WTF: The Benefits of Not Having Benefits

Last night I was talking to Emily about UTI, how not having health insurance has driven me to stave them off with cranberry juice alone, and as a result I could be less immune to antibiotics used to treat them, which I've heard can be a problem. Now I hear of a study that shows patients seeking cosmetic procedures from a dermatologist get appointments faster than patients with real medical concerns, such as potentially cancerous moles. Why? Insurance companies usually don't cover Botox treatments or other cosmetic dermatological procedures, so patients pay out-of-pocket for these in the hundreds. But a mole exam covered by insurance usually nets about $75 bucks a pop, which doctors get months later from the insurer. Botox that is licensed for cosmetic use can be administered by beauticians and spas, but if doctors can get in on the action (by asserting that Botox in an non-medical setting is unsafe or dubious), they will, and they'll prioritize those cases. Since me and 47 million other N. Americans are uninsured, we'll be paying out of pocket for our mole exams as well as our Botox. Maybe we should ask for a package deal? Via Jezebel.


I love a serum

My anti-wrinkle strategy till now has been to wear lots of sunscreen and also to not make the faces that cause the wrinkles. As that method has left me without my "It's sunny!" face, the handy "What's that foul stench?" face and my super-distinguished "critical thinker" face, I had to come up with another way. In a perfect world the way would be eco-friendly and not too costly. Like, under $50.

So I went wandering into Sephora, and as I was about to go for Hope is Not Enough from Philosophy ($38 for 1 oz) the lady there told me she liked Juice Beauty's Antioxidant Serum. Saying she preferred organic ingredients for her face, the Serum also contained the same vitamins and peptides as the Philosophy bottle, and at a better value ($45 for 2 oz). Yay, Sephora lady!

Well, so far I've been using it for about a week and I dig. I put it on after cleansing and I notice my skin feels tighter and dewy at the same time, though I'm careful to follow with a bit of moisturizer on top. I've also gotten more compliments on my skin, though it may be from the placebo effect, according to my nay-saying boyfriend. Whatever, I'd use it if only for all the vitamins (C, E, and A) which are helping me with the neutralizing of the free radicals that like to be all up on me from walking around all day.


Sterilized Sensualism

You'd never ever know it from being in my home, and you certainly wouldn't know from my appearance, but I hate germs. I hate touching door knobs in public places and anything in the subway (I'm sure I'm not alone here). But, I also hate having dry hands. Solution: anti-bacterial hand lotion. What? Why not? Because it usually has an apple cinnamon scent, I know. But I just went to that Bath and Body Bed & Beyond Body Works place and they are having their "Annual Hand Soap Event" which includes all their anti-bacterial products. I smelled all the featured fragrances they are running now and some of them aren't so bad! They even have sensual amber anti-bacterial foaming sanitizer (haah!). But be warned that the "clean linen" scent smells like "warm vanilla sugar" with some windex in it.

Speaking of hands and touching with hands, WTF is with touchin' on the art these days? I was at the Tom Freidman show at the Lever House yesterday (good show, btw), and this tween was running her fingers through a sculptures hair. When I was a kid you were supposed to not touch the sculptures in the museum lest they get your oily residue on them, nowadays people all but lean on them to relieve their gallery fatigue. Do we collectivity need a ruler-smack from Sister Wendy? I'm talking to you, Emily! I didn't forget the time you ran your finger across one of the molded Vaseline seats made to look like a giant compass at the Guggenheim and then rubbed it on your lips cuz' they were chapped. Ok that was kind of awesome.


Beauty Icon of the Month (Not Lindsay, bwahahaha)

I'm again chiming in with my bitches over at Jezebel re: Elle Magazine. I bought it so that I could read it on the way to PA last weekend so I could be a (token real-girl) model in my wonderful friend Samantha's production for her Spring 08 presentation (more on this come fashion week). Lohan aside, this magazine is shockingly full of content. Content I want to read. My absolute favorite was an article from The London Times they reprinted where Bethan Cole, their beauty editor writes about being met with international scorn after wearing black lipstick on GMTV (like the British Today Show). She says: "I am not a bland, blond beauty doyenne with tasteful highlights, a bronzed complexion, and waxed, tanned limbs." Translation: Homegirl is pale. "This would be a kind of death for me." Aieee!! I love her. Her work is a totem for everything we strive to be here at Cheek headquarters (hee-hee!): Brazen, intelligent,

independent, unapologetically obsessed with outsider makeup. If you're interested, I encountered a sequel to the Black Lipstick article published a few weeks later. If you are as smitten with Ms. Cole as I am (and you should be), this is a compelling read. It's about the difference between indie and faux-indie. She cites ingénue pop figures like MK Olsen and Daisy Lowe, who are "all examples of the current epidemic of faux-indie, which takes the artifice of indie, leaves behind the ideology and ditches its ideas about otherness and the tortured state of abjection." Yowch. The best is that she concludes the piece with a list of seemingly irrelevant products she likes. Which I will do right now: LORAC Creme Lipstick in Babydoll is lighter-than-even-my-skintone pink, yet somehow looks glowy and Bridget Bardot-y if applied with a light hand. Do this look with minimal eye makeup and black mascara on a sunny day before summer ditches us.

Also Good Luck, When in China

It seems like whenever I bite into an apple I bite my cheek and make it bleed. Biblical? Or maybe I'm just extra sensitive because I like my horoscope so much this month: "Develop a more intimate and expansive relationship with red. Color therapists say that it inspires vigor, zeal, determination, and primordial longing." So I'm menstruating and wearing red lipstick. It's working! It's working!


Me: Helpful, You: Shy

Aww, hey lil' reader! Come here, don't be timid now...aren't you a little fuzzy little shy reader? Just thought you would like to know that Jennifer Liang over at Style.com has confounded expectations by posting some interesting D.I.Y. skincare recipes as part of her monthly "5 great...[expensive products]" feature, gathered from various skincare specialists around NY. Because you are always trying to be the one in your friend group who knows how to make a hair mask out of a cucumber and some olive oil. Or wait is that me?

Also, I've enabled anonymous commenting for your bashful ass. I ♥ feedback.

Bazaar Hates on Old Ladies

Don't get me wrong here, I love the Lilys. Donaldson, Cole, Tomlin- you name it. As part of the "Fabulous at Every Age," feature in their August issue (the one with the strange Jessica Simpson Cover) Bazaar includes an article on how to wear red lipstick at any age (illustrated with the pic of Lily D. shown at left, sans JBR of course). Stunning peice of service journalism. Glossy at 20! Long-wearing at 40! Liner at 80! Cool, good timing Bazaar, since lipstick was just now invented, but is it really necessary to show the look on someone who photographs like a six-year-old?

Just cuz there are lots of ladies who do it proper even as they approach their (gasp) 60's! How dare they put this obviously rhetorical advice into practice?? And on the red carpet no less! Now for the obligatory Helen Mirren image: Isn't she radiant? How we love her.



Via jezebel, talking eyeshadow. I can't decide where I stand with this product. I irrationally hate Stila, but this is sort of interesting. I wonder if people who need these sorts of instructions would actually find it useful. Also it seems like we're getting close to that Chanel automatic makeup applicator that Leeloo uses in the Fifth Element.

Brown Town

Hey! No telling whether this will become a regular feature or not, but I made a comic strip about a certain lipcolor from my youth. Hope you likey.

Is "Brown Town" an innuendo for something gross? Or does it just allude to something gross? I'm at work otherwise I would totally investigate.

I Wuv Woo

McQueen Fall Makeup on Daria Werbowy.



Being really into fancy beauty products can be a liability indeed. The insane prices, the never being sure if your getting your moneys worth, the trying to be taken seriously as a modern thinking woman whilst being into fancy beauty products...Buuuut I gotta say, they are worth it all if only for the joy they bring to an otherwise soul-crushing morning routine of getting ready for a hellish commute to a crappy job. Last nights makeup needs to be removed lest your supervisor pull one of those "Weeeeelllll, where were you last night?!" (Cuz bosses seem to think that they own your weekdays and nights for some reason). I highly recommend Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil(below) for this task.

It goes against that whole "don't splurge on a cleanser cuz its only on your face for a moment" thing, but it doubles as a makeup remover! See, when you put it on, it feels like linseed oil, but then when you add water it emulsifies and turns into a milky cleanser. So gentle on skin, so pretty in bottle.

Now that I've gone on & on about my cleanser, I only have time for a sink shower. I'll use Mistral balinese vanilla soap. You forget that you have to deal with the L train when you smell it, albeit momentarily.


Yellow eyeshadow

...looks better when not getting its picture taken by a phone.
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Time to Look at My Feet!


So, in what had to be the worst day trip to the beach ever, if such a thing is possible, I found comfort in the small things. Like toenails! Here I'm sporting my freshly pedicured feet the color I created in my beauty lab (HA!). It combines the classic deep plum color that has been so hot just now, with an overlay of holographic- iredescent- sparkle to add that highschool nostalgia thing. Back in the day, when I was young (I'm not a kid anymore), I used to put glitter on fucking everything.

Here is the recipe:
1. Apply a base coat allover the nail, and let it go all over the edges of your toenails. Let dry.
2. Apply one thin coat of a dark-gothy-red or purple polish of your choosing. NOTE: the greenie hues inherent to iridescent glitter polish will tinge any color a little cooler, so if you want it to be a warmer color overall, overcompensate by choosing a redder base color.
3. Apply a second coat of the same polish.
4. Now take a q-tip dipped in polish remover and clean up the perimeter of the nail, which by now should be covered in little specks of the base color. This is where putting the primer all over the place comes in handy.
5. When all is dry and good, apply a topcoat of an iridescent or holographic glitter polish that is semi-transparent. If it has a tint, that's ok. It really wont impact tha overall color. I used Brucci Nail Hardener in "Glisten to Me."

Ta-DAA! Now just don't spend 5+ hours trying to get to Fire Island via public transportation, even though it's only 2 hours from your house, unless you want to spend $120 dollars for no goddamn reason.