Header & profile photo by www.rawphotodesign.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic?

With 6 short days till Christmas I sit here, wine in hand, wondering where the last month went....I think I blacked out.  (Oh, no, we had a blackout, right..) Tis the season to be jolly, stressed & laden with anxiety.  The boys are getting older and they still "believe" in all that is Christmas, which I love.  I am waiting for the bomb to drop.  My 8 year old is getting a little suspect and his questions are getting more detailed "How can Santa possibly get to every house in one night?"  It's magic, I simply say.  Magic.

I don't know about you but Christmas is making my kids crazy.  The threat of "you better behave" seems to work less & less.  I mean, it really is an empty threat, isn't it?  Am I really NOT going to give them anything on Christmas morning?  I actually contemplated sending them a video from Santa (www.portablenorthpole.tv  best.site.ever.) for "naughty" boys.  Then I reconsidered.  Can you imagine the implications?  The mental damage?  I tell you, I was really close.

The "new" thing out there to help with behavior is this "Elf on a Shelf."  This effeminate troll-thing is supposed to be placed around your home & is supposedly "watching" your children's behavior.  First of all, CREEPY.  Have you seen this thing?  Sure, it look all innocent but you know what I see when I look at it:

what you see (sweet Elf)                         what I see  (Psycho Poltergeist clown)
If that thing is out during a thunderstorm I am locking my door.  FREAKY!

Another thing that disturbs me this year are those Best Buy commercials.  You know the ones with the Alpha-moms taunting Santa via text message & kicking his figurine off the roof like he is a fool with no use.  I think these ads are atrocious.  Make them stop!  I'm boycotting Best Buy...

I must be getting old.  Christmas has lost a little of its wonderment; its magic!  There are certain things that bring me back to my childhood: anything off the Frank Sinatra or Johnny Mathis Holiday albums, Russell Stover's chocolate santas, my mothers pizzelles, the Ray Coniff Singers & the ads on TV for the Barbie Townhouse. (that thing was awesome!) 

 I try really hard to keep tradition around for the sake of my children.  It is hard with my family spread out around the East coast.  I do look forward to seeing my parents, enjoying time with my family & that look in my boys eyes on Christmas morning.  All in all, I do love Christmas and just hope that magic doesn't fade.  I hope you find your magic this year.  It's there somewhere..(just not Best Buy.) 

I leave you now with one of the best covers of this tune ever.. note the Toto at the end!  Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes

While enjoying an over-priced lunch at The Rainforest Cafe with my two sons, the conversation took an interesting turn.  "Wow, look at that gorilla boys, he's scary."  "Oh, here come the thunderstorm."  Then my youngest son piped in. "When we were in your belly, how did we come out of you?"  Um..WHAT? (choking on my iced tea) Where did that come from?

As parents, we all do our best to side-step these little questions.  I think I just asked him to finish his nuggets and replied "the doctor took you out," and I left it at that.  I have gotten many of these juicy inquiries as a mommy.  Some of my favorites:

"You have a penis, right mommy?"  (well, only when I'm feeling tough)
"Can I see your nickles?" (code word for nipples in my house)
"Why is my penis sticking up?"  (go ask your father..)
"Can I marry you (or the dog) if I get married?"  (ah, no, this is not Alabama)

I am dreading the day that I will actually have to answer all these questions with a straight face & honesty.  I guess I'm glad I have boys.  No talks about periods & why you don't have boobs yet.  But I do think as a mom, I want to make sure that my boys are not just sent into the world with an attitude, a pat on the back & a box of condoms.  Being the woman of the house comes with a different kind of responsibility; teaching my boys to respect women. 

My oldest shows glimmers that we are doing something right.  He has a good friend who is a girl.  Every time she is at our house and needs to leave, he walks her home. (without me asking)  He carries her bag if she has one.  I find this innocent but telling.  It tells me that maybe he does listen to me amongst all the smart-mouthing.  I have hope for my youngest as well.  We were playing a game and deciding who should go first.  He matter-of-factly states "You should go first, since you are a girl."  Call me old fashioned but I love that.

Hold doors, be polite, give up your seat.  It may be old-school but these are the things I still appreciate as a women.  I know they are taking a cue from my husband as well.  He leads by example everyday by treating me this way.  In these days of equal rights & female empowerment it can send mixed signals.  Our boys see mommy home cleaning, cooking and taking care of everyone.  They also see me go to work and earning a living.  I hope that they will someday fully understand the importance of what we are trying to teach them.

Until the day of "the talk" comes, I will enjoy laughing over unexpected questions, curiosity and that wonderful innocence that comes with having young children. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You Are So Beautiful.....

Being a woman who has specialized in beauty for over 20 years I have come to a conclusion.  Women hate themselves.  I have yet to have a person sit down in my chair or lay on my table before a treatment & say “I love the way I am."  I find that sad.  I, of course, am one of these women too.  The "my skin is horrible, I have wrinkles, my ass is fat, I have saggy boobs, I hate my thighs, I’m too tall, too short, not good enough" women.  I want to know why this is.....

Any T.V. commercial, print ad or billboard will confirm that women are expected to look a "certain" way.  By certain I mean: skinny, flawless & perfect!  These unattainable & ridiculous aspirations are trying to be fulfilled every day.  Plastic surgery, fillers, hair extensions, spray tans are the supposed cure to these ailments.  (One look at Jwow will make you think otherwise.)  Why do we feel the need to constantly prove to everyone that we too can be this "perfect" creature?

I spend countless hours with women who spill their stories about their insecurities & self-loathing and it makes me want to scream "STOP IT!!!"  Will we ever, as women, be able to embrace our true selves and be happy?  Interesting question.

With this in mind, I have decided to make a list of things that I find beautiful about all women.  Some unorthodox, but still, beautiful in my eyes.

*A pregnant belly in all its glory
*A face free of makeup & dotted with freckles
*Those lines around the corners of your eyes only visible during a true smile
*Bodies of all shapes and sizes of those confident enough to own who they are
*Morning face, hair in a ponytail, in sweats on a Sunday morning
*Women in jeans with high heeled boots
*Hair with some roots & a little gray showing
*Your pooch belly that sits proudly above your waist, where your housed your 3 children for 27 months
*Cleavage, of course
*Thighs that are not the same width as your calves
*Asses that don't quit
*Anyone who has the guts to wear dark red lipstick
*An all-natural body, lees-than-perky breast, dimples on your legs & all

I supposed I could go on forever here.  Hey, women out there!  You are all beautiful in my eyes.  And despite what you might think, the men think so too.  Look in the mirror & see the real you.  It's pretty spectacular!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Never Gonna Give You Up: The 80's Obsession

I was an 80's girl.  I had big hair, bright clothes, wore Zinc Pink lipstick & was monumentally tan. I listened to Madonna and secretly tried to dress like her. (loved those black rubber bracelets & star earrings.)  I worshiped Duran Duran, thought Huey Lewis was adorable & actually believed Milli Vanilli was singing.  For as much as the 80's is ridiculed for it's lack of musical talent & fashion disasters, the obsession has never gone away.  The stores are once again filled with neon clothes, Flashdance-type off the shoulder sweatshirts & leggings.  Go ahead, make fun..but we all secretly still love it.

What amazes me the most is the never-ending popularity of the 80's music.  I believe it can be broken down into 3 sub-types:  pop, new wave & hair bands.  (Of course, 80's on 8, Hair Nation & 1st Wave are my go-to presets on Sirius.)  Being in the "cover band" scene just proves to me that these songs will live on forever.  Even the newbies still love that shit.  We did try to omit these crap-tastic songs from our set list on several occasions, but to our chagrin, they wanted to hear them.  So, we obliged & played them..over & over & over & over.......

Topping the "pop" list is the "i want to cheat on my girlfriend tonight" anthem "Your Love' by the Outfield.  The squealing screams from half-drink girls start from the the first mention of Josie.  This song is about as mediocre as it's cheesy, paper-propped video.  But they love it...and not just the girls. I challenge you to find one person that cannot recite the chorus.  It's a strange phenomena. 

We then move on to what my old band called, The Forbidden 3.  Those would include: " Jessie's Girl," "Summer of 69," and "867-5309, Jenny."  I am proud to say that we NEVER played these 3 tunes, but secretly know in our hearts that they would have killed in any room at any time.  Why?  No one really knows...but these songs are a sure-fire way to make the ladies dance & sing. (which really is your goal in a cover band.)

Moving on to some 80's rock...  You can't even think about the 80's without hearing that tasty intro by Slash in the oh-so-popular "Sweet Child O' Mine" in your head. I have to admit I do love this song & apparently so do the masses.  Another over played, over done song would be that damn Bon Jovi tune "Living on a Prayer"  not to be outdone by it's usual counterpart "You Give Love a Bad Name."  These 2 can be found on any cover band set list in the USA.  And let's not forget the king of all that is holy in the 80's...... (drum roll please..)  "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey is one of those tunes that gets you every time.  Love it or hate it this is one staple that is not going anywhere.  Everyone also loves a good hair band tune and anything from Whitesnake, Warrant, Skid Row or Ratt will do.  Poison & Motley Crue also deserve a mention as they seem to be the 2 bands always represented in the set list.

Now there are tunes that we, as band members, wished we could play out.  Maybe a B-side type ditty?  Every once in a while a band may sneak in one of these gems but it usually causes confusion.  What is this song?  God forbid we play something....different?  I think this will be my next venture.  A cover band that covers shit no one knows.  Maybe we will call ourselves: WTF?  GFY or Unpopular. The set list will be comprised of songs like the following:

Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry
Going Back to Cali by LL Cool J
Smooth Up In Ya by The Bullet Boys
Never Say Never by Romeo Void
Talk to ya Later by The Tubes
Change by John Waite
Let's Go All The Way by Sly Fox
Never Gonna Leave You by Pat Benatar
The Theme to The Greatest American Hero or
something by Air Supply  (just to really mess with your minds)

I think I would just like to see what kind of reaction playing "different" music would have.  That would be an interesting experiment.

No matter what the argument, the 80's, my friends, are never going away.  You can try but the people have spoken.  Damn you Josie!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Sound of Silence

Ahhhh.  You hear that?  Yep, nothing.  Quiet.  It is officially the first day of school, the boys are off. I'm on my second cup of coffee and have to say I have missed this.  No yelling, no fighting, no noise.  Summer vacation pushed a lot of us to our breaking point this year. The looks on all the parents faces at the bus stop this morning confirmed this.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Summertime comes & goes and while it was fun & exciting, I was ready for it to end.  I am one of the "those" mothers I guess.  The ones who do enjoy spending time with the kids, but also enjoy spending time without them.  This is the second year in a row that the start of school was delayed.  Last year we got the news at 3pm the day before the proposed start day telling us that a pipe burst at the school and we would have to wait another 7 days.  That was not fun.  This year Hurricane Irene took our power and again, we were delayed another 5 days.

I forgot what it is like to be able to focus. This is my first blog in over a month.  Sorry about that.  I did try to get things going several times this summer, but I was distracted by the pouty faces, the screaming & the theme from Pokemon. I don't know what to do with myself right now.  These last two weeks were enough for me to pull my hair out.  The boys were at each other's throats.  To be expected, but not pleasant.  I was a little tired of being the referee.

I used to get a little sad on the first day, but the boys are getting older & it is not as traumatic for them or me anymore.  It seems to be the case with my neighbors as well.  I did not see any tears this year. No tantrums, no sad faces. This also reminds me that I'm getting older too.  I still make the kids pose for pictures with their backpacks on the front steps.  I know that they hate it, but these are the pictures I remember taking when I was young; the ones with the awkward poses in itchy new clothes & tight shoes.  I understand that they will not be little forever.  I want to remember these moments.

So, a little shout out to my moms & dad out there.  We made it!  Another summer in the books.  Congratulations for surviving the summer in all it's craziness.  I can put my whistle down, have some coffee & figure out what to do with this free time.  Get out there & enjoy your freedom, your time & most importantly, enjoy the silence

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Have A Drink on Me: Mommy's Little Helper

What is it about summertime that makes you want to drink?  It can be 10am on a Tuesday, and if it is above 70 and sunny, it's time for a Bloody Mary. I find myself looking at the clock in the afternoon.  Is it 5:00 yet?  Do I have a problem?  I mean, hell, it is kids vacation & that is enough to make you want to shotgun Natty Light if it was available.  Can I have a drink now?

Growing up, my parents had a cocktail every night before dinner.  I never saw this as a problem.  They still do.  They never got rip-roaring drunk, but had that time before dinner to chill, sip a beverage & relax.  These days you feel guilty about imbibing.  Are my children going to become alcoholics because they see mommy & daddy having a cocktail?  I am of the opinion that if your children are exposed to things & understand the rules that they are less apt to abuse such things.  Does that make me crazy?  Naive? Ignorant?  I don't think so. 

My first experience with alcohol was the time I thought it would be fun to sneak into my fathers liquor cabinet in the basement.  I didn't grab beer from the fridge or wine.  I decided to grab the $50 bottle of Crown Royal in the pretty purple pouch.  This was it.  After downing several piss-warm shots of this god-awful stuff, I proceeded to get drunk.  It was not good. It was not fun..  Getting drunk was not what I expected.  Luckily, I didn't throw up.  That was saved for my first experience with Tequila on Senior break  in Fort Lauderdale.  Oh, the joys of waking up in your own vomit.  To this day I still throw up a little in my mouth when I smell Tequila.  Can't do it.

I'm not much of a drinker now.  I actually am more enamored with the idea of having drinks.  I don't drink to get drunk.  Which makes me wonder why I drink at all.  I used to be able to drink like a viking in my earlier days.  Shots, funnels, shotguns, you name it!  I think if you set me up a funnel, I would vomit just looking at it now.  I was drinking to get drunk! That was during my college years, from what I can remember.  :-)  Now, it is a social thing.  Truth is, I don't like being drunk. I hate that feeling, that loopy, lethargic, where-are-my-pants feeling.  But I am a big fan of the buzz.  When I was singing in my band, I got to watch people go from sober to bombed.  It was always quite entertaining.  As long as I wasn't one of those people.

I can't drink hard alcohol.  That is reserved for date night dinners where I will have one Manhattan or a So Co on the rocks.  (no, I m not 70, I just drink like I am.)  I drink "girlie" drinks.  Twisted Tea is my go to, although now that I have been trying to lose weight, I find them less appealing at 220 calories a pop.  You may also find, at anytime, in my fridge, some sort of wine cooler.  Now, don't judge.  I know they are so 80's, but at least it's not Zima. (though I had been know to have some of those when they were popular.)  The problem is, I drink drinks that don't work.  You need about 13 Twisted Teas to get a buzz.  I need to start drinking Scotch, Jack or Jameson.  Those work, from what I gather.

When my children were little, I often found solace in going to Barnes & Noble & perusing the parenting books.  I was amazed at the number of mommy books that had alcohol in the title.  Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, Three Martini Play-Date & Daddy Needs a Drink and If You give A Mommy A Martini to name just a few.  Is this the advice we are getting to cope with the stress of parenting?  Drink up?  No wonder why my parents had daily cocktails.  I get it now.  Thank god I didn't have a colicky child.  I would be in rehab.  Not to mention the prescription drugs that are so freely given to moms as well.  I think I am the only mother I know that does not have a script for Xanax.  (Although, I am considering it now, lol) 

I am not condoning the excessive use of alcohol as a means of escape.  Like anything else, I can see how it can get out of hand.  But I do love the idea of sipping a cold one on a hot day & feeling free.  Add to that a beautiful summer day or evening & it's on!  So go forth & enjoy your beverage a choice, responsibly.  With 6 weeks left of summer vacation, I may have to look into getting some Natty Light.  Mommy needs a drink!

Monday, July 11, 2011

KARMA Chameleon: Not-so-sweet Revenge

Interesting story last week.  A woman seeking revenge on her ex-boyfriend got creative.  She decided to get back at him by posting personal contact information about his new wife on a XXX porn site.  In return, this woman was inundated with elicit calls for hours on end from horny guys looking for some strange.  Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  Ain't that the truth.

I found this very telling.  This woman felt the need to hurt the other woman..not the man in her revenge scheme.  Why is this?   Now I do not know the intimate details about their relationship & it's downfall but it just confirms to me, once again, that women just don't like other women.  Sad, but true.

A Latin proverb states "Revenge is a confession of pain."  I like that.  Why admit that you are hurt? Revenge can be nasty thing.  We all have a sordid past when it comes to this.  We have all been wronged & secretly plotted out what we would like to do to the culprits. I'm just not sure we have all followed through with it.  There have been many crazy, sick & twisted stories of revenge over the years.  Ones that make you think "are these people for real?"

AMY FISHER:  The Long Island Lolita, as she was affectionately called, decided to confront her grease-ball boyfriend's wife & shoot her in the head.  That's one way to deal with it I guess.  I mean, I could see her attraction to Joey with his afro-mullet & his Zubza pants.  What a stud.

LISA "Left Eye" LOPES:  1/3 of TLC, may she rest in peace, decided she was going to get her then boyfriend, Andre Rison of the Atlanta Falcons, something to think about.  She showed him by lighting all the stuffed animals he had given her on fire in his bathtub.  Which, in turn, burnt his mansion to the ground.  Oops!

LORENA BOBBITT: This woman single-handedly placed fear in every man in America.  After years of supposed spousal abuse, Miss Lorena went to to the kitchen to get a glass of water one night & returned with a carving knife.  She proceeded to cut off her dear husband John's penis and the drove off with it.  She then tossed it out the window into an open field where it could no longer harm her.  After his "weapon" was recovered it took 9 hours for the doctors to re-attach his..um..thing. 

I must be a real wuss.  I may have plotted but never exacted revenge on anyone in my life.  Never shaved off someones eyebrows when they were sleeping, slipped Nair in a shampoo bottle or spray painted someones car.. It is amazing the level of psycho that people go to in times of turmoil.  All I know is that women have it over men in this capacity.  Women are calculating, smart & much better liars.  I mean this is the best possible way, of course.  The guys have no chance in competing here.  Sorry boys.

There is even a book to help you if you are so anemic in the revenge department you need assistance. Revenge for Dummies can help you find creative ways to embarrass, humiliate & retake control of the one's who have done you wrong.  Really?  Is this what has become of revenge?

Personally, I think most of these tactics make you look more desperate, needy & quite frankly, stupid.  You are not proving anything by trying to show who's boss here.  I am more of the opinion that things end, usually they end badly, and you deal with it. I mean, in Revenge of the Nerds, the Tri-Lambda's kicked the Alpha's asses, won the talent show (awesome routine, BTW) & showed everyone that success is the best revenge.  Corny? Yes, but true. Nothing better than running into an ex when you are dressed up, looking hot & can simply smile & walk by knowing that they are regretting doing you wrong.  Sure you would like to stop, throw a hay maker or your drink at them, but what is that going to prove?  Nothing. 

Karma is a bitch & she will find you. So please reconsider the next time you are plotting revenge.  Take a deep breath & remind yourself that what comes around ALWAYS goes around.  Right O.J.?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm Not Here For Your Entertainment: Summer Survival

Schools..out..for summmma!  Crap!  The last day of school is today.  A time that mothers from all over cherish, spending day in & day out with their children bonding, connecting & secretly drinking in the basement. I'm kidding... (well, half kidding)  We all start out the summer with good intentions with lists of things to do, places to go, people to see.  For some reason it takes about 15 minutes for those plans to go kaput.  "I'm bored, I'm tired, he's touching me."  It can be a challenge, this summer vacation survival thing. I need to figure out how I'm going to get through the next 70 days, 8 hours, 34 minutes & 22 seconds.

When I asked my boys what the would like to do this summer their suggestions were actually not too bad.  The Mystic Aquarium, Science Center, Lake Compounce are all good places.  Aside from costing me about $125 each for a few hours they are tolerable. OK, that's 3 days down.  Only 67 more to cover.

I'm not one of those alpha moms.  You know the really spunky, excitable, over-achieving moms?  Not me.  This often makes me feel inadequate.  Am I the only mom out there that feels like this?  Sure, my kids are sent to school clean, with matching clothes, no bed head with lunch money.  I do not orchestrate lavish birthday parties with rental ponies & bounce houses.  Nor do I schedule my kids morning, noon & night with play dates, chess practice or French lessons.  I am old school.  I say "go outside & play."  No good?  I think it is important for the kids to be able to entertain themselves once in a while.  What ever happened to chase & kick the can battles that lasted until the sun went down?  This is what I remember summer vacation being about.  Playing for hours & of course, the ice cream truck.  Where is that ice cream truck now-a-days?

I think it is nice to sometimes NOT have a plan. No structure.  It is very freeing you know.  "Mom, what are we going to do today?"  "NOTHING!  Go run laps around the yard as fast as you can.  I'll time you.  Ready, set...GO!"  Still, no good?  When I was young, my parents were not totally consumed in making sure we were entertained.  It was not how things were done.  We were the kids.  We got up, got dressed, had breakfast & went outside for the day.  That was it.  I do not remember daily trips to museums, parks & tours of Europe.  If we were lucky we went to the beach.  There, the adults sat down & we went off & played. Outside. All day.  Are you seeing a theme here?

Now, I am not saying that we should never do anything "special."  I'm just saying that if you do these things all the time, they are no longer special.  They are common-place & then, in turn, become expected.  I don't know about you, but I am not an ATM.  Everything "special" really means "IT"S EXPENSIVE."  Hide & seek is pretty cheap.  As is kickball, Frisbee, basketball & napping. 

As I bask on the last few hours of child-free coffee & quiet this morning I hope to have an amazing summer with my kids. I know it will have it's share of arguments, smart-mouthing, whining & temper tantrums.  (And that's just me I'm talking about.) Seriously, summer vacation is here for all of us to enjoy.  I hope I make it through in one piece.  So get out there, have fun & ENJOY!!  If you can't reach me, I'll be in the basement.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My CUPS Runneth Over: A Memoir

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Crying in the department store dressing room.  I was 14 and had no boobs.  None. No boob-lets, nothing!  My mother likes to remind me of this when I am complaining now. I resembled Olive Oyl.  Flat-chested with big feet & a huge nose.  It was depressing.  I was a late bloomer.  Really late.  Then God decided to play a bit of a trick on me.  The next summer, there they were.  Boobs!  Suddenly I had them, along with a number of awkward, teenage boys who were unusually friendly.  It is amazing what having a rack can do to your popularity at that age. I finally had what I wanted...and I HATED it!

Having a large chest is not all it is cracked up to be.  In college, I had to wrap an Ace bandage around my chest in order to play sports.  I'm not kidding.  I also have never had actual eye contact during a conversation.  People, to this day, talk into my chest like it's some sort of make-shift PA system.  Check 1..2?? Look up you idiot!  I also longed to wear cute tank tops, halters & strapless dresses.  It was not to be.  The support apparatus that needed to be in place for these items rivaled a crane trying to hoist a piano up to a 5th story window.  Are you getting the visual?  Pretty hot, huh?

I would see Victoria Secret ads.  They have pretty, sexy bras.  Unfortunately, they do not come in "my" size.  I got to go to a little place they call "Lady Grace."  This place sold bras that looked like turn-of-the century torture devices.  The average age in there was 86.  To get the support I needed meant wearing a bra that came down to my belly-button with a padlock on the back.  ( it looked like my father could have designed this thing, and he was probably happy about it.)  This, my friends, is depressing.  No lace, no front-closure, no black.  They were white, polyester, ugly & once again, I was crying in the dressing room.

The problem at a younger age is you never "embrace" your shape.  You try to cover it up.  (Of course, this does not apply to Snooki)  I never felt comfortable in own skin.  This is not including the wet t-shirt contest I entered in Cancun on spring break.  Tequila was involved and that essentially doesn't count.  Friends would say "you are so lucky" and "I wish I had those."  No, you really don't. If they were fake, then maybe they would be fun, stand at attention & not disappear into my armpits when I lay down.

After 25, some-odd years my once perky buds have changed.  After 2 kids, nursing & that damn gravitational pull, my girls are looking a bit tired.  Deflated, if you will.  Thank god for the push-up bra.  I have become a master at the tuck & shove technique.  You stacked girls out there know what I'm talking about here.  The art of jamming your boobs into the bra.  My nipple is sometimes sticking out the back.  But damn it, I'm wearing this killer lace bra.  I am often aware of the uni-boob situation as well.  There should appear to be two of them.  Strapless bras are out for me.  Boo!

In this day of the breast augmentation & lift I have no shot of comparing to those works of art.  I understand that men have several opinions about "enhanced" boobs.  Some love 'em & some hate 'em.  (I think I love em.)  Mine are real.  There is no denying this, especially when the bra comes off.  (Is it bad when you can kick your nipple with your thigh?)  Really, it is not that bad, but I have that awful visual of them in another 25 years.  Here it is. The lady on the right...yep.

I have finally made peace with my lady pieces.  The girls, sweater-puppies, funbags or whatever they have been called are here to stay. ( Maybe just not in the same place)  I guess I was blessed..at least I have heard that throughout my life. I'd like to thank my mother for this gift.  Nice work, mom! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lash Out: False Lash Application 101

Fake it till you make it!  This can be applied to many things, but today I am giving you some hints & tricks on how to apply & wear false lashes like a pro.  I get so many questions on how to put these bad boys on without looking like a total drag queen.  Like anything else, it takes practice & patience.  So, lets get you some killer lashes.

Before you get started you will need the following:

Lash Glue
Orange Wood Stick

I purchased this little kit (shown below) from Sephora that has all the tools you need.  (I would not recommend the lashes that come in the kit.  They were a little cheap & hard to apply.)

STEP ONE:  Buying the Right Lashes 

Lashes are very hot right now & can be found at any drug store, beauty supply & even the grocery store.  There are a number of different colors, sizes & styles from casual to outrageous.  I like ones that give you a little glam without being too over-the-top. 

These examples below are from Ardell & can be found for about $3.00-$4.00 a pair.

As you can see, they range from a natural thickness to super-lush.  I like to stick with something that adds length but still looks like real lashes.  Ones in the short to medium range are perfect!

You will also need the glue to apply them. I opt for the creamy glue for Strip Lashes in the dark shade.

STEP TWO:  Prepping Lashes

There are different techniques used by many artists, but this is what I find works best for me.  I do my eye makeup first.  If you are a beginner, you may want to practice putting the lashes on a few times before you do this.  It does take some trial & error to get it right.  I do not curl my lashes as the curl sometimes makes it hard to place the lashes flat on your own lash line, but some say this helps if your own lashes are short.  I apply a light coat of mascara to create a nice base for the lashes to adhere to.  Now, on to the application!

STEP THREE: Applying the Lashes

With Strip Lashes (not the individual ones), they need to be the correct size in order to fit properly.  They are generally longer than your actual eyelid & need you need a custom fit.  Remove the strip gently from the tray & hold it up to your lid.  Place the shorter end at the corner of your eye & make a note of the overhang at the longer end.  Take a scissors & trim away the excess.

Then hold the strip in your hands by the two ends.  Slowly roll the strip in a U-shape to create a natural curve that emulates your eyelid shape.  This makes the band flexible & helps the lashes lay down when your are applying them. 

Now it is time to open the glue.  I like to put a small dollop of it on the lash tray & allow it to get a little tacky.  It gets rubbery as it dries so the stickiness will make your application easier.  You can also apply it to the band of the lash straight from the tube, but this can get messy & we want a controlled amount of glue.  Take your orange wood stick (fancy name for a wooden cuticle stick) and dip the flat end into the glue.  Gently dab the glue onto the band of the lashes, being careful not to get any on the actual lashes.  Add a little extra to each end.  Hold the lashes for a minute or two & allow the glue to set a bit.

 Now....Let's get 'em on!!

While looking down, gently place the strip as close to your natural lash line as possible.  you can use your fingers, a tweezers or a lash applicator, whatever is easiest for you.  I use a tweezers.  If the glue is too wet hit it with the heat of your hair dryer or wait another minute or two.  Carefully slide the strip tightly against your lash line.  Using the pointed end of your orange wood stick helps here.  Tuck down the band, concentrating on the ends.  (you don't want these sticking up & poking your eye.)  Hold the band down & allow to dry for about 2-3 minutes.

Repeat on your other eye.  Now this can be tricky, so take you time.  The glue will not set that fast so you have time to manipulate them into position.  The closer to the lash line the better.

You are looking "glam" already!

Once the lashes are in place & dry, there are a few finishing touches you can do to blend them into your own lashes.  I like to take a lash comb & run it through the lashes.  (For the advanced: You can also use a lash curler if you find that they are sticking out took far.)  Place the curler as close to the eyelid and pump GENTLY to give the strip some lift.  Finish with 2 coats of mascara for a more dramatic look if you want.  You can also blend in the strip by applying black eyeliner after the lashes are set.  This picture below is a perfect example of the ideal look, in my opinion.  Not too crazy but beautiful! 

I hope this help you get that fab lash look you crave.  It is fun to do for a special occasion or a night out.  Have fun, practice, play & you will have luxe lashes in no time.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's My Age Again?

How old are you?  I am 41.  I don't feel like I'm 41.  Do I really have to act my age? What exactly does that mean, acting your age?  There are very specific stereotypes when it comes to how old you are.  Now that I'm in my 40's, I'm not completely happy with what society "expects" from a woman "my" age.  I think there are lot of you out there who might agree with me..and maybe some who may be appalled at what my view on this topic is.  Whatever the case, let's do this!

The world tells us that we are mothers now.  No more fun for you, you know.  Time to wear mom-jeans, drive a minivan, let our hair go gray & go quietly about our business.  I am leading the charge against this heinous & disgusting infringement on our rights as "rocking mamas!"  There are a lot of us out there.  Women who say "no" to housecoats, frumpy-ness & lights-out missionary!  I may have a little problem, I admit.  I'm not much of a follower.  Like every woman out there, I do secretly care what others think of me, but I'll be damned to let it dictate who I am.  Love me or hate me, this is me! 

For those who may not know me personally, I was a singer in a band for the past 3 years.  (hence the "rocking mama" nickname)  I would often look out into the alcohol-soaked crowd & think "this kid could be my son."  Depressing, yes. I would always joke that it was time for me to hit the piano bar scene, pour myself a gimlet & sing show tunes at the Capri Lounge.  Singing in Dirty Blonde defined me for a while. In my new neighborhood I was the rocker.  Along with that came my fear that I was being unfairly judged as well.  After all, I am a mother of 2 small children.  What would they think of the woman coming home at 4am with the blow-up doll in the garage?  Come to find out, it was not a curse but a blessing.  My friends enjoyed getting out of the house, rockin along with us & having the same escape as I did.  No one cared that I was 40...including me.

Why do we feel the need to change who we are?  Who are we trying to impress? I understand that my days of doing funnels are over, but I can still have some fun right?  Having children or getting older does not mean closing the door on being true to yourself.  I can still dress up, wear makeup, feel pretty, be sexy, act crazy & change diapers, right?  Mama does not = boring.  I love how my age feels to me.  (I wish I had this much confidence when I was in my 20's.) 

I was never a "barefoot & pregnant in-the-kitchen" type girl.  Luckily, the man I married did not expect this either.  He understands who I am & what I needed to be happy.  If that included rocking late nights with the band, he accepted this.  He surely didn't love it, but got it!  I love him for that.  Expecting someone to completely abandon who they truly are is unfair. 

For a while there, I was worried.  I looked at myself & thought "who am I?"  This once happy, funny & spontaneous girl had become grouchy, miserable & dare I say...a nag.  I didn't like this girl.  I mean, I used to be a good time.  I could blame it on 2 kids within 15 months, lack of sleep and just overall bitchiness.  I could blame it on a number of things.  I had allowed myself to become this shell of a girl that was not me.  I had to do something about this. I wanted that girl back.  The girl my husband fell in love with.  The girl that I am.

I think I found her again..and she is much more fun!

Monday, June 6, 2011

WORKING Marriage

After I put the kids on the bus I look forward to my morning ritual.  Coffee, newspaper & quiet.  Now the Hartford Courant usually doesn't get my creative juices flowing very often, but this morning they had a small excerpt that caught me.  The heading reads "Work Stress Can Strain a Marriage."  Wow, really?  Who knew?  All sarcasm aside, this is something I deal with & I'm sure we all do.  Work as taken over our lives and puts our marriages in a very fragile place.

Long ago there was a time where the work day ended at 5pm.  9-5 jobs have gone the wayside and more & more of us are in a position where our jobs fully consume us.  Throw some kids in there and you are talking full on exhaustion.  This obviously creates some tension.  The Courant article states " Strong marriages take investment.  Today, people work longer hours, make less time for their spouses & feel too tired for sex."  HA!  No kidding?  There is no down time, ever.  Weekends once reserved for family time & fun are now riddled with baseball games, recitals, birthday parties & random running around.  Sunday night comes with that dreaded stomach ache and the thoughts of "where did the time go?"  I see this more & more.  Our relationships are on auto-pilot.  This is a scary thing.  When you forget about your actual connection with your partner eventually bad things creep in.  Doubt, fear, resentment.  All destructive things in a marriage.  Most of us don't like to admit feeling this way toward the person we love, but we do.  This doesn't make us bad people, you know.  This makes us human.

Marriage is an amazingly difficult undertaking.  The life-cycle is ever-changing & with each new day there is a new challenge. Our jobs & our children take first priority now.  Our relationships are in the back seat and there comes a time where you need to move it back to shot gun.  Surely it is not going to be bliss everyday but it is important to get back to that once in a while.  I am guilty of taking out my own frustrations on my husband.  Most of the time it has nothing to do with him.  It is me & my own head-trash.  What is lacking in many marriages is effective & honest communication.  Bad or good..you have to talk.  Like anything else, if you wait too long it's gonna blow.  That fight you had over the laundry really has to do with other things you failed to address 2 weeks ago.  We all do this.  It is the most vulnerable thing you can do, to tell the truth.

Work has driven a wedge into even the most solid & stable of relationships.  We all have something else we should be doing.  Maybe if we turned off the laptop, ditched the iPhone & just talked things would be better.  The house, the yard work, the bills will all still be there.  I sometimes forget how nice it is to just spend time with my husband without worry.  Have a few drinks & laugh.  I love those times.  You get a glimpse of your former self.  Remember that fun, carefree & spontaneous person?  It's still in you, you know.  You just have to coax it out. 

The pressure is all-consuming.  The pressure of being a good, wife, husband, father, mother, provider & partner.  We have to give ourselves a break and just breathe.  Maybe recognize the good things instead of dwelling on the negative.  Say thank you instead of criticizing. Perhaps we should work as hard on our relationships as we do in the workplace. Interesting thought.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Right to BARE arms, legs etc...

Summertime came in quickly, as usual.  With all these shorts & tank tops waiting to be worn, we all have to deal with yet another grueling grooming task.  Hair removal! I'm talking full-body here. Being an woman of Italian decent, I have had this battle my whole life.  I hate hair.  I don't want hair, anywhere!  Oh, how I long for smooth, silky legs.  There are a multitude of products that promise this hair-free heaven.  I have personally tried all of them over the years.  But which one is best for you?  Let's discuss....


I remember the early days when I was introduced to shaving.  Razors for women were much different than their male counterparts.  They were pink, round & pretty; as in pretty useless.  Woman may be soft & delicate but their hair is not.  Let's just say 6 hours after shaving I could grate cheese on my legs.  Lovely, isn't it?  I need the heavy duty razors.  Titanium, steel..something tough.  Shaving is still the easiest way to a a hair-free existence.  Leg's, underarm, even those little wiry hairs on your toes are gone in one sweep.  My fave is the Venus Embrace.  5 blades, easy to hold & can also be used to peel vegetables if necessary.  This thing rocks!  It's old school, cheap & gets the job done.


Who wears short-shorts?  (Not me, I can tell you that)  Nair was always the staple in this category.  Just apply this foul-smelling cream to your hairy parts, wait & rinse for a smooth result.  Sounds easy, right?  My experience was less than pleasant.  I applied the cream to my legs.  After about 5 minutes I experienced pain that I can only compare to what having sulfuric acid poured on you would feel like.  It burned.  They don't tell you this on the package.  I was not able to wait the full 10 minutes as instructed.  My legs were red, prickly & still covered with hair.  Sorry, Nair.  Who can wear short shorts when you look like a burn victim?  I think we'll pass.


Now I have covered the popular topic of bikini waxing already.  Waxing larger areas of your body takes patience & lot's of pain medication.  I am not a candidate for waxing my legs.  You must grow the hair out so it is long enough for the wax to grab.  This is not a good look for me.  I have made attempts, I assure you.  I got about 1/4 up my shin.  Wax + front of shin + rip = lot's of expletives being screamed aloud.  God love you if you wax your legs.  I think it is good for those blonde girls out there.  I was always jealous of the soft, billowy hair on the blonds.  Damn you!  I can compare my leg hair to the Play-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop.  Remember that toy?  You can make the guys hair grow in thick, long locks.  That pretty much sums up the texture of my hair. Waxing does work if you stick with it.  It's just the growing out part that makes it pretty much impossible during the dead of summer.


Laser hair removal is an amazing thing.  It reduces the hair growth significantly. I am a candidate for laser, unfortunately, my bank account is not.  It is an investment, for sure.  It works best on lighter skin with dark hair. (sorry, blondies)  Getting a treatment is NOT virtually pain-free as they would like you to believe.  If you want to get an idea of what it is like, take a rubber band, pull it back as far as it goes & snap it against your skin about 1000 times in a row.  That's the gist of it. Getting zapped over & over would weaken anything, right?  Again, it does work over time, but you have to decide if you can take the pain & if you can get approved for a home-equity loan to pay for the treatments.

There are also many other contraptions out there that promise soft, kissable skin.  I have foolishly bought into most of them & they now sit in a make-shift graveyard along with my other as-seen-on-TV purchases.

Smooth Away

Claim: No Pain, No Chemicals, No Razor Burn.. No Hair! & exfoliates too!

Truth:  It is basically low-git sand paper.  It exfoliates by buffing the hair & what is left of your skin off. 

Grade: F


Claim:  Fast & through Hair removal

Truth:  Do you see this thing?  It vibrates & catches your hairs in the coil & rips them out.  I think this was also used to torture prisoners of war.  OUCH!

Grade:  Can you go lower then F?  Maybe a G.

I am now out of money & still searching for a miracle. I will buy anything that claims I will be hair-free for more than 45 minutes.  I hope that in using my body as an experiment you can successfully spend this summer hair free.  Let me know which one's you've tried, love & hate.  I'm game.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No WIRE Hangers!! : The Closet Switch

We are going on day 5 of rain here in Connecticut.  Spring is SO wonderful here. NOT!  Multiple days of rain force you to tackle projects you would rather "put off" till another time.  Yesterday, mine was the dreaded closet switch & clean out.  Being a New Englander, this is defined as a seasonal update of your clothes.  Time to wake up all those cute tops, shorts & dresses from their long winter's nap. It really is just wishful thinking considering the temperature has not reached 80 yet this year.  Along with the "switch" comes the trying on of these items..Which emotionally takes a toll on any woman, hoping we can squeeze our winter-ravaged asses into those Capri's. And so the project begins....

I have slowly started to convert my "hanger situation" to a more adult, tidy look.  Before, it looked like Sanford & Son in there; wire hangers, plastic dry-cleaner bags, random change on the floor.  I wouldn't be surprised to find a dead cat in there. (The term "skeletons" in the closet can be used literally when describing mine.)  So off I went to purchase those velvet hangers that keep everything neatly in place.  I gotta say, it looks amazingly organized.  Now, on to the clothing...

Is anyone else mortified by the relics that inhabit your closet over time?  It is like a fashion museum in mine.  I could identify items from each of the past 10 years.  Scary stuff.  I never said I was fashion forward. (more like fashion neutral.)  I found a button-down shirt from Express that had to be 9 years old. Really!  I have the pictures from an alcohol-filled NYE to prove it.  I bravely admitted that it was time to get rid of it.  Divorcing your clothing is tough.  Sure, we try to convince ourselves that we "might" wear this, this is "cute" and I have to have this blazer in my possession "in case."  In case what? I become a lawyer someday?  They say if you have not worn it in the last month or so..you never will.  I think half of the clothing I own I purchased before I had kids.  (that would be over 8 years ago.)  Sad, I know.

Out with the long sleeves, sweaters & heavy items.  In with tanks, halters (who am I kidding?) Capri's & maxi-dresses.  It is empowering tackling this daunting task.  I was feeling good.  Then it was time for the shoes.  Women have a problem with shoes.  We buys lots of them, but wear only the lucky few that are comfortable & don't give us blisters.  I have a habit of buying shoes based on looks & not comfort.  This is a BIG mistake.  One being that I have several pairs with very high heels.  I cannot walk in high heels.  I can barely stand still in them.  I am a complete klutz, yet somehow, I continue to buy them. (although, they do look really HOT all lined up on the top shelf.) Picture a cat with tin foil wrapped around it's feet trying to walk.  That is what I look like walking in heels any higher that 1/2 inch. 

Now for the items you just cannot seem to throw out.  Items with significant history.  I still have the lingerie set from Victoria's Secret I got for my wedding night, my over XXXL Red Sox sweatshirt, a few random Halloween costumes & 2 full-length dresses I keep on hand for a wedding, cotillion or some other formal party I will never get invited to.  Some things you gotta keep.

After I finished I felt relieved.  Who knew this would be so fulfilling?  I piled all the the items that didn't make the cut into two large garbage bags & dropped them off at the local clothing drop box.  That feels GOOD!!  Before bed, I walked into the closet & turned on the light; the velvet hangers all lined up perfectly, items separated by type, shoes neatly paired up.  I'm ready for summer.  Project Closet:  COMPLETE!