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"I Feel Bad About My Neck"

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In my 20s, one of my favorite things to do was go through library sales.  I love the smell of books, especially old books that somehow promise to transfer not just the wisdom of the writer but of all the readers who came across it.  One of my favorite finds was a light-hearted read about aging by Nora Ephron (you know, THE Nora Ephron, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, etc.), with a rather whimsical name “I Feel Bad About My Neck.”  I’d like to share an excerpt from the first chapter:

“Every so often I read a book about age, and whoever’s writing it says it’s great to be old.  It’s great to be wise and sage and mellow; it’s great to be at the point where you understand just what matters in life.  I can’t stand people who say things like this.  What can they be thinking?  Don’t they have necks?  Aren’t they tired of compensatory dressing?  Don’t they mind that 90% of the clothes they might otherwise buy have to be eliminated simply because of the necklines?  Don’t they feel sad about having to buy chokers?  One of my biggest regrets – bigger than not buying the apartment on East Seventy-fifth Street, bigger even that my worst romantic catastrophe – is that I didn’t spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck.  It never crossed my mind to be grateful for it.  It never crossed my mind that I would be nostalgic about a part of my body that I took completely for granted. 

Of course it’s true that now that I’m older, I’m wise and sage and mellow.  And it’s also true that I honestly do understand just what matters in life.  But guess what?  It’s my neck.”

Once a year or so, I stumble upon this book on my shelf.  Then I head to the bathroom to stare lovingly at my neck and apply some ASL, so I can keep staring lovingly at it longer.  I advise you do the same.

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s making me think of turkey… turkey neck.  What a visual.  As young girls, we often take our necks for granted.  I was always aware of the length of one’s neck, but never paid much attention to the skin.  That is until my sophomore year, when a fellow student in a large, lecture-type class pointed out something about our professor.  She was the kind of woman you could mistake for a young girl from behind.  Fit and trim and well-dressed, one can only dream of looking that youthful at her age (she must have been sixty something). The guy next to me, no supermodel himself, made a remark about the professor that changed the way I looked at necks forever.  He turned to me and said “She may think she looks young and act young, but her neck gives it away.  Nothing she can do about that.”  He didn’t mean to be critical or to speak negatively of her; he just made an observation and stated a fact – a fact I found to be quite upsetting.  This woman clearly cared about her appearance and probably went to great lengths to look as good as she did.  All that was instantly demolished by some 20 year old shmuck in row 15.  I instantly hated him on behalf of all women, but I also knew that he was right. 

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I researched ways to keep your neck and jaw line youthful – did you know that you can actually exercise your neck (just look at the hundreds of tutorials on Youtube)? Seems like overkill, but I bet it makes a difference.  There are also some simple lifestyle changes you can make to combat those neck rings that seem to appear overnight:  stop looking down at your phone all the time.  Tilting your head down for hours will certainly leave a lasting mark.  Use sunscreen. And don’t forget to moisturize and take care of it as often and as much as you take care of your face.  Make applying ASL on your neck part of your nightly skincare routine.  You can use ASL as face, neck and eye cream.  As Maddie would say, “easy peasy lemon squeezie” - skincare doesn’t get easier that. And for that, I am thankful

The One

I usually don't make resolutions, at least not officially. But this year, I've been diligently working on scaling back on the amount of things cluttering my house and my mind.  

Going through my drawers and tossing everything that I don't use is therapeutic.  What I realized is that I use little else other than ASL in my skincare routine:

Make-up remover - check!

Moisturizer - check!

Eye cream - yes!

Packing for a trip is much easier.  Instead of bringing an entire bag of products, I get away with a one ounce (TSA friendly) bottle.  I think even Mari Kondo would be proud.  


The Skin You're In

Sometimes it takes a little person coming into your life to see yourself from a different perspective.  Growing up, I hated my freckles and found nothing cute about them.  I was actually pleased as they became less pronounced with age.  But then I had Maddie, who, I kid you not, is the cutest little girl (I am objective, of course); and though she looks like her dad, the freckles are all mine.

Now I see that yes, my mom was right, they are cute and youthful, and there is something mischievous about them.  So when I tell Maddie her freckles are adorable, I mean it. And I no longer hate mine.  There is nothing like being comfortable in the skin you’re in.  Take care of it.

Which brings me to a question I get a lot – what about sun screen?  ASL does not contain sun protection, so you’ll need to use your favorite sun screen AFTER ASL has been absorbed. 

I hope you embrace your idiosyncrasies or your own "little Maddie" can make you see yourself in a different light. 

French Girl Beauty

It seems the French girl beauty routine is all the rage. In lifestyle blogs and fashion magazines, this beauty routine is touted like a Nobel prize-worthy discovery. So what makes their beauty regimen so French? It's not the expensive make up, it's not hours spent contouring like a warrior, it's the emphasis on skin. Clear, well hydrated, supple skin is simultaneously the star of the show and the je ne sais quoi. 

I have never seen foundation in my mother's or grandmother's make up stashes. In fact, it wasn't until I moved to the States in middle school that I discovered that you were supposed to plaster it on until you looked 10 years older. I did just that against my mom's persistent advice to let my young skin breath and well... be young. Eventually, I came to my senses and quit foundation for good. 

And so began my quest to make sure my skin was at its best. I started using ASL at night and in the morning, at first just on my face, but eventually on my neck and décolletage too. It's a simple and quick routine and I never have to worry about the unsightly foundation lines separating my face and neck as if my head is on loan from another body. 

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When you're in your 20s and the world is your oyster, having a disciplined skincare routine seems unnecessary. Thankfully, I quickly learned that the results of caring for or neglecting your skin are cumulative. The 3 minutes (literally!) you take to nourish your skin today will make your look younger years from now. 

I've tried being a product junkie (more on that later) and searched for the perfect cocktail in department and specialty stores, filling my drawers with jars and tubes that made a dent in my wallet and no difference in my skin. But, like a prodigal daughter, I returned to our family formula. It worked for my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. And it's working for me.