Archive for June, 2011

Arthrogryposis Awareness Day is Thursday!

Posted by Jessica Jewett 12 Comments »

>Every person in the world carries a burden that makes them extraordinary.

This is not about attention. This is about raising awareness.

Thursday is Arthrogryposis Awareness Day, a day that was begun by – a nonprofit organization designed to educate, raise funding for families of children with Arthrogryposis, and draw attention to a condition that has not yet been researched enough by the medical community to find a cure. People are being encouraged to WEAR BLUE THURSDAY to show their support for raising awareness for this condition and also to educate themselves. I’m doing my part today by teaching you about my disability.

I had intended to find pictures of Arthrogryposis for examples but searching Google Images showed me sights of fetuses and babies with the condition who did not survive. I couldn’t take that sight. Instead, I’m showing you a couple of pictures of me in which you can see my deformities. This was not easy for me to do because I typically hide it in photography but people need to see what it really looks like. Here it is.

The full, obnoxious medical name of this condition is Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita or AMC for short. Let’s break that down. Arthrogryposis means hooked or curved joints, in so many words; and Multiplex means the condition is found in multiple limbs; and Congenita means from birth, as in this is a condition that is present in children beginning during gestation. In other words, this is a condition of curved or hooked (deformed) joints in multiple parts of the body from birth. That’s the most simple explanation I can give but this condition is so complicated and difficult understand let alone diagnose that most general practitioners have never seen it. I know this because I have only had one general practitioner in my entire life (my present doctor) who didn’t have to Google the word Arthrogryposis as soon as I gave him my patient history. Usually doctors will smile and nod when I tell them what my diagnosis is and that they quietly excuse themselves to go and get on Google like everybody else does. When a doctor has to do that, you know it’s not a very common condition. I actually had a hospital in Texas refuse to admit me to the ER once because they didn’t recognize my disability and they didn’t want to be liable if they treated me wrong.

Basically, what has happens to a person with Arthrogryposis is that during their gestational period, while their joints were forming, something went wrong and their joints became overgrown with fibrous tissue to the point of severely restricting mobility and causing deformities. If the fetus cannot move adequately, muscle tissue does not develop properly, nerve tissue does not develop properly, bones do not develop properly, and so on and so forth. The lack of mobility in joints affects so much more than just the ability to move. Added to the overgrowth of fibrous tissue on joints, the fetus cannot properly bend over in the womb (the fetal position) and that causes scoliosis – a severe curvature of the spine – as well as deformed hip joints and deformed arms and legs.

When I was born, my legs were crossed as if sitting Indian style on the floor. Go sit on the floor Indian style and look at your legs right now. That’s how my legs were permanently positioned in the womb and I could not turn around to come out head first, so I tried to come out knees first. Naturally, my mother had a cesarean section because of the severity of my disability. As soon as I was born, I was taken away to a completely separate hospital equipped to deal with special needs babies and my mother didn’t see me for several days. They didn’t know what to do with me so they put me in with the preemie babies and the nurses started calling me a monster because I was so much bigger than the other babies for whom they cared. Doctors from all over the city came to examine me because they had never seen such a severe case of Arthrogryposis. An immediate study of my genealogy was done to see if anyone else in my bloodlines had the condition but the study was incomplete due to huge gaps in my family history. Pictures were taken of me to put in medical textbooks and my mother had to go and speak to a gallery of doctors about the conditions of her pregnancy, our family history, and so on and so forth.

Arthrogryposis is found in approximately one in 3000 live births in this country. It covers about 400 different clusters of symptoms, meaning there are several symptoms associated with it but they can be found in about 400 different combinations. It can range from anywhere between just having deformed hands all the way up to complete quadriplegia with lockjaw and developmental disabilities. The symptoms associated with Arthrogryposis can include but are not limited to hip/shoulder dysplasia (this is when your hip/shoulder joint does not form properly and you are not making the ball and socket connection because either the ball or the socket are not there or so severely deformed that they can’t form a hip/shoulder joint), scoliosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, clubfeet, severely shortened tendons and ligaments (this is a main cause of deformed hands, knees and feet when the shortened connective tissue pulls those limbs downward), depressed lung function, heart disease, and a myriad of other symptoms.

Roughly 30% of children born with Arthrogryposis do not live to see adulthood.

There is no curative treatment for this condition, although parameters have been defined in the last 20 years or so by doctors who actually have an interest in making life more bearable for their patients. I was born about 10 years before these parameters were defined enough to make a difference, so I was more of a guinea pig for my doctors than anything else. I spent the first couple of years of my life in Denver, Colorado, and there was a time when I had to fly once a month to Salt Lake City, Utah, because that was the only children’s hospital in the area equipped to deal with my disability. It is extremely important to treat Arthrogryposis as best as doctors can before the child reaches puberty because the body has not finished developing and it’s easier to loosen up all the tight limbs. I had most of my surgeries before age 12 – by “most” I mean I’ve had somewhere between 17 and 20 surgeries (I lost count) in my 29-year lifetime. It’s not uncommon at all for someone born with this condition. They have to treat each limb at a time. First I had surgery to cut the tendon in my neck because it was too short and I could not pull my head up straight as an infant, then I had clubfoot surgery, then I had surgery to break my thighs and turn my legs into a correct position for sitting rather than the Indian style position, then I have hardware put in my hips to try and stabilize my joints, then the hardware was taken out because it was painful and making me bleed, and then I had my entire spine fused with titanium rods from neck to tailbone, and so on and so forth. Doctors have tried to get me to have surgery on my hands over the years to straighten them out (think of Capt. Hook) but it’s not going to do any good. It would only be for cosmetic reasons and I’m not interested in trying to look “normal” if I’m not going to gain any function out of it. I’m still looking at more surgery on my feet and I’ll be 30 next year. It never ends.

Most children born these days with Arthrogryposis have a good chance to at least have enough successful medical treatment to use a walker or crutches instead of being completely dependent on a wheelchair like I am. My time has passed. My body is finished developing and the treatments that they are using for children now are not going to be as successful for me so I will remain completely dependent on wheelchairs. I will never walk. I will never stand on my own. I consider myself blessed, however, because I do have full and complete sensation in my body, meaning I can feel everything done to me – both pain and pleasure. There seems to be a misconception that all quadriplegics can’t feel anything, which is completely not true. I do not have a spinal cord injury. That is what determines whether you physically feel things or not.

The human body has an amazing ability to adapt. I have seen many people with Arthrogryposis teach themselves to be independent at very young ages by using their feet or their mouths in place of their hands when the hands are too deformed to function. People seem to think it’s strange or unheard of that I do everything with my mouth – drawing, typing, writing, and everything else – but it’s quite common amongst those with Arthrogryposis. We were never taught to adapt that way. It happened by instinct out of necessity when we were babies or toddlers. I was once even told about an artist colony in Italy specifically set up for artists who use their mouths or free instead of their hands. We are out there. We are products of nature’s wonderful ability to adapt for survival.

Life can be expensive for us though and without Medicaid, we would all suffer a great deal. Power wheelchairs start at $15,000. I had one that was $35,000 once. Adaptive equipment like braces, eating utensils, writing utensils, lap trays, ramps, shower chair, toilet chairs, and so on, run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. I remember seeing a bill for my shower chair once and it was $4,000. Most things are provided to us by Medicaid but transportation is another issue. People are always stunned to find out that I don’t have a wheelchair van and I cram my wheelchair into a Dodge Neon. First you have to buy the van. Then you have to take it to a specialized shop and drop about $50,000-$100,000 on lowering the floor, installing special shocks, special tires, and either the ramp that pulls out from the floor to the street or the hydraulic wheelchair lift. That’s why I don’t have a van. Additionally, a person with Arthrogryposis can run up medical bills running in the millions of dollars over their lifetime if they go through as many surgeries as I have.

For children born with Arthrogryposis, the chronology of our lives were marked by which surgery was happening when and which hospitals we were calling home at any given time. A lot of people like to say to us, “You are so special. I don’t know how you live the way you do.” I noticed that most of us as we reached adulthood had a difficult time accepting praise of that nature without feeling like it was undeserved because we simply don’t see ourselves in those terms. We just don’t know any better, the same as people who were born with the ability to walk don’t know any better. I can’t even wrap my brain around what the ability to walk would be like any more than anyone else could wrap their brains around what it would be like to be restrained to a wheelchair day in and day out. It’s all a matter of perspective. What is normal to one person is terrifying to another person. I’m well-aware that my life might not be as long as other people. I have been warned since childhood that chances of heart disease are much higher for me than others because I have Arthrogryposis and I have to start watching my heart better at 30. I’m 29 now. My kidneys struggle as well, which is something else they tell me can get out of control if I’m not careful. Regardless if I die tomorrow or when I’m 100, nobody else knows how long they will live and I’m not worried about it. I’m already doing better than the 30% of children with Arthrogryposis who do not live to see adulthood.

I have been told that I shouldn’t do Civil War reenacting, or I travel so much, because I have Arthrogryposis. Even a man I casually know once said, “Did you really come here by yourself?” and when I said yes, he said, “Wow, that’s crazy….” as if he couldn’t believe I could go anywhere by myself. (Hi Jon. I’m calling you out. Love you.) People who say those things catch me off guard even when it’s lighthearted joking because I don’t think in those terms at all. What’s crazy to me is shutting myself up in my house and living life from my bed and my laptop like an invalid. People who see me doing something totally normal in my world like signing my name with a pen in my mouth and then becoming utterly astounded by it confuse me sometimes too. What I mean to say is I don’t see myself as disabled or amazing until someone points it out to me and then I’m sort of taken aback, like, “Oh yeah…. There is a disability in me and not every quadriplegic has the gumption to go whitewater rafting, horseback riding, swimming, traveling, etc., etc., like I do.” I was not raised like a disabled girl. I was raised like a girl who needs to find different ways to live because life is short and cannot be wasted on self-pity or fear of leaving the house. I have seen disabled children raised completely coddled and overprotected by their parents because it’s a parental instinct to care for a helpless child but my parents let me find my own way in life. I have pictures of camping with my father as a toddler. I have other pictures of bass fishing with my mother. If I want to do something, I think about it until I come up with a way to make it happen. If I ever have children, they will be raised that way too.

My only wish is that more children don’t have to be born with Arthrogryposis. I’ve had a good life but I’ve had a very hard life too and I’ve wanted to give up many times. I can’t imagine there will ever be a cure but we won’t ever know unless we try. A few doctors in New York and California are known to study it but I’m not aware of any other serious research. The problem is that American society is obsessed with celebrity and without a celebrity face saying, “I have Arthrogryposis,” there won’t be that push to research, improve treatments, and one day maybe find a cure. My blog only throws a pebble into the water but it’s something. If enough people throw enough pebbles into the water, a real difference could be made. Even if we never find a cure to prevent it from happening to other children, more education needs to happen in order for more effective surgeries, therapies, and so forth. The goal needs to be giving children the most mobility and protection from pain as possible. One thing doctors didn’t prepare me for – maybe because they didn’t know – is the rapid aging my body has gone through since I was 25 and how much pain I live with as I age. I’m only 29 but my body has osteoarthritis, anemia, chronic vertigo, etc., as if I am approaching my elderly years. This may not be common for less severe cases of Arthrogryposis but I’m shocked at how fast I feel like I’m aging. I feel like younger generations with this condition need to be better prepared for the long haul.

How can you help? Donate your time and resources to children’s hospitals. The majority of our childhoods were spent in those places. Also, make donations to Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita Support, Inc., at and help take care of families with Arthrogryposis children in need of medical equipment and medical treatments. Encourage and support people of all disabilities. Above all, educate yourselves and encourage the medical professionals to educate themselves about Arthrogryposis as well.

And WEAR BLUE ON THURSDAY. Show your support!

Thank you.

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The Beauty Blog – Bath, Body and Hair

Posted by Jessica Jewett 1 Comment »


Another important aspect of putting your best beauty foot forward is the process of bathing, taking care of your body, and maintaining the health of your hair. Much like maintaining the health of your skin and taking steps toward age prevention, the same attitude should be applied to your body’s skin and your hair. Where your skin is concerned, the rule is simple: moisturize, exfoliate, moisturize and exfoliate!

I have quite long hair, as you can see from my picture on the left, and I’ve tried a lot of different things to protect it from being over-processed. Hair will become drier, more brittle, and thinner as you get older. People constantly put heat on it every day, color it every four to six weeks, sew in and rip out extensions, etc., while they are young and the hair is healthy and they think they’re not doing any damage but they will see it as they age. It’s important to choose the right products for your hair type, not just grab whatever is on sale at the supermarket.

Here are my favorite bath, body and hair products.

Avon Naturals Cherry Blossom 5-Piece Bath & Body Collection, $11.99

Refreshing Shower Gel: Moisturize your skin while cleansing your entire body. Less drying than soap, and infused with natural extracts, it’s a soothing way to cleanse and hydrate skin. Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion: Provides 24-hour moisturization for soft, smooth skin. Refreshing Body Spray: Leaves skin cool, refreshed and lightly scented. Daily Refreshing Shampoo: For all hair types. Daily Refreshing Conditioner: For all hair types.

I buy this set for everything except the shampoo and conditioner (it’s cheaper to buy the set than individual pieces). I like the feminine but not too overpowering scent of this product line and how the fragrance ingredients don’t make me itch like others do.

philosophy Lilac Blossom™ Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath, $16.00

An all-in-one shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath with the refreshingly uplifting scent of lilac blossoms. This multitasking gel provides a rich, foaming lather to cleanse and condition, leaving skin and hair feeling hydrated and soft. The sweet floral scent of lilac blossoms captivates the senses and makes a lasting impression.

I found this on one of my many excursions to Sephora. I went to Miami without any soap and found this line of all-in-one shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath products from philosophy. There were some crazy varieties like fudge and red velvet cake but the lilac scent and other floral scents smell fresh and light. Lilac is a very Victorian scent and doesn’t overpower people around you. I used it as a shower gel and a shampoo and I was very pleased. My skin felt clean and my hair felt clean. Highly recommended.

Avon Foot Works 5-Piece Fabulous Foot Care Collection, $9.99

Restorative Milky Foot Soak with Epsom Salt – Soak away the aches after a long, hard day. Frothy formula provides feet with immediate relief from stiffness and discomfort, for a soothing at-home treatment. Unique formula enriched with milk protein and Epsom salt to provide instant relief to tired feet. Pumice Cream – Exfoliating formula helps keep hardened skin and calluses at bay, softening skin for super smooth, touchable feet. Contains pumice and walnut shell powder to help remove rough, dry skin. Intensive Callus Cream – This effective treatment is infused with natural aloe, rice bran oil & peppermint, delivering noticeably soft, smooth and touchable results. In just 2 weeks, see dramatic improvement! Bonus Size Therapeutic Cracked Heel Relief Cream – Helps to soften calluses, leaving feet feeling smooth and moisturized. Heals dry and cracked skin, fights infection. 24-hour moisturization. Provides first aid relief with soothing lidocaine. All Day Deodorant Foot Cream – Long-lasting deodorizing formula with natural peppermint absorbs wetness and controls odors. Helps keep feet feeling dry and smelling fresh all day.

Stop everything. Buy this foot set right now. It’s vital to the health of your feet!

Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $11.99

Discover Aveeno Active Naturals. Simply put, Active Naturals are ingredients derived from nature and uniquely formulated to reveal skin’s natural health and beauty. Essential Active Naturals: Skin-soothing natural colloidal oatmeal. The naturally nourishing, non-greasy lotion absorbs quickly and contains no added fragrance. The unique oatmeal formula locks in moisture to help prevent and protect dry skin, leaving your skin soft, smooth and naturally healthy-looking. The Aveeno brand has been dermatologist recommended for over 60 years. – Clinically proven to relieve dry skin. – Moisturizes for 24 hours. – Fragrance free. – With natural colloidal oatmeal.

This is the best lotion ever made. I have nerve damage in some parts of my body that causes my skin to look like a reptile if I’m not diligent about taking care of it on a daily basis. This lotion will rid your body of dry skin and make everything feel nice and soft. Sometimes the best finds are the things you buy in drugstores!

Matrix Shade Memory Vivid Red Shampoo & Conditioner, $15.29 ea.

Matrix Shade Memory Vivid Red Shampoo is specifically formulated to reduce fading of your salon red. Helps strengthen & mend damage. Protein counteracts environmental damage and revitalizes your hair with Micro shine.

I just started using this shampoo about a month ago. I got it from a woman who does hair for a living and recommended it to keep my hair from fading and bleeding. When you have color treated red hair, the pigment does not hold as well as blondes or brunettes and you have to do what you can to seal it in before it bleeds everywhere. This shampoo and conditioner does not leave behind an oily film in the water when you wash it out and I haven’t felt any residue in my hair either. I have gotten a lot of compliments about how good my hair smells after using these products too. Also, if you are a bottle red head, stop washing your hair in hot water. That makes it fade and bleed faster. Start washing your hair in cool water and use shampoos and conditioners made for redheads, or at the very least, color treated hair in general. Unfortunately they are slowly discontinuing this shampoo, so I’m going to switch to the next one.

TIGI Bed Head Colour Combat, Colour Goddess Shampoo & Conditioner, $35.75

Color LockDown Technology prevents premature fading every colour goddess suffers. Shampoo smoothes & shines while helping to protect against UV damage. Conditioner will boost shine & softness, while locking in essential moisture. Beautiful hair is your dream come true! Deep those rich dark chocolate & sweet cherry hues looking delicious! Therapy for racy red heads or bodacious brunettes.

I haven’t used this one yet but this is what has been recommended to me after the Matrix shampoos are discontinued. I’ve heard good things about Bed Head products from other people too and they make products for women who are bottle blondes and bottle brunettes as well. Again, if your hair is colored red like mine, stop washing it in hot water because you’re letting it bleed and fade faster. Use cool water and shampoo for color treated hair.

Aussie Cleanse and Mend Shampoo & Conditioner, $3.00

Infused with Aloe, Guava and Desert Lime, Cleanse and Mend Shampoo conditions to nourish your hair, rinse away dirt and buildup, then soften and smooth frazzled tips.

My mother and I swear by Aussie products. Every two weeks, I use this shampoo to wash away any buildup of dirt, oil and residue from anything that the other shampoo doesn’t catch. It is advisable to switch shampoos once in a while to freshen up your hair. I like Aussie because it has a different formula for every type of hair and, in my case, it actually does what it advertises. The best part is it’s inexpensive and you can buy huge jugs of it if you’re that in love with it. I listed Aussie here because it’s a good alternative for those who don’t need to use color treated shampoos and conditioners like I do.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product, $9.00

Does 10 Things Instantly – Repairs dry, damaged hair, adds shine, detangles, controls frizz, seals & protects hair color, prevents split ends, stops hair breakage, creates silkiness, enhances natural body, flat iron spray & thermal protector.

No matter what type of hair you have, you should be using some kind of nourishing leave-in conditioner every time after you wash it. This is the one I have been using lately. Wash and condition your hair as per your normal routine, and then towel dry your hair. Spray this leave-in conditioner all over your hair three or four times over, make sure you cover all of it, and blow dry it like you usually would. You will immediately notice that it helps control your tangles and eliminates poofiness and frizziness. With my super long hair, I need it for frizz control and detangling the most. I love it.

Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion, $7.00 – $19.00

A nutrient-rich detangler and styling primer. This product is formulated with a rich mix of vitamins, herbs, and tea tree oil that tames tangles, refreshes your head, feeds your hair, and soothes your scalp. This product was inspired by old school barbers’ elixirs and created with our male clients in mind.

This is an alternative to the spray in the above listing. Even though it says it’s made with male clients in mind, I used it and I found it to be an excellent detangler and defrizzer. I don’t use it much anymore because it’s kind of expensive since I have to use a lot on my long hair. It is a good preparation product for styling with heat tools and it helps the comb pass through the hair easier.

Miss Dior Cherie, $60.00 – $90.00

Discover the scent that inspires love and romance. Miss Dior Cherie, with its captivating charm and elegance, is full of joie de vivre! A sensual blend of Italian mandarin, Egyptian jasmine, and patchouli truly captures the dazzling Dior spirit in a modern, fruity-floral fragrance.

No lady is complete without some sort of fragrance. This one is my absolute favorite at the moment, which was a hand-me-down from a more earthy friend who prefers less feminine scents. Body chemistry makes perfume smell different on every person, so what works for me might not smell the same to you. I like this one because it’s soft and ladylike without being too overpowering, although you can make it overpowering by wearing too much. I also have this one as a body wash.

Dior J’adore, $22.00 – $98.00

Radiant, sensual, sophisticated, J’adore is a fragrance that celebrates the renaissance of extreme femininity and the power of spontaneous emotion with a brilliant bouquet of orchids, the velvet touch of Damascus plum, and the mellowness of amaranth wood.

This is another one of my favorite perfumes. Can you tell I have a thing for Dior? This one is a little more floral on me than the previous perfume. I save this one for special occasions because I don’t have as much of it and it’s a little more expensive. You might not like it if you’re not interested in super feminine scents, so I suggest you try it on before you buy it.

Marc Jacobs Daisy, $20.00 – $75.00

Enter the world of Daisy: fresh and feminine, with a playful innocence. At the heart of Daisy is a floral with vintage edge: violet. Sophisticated, with a touch of whimsy, violet captures the eclectic, vintage flavor of Marc Jacobs’ feminine, edgy designs. Always elegant, always enchanting – but not too serious – Daisy is a sparkling floral bouquet, spirited and fresh, wrapped in comfort and warmth.

This perfume is a new favorite that I discovered at … wait for it … Sephora! And I don’t just like it because my dog is also named Daisy either! This one is probably more of a universal favorite than the Dior fragrances. It’s a little fresher and lighter. Dior can be a little heavy if you don’t wear it right but this is nice and light no matter how you wear it. I think of this one as a summertime fragrance.

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>The Beauty Blog – Cheeks

Posted by Jessica Jewett 1 Comment »


A great way to make yourself look younger and fresher is to learn to properly apply makeup on your cheeks. Gone are the days when you rubbed color in a diagonal line from your ear to your mouth. That streak of color under your cheekbone is no loner the thing to do. Instead, take color on your brush and rub a circular motion on the apple of your cheek, and then go up around the hairline to your temples. Blush is meant to give your cheeks a subtle glow. If you are looking to contour your cheekbones, it’s better to use products specifically made for that purpose rather than risk your blush looking like spray paint. There is also a big difference between blush and bronzer. Blush is what you think of as blush in the traditional sense but bronzer is meant to give you a look as if you’ve been in the sun without the spray tan look or the pesky cancerous growths. Use both sparingly. The focus should be on your eyes or your lips. Sometimes I don’t even use any blush, contours or bronzer at all.

Here are some of the products I have used.

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Blush, $18.00

Discover fabulous, good-for-you cheek color. These creamy, 100 percent pure bareMinerals Blushes give you a beautiful, healthy tone that looks natural, because it is. Create a soft, radiant glow that’s ideal for all skin types, including sensitive and problem-prone skin.

These are the best products for any area of your face but right now we’re talking about blush. The pigments are so strong that barely touching the brush to the powder is enough. You don’t want to look like a hooker. For fair complected ladies, I suggest soft pinks that compliment your skin tone. Then get darker as your skin gets darker and keep in mind as to whether you are a warm tone, cool tone or neutral tone, because that determines the color of blush you choose. You never want to deviate too far from the color your skin naturally turns when you blush for real. Keep the center on the apple of your cheeks.

Perfekt Beauty Cheek Perfection Gel, $28.00

A tinted cheek perfector that instantly ‘per-fekts’ and enhances the appearance of the cheeks offering an alternative to traditional cream or powder blushes, bronzer, and cheek stains. This multitasking formula glides on effortlessly to instantly per-fekt and enhance the appearance of the cheeks. Smart Color Technology™ assures a perfect color match for every skintone. This gel leaves a hint of natural color, sculpting and highlighting the cheekbones.

I thought this was going to look like paint on my cheeks because I’ve never tried liquid blush before. I was very pleased with it though. You squirt a dab on your fingertip and rub it into the apple of your cheek in a circular motion. Then you rub out the edges just to be certain that you don’t have a big red circle on your cheek. Once you blend it out properly, it stays put for a long time and doesn’t fade. It’s waterproof and lightweight as well.

NARS Blush – Super Orgasm, $27.00

A sheer-pressed powder blush with golden speckles. NARS amps up their legendary NARS Orgasm to bring you Super Orgasm – the universally flattering shimmering peachy pink blush with an extra dose of golden sparkle. The super sexy pink flush gives the effect of an ultimate super,uh hum, afterglow. The blush contains a universally flattering peachy-pink undertone and can be worn alone or layered together for more depth.

These orgasm blushes from NARS are kind of famous or infamous because they are suitable for virtually any skin tone. It’s a universal line of blushes. I find them to be beautiful and easy to apply. I don’t use this blush very often because it is expensive but they add a little extra glimmer to cheeks.

Urban Decay Baked Bronzer, $26.00

A bronzer for the face and body that delivers a streak-free finish. This super fine powder is baked on a terra cotta disc for 24 hours and then hand-finished by a factory full of motherly Italian women who are concerned with the safety of your skin. Because it is cooked rather than pressed, it will even regain its micro-fine texture if you’ve applied it wet for a more dramatically bronzed look. The new packaging with a Moroccan-inspired moon-and-stars motif contains the same formula Urban Decay has built this product’s following on. Selecting the shade you want is now even easier–variations in the color of the compact match the color inside. Tips: Apply Baked Bronzer to your face or body. Try using a small wet brush to deliver rich, concentrated color to eyes and lips too.

Bronzer is not something I use very often but when I do, I avoid heavy shades that make me look fake baked. This one looks pretty natural as long as it’s used in moderation. No bronzer should be used with blush though, in my opinion. Choose one or the other. Your complexion should come through in a natural way no matter what makeup you use.

Sedona Lace Contour and Blush Palette, $17.95

This 2 in 1 palette contains 6 large pans for contouring, shading and blush. All 6 colors are matte and come in a durable packaged case to make it very convenient to use and travel with.

Contouring is something that not a lot of people do in their makeup routine, except with professional makeup artists. This palette is designed to help you bring out the natural bone structure of your face and give your look more depth in photographs. These contour shades keep you from looking washed out and two dimensional. Accent the deeper curves of your face with the darker shades and the parts of your face that catch the light the most should be accented with the lighter shades. Be careful of overdoing it though. My suggestion is to contour in natural light as opposed to the weird light in your bathrooms.

Tomorrow we will discuss hair products, bath products and fragrances.

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