Random Sunday: Deck The Halls

Two things – holiday and a makeup update.  I´ll put makeup at the bottom so you can skip it if you want to.

First – I invite each of you to comment on/link to one particular special holiday tradition you´d like to share with Posse readers.  It can be a decorative item, a recipe – or just a fond memory.   This is a difficult year for many people.  I know some folks far away from their families, away from home for the first time or maybe just kind of alone, struggle with the absence of “holiday tradition.”   Mother March thinks you should put your elf hat on, get busy and start your own tradition, incorporating whatever makes you happy.  Everyone´s holiday tradition had to start somewhere, right? 

So.  We stencil our windows with Glass Wax.  This was not a holiday tradition in my family growing up.   Rather, this was a friend´s holiday tradition years ago when the girls were small and I was looking for something easy and fun they could help me with.  It´s now one of their favorite bits of decorating.  Unfortunately, they stopped making Glass Wax several years ago.  The price sticker on my can says $3.99.   I noticed in horror two years ago that cans were selling for $30 on eBay (I think there’s one on there right now).  Fortunately, my favorite catalog, Vermont Country Store, has recreated Glass Wax as Window Wax and also includes six (unspecified?) stencils in their set.  If you have time to browse and you´re as old as I am, take a Walk Down Memory Lane with their silver tree, their Christmas Villages, their old-fashioned tinsel, etc.  They also sell vintage brand perfumes including Ondine, Woodhue, Tigress, Blue Grass, Heaven Sent… and long johns.  And weird canned delicacies. And other fascinating things.

To stencil, which you do on the inside of your windows, you just hold the stencil up to the window with one hand and dab the wax on with a sponge or a fat, bristly craft/stencil brush.  You can use a crummy paintbrush.  It goes on pinkish but dries a powdery white.  Like the original Glass Wax it’s a window cleaner – after the holidays you just wipe it all off.  You can camp it up with Santa, snowmen, holly wreaths, etc., but honestly – just a single snowflake on each small pane of a divided window is incredibly elegant.  If you’re looking for some lovely snowflakes, I found these on eBay.  If you look at the image on the bottom right you get a sense of how pretty they are in a window.

* * *

Makeup – an interesting/humorous blush update.  Friday night, after I´d posted makeup artist Gina´s advice about moving your blush out from underneath your eyes, further away from your nose and closer to the side of your face (staying north of your nostrils), I sat down and browsed my new Glamour, which has an article devoted specifically to blush application – where they do the illustrations of various face shapes (oval, heart, etc.) and show you where to put your blush – and there it is, all the blush on the “apples,” smack dab under the eyeballs – exactly where you don´t want it.  There´s also a large photo of a woman wearing blush like that and it looks … terrible.  Baffled, I looked through all the various pages of the magazines, at all the fashion spreads, models wearing every variation of blush and contouring and bronzer, and they are … not wearing their blush on the fronts of their faces!!!  They are wearing it out to the sides!  The liars.  They want us to look funny.

Also … I put on that Lancome Absolute Rouge again.   I really want this.  Grrrr.  It’s ridiculously sexy.  Do I need another red?  Sigh.

Also, Louise reminded me and I keep forgetting to mention — for those of you who think we are insane with this lippie nonsense, and what you want is a decent gloss that adds a little volume, we love those spendy ($38?) Lip Fusion gloss plumpers they sell at Sephora and Nordstrom (and probably elsewhere).  They differ from some other “plumpers” in that in my opinion they actually work – my lips are visibly fuller for several hours, and it’s not cinnamon or wintergreen but they do tingle a bit.  Sexy is a sheer, sexy cherry red and Dream is a nice YLLB.   The sizes are generous and last quite awhile even with daily use.  One year they did a set of six minis which is how I got hooked, and I wish they’d do it again.  For sparkle-phobics and mature adults, please note some of these are “shimmer” – but I can’t recall how much shimmer.

photo — I had to do a “holiday” demonstration at the twins’ preschool last year — that’s me in action.

  • Sam Diego says:

    After reading your comment Matts on 13Dec, I did order some Christmas gift from Vermont Country Store and best I stay in IL State and they have online shopping option (www.vermontcountrystore.com and putting the same link on my name to find out easily) to buy and keep posting new items over there and bought too many gift for Christmas from there and some are “pretty tick tock heart locket holds an easy to read timepiece , season sparklers: classic holiday pins, made in the usa and swarovski crystal side combs add dazzle to your hairdo for the holidays”, I recommend to Vermont Country Store to other and thanks to Matts and Vermont Country Store to make my Christmas awesome.

  • Andrea D says:

    Meh. The only thing that makes my lips fuller is the Restylane that my doctor injects into them. Trust me.

    I always put blush on the apples of my cheeks, but then, that’s where I blush whenever I get warm, or tipsy, or embarrassed. Seemed natural, but will try some other stuff, too. Keep in mind that models are freaks, and never crack a smile, but just stare hungrily into the distance.

  • Olfacta says:

    Okay, here is my special tradition: making Bourbon Balls on Christmas Eve.

    Classic Southern Bourbon Balls
    (Original Source: Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking, 1995)
    (edits mine)

    1 box Vanilla Wafers
    1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (Hershey’s is fine)
    2 cups confectioners sugar, to be divided
    1 cup good bourbon, like Maker’s Mark
    3 tablespoons light corn syrup (Karo)
    salt if desired

    (If you really can’t stand bourbon, use rum, you scallywag.)

    Grind up the vanilla wafers in a blender or food processor until they are fine crumbs. Have a shot of the bourbon. (Keep the bottle nearby.)

    In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, pecans, cocoa, 1 cup of of the confectioners sugar, 2/3 cup of the bourbon,corn syrup and a dash of salt. Spread the rest of the powdered sugar on a cookie sheet.

    Mix with a wooden spoon — the dough will be very stiff — so you’ll have to beat it hard. (Another shot of bourbon will give you the necessary strength, though.)

    If the dough is too dry, add a little more bourbon.

    When it is well-mixed, wet your hands and start rolling it into 1-inch balls. Roll each one in the powdered sugar. It helps to have at least one assistant, in which case you’ll need more bourbon.

    Chill several hours, which is about how long it will take you to clean up the powdered sugar. But by this time you won’t mind.

    Makes about 5 dozen.

    Makes a good gift; great for (grown-up)parties!

    • March says:

      Oh, I love bourbon! In fact I’d probably have a wee dram while making these, thanks! Then I’d mind the mess even less. 😡

      “It helps to have at least one assistant, in which case you’ll need more bourbon.” Now THAT’S the kind of cooking instruction I like.

  • tmp00 says:

    I’ve had a tradition with a dear friend that we get together and do the Christmas cards. They’re usually very artistic and require X-Acto knives and assembly. We get together, have dinner, gab, watch the food network or a movie, drink wine and make the Christmas cards. It’s great fun!

    • March says:

      T, that’s so sweet! What a lovely tradition. 😡 I used to get together with a group of friends and make toffee. I miss that. I don’t even know why we stopped doing it.

  • gina says:

    I have to look at this Glamour article. I think someone mentioned this above – that apple-of-the-cheek blush looks good on very young girls – I’ve seen it editorial spreads on the 14-15 yr old models. It’s got to be blended or it does look very “raggedy ann”, and I don’t like the way it looks on most. Sometimes I have my clients smile and I put a TINY bit of color on the raised parts of their cheekbones, then blend it like crazy with powder puff. With longer faces, etc, you can mess with the placement of the cheeks a bit, doing a more “horizonal” application to shorten the face, a sort of longer application to narrow a round face.

    LOVE the glass wax!!! I love the old-school packaging. Thanks for another great post!

    • March says:

      omg. Is that how old those girls are? 14, 15? Because I’ve been wondering. In addition to looking increasingly anorexic, some of them look so very, very young they’re kind of absurd. I guess the only thing keeping us from having 10-year-old models is they aren’t tall enough yet?

      It makes me yearn for the days of Naomi, Linda, Christy, etc. They were young, but they looked like women. And I remember reading an article about how they were bigger — I think a sample size was a 4, or even a 6? — and so of course they were tall and thin, but not 0 or 00 like today.

      • Musette says:

        Remember when Melrose Ave was THE hip/hot shopping street in LA? That was the first time I’d ever seen a size Zero. I was stunned and a bit ashamed to not be a size Zero…..now I just look at 0 and OO and laugh!

        Of course, where I now live, size 10 is pretty much considered ‘small’.


  • Mary Beth says:

    I remember Glass Wax stencils. What a work saver for mom. Does VCS have REAL tinsel or just that fakey plastic stuff?

    How funny you post a holiday tradition/memory today. I’ve been sending DB (currently in Iraq AGAIN!) a Thing to Feel Good About. For December I changed it to a Xmas memory. It’s quite fun seeing what he remembers & we’ve been piggybacking on some of them.

    I remember the great-aunts’ butter cookies – paper thin & just melted in the mouth. Also the Tobler samplers godmother #1 would bring home with her. I made a dive for the dark chocolate even then. LOL. Funny that so far most of my memories are food – I was such an emaciated looking little thing.

    Stollen every Christmas morning, Da singing German carols as he fought with the tree on Christmas Eve (Nothing got done before the Eve.)

    The Christmas I got Charmin’ Chatty. I must have been 8 or 9. Godmother #1 must have gone to NY to find her. She was wonderful – sailor-type dress (sort of uniform-y), White knee socks, oxford shoes like mine, big eyes, small smile (no grin or pursed lips for her), long STRAIGHT hair with bangs, and most important: she WORE GLASSES JUST LIKE ME. I remember my grandmother taking one look & saying she was the ugliest doll she had ever seen! I was crushed until Godmother said the real beauty always comes later.

    • MattS says:

      What wonderful memories! Christmas greetings and blessings to your loved one in Iraq.

    • March says:

      They have the “Victorian” tin tinsel, twisted metal with hooks that hang over the branch. I don’t have any but I bet it’s really pretty on the tree. Not the choke-your-cat stuff.

      Iraq! Goodness. I love the way you are sharing your memories — and your story about your doll! Remember the Sasha dolls? My sister had one she loved so much. It was odd looking — kind of sulky. I bet they’re worth a fortune now.

      • Shelley says:

        That’s the stuff I have! Comes in an alumninum tin…it’s actually fun.

      • GGS says:

        I still have my Sasha doll! Even the 70’s pantsuit she came in. I got her for Christmas too, and my Texas Scotch-Irish grandmother was shocked at my mom for buying me a doll “of color” It’s true she doesn’t really look like she is smiling. Thoughtful maybe? I loved her of course, and many of my Christmas childhood memories involve dolls. Of course my daughter preferred stuffed animals, and didn’t love dolls like I did, so they didn’t get much 2nd generation use…

  • Erin says:

    I think one of the most important things that determines where one’s blusher best goes is probably (oh no!) one’s age. A visual artist friend of mine (who supports herself doing make up) pointed out that when you’re younger and still have a lot of fat under the surface plumping up those apples in your cheeks, it looks relatively natural (when well blended) to highlight that spot with a faint pinkish shade that approximates the way most of us naturally flush (and there’s a reason that one of the most popular blushes on the market is named “Orgasm”). But once you’re older and your bones come out, it looks very What Ever Happened To Baby Jane to have that spot of flush where there’s no longer the plumpness supporting it. That’s why the eye reads it as so unnatural. I would say this is true for most, unless you happen to have extremely high cheekbones, in which case you’re blessed with a different set of issues.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to get a whisper of healthy pink without looking like a doll face. I have been having some luck with Smashbox’s O-Glow stain (which is great because it really sinks into mature skin), though a little goes a LONG way if you’re fair complected. And, you know, BIG fabulous sunglasses when in direct sunlight–a woman over 35’s best friend…

    • March says:

      Now, that makes total sense. If you still have that fat pad in the front, why not blush it? But painting it in otherwise looks funny, and maybe that’s why it looks funny. Sounds like Gina down there concurs.

      I need to spend more time with Smashbox, they have some beautiful colors.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Hi Erin! As a “woman of a certain age” AND extremely fair complected, I love Benefit’s Benetint. It’s a deep red liquid that comes in a bottle with something like a nail polish brush for application. It has the most beautiful rose smell too. You put a few dots on the cheek and quickly spread/blend it. I love it because it is the first blush that really does give me that “whisper of healthy pink” and doesn’t fall into the coughwrinklescough that I now have around the edges of my eyes. I got it at Sephora.

      • Erin says:

        You know, I’ve seen the Benetint before but haven’t tried it because it looks sooo electric pink in the bottle. But if you recommend it I’m going to give it a try. I know colors can really look different out of the bottle…

        Of course I basically have the coloring of a spring piglet and most mass-marketed shades don’t work on me. I wish they made a line of products just for red heads!

        Thanks for the good tip.

        • Rappleyea says:

          Erin – I hear you, since I was born with bright carrot orange hair. It faded to strawberry blonde (emphasis on strawberry) by the time I was 7 or 8, and the good news is now that I’m in my mid-50’s, it looks platinum instead of gunmetal grey or silver. I actually get a lot of compliments on it, although I miss the younger color.

  • Mindy says:

    I love your tips on makeup. I hope you continue to throw those in. We have a family tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve. This year I’m going to let my son open a present the day school lets out for the winter break. He already knows what it is and it will hopefully keep him quiet and occupied until Christmas. (By the way, he’s going to be 18 in four months. Kids.)

    • March says:

      Heh. Yes, I think I have successfully stashed the “big” presents, and I too have some things I hope (specifically) will keep them occupied for two weeks at home. :-w

  • MattS says:

    The Vermont Country Store is such an awesome source for Christmas items traditional and tacky. I just finished putting up my six foot silver tinsel tree from there this morning. It is glorious, the shiniest tree I’ve ever had. It was an early Christmas gift from my boss, who’d heard me say that growing up I always loved those tinsel trees but my parents would never let us have one; they weren’t traditional enough and were way too gaudy and over-the-top for my folks’ taste. All shiny ornaments, nothing wood or felt on this tree, in every color imaginable, as long as it’s bright. Now does anyone have any advice for proper placement of the rotating color wheel?? Somehow it’s not illuminating things like I expected; I don’t know where exactly you’re supposed to put it, plus maybe a soft white bulb isn’t the best for the airplane runway effect I’m looking for.

    • Musette says:


      Matt – thank you for a trip down memory lane. We never had one of those trees and I so lusted after one! The ‘rotating color wheel’ was a thing of great joy to an 8yr old! Soft white? Fuggedaboutit! You might try one of those new screw-in fluorescent bulbs, see how that works.


    • March says:

      Oh, we couldn’t have one either! I was in shameless love with the neighbors’ silver tree, WITH the rotating light, that they positioned so you could see it from the street … sigh.

      Regarding the lighting — my best recollection is that their tree was meant to be savored in the evening. I may be remembering incorrectly but I remember going down there (they had kids our age) at dusk or in the dark, and them turning the lights off and that rotating thing on… maybe that’s the only way you can get the full effect? Keep us posted! PS I remember it being relatively close to the tree — five feet? Less?

  • Rappleyea says:

    This is one of my favorite blogs and it never fails to lighten my day. It’s usually way out of my league to comment on the perfume reviews in this knowledgeable crowd, but holiday traditions I can do!

    Nothing said “Christmas” in our house growing up more than the smell of Spritz cookies baking. To us they were Spitz Christmas cookies, although the recipe wasn’t necessarily a Christmas one, just one in the old Mirro cookie press recipe book that came with the press. (Giving away my age here!)

    A few years ago, I found out I had the gluten intolerance thing, and the besides pizza, I knew I’d really miss were those spritz cookies so I devised my own recipe. It was based on an existing grain free cookie recipe and is the easiest cookie you’ll ever bake, and taste great!

    1 cup cashew butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp. almond extract
    Bake 350 degrees for 12 – 13 min.

    That’s it! For those interested, the original recipe was a peanut butter cookie recipe and used peanut butter instead of the almond butter and vanilla extract instead of the almond. They also bake quicker – 8 or 9 min.

    Happy holidays everyone!

    • March says:

      Oh, those sound so good!! I love a really simple, unadorned cookie (or three) with my coffee. Do I have to use the presser? Do you think I could … roll them into balls or just drop by the teaspoonful on a cookie sheet? What’s the texture of the dough?

      • Rappleyea says:

        Sorry I didn’t get back to this yesterday – Kentucky played basketball!

        These are just simple drop cookies, and the dough will be a somewhat softer than regular cookie dough since it doesn’t have flour. The peanut butter version is great too!

    • Musette says:

      I remember those old Mirro recipes, Floyd love us! And March, we used Glass Wax in our house for simply evah! I still use Sprayway glass cleaner – cleans like nobody’s biz and smells like my childhood (you can get it at Sam’s as well as Restoration Hardware, which sells it for about twice as much, the bassids)

      Re the blush: I thought of you Friday, as I was braving the Kohl’s crowd (addt’l 15% off, don’tchaknow)….as I was standing in the long line I noticed Ashley Judd’s photo touting their minerals makeup line – laydeez, this is NOT where you want your blush. Whoever did her makeup should have their brushes taken away. Raggedy Ann was EXACTLY the image that popped into my head – pity, as Ashley Judd is gorgeous! She looks as if she’s running a high fever!

      Off to make cupcakes and these almond cookies that are a holiday staple – my best-received cookie, though, is from my best pal Denise: take the oatmeal cookie recipe from the Quaker Oats lid, substitude chopped dates for the raisins, add chopped pecans and a cup of coconut. Even people who do not like oatmeal cookies wipe these puppies OUT! And they’re great for that much-needed coffee break, as you can convince yourself you are eating healthy:-)

      xo >-)

      • March says:

        Oh, those cookies sound darned good too! And I am sitting here right now, chewing on a cupcake… 😉 I haven’t seen that photo of Ashley Judd, sounds like a darn shame.

    • Mindy says:

      This sounds really good. Do you think it would work with Splenda?

      • Musette says:

        Probably. Unlike a lot of sugar cookies I don’t think this one relies on the sugar for a lot of volume, especially if you use the Splenda/brown sugar combo. I’m not sure how they would taste w/o the brown sugar, as that is integral to the basic oatmeal cookie recipe, I think.

        Let me know how they turn out!


    • pavlova says:

      Oh now you have made me so nostalgic for the Mirro Cookie Press cookies. Every Christmas season my mother would make these in many shapes…spritz and christmas trees being the favorites!!
      Some trees would be green, which really delighted us (myself, brother, and sister). Our job was decorating with green and red sugar and of, no tree would be complete without one of those silver balls on top. Those things were deadly on the teeth!!
      Perhaps I will break down and make these this year.
      Thanks for the memory!!
      PS to March — Those glass wax stencils were always fun! I never minded cleaning mirrors in my childhood home as that product was so magical to use!

      • March says:

        I love how many people on here actually did the stencils. I find them fun even at my age. :”>

        I wonder if I need one of those cookie presses? 😕

      • Rappleyea says:

        lol! – I still have an old wooden spoon with permanent green streaks on it from mixing the green dough for the Christmas trees. In our house the wreath/poinsettia ones were red.

  • Debbie says:

    Re blush on the apples of the cheeks….

    Unless it is done very lightly and blended very well, it makes me think of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Yeah. Not the look I need or want.

    *I* want your Absolu Rouge now. :-w

    • March says:

      I’m such a l-) . It comes off in the middle of the mouth faster than I’d like, it would definitely be a re-applier, and I have to get a better edge on it. Probably time to try out my … invisible liner! :”>

      Look, Raggedy Ann blush.

  • Louise says:

    I wonder if they make stencils in dreidels, stars, and other Chanukah designs? They’s liven up my condo windows, for sure. As did our light dusting of snow last night. Let it snow, let it snow, etc. 🙂

    I laughed, too, when I checked out the Glamour piece on blush placement-except they had it mostly right for my long face shape-I look best (I think) with a more horizontal shading-even a bit on the apples. They did make a good effort to include different face shapes.

    Just get the damn lippie:)>- :> !

    • March says:

      I know, isn’t the snow pretty! I like it as long as it isn’t two feet deep and I have to actually *do* something about it.

      I have no doubt you could find Chanukah stencils, probably on eBay, maybe even at that same seller.

      Yes, the blush placement on your diagram looked the best – and I got what they were aiming for on the others. But check out how close several of those are to the mid-face, and that poor woman in black&white with her pink blush looks awful.

    • Sharon says:

      You might try Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or other large craft stores for holiday stencils.

  • Elena says:

    Hi, I wanted to let you know I’ve recently become a big fan of your blog and I am planning on featuring my favorite fellow beauty bloggers on my own in the next few weeks. I am also going to start a blogroll.
    Just wanted to give you a heads up!