On habits, and being human

"But there was a pervasive melancholy, the vague sense that something bright and happy and true was missing from my life—a wonderful friend and not just a reliable route to comfort and satisfaction. 

I suppose that these are signs of addiction, much as the way you repeatedly reach for the matches in your pocket when you’re trying to give up smoking. But please remind me: What’s so bad about addiction? I can’t remember. Isn’t it something about giving up your freedom? Isn’t freedom an illusion?"

--from an article written by Jeffrey Steingarten in the May 2012 issue of Vogue

Lots of people know Jeffrey Steingarten from his television appearances on the Food Network as well as from his role as food critic for Vogue Magazine (I know, to many that sounds like an oxymoron, just like Ethiopian cuisine -- which of course exists and is delicious.) 

I've never gotten into any of his articles as much as I got into "Mr. Clean," which he wrote during and after his experience on The Master Cleanse, a trendy and super strict fast that consists of ingesting lemonade and little else for at least 10 days. The whole piece was super sharp: At times very funny, at times very reflective, at all times very good.

Keeping up with the Ephrons

So, I have mixed feelings about writing a totally consumer-oriented blog post in an economy like the current one, but at least I have someone to blame for it: Mindy Ephron (aka Mindy Kaling aka Vera Chokalingam). 

For whatever reason, she has not updated her amazing, addictive blog in over 2 months-- and I am going through serious withdrawals!  In its absence, here is my own starter list of Things I've Bought That I Love.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 70

In the words of Ms. Kaling herself: Oh my God, you guys.  This stuff has completely changed my life since I first discovered it in Walgreens last year.  For, like, 10 bucks a bottle (which lasts for months) I can hang out in the sun all day without doubling the freckles on my nose!  What a concept.

Seriously: even though I vowed three years ago at the age of 21 (while on vacation in the Greek Isles, of all places) that I had officially gotten my last tan, ever, I am still always worried about the wrinkles, sunspots, melanoma, and worse that could result from my youthful sun-related indiscretions.  Wearing this stuff every day makes me feel like I'm atoning for those foolish years my Anglo self was trying to keep up with the "golden tan in time for prom" standard set by all those beautiful, olive-skinned Italian girls that populated my high school back in Western PA. 

Maybelline Express Finish nail polish in Blushing Bride

I was turned off the first time I tried Maybelline Express Finish nail polish in the late 90's-- I thought the 60 second drying time didn't make up for its dullness and terrible staying power. Oh my God, you guys.  If you doubted this stuff at first, you must RE-CON-SI-DER.  I bought a bottle of Express Finish earlier this year in a manic rush en route to a meeting when my nails were just a plain-looking mess. I'm happy to say I finally discovered the key to Express Finish love: buying the right, neutral, sheer color. 

In the months since I made this re-discovery, I'll be damned if I'm ever *not* sporting Express Finish on my finger nails (for toenails, I defer to professional help.)  It lives up to the claims of taking just 60 seconds to dry, and even if it does chip a bit after day 2 or 3, the color is so neutral that imperfections aren't all that noticeable.  If you'd like to have shiny, pretty nails all the time, but think you are too busy for anything but the dreaded "bony, unpolished" fingers of Selma Blair's character in Legally Blonde, this stuff is so for you.

Clif Builder's Bar Protein Bar

Numbers are worth a thousand words:

270 calories
20 grams of protein

And DELICIOUS.  Like, light-years beyond any protein-heavy bar made thus far by the likes of Pro-Max.  I have probably eaten an average of 5 Builder's Bars per week since they hit shelves earlier this year, and have not gotten sick of them yet.  My personal faves: peanut butter and vanilla almond. Yummmm, protein.