Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Secrets Every Woman Needs to Know


Please welcome Michelle Gagnon whose new thriller BONEYARD is sure to make you an instant fan....

I’ll start out by saying that I’m the furthest thing from an authority on girl stuff—basically, all that qualifies me to write this post is that I’m a) technically female and b) always eager to learn.

I grew up with one of those mothers that was not, shall we say, a whiz at the home economics. So Girl Scout badges were glued (not sewn) to my sash, when buttons popped off our shirts we were handed safety-pins, and dinner was ordered by phone. Needless to say, I can’t sew, cook, braid my hair, or do many of the other things that most women seem to take for granted.

I was always mystified by those girls who showed up at junior high perfectly coiffed and made-up, wearing the right clothes and able to make small talk with the boys. I was not among them. In terms of styling my hair, the most I’ve ever managed is a ponytail, and as far as makeup goes, let’s just say I generally don’t wear any because I prefer not to frighten people.

But I have managed to pick up some tips along the way, and thought I’d share them here. Take them with a grain of salt: like I said, I’m no expert…

1. In order to keep a wine glass rim free of lipstick, always (discreetly) lick it before sipping. I must emphasize the “discreet” element here, the first few times I tried this I had sketchy characters following me to the ladies’ room the rest of the night. Consider practicing in front of a mirror first.

And along those same lines…

2. Always hold a wine glass by the stem. Holding it by the bowl (the wide part) adversely affects the wine temperature. Using the stem enables you to look oh-so sophisticated and keeps your chardonnay cool and your merlot room temperature.

3. To keep lipstick off your teeth, once it’s been applied stick your (clean, preferably) index finger in your mouth and pull it out. Again, try not to do this in front of lecherous strangers, but feel free to make a resounding popping sound if you must do so.

4. This tidbit comes from a Parisian friend of mine, so it must be true, right? When wearing perfume, there are 12 spots where you should place it: that’s right, 12 (although she assures me you can cut a few out if you’re not wearing a dress or planning on getting naked.)

And they are: behind the ears, at the nape of the neck, in your cleavage, on each wrist, right below the navel, on the lower back, behind each knee, and on the outside of each ankle. I’m going to go out on a limb and surmise that if wearing pants, you can cut out all of these but the first four. But I could be wrong.

5.Also, regarding perfume: just a touch of oil-based fragrance goes a long way and doesn’t lose its scent like eau de toilette. It costs a bit more, but in the end if you only wear it rarely (like me) it’s more cost effective.

6. Eyebrow maintenance. Something I learned about in my late twenties, which is why for a decade prior to that you might have mistaken me for Frida Kahlo. Having someone manage your eyebrows (even if they only do the initial shaping) can make a huge difference. I found a lovely woman in my neighborhood who does Indian-style threading, my favorite option since it hurts less than plucking or waxing; but any form of maintenance will do. It can be the world’s cheapest makeover.

So, ladies, ready to share? What are your secrets? I’d love any and all further help. Best tip receives a signed copy of my first thriller THE TUNNELS. And if you don’t win, console yourself by signing up for my newsletter at www.michellegagnon.com and I’ll toss your name in the hat for an Amazon Kindle, iPod Shuffle, Starbucks gift certificates, and other fabulous prizes.

Michelle Gagnon is a former modern dancer, bartender, dog walker, model, personal trainer, and Russian supper club performer. Her debut thriller The Tunnels was an IMBA bestseller. Her next book, Boneyard, depicts a cat and mouse game between dueling serial killers. In her spare time she runs errands and tries to figure out how to get her hair in a French twist.

22 comments:

Helen Brenna said...

Hi, Michelle and welcome!!

Great tips! Can't agree more with you on the eyebrow maintenance. I didn't pluck until 40!! Can't believe it took me that long, but made a huge diff.

My tip? Will have to think on that and get back to you.

In the meantime, I wanted to let everyone know that blogger's acting up today and I'm having problems loading a couple of the pics for your post, Michelle. Will keep on it.

Playground Monitor said...

Just don't overpluck. An over-zealous esthetician overplucked mine years ago and now I have permanently thin eyebrows. I suppose there are worse things.

I don't know that it's a great secret, but I shave my legs with hair conditioner. It makes for a smooth shave and doesn't dry out my legs (and pits too) like a soap-based shaving product. I always have it on hand (and so do most hotels).

I bought myself a good bottle of perfume on a cruise last year (good deal in the duty-free shop) so I'll have to try the 12 points thing. I can't drink so I don't have to practice glass-licking. I can just imagine all your readers heading for the kitchen to snag a wine glass and standing in front of a mirror to discretely lick it. LOL!

Marilyn -- not a girly-girl either

flip said...

I have to try to the 12 spots thing. As soon as I buy more perfume. I love Paris, but it is so expensive.

Christie Ridgway said...

I am so a girly girl, but Michelle, you had new things to teach me. (I also cannot put up my hair in a French twist.) And have to ask, are you related to Paul Gagnon? He's a friend of mine in the San Dieogo area.

Girly girl tip: When clothes shopping, wear as few pieces as possible and slip-on shoes. Makes the trying-on so much easier. Also, if possible bring your mom because she will still hang up your clothes for you. (At least mine will.)

Helen Brenna said...

Thought of one. Keep a Tide to Go stick in your purse. Man, can those come in handy.

Keri Ford said...

I can tell you right now, there's no way I could get that glass licking down. heck, that's how we identify our own cup 'round here.

and Christie, my mom will still hang up my clothes. my problem is she doesn't like to shop!

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, Keri, bummer on your mom not liking to shop. Can you bribe her with lunch or a movie or something?

If my mom lived closer I'd be waaaay poorer.

catslady said...

First off, I stapled my daughter's badges on roflmao and then I had my mom sew them on. I used to be able to cook but do less and less. Love all the wine tips and can't wait to try the glass licking lol.
Here's a warning more than a tip - if you have dark eye brows DO NOT PLUCK OUT THE WHITE ONES AS THEY COME IN - I now have bald spots that I have to fill in with eye brow pencil. Someone told me I should try a regular marking pen to die them!

Michele Hauf said...

Welcome to the convertible, Michelle!

I'm sure I HAD girlie tips, but I've abandoned them over the years because I just don't care any more. :-) Though the winter shaving rule does apply if you live in colder climes. You're allowed to only shave your legs to the knee because during the winter you basically wear pants anyway. Hey, that works for me.

Betina Krahn said...

Welcome, Michelle!

Hey, I love your tips! I'm not a big drinker, but I do hold a glass at times. I'll try the licking thing in San Fran!

And as to my own girlie tricks. . .

Used drier sheets are great for taking static cling out of clothes; I keep a couple in my suitcase so I can look smooth while traveling. (har) And putting a little face powder on your lips before applying lipstick will make it last longer. Also. . . lip pencil, then powder, then lipstick is the best combination of all.

I guess I do have a girlie trick or two. Who knew?

Debra Dixon said...

Michelle--

Great tips! I'm not familiar with Indian threading but am most familiar with the Pluck-0'-Torture method.

Michelle Gagnon said...

I LOVE the dryer sheet, tide-to-go and face powder tips! I actually knew the lip one but forgot it. And when I'm traveling, I try (with varying degrees of success) to steam the wrinkles out by blasting the shower with the dress hanging on the rod. Not terribly environmental, sadly, but it works.

Jane said...

A tip I learned from magazines is to use toilet seat covers as an alternative to oil-blotting paper. Applying powder to your bottom eyelids will keep your eyeliner from running. Eyeshadow should be light on the top and darker on the bottom.

Estella said...

I cannot think of a girly tip--I am way past the girly stage.
I am looking forward to reading BonecYard.

robynl said...

I love wearing nail polish on my finger and toe nails. Apply the polish in three strokes starting with the middle and then on each side.

*****The soft fluffy brush used to apply powder blush is excellent to use when giving dh a back rub and/or use in foreplay. It literally sends goose bumps over them and helps them relax. Just apply light strokes back and forth. Actually, I use an extra brush that I have on hand that hasn't been used for blush, lol.

Always apply your foundation down under the chin and jaw line so as to not leave a powder line that is very visible; work the makeup in.

flchen1 said...

Michelle, I can use all the girly help I can get, so I'm no help! That French twist thing is SO not easy! I'll have to look into threading... Congrats on Bone Yard!

hondaray6 said...

Not too girly girl here anymore either, but those dryer sheets? When you get home from a trip throw a new one in your suitcase. It keeps the suitcase fresh even if its in storage for a few months!

Michele P. said...

While not a girly girl tip, what I like to do is keep one of those sticky tape lint/fur removers in my purse. You just never know where you are gonna sit or what you will be wearing that day. Say you're wearing a nice black cashmere sweater and some pretty pearls. You happen to visit your friend before that all important interview with your publicist. Fluffy makes an appearance, and before you know it Fluffy's white fur is adorning your sweater. Quick fix...take it in the bathroom, take it off, reach in purse for sticky tape lint/hair remover and Voila! Fluffy fur begone! It has worked every time for me! Thanks for having the giveaway Michelle.

exotic1 said...

Wow while reading this blog I thought it was reading a copy of my own biography. I'm not a girly girl either and I didn't wear a dress until I was in my 20's and I still don't even try to walk in heals I don't like falling down much lol However I have learned a bit over the years but I'm not sure if they are secrets though. one is Keeping a small bottle of clear hardner finger nail polish in your hand bag is a good idea because if you ever start to get a run in your panty hose a dot of that will stop the run and get you through the night. Another quick fix is if you find your self with a static cling problem hair spray will help stop that too if your in a pinch. Great giveaway Michelle Thank you for the opportunity enter.

Nikki said...

I'm so not a girlie girl, but I have three tips: use an eye shadow brush and eye shadow for filling in your eyebrows instead of an eyebrow pencil. It looks softer. Hair spray (like Aqua Net in the can) will get ink out of clothes most of the time. And finally, peanut butter actually will get gum out of hair. I've taken peanut butter crackers apart at school to get to the peanut butter to get gum out of a kid's hair (who wasn't supposed to be chewing gum in the first place).

Virginia Lady said...

I know where you're coming from Michelle. My mom couldn't cook and was anything but a girlie girl. No makeup, no dresses, etc. And I had two brothers and it seemed no matter where we lived, the neighborhood was filled with boys, not girls. So, all my friends were boys. This has held true into adulthood. I have 3 sons, no girls, and the female friends I do have were introduced to me by my male friends.

My best tip is if you have to wear hose, because sometimes you really need hose, wear thigh-highs, and always buy the same color. I swear by Hanes Silk Reflections Lace Top thigh-highs, not the regular top ones, they pinch after a while. (And I've tried a lot of thigh-highs)

The lace top ones are wiser and much more comfortable and they don't slide down, but the benefit comes when you have to use the bathroom, no ripping hose from pulling them up and down. Plus, if you do get a run, you don't throw out the whole pair, just one leg. If you've bought all the same color, then you just take out a new leg and move on.

Michelle Gagnon said...

There were so many great tips, I ended up having my toddler draw names out of a hat...and the winner is (drum roll please...)
Hondaray 6!
Thanks everyone, these were all so helpful!
Michelle