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Lana Turner On Life, Death, and B.F. Skinner

DAHLINGS –

Last night I was visited by my dear dead friend Lana Turner. Has there ever been such a gorgeous creature?

I should preface this by telling my readers about my activity earlier in the evening: visiting a friend whose aunt had died recently. She needed help in selling her aunt’s belongings (no clothes, but vous ne pouvez pas tout avoir).

In her aunt’s bedroom, my friend sobbed in my arms. I thought about how often I have been at scenes such as this, since my business is at least partly through referrals. One arrives at the deceased’s apartment or house, and there is always a distraught relative or two who not only need to sell their beloved’s worldly goods but are plunged in grief to boot. Not a good combination. Ideally one is brought in after the family has packed up what they wanted and there is no one there but a worker or two. However, the circumstances are rarely ideal. My heart (yes, I have one) ached for my dear friend and the pain she was in.

When I returned to my beautiful Central Park West apartment and Bucky, I picked him up, despite his snarls. And thought about how very sad it all was, and how draining. But if one does not provide this service, what then? Dumpsters filled with “old junk,” as the lumpkins call it.

As I sat, wrapped in mink and thought, Bucky struggling in my arms, Lana appeared to me, as beautiful as ever. It really is a pity she can’t appear in color, but that’s why they call them “shades.”

“Hiya, kiddo,” she greeted me. “Say, what’s got you so down in the mouth?”

“It seems rather an odd thing to say to you,” I replied, “but death. Death is so very depressing. Mine can be such a morbid profession, Lana.”

She put her hands on her perfect hips. A tiny frown appeared. “Quit it, will you? And put that poor dog down before he bites your hand again. Remember how last time you had to go to the emergency room? Anyway, yes, there’s no two ways around it, death is no song and dance. I’ve seen it from both sides, kiddo, and I know. But you know the old saying, without death there is no life.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing.” Bucky’s growls were reaching a crescendo. Rather than have my petal-soft skin pierced by sharp miniature pinscher teeth, I let Bucky slide to the floor, where he promptly began gnawing on what used to be a stuffed toy.

“Something like that. You know, cycles, to everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn, gee, philosophy gets me all mixed up.” Lana folded her arms. “It’s like that question the guy asked in the Miss Universe contest a few years ago. He asked one of the girls: If you could live forever, would you and why? She came back with, I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever. You get me?”

For once, your faithful correspondent was stuck for an answer.

“Listen, dying stinks, no two ways about it. Having someone you love die also stinks. But being dead isn’t so bad. You meet a lot of fascinating people in the afterlife. I met John Kenneth Galbraith. Didn’t understand a word he said, but he was cute!”

“You think every man is cute, Lana dear.” I could not help smiling. “And you are right, it is part of the eternal cycle. And my tiny–although integral–part in it is to keep precious objects from vanishing into garbage piles on tugboats, or being made into rag bundles.” I sat up. “You know, I feel better already. Why don’t we go into my sitting room and catch up on all of the gossip? Between the living and the dead, there is miles of territory to cover!”

“You’re telling me?” she giggled. “Wait til I tell you about spending some time with B.F. Skinner–talk about peculiar! He kept talking about putting me in a box and giving me food pelletts. What kind of crazy fetish is that?”

“Most dead intellectuals are a bit insane, my dear.”

“By the way, Bucky has an ear infection. That’s why he’s being such a little grump.”

“Why thank you, Lana! Off to the vet first thing in the AM!”

We headed for the sitting room for a refreshing cocktail; at least, for moi.

I’m afraid the rest of our chat will have to remain confidential. Thank goodness for Lana Turner. For a dead movie star, she has an uncommon amount of common sense.

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

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Elie Wiesel Has Far Too Much Attitude!

DAHLINGS –

Sunday night I attended a wonderful seance, even if it was in the Bronx. There was my dear dead friend Lana Turner, lovely as always, tonight in a white crepe gown trimmed with black (I think it was black…the dead tend to be a tad monochromatic). She brought along the FABULOUS Clark Gable! In the afterlife, he doesn’t need to wear false teeth. Oh, they don’t make them like that anymore. “Frankly, my dear, you have really big tits,” he said, gazing into my eyes. At least I believe it was my eyes. I nearly SWOONED.

(Here is a picture of my dear friends Lana and Clark in their first film together, “Honky Tonk”.)

But then, who should turn up but Elie Wiesel. The fellow was in a state of high dudgeon, because I had compared the anorexic Fashion Week models to Auschwitz survivors. “The Holocaust is nothing to make cheap jokes about, Miss!” he snapped. “My wife and I started a foundation, I’ll have you know! I have devoted my life to the truth!”

I merely stared back at his spirit languidly. “Oh dear, oh dear, Elie dahling, if you can’t make jokes about the Holocaust, what can you make jokes about? I have devoted my life to fashion. Really, Elie, I’m far too superficial for such a deep thinker–and a good-looking man–as you to worry about.”

Well, my dears, the man just melted. Intellectuals love to be told they’re sexy. Oh, yes, the Nobel Prize is nice, but they think girls really only date them for their awards. Elie gave me a big smile. “Perhaps I was a bit harsh,” he said. But then, I had the most ghastly surprise. I unthinkingly laid my hand on his lapel. And Elie was ALIVE! He was a GUEST, not a GHOST!

I let out a shriek. Lana and Clark promptly disappeared, and our hostess switched the lights on. Accusing eyes were upon me all around the room.

“I’ll let myself out,” I said quickly, and strode out the front door, grabbing my Mr. John wool cloche hat (so chic with its multicolored rhinestone pin!).

How could I know Elie Wiesel was still alive? After all, nobody knew about Noam Chomsky. I was so distraught that I stumbled out into the rain, and ended up in a cemetery!

The rest of the story? You’ll have to find out on (ugh) Ebay.

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

An Interview with Nadine Haobsh, Author of "Beauty Confidential" – Olay!

DAHLINGS –

Pardon the execrable pun in the title, but I could not resist.

Quite often, your faithful correspodent is sent begging emails by publicists needing to flog product. For the most part, they are badly written novels with plots apparently taken from “How to Be A Successful Chick-Lit Writer.”

To those, I say a firm non. However, sometimes a book will interest moi enough to actually read it (and not just the press release and back cover).

Today we are interviewing Nadine Haobsh, a former beauty editor and author of the blog “Jolie in New York.” At the tender age of twenty-five, Ms. Haobsh has written “Beauty Confidential,” which is both a product guide and a look at the workings of the beauty industry.

The book contains a wealth of helpful information from an industry insider. For instance, the explanations of hairdressing terms are simply essential. Even though I have naturally blonde flowing locks, I have oft wondered exactly what the difference between “ash” and “gold” was.

And it was my dear dead friend Lana Turner who first told her daughter, Cheryl Crane, her indispensable beauty secret: “I wash all of my makeup off every night…even when I am so drunk I have to hold on the sink.” I was delighted to see this tip passed on to the current generation. I may be the possessor of naturally creamy skin, rosy lips and thick lashes, but for those less fortunate, this book will indeed be a help.

Ms. Haobsh took a few minutes from her hectic schedule to answer (via email) a few questions about her, shall we say, nonfiction debut. (After all, what are InStyle and Ladies Home Journal if not fiction?)

Q: To start, I must ask, who is the lovely blonde actress frolicking all over your press release? Is she promoting a film?

(Ms. Haobsh declined to answer this question, so I will assume it is some actress from “Gossip Girl”—isn’t everyone on the CW about twelve?)

Q: Your book is clearly aimed at the younger generation. For instance, you refer to your readers as “girls.” But there is the occasional nod to those of us past thirty. Since you are so young, I must ask: why the emphasis on looking youthful? I speak, of course, of the section on fillers and lasers. What, exactly, is incorrect with having wrinkles? Why do you think people are so terrified of aging these days?

A: I tried to write my book for women of all ages, which is why I have a section on fillers and lasers. Lasers, in particularly, are wonderful at treating a variety of problems—they’re not just anti-aging, but excellent for treating acne, redness, pigmentation and scarring—and I believe in arming women with as much information as possible so they can make the best decisions for themselves. Regarding wrinkles, however, and our society’s fear of aging, I think we worship youth too much, and so women who are over thirty –or, hell, even twenty-five in some areas—ahem, Hollywood, ahem— feel like they’re past their prime, which is just not the case. Women get better with age! We become more confident in our skin, we become sexier (as opposed to just *pretending* to be sexy!) and we’ve achieved a certain level of wisdom that shows on faces. I love laugh lines and eye crinkles. A big honking frown line down the center of your forehead, however, is objectively not “looking your best”, and if there are tools out there for you to soften the line, why not go with it? I think as long as you have healthy self-esteem, any small enhancement — whether botox, a filler, highlights, or makeup — isn’t a bad thing. (Editorial aside: perhaps women over thirty should read this book with a grain of salt; otherwise it may increase the “big honking frown lines” down the center of their foreheads. Having them didn’t hurt Bette Davis, did it?)

Q: Thank you ever so much for mentioning the Dove Real Beauty campaign. As a luscious plus-sized woman myself, I applaud their efforts to bring even a trace of reality to the marketplace. It is my personal belief that the use of cocaine-addicted teenagers in fashion and beauty advertising is today’s worst beauty trend. Ms. Haobsh, what do you think is today’s worst beauty trend?

A: I think today’s worst-beauty trend is along the same lines as your view: the promotion of unhealthy and unrealistic images in the media, and the use of overly-thin, overly young models to sell images to women twice their age. Many of these models aren’t even old enough to vote, and yet women of America are comparing themselves to them, and then feeling bad about their beautiful bodies. Who got together and decided that no hips, no breasts, no tummy—no *femininity*—was a good thing? Our bodies are wonderful tools capable of doing amazing things, and I wish more women looked in the mirror and were happy with what they saw reflected back at them. (And, by the way, even the models and celebrities don’t look that good; it’s all airbrushed, anyway. So we’re competing against images that don’t even exist.) (Editorial aside: take a look at Ms. Haobsh’s headshot below. No comment.)

Q: I am not one to pry, but on behalf of mon cher readers, I must ask: what were the exact words your boss used when she/he fired you at Ladies Home Journal? Or had you left LHJ and were then contacted by Seventeen?

A: I wasn’t fired by Ladies Home Journal, but simply had my two weeks’ notice declined after I told them I was leaving for Seventeen. They’d already known about the article; it was the one-two punch of being contacted by the New York Post and then my resignation that angered them. Out of respect for my former boss, who is one of the most talented, kind women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, I won’t go into the specific conversation! Needless to say, I regret letting her down.

Q: A question I like to pose to my, shall we say, thinner interviewees is: how much do you eat in a typical day? Could you outline a typical day’s meals?

A: I love food! I’ll admit, however, that I’m uncomfortable with the emphasis we as women put on it; I feel like it’s coming from the wrong place — not as a celebration, but as an examination, as if there’s something inherently wrong with eating and we’re all naughty children. Regardless, I try to eat healthily: I typically have hard boiled eggs for breakfast, a tuna or chicken salad for lunch, almonds as a snack, and then either sushi (love tuna, salmon and sea urchin sashimi!) or chicken with vegetables for dinner. (Editorial aside: Hmmmm…)

A: Lest this sounds disgustingly healthy, let me just say that I’m writing this with a can of sugar-free Red Bull on the table next to me (so bad for me, I know!), probably drink three cups of coffee and a few Diet Cokes in any given day, and also put Splenda in my coffee. All of this angers my mother—an organic, crunchy granola health type—to no end, and I’m trying to be better about staying away from fake sugar. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but rather, a carb-tooth. Mashed potatoes are my kryptonite – I adore them! I’m non-dairy, however; I simply don’t like the taste and haven’t since I was a toddler.

Q: One must agree with the conclusion of your book, that beauty should be fun. Except when it hurts. But do you ever feel that you are perpetrating a false ideal? Or merely helping women look their best? What are your thoughts? If it is not rocket science, as you say, why does everything cost as much as an M-15?

A: I absolutely feel that I’m trying to help women look their best—and without breaking their banks! Readers of my blog know that I despise the false images that the media is saturated with, encourage women to find the beauty in themselves, and also regularly (more often than not, actually!) recommend drugstore beauty products.

It’s not that everything costs as much as an M-15, it’s that these overpriced products are the only ones magazines are recommending because they have to please their (expensive) advertisers! I believe that department store products are often overrated anyway; most of what you’re paying for is packaging, marketing and advertising. Olay Regenerist is one of the most effective anti-aging products on the market, and I’m besotted by Neutrogena skincare, which I use to the exclusion of the $100 creams and $75 cleansers sitting in my beauty cabinet. More expensive does not equal better, and I try to get that message across, both in my blog and in my book, by simply naming products that are fabulous, regardless of the price. Sure, it can be nice to pamper yourself, but if the $15 cream and the $115 will give you the same results, why not save $100 and treat yourself with something else?


(photo credit: George Bogart)

Ms. Haobsh’s next project is a novel called “The Beauty Expert,” which one suspects will be about a lovely young blonde who becomes a beauty editor. But perhaps not. You can find out more about Ms. Haobsh and her projects, blog and media appearances at www.nadinehaobsh.com.

In the meantime, I’m off to slather myself with some Créme de La Mer and have the maid give Bucky a good rubdown with Sheapet shea butter.

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Karma Strikes…In The Form of Ebay!

DAHLINGS –

As faithful readers of this blog-thing know, my dear dead friend Lana Turner came to me to warn me that something called “Karma” was about to strike. And strike it did!

The morning after Lana’s visitation, I breakfasted, washed, dressed in a new wisp of chiffon and went into my office without a care in the world. I fully intended to write about my lovely evening at Te Casan, a simply marvelous shoe store, for a book signing event.

There I found my new assistant cowering in front of the computer. Her face was as white as a sheet of copy paper.

“What is it now?” I demanded.

“I—I—don’t know how to tell you,” she responded, flinching. “But your Ebay account—somebody hacked it! I knew these weren’t phony emails, so I checked your account, and someone has hacked into it!”

MOVE!” I said, and pushed her out of the way so that I could sit at the computer. It was but the work of the moment to pull up my email, and see notices that said “Verification of new account with Ebay–credit card on file”. And indeed, they had originated from my (ugh) Ebay account. My heart in my throat, I called the credit card that was attached to the account.

The credit card representative looked into my record, and oui, several small charges had come through Ebay (these are small amounts debited from your card to set up new IDs)! Not only that, the hacker had gone on to max out my credit card in less than 24 hours! And my credit limit is higher than the national debt!

As I sat, gasping with shock, the representative read me the details and I discovered the worst part of it all.

The fiend had used my credit card to buy…vintage.

And not just any vintage! A cheetah coat with collar and cuffs made from otter by Christian Dior from 1967! Two Fortuny gowns! A Jean Louis original evening gown from the 1950s. Mountains of Adrian from his retail line! A dress on sale from Liza Minelli’s collection! A Paul Poiret tea gown! A Claire McCardell “popover” dress in wool! Vintage Oscar de la Renta!

Whoever it was knew my taste, and knew exactly what I had been looking at recently, and where.

(Save for the Liza Minelli dress. Donnez-moi une coupure.)

A wail of anguish broke from my throat, and I fell back in my chair, sobbing. The credit card company had not thought to contact me because I am wont to buy high end vintage for my personal collection on a regular basis. The company could not refund such an enormous loss, only a small part of it. That didn’t matter, it’s only money, but the vintage

THE VINTAGE THAT I WOULD NEVER OWN!

Suddenly, I heard Lana’s voice in my head: “…as we used to say, what goes around, comes around. And oh, boy, do you have it coming around!”

She was right. Not only was it time to cancel my credit card and change all of my passwords, it was time to start treating the help better. It went against my basic nature, but there it was.

I looked over at my assistant, who had backed up against the wall so hard it looked like she would disappear into the flowered wallpaper. Although it choked me to say it, I said:

“It’s not your fault, my dear, so put it out of your mind. It is my problem and I have to solve it by myself. Please sit down on the divan, you look like you’re going to faint.”

“You’re—you’re not going to scream at me? Throw anything at me? Push me over?” There was disbelief in her tone.

I forced a smile. “No, there won’t be any of that any more. I’ve had a warning…somewhat like Marley’s ghost, only shapelier. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? It will take me forever to straighten out this mess.”

After my assistant had left, I pondered what Lana had told me. It had indeed come to pass…it was the Jean Louis that hurt the most.

And, in all candor, my assistant was wearing a hideous ersatz 1970s chartreuse print dress from Strawberry, and I was deeply grateful that I did not have to look at it for the rest of the day.

But even worse was to come…at “Ebay In Person”.

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Lana Turner Gives Me A Warning…

DAHLINGS –

Let me tell you a story.

A few nights ago, I was lying abed, in my usual wisp of chiffon, a scented candle made by Sarah Jessica Parker burning near the bed. Bucky was in his little dog bed, making soft woofing noises, presumably chasing a one-foot-high Andre Leon Talley in his dreams. I was in that mystic state between sleep and waking.

And then I heard someone softly calling my name. Thinking my assistant had locked herself in the armoire or some such, my eyes snapped open and I said, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”

Standing before me, as beautiful as ever, was my dear dead friend Lana Turner!

She was in her spangled costume from “Dancing Co-Ed,” back in her red-haired days, and gazing at me with a disapproving smile on her lovely young face.

“Lana, dahling! How nice to see you, and without even a medium around!” I cried, sitting up. Bucky looked up, blinked, and went back to sleep. Dogs are overly pragmatic sometimes, if you ask moi.

“Oh, honey, I had to come. I’ve been watching you for a while.”

Moi? Whatever for?”

Lana hesitated, and then said, “The way you treat your help. I mean, when I was alive I was plenty temperamental, and I fired my fair share of folks. But youyou’ve got to slow down! Soon you’ll simply run out of hired help! Even prisoners on work release wouldn’t work for you.”

I drew myself up, gathering my wisp around me. “I hardly think my attitude towards the idiots I hire is your business, my dear Mademoiselle Turner. After all, things have changed since your time. People don’t know their place.”

She shrugged her shoulders, sparkling slightly. “There’s something I learned about where I’ve been, honey. It’s called karma. Or as we used to say, what goes around, comes around. And oh, boy, do you have it coming around! When I was first at Metro, and I wasn’t a star, they worked me like a dog. School, acting lessons, dancing lessons, publicity—I didn’t have a minute free. That’s what you’re doing to your staff, and they don’t get to be movie stars in return like I did.”

Merde,” I retorted.

Lana threw up her hands. “Okay, don’t listen. But you’ll see what I mean, if you know what I mean. See ya round the séance table!”

And with that she vanished. But I was later to learn exactly what she meant.

To be continued –

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

As Ever, Gracious In Defeat…

Dahlings –

And the winner of The Great Pose Off is. . . Fred. The polls do not lie.

(Although there have been some rumors that the poll was rigged by jealous vintage sellers out to sabotage my burgeoning modeling career. Don’t let anyone know you heard it from me.)

However, in truly gentlemanly fashion, Fred pronounced that we are “co-winners”!

Because, after all, The Great Pose Off was my brainchild. And because we brought so much joy with our little contest to the great unwashed out there in Ebay-land. In fact, one seller, who goes by the ID of majickal_moon* created a picture of Fred and me with the Great Pose Off Trophy:

(I admit that I do not expect this to do me any good where A Dress A Day is concerned. But one cannot have everything.)

Fred has won my admiration, which is not easy. I admire very few people, among them President Clinton and Dita Von Tease, for the wonderful way she takes care of her poor handicapped husband. And of course my dear dead friend Lana Turner, who offered to pose for me, until I had to break it to her that generally speaking, dead people do not photograph well. They go all ectomorphic or protoplasmic or whatever that word is for “gray and foggy.”

In the meantime, to business. For the discriminating buyer, I have some delightful items in my shop.

Soft Brown Faux Fur Coat, New With Tags, size 3X:

SOLD

Satin Wrap Robe, size 8X, in gold, red and burgundy:

Long Blue Stretch Velvet Dress, 3X, and Vintage Milk Glass Bead Matinee Necklace:

DRESS: SOLD
NECKLACE: In My Store

I must hie myself off to bed, after taking a hot scented bath (using the fragrance specially created for me by wee Sarah Jessica Parker). I wish you all a good night.

Ciao,
Elisa and Bucky The Wonderdog

*One suspects this ID has something to do with dancing naked at night, hmmm?

Chatting With Lana Turner – Plus Today’s Fashion Tip!

Dahlings –

Tonight I turn my attention to lighter topics. It’s time to start Christmas Shopping for all of your loved ones, and what better place than my store, Elisa’s Bounteous House of Style (link at your right)? The Vintage Blowout Sale is still going on, until November 29th. And I am also stocking my store with plenty of goodies for her, him, and the four-legged set. For example:

Patrick Cox black satin evening slippers with rhinestone buckles:

Cunning little Christmas wreath pierced earrings:

Goldtone faux ruby brooch by Monet:

Vintage stunning 50s R&K Originals turquoise wool dress, size Large:

Vintage 60s tan wool Italian cut man’s two-piece suit, 42 Long:

And so much more! Yes, it is indeed a great deal of work, but as long as my personal assistant scurries at the sound of my footsteps, it is all getting done.

Which is how it should be, n’cest pas?

This weekend I attended a seance, and who should pop in but my dear dead friend Lana Turner. Lana is such a delight. We sat in the corner and chatted about the recent revelations about the bisexuality of both Katherine Hepburn and her longtime beloved, Spencer Tracy (or “Ol’ Granite Face,” as Lana calls him). Although it is a trifle unnerving to picture Spencer in a passionate clinch with Jimmy Stewart, as Lana said, “They can say anything about you after you’re dead, and I oughta know.”

Lana is a trifle envious of today’s stars, who can be openly, even annoyingly, gay (Rosie O’Donnell leaps to mind), or bisexual (Madonna, although I doubt whether she notices her bed partners–she is far too busy staring at her ceiling mirror). Lana herself prefers gentlemen, but her daughter is a lesbian and it does not bother Lana in the least. “For one thing, women smell so much better than men,” she remarked to me. “Anyway, most women. Some of ’em smell like tuna that’s been out of the can too long, if you catch my drift.”

If she had been corporeal, I would have patted her hand and agreed. But maybe it’s better I didn’t. One would have hated to have one’s actions misconstrued.

Ciao,
Elisa and Bucky The Wonderdog

TODAY’S FASHION TIP:
“As a seller, I feel black velvet….all velvets, but particularly black…..is the most underrated textile in the vintage world. It indeed is more common, and as dressier items tended to be the ones people held onto, it’s more plentiful. But despite that…..it’s still the most elegant. Easily accessorized, instantly glamorous. ”
Vintage or Bust, the eVintage Society blog