Month: July 2010

Sublime Skin (Part 2)

Are you sitting down?  I hope so, because this is going to come as a complete shock: the L’Oreal Paris Body Expertise Sublime Skin Patch does not make your skin sublime.  At least not if you cut the sample patch in half, spend eight hours walking around with the “Concentrated Caffeine Cx Agent” stuck to your thighs and refuse to invest in the recommended day and night creams unless the Body Smoothing Complex does its thing.  Well folks, my thighs are not smooth.  In fact, they look the same as they did before.  Moral of the story?  There’s no quick fix to cellulite. I should have known.  I went through the same thing with stretch marks a few months ago when I was living in London.  My parents decided to take me on a cruise as my graduation gift and I dropped a day’s wages on Oxford Street for the necessary accoutrements: a new bikini and my first ever bottle of fake tan.  For the record, I had never done fake tan until then, but …

My Quest for “Sublime Skin” (Part 1)

It’s 3:00pm in Philadelphia.  I’m seven hours into my new self-preservation beauty regime, which is just an hour shy of the maximum “recommended usage” for the L’Oreal Paris Body Expertise Sublime Skin Patch.   As of yet, I don’t have sublime skin.  But I’m going to wait the full eight hours because the trial packet only came with one patch and there’s no way I’m going to invest in the accompanying Sublime Skim Day and Sublime Skin Night creams unless I see some amazing results from the patch. I don’t really get the point of the single-patch trial kit.  Given that L’Oreal is all about beauty, you’d think their ideal customer would have two legs, wouldn’t you?  I guess not. As such, the “Concentrated Caffeine Cx Agent and Body Smoothing Complex” (whatever that is) became a question of quality vs. quantity.   I realized I could use the patch as is, thereby freeing one lucky thigh from its cottage cheese.  Or I could cut it in half, use one half for each leg, and thus endow myself with …

Betrayal

I have cellulite.  I’m not quite sure when this happened because I’ve always liked my legs.  At least I’ve liked my legs as much as a dancer who’s spent two decades scrutinizing her appearance in floor-to-ceiling studio mirrors is actually allowed to like her legs (which to say, not very much: my calves are too chunky, my inner thighs actually touch, my knees are absolutely hideous and I still have that scar from sliding head first into home plate during my short lived career as the first baseman on my junior high softball team).  All things considered, however, I take pride in my legs. At least I used to.  Now they have betrayed me.   I was sitting on my bed a few nights ago, clad in the usual mismatched undergarments that count for pajamas in my book, when I noticed a bit of cottage cheese out of the corner of my eye.  Note: I was not eating cottage cheese.  I was eating chocolate covered almonds (dark chocolate, mind you, which is rich in antioxidants, and …

The Truth about Writing

This is what I thought the average writer did with her day: Wake up at 7:30 (enveloped in Egyptian cotton sheets—the kind that actually match your pillowcases—and wearing a set of gorgeous, eco-friendly bamboo fiber pajamas). Kiss Significant Other good morning (he is also gorgeous and eco-friendly, although not made of bamboo). Check email; respond to party invitations, book signing invitations, key note speaker invitations, honorary doctorate invitations, etc.  Scoff at fan mail—enough is enough already. Shower, slip into artsy writer outfit (linen of course, with ethnic accents acquired during your many international book tours) and head to the coffee shop.  Write. Decline autograph requests. Write. Order another iced coffee (large, of course, given the size of your last advance); decline further autograph requests. Write, so brilliantly and intently that you don’t even realize that city’s in a middle of a thunderstorm or that its past noon until your publicist calls and asks if you’d like to her to pick you up for your reading evening.  Invite publicist to go shopping.  You and she are …

One Flight (and one week) Later

It’s Sunday morning and I find myself, quite inexplicably, halfway through July.  Common wisdom would suggest it’s not just me: that everyone is finding themselves halfway through July but I’m nothing if not a bit self absorbed. On that note, I’m sure you’re very curious to know what I’ve been doing since my return to the US.  I’m curious too, because after nearly a week back in Philadelphia, I have very little to show for myself.  Having resisted the urge to go crawling back to The Shop, I am now officially self-employed.  You’d think that this means I would have unpacked, done laundry, sorted through the boxes (yes, that’s plural) of paperwork I’ve been avoiding since the first time I came back from London six months ago.  But self-employment is quite different from unemployment (even if my bank statements would suggest otherwise). Upon returning to Philadelphia, I found two rather important envelopes.  The first contained a check from MacFadden Publishing for the profile I wrote on the University of East London’s Urban Dance Programme for …

Eccentrics and Academics

I’ve always wondered why people—very smart people, with PhDs and professorships—wait until the night before they’re slotted to present their work to finish their PowerPoints.  Haven’t they learned a thing or two about time management over the years?  Don’t they know you shouldn’t leave those things to the last minute? Having submitted my abstract to the Society of Dance History Scholars last year (and having been notified of its acceptance back when snowbound Philadelphians were praying for a heat wave), I promised myself that I would arrive at the University of Surrey ready to go, PowerPoint in hand.  No last minute finagling.  No eleventh hour revisions.  I would be the very image of poise and professionalism. But then I attended my first panel. And I panicked.       Unlike the majority of the graduate students, I slugged it out till the very end: three days of papers, key note speakers, performances, working groups and finally, the closing plenary.  Although I did pull out my laptop to check my email during said plenary (and zipped through British …

Bemused upon the Bus

Whilst schlepping from one time zone to another, there comes a time when you need to stop, take stock of your growing laundry pile and Do Something about It. For me, the moment in question coincided with my return to England: the land of upright showers and, more importantly, Primark.  I could wash my delicates but I would rather, for the sake of cultural immersion, just go shopping. Having survived my blitz through Europe and caught the 12 o’clock Oxford Express back to London, I am feeling quite accomplished (and therefore deserving of another treat).  Not that I have a proper job or a boyfriend of the happily-ever-after variety, not that I have a car or my own apartment or any of those things that normal people have to be proud of.  Oh no.  It’s better than all of that: I have reached a point where I can come to Europe and stay with friends.  No more youth hostels for this jetsetter-in-training.  No more guest houses in the middle of nowhere, or platform tents in …

Brussels 2010 058

Of Beer and Chocolate

Since when did urinating in public—in broad daylight—become okay?  If it seems that I’m a bit obsessed with the art of peeing in Belgium, it’s because the entire tourism industry hinges upon the Mannqen-Pis.  And because in Brussels, a public event (such as the free concert to celebrate Belgium’s assumption of the European Union’s rotating presidency) boasts not only portable toilets but portable urinals. Portable urinals. Who knew?  Unfortunately, there are some things in life that one should not photograph, and dozens of men gathered around miniature towers of gray plastic just outside of the European Parliament qualifies as one such thing. I don’t want to give the wrong impression.  Overall, Belgium is a very civilized country complete with buses, trams, a suitable metro and the Villo! (its answer to the Velo’V) although the last of these hasn’t really caught on yet.  Only in Brussels can you find a Neahaus, a Godiva and a Pierre Marcolini on the same corner (and only Marcolini would have a collection called “Ephemeral” and a line called “Conspiration” and …