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.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My Bag Shake Brings All the Boys To The Yard

Hello deserving and lovely people!

Here is the post! About the bag! That I am in love with! Finally!

(Real Girl Beauty disclaimer: Sooooo, guess what? My weekend to-do list was way more ambitious than it should have been, so now it’s 11:30 PM on Sunday, and I’m concurrently baking cookies for my saintly editor and writing what I’m sure will be a sub-standard entry, so I will ask now for your forgiveness. Just look at the pretty bag. Also? I have the nastiest cut on my left pinky fingertip, so typing “a” or “A” (um, ouch) hurts like a motherfrigger. And…scene.)

You know what I look for in a bag? Three things. Three perfect bag criteria that I will be breaking down for you (as usual) right now. 1) Originality. Because when you’re on the subway? And the girl next to you and the girl across from you and the girl next to her are all carrying the same Louis Vuitton bag? I say: Eh. 2) Cuteness. Because: duh. 3) What I call the “c-factor,” namely, carry-ability. How easy is this bag to tote around? Is it big enough, small enough, light enough, etc.? Full disclosure here. For La Real Girl? This third criteria usually steers me away from leather bags, which I find kind of heavy. So when I see a bag that’s not leather that strikes that eternal cuteness chord deep inside, nestled next to my heart? Yeah, that bag’s gonna get bought.

Exhibit A (ouch):

See my cute bag? Want to know where I got it? From the lovely Nicole at I call her lovely Nicole because we emailed about my bag for, like, a week, and she is the sweetest designer I’ve spoken to in ages! I ultimately decided that I, personally, adored the brown wool with pink satin ribbon option, but here’s one of the MOST EXCELLENT things about this bag: You can customize it. Want a different color wool? A different ribbon? (Velvet’s available too, but Nicole thinks the satin falls more prettily.) Want two ribbons so you can swap them depending on your outfit colors? Everything is possible. Just email Nicole (contact info available on her website) and I’m sure she’ll answer all your questions, offer advice, and send you your bag with a smile. She be cool people.

And this be cool bag. You can get it in big bangle, regular sized bangle, or clutch. There’s lovely cotton lining. And want to see the shoes I bought way back when from Delia’s? (Remember the Delia’s post? It’s in the archives somewhere here, and I’ll look for it when I’m not busy being lame?) Let’s just take a look at how my bag’s pink ribbon compliments the shoe’s pink ribbon. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

Exhibit B:

I think you’re getting the picture here. I love bow trim. I love lace trim. I love most things girly and trimly. But I understand that many do not share my love of the bow. I’m hoping we’ll all share our favorite bags here, and I expect to be learning about a whole bag universe that has likely escaped my attention!

Ready for the However? Would it be RGB without the However? I’m thinking that’s a hell to the No.

My biggest pet peeve with my delicious Margaret Nicole bag is the closure. What you’re getting here is an unstructured bag with a magnetic snap closure and no zip pocket. Is that snap going to open? Probably not. But the bag can gap, and if it falls or if you’re not careful, your smaller items might find their way out. My solution to this problem has been to keep what’s usually the loose bills, change, keys, lip balm etc. that I stuff in a zipper pocket in a separate pouch or small zipper bag that I then put in my Margaret Nicole bag. Cumbersome, I know. But I think it’s worth it. And finding your keys easily because they’re already in a compact bag that’s in your bag? That’s pretty awesome.

The other thing about the Margaret Nicole bag is that it’s knit with lovely wool. However, if you’ve had wool sweaters before (and who hasn’t?) then you know wool can get a bit “furry,” for lack of a better word. So your bag may pill a bit, get a bit woolly, etc. But that’s the nature of the fabrication. (I feel so Project Runway using that word, and that makes me feel Project Fabulous.)

Surf See if there are colors you’re dying for. See if wool and ribbons are your thing. And if they’re not? PLEASE, PLEASE tell us what is! I can’t wait to hear all about your favorite bags.

And I apologize for being your less than 100%
La Real Girl

P.S. Guess who saw Carson from Queer Eye on the street the other day? And guess who went up to him and told him how much she loves his show? And then pointed to her boyfriend and said: He dresses good! (To which Carson adorably responded: "Oh, good!") Can you guess? Can you? Love me some Carson.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Boone Place Holder

OK, I SUCK. There will be no bagerific post tonight, Thursday, because I had to get the production deadline for my novel extended to Monday. Know why? Because there was a GIANT LEAK near my bathtub that went down to the floor below and resulted in much grouting and caulking and Real Boy being a star at the home maintenance.

My headache, it is large. So I will give you a hint about the bag I'll be telling you about THIS WEEKEND I PROMISE I SWEAR I REALLY DO.

It comes in clutch or bangle.

It's not leather.

It is the cutest thing ever.

Unlike my bathroom right now.

And because I love you, I will give you something pretty to look at while you wait patiently. Not me. Oh, no. I'm the one with the enormous, wide, goofy smile that has bunched my cheeks up into my eye sockets. No, the pretty is the Boone. From Lost! I love ABC's Lost! Ok, so technically he's also known as Ian Somerhalder. He's in a play down the block from my apartment, which my friend E and I saw and LOVED (so so funny!), and he graciously chatted with me afterwards while I secretly bugged the frig out.

Annnnddd now off to clean my bath tub. Joy.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Best. Bra. Evah!

This entry begins back in September, on a crisp fall evening amongst the winding paths and whistling trees of Prospect Park, Brooklyn. My (very talented writer) friend Liz has just finished traipsing down the aisle to join in wedded bliss with her husband, J. I am giving Liz a heartfelt hug of congratulations. The scene is classy, tasteful, and joyous. So, of course, one of the first things out of my mouth is suitable to the atmosphere indeed.

Real Girl: Liz, your boobs look AMAZING!

Liz: I know, right!? It’s all the bra. Go to Victoria’s Secret. It’s the one with the gel.

Real Girl: (Face falls.) I can’t wear Victoria’s Secret bras, dagnabit. They’re just not made for little gals like me.

Liz: No, trust me. The gel one. Get the gel one.

Real Girl: (Feeling a tiny well of hope inside) Okay. I’ll try. You can go, um, finish your wedding now if you want.

And with that, I said ta-ta to Liz and her ta-tas. But I never forgot the gel. I will never forget the gel. Because for the first time in my life, I now have cleavage. Sexy, shapely, come hither cleavage that shocks me every time I see it. Real Girlettes, I owe my new fabulous rack not to any scalpel-crazy surgeon, but rather to the miraculous and worship-worthy Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Convertible Push-Up Bra. And talking about my new very sexy boobies? Is a thrill indeed.

But first let’s return to the old days. When my young pups were humble, as Shakira might say, rather than mountainous. I don’t mean to go all Oprah on you, but indeed I was an A in a B cup. At some point in my life, I was a B, especially in Calvin Klein. Did mainstream lingerie lines start making their bras bigger, as the clothing lines did? I just don’t know. But Victoria’s Secret bras used to hang off of me like the cloth was scared of my bosom. Them bras wouldn’t hug my chest if it were the last mammary provider in town.

So, when I entered the Victoria’s Secret store near my apartment (across the street from one of my TWO local Sephoras), it was with some trepidation. And when I saw the sleek-haired, black-clad saleswoman, my face might have maybe scrunched up, and my voice gone high. “Um…can I see the bra with the gel in it? And…um…could you maybe measure me?”

It was then that I was offered my delicious little A-cup option. The above-linked Very Sexy Convertible Push-Up. I will confess that the bells and whistles piqued my interest. 1) You can remove the gel inserts (though I’ve only done that for washing). 2) You can switch the colored straps with clear straps. 3) You can remove the straps altogether. 4) You can wear it with halter-tops. 5) No, really. Even low-back halter tops. 6) Just look at the booklet! It’s all in the handy, pictureific booklet.

I was told by the saleswoman that the regular old Very Sexy Push Up Bra doesn’t have the same gel base, although perhaps some readers have tried it? But for real? The gel one is a miracle worker. I love the gel. It comes in two little packets that nestle in the bottom of your bra, lifting your pups up like they’ve got helium in them. This is, indeed, my first successful push-up bra ever. Before, push-up bras always made my boobs look too high, as if they hadn’t developed in the right place. And yet still, the cleavage was lacking. But the Convertible Very Sexy is the master push-up. It enhances your natural shape and size rather than fiddling to heave your chest up to high heaven.

There are, however, some draw-backs, as—alas—there always are. When converting the bra to its strapless version, the bra kind of leans forward. I’ve successfully worn it strapless, but only when the top or dress is tight enough to pull the bra in toward my chest. Also, very rarely the straps come undone under my shirt. This has only happened once, but it kind of sucks that the booklet doesn’t go into detail about how to hook the straps on most securely. You’ve got to slip the wide slit on the strap-hook under the fabric loop and then nestle the loop itself between the two halves of the lower part of the hook. Oh hell, let me just show you.

I debated whether I should shove a pic of my new, luxuriant cleavage in your faces, but in the end (especially after bearing my teeth for all to see in the Great Whitening Experiment of 2005) I decided against it. The bra’s been perfectly comfortable, in my opinion, fitting nicely without pinching. The best part? I have to remember now that when I bend over I might want to tug my shirt up a bit. Shhh, don’t tell, but the other day at work? I totally caught some guy checking me out as I was bending over a file cabinet. His eyes were NOT focused on my face, let me tell you. Ah, this new power. Real Girl promises to use it wisely.

But what about you all? Have you got a miracle bra you’d like to share with us? Any words from the bigger boobied gals that I’ve envied all my life? Trust Liz. Trust me. The gel bra just friggin’ rocks.

With love from your,

Chesty LaRue
Real Girl

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Real Girl Resolves To...

Happy New Year!
Pretty New Year!
Healthy New Year!

Now let me break it down for you.

I am not a girl of will-power. Have I confessed this to you before? During this last year of drawing attention to all my flaws? Because, yeah, I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. If you’ve been with me a while, you might remember how I kept it real last year by talking about all the brilliant self-improving tasks I was going to COMPLETELY FORGO.

And all the scrumptious, shiny, glossy, sparkly, satiny, luscious products I was going to COMPLETELY GO FOR.

I am such a star at making resolutions….

A year later, I am smarter about this whole beauty shebang. I’ve been edumacating myself these past many months. And let’s hope we all benefit from it!

This is my favorite Real Girl Beauty post. My absolute fave one to do. I’m all tingly about it in my tummy, as if it’s a new boy I’m going on a first date with. Oh, and he’s really cute and knows about manscaping. Here’s the time when I tell you EVERYTHING I WANT TO TRY THIS YEAR. And when you BRILLIANTLY tell me what you’ve already tried on the list (and how it produces) AND also what products YOU are currently DYING to try. OR what products you think I need to try. Clearly this post requires MANY MANY CAPITAL LETTERS.

(I’m adding an additional feature here based on timeliness. Real Girl has a very BIG, TRAUMATIC birthday coming up VERY SOON. To make her feel better about it, she’s adding special stars to products that her friends and family should feel perfectly free to—and yet perfectly unobligated to—buy her for her BIG BIRTHDAY coming next month dear God help me please.)


Skin Care
General and Night Creams
*Clinique Repairwear Deep Wrinkle Concentrate for Face and Eye
*Patricia Wexler MD MMPi Skin Regenerating Serum
*DDF C3 Plus Serum (Vitamin C and Peptides! Oh My!)
*Skinceuticals C E Ferulic (I star this only for the millionaire long lost relative I don’t yet know I have.)
*Eau Thermale Avene Retrinal Cream
*Green Cream High-Potency Retinol Level 6
Elizabeth Arden Prevage (Idebenone is supposed to be the new most powerful antioxidant, but ain’t nothing powerful enough for me to shell out $150. Still, I’d love to sample!)
Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer
*H2O Plus Sea Results Overnight Perfecting Peel
*Peter Thomas Roth Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel
L'Oreal Dermo-Expertise Transformance Skin Perfecting Solution
*Kinara Lactic Acid Hydrating Serum
Replenix Serum

SPF Sunscreens/Moisturizers
*Patricia Wexler MD Oil-Free Hydrator SPF 30
DDF Matte Finish Photo-Age Protection SPF 15 or SPF 30 (Non-oily, with antioxidants!)
Propoline Suncare SPF 30
June Jacobs SPF 20 Sun Stick (It’s purse-sized for touch-ups, and that’s just cute)
Dr.Hauschka Sunscreen Cream SPF 20
*Clarins UV Plus SPF 40 (With white tea! Whee!)
*DDF Organic Sunblock, SPF 30
*Neostrata Exuviance Essential Multi-Defense Day Fluid SPF 15

Eye Creams/Treatments
Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Eye Cream, Light Tint
*Lancome Renergie Microlift Eye Cream
Nivea Visage Multiple Results Eye Cream
Shiseido Future Solution Eye and Lip Contour Cream
Apivita Express Eye Zone Mask with Ginkgo Biloba
Olay Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream
L'Oreal Dermo-Expertise Wrinkle De-Crease Eye
Earth Therapeutics Rejuvenal-C Orange Eye Pads

Body/Nail Stuff
*Stila Petal Infusions Retexturizing Scrub
*Lush Volcano Foot Mask
Sephora Whipped Body Delights (in Marshmallow Fluff)
Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Nail & Cuticle Therapy
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover
Bliss Foot Patrol
*Laura Mercier Luxury Soap in Crème Brulee (I have smelled this soap, and it is soap heaven.)

*Lancome L'Extreme Instant Extensions Lengthening Mascara
Maybelline New York Lash Discovery Mascara
L’Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara
Prescriptives Beyond Long Maximum Length Mascara
Fresh Supernova Mascara
Estee Lauder Lash XL Mascara
Max Factor Lash Perfection Mascara
Givenchy Eye Fly Lash Extender Mascara
Maybelline Illegal Lengths Mascara
L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara

Lippy Lip Lips
Avon Shine Supreme Lip Color
Dior Addict Lip Fluid
MAC Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolour (Supposedly one of the best long-wear lip colors)
Smashbox Tinted Treatment Lipstick
Goldie Lip Gloss in Brownie
Lorac Gloss Stick in Sheer Berry

MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer
Benefit Lyin’ Eyes Concealer
Neutrogena Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector
Giorgio Armani High Precision Retouch Concealer
Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Concealer
Laura Mercier Undercover Concealer
Lancome Photogenic Skin Illuminating Concealer SPF 15

Sally Hansen Professional Kohl Liner
MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy or Costa Riche
Stila Smudge Pots
Christian Breton Eye Shadow in Night Club (For bright colors.)
Estee Lauder Artist’s Eye Pencil in Opalescence
Clinique Kohl Shaper For Eyes (With a sharpener built into the cap!)
Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue in Bronze
MAC Eye Shadow

Foundation/Tinted Moisturizer
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer SPF 20
Clarins True Comfort Foundation SPF 15
Estee Lauder Individualist Natural Finish Makeup (Foundation)
Prescriptives Flawless Skin Foundation
Nars Oil-Free Foundation

Bronzer, Highlighter, and Powder
Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronze Concentrate
Stila Sun Highlighter in Shade 2
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Highlighter
Clarins Sunshine Powder Compact
Lancome Star Bronzer
Cover Girl Cheekers Bronzer in Golden Tan
T. LeClerc Loose Facial Powder
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Blends Natural Radiance Bronzer, Sunkissed 3

Essie 3-Way Glaze
Nars Nail Polish in Boccacio
Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle
Essie Nail Polish in Mademoiselle
*Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat
Orly Top 2 Bottom

*Stila #13 One Step Eye Liner Brush
Talika Heated Eyelash Curler
Sephora Makeup Eraser Pen (For those localized boo-boos.)

Hair Care
Which I don’t feel like sorting into categories
L’Oreal Technique Heat Control Moisture Protect Serum
*Jonathan Product Creat Volume Thickening Foam
*Bumble & Bumble Grooming Creme
*Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco Conditioner
*Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray
*Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious Curl Crème
Bumble & Bumble Curl Conscious Fine To Medium Hair Conditioner
Matrix Biolage Fortifying Conditioner
*Samy Curls Define & Extend Cream
*Kiehl’s Climate-Proof Shine-Enhancing Non-Aerosol Spray
Aveda Control Paste
*Kerastase Radiance Enhancing Milk
Kerastase Expanseur Extra-Corps Thickening Spray
Redken Straight 05 Balm
Ojon Conditioning Shine Serum
Revlon RV440C 1200W Ionic Hot Air Brush Kit
Graham Webb Stick Straight (To tame frizz)
Dove Smooth & Soft Anti Frizz Cream
John Frieda Sheer Blonde Spun Gold
*Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancing Lotion
Aveda Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss
Aveda Phomollient (For volume)
*Philip B Detangling Finishing Rinse
L’oreal Vive Smooth-Intense Masque
Joico Silk Result Sheer Gloss
Sunscience Renew Shine Serum
Tigi Bedhead Cocky Thickening Paste
Lush Rehab for Hair
Physique Frizz Control Curl Cream
Phytospecific Intense Nutrition Mask
Infusium 23 Leave-In Conditioner, Complete Healthy Body Treatment
Redken Body Full Plump Treat
Finesse BeautiFULL Volume Conditioner
ISO Bouncy Crème
Tigi Catwalk Camera Ready Shiner & Defrizzer
Tresemme Anti-Frizz Secret
Prive Shine Serum
Charles Worthington Amazing Volume Finishing Cream
Frederic Fekkai Wave Creating Spray
Halo Illuminating Color Protection Shine Therapy
*Aveda Volumizing Tonic
Rene Furterer Fioravanti Clarify & Shine Rinse
Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum

I resolve, here and now, to try as many of these products as my body, pocketbook, and moxie will let me. In the words of a certain lovestruck cowboy, Beauty Products, “I wish I knew how to quit yew.”

Except I So. Totally. Do not.

Make me proud! What have you tried? What are you dying for that I haven’t listed? What are you dying for me to try? Share all your favorite products and let us know which ones are crap on a stick!

This is the closest thing RGB has to a de-lurking day, so raise your voices and let me know I’m your,

Real Girl

P.S. Today, The Muse sent me a lovely email with yummy product recommendations that I was going to include in my list, but honestly? If I have to look up one more link this week I might pass out. So hopefully she’ll comment and share her fabu recommendations with us! As hopefully you dolls out there will too.