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    In case you haven't heard,

    Lucky magazine and I have broken up. Read the update here. No, really, I'm fine; it's all for the best. My last issue was bittersweet, all at once affirming my decision (off the shoulder dresses for daytime, anyone?) yet reminding me of the good things that Lucky still has to offer. So I just wanted to give you a bit of the good without having to endure the bad. Here are some fantastic Lucky Breaks:

    --25% off everything at Heidi. Just enter "luckybreaks1" at checkout. Fab gift wrap, $15 (sale price $11.25) for 4 sheets of 24" x 36":

    --25% off everything at Jayson Home & Garden; enter "luckybreaks6" at checkout. This is what I like:

    Bargello Chevron Pillow, $145, on sale for $108.75. Loved it ever since I spied it on Liz Lange's sofa.

    Greta Table, $245, on sale for $183.75. So delicate.

    Abbott Club Chair, $2280, on sale for $1710. YUMMY.

    All right then. I will never speak on this subject again, unless provoked. Suck it, Lucky.


    Taking the real out of reality

    I deliberately do not have TiVo or any other sort of dvr because 1) I do not need to further feed my tv addiction and 2) I would be so busy watching my shows that it would be unlikely that I would stumble upon reality shows that no one admits to watching, such as The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo*:

    Have you seen this? Oh my God, you don't have to admit it to me or even yourself but this show is brilliant and horrifying and you will wrinkle your brow in disbelief so many times that you will need a good hit of Botox. Where do I even begin?

    For those of you who do not watch, here's a quick rundown. The show follows the lives of five rich, white, highly plasticized women in Coto de Caza, a gated community in Orange County. The show opens with each woman saying some variation of "I love money and/or I rule." Tamra, the new housewife this season, has delighted me with her opening quote, "I am the hottest housewife in Orange County." You love it already, don't you?

    Orange County must be code for "another planet" because these women's lives have no semblance to real life. They are in their own little orbits where sequined halter tops and enormous fake breasts** are de rigueur, where everyone has a savant-like knowledge of Mercedes-Benz and where a bad day means having to pump your own gas.

    I could write for hours about this show, but I will limit myself to describing my two favorite characters. First, there's Tamra:

    And yes, honey, that is a jello shot in her hand. I was a little wary of her due to her "hottest housewife in Orange County" comment but she really is quite beautiful. Most of her drama surrounds her 21 year old son Ryan, who was the result of some high school lovin' gone too far. He's moving back in with Tamra and her current husband which is causing all sorts of tension because Ryan is a bit of a scamp and the husband is kind of an a-hole. I fell for Tamra when she told Ryan to "get yo shit togetha," which is something that a real person, including myself, would say. She and I also share the same ringtone, which was a happy coincidence for me.

    Then there is Vicky. She is insane. For real. Here she is on her way to buy a Mercedes for her adult daughter just because "she's good kid" and because "I can't ground [her], I can't spank [her], so I've got to have some means of control." And she's dead serious. Healthy, no?

    Vicky has an intense, frenzied quality about her, even when she's sitting down eating lunch. You get the feeling that at any moment she's going to pop up and scream at the waiter or laugh maniacally or have an aneurysm because she's stabbing her salad so hard. She also does these ear-splitting "WOO HOOs" that Bravo draws out in an echo-y, horror movie fashion. My favorite Vicky moment was at the end of Season 2 when she made a surprise (i.e. unwelcome) visit to her son at the University of Colorado. One moment she's sobbing hysterically at the rebuff and the next moment she's doing a kegstand with his friends. How can you not like a person who can rebound like that?

    I could go on about the others and their collective children, but I will not. Rest assured that they are all entertaining. To the show's credit, it is not all about fluff; all of these women have careers even though they don't need the money, and a few (go Vicky!) reached millionaire status even before the show's free advertising. And really, pretty much everyone has something likable going on, even Lauri, who has so many problems I don't even know where to start. So if you haven't caught this show, try it--the writer's strike is a perfect excuse to watch some down and dirty reality tv (with the exception of I Love New York 2 and A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, which even I don't watch. Much.). Enjoy!

    * I watched Season 2 last year but Bravo led me to believe that there would be no Season 3. How fortuitous was it that I happened upon the season opener? Regarding the photo, I have scoured the web and cannot find a picture of the current cast. The "housewife" in the middle, Jo, has been replaced by Tamra. And thank God, because Jo and her boyfriend Slade (aka Babytalker and Creepy Guy Who's Actually Kind of Cute) were the personification of fingernails on a chalkboard.

    **Lord knows that I am not opposed to plastic surgery. A bra-fitter recently exclaimed to my friend Charlene, "look at what [your children] did to you!" While this comment was not at all tactful or kind, it is true (not about Charlene in particular, just child-bearers in general). I have no objection to inflating and or lifting should a person so desire, but these breasts are so enlarged that you can't help but focus on the skin near the armpit that is pulled so tight and thin that it looks painful.


    I'm sorry to dwell on this, but I have no choice

    I feel compelled to alert you to the sham that is Lucky Magazine. I was going about my business, checking Lucky's Cute Outfit of the Day (read more about it in this post), and saw this woman's itty bitty teeny tiny image.

    It jumped out at me. Such a sassy pose! I thought for sure that she must have something fab going on with her dress or shoes. Maybe ankle boots? Colored pumps? I clicked on her eye-straining image and saw this:

    Those shoes. Her toes are spilling out and she is touching the floor with them. Is she not?* It's not exactly a peep toe, but more of I-had-to-cut-off-the-top-of-my-orthopedic-heels-because-my-
    corns-are-just-killing-me shoe. I can't even say anything nice about the color. And what's that white junk on the heel? Couldn't she get it cleaned up a bit for the photo shoot? I have two things to say about all of this.

    1) These shoes are (allegedly) Chloe, and I'm sure that Laurie Trott, senior fashion editor, paid a mint for them. If these shoes were Easy Spirit (yeah, I linked it), she would have been fired on the spot. Or maybe she was fired on the spot, only to tear off one shoe and say "look! look! Chloe!" and her boss tried to make amends by giving her Cute Outfit of the Day. In this case, Lucky is just another brand whore turning a blind eye to an ugly shoe because it bears a big name.

    2) In the event that the above scenario did not happen, we must assume that this was in fact the best outfit that Lucky employees had to offer on November 5. What, was everyone else at the office wearing pajama pants and Crocs? Oh, Lucky. You let us peek behind the curtain only to show us this? It's not worth it; you're ruining your credibility.

    So listen up, Lucky. You and your "sister" Domino had better quit these shenanigans because I don't have time for this. I need to be concentrating on reality tv and finishing up that Halloween candy, not running two magazines from afar. I'd better start seeing your employees in some honest-to-goodness cute outfits or else you will lose my $10 a year. And then you'll be sorry. Very sorry indeed.

    *Why are their images so grainy? Even on their own website? Why not large and sharp, Lucky? Hmmmm? Suspicious.

    UPDATE: It is OVER between Lucky and me. Today I received my last issue of Lucky in the mail, with all of that "Renew now so you don't miss an issue!" urgency and hurry your ass up because the extra-special rate for preferred subscribers is $17.97 for 1 year. Wow, what a deal! Until you look in the magazine and every subscription card is $12/year. This is how you treat me? I have done nothing but try to help you. I'm done, Lucky. Done.


    The Orginal Jake Ryan

    My kids have been sick for days (they're tag-teaming me) and I got nothin'. So I invite you to read this article that saved me hours on a therapist's couch.


    A stint in rehab

    Our house has required a couple of serious repairs lately, one of which has required the clearing out of our basement, aka the Black Hole of Useless Crap. Because of the torn ligament in my husband's knee, I was in charge of moving everything. A few friends offered to help, but in a moment of craziness, I decided that I needed to suffer the consequences of accumulating so much junk.* I dragged every single last box (but don't get the idea that it was all organized in boxes, because it wasn't) upstairs into the garage and only called my bother-in-law when the big stuff had to be moved. So now we have become people who park their cars in the driveway because their garage is too full of junk. Behold:

    Awesome. And there's even more in our poor dining room.

    After doing all of this moving and being in the mindset brought on by these books, I decided that I was not going to buy anything for myself except for food for one billing cycle on my credit card, September 27 - October 27. Brilliant, eh? No Starbucks, no magazines or books (ouch), no clothes, no shoes, no lipstick, no trip to the salon for a cut and color even though I'd be due. I decided that most people in the world do without these things every day. SO COULD I. Oh, how naive I was.

    During the first few days, I was feeling strong. I was resisting. Then after a week, I developed a little loophole; I shopped a bit more at Whole Foods and that satisfied me for a while. But then about 2 weeks in, I was jonesing. And just like Lindsay Lohan will soon find herself in front of a great big pile of coke, I found myself at Banana Republic, during a denim sale, in front of some perfect dark trouser jeans. The trouser jeans I had been looking for my whole life. I tried them on and of course they fit like a dream. I was totally white-knuckling it. I left in a sweat, went home and impulsively bought this lovely print from etsy**. I justified it by telling myself that it was not for me, it was for my house, who had really been going through a tough time lately. A few days later, I bought a lamp from ebay for $35 under the same "house exception." Denial was in full effect. Then I cheated again when I bought a shade for the lamp. I also had an episode of shopping bulimia when I ordered some red patent flats from Zappos, tried them on and then returned them even though they were stunning. And then there was the In Style Home that I bought when my husband had his knee surgery (because dude, I had earned it).

    The end result of this challenge: I couldn't do it. I fell off the wagon 4 times. No--5. I just remembered that I bought Gold Digger on itunes. There were no expensive buying frenzies, but a slip is a slip, no matter how small. There were a few positive effects of this experiment; it had an excellent effect on my credit card statement and it led to a little bit of soul searching. The negative: I missed out on the perfect pair of jeans at a sale price. Will I stop buying anything shiny and pretty that comes my way? Will I want to? Should I want to? Who knows. All I can say is one day at a time, friends. One day at a time.

    *What is this stuff? Books, lots and lots of books and then more books. Then there are my (ahem) design mistakes, lots of old toys, clothes, and holiday decor.

    **I saw this on a design blog. BB8, was it you? I can't find it now. Maybe it was just a hallucination.