Reserve Your Night

I remember eating outside at Ambasciata D’Abruzzo, a restaurant near Rome, and the waiter brought me and my husband a giant platter of antipasti and some of their house wine. We were so content I think we may have taken off our shoes! This is my favorite kind of meal, a casual family style meal with antipasti and a good table wine. Yellow Tail Reserve wine and their new site brought four friends together for a summer night of spa, movie, and food (a mini staycation). It was the take off your shoes kind of atmosphere. Who needs to go out when you can gather together with your closest friends to put on a mask or two (or five) and watch a movie with some fabulous food and company?!?
I love wine; I love the way it brings out the flavor in food, the many varieties that it comes in, and the opportunities it provides to visit another country through a bottle. What I love the most is the number of different and pleasant ways that wine brings people together around the table.

This inexpensive evening was a treat and I’d say more fun than going out to the movies or a commercial spa because we could talk to our friends, enjoy wine, get beautiful, and see a movie all in one evening. It’s a bonus if your friends like to cook like mine do. Our Yellow Tail Reserve went perfectly with chicken pasta salad and blueberry cobbler.

I love movies about wine: Sideways, French Kiss, A Good Year, Bottle Shock, and Apres Vous are some of my favorites. However, my friends and I had just seen ABBA in concert and decided to watch Mamma Mia. Seeing the Greek islands on the big screen provided us the perfect spa environment. The art of tasting wine involves the sight, smell, and taste senses.

One of my favorite movies is French Kiss. In the movie both characters (Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline) compare wine to people. Two of my favorite lines in French Kiss that I know by heart are: “Wine is like people. The wine takes all the influences in life all around it, it absorbs them and it gets its personality.” -Luc (Kevin Kline) When Luc asks Kate to describe the wine she says, “It’s a bold wine with a hint of sophistication and lacking in pretension. Actually, I was just talking about myself.” -Kate (Meg Ryan)
It’s so funny because it’s true, wine IS like people! We can use the same adjectives to describe wine as we can for people: elegant, complex, bright, peachy, fruity, nice, bold, rich, smooth, full-bodied, earthy, sweet, bubbly, mature…

I have read that Australia is one of the most technologically advanced wine countries in the world. Yellow Tail Reserve is the perfect table wine. What’s better news is that it’s available everywhere, reasonably priced, and pleasing to the senses. My friend Margot said she liked the Yellow Tail Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon because it is really nice and fruity. What’s funny is that in a separate conversation my friend Jen said almost the same thing, that the same wine was light and fruity! I found Yellow Tail’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon to be silky and elegant. I tend to drink wine seasonally; cold white wine in the summer is what I enjoy now. My friends and I also sampled a Yellow Tail Reserve Pinot Grigio which is my favorite wine. It is soft and easy on the palate.

I will never be like Paul Giamatti, sticking my nose deep in my glass and saying something like, “there’s the faintest soupçon of asparagus!” But those who drink wine know what they like just as you know if you prefer mild to sharp cheddar or milk to dark chocolate. Taste is emotional and personal. I believe any wine that taste good to you is a good wine.

When preparing beauty treatments for our spa/movie night I followed the same wine cooking rule: Never cook with wine you wouldn’t drink! I didn’t make a beauty treatment that I couldn’t eat. I used fresh quality ingredients and I really think they worked! My four year old daughter got in on the action when I was in the kitchen blending up masks. What do you think her favorite was? Chocolate! The good news is that everything was edible. My daughter actually wanted a bowl full of the avocado mask to dip her chips into while she also wore it on her face!

I hope you will be inspired to “Reserve your Night” and try a spa/movie night with your friends before summer ends. AND…If you have children, let them get in on the action with you testing out the beauty treatments before your friends arrive! You will be glad you did!

Half of a small fresh watermelon
¼ C vodka
4 Tablespoons witch hazel
Blend ingredients and use cotton balls to apply. Store in fridge. Keeps approximately one week.

Pineapple helps rid the skin of dead cells and dirt and is a mild astringent. Olive oil has excellent healing properties and is a good source of vitamin E, which restores the skin’s surface.
In a blender, combine 1 fresh pineapple 1/3 C olive oil. Blend until almost smooth. Apply mixture to face with fingertips and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse face with warm water and pat dry. The acidity may make your face feel itchy so I suggest following with the soothing avocado mask.

summer 2010 644

This mask combines avocados, which are rich in Vitamin E, with carrots, which are high in beta-carotene and antioxidants, and cream, which is high in calcium and protein. These ingredients will rebuild skin collagen, improve tone and texture, and fade age spots.
2 avocados, mashed
½ banana
1 carrot, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons honey
2 T cottage cheese
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Spread gently over your face and neck, and leave in place 10-15 minutes.

This creamy mask is an excellent moisturizer, leaving your skin baby soft.
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. cottage cheese
¼ cup honey
3 tsp. oatmeal
Mix all ingredients together in a blender and smooth onto face. Relax for ten 10 minutes (enjoy the smell), then wash off with warm water.

If you swim in a chlorinated pool, the same damage you’ve noticed happening to your skin and bathing suit, is happening to your hair. Try this treatment at home to keep chlorine damage to a minimum.
2 eggs
¼ C olive oil
1 peeled cucumber
Blend until smooth. Spread evenly through your hair, leave on for 10 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse.

Zooey's chocolate mask

My daughter, enjoying her chocolate mask…a little too much!


I Enjoy Being a Girl: Beauty Secrets, Tips, and Shortcuts

25 Mar 1954 --- Original caption: Audrey Hepburn, Dutch born darling of American film, won a coveted Oscar for the Best Performance by an Actress. The lovely 22 year old actress hit the jackpot with her first American film, Roman Holiday. Here, she is shown in the dressing room of the Center Theater, where she changed after coming from the 46th Street Theater, where she was appearing in Ondine. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

When I have a brand new hairdo
With my eyelashes all in curl,
I float as the clouds on air do,
I enjoy being a girl!

“I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song

I do so enjoy being a girl! Oh yes, I am a beauty junkie! Sephora is my great big colorful and very wonderful candy store! I consider myself to be a pretty good resource when it comes to beauty products, because I consume beauty magazines like I do dark chocolate!

I think most Moms want the same thing: to look like themselves, but more beautiful, confident, and most importantly AWAKE! Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can let yourself go! I think it’s fun to try something different! I do it for me but I love when my children, husband, and second graders notice. Making an effort can be fun–trying a hair accessory, using a lip stain, or putting on a favorite fragrance can make us feel like singing I feel pretty, oh so pretty! I find the older I get, the more risks and experiments I take.

The best beauty items that make you look gorgeous don’t even go in a makeup bag! Sleep, water, and vitamins! I know if I don’t get enough sleep it will affect the way I look (red eyes, dark circles, dull skin…) Vitamins are also important. I really like to think I can get all the vitamins (especially A and C) through food. Vitamin A- carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, melons Vitamin C- strawberries, peppers, oranges, grapefruit, leafy greens to name a few are just as important for the body as your complexion. And of course water! Drinking water makes skin clear, smooth, and looking young.

My regimen has changed only slightly since having children with shortcuts for the better. I especially love when I find something I can combine steps with like tinted moisturizer. I have learned to prioritize and plan instead of taking my time. My routine has shrunk from 20 minutes to 5 since becoming a mom.

• Using Tinted moisturizer is three steps in one: color, lotion, and sunscreen (I like Laura Mercier)

• Concealer- Bobbi Brown says to never leave the house without it!

• Powder (I like a loose translucent powder)

• Blush- (tip: sweep blush on doing a backwards Nike swoop starting at the temple)

• Eyeliner/mascara (navy eyeliner makes the whites of your eyes pop; and the blacker the mascara the more the eyes stand out)

These are a few of my favorite things:

• Aquaphor for your baby and then some.

• Neutrogena Body Oil has the most amazing smell and it softens skin almost instantly sinking in so fast I can put on silk hose.

• V05 Hot Oil treatment has been a staple in my makeup drawer even before I could drive! It makes my hair soft and pretty.

• Fresh Soy Cleanser– super gentle and even takes off waterproof mascara

• Shu Uemura eye lash curler

• NARS blush in Orgasm

• MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Smoky Lash is waterproof mascara that provides volume, length, and the blackest black color.

• Fresh Sugar Face Polish with wild strawberries smells sooo good that I actually tried tasting it (not bad); it also makes your face radiant.

• Tweezerman tweezers

• Clarins UV Plus sunscreen

• OPI Dutch Tulips because it can look red or pink depending on what you’re wearing

• Clarifier pencils are used on the inner rim of the eye to brighten and widen. This was one of my favorite things after having my first baby because it makes my eyes look awake! Clarifier on the inner rim and navy eyeliner on the outer magically make my eyes look white! My favorite is Three Custom Color 

• BeneFit Benetint works on lips and cheeks

If you could only bring three beauty items to a desert island what would they be? I would take Neutrogena Body Oil, Kiehl’s lip balm, and sunscreen.

Lyndsey Peck, makeup artist and childhood friend, has this to say about makeup:

I have always loved makeup, because it is empowering even magical. It has the ability to transform anybody into whatever or whoever they choose to be. I like to use face oils, like almond or jojoba, to mix with creamy foundation. It gives a nice slip to the makeup, moisturizes the skin and keeps the coverage fairly sheer as the camera picks up every little imperfection. Cakey foundation is ugly and this alleviates that issue. Also, for a pouty lip, you can use a navy eyeliner pencil just in the corners of the lip and blend out with lipstick and a lip brush. It makes the lips look much fuller, but you have to use the eyeliner sparingly.

Photo: My daughter’s first makeup experience was dressing up like Abby Cadabby!