My mother and her posse have this thing when it comes to sartorial questions. They can “never remember” where something was purchased. Oh they’ll tell you where to store your mink but clothing? I’ve seen my mother do this schtick so she’s no angel.
One fine day my mother called to tell me she needed a dress. Her friend “Mrs. Deligdish” (all her friends are Mrs. This or Mrs. That as if I’m five years old) was wearing a beautiful dress but of course Mrs. Deligdish was clueless.
“Can you remember anything about the dress,” I asked.
“It was yellow. Can you find it for me?”
Moral: If someone is generous to gift you with a compliment and then inquires as to where he or she can find that terrific schoolboy bag*, tell them where you bought it. Or give them the link to their website.
Really. I mean come on.
*The Cambridge Satchel Bag
Are you familiar with falafel? They’re fried chick pea balls typically *stuffed* into pita. Garnished with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers and then *swathed* with hummus and tahina. It’s tasty but it’s a mess to eat.
The minute you take a bite the hummus *gushes* out. That’s when you start licking your fingers because hummus is sticky and pasty. I always plan ahead and never wear a white shirt if I’m going to have a felafel. You can never be too careful.
Do you have a soft, extra large kitchen towel or an old tablecloth? Good. Now buy a pair of baby bib clips (I recommend Kipiis) to attach to the towel or tablecloth so it covers you from your neck to your knees. *Drizzle* and *swath* your felafel sandwich with spicy harissa hot sauce to your heart’s content.
Bon appetit. Ignore all stares.
*Indicates vivid images of felafel in pita.
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As the stores are now selling spring merchandise (now is the time to find the perfect white tee-shirt) here are some thoughts on shopping. You can disagree, of course, but you will be wrong. These are time-tested rules.
1. Always shop alone. You don’t have to justify an expensive purchase.
2. Always shop alone. If you’re shopping (not browsing), you don’t want to be rushed or distracted.
3. Don’t buy anything on sale you wouldn’t have bought when it was full price (unless you can’t believe your luck.)
4. Beware of “Store Credit Only.”
4. If salesperson says everything you’re trying on makes you look amazing, she doesn’t care about you. Just the commission.
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On Friday I hiked to the Brooklyn Museum to see the “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving” exhibit. I was thrilled to get up close to her clothing and accessories (yes, yes, she was an extraordinary painter, too.) The exhibit was glorious. Not a black legging and Canadian Goose jacket to be found.
Luckily, she died before Kondo-izing because Kahlo had a lot of stuff (and the world is better for it). Everything she wore was so vivid — the multi-tiered skirts. The square cut blouses. Those shawls (I’m definitely going to rethink how to wear a scarf.) Besotted with Kahlo’s style, the curator was kind enough to put her Revlon nail polish in its own vitrine. Come on! Is that not fabulous?
I cannot find any information on Frida Kahlo’s mother and I would like to know what she thought about her daughter’s exuberant albeit offbeat style.
(My mother hates the way I dress.)
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It’s almost Valentine’s Day so of course I remember that first Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend. It was so long ago that I actually cared if I got a gift.
He must have had something in mind because he went to Victoria’s Secret and purchased a ridiculous bra and underwear set. By ridiculous I mean skimpy. And expensive. Lo, I’ve never spent money on my undergarments. I’d rather buy a raincoat but my boyfriend wanted to impress me or seduce me.
Now I had always wanted padded hangers. Padded hangers were expensive. Instead of getting a store credit I decided to trade the underwear for the hangers. It never occurred to me he would find out.
You know how the story ended.
It is not easy to be unfailingly charming. Or fun to be with. The discipline of being delightful at all times may seem impossible. It’s not.
No one feels upbeat and buoyant all of the time but you should make an effort. How hard is it to be lively and energetic? It doesn’t take all that much but you must force yourself to be positive.
An optimistic attitude is a gift to others. And it’s a gift to yourself. You’ll have a stellar reputation. People will seek out your company. Dermatologists may dissuade you from getting Botox because who needs it when you’re already fetching. Maybe you’ll remarry. Or get married. Or date.
I know it’s hard to be enchanting on a daily basis but what is the alternative?
(There is no alternative.)
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Just a few weeks after winning the Ugliest Dog Contest, Zsa Zsa, an English Bulldog, died in her sleep on July 10th, according to an article/obituary in The New York Times.
Her death was announced by her owner, Megan Brainard of Minnesota.
Zsa Zsa grew up in modest circumstances and spent her early years in a puppy mill. Ms. Brainard adopted her, and given Zsa Zsa’s looks, it was a no-brainer she was an outstanding contestant for the Ugliest Dog contest.
After clinching the title, Zsa Zsa had her moment in the sun. She flew first class to New York to do the talk shows and enjoyed having her nails done in a classic pink shade.
“When you’re loved, looks don’t matter,” said the (I hope you’re getting the morale of the story, people) Ms. Brainard.
Laundry is how I meditate. I go to the laundry room and start sorting. Ironing is also bliss.
I am always up for a good conversation about laundry. Care to share the name of a good spot cleaner? I’m all ears.
I connect to my grandmother Sally when I’m ironing. She was great at ironing. I can’t remember what setting to use for linen. I wish she would have shared that along with her recipe for sponge cake.
There’s a reason I’m writing about laundry and it’s this: Do not use that Clorox pen. It leaves a ring. Your spit is great for taking out your own blood stain. It leaves no ring. The cloth I use to clean my computer screen? Don’t wash it with active wear. It will pill the fabric. Don’t steam pleats. But you should have a steamer to remove wrinkles.
Dry clean your clothes sparingly. I heard from a very good source Prince Charles doesn’t dry clean. He prefers having his butler use a clothes brush. And by the way, the butler also applies toothpaste to the Prince’s toothbrush.
I need to get a life.
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I must have been 13. A relative was in the hospital. I wanted to visit but the hospital had rules. No one under 16 was permitted to visit.
It wasn’t just a relative. It was my mother.
My father offered some advice. Let me share it with you. “Look like you belong.”
So I got dressed in my finery (it wasn’t such finery) and walked into the hospital with my father. I made sure my posture was perfect. I exuded confidence. I got to see my mother.
Maybe that’s why I take such pleasure putting on my finery (now it’s finery), throwing on the accessories, making sure there are no coffee spots on my white shirts.
I never question if I belong.
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A recent article in the New York Times spotlighted Dawnn Karen. Dawnn Karen is a fashion psychologist and therapist. She teaches at The Fashion Institute of New York.
Karen says the way you dress impacts the way you feel. The way you present yourself through the lens of style has an affect on your social relationships, your professional success, and most importantly, your psyche.
Years ago I sought advice from a psychoanalyst. We discussed the success and failure rate of people in analysis. The doctor said “sometimes I just want tell a patient who is lonely to look fabulous” instead of talk therapy.
Miz Karen is on to something.
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