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I spent Labor Day weekend with my Mom, poring over the avalanche of fall catalogs that arrived last week. When we finished there, we turned to my iPhone in hot pursuit of brown Dockers for her fall wardrobe. Mom can’t endure the physical demands of shopping, but we’ve discovered a back-up plan that’s just as fun: shopping online together. Today I’m sharing a mish-mash of things we like in our fall survival kit.

1. You know those serums that make ridiculous claims about reducing fine lines by 63 percent? Well, this one’s not so ridiculous. Clinique’s Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle and UV Damage Corrector is like plastic surgery in a bottle. I would sacrifice many a treat to keep it in my skin care repertoire. It makes your skin softer, brighter, and noticeably smoother. What’s not to like? Buy the biggest bottle for the best value. It’s worth it.

2. If you must wear glasses for reading, you might as well have fun with them. Love these colorful specs from Peepers.com, where you’ll find a wonderful assortment of affordably-priced, fun readers.

3. I’ve been polishing my nails since I was in kindergarten. Manicures? Meh. I can do my own nails, thank you very much. But I’m a busy person who plays golf and does house and yard work. I’m always interested in stretching the life of my manicures. Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips are a wonder. I thought I’d be all thumbs getting them on, but they were easy to apply and lasted eight days without signs of wear. I only removed them after admiring the manicure I gave Mom a manicure using #4. I’m not a pro, but she likes my work and I’m free!

4. This fall’s nutty brown nails are wonderful—an adventurous substitute for people who aren’t about to polish our nails teal blue. (Here’s a side note–and I hope this won’t sound disrespectful: brown polish is beautiful with age spots. Personally, I don’t understand why anyone would want to get rid of these tawny freckles. I think Mom’s are lovely!) This Chanel polish is $25, but it beats me why anyone would spend that much when you can buy exquisite colors for a fraction of the price. Anyone care to educate the rest of us on the merit of these high-end polishes? OPI and Essie are my personal favorites.

5. During the fall and winter, I end every evening with a cup of decaffeinated tea. Teatulia’s Lemongrass is a new favorite I expect to share with my Mom the next time we’re together.

6. The idea of applying cleansing oil is unthinkable to many women. If you feel that way, think again. Deep Cleansing Oil from Japan-based DHC rinses or wipes off for a clean feel without a greasy residue. There are 25 years between Mom and I, but we both love this product equally. Try it and you’ll never want or need another cleanser. We even use it to remove eye makeup.

7. I wear Russian Red lipstick by MAC year round, but this is a must for fall and winter. Try this trick to get extra mileage from your reds: dab a small amount on the fatty part of your palm just below your thumb. Rub it against the opposite palm and then press your palms lightly against the apples of your cheeks. Blush? Who needs it?

8. If you like DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil, you’ll love Olive Virgin Oil as an all-purpose moisturizer morning and night. It’s absorbed quickly, leaving your skin with a lovely glow. Again—not greasy. Makeup glides on easily over this product. It’s especially great during the driest part of winter when skin often looks chalky and dehydrated. Perfect for women 35 and older. One moisturizer day and night. Simple.

9. My friend and former boss Linda O. introduced me to Blue Lady tea. I love this blend so much that I worry about burning myself out. I’ve disciplined myself not to drink it every day. But you could. You sure could. It’s a black tea with a peachy layer. With a small bit of sugar added, it’s remarkably like dessert. Pour it in your prettiest tea cup about 3 p.m. for a guilt-free afternoon lift. Remember, tea is the longevity drink!

10. I recently Googled the keyword “etiquette” and here’s what I found: no one gives two hoots about etiquette. But ethics—now there’s subject of great interest. I can’t wait to curl up with this new book, Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything, by Randy Cohen. Among other points, the author makes a case that some ethical choices are so universally moral that people of good conscience in all cultures would make the same decision.

What’s your favorite fall/winter beauty secret and what’s on your reading list this fall?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.