Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pink and green.

In the early ‘80’s if you wanted to be cool you needed to have the following:

• Guess jeans
• White penny loafers (with a dime in the little slot, not a penny)
• A collection of IZOD shirts in a variety of colors

Every cool kid wore IZOD shirts, sometimes layering one on top of another, just like we did with our Swatch Watches. By wearing two shirts and three watches, I had no fear of being cold or not knowing what time it was in various time zones.

IZOD was hip and hot at first among the rich, preppy, tennis playing crowd; eventually the trend bled over to us average folk. I would flip that collar up proudly and strut around like a peacock when I wore my light pink IZOD shirt. I felt like a million bucks.

I should have felt like a million bucks because those little alligator shirts were damn expensive. I had to do some extra vacuuming to earn that IZOD money from Mom and Dad. Sometimes I would just run the vacuum over the carpet without even turning it on, just so it would have those fresh vacuum cleaner lines on it and tell my mom I had cleaned for her. Another five bucks in my pocket, thank-you-very-much.

Once again, poor Mom.

In addition to the light pink IZOD I also had a navy and white striped one that was very nautical but way too tight to be considered preppy. I also remember a variety of IZOD knock-offs that my parents insisted were “just as good”, with other animals up in the corner. But having a giraffe up in the left hand corner of your shirt was nowhere near as good as having that bright green alligator.

In fact, it was embarrassing to wear those knock-offs. I was by no means a seamstress but I remember trying to carefully snip an inferior animal off of a cheap shirt hoping to replace it with an alligator from the blue and white IZOD that I had outgrown. Big shock that didn’t work out. I just ended up with a hole in a shirt where my boob should be. That was the opposite of preppy.

Today, Vera Wang makes a fragrance that takes me back to my preppy-wanna-be days. Preppy but with an edge - kind of like me with a hole in my knock off IZOD shirt. Vera Wang is pretty rockin’.

Preppy Princess is a perfect summer scent, light and flirty with hints of red berries, honeysuckle, and the warmth of coconut.

What drew me to try Preppy Princess was the bottle. Again, it has that mix of preppy and rock star, with the pink of my beloved IZOD shirt topped off with a rock star studded crown. When a yummy scent has a cool bottle, it's the icing on the cake – not only will it make me smell pretty, it will look pretty on my dresser - SOLD!

I no longer long for shirts with green gators on them, I never have fit into that whole preppy crowd, but that is more than OK.

I don't need to consult The Preppy Handbook to know if my khakis are the correct shade of khaki, or to figure out the long standing debate of “top siders” vs. “boat shoes”. Besides, my boobs are too big to look cute wearing a sweater draped over my shoulders.

And I have never held a tennis racket in my life.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Once upon a time, there was a president.

I am not a “camping” kind of a girl.

Campy? Yes.
Camping? Not so much.

But in the late ‘70’s I went camping. Kind of. With my Grandma and Grandpa.

My mom’s parents were big time motor home people. We would drive up to the Catskills to a campsite, park our house and hang out together for a few days.

There were aspects of camping with Grandma and Grandpa that I loved. We would play cards, wade in the creek and bust out my pocket fisherman once in a while. But what I really liked about camping of course, revolved around food. The toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch (thanks to the stove in the motor home), the hot dogs roasted over a camp fire on a stick and the s'mores for dessert.


But even more than the food, my very favorite part of camping with Grandma and Grandpa was bedtime.

Grandma and I shared the bed above the driver’s seat; we were up high, kind of like being in a bunk bed which was exciting. Every night we would climb up there together and Grandma would proceed to tell me the most amazing stories I had ever heard.

These were not your typical fairy tales. Oh no, no princess stories for me. No Cinderella, no Snow White. No stories about camping or being out in the wilderness. My grandma lulled me to sleep with stories of Jimmy Carter and his family.

Most of the stories didn’t focus too much on Jimmy (you know, the President of the United States) that didn’t interest me too much. They focused on the supporting players - his wife Rosalynn, his daughter Amy, and my favorite character, his brother Billy.

Now these stories had absolutely nothing to do with reality, it was more like a soap opera that Grandma created for me. There would be stories of Amy practicing her flute, Rosalynn making a nice meatloaf for the family dinner that evening, Jimmy eating his peanuts, and of course of Billy and his beer.

Billy was the comic relief of the stories, and in my eyes the real star of the show. He would come stumbling into the story with his Billy Beer, knock over something, trip and fall, or press a button under Jimmy’s desk that would make a bomb go off. The stories would end with me laughing until I cried at poor Billy’s Benny Hill like antics.

Grandma would go into great detail of the beautiful lavender dress and hat combination that Rosalynn chose to wear that day. She would put on a thick fake southern accent and say things like, “Jimm-eye, do you like this shade of purh-pull? Isn’t it luv-lee?” Rosalynn would get annoyed a lot because Jimmy was too focused on his work and not on her.

Amy was mostly about playing her flute. There must have been some story in the news or a photo or something that my grandmother had latched on to about Amy and her love of flute playing. In Grandma’s stories, Amy would play a beautiful after-dinner-tune for the family. She would also date, shop, and ride horses, all per my request.

And then there was Billy and his "Billy Beer". In the stories Billy would be making the beer, testing the beer, selling the beer, and interrupting family dinners and important presidential meetings trying to pitch his beer. Billy had thick black glasses and a hillbilly-style accent. He hiccuped a lot too.

Oh, and Jimmy was the dad and the president, he ran the country.

I have no idea where this obsession with The Carter Family came from but I’m so glad that it did. Today, whenever someone mentions that they are going camping, I think of Jimmy Carter.

Maybe that’s why I have zero interest in camping today. Who would be there to put me to sleep with stories of that wacky southern family? That and the fact that I like to put on mascara every day. And go to the bathroom on a toilet. And I don’t want to get eaten by a bear.

I will always cherish my memories of my time in the Catskills with Grandma, my Grandpa, and of Billy. And his beer.


We know Billy, you've tasted a lot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brown sugar.

Isn’t brown the new black?

I always feel great when I have on a fabulous chocolate brown something, just as I always feel good when I eat a fabulous chocolate brown something.

Unless of course eating that chocolate something involves standing in front of the kitchen cupboards with a spoon and a jar of nutella.


After those incidents I am usually feeling not-so-fabulous.
But usually, chocolate brown rocks my world.

Here are three make up loves that earn brownie points in my book:

Romeo and Joliet Nail Polish by OPI
Who says brown polish is just for the fall/winter? That is like saying you can’t wear black with navy, or white shoes after Labor Day – those rules just don’t apply anymore! I am wearing it as we speak and love looking down at my coppery-brown rich digits. I am all about the dark nail polish, and this is a color I can wear to the office without people asking me if it is Halloween. It reminds me of a root beer float, or black cherry soda from when I was little. I’m on my third bottle. Need I say more?

Chai Latte ExpertWear Eyeshadow Quad by Maybelline
This eyeshadow quad is the only chai item that will ever be in my life. I am not a fan of chai tea, chai lattes, or chai mocha frappucino milkshake coffee drinks that are out there right now. But this chai, I can get into. These are my go-to-everyday-of-the-week eyeshadow colors. So perfect for a brown haired, brown eyed girl. Two matte colors, a shimmery copper color and a dark brown crease/eyeliner color. Done! Great for travel too, you’re not lugging a million pots of color around with you. I never use an eyeshadow base or primer and let me tell you, these colors don’t run. These shadows make me wish someone would get up on a karaoke stage and dedicate that “Brown Eyed Girl” song to me while I act all coy and surprised.

Laguna Body Illuminator by NARS
Who wants to look sun-kissed and golden and like they just got back from Miami? I DO! This illuminator can be used all over your body and gives you some serious bronze sparkle when the beach is not always readily available (hello, Oregon). I massage it onto my arms and especially onto my legs, which rarely see the light of day. I like it better than a self-tanning product – when I want things I want them yesterday, and with this product I don’t have to wait for results! It also contains something called Monoi de Tahiti oil. Now I have no idea what that is, but I know I am a fan of it and would love a bucketful of it to rub on myself because it feels so moisturizing and it non-greasy.

So there you have it. The three you need, chocolate style.
For a girl who loves vanilla so much this list was surprisingly easy to come up with.

On a side note, if you mix a little nutella with a good thick clear gloss, the result is one delicious lip color.




Monday, June 27, 2011

White out.

In the seventh grade I was all about white high heeled shoes.

Why?

EVERYBODY WAS WEARING THEM in Tampa, Florida.

Seriously, every twelve year old girl was clomping clumsily down the hallways to and from their classes at Young Junior High School in bright white “pumps.”

We never referred to them as “heels” or “high heels”, oh no, these were pumps – a term that I still sometimes mistakenly use to the amusement of others.

Classy with a capital C.
And White with a capital W.

There was an English teacher at Young named Mrs. Calver who would reprimand us girls when we didn’t walk correctly in our white pumps. She was an older African American woman with giant glasses on a gold chain. She would rotate the same five outfits each week and had no business talking about anyone’s shoes giving anybody any sort of fashion advice.

Apparently not only was she the English teacher, she was also the authority of how to properly walk.

“You girls pick up your feet when you walk in the halls, they can hear your stomping around over at the high school,” Mrs. Calver would bark. “Let me show you how to walk in pumps! Heel to toe, heel to toe, you girls are all going toe-heel, toe-heel and that’s what causing that horrible sound you are all making.”

Mrs. Calver was really sensitive to the sounds our feet made, and it obviously made her crazy because she commented on it five days a week comparing us to “cattle”, a “herd of buffalo”, and a “DAMN MARCHING BAND.”

Sometimes she would take a long ruler and try and trip us saying, “Pick up those feet! You better learn how to walk right in those shoes!”

This school was very different from the school that I had just left back in New York.

No teacher had ever tried to trip me with a ruler before.

Those white pumps would get black scuff marks all over them from not knowing how to walk properly in them. We girls would get to work with either Liquid Paper or our Wet ‘n Wild white nail polish and become little cobblers, making our white pumps shiny and new again.

Tip: Your pumps look more white
when paired with dingy gray ankle socks.

Believe it or not, these shoes were not of the highest quality. Purchased from Volume Shoe Store in the strip mall at Northdale Plaza, I would replace them on what seemed to be a weekly basis. Besides getting scuffed up and looking dirty and awful these shoes also got terribly smelly, as they were not even close to actual leather so your feet would sweat in the Florida heat. The girls’ locker room was the last place you would want to be when all of us took our stinky white pumps off to change.

Today my taste in pumps…I mean heels…is much more sophisticated.

I can get excited like Carrie Bradshaw when I pass a window and see a sexy pair of Jimmy Choos just like the rest of them.

But you never forget your first time. And ugly white pumps, I will never forget you.

And Mrs. Calver, I still hear your voice in my head anytime I am walking in a public place and hear someone clomping along. It is now a pet peeve of mine, thanks for that.

Maybe I should think about carrying a ruler.






Friday, June 24, 2011

Exchange please.

In July of 1979 we had an exchange student come to live with us for a whole summer.

It was through our church.
It was a girl! My same age!
I was finally going to have a sister!!!

Kathleen came over to visit from Ireland.

I spent the days before her arrival getting ready for my new sis, making a big sign for the front porch to welcome her, cleaning my room so we would have plenty of room to play, making sure each Barbie was dressed to the nines in their pink carrier case, and making a list of places we could take her. Of course the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, perhaps a show at Radio City Music Hall? Maybe dinner at Tavern on the Green? I had lofty dreams for my new sister and I.

If that sign couldn't win her over - nothing could.

From the second she got off of the plane, I could tell this probably wasn’t going to work out.

I had the same exact feeling years later after traveling overseas when a guy I had met during my trip came out for a visit. When he got off of the plane he was wearing a baja shirt and cowboy boots. When we went out to a restaurant he ordered a pint of milk. Yeah, this was not going to work.

But while I was stuck with this guy during my young adult life for only a week, I was stuck with Kathleen for an entire summer.

I went to hug her and she was stiff as a board.
She was quiet, I was loud.
She didn’t like to share anything about herself; I couldn’t wait to tell her everything about me.
She was a tomboy, I was a girly girl.

She didn’t like me.
Yes, Kathleen didn’t like me, which was new for me, because in my own mind, why wouldn’t you like me? I mean I made a sign and cleaned my room and everything.

Kathleen preferred to hang out with her girlfriend Fiona, who was staying with one of our neighbors two blocks up the street. I was crushed. I cried to my parents that she was rude and didn’t like me, and want to hang out with me. I tried to be more calm and quiet around her. “Just don’t freak out,” I would instruct myself in my head. I knew even as an eight year old that I was faking it and putting on an act to try and get her to like me. I was ready to implode trying to keep all of my energy bottled up inside of me, it gave me headaches.

We spent the whole summer going out on family outings, taking her sightseeing, having BBQ's and catching fireflies, but all of the summer fun in the world couldn’t create a sisterly bond between Kathleen and I.

Looking back…of course she would rather hang out with Fiona. She was her actual friend where I was a girl she was being forced to live with against her will. She probably missed her parents and her family back home and she had this brassy American trying to become her sister.

It was one of those “wish I knew then what I know today” situations.

Just because Kathleen didn’t like me or want to be my sister didn’t mean that there was anything wrong with me. As a little girl I hated that I became this different person around her and felt bad that I was relived the day she got on the plane to go home.

Kathleen was my family’s one and only exchange student.

When the milk drinking suitor stayed in my house years later, let me tell you that one long week. I remember dropping him off at the airport, rolling down all of the windows in my car and blasting Everclear as loud as I could. I felt like I could be the real me again.

I am sure for Kathleen, the summer that she spent with me was one long summer. She probably went back to Ireland, got in the car with her family, rolled down the windows, and felt good to be the real her again.


I took her to the Bronx Zoo to ride a camel for the love of God.
Do they even have camels in Ireland???

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You so crazy.

When I was a little girl, regular bar soap was simply not good enough to get me clean.

I needed something different!
I needed something in a can!
I needed something CRAZY!

I looked forward to bath time thanks to my Wonder Woman Crazy Foam.

Crazy Foam was a staple of any child’s bathtub in the mid 70’s. It came in a shaving cream type can, with a characters picture on it.

Um, is that really where Spiderman's mouth would be?

The foam (that was so crazy) came spewing out of the characters mouth into your hands and onto your bod. It came out fast like Silly String but was the consistency of thick, white airy worms that you could pile high in your hand or put on your face to make a fake beard. Oh, and you were supposed to wash yourself with it too and get your dirty self clean, but I was usually too busy playing with the foam and admiring the can to do that.

I loved my Wonder Woman, Smurf and weird nondescript creepy clown Crazy Foam while my brother Mike was loyal to his Spiderman and Batman Crazy Foam.

It was a staple in our Christmas stockings every year – we weren’t allowed to open our stockings until our parents got up, but I liked feeling the items inside and trying to guess. When I felt the shape of a cold metal can deep inside I knew a Christmas morning bath would be in order. How did Santa know I loved Crazy Foam? I guess he knows when you are sleeping, when you are awake, and what you use to wash yourself in the bathtub.

Mike and I would go through a can a week, making white frothy mountains that would float on top of the water we sat in. Who knows what that stuff was made of, but kids back then didn’t have allergic reactions to everything on the planet like they do today.

Oh Crazy Foam, how I wish you were still with us today.

To be able to make just one more Crazy Foam beard?
To watch those white mountains float across the water?
To sit in the tub with Wonder Woman once again?

Honestly, today I would take that over some fancy spa service.
They don’t have cans with Wonder Woman spewing foam on you at the fancy spas.

After eating this............I would get cleaned up with this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hard time.

Have you ever done one of those things in your life, even if it was a million years ago, that whenever you think of it your stomach knots up and you feel sick?

Here is (one of) mine…

The summer before eighth grade I spent a lot of time with a girlfriend of mine that my parents did not care for very much. This drove me crazy at the time but looking back, I would flip out if my 13 year old daughter was hanging out with this “type of girl.”

This "type of girl" was my friend, Lori Lauper.

Here are some reasons my mom and dad were not so hip on Lori:

• She dressed really slutty. She wore tube tops and short shorts.

• Her parents both worked, which meant her house was available for us to do bad things at after school and all summer long.

• She attracted boys, OLDER boys, like magnets. She was always wearing a different boy's name plate, high school letter jacket, or ring around her neck.

Here are some reasons I was super-hip on Lori Lauper:

• We had the same name, so people referred to us as “the Lori’s”. How cool! I felt like part of some girl gang duo.

• Her last name was Lauper – like Cyndi Lauper, which was cool. And if people associated Lori with Cyndi Lauper and associated me with Lori, therefore they would associate me with Cyndi Lauper. Do you see how my mind worked?

• I liked her style - she wore tube tops and short shorts.

Lori had that flirty come hither look. If Lori and I would have met years later in college we probably would have ended up dating. She reminded me of Minnie Mouse. She was very voluptuous with a china doll complexion, jet black hair and big brown eyes with looooong eyelashes. One of her tube tops was red with white polka dots, and she really reminded me of Minnie Mouse when she wore that. A super sexy Minnie Mouse.

Lori?

But here is the ultimate reasons my parents didn’t like Lori…

During that summer, she and I would take the bus to Tampa Bay Mall. We hung out there, window shopped, ate hot dogs on a stick and picked up boys. It was kind of like an eight hour work day - waking up, getting all dolled up, taking the bus, and working it all day long to see who could get leave with the most phone numbers. Tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

It was summer, in Florida, what did you want me to do, go outside?

But Lori and I started to get tired of being at the mall all that time with no money to spend. So we started to shoplift. It started small, like a Wet ‘n Wild lipstick here, a pair of earrings there. Then we moved on to bigger items, like clothing.

It was so easy! We were literally walking into Contempo Casuals or Rave with empty bags, filling them up and walking out. We were so good at it we started to get cocky.

My mom would ask, “Where did you get that top/pants/earrings/pair of neon socks?” She bought my clothes for me and was no dummy, she knew they weren’t mine. “They’re Lori’s” I would lie. That worked for a while, because at that age my girlfriends and I were swapping clothes like crazy. But after a while she started to give me that look, like that really??? look. That look made my stomach hurt, and should have made me stop, but I liked my new legwarmers too much to consider it.

One day while in Lerner New York, Lori and I were doing our usual routine. I held the bag while she shoved leggings, headbands and tube tops into it. I was generally the bag holder, not the one putting the stuff in the bag – that somehow made me feel better about the whole thing, a little less guilty.

We casually headed for the door. As soon as our feet touched outside of the store we had hands on our shoulders. A deep male voice said, “Girls, would you mind coming with me?” A man in a police uniform was behind us. I felt sick. This was it, the big shakedown. I knew it couldn’t last forever. How could I get out of this without my parents finding out? I started to shake and sweat. I thought I might vomit as the policeman escorted us to the back of the store while everyone watched. He of course absconded our bag of goodies and led us away.

Lori and I were then handcuffed together and made to sit behind the cash register of Lerner New York so paying customers could gawk, laugh, and make an example of us.

“See little Susie, you never want to steal because that is what happens to you, you will go to jail like those two bad girls.”

Oh God, I thought, am I going to go to jail? Will I make it to jail before my father kills me? Lori and I held hands and cried during our public humiliation while we waited for our impending doom.

They asked for my parents' phone number so I gave them our home number, of course, knowing my mom could come pick me up and try and help to diffuse the situation with my dad as much as possible. I guess my mom wasn’t at home that day so they called my dad at work. I also guess that my dad wasn’t at his desk, so my dad’s secretary paged over the loudspeaker something to the effect of:

“RICHARD, YOUR DAUGHTER WAS PICKED UP BY THE POLICE AND YOU NEED TO GO TO TAMPA BAY MALL IMMEDIATELY TO PICK HER UP.”

What a shitty secretary. She must not have had teenage daughters.

I heard from the policeman that my dad was on his way. I wondered how I could get the handcuffs around my neck so I could off myself before he arrived.

When my dad got there he was beet red, and I knew I was in deep trouble. Probably the most trouble I had ever been in. I remember vividly him saying to me “Say goodbye to your friend Lori Lauper, because you’ll never see her again!” I wanted to say, “But we have the same teacher for ninth grade, I’ll see her in a month,” but I decided it would be best to keep my mouth shut.

The car ride home was awful, all of the yelling. He was so disappointed in me. My mother was also so disappointed in me.

What could the punishment possibly be? Obviously I was no longer allowed to communicate with Lori. I was also on restriction and not allowed to go out with friends for the rest of the summer. But the worst punishment was my dad giving me the silent treatment and asking my brother to pass the salt at the dinner table when the salt was sitting right in front of me. Ouch. After what seemed like a lifetime of being ignored I remember falling into his arms as he sat on the couch sobbing hysterically, “I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again, it was the first time I had ever done that (lie) I’m so sorry…aaaahhhhh.”

He cried too, and then life went back to normal.
Except I wasn’t allowed to see Lori anymore.
Or go anywhere without my parents. We saw lots of movies together that summer.

I also had to go to a juvenile detention hall hearing and was sentenced to community service. I volunteered at the humane society, hanging out with smelly dogs and changing poopy litter boxes for a few months.

I never ever had the desire ever again to take something that didn’t belong to me.

Being handcuffed behind the cash register at Lerner New York will have that affect on you. For the rest of your life.














Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Turn around bright eyes.

What comes to mind when I say the word "ceramics"?

• An ash tray you made your dad for Father’s Day back in the 70’s?
• A woman in a caftan with a booth at the Saturday Market?
• That miserable scene in the movie Ghost?

All those things came to my mind, until today.

I found a product by Estee Lauder that I really, really like, which is surprising since I am not an Estee Lauder kind of girl.

I think of Estee as the Mother to the much cooler, hipper, and now defunct Prescriptives brand and somehow in my mind I blame Estee for her demise. Like the evil step mother in Snow White, I see her conspiring with her huntsman to take the younger, fairer girl out into the forest and do away with her.

But that probably didn’t happen.

Yesterday I stopped by my mom's house. I opened the door, and before I got all the way inside she said, “Oh my God Lori, I have this new product I want to show you - come here, sit down.” And she plopped me down on the side of her tub in the bathroom.

She told me to look up, and before I knew what hit me I felt this cool, refreshing sensation under my eyes.

“What…is…that?” I asked, trying to look at exactly what she was doing to me as I had my eyes rolled up into the back of my head.

It was Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator by the mother of all mothers, Estee Lauder.

The product is in a good-sized tube, like a lip gloss, but what makes it so great is the ceramic contoured tip which makes the application so intoxicating. The sensation is so cool and relaxing, you continue to feel it afterwards every time you blink your eyes.

The magic's in the ceramic tip.

It claims to reduce the look of dark circles and puffiness, letting you see brighter, more rested-looking eyes instantly.

Yup, I’d say that is true. It has light reflectors in it that downplay the dark circles like magic. I think that ceramic-cooling sensation helps with the puffiness, so I am sure it would feel really good after a late night out or after having one too many cocktails. Not that I would know anything about that.

Okay Estee, I like it, I dig it, you have tempted me...I might go out and buy it.


Yowza, look at those dark circles!
The old peddler woman certainly could benefit from the Cooling Eye Illuminator.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't it make my brown eyes blue.

When I was ten years old I was fanatical about The Smurfs.

Not so much the television show, more about collecting the little plastic Peyo figurines.

When I got a good grade, was extra nice to my brother, or skinned my knee after falling off of my bike, my mom or dad would treat me to a walk up to the Chillmark Pharmacy to pick out a new Smurf for my collection.

The Chillmark Pharmacy had Smurfs displayed as if they were precious works of art, set in little scenes upon back lit glass shelves. I would take my time, picking up one, examining it, and carefully placing it back down as to not knock down the stellar display. Each purchase felt like a life and death decision as to which Smurf to bring home with me. I was always anxious to introduce the new figure to the rest of the gang.

“Jokey Smurf, meet Lazy Smurf.”
“Smurfette, meet your village of boyfriends.”

Inferior to the Smurfs were the Clown Arounds. Same size, same shape, same concept as the Smurfs, except Clown Arounds were clowns dressed as cowboys, pirates and superheros.

In my village, the Smurfs kicked the Clown Arounds’s asses.

Half happy.
One Smurf and one Clown Around.

I loved the way Smurfs felt in my hand, I loved the details on each of them, I loved that each of them was that perfect shade of blue.

Blue eyeshadow used to be considered a big no-no for us brown eyed girls.

In fact, too much blue eyeshadow is what prompted my mother to drag me to a surprise makeup intervention at the Clinique counter at age 13.

I didn’t know how to wear blue. I was just copying what all of my friends were doing, which was slapping it on with a spongy applicator followed by blue eyeliner, and topped off with my favorite, blue mascara.

I not only looked like a hooker - I looked like an alien hooker.
Poor Mom.

Today, on most days, I stick to neutral eyeshadow colors. But if I am going out and want to feel smurfy, I will rock the blue shadow. That pop of color really looks great on brown eyes and makes them stand out.

One blue eyeshadow that I am in love with and has lasted me forever is an eyeshadow duo by NARS called Rated R. It includes two dramatic colors, a chartreuse (clown around) green and a cobalt (smurfy) blue.

I know these colors look a bit bold, but come on people, have some fun, it’s just eyeshadow! The blue is really pretty and has a sparkly shimmer to it. Very tropical and fun, I adore both of these colors; although I must say I am partial to the blue.

So next time you have a big night out, and you don’t want to look all made up like a clown, try this smurfy duo.

You won’t be smurfy, I promise smurf.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks.

I consider myself, in my own mind, to be one of the least athletic people in the world.

I have no shame in it, it doesn’t bother me, it’s just the way it is.

Growing up my family was all about sports. We lived in New York and were huge Yankee fans. "The game" was always on in the background and at meal times we would roll a small television up on a tray table into the dining room so we wouldn’t miss a minute.

When the Yankees won, there was lots of enthusiastic yelling, celebrating and drinking.
When the Yankees lost there was lots of swearing, door slamming and drinking.

I clearly remember the day that Thurman Munson, the catcher for the Yankees died in a plane crash.
I also remember yelling “Louuuuuuuu” when Lou Piniella was up to bat.
And I vividly remember Reggie Jackson’s “REGGIE!” candy bar. Yum!

Reggie, you were delicious.

My Aunt Barbara would take me to games and I felt special, eating a hot dog and cotton candy and singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Baseball was good!

Fast forward a few years later when my dad thought it would be a good idea for me to join a local softball team. He loved baseball so much and I think he wanted to bond with me over the game. I enjoyed being a spectator, eating the hot dog and singing the song, but playing the game? Ok, I thought, I’d give it a try.

Our team name was Cranston Electric, sponsored by - you guessed it, Cranston Electric. I did enjoy the fact that I got to wear a uniform, even if it was just a shirt with the team name on it and a baseball hat.

My memories of the team are not so fond. Whenever I would get up to bat, the others would groan and look disappointed. When a fly ball would come to me in the outfield, my teammates would scramble to try and catch it because they knew I wouldn’t. I tried, but it just wasn’t my game. I only wanted it to be my game for my dad’s sake.

I think that Dad recognized pretty quick that athletics were not my gig. He was very encouraging when I eventually did find my niche, which was theatre.

Me, getting all theatrical.
Dad, on his way out the door to a funeral.

For my dad, me doing a play was equivalent to me pitching a perfect game. When the audience laughed at a line I said, or gave a standing ovation, I had knocked it out of the park in his mind. It wasn’t baseball, but it fed my soul and made me happy, and that made him happy.

Today I still struggle to keep up with what is going on in the wide world of sports that is all around me. When people talk about the “big game tonight” my mind races to figure out if it is baseball, football or basketball that is going on right now.

All I know is that I love the Yankees, because of what they meant and continue to mean to my family, especially my dad.

In honor of Fathers Day, this Sunday I will eat a Nathans Hot Dog and belt out "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for old times sake, for my dad.


Good men in my life ~ Grandpa, Papa and Dad.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sister act.

Growing up I always thought it would be so cool to have a sister.

I loved my little brother Mike, and we got along great.

But I was always jealous of my friends who had sisters, especially older sisters with feathered hair, designer jeans, and braces.

When we moved from New York to Florida, I started this hellacious lie with my new best friend, Stacy.
You know one of those lies from you told when you were younger, where once you started, you just couldn’t stop?

Stacy had the older sister described above and I worshipped her and admired their relationship. I was so envious that I created a fake sister of my own.

I told Stacy that my sister was still back in New York, finishing out the school year, and would be moving to Florida to be with us come summer. Obviously, I didn’t think this lie through at all - I mean, what was I going to do once June rolled around?

I was too busy conjuring up the coolest, prettiest, most rockin’ older sister on the face of the planet to think about that.

Here were some “facts” about my “sister”:

• Her name was Bianca, named after Bianca Jagger, naturally.
• She was a bad girl, who had a bad boy boyfriend named Jordan, and they both smoked cigarettes.
• She had luxurious feathered hair, wore designer jeans, and had braces.
• She taught me everything I knew about everything.

I found a picture in my middle school yearbook of an older, pretty girl named Paige, cut it out and put it in my wallet.

Instant sister!

Now anytime Stacy had a cool story about her sis, I could bust out an even cooler story about Bianca. Poor Stacy, having to endure her new friend trying to out-sister her, and poor me, continually spinning the web of lies that would eventually come crashing down on me.

I mean, how long could I keep up the act? Stacy would come over and mention Bianca in front of my mom or dad, and my parents would just look at her like “Who the hell is Bianca" as I rushed her out of the room.

I would tell Stacy that my parents were really upset with Bianca, because she got busted smoking pot and they were acting like she had never been born. Stacy thought that was just awful and comforted me because I was so upset with my mom and dad.

At this point I began to get into what I call Level Five Lying.

I would fake phone calls with Bianca while Stacy was in the room, or say she had just visited over the weekend and given me these cool new ankle socks with ruffles on them. Stacy questioned why I didn’t mention that she was coming to visit, and why I didn’t have her over to meet her. I would just say I didn’t think about it because Bianca and I were too busy shopping, catching up, and smoking.

I soon realized I would have to start pulling stunts like in the movie 9 to 5, where Judy, Violet and Doralee were trying to cover up the fact that they had Mr. Hart held prisoner in his own home, so they had to make it look like he was still coming in and out of the office. They would leave his lit cigar and leave it in the ashtray, push a button on the elevator so it went down, and then tell Roz, “you just missed him.” But I knew I didn’t have the energy for all that.

I really knew it was time to give Bianca the heave-ho when I started to daydream about buying a mannequin that I could sit next to me in the car so it looked like my sister was here for a visit. I even saw a gorgeous blonde wig that I considered buying in case I ever did purchase that mannequin.

So I just stopped talking about Bianca.
I took her picture out of my wallet.
I pretended like she didn’t exist, which…well…she didn’t, so that was easy!

Eventually Stacy just stopped asking about her. I’m sure she figured out that she was a figment of my imagination and was just being nice by not calling me out on it.

Looking back on it, what was I thinking? I mean a little white lie here or there is fine, but conjuring up a person? With a name and a photo? Not good.

You know what would have been good though?

Going through with the whole mannequin/wig/car passenger plan, like a scene from some bad ’80’s movie.

THAT would have progressed me to a Level Six Lie, for sure.

Me, Stacy, and a girl who I would have killed for to be my older sister.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stretch marks the spot.

I remember one year for Christmas my brother got one of those Stretch Armstrong dolls by Kenner. He loved that thing and unlike most of his toys, so did I. Mike would hold the arms and I would hold the legs and we would stretch poor Stretch across the living room.

I loved the texture of Stretch.

I could sit on the couch for hours mindlessly watching television with Stretch in my lap, kneading his arms with my fingers, pulling his legs out and watching in awe as he sloooooowly bounced back to his original odd shape. He was heavy as hell, and his hands and feet freaked me out a little because they were all rounded and weird looking. He felt all gelatinous and gooey, and I wondered what was inside Stretch - it felt like some sort of weird thick fluid.

Stretch had on little black undies and nothing else. He looked pretty good.

I decided recently that I should do something so I too can look good in my little black undies.

A reader asked me if I had ever tried stretch mark cream, and which one I would recommend. As glamorous as this challenge sounded, I couldn’t wait to try it and hopefully give some lovely little lines the old Stretch Armstrong heave-ho off of my bod.

Let me start by telling you something.

There is no such thing as a miracle product.

There is nothing that you can rub on your body or your face to make lines disappear. There is no Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the body.

But, there are products out there that can help ease the blow of time stomping across you.

I had heard that Mederma was a trustworthy, middle-of-the-road price range stretch mark cream. Here is the problem with me and Mederma – you do not see any results for eight to twelve weeks.

EIGHT TO TWELVE WEEKS?

When I want something I want it yesterday, not twelve weeks from now.

So I tried really hard to be patient and started rubbing this cream on at night.

A few weeks passed and I was looking at my stomach and my legs in the mirror like one of those forensic scientists on CSI examining a body. Nothing looked different.

Finally eight long weeks went by and I have to say…I think the stretch marks look a little lighter? I mean maybe? I mean, I’m not really sure.

So I stopped using the cream and it is sitting on my bathroom window sill along with some old self-tanning cream that I got tired of and a bubble bath that I don’t really dig, but it’s in a pretty bottle that I like.

I think stretch marks were never really a bother to me, so let me apologize, I may not have been the right person to take up the challenge of testing out the cream. I just don’t have the patience to wait; I admit I’m not good at it.

I bet whatever that thick goo was inside of Stretch Armstrong could help with our stretch marks. It probably would have burned the top layer of skin right off – POOF! Stretch marks gone forever!

Lookin' good Stretch.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Little T&A.

Twice a year, my family and I would make the six hour drive to Rochester, New York to visit my grandma, grandpa and two favorite uncles, Uncle Bob and Uncle Tom.

Uncle Tom was married to my Aunt Gena, and they were very cool, uber-hippie types. He had long hair, a beard and a moustache, and was very handsome.

Uncle Bob was in his early twenties, living at home with my grandparents at the time. He was the one who introduced me to music and to the most important man in my life, Mick Jagger. He taught me everything about the Stones and took me through all of their songs and albums one by one, especially his favorite, "Let It Bleed." He had lots of cool stuff to look at in his room; cool books, cool records, cool posters on his wall, and cool magazines like Rolling Stone.

And Playboy.

See, my grandma always tried to get him to hide them away before my brother and I took over his room, but he didn’t put much effort into it. I would take the Playboy and put it inside the Rolling Stone and pretend to be reading about The Pretenders when I was really getting schooled in articles about “How to Make Your Studio Apartment Into a Love Den” and “What Women Really Want in Bed.”

Of course I read Playboy for the articles.

I was eleven or twelve, and getting schooled in what real women looked like big time.

Or what I thought real women should look like. All I knew was that I didn’t look anything like them, and I didn’t know anybody who did.

I had seen glimpses of Playboy before, at the barber shop where my dad and little brother got their hair cut in our neighborhood. Playboy was laid out on the table in the waiting area right next to Field & Stream and Highlights for Children. While my dad got his haircut I would casually pick it up and start to go through it, playing dumb like I didn’t know what it was. Nat the barber would take it from me each time, waving his finger and saying in a thick Italian accent, “Not for little girls,” and replacing the boobies with the Highlights.

But at my grandparents I had more time to study the female form a little more closely. But actually being able to sit down and look at the pictures was still stressful. I would sometimes get really brave and sneak the magazines from my uncle’s room down the hall into the bathroom. The bathroom door didn’t have a lock on it so I spent most of the time in there nervous, with my foot by the door. And that mad dash from my uncle’s room to the bathroom was like running through a war zone. I was too stressed out to get too excited.

The women were so voluptuous, with big natural boobs, little waists, and long legs like ponies.

I was short and chubby and didn’t look like that at all. Although I did have big boobs, so I had that going for me.

I started to feel bad about myself.

I said little silent prayers at night while lying in my grandparents pull out couch, that I slept in next to my little brother in the den. There was the usual, “Please God, let me meet Mick Jagger,” but after reading Playboy, I added, ”Please, please God, let my legs get longer and skinnier like Miss May.”


Monday, June 13, 2011

I’m your ice cream man, stop me when I’m passin’ by.

It’s getting hot out there people.

There is nothing better on a hot day than a bite of a cold ice cream bar from a truck.

Remember as a kid hearing the chimes of the ice cream truck from a distance?

I had Bionic Woman style hearing when it came to tracking the whereabouts of the ice cream truck.

I could make out “The Entertainer” or “Pop Goes the Weasel” from miles and miles away. It was a gift. Other girls could hit a softball really far or sew a button on a blouse; I could tell you how long you had to get off of the banana seat on your bike, demand cash from your parents, and get back outside before the ice cream man was gone.

In New York, we referred to the ice cream man as the Good Humor Man, since we only had a Good Humor Ice Cream truck that drove through our neighborhood. When I think of the Good Humor Man, I think of a guy in a white hat and a black bow tie that made little kids extremely happy with his frozen novelties.

My best friend Susie always got a Strawberry Shortcake Bar, my brother would get a King Cone, and I never strayed from my beloved Toasted Almond Bar. Vanilla ice cream with an almond center surrounded by those little cake-y b.b. pellet pieces on a stick? I was a creature of habit and stuck with what I liked.

A sweet bite of almond-vanilla Heaven on a hot day.

I still love that heavenly almond scent and have found a product that makes me think of my boyfriend the Good Humor Man.

Almond Supple Skin Oil by l’Occitane smells delicious - warm, nutty, and yummy. It goes on beautifully, sinks right in to my skin, and the scent lasts all day long. Supposedly this product can also prevent the formation of stretch marks – which I could get from eating the entire box of Toasted Almond Bars.

But apparently there’s no need for me to worry about that. Well, I will continue to worry about the formation of stretch marks on my bod but not about eating a box of Good Humor.

See, today I went online to the Good Humor website and typed in my zip code. There is nowhere within hundreds and hundreds of miles for me to buy a Toasted Almond Bar.

That does not bring out the good humor in me.

Seriously hot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gold rush.

Back in the day I was all about the gold jewelry.

Here are a few items I piled on daily:

• Gold name plate, with Lori in cursive writing.
• Gold initial ring, little l big A little f, also cursive writing to match my nameplate.
• Gold bracelet, with Japanese style writing LORI.
• Gold Saints Ring, with three gold disc charms with pictures of Catholic saints dangling off of it.
• Gold hoop earrings, large.

There was absolutely no question as to what my name was.

We all wore a butt load of gold in the eighth grade. Living in Tampa, Florida, the gold stood out on our brown skin like we were all wearing reflective bike gear. We would blind each other when outdoors, our various body parts reflecting off of the glare of the excruciating Florida sun.

If we were “going with” someone (where the hell were we going? We were 13 years old?) We would exchange our gold with our significant other. It was kind of like wearing a boys letterman’s jacket in high school, but for younger kids, and much more expensive.

My name hung around various boys’ necks, sometimes a ring was on one guy’s pinky while another hung around another guy’s neck on a chain (classy.). Most of the time I wasn’t actually dating any of these people, I just liked boys. Like crazy. And I liked seeing something that was mine on them. Lots of them.

My parents, on the other hand, did not enjoy noticing my missing nameplate that had suddenly been replaced by a giant medallion, with two playboy bunnies (a boy bunny-both ears up, and a girl bunny-one ear down) facing each other with the word LOVE between them.

“What the hell is that?” my dad asked.

“It’s a boy at schools. He let me borrow it.”

“Get your jewelry back, and Jesus Christ, take off those bunnies!”

Of course that didn’t deter me, I would put on the bunnies on when I got on the bus on the way to go to school and take them off on the way home.

I liked the bunnies. They belonged to a boy named Rocky (no lie) who I liked to hold hands with, flirt like crazy with, and exchange gold with.

I wore other boys’ nameplates, ID bracelets, and gold nugget bracelets. I was a free agent.
A free 14-to-24-karat-agent.

Ahhh, so many boys, so little time…

When Sex and the City first came out, Carrie Bradshaw made nameplates cool again.

I was so mad at myself for selling all of my precious gold, unloading it long ago when I needed some extra cash - thinking that these gaudy things would surely never be back in style again.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have that cursive gold “Lori” back around my neck again!

And I wouldn’t let anyone else wear it, I would keep it just for me.

Dad would be proud.

Yet another boy with a moustache.
Me and Rocky.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does this perfume make me look fat?

When I was travelling overseas right out of college, I was plopped somewhere I thought I would never go in my life – Okinawa.

I was performing for the troops with a group doing an improv-murder-mystery-show.

Besides enjoying the sights, the local culture, and the soldiers, the thing that I enjoyed the most was the shopping.

Shopping at home was already awesome, so to shop in new and exciting stores in new and exciting countries was super awesome!

Plus I had Laura, my ultimate shopping buddy on tour with me. The two of us would much rather go to Top Shop than go see another damn castle. Together we were power shopping machines.

In Japan and Okinawa I was tempted by tea sets, dragon statues, and lucky cats in every form – banks, stuffed animals, key chains and t-shirts. But what I fell in love with at an open air market in Okinawa was a jacket.

It was groovy. It was cool. At the time it seemed kind of hippie-chic.
It had big wooden buttons.
It had fringe all along the hem and around the cuffs, with beads hanging off of the fringe.
It was rust colored with a moss green pattern going through it.
When I looked closer, I noticed what the pattern was of – elephants.

A chain of artsy elephants with their trunks all connecting. It almost made it hard to make out that they were elephants until you looked really hard, but let me tell you, there were elephants all over that jacket.

I tried it on.
I loved the way it looked. I loved the earthy colors, I loved the fringe and the beads.
However, I did not love the elephants.

Why couldn’t it be a pattern of some other animal? Like a tiger? Or a dragon?

I kept it on, debating whether or not I should ask Laura the most stupid question ever, but I just had to ask it.

Laura could tell I loved the jacket, and was confused as to why I was so hesitant to buy it if I loved it so much.

“Laura, I have to ask you something first. Since the jacket has elephants all over it…do you think people will think I look like an elephant? Will people associate me with elephants if I wear this?”

Laura looked at me for a good long minute.

“NO”, she said.

I was still wary. I really didn’t want to be known as “The girl in the elephant jacket”, but I did LOVE it. So I bought it.


Throughout the early ‘90’s I wore the shit out of that jacket.
I wore it to clubs, to concerts, out with friends and out on dates.
I got a ba-zillion comments on how cool that elephant jacket was.

A few years later Laura and I were back home shopping for perfume.

I fell in love with an scent called Jungle by Kenzo. It was a spicy scent, very warm and very exotic. It reminded me of my time in Okinawa. It was so different from the sweet stuff I usually wore, and just like the jacket, I had to have it.

And just like the jacket, elephants were involved.

The cap of the beautiful wavy bottle was a giant gold elephant.

“No that perfume does not make you look like an elephant”, Laura said, before I could ask.

I bought the perfume and have loved it ever since.
I wore my elephant jacket and my elephant perfume together with pride.

Yummy and non-fat.

Today I have a beautiful little elephant on my desk that my boss brought back for me from one of his many trips. When he gave it to me I did not take offense, I love looking at it everyday.

And I now realize that if I wear a sweater with a deer on it, an owl necklace, or little bird earrings, I do not look like a deer, an owl or a bird.

Lucky.