Friday, November 30, 2007


This is why the rest of the world hates the US of A:

Because cooking a hot dog from scratch is just way too much work. What's next? A machine that shovels it into your mouth and turns the channel to WWE? Jesus Christ!


My friends! I need your help. We are having a holiday cocktail party in a couple of weeks and people need a place to set their drinks and a surface to dance upon when things get crazy later. I need a coffee table.

Here's my problem. I have this behemoth sectional with the chaise that leaves a tiny area for a table. Can you read my dimensions there? 26" on the short side, then 52" then 50" on the far right side. Every circle or square table I've seen is 32" and that's just too tight for the space.
I could do some cubes, but that seems just kind of bleh. Any of you out there with The Eye, do you have any suggestions? I'm fresh out of ideas.

Incidentally, viewing this room in a photo gives me a fresh perspective, like this room is looking a little void of personality. I think that zebra pillows might be just the thing. Or maybe I could splurge on some woven John Robshaw or one of these Jonathan Adler black and whites? Ooooooooooh. And the console behind the couch could use a big light green ferny type of plant. And put something on the wall by the stairs, for God's sake. Also, that stain on the floor--never noticed it before I took this picture. Scary.

Muchas gracias.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Devil Wears Tight Shirts

About four years ago, I received one of Rachael Ray's 30 minute meal cookbooks for Christmas. I admit that I was excited about it; I had seen her whip up an entire meal in 30 minutes with my own eyes. I could do it too! The first menu that I tried--1 1/2 hours, and it wasn't that tasty. I thought that maybe I had picked the one dud in the book. But no, I tried another recipe and.... 1 1/2 hours. That's when I decided that Rachael Ray was a fraud. A charlatan. Not only that, but her shirts were way too tight

and she clearly has adult ADHD. I thought that Rachael Ray would eventually go away.

Did this woman make a deal with the devil? I was at the grocery store tonight and saw her at every fucking turn. Two huge book displays, her magazine at every checkstand, her face in other magazines pushing Dunkin Donuts and Ritz, her voice on the loudspeaker advertising something that I successfully blocked out.... Even thinking about her talk show makes me want to take a valium. When I saw on the tabloid covers several months ago that she was getting a divorce, I couldn't help myself, I was delighted. I feel ashamed about this last part, but only a little bit. Her omnipresence is inexplicable to me (with the exception of the devil dealing business; that would explain everything).

Rather than have this post be all about anger and evil, I'm going to tell you about the tv chef that I do love, the one who is beautiful and perfect and calm:

It's true. I used to hate Giada De Laurentiis because she was beautiful and perfect and because her show is akin to soft porn. But then I made her sweet potato fries with basil salt and garlic mayo and they were delish. Same with her fra diavolo and lemon spaghetti. When I made her panzanella for Easter last year, it made me a freaking superstar within my extended family. It still rankles me when she pronounces "mozzarella" and other Italian words with the big Italian accent, and it still makes me uncomfortable when I am with my children and the sexy music plays while she is swirling olive oil in a pan. But man, her food is good and she is the real deal, unlike another tv cook (not a chef in my book) who shall remain nameless, but please refer to the first paragraph for a hint.

Buon appetito this holiday season!

Thank you to Forever Chic, who led me to The Rachael Ray Sucks Community. I have been laughing (out loud even) at some of the comments, and I will post some of the better ones for you here. By the way, my new favorite way to insult someone is to call him or her "Mrs. Asshat."

From rachael idiot:

Ok, chowder and soup is now "choup"??? OMG she is such a freaking asshole.

From actress48:

People like her will end up with nothing. She is so undeserving of everything she has. But I believe in Karma and it will come back to bite her on the ass.
Maybe Emeril will go BAM on her skanky ass.

And finally from nytetyger, on which "Raytard-ism" he hates the most:

when she pauses at the end of a stupid statement (as in, "Now that hotdog and cheez whiz casserole is for ME!") and points with her thumbs towards herself (like a posessed monkey imitating 'the fonz') and emphasizes "me" as if we'd not know whom exactly she was referring to with that word.

that, and 'delish,' which was used in my family long before the jerk was on tv, but which now cannot be used for fear of someone thinking you like mrs asshat.

Friday, November 23, 2007


TO: Most subjects on TLC's What Not to Wear, you know who
you are


RE: Your hair

CC: Clinton Kelly and Stacy London

Please, please let Nick Arrojo cut your hair. Don't outwardly fret about it, don't cry about it, and don't refuse it. I am speaking in particular to the 35 year old nanny with the hair down to the butt, but really this is for all who freak out about Nick cutting your hair. Let's be honest here. You were selected to be on this show out of thousands, which means you have some atrociously bad taste. This includes your hair; there's nowhere but up for you, darling. Do not ruin the makeover by not doing the hair. It's like wearing dirty Crocs with a cocktail dress. I know that Nick's hair is currently looking a bit long, greasy and unkempt (he looked so much better when he had the buzz cut), but please trust him. He is not out to sabotage you; that would make him look bad too. Don't you get it?

Maybe it would make you feel better to know that hair grows back. Yes, it does. And you can change the color at home if you don't like it. I swear it's true! You can even buy some of the Jessica Simpson and Ken Paves hair extensions if you really don't like your new look. Please just give Nick a shot. He rarely misses. If I were you, I'd be more worried about Carmindy and her apparent willingness to pimp any product out there.



We are the fourth owners of our 9 year old house (I know, is it built over an Indian burial ground or something?). There are many things that I love about this house. It has a dignified Georgian-esque exterior, a great floorplan and big ol' kitchen. And perhaps most importantly, it does not have that niche in the living room that predetermines where the tv is going to be. I know it's not cool to love a newish house with no character, but after living for years in a very old house, I am all in favor of some sparkly newness and something called water pressure. But our house did have 3 previous owners; owners who thought that lots of bright yellow accent walls and vine stenciling and navy floral Waverly window treatments were what my house deserved.* But that's not all. The time has come for them to be called out for the visual damage they did to my dear house:

1. Ceiling fans. There are 7 ceiling fans in my house. Seven! To give you some perspective, the bathrooms and the dining rooms are the only ones without. They are all some variation on country or traditional decor, all u-g-l-y you ain't got no alibi. They cramp my style big-time. Here is the master bedroom:

Yes, I do have a duvet cover but it had just been washed and it's such a bitch to put on. I do perhaps need more pillows. I'll get on that. Anyhow, you get the basic idea.

And we pan out....

BLECHHHHHHHHH! God, do I hate that ceiling fan with its fake milk glass shades and its brass rod and base and its overhead lighting. Hate it. Someday I will host a Cinco de Mayo party and it will be my pinata. This rooms needs a chandelier. And a little bit of color, but I really can't get past the ceiling fan. Side note: those are my red espadrilles that my 2 year old drags out pretty much every day. Does she not know that espadrilles are summer shoes? You will also note a photo collage hanging on the wall. Not a big fan of these, but I am trying to live with it.

Want more? This is the guest bedroom (also note that anorexic curtain rod generously left to us):

Had enough?

The office. One light bulb is burnt out and not changing it is my way of disrespecting the fan. Overhead lighting sucks, does it not? Moving on....

2. Movie-star bathroom lighting in the guest bath and master bath (pictured).

Another light bulb in need of replacement, another way of shaming the light fixture.

3. Vertical blinds on the sliding glass doors. There is no photographic record of these, thank God. Although they are now ripped down, they stayed up for a while because I didn't want our neighbors or potential killers to get a full view. Then I just decided screw it, I would rather live in a fishbowl and perhaps be murdered than be subjected to the awfulness of having to look at them every day. Is there any window treatment more offending to the eye? That question is not rhetorical and the answer is "no." I wish the sliding glass doors were French doors, but this is something I can live with.

4. Wall-to-wall carpet in the dining room. Who does this? I'll tell you who does this: the same person who put wall-to-wall in the master bath. I am not being modest when I tell you that I have mad carpet cleaning skillz.

That's it. Just had to stand up for my house and let the world know that these things are not acceptable. But it is mainly the ceiling fans that get my goat.** Somebody spent a lot of cash on those things, especially when you factor in installation. And it will cost me a lot of money to have them all taken down and replaced. Depressing. All right then. Off to change some light bulbs because really, the only person it's hurting is me.

*Not that I don't make mistakes, because I do. Just look at my freaking garage! But please check me into a mental hospital if I ever install any of the items mentioned above.

**Do you also have one or more ugly ceiling fans? Email me with a photo. I will post it and we shall commiserate.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let's Get It On!

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear bloggy friends.
(SJP, I was so thrilled to see you on Project Runway tonight! Please help yourself to more mashed potatoes and gravy. And pie. Thanks! sgm)

photo courtesy of dockmaster, via flckr

Monday, November 19, 2007

Linky Haiku

who put you on sale
I'd wear you with this number*
now come to mama

*But in red. Update--apparently the link is not working. This will destroy the whole mysterious vibe of my poem, but here it is, the Rendition dress at Anthropologie, $138:

photo courtesy of t1855 on flckr.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mea Culpa

Well. Ahem. For the past few years, I have been begging my husband to agree to an artificial tree, not because I particularly liked them but because I thought that it was the eco-friendly choice. I felt such guilt ripping a tree from the ground just so we could doll it up and smell it for 30 days. Little did I know that artificial trees are actually eco-evil-to-the-core. And somewhat tacky, but I already knew that. I hate being wrong (and having no power of persuasion), but I am also feeling relieved of my self-righteous burden. I just love that evergreen smell.

photo courtesy of perfect_hexagon on flckr

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Attention please. This is directed to anyone out there over 15 years of age using "69" in his or her email address: STOP IT.

I know 2 people who have the suggestive number in their email addresses; I am related to one (by marriage, I feel compelled to add) and I am merely acquainted with another (which is even worse). I love a good dirty joke, but execute it properly. This is funny. Getting a "69" email from the guy who is organizing your class reunion is not. It is creepy. I don't care if you were born in 1969 or you wore #69 on your high school jersey--no one will recall this when seeing your email in her inbox. And no, email addresses of this kind cannot be used ironically.

For the love of God, and for the sake of my mind's eye, get a new email address. Thank you.

photo courtesy of ashleigh ide on flickr

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quite possibly the best compliment evah

Recently my 6 year old told me that he thought his aunt, my sister, looked like Liesl Von Trapp. And it's kind of true. My sister almost passed out when I told her; sadly, I didn't get any of those Von Trapp genes.

Incidentally, the actress who played Liesl, Charmian Carr, is an interior designer. Michael Jackson was one of her clients for many years in the 80s and he was a freak even then. I can't really find any photos of her work but she does design custom furniture (and sell canine shampoo?). It's crazy expensive and not my style, but I can't bring myself to make fun of Liesl so check it out here if you like.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In case you haven't heard,

Lucky magazine and I have broken up. Read the update here. No, really, I'm fine; it's all for the best. My last issue was bittersweet, all at once affirming my decision (off the shoulder dresses for daytime, anyone?) yet reminding me of the good things that Lucky still has to offer. So I just wanted to give you a bit of the good without having to endure the bad. Here are some fantastic Lucky Breaks:

--25% off everything at Heidi. Just enter "luckybreaks1" at checkout. Fab gift wrap, $15 (sale price $11.25) for 4 sheets of 24" x 36":

--25% off everything at Jayson Home & Garden; enter "luckybreaks6" at checkout. This is what I like:

Bargello Chevron Pillow, $145, on sale for $108.75. Loved it ever since I spied it on Liz Lange's sofa.

Greta Table, $245, on sale for $183.75. So delicate.

Abbott Club Chair, $2280, on sale for $1710. YUMMY.

All right then. I will never speak on this subject again, unless provoked. Suck it, Lucky.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Taking the real out of reality

I deliberately do not have TiVo or any other sort of dvr because 1) I do not need to further feed my tv addiction and 2) I would be so busy watching my shows that it would be unlikely that I would stumble upon reality shows that no one admits to watching, such as The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo*:

Have you seen this? Oh my God, you don't have to admit it to me or even yourself but this show is brilliant and horrifying and you will wrinkle your brow in disbelief so many times that you will need a good hit of Botox. Where do I even begin?

For those of you who do not watch, here's a quick rundown. The show follows the lives of five rich, white, highly plasticized women in Coto de Caza, a gated community in Orange County. The show opens with each woman saying some variation of "I love money and/or I rule." Tamra, the new housewife this season, has delighted me with her opening quote, "I am the hottest housewife in Orange County." You love it already, don't you?

Orange County must be code for "another planet" because these women's lives have no semblance to real life. They are in their own little orbits where sequined halter tops and enormous fake breasts** are de rigueur, where everyone has a savant-like knowledge of Mercedes-Benz and where a bad day means having to pump your own gas.

I could write for hours about this show, but I will limit myself to describing my two favorite characters. First, there's Tamra:

And yes, honey, that is a jello shot in her hand. I was a little wary of her due to her "hottest housewife in Orange County" comment but she really is quite beautiful. Most of her drama surrounds her 21 year old son Ryan, who was the result of some high school lovin' gone too far. He's moving back in with Tamra and her current husband which is causing all sorts of tension because Ryan is a bit of a scamp and the husband is kind of an a-hole. I fell for Tamra when she told Ryan to "get yo shit togetha," which is something that a real person, including myself, would say. She and I also share the same ringtone, which was a happy coincidence for me.

Then there is Vicky. She is insane. For real. Here she is on her way to buy a Mercedes for her adult daughter just because "she's good kid" and because "I can't ground [her], I can't spank [her], so I've got to have some means of control." And she's dead serious. Healthy, no?

Vicky has an intense, frenzied quality about her, even when she's sitting down eating lunch. You get the feeling that at any moment she's going to pop up and scream at the waiter or laugh maniacally or have an aneurysm because she's stabbing her salad so hard. She also does these ear-splitting "WOO HOOs" that Bravo draws out in an echo-y, horror movie fashion. My favorite Vicky moment was at the end of Season 2 when she made a surprise (i.e. unwelcome) visit to her son at the University of Colorado. One moment she's sobbing hysterically at the rebuff and the next moment she's doing a kegstand with his friends. How can you not like a person who can rebound like that?

I could go on about the others and their collective children, but I will not. Rest assured that they are all entertaining. To the show's credit, it is not all about fluff; all of these women have careers even though they don't need the money, and a few (go Vicky!) reached millionaire status even before the show's free advertising. And really, pretty much everyone has something likable going on, even Lauri, who has so many problems I don't even know where to start. So if you haven't caught this show, try it--the writer's strike is a perfect excuse to watch some down and dirty reality tv (with the exception of I Love New York 2 and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, which even I don't watch. Much.). Enjoy!

* I watched Season 2 last year but Bravo led me to believe that there would be no Season 3. How fortuitous was it that I happened upon the season opener? Regarding the photo, I have scoured the web and cannot find a picture of the current cast. The "housewife" in the middle, Jo, has been replaced by Tamra. And thank God, because Jo and her boyfriend Slade (aka Babytalker and Creepy Guy Who's Actually Kind of Cute) were the personification of fingernails on a chalkboard.

**Lord knows that I am not opposed to plastic surgery. A bra-fitter recently exclaimed to my friend Charlene, "look at what [your children] did to you!" While this comment was not at all tactful or kind, it is true (not about Charlene in particular, just child-bearers in general). I have no objection to inflating and or lifting should a person so desire, but these breasts are so enlarged that you can't help but focus on the skin near the armpit that is pulled so tight and thin that it looks painful.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I'm sorry to dwell on this, but I have no choice

I feel compelled to alert you to the sham that is Lucky Magazine. I was going about my business, checking Lucky's Cute Outfit of the Day (read more about it in this post), and saw this woman's itty bitty teeny tiny image.

It jumped out at me. Such a sassy pose! I thought for sure that she must have something fab going on with her dress or shoes. Maybe ankle boots? Colored pumps? I clicked on her eye-straining image and saw this:

Those shoes. Her toes are spilling out and she is touching the floor with them. Is she not?* It's not exactly a peep toe, but more of I-had-to-cut-off-the-top-of-my-orthopedic-heels-because-my-
corns-are-just-killing-me shoe. I can't even say anything nice about the color. And what's that white junk on the heel? Couldn't she get it cleaned up a bit for the photo shoot? I have two things to say about all of this.

1) These shoes are (allegedly) Chloe, and I'm sure that Laurie Trott, senior fashion editor, paid a mint for them. If these shoes were Easy Spirit (yeah, I linked it), she would have been fired on the spot. Or maybe she was fired on the spot, only to tear off one shoe and say "look! look! Chloe!" and her boss tried to make amends by giving her Cute Outfit of the Day. In this case, Lucky is just another brand whore turning a blind eye to an ugly shoe because it bears a big name.

2) In the event that the above scenario did not happen, we must assume that this was in fact the best outfit that Lucky employees had to offer on November 5. What, was everyone else at the office wearing pajama pants and Crocs? Oh, Lucky. You let us peek behind the curtain only to show us this? It's not worth it; you're ruining your credibility.

So listen up, Lucky. You and your "sister" Domino had better quit these shenanigans because I don't have time for this. I need to be concentrating on reality tv and finishing up that Halloween candy, not running two magazines from afar. I'd better start seeing your employees in some honest-to-goodness cute outfits or else you will lose my $10 a year. And then you'll be sorry. Very sorry indeed.

*Why are their images so grainy? Even on their own website? Why not large and sharp, Lucky? Hmmmm? Suspicious.

UPDATE: It is OVER between Lucky and me. Today I received my last issue of Lucky in the mail, with all of that "Renew now so you don't miss an issue!" urgency and hurry your ass up because the extra-special rate for preferred subscribers is $17.97 for 1 year. Wow, what a deal! Until you look in the magazine and every subscription card is $12/year. This is how you treat me? I have done nothing but try to help you. I'm done, Lucky. Done.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Orginal Jake Ryan

My kids have been sick for days (they're tag-teaming me) and I got nothin'. So I invite you to read this article that saved me hours on a therapist's couch.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A stint in rehab

Our house has required a couple of serious repairs lately, one of which has required the clearing out of our basement, aka the Black Hole of Useless Crap. Because of the torn ligament in my husband's knee, I was in charge of moving everything. A few friends offered to help, but in a moment of craziness, I decided that I needed to suffer the consequences of accumulating so much junk.* I dragged every single last box (but don't get the idea that it was all organized in boxes, because it wasn't) upstairs into the garage and only called my bother-in-law when the big stuff had to be moved. So now we have become people who park their cars in the driveway because their garage is too full of junk. Behold:

Awesome. And there's even more in our poor dining room.

After doing all of this moving and being in the mindset brought on by these books, I decided that I was not going to buy anything for myself except for food for one billing cycle on my credit card, September 27 - October 27. Brilliant, eh? No Starbucks, no magazines or books (ouch), no clothes, no shoes, no lipstick, no trip to the salon for a cut and color even though I'd be due. I decided that most people in the world do without these things every day. SO COULD I. Oh, how naive I was.

During the first few days, I was feeling strong. I was resisting. Then after a week, I developed a little loophole; I shopped a bit more at Whole Foods and that satisfied me for a while. But then about 2 weeks in, I was jonesing. And just like Lindsay Lohan will soon find herself in front of a great big pile of coke, I found myself at Banana Republic, during a denim sale, in front of some perfect dark trouser jeans. The trouser jeans I had been looking for my whole life. I tried them on and of course they fit like a dream. I was totally white-knuckling it. I left in a sweat, went home and impulsively bought this lovely print from etsy**. I justified it by telling myself that it was not for me, it was for my house, who had really been going through a tough time lately. A few days later, I bought a lamp from ebay for $35 under the same "house exception." Denial was in full effect. Then I cheated again when I bought a shade for the lamp. I also had an episode of shopping bulimia when I ordered some red patent flats from Zappos, tried them on and then returned them even though they were stunning. And then there was the In Style Home that I bought when my husband had his knee surgery (because dude, I had earned it).

The end result of this challenge: I couldn't do it. I fell off the wagon 4 times. No--5. I just remembered that I bought Gold Digger on itunes. There were no expensive buying frenzies, but a slip is a slip, no matter how small. There were a few positive effects of this experiment; it had an excellent effect on my credit card statement and it led to a little bit of soul searching. The negative: I missed out on the perfect pair of jeans at a sale price. Will I stop buying anything shiny and pretty that comes my way? Will I want to? Should I want to? Who knows. All I can say is one day at a time, friends. One day at a time.

*What is this stuff? Books, lots and lots of books and then more books. Then there are my (ahem) design mistakes, lots of old toys, clothes, and holiday decor.

**I saw this on a design blog. BB8, was it you? I can't find it now. Maybe it was just a hallucination.