Today was fine at work. Business was steady, no returns, no unpleasant customers.  It was a good day.  A  good day  that turned out to be a great day after HE came in.

He had brown hair that sat perfectly messily on his head and big beautiful  brown eyes. I didn’t see him walk into the store,  but when he stepped up to the counter I thought to myself…”He’s pretty cute!” He looked me in the eye and pointed, asking, “Do you have any of these in the shape of a duck?”  ( I work in a children’s toy store and he was wondering about the “tynees.®”- mini glass figures of animals that kids like to collect.)

And so I sighed and thought to myself…”Who knows? We have a million of those things.”  But he seemed sweet and so I was gonna give it the ol’ college try.

A duck...  I looked at the display… No ducks.  So I made the (somewhat obligatory) comment…”I’ll check in the back.” Nope, no ducks.  I was told to check under the counter.  I found some tynees®  that were still wrapped up tightly  in bubble wrap. So tight that I needed scissors to open the little packages.  Package 1. no ducks.  Package 2.  no ducks.  Package number 3.  Voila!!… What did I see staring up at me through all of the layers of plastic?   A perfect tiny white duck with the cutest little orange beak!  I found a duck!  I couldn’t believe it.  I was so happy to have found it for this handsome young guy.  “Look!” I said to him. 

That’s when it happened; he changed my day.

You see that hair and those eyes belonged to an 8 year old boy,  and the gasp of surprise and wonderment that he let out when I showed him the duck was the best thing I had heard or seen all day. I had completely made his day. “Thank you so much!” he exclaimed. “Did you know that ducks are my favorite animal?”  The smile on his face when he held it in his hands and showed his mom (who was patiently waiting beside him this whole time,) said more than words ever could.  As I packed his duck in its own tiny box, especially made for tynees®) he talked incessantly about his favorite stuffed animal named “Duckie,” and how  he couldn’t believe we actually had a duck… all the while beaming with happiness. I told him he was the best thing that happened to me today and that I wanted to write about him. He said sure.  As he walked out the door, he must have said “Thank you so much!” at least 3 times.

We get frustrated with our lives, what we need, what we want, what we have, what other people have. I think moments like this are what really make us feel good. When we make other people happy. To see other people smile and feel happiness.  It’s such a great thing.  I started my search for this duck with a miserable attitude, only to be amazed that I could actually make someone’s day with this small act. The. Best. Feeling.  I think everyone should try it in their lives as soon as possible.  Try to get a real  “ear to ear” smile out of someone…(sometimes its really easy.)

So thank you to the brown-haired, dark-eyed little boy who made me stop and think today…(and thank you to the people who make the billions of tiny glass animals…especially the duckies.)

the duckie


“It would be purple and rain apple juice.”

My thoughts and writing have turned toward my father lately.  Probably because during the beautiful, hot, summer days and nights last year I was making my way back and forth to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston at least twice a day sitting with him, consulting with various physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and waiting for so many surgeries to be over.  Those were days filled with hope.

It seemed that all of his life nothing could take my father down…I even believed it myself.  There was the fall from the third story of his triple decker home when he was 2 years old. ( His arm never healed correctly; if he held it out to the side, it was bent like a bow.)  There was the time he tried to manually push the metal post of a fence (cemented into the ground,) back in position… resulting in a massive laceration caused by the blunt trauma of a round post after it rebounded into his forehead. ”  There was the fall off of the top step of the ladder. (the step that says…DON’T STEP HERE)…leading to major surgery on his wrist.  Not too long after that, trying to keep up with his grandchildren, he fell off of a skateboard at age 69,  and reinjured the same wrist.

I could dig deeper into my memory and come up with more stories of how my father defied death, but in the end it was a disease called  Mesothelioma which finally  took him down.  It dealt the final crushing blow that ended the life of a man who believed that the sole purpose in this life is “to learn how to love.”

I am not writing to tell you the story of my father’s death, but rather the story of what my father taught during his life,  as told through the words of his grandchildren.  While planning my father’s memorial service, my sister and I gathered our own children and our neices and nephews together.  We were planning on having each child create their own short prayer to be said at the Funeral Mass.  What came out of that meeting was even more special.

This small exercise gave me a glimpse into the minds of children who loved their grandfather unconditionally, because that is all they knew.  They admired and looked up to him.  He was a friend,  a teacher,  a really big fan…he loved them with all of his heart.  So here’s to you Pop.  In the words of your grandchildren…”What the world would  be like if Pop created it.”

“The world would be purple, and there would be no graffiti.” ” Everywhere you looked would be fields of flowers.”  This, to a child, is beauty, and if Pop created the world, it would be beautiful.

“No one would go hungry because it would rain food from the Heavens…(and apple juice.)”  Everyone would have a home.  Hunger and homelessness to a child are sad, and if Pop created the world  there would be only happiness.

“We would actually all like each other.”  This came from one of the eldest grandchildren, who felt that the way people treat each other in this world is not good.  We pretend to like each other, and when it really comes down to it…do we?… and do we show it?  Through this boy’s eyes, the answer is no.  This is deception, and if Pop created the world, people would be genuine and good to one another.

“We would all understand each other’s languages. ” To a child, the inability to understand one another  presents a barrier to friendship, and there would be no barriers. Only friendship.

“The world would be free.  All people would be free.” Free to do what they wanted.  Free to be happy in their own way.

“There would be no war…”

How to create a world of beauty, happiness, genuineness, friendship…free and without war?  Just the way a man who taught them how to love would do it.  You see…seen through the eyes of love…”It would be simple.”

"Pop's grandchildren."

Fab 5 Faves.

Summertime.  The time of year when I find myself surfing through magazines filled with tips on how to “look beautiful and stay cool all summer long!”   I have definitely had the urge, usually after I have read the same beauty tips over and over,  to throw the magazine across the room and scream..”Ya, I already know all this, can someone please write a real tip that will really work for real?!”  Here is my theory on these “beauty” tips…they are all “recycled” because everything in beauty is cyclical according to the time of year, and the “color” of the season.

Case in point: The craze for MAC ™ “Terracotta” lipstick back in 1992 when my brother got married. Or Chanel™ “Peach Canyon.”  I remember buying something like 6 tubes because it was discontinued and I swore I would be wearing it for the rest of my life.  Didn’t happen.  We all wanted that coral-y  orange-y/pink look on our lips back then. When my brother’s bride, whom I love dearly (Hi Lori!), showed her beautiful face at the wedding…but of course!  She was wearing coral lipstick.  It was perfect!  Today, as I write this,  what is the lipstick rage of the season… How to wear “bright” lipstick. (hint: bright= coral-y orange-y/pink)  It’s the same thing.  Now you see what I mean… recycled tips.

Gentlemen, I apologize, because I am about to bore you (if I haven’t already).  But before you click onto something else, consider that when you are done reading this, you will be able to impress your female friends. Better yet, pick up a product for your favorite girl; she will love it.

I am indecisive when it comes to beauty and fashion.  I can find something fantastic about every  fashion spread that I drool over in magazines.   I fall in love with every fashion look, and every makeup color.   Matte, satin, glossy, shimmery, sparkly…I  love ’em all!  Therefore, when I find a product I really, really like…I gotta spread the word.  So here it somewhat frivolous first post of July 2011;  My Fab 5 Fave beauty products of summer 2011… starting with my #1 fave.  Try one…trust me.

1. Two Timer Mascara by The Balm.

Unless you were born with jet black, longggg eyelashes or you have fake eyelashes or eyelash extensions or tatooed eyeliner on your  eyelid…you need mascara.  This is the product I can’t live without.  The whole “stranded on a desert island thing” …yup, I would need my mascara.

And don’t tell me that you don’t wear mascara because you “don’t have any eyelashes.”  We all have them.  They are there to protect our eyes from foreign objects that may fly in.  Stand really close to the mirror and gaze at yourself…you’ve got em.  It just takes a little time to make them look pretty.  I like mascara especially because it prevents me from hearing the comment “You look tired.”  (aka…”You’re lookin’ pretty bad.”)

2. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector.

This product is also a moisturizer with SPF 20!  I don’t know how it works, I just know it is amazing.  It comes in 2 colors (I prefer Opal).  I apply it in high on my cheekbones, on my browbone, and along the bridge of my nose.  Read more here.

3. Smashbox primer with SPF.

Here is the big lie as I know it (unless you are 0-35 years old)…“you can wear it all by itself, for a natural look”… LIE.  It is necessary to use this product under your foundation stick (which will be mentioned next.)  It fills in lines and pores, and makes makeup look nice and smooth…makes me very happy.  I especially like the green one (picture on the far left)  because it gets rid of redness, but for the summer, the one with SPF is great.

4 Becca foundation stick/concealer.

 This product is pretty self explanatory.  It covers up “imperfections” and evens out skin tone.  It doubles as a concealer as well.  Two for one…score!  Best results are achieved when used with this great brush (really and truly.) …also by Becca

5. Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights Shimmering Powder in “Intermix”.

This little round disk is super.  It contains a silk power in a mix of colors that are perfect for summer.   I just take a fat bristle powder brush and swirl it around in the powder.  Then I just swirl it again on my cheeks. (I love that word swirl.)   You can’t mess it up, and it gives skin a pretty glow without looking like you struggled to perfectly place your blush…because you didn’t!

I am now going to give a shoutout to one of my favorite places to visit.  All of the products I have mentioned above are available at B Boutique or .  (btw…I have no financial interest here whatsoever…I just love the place and the girls that work there.)  What I lack in explanation skills (a lot)… anyone who works there can fill in for you.  They are the best.

I have 2 honorable mentions:

1. Shower Products by Love & Toast.

(Persimmon Plum is my favorite right now, but you can’t go wrong with any of the scents.)

2. Mario Badescu Summer Shine Body Lotion.

 LOVE this stuff. Feels good, smells good, and gives a tiny bit of  shimmer.  Trust me. You will not be sparkling in the sunlight like Edward Cullen of Twilight…I promise.

 And there you have it.  Give one a shot.  You won’t regret it.

“Happy 4th of July”

P.S. – check out SMUT lipstick by The Balm.  Love the name.  Love the color.