Makeup 101: A Guide for the Cosmetically Challenged

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That was then, this is now…Event photos from before and after my “intervention”.

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I have always had an eye for fashion. As young as 11 I was doing my own laundry, not because my mother insisted, but because I decided that my clothes were far too important and delicate to trust to anybody else. I saved every penny to take to stores like Benetton and buy coordinated outfits that I saw on the mannequins or in catalogs. When I was old enough to work I got a job at the GAP, where I would hide sweaters in drawers until my paycheck came. The job was supposed to supply my gas money, but looking back I don’t think I brought one red cent home.

My penchant for clothing made me the “go to” of my friends for styling advice. Even today they occasionally ask me what to wear here or there. However, my expertise of style has always stopped at the neck. I can pick out the right outfit with my eyes closed, but those closed lids seldom had the right color, contour, or contrast. You see, if clothing was my English, makeup was my Japanese. All those colors, textures, and finishes melded into one completely foreign language that I couldn’t understand. Toss in some skin-care and I fully exited the conversation.

I still don’t know why I find makeup so intimidating. I think a lot of it has to do with me being such a minimalist. I like everything in my life to be uncomplicated and take very little time. I can’t be bothered with a few extra minutes to even properly wash my face at night, as by the time I finally get to bed it’s more of a collapse and not a climb in. Being a minimalist I also shy away from anything that looks too unnatural. I love the way some of the bold shadows we see on The Real Housewives of Miami and The Real Housewives of New Jersey look…but I love the way it looks on those women. If I try to wear these looks myself I feel like I’m in a costume pretending to be something I’m not; like a child awkwardly shuffling in her mother’s heels. I prefer to wear what fits, disco glitter eyeballs just never seemed to fit me.

I thought I was doing okay with my minimal routine. I covered my blemishes, tossed on a little blush, shadow, liner, mascara, and gloss. If it was summer I used even less, often just coating my lashes in mascara and calling it a day. Nobody ever said anything, except maybe my mother with,”You’re going to the grocery store, put some makeup on.” This always made me chuckle since usually I go to the grocery store after a run looking like a hot mess (ironically the gym is where I do feel the MOST attractive and I never wear any makeup there). Then TBB happened and I ended up on the event circuit and in photographs…lots and lots of photographs. People, the camera never lies.

I will never forget that first reader criticism, “Who does your makeup? They should be fired!” Who does my makeup? I do…should I fire myself? Despite what many people think I don’t have the financial means to hire my own makeup artist, but I knew I needed an intervention. I turned to Nicole Lotito of www.thebeauteinformer.com for help. I met Nicole through the event circuit and I knew she was somebody who would not only tell me what I needed so desperately to hear, but help me navigate that sea of never-ending products that I often found so overwhelming. “You are interviewing these women who have their makeup professionally done, frankly, you need to step it up.” Together with Terry Maher of Terry’s Mane Street Salon  in North Haledon, NJ; Nicole and her business parter Elaine Gizler whipped me into shape.

While Terry brightened my blonde and gave me a more flattering cut, Nicole and Elaine circled around me with brushes and potions like fairies performing an enchantment. They swiped things on, wiped them off, had me open my eyes, close my eyes, put things on my hands. Inside I was panicking. Was I going to end up looking like I was wearing a costume? I am not the false eyelash, flowing extension type and in my heart I know I never could be. Would they respect that? Do I have to change? Much to my relief the answer was no. In keeping with my minimalist personality all the women put together a natural look for me. It was me, but enhanced. But could I keep it up on my own? My homework was to spend more time prepping for my next event while using some of the products on my own and sending a selfie  before I departed. I’m happy to say I’m a good student. I passed.

Now months later nobody is commenting on my lack of a makeup artist. Recently a reader said, “Look how far you’ve come. You look so glam now.” Never being one to exaggerate the truth or even hide the truth I wanted to share what I’ve been using in case any of you are as esthetically challenged as I am when it comes to cosmetics. Below is a list of EXACTLY what I’ve been using. I have not been paid or even contacted by any of these companies, so rest assured there are no endorsement deals (how I wish there were) coloring my opinion. Without further ado here is a simple shopping list that will work for almost any girl with any skin type:

Some of my fave products for looking red carpet ready!

Some of my fave products for looking red carpet ready!

1. Moisturizer– I don’t care what kind you use. I honestly use whatever I have on hand, however I’m still using the Baby Face Cream from Pearl World Inc. who sponsored a giveaway with us several months back. I moisturize before I apply my makeup (and occasionally before bed…if I remember)

2. Primer– One thing I never knew before was how important primer is. I still haven’t been converted to eyeshadow primer; (Another product and step? No thank you!)  but Nicole and Elaine taught me that using a foundation primer after my moisturizer would not only make my pores appear smaller, but make my foundation last longer. They recommended Photo Finish Foundation Primer  by  Smashbox. A little pricey (available at Sephora  in the $40 range) but it’s worth it. You really only need a very tiny bit. I’ve had the same bottle since March and I’m not even a quarter through it. I don’t use it everyday, only for events and special occasions.

*Since this product is silicone based and does seal my pores I always make sure to wash it off.

3. Foundation– I still stick with Bare Minerals foundation which I’ve used for several years. It doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin and with the right brushes (and sometimes a bit of water) can double as coverup too. Plus the infomercial says you can run and sleep in it…which I confess I sometimes (okay often) do.

4. Blush– A few years ago a friend posted some pictures on Facebook after announcing she was pregnant. She was glowing and I mentioned how much her pregnancy agreed with her. She commented back “It’s actually my new blush!” That blush was  Orgasm by Nars. It’s all I use and it lives up to its name giving all cheeks that “you know what just happened” glow.

5. Shadow– Believe me when I say I have tried them all. Drugstore, department store, trendy, but recently I think I finally found my staple. I asked Stephanie Soper of www.makeuprshutup.com  to recommend a good palette. I’d given up on single pots long ago as they created too much clutter for my taste. Stephanie suggested Urban Decay’s Naked Basics. I’ve instantly fallen in love. Each tone is natural and goes from dark to light. Everything is in there for highlighting, shading, even lining (I never buy eyeliner, I use shadow and a very thin square brush). Spring for the larger palette and get a couple of funky shades in there too.

6. Mascara– I used to use whatever random mascara came in my freebie with purchase package. Years ago my friend Paulette turned me on to Dior Show  and I haven’t touched a freebie since. I use the Noir which is a very thick dark black. It’s the closest thing I can find to using false lashes…which never will be for me.

7. Luminizer– I’m smitten for the Satin Luster Face Palette by Fresh. Three shades (white, peach, pink) to highlight cheekbone, lids, I even sometimes run some down the bridge of my nose. Unfortunately my local Sephora no longer carries it and I lost my almost new one on my last trip to the Hamptons. When I have the extra cash I’ll have to order it online.

8. Lipstick– Since I use warm natural tones on my eyes my lips are where I choose to add my pop of color. Though pricey for lipstick my heart belongs to Chanel’s Gabrielle which is my go-to-red.

9. Lipgloss– As much as I love my signature red it isn’t practical, or appropriate, for everyday use. For the average day I stick with Rose lipgloss by Bare Minerals. It’s a warm tone that enhances my natural lip color.

10. Removal– Baby-wipes. Hey old habits die hard. They are quick, easy, and with twin toddlers I’ve always got plenty available.

So there you have it. No secrets, not magic tricks, just a simple list of products that are so neutral they have the ability to work with a multitude of skin tones, no makeup artist needed!

Did my advice help you or do you have a fave product you’d like to tell others about? Leave a comment below about your makeup trials and tribulations:

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RHOM Season 3 Ep 3 Booby-Trapped

Lisa, Lea, and Joanna escape from the other women. Credit: Bravotv.com

Lisa, Lea, and Joanna escape from the other women. Credit: Bravotv.com

By Lesley Rousso

Episode three picks up where we left off, with Adriana and Lea still arguing in the rain.  Adri’s umbrella was clearly injured during the fight, as we see it lying in the driveway.  Adri tells Lea that she resents her and that Lea turned on her.  Lea fires back that Adri should have defended her with Ana.  I agree with Lea here and I guess Adri does too, as she apologizes and says she regrets not doing so.  As they show the scene from the reunion, it’s true Ana was vicious toward Lea.  Adri says that Marysol & Alexia have been saying that Lea is talking behind her back, all over town.  Lea’s response is that Adri took the bait, they wanted to turn the two against each other and succeeded.  Adri tells Lea that she didn’t have her back with Joanna. To which Lea responds, that she did not agree with Adri slapping her.  (It looked more like a punch from our point of view.)  Adri says that Lea collects people and she’s bascially old news now that she’s BFFs with Joanna.  Lea asks her why she’s so jealous of Joanna, Adri says she’s not jealous. Lea’s not buying that and neither am I.  Adri is very hurt and it wouldn’t be normal for her not to be a little envious of the new found friendship.  Adri leaves in a huff, telling Lea she can never win with her.  It’s now beautiful outside.  That’s Miami weather for you.

Joanna and Romain arrive at the Sony Open in Key Biscayne to watch Maria Sharapova play.  All the moaning apparently reminds Joanna of sex, which she claims they never have.  Romain tries to change the subject, telling her she’s talking too much.  She kind of is, it is a tennis tournament.  You’re supposed to be fairly quiet when the ball is in play.  Joanna keeps on keeping on though and Romain tells her she needs to spice it up, to “wake up and change the sauce” and that “everything gets old and boring”.  Horrified, Joanna suggests that they see a professional.  No, not a hooker, a sex therapist.  Get your minds out of the gutter.

Frederic comes home and find Adri sulking on the couch. She fills him in on the fight with Lea and breaks down in tears.  Frederic angrily tells Adri, “She’s not worthy of us, you think I’m scared of Lea Black? I’m going to text her “Watch out Lea Black when you see Frederic Marq”  Okay…I’m quite sure Lea was quaking in her Louboutins when that text came in.

Alexia hangs out in the kitchen with Frankie and Peter.  Wow, Peter used to be so handsome and still probably is under his mullet-like hair.  I’m sure Alexia cringes at this.  Alexia basically tells us that Peter is a bit of a deadbeat.  He lives at home, and sleeps all hours.  After trying modeling and photography, he’s now focusing on his music.  I’ll use the term music loosely.  Alexia however thinks that music will be his career and has built him a studio.  The song he wrote for Frankie includes the lyrics “I get high as f*ck” and “I give it to her real hard”.  Alexia is adorable though as she nods and smiles at Frankie as he’s singing.  She has a full plate and is making the best of it.  It can’t be easy for her.

Lisa and Lenny lounge in their bathroom as Lisa calls Lea and plans a girls night.  She tells her it’ll only be the two of them and Joanna.  Lenny brings Lisa some wine as she perfoms her thirty minute before bed facial routine.  Lenny’s complaining he’s tired and they get in bed. Lisa can’t sleep. I don’t understand how she again has a face full of makeup, after just watching her take it off.  Bravo magic I guess.  Meanwhile the two discuss hiring a surrogate, which upsets Lisa who wants so badly to be pregnant herself.  It’ll happen one way or the other Lisa, fingers crossed for you!

Back at Alexia’s bayfront home, she sits outside with her mother, Nancy, and talks about the problems she’s having with Peter.  Nancy is a psychiatrist remember, so she is trying to help Alexia with him.  Alexia tells her that Peter has a new tattoo which reads “Alexia”.  This amuses Nancy a little.  Alexia reveals to us that the boys real father, Peter Rosello has served time for drug trafficking and says that Peter relates to his real father.  Nancy suggests that Peter needs a job.  Good thinking Nance!  I could’ve told you that one.

Over at Adri’s house, also waterfront, Marysol comes over for drinks.  Marysol meanwhile has a sleeveless dress on, and Adri is wearing a coat.  Maybe it was one of our cold days (68 degrees).  They discuss Mama Elsa and Marysol gives Adri Elsa’s wedding mantilla, a prayer shawl for the wedding.  Adri tells us that she feels closer to Marysol now that she’s joined the victims of Lea club.  Marysol asks if Adri is inviting Lea to the wedding.  Adri says that she doesn’t want someone there who doesn’t wish her well.

Alexia and Lea meet up for lunch and the two discuss the fight she had with Adri.  Lea says that Adri went from “an underdog to an attack dog”.  Alexia confronts Lea about what she heard Lea was saying about her son Peter.  Lea says that’s not true and that she’s always defended Alexia.  She doesn’t think however that Alexia has ever defended her.  Alexia tells Lea that if it were something she agreed with she would and that she’s not afraid of Lea.  Alexia tells us that her and Lea have been friends for years and she wants to trust her.  (She cannot though because Lea always ends up turning on people.)

Lea, Lisa and Joanna arrive for dinner at Baoli.  Lea’s flower on her shirt is so gigantic, it arrives ten minutes before.  The three idly chitchat and Adri, Alexia and Marysol walk in.  Marysol asks “Who invited the grim reaper?”  Lisa has pulled a fast one, inviting them all.  Drama ensues and Lea storms out, but not before kissing Adri hello, being the bigger person. Lisa explains that she’s only trying to bring everyone together.  It’s very uncomfortable.  Lisa tries to no avail.  Then Joanna whips out a print out of the court document proving Adri actually is married.  Jesus, we are still on this?  Who cares anymore??  The episode ends with Lea crying that she would never intentionally leak a story about any of her friends to the press.

Next week, Lisa confronts Adri with the paperwork, Marysol visits a Tarot card reader and Frederic , Adri and Romain fight.  Stay tuned…

Battle of the Housewives: Bethenny -vs- Teresa

Earlier this month two of the biggest names in Real Housewife history held simultaneous events a hop, skip, and a jump from one another. Both liquor brand bosses and NY Times Best Sellers with brand new books out, we thought about how similar these two power women are. Despite the parallels, however, they don’t get along well in the press. Jaime Page takes a closer look:

In the world of the Real Housewives, feuds don’t just exist among co-stars. In recent years, catty remarks have crossed state lines, and stars of the different franchises have taken shots at each other. Much to my dismay, two of my personal favorite housewives, Bethenny Frankel and Teresa Giudice have made disparaging remarks about each other’s businesses and personal lives. Why do we think this happens? Is it because the Housewives franchise, in general, puts pressure on these ladies to compete against each other? Is it just the ladies exhibiting their outspoken and opinionated nature that got them cast on the show in the first place? Perusing some of the ladies’ Bravo blogs and Watch What Happens Live episodes, I’ve highlighted some of the most interesting comments that tell the tale of the evolution of the word feud. Let’s take a look at some the less- than –flattering comments these two culinary entrepreneurs have made against each other.

Skinny Or Fabulous: Drinking and Griping

Both of these Housewives have left their mark on the culinary world; Frankel, with her reported $120 million dollar baby, SkinnyGirl Cocktails and Giudice with her champagne and fruit fusion, the Fabellini. Similar in the avenue of the drinks being touted as low-calorie, both the SkinnyGirl and Fabellini brands have been a source for snarky commentary on both sides:

During a wine tasting for her own line, Fabellini, Giudice commented, “My thing is I don’t like anything that tastes diet-y. For instance, Skinnygirl tastes diet-y. I don’t like that.” (Source: Real Housewives of New Jersey,Season 4, Episode 13: Sit Down and Man Up).

What did Bethenny have to say about the launch of Teresa’s Fabellini? She weighed in on the February 21, 2012 on Watch What Happens Live, when she played Plead the Fifth with Andy Cohen. When asked about Fabellini, this is what Frankel had to say:

“Imitation is the most ineffective form of flattery.” (Source: http://www.bravotv.com/watch-what-happens-live/season-6/videos/after-show-no-holding-back).

Wow! Write What You Really Mean – Using Bravo Blogs As A Weapon

Bethenny became familiar with the table flipping maven by writing a blog for Bravo chronicling her thoughts on the Real Housewives of New Jersey’s freshman season. Although her initial comments were not completely negative, her attitude toward Teresa began to sour with each new episode. Bethenny’s first impression of Teresa was radically different from her current view:

“Teresa is cute and sweet, and like Jacqueline (Laurita) (minus the huge rack) she’s everyone’s friend.” ( Source: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-new-jersey/blogs/bethenny-frankel/bring-on-the-bling)

Bethenny, breaking down her view of Teresa in a latter episode:

“Teresa: Ignorance is bliss. She is a sweet, happy, ditzy brunette with 3 pageant children who already have a massive penchant for shopping……Sweet girl though. She seems truly happy.” (Source: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-new-jersey/blogs/bethenny-frankel/game-on )

Several episodes in, we can plainly see Bethenny’s attitude toward Teresa going south. This is Frankel’s commentary after watching the episode in which Joe Giudice made gay slurs toward a dance instructor during a salsa lesson.

“I’d rather date that 26-year-old sleazy troll boyfriend of Danielle‘s (Staub)than Teresa’s ignorant, uneducated gay-bashing husband. Now he is going to put a hit out on me.” (Source: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-new-jersey/blogs/bethenny-frankel/cut-the-cattiness ) .

I can see that being a comment that would make Teresa see red. Giudice seems to be a person who can take criticism about herself and let it roll off her back(minus a specific table flipping incident); however, negative comments and actions about her family bring out her fiery side.

And, of course, Bethenny commented on the season one finale, which featured the ‘table flip heard ’round the world’.

“Let’s talk about being sore from constant sex and how your husband is never not on top of you (even if you have stitches and are still under anesthesia), but we really shouldn’t discuss some antique scandalous book (the contents of which Danielle’s children already know) in front of the children. Huh? Teresa, in her hot dress with her nice new rack, really outdid herself here. The entire Housewives franchise loves to speak of class and lack thereof, and well this performance just speaks for itself. How proud her family must be.” (Source: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-new-jersey/blogs/bethenny-frankel/fantastically-idiotic ).

Soon after her first season of RHONJ aired, Teresa was put in the control seat and was chosen to blog about a season of RHONY. As you will see in the following excerpts, Giudice was able to make her jabs back at Bethenny and pretty much established herself as a charter member of ‘Team Jill (Zarin).

“Finally, the comments about me bashing Bethenny … please. In my last blog, I said she “exhausted me,” that we’d make a funny team, and then complimented her dress and her hair. That’s bashing?….I’ve said that I liked her a lot in the first season, and that I think she’s changed this season…People change. They get successful and change. They get unsuccessful and change. We’ll see where she ends up (hopefully it’s in a good place because she needs to be a good mommy to that little baby!) It’s still early in the season…”

Teresa mentions that she was a Bethenny fan during the first season, but she felt success had changed Bethenny. Could that be true? Or was the change of heart related to the scathing comments Bethenny put in her RHONJ blog about the Giudices?

“I was happy to see Jason (Hoppy) promise Bethenny a “commitment” before they moved in together … although she already looked pregnant sitting on the couch. Hmm…”

Um, OUCH! Teresa has a penchant for making low brow remarks (I’m thinking of the previous reunion where she commented on Caroline’s (Manzo) “Blubber, blubber, blubber”. It is possible that Teresa really felt the quintessential SkinnyGirl was preggo before Jason mentioned a commitment or proposal (Gasp! Really? How scandalous! Insert eye roll here.)? Or could that scene have been shot out of sequence, but edited to fit into the story line?

Through the cutting remarks in this blog, here was one shimmer of common ground between the ladies:

“The one thing I could relate to with Bethenny though, was when she explained that at the fashion show she felt like “a caged animal.” Housewives is real, yes. We say what we’re thinking at the time…..You have no idea how hard it is to be trapped in a close situation with someone you can’t stand… You’re stuck, and sometimes you blow…” (Source: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-new-york-city/blogs/teresa-giudice/a-caged-animal ).

“I am being asked by Bravo for my opinion of the episode though, and Bethenny’s naked shoot was a big part of that, so hear goes. What did I think? I thought it was nasty that she hiked up her robe by the bush in front of everyone.” (Source: http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-new-york-city/blogs/teresa-giudice/team-jill?page=0,1 ).

In this particular blog, in my opinion, it seems like Giudice is striking back at Bethenny for her own personal blog on the RHONJ season one finale(See above). Bethenny mentioned Teresa’s dinner table discussion of sex, her new boobies and how classless the whole display was. This blog from Teresa regarding Bethenny’s PETA shoot echoes those sentiments (Tit for Tat? Bush for Bush?).

Getting Personal

Try as they may, the Housewives try to keep their private lives quiet when the cameras aren’t rolling. In recent months, Bethenny and husband have separated and are going through a messy divorce. In the meantime, Teresa and her husband have been under raised public scrutiny after being indicted for 39 counts of fraud. When asked about the Giudices’ predicament, Bethenny stated:

“Do I feel sorry for them? No, I don’t. Not so much, because it broke the law. You broke the law and you went on television. That’s not really that smart,” Frankel said. “I feel badly for them because they have kids, and their kids didn’t sign up for this,” Frankel stated. (Source: http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/08/bethenny_frankel_i_dont_feel_sorry_for_teresa_giudice.html).

While it has yet to be seen if Teresa has made a statement on Bethenny’s split, this comment exposes common ground these two ladies share: being mothers to little girls. In addition to that, both women have built their empires from scratch (both in the culinary field) and are NY Times best-selling authors. Their down to earth attitudes, low BS tolerance and comedic commentary have attracted extremely dedicated fans. As much as these two may not be exactly alike, or see eye to eye on certain topics, they absolutely do have a good amount of commonalities. I, for one, would love to see these two ladies getting along, and perhaps, working together on a future project. Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Ok, readers. Here’s your homework: Leave your comments on the Bethenny/Teresa snipe fest. Who’s side are you on and why? Also, don’t forget to vote in our poll for your favorite housewife – Bethenny or Teresa?

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