Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How My Stupid Skin is Making Me Healthier

I am pale.  Ghastly.  Usually by this point in the summer, I have applied enough self tanner to get a relatively nice glow on, something that, while not permanent at all, would at least be maintainable.  But not now.  I am the color of a sheet.

And why, you ask?  Oh, because my skin decided to declare war on me.  Fucking skin.

I have always had relatively sensitive skin.  My mom can still rattle off a list of things that broke me out as a small child (most notably heartbreaking of which was Mr. Bubble bubble bath which was the stuff rose colored dreams are made of), and I've never been one for heavy fragrances or scented products at all.   Well, except for the time that I decided--DAMN THE TORPEDOES!--that I would wear Bath and Body Works Sun Ripened Raspberry in all of its manifestations at one time.  I think I was about 14.  Around the same time, I also found out that I am HIGHLY allergic to all Origins products because they have some kind of fruit acid in them that turns me into Lobster Boy.  College was marked by my discovery that I am insanely allergic to Tide, and couldn't even use a washing machine after someone had used Tide powder in it, as the residue was enough to cause a week of misery.  ANYWAY, I use Almay Skin Relief Body Wash and coconut body butter and during the summer, I use self-tanner.  And none of this has ever given me a problem.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I planned a little getaway for ourselves.  We got a hotel room with a whirlpool, bought some champagne and ahem, some stuff, and worked out plans with my mother in law so that she could watch the kids.  In preparation, I went ahead and bought a box of L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Tanning Towelettes, and decided to do the ole double dip where I used my gradual tanner as lotion and then added the extra oomph of the tanning towels.  I used them a couple of times in pretty quick succession.  Yeah, it smelled.  Matt complained about it, as he always does when I use self tanner.  But ultimately, I guess he decided not to say too much because he didn't want to dare come between a girl and her horrible body image.

But then I woke up with hives down both of my arms.  At first, it was mostly confined to my upper arms, but by the time I got to work, it had spread down to my inner elbows and there was a patch on my right ankle.  All of these little TAN bumps running down my arms, all these little TAN bumps that itched like crazy.  I scratched and scratched.  Matt begged me to go to the doctor, but I decided against it because it was a rash that I've had multiple times before--I'm not new to this go-round.  I layered Eucerin calming cream over it, and a little bit of calamine lotion.  Still.  It itched.  Actually, that's not giving you an appropriate feeling of what it was like...hmmm...GOOD GRAVY IT WAS LIKE A MILLION FIRE ANTS BITING ME...GAHHH.

We went on our trip.  I brought my gradual tanning lotion with me, but Matt begged me not to use it, and since I was feeling romantical, I relented.  That and the fact that all of the scratching had made my skin start peeling so the tan was coming off in sheets.  ATTRACTIVE.  My upper arms looked like I had some kind of horrible skin disease where I was literally molting.  I wore a cardigan over my dress when we went out to dinner and called it a day.  Love is blind, ya'll.

Still, the itching did not totally go away, despite getting some better.  We washed our sheets several times, thinking that it was something there because it always seemed worse in the mornings.  I started confronting facts that I was either allergic to self-tanner or chocolate, and to be honest, I couldn't imagine a day without either one.  I sulked.  A lot.  Matt stayed on me though about laying off the tanner until we figured out what it was.  And then one night, after dulling myself with Benadryl and going to bed, only to wake up at 4:00 a.m.  with my mind racing, I realized that it was my robe.  My fluffy robe hadn't been laundered since I broke out and was the thing I put on directly after tanning.  If anything was coated in it, it would be the robe.  I washed the robe in hot water, hoping that was not really it, but within a day, it was over.

So, somehow, someway, I am allergic to that particular cocktail of self-tanner.  Which means that that very day, I was on the internet, looking at Kiehl's Tanner, which MUST be better for me, RIGHT?!?!

I have refrained though.  My legs are horrible, yes, but the stuff really does smell and is it worth putting Matt through all that?  Is it worth the obvious streaks that appear sometimes despite my best intentions?  Maybe not.  It is not the paleness that I abhor so much, it is just that I think the tan makes my legs look thinner.  And does it really?  Or is it all in my head?  And is it worth breaking out in hives for something that very well could be all in my head?

So on Monday I went running.  And then again this morning.  Running is the goddamn worst, and I don't care if you love it.  It's horrible.  But it works, and it is free, and if you play it right, you get to listen to good music while you're doing it.  So I'm back on that horse.  I am doing C25K again, because it has seriously been that freaking long, and I was surprised that it wasn't totally horrible this morning.  Ok, yeah, it was horrible.  But not as horrible as it could have been.  It was just mildly torturous, not "MY FACE IS GETTING EATEN OFF BY A CANNIBAL" torturous.  I gave myself a little victory hop when it was over before I remembered that GOD I FUCKING HATE RUNNING.

I am not totally back on WW, but I'm trying to be mindful while eating.  I'm trying to convince myself that there is no moderation in eating only vegetables for lunch.  I want to be healthy, I really do, so I am trying.  Did I eat a bowl of the celebratory dirt cake I made for my kids last night?  Damn right I did.  But today is a new day and the blueberries I had this morning were damn good.  And it is Berry Almond Chicken Salad time at Wendy's!  FUCK YEAH BERRY ALMOND CHICKEN SALAD.

I am a work in progress.  A pale, fluffy work in progress.  But maybe it'll stick this time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So You Want to Have Sex With Joe Mauer: Coupon Clippers Edition

(Joe Mauer laughs at those who pay full price for beauty products.)

If there is anything less sexy than clipping coupons, I don't know it.  (Maybe nursing homes.  Maybe jorts.)  Coupon clipping is one of those loaded activities where you assume you know the kind of person who does it--an overweight housewife in a Tweety t-shirt, trying to feed her growing family on a kitchen full of processed foods (and now with shows like Extreme Couponing, we get more visual evidence to back up our assumptions).  At one time when I was in college, we got the paper delivered to us and I clipped coupons every Sunday.  However, I hardly ever used the actual things, mostly because buying three boxes of Fruit Roll Ups even with a coupon is more expensive than buying a bunch of bananas.  Plus, there was always the added problem of actually having the damn things with me when I was at the store and then trying to use them before the expiration date.  Blech.

And I'm not here to tell you that I've changed my sorry ways.  I still don't use coupons all the time, nor do I go out of my way to do so.  I'll go with the fresh bananas any day, thankyouverymuch.  However, I'm not averse to saving a little money, mostly because that means I get to spend more money later.  So every once in a while, when I get an email from Coupon Mom or Target telling me there are new coupons available, I make a quick run through with them and print out the ones that I like.  Sometimes there are very few things that I print.  Sometimes there are a bunch.  Frequently printed items are coupons for Allegra (I take it everyday), Kashi Steam meals, and Cascadian Farms cereal.  Target also frequently features a coupon for a certain percentage off of a clothing item, and these are great for the kids, especially since I have a fickle teenager who loves fast fashion.  After printing out the coupons, I just stick them in a binder clip and throw them in the bottom of my (new!) purse.  Then, when I go to the store, if I want to use one, I just pull it out.  I think I'm getting pretty good with them.  My mom noted that the last few times we have gone to Target together, I have used at least one coupon each time.  On my trip on Sunday, I saved $8.  So while I'm definitely not an extreme couponner, that $8 is well saved and will definitely allow me to buy some really stinky cheese or yet another lip gloss.

Now, most of you don't know this, but Joe Mauer finds saving money really sexy.  Sure, he makes eleventy trillion dollars a year just for looking hot and throwing a ball around, but that doesn't mean that he's going to spend it all.  Being Joe Mauer is not cheap.  I'm sure he has a skin care regimen.  And there's all of that cash he's laying down for places where he can sex you up.  Showing a man you are financially minded is a great way of saying, "I am not a gold digger.  I want you for your body only.  Now use that shin guard to tie me up and we'll reenact parts of 50 Shades of Gray in a light bondage meets baseball mash-up."

So without further ado, here are a couple of things I've purchased with coupons recently.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain.  I've written about Revlon's Just Bitten Lip Stains before, but this is a much different formula.  Basically, the lip stain is like a felt tip pen for your lips (with accompanying clear lip balm for a creamy touch) and this "kissable balm stain" is more like a big old crayon.  I have to admit that that enticed me way before I remembered I have a coupon for this stuff.  I love the idea of a big, fun adult crayon that I get to play with, because what is make-up really but fun stuff to play with?  I picked it up in the color "Romantic" which is a cool tinged red.  I was wanting something for summer that was light and could be smudged on but that would have all of the color that I like and need.  And I didn't want it to be too "done", not too glossy and something that could be defined a bit for work or smudged on playfully for vacation.  This stuff fits the bill, and I have to say, I love it.  The crayon is easy to wield and you can line your lips if you are so inclined or you can just say "Fuck all!" and put it on with no guide like the kind of free-wheeling free spirit who follows the Minnesota Twins around and eschews all major life responsibility.  The color is pretty choice as well--a light red that gives you a touch of the trendy brightness without being truly overwhelming.  Kind of like eating a cherry popsicle.  See for yourself:
(Yup that's me, sitting in my office, taking crappy pictures of myself.  Note that my hair is not normally that jacked up--I didn't straighten it or wash it because I was too sore from running and hiking yesterday.  So what I'm saying is that I'm ugly and out of shape.)
That picture was taken after I had had it on for a little over a hour.  Which brings me to my next point:  This stuff lasts better than your garden variety balm color.  Perhaps because it is a stain or something, the color is a bit more pervasive than what its silky texture would have you believe.  I wore it yesterday on our afternoon hike and despite sweating and carrying a 2 year old nearly the whole way back, it was still on when I got back in the car.  I will add that because it is such a nice texture on the lips, you will want to put it on often.  Especially if you are a lip biter like me.  

My verdict?  LOVE.  This is my summer lip color, far and away.  I am tempted to buy more colors, but know that I will be partial to this red.

Mauer verdict?  Hey girl.  When you wear that lip balm/stain/whatever, it makes me think of a fresh, wholesome night under the Minnesota stars with a crackling fire and homemade smores and my hands running down the length of your back and you leaning over and getting that balm all over my....DAMN GIRL.  THAT LIP STAIN IS CHOICE.

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfecter B.B. Cream.  Okay.  I really can't say anything about this product that hasn't been said before.  The internetz love BB (Beauty Balm) Creams, and this is a relatively cheap version and so, basically, anything you want to see about it, you can find.  A lot of people love it.  Some people do not.  I, myself, really like it, but I went after it looking for a very specific thing.  It delivered on that, so I'm happy.  If I had expected more, I might not be.  

I am really quite happy with my Mary Kay foundation, but I wanted something a bit different for summer on days when I'm not at work--something more akin to a tinted moisturizer.  I have so-so luck with tinted moisturizers--some are pretty good (Laura Mercier) and some make me look like Snooki (Almay Smart Shade--I'm just too pale).  Also, I have finally gotten on board with a pretty reliable skin care routine, so finding something was going to be good to my skin was a plus as well.  So I knew I was going to buy this product, online reviews and coupon aside.  And really, it does what I need it to do.  It is nice to wear on the weekend, and even though I was dubious on the (lack of) color choices, the Light/Medium shade disappears easily and keeps me from any Snooki-esque color.  I can't really tell if there is any long-term positive affects from its skin-care side because I haven't used it long enough.  I do like it though--I like it a lot.  The coverage is light enough not too look too done, and it feels nice for summer.  I like the addition of the SPF.  I will say that how your layer it is key.  I generally just put it on directly after washing my face, but the other day I forgot and put it on after my regular moisturizer (Cerave).  It went on a little lighter, but I didn't notice it coming off or making my face oily (I have very normal, boring skin).  I will say that I prefer it applied after washing and without other creams used before it.

My verdict:  Definitely doable summer beauty.  The price point is nice (even without the coupon), and it makes me feel good that it is doing something for my skin other than just covering it up.  It might be too dark for me by the time fall rolls around, but by then I might be a more of a foundation-everyday-girl anyway.

Mauer verdict:  Girl, your skin is so nice.  So luminous.  So protected.  I want it to stay like that so that we can be doin' it well into our 80's.  Because girl, when I'm just a dude going around to traveling ball signings and telling stories about back in the day, I want you to be there.  I'll need a sympathy beej.

I hope your Memorial Day weekends were fun and restful.  Mine definitely was, and I found some great deals this past weekend (mostly for the kids, but I did find a great new bag for $60).  I got to see plenty of Mauer as the A's are currently in Minnesota, forgetting how to play baseball and forcing me into alcoholism. Harumph.  

Friday, May 25, 2012


This morning was awards day at my daughter's school.  She's in 7th grade, so it is her last year at this particular school (and would have been even if we weren't moving), so there was something already a little sentimental about walking in and seeing her getting her medals.  It doesn't help that she was getting her awards on the same stage where I totally PWNED her dad in academic competition.  PWNED, you guys.  It was bloody.  What an amazing, amazing night.

Where was I?

Anyway, Gabby told us that her teacher told her to make sure that we came, but she didn't really put a lot of emphasis on it.  Of course, we showed, as we always do.  Gabby made sure to pick out our clothes beforehand so that we embarrassed her the least we possibly could.  We were both really surprised that she let Matt wear a t-shirt with pi on it.

The awards day went pretty normally with a handful of kids--Gabby included--getting a lion's share of the awards.  They placed a bunch of medals around the kids' necks, and it was fun to see them walk around afterwards with their hands strategically placed so as to minimize the clink-clank of the metal.  Gabby, being in seventh grade, got hers at the end of the ceremony.  We clapped politely and tried to keep Alice from attacking these twin baby boys sitting behind us.

At the end of the ceremony, they had two retiring teachers come to the podium.  One of them is one that I had as a teacher myself in sixth grade and who had coached our academic team in high school.  She began crying as she spoke about teaching at the school for all the years that she had, and all the wonderful students she had had.  I found myself already tearing up, remembering what a good teacher she had been for me and for Gabby.  She then started talking about giving out a special Principal's Leadership award to a special student.  She went on to describe the student as someone who loved to learn, who was bright and intelligent while being friendly and fair, who always showed respect to her teachers and fellow students.  She talked about the student bringing in stuff she had researched at home and books she had borrowed from her parents.  She talked about the student impacting everything she touched and making it better for those around her.  By this point, I was full on crying.

Then she said that she had also taught the student's mother, and that "the apple had not fallen far from the tree."  She said that the only difference between the student and her mother was that her mother refused to sit in a desk the correct way and that the daughter did that, and everything else, correctly.

And since I'm bothering to type this all out, you know that the student was Gabby and well, I'm her mom.

Gabby walked up to get her trophy in her skin-tight jeans and hipster glasses, that perfect I-don't-really-care-about-my-hair triangle of hair falling over her forehead.  She had a blue American Apparel hoodie tied around her waist, for a reason I do not understand but probably would if I were 13.  She is awkward in that way that all 13 year olds are, but also beautiful in a way that amazes me and fills me with joy.  And she is mine.

I am closing in on 30 this year, and sometimes, all I can think of is the stuff I've done wrong.  I don't have a master's degree yet, much less the Ph.D. I once considered, I haven't found my dream career, my depressing coming of age novel lies in sad files on my work computer's hard drive.  I live in the hometown that I have the most complicated relationship with and spend most of my time abhorring with every fiber of my being.  I don't exercise with any regularity, and last night, I singlehandedly consumed more calories while sitting on my couch watching crap on ID than I probably should have in a week.  BUT.  I have raised a Gabby, and a Sam, and even an Alice, and they are amazing and smart and funny and not only do I see that, but the world does too.  It is mind-blowing.  For all the stupid stuff I've done, and let me tell you, there's a lot, I have done two things:  I have lived and I have raised amazing, brilliant, respectful kids.

I don't have really anything in my life figured out.  I wish I could impart something about raising these kids that would be wise and would inspire someone else to look at their child in a new way, but I can't.  For all my words, I don't have the ones that would do that.

Hillary Clinton once said that the best compliment you can give a mother is to compliment her child.  And that is true.  This morning, hearing all those wonderful things about Gab, the same child who only recently told me that she is scared of spoons, I felt so amazing.  Truly.  If I have managed to produce something that awesome, well, maybe I'm not that bad myself. (Which is probably the slippery slope encountered by anyone ever featured on "Toddlers and Tiaras.")

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Motherhood is...

I just saw a post on Facebook that pissed me off, which is probably going to be the title of the book that I will inevitably write.  In it, the author said "Motherhood is:  eating standing up (if you get to eat at all)."  And, of course, hundreds of people clicked "like" superfast with their superfast ninja Facebook mommy powers and then commented with a whole bunch of other stuff like "eating while washing dishes...and standing up!" and "in the pantry so my kid doesn't see what I'm eating...and standing up!"  Good God.

Ladies, get off that cross because we could really use the wood to build a house for our schnauzer.  His name his Hinkleton.  He appreciates your non-martyrdom.

I understand that the daily reality of motherhood is not always glamorous.  I mean, your fucking nipples bleed for one thing--there is nothing glamorous about bleeding nipples.  The first few days and weeks of motherhood are a torture that the Geneva Convention should protect us all against.  BUT....there are ways to keep yourself from having to withdraw from even the most basic of human activity.  I have three kids and not only have I never skipped a shower on their account (NEVER, nor will I ever--that is what bouncy chairs and Dads are for), I have never skipped a meal, a fact that is blatantly obvious to anyone who has ever seen my legs.  And I have had the vast majority of those meals while sitting down and consuming something that I enjoy, i.e., not the reheated and forgotten chicken nuggets left by some picky, overindulged toddler.

Guys, it is all about time management and appropriate parenting.

Now, I don't want to be one of those preachy harpies who tells you how to run your life, because really, my life is a fucking mess and I should be seriously looking into one of those life coach things to keep me from making patented Morgan "It seemed like a great idea at the time!" decisions (actually, I'm on a roll of good decisions lately, so let's none of us call the no-hitter, and really, I dare you to show me someone whose life, in one way or another, is not a total wreck).  But here's the thing:  if you have time to update your Facebook status, you have time to eat sitting down.  I mean, maybe you typed it out on your iPhone while standing up, but as a frequent typist of status messages on a phone, I can tell you that it takes a little bit of time (CURSE YOU FAT FINGERS!), especially when you figure in bringing up the Facebook app and then scrolling through and--oh, she finally had her baby!--and then bringing up the status screen and what have you.  So you definitely could sit down to enjoy your pb&j in that time frame.  And even if that was not an option for whatever reason, you can't tell me that there is not some point during the day, even between the hours of 11 and 2, when you could not get away from your children and/or work to eat something in a sitting position.

The author of the status goes on to say in a subsequent comment that every time she sat down, her kids asked for something.  There is a pretty simple way to avoid that too, my little croquembouches.  YOU TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE EATING AND TO WAIT.  My kids know, even the little one, that if I am eating (or getting dressed or talking on the phone), they are to hold their damn horses and do something on their own.  No one has ever died or experienced even the most mild discomfort because of this.  How did they know this?  Was it encrypted in their DNA?  Nope.  They just live in a house where we all respect each other and our needs.  That and I am sure to remind them if I have to.  I promise--you can tell your kid "no."  They don't explode.  Sometimes they kinda like it because they learn stuff and they get to be real, function individuals.  "What the fucking fuck?" you say?  If you have your own life and address your own needs, your child doesn't grow up to be a serial killer.  I KNOW.  Funny how that works, huh?

I love being a mother, I really do.  My kids are rad.  But I also love being a wife, an employee, a lady, a snappy dresser, a reader, a human being.  I will never give up any of those things to be a mom because the second I do that is the second I become a much worse parent.  So I'm not going to give up my monthly haircuts, my J.Crew habit (sorry, Matt), my job, my lunch, my shower, my Nars Orgasm blush, the occasional Miller Lite.  This doesn't make me less of a mother.  It makes me a damn good one.  Conversely, if you don't want those things, it doesn't make you a bad mother.  If you want to skip lunch and a shower and whatever else, go for it.  Just don't pride yourself on your misery and expect the rest of us to jump on board with you.

Since I think motherhood gets a bad rap for this and other Facebook-related transgressions, I give you an amended "Motherhood is..." status.

Motherhood is...
...knowing that neon was coming in a long time before this spring (tween girl's clothes were doing neon two years ago, all in a scheme to placate moms who want their kids to look how they did as a kid).
...hearing dubstep before anyone else your age.
...getting to relive all of your favorite books through the eyes of someone else.
...getting to bow out of someone's horrible event because your "kid is sick."
...finally getting to play with curly hair when it is the thing you've wanted your entire life and realizing that maybe it's not your bag after all.
...signing up to bake cookies for your daughter's class so that you can make a double batch and have yummy leftovers for the rest of the week.
...getting to shop in Delia's again and reliving every second of being 14 (and what you did in those pants when you were 14....).
...thinking that MIB: 3 looks atrocious but getting truly excited to take your son to go see it.
...getting to finish off the amazing mac and cheese from Panera out of your daughter's kids meal.
...being secretly happy your son "forgot" to shower the night before because when you wake him up the next morning his hair still smells like sunscreen and the beach.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lifetime Movie Reviews: Sexting in Suburbia

Yesterday was Mother's Day as we all well know since there were hoards of disgruntled people crowding the card racks at Target and buying all the potted plants that weren't nailed down.  My family and I went out and celebrated a bit with lunch and shopping on Saturday which left Sunday for me nothing.  It was magical:  I took a long bath with a copy of Garden and Gun and mango exfoliator, gave myself a facial, and wore my favorite maxi dress to lay on the couch all day and mainline fresh strawberries out of a bucket from a farm.  My kids gifted me with earrings, sunglasses and a nightgown, a well-thought out gift from each that was so sweet that just thinking about it makes me want to tear up.

I used my time on the couch to watch Lifetime movies and baseball, which really, is just about the best combination ever. Until this weekend, I hadn't really watched a Lifetime movie in for freaking ever, a sad fact that relates the complete state of craziness in my house at this moment of our lives.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to throw myself upon the mercy of the network and let them show me whatever it was they were showing--I wasn't picky.

And it was a good thing too, because Sexting In Suburbia is not a good movie.  It is pretty dad-blame terrible, to be completely honest with you.  It is completely nonsensical at points, and the characters are not even really that likable.  But here's the thing:  when I really started thinking about it, I realized that Sexting In Suburbia is really just about the most Lifetime-y of all Lifetime movies.  It demonizes sex, raises the mother to the role of judge, jury and executioner, and has the most elementary views of good and evil imaginable.  Basically, what I'm saying is that if you are a high school aged virgin who writes heavy handed fiction about death and irony and the problems of the world today, you will love this movie.  If you aren't, you're going to need some booze to get through it.

I'm just going to synopsize the movie for you, assuming of course, that you have no desire to really watch this movie.   What I'm basically saying is that this is going to contain "spoilers" insofar that one can spoil a movie that is pretty damn predictable.  And, you'll have to take some of this with a grain of salt, because when I started watching this movie yesterday, I didn't know I would be doing this, so there might be moments where my memory fails miserably.  I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you, although I really feel like I'm doing you a pretty solid public service in all this because I'm basically giving you two hours where you can eat, apply self-tanner, buy shoes online and send rambling text messages to your significant other.  YWIA.

The movie begins with some chick walking down the hallway of a high school, and people are pointing and laughing at her as they are wont to do in these movies.  Does anyone actually have this experience, I wonder? Maybe they do, because kids really are horrible beings, but I can't think of a single time in my high school experience where the entire student body just ganged up on one particular person.  I can't remember anyone really being able to raise that amount of concern toward ANY one thing, even important things like pizza or how freaking hot Coach Cassell's room was.  Anyway, the girl, who is really strikingly pretty I might add, opens her locker and a veritable avalanche of condoms falls out.  Again, I have to draw an analogy here to my own experience:  people in my high school were way too poor to ever fill someone's locker with condoms.  Seventy-five cents apiece, y'all--not for the budget prankster.   If anything, someone might take a single condom, tape it to the door of the locker and then stand back and guffaw when the locker's owner finds it.  I guess this is why the movie is titled "Sexting in Suburbia" and not "Sexting in Appalachia."

Anyway, prophylactic queen here takes the whole incident pretty horribly, and she goes home, vlogs, and then hangs herself.

(I will add that the only time I have ever seen someone vlog, it has been in a Lifetime movie.  Do people actually do that?  If you are a vlogger, please send me a link to your vlog, and please do not kill yourself.)

Now, this is one part of the movie I had a small beef with.  While Dina is supposedly doing the deed, her mother is hard at work as a real estate agent, which is one of the few Lifetime movie approved professions for a woman.  The mom is doing her best to fix a leaky faucet and really sale this house, all the while we know that her daughter is at home offing herself, presumably because mom is too busy to talk to or watch her vlogs.  And I  get that Lifetime isn't totally saying that all working mom's are negligent, because, seriously, why would they alienate more than half of their viewing base, but it really plays into the working-mom-guilt-dialectic and I really don't think it should.  The moral of story should be that the girl is driven to suicide because of sexting, and that's what the movie tells us....kind of.  The whole mishmash of Mom at work/girl hanging herself is not needed and really should have been avoided.  Bad move, Lifetime.  And, of course, as soon as Dina kills herself, we never see her mom actually working again because mom has dedicated herself to finding the person/sexts that drove her daughter to her untimely death.  Yeah, it takes a kid killing herself to teach her mom that she doesn't need to pay the mortgage or buy that 150th pair of shoes at Nordstrom. Moms these days, AMIRITE?!?!  *headdesk*

Dina's mom, Rachel, starts talking to friends and ends up finding the sext on Dina's phone.  Bless her heart, you guys.  That had to be horrible.  And then we flashback to homecoming, which is when the whole thing apparently started.  Dina and her boyfriend, Mark, had planned to turn on Boyz II Men's I'll Make Love to You and get totally carnal that night, and Mark had planned this shit, even renting a room at some classy hotel (Mark, for real, can you send me the place of your lovepad, cause I'm trying to get out of town this weekend, and boy is it a bitch trying to find a nice shaggin' palace?).  But Dina just isn't ready, you guys!  And I'm not making fun of that, because everyone is ready at different times, you know, and no one should ever have sex when they don't want to, EVER EVER EVER even if they are a horrible made-up Lifetime movie stand-in for imagined female purity.  But the whole thing just reeks of good girl/bad girl stuff, so Dina, I'm giving you the eyeroll on this one.  A little one!  Sorry!  Don't hang yourself!  Dina goes home and skips the afterparty, but then she thinks better of it, and takes a naked pic in her mirror to send to Mark.  And I'll say that as far as naked pics go, it's pretty tame.  Due to the American news media, I tend to believe that teenagers are all the horniest, craziest things alive, what with their rainbow parties and butt-chugging.  When you say "teenage sext," I'm thinking that it must involve full spread-eagle pictures, a lollipop and maybe some nipple clamps.  Not Dina.  Dina is the Jackie Kennedy of high school sexting.

And really, she shouldn't have bothered because at the time she is sending it, Mark is banging some chick named Skyler who is blonde and a whore.  Skyler is set up as the total villain in this movie--she not only lets Mark cry his heart-broken tears of semen into her vagina, but she also takes the field hockey captainship from Dina.  Whore!  She's also a total bitch to everyone.  And we're set up from the very beginning to see that she has the motive and opportunity to send out the sext to, like, totally everyone because she was boffing the recipient at the time it was sent!  Did I mention she's blonde?  STONE THE WHORE.

Rachel kind of pieces this all together and sees how the sext has gone viral, and this is when her Mommy-Sense starts tingling and she's all "FUCK ALL" to all sense of normalcy and common decency.  The school will not give her the answers she craves because of some shit about "privacy concerns."  Oh my God, whatever.  It's not like it is a law or whatever....oh, it is?  Well, that's not what my MOMMY BOOK tells me.  Rachel writes an op-ed to her local paper about the situation and it goes on the front page of the paper because evidently it is a very slow news week and the paper does not actually, you know, publish stories written by the people they pay to write.  And suddenly, she is the town pariah.  Dina's grave gets vandalized (someone spray paints "Dina Von Slut" on it, which while catchy, I have a very hard time believing someone would actually do, but then again, I've been known to have a way too lofty opinion of the human race), and someone puts a bunch of pictures of nooses in her Rachel's mailbox.  Then someone throws a brick through Rachel's window which also happened to Althea Tibbs after she gets raped by some white guys in Sparta, Mississippi on In the Heat of the Night.  What I'm saying is, the brick throwing is a little out of place here because we're not exactly dealing with the klan here--we're dealing with a bunch of suburban teenagers and their Adderall-addled parents.  None of this makes sense.  I think this is around the time I opened my first lovely bottle of Amstel Light.

Mark and Rachel then get together and realize that really, this is all Skyler's fault because she's a total slut, you guys.  For a movie that is about sexting and the dangers of slut shaming, this movie does a whole lot of....slut shaming.  So, of course, Rachel confronts Skyler about the whole thing because why the hell not.  It turns out that Rachel and Skyler's mom are all BFF's, which I'm sure was told earlier in the movie but that I totally didn't figure out because I'm evidently too stupid to understand Lifetime movies.  God.  So Skyler denies the whole thing and then Skyler's mom fixes some drinks and Rachel goes to the bathroom to cry and finds evidence of all the vandalism and intimidation stuff in there, OMG!  God, she's a slut!  I want to kill Skyler right now, the whore!

Rachel goes to the police with this info and asks them to arrest Skyler because policemen can totally just do a citizen's bidding if you ask really nice.  The police counter with the fact that they have information that it was not Skyler who sent out the text (she only sent it out once), but instead, it was Claire who was supposedly Dina's best friend, who is a brunette with bangs so is totally not.a.slut.  THE WORLD DOES NOT MAKE SENSE ANYMORE.  Also not making sense?  That whole Fourth Amendment that protects us all from unlawful search and seizure and having your cell phone records shown to a private citizen.  Except for, you know, moms in duress (I'm pretty sure that's how the framer's wanted it.  The Constitution breathes!).

Rachel speeds home and finds Claire in her house (?) watching old vlogs on Dina's computer as she is wont to do, I guess.  Claire starts babbling on about sorry she is for ruining Dina's life, and she is such an adorkable little slut-shaming driver to suicide!  Except it turns out that all she did was rat Dina's sluttish ways out to the field hockey coach (and she only did that because Skyler kind of forced her into it), and Dina was thrown off the team and lost her scholarship to college, which was the last straw.  Claire denies sending the texts, because she didn't even have her phone to send them, you guys--she totally left it in the limo by accident because she is just that kind of girl!  It's like if Zooey Deschanel was a spineless high school sidekick!  Cute!

We get a lot of flashbacks in all of this, and the only reason I tell you this is because one of them featured my favorite scene in the movie.  When Dina gets thrown off the team, she confronts Skyler and Claire about it, and in the process, slams a field hockey stick into Skyler's nose and bloodies it.  IT.WAS.AWESOME.  Which, of course, means that Dina has to go home and kill herself because she did something that differentiated herself from a doormat.  Funny how that works.

So who sent the sexts you guys?  Skyler?  Mark?  Claire?  Dina herself, overcome with the regret of having once considered being a sexual being?  NOPE.  It was totally....SKYLER'S MOM.  Rachel was stabbed in the back by her very best friend because Skyler's mom was totally jealous that her kid didn't get the scholarships and boyfriends and....was a total slut.  So, she did the adult thing and sent a naked picture of a teenager to 40 of the teenager's closest friends.  And she would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for her meddling daughter fucking around on her phone.  Oh, and the fact that she LIKE AN IDIOT kept the naked picture of Dina on her personal cell phone.  God, criminals these days.  I can't even with the stupid.  Skyler finds the photo and puts it all together because maybe she is the smartest person in this movie, and gets so upset that she runs outside, gets in her family's kickass Audi (MY GOD I WANT THAT CAR) and drives like a maniac on a wet road.  Did I mention she is texting as she does this?  Because she is.  What happens next, Lifetime viewers?  You guessed it:  she crashes, and we get this amazing shot of her bloody hand holding a really ghetto looking flip phone.  First off:  kudos to Lifetime for giving me two lessons in this movie.  1)  Sexting is bad and will kill you and 2) Texting while driving is bad and will kill you.  Second off:  the moral of the story is totally don't buy a ghetto cell phone without voice text apps.  Like duh.

Skyler's mom gets arrested for distribution of child porn and Rachel visits her in the hospital where she finds out that Skyler will never walk again, so there goes that field hockey scholarship she totally stole from Dina because obviously these are the only two girls in the nation that can play field hockey for this fictional college.  Rachel goes home to watch Dina vlog about pink gerber daisies, which was totally my wedding flower so Dina and I are kind of linked in a cosmic, dead/not dead, slut/not slut way.  In the middle of this, Claire shows up, which is really starting to get creepy at this point.  She may be a manic pixie dream ghost, you guys.  Anyway, Claire takes her to the school where she is having this very special program in the auditorium and is asking all the students to give up their cell phones for the rest of the semester as penance for driving a girl to her death because you know, tit for tat.

I told you that none of this made sense.

I am sorry that this is so freaking long, but I hoped you enjoyed it.  On the cosmic scale of Lifetime movies, with 1 being any kind of schlock they show at Christmas and 5 being "The Two Mr. Kissels", this rates about a 2.  I'm giving it that for overwhelming Lifetime-iness and also because I like it when brunettes come out on top.  Yea brunettes!  Keep it unsexy, girls!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Re-evaluating Style

I have always been into clothes.  As a kid, I would be thrilled to receive them as a present, even when my cousins and friends were upset to find clothes in a package in lieu of toys.  I remember events based on what I was wearing at the time, and shop for vacations with the frenzy and total devotion of a Pentecostal at an all-day camp meeting.  I like to shop, I like to think about clothes, I just like it all.

However, as I've gotten older, it has become harder and harder to dress this body of mine, and I don't always have the time to do it with the care that I should.  For one thing, I feel like sometimes that my body changes by the hour.  I get dressed in the morning and think my hips have been minimized, my breasts supported, my height lengthened.  I get to work and catch a glimpse of myself in the office window and find that maybe only half of that has effectively happened or that a belly that I wasn't aware of has appeared.  I buy something that I find extremely flattering in the store, and then bring it home and suddenly, it doesn't look that good.  How did this happen?  And I can't blame it all on the clothes--every morning when I stand naked in front of my bathroom mirror and take stock of things (yup--MASOCHIST), I see something different .

I blame most of this on Alice.  Yes, cute little Alice, the child who lightens up my life with her infectious wit, satiny curls and kissable cheeks.  She fucked me up.  For some reason, the third pregnancy and the breastfeeding and all of the rest of it made my body change in amazing ways.  It is much easier for me to gain (and lose) weight since Alice was born.  I have a more rounded tummy versus larger hips.  My hands have slimmed out and do not retain as much water as they used to.  All weird stuff.  And most importantly, styles that looked really nice on me at some point in my life no longer fit and flatter the way they used to.

The most egregious example of this is the wrap dress.  When I lived in California, I was a complete sucker for denim trousers and wrap dresses.  If there was a style of either of these items that I could try and find, 9 times out of 10, it looked good on me.  It was amazing.  I could buy things totally sight unseen, have it arrive in the mail, and it fit and looked like it was tailored just for me.  Plus, these two types of items totally fit into my post-college career lifestyle.  Now I look at my wardrobe and I have one pair of denim trousers and one wrap dress that I'm not even sure that I like.  Why?  Well, pants fit me weird now--I'm much more of a skirt/dress person--and seem to only make me look bigger.  And wrap dresses seem to make my boobs look larger and if they are not cut exactly right, emphasize the lower tummy bulge that has become the thing of my nightmares.

The really bad thing about all this is that while I've figured out the wrap dress thing, I still pick up items thinking they will look amazing on me and find out that after a few wears, they don't.  At no time was this made more clear to me than this past weekend.  And this time, instead of blaming my sweet two year old daughter, I'm going to blame my mother and 13 year old daughter.  Monsters, the both of them.

I got packed for my trip to Memphis in a real hurry since the school event I thought was going to end at 7:30 the night before our departure actually ended at 10:00 (don't get me started on this...if you were following me on Twitter that night, you know what I'm talking about).  I just kind of threw things in the suitcase and hoped that if things didn't match, I would be able to get to the mall and purchase items that would.  When it came down to the actual graduation, I took along a convertible style maxi dress that I originally purchased to wear in Jamaica and my J.Crew Jardin skirt that I hoped to pick up a t-shirt to match (the skirt is a gorgeous shade of royal purple, however, I suck at colorblocking and have yet to put anything with it that is not black or chambray).

After we arrived, I changed clothes to go to dinner and put on a little black dress with a crocheted top that I purchased for $10.48 off the Target clearance rack.  The reason I put it on was because a) Memphis is hot and b) it was comfortable after sitting in a car all day, listening as my darling Alice watched Strawberry Shortcake dvd's for 8 hours.  I felt comfortable in the dress at the restaurant--I felt slightly on trend even.  The next day, we were getting ready, and I showed my mom and daughter the maxi dress I had brought to wear to the graduation.  I was thinking of turning it into a halter style which I thought would be nice in the heat and wearing it with nude platform wedges.  But as soon as I tried it on, I started getting the side eye from both mom and Gabby.  And Mom, never a shrinking violet, goes, "I think you should wear the dress you wore last night."  And she goes and picks up the dress I had worn the night before out of my suitcase and starts to iron it.

This is when my mother and Gabby begin a conversation wherein they criticize almost every piece of clothing that I have in the suitcase, except for the black Target clearance dress.  Gabby says, "Mom, we get it.  You don't like your legs.  It's, like, obvious.  But hiding them just makes it worse."  And then my mom starts in on "Why don't you like your legs?  THEY ARE SO SHAPELY."  (I would now like to have the ELEVENTY MILLION DOLLARS I am owed because I have asked for a quarter for every time my mother has said that to me in my life.)  According to my mother and daughter, I should wear nothing but straight dresses and skirts, SHORT ones at that.  And I should never curl my hair and I should straighten it everyday.

Um....thanks, guys?

So I wore the black dress.  Because I was made to--they said if I tried to wear a maxi dress, they would not take me to Rendezvous, and MY GOD PEOPLE RIBS WERE HANGING IN THE BALANCE.  And I hate to say this, because it would mean that I need to say that someone else is right, but I looked damn cute that day.  I wore the same platforms and looked longer and leaner and younger and fresher.  Some guy even tried to hand me a free drink as I walked across Beale Street (and yes, I was pushing a stroller) and then tried to convince me to come party with him (presumably after chucking the stroller like a good mom does before she parties with total strangers).  When we got back to the car, my mom goes, "He wouldn't have said that if you were wearing that long dress."  Good to know, Mom.  Good to know.

So now I'm reconsidering my own personal style and what kind of looks I want to be a part of it.  As I approach the big 3-0, I want to look as young and happy as I feel, which is, well, pretty damn young and happy.  Straight dresses and skirts are the things that look the best on me at this point in my life.  So I am going to embrace that.  That doesn't mean that I got rid of my beloved black Gap maxi dress--I just will be saving it for times on the beach and backyard BBQ's and the like.  To be honest, it is kind of fun to think about it again and not to reach to the basics that I just "thought" did it for me.  I like to think.

I really don't have a choice in the matter.  My mom has sent me a text message the last two mornings with the words "Seen any short dresses you like lately?"  She's not letting this down.  And Gabby yesterday morning, when I put on that Jardin skirt, a black tee and a funky black belt goes, "Well, that skirt is not as horrible as I thought it was."  Thanks?  Ladies, this is what happens when you surround yourself with strong women.  Sigh.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Bras are tricky, strange little things.  On the one hand, they are the foundation of a garment, the very thing that one's clothes rest on.  They can be pretty, they can be plain, but no matter what, they have to do some function so that one's clothes look better/hang better.  On the other hand, nothing about buying a bra is fun.  It is pretty functional, and there is a lot of pressure, where if you don't buy the right one, you are condemning yourself to extraordinary pain, misshapen, lumpy clothes, and just general unpleasantness.

Therefore, the actual purchasing of bras is something that I put off as long as possible.  As long as I have a couple that are sort of-kind of functioning, I will delay purchasing more.  I know this goes against everything I should do.  The thing is, I don't have a lot of time for shopping.  And I would much rather spend my time ogling pencil skirts and cardigans than wading through underwear racks.  I'm sure it is just a flaw in my upbringing, probably one that also spurned my inability to say no to anything chocolate and need to hurl horrible epithets at members of the Boston Red Sox.

So this last weekend, I went to Memphis to see my mama get her Ph.D. (more on that later).  My mom used to live in Memphis, but doesn't anymore since starting a teaching job in North Carolina.  Therefore, when we arrived, she had friends who were excited to see her.  I had never met them really, but had heard much about them, and they had heard a lot about me (probably of the "My freaking daughter always forgets to change her furnace filters!" variety).  So even though we had never formally met, it was one of those situations where you kinda end up feeling like you know the person.

Which explains why after knowing someone for barely a day, I'm sitting in this lady's kitchen and she whips off her shirt to show me her new bra.

It wasn't as weird as it sounds.  In fact, there was something sweet about it, in a "We're all in this together!" kind of large breasted lady sorority way.  And of course, for better or worse, my interest was piqued.  She explained that it was a Spanx bra and that she loved it and that it was the best thing ever and that I should get one.  And until that point, I had not really considered buying a bra on this trip.  But then, well, I realized what a sad sack of crap my current bras were, and I could really think of nothing else but purchasing a bra.

(Well, except for this.  I thought about that almost exclusively until that wonderful stuff was in mah belly.)

I went to Dillard's to try on the bra, and on the way there, it occurred to me that it might not be the wonderful thing I was building it up to be.  I have a really hard time with bras actually, not only finding one that fits well, but also that doesn't pinch or hurt or grab.  And really, I have tried on and purchased bras that people LOVE only to find out that they do not work for me at all.  This pretty much goes for anything that Victoria's Secret sells (that place can burn in the fiery pits of pink Hell).

But this bra is different, amazingly so.  I heard a choir of angels when I put this thing on.  Plus, I just put it on.  There was no adjusting, no bending over to have my ponderous boobs fall into the thing in just the right way.  I just put it on.  And it was magnificent.  I can't say enough about it.  It is supportive, it looks nice, it disappears under clothes.  It is amazing.

Yesterday, I put it on to ride home.  My mom thought that I looked like I'd lost 5 pounds overnight (I hadn't--do the words "Shoney's breakfast buffet" mean anything to you?).  I discounted that because she's my mom.  Then we got home.  Matt said he could immediately tell the difference.  And when I put on my clothes this morning--total transformation.  I ended up not wearing the shaping cami that I usually wear today because I didn't really need to.  The bra did the work of that thing just on its own.  And I am a whole lot more comfy.

The bad side?  This bra is kinda pricey.  62 smackers seems like a lot to lay down for something that won't be seen by anyone but me, Matt and the random ladies who I show it to in order to convince that they should purchase one too.  I only got two of them, and would like to buy more so that I can get rid of my other bras, which really disgust me at this point (I joked to my mom that I was going to burn the other bras in a massive bonfire, and she nodded sagely and then reminded me not to burn too close to the house).  I am going to try to wait and see, but very well might order another style of the same bra at the end of the week.  Happy Mother's Day to me!  It seems fitting that I should baby my breasts this week since it is kind of a mother-y thing?  The first six weeks of breastfeeding sucks so bad that I feel like I should get to wallpaper my bedroom in Spanx bras just to get a start on paying back my poor, embattled breasts.  AMIRITE?!?

I am linking to the BareNecessities page so you can see all of the fine products Spanx makes to compliment the Bra-llelujah bra.  I have the full-coverage front closure bra, but I was amazed when I got home last night at the sheer amount of products they have--I am especially intrigued by the tankini.

Has anyone tried Spanx bras?  I really can't recommend them enough.  If you have another kind of bra that you think is worth trying, let me know.  I have finally seen the light, bra-wise.  Maybe this is a sign of growing up.  I can't wait until I understand free-form jazz and tax exemptions!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Smell of Self Tanner Tells Me It Is Hot (and I am not).

It has been warm here for quite a while, mostly due to the fact that winter decided, like so many single prom attendees, to just say "Fuck all" and not even show up this year.  But it hasn't been full-fledged "GIMME MY POPSICLE AND A CHURCH FAN BECAUSE I AM SWEATING LIKE A WHORE IN CHURCH" until this week really.  We are finally at that stage where I need to put my boots up (even though I might be ordering another pair today!  eek!), and yes, apply something of color to my nasty, gross, horrible legs.

You guys, I know as a feminist that I am supposed to love and respect my body.  It is healthy, it gave my children life and sustenance, it allows me to do things like run and work and drive to Target to buy totally cute shoes and babykinis.  But y'all, there will never be a feminist day when I will feel something other than downright contempt for my legs.  I'm sorry--I'll hand over my copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves and the picture I had taken when I met Gloria Steinem my freshman year in college now.  Even when I was running semi-regularly and got totally proud of their shape, I couldn't help sneaking a glance at them every once in a while and thinking, "For God's sake, I could have watched a whole freaking ton of Lifetime movies in the time it took me to whittle you.  GO TO HELL."  Because I think we can all agree that Hell has never spawned a worst liar than those people who tell you that running is "fun" and should be used for anything other than a plot device in a horror flick.

So, yeah, my legs.  And you guys, my legs were looking especially rough this year.  White, pasty, dimply, thick.   And you know, I could start a running regimen again, and yes, I need to do that despite everything else.  But my life right don't even want to know.  Apparently when you add "Prepare to move across the state" to the already insane list of demands on my time, things get to a really interesting fever pitch.  And by "interesting", I mean, "Pass the vodka--we're in for a bumpy ride."  Let's just say running right now is not in the cards.

And that's where self tanner comes in.  Self tanner is what happened when some higher being looked down at all us fat, pasty Americans and said "Fuck this shit.  Just because they want to be gross doesn't mean I have to look at that filth."  It is the quick and relatively easy way to look thinner, more healthy.  If you didn't know that because you've actually been doing something awesome with your life, I'll stop while you do a happy dance and sing the words you know from "Party Rock Anthem."


Anyway, I have a long, relatively torrid relationship with self-tanner because I've hated my legs forever, probably even while I was in the womb.  I remember when self-tanner came out, y'all.  At first, I just glimpsed an ad in a fashion magazine, and it was kind of like a mythical, wonderful hobbit.  Did it exist?  Was it even possible?  I begged my mother to take me to the Lancome counter to buy some, and after some particularly dehumanizing whining, she relented.  We bought it in mousse form.  And after a pretty steep learning curve, we learned to put it on with rubber gloves, to exfoliate like the dickens and to put it on with minimal streaks.  Yeah, it was a little orange back in the day.  But anything is better than super pale, amirite?  Sure I am.

Since that time (and that was when I was in 7th grade), I have worn some kind of self tanner every year.  I've used Clarins, Lancome, L'oreal, Philosophy, Coppertone, Jergens (oh, the year gradual tanners came out--when tubes of the stuff could be used as currency!) and others that I can't think of right now.  I don't have any real substantial complaints about any of them really--some have been better than others, but the end result is always pretty much the same.  The unifying factor?  The smell.  All of them have a particular aroma.  And it smells unlike anything else.  Faintly chemical, maybe a bit burnt?  At one point in my life, I said I thought it smelled a bit like urine.  I don't know.  I don't like the smell at all, in fact, I loathe it almost as much as I like having vaguely tan legs.  But I put up with it because HAVE YOU SEEN MY LEGS!  GAH!

This year, I decided to spin the wheel of fate and picked up a tube of Nivea Sun-Kissed Radiant Skin in Fair to Medium.  I did this because of seeing consistent good review on the internet, which is pretty much how/why I buy anything anymore (sometimes I long for the days of just going to a store and purchasing something because it just appealed to me and not because I had read good things--is anyone else like this?). This is a gradual tanner, the sort I have been more drawn to for the last few years, mostly because I'm a huge klutz and with full-blown tanners, I always end up with one very, very dark ankle or some such.  These are much more fool proof.

I put it on last night for the first time and at first spread, yeah, I'm very pleased.  This is a good body lotion apart from being a self-tanner.  I could tell as I was rubbing it in that it was very moisturizing, it rubbed in quick and wasn't greasy or tacky.  I especially liked that aspect because I don't want to get tanner everywhere, so yes, I will lay naked on my bed after applying tanner, just waiting on it to absorb enough to where I won't turn my robe orange by putting it on.  This causes a great deal of parental angst because no one wants to have to explain to Child Services that they couldn't keep their child from climbing into the dryer because they were too busy tanning.  Better absorption is better mothering, which sounds vaguely like a propaganda poster for a utopian, tan society.

The best part?  The smell.  At least at first.  Matt and I both agreed  that it smelled like artificial peach flavoring.  But not in a cloying or heavy way.  It is pretty faint and just merely pleasant.  I was thinking HOLY GRAIL at that point.  However, the morning after, my eyes fluttered open on a new, glorious day, and well, the first thing I noticed was that I smelled self tanner.  DRATS. I've noticed that it is not as strong as with other tanners, so that at least is a good thing, but if you apply it in pretty quick succession (once in the night and then again in the morning, for example), you're going to get a bit of a scent.  I've discovered that one way to combat this is with coconut body butter (you could probably use other scents of body butter, but I have used coconut nearly everyday for my entire adult life, so well, I'm biased).  Just a bit is enough to combat the chemically smell of this tanner, which again, is not as thick as others (raise your hand if you are thinking of smells actually fighting a literal war against each other!  Cute!).  Don't think I am advocating covering this scent up with other scents, turning yourself into a veritable chemical weapon.  All I'm saying is that a bit of a natural scent can mask a bit of a chemical one.

Anybody else love the tanner?  Anybody have any tips?  Feel free to share.  Knowledge is power, ya'll.