Ch-ch-ch-changes. The power of working out

Losing weight differently through exercise

If you’ve been following my journey to a healthier lifestyle, you know that I’ve made many changes this year. Here’s the basic roadmap:

  • I started watching what I ate in early February. Frankly, I was tired of feeling lumpy, uncomfortable and unattractive. At first, I simply employed portion control combined with self control. The pounds started to fall away.
  • In May, I decided it was time to start working out, something I’d avoided for many years. To be honest, I hate feeling hot and sweaty. Still, I knew it was time to get moving. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in June and he was shocked when my gift request was a treadmill. I started slowly: 1.5 miles at 2 miles per hour. Today, I do between 3 and 4 miles at 3.2 to 3.5 miles per hour at a slight incline. For some people, that’s weak. It works for me.
  • In July, it was time to formally start tracking my exercise and healthy-eating efforts. I purchased a Misfit Shine 2 to count my steps and began using the Lose It! app to track nutrition and calories. I also started taking two adult dance classes per week: ballet/stretch and tap. For me, dance is a fun way to get exercise.
  • Last week, I decided it was time to work on my arms and core. I began using the Smart Wonder Core, a compact gadget that has two foam-covered tension bars. Depending upon how it’s positioned, it is used to create resistance for arm exercises, leg exercises, sit ups and more. I also began using the Simply Fit Board, a skateboard-type item with a rounded bottom. Basically, you balance yourself on the board and it twists back and forth as you twist from the waist. (I usually hop on the board during television commercials. I also twisted to the performances during last night’s Video Music Awards.) My goal is strengthening my abdominal muscles and whittling my waist.

I’ve dieted and lost weight before, but I always did it without exercise. This time, I realized that I would never get the ass I want while sitting on it! Two things have happened:

1. I’ve started to actually enjoy my workouts. I feel better physically and mentally when I don’t skip them.  They’ve become a habit.

2. I’m losing weight differently. I’ve always been pear-shaped and unable to wear certain styles of clothing. For example, the column dress in the photo accompanying this blog would have been disastrous on my body just a few months ago, because my top and bottom halves were disproportionate. By getting up and moving my body, I’m losing inches more uniformly.

As of this morning, I’d lost 57 pounds. My original goal was 65 pounds. However, after assessing my body and mental determination, I’ve decided to go for 23 more, for a total of 80 pounds. At that point, I’ll decide whether it’s time to switch to a maintenance plan or lose a bit more.

If you’re thinking about making a lifestyle change, go for it. If I can lose weigh with diet and exercise, you can too. I believe the key is getting yourself into a certain hell-for-leather mindset. I’ve tried and failed to lose weight before, but when I look back I realize I didn’t have the steely, determined attitude needed for the long haul. The right attitude will get you where you want to go. – Ronda

Advertisements

Truth or dare: Answering your questions

L’Oreal Color Riche Lipstick in Wisteria Rose

As I get older, I’m both more and less forthcoming. I’ve learned that some things are better left unsaid, while some that were formerly too humiliating to talk about I now share freely. I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people who follow me on Instagram and I thought I’d answer them here. Some are about makeup, others are about my weight loss, and still more touch on personal topics. Here we go:

Q. If you could look like any woman in history, dead or alive, who would it be?

A. At one time, I would have said Grace Kelly because she was true perfection. Now I’d choose someone else — someone sultrier and sexier. That’s because I’ve never considered my appearance sexy. Everything about me screams “girl next door” and always has. And although I love makeup, I have one of those faces that looks silly in a large wing or dramatically smoked-out eyes. For these reasons, I’d choose to see what it would be like to ooze sex appeal, like Ava Gardner or Elizabeth Taylor.

Q. If you were going out for the evening and could take only one makeup item, what would it be?

A. I used to say mascara, but I finally found a mascara that doesn’t disappear on me in Benefit’s They’re Real. I’d go with concealer because I detest dark under eyes and they always eventually peep out, no matter what I do.

Q. What was your most disappointing makeup purchase?

A. Recently it was two mascaras — the new Charlotte Tilbury and Marc Jacobs ones. They smeared and had no staying power on me, although I’m a big fan of both brands. My most expensive mistake was the Temptu Airbrush System.  You have to wear the foundation that comes in their pods and it wasn’t for me.

Q. Do you have a favorite foundation?

A. I always seem to go back to Koh Gen Do’s Aqua Foundation. It gives me a nice, natural, realistic glow. I’m currently trying out the new Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation and the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick. So far, I prefer the better staying power of the Urban Decay. I’m always looking for the latest, greatest foundation. I can make my foundation look almost perfect, but it only lasts for a few hours. Two recent foundations that didn’t work for me? Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation and Too Faced Born This Way.

Q. What’s your favorite lipstick?

A. I have several: L’Oreal Color Riche Lipstick in Wisteria Rose, Marc Jacobs’ Le Marc Lip Cream in Clara and Melted Strawberry by Too Faced. They’re all fairly bright and I prefer brights with my skin tone. (My favorite non-bright is Tom Ford’s Spanish Pink.)

Q. Have you had a nose job and, if so, who was your doctor?

A. This is a surprising one that I’ve received several times. No, no nose job. It’s my original nose.

Q. How much weight have you lost? How did you do it?

A. I’ve lost 54 pounds and think I’ll switch to maintenance after another 30. I did not have weight-loss surgery, but would have if my insurance company covered it. I eat healthfully and never go over 1,200 calories per day. I walk 3-4 miles daily on a treadmill and take adult dance classes twice weekly. I also use two products by Hum Nutrition: Flatter Me, which reduces bloating, and Skinny Bird, which purports to reduce stress eating, boost metabolism, curb appetite and control blood sugar. Since losing weight, I no longer have high blood pressure or diabetes.

Q. What does your husband say about your weight loss?

A. Honestly? He doesn’t mention it often, other than to say I look nice. He’s not particularly effusive and never has been. He has mentioned several times that he’d love me at any weight, which is incredibly sweet.

Q. How is your son?

A. My son, James, was involved in a serious head-on collision a month ago. He was in a coma for awhile and there was concern about brain trauma, but we were fortunate. He does have numerous contusions and cuts, as well as broken ribs on both sides. He is healing well, but is in lots of pain. He has been a difficult patient because he suffers from severe anxiety and depression. We will get through it all together.

Q. What makeup trend do you dislike?

A. Instabrows — the large, overdone brows that have been in for awhile. This is partially because I’m a little sensitive about my own brows. I don’t have any, because they didn’t grow back after I had chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. I have tattoos and it looks ridiculous if I try to draw in bigger brows on top of them. I’m also not huge on a lot of highlighter. I just don’t think it’s particularly flattering on older skin. I try to use it judiciously.

Q. Are there any new products you’d like to try?

A. The new Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation. And some of the new Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks. Her mascara and foundation didn’t work for me, but her lipsticks are spectacular, as are her eye products and blushes.

Q. You’ve added quotes and poems to your Instagram page. Do you have a favorite?

A. I’ve gotten incredibly good feedback — and a lot of new subscribers — since adding quotes and outfit of the day photos. I try to choose quotes and poems a lot of people identify with, and most of us have either been in love or been hurt in love. I also like inspirational quotes, as well as sharing the poems of talented Instagrammers. Here are a couple items that got great response, followed by my favorite. I hope they inspire you. 

Curls, curls, curls: A step-by-step guide

From short and straight to longer and curly

Hair is a peculiar thing. We’re never happy with what we have. It’s too thin or too thick, too straight or too curly. Too wavy or not wavy enough. Some of us never come to terms with our hair, while others find workable solutions. It took me almost 50 years — half a century — to realize that I actually love my natural hair, which I’d describe as on the curly side of wavy.

My issues with hair started with my mother. She was forever fussing with my hair and I was the unlucky recipient of several misbegotten home perms. In fact, Mom administered one on the eve of second-grade school photo day. Let’s just say that very few of the resulting pictures survived and I refused to participate in the annual rite of photo-swapping with my classmates. Even in second grade, I was appalled.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but I’m hard-headed. Instead of trying and failing once,  I’ll try something six or seven times just to make sure it doesn’t work. This led to a frizzy mess my freshman year of high school and a disastrous attempt at bouncy curls in college. After that, perming techniques improved and I spent part of the 80s with a half-perm many of my friends copied but that in retrospect was absolutely hideous.

Here’s the way my hair works: When it’s short, I can train it to dry straight with the help of a vented brush and a blow dryer. Let it grow just a bit, though, and the waves start to take over. I kept my hair short for years because I just couldn’t cope with the unkempt, unpolished growing-out stage. Then, a first: A new hairstylist asked if I’d ever tried “scrunching.” And lo, a miracle transpired. Those perms? Not needed. All that was required to take my hair from annoyingly wavy to cutely curly was a can of mousse, some styling products and hands to perform the scrunch. How does the scrunch work? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • First, wash your hair with products specially designed to enhance curls, not weigh them down. I sometimes use Bumble & Bumble’s “Surf” products, but when I want curlier curls I stick to products by DevaCurl. In particular, I use the company’s “Decadence” line, which includes a no-poo shampoo and weightless conditioner.
  • When you step out of the shower and grab a towel, make sure you don’t break up the curls or create frizz by rubbing the towel through your hair. Instead, blot and squeeze your hair through the towel to remove the bulk of the moisture.
  • Never comb through your hair, either with a comb or your fingers. Doing so will separate the natural waves or ringlets that have started to form. Instead, spray your damp hair with Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth Primer, then use your hands to “scrunch” sections of hair up toward your scalp.
  • It’s time for mousse. Any brand will do but I prefer either Aussie Sprunch Mousse or DevaCurl’s Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam. Again, scrunch your hair with your hands, pushing it up toward your scalp.
  • If your hair needs coaxing to curl, there are quite a few styling products you can add to damp hair before drying. I sometimes use DevaCurl’s Coconut Curl Styler or Briogeo’s Curl Charisma Defining Cream.
  • At this point, you have a choice, and you should try all three to see what works best for you: Either dry your hair immediately with a scrunching motion and a diffuser, let it dry naturally, or let it get almost dry before using the scrunching-with-diffuser method. I prefer the latter because my curls seem to set better while drying naturally, while finishing up with the blow dryer gives them bounce and life. I use the Curly Pop dryer/diffuser that’s made by Bed Head. Again, don’t brush or comb your hair: Doing so will either pull out the curl or leave your hair frizzy.

Voila! Easy, sexy, bouncy curls that last all day and through the night.

Quick and easy hair options 

My hair is naturally wavy, something I battled with for years. When I was young, I actually liked the texture. I’m a child of the 70s, so I let it grow long and when I used hot rollers, the curl would last forever. The problem came as I grew older. I tried so many hairstyles — even, regrettably, the Dorothy Hamill bob. My hair would look great at the salon, but I could never recreate the look. I’d end up with a wavy mess. (Obviously, I was not adept with hair tools.)

My 70s hair

It took me years to discover that I actually have perfect hair for the scrunch-and-go style. I just take any type of hair mousse, scrunch it into my towel-dried hair and either blow dry or air dry. That’s it. Easy-peasy. (Photo at top left below).

Still, there are times when I want a smoother, straighter look. (Photo at bottom left above.) After years of trial and error, I stumbled across an easy way to get it. I comb Nios Shield Leave-In Conditioner and Marc Anthony Perfect Smoothing Cream through towel-dried hair, then let it sit for awhile, usually while I apply my makeup. Then I finish up with a blow dryer and vented brush. My hair ends up shiny and straight!

If you have wavy or curly hair that leaves you frustrated, try one or both of these easy styling methods!

Modern Renaissance: The new ABH palette is different and gorgeous

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette, liquid lipsticks in Soft Lilac (l) and Dusty Rose (r)

When it comes to makeup products, I’m wildest about eyeshadow palettes and lipstick. After all, there’s something incredibly sexy  about a fresh tube of lipstick. And eyeshadow? The tiny, colorful pans just beg for imagination and creativity. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills takes eye artistry to a new level with its just-released Modern Renaissance Palette. If you’re looking for colors that go beyond the usual neutrals, Modern Renaissance is for you. Mixed in with the shades needed for brow highlighting and crease transitions are rich, unexpected shades in wearable reds, oranges and purples that set this palette apart from the rest. Their names even hit an artistic note, with monikers such as Raw Sienna, Golden Ochre, Tempera and Red Ochre. 

The palette features a nice mix of metallic, satin and matte shades. Fallout is minimal and the texture is creamy and smooth, with easy blendability. Standout colors include Realgar, Love Letter and Buon Fresco, all which are included in the look I created below. 


Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Rennaissance Palette and Liquid Lipstick in Soft Lilac, available at anastasiabeverlyhills.com. 

Other products used: YSL Touché Eclat Foundation, Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Pansy Pop, Giorgio Armani Maestro in Liquid Summer (contour), Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow (bronzer), Crushed Pearl from the Anastasia Beverly Hills “Gleam” Glow Kit (highlighter), Red Cherry lashes.  Top is from Hautelook.com/Nordstrom Rack.  

Five quick tips for taking a good selfie

They say that for every good selfie posted to Facebook and Instagram, there are dozens of nearly identical selfies that didn’t make the cut. That’s pretty much true, unless you learn the angles and lighting tricks needed to get it right the first, second or third time.

Because I do makeup looks of the day for my Instagram account, I take plenty of selfies. (Shameless plug: I’m Makeup_Plus_50 on Instagram.) But it doesn’t take me long to get the photo of the day because I’ve learned these five things:

1. When holding your phone or camera, make sure it’s slightly above eye level. If you have any kind of double chin at all, photos taken straight on or (God forbid) from below chin level will exaggerate the chin issue and also make your face look fatter.

2. Along the same lines, don’t “turtle” your neck by pulling it in. Extend your chin forward a bit to elongate your jawline. Again, this is especially important if you have a double chin or wattle.

3. Know your angles. Our faces aren’t symmetrical, so most of us really do have a better side. Most of my photos are angled toward the right side of my face, which is younger-looking and fuller than the left. However, when I’m going for chiseled and elegant, I shoot from the left side.

4. Find your light. When you get ready to take a photo, look at yourself on your camera screen from several different angles to find the most flattering light. I personally use my front porch for photos. Depending on the time of day, I get the best light while sitting on my front porch steps or by standing at the edge of the front porch, looking toward the sun from just under the edge of the porch roof. I also find that the light varies by time of day: Morning photos have a cooler tone and evening photos have a golden wash.

5. Beware photo touch-up apps.  There are plenty of apps on Android and ITunes that allow you to “clean up” your photos, but don’t go crazy with them. There is nothing wrong with zapping a pimple or an under-eye shadow, but don’t go wild with Photoshop. You want to look like yourself, not like a cartoon version of yourself. And for goodness sake, avoid the apps that allow you to add makeup to your photos. It may look fine in thumbnail-sized photos but it’s obvious and pixilated when the photos are enlarged!

The bottom line is that everyone can take a good selfie if they follow a few simple “rules.” It’s all about angles, light and composition.

Bonus tip: Want your eyes to look great in a selfie? Think about something that makes them come alive. I always pretend my eyes are sending a message to someone I love!

What’s in my shower?

imageI love my shower, not to mention my bath. I’m usually a two-per-day person, taking either two showers or a shower in the morning and a bath at night, simply because I like to feel clean.(One of my idiosyncrasies is that I don’t have breakfast until after I’ve showered because I like to feel fresh while eating.)

With that confession behind me, let’s talk about what’s in my shower right now:

Two facial cleansers: I’m alternating between Skyn Iceland’s Glacial Face Wash and Boscia’s Tsubaki Cleansing Oil Gel. It only takes a pea-sized amount of Skyn Iceland’s product to work itself into a luxurious, gentle, creamy not-quite-foam.  It includes willow bark for stressed skin and I haven’t had a blemish since I began using it. Prior to that, I’d been having stress-induced breakouts in my chin area. The Tsubaki oil is more moisturizing and I use it when I’m removing makeup. I love the way it slides on my skin — it feels like a lovely facial.

A deep-pore cleanser: I genuinely love Soap & Glory’s T-Zone Detox Scrub. It’s tingly and cooling and gets down into my pores, cleaning out all the sebum and debris that causes breakouts and dulls skin.

Body cleansers and scrubs: I love products that make my bathroom and me smell scrumptious. Right now, I’m alternating between Vitabath’s Cucumber & White Tea for a subdued scent and Pacifica’s Indian Coconut Nectar, a longtime favorite, for a stronger, exotic and sultry effect. When I feel the need to exfoliate, I reach for Bath & Body Work’s Sweet Magnolia & Clementine Body Scrub. 

Shampoo and conditioner: I keep brassiness out of my blond hair with AG Hair Care’s Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo and Conditioner, the most effective anti-brass products I’ve found. When I want some sassy bounce, I reach for Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Foam Wash and Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner. 

Cleansing tool: To make sure my face gets the deep cleaning treatment it needs and that my products work to the best of their abilities, I wash with the Foreo Luna Facial Cleansing T-Sonic Brush. I prefer it to Clarisonic-type brushes because the silicone “fingers” seem more sanitary and less damaging to my skin.

Shower puff: I never use a washcloth in my shower. I prefer to use the netting scrubbers I buy in bulk at Rite Aid. One side is netting and the other is a loofah.

Until next time, keep things clean!

 

Amazing in April: Monthly favorites in makeup, music and more

 All I can say is, “Thank goodness the first four months of 2016 ended on a high note!” I’ve just returned from a wonderful cruise that reset my attitude and snapped me out of a two-month funk (more on that later, because it had a definite impact on my music favorites for the month). But first, let’s talk about my beauty loves for April:

  • Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation — The gorgeous pop-of-color packaging caught my eye. But as a foundation connoisseur, I have to say my first Josie Maran foundation is a winner. The Argan Oil-infused formula provides great medium to full coverage and leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized. It also provides just the right amount of radiance without veering into greasy.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara — If you’re looking for inky-black lashes with major volume, give this a whirl. I prefer “dryer” mascaras, so I liked the formula better after using it for a few weeks.
  • Benefit Cosmetics Cheekathon Blush and Bronzer Palette — This value-packed bundle includes four full-sized pans of Benefit’s best-loved blushes, as well as the beloved Hoola bronzer. Although the packaging is somewhat bulky, it’s still a great take-along for extended vacations.
  • Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer — This is a cult favorite and I can see why. It truly is like summer in a bottle. I use it two ways: mixed with my regular foundation for an all-over bronze look or as a bronzy liquid contour. It is pricey, so if that’s a concern, Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer is a good alternative.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Primer with SPF 35 — A great combo product that did right by me on the beaches of the Caribbean. I remained burn-free and clear-skinned.
  • Givenchy Memoire De Forme Pop Up Jelly Blush in Rose Extravagent — A cream-verging-on-liquid blush in a cute little pot that provides a long-lasting, moisturized glow. Don’t let the color scare you — it’s intense! But on the cheeks, it provides a natural, rosy flush of color.
  • Surratt Beauty Prismatique Eyes in Style Eyes — These convenient pots include a matte cream shadow in one compartment and a shimmering topper in another. Style Eyes is described as an ambiguous heather. I’d say it’s a dusky purple-mauve that provides an air of elegance. It pairs well with Nars’ new Dominique Audacious Lipstick, which is a deep pink-lilac. img_0781
  • Lipstick favorites, pictured clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Oh Miley!, a bright strawberry red; Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Dusty Pink, a muted nude rose; Tarte Lip Sculptor and Lip Gloss in Renegade, a rich, gleaming berry rose.

Movie favorites: “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as a struggling single mom working to bring her innovative invention to market (Amazon.com, Netflix); “The Witch,” a creepily enthralling film about witchery in the Puritan era (theaters); “Nothing Left Unsaid,” an engrossing documentary about the lives of Anderson Cooper and his fascinating mother, Gloria Vanderbilt (HBO On Demand).

Television favorites: “The Amazing Race,” always a favorite (CBS); “Mercy Street,” about the lives of nurses and doctors in Civil War hospitals (Amazon.com), “Game of Thrones,” which is back with a vengeance and a fast-moving plot (HBO).

Music: As I mentioned, it’s been a rocky year thus far. I lost two friends to cancer and a dear mentor two weeks ago to a freak head injury. My playlist, for those reasons, might have been a bit darker than usual. Album-wise, I’ve been listening to tried-and-true classics: “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominoes, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Carole King’s “Tapestry.” As for singles, I’ve been into Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” Sam Smith’s “I Know I’m Not the Only One,” and “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.

Remember, strength is beauty. Hold your head up, smile and look to the future. – Ronda

Hello, it’s me: Answering your questions

 

img_5221

Let’s talk makeup, skin care and more

 

Hello, friends! I’m just back from a cruise vacation and am easing my way back into the real world. My April favorites blog will go up soon, but I thought I’d take a few moments on a rainy Sunday to answer the questions I’ve received here and on Instagram. Some are about makeup and others are more personal, so this will be a mix of both. Diving in …

Q. How did you get into makeup and skin care?

A. Not to be a downer, but a lot of it was driven by my battle with cancer. I’d really never paid that much attention to skin care until chemotherapy, which was hard on my skin.  At first, I was on a skin resurrection journey. I made a New Year’s resolution to never go to bed without cleansing and moisturizing. When I saw what a difference it made, I added other products into the mix. By the way, I’ve kept that resolution. I’m even a little superstitious about it, so I do my routine every night without fail.

Q. Are you really over 50? Why don’t you have wrinkles?

A. Yes, I’m really over 50. I’m 56, in fact. And I’m not wrinkle-free! I do have a few fine lines, but nothing horrifying. Part of it is good genes; the rest I credit to being committed to good skin care. Morning and night after cleansing, I use a toner, a serum, a moisturizer, a neck- and chin-firming cream, an eye cream and a lip balm.  At night, I add a sleeping oil (Sunday Riley’s Luna). I also use targeted beauty masks several nights per week and always use sunscreen. About twice per year, I get some additional help in the form of Botox at the corners of my eyes, as well as a very tiny bit of filler to make my bottom lip symmetrical.

Q. What is your advice for women with aging skin?

A. Adopt and stick to a skin-care regimen.  Exfoliate. Have facials. Wear sunscreen every day and stay out of the sun when possible. Too much sun is incredibly aging. The same for smoking, so stop. And drink in moderation, because too much alcohol speeds up the aging process by causing wrinkles, loss of collagen and elasticity, dehydration, redness and puffiness. Oh, and wear sunglasses to keep from squinting.

Q. Are you married? Any children? Do they read your blog?

A. Yes, I’m married and we have two adult children. My husband is a newspaper editor. He’s much quieter and more private than I am. I never meet a stranger, which both horrifies and amuses him. Our daughter Elizabeth recently earned her PhD and decided to give back by working with Teach for America for two years. Our son James graduated from college several years ago and works for a pharmaceutical company. As for reading my blog: No way! Every once in awhile, my husband checks out the makeup looks on my Instagram page and tells me if he sees one he particularly likes or dislikes, but that’s about it. Elizabeth has perfect skin — even and poreless. Her makeup routine is limited to BB cream, blush and neutral eye looks. Every once in awhile she humors me by letting me do her makeup. James just thinks I’m his wacky mom.

Q. If you could only use one brand of makeup for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A. I started to say MAC because they have such a huge catalog of products, but I would have to go with Marc Jacobs. The quality is exceptional and I’d need my favorite Le Marc Lip Creme lipsticks at hand. Clara and Slow Burn are my current crushes.

Q. What product do you have the most of?

A. Definitely lipsticks. I have lots of them, ranging from the nudest nudes to fiery reds. I have very pigmented lips, so I didn’t start wearing lipstick regularly until I was in my 30s. Now, I see lipstick as a form of self-expression. Plus, I think my lips are one of my best features.

Q. What is your favorite lipstick?

A. That’s hard, because I have so many! I’ll cheat a little and give you one from each color family. Nude: Whisper by Nudestix. Light pink: Penelope Pink by Charlotte Tilbury. Bright pink: Clara by Marc Jacobs. Coral: MAC Vegas Volt. Purple: Dominique by Nars. Muted red: Lost Cherry by Charlotte Tilbury. Traditional red: MAC Red.

Q. If you could use just one makeup item, what would it be?

A. As much as I love lipstick, I’d have to choose mascara! It makes a huge difference.

Q. Your recent photos look different. Have you had work done?

A. No, and I’d tell you if I had. I’ve lost just over 20 pounds and it is evident in my chin and jaw line. I was worried that losing weight would leave me with sagging skin along my jaw and on my neck, but so far so good. I’ve been using Algenist’s Firming & Lifting Neck Cream.

Q. How have you lost the weight? Are you on a particular diet plan?

A. No plan, just healthy eating. I drink a fruit smoothie for breakfast; have a salad, soup or Lean Cuisine meal for lunch; and dinner is a small steak, chicken breast or fish with a vegetable. Ice cream — and particularly Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate — is my weakness, but I’ve replaced it with sherbet. I’m not on a diet. I’ve made a permanent lifestyle change.

Q. Where do you get the quotes you post on your Instagram page?

A. From friends, from random internet searches, from other people’s Instagram feeds. I love quotes and clearly others do too because they get a lot of likes and seem to inspire people. Sometimes they reflect the way I’m feeling and other times they don’t. I just choose quotes that appeal to me and that I think others will relate to.

Q. You review a lot of products. Are you paid for it, or do you get the products free?

A. No, not paid. And I wish! Nope, and I’ll tell you if I write a sponsored post.

Q. Do you have pets?

A. I do! Two cats live with me: rescue kitties named Otis and Bea. They are siblings but Mama Cat apparently slept around because I’m sure they have different dads. Otis is a black and white “moo” cat and Bea is a gray tabby. I love them to pieces! My husband works in another state and our old man is with him — Sparky is a 16-year-old orange cat.  I would love to have a dog, but I travel a lot and that would not be fair.

Q. Who is your favorite makeup artist?

A. I like Lisa Eldridge’s work and watch her YouTube videos for tips. Her looks are always clean and wearable. Also, Wayne Goss has great, practical advice and reviews.

Q. Do you have a YouTube channel?

A. Not yet. I plan to start one as soon as I learn to edit videos.

Q. Who are your beauty icons?

A. Marilyn Monroe, because she just had an incandescent glow. And Elizabeth Taylor was so beautiful. On a more contemporary note, Scarlett Johannson.

OK, that’s it for now. If you have any questions, send them to me here or on Instagram. I’m Makeup_Plus_50. -Ronda

Boho dream: Festival beauty and fashion

Coachella, the spring music festival, is headed into its second weekend in Indio, California, which means I’m in the midst of rhapsodizing over the bohemian, pseudo-gypsy and hippie-esque outfits celebrities in the crowd are wearing.

I’m a huge fan of 70s fashions. I love going onto Pinterest to check out old photos of Carly Simon, Stevie Nicks, Julie Christie and other 70s icons who made hippie look chic. The outfits at Coachella are mere imitations of the originals — and in many cases cost thousands more. Regardless, they’re a lot of retro fun!

I’m a bit too old to head off to Coachella, despite the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger (who’s older than I am) was hanging around at the event last weekend. Still, I was moved to create some wearable versions of boho fashion this week. Unlike some Coachella attendees, I wasn’t inclined to try out face painting; I kept my makeup much more wearable. As for hair, I tried my version of a head wreath via a simple under-$5 headband from Amazon.com. I’m growing my hair out a bit and sometimes it looks super. At other times, wrangling with a headband is necessary.

I’m also a bit old for some of the barer, wilder Coachella fashions. If you try, though, you can find age-appropriate bohemian looks at Urban Decay and from brands such as Free People. All it takes it a bit of careful editing and the knowledge that you’re going for an homage to hippiedom, not full-on Woodstock.

With that said, here is my first look. I’m wearing a Free People tunic. I don’t often choose bold prints but this one worked for me. The star, though, is the lipstick: a Laura Geller Love Me Dew lip crayon in Cranberry Glaze. My eyeshadow is also from Laura Geller. I used the gorgeous navy and periwinkle tones from her The Wearables palette.

The next festival-inspired look I attempted was softer and more monochromatic. I’m loving this spring’s eyelets, laces and pastels. A look in my closet would reveal that I go for solids in my shirts and slacks, although my summer maxis feature colorful prints. In any case, this look features shimmering champagne eyes courtesy of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Shadow Couture Palette and muted lips courtesy of Make Up For Ever’s Artist Lip Blush.

 


No matter what your inspiration, you’re not too old to try it. If you can still rock a look, go ahead and rock it. You won’t be able to wear it the same way you wore it at 20 or even 30, but there’s always a way to adapt it to your age, body shape and persona. So go out there and have fun with fashion and makeup, no matter how old you are. You only live once!