He wanted me to buy $200 worth of skin products to look younger. This is what I said.

So. I was kind of a brat the other day. And I don't regret it one bit.

I was headed to my gate at the airport when a man at a store suckered me in with a free bar of natural soap. NOTHING IS FREE, PEOPLE!

At least, not in airports, am I right?


This is basically how the conversation went, although I admit, this is not verbatim.

Man: "Your skin is so natural looking, you aren't wearing any makeup, right?"

Me: "Um, no?"

Man: "Let me guess your age."

He proceeded to pull out a number 12 years younger than I am.

Me: "I look my age, and that's OK, actually."

Man: "Let me show you our face serum, because if you aren't careful to maintain your skin now, these wrinkles on your face will get much deeper. By 45, creams won't help anymore."

Me: "What's wrong with a woman looking 40?"

Man: "Well, let's talk about the bags under your eyes and those smile lines. My eye cream could improve those in 15 minutes."

Me: "What's wrong with my eyes? I have a miracle baby at home and haven't slept in 2 years, so if I have bags I am grateful to have them. And my husband and I laugh a lot. Those are his fault. He loves how I look ... I don't think I need your cream."

"What's wrong with a woman looking 40?"

Man: (nervously) "They may be manageable now, but by 50, it's too late to correct sagging skin and deep wrinkles. Unless you act now, only surgery can correct those."

Me: "What's wrong again with a woman aging? You know, my husband and I can't wait to grow old together, we talk about it all the time, how we'll be this funny, wrinkled old couple. My husband is going to age too. We all are. It's kind of how life works."

Now he's glancing nervously at other customers in the store who are listening in.

Man: "Wait, if it's the price that's an issue, I can offer you our special this week, all three creams for $199 — that's cheaper than Botox!"

Me: "I look fine now, and when I'm 45 I will look fine, and when I'm 50 I will look fine because there is nothing wrong with a woman aging. Old age is a privilege denied to many, and I don't appreciate you marketing youth instead of your products and denigrating aging women as a sales tactic. Thank you, but I don't want or need your cream."

I was so horrified by the normalcy of his sales pitch, and the sales ringing up at his cash register, that I took a picture of that wrinkled baggy face he was selling to, right on the spot.

Photo by Annick Robinson, used with permission.

This is the face my children and my husband love. I think I'll keep it.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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