Late to the Party, Better Than Never – Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair

I am in marketing and advertising so when I see the same products touted in magazines and media again and again,  I am suspicious of the relationship and wonder if the products really work or are the reviews based on a great lunch and woo woo?


I’ve tried some products and have ended up throwing the product(s) away and others like Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair I am happy to report, actually work.

One bottle later, I have noticed that my pet-peeve area around my eyes and eyelids have definitely improved with regular nightly use of the night version of the product.

Prior to use, my “bunny” wrinkles on the inner corner of my eyes and eyelid corners, and the crepiness of my eyelid skin was REALLY starting to bug me.

I used my Nu Face electro shocker stimulator, but like all devices, rarely get used, but I did feel that I got a jump start on the problem when I did use the device.

But, the Neutrogena product is easy and easy to put into my routine. Instead of applying a gel and then manipulating the device for 10 minutes or so, I just spread the product on after cleansing my face, and DONE!

If it ain’t easy, it ain’t gonna happen!

But happen it did and does-this product is a huge thumbs up and I am ready to buy another.

To note, I chose the night version of the product because I figure the SPF version and the additional chemicals would probably interfere with the base product chemicals. I also did not have any skin irritation whatsoever as I did when I used the real deal Retin A.



Heading Down the Yellow Brick Road-Battle of the GWPS

Seriously, my eyes and fingers always answer the siren call of the GWP.  My favorite go to blog is GWP Addict-a daily update of all things GWP, written by Lisa of Arizona.

Over the years I have found some tried and true products that I like so much that I will always buy them for my basics and it takes a lot to turn my head to pull me away from my beloveds-Clarins’ SPF sunscreen, Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Moisturizer and Kitoko and Neuma hair products.

So, when I see it’s time to stock up on my basics, I go to to see if there are gwp offers for whatever I have in mind.

I recently started using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone Age Reverse eye cream (which I haven’t written about yet!), which has the consistency similar to rosa artica moisturizer-a heavy (shortening like-yes like the baking stuff) cream that I rub a very small 1/2 pea sized or less amount on my finger tips and apply in the inner corners of my eyes.  It retails for $58 a jar.

I know that Macy’s is supposed to have an Estee Lauder event soon, early in September, so I’ve been waiting around-but I thought I’d check Lisa’s blog for any specials. So lo and behold Macy’s is having a Tuesday Flash Sale!* As you guys know, beauty products rarely go on “sale” unless they are about to expire or be discontinued so I snapped up the eye cream and a Laura Mercier Bronzer that someone put on me at NMs but I didn’t feel like buying at the time. The Estee product had a mini-gwp of advanced time zone eye serum(meh) and mascara(rarely buy mascara because companies always give samples. yay!).

So was feeling pretty happy about that.

However this morning, Sephora sent their daily blah blah of whatever is new, and I, heeding the call, open it and check out the new beauty lines, and failing to be sold, go to the Fresh products page, which eventually leads me off to gwp addict in search of whatever.

I had seen the Nords $125 gwp gift bag with a bunch of samples, but I did not know there is also a gift bag for a $50 threshold. When you compare the two, I’d rather pay the $50, cuz from my point of view the $50 had better samples and less perfume which I don’t wear.


06-29-15-p04-cid0628156443-7-adam-38ab9e85-1d00-4cde-8a97-a4c20110e43d-fil-file $125


I already knew I needed to restock my Clarins’ sunscreen-I had tried the Murad Invisible Blur which is great, but no great gwp so I bought the Clarins,plus Nords is offering a two-fer sale of $62, a savings of $22. But as I am checking out, I think to look at the Estee offer.

A much much better gwp than Macy’s for a $45 gwp threshold, plus spend $5 bucks more and you get the $50 gwp bag!

I know so what, but I work from home so little things are exciting.

The clincher for me is that Nords ALWAYS has free shipping to Hawaii which is a huge perk. It’s pretty much why I do not shop the Fresh or Clarins’ company online stores because shipping is outrageous to Hawaii. I mean it’s like they are sending the products to Russia.  (I recently got ballet slippers from Grishko Russia, and unbelievably, shipping was free!).


It pays to be a shopper, and a free shipper.


*These offers will expire and may not be available when you read this post.

FIT FASHION-The Case For Crunches

I have a client who is a little younger than me, yet she is a LOT fitter than me.

I’ve known her about 10 years or so, and she has always maintained a fit shape because she runs, surfs, and probably everything else to be in triathlon level shape.

For me, it was American Ninja Warrior that inspired me.

I know, so far off the beaten path of tv watching of The Good Wife, So You Think You Can Dance and Netflix’ House of Cards.

But as I lay there on the couch in my urban comfort pod, with my happy belly pouching out, and my flabby arms wrapped around my doggie, I thought…

maybe if I got in shape I wouldn’t have to buy new clothes.

I was crediting it to old age that I have to wear sleeves instead of sleeveless, that I have to be conscious of armpit cleavage (nay spillage), and that baggy was starting to become the norm.

Me, only a few short years ago, walked away from the displays of blousy-blousson-flowy offerings to select the body-con, fitted and sleek choices.

Sans Sphanx girdles or any other means to smash it all in.

Heck, I was even thinking about wearing a sphanx type garment under my leotard for ballet.

What, seriously, is wrong with this picture?


I started small doing popsugar’s 10 minute videos for the arms and abs-because I rationalized that was all I had time to fit in.

Me, I used to be the girl who ran 4 miles, lifted weights, took aerobics, took yoga and a jazz dance class all in the one morning.

Compare the two.

I also thought about-do I eat differently than 3 years ago?

I now eat a lot more organic vs an unlimited bag of crispy whatevers and 2 glasses of wine that would be my “dinner”.

During the day 3 years ago, I wouldn’t say my nutrition wasn’t any better. Probably eating some chemical filled energy bar.

Yet, I was easily more in shape, without exercising any more.

No it’s not the M word.

I would call it fat and happy metabolism.

I seriously believe that the state of happy has slowed my metabolism and magnetized my butt to the couch.

The state of no-stress burns less calories too.

In any case.

My client dresses in simple lines, nothing too flashy, just put together without trying too hard.

So what’s the secret?

When you’re fit, you look good in a paper sack.

When you’re fit, you look good in anything in any price range from any store.

To add to that, I went to the Kit and Ace opening with a gf, and the store staff were wearing the clothes which are technical washable cashmere in simple silhouettes and very t-shirt dressing based.

One girl was wearing a dress that I would have worn 3 years ago. A simple, slightly racer back, tank dress that was all about the fit.

I was sad, that 3 years later, although I loved the dress, there was no way I would walk around town in it.

Even with a jacket on.

Or a scarf tied around the hips like I used to-as instructed by Anthony from Chocolates For Breakfast/Villa Roma/Audrey Fu.

So many months later, speeding back to the present, I do my Barre Abs by Jake Dupree and a variety of arm videos by pop sugar at least 5 times a week.

If I don’t do them before ballet, I come home and do them.

I attend a muscle fitness class once a week which is egregiously too infrequent.

And I am dedicating myself to a minimum of 10 minutes on the elliptical at 130 beats per minute heart rate, 3 times a week.


I want to do the minimum,

to get the maximum results,

to be able to wear the



Down to the Last Nub-Laura Mercier Brow Pencil v Clinique Super Fine Liner

You know something is seriously good when you use it down to the last itty bitty bit.

Much like scraping the bottom of a good bowl of chocolate pudding-it’s so good.

My brows and I had a rocky relationship for years before I met brow artist Stacie at Marsha Nadalin. Pre-Stacie, my brows were hideously lop-sided with one arch much much higher than the other.


I didn’t really think about brow make up either. I’m pretty sure I never thought about my brows until Jamie formerly of Bobbie Brown counter in NM, showed me how to use Mahogany eye shadow for my brows.

In any case, I graduated to Laura Mercier’s Brow Powder which comes in a duo pallette of a lighter and darker shade.  For me it’s pretty easy, because I don’t like to spend a lot of time on brows-just dab my brush into each color and slap it on!

Searching for the easiest, I also bought LM’s eye brow pencil in Blonde – which is an ashy brown color, because you know, blondes don’t go around with blonde eye brows unless they wear no make up. Neither do brunettes wear just brown color.

There’s nothing particularly special about the pencil itself, but when you compare it to others-the color and smoothness win out above others.

If people looked at their eyebrows in the sun, then a good number of them would realize that the Maybelliene  (sp) generic brown is actually a red-brown and looks odd in the sunlight. Or, people opt for black which is just too black.

We are having a brow moment in probably one of the last frontiers that cosmetic companies have to exploit in the search for perfection. L’Oreal has a number of products from pencil to products that make your hairs look bushier and echo Brooke Shields sun visor brows.

I like a fine arch-but not too thin.

I was with my Mom-shopping at the Clinique counter, and knowing that I had about 2 inches left of my LM, thought I’d try the Superfinerliner brow color from them.

I didn’t use it right away-but when I did, I thought the color is fine but there is one product defect that makes it impossible.

Much like a No 1 soft-lead pencil that I love to use, the thin thin thinniness of the products breaks under the solid grip of pressure that I use.

Really it’s not that bad, and of course I am exaggerating, but I get out a few strokes and it breaks.

There are a number of these 1/8 nibs of brow color here and there in my make up kit, on my vanity on the bathroom floor-(horrors) – the product is just too brittle.

So, I am back to the nub.

Actually I just bought a new LM brow pencil that comes with a spoolie brush on the end which is more than I need as well.

Maybe I can use it to rake through my eyelashes?


Those Little Samples Are For Sale-Sephora

Have you noticed lately that Sephora is selling the same deluxe samples that used to come with gwps?

I get that everybody needs to make dinero-but part of the fun was to get samples!

I’m not really into getting a sample of product that has had a bunch of germy fingers dipped in because some people don’t obey cosmetic etiquette. You know what I mean.

Those people who dip their fingers into jars, across eye shadow and actually apply lip color from the tube!

Seriously could anything be more gross?

They’ve done studies on how many of the super ick germs find their way into make up displays.

You know I used to be a ready participant in getting a free makeover at the counter-but the more germaphobic I get the less interested I am. I might put on a color on my wrist and wipe off with alcohol at the most nowadays.


Sephora used to go pretty good samples for VIB ladies and they were usable. But don’tcha hate the samples that are just a whisper of product? Like Skinceuticals Eye SPF. I know eye product is applied the size of a pea, but when I get a sample like that, I have to really be jonsing to try it to use the manini sample.

I’ve been buying product from Neostrata and the last few times for skincare. I think Neostrata is really generous with the size and the amount of the samples, but so far nothing to write home about. Lovelyskiin sent me the Skinceuticals sample which is not their fault, but they don’t really have great samples to select from at checkout. does have a cool comparison table that you can see how different products stand against each other. I used it to choose an eye product last month.

So Sephora take a note-I’m giving you the bulk of my beauty dollars in the quest for the 500 point perks (really I paid $500 for those mini’s of Laura Mercier)?, so how’s about show your customers some love with better samples?



The Time Factor-Me Vs The Pro-DIY Gloss Color

Seriously, the last time I colored my hair at home was at the old house which had a giant bathroom and carpet. I completely ruined my t shirt, stained my hands and had smudges all over my face.

My gfs have no problem with the process-they just apply, wait and shampoo out!

Me-not so much.

However lately I was inspired by a youtube vid of a young girl citing pretty much the same reasons why I would do my own hair. It just costs too much to go to the salon now that I am on the 3 week cycle.

At $80 a pop-it’s just too expensive.  Add in my time and the expense and it totals $4500 a year!

So, I watched all I could watch on youtube about using the same gloss product my hair stylist(s) uses, and went in to Hillary J for a tuneup. I had started to do a lighter color treatment, then turned back as my hair started to fall out. (Went to the doc and he tested me, and pretty much came up with no explanation, but knowing that is the only thing different…)

So I got my hair color back into shape and let it grow out a few weeks.

I admit I was nervous because I tend to be a slob when something takes a certain level of meticulousness, and the bf already thinks I’m messy (though I’m not really-he’s just insanely anal about some things).

Nowhere did it say to mix the gloss and processor until it thickened. So I was painting it on in my middle part area while it was still thin.

Feeling like hours later, I watch the clock cuz part of the exercise was would it be worth the time I lose billing hours vs the $80 expense and the 1.5 hours of time for time in the chair and travel?

I finally get the product all into my hair though very messy and difficult to reach in the back.

Processing time I figure is a little shorter since it took 40 minutes to get it in my hair.

I jump in the shower to rinse and it is an explosion of black color all over.

Immediately I think in my paranoid way that it is going to stain and our  housekeeper chooses the most inopportune times to not show up at the very last minute.


The color rinses off and down the drain. I just apply my Kitoko conditioner, and PH Rebalancer and let it air dry.

Turns out I did a pretty good job. Only a few white strands were missed, and my hair felt fine in terms of softness and was shiny.

I think the net-net is I will go in for tune ups, but I think I’ll save my hard earned cash for other things like eye cream.


Texas Gold, Black Tea-Fresh Age Delay Eye Concentrate

From my point of view this product is very expensive at $85 for a .5fl oz.

However, when I was in San Francisco last year I learned that Fresh is owned by Louis Vuitton, and that some products recipes were kept in their safes.

Doesn’t really justify the price, but I threw that in, because at the end of the day it is the marketing of the product that makes people pay more.

After my bid for wrinkle free eyes using Retin A, probably using way too much around my eyes, and the result being MORE wrinkles and new vertical lines!!! I revisited the thought of purchasing Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Concentrate.

I had received a packet sample from Sephora a month or so earlier, and it had worked pretty well, definitely softening the skyscraper lines from the Retin A debacle. But I decided to purchase Shiseido’s Benefiance eye cream, convinced by the ads in New Beauty that specifically described my problem-vertical lines in the inner corners of my eye.

The Shiseido cream did a great job of really smoothing out the furrows that the Retin A left behind, but as I neared the bottom of the jar, my fickle heart wandered back to the Fresh product.

The holidays bring gift sets that are often a good buy.

In this case, Fresh offered the pricey-cream with a tube of Soy Fresh Face Cleanser(feels like aloe, and cleans off mascara), and the Black Tea face mask. Both good sizes, plus a full size eye cream for $90.

So, being the shrewd shopper that I am, I waited to use my 20% off coupon to buy the gift set.

I have to say that the Black Tea product definitely worked in further smoothing of the verticals as well as the horizontal lines I have from crinkling my nose.

But having used the jar, with a safety sample in my storage, of course, I have wandered in search of better.

I know for a fact that Dr Tantisira’s Madonna Lift will do the trick of smoothing out the eyelids, crow’s feet and under eye bags, but I just haven’t brought myself to go under the fractional laser again after the pain I experienced years ago at another office, doing a full face. Dr T is very good at making sure the patient is comfortable, but it is my own paranoia.

I tried Avene products when I went to Paris a couple of years ago, but me suffering from menopause dry skin, their heaviest cream didn’t do much.  But knowing that their creams are very gentle, I decided to try Retrinal EYES.

They have 3 products for different uses, but this one describes what I need, eye contouring, puffiness and wrinkles. It is a combo of retinal, hyaluronic acid and something to depuff, probably caffiene. 

This is for evening use ONLY!

So far, I think I see an improvement after using it for 2 weeks every night. The product pamphlet shows results after 30 and 60 days.

But so far, so good.


Lube Me Yu-Be-Japan’s Soft Skin Secret

I am always on the hunt for the next big facial moisturizer.


I had done a good amount of holiday shopping online at Sephora-and you know the drill, you’re always looking for something for the last little bit to reach free shipping nirvana.

I had seen Yu-Be moisturizer at Sephora before, but had decided against trying.

But seriously, the law of supply and demand, supply being Sephora was sold out of the stuff,

made me want it.

Not want it more.

Just want it.


Yu-Be was invented by a Japanese pharmacist in 1957 and it has glycerin, vitamin B2, E and sodium hyaluronate- a humectant which says “moisture come to me”.

yube-logo-smIt smells like camphor – also known as Vicks vapo-rub-the stuff your mom rubbed on your chest when you are little and congested.

The consistency is like neosporin-but not oily at all. Just sort of ointment-like.

A famous Japanese mountain-climber is the brand’s poster girl-having used it during her mountain climbing expeditions saying that she overcame extreme temperatures and winds using the product.

Me-I take half a pea and spread it around my crow’s feet area and around the sides of my mouth for an extra boost of lubricant and moisture.

Because at the end of the day, dryness causes wrinkles.


Ros’ Magical Creamy Coconut Lotion-Island Soap & Candleworks

This is the third time that my friend’s very wonderful Creamy Coconut Lotion has saved the day when I broke out in an allergic reaction.

The first was about 2 years ago, when I attended a Island Soap holiday event and the salesperson mentioned he used the lotion and it cleared up an itchy skin condition.

I had been suffering from hives over my torso, which had been gaining ground.

Seriously, I used the lotion once or twice and my skin immediately calmed down and soon the redness and rash was gone with no sign of ever being there.

I asked Ros what was so magical in the lotion?  The lotion is made of natural oils, but she said it was the comfrey in the lotion.

So, the other day I finally used the balance of my Hoala Spa gift card on my second Dual Exfoliation Facial. This facial uses various Aveda products to slough off dead facial skin.  Part of the facial includes creaming up the neck, shoulders and arms.

I left the spa feeling wonderful and  pleased with the results! My esthetician was fabulous ( I won’t mention her by name in case she does not want to be on the internet), and I would definitely go to her again.

However, when I got home an hour or so later, the skin on my neck had erupted into a red, bumpy, itchy rash. Had a little on my right arm as well.

I was concerned and called Hoala, and they were curious what had caused the reaction since none of the products had changed since my first facial. They invited me to come the next day so they could see the rash.

Meanwhile, I applied Island Soap’s Creamy Coconut Lotion to my neck.

About 20 minutes later, the area definitely calmed down-the itchiness subsided, and the swelling bumps and redness lessened.

By the next day, the rash was reduced by about 90%, and only patchy, slightly raised bumps remained.

The spa manager was helpful, but I got the feeling that she was searching for other causes of the rash.

That’s cool, but I know what I use on my face and body, so I was a little taken aback.

One of those things with me, are if you probably caused the problem, just own up and let’s get on with our lives.


In the end, the manager offered me a free facial. Which was one of those funny things-I have to ask myself, will I get an allergic reaction again?

I only do facials like once a year because I am focused on my skin’s condition, so I don’t know, I don’t really need them.

My bf said Yay! He didn’t have to go shopping again for V-day because I had a free gift from his original gift-

Does this mean it is technically a re-gift? Or a re-issue of the original gift?



Yesterday Once More – Neostrata Lotion Plus

Like I said, I wonder why I do this to myself. Meaning, why do I stray from something that works?

The answer is mostly boredom.

I used this magical lotion for years and years ago when it cost only $17 per bottle.  

Nowadays it goes for $42!!  $45 on the official neostrata site.

But it wasn’t so long ago that I think that price is really super duper high!

But seriously, it works.

Works like magic.

Practically with the first application.

Neostrata Lotion Plus is AHA Glycolic – 15%!  It is for experienced uses, there are step downs, and is used to “resurface” the skin by exfoliating.

For me-as much as I like my Honey and Sugar scrub, this is pretty fast and I can do it everyday without waiting for the housekeeper to come so I can make a mess in the shower.


Makes my skin feel silky-and moisturized tho there are other formulas that exfoliate and are moisturizing.

Dry no more!