hipster makeup reviews, part ii: Mascara

Previously in the world of super-trendy (yet never admitting to trend! I was into trend when it was still playing basements in Bushwick! now everyone is into trend and I can't deal with how normalized it is) makeup, we explored lip gloss that admits, up front, its social allegiance. I actually wear this lip gloss with moderate regularity, and find it to be both nicely moisturizing and pleasantly tinted. It's pretty awesome.

So what they tell you - and by "they" I mean the cabal of makeup-industry executives and magazine beauty editors, who together convince me that it's totally worth it to spend $55 on an eyeshadow quad I will wear exactly once, just because it's Chanel - is that you should replace your mascara every six months. This actually isn't such a bad idea when i think about it, since after all you are glopping the stuff on within millimeters of your eyeball and having a clean set of black eyelash-paint really can't but help your chances of not getting a crippling bout of incubated pinkeye or whatever that thing is that's been all over the front page of the New York Times and is causing everyone to go blind (clearly I care).

So, ladida, off to Duane Reade to buy new mascara. Where I decide to go with Almay, because they have clean packaging that is subconsciously reassuring in its muted colors and lack of metallic lettering proclaiming that my eyelashes will be VOLUMINOUS and ARCHITECTURAL and IMPOSSIBLY LONG. Because, honestly, I like a well-lashed eye as much as the next average American, but I am not really looking to become the Diane Witt of eye-hair so I don't know, it's a little intimidating.

Here's what I bought: Almay Bright Eyes Mascara, in black-brown. Here is a picture of Conor Oberst, aka Bright Eyes:I'm a big fan of Bright Eyes, both metaphorically (who doesn't like a glowing eye?) and musically (who doesn't like First Day of My Life?), and so it warms the cockles (or does one lift cockles?) of my heart to see Conor Oberst, talented and neo-Dylanic as he may be, honored in mascara form. He's not an unattractive guy, though he's distinctly lacking in the eyelash department. Perhaps he should wear some mascara. Perhaps he should wear Bright Eyes mascara. Then Bright Eyes would be wearing Bright Eyes and thus would possess bright eyes! The mind boggles.

It is worth noting that I am wearing Bright Eyes mascara at this very moment, and no, my eyelashes are no closer to writing a blues-informed lyrics-driven acoustic song of heartbreak and self-loathing than, you know, they normally are.


my love is like ...

So a few weeks ago WK introduced me to this idea of "cultural capital," which is basically when you know stuff like who Haydn is and how to do a crossword puzzle, which is something I had always sort of thought of as "eltitism" or "pretension," and which I totally aspire to the possession of to a sort of embarrassing degree.

Anyway I had this moment of genius the other day and it made me laugh for hours, and I decided to turn it into a t-shirt, and then I showed it to people and they didn't really get it,* and thus didn't think it was funny. They're wrong. It's hilarious. It is possibly the best t-shirt of all time. Here it is:

click to make the image bigger and see how kickass the art is

Admit it. You are dying of awesomeness. You know what you should do? You should - I am not kidding - buy a shirt. Or a sticker or whatever. I'm not picky. Perfect for the English major who has everything.

*fine, i'll explain it. Evelyn Waugh (pictured) is an author who wrote stuff, and who I learned in the course of doing google image searches in order to draw this picture looks sort of like a cross between Cary Elwes and Adolf Hitler. Also he is snarly. His last name is pronounced sort of like "whoa," though if we're being technical it's more like "waw" but then the joke isn't as funny. Get it? "It's like whoa." Sample sentence: "This 'it's like Waugh' shirt is like whoa." You now have +5 cultural capital points, which are like hit points but are only good during NPR pledge week.


the immutable joys of ann m. martin

the subtitle for this post is: Helen overuses the italics function

It is a universal truth about females my age that if you talk to us about Barbie dolls, we will tell you stories of mutilating them gleefully. If you talk to us about Jem and the Holograms, we will have a sudden reiteration of our love for light-up pink earrings. If you talk to us about the Baby-Sitters Club, we will collapse into paroxysms of inarticulate joy, something resembling a sputtering version of religious ecstasy, punctuated with seemingly nonsensical phrases like "mme noelle" and "krushers" and "radowsky." Because here is the thing: there is nothing - nothing - more awesome in this world than the Baby-Sitters Club.

Let's ignore the series' inconsistent punctuation (talk about your hyphen challenges. talk about your plural/possessive challenges. this sucker is tough to crack) and focus on its awesomeness. Here is a series of more than one hundred books about a bunch of junior high students in mythical Stonybrook, Connecticut (which in my mind is second only to Avonlea in terms of Places Where I Will Raise My Children, Goddamnit, Fictionality Of Locale Be Damned) who, like the Simpsons, never age - and who in the space of this one academic year manage to experience several dozen spring, winter, and summer breaks, thousands of days of school, and like fourteen Christmases. They have attended summer camp, been snowed in, been adrift at sea, been shipwrecked on an uncharted island in Long Island Sound (i shit you not), and myriad other things which happened after I stopped reading the series and which I can only imagine involved significant drama such as perhaps being caught in a freak hurricane which sends them to Sweet Valley, California, where they are taken hostage by rich-and-snotty Lila and forced to babysit a ragtag bunch of Lila's rich-and-snotty nieces and nephews while Lila drugs Jessica Wakefield in order to steal her boyfriend, but Kristy realizes that THIS IS WRONG and with the help of Mallory, who is totally crushing on the stolen boyfriend, convinces Jessica that Lila is out to get her BUT THEN it turns out that Dawn is missing because she's gone to look for her brother, Jeff, who lives in San Francisco, having no knowledge of the fact that California is, like, the entire height of the United States, so Jessi and Dawn's step sister Mary Ann (who incidentally totally grows up to be Charlotte from Sex & the City) go to look for her, because Jessi - being from Oakland - knows her way around California, which did I mention is a really really really big state? and back at Lila's evil mansion one of the snotty rich cousins gets sick and pukes on Stacy's black blouse which is like, from New York City, guys, and thus very sophisticated, so Stacy freaks out and goes into a diabetic coma and Lila is the only one who can call 911 and oh my god will she find it in her heart to forgive the girls of the BSC???????. Plus, each chapter will be written by a different character in the story.

Deep breath. The real thing is, kids, that I have discovered the greatest website ever. And by "I have discovered" i mean "I read about on Gawker," which is like when you go to the grocery store in a different state and you say "I have discovered a new flavor of fruit roll-up" whereas in fact they've been selling it for, like, years in Iowa, it's just that you have never been to Iowa before. Except that I read Gawker every day, but that is not the point. The point is: THIS LINK RIGHT HERE on which the author, my Personal Hero, is going to read and reread every single BSC book, and provide brief recaps, and her opinion. I am so in love.

For the sake of complete disclosure, I would like to share the following anecdote: When I was in fourth grade we moved to a new school district, and after my first day of school my mom asked me if there were any cute boys in my class. There were, as it happens, and I said so. "His name is Austin," I said. "What's his last name?" said my mom (undoubtedly digging to find out whether he was Jewish and, thus, marriageable [nb: I was, at the time, 9 years old]). "Bentley," I said, with confidence. "Austin Bentley."

Two facts are relevant here. One, we were having this conversation through the closed bathroom door, because I had had a long and stressful day and really needed to pee, and to this day my mother does not understand that it is not really terribly considerate to talk to someone while they are peeing. Two, and perhaps more importantly, the cute boy in my class was not named Austin Bentley. He was named Austin Something Else. Austin Bentley, however, was the name of Claudia's crush object in the seminal BSC book, Logan Likes Mary Ann.

I would also like to add that if you are a female between the ages of 18 and 27 and you were raised in the United States by parents who were not explicitly neglectful and/or abusive, and you did not at some point band your friends together and attempt to start an ersatz BSC of your own, you have not lived.


a thought, in passing

I think the big upside of Hurricane Katrina is, for me, the opportunity to use the word antediluvian with greater frequency.

That is all.

PS. keep reading the MoAF, 'cause it's full of awesome.


Tuesday Glossaries are 93 Years Old and Crazy

I get some mighty strange letters at work. Most are tossed, ignored, or passed on to someone else. But a few weeks ago I got a letter - shaky writing, neon pink paper - that began "Dear Gentlemen," (note: I am a singular female).

"Dear Gentlemen, This is the fourth time I have written. I am inquiring about the fantasy calendar, which I have been collecting since 1983. I am very sad that I could not find the calendar for 2006, as now my collection streak is broken. I am ninety-three years old."
Well of course I'm a nice person so I packed up a copy of the calendar (your standard-issue buxom gals wearing iron bikinis riding around on dragons sort of prison-wall fodder) and sent it to the somewhat insistent ninety-three year old man with a note apologizing for not having received his prior letter, and offering the calendar with my compliments. And then today I get this in the mail:

click to enlarge
This is, in a word, psychedelic. I would like to note for the record that I have no idea who or what The Goat Boy is, and as far as I'm aware there are no Guns Or Modern Weapons in the calendar. But I totally support the More Nudity Fine - Great position, and am (actually) touched by the Katrina reference. The clear highlight, however, is the word Epoculips, which inexplicably appears on the back of the letter along with a fairly confusing compliment of the Lovely Lady Beside [Me} (where?). So that is this week's (this month's?) Tuesday (Monday) Glossary.
Epoculips (ee-pock-uh-lips), n. Definition wholly unknown.

some facts

- in keeping with the theme, Saturday’s OED word of the day was “stroke.”

- RSGo is the top search result if you google “sheep stomach recipes.”

- The Shake Shack, my single favorite food experience in literally the entire world, reopens tomorrow, the first day of spring. If you don’t live in New York, you should come visit this fair city for the sole purpose of having a shackburger (or, if you’re a vegetarian, one of their ingenious and brain-destroyingly delicious portobello burgers) and cheese fries, and I will let you stay on my futon. If you live in New York and have never been, you are on probation. If you do or do not live in New York, and you’ve been, and you don’t like it, you should consider being evaluated for nerve damage, and also you are no longer my friend. I can’t overestimate this place. I cannot sing its praises too loudly. The Shake Shack is worth being fat for.


i'm cheating on you

hey, yeah, so I updated the museum of awful food, bringing the grand total of posts on that site to: two.


talk about sesquipedalianism

I subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary Word Of The Day email service. Without commentary, a random selection of words culled from recent mailings:

  • supergiant
  • splendid
  • slap-headed
  • rig
  • twelve-incher


this is my confession

I have a horrible action to own up to. I did something unforgivable today, and I'm scared that there's no turning back.

I've been thinking about doing this for a while now. At first, it seemed repulsive - just the thought of it made me shriek and mock and shudder in horror. But over time, the idea of it wore away at me until it seemed attractive, even glamorous. And today I just couldn't help myself.

I did it. I bought a pair of black capri-length leggings. Which I will wear to places that are not the gym, possibly under skirts and dresses. I realize this is something I promised to do as part of my Celebrity Behavior during RSGo Hollywood Week, but I didn't really think I'd follow through on my own promises (note that, for example, I am not a UN Goodwill Ambassador, nor am I squinty [except when trying to see long distances in the dark without my glasses]).

But Ashlee Simpson does this. So does Hilary Duff. I think Lindsay might, too, when she's not all gothed up in Chanel in her desperate bid to be Karl Lagerfeld's new hag. And sure, I'm about five months behind this Rachel Zoe-meets-Olsen Twin trend, which has been gobbling up the slender calves of the NYU students who flock around my office building, but I'm a grown woman for chrissakes. I am twenty-freaking-four years old. I should not be succumbing to trends like this.

Except they are such awesome trends. So pretty. I have been craving the return of leggings since 1991, when I had to give up my black lycras that had a neon-pink racing stripe up the side. So I give myself over to the leggings trend with all my heart, with all my soul. I will wear them with heels and with sneakers and with ballet flats. But thankfully I don't own cowboy boots. It can't get that far.



i will hurl my cell phone at passersby

It’s Hollywood week here at RSGo headquarters, an event kicked off by the dream I had last Thursday night wherein I made out with Dan Aykroyd. Hollywood week also contains such dramatic events as last night’s sucky and long Oscars broadcast, me being on the subway this morning with Glenn Close, and my perpetual and thus-far futile stalking of New York's sole remaining Olsen twin, who allegedly goes to school across the street from my office. It will all come to a head on Wednesday night, for the simultaneously airing finale of Project Runway and first episode of America’s Next Top Model: Cycle n, where n is an integer that I can’t remember right now.

In honor of the three remaining days of RSGo Hollywood week (I only declared its existence five minutes ago and really wanted to extend it retroactively to include the Dan Aykroyd dream, which is arguably the most disturbing makeout dream I have ever had, though last night I also had a dream that Angelina Jolie was dating Heath Ledger and she was wearing yellow stretch pants, and that was also disturbing but no making out was involved [sadly]), I am going to behave like a celebrity. Therefore, I will be doing and don’ting the following:

  1. I will wear high heels every day.
  2. I will allow myself to be seen entering a hotel with an ex-boyfriend.
  3. I will not eat.
  4. Unless I am being photographed, in which case I will eat enthusiastically.
  5. I will go out every night.
  6. I will wear black capri-length tights under everything.
  7. I will never wear a bra.
  8. I will hoover up drugs like nobody’s business.
  9. I will suffer from exhaustion.
  10. I might or might not be engaged.
  11. I might or might not be pregnant.
  12. I might or might not have difficulty conceiving, and would appreciate you respecting my privacy at this difficult time.
  13. I will steal your boyfriend or husband.
  14. I will claim I did not steal your boyfriend or husband.
  15. I will become a UN Goodwill ambassador.
  16. I will become a vegetarian.
  17. I will drive a hybrid car.
  18. I will date a member of The Strokes.
  19. I will be squinty.
  20. I will be represented by Lizzie Grubman.
  21. I will not let my eyebrows be governed by muscle movement and gravity.
  22. I will make courageous statements such as: “racism is bad,” and join the fight against breast cancer
  23. I will enroll at Harvard to demonstrate that there is more to me than just my incredible good looks.
  24. I will go to the bathroom constantly.
  25. I will not leave the house without my Sidekick.
  26. I will threaten a lawsuit if my sex tape is released.
  27. I will be sighted on Gawker Stalker.
I have a hell of a week ahead of me.


the norton anthology of university presidents

The double dactyl/higgledy-piggledy poem consists of two quatrains with two dactyls per line. The first line is "higgledy-piggledy"; the second, a proper name; the sixth line is, ideally, a single double dactyl word. The fourth and eighth lines, which rhyme with each other, are both truncated, lacking the final two unaccented syllables.

Ruth Simmons, John Connolly, Carol Christ, Lawrence H. Summers, and Ralph Hexter are all individuals who at some point in their lives have served as university presidents (with a slight weight towards those who were in the Valley).

Put these together and you get (drum roll, please):
Helen's Higher Education Administration Poetry Corner

It's entirely likely that this will become, like Tuesday Glossaries, a semi-regular feature. It's also entirely likely that in all the world, I am the dorkiest individual to ever exist. But I embrace that, and affirm it. On with the poetry!

Higgledy Piggledy
Ruth Simmons, doctor
of something or other,
Harvard '76,
has been quite presidential
Smith to Brown, Brown to Harvard?
Yawn. Same old schtick.

Higgledy Piggledy
Johnny F. Connolly
although not a part of a
minority crew
(a white christian male
as the Smith College president?!)
was beloved by all: straight,
gay, trans, and Q

Higgledy Piggledy
(pronounced as in "christmas"
instead of like "spliced")
served somewhat inconsistently -
vascillatorily -
such falling and rising - Smith's
very own christ.

Higgledy Piggledy
Lawrence H. Summers:
ex cathedra at Harvard,
acknowledged, up front
that girls might be lesser
He wouldn't be fired if
he had a cunt.

Higgledy Piggledy
Ralph Hexter, president,
Prince's successor
at Hampshire. And yet -
Hexter's dexterity,
(following royalty!)
marked him as clearly
heir apparent.
I will now turn of my dorkitude function and attempt to live my life as a normal human being. Attempt.