Sunday, July 13, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Blush is actually the only make-up item I can't do without.
That is - if I would have to limit muself to just one make-up item, ut would be blush.
But untill recently I couldn't find a perfect one, so I had loads of all kinds of blushes at home, none of each I was quite happy with.
Now I am - thanks to MAC!
The shade is called Pinch O'Peach, it's a powder blush, and it belongs to the MAC range of Sheertone blushes. Anctually I'm amazed at the concept of sheetone blushes itself, so I might be getting more of those.
The one that I have now is really naturally looking, you can hardly use too much since it's 'sheer' and it really refreshens my face - exactly what I wanted from a blush. The 'peach' in the name is a but misleading I think. I was looking for a pink mat blush, when I came to the store, and that's exactly what it is.
A bit of me blushed :-))) :
Sorry about the quality, I don't know how much of the perfection can be actually seen, but this blush is the best! It's a natural tenderly pink color that makes me look years younger and having- slept-hours-more-last-night-than-the-truth-is. Am happy :-)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Bethe Morisot La Chasse aux Papillons. 1874
There is also a song by Georges Brassens called La Chasse aux Papillons, but I didn't find a good video for it, so here is another french chanson - Ce matin Là by Barbara It also very well reflects the mood of the perfume I am actually reviewing, in case it is not quite clear :-)))
So, the perfume is La Chasse aux Papillons
by L`Artisan parfumeur
This one -
The description on the company site is amazing - "Linden and citrus blossom - the whole summer medley of aromas are at the heart of “Chasing Butterflies”… A scent playing hide-and- seek amongst the orange and lemon trees. A siesta beneath the old lime tree… Butterflies dancing in an airborne fairy ring, fragrances of summer blossoms, of sweet and delicate tuberoses, wafting through their tiny shivering wings… Such are the scents caught with the butterfly net.
“Chasing Butterflies”... A fragrance drifting on a summer breeze, sunny heat over southern scents. The fragrance of sun-kissed skin - just simply that. To make summer last a little longer!"
I really couldn't describe this perfume any better. It is one of my favourite L`Artisan parfumeur fragrances, and I'm a L`Artisan parfumeur fan. La Chasse aux Papillons is a truly summer fragrance, but a sophisticated one, not your usual summer citrucy freshwater. It is delicate and complex, and it changes, and it may feel totally different depending on God Knows What - but always light and tender. Like a butterfly quietly sitting on your shoulder, while you are sleeping in a medow.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
These are my LUSH temple balms and solid perfumes.
Flying Fox (the orange one) temple balm is probably my favourite of the bunch right now, and I'm actually using it as a solid perfume. It smells of jasmine and honey - similar to the Flying Fox shower gel, that I also unexpectedly started to like. Unexpectedly - because the first time that I smelled it I hated it, it seemed overpowering and gave me nausea and headache... Well, strange things happen, now it's one of my favourite LUSH products.
Dream Time - (the blue one) is another temple balm. To me it smells like Dream Cream (OR Angels on Bare Skin exfoliator). It's nice. In my experience, it doesn't really cure insomnia - I'm not sure if it's suppposed to, but it is relaxing, helps with minor headaches and can be actually used for calmin small skin irritations.
Honey I Washed the Kids and American Cream - (the black things) are the two solid perfumes that I have so far. I like both of them, but honestly both their namesakes (the soap and the hair conditioner) are better. That is, they smell better - for my liking. But I like the idea of solid perfumes, and am going to get more of them. My new love is Karma, so I guess it's going to be the next :-)
The little red tin keeping them company is the Vietnamese balm called "Golden Star" or something. I don't know about Vietnam but in Russia it's like a universal medicine for some people - as it used to be in the USSR, it's a very old product, you see, a product with a history :-))))) In fact it is quite a useful thing, not a cure-all of course, but it's good to have it at hand. Essentially it contains clove, cinnamon and peppermint oils, menthol, camphor and eucalyptus oil - all the basic things. :-)
All right, so, what we see here is (l-r): Coconut, Cosmetic Lad, Tea Tree Water, Lemony Flutter, Dream Cream.
Coconut is a powder deodorant - one of the several deodorants that LUSH has. I basically got it because I thought I should try some alternative to the usual antiperspirants with these harmful aluminum salts and stuff. Let's see - as an alternative it really worked - better than I actually expected. Being used to Nivea and Rexona deodorants I somehow thought that if it's natural and supposedly safe - it simply cannot work. Well - it can. It actually prevents all the unpleasant odour and lasts long enough. There are some downsides to it though - the first is that it being a powder it can't but leave some white traces, so I wouldn't use it wearing something black. I also wouldn't use it wearing something white - because since it is not an antiperspirant (which is a good thing healthwise) it doesn't really prevent you from sweating (a good thing healthwise). But all these downsides are ignorable - like I said - as an alternative it's just great. So I would definitely recommend it for a change - to alternate with you regular deo.
What's worse - in my case - is that it turned out that I really don't like the coconut smell. I actually knew that when I was buying Coconut, but for some reason I thought that it's just that chemical coconut smell that you usually get in cheap perfume and bathworks that I hate. Nope. I don't like coconut smell period. Well, too bad, I guess I'll need another deodorand powder, still not sure which, besides I hear that Coconut is actually the most effective.. :-(
Cosmetic Lad - moisturiser. Well, for me it's just ok, I'm still in search of a perfect moisturiser. But CL is not bad, it is supposed to be a moisturiser good enough to convert guys to using moisturisers as such and LUSH in particular :-) It is good enough for girls too and I've heard many girls praying by it. So it might work miracles for some, I guess. Not me. However I really like the smell - it's creamy and sweet, a bit like a chewing-gum, in my opinion, but not too sweet. (It shouldn't scare the guys away, remember? :-))
Tea Tree Water toner. I really like this toner, it did make my skin visibly better - not that it needed some dramatic improvement - thanks God. I have basically a normal skin sometimes sensitive. This toner promises to cure the irritations and blemishes you have. I personally love it for its pore diminishing quality - after a mask or exfoliation I feel that I need to squeeze those open pores back, and TTW gives me this nice feeling.
Lemony Flutter I've already written about. Still love it.
Dream Cream - body lotion for troubled skin. I would never dream of spending so much money on a body cream :-))) But this cream is just legendary. Some people say it helped them get rid of some skin problems they've been having for ages. I just had to give it a try. I'm not crazy about the smell, but it's not unpleasant. Sort of chamomile-lavenderish neutral smell, that kind of reminds me hundreds of creams from my childhood, but none in particular. Great moisturiser, a little goes a long way, which kind of balances its price. As for its miraculous qualities - yeah, I've already had a chance to check them. I got a little burn from a cooking oil, and applied some DC right away. Well, I don't know, may be any cream would have done the same, but less than in 10 minutes I completely forgot about the burn! Being a butterfingers that I m, I'm thinking it's gonna be my staple :-)
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Hasta siempre - Nathalie Cardone
Hasta Siempre-Buena Vista Social Club
Aprendimos a quererte
desde la histórica altura
donde el sol de tu bravura
le puso cerco a la muerte
Aquí se queda la clara
la entrañable transparencia
de tu querida presencia
comandante Che Guevara
Tu mano gloriosa y fuerte
sobre la historia dispara
cuando todo Santa Clara
se despierta para verte
Vienes quemando la brisa
con soles de primavera
para plantar la bandera
con la luz de tu sonrisa
Tu amor revolucionario
Te conduce a nueva empresa
Donde espera la firmeza
De tu brazo libertario
Como junto a tí seguimos,
Y con Fidel te decimos:
¡hasta siempre comandante!
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
É pau, é pedra, é o fim do caminho
É um resto de toco, é um pouco sozinho
É um caco de vidro, é a vida, é o sol
É a noite, é a morte, é um laço, é o anzol
É peroba do campo, é o nó da madeira
Caingá, candeia, é o Matita Pereira
É madeira de vento, tombo da ribanceira
É o mistério profundo, é o queira ou não queira
É o vento ventando, é o fim da ladeira
É a viga, é o vão, festa da cumeeira
É a chuva chovendo, é conversa ribeira
Das águas de março, é o fim da canseira
É o pé, é o chão, é a marcha estradeira
Passarinho na mão, pedra de atiradeira
É uma ave no céu, é uma ave no chão
É um regato, é uma fonte, é um pedaço de pão
É o fundo do poço, é o fim do caminho
No rosto o desgosto, é um pouco sozinho
É um estrepe, é um prego, é uma conta, é um conto
É uma ponta, é um ponto, é um pingo pingando
É um peixe, é um gesto, é uma prata brilhando
É a luz da manhã, é o tijolo chegando
É a lenha, é o dia, é o fim da picada
É a garrafa de cana, o estilhaço na estrada
É o projeto da casa, é o corpo na cama
É o carro enguiçado, é a lama, é a lama
É um passo, é uma ponte, é um sapo, é uma rã
É um resto de mato, na luz da manhã
São as águas de março fechando o verão
É a promessa de vida no teu coração
É uma cobra, é um pau, é João, é José
É um espinho na mão, é um corte no pé
É um passo, é uma ponte, é um sapo, é uma rã
É um belo horizonte, é uma febre terçã
São as águas de março fechando o verão
É a promessa de vida no teu coração
A stick, a stone,
It's the end of the road,
It's the rest of a stump,
It's a little alone
It's a sliver of glass,
It is life, it's the sun,
It is night, it is death,
It's a trap, it's a gun
The oak when it blooms,
A fox in the brush,
A knot in the wood,
The song of a thrush
The wood of the wind,
A cliff, a fall,
A scratch, a lump,
It is nothing at all
It's the wind blowing free,
It's the end of the slope,
It's a beam, it's a void,
It's a hunch, it's a hope
And the river bank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the end of the strain,
The joy in your heart
The foot, the ground,
The flesh and the bone,
The beat of the road,
A slingshot's stone
A fish, a flash,
A silvery glow,
A fight, a bet,
The range of a bow
The bed of the well,
The end of the line,
The dismay in the face,
It's a loss, it's a find
A spear, a spike,
A point, a nail,
A drip, a drop,
The end of the tale
A truckload of bricks
in the soft morning light,
The shot of a gun
in the dead of the night
A mile, a must,
A thrust, a bump,
It's a girl, it's a rhyme,
It's a cold, it's the mumps
The plan of the house,
The body in bed,
And the car that got stuck,
It's the mud, it's the mud
A flight, a wing,
A hawk, a quail,
The promise of spring
And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life
It's the joy in your heart
A stick, a stone,
It's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump,
It's a little alone
A snake, a stick,
It is John, it is Joe,
It's a thorn in your hand
and a cut in your toe
A point, a grain,
A bee, a bite,
A blink, a buzzard,
A sudden stroke of night
A pin, a needle,
A sting, a pain,
A snail, a riddle,
A wasp, a stain
A pass in the mountains,
A horse and a mule,
In the distance the shelves
rode three shadows of blue
And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life
in your heart, in your heart
A stick, a stone,
The end of the road,
The rest of a stump,
A lonesome road
A sliver of glass,
A life, the sun,
A knife, a death,
The end of the run
And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the end of all strain,
It's the joy in your heart.
NB: (wiki again)"Composer-guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves relates that Jobim told him that writing in this kind of stream of consciousness was his version of therapy and saved him thousands in psychoanalysis bills".
how cool :-)
The problem is that the result I get with this or that shampoo is highly unpredictable. It doesn't depend on price. I've had some VERY bad experience with VERY expensive shampoos.
Specifically, the japanese proffessional hair cair brand MoltoBene - well, I personally find $30+ very expensive for a shampoo. That was a total disaster, my hair looked really bad - unwashed and unwanted. I'm ashamed of it now, but I actually used up the whole big jar, because I was genuinely hoping that such a "high-end" shampoo can't but be doing me good. Even if you can't tell it by the way it looks. Not that I'm saying that this is a bad brand. I've read tons of the reviews (why do you thinj I bougth it?) of the happy and satisfied customers. Too bad I can't be one of them.
On the other hand I've had some really good experience with some mass-market shampoos (NOT ALL OF THEM) and even with some - very unknown globally - and very reasonably priced (to say the least) Russian and Belorussian shampoos.
At the moment I have the following shampoos in heavy rotation:
1. Gliss Kur
2. Elseve by L'Oreal
3. Butter milk shampoo by a Belorussian company Exclusive Cosmetic
It costs less than 2 dollars and claims to have multyvitamines and lactoserum extract. Well, I don't know how exactly they manage it but is is a great shampoo for its price. For any price actually - I mean, I have only good tings to say about it, although a friend of mine complained of getting dandruff after using it. Well, nothing of the kind happened to me. And it smells of vanilla :-D
4. Jacque Dessange
And that's it. I don't find it sufficient and would love to add something to this selection, but at this point I am too cautious with the shampoos.
Even though I do realise how individual the preferences in shampoos may be - and this post proves it only too well, I'm still open for any recommendations :-)
Oh, you might ask, what all this has to do with happiness :-)))))))) Well, when my hair is happy - I'm happy too. So we're happy together :-)))))
Quem e homem de bem nao trai
O amor que lhe quer seu bem
Quem diz muito que vai, nao vai
Assim como nao vai, nao vem
Quem de dentro de si nao sai
Vai morrer sem amar ningue…m
O dinheiro de quem nao da
E o trabalho de quem nao tem
Capoeira que e bom nao cai
Mas se um dia ele cai, cai bem
Capoeira me mandou dizer que ja chegou
Chegou para lutar
Berimbau me confirmou vai ter briga de amor
Astrud Gilberto (original) by stevemxa13
Coral Brasil Ensemble & BR Jazz
Badi Assad & Toquinho
Nossa Alma Canta (live at Venice carnival). You can actually see the berimbaus* here :)
*The berimbau is a single-string percussion instrument, a musical bow, from Brazil. The berimbau's origins are not entirely clear, but there is not much doubt on its African origin, as no Indigenous Brazilian or European people use musical bows, and very similar instruments are played in the southern parts of Africa. The berimbau was eventually incorporated into the practice of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, where it commands how the capoeiristas move in the roda (Wiki)
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
A recent poll put Laurie in the top five favourite television personalities in the US, up there with Oprah and Jay Leno. This popularity is due to his role as Dr Gregory House, which has also won him critical acclaim (two Emmys) and financial security (he supposedly gets $200,000 per episode). “That’s an exaggeration. I am being very handsomely paid, though. My ship has come in and I’ll be forever grateful.” He has made three series of House to date, is halfway through the fourth and is signed up for three more. Will he then be able never to work again? “That would depend on how long I live,” he replies (he is 48), with impeccable logic. “If I step under a bus in a week’s time, the answer is yes.”
The holy grail of American television is to make 100 episodes (House is up to 82). “Then you sell it to syndication and it’s on for ever and it will haunt you in a Hong Kong hotel bedroom.” Will he get a slice of that? “I don’t know, I think they have to pay something to the cast.” Er, shouldn’t he find out? “That was all on page 65 of the contract. At the time [when the pilot episode was made] I blindly signed up thinking it wouldn’t go anywhere. I don’t know what the odds are [of a pilot becoming a long-running hit] – one in 100? One in 200? Not that I regret it. It’s just at the time I didn’t realise what I was getting myself into.”
What he was getting himself into was nine months a year in a rented flat in Los Angeles, away from his wife and three children in London, 15 hours of filming a day, sometimes six days a week. For obvious reasons, he is reluctant to complain, yet, “It is a bit of a gilded cage, I suppose. But what are the choices? Everything in life is an exchange of sorts. The one thing that bedevils actors, lack of security, I have gained at the expense of freedom.”
Given that he has mentioned the shrink, how often does he see him? “Once a week for an hour. I’d been doing this job over there for a while, and I hate to use the word stressful – it’s not stressful like being in Baghdad – but it got to me, and continues to do so from time to time in a big way. But things are only stressful if you care about them. Marcus Aurelius, I think it was who said, ‘If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.’”
In House, I ask, how much acting is he doing? “Oh, a lot. I’m working quite hard. I’m conscious of the artifice with every gesture.” Why has the public taken this not very likeable character to its heart? “Oh, he is likeable, he’s just not good. But we don’t only like people because they’re good. He’s funny, honest, very good at what he does. I would like him if I met him, and I also feel absurd talking about a fictional character, so I’d better stop.”
Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
It' my favoutite LUSH bubble bar so far - it smells like the Rok Star Soap, and the smell lingers for a long time. I remember after the first time I took a bath with it (by the way, I used only 1/3 of the bar and it made a vary foamy bath), I couldn't get - what is it that I smell all the time, wherever I go - something subtly sweet and gentle. Took me some time to get it :-))) Till the next bath :-)) It also makes my skin soft and nice, and my personality - bubblier :-)
#2 Aqua Mirabilis
It is an exfoliating massage bar that you use while in the shower - after shower gel, soap or whatever you prefer. You just slide it over your body or if you want it to go longer - rub it in your hands and then massage yourself with what is left on your hands. May be it's just because it was the first body exfoliator that I used in my life (long enough to be embarrased of never having used an exfoliator before), but I thought that what it did to my body was really a miracle. The thing is that the unnecessary hair that grow on my legs are very long inside (gosh, THIS is embarassing...and sort of gross... sorry), which results in me having the problem with ingrown hair since like 13. I thought it was just my bad luck and put up with it. Well. Aqua Mirabilis actually rid me of this problem! I can't even believe it myself. And it feels great too - the ground almond shells in combination with the oils produce fantastic sensation that you want to go on and on. I also adore the smell of it - something like cookies and milk - such a pity that it doesn't stay longer though.
It is a massage bar that you use after shower or whenever you need a massage - or to give a massage ;-) The smell is divine - warm and sweet - it's not just honey or chocolate, but it's just something inexplicably beautiful an tasty. Makes you want to lick it. Which is ok, I guess, since this brown thing inside is the real chocolate :-)
#4 American Cream
Hair conditioner. My story about this one is a winter story. It's about how after using the American Cream on Sunday I went to my office on Monday and how when I enterd the building and took my cap off I immedialtely felt the smell of my conditioner. And not only me, but my co-workers, who smiled and said - what is this nice smell. :-)))) It's amazing how a hair conditioner (which also is VERY very good as a conditioner - that is, it totally serves its purpose, smoothing my hair and moisturizing it) can produce such an effect. Yeah, I also got an American Cream solid perfume, as soon as theay started selling SP in Russia. I like it too - would have been better though had the smell been stronger and more eh.. persistent. But it is the conditioner in my top-5, not the SP, because the idea of your hair smelling of strawberry vanilla is somewhat sexier, I guess. :)
#5 Lemony Flutter
Lemony Flutter is a cuticle butter. Actually nail care is one of my obsessions - I like nail polishes and I love it when my nails are done and are looking good. However, because I lack self-discipline and sometimes completely forget that I have nails to care about whatsoever and neglect them for TOO LONG (no exagerations), at times I was just horrified with my nails. By the time that I remembered to look at my nails, they were so awfully shabby, that it was actually stressfull to even look at them. :-))))) And since I like my nails to look nice (see above), I had to overcome the stress and do something about it. Which at this point took some effort. Well, rejoice, this long and sad story has a happy ending! Lemony Flutter! Partly because it is LUSH and I want to use it again and again - and don't forget to. Partly due to its great softening qualities - it has all kinds of oils and butters in it, and it is very thick and nourishing. But it helpd me maintain my nails the way I like them to be :-))) Effortlessly! The cuticle on my nails basically stopped growing, so all I need to do is to gently move it away about once a week. Highly recommended!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I mean, it's not like anything a sensible woman can't live without. Unfortunately for my bank account, I tend to like the perfumes that are on the costly side too.
Here's one of them - the one I fell in love with today, and still haven't had a chance to buy. But the more I think about it the more it looks like it is inevitable. Sensible as I am,... eh, no, I don't think I can keep living without it for a long time :-)
Here's my beauty -
Petite Cherie by Annick Goutal.
A fruity fragrance, covered with a ripple of peach and pear, drunk with the scent of sensual rose musk, standing royal in its vanilla frame, all sprinkled with the powdery scent of refreshing cut grass. Sweet, musky and sassy, mischievous and mouth-watering: the irresistible fragrance of childhood.
Olfactory family: Fruity, floral, musky
Composition: Pear, peach, rose musk, cut grass, vanilla
My impression: "Fragrance of childhood" is true indeed. It's very innocent and light, tender and sweet, and fresh and wet. It feels very clean and cozy, it is a smell you want you home to smell like. This is the perfume that awakens a child in me. Actually, strange as it may sound, that is why I'm considering buying it for my mum :-)) And it is a very youthful smell too. But it would sound good on my mum too.
It also comes in a butterfly bottle, which looks almost like a toy. So pretty. So charming. So petite cherie...
Friday, March 28, 2008
It is in this show that I first heard the song by Metisse - I love it, love it, love it -
Kélé, filla, saba, nani, norou: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. (Agni, an Ivory Coast dialect)
A-boom boom ba
A-boom boom ba
A-boom boom ba
A-boom boom ba
Can you hear my heart beat in this bond
Do you know that behind of this bond
Lies the deep desire I'm in love hey
Make a wonderful love if I may
All my dreams to be all I can do
Only I love, only love
And you say I knew we should find a new way
Make a wonderful love if I may
Can you hear my heart beat in this hurt
Do you know that behind of this hurt
Lies the deep desire I'm in love hey
Sunday, March 16, 2008
That couldn't last forever though.
I don't even know how that happened, but I only see, that there's something worryingly close to an addiction going on - I seriously am addicted to LUSH products, to an extend that when I go to sleep I lull myself with thinking - what I am going to by next from LUSH. It is a bit of a deviation, I know. BUT actually - the LUSH products actually do make me HAPPIER. In a way. For some little time. But in the end of the day - that's what matters :-)))))
So I'm just going to keep enjoying my insanity - while I can :-)
Now I just thought I might describe some of the LUSH products that I already have. Which is not that much actually, but I'm pretty sure, that's not the end of it.
First come SOAPS - LUSH has a big range of colorful handmade soaps, and I still have a way to go to test all af them, but I already have tried some that I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy again.
1. Sultana of Soap
This was actually the first soap that I bought from LUSH - and I totally fell in love with it. It smells like heaven - as far as I can gather. It's fruity and sweet, but not heavy, it's soft and creamy and it gives a lot of foam if used with a bath sponge - which is how I prefer it. Among its ingredients are Dried Apricots, Dried Currants, Dried Cranberries, Olibanum Oil, Bergamot Oil and some chemicals :-)))))))
Well, sort of :-)))
Skinny Dip desreves a long story. Actually on lush.co.uk it goes under the lable "butter cream", but in fact it is a soap, just creamier than you regular soap would be. I bought it, because someone recommended it as a good soft facial cleanser for everyday use. Didn't work for me - that is, for my face. And at first I even hated the smell. Which oddly, according to various lush-forums and even the official site, is very often the case. After which - probably on the 3-rd use, I just realized that it's great, that it's so MY type of smell, that it's so perfect, that I just can't live without it. Which is, according to...see above...very often the case. I wonder why this happens. I didn't even know anything about this phenomenon, when I became part of it. Weird. Anyways, the list of ingredients is pretty impressive - now wonder it's a complex bouquet - Creamed Coconut Infusion, Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Clove Bud Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Clary Sage Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil, Vetivert Oil, Palmarosa Oil , and some chemicals. Probably it's them chemicals that make up for the resulting perfect smell - don't care :-)) Personally I don't feel coconuts in it, which is good, because am not a fan of that smell. I do feel clove, but not too much, and I might describe it as somewhat herby or spicey. All in all it's very feminine and seductive and fresh at the same time. It doesn't produce much foam - which is a huge minus for me, since I like to feel foam over my body when I wash myself - I feel more washed this way :-))) But I adore the smell so much, that I'm even prepared to ignore this factor.
Well, I guess that was my Top-5 of Lush Soaps, even though I didn't plan it that way first. So be it :-))) I'll continue later with my top-5 of Lush everything and other things that I have to say about my latest obsession :-)))
Friday, February 8, 2008
I've been working at an investment firm for over 10 years now. I came in at a very low level, just to get a foot in the door, but eventually moved up to a portfolio-manager position and am now director of marketing. My problem is, even though my salary has doubled over the past decade, I started out so cheap that my pay is still way below what people with my job are earning elsewhere. It's also much less than I'm actually worth to the firm, based on my performance. The CEO makes all the pay decisions here, and I know that if I ask for a raise, he'll point to how much my compensation has already increased. Another hurdle is that he comes from a sales background and is very skilled at talking people into (or out of) things. Would I be crazy to ask for more money? He has fired people in the past just for asking.
-- Because I'm Worth It
He's fired people just for asking? Wow. Well, he's no doubt counting on that to discourage others, such as yourself, from approaching him on the subject. But it obviously bugs you that you're not making what you're worth, so talk to him anyway. You need to go armed with a proposal based on hard facts. Write up a brief memo that succinctly spells out 1) the data you've collected on what your peers at other firms earn and any other supporting facts you can muster, such as salary ranges mentioned in ads for jobs similar to yours; 2) any and all evidence of how your performance contributes to your firm's sales and profits.
The more facts you have at your fingertips, the harder it will be for your CEO to "sales talk" you. Then, state a specific request: What kind of raise would satisfy you? A 5% raise or a 10% one? Another point: Is there anything -- stock options, extra paid vacation, a company car -- you would be willing to accept instead of a salary hike, or along with a smaller raise than you're seeking? If so, that would give both you and your CEO a bit of room to negotiate.
One question: Have you given much thought to what you'll do if he fires you? Given his track record, it might be smart to figure that out now. But don't be intimidated out of asking. If this company really will not pay you what you're worth, you may be better off elsewhere.
Now that the job market is finally starting to pick up a little, I've had a couple of offers from companies where I had interviewed two or three years ago. But what I'd really like is to stay at the company where I work now and go after a higher-level finance-manager position that has opened up. I happen to know that several outside candidates are also competing for the job. Is there an "insider advantage"? What are my chances?
-- The Insider
Interestingly, it seems there is more of an "insider advantage" than there was five years ago. A new study by Development Dimensions International (DDI) (http://www.ddiworld.com) says that 40% of U.S. managers are planning to increase hiring this year. In 2004, more than half -- 53% -- of management positions were filled from within, up from 44% in 1999. Scott Erker, a DDI vice president, expects that trend to continue or even accelerate. "Last year's increase represents a realization that there is untapped talent in organizations," he says. "Companies also see providing opportunities (for current employees) as a retention strategy, which has the added benefit of placing someone who's already familiar with the organization."
So, assuming your qualifications are roughly equal to the outsiders', your chances are probably pretty good. One tip: When applying for the job, there's no need to mention the offers you've received from other companies. You want to be promoted because you're the best person for the job, not because you threatened to quit if you didn't get it.
The link leads to the full text of Paula Begoun's report on the expensive and similar cheap beauty products. I only included here the products from that report that I am likely to use - that is, I didn't include things like Brow Enhancer or Eyeliner since I never use them and in most likeliness never will. The same goes for Styling Wax and suchlikes. I also skipped shampoos and conditioners because I have my own special relationshiops with those, and my own ideas about which of them go best for me. On which I'll probably dwell later on . So - here it is.
The Best in Beauty from Chanel to Cover Girl
A Special Report by Paula Begoun
Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Solutions Cream Cleanser for Dry Skin ($9 for 5.1 ounces) is excellent and very similar to the higher-priced Trish McEvoy Gentle Cleansing Lotion ($55 for 6.8 ounces).
Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin
Lancome Gel Clarte Clarifying Gel-to-Foam Cleanser ($20 for 4.2 ounces) works beautifully to cleanse and remove makeup from normal to oily skin, but so does the nearly identical L’Oreal Ideal Balance Foaming Gel Cleanser for Combination Skin ($7.99 for 6.7 ounces).
Vespera Bionic Serum ($55 for 1 ounce). - Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion ($11.99 for 2.5 ounces). It contains 8% glycolic acid in a light moisturizing base and the correct pH range to exfoliate skin. Neutrogena also markets a sensitive skin version of this product, which contains 5% glycolic acid.
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Face Lotion ($7.99 for 1.7 ounces) - Serious Skin Care Clarifying Treatment ($17.50 for 2 ounces) is an OK option, but with only 0.5% salicylic acid, don’t expect amazing results.
Daytime Moisturizer with SPF 15
Dove Fresh Radiance Moisturizer SPF 15 ($9.99 for 1.7 ounces) - Clinique Repairwear SPF 15 Intensive Cream ($45 for 1.7 ounces). Both are great for normal to dry skin (with lots of interesting beneficial ingredients), and both contain an in-part zinc oxide sunscreen for sufficient UVA protection. Prefer to avoid zinc oxide? Consider Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer SPF 30 ($14.99 for 2.5 ounces), which contains an in-part avobenzone sunscreen and is beautifully formulated. Looking for a great sunscreen for normal to oily skin? Consider Estee Lauder DayWear Plus Multi-Protection Antioxidant Lotion SPF 15 ($38 for 1.7 ounces) or, if a higher SPF number is needed, Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30 ($8.99 for 3 ounces).
Facial Moisturizer, Normal to Dry Skin
Spa Sciences Anti-Aging Moisture Day Lotion ($18.99 for 1.7 ounces). Although the lack of sunscreen makes it an inappropriate solo choice for daytime, this fragrance-free product can be used as a nighttime moisturizer for someone with normal to dry skin. - Prescriptives Intensive Rebuilding Moisturizer ($95 for 2 ounces). In the middle of this price spectrum is the supremely well-formulated WhiteLight EX Extra Brightening Intensive Night Creme ($45 for 1 ounce) from Estee Lauder (but don’t count on it to lighten skin).
Facial Moisturizer, Normal to Oily/Combination Skin
Having a generous cosmetics budget means you may want to consider Prescriptives Redness Relief Gel ($50 for 1 ounce) for its ultra-light texture and state-of-the-art formula - Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum ($18.99 for 1.7 ounces).
Clinique Water Therapy Firming Body Smoother ($27.50 for 6.7 ounces). - Dove Intensive Firming Cream, Intensive Firming Lotion, Intensive Nourishing Lotion, Regenerating Night Lotion, and Cool Moisture Body Lotion ($5.99-$7.99 for 6.7 ounces).
Body Wash/Shower Gel
The vast majority of body washes on the market are well-formulated. All of them contain standard detergent cleansing agents (identical to those used in shampoo) and a variety of additives depending on the formula goals or label claims. It is a rare occurrence to find a body wash that contains irritants such as menthol or citrus oils, but be aware, they do exist. Companies that offer excellent body washes for reasonable prices include Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, The Body Shop, Axe (for men—but I refuse to vouch for the fragrance), Ivory, Aveeno, Dial, Lever 2000, Nivea, and Jergens.
DDF C3 Plus Serum ($50 for 0.5 ounce) provides skin with copious vitamin C, water-binding agents (including peptides), and other antioxidants, plus it is packaged in an opaque, airless container to keep everything potent. If vitamin C isn’t on your must-have list but you still want an elegant serum to use morning or evening, consider Neutrogena Visibly Firm Lift Serum Active Copper ($18.99 for 1 ounce).
Murad Brightening Treatment SPF 15 ($45 for 1 ounce) combines an effective sunscreen with higher than usual levels of hydroquinone alternatives, including arbutin and uva ursi extract.
Foundation with Sunscreen
The price is a bit startling, but those with normal to oily skin will likely be impressed with Chanel Double Perfection Crème Powder Makeup SPF 15 ($42). It contains an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen and despite its name, is not nearly as slick or greasy as traditional cream-to-powder makeup. For less money and a higher sun protection factor, consider Clinique Superbalanced Compact Makeup SPF 20 ($26.50). If you’re looking to spend even less, Cover Girl AquaSmooth Makeup SPF 15 ($8.99) is superb and offers plenty of real-skin shades. Almost all of Revlon’s foundations will also keep you covered in real-skin tones and great sunscreens, plus you’ll save money at the same time.
If you have normal to dry skin, I’m fond of Neutrogena Visibly Even Natural-Look Makeup SPF 20 ($11.75). Shopping the department store cosmetic counters? Consider Lancome Renergie Lift Lifting Makeup SPF 20 ($37), one of the few Lancome foundations with a sunscreen that offers sufficient UVA
Tinted Moisturizer/Sheer Foundation with Sunscreen
Neutrogena hit a grand slam with the introduction of its Healthy Skin Enhancer SPF 20 ($10.99), which features great colors and an in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen with retinol and plenty of antioxidants. Those looking for greater sun protection can consider Revlon Age Defying Light Makeup SPF 30 ($12.99). The buck really could stop here, but for those who can’t resist the lure of spending more than needed, I also highly recommend Aveda Inner Light Tinted Moisture SPF 15 ($25) and Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer ($36).
Choosing Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Under Eye Concealer ($6.99) rather than Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer ($24) will not only leave you with more money in your pocketbook, but since L’Oreal owns Lancome and Maybelline, you will find many of their makeup products are more comparable than ever. Good thing, too, because Maybelline’s concealer shades have improved tremendously since L’Oreal has been in charge.
With its ultra-fine texture and non-powdery appearance on skin, M.A.C. Select Sheer Loose Powder ($19.50) is among the best. At nearly twice the price, Giorgio Armani Micro-fil Loose Powder ($42) is also excellent—but for one-quarter of that price, your skin is likely to be just as happy with L’Oreal Translucide Naturally Luminous Powder ($10.89). By the way, L’Oreal owns Giorgio Armani Cosmetics!
Stila Sheer Color Face Powder SPF 15 ($23) not only has a gorgeous silky texture and smooth application but also provides additional sun protection, perfect for touching up your makeup to reduce shine and boosting your skin’s defenses against aging UV rays. A similar but less expensive pressed powder that offers even longer sun protection is Neutrogena Healthy Defense Protective Powder SPF 30 ($9.99).
Looking for a superior pressed powder without sunscreen? Try Cover Girl TruBlend Pressed Powder ($7.49) or, if your skin color is harder to match, consider L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Powder ($7.99). If you prefer to try the shade at the store before making a purchase, high marks go to Estee Lauder AeroMatte Ultralucent Pressed Powder ($26).
Vincent Longo Day Play Duo Compact Powder Blush ($23.50) is a wonderful option if you’re feeling extravagant, but an equally impressive powder blush for those with realistic cosmetics budgets is L’Oreal Feel Naturale Light Softening Blush $9.79). Note that with Longo’s product, you get two powder blush shades in one compact.
A relatively new option to consider at the department store is Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks ($22). It is a true cream blush, meaning it’s best for normal to dry skin, but does not have a greasy feel or slip all over the face during blending. Those looking to spend less for a comparable product should explore Merle Norman Luxiva Crème Blush ($14.50) or, for an option that’s more cream-to-powder than just creamy, Revlon Cream Blush ($8.99).
Cream (or Cream-Like) Eyeshadows
Delux Beauty Cream Powder Eye Shadow ($18) is one of the best in terms of color selection, easy application, and long wear with only minimal risk of creasing. A bonafide steal by comparison is Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow ($5.99) which provides four crease-proof creamy eyeshadows in one convenient compact. The Not Just Nudes quad is an ideal set of neutrals for most skin tones, though some shine is apparent.
Chanel really does produce some marvelous lip glosses. Their Cristalle Gloss Waterlight Lip Gloss ($24.50) is wonderfully light-textured and very glossy. A dramatically less expensive but truly equally appealing choice is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss ($6.99).
It’s no secret that I and millions of women worldwide are fans of many L’Oreal and Maybelline mascaras, so I’m taking a break from singing the praises of their lash-enhancing products to brag about another worthy contender. Instead, three cheers to Revlon, whose Fabulash Mascara ($6.99) is fabulous. There are some unquestionably wonderful mascaras at the department store too, and one that equals Fabulash’s greatness for a bit more money is Stila Mega Lash Mascara ($9.50). Given the wealth of brilliant mascaras that cost $10 or less, I am leaving this list void of a truly pricey mascara (they’re out there, and many are magnificent, but not more so than options that cost less money).
Two of my favorites at the department store are Laura Mercier Waterproof Mascara ($19) and Estee Lauder Illusionist Waterproof Curling Mascara ($21). Another department store option that is significantly less expensive but just as impressive is M.A.C. Splashproof Lash Waterproof Mascara ($9.50). At the drugstore, consider Maybelline Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara ($5.99).
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Tell us about your favourite pancakes - what makes the best batter mix? do you flip or stick? use free-range organic eggs? - by using the comment box at the bottom of the page.
The classic: Fine crepes with lemon and sugar
The detox: Mixed berry pancakes
The boozer: Spiced apple pancakes with calvados sabayon
The continental: Cinnamon pancakes with praline cream and chocolate sauce
The romantic: Lacy crepes with rose-water butter
The kid's favourite: Banana and ricotta pancakes with maple-pecan sauce
For Chinese New Year: Chinese roast pork with pancakes
The seasonal: Baked rhubarb
The dinner party "pancakes": Sweetcorn blinis with aubergine and tomato
The wheat-free option: Red onion and rosemary farinate
The Scandinavian: Warm potato pancakes with smoked eel
Monday, February 4, 2008
1 Michael Jackson, Thriller As thrilling today as it ever was.
2 Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV Still worth a listen? Ask the millions who fought for tickets last year.
3 Pink Floyd, The Wall The alienation of the modern world? Yup, still relevant.
4 AC/DC, Back in Black A great guitar riff never really goes out of fashion.
5 Shania Twain, Come on Over Er, actually, we’re kind of busy right now . . .
6 The Beatles, The Beatles (White Album) Its eclectic brilliance is still the target that ambitious bands aim for.
7 Fleetwood Mac, Rumours You can still feel the intra-band heartbreak behind the smooth pop songs.
8 Whitney Houston, Bodyguard OST You may think you’ve heard that song enough now.
9 Boston, Boston Has found its rightful home on classic rock stations.
10 Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill We thought it was going to be the beginning of a brilliant career. Oh, well.
11 Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti Many people’s favourite Zep album.
12 Eagles, Hotel California Overexposed, and soon to be over here again.
13 Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon The album that shot the Floyd into the super league.
14 Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA Far from his best work (try Nebraska), but still capable of setting off those “fist pumping in the air” reflexes.
15 Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever OST Silly hair, silly voices, yet somehow magnificent.
16 Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction It certainly sounds dated now; mind you, it sounded dated even then.
17 Santana, Supernatural A remarkable resurgence late in his career, but head instead for the early albums.
18 Meat Loaf, Bat out of Hell More is more.
19 Britney Spears, Baby One More Time Back when she was a singer, not an increasingly distressing news story.
20 Prince, Purple Rain Before the squiggles and record-company wrangles, he was capable of timeless genius.
The 20 most influential albums
1 The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico Hardly anybody bought it, as the saying goes, but everyone who did formed a band.
2 Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Created the idea of using the recording studio as an instrument.
3 David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars The arrival of postmodernism in rock’s most glamorous self-fulfilling prophecy.
4 Patti Smith, Horses Pioneered vast new territories for women in popular music.
5 Beach Boys, Pet Sounds The instrumentation, the harmonies, the arrangements, the sheer ambition.
6 Beatles, Revolver Goodbye “pop group”, hello “rock band”.
7 The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? Shaped our sonic world – the template for guitar heroes everywhere.
8 Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited How does it feel? Like a whole new world just opened up.
9 Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Hip-hop comes of age.
10 Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks... Rendered the rock dinosaurs extinct (for a while).
11 Kraftwerk, Trans-Europe Express It sounded like the future then; eerily, it still does now.
12 Michael Jackson, Thriller The last quarter of a century of R&B starts here.
13 Nirvana, Nevermind Rendered the rock dinosaurs extinct (again).
14 NWA, Straight Outta Compton Created the template for gangsta rap.
15 Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You A soul masterpiece, and an album whose anthems radiated out into the wider culture.
16 Ramones, Ramones Rock’s ultimate palate-cleanser. Generations of punks started here.
17 Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On Motown finds its social conscience.
18 The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin It was largely ignored at the time, but where would alt-country be without it?
19 Bob Marley and the Wailers, Live! Reggae goes global.
20 Joni Mitchell, Blue Searching for sensitive singer-songwriters? Here’s the source.