Torture Me Beautiful

Torture Me Beautiful

It’s Academy Awards weekend and, in honour of that, I decided to do a little old school beauty practice.

There have always been beauty secrets and regimes to keep us looking youthful.  My mother never used soap on her face because she said it was too drying and took the essential oils out of her skin.  She used Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser.  At night she would smear it all over her face and then wipe it off with a wash cloth.  I remember her looking shiny, sitting on the couch, watching Ed Sullivan. She used it in the morning as well before applying her makeup.  She didn’t use face makeup at all, only eye shadow, mascara and lipstick. She also penciled her eyebrows a little to make them a bit darker.  

Joan Crawford was the original diva in terms of a strict beauty routine. 

She also used the Ponds Cold Cream method but she was mostly famous for her ice water splashes.

I have decided for the purposes of this blog to try out her beauty methods for 5 days and see what happens.  Hopefully I do not end up removing my protective epidermal layer exposing  a pulsing, vein throbbing, mass that used to be my face.  It could happen if I’m too heavy handed on the exfoliation with a rough washcloth and a numbed frozen face. 

I could also end up resurrecting my connect-the-dot pimple phase from high school which will leave me house bound.  At least it is winter and looking outside into the desolate tundra of my farm I think there is no better time for this experiment. 

Day 1

I awoke and filled a large bowl with freezing water and then added ice cubes.  I let that sit for a couple of minutes just to make sure it had achieved its ultimate torture temperature.  I then splashed my face with this water 25 times, which is supposedly what Joan Crawford did every time she washed!  At the end of my 25 splashes there was water all over my bathroom mirror, counter and floor.  The worst part is the fact that I had no feeling in my hands, and a slight brain freeze, like the kind you get when you drink a slushy too fast.

I then applied a vat of Elizabeth Arden’s Perpetual Moisture 24 Cream all over the block of ice that was now my face.  I was surprised when it absorbed into my skin.   My skin did feel more alive and not just sitting there on my face asleep… like it usually does… so there is that.

After suffering through today with the splashes and creams I’m ready for tomorrow.  Oddly, my skin feels kind of dry and tight.  It’s not what I expected.  I’ve got my sleep mask to put on over, yet another eye cream, and I’ll awake tomorrow with another ice splash.  I think she must have been a Sadist.

Day 2

Beauty is no fun. I have repeated the routine from day 1. I’m wondering if I will get used to this by the end of the week and look forward to it.  If this ends up becoming part of my daily routine I will eat my…. dinner.  I’m not good at punishing myself.  I haven’t really noticed any difference in my skin. 

DAY 3

I have to admit I am sort of enjoying the splash today.  I like the feeling afterwards.  It’s still really horrible on my hands, to submerge them in arctic water, but it is a great way to wake up.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow because I’m going to do Joan’s hair wash.  She also liked to finish off her showers with freezing water.  I don’t mind the arctic dip at the Body Blitz Spa because afterwards you can drop into the hot tub, and it feels really great, but I don’t have a hot tub and my shower is on a different floor than my bath and this is getting too complicated.  It’s also winter, so the last thing I want to do is douse myself with freezing water.  Maybe I should do the snow roll instead?  No… a better idea is to pass on this step altogether.  My skin is feeling pretty soft today.

DAY 4

Joan liked to rinse her hair with 6 raw eggs, adding some red wine or rum to dilute the eggs a bit.  Seems like a waste but I’ll try it.  I’ll use the cooking wine.  Actually, I’m sober right now, so I will use whatever is collecting dust in the liquor cabinet.. not the Bailey’s though because that would be a sticky mess, and I’d be too tempted to make French Toast.  I’m only going to use 2 eggs since I don’t have thick hair like she did.  I’m a bit nervous about this one because my hair is currently coloured and needs a lot of moisture.  Perhaps it will be nourished with the mayonnaise mask.  Ewwwwww!  The smell is so horrible.  I swear if I apply this mask and start craving egg salad I will barf.  My hair is fine and so this could be a big mistake.  I think that the oily texture of the mayo will give me a grease cap and probably won’t rinse out.  I’ll try it at least once.  I have some organic real mayonnaise without preservatives so it is probably exactly what Joan would have used.  I’m not sure what order she did this so I’ve chosen to do the mayo mask first… then I’ll wash that out with shampoo and then I’ll apply the egg wash.  I feel like I’m making Spanakopita minus the spinach and phyllo.

 I was right about the mayo mask smell and I’m forced to put a freezer bag over my head to keep from gagging. I will not post a picture of this because, like Medusa, you will all turn to stone upon the sight of me. Next up, I jumped into the shower and tried to get the goop out of my hair.  I did a shampoo twice and then added the slimy cold egg wash.  I allowed that to sit for a good five minutes and then rinsed that out.  It was horrible.  My hair actually still felt dry even when I was submerged under water!  How does that happen?  I tried to get a comb through it but it was tangled from the egg rinse so I had to use some conditioner.  I guess that is cheating but I had no choice. My hair was a “rats nest” as my mother used to say. The conditioner worked, thankfully, and I combed it out. I used “Lottabody Setting Lotion” because my next move was to pin curl my hair into one of Joan’s curly styles when she wore her hair down.  In later years she would always have an up-do but I’m going for the more difficult style.  If it bombs then I’ll use a turban.  I have this crazy attachment for my blow dryer that is a big cap to recreate an old school hair dryer.

Finally ,after several clumsy attempts, I am all pinned up for the reveal tomorrow and sitting under my portable dryer; cooking my head. 

DAY 5

It’s Academy Awards night and I’ve got some work to do.

Joan had a very distinct makeup application.  She was all about the brows and the lips… and boric acid.  Seriously.  She put boric acid, mixed with water, into her eyes to keep them white and bright.  Maybe that was to also keep the hangover eyeball in check… who knows… but I will not be attempting that.  I’ve only got one good eye. 

First I need to comb out my pin curls and I’m having a flashback to when my mother gave me a “Toni Home Permanent” and the rollers were too tight.  I ended up looking like a dandelion before the wind catches it and it becomes bald. 

I’ve combed it out and the result is not horrible but I wouldn’t leave the house like this.

I’ve also applied the exaggerated makeup and, if I’m honest, it’s really scary.   I’m not a professional makeup artist so I have done my best to get the essence of Miss Crawford.  My lips look a little more “Joker” than Joan.

It would have been hard to be Joan… so obsessed with her appearance.  I can’t imagine the difficulty she must have had with aging. 


So how did my 5 days pan out?

I will say that there is a possibility I’ll use the Pond’s for a little while longer, partly because it’s not expensive, and partly because it’s been around since the 1950’s, and it doesn’t seem to be causing any breakouts.  It also doesn’t seem to be drying my skin like I originally thought. I like the calming effect it gives my skin after I remove my makeup. It is a tad greasy at first but it dissipates.

I also hate to admit that I may continue…at least for a little while.. with the dreaded ice splash because it wakes me up and my skin looks vibrant after.

As far as the hair routine, I will never EVER try that concoction again.

We have great products nowadays that will give you the shiny hair that Joan was so desperate to achieve.  I’m picky when it comes to my conditioner and shampoo. I usually have Frederic Fekkai on hand. I’ve tried most of his products and they work for my hair type. Recently my hair salon sold me some Goldwell conditioner that is specifically meant for coloured hair. I have only used it a couple of times but I like the light texture and the results. So, Joan’s home made recipes for the hair should stay in the kitchen where they belong.

Joan Crawford was a movie star and she knew it. She lived each day like she was on the cover of Photoplay Magazine. I doubt that she ever left the house without full hair and makeup. I can’t imagine her running to the grocery store in tights, a sweatshirt and a toque on her head which is one of my routines. She had access to hair and makeup experts but I really think she did a lot of her own maintenance. She worked hard at being beautiful and who knows how much of it was just her great genetics and how much was due to her diligence in using freezing cold water and slathering creams on her face and neck for hours at a time. I give her credit for her absolute commitment but I just can’t spend that much time torturing myself.

Besides, there is one thing that we have and Joan did not ….  Botox!

Happy Academy Awards night!

I’ll buy flowers any day!

I’ll buy flowers any day!


If you are smugly sitting at your desk admiring the giant floral arrangement that your partner has sent you today then this blog is not for you.  If you are drenched in expensive perfume that your honey bought for you then this blog is not for you.  If you are generously passing around the box of expensive truffles, prefaced with, “They are from my Boo Boo”; this blog is not for you.

This edition is for all of us who have dreaded Valentine’s Day since kindergarten.  The days where your mother sent you to school with a handful of Valentines for your class mates and somehow they all ran out before you received one. 

A bizarre contest to see who is loved the most.  I’m not sure if, with age, I became enlightened enough, to see today as a trap for consumers to spend copious amounts of money or if I decided that it was bullshit because of the those who are single, lonely and excluded. 

Either way I do not buy a passage on the Love Boat on this day. 

I will admit that there was a time where I wanted a seat on that boat but I was young and insecure.  Now I know the only person that really needs to love me is me.  I should be sending myself flowers today because I am deserving.  I’m suddenly hijacking my own blog.  Interesting. 

Anyway, why would my partner have to prove he loves me on this particular day with a gift?

We have Christmas for that. 

Here is what history says about the beginnings of Valentine’s Day.

“To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.”  The History Channel.

Can’t get more romantic than that.  Well, at least things have changed over the last thousand years or so.  I guess I would prefer flowers and a card to a skinned goat hide.

I don’t want to sound too preachy or self-affirming here but I just don’t want any man or woman to feel crappy today because they are not getting a Valentine.

One year I actually made my partner feel guilty for not buying into this tradition.  I saw other women in my circle receiving  jewellery and gifts and I admit that I was feeling jealous of the attention they were getting.  I’ve got to be honest, it was not my best reflection. 

The following year, while he was on the road, he called me on Valentine’s Day and asked me to look in my “Donnie and Marie” album carrying case, where he had stashed a card and a bag of cinnamon hearts.   I was stunned and felt weirdly guilty.  I immediately ripped open that bag of hearts and bit into one… cracking a root canal tooth in half.

After an emergency dental trip, where I lost that tooth completely, it stands as a hilarious reminder to me that I don’t need a symbol of love in my life…and Valentine’s Day is dangerous…. there was a massacre you know.

If I want something for myself then I buy it and it makes things so much less stressful. 

And it’s always been too much pressure on the designated “giver” and “receiver”.

So, hold your head high on this day of hearts and flowers and know that you are loved no matter what. 

It’s also cheaper to go out and buy yourself flowers and chocolates tomorrow! 

And for those of you that love to express your love with hearts and flowers today then Happy Valentines Day. I’m giving my Alaskan Malamute steak and my parrot some cashews so I guess I am celebrating my love and appreciation to my furry and feathered family.

I Spy With My Googly Eye

I Spy With My Googly Eye

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with glasses my entire life.  When I was three years old my parents noticed my left eye was turning in.  They also noticed I couldn’t see a kitty that was across the road from my house.  In those days treatment for a lazy eye was in the experimental phase.  I was fortunate in that my parents found a top eye surgeon who was researching this affliction at Sick Children’s Hospital.  I remember going for yearly visits at the hospital and he was a, soft spoken, kind man, whose medical flashlight was in the shape of a red dog.  The light came out of its smiling mouth.  I loved that flashlight. 

So, the prognosis was definitely a “lazy eye” and the treatment, although making sense, could have been found in the dungeons of The Tower of London alongside the “merry widow”.

It was the practice of forcing the patient to wear an unsightly patch over one eye… and in my case… for seven long, cootie filled, years.  When I was three I had little tiny blue cats- eye glasses which my mother proceeded to tape up.  The thought was, by covering up the stronger eye, it would force the weaker one to straighten itself out and become functional.  My mother’s choice of using white surgical tape on one half of my glasses was questionable. 

It was my clinical freak stamp that shaped my early years ensuring that I would most definitely be treated like a leper.  I remember hearing the kids in kindergarten whispering … “she’s a cripple”.    I was actually hyper active, at that age, and constantly running through the school yard occasionally running into a pole or a wall.    After a while the kids in my neighborhood just got used to me wearing a patch and ignored it…. Then we moved.

When I was six we moved from the city to the suburbs and into a big new house.  My patch and I had to make new friends and it wasn’t going to be easy.  Our house was on a new street and there were other houses still being built.  I remember a lot of giant mounds of dirt to play on and only one other completed house across the road from us.  It was the summer and my little sister and I played around our house by ourselves.  On this particular day I had grabbed a couple of towels and tied them around our necks so we could be Batman and Robyn.  I was Batman and decided to climb up the drain pipe on the side of our garage door.  Robyn kept a lookout on the driveway.   As I scaled up the pipe; a spider monkey with one eye, I lost my grip and fell like an over ripe apple off a tree and splatted on the driveway.  Robyn ran into the house yelling for my mother.  My mother came peeling out of the house to find me lying face down.  My glasses had broken, my nose was bleeding and my eyebrow was cut.   She scooped up her super hero and ran into the house.  I remember screaming when I saw all the blood as she tried to get things under control in our bathroom.  My mom realized she had to get me to the hospital so handing me my towel bat cape and, grabbing my sister, we piled into the front seat of her car.  I don’t remember much of the hospital visit other than it hurt like hell and I left with four stitches in my eyebrow and a sucker. 

I was to start school a week later.  My first week in my new school I had my replacement cats- eye glasses, my surgical patch, and one evil slanted black stitched Frankenstein eyebrow. 

The other children were literally cowering in the corners of the room when I entered.   I terrified them.

I eventually won over a couple of girls because I played the pity card.  I let them be Annie Sullivan to my Helen Keller.  They loved feeling like they were helping out someone who was less fortunate and way less attractive than themselves. 

I also managed to make friends with the little girl across the road who, on our first meeting blurted out, “What’s wrong with you”, and then never mentioned it again. 

Other than hearing things like “Wow that kid got hit with a snowball in the eye” in the winter I someone managed to survive my pirate years.

My last trip to my eye specialist, Dr. Crawford, was when I turned fifteen.  He only specialized in children with eye problems and I had out grown him.   I remember sitting across from him as he told me I didn’t need to wear glasses anymore or at least until I got old.  My eye had straightened out and the patch was long gone.  Up until that point in life, my sister had always called me “four eyes”.   I honestly didn’t know who I would be without my glasses.  I cried with gratitude and also for the loss of the Dr. I had known since I was three.  I have never forgotten him because he finally gave me equal footing when I entered High School and that is huge.

I put my glasses in a drawer at home and did not look back.  I didn’t anticipate the naked feeling I would have without them and eventually realized that they had actually become a security blanket for me, so that was weird, but it did not make me want to ever wear them again.

Cut to 30 years later and my long-time boyfriend sat across from me in a dimly lit restaurant.  “Pass the salt… googly eye.” 

That’s right, my left eye had started to wear out and was turning in again especially in bad lighting or after a couple of glasses of Pinot.  I had gotten old.  Dr. Crawford warned me it would happen one day but it seemed like only yesterday.  Luckily for me, glasses have become extremely chic and fashionable and there is no longer a stigma attached to wearing them.   You can spend as much money as you want on your perfect frames.  Designer frames are like art on your face and you can also find some really great cheap readers.   No longer are glasses just for correcting your eyes.  They have become accessories.  I finally have my security blanket back! I’ve actually got two…one pair for reading and one pair for driving. I never dreamed that young people would buy fake glasses just for fashion. Hilarious.

Times change and perceptions have changed towards people with glasses… wearing an eye patch?… not so much.    If I had to do it all over again I would have demanded to wear a black patch and changed my name to something Piratey… like Blonde Beard… on second thought… that is waaaaay too accurate these days. 

Arrrrr matey.   

Lady Aristocrat in a Hat

Lady Aristocrat in a Hat

I really love vintage everything. I can’t remember the last time I had a new piece of furniture. Maybe back in my early college days when I used to shop at IKEA. I would buy something in my first year and have it assembled by graduation. My friend Bev taught me to have an eye for quality vintage. Her spaces harken back to old Hollywood and are filled with Art Deco figurines and lamps and big, soft, curved velvet, couches and matching club chairs. Any starlet would have loved to have fainted on one of her leopard print chaises lounge’.
I grew up in a house in the suburbs that was filled with the most modern furniture of the day and it was the 1970’s. Wall to wall burnt orange shag broadloom and gold and avocado velvet wallpaper. A chartreuse silk 8-foot-long couch that no one was ever allowed to sit on except for Christmas. A smoked glass round kitchen table replaced the old Formica and chrome one. When we finally sold my parents’ house I was able to acquire the 1950’s matching cracked glass ball lights and some old vases. A couple of the best 1970’s swivel chairs were a bit damaged but I just couldn’t toss them out. My mother hated anything old. She wanted everything brand new and, of the best quality, but she also didn’t want to replace anything, so when she finally moved into a senior’s apartment the house remained a shrine to the ‘70’s. My sister and her family were living with my mom at the time, and she took the things that she wanted, but my sister, like my mother, loves to have new things and isn’t as attracted to the past as I am.
One of the things that I took was a collection of hats that my mother had worn since the 1940’s.
My favourite hat was lost when my car was stolen in Toronto, it unfortunately, had been in the back seat. It was a 1950’s wide brimmed black silk and straw hat. I wore it all the time.
I still mourn the loss of that hat more than the loss of the car. I have my mom’s swirled velvet turban style hat in chartreuse with a matching hat pin which I love to wear on St. Paddy’s day.
The sixties and ‘70’s brought on a new and bigger style of hat. I’ve got a giant beige straw beehive style hat with brown netting, a silk flower, and little velvet balls adorning it. I remember going to a wedding with my parents and my mother’s head wouldn’t fit in the car with the hat on so she slumped forward, like a dead body, rather than remove the hat that she had spent an hour perfecting. My sister and I had little white lace combs hair sprayed onto the top of our heads. I remember my wispy baby hair being teased and lacquered to secure the hideous adornment.
Nowadays, I love my hats and I wear them as often as I can. When I was in England I went to a few antique markets and found some lovely art deco velvet hats and a straw saucer style with black and white feather’s around the brim. Britain is a great place to still find some vintage hats for a good price, even with the exchange. Some of my hats are strictly for weddings and outdoor summer parties, but others I will wear as often as I can and I will pair them with modern looks so I don’t look like I’m going to a costume party.
I really wish ladies and men’s hats would come back into full fashion like they were in the ‘40’s and 50’s and 60’s. I think this generation is missing out on the glamour of days gone by.
Chanel’s little black dress topped off with the fashion forward look of a Haute couture hat is a timeless standard of beauty and art in my opinion.
Wearing a hat can change everything about an outfit. I love the Royal family for continuing the tradition of wearing statement hats to every occasion. I’m not too sure if I love all the fascinator’s out there but I admire the creativity. I love that the Kentucky Derby also embraces the glamour of hats and the women who attend spend months picking out the perfect topper to their summer dresses.
In the days of the Rat Pack, Las Vegas was the place to be seen and everyone dressed for it. It’s sad that nowadays it has become a sweat pant wearing, slot machine pulling, buffet hunting crowd, just looking for a big win. You can see some great shows there but I don’t think people are dressing up to attend like they used to.
There are loads of sites online that sell vintage hats like Etsy and Amazon UK. I usually find something there, and get my British pal Val, to order it for me and then mail it to me. I’ve never had a hat shipped directly to me from the UK site. I hesitate because I don’t want to have to pay any duty on something that I didn’t spend a lot of money on.

I hope I’ve inspired some of you to give the fashion hat a go. Hats are fun and can hide a really bad hair day!

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

If you think it’s too late for you to try something you have always dreamed of doing, but have held back because you are afraid, or you have looked for reasons not to take the leap; then read on.

If you have procrastinated and allowed that evil voice in your head to spin scenarios of your failure then read on.  Trust me; no one cares if you try something and it doesn’t work out.  You are the only one who will obsess over it.  I think our egos are so precious that we sometimes believe the world will stop if we try something and it doesn’t work out.  Have you ever worn an outfit to a party that you came to regret?  I once wore a one-piece, button up, silver pant suit, with a belted waist, which I embellished with a multiple chained necklace, giant silver heart shaped earrings and…. finishing off this spectacular look…  a pair of bright blue ankle boots.  I remember walking past a mirror and catching my reflection and thinking…. WTF!… I’m a chubby astronaut in a silver onesie, boarding the space shuttle, dripping in jewellery and Batman booties.  I was horrified. I thought about it for days and days and didn’t want to see anyone from that party ever again.  When I finally brought it up to some of my pals they said they couldn’t remember my outfit and the others said all they could remember was laughing with me that night.  I had ruined my whole experience by thinking everyone was talking about me and my horrible fashion faux pas.  No one was talking about me but me. 

Have you ever seen the Maysles brother’s documentary Grey Gardens?  If you haven’t you really should.  It focuses on the two Edith Beales.  Big Edie and Little Edie, who were Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ Aunt and 1st cousin.  They lived in an estate called “Grey Gardens” for years as it crumbled and went to ruins around them.  Little Edie had always wanted to be a star on Broadway and, she had some opportunities, but she stayed with her overly needy and demanding mother Edith instead.  She always talked about how she could have had a life if she’d only stayed in New York and not given in to her mother.  The movie was a success and the focus it brought on them caused Jacqueline to step up and have the house renovated for her relatives.  When Big Edie passed away in 1977, Little Edie was 60. 

And, like I said, it’s never too late.  Little Edie took her cabaret act on the road after her mother’s passing.  She finally achieved the success she craved her entire life.  She performed songs like “tea for two”, along with some of her original songs, accented by her very original dance moves.  People loved her and supported her.  I think they were rooting for her because her dreams finally came to fruition.  She took the chance and believed in herself.  She passed away in 2002 and I really wish I’d been able to see her perform. 

It is never too late.

I have had many a whacky idea that I did not succeed in launching.  Millions of them actually.

Sometimes, though, you can try something and even if it doesn’t succeed, it gives you what you need at the time.  Not all successes are measured in financial terms.  You are not just your work title.  Success can simply be allowing the world to see the person you aspire to be. 

If you want to start a band in your forties, then do it.  If you want to paint and adorn your house with your originals; do it.  If you want to take singing lessons so you don’t crack the plaster; do it.  If you want to take tap lessons so you can do that Shirley Temple dance on the stairs…. Don’t do that one…. brings to mind Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. 

Part of becoming who you really want to be is referring to yourself in those terms.  If you are an artist in your spare time then refer to yourself as an artist.  If dabble in music then call yourself a musician.  If you think it’s pretentious it’s OK to be pretentious.  If you label yourself something then people will begin to accept that label which will give you more confidence to earn that label.  I hope this makes sense. 

I know my beautiful mom regretted not staying in a successful career once she married my father.  She worked for Elizabeth Arden at the makeup counter and then became a model for them.  She was a buyer in New York and was eventually asked to be on a new medium called television.  She said no because my father didn’t want her to work.  He wanted her to make sure their home was spotless and that dinner was on the table when he got home.  She often talked about those early days where she was appreciated and respected in the work force.  She had opportunities and she was sought after and she walked away.

She said she had no choice in her decision.  That’s the way things were.

I hope you all take a chance and don’t end up with the regrets my mom had.  Even if you take baby steps it’s OK.  Personally, I say jump in and see what happens.  You can’t wait for someone to make it happen for you because you have to do that on your own.  You can only really fail at something you didn’t even try.  I will support you!

I dedicate this blog to my mom who sacrificed her dreams. 

Some applause for mentalpause

Some applause for mentalpause

My friend, Kay, asked for my thoughts on menopause. Here’s the thing. I remember when I got my first period. I milked it for all it was worth because my friends Cathy and Susan had not. I spent the day in bed surrounded by magazines ,wearing a pad the size of a loaf of bread, preaching to the girls how different I suddenly felt. I was a woman. It was all bullshit. I had cramps and it was a horrible feeling of dread; not one of victory. I totally hated it. I hated the fact that my parents knew. I felt disgusting. I had to endure, each month, like every other woman on the planet, the spotting, the leakage and the nausea that goes hand and hand with cramps. The mood swings are another barrel of laughs altogether. My mother coming into my room in the morning on the weekends and trying to haul my arse out of bed by singing “Good Morning, good morning, you slept the whole night through, good morning good morning to you”… while doing the Charleston… sent me into fits of rage, followed by complete ruin; balling my eyes out, surrounded by snot rags on the bed… devastation.

At school we had to suffer the indignation of boys constantly saying “What are you on your period?” Most of the time, I was not and simply thought they were the most irritating morons on the planet, however, occasionally they were spot on the money… or the undies, actually. I cannot even go into the anger I felt. They would never have to know the headaches and suffering that went along with “being a woman.”

I was one of those who went into early menopause. In my early 40’s the well started to dry up. My periods were becoming non existent but no less painful. I would have the symptoms of cramps and nausea but not relief. I remember thinking if only I could just get this over with. Then, one day, I experienced a royal flush, so to speak. It was enhanced by one glass of red wine. I was out having dinner with some friends and, after finishing my first glass, one of my pals said I looked like a freshly sliced tomato. I laughed and went to the ladies room where I saw an alien creature in the mirror. My face had turned into a bright red Rorschach test. WTF was happening?

That night, while sleeping, someone turned on the furnace in my stomach to a level that could have toasted marshmallow’s. My partner was confused by my kicking off all the covers in the dead of winter in Toronto. He was swearing as I quickly ninja’d my body into striking position, hovering over his face and hissing, “I’m boiling hot. Get off my back!” A few minutes later my teeth are rattling, like I’ve been locked in a meat locker, ripping the covers off of him to cocoon myself again for a few minutes and then… repeat. Good times.

This continued for years and years and still continues to this day. I, however, consider myself lucky. I remember working with someone who was going through “the change” who became forgetful and confused and was always sweating. I have had moments where, under incredible stress, my symptoms have caused me to be overheating like a car pulled off on the side of the road, but for the most part, I’ve been lucky. I was surprised when I was working on the series “Designated Survivor” when the Production Manager and Producer got together and bought me a hand held spritzer bottle that had an electric fan on it. A total life saver for me. Also an indication that my efforts to conceal my dilemma had failed catastrophically. I was also not a designated survivor on that show… another story.

So, I have to weigh the good and the bad. If I had to go back and endure having a period every month, as opposed to heating a room with my presence? I choose the latter. I’m sure there are a lot of women who would disagree with me but I feel a sense of freedom in not always having to carry tampons and I am secretly flattered when someone asks me if I have any. It’s almost like getting asked for ID when you are going into a club, but even better, because they are not required to ask you for a tampon.

For those of you, who have yet to experience the joys of mentalpause, because, at times you will feel completely mental especially after enduring the soaked PJ’s and the crying binges and the forgetfulness and the … did I mention the sugar cravings and eating binges??? OK, so there are a few details that I’ve skipped over, but it is all survivable, and you will come out the other end feeling accomplished and, like a warrior returning from battle, VICTORIOUS! At least I plan on feeling that way once I am able to sleep all through the night and guzzle back a bottle of good red wine.

Cheers!


Give me a plucking break

Give me a plucking break

I’ve always had fine hair but I used to have a lot of it.  It seems to be getting finer as I get older.  I have been praying that I will be able to grow my hair long again and my prayers were answered yesterday when I found a 3 inch long hair… growing out of the middle of my forehead and another 2 incher growing out of my chin.  Not quite the victory I’d hoped for.

The texture, like a monofilament fishing line, was capable of disappearing from the naked eye.  How could this have happened without my noticing… unless it sprouted overnight like one of those time lapse videos of plants growing.    

I remember once I was talking to my Aunty and she had an eyelash on her cheek so I reached up to remove it only to find that it was attached.  Awkward. It must be a hormonal thing.   Woman have to suffer with the indignity of facial hair.  Men can have a full grey beard and it’s distinguished.  If a woman has the same then she needs to join the circus side show.  My best friend in high school told me her mom bought her some moustache bleach for her when she was 15.  Having white blonde hair around that time, I didn’t understand what the big deal was, but she said if she didn’t dye it she’d look like Burt Reynolds. 

I noticed a collection of light hair on my upper lip a couple of years ago.  I bought a laser hair treatment from Groupon and when I went to the salon to have the procedure they told me it doesn’t work on fair hair.  They reimbursed me and my peach fuzz encased lips spewed some choice curse words because they should tell the customer to purchase the treatment ONLY if they are dark haired. 

Having no other choice, I ran out to the drugstore and bought some wax strips and proceeded to cover my face like a mummy and then tear them all off.   If torture was legal…  I’d recommend this method. 

Afterwards I applied that blue oil to remove the sticky stuff and then a collagen facial mask to take the red out.    

I like some of the beauty oils on the market and I’m currently using my friend Beth Bovaird’s new line called Knockout Colours.  She is in the process of organizing her distribution but, since I’m a friend, I have always had access to the dreamy scented potions.   I love the way they make my skin feel and how absorbent they are. 

Here are some products that I really love. 

IT Cosmetics.  The CC Creams are perfect for my skin.  They are dewy and not greasy.  They also cover but don’t look heavy.  When I was younger, a matte makeup worked fine, but now I need something that has a glow about it without looking sweaty. 

I have been dealing with the Samsonites I’ve got packed under my eyes for a couple of years and always looking for a product to reduce them.  There is the Preparation H method, but I don’t know if it actually has worked for me, and I’m not too keen on putting something on my face that you are supposed to shove up your ass. 

After buying many different brands, that didn’t work, I finally came across Dr. Brandt’s “No More Baggage”.  You can get it at Sephora.  It’s not cheap but it actually works in my opinion.  I finally notice a difference after using it for a few weeks. 

I still haven’t found anything other than tweezers and tape to keep my face from becoming a human-hair-pin-cushion but I’m not giving up.  There must be some sort of hair inhibiter on the planet somewhere.  I guess we are more concerned with getting products to make hair grow;  not prevent it from growing.  I guess I could always embrace the “Cousin It” look down the road. 

Flower Power Head

Flower Power Head

I have a few pictures of my mom from the 1940’s where she had a perfectly placed large white Lily in her hair like Billy Holiday.  It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. 

A few years back I was in the process of making a solo record called Gorilla Girl and I needed a picture for the cover.  I wanted to somehow recreate that glamour with flowers and decided I wanted an entire garden on my head.   A girl can dream.   I wasn’t sure how to accomplish this but I was determined to see my vision come true. I knew that my hair wouldn’t be able to hold all the flowers so I bought a round Styrofoam ball at the dollar store.  It was about the same size as my head. 

I made an appointment at Taz Hair, in Yorkville, in Toronto.  My amazing colourist, Norm Wright, recommended a stylist by the name of Duyen Huynh and I presented her with the ball and a bag of flowers.  She pondered the ball and I talked about my idea.

This is what we came up with.   She took the ball and shaved the bottom off so it sat flat on my head and drilled a hole up through the middle and pulled my hair up through the hole.  She then spread my hair over and around the ball.   She took the flowers and pushed the 1 ½ inch stems into the Styrofoam until they felt secure.  She added some bobby pins around the base of the ball to make it hold in place. The scale of my head was massive when she finished.  Her artistry in placement and added touches were spectacular. It was so amazing I cried.  Unfortunately I couldn’t fit my head in my car so my photographer, Amanda Schenk, had to drive us both to the studio as I lay reclined in the passenger seat.  
I couldn’t be happier with the photos that were taken that day and the cover of the CD. Aaaaaaaand, I was also wearing a Gorilla suit. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The fab artwork was done by Roan Bateman.

The CD was produced by Ron Sexsmith!!! How lucky am I? One of my favorite song writers in the Universe. A genius with the voice of an absolute angel. His brilliant production of my CD made me sound so much better than I am.. Sorry, I got lost there…. I’m not promoting the CD. I’m promoting the hair!!

I ended up perfecting the flower technique on a smaller scale and have copied that style for more than a few New Years Eve’s… even adorning the flowers with Christmas lights.  I cut my hair last year so I can’t create this look at the moment. . I hope I’ve inspired someone to try this… and if you do, please send me a pic.

Over and out.

Neck Transplant

Neck Transplant

I was filming my parrot, Lord Blimey Pickles, on my shoulder, while he was whispering “give me a kiss”, like a pervert making an obscene phone call, and I saw something even more horrifying…my neck!  I honestly had no idea that it has been quietly turning into some sort of alien, artery infested, wrinkle snake… more commonly referred to as a turkey neck.    I googled neck transplants.  I actually found out that there is a man who had one in Poland.  He had cancer of the voice box and giving him the new neck cured him.  I’m thinking I may not qualify for the same procedure.  Oddly enough there are Doctor’s in China who are working on performing head transplants.  I’ll keep that one in my back pocket for the future.  It’s a fact that we can maintain our faces and body’s but the neck has a path of destruction like no other.  I remember Bea Arthur’s character in Maude wearing high collared dresses and scarves in every single episode and now I get it.    I’m not one for wearing things around my neck.  I wish I was blessed with one of those long, swan, ballerina necks but I have the…  a couple of inches above the shoulders model.  I came up with a solution for New Year’s Eve and that was a feather collar.  I removed some feathers from a hat from the ’80’s that I no longer wore. I tried it on one day and my head seems to have shrunk because it was sitting too low….covering my eyes to be exact.   I looked like someone from an ancient tribe called the Crow People that emerged from the jungles in the 1990’s…but I’m getting side tracked. The feathers all came off on a seam, which was great, and so I used them as a collar.  I had some feather scrunchies that I bought at Value Village on Halloween and I used them as cuffs.  I also wore one of my favorite things; a 1920’s inspired feather head band that I found in a vintage shop in New York City.   Some of my favorite outfits have been accessorized with two things that I love… feathers and flowers.  I have a lot to say about flowers and I will do that in a future post. My feather-collar inspired outfit needs to be photographed because almost everything from New Year’s Eve is blurry. Go figure. I have, however, posted a photo from the Memory Ball that I attend every year, for Alzheimer’s research, and I am wearing the feather head band. My crystal necklace belonged to my mom and my earrings were made by Lauren Martin who works in the film business in Winnipeg. I’m also wearing a black faux fur stole that I bought at Winners.

Now I’m off to pickup a vintage dresser I won at an auction. I have no idea how I’m going to fit it in my bedroom but I will get it in there, even if my partner and I have to sleep in one of the drawers.

Fifty Schmifty

Fifty Schmifty

When I turned fifty it was weird. There was a big surprise party and music and friends and family ,and yet, I felt a bit creep’d out. I felt ashamed for being that old all of a sudden and I had a flash of my mother, at 50, as she began her descent into the older woman syndrome.
Close cut short permed hair, stretchy pants, an overly embellished sweater and sensible flat shoes. The saggy bum of those shapeless, navy polyester’s, lent the observer to picture a loaded diaper beneath. The gorilla shaped sweater with the huge pieces of reflective mirror,
and plastic gems bedazzled all over it, and those black, faux suede, men’s- slipper inspired ladies’ shoes will never be erased from my memory banks.
My mother had gone from a fashionable woman who bought expensive crepe and silk dresses from Italy to a Sears bargain hunter. It was the 1970’s.
I still have her oldest dresses hanging in my closet. They are gorgeous and timeless …and I can’t fit into a single one. The last time I wore them was at the age of 18 and after that I became “big boned” with “lovely skin”.
When I was very young it was important for me to look like my friends and we all shopped at the same stores and bought the same clothes. We went to the same hair dresser and had the same haircuts. Here is the thing though; everyone has a different body type and skin tone and just because hot pink looks good on my best friend does not mean it looks good on me. In fact, it brought out the rosacea that I didn’t even know existed until it was highlighted by a hideous pink neon.
As I got older, I realized that freedom of expression and creativity could be blasted out to the world through our appearance. A light bulb went off as I entered my punk phase. Stealing my mom’s red, pointy toed, curling boots; shredding a couple of miniskirts; slapping on fishnet tights and hair spraying myself into a spikey rooster, I’d hit the clubs to pogo the night away. I’d look around the scene with my black coal rimmed eyes and see another 75 carbon copies of myself but I still felt like I was a rebel and doing something different. I was an individual.
I then had a chameleon phase in college where I would be whatever the situation called for. If I was going to see The Grateful Dead I would be a hippy. If I was going to see Elvis Costello I was a new wave punk. If I was going to see the B-52’s I had the biggest bee-hive. It allowed me to experiment with different looks and find whatever felt more like me.
At some point, I realized that they were all me.
Turning fifty. Turning fifty gave me an epiphany. I see that with age comes absolute freedom to express yourself. Some rules do apply though: do not wear something so short that you are exposing your sagging arse and, at some point, you’ve got to cover up that Neanderthal wrinkler cleavage. Getting older sucks but there are ways to celebrate the, “I no longer give a shit” period of our lives.
Working in the film business has allowed me to present myself at work in whatever phase I was going through, finally landing where I am today.
My philosophy is this. Dress for how you are feeling. Don’t let your best dresses hang in your closet waiting for the right opportunity to wear them. Combine fancy with casual. Experiment because, at your age, you can be eccentric now.
With some laughs and fashion ,and loads of makeup, I think I’ll get through this next stage of my life,
I hope you enjoy my posts geared for those of us who are in our “golden years”. Barf.