LA Girl: Darlene Lacey

Darlene Lacey’s new book, “Classic Candy: America’s Favorite Sweets, 1950-1980” is literally mouthwatering. I devoured it in one sitting and I’ve been craving childhood candies ever since. Darlene grew up in Diamond Bar, so she’s a perfect Angeleno girl: funny, smart, and extremely savvy, especially when it comes to thrift shopping (I speak from experience!) But no one knows candy like Darlene. Here’s her take on how she stays fit and gorgeous while being a candy expert.

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Darlene: I work at home and am always busy with projects, so I keep things simple when it comes to health and beauty. I rely more on things I can do to stay healthy and happy than on things I can buy. Here are three lifestyle principles that I follow:

Eat real food.

Considering that I’ve collected candy wrappers all my life, you can guess that I’m not a stickler about everything I eat. However, I do keep my candy munching down and make my meals as healthy and tasty as possible. I mostly buy produce from the Cal Poly Farm Store and farmers’ markets. As much organic and USA grown as possible. For canned, boxed, bottled, and prepared foods, I check the ingredients to make sure that only food is included… no additives or “mystery ingredients.”

Make home a great place to be.

My husband Joe and I put a lot of work into making our house comfortable and beautiful and our yard an oasis, and what we put it into it makes life that much sweeter when we’re not working. A place of our own design is a great stress reducer. Why wait to take a vacation to be somewhere you enjoy? I need this every day. My nutty little dachshund King also provides laughs throughout the day. Never underestimate the benefits of pet power!

Enjoy life as a continuum.

I love to play lounge music and bubblegum from my youth and watch wacky old TV shows. I still have my favorite childhood books and toys. I still wear long hair, T-shirts, and jeans. This makes me happy and keeps me in touch with how I’ve arrived at any given point in my life. Life as a continuum inspires me creatively. When I was young, I wanted to be an author. Now I’ve finally achieved that goal fifty years later. It doesn’t really seem like a long time!

When it comes to beauty products, I don’t experiment as much as many women because I have eczema and hay fever. Most scented products are out, and the products I use are pretty basic. For my face, I cleanse with Cetaphil and moisturize with Aveeno Eczema Therapy. For the rest of my skin, I moisturize with Aveeno Skin Relief. For my hair, I alternate between Nioxin (primarily for its soothing nature on my scalp, but also to help keep my hair thick) and prescription Nizoral (much better than the OTC version).

I don’t wear much makeup most days because I’m lazy and prefer getting extra sleep rather than spending time on primping. Despite my lackadaisical attitude, my sister-in-law got me hooked on Jane Iredale’s mineral makeup. It’s expensive, but worth it. Their Liquid Minerals foundation is smooth and light and doesn’t irritate my skin. I’ve tried substituting less expensive makeup and have found it wanting. My hairdresser once told me that it’s pointless to spend a lot of money on mascara because it’s all about the same, but I haven’t found this to be true. In general, I think you get what you pay for with makeup.

Thanks to my eczema, allergies, and long hours at the computer, I developed “allergic shiners” under my eyes. In other words, raccoon eyes. I’ve done my best to cover the dark circles with concealer when I go out, but I recently decided to try Radiesse filler instead. It took four quick treatments over the course of two months and is still healing up, but I’m thrilled with it so far! I went to a great Beverly Hills dermatologist and plastic surgeon who has helped my troubled skin in the past. Even though filler isn’t permanent, I recommend that you find someone with good credentials and reputation when it comes to this kind of work on one’s face.

Last tips: Stay in touch with your friends, ditch the people who make problems in your life, wear comfortable shoes, and have as much fun as possible. 

Donna Lethal

About Donna Lethal

Donna Lethal is the author of "Milk of Amnesia" and writes for her own blog (Lethal Dose), Hair Hall of Fame, Dowager Quarterly, Find A Death, & the Valhalla Cemetery chapter in "Weird Hollywood." A native of Lowell, Mass., she's lived in Boston, NY and London before settling here. When not writing, she's hiking, soaking in a Korean salt room or in the high desert with her pit bull.
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