Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday This and That

I haven't had much luck growing tree peonies, but I have one that has limped along for years. I noticed it was blooming a few days ago and snapped a photo. It's not a perfect flower, but it's all I've got to enjoy its beauty.

As we open a new week, my heart is still in Boston. I've looked for logic where there is none. How could those two young men, basically raised in the United States, adopt radical Islam and cavalierly kill and maim innocent people? Why? I'm struck by the bravery of the hundreds of officers of the law who worked for days on end and placed themselves in extreme danger to catch the bombers. As the stories begin to trickle out - the officers who engaged in gun battles with the two; those who tackled the injured Tamerlan Tsarnaev; those who approached Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to take him into custody the VMI graduate, Richard Donohue, who was gravely injured in the battle - I am thankful for their bravery. I mourn for those killed. Their stories are heartbreaking. I hope for those severely injured. I've never experienced such appreciation as I watched the people of Watertown cheer the police, FBI, SWAT teams, firefighters and EMTs, and the countless officers of the law to thank them for their service. Think about that the next time you get a speeding ticket. One minute they are seen as villians; the next they will risk their lives for you.

I cried as I watched Kevin Corcoran describe on NBC the incident and his wife's and daughter's injuries. Sydney suffered severe injuries as a result of being hit with shrapnel, and Celeste has lost both her legs below her knees. Kevin wondered out loud how they would ever pay for the care they were receiving in the hospital. I was so pleased to learn that the world responded. In five days, 7,954 people have donated a total of $518,323 for their care. If you can help, even with $5, every dollar will help. You can find the donation site at GoFundMe. It's legit. Please be careful, though, in selecting a charity. There were scammers out there attempting to collect money almost immediately after the bombings. You can find other legit ways to help here or on other credible media sites.

I read with horror the tweets of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the bombings. Nothing makes sense.

I could write for hours - about the solidarity of the American people and our friends across the world - whose actions, large and small, have expressed the sentiment, "We will not give in to terror. We stand united." Who would have ever thought "Sweet Caroline" would become an American response to our support for Boston?

Be careful. Be vigilant. We don't know whether the actions of these two young men were part of a coordinated campaign of terror or "simply" the radicalization of two disaffected, uprooted, misguided kids who took advantage of our welcome to Russian immigrants before turning against us. There are more of "them" out there - people who want to hurt us. When will another succeed?

I was also saddened that the U.S. Senate could not pass a benign gun control law: expanded background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. One senator remarked that it would inconvenience law-abiding gun purchasers. Was Gabby Giffords inconvenienced? How about the theater-goers in Colorado or the families in Newtown? What about the victims of the Virginia Tech tragedy? Inconvenience? That senator hasn't a clue what the word "inconvenience" means. I hope all of you will be taking a thorough look at that vote the next time you vote. I will never vote for Senator Mark Warner of Virginia again. I thought he was a good representative. Now I know who he represents. Don't misunderstand me, please. That vote wasn't about the right to bear arms, which the majority of Americans support. It was about assuring that guns don't fall into the wrong hands - to the extent that we can today. My father collected guns. I'll bet he would have supported the bill. It was a sad day in the United States. Common sense suffered a severe blow.

Additionally, as I've watched stories of the devastation in Texas, flooding of communities, and ricin sent through the mail to the President and a member of Congress, I've developed a general sense of anxiety. I think this has been a very, very, very bad week. How have you been feeling?

Changing subjects entirely, Bonnie remarked in the comments that Smashbox seems to have "disappeared" from the blogging world's attention. I agree, but find it weird as well. Smashbox was purchased by the Estée Lauder Companies a few years ago (apparently because of its strength at Sephora), and the executive team has changed. Thia Breen, now leading the company, recently expressed in an interview with WWD a renewed focus on skin care. That's crowded turf. I wonder whether the company's growth strategy will pay out as she intends.

In August, Michael Kors will launch his beauty line with color and body care. Quoting from WWD, here's the slightly edited scoop.

"Working with his beauty and fragrance licensee, the Aramis and Designer Fragrances division of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc, Kors channeled [his thoughts about his grandmother and mother and glamour] into three distinct collections: Sporty, Sexy, and Glam. Each emotion has a fragrance, along with key color products: two $24 Lip Lacquer shades, two $24 Lip Luster gloss products, and two $18 nail polishes apiece. Colors range from Diva Lip Lacquer and Hint Nail Lacquer, both nude-taupes in the Sporty range, to Sexy’s blue-red Bombshell Lip Lacquer and scarlet Sensation Nail Lacquer, to Glam’s edgy plum Icon Lip Luster and dark violet Envy Nail Lacquer. Three $50 Bronze Powders - Glow, intended to add light to skin; Flush, a shimmery tan; and Beam, a deep coppery glow - will also be offered, along with a $45 Bronze Powder Brush. Sun and body products will include Indulgent Body Creme, $60; Liquid Shimmer Dry Oil, $60; and Shimmer Bath Beads, $45. The collection is rounded out by three sun basics: Liquid Self Tanner, $32; After Sun Gelee, $32; and After Sun Lip Balm, $28. The balm is a nod to the Eighties zinc oxide sunscreen look, imparting a hint of white on the lips." Are you a Michael Kors fan? Will you be waiting to see his new delights?

Have you tried the new La Mer sun products? I'd like to give them a test drive, but I don't have the money right now. If you have used them, please let us know what you think.

There is so much more news, but no time left to write. I've got to go get dinner for Mom, so I'll bid you adieu for now.

Photo at top by Best Things in Beauty; other photos courtesy of Michael Kors


Nemo said...

I agree with every word you wrote about law enforcement during this horror. I wouldn't be a cop for anything, nor could I be married to one. I work with them daily as a criminal defense lawyer. I can't imagine stopping a vehicle for a simple traffic offense and walking up to the driver. I'd be terrified, especially in this day and age. I have never had a bad experience with police witnesses. Some of them have even come to court for my clients, asking for leniency because they thought the client had hope. Then to be involved in this kind of nightmare. Wow. And to take charge and to effect a capture so quickly shows the caliber of the people who are there for us. Meanwhile, on the makeup scene, I expect to get my paws on the new CHANEL Metamorphose eye quad this week. I have enjoyed tremendously the LMDB Melange eye palette which makes dolling up my peepers so easy. It doesn't look like I will be getting the LMDB Femme Fatale because I can't get my husband to spring for it. I am also enjoying the new CHANEL lip glosses you featured recently and which I bought. I wish you, Cg, and everyone else, a much better week.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Nemo,

Police officers and all of the different officers deserve our respect every day. Thanks for the heartfelt words for them.

I think your husband is making a good call. You and I will have the Chanel palette this week - and it's much more spring and summerlike.

We can only hope this week is much, much better.

Eileen said...

I'm not going to comment on the first part of This and That because I think you spoke eloquently on the subject of Boston's ordeal, Charlestongirl. I would; however like to speak a bit about the explosion and subsequent devastation in West Texas. No disrespect intended, but the blast in Texas made the ones in Boston look like firecrackers. It was the equivalent of 21kg (46 lbs. 4 oz.) of TNT and registered as a 2.1 earthquake. It was felt over 50 miles away, more than 50 homes in the immediate area were destroyed and many more damaged as were a number of commercial buildings, 200 people were injured, and 14 bodies have been recovered so far as the search for survivors continues. Most of those found dead were first responders--volunteer firefighters and emergency medical workers--those phenomenally brave and selfless individuals who run towards mayhem rather than away from it. As we celebrate along with the citizens of Boston, I hope we'll also answer the call for help in Texas. In his remarks on Friday, Obama said the folks in Texas were not forgotten. I hope that's true and that we'll pull together to lend support and to make good on our President's words.

Yes, it's been one hellava week!

Thanks for the info regarding Smashbox's new direction. It just seems ill-advised to me because Smashbox is so strongly associated with the studio for which the line is named. Whenever I think of Smasbox, I think of makeup products; not skin care. I guess we'll see what happens.

Michael Kors. I was not surprised to learn his grandmother and mother had been his muses. His promo picture reflects a notion of glitzy glamor that is utterly passé! I can see it all now: Vacuous looking blonds, draped in heavy gold jewelry, lounging langorously by the Hollywood pool, admiring their tans and perfectly colored golden hair. Someone really needs to tell Michael that this is 2013. Retro has its place, but there has to be a modern twist otherwise it's a case of been there, seen that, done that--decades ago!

I guess I'm coming down a bit hard on MK because he used to bash Project Runway contestants for being old fashioned or taking retro too far. Hopefully the individual products will be much better than the sum total of his promo.

Meredith said...

It's incredible to me that as of this moment, none of these terrible events had taken place yet just one week ago today. We have all been through too much this week. I have been having anxiety and bad dreams many nights. My son has to visit a courtroom in downtown Seattle tomorrow as part of a law class at UW and the first thing I thought was, "I hope he doesn't get shot." Terrible, isn't it? I have lived in a country where these thoughts didn't enter anyone's mind because these kinds of things simply didn't happen but not so anymore. I no longer wish I was a young person. We middle agers have had the best of it, it seems. I have tried the new La Mer sunscreen and it is wonderful. It is supposed to replace your moisturizer and frankly, I can wear it both ways, with and without a layer of the cream. It has a nice, not greasy consistency, didn't sting my skin, a nice gentle smell. It is a good daily sunscreen but is quite expensive so I may stick with my Shiseido after I run out of this. I guess the only thing we can do now is be more vigilant in public, look out for people with overly-heavy backpacks, stay away from trash cans as the security people said bombers can put the bombs in them as people usually do not inspect a trash can. These two men in Boston looked like normal people to me, not anyone that would catch one's attention. So scary and sad. I do not feel safe anymore in public. I worry about my adult son's and what they will experience during their lifetimes. I'm sorry if it's offensive but I think we need to look more carefully at foreigners that we allow into this country. I know McVeigh was American but we've now had 4 or 5 very bad happenings that have been committed by foreigners, Muslims. The psychiatrist in Texas at the military base, of course 9-11 etc. It seems the older I get, the less open I am towards foreign people and I am sorry as I do enjoy learning about their lives, cultures, cooking, customs etc. This is why travel is interesting to me. The men scare me now.

Nemo said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful, Cg and all your blog friends, if our elected officials acted with the same kind of sincerity and professionalism as the law enforcement personnel who handled so adroitly the dangerous Boston situation this week? Let my big yap go one step farther here: I think we are shamefully represented by a bunch of cowards.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Eileen,

I didn't mean to minimize the tragedy in Texas. I don't know whether it's true yet, but I heard that the plant had not appropriately reported the total tons of explosive fertilizer there and that there had not been an OSHA inspection since the 1980s. As a result, brave firefighters rushed in...even those not on duty. They died. So many neighbors were put at risk. So many injured. It was an accident, but it was inexcusable. Could this be the first time there is an appropriate response to hold those responsible accountable? I fear not.

This small town won't have the resources to recover on its own. The company at fault and their insurers should pay. In the meantime, I hope and suspect the generous people of our country will open their hearts and wallets.

Perhaps those on the Hill should stop fighting regulations to protect the public and embrace them. Doubt I will live to see the day when human safety becomes a higher priority than business profits. This citizen is getting angry. I hope I'm not in a minority.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Meredith, I want that sunscreen!

I agree with your thoughts. I feel uncomfortable in crowds. I try to avoid them. I know the terrorists are a minority. I hope we can figure out a better way to monitor radical groups. Isn't it ironic that Russia told the FBI to check out the older brother?

Charlestongirl said...

Nemo, don't get me going on the members of Congress. One problem is that Americans have short memories. We keep voting for incumbents. Is it time for term limits?

Anonymous said...

Indeed, what a heavy and emotionally draining week. As someone who deals with debilitating chronic illnesses, watching other people's physical lives become so profoundly affected by the events that tragically unfolded in Boston and Texas hit me very deeply. I know to a certain extent what they are facing and if not exactly from the same physical standpoint, then certainly from an emotional perspective. My heart goes out to them.

Gun Control: Oh gosh, does a person not from the States open that can of worms? Does it even matter? Here's my quick, and I might add, complete outsider view. As with the rest of the G7 Countries, Canada has always held very strict gun laws. I honestly do not think people outside of the USA understand the "right to bear arms" whatsoever, but I'm not here to attack or debate that, just to state an outsider's total ignorance on why it exists in the first place. However, knowing statistically that the states with more lax gun laws have the highest rates of gun violence, it only seems to speak volumes about opportunity. I'm personally stunned such minor and what seems to be logical and reasonable changes to the gun laws were blocked by the senate. But again, I come for a country, have only lived in a country, where guns are viewed quite differently.

On the other side of the coin, do bad people purchase registered guns? Oh, so many philosophical questions about the hows and whys. Does the how and why mean anything other than there are really bad people in this world? Is it ever possible to foretell and plan for every tragic event. So many conflicting thoughts crowding everyone's brains, I would think.

I like to believe people globally share in bringing good spirit to this planet and despite the horrific events of the past week, that much is still evident. We were also able to witness all that is positive about mankind too.


p.s. Loving the summer collections so much more than the spring!! Squeee.

teadivamuse said...

Thank you for your thoughtful and honest post. I an glad that we beautiphiles are still connected and caring of the world around us. Couldn't agree more about the gun bill going down in flames; in the end I fear that politics trumped every other consideration. A national disgrace. On a good note, I too love tree peonies and loved seeing yours! Here in CO, they usually bloom around Mother's Day but we'll see what our recent snowstorms have done to my ten-year old beauties this year. I have six shrubs of them and it stops cars and people dead in their tracks when they are in full bloom.

Sarah said...


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I know exactly what you mean. The world has gone mad unfortunately.

Religion has a great deal to do with how these two young men can turn so badly.

When you think you're doing Gods work, nothing is off limits. I wish we lived in a world without it.

Lot's of people do good in the name of religion, however every shocking act of violence is generally exclusive to those groups.

Good people will do good things, bad people will do bad things, but it takes religion to make good people do bad things....

I think the answer to why this happened rests within that somewhere.

As for the gun laws etc I totally agree. Madness! US politics is not Representative of the people.

You can't take in $ Billions of dollars in campaign funding and not expect a return on investment.

Sadly we have been taken over by Central Banks and Corporations. The game is rigged!

The only answer is to get private money out of politics, and until we achieve that, we've got no chance!

Sorry to sound so doom and gloom lol the good news is, people are slowly starting to realize it through the internet etc and if we can manage to keep it free, with time we can change things.

Ultimately we have the power, but people need to wake up then change life long habits of buying and perception.

It's a big challenge, however it is starting.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Take care.


Meredith said...

I feel the same as you CG and Sarah and I believe there are millions of Americans who do too. Perhaps you CG should entertain the thought of entering politics. I think you would be very credible and appropriate as a Congresswoman. We need more (in number) sensible females in government, things could only get better if we did.

Charlestongirl said...


As with all the comments here, yours were thoughtful. The psychological consequences of this tragedy will persist longer than it takes for the physical wounds to heal.

I wonder how many people want to move away from fertilizer plants now, but don't have the money to get out. That would make me anxious all the time. Every siren would make me cringe.

I think we citizens of the US are weird when it comes to gun control. Our rights, as framed by our forefathers, were limited to the rights of a well-regulated militia to bear arms. That made sense in the context of the American Revolution. I'll bet those same forefathers of our country would have written that right differently - even more rigidly - today. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court came along and broadened those rights to everyone. Then the gun crazies, the NRA, which is funded primarily by gun manufacturers, turned our politicians into beholden wimps. Along the way, common sense about guns got lost.

I don't hate guns, although I won't own one. I watched my dad, who didn't actually use them, clean them. It was a hobby. I understand the love of the mechanics of such instruments.

Unfortunately, in Virginia and other states, we have wing-nuts running around wearing them on their belts, like we are under attack. I think we have lost all balance, and I know the world thinks we have an obsession with guns. Not all of us!

Last week reminded us the enormous unity and empathy across the world. Thankfully, there are more of us than there are of "them."

Summer is turning out to be an expensive bonanza! :)

Charlestongirl said...


I'm so jealous of your tree peonies. I think I have too much water in my soil for them.

Charlestongirl said...


Ditto. How religion changed from a good thing to a suspect one - at least for certain religions - is scary. Do they not understand that God disapproves?

Charlestongirl said...

Oh, I did, Meredith, but I wouldn't conform to either party's core principles, and without party money, it's almost impossible to win an election.