Get ready to pucker up, chicas.
It seems that in recessionary times, the ladies may cut back on expenses but the one luxury we allow ourselves is lipstick. That's right, lipstick. The New York Times wrote about this earlier this year, and now more marketers are paying attention.
The theory, first articulated by the Estee Lauder cosmetic company, states that women consider lipstick an "affordable luxury." During hard times, lipstick serves as a good substitute for more expensive items like clothing and jewelry. It kind of makes sense when you think about it.
Lipstick is small and compact. It fits anywhere, including a small purse. Some lipstick containers are very lujoso. And they are relatively inexpensive. If you want to spend 50 bucks or so on lipstick, you certainly can. However, most lipsticks cost under $20, even $10. So it's not going to break the bank.
Too bad I am not really a lipstick kind of chica. I know lipstick--or leestic, as we say--does a lot for your face:
• When you're feeling or looking drab, a little lipstick can perk you up.
• When you are not up to wearing any makeup, a little dab of lipstick
will do ya'.
• When you want to paint the town red, lipstick--red, of course--is the thing.
• When you want to look foxy as all get-out, pucker up and smooth one on.
So how come I'm not into lipstick?
I rarely use the stuff, although I have a number of lipsticks. If lipstick is the price of admission into the Latina club, then somebody's going to rescind my membership. I better run and get some new lipstick before you catch on.
Singer-songwriter Juanes has on a camisa negra from all the fango flung at him over a Peace Without Borders concert planned for Sept. 20 in Havana, Cuba, along with many other artists who are scheduled to appear. What a revulu.
It's a very familiar argument. Some Miami folks say the artists shouldn't perform in Cuba because it legitimizes the Castro government. Miami Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lethinen chimed in, saying she thought the concert was "incorrect." Juanes can at least visit the Cuban prisons if he's going to go, Ros-Lethinen said. Otherwise, he is "doing a big favor to those two brothers," she told a Miami TV station.
It's a shame this has to happen. Closing off Cuba has not helped topple its government in more than 40 years. Juanes, a 12-time Grammy award winner, is an amazingly talented performer. Wonderful music, lyrics and--of course--great looks. This is a public relations nightmare for any artist.
In a story in the Latin American Herald Tribune, Juanes said he had the support of the U.S. government to hold the concert, which is to take place in Havana's Plaza de la Revolucion, which may hold up to 100,000 people. Not that U.S. support means anything.
Olga Tanon, one of the many performers scheduled to appear at the concert, which was originally announced in June, blasted critics. "What is categorically impermissible to me is to accept the (accusations) that are on based on lies and full of rancor and hate simply because we don't share the same vision."
Juanes, who lives in Miami, said he knew this was going to happen because the same thing had happened to some artists friends. "Although this has turned into a nightmare, we think (the concert) makes sense."
He emphasized that he--and not the Cuban government--is paying for the concert. "We said we wanted to do this concert, and we're going to do it."
I guess there is no such thing as a dia normal for Juanes.
Retailers are concerned that this may turn out to be a C-average back-to-school sales season. Two out of three households expect to spend less than last year, a Deloitte LLP surveys shows. That’s on top of the 71 percent who reduced school-related purchases in 2008. So things are a little better, but only on the margins.
That got me thinking. Consumers have given up lots of things during this never-ending recession. And many are buying only at discount stores, using coupons or resorting to deep discounts.
We have cut back expenses at our house, not because we’re unemployed, but because we worry about the possibility of losing our jobs. The company I work for has seen days of higher revenue and profit--and so have thousands of others. A layoff is always lurking in the shadows. Just look at the unemployment numbers.
I know that reducing expenses doesn't help the economy, but it sure helps my pocketbook. Here are a few of our favorite things that we have nixed:
1. Satellite TV. It’s nice having 150 or so channels, but how many do you really watch? If you do the math, you’ll discover that you regularly tune into only 20 or so channels, hardly worth the premium of satellite TV.
2. Dining out/movies. We were never big on eating out, so this was easy. As for movies, I distinguish between the movies I really, really want to see in a theater (usually for special effects or audience experience) and those I can check out on Netflix. Sorry to say, most films are Netflix options. But Netflix may lose out to Red Box.
3. Gym membership. But I’m kind of reconsidering.
4. Travel. We’ve made a couple of trips this year, but we budgeted all the way. We’re hoping to afford one major trip before the year is out, but we’re playing it by ear. (This doesn’t include my college-age daughter’s many trips.)
5. Major purchases. We gave up our warehouse club card (and we both love Costco). Our cars have more than 100,000 miles each. No cash for our clunkers! However, we installed a solar pool heater and I just bought a new laptop because my Dell is flippin' out. We haven't done too well in this category.
6. Phone line. We just don’t need a land line anymore. I’ve also got my eye on the cell phone bill. It’s bigger than it should be: family plan, texting, data plan, etc. It all adds up. Congress is holding hearings on cell phone exclusivity (like the one between AT&T and the Iphone). I hope they really open up that treasure cell phone chest and liberate us from 2-year deals and lots more.
Of course, if I do get laid off this list is going to get longer.
So, folks, what six things have you given up during the recession?
Sonia Sotomayor's words about "a wise Latina" have proven to have staying power, outlasting the Senate confirmation hearings. I can't say that I remember anything that John Roberts or Samuel Alito said during their hearings, and I usually pay attention to these things.
In fact, the only other words I recall from a Supreme Court confirmation process are "high-tech lynching" from the Clarence Thomas hearings, and they're not exactly positive. Thomas, after all, had been accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, and his confirmation process was among the most raucous to date.
What is it about these two words that have caught on like wildfire? Sotomayor got into trouble with these words because she so fully embraces her culture and heritage. In the same speech, she waxed eloquent about her family's strong women and even rice and beans!
Strong Latinas have shared and passed along their hard-earned wisdom for generations, but it has rarely been elevated to the realm of serious discussion and debate. Coming from a potential Supreme Court judge who has not distanced herself from her culture, the words carried heft. And that has made all the difference in the world.
The truth is, the women who usually represent Latinas are from the world of make-believe. They are celebrities like Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Shakira, Paulina Rubio and many others. They are perfect and unattainable.
They are also the characters we remember from the movies, a Maria or Anita from West Side Story, the play and film that has defined generations of Latinas.
And yet, there is a direct line between West Side Story's Anita and Sotomayor.
New York had toughened Anita. She didn't take gruff from anybody and she wasn't to be confused with a hick fresh from the Puerto Rico countryside like Maria. "I want to be in America," she declared with serial exclamation points, to take full advantage of its opportunities. Anita wanted more.
Judge Sotomayor is a vastly better educated version of Anita. She could be Anita's daughter or granddaughter. She is the culmination of Anita's dream. You can visualize an older version of Anita bent over a sewing machine in the garment district so her Sonia can have a better life (a story not too different from the judge's real life). And she even inherited some of Anita's spitfire. Sotomayor took no gruff from recruiters and others at Princeton University.
Judge Sotomayor, therefore, is the sequel to West Side Story, except she is the real deal: a stand-out woman from the cerebral world of the law who acknowledges the intelligence, creativity and hard work of the Anitas, Marias and others from all socioeconomic classes, then and now.
She has given us permission to turn the page on West Side Story. Each of us is now a Wise Latina because of Judge Sotomayor.