Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So is vegetarianism a feminist position?

And what if it's not anymore?
A NY Times article about the long and weird relationship between feminism, vegetarianism/veganism, and the current post-modern attempt to sell veganism by selling out women (see: any PETA ad featuring half-naked women, or the strip club mentioned in the article that doesn't have meat on the the menu, but definitely still treats women as, you know, hunks of flesh). The theorist mentioned in the article, Carol J. Adams, came to speak at Cornell while I was there...I remember being slightly confused by some of her arguments (ie, that during the 7os women said, "I don't want to be a piece of meat, I'm not going to eat a piece of meat." To me, the main connection between the two movements is 1) the general liberal progressive movement often encompasses members of both and 2) Eco-feminism, really more of a 60s and 70s thing, equated the "nurturing presence" of women and the earth, and strove to preserve both by living lightly on the land and celebrating the power of these two entities generally considered vulnerable to exploitation: women and the environment).
Any thoughts? And I promise I'll shut up about the vegetarianism soon enough.
Yummy vegetarian recipes, making the most of summer's bounty

Ok, so that sounded like a cover story from "Woman's Day," right next to "Blast Belly fat with this So-Easy Secret!" So sue me. So the lentil loaf doesn't really have much to do with summer's bounty, unless you count the zucchini/carrots that go into it (and carrots aren't actually a late summer crop, but I digress...). You can, however, serve it with mashed potatoes (which ARE coming in this time of year--potatoes, I mean, not mashed ones with Smart Balance and fresh-cut chives, which would be difficult to get out of the ground) or herb-roasted fingerling potatoes. Pretend you're eating a real "meat-and potatoes" meal, and then congratulate yourself on a fine, cruelty-free nosh. I like the lentil loaf in part because it's one of the few meals I can leave in the fridge without my roommates (carnivores all) getting into it. Spaghetti they'll devour; lentil loaf they leave alone. They've never even TRIED it; maybe if they did I'd have to worry about them eating that, too. Note: this particular recipe came from a vegan website which, much to my chagrin, seems very nice. This doesn't mean I'm trusting vegans as a whole. Not by a longshot. Devious, they are. Skinny and B-12 deprived and devious.

Lentil Loaf
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 large carrot, grated (Or use zucchini, if you want)
(1 c other veggies, grated, as desired)
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tbls nutritional yeast
2 tbls ketchupdash of vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tbls low-sodium soy sauce

Topping Sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp maple syrup
dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray either an 8 x 8 square pan or a loaf pan. The square pan will give you a crunchier loaf, the loaf pan will give you a 'meatier' loaf. Saute the veggies in broth or water until soft. Add to large mixing bowl along with remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding more broth or water as needed to keep mix moist (moist, not runny!) Press into pan and brush on 1/2 of the topping sauce.Bake for 1/2 hour, then brush on remaining topping sauce. Bake an additional 15-30 minutes. Cool loaf for 10 minutes before serving.

Coming next: You TOO can make a mornay sauce--it's just bechamel with cheese! What's bechamel, you say? Well, we'll learn that too! And once you know mornay sauce, you're ready for the exciting new world in which you can make...zucchini gratin!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lately it's been to hot to do anything. Too hot to cook, too hot to loiter on the stoop (one of my favorite activities), too hot even...dare I say it? To blog. Take a face-value temperature of 99 and add to it that delightful July-in-Missouri (now do you see why people call it "Misery?") humidity. Heat indexes over the century mark for days. As my friend Andie would say--Such mishigas. Oy veh.

The high today was 88 and it felt NICE. Cool and refreshing. I got out and did a little running and biking (though I've been more careful with the biking after what I did yesterday--took a turn too fast and wiped the hell out. I am now sans most of the skin on my right knee and on a small portion of my left hand--yes, I caught myself at a weird angle--but aside from that and a fat bruise on my right thigh, I'm good. I'm actually curious to see how the bruise works out...it's just starting to purple up; it was red yesterday. I'm hoping for a full spectrum of color by the time all's said and done).

Anyway, when it's this hot, the air quality frequently also sucks...though there have been fewer "red alert" days this year, probably due to people driving less (strike up the Hallelujah Chorus!). Anyhow, shitty air quality means my allergies (and especially asthma) are worse, because all the particulates and nastiness just sit near the ground and cook into a funky miasma that makes my little alveoli scream for mercy. I have found an interesting website, however: http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.showlocal&CityID=113 That's the KC site; you can look up your own locale if you wish.

Another kind-of sad, kind-of happy, but thoroughly unenvironmental note: My friend R is getting an NG tube put in today, on account of this bullshit entity called ED. If you're reading this, R, know I love you and I've got a candle burning for you in my room. Everyone else, hop to: send a thought, a prayer, a mantra, whatever to the deity of your choice or to the universe at large. Another woman who has NOT gotten what she needs and ISN'T getting the care she deserves. And after you're done talking to Jesus/Buddha/HaShem/Allah, shoot off an email to your congressperson and tell them to sign the freaking Mental Health Parity Act of 2007; you can learn more about it here. The House version alters previous language (from the 1996 Act) to ensure that eating disorders treatment is covered (insurance likes to send people with eating disorders back-and-forth, saying, "This is a mental health issue, so we're not going to cover it on the medical side," and then "This is a medical issue, we're not going to cover it on the mental health side," or just saying, "Shut up and eat a bagel, you're not sick." I haven't been doing so hot with the ol' ED of late either. Losing weight again. Enough that the doctor has said something about the hospital. If my insurance would just pay for ONE FUCKING STAY at a residential place...but I guess cancer patients get the shaft too, sometimes, so even with parity...who knows.

You can look up your Representatives here. Your Senators (ooo, now we're talkin' power) are here. Give 'em hell.
Stethoscope, Littman Cardiology III: $180.
Diagnostic Set from Welch-Allyn: $599.
Babinski reflex hammer: $30.
Tuning Fork: $25

Very shortly being in a position to practice using them: Priceless.
So it finally feels really...real. I'm still afraid sometimes that I'm going to wake up and someone's going to say, "Yeah, you didn't get in anywhere. It was all a dream, just like in all those godawful children's Christmas specials. Except you didn't learn a valuable lesson about the "Real Meaning" (tm) of Christmas--you just learned that there are in fact circumstances that can incite even more bitterness and self-loathing than an outright rejection letter."

As my friend J would say, "Girl, get a grip on yourself!" Yay obligatory effeminate/saucily encouraging gay friend!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My favorite, and cheerfully stolen, Terry Prattchett quotes, on everything from philosophy and religion to reincarnation and education (not to mention a little women's lib...)

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.

"That's why it's always worth having a few philosophers around the place. One minute it's all Is Truth Beauty and Is Beauty Truth, and Does A Falling Tree in the Forest Make A Sound if There's No one There to Hear It, and then just when you think they're going to start dribbling one of 'em says, Incidentally, putting a thirty-foot parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy's ships would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles."--Small Gods

- "But I don't believe in reincarnation!" he protested.
- And this, Mr Pounder understood with absolute rodent clarity, meant: Reincarnation believes in you. -- Maskerade

Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on. -- Hogfather

This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, "Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it's all true you'll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn't then you've lost nothing, right?" When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, "We're going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts..."--Hogfather

"Sometimes I really think people ought to have to pass a proper exam before they're allowed to be parents. Not just the practical, I mean."
-- Thief of Time

There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!--The Truth

And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions. --Feet of Clay

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So I found an apartment in St. Louis--close to school, close to Forest Park (and thus to the Zoo, art museum, etc.) and close to a whole lot of cool little bars and boutiques and stuff--which of course, I won't have a lot of time to see anyway. How very adult am I!
The neighborhood is really walkable/bikeable, too, which is a plus--I'm not planning to use the car very much if I don't have to. More eco-friendly, but also more pocket-friendly, as I don't anticipate having much more free cash than free time.

Onto other things--I recently saw a promotion for a TV show called Hurl, in which--I shit you not--the participants eat as much mac & cheese, cheesecake, or whatever the food of the day is as they can, then get on a bevy of carnival rides. Last one to regurgitate the goods wins the coveted "Iron Stomach" award (and, I would imagine, a year's worth of antacids or something similar. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see that Tum's is a major advertiser). It's nice to see that America's eating-disorder culture is finally totally honest with itself.

Personally, I've always thought (and I'm being totally serious here) that you'd just have to get a binge-ready bulimic into a competitive eating contest and you might as well have it rigged. I've never been a binger myself--I've historically been on the anorexic/restrictive/exercise addiction end of things--but from stories I've heard in the hospital I know that a bulimic woman who's five foot nothing can put away loaves of bread, gallons of ice cream, pizzas (yes, plural), boxes of cereal, boxes of doughnuts...how do you like America now, skinny little Japanese Nathan's hot-dog-eating-contest superstar? If we were serious about reclaiming that competition, we'd be scouting college cheerleading teams and sororities. Though I think there may be a rule about how long the food has to stay down, so perhaps we should be looking at the compulsive eaters instead...again, this is not a joke. This is freaking strategy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cutting...to the heart of the matter

Of late there's been a lot of chatter--on various blogs but also in the media in general--about cutting. Self-injury. So I thought, in a psychiatric version of our regular 'welcome to your body' feature, we'd have a little chat about it. Most people, upon hearing of self-injury for the first time (or having it hit a little closer to home, through a friend's 'coming out' as a self-injurer) have a lot of questions, make a lot of assumptions, and generally get ten different kinds of mind-f*cked about it. There are a lot of myths about self-injury floating around, too, and little things that are helpful to know. Unfortunately, health-care providers (even therapists and psychiatrists) get hold of the wrong end of the stethoscope a lot of times when it comes to SI...here are some of the myths that are especially prevalent.

1. Self-injurers do it for attention. Bzzz, try again, no cigar for you. Actually, most SI'ers are very secretive about it, ashamed of their behavior, and hide it as best they can (with long sleeves, by cutting parts of the body where it won't show, and--obviously--not discussing it with anyone). There are a few people who are very in-your-face about it, but usually if someone turns up at an ER or goes to a friend for help, it's because they're frightened and don't know what else to do (or they legitimately need medical attention for uncontrolled bleeding or suturing). They want help. Even if someone is "doing it for attention," what has gone so wrong in that person's life that they feel injuring themselves is the only way they can get what they need? Do they feel like they have to be in crisis to get someone's attention because otherwise they feel unworthy? Do they not want to be a burden, and so avoid asking for help until they're in fever-pitch crisis mode? Let's all show a bit more sensitivity and compassion.

2. A person who hurts themselves must be suicidal. Wrong again. While people who SI are at higher risk for suicide than the general population (largely because SI and mood disorders go hand in hand, and mood disordered folk are at higher risk for suicide), that doesn't mean that someone who cuts is ipso facto suicidal. In fact, many self-injurers report that cutting or burning helps them feel better, keeps negative emotions in check, and keeps them from going on to do something more drastic--like attempt suicide. A self-injury episode should not be automatically assumed to be a suicide attempt; if there's a question of suicidality (a very deep cut on the wrist, cuts in locations with the potential to sever arteries, etc.) then for Buddha's sake ASK. A person who has self-injured should be treated like any other person in acute psychological distress--with care and concern, and as potentially but not presumptively suicidal.

3. Self injury automatically = borderline personality disorder. No, no, no! Of all the myths this is probably the one that pisses me off the most. First, I feel like BPD has largely become a pejorative label for "a patient we don't want to deal with"--someone whose behavior is distressing, who's difficult to get along with, etc. etc. Because a lot of people with BPD diagnoses cut, assuming that a self-injurer has BPD is common...but an ethical and diagnostic no-no that even a psych 101 student could spot. After that assumption is made, there's a tendency for "confirmation bias" to take over--the patient's actions are then all interpreted through the lens of a BPD diagnosis, and what could be normal (or abnormal, but still not personality-disordered) behavior becomes further evidence of the diagnosis. Second, BPD has such a bad rap, assigning it to anyone without solid, ongoing, exhaustive evidence is (in my opinion) ethically irresponsible. There have been numerous studies showing that even mental health providers--who should know better--are less likely to be empathetic, to provide adequate care, and to finish therapy with people labeled "BPD" (regardless-and this is important--of whether the label was accurate according to the DSM-IV or not). In fact, according to one study (by J. Horsfall, I believe) many therapists and psychiatrists even made disparaging comments about presumptively BPD patients, both to other health professionals and to the patients themselves. And I'm not talking about statements like, "Oh, they're a pain sometimes." These people used terms like "psychological cancer," "contamination," "manipulative," "hopeless," "beyond help." I don't see how giving anyone a label that comes with that kind of semantic baggage is in any way helpful. In fact, I think the BPD diagnosis should be stricken from the DSM and subsumed under other more appropriate and less-blaming labels...but that's another story altogether.

I've been lucky enough these past few years to have a doctor (and psychiatrist, and therapist) who understands SI and is supportive of change but empathetic when there are failures. I wish I could say the same of all the professionals I've ever dealt with, and for that matter of all health-care workers. We need to get more extensive eating-disorders training incorporated into the medical and nursing school curriculum...maybe some information on SI would be a good addition, too. Because when someone finally has the courage to seek help, the last thing they need is misunderstanding or bias making things more difficult.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Really excited...but also scared sh*tless

So...August 12th, huh? Orientation, huh? Finally living the dream I've had since I was approximately 12 years old, which has of course grown and matured since then, but has become no less powerful...and of course I'm thinking, good God in heaven, what if I screw this up?

I know I have a few readers from the medical professions, and so I'd just like to ask...any good advice? Anything to avoid, or to be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN to do? Study tips? Dealing-with-cadaver tips? Tips on how to knock off the person with the highest average in A&P while making it look like an accident (kidding, kidding...it doesn't have to look like an accident, as long as I don't look like a suspect)? And oh, God, how I hate orientations...I'd rather just jump in and DO things, not deal with the interminable "here's your badge...sign this...what's your SSN? Sign this...pay this fee...listen to this person drone on and on and on about irrelevant bullshit that you won't remember for even half an hour after this lecture is over...and now, mingle!"

I hate mingling. I suck at mingling, unless there's alcohol involved, in which case I suspect I still suck at it but am no longer aware of that fact (there's only an inverse relationship between BAC and perceived awkwardness). If I weren't so opposed to the medicalization of every damn personality trait in American society, I'd say I might have Social Anxiety Disorder. Seriously. The very word "mingle" makes me break out in a cold sweat. Sure, I'm debonair and enchanting (as if there were any doubt in anyone's mind) but in my head I'm still the same awkward kid I was at 13. I suppose that's true of everyone. I suppose that's why alcohol is called a social lubricant, and why wine features so prominently at so many graduate school functions. That and pizza. Though usually not at the same time.

So...any advice?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Howdy, y'all! I'm in my late luteal phase again, and if you read that post on the menstrual/hormonal cycle then you know that means it's time for another installment of...
Things (and people) that piss me off.

1. Neighbors who set off fireworks not merely on the 4th of July but for an entire week before and afterward. Until 1 o' clock in the morning. While drinking large amounts of beer and shouting to each other at a decibel level that is, apparently, equivalent to one hundred times their BAC squared (BAC = .12 ~ 144 dB. Seems about right). Also, the fact that I am enough of a dork to bother trying to describe the correlation between drunkenness and loudness in an algebraic model. Please feel free to use this model in the future; I only ask that I be credited. It's not a Nobel prize, but hey.
2. Rachel Ray. Maybe not forever, but at least for now. I think we've both seen this coming for a long time, Rachel. It's not me, it's you.
3. The fact that I could BUY a Latin-American dictatorship with the amount of money my school books are going to cost me. 150 and change for a biochem text? Get the hell out, and don't let the door hit you in the ass. Of course, I'm scouring Powell's et al. in search of cheaper versions... Knowledge is power all right, but it surely isn't cheap, despite what my school counselor told me.
4. The fact that every restaurant wants to put onions on every damn thing, especially the vegetarian stuff. I don't know what it is, but I can't digest onions correctly--my GI system just up and rebels every time I eat something with more than a dusting of onion powder. I'll go for a while without eating them, forget the excruciating pain and associated bathroom agony, then think to myself, "Self, surely a little mild discomfort is a small price to pay for a delicious vegetable panini with grilled onions." Twelve hours later, I am invariably thinking, "Self, you are an incredible dumbass." And then I cook at home forever, where at least I can make sure my plate is an onion-free zone.
5. Pretty much all of the patriotic country tunes they play during community fireworks shows, particularly that really twangy one that goes, "There ain't no doubt, I love this land...God bless the USA!" Not least for its inclusion of "ain't" and double negatives. If the kids today can't learn proper grammar from their jingoist, nationalistic country idols, where CAN they pick it up?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Rachel Ray, I am SO disappointed in you.

First of all, could someone please tell me when Rachel Ray took over the universe, and on whose orders? The woman is ubiquitous now, like a white Oprah or a Martha Stewart who's been medicated for OCD. She has multiple shows, a magazine, cookbooks, her own line of cooking supplies/utensils, she shills for Dunkin' Donuts, she shills for Ritz crackers, she shills for just about any damn thing (I personally am on the lookout for Rachel on my next box of tampons; the only reason I doubt I'll see her there is because I use natracare organic tampons. It's bad enough shoving wads of cotton up there; at least I can try to ensure they're not bleached with dioxins and grown with pesticides. And yes, I realize what an out-of-touch, coffee-swilling, theory-reading, lesbian liberal elitist organic tampons make me ). But back to the story.

Last Friday, I was watching her show while making my sweet potato pie (in my own defense: the house I live in doesn't get cable, I wasn't going to drag my desktop computer all the way downstairs to watch hulu in the kitchen, and I'm still not sufficiently Zen not to try to do fifteen things at once--I need background noise, and Rachel Ray was the least offensive of my approximately ten options). And lo and behold, she was having a "Human Lab" that day, testing instant-fix beauty products for those pesky problems that zap your self-esteem: flabby upper arms, saggy butts, not-so-white teeth. Now, these seem like equal-opportunity beauty "issues," if you want to call them that, but of course only women were chosen to test drive the products (for the sake of brevity, just assume I've already ranted about the degenerate consumer culture that encourages everyone--women especially--to feel shitty about themselves in order to generate more revenue. Thanks).

Do you know what the product "solutions" were? For the arms, there's a kind of tape you can use to sort of pull your skin taut--suddenly, no more wiggly-jiggly when you go to wave goodbye. But excuse me, WTF? TAPING your SKIN? "It won't come off all night," the cheery product-tester woman said. Um. What makes you think it's going to come off when you WANT it to come off, then? As anyone who's ever ripped off a BandAid can tell you, that sh*t hurts. Imagine a foot-long BandAid. Pass the Vicodin, please. Never mind the fact that you're essentially DUCT TAPING parts of your anatomy. "Oh, Jennifer, you're so gorgeous." "Oh, thank you, Tom, I owe it all to healthy eating, the glow of young love, silicone implants, and duct tape." Why are people not allowed to have flaws any more? As for the butt-lifter, it's called a "biniki" (at first I thought they just couldn't spell, but no--that's the name of the product) and it is, according to Rachel and their website, a "butt bra." No sh*t. Literally putting your ass in a sling. Do people not have better things to do with their time? Am I the only one who thinks this is bull?
"But Anne, when I look better I feel better." You feel bad because you've been made to feel bad (see above). Airbrushed models, a constant barrage of advertising, and the insecurity intrinsic to human existence make you feel bad. You associate your appearance with your well-being because that's what you've been taught to do. Above a certain level of self-care (ie, not looking like a sack of excrement), this obsession with appearance is pathological. I'm not saying it's an individual pathology; it's systemic. Environmental. Societal. A woman is expected to look a certain way; men are too.

If you're busy making sure your butt is firm and your teeth are white and your arms aren't jiggly and your abs are flat, you're not looking at all the things that are actually wrong in the world, and Lord knows you aren't trying to fix them--because there aren't enough hours in the day to care about both. It's not a matter of silicone implants vs. universal health care, or poverty eradication vs. the 'biniki.' Of course things are more complicated. But there's definitely a relationship...and that should have us doing a double-take at the state of the world, not in the dressing-room mirror.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Damn, my throat's still sore. I'd rather not go out and buy chloraseptic or anything (lest you think it's because I'm a hairy-legged vegetarian hippie, well, yes, I am--but actually, I'm also incurably and utterly cheap. Call myself po' cause I don't want to spring for the "o-r" at the end to be poor). So...home remedies it is.
Some home remedies are so simple and obvious, they're not even really what I would class as treatments...drink something warm. You'll rehydrate those oral membranes, plus it just feels going going down. Eat some ice cream--it'll numb things a little. Gargle with salt water. Sure. Same principle as the hot tea, but without the swallowing, and the saline solution can clear away gunk that might have built up. A bourbon or whiskey gargle--hmm. That could numb things up, I suppose. Or it could be another one of those "remedies" your Uncle Carl came up with in those last six months before the family held his surprise birthday party/intervention. The nurse at school gave you an ice pack for everything from pregnancy (at least at my school) to a splinter--Uncle Carl was the same way, but with booze. Even for morning sickness, which was probably why cousin Vern turned out the way he did. Sweet as the day is long, that boy, but dim as a 40-watt bulb.
Ibuprofen--not a home remedy so much, but any NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) will help with swelling and inflammation as well as relieving pain. The Medrol dose-pack I'm on is helping a little, but then I haven't even been on it 24 hours yet. God I wish it weren't 90 degrees out. It's be a little easier to follow that "drink something hot" advice if I didn't already feel like I were about to spontaneously combust.
Oh my Goddess, Head to Toe Beauty!

Seriously, guys, seriously. Someone in the beauty industry needs to slow their roll. I was reading "Fitness" ("Fitness: The magazine that will make you feel like shit about yourself no matter how fit, toned, beautiful and conscientious you are") at the gym yesterday and they had a feature story on 'Head to Toe Beauty!'
Parenthetical: What is it with women's magazine writers, anyway? Do they get paid per exclamation point? It always makes me feel like I'm being shouted at. I don't appreciate being bullied by punctuation. I for one treat exclamation points like small bombs; I can't remember the last time I used a 'happy' exclamation point (ie, "Oh my gosh, Karen! How did you know I wanted a new Hitachi Magic Wand for my birthday?"). Usually they're 'outraged' exclamation points, ie, "Jesus Christ on a stick, John McCain, did you seriously mean that allowing Guantanamo prisoners habeas rights was the worst judicial ruling in US history?!? Worse than the Dredd Scott decision that declared slaves, even in free states, to be property and not people and thus without the right to sue? Worse than the case that allowed government-run programs to sterilize the 'mentally disabled'?!"
(The Supreme Court really said that, in 1927. The case was called Buck vs. Bell) Furthermore I spend most of my punctuation allotment on parentheses, semicolons and ellipsis...but you knew that already.
So, I was in a very feministy frame of mind, and the soft-core consumerist Fitness porn that normally would've dragged me in left me feeling...disgusted. Disgruntled. Every single part of a woman's body, it seems, needs to be shaved, moisturized, exfoliated, painted, polished, tanned, toned, trimmed...Let's see how much this whole thing would cost us (you know, if this beauty stuff were cheap or free, there wouldn't be millions of dollars invested in making women feel like utter shit about themselves). All prices from Drugstore.com or off the top off my head--please don't mock me for knowing exactly how much stuff costs at Bath and Body Works; it's my secret, shameful addiction, like Paula Deen's smoking or Cheney's biting the heads off baby rabbits. This is not (duh) a plug for any of this stuff...quite the opposite, in fact. Just a little thought experiment. Let's start with the feet and work our way up.
Feet (I have to have sexy feet now? WTF? Who put the foot fetishist in charge of this month's issue of Elle is what I wanna know. Every summer there's a feature on 'getting your feet ready for sandal season.' Well, yeah, you don't want to look like you have hooves...but c'mon, they're FEET).
Exfoliating scrub--BBW "Toe the Line," 10.00
Deep conditioning shea butter lotion--BBW "Shea it isn't so," 10.00
OPI nail Lacquer for toes--8.00
Total: 28.00

Legs/Butt/Bikini Area etc.
Gillette Venus razor: 7.50 for three
Gillette Satin Care shave cream: 3.00 (available in Vanilla Dream scent, apparently...nothing says "ingrown hairs and bleeding in the bathtub" to me like baked goods...this may be why I haven't shaved in going on five years).
Nair: 5.00 (why Nair AND the shaving stuff? Because getting a razor anywhere near your va-jay-jay--as my friend Addie so endearingly calls it--is NOT a good idea. Then again, I don't know if slathering chemicals strong enough to strip hair right off in that area is an awesome plan either).
Nivea Body Goodbye Cellulite Smoothing Cream: 13.00 (Congratulations. You have just paid 13.00 for lotion that will do exactly the same thing as a 3.00 tub of Crisco: moisturize, and not much else).
L'Oreal Sunless Sublime Glow Tanner/Lotion: 10.00 (Multi-tasking, ooo-wee!)
Neutrogena Body Clear Bodywash (for backne!): 6.50
Neutrogena Sugar Body Scrub: 10.00 (You have to exfoliate before you self-tan, or you'll end up looking like a zebra with beta carotene overload).
Total: 55.00


Biore Self-Heating Masque: 7.50
Neutrogena Clean and Clear: 6.00
Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion and Peel Set: 26.00
Aveeno Moisturizer, SPF 15: 12.00
Burt's Bees Lip Balm: 3.00 (OK, I am pimping this one. It's natural, not animal tested, and GREAT. I've been using Burt's Bees since before it was a 'thing,' about 10 years now).
Revlon colorstay eyeliner: 6.50
Max Factor Mascara: 5.00
L'Oreal HIP eyeshadow: 7.00
elf Mineral Concealer: 5.00
Jane LipHuggers: 3.00
Crest WhiteStrips: 25.00
Toal: 106

Clairol Natural Instincts: 8.00
Kiss my Face Volumizing Shampoo: 6.50
Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Hair Treament: 9.00
John Frieda finishing Creme: 5.00
Total: 28.50

For a grand total of 217.50. I could do the whole "How many homeless people could you feed for that?!?" thing, but I won't. How much better would you feel if you spent less time staring in the mirror judging your appearance, and more time figuring out if you really like the person you see there?