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October 01, 2011

Welcome Our Newest Tart: Amy Hatvany!

Our newest Tart, Amy Hatvany, is a talent destined for greatness. Her latest book, BEST KEPT
BKS SECRET, about a woman overcoming alcoholism in order to retain custody of her young son, kept me riveted and I wasn't the only one. Jennifer Weiner recommended BEST KEPT SECRET as a summer read on the Today show and the kudos have just kept on coming. A recovering alcoholic herself, Amy writes from painful, joyful experience and from her heart. Her prose is top notch, her characters fully fleshed (in more ways than one) and her pacing is impeccable.  And she's funny!

We are so lucky to have her here and I know you'll feel the same. So please give Amy a warm Lipstick Chronicles kiss and welcome her to the community. She'll be blogging every third Friday of the month...what a treat!

Sarah (Amy's biggest fan!)

By Amy Hatvany

I am not a high maintenance gal. I get my hair cut four times a year and rarely spend more than six bucks a bottle on shampoo. I don’t visit the make-up counter for Bobbi Brown blush or Le Mer moisturizer; I’m good to go with Maybelline and Cetaphil. In fact, it takes exactly twenty minutes for Cet me to shower, primp, and get out the door.

Now, before you’re impressed by my apparent lack of consumerism or think that I’m taking some kind of moral stand against the objectification of women in the media, you should know that my minimalist approach to a beauty routine has less to do with political commentary than it does with laziness and thrifty Hungarian gland.  It’s not that I don’t like to look pretty (I do), it’s that I can’t stand extending more energy or money than is absolutely necessary to make that happen.

Considering this aspect of my personality, it didn’t come as a surprise that my daughter, Scarlett, has more than just a bit of a tomboy in her. Up until this last year when she turned eleven, she could rarely be bothered with brushing her wildly curly mop or wearing matching clothes. She preferred rambunctious flips on the trampoline and wrestling with our dogs to sitting down and painting her nails. Since I tend toward telling her how incredibly smart she is versus how incredibly pretty (though in my completely jaded opinion, she certainly is both), we were fine with our mutually relaxed attitude toward our appearance.

Eyebrows-right-shape So a few months ago, when she came to me and asked if I would take her to get her eyebrows waxed, I was more than just a little taken aback. “I have Dad’s eyebrows,” she said. Her brown irises were shiny and her bottom lip trembled. “All bushy and icky. Can we fix them?”

Despite the fact that she was right - she does have her father’s thicker, slightly fuzzy caterpillar brows - my first inclination was to say no. She’s eleven, for god’s sake. She doesn’t need to start this craziness yet. What’s next? Latisse? A padded bra? Or - heaven help me - a bikini wax? Aren’t little girls allowed to be little girls anymore? Is this where early sexualization and eating disorders begins - with the eyebrows?  Warm embers of sociological outrage began to burn in my belly.

“My friends are making fun of me,” she added, and suddenly, I am eleven-years-old again, standing at the corner bus stop. It is a misty autumn day, and the boy I have a huge crush on is telling me to go lose a hundred pounds; his friends are laughing - some of them make “mooing” sounds. Even today, almost three decades later, my throat still floods with tears. 

The memory impales me, and I look at my daughter, now, who is tender and sweet and funny and dear, and I know I would do almost anything to protect her from this kind of pain. I think of how small a gesture getting her brows shaped actually is, and how huge a difference it might make for her. I can always set boundaries about what else she might ask for, but this…I can give her this. 

It’s a fine line I walk as a mother, trying to teach my daughter to nurture and value her soul while she Motheranddaughter navigates these preteen years when everything is about beauty and blending in. We talk a little about the difference between self-care and vanity, and when I start to ramble on about the importance of basing her self-worth on who she is versus what she looks like, she sighs and rolls her eyes. 

“I know, Mom,” she says. “Being pretty is fine, but being smart and kind is more important.” She takes my hands in hers and squeezes them. “Relax. They’re only eyebrows.”

One can only hope.




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Welcome, Amy, to the circus that never ends..:) And thank you for such a perfect example of parenthood!

Look at the bright side... you daughter didn't ask for a car.... yet....:)

I think you should check her browsing history, just in case she's been researching Botox. Or liposuction. And make sure to open any unmarked packages that come to her from Brazil, Mexico, or that nation of pharmacological iniquity, Canada.

Btw, was that Weiner endorsement on the same show that she endorsed my sister's book, "The Story of Beautiful Girl?" That gave her a huge short-term spike in sales. I hope it happened to you, too.

Welcome, Amy! So glad to see you here! And I think you did the absolute right "mom" decision . . . middle school is the toughest part of life for a girl (and not so hot for boys either). Yay to you and Scarlett!

I was just shopping in my favorite high fashions store (ahem---TJ Maxx) and came upon the Halloween costumes. I knew the whole princess theme was big, but jeez--! Hoops skirts, pearls stitched into the bodices, lace all over. I mean, you could have costumed a production of the Henry cycle from that rack! Mothers of young girls have it a lot tougher than I did. (My kids liked wrapping themselves up in bandages and trick-or-treating as mummies, not royal harlots.)

Welcome, Amy! We are so pleased to have you among the Tarts!

Amy, I think you can also add "wise" to the list of attributes your daughter can claim. Don't worry; you've started her out on the right path, and you're giving her an excellent role model, so there's that.

We might very well be soul sisters. While not an alcoholic myself, my father was, and I'm also 1/4 Hungarian and refuse to buy fancy makeup, etc. But I usually get my hair cut five times a year. So, much higher maintenance! Of my three daughters, all are tomboys, and two of them wear makeup only when forced to. They have grown up to be strong, amazing women, and I have no doubt your daughter will do, as well.

Welcome to the blog! Sarah has been talking about your book on Facebook, and it's on my list of Books to Buy. Now it's been pushed to the list of Books to Buy Today.

Hi, Amy! We're so lucky to have you, and your daughter is, too. Have you done the eyebrows yet? How did it go?


Wow, Sarah! Thank you for such a warm, wonderful welcome! I'm thrilled to be here.

I'm happy to report that Scarlett had her brows done without *too* much trauma, and she looks lovely. Funnily enough, she doesn't mind the hair being ripped out by the wax as much as she does the plucking, but the lovely Bulgarian woman who works at the salon (and refers to the non-denominational church she goes to as "non-dimensional" - takes wonderful care of us both through the process!

Thank you all for your kind comments! I feel very blessed and so excited to get to know you all!! Happy Saturday!

Hi Amy--welcome! My daughter is the same way--and, I think what is on their radar, deserves to be respected...(she is now my maintenance and grooming consultant!)

Welcome to our little corner of the world Amy!
Nice to see you concerned about your daughter. Her future is in good hands I think!
I have a son. Only one of my girlfriends had a daughter so I can only relate to her experience.
I don't watch a lot of TV but since I was sewing I got to catch a few of the new series on the regular channels. The Suburbatory show was a primo example of what mommie does daughter does.
My girlfriend could be worried about paying the mortgage but never skipped a weekly mani pedi or hair (no offence Rocco) appointment. Her daughter grew up going to the salons with her. They also shopped at the malls a lot. I call these mother/daughters "Victims of Fashion".
You have not caved in to the path of Paris Hilton-ist materialism. They are just eyebrows. The hair on her legs will grow back too.
Is that a photo of your lovely daughter at the bottom?

Wow, I feel as though it's Christmas morning. All my favorite authors on one website and now AMY HAVATNY! Elaine Viets, you have always been an inspiration to me and St.Louis misses your columns.Sarah Strohmeyer, Barbara O'Neal (Samuels), Diane Chamberlain, Joshilyn Jackson and all the rest of you....I bow to your excellence. You have all given me many pleasurable and introspective hours of reading. Keep them coming...I just bought two new HUGE bookcases to hold you all. (I am a re-reader!)

Welcome, Amy! I'm so excited to have you among us!

I just came back from this morning's appointment for my 2 daughters, age 11 and 9, to get feathers in their hair. I can so relate to this. My daughters are really athletic but get girlish in spurts. My 11-year old is obsessed with which body parts to de-hair, at what point, and by what means. Her dad is Italian, which means there is plenty of hair to obsess about. So far, the pain factor looms large, so no waxing. But the day will come . . .

I'm with you. Whatever I can do to make the drama known as Middle School less traumatic, within reason, I will do. No questions asked.

Wonderful mom for listening, very wise daughter. I really liked your post, and will check out your book. Nice to see you here.

Welcome, Amy! I look forward to reading your contributions here - and to reading your books, too, of course!

It's great that Scarlett feels comfortable talking to you about the teasing, feeling different from the other kids, etc., and that you immediately took it seriously. I don't miss being her age.

Just wondering if I'm the only person who looks like an accident victim when she has her brows waxed? I've resumed the (daily)plucking. No wait for the swelling to go down, the redness to disappear, etc. Back in April I decided to have my brows waxed a couple of days before attending a wedding. I was mortified at the red splotches and the swelling, the ongoing pain, etc. It took very carefully applied makeup to cover up the remaining lumps and red splotches on the day of the wedding. (And the woman didn't even do a very good job of shaping my brows, on top of all that!)

Harley, I would love to see what your daughters look like with feathers in their hair! It sounds so cute!

DARN Mr. Typepad. Holly, any chance the verification window could be placed above the comment box, instead of below? I keep losing comments because it doesn't show up on my screen unless I remember to scroll down to look for it. My own dumb fault, but I love to blame Mr. Typepad, who just ate another of my undoubtedly eloquent and essential comments . . . .

(Sorry, Amy--I'll regather my comments and repost shortly.)

Amy, congratulations on your book's success and on your warm and perceptive response to your daughter's concerns! Welcome to TLC.

When I begged for makeup as an early teen, my folks' response, over and over and over, was, 'you look fine with makeup; why would you want to put that junk on your face?' What they weren't answering was the real question on my mind as I anxiously scanned my features in the mirror, seeing only the absence of the cool eyeliner, eye shadow, etc.--was I pretty enough? Would I attract boys? Was I doing LIFE right? Those answers might have helped.

Because I was raised to spend money first on nutritious food, next on true family needs, and not at all or dead last on 'luxuries', I never did develop the habit of spending anywhere near what the 'typical American woman' spends on cosmetics and such, but I have, thankfully, learned enough to receive the 'you clean up good' compliment on special occasions, which is enough for me.

Harley, I want a feather in my hair! A lot of the students at the Chinese medical school where I teach have them, and I think it is the best fashion trend to come along for several decades.

Well done -- picking your battles is hard . . .
I had to Google feathers in hair . . . I'm so out of it . . .

Amy, three boys, two girls--and they're both convinced that they have monster eyebrows. It may just be the fashion thing of the decade or something. Neither is particular about make-up or style, but they have a thing on eyebrows.

I have started worrying about mine now!

Oh, Laraine, I have that same problem -- wish the verification code were on top instead of underneath.

Just got back from my 9-year-old's soccer game, where she scored 3 out of the team's 4 goals, which was the most exciting moment in my life all week. I attribute these goals not to the hair feathers, but to her brand new soccer cleats, in neon turquoise. She was kicking like a maniac! (And foolish me, trying to tell her last night in the sporting goods store that comfort is more important than fashion. Ha.)

One thing to remember when getting eyebrows groomed: eventually the hairs you pluck stop growing back. At this point in my life I only have to pluck stray brow hairs a couple times a year. I've followed the fashion for fine brows, and now that the fashion is for more defined brows, I'm out of luck.

Trends come and go. I was astonished to see my longtime friend, 62 years old, with a very cool feather in her hair. She was quite the trendsetter when we were younger, but had sort of stopped following fads. Maybe having her first grandchild made her yearn again for the "cool".

Harley, yay for your daughter!!

Neon turquoise would do it, for sure. Nothing like brand-new go-fast shoes, or in this case, kicks!

Deb, I just re-read your comment and remembered a niece talking about medications making the skin more fragile, and a mishap when having her eyebrows waxed. There's so much to be careful of.
Laraine, I lose some posts also because I forget the verification step and go away to soon. Usually, I have them saved them in my TLC draft file (Compulsive, eh?), but it's still annoying. Darn those spammers!

Harley! Congrats to your daughter and her talented feet!! She and the other successful kicker must be the total heroines of the team today! So cool! Bet you were screaming encouragement--the coolest mom.

Welcome, Amy!!
The years of navigating the makeup counters is only a faint memory now.
My two girls still go to Nordstrom's and other fancy counters but I was chagrined the other day when I remembered the years of discovering Clinique and other pricey brands.
Now I throw in Neutrogena and Aveeno into my grocery cart and feel fortunate that I am not a slave to the mall stores.
Once in a while I will splurge on a good lipstick and nail polish but it seems that I have turned to other interests and spend my money on BOOKS. Oh, well, it is a wonderful addiction.

Your daughter, Scarlett, sounds like a gem. You are a very lucky lady and she is a very lucky girl to have you for a mom.

Hi Amy,

Hugely glad you are here! What a terrific surprise!

I have an odd craving to get my eyebrows waxed, but I know it won't help the sagging boobage and other wonderful stuff that comes with time progression. A new fall wardrobe might help. Yes. I like the thought.

I'm so happy to know I'm not the only mother who has dealt with this issue. She got a feather in her hair, too, but pulled it out the minute we got home because it was "too purple." Uh..okay? :)

And Karen, I must have colossally obstinate body hair, because when I pluck or wax, it comes back with a vengeance! "Oh,pluck ME, will you!? Ha ha! Take THAT!" And then, in the morning, I have an inch long, retaliatory chin hair.

Reine, I can't help you with the sagging boobage. If mine aren't ensconced in the proper combination of spandex and underwire, I'm almost able to kick them about!

This getting older stuff ain't for sissies.

I actually was the fourth poster of the day to welcome you into our group, Amy, but forgot to do the code before I left the page, so it disappeared into the ether. Anyhow, delighted you've joined us.

Thank you Amy for your common sense! I have a friend whose daughter has a mono brow, and she refuses to let her get her eyebrows waxed! The girl is 14 and yes, peers have made fun of her. My friend wants her daughter to be comfortable with her looks and not conform to society's demands on women. But not allowing her to get her brows waxed would only make her more uncomfortable, I would think. My friend tells me since I only have boys I cannot understand why she is doing what she is doing.

Oh, and welcome aboard! :)

Great imagery, Amy . . . has me holding the boobs down while I try to stop laughing!

Last week I brushed back a hair that kept falling in front of my eyes and made my nose twitch. I decided finally that I'd just snip it off, but when I pulled it tight to be sure I cut it in just the right spot it pulled my eyebrow forward. It wasn't a stray hair from my scalp after all. It was a freakin' eyebrow gone really wild!

Amy, I have that same obstinate kind of hair. I swear that my hair grows its own hair! And I am now at that age when it is harder for me to see what I am doing when I pluck away at my brows. They are definitely not uniform, and I have to force myself not to hate women who have two identical brows!

Lora in Fla, I feel so badly for your friend's daughter. In my opinion, she is NOT doing her any favors. I speak as someone who has had to work aggressively with an unwanted hair issue. I am so grateful to have had parents who asked ME when I was in HS if I wanted to have it professionally removed. Even with that, I found out that for ME there would be no such thing as "permanent" hair removal. As I said, my hair grows hair.

I'll be 60 this week. The vanishing hair has only been going on for the last five years or so.


Hey, Karen, I am 62 and still waiting for the unwanted hair to go away and STAY away. (The hair on my scalp has thinned but that is NOT what I had in mind; gee!)

And Happy Birthday, by the way!

If I did not have a lighted, super-magnifying makeup mirror, I would look at my face and just see face, when in fact I have hair everywhere. It just happens to be blondish. I would look like a golden retriever.

Harley, you are too funny! I think I need one of those mirrors too. People keep telling me I look like my golden.

Karen, you are not 60. We have met you. We know you can't be over 35. So stop fibbing, and have a happy birthday.

I am so grateful for my Auntie-Mom. She has always believed in everything that does no physical or mind-bending harm.

Late to the show today!
I do tweeze my brows, started as a late teen I think. I have a lot of hair loss on my head (diffuse alopecia) but eyebrows, chin, legs, it all comes back. I want leg alopecia!

Welcome Amy, I think it is time for me to go book shopping!

My niece made her mom (my sister) go get her eyebrows waxed when she was in her 40's, it was so startling to see my sister without eye-shrubs!

I am low maintenance, 2 hair cuts a year and the only reason I own make-up is my neighbour who recently moved away (darn) is a make-up artist and would give me make-up in exchange for me feeding him home made cookies. Not that I use the make-up, but he did eat the treats!

Hi Gaylin. Good night. Save a razor - wear jeans. Yawn... time for bed.

What a beautiful post, Amy, thank you!

I remember when I was just about to get divorced, and a great friend in California told me in an email, "divorce is like Miracle-Gro for women."

I wrote back to her to say how encouraging that image was, that maybe we can all flourish and blossom and blah-blah-blah.

She wrote back, "Um, actually I meant we just get really HAIRY."

Cracked me right the hell up.

So glad you're a tart now!!

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