Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Spot a Heathen

One of my New Year's resolutions was to "get right with God." Or just go to mass a few times a month instead of a few times a year. So far - so good. Until the recessional, when I have to shake hands with the priest. My least favorite part. I can see it in his eyes - he knows I'm the stranger among his sheep.

Being the New Kid at mass is sort of like being the new person in a group exercise class. All the regulars assume the same position week after week, and give you the hairy eyeball should you dare cross the boundary line of "their spot." So, you've got that going for ya' - along with attempting to atone for missing the last 50 out 52 masses in a year.

I have been a Catholic all my life - save for that brief moment around the age of 13 when I thought, "I could be Jewish - have a Batz Mitzvah and then three years later do it up again for a Sweet Sixteen?! Have party. Will convert!" My mother, ever the Debbie Downer, quickly pointed out that conversion is a lengthy process , so my Batz Mitvah and Sweet Sixteen would end up being a combined party. And I would have to learn Hebrew. (Yiddish slang learned by just being a New Yorker, did not count.) Oy vey. I barely made it through middle school French.

Catholic, I remained.

Being relatively new to this church and still test driving our compatibility...(Do they use real wine or grape juice? Is parking a nightmare? Are the homilies relevant or about natural family planning?)...I had not officially registered and was without personalized envelopes for the collection baskets.

Since embarking on this road to redemption, I've been stuffing the monetary donation in my pocket. It's been smooth sailing. Until...

This past Saturday I slipped my hand into the wrong pocket and tossed my dry cleaning slip into the collection basket. Not realizing until the basket was two people down - I debated retrieving it rather than cause a scene. Until I recalled that MY NAME was on the slip. Oh, for the love of everything holy!!

So I had to get up, wrestle the basket from some lady who insisted on giving it to the usher at the end of the pew, grab my ticket and drop in my money. Sheez. Leave it to a heathen to ruin the flow of traffic and disrupt the vigil.

Yes, I have since ordered the damn envelopes. And no, I didn't stay after communion.

Stay tuned. More at 11.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ding-Dong: It's Mom.

My mother made an impromptu trip across the Mason-Dixon this weekend to see the News Readin's and deliver my brother for a 13-week visit. (Don't worry we'll get to that at a later date...)

For her, impromptu means 40 phone calls and a daily weather update. Not to mention - a Xanax refill for yours truly.

As I am not one to veil my impatience or general irritation with the behavior of another - she arrived bearing gifts to smooth over the harassment leading up to her descent...err...I mean - trials and tribulations of trip planning. Oh, and because she knows I desperately miss the retail bliss of New York.

As soon as I saw the Plaza Too bag, all was forgiven.

Mystique Turquoise Flip-Flop
I have two other pairs of Mystique jeweled/embellished flip-flops and l-o-v-e them. They take a casual summer outfit and instantly dress it up. Jewelry for your feet...and really comfortable.

KORS by Michael Kors Andres Moc in Green Patent
Cuter on than depicted. Worship the green color! Am dying to wear them with cropped white jeans and a navy bateau neck tee.

We waxed nostalgic over shoe purchases at Plaza Too in Bronxville, NY...for senior prom - sensible Stuart Weitzmans and my first big girl shoe purchase after landing a gig at Sotheby's- Miu Miu slingbacks...ahhh - memories.

Reminiscing didn't make her completely forget that she has no grandchildren, but it slipped her mind for a moment or two.

Yours in new shoe nirvana,

Mrs. News Readin'

Psst...take advantage of their Style Stimulus through April 15.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

DIY: Ladyscaping

Attention to any boys who read this blog: this may be a post to skip, as my never ending obsession with ladyscaping is the topic.

Ok? So, run along now - basketball to be watched, wings to devoured, beers to be consumed - and if you can find the time to fit in some mulch spreading or all means - contribute to the maintaining of the abode in which you inhabit. (Someone has a touch of holdover resentment from last weekend's lacking outdoor productivity by a certain husband who reads the news.) But, I digress...

As the bearing more than less season approaches, it's timely to launch a new product for the purpose of maintaining - specifically - Your Flower Bed. The genius minds (or their ad agency) at Schick have bestowed upon us ladies this little piece of equipment just in time:

The Schick Quattro for Women Trimstyle Razor & Bikini Trimmer

The apparatus itself doesn't offend me nearly me as much as the ad campaign that is bombarding the female consumer.

Print ads appearing in major magazines feature a lush garden with statuary amidst strategically placed topiaries in the shapes of inverted triangles and landing strips. The television commercial is even more laughable. Women strolling, jogging, meeting up with other women passing by overgrown greenery that transform magically into stripper enviable ladyscapes. Don't believe me? Check out the ridiculousness here:

Seriously, Ad Guy? Really? You sat around your agency war room throwing out ideas to market these bad boys and you came up with shaped shrubs? Are you also the geniuses that developed the Levitra commercial with the man throwing the football through the tire swing or the spurting kitchen faucet? Subtle, reeally subtle.

If you think for a second a man didn't come up with campaign, well - you're kidding yourself. Working in the advertising world has taught me that 9 out of 10 creatives are men and I watch Mad Men. My official backup data. So there.

I'm not some femi-nazi who believes a man created this tool to perpetuate the pressures of society to maintain a tidy Flower Bed. On the contrary, I am a woman who firmly believes in keeping things beach-in-Rio ready (should the occasion arise) for myself. And I appreciate the help.

Just in case my new waxer extraordinaire, Heather, is reading - it will never replace you. Our bond is much stronger. You have gone places no one has ever gone (with the lights on) other than my Lady Bits Doctor, and never once have you asked me to scoot down. Love ya', Girl!

Will I fall victim to the wily ways of Schick's advertising brilliance? Perhaps. Compared to the scouring pad/sanding system these jokers are touting - it certainly seems like the better home maintenance option.

Stay tuned. More at 11.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good Manners in Bad Times

Weren't we raised to avoid any and all talk of money in social settings? I thought so - but I can't tell you how many times in the past five years I've listened to successful, young people discuss bonuses, salary, cost of homes, cars and vacations. OMG. It makes me uncomfortable to even type it...imagine my discomfort while being regaled of the monetary details.

Don't get me wrong. I'll be the first person to tell you that I scored a Pucci satin clutch at TJ Maxx for $70.00. Don't hunters tell you if their buck had eight or ten points? Same thing, really. Telling me about your $150K bonus - um, well... - different.

The boom which preceded our current financial standings made inappropriate conversation topics acceptable and part of the norm. In the April 2009 issue of Town & Country, Michael Korda has penned a much needed piece on graceful behavior during this period of economic uncertainty.

Back to Mr. Korda's fine piece...he outlined twelve simple rules to remain dignified amidst this mess:
  1. Don't flaunt any wise financial decisions made of late.
  2. There's no crying in investing and especially in public. Save it. We're all in this mess...
  3. Leave the jokes about money to professionals.
  4. Save the "Sun will come out tomorrow" routine. We're in this for a while.
  5. Refrain from asking how work is until you know that person is still employed. Many are not.
  6. Avoid topics such as 401(K)s, IRAs and bonuses. Seriously.
  7. Use caution when telling stories about sensible people being affected by panic. You never know who has stuffed their savings in the coffee grounds can...
  8. Before having a family pow wow about belt tightening make sure you and your spouse are on the same page and sacrificing laterally.
  9. Do not tell scary stories about what had happened to other people. Those stories are always more fiction than fact.
  10. Bear in mind that in economic ups and downs - people rarely tell the truth about money.
  11. Distinguish between what you had on paper and what you really owned.
  12. And last but not least - if you are buying Chanel from the Worth Avenue boutique - have it shipped. Black tie dinner? Go light on the good jewelry. One can achieve chic without being showy.

Mr. Korda recommends reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's, The Great Gatsby as it deals with the consequences of indulging to the point of excess. A good book any time - it is particularly poignant and relevant 80+ years after its original purpose as a social commentary during the Hoover administration.

So, let's take a lesson from Marie-Antoinette...who would have been far better off suggesting Wheat Thins to the starving French masses than cake. If she had possessed the good sense of Mr. Korda, she may have even been able to keep her wig-laden head.

Stay tuned. More at 11.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Awaiting April Showers

I'm not one of those people that can't get out of a car or leave a building during a drizzle without an umbrella. It may come as a surprise to some - but I will not melt. Thankyouverymuch.

Frankly, I think they are more of a pain to manage while teetering on my 3.5 inch heels and schlepping some massive purse, laptop, bottled water and cell attached to ear.

Gang....Times - they are a changin'.

Maybe my obstinacy to umbrella usage stems from the fact that most are just ugly. Leave it to the retail geniuses at Tar-jay to make me believe that good design and practicality can exist for under $20.

Hayden-Harnett for Target Umbrella

It's on sale for $16.09...slightly more than you should be paying for an umbrella with a plastic handle - but oh, how chic.

Unfortunately, it does not match my wellies.

Yours in preparedness for April showers,

Mrs. News Readin'

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gift Card Rescue

The holidays have left me with gift cards to Bath & Body Works that I will never use.

It's not that I don't appreciate the thoughtful gesture but I have a severe aversion to B&BW. It stems from a suite mate in college that worked there and doused herself in Juniper Breeze and Plumeria. The thought of those scents makes me gag a little. I go as far as to walk at least 50 feet from any entrance to a B&BW. Sorry if you're a fan.

I could pawn those gift cards off on someone else, re-gifting, if you will. But, it makes me feel sort of guilty - especially the next time I see my aunt err...the gift giver. Enter GiftCardRescue, an online service that allows users to exchange their unwanted cards either for different gift cards or for cash. News to me!

GiftCardRescue will then provide the redemption value it's willing to pay - usually between 60 percent and 80 percent of the card's value. You can then elect either to receive cash via PayPal, or select a new gift card from the site, up to the redemption value of their original card.

Happiness is not having to buy from Bath & Body Works - and $$$ in my PayPal account to buy Jo Malone off Ebay. Just what I wanted...

Stay tuned.
More at 11.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pearl: How we became cat people

*Note: This is a little sad, a little weird and really long. Sorry.

Ash Wednesday night, I let our Sneaky Kitty outside for her usual early evening jaunt. When she didn't come back before we headed to bed, I was surprised - but not too concerned. She is a cat after all and completely independent.

Pearl aka Sneaky Kitty on her screened-in porch throne

The next morning Pearl still wasn't back...not good. So, the News Readin' husband searched the neighborhood. We blanketed the streets with fliers of sneaky kitty - even offering a reward. After all that, two trips to the shelter and a few phone calls from kind strangers telling us that had seen a cat, but not our cat - I was pretty confident that Pearl was gone and we would never really know what happened to her.

Before I go on with this let me say that I learned few things from the course of these events:
- The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me
- The bizarre-ness of strangers never ceases to amaze me
- The News Readin' Husband loves me
- The News Readin' Husband must have reeaallyyy loved that cat

On Sunday afternoon, a woman called to say that she had been walking near our home one evening earlier in the week and had seen a cat matching Pearl's description on the side of the road. Not too many people would actually call to say, "Oh by the way I saw your missing cat - dead on the side of the road." I appreciated her call.

Mr. News Readin' went to go check out the location, even though he had already carried out that morose exercise a few days earlier and had not seen Pearl. The woman even met him out there to show him the exact spot...but no sign of Pearl.

While at work on Monday, Mr. News Readin' received a phone call from a woman saying that her 21 year old daughter lives off of the nearby main road and saw a dead cat at the edge of her property a few days ago. (The same vicinity the woman on her walk had provided.) She had called her father (the caller's husband) to come and deal with the remains. So, the father buried the cat. Mystery solved.

This is where the story starts getting ridiculous and a little weird...
The woman went on to say- a couple had come by looking for their cat and they unearthed the body to id the cat - but it was not that couple's cat. Were we the same couple? But, our hard hitting reporter was not about to let this be an open case file. So, he arranged a time to meet the father and the daughter with a picture of Pearl to see if they could finally provide closure to our missing sneaky kitty.

When he arrived he found that they had once again unearthed the cat. For the second time. Seriously?!

After confirming it was indeed, Pearl - he expected they would simply return her to the ground and he would head home to let me down easy and fix a scotch. Guess again. According to him - the father said, "You are taking her with you, right?"

Mind you - Mr. News Readin' in a wool flannel chalk stripe Samuelsohn suit - was not exactly prepared to see our cat - let alone re-bury her. Sheez. But, he manned up, put her in the Tahoe and drove home to get a flashlight and a shovel.

He felt strongly that he shouldn't bury the cat in the yard, for fear the dog would sniff her out or worse - bring her into the house. Good call. There is not enough liquor in this county for me to deal with that scene.

Clad in his Italian wool suit, in the rain with a flashlight in his mouth - Mr. News Readin' found a nice spot to lay Pearl to rest. Could you imagine if someone saw him? I'm sure that didn't look suspicious at all. Regardless, he is a good, good man for carrying all this out to provide me with closure.

We got a cat following a mouse issue and ended up with another four-legged family member. A cat who killed plenty of birds, mice and snakes in her one year and three months on this earth to feel proud yet, was the most affectionate cat I have ever known.

Sneaky Kitty takes on the fierce Hot Pink Boa

Pearl, the kitten

We miss Pearl, but know she is in a better place - using someone else's Lee Jofa club chair as a scratch post and drinking all the 2% milk she can manage.

I'm happy to say she made us cat people.

Stay tuned. More uplifting news at 11.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Favorite Catalog Contender

My love of catalogs will someday lead me to a church basement - sitting in a circle, sipping black coffee, talking about "addictive behavior cues." Until that day, I will continue to hurry to my mailbox daily to see what our mailperson has left. On a good day - Wisteria, Anthro or Sotheby's Jewlelry. Bad day - Duluth Trading. On a great day - a brand new catalog which I have never perused. Friday was a great day.

On Friday, Cambria Cove arrived. Here are a few of my favorites from their pages...

They had me at this:

MOR Tea Cup Candle...what a nice hostess gift!

I've never met anything patent that I didn't like...gogovoyage Patent Laptop Sleeve.

Love the old world look of these Cameo Earrings with carved ivory insets...

These Portuguese soaps are amazing...the perfect Claus Porto Deco Collection sampler.

Aren't these pretty for a summer cocktail with your girlfriends? Sunflower Etched Glasses.

And they have stationery.
Be still my heart.

Obsessed with these Berry Cartouche Calling Cards.

Mandarin Sunburst Correspondence Cards. Flat gorgeous...

If you like any of the above, checkout their website. There are plenty more well-chosen gifts, accessories, stationery and candles.

Yours amidst stacks and stacks of retail wants and wishes,

Mrs. News Readin'

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And we're back. With a Mommy Mafia Update.

The Breaking News Team required a brief hiatus following some red wine fueled deep thoughts, a Homestead weekend with of our very favorite bloggers (and friends), as well as a sad event that we will get around to talking about - but not in this post.

After my introspective moment (bordering on pathetic pity party), which was very well attended by some new friends to this blog - thankyouverymuch - I needed a little bit o' the good times. And it just so happens that I had a weekend jaunt to the Grande Dame of resorts, the Homestead, planned with Sippycups and Happy Homemaker for the following weekend. What good fortune!

To make the weekend even more fabulous - I was an (invited) interloper to their Cocktail Club gathering at Sippycups lovely home. Her margaritas weren't too shabby, either. Good Lawd. Needless to say, we got a late start to the Homestead the next day.

All images courtesy of The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia.

Aside from the brief Shining moment walking through the Grand Hall - the three of us giggled, consumed prosecco & Pom and brie in our room until dinner. Chateaubriand and bananas foster tableside in the 1766 Grille? Oh. Hell. Yes.

In our alcohol infused fuzziness, Sippycups declared that my life plan re-think was due to the lack of minis in my life. Read: I've got too much time on my hands. Ohhh...good idea - minis, said the pumped with prosecco Mrs. News Readin'.

Not so fast, Sippycups. I'm on to you.

And it proves - yet, again - that the Mommy Mafia is an impressive network that knows no geographical boundaries. But, does have excellent taste in resorts, food and fun stuff for their friends.

Loved every minute with you Ladies...Thank you.
More at 11.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anthropologie: I love you. I love you not.

Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with Anthropologie?

Seven years ago, I went through a "If it's not from Anthro I don't want to know it..." phase. Even my bedding was from them. Their clothes and accessories made me feel like a keen-eyed, sophisticated, bohemian. And poor. Because it goes without saying that for all its gossamer tank, adorable skirt and embellished sweater gorgeousness, Anthropologie is

Are ya' with me on this?

I'm fairly confident I'm on their watch list of habitual returners. Without fail, I'll buy two items and return at least one due to buyer's remorse. Most recently it was a grey blouse that in the husband's most astute observation, "looked like a bunch of napkins" for $178. Thank you, TimGunn.

But, with one skim of a catalog - I am instantly transported back to that pre-Mrs. young woman, who fantasized of skipping across Moorish rooftops in Morocco with tousled Edwardian hair and a $198 skirt from Moth with a $88 mis-matched striped tank from elevens. *sigh*

Then I remember that I do not weigh 90 lbs and would like a damn clown in such an ensemble and if I'm going to don a $200 out-and-about outfit - Morocco ain't the destination. (Been there on our honeymoon - can you say cesspool? not bring it up to Mr.'s a sore subject.)

Imagine my shock when I spied this bathing suit, actually picked up the phone and ordered it without any hesitation. Usually a purchase from them includes online deliberations for two-three weeks with multiple phone consults with the BFF, Hilary. And buying a bathing suit - no less!

Had the flame from all those years ago been re-ignited???

It's a little Betty Page-esque, and I'm hoping that's what it will morph this "I've been downing grande hazelnut lattes all winter" body into miraculously. High hopes, no?

If not, here's Plan B:

Definitely will not be mistaken for picnic buffet table and lends an air of "mystery" with that mid-section ruching.

So I wait with bated breath - hoping that this impetuous purchase of a bathing suit, made while snow falls outside and my treadmill lays idle, will not leave me once again hating Anthropologie (and higher on the habitual returner watch list.)

Stay tuned.
More at 11.