Friday, July 29, 2011

You're the prime rib at my meat market.

The worst pick up lines I have ever heard?
Easy! They are so memorable:

“I forgot my phone number, can I have yours?” Ick.

“Do you have a map? I am lost in your eyes.” Yeesch.

And my all time favorite, said to me by a shirtless cowboy in acid wash jeans in Tampa, Florida during one of many insane spring breaks:

“Hey baby, how’s about going up to my hotel room and breakin’ some springs of our own?”


Do guys still use pickup lines and if so…why? What girl is going to think, “How charming, he really thinks that I am an angel who fell from heaven?”

On a separate note, I feel the same way about the guys who honk their horns at me while I am walking down the street. It makes me think I may get hit by a car, and that is definitely not a turn on. Also, what girl thinks, “That guy is totally awesome because he honked his horn at me?”

Attention men around the world: No more pick up lines and no more honking. We don’t like it.

But I did pick up something recently that I am loving.

The Balm has a set of eye-liners in packaging so fun and sexy, how could I not pick it up?

Pick Up Liners includes three mini eye pencils in Romeo (smoky gray), Don Juan (deep black), and Casanova (rich brown). It is the perfect size for your bag, the colors are waterproof and soft – you can easily do the sexy-smudgy thing with them, and again, will you look how great the packaging is! And hello, the box even has a built-in sharpener on the side. I am even a little more smitten.

The size of the box reminded me of some mini “Hello Kitty” or “Little Twin Stars” item I would have gotten as a treat when I was a little girl. Remember those little perfect boxes of mini-markers, colored pencils or crayons from back in the day?

The box has a very 60’s retro looking cartoon that looks like one of those pulp fiction novels. And of course, the box includes a pick up line:

“Your name must be Mickey ‘cuz you’re so fine.”

Now if the shirtless acid wash cowboy would have said that to me, it could of been a different story.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still sassy after all these years.

I was all over Seventeen magazine as a teenager, I loved to cut out pictures from it and make collages that I kept in a three ring notebook. Or I would type out the awful, heartbreak related poetry that was featured in the back and submit it to my poor English teacher, Mr. Jakob as a writing project.

Uplifting, for sure - I got a "B".
Poor Mr. Jakob.

I have to admit, the poetry and the ads for the Gunne Sax prom dresses were about all I could relate to in Seventeen. The magazine was too much for the cheerleader, the dance team member, the popular girl. In my dreams I was that girl but in reality I was not.

Then along came a magazine for teenage girls that made me feel okay with the fact that I was not any of those things – Sassy magazine saved me.

Sassy was for the girl who was a theatre geek, listened to REM, and had a crush on Robert Downey, Jr. (check, check, and check.) There was no sappy poetry in Sassy, but there were articles about the Amazon rainforest. While Seventeen had articles on how to get rid of zits, Sassy was telling you zits could be viewed as beauty marks. Sassy even told me it was okay not to have a boyfriend – an unthinkable concept that I had trouble wrapping my head and giant hair around.

The magazine also talked openly about important real life topics like sex and STD’s, - not just focusing on fashion and boys. They had articles with titles like, “How to Drive Your Mother Crazy”, “Skater Boys – Asexual or Not?” and “16 Flawless Hair Goops.” Now these were stories I could relate to. The writing style was smart and funny. You knew the writers by their first names, Catherine, Mary-Kaye, and their brilliant editor Jane Pratt.

I had and still do have a secret girl crush on Jane. I always felt like we could be friends, like she was speaking directly to me. I also loved the fact that we shared a mutual love/admiration of Michael Stipe. And I totally flipped out when she was in the “Shiny Happy People” video in that sassy black daisy dress.

And can we talk about the Sassy covers???

I was always so excited to open the mailbox and see what cool girl or hot guy was gracing the cover – Johnny Depp? Hello May, 1990. Keanu Reeves? Yes, please. And Kurt Cobain getting a smooch planted on him by Courtney Love? The coolest couple on the planet? YES!

If Sassy magazine was still being published I never would have stopped my subscription – it was so much more than a teen magazine to me. When I was eighteen and preparing to move with my family across the country I cut out a little quote from one of the writers, saying “Wow. I know a guy in Oregon. He is very into nature. A very simple and beautiful man." When I saw that in Sassy it made me feel just a little bit better about moving, like okay, if someone at Sassy knows a cool guy in Oregon, I might be okay.

Sassy was like a good girlfriend who would never judge you. Seventeen was that “friend” who always kind of made you feel a little bad about yourself and you couldn’t figure out why.

I use the word “sassy” like crazy today in a variety of ways. Like, “hey Kristen, that dress is sassy on you” or “doesn’t that make you want to go out and get all sassy?” or “I’m feeling sassy...let’s go upstairs.”

Sassy never left me, and I am so grateful for that.

PS- could I say sassy one more time? SASSY!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Better on paper.

During spring break of my junior year of high school I met a boy on the beach. My girlfriends and I were doing our usual Saturday night routine of cruising the strip of Clearwater Beach when a tall, blond-haired, baby-faced, very preppy looking boy approached the car window. His name was Todd and he was down for spring break from Michigan competing in a lacrosse tournament. Now I didn’t really know what a lacrosse tournament was or exactly where on the map Michigan was, but I was very smitten with Todd.

We spent a day or two hanging out, making out, and trying in the limited time we had together to get to know everything about each other. We exchanged addresses and decided that we would become pen pals, so we could keep in touch.

On the day Todd left to go home (day two of me knowing of his existence) I bawled my eyes out like the love of my life was going off to war. I retreated to my room for several days of mourning, not wanting to come out and face the fact that the person I had built up in my mind to be my future husband was now gone. My parents were confused, wondering who the hell Todd was.

Awww, sweet, right?

My pen pal stuck true to his word and we exchanged letters back and forth. Sometimes I would get two or three a day from him! We also were constantly on the phone with each other - I racked up a gi-normous phone bill that summer that I was punished for, which was fine; because talking for hours on end to Todd made it totally worth it. After all, he was the future father of my children.

Todd asked if there was any way my parents would let me come out to Michigan to visit. No way, I thought, my parents don’t know this guy – they won’t allow their daughter to get on an airplane and go across the country to visit a stranger and his family. They could be crazy, they could be killers.

But after much begging and pleading my mother got on the phone with Todd’s mother, and they decided it would be okay for me to visit. I have no idea how this happened, but it did and I was beside myself with excitement.

Countdown to the big visit included a lot of shopping, laying out in the sun, exercising, and not much eating. Everything had to be perfect! I actually thought Todd might propose while I was there – or at least give me a promise ring, so I made sure my nails looked pretty too.

When I got off the plane he was there with balloons, and his mom. He was still cute like I remembered and he had really soft, downy hair. He sat in the backseat with me while his mom drove us home and held my hand. I was on cloud nine.

When we got to his house I learned something else about Todd. He was rich! He lived in a really big house with many guest room options for me to sleep in. This was a nice bonus - maybe our little girl could take horseback riding lessons.

There was a sweet banner that he had made for me hanging in the kitchen that said “WELCOME TO MICHIGAN LORI ANN”. I don’t know why but he liked calling me by my first and middle name. Maybe it made me sound more preppy, like him. I liked it.

We had a really great first night together, and he told me all of the little day trips we were going to take and places that he wanted to show me. Then something happened.

I guess between day one and day two he had a change of heart.

The next day he was acting different, more distant, and not holding my hand anymore. My mind was racing, trying to figure out what I could have possibly done. All I knew was that he had been on the phone for quite a while with a girl, who he said was an ex-girlfriend. I was beginning to think maybe she wasn’t an ex, but maybe an actual girlfriend who had found out her boyfriend was having an out-of-town visitor.

I had a week left to go, a week that was supposed to be glorious, magical, and life changing. Instead it was dull, hot (not in a good way), and lonely.

Todd’s baby-face, preppy clothes, and downy hair started to really annoy me. He would go out with friends, leaving me with his parents to rent a movie and hang out. I cried, called my parents, and was totally homesick. It was the longest week of my life and I had to just stick it out.

I was so happy when the day came that I got to go home to my friends and family. They had missed me too and had a little party for me the night I got home.

There were no more letters after that from my pen pal, and that was fine by me. So long Michigan, big house, and horseback riding daughter. Back to reality – and back to the beach to find the next future husband/father of my children.

The boy is a NERD and has "serious problems."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pretty, period.

You know those Always Maxi Pad commercials where the tag line is “Have A Happy Period?” Those ads don't make me very happy - they mostly make me want to punch the guy who wrote them in the mouth. 

I don’t know about you but my period is anything but happy. Unless the word “happy” now means irritable, crampy, unable to button my jeans. In that is the case I am ECSTATIC.

Last night I was in bed looking through a lipgloss magazine and I came across an ad for a feminine product that took the idea of a happy period to a whole new level. Are you ready for this?

Kotex has made your period artistic!

For reals.

Finally, we women can have maxi pads with a choice of graphic designs printed on them. Because yeah, there is a need for that! I am often embarrassed by how un-artistic my maxi pads currently are, so this new discovery is just in time.

U by Kotex Designer Series offers four unique themes, I guess depending on your periods mood that month:

“Free Style” Pads.
For the period that is totally groovy, likes bold colors, and owns a surfboard.

“Poptimistic” Pads.
This period is into Andy Warhol, likes pop-art, and underground jazz clubs.

"Boho" Pads.
Boho periods are totally bohemian, they recycle. And they like paisley. A LOT.

and my personal favorite...

"Punk Glam" Tampons.
Hot pink and black - just like real punk rockers - these tampons are ready to get all up in your business and enjoy mosh pits, piercings, mohawks, and The Sex Pistols.

So seriously, this is happening. I just thought you all should know.
You now have the ability to have an artsy, happy period.

My period enjoys long walks on the beach, Julia Roberts movies, and oh yeah - butterflies.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tubby custard.

In the mid-to-late seventies my mother spent her spare time doing what every other mother on the planet was doing in the mid-to-late seventies...

Taking cake decorating classes!

I know this to be a fact since many people have commented that their mothers also made large amounts of doll cakes and they too had frozen roses made out of icing stored in their freezers. I popped those frozen roses like vitamins – my pupils would get huge and I would get that extra burst of energy I needed to get me through the day. Kid crack!

In her classes Mom learned how to make a variety of types of cakes. The one she would always make for my grandmother for her birthday or as a special surprise for Sunday dinner was a custard pie.

Now as a kid, I thought this pie was disgusting.

Wiggly, gelatinous, and milky, I could not see the appeal. My Grandma would sit at the kitchen table with her cup of coffee, a cigarette, and a big old slice of that giggly stuff and go to town, wiping the plate clean with her finger afterwards.

In later years, I wised up and ate the pie. After trying it I was pissed at myself for what I had missed out on all those years! Creamy, vanilla-y, slightly spicy, warm, milky goodness – that is custard pie.

I bought a product the other day that reminded me of mom’s pie.

This product:

• Comes in a giant tub.
• Has a fancy French name.
• Looks like vanilla custard.

How could I not love it?

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk and Honey Whipped Body Butter is billed as being “Luxuriously Whipped and Sinfully Addictive” - it is not lying.

Most Kiehl’s product don’t have that fresh-from-the-oven appeal to me so I don’t really seek them out. But this one is delicious! It is touched with a light milk and honey scent and super moisturizing, yet fluffy and light.

I wasn’t even in the market for a new body cream, but the cute sales guy showed me this and I was all over it, I was walking away with that tub-of-yum.

Another life lesson learned, not to judge a book by its cover.
Even if its cover shakes and wiggles as it sits on your plate.

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a match!

I have two words for those couples who walk around with matching t-shirts, windbreakers, or baseball caps.


I have three words for my thirteen year old self and my B/F/F Susie.


Susie was my best friend growing up in New York, and after we moved to Florida she came out to visit me a few times. It really made the transition easier to have a friend to go to the beach and to the mall with.

Too bad when Susie and I were at the mall, we seemed to make some of these unfortunate choices:

Hell yeah we went to the RUN DMC concert at the Sun Dome. This photo was, of course, the following day. You always wore your concert t-shirt the next day to prove you were there and show everybody how cool you were. From what I remember, this concert kicked ass, as it also included Whodini, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys who were like eleven years old at the time. Susie and I really shook things up, me with the red pants and her with the white ones. We were two little white girls trying to raise some serious hell. Also note both of our scrunched up socks and Susie’s sweet mullet.

Wow, this was obviously my mother’s favorite place to take our picture because here we are again in that same corner by the pool. We got our act together accessory-wise, sporting gigantic hoop earrings and matching white bracelets. Nice, bright white shorts – very short for me, a much better look on Susie. And I believe the t-shirt said something touristy on it like “Florida” or “Tampa” on it, just in case I forgot where I was now living. If you look close you can see that we are also both wearing little ‘80’s pins on our t-shirts which were purchased at the RUN DMC concert. Again, this is so you knew WE WERE THERE. Also note, nothing helps beat the Florida heat like scrunched up thick socks.

This one kind of makes my head spin. My mother decided to photograph us inside to better capture the magic that was these matching outfits. We were on our way to do a lip-sync contest at Faces Teen Night Club. We were lip-synching “Baby Love”, a one hit wonder by a singer named simply Regina. So it was a song sung by one person that we broke up into two parts…brilliant! So much going on here, from the long silver knotted pearls, to the way-too-tight-for-thirteen-year-old-girls tanks tops, to the white and black pumps and the SILVER BELTS. But the pi├Ęce de resistance had to be the black lace gloves. We must not have been able to afford two, since we each wearing one.

Eventually Susie's summertime visits were less and less and we ended up losing touch with each other. I never had another girlfriend who I felt compelled to dress exactly the same as after Susie. I think sharing the same look helped me to feel closer to her, no matter how truly bad the look was.

It helped that after Susie got on the plane to go back home to New York, I had that silver belt to go home and put on - so I could feel close to her. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ice ice baby.

Remember getting on your bike as a kid during the summer at like 9:00 in the morning and not getting off of it until 9:00 at night? Yes, there was the ouch factor of being on that banana seat for twelve hours straight, but it was totally worth it.

My friends and I would fly up and down the block, escaping the summer heat at the Chillmark Pharmacy, the movie theatre, or the deli on the corner for my favorite treat to beat the heat – a Slush Puppie.

On those hot summer days I would have one or two Slush Puppies a day. My favorite flavors were cherry and grape, which would stain my lips bright red and purple.

My favorite kind of animal - the Slush Puppie.
For those of you not familiar with Slush Puppies, first of all I am sorry, because they are delicious. Slush Puppies are similar to a 7-11 Slurpee but much more syrupy and sweet. They are basically pellets of freezing cold ice swimming in thick, sweet syrup – a kids summertime dream beverage!

The Slush Puppie mascot is burned into my memory, a Droopy Dog look-alike happily licking his chops and holding a cup with his own image emblazoned on it. Blue, red, and white were the colors printed on the waxy 70’s cup that the drink came in.

We would ride up to the deli, throw our bikes on the sidewalk, go in and ponder our flavor options, order up, stand outside of the deli and down our puppies, and then take off again.

Ahhh, summer rituals. It is truly the little things in life that matter – like an icy cold drink on a hot afternoon.

MAC currently has a line of brushes that are so bright and fun they remind me of my primary color stained Slush Puppie mouth of years gone by.

Cine-Matics All-Over Brush Set includes five beauteous brushes and a cute little bag to keep them in. The kit includes:

• Purple grape powder/blush brush
• Blueberry fluff brush – great for eyes or adding a little   sparkle/contour on your cheeks
• Cherry red tapered blending brush
• Lemonade yellow liner brush
• Blue raspberry brow brush

These puppies are makeup counter/runway staples and look delicious on your vanity.

So hop back on your banana seat and take a ride – it doesn’t stay light until 9:30 at night forever. If you happen to live near a gas station, mini-mart, or deli that still serves them, treat yourself to some of that icy-syrupy goodness.

And don’t worry about having to reapply your lipstick afterwards - the Slush Puppie will take care of that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To B or not to B.

Here are things I liked about high school:

• Musical Theatre Class

• Television Production Class

• Lunch

• Putting together a cute outfit to wear to school (example-Forenza off the shoulder sweater, black and white plaid skirt with black knee socks, shiny black shoes).

The daily curriculum - science, history, computer science – was not so much my bag. English class was okay because we read some interesting books that I could watch the movie of. I didn’t understand why I was required to struggle through Geometry, my brain didn’t work that way. I just don’t have that math/science chip.

In ninth grade I was waaaaaay more interested in my first real boyfriend Anthony than focusing on my studies. Anthony had swept me off of my feet and rocked my world after our initial encounter while dancing the “Conga” at Faces Teen Night Club.

Up until I met Anthony I had never gotten anything below a C in my life. Now, getting ready to go into summer vacation, I learned from my Geometry teacher that I was going to be receiving not a C, not a D, but a failing grade – an F, and would need to attend summer school. Obviously I had spent way too much time at Faces and in Anthony’s room “studying” when I should have been working with the Geometry tutor my mom and dad had gotten for me.

When I found out that this was all going down, my brain immediately went where it always did in what I considered to be extreme situations, complete panic mode.

As I saw it I had three options:

• Run away from home.

• Come up with some crazy-elaborate story as to why my Geometry teacher was totally out to get me.

• Fake my own death and change my name and appearance and start the tenth grade as a totally new person.

At this point the third option seemed to be the most reasonable option.

Anthony had us eating out of his hands.
Or he ate out of our hands.
Or...whatever, here he is being fed in my pool.
After crying my eyes out to my beloved Anthony, he assured me that there would be no need for the running away, the bad mouthing of the teacher, or the fake-death, although I am sure if anyone could have helped me to orchestrate that one it would have been him.

I could simply do what he had been doing to his report card for the past year or so, change my F’s to B’s. But how? This was before I knew how to use a computer, which was obvious by my failing grade in that class as well. How could I do it and make it look believable? It was easy, he assured me. All I needed was a simple black ballpoint pen. He showed me examples of his own doctored work and I have to say, it looked pretty bad. But what other choice did I have? Tell the truth? I was definitely going with the grade change option.

Report cards were passed out, and I got out my Bic pen and with a shaky hand, made two little bumps on the F to turn it into a B. It was done.

I was going to summer school that year anyway, taking a musical theatre class that my parents already knew about, so I could throw the Geometry class in as well and they would never know – brilliant!

Fresh indeed - in Anthony's sweatshirt.
As I nervously presented my parents with my report card that evening I knew if they didn’t buy it, and called me out on it that the fake my own death scenario was still an option. I held on to that in my mind as they looked over my card, “Lori, a B in Geometry? And you thought you weren’t doing well in that class! Boy, that tutor really paid off, huh? You see, you set your mind to it and you can do anything…” Quotes like these were slapping me across the face left and right. I kind of felt bad, but I also felt good that I wasn’t going to get in trouble.


Clear as a school bell, I can remember the day my little plan came crashing down around me. I guess at the beginning of the summer my guidance counselor from school had called my house during the day when I was over at my friend Susanne’s house. We were getting ready to go to the beach and start cruising for boys, our usual summer routine. All was well until a phone call came from my mother. She sounded serious.

“Lori, I just got a call from your guidance counselor at school. She said that since you were already taking Geometry at summer school you could also take Computer Science, since you failed that as well. I told her she was wrong, that we have your report card HANGING ON THE REFRIGERATOR and that you had gotten B’s in both of those classes. Is there anything you want to tell me?”

Yes, I had lived with myself with that shit hanging on the refrigerator door and looked at it everyday, several times a day as I was in and out of the fridge. Heck, I was beginning to believe it and feel proud of myself for working so hard!

My reaction, as you could have guessed, was endless bawling and apologizing. I told my parents all I wanted to do was act and sing and not take classes on subjects that I didn’t have any interest in. They didn’t seem to have any interest in hearing that, telling me how disappointed they were in me.

Of course they were, and how could I blame them? The person I could blame was Anthony.

They asked where I came up with the idea to do this and I immediately threw his ass under the bus. “Anthony made me do it!” I cried.

Needless to say I wasn’t allowed to see much of Anthony the remainder of the summer. But I was much too busy anyway, with my homework and my tutors.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plump up the volume.

I have always liked the word buxom.

It seems like a more tasteful, refined way of stating the obvious.

More refined than say, words like “busty”, “big-chested”, or “bazoomy” which were words I often heard used to describe me in my pre-teen years – which is just what a pre-teen girl wants to hear about her pre-teen self.

Buxom is a way to describe old Hollywood glamour, women with curves and attitude - like Jayne Mansfield, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe.

Buxom beauties.

Today, rather than bazoomy, I prefer to think of myself more on the buxom side of the spectrum. Which is why I was totally drawn to Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish by Bare Escentuals. They call it Buxom because it makes your lips more, well, buxom.

This lip gloss plumps up your pout without making your lips feel like they are on cinnamon-candy-fire, the sensation I have had when experimenting with other “plumping” glosses. Buxom leaves you with a more tingly, cooling sensation which in my opinion is much more pleasant.

I have to admit the packaging of this product is what drew me in, because it is all big and buxomy too! The tube is super hefty and holds a lot of gloss, so you feel like you’re getting your bux worth. Most of the colors are pretty sheer, giving your lips just a hint of plumping color. The different shades are named after sassy women, like Betty, Trixie, and Bunny. I love their everyday shimmery muted plum color called Dolly – how appropriate.

Bottom line, this product makes my lips look more voluptuous – which is another word that I love.

Finally, a body part we would like to appear more plump, instead of less so. I’m all over that.

This gloss makes me want to slip into my white dress, pointy toed heels, and faux-fur wrap and take my buxom self to a dark little nightclub for fancy cocktails.

The bazoomy girl of the past can stay home.

What a dolly!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pretty princess.

When I was nine I got this awesome travel set called “Princess Pretty Party Travel Case Set.”

Whew – that was kind of a mouthful.

The Princess Pretty Party Travel Case Set was a white vinyl bag with a hot pink lipstick and a hot pink nail polish.

I guess if you are a princess and you are travelling that is all the product you need to take on your trip.

The lipstick and the nail polish were also both kissed with a heavenly strawberry scent - why not? Who doesn’t want their fingertips to smell like a berry? You bet my nine year old self did!

The box had a beautiful blond woman on it with perfectly coiffed ‘70’s hair. She wore white, was very tan, and I imagined she was getting ready to go roller skating or out disco dancing with John Travolta.

The whole family was understandably excited
about the arrival of the Princess!

Today a weekend away requires more than a smelly lipstick and nail polish.

When I used to go away for a long weekend I hated that I had to pack multiple big clunky bottles and tubes to get my face clean. Cleanser, face scrub, toner, moisturizer - no matter how hard I tried something would leak and I ended up saying bad words and washing money down the drain.

That’s no way to start a vacation!

No more lugging multiple products – I have a new travel companion. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are my new favorite thing in the world. They take my eye makeup off in one swoop - even my waterproof mascara - without giving me raccoon eyes. And they also remove my red lipstick without giving me that “Robert Smith from The Cure” look.

My skin is super-sensitive and prone to breakouts, but I've been happily pimple-free since trying these. They truly remove foundation, powder and blush without having to use water and without feeling greasy.

I have tried similar products, such as dry cleansing cloths where you add water to create a lather, but they always felt rough and scratchy and my face never really felt clean. The Neutrogena ones work a bazillion times better.

They come in a resalable pouch that keeps them nice and fresh and they travel really well (although maybe not as well as the strawberry lipstick and nail polish travelled in the white vinyl bag back in the day).

Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes may not have the allure of a Pretty Princess product - but they do help me sleep like a beauty.

Take it off - take it all off.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July.

My Uncle Jimmy was a really fun loving, sweet uncle. He was a big, tall Irish guy who married my grandmother’s sister, my Great Aunt Rita. Here are some things I remember about Uncle Jimmy:

• He was usually whistling or humming a jaunty tune.

• He would always slip my brother Mike and I change from his pockets on during the madness that was Sunday Dinner at Grandma and Papa’s house.

• He had one of the coolest jobs in the world – Uncle Jimmy worked for the Coca-Cola Company.

When I say I have been drinking Coke since I was a baby, I am not kidding. We never touched Pepsi; it was like some weird family rule. If somebody even offered you a Pepsi and you were dying of thirst you would decline, because your blood ran red, like the red on a can of good old fashioned American COKE!


Growing up, this was always a very cool perk; there was always free Coke around the house as well as lots of Coca Cola swag - clocks, clothing and a Black Santa Claus doll.

My Uncle Jimmy gave my brother and I our Black Santa when we were little kids. Now I know that it is probably not PC to have called him that, but I was five, and that is what I named him, because that is what he was, a Black Santa.

Black Santa was this awesome Santa Claus doll with a furry red coat and hat, white boots, a bottle of Coke in his hand and an actual beard.

I guess these dolls were mass-produced in the late 50’s and early ‘60’s by a company called The Rushton Company, and back in the day they sold for about three dollars each. Black Santa was one of those special toys that came out only once a year, which made him even more exciting and special. I remember the little bottle of Coke that he held had an actual metal bottle cap on it – I would shove the cap of the bottle into Black Santa’s mouth and pretend to feed him Coke like I was feeding a baby a bottle, just like Grandma fed Coke to me.

We would take him everywhere with us during the month of December, like to the grocery store, Christmas shopping, and of course to Grandma and Papa’s on Sunday. Uncle Jimmy was always thrilled to see he had given such a good home to him - we begged him to get us another Black Santa, so we could each have our own, but unfortunately he was only given one so we had to share. Mike and I would rotate nights during the Christmas season of who got to sleep with Black Santa. We also rotated years on who got to sleep with him on Christmas Eve.

Every Christmas when we would pull Black Santa out of the box with the Christmas stuff and the whole family would get excited. It was like Christmas was really here, with the arrival of Black Santa.

I wish to God I still had Black Santa in my life to bring out at Christmastime for my boys. That doll was so much more than a toy to Mike and I, that doll was Santa Claus!

Thank you Uncle Jimmy, for one of my fondest Christmas toy memories.

And I still won’t go near a can of Pepsi with a ten foot pole.

Me, having a Coke and a smile....thanks to my Uncle Jimmy - here with my Aunt Rita.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The gangs all here.

When I was younger my girlfriends and I would often have impromptu sleepovers at each others houses on the weekends. Most of the time we would end up at my house, with our sleeping bags sprawled out across the living room floor and the hi-fi blaring the 45 of “Our Lips Are Sealed” by The Go-Go’s. Jenny, Lea, and the two Susie’s would grab a toothbrush, a loooong nightshirt (I coveted Jenny’s pink Mork and Mindy one…) and a bag of Cheetos and show up at our front door ready for a fun, loud, mostly sleepless night.

We ate pizza, played board games with exclamation points at the end of their names (Sorry! Trouble!), ate Cheetos (both puffy and crunchy varieties until our fingers were permanently stained orange), and watched MTV.

We were all still into stuffed animals around age eleven, but “cool” stuffed animals. My stuffed buddies may not have been very soft and sweet to snuggle up with at night, but they sure looked cool displayed neatly on my bed, underneath the puffy rainbow and cloud “artwork” that hung on my wall.

Below is a list of my essential plush toys, circa 1982, ranking from least to most important:

Flying Stuffed Kliban Cat.
Back in the day Kliban cats were everywhere. Coffee mugs, t-shirts, stickers, and stuffed animals. This stuffed cat was more like a pillow, all one piece with no jointed arms or legs on him. I thought Kliban (as I cleverly named him) was very cool due to the fact that he was black, white and red – very grown up colors. I didn’t even consider Kliban a stuffed animal or toy, he was more like a piece of art. Years later I learned that the artist who created the cat is mostly famous for his dirty/funny cartoons that he contributed to Playboy Magazine. If I had that information at eleven that would have upped Kliban’s status significantly.

This was probably the tail end of my love for Snoopy - his last hurrah. I had gotten him years earlier as a Christmas gift. Snoopy was the predecessor to my Barbie Dolls, as he had interchangeable outfits that I could dress him up in. But they weren’t very exciting outfits - a Beagle Scout uniform, a rain coat, and a British Beefeater - you can see why I was beginning to lose interest.

Rainbows, Pegasus and unicorns, how did I love thee? A LOT - unicorns were numero uno in my sticker book. I had a unicorn poster on my wall, two little hand painted china unicorns with shiny gold horns on my dresser (one standing, one laying down sleeping sweetly) and my unicorn stuffed animal. I was very gentle in handling my Unicorn, as not to dirty his pretty white coat. His horn stood out majestically, a bright yellow-gold color. He slept at the foot of my bed to avoid me possibly rolling onto him and crushing him in the middle of the night. Like Snoopy was my practice Barbie, Unicorn was my practice child.

I loved Garfield before he became so popular he was annoying. Before people had smooshed stuffed Garfield’s coming out of the trunks of their cars, before everyone and their mothers knew he liked to eat lasagna, and waaaaay before the film version with Bill Murray, I loved Garfield. Garfield slept with me every night, right next to me with his big fat head/body combo on my pillow. He had big, plastic eyes and wiry whiskers that popped out of the sides of his head.

When we would go upstate to Rochester to visit my mom’s family, my dad and my Uncle Bob would kidnap Garfield and send me into a pre-teen tizzy. They knew how much Garfield meant to me and thought it was funny to torment me by putting Garfield into dangerous/near death situations. Sometimes they would leave ransom notes with demands, other times I would find him in the oven. But the worst was the time I found Garfield hanging from a noose around his neck off of the back porch of my grandparent’s house. That one actually brought me to tears, and that was the last time Garfield ever went missing/tried to off himself.

Today, I am not one of those people who thinks a teddy bear on my adult bed is cute, (although the Kliban Cat might still be acceptable). No more Snoopy, Unicorn, or Garfield in my life. Just the memories of my plush friends, who stayed up all night, partying all night with my girlfriends and me.

And Garfield, wherever you are living today, I hope your life is a lot less stressful.


Susie #2 better have washed the Cheetos off
of her hands before holding my precious Unicorn.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What a goober.

One summer when I was little I attended a day camp. Day camp was awesome. It was held at the middle school up the street and was run by cool, older kids. And I got to go home at the end of the day, which I liked - I wasn’t quite old enough for that Meatballs experience just yet. Here are a few things I remember about camp:

• Doing crafts - making an elephant costume with a burlap sack and a paper towel tube.

• "Movie night" under the stars with all of my camp buddies. They showed a horror movie that to this day I cannot get out of my head. A scene involving an old woman lying dead in a bathtub is burned into my memory forever. If I ever see that movie again, I will be both nostalgic and horrified.

• Goober Grape.

I had never experienced peanut butter and jelly coming together in this new and exciting way before. At our house they were simply neighbors who had their own separate apartments, but now they had shacked up together. It made sense - I mean they were together all the time anyway.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting and knowing Goober Grape, it is peanut butter and jelly together in the same jar. Vertical stripes of cascading brown and purple ribbons, how convenient! Because it's so exhausting to take two jars out of the cupboard, isn’t it?

At camp we would get two slices of bread along with an individualized container of Goober Grape to make our sandwiches ourselves. Not only was the new product exciting, but so was the fact that I got to spread it on my bread myself, without my mom’s help.

I tried a product recently and I have to be honest, when I saw the ads for it, the first thing I thought of was Goober Grape.

L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional The One Sweep Eye Shadow intrigued me. It is three separate stripes of color along with a ridiculously large sized applicator. The idea is that you sweep the giant pad across the three lines of color and then your transfer the stripes onto your lid, with each color falling right where it is supposed to. I purchased a palette called Natural Brown Eyes, ‘cause that’s what I've got.

The ads say it is meant to give you “a complete eye look in one easy sweep.” This statement is true, if the look you are going for is a muddy mess.

Newsflash for L'Oreal: women are all different. We do not all have the same cookie cutter eyelid shape and size so this just doesn’t work. At all. The stripes all ended up on my lid, but nothing was where it was supposed to be. All of the colors were too low on my lid and the final result was all smeared and messy looking, like maybe I got into a brawl.

And that jumbo sized applicator gave me the creeps. It reminded me of when you go to the gynecologist and they have that giant Q-tip laid out, and you envision yourself using it to clean your ears and thinking of that image of you, and the giant Q-tip, you kind of smile, but then you stop smiling because you know that is not what they are going to
                                        really use it for.

Now I am stuck with three stripes of shadow that I need to take my own little brush to so I can get my nine bucks worth out of it.

Lesson learned - don’t let a childhood memory of a sandwich you ate at camp lead you to buy a new eye shadow that you know probably won’t work. In other words, trust your gut. Even if your gut is full of stripy peanut butter and grape jelly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We got the veet.

My first and last home waxing experience did not end with the greatest of results due to the fact that:

• I have zero patience
• I don’t like to read directions
• I don’t enjoy ripping hair out of my own body

The first time I tried waxing was years ago and I was getting ready to go somewhere that required me putting on a bathing suit. I decided rather than spend money to get my bikini line waxed, I could take care of it at home myself, with one of those home waxing kits.

I think I have blocked out most of what happened that afternoon but here is what I do remember…

I heated up the wax in the microwave and put the scalding hot goo onto my business. After a blood curdling shriek I placed the thin sheet of paper on top of the wax and ran my hand over it to adhere it to the wax, just the way I had watched the professionals do on me. I took a deep breath and ripped the paper off. Well, halfway off. I had obviously used too much wax or pressed the paper down too hard because this was a pain like no other.

I walked around my house, sobbing and sweating with a half ripped off wax strip hanging from my cookie.

It took me at least an hour and a shot of tequila to get up the nerve to rip that other half off of my body, but I did it.

That must have been exactly what that guy in 127 Hours felt like, having to cut off his own arm and all. Hello, Hollywood? You should totally make a movie about me.

My friend Laura asked me last week to test drive a product she was interested in, VEET Ready-to-Use Wax Strips. Based on my last home wax experience, along with my Epilady nightmare that is permanently burned into my memory, I was a little hesitant. But I will do anything for my readers (well, mostly) and decided to give the VEET a go. The little kit was just under ten bucks at the grocery store, and I had a coupon, so how could I not try it?

I did have the booze on standby just in case.

I went into the bathroom and opened the box, it comes with 40 full size wax strips and six individually packaged finishing wipes. There is no wax to nuke, no mess! You just rub the unopened strip between your hands to warm it up, peel it apart, and slap it onto your leg/armpit/bikini line. I laid it down on my skin, took a deep breath, and quickly ripped it off.

The results? GREAT!

That first one of course hurts the most, but I carried on and thought I did a pretty decent job. Not as polished as a professional job would be, but overall pretty damn good!

My three year old bust through the bathroom door at one point in the middle of my Sunday evening project and asked what I was doing. I told him I was “shaving my legs” and showed him further down on my leg how the whole thing worked.

I held up the used wax strip now covered in hair.

“EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWW” he said, running out the door.

He has a good point.

Monday, July 11, 2011

From you to me pinky lee.

I love The Pink Ladies.

Frenchie, Marty, Jan and of course…Rizzo.

Back in the day I was obsessed with the movie Grease. I saw it in the movie theatre dozens of times, had the album that you folded open like a book, the graphic novel of the movie with photos from the movie and conversation bubbles of dialogue from the movie, the t-shirts, the posters, and had memorized the dialogue, song lyrics and dance moves. I also had a very involved, recurring dream about a sort of “double date” that with me, Danny, and Kenickie. That counts as a double date, right?

A wop-bom-a-looma-a-wop-bam boom.

Summer lovin'.
I, of course, wanted to be a member of The Pink Ladies. I was way more Rizzo than I was Sandy. I would have flipped my lid to have one of those jackets that they wore, all pink and sassy and badass.

Summer is here and school is officially out - it's time to bust out your hot pink hotties:

Flashy Fuschia Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color by Sally Hansen.
One stroke, one coat, done? Count me in. This beautiful bright is perfect for summer and looks HAWT peeking out of sandals on freshly painted tootsies. Seriously, you really do need only one coat - you don’t even need a top coat. It goes on smooth and shiny and dries super-fast. Thank you Sally, for upping the pink on the hot meter.

Flamingo Beautifying Blush by Sonia Kashuk.
This is proof that a really great product doesn’t have to come from a department store. I read about this blush in a fashion magazine, as it was on a top picks list touted as a color that would look good on any skin tone. When I went to Target to get it I saw it and thought NO WAY – too bright for me. But I bought it anyway and am so glad I did. So pretty and perfect and pink.

Flashmode Lustreglass Lip Gloss by MAC.
I will continue to speak of the wonderfulness of MAC Lustreglass as long as I continue to write this blog. Love the brush applicator and love the moisturizing, non-sticky feel. This fuchsia tint has sparkly white pearl major shine factor, and is just overall very, very sexy. A gorgeous hot pink hue.

So there you are. A few pinkies that all start with the letter “F” as in Frenchie to make you feel like a true Pink Lady. Don’t forget your kerchief, your big black sunglasses, your pencil skirt, and your hickey from Kenickie.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The "M" Word.

The other day on my lunch hour I was down at a beauty supply store in the mall buying some new shampoo. Buying new product, even if it is a simple bottle of soap to wash my hair can put a little extra spring in my step for the day.

Something new!
Something different!
Something in a little bag with handles that I get to take home with me!

By now you must think this post is about the new shampoo that I took home, tried, loved and cannot live without.

You are wrong.

I proceeded to the check out to pay the sweet young thang behind the counter. She put my ‘poo in a bag and handed it to me.

“Thank you!” I said, with a pleased-with-my-purchase smile.
“You’re Welcome!” she chirped, “Have a good day…MA'AM.”


Talk about the spring being knocked out of my step.
Now I know I am no longer in my twenties. Or early thirties.
But I know one thing, I am not a Ma'am.

The buzzy-high from my shampoo purchase was washed away likes suds down the drain as I walked out the door.

Call me disrespectful but I would never call another woman Ma'am, regardless of her age. The only time that word ever comes out of my mouth is when I am singing Suffragette City screaming "WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM" along with David Bowie.

I played out the scenario with the stranger over and over in my head. Was what I was wearing a little too matronly? My hair wasn’t up in an old lady bun or anything - I must look old, something must have shifted, I need Botox!!!

Then I calmed down. A little.

Maybe she just had good manners and called anyone who is older than her Ma'am?
Maybe she was southern?

I don’t know. Let this be a lesson to all you young’uns out there. I am guessing most women under the age of fifty don’t find it flattering or polite to be called the “M” word. The other “M” word, "Miss", I can deal with that. I just don’t want to hop on that Ma'am train just yet.

Or probably ever.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don't give me no lip.

Aveda products have always mystified me.

They kind of have that earthy, groovy, hip- hippie quality to them. Back in college when I was sporting my baja and my Birkenstocks I was all about wearing the Aveda oils as my signature scent.

The oils were supposed to help out with my chakras, make me feel more balanced and want to meditate. Now, I don’t know how a perfume (or “pure-fume” as Aveda calls it) can help me go on a spiritual journey, all I know is that I stopped wearing it because of a guy in my Biology class with an Aveda aversion.

As a theatre major I was forced to choose between Biology and Algebra so I decided science would be the lesser of two evils. Not so much. Science still had that formula, math element to it that I despised. I loved all of my other classes - Theatre History, Acting, Sexual Education (counted toward a “health” credit – woo-hoo!), but Biology filled me with angst and dread.

I was paired up with a lab partner named Seth, who was some sort of super genius science whiz, which was awesome and awful at the same time. Awesome because he could do most of the work and I could just sit there in my baja and look cool. Awful because he snickered at me and made me feel dumb when I didn’t know that Li was the symbol for lithium on the periodic table.

I only knew that “Lithium” was a song I liked by Nirvana.

I guess Seth not only had a problem with my lack of enthusiasm about all things scientific, he also had a problem with my scented chakra-calming oils that I wore to class. He spoke with the professor about my scents, which he called “distracting.” I guess there is a thing as too much sandalwood.

I was switched to having a lab partner named Corrin, who was known as a big party girl in the dorms. She lived in the basement of the dormitory which was referred to as the dungeon, if that gives you any indication as to what went on down there.

I knew I was screwed. Now I had to be the smart one. Great.

I cut back on the Aveda oils and have kind of had an aversion to them ever since.

Years have now gone by and I found myself recently back at Aveda. The smell as I walked by was much lighter, much prettier than I remembered. I decided to go in and check out the make up.

I fell in love with a new lip gloss, and you know how I love a good gloss.

Aveda Lip Shine is a gorgeous, wet-looking lip gloss that doesn’t go on sticky. It has a fresh scent and a minty taste to it since it contains vanilla, peppermint and cinnamon oils. Yummy! It comes in a variety of pretty, earthy colors but I went with a nude called Golden Prism, and am loving it over a lipstick or by itself.

Aveda, I welcome you back into my life. You are my current lip gloss obsession and let me tell you that is high praise.

I did go over and take a sniff of the oils for old time’s sake. Here is what came to mind:

• Science
• Nirvana
• The party girl from the dungeon

I don’t think I’m due for an oil change for at least another ten years or so.
I’ll stick with perfume or the time being, thank-you-very-much.