Archive | November, 2008

A Shoe-Tasting Menu…..

29 Nov

shoeshopping1
My husband, Mr. Sassy, has a job in the food service industry. In addition to being a manager to his team of guys, he is also somewhat of a consultant to many fabulous restaurants and chefs in our area. His job is great when it comes to trying out the newest fab foods too. I’ve been a taste tester for some fabulous things such as coffees, spices, desserts and prime cuts of meats as well as been a part of the launching of some of the best restaurants in our area. Recently, my husband informed me that we had been invited to attend a seasonal gourmet dinner of an Epicurean Circle at one of these restaurants. Since there was a limited seating of only sixty “epi-curious” people, my husband made sure we were on the “A” list for the evening.

I’ll be honest, I don’t cook much. I grew up on comfort foods. I can make a steak, pork chops, stew and a killer chili. I can make side dishes such as corn, green beans, baked potatoes, and yam casserole with marshmallows. Early on in our relationship, my husband loved taking me to all kinds of different restaurants to expand my range of food tastes. He introduced me to a variety of ingredients I had never even heard of, much less consumed. In addition, he showed me fine wines and the types of foods that they paired well with. I didn’t just learn that eating was a means of survival but it could also be a true experience. With that being said, in our twelve years together, I had never heard the word ‘epicurean’ before. So I looked it up on the website for the event. I learned it would be a chef-designed tasting of foods “inspired by the freshest bounty of the season, prepared imaginatively, beautifully presented as well as narrated and paired with complimenting wines.” Let me get this straight. You are going to serve me eight courses of different meals in sizes I can actually finish? Check. You are going to use fresh, seasonal ingredients? Check check. And you are going to accompany each course with a different vino? Triple check, I’m in!

Now as my husband was anticipating a night of eclectic amuse bouches, tartares, emulsions and infusions, you want to know what I was anticipating? A reason to go shoe shopping! Come on…new flavors, new foods, new shoes! We all know a fancy foo-foo dinner just tastes better in high heels. He could become the gourmand of mission figs and I could become the guru of Manolo Blahnik’s. All in the same night. Once the reservations had been made, the online shopping began. I already had the stellar go-with-anything “little black dress”. That was easy. My search now was for the killer pair of shoes that, as Emeril would say, would make my outfit go “BAM!” So many funky styles are out that I had endless options. I knew one thing though – wanted pumps. Killer, model, “F”-me pumps. I am 5’9” with more legs than a bucket of chicken, but I love the feeling I get when I can wear a pair of heels with confidence. It jazzes me even more if I can wear them with confidence AND no blisters!

I hit the hot footwear websites, and the internet quickly became my own personal tasting menu. What’s great about online shoe shopping is so many of them are in competition with each other that they offer deals that cannot be beat. Free shipping, free returns, exchange upgrades, and every designer name imaginable. Plus, let’s not forget really great deals and sales. Now, when I stopped to think about it, I realized I hadn’t invested in a good pair of name-brand shoes in a really long time. In fact, the last pair I bought was an uber-jazzy pair of Nine West peep-toed pumps with a gift certificate my fiancé/now husband gave me for Mother’s Day. That was over 7 years ago. I still have them because I treat them like gold. That’s because when I got them, they were over $90 and at that time (as a piss-poor singe parent) I couldn’t imagine anyone other than a runway diva or Oprah having a pair of shoes that expensive. I never thought expensive meant better, but I think with shoes it just might. “You get what you pay for.” The leather on those classic Nine West shoes have now become smooth like buttah and is soft like a baby’s butt. It will be difficult to let them go when they finally fall apart. I think I will need a coroner to officially declare them gone.

shoes
I shopped online for several hours, hitting endless websites, and charging pair after pair of black heels. With tens of thousands online to pick from, I just couldn’t nail down just one pair without testing many. I think I ordered a total of eight pairs. Now don’t hassle me, I had no intention of keeping all eight. My goal was one jazzy-yet somewhat comfy-pair to add to my collection. Now began the waiting game for my boxes to begin arriving at my doorstop. Within 48 hours, my UPS man began ringing my doorbell. Day after day after day. If he had stayed any longer than 60 seconds, I’m sure my neighbors would have begun to wonder what Brown was really doing for me. The excitement of the shopping/selection experience however soon dwindled as I opened each pair and found a problem with each. Too high, too tight, too large, too “what the hell was I thinking?” Eight pairs came, eight pairs got rejected. I was frustrated and annoyed. The good news? I did find a shoe I absolutely loved. A pair of zip-top gladiator pump sandals in black. The bad news? The pair that came was too small and the size I did need wasn’t available from the shoe site I had gotten them from. Once I fell head over “heels” for this pair, I grabbed the laptop and began searching for that specific shoe in the size I needed. And fast too, because the tasting dinner was quickly approaching. After an hour on a few search engines, I found my dream shoe. A perfect size 8.5 Berkley sandal in black patent leather by Michael Kors, the fashion guru judge from “Project Runway”. I love his style and his shoes are to die for. They had them at Nordstrom’s, a primo store known for top designers and high-fashion styles. And I could order them online at a (cough cough) respectable price. My heart began to beat faster as I rushed to get the order placed for same-day shipping. They would officially be the most expensive fashion purchase I had ever made in my life. Well, I had a leather coat that was more, but that doesn’t count. Warm coats are a necessity in New York. Black, strappy, 4” heeled shoes are a splurge.

Since it was a Friday and the multifarious feast was on Tuesday, I requested two-day priority shipping. That meant they would be guaranteed for Tuesday morning delivery, and I’d have time to walk around the house in my new kicks to get my feet ready for the 6 pm dinner. I took seven of the eight pairs of unwanted shoes to the shipping store to return to their appropriate online stores for credit. The only ones I chose not to return yet was the too-small pair of Kors’ Berkley sandals I had just reordered from Nordstrom’s so I could jam them on with my dinner dress, practice not walking like an ostrich, and play makeup until the new ones came. I designed a look from head to toe—sparkly makeup to toe ring—that made me feel like a red-carpet superstar. I walked through my living room pretending I was Heidi Klum telling each of my cats, “One minute you’re in. The next? You’re out!” They just looked at me like I was on drugs.

When my husband came home from work that night, I was excited to show him what I was going to wear to his special event. Mr. Sassy was in awe. He thought I looked stunning and was happy to know I was this excited to be attending an event so out of my comfort zone. And when I asked him how he liked the shoes, he replied by saying they were “hot”. Nice, good answer. Over the next sixty minutes, I told him the story of my shopping experience including every specific, useless detail. When I told him how stressed I was after everything I had dealt with, I assured him it was all worth it now that I had managed to arrange for my new en vouge party shoes to come first thing Tuesday morning for that evening’s event. At that point,  he turned to me with a blank, fogged look on his face. “Oh, I didn’t tell you?” Mr. Sassy said in a nonchalant tone.  “I was wrong. The dinner is on Monday, not Tuesday.”

I was speechless. Probably because my teeth were clenched together so hard I could have crushed a walnut, still in the shell. When Mr. Sassy saw my tense look of shock, he was speechless too. Maybe because he just knew better than to speak right then. I didn’t know if I should have cracked, cringed or cried. I just kept hearing Heidi whispering in my head, “One minute you’re in…”  Oh shoot me.

Long story short, I dug out my pair of shiny black boots circa 1970, paired with a leopard skirt and black sweater, and we went to the dinner Monday evening. The food was fabulous. I tried an oyster for the first time. Of course, it was fried, and anything is good if you fry the hell out of it. I ate a frog leg (even though I was given two), which I think actually did taste like chicken but I couldn’t really tell because I couldn’t get passed the fact that… well, it looked like… a frog’s leg! I promised my husband I would try everything, which I did. I also told him that trying it didn’t mean I would finish it, which he respected. I’m looking forward to attending next season’s feast. And you can guarantee, I’ll get the exact date of the event well in advance!

My Michael Kors black patent zipper-top shoes came, right on time, the next morning. Still in my pajamas, I took them out of the box and tried them on. They fit like a glove. Still in my plush bathrobe, I strapped on my new shiny designer heels and headed out to the driveway to get my mail. Even in fuschia fuzz, supermodel shoes look “hot”. I haven’t had a real reason to wear them outside of the house yet, but every time I open my closet, I see them in their box. Trust me, they will get their time… with or without a fried oyster!

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Survey Says………!!!

22 Nov

I often get those “About You Survey” emails sent to me or posted on MySpace. I grumble every time I get them, and then I turn around and spend over thirty minutes filling each one of them out and forwarding them on. Most ask me the usual: what am I wearing, have I ever made a boyfriend cry, etc. But I found this survey today while online and I thought it was a bit different. I figured I would complete it so my loyal blog-followers can get to know Sassy Auburn a bit more…

A – Z Survey

1. A is for age: N is for none of your business usually, but I’ll just say 39+

2. B is for beer of choice: Corona, with a lime

3. C is for career right now: Professional cosmetic user and purchaser

4. D is for your dog’s name: I don’t have a dog now but my last dog’s name was Pierre

5. E is for essential item you use everyday: Scented moisturizing body lotion

6. F is for favorite TV show at the moment: CSI (the original Las Vegas one)

7. G is for favorite game: To watch? Football   To play? Yahtzee

8. H is for home town: Clifton Park

9. I is for instruments you play: I used to play keyboards but I don’t know if I could even read music now

10. J is for favorite juice: Orange with lots of pulp–the furrier the better

11. K is for whose ass you’d like to kick: The girl who cut me off in the mall parking lot and took the spot I had been waiting for for over 10 minutes during the holidays about 4 years ago. I hope she enjoyed the wad of gum I jammed into her door handle and lock. (Hmm…think I hold a grudge?)

12. L is for the last place you ate: A great Italian restaurant who was featuring an 8 course chef’s tasting menu designed for Fall.

13. M is for marriage: It’s great if it’s for you… and trust me it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay too.

14. N is for your full name: And leave myself open for possible stalkers? I’ll give you my “Ron Mexico” name instead. It’s Heather Turkey. (If you don’t know what a Ron Mexico name is, visit http://ronmexico.kainalopallo.com/ to get yours!)

15. O is for overnight hospital stays: Ugh, I am going to say about ten but many of those were related to having my kids.

16. P is for people you were with today: My husband, my two kids and my cat.

17. Q is for quote: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” – Janis Joplin

18. R is for biggest regret: Greg

19. S is for status: Married. Happily married.

20. T is for the time you woke up today: Ummm, 12:30 pm. I was lazy, okay?

21. U is for underwear you have on now: None. I hate underwear. Briefs, thongs or G-strings—they all wad up your butt anyways

22. V is for vegetable you love: Cucumbers!

23. W is for worst habit: Swearing like a trucker when I watch sports

24. X is for x-rays you’ve had: Oh, I’m not even going to bother with that one. Seeing as how I have had three shoulder surgeries and four foot surgeries, I probably glow more than a lightening bug.

25. Y is for yummy food you ate today: Green olives stuffed with feta cheese

26. Z is for Zodiac sign: Gemini

Want to share your answers? Feel free! I’d love to know about you too! And if you have any other cool surveys, email them to me. I’ll fill them out without hesitation!! (Knowing that, maybe I should change my status to “bored”.)

Fashion Magazines: Little Annoyances…

8 Nov
Photo courtesy of allure.com

Photo courtesy of allure.com

I spent this entire week lying around the house with a terrible case of laryngitis and a cold I inherited from my daughter. It was so bad that my doctor told me to rest my vocal chords for several days. What did that mean to me? What it should mean to everyone. Just don’t talk. But you see, you don’t understand. I can’t handle that. I worked on hot-talk radio for over a year just because I like to talk. I’d talk to strangers at a race track, local politicians, Playboy models and strippers. It didn’t matter. Even now? During a conversation, I really have to be aware for how long I’ve talked … and talked… and talked. In fact, it took me over an hour to tell my husband that I wasn’t even allowed to talk. You see the pattern. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why I got the laryngitis in the first place. I’ll just keep telling myself it’s the virus.

Flat on my back in bed, my mouth was shut tight and my brain frying by the minute thanks to daytime TV consisting of soap operas, judge shows and reality reruns. I tried to pick up on the fictional dialog of Maria, the beloved wife of a psychiatrist who was cheating on him with her step-daughter’s husband only because she had lost her memory (for the third time this season) and thought she was actually a southern bell from the Civil War era. Yeah… um, that’s not happening for me. So instead, one rainy day, I ventured off to my mailbox to discover my own little treasure chest had been dropped off in the bin. What had arrived? My guilty pleasure. My escape from reality. My throat’s savior. Not a box of Hall’s cough drops. Even better. My monthly loot of glamour magazines!

Because of my love for the cosmetic, skin care and glamour industry, it’s only natural that one would assume that I am a collector of these monthly periodicals. Some come wrapped in plastic, others with special editions attached. But no matter what the title, who’s on the cover, what the season it is, or what the fashion faux pas of the month is, I’m sucked in. I usually run through each one first to see what catches my eye (pictures, products, models). Then a few days later, I go back to read the “How To’s” and “What’s Hot” tidbits. Then I research everything that jazzes me to see if it is something I want to invest in. Finally? It ends up in the library (aka: bathroom) and over the next month, it gets looked over at “convenient” times to see what I might have missed.

In my years of reading over my glam-rags, two things haven’t changed. And I wish I could say that they are good features. But they aren’t. In fact, they are annoying as hell. I keep hoping they will get better, but actually they have gotten worse. What are these little bothersome items? Let’s break them down, one at a time:

    1. The perfume samples. The last thing a girl with a sinus infection wants to deal with while sick in bed is opening a relaxing magazine that inflicts a scent-induced sneezing spasm. What’s worse? I get sucked in every month. See when I get a magazine, the first thing I do is open the front cover. Immediately I can smell a fragrance that I love. Or so I think. So what do I do? I go hunting through the pages looking for this glorious perfume. I find the first sample. I tear back the little sticky flap and see if that’s it. Nope. Not that one. I keep going. I get to the next little peel-n-sniff sample. I peel back the corner. I inhale. Nope, that’s not it either. This continues for about two or three more before I realize two things:

    a. None of them are the aroma I enjoyed when I first opened the magazine. It most likely is a combination of ALL the little scents blended together into a big cluster-cologne that made the one I loved. Dammit. What a big frigging tease.

    b. I now have the headache from hell. My little annoyed nasal passages, at this point, couldn’t tell the difference between Gwen Stefani’s L L.A.M.B. perfume and Sassy Auburn’s LAMB dinner still in the fridge from last week. I could stick my head in a bag of coffee beans at this point and it wouldn’t matter. (Ferragamo Incanto’s) “Heaven” help me.

and….

    2. The endless subscription postcard insertions. There literally so many, I could use them all to wallpaper a New York City townhouse. Oh come on fashion magazines…give it up! I’m not an idiot. I know how to re-up. And if you think you are going to lure in the poor saps sitting in anyone’s waiting room that might not get your magazine already, you are sadly mistaken. They have all been thrown out. Like I did. When they fell all over my bedroom and living room floor the minute I opened up the magazine to sniff the first damn perfume sample! In my last magazine that came in the mail, I actually counted eight. Eight annoying, cluttering, postage-paid-but-who-cares postcards that I won’t even look at it. Why? Because I know what they are! Magazines should just do myself… and the earth!… a favor. Just send me a letter a month before my subscription runs out. Feel free to offer me a free tote bag or a cosmetic sampler and then… just then… will I consider it.

Thanks to my doctor’s advice, a hidden cell phone, and an occasional piece of packing tape across my mouth, I have managed to get most of my voice back. Just in time for football Sunday screaming. Maybe I’ll be daring and wear one of the magazine perfume samples during the game. I could choose that one I love, Marc Jacob’s “Daisy”. Or was it Armani’s “Diamonds”. Maybe it was Britney’s “Believe”. Or could it have been Paris’s “Fairy Dust”. Never mind. I am getting a headache just thinking about it.

My First Glamour Halloween…

1 Nov


As the trick or treaters finish up knocking on my door, I am reminded of the Halloween that my sister took it upon herself to create my costume. I was eleven years old, which means my sister was 27. Yes, my sister was 16 years older than me, with no siblings in between. My mother always asked me what I wanted to be each year, and she would go out to the local Woolworth’s or Barker’s and get me the costume-in-a-box. Every October, the seasonal boxes would be stacked in the department stores like birthday cakes in a market bakery, with clear cellophane tops so you could see the contents. The masks were complete with almond sliver cut outs for eyes, a cheap elastic to hold it on your head, and sharp plastic edges that would slice the sides of your face like a Ginsu knife. And even if the box was marked “Children’s Size Small”, it was more like an adult size medium in order to accommodate three pairs of sweat pants and a wool coat under it to keep us kids warm. That year, my sister asked me if she could dress me as a gypsy, complete with a Woodstock-inspired dress that she owned and all the makeup and jewels that went with it. I was thrilled. It was such a step up from the highly flammable outfit I was used to. My mom, on the other hand, wasn’t so happy.

My mother was very strict when I was a child. In fact she wanted me to stay a child as long as she could. I don’t think it was because she wanted me to enjoy all the youthful joys and delights for as long as possible. I believe it was because wanted me to think the world was evil and nothing could be more fun and interesting than living at home with her. I wasn’t allowed to date till I was sixteen. Designer jeans were for hussies. Bright lipstick was for sluts. And if you hung out at the mall for longer than two hours it usually meant you were “fast”. I don’t know if these delusional thoughts were because my sister was a child of the 60’s and everyone was California Dreamin’. Or if, in fact, my mother was… well, just delusional. I had never done anything to give her the idea I was “that” kind of girl. Hell, when I saw “Grease” for the first time, I thought Rizzo was singing Sandra Dee to me!

When my sister told my mother she was creating my Halloween look, she initially had no problems. My mother wouldn’t have to battle her way to the strip mall for my costume and could save the cash instead. My sister wasn’t very specific, however, on what she planned on putting me into. She just told my mom she had a cute dress to make me look like a gypsy and my mom thought it was fine. I guess that’s because my mother thought no matter what my outfit was, she was going to put a snowsuit on over it anyways. A few days later, my sister picked me up after school so I could go pick out the accessories to go with my costume. Shopping for the garnishes was a blast! I picked out large pieces of gaudy jewelry, complete with big hoop earrings and chunky bracelets. I had never even seen the makeup section of a department store before and I was in awe. The endless tubes of lipsticks, rainbow colors of eye shadows, sparkly glosses, deep black eyeliners and thick mascaras were there for the trying and buying. It was amazing. That was it—it was official. The cosmetic seed had been planted and I was hooked. I honestly think this was the beginning of my glamour addiction.

Because my sister was married and out of the house, she had agreed to come over, dress me up, and drive me around for my “night on the town”. I had my long flowing multicolored dress. Under it, my sister put on a dark thermal top and leggings so my mom didn’t have to cram me in Antartica-wear when we were done. Way to go sis! She tied a bandana onto my head and covered me with the endless bangles and long beads. Then she did my makeup. She glued on uber-long fake lashes and lined my eyes with charcoal eyeliner. I looked like Goldie Hawn on Laugh In. Then she jazzed up my lids with bright blue eye shadow and glossed up my lips with a frosted fuschia lipstick. I looked in the mirror and was amazed! I mean, granted, it was way over the top for a girl my age but I realized even then how defining some makeup could really be. Plus, my sister didn’t just do my makeup, but showed me what to do and how to do it. Some of those lessons I remember even now. (My sister was the queen of the liquid liner!)

Since sis was taking me out, that enabled mom to stay home. And fret. With my look complete, my sister took a deep breath, as if she knew what she was about to face. She handed me my fringed handbag to use for my treats and walked me out to the kitchen. She announced, “We’re all done, we are going to go now…I’ll make sure she’s home for bedtime mom”, and tried to scoot me out the door as quick as humanly possible. My mother, who only saw me from the back, said to my sister, “Oh, wait, you better make sure she puts a coat on!” As my mother ran over with a hat, gloves and a twenty pound wool jacket, she almost tripped over her jaw as it hit the floor like a concrete block. “WHAT THE HELL IS SHE WEARING?” Oh no… protective mother alert! Game on.

I really did not know what the problem was. I thought I looked like a colorful goddess. She thought I looked like a pre-teen street walker. “Don’t I look pretty?”, I asked my mother in a perky way. “No!”, she said in a flat evil tone directed at my sister. My sister wasn’t going to back down as she shuffled me out. “Oh good God mom, it’s only a costume. We’ll be home later.” And off we went. After two hours of sheer bliss with me spinning around in my flowing frock and batting my spider lashes at every door, we headed back to home. I think I got more candy that night than I ever had before. I gave all of my dark chocolates to my sister since they were her favorites. Not only did I give her them as my way of saying “thank you” for a fabulous night of fun, but also because at the age of eleven I thought dark chocolates tasted putrid. With my bag of goodies in hand, my sister walked me into the house so she could take her jazzy dress back home with her. As we walked through the door, my mother was sitting in the living room. Waiting. She had a jar of cold cream in one hand and a bottle of baby oil in the other. She got up, handed me the portable grease products, and sent me off to the bathroom to start scrubbing. Outside of the bathroom door, I heard my sister getting grilled. My mother was going on about her “encouraging me” and “coaching me” on the evil ways of primping and pampering. Why did I have the feeling this wasn’t the first time my sister had been through this, and why did I have the feeling this wouldn’t be my last. The only difference was my sister had moved out, and I was still stuck here. Oh well. After several minutes, my sister—now too old and too married to have to deal with this interrogation—basically left my mother bitching as she just… well, left.

My mother rapped on the bathroom and told me once I had gotten all of that **insert bad word here** off my face, to get to bed. Soon after, I took my freshly cleaned (but still incredibly greasy) face as well as my sack of sweets and headed to my bedroom to tally up the loot. When I walked in my room and dumped out my array of rolls, bars and pops, I noticed a small brown goodie bag amongst the treats. I opened it up and found the best treat of all. It was the eye shadow, eye liner, mascara and lip gloss that I had worn with my gypsy outfit that night! I looked around for my mother like I had a bag of stolen money in my room. Inside was a small piece of paper with a note from my sister: “You can keep the makeup. Just make sure if you wear some on at school, you wash it off before you get on the bus to come home!” So THAT’S how she got away with it. My sister had just shared the first trick of the teenage makeup trade. I was now an official glamour insider.

I put all of my treats back in my fancy retro bag, less two Tootsie Rolls, a Pixie Stix and a box of Dots which I enjoyed right before bed. I put everything else on top of my dresser. Everything, that is, except my makeup. I hid that in my closet inside my roller skates, next to my Shaun Cassidy album. Thanks for a fabulous Halloween, sis, and thanks for my first trip into the world of glamour!

My first "full glamour" Halloween with my nephew, Jack.

My first “full glamour” Halloween with my nephew, Jack.