Friday, September 6, 2013

Shoes, My Solemate

Much like the proverbial tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it, I find myself wondering...if my fave department store holds a shoe sale and I'm unable to partake, did I really just lose out on hundreds in savings???  I pity the thought!

In case you know absolutely nothing about me at all, I will sum up my biggest downfall in a word: shoes. I know what you're thinking--all women love shoes, right?  Well, that's a fairly accurate blanket statement; however, I don't know many women who adore shoes to the extreme level that I, myself, do.  Some might say (more specifically, my mother) that my love affair with shoes borders on obsession.  To which I respond, "Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to."  Call it what you will, but no label will deter me from my goal of accumulating pair after pair of  fabulous footwear to fill the shelves of my "pink room's" closet.  (That's right--my shoes have their very own home in my private, pink-walled, girly room upstairs).  Did you really think Jeremy would allow my strappy Calvin Klein sandals, Betsey Johnson platform wedges and  Guess studded stilettos to displace his raggedy T-shirts and worn-in Levi's, rendering them homeless?  Gasp.

But it's really okay.  I honestly don't mind the final step of getting dressed in the morning, which includes my ascension to the top of the stairs to select the "shoes of the day."  If it means I can have a whole closet dedicated solely to my footwear (pun intended), I'd likely trek across the state of Texas in 102-degree heat.  In all actuality, you should know that more often than not, my shoes determine my outfit.  Most of my wardrobe was acquired to match a pair of fabulous shoes I had already purchased (most likely on impulse).  Call it the "chicken vs. the egg" quandary if you will.  I, however, happen to know that the chicken came first---and so did my shoes.

I'm a firm believer that shoes can totally make the outfit.  I will subject myself to what others deem sheer torture as I stuff my feet into a pair of constrictive sandals that look like a device to force information from of a prisoner of war.  Some even call it sheer "shoe-pidity."  I, however, am willing to suffer the pain for the overall look of the ensemble because I simply don't believe in "sensible shoes."  Honey, we all know that if they don't hurt, they ain't worth wearing!  Repeat after me, "If the shoe hurts, it must be fabulous!"

The other day, my mom went out of her way to clip a newspaper article specifically for me.  The article was written by a podiatrist advising readers against wearing sky-high heels, lest they suffer future foot and back pain and require invasive surgery.  Evidently, the human body was not made to hold its weight on a 4-inch peg nor be forced to walk at an awkward angle.  Um, duh!  I already know this.  Did the article succeed in scaring me into flat shoes--or worse, shoes with a shorter, more sensible heel?  Of course not.  Much like the smoker knows the dangers of the cigarette or the sun worshiper knows the consequences of exposure to ultraviolet rays, the fashionista is acutely aware of the dangers associated with wearing high heels.  The truth is, we're all gonna die of something.  And frankly, I'd rather go looking stylish (instead of with blackened lungs and sunspots all over my face).  So the moral of this story is: there are worse vices to have.

Rather than avoid ridiculously tall and incredibly uncomfortable shoes, I embrace them.  In fact, I like to think of my shoes as my dear friends.  I love them, and in turn, they lift me up and offer me support.  Plus, they make me feel great about myself.  After all, isn't that what friends are for?  Do they hurt me at times?  Sure--but then again, what lifelong friend hasn't done his/her share of hurting us?  We never stop loving them despite their flaws.

So to any gentlemen reading this, please take note......the next time your girlfriend/wife emerges from the bathroom in a pair of absurdly tall high heels, don't you DARE say a word to her about practicality--even though you know at the end of the evening, she'll curse them for the pain they've caused and sweetly ask you for a foot rub.  Grin and bear it--and know she's making an effort to look sexy especially for you.

Also, the next time you shake your head as a woman dangerously teeters on 5-inch stilettos while slowly and carefully crossing an uneven parking lot, please slow down and allow her ample time to pass safely by.  That fall is a long way down.  You can think to yourself, "those high heels are ridiculous" if you want.  But I assure you in the same breath you'll also utter, "Damn, she looks good in those!"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Under the Gunn

Each Saturday morning, you can find me curled up on the couch with my dog, Charlie, catching up on the previous Thursday-aired episode of Project Runway. Regrettably, I'm unable to watch it live as Jeremy is vehemently against my favorite show.  He can't stand all the drama, yet he watches Cops on a semi-regular basis. Hello, hypocrite!

Anywho, I'm thrilled that the current season has welcomed back Mr. Tim Gunn as the contestants' mentor (the All Stars version of the show excludes him, and is, in turn, quite lacking in appeal).  I would love to meet him someday.  In fact, Tim Gunn is one of my top choices for famous guests at a hypothetical dinner party.  Oh, the pressure to dress impeccably!

I admire his kindness, authenticity, immaculate style, and candor delivered in a tenderhearted tone.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy who is committed to helping each and every contestant deliver his or her best work. His trademark "make it work" mantra encourages contestants to rise above any challenges, whatever they may be, and press on to deliver a winning garment--or at least one that is indicative of their talent and personal aesthetic.

Tim doesn't hold back during his one-on-one critiques in the work room, yet he delivers constructive criticism in an honest manner that is not harsh or snarky (unlike some of the judges). While I don't always agree with the judges' opinions and criticisms, I often find myself nodding along as Tim imparts his wisdom and shares his thoughts and critiques with contestants. 

I can just tell that Tim is a total sweetheart with nothing but good intentions.  He's well spoken, stylish and polished, yet down to earth.  I'm fairly certain that if we were to meet in real life, he could easily become my BFF--and oh, what a shopping buddy he'd make!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Grammar School

This blog post is a public service announcement brought to you by the grammar police.


Specifically, it's geared toward those of you who happened to be home sick the day in second grade when the teacher explained the difference between your and you're and other various homophones. You obviously don't know who you are, or else I wouldn't be forced to go on public record with this information. 

Please take Ross from Friends once stated to Rachel, "Y-O-U-R means your. Y-O-U apostrophe R-E means you are!"  I can't tell you how many times I've come across the incorrect versions of these words while reading various articles, social media posts and the like.  It literally makes me cringe.

Now I realize not everyone is as acutely aware of grammar rules as I am, and many others are not blessed with the gift of spelling (6th grade spelling bee champ here--holla!)  So please don't take offense at my schooling you on the subject.  I am a writer, after all.  Now before you attack me for my blunt approach, let me first say that others of us are mathematically challenged and have difficulty adding and subtracting without utilizing our fingers. (Guilty). 

**On a side note, I may struggle with addition and subtraction, but by golly, I can multiply like nobody's business...and I guarantee you the only reason for that is because Dad drilled me with those damn flash cards 'til I was blue in the face and tears were shed.  But it sure pays off when I'm shopping and need to calculate the 40% off sale in my head--thanks, Dad!

My point is...there are calculators for us math idiots; however, if you live in America and speak English, you SHOULD KNOW the basic spelling of everyday words and their appropriate uses.  Please pay attention and feel free to take notes if you must:

In addition to the your vs. you're conundrum, there is also the concept of distinguishing between to, too and two.  This is a BIG one. 


I am going to the store.

I am too tired to keep my eyes open!

I have two mosquito bites on my arm.

Get it right, people.  There's nothing that makes you look more ignorant than the misuse of these basic words.

Another example:

Does she live there?

Bob's Steak & Chop House is their favorite restaurant.

They're going to the mall this weekend.

I also have a problem with people who cannot seem to distinguish the difference between its and it's.  I realize that an apostrophe is typically used to show possession; however, with its, the standard happens to be opposite.  It's is a contraction of it is.

Final example:

The dog has a bone in its mouth.

I really hope it's not going to rain this weekend.

I realize that most people in this country read and write at a 5th-grade level.  That is just plain pathetic.  If you're a teacher, PLEASE for the love of God, enforce these grammar rules to the next generation, or else we're grammatically doomed.  Hooked on Phonics worked for me, but I'm afraid it didn't for most others...and now they don't even teach phonics in school anymore!  Ultimately, I'm just tired of reading Facebook posts that are incorrectly written. So as summer draws to an end and kiddos head back to school, please keep these grammar and spelling rules in mind.  If your kids can learn them, so can you!


This concludes the public service announcement--please don't shoot the messenger.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Packing on the Pounds...Pound the Pavement!

A couple weeks ago, I stepped onto the scale (completely naked, of course, so as not to add the bulky weight of my t-shirt and boxer shorts) and the unexpected readout provoked me to shout, "You lying sonofaB*%#!" at which point, Jeremy looked at me like I was crazy.  I admit, I've always been a little obsessive about my weight--especially lately since I seem to have unknowingly gained a few pounds out of absolutely nowhere

I'm actually more perplexed than anything.  I thought back over the past month and decided I haven't really changed any part of my lifestyle.  I continue to eat (remotely) healthy and I'm just as inactive as I've always been, my medicine/vitamin regimen has hardly changed.  So how is it possible that these three or four pounds have come out of literally nowhere?  Have I reached the dreaded point in my life that my metabolism is starting to slow down?  Gasp.  But I've always had the metabolism of a high school boy!  Uh-oh.  I may be in trouble if, at age 32, my metabolic rate has, in fact, begun to slow.

You see, I absolutely hate exercise with every fiber of my being.  Sure, I take the stairs almost everyday at work and go on the occasional jog, but that doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore.  If you've not heard of the Smartphone app "My Fitness Pal," I warn you not to download it.  It is the devil!  It helps you track your daily caloric intake and counter it against your exercise routine.  All I have to say is "Ignorance is bliss!"  I used to make a meal out of Mexi-Dip and chips from Taco Bueno.  I always thought, "How unhealthy can that be?"  Well, thanks to this handy little app, I now know that such a "meal" is worth my DAILY ALLOWANCE of fat/calories.  My Fitness Pal is most definitely not my "pal."  Thanks to said app, I have become one of those people I hate...the ones that count calories and all but weigh their food and then keep a diary of everything consumed for the day. Although, I'm too lazy to continue such compulsive tracking, so I'll probably just keep that knowledge in the back of my mind.

Perhaps this recent fluctuation in weight should be more of an eye opener for me than an obsession.  I am just going to have to choose healthier options and make a concerted effort to turn of Dexter, get my lazy butt off the couch and get some physical activity.  If I only end up a few pounds heavier, big deal.  At least I'm still hovering around my high school graduation weight.  In all actuality, the scale's readout shouldn't define my overall health.  As long as I still fit into my clothes, I'm okay.  My biggest fear is not being able to fit into the TONS of clothes that fill my closet.  But at least I'll never outgrow all my shoes, so there's the silver lining.  Going forward, I just have to embrace a healthier lifestyle...and perhaps move our scale out from in front of the office window if I continue to weigh myself in the nude.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nailed It!

Lately, I've been more than a little obsessed with nail art.  Anyone who knows me is aware of my natural artistic instincts, and I can honestly say I am truly at my happiest when I'm creating something--anything bordering on "art."  Well, what better place to express my creativity than the 10 tiny canvases permanently staged on the tips of my fingers?

Nail art is not really a new thing--it's been around for years.  In fact, my mom recently informed me that the painting of the odd nail out (or "accent nail" as the beauty industry now likes to call it) was something she once practiced on her own digits back in the 70s. Who woulda' thought?

Just the other day, my adorable, girly-girl niece, Tori, was studying my all-red manicure, and she asked, "Aunt Sassy, where's your accent nail?"  I must admit, it was one of the prouder moments of my aunt-hood.  You see, I had previously explained to her that the mismatched nail color on my ring finger served as my "accent nail," and I guess Tori was really paying attention that day because now every time my nails are all uniform, she questions the absence of the accent nail.

I love to paint my nails, and I typically do it on a biweekly basis.  Jeremy argues it's because I enjoy picking off the paint even more--I secretly do!  I am always trying new tricks and techniques because, lets' face it, plain nails in all the same color is just b-o-r-i-n-g.

There are all kinds of tools nowadays to help you achieve these various cool looks, too.  I've done everything from nail marbling, (which entails dropping various colors of nail polish into a cup of water, creating a swirl pattern and dipping your nails into it.)  See the YouTube video below, which is the one I first learned this technique from...

I have copied newsprint onto my nails, simply by swiping rubbing alcohol over my fingernail prior to pressing clippings of newspaper on the nail to transfer the image.  I have used various nail stickers and have even entered into the territory of freehand painting with a teeny-tiny nail brush.  Believe me, that takes time and practice!  Somehow, my right hand always comes out looking better than my left hand since I am a lefty after all.  Get tons of ideas simply by googling "nail art" on the Internet and via a search on Pinterest.  Next time you bust out the Sally Hansen and OPI polishes, try something daring and fun.  You never know--you just might discover your inner Picasso!

The images below are a couple of my personal faves done over the years.  Let me know your favorite tips, tricks and techniques. 

You can't go wrong with a wild, leopard-print look.

I've always had a serious love affair with zebra print!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Homemade Huaraches

Have you ever heard of such a thing as homemade huaraches?  As in--huarache sandals.  Well, neither had I until about a week ago.  Apparently, my dad has reached a new level of boredom in his retirement (or as he likes to call it, self-unemployment).

My father is truly one of the most creative and artistic people I have ever known; however, his exotic taste sometimes leads to handcrafted creations that border on ridiculousness.  He has never been one to follow the crowd, and he could care less what people think about him.  He most definitely marches to the beat of his own quirky drummer and has a unique sense of style.  I'll give you an example....

Enter an old pair of penny loafers and an Exacto knife.  Yes, my dad decided that his comfy, worn-in loafers were destined to be re-purposed into a pair of huarache sandals for summer.  Instead of shopping for a pair of men's sandals like a normal person, Dad busted out the Exacto knife and whittled away at the leather until his shoes resembled a loafer skeleton.  I call them "skele-toafers"...and trust me, they are hideous.

While it's one thing to lounge around the house in this monstrosity of a shoe, it's another to wear them out in public.  I was horrified when he showed up at a family barbecue to meet my boyfriend's parents sporting his penny skele-toafers.

As a shoe lover, I sometimes wonder how it's possible I could be a product of a man who makes his own sandals with an Exacto knife. Regardless of my objections, Dad wears those awful, homemade sandals with pride.  He says, "They're the only pair in Bartonville!"  Yes, Dad...and let's hope to God it stays that way.

Did you think I was joking??

Here they are in all their "glory"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Change in Perspective

What's my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world, you ask?  Why, it's Bob's Steak & Chop House, of course.  Had you asked me this very question about 29 or 30 years ago, however, I would have no doubt responded, "Chuck E. Cheese!"  It's amazing how time changes your perspective.  What I once valued as the ultimate dining experience now holds the appeal of eating cheese-covered cardboard, surrounded by bratty children screaming to be heard over the digital beeping and bells of video games and ski ball scoreboards.  No thank you--I'll pass!  But back in the day, there was no place on earth more exciting than Chuck E. Cheese.

I loved jumping around in the brightly colored balls that always reeked of stinky feet, yet that didn't seem to bother me at the time. I can also remember with fondness, the costumed characters onstage moving in time to the music of The King while I sat there in the audience and sang along.  In fact, one Sunday after church, my family and I were eating lunch in a restaurant when Elvis came on the jukebox.  I remember hearing that familiar voice, my eyes lighting up and leaning over and telling my mom, "That man sounds just like The King from Chuck E Cheese!"  Little did I know at such an early age that the voice of Elvis didn't originally hail from the moving mouth of an oversized robotic mouse.

Yes, time most definitely changes your perspective. What were some of my favorite sitcoms growing up now seem beyond cheesy and are characterized by horrific acting and awful story lines.  But back then, man, Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski rocked my TV world! 

A few days ago, as I watched my niece bounce off the walls while coming down from her ice cream sugar high, I looked upon her burst of energy with feelings of nostalgia. Surely at some point, I too, had that same level of energy, right?  I can barely recall.  It's ironic that, as a child, all you want to do is forgo mid-afternoon naps and then stay up late, yet, as an adult, I would kill for a nap and I'm in bed no later than 9:30 every night.  So apparently, this girl has aged 80 years in a mere span of 32.  Maybe that's why Jeremy calls me "Grandmother" on a somewhat-daily basis.

Well, I may not be as quite spry as I once was, and I may not enjoy frequenting the same hangouts of even my college days...but I have matured in more ways than one.  So summer vacation no longer exists, and staying up late means catching the opening segment of Jay Leno's monologue.  Who cares?  At least I get my eight hours worth of sleep every night. 

I may now prefer eating in restaurants boasting white, linen tablecloths using utensils that I don't have to remove from plastic wrap to enjoy a juicy, rare steak, washed down by a bold, oak-y wine.  So my perspective and tastes have changed--such is life.  But I'll always recognize the soulful sound of The King when he comes on the radio because, quite honestly, some things never change.

Friday, June 7, 2013

When Push Comes to "Pool"

The clock is ticking way too slowly today as I'm eagerly awaiting my early escape from work so that I can enjoy some time poolside with a pina colada in hand.  Oh, how I love flex Fridays!  I also love the fact that I finally have my very own pool in the backyard, which is beautifully designed and landscaped by my talented, water-obsessed boyfriend. 


If anyone knows me, you'd understand the feat that is pool ownership at age 32.  I spent the better part of my childhood begging Mom and Dad to put a swimming pool in our backyard.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening was right up there with being gifted the much-anticipated pony I was promised but am still yet to receive.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even learn how to swim until I was nearly 12 years old.  That's right, I was that kid.  You know--the one who frequented any pool I could,  outfitted with neon orange floaties on my arms and, in later years, the despised, obtrusive lifejacket, preventing me from submerging beneath the water.


I was also the kid rendered partially deaf, thanks to the earplugs I was required to wear at all times while in the water due to the numerous ear problems I suffered as a child.  The ironic thing is, though I never got a backyard pool, I'm pretty sure my family paid for my ear/nose/throat doctor's swimming pool as a result of my frequent visits to his office.  It was at those particular doctor visits where I underwent surgery for tubes, took hearing tests and received professional medical assessments, revealing a perforated eardrum, all of which put a damper on my childhood aquatic activities.

So the fact that I have, still to this day, never dove off a diving board and the reason I am also somewhat phobic about getting water in my ears (even in the shower) can't be entirely blamed on my parents and their refusal to put in a swimming pool.  These early traumatic experiences regarding my ears certainly played a major role.  Though I don't hold any truth to astrological theories, I find it a tad ironic that I was born under the sign of Pisces, the fish.  The only thing I have in common with the fish is that I sometimes eat it, slathered in tartar sauce with a side of hush puppies and fries.

Anyway, back to my story about childhood yearnings for a swimming pool... 

I mistakenly thought I'd come close to having my wishes fulfilled the day I came home from school and encountered a giant dirt pile in the backyard.  I thought, "This is it!  I've finally convinced Mom and Dad to put in a pool!"  I soon discovered, much to my chagrin, that the dirt pile was the beginning stage of a backyard putting green installation.  Talk about a major letdown to an eight-year-old girl!  In Dad's defense, it was a beautifully manicured and landscaped, three-holed putting green, but it was still just....a putting green.
So if you ever see me at the pool or out cruising around Lake Ray Hubbard on our boat and you're wondering why I continually keep my head above water (literally speaking), it's because I'm still averse to getting water in my ears.  Also, I've never achieved world class swimmer status.  On the other hand, you can bet your bottom dollar I'm a badass on the putting green!

Oh, and by the way, I still hold out (perhaps false) hope for that damn pony.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking a Toll



Just yesterday, I opened my credit card statement with bated breath and my blood pressure skyrocketed when I saw the amount of toll charges I'd racked up in a single billing cycle.  There were five--yes, I said FIVE--$40 charges on my statement.  For those of you who are mathematically challenged (like myself), that equates to $ a single month!  Those fees from the NTTA are really starting to take a toll (pun intended) on my budget...and they're about to go up in July.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find the concept of toll charges ridiculous and unnecessary?  I'm sorry, but I thought that's what my taxes paid for.  Why then must I dig deep into my pockets to finance additional fees just to allow me access to a city highway?  Keep in mind this doesn't include the cost of gas to make my one-hour commute each way to work everyday.

Lately, I've been experimenting with different routes in order to save a little bit of money where I can.  Unfortunately, what I save in tolls, I more than make up for in time and gas.  So most days, I just suck it up and take the expensive route to work.  I find myself cringing each time I breeze past a toll booth. 

I'm reminded of the children's story Billy Goats Gruff.  All I want to do is make my way down the George Bush Turnpike, unaccosted by the evil, toll-charging troll who lives under the bridge.  Though he hides in an unmanned toll booth, he makes an unwelcome appearance on my monthly Discover card bill.

I don't remember the moral of the story, but I do recall the billy goat outsmarting the evil troll.  Unfortunately, until I can find a circuitous route that doesn't add a half hour to my commute, I'm just going to have to pay the evil troll's toll charges.  Perhaps that means I'll have to eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Ramen noodles than I care to, but I'll be damned if I let that nasty troll cut into my monthly shoe budget!  I'm all for saving money, but come on--a girl's gotta have her standards.                          

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Better off Red


There's nothing more iconic in the beauty world than a set of shiny, blood red lips.  In fact, I believe a woman can go from merely pretty to absolutely drop dead gorgeous with a single coat of red lipstick.  It adds instant sex appeal and transitions the girl next door into a blockbuster bombshell.  Just think classic Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor--timeless beauty!

I enjoy eclectic fashion and cosmetic looks, and I often change my aesthetic with my changing mood.  This morning, I was feeling the 1950s retro vibe, so I donned my favorite fit-n-flare cherry dress with matching red heels and a sweater.  I decided to step out side my cosmetic comfort zone and trade my everyday bronze-tone lipstick for a come-hither red to complete my old school look.

Why is it that every time I attempt to emulate a perfect crimson pout right out of the pages of Glamour Magazine, I end up looking like a tanner version of the Joker?  Perhaps driving while applying doesn't help!  (Yes, I'm one of those women--although I only do my lipstick in the car.  Nothing else, thank-you-very-much!)


My point is this: countless other women can pull of magnetic red lips, so why can't I?  Is it because I'm not used to seeing such eye-popping color on my kisser, or does it simply not suit me?  I sincerely believe the former is the answer.  In an ideal world, anyone should be able to pull of fire engine red lips--and honestly, anyone can.  It's just that I'm not used to the dramatic color on my lips.

In order to create the perfect red lip, it takes skill and lots of practice.  First, you should line your lips to prevent feathering.  I personally use a flesh tone reverse lip liner from Cargo, which is used to trace an "invisible" line just outside your natural lip line.  It helps keep your lipstick from traveling and subtly highlights the edges of your mouth. 

Cargo reverse lip liner
                                                       Find it at

Second, I advise using a lipstick brush to paint on color--either from a chubby crayon or tube of lipstick.  It allows for precision.  A lipstick tube is just too bulky to trace the exact perimeter of your lip line.  Blot any excess from the inner rim of your mouth to prevent getting lipstick on your teeth and be sure to wipe your hands thoroughly, lest you end up with the stained hands of a serial killer.  Finally, add a dab of clear gloss at the center of your bottom lip for a hint of shine, and voila!  You now have the lips of a 1960s pinup girl.         

Should you decide this bold look is just not your thing or that you too, end up looking like Batman's nemesis, simply wipe it off with a dab of makeup remover.  It's makeup, people--it's not permanent!  Have a little fun--take a risk or two.  Who knows?  You may permanently adopt scarlet lips as your new signature look.  Besides, a lady in red never goes unnoticed! (wink, wink)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Willie Nelson--a Living Legend

I'm currently sitting here listening to an eclectic span of music as it shuffles randomly from song to song on my ipod.  Just now, when the song Old Friends (a duet with the legendary Willie Nelson, late Roger Miller and also legendary Ray Price) popped up, I was inspired to give a shout out to my old friend, Willie. 

Having grown up on the songs (both those written and sung) by the Red-Headed Stranger, I feel it's my duty as a fellow musician to pay homage to such a living legend in our time--especially since it's been mere weeks since Willie celebrated his 80th birthday.

I really have my dad to thank for introducing me to Willie's music at such an early age.  In fact, I still laugh about the time Dad took my brother to a soccer game on picture day, and they were asked to fill out Cody's player information on the back of his photo trading card.  They put his team name, number and player position, but neither Dad nor Cody knew of any famous soccer pros to list under the "favorite soccer hero" category.  To this day, every time I see that trading card with Cody's goofy grin and his favorite soccer pro, Willie Nelson, it makes me laugh out loud. While Willie may not be a soccer pro, he's certainly a hero to many musicians spanning all genres of music--and rightly so.

I think one of the reasons Willie is so well respected by his peers and adored by his fans is because of his realness.  With Willie, what you see is what you get.  When he started his early music career as a struggling young musician in Nashville with a clean-cut appearance, he wasn't getting to produce the kind of music he wanted.  So Willie decided the Nashville scene just wasn't for him, and he moved to Texas, grew out his famous braids and decided he just didn't give a shit about what others thought about him.  He wrote and played the kind of music that satisfied the true artist within--and perhaps by accident, started a whole new musical movement in the late 70s (alongside Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash) called the Outlaw movement.

Not only is Willie recognized for that unmistakably twangy voice, he's also known and nearly worshiped by songwriters everywhere. I know how difficult it is to write a song, and the fact that Willie has hundreds of songs--and amazing ones at that--under his belt, leads me to respect him even that much more.  If it weren't for Willie, Patsy Cline's rendition of Crazy would be nonexistent--as would the sentimental value that song still holds for me this very day.

I don't honestly know of a single country musician who would claim they hadn't been influenced by the famous twang, heartfelt lyrics and undying passion of Willie Nelson in one way or another.  The man is truly a living legend indeed, and I'm humbled that I received the chance to meet him and open a concert for him when I was only a 20-year-old college student with big dreams of making it in the music business.

Though I only got to meet Willie for a mere several minutes, it was a life-altering opportunity for me.  He seemed a tad bit quiet, but incredibly nice as his fans eagerly waited for a handshake and a photo opp.  I was absolutely flabbergasted when Willie even asked me for my autograph, and I thanked him profusely for the opportunity to open the show for him.  I got him to sign the first print ad I had written for Martin Guitars in college, which pictured Willie with his old pal, Trigger (his well-worn guitar), and it still hangs proudly on the wall as part of my ongoing autograph collection.

When I kissed Willie on the cheek and caught a slight taste of weed lingering on his beard, it made me smile a bit.  Willie is a genuine person to whom God has granted a boatload of talent and perhaps even more magnificent life experiences, which he effortlessly weaves into the lines of his songs.  If you ever get a chance to see Willie up close and personal--and witness the lines on his face, symbolic of a full, well-lived life, and see the gentleness in his knowing eyes--I hope you realize you're standing in the presence of greatness. 

So Willie, I wish you the happiest of birthdays and hope for many more years to come...and I look forward to seeing you somewhere on the road again.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Pistol Annies...Smoking Guns

This morning, I've been rocking out to the catchy tunes of the Pistol Annies, Miranda Lambert's side project, an all-girl band.  I have to admit, simply listening to their girl-power anthems on my ipod makes me feel like a badass.  Maybe because it's Friday or maybe because I'm just in one of those don't-mess-with-me moods today, I'm totally digging the in-your-face lyrics and haunting background music of Hell on Heels and edgy toe-tapping Trailer for Rent.  I'm grooving to the beat and nodding my head like a gangsta rapper. 

Ever since the Pistol Annies made their live television debut, I was obsessed with their 3-part harmony and raw, emotion-filled lyrics.  There's just nothing cooler than a feisty girl with a guitar and a willingness to say what she has to say, no holds barred.  The more I listen to Miranda's unique, twangy voice, the more I enjoy her music and her message.  I think perhaps it's because I see a bit of myself in her. 

A born and raised Texas girl, I grew up on real country music and cut my musical teeth on the records of Patsy Cline, Randy Travis, George Strait and Willie Nelson.  Growing up with an older brother who beat me up on a regular basis (only some of it was well deserved), I  quickly learned how to fend for myself.  Once my parents saw right through my Oscar-worthy fake-crying performances, I was on my own.  So I guess you could say I was full of piss and vinegar at an early age.  My innate stubbornness also played a factor in my unwillingness to take any $#&^ off of anyone.

Combine that hard headedness with my passion for music and you get the kind of tunes Miranda and her Pistol Annie cohorts effortlessly produce, quickly shooting them to fame, fortune and yielding sold-out concerts and millions of album sales.  If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to their stuff, check out their debut album, Hell on Heels and download their newly released Annie Up. You'll soon be tapping your foot, bobbing your head to the beat.  After a drink or two, you may get to feeling invincible and perhaps even have the urge to start a bar fight. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hey, Sailor!

I don't know about you, but lately, I'm absolutely loving the red, white and blue nautical look.  Call me patriotic, but there's nothing like a bright pop of red and clean white mixed with a classic navy blue. It almost makes me want to break into a chorus of America, the Beautiful.  Perhaps I've been on a few cruises too many--or maybe I just like a traditional, all-American look.  Either way, I can't seem to get enough of striped tops and sundresses these days.

With summer fast approaching, and along with it, Texas's infamous 100+ degree temperatures, the nautical look couldn't be more appropriate.  Whether you layer a red cardigan over a white blouse with dark skinny jeans or rock a flirty striped navy/white dress with a red belt, you'll be totally on trend for the season. Keep it fresh with clean lines and dichromatic patterns, and then throw in a third color for an eye-catching pop.

J. Crew Coral Pencil Skirt, Zara Striped Tank, Pink Bubble Necklace - Stripes and Bubbles - Layla Asgari

Speaking of eye catching, as I wandered through the shoe department at Dillard's recently, I was drawn to these Gianni Bini T-strap sandals like a moth to a flame.  I couldn't put them down, and of course, once I tried them on, I was hooked.  I even adore their imitation Louboutin-esque red soles (since this may be as close as I ever get to owning a red-soled shoe). I typically pair them with a striped top and skinny jeans. As soon as I strap them on, my spirits are immediately lifted.
Gianni Bini Traci T-Straps

If you haven't already, set your sails on a red, white and blue nautical-themed outfit this summer.  Maybe even slap on a bright red lipstick for a retro, pinup-girl finish.  You don't need a private yacht to pull this look off--but it will sure make you feel like a million bucks.  Anchors aweigh!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Red Sole Society

Anyone who has even a remote interest in the fashion industry knows of all the big-name shoe designers including Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Stuart Weitzman and the great granddaddy of them all, Christian Louboutin (pronounced LOO-bi-Tawn).

Christian Louboutin has only been in business since the early 1990s, yet his signature red sole has become an iconic symbol recognized and coveted by shoe lovers everywhere.  Pay close attention the next time you see a Hollywood starlet on the big screen.  When she walks away, if you know what to look for, you'll most likely get a glimpse of red tapping against the pavement.  If you listen carefully, you may even hear it whisper, "I'm too good for you."

That's exactly the way I feel whenever I see someone authoritatively strutting by in a pair of Louboutins as though she owns the room--(and if you know how much a typical pair costs, it's a safe bet to say she probably does own the room!)  It's as though that woman is a member of an exclusive, high-society club that is extremely scrutinizing about its members.  I can almost imagine the salesperson who sold them to her sealing the deal with a secret handshake.  I sooooo want to be in that club, yet at the same time, I could never justify dropping a couple months' rent for a pair of shoes.  I would rather have a closet full of reasonably priced shoes than a single pair that costs in the four digits.

Maybe someday if I win the lottery, I'll be able to join the Louboutin club, but in the meantime, I'll just stick with my trusty, favorite brands that won't (entirely) break my bank. Don't get me wrong--I'd absolutely LOVE to own a pair of Louboutins, and I wouldn't even turn up my nose in exclusivity as a member of the club--but I'm not about to sell my soul for the famous red sole.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gladiator, Begone!

There are few fashion trends that I look upon with utter contempt, but as I flipped through the glossy pages of People Style Watch the other day, I was reminded of one of them: the gladiator sandal.  The phrase "Long live the gladiator!" springs to mind as this strappy eye sore of a sandal simply refuses to die.  With the passing of each spring and summer season, the hideous sandals make a reappearance on the pages of (gasp) fashion magazines.

In my mind, gladiator sandals are right up there with Ugg boots.  I mean, come on people, they're called Uggs for crying out loud!  Coincidence?  I think not.  With the exception of young girls--and when I say young, I mean toddlers--no grown woman should sport these awful boots.  They give off the vibe that you're not even trying.  It's like rolling out of bed and going to college classes in your pajamas.

Another trend I can't seem to wrap my head around is Crocs.  I get the whole idea of comfort, but seriously--that's why God invented the flip flop!  Crocs sandals are the equivalent of wearing elastic-waistband pants on your feet, and that is just completely unacceptable for people under the age of 70. 

If you're of the school that gladiator sandals are cute, then I regret offending you; however, I am willing to take you shoe shopping.  Same goes for Ugg boots, but I'm sorry, if you stand behind Crocs, then you're already beyond help. 

Death to the gladiator---for the love of fashion, please go away!!!

Friday, April 19, 2013



I want to be Don Draper. No, really.  I want to be Don Draper in a dress.  More specifically, a floral-print, fit 'n flare number sported by the likes of Mrs. Betty (ex) Draper or a brightly colored, mod shift dress frequently worn by the current Mrs. Draper, the lovely Megan.

As you can see, I'm in love with Mad Men.  In fact, with each episode I catch on Netflix, I'm becoming more and more obsessed with life at an advertising agency in the 1960s. Hey, what can I say?  I was an advertising major in my former life, and the show combines my love for creativity and fashion.  What more could I ask for in a TV drama series?

The only thing (well, one of the things) that bugs me about the show is the way women were treated back in that era.  (The other is all the infidelity!  Geez, was every married man sleeping with his secretary?!)  Like I was saying, either you were a housewife, or if you worked, a secretary.  Even Peggy overcame the odds when Don promoted her to a junior copywriting position.  I don't mean to get up on my women's lib soapbox--in fact, I'm far from what you'd call a "feminist"; however, I do believe women should be given equal rights in the workplace.

Thankfully, things have changed since the 60s--although, it's still difficult as hell to land any job at an agency--much less, a creative job.  Believe me, I'd settle for a starting position as a secretary at an ad agency any day of the week just to get my foot in the door.  Little did I know how cutthroat an industry I'd chosen.  Imagine my naivety as a college student with big dreams of a becoming a copywriter at a well-established ad agency in a fancy corner office with a view.  To this day, I can't tell you the number of times I've scolded my mother for allowing me to choose advertising as my major.  Even knowing what I know now, though, I still don't believe I would have gone any other way.  I truly have a passion for all things creative.

I'm sure the TV show glamorizes life at an agency.  I mean, who really drinks bourbon at 9:30 a.m.?!  Ad men in that era drank on the job, smoked a couple packs a day, took long lunches to wine and dine clients, and then left the office early on occasion with no one to answer to for doing so.  What a life!  No wonder they could crank out amazing creative for account after account.  Of course, they probably all have lung cancer and saddlebags for faces by now.

In reality, or at least today's reality, (from what I hear) agency life is some serious hard work.  It's all about deadlines, writing and then re-writing (and re-writing again) to please the client.  It's many late nights and lots of weekends.  You practically sell your soul when you commit your life to an agency.  But how exciting to do something everyday that you love and that you're truly good at.

While I'm thankful to have a current position as a copywriter for a large retail company, I still long for a creative, agency job.  I guess I need someone like Roger Sterling to give me a chance to prove myself.  So if anyone reading this blog has connections (wink wink), hook a girl up!  In the meantime, I'll just continue to dress in vintage-style clothing and head off to my office job in a 6x6' cubicle everyday with dreams of someday making it to the big leagues as a MAD WoMAN.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The "Blinc" of an Eye

I don't typically write many beauty product reviews, although I have used my fair share of products in my lifetime.  I'm a self-proclaimed product junkie, so I've actually used many people's fair share.  Since my last blog post was about the backwoods brothers of Duck Dynasty, I felt the need to return to my fashion and beauty roots for my next article...thus, a review of my new fave mascara, Blinc.

Not only have I tried almost every mascara on the market, I've researched and sold many as well.  I know every drugstore favorite and higher-end prestige brand and their reputations from fellow junkies.  Until a few weeks ago, my long-standing favorite mascara was Definicils by Lancome--despite its hefty price tag of $27.

I recently asked a girlfriend to share with me her favorite brand of mascara, and I was disappointed to learn it was Benefit's Bad Gal Lash, which I had already tried and soon after regarded as simply "eh."  She asked if I'd ever heard of the kind that tubes your lashes.  What's this?  A new product I've not yet heard of?  How is this possible?  I was shocked.  Please tell me more about this tubing mascara called Blinc!

Apparently, it's a big seller on QVC, which I don't make a habit of watching very often.  It's not as though I need further encouragement to shop.  Well, I looked up information and product reviews on Blinc mascara's web site and was interested to learn it's not like your typical waterproof mascara.  While it is, in fact, waterproof--it easily washes off with only warm water.  You see, it actually creates a "tube" around each individual lash.  In order to remove it, all you have to do is hold a warm, wet rag on your lash line for a few seconds and then wipe the tubes off.  Each tube actually slips off.  In fact, had I not read about the removal process, I may have mistaken the tubes for my actual lashes and freaked out over the immense hair loss.

Since I wasn't blessed with the natural lashes of a diva, I must rely on my Shu Uemura lash curler and some hard-core mascara.  While Blinc mascara truly separates and defines each lash, it doesn't help enhance the curl.  I find myself curling my lashes, coating them with a single application of Blinc mascara and then recurling once the mascara has had time to dry.  My only complaint with Blinc is how wet it goes on, so you really have to be careful not to smudge it onto your eyelids.  Other than that, it makes my lashes look better than they've ever looked before, and it doesn't rub off or run.

Not surprisingly, Blinc mascara doesn't come cheap, but I also am a firm believer that you get what you pay for.  It's not absurdly expensive at $26 a pop, and the site offers free shipping in the U.S.  I've searched near and far, high and low, for my holy grail mascara, and I think I've finally found it in Blinc.  I feel like shedding a tear of joy--but it's okay, my mascara is waterproof.   ; )

Friday, March 29, 2013

Duck Dynasty...Hillbilly Train Wreck!

I'm embarrassed to admit that I know the names of all the characters on A&E's reality show, Duck Dynasty.  Only because Jeremy makes me watch that show all. the. time.  I can't even get him to watch Project Runway with me, yet he tunes in to his favorite redneck reality show whenever it's on.

While I first turned up my nose at the idea of watching another reality show about trashy people who live in the swamp and don't have a full set of teeth between their whole family, I have to say it's really not that bad a show.  In fact, I find myself laughing out loud from time to time.  Maybe because it's a train wreck--you can't not look at it!

A few months ago, I didn't even know what a duck call was, much less realize a whole empire could be built upon its sales.  I thought a duck call was a noise you make while sporting camouflage and tromping through the woods.  The picture of Elmer Fudd comes to mind here.  But apparently, it's a little wooden whistle-like instrument that sounds like a duck.  Again, I'm shocked it's made these people millions!  But hey, who am I to judge?  Had I known there was an unmet need for such an object, maybe I would have created it myself and could then be writing this blog for a living.

The folks who make up Duck Dynasty look like they just stepped off of Willie Nelson's tour bus (and I mean that with the utmost respect to Willie--the most famous person I've ever kissed on the cheek...but that's another story for another day).  These two brothers, Willie and Jase Robertson, sons of Phil and nephews of ponytail-sporting Uncle Sy, are quite hilarious.  They don't appear to have cut their hair or shaved their thick beards for the better part of a few decades, yet they're married to beautiful, blonde women.  Is money a factor here?  Hmmm.  Who knows?  But I find myself tapping my foot along to the opening theme song, ZZ Top's Sharp-Dressed Man.

When I first tuned in to the show, I wondered how they could possibly create a whole series based on a hunting-enthused family and their duck and buck call business.  With each episode, though, they find some sort of drama to get into.  I was surprised to learn that almost the entire cast is college educated.  Apparently, Phil played college football at a major university as a first-string quarterback followed by a then second-string Terry Bradshaw.  He then gave up a professional career in the NFL to pursue his dreams.

Though the Robertson family makes themselves out to be a gun-toting, hee-haw having, sweet tea-drinking bunch of rednecks, they really do have their priorities straight.  They believe family is the most important thing in the world, they spend their time doing what they love, and they end each episode with a great big family dinner that Phil leads in a word of prayer.  It may be a train wreck of a show, but it's maybe one of the only morally sound reality shows on TV.  And that's something to say "amen" about!