Archive for April, 2008

Behind the scenes at Real Simple

April 28, 2008

So last week, I was one of five lucky women to be photographed in NYC for a story in the July 2008 issue of Real Simple.

The story is about “upgrading your casual look” and upgrade me they did, with a hot pink and orange Tory Burch linen top and a pair of 7 for All Mankind white jeans, which actually look a lot like the ones on the 7 homepage. Except I look nothing like that, so you can imagine how that worked out.

Then, they finished me off with the cutest pair of Elie Tahari pink patent leather driving mocs (see above), and I just about fell out of my chair a minute ago when I looked them up on Zappos to show you a photo and see how much they cost. Those of you that know me are laughing right now, but upgraded I was, and I got to keep the whole outfit (minus the jewelry), plus it was tailored to fit me on set.

But anyway, enough talking. Today I present to you the photos of Real Simple behind the scenes.

As I mentioned, I stayed at the super posh Hudson Hotel, bathed in the acid green light that glows from its very pores.

My room.

That molded metal chair was about as comfortable as it looks. Say hello to Ann Curry in my swing-out wall mounted plasma TV. Like the wall lamp?

The “before” set.

Seamstress Diana working on my outfit while I’m photographed in my “before” clothes.

Real Simple photo director, fashion director and stylist waiting for me to get my hair and nails done.

(Photos by my FABULOUS, WONDERFUL makeup artist D’Angelo)

Hearing about Reese, Eva, Julia, Teri, Kate (Hudson), Kate (Beckinsale), Maggie and all the other A listers that my manicurist, hairstylist and makeup artist have worked on. Cameron Diaz is an “absolute doll” and Scarlett Johanssen is “such a natural beauty she hardly needs any makeup at all.” You heard it here first.

Building the set (it got changed about four times).

Amazing photographer David Land and Real Simple photo editor scrutinizing the Polaroids.

Lunch with fashion and photo team. Notice me, the one not eating. When I did eat two hours later, it was GOOD! (They brought new food in for me since I was dressed and couldn’t eat at lunch. Best guac I’ve ever had.)

More set changes.

Changing area with shoes, shoes, shoes.

The studio.

Molly and Elizabeth, these shots are for you!

All in my size, too!

The lovely Lynn from Pennsylvania, one of the other subjects of the story.

More set changes.

More set changes.

The FAN! Yes, like a 1970s Breck girl, I had a fan blowing my tresses. Hard not to laugh when the fan came out!

I think this was the final version of my set.

Wonderful D’Angelo, doing Lynn’s makeup.

Alejandra doing Lynn’s hair (and a preview of her “after” outfit.)

And your official preview of the July 2008 issue—a few of the Polaroids from the shoot.

And that’s a wrap!

If you aren’t on my Real Simple casting forwards list and want to be, tell me in the comments! And if you are on the list and don’t respond to the queries, why not—you get too many overnights in New York, haircuts, hairstylings, manicures, pedicures and outfits for FREE?

I hope I’ll see you all in Real Simple. Stephanie responded to one on my list, and look at her day in the Real Simple spotlight! (She’s going to be in the July issue, too.)


Mama’s got a new pair of shoes

April 25, 2008

It was awesome, wonderful and amazing, and I can’t wait to share all the photos and stories later. Like wait til you hear all the amazing celebrities my MANICURIST has worked on. That she told me about while she was doing my nails and toes.

But in the meantime, I have two little monkeys here to catch up with, because as wonderful as it is to be pampered in New York City, it’s that much better to come home again.

P.S. I got to keep the outfit.

P.P.S. My hips are not really as wide as they look here. Note to self: this is a seriously unflattering angle!

Live from New York, it’s Thursday morning

April 24, 2008

I’m in New York right now, waking up in the poshest hotel in existence. Even the hotel employees are hipsters, and I think there is some serious irony that Real Simple has put up five women who have “traded style for comfort” at this hotel. I’m just saying.

Everyone here at this hotel is skinny, gorgeous and super cool and hip in that is-he-gay-or-is-he-European way.

I spent hours walking in the city last evening, past the midtown office dwellers springing free at 6 p.m., past the faux-handbag guys packing up their wares, past the Ritz-Carlton and Plaza Hotel bordering the park, over to the east side and my favorite cupcake store, skirting the hot mess of Times Square and grabbing a slice of pizza. I got a pedicure, I poked my head in the Apple store, I wondered why FAO Schwartz was closed at 7 p.m. and all the while I realized that this was the first time I had left the house without a diaper bag since 2004.

Time to hit the showers, photo shoot at 10 a.m.!

P.S. They want a “before” photo, I am CRINGING

If I could upload images, you’d see yummy cupcakes

April 23, 2008

While I have no time to be doing this, I CAN’T leave that last post up while I hop off to NYC for my Real Simple photo shoot. Or if I did, it would be CRYSTAL CLEAR as to why I needed to go have a makeover.

So here’s a little something to cleanse your palate, so to speak.

They tasted even better than they looked.

(%&*#$! WordPress isn’t letting me upload photos today, so you get a link instead. Is WordPress working for you today?)

Pat yourself on the back, part 2

April 21, 2008

So as promised this morning, the photo.

And a brief tutorial to help you understand just how incredibly fabulous this photo is. Which may not have been obvious as first glance.

The March of Dimes WalkAmerica event, April 1984, suburban New York.

Celebrity walker? Local resident John Schneider of the Dukes of Hazzard.

That’s me in the glasses and disdainful look. And the purse.

1a. The Expression

Facial expression is fabulous example of bershon, perhaps earliest known example in my photo collection. Frequently accompanied with eye roll and no-paparazzi-please-hand-in-front-of-face-gesture. If my children ever do that to me, I will buy imported chocolates and fine wine with their college funds. My mother was a SAINT to put up with me.

Friend Joanne graces my mother with a pretty smile. No bershon for her.

1b. The Glasses

While I looked like an owl or giant bug in my apricot-colored frames, I was part of a HUGE trend sweeping St. Mary’s School. When I searched the albums for this photo, I noticed TWO OTHERS in frames just as big and bug-like as mine. HOT, you might say

2. The Purses

If I remember correctly, Le Sport Sacs were the required vessel for us in seventh or eighth grade which is, I think, when this photo was taken. Joanne’s was a sophisticated gray and navy pin check; mine was classic navy. I’m sure both of them had these in them:

And maybe one of these:

And definitely one of these, even though I was walking with a friend. She had hers, too.

We were both listening to either:

A) Madonna

B) The Police

C) Michael Jackson or possibly

D) Air Supply

3. The Other People in the Photo

Not related to me or my friend, yet in my photo album for all time. My whole photo album from childhood looks like this.

4. The Outfits

Matching ‘big shirts” and while I have no idea what shirt I was wearing underneath (though I can see it is turquoise and my collar is up), I can tell you I was wearing some AWESOME jogging shorts. Probably these:

Those people on my right and left? No relation. I don’t know them.

I can confirm that these were all taken in 1984, though.

That’s my baby sister Maggie, born in June 1984. That’s me, proudly displaying my WalkAmerica teeshirt. And jogging shorts.

* * *

You’ve done it!

The team has exceeded the goal of $2,000 raised for the March of Dimes, in large part thanks to H & W readers.

I can’t begin to tell you how amazing you are. I’ll give you a few days to recover from the visual assault above and then will post the other promised gems. You know, to REWARD you.

Pat yourself on the back

April 21, 2008

Readers, you’re amazing.

From what I can tell by looking at the NICU team totals since Friday, you have raised MORE THAN $500 for the March of Dimes by supporting our NICU team on their March for Babies this coming weekend.

And the amazing part? This isn’t even all from Henry’s generous friends and family. Plenty of these gifts came from a wonderful web of Internet friends who I have NEVER EVEN met. Did I mention amazing?


Due to lack of inhouse scanning ability, promised photo of walking purses plus TWO bonus photos from same era will be posted later today. I’m SO NOT dodging this, I just have an all-day photo shoot to attend for work, and I haven’t figured out how to scan and art direct at the same time, that’s all. Email me if you know how I can accomplish that!

While you’re waiting, here’s something for you to consider.

The NICU team team tally stands at $1,885 today this morning, towards their goal of $2,000. Think H & W readers can get them the rest of the way there? Even gifts of $5 will help towards that bottom line! Click here if you’d like to join in.

And of course, I have incentives.

Without having photo albums in front of me, I think I can put my hands on these gems:

Your choice of

A) a senior graduation photo from college (SERIOUS HAIR)

B) a “we’re on our way to a college formal dance” photo

C) a high school PROM photo

D) a photo of me circa 1984 when I thought it would be a great idea to have Farrah Fawcett layers? Even though I didn’t own a blow dryer? And I had wavy hair? And my mother assured me it wouldn’t be a good idea?

You can have any one of those photos (Leave your vote in the comments, and you are eligible to vote even if you already made your donation last week.) if the NICU team gets to $2,000.

In fact, if that happens, I will even let one of my sisters pick a bonus photo. You know, my younger sister Kate, who suffered with me as Bossy Older Sister? Who might pick the most embarrassing one ever as revenge?

You all are so incredibly generous, warm-hearted, thoughtful and sincere. My thanks to you, from the bottom of my heart. And think of those babies, those tiny, helpless babies that thank you, too.

Saving babies, one step at a time

April 18, 2008

Remember this little guy?

Henry, Day of Life #2

Henry, Day of Life #8

This is him today, at 22 months.

That thing he is standing on? A giant rock that he jumped off a minute later.

We remain forever grateful for the excellent care, lifesaving procedures and sophisticated equipment that were available to Henry when he was born prematurely nearly two years ago.

It comes as no surprise to us that, after spending their week caring for premature newborns, some of the members of Henry’s NICU team are taking a precious weekend day off on Sunday, April 27 to walk in the March of Dimes March for Babies.

Their walk will raise money to provide better access to prenatal care, support for families with premature babies and fund vital research, among other things.

If you’ve known a preemie,

if your child was a preemie,

if you were a preemie,

if you’re grateful that you didn’t have a preemie,

if you might someday have a preemie,

if you’d like to honor the medical professionals that cared for Henry,

or if you just think Henry is a tough guy,

I encourage you to click here and make a donation toward Henry’s NICU team goal of $2,000. They’re about halfway there—will you join us in helping them reach their goal?

And if saving premature babies isn’t enough for you, how’s this?

If any Hank & Willie reader* makes a donation to Henry’s team before Saturday, April 26, I will post a photo of me and my friend doing the March of Dimes WalkAmerica (as it was formerly called) circa 1983.



I’m telling you, it’s worth it for the photo alone.

*When you make a donation, send me a message or leave a comment so I know if I really am going to have to post this photo!

Edited to add: H & W readers are amazing, thank you! I’ll post the photo on Monday. I sincerely hope more friends of Henry will follow in your lead!

RIP, Paw Paw

April 17, 2008

Martha’s dogs Francesca, Paw Paw and Sharkey (behind)

October 2007, Bar Harbor, Maine

To the several THOUSAND people who found their way here in the last few days searching for


paw paw dog Martha Stewart

Martha dog

dog died Martha

paw paw

Martha Stewart dog died

and so on, I think this is the post you were looking for.

I hadn’t heard the news or noticed my blog stats until my friend Sarah sent me this, Martha’s somewhat breathless but sincere eulogy to Paw Paw and an account of his last days as king pooch. And my first thought was how did I not know that Martha has a BLOG! And then I thought, how sad, because she really did love that dog. (I’ve seen the affection first hand, at her house. She really, really loves her dogs.)

So anyway, searchers of Paw Paw, welcome.

And Paw Paw, may you rest in peace. I hope Doggie Heaven can measure up to your lovely life as Martha’s dog.

* * *

In other news, my neighbor-the-dermatologist has just gone on record as taking the world’s shortest maternity leave. Because less than 72 hours after GIVING BIRTH she was busy treating my volcano in her kitchen.

The new baby is gorgeous, big brother seems to be taking it in stride and a second child has clearly done nothing to diminish mom and dad’s outstanding ability for hospitality, even just 10 hours after coming home from the hospital. THOSE are the kind of neighbors you want to have.

Thanks again, Jenn! You’re amazing and my volcano is looking better already. I think I’m going to be just fine in time for Real Simple!

Seriously, toothpaste?

April 16, 2008

You guys are amazing.

I had no idea there were so many home remedies for acne control.

Although I am still waiting* for my dermatology PA friend from college to weigh in here, (I’m sure she’s just busy seeing her actual patients right now. Whatever, like my giant pimple isn’t equally important.) I think you guys have me covered. Like a good concealer.

I wasn’t exactly clear in my original description of this unsightly blemish. My facial volcano is actually of the subterranean type, to stretch a metaphor long past its useful life.

Since it dwells far below the surface, there is no popping to be done here. It’s sort of like a round, smooth red polka dot. A HUGE one. Katy had it right–it’s the kind of blemish that needs a quick steroid shot, but since the last time I saw my dermatologist was before I carried a diaper bag, I kind of doubt he is holding an emergency appointment open for me, say, today.

So, I think my plan of attack is to use H&W reader suggestions to reduce redness and inflammation enough so that I can at least hold my head up when I get to Real Simple. The alternate plan is to find a giant, bulky turtleneck sweater that I can coyly tuck my chin into while talking to them.

Let’s hope for redness control. Keep your suggestions coming!

*I could, of course, check in with the dermatologist that lives ACROSS THE STREET, but she had to go and give birth this week. 🙂 Welcome, baby Avery!

A question and a pimple

April 15, 2008

Do you believe it’s wrong to encourage ill-mannered behavior that you are ultimately going to abolish if you can encourage it just long enough to get it on video?

Just wondering. I’ll show you the evidence if we get it.

*    *   *

In other news, it seems like I will be facing the Real Simple cameras again next week, and I DON’T EVEN HAVE TO CLEAN MY HOUSE this time. I’m contemplating live blogging the experience, but I wonder how interesting that would be:

“I’m getting my hair blowdried right now. It’s really hot. He’s really tugging on it, too.”

“She’s putting lipstick on me right now. Kind of an almost-not-there mauve.”

Here’s the most interesting part of the whole thing.

I have a pimple the SIZE OF MY CAR in the process of erupting on my chin right now.

I don’t have a photo of it, but it looks a little like this:

I haven’t had one like this since about 1994, but from what I recall about these honkers, there is NO WAY it will be gone before I go to NYC next week. To have my picture taken. For a national magazine.


So here’s where you come in, dear readers. What is your best trick for minimizing, decreasing, hiding, de-reddening and otherwise kicking a pimple out of town? Give it to me. I want your techniques, products, prayers, you name it.


And if you want to be on my Real Simple email casting list, just leave a comment below telling me you want in. Bloggers (and their lovely readers) are going to take over the WORLD.

Food Friday: Making Reservations

April 11, 2008

Sorry, it’s been that kind of week and that kind of day and we’re going out for dinner when the kids are in bed. You should, too!

But my friend Shannon just gave me this tip, so I pass it on to you in the name of Food Fridays.

Go to for and search for restaurants in your area participating in their gift certificate program. Looks like a few reasonable restaurants in our area belong, so even though it isn’t for the one we’re going to tonight, I’m glad to know about it and will try it in the future.

So go make some reservations for dinner!

Milk face

April 10, 2008

So Stacy over at Land of KA is an excellent and generous photographer who shares photo tips each week on Saturdays, and then encourages you to put them into practice at Theme Thursdays each week.

I am rarely organized enough to make a photo that would emerge from my camera meet the theme of the week, but this time it has worked perfectly!

I took photos of beautiful Derya and her brother a few weeks ago.

I was so taken by her beautiful smile and gorgeous eyes that I didn’t notice that she had just had a glass of milk, and as nearly-three-year-old kids do, she had a little remnant of it around her chin and mouth.

Call it childhood, call it honesty, but wouldn’t it be great to wave a magic wand (or a clone or patch tool in PhotoShop) and remove the evidence of the milk? I think these web resolution photos are too small to let you see her milk beard (It is making the focus look a little softer, actually, interesting effect!), but trust me, in the full size images, it is there. (Probably most evident in the last one.)

So even though Stacey gave us all kinds of ideas for fixing imperfections in her post this week, I’m at a loss. What tool would you use to clean up her lovely, milky chin? If you can actually see it and want to play with the photo, send it to me and I will post it here with credit. Or I can send you the high res file.

And thank you, Derya, for letting us learn on your beautiful face! 🙂