Natural Beauty Tips for Humans

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Carine Fabius | 8 Comments


Photograph by Hans Silvester from the book, Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa

Between her book and her beauty concoctions, Carine whips up nourishing potions for body and mind

My new novel, Saturday Comes—A Novel of Love and Vodou, is out, and I am the reigning queen of book autography. I am sitting behind a stack of books at a recent author event, happily writing friendly messages to Franceska and Tim, Samantha and other kind human beings, when a man named Chaz comes over, leans down very close to my face and says, “Can you tell me about your natural recipes?” It takes me a moment to figure it out. “Oh, did you read that blog I wrote on Huffington Post?” I ask him. He nods yes and waits. He wants natural, homemade beauty recipes for his face, and he wants them now.

Of all the blogs I’ve written over the last five years, this is the one that’s gotten the most attention, comments, emails and phone calls. Step aside, nuclear Iran; Obama and Mitt; scary economy and gas prices; new assault on abortion rights. People just want to look good. Read more

Battle of the Flesh

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Melissa Howden | 14 Comments

As Melissa’s mind and body challenge her conceptions, her father faces the inevitable

There are wars waging. If it is not bad enough that the GOP war on women continues unabated, I am at war with my own body. My body has become a battleground. As a Feminist I am embarrassed to confess this fact. But then again maybe this is the absolute prerogative of a Feminist—to admit to personal war with his/her body. It is after all my own, and currently I am miserable in it.

I heard a talk show host say the other day that there are parts of her body she loathes. My thought at the time was, “Right now I kind of loathe the whole dang thing”. My physical self feels like a fickle lover, a phenomenon I am all too familiar with. She is one thing then another. She is here, then she is there—she is high, she is low. She loves me. Loves me not. Read more

Long Live the Mademoiselle Makeover!

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Prudence Baird, Style | 18 Comments

She waves her ink-filled wand and…poof! From frumpy to fabulous! Marvel at Prudence’s dedication to the magic of the makeover.

Like an annoying jingle that—with the right prompt—goes viral in a neural nanosecond, there’s a bit of pop culture ephemera skulking near the surface of my gray matter, ready to be triggered any time a certain visual cue crosses my line of sight.

And what, you might ask, is that cue? I’ll give you a hint: Drab to fab.

Yes, I’m talking about the legendary “Mademoiselle Makeover,” a regular installment of the now defunct Mademoiselle magazine, that glossy monthly that competed with Glamour and Seventeen magazines for smart young ladies’ attention for 66 years before it finally folded in 2001.

Maybe you can relate if you, like me, were a devotee of the column that featured normal-looking (okay, somewhat dowdy) young women, who, with the help of the Mademoiselle fashion and beauty editors (and products from the magazine’s advertisers) morphed into beauties from their former beastly selves. This monthly step-by-step narrative implied that behind every lumpy Plain Jane lurked a paint-by-numbers Anne Hathaway-like princess yearning to emerge from her cocoon and fly off to a new-and-improved life on gossamer wings.

The message: Magic can happen; all you need is the right makeover! Read more

Mindful Meanderings on Media

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Connie Stetson, Media, Pop Culture | 13 Comments

Connie stays the course while Madison Avenue tries to mess with her mojo

I watch a lot of TV, I love TV, in fact the TV guy is here right now, even as I type, installing my brand new flat screen HD TV upstairs in my bedroom. Oh, I can hear you now—“TV in your bedroom??? A terrible idea, it’ll ruin your sex life”. Well, “pish-tosh,” says I, basketball season is upon us and the ol’ ball and chain will be occupied till May, so I’m delighted to have the company up there.

Because I do watch TV, I’ve been noticing a very interesting marketing trend. Advertisers are really hitting our age group hard. Instead of just producing commercials for Metamucil, Viagra, Depends, and that yogurt-like stuff Jamie Lee Curtis is shilling so we can all poop better; we are seeing trotted out, resplendent in their magnificent menopausal middle age, the big guns of the baby boomer generation. Read more

My Lipstick and Me

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Carine Fabius | 13 Comments


Popular Science Monthly, May 1939

From deadly poison to feminist statement, Carine Fabius unearths lipstick’s curious history

And now for something really important amidst all the issues in our world… My artist friend David Gibson and I were hanging out the other day when the subject of lipstick came up. He’d noticed several small, colorful bottles on my desk—a new line of herbal lip dyes that I sell through my temporary body art business. Anyone who knows me is aware that I never go a day without lipstick.

Our fearless leader, Cathy Fischer (who started Fifty is the New), likes to tell people about the time she asked a bunch of women gathered at my house to count the lipsticks in their purses. The one with the most lipsticks wins… I clocked in at 17 tubes. (That was then! I only carry one at a time now). I even wrote a recent blog for Huffington Post called Lipstick, I Can’t Live Without You. What can I say? I’m serious about Lipstick. But, back to David. Read more

The Evolution of Beauty

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Prudence Baird | 14 Comments

Prudence Baird shares an eye-opening video and her thoughts on beauty and aging.

How would your life have been different if you had seen this time-lapse video on the cusp of your own womanhood?

What if, as a young girl of 13 or 14, you had witnessed the impossibility of being that perfect face on the billboard? Would you still have lain in the sun to get that Bain de Soleil tan? Or, turned your legs (and Mom’s white sheets) orange with “QT” (aka Quick Tan)? Or stripped your hair with the spray-on Sun In, trying to look like those Nordic blondes in the commercials?

Would you have starved yourself to look like Twiggy or stretched your Dippity-Do gelled hair over soup cans to have Cheryl Tiegs’ smooth, waspy locks?

Me, I don’t think I’d have done anything different…I think I still would have broiled in the sun and sacrificed my personal development in order to please friends and boyfriends. I hope that I wouldn’t have, but as the philosopher Ouspensky said, “If it could have happened any other way, it would have.”

And, after all, what would be the point of being young if you listen to your parents’ wisdom and learn from their mistakes?

(If you are viewing this post in your mailbox, you must click on the title to get to the Fifty is the New website and view the video.)

Could Gray Hair Be My Silver Lining?

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Cathy Fischer, Reinvention, Style | 29 Comments

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

Cathy Fischer’s third and final installment of her “hair trilogy”

I thought of writing about a topic other than my hair, but my dear friend and chemo companion Wendy (who accompanied me to all four treatments, where we’d yak for a few hours, leaf through magazines, then go out for a fabulous lunch) insisted that I update those who are anxiously waiting to know if I’ve gone gray or returned to being a slave to color.

First, a quick recap/update:

In January, I posted “Wigging Out” which chronicled my going from hirsute to hairless, in just three days. It started when my hair began falling out after my first chemo treatment for breast cancer. I shaved my head, preemptively, to avoid the horror-induced depression of finding clumps of hair on my pillow or even worse, having a head resembling the cruelest of all male baldness patterns—the Franciscan monk look.

In hindsight, the quote about the “joy” of being hairless was true. It was a relief not having to shave or pluck, cut or color, for a few months. I’m pretty sure that most of the money I saved on hair maintenance went directly to shoe purchases. “Do what makes you feel good” was my motto, which often manifested itself in the form of new shoes, dry vodka martinis or extra crispy french fries. Read more

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