Happiness is… … being told by your dermatologist the week of a big party that your cancer scar is not ready for another round of lasering, setting the stage for scab-free socializing.Happiness is a borrowed Roberto Cavalli dress and Fendi bag. And looking much, much classier than you planned for the Calgary Polo Club President’s Ball.Happiness is being able to wince your way to the car an hour later, where you have a pair of backup shoes, after realizing your feet are not yet ready for high-heeled prime time.Happiness is also no shoes at all. And wearing white after Labor Day, because games continue through September at the Calgary Polo Club.
The legs are looking a little pale. With my recent introduction to skin cancer, I am all about staying out of the sun. But since I am also all about looking good (or at least the attempt) it’s time for some sunless tanning.Even if there weren’t endless rainstorms in Calgary this month and real tanning was actually an option, St. Tropez promises to give that glitzy glam beach glow the safe way — in a bottle. Looking to boost their brand beyond Brigitte Bardot beauty currency, the company has recently named Kate Moss as the face (and body) for their first-ever global advertising campaign.If it’s good enough for Kate, it’s good enough for me. However, my own application wasn’t as fabulous as this photo, courtesy of St. Tropez. I started with the Bronzing Mousse on my left leg, figuring that it must be for a light or medium tan, even thought the bottle doesn’t specify. Just like Kate probably did until this concerned lady caught up with her, I completely forgot about the applicator mitt. It seemed like I was using way too much. The mousse gooped around in an alarmingly dark brown color. I didn’t try very hard to spread it evenly and was sure I would end up with terrible streaks. Still, the St. Tropez smelled better than any self tanner I’ve used, drying very quickly. Despite my haphazard approach, my tan ended up looking incredibly natural. Except for my ankle. It kind of looks like I threw mud at it. I have only myself to blame. But it was inspiration to use the mitt for the Self Tan Dark bronzing lotion on my right leg. Even though I noticed the lotion was dark green coming out of the bottle (as opposed to brown, or even orange) St. Tropez had just done such a nice job with my left leg, I persevered. The label says, “Our advanced formulation contains innovative melanin technology,” so I thought perhaps my leg was going Green Lantern en route to the Bronze Age. The mitt was certainly doing a nice job of blending it in. Since I’d used the creamy, fast absorbing moisturizer the night before, there were no weird dark spots. However, as the green color intensified, I thought it prudent to stop at the knee. So I can’t tell you how effective the mitt is with blending color around the ankle. Even though the Bronzing Mousse had almost instantly taken effect with a natural sun-burnished hue on my left leg (and my hands, even after washing with soap, which is another reason to use the applicator mitt, unless you enjoy the just-oiled-your-saddle look) I kept thinking that the Dark Lotion on my right leg must be a two-tone process. After all, it has an Allure Breakthrough Award. But an hour later, there was no other option but to declare my leg green! Like, “Don’t make me angry” green! No girl wants to look like the Incredible Hulk, so I’m inclined to think this is just a freak lab accident. Wait! Isn’t that what happened to Bruce Banner? Maybe Angelina Jolie had the same tanning accident on her left leg just before the Oscars last year, leading to her choice of dress and her right leg’s historic debut on Twitter.
What’s in store for my leg tomorrow? Should I wear short shorts? Is this the start of a new skin color trend I’m not aware of? When I offered to test-drive the tanner, was I signing up for more than I realized? It’s not easy being green. Stay tuned to Blue Besos as I investigate.
UPDATE: ONE DAY LATER
Yesterday, eight hours after tanning, my leg was still Jolly Green. This morning, it was starting to look tan! Green tinge gone by noon. I will seek answers on the Information Superhighway. Hopefully they’ll travel at a faster rate than the tan on my right leg. And I hope I get the green out of my white bamboo sheets.
UPDATE: TWO DAYS LATER – ST. TROPEZ RESPONDS ON TWITTER
All tanning products containing DHA have a tendency to go green when they get warm, especially those with higher levels of DHA. This is because increased levels of DHA in heat can cause the red dye to leach from the guide colour so that it looks green instead of brown. Brown is made when you combine three primary colours, yellow, blue and red. When the red drops out you are left with green. The altered guide colour should not affect the performance of the tan. We have found a new technology that helps prevent this from happening and have slightly revised the ingredients for our new stock. We recommend that all tanning products containing high levels of DHA are stored below 30 degrees (as indicated on pack).
They have a note on their Facebook page expressly for this issue, so it seems I’m not the only one. Glad to hear they are dealing with it.
Gettin’ my hair did for a photo shoot today. Two hairdressers make for faster flat-ironing when the photographer needs his model ASAP.Actually, there were three photographers today — part of three full-on photo teams, complete with art directors and assistants, for simultaneous shooting throughout the building. Hero Images is a stock photography company based in Calgary. They’ve only been in business for a year or so, but they’re busy. They do up to five shoots a month, which just goes to show the growing appetite for royalty-free images. If a business only needs a generic look for their advertising, it’s easier and cheaper to buy images this way instead of setting up their own photo shoot. Normally I wouldn’t do stock photography, but Hero assured me they would not be selling my image to escort sites needing a photo of a woman in high-collared business attire. But you can never predict exactly where your face will end up. The last time I did stock, my mug ended up on an ad promoting a herbal remedy for hot flashes. But with everything my visage has been through in the last couple of months, I was excited to land a modeling gig — especially since Calgary is not the world’s top fashion capital. The photographers today might have been thinking about the additional photoshop challenge due to the scar on my nose, but not a single person asked me about it. Which I really appreciated! Looks like they were going for Business Traveler In Airport Lounge here.The location for the shoot was the super-cool gold LEED certified City of Calgary Water Centre. (Ahem… I’d like you to appreciate that I busted out of my personal American spelling zone to spell Center the Canadian way back there, in the name of journalistic accuracy… since I am a Serious Fashion Blogger). Besides reducing electricity usage for lighting, all those windows conjure up a corporate IBM headquarters/Microsoft campus aesthetic.
It will be three to four months before the images will be finished and ready to sell. In the meantime… photo bomb!
The good new is… Look at my nose! This camera doesn’t pick up the details that are still bugging me, but the skin graft scar is starting to settle down. Also, I’m getting a little better at the coverup action. A lot of the time I go with concealer only — no foundation or powder, which can accentuate the lumps and lines instead of hiding them. Today I’m using Lancome’s Maquicomplet in the Camee shade, which is darker than my actual skin tone, but seems to do well against the scar, which is still a little red. The creamy liquid is enriched with a hydrating botanical complex, antioxidant protection and light-diverting agents, which seems to be a magical combo for me. Also, it never gets flaky. Which is good because I have enough stuff going on with my beak right now.
Meanwhile, the bad news is… Crutches! I thought twice about revealing this, concerned that regular readers may start to think I have major bad medical mojo. That would be one way of looking at it, especially since someone mentioned that my warranty must be up. But I prefer to think that I am renewing it. In this case, a toe alignment issue (aka brutal mutant bunion) meant there was no way around it: the operation had to be done. But with this color blocking going on, this post had to be done. I’m loving this royal blue shirt, especially now that I’ve realized I don’t have to wait for a flat abs day to wear it, if I layer something flowy underneath. The brand is confusingly called Ttee, so good luck googling that one. I picked it up at Anthropologie, which always has unique casual wear. Grey shirt, Armani Exchange. Skinny pants, Mossimo for Target — USA Target since they still haven’t opened in Calgary yet. Shoes, Adidas. I tried to channel Marilyn from the time she sprained her ankle while filming in Banff, but she makes the crutches look sexier than I ever could. However — you know what she didn’t have? An Aircast!! But let’s face it, even with the suspiciously Nike-like air technology, there is no style going on here at all. For $160, you’d think I could at least get a choice in colors. That’s right, my American friends! Canadian healthcare has a lot of good points, but every once in a while, the government decides you’re on your own when it comes to paying for parts of it. And the medical supply store knows you don’t have time to go online and buy the cast for $84.99. However, I digress from the real issue here: if your toes are going to be peeping out from any type of cast, whether it has foam-filled air cells or not, they better be pretty. Luckily I stocked up on a couple of bottles from L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Trend Setter Collection: Crazy For Chic, left, and Members Only, right. My toes are wearing Members Only. Take that, Marilyn! Meanwhile, let’s both ignore the guy on the walk sign behind me, making it look easy.
Could a nose by any other name smell as sweet? My nose still smells sweet scents, so I’m thankful for that.But I’m still dealing with the exciting daily changes of my maturing skin graft, after my brilliant surgeon disposed of the unwanted and univited basal cell carcinoma lurking in my nose. My camera doesn’t pick up all the nitty gritty, but there is major redness, some new scar tissue that scares me (but supposedly if I keep massaging the area it will not be too bad) and a few dents, lumps and bumps. One day I’ll post the Entire Ordeal, but I haven’t quite gotten to it yet. Meanwhile, The Great Coverup begins: my official experiment with primers, concealers, foundations and powder.
I started with L’Oreal’s True Match Super-blendable Crayon Concealer, and I have to say, I don’t think it’s fair to judge a coverup based on my nose situation. I probably should be turning to some medical-grade scar hider. But, let’s be real here, I prefer to experiment with fashion brands. They’re so much more fun. And I will judge, because, don’t we all?
The crayon concealer was a little too dry for my skin. Since I have so many weird little holes to fill in right now, I need something that is more liquid. However, it would be a handy concealer to tote in your purse, if you have skin that is more oily. And I only tried it on the skin from behind my ear that is now on my nose. I’ll give it a chance next time I have a pimple. Cuz guess what, kiddies? They never stop.True Match foundation glides on easy and was a great match for my skin. L’Oreal has a huge line so that everyone can find their color. I used N2, Classic Ivory, to tone down the natural pinkness around my nose area, so that a blob of coverup wouldn’t be more obtrusive. If you check back to my initial experimentation in Banff, you’ll see I wasn’t doing so well with that. So, the foundation is key and blend is the most important action. On the whole, though, I am blessed with nice skin, even if it is kind of pink, so for daily wear, I don’t use it on my entire face. However, if it ever stops snowing in Calgary, I may go for little more, considering the SPF 17 these bottles are packing. And since this foundation comes complete with vitamins B&E, using more would be more healthy wouldn’t it?In the name of distraction, I also tried these fab new blushes from L’Oreal: Visible Lift Color Blush, with zero talc and zero wax. I went with the one on the left tonight. The blushes have a slight gold shimmer in them, and the powder almost feels a little liquidy. Yet they go on evenly and have great staying power. Apparently it’s because of the Tourmaline. Touted as one of nature’s most naturally energizing minerals, it’s suposed to add radiance and luminosity to aging skin. Which I totally do not need because I will never age. Just like Andie MacDowell, who they are using for their blush campaign. Love her. And, oh, there’s this river in Egypt…Here’s the finished look. I probably should have blended the foundation a little further up my nose between my eyes – fyi that little red mark has nothing to do with the big C. It’s probably just cuz I’m thinking too hard. Or not enough.
On the rest of my face: L’Oreal Rose Gold Lift blush, True Match foundation, True Match crayon concealer, Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara, Sephora 471C lipstick (doesn’t seem to have a name but it’s their house brand) and Sonia Kashuk nude spice gloss on the lips. I felt so good I actually Went Out Into Public. Deets on the delicious eats I had here.
Of the three ski resorts in Banff, Sunshine is my favorite. Although since I’ve only been to Lake Louise twice and I’ve never skied Norquay, I have to admit I’m not really qualified to make this statement. But isn’t that the beauty of having a blog? The gondola takes you from the parking lot to the base of three hills. But at the end of the day, there’s more than enough snow to ride Banff Ave trail back to your car. In fact, today’s a huge powder day.Even though the clouds are obscuring the mega magnificent view usually to be had up here, Cookie’s got me covered. In Alberta, the sun always comes out at some point.Mix it up at the top of Mount Standish Express high speed quad. Do a few turns in British Columbia.Here comes the sun – I see some semblance of a shadow. And a white gourd — no, wait, that’s my Helli Hansen ski jacket. I am not down with this non-svelte silhouette. I gotta get a new jacket. But I’ve been saying that for years. Just avert your eyes and look at the B-Pro instead. Mmm… Gnu… Or that view of the Rockies! Meanwhile, you might notice there’s not much of a downward grade on this particular stretch of snow. At Sunshine, it’s good to bring a skier along so you can catch a ride by hanging onto one of their poles when you hit a flat spot. There’s a few of them here.Here’s another view to look out for at Mad Trapper’s Saloon. Just don’t let it startle you as you tilt your head up to take a swig of that midday beer. Built in 1928 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, you have to stop by this log cabin for lunch. Trappers makes a mean burger and it’s old-school ski vibe all the way. On the final day of the season (May 20 this year), the balcony is the best place to watch the Slush Cup. I didn’t fall! I was taking a break… … to take this photo. I can’t get enough of these Skittle-colored gondies. Luckily there’s still a month and a half left in the season. Next up: apres ski.
It may be April, but our local Alps are still piled with snow. No foolin! The Canadian Rockies are less than an hour’s drive from Calgary. Home to several ski areas, Banff Alberta starts inspiring awe from the Trans-Canada Highway. Established in 1885, Banff National Park is the birthplace of Canada’s national park system. The name Banff comes from Banffshire, Scotland, birthplace of one of the big money boys who backed the Canadian Pacific Railway. CP Rail constructed fabulous, castle-like hotels in each major city across Canada. And in the occasional park.Built in 1888, the Banff Springs Hotel brought tourists to Canada’s Wild West. One of this country’s original luxury hotels, it is still a grand dame of glam.The Rundle Lounge may have incredible views, but settle into a divan away from the window’s glare and enjoy the gothic vibe of the ceiling’s stone arches — and the Worcestershired vodka of a Caesar, the drink invented in Alberta. As a courtesy translation for Americans, the menu also listed it as a Bloody Mary , but FYI it’s not quite the same. Up north we use a blend of clam and tomato juice instead of pure tomato juice. Motts actually sells it in stores: Motts Clamato. Sounds super gross but, just like escargot, it’s actually very yummy.Surrounded by nature on all sides, the hotel is a great starting point for fresh air exploration, in your most glamorous hiking outfit. Alongside the glacier-fed Bow River, it was almost too warm for my Italian fox fur hat, but it still seemed totally appropriate.By the way, this is the product I’m using this week to cover up the ever-evolving skin graft on my nose. The Lancome is very nice, but not made for super scar duty. However, it could be my application. I get better at blending with more practice (check the pics tomorrow) and the SPF is a plus for protecting my new epidermis patch.In the meantime, up river are the Bow Falls. Probably the most underwhelming view in Banff, but they were made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the River of No Return, so you gotta check ‘em out. When Ms. Monroe stayed at the Banff Springs (now owned by Fairmont) in 1953, it was the height of luxury. When I stayed there a few years ago, the room I was in seemed like it hadn’t been updated since Marilyn’s trip. Maybe they’ve made some changes. I don’t know, because I decided this time I would stay somewhere completely different. Stay tuned … Blue Besos is in Banff all week!
It’s almost time for me to get rid of my security
blanket bandage. Curious George has helped me to blow off curious inquiries with good humor.Bert has been a pal when I just wanted to geek out with a fellow nose-challenged… muppet. Oscar talked trash so I didn’t have to. Elastoplast has endless options.Grover has taken me from day into night… … for a run along my favorite path in Calgary. The pedestrian suspension bridge across the Elbow River is like a bouncy castle for adults — a brief break from our Serious Workouts. If you could be serious with Grover on your nose.
However, muppet jokes aside, the reason he’s there is serious. After Mohs cancer surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma and a skin graft to fill up the ensuing hole, I have diligently protected the new skin. They tell me a scar takes a year to mature. Soon I’ll write about the whole process here on the blog. I’ve documented it every step of the way, along with all the
gory exciting pictures. It might not be the height of fashion, but it’s definitely Love Life.
In Calgary, people don’t mess around. They’re friendly, forthright and I don’t want to bum them out by waxing medical. Especially when it’s that burly guy leaning out the window of his F-350. Suddenly, there’s an Opening For Smalltalk. So why get all serious?
“You should see the other guy,” I say.
Telling the truth would be a downer. People aren’t expecting to hear the real reason. Just like I never expected it to happen to me.
Sometimes, when I’m trapped in an elevator, a stranger will get the party going first. “How’s the other guy look?” And I oblige by saying, “Worse than me!”
When my bandage was bigger, someone pointed out to me that if I was a victim of domestic abuse, this type of chit-chat would be a uncool. It all kind of is, but what can you do?
It’s been an experience in human reaction. After surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma and a skin graft to cover the wound, when I had huge, white bandages on my nose and ear, I tried not to leave my house, but sometimes I had to. Children stared and didn’t return my smile. Adults averted their eyes. For the most part, I tried to scurry by people without connecting.
One question gets under my skin, so to speak. Because I loved my nose. I even doubled for Sharon Stone in Beautiful Joe (straight to video, if you’re wondering) who is extremely particular about her profile. Which I can totally understand.
So when people ask me, “Did you get a nose job?”
– and someone does, almost every day –
I’m usually pretty blunt: “No, I had skin cancer.”This limited edition collection of Mickey Mouse Band-Aids has a good selection for these type of scenarios, like the one I’m wearing in the top photo, with Ms. Mouse socking it to the Mister. Because that Minnie, she doesn’t take shit from anyone.