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: 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


Thought of the Day: Come Tinder

Image I have successfully avoided Tinder since its inception in 2012, but due to my rock-bottom single status, I caved 48 hours 72 hours ago.  Instead of doing something productive or interacting with actual people, I’m collecting as many good looking people as I can.  Before we progress, here’s a quick run down:

Tinder what?

Tinder is a location-based dating/mating mobile app with the properties of crack.  Generally, Tinder allows nearby users who like each other to connect.  If you’re not a user yet or don’t know what it is, here’s some genuine, heartfelt advice.  Approach Tinder as you would a STD–if you don’t already have it, don’t try to get it.

Quick start Tinder tips

♥ no Facebook account, no Tinder.  Although some basic FB info like your first name and age appear on Tinder, no Tinder activity should appear in FB.  There are no posts like, “Hi, I just joined Tinder!” or “Congrats you finally got a Tinder match!”

♥ You can only upload pics to Tinder from FB. Pics that are hidden in FB cannot be uploaded.

♥ Tinder informs users if they have common FB friends.  On one hand, there’s a bit more security, accountability.  Plus, the ratio of “deadbeat friends” versus “responsible friends” can be a nice tie-breaker.  On the other hand, anonymity may be compromised.  FYI–some people are creating fake FB accounts.  Want Tinder to get as creepy as MySpace did?  Keep doing that.  BTB does not like.

♥ In a nutshell, Tinder shows you pics of nearby users.  You like, swipe right.  Discard, swipe left.  Distance and some other preferences can be adjusted.

The following is very important.  You get one chance to decide on a user, and cannot move on until you do.  Accidentally swiped left?  You have blocked this user permanently and can never Tinder them again.  There are probably exceptions or ways around this, but you’re better than that.

♥ Two users must like each other in order to communicate.  Stalkers and psychos, this means the feeling must be mutual.

♥ Hotties with extremely large hearts will love this.  When Tinder is used as intended, a user should not know that they have been rejected, or who rejected them.  The photos appear in random order, and there is no log of photos swiped.  This tip is not applicable, let’s say, if a user right swipes an ex they really want back.  I think we all know what will happen.

♥ Once two users match, Tinder congratulates them and rewards them with Tinder text capability.  Because the communication is via Tinder, no personal phone #s need to be exchanged.

How to get Tinder

Whether you’re looking to mate or date (←you guys are so adorable btw), the key to success is being highly attractive.  I know because I get a lot of Tinder, and my profile only has pics, first name, and age.  No one cares about how smart I am or what my political stance is.  In fact, you will notice that hottie user profiles do not contain any words.  Think about that.

Final remarks

Tinder is only for attractive people.  Luckily, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.  Example: George Clooney?  Not my thing.  Also, practically speaking, hotties are the minority so there is a fighting chance for mediocrity.

Here are some conversations to have with yourself when deciding on profile pics:

Is this pic of me, taking a picture of myself, using the reflection of a dirty bathroom mirror (aka ghetto selfie), with my messy child-like bedroom in the background sexy? Or a little frightening?  No one wants anything to do with any of that.  Even if the bathroom is really nice, what are you thinking?  Ew.  You have very bad judgment.

What does taking a selfie, from a bizarre angle, in my beat up OR really expensive car, say about me?  This does not even make sense.  You are very strange and have bad judgment.

Should I lie?  We all do it to some extent.  I’m not lecturing here, just being realistic.  Men: imagine.  You’ve waited for this ice cold, refreshing beer all day.  You tip your head back, about to let the good times roll, and you get a mouthful of room temperature hard cider.  Dig deep.  How do you feel?  Ladies: remember when you were about to take a shot of grain alcohol because your Tinder man obviously does not clear 6 feet like promised?  Now imagine shooting back dirty water.

♥ Some comforting news.  Men, it is futile to lie about your height.  Don’t worry or think about it again.  If you lie, the following is a certainty: your date will be sulky and hate you.  Not only are you short and have low self-esteem, you are a liar.  She may be a sweetheart and not verbalize this.  But I promise, she is thinking it.  Leaving out your height can also lead to frustration and guessing, resulting in an undeserved left swipe.  Women are experts in determining height based on very little information.  You will be compared to anyone/anything in the picture–a barstool, the glass you are holding, the ocean in the background, etc.  More likely than not, you will be assumed shorter than you actually are.  The reality of this height issue is that there are plenty of hot shorty women who do not want to look like tiny children walking down the street.  Some hottie women could care less about height.  Admittedly, I am a hottie who cares.  My preference is above 6’1″, but it’s nice to see a guy say hey, I’m 5’10” it’s just who I am.  A beautiful face and/or hot bod and/or personality can make up for height.  If you think this is just for the daters, not maters, you are wrong.  With the lights off, it is very difficult to see how tall you are.  And if it’s really good, we’re not paying attention to your height.

♥ Ladies, men, no old/inaccurate/really blurry pictures.  Hotties will not waste time on you.  If your photo is date stamped 2007 and it is 2014, you’re assumed to be ugly, possibly a hoarder, and living in the past.  If it’s blurry, something must be very wrong i.e. bad acne/wonky teeth/very ugly.  Long hair don’t care? Show up with a pixie cut and see what happens.  You are also assumed to have no friends (any good friend/acquaintance/stranger would spare 5 secs to take a better pic).

♥ Remember, you’re essentially saying these are the best pictures of me, and I am doing my best to represent myself.  Again, if you think this is just for the daters, not maters, you are wrong.  Even when the lights are off, some things cannot be unseen.


Brain Trust Babe