Pretend Troubles. I’ve Got ‘Em.

Last night I was watching The Rachel Zoe Project because on days when I feel somewhat overwhelmed by various and sundry stresses in my life, I find some small degree of comfort in watching Rachel talk about how, if she ever has a baby, it would be SO MAJOR if she could wear her black vintage Chanel cape in the hospital.

Why, yes. It certainly would be major. And also quite practical.

If you’ve watched the show, you know that Rachel is almost always worked into a mental and/or emotional frenzy over life’s most pressing issues. Like, for instance, whether Cameron Diaz will get to have “a white evening gown moment” on the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Or whether Demi Moore’s Oscar dress has feathers on it.


(Rachel enjoys some inexact usage of “literally.”)

(And she LITERALLY DIES approximately 16 times per episode.)

The whole thing is bananas.

It cracks me up when I see Rachel’s obsession about completely trivial things ratchet so far off the charts that the chart becomes completely irrelevant, but part of the reason why Rachel fascinates me so is because I recognize just a teensy bit of myself in her.

I mean, first of all there’s the obvious similarity in that we both wear a size zero.

And second of all y’all know how much I love me a good beret.

But in all seriousness, I definitely have that same tendency to get worked up over what essentially amounts to nothing. You know this, of course, because you’ve read my blog. And you’ve witnessed firsthand the number of times that I’ve shared some overly dramatic thoughts about bacon.

Not to mention that Mississippi State football and basketball oftentimes LITERALLY KILL ME DEAD.


One day last week I ran into the Walgreens because I needed to pick up a couple of packs of Wintergreen Icebreakers (I DIE FOR THEM), and while I was there I thought about my dwindling supply of Mentholatum, a product that I have used religiously for chapped lips and other ailments since childhood. And just to be clear, you should know that if I could only use one health and beauty aid for the rest of my life, it would be Mentholatum HANDS-DOWN FOR THE WIN.

I actually looked for Mentholatum in Walgreens a few months ago and decided they were out of stock when I didn’t see it on the shelf. I didn’t think too much of it and just picked up some the next time I was in the Walmarts. Walmart can always be counted on to keep Mentholatum in stock for the whopping price of $2.12 a jar, NOT THAT I’VE MEMORIZED THE PRICE OR ANYTHING.

But on this last trip to Walgreens, they still didn’t have Mentholatum. Didn’t even have a place for it on the shelves. I was discouraged, but I knew that Walmart would once again come to my rescue. After all, they have been my primary supplier of Mentholatum-related goodness for upwards of 20 years.


So Sunday night after church I ran in the Walmarts to pick up some sliced turkey (want more meaningless details? FINE. I also bought sliced roast beef, whole wheat sandwich rounds, bacon, roasted almonds, and some Cajun-style pistachio nuts that have proven to be DELICIOUS), and before I walked up to the check out I decided to swing by the pharmacy and pick up some Mentholatum. Because, you know, THEY ALWAYS HAVE IT.

But they didn’t have it. And even though there was no space for it on the shelves, I held out hope that they just needed to do a little re-stocking at the Walmarts and it would be back on the shelves sometime Monday.


I didn’t make it to Walmart on Monday, but yesterday afternoon it was Destination Numero Uno on our list-o-errands. And do you know what? They still didn’t have Mentholatum. BECAUSE APPARENTLY THEY NO LONGER CARRY IT.

It was all I could do not to fling myself to the floor right there in the middle of the Cold Care & Analgesics aisle. But I retained my composure, thought maybe someone was mistaken, then double-checked the lip care section just to make sure the Mentholatum hadn’t wandered over there. You never know, after all. Maybe the Vicks Vapor Rub said something unkind and the Mentholatum decided to move closer to the Carmex.


But the Mentholatum was nowhere to be found.

I have since conducted an exhaustive search of nearby stores as well as the interweb and determined that from here on out I am going to have to 1) order Mentholatum from (out of stock, just FYI) 2) order Mentholatum from Amazon (it just seems wrong) or 3) order Mentholatum directly from The Mentholatum Company. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide since I’m sure you’ll lie awake at night until you’re aware of how I plan to handle this UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS in my life.

And in the meantime, if you happen to stop by a meeting of The Over-Dramatizers Club, look for Rachel and me. We’ll be wearing faux fur shrugs and sassy berets while we guzzle our venti Starbucks.

And we’ll be DYING.


There’s a new Kellogg’s $100 gift card giveaway over on my giveaways page – click on over if you’d like to enter to win!

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  1. This happened to me one time only it was BUFF PUFFS that disappeared. I looked everywhere for them and couldn’t find nary a ONE. So then I was off in some strange place and I went to a WalMart I’d never been to and LO AND BEHOLD they had a full shelf of them, so I bought EVERY SINGLE ONE THAT THEY HAD. And the check-out lady was visually stunned when I loaded 45 BUFF PUFFS onto her belt and whipped out my AmEx card, but she didn’t ask me a single question. (Wise woman!) And I am still using those BUFF PUFFS. In the “old packaging.” Turns out the reason they were gone from so many shelves is that they were gettin’ a snazzy new logo/box.

    And I have some Mentholatum if you need it, just in case.

  2. I like how she says literally “li-tru-lee.”

    I want to give her a sandwich and explain the pronunciation of four syllable words.

    Only she might die. Li-tru-lee.

  3. I love this post. Literally!

  4. Aunt Granny says:

    Oh my goodness!! I too, grew up using Mentholatum and have a jar on my night table. It lasts forever because I use it so sparingly–but daily–for my lips and nostrils. I am fighting the urge to jump in my car and zoom over to W-M to see if they have stopped stocking it here in the Piney Woods of eastern Texas. I will buy up the supply if it is there, for I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT. I took it to Paris with me in 1985, and it has been to Panama as well, just last year. By all means do update me on where you were able to purchase said wonder balm…and I will do likewise.

  5. I too have a mentholatum obsession! Have for years. I went to get some a few weeks ago and no one has it. Not Walgreens, or Walmart, or Target. I did find one lone tiny jar at Walmart to sustain me until I track some down online. But seriously! What is the world coming to? Of all the things to stop carrying, Mentholatum? WHY?!?!?!

  6. Well, let me just tell you I can absolutely empathize with your cause. I have used Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara since I started wearing mascara. It is just what works for me. It takes me right to that Dolly Parton look I am striving for in like a few swipes of the beautifully curved wand.
    However, about a year-ish ago, I went to the Walmarts to discover it gone. Also gone at the Walgreens. And any other mascara selling establishment. I frantically Googled and found that it has been discontinued in America. OH MY WORD. The distress of it all. I am currently using a combination of basecoat CoverGirlLashBlastLuxe with Maybelline The Falsies over the top. Just to achieve the look of the 2000 Calorie.

    Oh, how I know what pretend troubles are like, my friend.

  7. Should you ever come visit me, I’ll take you to the Metholatum building – the very place where it was invented. It’s a very cool building that now houses a coffee/spice store.

    And may I say, do you think Rachel’s husband uses Metholatum on his hair? Am I the only one who is weirded out by it? Literally?

  8. Soph, this post was SO MAJOR! (So major, in fact, I couldn’t type your whole first name!) I blame you and Mel (see previous parenthetical statement) for my newfound obsession with RZP. I actually studied fashion design and costume design in LA after I finished college (I like to call that time “graduate school”…my friends with MDs and PhDs just laugh at me). Were it not for the fact that I am 4 months older than RZ, she could’ve been one of my instructors. The drama is incomprehensible in that world. Hence the reason, despite my qualifications otherwise, I now work in real estate.

    But I watch that show just for a taste of what my life could’ve been like. It’s like watching a train wreck, that show. Part of me sits there cringing in horror, while at the same time, I can’t tear my eyes away. I thank God every day I’m not in that world obsessing about how there AREN’T ENOUGH EARRINGS! GET ME MORE EARRINGS ALREADY! and calling the police over a missing dress. I also enjoy the fashion and the seeing the trends until I realize how hopelessly unrelated to all of that my current wardrobe actually is.

    Sorry to hear about your mentholatum related woes. Perhaps you could throw on a shrug, a beret and your new booties and see if pitching a fit in the Walgreens gets you anywhere…it usually works for Rachel!

  9. What did we ever do without reality TV?? I find watching neurotic folks bare their lives on TV so fascinating and relaxing- Bravo TV has the market cornered on the crazy, it is my go to when I need a dose.

  10. I need to confess that I too have had pretend problems. My issue? Le Sueur whole baby carrots…in the silver can. (The only way my family will eat this wonderful vegetable is with a cup of sugar and half a stick of butter-because after all we can’t eat them if they resemble something healthy) One fateful day I could not find them on the shelf at Bi-Lo. I searched fruitlessly at Food Lion and Publix. I had no luck at Walmart (heaven forbid). That was a year ago this Thanksgiving. Last Monday I turned the cart down the aisle, holding my breath with anticipation and I saw…gleaming like the beacon from a lighthouse on a foggy night…THE SILVER CAN!!!! A year. It has been out of stock for a year! Don’t give up hope! It may come back. And then you can just die because it will be so major!

  11. This makes me laugh. Literally. And also a lot.

  12. I laughed out load reading your post. I love watching her show, I just don’t know why.

  13. I do so love Bravo! tv. I live for my friends, Jeff, Rach, Brad, Padma and Tom. I am so close to my housewives that I was shocked that I did not know that one of the DC housewives has had MS for 17 years. But of course, they are the stepchildren of Housewives. That DC bunch just has not warmed my heart or made me laugh out loud yet. And I also know the heartache of the discontinued item. At this very moment I am reeling from the news that the sensor it will require for my 1997 Lincoln Towncar to return to the road ( and my driveway) is no longer in stock. How can this be? I love my car!! And I love even more the no car payments part of my car! If I find Mentholatum, I will send you some. Have you tried Fred’s? I will look tomorrow. If I can get a ride to town. (insert deep heavy sigh).

  14. i still mourn the discontinuing of my beloved Soft Sense body lotion. in the blue bottle. sigh…

  15. Sophie, you make me laugh! Thank you!

  16. I have my trusty little container of mentholatum that was passed on to me from my husband’s grandmother. Seriously it must be 50 years old!! Oh my gosh, it’s been rubbed on the chests of all my kids and who knows how many when it was in Grandma’s hands! Gotta love the stuff.

  17. I’m in just a teensy bit of a panic after reading this post. I’m completely addicted to Mentholatum. My daughter (bless her heart) is 4th generation Mentholatum-dependent. I recently visited a college friend from 33 years ago in the dorm…she has mentholatum beside her bed..SHE SAYS as a direct result of my menth-related influence on her from way back when. So, I’m sure hoping no one’s done anything CRAZY and discontinued this fine, fine product!! (obsess much?)

  18. I have the same kind of obsession….but with Vicks Vaporub!! I would highly recommend that you try it….I personally think it’s much better than mentholatum…..but I understand your loyalty to your product. It makes me kind of panic to think of my Vicks being discontinued. Hopefully Jesus will return before that ever happens!

  19. Sophie,
    I LOVE coming to your blog. You make me laugh every time.

    I just wanted you to know that I have a jar of Mentholatum I could send you but the expiration date is somewhere around your birthday year so it may have lost its minty smell and yummy tingle by now. So sorry. I have discovered the same horror with Children’s Benadryl at my local stores. I use a swig of that to get to sleep at night so if you want me to I will do some midnight searches for Mentholatum in Tampa!

    BTW..I also cracked up about the use of the word “Literally”. I was recently at dinner with some friends who were discussing the same thing and I literally did not get what they were talking about :)

    Lots of hugs girl,

  20. Have you tried contacting the company to find out if they have discontinued it? Maybe you could buy in bulk, if they have not. I can just see a UPS truck showing up at your doorstep and unloading several cases of Mentholatum.

  21. As a fellow Mentholatum devotee who has received a jar of this most finest health product every year in her Christmas stocking for as long as I can remember and who sneaked the jar out from the dark confines of my sleeping bag at church camp once the lights were out so no one would ridicule me for that along with my utter lack of athletic ability on the rec field, I AM APPALLED. SHOCKED AND APPALLED. If my husband weren’t driving the car right now, I would reroute to the closest Walmart to see if it, too, has removed the most blessed of nightly bedtime rituals from the shelf. I am almost too nervous to go investigate tomorrow, because I just know it will be gone. I might not be able to sleep tonight for the anxiety.

    And, yes, I am 100% serious. You don’t know me from Adam’s housecat, but I have about a dozen folks who can vouch for my Mentholatum addiction along with my 3-year old daughter who ate a fistful of it when she was 1 1/2. Speaking of that, my great grandmother used to eat a spoonful of refrigerated Vaseline every night before she went to bed. Said it greased her pipes. She lived til she was 96 years old. She makes me feel so normal.

  22. Lynnette R says:

    And this is why we love you Sophie.

  23. E-mail the Mentholatum company and tell them your dilemma and maybe they can let you know who carries it in your area. They might even take pity on you and send you a free one if you tell them how much you loveeeee their product! :)

  24. Oh girl, you are the only one I know that can put Rachel Zoe and Mentholatum in the same blog post! you make me laugh out loud. I saw monster kleenex boxes at our Walmarts the other day and thought of you.

  25. gasp! Shut. The. Front. Door. I think you should order it directly from the manufacturer, and do so by the case. (Think about Elaine on “Seinfeld” and the sponges.) Sure, you may look crazy doing it, but you’ll be making a statement about Mentholatum’s relevance.

    Oh, and in Target I saw a faux fur vest in a size 3T, which almost inspired me to dress Annie as Rachel Zoe for Halloween. Pretty sure it’s the same size Rachel wears.

  26. Patti Young says:

    Girl, pretend troubles are my favorite kind! Being a little longer in the tooth than you, I cannot list the number of products I have loved that have gone the way of the dodo. sigh. Suffice it to say I have Lit-tru-lee died on many occaisions!

  27. Girl, I am so addicted to it. Have you tried Vicks Vapor Rub? It is so good…Maybe a little stronger than Mentholatum. I can’t go to sleep without it. I will look at my WalMart tomorrow. I will get you a jar if I can find it. I’m so worried now. I am going to snuggle up with my jar and go to bed. haha

  28. Who knew there were so many Mentholatum lovers out there?? My hubs in one of them. Do you have Kroger where you live? That’s where he gets his stash. I mentioned the vanishing Mentholatum to him and I think his blood pressure went up a tiny bit…

  29. Aquaphor. Seriously, I feel the same way about it as you do about the mentawhatever.

  30. Ok. Before you start e-mailing and calling Mentholatum {which just for kicks is 1-877-636-2677…for real} GO BACK TO WALGREENS AND ASK AT THE PHARMACY!!!! I had the same panic a few months ago and I found that they are keeping it behind the counter now! Who knows what the crazies are making out of our precious Mentholatum!!! Or maybe that’s why we are addicted??????? Please let me know if you find it!!!

  31. Try Watkins Menthol-Camphor. It comes in a round green tin and is wonderful. I keep it in my nightstand and cannot go to sleep without it on my lips. Thought I was the only neurotic menthol lover!!!

  32. You could always try eBay. I mean, if you’re not creeped out by buying used mentholatum from strangers. So, um, never mind…

  33. Oh my gosh! Your run-around for Mentholatum (whatever the heck that is–must be a Southern thing!) reminds me of my own run-around for canned pumpkin last year. I went to 8 stores in one day looking for the darned stuff and COULD. NOT. FIND. IT. And guess what. Same thing this year. No pumpkin can be found in my town. Anywhere.

    I’ll make you a deal. If I find Mentholatum, I’ll buy it for you if you’ll buy me a can of Libby’s pumpkin (just the plain stuff, not the pie mix) if you can find it. Let’s shake on it.

  34. Hilarious!! I’ve never watched The Rachel Zoe Project but I can assure you we have lots of “dying” around my house every single day. Nay, every single hour. Females abound! My three daughters just ‘may’ have taken after me in the area of dramatics.
    For example: Oldest daughter (20), still living at home with husband (in Iraq) and 10 month old baby boy, often calls “MAMA” in a frantic way that I know means, “GET IN HERE NOWWWW!” Usually, it’s the baby making a face because of a new food and she is just CERTAIN he is going to die from choking. However, on this instance, she sat on the couch breathing heavily and insisting that I touch her neck because there was a BALL in it. I did. Swollen gland was my first thought. I tell her. NOT good enough. LATER, she calls me again because this time, ‘the ball is growing’. Glands. Swollen glands, I insist. “But I’m not sick,” she says. She later calls her father-in-law’s girlfriend who just so happens to be a nurse (poor, poor girlfriend) and tells her of the story. Nurse says usually swollen glands but my daughter says she’s ‘perfectly fine and not sick at all’ which is puzzling because I could’ve sworn that sometime during the previous 24 hours she mentioned how ‘awful’ she felt.
    Nurse says you should have it checked out then. I tell her I agree. I mean, if it’s a BALL in your neck, you should check it out. And seriously, I would NOT want my daughter to go unchecked had a knot shown up in her neck for some unknown reason–just to clarify.
    If you’re still with me–this morning guess what? Her throat is hurting and she feels like she’s getting a summer cold.
    The night before, she was truly DYING.

  35. Ohemgee! This is NOT happening. This will literally push my mother over the edge. She almost daily, to this good day, reminds me that “mentholatum could cure a broke leg if you put enough on it”. Please let this be a fluke…pleeease…

  36. Okay…this is my first time on your blog and this is the first post of yours I’ve ever read… and I CANNOT STOP LAUGHING. You write marvelously and I love the Mentholatum drama. Hope it all works out!

  37. You crack me up. I’ve never watched the show but now I’m curious. Although I’m afraid to try it because I’m worried I’ll get sucked in somehow. It’s not like I need something else to add to my already full days! But… maybe just once…

  38. I’ll throw my opinion in the ring here. Call the company. Usually when you email you just get an email. But when you call, you get coupons or samples as a thank you! :) And yes, we’re all sitting on pins and needles waiting with baited breath to hear the updated on your Mentholatum woes. (And interestingly enough spell check knows about Mentholatum!)

  39. THIS post would be exactly why I keep coming back to your blog. I die. Literally.

    And Rachel? Always a nice reminder of why my boring life is so, so good!

  40. This is just bananas!

    I could’ve written this post word for word and inserted Phisoderm facesoap where you have Mentholatum!

    It’s been a while…..since all my stores have stopped carrying it and I’ve “sorta” moved on (WHAT CHOICE DID I HAVE?)!!!
    My hubby even got online and ordered 2 dozen bottles of it from the same dotcom you mentioned!

    I even posted about it here!
    Only it was the wrong kind. So, now I have 2 dozen bottles of another type of phisoderm soap!

  41. I have a similar possibly unhealthy relationship with Chapstick. I keep Chapstick stashes hidden all over the house / car / purses / etc. Please let us know how your Mentholatum saga ends!

  42. I feel your pain. Just yesterday, I found out that Walgreen’s no longer carries our favorite type of toilet paper: their brand. Can you believe? First, that we love Walgreen’s brand TP, but secondly that they stopped carrying it?? It was a sad, sad day. Last night, I saw my husband deep in thought and asked him if he was okay. His response? “Just thinking about how we can’t get our toilet paper anymore…” Broke my heart.

    Insert pity here.

  43. seriously? i die.

    i looove rachel zoe! except i think i missed the first episode this season when taylor left because, really? i mean, was she all that bad? i kind of get what made her b*tchy and felt a little bit proud of her…? but maybe i missed something.

    and that’s beside the point, anyway, because i totes love brad and rachel and all things bravo.


    the president of khloe’s fan club

  44. Girl, you crack me up. Literally. I die. It’s ironic since I’ve never even seen The Rachel Zoe Project. Overdramatize as often as you like, it brings a smile to my face.

  45. Whenever my cat wants to get in my face at dark o’clock in the morning, I just open up my bottle of bedside Mentholatum and she makes a funny face, blinks, and backs off. Cat repellent – another wonderful use for Mentholatum!

  46. Child, be thankful you are obsessed with something that is only $2,12 a jar.

    When I found out Pacifica was no longer making their Persian Rose candles, I like to died. LIKE TO DIED. I started in with actual heart palpitations, yes I did.

    And then I took and went insane, buying up every single one I could find on the World Wide Intertubes, and at considerably more than two dollars and twelve cents a pop, let me tell you.

    My sweet husband would pitch a FIT if he found out how much I spent, but I know in my heart that my happiness is well-worth the four figures I ended up spending. (Shipping charges are criminal these days.)

    It’s the little things in life that bring us the most joy, and I just know the Good Lord will see to it that you have plenty of Mentholatum in your future.

  47. Lauren from Indiana says:

    Oh help! HILARIOUS. A few thoughts: Buff-Puff? They still make them??? They used to make these little-bitty Buff-Puffs that were “single use” type things and those were somewhat softer to me than the bigger ones. I loved them. I will be doing myself a little internet search. Also, I experienced the same Mentholatum related panic for the last three years in Bloomington, Indiana. I could never find Mentholatum. Which is a shame, because I got insane cases of colds and bronchitis up there, making my nose CRY OUT for some mentholated relief. My mom had to send me care packages. Mentholatum is sold proudly here in Plano, Texas, so if things get really desperate…just let me know!

  48. Just stumbled upon your blog and I really got a kick out of it. Great writing. I’ll keep reading.

    15 times.

    I counted the word mentholatum 15 times, and I didn’t recount so I could be off by one or two.

    Funny stuff.

  49. You mean you love you a good SPARKLY beret? Thought so.

    So major.

  50. You sound so much like my mom and her Gleem toothpaste. She can only find one store that still carries it, so she goes and buys about 50 tubes at a time! :-)

  51. I feel for you! We just found out that Smuckers discontinued their line of grilled cheese Uncrustables. What is a mama that has children in peanut free classes to do on a busy morning? Ugh. And no lunchables allowed in their school either. Pretend troubles, I’ve got ’em.

  52. OMG, Beverly’s comment

    “4th generation Mentholatum -Dependent”

    I snorted….. LOL’d….and snorted again.

    Funny comments today!

  53. Boo Mama you hit the nail on the head with Rach. Sometimes I find myself really stressed out after I watch her – my husband will say “What’s wrong” and I reply – I feel so bad for Rodger and I wish Rachel would slow down – but the Emmys are just around the corner and…..” Good post. :)

  54. I’m not sure what this says about me… but today at Target, I saw a shirt in the women’s section that had a huge banana on it, and it said…”This tee is bananas”. I immediately wanted to take a picture of it and tweet it to you… as if you know me! But I figured you would think I was crazy/a stalker, so I refrained!

  55. HA! I love Rachel Zoe.

    I too tend to over dramatize as well. I have to admit, that is why I love her. I have so many friends going through such hard times right now. I am praying for some very serious situations. Watching her, (for a little while), I can pretend that when I am out of my skin care…it is the most major crisis on planet earth. :-)


  56. It is Sunday morning and I am quite the mess! I was planning to leisurely get ready for church, but after USING THE LAST OF MY 2 YEAR OLD CONTAINER OF MENTHOLATUM AND READING YOUR POST, I am all balled up! My daughter, who is 21 and lives out on her own, called me the other day because she couldn’t find her container. Traumatic event, I tell you! This is nuts! Really. If the manufacturers aren’t making it anymore, they just need to read the comments left on your post, because obviously there is a market for it!!!!! By the way, Shelly@Life on the Wild Side, pumpkin had a blight. I am not joking. I was making pumpkin cookies 2 weeks ago and couldn’t find it anywhere. That’s when the Kroger man broke the news. Hopefully all the little pumpkins of the world are growing blight-free this year, ready to pour themselves into cans so all of us can enjoy their yummy goodness!

  57. I about died when I heard them say on the RZ show that she is only 38!!!! Why did I think she was a smidget older than that? I mean like 42ish or something. Shocking. And, I live for the Rachel Zoe show and the Flipping Out show. Obsessed and in love. :)