Skip to main content


I am Jennifer Aniston.

Well, I can relate to the character she played in Friends With Money. In the 2006 dramedy, acutely written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, Jen's character, Olivia, is a down-and-out broke girl living in West L.A., surrounded by loved ones who have enough disposable income to fund a small private school for several years. I included the film in a list I compiled three years ago called "10 Great L.A. Movies" (you can catch it here). I also considered it one of the ten best movies I had seen that year.

Olivia hoards small sample jars of designer facial creams and soaps she acquires from various department stores throughout the city because, obviously, she can't afford the full-sized, full-priced bottles. In one particular scene we see her line up dozens of mini-bottles in her bathroom cabinet while she partakes in her nighttime facial ritual. Sometimes she'll even enlist her well-off friends to grab a sample for her; twice the moisturizer for the price of one trip to the mall.

Like Olivia, I have managed to develop my own system involving my local Sephoras and any department store that sells Lab Series For Men's Multi-Action Face Wash. One 3.4-ounce tube of the stuff that "cleanses, exfoliates and conditions the skin" goes for $18. And with the way my bank account seems to get depleted of funds on a monthly basis, there is no way in hell I'll shell out one Hamilton, an Abe Lincoln, and three Washingtons to make my face feel minty fresh every night before I go to bed.

Therefore I will drive myself to the nearest mall and walk into Sephora, ready to be faced with the inevitable "Welcome to Sephora. Can I help you find anything?" To which I'll reply, "Why yes. I was wondering if I could try a sample of that facial soap from Lab Series for Men." Sometimes I'll purposely flub up the name in order to look like a clueless male who's too intimidated to enter an overly bright room filled with lipsticks, powders, eye creams, and enough fragrances to elicit a contact high. Other times I'll just make my way over to the Men's section and pick up a box, pretending to study its contents, and wait for a sales associate to walk over and check in to see if I need any assistance. And occasionally I'll even pull out the My-Friend-Swears-By-This-Stuff-And-Tells-Me-I-Need-To-Try-It card ("Does it really work?"). Once I was approached by a petite Asian girl who showered me with extra samples of shaving cream and SPF lotions after asking her if she could "help a brother out with some exfoliating hookups."

I should also point out that one little sample jar of the Multi-Action Face Wash can last up to seven washes. The tiniest of dollops can foam up like crazy, so four jars could last an entire month. That's four Sephoras I could hit up over the span of one weekend. And it's the perfect size for traveling - no need to worry about those darn FAA carry-on regulations!

Please understand: in no way do I consider this a scam of any sort. I'm not shoplifting chotskies from Pier 1 or T-shirts from Target (although the latter has the potential to become a giant, um, target for similar schemes). I am merely being resourceful during my time of financial need, finding ways to thriftily take care of myself and provide the best hygiene no money can buy.

If that's a crime, then lock me up in a cellblock room. At least I won't have to worry about making rent. Or buying groceries.



Popular posts from this blog

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many.

Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months (and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism)...

1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff, The Golden Palace), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death.

2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-themed restauran…

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture.

The public laundromat has become a go-to location for artists when making a music video for a single they wish to sell to the masses.

But WHAT IS IT about a space where ragtag groups of strangers gather to fluff and fold their delicates? Is it the obvious metaphor of dirty versus clean? The scintillating possibility of people stripping off their clothes for a wash?

I was feeling a little nostalgic (as usual) and took a look at some of the vids that have fallen under the spell of spin cycles over the past 30 years...


Back in the early 90s, the Christian pop tart followed up her massively successful "Baby Baby" with "Every Heartbeat," a personal childhood favorite of yours truly (the Body & Soul Mix, of course). In one of the two vignettes featured in the video, a laundry-toting hottie attempts to flirt with a young woman who re…

Dream Casting the New "Death on the Nile"

Earlier this year, when the trailer for the most recent Murder on the Orient Express remake was dropped, I was hoping that someone at 20th Century Fox would have the foresight to concoct an Agatha Christie Cinematic Universe. After all, this is the world we now live in -- where every property coveted by a major studio must have the potential to be milked for all it's worth. Plus, as a former child raised by an Agatha Christie fan, I am somewhat familiar with this world, and experiencing new renditions of these titles as an adult is exciting.

And now that Kenneth Branagh's version of the Hercule Poirot mystery has been released (and raking in $150 million-and-counting worldwide), it seems like my prayers are being answered. The studio is going ahead with a "sequel" in the form of a remake of Death on the Nile, another death-filled destination about the Belgian detective taking a river cruise in Egypt and coming across another corpse and another group of suspects.