Last week I posted this picture of my MIL, Mommy...
...and nobody would believe that she was 80.
Well you're right. Yesterday was her birthday, and now she's 81!!
Here's the cake we had for her before we left for CA...
Yes, Mommy looks damned good.
And while I do believe that she is something of a freak of nature, and has some pretty amazing genes and that gorgeous Italian olive skin, she also works hard at keeping herself young-looking.
When I told Mommy that my readers thought she looked fabulous, she was terribly excited and flattered and maybe a little frightened "People from the internets? Ohhhhh." But she agreed to share with you her top beauty secrets.
"You have to be consistent. Mommy believes that consistency is very important. And believe me, the woman is consistent. Dare I say...obsessive? Yes I do dare. She is obsessive about her daily routines. But...they pay off.
Daily Fitness Routine - Despite the fact that poor Mommy is riddled with both osteo AND rheumatoid arthritis, and has serious trouble walking, she manages to stay sort of fit. Every morning, before she even gets out of bed, she lifts weights. Yes, that's right. She keeps a set of 2 pounders next to the bed, and she does a couple of sets of bicep curls and tricep extensions. Hence her sort of buffish arms.
Daily Facial - Twice a day, Mommy performs this beauty ritual. It takes her a full 45 minutes each time. Which makes life extremely difficult for anybody else in the house who may want to use the bathroom. There is a mad rush every night to get into the bathroom before Mommy, or you'll be stuck waiting for her to do her thing. I once described Mommy's facial to my esthetician friend Tessa, who gasped and shuddered. But again...it clearly works for Mommy. She learned this rather lengthy facial routine when she went to beautician school in Brooklyn, back in the '40s. It goes like this...
- Vaseline. Cover your entire face and neck with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. At night, you would also use the Vaseline to remove your makeup.
- Dove Soap - Wash your face with Dove soap "the white kind, NEVER the pink." I'm not sure what the difference is, but Mommy thinks this is very important. Because the white has "got cream". Okay.
- Dove Soap Repeat - Mommy says you must do this second wash "fast, fast, fast". I don't know why.
- Witch Hazel and Toilet Paper - Mommy then folds toilet paper into a little square, soaks it in witch Hazel, and scrubs her face with it. "Scrub hard." she says "It's like you're...what's the word? The word for the thing you're doing? Exmultiating? No...Exultifimilating?" "Exfoliating?" "YES! It's like you're exfoliating."
- Cold Water Splash - "I just splash, splash, splash. And it's gotta be nice and cold."
- Vaseline Redux - Mommy now applies another healthy coat of petroleum jelly.
- Ponds Cold Cream - The final step is a thick layer of Ponds Cold Cream. "You gotta get the kind with 'extra moisture'"
Facial Exercises - During her nighttime beauty routine, Mommy follows her "facial" with a regimen of facial exercises. This takes another 15 minutes or so. I desperately want to video her performing her exercises, but alas, can't talk her into it. The routine involves slapping her face repeatedly, extending her jaw and exercising her neck and stretching her eyes with her hands until you "look like an Oriental" then moving her eyes rapidly up and down and side to side. The whole thing is followed by rapidly slapping herself under her chin.
Keeping Up Her Hair - Mommy has had her hair the same shade of brass since about 1978. This involves a certain amount of upkeep, and once every two weeks, she "does her roots". She also periodically goes to the beauty parlor for a cut and perm. I asked her once what color her hair really was, and she said she didn't know for sure, but she thought it was probably sort of salt and pepper.
Mommy's Style - Mommy readily and enthusiastically admits that she likes what she describes as "that slutty look". Flashy, glitzy, low-cut, backless, sleeveless, tight, animal print, bedazzled - Mommy loves it all. I regularly shop for her at Forever 21. A few years ago, I ordered her something from the Victoria's Secret Catalogue. It was a HUGE hit. She wore this top to every event for a year. She loves VERY large, VERY flashy earrings. I once gave her a pair of small earrings, and she wore them attached to the bottom of a huge pair of hoops "so you can see them".
Chocolate - Mommy eats a tremendous amount of chocolate. It's her favorite food, and biggest vice. She's always in the kitchen rooting around, nibbling on a little piece of something. The house is always stocked with a variety of chocolate treats - Hershey bars, brownies, cakes, cookies, ice cream, bon bons. And since everyone knows that she's a chocolate fiend, she receives boxes and boxes of chocolates for every holiday. And she eats her way through all of them. Every time I visit, I bake her a chocolate pecan pie, her favorite dessert. She then eats the entire thing herself, one tiny piece at a time. In fact, she may obsess and eat nothing much but pie until it's all gone.
So there you have it. Mommy's secrets to lifelong youthfulness. These are very valuable and useful tips, so consider them with care.
And when you're 81 and looking hot? You'll know who to thank.
Happy Birthday Mommy!