‘Tis the season to party! Time for a new frock, yes? Who's going to make the scene at a blowout holiday bash this year? Who will be rocking this party season? Anyone? Anyone?…Hello?
Dead silence ensues. Eyes get heavy. Spittle accumulates.
Here in New York it seems the party circuit has petered out. Cue the kid in the corner with the pathetic party kazoo. It seems like this year, Manhattanites idea of a good time will be popping a Xanax before hitting the bar for some cheap, slapdash debauchery. Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Blame it on the economy. Or on your Aunt Milly, whatever. But before you get to the the bar, and preferably after taking that Xanax, how about pulling yourself together, honey?
If you want to go get yourself a new party frock, for heaven's sake, don't delay. Please go out right now and get one! You will make a shop girl very happy. With the commission she makes she will be one step closer to affording that trip to an ashram in India. And perhaps she can even one day hope to get off the Xanax.
But if you opt not to get a new party frock, lets take a look at the most bang for your buck wardrobe updates out there. These are loyal standbys. All you need to do is pick one asset to accentuate and read the Everyday Glamour Frock On! Guide:
Waist: Leopard print or metallic belt (to cinch one of your old frocks). These belts can go over so many things and can be worn in so many different ways. I’m getting hot just thinking about it.
Legs: Wolford pantyhose. Patterned ones are not in fashion this year, which is an excellent reason to consider wearing some. Screw fashion! You will stand out even more! Personally, I am a fan of simple back seam pantyhose, or better yet, thigh highs.
Decolletage: Corset top. Wear it with black pants and killer pumps. Later you can wear it under a sweater, with only the very top peeking out suggestively. You minx.
Butt: If you have an onion butt, (an ass so beautiful, it makes the men cry), pencil skirts are a wonderful addition to the wardrobe. You can get this inexpensively, and wear it with a festive top, then later take two Advil and have some orange juice, and don it to work with a sweater.
The All Around All-Star: Le Smoking. Get a tuxedo style jacket. You can wear that over a short dress, (legs). You can wear it over that corset top and black pants, (decolletage). You can wear it with jeans or tight black pants, (butt). Or you can wear it over a jewel-toned blouse, beautifully cut pants, and killer heels for a chic style that is adaptable for all.
Frock on, my lovely E.G.C.’s!!
I once heard of a well-heeled lady who stows away thousands of dollars worth of unworn designer clothes because she figures if ever she is afflicted with the misfortune of losing all her money, she can console herself by knowing that at least she still has all of her designer clothes.
I am of a different mind. I believe that now is the perfect time to donate clothes. There is no time like the present. If not today, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then how about the day after? Or perhaps this weekend?
Giving feels good: It is a selfish act that everyone can benefit from. I like to think of donating as a Cycle of Appreciation and Gratitude, (C.A.G.). By giving away the things that you do not use, you let others use and appreciate those things. The act reaffirms that you are, in fact, and this is a big revelation for many...that you are abundant--you have things, so many things that you can give them away with ease. You realize that you do not need so much stuff. You make room to breathe...and perhaps grow. In any case, C.A.G. is good for our emotional health. So you see, giving is quite a selfish act.
And giving is easy. You can take more time and edit your closet all at once, or you can take a mere 5 minutes to pull out a few things from your closet that you know you never wear. You choose the level. Any little bit helps--and remember, this is a selfish act. Giving feels so good.
I'm donating a number of things--coats, jackets, a suit, clothing, and canned food. I am hoping that my things will be appreciated and used by people on Staten Island, or in Queens. Or perhaps in Far Rockaway, New Jersey, or downtown Manhattan. But no matter where you are in the world, there are always people who could use the things that you no longer need, aren't there?
You can donate to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. Or you can make it easier on yourself. Walk into or call your local church or synagogue. "Do you take used clothing donations?" They may say yes.
It does not need to be hard. Donating can be easy and enjoyable. And so worth it.
A whopper of a hurricane was coming…or at least that’s what the weather man said. Sally slowly pushed her cart through a bustling grocery store. She looked at her list: 1. Batteries 2. Water 3. Matches 4. Fruit 5. Veggies 6. Orange Juice 7. Heavy Cream 8. Chocolate. All the necessities were on her list.
Everyone had a different idea about what they would need in order to hunker down and survive. Sally knew this because she had a bad habit of looking into other people’s carts; It was a cheap form of amusement. At checkout, the woman ahead had a large bag of white rice, some onions, and a small package of Goya Sazon in her cart. In the next aisle over, a man was speaking rather loudly and earnestly to another man in line. His cart was full of sliced white bread. “Yeah, I figure we can eat all the sammiches we want.”, he said. The other man nodded his head knowingly. There was more serious talk of Swiss cheese.
Sally looked into her cart. Next to baby spinach, yellow and red bell peppers, Triscuts, and orange juice, sat a pint of heavy cream and 3 bars of 70% dark Lindt chocolate. The cream and the chocolate seemed a bit out of place, like rabble rousing party crashers with greased back hair, leather jackets, and cigarettes perched in their mouths. “We heard there was a party.”, said the heavy cream. Sally is usually pretty health conscious. She avoids sugar and she doesn’t drink, well, at least not a lot. But there are exceptions to every rule, aren’t there? Sally thought so. She figured if the lights went out and the refrigerator went, her family would survive on chocolate cake and mimosas.
Once home, the first order of business was to make Hurricane Mimosas: 2/3rds sparkling wine, to 1/3rdorange juice. When Sally opened the Prosecco, the cork dramatically popped and the wine spewed everywhere, kind of like in those happy, glamorous, B-movie party montages, in which men in tuxedos and women in sequined strapless gowns sitting in the back of a limo laugh and tilt their heads back, all to the tune of “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves. One man with a Cary Grant haircut opens a bottle of Dom Perignon, and they all watch with startled, gleeful smiles as the cork goes POP, and out spews the glamorous champagne geyser. Everyone laughs wholeheartedly, and then after the champagne is poured, they clink their glasses. The other man, with a pompadour, says, “Bottom’s up!”, and they all drink it down together like reckless college kids funneling from a keg. Sally’s Prosecco spilled all over the floor and a bit onto the rug. Unfortunately, no one else was around to witness it. Very glam.
With a mimosa in hand, Sally crept up to her man, who was watching the news. “School is closed tomorrow!”, he yelled out, his eyes set on the t.v. Sally handed the mimosa over. He looked a bit startled but said, “Thank you.”, in that this-is-a-pleasant-surprise tone.
The next order of business was to bake a cake. Munchkin came over to help. “Mama, can we listen to Katy Perry?”, she asked. “In Kindergarten, I didn’t know about Katy Perry”, (eons ago)“But now”, (in first grade, a more sophisticated era), “I am Katy Perry’s number one fan!” Mama set Pandora to Katy Perry Radio and took a big swig of Hurricane Mimosa.
The recipe that follows shortly is for the greatest chocolate cake on earth. This is Grandma Brown’s recipe. Grandma Brown is not a Grandma in Sally’s family, but she is a Grandma in someone else’s family, and Sally’s family adopted the recipe.
Sally’s Grandma, on the other hand, was a Pie Master. Her pies were perfect. One day, Sally and her brother watched their Pie Master Grandma remove a beautiful, steaming, golden brown apple pie straight from the oven. They watched their Pie Master Grandma, the maker of perfect pies, shake her head. Sally remembers Grandma’s disappointed frown, the shake of her white curls, the furrowed brow, the hunched shoulders of disappointment. The long sigh. Obviously, upon removing the pie from the oven and getting a good look at it, Grandma realized that the pie was not perfect. The next thing that Grandma did was the unthinkable--Sally and her brother are scarred to this day. Grandma took the beautiful, steaming, golden brown apple pie straight from the oven, and she held it for a moment. She held it in a frisbee stance. With stern, resolute finality.
Sally and her brother watched the scene in horror. They remember the moment the pie hit the air, out of grandma’s hands, not in the kitchen garbage bin yet…a moment in time. They made a collective groan, “Noooooooooooooo!” They remember that “No” in slow motion voice: It was a duet of sorts. Sally can not erase the memory of the panic in her brother’s eyes. She remembers the thought, “But Grandma! We understand that you don’t believe that the beautiful, steaming, golden brown apple pie straight from the oven isn’t perfect by rigorous Pie Master standards but OH GOD! NO! Don’t do it! It’s gonna be ok! We will eat it still! And enjoy it!”
The pie slid into the kitchen garbage bin smoothly and gracefully. It made a discreet plunk. Grandma straightened herself up. She ignored the two small, horrified grandchildren in the background. She got out her mixing bowl. She started over.
But back to the cake. Grandma Brown’s chocolate cake is the best on the planet.
Here is the recipe:
Grandma Brown’s Chocolate Cake
1 cup [200 g] unsalted butter
1 cup water
Heaping ½ cup cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ cups sugar [G.Brown used 2 cups.]
pinch of salt
½ cup sour cream
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 F [175 C].
In a small saucepan, heat the butter, water, and cocoa powder, stirring as it comes to a boil. Allow it to cool as you work on the dry ingredients.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir in sugar. Add the now warm (not hot) cocoa mixture and stir until completely mixed.
Add the sour cream, beaten eggs, and vanilla, and beat until the batter is smooth. Pour batter into butterd sheet pan [typically 9” x 13”]
Bake at 375 F [175 C] for 22 minutes [a little longer if the cake pan has a smaller surface area] The cake is done when it springs back a bit when touched in the center, or when a knife in the center comes out clean. Careful, now! Bake the cake until it is just done, no more.
The following recipe is for the icing. This recipe is not Grandma Brown’s. Sally does not know the origin, but it is lethal. When Sally beat the icing, she was on her third mimosa. She thought, “Oh, no. It’s not setting, it’s too liquid. That’s it. I’m a fuck up. There is no hope. I should just throw the whole thing out with a frisbee stance.” She did not give up, and yes, it did set. It was a bit more sause-y and liquid-y than she imagined, but when it cooled on the cake, it was perfect.
450 g dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
2 cups heavy cream
Microwave cream 3-4 min on a high setting; the cream should just come to a simmer, not to a boil. [Or heat in a sausepan on the stove until it just begins to simmer, then remove from the heat.] Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit 2 minutes. Beat until smooth; use a blender if you like.
And it was chocolate-y…..
If you could buy only one pair of good shoes, what style would you choose? For some of you, this is a perplexing riddle, I know. Please don't furrow your brow any more with this, Botox parties are passe. Everyday Glamour is providing the answer.
Presented to you in no particular order, for your viewing pleasure, take a gander at the Everyday Glamour Ultimate Autumn Heel Un-Basics!! Chose one of these babies and you will be able to wear them with almost anything, from a suit, to a cocktail dress, to jeans, and beyond. The beauty of a pair of Ultimate Un-Basic, (U.U.B.), Heels is that you only need one pair to cover you for the majority of your high heel needs, and if you maintain them with a trusted cobbler you will be wearing them for years! Most of these are pretty comfortable, too--as long as you find the correct fit.
P.S. Do not underestimate the versatility of the leopard print one. (A stern warning, Missy.)