Perfect blouse

When I was co hosting the Fashion Team my TV husband Lawrence Zarian use to say to me often, “I think you would look great in a crisp white blouse and a black pencil skirt.”  Being from LA for a second I thought he said, Crip’s white blouse, but no, that’s something for gang members.

Always up for a good makeover I bought a black pencil skirt pronto. BTW, LZ does make overs on Kelly Ripa’s show ( I don’t what it’s called now, but she looks so tiny next to the Regis replacement I find it odd), Entertainment Tonight and just about every other syndicated chat show in America.  He is the “The Fashion Guy” and I love him, ALTHOUGH  he did not send me a review copy his first ever book.  “Lawrence Zarian’s 10 commandments for a perfect wardrobe.”  I’m sure one of them is a crisp white blouse.lawrence zarians book

But, with my ample bosom and big ribs the crisp white buttoned blouse often looked slatternly.

June, or Daphne, is busting out all over

June, or Daphne, is busting out all over

I love the tailored look, but the tailored look didn’t love short waisted me.  While my ex TV husband  did NOT send me a book or a white blouse In Style Essentials  did.  A  fantastic white blouse for the well endowed.  It’s a great choice for gals who want to look crisp, professional, classic, but aren’t built like Lauren Bacall.  Here is the KEY: you order it based on your BRA SIZE.  Because I can be anything from a 4 to a 10 in a blouse.  It so depends on how it is cut.  This blouse covers my ta- ta’s without pulling.

a selfie of instyle essential blouse

a selfie of instyle essential blouse

NOW, my one ding on it is this:  I think I need the lower waist measured too.  They sent it to me right before Christmas and I looked great.  But, after two weeks of holiday parties, eating, treadmill gathering dust it did pull a bit on the muffin bump.  But, over all it fit better than other tailored shirts I have tried. I’m a 34D for those keeping track at home. (was not paid for review, but did keep the blouse)

on set with LZ, Vivica Fox. I didn't need a make over that day

on set with LZ, Vivica Fox. I didn’t need a make over that day

One of my commandments is the spray tan.  Takes ten pounds off.

I love this Christmas stuff

My nose is running, I’m tired and have skin so dry I could plant corn in the cracks, but I do love this time of year.  It’s all because of my 4 and 8 year old.  christmas kidThis precious time where they

1) Still want to hang out with me

2) Still believe in Santa Claus

3) are open and excited and haven’t become cynical jaded f*cks.

That time will come, but till then I’m loving it.  I love sharing them with my mom

kids, Aunt Cec, mom, niece Lily

kids, Aunt Cec, mom, niece Lily

best gingerbread house

The four at home in front. maybe I should have asked for a little guy just off the plate to represent Oliver in college

and going to holiday teas, church Christmas boutiques, (my splurge here from the Solvang Bakery) Last year my splurge was piano playing miniature teddy bear. What can I say I’m weak for Christmas kitsch.

Mom, are you sure we can't eat it?

Mom, are you sure we can’t eat it?

personalized gingerbread house

Making hot chocolate, buying our tree.  They insisted on flocked this year. decorating a flocked treechildren decorating christmas trees I have bought ONE gift so far and need to do my budget of what is possible, but in the last few years I’ve just come to accept that anxiety at what I’m putting on the credit card is as much a part of Christmas time as hot apple cider.  Oh, by the way Christmas bazaars, this year no one has had hot apple cider.  What gives?  I’m calling Fox News.

Christmas time goes so fast that one really has to have everything staged and ready to go.  I’m pretty good, but still trying to dig out my Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra holiday CD’s. Good I have spotify, but I have to skip a lot these modern ballads.. blech.

children's christmas

Thanks for the Mick Jagger pose Rex

One reason I have been looking forward to Christmas is so that Vivien can finally wear this exquisite dress that Mark’s cousin Vicki made for her.  She visited us earlier this year and we went fabric shopping. She went back to Oregon and then sent us this picture perfect dress.  Red velvet, green silk sash, ruching on the shoulders. homemade christmas dress A one of kind.  Years from now when Vivien is off clubbing or running her medical practice I will be clutching this dress, shooing  my cats away from its beauty.

kids and santaDear Santa, let this sweetness last as long as possible.teddy bear tea


where are those darn glasses?

If you are North of 40 like me you are forever reaching for your glasses.  Well, a momperneur  sent me a pair of lookie lous reading glasses that are also a head band.   Every once in a while my “Please don’t send me things to review, I’m not coolmompicks.” breaks down and I’m charmed. In this case by a nice lady from Nashville who wants us to be able to find our glasses and be fashion forward.

I hate the glasses with the little nose things, like aviator style because I push them on my head and then get my full locks tangled in my reading tool.

So here it’s a head band.

One change I would make is the large type of the magnification on the side ( see pink letters).  Granted if you are dealing with people who don’t have great eyesight, but I’d like to keep that info on the downlow.

Here it’s glasses.

I mean business

They can be tinted.

Jackie Oh?

Which looks a tad severe and Bono like, although when reading on a lounge chair by a pool on my recent vacay they worked. Funny enough, Vivien LOVED them and took them from me for weeks.  She liked the head band part and then liked pretending to need glasses.  Rex took them from her and announced, “everything looks smeary!”

As my dad use to day, “young eyes.”



Take Your vitamins ( spons)

Are these kids getting their daily requirement of vitamin's?

I’m probably a bit too loose with the white stuff.

I don’t punish them if they don’t finish their veggies.

I bought them Advent calendars with a piece of chocolate for every day of December. Quicker than the little drummer boy could rump-a bump- bump they cleaned it out. On the 4th day all the chocolate was gone.

I found the discarded red foil wrappers under the breakfast table.  It’s all been eaten and there is nothing I can do. Except not buy one next year. Or keep it in a safe.

I do give them vitamins. I would anyway, but during holiday times when the nutritional zero food is flying it seems extra important. Most of the time they will take them, but a few times they refused as they didn’t like the way they taste.  I found some gummie types they will swallow if I edit out out the orange ones.

So, when I was asked to review the Target “up& up” brand vitamins it was good timing.  They passed our test.  My kids took them happily. Even the orange ones. Phew.  They also sent me the adult version.  Since I’m not a paragon of healthy eating this time of year either ( or any time of year) I was happy to try them as well.  The kids are in the shape of gummie bears.  Big mama’s are gummy, but round shaped.  I figured a big girl like me didn’t need a multi vitamin in gummy form, but dang, they were tasty.   Now they do have some sugar in them. But, like Mary Poppins says sometimes you need a little to get the medicine down.  Or dance with Dick Van Dyke.  I can’t remember.

If you want to try the vitamins for your kids and or yourself you can print a coupon for them here. COUPON As well as other products.

check out all the up&up line from Target. Over 1,000 quality products.   


Look at me ma! No wires. (sponsored)

I’ve been waiting for TIVO for radio. I need the rewind button when I space out listening to NPR  (something about the middle east, what was that?).  Plus, I missed my shows and wish I could listen to my favorite political radio show while I make dinner.  Well, now I can.  Sonos sent me their Wireless Hi Fi system to review and I  now have one of their speaker (they call it Play:3 $299.00, Bridge is $49.99)) in my kitchen so I can listen to shows on the internet while I cut my carrots.  Oh, but that’s only one of the uses.  See I did think this would be a gift..

I remember it as if it were yesterday…. ( cue dream sequence)

Target has an in-store promotion for the free wireless bridge with purchase of a Play:3 or Play:5 happening from May 27-June 9 


( I have been paid to write to a review of this, but I really did like it)



Not so shabby cute vintage like clothes

One consequence of my site remodel is that I am behind on some posts.  My reviews have been stacking up, which is saying something, because I don’t think of this as a review site.

Nonetheless, sometimes something crosses my desk that jumps out at me as “oh, that is me!”  Shabby Apple was one of those things.   They they feminine clothing online.  I wanted to try them out partly cause I love that name.  I had never heard of them till they contacted me, but go to the site and you will see lots of cool vintage inspired women’s clothing. I love vintage, but my body is not vintage and they can smell and have sweat stains.  Sometimes better to get a new reworking on vintage. Shabby Apple’s clothes are not cookie cutter. If you like “Mad Men” style, this is for you. They asked me to pick an outfit and say what I thought of it.

Their clothes are divided into themes.  I picked from the “Mad Hatter” collection.  I chose separates.  This navy skirt with little fabric circles that dangle off of it. And this cream coloured  lattice top.  I picked them because

a) they were different, yet classic

b) I had been wanting more narrow skirts

c) I thought they would suit my body

Ordering on their site is easy.  They have a little quiz to help you shop your body type no surprise I am an apple. 



When I opened the plastic pouches they arrived I was surprised at the quality of the clothes.  Seriously.  So often things look good in the pictures, and then disappoint.  But these felt sturdy, not junior department feel at all.   They looked like the picture in  person, I however don’t look like this model. I still thought it was a pretty smart outfit.  My daughter liked it and my friend who was over at the time asked me if I would be wearing it to a wedding this summer.  Yes, I suppose I could.that first picture I took I look so serious, I decided I needed to catalogue it up!

Fit?  The skirt is high waisted with a side zipper.  At first I was worried that I would never get  the zipper shut over my hips and gut.  But, I did and once done it was totally comfortable. Not in a “now I will go jogging” way, but in a “I could go eat dinner in this” way, which is what you would wear a skirt like this to anyhow.  I think it would look great at a wedding.


I loved the structure of the top.  I got “8”‘s in both, but with my breasts I think I should have gotten a “10” in the top.  It fit well, but smashed the girls down a bit.  As much as I hate to get a “10′ I think I will need to exchange it for one.  For the girls’ sake.

The clothes had really nice details.  

The skirt would be fun to dance in because the fabric discs move. 

I also tried on the skirt with a tank and sweater, because I wanted I thought it would work well as a day to night item.  

I was alone at this point and couldn’t figure out my timer.

Shabby Apple also has Maternity dresses.

Check out the site for some nice women’s dresses and if you like their FB page they have promotions posted there.  and if you do like something as a Cool Mom reader you can get 10% off. ( “coolmom10off”at check out)

Not shabby!

Post Christmas wish list

There is a reason why the holidays really need to be focused on the kids.  They will love some hunk of plastic for $15 .  I will not.

Anything that is easy to purchase looks like fodder for a white elephant party.

Take these gems I stumbled upon recently. On sale, if you can believe it!

Who doesn’t need an Elvis stocking?
bad gifts

Or better yet, Christmas at Graceland, which was on sale from it’s original $119.00.  Good burnt gravy!  That’s a lot of of after tax dollars for that tribute. Bring me the head of whoever paid full price for that.
bad gifts
What I want can’t be shoved into a stocking.  It’s boring, grown up stuff.  Someone to pay off my mortgage. Botox for life, the usual. How about daily massage?

I would like Santa to drive so much traffic to Cool Mom that I could derive a good income from it. Or whatever one does for such things. ( Dear Santa, why didn’t I go to Law School?).

The best gifts I got I’m paying for myself.  My bannister on my deck.  The steps were pretty scary without them.  This is like a pair of earrings under the tree for me. Except they would weigh me down and catch on a sweater.
wish list

The new roof on our back house.  Now, mind you we still don’t know what to do with this thing, but if we didn’t put a new roof on the “clubhouse”, as I call it, it would have melted in the next few months.  Look at that roofing tile!  Beautiful, like a little black dress.. but made out of fire retardent shingles!
wish list

You can see the front steps to the clubhouse look a bit Tobacco Road.  Well, maybe for my birthday…
wish list
While I’m making my wish list I would ask the present gods for a railing that’s not rusted and a redo of this fine crafted back stairs. They were a homemade job from a couple of owners ago. Each step is a different level. It’s a bit like a fun house.
wish list

This is why I love watching “Desperate Landscapes”.  I keep hoping that hunky dude with  the big arms is going to show up and fix my yard. But, sadly, like “Curb appeal” they only work on front yards.

Oh, of course the very best gifts don’t fit under the tree, but sometimes sleep next to it.

Finding the Good in Back To School (sponsored)

Can you smell it?  Can you smell the tension of trying to get your kids dressed, hair brushed and “for the love of God, put on your shoes” as you try not to get a tardy?  You’d think it was my report card at stake.
Yes, I can smell back to school time is close.  Oh, those last gleeful moments of summer.  Outdoor dining in the back yard, staying up late and mosquito bites. Lathering up the kids with sunblock, glasses, sun hat and the rose of summer: Cherries!


I know some parents think summer creates more work for them, but I have really enjoyed it this year.  But, I have to look for the bright side as summer wanes.

Brightside #1

When Rex starts his two day a week school I will have two mornings I can work out and get into supermodel shape…if you can with two days a week workout.

Brightside #2 when it gets dark earlier, I get the kids to sleep sooner thereby leaving more time to read ( also known as watch DVR’d “House Hunter International”)

Brightside #3 Continuing the tradition of “Day Outs”.  When I was growing up my mom took each of us on our own day out with mom.  We bought our school clothes and then got to pick where we would go to eat for lunch.

“Anywhere you want!”  She would say.  Did I pick legendary restaurants of LA that are long shuttered?  Scandia, Chasen’s, Brown Derby?  No.

“Howard Johnsons!”

Last year was the first year I started it with Vivien.  It is magical being the mom in this equation as it was being the daughter.  I love our time together.  When we shop we discuss likes and dislikes, style and what is appropriate.  She is no longer at the age that I can dress her up like a paper doll, but is not giving me the sullen teen push back.  I know which colors she gravitates too.

But, since she is still a little kid I can’t wear her out and risk a meltdown mid “happy day”.  So I’m doing my research before we set out.  I know from my niece ( 10) the kids are still digging the Peace signs and graphic tees.  Denim is hot, check.  Sears Style helps you do your homework so you know what the kids are into.  I do prefer to go to a place I can pick up a few t- shirts for my stepson as well.  ( sidebar, there was the cutest yellow dress with white lace in the junior department that I wonder if my childbearing hips could fit into).  Sears also has a Sears Personal Shopper app this year for iPhone and Android’s (my phone) that I want to use.  Snap a picture of something you want for back to school and expert shoppers find it and contact you on where you can get it, even if it’s not at Sears.
I smell smart shopping.

This is one of three posts sponsored by Sears.  I was pleased to be asked to be a spokesperson for their back to school tween clothing.  Next post: favorites from the media tour.

What to wear back to school? Survey Results (sponsored)

What are the back to school items you want to skip?  Which ones are on your to do list?

If I was to fill out a survey on the topic I would say

1) One of  my back to school items is trying not to look like the frumpiest lady at drop off.

2) closed toed shoes for Vivien.  She can’t wear her favorite foot wear at her school, sandals, so I will be looking for closed toe shoes that are EASY TO PUT ON.  When we are trying to get out the door I can’t stand wrestling with the hard to slip on shoes.

3) good price.  Yes, I have seen $130 jeans for little kids.  I have also seen people bungee jump.  I plan on doing neither.  They grow out of their clothes so fast it’s koo-koo to spend that kind of money on kid clothes.

Well, speaking of surveys Sears and Blogher did a survey about parent’s shopping habits for this Back to School period. Here are some of the results

two-thirds of parents say they are inclined to spend more on apparel items like jeans, tops and shoes for this school year versus last year.

So, even in a downturn, kiddos still keep growing.  I am more likely to buy something for my kids than myself.

But according to the survey, parents are spending more on KEY items, but, they using newspaper ads, circulars and loyalty programs to track down the best deals. All those services that rhyme with boo pon, you know.

Okay, so what are the key items?  For my 10 year old niece it’s cool pants and graphic tee’s.  Preferably, with a peace sign.  For my 17 year old stepson, it’s tight legged blue jeans and plan t shirts.  For Vivien it’s anything in pink.  So, to make the purchase worthwhile… the maximize your time, here a few results of my own:

1) pick stuff they are really going to wear.  Yes, I would love it if I could still dress my niece up in fancy dresses, but it ain’t going to happen.

2) lay out a few rules.  there will be no midriff showing, a non starter. I’m fine with a peace sign, or Love or American flag, but nothing with a negative or snarky saying thanks.

I know I will soon be made irrelevant, but right now I still a little input.

3) don’t shop at a place that is not your food group.  Make sure it’s a store that has stuff you feel okay with.

4) Sears has a great Facebook application called, “Mom’s Amazing List”, which allows you to actually create your own shopping list and get suggestions based on your child’s gender and age.

5) Avoid the impulse.  I could buy my daughter cute, flowery dresses all day, but her closet is choking with them, so until she gets a little bigger, I can’t justify that purchase.

I should ) my own shopping better.

this is the first of three posts sponsored by Sears about Back to School shopping.  I am going to be doing some media appearances in support of their program.  I love me some Sears.

What the F–eather?

One of the perks of being a blogger is you get invited to get together’s where people give you some free stuff.  Now, we are not talking Emmy gift suites like I reported on when I worked at TV Guide Channel.  It’s more baby lotion, cookies, coupons for stuff.  Honestly, I don’t go to many.  One reason is I feel like if I do I need to write about it and I’m not a product review site and if I don’t really love it I don’t want to write about it.  Also, if I don’t love it I don’t want to slam it…well, till now.  I’m NOT going to name names, but more indict a trend and my passiveness in participating in it.

So, I went to a crowded room and was shown the way to the “pamper” room.  Nail polish?  No, thanks, rarely do my nails these days. Chair back rub?  No, hurts my neck.  I was trying to make out what looked like cool make up brushes- interested, when I was told they were feathers to put in your hair.  I almost laughed.

“Oh, not for me.  I’m too old for that.”

The nice hair/feather lady said that was not true.

Me: ” this is what the kids are doing, right?”

Her: ” yes, everyone!  We get the supplies from tackle shops and the flyfisherman hate us.  They sell out.”

Fly fisherman, my hair, yes, I should have moved on to the cupcake table.  But, no.  I allowed the eager lady to put a little feather in my hair, ala hair extension.  The feather was almost the color of my own processed hair.

“if I put it like this you can pull it forward to show it or hide it .” She said moving my hair around. I thought of Cher in the ’70’s and the feather on the roach clip.  When I saw the lady coming at me with a PLIERS!.

“Can I just take this out myself?”

“No, you need a professional.”

OH, Crap.  Once for a TVG shoot I had eyelash extensions put on me and it was like having trantula’s surgically attached to your eyelids.  I had to go back the next day and have a very uncomfortable process to have them removed.

For the next couple of days I showed people my feather.  A nice YOUNG girl who bartends at The Tar Pit thought it was great, my husband said he could barely see it     ( of course he also says “where’s the butter?” as he stands in front of an open fridge) finally a mom friend who is close in age to myself said flat out, “Take that out.”

“it looks ridiculous on me, right?”

“yes.” she said bluntly.  Later it was really bugging me physically.  The feather was clamped on to my hair with metal.  I couldn’t see how to get it off.  I pulled out a scissors and cut it all off.  I have enough hair, I won’t miss that little bit of hair.Fwd: Feather

I ask myself , why did I allow to be put in my hair in the first place?  Lucky she wasn’t offering up free tatoos.