Archive for Looking Good

Summer Tips: Swimsuits, Razor Bumps, and Sunscreen

Here are a few tips to celebrate the start of summer. 

1) Land’s End has “slenderizing” swimsuits designed to make you look a size smaller.  I went with the “Control Separates Swim Mini” since I need some extra help this year, only six months after my third C-section.  The “Hi-neck Slender Swimsuit” did a good job on my mid-section, but the solid color didn’t do enough to camouflage.   

Sears has a Land’s End section in their retail stores.  They have several suits, but not all the styles and colors that I wanted.  If you don’t find what you want there you can order at the Land’s End kiosk in the Sears store to avoid shipping charges.   

2)  Use Tend Skin lotion to prevent razor bumps.  My OB/GYN recommended this to me, and it really works (if you remember to use it.)  Use it at least once a day and you won’t get ingrown hairs.  You can find it online, at Sephora, or at high-end spas. 

3) I highly recommend continuous spray sunscreen.  I prefer the transparent, no-rubbing-required kind; the lotion kind requires rubbing and can be drippy.  Wal-mart has the best deals; you can find it for under $7.  My kids have very fair skin, so the continuous spray saves me about three minutes per kid per day!

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On Crocs…

My kids and I love our Croc shoes.  My two-year-old daughter and I have purple ones and my four-year-old son has sea blue ones.  Yes, technically they are ugly, but what they lack in style they make up for in personality!

 I like that the kids can wear them without socks, thus reducing the amount of time I spend hunting for, putting on, and washing socks.  With three kids this time and effort can really add up! 

They are also easy to clean.  Last year I bought Serena some huarache sandals that smelled horrible by the end of the summer.  My sweet little angel had feet that smelled like a turd wrapped in burnt hair, to quote Anchorman.  Crocs are bacteria and odor resistant, and you can wipe them down with bleach. 

One word of warning:  I was told that they are top shelf dishwasher-safe.  They even mention this on the Crocs site:  http://www.crocs.com/consumer/news_details/208194/.  I did this and they came out at least one half size smaller, so watch out! 

I bought our Crocs at Nordstrom for $24.95.  They’re the same price at www.crocs.com, but you avoid the $8 for shipping.  I also found kids’ Crocs at Dick’s Sporting Goods, but they were $5 more and they didn’t have the sizes and colors that I needed. 

p.s.  If you decide to order from Dick’s, note that their website is www.dickssportinggoods.com.  I thought it was just dicks.com and got a nasty surprise.  My son was with me, and I just about had a heart attack.  Thank God they had a warning page saying that it was an adult site.

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More On the War Against VPLs…

An update to my thong post:  I bought my first pair of Spanx the other day.  I got a pair of Spanx “Higher Power” panties in an effort to smooth my mid-section for some low-cut pants. 

Overall I give them a big thumbs up!  They gave gentle support from just under my bra down to the middle of my thighs.  They stayed in place with no roll down from the top or ride up from the bottom.  They were pretty comfortable, even though I normally can’t stand any pressure on my stomach. 

The coolest/strangest thing was their gusset crotch that lets you urinate without taking off your Spanx.  It felt incredibly weird – like peeing with your clothes on – but it actually worked with no mess.  What a great idea; obviously these were designed by a woman! 

At $34 the Higher Power panties aren’t cheap, and they’re cumbersome enough that I wouldn’t want to wear and wash them every day, but they’re a great solution for a special occasion outfit.   

I also tried the Spanx trouser socks.  They were excellent too, though not necessarily worth the added cost ($10-12).  I am, however, intrigued by their reversible, two-colored trouser socks.  Those might be worth the additional investment. 

You can order Higher Power panties and trouser socks from www.Spanx.com or get them for the same price in the Nordstrom hosiery section.   

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And Now, A Word From Our Redhead…

I am a Crimson American.  My hair color started out strawberry blonde, then shifted to bright copper during the traumatic K-12 years and has now settled into a medium red color.  Being a redhead is a deeply embedded part of my identity because redheads are often singled out, for better or for worse.  Growing up, adults loved my hair (“what lovely hair you have, dear!”) while children – especially boys – teased me mercilessly.  “Flare hair,” “matchstick” and the old standby “carrot top” were only some of the names that I was called.  In junior high I volunteered at a nursing home where the seniors literally rubbed my hair for good luck.  This type of treatment is bound to give a person a complex. 

The red hair came with blond eyelashes and white skin that made Boo Radley look like George Hamilton by comparison.  The eyelash problem was solved when my mother finally let me wear mascara in seventh grade. It was salvation in a pink and green tube; I can count on two hands the number of people who have seen me without mascara since 1984.  The breathtakingly pale skin never changed, but thanks to self-tanning lotion people can now look at my bare legs without shielding their eyes from the glare.   

When I was about sixteen some of my peers – including the occasional boy – decided that as afflictions go, red hair wasn’t quite as bad as leprosy, and since then I’ve come to see my red hair as a blessing instead of a curse.  It really is a lovely color, and it doesn’t cost me a dime.  Plus, my husband has a thing for redheads. 

My children have somehow escaped my scarlet fate; my sons are blond and my daughter is a striking brunette.  They are kind, funny, smart, and gorgeous, and/but they are not redheaded.  I’ve noticed that most of the redheaded children I see around town have one or two non-redheaded parents, so allow me to share a few hard-earned life lessons here.   

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT DRESS REDHEADED CHILDREN IN BRIGHT PINK.  Red and bright orange are forbidden too, but bright pink is the worst offender.  I realize that it is somewhat difficult to find non-pink clothes for little girls, and that this may preclude you from wearing some hand-me-downs, but this is an unbreakable rule.  Never, never, never!  Reddish clothing fights with the hair color.  Blue, green, and purple are best.  Brown is fine too, and black works, though its contrast with very pale skin (think piano keys) can be unflattering. 

Put sunscreen on your redheaded children every time they go outside.  Also, if you are going to be outside for more than two hours, cover your kids with clothing or umbrellas, because sunscreen won’t cut it.  I can literally feel my skin burning after being in the bright sun for over fifteen minutes.  The kick in the pants is that fair skin burns the easiest and is the most susceptible to wrinkles and skin cancer.  Also, it turns out that the freckles that some people call “angel kisses” are also referred to as “sun damage” by narrow-minded dermatologists.  Luckily this sun damage is partially counteracted by the “Richie Cunningham Effect” which causes freckled redheads to look eighteen until they are fifty years old. 

When it’s time for makeup, let your redheaded daughters wear mascara as soon as possible/appropriate.  Adolescence is hard enough without a total absence of facial pigment.  As for lipstick and nail polish, redheads need to wear orange, peach, or brown-based colors, rather than red or pink.  Trust me; I have plenty of photos from the eighties to prove this. 

Don’t ever call them “carrot top” or other “funny” redhead nickname.  They’ll get teased enough; they don’t need to hear these jibes at home. 

p.s. When I looked up “redheaded” in an online thesaurus, it suggested “hardhearted,” “hardheaded,” and “retarded.”  Looks like there’s still work to be done…   http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/redheaded   

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My Thong Song, Err…Post

The founder of Spanx (footless and/or legless pantyhose) stockings said on TV last week that she wants to make the world a better place one butt at a time.  In that spirit, here’s what I’ve been telling my girlfriends for years:  I am pro-thong.  Here’s why: 

  • Men like thongs.  It doesn’t matter what size or shape of bottom the thong is riding, this is an empirical fact.  I don’t know why; maybe it’s because thongs flatter all figures (yes, really), or maybe it’s the inherent naughtiness – clearly his mother didn’t wear one.  For whatever reason, your man will be pleased if you make the switch. 

  • Thongs prevent the dreaded visible panty line (VPL), which are practically unavoidable with traditional underwear.  Even panties that claim to prevent VPL’s are, in my experience, ineffective.  Unless you’re going the more drastic Spanx or pantyhose route, you’ll need to wear a thong to prevent a VPL.  (Note: if you think that your VPL doesn’t look bad or isn’t that obvious YOU ARE WRONG.)  Plus, if you follow my golden rule of thongs (below) you’ll also get another benefit – you’ll avoid wedgies. 

  • Now that you know my pro-thong arguments, here is the all-important key to wearing a thong:  BUY YOUR THONG AT LEAST ONE SIZE BIGGER THAN YOUR NORMAL UNDERWEAR.  Following this advice will help you to avoid the uncomfortable constricted feeling that you are wearing anal floss.  This will also prevent the incredibly unattractive fat displacement that too-tight underwear can cause at the waistband.  There is no downside to buying larger thongs, since you don’t have to worry about sagging cheek fabric.   

You’ll also want to make sure that the front crotch area is big enough to cover everything and that you find an appropriate, lightly stretchy fabric, but these are secondary requirements.  Buying a size larger is non-negotiable.  If you follow this rule you’ll find thong wearing to be comfortable and you may even stop buying regular panties for weekends and jean wearing. 

Good luck ladies. You and your husbands can thank me later.  (Apologies to my own husband, you reads this blog and has just gotten way too much information!)  

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