Thursday, March 17, 2016

Should We Carve Out Some Time For Debbie Downer, Gloomy Gus and Negative Nancy?

With New Year’s goals finding their way into our already full agendas, time is more critical than ever. We have our game faces on-feeling positive, confident, and indestructible. That is, until we run into our friends Debbie Downer, Gloomy Gus and Negative Nancy.

For those who don’t know who they are, Debbie, Gus and Nancy are the fictitious pseudonyms for those people in your life who thrive on negativity, play the victim in every possible situation, and tell their sad stories over and over again to whomever is willing to listen. Sometimes, they even thwart your plans by telling you about a guy who knew a guy who had a disastrous outcome in a situation similar to the one you are about to embark on.

Are you starting to recognize these people now? If not, a good way to spot them is to ask the mundane yet polite question, “How are you?”

Let’s be honest. When people ask this question, they are expecting a quick, “Everything’s great” so that they can go about their day. But a Debbie, Gus or Nancy will never let this opportunity pass. They will instead stop you in your tracks and make you listen to a ten-minute saga about why their morning/ex-husband from five years ago/dead goldfish from 1978 was plaguing them. When dealing with these people, I learned the hard way that giving them too much attention will validate the way they are feeling and ultimately suck you into their toxic bubble. Instead of becoming an ally who will support their pessimism, I learned that a simple wave hello is more sensible.

In addition, because social media has shown no signs of slowing down, thousands of people like Debbie, Gus and Nancy have been unveiled. Scrolling down a Facebook timeline can reveal quite a bit about someone’s personality. You can tell who is upbeat, fun, adventurous, crafty, narcissistic, angry, bitter, or just sad.

I understand that we all go through an array of emotions throughout our lives, and having a few bad days that we take out on our personal Facebook community can be somewhat cathartic. However, Debbie, Gus and Nancy have patterns that never stray too far away from the negative. Even though some of my former Facebook friends were nice and didn’t wrong me in any way, seeing how dreary their days were going on a daily basis started to affect my day. So, when it comes time to evaluate who I want to see in my newsfeed, those who can’t find a small ray of sunshine, even once in a while, are the ones who generally get the axe.

So, am I right in throwing a joyous mental goodbye party for these people after dismissing them from my life? Although it always feels right to me, maybe I’m too quick to unfriend. Like watching a soap opera, maybe hearing someone else’s drama can make me feel better about my own. Or maybe their rain will give me a better idea of how to plan my parade. Maybe we all need a force that keeps us grounded when we are trying to fly.\

OR…maybe we don’t.

When the majority of the minutes in my day are set aside for tasks like working, cooking or cleaning, the time that is left over becomes considerably important. Sharing even one of those minutes with Debbie, Gus or Nancy seems…well…depressing. Though I don’t live a shiny, happy life every moment of the day, I am pleased with where I am and who is here with me. Therefore, Debbie, Gus and Nancy will have to understand that my time is too valuable to be stuck in the past or to pine over the negative results of situations that have not yet occurred. Rather, I choose to reserve my minutes for those who make my life lighter and for those who simply hand me an umbrella when the forecast calls for rain.

*This piece was published on Sammiches and Psych Meds on March 17, 2016.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

When Your Signature Scent Dies

I remember the first time I read about Stella McCartney Body Milk. While leisurely browsing through my favorite Lucky magazine, I came across a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” article directed towards people like me, who prefer body lotion to perfume. Apparently, we are a small tribe, as suggested by the multitude of perfume ads in the magazine.

Because I am a lotion gal, always favoring a light breeze of a scent rather than a thick perfume cloud, my choices have been limited. So, when the article touted that Stella’s Body Milk was light, yet lasted throughout the entire day, I couldn’t wait to try it. Having faith in my trusted Lucky beauty editor, I determinedly headed off to Sephora and made my purchase. Once home, I felt like a child on Christmas morning as I opened the pristine white box. Within a few seconds of applying the creamy body milk, I was in love.

I decided to give Stella her test run at a family function, because I can always count on my family to tell me if I reek. Surprisingly, Stella passed the family test and I was ready to try her out in the real world. Depending on my mood, where I was going or who I was seeing, I would experiment with different lotions, but every time I chose Stella, I received numerous compliments. After a few weeks, it was a done deal. Stella was my signature scent.

I’m not sure if any of you are like me, but once I found my signature scent, I tried my hardest to keep it a secret. Consistently evading the, “You smell so good.  What perfume is that?” question became somewhat of a sport. Knowing what I know now, I doubt that I would have been so clandestine, as I’ve learning that popularity is what keeps a scent on the shelves. And my friends, Stella has left the building.

Though I doubt I was her only buyer, Stella McCartney Body Milk didn’t pick up as much steam as her Stella perfume counterpart did, so now it sleeps with the fishes. While she sells a body lotion with some of the same notes as her old body milk, something is amiss in the scent department. As a result, I am stuck with two options, both of which I have attempted, somewhat successfully.

Option A-Buy it on Ebay.

Ebay still sells my Stella body milk, but it’s extremely rare and triple the price I used to pay. Sometimes, I can’t help but to splurge. But most of the time, I look at the old white bottle on my laptop’s screen and daydream about the days of wandering into Sephora to get my fix. 

Option B-Set sail on a new scent adventure.

I am loyal to my scent, and after years of trying to find it, the idea of gathering the energy to unearth a new one is daunting. Perfumed lotions are just not as popular as perfume, so I will always run the risk of lotion extinction. 

In addition, I’ve found that when shopping for a new fragrance, I can only handle so much before my nose tricks my brain into thinking that everything smells exactly the same. Sephora simply can’t offer enough coffee beans to alleviate the “I’ve-smelled-too-many-perfumes-within-the-last-ten-minutes” dilemma. Not to mention, when picking a scent, I like to let some time pass before making the purchase.  What if it smells great initially, but then a few hours later, I find that it doesn’t mix well with my body chemistry?

Despite the obstacles, I am happy to say that I have found a replacement that competes bravely with my beloved Stella. And this time, I am going to shout it from the rooftops to avoid an untimely lotion death.

So, to my tribe of lotion gals, you might want to stock up on my new “secret” scent - Elie Saab Le Parfum Scented Body Lotion. I promise you, it was worth the hunt.