Friday, June 24, 2011

Aruba Trip - Day One (Sort of)


Well, for lack of anything better to write, I thought I would update ya'll -- as we are on a five hour layover in Charlotte, NC.  We left LAX at 10:30pm Thursday and arrived Charlotte at 6:30am this morning. 

Shane fell asleep before the plane even took off.  He had been so excited for it that we shook him awake and made him look out the window.  He seemed like a drunk man as his eyes fluttered, rolled into the back of his head, and then he was back asleep before we even got all our wheels off the ground.

From that point on, we all got about 4 hours of sleep...actually Shane got 4 hours of sleep while he stretched out across Jason and I.  I spent most of the flight keeping Shane from kicking out my teeth with his restless legs; while Jason's head kept bobbing with Shane's raccoon flight pillow.  So apropos for the South -- a road kill pillow.

Presently, we are killing time in the Admirals Club.  Jason and I had our last infusion of Starbucks before we enter international waters.  Can you say venti soy latte, extra hot, extra foam?  Well, I did and, as much as I like to experience the coffee of other cultures, I don't think Arubans are known for theirs so I was savoring every sip and praying that it would give me some faux energy.  I am also hoping that we can find some place decent to have breakfast. 

Shane's only complaint so far was that we all fell asleep before they passed out the snack on the plane.  I hated to break it to him that snacks are far and few between on flights these days unless you pay for them.  But the kid is a pro; by the end of this trip, he'll have been on 10 flights so far since January. And Aruba will be the eighth country Shane has visited in his life.

So I say, Aruba here we come; so close, yet so far away.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane

Later today, I will be headed to LAX and boarding a plane to Aruba for a little R&R with the fam.  I am going to try my best to continue posting; however, a huge tropical drink and sandy hands may keep me away.  I mean, can I plug my laptop in at the swim up bar?

I have to be honest with you, I truly feel like I need a vacation.  I know, nobody says, I don’t feel like I need a vacation; I mean who would turn down some time in paradise, even if you don’t run at the hectic pace that I try and keep up with on most days.

But, as I have posted over the past few months, I lost both my Nana and Pop – two days apart – in March.  I still miss my Pop Pop a lot and thought of him often this father’s day.  My biggest regret was that I didn’t get to say good-bye.  I hadn’t picked up the phone to call him since Christmas because I was “too busy.” The moral of the story, don’t use that excuse and put things off – especially when it comes to loved ones – I still feel guilty about it. 

With my Nana, I did get to say good-bye and it was probably the most loving and peaceful way to let someone go; but I am still missing her like someone shot me – close range – in the heart.  I think of her every day and feel an incredible loss.  Actually, I will be honest and say that I have been quite blue since she passed away.

I know that this is life and it won’t hurt quite as much as time passes – although I know I will always miss them.  Part of my dilemma is that I don’t think I have truly given myself time to mourn and heal from these loses. 

Once I returned from New Jersey, I hit the ground running and I was glad for it because it took my mind off these stages of grief that I have been experiencing. But three months later, I feel that I am at my breaking point.

Also, I kid you not when I say that the life my family and I lead keeps us going at break-neck speed.  First, I’m not complaining and I wouldn’t change anything about my life, but my husband, son and myself are not idle people.  We don’t nap – well I probably would if given the opportunity – and we are always on the go with sports, activities, going fun places like Universal Studios, the Zoo, the Aquarium.  There is never a dull moment in our lives and that is how we like it, but sometimes it can just catch up with you.

There is also the fact that we are rich with people who care about us, so we find ourselves with many invitations to celebrate milestones, travel or just break bread with our close friends who are like family to us.  It is a blessing and my family and I are very fortunate.

I never imagined that this is the life I would lead and I am a better person for it, but sometimes a girls gotta just kick it and get a little sand between her toes.

So I’m not looking for pity, none is needed; No complaints, just explanations on why I am truly looking forward to getting out of dodge.

So, you may have to put up with a bunch of quotes, Daily Oms and my Kabbalah Tune Ups in my absence.  But don’t fret, I will be back, and -- with a little sleep and time to contemplate -- I do believe that I will be even more fashionating.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Heart Halston Heritage

  Halston Heritage. I do, I really do and I’m not sure what I love most about it; the fact that its roots stem from the legendary Halston line or that the price point is right on…no pun intended.

The Halston Heritage collection, which launched early 2010, is inspired by the fashion house’s famous designs from the Studio 54 crowd of the late 70s and 80s, but with a contemporary twist.
Bianca Jagger @ Studio 54
This SS2011 collection features one-shoulder caftans, silk maxi dresses, stretch jersey halter neck jumpsuits, and some fun and flirty dresses. With a color palette that ranges from black to white to effervescent and fluorescent hues of green, orange, fuchsia and violet.

Perusing the collection, Halston’s muse Bianca Jagger immediately popped into my mind; but the diffusion line is attracting modern day jet setters like Sarah Jessica Parker, Chloe Sevigny and Audrina Patridge.

SJP currently holds the position of chief creative officer of Halston Heritage and reportedly has an equity stake in Halston as well.

I love the fact that I can wear the same designs as some of the Hollywood’s hottest A-listers without actually going broke.  Pricing for the line can start as low as $100 for an evening clutch and going as high as $895 for a maxi dress; however, I have seen prices get sliced significantly at Bloomingdales, Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s.

The Halston Heritage line keeps in the tradition of Halston himself who, through his licensing agreement with JC Penny back in the 70s, accredited his designs to the department store so his clothing was accessible to a variety of women at different income levels.

I actually stumbled upon the Halston Heritage line at Bloomingdales last Christmas while looking for an outfit to wear to a 40th birthday party.  I was blown away by the disco-era dresses that had an ingenious spin to them.


Dolman Sleeve Dress
I absolutely adore the Halston Heritage Dolman-Sleeve dress. The draped silhouette offers a perfect fit with Dolman sleeves, a deep V neckline in a rich green silk.  I am also in love with the one-shouldered mini caftan dress in the softest shade of baby blue.  The floating asymmetrical hem-line and billowing sleeve instantly creates drama in this dress.  It actually reminds me of the gown my mom wore to a senior prom in 1968.

But right now, I’ve got the disco fever for the line’s evening clutches and hand bags.  On the top of my list is the April Watersnake Clutch, which boasts real snakeskin in a black, tan and magenta color palette for $295.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! Also, the Susan Box Clutches are snake embossed and reasonably priced at $195. This is truly a steal for these little purses that are so hot right now.  So, for the record, I haven’t met a Halston Heritage bag that I didn’t like.

But truth be told, most of us weren’t lucky enough to have experienced the Studio 54 era, but Halston Heritage is doing a great job of bringing that nostalgia to us through its timeless collection.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Summers of My Youth


Ocean Grove Pier

Today is the first day of summer and, even though I am approaching the autumn of my life, this time of year always generates a level of excitement in me.

When I was a child, the beginning of summer was a time of endless possibilities: School was out for ten glorious weeks, the Fourth of July holiday was right around the corner with my birthday following close on its heels.

My summer break always started off with a bang but, come August, I was always ready to just relax and enjoy the dog days of summer.  In New Jersey, this means the humidity, jelly fish and crazy summer crowds.

As I have posted before, I grew up on the Jersey Shore, in a little town called Ocean Grove. My memories of the summers of my youth did not include Snookie, the Situation or J-Wow; although our beaches did fill up with visitors from other states, such as New York and Connecticut. We called these summer visitors “Bennies” and truth be told, they did – and probably still do – congest the roads, overcrowd the beaches, and are just annoying period. But in retrospect, those were the things – positive or negative – that made it summer to me.
Crowded Beaches

The world was a different place back then and I remember when I was only 7 or 8 years old, I would head out early in the morning and didn’t return until it got dark. 

My best friend Dina and I would hop on our bikes and head down to the beach on most days.
 
We actually liked when the summer crowds came around for those few weeks. Living in a town that was only a mile square, we loved meeting new people and, as we got older, we certainly appreciated the influx of new boys who would stay at their summer homes.

But not to get ahead of myself: As little girls, Dina and I lived a very basic existence.  As I said, we would either hop on our bikes or walk every corner of our little town.  If we had some money, we would rent inner tubes or rafts from the shack at the beach.  Depending on how much cash we scored – we would either rent one or two, a half- or full-day – but most times we just shared one inner tube. 

It was so fun to be tubing and catching the waves.  If they were shore breakers, we were lucky not to break anything as we got tossed around like rag dolls – inevitably bouncing off those big black rubber tubes.

In retrospect, I can’t even believe how dangerous they were; but these were some of the best times of my life and I remember laughing so hard I would cry.   

We spent our days at the beach alternating between the water and then dragging ourselves out with blue lips and goose bumps, only to go lay directly in the hot sand.  Who cares if you had to run into the water to turn out the crotch of our one piece suits to get out mounds of sand?
Summer Tents

One hazard of our Jersey Shore beaches – which we don’t have here in sunny Southern California (TG!) – are crabs.  I can’t tell you how many times I had stepped on a crab – even a horse shoe crab a few times.  Once a little crab – a real crab not a sand crab or anything – grabbed onto my toe and I could not get that sucker off.

Being a kid and not that bright, I started floating on my back so I could try and assess the situation not realizing that the zero gravity of the water was helping this not be that painful.  Once I lifted my leg out of the water and felt the entire weight of that hanging crab on my little pinky toe, I screamed.  Put my foot back under water and shook that mo fo loose.  Ow, it still hurts even as a memory.

If we got bored with the beach, we would head to one of our houses for lunch.  Sometimes we would watch television, read books or even just take naps.  Our lives were so simple and we didn’t even realize how great we had it back then during the summers of our youth. 

Today, I have a six year son old who is in major anticipation for his summer vacation to start this coming Friday.  It is hard not to live vicariously through his excitement and I have found myself disillusioned that my own summer break is on the horizon. 

Well, a week vacation with the family on the beach will certainly start it off in the right direction; however, after 4th of July, I will find myself back at work.  But like anything else in life, it is really
about peace of mind.  So I have decided to do little things that will make this summer a bit more nostalgic of my summers past: lunch outside a few days a week; evening swims with my family; and allowing myself to take the time to just have a break some evenings and weekends. 

The only thing I will pass on are the crabs – they are good for eating just not stepping -- unless I make like Snookie and go Jersey on it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Janis Joplin Quote

"...to be true to myself, to be the person that was on the inside of me, and not play games. That's what I'm trying to do mostly in the whole world, is to not bullshit myself and not bullshit anybody else."
-- Janis Joplin

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shouting Out to Our Favorite Sugar Daddy

Today is Father’s Day and I would like to give a shout out to my sweetie.  I know there are a lot of great dads out there but, since this is my blog, I’m going to use this forum to let you know why D. Jason Mausser is the best daddy ever to Shane Loyal Mausser…and to me too.

Jason and I were married five years before we got pregnant with Shane.  We both were on the same page and wanted to travel and experience our married lives together before we grew our family.  After a few years of constantly being on the go, our lives started to get mundane, and we wanted more meaning to our existence.  We realized that it was time to create our family. 

Around that same time, we went to friends’ wedding in Hawaii for a week at Thanksgiving.  We said, “Hey, paradise wouldn’t be a bad place to start practicing.” 

At the end of the week, on the plane ride home, my body felt different. I was burning up on the plane, which is completely odd for me.  I am always freezing – especially on planes.  Jason just looked at me like I was crazy. 

I still felt off a few days later, so I purchased a two-pack pregnancy test, but it came back negative.  I was so disappointed.  But Jason and my family said it just wasn’t meant to be and not to get discouraged. We had just started trying to get pregnant.

By mid-December, we went to Jason’s work holiday party at a Western Restaurant/Bar that had a mechanical bull.  After a few drinks, I rode the bull and danced on the bar.  I had a great time that night, but I wish I could say the same for the next morning. 

About a week later, I woke up in the middle of the night and just knew I was pregnant. I got up and performed the second pregnancy test.  Sitting alone in the dark bathroom, I just knew it would be positive.  And it was!  I couldn’t contain my excitement.  It was about 3:30am and I woke Jason up.  He said, “Yeah that is great. I’m going back to sleep now.”

I just couldn’t even think of going back to sleep so I lay in bed just letting a wide range of emotions run through me.  I was elated, happy and excited; but, at the same time, I was scared and worried about the unknown of actually giving birth.  Also, I had to admit I was hoping that riding the bull and drinking hadn’t had any adverse effects.

At that point, I wasn’t even worried about raising a little baby; I was just worried about how it would come out of my body. YIKES!

A few hours later, even though I was only a few weeks pregnant, I called my close relatives and let them know the good news.  Everyone was excited.  For the next few weeks, I felt like I had the greatest secret and I was sort of glad to keep it to myself until it was time to share the news.

My pregnancy progressed without any hitches: I didn’t have any complications (thank goodness), I was healthy as a horse, and big as a house. 

Since I was 35 years old, Jason and I decided that I would have an amniocentesis to find out if there were any birth defects, but the positive side of the risky and painful procedure was that we would find out the sex of the baby.  They used 3-D ultra-sound to let us know we were having a baby boy.  Later, a chromosome test confirmed that report.

I think that up until that point, it was mostly about being pregnant and not so much about the little person growing inside me.  I had been open to a boy or girl; but Jason really wanted a son and did not hide that fact.

So as we left the genetic testing office that day, Jason shared his dreams of having a son with me.  He had visions of coaching soccer, playing video games, watching sports…all the things dads like to do with their sons.

Fast forward four months.

Our healthy baby boy, Shane Loyal, was born on Aug. 24, 2004.  Everything went without a hitch and, once the baby had entered this world, then we started worrying about this little human being and how the heck would it fit into our lives.

Well, Jason was awesome to me during the labor and it continued when we left the hospital. The exhaustion of labor, giving birth and being awake 24/7 nursing the baby was taking its toll on me. All I wanted to do was go to bed when we got home from the hospital and, thanks to Jason, that is exactly what I did.

I didn’t nap too long, but Jason had me covered like a glove just like he has since I’ve known him, but especially since Shane was born.

Jason has never tried to pass off his fatherly duties.  He always says yes to giving baths almost every night – and that has been for 7 years now. 

Right from the get-go, Jason was a hands-on daddy.  I think he changed one diaper, a month or two before Shane was born. Otherwise, he had no real experience with infants. But since Shane’s birth, he probably changed over one million diapers. (And I’m saying that with my little pinky sticking up.)

In desperation one night, he read the entire book, “The Baby Whisperer,” so we could sleep train a sleepless Shane, who is an amazing sleeper even today (and that ain’t no joke). 
In what seemed like an instant, Shane went from being an infant to a toddler to a pre-schooler and now he is about to be a first-grader.  I am proud to say that Jason and I have stood shoulder to shoulder from day one – but with me being a bit fragile and a baby myself – he has certainly done most of the shouldering.

I pride myself on being a great mom, but Jason is patient and kind. He is one of the most positive individuals I have ever met.  He is rarely grumpy – even if you wake him up super early in the morning.  Jason’s motto in life is that FUN is the best thing to have (although WIN is the best thing to do).

Jason is sort of a big kid himself, which is why he is such a great dad.  He loves amusement parks, zoos, museums and even Medieval Times (which is where we took him for father’s day last year because he begged us to).

Today, his dream has come true:  For the last few years, he has been Shane’s soccer coach and will be again this year; they both love to play X-box and games on the iPad like the Mystery  and Zoo Games; and lastly, Jason’s favorite thing to do is watch football, drink beer and eat chips with Shane (but sans the beer for the little man).

Shane is a very lucky boy and I’m a very lucky Mom.  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful man in our lives.  And, even though I think Father’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, I did want to give Jason a sentimental gift of letting him know –in black and white – OK, maybe pink and orange – how much he means to Shane and I. (Although, Mommy is accepting gifts for writing such a nice post .)

Jason is a diamond broker and my sugar daddy.  Can you say ba-bling?  OK, this isn’t about me, but Jason.

So– most importantly – I would like to thank you Jason for not making Medieval Times a Father’s Day tradition.  I don’t think I could have handled the mutton leg, mead and jousting for a second year in a row.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Daily Tune Up with Yehuda Berg

3 Types of Doers


There are three types of doers:  


If a person says, ‘I shall do it soon,’ their character is poor. 
If a person says, ‘I am ready to do it,’ their character is average.
If a person says, ‘I am doing it,’ his character is supreme.

-Ancient Kabbalistic Saying

Friday, June 17, 2011

MAC Offers Long Lasting Color and Keeps Grass Roots Green

A girl’s make-up is very personal decision.  Some women get hooked on one brand and they are loyal followers.  Personally, I am the type that chooses from a menagerie of make-up varieties, but I would have to say that MAC Cosmetics is my favorite.

According to Wikipedia, Make-up Artists Cosmetics aka MAC Cosmetics was founded by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo in Toronto in 1984.  The company’s products were initially designed for professional make-up artists. In 1991, the first American MAC store opened in Greenwich Village, NYC.  Today, the company boasts stores all over the world and is now controlled by Estèe Lauder Companies.

At first, I was intimidated by MAC because of the whole make-up artist concept.  I was never very good at putting on my own make-up and, even though I purchased it at Department Stores, I didn’t have the knowledge to apply it correctly.  Essentially, I had accepted the fact that my make-up just vanished from my face by about lunchtime no matter what.

But many moons ago, while in Manhattan Village mall, I decided to check out the MAC counter. One look and I wanted to run for the hills.  Each of the artists – as they are called – working the kiosk looked like they were about to head to the club…and it was the middle of the afternoon.  I almost turned on my heel, when one of the gals asked if she could help me.  Well, I didn’t want to be rude, so I told her my dilemma.  She sat me in her chair and really scrutinized my face.  I was skeptical of this woman, who looked like David Bowie from Ziggy Stardust, as she grabbed her paperwork to make notes.

After a half-hour, wha-la, I was done.  I truly was scared to look into the mirror, but I was pleasantly surprised. The consultant had used a neutral color palette and it looked pretty good.

One of the things which hooked me was that the cosmetics seemed to stay on my face…all day …without making me look like pancake face.  My MAC artist taught how to use foundation and primer so these products have a longer lasting quality. Also, how to use bronzer and a blush; and to apply my shadow so that my eyes popped!

So today, I always purchase my eye shadows and lip glosses from MAC.  I use my favorite, Ricepaper, as a base underneath any eye color I apply, which is now a minimum of three. Boy, they got me!  I purchase MAC eyes shadow palettes whenever I can – more bang for my buck. And, other than my Chanel glosses, I adore MAC’s Lipglass, Lustreglass, Plushglass and Dazzleglass.  I truly can’t live without them.

Also, the company is a grass roots pioneer.  According to MAC’s website, in 1994, the original owners Toskan and Angelo founded the MAC Aids Fund, a worldwide community outreach to help individuals with HIV/AIDS.  It all started with VIVA GLAM lipstick in which the campaign was developed to raise money and awareness for AIDS. Since that time, MAC focuses on poverty and AIDS; the company has not given up its fight to help those less fortunate.

MAC is all about being green too.  It also states on its website that MAC accepts returns of its primary packaging through the Back to MAC Program.  By returning 6 primary packing containers, you’ll receive a free lipstick of your choice as the company’s thanks.
I have personally taken advantage of this program several times and I love that feeling like I am getting something for free.

I also get good feelings by checking out the cosmetic giant’s website each season to see what new products they are offering, as well as the different themes chosen to highlight new trends.  Right now, they are showcasing the following collections: Surf Baby! Colour; Surf, Baby! Face; Sized to Go; FashionFlower; Flight; Magically Cool Liquid Powder; Packed to Go; Latest Greatest Accessories; and Viva Glam.

Each visit to MAC is like a journey with Alice down the rabbit hole – you never know what to expect, so check it – in-stores – or online this weekend. And MAC is even offering free shipping until Sunday June 19.  http://www.maccosmetics.com/

Thursday, June 16, 2011

College InSternship

I was a Howard Stern Intern.  Inevitably, the first question I get asked is, did I have to take my top off; and, the second one, did I win the Howard Stern Intern Beauty Contest and get a boob job?  Unfortunately – for the level of drama for this post –neither happened. My role on The Stern Show was not high-profile, but it was über-professional.  Now that is not to say I didn’t get to meet awesome people – a few celebrities – and take advantage of some perks all while having fun.

During my senior year of college, I had to perform a Journalism internship for my senior work study program.  I sent out a ton of cover letters and resumes and had three takers: Tennis Magazine; The Columbia Journalism Review (WTF! I was only even considered because Columbia was my Journalism professor’s Alma Mater); and The Howard Stern Show. 

Just in case you have been locked in a closet for the past 36 years; Howard Stern is an American radio personality, TV host, author and actor who is best known as the “King of all Media.”

Since I was commuting almost two hours each way to my university twice a week, Stern and the Wack Pack were my entertainment during those long car rides.  When I heard it mentioned on the air that they were looking for interns, I felt that I just had to apply.

When I received the phone call to come in for my interview, I was tickled pink and even happier when I found out that the job was mine if I wanted it. As if I would choose the internship that afforded me the best opportunity to advance my Journalism career, I chose The Stern Show. 

These were Sterns pre-satellite radio days, so I was officially interviewed by the Stern Show’s office manager and then WXRK or Infinity Radio located in New York City.  It was not an easy interview process and my duties were to consist of transcribing each day’s show as well as general office duties.  Not rocket science, but they wanted to make sure I could handle being in that environment as well.

The year was 1994 and Howard Stern had just launched his first book, “Private Parts” earlier that year.

My first day was in January and I was asked to work Stern’s 40th birthday party at Tavern on the Green Restaurant where they were broadcasting the show live.  I arrived – with my new supervisor Cathy –around 4am.  I didn’t do 4am then like I do now, so I had crashed on Cathy’s couch so I wouldn’t have to commute into the city.

I was totally blown away by all that went into putting on a radio show.  Even though my major was Journalism, my focus was print and not broadcast media.  It was the first time I had ever seen such a production.  One of the main dining rooms had been converted into a make-shift radio studio.  Then there were banquet tables encircling Stern and his sidekicks – who were celebrities in their own right.

But I was absolutely star struck that day: Donald Trump and Marla Maples (hell yeah that was a long time ago) were in attendance; as well as Lawrence Taylor, Joey Ramone, Joan Rivers, Pamela Anderson, Sandra Bernhard, and a lot of porn stars, among many others.

It was a great way to start my new job; although, it was not necessarily a pre-cursor of the job itself which was in a hard working environment rather than a party atmosphere.

My shift, which was two days a week, would not begin until The Stern Show went off the air.  So I wasn’t there while the radio show was broadcasting live; although, you can imagine my chagrin when I would be locked in my car – driving up to school – and they would mention my name on the air; or ask for me to come into the studio. This was before it was commonplace to have a cell phone, so I couldn’t even phone in.  ARRGGHHH!

But part of me was relieved I was never there during one of those inquisitions.  I didn't know what would come out of that interview and I was always a little nervous.  But the good news is that I never got put on the spot or embarrassed.

The behind the scenes of the show and office were very interesting as well.  Technically, radio producer Gary Dell ‘Abate – aka Baba Booey – was my boss.  How many people can say that and have it be the reality?  But speaking truthfully, I didn’t really interact with him too much and, didn’t really mind, as I thought he was a chauvinistic ass.  

But the rest of the team were super nice to me: Jackie Martling, former head-writer; Fred Norris, who provided sound effects, organize and direct commercials and live reads, and occasionally performed writing duties; and John Melendez (aka Stuttering John), a field reporter who conducted outrageous interviews and appearances because of his speech impediment.

I would see Stern on a regular basis, but usually he was rushing out of the studio to another appointment.  But one day, he needed someone help him to carry his things down to his town car, and I was the only one available.

His off-air personality was so completely different than the shocking on-air personality.  Maybe that was because the self-proclaimed “Shock Jock” only said what he was thinking when the red light was on, but he was a very amiable guy in person.

He asked me about my career aspirations and, when I told him that I was a Journalism major, he asked why I was working for him.  I replied that he was the hottest thing going on right then and I thought it would help me to figure out which area of the communications industry I wanted to pursue.  I have always wanted to be a TV personality and, other than my husband, Stern was the only person I ever told about that dream.  His advice was to take every opportunity that comes my way. So, if I’m offered a weather girl position in small town USA, take the job.  He said you never know when a door will open.

I was so stoked to get one-on-one advice from the King of All Media, but it was nothing compared to actually walking down a NYC street with him.  Ronnie the Limo Driver (yes, can you believe I actually interacted with those characters from the radio show) couldn’t get a close enough spot, so he was parked a few blocks away and I had the privilege of escorting Stern to his car. It was like having a date with the most popular guy in your circle, but times 1 million. The paparazzi were out there taking photos, while fans were asking for photographs – all the while, he was patient and nice.

The one member of the show that I did not really get to meet or know was Robin Quivers.  The only woman on the show was extremely private and in the midst of writing her own book.  I was a bit disappointed, but I did get a Christmas card from her – even before the internship started – and this was a highlight for me.

Working at a radio station, one of the perks is that we occasionally scored concert tickets at the hottest venues in New York City. I remember one night; all the interns went to see David Lee Roth in concert.  I was a big VH fan, so I had a blast.  The bummer was that I had to take the train all the way home to New Jersey afterward.  Of course, I had had a few beers and successfully passed out on the train.  I was out so cold that the conductor – walking the train – had to actually violently shake me awake to get me off the train. 

This was probably the craziest thing that happened to me while working on The Stern Show.

So, in retrospect, my internship didn’t open any career doors for me; It wasn't raunchy and seedy, but a normal job.  As you all know, I did move to Los Angeles and worked as a Journalist for a decade.  Unfortunately, when I was looking for jobs, I did take The Stern Show off my resume. I soon found out -- especially on the West Coast -- not everyone was a fan and I often felt that it caused prospective bosses to have a preconceived negative notions about me.  However, I don’t have any regrets: How many people can say, "I was a Howard Stern Intern."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Street Style: Trim Trousers Come Around Again

Sandra Dee
Being almost 5 feet, 8 inches tall, I am elated that Trim Trousers are back in fashion.  You know the style: snug fit through the legs – somewhat boyish looking – with ankle grazing proportions.

According to Wikipedia, also known as cigarette pants, slim-fit pants, stove-pipes or even skinny pants.

I am glad that I can once again display my ankles proudly.  Since my legs are almost as long as my husband’s legs – and he is more than 6 feet tall – most of my pants tend to be trim trousers without my even trying.

But honestly, I love that look.  I have a pair of Marc Jacobs’s pants, which fit me like cigarette pants.  They are a size 4 – obviously TOTAL vanity sizing – but the length just doesn’t make it down over my knobby ankle bones.  I love to wear them with these floral-patterned kitten heel mules. So fun and flirty if you ask me.

Of course, trim trousers also look fantabulous with the myriad of flats that are not only fashion-forward but good to our feet as well. Especially, if you are walking the catwalks at work each day; OK, I mean hallways but catwalk sounded very glamorous.

The look I’m loving best right now, is what Phillip Lim rocked on his runway:  trim trousers with a tuxedo stripe and edgy platforms.
3.1 Phillip Lim

The trim trousers look originated back in the 50s, with stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Sandra Dee wearing pants that were very slim to the ankle. Tapered jeans became notable with country singers around that same time – with the most famous being Elvis Presley. 

Throughout the 60s and 70s, stovepipes or drainpipes were synonymous with rock and roll from punk rock to glam rock to Michael Jackson.

Today, trim trousers are making their comeback in various styles: low, wide waistbands that flatter the hips; the classic chino cut which is my personal favorite; cropped; wild prints; and Lim’s infamous tuxedo stripe.

If you plan to wear this style to work as I do; remember cuffs make Trim Trousers office-acceptable but not necessary.  Also, a loose blouse will balance the diminutive cut of the pants.

Some designers/fashion brands showcasing the hippest trim trousers this season are DKNY, Tory Burch, J Crew, DFV and Tibi – of course, in addition to 3.1 Phillip Lim.  There are so many great styles out there find the look that's right for you and show us those ankles.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No Better Time Than The Present to Say Thank You to Our Teachers


Shane and Ms. Moon
It is mid-June and my six-year-old son, Shane, is getting ready to transition from Kindergarten at his private Christian school to First Grade in the public school district of Hermosa Beach, Calif..

The hefty price tag of the private school for the last two years has been well worth it and afforded Shane a strong core foundation for his primary education.  Shane had a little bit of a bumpy transition going from Pre-school to Pre-K; however, with the help of his teacher Ms. Chang last year, he excelled by leaps and bounds during the second half of the year. 

Shane also benefited from Ms. Helen, who has been his Teacher’s Aid for the last two years.  I can honestly say that Shane – along with all the other children – love Ms. Helen.  She helped the kids with their projects, homework, read many books to her students, all with endless patience.  She actually resigned last month so that she and her husband could retire to Arizona.  School just isn’t the same for Shane without Ms. Helen.

But with all the amazing support, Shane started this year off strong and has continued to amaze and impress us – as well as his Kindergarten teacher Ms. Moon. 

Shane is extremely fortunate to have had Ms. Moon this year.  She is fresh out of college so this was her first year teaching.  Can you say fresh and inspired? She said it was monumental for her because – at one time – her own mother was a teacher at Journey of Faith.  The exuberance that she has had in teaching our children has beyond impressed our family as well as others.  It is obvious that the children adore her but it is not without tolerance and a certain level of discipline from her.

As I have said to anyone who will listen, Ms. Moon is that teacher whom Shane will remember for the rest of his life. Also, she is probably the only teacher that he will ever ask for a sleepover.

So with all of these impending school changes, I have started to reminisce about my own education in a school system not unlike Hermosa Beach.

I can still remember the sweet smell of fresh paint on the walls every September when I returned to my elementary school from summer break; or the sound of our sneakers squeaking on the wood floor of the gymnasium.  If I try really hard, I can almost pretend I can feel the exhilaration of the impending summer vacation.  Unfortunately, a reality check reminds me that I’m no longer a carefree kid. (Bummer!) But I can live vicariously through Shane.

But, more important than the sounds and smells of my primary education are the teachers and other school faculty who made a significant difference in my life. 

From day one there was Mrs. Foster, my kindergarten teacher.  She taught me all about the alphabet by introducing me to her 26 friends – Miss A to Mr. Z.  There was also Mrs. Cottrell, my third-, fourth- and fifth-grade teacher who, to my horror, moved up a grade with me and my classmates every year.  Although she was not my favorite because she was demanding, Mrs. Cottrell taught me the most.

It wasn’t, however, just my teachers that made an impression.  Mr. Shannon, the school janitor, and his wife were a childless, elderly couple who lived only a few blocks from the school.  They were well-liked by the students as well as the adults in our tiny seaside community of Ocean Grove, NJ.  We lived in a different era then and, it wouldn’t be odd, to find a group of students at their home each day after school. 

Mr. Shannon’s favorite hobby was making ceramic figurines.  He would hand out orange pumpkin figurines in the fall and red and white Santas at Christmas time – he always had enough for all the students.  I remember that his wife baked the best chocolate chip cookies and that was probably the reason why most of us ended up at his house each day.
My classmates and I adored him so much that we wrote a song about him.  I can still remember the words to it 30 years later.

As the years passed, we moved on to new teachers at the middle school and became too busy to visit the Shannons.  In high school, the elementary school memories were replaced by the stress of geometry, dissecting frogs, and dealing with our raging hormones.

Then, one day, I noticed a for sale sign at the Shannon’s home.  I was amazed because, even though I didn’t see them every day, I just assumed that they would always be there.
A few days later, I found out that Mr. Shannon had died and Mrs. Shannon had gone to live in a home for the elderly.

I have always been sad because I never got the chance to say goodbye.
To avoid feeling completely at a loss, I think it is so important to embrace the positive memories of those you have lost.

So one thing I will always remember about Mr. Shannon were his corny jokes. My friends and I would always have these incredulous looks on our faces; I mean, could one person be that corny.  Although, it was the 70s and we all remember what sitcom TV was like back then.  Do I need to say more than, “Dynomite!”

Despite the economic challenges that face the Hermosa Beach School District with budget cuts from Sacramento, I am excited for Shane to begin his rite of passage going from his little private school to his “Big Boy” school.  Hermosa has a reputation for its amazing teachers and, despite money woes and what the future holds, I know that Shane will shine.

So, in honor of the end of the school year, I would like to encourage everyone to recognize our teachers for who they are and the doors of knowledge and opportunity that they open for our children.


Monday, June 13, 2011

George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord'




My sweet lord
Hm, my lord
Hm, my lord

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you lord
But it takes so long, my lord

My sweet lord
Hm, my lord
Hm, my lord

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you lord
That it won't take long, my lord (hallelujah)

My sweet lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My sweet lord (hallelujah)

I really want to see you
Really want to see you
Really want to see you, lord
Really want to see you, lord
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

My sweet lord (hallelujah)
Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hallelujah)

I really want to know you (hallelujah)
Really want to go with you (hallelujah)
Really want to show you lord (aaah)
That it won't take long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hmm (hallelujah)
My sweet lord (hallelujah)
My, my, lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hare krishna)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
Oh hm, my sweet lord (krishna, krishna)
Oh-uuh-uh (hare hare)

Now, I really want to see you (hare rama)
Really want to be with you (hare rama)
Really want to see you lord (aaah)
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (hare krishna)
My sweet lord (krishna krishna)
My lord (hare hare)
Hm, hm (Gurur Brahma)
Hm, hm (Gurur Vishnu)
Hm, hm (Gurur Devo)
Hm, hm (Maheshwara)
My sweet lord (Gurur Sakshaat)
My sweet lord (Parabrahma)
My, my, my lord (Tasmayi Shree)
My, my, my, my lord (Guruve Namah)
My sweet lord (Hare Rama)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Essie ® Nail Polishes Steam Up with Brazilian-Inspired Hues

I have never been to Brazil but, I can honestly say, it is one of my top five, “Before I die, I would like to go to…” destinations. But for right now, I don’t have to samba too far to experience the beach culture of Brazil. 

Essie ®, nail salon expert since 1981, has launched its newest 2011 summer line of nail polish colors, “Braziliant.”

Their ad in a recent magazine really caught my eye.  The showcase color, braziliant, is a luminescent coral and is being drizzled on top of a radiant white shell sitting on a sideways essie bottle.

The new summer 2011 shades also have the most fantastic names such as: too too hot; super bossa nova; meet me at sunset; smooth sailing; absolutely shore; and braziliant.

Also, essie ® polishes are DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde free.
This ad made me yearn for the colors of the beach and inspired me to pick up the phone and book an appointment at my nail salon pronto. I also ran out to the nearest beauty supply to get my own bottle, but they weren’t even carrying this line yet.  So beware, you may have to patiently wait for your perfect day at the beach…in Brazil.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lost in the Wilderness - Part 2

After three hours of being lost in the wilderness, my mom, her then-husband Rob, and I headed down the road to our salvation – civilization.

We had traveled so far, and it was at this point that my mother’s Golden Retriever, Laney, decided she couldn’t go on.  We could all relate to Laney’s exhaustion.  For the past seven hours, we had been lost, dehydrated, and suffering from heat exhaustion.  I had even been trampled by my horse.

A short walk to the closest house seemed like a thousand miles.  Because of Laney, it took us an hour to reach our destination – a little, white, one-room adobe sitting in the hot sun.  Since there was nobody home, we helped ourselves to the hose in the backyard.

After a short rest, we continued down a dirt road, which turned into a familiar paved road.   However, the road was on the complete opposite side of another town called Silver City, about 20 miles from Piños Altos.  Luckily, further down the road, the small shacks metamorphosized into real houses.

We went to the first house and asked if we could have some water and then let the horses graze, while we considered what to do next.  They saw our sorry state and said no problem. We couldn’t ride the horses back home because Silver City was far too commercialized – not to mention it was against the law.

Mom and Rob finally decided that the best solution would be for Rob to hitch a ride back to Piños Altos and return with a horse trailer.

It sounded so simple, but Rob had to hitch-hike 20 miles – in an era where nobody hitch-hiked any more – and then borrow a horse trailer from a neighbor because they didn’t even own one.
After he left, my mom and I just laid our weary bodies down in the grass and started to talk about everything that had happened.  Suddenly, my mom realized that her horse, Doll, had gotten out of the pasture and was grazing along the side of the road.  There wasn’t a lot of traffic, but every few minutes a car or truck would go whizzing by us. 

My mom approached slowly because she didn’t want to spook Doll. We had taken off her bridal so that she could eat, so when Mom caught up to her, there was nothing to grab.

Although once Doll saw Mom approaching, the huge horse did decide to be difficult and began rearing away.  At this moment, I realized the incredible strength bound within my mother’s body – and fearlessness – as she reached up and grabbed the mane of that massive Arabian – all the while commanding the horse.

Mom and Laney
My Mom told me to bring the bridal and bit over as fast as I could hobble. She had calmed the horse enough to resaddle her.

Rob showed up with the horse trailer around 6 p.m. Since we had three horses for a two-horse trailer, the best scenario would be to take Doll home alone and come back for Lil and J.J.  Rob loaded the horse and dogs, and headed home once again.

It was about 8 p.m. by the time he returned, and we were all ready to go home. We loaded J.J. and then we tried to load Lil, who had never been in a trailer before. We tried and tried to get her in that trailer – pushing and pulling for naught.  By this time, it was starting to get dark, so in a last desperate attempt, Rob came up with a brainstorm. 

He would pull the horse’s lead through the rear window of the trailer, while Mom and I pushed on Lil’s bum to get her in the horse trailer. This wasn’t quite what happened: Lil reared up on both hind legs, pulling Rob, arms first, through the tiny window. Rob broke his hand – it was crumpled and dislocated.

We were getting knocked down one at a time.

At 10 p.m., Mom decided that one of us – Rob for getting us in this mess – would have to camp overnight with the horses while the others went home to get some sleep.

Mom and I went back to her house to pick up some medical supplies, camping equipment and Jack Daniels for Rob. It was after 11 p.m. when we finally returned.

I could hardly walk on my injured foot, so I was standing on the sidelines watching them unload J.J. Unfortunately, I was too close to the trailer and, when the horse backed its hinds legs off, the trailer fell right on my injured foot.  I screamed out in pain, but by the time Mom and Rob realized I was hurt; gravity caused the trailer to return to its original position. (Luckily, I only bruised my foot.)

Mom and I headed back home for a few hours of sleep, which was restless, knowing that Rob was sleeping with the horses and that the saga wasn’t yet over.

We were back before sunrise and, once again, we tried to load Lil – without any luck.  Now we had to find a horse trainer who would be willing to get Lil in the trailer so early in the morning. We drove to a nearby Arabian horse ranch.  It took $100 and two hours of coaxing, but he was finally able to get that damn horse into the trailer.

When we finally made it home, there was this incredible sense of relief and closure. We realize that nature offers beauty, as well as danger. We knew we were fortunate to walk away from this ordeal, while others are not so lucky.  Many people die each year taking Mother Nature for granted.  My lesson:  Urban dangers aren’t necessarily more dangerous than natural treacheries.  I’d gladly take a dark, dangerous city alley over Mother Nature any day.