Genie In A Bottle: What’s Inside May Surprise You

1980. A hair product was launched that was all the rage. With only a few sprays of this miraculous “sun-infused” product, the company promised your hair would be covered in gorgeous blonde highlights and

people would most likely mistake you for Farrah Fawcett. Poof! It would be just like having your very own hair wizard. Riiiight.

But millions of young girls like me fell for it. Of course they failed to mention that it might not work well on brunettes. It might not have enough peroxide in it to really turn one’s hair blonde, and it might just make one’s hair look and feel like orange shredded wheat. Forget about looking like one of Charlie’s Angels. I did, however, resemble Bozo the Clown’s younger sister. Have mercy. My hair was a mess. Of course trying to remedy it with a hair product from a pharmacy only made it worse, if there was such a thing. Between lemon juice, bleach, and $2.99 hair color, it’s an ever-loving miracle that I have a hair left on my head. Thank you merciful Jesus.

I had to learn the hard way there’s a reason cosmetologists go to school and must get a license to handle potions and lotions. And ever since that hair-raising day in 1980, I’ve been a bottle blonde. My daughters look nothing like me because of this fallacy. They witnessed too many photos of their mother’s hairdo disasters and wisely decided to keep their long manes healthy and brunette. I sometimes wonder if my most important role as a mother has been teaching my kids what not to do.

What is it about bottles and their hold on us? Sure, men also turn to a few troublesome containers that can wreak havoc on their lives. But good gracious, have you ever looked at your husbands sink area compared to yours? If it’s anything like mine, there’s a huge imbalance. We females could probably save the planet if we recycled just half of the bottles sitting and gathering dust. Ask yourself these questions:

  • • How many wrinkles creams have you purchased over the last six months? How many did you totally use up before you bought the next one?

  • • Have you ever resorted to the big guns and tried dermatologist injections and derma fillers? (trust me, I’m not judging)

  • • How many bottles of shampoo and conditioner do you own?

  • • How much lipstick and nail polish do you have tucked away or piled up in plastic containers?

I’ll be the first to make a confession: my answers are in double digits. Good gracious, I could have put a child through college with the money I’ve wasted on cosmetics. I know I’m not alone. We seem to turn to a bottle for everything, thinking their contents will be life changing. It’s time we be honest with ourselves on this oh-so-important topic. There’s a very fine line between wanting to look pretty and the craving to be perfect. If you’ve ever watched the show Botched, it speaks volumes.

But sweet sisters-in-Christ, do not feel shamed if you’ve used derma-fillers, bucket loads of foundation or lipstick in every shade of the color spectrum. Yours truly is guilty of all the above. It’s only this author’s opinion, but what’s wrong with trying a few products to enhance our appearance a little? Trust me, my sweet husband would prefer to see me with a few cosmetics on my face. The au natural look is not my friend, although I know it is for many. I have great envy for women with perfect, acne- free skin or better yet, those that feel secure enough to go without. I’m a work in progress, that’s for sure.

Why have we become this way and how do we know when we’ve crossed the line?

Social media gets much of the blame and tends to put the word “insecurity” on steroids. We’ve been tricked into thinking that our self-worth is determined by likes, dislikes, thumbs ups, thumbs down, hearts, smiley faces and countless other emojis. Many girls only feel accepted after they’ve acquired more friends than they follow on Instagram. To boost themselves even more they use fish faces, overblown lips, big eyes or lewd hash tags to help them appear more seductive.

Why should any of this surprise us when social media stars have become multi-millionaires after launching their own sex tapes? Heaven help us. The internet keeps moving the line and changing the rules.

Sadly, when women lose the current playbook and can’t keep up, many of them resort to bottles of a more destructive variety. Abused are bottles of alcohol, pain and diet pills and an over-the-top obsession with cosmetic procedures—all in hopes to solve life’s deeper creases. From botox to bourbon, they are mere temporary fixes. The purging of such reckless behavior is required, my friends. It’s gotta go.

Before I get emails from subscribers telling me that not all social media is harmful, I’ll be the first to say I use it daily. As a children’s author (Channing O’Banning) and (The Desperate Diva Diaries) I need websites to keep in touch with my readers. Of course, you’re reading my blog post on my own website. There’s a time and place for social media, for sure. As a mother to daughters, I suppose it especially gets under my skin as I don’t want them stumbling into this tragic abyss. Thankfully, they remind me often that they have better things to do with their time and furthermore, don’t like everyone knowing their business. Yes! I may not know their every move (and I shouldn’t as they’re grown women) but I know where their brains are focused. They see the great beauty in being their authentic self.

Just as tomatoes. (Don’t you just love how I try to bring things back around to food?)

It’s heirloom tomato season and I’ve been waiting patiently. We just returned from the farmer’s market where I bought some delicious sun-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, and a loaf of yummy bread. Were the tomatoes I purchased the prettiest of the lot and blemish free? You gardeners already know the answer. Of course not. But they were way more flavorful, juicier and delicious than any grocery tomato by a long shot. Those “fake tomatoes” are dry, mushy and useless to spend money on. Eventually, and it may take a while, fresh produce customers figure out that it’s much better to wait until the “real ones” are mature and ready. For sure those kinds of veggies are well worth the wait. You get the idea. (Parents, feel free to use this analogy in other ways )

On a lighter note, below is a one of my favorite recipes for Heirloom Tomato Pie. It’s quick, easy, and a great summer dish served with salad and a glass of ice tea.

This summer, let’s all try and be a bit more real, even if that means being a little uncomfortable. When friends ask how you’re doing, don’t be so quick, to reply, “Oh, I’m fine. Just fine.” Give yourself a break. Be real. Choose real friends who willingly share with you. Don’t take that blessing lightly. I can promise you they know about my bottle-blondeness. Sigh.

With smart phones and ipads off, we may get to know ourselves and our loved ones better than ever. Isn’t that what’s most important? Sewing the seeds of long-term communication and genuine love for one another? After all, we were created by the Master Gardener. I can’t help but think He’s saying “The time is ripe for all of the above.” Enjoy the recipe.

Angie

Heirloom Tomato Pie

1 refrigerated piecrust

3-4 ripe heirloom tomatoes (I like to use two different colors if available)

4-5 leaves of basil (coarsely chopped)

3-4 T of Alouette herb cheese spread

Coarse salt and pepper

Garlic Salt

1 T Italian herb seasoning

1 cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese

Olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Let piecrust set at room temperature until easy to unroll. Cut tomatoes into thin or medium slices and then place onto paper towels to eliminate moisture. Generously sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Gently press pie crust into a glass or metal pie plate, pinching edges and pricking sides with fork to prevent air pockets. Sprinkle crust lightly with garlic salt. Spread Alouette cheese onto the entire bottom of piecrust and then place one layer of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with ½ of the basil and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat with another layer of tomatoes, the rest of the basil, and sprinkle with 1 T of Italian herb seasoning. Cover with the remaining Parmesan cheese and lightly drizzle olive oil across the top.

Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly brown and cheese is bubbly.

Serve with a green salad drizzled with balsamic oil and vinegar for a delicious and healthy summer meal!