My New Scent, a.k.a. I’m Obsessed

Years ago in the Clinton era, I was a swinging single in San Francisco. I used to wear Issey Miyake perfume. I’d put on my short skirts, vest without shirt, short blazer (think Melrose Place), chunky high heel loafers, a splash of Miyake and work it! A guy friend used to inhale me as I came near. It actually was kind of a problem as we were always dating different people, but my scent made him wild, and I was wild for the attention.

Then one day I saw that friend, and he didn’t inhale.

“It doesn’t work anymore.”


“Your scent, it changed. The Miyake, it doesn’t work. It’s gone,” and he walked off to crush on another woman’s smell.

I had sensed what he said. My scent wasn’t working.

Then in the zeros, it was Michael Kors. That was my smell. I put on jeans, with high heels, an empire shirt, and rode the ups and downs of the ’00s with Michael Kors. I landed a husband, so it must have been okay.

But while my previous scents were about attracting men and feeling sexy, my newest scent holds for me the association of prosperity, security, a newly remodeled bathroom in a big house. In short, what most woman want as they approach middle age. Let me explain.

Shortly after we got the bad Madoff news, my co-host Lawrence Zarian gave me a bottle of Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin bath oil.

I took it home to my beautiful house that I knew we would have to sell soon and plunged my big pregnant body in a warm bath with a splash of this new scent. I was transported. Does it smell like Lime basil and mandarian? No, it smells like a fresh start. It smells like my bills are paid, and I’m pretty. I can’t explain it, I need a scratch and sniff web site. What else are you going to do to unwind when you are pregnant? Run? No. Drink? No. Pop a tranquilizer? That would be another no. I would breathe in the clean, fresh, spring, soapy-like scent of the Jo Malone and tell myself that it was all going to be OK. That my baby would healthy and we would have another nice home one day, and I wouldn’t be eating cat food at 70. That smell always made me feel better.

Cut to this past Christmas when I asked my husband for knee-high boots and Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin bath oil. They ain’t giving it away, but I figured, hey, we got through this year, time for a treat. Christmas day I got the wrong boots (took them back, added money and got the ones I wanted), and no Jo Malone. I said to Mark, “Um, you said you were at Nordstorms. I told you EXACTLY what I wanted.”

Him, “But then it wouldn’t be a surprise.” Argh! I am slightly embarrassed to say how bummed I was about this. I was, a tad furious. I had been waiting to sniff the stuff in my smaller, but nice, rented house and do my affirmations for the new year.

Once again I had to take matters in my own hands. And Voila, here it is. (I also got their vitamin E body balm. The smell is different; see if that shapes up my arm skin.)

And on a rough day, the smell still makes me happy.

Hello, scent for the teens.

Sky Mall

I was just in NYC for the final leg of my media for Upromise MasterCard. I was flown business. Now, a few years back I flew all the time for work. I had tons of miles racked up, I was an old pro at traveling. No more. I rarely take a long flight and rarely ever without my family.

So, I really stuck out from the jaded, business men who sat next to me and around me.   was super excited to enjoy my flight. On my way to NYC, it was kind of a disappointment. I had envisioned a personal monitor where I could catch up on all the movies I’ve missed for the last 4 years. But sadly,  Continental business class only had a tiny screen tat hung a few rows ahead and a B movie to boot.  The food was edible. That was it, nothing great.

Happily, coming home, which is the longer leg of the trip, I was flown back on Delta. Now, they know what to do. The seats were really big. I had a TV screen and on flight 709 I had the nicest flight attendants I could remember. They rushed over to me and asked if I wanted a drink. I was like, “me?” I started to say I was fine with water when I saw all the boozy businessmen around me slurping up the free drinks I changed my mind.

“I want a gin and tonic. Right, I can have one?” They laughed, yes, I could. They came around to take our orders for dinner and when I said, “steak and mac and cheese.” The flight attendant said, “You are one of the few people who ordered.”

I turned to the accountant next to me. “What are you thinking?” I wanted to yell, “Quit showing off that you LEAVE your house!”

Man in gray flannel suit, “I will eat dinner when I get home.”

ME: “That will be in like, 8 hours!”

I stashed the pulp novel I had bought at the airport and hunkered down to watch movie after movie. First one was 500 days of Summer. Enjoyed it. Think that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun did well. Then I watched an episode of Big Love. Completely missed the last season when we tried to save money and canceled HBO (since been reinstated) and 4 Christmases with Vince Vaughn. I was sure it would be dumb, oh,not, this easy audience member. I laughed and laughed, and I sopped up every bite of the kid-you-not-delicious steak and very good mac and cheese. When the fresh cookies came out I would have had to unbutton my pants, but thinking ahead, I wore my maternity pants!

I was so excited I elicited a few chuckles from the working staff. “Is it okay if I have another drink?”

Here is one thing I thought of while traveling.

Big Box Spree

Just because you can buy in large quantities doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable to you. Some of it was helpful… but I think I have to learn to be more discerning. Clearly I’m not the only one who has documented this malady. Here is a good one.

Please watch this, and let me know what hulking items are still sitting on your shelves.

Halloween Is Coming

At three, my little one is getting hip to Halloween. Last year my mom and I took her trick-or-treating. She was dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (she had no idea who Dorothy was, but I dug it). This is Viv in her costume when she was one. It cost $40, so I had her wear it for two years running. I was a doctor. When we went trick-or-treating, Vivien often tried to give the candy back to the people who gave it to her. It was so cute.

This year she is noticing other people’s decorations and she wanted to get in on the fun. So we went shopping today for Halloween decorations, at a party supply store. My gal is a bit sensitive, so everything was deemed “too scary, Mama” as we walked the aisles.

“Well, Halloween is supposed to be scary, but in a tongue-in-cheek way.” Surprisingly a three-year-old didn’t understand that. (She no more understood it when later in the afternoon she was fighting me on her nap, and I told her she was being contrary.  She stopped wailing, “I don’t know what contrary means!”)

I found a tissue-paper pumpkin but that was rejected as well. Finally she agreed to some smiling pumpkins and a “happy” cardboard ghost.

It did make me think.  Halloween is kind of weird.

Jenny McCarthy

Doesn’t Jenny McCarthy look like she would smell good? I didn’t sniff when I met her last weekend, but she was as warm and charming and fun as one would expect. I did a quick interview with her for the Fashion Team. The occasion was the opening of Neiman Marcus – a new, swanky branch of the Westfield mall in Canoga Park (in the San Fernando Valley), an area of LA not known for its chic shops; they are trying to throw down with the OC and Beverly Hills. Jenny was hosting the fashion show, and I was tapped to be a judge. The contestants were real shoppers who entered themselves.

Jenny has been out front with her struggles of having an autistic son. She believes a vaccine he got caused it, and she says he is better now, due to a special diet and play therapy. I can’t weigh in on that, but I do give her a lot of praise for her candor, which I think helps parents who have a child with special needs. She told me that when her son was really bad off, she didn’t brush her teeth for 4 months. And I thought skipping showers was rough!

On a lighter note, she also said she is growing out the adorable short ‘do she has had the last couple of years. Since I am “struggling” with my own short-hair issues, I was all ears. Jenny said, “If it’s not blown out right, I look like Bonnie Hunt.” To which I said, “If my hair isn’t blown out right, I look like Dorothy Hamill.”

Empty Room Syndrome

So, the house we recently moved into is the only house I have ever owned (I’ve had condos, and I still have one of those money pits, but that’s another story). It’s only the second place I’ve ever lived where I had a dining room. So I was really excited to create a grand, almost theatrical space. We eat in the kitchen or on the back porch most of the time, but I envisioned the dining room to be a place for special occasions, for adults to gather while the kids are out back.

Note the wallpaper: it’s from England, it was pricey, it took months to arrive. The china hutch is Heywood Wakefield, which I have collected for years (I found this piece for a good price on craigslist); inside it is my wedding china. My wedding china! Don’t I get a room that is befitting my wedding china? Doesn’t a woman who waited to get married get to have the dining room of her dreams?

Apparently not.

Free Time Poll

The strangest thing happened to me the other day: I had free time. My husband had taken care of Viv in the morning, so I was able to get work done. While she was at school, I got my exercise in. Then, later in the day, I dropped her at her grandma’s nearby. She loves her grandma and wanted some playtime with her.

Then I drove away, with about 90 minutes to kill. What to do? Go home and hang? Well, normally I would, but during her nap, I had managed to watch Hardball. Meet up with my hubby for some lovin’? Got that in at naptime, too. So what was left?

I always crave downtime, then I got some and I didn’t know what to do! I texted a friend, and she said, “Just go relax somewhere.” Hmm… just go relax somewhere?

What did I end up doing? I went to the bank, ate at a taco place, then shopped for Vivien’s birthday and for some of her friends who have upcoming birthday parties. My big treat was going into a bookstore, but I barely looked for me and made a beeline for the kids’ sections, where I bought Vivien books about being a big sister, not hitting, and potty training. And I got a hot chocolate.

So in this week’s poll, I want to know what you would have done: Continue reading

Let’s Talk Fall Fashion Trends

Enough about politics and pregnancy, let’s talk fall trends. I have a tad bit of insight into this from my job co-hosting The Fashion Team on the TV Guide channel.

The Blouse To Have
With a bow or ruffle, it’s lady-like, sophisticated, and can be worn with jeans or a skirt. This blouse is part of the continued trend away from the big A-lines of last year, although on a fat day I loved those big lines.

Jewel Tones
Purple, magenta – have fun with color, saturated color. It is all about solids.

Bushy Brows
Every year there are a few trends I cannot partake in. This is one of them. I hate old pictures of me before I plucked. It may still work for Brooke Shields, but not for me.

Short Boot Shoe

Season two for these monsters. I am not a fan. Thankfully, my faves, the ballet flat, are still in.

Why I Love Advertising Part 2

I kind of rush the beginning of this vlog, so if you didn’t see my previous video about this (Why I Love Advertising), let me explain. I always wanted to buy Tarn-X when I was a kid, but my mom said it was a waste of money. More than thirty years later (“more than” being the key phrase), I finally bought some. When I mentioned I didn’t test the Tarn-X, several (um, two) people asked me to do so. So, here is my test: will Tarn-X take off the tarnish on my silver like the commercials from the 1970s?