Have I “had anything done”?

A certain person found out that I’m going to be 47 in three months. Not being one to hold back, he blurted, “No way!! Have you had anything done?!”  Complete with dramatic interrobang at the end of the question.

It occurred to me that I’m getting to an age where people might wonder if I’ve “had something done” if they think I look younger than I should.

The guy’s question made an impact in my mind because not long ago, Callaghan and I somehow became ensnared in Botched, a reality T.V. series about plastic surgery that horrifies and depresses me as much as it fascinates me. I always anticipate the cases where the patients got botched during surgeries they had had for medical reasons (birth defects, disfigurement resulting from accidents, etc.), rather than for cosmetic ones. Those cases seem to be rarities, though.




I’ve never had anything “done,” and I don’t plan to ever get anything “done.” The idea of having non-medically-necessary surgeries is anything but appealing to me. I’d run from cosmetic procedures involving chemicals, lasers, needles, etc., too.

I have no problem getting shots and getting blood drawn. I’m fine with needles used for tattooing art on my body. I would not be fine with a needle injecting botulinum toxin into my face. I’m not judging those who do opt for such procedures – to each their own! – it’s just not something I can see myself doing. I wouldn’t get tattooed make-up, either; again, this is just my personal preference.

You could say, I guess, that I’m hyper-squicked at the idea of it all. I wouldn’t even get Lasik surgery! When it comes to surgery, words amounting to “medically necessary” have to be included in the documentation. If insurance won’t pay for it, I probably won’t get it.

I had a facial once, about 10 years ago, and even that was a little invasive for my tastes. The facial was a component of a spa package that someone had given me as a gift, and while it wasn’t a bad experience, I didn’t enjoy it enough to want to do it again. The aesthetician was gentle and methodical, and I remember that she used a botanical line of products, which I appreciated, but I found the whole thing to be strange-bordering-on-gross. I think I just prefer my own fingers and hands working with the skin on my face.

I’m particular about how I handle my skin, as well. I once tried a motorized facial cleansing brush after years of hearing people rave about their Clarisonic facial cleansing brushes. It kind of spooked me, and I didn’t like the way my skin felt during or after using the device. I gave it to Callaghan, who also tried it once and never used it again.

Body work – therapeutic massage therapy – makes me swoon. I love scalp massages even more. I could have my feet massaged for hours, which is odd considering that I don’t like people looking at my feet. And if I could hire someone to do nothing but trace designs on my back with his or her fingertip all day, I would. That spa facial, though! It was just kind of uncomfortably weird lying there while someone cleansed my face for me.


I'm really not happy in this pic that was taken last night, but a fake smile is supposed to lift your spirits somehow, so this was the experiment.

I’m really not happy in this pic that was taken last night, but a fake smile is supposed to lift your spirits somehow, so this was the experiment.


Of course I’m flattered when people remark that I look younger than I am. I’m not immune to vanity, I’m not a humblebraggart, and my mother taught me well regarding taking care of myself, so in a sense, the compliments are a tribute to her. But as far as anti-aging efforts go, I do my own thing, and whatever happens, happens. Just because I have a skin care regimen and use some products that say “anti-aging” on the labels doesn’t mean that I’m actually anti-aging.

Currently, in the morning, I wash my face and use an eye cream and sunscreen under my make-up (I apply the latter to my face, neck and upper chest, as the appearance of your neck and décolletage can make a huge difference)… and that’s it. I stopped using daily moisturizer on my face months ago. The sunscreen I use seems to do a good enough job, so I leave it at that.

At night, I remove any make-up I might be wearing, wash my face, and put on the same eye cream before misting my face with water and adding a layer of night cream. I do a mask once a week, usually on Sundays. I also spend most of the weekend (if not all of it) make-up-free, to give my skin a rest.

As for my hair… when I go gray, I’ll continue to color my hair, with the purpose shifted from enhancement to coverage.

So I do my routine, I make sure I’m consuming the right nutrients, and I drink lots and lots of water. I try to get adequate sleep (ha!). I avoid direct sunlight on my face as much as possible, and I avoid things like refined sugars and alcohol in my diet. After that, though, I’m eager to see what I’ll look like at each stage as I mature.

Because aging is life, and life is good.


My parents recently went to Hokkaido for Dad’s annual Japan summer golf trip. As usual, shortly after their return, a package arrived for me because Mom went shopping and thoughtfully sent a few things my way. For quite a few years now I’ve been using random Japanese and Korean beauty products from Japan and Hawaii, and they’re amazing. (Not sure whether any of the brands are tested on animals. I know to avoid stuff made in China, but I have no idea as to the others.)

Here are some of the things that arrived last week:


Background: facial gel exfoliator and foaming cleanser (both made in Japan); Juicy Drop BB Cream (made in Korea) Foreground: a variety of sheet masks (all made in Korea)

Background: facial gel exfoliator & foaming cleanser (made in Japan); Juicy Drop BB Cream (made in Korea)
Foreground: a variety of sheet masks (all made in Korea)


A fun by-product of getting Asian cleansers and creams and such is the Engrish you’re sure to find on the packaging. In case you didn’t know, “Engrish” is the result of humorously botched English translations from some Asian languages; there’s a website that pays homage to it. Product packaging is a fairly reliable supplier of examples, and this blog post right here exemplifies why I would be a terrible beauty blogger: my amusement and enthusiasm in sharing the Engrish on the labels outweigh my interest in telling you about the products, themselves.



This is the foaming facial cleanser... "Washing Form" in Engrish.

This is the foaming facial cleanser… “Washing Form” in Engrish.


(Not sure why there’s a picture of a horse on the bottle. Not sure I want to know why, either.)

Now take a look at THIS. I hope you can read it (click photo to enlarge). This is the text on the back of the one sheet mask that’s not an Epielle – it’s the one to the far left in the array photo above, with the woman’s face in the picture:


Contains beauty gredients for skin activity in the sheets! Helps horny clear up! Put a water skin on the face. TAP YOUR FACE FOR BEING ABSORBED COMPLETELY INTO YOUR FACE. Keep it coolly at the case status and use it.

Contains beauty gredients for skin activity in the sheets! Helps horny clear up! Put a water skin on the face. TAP YOUR FACE FOR BEING ABSORBED COMPLETELY INTO YOUR FACE. Keep it coolly at the case status and use it.


Awesome, right? And, bonus… it really is a lovely product!

Infernos Everywhere! Run! Or, Cover Yourselves.

Some of you appreciated my impromptu ramble about masks, so let me do another “1-Minute Topical” as a kind of Public Service announcement. Subject: sunscreen. I wear it on my face every day, no matter what. Even if there’s no sun. Even if I’m not leaving the house. It’s the one product about which I’m kind of fanatical; I’ve been using it religiously for decades.

I once read – and I truly believe – that where there’s daylight, there’s a need for sunscreen, because a room filled with daylight is a room filled with damaging UV rays. Yes, your skin can sustain damage under a cloud cover! The term “sun damage” is a misleading one, in my opinion. You don’t need golden beams of sunshine to end up with skin damaged by UV rays. You are not safe if it’s overcast. Know how vampires are affected by daylight even if they’re inside? Same danger.


Skin cancer happening

Skin cancer happening


While I envision horrible things happening to unprotected skin after sunrise, I’m not daunted. It’s easier to put on sunscreen than to hide from the daylight in a coffin until nightfall. I like an SPF of 30, minimum, in a broad-spectrum (that means UVA and UVB) formula. My current anti-UV ray weapon of choice is Eucerin’s Sensitive Skin Everyday Protection Face Lotion, SPF 30, which I’ve used since at least 2009. It’s great. (Side note: Eucerin and its parent company, Beiersdorf, claim to not test on animals, though their names don’t appear on current cruelty-free products lists… so I’m not sure what that’s about. Conflicting information alert.)

Speaking of animals, our boys’ true natures have really emerged since we’ve been here. It’s warm, and there’s carpet, so they’re letting it all hang out, so to speak. I’m not sure about Nounours (he’s harder to read), but Ronnie James is Hawaiian at heart. This is clear from the fact that he enjoys playing air-ukulele while lying on his back. We’ve caught him dancing the hula, also while lying on his back. And he loves to sit on his butt in big armchairs, as people in Hawaii are wont to do. (I know this first-hand. My family is originally from there, so I’ve spent a lot of time there, myself.)




Mmm-hmm… Ronnie James’s got the hang-loose ‘tude of the locals down (not that Al Bundy is Hawaiian), and he was obviously born with it, because his ukulele-playing, hula-dancing self has never been to Hawaii.


Hula dancing

Hula dancing



Behind Masks and Closed Doors….

Ha! I just startled Callaghan when he turned around and found me covered up in an Epielle Facial Essence Mask. The single-use mask is basically a small, white cotton sheet cut to fit the face, with holes for eyes, nose and mouth, heavily saturated in liquid botanical extracts and other ingredients. You unfold it, drape it over your face, and smooth it down into place. So easy! I leave it on for 30 minutes. Peel off, throw away, done. There’s no need to rinse. Your skin drinks up the product and air-dries after you remove the sheet, and then you can carry on with your normal routine.

Continuing for a second with this tangent (because I didn’t plan to talk about facial masks): I love sheet masks. Oil-absorbing clay masks have their merits, but seriously? Making the effort to remove a hardened clay mask from my face was never my favorite thing to do. I’m too lazy. (I’m not a fan of peel masks, either.) Mom sent three different varieties of the Epielle masks: Firming and Lifting with Vitamin C (“rejuvenating & conditioning formula”), Green Tea & Aloe (“detoxifying & soothing formula”), and Cucumber (“refreshing & purifying formula”). I’m currently wearing a cucumber one, which my skin loves. It feels luxurious, and it smells delightfully like a faintly sweet, fresh cucumber.

My mother has been my beauty mentor all my life. I do my own research to stay current with the science behind skincare, but I follow her advice and use the products she sends. She looks a good 15-20 years younger than she is. She’s amazing, and I’m lucky. I started using sheet masks when she first started sending them to me over ten years ago. Thank you, Mom!

So here’s the question that’s been smoldering in my mind since yesterday: Do you ever wonder what’s going on behind that closed door when you go to someone’s place and no one answers, but you suspect that someone’s home?

Yesterday, Callaghan and I were sitting here on the loveseat when someone knocked on the door. Based on recent events, we guessed that the visitor was either a kid selling something, or a couple coming to talk to us about religion, though we could have been wrong. We deliberated for a few seconds before deciding that we would answer the door. But there was a snag. Literally.

“Back here!” Callaghan hissed in my ear as he frantically pointed and gestured behind his neck. He was leaning forward at a tentative, strange angle. I looked. A thread from one of the couch cushions behind him was badly ensnarled in the clasp of his thin gold chain necklace. He was stuck! The cushion was attached to his back like a shell on a turtle, and someone was waiting at the door. I muffled a laugh with my hand as I hopped over him quickly to get the scissors from the kitchen.

The gold chain is very delicate, and the loveseat cushion is very nice, and we didn’t want either one to get ruined, so the situation required some patience and finesse. By the time I’d extricated Callaghan from the cushion, the person at the door was gone. Maybe I should have answered the door on my way to the kitchen, but then we would have had to explain that we don’t usually wear our furniture. (Rather, our furniture wears us.)

So that’s what the person on the other side of the door would have seen had they come equip with wall-penetrating X-Ray glasses. Something to think about the next time you go to someone’s house and they don’t answer the door. You just never know what’s going on!