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Like Mother, Like Daughter

Lindsay Lohan at a party in Cannes

Lindsay Lohan at a party in Cannes

The older I get, the more and more I resemble my mother both in looks and actions.  As a teenager, I used to cringe when someone would compare me to my mother.  We all want to be unique and special.  But over the years, I’ve come to realize that for me, resembling my mom may not be so bad after all.  She’s an attractive, happy, stable, intelligent and caring woman who has been married to my father for more than 40 years.  Not such a bad thing to aspire to, huh?

Some daughters, however, should look beyond their mothers for inspiration –Lindsay Lohan, for example. Her mother, Dina Lohan, isn’t exactly the best role model. Although she claims that she’s not a party mom, she regularly hits the L.A. party scene with her oldest daughter and explains away Lindsay’s alcoholism by saying, “She is just a 20-year-old who had to reel it in. And she’s from an addictive personality genetically. And in that world, they give you things like candy. You hurt your ankle? ‘Let’s give her something.'”

Meanwhile, Lindsay continues a years long public breakdown that includes drugs, alcohol, a sexual identity crisis and a hate-filled verbal battle with her father. Her latest escapades include a tumble at a party at the Cannes Film Festival in France where she lost her footing. Lindsay dismissed it by saying, “I do trip a lot. I fall. I walk into walls sometimes.” I’m sure that has nothing to do with the drugs and alcohol she has been abusing as evidenced by the photo from Cannes here. My bad, she’s just a klutz. Not only that, but more Cannes pictures have surfaced showing her clearly intoxicated with cocaine lines on a mirror in the background. She also apparently lost her passport while in Cannes, causing her to miss a flight and a court date back in LA. Happens to me all the time.

Lindsay Lohan in better times, looking classy in a pearl necklace

Lindsay Lohan in better times, looking classy in a pearl necklace

The judge was less than pleased at her failure to show and when she did appear at the courthouse, she was ordered to wear an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet. The bracelet essentially has Breathalyzer technology that samples the perspiration on the skin. If Lindsay drinks alcohol, the monitor, which tests the skin every half hour, will detect it.

Maybe Lindsay will take it seriously this time around. Somehow, though, I fear that she won’t when her own mother doesn’t. I don’t mean to sound depressing, but statistics show that we find it difficult to escape our childhoods. In other words, dysfunctional parents usually raise dysfunctional children. The one bright light is that the chain can be broken with therapy and perseverance. Look at Robert Downey Jr. After multiple stays in rehab and even a stay in prison, he finally broke the cycle that his father started by offering him a joint at the age of 8. So, hopefully, Lindsay will follow his lead and rediscover her talent and the class that she displays here in a classic jacket and a pearl necklace. As a fellow redhead, I can’t help but root for her.

Some like it hot, indeed.

Marilyn Monroe wearing a pearl necklace and a black dress

Marilyn Monroe wearing a pearl necklace and a black dress

I couldn’t let the day pass without recognizing Marilyn Monroe’s birthday. If she were alive, she would be 84 years old today. And since she only lived to be 36 years old, she will remain young and vibrant in our hearts and minds.

She was a film star, a sex symbol and due to her untimely death, an icon. Marilyn was photographed extensively, with some images more risqué than others. Obviously, I selected a more demure image of her wearing a simple pearl necklace and a black dress.

But she was rather philosophical about her sex symbol status as evidenced in her last interview with Time magazine just weeks before her death. She said, “I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. But what goes with it can be a burden. I feel that beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity. I think that sexuality is only attractive when it’s natural and spontaneous. This is where a lot of them miss the boat. And then something I’d just like to spout off on. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real art, comes from it, everything.”

Clearly, her sex appeal hasn’t lessened over the years with two upcoming films about her life. It was announced recently in Cannes that Naomi Watts, 41, will play her in a film based on a controversial and fictionalized memoir called Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. The book outlines her many love affairs and casting couch experiences. Strangely, the book was already made into a TV miniseries in 2001. But the non-TV movie version of Blonde will start filming in January.

The other movie about Marilyn will focus on the time she spent in England while filming The Prince and the Showgirl with Sir Laurence Olivier. This was one of Marilyn’s last films and was produced by her own production company and directed by Olivier. Reportedly, Marilyn caused Sir Laurence countless headaches. Michelle Williams, 29, is in negotiations to play Monroe.

Although the subject matter of the films appears to be quite different, it sounds like they will both be superficial and miss the depth of her true personality and talent. Regardless, I anticipate a slew of comparisons between Naomi and Michelle. Only time will tell how they fare in those comparisons. In the meantime, I raise my glass in salute to the original. As far as I’m concerned, no one else can truly compare.

Times they are a changin’

Emily Hawley and Josh Walker on the Early Show

Emily Hawley and Josh Walker on the Early Show

I consider myself a modern woman. I try to do it all: a corporate career, a private business, two children, and a happy marriage. I think women today should feel empowered to get the things that they want out of life. And I firmly believe that you are in charge of your own happiness. But there are just some things that I don’t want to have to tackle.

This week, college senior Emily Hawley popped the question to her boyfriend of seven years, Josh Walker, during her valedictorian speech at Centenary College in New Jersey. Not only that, but Emily beat Josh out to be valedictorian by maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. Josh trailed her with a 3.99 GPA. They were subsequently interviewed on “The Early Show” on CBS with Emily demurely wearing a gray sweater and a traditional pearl necklace and earrings (in a shameless plug, I have to say that pearls are a great graduation gift). While Josh seems happy and clearly accepted the proposal, it makes me wonder why, after 7 years, he hadn’t been considering proposing to her himself.

Perhaps I’m a bit of a traditionalist, but I still think that marriage proposals should stay in the realm of men. Women have enough on their plates already. It’s funny, because I’m all for breaking gender barriers in the business world as well as in our home lives. I guess I simply hold certain things sacred, with a marriage proposal being one of them.

As I pondered this, I came across an interesting story about a matriarchal society off the coast of Africa where the tradition is for women to propose to men. And the men can’t say no. On the island of Orango, off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, this tradition is starting to change as the modern world starts to creep in and alter things. While records are not readily available, islanders claim that there are significantly more divorces now that men are becoming more aggressive in relationships. These keepers of convention claim that the choice of a mate made by a woman is much more stable than those made by men. So, perhaps Emily knows what she is doing, despite my misgivings. After all, she did achieve a perfect 4.0.

Some of ya’ll just don’t understand, bless your heart.

Dixie Carter, 1939 – 2010

Dixie Carter, 1939 – 2010

There is just something about being a woman from the South. And second only to my mother, Dixie Carter was the epitome of the true Southern Belle. She spoke with a soft Southern drawl and embodied the charm and grace of good manners in both her personal and professional life. Most of you know of Dixie Carter from her days playing Julia Sugarbaker on the sitcom Designing Women in the late 80s and early 90s, and as pictured here in a red power suit and a pearl necklace (the quintessential Southern Belle accessory). Thus, I was very sad to hear of Dixie’s passing this past Saturday of complications from endometrial cancer at the age of 70.

So, I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to strong-minded Southern Belles everywhere and to educate those of you who might misinterpret their power. The following are 5 rules that a true Southern Belle should live by:

  1. It’s manners, not money, that really matter.
  2. If your friends need you, be there. Period.
  3. Always wear clean underwear (seriously, this may seem like a given, but it’s REALLY a given if your mother is from the South and delicately explains to you as you’re growing up that you could have a wreck or become incapacitated and wind up in the hospital at a moment’s notice. And that is most definitely a situation in which you don’t want to be caught wearing underwear that’s either holey or dirty!).
  4. Always be ready to share the news, but keep the family secrets.
  5. Both your silver and your pearls should always be real.

Feel free to add your own Southern Belle rules in the comments section. For a real hoot, though, you should check out “We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier – Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle” by Celia Rivenbark. It’s a modern take on being a Southern Belle and VERY funny. In the meantime, I’ll end with a tribute to my mom, and tell you as she always tells me, “Be sweet.”

Is Lady Gaga idiotic or pure genius?

Lady Gaga at the 2010 amfAR benefit in New York

Lady Gaga walking the red carpet at the amfAR Gala event in New York on February 10, 2010

Never one to hold back, Lady Gaga attended and performed at a recent AmfAR benefit gala in her most outrageous outfit yet. In the middle of a blizzard, she wore an all-white ensemble that included a white bikini, a cropped jacket, a military hat and platform boots. She chose to supplement that ensemble with pearls. But she didn’t go the standard route with a customary pearl necklace (as if a bikini in the midst of a blizzard is standard). No, she actually invented a new way to wear pearls. She glued hundreds of them to her face and body. Face pearls, if you will. And the pearl necklaces that she wore actually cascaded from her hair rather than her neck. Even for her, it seemed to push the limits of performance art.

Whatever you think of Lady Gaga’s fashion sense, you have to admit that she’s…expressive. While much of it is ridiculously eccentric (face pearls, really?), I think something wise lurks beneath her shocking exterior. Her music may be pop, but she tends to use her fame to call attention to worthy causes such as amfAR. At the very least, she is a thought-provoking figure. And she has found considerable success thus far with over ten million albums sold to date. But the real question is whether she has staying power. Some laud her as the Madonna of the new generation. Being of the Madonna generation myself (I really wanted some of those lace gloves!), it’s hard for me to objectively say. Only time will tell.

Rielle Hunter should be a protector, not a predator.

Rielle Hunter Posing with Daughter's Stuffed Toys for GQ

Rielle Hunter Posing with Daughter's Stuffed Toys for GQ

I have to admit that I was conflicted about even writing about Rielle Hunter and perpetuating the fame that she has created for herself by being a power-hungry man-stealer. While John Edwards is by no means blameless, I personally believe that she sought him out and aggressively pursued him, without regard to his enduring marriage to Elizabeth. But her interview published in the April issue of GQ magazine incensed me enough that I felt compelled to say my peace. So, please forgive my soapbox, but…

I guess I believe that when you become a mom, things change. Or at least they should. You now have a little person that looks up to you as a role model. On top of that, you need to take on the role of protector. It’s now your job to keep them safe and secure. However, it seems that Rielle Hunter (her real name is Lisa Jo Druck – geez, even her name is fake!) didn’t get the memo.

For the GQ story, she invited the interviewer into the home she shares with her child. She said it was time to tell her side of the story. Really? I think she forfeited that right when her unruly ways resulted in an innocent child. Additionally, she felt that it was appropriate to pose for a few pictures – one with her daughter and another in an extremely provocative pose on her daughter’s bed. Perhaps it’s just me, but exploiting her daughter and posing in nothing but a man’s white dress shirt and a pearl necklace while kneeling on your daughter’s bed among Dora the Explorer, Kermit the Frog, Barney and a unicorn seems a bit improper and not exactly the best example. And needless to say, that’s not the best use of pearls. She clearly doesn’t value her daughter’s privacy or have much respect for herself. Repulsive.

It just makes me want to hug my daughters and shield them from the horrors of this world for as long as humanly possible. So, hug your children too. Let’s teach them to respect themselves and to respect women. And we can do that by being the kind of women that deserve respect ourselves.

Jesse James, huh? Maybe he should be called “The Blind Side.”

I have to take a moment to applaud Sandra for the superior style and grace that she showed throughout the awards season.  I’ve included a picture of her from the LA premiere of The Proposal last fall.  She wore a simple little black dress from Alexander McQueen that was accented by a necklace concoction that can’t escape notice.  It is a mixed media statement that includes a real pearl necklace with imitation strands and lots of chunky metal pieces.  Except for the imitation pearls (why, Sandy, why?), bravo!
But let’s get back to the issue at hand.  I think we can all agree that Jesse James is a moron.  Who in their right mind would cheat on Sandra Bullock?  But maybe it wasn’t his fault.  Much research ((http://socialpsychologyeye.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/whats-in-a-name/) has been conducted to show the correlation between names and success.  Many even say that the name your parents chose for you actually predicts your behavior.  So, if the genetics train wasn’t going to catch him (he claims to be the great, great grandson of the cousin of the original Jesse James), the fact that his parents named him after a Wild West outlaw would.
So, what’s the lesson in all this?  First and foremost, think long and hard before naming your kids.  Apparently, Apple Martin (the offspring of Chris Martin of Coldplay and actress Gwyneth Paltrow) has a better chance of having good grades than Coco Arquette (the offspring of actors Courtney Cox and David Arquette).  Why you ask?  According to the latest research, students with first names that start with letters associated with higher grades, like A’s and B’s, actually do better than those starting with letters associated with poorer performance.  And people with names like Jesse James are destined to be bandits, whether in love or war.I know.  I know.  A lot of us saw this coming.  They were a mismatch at best from the very beginning.  His ex-wife is a porn star, for goodness sake.  But as I watched Sandra Bullock throughout the awards season, I actually began to believe what she believed – that he “had her back.”  I watched her glow as she spoke of him to Barbara Walters.  And I saw him gazing adoringly at her with tears in his eyes during her Oscar’s acceptance speech.  But it turns out that he was the punk and the tool that we all thought he was.
Sandra Bullock with Pearl Necklace

Sandra Bullock at the premiere of the Proposal

I know.  I know.  A lot of us saw this coming.  They were a mismatch at best from the very beginning.  His ex-wife is a porn star, for goodness sake.  But as I watched Sandra Bullock throughout the awards season, I actually began to believe what she believed – that he “had her back.”  I watched her glow as she spoke of him to Barbara Walters.  And I saw him gazing adoringly at her with tears in his eyes during her Oscar’s acceptance speech.  But it turns out that he was the punk and the tool that we all thought he was.

I have to take a moment to applaud Sandra for the superior style and grace that she showed throughout the awards season.  I’ve included a picture of her from the LA premiere of The Proposal last fall.  She wore a simple little black dress from Alexander McQueen that was accented by a necklace concoction that can’t escape notice.  It is a mixed media statement that includes a real pearl necklace with imitation strands and lots of chunky metal pieces.  Except for the imitation pearls (why, Sandy, why?), bravo!

But let’s get back to the issue at hand.  I think we can all agree that Jesse James is a moron.  Who in their right mind would cheat on Sandra Bullock?  But maybe it wasn’t his fault.  Much research has been conducted to show the correlation between names and success.  Many even say that the name your parents chose for you actually predicts your behavior.  So, if the genetics train wasn’t going to catch him (he claims to be the great, great grandson of the cousin of the original Jesse James), the fact that his parents named him after a Wild West outlaw would.

So, what’s the lesson in all this?  First and foremost, think long and hard before naming your kids. Apparently, Apple Martin (the offspring of Chris Martin of Coldplay and actress Gwyneth Paltrow) has a better chance of having good grades than Coco Arquette (the offspring of actors Courtney Cox and David Arquette).  Why you ask?  According to the latest research, students with first names that start with letters associated with higher grades, like A’s and B’s, actually do better than those starting with letters associated with poorer performance.  And people with names like Jesse James are destined to be bandits, whether in love or war.

Who do YOU think you are?

Sarah Jessica Parker

Genealogy seems to be the latest, hottest thing. We all want to know where we came from, but that’s just it. It’s a personal journey. You’re the one who really cares about who your great, great, great grandmother was. With that said, though, I was still intrigued when I saw the promos during the Olympics for NBC’s new show, “Who do you think you are?” They track the ancestry of the rich and famous, and I guess I’m a voyeur deep down like the rest of the world.

I recently watched the episode with Sarah Jessica Parker at hulu.com, and I have to admit that I have loved her since the show “Square Pegs.” But most of you are probably more familiar with her portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw on “Sex and the City.” Regardless, the episode of “Who do you think you are?” was quite interesting, revealing her deep American roots that span from the great California Gold Rush to the Salem Witch Trials. And I was pleased to find that Sarah Jessica was quite down to earth and approachable. Not only that, but she was casual and effortlessly stylish. Throughout the journey, she rocked blue jeans with various simple t-shirts and a beautiful, matinee-length, pearl necklace. That’s it. No earrings necessary. I felt inspired. We should all seek to add that one special accessory to our casual attire that adds that extra oomph. And next time I do, I’ll be wondering if I have relatives that link back to those on the Mayflower. That’s it. I’m off to join ancestry.com.

Ireland’s Blight.

Kathy Ireland and Queen Latifah

Carats:150
Pearls: 24
Bad decisions: too many to count

Or as my friend Chris dubbed her, “Tacky Ireland”. Wow. I excitedly turned on the Oscars red carpet preshow on Sunday and was stunned at the choice of Kathy Ireland as an official red carpet correspondent. You would think ABC would have learned its lesson after Kathy’s wooden performance on Dancing with the Stars last year. Why would they think she would be any less awkward in this context?

And to top it off, her hair, dress and pearl necklace would have alone given her a high Pearls of Peril rating. You’re a supermodel! Where is your posture in that tight, shiny bandage dress? Why did you think it was a good idea for your messy up-do hair to hide your face? Why did you profusely thank Zac Efron for his interview? And just because you CAN fit more diamonds and pearls on a necklace, doesn’t mean you should. Nuf’ said.

To be clear, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t mix diamonds and pearls. There are definitely ways to do it while remaining classic and elegant. Take Queen Latifah, for example. She looked stunning on Sunday. She wore a beautiful lilac satin dress that showed off her curves and was perfectly accented with diamond and pink sapphire earrings with drop pearls. I think she looked amazing and was definitely deserving of the title “Queen”.

In the interest of fairness, he claims, my husband pointed out that Kathy Ireland has come a long way. Apparently, back in the 80s and 90s, she struggled with even giving a personal interview, let alone conducting one for someone else. In fact, he found the following clip to prove it.

So, if you can get past the overtly sexual nature of that clip…maybe he is right? But I think he might be a little biased given that he has saved the three SI issues with her on the cover for all these years. Then, again, maybe I’m just jealous. You decide.

A Good Wife Always Knows Her Place

Good Wife by Good Housekeeping

I sometimes forget how far we’ve come, until something like this reminds me.  Really?  A good wife always knows her place?  You have no right to question him?  Oh, yeah, that’s right.  We’re all supposed to dress and act like June Cleaver with our perfect little party dresses, hostess aprons and pearl necklaces on a regular Monday evening (By the way, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wearing a pearl necklace on a regular Monday evening.  That’s actually completely appropriate…if it’s what you WANT to wear.  It’s really the idea that “we should speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice” while offering, “to take off his shoes” that I object to).

And a lot of men aren’t all that happy about our progress it seems.  Anyone who watched the Super Bowl this year was bombarded with a lot of angry male perspectives.  The epitome of this was the Dodge Charger “Man’s Last Stand” spot.  Did everybody see it?  Wow.  It sounds like a lot of men would like us to follow the advice in this Housekeeping Monthly article from 1955.

Well, it may have resonated with men, but that commercial pushed a lot of women over the edge.  In fact, one group of women got together and produced this fabulous spoof of the Dodge Charger spot, called “Woman’s Last Stand”.

That gives me an idea.  Maybe we should write a guide for the good husband?  What rules would you include in today’s Guide to Being a Good Husband? I’ll get us started… Rule #1: If you think that ice skating is just “Dancing with Stars” on ice, mentioning that to your wife in a derisive tone is probably not a good idea. Accept it as the sport that it is, with all it’s artistry. Or what did they say in the Dodge Charger spot? Be quiet when we don’t want to hear you say no. Not bad advice, actually.