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My sister sent me this link (how she found her way here I do not know) and within seconds I was living vicariously through this self-described recovering control freak new yorker who isn’t ashamed to chase a waffle truck and has replaced her television with a tray of gin (it was love at first blog-entry). I will be checking in here from time to time, and you probably should, too.
Walmart.com is now selling caskets, urns and funeral jewelry. I find this vaguely disturbing, but I’m not certain why. And can anyone please tell me what “funeral jewelry” is?!
According to Ad Age Magazine, Costco, Amazon and some place called Caskets2U (thank god they didn’t call themselves CastketsAreUs) also have an array of death supplies, including the “Mom Remembered” casket, with embroidered roses and and the word “Mother” inside the lid (um, folks, mom can’t read when she’s in there — better to put that on the outside don’t you think?).
Well, I’m holding out for branded funeral urns (36% of the people who died last year were cremated). Can’t you just picture how fabulous your ashes would look in a glittering “Hello Kitty” urn? Or a Burberry Urn with its own little trademark plaid scarf wrapped about it? Or best of all, for those who liked to knock a few back in their day, the Absolute Vodka Urn, shaped like the beloved bottle? People, there is money to be made here!
Or does the editor of Paris Vogue look a lot like “The Grinch”?
While I love a magazine that features fabulous frocks on six foot models and the current “It Girl” – editor Anna Wintour has managed to make Vogue so much more, without being celeb-obsessed (InStyle), preachy and desperate (Marie Claire), out of touch (Harper’s Bazaar), or vulgar (W). From books to body talk, from cinema to the stage, here are the top ten highlights of “my” October Vogue.
#10 Ivanka Trump’s new book, “The Trump Card.” Page 197. I like Ivanka Trump. Brains, beauty and now a book of career tips. Even though I read somewhere that she hunts foreign pheasants for fun, I still think she’s rather classy and does her mother proud. Book available at Amazon.com.
#9 Knits from lutzandpatmos.com. Page 178. Modeled by the exquisite Charlize Theron, the hand-made knits of Lutz & Patmos are made of environmentally friendly yarns and produced in environmentally friendly production facilities. If I were rich, I’d buy the Gauze Knit Poncho. http://www.lutzandpatmos.com/.
#8“Screen Test” article. Page 194. Concise article about the debate on when to start getting mammograms. Breast cancer articles are so frightening that I usually don’t read them; this piece, however, provides information in a level-headed way that makes you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.
#7 Actress profile: Carey Mulligan. Page 196. A small feature on the up-and-coming actress who was so charming in “Bleak House.” Can’t wait to see her in “Never Let Me Go” – see #5 below, due in 2010, and this month’s “An Education,” with Peter Sarsgaard.
#6 Michelle Williams Interview. Page 204. Michelle Williams has been a favorite since “Brokeback Mountain.” This interview is a sensitive look into the private life of a very talented actress, and manages to entirely avoid being crass about her connection to the late Heath Ledger.
#5 Ishiguro’s 2005 novel “Never Let Me Go” – mentioned in the article about Carey Mulligan, who will star in the film version scheduled for 2010 release. I bought this book about a year ago and hadn’t gotten around to reading it; now that I know that the book’s narrator is a (?!) (don’t want to spoil it for you) (oh my god how weird) I’ve picked it up again – and it’s fantastic!
#4 Photo of Karlie Kloss. Page 216. The 15-year-old, 5-foot-11-inch model of the moment in a truly wonderful shot (not the photo above). See a video of the very charming Kloss demonstrating her “death stare” at: http://vainandvapid.blogspot.com/2008/05/modeling-talk-with-karlie-kloss.html.
#3 Excerpt from the new book, The Queen Mother: The Official Biography by William Shawcross. Page 214. A sneak peak at what looks to be a revelatory royal biography. Available on Amazon.com.
#2 Profile of Actor Jude Law. Page 250. Law is set to star on Broadway as Hamlet. With Photo of Law – need I say more. Different pic above for your amusement.
#1 Jeffrey Steingarten’s article about candy. Yum! The persnickety and fab Mr. Steingarten has whipped up a delicious piece about candy stores in New York City. Being a candy freak and a huge fan of Manhattan, I can guarantee you that the next time I’m in NYC, I will be visiting Dylan’s Candy Bar, three floors of every imaginable sweet. See a video at http://www.dylanscandybar.com/store-locator/.
boots’ Top Ten Texas Foods
Not exclusively limited to Texas, of course — but no self-respecting native Texan would pass up the opportunity to partake of these delicacies at their next family gathering. (Families do a lot of “gathering” in Texas). WARNING: Nothing on this list will work with any “diet”, so don’t even go there.
Number 10 — Whataburger Hamburgers
They don’t make ‘em til you get there. Whataburgers are fairly big hamburgers. If you find it’s too big for you, there’s always a Whataburger Jr. One of the few hamburgers I can eat without tasting it the rest of the day (if you know what I mean). BONUS: Make sure you order ketchup with your fries. They come in little “tubs”, so there’s none of that tearing-and-squirting nonsense. Plus, it’s really good ketchup.
Number 9 — Fried Okra
In Texas, we do two things with our vegetables: Cook them to death, or cover them in cornmeal batter and fry them. This is the latter. Native Texans do NOT dip their fried okra in ketchup (unless they’re 12 years old or younger). Offer us a plate of steamed okra and we’ll look at you like you’ve lost your mind.
Number 8 — Chicken Fried Steak
(with cream gravy)
You can find this delicacy all over Texas. DO NOT make the mistake of ordering it with brown gravy, that’s just sinful. You’ll need extra rolls or biscuits for sopping up the leftover gravy. Typically served with mashed potatoes (more cream gravy!) and — what else?! — fried okra.
Alternatively, there is the “Chicken Fried Steak Finger Basket”, which is the finger-food version of the above. Served with fries and Texas Toast.
Number 7 — Fried Catfish
Cornmeal rules everything! Farm-raised catfish, hushpuppies, fries and coleslaw — Mmmmmm, that’s good eatin’! Just about every Texan has their favorite “catfish place”. Mine is “Crazy Catfish”, but in a pinch, I’ll go to “Catfish King” out by the lake.
Number 6 — Pinto Beans and Cornbread
You’ll have to be patient for this meal. It starts the night before, as you’ll want to soak a pound of pinto beans in water overnight. After a good 8-10 hours in the crockpot (no Texas kitchen is without one), your beans are ready for seasoning. That would be salt. Some people toss in a ham hock or salt pork; that’s cool, too. If you’ve unexpectedly been bombarded with company, simply cook up some Minute Rice, and voila! you now have enough beans & rice for a small army. Best served with cornbread — make that jalapeno cornbread for the more daring.
Number 5 — Chili
This is where the men come into the kitchen. I’ve yet to meet a Texas man that didn’t have his own Chili recipe. I’m not a man, but I have my favorite chili recipe. It features ground beef, ranch-style beans and rotel tomatoes. Mama had a recipe that used a couple of packages of taco seasoning. They’re all good. We DO NOT put vegetables in our chili. Chili is no place for carrots and celery. Meat is not mandatory, but is preferred. I take that back; meat IS mandatory.
Number 4 — Tacos (homemade)
Pass by the “taco kits” with those preformed taco shells. Grab a pound of ground beef, a package of corn tortillas, and a package of taco seasoning. Go way over to the other side of the store and get some lettuce, tomatoes and grated yellow cheese (cheddar, american, monteray jack, whatever). You’ll need some good salsa, but since you’re in Texas, you already have a couple of jars in the fridge, so you can skip that item.
After you have your taco meat ready, toss a couple of the tortillas on a hot skillet to heat them properly. This is going to be messy… put a spoonful of the taco meat in the tortilla, add a pinch of lettuce, tomatoes and cheese and hold carefully as you eat it. Taco grease will drip down the side of your hand, but that’s part of the experience. You’ve never had better tacos.
Number 3 — Tamales (homemade)
This is a special treat, and sometimes hard to find. It helps if you know someone who knows someone who cooks tamales by hand. You place your order by proxy, and it’s delivered to you in a brown paper sack, by the dozen. It’s usually around $8-$10 a dozen. If you don’t get sick — then you’ve found your tamale connection!
Number 2 — Sweet Iced Tea
Traditionally, it’s Lipton (family-size teabags). We make it by the pitcher (2 quarts or more). Sun tea is for hippies. You add 1 cup of sugar to 2 quarts of tea to get the perfect sweetness. We put the teabag in the water before boiling (not after). We steep it for a good 5 minutes before mixing. Serve over ice, and store the pitcher in the fridge. Sweet iced tea goes with everything from scrambled eggs to steak to sock-it-to-me cake.
Number 1 — BBQ
Brisket, ribs, chicken, burgers, franks, sausage, hotlinks… We love our BBQ! Men dominate this field, though I’ve met several women who have perfected this art. Whether it’s cooked on a small hibachi, a Webber grill, or one one of those gigantic propane-powered monstrosities, your neighbors will be salivating and climbing the back fence to get to your cookout. It isn’t officially Summer until you’ve smelled the first BBQ of the season cooking on your block. Some people make their own BBQ sauce, but if you don’t have your own recipe, don’t fret. Every grocery store in Texas offers no fewer than 20 varieties of BBQ sauce. You can choose spicy, sweet, spicy & sweet, maple, honey, jalapeno… Known brands like Kraft, unknown names like “Peggy Jean’s Authentic Texas Boot-stompin’ BBQ Sauce”. Serve with a vat (yes, a vat) of potato salad. And maybe a loaf of Sunbeam bread… or Mrs. Baird’s. Sweet Iced Tea and Dr. Pepper should be available for all guests.
If the Emmys are any indicator, the fashion must have for this season is a pickled pussy cat. Stacy Haiduk sashayed down the awards show’s red carpet with this fabulous feline fashion accessory, which she rented from the prop shop of The Young & The Restless. (No you can’t put your lipstick in it.) On the hit daytime show, Stacy plays a mentally unstable character, Mary Jane Benson (a.k.a. Patty Williams), who is known for sharing secrets with her stuffed cat. According to Stacy, quoted on peoplepets.com, the cat gets tons of fan mail. Now, is it just me, or does sending a fan letter to a taxidermic cat seem like a strange thing to do?
Lip gloss that matches your nail polish is so in right now.
Is it possible for Alyssa Milano to try any harder to look like Anne Hathaway?!
All right, did anyone actually READ the article noted below, because what it really says, beyond the sensationalizing headline is: exercise won’t necessarily make you thin – because – when you exercise you get hungry and think it’s okay to PIG OUT afterward, or to drink sugary beverages while you exercise, giving you a net calorie loss of zip, zilch, zero.
Here’s the real truth according to what I’ve lived, learned and observed:
Most people lie about what they really eat and how much exercise they get, to everyone who asks AND, more importantly, to themselves. Have you ever done a food diary and figured out what you’re actually eating, and just how close you are (or are not) to consuming the number of calories you need to merely maintain your current weight? My lord, you’ll be shocked, truly shocked at how many calories you’re really consuming. I pride myself on eating well and being fairly active, and I’m nowhere close to burning off the number of calories I take in, NO WHERE CLOSE. I’m consuming a lot of calories, absolutely shed-loads of calories; way more calories than I need to fuel my body’s basic activities, like breathing and pumping my blood, or propelling me from car to my chair at work and from my work chair back to my car and from car to couch.
From what I’ve seen, a lot of people just don’t work hard enough when they do exercise to achieve substantial calorie burn; compounding the problem, they do a lackluster workout where they don’t push themselves and barely break a sweat, that burns say 150 calories tops, then reward themselves with 500 calories of wine and dessert because they “worked out.” Have you ever computed how long you’d have to work out walking on a treadmill to offset the calories from a piece of cheesecake? Okay people, go use those internet calculators to do the math and you’ll see why exercising isn’t making you lose weight – because you EAT MORE CALORIES than you can possibly burn off with those tepid attempts to move your sorry carcass around.
Deep down inside we all know it. We know that the “science” of our forebears, or the “science” of “brown fat” doesn’t really factor in if we sit all day in front a computer, then retire to the sofa for a night of television, bending over twice in twenty-four hours, once to feed our porcine pets, then again to lift our pants up around our bulging waists.
Hey, my jeans are so tight they leave an impression of each and every seam and stitch on my doughy belly fat; I love to suck down sugary Gatorade while I coast my bike down a hill; I don’t work out that hard because it makes me feel like I’m going to barf up the nachos I had for lunch; and I sit all day and all night on my ever-expanding behind. And I know precisely why I don’t lose weight: because I’m eating more calories than I’m burning off, day in and day out, which makes weight creep on ever so s-l-o-w-l-y, slow enough that I can pretend I didn’t have anything to do with it, and that it’s my brown fat’s fault, or my genes, or my ancestors, and that, uhuh, yup, exercise is a sham.
All of our self delusions aside, the point of exercise is to maintain cardiovascular health (so you don’t faint if you have carry your niece past a scary dog); improve strength (so you can push your own couch around when you need to feng shui your living room) and flexibility (so you don’t pull a muscle when you try to bend down and pick up the 940-calorie plastic-wrapped Costco muffin that rolled under your car seat).
We’re a sad, frustrated, angry lot of nearly immobile people constantly exposed to the siren song of more. It’s time to tell “science” to shove it and move for the joy of moving. Move because you can. Move in any way you can. Get up, get up, get up, get up! Just don’t head straight for the refrigerator
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