When I went to see the Shins a few months ago, some obnoxious milquetoast---probably a close relation of one of the Judds who stood right behind me with their shirt collars up, talking throughout each and every song---waited until the opening bars of New Slang and then called out "this band will change your life!"
And everyone snickered because he was referring, of course, to the infamous---and really slightly obsequious---line in Garden State, when Natalie Portman's character hands her enormous headphones over to Zach Braff's character and says "you gotta hear this one song. It'll change your life, I swear."
Recently, I've found myself slinging the phrase "it changed my life" around like it's on sale at the Safeway, ten for a dollar, like life-changing miracles happen to me every day courtesy of George Foreman and Oprah. Seriously, everything seems to be changing my life at the moment: having a dishwasher, for example, changed my life. (I rather suspect it saved my relationship too.) This new thing I bought at Target, which I fill up with water and then keep in the fridge so I can have a cold glass of water whenever I want it, just by pressing a button, that changed my life. Those rubbery things you roll the garlic in to get the skin off, those changed my life. Swiffer changed my life. The discovery of Good and Plenty candy changed my life. Clorox changed my life. My god, even Bagel Friday changed my life. (Also my pants size. Although the less said about that, the better.)
And so, having officially cheapened "it changed my life" forever, I decided to make a list, a proper list of all the most important discoveries I've made over the last few months and years, things I really think you should know about too. (Uh, just so you realize, we're talking lip gloss here, not, like spiritual understanding or anything.) I suppose it's sort of a "here are a few of my faaaaaaaavorite things" kind of deal. But without the cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels! doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles!
Of which, I am sure, you are glad.
And now, forthwith, a list of things that have changed my life (or which, I guess, I just really, really like):
Purity Made Simple
When I first moved to San Francisco, my skin went crazy. I don't know if it was the sudden cold after six months of Southeast Asian humidity, or if it was the stress, or if it was both, but seriously, I was like pepperoni pizza central. I'd never had particularly bad skin before, but suddenly! The zits! The pores! The unexplained rosacea! I had been using a Kiss My face product, which I'd liked just fine for two years, but which suddenly gave out on me. I tried a few other things, which just made the problem worse, and then---out of pure desperation, as I'd just been offered an interview for the dream job I have now, and didn't want to dissuade anyone from hiring me because they thought they might catch my bad case of acne---I decided to pull out the big bucks. I bought the Make Up Optional kit by Philosophy, wincing and grimacing at the price---more than I'd ever spent on my skin IN MY LIFE---and wouldn't you know, in a week my skin was clear. Swear to god. When it all ran out (which, by the way, wasn't for months and months), I just bought the Purity Made Simple cleanser and the Hope In A Jar moisturizer---the serum didn't really do anything for me, and I still have the eye cream, but use it infrequently---and those are the two products I use every night and honestly, I couldn't be happier with my skin. It's quite unfathomable, actually, how much better it is than it's ever, ever been. Plus this stuff smells fancy and that's enough for me.
Cover Girl LipSlick in "Daring"
One of the things people e-mail me about the most, more than what sort of clothes they should bring to San Francisco or how much money they should take to Southeast Asia, is what lip gloss I use. You see, I am never without my lip gloss. Remember when I set myself on fire? I was wearing my lip gloss! Of course I was wearing my lip gloss! I am even wearing my lip gloss in scary near-death situations! And here's the thing: it's not actually a lip gloss, it's a lip slick---a sort of balm-meets-lipstick type thing. It has been, quite possibly, my proudest discovery; for years, I was looking for something that would turn my lips the awesome color they go when they're chapped, something natural and not too shiny or lipsticky or bold. And then I found it! And it only cost $3.49! Before I went traveling last year, I foolishly only bought TWO of these to last me, when I really should have brought twenty; I ran out within the first month and believe it or not, those are a bitch to get in Burma. I ended up rubbing my lips with tree bark or something.
If you haven't used Skype, you really should. I signed up for the one where you put $10 on your account, and then you can dial any number in the world THROUGH YOUR COMPUTER, and it rings on the person's telephone. And then you speak to them. ON YOUR COMPUTER. And most of the time they have no idea that you're on your computer, they just think you're on a phone, and they're all "um, shouldn't we go? This must be costing you hundreds of dollars!" and you're all "oh no, it's fine, it's, like, two cents a minute or something, let's keep chatting!" and they're all "oh, um, really, are you sure? It's just....I've kind of got to go. We've been talking for two hours already. Don't you have anything better to do?"
Seriously, Skype actually has changed my life, because even though my entire family lives abroad, I wasn't making any transatlantic phone calls before---I couldn't afford to make them on my cell phone, and we don't have a land line, so if I wanted to talk to my mother, I'd just text message her and then wait for her to call me back. Which seems so archaic now that I can press some buttons on my computer and have her voice in my ear FOR ALMOST FREE! It also means I can call my 81-year-old grandmother in her nursing home every Sunday morning, and that's worth every single cent. Although I've given up trying to explain what the Internet is and have just started pretending I'm talking on a normal phone. The other day I had to explain what Sean does for a living, and I realized that "designing web sites" really meant nothing to her, and as far as she's concerned, I'm dating a lazy layabout who stares at some sort of screen all day. With maybe some doodling included.
Iced peppermint tea
Put three peppermint tea bags in a pitcher (I actually use the cheap Trader Joe's $1.99-a-box ones), pour hot water over them, and let them steep for a few minutes. Add a packet or two of Splenda, then refrigerate. Come home from your Exercise Class Of Death absolutely exhausted and hot and sweaty, looking for a reason to go on living (coincidentally, often found in the refrigerator), and see the iced peppermint tea you made on a whim last night, not knowing if it would work. Pour yourself a tall glass. See God. Consider your life changed.
Repeat above scenario, changing out "Exercise Class of Death" for "Horrible Encounter With Bitch From Hell At Auto Glass Replacement Shop"---dude, that is seriously a story for another time; in fact I may CC the Internet on my very strongly-worded letter to the management of Glass Pro San Francisco---and "peppermint iced tea" for "almond butter." Almond butter is my new favorite thing, and is perfect on crumpets; again, I just bought the Trader Joe's kind. I found it hideously expensive at $5.99, but Sean bought it for me as a treat.
You have to try this. Have you tried this? It's like a mix CD from the Internet! You type in your favorite band and IT PLAYS SONGS BY OTHER BANDS YOU MIGHT LIKE. Seriously, I have a big huge crush on whoever invented Pandora.
I realize, of course, that having finished this list, I will now think of eight more things I should have added, but this will do for now, since it's late at night, I've rather lost momentum, and I need to get up for work in the morning---those Cover Girl Lipslicks aren't going to pay for themselves, you know.
But meanwhile, what about you? Any life-changing discoveries you want to share with the world? Any must-have products? I'm very keen to know what Changed Your Life. Unless it was that Shins song, of course. In which case, well, take a number.