One day, I was searching the web and found your website. When I was scrolling the dresses I found the “ONE” and ordered it immediately. It was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. It complemented his dress blues perfectly.
I still have it and I plan on wearing it again when we renew our vows on our 8th wedding anniversary. We are going on our 3rd year of marriage right now. I want to say thank you for helping make my day wonderful.
It’s as second nature as brushing my teeth. Wherever I go–whether it’s to the supermarket, out to lunch with friends or picking my kids up from school–I always make sure I have some sort of makeup on. A swipe of gloss, concealer to hide my dark circles, mascara to make my eyes look more open. My name is Robin and I’m a makeup-aholic. I’ve been addicted to the stuff ever since watching my mom get ready for work when I was in the single digits. I used to sneak black liner and frosty pink lip gloss with me to the skating rink on Friday nights before I was even allowed to wear it in public. Once I was given the parental ok, I never looked back. In the beginning, it was all about how much I could pile on. The more, the better! Thick, bright blue stripes along my eyelids, cherry pink blush and lots of foundation. Like I had anything to facially hide at 13, but at the time, it was all about excess. And apparently, I was color blind to that orange ring that formed around my jawline.
As the years went on, makeup was just part of me. Kind of like how my iPhone is part of me today. I feel naked without it.
So last week when I went to a new dermatologist for the first time, I was shocked and totally at a loss for words when the first thing out of this strange woman’s mouth was, “Do you like the way you look in your makeup?” Not “What brought you here today?” or “Sorry I made you wait for 20 minutes before being seen.”
Um, excuse me? Obviously self conscious now, I put my hands to my face and asked her what she meant. She asked if she could remove my makeup to see my skin better. I had plans to meet my husband for lunch right after this (it happened to be Valentine’s Day), but reluctantly, I gave her the ok. Why was I so insecure about having my makeup taken off? It was crazy.
Once she swiped off my foundation and blush, she stood back and said, “Now, that’s better. You have beautiful skin and you shouldn’t hide it. You look much younger without it. Your friends won’t tell you this, but I will.”
What it came down to was that I felt my skin tone was uneven and that by covering it up, I was evening it out. The result, however, was emphasizing my fine lines. She told me that, too.
The reason I felt inclined to write this blog is because just after this happened, I read about a recent study that polled American women and their makeup habits. Nearly half of all American women feel less attractive when they’re not wearing makeup. This, according to a Harris poll conducted on behalf of the Renfrew Center Foundation, an American non-profit organization dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders.
Ever since my appointment with this dermatologist, you bet I’ve been keeping my makeup to a minimum. However, I can’t get myself to go cold turkey. When I asked my husband if he could tell the difference? Of course not. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother at all!!!
This week, I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary (17th, if you count all the years we’ve been together). Having an anniversary right after Valentine’s Day, it’s a little anti-climatic, but still another great reason to book reservations at my favorite LA restaurant, The Little Door!
For weeks, I fantasized about what I was going to eat at this French/Mediterranean abode that is as romantic as you can get for a restaurant. If I had to choose an eaterie to live in, this would be it. The decor is just gorgeous, especially at night. The twinkling lights glowing against the inside foliage that grows along the walls and up the ceiling. I feel calm whenever I’m there, except once the bill arrives (!).
The Little Door is super popular among the celeb set; Halle Berry, Courtney Cox, Cindy Crawford have all dined at either The Little Door or its next door brassiere, The Little Next Door, which is even cuter. There, you can dine al fresco and if you squint your eyes while listening to your French accented waiter rattle off the specials, you’ll feel right in the center of Paris.
But I don’t go to The Little Door for celeb sightings, I go for its French Onion Soup. Or so I thought. Once I took my seat and started studying the menu, I noticed my FOS was not on it. I was sure they’d make it anyway, but when I asked the waiter, Jason, he told me I’d have to go next door for it. Tonight, it was all about Moroccan Chicken Harissa Soup.
Crushed, but not without an appetite, I managed to spoon the Harissa into my mouth instead (which was amazing).
A part of me wishes we’d made reservations at The Little Next Door to enjoy some sweet onion goodness. But next time, I’ll know.
For now, I’ll make the following recipe to tie me over until my next trip to my French/Mediterranean home away from home.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 1 (48 fluid ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 thick slices French or Italian bread
- 8 slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese slices, room temperature
- 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or mozzarella cheese, room temperature
- 4 pinches paprika
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in salt, red onions and sweet onions. Cook 35 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized and almost syrupy.
- Mix chicken broth, beef broth, red wine and Worcestershire sauce into pot. Bundle the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf with twine and place in pot. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the herbs. Reduce the heat to low, mix in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep over low heat to stay hot while you prepare the bread.
- Preheat oven broiler. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and broil 3 minutes, turning once, until well toasted on both sides. Remove from heat; do not turn off broiler.
- Arrange 4 large oven safe bowls or crocks on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill each bowl 2/3 full with hot soup. Top each bowl with 1 slice toasted bread, 2 slice Gruyere cheese and 1/4 of the Asiago or mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle a little bit of paprika over the top of each one.
- Broil 5 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. As it softens, the cheese will cascade over the sides of the crock and form a beautifully melted crusty seal. Serve immediately!
During a family road trip back in the late 1990’s, my father had made a mix CD of songs that not only induced tears, but was also sung by a group of powerful, strong female vocalists. The CD ranged from Bonnie Raitt to Aretha Franklin; “I Can’t Make You Love Me” to “Natural Woman,” and everything in between. About 2 hours into the mix, the last and final song began with nothing but a voice. That voice was Whitney Houston, and that song was “I Will Always Love You.”
Having heard the song before, I knew that there was a build up, and that the final verse gave me chills each time I heard it. I then declared that next to Ms. Houston, I would be the only other person allowed to sing this song in the car. My attempts at hitting Whitney’s in-human notes were laughable, albeit adorable (if I do say so myself) My dramatic hand gestures I had learned from a re-run of “Vh1’s: Behind The Music”. Pair that with flailing around like a boy on fire and I gave the term “flaming” a whole new meaning.
I then declared this as my go-to karaoke song, to which my family commenced the eye-roll in unison. I would never come close to sounding like Whitney- even Whitney on a bad day. And part of that is a testament to her voice: truly incomparable.
-Stan Salas, Customer Service Connoisseur and Contributing Blogger