Boot Camp Finale: Szish Gets Ready for the Big Night

Why is it that air travel completely saps my willpower?

I was cruising at 35,000 feet en route to Los Angeles, and my brain had convinced my body that calories didn't count at such an altitude.

So, sadly, the Master Cleanse was temporarily remastered into a snickerdoodle and chardonnay diet. Apparently, I should have included "banish fear of flying" into my boot camp regimen. There's always next year.

Upon arriving at LAX, my willpower was instantly renewed when I spied "Lost's" Josh Holloway making his way through the terminal and then just happened to stand next to Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas (who, I must say, are a surprisingly striking couple in person) at the baggage claim.

Bottom line: If they can look fabulous, even after a long flight, so can I.

In the meantime, read on for more on my recent boot camp tasks that (thankfully) didn't require willpower.

Day 8: Custom Makeup

Angelina Jolie is only one of many stars who get custom makeup created by the three masterminds behind Manhattan's 3 Custom Color Specialists. Located in a tiny studio just off Fifth Avenue, 3C has become one of the top destinations for celebrity makeup artists.

3C works with makeup artists and stylists to create the perfect eye shadows, lipsticks, concealers and more to ensure flawless celebrity faces for events and everyday life. (The good news is that 3C also works with real people! Check out its Web site to get the star treatment -- and pay special attention to the clarifier pencil, which they told me is one of the most important tools in a makeup artist's kit).

I was welcomed into the 3C studio by Trae Bodge, the co-founder and creative director, who immediately wanted to know about my Oscars dress. She got an excited gleam in her eye and started rattling off a list of colors, techniques and "looks" that she had in mind, based on both my description of the dress and my skin tone.

She grabbed large tubs and slim beakers filled with richly colored powders and pastes, slathered a few drops and smudges onto her paper palette, swirled around her spatula, and suddenly produced an eye shadow color made just for me. This was couture makeup!

I had never had anything couture before, and I very much enjoyed the fabulous feeling of decadence. Then, Bodge mixed and blended another batch and informed me that this would be my red carpet lip color. She brought in a touch of silver to match my dress, but added a soft plum color to keep the look natural and youthful. Whatever she did, it was like watching an artist at work.

The next day I received a package from 3C. Overnight -- literally -- the smudges of custom lip color and eye shadow were expertly packaged into sleek tubes and compacts. Bodge even included extensive, detailed directions on how to apply and use the makeup to achieve the ultimate red carpet look.

And, in just a couple more days -- I'm having a very difficult time not diving into my new stash for a practice session -- again, time for willpower -- I will get to experience and show off my custom colors on the carpet. Stay tuned!

Day 9: Ajune Medispa Body Facial

Another day of boot camp, another body treatment, you ask? Not even close.

Not only does the Ajune spa on Manhattan's Upper East Side lure clients such as Hilary Swank, Selma Blair and Ben Affleck, but it specializes in a unique red carpet prep treatment called a body facial.

Imagine a deep-cleaning, skin-softening, glow-inducing facial, and then imagine the same thing over your entire body. This superluxe treatment is pricey, but it's absolutely worth it, especially for a big event.

My technician, Jordana, first asked me about my gown. Based on my response, she chose to focus on my decollete, back and arms. She started by deep-cleaning with all sorts of yummy-smelling products. She then steamed the skin to open the pores, removed anything icky and then moved on to mircrodermabrasion. Next, she slathered on lactic acid to remove dead skin cells and followed with another exfoliant -- a moisture serum -- and finally a rich moisturizer.

I was left glowing and relaxed, and I promised Jordana to keep up my end of the bargain by using a body scrub and moisturizer regularly up until the big day.

To find out how Ajune can help you look and feel fabulous, visit

Day 10: Acupuncture House Call

Nothing says Hollywood like a house call. So, I persuaded acupuncturist Iris Netzer to trek down to the southern tip of Manhattan to set up shop in my living room. And after my two Italian greyhounds stopped trying to jump up on the treatment table, we were ready to start.

I opted for acupuncture, because one of the most important secrets to looking good on the red carpet is feeling relaxed. If you feel uptight, you'll look uptight, and that tension will detract from your red carpet presence. Plus, celebs everywhere are obsessed with holistic treatments and ancient techniques, so this seemed like a very Hollywood thing to do.

Plus, how cool is it to have needles stuck in your forehead while other people watch?! (This red carpet boot camp has alerted me to the alarming fact that if it's weird and scary and bizarre, I have an odd desire to do it on camera. Hmmm.)

Acupuncture is not painful, and therefore it should not inspire fear. The needles are more like thin pieces of wire -- very flexible and very delicate. This is nothing like getting a shot or having blood drawn.

The only uncomfortable sensation you may feel is a twinge in a nerve or a sensation of an aching muscle, and that is usually indicative of an excessive amount of stress buildup.

During my treatment I yelled one "Ouch" (nerve twinge in my left foot), which Iris took very seriously. She removed the needle, massaged my foot, went on to work on different parts of the body, and very wisely noted that I must be extremely stressed. She eventually went back to the scene of the ouch, and when she reinserted the needle I felt absolutely nothing.

The hottest trend in acupuncture is the line-reducing facial, so of course I indulged. Supertiny needles -- almost too tiny to see on camera -- are inserted along fine lines as a way of relaxing the muscles.

And, from head to toe, I felt nothing but relaxation. I also felt healthy and rested, and my mind felt surprisingly clear. Admittedly, this is something I definitely plan to continue post-boot camp. Holistic healing? Count me in.

For more on the very talented and beautiful Iris Netzer, visit at

Day 11: California Tan

Celebrities seem to be tan-obsessed, or, according to California Tan's Fiona Locke, they are actually tan "addicted." So, adding the spray tan experience to my Red Carpet Boot Camp wasn't so much a choice as it was a requirement. And, of all the bizarre treatments I've endured -- body wraps, electric current facials, even Botox -- this was the ritual I was most nervous about.

See, I'm a naturally pale person. I don't tan, and on those rare times when I have, I just didn't look that good -- more muddy mess than bronze goddess. So, the thought of getting a faux glow, just days before the Oscars, filled me with complete terror.

What if I looked orange? What if I looked weird? What if my new tan clashed with my dress and my custom makeup?

Fiona, who custom-sprays everyone from Penelope Cruz to Hilary Swank to Cameron Diaz (often in the privacy of their own homes), assured me she would enhance my natural color rather than change it. Because, as we should all know, looking like you have a fake tan is a major red carpet "don't." (Remember Charlize Theron's Day-Glo glow at the 2004 Oscars?! A word to the wise: Do some research before undergoing a spray tan. Find a reputable salon that ensures it can match your natural skin tone. Visit for help.)

But, Fiona doesn't just bronze. One of her specialties is spraying in a way that adds the appearance of contour to the body. Want six-pack abs, cut arms, or a leaner leg? Fiona is your gal.

I had to strip down and wear a funny little shower cap thing, and the tanning solution was a bit cold. (Fiona described it as "refreshing.") But I was amazed at how a subtle boost of color made such a big, yet still natural-looking difference.

Although I slacked off on my boot camp workout routine, after a three-minute session with Fiona, my mushy triceps suddenly appeared toned. Even better, I still look like myself, but I appear to have an inner glow, even though it's on the outside.

I was so thrilled with my sleek and sexy look that I've already booked a post-Oscars appointment, just in time for my bout with a bikini -- after boot camp, this hardworking guinea pig is going hit the beach in Cabo for a few days of rest and relaxation.

Take it from me: Getting red-carpet ready is hard work! Tune in Sunday and Monday to see how all my hard work paid off on the red carpet.

See you then!