Friday, July 8, 2011

The Friday Forum - July 8

Every day from June through the fall, I'm awestruck by the beauty of the hydrangeas in my garden. Years ago, I selected some very special hybrids - all procured from hydrangea specialists - and watched them grow into their current glory. It was one of my best garden decisions ever. My hydrangeas make me happy. If they were only fragrant...

My week was crazy. I started by installing software on my new computer and trying to get accustomed with Microsoft Office 2010. Just a month ago, I was an Office expert. Now? I feel like I'm trying to learn Chinese. I hear I'm not alone. I wonder who let the software maniacs loose when Microsoft determined that the new GUI was preferable to the old, familiar one.

Last weekend, we had "the storm." A typical thunderstorm in my neighborhood was anything but at my mother's house, just five minutes away. It was probably a micro-burst that took down hundreds of mature trees in minutes. It looked surreal, with downed power and phone lines everywhere. To get into Mom's house, we had to hop over and under downed lines - it was discomforting. She went three days with no power or phone (or television), a long time for someone who's 89. She didn't want to leave, though. So, I line hopped for days until Dominion Virginia Power finally got to her snapped pole and restored her power. I got to be good friends with the army of utility contractors in her McLean neighborhood.

During that time, my DSL connection to the Internet was dying. The connection was so slow, it was worse than dial-up. Then I started losing the connection entirely, usually when I was doing something important. "Annoyed" would be too mild a word to describe my feelings as I tried to diagnose the problem with Verizon's representatives - in India.

One day, after spending an hour and a half on the phone with one of them, I saw a Verizon truck on my street. I hijacked the repair guy; he tested my line at the junction box and found the speed to be good; and then he asked about my Jurassic modem (the one Verizon had provided years ago). He put his money on the modem as the source of my problems and told me to call and request a new one. I did (not the proper way - I couldn't stand another 1.5-hour conversation). To make a long story short, I'm zooming along again. I am enormously grateful to that man - and to Mike, another Verizon repair expert who has been following up with me (and to the @VerizonSupport team at Twitter - they got my mother's repair ticket set up). However...

Right in the middle of all this, Thunderbird, the e-mail client I've been using (related to Firefox) started mixing up senders. I would get an e-mail from one sender, but it would tell me it was from another. After hoping someone on their self-help message board might be able to suggest a fix (silly me), I gave up on Thunderbird entirely and migrated to Outlook. More hours gone.

I had trouble re-installing my color printer, so there went another three hours. After a call to Xerox tech support (she was great) and a bit more work, my printer started to respond.

That's the short version of my technology-challenged week. I have a few more programs to install, like Adobe Acrobat Professional, but I think I'm back in business. Whenever I needed to calm down, I went outside to look at my hydrangeas. We won't discuss the alcohol.

Beauty? It was a slow week, from a delivery perspective. I'm tempted to pay Neiman Marcus a visit later today to see what's new. Since it's time for The Friday Forum, maybe I can get my latest dose of beauty from you. Did you find any deals you couldn't resist this week? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers have moved on.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway contest for a NARS Sweet Disposition Mini Multiple Set. The deadline is tomorrow, July 9, at midnight. It's a fabulous little set.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty


Bunny Masseuse said...

Hey, I was considering a NM visit today too, since I didn't get by there yesterday due to yelling at FedEx to deliver my package in person can waste someone's precious time quite quickly!

Actually the storm created a "macroburst" in the area near your mother.

From the blog from The Capital Weather Gang:
"Technically, a microburst requires a downdraft of 4 km (2.5 miles) or less whereas a macroburst requires a downdraft of greater than 4 km. Given the extent of the high winds from Sunday’s thunderstorm - this was probably a low-end macroburst."

The rest of their information can be found here:

It's a great source for weather predictions if you want to avoid or

Sorry, weather is like a side hobby of mine, aside from all the rest of them I also have!

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks! "Macro" is a much better term for what happened there and the devastation. I read the Capital Weather Gang all the time. Love that blog!

If your problem with FedEx was over a Chanel package, Chanel refuses to send without signature confirmation. Drives me nuts! Like I can sit home all day and wait for a delivery of makeup?

Shannon (Lipstick Musings) said...

So sorry about your week! There's nothing more frustrating than when technology fails...except for the endless phone calls required to revive it!

I'm all about the eyeshadows this week. I fell in love with Lancome's 5-shadow+liner palette in Midnight Rush, as well as Dior's quint in Green design. I can't get enough!

Hope your weekend goes more smoothly than your week, and so glad your mom has power again!


Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Shannon! Mom has power, dial tone, and TV. No matter that the Verizon lines are still on the ground; they work. :)

I think eye shadows are one of the best things on earth. So many options. No wonder you are having fun!

Hope you have a fun weekend!

Eileen said...

That was quite "a spot of weather" your mom had, wasn't it? I hope there was no damage to her actual home. The weather can be wicked in its unpredictability. I guess we're not the masters of our domain that we'd like to think we are.

As for your hydrangeas, they are glorious. Who could possibly resist those extravagant and colorful pom-poms? White, green, pink, blue--I love them all! For the Fourth of July I kept my table decor simple: cherry red table cloth and a cobalt glass bowl filled with white hydrangeas.

As for beauty, Tueday mid-morning I was at Nordstrom picking up my Chanel Le Blanc collection. I cannot even begin to express how happy I am with Chanel's decision to release this former Asian exclusive here in the States. The colors and concept are ideally suited to me. I purchased the quad in Rose Envolée (I use all 4 colors at once--it's a perfect quad), the JC in Rose Tourbillon, the highlighter in Lumière Perlée, the RA in Joyeuse, and the Glossimer in Blossom. This exquisitely delicate and refined collection softly illuminates the eyes, cheeks, and lips with a glow that is like the light reflected off of white pearls. It is just so incredibly lovely. Is Le Blanc universal? Absolutely not! But for those who embrace the pale, it is magic.

I also purchased Chanel's Eau Douceur Cleansing Water. I guess cleansing waters have been used in Europe for a while, but are fairly new here. I really like it from the standpoint that it is extremely gentle, has a light and pleasing fragrance, and it leaves my skin feeling soothed and very soft. It does a good job of removing everything. I don't use waterproof mascara, but I do use Bobbi Brown's gel liners and Chanel's Aqua Yeux liners and Eau Douceur removed them BUT I had to use quite a bit of it; more than I would if I were using my regular eye makeup remover. Since this stuff is quite expensive, this is how I plan on using it: stick to my regular eye make-up remover and use Eau Douceur over the rest of my face and neck. Given my sensitive skin, I deem it worth the expense to remove my makeup without any irritation.

Let's see, I also bought one of the new Chanel eye shadow cream/gels in Illusoir. Although they were all lovely to look at and to swatch, I had to be realistic about where and when I'd actually wear a shadow of that type. Illusoir, though, with its glimpses of violet and rose sparkling in its smokey, metallic depth caught my eye and looked as though it could work for me. I've played a bit with it now and have decided I like it, but I'm not planning on adding the other colors. One is enough. What I'd really like to see, though, is this formula in a color similar to Rose Platine. Now that I'd buy in a heart beat!

As you can see, for me it was a big week in beauty. The weekend should be more of the same. I plan on working in the garden if this heat wave ever subsides :-P Happy weekend everyone!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Eileen, happy weekend!

That was a fun account of a week in beauty. Thank you. I can live vicariously through my friends on the blog - so cool.

I am testing a cleansing water sent gratis. Quite different for me. Hope to post next week.

I won't be buying the Nordstrom specials, but look forward to seeing them online. I still feel like they sent me a message...that the mega-bucks I spent there last year were not appreciated. I don't choose to use them as my bank, particularly given one spectacular failure when they took my debit card number, in store and w/o my card, from a person buying $900 in the men's department of a store I don't visit. A police department report and 10 days later, I got my money back. You lose a lot of trust with an incident like that, and now their new policy has created a rift of another sort.

A friend is threatening to buy the cool stuff and drop it at my door - anonymously. I think she must have been drinking, LOL!

It has been way too hot to work in my garden, and the weeds are winning. Maybe tomorrow. That's my everyday promise.

Hope you enjoy this July weekend. I plan to stay close to home, hanging with Charlie. I want to read another book too. Read one last Sunday and another this week. It has been way too long since I allowed myself that luxury.

lovethescents said...

I'm so late to this party....I've been having fun with beauty this week too. Little birthday gifts started arriving. I love July! I got a gorgeous YSL eyeshadow palette. I never would have chosen this for myself, but it is so lovely. I also got a Guerlain lipstick in Shalimar. So summery! And for some extra pazzazzzzzz because I'm just not quite sassy enough, I got Lippmann's Glitter in the Air polish. I'm so lucky!

Ava said...

Charlestongirl, I'm glad that this weekend is calmer so that you can get some reading done. Can't wait to hear about Confessions of a Makeup Addict.

I've been enjoying the Chanel Prelude Quad and the Illusion D'Ombre eyeshadows in Epatant and Illusoire, and I'm using Mirifique as an eyeliner. I've been wearing Peridot all weekend, but I'm still not sure that I like it. Switching to Graphite tonight. I wish I'd brought the new Dior "Tuxedo" with me. That's what I'd be wearing right now.

Charlestongirl said...

Happy Birthday, Lovethescents!

How nice, getting beauty for your special day! Hope you enjoy the new goodies!

Charlestongirl said...

I like Peridot, but not as much as the other two. It has its moments, though. :)

"Confessions of a Beauty Addict" is a good chick lit read, lightweight and fun, with romance a theme.

A friend found it in paperback, remaindered at a book store. She know I would enjoy it, and I did. The book is more about the love and work life of the character than the industry itself. It is sprinkled with references to beauty products and characters straight out of industry chronicles (or central casting). I would recommend it to any woman who loves the beauty industry and a quick, relaxing read. I should broaden it to anyone who can have fun with chick lit.