months of vetting, no one has come up with anything significant. He knew a few bad people. Name a politician that doesn't. He hasn't divorced anyone when they were recovering from a serious accident, as McCain did when be began his affair with his present wife. He hasn't called his wife a cunt in public, as it has been reported that McCain did.

6. I want someone with a good temperament. I haven't heard much about Obama's temper, but McCain's is legendary. Bush is famously tetchy, too. Cranky people are hard to talk to and hard to reason with (I should know - I can be one!). The Prez, like any good leader, needs to be approachable.

7. I want someone who isn't bound up with the Bush White House and with Karl Rove-style politics. Sarah Palin is already out there repeating bald-faced lies about her record. I think the McCain campaign has taken a page from the Bush/Rove book there, where you lie and lie and lie, and pretty soon people start to believe you. Ick.

8. I want my constitution back, complete with protections from being spied on without suspicion, preservation of habeas corpus, an end to the use of torture, etc. The Republicans have shown remarkably little spine in this area. Democrats aren't much better, but Obama answered my question about torture in his BlogHer interview in a way that made me very happy.

9. Isn't 8 enough? Ok, here's a totally shallow one: I want a president who is Kennedy cool. When Obama got that dirt off his shoulder, he sent a clear message about his cool. Watch the audience react: they know.

08 September 2008

Monday report

There is an article in the NY Times this morning about Stephanie of Nie Nie Dialogues and the amazing response by the blogosphere to the accident in which she and her husband, Christian, were badly injured.

I love that this is happening. As the article says, Stephanie touched so many people because she tried to express a sense of joy and happiness on her blog.

I have been doing some digging lately, trying to find what makes me really happy. Hint: it isn't what you see on commercials. Rarely does my new carpet cleaner make me dance around in giddy circles.

Here's my list of some of the top happiness-generators:

  • Giving. So much fun

  • Expressing creativity through words, photos, dance

  • Helping family and friends

  • Hanging out with people I like, even if we are just sitting on the front steps yakking

  • Being in control of my reactions, so I am not at the mercy of other people's emotions

  • Being able to take care of myself financially, emotionally, physically

  • Taking a stand when I need to

  • Noticing beauty everywhere

  • Being reliable and working hard to fulfill my commitments
For instance, as far as giving goes, I have been handing out "Wag More. Bark Less" magnets and stickers. I bought ten of each and gave them to random people, some of whom I already knew and others who were strangers (for instance, Max's parents got a sticker). It made them smile and made me feel like I had spread a little ray of sunshine.

Those are a few of my favorite ways to be happy. What are some of yours?
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