Products I’m Using Now

Clinique 3 Step Kit (for oily/combination skin)

Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer 

Exposed 30-day Trial Kit (

Includes trial sizes of cleanser, toner, pore cream, acne control cream

Gentle & lighweight (but works fast)

Need to use a very small amount of products

I need to use acne control rarely now, but this is a fine choice! 

Oil of Olay Facial Hair Removal Duo (NEW)

There is also a Fine to Medium version.

Very gentle & easy to use

Con: This is pricy! 

Look for it at CVS.

In-depth review on YouTube (17:25)

Aubrey Organics NuStyle Organic Detangler & Shine Booster

Perfect for gals w/ fine &/or thin hair

Feels like nothing at all!

Can get it for less at Marshalls

FYI: Organic hair products, esp. from John Masters, have made a difference for me this past year! 

JOICO K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor

Get trial size from Ulta.  Look for it at Marshalls, too!

I’m using it once a week.

Reboot: Wow, who’s THAT guy!?

It’s time to bring back one of my favorite topics on this blog- fine (and fine looking, in many cases) actors who are not yet household names.  You may have seen tall, striking (mother is Peruvian; father is Scottish), leading-man to-be, Henry Ian Cusick (b. 1967).  His accent is British.  He appeared in ABC’s Lost from 2005-2010 (after I stopped watching it- too bad), and was nominated for an Emmy.  I first saw him in Fall 2010 on my favorite show, NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Ian (as he prefers to be called) was in a 2 episode arc (Bullseye and Locum), playing Eric Weber, an IT security expert/neighborhood vigilante/martial arts teacher.  At first, I thought that Erik could be a potential love interest for Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), but he turned out to be two-faced… and a serial pedophile!  The dark hair/eyes, features, and intensity bring to mind actor Clive Owen, who got his start on British TV playing antiheros.

In ABC’s Scandal, Ian played a supporting role as Stephen Finch, close friend/co-worker of DC lawyer/fixer Oliva Pope (Kerry Washington).  However, Shonda Rimes (the show’s creator) decided not to bring his character back for the 2nd (current) season.  Ladies’ man Stephen got married to a teacher and moved away to “have a normal life” (as Olivia wanted for him all  along). 

Imitation of Life (1959)

This melodrama is based on a novel and directed by Douglas Sirk (known for his distinct style and focus on “women’s problems”).  In our time, his influence can be seen in Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven and the AMC’s Mad Men.  

Widowed/single mother, Lora Meredith (Lana Turner), temporarily loses her 6-year old daughter, Susie, at the beach on Coney Island.  She scrambles to find the girl amid the crowd, and runs into a handsome photographer, Steve Archer (John Gavin), who offers his help.  When she finds Susie, she is with a kind black woman, Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore) and her 8-year old daughter, Sarah Jane (who has dark brown hair and looks white).  “Her father was almost white,”  Annie explains to the surprised Lora, who thought Annie was the girl’s nanny.  It turns out that Annie is also a widow, and she and her child have no place to stay.  Lora asks them over to her humble Manhattan apartment. 

In no time, the four are functioning as family.  Lora goes out into the theater world to seek work as an actress; Annie takes care of the home, kids, and picks up little jobs now and then.  The girls go to school and grow up like sisters, though conflicts arise when Sarah Jane insists on hiding her true racial identity.  For many months, Steve and Lora date.  Though he loves his art, he gets a stable job in marketing.  He’s good with Susie, too.  But he’s not as perfect as he seems…

In time, Lora achieves the success she dreamed of professionally.  She becomes a star of theater, then movies, working with notable directors.  The family moves to a spacious house on Long Island.  Annie is always there- the “wind beneath her wings”- serving as a homemaker, confidant, and partner.  In one poingnant scene, Lora admits that Annie was more of a mother to Susie than she was (because of her high ambitions).

The girls grow into beautiful, charming, independant-minded teenagers.  Susie (petite, blonde Sandra Dee) has a positive outlook on life, though Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner, an actress of Czech and Mexican heritage) is troubled and restless. 

There is much to admire in this film, but also troubling aspects (reflecting the limitations of Hollywood and US.)  Why is Annie always humble, obliging, and wise?  Why doesn’t she have weak moments, like Lora?  Why weren’t African American actresses chosen to play Sarah Jane (as in the 1934 version)?  I’ll have to watch that version, too.  Some of the themes in this film are very modern: navigating a man’s world without a husband, raising a child as a single parent, and mother-daughter conflicts. 

Lora and Annie are like two sides of a coin- one has the strength to face the outside world (with her beauty and confidence), while the other has a quiet, inner strength (stemming from her spirituality).  Moore won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance. 

I was impressed by Kohner’s performance; I thought she did a fine job of a rebellious, conflicted individual seeking a place in the world.