The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Melanie's "beauty secrets"
I got into another Online discussion about beauty tips. Now that I'm 48 and still fairly well preserved, I feel somewhat qualified to answer this question. I view with skepticism, any "beauty column" written by anyone under the age of 40. Unless you've dealt with getting older (without resorting to plastic surgery,) you don't really know what you're talking about, in my opinion.

So, for what it's worth - here are my "beauty secrets" for men and women:

Oxygen - your body craves it! If you smoke, please stop. Everyone that I know who has quit - has done it cold turkey. Do deep breathing exercises a few times every day. You'll be surprised at how much it energises you. I am always energised after a gig. Singing oxygenates your blood and brain.

Stay hydrated. Stick to zero calorie drinks whenever possible (water, herbal teas). Try to get your daily caloric intake from food - not soft drinks, fruit juice, fancy coffees or "energy" drinks. There is a low nutrition:calorie ratio with high calorie drinks. Meal substitute shakes are not "drinks."

Get enough sleep. Get a bare minimum 7 hrs sleep at night. I function best on 8 - 9 hours.

Be kind to your skin. Don't use soap on your face. Wash with warm water and a cloth to exfoliate. Use a sun block every day - even if you work in an office. You won't accidentally "forget" when you get into this habit and don't have to think about it every day.

Banish wrinkles. I use Stri-Vectin (warning: it's not cheap). It has been clinically shown to be as effective as Botox after two months' continual use, for eradicating wrinkles. If you can't afford Stri-Vectin, creams with fruit acid have been shown to work, although they will irritate your skin to begin with.

Moisturise your hair. If you have dry, frizz-prone hair like mine, use a couple of drops of sweet almond oil distributed through your hair, before blow or air-drying. Unless you have very oily hair, you don't need to shampoo every day. I shampoo every two - to - three days. I expect to cut down to once or twice a week as I get older.

For beautiful nails, a folic acid supplement daily will make your nails tougher and less prone to splitting and chipping.

Smooth scars out of your life. Mederma is like a miracle (you can order online.)

Maintain a healthy weight. We all over-indulge from time to time, but there are ways to nip the bad effects. • If you can walk it - leave the car at home. I know it's tough unless you live in a city or village neighborhood, but if you can leave the car at home, do so. You'll also save on your fuel bill. • Keep chitosan on hand for when you know you'll have a fatty meal, and take two capsules about a half an hour before you indulge. (Chitosan is NOT for people who are allergic to seafood!) My weakness is pizza and ice cream - so I'll take a couple of chitosan capsules before I eat. Chitosan is a fat blocker. • Drink a cup of green tea twice a day. Green tea boosts your metabolism. It's one of the few "natural" things you can do that has been proven to help weight loss. • Stay active. Remember, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. I've got inflammatory arthritis, but I still go out dancing and walk everywhere and will for as long as I can.

Don't stress! Stress will age you. Maintain a healthy, positive attitude. Don't do things that you know will cause you stress down the road, like have unprotected sex, hook up with someone who needs "fixing," or over-borrow and max out your credit card. An ounce of prevention is good for a stress-free life. Think for the long-term. If you hate your job, what's to stop you from looking around for something better? And remember to smile. It improves your face value!

Believe in something outside of yourself - call it The Force, God, or Nature - whatever you're comfortable with. You can't solve all problems. Have a place you can lay your problems for a while.

Be a beautiful person on the inside - a lot of that will show on the outside. Remember, dogs and babies can tell a "good" person from a "bad" one.

And remember - although it might not always seem obvious, someone out there loves you.

Addendum: I forgot about teeth! Good dental health is a must. See your dentist regularly. I go at least once a year for an exam and a cleaning. A great smile is one of your best assets. If you suffer from staining, try out some of those bleaches you can get in the dental care aisle of the grocery store. They really do work. Use a soft bristled brush so that you don't brush your gums away, and brush three times a day. And floss before you go to bed (you won't have really bad morning breath, either, if you floss.)
posted by Melanie O. at 9:51 AM - 14 comments
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Company Holiday party #1
Dan and Melanie as Christmas IdiotsDan's company put on a bash for all of its employees yesterday. The silly season has begun.

Dan's boss is a generous guy. He foot the bill for an extravagant buffet dinner and hotel rooms for his employees plus one guest. Dan and I were looking forward to a bit of festivity and dressed accordingly. We are unabashed Christmas Fools.

The food was pretty good (lots of fresh seafood), the bar was Open, and there was a live band that covered such modern classics as "Satisfaction" and "Mama Mia." We spent the night chatting with the company office manager and one of her friends. I got to meet Dan's boss's grown kids. But other than that, there wasn't a whole lot of mixing going on - and nothing remotely resembling the holiday season. The place wasn't even decorated, and while I had a nice time with Dan and the other two women - it was just a night out - with a motel room so that no one had to drive home intoxicated.

Dan's boss disappeared at some point during the evening. It was a little surreal. I didn't get much sleep and today I feel a bit like a zombie. Which just proves to me - the holiday spirit doesn't come from a bottle.

Listen to the audio [13 MB]

Publish Post

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posted by Melanie O. at 3:05 PM - 2 comments
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Trampy red shoes
I was told several years ago, by a PhD economist at the college where I used to work and take classes, that you can never feel bad if you're wearing red shoes. And one day recently, I realised that I felt bad and needed a lift. This is when her words came echoing back to me. I went straight to eBay, of course.

I have a difficult time finding shoes here in Australia in my size that I like, so eBay has saved my feet on a few occasions. I eagerly performed a search for red shoes in my size, and a pair of Pamela Anderson red pumps came up.

The were deliciously trampy. High heels, transparent plastic jelly body - totally impractical, but very sexy, and of course, red. I showed them to Dan with glee, and he immediately made me promise to wear them to his company Christmas party.

I made the promise, but of course, I had to break the shoes in, so I wore them to work last week. It's a fact - we might not notice the speed limit, but we do notice shoes. Especially ones that are a bit flashy or unusual. I spent the day getting compliments from co-workers and total strangers who proclaimed "I love your shoes!"

I think my experience does verify what that professor told me many moons ago. "It's impossible to feel bad if you're wearing red shoes."
posted by Melanie O. at 1:44 PM - 3 comments
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Commuter Train Theatre
I encounter all kinds of interesting people when I commute to Sydney twice a week for meetings at our head office. On any given day, I hear two or three different languages being spoken - sometimes more. And usually, if someone's going to annoy me, it's going to be a teen who, away from parental supervision, is going to act up, be loud and obnoxious, put their feet up on the seats, and just generally be a pain in the ass. What's worse is when they are in groups of more than three.

On the first leg of my journey home tonight (and I call them legs because it takes me about 2.5 hours to travel each way on the train), I encountered one such group of obnoxious 15 year old girls, who decided to regale everyone on the train with an equally obnoxious rap tune that was blaring from their iPod: six girls, shouting at the tops of their lungs, thinking they were "cool" and that everyone wanted to listen to their music.

I had to remind myself that I was young once and probably was obnoxious on occasion. Even bookworms can be obnoxious.

I was glad to change trains for the second leg of my trip, which is usually much more comfortable than the first leg. I boarded the second train gladly, in preparation to relax and watch the countryside go by, but the first thing that greeted me when I boarded the train was the smell. Urine. Unwashed bodies. It stunk in the carriage.

I was resolved to having to just grin and bear it, and thought about rubbing some more solid perfume on me (kept in my handbag in case of emergencies) to help masque the odour, when a woman sat down next to me with her three year old son.

"Oh no," I thought. "This just caps it off. There's no way I'm going to relax now."

Mother sat there with her son on her lap. They'd been into the city to visit the Chinese Garden and have a day out. They were quite charming. The mother didn't talk down to her child, but, as most mothers do, knew him better than he knew himself.

"I have a headache" the little boy announced.

"That's too bad," the mother said. "You know what that means, don't you? Right to bed when we get home. No TV for you."

A few moments passed.

"Do you still have a headache?" asked the mother.

"No... I just feel sick," the little boy said.

"Sick?" asked the mother.

"In the head," said the little boy.

I almost chuckled out loud and couldn't help smiling over the little boy's attempts at conveying how he felt, while at the same time, thinking he might be able to avoid having to go to bed when he got home.

As I nurse my own headache from the commute tonight, I think, "don't worry, kid. Just wait 'til you grow up."

Listen to the audio: [16 MB]

posted by Melanie O. at 8:10 PM - 4 comments
Monday, November 05, 2007
Melanie the klutz
Dan and I went out to dinner and dancing with friends last weekend. We met them at one of our local RSLs (Retired Serviceman's League) where they serve good quality Chinese food, and we all imbibed a drink or two before moving out to the dance floor. There were five of us there, and I was looking forwards to getting up on the dance floor with "the girls." The guys don't dance - even though Dan is quite the good disco dancer.

We found a table and ordered more drinks. The three women got up to dance. We worked up a sweat and had a great time. I was gleefully thinking about the calories I was burning, and tried to refrain from too much alcohol.

As the night wore on, the men continued to ply the women with alcohol. Dan admitted that he wanted to see me drunk. I have never been drunk in my life and I wasn't about to start, but apparently, after two drinks, I become a klutz.

No - that is an excuse. I am always a klutz.

Well, the evening wore on and everyone got a bit happier and more tired. The men got silly and starting making court shots down the women's tops with ice cubes. Dan took a shot at the woman seated next to me, and the ice cube landed on the table. Coming to her rescue, I brushed the ice cube away before Dan could recover it, and on the back hand, I knocked over a full drink - right into the lap of my friend whom I was trying to rescue. I was mortified.

I helped her blot up the rum and Coke which was now down the front of her jeans, and I felt about two inches tall. She kept saying "dont' worry about it, don't worry. It's OK. It was an accident."

Visions of acting like an idiot flashed across my mind, and although I was very sober, I kept thinking that everyone around me must think I'm completely trashed.

My friend came back a minute later and her jeans were completely dry - as if nothing had happened. They were new and full of sizing and the drink had completely beaded up and rolled off.

Damn. I want a pair of jeans like that. For protection against myself.

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posted by Melanie O. at 8:25 AM - 8 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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