Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Touche, My Good Man

"A mind of the caliber of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows."

~George Bernard Shaw

Monday, July 14, 2008


Joyous joy of joys, our wedding made the Grosse Pointe News! And not in a lame way, like the Wedding recaps ("The bride wore Vera Wang...the Mother of the Groom wore lavender..."); rather, we had an actual op-ed piece written about our wedding! I guess it helps that we're friends with a journalist... enjoy!

"Red Wings

When Thomas Sperti, a tall, somewhat shy young man, was running the camera department at the old Hallmark Card Shop in the Village, he was approached by a pretty blonde colleague — Jamie Flanagan — who wanted to know what he thought about the Red Wings.

It turned out they were both fans and Sperti wangled some excellent seats and took Flanagan to a game. The friendship blossomed and on Friday, June 6, the day the victorious Stanley Cup winning Red Wings were feted in a Detroit parade, the pair declared their love for each other in a lovely, traditional ceremony at St. Ambrose Church in the Park, conducted by the Rev. Tim Pelc.

Midway through the nuptials, Pelc paused and instructed best man, Dennis Pascoe, to retrieve a large box from among the pews.

Pelc, with a twinkle in his eye, presented the be-ribboned box to Tom and Jamie and instructed them to open it. Its contents? A large pair of red wings with straps so they could be worn. The congregation loved it. The red wings were prominently displayed at the wedding reception at the River Place in Detroit. However, the couple left the memento with Tom's parents, Sheila and Pat Sperti of the Farms, when they jetted off for a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why was no one thoughtful enough to pass along this gem before I entered into the Holy Sacrament of Marriage?

Home Economics High School Text Book, 1954

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.

Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


"I beg you... to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves
as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.
don't search for the answers,
which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
and the point is to live everything.
live the questions now.
perhaps then,
someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer."

- rainer maria rilke

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Just Married!

Slowly, the pictures begin to be posted (albeit fuzzy)...but exciting nonetheless to see the very first shots of our wedding!

Kinda ethereal, eh?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Tudors Series 2

I didn't want it to end! :.(

...but series 3 promises to be nothing short of thrilling/breathtaking/spectacular/(insert bombastic adjective here)! I await 2009 with baited breath...and we'll hopefully be Showtime subscribers ourselves by then!
So Anne's dead, and somehow, the series is so phenomenal that I went from simply despising the character of Anne Boleyn to feeling so much for her pathetic fall from grace, jailing and subsequent beheading. I didn't think it would happen, but I completely and totally felt for the poor thing as she thrashed about her regal bed, weeping uncontrollably and soaked in blood, desperately fighting nature and her own body in the throes of her final miscarriage, knowing full well that the loss of her pregnancy equaled the loss of her head. So, so sad. Being that this is a true story, it really is heart wrenching to think this slovenly heathen of a King was so mired in egoism and his own power that he disposed of women at his pleasure. My mother-in-law made an excellent point, that Anne Boleyn was a man trapped in a woman's body. She thirsted too much for power, something of a Medieval (and feminine) Icarus, and most likely never would have lost her head had she been born a man. What a sad, sad tale. Here's to Anne Boleyn, skillfully played by the (now) exquisite Natalie Dormer: you have indeed won my heart, Natalie. Here's to hoping I see you more on the big screen.
Likewise, the role of the sinister and conniving Thomas Boleyn, Anne and George's father and sniveling power-hungry snake who (in reality) sold his own children up the river to save his own wretched skin (only to die several years later, alone and penniless) was played with unbelievable dexterity and almost painful brilliance by the incredible Irish actor Nick Dunning. Of a face to which you are likely to comment, "Where have I seen him before?", I only realised today that he had a rather inconsequential role in the beautiful Jim Sheridan film In America. Dunning's Boleyn is the proverbial man you love to hate, an undeniably disgusting character whose quest for power and wealth is rivaled by none other than his daughter, the Queen of England.
It will be interesting to see where they take the series next. The Boleyns have fallen from power, all executed on trumped-up (and, historically believed to be completely false) charges or (in Thomas Boleyn's case) exiled from Court. Henry has already had his infamous jousting accident that left him with a foul and festering ulcer on his leg. Henry now needs to bloat up to 300+ lbs., marry Jane Seymour, Jane will deliver Edward VI and die soon thereafter, Henry will then in quick succession dispatch of Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard, execute Thomas Cromwell, marry Catherine Parr, shift Mary I and Elizabeth I in and out of the line of sucession, and keel over at the ripe old age of 55. Royal intrigue at its finest!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Jamie and Tom's Checklist (Not you?) June 06, 2008DAYS TO GO: 22


For some reason, my heart just dropped into my stomach when I realised that there are 21 short days left until our wedding. I am so insanely nervous I can barely concentrate. I have crazy butterflies that are making it hard to keep food down. I couldn't be more elated to be marrying the man of my dreams; that said, this is a really, really big party that we're planning, and the bigger it is, the more that can go wrong. I'm so petrified that I am forgetting some huge element of planning, but I keep checking and re-checking that horrid checklist, and it seems more or less that things are on track. Besides, they include ridiculous items on the list, such gems as:

"Start looking into registering for gifts."
"Grooms: Start planning your groomsmen's attire: Tux or suit?"
and who could forget:

"Brides: practice walking in your wedding shoes. "
Really? Really? Who needs a list to tell them such things? It's rather upsetting that people who need such a list are considered mature enough to marry.

Crap! We still need to pick up our marriage certificate! Double-crap! We're in Wayne County, which means we have to endure the living nightmare/joke that is the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building...the dreaded City Hall...we're guaranteed to be stuck for the next 2 weeks in an eternal queue. We may just make it on time down the aisle, frantically clutching said certificate in our sweaty palms.

Oh my God that Eddie Money/Ronnie Spector song, "Take Me Home Tonight" just came on the t.v. I freaking love that song.

Stream of consciousness, much? It's probably the nerves.

I hope the Honeymoon will have the desired effect of mellowing me out following the stress that has been the past few months of planning/worrying, worrying/planning.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

We finally booked our Honeymoon!

Spending 5 days in Paradise...

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Friday, May 2, 2008


"Married in the month of roses- June,
Life will be one long honeymoon."

Guess we chose correctly.

"June's fine weather makes it the choice of discerning brides, but the reason for its good press in the world of lore has to do with who it's named for. Juno was the Roman goddess of marriage, so it only makes sense that the month named for her would be deemed propitious for all brides."

Hail to thee our Alma Mater

I feel like rambling. I'm tired and worked late tonight. It probably did not help that I was sexually harassed by a Somerset janitor and forced to file a "police" (read: Somerset security) report. So I've had a long evening.

But I'm a tad perturbed, not by the almost-rape that occurred in a dark service elevator earlier this evening (or more appropriately, as it's already 12:36, last night); rather, I am bothered by the fact that I will not be attending my college graduation this upcoming weekend. Not that I ever had planned on it. I wasn't going to attend, as I felt that it wasn't really that important. I am keenly aware of my accomplishments, and so is my family. That being said, there is a part of me somewhere that feels like I should be attending, that I should recognize and acknowledge the huge accomplishment this truly is for me (it would take several days for me to describe the enormous hurdles I had to overcome in order to get here, to this place in life, as an alumnus). My older brother and parents were very insistent that I attend graduation, but neither my younger brother (who graduated the same semester as I did) nor myself felt like it mattered any.

Well, now I haven't the choice to make. Instead, it has automatically been made for me. My second and final bridal shower is this Saturday. So the option to attend is no longer there. And somehow that makes me long that much more for the chance to go. Because, really, I will never know what I am missing out on if I wasn't there to experience it. That's sort of always been my philosophy, the idea that if I fail to just try something, then I won't know whether it was meant for me or not.

Somehow this situation seems deeply poetic to me, this idea that I will miss out on a pivotal milestone celebration, college graduation, directly as the result of another pivotal milestone: a celebration linked to my impending wedding. What does it mean? Probably nothing. I have a propensity to look deeper into things, and try to find meaning where it doesn't otherwise exist. I suppose ultimately I just feel melancholic about the celebration. I know I would probably just hope for the day to end if I went to graduation; hell, I already have my degree- what do I need the pomp and circumstance for?

Oh well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Help me decide what to do with the rest of my life

As of late I've wrestled extensively with what I'm meant to do with the rest of my life. Being in the unenvied position of the recent post-grad, I'm dealing with the ubiquitous quarter-life crisis. I have just had my tarot cards read, which did not necessarily shed any more light onto my quandaries (other than letting me know that the universe will begin to reveal my path over time, which I kind of always figured would happen). So it's come down to this: which path of the two that I am considering do I choose? As with all soul-searching philosophical queries I have endured, I've drafted up the ever-popular Pros and Cons list. Please feel free to read over my list, add suggestions where appropriate, and give me the advice I'm sure you, my seasoned readers, have perhaps yourselves oft experienced.

What to do with my life?

Broadcasting/Journalism/TV/Film Production (Alpha Pacific/UofW/UofA/LoyMary)


  • Will get me faster to my ultimate goal in life, work w/the Travel Channel/Discovery Networks/BBC/Nat. Geo.
  • Brings me to the sunny, beautiful West :), where I want to be more than anything right now
  • More $$ ultimately (ostensibly)
  • Closer to my ultimate dream in life
  • Closer to what my background is in
  • Something I am well versed in
  • I know I would be good at this
  • More glamorous job in the long run
  • Will get us the fuck out of Michigan


  • Will have to wait until at least Fall 2009 or later to even begin school, meaning I’m stuck in Michigan for more time anyways
  • Will take Tom and I away from Michigan and our friends/family
  • Will ultimately have to put other things on hold after school to pursue career in earnest (kids, Tom’s degree, Travel Channel Academy, etc.), potentially putting me well into my thirties before I can consider these other life options
  • Tom will not necessarily have a job waiting for him where we go
  • Will mean we may have to move again shortly after I graduate so Tom can begin school, possibly hampering career options
  • Still a means to an end; ultimately do not want to be a broadcaster or journalist; rather would assist in moving towards ultimate goal of Travel Host
  • Journalism work will be hard-won- must work long, hard hours, earn my place, work holidays, nights, weekends (LIVE TO WORK)
  • Will take me away from Tom, family, friends, kids, etc. occasionally, and time at work will eat up leisure/family time
  • Is this ultimately a pipe dream? Is it realistic?
  • Will the degree really advance my career goals?
  • Is this degree superfluous?
  • Must spend more $$ and go further into debt
  • Less guaranteed and less secure than other career options
  • Reliant on my looks?

Secondary Education Masters (WSU, UofA)


  • Love of teaching
  • Very rewarding vocation, enriching kids' lives, helping the future, etc.
  • Unbeatable vacation time (all holidays, all summer)
  • Unbeatable weekday hours (7 or 8 a.m.-4 or 5 p.m., more or less guaranteed); no weekends EVER!!!
  • WORK TO LIVE (personal philosophy)
  • When we have kids, will keep same schedule and can be deeply involved in their lives
  • Potential to bring us back to Europe and further afield with international teaching opportunities (big plus)
  • Can live more transient, travel and leisure-centered lifestyle
  • Means to an end; does not necessarily bar me from pursuing other opportunities, either simultaneously, or upon sabbaticals
  • Work is more or less guaranteed and more secure than other options (there will always be teaching opportunities)
  • Money will be pretty good with Masters preparation
  • WSU program is 2-in-1: Masters degree and certification, putting me into a higher pay scale automatically
  • Benefits, paid vacation, health insurance, 401-K, retirement; all those good and necessary things
  • Will keep us in Michigan for a bit longer so Tom can gain extra experience at his job, possibly advancing further and making good $$
  • Michigan teaching cert. reciprocal with many other U.S. states, making it very easy to pick up and move where necessary
  • I can always return to teaching if other things don’t pan out, and I know I can enjoy it
  • Can begin taking deficient classes at Wayne almost immediately


  • Work does not necessarily end with school bell: lesson planning, grading, reading papers, extracurricular work, PTA, etc.
  • Am I meant to become a teacher?
  • Group work experience may be difficult to obtain, possibly extending the time it takes to be accepted into College of Ed
  • A LOT of deficient classes that must be taken Post-Bac before I can be accepted into College of Ed
  • More $$ and more debt
  • Must stay in Michigan for at least another 2 ½-3 years (BIG negative)

Come on, universe! Hurry up and tell me what I'm meant to do with my life!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

*Sigh of Relief*

Yes. We did it. We mailed our invitations yesterday. Well, about 96% of them. We just have a couple of stragglers left, addresses we've yet to confirm and whatnot.


Check 'em out:

Somehow this makes it that much more real! There's no going back, now!


On a semi-related note, here's a piccie of me at my very first bridal shower (that I attended as the guest of honour) this past weekend:Oh, and here's a random piccie of darling Kitty Head Face, enjoying some tasty yoghurt (which she loves):

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Slowly completing the transformation into a fucktard

Chanel 5018's

Yes, I know. I'm a tardling. I have fallen hard, and it's for a pair of sunglasses. That retail for $450. And have completely sold out of all Chanel boutiques the world over. And are only found on Ebay, for $1100+.

And that Mary-Kate and Nicole Richie wear.


But I can't help it! I've totally fallen for their ridiculous shape, their abstract styling, and their completely over-the-top fabulosity (I cringe to use a line coined by none other than the sow Kimora Lee Simmons, but really, how else can I describe these beauties?)! The wiggly arms are adorable, and that half-tint thing, while distracting and almost Harry-Potter-ish, just does something to me. I can't explain it.

I need these in my life.

I cannot wait until they finally make a high-quality replica that I can snap up for beans.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

WTF? My Sunscreen May be Giving Me Cancer?

Now that I work for a skincare and cosmetics company that is 100% vegetarian, 75% vegan and 100% cruelty-free (final product AND each and every ingredient- we don't purchase our raw ingredients from companies that test on animals, snap) and being vegetarian myself, I am very conscious of not only what I put into my body, but also, what I use on it to take care of my skin. Everyone knows you're meant to use a sun protectant every day, regardless of whether you will be in the sun for a short period on the way in and out of work or not. That being said, I am alarmed at a recent study by the CDC regarding the toxicity of a common ingredient used as a sun protectant in many sun-screens and -blocks, Oxybenzone. What the hell have chemical companies been doing to our skin all these years, unbeknownst to us? Just when we think we're doing right by our skin and protecting ourselves, we may all along have slowly been contributing to toxic poison loads in our bodies. Shame on chemical companies that release toxic chemicals into the very products meant to protect us, and shame on the FDA for failing to protect the consumer by keeping these results from us for over 30 years.


"CDC: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical"

25 MAR 2008 A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that 97% of Americans are contaminated with a widely-used sunscreen ingredient called oxybenzone that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. A companion study published just one day earlier revealed that this chemical is linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin.

Although oxybenzone is most common in sunscreen, companies also use the chemical in at least 567 other personal care products.

Environmental Working Group identified nearly 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S. that contain oxybenzone, including products by Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone, and Banana Boat (see the full list of 588 sunscreens here) as well as 172 facial moisturizers, 111 lip balms, and 81 different types of lipstick.

The Food and Drug Administration has failed miserably in its duty to protect the public from toxic chemicals like oxybenzone in personal care products. At the request of industry lobbyists, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who represented the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, the agency has delayed final sunscreen safety standards for nearly 30 years. FDA issued a new draft of the standards last October under pressure from EWG, but continues to delay finalizing them at the behest of the regulated industry.

EWG research shows that 84% of 910 name-brand sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients, like oxybenzone, with significant safety concerns.

The last safety review for oxybenzone was done in the 1970s, and does not reflect a wealth of information developed since that time indicating increased toxicity concerns and widespread human exposure. A recent review in the European Union found that sufficient data were not available to assess if oxybenzone in sunscreen was safe for consumers.

Environmental Working Group again calls on FDA to review the safety of oxybenzone, given this new data on widespread contamination of the U.S. population, and to finalize its sunscreen safety standards so that consumers can be certain that sunscreen products they purchase are safe and effective.

CDC study of oxybenzone signals concern

Top scientists from CDC published results March 21, 2008 from a national survey of 2,500 Americans, age 6 and up, showing that oxybenzone readily absorbs into the body and is present in 97% of Americans tested (Calafat 2008). Oxybenzone, also known as benzophenone-3, was detected in the urine of nearly every study participant. Typically, women and girls had higher levels of oxybenzone in their bodies than men and boys, likely a result of differences in use of body care products including sunscreens.

A companion study released a day earlier revealed that mothers with high levels of oxybenzone in their bodies were more likely to give birth to underweight baby girls (Wolff 2008). Low birth weight is a critical risk factor linked to coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases in adulthood (Lau 2004).
Oxybenzone damages and penetrates the skin

Among common sunscreen chemicals, oxybenzone is most likely to be associated with allergic reactions triggered by sun exposure. In a study of 82 patients with photoallergic contact dermatitis, over one quarter showed photoallergic reactions to oxybenzone (Rodriguez 2006); another study reported 1 in 5 allergic reactions to photopatch tests resulted from exposure to oxybenzone (Bryden 2006).

Sunlight also causes oxybenzone to form free radical chemicals that may be linked to cell damage, according to 2 of 3 studies (Allen 1996; Serpone 2002; Hanson 2006).

A less visible but more alarming concern, this chemical absorbs through the skin in significant amounts, as indicated by the CDC study. A previous biomonitoring study reported that 96% of 6 to 8 year old girls had detectable amounts of oxybenzone in their urine (Wolff 2007). An earlier study detected oxybenzone in the urine of all 30 adult participants (Ye 2005).

Studies on human volunteers indicate a wide variation in the level of oxybenzone absorbed into the body, with some individuals absorbing at least 9% of the applied dose, as measured in excretions in urine (Hayden 1997; Janjua 2004; Sarveiya 2004; Gonzalez 2006). Volunteers continued to excrete oxybenzone many days after the last application of the chemical, an indication of its tendency to accumulate in fatty tissues in the body (Gonzalez 2006).

In addition to its ability to absorb into the body, oxybenzone is also a penetration enhancer, a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin (Pont 2004).

Oxybenzone may disrupt the human hormone system

Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites, the chemicals the body makes from oxybenzone in an attempt to detoxify and excrete it, may disrupt the hormone system. Under study conditions, oxybenzone and its metabolites cause weak estrogenic (Nakagawa 2002; Schlumpf 2001, 2004; Kunz 2006; van Liempd 2007) and anti-androgenic (Ma 2003) effects. Oxybenzone displays additive hormonal effects when tested with other sunscreen chemicals (Heneweer 2005). Laboratory study also suggests that oxybenzone may affect the adrenal hormone system (Ziolkowska 2006).

One human study coapplying 3 sunscreen active ingredients (oxybenzone, 4-MBC, and octinoxate) suggested a minor, intermittent, but statistically significant drop in testosterone levels in men during a one-week application period (Janjua 2004). Researchers also detected statistically significant declines in estradiol levels in men; other hormonal differences detected could not be linked to sunscreen use due to differences in baseline hormone levels before and during treatment.
Outdated health protections do not take into account these and other adverse effects

A 2006 European Union review concluded that a rigorous exposure assessment of oxybenzone was impossible, due to lack of information about the levels of absorption into the body (SCCP 2006). The levels of contamination reported in this latest CDC study indicate that absorption may be significant, consistent with previous, small-scale biomonitoring reports. A decades-old evaluation by FDA, as well as more recent review by the cosmetics industry’s own safety panel, do not consider concerns regarding hormone disruption, nor the implications of the ability of oxybenzone to penetrate the skin (USPC 1975; FDA 1978; CIR 1983, 2002). At present, no health-based standards exist for safe levels of oxybenzone in the body.

Additional cautions must be employed when considering the effects of oxybenzone on children. The surface area of a child's skin relative to body weight is greater than adults. As a result, the potential dose of a chemical following dermal exposure is likely to be about 1.4 times greater in children than in adults (SCCNFP 2001). In addition, children are less able than adults to detoxify and excrete chemicals, and children's developing organ systems are more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposures, and more sensitive to low levels of hormonally active compounds (NAS 1993; Janjua 2004). Children also have more years of future life in which to develop disease triggered by early exposure to chemicals (NAS 1993). Despite these well-documented concerns regarding children's sensitivity to harmful substances, no special protections exist regarding ingredients in personal care products marketed for babies and children.

The fraction of oxybenzone that is not absorbed into the human body often contaminates water, washed from the skin during swimming and water play or while bathing (Lambropolou 2002; Danovaro 2008). Wastewater treatment removes only a fraction of this sunscreen chemical (Li 2007), resulting in detection of oxybenzone in treated wastewater, in lake and sea waters due to recreational use or to discharges from water treatment facilities, and even in fish (Balmer 2005; Cuderman 2007; Li 2007). Studies show oxybenzone can trigger outbreaks of viral infection in coral reefs (Danovaro 2008), and can cause feminization of male fish (Kunz 2006). Despite significant ecological concerns, there are no measures in place to protect sensitive ecosystems from damage caused by this contaminant.

EWG to FDA: Oxybenzone investigation is long overdue

FDA last reviewed the safety of oxybenzone in the 1970s (USPC 1975), republishing its evaluation in 1978, at the same time it announced plans to develop comprehensive standards for sunscreen safety and effectiveness (FDA 1978). 30 years later, the Agency has yet to issue final regulations. Instead, it encourages manufacturers to follow draft guidelines that the Agency has delayed finalizing at the behest of the sunscreen industry. As a result, sunscreen manufacturers in the U.S. are free to market products containing ingredients like oxybenzone that have not been proven safe for people.

Found in over half of the 910 name-brand sunscreen products we reviewed, oxybenzone is tied to significant health concerns that must be scrutinized. Instead, FDA’s refusal to re-examine this ingredient keeps sunscreens containing oxybenzone on the market. Petitions for review of newly developed sunscreen ingredients approved for use in other countries, and with far fewer health concerns, have been met with similar inattention, blocking Americans’ access to better products.

FDA foot-dragging has left the U.S. without enforceable standards for sunscreen safety and effectiveness for decades. EWG demands that FDA finalize the latest version of its monograph on sunscreen products immediately, and launch an investigation into the safety of the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone.

EWG report on sunscreen safety

Allen JM, Gossett CJ, Allen SK. 1996. Photochemical formation of singlet molecular oxygen in illuminated aqueous solutions of several commercially available sunscreen active ingredients. Chemical research in toxicology 9(3): 605-609.

Balmer ME, Buser HR, Muller MD, Poiger T. 2005. Occurrence of some organic UV filters in wastewater, in surface waters, and in fish from Swiss lakes. Environmental Science & Technology 39(4): 953-962.

Bryden AM, Moseley H, Ibbotson SH, Chowdhury MM, Beck MH, Bourke J, et al. 2006. Photopatch testing of 1155 patients: results of the U.K. multicentre photopatch study group. The British journal of dermatology 155(4): 737-747.

Calafat AM, Wong L-Y, Ye X, Reidy JA, Needham LL. 2008. Concentration of the sunscreen agent, benzophenone-3, in residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004. Environmental health perspectives 116: Available online March 21, 2008.

CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 1983. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Benzophenones-1, -3, -4, -5, -9, and -11. Journal of the American College of Toxicology 2(5): 42.

CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2002. BENZOPHENONE AND BENZOPHENONE-1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, -10, -11, AND - 12. Journal of the American College of Toxicology 2(5).

Cuderman P, Heath E. 2007. Determination of UV filters and antimicrobial agents in environmental water samples. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 387(4): 1343-1350.

Danovaro R, Bongiorni L, Corinaldesi C, Giovannelli D, Damiani E, Astolfi P, et al. 2008. Sunscreens cause coral bleaching by promoting viral infections. Environmental health perspectives 116(4): 441-447.

FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). 1978. Report on Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Drugs. 32 CFR 412. August 25, 1978.

Gonzalez H, Farbrot A, Larko O, Wennberg AM. 2006. Percutaneous absorption of the sunscreen benzophenone-3 after repeated whole-body applications, with and without ultraviolet irradiation. The British journal of dermatology 154(2): 337-340.

Hanson KM, Gratton E, Bardeen CJ. 2006. Sunscreen enhancement of UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin. Free radical biology & medicine 41(8): 1205-1212.

Hayden CG, Roberts MS, Benson HA. 1997. Systemic absorption of sunscreen after topical application. Lancet 350(9081): 863-864.

Heneweer M, Muusse M, van den Berg M, Sanderson JT. 2005. Additive estrogenic effects of mixtures of frequently used UV filters on pS2-gene transcription in MCF-7 cells. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 208(2): 170-177.

Janjua NR, Mogensen B, Andersson AM, Petersen JH, Henriksen M, Skakkebaek NE, et al. 2004. Systemic absorption of the sunscreens benzophenone-3, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor after whole-body topical application and reproductive hormone levels in humans. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 123(1): 57-61.

Kunz PY, Galicia HF, Fent K. 2006. Comparison of in vitro and in vivo estrogenic activity of UV filters in fish. Toxicol Sci 90(2): 349-361.

Lambropoulou DA, Giokas DL, Sakkas VA, Albanis TA, Karayannis MI. 2002. Gas chromatographic determination of 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone and octyldimethyl-p-aminobenzoic acid sunscreen agents in swimming pool and bathing waters by solid-phase microextraction. Journal of chromatography 967(2): 243-253.

Lau C, Rogers JM. 2004. Embryonic and fetal programming of physiological disorders in adulthood. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 72(4): 300-312.

Li W, Ma Y, Guo C, Hu W, Liu K, Wang Y, et al. 2007. Occurrence and behavior of four of the most used sunscreen UV filters in a wastewater reclamation plant. Water research 41(15): 3506-3512.

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Idol Worship

"I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." ~ Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

They Made Him A Knight of The Bleedin' Realm, Didn't They?

"I made hay while the sun shone.
My work sold.
Now, if the harvest is over
And the world cold,
Give me the bonus of laughter
As I lose hold."

Sir John Betjeman, "The Last Laugh"


Lauren and Stephanie becoming friends? WTF?! The Hills has gone Crazy-Town!

Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm The (fucking) King of England!


The long-awaited Season 2 premiere of The Tudors aired tonight, and they wasted no time diving right into the thick of it. I, for one, have been a loyal and devout fan of Jonathan Rhys Meyers since the Bend It Like Beckham days (excellent film, by the way), so of course I anxiously awaited the first season of The Tudors last year as well (it did not disappoint in the least). For the unbaptized, the series dramatizes the now infamous story of the Tudor legacy, with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in all of their sinister glory, and takes judicious liberties with what those of us with a penchant for studying history have come to know as the "facts". Normally, this disregard for the trivialities of the truth would be quite irksome to me; however, The Tudors does it with flair, panache, and not a little bit of steamy and lascivious carnal debauchery. It's hard to reconcile the Henry I know of from history, he of the fattened gut and receding hairline, with Rhys Meyers' dashing, virile and *masculine* Henry. In an NPR interview recently, the screenwriters dismissed the historical inaccuracies by stating that Rhys Meyers' Henry perfectly embodies the robust, egotistical and lustful antics of the real King, in a way that the real Henry probably never could- regardless of the fact that he himself had lived them.

As much as I adore Rhys Meyers as the King, I loathe the elfin Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, even as I recognize that this is most likely a product of her talent in portraying the infamous home wrecker.

Her ubiquitous presence dominates throughout; she struts about court with her own attendants (!) like the cock of the walk, despite the fact that Katherine of Aragon remains Queen. She flies off the handle at Henry on the matter of Katherine continuing to outfit him with shirts, convinced this treasonous behaviour signifies there being "three in this marriage." The irony and arrogance of this statement makes my skin crawl. Even so, I cannot take my eyes off of her. She is electric. Maria Doyle Kennedy's Katherine of Aragon is simply striking, as she continually fights off Henry's attempts to send her away. By episode's end, however, Henry and Anne are off to cavort together, while Katherine is banished from court.

Yeah, he won't go near her in this season

The impetuous Charles Brandon, who couldn't keep it in his pants throughout season 1, has remarried a 17 year old girl, ostensibly for love (!). The most delightful performance of the episode was certainly that of Peter O'Toole, and although his one and only scene lasted approximately 3 minutes, it was brilliance. Although I can't help but think he looks like death warmed over, he sparkled as a wicked and nefarious Pope Paul III.

Your Papal Vestments are Showing

The entire tone of this episode, and clearly what will be that of the season, is darker and harder than that of the first. In Rhys Meyers' estimation, Henry has finally grown up. Here, Henry is brooding and contemplative, anxious to have his annulment granted and eager to wed and bed Anne. In the first season, the King cares little for politics and posturing; he dismisses himself from official business to "play" (he fucks the brains out of a lady-in-waiting). Here, we see the first shadows of what promise to be strains in his relationship with Anne (her snapping over the shirts). He's even cultivated a little 'stache, perhaps foreshadowing the full red beard Henry would famously sport. What was sorely missing, however, and surely in keeping with this more somber mood, was the steamy, unadulterated hedonism so liberally peppered throughout the first season. TWO sex scenes? That's all you can give us?! With one of them not even resulting in sex? And rather bland ones, at that. Regardless, the show's creator, Michael Hirst, tells TV Guide that "fans can look forward to a future scene with Anne and Henry that will be the 'hottest, sexiest, most passionately violent scene ever seen in a TV show.'" I cannot, off the top of my head, recall what currently reigns as the "hottest" sex scene in television history, but this is Showtime, son. It better be good is all I'm saying.

Copious amounts of sexual gymnastics or not, this season promises to be nothing short of thrilling. Hell, in 10 episodes, we have to conclude Henry's famed "Great Matter", obtain a divorce/annulment, break from the Holy See, declare ourselves "the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England", finally fuck Anne Boleyn to a satisfactory conclusion, knock her up, birth The Virgin Queen, celebrate upon the death of poor Katherine of Aragon, miscarry the coveted male heir, and convict Anne Boleyn of high treason and incest and have her head swiftly removed from her body. I cannot wait for next Sunday.

Oh, and Tracey Ullman's new show "State of The Union" premiered following The Tudors. She is one of the most talented impersonators I've ever seen; having been a fan of hers for ages, I can tell you that the Bollywood pharmacy sketch is one of the funniest things I have seen in ages. If you have the chance to catch it, it's well worth watching for that piece alone.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

On a lighter note...FASHION!

Wow, this whole blog-writing thing has really got me hooked. I need to lighten the mood after that really heavy post. I'm in the mood to spill some random junk out of my brain and onto the page. I want this whole thing to be pretty random, so, here's a picture of the purse I just bought:(Betsey Johnson Betseyville, Diamond Girl)

and some shoes I'll buy when I get paid again:(Lacoste, Ithia)

The shoes I'm considering for my wedding day, this upcoming June (the gown is all lace):(Stuart Weitzman, Lingerie)

These shoes do make my heart beat a little faster...I'm considering them for the wedding, but at a staggering $800-something, I doubt my shoes eating up more coin than the flowers will go down easily for anyone:(Christian Louboutin, Coquine)

Hmmm, what else?

love love love American Apparel:
Gotsta get me a pair of those...and what's with people who wear leggings alone? Like without a dress, or even a tunic?

I'm thinking about wearing this dress to my bridal shower next weekend:(Betsey Johnson, Pink Polkadots)

or this one:(also Betsey)

or maybe this one, which is covered in iridescent sequins and is absolutely adorable:(Betsey again)

OK, that's all.

A reason to challenge your preconceived notions

The following post originally saw life as an essay on my MySpace blog, and I felt the need to include it here as well. Following the essay is a response to this blog that I felt was appropriate to include, as well as my response to that comment. It's very interesting to see the debate this sparked, albeit unintentional.

I'm taking this opportunity to come clean about something that absolutely infuriates me, and I'm putting it out there to inquire as to the presence of like-minded individuals in this, my Myspace-universe. I have only just learned that for a position I have recently applied for as an Administrative Assistant, I will be required to take a 6-panel drug screen. I have been screened before prior to accepting a position, and regardless of the copious amounts of cannabis I had smoked in the years prior to said test, I miraculously passed and was able to take that job. This was years ago, before I was fully aware of the completely discriminatory nature of the drug screen. In my American-centric, Protestant Work Ethic indoctrination, I'd come to assume that anyone who would fail a drug screen would be undeserving of the position anyways, given the fact that they were most likely incompetent, lazy pot smokers or freaked out meth addicts.

What I didn't take into consideration was the tremendous amount of recreational pot smokers who perform perfectly well at their jobs every day, and *shockingly* still choose to smoke a joint or two on the weekends. Given the Puritanical society we have all been raised in, these individuals defy logic. "A person who smokes pot on a Saturday afternoon and is still able to wake at 6 a.m. Monday and put in a full and productive week?! IMPOSSIBLE! I have seen "Reefer Madness", and I know first hand the evil that demon weed can provoke!"

This is not a diatribe about Marijuana, or the fact that it should be legalised. At this point, if you know me well enough you know that I am all for that. Instead, this is about the fact that a 6-panel drug screen tests for the presence of substances other than Marijuana. Oh sure, you have the old standards in there: Benzoylecgonine (metabolite of cocaine), Morphine and opiate-derivatives, Oxycodone, and Methamphetamines. But something struck me as rather odd as I scanned the list of substances detected by at least one test, the top listed on a routine Google search of "6-panel drug screen" ( What struck me was the inclusion of a class of substances familiar to anyone in psychiatric treatment: Benzodiazepines, better known to their users as Alprazolam (Xanax), Valium, Ativan, and their ilk.

Now this will come as no surprise to those who know me, but long ago I was diagnosed with a relatively debilitating and remarkably common condition, Generalized Anxiety Disorder with concurrent panic attacks. This disorder and its concomitant panic and anxiety attacks can be, amongst other things, humiliating, disabling, painful and immobilizing. They significantly affect my quality of life and the lives of those around me. As such, my physician has LEGITIMATELY prescribed Xanax for me, for the betterment of my mental state and my standard of living. I am in no way ignorant to the very real fact that every day, around the world, people abuse prescription medications, especially Alprazolam. The resultant effects of this class of medications is recreationally enjoyed by some, but the fact that it simply allows me to go about my day to day life without severe implications is a reality for not only myself but millions of others.

That being said, its abuse and misuse has categorized Alprazolam as a Schedule IV substance as outlined in the Controlled Substances Act by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Here is a concise description from the United States Justice Department as to exactly what constitutes a Schedule IV substance (

Schedule IV

• The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

• The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

• Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.

• Examples of drugs included in schedule IV are Darvon®, Talwin®, Equanil®, Valium®, and Xanax®.

For reference purposes, Schedule III's are substances such as Anabolic Steroids, Ketamine, Hydrocodone/Codeine, and Marinol (a derivative of THC used by Chemotherapy patients).

However, the abuse of medications of all sorts is common place in today's society. Can't sleep? Tylenol manufactures a magical little OTC pill that will relieve relieve your pain AND soothe you to sleep. Don't need the concurrent pain relieving properties? Hell, they now offer an all-sleep, no Acetaminophen formulation called "Simply Sleep". Could you be a victim of restless nights and not even know it? Here's a handy checklist to see if you could be affected, taken right off of the "Simply Sleep" page:

"You're probably not getting the sleep you need if you:
* Feel groggy and lethargic in the morning
* Feel drowsy during the day
* Need more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
* Wake up frequently during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep"

Who DOESN'T feel groggy or lethargic in the morning, or occasionally drowsy during the day? I usually wake up frequently during the night if I've had too much water before bed- to PEE. And what the hell is NyQuil if not one of the most over-used and over-abused all-purpose cold formulations available (that also tastes strangely of death)?

I've gone off topic on a tirade about the evils of drug companies, no secret to anyone who reads the paper or watches T.V. I am no stranger to the fact that we as a nation are far too dependent on synthetic substances and medications to sustain our quality of life. We take medicine for every conceivable ailment that afflicts us. But this isn't about that, either.

What I am getting at is the fact that the United States government dictates that workplace discrimination is against the law. This type of discrimination takes many forms: harassment/disbarment based on race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, disabilities or age; the one I am concerned with in this essay is disabilities. There is an entire Act that outlines the regulations against workplace discrimination based on disabilities. It's a little ol' thing known as the Americans With Disabilities Act. What a quaint title. And here is who it covers (

"An individual with a disability is a person who:
* Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
* Has a record of such an impairment; or
* Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Hmm, interesting to note that individuals with mental impairments are included in this act. So then it would stand to reason that the disbarment or disinclusion of said individual from employment with a company based on the presence of a mental impairment is ILLEGAL. Now wouldn't the natural conclusion then be that if an individual is being TREATED for said mental condition, by the means of legal, safe and prescribed medications (medications that allow for that person to sustain a quality of life and continue to be a productive, active member of society), that the presence of Benzodiazepines on a routine and required 6-panel drug screen would consequently bar them from employment, and would that very disbarment in itself be considered discrimination, allowing said individual the legal recourse to sue the fucking shit out of that employer?! Remember, the routine drug screening tests are considered "Qualitative Assays", that is, they test simply for presence and not quantity. So when an employer contracts a company to screen potential employees, the employer is only informed of whether the candidate passes or fails; they are not told specifically what portion of the test was failed, or for what substance.

Because of this, I am now afraid that I might fail my drug test. Benzodiazepines pass out of your system in 2-3 days. I take my medication when necessary, and I can occasionally go some time without taking it. However, is it fair for me to have to stop taking my prescribed medication, regardless of need, because of the potential to test positive for its LEGAL use and subsequently lose a job opportunity? Is it fair that I even be expected to take this test, and potentially fail, given the fact that I am doing absolutely nothing wrong or illegal? Because some people abuse this medication, I am forced to be tested for it, regardless of the fact that I take it for a legitimate purpose. Does any one else see the fallacy and blatant, unquestioned discrimination inherently present in this type of policy? Drug testing is wrong; it discriminates potentially exceptional candidates based on draconian and Puritanical values.

Below I have posted an interesting essay that goes into detail on exactly why drug screens should be considered outright workplace discrimination and why they should be eliminated altogether:

I ask that regardless of your personal beliefs on the subject of marijuana and its legality, that you read this article with an open mind, and consider individuals such as myself who have been or could potentially be barred from employment based on the reasons I have discussed above. If I had not Googled "6-panel Drug Screen", I never would have even known that Benzos are tested for, and I would have continued using my prescription without concern. Now I will have to stop indefinitely, and that is remarkably unfair to me, and will have God knows what possibly detrimental results. Many people have probably never looked into exactly what they are tested for, and have gone on to fail these tests, unfairly so.

When properly treated and managed, not a goddamn thing about my disorder prevents me from performing my job to the utmost; every supervisor I have ever had has applauded me for beyond exceptional job performance. I typically outshine every colleague, and my very presence and performance often threatens those above me, based simply on the fact that I always commit myself 110% to whatever task is at hand, and I routinely exceed goals set for myself and my colleagues. Is it fair that I am then discriminated against based solely on the presence of a substance that allows my mind to calm down enough to then ALLOW me to excel at my job? Perhaps it levels the playing field by weeding out exceptionally qualified individuals such as myself, leaving the substandard and average ones to contribute the bare minimum to a company's workforce. You be the judge.


Anonymous response #1:

"1. I smoke weed way more often than once a week and I go to work every day and do well enough to be considered top among my peers, those who do and who do not smoke weed.

2. You definitely should be on xanax. Seriously. You need to be on xanax. Do not stop taking xanax. Think of Tom. (side note: recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, now a fan of the lithium club. Has done wonders to normalize me.)

3. EMPLOYERS CHECK FOR PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS???? WTF???? News to me.... When I was asked to take a drug test I invoked my right of refusal. When they asked why I said "Because I view that as an invasion of my privacy." and nothing more. Shewas very suprised, leaned back in her chair and said "okay." What suprised me was that I still got the job.... Didn't take a drug test, but the company still wanted to work with me. Weird, huh. Thats how I go the job I have now, which I have been at for a year. Sometimes you need a steel pair of balls in life.

4. Stop using wikipedia as a source. Use the sources cited in the article as a source. It punches a hole through an otherwise strong argument.

5. The information and the pamphlet itself are products from a graphic design/marketing firm and the drug company which manufactures and brands the product. Medication is a BUSINESS which pays people like me to sell you whatever I am paid to. I don't care if you are a child, a grandfather, a teacher, or a monkey. I want you to buy because then I get paid and can go buy. You're right -- "Who doesn't feel like that?" Exactly. That is the point.

6. DO NOT STOP YOUR MEDICATION. Seriously. No job or potential job is worth risking your health. If you are that worried about it, tell them your situation. Fuck, forward them here.. Or say "This is a violation of my privacy." and if they want to work with you and not test you, great! Otherwise, look for another place. Some people don't do drugs, I don't do drug tests."


Thanks for the comments. As for a right to refusal, that does not exist here. According to the law on the books, a company has the right to administer a drug test, and if you do invoke a right to refuse, then the offer is no longer extended and you are barred from employment. At this point, the economy in Michigan is so bad, I have applied to easily 300+ jobs in the last 2 months and I have had only 1 interview. One. Out of 300+ applications. That's pathetic. No one is hiring. The economy is in shambles. So to be fair, I really don't have options. I need a job, and I am desperate to get whatever I can. As such, it's not easy for me to just pass this opportunity up if there is nothing else on offer.

As for Wikipedia, I didn't really intend for this to be a formal or scholarly piece intended for inclusion in a paper or journal. I was using that simply because it was the most concise and compact format for me to convey exactly what a Schedule IV substance was for those who are unaware. I wouldn't necessarily think that punches a hole in my argument, rather informs someone who is unfamiliar with the Controlled Substances Act. That being said, I've removed the Wikipedia source and instead sourced my quote from the U.S. Justice Dept.'s website. I'm well aware of the inappropriate nature of citing Wikipedia as a source for a scholarly piece.

I understand the concept of marketing, I worked at a marketing firm. So I know very well that the point of their marketing campaigns is broad and general demographic targeting, and that the language they use will sway many or most to purchase their product. That's Marketing 101. The purposes of including this in my article was simply to highlight the absurdity of that fact, and allow people who have never really given that any thought to actually mediate for once on just how pathetic and gullible we as Americans can often be. We are a nation of consummate consumers and those less informed of subversive marketing techniques never really give a moment's consideration to the way we are all influenced and the fact that DTC advertising (Direct To Consumer drug marketing) sends millions of people a year to their doctors requesting medications they would have no use for (women requesting Viagra, etc.) I could write at exhaustive length on that abhorrent travesty of advertising and ethics. And having worked in a hospital I am also keenly aware of the business that is medicine, and the fact that as a money-making enterprise, profit often takes precedence over the needs of desperately ill patients. That disgusts me, but I recognize that reality nevertheless.

I would like to say that I won't stop taking my meds, but I probably will. I, like many Americans, don't have much of a choice now that I am unemployed. I need money, simple as that, and no one is hiring. So if my choice is to stop my meds and get a job, and then start them again, or not stop and fail a drug test, barring me from the only job offer on the table, then I think my hands are rather tied on this issue.

Thanks for your response, I was hoping this would start a lively debate and get people thinking about an issue that many have to deal with but few discuss. And I wouldn't be surprised if I actually get a law suit out of this should I be refused employment.

p.s. The 6-panel drug screens do not test for psychiatric drugs per se, rather they test for a class of substances called "Benzodiazepines", which are used to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia, among others. So to say that routine drug screenings test for psychiatric drugs would be incorrect.

Bonjour encore, mes chers petits amours

Hello. Lovely to meet you.

At the behest of a dear, dear friend (, I have decided to enter the vaunted realm of this, the "Blogger" Universe. Being that I have never maintained anything that could be considered an actual, respectable blog before (I'd rather not count MySpace), I'm rather nervous about this undertaking. Ask yourself, if you are not already a good friend of mine, why are you reading this entry right now? You don't know me. Perhaps that adorable photograph of a kitten sipping a Guinness caught your eye. Who knows. As far as I can measure, few will actually have any real interest in reading my random posts and confused ramblings. At times, I am quick to anger, and I have no doubt that I will find an outlet for that boundless rage through this blog in the months to come. And seeing that I am planning a wedding, this will undoubtedly be used for the occasional wedding-related musing. Whatever the reason, I'm glad to be here.

Well, where to begin? How about with some things I need to get off of my chest.

First, I am simply obsessed, in a very definite and potentially pathological way, with LOLCats.

I have a propensity to save all of the LOLCat photos that I am fond of to our computer, much to the chagrin of DF (I feel it's appropriate that, seeing as I am finally joining the ranks of the great unwashed, that I use Internet-speak to simplify my for the uninitiated, "DF" means "Dear Fiance")

I also have a habit of coveting items that I probably should not. Principally, very VERY expensive shoes. Like these:

Ahh, Gucci.


Let's see, what else can I tell you about myself? At the moment my method of funding my vices, shoe and otherwise, happens to be employment with LUSH Cosmetics. If you haven't heard of us, you should be ashamed of yourself. We make amazing products. You may have passed our shops in upscale malls and high streets in Europe; you probably sneezed upon doing so. We're the soap shop that looks like a green grocer. We specialize in being environmentally conscious, fresh, organic, free-range, fair-trade and cruelty-free. And unlike other cosmetics companies, those words mean something to us, beyond marketing slogans. I'd like it if you came to visit me sometime; I'm at the Somerset location.

Well, I suppose that's it for now. Next time, I'll expound on my newfound obsession with, and how I have a severe, chronic and terminal case of schadenfreude.