Friday, May 18, 2018

My Tragedies

I'm writing on my iPad, the only computer I have left. Last Wednesday, my house burned "down." Charlie and I were not there, thank God. I've had a very bad few months, as Alexander would put it (remember the children's book?).

I had Legionnaires pneumonia and was hospitalized for eight days. If a friend hadn't insisted on a wellness check by the police, I would have died. They found me unconscious on the floor. I have no memory of that or how long I had been passed out. I'm told I had sepsis and kidney failure in addition to the pneumonia.

After the hospital, Charlie and I moved to a rehab center in an assisted living facility close to my house. I needed to get stronger, and I did. I thought that was the worst of it. Then, my sister, who was helping renovate my house, hired a company named Pest Now to eradicate the termites they found in my attic. A few hours after they left, my entire attic was in flames. Long story short, my house was destroyed. It will take at least eight months to rebuild it.

I lost much of my makeup museum, almost all my clothes, and I don't even know what else because all salvageable items are in a warehouse owned by my restoration company or with specialists who deal with art and antiques. My best jewelry was stolen.

If there is a silver lining to the last few months, Charlie is fine, and my pneumonia is gone. Chubb, my insurance company, has been fabulous. I can't say enough good things about them. Please check your insurance policy and make sure that you have a guaranteed rebuild clause (regardless of cost), more than adequate contents coverage (riders for valuables), and will have the money to live somewhere while your destroyed house is rebuilt. Chubb is paying for the rehab center where I will stay for the duration. It's five minutes from my house, and I feel safe here. I have a two bedroom apartment with a sprinkler system in every room...and Charlie seems happy.

Writing this has brought tears to my eyes. One of the restoration guys said I have PTSD. Could be true. I told my doctor I thought I might need a psychiatrist. I wasn't kidding. They weren't kidding when they told me I have a new job, with no pay. The work involved in making decisions, meeting people at my house every day, buying clothes and other necessities, and more has been continuous. Thank God Chubb is supplying me with the money I need to live.

That's the outline of "where I've been." Many of you have asked, and I'm grateful for your love.

I couldn't get a photo into this feature. I tried, but finally punted.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 7: Dr. Tina West Open House Sponsored by Michael Reinhardt

Fall colors are so pretty. I took this picture of a maple at Mom's, but it was a grey day, so it's dark. My apologies. I also apologize for missing the last few Friday Forums. I've had more medical appointments than anyone my age should rightly have.

Between my continuing health issues and computer problems, I was unable to publish this feature today before my e-mail went out. I hope you see it before tomorrow evening's open house at Dr. Tina West's office. That is Wednesday, December 7. She will welcome all visitors, and she and her staff will be on hand to answer questions about dermatology and cosmetic surgery. If you are in the DC area and want to know how you might solve your skin problems, go talk to an expert!

Dr. West's office is at 5530 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 925, Chevy Chase, Maryland, right across the street from Saks. The open house will be from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Everyone is welcome! I hope to see you there.

P.S. I messed up the date. Sorry! The open house is December 7.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Friday Forum - November 11

Veterans Day - our opportunity to honor the men and women who have served in the armed forces. It's a very special day for many families and can be (should be) a day of recollection for all of us.

Americans originally celebrated Veterans Day as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919. President Woodrow Wilson called for a moment of silence exactly one year after Germany signed the World War I Armistice document, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The President used these words. "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Today we associate Veterans Day not only with peace, but with war. We celebrate with flags, memorials, parades, and acts of kindness for members of the military. We have a collective hug to let them know that we owe them our way of life. Whatever time of year, it makes me teary-eyed to hear someone walk up to a uniformed member of the armed forces and thank him/her for service.

Today, veterans will be remembered in ways large and small. Full-page patriotic messages from military contractors will run in our newspapers. Restaurants will serve veterans for free, and retailers will offer discounts.  Whatever you choose to do, please do something. Donate to a charity for veterans. There should be no veterans sleeping in tents this winter because they are homeless. We need to end that national disgrace. Support companies hiring veterans. How disappointing it must be to come home from war to an economy with no job for you! Attend a local ceremony. We have many in our area. I plan to go to the one in Falls Church, simply to show the veterans who attend that we care.

We owe our veterans so much. There are 22 million living American veterans and young men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't think we can ever fully repay them for their bravery, patriotism, and suffering. There are men and women lying in military hospitals around the country, their bodies and lives shattered. I'm not sure how we can do enough to help them, but I am sure that we all need to try.

The poppies referenced in In Flanders Fields grew in profusion in Flanders, France in the disturbed earth of the battlefields and cemeteries where war casualties were buried - and thus became a symbol of Remembrance Day. The poem is often part of Remembrance Day solemnities in Allied countries that contributed troops to World War I, particularly in countries of the British Empire that participated.

The poem In Flanders Fields was written after Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae witnessed the death, and presided over the funeral, of a young friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer. By most accounts it was written in his notebook the day after the funeral. Because of this poem, poppies have become a symbol of the Armistice.

My mother has a photo of the President of the United States holding her as she gave him a poppy on Veterans Day. As I was growing up, I never fully appreciated the significance of that photo. I do now.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Thank you to all the members of the military - past and present - and your families for your sacrifices. We love you.

Yes, it's time for the Friday Forum! The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the

Photos courtesy of and

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Friday Forum - November 4

Yesterday, I attended a makeup extravaganza featuring Tim Quinn from Giorgio Armani Beauty at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase. It was crazy busy, but a blast. They were featuring Armani's new palette Eye and Face Palette Limited Edition Holiday 2016 ($140), which I purchased (naturally), Ecstasy Lacquer Limited Edition Holiday 2016 ($38) for the lips (ditto on the purchase), and Tim, the star of the show.

I asked Tim to select a Fluid Sheer for me when he "did my makeup," and he chose the light pink #7. Perfect choice! I might have loved any color he chose since I was drinking mimosas for lunch as I had my makeup perfected. I had a blast!

I haven't had time to take photos of anything I've purchased in the last week. I have had another week of doctor's appointments. I'll summarize with 1) a trip to the Emergency Room ending in a diagnosis of a bruised chest wall, 2) "closure" of my sinus infection with a clean CT scan, 3) an annual wellness exam, and 4) a trip to the outpatient lab for blood work today. I am looking forward to the end of all these doctor's visits.

I really intended to write this week, but between appointments and clouds, I had no time to take photos or write. I've felt like a a gerbil running on a wheel.

The latest Tom Ford Collection has arrived at Neiman Marcus. I just saw it and found it drool-worthy. You might want to check it out. The palette above is Soleil Eye and Cheek Palette ($155) in warm, my choice.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that Sephora's 20% off sale for VIB Rouge members started today. I did a quick scan last night and found very little that enticed me. I have to go look more closely soon before the most desirable pieces start to sell out. I'd love to know what you are eying so that I can see what I've missed.

It's time for the Friday Forum (and my lunch!). The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Friday Forum - October 28

The earliest trees are starting to change into their fall wardrobes here. There is a lone maple near my house that's glorious. I wish I could have stopped my car to get a photo, but I was afraid some looney tune would hit me. So, let's settle for this beauty.

I am afraid I'm getting this feature published too late for my Friday feed. I spent the entire day running errands, including providing all the required information to be bid on a job by some old Fannie Mae colleagues. It's not a great job, but it could be an entry point to a new company. Besides that, I'm not working now, so some dollars are better than no dollars.

I have so much to tell you, and no time. I purchased one online exclusives from Chanel, and they are very nice! I promise to try to catch up over the next week. Every day in the last two weeks has been a medical challenge. I had my epidural yesterday, my visit with the ENT Tuesday (my CT was clear - hard to believe because my face hurts every day), and next week I have an annual physical on Monday and a trip to the neurologist Tuesday to find out why my daily migraines are back. I feel like a hypochondriac.

I wanted to keep my promise to continue the Friday Forum, so here it is. I hope you have more time to write than I do. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr (photographer not identified)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Victor dE Souza Believe In dE Impossible - Spring/Summer 2017 Beauty

The Show
For Spring/Summer 2017 "Believe In dE Impossible Collection," Victor dE Souza ups the ante by merging traditional couture techniques with themes popular with the millennial generation. Gender and identity are deconstructed and fluid, as the Victor dE Souza client celebrates uniqueness and individuality. This collection focuses on how the "new" generation will modify classic couture, embracing folklore and floral themes in a sequin-covered Renaissance.

Since the label's launch in 2009, Victor has been championed by Vogue Italia, Patty Wilson, Patricia Field, Michelle Harper, and Numéro Magazine for his couturier's approach to luxurious materials and timely silhouettes. Notable moments for the designer included Katy Perry appearing in her very own fragrance campaign, Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of Elle, Rihanna in Voque Italia, and Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper for Mac Viva Glam Campaign, as well as the appearance of Amanda Lepore and Iris Chan (Japanese Pop Star) and Hunter Taylor (Nikki Taylor's Son) in this year's runway event. To expand upon his success, Victor recently announced a menswear and full beauty collection, which can be found online and at Osswald NYC, House of Larue NY, Provincetown, and now the Surrey Hotel.

The Makeup
As you know, Dustin Lujan creates the makeup and looks for Victor dE Souza Beauty. For this season's show there were seven different looks for women and two looks for men, rather than one uniform look for each. Each lip color was paired with a unique color selection for the eye. The skin was a true finish skin with powder strategically placed just on the nose and creases of the skin. The look was created to add modern/editorial details to classic makeup details.

Descriptions of the Women Shown Below
Look 1: Brown Liner, brown/gold Shadow, Liquid Sky Lip
Look 2: Black Eye Liner, Pewter Shadow, Mysterious skin Lip
Look 3: Purple Liner, Pastel Pink Shadow, Raspberry Reich Lip
Look 4: Navy Liner, Aqua Shadow, Stage Freight Lip
Look 5: Aqua Liner, Taupe Shadow, Female Trouble Lip
Look 6: Grey Liner, Fuchsia Shadow, The Hunger Lip
Look 7: Clay Liner, Lime Shadow, Doom Generation Lip
Look 1: Black Liner, Liquid Sky Lip
Look 2: Aqua Liner, Liquid Sky Lip

These photos are "teasers" Dustin sent me. In the near future, when Dustin and Victor are ready to launch Spring/Summer eye shadows and other products (in addition to his already available, superb lipsticks), I will show you finished photos of each look. Dustin has promised a promo code for Best Things in Beauty readers too! It is NYFW.

Victor dE Souza, "I am exploring the future of fashion through the eyes of the millennials, in their strength to overcome the impossible and in having the courage to stand for what they believe in."

Photos courtesy of Victor dE Souza

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Friday Forum - October 21

As I write, a cold front is moving in. It will take away our glorious Indian Summer and bring cold, wind, and - from my perspective - the misery of late autumn. Within minutes, our day has gone from sunny and warm to a foreboding darkness. Plus, it's now raining - pouring actually - and the wind is wicked.

I had planned to write about Dustin Lujan today, but my day has not gone as planned (a reflection of my week). I promise I'll write about Dustin over the weekend. Please check back in Sunday. I want to do him justice, and at this point in the day, I won't have that luxury.

If last week was the "week from hell," this week was certainly the week from purgatory. It started Monday morning with the Verizon FiOS installer who actually showed up when he was supposed to arrive. He spent over five hours here, but did little to meet my expectations. I have to warn anyone being forced to convert from copper phone lines to FiOS. Verizon's sales people will tell you anything on the phone, anything they think you want to hear, but what they tell you seldom matches reality. If I describe all the details, I'll bore you to tears. Let's just say, it was installed Monday, re-installed (fixed) Tuesday, and I had to get my computer onto the network because they did NOTHING to help. That involves a Best Buy story that left me in something approaching a rage. It's all sorted out now, but at the cost of about five hours of my time with the computer and a total of 10 hours on the phone with Verizon. I am glad I sold my stock last year. Surely a little competition will bring them down.

I had a CT examination of my sinuses this morning. My follow-up exam with the ENT is Tuesday next week, so I'll find out then what I already know. I'm still not well. Sinus infections can leave you wiped out, and the fatigue that came with this one has been exhausting.

Mom's service was short and lovely, and the reception after was a nice opportunity to catch up with some of my relatives. I'm glad it was months after she passed. It made it easier for me to talk about her and listen to the stories others told. My friend Bara hosted it, and her beautiful home was the perfect setting to celebrate Mom's life. I'm very grateful to her for making my own preparations easier.

Tomorrow, Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase is having a by-invitation beauty event at 8:30 am! It's a good thing they have promised mimosas because something is going to have to give me a jolt to pay attention. I'll let you know what I learn. There are industry representatives coming to tell us about the latest trends.

I wasn't able to write this week; there were just too many things on my plate. I do hope to get back into the swing of things next week.  In the meantime, it's time for the Friday Forum. The Friday Forum has always been an opportunity to share information. Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Tell us about it! Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Tell us why! Do you have questions others might be able to answer? We can help! Want to talk about skin care? I'm game. Just use the comments. We have busy weekends and slow ones on the forum. I hope to see you in the comments.

Photo courtesy of koko-stock