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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity



Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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dalekaty has commented on (2) products.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn
The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

dalekaty, July 5, 2008

“I have also understood that one family making a supreme effort to live entirely without any harm to the environment makes little impact. But the collective effort of the majority of the population to make smaller, seemingly insignificant changes can make a difference.”

-Amy Dacyczyn, “The Complete Tightwad Gazette”

Most of the time I am satisfied to get my reading fix from library books. Fiction, non-fiction - it all comes from the library. But there is one book that I must own, which enjoys a place of honor on my bedside table. That book is my dog eared copy of “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn, published by Villard Books.

Amy Dacyczyn self- published “The Tightwad Gazette” monthly newsletter from 1990 - 1996, and this book is a compilation of those newsletters. The mix of Amy’s funny and informative essays, research and reader letters make this book an entertaining tome, and tome it is at 959 pages.

The main point of “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” is that you will have a few key opportunities to save large amounts of money in a lifetime, (Cars, houses, etc.) but it is the small purchases, and your ability to control these outlays of money that will determine your financial stability. These “Tightwad” financial decisions are what we now coin in 2008 as “green living.” Cooking from scratch, hang drying laundry, second hand clothing, etc. The writing is as fresh and relevant in 2008 as ever, perhaps even more so.

Even though I’ve read through “The Tightwad Gazette” countless times I always seem to find something new and useful with each new reading. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking to get a better handle on their finances.

-Katy Wolk-Stanley
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Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me (7th Edition) by Paula Begoun
Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me (7th Edition)

dalekaty, July 5, 2008

JULY 5, 2008

I first heard about "Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me" a number of years ago. A couple of women at work were raving about it, and I remember enjoying an inner smugness about my own makeup-free beauty.

I rarely wear cosmetics, and pretty much consider it a waste of money, time and synaptic activity. (We can send a man to the moon, so why are we spending time engineering new lip liners?)

Fast forward to age 40.

My casual prettiness is showing its age, and my kids are entering the pre-teen complexion-angst age.

I want to go buy some face creams and pimple-goo, but have no idea where to start. I don’t want to waste my money on products that don’t live up to their claims.

A quick trip to the library, and enter "Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me" by Paula Begoun, with Bryan Barron (Beginning Press).

Begoun’s message quickly won me over.

“Consumers (including myself) deserved better. I wasn’t anti-makeup — just the opposite — but I was (and am) anti-hype, and against misleading information.”

Consumer rights? That’s right up my alley!

The 2008 seventh edition, is a seriously heavy debunking of false scientific cosmetics claims. It weighs in at a staggering 1187 pages.

Every single product from all the major cosmetic lines, as well as many of the smaller lines, are analyzed. The reviews are based on ingredients, percentages, packaging, (light infiltration can deactivate some products), pH, appearance, price — All reviewed in spectacular detail.

“Natural” and “organic” claims especially bother her.

“Natural ingredient claims are not regulated by the FDA. Although the FDA has tried to establish official definitions and guidelines for the use of terms such as “natural,” its regulation proposals were overturned in court. Therefore, cosmetics companies can use the ‘all natural’ term on ingredient lists to mean anything they want, and almost always it means nothing at all.”

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Poison ivy face mask, anyone?

Other interesting points:

- You don’t need different moisturizers for the different areas of your body. Eyes, hands, face, etc.

- You can’t just stick to one brand. No one product line receives across the board recommendations.
- The number one thing to prevent skin damage/aged appearance is sunscreen vigilance.
- The $1 lipstick I prefer for those rare occasions calling for my “fancy face,” is actually very highly rated. (Way to go, Wet ‘n
Wild!)
- The best treatment for pimples is just a generic tube of benzoyl peroxide.
- A regular washcloth cleans your face just as well as a store-bought abrasive scrub.

The book ends with a summary of recommended cosmetic products. So if you’re looking for something specific, you can simply flip to the back.

The upshot of this book? I ended up buying a $3.50 tube of benzoyl peroxide for my son and a huge jug of sunscreen for myself.

Thank you, Paula Begoun!

-Katy Wolk-Stanley
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(10 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)



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