Monday, January 31, 2005

Fake Purse Ninjas: Part I

So let’s talk purses, bags, pocket books, whatever you call them locally…

First, you must personally and consciously decide “why am I carrying a bag?” and “what are the essentials for its purpose?” I personally hate the IDEA of a purse, generally, the fact that I have to be responsible for certain items (keys, money, ID, sunglasses, lip gloss…), but they are irresistible because a bag can change the way you feel, like an outfit, and THEY ALWAYS FIT…

First things first: evaluation.

As you may know by now, my personal mantra in life is: There is a time and a place…. This goes for purses as well. Here are a few of my purse peeves (and if I know you and you fall into any of these categories, I have probably moved past the fact that I don’t like your purse and I can be friends with you anyway…I do not base my friendships on purses…now shoes…) Evaluate your current purse to see if it falls unwittingly into any of these categories…

The Don’ts

A purse that is too young for you.


The latest line of Dooney & Burkes D & B HeartsLindsey 1of which Lidsey Lohan is the spokesperson…is this a clue?) is not for you unless you are still in high school or you are a freshman in college. I cringe when I see an “obviously-for-a-teenager-trendy” purse on the arm or shoulder of a woman of responsible drinking age. >(I have nothing against Dooney & Burke…this goes for ALL purses of similarly juvenile style.)

A purse that is too old for you.

Maybe you have a preconceived notion of what a “purse” should be.
Ugly 3
The purse your mother carried is most likely NOT still in style unless she paid more than $5,000 for it. Purses go through general, or big style, changes, noticeable to the layman’s eye, every three years or so. For what you paid for your last purse, can you get three years of wear and style of it? My guess is that you CAN, if you chose the right purse… Pay attention. Go to Nordstrom to get the low down of what’s going on in the purse scene, Some Satchel 4
then go buy Isaac Mizrahi’s or Mossimo’s version at Target and you’re set.
Mossimo Satchel
You wouldn’t let your shoes get out of date would you? Would you? We’ll get to that later…

A purse that is too “haute couture” for shopping at Wal-Mart or for everyday.

The time for this bag is going out, going “shopping” (the activity kind, not the necessity kind), going to dinner, going somewhere where you want your mortal enemy to be SO jealous of your bag… A great bag is like virginity…if it’s so special, save it for something special… for crying out loud.
IMG_0707
Crazy 7Crazy 8

A purse that is too old, age wise.

If you can see threads, fraying edges, cracks, stains, rips, etc. give it to charity. If you feel like you would be embarrassed seeing it on the arm of a poor person, do us all a favor and throw it away. Get another purse, they still make them…I don’t care if it’s your favorite and it’s lucky because you took it to the Nelson Twins concert and they threw a guitar pick and you caught it and keep it in your lucky purse. Scrapbook the pick, ditch the purse. Unless you paid more than $5,000 for it in which case, take it to a professional restorer and have it preserved for your kids. They will thank you for it.

A purse that is the wrong size for the occasion.

I used to stuff my Easter purses (the one that came free with the dress) with tissues to make it look full. One of the greatest freedoms I ever allowed myself was changing purses when the activity changed. For example, I need a good medium “satchel” or “hobo” style bag for everyday use…I need the real estate, but when I go to a movie (which is rarely a spontaneous event), I take my “movie bag” which is not necessarily pretty (the movies are dark), but big enough to hold my phone, my lip gloss, and some contraband bottles of water. IMG_0708A wristlet was created for occasions when all you need is your lip gloss and your phone and some cash. Ladies, LIBERATE your selves! Get one bigger bag and one smaller bag and it will change your life!
too big 9
Wristlet 12

A purse that is designer but ugly anyway.

A lot of people think that just because they spent $499 or $4.99 on a purse that happens to be “designer” means that they are free and clear. WRONG. Designers make a lot of ugly, NOT timeless things, because they know that there are label whores out there who will pay for just about anything. Muiccia Prada makes A LOT of really ugly bags, but as long as people see that ugly plastic triangle, they think they’re the bomb. (Prada also has a lot of GREAT bags too, especially for professionals…I was just picking on her…)
Ugly designer

Purse tip of the day from my mother:
Pouches 13

She has organized her purse into “pouches”’ she purchased at the Container Store. She has personal items in one, hygiene items in another, receipts, etc. She also has her wallet, phone, and keys. When she needs to change purses, for going out, going to the temple, matching outfit, special occasion, she just takes the pouches that she needs. This way she doesn’t feel tied to all of the objects in her purse, she is able to prioritize what she needs for that moment. Plus the pouches are way cute and they cost $1.99 - $2.99.

Personally, I keep a lip gloss and a couple of stale pieces of gum in every bag I own so that I am never without. Maybe a Sharpie… and a temporary tattoo, also…you never know, be prepared I always say. That’s my tip.
IMG_0711

But of course, I’ll end with a disclaimer: personal style transcends all. Where would we be without the Cyndi Laupers and the Punk Brewsters of the world? If you are digging the Louis Vuitton grafitti and stud purse for shopping at Albertson’s, by all means…especially if you have the chance of running into your mortal enemy and you want her to be jealous of your bag…
cyndi18Punky Brewster



Thursday, January 27, 2005

Nylons: to Be or Not to Be

So there has been a debate as of late… “wear” do nylons stand today in the halls of fashion. Are they at the forefront on the marble pedestal... are they retired docents giving tours…or are they taking tickets in the coat check room? As one who has worked in the Intimate Apparel Dept TWICE…

Here’s the lowdown: Only wear nylons if

A) they MAKE the outfit
B) they are required (by rule or occasion...)
C) you have super hairy legs (in which case I would recommend fishnets in black or nude depending…NOTHING hides hair like fishnets…never think that just by wearing nylons your legs are “passing” for hairless…so says the lazy leg-waxer…)

These days, self tanner is the new nylon. No joke, look in the magazines and estimate the ratio of nyloned legs compared to bare… It’s not to say NOone is wearing them (see A). It’s just that SKIN is IN. (I totally just coined that phrase…) Bare legs can even fly in the wintertime with a little maintainance (i.e. a little color...).

Opposed to self tanner? Did you know that no two self tanners are alike? I used to avoid the stuff like the plague because it smelled SO bad on me. I then found out (through the modern revelation that is Vogue Magazine) that you need to try several different brands to find one that reacts well with your personal chemistry. It’s just like dealing with a man ladies...a gotta date ‘til ya mate. And you might be surprised that an inexpensive brand works with your skin! (I would recommend starting with Clarins, Clinique, and Bath & Body Works…my fave)

If there is anyone out there who is still attending the antiquated tanning booth, let me refer you to my forthcoming blog entitled “Oozing Lesions, Leathery Skin, and Other Bad Habits I Picked Up in the Eighties.”

But if you are determined to wear the nylons, let’s explore the options…

The World of Foundation Garments Part IV: Nylons and Hoisery according to c.a.o.r.

Pantyhose
Regular

Appropriate When...they are required or for a super conservative or formal occasion. While by today's standards, anything goes, nylons add a level of decorum that is sometimes a necessary element to an outfit. The more sheer, the more sexy.

Inappropriate When…they are ill fitting whether they are too tight and constricting or too loose and baggy i.e. elephant anlkes. They are also inappropriate when they are of cheap and inconsistant weave. The nicer the quality of hose, the more expensive, sorry, no exceptions...

Rating (out of 5) 3

Pantyhose
Control Top

Appropriate When... and IF you need them, explore types of control from only tummy to butt to thigh to all of the above.

Inappropriate When…parts of you bulge out of them. Suggestion: pull them up as high as you can and use as minimizing bra…

Rating 3

Pantyhose
Sandal Toe

Appropriate When... hell freezes over or you are an old woman living in Florida. I know Stacy and Clinton said it was OK, but I question their judgement. Nylons are considered more conservative, and occasions to dress conservatively (court, funerals, and eagle scout courts of honor…) require more sensible shoes than the open toed variety...generally

Inappropriate When…Nevah!…(say that in an indignant tone of voice…and a Brittish accent…) That is so say they are NEVER appropriate in my fashion book. It's an oxymoron. Nylons for sandals? Think it through logically folks… Plus, I hate the seam...

Rating 0

Pantyhose
Reinforced Toe

Appropriate When...you need to wear nylons often and you don't cut your toe nails as often…
Inappropriate When…anyone can view them whether your shoes are on or off.

Rating 3

Pantyhose
Support Hose

Appropriate When...you are aged, on your feet A LOT, a diabetic with poor circulation, OR are in need of KILLER control. They are more like tights than nylons, and for young people who need the control, sheer black is an appropriate choice, but never nude!

Inappropriate When…you don't want to feel like astuffed sausage.

Rating 4

Stockings
Thigh Highs: Self Supporting

Appropriate When...ever you need to wear hoisery. Honestly, why are you women even bothering with the pantyhose unless there is a dress or ourfit that requires them AND some support? They are GOD'S gift to women! Imagine this: no pulling them off and on to visit the bathroom, when one leg runs, so what? they come in packs of two often and you've got another leg! No uncomfortable waist line/rolling issues...And is there anything sexier than a little lacy secret?

Inappropriate When…they show.

Rating 6

Stockings
Garters & Belts

Appropriate When...you are allergic to the self adhesive of thigh highs. Or if you just can't stand the feeling. Garter belts can often privide a little tummy control. They're not only for the bedroom..though they do the trick there. Tip: wear your underwear ON TOP of the garter belt so the bathroom trip is not as complicated. Or wear split croch panties, but that's never classy...

Inappropriate When…they show, or when they can be seen through the clothes as lumps and bumps.
Rating 4

Stockings
Knee Highs: Nylons

Appropriate When... you have a rare occasions.

Inappropriate When…you are wearing knickers or skirts where there is a possibility that they might be seen. Let me be more frank, NEVER WITH SKIRTS and low shoes.

Rating 1

Stockings
Trouser Socks

Appropriate When... you need to wear nice slacks and nice shoes. Should generally be the same color as your pants unless you are trying to make some sort of statement.
Inappropriate When…ditto…

Rating 3

Stockings
Footies

Appropriate When...you are a grandma who no longer cares or notices, but who doesn't like sweaty feet.
Inappropriate When…you don't have a pace maker.

Rating 1

Tights
Opaque

Appropriate When...worn with short to mid legnth skirts and boots. a staple of the 90's tights are losing their grip, but they are still popular and fashionable in colder climates.

Inappropriate When…the weather is obviously too warm or the occasion is too formal.

Tights
Sheer

Appropriate When...something a little more sexy is called for, but the weather is still cool.

Inappropriate When…used as a substitute for sheer nylons.

Rating 4

Tights
Patterned

Appropriate When...good fashion judgement is used. Subtle patterns worn with little or no pattern in the clothing is a great use of patterned tights. Great with boots!

Inappropriate When…they are printed with items that should NEVER be found on legs e.i fruit, stripes (unless you are a witch or a goth), balloons, cartoon characters etc.

Rating 4

Tights
Fishnets: Single Net

Appropriate When...they do not distract from the outfit. They should not usually be the focal point. Beware that a common visual cue for fishnets is one that is often associated with women of ill repute. So ignore the stares of the older generation, 'cuz times, they are a'changin'...

Inappropriate When…a more conservative hose is required. They are not a straight across substitute for nylons.

Rating 4

Tights
Fishnets: Double Net

Appropriate When...you require a more chic look in hose, but when the fun and sexiness of a fishnet is desired.

Inappropriate When…there in the slightest hole in the hose (NOTHING is more tawdry than fishnets with a hole) or when you are actaully trying to catch fish.

Rating 5

And that's it folks. Not to leave our male audience out in the cold. If you are shopping for yourself or a loved one (we do not judge you here...), all hoisery should have a size chart on the back. It doesn't go by foot size, it is by height and weight. So if any of you are over 5'10" (Aiden?) you will need to check out the specialty sizes...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Activity Day Update

Today little K brought a stick to Activity Days. This was not a stick from a tree, it was like a thin piece of lumber, about 30 inches long. It was dirty, used, and worn.

S asked her, "Why do you have a stick?"
K: "To protect me from murderers..."
S: "What?!"
K: "You guys, don't you know?... There are murderers out there..."

We made up "dances" to memorize two Articles of Faith (kinestetic memorization) and then I let them play American Idol out on the lawn... it was very spiritual.

Those Crazy Scots

As all of you know, today is the birthday of the famous Scottish poet, Robert Burns. And on his birthday, his 246th, I invite you to join me in what most Scots are doing this evening…reading his poetry, eating haggis, dancing, and getting fall-down-drunk… I'll bring the haggis...BYOB.

Although to read Mr. Burns’ poetry you will oft be referring to the translations in the side notes, you are probably more familiar with his words than you may know… “The best-laid schemes of mice and men…” “My love is like a red, red rose…” "Should auld acquiantance be forgot..."

My first Burn’s Night in Scotland I was in Edinburgh in the Morningside chapel (if Sean Connery had been a Mormon he would have been in that ward…) and we had brought an investigator with us to the party so that we were there to have a good time…legally…

Everyone wore their kilts and hats and long socks and vests and drapey things and brooches, and daggers and furry purses (the sporran)… Everyone looked marvelous.

Someone stood and read the “Address to a Haggis”:

“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ grace
An lang’s my arm.”

Haggis
It goes on for 7 more stanzas...

Highlights of the poem:
“chieftain o’ the pudding race!” (keep in mind it’s a pudding of guts, spices, and oatmeal…it’s the Ghengis Khan of the pudding race…it scares all the other puddings… did I mention it’s baked in a sheep’s stomach…)

that the haggis is as long as his arm

you raise your knife and plunge it into the shiny haggis for it to burst its entrails in a “glorious sight”

the French can keep their ragout

the Italians can keep their fricassee

but give me the stout, honest fare of a good rustic haggis and thank your luck stars that you’re a Scot

and if you love your country: “wish her gratefu’ prayer, Gie her a haggis!”

you get the general idea…

And I ate haggis for the first time, and instead of eating it gone, I mixed it into my tatties (potatoes, you perverts…) and created a bust of Burns himself (that’s a sculpture, you perverts…).

And then the dancing…. You see, you know how as Americans, chances are you learned some square dancing somewhere in your education? Well the Scots learn “flingin’” or the “auld” (old) dances. As sister missionaries, we were the shoe-in partners for all the spinster ladies in the ward. They fought over us like the last spoonful of trifle, and I got plenty of coquettish smiles and winks to boot!

Dancing


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Wickedly PErfect #3: “They will rue the day they got rid of me…”

So I slacked on the Wickedly Perfect post because frankly, my predictions are coming to pass…

This week, out of pity, the so-called judges picked the 2-time-loser Team Artisan as the winners. Seriously, it was out of pity. That team cannot create a cohesive theme. Actually they never HAVE a theme. It’s always “Elegant Something” or “Something Elegance”.

While sitting round the table with the Crafty Beavers, the judges pointed out everyone’s strengths while they individually beamed in response. Bobby, the chef judge, commented on how Mitch seemed to be a jack-of-all-trades and the team chimed in with agreement. When the judges got to Amy, or “Miss Lippy” the darling kindergarten teacher, they could not name her “talent” and she gave a weak response: “I just like to have fun…” I’m sure they edited her more in depth explanation.

Then Judge Bobby monologued on how to win this game, you are going to have to be good at many things and be able to see the big picture. They edited it to look like everyone at the table was uncomfortable and on edge while Mitch put his hands behind his head and smiled away…

As much as I feel for Margo, the single mother of three, she is not going to win “because she needs to win this.” This is a contest, a bad one at that. And the cosmos are not going to help you and neither is karma. Winning over your teammates will help you a lot, and this week she made enemies with Kimberly, who is a weak contestant, but who is going to make life hard. Kimberly is a squeaky wheel…

So the Crafty Beavers had to vote someone off, and the weakest projects were done by Mychael and Heather. Heather has yet to show me anything worthwhile, and while Mychael is a wiz in the kitchen, she has yet to prove herself elsewhere as well. Because this game is about strategy and not finding and keeping good talent, it was in the best interests of everyone involved to get rid of Mychael.

When she was voted off, Mychael looked genuinely surprised. I could see her thinking, “You will rue the day you got rid of me…”

But seriously, how do people not cry when they get voted off? Do they edit out the crying? I would be a wreck…another good reason I’m not on this show…

The Hostess with the Mostess

Yesterday as I was puttering around the house I noticed there were about 300 starlings in my back yard having a party without me. There were drinks, lights, a rockin’ bird bath going on in the hot tub, and music, of course there was music.

I felt like a negligent hostess, so I went to my pantry to see what I had on hand for birds… Do birds like lentils? Rice was a no go… Don’t want exploded bird bodies on the back lawn… Oooo, puffed wheat, light, yet hearty, appetizing, bite-sized for little beaks…perfect.

But as I went outside to scatter the hors d’ouevres, they all flew away. I felt used. I served up anyway and left it at that. This morning all the puffed wheat is gone. Either the birds came back for a little midnight madness, or the musk rat got it… Anyhow, I hope they had fun.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Activity Days or the Hysterical Young Female

I have the honor of being the Activity Days leader for the 10 year old girls in our congregation. This means that twice a month, I invite six 10 year olds into my house for some sort of spiritual guidance, and an activity.

This week, the activity started out OK. We watched a church produced movie, and then I had the girls sit for 10 minutes and write what they thought or felt about the movie in an “Activity Day” journal that I gave them for Christmas.

Now let me explain, I’m super good with 3 year olds, I am even pretty decent with 6 year olds because that is as far as my child development experience takes me with nieces and nephews. Any older, and I am totally awkward and out of my league. I don’t really know what 10 year olds can handle and what they can’t. Journal writing is one of them… one of the things they can’t handle, not with a pan of rice crispy treats coursing through their veins.

By the time we were sitting around the kitchen table to assemble folders, the conversation had left off with anything holy, and we were now commanded to go around the table and “admit” who we liked. I had express instructions that I could not name my husband.

One little girl, K, had been insisting repeatedly that her last name would someday be “Potter”, no wait, make that “Radcliffe.” She practiced it on her paper a few times.

The declarations of love grew more and more impassioned until all were talking at once and pandemonium ensued. Little K raised her arms calling for attention shouting, “Wait! Stop! I have something to say! Stop!” Immediately, 5 girls stopped shouting and looked at her silently, expectantly…

Shocked that everyone actually listened to her, she blushed deeply, looked down and said in a demure voice, “I love Harry Potter… OK NOW IT”S YOUR TURN!!!”

I named Legolas, the elf, and admitted that I had a framed poster of him upstairs (compliments of my husband – Christmas 2003).

After I was sure they would not be able to recall ONE churchy thing we had discussed earlier, I suggested we all get our coats and I would drive them home.

We have just installed a new “dog proof” gate leading into our kitchen so that the dogs will be prevented from eating any more loaves of bread or batches of cookies. It is a “fancy” gate with a foot latch. The finale of the night consisted of the girls lining up so that each one could depress the pedal, walk through the gate, and close it behind her so the next girl could go through and push the pedal herself. Simple pleasures my friends…

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Modesty Fashion Show or How Big Egos Fall Hard or Pathetic Story #418

Warning: this blog is long... but the entire story must be told...


Yes, I was asked by my Relief Society president to participate in a tri-stake fashion show meant to highlight women in the community who dressed fashionably, yet modestly. Can you see the color of flattery rising in my cheeks as I am being asked to choose my 2 fave outfits (one casual and one fancy) and bring them to meet a nationally renowned style consultant for a dress rehearsal?

Well, I was flattered. And I had a hard time only choosing 2 outfits so I brought 4. We were to meet at the church at an appointed time so that we could have “face time” with the consultant. I was so excited. I laid out my choices and waited my turn.

I can’t remember the consultant’s name… I choose to forget. She had advised First Ladies and Janet Reno (that should have been a clue), and had been on Oprah numerous times. Oprah! For crying out loud…

I was a little disappointed when one of her assistants came to evaluate me. She was cute and stylish though. She LOVED my clothes. I loved my clothes. We chose two outfits and then we decided how to describe them. For the fashion curious, here’s what they were:

1. Pleated jean skirt (from the really posh section in Nordstrom but it was WAY on sale…), ¾ sleeved button down shirt with tuxedo ruffle at the buttons and a retro poppy print (from Anthropologie), super cute straw bag, and heeled sandals. Summer get-a-way…A little self tanner on the legs and I was good to go…

2. Ann Taylor suit in blue silk with long jacket and coral colored silk wrap-around shirt. Not my very fave, but responsible looking and dramatic, I guess.

Well early, EARLY the next morning (the morning of the show) I get a phone call before work from the consultant and she says, “I would love your help. I want to add some things to the show…I don’t feel that we have the right balance… Can you come to my house and bring your outfits? Will you also bring some additional outfits for me to look at?”

I basically answered “Of course, dahling…I’ll be right there…anything I can do for the show…”

I called into work and told them I’d be late, grabbed the two outfits and then some, and raced over… “She heard about me,” I thought. “She wants to see more!”

I get to her big old house in Alpine and she’s waiting, she been up for hours, but it’s early, she has no make up and I don’t think she brushed her teeth… She looked tired and weary…

Down into the basement we went, where to my surprise and initial delight I found ROOMS of clothes on racks… racks and racks… Shangri-La…Heaven…Nirvana…

Then I modeled for her. She asked me to walk for her (thanks mom and dad for the modeling lessons when I was 6… they are finally going to pay off!). Then she made some suggestions.

“I have the perfect jacket for those pants,” she says.

I am wearing my chocolate brown, pin-striped Ann Taylor pants with high heeled boots and she pairs it with an oatmeal “shell” and a linen jacket. I’m frozen like a deer in the headlights. The shell has shoulder pads…SO does the jacket. The shell reaches to almost mid thigh and the jacket IS mid thigh. Then she rolls up the sleeves of the jacket to reveal the silky lining. “There,” she says.

I am speechless…is this for real?

I stutter some unintelligible comments, “I’m…n-n-not sure…. the shirt…shoulder pads ….” She ignored me and moved at lightening speed toward another rack.

“I really wanted someone to wear this outfit. It’s one of my favorites.” She hands me something black and slinky feeling. I put it on. “Oh, that’s just gorgeous! We needed something formal. It’s from Egypt you know. The flowers are hand painted.”

Just in case you are thinking this might be something cool or sexy, let me inform you sternly just how wrong you are. The black material was slinky and that’s where the slinky stopped. It was a pants outfit. The pants had an elastic waist and tapered legs, the shirt (again) had shoulder pads, as did the jacket (reaching my KNEES). The jacket was painted with METALLIC flowers in a papyrus motif all around the sleeves and hem. I. WAS. MORTIFIED…and buggered if I was going to be seen wearing this in public.

I looked exactly like Claire Huxtible from the Cosby Show, that era, those clothes. But then it hit me…SHE WAS DRESSING ME LIKE THE FAT GIRL. I was the plus sized model. I have never been a waif, and I totally own my meatiness, but COME ON… This was not exactly flattering to any size. Stacy & Clinton would have disowned me.

As she is dressing me and primping me, she is going on and on about how I am a yang who dresses like a ying. My hair and clothes are too ying for my yangness. “Own your yang…” says she. I wanted to say that I had owned and paid off my ying years ago, and ying I would be for evermore!…whatever that meant, I was rebelling against her insistence of yang.

The consultant saw my shock and hesitation, and started basically listing her resume. She capped it all off with, “and then of course there was the chemotherapy…that was difficult.” She was guilting me because she was a cancer survivor. That was low…

She told me not to worry about the clothing descriptions she would take care of it. I was to wear three outfits, I should feel special because everyone else could only wear two.

All day I work I had SEVERE anxiety. Constant stomach ache… I couldn’t do it. I could not appear in public in clothes that were supposed to me mine. The whole premise of the fashion show was that these were real women wearing their own clothes. Everyone would think those were MY clothes! No! NO! I hold my personal style dear to my heart. I would be a fashion charlatan! A badly dressed fashion charlatan!

I was in agony. It got so bad that I considered throwing myself down the office stairs as many times as it took until I was too hurt to walk. Seriously…

All of my sisters were coming to the show as were all of my friends from the neighborhood. How could I get out of this! Besides just saying “no”…

“…and then of course there was the chemotherapy…that was difficult…”

I knew that if I refused to be in the show I would be ungrateful and it would appear prima donna-ish, and my decline to wear her clothes might kill her. After all, someone who had gone through chemotherapy might not be able to handle that!

Then, in a flash, calm settled over me… a voice whispered, “I DARE you to do it. If you do this thing, you will have the best story to tell for the rest of your life.”

“Bring it on…” I said (probably out loud for I was feeling psychotic at this point). I was now determined. I would strut my stuff… I would have fun.

My sisters were my entourage, I had Sarah and Abby and my sis-in-law Darcy. They bolstered my courage; Sarah brought the video camera. I almost lost confidence when Abby saw the outfits backstage and said, “You CAN’T wear that…”

I scrutinized the other participants. They were all definitely way thinner. My suspicions at being the “token fat girl” were justified.

But before I made my debut, we all had to endure 2 ½ hours of fashion instruction by said consultant. This was mostly her talking about who-knows-what as she cleverly changed outfits on stage in front of about 600 ladies. It was like an acrobat act, she’d unbutton her blouse to reveal a whole other outfit on underneath. Then she would remove the skirt to reveal the pants underneath and pull a scarf out of the pocket to make a new outfit. It was BIZARRE.

Mercifully, by the time it was time for the show, half the audience had left. We all took our places in our first outfits. Mine, thankfully was the blue suit. Apparently, that was yang enough and she let me where it.

We had to walk across the stage and then down some OSHA rejected, rickety stairs while holding the hand of some nervous young man *pause*. Then we had to walk around the right side to the middle of the gym *pause* figure 8 around the back to the middle again *pause* then out the door. Imagine all this walking, this is a full-sized basketball court I am crossing and crisscrossing… First round, check…no tripping…hands not too sweaty…

Then came the linen blazer outfit. The heel of my boots got caught in the cuff of my trousers on my way down the stairs, and I came this close to going down. I recovered with a deep blush and walked on. Passing the sisters, their faces were crimson and their shoulders were shaking up and down with suppressed laughter. Second round, check…

Then came the finale, the dressy round, complete with blushing bride in a modest gown. My dressy outfit was the black fashion death. While waiting on the stairs I kept whispering to the other participants, “This isn’t my outfit! She made me wear it!” No one knew what I meant and no one was sympathetic.

I was third to last…I took a deep breath and walked out, smile on my face, hand on my hip. My sisters were dying. Tears are now streaming. (As Sarah follows me with the camera and pans behind herself you can see the ladies behind her giving her the stink eye, as if she were laughing to make fun of me.)

I had to look a lot of people I knew in the face while wearing that outfit. It was hard to do with a composed face. I wanted to just scream out, “This isn’t mine! I was forced into this by a cancer survivor!”

My face was red and hot for hours afterwards. I was exhausted. I had experienced so much anxiety and anguish throughout the day, I felt like I had run a marathon. We immediately took the tape home and watched it, like, 50 times and laughed ‘til we cried.

Long story…

Wickedly Perfect: week 2

I am SOOO glad I am not on this show. Honestly, the first week I watched and still had a pang or two of, “I could do this, I wanted to be there.” But this week, I am solidly in the So-Glad-I’m-Not-There category. I don’t believe that any reality show brings out the best in anyone, and Todd even mentioned that he would have hated to see me interact with some of those jokers. He knows me…

Mychael’s cooking skills really set her apart, and I am doubting that anyone can touch her in the kitchen although the others doth protest and there might be some intrigue to oust her. Her level of cooking is well above average.

Mitch is a BRAT. HE whines and tries to create intrigue. He’s had some great table decorating moments, but I doubt that he can carry a party and cook by himself.

Denise is standing up to Mitch’s bossiness and I like that but I really don’t like her hair. She is a brunette and looks like a brunette with well done blond. No likey….

Darlene, Darlene, Darlene… It is just a matter of time. She good at the individual projects which keeps her “safe”, but her personality is grating. She is a know-it-all, and no one likes a know-it-all. She is not a team player and is always eager to please the judges and agree with their opinions at the expense of her team. Bad, bad, bad…

I was sorry to see Michelle go. I thought she was really strong. Plus she had amazing skin. But she crossed the wrong people. I was surprised that she was voted off against Dawn.

So we’ll see. No one really stands out to me right now. The strongest people get kicked off and the weakest, and then we’re usually left with someone pretty mediocre. Mitch might pull it off, if he can get over himself…

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Like Finding a Toy You Had Forgotten About

I am the third child out of seven. In the family dynamics, the three oldest are the “older kids,” the 4th child is solidly the “middle child,” and the last three are definitely the “younger kids.” All activities were based around these social casts. There is no moving in and out of casts no matter who got married first or who has the most children.

And we are all two years apart. If the year is odd (like 2005) we all turn odd numbers (except the youngest), even our parents. It is all very calculated and orderly except for the last two; they are 15 months apart. Oops! Gasp! Sob!

Since I have an amazing memory of 27 years ago (and a lousy memory of 27 months, days, or minutes ago) I can proudly share with you some of my earliest memories:

Emily Johanna #5 born Aug. 23, 1978 Gotenborg, Sweden I knew my mom was going to have a baby and I wanted to be a part of it. After all, I had had to endure all the prenatal exams with my younger sister, Sarah, in tow. I felt like I had a right to BE there. I begged to go to hospital the night my mom went into labor saying, (imagine this cute, tiny little voice…)”I promise I will stay in the car and I won’t say anything!” (I had the tendency to talk a lot…my first word was “water fountain” for crying out loud…).

But to no avail…. When my parents came home from the hospital, I was down the street on the neighbor’s lawn eating clover. (I had a HUGE fascination for eating things that grew outside, mainly, green raspberries and parsley).

Emily was a good, and beautiful baby. The siblings and I had endless fun with her. My favorite photo is of Emily at about 5 months old sleeping on the kitchen floor on a plastic ice cream lid. My mom was a super busy lady, and we were not the most conscientious babysitters…

Spencer James #7 born July 21, 1981 Cape Girardeau, Missouri (where? Exactly…) I don’t even remember my mom being pregnant for this one. She was in maternity clothes for most of my childhood. But I do remember waiting for her to come home from the hospital. Again, I was down the street on the neighbor’s drive way with the dog’s leach, sans the dog, swinging the leash like a feather boa and singing, “Another one bites the dust, yeah, another one bites the dust…”

Spencer was the MOST adorable baby and toddler: golden complexion, golden curls, dimples… ahhh, I miss him soft and cuddly. He’s tall, boney, and whiskery now…

My favorite Spencer snapshot is him at 2 wielding a hose and knowing he all the power in the world; no one could touch him.

So you’re probably wondering about number 6? I remember the sweltering heat we were having in St. Louis in the month of May in 1980 ( the year of the huge heat wave that made us all sleep in the basement for days…), I remember my grandmother coming to stay with us and making us an endless supply of pudding pops… but the baby? No…not really…

Abigail Jean born May 1, 1980 St. Louis, Missouri (so they say) I vaguely remember bald, HUGE eyes, but little else. She was just the hairless monkey that constantly clung to my mother’s hip forcing Emily to become and independent and bossy toddler. Before we could even sneeze, Spencer had arrived and had stolen the spotlight with his aforementioned charm.

But when I was about 10 or 11 I discovered Abby. She was 4 or 5. It was like finding a toy you had forgotten about. In my mind she was the forgotten child, sandwiched between the younger kids (lowest status: middle child of the younger kids…). I felt sorry for her much like I felt sorry for my brother’s old Star Wars and Star Trek toys.(I especially felt sorry for Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock because they had to wear pants that were tucked into their high-heeled boots, and that was SO UNSTLYLISH!)

I think I even thought my parents had forgotten about her. They HAD left her in the back of the van asleep when they took it to the dealer. They remembered, like, 3 hours later…

She was little and blond and still had the huge eyes; she was fun and she was definitely needy. AND she was small enough to carry around; like a back pack. She had clung, so to speak, to her clingy ways and soon acquired the nickname “Squirrelly” and I was her dear “Tree Branch.”

Over the years we’ve had our ups and downs. At one point, I was writing my mother letters because I HONESTLY thought Abby was crazy and needed help. My mom saved those letters and reads them to me over the phone every once in a while, pretending to “just have come across them.” I was just trying to help…

We have been close and we have been distant. The worst thing I ever said to her was, “You’re crazy…” when I really meant it knowing full well it was the WORST thing I could have said to her. She responded appropriately. We made up a few days later.

This sister has brought a lot of joy into my life, as have ALL my darling sisters. Over the years, her nick names have morphed and evolved into the greatest nick name of all: one that carries the weight of heritage and responsibility. My little toy is, and ever will be, my Boo.

This blog is the dedicated to the spawn of Boo, due to appear around July 29, 2005.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Where's MY Makeover

So, I am addicted to makeover shows. It could be a house, a car, a person, a dog it matters not as long as there are before and after shots.

I TiVo the following makeover shows:

What Not to Wear If Stacy and Clinton knew me they would want to be best friends with me and would let me be on their show as the third wheel

Design on a Dime I can watch a 30 min episode in 5

TLC’s plastic surgery shows So I can be furious at people who are addicted to surgery and 18 year olds getting collagen and botox

The Swan I am SO fascinated by the concept that an ugly woman can undergo a Mercedes worth of plastic surgery only to be told that even with all that, she is still not pretty enough.

But, so here’s my beef: where is MY makeover? Where is the team of celebrity makeup artists and hair stylists to make ME over? Where is the ex-marine physical trainer to whip ME into shape? Where’s MY therapist? WHEN DO I GET MY CHANCE?

What about all the rest of us Joe Schmoes who can’t seem to motivate ourselves into health and fitness and who can’t afford beauty and fashion?

I figure that it is just a matter of time before all of America has had a makeover. I’m patient. I’ll gladly wait my turn.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The "3 Things" Quiz

Has anyone seen the movie "Three Kings"? Great movie...

I was having a hard time writing a blog today, so I'm taking Kacy up on her invitation.

3 names you go by:
1. Carabeener
2. Carrie Antwerp (my fave)
3. Ceeb

3 screen names you have:
1. Is this like where you make an identity out of your pet’s name and then the street on which you live? In that case I would be Daisy Hatteras, Solveig Canterbury, or Fiona 620 North
2. Rhodesbud
3. cao5

3 things you like about yourself:
1. I can see amazing potential in other peoples’ garbage, this is why I fill my house with crap from DI instead of buying nice things that will last
2. I personify inanimate objects (like the time I slept with a toy AT-AT in my bed for months because I felt sorry for it – yes an AT-AT is the walking transport from “Empire Strikes Back”)3. my teeth – they are big enough

3 things you hate/dislike about yourself:
1. I buy garbage from DI
2. I personify inanimate objects so it’s hard to throw crap away
3. my virus – technically it’s not me but it’s IN me – it makes me sickly (cough cough “I think I’ve got the black lung..”)

3 parts of your heritage:
1. Swedish (major part that eclipses other parts)
2. British (we still eat the food – oh, don’t pooh pooh it until you’ve had my triffle!)
3. gypsy – that’s what makes me so firey and unpredictable…and really good at the fiddle and belly dancing…

3 things that scare you:
1. Vomit (it’s been 15 years, 6 months, and 5 days since the last spew)
2. Spiders riding sharks in a tornado or sharks vomiting spiders in a tornado – eew!
3. that fire thing from the first Lord of the Rings – holy cow! That thing tapped some secret suppressed something! I had a mini panic attack the first time I saw it…It must have been something I experienced on our family vacation we took to Hell when I was 13.

3 of your everyday essentials:
1. Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers
2. Moisturizer with SPF 15
3. Todd

3 things you're wearing right now:
1. Marc Jacobs fur coat – the caramel colored one with the Peter Pan collar ala Gweneth Paltrow in “The Royal Tennenbaums”
2. The hot pink silk dress with the plunging neck line and brooch at the waist from the “BR”
3. The Manolos that were ½ off with the huge jewel on the toe strap

3 of your favorite bands/artists (today):
1. Muse – I’m so attracted to heroine chic – skinny guys in pin-stripes who rock on the piano (sigh)
2. Beyonce – guilty pleasure
3. Alexander Calder – very into mobiles right now

3 of your favorite songs at present:
1. “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” – always a fave, one of the ONLY songs I know all the words to
2. Anything by They Might Be Giants (I just downloaded everything onto my iPod and I’m reliving junior high..but maybe I should have said that in the last question)
3. “Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash – with all this talk of tsunamis and volcanoes I seriously can’t stop singing it

3 new things you want to try in the next 12 months:
1. a 6
2. a 31
3. a 36 DD

3 things you want in a relationship (love is a given):
1. great sex
2. money
3. power tools

2 truths and a lie:
1. I was on the Leeza Gibbon’s Show
2. I have a nephew with 11 toes
3. I open-mouthed kissed a horse once

3 physical things about a love interest that appeal:
1. Good teeth – doesn’t mean they have to be perfectly straight. I mean who didn’t find Freddy Mercury curiously handsome?
2. Nice hands
3. Chocolate colored eyes…mmmm chocolate….

3 things you just can't do:
1. a 6
2. a 31
3. a 36 DD

3 of your favorite hobbies:
1. sewing – which I never have time for
2. traveling – which I never have money for
3. singing kareoke – which I never have talent for

3 things you want to do really badly right now:
1. down the rest of the Codeine and sleep for the next few days
2. Organize my office
3. Decorate my family room

3 careers you're considering:
1. Cosmotology – because no one gets my hair – and by gets I mean understands
2. Graphic designer – so my husband and I can be our own company and get the hell outta Dodge…
3. Fashion Designer – but alas…Utah.

3 places you want to go on vacation:
1. Cozumel – Playa Del Carmen, Quintanna Roo, Mexico
2. CodieneLand
3. the British Isles – in all my time in Scotland I never tried a fried Snickers bar

3 kids names (either boy or girl):
1. Royal Tennenbaum
2. if I knew I were going to have all girls I’d do a theme like jewels or flowers Pearl, Ruby, & Citrine, or Rose, Violet, & Lily
3. or maybe precious metals for boys: Golden & Stirling

3 things you want to do before you die:
1. not climb mount Everest, K2, or Kilomanjaro
2. not run a marathon
3. but yes to zero gravity

3 People who should take this quiz right now:
1. Suzie Petunia
2. ADD Typist
3. Unlimited Tatertots

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Goodbye & Good Riddance: Tom

I am still too infuriated to be relieved that Tom got kicked off the show “Wickedly Perfect”. In case you don’t know, I tried out for the show and did not make it (see former pathetic “The Would-Be Domestic Diva”), but don’t view my forthcoming weekly critiques as sour grapes. View my ranting as from one who knows… an expert, if you will.

(I totally could have been on that show, you know… I just didn’t open the bag.)

I have NEVER in ALL MY LIFE seen such a display, and outburst really, of blatant rudeness and immaturity as Tom’s tirade against the obnoxious but na├»ve Darlene. He was out of control, and I am SO disappointed that no one stepped up at that moment and said, “Wait a minute Tom, you’re out of line.” (I SO would have done it…I love to be the one who bursts someone’s power bubble…a tragic fault I’ll admit).

Obviously, the team responded to his weird behavior and voted his butt off. Gees, no wonder he is “retired”. Read: incompetent to lead…

Phew…

Looking ahead:

I think you’re in trouble if you can’t cook

Please no more apple peel lamp shades (I would have voted that girl off vigilante-style for that one)

Never be catty on a reality show (how many times do we need to learn that lesson America?)

Joan Lunden needs to spice her hosting style up with some cardamom pods and a pinch of allspice (and tied with a nice bow of raffia)

Not so sure about these judges: of course CBS had to use their “who’s ever heard of him grammy nominee or not” style guy but what does he know, Candace Bushnell? Please! She writes slutty TV shows and slutty books (believe me, I’ve read/seen ‘em all) and her outfit was too heavy on the slutty-not-chic boots, the chef guy is the only reputable judge of anything, but he’s going to be heavy on the cooking and there’s SO much more to this than that. Who they really need is Marth… wait scratch that…

Looking forward to next week… bring it on CBS.

P.S. Todd’s already mad that I could have won him a truck.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I'm a Junkie for Codeine

OK, tell me if you think this is NOT a sweet deal. Codeine in liquid form, plus I HAVE to take it with food. Is there a better vacation? If so, I don’t want to know about it.

I don’t watch Oprah because she frightens me, but I know she’s talked about junkie soccer moms and other “normal” people addicted to pain pills from C-sections and back surgery. I totally understand.

However, I am way too much of a scaredy cat to get beyond the legal stuff and get involved in illegal drugs because:

I don’t want to go to jail (all you have to do is see “American Me” to know you never EVER want to go to prison)

I would rather spend money on clothes

I am forgetful as it is without drugs making me forget important stuff like don’t put the dog in the oven or that we don’t have a fireplace

It would be pretty sucky for my poor husband (although he’s used to a wife who barely cooks or cleans)

It would put me in contact with some unsavory members of society

The shakes are super unattractive – I hear you sweat a lot and throw up, and since I have not thrown up since June 6th 1989, I would like to maintain my record

But sanctioned drugs! Now…that’s different. I can see how people would become fuzzy on the use vs. abuse line. I cannot be critical. But are we allowed to enjoy them?

One of the best vacations I ever had was when I got my wisdom teeth pulled. All I did for 5 days was lay in my bed, take Demerol, watch movies, and eat mashed potatoes. I don’t even remember going to the bathroom. It was pure bliss.

And now, the only thing preventing me from enjoying my Codeine moment is this pesky sore throat. So don’t bother calling… I’ve still got half a bottle, and a whole pantry of soup.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Pig in My Mother's Kitchen

My mother has a pig (dressed in a French chef’s uniform and holding a chalkboard) sitting on her counter. Whenever I go home, I am always flattered to see that the pig has been made aware of my impending visit, and has written a message for me. “Welcome home, Carrie Ann,” it says. Thanks pig.

On this last trip I noticed two things about the French pig. First, he had festively decorated his chalkboard with holly, and second, he was wearing a rather large and ornate cross conspicuously around his neck.

Here’s the deal about crosses in my house. Although we are most definitely Christian, we do not use the cross or crucifix in worship or in decoration, whether it be interior or exterior design, or personal adornment. This is simply because we worship the living Christ, the one who was resurrected.

It’s no big deal really (except to the Baptists and Evangelicals). We don’t mind that it’s the commonly accepted sign for Christianity; we just don’t use it ourselves. So when a friend would give us a cross necklace for our birthdays or Christmas, we would thank them sincerely and put it in a drawer or something (after they went home, of course).

So I am puzzled when I see a cross on the pig.

I asked my mother about it and she said that the pig was French, and that he had always been a Catholic. She says she has tried to talk to him about the church, but he’s just not interested. I think that by wearing a cross, the pig is trying to send a subtle message to my mom. Point well taken, pig.