7/24/2014

Hello, my darling readers...

I am sitting here at the computer contemplating jumping out of the window onto the street below. Ultimately, I'll abandon the thought since my office is on the second floor; I would only be maimed.

I just wrote the funniest article about something that is going on in my life. I read it out loud to my sister/assistant and my graphic design goddess. It made them laugh out loud and they both know it is all true, so it's even better.

I was sending the document to the art department and even though I saved the damn thing, I evidently pushed something and poof! It disappeared. A little while ago, after much trying, it was deemed irretrievable by the IT department.

I am so sad because I love writing for you each week and this was an especially good one. From now on I will print out what I write before I attempt to send it electronically. I am not crazy about computers and they feel the same about me. I am so sorry. I made some notes and I will try to re-write it for next week.

I know we all make mistakes but this one really hurt. You are now stuck drinking a good cup of coffee and reading this pitiful letter instead of a funny article.

The great philosophers have written much about making mistakes.

Alexander Pope's line is probably the most famous.

"To err is human, to forgive divine."
You do forgive me, right?

Winston Churchill wrote,

"All of us make mistakes, but only the wise learn from their mistakes."
I learned... I promise you.

But I think it was one of my favorite comedians, Ron White, who said it best.

"You can't fix stupid."

7/17/2014

The Pretty Committee

I am so in love with HGTV and the whole DIY thing. I watch endless hours of TV that focus on making over ugly '70s houses and other neglected properties. The experts turn these places into chic, sophisticated homes that match the owner’s persona perfectly. The transformations are amazing.

It occurred to me the other day, while we were in the midst of our marathon photo shoot, that the same treatment should be given to people, especially us ladies. We sometimes get so busy with day to day life that we forget to spruce up or modernize our look. Just like well-built homes, we girls have “good bones” and all we need is an update. Let me get back to what happened with the models. We went on an extensive model search for “fluffier” girls who hopefully had some modeling experience. The plus-sized models world is very narrow and the same girls are used all the time. We wanted our own “dream team” of beauty-FULL models to represent LoveFifi.

The gorgeous six ladies who won out over the competition are extraordinary and have such amazing self-esteem. Even though most of them were first timers in front the camera, their confidence and femininity ignited their shots in a way that is indescribable. Imagine watching the most exquisite butterfly you have ever seen and there are fireworks exploding behind it in the sky. That’s what it felt like watching these lovelies express their inner and outer beauty in front of the camera.

You know I am very random, so please stick with me on this one. I am getting to the point. Before a model goes on set, she spends about 2 hours in hair and makeup. This was very exciting for my new models. For my straight size models, this is part of their professional day-to-day experience and they are privy to every beauty trick in the book. It’s just part of their lives. For my curvy girls, who are all very pretty, sitting in the makeup chair was like Disneyland. My beauty team, who I call The Pretty Committee, are the best in the business. Each and every one of my plus-sized girls was overwhelmed with the results which only added to their swagger when they stepped in front of the camera. Even though these girls were brimming with faith in themselves as women and were very comfortable with their bodies, they had never been polished up to their potential brilliance.

Ok, the point is coming... We all get so stuck in our routines that we don’t make time to upgrade our look. We leaf through magazines with all the new trends in hair and makeup in front of our faces and then put on our sweats, throw our hair in a ponytail, pop on our sunglasses and that’s as good as it gets. I am guilty it, too.

Only movie stars and celebrities have hair and makeup experts on staff. We regular girls have to be a little more resourceful. I am going to initiate a new movement and I hope all my ladies out there will be a part of it. It’s called DIYB... Do It Yourself, Baby.

First, take out older photos of yourself from 2,5,10 years ago. Do you still have the same hairdo? I did. We all buy makeup and hair products, how much of it do we only use once and eventually throw away?

Here’s where the DIYB starts. You can have your own Pretty Committee for very little money, or at least, money you would have spent anyway. Start getting the most out of it. The next time you go for a trim, ask the hairdresser if he/she were given the green light to do anything they wanted with your hair, what would they suggest? Assuming that you go to a contemporary salon and not one of those places that does that does shampoo-and-sets for blue-haired old ladies, you will probably get an answer worth listening to. Stylists have to keep up with the times and their suggestions are usually good. They also see you your beauty potential in a much different light than you do. Let them impart their expertise to you. They are the expert. Consider making a small change. Layers or bangs or some highlights are easy and can make an astonishing difference. If you never go to the hairdresser, spend a little money to go to a decent one every once in a while. And ask questions.

Is there anything more enticing than the makeup aisles Wal-Mart or Target? I am a big fan of drug store beauty products, but there is no one in those places who has a clue as to what would look good on you. Every department store in America has extensive beauty counters with smock-wearing makeup girls who are often employed not by the store, but by the makeup brand. They are trained to make women look better so that you will buy the products. They are at the ready to plunk you down on a stool and make you over. Let them! Ask for a hand mirror so you can look between every step. It doesn’t really matter which brand you choose. Look for the girl who you think looks the best and whose makeup is tastefully applied. Be careful not to get lassoed in by anyone who looks like a geisha, a call girl or a member of Kiss. Listen to every word. Watch every step. You'll have to buy something and my advice is to get a foundation (they are trained to match skin tones and the quality is very good) and/or a makeup primer (trust me, primer is too high tech for drug stores). Everything else can come from Walgreen's once you know what you need. Have her stroke a little blush on a tissue so you can match it later. If you don’t like the total result, come back another day and go to another brand. It’s basically a free service and besides, it’s fun.

And the last members of your own personal Pretty Committee are the people in your life. Please LISTEN to what they say when you have put all your new knowledge to work. It will happen and it feels so good.

My sweet mother never went out of the house without her “face” on. Her hair was always coiffed. She used to say that if you look good, you feel good. It’s true. How about a little DIYB? Are you in?

Just to get you going, I have printed photos of some of my new models when I met them, and after the experts got their hands on them. My butterflies...

7/11/2014

To My Darling Readers

I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July. I did! I cooked 12 racks of ribs, whipped up a big crock of baked beans, cut up 3 big watermelons, toasted a ton of garlic bread and made dozens of cookies. The family had an absolute blast and everyone was more than "Thanksgiving" full when they rolled out the door after the fireworks. It was wonderful.

We all returned to work Monday with a killer week ahead of us. Tuesday we began a marathon photo shoot for the Fall and Holiday season. You cannot even believe the magnificent new styles we have coming your way. The biggest news of all is that we photographed every style we have that comes in Plus Sizes on PLUS models. So many of you have requested this and we are doing it. We have rounded up the most gorgeous group of PLUS sized models from size 14 to 24.

It's so funny, the PLUS models are all so fun-loving and gregarious. They laugh and tease and were so much fun during the fittings. One day I happened to mention to one these models that the whole group of curvy models were crazy-cute and full of smiles all the time. Her response was that the "fluffier" models were the happiest because they're NOT hungry. I can relate!

Anyway, I am up to my eyeballs with things to do, so there won't be a regular article. I figured you wouldn't hate me if I told you what was going on. Y'all mean the world to me and I never want to disappoint. I will be back next week with some more of my mayhem and foolishness.

Hugs and Kisses...

7/02/2014

Mad About America

You have no idea how much I love the 4th of July. It is second only to Christmas in my heart. The way I spend this holiday has changed over the years, but the memories of the past only enrich the way I feel about it today. During the 300 years that I was married, we almost always gathered with the entire family at my in-laws. My precious father-in-law was a WWII war hero (he was awarded the purple heart) and he especially loved having his family around him on this holiday.

We would bar-b-que and everyone would bring something to add to the feast. The best part, however, was that the city where my in-laws lived still allowed the sale of fireworks. We would all pitch in money to buy the biggest, super-duper-colossal box they made. When it got dark, we brought the patio chairs from the back yard and created a makeshift amphitheater on the front lawn. My mother-in-law and father-in–law sat in the best viewing seats like the royalty they were. It was then the job of their 2 youngest grown sons (one of them was my husband) to put on a fireworks spectacular in the street.

You must understand that these are professional guys (a CPA and a Superior Court Judge) who are the furthest thing from being handy that you can be. They didn’t want to look like sissies or idiots so they both had to suck it up and appear oblivious to possible bodily harm if something should go wrong. They would set off one of the fireworks and then run like hell. The squeals and applause from their loved ones gave them a big dose of courage and by the end of the show they were fearless. It was so much fun and it made everyone so happy.

My beloved daddy-in-law spent his last Fourth of July doing this very same thing. He didn’t eat much that day, but he was all smiles when the 2 Stooges took to the street and began the fireworks show. It was a very special day for the kids and grown-ups alike. Six days later on July 10th, we lost him to cancer. Since then the 4th is still a favorite of mine and the whole family. The people in my world continue to celebrate this great country of ours to the max. My sister hosts the day at her house and we have spent weeks and months planning a day to delight. We are turning her front yard into a water park for the kids. We bought a good sized rubber pool, a Slip n’ Slide, a Water wiggle, squirt guns and balloons to fill with water. Everyone was instructed to bring extra clothes as not getting wet WON’T be an option. There will be amazing food and when it gets dark, we will pull the chairs onto the lawn and watch the magnificent fireworks above our heads. Sister knows how much I love fireworks, so she bought a house near Disneyland so I can see them as often as I want.

I am proud to be an American (and I love love love that song). I celebrate this day with all that is in me. Did you ever think about the things that are purely America?. There’s a pretty impressive list, so let me share some of it. How can you NOT be in total love with a country who is responsible for inventing Rock n’ Roll, blue jeans, multi-culturalism, bar-b-que, and the Internet? And if those don’t make you say WOW!... then try these. All are credited with being born in the USA.

Doughnuts

Harley-Davidson

PB&J Sandwiches

Religious Freedom

Antiperspirant

Jazz

Skyscrapers

Coca-Cola

Baseball

Cheeseburgers

Muscle Cars

Cowboys

NASCAR

Buffalo Wings

Country Music

And of course... Apple Pie

6/19/2014

Wedding Bliss

If you read me every week, you know that I went to Las Vegas last weekend for my niece's wedding. It was the sweetest, most precious day. The whole experience was beyond wonderful.

My niece calls me her fairy godmother. I love that a lot and do everything I can to be magical. The couple paid for the whole wedding and reception themselves, so I did what I could to help out. My sister, my daughter and yours truly hauled make-up, hair rollers and a ton of other beauty items to Vegas and turned ourselves into the Glam Squad.

The morning of the wedding, we all plied ourselves with 20 oz. lattes and whipped the bridal party into gorgeous goddesses. It was the most chaotic scene you can imagine. There wasn’t an inch of mirror space in that hotel room that didn’t have at least two ladies curling, powdering or eye lining. We finished on time without a hiccup. Everyone looked amazingly beautiful. It was time for the bride and her posse to leave for the chapel when all hell broke loose. “OMG!”, my niece yelled out. "I don’t have anything BLUE!” She was panicked. It wasn't like the matrimonial police were going to check her for the traditional something old, something new, etc... but we all know that brides want everything perfect. I quickly got a big hand mirror out and showed her that I had added some tiny pale baby blue Swarovski stones to her floral headpiece just in case. She was relieved and I was triumphant. This was not my first rodeo, folks. And that is why I am her fairy godmother. The “something blue” always gets forgotten. I then started thinking about where the whole tradition started.

It derives from an old English rhyme, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a sixpence in your shoe." Something old represents continuity in your new life, something new offers optimism for the future, something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness that you are taking from brides before you who have had happy marriages and something blue stands for purity, love and fidelity. The sixpence in your shoe(we used a quarter from California) is a wish for good fortune and prosperity.

A very sweet tradition, indeed, but this got me thinking. As I was sitting out the chicken dance at the reception, I pulled out my smart phone and looked up wedding traditions around the world. So while I am still in the wedding zone, let me share some very fun “who knew?” tidbits with you.

1. Queen Victoria started the Western world tradition on the white wedding dress trend in 1840. Before that, brides just wore their best dress.

2. Engagement and wedding bands are worn on the 4th finger of the left hand because it was thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

3. A groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from the evil spirits that might be lurking.

4. The tradition of the wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over the bride's head to insure fertility.

5. In many cultures around the world, including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings, the hands of the bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other, giving us the expression, tying the knot.

6. In Ireland (I love this one), the presence of bells is very important. The ringing of a bell helps to keep the evil spirits at bay. Irish brides often mix tiny bells in their wedding bouquet and a bell is considered a great wedding gift. It is thought that if a couple carries a bell into married life and keeps it in a safe place at home, they can ring it to stop an argument by reminding them of their wedding day and their vows.

7. Greek brides tuck a sugar cube into their glove because it is said to create a sweeter union.

8. Moraccan women take a bath in milk before the ceremony to purify themselves. I wonder if there are cookies that go with that deal?

See what extremes I go to in order to keep you all informed? I didn’t mind sitting out on a bit of the wedding fun to enlighten you. Actually, I already rock at the chicken dance, so I didn’t need the practice.

Ta Ta for now!

6/12/2014

Vegas, Baby!

I am excited about this weekend. My favorite niece is getting married to the man of her dreams (and our dreams, too). He is a doll and we are thrilled to be going to watch the magic happen. These two kids fell in love 6 years ago and have been separated by 3000 miles for at least half of that time. They were each married before and their first responsibilities were to their children, so they suffered through a long distance arrangement and saw each other as much as they could. The stars finally aligned in their favor and they now live in the same city. Saturday is the wedding in Las Vegas and it is going to be fabulous.

They decided to have the wedding in Vegas because they wanted everyone to have a ball. They don’t want wedding presents; they just want the people who love them to be there. It’s going to be wonderful to see these two families become one big family. I will see friends and relatives that I haven’t seen in ages. Because it is Las Vegas, the fun and craziness will probably continue around the clock. You either love or hate Vegas. There is really no in between. I love it.

Las Vegas, Nevada is a pretty interesting place. Did you know that there are approximately 15,000 miles of neon tubing that light up the strip and downtown? Yep, and of the 20 largest hotels in the world, 12 are in Las Vegas. The largest hotel in the U. S. is the MGM Grand. It is also the 3rd largest in the world.

There are over 200,000 slot machines in Las Vegas. More than 60% of all gambling revenues come from the slots. I do my part, I can tell you. The largest slot jackpot ever won was at the Excalibur Casino and was just under $40 million dollars. Lovers love Las Vegas and have made it the wedding capital of the United States. The average number of weddings performed per day is around 315. Plenty of fun will be had this weekend. I can’t wait. There is nothing I like better than mayhem and foolishness. I will be a good girl as I am kind of a junior matriarch in this crazy family of mine. Although it is said that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, it does not apply to my family. Our motto is more like “what happens in Vegas will be posted on Facebook faster than you can say Elvis Impersonator." I will behave myself.

6/04/2014

Service Call

I had such an epiphany the other day. What made me "epiph", you ask? Well, let me tell you. I was out doing my errands over the weekend. I had to return a skirt that must have shrunk in the bag. I was at a discount store, so I didn’t expect to be pampered, but I don’t really return items that often so I forget how much fun it is not. I had to stand in a special line for returns only. The vibe is very different than when it’s your turn at the checkout line and you have a basket full of stuff and an American Express Card in a holster ready to swipe. You get asked “How are you?” and there are lots of smiles. Sometimes I even get compliments on my choices. Not so in the returns line. They remove your item from the bag and inspect it with a grimace. There are no smiles and no girlie small talk. The lady unfolded my skirt and asked why I returned it. I lied and said I changed my mind. That should be good enough. “Something wrong with it?”, she asked with a bit of an attitude. “No", I said politely, "I just changed my mind.” Good grief, I am returning a $19.99 skirt, not a flat screen TV. Do you think for a moment that I was going to tell her that is was too tight and the shade of brown made me look like a bran muffin?

Then I went to my manicure place. You would think I was Julia Roberts the way they greeted me. "Oh Miss Fifi!" "So nice to see you!" The owner began to fill up the foot tub for my spa pedicure and set the massage chair in the rotation I like. Roll... kneed... pound... and back to roll. I sat down and put my feet in the warm, perfumed water and relaxed. I was then offered a cup of tea and magazines. They made me feel special and it was good.

My next stop was that infamous giant department store that shall go nameless. The shopping experience there was less than warm and fuzzy. It should be a great place to shop because they have everything including groceries and a Starbucks. It’s an awful place to shop for many reasons, but allow me to target my comments exactly. There are only cashiers who actually work there. The red clad “associates” only cruise the aisles with their walkie-talkies to make you think that they are there to help you. If you can walk fast enough to ask one a question, they never have an answer. They think what you are looking for might be “over that-a-way” as they point randomly towards the other end of the store. Their feet never stop moving as you are chasing trying them to try to get some information. When you ask them too much, they get on the walkie-talkie with another associate and pretend they have a crisis in another department.

This is in sharp contrast to my grocery store that is part of a giant national chain. The focus group fairy must have hit food chains hard, because if you ask where something is, they drop what they are doing and escort you to the item. And when you check out at the check stand, the checker person always asks if you found everything you were looking for and then inquires if you will need any help to your car. No one at that other place would ever ask you that. There are no people to help so you manage the load by yourself and push the cart out the door. It’s not so bad, but then when the wheels lock when you are 50 feet from your car, it’s not so good, either.

Even the nice department stores make it hard to shop. There is no personalized service anymore and that seems strange to me. If my grocery store can personally take me to the sauerkraut, why isn’t there someone at Macy’s to help me with an outfit? What is wrong with this world? And now they ask you how you would like to receive your receipt? Printed, email or both? Really? Let me think... I already get enough email, and I want my carbon footprint reduced so paper is bad. How would I like to receive my receipt? How about they get a Caribbean steel drum band to deliver my purchase summary reggae style? THAT I would like.

On the way home I decided to treat myself to a Starbucks. I have a drive-thru one close to my home so I swooped on in for a latte. They are always so friendly and ready to make you happy. The kid on the other end of the intercom made me feel like he had been waiting for little ol' me to show up all day. I ordered my iced coffee and by the time I got to the window I couldn’t wait to meet the sweetie who had taken my order. We completed our transaction and he sent me off with a big smile. It makes paying 5 dollars for something I could have made at home for practically nothing worth every penny.

You just can’t make any sense out of customer service today. Some retailers think it is important and others don’t give a crap. I am old enough to remember a time when sales people and restaurant people knew the names of their customers. Now you wait on yourself most of the time and wait in line for the privilege of paying for it. It is no wonder that online shopping has caught on like wildfire. You don’t have to find a parking place or deal with people. If you need help there are FAQs to guide you and reviews from other shoppers to help along the way. You can shop 24 hours a day and you can do it naked if you feel like it.