Author: braintrustbabe

News Catch Up July 30, 2014

Life gets busy, so when I do a whirlwind tour of what’s going on, you get to come with.  Don’t worry, all links open in a new window, so you won’t even lose your spot.  

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While Republicans are busy suing President “why you gotta be mad” Obama, a young girl writes the President to ask why there are no women on US currency.  Anyone else feel like kind of a jerk for not even thinking to wonder this?  On the upside, our economy is up by 4% and tea party people agree with liberals that GMO (genetically modified foods) should be labeled as such.  And here I thought the “common ground” is that we are all Americans.  In Maine, what looks like a murder-suicide of a family of 5 proves yet again that people who appear nice can do really awful things.  On the West Coast, a teenager is accused of intentionally starting a fire that torched 20,000 acres of San Diego, CA, causing about $10.4M in damages and costs.  Um…also in San Diego, a 17-year-old was beaten while attending the Comic-Con 2014.  Seriously.  Wtf is wrong with people?  In the world, children and women continue to flee the horrors of Syria’s civil war (the photos are heartbreaking) and the largest Ebola outbreak ever has killed at least 672 people in West Africa.  Palestinians and Israelis are still engaged in a war where even UN safe zones are not safe.  Pray for #peaceinthemiddleeast.  To continue in horror, the rebels in Ukraine have allegedly scattered land mines at the MH17 crash site.  Running off with dead bodies in refrigerated trains and stealing plane pieces apparently isn’t enough.  Nothing yet on MH370.  Turning to South Africa, after hanging out in a night club and verbally crapping all over President Jacob Zuma’s family, Oscar Pistorius is waiting for closing arguments (as I am) in his trial scheduled for August 7-8, 2014.  

And yes….this really happened.Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 7.32.03 PM




Life Hack Product: Z Malouf Travel Pillow (is a Game Changer)

You know what’s super sexy?  Feeling well rested.  

Although I have the gift of being able to sleep anywhere–plane, train, automobile, ground, floor, sofa–restful sleep is hard to find.  It’s the difference between Ms. Cranky Pants and Ms. Holy Shit this is the Best Day of My Life Pants.  In pictures, it’s like the difference between:

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Miranda Kerr knows what’s up.

Uh, did you know she is the world’s second richest model and only takes 15 minutes to look like this every morning?  


You can click the link for Miranda’s routine, but spoiler alert: she’s a winner of the genetic lottery.

But, I digress.  In my dreams, I throw money at anything bedding like it’s on fire (the money, not the bedding).  Many moons ago, I fell in love with these pillows from the Westin/Sheraton/one of the Starwood Resorts & Hotels.  The 50/50 Encompass Group Pillow.  50% Goose Down/50% Goose Feather.  About $160 for a set of 2 standard pillows.  But my god.  They were amazing.  So soft and fluffy, like angels kissing my head.

Well-rested people will notice that I used “were.”  This is because I have found:

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meet the Z by Malouf Travel Size Memory Foam Molded Contour Neck Pillow-Luxurious Washable Cover ($30-$60).

I found it while searching for the perfect travel pillow to use on the plane/car/ground during a camping trip with the love of my life who is very angry with me.  Compact, travel friendly, and comfortable (the pillow, not the man).  Apparently, even though we’ve walked on the moon, this is too much to ask for.  I’ve gone through travel pillows of every shape, size, brand–ones that strap to luggage, that you blow up, that blow up themselves, convertible rectangle/U-shaped ones, memory foam ones with tiny pockets for earplugs.

At first, I was hesitant about the Z Pillow:

1.  I confused Malouf with Maloof.  As in Adrienne Maloof from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

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Although she is one of my favorite people ever (business woman, peaceful resolution specialist, feisty), there’s a certain apprehension that comes with i.e. David Beckham cologne, Brittany Spears perfume, Jessica Simpson shoes….

2.  You can’t really attach it to anything i.e. luggage, travel bag.

3.  Memory foam.  Anything that makes a dull thud when you plop your head or body on it, is suspicious.

HOWEVER, I don’t think I will use another pillow ever.  It is so wonderful, I totally get why the company registered the letter Z as a trademark symbol.  This little gem rocks my world:

1. Light and compact: About 12 oz and 10″x12″x4″.

2. Travel friendly: memory foam can be squished real little.  Even rolls into its “luxurious [velour] washable cover.”

3. So soft and comfy.  My neck started to hurt from stress, and my Encompass pillows weren’t cutting it.  In the interim I’ve used the Z pillow nightly.  I can’t really roll around on it, but when I wake up, no neck pain and good morning Ms. Holy Shit the is the Best Day of My Life Pants.

4.  Ergonomic to align spine.

One day, I will upgrade to:

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the Z Gel-Infused Dough Memory Foam Contour Pillow with Z-Gel Liquid Gel Packet ($80-$150+).  It’s bigger and the gel distributes heat.  It’s so awesome the “Z” AND “Dough” are registered trademark symbols.

Sleep well sexy face,


Life Hack: Be a Poser II (Get the Picture Perfect Smile)

Penelope Cruz is a woman of many smiles.  She beams, she grins, smiles softly, pouts so sweetly.

Man or woman, you too, can be a person of many smiles.  You too, can nail it in front of the paparazzi.  Practice, practice, practice.  In front of a mirror.  Until muscle memory kicks in.  Ok, maybe just until you can remember what each smile feels like.

Meet the basic smile (The MMMmmm face)

   Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 9.48.03 PM   ktrk_101812_Kutcher

  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “MMM” without opening your mouth, to create a smile

Grin like it’s your thing (Me, Me, Me, Meeeee)

Penelope-Cruz-May-Expecting-Second-Child-Video    mattdamon_final

  1. Put your lips together.
  2. Lift up the corners of your mouth.
  3. Say “ME” opening your mouth and showing your teeth but keeping it soft.

Beam brighter than the sun (haaaaaayyyy)

penelope-cruz_1895985c   Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 10.55.33 PM

  1. Say “HEY” and hold it.  Notice your tongue is forward and lips are apart.
  2. Say “HEY” again with a smiling expression.
  3. If you can, push your tongue up against the roof of your mouth.  This helps pull up the double chin.

Look poor (the gaunt look)

Penelope-Cruz      NEP8M516S5V4SR_1_1

  1. Say “POOR“.
  2. Keep the lips soft and sultry, hold for a few seconds.

Smiling saves lives.  Fact.

Be a Poser I: Slim down in photos here.

Yours always and forever,


Raving Rants: Oscar Pistorius Did Not Just Compare His Pain to Holocaust Survivor’s

Oscar, please tell me this isn’t so.  Not only did you “accidentally” kill (say it) your girlfriend by shooting her with exploding bullets, play the victim in the resulting South African murder trial, and allegedly run over a dog while texting, get out, shoot the dog in the head, and drive away.  Now you’ve gone and compared your pain to that of a Holocaust Survivor’s???  Mercy.  Seriously, mercy.  You are so special that all these improbable things had to happen to bring you to where you are today, aren’t you?

OP’s sobbing and vomiting High Court murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa is on break, scheduled to resume August 7, 2014 for closing arguments (Gerrie Nel, I can’t wait!).  YouTube will probably have the video.

Apparently (full article on Yahoo! Sports), for the first time since Feb. 14, 2014 (exactly 1 year after he shot Reeva Steenkamp), this is what OP tweets in rapid succession: a psalm, a photograph, and a passage from an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor.  These me, me, me tweets come after OP’s 30 day psych eval (that annihilated any psych defense), and after OP’s defense team rested (because no one wanted to testify).

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even more outrageous….

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The passage is from a book written by Holocaust Survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl.  In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl discusses the concept of Logotherapy, where a basic principle is “life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.”

Only your actions are not making sense.  Your attorney looks like he is doing everything he can (except maybe the deal with Roger Dixon), and your family and friends are doing their best to support a loved one.

This outrageousness must stop,


Raving Rants: Dear AT&T, Your Service Sucks

AT&T service sucks SO bad. To quote the lovely Jessica Alba who ALWAYS knows what to wear, and what to say:


No reception in my home (and I live in the big city) or my parents’ home (they live in a well populated suburb). My bill is obnoxiously high and I’m locked in forever because I needed a phone before my contract was up, and because I’m an A-Pod (Apple Pod: one who is brainwashed by Apple), it had to be the most recent iPhone.  When I called AT&T, know what they said?

The buildings in your city are not conducive to reception. Everyone else in the area is using a microcell. Would you like to purchase one?

I don’t care if a goddamn microcell (works like a mini cell tower in your home) is 99 cents.  It is the principle. The possibility that I could be having a heart attack and need to fish around for my $100+/mo. cell phone service in my own home makes me want to scream into a pillow.  By the way, to all the lovebirds out there:

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(*note, because of AT&T’s shit service the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires all providers to relay a 911 call from a working cell phone.  But, of course, this also means there has to be a cell tower near by).

You know who has conquered cell reception in buildings? Verizon. T-mobile. Probably the 5-yr-old next door.  AT&T, get your sh*t together. Scraping by just isn’t enough anymore.

Love you Jess!!!!!,


Life Hack: Be a Poser (How to Look Slimmer in Photographs)

Fact: Even Gisele Bundchen gets fat-arm in photographs.  Translation: posing can make a difference.  Here’s a shorty short short summary of quick fixes to sizzle in those summer sexographs.  I mean, summer photographs.


  • body parts closer to the camera will appear larger than those farther away
  • highlighted areas will appear larger/more prominent than shadowed areas


What to do: chin up (not too high), turn to the side (slightly)

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Why chin up?  Chin down can mess with your face proportions in an unattractive way.  The forehead is already naturally wider than the chin.  With your chin down, the forehead is closer to the camera, and the chin is in the shadows and farther from the camera.  Also, when your chin is up, the area is stretched so you minimize double chin.

Full face frontal can be fatal.  The short of it, you risk big face/moon face/pie face.  Angling your head to the side adds light and shadows to your face creating depth and definition.  If you have the time and the will, you can quickly contour/sculpt your face with makeup.  Highlight areas of your face where the sun would naturally kiss–forehead, bridge of nose, bow of lip, chin, cheekbones.  Bronze/darken areas you want to minimize, and around areas you want to define–down sides around bridge of nose, outer edge of face, hollows of cheeks.


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What to do: turn to the side (one foot in front of the other, leaning into back foot), arms slightly away from body (one arm in back triangle formation, if possible)

Why turn to the side?  I’ll let the photos below do the talking.

Front view:  

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Side view:

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Keep at least a sliver of space between your body and arms.  If you don’t, your arm fat will spread and flatten out against your body.  The sound of that sentence alone should deter you from ever forgetting this.


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Sliver of space:

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Back arm triangle formation in action.  Gisele knows what’s up.  Put your hand on your hip, angling the elbow back.  That triangulated arm now has something to do, and is farther from the camera.  Don’t forget the sliver of space between the other arm and your body.

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That’s all I have for now.  Why?  Because the first time I finished this blog entry, I refreshed the window and lost everything.  Seriously, I got this really adorable message from WordPress:

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and then, all my work was gone.

Pose like a rock star,


Raving Rants: Sting and Home Invasions are Both Creepy

Goddamn it.  GOD F-#@$% DAMN IT.  Someone came into my home, and stole my laptop.  A blogger’s nightmare, but much worse than that.  I always thought of all crimes, a breaking and entering sans anything other than lost goods, wasn’t so bad.  No one was hurt, right?  But, when it happens to you, you realize that there was a stranger in your home.  You don’t know who it was, what they touched, what they did, what they saw, how long they were there, if they’ve been watching you…Sting’s “Every Breath you Take” playing on loop in anyone else’s head?

And for all those people who thought it was a love song, Wiki is here to set you straight:

Sting later said he was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He insists it’s about the obsession with a lost lover, and the jealousy and surveillance that follow. “One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘Well, good luck.'” 

Disconcerted, people.  He used the word disconcerted.  Confusing, I agree, because Sting’s remix with P-Diddy and my girl Faith had a whole different feel to it.  Less haunting, more reminisce.

Also, for sh*ts and g*ggles, I popped every breath you take into Google.  As art pieces, certainly valuable (really beautiful, ladies, well done), but as Google results for how unnerved I should be?

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Uh…not good.

After cycling the stages of grief and upon the support of very wise family and friends (who work out A LOT and are very strong), I have taken the precautionary and corrective measures to stay safe.

The culprit?  We have the usual suspects: rando-maintenance person, klepto ex-roommate, unhinged ex-boyfriend (x2), or, a total stranger.  A few weeks ago, someone was rambling about how nice it is to go home after work to your own place, away from any noise or raucous.  I’m sorry I thought it was rambling, and I’m going to add “and feel safe.”  It’s nice to go home and feel safe.  I’ve been taking it for granted.  It’s the one place I should be safe.  It’s where I go to be safe, right?


Brain Trust Babe

Life Hack Men: Footwear Quickie

Men.  Take note.  Your footwear matters.  I know.  You hate this.  Life is unfair and you are so over how superficial women/society are.  Well, reputable research studies show that you need to suck it up.  Sure, the Halo Effect is debatable.  So are global warming and the existence of God.  But do you really want to chance it?  Use it to your advantage.  It’s painless, no science or faith necessary.  And, everyone wins. They really do.


James Marsden GQ

See what’s happening here?  The footwear elevates him.  That being said, I get it. Bros don’t judge bros by their footwear, and you’re too real to care about James Marsden or a woman’s shoes.  First, bros are the target audience here.  Second, please.  How many nicely dressed woman do you see with raggedy shoes that are falling apart/stuff peeling off the side/kind of stinky/begging to be killed? Judging by your reaction to leg stubble, it is doubtful this would go unnoticed.

Luckily, style and fashion are not being forced upon you.  This is about etiquette. Whatever shoe you wear, wear it like you respect it.

Givenchy, Richard James, Dries Van Noten, Canali


Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, Missoni, Louis Vuitton

The state of your shoes isn’t only to attract hot gold diggers smart and successful women, but it reflects your attention to detail, whether you take care of yourself, and your judgment.

1. Clean your goddamn feet.  Is there any other way to say it?  Care about them.  Wash them with soap.  From the very bottom of my heart, I sincerely suggest you try a pedicure.  Let’s say, maybe you schedule a therapeutic foot massage and it just happens.  No one will laugh at you.  They will probably thank you and love you more.

2. Figure out when you should wear socks and when you should take them off.  Spoiler alert: anything that involves sweating (i.e. basketball), wear socks.  When you can, let your feet breath so other people can.  I’ve broken up with a man because of stinky feet.  It was so bad, I had a hard time concentrating around him.  Of course there were other issues, but it was the last straw.

3. Just like you can’t just mow a lawn once, one must maintain and use preventative care with feet.  Sprinkle on Gold Bond like it is your job.  Drugstores don’t have designated foot care sections for fun.  Choose from a cornucopia of options invented specifically with you in mind.  All reasonably priced (start below $5), there are i.e. sprays, foot pads, nice smelling balls to throw into your shoes.

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4.  If you’re over the age of 21, invest in at least one pair of quality shoes.  I’m not talking about sneakers.  You guys LOVE them.  Hats off to i.e. Nike and their Air Force One shoes.  But that 15-year-old who just respected your kicks, isn’t going to hire you for your next job.  I’m talking about these:


Stick to a classic, maybe with a personal twist.  GQ does not have to bless them and they do not have to be designer shoes.  But, such shoes will start over $150.  Consider less cool sounding but solid brands like Clarks. According to my calculator, a $200 pair of shoes that survives for 2 years, cost about $8/month. You’re also investing in your future.

Ok.  These Jimmy Choo croc sneakers are dope. But, if you appreciated them back in 2013, you probably have the nice shoes area covered. Carry on.


5.  Take care of your shoes.  Don’t be lazy.  Shine them.  Drugstores carry shoe polish.  Or, get them shined.  Dust them off.  Whatever you need to do (but let’s also be normal about this).  They may still be nice shoes, but if they’re all scuffed up, we’re back to square one.  You want nice looking shoes that can stay that way for a long time.  Taking care of these nice shoes also means taking care of your feet.  Welcome to the circle of life.


Listen, we love you.  We appreciate your individuality and that you can be so cute when you’re stubborn.  Just change the state of your footwear, and everything else will follow suit.


Brain Trust Babe

Life Hack Product: Eve Lom Facial Cleanser Review

Packing=one of the most painful things you can make me do.  I travel less than my friends (I hate them i.e. Turkey, Greece, Japan), but enough that packing haunts me.  Trips between 2-5 days are the worst especially where my activities are all over the board–from West Coast camping to a bad@ss weekend in Vegas.

To appease the TSA’s penchant for safety and my neurosis to travel light, I spend HOURS decanting my liquids into tiny containers/figuring out which product samples to bring. When the trip is over, I struggle with what to do with leftovers.  The result has been drawers of partly used “saving them for the next trip” products.  What brings me joy and relief?  Products that:

  • work,
  • are small and light,
  • have enough product for regular use and on the go,
  • have costs proportional to/worth their sizes,
  • have multiple uses (bang that buck),
  • you love enough to want to spend a lot of time with and blog about,
  • and ok…are aesthetically pleasing.

EVE LOM’s facial cleanser is what I’m talking about.  It is perfect for men and women (relevant translation: men, you will not smell like fruit or flowers).  It’s a balm, and if you have the time to do a muslin cloth multi-step ritual, officially dual-use it as an exfoliator.  Also handles waterproof makeup like it ain’t a big deal.  Doesn’t foam, melts like butter.


The DL (down low):

1.  It works. Apparently, it is award-winning and Vogue has blessed it.

I speculate the effectiveness comes down to high school science “like attracts like”–oil likes oil, oil dislikes water.  The balm cleanser contains Egyptian Chamomile Oil (softens and soothes skin), Eucalyptus Oil (decongests for radiant skin), Clove Oil (antibacterial effect for clear skin), Hops Oil (tones the skin).  Once on your face, the balm oil component attracts/draws out your pore oil. The balm oil benefits can then absorb through the pores into your skin.  So, I really massage it in and sometimes wait before rinsing it off (i.e. while do chores).  When you rinse your face (warm water opens up pores), the balm+pore oil rinse away.  Then, cool water helps close your pores.

*****If you foresee never having the time/discipline for a skin ritual, skip this section.  According to Sephora, my wiki for beauty products:

  • Apply once a day, at night, for normal/dry skin types and twice a day, morning and night, for congested skins.
  • Massage a small amount onto the face and neck onto dry skin over the grime and makeup from the day.
  • Fill a basin with hot water and immerse the Muslin Cloth. (<–BTB thinks you could substitute with a soft towel, etc)
  • Squeeze off excess water and hold the cloth over the face and neck for a few seconds while taking a deep breath.
  • The heat will soften the skin and open the pores allowing the aromatic oils to cleanse the skin of impurities. For optimum results repeat this stage three times.
  • Fold the hot, rinsed cloth into a square and work it in small circular movements across the face and neck to remove all traces of Cleanser and makeup.
  • The Muslin Cloth will gently exfoliate the skin surface and encourage healthy blood circulation, leaving the skin feeling exceptionally smooth.
  • Rinse the cloth in cool water and hold over the face and neck. This helps close the pores, giving the skin a more even, toned appearance. It also leaves the skin feeling fresh and ultra clean.*****

2.  Eve Lom’s balm is small and light.  Great for travel and on the go (i.e. gym/work/etc).  The 1 oz size weighs ~2 oz w/dimensions ~2″x2″.  For TSA purposes, is this really a liquid? I don’t know.  Even if it is, this size is in the clear.


3.  Good amount of product.  A little goes a long way.


That’s how much I use.  I expect the lifetime measurement of this 1 oz size to be in months.  I like to mix up my skin routine (don’t judge, I have awesome skin), but this balm is one of my constants.  I use it once almost every day.  Whether it is a time/discipline issue, probably both, I do not perform the exfoliation ritual.

4. Because of #3, the cost is not killing me.  It also has dual purposes.  Sephora sells the 1.6 0z for $50, 3.3 oz for $80, and 6.8 oz for $135.  Again, don’t judge, but I purchased the 1 oz size for $25 on eBay.  eBay is my go-to when I want to try something out of the drugstore $ range. HOWEVER, I love i.e. Sephora because you are 100% sure everything is authentic and fresh.  And, if you try it but don’t like it, you can return it.  I didn’t know where to write this because I love the product and understand the aromatherapy value, but the smell may or may not remind one of Bengay…ok…Bengay.  I’ve grown to like the scent…it’s just unexpected.

5. I love it. Please see #1-4, #6.  I’m actually about to wash my face with it, pending the end of this blog entry.

6. I love the packaging…design and use.  It’s simple, easy/secure to open and close, and you can easily get out every bit of product.

If you have the urge to Google this cleanser, as I would, click here (opens a new window).

Ciao loves,

Brain Trust Babe

Life Hack: Mind Reboot

Turning your mind off will turn you on.

I have a real issue with anger management. I indulge my thoughts and let them get away from me. Example: personal space means nothing to Mr. X on a crowded subway train.  Everyone else is being respectful by keeping to themselves, but not Mr. X.  Mr. X insists on reading a newspaper even though the pages keep hitting me in the head.  I may look all pink hair don’t care

but I’ve already imagined punching Mr. X in the face at least 30 times.

It’s hard to stop worrisome/negative thoughts stuck in your head.  But, just like a computer that needs to be rebooted to function properly, your mind needs to chill the f*&(^ out.

In yoga/meditation, they tell you to “think about nothing” and “be in the present.” I used to be like, yeah, I’m focusing, I’m present…presently I cannot hold downward dog for another second I hate that girl next to me so much, presently it is soooo humid, presently I want to relax so bad.  WTF.  How does one think about nothing?  Does anyone even know what nothing looks like?  Am I supposed to picture a blank space?  Is it the darkness when I close my eyes?  With nothing to think about, my mind becomes a vacuum, essentially sucking up any thought it can.

It finally hit me when I saw this on a T-shirt:


Read this to yourself:
Little voice, I want you to shut up.

Now, try reading it to yourself without that narrative inner voice:
Little voice, I want you to shut up.

It should be that sans “little voice,” one can visually observe that words or objects are present, but one cannot process their meaning.  That little voice is on all the time.  It reads words to you, describes your surroundings, and analyzes your observations.

Try this:

1. find a quiet place if you can.

2. sit comfortably.

3. place an object in front of you (i.e. an iPhone)

4. instruct yourself to observe something about the object (i.e. the edges).

5. When you observe i.e. the edges, suppress any narrative by the “little voice.”  Just look, don’t process.

6.  This “just observing” is giving your thinking mind a break.

If that “little voice” starts up, just acknowledge it happened and start again.  With enough practice, and the willingness to try, resting your mind and chilling the f$%# out gets easier. I even use it when I have trouble falling asleep.  I close my eyes, blank out that voice, and just see what happens.  This doesn’t always work, and that’s ok.  The times it does, is resting time that my mind never had before.

Brain Trust Babe