Friday, July 29, 2011

Lifetime Movie Classics: The Betty Broderick Oeuvre, Part One

When I was a kid, I spent a good deal of the time that I was at my dad's house playing with this old doll house, long forgotten by my older stepsisters. I had a doll house at my mom's house that was much bigger, but I had a special love in my heart for the other, older one. Why? It was decked out in all the "wonderful" styles of the late 70's and early 80's. There was a padded rust colored couch, a mustard colored kitchen with lots of wood paneling, a tiny, wood paneled stereo, complete with turn table. The doll house was a perfect vestige of the day, beautiful in a dated, almost sad way.

Thinking of that doll house now tells me what Betty Broderick's life was probably like before her life was completely turned upside down, a victim of her husband's betrayal and her own batshit craziness. The first Lifetime movie about her and her crime does a pretty damn good job of showing us that. Probably better than any other Lifetime movie out there (except for maybe The Two Mr. Kissels, which as you know, I'm particularly partial to), this movie shows us, rather than just hitting us over the head with, the world that these characters live in.

Really, A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story is a freaking master of the TV movie genre. Here's the story if you are so sad and deprived and dedicated to quality programming that you don't know it by heart already: Boy meets girl. Girl marries boy and stays with him through med school, then law school, then four kids, then overwhelming prosperity. Boy meets younger girl at law office and becomes a cliche in an expensive suit. Girl goes completely Ozzie Osbourne style CRAY-CRAY. Boy gets a few restraining orders and a divorce. Girl hits boy's house with her car. Girl shoots boy and younger girl and as boy is laying in the floor, dying, pulls the phone out of the wall so he can't call for help. LIKE A BOSS.

Matt watched a snippet of this movie with me and had an interesting point about it. If you look just a tad farther than Meredith Baxter's insanely good acting, you have a weird thing going on here. Namely, you are being asked, in fact, the movie is DEMANDING, that you sympathize with the cheating husband, the 40-something lawyer who shacked up his 20-something "legal assistant," who, as Debra Jo Rupp tells us, can't type a damn thing, and, further, that you demonize his strong willed wife. SURELY YOU JEST, LIFETIME. As we all know, Lifetime has made a mint demonizing the Dan Brodericks of the world, those men who shuck the women who have supported them through thick and thin right at the moment when things are starting to sag. And why wouldn't this be a profitable way to go for the network? Their target demographic lies in the saggy, the married, the Ben and Jerry's eaters of the world. Those 20 something legal assistants are all off presumably riding jet-ski's and giving blow jobs, not watching movies about women who had their face eaten off by dogs and then, inspirationally, made much better. But, crazily, here we all are, quietly cheering for the relationship between these two quirky kids in their big house and wagging a weary finger at the woman who leaves them dirty voice mails. Way to go, Lifetime. You just BLEW MY MIND. As Matt pointed out, Meredith Baxter might as well wear a goatee in this movie because it is BIZARRO WORLD.

Perhaps this is part of the charm of this movie. Perhaps that is why it is so damn good. But perhaps it is also because of these little moments, little nuggets of awesome that stand out. For instance, there is one moment when Betty is just doing her damn best to drive her huge, hulking SUV type thing into Dan's living room. She does it with this calm swagger, which in itself is badass and just more indication of how much Meredith Baxter truly rocked this role. But the best part is what is going on inside the house. The kids are all scattered about, trying to figure out what the ruckus is all about, which is well, what you'd be doing if someone decided to go all Wal-Mart parking lot on your front door. And one of the kids is standing on the staircase, and he just goes, "Dad, IT'S MOM." The kid really rocks this line. There is this worry in his voice, and as soon as he says it, this pang just hit me, and I knew that no matter what else I do as a parent, I don't want my son to ever say that about me. Which brings my list of parenting goals to two: 1) Keep the kids from becoming serial killers and 2) Don't let my kids ever see me doing something so egregious that they get that tremor in their voice. It's good to set the bar low when it comes to parenting, you know?

The other line that comes to mind is actually not too far into the movie. Dan and Betty are at a party, but it is not really remarkable because they are always at a damn party. Supposedly, Dan is working these 80 hour work weeks, and you know, he's a partner at a law firm, so that's plausible, but they sure do find time to party. I refuse to believe that this is a realistic portrayal--I think Lifetime just wanted to have more time to show a dude in a cape and top hat. SEXY. Anyway, Dan surprises a partner, as well as the partner's wife and Betty, with a Paris vacation on the following Thursday. This is when I paused the movie and told Matt that if he wanted to surprise me with tickets to Paris, even if they were to Paris, Texas, I wouldn't have a problem with that, and when Matt chuckled and I swore to invent that divorce app I've been thinking about. Betty sure as Hell has a problem with this spontaneous showing of wealth and affection. She whines, "But Dan...that's my manicure day!" And, that my friends, is how a patented response gets started in this house. Matt said something to me about going to a cook-out tomorrow night, and of course, I had to say, "BUT MATT....that's my manicure day!" And of course he had to say, "It's YOUR MOM'S manicure day." And, of course, I had to guffaw loudly and think about all witty and awesome I am. And, of course, you had to roll your eyes and promise to never visit this seedy area of the internet ever again.

Ladies, do yourself a favor and buy a good volume of alcohol (if that is your thing), a good cheese and some crackers and watch this shit. You won't regret it. When you get done, you'll not only be just a tad scared that Betty Broderick will get paroled, but you'll also be delightfully frightened that Meredith Baxter, who just enjoyed herself to the MAX in this role, will show up in her SUV at your front door, call you a bunch of dirty names and spray paint on your walls.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drop Everything and Go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

This is a truly wretched picture of me, staring into the sun with the wind blowing me like crazy and (of course) I'm being crazy and throwing the devil horns to show how truly rock and roll I am. Matt and I were looking through our pictures taken through the years last night and noticed that we are giving devil horns in an inordinate number of them, so much so that we have created an album called "Devil Horns Across America." Klassy.

This past weekend, my husband and I went to Cleveland. When I first told my mom we were going, she cracked up, so maligned is Cleveland in the general thoughts and minds of us non-Clevelandites. She still thinks it is pretty damn funny, asking me jauntily if I enjoyed my trip to the "mistake on the lake". To be completely honest, we didn't actively choose to go there. We basically wrote down every baseball stadium that is within driving distance of our house (including a few minor league teams) and threw them in my straw fedora and said we'd visit whichever one we pulled out. Progressive Field won, so we went, feeling doubly excited with the thought of the Hall of Fame looming as well.

My husband and I are both huge rock fans. He very much enjoys classic rock--I don't think he listens to really anything made after 1985 or so except for the White Stripes and maybe Muse. Matt grew up in a very, very religious household and only really started listening to popular music at all after he left home for college--before that it was all classical stuff and a little bit of oldies. His favorite song when I met him was "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals, which he listened to on an old stereo, turned down low to avoid his mom overhearing a song about a whorehouse. I, however, was very different. My parents loved rock, and I grew up on a steady diet of Neil Young, The Who, and Springsteen. When I was in kindergarten, the first thing I ever took for show and tell was a "My First Walkman" that my dad had bought me and my mom's tape of Tina Turner singing "Proud Mary," which was my favorite song at the time. Some of my best memories are riding around with my mom in her little two seater Mazda RX7 on Saturday nights, listening to our local rock station. My mom is a classically trained pianist, and at night after I had gone to bed, she would play Carole King's Tapestry from some old sheet music that was yellowed and falling apart. As I got older, I became very much enamored with Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth and Radiohead, while still listening to my mom's stuff--I wore out Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" at about 14 and developed a long-standing tradition of listening to Zeppelin whilst bathing. "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac IS my 18th year. In fact, when Matt and I met, I once heard him refer to me as "that girl with the big eyes that likes history and listens to weird music."

So, given all that, I guess you can take all this with a grain of salt. We are predisposed to like this stuff, just as we would be predisposed to like the Baseball Hall of Fame or the Cheese Hall of Fame. That said, I would dare mention that anyone would really enjoy this museum. There is truly something for everyone.

Some things to know if you plan to go:

  1. Allow all day for your visit. Unless you plan on sprinting through it, there is plenty there to keep you all day. It opens at 10 and closes at 5 (on every day but Saturday and Wednesday when it closes at 9). We got there and bought our tickets at 9:50, and we were the last people through the gate and into the gift shop at 5:05. Granted, we have a tendency to be big readers, and have quite the intestinal fortitude it requires to read all of the stuff in there AND we watched about an hour of the concert downstairs (which is streaming on Netflix if you are interested--we watched the rest last night) AND watched the inductees video upstairs, which took about an hour. If you don't want to do those things, you can take less time. But know that they are definitely worth it and add to the place, even if Matt wants me to add that the production values on the video (showing the first inductees in 1986) are similar to something one could make "with the software that came on my first computer, right beside of the Grollier's Encylopedia and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing". You can't win em all, I guess.

  2. Load up on food beforehand. We ate a pretty big breakfast at our hotel before leaving, and I'm glad for that because we simply did not have time to eat! The HoF has a cafe, but Matt, always the consummate budget traveler, told me to stear clear because he had read it was expensive and not delicious. I am a person who normally eats lunch right at 12, but I did not get hungry, perhaps from all the excitement and the walking. You are not supposed to eat in the museum, but I think you would be well-served to put some peanut butter and crackers or an apple in your bag and nosh on that in the cafe area. If we visit again, that is what I'll do. But to be honest, I didn't really need it, although I realized I was starved when we left and we had to make a beeline for something to eat.

  3. You can't take pictures, so know that going in. Listen folks. I like taking pictures as much as the next person. It was so, so fun to sit back and look at the ones we took of our trip when we got home and compare them to pictures of other road trips we have taken. But. You can't take pictures of everything, so get used to that fact. There were people getting visibly pissed when told they couldn't use their cameras in the building. And really, it is much more fun to go around and see the stuff instead of having to worry about getting the perfect picture. There is a coat and camera check downstairs, so take advantage of it, and try not to be so grumpy when someone tells you that you can't use your camera. Geez Louise, people. The world is a cruel place; let's all get used to not getting our way all the time.

  4. If you like the Beatles, get in line. Matt has a guiding principle for life, he says, and that is that there are two types of people in the world--Beatles people and Stones people. We are Stones people, as you may or may not have guessed. Most of the people who were visiting the day we were there were Beatles people. The Beatles have quite a large display of their own at the HoF, but you can barely get over to it for all the people just sitting there. Quite the clusterfuck, if I do say so myself. Matt said it reminded him of the line to see Lenin in Moscow, which made me laugh, because Lennon/Lenin. GET IT? We ended up kind of skipping it because the Stones were in the same room, and well you know. But just know that if you want to see Beatles stuff, you might have to throw an elbow to get your wish. (Interestingly, the Stones section was totally quiet, except for a teenage punkish looking band who were touring the section with security in tow. I have no idea who they were, but Gabby probably would. Matt made the comment that if any of them had farted, they would have blown their shoes clean off, so tight were their pants.)

  5. Bring a pencil and a notepad to write down acts you might want to look up after your visit. Some of the more awesome things that the HoF offers are kiosks where you can, among other things, see songs or bands that defined rock and roll and find out more information about them. A lot of this information is given in the form of acts that predated and inspired the work or the creator. By the time we got to the second round of these kiosks, I had located a free W&M pad they sent us in one of their 5 billion monthly requests for alumni donations and a pen and we took the time to write down a lot of blues acts and specific songs we wanted to download upon going home. This is a great way to extend the fun, and I'm really digging all this new Billie Holliday stuff I downloaded last night.

  6. If you can, try to get there before February 26, 2012. This is the last day to see the exhibit of Women Who Rock, which is there for a limited time exhibition. I liked this exhibit for obvious reasons. Was it perfect? No. The top floor was a lot of outfits worn by female rock acts. I loved this because I love clothes, but then again, it kind of had a "Dresses of the First Ladies" feel and I would have liked to see more information about women, sexuality, and music, not just a bunch of pretty dresses. The best part? Joan Jett's leather jacket, with its "Pro FUCKING Choice" button and of course, the Marianne Faithful and Patti Smith stuff, which were conveniently located right next to each other for maximum drooling effect for me (Matt saw them together, looked at me, and goes, "Well, I guess I'll see you in an hour or so...."). The other problem? They soiled the whole thing with a Taylor Swift dress! I hate to be all boo-boo kitty about stuff, but Taylor Swift just brings out the anger in me. I told Gabby about it and she rolled her eyes and goes, "I thought it was Women Who Rock and not Little Girls Who Sob." And with that, I present my daughter who truly, truly rocks. Of note, however, is a photograph display downstairs (near the Elvis stuff) all of women, with a bit of commentary on each one. They have a wide breadth of people from Gwen Stefani to Whitney Houston to Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics to Tina Weymouth of the Talking Heads. Matt and I both felt that it was a better homage to the women of rock (albeit smaller) than the upstairs exhibit.

This is long, and well, to be honest, there's probably only a handful of you people that actually care. I do encourage you to go, if for no other reason than to really feel the way that music affects us all. I do not consider myself to be a hokey person, and to be honest, that is something that I pride myself on. I hate faux sympathy, I hate anything I consider to be emotionally fraught. But I am not kidding--I straight up teared up in front of the Seattle/Grunge display. Something about knowing how that stuff had affected me as a kid, and seeing it all there, in front of me, knowing that I am now a year older than Kurt Cobain was when he died. It really affected me. And the best thing about music is that it is like that. No matter how far removed you consider yourself to be, there is something there that will move you, that will take you away to a simpler time and place or to a place where the music was all that you had.

I told Matt that I planned to write this and he wanted to add two things: 1) You can get cheaper parking (I think it is $6 as compared to $10, which is a big deal to Matt) is you park at the little airport down the street. It is not a much farther walk than the $10 lot. And 2) (this is a direct quote): "The only thing that place needed was more Charlie FUCKING Watts."

Ok, then.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Skewing a Bit Bohemian

Things are starting to change a bit for me, fashion-wise. A big part of this has to do with me getting hella old and starting to try to do things like manage money wisely (ICK) and really trying to figure out what I want to do with my life (DOUBLE ICK). And an even bigger part of this, as hokey and cheesy as it may sound, has everything to do with me becoming more comfy in my own skin.

I am starting to realize that even though I may push myself into the ole reliable Gap Perfect Trousers and other vestiges of business clothing, I will always have a bit of bohemian running through me. I am most comfortable in a dress of some sort and my starting-to-get-just-perfectly-beat-up Frye Harnesses. I know it is TOTES SHOCKING--the girl who (still) breastfeeds her toddler and washes out her cloth diapers in something called "Rockin' Green" would be a bit of a hippie. WHO KNEW? Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go fertilize my tomatoes and tell you what the REAL CRIME is.

(I'm just going to go on the record here and say I'm having tomato envy. No, that has nothing to do with fashion. I have the hugest tomato plant--biggest I've ever grown. And while all my gardening buds have little tomatoes, I have just a few blooms. NADA, really. My grandmother reassures me that mine is a late August bloomer. Whatevs. Tomato envy is the worst.)

At any rate, though, coming to terms with my hippie-dippie self has been a real breakthrough for me. I would like to say that that is cheesy, and that is not how I really feel (the "breakthrough" and all), but really, it pretty much sums it all up. I feel kind of renewed on the whole fashion side of things, and JUST IN TIME FOR FALL. Sadly, I'm sure the divorce papers will be in the mail the second that I go to Matt and say, "Honey, by the way, I've discovered myself. And the new me needs a fur lined vest and some mini dresses. Oh, and to get my MFA. Because how can I be bohemian chic without (another) superfluous degree!?!?"

I owe a lot of this to Anita Pallenberg, I must say. After putting it off for a couple of months or so, I finally read Keith Richard's Life, mostly in preparation for our decidedly adults only trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend (!). And I found myself with this huge girl crush on her because of some of the pictures in the book. Those pictures led to some innocent googling, and before I knew it, I owned a pair of metallic gladiator sandals and was foaming a bit at the mouth as I compared them to a black and white picture on the internet. And while you ponder at how weird that is, let us all be thankful that I'm emulating her in fashion only and haven't developed any kind of paranoid heroin addiction. Yea for my particular brand of crazy! And yea for the fact that I haven't decided to emulate anyone in Motley Crue's The Dirt, which I also (re)read! To paraphrase one of my favorite shows, Californication, one wrong step in that direction and you're the asslicker. No, you don't want to know what I'm referencing.

This is what I'm talking about:

I just love the unfussy glamour of it all. The lady certainly knows her way around a hat. And did I mention that she rocks BANGS? JUST LIKE ME? My God, people. The awesome.

I really want to make an effort to imbue my Fall purchasing with just that little bit of boho. Sure, I have the parameters of real life to work in. There's work and there's parenting and there's a lot of other shit to contend with where I can't wear a humongo hat and a fur coat and just be like, "What?" I took a look at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale the other day (and didn't buy on being a responsible grown-up person who has to take her brood on vacation and you know, feed them and shit!), and noticed some key pieces that I think I'm going to buy later/find dupes for. And I'm starting to think of accessories in a new way, trying to jazz up what I already own with some belting, some big ole bangles, a jazzy new necklace or so.

One late summer purchase I've made (to wear to the RnR HoF, actually) in this vein is this dress. Let me just say, I adore it. If you are a shorty like me and have been wanting a maxi dress and just haven't found one you can rock without a hem job, this is your dress. It is the perfect length on me in REGULAR (they do offer petite if you are so inclined, but read the reviews). I am currently trying to think of some very fun ways to style it--have thought of my long, black fireball dupe necklace, a fedora, a paisley scarf, and a skinny silvery belt as all contenders.

Interestingly, I was trying all this on the day that I received the dress and ecstatically removed it from the package. Matt was sitting at our computer, planning our trip to DC, which he has choreographed TO THE VERY SECOND. I came out with the scarf looped and belt on, and Matt goes, "Are you trying to look like Steven Tyler?" I said, "No," and moped a bit. I go, "I'M TRYING TO LOOK LIKE I AM DATING SOMEONE IN A FAMOUS ROCK BAND. BUT NOT LIKE I AM HIGH ON SMACK. GOD." Matt smiled at me and said, "You know, if I were in a famous rock band, it would probably be a band like Rush."

Maybe the divorce papers will be on the way WAY before I do my Fall shopping....

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Watched It So You Don't Have To: War of the Amy Fisher's

This past weekend, I was a slug. The two older kids went to stay with some of Matt's cousins for the weekend, so I was left to my own devices with just Matt and Al. We planned picturesque hikes and trips out for our little party of three. However, it rained all weekend. And I found myself pretty tired. And well, Lifetime Movie Network was running a "Tainted Love" weekend movie marathon, so well, you know. The story writes itself.

Alice happened to take her Saturday nap while Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story was having its run. I have never actually seen any of these Amy Fisher tell all movies (of which there are three, all made in 1993), so I settled into the couch with the August Real Simple, my leopard print Snuggie and some WW-friendly smores that I make in my oven. This, my friends, is what I imagine heaven will be like--just me, a silent house, a magazine and something cheesy on the tube. I really hope all that fornication doesn't keep me from experiencing it.

The movie was truly, truly horrible, which of course, means that I enjoyed the absolute hell out of it. Seriously, if I could watch that movie again, you know I would. With that in mind, I decided to see if I could find the Drew Barrymore version (CoL stars Alyssa Milano). Sure enough, some kind soul had uploaded that on YouTube. You don't have to know me that well to know what I did next. BUT! I did it for science, for posterity, for YOU, my litte sachertorte. Yes, I pitted Alyssa Milano and Drew Barrymore against each other in the ultimate Amy Fisher challenge so that you would know which one is superior and thus, is deserving of your rainy-Saturday afternoon moments. You're welcome in advance.

(And yes, I understand there is a third Amy Fisher movie starring the lesser loved Noelle Parker. But a girl can only take so many tired Long Island accents before she is committed, so I didn't watch that one. Sorry, folks. Maybe another day. And besides, Noelle kind of crashes this awesome Drew/Alyssa thing I have going on in my head, which probably gives me something in common with any dude who was masturbating in the early 90's.)

I have broken the movies into several important facets to make all this simpler. But before we start, here's a quick breakdown on each movie:

Casualties of Love (heretofore known as CoL): The Buttafuocco's version of events (and no, I'm not spelling that correctly. I refuse to google. They will heretofore be known as Mr. and Mrs. Zubaz for reasons that will become apparent later). This movie is so factually incorrect that it is laughable. In this one, Mr. Zubaz is the victim. Not because his wife got shot, mind you, but because he is an upstanding business man/family guy who some slut is fixated on. Basically, Mr. Zubaz gets addicted to the nose candy, goes to rehab, and comes back as Ward Fucking Cleaver in a mesh t-shirt. He loves his wife. You know how I know that? Because they have sex in the shower. In Lifetime world, pure, unadulterated marital love is shown in two ways: 1) children and 2) spontaneous shower sex. Alyssa Milano is the "Aimee" in CoL, so misspelled to avoid lawsuits, I assume.

The Amy Fisher Story (heretofore known as AFS): This one is no one's version of events and is pieced together from accounts from other people, not the actual parties involved. Boo-urns! And it is told in that weird, choppy flashbacky way that you see in a lot of Lifetime movies which usually means that there is some big old fat plotholes lurking around and you best not try to put it together too neatly. The story is the basic girl-gone-wrong diatribe. Amy is a wild, petulant brat whose parents indulge her every whim. I'll tell you this: I wanted to punch her through a good 2/3 of this movie. Like really punch her. She has a lot of sex with Mr. Zubaz, and some of it is pretty kinky (detailed below). There is a reporter running around through most of the movie trying to give the movie some kind of moral center about the villification of a sexualized girl, and really, all her points are valid, but you want to punch her too because she kind of makes the movie drag a bit. I don't want "feminism" and "morality" in my Lifetime movies. FUCK THAT NOISE! Give me another faked orgasm and a mom wringing her hands! That's more like it! Drew Barrymore is the Amy in this version. Slutty 90's Drew. That's a whole other bit of awesomeness right there, amirite?

The Fisher Parents: Both movies deal with Amy's parents in different ways. AFS gives them more of a spotlight in its showing, paying close attention to the mother's total denial that Amy is nothing but a slightly flawed princess. The dad, however, gets major points from me because he wears these huge 80's style glasses for much of the movie. They are truly amazing. Also, one of the better scenes in AFS is a domestic scene with the parents where Amy makes lasagna for them. Mom goes (and yes, I'm paraphrasing), "Amy, how much cheese did you put in this? Your dad has to watch it for his cholestrol." And Amy goes, "Uh, about 2 pounds." 2 POUNDS! That's when I knew she was a vile seductress. 2 POUNDS OF CHEESE. In the inimitable words of Urkel, HAVE MERCY. However, CoL takes this category on the stength of just one well played line. The parents are really played down, but there is a really priceless scene of Amy and her parents. She has just told them that she has herpes. And the dad goes (and this is a direct quote): "Amy, you said Joey gave you THE HERPES." Ladies and gentlemen, not only is that the best quote of this movie, it might be the best quote in a Lifetime movie ever. Advantage: Milano.

Wardrobe: Unfortunately, AFS really falls apart in the wardrobe department. Drew looks pretty staid in a lot of this movie, rocking some knee length skirts and a couple of tunics. WTF? A word to all you costumers out there: this is not how slutty girls in the 90's dressed. I mean, I didn't try to knock off anyone and my Blow Jobs Given to People Wearing Zubaz Pants tally was stationed solidly at 0, and I didn't dress that frumpy. However, just where AFS lacked, CoL really picked up the pace. I present to you, Exhibit One:I'm pretty sure that when Alyssa Milano finished filming this movie, she had one hell of a yeast infection. Her pants were that tight throughout the whole movie. She also wore some dynamite cropped shirts, double belts, some thigh high boots--HELL YES this is how a slutty 90's girl would dress! There was one scene in the autobody shop where she's wearing this skin tight gray cotton leggings and a tied up shirt. Matt, who was playing Civ World on the computer, turned around and said, "God bless Barry Zito," making reference to one of the many baseball players Ms. Milano used to boff. And I had to agree with him. That ass was PADOW, ya'll. I would totally shoot someone in the face for it. Advantage: Milano.

Overall Look: However, we have to remember that Amy Fisher did not look like Alyssa Milano, bless her heart. AFS does a much better job of giving us a more truthful look of Amy. I spent a good portion of the movie wanting to hold Drew down and straighten her hair because she is sporting some serious frizz in this movie. And I have to say, I loved that she had some kind of brown drawn on late 90's J. Lo eyebrows going on. And brown lipliner! HELLS YEAH. AFS kept it real with Joey too, having him spending a good amount of time wearing zubaz pants and skin tight polo's, which I think we all know is how Mr. Zubaz was hanging IRL. CoL really went for more flash on both accounts, with Mr. Zubaz even having to stand up for his flashy look to his dad. There were a lot of gold chains, some ill-advised mesh, the whole kit and kaboodle. What is funny is this is Mr. and Mrs. Zubaz's own account. So you know they were loving all that nasty stuff. Which is pretty icky, just as well, you know, banging someone underage. But for reality's sake, let's say Advantage : Barrymore.

Sexy Times: This is kind of a moot category, because CoL does not contain any Amy on Joey sex because in this alternate view of reality, Mr. Zubaz did not have sex with that woman! (Despite the fact that he would end up confessing to it.) There is that shower scene between Mr. and Mrs. Zubaz but ick. No. I refuse to comment. AFS, however, picks up the slack like mad. In fact, I read that this scene was labeled "too hot for tv"--it was in my YouTube version, but apparently edited out of the original. And it is easy to see why: there is full on boob suckage and you can see Ms. Barrymore's ass at one time. The fact that it is happening in Amy's bedroom with full on ballerina posters and shit like that hanging around is kind of a lady boner killer though. But, you know, if you are thinking of this in the more academic type way, I guess that the sex scene is good because it shows the complete and total wrongness of the whole Amy/Mr. Zubaz thing. Not me though. I'm there for the pornishness. And I have to give credit where credit is due--Ms. Barrymore does a pretty dynamic job in the scene directly before this one; her flirtations are pretty spot on, and she acts the hell out of it, playing the teenage nympho role to a tee. And well, this gets major points because I'm pretty sure it is the only sex scene ever committed to celluloid that features one of the participants having to take off his zubaz pants. Let's hope it is anyway. Advantage: Barrymore.

Overall (Tiebreaker): This is a toughie to explain because it really gets at the core of why anyone would watch a Lifetime movie. ASF is definitely the better movie--it features a more double sided view of the events, and is more factually based. There is that moral sense about the whole thing, a kind of commentary on women's sexuality and the hungry public's clamoring for it. HOWEVER. It is boring. I clicked around while I was watching it. Reading Facebook comments about soccer games suddenly became a lot more interesting, even though I hate soccer and about 85% of the time, Facebook. CoL, on the other hand, is the Disney Land version of the Amy Fisher story. It is so out of left field and just so Lifetime-y (Crazy sexual tart in fatal attraction with married man! Beautiful wife assaulted! Excuse me while I clutch my pearls!) that it is much more entertaining. Yes, it is truly a horrible movie. But, you know me. Advantage: Milano.

I can only hope that someday, there are three Casey Anthony movies out there for me to watch and pontificate about. Because you know, somewhere, Jennifer Love Hewitt is wearing a pink tuxedo shirt, practicing her dead eyed glare and just waiting on her phone to ring.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Survival Guide, Part III: Shorts

I'm sure somehow, somewhere there is recorded evidence of me talking about how much I hate shorts. Because I have mounted a nearly lifelong battle against them. Most of it has been in vain because my mother, well, she loves shorts. ADORES THEM. She will probably be buried in a pair of shorts. As a kid, she was always pushing shorts on me, partly because she loves them and the rest because I grew up in VA. And she didn't want me to die of heat stroke.

I went along with it, rather halfheartedly. I, at one time, got obsessed with these overall, shortall things that were very, very long (it was the early 90's--shut up), like manpri length. Kind of Dexy's Midnight Runners come to think of it (and it is here that I will take the time to give big up's to the Pizza Hut in Alamogordo, NM, where once, my darling husband serenaded me with Come On, Eileen and, for that matter, Free Bird). They were basically pants, but I had this whole theory that they were much cooler than shorter shorts because the air could circulate freely. I shared this theory with others, and God bless my mother, but she let me, and shook her head in agreement. It was totally stupid, and probably came off a bit unhinged, but it did the job of hiding the real issue.

The issue is that I HATE MY CALVES. MY GOD. My calves, due to preadolescent ballet dancing and bad-fat-leg genes from my mother's family, can grow to gargantuan proportions. The good news? They are strong. I have a muscle in the back of my leg that is either amazing/totally gross, depending on who I am running with. But when you are 12, you don't care about strong. You want long, graceful. Beautiful. I shared this with my stepmom at about that age, and she said, "But you are so lucky! Your legs are shapely!" And now, I look at that, and I truly thank her for the compliment. But then, I thought, "'Shapely' can kiss my ass." Even worse was when my college roommate was looking at my high school annual and saw a pic of me in my cap and gown. She goes, "Oh look, you're wearing cute white pants." Um, no. THOSE ARE MY LEGS. Awkward. And let me tell you--I have done some hardcore work on my legs to make them more shapely and less, um, fat, white and gross. Has it worked out the way that I want? No, not totally. It is something I think of and work on (not as much as I might want, I'll add). But I am more proud of their strength now, I'll tell you that. And that is a good feeling.

So I have started wearing shorts. And to be honest, I probably would have whether I looked good or not because ya'll, it's hot. And the older I get, the less I care, you know? I mean, not that I am going to be walking around in my pajamas--no one except my immediate family has ever seen me not fully dressed and without make-up, and I'd like to keep it that way. But if I can look nice and still be cool at the same time, I'm all for it. I'm less concerned with making sure my legs are picture-perfect. Shorts are just a means to that end.

And you know, shorts can be very flattering and truly cute. They are not just for the beach, ya'll. Witness one Anita Pallenberg:

Now, granted, to look like this you either have to be a) dating a rock star and getting a little something-something from his bandmate, b) living in a much more glamourous world than the one I currently inhabit (I JUST SPENT MY MORNING DESIGNING AND FOLDING BROCHURES! GLAMOUR! FABULOSITY!) and c) be totally freaking gorgeous. But I love this picture, and I am not even kidding when I say that I would gladly shoot someone in the face to look like this. So shorts! Let's rock with it! (And I'm sure I'll be back with more pictures like this, because me and Anita--well, we're having a moment.)

1. Know your inseams. From most companies, the shortest you can get is about a 3" inseam. That's pretty short. I have read that shorties like myself should wear shorter shorts to make the legs appear longer, but you have to think about comfort. 3 inchers, on me, give me that bizarre, riding up in the front, front wedge. Know what I mean? If you don't, go to any theme park, and I guarantee you that within about 10 minutes you'll see a few. Because my legs touch each other when I walk. No matter how thin I get, no matter how many cupcakes I sadly throw in the trash, my legs are always gonna touch. Chances are, you have the same issue. Know this going in. I like a 5" inseam because it is still short for maximum leg lengthening, but it is comfortable. And I think the look given by a 5" inseam is flattering on a lot of different legs. Plus, it is comfy and you have that whole "dress it up/dress it down" thing that is a bit trickier with shorts, but is still there.

2. That said, longer is not always better. You may hate your legs. They may truly be disgusting. I doubt it, but you know, it could happen. But you're doing yourself no favors by going with whatever is the longest thing available. I used to gravitate towards bermudas for that reason, but here's the thing: bermudas made me look like I was on the one way express to Stumpytown. They drew attention to my calves in some bizarre way and made me look like I had the legs of a piano. Because of the stumpy thing, I felt pressured to wear heels with them, which And the thing is, bermudas typically look the best on people who are long and slim. Now, ain't that just a kick in the nuts? It's the truth. When buying, don't concentrate so much on what the length is (just make sure it is comfortable to you), but rather, how it looks on you. Trust me, the hideousness that you think you are covering is just going to be magnified if the shorts don't flatter you.

3. Have fun with color. Shorts, in a great number of cases, are the ideal "Let's not take this so seriously" clothing. That's why they are so prevalent amongst stoners and Jimmy Buffett fans. So have fun with them. I recently bought a pair of French lavender colored shorts from the J. Crew Factory. Would I wear French lavendar pants? HELL NO. But I love the shorts, and really, they are much more versatile than one would think. I, for instance, love them with an orange striped tank I have. Orange and lavendar?!? Say it ain't so! It is so totally so, and I love it.

4. Do denim...with reservations. I used to be very, very anti-denim shorts (you can read a past blog entry with a cute pictorial lesson here), and still am in a lot of cases. But this year especially has shown me the error of my ways. I actually have two pairs now (gasp!)--a pair of beat-up looking ones and a pair of dark denim, more refined ones (kind of like a denim trouser in short form). Given the right circumstances, I love them both. For instance, the beat up ones are perfection with my Frye Harnesses, an old cut-up ACDC shirt and a dark eye. The trouser-y ones were recently worn with a structured white top, Jackie cardigan, and a chignon. The message is, watch your styling, and you can really have fun with denim shorts. Just remember this cardinal rule: DO NOT WEAR THEM TO A THEME PARK (or really, any place where you are going to be walking a lot or getting wet). Why? You'll look ridiculous, you'll be hot, and MY GOD, PEOPLE, THE CHAFING. My thighs are weeping right now at the thought of the thousands of thighs that will be chafed this year in denim related theme park accidents. Sadness.

5. Watch your shoe choice. Nothing says, "I played the decoy on To Catch a Predator" like wearing denim shorts with socks and tennis shoes. Leave that look to the 12 year olds. Opt for sandals (you decide how dressy you want to go) on that. In a pinch, Converses or Jack Purcells are acceptable, but only with NO SOCKS or at least, very short ones. STEP AWAY FROM THE SOCKS, PEOPLE.

6. And remember, whatever you wear, don't sweat it. It should be obvious, but don't wear anything that makes you uncomfortable. If you can, order some shorts online and try them out. If they make you feel icky, don't keep the suckers. I know this seems obvious, but I think a lot of times we try to force ourselves into wearing something because someone says we should, and it just doesn't work out. I'm here to tell you that you probably look pretty awesome in them, and not to worry about it. Again, just because you're paying mondo attention to your legs, doesn't mean other people are. They are too busy worrying about their own shit/wondering if their baseball team will ever win again/trying to force themselves into NOT singing "S&M" every time someone says something about Matt Kemp/being insecure about their own dimples and rolls. Sure, there's someone out there who cares--as a wise man once said, "Haterz gotta hate"--but you shouldn't care.

Here are some shorts I like, have tested out, and own:

J. Crew 5 Inchers. I've bought these in a 6, I've bought them in a 16, and they've always been flattering. And, as is the case for most Crew items, the color choices are amazing. Quick tip--the Factory ones are good as well. Fabric is a little thinner, but I like that during the summer, and from what I've seen thus far this year, they hold up much like the non-factory version. In a lot of cases, these are cheaper in the store than online (just be wary of the size choices--they were dicey with middle sizes--6/8/10--in my closest outlet).

Land's End Canvas Lightweight Chinos. Basic, with a nice fit and good quality material.

Old Navy Distressed Denim Shorts. Very cute on. It is very hard to find a denim short that doesn't skew "Daisy Duke," and these fit the bill.

Gap trouser shorts. Mine are these, just the Gap Outlet version, and I love mine (and they were just $17!). Very versatile. Love the look with something crisp and white and a big turquoise necklace.

Alternative Punishments for Alternative Children

The other day, I was down at my grandmother's house with my kids. They were wiling away on her couch, looking at some iPhone app or something, and then all of a sudden, the two older kids started tusseling. There was some good natured giggling, then a couple of "ow's" and then before I knew it, they were really going at each other in that brother/sister type way. I don't think anyone was really in danger of getting hurt, but I really abhor violence of any kind because on one hand, I'm a hippie dippie kinda gal, and on the other hand, the noises they were making were damn annoying. So I break them apart. Gabby retreats to the recliner, Sam lays wounded on the couch, clutching his iPod. And I decide in my great motherly wisdom that now is the time for a "Life Lesson" about violence and making annoying sounds while in my grandmother's house (never mind that my grandmother wasn't paying attention to any of this, as she was doing her best to turn Alice into one of those morbidly obese kids you see on Maury). So I sit down and look at both of them and adopt my stern voice and start to tell them about why fighting is not a good idea. And I am really intending on bringing it around, talking about violence inherent in the system and golly gee, I'm really trying to think of something topical and cultural to really drive it home, and all of a sudden, Gabby, in a perfect deadpan, starts singing, "Everybody was kung-fu fighting...."

And that's all it took. I tried to swallow my laughter, but it didn't work, and there I sit on the couch, just chortling away. Sam starts laughing too, just really going at it, and his laugh is truly amazing, so that just makes it all worse, and before I know it, we are all laying on the couch in a shaking, giggling heap, and Alice is standing in the doorway, clutching her second ice cream cone of the hour and going, "What do?" which makes us all laugh harder.


And then last night, Alice started throwing the bowl of popcorn that she had begged and begged for, all over the bed. At first, I just said no. But she didn't stop, so I reached out and kind of made a slapping motion at her hand. I didn't really hit her, but I thought the motion might shock her into putting her handful of popcorn down peacefully and retreating into good-childom. It did. And she even acted as though I hurt her (remember: I did not touch her), so I kissed her hand and politely told her to not do it again, why it was bad, the whole bit. For one minute, she just sat there and watched the All Star Game with me. And then, she picks up another handful of popcorn and loudly shouts, "DO AGAIN!" at which point I realize she wants me to punish her again.

I guess I don't have to say this, but SECOND PARENTING FAIL.

I really suck at the whole disciplinary thing. It is funny, because a good deal of Gabby's friends think I am the strict mom, since we have a mandatory bedtime in our house and I have absolutely refused to buy her a cell phone until she is 13 (with my patented response to the inquiry at "Who are you going to call? Dora?"). I have also taken the very mean and awful, Medici-esque steps of outlawing those sweatpants with writing on the ass and not allowing anyone in my house to step out of our yard wearing pajamas. CRUEL, I TELL YOU. But when it comes to actually laying down the law, I talk a big game, but very often, I crumble. And when it comes to things that I find to be amusing, I absolutely cannot keep a straight face or carry out my original mission. In short, I'd make a very lousy terrorist and Dr. Phil would probably really lay into me, given the chance.

So I have devised a new list of punishments for my hellion offspring.

1. If anyone brings home a bad grade (and yes, in my house, that equals anything "B" or lower), I will put that person in the front seat of the car, and I will drive around our town, blasting Blackstreet's "No Diggity" windows down. I will loudly sing every word, and when I see someone that that child knows, however vaguely, I will yell "PLAY ON PLAYA" at that person until I get a response.
2. Anyone caught doing anything vaguely unsavory on Facebook (and yes, I keep tabs on these things and have the passwords) will have baby pictures tagged by me. And I will tag them while the child in question has been grounded from internet devices and cannot un-tag. I will also feel free to post things on the Wall of the offender, including, but not limited to, poems of adoration and a great number of posts that begin with the words "Remember that time that you peed on yourself?"
3. Anyone caught being mean to a sibling will be forced to clean the kitchen on a day after I make roasted chicken (have you see the roasting pan post-chicken?--ick). I will also make some kind of bread that has to be rolled out and--oops!--I will forget to use a cutting board to roll it out on. And yes, I'll check between the tiles to make sure the cleaning has been thorough.
4. A child caught lying to me will have garage cleaning duty for a weekend. Prior to the actual garage cleaning, I will leave the door open for a night so we can get a nice mixture of creatures milling around in there. Feral cats FTW!
5. An untidy room means you get to sit and watch a Hoarders marathon with me. I don't think that is punishment, but I'm sure they will, especially when I sit there and play-by-play it. "Oh, they're going to open the bathroom! Five bucks says the water has been off for 5 years and there is a bag of excrement in there. Wait for it....OH YEAH! BAGS OF POOP! TOLD YA! PAY UP!"

I am lucky that my kids are pretty good little creatures because I'm really running out of ideas. Or maybe I'm not lucky. All of these sound like they'd be pretty fun for me. Maybe I really do have the soul of a dictator....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Survival Guide, Part II: The Bathing Suit

Just the mere mention of the words "bathing suit" has the power to turn even the most ardently feminist, logical, level-headed among us into a squealing mass of estrogen, tears, and chocolate shavings. I don't care how thin you are, how peaceful and zen you are about your body, you probably have some jiggly bits that you are less pleased with showing to the world. ACK, indeed.

However, bathing suits are a very real reality, especially if you have kids. There is the errant pool party or the incredibly hot day where anything else on your body feels oppressive. I spent a couple of years in CA when I didn't buy one--the beaches in Norcal are not prime bikini spaces--but really, I'm happier when I have one in my arsenal. Think of all the joyful moments of your childhood. Summers in the water, friends at the how many of them were you wearing a swimsuit? If you are anything like me, you have more than your fair share. Having a bathing suit that is comfortable that you like and enjoy is like having a key to a whole bunch of summer fun.

Getting to that point, though, can be a bit trying. I don't know anyone whose idea of "fun" is defined by taking a stack of bathing suits to the dressing room. And we've all been there, haven't we, doing the best we can under the harsh lighting, trying to make sense of what magazines tell us will surely flatter us and then finding that perfect suit in your size. It really is horrible, and actually, very avoidable. Quick tips for you (in list form because that's the way I roll):

1. Order your suit online. The easiest thing to do is skip the whole shebang and order online. That way, you can try things on in the comfort of your own home and do a whole bunch of crazy moves to make sure it stays in place/flatters your boobs in all positions. Make sure, however, to find an online company that has a great policy for returns. You can do a couple of things here--a) either order a panoply of sizes and pick the best fitting of the options, or b) talk to a service rep, either by chat or by phone about picking the perfect suit. This is what I did last year. I knew I have quite an issue with bathing suit--I have big knockers, and a not so big waist and very problematic hips--so I got on chat and talked with a Land's End representative. If you go this route, be ready with a tape measure to give them your measurements. The rep will be able to tell you not only your size, but what suits they offer that can most play up your assets. They can also guide you as to what styles come in special sizes. For me, I had to get a top that had DD cup sizes if I wanted to order my dress size in tops OR I could get a bikini top (that did not have a DD cup option) in a larger number size. I ended up ordering one top and one bottom and when it came in, it fit like a glove. Crisis averted.

2. If you can, pick a suit that you can mix and match with other pieces. I am going to risk sounding like a huge Land's End commercial with this post, but really, I'm so in love with their suits that it will just have to be that way. My suit last year was a tankini with low rise bikini bottoms from their Beach Living collection--black with white polka dots. I wanted to order more pieces at the end of the year, but this desire got kind of tabled when I started seeing fall stuff hitting the stores and wanted that more. What can I say? I'm like a dog going after something shiny. At any rate, I had the tankini and that was enough. However, earlier this summer, Land's End put some of their pieces from last year on super, super sale. I was able to get a bikini top and a swim mini in the same matching print in my size and ready to go for a SONG. Like, less than a song, like a clip of a song. And the fit is still the same and looks amazing. I was chatting with another blogger about this and she said she had done similar things with the swimsuits from Land's End Canvas--she had a great navy blue tankini from there last year, and this year, was able to score cute orange striped bottoms that looked complementary, as well as navy blue boardshorts. If you go relatively neutral, you can really play with it and come up with a swimsuit that is as unique as you are. And having an extra change is perfect for those days when your suit is still wet but there is fun to be had.

3. Once the suit comes in, test it. I call this the "Do a Load of Laundry" test. When you try on your suit for the first time, keep it on. Walk around your house and do normal stuff. Can you do a load of laundry without adjusting yourself? For me, if I can navigate the toys in the living room, pick up a child, switch the clothes around, walk back in the living room, laundry basket and kid in hand, fix a sandwich, turn on a baseball game, and fold the laundry, all without being uncomfortable or showing part of my genitalia, I may have found a winner. Come up with your own test, and if you can complete it, it's a keeper. If not, keep looking.

*This test also applies to high heeled shoes, thongs, and shorter skirts.

4. Know your limits. I have really tried to shy away from blanket statements like "Don't wear a bikini if you are over 40" or "Don't wear anything in neon green." I think we all basically know what styles and colors do us no favors. For instance, if you have over a B-cup, please do not wear one of those triangle tops. Unless you are just really, really happy with your uber perky bosoms that can, you know, stand up and do tricks on command. But really, only you can know exactly what your limits are. I used to think that I would never wear a bikini top (as opposed to a tankini). But now, I'm kinda thinking that the one I have is a fun, cute look and flatters me. Remember that as long as you are confident and own the look, you can get away with a lot more. If you aren't confident, you're going to look like shit, even if you've been doing P90X everyday for the past five years. So find the suit you want, make yourself happy with it, and rock the hell out of it.

5. Don't wear pants at the beach. Remember the video for Wilson Phillips' "Hold On" (which was my JAY-UM way before Bridesmaids came and co-opted it)? They're all singing and they're happy and they're feeling it and my God after all these years, I still want Chynna's hair, and wait...they're on a beach. And Carnie is wearing a suit? Were you fooled then? Did you think that maybe she was a size 2 because all of her fluff was hidden by a curtain of black polyester? No? Well, no one else was either. And they won't think you are suddenly thin if you show up to the beach in pants. Buy a bathing suit that you like, rock it, and fuck that haterz. No one is looking at you anyway--they're too busy looking for sharks/reading that tell-all about Suri Cruise's shoe closet/giving their husband sand boobs/HAVING AWESOME FUNTIMES BEACH FUN. NO ONE CARES IF YOU HAVE BUTT DIMPLES. And if they do, well, you shouldn't want to impress them anyway. They probably watch a lot of Nancy Grace and call "frappuccinos" "frah-pu-CHIN-os." Bastards all.

Here are some links to help you on your journey. If you haven't ordered a suit yet (and I realize I'm pretty late in the game with this post), you're in luck because there are some jim-dandy sales going on.

This tankini is similar to mine, although mine is a halter. Note that you can get D, DD, and DDD cup sizes, along with a host of other choices.

Swim mini's are great in between bikini waxes (just sayin').

The Crew always has beautiful one pieces in amazing colors if that is your thing. I used to have one--purchased for a song on Ebay--and it was lovely.

Old Navy is the master of the mix and match suit. Especially if you don't have the healthy bosoms (does it creep you out when I say "bosoms"? Cause I'm giving myself chills over here.)

Finally, a quick story as to why all this is important: my elementary school boyfriend runs our local pool. Yeppers. And my daughter, who I may have disowned shortly after this incident, managed to squeal "MOMMY, IS THAT THAT GUY THAT YOU SAID YOU LOVED IN LIKE FIRST GRADE OR SOMETHING WHO CAN DO THAT LIZARD FACE?" In front of him. While I was wearing a bathing suit. Ah, yes.

Anyone want a 12 year old for hard manual labor? Preferably something that involves poop?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baseball Sucks but Joe Mauer Does Not

Yesterday, I decided that I hate baseball. HATE IT. The A's decided to trade my favorite player, the superbly underrated Mark Ellis, and on the same day, they lost. To the Marlins. The Marlins won like 3 games the entire month of June before they played the A's. But of course, my team could not hit the broad side of a barn if you gave them a tee and a whiffle ball bat, so you know. HATE.

Baseball, and I'm sure most other sports, really does a number on its fans. One minute, you're riding high, and so amazingly happy with your team, the sport, the entire freaking universe. And the next minute, you are answering questions on a "Are you clincally depressed?" online quiz, and wallowing in a rage that is so completely blinding that you should not be allowed to drive. This is my life between the months of April and October. I'm ok with that. But there are certain moments (for example, yesterday) that just make it that much worse. And that is when I decide that I hate baseball more than anything else in this world and that it should do me a grand favor and just die in a fire.

The last time this happened, when my husband's favorite catcher of all time was traded, we drank ourselves into oblivion. Like that was the drunkest I ever got. I puked more that night than I puked in my entire college career, no kidding. It was absolutely horrible. I am a bit older now, and knew I had to work today, so that was not an option. Instead, I have ordered myself some new jeans, some Nars Illuminator and some tanning towels. Retail therapy, ya'll. I HAZ IT.

And since I now hate baseball with every fiber of my being, I should not care about Joe Mauer. But you know what? His is a beauty that lives on, thriving despite my absolute, white hot hate. And he knows all this, you know, and he's all like "Hey girl. Why don't you make yourself feel better by writing about that lip gloss and that eyeliner that I like? You know that stuff I saw you wear when we were laying in that DoubleTree in Cleveland and watching that clip of Buster Posey getting his leg shattered over and over again? You know that video makes me hot."

And since he deems it so, and well because he looks like this

I'll go ahead and give you these product reviews. Remember, these are two products that, if worn, will allow you to have sex with Joe Mauer. There's a 98% chance of it. Give or take that pesky 97%.

NYC Cosmetics Lippin' Large Lip Plumper: This is one of those reviews where I should just start it with the words "Well, I was in Target the other day..." I was there to buy a sports bra and some sunscreen and some pajamas for my kids. But, well, you know how that goes. Thankfully, this is one of the smaller purchases I have made under these conditions, running about $3. For my lip plumping needs, I usually use Bare Escentuals Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish in the color Dolly, in reverence to one of my favorite Southerners and the creator of Dollywood where you can get the best damn turkey legs in the world. However, I left my last tube in my mother's car and she promptly drove it back to Memphis, thinking it was hers since she uses the same stuff. No biggie, you know. I have plenty of lip gloss and I don't use any of them anything close to exclusively. But sometimes you just get the craving for big old fat Angelina Jolie lips, you know? Thus, the purchase. And I have to say, I like this stuff. I got the color Strawberry Mousse, and there is a bit of a strawberry smell, though nothing cloying or even that noticeable after the first little bit of wearing it. It comes in the little tube like thing that I like in the summer. And the formula is nice--not sticky, not goopy. Pleasant. It makes your lips feel moisturized and happy. The color itself is gorgeous--I could definitely see this color on a more expensive gloss. Now, the plumping abilities? I'm not sure. There is a cool tingle, not so unlike eating a York Peppermint patty, so you're not getting the full-on "I just spread pure uranium on my lips!" feeling of a Lip Venom. It is pretty similar to the Buxom gloss that I'm used to. And there is a bit of noticeable plumping. I'm not sure it is all that much more than a regular gloss where any plumping has just come from drawing more attention to my lips, you know? So if you want GINORMOUS lips, this is not the product for you. But really, I like it. For under $4, I LOVE IT. It is a great, easy product to keep in your purse for when you are riding down the road, air condition blowing on your lips and drying them out.

And the best part? Even for the low price point, it comes in a little box, so you know that even though you are buying it at Target, it has not been tampered with. Cover Girl could learn a thing or two. And you know that gives Joe Mauer a bit of piece of mind. He doesn't want your lips to be tampered with! He wants them all to himself, so he can kiss you and lovingly feed you little chocolate baseball bats that he molded himself in his cabin in Minnesota while he was also preparing a lovely roast leg of lamb, repairing a diesel engine and thinking about rubbing your feet.

Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner (with Light Interplay Technology!) You know, aside from the internet, I hate technology. I don't have a Kindle (I am the only person in my family, aside from Alice, who does not), I don't have an iPad, I have a rickety old iPod nano that I only use when I'm running and can't convince the husband to come with me, I use my phone for calls. I like things that are old, like books, and tangible desk calendars and writing letters. You guys, I don't even have a food processor--what's the point! I can chop and make pie crust my own damn self, thank you. My husband thinks I'm insane. If it were up to him, we would live like the Jetsons. He keeps track of all new technological developments, and gets giddily excited about them. He has whole conversations about how much he loves living in the age we live in and how excited he gets by change and progress and whatever. Blah. Humbug. Give me a baseball game on the radio (uh, I forgot that I hate that game for a minute there. HATE.) and a nice long book with a broken spine, and I'm ecstatically happy with myself.

So when I saw the words "light interplay technology" on this package of eyeliner, I rolled my eyes. Right there in the Target aisle. But I needed some eyeliner, and I had seen some scuttle about Almay's eye products as of late, so I tried to ignore the fact that "light interplay" technology is the stupidest crap I've ever heard. It's a pencil, ya'll. A kohl pencil. The same sort of shit Cleopatra wore. It doesn't organize your calendar or chop your onions or forward those jokey emails that you get about tequila. IT IS A PENCIL. NO NEED FOR TECHNOLOGY. But I bought it anyway because at my most base level, I have to admit that I was curious. Would my eyes glow with beauty? Could I blind someone with my new ocular laser beams?

The fact is that it is just a basic eye pencil. I don't notice any technology, I don't feel any glowing or see anything crazy. Here's the thing though. The formula is pretty rad. It goes on well, and it has a little smudger on the end. I usually don't use pencils, eschewing them for the flowing-ness of a liquid eyeliner because I prefer the silkiness of a liquid to the sometimes painful and uncertain pencil. But this I like. I think it is perfect for a less heavy handed eye-lined look, especially for the summer. Today I am wearing this and mascara on my eyes. That is it. And that's saying something for a girl that likes her shadow. But I like the look--clean and easy yet defined.

They have lots of colors, and you purchase them based on the color of your eyes. I have boring black, but which is "Black Midnight" since that is what was specified for brown eyes. Whatevs. Joe Mauer, you know, prefers the black, but he says you could go with anything really because he loves your eyes just they way they are. "Just the way you are"--Joe Mauer just loves Billy Joel. Now, if you'll sit still, put your feet up, and eat this bowl of chocolate ice cream he just made in his Cuisinart Ice Cream maker, he'll play you some of the piano man's greatest hits. AND ALL BECAUSE YOU WORE THAT EYELINER. Girl, you are one lucky lady.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips for having sex with everyone's favorite American League Central catcher. As I was typing this, I checked Facebook and saw a post from the Oakland Athletics, and I briefly forgot that I hated them and planned on cutting out some recipes while I watch the game tonight. They are pulling me back in, I know they are. Sigh. A pour of vodka out for my homie, gone to the Rockies, but never forgotten.