Anti-Holiday Observations

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Last year around this time, I was still living with my mom but visiting you-know-who.  We saw his father and that part of his family, but did nothing the following day.  In previous years, we had visited his father on this day and his sister and mother the next day, which was certainly interesting on a number of levels.  Though I was nervous the first time, I came to feel quite comfortable doing that, as it was better than hanging out with those so-called relatives I have but don’t really associate with.

The days of actually having a joyous holiday are long gone, harbored as fun-filled memories that leave me wondering what happened.  This year I was determined to fill that void by spending the ‘holiday’ with Jon, seeing as how he is the only thing that really matters in my life at the moment.  Going to see my mom would have been weird and I am sure I would wind up feeling annoyed.  My dad couldn’t figure out what he wanted to do so I did not make any plans to visit him either.  Though I would not have minded getting to see my sister, it is quite a distance to drive.

Or I could just be honest and say that I just wanted to spend the time with someone I felt would truly appreciate it.  Though I am living with very nice people, I have no attachment to their traditions and whatnot, so it would have been awkward to hang around with them.  Instead I just let them know I would be gone for a few days, packed some things and drove to what seems to be my favorite place in the world at the moment.  The house smelled like bacon, chocolate, mint and pine, the earthy scent of a joint breaking through and luring me into the living room.

Jon was wearing an atrocious sweater that was definitely purchased at Goodwill, his favorite pair of patched up pants and a red velvet smoking jacket.  He smiled and scooped me up into a hug while smothering me in kisses, then we feasted on tasty treats while watching movies on television.

Over the next few days we became immersed in the holiday spirit by covering the house with notable traditional Christmas characters.  Definitely enjoyed doing what may seem like a simple task, as it has been quite some time since I had a house to decorate, and I got that warm fuzzy feeling inside.  There was much drinking of eggnog, baking sugar cookies in the shape of genitals that sent us into fits of hysteria and stealing kisses under the mistletoe.

When night came we bundled up, downed some vodka and hot chocolate, then wrangled ourselves into the Chevy where we had to wait a good fifteen minutes for it to warm up.  Then we are traveling down winding roads and Jon has a smile on his face though I have no idea what is going on.  He pulls over to the side of the road, keeps the engine running and tells me he will be right back.  After fumbling in the trunk for a moment, he disappears for what feels like forever.  Apparently I took a nap, because I am startled when he taps on the window.  Rolling it down, he is now grinning from ear to ear with a pine tree by his side.  Before I can even ask, he has it tied to the roof and is speeding towards the house.

Music surrounded us while lights and garland were strung around the tree, pausing for kisses while carefully arranging the ornaments among piney branches.  Though neither of us really buy into the commercialism of Christmas, nor do we really invoke religious connotations with our celebrations, there are certain traditions we both enjoy taking part in, and having fun with someone you love is possibly the best thing I could ever want on a holiday.

The following day began with strong cups of peppermint tea and card exchange.  While we didn’t get the same one [as we thought may happen] it was horribly ironic that they did both have ‘To the One I Love’ written on the outside.  There were stockings filled with candy, socks and coal but no actual presents because that is not what Christmas is about for us.  Plus I have the best gift in the world, so what I else could I ask for?

After stuffing our faces with pancakes, we got dressed and then departed for Sandy Hook.  Since our day technically began well after noon and there was no rush to do anything, we arrived at the beach just as the sun was setting.  That pretty much set the perfect romantic scene, despite the fact that it was brutally cold.  Gloved hands awkwardly fumbled and then gripped one another as we walked along the beach and just listened to the sound of the waves.  It not longer mattered what day it was or what other people were doing, because I was with my best friend and could enjoy the crunch of his boots on frozen sand.  We walked so long that we came across the lovely houses of Ocean Grove and decided it would be best to walk back to the Chevy.

Hunger soon set in and the challenge of finding a place that was open on that festive day began.  Thank the Chinese for ignoring this over-glorified, wallet-reducing holiday.  We happily filled our bellies at the first buffet we came across and then wearily returned to his house.  Decided that watching appropriate holiday themed movies would be overkill and stumbled across upon Finding Nemo instead.  Jon suggests that we turn it into a drinking game and pulls out a jar of  Jersey Devil’s Reserve, stating that he had been saving it for a special occasion.  We were drunk ten minutes into the film and made an attempt to sober up by smoking a blunt.  Passed out on the couch and missed the remainder of the movie, but that did not matter.

This may have been one of the best holidays I’ve had in quite some time, and hopefully the start of a new tradition.

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Twilight Splendor

There are only nine more days to shop for Christmas if you happen to observe that holiday or just enjoy exchanging gifts with friends for fun.  That does not mean the following suggestions suddenly become null and void once all the fanfare is over, as they can be enjoyed throughout Winter until the frost melts and ushers in the first signs of Spring.  A hallmark of transition from adolescence into adulthood, makeup collections should have more thought put into them than it was the first thing you saw at Wal*Mart so you grabbed it to save the last shred of sanity you had left.  Leave long lines and annoying children that are threatened with Santa not even visiting them if they did not behave and snuggle up with a cup of homemade hot chocolate to browse the web instead.  Whether giving to yourself or someone you love, these beauty products are sure to make the recipient shine as brightly as tinsel on a Christmas tree.

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Illamasqua: Black Christmas – Limited edition gift box hailed as the ultimate 9-piece kit for creating a dramatic smokey eye, including a leaflet with step-by-step instructions on how to execute four unique makeup looks produced by the School of Makeup Art.

This set contains:

  • Powder Eyeshadow in Obsidian
  • Pure Pigment in Zeitgeist
  • Medium Pencil in SOPHIE
  • Precision Ink in Abyss
  • Masquara in Raven
  • False Eye Lashes in 13
  • Eye Brow Cake in Thunder
  • Sheer Lipgloss in Artifice
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Illamasqua: Freak Gift Set – The ultimate in luxury gift sets, this contains three hand-selected products that are among the company’s best-selling makeup pieces, the shade said to reflect the the rare blooms of the exotic scent for which the arrangement is named.  Included in the series is Nail Varnish in Wink [soft lilac], Liquid Metal in Phenomena [molten silver], Sheer Lipgloss in Tantrum [deep berry pink] and 75ml of Freak Eau De Parfum.  Top Notes are listed as Black Davana, Opium Flower and Belladonna, while Heart Notes are Poison Hemlock, Datura and Queen of the Night blossoms, and the Base Notes are Frankincense, Myrrh and Oud.

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NARS: American Dream  Gleaming elegance for eyes, this Artist Palette contains six eyeshadow shades that are an indication of smart, contemporary style.

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NARS: New Wave – The product story about this Artist Palette says it all; vivacious violets juxtapose with chartreuse and bold blue in an edgy electro cool color collection for the eyes.

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NARS: Travel Brush Set – For those on the go, a collection of the most coveted brushes NARS has to offer.  The quartet is travel size and comes in a zippered pouch to keep them from roaming about your luggage as you go over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house.

This set contains:

  • Blush Brush
  • Eye Shader Brush
  • Small Dome Eye Brush
  • Push Eyeliner Brush
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Too Faced: Confection Collection – Exclusive assortment of eye shadows, luxe lip shades and cruelty-free brushes.  The main attraction is the Shadow Bon Bons, a compilation of twelve shadows [seen below], full-size LashGasm Mascara and Candlelight Shadow Insurance.

Other items include Perfect Pink lip liner and Fuchsia Shock lipstick, while the brush trio consists of: Liner/Smudger, Lid/Smoker, and Crease/Blender; all of this fits into a reusable pink tote emblazoned with a golden frame and the company’s logo.

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Too Faced: Love Sweet Love Collection – A celebration of the spirit of love that helps you achieve two romantic looks with products for flirty eyes, flushing cheeks and a seductive pout; one guise is for the day while the other is more appropriate for evening.  The assortment contains a Book of Love [seen below] with six shadows, two blushes and two lip glosses; LashGasm Mascara, Shadow Insurance Eye Primer, Perfect Eyes eyeliner in Perfect Black, Primed & Poreless Face Primer and “Teddy Bear Hair” face brush; it all fits inside a gold embroidered velveteen makeup back.

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Too Faced: Spun Sugar – This purse-size palette is a limited edition that offers everything one needs for eyes, face and lips in shimmering sugar-inspired shades.  Glimmering golds and sexy silver hues make it easy to take your look from Haute Holiday to Naughty New Year’s Eve with eight pigment rich shadows, highlighting blush with golden pink shimmer, universal bronzer and clear shimmering gold gloss.

Shadow Shades:

  • Light Gold – antiqued gold shimmer
  • Gold – warm golden amber
  • Yellow – pale gold shimmer
  • Brown – golden brown shimmer
  • Silver – light silvery glitter
  • Light Gray – metallic gray shimmer
  • Dark Gray – cool gray
  • Black – pewter shimmer
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Urban Decay: Book Of Shadows Vol. III Redux – Yet another limited edition item that is a remix of Urban Decay’s NYC palette and an ode to the Big Apple by way of sixteen shadows and a cool pop-up display which illuminates when opened.  The popular palette has a new low price, some shade changes and a few other tweaks from its first inception as a way of UD professing their love for the East Coast.

A drawer pulls out to reveal the assembly of versatile neutral hues, smokey-eye essentials and bold, attention-grabbing brights; there is also a travel-size Eyeshadow Primer Potion and 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in the best-selling, award-winning zelaous black.

What You  See Is What You get:

  • Oil Slick – black matte with silver micro-glitter
  • Uzi – silver metallic with big iridescent sparkles
  • Stray Dog – cool ash brown metallic
  • Mildew – mossy green shimmer with gold shift
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again – light pink champagne shimmer with silver glitter
  • SWF – pale cotton candy shimmer with silver micro-glitter
  • Last Call – plum metallic
  • Rockstar – deep aubergine shimmer
  • Haight – mermaid blue shimmer
  • Maui Wowie – golden beige metallic shimmer with silver micro-glitter
  • Aquarius -aqua green shimmer
  • Smog – deep coppery bronze shimmer
  • Goddess – deep smokey blue with aqua micro-glitter
  • Sin – champagne shimmer
  • YDK – cool bronze shimmer
  • Ecstasy – bright purple shimmer

LUSH Holiday Gift Guide

This might only be my second Gift Guide filled to the brim with LUSH products, but I certainly recognize some items from last year and am going to do my best to avoid repeating suggestions.  Since the fun fragrances speak volumes for themselves, I figured it would not make much sense to provide a prologue littered with alliterations when there are so many great things to talk about.  Though I would like to note that the majority of these retail for $20 or under and also send a reminder to readers that there are only twelve shopping days left!

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Make bath time a cause for celebration with Golden Wonder, a present shaped Bath Bomb with a bright citrus scent which comes from orange, lime and cognac oils reminiscent of fizzy champagne.  Speaking of which, once this is in the tub it will reveal vibrant gifts that put on a show just for you.

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Inspired by Japanese bathing traditions, Winter Bath is loaded with spicy ginger and clove bud oils which combine to give your skin a herbal hint of warmth.  Bath melt mix and soya milk have also been added to moisturuize seasonally dry skin so that it is soft and smooth all season.

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Banish the dreaded Holiday Hangover with Jingle Spells, a restorative potion crafted from juniper berries, fennel, tangerine and ylang ylang oils.  Infused with an enchanting galaxy of gold, silver and black stars that appear as the Bath Bomb dissolves while your tub is tinted a lovely shade of lavender to help you relax.

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A present to yourself that is chock-full of surprises, Crackersnap can be pulled apart or tossed in the tub to inhale the zesty fragrance of rosewood, lemongrass and bergamot.  As it continues to snap, crackle and pop, you will soon find that it is has been stuffed with treats and can be used for up to three baths.

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To indulge in a holiday treat without counting calories, crumble Gingerbread House into the bath water to generate delicious cinnamon bubbles.  Ginger root oil and powder create a warming sensation while an uplifting dash of lemon oil helps cleanse and tone your skin.

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Get the most of your money with this three-in-one bubble bar, and one will not be disappointed in the items stuffed into Santa’s Sack.  Remove the presents to save them for later and then dissolve the sack in the bath, slipping under mounds of spicy bubbles generated by tonka absolute and neroli oil as fresh tagetes oil benefits skin that is dry, sore or cracked.

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Lather up with lemon, grapefruit and lemongrass oils to refresh your mind, body and soul after a long day of frolicking with Snow Globe.  It will also help keep you calm during moments of festive frenetic energy by way of ylang ylang oil and turquoise color, both of which are going to turn up the relaxation.

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Though the aromatic properties of Snowcake may seem good enough to eat, this almond icing and marzipan confection is loaded with benzoin and rose absolute.  A slice of this holiday treat generates a rich and creamy lather that will leave skin feeling soft and smooth as a dewy petal.

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Sweet and fruity, Angel’s Delight is influenced by the English custard of the same name and is just as decadent as the desert.  Saturated with tangerine and orange essence, the colorful chunks suspended in this fresh handmade soap makes it as unique as a snowflake!

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Marketed as a spectacular seasonal soap that is a brilliant balance of stimulating, refreshing lathers with a hint of luxurious, indulgent sweetness, North Pole offers two different scents and colors for you to choose from.  On the pink side is cocoa absolute  and peppermint, while cedarwood and cypress oils reside in the white.

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Exfoliate skin for a toned, glowing complexion with Sandy Santa, a Shower Scrub made from sand and sugar.  Orange, rosewood and sandalwood oils blend together for an extra dose of softness while making you smell marvelous!

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This classic holiday treat is ideal for those with constant candy cravings and adds some fun to your shower with irridescent glitter that disappears when you rinse.  Snow Fairy has been infused with the delicious fragrance of candyfloss and vanilla that will have visions of Summer carnivals dancing in your head.

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Reap the benefits of your favorite libation on your own skin with Glögg, which has a generous nip of real organic red wine to assist with getting the party started on bleak mornings.  Cinnamon and clove bud have been mixed with a shot of brandy to perk you up, while orange juice cleanses your skin and keeps it glowing.

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A bewitching brew of delightful ingredients, Potion Lotion is a concoction of cocoa butter and almond oil to nourish skin, while a rose petal infusion makes it incredibly soft.  Tangerine tones and carnation absolute lends a distinctive floral note which can be applied any time of the year.

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Named for the log-shaped French desert, Bûche de Noël has fresh ingredients for glowing holiday skin.  Scrub away dead skin with ground almonds, cleanse with kaolin clay and then nourish with almond oil and seaweed.  There’s also a splash of brandy and overall you will be able to get rid of winter-induced roughness, leaving skin feeling softer than snow that has freshly fallen.

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Though the components of Let the Good Times Roll may read more like a recipe for a tasty snack than elements of a fresh facial cleanser, the maize, flour, and polenta with popcorn topping all serve a purpose.  Together they leave your skin clean, smooth and bright while a dash of cinnamon powder invigorates; it is gentle enough to use on your entire body though available for a limited time.

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Skip the cookies and candies to engorge yourself on Sweet Christmas, one of many LUSH gift sets that have been put together to help customers who may be shopping for someone special and may be unsure of what to get.  The cotton candy scented sweets in this one are the Candy Mountain bubble bar and Rockstar soap, both of which are tasty bath time bonbons that can be enjoyed by everyone.

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An archetype for Secret Santa gifts, Festive Cheer is said to make unsuspecting friends, neighbors and coworkers smile with sunny, citrus aromas.  It contains the Sandy Santa from the list above as well as Ponche shower gel, suitable for those who favor showers over baths.

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Make spirits bright no matter what the forecast is with Cool Christmas, the duo of icy fresh soaps sure to put a bit of zing in your morning.  The set contains Snow Globe [see above] and Whoosh, a shower jelly that can be frozen then applied during a steamy shower for a stimulating treat.

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Christmas Party stands out among the other sets because it is contains a pair of treats that can be enjoyed by a party of one [or more].  Party Popper spins around the tub detonating pink and blue color bombs, crackling and popping candy exploding beside dried honeydew flakes, while Northern Lights provides the perfect neon glow.

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Made from 100% recycled materials, Santa’s Hat can be used to wrap up stocking stuffers and small gifts.  Tie it around your head or face [depending on whether you want to ‘wear’ the hat or beard] for an instant Christmas party costume!  If your locks look less than lustrous first thing in the morning when you are ready to reek havoc on pristine packages and someone is shoving a camera in your sleepy face, this scarf also comes in handy as a funny disguise.