I’m not a huge fan of the Fourth of July. I don’t like fireworks or char-grilled meat or planned activities and having grown up with leftist parents and having attended an even more leftist liberal arts college, the whole forced patriotic thing still brings out the rebel in me.
This is not to say that I don’t participate in the ENORMOUS celebration my neighborhood has every year. A celebration so big that there are several pages in the “Village” handbook dedicated to the festivities starting with the annual third of July firemen’s dance where the kids play flashlight tag without flashlights in the field across from the firehouse, while the grown-ups drink too much and flirt shamelessly. There’s always a group dance starting with the outdated Macarena and ending with a sing-a-long to “Bye-bye Miss American Pie.”
The morning of the Fourth starts with a bake sale and challenge baseball game between the older and younger men (notice no women) and a parade of decorated bikes and floats that follow the fire trucks and “Village” officials around and around and around the school. And then a whole day of organized activities including egg tosses and pie-eating contests and a big macho water hose fight between the firefighters and whoever chooses to challenge them. There are women who participate in that now and one year my best friend and I organized a team with our husbands and a couple of other couples and we dressed the men dressed as women in pink push-up bras and the women as men in “David” (from the sculpture) boxer shorts. The firemen didn’t know what to make of that! And then later there’s a big cookout on the lawn of the elementary school where we sprawl on blankets eating and drinking with our friends and discussing who won the water fight and how somebody cheated (every year we say that!) and after that there’s the trek up the hill for fireworks…
And writing all this down is choking me up a bit, making me realize that maybe I kind of like all stuff we do on the Fourth of July. And maybe… just maybe, I don’t dislike traditions as much as I think I do…
Deb Jess is thrilled to announce that Driving Sideways is going back to press for a second printing!
Also, Jess would like to thank Julie Peterson at Booking Mama for a terrific review and interview this week.
Deb Danielle received three stars for her upcoming August debut of FALLING UNDER from Romantic Times.
Deb Jenny would like to thank Kim Alexander for the fun interview on Fiction Nation on XM Radio. Unfortunately Deb Jen was out of the country when it aired so didn’t get a chance to give heads-up on it! It might air again—we’ll see!
Founder Kristy Kiernan has received two fabulous early reviews for her August release, MATTERS OF FAITH. Publishers Weekly says:
“In this tense, well-paced novel about belief, Kiernan explores what happens when faith and love test the limits of family fealty. In southwest Florida, college student Marshall Tobias is in search of something to believe in. He thinks he’s found God and the woman he’s always dreamed of when he falls in love with fundamentalist believer Ada Sparks. But Ada’s against medical intervention for illness, and tragedy results when she sets out to “help” Marshall’s 12-year-old sister, Meghan, overcome her life-threatening allergies.
Switching points-of-view between Marshall and his mother, Chloe, Kiernan (Catching Genius) movingly portrays a 20-year-old marriage gone flat and torn apart by crisis, a troubled son, a daughter hovering between life and death, and the hard-to-discern boundaries between true faith and unhealthy fanaticism. She handles her difficult material respectfully.
Most interesting is her portrayal of the well-meaning traps parents fall into when encouraging open-ended exploration of faith without context, or choosing to remain silent. The thoughtful themes, interesting characters and page-turning drama of this novel will likely make it a book club favorite.”
And Romantic Times gave MATTERS OF FAITH 4-1/2 stars:
“The fluent prose and authentic characters will leave the reader wanting more from Kiernan.”
Deb friend Kristy Barrett has just launched a new book-review blog! Welcome to the blogosphere, Kristy!
Debs are Reading (and listening to):
Deb Jenny is just back from vacation and can’t rave enough about Anthony Capella’s THE WEDDING OFFICER. If you don’t come armed with an appetite, expect an unnatural need to get to your nearest Italian restaurant .
She also thoroughly enjoyed Joanna Bourne’s much-buzzed about debut novel, THE SPYMASTER’S LADY–the author has a true gift for dialogue, characterization, and an uncanny ability to write in french-accented English.
Fun beach read: Julia London’s AMERICAN DIVA.
And lastly, while on vacation with a few families of very dear friends, Deb Jenny was thoroughly impressed with the talented Low Hendley’s music, which was playing on someone’s iPod. Low, who’d come along on the trip with our friend’s son, Bryce Johnson, played a few songs for which he not only wrote the music and lyrics, but also performed all instruments and sang. All done on his Mac. Here’s a link if you want to hear (some songs include Bryce on guitar), and a couple of the songs are available for purchase on iTunes listed under his real name, Owen Hendley. Low’s heading off to college and I hope we’ll all get a chance to hear more music from him in the future.
When you think of the things women (and many men) do to maintain beauty, it’s fairly easy to get grossed out. Slathering mud on our faces, smearing Vaseline on our teeth, painful strategic hair removal, bleaching mustaches, waxing brows, picking, taping, dying, scribbling on our lips, brows, and eyelids with food grade crayons…I heard last weekend that people have been using Preparation H to diminish dark circles and bags beneath their eyes. On Wednesday, Lisa mentioned a woman who applied spermicide to her face. And now I shall confess some of the sordid, off-putting science experiments I have tried in my personal quest for a smooth, dewy complexion, bouncy, lustrous hair, and that Cover Girl smile:
Not-so-bad: I have dabbed dissolved Knox gelatin beneath my eyes to eliminate dark circles. I can’t recall where I read about this, but the Vitamin K in the gelatin is supposed to fight dark coloration. BAD: When the gelatin dried, it pulled my eyelids down until I was quite uncomfortable and teary and looked like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, in the ‘violence aversion therapy’ scene.
Not-so-bad: I have made my own face mask of eggs, oatmeal, honey, and milk. BAD: I fed it to the cats after I scraped it off my cheeks and forehead. (I know, I know–I can hear the “Eeewwwws!” from here…but hey, waste not, want not!)
Not-so-bad: I have applied straight Vitamin E beneath my eyes. BAD: It was incredibly sticky, made me look like I was crying, and stained my pillowcases.
Not-so-bad: I once dyed my hair a spunky deep red. BAD: It actually came out purple, and the bartenders I worked with subjected me to more Purple People Eater-related jokes than any human being should ever have to abide.
Not-so-bad: I never fail to use sunscreen before spending lots of time in the sun. BAD: In 8th grade, I once strategically applied sunscreen only on the more wrinkle-prone areas of my face (my laugh line zones in particular) and ended up with white parentheses around a sunburned mouth.
Not-so-bad: I have a very high forehead, which was considered such an attractive feature in Elizabethan times that people actually shaved their hairlines up. BAD: I have a very high forehead and I’m not living in Elizabethan times, so in grade school I sat in class with my eyebrows perpetually raised so it would look smaller.* (It also helped me look very interested in whatever was being discussed.) Guess who’s got a nice little ladder of lines on her forehead now?
Not-so-bad: Due to an unfortunate poodle perm (also in 8th grade—a very bad year for beauty with me), I cut my own hair for years. BAD: I cut my own hair for years.
Now, in all seriousness, in keeping with the true intention of this week’s topic, I’m going to tell you about a product that has revolutionized my nightly beauty routine. And that is DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil. I’m fickle about moisturizers, because I veer back and forth between “natural but of dubious outcome” and “man the chemical torpedoes and SINK those wrinkles!” But DHC Deep Cleansing Oil? You keep me coming back for more.
If you’re feeling brave, I’d love to hear the quirky, embarrassing, or just plain bizarre things you’ve done for beauty.
*I should add that I did this with the teacher who actually laughed out loud, right in front of me, at my class pictures when they returned from the photographer. That kind of makes it worse, right?
Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!
Well, I’m looking at the other deb’s beauty suggestions this week and I’m surprised that no one mentioned hemroid cream. Seriously. I have a close friend who was in the beauty industry (which spends its $ making women feel insecure so they’ll buy products to make themselves feel more secure, but that’s a different post) and a few years ago everyone in the industry had hemroid cream in their purses because apparently it decreases under-eye bags. I’d love to say I didn’t try it but I’m not a morning person and just as much of a sucker for a cure as anyone. Let’s just say you’re better off with the gel than the suppositories, if you want to attempt it.
I’m going to keep it short this week because I’m wildly stressed with Falling Under coming out in five weeks and doing my best to follow the beauty advice of my fellow debs:
–full body sweat every day since Monday when I read Gail’s post,
–smiling lots, relaxing and heading off to the MAC counter when absolutely necessary, according to Jenny
–plus due to Lisa, The Oppressor and I now have a 4x/week quota to meet, not that we’re counting and not that I’m telling
–less sugar and white stuff, less stree overall, more veggies, more fruit, less caffeine (working on it!) and more water and breathing and and and….
Well, the list is endless, isn’t it!?
So tell me: have you got a sneaky and/or bizarre beauty secret? How about an anti-stress secret that doesn’t involve huge quantities of sugar, fat and/or alcohol? If so, I want to hear it…and I might even try it…
I was wracking my brain for some clever beauty secret to share with all of you, and I could not stop flashing back to an early episode of the Oprah show I watched in my teens: A very attractive woman in her forties claimed the secret to keeping her model-perfect skin so smooth, youthful and beautiful was to slather it with a big ‘ol glob of spermicide.
Yes. Every night before she went to bed, she put spermicide on her face.
I’ve often wondered if PTA moms across the Midwest added Gynol to the grocery list that afternoon with giddy hopes they might have stumbled across the fountain of youth.
Although I’ve never put contraceptive products anywhere but their intended destination, that particular beauty tip has stayed in my memory, stuck there like the theme song from Gilligan’s Island or all six verb tenses for “burp” in German.
My own beauty secrets are significantly less exotic — lots of laughs, sleep and sex.
As the Debs’ resident dating expert, I’ll share a little secret with you: sex is great for your looks.
If the orgasms and naked men aren’t enough of a draw, below you’ll find three beauty reasons for having regular sex.
* It makes you younger looking: A study at Scotland’s Royal Edinburgh Hospital found that women who were having sex four times a week looked on average, 7 –12 years younger than their not-so-active counterparts.
*Sex gives you a better booty: That’s right, having sex works your butt, thighs, pelvis, and arms.
*It gives you better hair days: Sex releases estrogen, which makes your hair shiny and your skin supple.
Good skin and a good time? Absolutely beautiful.
I long ago recognized that I am the ultimate beauty school dropout. And I’ve made peace with this. I do what little I must to get by, and don’t lose too much sleep over it. Although lost sleep could be at the root of my beauty faux pas…
I’ve long recognized that we all come to the table with our pluses and minuses. Back when our oldest child was ready for elementary school, it was the trend to hold back children so they had the advantage of that extra year of physical and mental maturation. At the time we thought it crazy that we actually had to contemplate holding our kindergarten-ready child back a year because everyone else was. Fact was, our son was ready for it. So despite his shortcomings—he was small for his age, he was young for his age—we decided that he needed the challenge of school and would be far too bored without it. Unfortunately, this meant that his peers would be driving well before him. And that they would most likely have the physical advantage over him in sports.
But I realized when my babysitter’s mom told me that her daughter was so upset because she was “too tall” for her age that we are what we are. When I was her age I thought I was too average. Others think they’re too short. No one is ever quite satisfied with the status quo. So you do what you can with what you’ve got, and hope for the best (and throw in the occasional beauty products as a talisman against too much fugliness).
Anyhow, while I was not so lucky in the fat ass department, I was more lucky in the complexion department. Which meant I’ve been fortunate to avoid “necessity make-up” over the years: make-up has often been optional for me, for better or worse. In fact, it wasn’t until my book came out and I started having to show up in public places on a regular basis that I realized I had to do something about this. I was downright stunned to see what magic that Mac cosmetics associate (the one with about ten piercings in her face) worked on my face. I wasn’t used to anything on me, yet all of a sudden she’d presented me with a daily 20-minute face-presentation regimen. Damn. It was so simple when all I did was wash my face in the morning.
I went through a month or two when I stuck to it. I had to, between the signings, the TV appearances, the speaking engagements. I just realized I looked pretty pathetic without it—like the before picture. Which is I guess the whole point of those before and after pictures. I was the damned poster child for the before picture. I just hadn’t known it.
Well, summer’s here. Less to do with the book. Kids are home, thus less running around. Pool days here and there. Make up? Hell no! Nowadays, my biggest beauty aid? A good night’s sleep. Not that I ever actually get a good night’s sleep. Case in point last night, 3:30 a.m. our crazy dingo dog who’s deathly afraid of thunderstorms awoke to one seriously ominous storm. She actually hurdled the 4-foot tall gate in the mudroom (switching on the light in the process) in her haste to flee her loneliness and seek out her human counterparts. Meantime, the Labrador? My son says she’s like the prisoner who takes advantage of the power outage to launch a food fight. Yes, while the crazy one was freaking out over weather, the food-driven one was ravaging the trash can, littering my house with very messy garbage. Needless to say, I didn’t get back to sleep last night.
So my beauty goal for this summer is sleep. A little here, a little there. Avoiding make-up as much as possible. Maybe throw in yoga for peace of mind. And happiness, because nothing makes you look as good as a burden-free face with a warming smile. Aside from that, no huge plans. Just enough to get by.
So what’s your beauty secret?
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If I don’t reply, don’t worry. I’m just away from internet access and will do so as soon as I can!
Lots of water
Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
Salmon and avocado
Limited caffeine, alcohol, salt, white sugar and well, most anything white
Limited sun exposure
Working up a full body sweat every day (either running or yoga or often both)
Standing on my head every day
At least 7 hours of sleep
All organic lotions and cleansers made by Eminence (I used to not worry about what I put on my face in fact was an eager slave to the latest and greatest fountain of youth touting beauty products, but since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have been hyper-vigilant about limiting my exposure to possible carcinogens, including pesticides and parabens)
Eyebrow shaping pencil
Little bit of blush (unless I’ve just been running or yogaing)
Couple of smears of lip gloss
Smiling whenever possible
Doing one thing every day that scares me
Trying to embrace my imperfections and let my most authentic self shine through