The Longevity Book

I’m back. With another review of a celebrity book: Cameron Diaz’s The Longevity Book that follows on the heels of her The Body Book.

It doesn’t go on sale yet. It’s on an embargo at the library so it can’t be checked out until a certain date. As with all these embargoed books I read them before they go on sale and before they’re able to be checked out by library patrons.

The one good point about Cameron Diaz’s book is that she talks about menopause. I’ll be 51 this spring. She goes into an overview of what happens like hot flashes and cold sweats.

Ladies: I tell you: that accounts for why suddenly at nine o’clock at night I’m heated up and ten minutes later I’m breaking out in a cold sweat.

I skimmed only the sections of the book that interested me.

The Kate Hudson book Pretty Happy I liked more even with its numerous drawbacks like detailing how to go on a cleanse. I don’t do cleanses. I don’t think they’re necessary or ultimately healthy. And mostly because if I want to eat a couple of macaroons, I’m going to have the macaroons.

To be honest: there was nothing exceptional about the new Cameron Diaz book as compared to Christiane Northrup’s bible The Wisdom of Menopause. And the Mayo Clinic has a great DVD on menopause that I’m going to buy instead of reading the Northrup book (which I tried to read straight through and ended about 100 pages short of the end. The book clocked in at near 900 pages.)

I hear–you can ask your doctor to be safe–that taking two 400 mg Vitamin E pills helps with hot flashes. A woman who’s a few years older than me told me this.

Again: I do wish ordinary woman who want to speak their mind for others to hear would get book deals not just celebrities and other famous people.

Yes: I skimmed only the sections of The Longevity Book that interested me. What I read was impressive in its own way.

The book reports on–and I’ve reported elsewhere on–how maintaining social connections and friendships and other relationships as we head into our sunset years accounts for having better health and happiness.

Right now I’m reading sentence-by-sentence an utterly fascinating memoir that I’ll talk about early next week after I’m done reading it.

Right now I just want to crawl under the covers with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.


Nail Salon Insanity

The New York Times this week exposed the dirty secrets of nail salon employment.

The technicians work with fumes, cancerous chemicals, 10-hour days, and sub-par under-minimum wages arbitrarily doled out or denied.

The women are often undocumented illegal immigrants, who cram into SUVs or mini-vans at the crack of dawn.  They are driven to posh salons where only the customers’ lives glitter, The technicians suffer miscarriages, respiratory ailments, and develop cancer.

The women often don’t have cosmetology licenses. That must be why 10 years ago when I went to get a pedicure the technician didn’t even know she had to separate my toes with tissue. A second technician had to come in and take over the job of painting my toes.

I go as long as possible between each pedi. I get a pedicure more often in the summer. I rarely get manicures. I don’t like color on my fingernails because I get bummed out when the color chips. A chipped red nail is not beautiful. I don’t have the time or energy to make regular visits to a nail salon to keep up flawless nail color.

Don’t get me started on wraps and gel nails and nails painted with kooky colors and designs. The wraps and gel procedures are what cause irreparable ill health to the technicians. And I detest nail art and wouldn’t paint my own nails with these designs that require mercilessly endless upkeep and regular changing.

Now: I would pay $30/per pedicure if it guaranteed the technicians could work in a healthy environment and enjoy the same good health that I enjoy.

I ask for clear polish when I get a manicure for the times I do get one. After reading the New York Times expose, I’ll most likely stick to giving myself a manicure with clear polish.

This is a glaring example of why the obsession with beauty and also the obsession with perfection is not good, is not healthy.

Trust fund fashion bloggers with pretty faces hawking designer clothes remind us of what most of us can’t have. Why make ourselves feel miserable because we think we’re not beautiful?

I see beauty in everyone. Everyone is beautiful in my eyes. I don’t think there’s an ugly person on the planet. We are all children of God, and we were made in his image. The way to treat others is with kindness and compassion, just like God would.

The nail salon insanity has to stop. It’s possible for certain nail salons to be certified as “green” or health-conscious salons if they adhere to best practices in the industry and look out for the welfare of their technicians.

I recommend jumping at the opportunity to frequent a “green” salon. Wherever you go, tip the technicians at least 20 percent.

Maybe I simply don’t trust beauty because even though I have a striking look / a photogenic face I was aware that my good fortune in the looks department was an accident: my mother was attractive, and my father was good-looking. My brother too looks like he could be a male fashion model.

I don’t trust beauty because I’m aware looks can change over the years and you have no control over this. Also: being beautiful isn’t what got me where I am today. I achieved great things in life through hard work, persistence, and determination. And those things can’t be taken away from a person.

It’s OK if you want to continue to go to a nail salon. I’m not going to judge another person.

In my own life, I see nothing beautiful about fingernails lampooned with turquoise nail polish or miniature geometric designs.

I live with fingernails that are often less than perfect because it’s one of the only areas I fall down in. I’m 50 years old now. A woman at 50 is too old to continue to chase impossible perfection.

I keep my nails short. I have calluses above my palms just below my fingers that I get from dead-lifting 205 pounds at the gym. They are a badge of pride that I’m fit and active.

Anything else, I don’t value. I don’t value long red talons that cause another human being to get sick.

Say what you want about the media having a liberal bias: you can’t argue with the truth exposed in the New York Times article. It’s neither liberal nor conservative.

The nail salon insanity is unethical and inhuman.

It has to stop.

Boots No. 7

I gave Boots No. 7 the boot in the end.

Their Protect & Perfect Intense Serum was recommended in an image book I read this week: The Wow Factor. So I went to a drugstore to check out the goods.

It cost $21 plus tax, and the tube was so tiny it was barely bigger than a Krazy Glue tube. And I’m not Krazy: I’m not going to spend upward of $100/month buying tubes of Protect & Perfect to use every day.

Face it, the faces in a woman’s magazine like Allure are the result of preternaturally good genes. No product suddenly turned plain women into these ravishing beauties with smooth, creamy, clear skin.

I turn 50 in April, and I look like I’m in my thirties so I, too, have good genes. Thus because I know this is an accident, not anything I created, I realize that age hits us all at some point.  Better to be happy at 30, or at 50 or beyond, than to berate yourself your whole life for not remaining a youthful beauty forever.

There’s a trick: I’ll share it with you gladly. A woman told me that I must look so young because I eat right, exercise and drink plenty of water. It’s true. You can read the Jessica Wu, MD book Feed Your Face.  She was the first doctor to write about how food improves mood, and that it can improve the “mood” of your skin, it’s physical feeling.

What I do use:

Simple ™ daily face cleanser. Then I apply Simple ™ moisturizer with SPF 15 and some kind of eye cream with hyaluronic acid that I bought in Sally Beauty Supply. I let these products dry while I blow dry my hair. Then I apply Revlon PhotoReady bb cream in the light shade to use as foundation.

At night, I apply The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Night Cream.

That’s all.

Frankly, I think the focus on youth is nuts.  It’s obsessive. I don’t think any woman looks natural with a totally line-free, pore-free, wrinkle-free face. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life agonizing about your face, you need counseling, not “hope in a jar” via any miracle cream.

You have to like yourself at 50, because you’re most likely going to live on earth another 20 or 30 years. Do you really want to hate yourself up until the day you die? I don’t think so.

Women deserve more than to be assaulted with media reminders that we’re not good enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough.

I say: refuse to believe the messages you see everywhere.

Love your curves. Love your verve. Love yourself inside and out.

God doesn’t make junk.