Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The More Sophisticated Coach Bags for the Fall

I have not liked Coach bags for over a decade. The company had decided to disregard adult women in exchange for the hipster, teen and tween. It's designs had turned this once noble first adult handbag of generations past, into quite frankly, a joke. But it seems that things are turning around. The new handbag collection is elegant, sophisticated and very adult.

I particularly like the new Madison drawstring


Buy Here


And the Madison sadie flap bag

Buy Here


Meanwhile Coach is pushing the new Borough Bag as the "It" bag of the season. While I have nothing against this bag...it just seems like a hyped briefcase to me. Nice for the working woman but not very much fun.

Buy Here



And yes along with the sophistication comes a heftier price tag. But not to worry, Coach has also kept its other less expensive lines up and running.  Legacy, Poppy, City Tote, and the Classics (which brings back memories of decades gone by.)



Elise

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Hairstylist...No Meltdown...Yet

I had not been sleeping. I decided to change hairstylists because I no longer wanted to travel into NYC to get my hair cut. I didn't mind it before simply becasue I could meet the sister for lunch. So it was a fun day away in the City that never sleeps. But sis moved away to start a new and exciting job so there was no reason for me to travel almost 1 1/2 hours for someone to cut my hair.

Now granted I liked how they cut my hair. I have curly hair and until I found this salon, well, sis found the salon, I had not had a good and productive haircut for ...well forever.  I either had to have my hair really short or really long. no one could style my hair into anything that resembled a haircut that was stylish. But I do like the old salons products and luckily I can also purchase them over the internet. BTW, you don't have to be a millennial to love the internet.

Yes I was going to miss our lunches in the City. Especially the fun and new foodie places to go eat. But since I really have no one else to go with, I am not about to go myself. Yes, sis said that I should do that, but its simply not me. I don't like going to a restaurant alone. I don't even go the gourmet shop in my town and sit alone..well I did it the other day and felt terribly out of place.

Not sure if this is a self-esteem issue or simply the fact that I really don't like to sit alone in public. Yes I know a good therapist would parcel it out, but truthfully it's not a life effecting issue so who really cares. I have other things to spend my money on besides therapy where I try to figure out why I have issues. I know my issues and I am content with them. In fact I embrace them.

Meanwhile I sent out feelers to see who everyone in my neighborhood went to for hair cuts. Decided to go with the chichi recommendation. I know that didn't guarantee me a good haricut, but the ladies that go there could easily go into the CIty and I figured this salon had to know what they were doing or the ladies that lunch wouldn't use them.

But did that solve my sleepless nights? Absolutely not. There is nothing more personal than a lady's hair. In fact once I went to a  satellite of my City salon, which was alot closer to my home, and received such a bad haircut that I obsessed over it for three weeks before I called to complain. I ended up traveling into the City to get them to fix the hair.

So I am hair obsessed. There are many things in life I can deal with, but a bad haircut sends me over the edge. I don't know why. But it does.

Actually one of my biggest pet peeves with hairstylists is when they decide to cut my hair how they want it to look. That sets me off into the stratosphere. As if I am too stupid to know how I should look. I suppose they all think they are Hollywood stylists saving the uninitiated and the ignorant rubes who don't know how to cut their hair. Or in reality, they only know how to cut one way and they are so untalented they can't diverge from their own ignorance...so hence they make everyone look the same.

Anyway to continue on with my odessey into the realm of a new hairsalon....

It turned out OK. After days and days of sleepless nights, thinking that they are going to make me look horrible, talk down to me and me having a hissy-fit, it really went well. The new stylist listened to me. He only trimmed and shaped the cut I had. He also talked about how bad my other stylists was, of course, which I expected to happen or why would I bother to come back to him.....

But yeah its fine. I look like I wanted to.

They do use different hair products then the ones I like and will stick with the ones I use already.  But as I said, I can get them over the internet.

So all in all, not  a bad change. We'll see what happens next time.

I know, I'm such a joy.


Elise


Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

Shaken Not Stirred

The perfect cocktail for a fall weekend.

Vodka
Vermouth
Olives

I happen to enjoy a very dry martini. This means you spill vermouth into a very cold glass, spin it around and spill it out. This leaves just the hint of vermouth flavor in the drink. Then add the vodka and the olives. I suppose you might not call this a "martini," but it works for me.








I'm also not partial to a dirty martini because it adds unnecessary salt to the drink. The last thing I need is more water bloat....

I'm also not partial to any fancy martinis either. I like the simple classics.

OK  OK OK, yes a classic martini is actually made with gin, but it seems I am allergic to gin as it numbs my face and I go into a mild form of anaphylaxis...so no... no gin. By the way, same thing happens to me with rum.

I just stick to vodka or tequila.

Cheers, Salud, A la votre sante, L'chaim....


Elise

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fashion Legend Norma Kamali on the Objectification of Women

Yeah, so I'm a little late to this party, but so what. At least I found it.

When I was growing up Norma Kamali was one of the first women to make it big in the fashion industry. She was a powerhouse.  Fashion, like most industries, had always been dominated by men except for the rare instances when the likes of a Coco Chanel arose. What was unusual about Kamali's designs however, is that she bucked the trend by allowing women to be stylish and comfortable at the same time.

Her sleepingbag coat. h/t BLOGUE


Presently, this fashion legend spends plenty of time talking about the objectification of women in society. She tries to empower women through her new organization  STOP OBJECTIFICATION.







Here is an interview she did with Buzzfeed. HERE

Her new every-women line: KamaliKulture


Here



My take on this issue in general: Cultural relativism and the Decline of Societal Decency



Elise

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Own Calorie Entitlement Culture

Twenty-three years ago I was giving birth. My son came in less than 4 hours. I spent most of that time, more than 3 hours, pushing his big head out of my not so wide hips. Yep I was fully dilated in less than one hour. And no it did not feel good. 

Luckily those hips of mine did spread (would not want to be one of those unfortunate women who get to go through labor and then have to have a c-section) to make room for his cranium, and to this day they have remained childbearing wide. I love it when women tell stories about how their bodies went back to pre-baby status; flat tummy, full breasts and teenage-like hips (without the help of a cosmetic surgeon too) and all within weeks yet. Its been over two decades and I am still waiting for that miracle to happen to me.

Honestly the entire labor thing was a little scary initially. Considering this was my first child I wasn't even quite sure what was going on at first, because instead of labor pains like they show on TV, which came and went, I was just one giant labor pain. I thought something was really really wrong. Luckily we decided to call the doctor who told me to go to the hospital and get checked. (He thought I was being overly dramatic and overwrought.) Needlesstosay the obstetrical intern put me right into a labor room once he figured out how far along I was effaced.

In the end of course I had this very cute sweet little baby-boy in my arms and well, the fear, pain and slight confusion disappeared. Until each year rolls around that is, and I decide that there is a rather good and moral reason for me to have that little extra piece of birthday cake. Heck it might be my son's birthday, but I'm the one that earned that extra piece of chocolate goodness on that day, and I am entitled to not have those calories count too.

Son's cake is blue with chocolate fudge filling.


Meanwhile upon leaving the hospital with my oldest, the nurse turned to me and mentioned that when I get pregnant with my second child, I should just check myself into the hospital. If my first birth was any indication of how efficient my body was, any subsequent children would come rather quickly.

Well son number two came in 90 minutes from start to finish. Luckily we lived six blocks from the hospital, car service came in fifteen minutes, and my sister, who was going to take care of the oldest one during the delivery, met the trio of us in the lobby of the hospital as we arrived. Good thing that someone even held one of the historically slow elevators for me in the lobby or baby number two would have been born on a visitor's couch instead of a delivery room gurney.

Reason number 2 for calorie entitlement culture day number 2.

P.S. The pieces really aren't that big......just big enough.



Elise






Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Bad Proactive Idea to Buy Halloween Candy a Month Early












So I decided to be pro-active and buy my Halloween candy early. I went to our local large-box supermarket club and brought home 3 bags of multiple kinds of chocolate treats. The 52 ounce bags with several hundred pieces of candy inside. All my favorites of course: Twix; M&Ms (plain and peanut); Snickers; Milkyway; Butterfinger.

I strategically placed them in the pantry on the highest shelf.

I figured out how to use a step ladder.

I looked at the calorie index and saw that the average little bag was no more than 100 calories.

I decided that one chocolate treat wouldn't hurt me.

I decided that eating the ones with the nuts would ensure that no child with a life threatening allergy would inadvertently pick the wrong candy.

I decided that 2 treats a day were only 200 extra calories and I could just work them off on the crosstrainer.

I'm going to have to buy more Halloween candy.

I'm going to have to exercise nonstop (only breaking for sleep and a pee) on the crosstrainer until after New Years.



Elise


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Picking a New Color for Our House

Well we are in the midsts of having our house repainted. I enjoyed a light yellow color for the past few years. But the boys have put their collective feet down and they want white. Actually they had thought that the house was already white because the yellow is so pale. I pointed out the truth and they are all, yes all three of them, looking forward to repainting the house. Just white. No special trim color. No different color for the door. Luckily they have no problem with leaving the window shutters black.
The boys like the Super white.


The only solace I have is that I am now going to call my house The White House.


Yes I know there are no black shutters  but hey I need to get something out of this bargain. See I really  do know how to negotiate and compromise at times.


I then get to act recalcitrant, refuse to change any of my positions on any issue, abandon those who have been our friends for generations and get to blame everyone else for the things I personally fuck up.




Elise

Monday, October 7, 2013

iPhone 5c, Macbook Pro Revamp and Chocolate Milk Legacy

HERE


Decided it was time to upgrade the boys' iPhones. Luckily Apple just came out with this cheaper version of the iPhone5. Not cheaper monthly, but cheaper ab initio.

Son picked the light blue. Hubby bought him a black Oterbox carrying case with a belt clip. Yes, Son really needs to have a good protective case to carry anything electronic.

Meanwhile I brought in his Macbook Pro laptop to get revamped.The harddrive crashed last week right in the middle of a major school project. We have Apple Care so technically they would replace everything for free....with caveats of course. Well once the Apple tech opened up the laptop we hit the caveat....apparently liquid had been spilled on the Macbook immediately invalidating the warranty.

I guess chocolate milk and electronics don't play well together. These two elements must be part of Congress.






Elise

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Review: Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Disclaimer: Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the book I want the readers to know that I am Jewish. (Here, Here, Here) My purpose in reading this book was mainly to see if somehow there was some antisemitic blood libel attached, as there had been in Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. I found the book to be fair in that regard. While people can read antisemitism at times into anything, the authors seem to have gone out of their way to make sure that their readers understand the political, economic and military dynamic involved in first century Judea. The ancient concept of collective punishment foisted upon the Jewish people for the death of Jesus is quickly and affirmatively obliterated in the very beginning of the book. The authors place the blame for the death of Jesus where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the ruler of Judea, Pontius Pilate.

*****
Review from goodreads

To understand the death of Jesus, the reader needs to understand how the Roman Empire operated in the first century CE. Rome had gone from a dynamic republic to a squalid tyranny. Barbarism, debauchery and complete disregard for human life was rampant throughout the world. Roman leadership had no other thought but to keep itself in power and to destroy anyone that stood in their way.

It is not something we in the modern world can understand really. We acknowledge that there is barbarism in our world. Syria is quite the example. But we as a civilized people see the carnage in Syria as evil and not as the right of the rulers to maintain their control. In the ancient world it was just the opposite. Life had no meaning beyond the need for the average person to serve their betters. And these betters were given the option of doing whatever they needed to in order to realize their aims.

Into this ancient scenario walks a rather rigid and stubborn people, the Judeans. (Yes, the Judeans were actually in the Middle East eons before the assent of Rome, but that is a different story for a different day.) Beholden to their belief in one omnipotent God they presented quite the challenge to Rome. Except initially Rome let them be. There was no demand to change religions as was the usual custom for a conquered people. Rome even let the Judeans be ruled by one of their own, even though the Jews could have done alot better than Herod. Rome understood how to keep a potentially volatile situation at bay...for awhile at least.

But eventually as Rome deteriorated morally so did the rulers of the outlying provinces and Judea was not exception. Graft, corruption, barbarism ruled the day. But more than anything else was the oppressive taxation of the average citizen. When a man can not feed his family it makes for an explosive environment.

Into this world comes Jesus of Nazareth.

Killing Jesus is a good historical read. The authors, both devout Catholics, do look at Jesus as the Messiah and the son of God. They do begin from that perspective. However, they present their readers with extensive historical analysis of what life was like for the average person in the first century. They detail the history of Rome and how the situation in Judea became so explosive. What were the underlying economic realities? The authors discuss the political and selfish motivations of all the actors in the Jesus story from the Roman emperor, to the people of Judea, to each disciple, to Mary Magdalene, the Temple priests and especially Caiaphas, and finally to Pilate himself. The authors discuss what were the facts on the ground that all in Judea had to deal with, examine and balance.

Then comes Jesus' story.

Taken from many sources, the authors relate the known Jesus. They regale everyone with the stories of miracles and human interaction. They tell of a pious, devote man dedicated merely to the sanctity of life and the hope of humanity. They tell the story of a man who wished to free his people from oppression.

What comes next, the trial, and crucifixion, is well documented in the book. The authors go into quite alot of detail. Extensive research was done about crucifixion and its effects. They detail the horror of this most evil form of capital punishment.  I honestly had to put the book down and regroup for a while during this part of the story. Warning: You will cry.

Finally the authors discuss the aftermath of the death of Jesus. They try to prove, from a completely Catholic perspective, what happened to Jesus after he was taken down from the cross. I will not argue this, merely because you cannot argue with a tenet of faith. In reality there is no proof as to what actually happened to Jesus after his death (if he did in fact die that day 2,013 year ago) beyond sheer faith, no matter how hard the authors try, but if you believe then you believe.

The book ends with a historical recounting of what occurred in Judea in the decades following Jesus' death. The religious uprisings and attempt to unshackle the Jewish people from Rome. These Jewish revolts culminated in the the total destruction of Jerusalem, the Holy Temple and the subjugation for thousands of years of the Jewish people. Rome even tried to obliterate the Jewish people from history.

****

Killing Jesus is a well thought out historical accounting of a time in history that literally changed the direction of humanity. It will give the reader an understanding of the dynamics and the intrigues that infected the ancient world. It is a study in the brutality of existence conflicted with the light that can be shed if the majority of people really do stand up for what is right and good.

Without a doubt the reader is left with some questions when the book ends. Did what come after the Roman period mean goodness and light? Did those who purported to follow Jesus through the centuries actually walk in the footsteps of Jesus? Was there terror, hate and evil that obstructed goodness throughout the centuries? Did the Church do as Jesus would have wanted? That of course is many other books for many other days.



Elise


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sleepy Hollow on Fox

Welcome to the town of Sleepy Hollow. Witches, demons, psychic visions, Biblical Armageddon and Washington Irving all wrapped into the American Revolution brought forward to the present day. Could it get any better than that? Actually for me...no.

This new series, Monday night at 9PM on Fox, begins with the awakening of a British history professor, who chose to fight alongside the colonists during the American Revolution. He had been put into a deep sleep by his witch-wife shortly after an inconsequential battle of the War for Independence. He had decapitated a hessian soldier during a skirmish near the town of Sleepy Hollow, New York. But instead of killing this British mercenary, the enemy turned into the headless horseman of Irving's myth. The horseman does not die, and is able to mortally wound our hero. Furthermore, to add to the mystery, the professors' wife is caught between the world of the living and the dead, a type of sorcerer's-purgatory that allows her to help our regenerated revolutionary in his battle against these nefarious elements.

Meanwhile in modern day a beloved and well respected police chief, an imminent victim of the headless horseman, has been accumulating information about covens, both good and bad witches, that have been operating in Sleepy Hollow for over 250 years. His files are the clues needed to fight the enemy that is to come. His is the historical catalog of  the battle between the holy and the damned fought daily without the assent of mere mortals.

There is the police detective, a survivor of foster care and a clairvoyant, who once had an encounter
with a devil-like demon and her psychologically damaged sister who befriend the time-displaced revolutionary in his search for answers and retribution.Together they wend their way through the clues and the dangers to figure out the meanings of all these present day events and how it all meshes with long ago battles meant to free the colonies from British rule. The sister, lost in a world of psychosis, anger and sibling betrayal, is the ultimate key to the entire coming war.

Lastly, the new police chief, while dumbfounded and leery of the spectral truth before him is not so foolish as to ignore the signs of the coming apocalypse. Reticent, but not without purpose, he allows the duo of police detective and revolutionary to search for answers so that the town of Sleepy Hollow can return to its slumber and quiet ways in the woods of Westchester County.

Each week another layer unfolds bringing us closer to the meanings behind certain aspects of the revolution and the clues hidden in the writings of Washington Irving. This series is definitely for those that like a mystery and definitely for those that wish to find hidden meanings in modern events.
 
Where do these apparition come from? Why is George Washington involved? What does the Sons of Liberty have to do with the upcoming Biblical battle? Why Sleepy Hollow? With all mysteries there is more to this story than meets the eye.


The headless horseman was the imagination of one of our great American writers. He played upon the thoughts and fears that might go through a person's mind as they galloped along the paths on those colonial roads. Shadows and creeks and sounds and fury all coming together in one wonderfully imaginative narrative.

Meanwhile, Sleepy Hollow exists today. It's just off the Taconic Parkway or Rt 117. My childrens doctors' offices are there at the local hospital. It's a quiet little town.....at least for now.


Elise

Halloween in Sleepy Hollow