Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Skin Care Report: Part I

This is so exciting! The first review in the Grand Skin Care Search for Real Girl's new ultimate regimen! More than any other topic, Real Girl receives emails asking her: Alright already! What skin care products should we buy to make us gorgeous and forever young! We are waiting here!!! Oh, darlings. I wish it were that easy. More than I wish that the streets of New York could be free of icky, dirty slush. Because hello? Cute shoes! Must be worn!

Unlike the ever-popular Mascara Chronicles Part I and Part II, the Grand Skin Care Search will take time. Months, even. But I’ll keep you updated every step of the way, reporting on each product after I’ve used it for a minimum of two weeks. Which brings us to…

Clinique Superdefense Triple Action Moisturizer SPF 25, which comes in “Very Dry,” “Normal to Dry,” and “Normal to Oily” formulations. Real Girl instantly had a conundrum to wrestle with here: La Combination Skin. Lucky for me, I get both T-zone oilies and winter dry patches. Because of the dryness of the season, though, I chose to try the “Normal to Dry.”

The ingredients: Here, Real Girl has done some serious research. The three “active ingredients” of this moisturizer are all sun protectants. They’re good ones, and will fight UVA and UVB rays, and that’s great! Because remember, no matter what products you use, your best defense against skin-aging will be sunscreen. So if you’re looking for a moisturizer that’s more sunscreen than antioxidants, this be fab for you.

In addition, the moisturizer does have some good herbal antioxidants, including echinacea and rosemaric acid, whose effectiveness I looked up online and I’m satisfied will fight free radicals to some capacity. Only problem being, the Clinique folks can’t tell me in what concentrations these antioxidants are present. So, I haven’t a clue if the doses are enough to bathe your skin in free-radical-fighting yumminess. I will continue to try and find out.

You’ll find here, too, some nice moisturizing ingredients and anti-irritants for the sensitive skin brigade. If you’ve used Clinique moisturizers before, and you’ve liked them, I think you’ll be satisfied in those fields.

The Experience: Not bad at all! The moisturizer has a silky, non-greasy feel, blends in well, and left me dewy and fresh for hours. (But not shiny, which is key.) Here’s my one caveat, though. I think I need to try the “Normal to Oily” formula. Because, alas, I did receive one blemish while using the product—and though I can’t say for sure it’s because of the Clinique Superdefense, I can say that usually when I break out, it’s because of my skin care product. So if you are prone to such things, you might want to check out the Normal to Oily, as I plan on doing.

Will I report back when I try the Normal to Oily?

Does the person who invented lip balm deserve a Nobel Prize?

Clearly, people. Clearly.

Overall thoughts on Clinique Superdefense: Pretty darn good! I’m wary of the power of the antioxidants, but they’re in there. This product promises an awful lot, involving all sorts of newfangled techniques and constructions. I don’t know about that, but I think this is a decent, skin protecting option. If I love the Normal to Oily, it’s going in my makeup bag! (To be rotated, most likely, with other vital parts of the future Regimen…)

So, darlings, what are your thoughts? And do you have moisturizers you’d like me to research? I can’t say for sure I’ll sample them, but I’ll sneak a peek at the ingredient list if I can. And if you’re too shy to comment, feel free to email La Real Girl at (And will I be reviewing only department store brands? Please. We're so all about the value here.)

With love,
From one Real Girl to another.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Boostin' the Energy

Usually, when someone tells Real Girl that a powder changed her life, I start to get a wee bit worried. Especially when she says: You should see how it peps me right up! It gives me so much energy! Erm...Okayyyy....

Don't worry. I'm not running to Narcotics Anonymous any time soon. In fact, if I have anything to confess it would be: Hi. My name is Real Girl. And I'm a Spiru-tein-aholic.

That's right, we're back to the health in "Health and Beauty." (Which makes this the third health entry. In four months. I think you see where my heart lies. But we've got to keep the sucker beating, don't we?) Tell me. What do you do for breakfast? Do you grab a muffin-slash-croissant-slash-whatever-pastry-has-the-most-chocolate? Do you opt for eggs and bacon because at least with the fat comes the protein? Or do you just skip the whole deal? I won't lie. I love the pastries. And the bacon. But neither of those options are going to give Real Girl the vitamins she needs to at least appear like she could be a morning person...

So here's the secret to a rocking dose of daily energy, protein, and hordes of nutrients: Spiru-tein. What is this funny sounding powder? It's a flavored, soy-protein vitamin supplement that makes a damn tasty shake. And it's filling! I make the shake as a replacement for breakfast or lunch five times a week. (You got me. On the weekends, I start my day with a raspberry cheese croissant. Sue me.) The way I prepare my Spiru-tein, the shake gets to about 250-300 calories. But it's not about that, really. It's about the 30% daily calcium (60% with milk!), the 100% of a gagillion vitamins (you clicked on the link and scrolled down, right?), and the 14 grams of soy protein (ain't gonna find that in a muffin, darlin's). AND IT TASTES LIKE COOKIES 'N CREAM! At least, my flavor does. But you can have chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, banana, cappuccino, and so much more (you've seen the link). Because who has the friggin' time to prepare a delicious, nutritious meal every single day?

There are umpteen million ways to prepare your Spiru-tein shake. But let me offer some guidance, if I may. Firstly, for some bizarro reason unbeknownst to Real Girl, the Spiru-tein container says you need not use a blender. Ignore that. I know others who swear by the 'Tein, and we all blend the sucker to high heaven. Otherwise, I got news for you, you're getting wet powder chunks. You can certainly use skim milk, but I prefer a bit more depth to my shake. I use alternately soy milk and 1% organic milk, and both are swell. You'll need about a cup to a cup and a half of milk, depending on your desire for shake thickness (less milk, more thick. And doesn't that sound ick?)

If all you want is powder and milk, then more power to ya. But I'm all about maxing out the flava. I personally add a squirt of Hershey's Lite Chocolate Syrup. But also? You can add a banana. Or--my personal favorite thing to add, especially to the chocolate flavored powder--a generous handful of frozen blueberries (America's Choice makes great ones!). Because if you add the frozen blueberries? You get extra thickness, yes, and great taste, but also--say it with me now!!--ANTIOXIDANTS! Yup. Blueberries, like La Spinach and La Green Tea, is one of nature's beauty products! Love!

Are you scared of supplements? I've always kind of been. Especially powder. I mean, isn't that what body builders use? Because Hulk Hogan? Not the look I'm going for. But I've got to say. I love this product. It makes me feel fit, healthy, and vibrant. And the taste is so yummy that I actually use a spoon to get the extra off the sides of the glass. Wait. Forget you read that. Of course I only eat and drink in the most lady-like of manners. And I never, ever swipe my finger around the empty ice cream carton.

Yeah right.

But I do remain your,
Real Girl

P.S. Spiru-Tein also comes in this larger size, which is more cost-effective if, after trying it, you find you need this shiznit in bulk. I'm just sayin'.

Got any health, vitamin, energy secrets to share? Yummy shake recipes? Secrets to eternal youth and beauty?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


(Fyi, this pic came out way too dark and yellow. But that be the least of my problems.)

There is a word that should not exist in BeautyLand. If I were the Queen of BeautyLand, I would banish anyone who said this word. Immediately! Without trial, hearing, or groveling allowed. That word? Do I really have to say it?


Do you know what it's like to find out that your favorite blushy bronzer has been discontinued? The one that gives your face a healthy (meaning not with the sun damage), subtle, shimmery glow? It's like going to the video store for your favorite movie ever only to find that it's not on the shelves and it's never coming back, you sucker. It's like going to the ice cream section for your most favorite, mouthwatering flavor, only to find that you will never taste that flavor again. It's crushing. I'm crushed. Still bronzed and glowy. But crushed.

Today, I started gathering all the information I would need to write about my special bronzy. My own special bronzy. My precccioussss: The Body Shop Shimmer Waves Palette in Bronze. Except...there was no information to be found. No listing on the Body Shop's website. I will not lie. Panic began to build. I willed myself to be calm. Except, a few minutes later--as the two lovely ladies who were present could tell you--I was no longer calm. On the phone with several different Body Shops in Manhattan, you could hear my voice rising with despair. My product was seasonal. SEASONAL. Well, why the f*ck didn't you tell me that when I bought the thing? You knew, Body Shop People! Back then, when the Shimmer Waves was happily nestled in my green Body Shop bag? You knew. And you said nothing.

Ok. Breathe. All hope is not lost. Firstly, some Body Shop locations still have the product. Although, so far not in my Bronze, but in the other--also nice--color, Rose. And here's the other thing. I only got the Body Shop Shimmer Waves to begin with because it was a cheaper version (less than half the price!) of what I really wanted, which was the
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, in pink. Although the beige be pretty too. The only problem? $35!! Oy!

But here's why I like the product so much: It doubles as eye shadow. Every day, I use the darkest brown gently rubbed in the crease of my eyelid. Boy, do my eyes look more open. And at night, the other colors flirt around with the brown, making my eyelids look sophisticated and natural.

More importantly, though? When I wear this blend of color on my face, it doesn't look like I'm wearing blush. Because Real Girl will confess here to a serious pet peeve. I will call it 80's Blush Disaster. You know exactly what I mean. (Pat, baby, I love you. I do not love those gashes on your cheeks.):

So. I don't know if it's the way the colors blend on the brush, or how you can modulate the shade, but I LOVE the way the palatte works. Procedure: 1) Smile. 2) Draw your blush brush over the whole palatte, and then across the apples of those adorable cheeks. 3) Sweep the extra down your nose, across the very top of the forehead, and at the base of the chin. 4) If you've used too much--blot with a square of toilet paper. The biggest compliment I get is that I don't look like I wear much make-up.

To which I say--HA!

Anyone else want to yell at the evil DISCONTINUERS who took away your fave products? Got another blush or bronzer that we all need to know about? Your own splendid procedure for application?

You know I love ya!
Real Girl

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's To Y'all

Now go buy yourself something pretty! Because the whole--This Day Is About Having A Man thing? Please. This day is about treating yourself better than any man could.

from one Real Girl to another.

P.S. You read the bear, right?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Skin. Behave. No, Really. I'm Comin' After You.

I had planned to write about my favorite Blushy Bronzer today, but then I read some of your "Ask Real Girl" questions. And, I'm sorry, but skin is just not allowed to behave this badly. It must be disciplined. Gently, but firmly. We'll save the whips and chains for someone else's blog. Please keep in mind that I've gotten my information from: 1) My experience and friends' experiences, 2) The Book, along with article-based (boy, do I take notes) knowledge, and 3) Internet research.

So, Blushy Bronzer (whose effectiveness was proven yet again yesterday, when someone admired its unobvious application), I ask you to be patient. And stop pouting.

Jules writes, all the way from Australia!:

I’m wanting a new skincare regime with a bit more oomph than currently (Olay & Neutrogena – ok in their way) with all the antioxidants & goodies, plus glycolic acid because of the dreaded age spots et al. One of the disadvantages of living in Oz, ya know. So I’ve been looking at more “scientific” lines made by/for dermatologists/plastic surgeons & am interested in NeoStrata – check out It seems to have good reviews – do you know anything, or will it burn my face off? (I have used glycolic acid stuff before, rec’d by my dermatologist). The prices are pretty good, & no pseudobabble as with some department store brands … For the record I am 35, no grey hairs, hardly any wrinkles, still get asked for ID in pubs (good Irish genes) – its just the age spots, pigmentation & wanting to stay baby-faced. I still wanna try the B Kamins stuff, esp. the rosacea treatment …

Am I jealous of the good genes that have kept your skin and hair looking so young? Does Star Jones subscribe to Bride Magazine? So, Jules, you're wearing sunscreen, right? Like, all the time? Even if you're just near a sunny window? Just taking a five minute walk? I'll assume you are...AND that you're reapplying in the afternoon...

Which brings us to the age spots. There be hope! The glycolic acid your dermatologist recommended is really just an effective alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliant that will take care of extra surface cells. It's a good step in the fight, but you should probably keep an eye out for other ingredients as well, like Vitamin C, which might be able to lighten up those spotty areas. I checked up on Neostrata in The Book, and Paula Begoun seems to like some of their products. Pay special attention to: Bionic Face Serum, which will give you AHA and antioxidants, Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream PHA10, which will give you a pretty high (10%) AHA content, or Daytime Skin Smoothing Cream, which is SPF 15 and has a slightly lower (8%) AHA, in case the 10% irritates. Also, definitely take a look at Neostrata
Neoceuticals Skin Lightening Cream or
Bionic Skin Lightening Cream, which are both SPF 15 and have lightening agents. The Neostrata products do, indeed, look better than the B. Kamins because of their regulated PH levels, which allow all the ingredients to work at their best.

Some other product lines I scoped out for you include: H2O Plus Waterwhite Brightening Tonic, which would be great to use for oily skin (it's oil-free) or as a primer for the non-lightening Neostrata moisturizers. There's also the Waterwhite brightening lotion, which is SPF 15, and has antioxidants including Vitamin C. The H2O Plus products have been on my radar for a while, and I'm dying to try them. Also, since you expressed an interest in glycolic acid, you might want to look at Glymed products, especially the Treatment Cream which has 12% glycolic acid (but oy with the expensive!), and the exceptional-looking, somewhat cheaper Living Cell Clarifier, with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and--yay--anti-irritants to soothe away harshness.

Finally, are you sure a rosacea treatment is really what you need? Rosacea isn't just normal sun-damage discoloration. I'm not entirely up on it, but I know Real Mom is because she's been coping with the 'acea for years. So...Real Mom? Any advice on that front?

Remember, Jules. The sun will get you. More than anything else ever. But you just reapplied your sunscreen...right?

Next, a subject near to my heart. Meaning--GOD I HATE WHEN THIS HAPPENS. But then, it's not like any of you will be writing in about your bestest friend, The Pimple. So. Here's what Erinire has to say:

Not that my skin has ever been alabaster-smooth, and not that i have
so many wrinkles that i am considering a botox-at-home kit, but
GODDAMN i am having some monster zits. And I don't mean little
innocuous things where a dab of concealer and "presto-change-o no more
zit", I mean BIG HONKING PAINFUL RED motherfuckers. The kind where you wonder if it is indeed possible that some small multi-legged creature
has deposited eggs under your skin (like in that ghost story? where
the spider lays eggs in the girl? eeeeew!!!). Clearasil isn't doing
shit, and these bad boys are on the MARCH across my face. I haven't
had zits this bad since I was 13 and had a disastrous run-in with Bath
& Body Works' Grapefruit Toner (since discontinued - wonder why).

Any tips are appreciated, as long as "stop drinking alcohol" or "8
glasses of water a day" are not among them. Because neither of those
options are even remotely feasible."

so there it is. WHAT DO I DO???

Ok. If the "Spots" are, as you say, big, red, and painful, then you need to step up to the plate and bat those mothers out of the field. Because that's the type of acne that can leave scarring for months, or even years. So bear with me, because I'm going to recommend some serious over the counter relief--and you may have to go through some trial and error before you find out what concentrations of ingredients you need.

It sounds to me that bacteria might be the source of your woes, and some simple disinfecting might work wonders. For that, you can turn to Benzoyl Peroxide, which you can find in all sorts of concentrations, but I'm going to recommend a moderate %5. Some good products containing 5% Benzie P. include: Clinique Acne Solutions Emergency Gel Lotion, Oxy Balance Acne Treatment for Sensitive Skin, Vanishing (Hello? So much more cost efficient! Also? It's a gel, so non-oily), and DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel with Tea Tree Oil, which also comes in a 10% version, if you find the 5% doesn't work. But for a 10% concentration, Clean & Clear Persa-Gel would be way more cost-effective. Conversely, if the 5% is too harsh, you can step down to %2.5.

In addition, it wouldn't hurt to seek out some salicylic acid (aka Beta Hydroxy Acid) to unclog pores. You might try a mask like Aveeno Clear Complexion, which has a .5% concentration.

Keep in mind that The Book, at least, is not too keen on Biore, Clearasil, or Neutrogena.

But the author of The Book, Paula Begoun, has her own line of skin care products, including anti-acne ones. She's dealt with the problem herself, and though I haven't tried these products, I do trust them enough to recommend. (She's all about products that do what they say they're going to do while staying at a reasonable price.) Her line is worth a look, because at least in the salicylic acid arena (what she calls Beta Hydroxy), and for a 2.5% Benzie P. product, hers looked most promising of all I researched: Paula's Choice.

If all the products above don't work for you, there's still hope. Adult acne is often the result of hormone flare-ups, so something like birth control might be needed to do the trick. Or, if the Benzie P. isn't enough to kill your bacteria (die, suckers, die!), then you might need to go on an internal antibiotic. But let's hope not. Because that would suck, and you'd have to eat a lot of yogurt. (Girls, you know why. Starts with Y, ends with "east infection.")

If I haven't answered your "Ask Real Girl" question, don't worry because I'm working on it! And if you've got a question, shoot it over to

Any comment recommendations readers may have about skin care, sunscreen, sun spots, acne (hate it!) are SO entirely appreciated. Sometimes only experience can answer a question to the fullest.

With love,
From one Real Girl to another.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ask Real Girl!!

Lordy. Do you know what happened yesterday? Real Girl got older. Yes, it was my birfday. The anniversary of the day I was birfed. It was a good day--Real Boy and I looked at digital cameras, and I've almost decided which one I want (you know how much research I put into my purchases!), and then we had a lovely dinner that included melted camembert cheese nestled inside a baked apple. You can not realize how yummy that combination is. Try picturing crack nestled inside a chocolate shell. Or inside a crack shell. Then, after dinner, Real Boy hung the new print I bought (see picture above!) at Manhattan's famous Vintage Clothing Show, where--by the way--I celeb-spotted the model Helena Christensen who looked gorgeous, Marisa Tomei trying on a furry-hooded coat (adorable!), and a possible Daryl Hannah, because I'm pretty sure that's who it was wearing that God-awful army coat, scraggly scarf tied by someone who needs scarf lessons, and ugliest work boots ever. Daryl. You're killing me.

Anyway, long story short (too late?), here's my Theory of Cruel Chronology: On the day of my 25th birthday, I found my first gray hair. Last year, on my birthday, I swear to you, suddenly the circles under my eyes got darker. This year, yesterday, I am not joking, the little laugh lines by the corners of my eyes got deeper. I believe that the cosmic fates have been storing up my aging for the year only to slap it all on my face at the last minute. This is my Theory of Cruel Chronology. So, to sum up, my 20's are shrinking, my pores are not. The End.

But guess what? I've got lots of theories. And, apparently, I can give advice, too. I only know this because there's all this flurry of Real Girl Beauty activity going on behind the scenes. People email me questions--about skin care, make-up, fashion, diet, anything really--and I do whatever I can to answer them with product and improvement recommendations. You saw a sliver of this behind-the-scenes acshun here, which resulted in a cornucopia of fabulous reader recommendations. Because clearly? You. Guys. Rule. So why should I keep all these questions to myself? Why not throw them out to all y'all real girls with all y'all fabulicious advice?

So, ask Real Girl anything! I'll save your questions for a bursting-with-Realness, as regularly as needed, advice column. I will hope to live up to the sage and hilarious Amalah's Wednesday Advice Smackdown. And I hope you'll feel moved to offer your own superduper helpful recommendations. Because you? With the rocking? Been there, done that, and I'm damn ready for more.

Email away!! Link available by clicking "View my complete profile" over there on my sidebar. If you wanna be anonymous? That's totally fine! There are no rules here. We aim to please--or at least, to beautify. And ain't it the same thing?

Real Girl.

P.S. How psyched am I about birthday presents of dangly earings, body lotion, lip gloss, designer hair spray, linen blotting papers, a fab facial, and other girlie wonders? I think you can guess!! And if someone wanted to get me this? I would not complain.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm Such A Lush...Lover!

Ok, first of all, wanna know what Real Girl learned today?

When you hear an incessant, glaring, high-pitched beeping outside your window at six o'clock in the morning? And it sounds like the alarm clock in hell, which you can never shut off because, hello, you're in hell? You know that that sound means?

It means "Law and Order" is filming on your street, so they have to tow away all the cars. It also means that you will be foggy-headed for the rest of the day, with puffy eyes ringed by deep, dark circles. Sigh. I don't know which "Law and Order" it was--whether it was Special Victims Unit, or the Not-So-Special Victims Unit (where they solve the case whenever they damn feel like it because You Are Not Special), or any other of the gagillion "Law and Orders" on TV. But Mom? I know you watch EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. So be on the look out for my block.

Now, on to more important matters. Here's a sentence I've never heard come out of anyone's mouth: "Lush products? Eh, they're okay." No, no, no. That would be like saying, "But I don't need another pair of shoes," or "What's lip liner?" or "Green mascara? Great idea!"

The Lush product line--hand-made with delicious natural ingrediants (they even tell you who made yours, and on what day)--has a cult following unlike any I've seen before. Its devotees spread the word like gospel. In fact, until fairly recently, whenever Real Girl heard that a friend was going out of the country, she would uncontrollably spew out "OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO GET ME LUSH." Because back then? You couldn't GET these splendiferous prodcuts in the United States. Back then? We lived in a barren wasteland of Lushlessness. We were falling apart at the seams. Chaos reigned. I don't know if you realized it, but back then, your life was incomplete.

So now? We've got Lush! Here's a list of stores. Run, I tell you. Run. Even if just to stand in the store and inhale. Because there's the Scent of Lush in every store. You'll know it immediately whenever you smell it. Like Pavlov's dog, that scent will be your cue to salivate. Unlike Pavlov's dog, it will also be your cue to pull out your credit card and max the sucker out. See how those opposable thumbs come in handy?

Real Girl discovered La Lush while she was living in London--where, it must be said--the products are still cheaper. Here in the States, we're charged more because we've got to import from Canada. So you guys outside the US? You who can't get Sephora shipping? See how lucky you are!!??

In any case, I think y'all can guess what's coming next. Because if Real Girl's got a middle name, its Listy McListy Pants. So. Here. My favorites:

Lite Lip Balm: This thick balm goes on smooth and seals in moisture like you wouldn't believe. Also? It smells like roses.
Sympathy for the Skin: One of my favorite body moisturizers ever. Rich but not goopy, with a natural scent that mixes vanilla, almond, cocoa butter, and banana.
Dream Cream: Another to-die-for moisturizer, this one smelling like tea tree oil. The website says it's for irritated skin, but I love it on my regular skin.
Ocean Salt: I wouldn't use this as a cleanser, which is what the website says, but I love it as a facial scrub. Beware thee with sensitive skin, though, and only use it about once or twice a week. It's strong stuff, but it's got these great mineral oils that don't make me break out (a miracle!) and feel so good on the dry parts of my combination skin. I just adore it!
I Should Coco Soap: I'm such a sucker for coconut in soap. My skin just eats it up.
Celestial Facial Moisturizer: I used this for years. It's supposed to be for sensitive skin, and it's nice and light and coolingly calm. BUT in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that this is the facial moisturizer that suddenly, for no apparent reason, made Real Girl break out. I've used, like, a dozen pots of it with no ill effects! But I guess my skin thirsts for something new. And as y'all know, more on that another time.

Now, with a shout out to S, we go on to my 2 newest favorites. S, another Lush Junkie, gave me these over the holidays. She even put them in the sweetest wee bag with purple fuzzy feathers. So cute.
Sandstone Soap: What a good body exfoliator! Too rough to use directly on the skin, but if you lather up the sand particles with the soap first in your hands, it works beautifully. It has a strong lemony scent.
Whip Stick: I haven't a clue why you can't buy this lip balm on Lush's website, especially since it's featured in a photo on their home page. But it's so yummy! It smells like chocolate and orange oil, and it's creamier than the Lite Lip Balm. I use this one during the day and the Lite at night (under my ubiquitous Cool Reflections, of course).

Come on, all you Lush gals out there. (And guys!) What are your favorites? Or do you have any criticisms? Anything to say at all? Questions?

I remain your,

Real Girl

Friday, February 04, 2005

Announcementy Shmannouncementy

So, here's the thing. Lots of you (and by the way? there are actually lots of you) have been asking for the results of the Great Skin Care Experiment. What will Real Girl's ultimate skin care regimen be? Oh, it's getting good, I can tell you that. And I'll give you a few hints at the end, after the Shmannouncementy.

But guess what? Whenever Real Girl tries to get a moisturizer sample--(because skin care, alas, ain't like mascara where you can try it just once and see what's up with that bad boy)--Real Girl's conversations go something like this.

Real Girl: Hi! I sure hope you're having a great day!

PR Person or Other Type Company Representative: Yes, Crazy Cheery Lady?

Real Girl: See, I've got this Beauty Blog, and I write about products. And then people comment on them. And then we all help each other out and wind up drenched in fabulousness!

PRPoOTCR: How nice for you.

Real Girl: Erm...yeah! Thanks! So...the thing is...I want to try your product! Isn't that cool? Your product sure looks swell. Then, if it works for me, I'll write all about how very much I love it! People will read that! They'll say, hey, Real Girl loves this product. I'm sure glad she got a sample to try!

PRPoOTCR: So how many hits do you get?

Real Girl: Oh, no! People don't hit Real Girl! She's very nice and rarely misbehaves. Sometimes Real Cat gives her a scratch. But he doesn't mean to.

PRPoOTCR: (Sigh) How many people read your site?

Real Girl: More than I thought! Isn't that neat? Like, it's not just my Mom and my friends. I promise! Because I get all these emails from readers asking me questions. They're nice. You'd like them.

PRPoOTCR: (Sighy Sigh) Do you have an actual number?

Real Girl: Can I make it up?

PRPoOTCR: (Sighy Sigh Sigh) If you'll excuse me, I have pepole with Actual Numbers to talk to. They are very important. They can count.

Real Girl: Oh. Okay. Erm...thanks for your time. And have a great day!!

PRPoOTCR: (Sighy Sigh Sigh Sigh Sigh Sigh) *Click*

Now, I've noticed on other people's blogs that there is this swirly, colorful little box that says "Site Meter" somewhere toward the bottom of their page. Hmmm, I've thought. Kinda creepy, that. Are people spying on me? Do they know how often I check out their websites while procrastinating? Big Brother? Are you out there? Are you cute?

But you know what? It's pretty par for the course. Knowing how many hits you get (virtual ones, I mean, which is good, because I'd totally hit back) is kind of normal. And helpful. As in, it might get me samples. So I've registered with Site Meter, and once I figure out how to HTMLy it into my template, I'll have one of those swirly wee boxes. It doesn't mean I'm spying on you! I really, really promise!! It just means that the darn PRPoOCR can finally stop all that sighing.

Because really, that can't be good for frown lines, now, can it?

As for a clue into the Great Skin Care Experiment, here is what I'm looking for:

1) Day moisturizer: Must have exciting antioxidants like Vitamins C or E, White Tea, Green Tea, Alphalipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Grapeseed Oil, Pomegranate, or something I've never heard of but rocks. These antioxidants will fight free radicals and combat the sources of skin abuse. Also? Don't make me break-out, sucker. I mean that.

2) Night moisturizer: Must have peptides and/or retinoids to combat whatever fine lines have already squiggled their way in there. And no, I don't care if I'm the only one who sees them. Do you know how bright my bathroom light is? You can't hide in there! Oh, and also? Don't make me break out, you sucky sucker.

More to come...Especially since the Big, Wondrous Book has already shipped! It's over 1,300 pages! I mean...hello?...whoah!

With love,
From one Real Girl to another.