Saturday, August 23, 2014

Who's Your Celebrity Look Alike? Mine is....

Do people tell you that you resemble someone famous? Of course they do. You look just like Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Garner, or Audrey Hepburn don't you? People tell you that all the time.

No one ever tells me I look like anyone.

At various points in my life, usually over a few margaritas, my girlfriends and I have played the celebrity doppelganger game.  I'd sit eagerly while my pals gushingly dubbed each other Cameron Diaz or Courtney Cox or Mary-Louise Parker. But when it was my turn, everyone would fall silent. "Hmm, I don't know....," they'd trail off. "Who wants another drink?" And the game would be over.

But surely there was someone famous who looked like me! In search, I visited a website where you upload a picture of yourself and - based on similarity of features - it gives you your celebrity match. My closet match? Martin Short. I admit, I can see the resemblance.

In an acting class, my instructor Doug said we all have archetypes - relatable celebrity personas - we can use in our own work. While my classmate Stephanie's archetypes included diverse beauties like Stevie Nicks, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Meryl Streep, mine were harder to come by.

After great thought and consideration, Doug came up with just one - Katey Sagal.

But today, completely unsolicited, my Aunt Mary (who is never wrong) reached out to tell me me I look like a famous person - Zoe Kazan! Apparently, the  star of the current movie "What If" looks just like me. Well okay, she has blue eyes and is 20 years younger, but I'm celebrating anyway - at last, a famous actor who kind of, sort of looks like me. She's even a girl!

And the movie looks cute too. Here's the trailer:

So tell me, who's your celebrity look-alike? Would love to hear.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our Empty Nest Test - Home Alone!

Liam and spent I this past holiday long weekend home alone and it was strange. For the first time since we became parents - almost 21 years ago - we had extended time together in our house without kids. Sure, we've taken romantic vacations and getaways. But never have we had this much time and privacy while hanging out in our own abode.

For long-time couples,
being home alone can be scary!
You'd think it would have been our long-awaited chance to go wild. At last, we could unleash all the decadent desires and hedonistic habits we've been bottling up in the name of good parenting for the last two decades. Tequila shots from each other's navel! Naked disco dancing with glow sticks and lollipops! Firecrackers lit under our neighbors' windows! A double dose of Ambien and 12 hours uninterrupted sleep!

Alas, none of those options occurred to us. Our first weekend of uninterrupted coupledom didn't feel like a cause for celebration; it felt like an adjustment. 

Here's the thing I've realized about being empty nesters: you've got to make plans. Because without all the busy-ness your kids create - games, carpools,  meals,  friends, exams, noise and mess - things can get kind of quiet at the old homestead.

If this is sounding depressingly over the hill, take heart. Liam and I aren't ready to pull out the rocking chairs and slurp cream o' chicken soup yet. As the weekend progressed, we got the hang of things. We went to the beach and caught some rays. We watched World Cup soccer at World of Beer in Evanston. We walked into town for dinner. We played our traditional annual round of best ball golf in Winnetka. We saw friends. We cooked breakfast. We took time apart to do our own stuff too, cause who really needs to hang out with anyone - even your beloved - for three days straight? And yes, indeedy (Nick and Emma you might want to stop reading now) we found time for some intimate connection.  

Our daughter still has another year of high school, but it's a good thing we're figuring this empty nest stuff out now. According to the New York Times, "gray divorce" (divorce among people over 50) is on the rise, the majority of which are initiated by women.
"While divorce rates over all have stabilized and even inched downward, the divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled since 1990, according to an analysis of census data by professors at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. That’s especially significant because half the married population is older than 50. "  Full article at
My takeaway from this "Empty Nest Test" is this:

1. Be proactive, make plans to do fun things together, try something new!
2. Don't freak out if things get a little quiet.
3. Have your own interests and encourage your mate to pursue his.
4. View the changes positively, for both you and your kids. You might as well embrace this stage of life, 'cause there's no going back!

Do you have any tips to negotiate your relationship after the kids leave home? If so, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Invisalign Results and 5 Things I Wish I'd Known

Have you considered Invisalign? I've been doing it for 24 weeks, and I thought I'd share my results with you. Please note, this is a completely independent, non-sponsored post and reflects only my own experience and results. Yours might be different.

This is the before picture, wearing my first set of Invisalign plastic trays at the end of November. My bottom teeth were really crooked and I have a weird bite anyway, because I was born with only one eye tooth (fang), so everything on top is off center.

This is how my bare teeth look today:

Much better, right? My upper teeth are almost finished, although I still have another 18 weeks to go on the bottom, which is the real problem anyway.

As a teenager, I wore braces (the super-ugly kind) all through high school - rubber bands, headgear and all. I had no desire to go through that again. I'd considered Invisalign for years as my bottom teeth became more and more gnarly. So finally, after multiple conversations with my trusted dentist, I went for it. Obviously, the results are encouraging, but here are a few things I wish I had known up front.

1. The Invisalign trays are uncomfortable, especially at first. You wear each set of trays continuously for two weeks, but most of the actual movement of teeth happens in the first couple days - and for those first few days, your mouth is sore. It's not intolerable, but not fun either. Stock up on Motrin.

2. You'll have bumps on your teeth. The trays grip onto little clear buttons that your dentist glues to your teeth. So, even when you take the trays out, you still have those little nubs. (I didn't expect this, but it hasn't been a big deal.)

3. You have to floss and brush like crazy. Any time you take the trays out to eat or have a cup of coffee, you have to brush and floss your teeth before you put the trays back on again. You don't want to trap a bunch of bacteria in there. This oral care regimen is super time consuming. I am flossing like six times a day. It's my new hobby. On the bright side, my gums have never been healthier.

4. There's a surprisingly nasty little procedure involved called "stripping." If your teeth are overcrowded like mine, your dentist will need to make some room before he or she can straighten things out. Instead of pulling teeth or using an expander, your dentist can create space by shaving a little bit off the sides of your teeth - with a tiny set of saws. Think of this as the worst floss of your life! It doesn't actually hurt, but the sawing sounds god-awful and is just plain creepy. I had it done at my very first visit and again at my most recent one. The best thing I can say about stripping is that it's over!!

5. Good news! You can take a few hours off now and then. I don't think my dentist would recommend this, but if you're going to a party or are making a presentation or are just sick of wearing the trays, you can take a break from wearing them and, in my experience, the process will stay on track. This, of course, is the most appealing part of Invisalign. Not only are the braces inconspicuous, they're removable!

I'll check back in when my treatment is completed. In the meantime, have you tried Invisalign or had other orthodontia as an adult? I'd love to hear your experiences.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Finally, I Know How to Be a Woman!

Thanks to ten minutes browsing in a LAX bookstore and a four hour flight home, I've discovered the funniest, most brilliant British writer - Caitlin Moran. Her hilarious, sexy, smutty subject matter? Feminism. Don't roll your eyes, now. In her bestselling book, How to Be A Woman, Moran demonstrates how being a strident feminist is a super good time. (Not to mention, the right thing for any modern, self-respecting chick to do.)

While acknowledging the broader issues facing women in the world, Moran brings her feminist perspective to subjects that most of us struggle with everyday - like why is the only pretty underwear available so frigging uncomfortable? 

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book.

"While some use the euphemism "Brazilian' to describe this state of affairs, I prefer to call it what is is - a ruinously high-maintenace, itchy, cold-looking child's vagina."

On high heels:
"There are only ten people in the world, tops, who should actually wear heels. And six of those are drag queens. The rest of us just need to give up. WE CANNOT WALK IN THE DAMN THINGS."

The book is certainly not frivolous - Moran addresses a woman's right to abortion (including an account of her own) with the same unflinching frankness as she does the folly of plastic surgery. But what she contributes to the feminist discourse is something it has often lacked - a sense of humor. Just check out this quick video where Moran finds lots of feminist battles to fight in her own home.

As you can tell, I'm a fan. AND a feminist, damn it!

PS - If you want my original take of waxing, thongs and tattoos, read my post from a few years back, "Confessions of a Prude.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Being a Sex Object isn't Sexy

Watch this compelling TEDxYouth video where Caroline Heldman explains how women and girls being treated and seeing themselves as sexual objects is damaging in many ways, including diminished sexual pleasure. Sexual objectification - which she defines as "A key process whereby girls (and women) learn to think and treat their bodies as objects of others' desires" can lead to depression, eating disorders, body shame, lower GPA, and competitiveness with other females. 

Girls and women are especially susceptible to the influence of objectification today because images in the media are rampant, and we all consume a lot more media and advertising than we used to. Objectifying ads aren't subtle - take this ad for example, which seems to say the reward for being a stylishly dressed woman means you get gang raped by handsome men, instead of plain old ugly ones. This is just sickening.

I think it's important that women take care of their health and appearance - but to please and take pride in themselves, not to become objects for male pleasure. Anyway, watch the TEDx video, above. It will make you take a new look at advertising and television. It made me realize why I've been disturbed by the opening sequence of HBO's True Detective - it's filled with objectifying images of naked women.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Beyonce urges women to own their sexuality. I agree.

Beyonce - Montreal 2013 (3) crop.jpg
Image via Wikipedia
In a recent interview, megastar Beyonce Knowles discusses the power of women owning their sexuality.
“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality,” she wrote. “There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims.”
She said women can be everything they aspire to be “and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”  Read the full story at ABC News.
I totally agree with Beyonce. For ages, we women have been taught to feel ashamed of our bodies, deny our sexual urges, and discount our desires. Living in conflict with our feminine nature makes us feel wrong and guilty and keeps us small. Luckily, we live in a country and an era where these attitudes are changing. I think the most empowered women honor and celebrate their sexuality. Women who accept themselves, love their bodies, and pursue pleasure are fired up! They have so much to offer to the rest of the world because they are comfortable with themselves and feel worthy and engaged.
That's why I write my Sex & the Suburbs column. Not only to help women enjoy sex; but to encourage women enjoy their whole lives! Knowing you deserve love and pleasure and taking the responsibility to give it to yourself is a high form of self respect and empowerment. 
So rock on Queen Bee. With a net worth of over $350 million, owning your sexuality is certainly working for you.

Friday, February 28, 2014

4 F-ing things I won't miss about February

My friends know this about me: I hate winter, and this one has been BRUTAL.  But things have got to get better in March, right? So I'm celebrating the last day of this despicable month by saying good riddance to four F-ing things I won't miss about February. (They all begin with F, get it?)

1. Frigid Temps
After record breaking cold and snow in December and January, the continuation of the Polar Vortex in February has been particularly hard to endure. The unrelenting wind chill and painfully cold temps have been ridiculous. I'm normally wimpy about the cold, but this month I'm justified. It has been the third coldest February on record

2. Frozen Sidewalks
Walking my dog Kelly has been either treacherous or impossible. The sidewalks have been covered in snow, slick with ice, or too painfully cold for her little feet to bear. After carrying her home a few times, I've reverted to throwing her toys around in the basement for exercise. The lack of fresh air is driving us both nuts.

3. Frumpy Footwear
I am so sick of wearing snow boots all the time. First of all, I love cute shoes. Secondly, I'm short! I need to wear a bit of a heel to feel like a grown-up. Clumping around in furry mukluks makes me feel like I'm one of the seven dwarfs (Grumpy, of course.)  In March, I'm breaking out the leopard pumps, no matter what.

4. February Face
This is how I've looked all month. Pained and miserable. I know, not a pretty sight. 

But tomorrow is March 1st and even though the forecast doesn't show it, I know there's a thaw in sight. So farewell February Face! Ciao cold! See ya later frozen sidewalks and frumpy Ugg boots. I'm not gonna miss you one f-ing bit.