Category Archives: Beauty and Fashion

Hello, nose. Meet grindstone.

No dessert until I finish my dinner.
No TV until I do my homework.
No shopping until I clean out my closet.
No new blog posts until I turn in my writing projects.

Sorry, I just had to put these declarations in writing. In front of a community of witnesses.

Actually, the grown-up version of that first one should be: No dessert if I finish my dinner. As far as those others go, it’s time to ramp up the self-discipline. I’m grateful to have a busy work schedule this Fall; much of it entails lots of writing.

Given looming deadlines and a busy travel schedule, it’s hard for me to justify writing recreationally. So, Word Nymph may have to put down her feather pen a little more often, so she can concentrate on her day job.

This also means that the new fall TV schedule will have to go on without me. I had even blocked out time from 1:00 to 2:00 this afternoon to watch the final episode of All My Children, so that I could write here about how the serial had changed since the last time I watched it (30 years ago), but I just can’t justify it. Books and mags remain neatly stacked for my return. Fall fashions will await me at Lord & Taylor, as the next personal project, making room in the closet, stands in the queue behind other obligations. I might even have to sit out National Punctuation Day this year—it’s tomorrow and, alas, I’ve made no preparations.

However, the work does yield good travel tales, as well as opportunity to observe regional language differences. Maybe I can weave an epic tale when things settle down.

While you may see less of me around here, may I rely on you to stay in touch?

Please post a comment now and then, and tell me what I’m missing:

  • How did All My Children end? Did Erica Kane find happiness? Is there peace in Pine Valley? Is Susan Lucci finally free to overindulge in Boston creme donuts and Popeyes chicken and biscuits?
  • Who’s interviewed in Vanity Fair’s latest Proust Questionnaire?
  • Is the bow blouse still (back) in fashion and will I still be able to get one?
  • Has Mark Zuckerberg caved to public outcry and put Facebook back the way we like it?

All right, I’ve procrastinated long enough.

11 Comments

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Movies, Television and Radio, Reading, Technology and Social Media

Rigged

It’s humbling for a self-professed word nymph to discover  a flaw in her understanding of a word (though I deliberately chose “nymph” as a symbol of a work in progress).

Once and again, we all say or spell a word we think is correct for its context, only to learn we’re a letter or syllable off. It’s even more humbling, then, to find additional word mistakes in our quest to learn more about the first one.

I’m betting most of you know this one. I didn’t until last weekend.

In the past, when I referred to a process wherein things are constructed or repaired using only the limited resources available, I said “jerry-rigged.” Or maybe I thought it was gerry-rigged. Or geri-rigged or maybe jeri-rigged. I don’t think I’ve ever spelled it, but I know now I’ve mispronounced it.

On Saturday, The Washington Post referred to the painful process of cobbling together a federal budget compromise:

“When a frantic week ended, Washington still had no Plan A: a proposal that might give both Republicans and Democrats the things they want most.

“Instead, there was only a jury-rigged and unpopular Plan B.”

Jury rigged? Hmm. I didn’t know that, but  later learned that jury rigging (no Casey Anthony jokes) is a sailing term.

Wikipedia cautions us to not confuse jury rigging with jury tampering, not that such a temptation perked in my mind. Further, Wiki explains that “The phrase “jury rigged” has been in use since at least 1788.” Who knew? Not I.

It goes on to explain that “the adjectival use of ‘jury’ in the sense of makeshift or temporary dates from at least 1616, when it appeared in John Smith’s A Description of New England” and lays out several theories about the origin of this usage.

Webster’s honors “jerry-rigged” as “organized or constructed in a crude or improvised manner,” having first come into use in 1959, suggesting also it might have sprung from “jerry-built,” a term with which I am unfamiliar.

Urban Dictionary explains that “jerry” has come to refer to something that is bad or defective: “a pejorative use of the male nickname Jerry.” Jerry as a pejorative? I didn’t know this either; did you?

All the while I was poring over these contemporary sources, what was really lingering in the back of my mind was Michael Jackson’s 1980s jeri curl.

Wouldn’t you know, it’s actually a Jheri curl?

On the subject of all things jury, jerry or Jheri, I’m oh for three. Sometimes nymphs have days like this.

4 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Beauty and Fashion, News

Party crashers

In May, when I was conferred the Versatile Blogger award from Susan at Coming East, as a condition of receiving the award, I was asked to share seven things about myself. The list generated some requests for stories about these odd factoids. I recently came across the list and realized I hadn’t delivered on my intention to do so.

The item that received the most requests (a total of two) was the statement that my husband and I accidentally crashed a private Hollywood party.

Recounting the story publicly could get me busted and banned if I ever return to Hollywood. I’ll take the chance.

To tell the story right would involve some seemingly trivial details so I’ll get those out of the way briefly. 1. I had bought a very cheap but funky looking handbag to take on the trip. 2. With a lengthy connection at the Salt Lake City airport, I followed a whim and bought a slinky black dress, for no particular occasion.

On our one free evening, I wore my hot new dress to dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. When Mr. Puck stopped at our table, I tried diplomatically to secure an invitation to the upcoming opening of his newest restaurant in Washington. He asked for my card and said he’d get us added to the invite list.

After dinner, my husband suggested we drive down Sunset Boulevard, as neither of us had ever seen it. We tooled down the Boulevard until we saw major doings. Paparazzi, spotlights, a large crowd gathered for what looked to be a press conference of some sort. We wedged our rented Ford Focus between a Maserati and Ferrari and stepped out to take a peek. Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman was making remarks to reporters in front of a night club. The line to get in extended to the end of the block, but somehow that didn’t quite register. My husband suggested we go in and I headed up the stairs to the entrance. Two doormen opened the doors and welcomed us in.

The bartender looked at us as if we were crazy when we tried to pay for our drinks, while shrimp was offered. When I turned around and saw Teri Hatcher, I realized we were at a private party. We put clues together and surmised that the soiree was being thrown by designer Badgley Mischka to celebrate the renewal of Hatcher’s spokesmodel contract.

Little Miss Pathologically Compliant here wanted to leave immediately because I knew we weren’t supposed to be there. As I wondered aloud how we had the doors opened to us in the first place, my husband credited my little black dress and naïve self confidence. I asked him to set down his drink and head for the door before we were discovered.

Too late. People wanted to talk. A woman approached me.

“I love your bag. Is it Prada or Isabella?”

Because I didn’t know Isabella (Fiore) from Isabelli Rossalini. I slipped my DSW special behind me and lied, “Prada.”

“Are you a designer or retailer?,” asked the boutique owner from Newport Beach. “Where are you from?”

I replied, “I’m a lobbyist from Washington, D.C.” Stupid answer, I know, but I had to make up for the lie I had just told. From here on, no more lying.

She asked, “Do you have a card?”

I replied, “Sorry, I just gave my last one to Wolfgang Puck.”

I excused myself, grabbed my husband and sprinted toward the exit.

A woman stopped us. Uh-oh. She said, “Don’t leave without your gifts,” and handed us each a gigantic bag filled with hundreds of dollars worth of Beverly Hills salon certificates, electronics, perfumes and costume jewelry.

We ran to our rental car and sped off, as I phoned our friend Nell, a Beverly Hills native whom we had seen the night before.

“You’ll never believe what we just did,” I squealed, and told her the whole story. We promised her she’d be getting the gift certificates, as we were leaving the next day.

A week later, Nell called me. A friend of hers had told her about being at the Badgley Mischka party.

Nell said, “A friend of mine was there. She said they had great gift bags.”

Her friend replied, “I wouldn’t know. They ran out before I could get one.”

9 Comments

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Foibles and Faux Pas, Movies, Television and Radio, Travel

To be discontinued

It’s getting more and more difficult to find the simple things I need in life; so many have been discontinued. I’m not sure the difference between a plot and a ploy, but it feels like one of the two has been waged against me.

It seems ridiculous, but I just went on eBay to buy barrettes. Simple barrettes, at one time the simplest ones they made. I used to buy them at the grocery store in batches because I lose them. I was down to one, and I lost it last weekend. And now I’m lost without it.

I know it sounds stupid. It’s a hair notion, not a lifeline. Still, I use one every day and only one kind meets my hair control needs, the Goody Stay Tight 3-inch Tortoise Barrette. It’s made of only two simple pieces:  one bent strip of metal and a three-inch-long faux tortoise-shell cover. That’s it. No springs, no hinges, no teeth. And no clip, claw or Scrunchie will do.

I bought my last pack in 1997. When I was down to three, I began shopping for more. Stores had stopped carrying them. As with my treasured SweeTarts, I took to making special trips, even looking in stores out of town. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

The same thing has happened with our china pattern, our bed linens, my lipstick shade, my wallet, the travel size of my fragrance and the whisk I use to make salad dressing. Hamburger Hamlet even had the nerve to discontinue the Special Mayonnaise they put on my favorite sandwich.

I will now wait patiently for eight barrettes to come in the mail; that’s all the seller had in her possession. We’ll see how long they last before I go must back on the hunt.

Maybe I should try the Smithsonian.

So what is the difference between a plot and a ploy? Is there one against you too?

12 Comments

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Technology and Social Media

Bucklebury bride

A few days ago, one of my favorite sources of online commentary, Fake AP Stylebook, posted this: “About 176,938 reporters are covering the Royal Wedding, or three for every person actually interested in the story.”

I certainly don’t propose to precipitate on the procession of the Prince and Princess. They deserve a jolly nuptial.

But for Pete’s sake, these past weeks, I couldn’t escape the coverage. I switched from one news channel to the next, seeking something else. One would hardly know there was anything else going on in the world. Perhaps this is the reason – our fellow planet dwellers have been looking for a fanciful distraction and the news outlets were only too happy to deliver.

The fact that American network anchors are in London to cover the festivities has me a bit puzzled. It’s as if the whole world were in an imperial trance.

I tried to come up with a unique angle from which to write about it, but it’s all been done. The weird and tacky commemorative souvenirs. The event as perceived by the male species. How British police have deployed a special team of security forces for the “mentally unhinged and the royal-obsessed.” The repeated use of the word “commoner” to describe the bride. Even how much fun the name of her home town is to say: Bucklebury.

I don’t recall that the 1981 affair received this much ink and air time. Then again, I didn’t have a television. I was attending university in Spain. We had no TV in our dorm rooms, but we had a whopper of a movie theatre in the basement, where we watched weekly episodes of Dallas dubbed into Spanish (¿Quién tiró J.R.?). And the Royal Wedding.

It was truly a thrill, being a young woman of 21 (even then I was older than the Princess), watching the procession on the big screen, without having to have gotten up at 4:00 a.m., with fellow students from countries around the world, including Texas.

It must have made quite an impression because just four years later, I walked down the aisle of an Anglican church, carrying calla lilies and English roses, wearing the second poofiest dress you’ve ever seen, pulling a really long train behind me. And I married a prince.

Now that proceedings are underway, I’m a bit more excited, but I must be off to work. I’ll be watching the reruns tonight at a small gathering of my college chums. Don’t expect a review to appear here tomorrow because everything that can be said will have by then.

Cheerio!

2 Comments

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Family and Friends, Movies, Television and Radio, News, Travel

Night terror

Do you know those tests the sleep specialists show on television to demonstrate what happens to drivers when they’re sleep deprived? Poor judgment, slower response time, even hallucinations come into play when a human does not get sufficient sleep.

This morning, I am tipping orange cones all over the place.

Yesterday I flew to California, worked until almost midnight and went to bed after being up for 23 hours. Then I woke up three hours later, still in the West but with my rhythms in the East.

For the last two hours I’ve tried everything that usually works for me—reading, getting up and walking around, even having an informercial playing softly in the background. The latter usually works like a charm. Not this time. But I can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the P90X fitness program and something about the anti-aging magic of melon extract that keeps Cindy Crawford’s and Valerie Bertinelli’s faces frozen in time.

Looking back over this, I’ve counted more than a dozen typos and, I hope, corrected all of them. I’ll check back again after this afternoon’s nap.

Aside from sleep aids—which aren’t an option when you’re an hour and a half away from the alarm going off–what works for you when you’re wide awake, yet more tired than you’ve ever been, at 3:00 a.m.?  Other than blog–I’ve tried that.

7 Comments

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Health, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Movies, Television and Radio, Travel

Equal time for the man

Who knew, as we fêted Barbie on her 52nd birthday, that Ken’s 50th was the same day? Poor guy, always in the shadow of the diva.

In 1961, when Mattel decided that Barbie should not be alone and needed a companion, it created Ken.

Ken, you've come a long way, Baby.

I learned that Ken turned 50 when I opened Sunday’s Parade magazine, which arrives at my house on Saturday. So watch for it tomorrow and open it to Page 5, where you’ll see half a dozen Ken hair styles from the early sixties, when his hair was painted on, to the modern metrosexual do of 2010. For a sneak preview, visit Parade for a click down Memory Lane.

It should come as no surprise that, just as Barbie has eluded the texture of middle age, so has her younger man. While his coif and togs have changed with the times, he’s still as smooth as ever. Would that we all be composed of soft vinyl rather than mottled human flesh. In 50 years, Ken sprouted nary a hair from the neck down and remains as hairless as ever, even on his back and the insides of his ears and nose.

The end of the brief article asks, “Who knows what the next 50 years will bring?”

Anyone?

Leave a comment

Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Marketing/Advertising/PR