Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor 1932 - 2011 Last of the Great Broads

Not long ago, when I was introduced to a new friend by a very old one, this person said to me at our first remind me of Elizabeth Taylor when she was younger.   I remember laughing at the time, as I have always been told I looked like many other people,  but never, ever like Elizabeth Taylor.

Yesterday this same person sent me an e-mail with the subject line: " Honoring Elizabeth Taylor"  that contained these photos with the caption...  "This is what YOU look like."

23 year old Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Giant

While this struck me as extremely funny,  especially since I am many years older than Taylor was in these photos, and I don't look anything like the beautiful actress,  my mind immediately went back to one of the great loves of my life who was a  life long admirer even after we broke up and whose favorite screen beauty was none other than Miz Liz herself.  It made me wonder if he too may have seen a little spark in me that reminded him of the famous beauty.

While I don't look anything like Ms. Taylor,  if someone else is silly enough to think so, well I accepted the compliment graciously.  I also went and looked in the mirror, shook my head in disgust, then remembered the five text messages still on my cell phone from a much, much younger admirer at one of West Week's  many cocktail parties, who,  though with a twenty something girl in tow, had hugged me and whispered that he had been watching me all night and had to tell me how classy and pretty he thought I was.   He invited me to his birthday party in Beverly Hills that same night and sent me several texts when I didn't show up.  Next day there were more texts asking to see me on Friday.

After thanking him for the lovely invitation, I didn't answer any more of them.  What was I going to tell him?  That I might be old enough to be his mother?  Still, I couldn't help but be flattered.    I don't understand the attention I am getting at this stage of my life by what can only be described as a very diverse group of males, but I'm thankful for it none-the-less.   While I was growing up I always saw myself as an ugly duckling.  I always wanted to look like a movie star but thought my nose was too big and my teeth too crooked.  I had nice eyes, yes... understanding eyes, even...but NOT Elizabeth Taylor eyes.   No one had Elizabeth Taylor eyes....except Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Taylor was 23 in these photos.  I sent back an e-mail to my friend with a big "I Wish" and a  photo of my 25 year old self.  Did I still bear some resemblance to THAT 25 year old?   I hope so.  She wasn't ugly at all once she got over the awkward years.

Anyway,  I guess what I am saying is that I hope that what these people see in me is a little of that saucy, but classy confidence that Elizabeth Taylor is displaying in the above photos and exuded throughout her life.  Sometimes it takes someone a while to come by it....another good thing about getting older.  But the thing is that while there were many men who found me attractive when I was young,  I think men now see something entirely different ....a very "this is me...take me or leave me" attitude that maybe attracts them.   This was borne out a little by a very handsome, flirtatious older male (married to a younger woman) who's wife got a little jealous at a party, when he pulled me outside to talk to me because he couldn't fit me in a box, couldn't figure out what I was.  That was all we were doing too...talking....he was intrigued by my brain...and maybe a little by it's housing too.

This couple works as a team, and Wednesday night he comes up behind me and whispers some double entendre (Spanish) thing in my ear...trying to get a rise out of me.  I think he does it for shock value.  It's only the third time I've met him and I think he wants to rile me a little.   He teases me about  being proper and not letting my guard down to wallow a little in the mud.  Alcohol has never motivated me to act foolishly, so that could be the reason he does it.  He wants to know what makes me tick...still.

Later in the evening, after a few digs of the same kind...and knowing he is looking for a fiery response,  I finally looked at his hand, which had found its way to resting on my thigh (quite of few of us were sitting very close on a piece of furniture) lifted it, smiled and told him (in Spanish to give more meaning)  that I lived by the saying my mother had taught me that  "a woman should be a lady in the living room (in public) and a whore in the bedroom"  and I turned around and smiled at his wife, who was one too many drinks from noticing too much of what her husband was doing and started talking to her.   I heard him repeating to another friend later that I was one very smart woman.  That was  a compliment from him I could live with.   And, of course, my mother never said any such thing to me....but I always thought it was a very good way to be anyway.

After dropping off some friends that same night, I turned down on Robertson and drove by The Abby.  It was filled with people and there were news trucks from several TV stations parked in front.   I figured they were there covering  some kind of tribute  to Elizabeth from a  community who had gathered together to mourn the passing of one of their beloved champions....a champion who often visited to celebrate life with them, just as she had ,years earlier,  marshaled forces to combat what was then only known as a "gay" disease...HIV  Aids.

Liz and her much loved Monty.
With the passing of Elizabeth Taylor,  Hollywood and the world has lost not only a fine actress,  but one of the most famous beauties to ever grace the silver screen.  And while most of us knew her as the violet eyed beauty a lot of us wanted to look like and our boyfriends were in love with,  Elizabeth Taylor was in turns feisty,  loving,  lusty, foulmouthed, kind, loyal to her friends, brave, devil take you if you didn't like her or what she did, passionate,  old fashioned (where her family was concerned), untiring in her crusades for the good and an honest to goodness  broad with a throaty laugh,  a love of diamonds, and a wicked sense of humor.

Those are the many things said and written about her by those her knew her best.  Some of it we got from watching her life  as chronicled by the media.

Rest in peace, Dame Elizabeth.  Your lovely face and spirt is ever young and lives on with Monty's and Dean's and Richard's and Roddy's and Roy's (Rock) and all the other lovely co-stars and dear friends who, along with you,  lit up the screen in timeless movies like  Little Women,  Giant,  A Place in the Sun,  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,  Suddenly Last Summer,  Raintree County, The Taming of the Shrew,  Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, and yes, even Cleopatra,  that only get better with age.

We shall miss you.
Elizabeth and Mike Todd

Elizabeth and Richard

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How lovely to hear...

...that they are making an HBO movie out of the book Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.  The project will be directed by Ray Roach from a screenplay by Danny Strong.          

Game Change is the result of thousands of interviews with unnamed sources close to the key players in the last presidential primary and running up to the election and after.  It is about Hillary, Bill, Obama, John and Elizabeth Edwards, John McCain and Sarah Palin and their behind the scenes struggles to gain the ultimate prize...the Presidency of the United States.

Sarah Palin?
I loved this well researched look at the personalities and their key players and can hardly wait to see the finished product on HBO.   They just announced that Julianne  Moore will be portraying Palin, so I am happy about the calibre of the players they are reeling in for this project.

If you get a chance, read Game Change before it is reenacted for TV.  I recommend it.  I can hardly wait to tell my daughter.  She also read it (as a matter of fact she gave it to me) and we loved discussing it as I came upon new revelations after reading each chapter, even  though most of it bore out pretty much what I observed happening at the time.

I am half way through Obama's Wars, by Bob Woodward and enjoying it,  but Game Change was a great read if you are political junkie.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

Sunday, March 6, 2011

DVF, Nike Air and Niacin

What have these things to do with one another you say?  Well, I was sitting here contemplating my stack of folders holding all the information necessary to get started on preparing my 2010 taxes for my accountant, when I found my mind wandering all over the place.

One of those places happened to be my feet,  presently clad in my fairly new, ***custom gray Nikes with  LIVE NOW, one word emblazoned on each of the little leather ovals at the top of the tongues of the light weight running shoes and the signature I had decided on, instead of my initials, to personalize them.

LIVE NOW sounds like a silly thing to put on one's shoes, doesn't it?   But it is a part of my mantra, and a goal to reach each day because,  after all,  if we don't live NOW... then when,  since now is the only moment we are sure we have?  We have no guarantees of a tomorrow.   In truth, that "now" is soon replaced by "another" now and another now ... and so it is that we must endeavor  to live each of those  "now" moments to the fullest measure we know how.   Part of that, for me, is to stay fit and vibrant and young, both in mind and body....and here is where these three topics intersect for the purposes of this post.

When one contemplates one's feet, if one loves fashion,  the next jump goes to shoes.  When I think of shoes, I think of stylish.    The next jump from stylish is comfort....and looking at stylish women's shoes in any of the last decades....comfort is probably the last thing that comes to mind (especially the designer's minds)  and that is a very woeful state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

Do shoe designers really hate women that much?  I have to think so.

Used to be my favorite shoes were either  Bruno Magli or Ferragamo, with the occasional Yves St. Laurant and the "dependable for dressy " Stuart Weitzmans thrown in the mix.   Today, brands like Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and the "Sex and the City made famous," Manolo Blahnik rule the runways and what used to be 2 1/2 to 3 inch heels have been replaced with 3 1/2  to 5 inch heels,  making wearing fashionable shoes a "health hazard."  Ask any of the runway models who have taken painful tumbles due to the "lets make a statement here" torture of these most  "necessary to be hip" fashion must haves.

Well "fashion must haves" have no place in my closet, thank you.   I draw the line at anything over 3 inches...and even big platforms I used to wear years ago,  are signs of danger to be avoided in favor of the classic lines and comfort of a "sensible" shoe.   That is why I found myself shopping the internet for a pair of 3 inch, plain black, comfortable pumps.   A while back I had found just such a creature in a pair of Marc Jacobs I'd tried on in a store.   The first time I wore them out during the day, I discovered my new, sleek, beautiful "Ink" pumps were really a very dark Navy!  Ink should have been the clue...

Style and Nike Air Technology
Deciding on something with a small platform and  soft "kid" leather, I started looking.   My most comfortable skinny heel,  knee length boots were Cole Haan, so perhaps I could find something in a plain pump on their website.  After all, a lot of Cole Haan shoes use Nike Air technology and that was a good thing.   And so it was that I found these perfect 3 1/2 in., small platform, calf skin the person of  the Violet Air OT pump to the right.

Keeping youthful feet is very important as you age.  No "great looking" or torturous pair of shoes is worth a fall or an awkward, ungraceful gait in my world.   I have a lot more expensive shoes than these, but after a few hours of walking around in them, my metatarsal starts to scream and the celebrity "worn for one night shoes" that pop off the moment no one is looking, are not for least not for every day wear, thank you.  Cole Haan and Nike Air I thank you.  Not a bad shoe, is it?

While on the Cole Haan website, I saw they were having a sale and found a wonderful, stylish little nylon travel coat, with snap out liner, marked half off.
 It is a cute, light and functional piece that goes well over jeans and pants.  It is also water repellent, so with all the rain we've been having, will do double duty.

Speaking of coats reminds me of the short, black wool, fitted, large collar, asymetrical zip coat I was wearing the other day while browsing the jeans at Helmut Lang.   The fellow that was helping me asked who designed my stylish coat.   I started laughing and told him I'd had it for years and it was made by Guess.   I showed him the label to prove it.   He was incredulous.   At the time, I was wearing  Helmut Lang legging jeans, a James Pearse soft,  long, skinny sweatshirt, with black heel ankle boots and David Yurman gold and silver hoop earrings.   He says to me:  "Honey,  cut the label out of that sucker and never tell a soul because  that looks like something Dolce and Gabbana showed last fall."  This little tidbit bolstered my belief that good design never goes out of style, no matter what and that practicality and style can go together and no one has to know.

And speaking of practicality, that is where DVF comes in and where my last week's trip to the Melrose store saw me come out with three great dresses for spring.   Her dresses are always a good fit and won't break the bank at an average cost of around *$350 each,...or less,  if you can find a sale.

Flirty and light Damiana
Cyrani fits me like a glove.
The most expensive,  the Damiana to the right, is a gauzy and flirty silk chiffon geometric print.  The size 4 is a perfect fit and very flattering.

The Cyrani, bottom left, with the wave pattern, fits me like a glove and is a silk stretch jersey.  Since I am 5'8 in heels, it's a little longer fit on me, but still above the knee.

Below right is the
practical,  soft drape boatneck vintage print known as Chloris.  It is a silk jersey and will look good with the black open toe pumps above and my single strand, long rope of onyx beads with two perfect crystal beads on either side and earrings (courtesy of my late, generous mother in law) or,  for a more flirty daytime look... great gold hoop earrings and some bangle bracelets (no necklace).  I usually pull up long sleeves to just cover the elbows.

Fitted vintage print Chloris

I can hardly wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear these new additions to my wardrobe.

The Miracle B?

Now for the **Niacin.  I take it four or five days a week  (250 mg) to keep my HDL (good cholesterol)  high and my skin in good shape.  After taking the niacin and getting the customary flush, I notice my skin looks wonderful when it fades back to normal, plumped up and clear.   Lately I have noticed that more and more of the touted,  anti-aging miracle skin creams contain niacin.  With this in mind, I decided to experiment with adding a little crushed niacin to Emu oil (a rich emollient that penetrates the skin quite well) and using  under my eyes to see if it would provide some micro-circulation to an area that gets very little.  To my surprise, it worked quite well.  The trick is to use a mortar and pestle or a rolling pen over parchment paper to get it down to a very fine powder before mixing it with the oil.

This little experiment has me looking for a liquid substitute and wondering if it would work as well on a larger area, such as the gluteus muscle as adjutant to the requisite 50 squats and the dry brushing.    I need to get more Emu oil to try it out.  I'll let you know if it works.

Another wonderful benefit of Niacin (taken internally) is that if you take it with natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric, ginger, bromelain and even omega 3 fish oils, which usually thin your blood, it gets the blood flowing to a lot of areas where it is desirable (if you get my drift),   including your brain.

I call it the miracle worker, this B vitamin...and, if you don't mind the flush, I highly recommend it.  I would suggest you start with small doses.  In mega doses Niacin can cause build up of uric acid and give you gout.  Also your liver has problems metabolizing large doses, even though some physicians do prescribe it for people with high triglycerides and low HDL's.  

My HDL is up to my 20 year old levels (90) and that is a very good thing.

I love to experiment with things that keep you young in both mind and body and for those interested in staying fit and healthy, I am passing it on here.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

*I know that paying an average of $350 (DVF) a dress sounds like a lot of money to some people, but if you can get them on sale and add one good piece to your wardrobe every six months instead of a bunch of cheaper pieces,  you will find yourself wearing them often and for a longer time.   Find a designer or brand that fits well on your particular figure and you will find that saving for that one good dress or piece, will be worth it in the long run.    Quality trumps quantity every almost everything.

**Tonight, while restocking my everyday eye cream, I noticed that it has a new formulation.  I clicked on the product (I buy a lot though  It is cheaper and delivered to my door.) and noticed that niacin had been added to the formula and it is the first ingredient in the  new formula.  This proves my point and shows me I am on the right track.  I use StriVectin SD Eye Cream over a layer of Cellex C Advanced C Serum  on the sensitive orbital area under my moisturizer for day and before night cream at night.  I swear by the Cellex C Advance C Serum.   The wizard (dermatologist) says vitamin C (along with Retin A) are the only topical products that helps build collagen.

***Nike's can be ordered online and customized as to color of every part of the shoe.  It is called custom build and is shipped to you.  You can try the style on in a store and customize it online.