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

Winter Wonderland

Here in New York we’ve had to take out our winter coats and accept that the cold is here to stay for a good 4-5 months.  Winters here are mostly cold, gray and windy with an occasional winter wonderland day.  I am already anticipating the 4 AM calls from the school superintendent notifying us of school closures for … what reason?  Once I peek outside and see not even an inch of snow and do a mental conversion of Fahrenheit to Celsius (over 23 years and Celsius is still more familiar), I usually curse the school district and scramble to find a sitter.  “Can you believe this?” I’ll say to my husband for the umpteenth time, “It’s not even that cold and they are closing the schools.  When I was little, they wouldn’t close the schools unless it was -25 (-25 Celsius is -13 Fahrenheit) and there was a meter (3 feet) of snow on the ground.”  My poor mom used to take me to school in the sled.

I was wearing all kinds of wool and fur garb that weighed more than I did.  Getting frost bite was a real possibility on my 20 minute walk to school.  So my mom would dress me in layers upon layers.  The last step of getting ready for braving the outdoors was putting the cream on my face.  And though I had no wrinkles and lacked no collagen, ASL protected my skin from the cold. 

Every time I catch the faint scent of ASL mixed with the distinct smell of a wool scarf in the frigid air, I am reminded of being little, being taken care of, and of my mom.  Scent is a powerful trigger for memories and many of mine are surfaced by ASL. 


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.