April 25, 2009
Getting to the Sole of my Habit
Now Playing: My Growing Shoe Collection
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
I think I may have a problem. It started when I was 16 years-old, and I was allowed to start buying my own school clothes. I started buying cute shoes. They were a pair of black patent pointy-toed flats with a black & white polka dot bows on the front. It was very 1989. It got a lot of compliments. I wore them on my 17th birthday although it was raining buckets. The shoe beast was born!
During my freshmen year of college, I had a part-time job where I made $70 every two weeks. I’d buy two weeks of tokens for $20; $5 lunch for the day; a cassette tape or casi-single from Tower Records ($8) or a mix-tape from the street ($5); and a pair of shoes on sale from Fayva—my cheap shoe haven until Payless Shoe Source started popping up. (Sometimes I went to some of the junior chain stores like Rainbow Shops, Strawberry, and Joyce Leslie.) Some of the shoes were cute. Some of them were functional. Some of them hurt my feet. Didn’t matter, because I had new shoes.
As I got older and started making more money, I continued to buy shoes. They were a little more fashionable; a little more expensive; and a little more comfortable. When my self-esteem was low and my weight was up, I could always buy a new pair of shoes. Shoes always fit. Shoes never made me look or feel fat. Some women color their hair, and others buy lipstick. My picker-upper is shoes.
I’m an equal opportunity shoe whore. I’ll buy from department stores, chain stores, discount stores, and 99-cent stores. I’ll take barely worn shoes from sister-in-laws; friends; family and co-workers. A new pair of shoes is the bomb if they are cute, they fit, and they’re FREE!!! I’ve even won a pair of shoes from Us Magazine—Dr. Scholl’s famous exercise sandals.
My love affair with shoes is 20-years strong and a source of comic fodder for my family. My grandmother calls me Imelda Marcos. My husband laughs at my desire to have a $1 million shopping spree at DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse). But, my girls love my shoes. They love to play with them, wear them during dress up, and sometimes chose shoes for me to wear. My favorite thing is when I buy a new pair of shoes (or boots), and my oldest daughter sees them for the first time. She will squeal with delight, the only way a 4-year-old can, and say “Mommy, they’re boooooty-full.” (She will say that even if it is a simple pair of thongs.)
Recently, I answered a poll question on blog about how many shoes did I own. I counted in my head, sure that I was accurate, and came up with 50-pairs of shoes. Then early this week, the rod in my closet broke and I had to clean up and reorganize my closet. I found 3 more pairs of shoes that I had forgotten I had. This morning, I dug in my big plastic bin of summer shoes to grab a pair of sandals to celebrate the warm weather. In it, I found two more pairs of shoes that I had forgotten I owned. WOW! Within a week, I had found five pairs of shoes. Just as I was lamenting that I didn’t have enough money to raid the latest Payless BOGO (buy one, get one 50% off) sale and indulge in their new eco-friendly line, I discover 5 new pairs of shoes. How fortunate? Am I fortunate?
I suppose I am fortunate because some people don’t have any shoes. But then again, maybe I am a bit unfortunate. Don’t laugh. The people who work at Payless have to eat too.
The Shoe Count:
12 pairs of boots: 3 leather-esque knee high; 3 pairs of faux Uggs; 1 pair of wellies; 2 pairs of ankle boots; 1 pair of Timberlands; 1 pair of snow boots; and 1 pair of faux suede boots. (And I still want the quintessential pair equestrian boots.)
11 pairs of flats: 2 lace-up oxfords; 4 pairs of nursing clogs/faux Crocs; 1 pair of patent leopard print peep toe; 1 pair of pink pointy toe; 2 ballet flats; and 1 pair of UNC blue sneaker mules
6 pairs of sneakers: 2 pairs of trainers; 1 ath-leisure; and 3 pairs of “skips” (and planning to buy 2 more!).
6 pairs of heels: 1 red; 1 camel; 2 black; and 1 stripper pair (6 inch heels!)
13 pairs of sandals: 1 novelty pair; 2 heeled; 1 wedge; 2 Birkenstocks; 5 flat pairs; 1 flip-flop; and 1 gladiator (which I’m looking to update)
Wow, that’s damn near 60 pairs and I’m not even counting my “house shoes.” Boy, I was off in my original estimation. Perhaps it is time for me to chill. Do I really need more? No. Do I really want more? HELL YES!
April 15, 2009
Bring on the Damn Popcorn
Now Playing: Summer Movie Previews
Topic: Movie Reviews
In 1999, the release of the Matrix pushed up the start of the blockbuster summer movie season to the beginning of May instead of Memorial Day weekend. So, in about two weeks it will be summer movie time although the weather in New York will still be very much fall like. However, to hell with temperatures. I'm ready for my Summer Blockbusters. Below I've made a list of the movies I can't wait to see in the theaters. Chime in and let me know what you're waiting to see.
X-Men Origins:Wolverine: featuring my favorite film and stage honey Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber, whom my intellect finds sexy.
Star Trek: Because they’re taking a chance with the franchise and the trailer looked hot. Not to mention, I love the Details magazine coverline “Eric Bana Makes Capt. Kirk His Bitch.” (In my heart, I’ve always been a sci-fi movie/Star Trek freak.)
Terminator Salvation: Because I love Christian Bale, and I’ve seen all of the Terminator movies. I’ve grown up with the franchise, but I still might wait until video.
Up: I love Pixar movies, and I really liked the trailer. Finally, I have two small kids and they need to see some summer movies too. (Induct them early into my favorite pastime.)
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince: One of my favorite Harry Potter books, and I’m hoping it will be my favorite Harry Potter movies. I’ll probably rent this one, though.
Maybe-Maybe Not in the Theater:
Funny People: It’s written and directed by Judd Apatow who made two of the funniest movies this decade. It has a cast I absolutely adore—Adam Sandler, Eric Bana, Seth Rogen, and Jason Schwartzman. The trailer is funny as all get out. I think Adam Sandler is brilliant when he is in a semi-serious role, and I don’t think Judd Apatow hasn’t peaked yet.
Public Enemies: It’s directed by Michael Mann, who hasn’t made a movie I’ve connected with since Manhunter starring CSI’s William Peterson. His movies should be good and I usually watch them to the end, like Miami Vice, Heat, and Collateral, but I’m always left cold. Not to mention, the film’s trailer reminds me too much of The Untouchables (one of my favorite gangster movies of all times) and Bonnie and Clyde. But, it does star Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and the severely underrated Billy Crudup. (I watched Almost Famous for the first time this year, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of Billy Crudup. I didn’t want to watch a scene unless he was in it. I kept asking myself, who is this actor? When I saw his name in the trailer, I was like “of course.”)
Movies I’m Guaranteeing Will Suck:
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen will suck because the first one was horrid, so the sequel is guaranteed to be worst.
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra because I’m sick of movies made from cartoons from my youth. I hope it is good, but I think it might suck because the director isn’t that great.
March 29, 2009
My Review of J.G. Hook? Golden-Button Skirt
Now Playing: Jessica London Easy-to-wear skirt
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Easy-to-wear skirt with a row of goldtone buttons down the front. Buttoned patch pockets. Side zip. Imported.
Pretty but Feels a Little Flimsy
BrooklynShoeBabe Brooklyn, NY 3/29/2009
Fit: Feels true to size
Waist: Feels true to size
Length: Feels true to length
Pros: Attractive Design, Comfortable
Cons: Feels old not modern, Wrinkles Easily
Best Uses: Church, Casual Wear, Wear To Work, Night Out
Describe Yourself: Casual Dresser
Comfort vs Style: Comfort Driven
I was looking for an attractive black skirt to wear in the spring and summer months, and this JG Hook skirt caught me eye. I was immediately drawn to the non-functional buttons because it gave the skirt a nautical feel that I like. I imagine wearing it with a crisp white or red blouse to work or church.
The gold buttons make it hard for this skirt to be as versatile as I had hoped. Also, the buttons, although just for decoration, feel lose as though one brush against a door and they would fall off.
The fit is fine although it flares out more than it does in the picture. It isn't as straight as it is pictured. It's is a bit of a blah skirt.
Once you receive the skirt, immediately iron it or have it pressed because it arrived quite wrinkled.
My Review of Denim Back Elastic-Waist Skirt
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Denim Back Elastic-Waist Skirt
Denim Essentials. Four fabulous-fit stretch denim bottoms you'll love to live in all year long. All with easy elastic waists. Cotton/spandex. Machine wash. Imported. Back elastic-waist skirt with fly-look stitch detailing. Side pockets and back vent. 23" long.
Perfect Go Anywhere Denim Skirt
BrooklynShoeBabe Brooklyn, NY 3/29/2009
Sizing: Feels true to size
Pros: Practical, Business casual, Work-to-weekend, Wrinkle Resistant, Comfortable
Cons: A LITTLE LONG
Best Uses: Casual Wear, Wear To Work
Describe Yourself: Casual Dresser
Comfort vs Style: Comfort Driven
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the skirt since I hadn't paid a lot for it. I was also surprised at how well it fit in the waist since in my previous experiences with JL that waists of the skirts and pants were always a bit too tight.
The skirt was wonderful to wear without tights on a a recent warm day. I wore it with a button up shirt and sneakers to do errands with my small children. They didn't ride up, twist around, or slip in anyway. The pockets were useful. I was able to fit my cell phone in my pocket securely. It didn't slip out at all even though I was walking a lot and going up and down subway steps while carrying a stroller.
I had been searching for months for a simple all-purpose A-line denim skirt that was neither too wide or too tight, and without silly embellishments. Hey, I am going to be 37 this year, I don't want a bedazzled butt.
I can see myself wearing this skirt year around with sandals, sneakers, and boots with tights. Also looks incredible for a business casual look with a polo and a cardigan.
My caveats are that the skirt hits me a bit below the knees (I'm 5'4") and that there are no belt loops. It fits fine now, but if I were to lose a few pounds I'd be stuck with a too big skirt.
March 17, 2009
- Main Entry: at·tri·tion
- Pronunciation: \ə-ˈtri-shən, a-\
- Function: noun
1 [Middle English attricioun, from Medieval Latin attrition-, attritio, from Latin] : sorrow for one's sins that arises from a motive other than that of the love of God
2: the act of rubbing together : friction ; also : the act of wearing or grinding down by friction
3: the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack <a war of attrition>4: a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death <a company with a high rate of attrition>
My faithful readers, Moi apologizes for not blogging much since the Oscars since it looked like I was on a tear for much of January and February. I've been quite distracted with the Rihanna and Chris Brown relationship and the proposed budget cuts in New York City. As you may remember, I'm a librarian at one of the public libraries. I'm also about to become the mother of a pre-schooler (starting in September), so cuts to libraries and schools effect me very personally and not in a rhetorically way.
See our local news station reports about the Mayor's proposed budget cuts. (I think it is quite funny that they chose an upwardly mobile white woman who lives in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City to complain about the possible cuts of service. Probably because Black, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, and older white people don't have as much political pull. Okay, I'll stop pulling the race card for now.)
I did become less queasy about Rihanna and Chris Brown yesterday after watching Extra (my new guilty pleasure) last night. They television tab reported that the reported duet Chris and Rihanna were working on together had been recorded months ago. They also reported that the couple are no longer together, and that Rihanna has been out and about on the town without her alleged abuser. Let's hope she gets the help she needs and doesn't go back to him. *sigh*
March 16, 2009
Check Out this Contest
Now Playing: Moi is trying to win some free stuff
The Christian inspirational website for women is hosting a a nail polish giveaway. Since I like getting things for free and sharing good news, I'm posting a link to Roof With A View. RWAV will be giving away OPI nail polish: "You're Such A Kabuki Queen" (a tulip pink color) and "Are We There Yet?" (a quick drying pale pink).
March 1, 2009
Survivng the Winter
Now Playing: Beauty and Book Suggestions
**Editor's Note: Last night when I started this post, it was simply gray outside. As I finish it today, NYC got at least a foot of snowfall. As I trudged in to work, I had to slosh through the wet heavy stuff with the wind blowing flakes directly into my eyes. So, I'm now officially over with winter. --Kiki**
If you’re like me, you’re absolutely sick of the winter—the below freezing temps, the black ice, the more than brisk winds, the grey and snowy days. ICK! It is wrecking havoc on my mood, on my children’s moods, and my cat’s moods. My cat is all cranky and keeps attacking my ankles. When I open the door, she cowers by the doorjamb in hopes of getting a whiff of spring but she runs into the house when the wind bristles her orange and brown fur. My daughters and I are out of craft ideas, and are sick of watching the same five episodes of Dora the Explorer and Handy Manny. They want to run outside with abandon without layering. (And personally, I do too. I just want to open the door and shout “to the park” with no other preparation than grabbing $3 for the Mr. Softee truck.)
Finally, there’s your beloved Moi with her skin as scaly as a dragon with eczema and the mood to match. All I want to do is crawl under my blankets, turn off the lights, and watch Lifetime movies all day until Easter Sunday. Luckily, a higher dose of antidepressants and active preschoolers keep me from that type of hibernation. So, I’ve found some alternatives. Hopefully, it will pull you through the final six weeks or so of winter.
If there is a budding artist, make-up or fine, inside of you, I suggest picking up a copy of Eye Candy by Linda Mason. The subtitle suggests that this book will give you 55 easy makeup looks for glam lids and luscious lashes. It does not disappoint! There is a cornucopia of bright, glittery, and colorful eye shadow designs that is more appropriate for a night on the stage than at work. If you’re feeling really bored and brave, try one of these outrageous styles and then go to the laundry mat!
Nothing says comfort food like mac-n-cheese and chicken soup. For a more modern and filling version of these old classics, let me suggest the hearty Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request Classic Chicken Noodle Soup which has chunks of chicken the size of a small die! Also, Kraft Easy Mac Macaroni and Cheese Dinner is better than the add milk original of the easy boxed mac-n-cheese.
You can also spend your cold days inside giving yourself at-home mani-pedis. With a $1 off coupon from the newspaper, I was able to get a new bottle of Revlon nail polish in the new shade Fuchsia Fever that
reads a hot pink in the bottle and on my nails. My tax refund allowed me to indulge a little bit, so I was also able to pick up my favorite quick dry solution—OPI’s Drip Dry that dries and hardens your manis in less than a minute! Finally, if you can spare the $7, you must invest in Sally Hansen’s JUST FEET Cracked Heel Repair Crème (which also works with dried-out hands).
February 23, 2009
Oscar Night Fashion WTF?
Now Playing: Red Carpet Round-up 1
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
I'm absolutely stunned by Sarah Jessica Parker's clevage! OMG! Did you know she had breasts that big or that could do that? On the plus-side, the mint green dress photographed better than it looked on television. I still found the color boring.
Alicia Keys Oscar dress was a beautiful pop of color. I didn't care for the heavy black liner over the light metallic shadow because it made her eyes look squinty. Her hair was just a bit too much, but I liked that she was trying to go glam.
I thought Melissa Leo (below) was one of the best dressed ladies of the night. I liked the way her copper dress complimented her reddish hair. I also thought the jade earrings were a clever touch.
I hate to pick on Miley Cyrus because she still is just a child, but she just seems to be showing up everywhere. So, take the criticism! Your dress looked awful. As usual, you dress too old for your age. Miley, you're a cute girl. Dress like one!
Some Random Red Carpet Thoughts:
1. Jennifer Aniston, please find a different way to wear your hair besides straight and down.
2. Beyonce Knowles, plese find a different dress shiloutte. I'm so sick of seeing you in the mermaid tail dress. (Although the black & gold pattern was fierce!)
3. Zack, why did you slick back your beautiful bangs?
4. Phillip Seymour Hoffman? Dude, why the black beanie?
5. Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams, you two constantly impress me on the red carpet. I like that you're not afraid to wear vibrant colors next to your pale skins.
6. Taraji P. Henson you have really outdone yourself this awards season. Every time I've seen you, I've been really impressed with your dresses and your jewels. You better work!
And It's Done and Still A Bit Dull
Now Playing: Oscar Red Carpet and Show Reviews
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts
Growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s, my family had one black and white television. We had basic television—the three major networks, a couple of public broadcast channels, and two local channels. In other words, when there wasn’t shit to watch, their really wasn’t shit to watch. We also participated in every (U.S.) culturally televised events—The Super Bowl, the World Series, The Oscars, The Tonys, and the Grammys. We watched because there wasn’t anything else to hold our attention.
As a child, watching the Oscars were deadly boring. (Even more so than the Tonys because at least they had singing and dancing!) There were long and pretentious speeches; actors I didn’t know; movies I was too young to see; and they ended long after I had to be asleep. (They used to come on a “school night.”) As an adult, I love all the pre- and post- Oscar hoopla. I love the dresses, the tuxes, the gossip, the gowns, and red carpet interviews/sniping. (I miss Joan Rivers!) However, I don’t watch the actual show. The last time I watched the beginning of the Oscars, I believe Billy Crystal hosted and Tim Robbins won Best supporting actor for Mystic River (I turned it off from there). The last time I watched the end of the Oscars (not to the end, I just turned it on at 11 p.m.), Adrien Brody (whom I had been rooting for) had won the best actor Oscar for The Pianist.
This year’s Oscar was the most entertaining and engaging Academy Awards Ceremony I’ve seen in a long time. I’m not a fan of doing things just for tradition’s sake, so I’m pleased with tonight’s risks. Hugh Jackman’s recession-themed opening song-n-dance was funny, and the audience seemed pleased with it. (He really is an affable & charming chap, isn’t he?) Tiny Fey and Steve Martin presenting all of the writing awards by reading parts of the script, brilliant! Teen heartthrob Robert Pattison introducing an overview of the years’ cinema romance movies, inspired! So far, you’ve brought in young gays, young geeks, and young girls to an otherwise normally “old folks” only celebration. It is also moving at quite a quick but not quite rushed clip. (Yes, I love the images in movies as much as the next person but I don’t care who the art director is and who he is thanking. They’re presenting for cinematography now, which is allowing me to type this.)
By 10:30 p.m. EST, I found that the ceremony slowed down a bit and was laden with commercial interruption that created faux anticipation. (Were you surprised by any of the winners? I was not.) The show still went over time and seemed rushed by a quarter to midnight. This wasn't Hugh's fault. I did appreciate that producers of the show tried to shake things up. I give the show A for effort and B- for execution.
Fashion-wise, I’m finding the dresses a little blah and safe. Perhaps it is in honor of the recession, but all of the cream, ivory, light mint, light grey dresses are boring and putting me to sleep. Thus far, the young lady for Slumdug Millionaire, Frieda Pinto, is my vote for best dressed in a vibrant blue number. The 1st runner-up is Kate Winslet in a flattering dark sliver gown with a black (velvet?) shoulder and cummerbund. For best dressed male, eff it, I’ll give it to Mickey Rouke because it the least sweaty and unkempt I’ve seen him all awards season. Alicia Keys raspberry sorbet dress was a great breath of fresh air among the sea of drab colors. Last year's best actress winner,Marion Cotillard, was a midnight blue vision in a sparkly dress cinched in at the waist with a wide black belt.It was simple and elegant.
The accessories were beautiful and eye-catching. Amy Adams and Taraji P. Henson's chokers were stunning. Angelina Jolie's emerald drop earrings and matching ring were unique and flattering. Have you noticed that Meryl Streep has been rocking ethnic jewelry to most of her fancy
events. That's her thing and she's sticking with it, I like it. Sophia Loren's cleavage is descriptionless. I hope to be able to stick mine up and out as far as she does when I hit that age.
And finally, on an “I-can’t-believe-I’m-this-old” note: Sean Penn has crow’s feet and grey temples? Mickey Rouke is slightly-bloated and cranky with a receding hairline? I remember when I was a tween and a teen, these guys (along with Richard Gere) made up my bad boys to f**k list.
February 20, 2009
I Want to Wrap Rihanna in a Blanket of Security
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts
Yours truly, Ms. Kiki, has never been in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. I have never had a man hit me or threaten to hit me even when I was a high school rough neck taunting one of my mortal boy enemies. I don’t know what it is to be a victim like that, but I do know a handful of girls/women who have been. My hearts go out to them. As I’ve become a mother to two daughters, my stomach boils with anger whenever I hear about child abuse, domestic violence, or relationship abuse on the news. I would like to believe that my husband and I will raise our girls with enough self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-defense skills to not get caught up in one of these relationships, but I can’t predict the future.
I dislike teenage boys who grab on girls’ arms, butts, or hair like it is public property or some weird form of caveman flirting. I loathe men who hit women. I hate men who rape or beat little children or women. They are beneath the dog shit on the ground. I wouldn’t spit on an abuser if he was burning in my living room, and I believe myself to be a generous and kind-hearted Christian.
Nearly two years ago at work, I got between a young man who was accosting a young woman. When I asked her if she wanted to go with that man, she said “no.” I wrapped by big plus-size body around her frail little body and proceeded to drag her away from him. He, also a skinny little punk, grabbed her bag and wouldn’t let go. I witness before God that I used all my strength to pull that girl into my building with that asshole hanging on. This whole time, no more then ten minutes, nobody tried to intervene or help. I yelled at a passerby to call the cops on his cell phone because the girl didn’t want to with this boy. Once he confirmed that, he started to dial. It was then that the boy let her go. (Punk ass.) Eventually, we got inside of my job and waited for the police. I saw that she had a busted lip and a hospital bracelet on her wrist—she was released that morning from a beating he had given her the night before.
As we waited for the police, I called a domestic violence shelter that agreed to take the women in. (She was homeless, had not family in this city, and was living with her boyfriend because she had no where else to go. The welfare agency was working with her to get her section 8 housing and vocational classes—her going to school was the cause of this most recent fight.) Long story short, a few weeks later she came back to the library looking for me. She thanked the safety officers who had helped her, and wanted to thank me. She knew she was in a bad situation, but she didn’t know how bad until someone intervened to help her.
That’s what we need people. We need more people to risk reputation or a few cuts and bruises to protect those who are getting their asses beat by weak men. If someone would ever put their hands on my daughters and I wasn’t there, I hope to God someone would try to help them.
This whole post is a reaction to the alleged beating of Rihanna by R&B singer Chris Brown. It’s been a stone laying heavily in my stomach for the past two weeks. I’ve been hearing all sorts of rumors justifying this beat down, like she gave him an STD or that she slapped him first for cheating with another girl or that they were drunk/high. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE, there is no justification ever for abusing someone you love. If you’re in an abusive relationship, get out even if that means sneaking out the window in your underwear. If you’re abusing someone, go get help.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Help is available to callers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hotline advocates are available for victims and anyone calling on their behalf to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals to agencies in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services. If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
Help, Treatment, Intervention, and Prevention
If you live with someone who abuses you or if someone is stalking you, you need to take immediate measures to protect yourself. You’re in extra danger if your abuser or stalker talks about murder or suicide. You’re also in particular danger if you are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship.
- Know your abuser’s red flags. Be on alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence. Come up with several believable reasons you can use to leave the house (both during the day and at night) if you sense trouble brewing.
- Identify safe areas of the house. Know where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Avoid small, enclosed spaces without exits (such as closets or bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen). If possible, head for a room with a phone and an outside door or window.
- Be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Keep the car fueled up and facing the driveway exit, with the driver’s door unlocked. Hide a spare car key where you can get it quickly. Have emergency cash, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).
- Practice escaping quickly and safely. Rehearse your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser. If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also.
- Come up with a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you’re in danger and the police should be called.
- Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police. Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts, local shelter, and domestic violence hotline.
- Keep change and cash on you at all times. Know where the nearest public phone is located, and have change available so you can use it in an emergency situation to call for help. Also try to keep cash on hand for cab fare.
Additionally, to keep yourself safe from domestic abuse and violence you should document all abuse. If you’ve been injured, take photographs. If you have been abused in front of others, ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Finally, don’t hesitate to call the police if your abuser has hurt you or broken the law. Contact the police even if you just think your abuser might have broken a law. Assaulting you, stealing from you, and destroying your property are all crimes.
Domestic Violence Escape Kit
- Money for cab fare
- A change of clothes
- Extra house and car keys
- Birth certificates
- Driver’s license or passport
- Medications and copies of prescriptions
- Insurance information
- Credit cards
- Legal documents such as separation agreements and protection orders
- Address books
- Valuable jewelry
- Papers that show jointly owned assets
Conceal it in the home or leave it with a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative. Important papers can also be left in a bank deposit box.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook
Do not feel falsely secure with a restraining order!
You are not necessarily safe if you have a restraining order or protection order. The stalker or abuser may ignore it, and the police may do nothing to enforce it. To learn about restraining orders in your area, call 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or contact your state's Domestic Violence Coalition.
February 16, 2009
A Love Letter to the Other Great Mrs. O
Now Playing: February Icon of the Month: Michelle Obama
Dear Mrs. Obama,
To put it simply, I love you. You have officially become my main celebrity female icon. It used to be Queen Latifah, but you have usurped her in my book. I still love and respect the Queen, but you mean so much more to me. I know everybody is in awe and in love with your husband, President Barack, but a majority of my adoration goes to you. You're the type of woman I would like to be.
First of all, you're personality is stellar. You're strong yet approachable. You're intelligent, well-spoken, and simply fierce. Yet, you also come across as a good friend. You seem like the type of friend who would come over with a box of cookies and a six-pack of beer when your best gal-pal's man leaves her. Then, turn around, shake her by the shoulders, tell her to pull herself together because she deserves better. All women need a friend like you!
You're helping to redefine a woman's continously changing role in America. You're a protective and loving mother. You're a supportive and caring wife. Yet, you're also a successful careerist. You're showing women everywhere that they can balance both although it is difficult. I think it is especially important for women to see that they can support their men/partners in their dreams without losing their own dreams or their own strength.
I particularly liked these comments you made at Howard University recently on "HOME, WORK, COMMUNITY: THE ROLES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN AS CHANGE AGENTS," because I think they really express what a lot of working mothers are going through. How refreshing it is to have someone in the White House experience what millions are experiencing?
But I'm happy to be here because this issue is something that I have dealt with my whole life, trying to figure out how to juggle work-family balance in the process of getting an education. There isn't a day that goes by, particularly after having kids, that I don't wonder or worry about whether I'm doing the right thing for myself, for my family, for my girls.
So I think this issue is particularly important for us to tackle, not just as women but men, as well, because these conversations are going to help us shape our lives in the years to come.
And the one thing -- the one message that I have is for all of you struggling with this issue, is just remember there is no right answer. It took me a long time to figure that out. There is no one right way to do any of this. And the choices and the decisions will change, given your circumstances.
I also think you're an inspirational mother. I am also a mother of two little girls, and to see you with Malia and Sasha make me warm and fuzzy. It's just a nice scene is all.
I like the way you carry yourself. Many big girls, tall girls, or curvy girls grow up trying to physically diminish themselves. They dress in baggy clothes. They slouch. They take on the affects of the proverbial wallflower. You're tall, and you walk straight and gracefully. You wear bright colors and well-fitting clothes that show off your height, curves, and athletic body. Your jewelry, while tasteful and elegant, brings attention to your face. Whether or not you find fault with your body, we will never know. But from what we can tell from the outside, you don't.
Finally, and I have to mention this because I'm a fan of fashion, you dress really well. Your outfits are stellar. You play with colors and accessories like it was your second calling. You impress with simplicity and a dash of flash. You make egalitarian sophisticated and stylish, not boring. I'm working on my own Michelle Obama-esque closet by wearing the scarves, pins, and cardigans I've collected over the years. I plan on adding colors instead of relying on my typical NYC-neutral palette.
Because you are unafraid to be you, I chose you as an icon I'd like to emulate. It is also why you're my February Icon of the Month.
Ms. Kiki a.k.a. BrooklynShoeBabe
How I'm Getting My Michelle Obama On:
Neutral Low Wedges
Colorblock Shift with Matching Jacket
Colorful lighweight scarves
Lightweight preppy sweaters
February 8, 2009
A Boquet of Colors
Now Playing: Nail Polish Contest at Getcha Nails Did
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Moi has learned of an awesome contest to win a set of Sinful Nails nail polish. You may not know this, but Sinful Nails is my most favorite drug store nail polish.
Check out the awesome nail polish display below from Getcha Nails Did:
Now click HEREand enter by February 13th. I know I will.
February 4, 2009
Going to Italy Will Make You Beautiful
Now Playing: Pretty Face by Mary Hogan
Topic: Book Reviews
When I saw the cover of the young adult novel Pretty Face by Mary Hogan at my library, I got high hopes for it. I deduced that it was about a plus-size teenage girl living in skinny-obsessed Southern California who discovers to love her body as is during a life-changing trip to Italy after quickly scanning the cover flap. My heart fluttered, because it was reminiscent of one of my favorite books, the memoir An Italian Affair which was about a woman who learns to accept her body (inside and out) while carrying on a long distance relationship with an older man she met while traveling in Italy. I snatched it off the shelf and quickly took to reading it. I held all my hope and reservations in check until I finished it.
Pretty Face is the story of Hayley, an overweight teen who is being badgered (damn near abused) by her mother to lose weight—a woman who lost weight on a Weight Watchers program and now is cooking & badgering her family with the zeal of a skinny convert. Self-conscious Hayley hides her pain of not fitting in with the pretty skinny folks of Santa Monica by binge-eating on comfort food in front seat of her car or making up for being fat by being the funny girl. Feeling she needs a change of scene, her parents send her to Italy to spend the summer with an old family friend. This is where and when the transformations begin.
Hayley is automatically seduced by the long, home-cooked meals and her diet plans fail her. The descriptions of yummy dishes will have your mouth watering. She spends her days at a slow anti-Santa Monica pace. She walks and bikes everywhere. She gardens. She reads and plays board games with her host family. She stops to literally and figuratively soak up everything the small Italian town has the offer. Instead of spending days self-loathing, Hayley begins to enjoy life. And her life becomes very sweet when she finds the gorgeous, gap-toothed Enzo—her first love and lover. Their romance is strong, quick and heady, and they fall under the spell of each other easily. Best of all, he loves her body. She’s his curvy Americana with a beautiful face, and the phrase is not used as an underhanded compliment. Hayley finally accepts and learns to love her big body.
Upon returning to California, she is immediately crushed by her mother’s size obsession as Hayley body has firmed up and slimmed down a bit from her daily walking tours and visits to ancient churches. Hayley does not revel in the compliment of being/looking smaller because she is past needing it. Then on the last page, the book takes a turn. Hayley steps on the scale and is happy about the number on it! The book tried so hard to create a journey of a protagonist who takes care of herself physically AND emotionally for the first time and accepts her body for what it is and can do, but it suddenly kills that positive message by having her equate it to the number on the scale.
With that said, I do come away from the book with less self-loathing about my weight and I’m sure several girls (and maybe boys) will as well. The love story between Hayley and Enzo was sexy without being graphic or smutty. The author also does an excellent job of transporting the reader to a different place, and making one long to take a trip to Italy ASAP. The other downside of Pretty Face is the liberal sprinkling of cultural references that dates the book, and will have readers 3 to 5 years from now running to Wikipedia to understand them all.
On a scale of 5 stars, I give Pretty Face 3 stars. (Five stars for the excellent descriptions of food.)
February 1, 2009
In It for A Penny
Now Playing: How to Save A Little Bit of Dough
During these tough economic times, a.k.a. a gotdamn recession, we all have to tighten our belts a little. Living within our financial means and putting down the credit card can be hard when we live in such a capitalist, consumerist, and materialistic society as we do. This is not a swipe at the United States, because I love new and shiny things as much as the next 30-something woman and 3-year-old child. It is a fact of life that sometimes we need something new or want something, and some times we have to break out the credit for these things. Don’t feel too bad about carrying a debt; doesn’t the U.S. government have a $11 trillion dollar debt? We just can’t tax people to pay for it, but what we can do is pinch pennies and find new streams of revenue. In this post below, I want to share some of the things I’ve done in order to pay less and save money over the years. Maybe this will help you out. Get a library card and visit your local library often!
You can borrow books, comic books/graphic novels, magazines, music CDs, sheet music, DVDs, and VHS tapes from your local public library. You can also borrow video games and software CD-ROMs depending on what your local library carries. Here’s a list of other services you may be able to get from your library for free:
Consider buying the Entertainment Guide. If you and your family go out often to amusement parks, fast food restaurants or to the movies, this book will literally pay for itself after three outings. A friend of mine lent me hers and I was able to get several coupons for discount tickets to the movies. Also, if you’re fan of coupons, you may also want to try these other things
- Book discussion groups;
- Family shows and performances;
- Resume help;
- Computer classes;
- Story time and arts & craft for small children;
- Teen, Family, or Adult movie night;
- Free Wi-fi;
- Air conditioning (turn yours off and visit the library to read in cool peace and quiet)
- Game Clubs—video games, Scrabble, Chess, Checkers, Bridge, etc…;
- Crochet and knitting circles; and
- Homework help for traditional and home schooled children.
Join a Points Program. Pampers and Coca-Cola are just examples of companies who reward you for buying their products. If you’re a soda fiend like me, you will accumulate Coke Rewards quickly. Then you can redeem for free music downloads, magazine subscriptions, contest entries, and free soda! If you’re feeling generous, you can also donate your points to charity. Pampers redemption gifts include a free box of diapers, free portrait sittings at Sears, board books, a free box of Cheerios, and other toddler friendly products. Join Mypoints.com. At My Points you can earn points for shopping at hundreds online stores like Target.com, OldNavy.com, QVC.com, and Sephora.com. If online shopping isn’t your thing, you can just visit websites and answer surveys that My Points send you. Your points will build up until you have enough to redeem them for gift cards to stores. If you’re impatient, you can gift cards for as low as $10 and $25. If you’re very patient, you can gift cards as high as $200! Its February now, if you’re diligent about responding to surveys and visiting websites, you’ll be able to get some gift cards in time for the holidays. If you’re a natural outgoing person or trendsetter in your group of friends & associates, you may consider joining Bzzagent.com. At BzzAgent, you get a chance to try out free products and tell people about the products—whether your report is good or bad. For each Bzz you report, you’ll earn points that can be linked to your My Points account. I’ve gotten free meals at Boston Market; a box of candy bars; a box of power bars; coupons for free grocery products; and free make-up in the five years I’ve been a BzzAgent. (I’m still raving about the Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara that I got for free over six months ago.) Dollar stores, discount stores, and chain drug stores are great places to get toys on the cheap for your small children before they get swept up in the name-brand gimmes. (This usually starts around the age they start school.) These places are also great places to get items on the cheap for arts and crafts at home—generic coloring books; markers; crayons; construction paper; drawing books; pencils; stickers; craft sticks; etc… Chain drug stores also carry very excellent store brand/generic versions of your favorite household cleaning items and beauty products. I dare you to tell me the difference between Vaseline Intensive Care lotion with cocoa butter and Walgreen’s version. Get frequent buyer cards, always free, from your supermarket and other stores you frequent. At my local supermarket, Foodtown, I can redeem S&H Greenpoints for household products or gift cards to the supermarket. (I’ve earned enough points to get good quality pillows, a George Foreman grill, a DVD player; and several $50 Foodtown gift cards over the years.) Save on your dry cleaning and laundry bills by wearing your clothes more than once before you launder. Wearing dress shields, undershirts, panty shields, camisoles, slips, pantyhose, and tank tops underneath your outfits will keep them relatively stink free. Spraying them with Febreze and hanging them in the bathroom while you shower will also keep them fresh for another wearing. (I only recommend doing this in the spring, fall, and winter months.)
- Check the inserts of your children’s video games and DVDs, most times there are coupons for future discounts on movies, DVDs, or video games;
- Coupon Clippers is a service where you chose coupons for products you use often and normally you pay $4 for each visit—service and shipping & handling aren’t free.
- Websites of the products you use often, like diapers, breakfast cereal, and household cleaning products.
Entertaining small children can be expensive especially if you want to do something more than just plopping them down in front of the television.
Consider going to your local botanic gardens, children’s museums, or zoos during off hours when the rates are cheap. Sometimes, they’ll have free days.
Bring your own bags of popcorn and bottled soda/juice to the movie theater, and go during matinee times to save on exorbitant movie prices.
Revive your favorite outdoor games like jumping rope, hop scotch, playing jacks, and tag. Depending on your constitution and your child’s constitution, you can play these outdoor games all year. Your children will appreciate the time spent with their parents and being outside!
Instead of buying educational workbooks or games use your online access to download free workbook pages or to visit websites like Pbskids.org for free educational games.
Now that I’ve spilled my cheap guts to you, let me know what you’re doing to save money in your household!
Finally, use your TiVo, DVD recorder, or VCR to record your children’s favorite cartoons so you don’t have to buy it when it will inevitably be released on DVD.
January 22, 2009
Thoughts on the Oscars
Now Playing: Oscar Nominations for 2008
Topic: Movie Reviews
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- NOMINATIONS BY CATEGORY - 81ST AWARDS -
Performance by an actor in a leading role
Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor" (Overture Films) --I haven't even heard of this film.
Frank Langella in "Frost/Nixon" (Universal) --Hooray for Count Dracula
Sean Penn in "Milk" (Focus Features)
Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) --Surprised because I found Brad Pitt to be surprisingly detached
Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight) --I hope and pray that Mickey wins, because I love a great comeback story.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Josh Brolin in "Milk" (Focus Features) -- He was awesome in No Country for Old Men. He plays a good anti-hero/villian, no?
Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder" (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) --I had a dream witih Heath Ledger in it the other night. I simply love him as a talent. He was excellent as the Joker, but this is a tough category.
Michael Shannon in "Revolutionary Road" (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Anne Hathaway in "Rachel Getting Married" (Sony Pictures Classics) --I would love to see Anne win because she really is a great actress, and this movie has been getting great reviews. Plus, if she won, I'd truly forgive her for starring in that anti-feminist flick Bride Wars.
Angelina Jolie in "Changeling" (Universal) -- Who would have thought that Angelina would grow up to become a serious actress.
Melissa Leo in "Frozen River" (Sony Pictures Classics) -- I'd like her to win just on the strength of starring in one of my favorite television shows ever, Homicide.
Meryl Streep in "Doubt" (Miramax) -- Hey, it's Meryl. Has she ever won?
Kate Winslet in "The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) -- Hey, it's Kate. She should go back to being a red head.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Penélope Cruz in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (The Weinstein Company) --She is really proving herself to be a talent, and I'd like to see this movie on the strength of Javier Bardem
Viola Davis in "Doubt" (Miramax)
Taraji P. Henson in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) --I loved her in Hustle and Flow!
Marisa Tomei in "The Wrestler" (Fox Searchlight) -- Ever since I saw her in The Slums of Beverly Hills, I've been a fan of her acting. Also, I thought her Golden Globes outfit was wonderful and non-traditional.
Best animated feature film of the year
"Bolt" (Walt Disney) Chris Williams and Byron Howard -- I don't know if this Oscar-worthy. I just think they're trying to fill out the category.
"Kung Fu Panda" (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
"WALL-E" (Walt Disney) Andrew Stanton -- I love WALL-E!
Achievement in film editing
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall -- Really? No, Really? If you're movie is 3 hours long, what effing editing are you doing?
"The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.) Lee Smith
"Frost/Nixon" (Universal) Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
"Milk" (Focus Features) Elliot Graham
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) Chris Dickens
Best motion picture of the year
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
A Kennedy/Marshall Production Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
"Milk" (Focus Features)
A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
"The Reader" (The Weinstein Company)
A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production Nominees to be determined
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight)
A Celador Films Production Christian Colson, Producer -- I'd love to see this movie win just on the strength of it being an outsider and not your typical Oscar fare.
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