Bestest Beauty Products From Someone Who Doesn’t Consider Herself High Maintenance But Probably Is

Sometimes things live up to the hype. Like that time I met Jonathan Adler through a friend and he was super nice and funny and took my hand and told me I was “hilarious”.

Isn't he glorious??

Isn’t he glorious?

Whenever I doubt my self worth or talent, I look at myself in the mirror, give myself the double finger guns and say, “Hey, Julie Maigret – do you think Jonathan Adler tells EVERYONE they’re hilarious?”

Herein, I have compiled a list of products that also live up to the hype. Because we all need a little help, yes? For example, most of us fantasize that we look like this when we wake up:

Yeah...no.

Yeah…no.

 …but probably lean more towards this:

Sigh.

Sigh.

You guys, I strongly suspect that not even Kate Moss looks like Kate Moss in the morning.

So here are some products that might help you look less like that scary-as-shit girl from The Ring, who has haunted my dreams since 2002, until that Rubber Man from American Horror Story took her place circa 2011. 

Urban Decay Mascara

This.

I usually only wear mascara when I think there is a remote possibility that I might run into Timothy Olyphant or Jamie Dornan. And if you doubt I will ever run into these guys, please note that my friend recently sat next to Dornan at a restaurant and was offered one of his fries. What a mensch!

Anyway, special occasions. I usually only wear mascara on special occasions. And I have tried tons of different kinds of mascara, and spent enough money on them to put at least one of my dogs through college.

But none of them really lived up to their promises, know what I mean? Lies, all lies.

Until I tried Urban Decay’s Supercurl Curling Mascara. Notice that it has an average rating of 5 stars…out of 5. I AM RIGHT AGAIN.

It’s just perfection. It’s a rich, dark black, curls lashes instead of weighing them down, and lasts for hours. I don’t know how they do it. Black magic?

Beauty Blender

Beauty Blender

Beauty Blender

This little gem received so much hype and publicity, that I finally decided to try it. And it is amazing. I can’t believe I lived without it for so long – I must have been hideous…how could you all even look at me? I’m so sorry. Anyway, it blends your foundation so perfectly, it’s weird. Again with the Black Magic.

Just make sure you wash it after you use it; every single time.

Marvis Toothpaste

First, lets get this fact out of the way: this toothpaste costs $10 – $13 a tube. If you feel like it’s not quite snotty enough for you, the Marvis website (it has its own website) calls it “Contemporary Toothpaste”. It’s made in Italy, and their website further boasts: “Marvis stands out on account of its trendy image with an increasingly up-to-date, original and ironic flavor, inspired by the art and fashion worlds, capable of capturing and involving a spellbound public, who is curious and open-minded.”

I HATE MYSELF FOR LOVING THIS TOOTHPASTE.

But they’re actually right. Its delicious. It’s also very pretty. I’ve been tempted to serve it to dinner guests for dessert.

But it's so beautiful...

But it’s so beautiful…

Note: I whole heartedly endorse the Strong Mint, the Whitening, and the Cinnamon Mint. Avoid the Aquatic Mint, because, for some reason, it tastes like minty rotting cantaloup.

Oral-B Precision Black 7000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

To go along with your new toothpaste, here is a dapper, bad ass electric toothbrush.

It’s got 6 brushing modes that make you feel like you’ve had a professional cleaning at your handsome dentist’s office.

This puts other electric toothbrushes to shame. It’s so powerful, it’s scary. It even includes different color-coded brushes so you can share with family members. Even though there is a strong chance that your significant other will insist his is red. AGAIN. THE RED ONE IS MINE.

It even has a tongue cleaning mode, that will put your gag reflexes to the ultimate test. I love/hate it.

 Bumble & Bumble Dry Shampoo

Okay, this stuff has its good points and its bad points.

It absorbs oil and adds volume to your ‘do. A lot of volume. We’re talking Betty Draper-level volume. Do not up-do without this prize of a product!

Birdie.

Birdie.

But….it makes your roots white.  Sad, but true. But then again, it’s technical name is White Hair Powder. (pause for effect.) So make sure you just add it to the under layers of your hair, and tousle it really well, like you’re in this awesome Pantene commercial.

At least the white version (for blondes) makes your hair white…not sure about how the other colors work, for darker hair, but the reviews are divided and controversial. Danger! Intrigue!

I’ve tried other brands but they smell bad and make me sneeze like I’m allergic to my own head. Which, in this case, I am.

It’s a bit pricey and the bottle doesn’t last too long, and if you use it too often,  it can be drying on your hair….but we are often made to suffer for beauty, so there’s no use adding this to the long list of things I am crying about these days. 

But be forewarned; you may never wash your hair again, and that’s gross.

Go forth and be beautiful and broke, my friends. At least we don’t have to wear corsets anymore.

Screw this.

Screw this.

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Posted in Beauty, Favorite Finds, Uncategorized

Sleep Together. More Soundly.

When we go on vacation, we like to bring something back from our trip that reminds us of what an amazing time we had. Usually, it’s in the form of a 5-7 pound weight gain, but sometimes, it’s much much better than even that.

Take Germany. Did you know that in that gorgeous country of fine automobiles, Oktoberfests and German Shepherds that they have absolutely perfected the fine art of sharing a bed with another person?

It’s called “European Style” and/or “Scandinavian Style” and it is PRETTY MUCH THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR RELATIONSHIP EVER.

The “European Style” bed consists of a fitted sheet (natch), and 2 fluffy down duvets… with no top sheet. Yes, that’s right. No. Top. Sheet. Completely wipe the concept of a top sheet out of your collective brains because you don’t need it anymore. Keep the pillows, though. You still need those.

First, what this looks like, as depicted by some fine European Hotels, and perhaps my own bed:

Art'otel Berlin

Art’otel Berlin

Art’Otel Berlin

This is how WE do it

This is how WE do it 2

This is how WE do it 2

Brilliant, yes?

There’s no more fighting with your partner for your share of the covers: you will both sleep more soundly because you are each ensconced in your very own cloud of down perfection, and therefore much less likely to wake each other up from a sound sleep if you have your own covers.

This might even reduce the need for marital counseling. And most definitely would result in less blanket-related murder/suicides across the board. In fact, I may win the Nobel Peace Prize for introducing this to America. And it would be well deserved, my friends.

These 2 kids might have remained intact for more than 3 Seasons if they did it up European style.

These 2 kids might have remained intact for more than 3 Seasons if they did it up European Style. Photo courtesy of Mad Men. The best show ever.

Here are some tips to converting your boring old American bed to Europe’s Finest: invest in a set of super soft high quality duvets, as well as some light and fluffy down or down alternative (achoo) comforters. We have a King bed, and, fresh from our enlightening trip to Germany, sprung for two twin sized duvets and super light comforters from Scandia Home. And an organic fitted sheet and pillowcases from Coyochi that, frankly, tend to be a bit scratchy at first. But once you start reading about the amount of chemicals they put into non-organic bedding, you will decide to suck it up. I highly recommend hitting up one of Scandia Home’s epic sales for some serious discounts on bedding that you will keep for years and years. Totally worth it.

Side note: if you have kids who like to eat blueberries in your bed or dogs who like to jump right from a mud puddle directly onto your bed, or any combination of these two, you have my hearty encouragement to go the cheap route.

My bed's worst nightmare.

My bed’s worst nightmare.

If you’re like me, and turn into a raving lunatic when unnecessarily roused from a deep sleep, this is the jam for you.  If you’re also like me, and “cuddling time is for cuddling and sleeping time is for sleeping” then this is a perfect set up.

I’m guessing by now most of your are (even more) happy you are not married to me. But this girl likes her sleep and makes no apologies for it. So trust me:

Two duvets = 1 Happy Relationship. I promise.

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Posted in Bedding, Favorite Finds, Uncategorized

S’well Indeed.

Everywhere I go, people ask me about my groovy water bottle. 

Photo from Swellbottle.com

If I were in a magazine, in a feature entitled “Things Julie Maigret Can’t Live Without”, one of my items would be this beauty. Yes, that list, like every other one of its kind, would no doubt cause you to roll your eyes, but hey, you are probably just jealous that you’re not in a magazine like I am. 

I am pretty sure that once you own one, you will spend the first few days walking around  with your hands in the air, asking the universe, “HOW DO THEY DO IT??”

What is so special about a S’well bottle? Um, everything. 

  • It’s gorgeous.
  • It keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12.
  • It keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12. That was worth repeating.
  • It’s BPA and toxin free.
  • It’s made with non-leaching and non-toxic 18/8 stainless steel. That sounds pretty badass.
  • The bottle causes no metallic taste.
  • It’s unbreakable.
  • All sizes fit in your car cup holder.
  • Available in 9oz, 17oz and 25oz sizes.
  • The biggest size fits an entire bottle of wine. And keeps it cold. Holla.
  • It’s “Responsibly Made In China”. Not sure what that means, but I am choosing to be happy about it
  • No condensation collects on the outside.
  • Free shipping on all U.S. orders.
  • They give a portion of proceeds to charities.
  • And last but certainly not least, 60 million plastic water bottles are used every day in the US. I say we need to do our part to lower that number significantly, and, damn it,  we should look handsome doing it.

Photo from Swellbottle.com

Photo from Swellbottle.com

I can personally recommend the Wood Collection (first photo in post). But don’t purchase the Teakwood if we are going to be in the same yoga or dance class or go on a road trip together, because things could get confusing.

Lastly, S’well has been getting a lot of well deserved press lately, so if you want to be on the cutting edge, you should move fast. Be a pioneer in hydrating responsibly and stylishly. 

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Posted in Favorite Finds, Uncategorized

That Time I Discovered I Am No Defender Of Women.

Last week, I went to Largo at the Coronet to see “Sarah Silverman & Friends”. 

Which really should have been called “Sarah Silverman & The Same Friends As The Last Time You Went A Few Months Ago, With Mostly The Same Jokes.” But that’s obviously too long. 

Largo is a pretty cool, small venue for seeing great comedy acts. And they’d better be great to offset the fact that there is ALWAYS a coil from their decrepit old seats jabbing me in the ass when I’m there.

Coils.

2 hours of this shit.

But this is the story of Sarah’s friend, who I will just call “Angry White Male Comedian” because I am too afraid of him to name him here. 

This is not him. But almost as scary.

He started the set out fine. Because he is actually really funny. Did a bit about how he hates when people say things that begin with “Back in my day…” For example, how people say, “Back in my day, men used to hold doors open for women’”…and he’s like, “Yeah, but you didn’t want them to vote.”

Old timey people.

Old timey people.

Pretty funny. Pretty pro-women. So far so good. 

But…then he noticed a woman in the front row looking at her phone. And he just WENT OFF on her. Screaming.

He was like that time when Jen from I.T. Crowd had PMS and she turned into a monster.

You should totally watch this show.

You should totally watch this show.

Gotta hand it to the woman and her friend for getting up and scurrying out, as he screamed at their backs. In front of 280 people. 

Um. Super weird. 

And then he noticed two other women in the front row who were “looking at him weird” and “not smiling.” And he WENT OFF them, too, for what felt like HOURS. “Don’t come to a show and sit in the front row and not laugh at anything…if you were a nice person, you’d at least put a smile on your face to be polite.”

And then how “Everyone in the crowd must agree, because no one is defending you.”

Nope, we don’t agree…we’re just too terrified to do anything about it.

How we should have looked at this comedy show:

Not us.

Not us.

How we actually looked at this comedy show:

Technically, not us either. But closer.

It was like being trapped in a small theater during a raging fire. A raging fire that was coming out of someone’s mouth.

If this was part of his act, it was not funny. Terrifying, yes. Funny, no. Seething. Spitting. Red faced. Face Veins bulging. I don’t think I’d have been surprised if he started peeing on them.

… or had a misogynist-fueled heart attack: I couldn’t help but notice that all his targets were women who were there without male companions, and I seriously doubt if he would have attacked them if there was a male there who might have stood up for them.

Like I didn’t do.

I fantasized about standing up from my seat and asking him what makes it okay to scream at and berate women like that?  And, are you telling me that not one man in the audience had checked his phone or poker-faced during the show? And…how is this much different from not wanting women to vote?

I envied the people who found the courage to stand up and leave the theater during this bullshit. If my friends and I were sitting at the end of the aisle, we would have been among them. But climbing over 10 people to make my dramatic exit seemed pretty anti-climactic. And too vulnerable to the fire-breather.

So I just sat there.

I have discovered, sadly, that I am no defender of women.

Me = nothing in common with this woman.

I have no idea how he ended the set without having a heart attack. My friends and I could not get out of the theater fast enough. We stood outside and talked about how we were all probably going to have PTSD. We’re kind of dramatic. 

Then I came home and googled him, and it turns out that he actually had a heart attack on stage, while performing at that SAME SHOW at that SAME VENUE a few years ago.

That’s how bad it was. Heart Attack Bad.

So for now on, I’m gonna stick with “Demetri Martin & Friends” and “Hannibal Buress & Friends”. Hilarious. Both seem to like women.

And, most importantly, they don’t make me feel bad about myself.

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Posted in comedy shows, Uncategorized

Everything You Think You Know About Chick(pea)s Is Wrong.

These cookies are so good, they might cause you to question everything you know about baking, flour, Veganism, and possibly life itself.

Eating Whole's Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eating Whole’s Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photo by Eating Whole.

Even YOU wouldn’t be able to tell these cookies are mostly comprised of garbanzo beans. They would even fool my dad, who has a sixth sense about being bullshitted into eating anything too healthy.

My Dad. Major bullshit detecter.

I started writing this post before I even ate one. The raw dough alone is reason enough to make you want to quit your job and go live under the porch of Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude in LA.

Cafe Gratitude in LA.

Here’s the recipe. I substituted real chocolate chips with Sunspire Vegan Carob Chips so my lactose intolerant husband could eat some and I wouldn’t get too fat. But I am 100% certain that they’d be better with real chocolate chips because WHO ARE WE KIDDING?

Sunspire Vegan Carob Chips

Sunspire Vegan Carob Chips.

I got them at Whole Foods, a place that white people like me REALLY like.

I cannot say enough about the Eating Whole blog. It’s spectacular. And so inspiring. Special thanks to Rachel Thurston for bringing it to my attention. Rachel is equally spectacular and inspiring. Check out her mad photography and writing skills and be prepared to be moved deeply. But try not to make her talent make you feel too badly about yourself. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep with jealousy.

I use these cool tissues.

But back to the cookies. Actually, the raw cookie dough is better than the finished product. And I am not even a huge fan of raw cookie dough. Kinda like how I feel about The West Wing, I can take it or leave it. Mostly leave it. 

When you bite into one, they’ll make you channel your Inner Clay Davis.

I’m not saying they will make you forget ‘real’ chocolate chip cookies forever…but these have protein, people! And are gluten free and (can be easily made) vegan.

If you need any more inspiration to try this recipe, check out the feelings of longing they inspired in Pico. 

"It's so not fair that I can't have any fucking cookies."

“It’s so not fair that I can’t have any fucking cookies.”

That should be enough to get you to embrace the chickpea. 

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Posted in Food, Recipes

In Praise of Sweatpants. With apologies to Cindy Crawford.

I like to spend most of my time at home dressed like a new mom. AKA someone who doesn’t have time to look all that presentable (sorry, Husband). I am not a new mom, or a mom at all (that is, as far as I know….wink wink). I am merely a seeker of comfort. 

I’m not saying that I will wear sweatpants to that hot new club I’ll never get into…but running errands? Yes. Slothing around the house? Required clothing.

A friend of mine recently lamented that there is no such thing as a cool pair of sweatpants. This is a sad and dangerous misconception. Has she been talking to Cindy Crawford again? I believe it was she who famously said that she wouldn’t be caught dead in sweatpants. But that just leaves more for me.

But said supermodel most certainly must have changed her mind since Monrow came on the market a few years ago.

Monrow Snakeskin Vintage Sweatpants in Dark Heather.

Monrow Snakeskin Vintage Sweatpants in Dark Heather.

Monrow Snakeskin Vintage Sweatpants in Neptune.

Monrow Snakeskin Vintage Sweatpants in Neptune.

Monrow Camo Vintage Sweats in Dusty Blue.

Monrow Camo Vintage Sweats in Dusty Blue.

Monrow Fish Bone Tie Dye Sweats in Neptune.

Monrow Fish Bone Tie Dye Sweats in Neptune.

DISCLAIMER: YOU WILL BE PAYING A SHIT-TON OF MONEY FOR THESE COOL NEW SWEATS. 

Worth it. You will never take them off, and hence eliminate the need to buy any more clothing ever again. They’ve also been known to go on sale, and sometimes can be found for less cash on sites like Amazon or Piperlime.

See? These are not big, baggy I-gave-up-as-soon-as-that-ring-was-on-my-finger type of sweats that people wear to Walmart. These are slim-fitting and flattering and über comfie.

They’re like that girl in high school who was too rich and pretty to be friends with except that she turned out to be super nice and cool and down-to-earth so you took a chance on her and turns out now you couldn’t imagine life without her. 

Sloane Peterson. But you k now that.

Sloane Peterson.

Of course, I do acknowledge that it really helps you rock a pair of sweatpants if you have a Kate Moss body. But I am not advocating a cocaine diet.

I am advocating something, though.

I must admit that I look a lot better in said sweatpants since adopting a gluten-fee-and-mostly-vegetarian-with-a-healthy-dose-of-vegan diet. But that is for another (annoying) post (that you won’t read). But…I cannot resist pointing out that, unless you’re an endurance athlete – and I mean hard core athlete – losing weight has about 80% to do with diet, not exercise. You should do both, but I swear by eating mostly vegetarian and gluten free and steering clear of super cardio, which can only makes us (me) more hungry and dehydrated. More yoga, less spinning, I say.

Need inspiration? Check out this blog called Eating Whole.

Lecture over. Unless you’re in your 20’s. Then do whatever the hell you want and enjoy it while it lasts because it does not last. Even if you tell yourself that you’ll be the exception. That is what I used to do. (Sad music plays in background.)

This was me.

This was me.

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Posted in Favorite Finds

Korean Spas: They’re Not Messing Around

I have always wanted to check out a Korean spa, but was hesitant because I feared they wouldn’t be user-friendly, as I hate being bad at things. Turns out my fears were totally justified

Raylan Givens

Raylan Givens.

But alas, I was ultimately lured in by the promise of a transcendent experience. Here is where best friend Ling & I ended up. Special thanks to spa-and-pretty-much-everything-else-savvy Erica  for the recommendation.

When we checked in, we were not offered a tour, so I had to ask for one. (Scowly face.) The attendant gave us the most cursory tour in the History Of Cursory Tours. She REALLY had something better to attend to.  It was like she had a Hot Pocket waiting for her that was at optimum eating temperature. I kept asking her questions as she inched away and I inched towards her. We were totally foxtrotting.

So we were basically left to figure things out on our own. (Key scary music.)

When we arrived at our lockers, Ling remarked that it reminded her of a prison, where everyone was milling about in the same uniform. Then the woman next to us said that this place was WAY better than a prison, trust her, she knew.

Oh shit.

Oh shit.

I quickly realized that when you enter the spa, you are no longer in America. You are in Korean Spa Country. And everyone is a native. Except you. 

WTF IS GOING ON?

There are signs stating that bathing suits are not allowed. I am not sure what happens if you wear one, but I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW. 

Oh shit 2.

Oh shit 2.

So everyone, as a rule,  is completely naked. This place has more vaginas than The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Anyway, needless to say, within minutes of arriving I broke an enormous Spa Rule. 

There was a shallow, narrow body of water that ran along the side of the jacuzzis. It looked like a foot bath, so I asked Naked Stranger standing next to me what it was and for some reason heard, “Step right in and trudge around.”

BIG MISTAKE.

As soon as I stepped in, I heard a commotion. I looked up with wide eyes and was greeted by a sea of angry faces above the partition across the room.

Prairie dogs.

Yep, a sea of workers got all Angry Prairie-Dog on me, shrieking that I get out of the pool. Actually, I think that was what they were saying, but it was all in Angry Korean Language. 

Everyone in the spa stopped and stared at me. And trust me, it sucks to be yelled at by a bunch of angry clothed women when you’re naked.

I immediately deduced that I was standing in Holy Water blessed by the Pope, but apparently it was a pool of clean bath water. Bath water that you are supposed to sit beside and pour over you into a drain. Yeah, that was REALLY OBVIOUS to a gringo. It would have been really helpful if Hot Pocket had mentioned this during our tour.

Fucking Hot Pocket.

Fucking Hot Pocket.

Soon after, it was time for my nearly 2 hour Goddess Treatment. The treatments take place on what look exactly like dissection tables, with your naked neighbor directly across from you. And if you time it right, you can look directly up her hooch when it’s time for you to turn over. 

I was skeptical about my treatment for about 30 seconds. Then the technician, who most certainly is a Dominatrix Gymnast by night, scrubs you within an inch of your life, continuously pours warm water all over you, washes your hair, and massages you ferociously. The experience can only be described as The Best Thing Known To Mankind.

After our identical treatments, Ling & I sat and talked about the experience for about 20 minutes, with the hushed voices and glazed eyes and newly converted cult members. The Best Thing Known To Mankind.

I cannot recommend a visit to a Korean Spa highly enough. It’s weird and foreign and naked and perhaps questionably hygienic, but it’s also pretty transcendent. For $130, I lost my dignity, and about 2 pounds of dead skin. And gained an incredible sense of peace and balance. Consider me a convert.

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Posted in Spas
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