As I peck out this blog post on my computer keyboard at precisely 6:08 a.m., I’m sipping coffee from a mug from the Pig Out Palace Buffet ‘N’ Grill, which I nabbed years ago from a fine dining establishment of the same name located in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
Hubby and I were in town for one of my family’s epic reunions, and although I was “with child,” and it was at least 400 degrees each day we were there, we had a lovely time. It was held on my cousin Debbie’s beautiful farm in neighboring Weleetka, and there was a hay ride for the tots and a truly insane number of mouth-watering pies.
The only downside of the trip: Hubby got a speeding ticket on the way back to our motel from the festivities. But hey, he was warned about a specific intersection where an eagle-eyed cop plies his trade. Besides, as much as I love him – and I totally love him – Hubby is quite the aggressive driver.
Although I spent my formative years – 10 through 20 – in Newport, Rhode Island, I was born in Tulsa and lived in and around there until my parents split up and my brothers and sister and I headed north with my mother. She was from Fairfield, and we just drifted a bit, to where her only sister was living.
And I’m sorry, Newport was/is gorgeous compared to some of the tumbleweed towns in Oklahoma. Between the ocean and the turn-of-the-20th century mansions, it’s a complete and utter feast for the eyes. I swooned.
But since I’m not monogamous by nature, New York has been the great geographic love of my life. Gotham has given me everything – an incredible career, amazing friends and a tiny family of my dreams.
Yet the older I get, the more I dig my not nearly frequent enough treks to OK.
And this week – this horrible, horrible week – as I’ve watched and read about the scene unfolding in Moore, I’ve had ample opportunity to connect the dots between the feeling I get when I zip in, briefly, for a reunion or a funeral and what it’s really like there, year-round and permanently.
And here’s my stunning, for-what-it’s-worth conclusion: The people of Oklahoma – and that most definitely includes my umpteen million relatives on my father’s side of the family – make it great.
They are wildly, fiercely polite and strong.
That unshakeable sense of community the entire world is seeing this week? Teachers literally acting as human shields for terrified school children, the local vet rescuing all the shivering and shaking pooches and meow-meows? That’s something I’ve felt in my bones my entire life.
One of my New York besties, who was born and raised on Long Island, likes to tease me about my pride in my un-chic home state. “You love your Oklahome-ness,” she says.
Yes ma’am. I do.
Stop. The. Presses. I’m cooking dinner.
It’s totally stressful in Momover Central at the moment. We’re 99.9 percent sure we’re selling our pad and moving just a few blocks away, but it’s that .1 percent limbo that’s had Hubby and me tied in knots for weeks now. Plus the Wee Lass doesn’t know about the impending home change, which ups the antsy ante.
It’s also the busiest time of year at work, which is ironic in a really un-fun way. You see, in order to get our big fall issues out the door, we in fashion publishing have to bust our collective fannies all summer, just when everyone else is kicking back with massive umbrella drinks and vats of SPF 40.
When I’m under mental siege, as I have been recently, the first thing that goes out the window is any kind of food prep.
The nanny makes dinner for the Wee Lass six nights out of seven, so don’t fret that my kid isn’t being fed; she totally is. Why, just this morning I whipped up scrambled eggs and sausage (so gross; Hubby introduced her to that lovely food item) for her breakfast. And she gets hot lunch at school, so we’re good on that front.
Because I generally get home from work much later than he does, Hubby usually fends for himself for dinner. Which is cool, especially since we don’t really dig a lot of the same stuff. He’s a big ol’ meat eater, and I’m not.
So in a nutshell (and I do eat a lot of nuts), I really only have myself to worry about during the week. But do I prepare something healthy for yours truly when I burst through that door? No, no I don’t.
It’s as if I don’t count. And this past weekend, when we were nanny-less because our Saturday superstar went home to visit family in the Phillipines, it was if no one counted. On both Saturday and Sunday, we had to sit through long rehearsals and performances for the Wee Lass’s dance school, and I had major yummy-snack guilt.
Why didn’t I get up earlier and fix something easy and delicious for us to nibble on while the kids tripped over their tiny feet busting moves to ‘Gone Fishin’ and other similarly charming ditties? Deviled eggs, perhaps? Dainty sandwiches with the crusts sliced off? Avocado and banana smoothies? No, all we had were a few lame trail-mix bars doing a stellar impression of cardboard, and a bottle of water.
Listen, I’m a great mono-tasker. I fully focus on one hurdle before turning my attentions to the next one.
But food, and cooking, is so basic, so nurturing, such a classic way to send your family – and yourself – a little love and Omega 3s and 6s. It shouldn’t be back-burnered ever, no matter how freaked-out I am about other stuff that’s going on.
And on that note, I gotta back to my 350-degree oven – and the miraculous entity called dinner cooking up a storm within. Yay me.
Hubby has many sterling qualities, but one of the things I love most about him is that perfect strangers sidle up to him at the town pool, or outside a restaurant or book store, and tell him he looks like Michael Douglas.
Yes, yes I know; resembling a movie star isn’t a quality, per se. It’s not something he had to work toward, or even ask for, à la a heart-to-heart with his mother while in utero: “Hey Ma, could you make sure you give me a little cleft in the ol’ chin?”
Still, it’s fun for everyone involved when that happy observation gets tossed into the conversational ether. For one thing, c’mon, Michael Douglas is crazy-handsome. Two, he is such a great actor. And three, I happen to love his wife. She too kicks maje a– in the acting department.
Patience, please: I promise I’m about to land like a massive, elegant eagle on the true subject of today’s blog post.
So, have any of you fellow culture-junkie Momoverettes read the superb cover profile of Monsieur D in this week’s New York mag?
It’s every bit as good as that incredible portrait of him in lilac eyeshadow. One for the ages, that pic. Bravo to the photog, Martin Schoeller.
Although the hook for the NY mag piece is the upcoming HBO film Behind the Candelabra, in which Douglas stars as Liberace, it dives a lot deeper than that, tracing the star’s decades-long career and recent personal dramas. Those include the imprisonment of his heroin-addict oldest son, Cameron; his beloved CZ-J’s struggle with bipolar II disorder; and his own bout with Stage IV throat cancer.
Though he doesn’t say it himself in the piece, the writer says Douglas “believes that the stress from Cameron’s horrible situation may have exacerbated his illness.”
No matter how many times I read or hear it, I still reallllly don’t want to connect the dots between stress and cancer. It just seems so cruel – especially for worry-warts like myself. While I now have a wildly happy life – I feel very, very blessed – my childhood was off-the-charts unstable. As such, I can – and do – make the most gigantic, Everest-sized mountains out of the most microscopic molehills.
Of course there’s a lot we can do to manage our stress; I write about stress-management all the time on little Momover.net.
But some of us are just hard-wired to fret more than the average bear. And worrying that your worrying is giving you cancer or some other life-threatening, horrific illness is a double dose of unfair.
I’ve made my living as a writer for an extremely long time, so, obvi, words are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious important to me.
Thus, you can imagine my horror whenever I see the Wee Lass’s cray-cray attempts at what the teachers in her school call “sound-spelling.”
Basically, the kids just sonically stumble their way through their assignments, like a recent one in which they were tasked with detailing ways – both through words and drawings – to be more Earth-friendly.
My little lady had the brills idea to “Save electricity. Turn off the lights.” And as you can see from the headline of this blog post, she kinda phonetically got there.
While I’d love her to be fluent in a foreign language, Sound Spelling isn’t on my Berlitz wish list – anywhere.
I’d be freaking out and pushing the panic button right now if it weren’t for two key facts about my one and only offspring: One, she’s only in first grade. And two, her reading is wicked good.
Now I just need her to fall as deeply in love with books as I am. So we can segue, seamlessly, from “lectissupee” to “electricity.”
Lordy knows I’m doing my bit to set a good example for her; much to Hubby’s dismay, I have books tucked into every nook and cranny of our home.
In my office alone, where I sit now typing away at the ungodly hour of 5:53, there are three bookcases, plus an old chest of drawers which I painted white and re-purposed as yet another book catch-all.
Sidebar: Can we discuss how Shabby Chic it was of me to paint and re-purpose like that? Holla. And as I glance to the bookcase at my immediate right, I see three Shabby tomes: The original, which I think is out of print and might need to be nabbed on Ebay, plus The Shabby Chic Home and Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic Treasure Hunting & Decorating Guide.
For the record, I don’t care how early 1990s that whole Shabby aesthetic ethos is. Why? Because A) I still love it, and B) Rachel Ashwell is in the midst of staging a maje comeback. You read it here first.
But back to my hopes and dreams for the Wee Lass’s book-loving future.
Maybe I’ll just start making little themed reading lists for her. I could start with “Mommy’s Favorites” and kick it off with literally the best book of all time – House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.
Or we could go the “Strong, Cool Women Memoir” route, and she could dive into:
1. Revolution From Within by Gloria Steinem
2. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
3. Jerry Hall’s Tall Tales
4. My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
5. Diane: A Signature Life by Diane Von Furstenberg
Whoa, I’m sort of loving this Mommy’s Reading List idea…
But I gotta get the Wee Lass up and at ‘em and ready for school. So she can wolf down some Cracklin’ Oat Bran, and then go turn lectissupee into electricity.
Whoa whoa whoa.
Any of you fellow Scorpios happen to see the rawther scathing (but utterly and completely spot-on) horoscope in today’s New York Post?
Because I’m in the PSA business (not officially or anything, just kinda sorta by dint of having my very own blog that you lovely Momoverettes actually read), I will herewith type it right up for you:
The world is full of possibilities but you seem determined to focus on the negative things.
Why is that?
Whatever the reason, you need to snap out of it fast.
Opportunities are everywhere.
All you have to do is look.
Of course I can only speak for myself, but any negativity I’m feeling at the moment is 1000 percent tied to having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. I don’t mind working hard, but I do mind working crazed.
As I go about my daily business, I like to feel at least a little Zen.
As if my mind were saying to the rest of me: “Wow, there’s a lot to do, but everything will work out just groovy.”
Right this second, I don’t know how to make that happen – mentally.
So I think I need to go for a run – physically.
And check back in with you once I stop making a mountain of that cute little molehill up there.
Just got back from Oklahoma, where I attended a funeral (which was actually a really lovely celebration of a life well-lived), partied a smidge with my eight million cousins and shopped for the Wee Lass.
I’m so guilt-ridden when I leave her – even if it’s for a totally legit reason, like for work or for family matters like this – that I always need to stock up on tons of “Forgive Me” gifts to lug back to her.
Typically, it’s one gift for every day I’m gone. But once I open the shopping floodgates, it all sorta snowballs. Until I hear the faint, distant voice of Hubby in the far recesses of my fake blonde head saying, “You spoil her.”
Guilty as charged!
Anyhoo, at Casa Moi, the Wee Lass and I have been recently discussing, at length, the fashion merits of cowboy boots.
And here’s how the whole thing started: We were watching The Voice one night, and when Adam spun his chair around for one of the contestants, he said, “Uh oh, those cowboy boots are scaring me.”
“What does he mean, Mommy?” the Wee Lass asked. “Doesn’t he like cowboy boots?”
“I don’t think that’s it,” I replied. “He just doesn’t have the track record in country music that Blake does, and he’s afraid the singer won’t want to be on his team because of that.”
Of course I couldn’t just leave it at that simple explanation. Noooooo….I had to scar my daughter for life with what I said next:
“But of course there’s a chance Adam doesn’t like cowboy boots. On most women, they aren’t very flattering because, visually, they cut the leg off at mid-calf.”
Oh my lordy, ever since I said that, she’s been obsessed with this mid-calf idea. Like asking-about-it-every-day obsessed.
Finally, I had to amend my original decree and say that for women – or girls – with freakishly long legs, cowboy boots are probably fine.
In my mind, I was thinking Brandi Glanville. I’m quite sure Brandi would look incredible in cowboy boots.
Me, who clocks in at an Olsen Twin-ish 5’1? Not so much.
Cut to this week. Of course, Oklahoma is Cowboy Boot Country, and when my brother and I popped by Drysdales, I was seriously considering springing for a pair for the Wee Lass, who I think secretly wants them.
But just then, as I was scrolling through pics of her on my iPhone, I spotted her in her look du jour – skinny jeans rolled up a bit and paired with preppy moccasins.
And then I was hit by a second bolt of mental lightning: My family is Native American. We’re Indians, not cowboys!
So I temporarily scratched the cowboy boot idea and nabbed these high (at least on the Wee Lass, they aren’t mid-calf) “3 layer fringe” Minnetonka mocs.
And she hasn’t take them off since I got home.
Sadness. I have to zip outta here today to head to Broken Arrow for a funeral.
So given that I’ll probably be MIA for a bit, I thought I’d just take the super-expedient route to this keeping-up-with-business business by re-pubbing five blog posts and other stories that seem to have caught the public’s fancy of late.
When you see the list, you’ll immediately connect the mental dots to the time of year (i.e., everyone is obsessed with losing weight for the summer, hence the interest in the post about basically starving yourself).
But essentially, the running theme here is superficiality.
Not that I’m judging you Momoverettes. I love you to pieces. And no one is more superficial than moi.
And away we go:
- 1. This one isn’t really a blog post, but rather my interview with Mally Roncal. OMG, I love that woman. She is so hilarious. When I get back from Oklahoma, I’m gonna dig up a YouTube video she and I did last summer. A-dor-a-ble.
- 2. This one, about Steffi Graff’s incredible legs. I wrote this while I was reading her hubby Andre Agassi’s UNSPEAKABLY ENGAGING memoir. So read about Steffi, and then haul your tush to the book store and nab Andre’s memoir.
- 3. This aforementioned one about basically starving yourself before noon. Kidding. It’s a fruit-based approach to slimming, one I recommend heartily.
- 4. This one, about the utter gorgeousness of that Game of Thrones chick’s white-blonde locks. (And my own peroxide tresses, back in the day…)
- 5. This one, about some real special sauce for curing those crazy-annoying back-of-arm bumps. I’ve tried everything, and this really and truly works. You can thank me when I get back from the heartland of America.
I pride myself on lots of things, tons of things (my bad knitting, my bad drawing, my bad French, to name just a few), but topping the list is the fact that I’m not star-struck. I’ve worked in a very glamorous industry for a – gasp – quarter of a century, and I’m typically unfazed by the occasional famous person in my midst.
Still, I have my waaaaaay inside-baseball celeb crushes, fashion and beauty industry icons who aren’t quite household names, but worthy of worship all the same.
And trust me when I tell you that the one and only time I saw the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy at close range, I completely hyperventilated.
“There’s your idol,” said my fellow-editor pal Jane, jabbing me in the ribs during one of those rubber-chicken luncheons at the Waldorf Astoria. As CBK made her way through the throng, inches away from our table, Jane jabbed me again. “You should introduce yourself.”
Um, no. What would I have said to her? “I worship you”????
If my boss had even an inkling that I’d stooped to such geeky lows, he’d have fired me on the spot. Kidding. I think…
Until the last 48 hours or so, what I loved about CBK was pretty much boiler-plate superficiality: She was stunning; she was the undisputed patron saint of minimalism, my I’ll-take-it-to-the-grave favorite clothing style; and she had the feminine-wiles chops to land John Kennedy.
But this past weekend, after reading Carole Radziwill’s heartbreaking (and beautifully written) memoir, I have a much fuller picture of who CBK was as a living, breathing actual person.
What emerges in Radziwill’s book (she and Carolyn became thick as thieves after Carole married Anthony Radziwill, John’s cousin) is a portrait of a woman with a massive heart. A real friend, not one who quietly exits, stage left, when the going gets rough.
And of course the going got excruciatingly rough; before Radziwill even married Anthony, he’d been diagnosed with cancer.
The entire course of Carol and Carolyn’s friendship is clouded – but, ultimately, strengthened – by Anthony’s illness, not to mention the mental anguish CBK endured after she married Kennedy, and realized she would never again be able to have one minute’s peace without being utterly stalked by paparazzi.
A virtual prisoner in the couple’s Tribeca loft, CBK was fond of dashing off notes – the old-fashioned kind, written by hand, on paper – to her pal Carole.
Many of those notes were just hilarious and witty – CBK dispensing unsolicited fashion advice to her clueless, serious-journalist bud.
Others were wrenching, written after she’d accompanied Carole on one of her endless hospital stays with Anthony.
I won’t quote any of those notes here, for two reasons: One, I think you should read them yourself. And two, it feels unseemly and weird to haul them out, out of context, for public consumption.
But I’m glad to have read them myself. And to know that someone whom I admired for the most ridiculous, superficial, fashion-y reasons was such a fun, amazing person.
And an incredible friend.
It happened roughly 36 hours ago, but I’m still so freaked-out by it that as I type this, I have shivers running down my recently-adjusted-with-chiropractic-treatments spine.
So on Friday – which was pretty glorious, weather-wise, at least in our neck of the woods – I was on my way back from the pedicure joint in Hoboken and I was feeling mighty fine.
From afar, I spotted the lovely park adjacent to our home in Jersey City, the one with the cute little hamster-wheel running track I’m addicted to.
“Cool,” I said to myself, as I made my way up the walkway connecting the two cities. “The chairs are back. Summer’s on its way.”
You see, in addition to the hamster-wheel running track, and the giant rope cage that the Wee Lass loves to hang upside down in, scaring the bejesus out of her poor mama, our park boasts an adorable patch of sand. A man-made beach overlooking the Hudson. And when it’s warm enough, that adorable patch of sand is dotted with all-weather Adirondack chairs, the type you might find on a massive porch at a schmancy lake house in Kennebunkport.
As I drew closer to Chair Country, I spied people in various stages of undress (but mostly fully clothed) plopped down in the Adirondacks, soaking up all that spring sunshine.
Among these peeps was an older dude in a bathing suit.
“Good for him,” I thought. “He’s super-chubby, and unspeakably pale, and he’s completely going for it in front of these mostly-clothed, far less exhibitionist, other individuals.”
Immediately, I got into this whole in-depth mental riff about the differences between men and women, and all those body-image studies about how guys are much more likely to think they look a-ma-zing than we gals are. Hence, Chubby Dude going for it in all his pale, shirtless glory.
And then I got closer, and my jaw dropped to the sidewalk.
He was…wait for it…
Right now, as I write this some 36 hours later, I’m simultaneously laughing and freaking out. On one hand, it’s hilarious. On another hand, it’s utterly traumatizing.
Still, I think I need to get to the Public Service piece of this blog post, and the sooner the better.
In short, I need to draw a big line in the man-made-beach sand about this outdoor grooming stuff.
Obvi, toenail-clipping is a massive, massive Don’t in public.
But I kinda think that most primping should be kept private.
Recently, on the PATH train into work, I watched in horror as a young lady put on an entire face of makeup in full view of the rest of us. I’m not talking a quick dab of blush or swipe of lipstick, mind you; I’m talking foundation, bronzing powder, lipstick and 5-step eyes (shadow, liner, BROW PENCIL!, mascara and curler).
Though I felt like I was watching her strip for her boyfriend – it felt that private to see her primping to that degree – I couldn’t take my peepers off her. Yes, I’m a beauty editor, so seeing the grooming lengths women will go to in public is part of my job description. But mostly, it had a car-crash vibe to it – you’re looking, but totally know you’re just asking to be scarred for life.
Whenever I’m tempted to break out my makeup bag in public, I just try to remember what the über über über makeup artist Sonia Kashuk told me when I interviewed her for my Momover book.
I called her because I wanted to nab her advice for new moms about applying makeup in the absolute fastest fashion. You know, those days when you don’t even have five minutes before you have to rush, rush, rush right out the door? What can you achieve in two minutes, I asked her? How about one?
Sonia, ever the straight-shooter, quickly blasted a huge hole in my theory. If you can’t carve out five freaking minutes for yourself, she said, your problem is time-management, not whether you should prioritize tinted moisturizer and blush over eyeliner.
Given that she’s a mother of two and runs a gigantic business, I was – am – inclined to believe Madame Kashuk.
So every weekday morning, after I’ve been drinking tons of coffee and reading endless stories in the New York Times but suddenly, miraculously, have no time to do my makeup, I think of Sonia and promptly march into the bathroom and start painting.
Because no one needs to see all that buffing and fluffing (and occasional toenail-clipping) except moi.
Quelle probleme: I love clothes, and have to look sharp as a tack for work on fairly regular basis, but I hate hate hate to shop.
This hating-to-shop jazz wasn’t always the case. Actually, as a swingle, I used to spend entire weekends devoted to that uniquely female passion.
I’m sorry to jump right into a sexist riff here, but shopping for clothes completely is a uniquely female passion. Not that I’ve conducted some massive in vitro study on the topic, and of course there is that Friday Night Lights guy with the pathological Gucci addiction…
I just think, in general, that dudes are laser-focused on what they need or want. And they do these borderline-surgical strikes on a store or a website. They get in, buy exactly what’s on their To Do list, and get the heck outta Dodge. That’s the way Hubby shops, and I soooo admire it. And, btw, he always looks great. Relentlessly preppy, perhaps, but utterly polished. Grrrr…
So back to my swingle shopping days: I used to mark the success of a given retail-therapy outing by the number of individual items I nabbed. “Oooh, it was a 15-piece weekend!,” I’d gloat around the water cooler come Monday morning.
Of course, my haul tally also included shoes and purses, because those are so freaking integral to your look.
Speaking of which: Yesterday I trucked around in my new black Mid-Heel Sandals for 12 straight hours and my feet felt just fine. And I got like 10 compliments on them. Score! I only have them in two colors, but it’s abundantly clear that I need all five shades…
Buying the same flattering, compliment-magnet item in multiple colors is a new piece of my shopping strategy. And I’m even considering having a few pieces “cloned” by a kick-ass seamstress.
As soon as I find a kick-ass seamstress, that is.
Recently, I conducted a Google search for the best tailor in my area. And off I went, clutching three items that had never been worn because they needed minor fitting tweaks: A super-cute blue and white striped dress, a pair of stiff denim Diesel trouser jeans that I just love, and an Elizabeth & James Yumi peplum top in black that was gifted to me at Xmas.
I had high hopes for Seamstress Lady. After I entrusted her to make these minor tweaks to existing pieces, Seamstress Lady and I were gonna bond and overhaul my entire closet, cloning all my fave items and – gasp – possibly conjuring a few custom dresses just for moi.
Holy Mother of God. That soooo didn’t happen.
I can barely describe the sheer chaos of this highly recommended Seamstress Lady’s shop. Straight out of an episode of Hoarders. It was grim.
Although every fiber of my being was willing me out of that unspeakably ratty establishment, I didn’t want to be rude, so I stuck with my tweaking plan. The dress and the jeans were a no-brainer, but then we got to the peplum top.
“That’s really unflattering on you,” she said. “It’s not worth it for me to take it in, because it still won’t look good.”
Well, alrighty now!
Seamstress Lady was right, albeit rude. I gave the top to my assistant, and she looks adorable in it. But after I went back to pick up the dress and trouser jeans – I had the Wee Lass in tow and her big blue eyes bugged out of her head at the mess in that shop – I knew there was no way I could forge a true collaboration with this Hoarder-Tailor person.
Okay, it’s time to go work out upstairs in our rec room, and then cobble together a cute outfit for work. May the force – but not a peplum top – be with me.