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You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth!

If you’re a woman-type person, then I would imagine at some point in your life, you’ve been to the ladies room, aka the female toilet, aka the powder room. (Does anyone still use powder anymore?)  And I would imagine that in that powder room, you’ve probably had at least one or two really great conversations, maybe a bitchfest or two, and probably at least a few honest conversations: your hair looks like crap, love those shoes, hate your date, you have lipstick on your teeth.

Don’t we all need a friend (or two or ten) who will tell us we have lipstick on our teeth or that the person we’re currently dating is a big loser? Yes, yes, we do.

And so let me present to you an entire BOOK of friends who will do just that! 3D_coverForPRINTI love this book, and not only because I’m in it but because I’m rubbing pages with writers like these:

Leslie from The Bearded Iris, Kim from Let Me Start By Saying, Anna of Random Handprints, Ellen and Erin from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Suni from The Suniverse, and many more.   I guarandamntee that you will laugh out loud as you read through this book because the women in the powder room write about babies, boobs, boys; parenting, peeing, and perimenopause…and pretty much everything else, all with wit, intelligence, and more than a dollop of profanity.

You should probably order twenty or thirty copies of this book RIGHT NOW, using this here link to our amazon page.  And then you should probably take a few minutes and write a rave review about the book for that there amazon page.  Probably you should do all these things right this very second. Like, now. Immediately. Go. Buy. Read. Rite Rave Review.  What are you waiting for?


Continue Reading · on August 8, 2013 in Books, me my own personal self, pop culture, Products, reading, writing

underpants for the underage

I will not be the only blogger who writes about this latest “ooh aren’t we edgy” marketing campaign; there are bloggers with far bigger platforms than mine who will draw attention to the latest entry in the “How Low Will Corporations Go” sweepstakes.  You thought perhaps the JC Penney “I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother does it for me” shirt was lame, right?

Is your daughter too pretty to do her homework?

And I imagine you weren’t real happy about the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch had a campaign to sell padded swim-suit tops…to 8 year olds. Because really, let’s start training these girls early that it’s all about the boobs, girls, all about the boobs–and thus every swimsuit should, without a doubt, resemble a personal flotation device. (You’ll be happy to know that the company altered the description of the swimsuit top from “padded” to “lightly lined.” Which totally makes it okay.)

But now? Now we may have a winner in the Tastelessness Sweepstakes. I present to you the latest line of underwear being marketed by that bastion of tastelessness, Victoria’s Secret:

It’s a whole new line of undies that seem designed not so much in the “delicate unmentionable” category as they are in the what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking category.  Here’s another beauty:

Victoria's Secret: Pull "Bright Young Things" From Shelves

Couldn’t a gal just, you know, text some guy her number instead of dropping trou to present her request?

The undies are part of the new “Bright Young Things” line being launched as part of the VS PINK line; the ad campaign features scantily clad girls women frolicking in what are being billed as “Spring Break Must-Haves,” which is why I guess the collection also includes some fabulous beach towels, like this one:

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old lady muttering into her hearing aid, I’d like to suggest that from meet to kiss there should be more than one step. It seems appropriate that a beach towel carries this message, which is about being utterly and completely passive: just recline and let things be done to you: be called, be met, be kissed, be pinked. It’s like the girl is some kind of puppy waiting to be adopted from the pound: like me like me like me, all tail-waggy and dewy-eyed. And let’s not even contemplate what “pink me”  means, shall we?

Oh I know, there we go again, we shrill humorless feminists, we mothers whose memories of youth vanished when we zipped up that first pair of comfy mom jeans. I mean, it’s just a towel, for god’s sake, it’s just a pair of underpants.  Reeeelaaaaaxxxx, right?

Or as this oh-so-clever article from E! Online (ever a reputable news source) says, “don’t get your panties in a twist.”  And here’s why we should all just chillax, according to the article:

Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women,” the company said in a statement to E! News. “Despite recent rumors, we have no plans  to introduce a collection for younger women. Bright Young Things was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.”

So, in other words, they’re not trying to make teens too sexy before their time.

The misunderstanding originated when the company’s chief financial officer, Stuart Burgdoerfer, said at a conference, “When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink.”

The Bright Young Things just got caught up in the fray.

So no worries on the underpants front, folks, those sexy-pants messages are safe from your high school daughters.  Victoria’s Secret isn’t trying to turn 15 year old girls into sexy college students, absolutely not. I’m sure that store clerks will be carding their customers to ensure that no prepubescent lassie will be buying underwear that says “I Dare You.”

But hey, as “part of the magic,” I think that PINK should by all means encourage college girls women to emblazon sexual challenges on their scanties, and to splay themselves on beach towels that encourage objectification, passivity, and … pink-ing, whatever the hell that is.

Okay, sure, it’s just a stupid marketing gimmick and it’s just an overpriced pair of underpants that maybe don’t mean much. But the body that will wear those underpants? That body has meaning; that body has value.

Or at least, it should have value.  Unfortunately, the folks at Victoria’s Secret seem to have missed that point.


A petition to pull these pants off the shelves (as it were) is circulating the web; you can find the petition here.

Continue Reading · on March 26, 2013 in Feminism, Gender, growing up, Kids, Parenting, Politics, Products, ranting, sex, shopping, Uncategorized

it’s not the sights, it’s the skort

We dragged the boys visited the British Museum the other day. We did the “greatest hits” in the morning: Rosetta Stone, Peat Bog Man, Elgin Marbles—then broke for lunch (Pizza Express again. At this point, I should probably buy stock in the damn company), and went back in the afternoon: Husband took Caleb up to Egypt because the boy loves him a mummy; Liam and I went to China and looked at jade, porcelain, and big stone Buddhas.

To their credit, the boys loved it. They brought their little notebooks and sketched things they liked, read all the info cards, argued about how Bog Man died. Murder? Execution? Murder! Execution! MURDER! EXECUTION!

But the next day: sightseeing hangover. When plans were announced in the morning we got “I hate history!” and “please please NOT another museum!” And because we are wise and wonderful perfectparents, we listened to our darling children and their reasonable requests. Plus it was a gorgeous sunny day and no one really wanted to be inside. So off we went to wander Hyde Park.

Despite much mockery of her during her lifetime (sorry, sorry, sorry), I now change my tune: love that Princess Diana, yesssirree.  That memorial playground with the Pirate Ship? Brilliant!  And the fountain? Fantabulous.

The sign outside the fountain says we’re welcome to “paddle hands and feet:”

Funny. Does “paddle hands and feet” mean “immerse self fully into ten inches of water,” in England-speak?  Because that’s what most of the kids were doing.

Here’s what it looked like inside the gate:

But actually, this post isn’t about sightseeing overload, or even the beauty of Hyde Park, where, perhaps due to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (what! you haven’t read it yet? get thyself to a bookstore or e-downloader, now!), I could see the ghosts of Hank 8 riding to the hounds through the tall grass, hunting wild boar.

Nope. This post is about the virtues of the skort. Or culottes, as I think they used to be called. Before I left New York, I ordered me a skort from Athleta. The skort is great, although buying it did not turn me into a mountain-climbing-make-my-own-surfboard-yoga-studio-owning-incredibly-fit-mother-of-two-who-also-speaks-Mandarin-and-is-learning-Sanskrit-just-for-fun. I remain my vaguely Midwestern somewhat squashy self.  Nevertheless, the skort is flattering, it’s flexible (wear it with your grown-up shoes to dinner or your flipflops to the beach), it’s lightweight, and it dries easily (really important when two soaking wet boys hurl themselves into your lap). And best of all, when you find yourself at the playground watching your kids, you don’t have to do that weird skirt-sit, where you end up looking like Laura Bush, ankles demurely crossed, knees to the side, in order to avoid flashing the entire park your bottom-of-the-suitcase undies.

Get yourself a skort. It may not make your kids love sightseeing but it will make everything else a whole lot easier.

Full disclosure: no skorts were sent my way in return for this post, alas. I had to pay for my own…and now I have three.  If Athleta would like to send me a skort, however, that would be just grand. (And by the way, they’re on sale now)

Continue Reading · on August 5, 2011 in Children, family, Kids, Parenting, Products, Travel

Cereal as a cure for chaos? Maybe…

The school year is winding down and we’re getting ready to move. Each boy’s school has end-of-year celebrations and parties and exhibits; after-school classes are over; babysitters are away on vacation.  Add to that the pile of boxes in the middle of our apartment, waiting to be shipped to Abu Dhabi, and it’s like a double whammy of chaos around here.

With all the schedule changes, family dinners have pretty much fallen by the wayside and with all the parties and celebrations happening during the school day both boys are getting lots and lots of opportunities for snacks and sweets—so the lunch boxes are coming home almost untouched. So much for that well-balanced lunch I pack each morning, hmm?

And at night, after the boys are in bed, I’m doing my own fair share of snacking, looking for a little extra sugary energy to get me through another hour or two of sorting through ten years of files, piles, and boxes.

When I was asked to review the FiberPlus cereals with antioxidants from Kelloggs in the midst of all this chaos, I got almost too excited: maybe the boys would like these nutritious cereals and I could know that even if they ate cupcakes and pretzels all day, their day at least had a solid nutritional start.

The first one we tried, FiberPlus Yogurt Berry Crunch has 10g of fiber, which is almost 40% of the daily recommended amount.  With a ½ cup of skim milk, a cup of cereal is 210 calories. The boys liked this flavor but we all agreed that it’s almost too sweet to be a breakfast food. A few handfuls of Yogurt Berry Crunch, however, have become my night-time snack, and I feel much less guilty than I do when I settle down with a plate of ginger snaps.

The second flavor, FiberPlus Cinnamon Oat Crunch was our hands-down favorite. It’s cinnamony and crunchy and tastes as good by the handful as it does with milk. A single serving with a ½ cup of skim milk has only 150 calories and contains 35% of the daily recommended intake of fiber.  Given that regular exercise has also fallen by the wayside in these chaotic weeks, a low calorie, high fiber way to start my day is a bowlful of happy.
The drawback to these two tasty boxes of goodness is that the list of ingredients contains a few too many polysyllabic chemicals (but no high-fructose corn syrup). Generally I like to serve food that’s pretty minimally processed—although, of course, Caleb regularly has hot dogs for dinner and Liam loves chicken nuggets, so I’m not sure I can quibble with what’s written on the side of these cereal boxes. I think these cereals will become a regular part of our morning routine.  Now if Kelloggs could only do something about the rest of my packing…


Full disclosure:
This is a paid post sponsored by Kellogg’s. I received one box of Berry Yogurt Crunch and one box of Cinnamon Oat Crunch to facilitate the review. The opinions in this post are my own, not Kelloggs.

Continue Reading · on June 21, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, food, Products

Haitian relief, now in fourteen fashion colors



What do we think about this display? Apparently if you buy this bag from Ralph Lauren’s Rugby shop, for $35, 50 meals will be provided to Haitian schoolchildren through the UN World Food Program. This display should make me happy, yes? Feeding schoolchildren is good; Haitian relief effort, also good; targeting affluent college kids (this store is on University Place, just from the NYU campus), that’s gotta be good.

Somehow, though, despite all good intentions of the part of the store, this display irked me. Perhaps it’s the wild disparity between what it costs to feed a Haitian kid (50 meals for 35 bucks? that’s not very much food), and what the outfits on the mannequin cost:  the “Ashlin X Rugby” is 89.50; the fleece shorts are 59.50; the “pointelle cotton ruffle dress” is $178; god only knows what you’d pay for those leg-warmers that look like they cut the arms of an old-fashioned tennis sweater (and we won’t ask why you’d wear leg-warmers and shorts. If you’re cold, put on pants). Those outfits, cashed in, would buy a lot of lunches for little kids.

If you dig around on the Rugby Ralph Lauren website, you find that the store is also selling a Haiti Relief t-shirt designed by CFDA for $25, with the entire proceeds going to Haitian relief through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund (Bubba and Dubya doing good works togetha).  And that’s a good thing too, that money from these t-shirt sales will continue to fund relief efforts, long after all the movie stars have stopped answering phones at the telethon.

What is it, then, that bugs me, aside from a case of late February misanthrope-itis? Maybe it’s my populist streak coming out again, along with those gray roots I keep forgetting to get touched up? Couldn’t Ralph Lauren just give, outright, a big huge freaking check to the World Food Program, or the Bubba Dubya foundation, or Doctors Without Borders, or whichever organization suits his sensibility? Does he (and others like him) really need to shill a canvas bag–use the bag, in fact, as bait to lure shoppers into the shore? Come in to buy a bag, walk out with weird tennis sweaters for your legs?

I gave money to Haiti, I will continue to give money to Haiti, I hope we all continue to help re-build that country. But the Feed Haiti bag reminds me that all too often, “good works” are accompanied by a sense of self-aggrandizement: look at me! I’m helping!

That self-aggrandizement shouldn’t matter, right? What should matter–what does matter–is that money keeps funneling to those who are on the ground in Haiti. That’s the big picture.  So if Rugby Ralph needs to flog a bag and a t-shirt on his website so that everyone knows what a mensch he is, fine, I guess. But there’s no way I’m buying those leg warmers.

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Continue Reading · on February 24, 2010 in Politics, Products

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