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LIPSTICK DIARIES Reflections on the Best Lippies, Creams, and Potions I Discovered During the Pandemic. I LIKE BELLE, HER FEARSOME, HAIRY SOULMATE, AND FRENCHspeaking candelabras just as much as the next girl. But my present-day take on Beauty and the Beast is an adventure of an entirely different sort. Here, I share with you a few of the beauty products—makeup, masks, and moisturizers—bringing me comfort as I battle both the evil coronavirus and a serious case of sallow, maskne-afflicted skin. I confess: Back in March when Mayor Breed initiated the stay-at-home order, I was blasé, dare I say, secretly excited. My introverted tendencies had me thinking that quarantining for a couple of weeks would provide much-needed time to rest, catch up on work, bake cookies, and clean out my closet sans any social pressure to leave my condo. Please don't judge. Rather quickly, the seriousness of the pandemic set in and "a couple of weeks" morphed into months—many, many months. My emotions have been all over the place: feeling confined, stressed, and lonely (I'm a solo dweller) to overwhelmingly grateful for having a comfy home, plenty to eat, and supportive friends and family (looking at you, Zoom). Then, there's the shopping. For the first weeks of pandemic life, food, 14

masks, and household necessities were the only things on my list. (Happy to report I was not a hoarder.) Consuming for pleasure did eventually return, but what I hankered for changed. Instead of hunting online for fresh fashions and accessories, I stalked sites for all things beauty and body. There was nowhere to wear the clothes, my hands were raw from all the washing and sanitizing, the dark circles under my eyes were scary, and my pale visage begged for color. Further fueling my beauty obsession? A pivotal conversation with my neighbor at the lobby mailboxes. It went something like this: "Are you OK?" asked a concerned Sylvia. "Yeah, why?" I replied. "My husband saw you the other day and thought you looked sick," she said. "Nope, just me in ratty PJs—no makeup, sleep, or hairbrush for weeks," I jested, trying to deflect my horror. Voilà, my official quest to look good, feel better, and shower more began in earnest. I encountered some duds along the way; but the happily-everafter of this story … er, diary … comes via the fabulous and effective beauty products I fell for. If only Sylvia's hubby could see me now. (He can't; they moved.)