I’ve been seeing more of my extended family since my grandmother died last winter. Not a lot more because we’re still spread all over the country, but two of my cousins have been to Chicago, and I’ll see one of them in a few weeks when G. and I go to Dallas to dance.
I’ve also struck up a correspondence with my mom’s cousin Janet, who danced professionally. She has a well-read blog, and Mom suggested I get in touch with her for some tips on improving mine. She blew me away. She read all my posts and offered very specific suggestions for improvement. That takes a lot of time, and to do that for a relative she last saw 35 or so years ago … well, how nice is that?
And, the suggestions helped. Readership has been up (thank you, readers) since I made the changes.
Janet’s blog isn’t about food or gardening — although she has a garden. Her passion is cosmetics and skin care. That was actually the first thing Mom told me about her: “I saw my cousin Janet and she has the most perfect skin ….” And then eventually she got to the part about the blog.
It has just about the best header ever. It says:
I started wearing cosmetics in October, 1966. I know it was October because – for my birthday – I received $5. I immediately went to Rexall Drugs and spent the $5 on Cover Girl blush and foundation. In the wrong colors. It wasn’t the last time I bought the wrong colors. But it was probably the last time I spent $5.
It was the bit about buying the wrong colors that got me. I probably have the wrong colors in my medicine cabinet right now. Not that it matters much. I probably wear makeup twice a year. It has occurred to me, usually in the dead of winter, that a little might not be a bad idea. Maybe just a bit of blush during the months when I’m super-super pale. I feel like I can pick out blush. Eye shadow? Let’s not go there. There’s too many choices, and then what do you do with it? What if you put on too much and end up looking like one of the slutty girls you went to middle school with?
So, you know, Janet had my admiration for sticking with it. She’s actually become an expert on cosmetics and skin care, and she reviews products on her blog. She recommended a little wand that I can use to get the dance callouses off my feet. They’re pretty serious callouses. G. once compared my feet to an elephant’s. I try not to think about that when I’m having a good day and otherwise feeling pretty.
Anyway, the other cool thing about Janet is that she’s starting a new business, making and selling her own skin care products. It’s called Circa 60, and it’s aimed at women around that age, although Janet’s not quite there yet.
I’m not either, but she sent me a box of samples anyway. I’ve been using her shampoo and conditioner, which smell like lavender. We love lavender in our family. Janet and I both grow it in our gardens, and Mom would if it wasn’t too hot in North Carolina. Janet has a distiller to make her own oils. When I heard that, I was tempted to buy one but then I thought: I have nearly every small kitchen appliance that’s really useful, do I actually need every one? And G. would make funny of me and ask what I was going to do with the oil, and I don’t really know … so I got a grip on myself.
I’ve also been using her facial cleansers, although I have to confess I didn’t know what to do at first even though one is labeled “Start Here” and the other is called “Second Step.” Apply with a wash cloth? Cotton? Wash it off? Leave it on? I think I’ve figured it out now: Wash the first one off, leave the second on. If not, I’ll probably get a note from Janet shortly.
She also has a really awesome sunblock, although I don’t think it’s on the market yet. It smells like vanilla, and I kind of want to eat it.
I’m taking sunblock seriously these days though. Mom just had another chunk of cancerous skin cut off, this time from her ear. None has been melanoma so far, but I’m still worried. My uncle has had cancerous patches cut off too, and I’ve already had a couple abnormal moles removed. So, while I might not be a girly-girl who’s good with cosmetics, I do know I need a solid sunblock to protect my skin. And these days, making sure we’re all taken care of is a family affair.