Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Don't Wanna Be A Greaser

Ever since I had my "makeover", I've gotten a little more into products. I've always used a dry shampoo here and there, because I'm only a two or three day a week hair washer. My hair gets dry and damaged easily and it's thin. It looks like there is a lot of it, but there isn't. I can wrap a standard hairband around my ponytail three times. I also don't have time to wash my hair everyday. I'm already late for work daily as it is.

I usually buy my hair products in CVS because it's next to my store and convenient. Not shampoo and conditioner, but the products you use after washing- like heat protectant, shine spray. dry shampoo. But CVS changes the products they carry and raise their prices all the time. It's ridiculous. Sometimes, stuff in CVS is three times the price it is in the supermarket, Target, or Harmon. I don't care how convenient it is, there are just things I can't buy knowing it's a total rip-off. I'm like a contestant on The Price Is Right. I actually know what stuff costs and where. Batiste dry shampoo is like six dollars in Target, but when CVS did sell it, I think it was around nine dollars. I just looked on their website and it wasn't even on there anymore. Another example though, is make up. This Almay stuff I use is $17.49 in CVS but nine dollars and change at Target, Harmon, etc. Even my prescriptions that don't go through insurance are often twice the price at CVS. It's highway robbery.

The first one I ever bought was Psssst. That was horrible. I sprayed it on and I looked like George Washington. My whole head had white residue. Then I tried Batiste, which was recommended on a message board I frequent. It comes in a bunch of different scents. It was fine if you don't spray too much, but I didn't love it. It still had visible residue. As did CVS brand, which was probably next.

I saw Salon Grafix (SG) brand one day and bought that. I LOVE it. It's the only one that doesn't seem to have any visible residue and you don't feel it on your hair. Some of the others I could feel. It changed the texture of my hair like I put some wax in it. Like thickening up pancake batter or something. Yay!

Of course, that is no longer at CVS. Awesome! I'd also just got an express keratin treatment (the one that only requires your hair to be perfectly straight and unwashed for only 24 hours), so I was concerned about ingredients. Shannon, who did my keratin, only said not to shampoo with anything that has sodium chloride in it. Of course I went down the rabbit hole of reading about keratin treatments and what else to stay away from to make it last. E and I spend forty-five minutes reading shampoo bottles in Harmon one afternoon looking for the various "bad" ingredients I'd read about. Cousins, if you will, to sodium chloride. Then I started reading the backs of the dry shampoos because I was thinking- well, they're still technically called shampoo....

I had a twenty-five percent off coupon for CVS so I bought Nexxus dry shampoo. It was expensive, around fifteen dollars. I had the coupon so I bought it anyway. Nexxus has a good reputation so I thought it could be decent. Nope. Residue and sticky hair.

I went to TJ Maxx the other night because I had to pick something up at Toys r Us next door to it, and I didn't want to go home. My eight year old was acting like he was four, and I needed a break from him. I was just going to walk around like I used to do in Loehmann's. However, just an FYI, TJ Maxx is NO Loehmann's. I don't care if other TJ Maxx stores are "better" than Paramus, nothing, NOTHING, will fill the gaping hole in my heart that Loehmann's left when they closed. Anyhow, in the ginormous, disastrous, dirty mess of TJ Maxx, I found some other brand of dry shampoo, on clearance for two dollars. I decided for two dollars, I might as well try it. Nope. It sucked too.

So the verdict for me is in. It's SG or bust. I'm sure they have it in Harmon, so next time I go to Bergen Town Center, on the way back home, I'll have to remember to stop in there. If you have any other recommendations, I'm all hair.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Take the G.L.A.M. pledge!

Make the Dream of Prom a Reality for a Young Woman in Need!  

Take the $5 G.L.A.M Pledge Today! 
Calling all Magic Makers! Please consider sponsoring a young woman in need for her prom. For just $5 (tax-deductible dollars), you can outfit a girl with a prom dress, accessories, and makeup so she can feel confident and beautiful. Many of our girls are in foster care or shelters, and this gives them the chance to feel "normal" for a day and participate in senior prom with everyone else. Take the Pledge!
If you're unable to donate, please join us as a volunteer! You can sign up here: Volunteer

Our Mission WGIRLS is a philanthropic organization of women dedicated to empowering women and children in underserved communities by volunteering and providing support, while training our members to develop them into effective volunteers.
Our Vision WGIRLS believes that all women and children regardless of race, religion or financial situation, deserve access to quality education, healthcare, strong, positive influences for themselves and their children, and a safe and loving home. To that end, the WGIRLS creates programming and supports partner organizations who share our mission to meet the following goals:
Encourage all disadvantaged women and children to rise above their circumstances in pursuit of education, financial independence and self sufficiency
  • Provide quality healthcare to disadvantaged women and children
  • Provide quality education and career opportunities to disadvantaged women and children throughout our local communities and the surrounding areas
  • Afford disadvantaged children and their families’ amenities such as new clothing, toiletries, school supplies and gifts during the holidays so that they may experience a sense of pride and normalcy in their everyday lives
  • Provide a safe haven for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse
  • Provide a safe and welcoming environment for the children of disadvantaged working mothers

Monday, April 3, 2017

(Updated) Mommy Makeover: Part 7: The Finale

**I updated with make-up info and Kathleen's contact info below**

My last treatments of the Mommy Makeover package have been completed. My days of leisurely beauty treatments have finally come to an end after two months of back and forth to Englewood/Englewood Cliffs. While it wasn't always easy to take off work just to work on my beauty, I enjoyed it immensely, and it gave me a renewed motivation to take daily care of my appearance. I'm still not going to wear make-up every day, or wash my hair daily (or even every other), but as Rhonda, the head expert in charge, at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center said, I have a new spring in my step. That translates to not walking around like the Frances McDormand character in Friends With Money. "My arms get tired..." (B's favorite line)

My last appointment was to be at Iluminada Studio, where I was getting a pedicure, wax, hair wash/blow-out and style. Originally, it was supposed to be a manicure, pedicure and blow-out. I get a special manicure though, due to my genetically weak nails, and they don't do that there. Sobeida, the owner, was more than happy to substitute the manicure out with a waxing. Six one way, half a dozen the other.

Well, I wasn't taking a pic of my wax
The lady who does the waxing and pedicure is the same person who did the paraffin wax treatment on my hands and the massage the last time I was there. Her name is Beatrice Diaz. I've gotten waxed at like four different places over my time of doing this, by probably like five different people. For those of you scared of getting a Brazilian, if it was like ten years ago, I would say you should be scared. The old kind of wax did really hurt. Now, they've come up with basically ouch-less wax. I started going to European Wax Center like two years ago and it was like a different world. Totally different wax than I was used to when I'd be in a woman's townhouse, sweating and gripping a stress ball because of the pain. I don't know what kind of wax they use at Iluminada, but this was either the gentlest woman or wax or both that I've experienced yet. I really could've likened it to kitten licks. Ok, maybe it wasn't kitten licks but it certainly was bearable. Beatrice then gave me a great, relaxing pedicure. It was the first time I had one since the fall, I think. I was REALLY due.

Kathleen Stolarz and her friend Kathy Sudol came at noon to do my make-up. They also do make-up for weddings and other events as a team. Since this was the culmination of all the work that had been done on me in the past two months, I was to be camera-ready so that BC Magazine would have photos of my transformation for the story they are doing on this makeover giveaway. Kathleen is who did my Dermaplaning and chemical peel a week prior. They brought their whole giant metal "Caboodles" case filled with MAC goodies.

This make-up team was like having Erika Jayne's glam squad. I used to like when I'd be at the nail salon and to move things along, they'd give me one person on one hand and one on the other. This tag team effort this time wasn't just for time saving, but they work off each other picking colors and lashes and whatever else went on my face. I felt like one of those Farrah Fawcett heads/busts when I was kid. Or like they were doing surgery. It was with such care and precision. I couldn't believe how easily they got these giant Ardell lashes on me. Especially considering it takes me like thirty minutes to get them on myself.

Make-up Talk: 
They used the Mac eye shadow palette called "Warm Neutral". Before the foundation went on, Smash Box "Photo Finish" foundation primer was applied. That helps smooth out any fine lines wrinkles, camouflages any large pores, and helps the foundation goes on like paint. Then, the Mac "Studio Water Weight Foundation SPF 30, NC 27 was applied over the primer. After that, they used a Mac bronzer. The color is "Golden". Finally, they put on Mac blush named, "Blush Baby". The lashes used were Ardell in "Mega Volume". The liner was Mac "Fluid Line" in "Black Track". The lipliner was NYX brand and the lipstick was Mac "Half & Half" and mixed that with Mac "Brave". On the eyebrows, she used a powder bro duo in Anastasia in "Soft Brown"

Kathleen asked me if she gave me a MAC eyeshadow palette, would I promise to wear it. I told her that I would, only if she sent me explicit instructions on what to do with them. Of course, no one in town will recognize me if I start showing up to school pick-up with all this on, but that's fine. E will know me. She gave me these little SkinCeuticals serums too but I need directions for those too.

For facial treatments, call her at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center. Her phone number for make-up is (201) 417-0101 and her email is

I put this in because it's cute- That's Shannon
After Kathleen and K finished my make-up, it was time for my blow-out and style by Shannon. I was excited for this, because the last time, I didn't get the full benefit of Shannon's work. I had gotten the Express Keratin treatment so she couldn't style me since I had to have my hair perfectly flat and unwashed for twenty-four hours. Shannon was unaware she would be in any photos, so she wasn't exactly thrilled that I was having pics snapped from every angle, but she was lovely about it. I often forget most people are not like me in the way of not caring at all whatsoever if my best side is not showing in photos going public. Clearly, since I posted pics of my fat for the Cool Sculpting entries.

Shannon expertly curled my hair and then Shannon, Kathleen and I took a bunch of photos. Seeing the hair from the back in the photos was so amazing to me. It looked like the hair you pin to Pinterest. It didn't even look like me, to me. If only I had someone to do this to me daily.

I have to point out that Iluminada is the most laid-back, relaxing kind of place. It was a Wednesday, all day, and no one seemed harried or crazed. It was very zen in there. I can see people feeling very happy and pampered, as it should be. I just don't think that's always the case. I went somewhere near where I live, once, for just a blow-out, and it felt so stressful in there. Just really loud, tons of people, and everything moving really quick. That's fine when you're in a hurry, but if you really want to just luxuriate and be taken care of, Iluminada is the way to go.

After Shannon styled me

Then we were done. It felt so...bittersweet. I felt and looked great, had spent the day getting beautified, had fun conversation, and took the photos. I had given both Iluminada and Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center each a card and a bell cake from Zadies, to show my appreciation, but there will never be enough appreciation. I never could've or would've done any of this. They made me stop in the middle of my chaotic schedule, running from work to E's activities, and endless errands, to take care of me. It was definitely a huge treat. I'd turned forty and wasn't that thrilled with the toll age was taking. I just didn't have the time or means to do anything about it. Sobeida, Rhonda and both of their staff did that for me. They gave me a much needed and belated fortieth birthday gift.

I told Kathleen that any time she needed a model to do live social media posts of procedures, I'm her girl.

Really, I can't forget to thank my husband, B, for which this would have never happened at all had he not entered me in this giveaway in the first place! So, thank you B for giving me the gift of turning back time on my face.  From now on, I only want beauty treatments as gift!

And yes, we did go out that night to dinner. I couldn't waste the make-up and the outfit just on going home to watch The Voice.

Makeover Part 1
Makeover Part 2
Makeover Part 3
Update on Cool Sculpting 
Makeover Part 4
Makeover Part 5
Makeover Part 6