Worry Dolls

I am a worrier. It’s evident in my daily life today and it was evident in the video footage of me as a child. It’s my fourth birthday. The dining room of my home has been decorated in glitter and tulle. Little girls surround me in a circle of sweetness, handing me gifts and giggling in two’s and three’s. Pan in on the leotard-clad princess in the middle of the circle now. There is a look of sheer panic on her face.

I remember it well. I was worried about the possibility of opening a gift and not liking it. Would I be able to do a good fake? Would the offending gifter catch on and get her feelings hurt? Even more importantly, was I actually worth all this attention? Did anyone even like me? And so began a journey of worry, one that has yet to end.

Now that I am (quite solidly!) in my twenties, I’ve learned to conceal the worry. I think of my relationship with my anxiety much like the proverb about the duck–calm on the surface, paddling like the dickens below. I am quick to conceal anxious thoughts with a huge smile and a self-confident remark. And, in the big picture I actually am quite a happy and confident person. But often, beneath the surface there lurks a sense of doom. What if…? What if…?

Luckily, Pookie serves as a constant source of positive energy and support. She’s also helped me to create a little trick for easing the worry. We call it the Worst Case Scenario Game. You look at the issue you’re frightened/concerned/stressing out about. Then you play out in your mind (or aloud, with a friend, over a cocktail) the absolute worst thing that could happen as a result of this situation.

Step by step, you make a comprehensive plan of how to deal with that worst possible outcome. Now, you have control. Once you’ve assessed the situation this way and gained control, you will find you’re not as worried as you were before. And, my little worry dolls, it’s almost never as bad as the worst case scenario, so you might just find you have very little to worry about after all.

She's been making things better since the days when I used to dye my hair to look like her...

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Easy tip: Straighten like it’s 1974

Are you sick of over-styling? Ready to retire your flat iron for a few days, but unwilling to brave the city streets with a wavy mane? Fear not, my little budding beauties. Taking a few pages out of our mommies’ old style files might just help. Let me explain.

The year was 1974. My young and effortlessly gorgeous mommy was a straight-up hippie trapped inside the body of a curly-haired diva. What to do? While she never laid out her locks on an ironing board and straightened them with an actual iron (Yes, that happened in those days!), she did develop a system of creating straight hair that would last. Here were her two (easy! safe! pretty!) solutions. Despite all the great products and tools today, one of these might just work for you.

Option One: The Campbell’s Soup “Stick-straight” Method

For the coveted Ali MacGraw hair, Mom and her pals would take two Campbell’s soup cans, wash them, and remove the labels. They would part wet hair in the middle and create to large rolls, wrapping hair around the cans and affixing at the back of the crown with long hair pins.

The bottom half of the hair was pulled straight from one ear to the other, flattened against the head in a long swirl and held in place with small metal hinge clips (you can use bobbies instead) spaced about a centimeter apart each. Mom owned one of those crazy hair dryers you sit under at the salon, but you can try this at home without. Just be prepared to wait a couple hours before it’s dry and ready to unravel.

Option Two: The High Pony Slight-wave Method

For tresses that were smooth but with a little bit of bounce, Mom would shower at night and pull hair back straight into a high ponytail.

Thank you for the photo, thedailymakeover.com

Rather than affixing with an elastic she would hold it there with one hand and with the other, twist hair around itself into a high bun. She would hold this bun in place with bobbies and let it dry as she slept. In the morning, she would take it out and brush through, letting her long loose hair fall into a straight style with just the right amount of body.

Staying Pow(d)er:

For both looks, Mom made her at-home straight hair solution last with the aid of baby powder. If you’ve run out dry shampoo, you can do the same. Just a little sprinkle at the roots followed by a proper brushing will have you looking freshly washed in no time.

Feeling Restless

Winter has been mild, but no winter is warm enough for me to dress the way I want. The first few weeks of sweaters and jeans, sexy little boots, and velvet dresses are always great. And then the cold, hard reality sets in and I remember that I am months away from my favorites. So, today’s blog is about my spring wish list. And, no, I won’t apologize for complaining about a winter that honestly hasn’t been that bad. It’s still winter. Wah.

Neon jeans:

Sexy, happy, pretty. Just like a NYC girl! Cotton candy-pink peg-legged ankle jeans from BDG for Urban Outfitters, $68. Yes, please!

Lace top:

One can never have too many lace tops. This spring, I want to switch up my mostly floral patterned lace for some cool circular styles like this girl's.

Ridiculous unitard:

One question: Who says I can't? I'm in love with this crazy thing for $54, asos.com.

Sequined pencil skirt:

Why ever not? Sequins make everything better, especially pencil skirts. $695, jcrew.com.

Pretty little dress:

Someday I will be able to buy whatever I want. PREEN Sunshine beaded dress, $2,175, net-a-porter.com.

Killer shoe:

These all-cork platform sandals from Stuart Weitzman make me really happy. And if I don't pay my cell phone bill for two months I might just be able to buy them! $365, bloomingdales.com.

Surprisingly Sparkly

I’ve been noticing a fair amount of advertising for those new Essie “Luxeffects” glitter topcoats. And, since I happen to be in the business of decoding these ads into tips and tricks that work for real women, I had to buy the polish, right? The jury’s still out on whether I really needed to buy two different colors, but I justified the purchase by telling myself there was no point in paying shipping for an $8 purchase. The verdict? I don’t regret the decision.

My killer combo.

While all the options seemed really pretty, I wanted to pick a) the most different from everything else I’ve seen on the market recently, and b) the one I thought I would use the most. So, the two I selected were “Shine of the Times,” a pearlescent pastel-white that runs the gamut from silver to pastel pink, yellow, and beyond; and “As Gold as it Gets,” a rockstar-worthy gilt-free gold. They arrived in the mail and I struggled for about 20 minutes trying to decide which one to try first. In the end, I went with the one I thought would get the most attention, Shine of the Times. It worked.

Shine of the Times

What I love about this topcoat over other glittery nail products I’ve tried is that it isn’t chunky. Instead, the glitter is like a hologram that floats in and out of view but is inherently part of the liquid itself. Thus, when the polish dries, it is in an even shine instead of a rough chunky mess. The next day at work, strangers and colleagues could NOT get enough of my nails. I must have had to walk at least ten people through the products I used under badgering. And a good dozen more simply remarked, “Love your nails!”

Bonus: I painted mine several days ago, and I still don’t have a single chip. This glitter really works as a Teflon-strong topcoat; I didn’t put anything over it!

As Gold as it Gets

I tried Essie’s “Sweet Talker,” a pale powder blue under my Luxeffects. This unique combination of pastels is super pretty and attention-grabbing. Next up? I plan to try a cherry red covered in As Gold as it Gets, like the ad shows. May as well put their tried-and-true combo to the test, no? Happy glittering, girls!

You can purchase the Essie Luxeffects line of products on ulta.com, $8 a bottle.

Fresh Soles

The unseasonably warm winter weather we’ve been experiencing has this NYC girl’s mind drifting toward spring in a serious way. I caved and bought that ASOS dress that I featured on here a couple weeks ago. It fits perfectly, and the cut-out sides are beyond sexy. I can’t wait to wear it! Now, time for some shoe dreams.

To wear with a bright floral or striped spring dress:

Thought cork was over? Think again. Christian Louboutin Glazed Cork Platform Pumps, $1,075, saks.com.

To wear with pastels:

A shimmering snakeskin in pinkish gold draws the eye to your shoes without overpowering the dress. Miu Miu sandals, $990, miumiu.com.

To wear on a date in Central Park:

Sweet ballerina flats from French Sole, approx $130, frenchsole.com for stockists.

To catch his eye (and melt your heart):

Sorbet dreams from dear, sweet Prada. $720, prada.com.