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March 27, 2008

Spring Clean Up

Spring Clean Up

by Nancy Martin

You already know this is not my first rodeo. So it shouldn't shock you that I broke down in a moment of weakness and bought the book HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD while I was on tour last week. If you have refrained from buying this book, I admire your self esteem. But I bet you're dying to know what's between the covers, right?

Take this warning from one who's in the know: Crow's feet hook their claws into you long before age 40. And if you have a baby or two, other things besides your eyelids start to sag--things you assumed would be perky for at least another 25 years.  And I'm not even going to discuss chin hair, varicose veins or fallen arches, but really--they're probably in your future. It's not to early for you to buy this book.

Have I drunk the Kool Aid as written by Charla Krupp?  Yes.  Gallons of it.

Here's some of the skinny, according to Ms Krupp's book, if you want to make the world think you're a long way from Social Security:

Cut yourself some bangs. This suggestion caught me off guard, since bangs tend to make me look like a turtle. But I've been studying bangs for a week now, and I think she's right.--Bangs lift a face that might otherwise need a forklift.

Next up:  Throw away all your dark lipsticks. This advice comes with photo examples of no less a fashion icon than Sharon Stone.  Go to fullsize image OKay, okay, she's a nutball, but she looks great and she gives major money and effort to AIDS research and curing malaria. Plus it's spring, and what could be more springlike than shopping for pink lipsticks? I forget the rationale explained in the book, but I bought some, and the author is right.--Pink is better. My new shade is the same color as Britney's bubblegum.  That's got to lift the level of serotonin in a girl's brain after a long winter.

This one's old news, but here goes: Start whitening your teeth.  The book shows so many photos of celebrities with Chiclet smiles that I have to think the real advice is to start saving for veneers, but for lesser beings who are still paying our kids' college loans, break out the baking soda. Yellow teeth make us look like villains in old episodes of Gunsmoke.  (Steady, William.) But white teeth make us look as if we just need a pair of black leggings and we're all set to go clubbing with Lindsay Lohan. Which is a good thing, right?

For the under-40 set, this suggestion comes around like the cycles of the moon:  Once again, it's time to reduce eye makeup to the bare minimum. The book shows you how to apply a thin layer of liner that is now de rigeur unless you're Phylis Diller.  For those of us over 50, no more "smokey eyes" or thick swaths that look like they've been applied by a Bollywood makeup artist. (Guilty!) But somebody tell me what a girl's supposed to do if I can't see to draw a microscopic line around my lashes?  My bifocals don't help because I can't manipulate the pencil around the glasses. But I'm working on it. The alternative is to get the line tattooed on my eyelids, but I'm already nearly blind and besides, what happens if the fashion changes and I'm stuck with last decade's style? Meanwhile, I get my lashes dyed at the salon, which is illegal in most states, but I'm not going to turn anybody over to the local Barney Fife. I do tip really well--which could be considered a contribution to the bail fund, I suppose.

The book also provides a long, helpful list of clothes I need to throw away, but since the list includes many of my wardrobe staples, I'm resisting.  But also on the list are full-length fur coats, cargo pants and acid-wash jeans, which just added J-Lo to my fashion purgatory, so I'm in good company.  (Hey, I like salsa music! And really, those babies are adorable. Admit it.)

And those of us who have been known to wear our hair long and parted in the middle? We're definitely looking older than we need to. Me, I've spent the last couple of years flashing back to the days when I wished my VW bug could make the trip all the way to Woodstock (see photo above) but I gather that hippie hair is gone, baby, gone.

So I spent the weekend cutting out pictures of middle-aged celebrities with age-appropriate, yet flattering haircuts. And I took them to the salon.

Here's my new, younger 'do: Go to fullsize image

Well, all right, that's really Jenna Elfman, but our digital camera isn't working at the moment.  This is the picture I took to the salon, and Laura did a great job giving me the same haircut.   

Okay, a new haircut and pink lipstick won't change the world, won't elect a good president, won't end a war, but dammit, it makes me feel better about me at a time that's really hard for a writer----the weeks when my agent is showing my new book proposal around New York.  I need all the self-esteem points I can gather.  No, I'm not wishing I looked like Britney or Lindsay, and I have no desire to go back to that time of my life. (Hey, I really do think 50 is the new 30!)  But it's spring, and I feel plenty perky.  I'd like to look as good as I feel.

I hear you, TLC readers. You're asking, "Nancy, is that HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD book worth the cover price?"  Uh . . . yes.  I love this book.  I also bought the new book by my favorite TV personality, Tim Gunn. But his book is a real disappointment. (Sorry, Tim.  But a book about fashion with no pictures??) Check out Charla Krupp's book at your favorite bookstore.  I bet you buy it.  (Well, maybe not you, Josh.  And please don't pick it up for your wife.  It would not make a good gift.)

And although we discourage publishing house publicists from sending the Tarts books that we might mention here, I will gladly accept more like this one.  And please hurry.  I'm not getting any younger.


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Love the Jenna Elfman hair. But how do I get those arms? Wait - don't answer that.....I know.

All of this stuff is common sense, but I'm not giving up on the eyeliner. No way. Eyeliner is my special voodoo medicine that lets me conquer the day. But DON'T GET TATTOOED....All I can think of is Tammy Faye Bakker and her last days on earth, wasted and bone thin, that heavy black tattooed eyeliner sagging on her face.

Don't listen to them, nancy. You're beautiful.

The concept of a tattoo needle anywhere NEAR someone's eyes is not something to be dealt with. Ever. As the old joke goes, one would never want to hear someone say "Uh oh" or "Ooops" during that procedure. Just thinking about anyone doing that makes me shiver....

Even those arms, Sarah, are eventually going to need 3/4 length sleeves. Eventually!

Amen to 3/4. Ramona?

Nancy, I can't wait to see your new haircut! I'm heading off to the salon today for my own new do, which will most likely end up looking like my old do. It always does for some reason, probably because I usually say, "Give me something I can style in less than five minutes."

I used to have arms like that--twenty years ago. Now I'm in that 3/4 territory.

Ooh, Nancy - I bet that hair cut looks great on you. I am in the midst of growing mine out from short and layered to all chin-length in preparation for my planned bob. It's excruciating.

I'd rather go the route of shopping for pink lipstick and using Crest Whitestrips, than more drastic measures that result in Priscilla Presley's immovable face. I've been watching "Dancing With The Stars", and was appalled at what she looks like now.

When I first read the third sentence in the blog, I read it as "... I admire your self restraint." Apparently self esteem didn't enter into it for me. Now I have to go look for this book.

All right, I'll bow to the pressure. I have a shopping date on Saturday. Somewhere in Coldwater Creek there must be some 3/4 length sleeves I can live with, but only for you, Sarah Strohmeyer. If Michele were asking, no way.

About the eyeliner? You can buy super-thin wands. I don't know what the book says, but don't get black. I do dark brown and burgundy. It's a tiny difference, but the colors make my dark brown eyes pop out a little.

I've been a bangs girl since forever.

I also sound horribly vain, but I'm really not.

Blond Bond happens to like 3/4 sleeves, Ramona. Why, just the other night he remarked to me, "Why is that Ramona always going sleeveless, even in cold weather? Isn't she odd?"

Love the haircut, Nancy! When you first said "bangs" I was thinking that awful fringe that goes straight across the forehead. That would make you look younger all right -- like about five! But this is sophisticated and glamorous. Perfect for you.

Like Laura, I read this post thinking about Priscilla Presley. Let her be a lesson to all of us. Trying to look "young" is like trying to hit a moving target, and people get crazy with it. Better we should all look good for our age.

Did the book mention lip-plumping? Because then we could talk about Melanie Griffith and Meg Ryan and why they did what they did to their mouths.

Priscilla Presley was always kinda quirky, but beautiful. Now---oh, dear! That's really tragic. And I see Nicole Kidman doing the Botox thing already. Does her forehead ever move anymore?

And Restalyne? That stuff they inject to get rid of wrinkles? Let's face it.--I have enough fat in my face already! Kathy Lee Gifford looks as if somebody's been punching her--all swollen.

There was a chapter on Botox in the book, I think. I skipped it.

Now I"m off to the dentist. Not for veneers. Just general maintenance on the fillings. My dentist is slowly replaced all the silver in my mouth with the white material. The fun never ends.

Coldwater Creek? I live about a mile from the outlet. I often go there to buy my wife birthday or Christmas gifts. They should have 3/4 sleeves. Don't go looking for the LL Bean, Lillian Vernon, Blair, or VF outlets; they've all closed over the past year. Hanes/Bali is still there, though. I'd be surprised if there aren't tumbleweeds skipping across the parking lot by August.

My own most recent acquisition is a little book called Facial Fitness (comes with a DVD). Simple exercises for your facial muscles. Who knew? Several people who bought the book tell me it works. Of course the pictures tell me I will look like an idiot performing these gems, but who's going to see me besides the cat? Too soon to see results--I just bought the book over the weekend--but non-invasive trumps surgery anytime.
Hair? Short. Has been for years. My stylist told me once that longer styles can make some people look older. Not everyone, but I believe she said it has something to do with facial structure. I like Laura Geller's liquid eyeliner/mascara duo in Ipanema brown. The line is narrow and doesn't flake.
So when do we see the new Nancy on the banner?

How about a Sharpie for eyeliner? They come in all colors now, and it's not as permanent as tattooing, but you would only have to fool with the glasses every few days.

So Bill Clinton is speaking at my local high school this morning. I don't dare go outside.

Sharpie! Why didn't I think of that?

Nancy, I think that is a fabulous haircut, but I cannot help thinking "hot rollers" when I see that and wonder how i could duplicate it on me. Confess: how long does it take to achieve that, starting from wet head? And can it be done in the car, while driving? Because that's my own mobile hair salon.

I've heard there's very special surgery for what my best friend Tara has always called Hadassah Arms -- but it leaves a big scar. So there you are, back to 3/4 sleeves. Or an underarm tattoo.

Nancy, I love that book. I got it earlier this year and already have the pink lipstick, blush and, most importantly, am working on getting the "girls" back up where they are supposed to be (or were 20 years ago). Charla talks alot about women who have had too much work done and as a result look even older. Hip hip hooray to that. But think twice before getting Spanx. Remember I couldn't get my Spanx off by myself on Easter Sunday. Yikes.

I'll be getting a hair cut today, so I'll pretend it's a grand adventure like Nancy's -- even though I'll actually get the same simple cut, to be left to dry on its own. My hair has declared itself too fragile and delicate to be permed, hot rollered, blow dried, or otherwise bothered. I've even learned to put conditioner on it and wet it down before getting into the pool, to minimize chlorine damage.
The real excitement is shirt-sleeve weather!!! Yes, spring is taking over, winter is running scared!
Y'all might enjoy Cathy's take on spring fashion.

I know I do everything wrong when it comes to looking younger, although I have been considering going back to bangs and a layered cut. I just don't want to spend hours working on my very straight, very fine (and getting finer) hair.

I don't generally wear makeup, but I did spring for some really expensive lotion that is supposed to minimize lines and wrinkles in 12 weeks. My husband the doctor endorsed the purchase, saying the secret ingredient in it actually has some clinically proven effectiveness, so we'll see. It may be that he's just tired hearing me complain about my face which is rapidly becoming far too similar to Deputy Dog. I'm on week 4, so I'll let you know.

I live a student life, generally, but I'm adding more professional clothes back into my wardrobe as I move from student to pastor. I love Coldwater Creek stuff as it is generally nice enough to be considered professional, but still has some bit of flair to it. Ann Taylor and Talbott's (both have great outlet stores) still make me happy as well. As a pastor, though, I'll be wearing dark colors and sensible shoes. Which is okay with me. I haven't worn heels since my daughter was born 16 years ago. And black was my favorite color long before it was trendy.

But when I'm really an old lady, I shall wear purple! And heels! And all the eyeliner I want.

Josh, you live a mile from the CC Outlet? How convenient. I think that store is going out of business, which is bad, but there are great sales, which is good.

Susan, I went into a Talbot's yesterday. This spring, it's all about fun and lively scarves, which are another old lady accessory, if you ask me, but I bought two anyway.

Harley--I'm a car salon person too. One hand on the steering wheel, the other "fluffing" my hair as it dries. That's my hair regiment. Oh yeah...at home, sit in chair and "fluff" hair with hands as it dries. I don't have to worry about hair dryers or rollers, although occasionally I do use a curling iron on my bangs to give them some body.

My style? Shoulder-length hair, bangs, and two barrettes...the same since high school. My sister says I need to change with the times but I'm not a slave to hair fashion. Besides, now I look a lot younger because of my bangs, right Nancy?

(& I tied for least changed since high school at our 20th reunion...did either of my sisters get that honor? No way. They had changed their hair styles, and as such, I'm sure no one even knew who they were...) ;-)

Hey, didn't Michael Jackson have eyeliner tattooed to his eyelids?

Well, for once, I'm on the cutting edge of a trend - I've been phasing out most makeup for years.

But here is the real secret of looking younger that nobody but Oprah herself will tell you: a fat face.

That's right. The fat pushes out all the wrinkles, and I am not kidding. Last year, before I cut my hair for Locks of Love (which means it was very, very long), I went into a store to buy beer. And I got carded. That's right. Age 46. I'm telling you, it's the fat.

Say you're thinking about having some plastic surgery done on your face and need a reference. Never fear...have I've got a picture for you:


Or maybe this:


I'm with you Mary, my hair is not blow dryable, looks like a haystack with no body at all. I do it the 'old lady' way. Wet set it on the plastic curlers and let it air dry.
I'm allergic to so much make up that if I tried the 'lip plumping' treatments, I'd probably end up in the ER! (one guy commented the Angelina looked like she's been giving bj's! LOL)
Bangs are fine, as long as they aren't short enough to make you look like the Campbell's Kids, or spiked into mall bangs!

That poor woman; can you imagine paying to get that done to you?? Oy. Priscilla Presley does look scary, but not as terrifying as Wildenstein, who probably causes little children to scream when she comes into view.

Nancy, I just recently had bangs cut, too, and I've gotten beaucoups compliments. Makes me wonder what kind of hag I looked like, pre-fringe. Mine are the straight-across kind, similar to Katie Holmes. It's an easy style to do, I just slide a straightener down it after it's dry. My husband loves it, and this is a guy who never, ever liked any 'do but the one I had before going to the hairdresser.

Harley, don't use Sharpie! What if you get it in your eye, or you miss when you're drawing it on? Then you're stuck with an errant line until it wears off. I've never gotten eyeliner right, but luckily it doesn't look good on me, anyway.

Nancy, does the book say anything about tapered pants? Bootcut looks way better on almost everyone, and they'd better not be thinking of making this style obsolete.

My mother-in-law got the eyeliner tatoo a few years ago...in black. It is a very thin line and no one noticed until she pointed it out. The woman is almost 77 and is fighting it every step of the way. She had her eyes done about 7 years ago (the lids were hanging over her eyes so she couldn't see)and this year has had the whole face done. Her hubby took pictures of her in the bandages to show her kids...she tried to hide the surgery from us. If not for the pictures we would never have known.

And Kathy, you're right about the fat. I don't dye my hair (too much gray and besides I like the color) anymore and I'm always told I don't look over 40...its the fat! I was buying some beer for Dear Hubby and the kid at the register carded me. I looked at him and said, "I don't know whether to hug you for making this old woman feel better or smack you for being a smart ass." The kid (probably 24) laughed so hard he couldn't breathe.

Pam, you are so right. A very dear friend just lost about 30 pounds, and when I finally saw him (he lives in a different time zone), I was shocked. He has always looked younger than he was, but now looks every bit of his 50 years, since his face is so much slimmer. I can't tell him; he's so vain about his looks, and being gay, he is clinging to whatever shred of youth and attractiveness he can.

Shoot, I was carded a couple of years ago, while out with out-of-town younger relatives. I think they have to do it, by law. There's no way anyone would mistake me for being under 21, not even a blind person.

I am back from the dentist and the post-dental nap. Yeesh, what an ordeal.

Okay, I am bowing before those of you who have been carded lately. Kathy, we need to run a contest, but I think you might take the prize.

Ramona (who, in person, will remind you of Natalie Portman--petite with killer eyes) you are not vain, but always beautiful. But the news that scarves are Old Lady? I am crushed. And I just bought a very flattering one yesterday (white background, pink and blue dragonflies) at Target for $7. Run, don't walk, because you'd love it.

Becky, those pictures are truly terrifying.

I need an opinion. Do I have to be Jewish to add the phrase "Hadassah arms" to my vocabulary? Or is it too offensive? Can I call them Presbyterian Ladies Circle arms?

And Maryann--boy, do I want a sneak peek at that Facial Fitness book! Worth the cover price, girlfriend? Do tell.

Two things. First, you can be goy and still use Jewish/Yiddish terms. It's just sillier with You than Us. I assume that "Hadassah Arms" does not refer to the tatoo; I can guess that you wouldn't want to have to get that.

Second, I was reading the comments at Ask Prudence on Slate, and this "Most Effective Lip Plumper Reviews" website was listed in the ads on the left of the page: http://www.lip-plumper-reviews.com/index.php

Nancy, I've noticed I need a nap after the dentist now also -- I don't know when it started, but the novocaine really makes me groggy now.
I know I'm not having surgical things done to my face. I had to have some when they removed basal cell from near my mouth -- it hurts! I'd rather just continue looking like myself anyway.
A friend past 30 was carded once when she ordered a virgin daquiri! (we're guessing he hadn't heard the virgin part, so carding her saved him from bringing the wrong thing).

Well, I suppose you can say Ms. Wildenstein was successful in that I can't even place an age on the look that she created.

I can see the logic in bangs, covers up a prime wrinkle area.

I made the mistake of watching "Ten Years Younger" this weekend. Ooh, that messed with my head. It almost seems like it must be underwritten by the cosmetic dentists, laser eye surgeons and plastic surgeon groups. They do tons of procedures, nothing seems to be about working with what you are given. And, they never give a price tag for the transformation.

Hey, how come no one's shouting abotu Sarah's RITA nomination! That's got to be youth-ifying!

I look like Natalie Portman's grandmother, and you know it.

Okay, so if nobody agrees with me about the 3/4 length sleeves and the scarves, what do you all think screams Old Lady? I just have to know now.

Nancy ~ I think that hair cut will look awesome on you!!! As for eye-liner tattooing...my dental hygienist just had it done. Nice and simple, nothing dramatic.

As for teeth whitening? She recommend the white strips. That or go to the professionals. How do I know? I was just there yesterday!! :)

For me, my hair is still below my shoulders and thanks to my hairdresser...very curly. I told him to make me sexy, and he did.

As for Sarah's RITA nom? I have been shouting, and now have laryngitus. LOL! It is an incredible coup for her, to be recognized for her wonderful writing.

Carol, you're right, we should still be shouting about Sarah's nomination. (We heard the news yesterday and did our cheering then.)

What screams OL? Hm....Helmet hair, for sure. Beige, lace-up shoes--they all look orthopedic to me. Blouses tucked into elastic waist pants. Blouses with pastel flowers. Shoes that match the bag.

I'm going to keep thinking about this!

Definitely those scrunchy-fabric pants that have matching t-shirts with a cute applique graphic with the same color as the pants. Koret makes those, right? I buy them for my aunt.

Hey, I TOO need a nap after the dentist....It's because they put adrenaline into the novcaine to speed up the delivery. That's also why your heart races. FYI - Nancy.

Okay, that's it. I'm staying fat. God forbid I don't get carded.

Debby, bless you. You are a one-woman promotion team. The RWA people really know how to do it up right. Today I got my FedEx delivery with special pin and instructional letter. Plus, I get to buy my first evening gown ever. I think I'm more excited about that than anything else.

I agree - helmut hair is aging, add reading glasses on a beaded chain around the neck - instant LOL (little old lady)

My mom only wears denim dresses - muu muu style - definitely LOL (but she goes commando so she is still young at heart)

augh, commando granny, too weird

Alison, I'm sorr. I know she's your mother and all and you love her very much but...blech.

Cheryl, you just reminded me of Extreme Makeover. A friend's daughter was on it, and did they ever make her over! She had her teeth fixed, her face totally changed, eyes fixed with Lasik, lost a bunch of weight, had breast implants and a tummy tuck, and got her hair done completely differently. I was appalled at how much they did, and how different she looked. Her kids were so freaked out.

You might be right about the medical community sponsoring those shows. Scary.

Sorry for the confusion Sarah - my first name is Gaylin, I am not Alison Gaylin!

Sorry, Gaylin...I just assumed.

I just can't get the muumuu and commando image out of my mind.

hey sarah - at least my mom keeps her teeth in!

Ooooh, an evening gown!!! Can we pay your daughter to take her camera phone along on the shopping trip?? What a great blog!

Hey Nancy,

I have met you and I doubt anything you do makes you look like a turtle (except perhaps the odd turtleneck). LOL Here's the trouble with books about getting old--they pretend we're not supposed to age. Embrace your crow's feet and your sagging whoevers. They're a badge of maturity and endurance through life's travails. If all else fails, cultivate friends who are older than you are.

All the best,

Great blog, Nancy. I have the bangs, light makeup and appropriate lipstick. I also found that losing weight definitely helped me look younger. I'm fighting the arms with lots and lots of weight work (I have triceps! Whoo-hoo!).

I think Dee has it right, and that Nancy also has it right. We do age. We're supposed to age. But there's nothing wrong with enjoying the gray hair and crow's feet (how else do we know we've laughed, smiled, and cried for all those years, anyway?), while also enjoying a nice bright lipstick to wake up the smile, appropriate eye liner for the windows to our souls, and sparkly teeth that are all the better to . . .


Never mind :)

Hey girls, don't knock gray hair! It's much cheaper to be a blond if it's already gray. Ya don't have to pay to get it stripped out first. Just put a blond rinse on it. About $8 a month!

Dee, right on! Aging is natural, and we have bigger things to worry about. Storyteller Judith Black has put together an amazing show on aging, titled "The Fading Scent of . . ." better you should hear it from herself http://www.storiesalive.com/newsletter2.htm
Scroll down to "New Show." She was inspirted by an AARP cover of "Sexy at Sexy."

My story OTOH is much tamer --
http://www.storyteller.net/tellers/mgarrett (hear a story)

". . adrenaline into the novcaine to speed up the delivery. That's also why your heart races" -- Thanks for the info, Sarah -- here I thought it was because the dentist is so cute. ;-)
I noticed the same after-effect from the Albuterol inhaler, so I only use it in extreme need. Doggone sarcoidosis -- 61% breathing is not enough!

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