Thursday, January 3, 2013


Beauty Q&A: Cheap Creams, Jeans, and Long Hair Dreams

1. I'm a 31 year old lady and am subtly freaking out over the whole getting older thing. It seems like a week before my 30th birthday, I noticed a couple of fine lines under my eyes, and now I obsess over it. It's making me sad, partially because I feel like years of a few too many cocktails and cigarettes turned me into an old lady faster than if I'd taken better care of myself while younger. My party lifestyle is (mostly) behind me and I've ditched the cigarettes. I try to drink lots of water although I probably don't do a good enough job. Is there anything else I can do to curb the wrinkles? I work at a non-profit, so I can't shell out crazy money for ultra fancy moisturizers. I know part of me has to just be okay with getting older, but I'd like for the transition to be as graceful as possible. My skin tends to be dry and is pretty sensitive. I've also been breaking out but am currently lacking insurance so I can't afford a dermatologist visit.

Anyway, advice on moisturizers that are effective and affordable would be greatly appreciated. Or even fancy stuff I could try that is worth saving up for.

My first piece of advice is to chill. Worrying about something that's so normal it's boring is... boring. Guess what? Every face wrinkles if it's lucky enough to stay alive that long, and then guess what? You're going to die anyway. Literally! Poof, gone. Stress makes it all happen so much faster, so try to stop. And about the fact that you probably ruined your skin with cigarettes and Boone's Farm? Yep. Me too! Too bad, so sad. Let's hope we at least looked cool once while we were doing it. Take the $8 a day you were spending on smokes and put it in a jar. Later you can use the money for an extreme makeover OR a European river cruise. Just think of it as your daily deposit into the Worry Bank and then wash your hands of the guilt, walk away from the mirror, and work on your hobby.

Normally, my answer would be half what I just said, and half a *seemingly* contradictory recommendation to save up for one doctor visit (a month of cigarette allowance will get you in the door!) in order to ask for a Retin-A prescription. In conjunction with a good sunblock, it's the only thing that actually gets rid of wrinkles and prevents new ones, aside from lasering or chemically peeling your face off, which I am also not opposed to if you can afford it. But hey, we're all broke as a joke right now and it's fun to talk about beauty products, so let's brainstorm some cheap miracle creams that purport to be as effective as that stuff from the bottom of the sea. 

I got a tub of Egyptian Magic as a present once and didn't understand what it was for because it has a weird oily texture and smells like medicine, but after Googling I've learned you can smear it all over your face. Some people say it gives you more zits; other people say Madonna uses it. I like it as a hand and elbow lotion, so don't ask me. Or what about trying Vaseline as a night cream? Tyra does that. Vitamin E oil can also maybe "work" on wrinkles and crows feet. See, but now after looking back at this paragraph of hocus pocus and celebrity gossip, I'm talking myself back around to the hard science of topical tretinoin, which is Retin-A, which does work. And not over-the-counter products with retinol — they're not the same thing. Sorry!

For another approach, I remember one Oprah long ago where this woman who was old enough to have teenagers talked about how she shaved her face "in an upward motion" with a razor every morning for maximum exfoliation, and I have to admit, her skin looked incredible.

Commenters: what is your anti-wrinkle secret, or are you busy worrying about important things you can actually do something about?

2. I really hope you can help me solve this intractable problem: last weekend I tried on at least 50 pairs of jeans, from stores like Target and Old Navy to Levi's Curve ID, Madewell, and Nordstrom's. Somehow, when I sit down, all of the jeans immediately expose 1-2 inches of derriere cleveage! The only pair that didn't was an ultra high-waisted pair of total mom jeans from Target which I couldn't bring myself to wear.

I think I have a pretty normal figure, but maybe my waist tucks in and my butt rounds out more than I think? I'm an average to small size. Belts alleviate this problem, but not completely. I don't see butt cracks on anyone else, and 49 out of 50 unique cuts of jeans could not prevent my inadvertant mooning.

So please, dear Jane — what cuts of jeans should I be looking at? Something with a very high rise? Are there any flattering cuts of "mom jeans" out there, and how can I wear them stylishly? I like fitted to straight leg pants, not bootcut, and other than that I'd say my style is pretty average for a twenty something in Brooklyn.

It sounds like you have a great butt.

Lemme just say that of all the stores you named, I'd only be able to find a pair of jeans for myself at one of them: Nordstrom's. (What up Midwesterners who add possessive s's to business names! Meijer's, anyone?) None of the other stores have jeans that are cut right for me, ever, even Levi's, even now with their claim of having it down to a science.

First, avoid the junior's section or any items sized in odd numbers only. Next, do not try on jeans with short zippers. Bring a tape measure with you next time. You're looking for mid-rise or higher, so that's at least 10" from the crotch seam up to the button, and avoid too much stretch. I'd look for denim with less than 2% elastane or any other stretchy fiber. Finally, you want a jean that nips in at your waist, but you're probably going to have to ask a tailor to do that for you after you get everything else you want in a pair. Take a belt with you to envision the fit after alterations.

And yeah, in the end you might end up with more of a high-rise "mom jean," but those are hot now and available at stores with prices closer to Target's, like Urban or the dreadful American Apparel. What about these or these or these? For styling tips, thumb through this "gallery" and see what appeals to you.

3. I have a pixie cut that I've been trying to grow out for a few months (resulting in those elvish, triangular sections of hair covering my ears) and I am REALLY IMPATIENT for it to return to a Conventionally Sexy Lady Hair length (shoulders or, for the love of god, at least a long bob). After initially thinking extensions were tacky, they're now seeming not out of the question. I'm reluctant to plunk down $80+ for them, but I will if necessary because I don't want nasty cheap ones. But basically I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START. Any tips on surviving the horrid grow-out days and finding some good dark brown clip-in extensions?

Installing hair extensions in super-short hair is difficult because the extensions need something substantial to grip onto in order to stay put, plus it's hard to blend them with hairs that don't lay flat or have any movement. To look their best, you'll want to hire a pro to place them for you, and that costs a million bucks. You should try a wig, or a half wig — which can also be called a "fall," "instant weave," or "one-piece extension." Here are a bunch! Half wigs are fun and easy to apply and not too-too expensive and look more natural than a full wig because they incorporate your own hair in the front. Here's an example of how to install one, though your bangs will obviously be shorter/styled a little differently:


Reverse your growing-out strategy! Instead of aiming for more length on every hair at all costs, your new goal is going to be to get the hair up on the very top of your head to grow long enough to reach your ears, while keeping everything else relatively trimmed up and short. Think Rihanna or Miley, for now. I mean, imagine continuing on the path you're on: if you grow each hair on your head out at the same rate without trimming the stuff around your neck and ears, you'll end up with a mullet (or a shag if you're supremely lucky). Instead, let's get that stuff on the very top to lay down and become all one longer length first, which'll get you in better shape to create a bob or whatever hairstyle it is you're dreaming of. Just look at Sheila E. and try telling me there's anything wrong with this idea.

Previously: Do You Smell What I Smell?

Do you have a question for Jane?

210 Comments / Post A Comment


I started wearing (relatively) high-waisted jeans a while ago and it turns out that the brain relief you get from not inadvertently mooning people and/or constantly yanking up your pants really balances out how weird you think you look.


@Pixley The other day I was in the queue at the Post Office and a 40-something dad mooned the entire room while bending over his son's pram. It's so not a good look.


@Pixley I used to work with a grad student who was suuuuper skinny and even wore a belt but he was showing plumber's crack on the regular. So much so that 6 months later, having left the lab where I had worked with him for 3 years, when I saw someone bending over and exposing their ass cleavage I instantly thought "Oh man, I wonder how Jesse is doing!"

Also, I used to run track and my booty was HUGE compared to my waist (it still is, but not as comical). Finding pants is a pain in the ass, but once you find the magic ones, buy multiple pairs in every wash you want and save yourself a few year's strife.


Dude, I invested in a pair of Acne high waisted jeans about ehhhhh 3 years ago and have never looked back. Sure, my gas bill was totally late that month (or two) but SRSLY. also: way more flattering. Also: makes my long legs longer. Just sayin.'

loren smith

@Pixley I feel the same way about the nudie high kai! Mine are four years old and still going strong, even though I never put them in the freezer.


@Pixley Man, I've just learned (like hella people below, it seems) that you just have to pay for the good jeans. http://shop.imogeneandwillie.com/products/imogene-stretch These are my current jam, and they are AMAZING. Size down 2 from what you usually wear and then you will wear them always and forever and there will never be butt-gaps and the world will suddenly be rosy and bright. SRSLY.


@Pixley I swear by Lucky Brand Jeans. They have a fit for everyone, honestly, you could go in there with three legs and come out looking like JLo.


@liznieve I second the Acne jeans! Try some one in a fancy store, then find them on eBay for half the cost.

I have a similar problem with cheap jeans - they all have a weird butt gap. Jbrand always, always work for me, they're true to size, and they come in a million washes and rises. Again, see if there's a fancy boutique where you live, try them on to find your size, then go forth to the eBay. My whole denim wardrobe is from people selling $200 jeans for $50.


This is so cool.@m


Oh man. I feel for the pixie cut girl. I got one two years ago and NOW my hair is finally at my shoulders. It's a long, hard journey for sure. I wrote about my trials and tribulations here: http://www.postcardsandpaperbacks.com/2012/03/so-you-want-to-chop-off-your-hair.html


@PaperbackLady Oh man, I know that feel. I shaved my head, let it grow out to shoulder length, then shaved it again (drunk this time), and it's just now, 2 years almost to the day later, getting back to a decent, non-hideous length. I liked being bald, but NEVER AGAIN!


@PaperbackLady I love your post on your site! I've also had pixie cuts a few times, and very long hair in between, and wow is it interesting how differently the world relates to a woman with short hair. Everything you said totally resonated. I'd been toying with cutting it off again this spring, but I think I just got talked out of it :)

Also! For me, very short hair made me look taller. I don't know if that's common, but it was remarkable. It was like I gained 3 inches.

Violet Beauregarde

@PaperbackLady I love your post! I currently have a pixie cut and have attempted to grow it out, but only get about two months in before I give up and chop it off again. Maybe third time's the charm?


@bodinea thanks!


@Violet Beauregarde Thanks! Yeah, I kept getting 'trims' every few months because I couldn't stand having weird mom hair. Good luck!


@PaperbackLady my hair is finally long enough to have short braids (collar bones). MISSED IT! i shaved my head 3 years ago? at least two years ago and it takes a long slow time to grow back out. and to follow up what jane suggested, YES!! keep the back trimmed. it's your top of your head hair that is the length.


For #2, DL1961 has some great jeans that have about a 9" rise in front and a higher rise in back and are not at all moms jeanish. They're expensive, but if you figure out your size, you can always find them on the gilt-type flash sale sites. I've also found a few pairs at Anthro that have a similar medium-high rise in front and high-rise in back. I haven't tried the BDG ones from urban, but they were going to be my first suggestion since they're on sale anyway!

Dirty Hands

@hulia LW2: My latest jeans-that-fit-and-look-swell brand is Eddie Bauer, their curvy ones. Though for some reason the "curvy" cut of their slacks doesn't fit me well at all. Try the "curvy" cuts of things maybe?

New Hoarder

@hulia I totally hate myself for living in and loving these but I do: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10057176

I've turned a whole bunch of friends and family on to them. They're especially great if you're in-between sizes (like my post-baby sister) and don't want to spend a ton of money at the moment.


@hulia Yup, try anything labeled "curvy" - that means that the waist will be smaller and the hips bigger. I am also a big fan of Eddie Bauer curvy or Banana Republic's "Martin" fit. Eddie Bauer has both curvy and slightly curvy. I'm trying to remember where else - Old Navy, if you're looking for a cheap pair to tide you over, has a couple of fits that are curvier, but they have girls' names, and I can't remember what they are.


FWIW: I was talking cosmetics with my mom recently (mid-60s, fair skin, history of sun exposure and smoking when she was young), and she swears by foundation primer to help smooth out the lines in her face. It won't fix wrinkles and lines, but it might minimize them?
I'm personally trying to keep my face preserved by wearing powder with sunscreen in it. Also maybe I should start using eye cream at night?


LW1!!! Your question could have easily been written by me! Entering the 30s, panicky about aging, super-dry sensitive skin, broke as a joke in nonprofit, etc. So here's the deal:

Jane is exactly correct in that the big thing you should save up for is a visit to the dermatologist for some Retin-A. Retin-A is the THING THAT WORKS. The visit may cost you money, and the prescription may cost you money, but the good news is that they'll probably give you a tube that is so enormous, it'll last you forever and you'll never need to go back for a refill. Do it! And use it exactly as directed. At night. And when your skin gets red and splotchy, skip a day or two so you can adjust.

Meanwhile, during the day and on the nights when you're not using Retin-A, grease it up! The heaviest moisturizers in the world! This can be done either cheaply or expensively. If you want to do it cheaply, get a bottle of olive oil, or some vitamin E oil from the drugstore, or some Aquaphor, or I used to swear by the generic Rite Aid brand of vitamin E cream that has the consistency of cream cheese. You can experiment a little until you find the right Crisco-like grease for your needs, but there's a lot out there! Otherwise, if you want something fancy-fancy, just walk into Sephora and have them point you in the direction of the oils. (I use Clarins Santal Oil and now also a free sample of Tarte's maracuja oil.)

So basically spend some of your time slathered in Retin-A, and some of your time greased up like a watermelon in a swimming pool, and also make sure that your face never sees the sun again, and you should do okay.

Jane Marie

@werewolfbarmitzvah a watermelon in a swimming pool!


@werewolfbarmitzvah Okay, but doesn't Retin-A dry your skin out like crazy? And LW1 said she already has pretty dry skin. I have the same problem! I want to use this miracle product but I'm afraid that my face will disintegrate into a pile of skin flakes (gross, sorry).


@tee Yeah, my dermatologist straight up refused to prescribe Retin-A for my dry, hypersensitive skin.


@tee Yes, it does dry out your skin like crazy. Which is why you may need to gently exfoliate a couple times per week (maybe just use a washcloth so things don't get even more irritated), use the Retin-A maybe every other day instead of every day, and the rest of the time, HEAVY DUTY GREASY PRODUCTS. I cannot overemphasize the importance of the grease. I have extremely dry skin and was able to use Retin-A (very cautiously) and managed to make it work.


@werewolfbarmitzvah SO! I just went down the Retin-A path for the first time, and bought a night cream at the store that contained it. Being an idiot/noob/non-reader of labels, I immediately slathered it over my whole face, including eye area as duh, that's where the lines I wanted to disappear laid. Aaaaand then disaster struck.

Apparently (according to my doc after I called her freaking the fuck out) some people with more sensitive skin have to build up a tolerance to Retin-A and it should not be put directly on the eye skin. This was discovered when about three days after beginning to use it, I awoke to the skin under my eyes red and scabbing off. Which wasn't exactly the look I was trying to achieve.

To correct, I had to use vaseline for about two weeks and then I had to switch in reg mosturizer four nights a week and only use Retin-A (which I switched to a prescription from my doc) every other night and not put it anywhere near my eyes.

It's all fine now, and I do feel like there is a noticeable difference in my skin from the Retin-A!

I guess the moral of this drawn out story is to beware and prob go through your doctor if trying it for the first time, as I imagine mine would have told me all of this prior to use. And I wouldn't have had to suffer through two weeks of crust-ball peepers.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Just to pimp the company I used to work for: ProgressiveRX is an online pharmacy that hooks you up with awesome generics from India. We got our generic Retin-A from Johnson & Johnson's factory in India. High-quality stuff, and I use it myself. So all you really need to save up for is the doctor visit, and then you can get the cream for much cheaper :)


@werewolfbarmitzvah I see dividingday just commented along the lines of something I was going to say, when I didn't have insurance I got my fancy derm face creams from canadian pharmacies. So cheap. I use Tazorac and that stuff works. No wrinkles. My face is zit and wrinkle free. I am about to turn 35. As far as it drying me out, yes, my face is the Sahara. I use the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream in the tube, so no contamination etc. But its gotta be the cream. Also, like most older white ladies, I recently got a humidifier. But seriously. Go to the dermatologist!! Mine charges like less than a hundo! Also if you are like I don't have insurance mine gives me a ton of free samples and sometimes those samples can last months.


@tee It also makes your skin more sun-sensitive, so sun protection is important.

Amanda Boesen@facebook

@werewolfbarmitzvah I have super sensitive skin and I tried Retin-A in high school—it literally BURNED MY SKIN. However, I recently got another tube on the doc's recommendation that it was much milder now. At first, it made my skin red and, like, peely. It felt like it was disintegrating. But then I read the instructions. You are supposed to wash (and moisturize, I'm doing) your face, WAIT AT LEAST 30 MINUTES, then apply the cream. It has made everything feel much safer.

the angry little raincloud

@tee I'm not using prescription Retin-A, but an OTC retinol (La Roche Posay Redermic) that has worked very well on my very, very dry skin. I think my skin is actually less dry since I started using it, plus my one wrinkle (a product of my constant scowling) is noticeably diminished, plus overall just in better shape.

The LRP stuff isn't super cheap ($55, and the tube lasts me about 6 months), but I'm happy with it as a non-prescription alternative.

I also tried the ROC sensitive retinol cream for eyes, and it worked fine and didn't irritate me. I only use it a couple times a week, though. It was only about $20 and I've had the tube forever.

Better to Eat You With

@werewolfbarmitzvah I'm pushing 40 and rotate generic Retin-A with Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula (which I was sure would break me out, but didn't). I've got some sun damage and some things are starting to sag more than I'd hoped they (ever) would, but I'm fairly wrinkle-free. And with pretty basic health insurance, my dermatologist co-pay is $18 and the generic prescription something like $14 for 6 months.

Going to the dermatologist feels like the biggest luxury in the world to me, because I always thought (when I was in a nonprofit job) that it would be soooo expensive. I feel very glam every time I go.

odd number

I also had problems with Retin-A (very drying, even at the lowest concentration and once-every-few-days), and I found that layering on moisturizer to compensate gave me zits. So since then (which was like 6 years ago), I've been using Differin every other day. Its a retinoid but much less drying. Unfortunately I'm not sure how it compares to Retin-A in the wrinkle-reducing department... anyone know?

Miss Kitty Fantastico

@werewolfbarmitzvah AGH RETIN-A CHANGED MY LIFEEEEEEEEE. I've been using tretinoin for almost 2 years and it's fantastic. I do, however, have to moisturize like a fiend.

At night, about a half-hour after I use the tretinoin I slather (seriously, I barely rub it in) Olay's night cream.

In the morning I was using a super-fancy Chanel serum (what was I thinking?), but then I, too, started at a non-profit and switched to using Clinique's Dramatically Different GEL and it's wayyy better than the fancy stuff.

Now my face is, if not awesome, then MUCH better than it used to be. Except during lady-time, then all bets are off :-(


@werewolfbarmitzvah --- you can get non-prescription strength Retin-A over the counter -- check out ROC's night and eye creams and Neutrogena's Healthy Skin cream. I've used them for about 10 yrs (I am Old) and ppl routinely think I'm 10 years younger than I really am. Start before age 30.


@werewolfbarmitzvah ALSO-- you can use moisturizer over retin-A and it still works. At night. I have used Retin-A for years (although my newest doctor prescribed me Differin, which is NOT the same, and I have to go back and get her to change it but I'm scared because she thinks I'm a little nuts). But anyways, I let it soak in for a few minutes and then put Curel Fragrance Free on my face over it and it works very well!

I just bought some Neutregena anti-wrinkle eye cream stuff with retinol but, yeah, I'm pretty sure it won't actually do anything. When I get Retin-A again I'm going to mix tiny bits of it with the curel and put that on my eyes instead.


What is Retin-A called through that site in India, please? Also, do you know if you can get Latisse (called something like biphemerol) there? Thanks!

katie s.@twitter

Tommy Hilfiger jeans was my savior for the butt-to-hip ratio issue, for what it's worth.


@katie s.@twitter Yes to all of this! Hilfiger is expensive but it does amazing things if you're not into mom jeans but really don't want your stuff out there. I've been buying his Victoria model jeans for years now and although I've dabbled a bit in Levis and Mustang, there is nothing better than Tommy. Great fabric (Levis stretches out like crazy), beautiful straight leg (but not skinny) and they update colour scheme every year, I think, so you won't end up with the exact same jeans every time.

New Hoarder

@Helvetica After Googling them, the Victoria jeans look like a UK-only thing- is that right? Where do you buy them?


@New Hoarder Oh, I didn't realise that! I live in Northern Europe and I go to a jeans store which carries Hilfiger. But I would think some department stores or jeans store would carry Hilfiger jeans and the Victoria in the US too.

Reginal T. Squirge

I know somebody that knows something about the ladies' jeans at Macy's that might be good for this problem.


@Reginal T. Squirge I have the same butt-gap issue and go for the DKNY Soho jeans at Macy's. They have a little stretch and a semi-high rise, but aren't quite momjeans (or at least I tell myself that...).

RK Fire

@bitzy: I just got a pair of these last night from Marshall's for $25! Woooo!


Ok can you really just get a Retin-A prescription? Is this an only-in-America thing?

Better to Eat You With

@mabellegueule Mine was initially to treat acne, but my dermatologist has kept me on it for years. As long as I get the generic, my insurance covers it.


I have a very similar problem with pants, which I don't quite understand as I don't think I have such an unusual body, but have only found four pairs of pants that fit me in my adult life. (Two are from Ann Taylor so I'd recommend there to others!) I *am* really happy with my butt but I would love to own just one pair of jeans like a normal human, I've literally never found a single pair of jeans that fits me right. It sucks!


I am a plus size lady, and NEVER can find jeans that fit. I took a leap of faith and bought 2 pairs (TWO) of Lucky Brand Jeans online... without trying them on (but with a great coupon that made it worth the risk).
Let me tell you, it was the best decision I made in 2012. I would buy them again and again without the coupon. They have multiple cuts (skinny, bootcut) and just a pinch of stretch to accomodate the junk in the trunk. And they are high enough that I can wear them to work without worrying about mooning my coworkers.
Also they say "Lucky You" on the inside of the fly (once unzipped). Which makes me giggle every time.
I swear by these jeans!

up cubed

@ElOllie Also, Lucky jeans tend to have big butt pockets, so they are proportional to a curvy butt. I get mine at Goodwill.
I generally find pants that have "curvy hips" in the title are more flattering than other patterns.

every tomorrow@twitter

@ElOllie you are now the second person I have heard that about Lucky jeans from! I have actually never set foot in the Lucky Brand store near me on the assumption that they did not make anything that fit me. Like, I just assume that all stores like that just don't sell anything over a size 14.


@ElOllie I can't say for sure because I've not worn them recently, but I think there are sometimes slightly larger Lucky jeans in Macy's than might be on the shelf in your local Lucky shop.


@All the LUCKY ladies in the house (the ladies, the ladies!) (I'm sorry; I just fest so Beastie Boyish when I typed that); If you're in an area that has a Loehmann's, they've sometimes got Lucky jeans for about $40; I've gotten all of mine over the years there. It's a crapshoot and all, but those stores often have signs with the brands' names right on the racks, and they also have a "premium denim" catchall section too.


I love those implications. "Lucky you, you're pooping on company time!" "Lucky you, you're about to get laid!"


@ElOllie All my jeans are from Lucky for this reason! Only problem I've had is that they have the patch in the waistband and after one day of walking a year ago it scraped a bunch of skin of and I still have a scar on my lower back.

Also they're very, very proud of their jeans being handmade which means there's variation, so I have some jeans of the same size/cut/wash that fit just sliiiightly differently, which is the last thing you want from your $100 jeans when you're trying to remember "can I bend over in these or is that the other pair?" But their Sweet & _____ line still fits better than near anything else I've tried.


I have hips and Joe's Honey jeans have been amazing for me. They're pretty straight leg, and they actually curve back in at the top to prevent the mooning! The tricky part is that it's better to buy them a little snug - which makes them gappy - so it's intimidating in the dressing room.

Related: I'd rather shop for bathing suits a million times before I had to shop for jeans once. Ugh. I feel your pain.

Roxy Throatpunch

@doomfordarlings Word to Joe's! WORD.


@doomfordarlings Joe's tend to stretch a LOT over the course of multiple wears (as compared to other "premium denim") so if you go the Honey route, buy 'em TIGHT. I wear a size smaller in Joe's than I do in any other kind of jeans.

Pound of Salt

I heard taking zinc pills every day is supposed to be good for skin and hair?


@Pound of Salt I've been taking zinc tablets every three hours to try and fend off a cold/flu/whatnot so I'll report back if they do anything miraculous?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Take it easy on all the zinc! Not too much and take with food. Too much will give you the worst cramps/upset stomach. Because what you really are missing when you are coughing all the time is a seized up stomach and diarrhea...


@bitzy It's the generic Zicam tablets, they're orange-flavored meltaway things. Recommended dose is one every three hours, which seems like a lot to me, but no bad reactions so far. Have been snacking! Will continue to snack. Thank you for the incentive to snack. :)

fondue with cheddar

@bitzy I second this! I have a very strong stomach, but I threw up the other day when I took zinc before breakfast. And it's definitely bad to take too much of it. Read up!

I read something this weekend about how certain forms of zinc are harder on the stomach than others, but I can't for the life of me remember where. Try googling "zinc empty stomach" (not in quotes), which is what I searched for when I looked into it. If I have time later today I'll see if I can find it.


@Pound of Salt I take zinc capsules (solaray optizinc, which is 30mg zinc and has something in it to help absorption) for my skin and hair! I think it has helped with breakouts and my scalp (seborrheic dermatitis), which is actually why I started taking it. I was doing a lot of internet research on skin side effects of copper iuds since this all seemed to get much worse after getting the iud, and read a couple places that zinc can help balance the copper you absorb from the IUD. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I have had far fewer breakouts and between that and a good zinc dandruff shampoo my scalp is healed! I forgot to take it a lot during the holiday since I was out of my routine, and my scalp started getting a little itchy again, but it seems to be getting better again now that I am back on it.

Erica Geissman@facebook

LW2!! This had been my problem forever. I have a butt/hip area that's about a size 31 and a waist that's a size 29 (badonk.) Anyways, buy to fit your largest area and get them tailored! They can do amazing things nowadays. They remove the waist band and take it in, along with pleating the top of the rest of the jeans (does this make sense?) anyways what you're left with is a pant perfectly curved around your natural shape. Best of luck!


#2- Banana Republic consistently carries non-Mom jeans for ladies with relatively small waists and great asses (this is how I choose to view myself). Loft and J Brand jeans are worth checking out. Avoid Target like the plague unless you plan to pair them with long shirts. And as Jane said, stretch is not our friend.


oh GOD LW#2...I could be you. I finally found some jeans I like at Express. Sounds weird, right? All the clubby looking outfits...*shudder*...BUT (heh), I knew I loved their Editor pants for work, and they had started carrying short sizes (short curvy girls are awesome, PS. I should know.), so I figured I'd try it. Pure awesomeness ensued. And they've lasted me almost 2 years now, so I haven't had to buy new ones yet. Good luck, butt-endowed lady!


Another budget skin solution: Bag Balm. Carmen Dell'Orefice swears by it. I used it daily to ages. It has some kind of active ingredient that seemed to prevent clogging and zits, even though it's basically a mix of vaseline and lanolin. Lasts for EVER too.


@Susanna Bag Balm is amazing. I have also recently discovered jojoba oil (you can get it at Trader Joe's) and it is phenomenal on my face and hands. Seems to have prevented my winter eczema, too.

up cubed

Ask a friend to bring back Retin-A from their Mexican vacation? My recollection from adolescent acne is that it can be obtained OTC at a decent price.

Hot Doom

@upupandaway Yep. Might sound dodgy, but mine is from Mexico, otc and was like $16 for a goodly-sized tube. It's a MexiCAN. (Sorry) and P.S. it's called Reacil-A there.

loren smith

@Hot Doom Hello! I am going to Mexico on Friday. Did you just go to a farmacia and ask for Reacil-A? I have some old acne scars and redness and $16 seems like a reasonable amount of money for a professional product. How did you know how to use it?

Hot Doom

@loren smith I just asked for Reacel A because that's what my cousin had bought and used so that's also how I picked out the strength of the cream. if you ask for retin A, they will know what you mean and since I had never tried it before I think I got the low to middling strength one and then used it sparingly.


#1 - Here is my advice. Save up $45 and go to Sephora/Ulta and buy the Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads. You get a giant jar of 60 pads. Now, before you start using them, pick up the top 5 to 10 pads and, using a clean pair of scissors, cut them in half. Keep doing this as needed. Now you have a jar of 120 pads! Use half a pad a night after cleansing (or every other night if you feel sensitive), rubbing it all over your face and neck. Don't rinse off the pad juice (the directions say to do this). These things really, truly refine your skin. You will get your youthful glow back!


@Stickynee Hmmmm...I'm so far, so good in my early 40s with no wrinkles, and my secret is probably genetics because it sure is not abstaining from the bad stuff (though I am very good about sunblock!) but you make me want these things for a preemptive strike! In fact, I kind of just want to go to Sephora and say, "Here's what I wish I could have and here's what I have to spend...GO!"


ooohhh girl with the derriere cleavage. i feel for you--i had this problem for years. i started wearing bdg high-waisted jeans from urban outfitters a couple years ago and haven't had traumatizing experiences in department store fitting rooms since! i recommend going to the store and trying on lots of pairs, though, as the amount of spandex varies & changes the fit/look of the jeans.


@essysea I only ever wear the BDG high-waisted jeans now. They're amazing! I rotate between the four different coloured pairs I have.


I use RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Cream every few days. I have read in several places that it's one of the best OTC retinol products for this sort of thing.

For hair - Biotin! This doesn't solve your immediate problem, but it makes your hair grow faster. I skeptically started taking it when a derm suggested it (when I was going through a phase where I thought I was going bald), but the next time I saw my hairdresser she couldn't believe how much my roots had grown.

lasso tabasco

@KeLynn Right! I use this too. But Jane says it's not the same! Does it still work, just more slowly? I've been using it for about two months and haven't noticed anything at all.


@lasso tabasco - If I am correct (which, you might want to google to confirm this), Retin-A is an extra strong/prescription strength Retinol. So I believe OTC retinol is not as strong as Retin-A, but they're the same general category?

Pocket Witch

Oh girlfriends jeans are the worst. I love them and would wear them every day, but shopping for them is a waking nightmare. Skinny jeans: always too tight in the calf. Everything except this one style I found at a Gap outlet in Minnesota and I think it's been discontinued: huge enormous gap at the back of the waist. And ankle length is too short, while regular is too long.

I've actually had fair-to-middlin' luck with the "curvy" styles, where "curvy" is a euphemism for the delicious padding in the general area of my butt. They tend to be higher-rise and less cylindrical. (What is up with pants that are exactly as wide at the waist as at the hips?)

Also, I saw this briefly in my RSS reader and got all excited because I thought the long hair question would be something where I could go "I have long hair! Ask meeeeee!"

raised amongst catalogs

@Where Pies Go When They Die It takes what feels like FOREVER to start working, but I wouldn't expect to see a visible change in your skin for about three months. When people start out with Retin-A the tendency is to use a TON OF IT EVERYDAY and then you end up with an inflamed, red, peely mess of a face. Pea-sized should do ya just fine, dotted on each cheek, the forehead and the chin and then blended.
I don't know the directions you got, but some people start out using it one to two times a week and then gradually build up to three times a week or so. You'll know when you're using it too much because your cheeks will feel windburned and you'll always look embarrassed!
Let me know how it works out for you. My super sensitive skin can only take the milder retinols but I worked for a doc for a long time and learned a lot through the skin care center attached to his practice.


@raised amongst catalogs Also - if you have sensitive skin, wait 20 minutes after you wash your face before applying Retin-A. If I apply it right away, I end up with flaky face for a week.

Jane Marie

@Where Pies Go When They Die it worked on my acne in about 2 months, noticeably on scars closer to 6 months down the line, but the big benefits accumulate over years.


I have the opposite problem with jeans and I hate it. My torso is long and my waist is both high up and not particularly narrow, so nipped-waisted pants look and feel awful on me. I feel like my only options are to go back to low rise pants and risk butt cleavage or to buy pants way too big and have them look saggy in the butt. I like my butt so I'm going with option #1 at the moment, but am open to suggestions/brands that assume less curve.


@entangled Forever 21. I'm short-waisted rather than long-torso'd, but my waist is also not very narrow (as it doesn't have much room between my hipbones and my ribcage to work with, I guess?). I have a tiny (but delightful, I insist) posterior, and I hate the thought of my jeans being saggy in the butt (which I dealt with a lot as a teenager).

Anyway, I have never found jeans that fit me better than Forever 21's $10.50 basic pair, and I find that they hold up remarkably well, don't stretch out over time, and they come in a variety of washes/rises/inseams.

sarah girl

@entangled I have the same problem!! I've had good luck with Levi's Slight Curve jeans (from the Curve ID line); I also just got some of the Old Navy Rockstar skinny jeans (although you have to size up a lot for some reason, don't let the number upset you) and they fit really well.


@yeah-elle waitasec, I thought I was the only person with this issue. I am top-heavy, bottom-adorable, and non-waisted. Calvin Klein Power Stretch, Theory for the occasional client meeting/fancy things, and Alternative Apparel for floopy tank tops that don't make me look preggers/ho-tastic.

Forever 29, here I come.

Tits McGee is on Vacation

For the jeans gals out there,

It doesn't explain about the butt crack issue, but was very helpful in looking for jeans based on the butt. At the end of the post are other links to Plus sized jeans, finding the perfect fit, etc.

fondue with cheddar

@Tits McGee is on Vacation I've noticed how much of an effect pocket placement has on the "mom-ness" of jeans, and seeing it side-by-side really brings it home. The plus version (linked at the top) is helpful too, because finding jeans for more ample asses has a whole host of problems. Thanks for the link!

Reginal T. Squirge

@Where Pies Go When They Die

Seems to have worked for me, mostly.


I have the jeans problem too! But mine's because I have, have, have to wear low rise jeans! I carry my belly weight pretty high and anything even near my natural waist just makes me look like a sausage. My friend swears by high-waist pants as slimming, but I have the opposite problem. Anyone know of good brands for that? At this point, I am praying jeggings never go out of style.


@BornSecular I think we have similar problems, and while I haven't solved it completely, I've learned to avoid anything labeled "CURVY."

It drives me nuts, because I have a long torso and a slow curve to my waist and it feels like a higher-rise would flatter that more. But it is all a lie! as is the new lines designed to fit more body shapes. Anyway, the regular levis, rather than the curve ID ones, have fit me pretty well, whereas the Curve ID are a disaster.

I have had OK luck with the modern super skinny from LOFT. They're a little unflattering in the waist, particularly after laundry day, but stretchy enough that if I tug and adjust the waist it starts to cling less. Their "modern" or lowest cut pants fit me pretty well and aren't that low-cut.

I am open to more suggestions, though. I'd love to look good in higher-rise pants.

Beatrix Kiddo

@BornSecular I have a pretty dramatic waist to butt ratio, but still, only low-rise jeans look good on me, and I can never find them anymore! Where are these mythical stores that sell anything other than trendy high-waisted jeans? Lately I have to live in high-waisted jeggings with long shirts over them, since I can't find anything else tolerable.


Recommendations I have made before: I know nothing about straight-sized jeans as far as fit, and also I like my jeans a little higher-waisted, so this may be useless advice, but the Style & Co. jeans at Macy's have been nothing but kind to me. I have four pairs of them. They fit great and I never feel, shall we say, drafty in the back. And I've a fairly generous rump. The only problem I have with them is they're too long (I'm 5'5" and fairly evenly proportioned), but that's an easy fix if you were to run into that.

My one other pair of jeans is by Michael Kors and they are pretty great, too, but I don't have four pairs of those to go by. Also, I have only worn them once, because I work too much and they don't let me wear jeans. Sobs.


@camanda seconding the Style & Co rec! also try Apple Bottoms or Dereon if you find them on sale in the less garish versions they are very curve friendly. from a fellow tiny-waisted/big-assed girl.


@Where Pies Go When They Die I have been on a retin-a like product since I was basically 15 or so. Everytime I go off, zits. I am now almost 35 and I have noticed that compared to most of my peers, no lines, no wrinkles and also, never any zits ever. Seriously, keep on keeping on. It takes awhile but you'll catch a glance in a mirror and be like my skin looks amazing!! It just sucks that you just have to be so consistent and everyday about it. But really, its worth it!

the ghost of amy lee

@Where Pies Go When They Die I tried using Retin-A for scars, and it didn't work too well. I've had much better luck with lactic acid peels. I did one at home every 2 weeks for about 6 months, then I switched to Retin-A to keep my acne at bay. I also use a fuck ton of thick unscented face cream with Vitamin E (it's some weird mexican brand, as I live next door to a mexican grocery store), and the combination works like a charm.


LW1: Sunscreen! Every day! How has no one said this yet?

Less Lee Moore@facebook

@milominderbender I really think this isn't stressed enough! If you read Paula Begoun's Beautypedia site (which everyone should for real) she says this all the time.


So growing out a pixie is agonizing, no bones about it. I've done it 3 times, and I finally kind of did it right the third time around because I approached it differently, kind of like Jane suggested. Instead of just growing all my hair out without any trims like a mad woman, I decided to get it frequently shaped into a Louise Brooks-style bob and then really grow it out from there. It was still un-fun, but at no point did I feel entirely like a Hobbit.

Miss Kitty Fantastico

@piekin I wish I had done this - I'm growing mine out from being bald and THEN keeping it in what I refer to as a "fancy buzz-cut" for three years. I just grew it out and grew it out which is NOT a good look for corkscrew curls. I recently got the mullet part of it cut off and it looks soooooo much better.

Hobbit-style is a good way to describe the past year of my hair life.

straw hat

Aw pixie cut girl, I feel you. I've been growing out mine for about six months now and it's taking all my willpower to leave it alone.
My strategy so far is a milder version of the Sheila E, I go to my stylist every 2 months or so and she trims the back and the bottom layer so it doesn't look too mullet-y. She also gives me a pep talk, cause she's great.
Also it's winter so I can get away with wearing tuques and berets indoors.

every tomorrow@twitter

Sadly the way I have prevented wrinkles is by being fat (I'm too pudgy to wrinkle!) and by never going in the sun because I am high risk for melanoma. I do not really recommend either method. I hear nice things about the sun.


I know they were mentioned, but the Levi's Curve ID jeans fit so absolutely perfect for me. I guess I'm on the curvier side (26" waist, 40" hips), but the Bold Curve Levi's are so amazing. No more butt gaps!

Sunny Schomaker

@Louise I am also a Curve ID (Bold!) fan. Every other wash, I do have to put them in the dryer to shrink them back up to original size, though.

Lily Rowan

I have pretty dry skin, and love some cheap-ass Pond's moisturizer from the drug store. Although for winter I'm about to kick in with jojoba oil at night as well.


@Lily Rowan Also cheap and good from the drug store are Nivea face crams (I obviously meant "creams" but "face crams" made me laugh so I left it), which I have been have a a fuck of a time finding lately... which I guess could indicate that this suggestion is a terrible one. I use other Nivea products too but I get all weird about using a body lotion on my face, so I don't know if they're the same. But they are cheap and they smell nice and plain and clean (and I'm a sensitive-/dry-skin lady).


@Lily Rowan Jojoba oil is changing my life. Foreals.


As a denim recommendation, I have been pleased with Kut From the Kloth brand jeans (despite the terrible use of Ks for Cs). I got mine on sale from Nordstrom or the Rack or something like that when a friend recommended them as having a higher-but-not-momlike rise. I get compliments on them regularly. :)

Mrs. Coach McGuirk

@OptimistPrime I AGREE! Kut From the Kloth is such an embarrassing name, but the jeans are great!


To quote Cheryl Strayed/Sugar: "There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round." I feel this probably applies to those whose faces are wrinkly, too. Be interesting! Don't worry about your face!

And for the jeans letter-writer, I have found success with Old Navy's Sweetheart jeans for a high-enough rise.


I used to think that "taking it to your tailor" was one of those things that only rich famous people did...until it happened to me. It has changed my life. The looks I get when I wear something that fits me perfectly is worth it. I always feel amazing in those clothes and tend to take care of them a little more than my others.

I think it is the feeling of being a grown up.


@whereismyrobot I feel this way about the shoe-repair man! It sounded so... old-fashioned yet strangely decadent. But I did it (many times, in fact) and I am so much the better for it. And it was way cheaper than I thought, to the point that I thought I'd misunderstood!


@Hellcat The fact that I could recap the heel of a $200 shoe for $5 sold me for LIFE. I was also able to keep the beautiful leather boots I was gifted for xmas that didn't fit over my large calves. Gave them to my shoe guy, he stretched them out, and voila. Went from "oh, I'll have to sell them on ebay I guess" to "lookin' fab and wearin' daily". Having a good shoe guy is a godsend.


@jule_b_sorry Plus, when someone complains about a shoe problem, you get to say, "...I got a guy..." like in an old gangster movie.


My college roommate had a skinny waist but thicker thighs/butt from being a kicka$$ soccer player. After several years of wearing PJ pants to skirt the issue (ah, college), she's had great luck with Eddie Bauer jeans.

Re: short is too short, regular is too long pants: Tailor! Seriously. $10 for your jeans to fit like MAGICK.

Dirty Hands

@sparrow303 Eddie Bauer curvy fit! Yes! Also, yes, tailor EVERYTHING.


Dear LW3

I have recently undergone the transition from pixie to longish bob, and because I’m not into fake hair, it took about 12 months all up. Here is my advice:

1. Get an awesome supportive hairdresser who knows what you want to do, will hold your hand through the process, won’t let you get frustrated and chop all your hair off again, and will say encouraging things when you come in like “oooh look how long it’s getting!” (when its actually just grazing your chin).

2. Get regular haircuts, every 6 weeks. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but there is unavoidable awkwardness involved in growing out a pixie, and if you just let your hair do its own thing it will grow into a horrible mullet-y mess that will depress you, and tempt you to throw in the towel and chop it off again just so you can have a nice haircut. Plus, you want your hair to be long but in nice condition, right?

3. The hardest part is getting the hair on the very top of your head to be long enough to reach the back of your neck, and then you can get it all chopped into the same length to form a bob. Once you reach that point, hard part over! But it can feel like you take a big backward step because you have to lose some length from the hair at the base of your head so to meet the length of the hair at the top. You will go from ponytail-ability back to none for a couple of months, but at least you have an actual haircut that people walk into the hairdressers and request, rather than what is clearly a growing out pixie.

4. Get a fringe. When you have something interesting going on up front, you don’t notice what’s happening at the back so much. Seriously, this was the best bit of advice my hairdresser gave me.

5. Biotin supplements – I don’t know that they actually make your hair grow faster, but I felt like they made mine thicker and less breaky.

Good luck!

Dirty Hands

@slb I am emailing your advice to myself for it is wise.


@slb Yes to all of this! I went from pixie to mid-back (and then cut 4 inches off which I now miss and am desperately trying to get back) in about 3 years, and the first year was the hardest.

Getting it cut every 6 weeks was key for me - if only because it kept me feeling fresh and cute and my amazing stylist would fawn over me and tell me how prett I was. Silly, but when you're feeling down in the dumps over your hair being awkward, having a regular "Look how gorgeous you are! Let me make you feel even prettier!" appointment is a solid investment.

Litebrite Idea

I have combo skin that gets oily and breaks out in T-zone but can be dry and sensitive in other areas. I've noticed a big improvement with this inexpensive evening cleansing routine: remove makeup with a cold cream/sensitive cream cleanser (I like Pond's cucumber or Nivea Visage gentle cleansing cream if you're in a country where that's available.) Then I combine half cheap apricot exfoliator and Burt's Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile cleanser.

I've really been liking my black rice face cream (currently I have an off-brand I picked up at a liquidator but I think it's similar to the Perlier). It moisturizers really well without making me look shiny/greasy, even after working out.

Most people are shocked at how old I am when they look at me...but I also never spent much time in the sun and it seems like people age well on both sides of my family. When well rested and hydrated, my wrinkles are almost invisible (after a few drinks and dried out makeup I look more my age).


@Litebrite Idea I love love love that Soap Bark and Chammomile cleanser! It changed my life.

Hot Doom

Does anyone have any anti-wrinkle/ old-lady-hands-preventing luck with retin-A? I just slapped some on, so in case my hands are dry and withered in the morning, I'll know the answer.


@Hot Doom This. I live in fear of old lady hands.


@Hot Doom aqaphor is amazing. my hands look sooo much better. i actually got it for my child who has terrible excema (like he gets bleach baths weekly and aqauphor every other day ALL THE TIME or gets plaques) regular moistizer was not doing enough. but moisturizing + Aquaphor has healed my sad winter hands.


Are there any tall ladies out there that have found the kind of jeans that Jane is talking about?
I've been desperately looking for this exact thing (little to no stretch, medium rise), BUT with at least a 36" inseam. I've been making do with the Old Navy sweetheart jeans, but these have enough stretch in them that after 2 wears, they're super baggy in the thighs (but still oddly tight on the calves? Not a good look).
Any tall ladies out there with guidance for a fellow 'pinner?

Jane Marie

@RationalHatter have you tried Notify? they're on theoutnet.com quite often at deep discounts and have 36" inseams.

simone eastbro

@RationalHatter Dish Jeans definitely come with 36" inseams. Honestly not sure about the junk issue, but worth a look.

Sincerely, Jane

@RationalHatter Yes! At Buckle. I always had the best shopping experiences there. They work on commission, I believe, and so I would just sit in the dressing room while they brought pair after pair, one size bigger in this, a little slimmer cut than that, etc. etc. Now that I know that perfect fit is Silver Tuesdays in 29/36, I don't go through all that anymore, but it was seriously life changing in high school when I didn't even realize pants could be sold by the inseam! The Silver Tuesdays are a bit lower rise (just at the pointy front of my hip bones) but wraps right around my butt for no gap when I sit down. Good luck!!

loren smith

@RationalHatter My very tall sister in law loves the nudie high kai - it can come in a L36! They are pricey, but my (shorter) haigh kai's have lasted me four years and still look perfect.

Tits McGee is on Vacation

@RationalHatter I'm also a 36" inseam and I just go to TJMaxx, their Runway stuff (the more expensive brands) always has designer jeans which are always looong. Sure they're more expensive ($60-90ish) than Old Navy or Gap but they are made well and last much longer. It can be a bit hit or miss though.


@RationalHatter i love ny and co tall jeans. their tall/curvy boot cut jean is amazeballs. (i'm a size 14 and about 6ft)


i have the jeans problem too! i think its a problem with literally the jeans not the bodies. not that our bodies could have problems, haha! because i don't have a big but and a small waist. i have a small butt, or as we call it in my family a non-ass. and maybe a normal/average waist. I've always assumed that jeans literally never fit anyone ever

fondue with cheddar

@Angelena@twitter I think ladies' jeans properly fit about five people.

Tits McGee is on Vacation

@Angelena@twitter Go here, changed the way I think about jeans. http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2012/02/jeans.html


Pixie-Hair Girl: You've probably already thought of this, but can you get away with headbands for a while? I think slightly messy pixie hair decorated with a cute headband is... well, so cute! I did it all the time a while back when I grew out my pixie hair (even though the plastic kind get on my nerves after a while). But my hair grows strangely fast so I didn't have to do it for very long. There are so many options and it's like adding another accessory to an outfit for cheapity-cheap! (What is with me and posting in this thread about getting things on the cheap? Am I having subconscious money stress! Maybe I should check my bank account just in case...)

ample pie

@Where Pies Go When They Die: yeah, it works well. I usually apply on alternate days only to avoid peeling. Also sunscreen! Please wear sunscreen when using Retin-A or you can undo the anti-aging benefits. SPF 30 if you can.


Jeans are tough. Have you tried the local farm store? Carhartts and Wranglers have ... certain associations, but the target female audience harangues them for good material and jeans that won't come down when you squat, throw your leg over a horse, or ride.

Dirty Hands



I bought the most expensive pair of jeans in my life, I'm not the kind of person who Ever buys designer denim and still thinks its a total scam. but THESE Jeans are amazing, they are high waisted, skinny, incredibly soft feeling and flat black, they were made by Fidelity and holy man were they worth the investment for a curvelicious lady like me- I would totally wear them everyday and wish I could afford to have them in ten different colours, when they wear out I will go back and prey that they are on sale so I don't have to pay full price... But I will if I have to.


Wow, I had to go look up the web site to make sure that Nordstrom's in fact does NOT have an 's in the name.




@Amphora Hahah, I knew someone (also from the Midwest) who would call it "Williams and Sonomas."


@thebestjasmine "Best Buys" (instead of Best Buy) is popular amongst my family members, for some reason.


@Amphora The 's does at least make sense in this case, since the store is actually named after its founder, John Nordstrom. (Full disclosure, I'm from Seattle, and you still run into Nordstroms, as in descendants of John Nordstrom, there sometimes.)

fondue with cheddar

@HeyLookAChicken Wegmans doesn't have an apostrophe but it was founded by John and Walter Wegman. I don't know if it's a possessive where they dropped the apostrophe or if it's named after the collective duo, but it's a weird case!

What makes me laugh is when people add 's to stores that aren't named after people, e.g. Best Buy's. My ex boyfriend's mom said that and it was adorable.


@thebestjasmine My guy is from the midwest, and he says "Williams and Sonomas" and it's like nails on a chalkboard for me! Slightly relieved to consider it could be a regional thing.

sarah girl

@piekin My boyfriend says "Barnes & Nobles" :(


@Sarah H. Everyone I know in the Boston area says "Dunkin's." As in, add an 's' and imply the "Donuts." Many of us also say Penney's and Nordstrom's.

Less Lee Moore@facebook

The best thing to prevent wrinkles is a good, high SPF sunscreen. If you aren't using one, no creams, lotions, peels, or other unguents are going to matter. Just had to get that out of my system. Now, to read the rest.


Regarding jeans -
PZI Jeans
Little in the Middle
NYDJ (Not Your Daughters Jeans) - Macys has them - this is the "flattering cuts" of Mom jeans the letter writer asked about
CJ by Cookie Johnson

may work for you


@daze I second the Not Your Daughter Jeans recommendation.

Letter Writer, they cost about $100, so you have to save your pennies, but they last an incredibly long time so it isn't a waste of money.

Less Lee Moore@facebook

I am totally gonna try some Retin-A! I always read about it, but I never have. I am 41 and had a terrible bout of adult acne a few years ago and have super annoying scars and splotches that make me very self conscious.

baked bean

I do hate that every kind of jeans has spandex now though. Because they fit the first time I wear them without a belt, but after that, they're too big and a belt is required. I think SPANDEX is the problem with the butt-crack thing that everyone is having problems with. And the rise. I kind of want to get brave enough to rock the higher-rise waist, but no one's doing that around here yet.

Levi's are actually the only thing I wear. 524 skinny is what I like. Or 524 straight leg. I completely wore two pairs out recently and am down to only one wearable pair of pants :(

I am curious about Lucky jeans now though. I had a pair once I got from a thrift store ($3 whut whut!) that were super baggy in the leg because they were supposed to be I think. Anyway, they were totes comfy and then I turned them into shorts.


the shaving your face thing is an actual procedure called dermaplane. when researching laser hair removal an esthetician recommended it as an alternative, though its primarily meant for exfoliation. when she told what it is, i thought she was CRAZY. basically it's someone shaving your face using a surgical blade. but recently my sister in law told me she does it and loves it, and that it makes your face baby smooth. i don't know, seems extreme to me. also, the esthetician was like "feel my face, see? it doesn't give you stubble." but she totally had stubble, so that's def a downside.

Best pun ever.

LW2 NO! STAY AWAY FROM THE HIGH WAIST. It will make your butt look flat and your waist disappear.

I have the same problem as you and I found that going pricier is the way to go. You didn't mention your budget but it's worth considering spending a little more on jeans because they last forever. My go-to brand for jeans is Citizens of Humanity, especially their Avedon line. Bonus, a lot of places offer free tailoring if you ask, so they can take an inch or two off the waist if something doesn't fit perfectly.


@Best pun ever. I was WAITING to see if someone mentioned COH. I now refuse to buy any other brand of jeans- they are really consistent with sizing, so I know I can always grab my size and they will fit without ever trying them on. I love the Ingrid style; even though they are technically "low waist" they come up almost to my belly button because I am petite with a shorter torso. My suggestion: try them on in a fancy store and figure out what style you like, then hit eBay. I've gotten several pairs there for $10-20! Also, higher-end, trendier consignment stores often have them for cheap.


For a while I got pricey moisturizers from Sephora. And then I ran out and was cash poor and got some Olay from the drugstore and have not looked back. Their basic SPF 15 every day moisturizer is awesome, and I like their night cream too. I probably need to get something a little different for this time of year, because my skin is so dry in the winter that I've been putting coconut oil on it at night, but then putting coconut oil on it at night seems to be working well.

I need to go on a high waisted jean search too, these comments are all inspiring me. My last good pair fell apart recently, and my waist to ass ratio is way unbalanced, I'm tired of being afraid to fix a shoe.

Lily Rowan

@thebestjasmine Before I started with the Pond's, I would just use night cream in the day in the winter. But also I hate SPF. (And I don't have wrinkles! Yay genes.)


I have the same skin issues- combo with acne, fine lines- and I am super no muss no fuss. So here are the things that work for me-
The great news is that my essentials- face wash and lotion- are made by super small businesses that source local organic stuff, and you can order from both companies online!
Queen of the meadow - herbal facial cleanser (exfoliates without drying)
Peacock Apothecary - restorative floral night cream (has anti wrinkle properties and keeps my skin supple)

Then I have other products that are top notch and also inexpensive, found at most organic grocers and even some drugstores, or online
Desert essence mineral sunscreen (age reversal pomegranate)
Desert essence blemish touch stick (like a toner you just roll on oily areas, or use as the perfect first aid for pimples)
Physicians formula organic wear tinted moisturizer!!!!
Try these and you will not be dissatisfied!


I am WAY too lazy to read all the comments and find if someone already said this, but it's true that high waist is in now, and the thing that makes "mom jeans" is less the waist and more the cut of the rest of the jean. High waist+"tapered"
or "straight leg"=momageddon. I too have a small waist and plenty of trunk junk, and I personally am all about high waisted "wide leg" jeans, which do not look mom-y (mommy?) and are comfy to boot. I am way too self conscious to plonk my badonkadonk on top of a pair of those newfangled "skinny" jeans, but if you are a braver woman than I that might be another option. Also, I don't know what kind of shirts you wear, but they're all pretty long nowadays, right? So chances are no-one can even tell how high the waist of your pants is until you fail to moon them. And if you're tucking, at least the shirt has a chance of staying tucked in.

simone eastbro

@Where Pies Go When They Die OK, because Retin-A has been discontinued, here is My Story. About a year ago I had a horrible HORRIBLE cystic acne breakout, the only one I've ever had and I am thisclose to 30. Like so bad my girlfriend couldn't really kiss my face because it hurt so much? Retin-A actually hurt too much, and my derm (a tiny, very old Southern lady) was going to put me on Accutane but instead put me on spironolactone, a hormone/androgen blocker that has worked beautifully. Better than any of the other stuff I tried. IF you end up needing an oral medication, this is my advice.


@Where Pies Go When They Die Here's my question for everyone - it says not to use Retin-A around your eyes, but hello, that's where the majority of my fine lines are. I assume they just say that because it's so irritating and eye skin is really delicate. Does anyone use it around their eyes? Successfully? Any tips?


Please, please don't get $80 hair extensions. It's not a good look for anyone. Good extensions don't look like extensions.

raised amongst catalogs

@Killerpants Best to use a product designed specifically for the eye area since the tissue is so thin/delicate. Revision Skincare makes one called Retinol Eye Repair that is really, really nice.
With anything else, don't apply it past the orbital bone -- some of the product will naturally migrate anyway, and putting it on your lower eyelids or right on the crow's feet could cause some of the product to get into your eyes and really irritate them.


or you could just be a nasty ho-bag like me and let everyone else deal with the trauma of seeing your ass-cleavage. whatever I don't have to see it.


Psssh. I started noticing discolouration under my eyes at 25. Also grey hairs. You're fine, LW1.


@Megano! I have a ton of grey hairs, and I am 25. I call them my wisdom hairs, and I will never color them.


Hair growing out: I've been growing out a pixie cut for over a year now, and kept getting it "trimmed" because it was driving me nuts (Also, I have a ton of hair. So at first it would get a little bit longer and then it would go POOF! and suddenly, I am wearing a Russian hat).
Jane Marie is right: strategic length management is what it's all about. Go to the stylist and explain what you don't like, and she should be able to control the shape it has as it grows out. At a point, my stylist told me to just grin and bear it, because at the end of the say, it will not get long unless I let it. To get through that period, I bought a fancy headband, tried parting it in new ways, slicked it down with tons of product, and got only my bangs fixed up. It's almost at my shoulders now and looking pretty normal.
The bangs are my next project :(


@Spaghettius! i have a huge hairband collection from growing my hair out. and i've mastered twisting my bangs back in bobby pins. i got so sick of headbands i just went to the fabric store and bought 1/8 yards of cute patterns and hemmed them and wore them around my head with baby pigtails.


For LW2, I'm going to second the motion towards BDG High Waisted jeans from Urban. I got the high rise cigarette jean, I think, and being an elongated person, they are the first jeans that ACTUALLY have a high enough rise that I can tuck a normal shirt in to them and have it look good. Also they periodically go on sale, so I got my pair for $40. I'm wearing them right now!!


Here http://www.effortlessextensions.com/ Order one of these! They have an invisible, fishing line-like headband that you can't see, I swear. And also, they don't look tacky. For reals. I know extension + "not tacky" seems impossible, but these look very natural. You have short hair, so maybe get them cut professional in order to make them look more blended. But otherwise---I recommend the shit out of these


1. As the owner of a sizable ass, it's dumb that it took me so long to figure out something very basic about buying jeans: if you want them to fit your waist, they should be difficult to get over your butt. Anytime a pair was at all hard to pull on I'd go a size up, cheating myself out of jeans that were small enough in the waist!
2. You can only get them online, but Gap Sexy Boot in a size down from your regular size is a godsend.
3. Jojoba oil! Add it to everything! Regular moisturizer, whatever. Everything.


I have a question about Retin-A. A lot of people have had good tips here, so I'm not responding to anyone in particular. But the "wait 20-30 minutes after washing your face to apply" doesn't totally make sense to me (why does it make a difference?) and, more importantly, what do you do in the meantime: can you apply serum or moisturizer? I use mild/moisturizing face washes, and yet, once I pat my skin dry, it gets a little tight and uncomfortable. Can I apply my serum, or do I have to go completely bare for that half-hour before I apply the Retin-A? Thanks!

oh, also, do you use moisturizer after the Retin-A, or not? I usually don't, because mine is the cream form. Also, I use a generic because my insurance doesn't cover it :(.


@Lu2 I would like the answers to these, too. I wait 20 minutes after washing my face because otherwise it feels like my skin is burning, and my face peels 2-3 days later. I don't know why, though - maybe washing opens pores or something? My dermatologist told me to wait, though, so I'm sure there's a reason, even if I don't know what it is. I don't apply moisturizer while waiting (my skin gets tight, too) or afterwards, but after reading some of the posts, I'm going to try waiting another 20 minutes after applying Retin-A and then applying moisturizer.


@themegnapkin Thanks for answering! I need to be more assiduous about using my Retin-A nightly (New Year's resolution?), so it's good to hear your experience.

My guess regarding "why wait?" is that your skin is more tender and likely to really soak stuff in right after you wash it, so they advise you to wait so that the pores close up and much of that juicy, soft quality (hah) of your post-wash skin goes away.


On the subject of cheap, effective creams, I've heard great things about the Olay Regenerist line. I don't know what's in the products or why they work, but several people (in my personal life) have reviewed them well.


"What up Midwesterners who add possessive s's to business names! Meijer's, anyone?"

This made me LOL. Meijer's (with an "s") is the best store ever! MICHIGAN ROLL CALL.

Also, LW#2, maybe try Maurice's? They're my favorite clothing store, and I love their jeans. Their waists have the right ratio of higher-in-the-back-the-avoid-butt-cleavage to lower-in-the-front-so-the-button-isn't-in-my-navel. At least for me. :)


@SongToSing As an Ohioan, I must admit I had to check to make sure it wasn't actually Meijer's. And I go there all the time.


@SongToSing Meijer's is the best store in the history of ever. I live in Southern California, but I grew up in Michigan. I miss Meijer so much. Where else can you get groceries, your oil changed and a haircut in the SAME STORE? Hello, Thrifty Acres!

Beatrix Kiddo

Pixie cut lady: eat a lot of fish, or take fish-oil capsules, because it will make your hair grow faster.

Ten Thousand Buckets

Any suggestions for jeans that can be purchased (in store or online) in Canada, for a person with a 28" inseam? Reasonably fashionable (though probably not skinny) would be nice, but <$70 would be nicer.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Ten Thousand Buckets If you live in Montreal, go to Jeans Jeans Jeans. Yes, that's really what the place is called.

Clara Morena

Is the hairpin stalking me? Since right now I'm trying to grow out my hair and find a new pair of jeans? I'm at a point were I don't care if I 'm wearing mom jeans.

Citizen Cunt

Is it ok to just go to the dermatologist for vanity reasons and to straight up ask for a retin-A prescription? Like... I feel like they will be offended for being treated like a prescription factory. Maybe because I have a history of going to asshole doctors. But is that cool to do that?


@Citizen Cunt I don't see why not. It's probably all in the diplomatic handling. Or you could go for a mole check (everyone should do this from time to time) and then express concerns about "premature aging" and ask for the Rx.

My dermo offered the Rx for my pore woes (oh, and incipient wrinkles), then asked me if I ever have breakouts; I said, "a little, just before my period," and she said, OK, I'll indicate that and maybe your insurance will cover it. They didn't, but it was nice of her to try. So anyway, what I'm saying is that some of the purview of dermatology is aesthetic, and they shouldn't be too surprised at your question.


Wow, the question about aging, sensitive skin and treating it on a budget hit home. I am also a non-profit drone/former party girl. Unfortunately, retinols are pretty harsh and won't help much if your skin is sensitive. Sadly, I think the best approach here is a mild lotion (like Aveeno or Cetaphil), plenty of water, watching your booze intake (boring, I know), and sunglasses. Wearing shades when you're outside, even in the winter is key.


Apparently your skin builds tolerance to retinols, so it's better to start with a weaker OTC retinol cream first and then build your way up to using Retin-A. I use Philosophy Help Me and while I'm too young for serious wrinkles it definitely has helped even out my skintone and smooth fine lines. I had to work my way up really slowly to using it every night though because otherwise I would get redness and peeling.

I would also encourage anyone worrying about their wrinkles to CALM DOWN. I freaked out about mine way back when I turned 21 (!) and noticed some super faint undereye lines, but then I realized that everyone had them. A few fine lines at 30 is not a big deal.


I have had good luck with jeans from L.L. Bean. Free shipping, good quality and the rises aren't too low.


I want to wear high waisted jeans so badly, but it seems like my waist is too small compared to everything else. If pants fit my hips and legs, then they're too loose around my waist. Any recs for high-waisted pants to fit the xtreme hourglass figure?


@checkcheck - No recs, but maybe find some that fit great everywhere else and just get a tailor to nip the waist in?

I know visiting a tailor can be a PITA, but from one small-waisted lady to another, it's WORTH IT.



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if any with skin concerns are still reading, check out the at home chemical peels section on makeupartistschoice.com. call their support line for product advice on your skin. they have great products, but you have to follow the instructions so you don't overdo it and burn yourself. it's done a great job on my discolorations and blackheads. love their products.

Blousey Brown

I'm almost 43, and I've finally found a way to make my typically dry, bumpy skin look luminous. I credit tons of water, a quick nightly wash with a Target brand exfoliating face wipe (cucumber rag, my bf calls it), coconut oil as night cream on face and neck, and Kiehl's sunscreen moisturizer during the day. If I don't have a cuke rag on me, I splash with cold water and pat dry. I had an accident recently and had to stay vigilant with sunscreen to avoid facial scarring. That could've been what helped the most, come to think of it.


regarding jeans of the right type for those of us over 30 and wanting to flaunt without being a hoochie: White House Black Market. Great fit, great detailing, great sale prices, and durable. I am embarrassed by how many of these I own - trouser style, leggings, pinned, bootcut, everything.


i'm super happy with ocean salt by lush right now, and i always thought it would be way too harsh for my skin (sensitive!!!) but i am loving it. also mad shout out to aveeno spf 15 soy moistuizer, it's pretty swank. (now if i could shrink my pores i'd be in heaven!)


@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) as far as i know NOTHING from lush has spf. ocean salt is a skin cleanser. for drug store brandspof lotions aveeno is my fave, but cetaphil daily spf is pretty good too. they have 15 and 30. the nuetrage\na stings. alba botanica also has a good daily spf.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@LeafySeaDragon ooh, I'm already using Angels on Bareskin (or something like that) from Lush, and unfortunately I was already pretty sure that none of their moisturizers had SPF :(

I might check out alba botanica. I have Aveeno right now, but I stopped using it because my skin started getting weird (which could have been due to a number of things.)

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Has anyone else been trying to grow a short curly bob back into all this hair that just falls down your back and is beautiful for 5 years now? No? Just me? okay.


@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) You can do it! Just remember, it takes FOREVER. Vitamins! Hairspray. Headbands. Flat iron. A curling iron to curl the edges out instead of under - think Farrah/Carmela Soprano. Long hair is like having a pet.

Mine was an inch short for years, then shortish for years, and now is to the middle of my back in what my hairdresser calls "giant Texas curls".

I wash mine about once a week (I scrub it out with conditioner instead of shampoo most days) and don't brush it too hard. It's like having a pet, or a big wad of fancy dry-clean-only fabric on your head.

Edited to add: regular trims help, as does chilling out on the color (if you do such) until it's long enough for ponytailing.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@cinnamonskin The regular trims thing I think is what's been doing me in. I wanted to make sure I never had those gross ends that just LOOKED like I needed a haircut... but the problem is that everyone I've been to has cut my hair more than I wanted them to in order to give it a decent style. Or I'm just not speaking hairdresser well enough.

Mrs. Coach McGuirk

Some say that water itself can dry your skin, so using a cream cleanser like Ponds Cold Cream, where you aren't required to wash with water, can really help both keep your skin moisturized and fight wrinkles! Plus, it gets make up off like nothing else.

My boyfriends grandmother always used to say Hemorrhoid cream was her secret...but I'm too scared to try it.

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