Lord Help Me, Elizabeth This is the Big One

There are zombies and then there are toddlers with tiaras. I’ve been holed up in hotel rooms with very little free time to do anything other than treat my brain to flat screen mush. I have become a cable tv victim.¬†Sprawled¬†out on a dialed up sleep-number bed, like a character from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I have been ending my days with junk food, bottles of wine and yes! Toddlers & Tiaras. A week later, my¬†motor¬†skills are lacking and I can’t stop hitting myself.

Frankly, I am terrified of Toddlers & Tiaras. I worry that one day, I will look out my hotel window and see a sea of toddlers with tiaras, foaming at the mouth, carrying bags of sugar, and on a quest to take over the world. I know that when I run into a zombie, I will put a stake in it’s heart. I wonder though, how will we as a nation survive an invasion of toddlers with tiaras?

Yikes! There she is again, “Heaven” or something. This five year olds favorite food is chocolate. When she grows up she wants to be Ms. America, and THIS YEAR, she really wants to shoot and kill a deer. Flash to a video clip of this five year old who is a¬†pageant¬†winner armed with a shot gun. She is in the middle of some forest, hunting deer.

“Doe, a deer, a female deer
Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow Sew
Tea, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)”

Two hours later, this kid is riddled with¬†disappointment. The deer are on to “Heaven,” or whatever the hell her name is. Apparently, what looks to be an organized conspiracy,¬†¬†the entire supply of this forest’s deer have fled. It’s almost like they¬†sense¬†a tsunami. They have smelled the demon stench of a toddler in a tiara!

Sad, Heaven goes home sans a deer strapped to the top of her Lady Ga Ga kid car.

I sit on my bed with a¬†Kleenex¬†box and¬†stifle¬†a sob. That poor little¬†toddler! She worked so hard! It’s like, she was robbed! What were the producers of this show thinking? Couldn’t they throw in a prop deer? Ratings, people … ratings! This is the kind of let-down that can turn a little tot towards the dark side and we don’t want that. I want these kids happy and if all it takes is a dead deer then I say, sock it to her!

Because it takes a lot of time, practice, money and guts to get into the glitter¬†pageants! Like them eat cake, shoot deer, and best of all dress up real slutty! Someday, that kid will grow up to be an overweight diabetic, coupon clipper, hooked on pain pills. That’s when she can remember the glory days. The day when she got up on stage and rocked a bikini made out of bacon.

One kid named something stripper like, “Baby boo-boo” now has her OWN REALITY SHOW! Talk about killa! She makes fart noses under her arm. Outstanding and adorable at the same time. She has a real supportive family, (thank¬†Buddha!) Her mom spends all her free time collecting coupons to save money that will pay for all the¬†pageant¬†expenses. It adds up: hotel rooms, Daisy Duke¬†costumes, sugar,¬†Mountain¬†Dew, and sugar! The family is so¬†resourceful¬†and considerate to this child, they take road trips and find road kill. True¬†libertarians, these folks remove the¬†carcass¬†from the road, take it home, wash off the flies and make sausages from the meat. Waste not! Take that Bobby Flay! I smell a smack down. Because someone needs a spanking.

When I grow up, I wanna…

“I’m so sick of being 24!” says my massage¬†therapist. He’s digging his hands into my¬†fleshy¬†muscles and releasing my real world tension. As he rubs my backside, I think about how I’m:¬†unemployed, have super crappy heath insurance, just paid a plumbing bill that started out at $350, and then, “Lady, it’s lookin’ more like a thousand bucks, want us to finish?”

et fucking cetera!

My massage guy goes on. “I am so tired of going out and being all dressed up, and all of the sudden some stupid drunk girl walks up to me and steals my hat. Like, that’s super cute or something? And then her boyfriend comes over and is all, “That’s my girlfriend, so lay off.”

“And I’m like, hello??? I’m GAY. I dont’ like your stupid girl friend, I just want my hat back.”

As he¬†angrily¬†¬†kneads¬†my back, I choke back ¬†tears, and happy/mush feelings. My mascara is running all over my face. In the¬†background¬†this weird music is floating in the air. I imagine I would be forced to listen to this if I was in a cult. It’s this Zen shit, and I’d rather listen to My Gay Puerto Rican Massage Therapist, Who Wears¬†Argyle¬†and Polos … who tells me he’s gay every five minutes.

He reminds me that he is gay with every story he tells. I find them to be refreshing after a day of paying plumbing bills.

“I’m just ready to be older and out with more sophisticated people.¬†Sometimes, I find a deal on¬†Groupon for fine dining. I find a deal for a great meal at an upscale place and I go alone. I lie, and tell my boyfriend that I’m working and I just bring a book to the bar and pig out. I can never take those leftovers home and I feel bad,” My Gay Puerto Rican Massage Therapist, Who Wears Argyle and Polos says to me.

I finally chirp in,¬†“Honey, no one wants sloppy seconds.”

So far, I’ve been too amused to cut him off. Now, I know why so many people are quiet when they get old. It’s not because they are nodding off. ¬†On the contrary, they are thinking, ” Oh you silly, just you wait until your hip hurts and that’s all you can talk about. Now let’s hear another hat story!”

He’s ¬†rambling¬†about Mad Men and how cute they are. And as I listen to him I ¬†think, “You know, I like me right now. Plumbing bills, crappy insurance and all. I would not like to be 24 again.”

I’m plenty cool being a 7-year old collecting an unemployment check.

Clean up your junk

The guys were actually kind of on to something with their locker room jokes. I could tell by the¬†escalated¬†laughter resounding from the boys in the corner, that conversation had turned to the gutter. I decided to cross over the fence of ladies and move to the male side of the party. Who doesn’t love a little dirty talk?

It all started with my husbands bushy beard. A male friend was combing his fingers through the nest and remarking about the soft bristles.This lead to a laundry list of wishes that female fuzz was equally as pet-able. A suggestion was made that the ladies grow out their landing strips and groom their shag rugs Bo Derek style, corn roll braids with little beads on the ends. My husband suggested that eventually, when the braids were long enough, they could be cut off and made into friendship bracelets. I believe the men were drinking whiskey.

A little mishegas might help your shikse.

I for one wasn’t laughing. Instead, I briefly drifted away from the party. I couldn’t help putting on my thinking cap and ponder, “Do people really decorate their downstairs garden?” I’ll admit that I’m a little freaky about wearing socks that match my outfit, but it seems outlandish to worry so much about the carpet getting steam cleaned and accessorized. So, I decided to do a little research and I suppose I shouldn’t act like an old prude, but I was surprised.

I’m now informed about the Merkin. As cited from¬†Wikipedia, ”¬†Merkin¬†(first use 1617)[1]¬†is a¬†pubic¬†wig. Merkins were originally worn by¬†prostitutes¬†after shaving their¬†genitalia, and are now used as decorative items, erotic devices, or in films, by both men and women.”

Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock because even Joan Rivers, whose older than paved sidewalks recently¬†was printed as saying, “Merkins are so last year!” Her sock drawer must be full of whatever it is that is in the now. (Yeah. Think about that … think about what’s in Joan Rivers’ sock drawer if you want to stay up nights.) Then again, why buy a toupee, when you can get a transplant and a face that looks like a Halloween mask.

Cindy Barshop, former Real Housewives of New York Star and owner of the spa chain,¬†Completely¬†Bare, would argue that the Merkins she designs are a big deal. Her original “Foxy Bikini” ($225) made out of real fur has been redesigned with faux fur. How thoughtful of Barshop to be so¬†politically¬†correct! I do declare¬†this the perfect gift for the girlfriend working at Peta. Or, if fur isn’t your thing, try the popular Carnivale Bikini. For a mere $195, you can adhere a strip of neon colored feathers to the private sector of your body.

Seriously, I’m all about fun, but I’d just rather get some cute new shoes, maybe even see the Muppet Movie! … still, I can’t help but think about those Merkins and how I’m so last year.

Let me take you on a magic mustache ride

The fake mustache trend showed up on the runway in 2008. Who would have thought that four years later, the accessory would still tickle both our fancy and our upper lip? My girlfriends and I got together last weekend for an annual pillow fight. Once in a blue moon, we kick our husbands, kids, and cats to the curb for a night of girl bonding. One of the ladies surprised us with a package of adhesive facial hair and the next thing we knew, stars were born.

We went on a magic mustache ride; a journey right up there with the one time I declined a proposition to join the mile high club. Each of us, stood up from cozy bar stools and became thespians. Before we could control what was happening, we were all acting like guyz. “Yo, whad up with the sushi?”

How bout’ a beef sammie, make it wet. Why I outta call Freddie, he’s got the best salami.You always get an extra couple of inches of meat from dat guy.”

My mustache stopped being sticky after a few¬†paparazzi¬†shots. WARNING: champagne¬†and fake mustaches don’t mix. So us gals moved on to bigger and better fun. Ladies, when you bond, let it all hang out!

l-r: Ricky, Mario, Olga (aka Unibrow), Nick, the banker from Monopoly and Salvador Palsy.

I’ve found that the older I get, the more I learn about having fun. So, if you are hosting a ladies night, or ¬†are an attendee, I recommend that you bring the right props. Here are the¬†ingredients¬†for a great girlie get together:

The menu should be light nibbles. Think small plates and appetizers. If you’ve got the buckage, sushi and cupcakes make an impressive spread. To help with the cost of the bar bill, guests should bring something to¬†complement¬†what the host plans to serve as a¬†signature¬†drink … and I’m not talking about a straw. My gals love the bubbly, so we each had a bottle of¬†champagne¬†in tote. It can be a lot of fun, tasting different sips from the variety of bottles. A tasting that lasts for hours and hours.

To create a great vibe, music is vital. Never play the Eagles or country-western (yes, despite the current line-dancing craze) unless you want everyone to leave. Instead, sneak a peek at Facebook, and look up the guest’s profiles. Under the music section, ¬†jot down what bands they like and create a custom mix based on their tastes. At the last party, we heard Arcade Fire, R.E.O. Speedwagon, Florence and the Machine, Rihanna, and Lady GaGa. The mix was perfect.

Although there is never a lull when my amigas gather, I recommend having some no-brainer amusements. There is usually someone in the crowd who reads tarot cards to add mystery, intrigue and drunken stupidity. Mad Libs, question games, and even reading old high school diaries are hilarious. For those who stay late, bring out the moose munch and watch Bridesmaids. How can you go wrong?

See, this is why the guys stay home, cuz if they were at this party they’d really be taking one for the team. To think all this time, they thought we were talking about sex and having pillow fights in our panties. Hmmm … I guess that’s more sexy then the thought of a group of grown women acting out an 8th grade slumber party. Or is it?

My Husband’s Secret Weapon

Let’s get real, it’s not always the thought that counts. A bad gift is sometimes worse than nothing at all. It can leave the recipient wondering what about this so called present said “me?” One of my wedding gifts was a whimsical candle display that resembled a¬†Ferris¬†wheel. It had hearts all over and best of all, it was tarnished. The box was dented from falling off a truck. I was like, “Thanks for your piece of shit gift.”

Chameleon is at 130 North Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60301 (708) 445-1175

My husband Greg, on the other hand, always selects the perfect “little something”. My man knows what I want, even when I don’t know myself. That, my friends, is talent … and he is so hired to be my hubby.

Nothing is worse than opening up a wrapped box that’s hard to understand, like a dick in a box moment … one of those, “What about this gift is me? This is Christmas for cry-eye and my parents are watching. Should I laugh? Throw a vase at the wall?

The love of my life, ¬†has a¬†secret¬†weapon and I’m about to blab! Let’s give it up for guys with taste. I love knowing that I will never be¬†disappointed when my devoted husband shops at¬†Chameleon¬†in Oak Park, IL. This is a store that feels very SoHo, and a departure from the typical Frank¬†Lloyd¬†Wright t-shirt¬†souvenir¬†shop in the area.

The owner, Nick, is an absolute doll, a terrific host, and stocks the store with a¬†whirlwind¬†of unique designers. He carries everything that is having an “it” moment. I love the derby style Goorin Bros hat and gauze bat sleeved BB DAKOTA dress that I got for my birthday. I get non-stop compliments when I wear them. Last year, Greg gifted me with a tunic that looks like a Jackson Pollack canvas. He’s also spoiled me with a gold Paul Frank wallet and an¬†asymmetrical¬†sweater … all from Chameleon.

My outdoorsy, bearded beau feels comfortable watching football, birdwatching and reading Star Wars books. Shopping makes him sweaty and eager to drink beers. Frankly, it’s not his forte, but with owner Nick, he feels at ease. Now when Greg presents me with a gift he says, “Your gonna like this. I¬†guarantee¬†it.”

Typically, a boutique of this caliber is owned by some stuck up beeotch, who will:

Look you up and down and ignore your ass.

Talk to her “associates” about some jerk who was in the store.

Act surprised if you buy something,

Or, say something like, “That’s great!”¬†As though you don’t know what “great” is, and need someone to boss you into greatness.

I’m a boutique shopper, but I’m not a fan of those places. To be honest, I usually find the same stuff at Loehmann’s where I can try on clothes in a room full of women who are always honest and cool about saying, “You should get that!”¬†Okay, I will, because this¬†audience¬†isn’t lying.

Neither is Nick. So I stopped by to thank him for helping my hubby and decided to celebrate his boutique with beers and show off his digs. You can also check them out on Facebook

My mama says…

The top was down on her silver¬†convertible¬†and my mother waved at me as I got off the train. When I got into her car, I gave her a funny look. “What are you listening to?” I ask. She gives me THE LOOK. “It’s Britney Spears, I like it’ she says. As we drive through Geneva, I remark that there are a lot of weirdos in the area…lots of people dressed up in red white and blue. My husband is in the back seat, car watching. “Did you check out that Bently?” he asks.

Me and my mamma back in the day. I'm the freakishly tall one.

I’m getting the feeling that I’m about to get called out. My stomach hurts. I¬†anticipate that I’m grounded for life. I’m looking around at the massive trees and houses, listening to the wind breeze into my ears. My mom breaks the quiet and like a pillar of cool she says “So, I read your blog.”

“Yeah, so what did you think?” I ask.

“Well…it’s cute. [Cute???] I have to say, that story that you wrote about your dad and I dropping you off at Woodfield when you were 7-years old, well, we were pretty mad when we read that. ¬†I mean, Erin, we would never do anything like that! We were such the opposite. I know it was ¬†a joke, but I don’t want anyone to think we were bad parents. I also think your porfolio needs work. Everything was beautiful, but too many stacks of things like watches and shirts. You don’t want to be known as the ‘stack-stylist‘ … you’re better than that.”

“I’m working on it,” I say.

“Good, because, I’m watching,” she says.

“And stop writing about drinking booze all the time. You sound like a drunk”, she says.

“Oh, that’s just a joke,” my husband lied from the back seat.

7-year-old with a paycheck

I was seven years old when my parents dumped me off at Woodfield Mall. ¬†This was a childhood dream come true, a pocket full of money, stores galore…including one that sold nothing but cookies and best of all¬†absolutely¬†no mature supervision. Mind you, this is way before the days of¬†pedophiles¬†and ¬†my parents trusted me. They were responsible parents¬†releasing¬†I was better left to my own folly while they smoked pot and made¬†macram√© curtains. I marched into that mall with one thought in mind, to buy a white stag ski jacket. At this point in life, I¬†envisioned¬†growing up and becoming a professional skier, but something happened on this day that changed this goal and I will never forget.

"Sting" my first ski jacket

I walked into the mall¬†Gallery, a store devoted to selling “fine” art. I looked around and nearly gaged from the sappy paintings of ships, puppies, kittens, and worst of all, fruit! ¬†A man¬†approached¬†me. He was the “curator.” I remember he looked stinky and had a bad comb over. I winced at his suit that wasn’t properly¬†tailored¬†and probably had been around since WWII. He really should have been wearing a beret, striped shirt, smoking a¬†cigarette¬†and eating bread.¬†I had just started to shop and already, I was so let down. Then, this terrible man wanted to kick me out.

Unbelievable! He should have been offering me a glass of wine and pointing out his favorite art because I had more money in my pocket on that day than I have in my checking account now. Who was this guy, not to take ME seriously? I grew up surrounded by artists. Real people with¬†angst and problems that made them drink like crazy and produce¬†genius¬†on¬†canvas….not some Virgin Mary! ¬†This was no gallery!

I left and decided to hang out at Johns Garage and eat French onion soup instead of buying the White Stag ski jacket. I really needed to think. I knew that the Olympics where going to be in a hurt of pain when I would have my people contact them and tell them the bad news. I was not going to be a professional skier after all. I had a higher calling from the Virgin Mary at the so called, “Gallery.”

This world was lacking style. ¬†I needed to pimp slap the people with bad taste and enlighten them to the good life. It made my stomach hurt so bad just thinking of the fools decorating their homes with paintings of puppy dogs. It really bothered me that the curator looked like a¬†pedophile. ¬†This world needed me to powder it’s nose,¬†adjust it’s bra strap and make it feel a lot better.

It starts with style!

Truth be told, this story is  a pack of lies. Now for the truth. Get ready to yawn. I started to ski when I was about seven years old.  I hung out at Villa Olivia, a glorified bunny hill that could make any spaz confident. Although I fancy the thought of being an athlete, more for the bling aspect, I am clearly not qualified.  Most important to add to my confession, I am an only child and my parents have always treated me like precious gold.  I grew up on a short leash, and with lots of discipline.

Now it’s time for revenge.