Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia's 100th!

In honor of Julia Child's 100th birthday, I was planning on making something delicious from her recipes and posting a gorgeous picture of it.  However, it's very hot here in sunny Los Angeles and turning on the oven sounds like a terrible idea.  Instead, I'll just say Happy Birthday to a truly great woman who changed many lives.

Growing up, I watched many food t.v. shows with my grandparents, which is how I really cultivated a love of eating.  We watched hours of tv programs and tried to recreate the recipes for dinner.  Those are some of my favorite memories of my grandfather.

My favorite program (other than Child's) was "World Class Cuisine" narrated by a lady with a wonderful foreign accent.  I believe it was on one of the public broadcasting channels, though we did watch quite a bit of Food Network too.  This was long before the Food Network could boast about much.  Mario Batali's "Molto Mario" was a favorite, as well as "East Meets West" with Ming Tsai.  I miss the low budget food programming of the 80s and 90s.  Everything looks so slick or comes in the form of competitions now.  Sometimes I just want to watch a really amazing chef cook, especially on location in his or her restaurant.

None of us would be the amateur chefs that we are today (or be able to make such wonderful family memories through cooking) if not for Julia Child and her determination to bring decent cooking to the people!  So thank you and happy birthday!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hitchcock's Ladies

In honor of Mr. Alfred Hitchcock's birthday (August 13, 1899), I have compiled a list of my 10 favorite female characters from his films.  Though we all know he was fond of the blondes as leading ladies, he's got a few brunettes in there that deserve some credit too!  I also think the supporting women deserve a bit more credit, as they were sometimes much more interesting than the lead.

1. Joan Fontaine as The Nameless Wife (Rebecca, 1940) Poor thing, she doesn't even get her own name!  Of course, this was the conceit from the novel (and might I add, the very different and much darker novel) which made her just so pathetic.  She finally grows a bit of a backbone in the film, but more than not, you root for her because she's so helpless.  And I think we can all imagine ourselves thrown into the world of Manderley and behaving in just the same way.  Memorable Blunder: The Costume Ball

2. Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster (Vertigo, 1958) What a stunner Kim Novak was in this film.  As a cold blonde becoming possessed with an ancestral spirit, she embodies the perfect blend of romanticism and the occult.  Of course, things twist and turn (I'll try to avoid spoilers, despite it being released over 50 years ago!), but even with her faults, she's still so enticing.  Memorable Costume: That Gray Suit

3. Kim Novak as Judy Barton (Vertigo) Okay, so this is kind of a cheat.  But she's a wonderful, genuine, and well-rounded character on her own.  In fact, I think Novak should get more credit as an actress for this switch.  She's often ignored because of her good looks.  Memorable Feature: Those eyebrows!

4. Patricia Hitchcock as Barbara Morton (Strangers on a Train, 1951) I absolutely love the roles Pat (Hitch's real life daugher) plays in his films.  In Strangers, she's a quippy, sarcastic young girl who romanticizes murder until she comes face to face with it.  Plus, she's got some great one-liners.  Memorable Scene: The Party Strangler

5. Janet Leigh as Marion Crane (Psycho, 1960) The film opens on Leigh in her underwear (yowza) having an affair.  Then she steals a bunch of money and goes on the run.  Not the typical "leading lady" so far.  In fact, nothing she does is leading lady material, though it seemed she had intentions of redeeming herself.  Unfortunately, she never got the chance.  Memorable Prop (other than the shower curtain): The Newspaper Filled with Cash

 6. Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance Petersen (Spellbound, 1945) I just adore a love story that gets the audience to forget just how inappropriate the relationship is!  Ingrid Bergman, a psychotherapist who's far too good looking to be that scientific, falls in love with her patient, a dashing Gregory Peck, amidst a backdrop of PTSD and surrealist dreams (done by Salvador Dali himself).  I like Bergman because she's all woman.  She is sometimes vulnerable, but never pitiable.  Memorable Dream: All Those Eyeballs!

7. Barbara Bel Geddes as Midge Wood (Vertigo) Poor Midge is in love with Jimmy Stewart (her dearest friend), he knows it, but he just can't make it happen.  I admire her because she's a straightforward, no-nonsense kind of woman with a good career and a fantastic apartment.  She designs underwear and has a great sense of humor about it.  Unfortunately, she's in competition with Novak and her many assets.  We've all been there.  Memorable Heartbreak: The "Humorous" Painting

8. Thelma Ritter as Stella (Rear Window, 1954) Grace Kelly is lovely, but boring.  There, I said it!  I much prefer Ritter as the wisecracking sidekick she plays in many films, especially this one.  As she becomes embroiled in the murder mystery, her tenacity keeps the detective work alive!  Memorable Quote: "Must've splattered a lot . . . Come on, that's what we're all thinkin'!"

9. Teresa Wright as Young Charlie (Shadow of a Doubt, 1943) Poor Charlie has so much growing up to do.  As much as she idolizes her uncle (the amazing Joseph Cotten), she's got to admit there's something funny going on with him.  I find this film to be particularly frightening because of the family psychology behind it.  Memorable Tune: "The Merry Widow's Waltz"

10. Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca) What a creepy bitch!  She is by far my favorite Hitchcock female, perhaps favorite character from any of his films, because she has so much brewing beneath the surface.  Danvers embodies the film's themes of grief, obsession, and betrayal, while offering a sexual undertone that the censors couldn't fight.  Memorable Mindf**k: "Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?"

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cactus Killer

Well, I've done it.  You said it couldn't be done, but I did it.  And did it well!  I've killed a cactus.  A beautiful little succulent died at my hands.  "How," you might ask, "did you manage it?"  Well, apparently cacti need a lot of sunlight and don't need a lot of water.  This must be why my little cactus turned into a sort of prickly Water Wiggler in my living room.

I must admit that this most recent herbicide was particularly heartbreaking.  Not only was this cactus a housewarming gift from a dear friend, but it was also the one plant I was quite sure I could keep alive.  It symbolized my skills as a homemaker.  It held all of my domestic hopes in its beautifully curved vase . . .

But seriously, it was a real bummer.  I still have one plant alive in the house, and it is now closely monitored.  Which brings me to my next project: silk flower arrangements.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm Not Rich, and That's Okay

Today I have to go to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, where I'll be surrounded by rich people and piles of things I can't afford.  It's a work trip, but there's something about walking into those stores that makes me feel like a fraud!  What I've realized about feeling my best in these situations is - be unique!

So what if I can't afford any of this stuff?  So what if I'm looking at jewelry more expensive than a house?  What's important is that I don't act like I shouldn't be there, because you know what?  It's just stuff.  None of the people who work in the shops can afford any of it either!

In terms of being unique, I like to wear vintage pieces, something I bought at a craft fair, or perhaps a funky pair of shoes I found in a thrift store.  The key for me is to put together a look that is entirely me, not entirely "Rodeo" (because frankly, I wouldn't dress that way even if I had the money).  Putting on a piece of fun costume jewelry will get just as many (if not more) compliments than the real stuff.

And I think this is applicable to many events and outings.  Going to a friend's birthday party with her well-to-do girlfriends?  A fancy theater event?  No need to break the bank to fit in with the crowd.  Let yourself stand out from it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Protecting Ourselves

Several nights ago, I had a dream that I was being attacked by a very scary man, and I couldn't fight him off.  No matter how hard I tried to push him away, he was stronger, and I knew I was going to lose the fight. 

As everyone knows, a few days ago innocent people, just trying to watch a movie, were murdered in Colorado. 

Last night, while getting ready for bed, we heard seven gunshots.  When I put my ear to our open window, I heard a man yelling for help.  I couldn't tell where it was coming from, but luckily, the sirens approached quickly so I knew it was being taken care of.  As it turns out, an unidentified man shot at three homeless men, hitting one.

Normally, I feel very safe walking from my car at night.  I've had no concerns about living across the street from a park.  But isn't that what many victims think?

All of these incidents reminded me that all people, but especially women, need to learn to protect themselves.  I'm not sure exactly how to do this, but what could be more important?  It's frightening to think that I can live my life as a good person, not do harm to others, and still end up hurt or killed because I was in the wrong theater or walked by a neighborhood park a little later than usual.

Surely I don't have a solution to any of this chaos, but I can say that I'm looking into self-defense classes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Top 20 Romantic Movies (inspired by the wonderful Ms. Ephron)

As much as I'd like to think I'm a tough cookie and can roll with the punches, the reality is that I am probably the most sensitive person you'll ever meet.  This is why me plus romantic movies equals MFEO (made for each other).  And yes, that is a reference to Sleepless in Seattle.  Now, I do have to clarify that I'm not the type for weepy, tragic movies (no thank you, Nicholas Sparks).  I don't believe that tragedy is the same as drama. 

The recent passing of Nora Ephron, the famed writer and director who knew how to perfectly tug at our heartstrings, reminded me how much I love movies that blend romance with a healthy dose of humor.  It's unfortunate that they don't get the sort of recognition they deserve.  "This 'chick flick' can't possibly be an excellent film!" - Cynical Film Critic

My favorite romantic movies have a touch of humor, perhaps some magic, and a lot of heart.  Sometimes I enjoy being moved to tears, as long as those tears are a result of beautiful moments.  So in honor of my love for love, here is a list of my 20 favorite romantic films (I know I left some great ones out!):

1. Shakespeare in Love - Combines my love of the Bard, confused identity plotlines, and costume dramas into one wonderful, funny, utterly romantic film.  And I don't care what anyone says, I'm glad it beat Saving Private Ryan for best picture.

2. The Philadelphia Story - I just love Katherine Hepburn . . . and Jimmy Stewart . . . and Cary Grant!  Quite possibly my favorite classic romance (a separate movie list entirely), the dialogue is witty and fast, and the characters are absolutely charming.

3. Midnight in Paris - The first Woody Allen film on this list (and certainly not the last), I felt like this movie was made for me.  Romance, nostalgia, magic . . . Plus, it's in Paris!  That automatically adds about 400 points to the Romance-Meter.

4. Sleepless in Seattle - It's easy to see why this one is on the list.  Sweet, charming, perfectly written - it stands the test of time, as does . . .

5. When Harry Met Sally - Again, Nora Ephron writes a movie that feels like real people talking about real relationships.  They're just a little more concise and witty than the rest of us.

6. Valley Girl - What's more romantic than a Sunset Strip punk wooing a blonde Valley-loving prom queen?  Nothing.  And speaking of Nic Cage . . .

7. Moonstruck - This one is my most quotable movie ever.  Don't get me started ("Johnny had his hand, Johnny had his bride!").  Unfortunately, a lot of people I know have never even seen it!  Not only a romantic comedy, but also a love letter to family.  A la familia!

8. Dirty Dancing - I can't even remember the first time I watched this movie.  I was far too young for the subject matter and didn't even get half of the storyline.  But dancing and secret romance are a guaranteed hit - just ask ANY GIRL my age!  They all love this one.

9. Charade - Often called the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never directed, Charade's plot twists and turns keep you guessing while the amazing chemistry between Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn builds.  And yes, it's set in Paris!

10. Annie Hall - Not the traditional romantic comedy, but I consider it a romance above all else.  The element of this film that keeps us all hooked is the relationship between Allen and Keaton. (Honorable Mention: Hannah and Her Sisters)

11. Amelie - This movie is almost too adorable.  Almost.  The blend of magic, surrealism, and hopeless romanticism makes this French film an instant classic.  Again, it's in Paris! 

12. Moulin Rouge - Spectacular!  Spectacular!  Over the top.  Musical.  Ewan McGregor.  I'm in!  Oh yeah, and it's in Paris . . . Are you sensing a trend?

13. Only You - A romp through Italy with Marissa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. is always a good choice for a girls' night in! 

14. Breakfast at Tiffany's - An easy pick because it's such a classic.  Though not at all what Truman Capote wrote about in his short story, I'm all for the changes made for the big screen.  It's subtle storytelling wrapped in amazing wardrobe!  (Side story: My mom saw this in the theater as a kid and was really worried about that cat at the end.  She didn't care whether or not they got together.)

15. Bridget Jones' Diary - It's just fun. I don't care whether or not Renee Zellweger put on a few pounds - it's irrelevant.  The key was making her an absolute mess of a person, which she pulled off perfectly.  And when that mess of a person finds Mr. Darcy?  Zing!

16. The Wedding Singer - I don't think this movie gets enough credit, because it's easy to cast off as "an Adam Sandler movie."  Not so!  It's really well-written and includes, quite possibly, the sweetest love song I've ever heard.

17. Defending Your Life - Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks end up in "Judgement City" after their deaths and will be sent to "the next level" or back to Earth based on how well they lived their last life.  A really charming story told in an unexpected way.

18. Something's Gotta Give - I love this movie because deep inside, I'm already an old person.  And I love Diane Keaton.  Mostly, because I'm an old person, and I still find Jack Nicholson attractive.

19. Bell, Book, and Candle - A lesser known film starring Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart, Novak plays a witch trying to woo Stewart without using her powers.  It's a more romantic, funny version of Bewitched.

20. The Princess Bride - Did you think I wasn't gonna love this movie?  I'm in my late twenties, I'm a female.  Nuff said. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lady in the Garden

I very much envy women who have a knack for gardening.  Throughout my life I've attempted outdoor and indoor gardening.  My Oklahoma rose bush is still alive in my parents' backyard only because my father tends to it.  Thank goodness - otherwise it would be on the casualties list (which is quite long at this point).  As a kid I tried growing strawberries, sunflowers, houseplants, a mini-Christmas tree . . . it goes on and on.  Now that I've moved into my very own home, I've tried to grow dwarf sunflowers and daisies (needless to say, all of these are dead as doornails).  Luckily, I was given two succulents that keep on truckin'!  I manage to keep cacti alive!

Now, I have two plants in desperate need of help: an Easter Lily and a mini rose bush.  My Lily looks like an old corn stalk and the mini-roses look like they were pressed between the pages of a scrapbook about 50 years ago.  For some reason, I take it very hard when I kill a plant.  Partially because it's a living thing, partially because I find gardening to be a very feminine skill I am lacking.  But I'll keep trying through the year and hopefully be able to pass on some tips as I go!

Feel free to send some tips, websites, or videos!

Green Thumbs

The results of my anything-but-green thumb!  I'll be investigating some houseplant techniques this week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gwyneth on a Budget

Jokingly, my mom likes to refer to me as the "Budget Gwyneth Paltrow" ever since I started sharing things I read on the Goop website with her (for those of you unaware, Goop is Gwyneth's website/blog about food, travel, fashion, etc.).  The obvious problem with taking advice from a rich movie star is that I am, in fact, relatively poor.  I have, however, learned to take some of her advice and adapt it to my bank account.  Many people seem to have a real problem with Paltrow and her website, but I've always loved her (I was obsessed with Shakespeare in Love in high school and then obsessed with The Royal Tenenbaums in college).  So haters beware!  I'm about to blow your minds.

Free advice . . . My favorite bit of advice I've read on Goop is this - "Don't be lazy!"  Amazingly enough, this really made an impact.  Mostly because I LOVE being lazy!  The main idea is that you can't be lazy and then complain about a lack of success.  Makes sense to me.

Eating healthy . . . I understand that organic is best, as is unprocessed.  Unfortunately, I can't afford to eat like this all of the time, which means I have to pick and choose.  With all of the weird crap being pumped into our food, I prefer to spend the extra cash on organic produce.

Enjoying life . . . Gwyneth's blog posts have a certain "Joie de Vivre" which I really appreciate.  I look forward to being ridiculously rich one day to truly have this Joy of Life.  For now, I'll do my best not to get too bummed out!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spoonfuls of Sugar

I am a list maker.  It helps me organize my thoughts and goals to write (and constantly rewrite) them down on paper.  Many people prefer the to-do list in their phones, but something about a tactile object makes it more real for me.  I found this daily chore calendar while perusing the internet, and other than it being useful, it is also adorable (look for the site in "Ladies Links").  I don't mind this tacked on the wall, as opposed to other Excel spreadsheet to-do's that look like Initech reports.  This made me realize that a little styling goes a long way for me.  Cute bracelet?  I want to wear it.  Cute chore chart?  (Let's hope) I want to do them!

My chore chart contains the following activities:

- Physical Activity (I'm being vague with this one, because I want to!)
- French Lessons (Rosetta Stone)
- Guitar Practice
- Morning/Night Skincare
- Job Hunting
- Water Plants
- Bad Habits (if I feel I've generally kicked them that day!)
- Adorn Yourself (a July fashion challenge at
- Housekeeping (broken into sections):
  • Floors
  • Dusting
  • Laundry
  • Organizing
- And, of course, WRITING!

By the end of the month, I'll have a very real account of my productivity.  This will keep me on track and give me a sense of accomplishment when I see all of those check marks!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Junk in the Trunk

If anyone was wondering, this is how I envision myself while traveling.  I'm quite sure this is not, in fact, what I look like.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Traveling in Style

At this very moment, a good friend of mine is enjoying a Grecian holiday, which made me start thinking about the best ways to hit the road and keep one's gracious charm intact.  After seeing her cache of new accessories for the trip, it really got me thinking about how I travel and what I pack - and whether or not I really take advantage of the opportunities for travel glamor.

Looking back, I've always enjoyed dressing for the occasion, even on trips.  When I was fourteen, I asked my parents to take me to the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego as my birthday present.  I packed several hats and every piece of vintage clothing I owned into my 1960's Samsonite because to me, that hotel meant Old Hollywood.  I was very proud of my outfits and had my mom take several pictures of me in the same spot Marilyn stood while filming Some Like It Hot.  I insisted on taking bubble baths each night, and even as a youngster, enjoyed ordering tea service in the ocean view bar, with all of its dark wood and well-dressed waiters.

Now let's fast forward a few years to 2011 and my trip to the Florida theme parks.  Looking at the pictures from that vacation now, I see that I sacrificed any shred of fashion for comfort.  Long white shorts that make me look about four feet tall?  Check.  Turquoise running shoes with ankle socks?  Check.  I was so focused on the heat and humidity factor that I forgot about the many humiliating photos that would result.  I also knew I would only be seen by my parents. 

So as I move forward, I've decided to follow these five self-imposed guidelines for traveling.  No more horrid pictures for the scrapbooks!

  1. Accessorize!  I think this is the most important element, because packing multiple outfits per day may not be possible with luggage size restraints.  Scarves, jewelry, and shoes don't take up too much space and can really alter a basic outfit for day to night changes.  I once took six pairs of shoes to Vegas for a weekend trip.  Luckily, the two girls I stayed with also packed the same amount, so I felt very validated.
  2. Choose a "look" and build a palette from it.  I realized that subconsciously I usually pack with a sort of costume in mind that (romantically) suits the destination.  A hotel with a sparkling pool requires espadrilles and a large sun hat a la 1940's pin-ups.  Bustling city like New York?  I'd go part Holly Golightly, part Debbie Harry, and - let's not act like we don't love her - part Carrie Bradshaw.  A trip to Paris would require some well-cropped black pants, bateau necklines, ballet flats, and a great pair of oversized sunglasses.  And I usually like to stick to basic colors for the clothes.  Black for cities, colors for the sea (that sounds incredibly pretentious).
  3. Enjoy your hotel time too!  Often people look at the hotel as a place to sleep, and that's it.  I feel quite differently.  I love hotels and prefer to stay in places with some personality because of it.  Pack beauty products that make you feel good, bring a pretty nightgown, and buy a candle in the gift shop to light while getting ready.  I'm also a fan of packing a kimono.  No one outside will see it, but it really glamorizes the experience!
  4. Take a chill pill.  I've been on many trips with break-neck schedules (get on the tour bus, get off the tour bus) and although you see everything, you never get to really enjoy the culture and people watching.  I'm a big fan of relaxing on vacations, though apparently this is a very un-American attitude!  And by the way, I will never EVER ask a concierge if the hotel has a gym.  What a waste of time!  Which brings me to my final point . . .
  5. Eat as much as possible without feeling sick.  I know this sounds a bit overindulgent, but I'm on vacation and I'm not worrying about my waistline.  Because that is work, and I am  not at work.  Granted, I don't want to stuff myself to the point of gluttony, but I feel no need to skip any meal or snacking opportunity, especially in cities known for their cuisine.  You better believe that I'll stop at every single creperie I see in France! 
Hopefully you'll take a vacation soon and try out some of my ideas.  In fact, hopefully I'll take a vacation soon and try them out!  And check out my "Ladies Links" page for some traveling sites I recommend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Avenge This!

I could write a very intelligent essay about the double standard for men and women, society's expectations of the genders in media, blahblahblah . . . but I've decided to make my point through a movie review instead.  Let's talk about The Avengers.  I'm pretty sure that all women who attended this film (most with boyfriends and husbands, I imagine) were sorely disappointed to find zero, I said ZERO, gratuitous shirtlessness.  Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man were completely covered up for over 2 hours (please don't bring up naked Bruce Banner - it's not the same, trust me).  In all three of the individual superhero films, the ladies were offered some spectacular views.  However, their most recent outing gave us nothing.  Not even a quick "I've gotta change my shirt" shot or an "Oh no my breastplate has been ripped off in battle!" situation.  I find this choice to be appalling (thanks a lot Joss Whedon).  If this were a film about an all female superpower team, the ta-ta's would've been up and out.  In this so-called "film," all of these guys, with their bulging biceps, amazingly good hair, charismatic smiles, super ripped abs, twinkly eyes . . . wait, what the hell was I talking about?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Keys to Thank You's

The first question to address is "When do I send a thank you card?"  Frankly, don't worry about the exact etiquette.  Anytime you think "Gee, I wonder if I should send her a thank you card..." you should do it!  With minimal cost and a little bit of effort, you'll build your reputation as a thoughtful person and make others feel good (which is really the most important part).
Tips for Personal Thank You Notes
  1. First and foremost, buy thank you cards that are attractive and appropriate for the occasion.  Cheap cards can be just as cute as very expensive ones, so don't worry about a price point (most people throw thank you's in the trash - or hopefully recycling bin - anyway).  I like to stock up from the dollar bins at Target, Michael's, and JoAnn's Fabric.  I have an assortment of whimsical and classy designs.  It's easiest to get them out in a timely manner when you already have them on hand. 
  2. Put your name and address on the top left of the envelope.  This way, the recipient now has your address and can add you to her (iPhone) address book.  Also, when you receive cards, you can tear off this return address, tape into a notebook, and refer to it for your own correspondence.  Also, address the envelope in your own handwriting, not printed labels.  Personalization is the key to making people feel special, as opposed to just another name on a list.
  3. Address the recipient with "Dear" if you feel comfortable doing so, but always include the name(s) at the start.  You can also use a "Hello!" to make it sound friendly, but not too personal. Whatever you do, don't make the introduction and first sentence too generic.  It doesn't make a good first impression.  I try to make every thank you card a little bit different.
  4. Continue on with a specific thank you for the gift, their attendance, etc. and perhaps share how you have been enjoying the gift.  This will not only make the gift giver feel that she got her money's worth, but let's face it, she'll probably keep getting you good gifts!
  5. Personally, I think the thank you card should be quick.  If you haven't seen the recipient in a while, write a letter later sharing news.  Right now, focus on their generosity (not your new job or baby).  Also, it's a nice touch to add how well-dressed or lovely someone looked at a party (but only write it if you mean it!).
  6. Leave a good last impression as well!  Thank the recipient again and offer your excitement about the next chance you'll have to get together.  Everyone loves to feel their presence is missed.
  7. Now for the sign off.  I like to write "Much Love" to my close friends, "Love" for family, and occasionally I'll throw in a "Godspeed" to be cheeky.  As for acquaintances, I think a "Very sincerely" or "With gratitude" is a nice way to end a note.  A plain "Sincerely" is boring.  I suggest finding your special sign off and sticking to it!
Keep in mind that following a few guidelines does not make your thank you less sincere.  Always write from the heart.  If you've got a friend who gives you presents that are not your taste, I'm sure there's a little silver lining in that cloud somewhere!   You can always reference her generosity but not the gift.  Most importantly, don't lie about loving something that you don't (you'll either end up with more of the same or offend that person when she notices her present no longer resides in your house).  This is nearly always applicable to old people or folks at work who have no idea what you do on the weekends. But remember, they still showed up with something wrapped, and that deserves some gratitude.

Much love and Godspeed,

Thank You, Thank You Very Much

Thank you cards are a very important piece of ladylike ephemera.  With the continuously decreasing pieces of exciting mail in the box, I am ecstatic when I get any sort of card (birthday, Christmas, thank you), but there is something extra special about a thank you card.  They are considered so unessential these days that I feel the sender must really mean it if she took the time to write and send one.  They definitely harken back to a more etiquette-conscious time.  It's also necessary to work on sloppy handwriting - everyone loves a nice note in cursive!  And I highly recommend handwriting the outer addresses to add a more personal touch.  I am determined to send out thank you cards on all necessary occasions from here on out.  Some of you will be getting one soon!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Remember, You're a Lady

When I was a kid my mom always gave me little tips before leaving the house.  For example, when I'd go to the neighbor's to play I would be told, "Remember, don't overstay your welcome."  When I was going to school she reminded me, "Remember, you're not always the boss."  Once I hit 21, she began the "Remember, you're a lady" routine.  Whether in person, on the phone, or via text message, every time I'm going to a show, having a party, etc. I am offered her sage advice, "Remember, you're a lady."  I'm pretty sure all she means is "Don't embarrass yourself too badly."  So far, I think I've done okay.  Yes, I've tipped over for no reason and ended up wondering where that bruise came from the next morning, and maybe I've been shushed a few times because I am unable to control the volume of my voice after a couple of gin and sodas.  However, I never pull out weird stripper moves while dancing, I have never ridden a mechanical bull, and I always know better than to get in cars with strangers.  So I think I'm in the black on this one.  Essentially, I've decided that in order to remain ladylike while imbibing one must simply avoid the following drunk girl stereotypes: Woooo! girl, giving strangers your life story girl, aggro girl, or crying girl.  So there you go - throw on some heels, order a highball, and remember, YOU are a lady!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Well I'm off to a less than auspicious start, seeing as how I planned on launching this blog two days ago! So friends, I do plan on posting once a week on various topics regarding the cultivation of ladydom. My first point, obviously, is punctuality. Admittedly, I'm late quite often. Not by more than ten minutes in most cases, but I'm no fool, and I know that still counts as late. Since this post is late, it seems rather fitting to promise that I will be making a much more concerted effort to be on time. A lady who's tardy is no life of the party (I made that up). So please help me, friends. If I'm late to brunch, shame me mercilessly and withhold my Bloody Mary (actually this is not a good idea). However, please give me a break if I'm driving more than four miles in Los Angeles, because let's face it - that shit is bananas (B.A.N.A.N.A.S.). Depending on how this goes, I may decide to focus my efforts on promoting "fashionably late" instead of bettering myself. Which leads to next week's topic - bein' lazy!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

BirthDAY . . . not birthweek or birthmonth

A person's birthday is special because it is her ONE day a year to be totally and utterly selfish, and it is socially acceptable.  She picks the restaurant, she opens gifts, she decides what to listen to in the car.  However, there seems to be an interesting trend in the "birthday week" or, God help us, "birthday month."  I cannot say that I haven't fallen victim to this before.  Who doesn't want a whole month of extra attentive well-wishers?  However, it seems to me that a real lady would accept her one day, allow herself to be a tad self-centered, and not overindulge in celebration.  In fact, I think a lack of overindulgence may be one of the key signs of a lady.  Moderation, my dear, moderation!

Next week, I will enjoy my birthday proper with a nice dinner (just the two of us) and a raucous party shortly after (where much overindulging is bound to happen).  But what the hell?  It's a last hurrah to girldom!  So I'll enjoy it while it lasts and start my quest on Sunday (well, maybe Monday . . . no one has ever bettered themselves during a hangover).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Testing. Testing.

Here it is . . . my first post.  It's just a test, so don't get too excited.  More will come soon, I promise.