The ultimate saleswoman

On Monday morning I noticed I had just enough blush left in my compact to last the week. On Friday - today - I knew my first stop had to be the Lancome counter at Hecht's.

A handful of flurries swirled in the air at lunchtime. I went out in the bitter cold, ran two blocks and burst through the glass doors of the behemoth downtown store.

Behind the glass cosmetics counter, a woman greeted me with a bright smile.

Lancome Goddess: "Hi. You look different. Did you cut your hair?"

Me: (trying hard to mask my confusion) "Yes I did. I wanted a new look for the new year."

Lancome Goddess: "Well, it looks great. I knew there was something different about you."

Me: Smiled awkwardly and desperately tried to remember the last time I stopped in to buy cosmetics.

Me: "Umm... I'm actually here on my lunchbreak and need to pick-up some blush. Miel Glace?"

Lancome Goddess: "Oh right. I know you won't need any foundation, but how are you doing with pressed powder?"

Me: "Just the blush today, thanks."

I probably visit the Lancome counter once every four months, not often by any standard. Not only did the Lancome Goddess remember my name, she knew the products I used and the colors. Photographic memory? Or perhaps the BEST customer service I've ever encountered.

I walked out of that store feeling like a V.I.P. The little things really do make a huge difference. I felt important, taken care of, and more than a little ashamed for not remembering her name in return.

Have you ever had a salesperson surprise you? Are you accustomed to being ignored and brushed off by salespeople? Or do you get treated like a V.I.P.?

The last time a salesperson paid so much attention on me, I was dropping a small fortune at Best Buy - so I felt entitled to a little kid-glove-treatment because I was paying for it.

I only bought a compact of blush, but the extra thought has turned me into a lifelong customer. I'm going to make sure all my friends visit the Lancome Goddess at the Hecht's store at Metro Center.

An arthouse all our own

I'm a film junkie.

Shorts, full length feature films, blockbusters, indies, foreign language movies with subtitles, silent pictures, animation - I'm no connoiseur. I love them all.

Today is the grand-opening of Landmark Theatre's eight-screen arthouse on E and 11th Streets, NW.

How excited am I?

I used to watch movies at the Biograph in Georgetown. But CVS bought the building and the theatre closed amid rumours that a cineplex devoted to independent films would open in 2001.

While I patiently waited for the promised arthouse to open, I was stuck viewing artsy-fartsy films in small rooms while squinting at the miniature screens of the Dupont Circle movie theatre. No stadium seating. No surround sound. No extraordinary film experience.

But today, TODAY, three years after the first announcement, it's here! The E Street Theatre is finally open.

And I'm going to see Big Fish.


Is there anything more beautiful?

I'm definitely a dog person. My childhood includes fond memories of German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, and Siberian Huskies. Even now, I prefer big dogs to tiny, ratlike miniatures - breeds like Akitas, Rottweilers, and Samoyeds.

Definitely a dog person.

Except when it comes to big cats. Years ago, I visited the Secret Garden and White Tiger Habitat at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Instead of buying tickets to the Seigfriend and Roy Cat Extravaganza, I saw Cirque du Soleil and have been kicking myself since.

Getting back to my point - the white tigers are gorgeous creatures. And thanks to Bety, there are 6 more of these rare cats walking the planet.

Are you a dog or a cat person?


This year I decided not to make any resolutions. I mean, I've had the same list for the past three years: eat healthy, exercise daily, save money, publish something, etc.etc.

See - 2004 is going to be different. If I have to consciously alter the way I'd normally react or break my routines, I want my life to change.

I've always worn my hair long. With the exception of my junior year of college when I kept it in a chin-length bob, it's always been straight, thick and long. A dramatic change for me would be to allow the stylist to cut bangs.

Keeping in the spirit of shaking things up, as I walked to my salon last Friday, I wondered how I'd look in short hair. Before I could change my mind, a cobalt blue ribbon held the 14-inches of hair I was donating to Locks of Love.

I guess it's safe to say that I've resolved to go against the grain, to modify my routines, to change the norm.

What are your resolutions for 2004?


Happy New Year!

I've got a great feeling about 2004. There is little doubt in my mind that this is going to be one memorable year. Just call it female intuition.

How did you bring in the new year?

Tired of the quiet and low-key house parties of years past, I motivated my friends to get dressed up and party at a gala event. Such a fantastic time.... good food, lots of bars, manageable lines, fun music... there was something for everyone.

People behave differently when they're dressed up. Less debaucherous, more sophisticated. Well... up until 2:00 a.m., when the dance floor shook with men in tuxes and women in gowns boogying it up to Britney's "I'm a Slave 4 U."

Then, on January 1st, a woman from work offered me tickets to Saturday evening's performance of Swan Lake at the Kennedy Center. Free! I'd been trying to buy tickets to that ballet for months!

The costumes were exquisite, the sets were whimsical, and Tchaikovsky was brilliant - as always.

Like I said, I have a feeling this is going to be one hell of a year. At least it's off to a great start.

Did you watch the big apple drop on Dick Clark's Time Square special? Or did you host a soiree for close friends? Or perhaps you decided to go all-out and attend a mega party like me?