holiday panic! (the sequel)

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth!

It’s been a crazy week. I had a whirlwind trip to DC. Even though I didn’t get to see the Capitol Christmas Tree (which I REALLY wanted to see), I did get to catch up with a few friends. It’s been exciting to see where all of them are going in their lives: the DEA, the State Department, teaching (secondary and in higher education), think tanks, Capitol Hill. I have really accomplished (and amazing) friends. But honestly, it was just good to see them. There’s an old proverb: “the best mirror is an old friend.” I didn’t fully understand that until I started to spend time with old friends. And it’s true. There’s nothing like sitting around with people that have known you (and loved you) through all of your weird and awkward phases. Shout outs to Heather, Allan & Jes, Steve-o, and Leah. I don’t think you guys even know how much your friendship means to me. Love you so much.

Also? I had an interview for my dream job—so keep your fingers crossed for me!

On the way home, after hearing Josh Groban for the eight hundreth time (without swerving my car into oncoming traffic), I started to think about what my favorite Christmas songs are. And since I got a great response from my 10 worst holiday songs, I thought I’d do my top 10 favorite holiday songs. You know, to get me into the Christmas spirit…and maybe get up the energy to finish (read: start) my Christmas shopping. Especially since Christmas Eve is, you know, TOMORROW. The only thing that’s (almost) done is my grandmother’s scrapbook. Procrastination: holiday style!

So in my effort to NOT go to the mall (and hang out with Mama D), I present to you my (and my mom’s) favorite Christmas songs.

10. “The Christmas Song” — Mel Torme

A classic. And who better to sing it than the guy that wrote it? Although Nat King Cole comes close, no one beats Mel. Besides, Stacey loves the Velvet Fog! (if you didn’t get the Seinfeld reference, I don’t know if we can be friends anymore).

9. “Do they know it’s Christmas” — Band Aid

Like I said before, Band Aid has the special honor of being the only song to be on both the worst and best lists. I know I mocked it before (and, come on, the song BEGS to be mocked), but I really do have a soft spot for it. Especially when they say “the greatest gift they’ll get this year is life”. Makes me feel a little guilty for putting an iPad on my list for Santa. It does put things in perspective, though. That is, if you can get past Boy George and George Michael. Or the hair. The hair is very distracting. But if Bono and David Bowie say it, it must be important. Ziggy Stardust wouldn’t lie to you. He might get glitter on you, but he wouldn’t lie to you.

8. “Christmas All Over Again” — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

I’ve already talked about how much I love Tom Petty. And this is his Christmas song. And it’s awesome.

7. “Please Come Home For Christmas” — the Eagles (is the The Eagles or just Eagles? I can never remember)

You’ve probably heard it’s more famous sister, the Bon Jovi version (duh, Cindy Crawford was in the video, making out with Jon. It was obviously going to be more popular). But I (and everyone else in Casa D, including my brother, E, who was the one to suggest the song) agrees that (even though Bon Jovi’s pretty awesome), Don Henley and the Eagles are better. Side note: I saw the Eagles a few years ago on the “Long Road Out of Eden” tour and it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. Better than Springsteen, better than Tim McGraw, better than Britney (I KNOW! but it’s true). So Don & Co nail the 7th spot.

6. “Merry Christmas Happy Holidays” — NSYNC

It wouldn’t be a Stacey Top 10 without mention of NSYNC. For me, NSYNC is so tied to my adolescence and my best friends that I couldn’t NOT have an NSYNC song on the list. The entire “Home for Christmas” album reminds me of my best friend, Chelsea. We listened to this album EVERY.SINGLE.DAY driving to and from swim team practice for like 3 straight months. It’s hard not to hear “O Holy Night” and not think of ladder sets and stoke drills instead of, you know, Jesus. Besides, Gary Coleman is in the video and Joey is wearing a pair of ski goggles NOT ironically. Like he really thought they were an excellent fashion statement. So good.

5. “All Alone On Christmas” — Darlene Love

Most people know this song as the “Home Alone 2” song (because it was written for the movie), but most people don’t know that the band is the E Street Band—that saxophone you hear? Clarence Clemons (RIP, Big Man, you’re so missed). Sweet drum solo? Max Weinberg (who does not look happy to be starring in a music video with Macaulay Culkin. I imagine Kit Culkin was skulking around the set, being all “helicopter parent/fame whore”. I wouldn’t be happy either). Patti Scialfa (Mrs. Bruce Springsteen) looks exceptionally pretty (she’s the red headed singer) and it looks like Little Steven (Van Zandt) broke out his “dressy” bandana and pirate costume for the occasion. Joking aside, the song is terrific—I’ve been listening to it on a loop for the past day. Besides, the music video not only has Clarence wearing a sweet hat and smiling (and being nice to that Culkin kid), but also some of the funniest parts of the movie (and Home Alone 2 is one of my all time favorite movies). Also, where can I find Darlene’s sweet jacket. I need one.

4.. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” — U2 (but it’s been covered to death)

I know, I know. The lovely Darlene Love sang the original. But the U2 version is my favesies. I’m not even the biggest U2 fan (sorry, but it’s true), but I AM a huge fan of Bono in general. I think he’s one of the coolest dudes on the planet—he would definitely be on my list of people that I’d like to have dinner with. Seriously, he could totally talk Vatican news with me and then belt out this song. Perfect. The song itself is wonderful, which is probably why it’s been covered so many times. Phil Spector clearly knew what he was doing. Before he began a homicidal maniac and stopped cutting his hair. Besides Mr. Bono, I’ve always been partial to the Mariah Carey and Hanson (shameful, I know) versions. Until I came across this baby.

Jon Bon Jovi, in a tux, singing this song. That’s it. I die. End of story. Yum.

3. “All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey

Ok, so the video is pretty stupid. Mariah with a rabbit decorating a tree, in a realllllyyy ugly snowsuit, hanging out with Santa (how much you wanna bet that it was Tommy Mattola in a Santa costume). But the song is SO GOOD. I would (and do) listen to it year round. I don’t care if it’s a “Christmas” song. It’s a flat out great pop song. I don’t care if you hate everything associated with Christmas, you hear this song and you want to go buy a tree and bake Christmas cookies. It’s that good. And it’s so rare for a recent(ish) song that’s not a cover or one of the “Holiday Classics” to become a Christmas staple, but this one did. Besides, that little girl sand it at the end of “Love Actually” (one of my all time favorite movies) and this song was recorded BEFORE Mariah lost her mind and started to work out in stilettos.

2. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — James Taylor

The standard has been Frank Sinatra. though I love Old Blue Eyes, I like Sweet Baby James’s version better. Mostly because he sings the song the way that it was SUPPOSED to be sung. The line “hang a shining star up on the highest bough” was originally “until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow”, which not only makes more logical sense, but also sounds better. But Frank thought it was too depressing so he made the writers change it (must be nice to wield that kind of power). Luckily for us, James Taylor isn’t strongarmed by Sinatra’s demands and sings it the right way. And it it beautiful.

1. “Little Drummer Boy” — Bing Crosby and David Bowie

In a word: perfect. I love this song so much that I can’t think of anything snarky to say about it or mock it (except for maybe David Bowie’s hair). Unfortunately Bing died not too long after this was recorded, so this was his last Christmas Special. Arguably his best. Take that back, NOT arguably. It is his best.

Bonus:

Eric Cartman — “O Holy Night”

I don’t care if it’s blasphemous. It’s also really funny.

So there you go.

I suppose I should head out to shop, otherwise the only thing my family is going to get for Christmas is a hug.

Holiday Panic! (and some crappy Christmas Carols)

Christmas is right around the corner. Seriously. It’s next week. How did that happen. I have exactly ZERO percent of my shopping done and I’m afraid of the mall. Well, not really (I do love to shop), but I hate! hate! hate! the mall during the holiday season, particularly the week before Christmas. It’s basically amateur hour—and let’s face it, if they awarded PhDs in shopping, I’d have graduated summa cum laude.

I consider myself a pretty good gift giver, mostly because when I shop for others, I’m obsessively organized. I have a list (Santa has his, Stacey has hers. Mine’s probably better because it’s usually sparkly and pink) with everyone I need to shop for, what I want to get them and where I want to get it (all organized by grouping). I try really hard not to veer too much from the list, otherwise I’d go wild (and broke). I LOVE shopping for other people and picking out the perfect present.

I haven’t even started my list this year.

I was going to do a little shopping today, but I ended up having a 2+ hour lunch at Tommy’s with one of my best girls, Sarah (aka Kres). I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks—she just finished her MBA and her last semester was a killer. We dished about everything and (of course) about Baby Kres (who will be making his/her debut into the world in May. I’m so excited and happy for her!).

During lunch, the conversation drifted towards holidays and specifically Christmas carols. I have an unhealthy love for cheesy Christmas songs (I own so many ridiculous holiday themed cds, it’s embarrassing). But, since I also have an extra snarky gene, I also hate on songs. A LOT. Kres hates a lot of the same things I do, so we make a fine team. We started talking about the 10 worst Christmas carols that we know. I’ve been floating this top ten list in my head for the past few weeks, but it was solidified today.

So, without further ado, the S-Dizzle Holiday Hates

10. Cherry Cherry Christmas — Neil Diamond

This is terrible. Period. I have an intense dislike of Neil (except in ‘Saving Silverman’—which is awesome(ly bad)) and this song makes absolutely no sense. Neil talk-sings his way through a bunch of non-sensical lyrics (a cherry cherry rock n roll holy happy Christmas? yuck) before screaming “It’s a Cherry Cherry Christmas Everyone!” at the song’s end. I don’t want to know what a Cherry Cherry Christmas is, much less have one. Grade: FAIL.

9. Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk this Christmas) — John Denver

I normally don’t mind John Denver—and his songs with the Muppets are an S-Dizzle favorite—but this song is awful. First of all, how ridiculous is it that a grown man is talking about being “almost 8 years old”. That alone makes it worthy of being in my top 10. Add in some schmalzy and terrible lyrics and Denver’s extra-twangy voice and it’s enough to make your ears bleed. Besides, I know lots of people that can only get through the holidays by drinking. Lets not make them feel bad, k? k. Also, didn’t Denver get arrested a few times for DUIs? Irony’s a bitch, I guess.

8. Christmas Conga — Cyndi Lauper

What’s worse than Cyndi Lauper singing? Cyndi Lauper singing with a Mariachi band. Add in a holiday theme and you’ve got a contender for the worst Christmas song of all time. Maybe she felt there was a hole in Mexican holiday music that Jose Feliciano can’t fill (seriously, how many versions of ‘Feliz Navidad’ can you really do??). In any case. she was either drunk or heavily medicated when she recorded this song. There’s no other explanation.

7. Merry Christmas With Love — Clay Aiken

Since I couldn’t put “Invisible” on this list (not a holiday song, damn my self-made parameters!), this is the next best thing. though not as stalkery as “invisible”, where it lacks in a future restraining order, it more than makes up for it in depressing visuals. Old lady? Check. Kids all gone? Check. Unhappy Ending? Double check. I don’t know if maybe Clay received coal (or maybe sporting goods?) too many years, but someone should let him know that people want to be cheered up when they listen to holiday music. Not take a prozac.

6. ANYTHING by Josh Groban

Just google “Josh Groban” and “Christmas” and you’ll be treated to a varied assortment of migraine-inducing holiday cheer. Or turn on your radio. Listen for five minutes. There is a 99% chance he will be on the radio. If driving, resist the urge to swerve into oncoming traffic.

5. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town — Bruce Springsteen (or Justin Bieber)

This is a special countdown addition. While I don’t hate this song all that much (yes, it gets annoying. and quick), my aforementioned bestie, Sarah (see above) hates the Boss’s version. Me? I can’t stand the Biebs’ version, in all its tech-y, synth-y glory. Not to mention the kid thinks he’s the second coming of Usher (or maybe he thinks Usher is his dad? I don’t know).

4. Do They Know It’s Christmas? — Band Aid

This song has a special place as it is on both my worst and favorite Christmas song lists. I know it’s a terrible, schmalzy song…but I can’t help but secretly (or not so secretly) love it. Boy George, George Michael AND Elton John in one song? HILARIOUS. But you have to wonder what Bono thinks when he hears this song (except for maybe “why?”). On second thought, Bono probably has people to make sure that the song is never played in his presence. Ever. I do wonder what the proceeds from the song go to now? Maybe the “Peaches Geldof Criminal Defense Fund“? Just a thought. But seriously, why? Did Geldof wake up one morning and go “You know what’s missing in the holiday carol universe? a song about Africa.” Because nothing says Merry Christmas like starving Africans.

3. Blue Christmas — Elvis

Elvis ranks up there with Neil Diamond as someone that I could go forever without listening to (with the exception of the mega classic “Suspicious Minds” which is awesome). This song is the worst of anything Elvis has ever sung (and I’m including the mega awful Viva Las Vegas years). I can’t pinpoint exactly what makes me hate this song so much. Maybe it’s his voice and his inability to get through the song without stuttering (and this coming from someone that s-s-s-stuttered for the first twelve years of her life) or maybe it’s simply the fact it is a TERRIBLE SONG in all variants (not even the lovely Martina McBride could save this awful song).

2. Mary Did You Know — Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd

I don’t actually hate the song…when it’s not sung by a man whose plastic surgery should be on everybody’s ‘worst of’ list and the less famous Judd sister. I can’t quite put my finger on WHY I hate the song so much (maybe the fact it’s been overplayed the last few years) other than Kenny’s voice is grating and repetative…and then Wynonna jumps in, sounding like she just fell off a barstool and got into a fight on the way up. Terrible.

1. The Christmas Shoes — NewSong

Come on, are you REALLY surprised? This song manages to cause strong reactions in people. And not positive ones either. This song can (and has) single-handedly ruined the holiday season for people. You know the minute you hear this song, you’re going to be sulking and complaining for the next few hours about how terrible this song really is. If you are one of the lucky few to have never heard the song before, all you need to know is that the song is about a dirty little boy that wants to buy his dying mom shoes for when she meets Jesus. Yeah, because we all know Jesus is really concerned with what everyone’s wearing to heaven. Add in a guy that sounds like he really “feels” the music, a children’s choir and more insipid lyrics that what’s found in an entire Hallmark store and you’ve an idea of what the song is. In my first circle of hell, this song would be playing on repeat for eternity. If I could physically fight a song, this would be the one. And I would kick the crap out of it.

So there you go. Honorable (or not so honorable) mentions to Karen Carpenter, WINGS, and Elton John. It was a valiant effort, guys, but you just weren’t terrible enough.

in the criminal justice system the people are represented…

I have an obsessive personality. When I like something, I don’t just like it, I LOVE it and am besotted by it until the end of time (or, at least, until I’ve found a new object of desire). Pink is my favorite color, so I own more pink swag than should be allowed (handbags! office supplies! shoes! scarves! clothing!) I even contemplated dying my dog pink (just like my hero Courtney Stodden)! Okay, that last bit is completely untrue. Maggie wouldn’t be able to sit still long enough for the dye to take root…

Point being is that I am generally not a casual fan…or anything. When I was a kid, I was OBSESSED with boy bands (NSYNC, BSB, 98*, etc.). I swore I’d be a devoted fan until the end of time. Embarrassing story: I used to sign all of my notes to my girlfriends “KTBSPA (keep the backstreet pride alive) and stay *NSYNC.” I’m sure the girls remember this (and don’t lie, you did it too!). I adore politics and watch hours upon hours of FoxNews & read the political rags religiously (I was probably the only 16 year old to list Donald Rumsfeld as the “person I’d most like to meet”). When I was growing up I didn’t just “like” the Babysitters Club: I wanted to be a member. Basically—I get addicted to things easily.

Besides politics & books, my longest running obsession has been with Law & Order. Any kind, any time. If it’s on, I’ll be watching (even if I’ve seen the episode at least six times, it doesn’t matter). It’s my favorite show of all time (I prefer the original, but any other kind will do in a pinch).

The only other person that’s as obsessed with the L&O franchise as myself is my mother, Mama D (Lee the D—my dad—also is a fan, but his tastes run more towards Mark Harmon & NCIS or Jack Bauer & 24). She, like me, prefers the original, but (also like me), will watch any and all forms of Law & Order if they are on television without complaint.

On a run to JoAnn Fabrics to buy more scrapbooking supplies (we’re hosting a scrapping party tomorrow!), we got into the discussion of our top ten favorite Law & Order characters of all time (all incantations).

Without further ado, the Disterhof-approved top 10 of Law & Order

10. Detective Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) on Law & Order

I’ve loved Jeremy Sisto since I first saw him as the Cranberries lovin’, deep-voiced having, ‘rollin’ with the homies’ Elton from Clueless. Fast forward 10 years and he ended up as Ed Green’s newest partner on my favorite show. Lupo (or “Lupes” as he affectionately started to be called) was a breath of fresh air into the Law & Order franchise. Though really intense (he was the best foil for the more light-hearted Ed Green and later Kevin Bernard) but you actually bought him as a cop. Plus, look at how cute he was (is).

9. Dr. Emil Skoda (JK Simmons) Law & Order & SVU

The only recurring character on my list. Though the franchise has had other doctors (George Huang, Liz Olivet, Melinda Warner, etc.), Skoda is (in my opinion) the best. While Olivet had been personality-less and sort of meek, Skoda came in with tons of personality and didn’t let anyone walk all over him. Besides, he was Mr. Pancakes in “The Ladykillers”. What’s not to love?

8. ADA Abbie Carmichael (Angie Harmon) on Law & Order

Ah, our first lady on the list! And the first District Attorney! Though Jill Hennessy’s Claire Kincaid might have been more popular, I always liked Harmon’s Abbie Carmichael. She was a tough talking Texas Republican, completely out of place in the much more liberal Manhattan DA’s office. She was the first outspoken Republican on the show and never shied away from making her views be known. What I loved about Abbie was that she was tough without coming across as a total bitch AND they didn’t portray her as some ideologue that could only talk in right wing talking points. They made her smart & capable and (in my opinion) a VAST improvement over the snoozefest that was Mrs. Richard Gere (Carey Lowell).

7. Detectives John Munch & Fin Tutuola (Richard Belzer & Ice T) Law & Order: SVU

These two come as a package deal. While they are good apart, they are SO much better together (like peanut butter & jelly). Quite the odd couple, Fin’s a tough (& Republican!) former gangbanger and Munch is a neurotic (& super liberal!) thrice married former Baltimore homicide detective. They play off eachother really well and sometimes act like an old married couple rather than cop partners. I love their genuine friendship…and the endless mocking that comes along with it. And sometimes they even solve crimes.

6. Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth) on Law & Order & Criminal Intent

Though some prefer him as Mr. Big, Chris Noth will forever be Mike Logan to me. That leather trench coat! The plaid ties! The flag pin! That HAIR! I loved Mike Logan as the younger (& more volatile) partner, especially to Lennie (by far my favorite cop duo of the franchise), but I LOVED seeing him get partnered with someone younger, thus forcing him to take on the more senior (and responsible) role. Some of my favorite episodes are Logan-centric: the one freshest in my mind is from the first season when he was investigating the death of a little girl due to abuse. Horrific subject matter but it was the first time the audience really got any sort of backstory about Logan (and we got to see his “I’m a tough guy-but really a softie at heart”).

5. EADA Mike Cutter (Linus Roache) on Law & Order & SVU

If I could marry Michael Cutter, I would. He was the last in the looooong line of Executive Assistant District Attorneys. But you know they do save the best for last, right? Since he was only on for a few seasons, he didn’t get nearly as much screen time as, say , Sam Waterson (but more on that later), but what he did get was pure gold. I loved the bat he kept in his office (a la Danny Kaffee from “A Few Good Men”) and his willingness to bend the rules whenever he needed to in order to win his case. Sometimes reckless, (umm, he did blackmail the Governor of New York), but always in the “pursuit of justice”. Besides, he’s so dreamy. If there was ever a fictional “Mr. Stacey”, this would be him.

4. Detective Olivia Benson (Marsika Hargitay) on Law & Order: SVU

Since I already opined previously about my love for Olivia Benson in an earlier post, I’ll simply say this: Olivia is kick ass. End.Of.Story.

3. ADA (and later DA) Jack McCoy (Sam Waterson) on Law & Order

Best.Distict.Attorney.EVER. Even though my love for Mike Cutter knows no bounds, Jack McCoy will always be my numba one stunna. Besides being on the show for a hundred years and getting tons of great stories, he was just an all-around interesting character. The son of a Chicago beat cop, McCoy became a prosecutor after a stint in the 60’s counter culture. Basically, he was a former hippie that ended up working for the man (and later, ended up BEING “the man”). Awesome. Besides giving kick ass opening and closing statements, he was always hilarious (sometimes without meaning to be) while questioning witnesses. Besides, with the exception of Abbie, all of his lady lawyer cohorts were terminally useless (Serena Southerland, I am looking directly at you) so he ended up doing the work of TWO people.

2. Detective Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) on Law & Order: Criminal Intent 

Bobby Goren personifies creepy. By far the most INTERESTING character the franchise has ever (and probably WILL ever) seen. You’re not entirely sure if he’s crazy (schizophrenia DOES run in his family) or if he is, just in fact, smarter than you. Maybe a little bit of both. In Casa D, Bobby Goren is also known as “the smartest man alive” as he has an encyclopedic knowledge of, well, everything. Ancient Chinese religious customs? Done. Neurobiology? Of course. The writings of a colonial era Revolutionary? He probably has the boxed set. Point Blank: he knows everything and makes whomever he’s questioning completely uncomfortable so they end up confessing (especially when he does that scary little head tilt thing. Yikes bikes).

1. Detective Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) on Law & Order & Trial By Jury 

Lennie Briscoe. The name is completely synonymous with the phrase “Law & Order”. In a franchise that is so heavily focused on plot and really has little room (or care) for its characters backstories, Lennie Briscoe was the first to really change that. Besides actually being believable as a cop (sorry Jesse L. Martin, you are far more believable as a singer-dancer on Broadway), he was really LIKABLE. So much so that sometimes the perps that he arrested actually wanted to be buddies with him (and, seriously, who wouldn’t want to be buddies with Lennie). Besides making a cop in a police serial not just likable but lovable and funny, he also had some excellent heavier storylines—most notably when Claire Kincaid was killed by a drunk driver as she was driving him home. He was the perfect blend of rough-around-the-edges and warm and fuzzy. The show really felt his absence for the first few seasons after his departure…and the world is STILL feeling his absence after his death. For me, there will NEVER be a character as well-loved as Lennie Briscoe.

Honorable Mention

Fred Thompson! (as Arthur Branch).

I don’t really remember much of his time on “Law & Order” other than he was a Republican District Attorney in Manhattan and he replaced the snoozefest known as the Diane Wiest years. So that in itself was enough for me to like him. But mostly because I like Fred Thompson…and not actually for his politics. I just like him because in the two times I met him (briefly!) he was nothing but really sweet to me after I made a fool out of myself in front of him.

Time #1: Summer 2001 in Washington DC

He was still in the Senate and I was there, spending time as part of a program. I was on a tour of the Capitol Building where they took us down onto the Senate floor (you know, where the Senators actually come and go). I was wearing a pair of broken shoes (sue me, I was 16) and had stopped to fix the strap that had fallen. My group got way ahead of me and as I stood up to chase after them, I physically RAN into a large man. I looked up…and had no idea who he was. But I noticed a pin on his lapel, put two and two together and realized he was a Senator. I was horribly embarrassed (seriously, I just body checked a member of Congress—I was DYING) and began a sixteen-year-old-girl psychotic babble of “I’m-so-sorrys”. He just laughed at me, said it was ok, and called me “sugar” (which was very sweet. He probably realized that I was a teenaged tourist from the midwest in WAY over her head). I stumbled back to my group, wanting to die of shame. A few hours later, we were all sitting in some committee room, waiting to hear from our speaker—the esteemed Senator from Tennessee, Fred Dalton Thompson. I was wearing a bright fuchsia top (because, duh, what ELSE are you supposed to wear to the Capitol)…and lo and behold, the Senator came out and I realized it was the very same man that  I had run into hours earlier. I was sitting near the front (so I could hear every single word out of the speakers mouth!) so there was nowhere for me to hide. I hoped he wouldn’t remember…but he saw me and (true story!) winked at me. Awesome and embarrassing in equal parts.

Time #2: late 2007 in Columbus, OH

I’ll keep this short. This was when he was running for President & he was making the rounds of campaign stops. One of the guys I worked for was a BIG Thompson guy & was one of his people in Ohio. In one of my rare days at home, I went into the office and, long story short, I got kept at the front desk because (since I was on the road so much), they didn’t know who I was. The rest of my coworkers were already upstairs in the offices, leaving me by myself. I found myself standing in the elevator bank…with Fred Thompson sans any entourage (I had no idea where they were). I had a feeling he was probably going to go upstairs to meet with the rest of his team. So, in one of my shining moments, I looked to this guy—a former US Senator, a guy running for PRESIDENT…and the ONLY thing I could think of to say to him was “Senator! I LOVED you on ‘Law and Order’!” The minute I said it, I wanted to die. Luckily, Fred Thompson is not only a really nice guy, but a total gentleman. He politely chuckled and thanked me as I wanted to go and crawl into a hole and die. I’m STILL shaking my head over that one.

So there you have it. Any comments or debates are totally welcome.

It’s a Casa D Thanksgiving!

It’s not going to be November 24th for much longer, so I wanted to take a quick pause and write a super quick post in honor of Thanksgiving.

We host T-giving every year at Casa D and it’s always my favorite holiday of the year. I’ll post pictures & recap tomorrow. But for now, I wanted to do a top 10 (at the request of my sister, Nicole)

So here it is. Stacey’s Top 10 Things I’m Thankful for (some serious, some silly. some of these are meant to be funny)

10. large fountain diet cokes on ice: If I could marry diet cokes on ice, I would. Quite possibly my favorite thing on the planet

9.  magazines. books will always be my #1, but I love the feeling of getting a brand new magazine (either in the mail or from the store—whichever!) and spending an hour or so flipping through. Plus, the Bullseye in EW is my favorite part of the week.

8. Our armed service men and women. we have the best military in the entire world and I am so thankful to the men and women that serve and that are away from their loved ones during this holiday season, so that I can be with mine. Thank you really doesn’t seem enough.

7. my dog. even though I complain about her sometimes, Maggie is really an incredibly sweet dog and I love her to bits and pieces.

6. my education. I’m so grateful that I was afforded the opportunity to get a college degree and am in the process of a graduate degree. Education is something that no matter what, no one can take away from you.

5. my iPhone. Sure, it’s completely superficial, but (besides the fact that I love my phone almost as much as I love my dog), cell phones have made it easier for me to keep in touch with my friends and family that are scattered all over the place.

4. somewhere to spend the holidays. I’ve never had to worry about where I’ll spend the holiday season because I have a whole mess of people that love me and would welcome me with open arms.

3. my health I’m healthy and happy right now. Can’t ask for much more than that.

2, my friends. I have amazing friends all over the place. They make me laugh, inspire me to do more, and challenge me to be better. I don’t say it nearly enough, but I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

1. my family. as Anthony Brandt one said “other things may change us, but we begin and end with family.”  I can’t even put into words how completely and totally blessed to have the people that make up my large, loud and (sometimes) crazy family. I have amazing parents (that I am so eternally grateful to and mean more to me than they could EVER possibly know), fantastic siblings who are not just family, but my best friends, plus grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that love me & support me, no questions asked. Ever. Sitting around my folks’ dining room table earlier this evening, I couldn’t help but feel extremely lucky to have all of these people that would literally do anything in the world for me. I hope that everyone has the chance to feel that sometime.

So that’s it. It’s getting late and there’s still stuff that needs to be put away & cleaned. I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed holiday!

fierce fabulous…and female?

I haven’t written anything super positive or happy in a few days, so I wanted to remedy that. Since I railed on Bella and co. for a few hundred words on Sunday, I figured I’d make up for that today. I’m dedicating today to my top 10 favorite awesome, bad ass, butt-kicking, all-around awesome and inspirational girls from television, books, and movies. I deliberately chose to use fictional characters as a sort of foil for Bella Swan, mostly because my last post about her was sort of catty and mean. I don’t like cutting down other women, real or fictional. I just wanted to put it out there that there are other REALLY amazing female characters (some old, some newer) that, for me, personify what women should be about: not being afraid to speak your mind (even if your voice shakes), not rely on anyone to “rescue” you, not being afraid to be smart or funny or brave or “too masculine.” I am by NO means a prototypical feminist (I own too many pairs of shoes and bottles of nail polish that would probably bar my entry), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t  admire and love my own gender. I think there are smart, beautiful and AMAZING women out there (in the real and fictional worlds) that are better role models for the next generation than a whiny teenager that sits around waiting to be saved.

This is by NO means an exhaustive list, but my personal opinions. I’m sure there are tons of other great female characters out there (leave them in the comments if you so choose!), but these are the S-Dizzle approved “fierce fabulous females”

10.  Sammy Joyce, Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore (there’s no movie or tv show, so the book cover will have to do)

I love Sammy Joyce. She’s an Ohio girl, working in DC for a US Senator. Aside from the fact that she’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican, she could be my fictional twin (sort of). Sammy’s smart, loads of fun, doesn’t take herself too seriously (especially considering she at one point gets peed on by a baby in her “only stylish item of clothing”—a suede skirt) and is really good at her job. And she TRIES to be good at her job and doesn’t let anyone try to tear her down (office bitches) or a stupid boyfriend who demeans her boss (spoiler: she lets him have it). And when said stupid boyfriend cheats on her? Instead of crying into a bowl of ice cream, she comes up with a hilarious “gotcha” plot.  If you haven’t read Sammy’s Hill yet, you really should.

9.  Stephanie Plum, One for the Money (and the rest of the Janet Evanovich series)

Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum. LITERALLY an ass-kicking chick (sometimes without meaning to be so). After accidentally falling into the family bailbonds business, Stephanie became a bounty hunter for people skipping out on their bond (called “skips”). Along with her weird crew of associates (a former ‘ho named Lula, an almost-alway high stoner named Mooner, a cross dresser rocker named Sally Sweet, her fellow kick-ass grandma Mazur, and her two ‘almost loves’—cop Joe Morelli and former army ranger, Ranger) Stephanie manages to solve mysteries in her New Jersey suburb without getting herself in too much trouble. She’s fiercely independent and has no problem being alone, doing things for herself and takes it so far as to actively tell people that she’s NOT a damsel in distress and that she can fend for herself. Add to that a predilection for blowing up cars (accidentally!), she’s an awesome girl that I would totally be friends with (but probably wouldn’t let her drive my car).

8.  Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

I just had to do it. Sorry folks. Buffy is absolutely 100% Bella Swan’s opposite. Instead of hanging out with vampires and letting them throw her birthday parties, Buffy was more concerned with stabbing them with wooden stakes. She sort of brought in a new wave of butt-kicking chicks (with really great hair!). What I like most about her (other than her witty retorts) is that, like the other girls on the list, she never waited for someone to save her. In fact, SHE did most of the saving. And she never let a guy get in the way of what she was born to do (even if the love of her life happened to be, in fact, a vampire). Also? She’s a REALLY good friend (another BIG +1 on my scale. Being a good girlfriend to your friends is key)

7.    Olivia Benson, Law & Order: SVU

Another +1 for the ass-kicking chicks. Olivia was the first female detective in the Law&Order franchise (and for sure its best). Besides being drop dead gorgeous, Olivia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty by going undercover, chasing down a perp in a sketchy alley, or stare down a creep in interrogation. She can be the tough bad-cop when she needs to be, but also has true compassion for victims (especially children) and has no problem embracing her maternal side. She’s the best example of using femininity in the right way (not overtly sexual or ‘poor me, come rescue me’). And she gets to carry a gun and a badge. I’d rather have her as my back up than Fin.

6.  Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the series by L.M. Montgomery)

I loved Anne growing up. She was plucky and fiery and had red hair that she hated (I hated my own mousy-brown hair too). Anne’s story is totally inspirational: the girl was an orphan & was accidentally sent to Green Gables. But instead of being forced to be sent back, Anne stayed with Marilla & Matthew and became a seriously awesome lady. She was really smart and instead of playing dumb to get boys to like her, she pushed herself further to be top in her class (ok, and maybe smashing a slate on Gilbert Blythe’s head too). She had a crazy awesome imagination, did things that no other girls would dare (walking along a roof because someone dared her? no problem) and (like Buffy) was a really really good friend. Her friendship with Diana Barry is the stuff that all female friendship magic is made of. She chased her dreams, didn’t settle for “good enough”…and still managed to have a job, a husband and a bunch of cute kids.

5.  Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars 

I came across some Veronica Mars DVDs back in 2006 (the show was already airing) and fell in love with Neptune and all of its crazy residents. Especially Veronica. She was a sort of modern day Nancy Drew, working as a PI (and later on getting her license and scoring a 95 on the exam!) and helping solve “mysteries” in and around Neptune. She had a huge pitbull named Backup (adorable) and more surveillance equipment than any 17 year old girl should have access too. In short: she was awesome. Add to it a sassy, spunky personality and you’ve got a character that everyone (guys and girls) fell in love with. What I love most about Veronica is that, like most of the other ladies on the list, she isn’t some damsel in distress. If she gets herself in a sticky situation, she finds a way to get out. She’s not about fitting in or doing what’s “cool”, but doing what she thinks is right.

4.  Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind  by Margaret Mitchell

What list of fierce and fabulous women would be complete without Scarlett? None. In her own twisted way, Scarlett manages to be a pretty independent lady (in between all of her marriages, of course). She’s the one who manages to save Tara and saves her husband, Frank Kennedy’s, lumber business (which she ended up running). Sure, she was horribly selfish most of the time. And she tried to be a delicate little waif that needed to be saved…but she ended up doing the saving more often than not. She was a survivor…and did most of it on her own (ok, maybe with a little help from Rhett)

3.  Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

A blonde sorority girl turned law student picks Elle Woods. Surprise surprise. But hear me out. Elle on the outside looks like just another dumb sorority girl—concerned more with the latest sale at Bendel’s and getting a ring from her boyfriend than with anything else. But, we find out, she’s actually much more than that. She’s smart (duh, she did get into HARVARD), but more than that, she’s a good person. She never commits the cardinal sin of turning on another girl, doesn’t get catty (even when other women are HORRIBLE to her) and does everything in her power to do what’s right. She makes no apologies for liking manicures or having a small dog. Instead, she made all us female law students (and ladies in general) see that you can still succeed in a typically male dominated profession (law, banking, medicine, etc.) without hiding that fact that you are, in fact, a lady (and maybe one that likes pink and manicures and shopping). So what if she’s a fictional character. She’s the best.

2.  Liz Lemon, 30 Rock 

Since I couldn’t put Tina Fey on my list (stupid self-made limitations), I had to include her fictional alter-ego, Liz Lemon. When 30 Rock premiered back in 2006, I instantly felt a comradery with its main character, head writer Liz Lemon. She’s hilarious (sometimes without meaning to be), a little awkward (ok, a lot awkward) and yells things like “nerds” and “blerg” a lot (and, my personal favorite saying of all time “I want to go to there”), but, all joking aside, she’s the head writer of a television show. Not too shabby. She bought her apartment (and the one above hers) by herself, no husband to help her. She’s a pretty kick ass lady. I could go on and on about my love for Liz, but instead, I’ll just let you decide for yourselves

1.  Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The first fictional character that I really identified with. I was probably 7 when I read Little Women for the first time and I love love loved Jo. She, unlike her sisters, didn’t care too much about dresses or parties. She was more interested in writing stories and going on adventures. My favorite favorite favorite line from any book is one that she utters. When someone tells her she should have been a lawyer, she responds with a smile and “I should have been a great many things,”. She slays me. I love her so much. Alcott created a character so completely ahead of her time. When she is proposed to by her BFF, instead of jumping and saying yes (knowing she’d be taken care of for the rest of her life), she turns him down because she knows she wouldn’t be happy and she wants something more. She set out on her own (and, in the late 1800s, this was SO not the norm). She was ambitious and creative and smart…she’s everything that, as both a young girl reading it at age 7 and a young(ish) woman reading it again at 27, I aspire to be.

So there you have it. My own person fierce fabulous (fictional) females. Any I missed?

they say it’s your birthday…

Today is my baby brother, E’s, birthday. I remember my parents bringing him home from the hospital 23 years ago and my life changing forever. It wasn’t that it was a new thing for me, having a sibling (we had already gone through the “Stacey is no longer a princess” when Nicole was born a few years earlier). Nope, my life changed because (with the exception of the dogs and an occasional hamster or fish), my family was complete. We had our very first Thanksgiving as the D-Quintet in 1988 (Lee the D made meatloaf & mashed potatoes. I probably cried and said I wanted grilled cheese. I was an awesome kid.)

Erik was born on November 18th: the same day as Oscar from the Office, that kid from iCarly, disgraced Sen. Ted Stevens, Owen Wilson, Megyn Kelly (my personal hero) and, of course, the girl who played Angie in Life with Mikey. November 18th is also a special day of remembrance of Jim Jones & the People’s Temple mass suicide at Jonestown (sorry, buddy. I know that’s kind of a bummer to think about on your day. But, hey, I don’t write the history). But, on a happier note, November 18th is also the birthday of Mickey Mouse! So at least you got that goin’ for ya (which is nice).

But all of that pales in comparison to November 18, 1988. Erik Matthew Disterhof made his starring debut in the misadventures of Stacey.

I don’t often write about my brother, not because I don’t love him to bits (I do) and not because he’s not hilarious (he is), but because he’s been insanely busy with school (he’s studying to be an architect or something else smarty-pants-like). He studies allll the time and doesn’t have time for my shenanigans right now (which is too bad. shenanigans are always a good time).

Erik is awesome. Seriously. Growing up, he was my little snotty-nosed brother, always pestering me, breaking my barbie dolls (he and his bff created a game known as “Bar-Ball” in which they used barbies as bats), and generally being the biggest pain in the ass EVER. But over the course of his lifetime, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Erik turn into one of the kindest, smartest, finest men that I know. He’s, quite simply, the best (and if you are imagining Jack Donaghy singing Tina Turner’s “simply the best” right now, I owe you a high five).

I don’t tell him enough how much I’ve grown to respect him and admire him. He’s the type of kid that will go out of his way to do something nice for someone—opening a door or helping to carry something or just calling my grandmothers up to say hi. He’s thoughtful and has a sort of quiet intensity to him. Even though school didn’t come as easily to him when he was younger, he didn’t let that defeat him and instead worked his ass off and has become a textbook-aweome college student (I should probably take notes). And he still manages to be one of the funniest people I know.

He and I have a shared love of all things comedy: books,movies, television. Even if no one else thinks its funny (see the example below of the fine fine Tom Arnold classic, Carpool  ) He’s my favorite person to go to the movies with (especially since he’s sometimes the only person who will go see weird indie documentaries with me) and definitely my partner-in-twilight-hate-crimes. Even though he drives me nuts sometimes (but don’t all siblings), he’s still one of my very best friends and I’m so lucky to have him in my life.

So, without further ado, my 10 favorite pictures (and memories) of E-Dizzle (that I have in iPhoto).

10. Christmas Eve 2009. We were at church, leaving after mass. This guy had been sitting in the pew ahead of us and my mother became obsessed with him (because, duh, he looked like Santa Claus). As we were leaving, she mentions to him that he better get moving if he wanted to make it to all those houses in a single night. He smiled, gave her his card which was (no joke) a Santa Claus card. Turns out, he was a Department store Santa. My mother had been wanting an updating D-Trio Santa picture for years…so she got her wish.

9.  SNOWpening Day, 2007. Erik, Nicole and I LOVE baseball. Like, LOVE it. And we love Cleveland Indians Opening Day. And, because we live in Cleveland, we don’t always know what the weather is going to be like. Sometimes we wear shorts. 2007, however, it was a blizzard. We, however, pressed on and braved the cold (and, for real, it was cold. we weren’t acting). E’s face cracks me up—you can tell the poor kid is frozen solid. The game ended up being cancelled because the snow was so awful that they outfielders couldn’t see the ball. This was also the year that all of the home games for the first couple weeks were played in Wisconsin because of weather. Yes, the CLEVELAND Indians had to go play in MILWAUKEE because of weather. I’ll let you ponder on the hilarity of that statement. 

8.  Erik and Ronald McDonald, 2010. At an event last summer for the Ronald McDonald House (told you my family is super involved!). Erik is such a ham. 

7. Erik and Tara, Fourth of July, 2010 E’s been dating his girlfriend, Tara, for a million years (ok, it’s really more like 5, but whatever). I love Tara (I couldn’t love her any more than if she were my blood-related sister) and I’m so glad that she and Erik found each other. So rarely do you see high school sweethearts actually work in the real adult world, but they do. Last year, we went to go watch fireworks (which I think are dumb. I am in the minority of my family), and stopped for sparklers. As you can see, E & T are like Barbie and Ken. This picture has been dubbed in Casa D “Barbie and Ken play with fireworks.” I think it should probably be on the wall of some fancy pants gallery. 

6.  Erik and yours truly on vacation, circa 1992 Just to prove that I am, in fact, a very very good sport, I put up a horrible picture of me, but a darling one of E. I was a nerdy nerdy nerdface (completely with huuuuuge glasses and a perm) but look how stinking cute Erik was? We were in Florida, visiting some family, and either my mom of grandmother took this picture. I have long hated it (because who really want to remember looking like THAT!!), but I’m all about full disclosure. And besides, this is all about Erik and that face he’s making is so funny (and so very Erik at age 4—he was such a little tough guy!) that I  had to include it. 

5.  Erik and Dad, 2009 E’s 21st birthday (in which we went to see Wicked. Not his idea, but we got GREAT seats!) but stopped and had drinks in honor of Erik being the last Disterhof (seriously, he’s the LAST Disterhof) to reach the legal drinking age. So we celebrated with beers. I come from a really tight-knit fam, but it’s a well-known fact that E and my dad are legit BFFs. It is also a proven fact that no matter what, it is IMPOSSIBLE for these two men to take a bad photo. Believe me, I’ve tried. 

4.  Erik and a twi-hard, Halloween 2010 It is no secret that Erik and I share a particularly special hatred for all things Twilight. So, E, being the wannabe comedian he is, decided to dress up as Edward Cullen last year for Halloween. He did the hair, the v-neck and the Ray Bans (and, yes, his nametag does read “Bella’s Bitch”). I have no idea who the girl in the picture is, but she’s CLEARLY a fan of Eddie Cullen (which makes the picture all the better). 

3.  Me, E, and Nic, Switzerland, 2008 Probably my all-time numero uno favorito picture of the three of us. From the all-time numero uno favorito vacation that we’ve taken. We are LITERALLY standing on a Swiss Alp (as you can see in the background). We went on a craaazzzy awesome EuroTrip (but not like the Scotty Doesn’t Know movie. We did not have Harriet the Spy with us.) where we were in London, Paris, Switzerland, Florence and then Rome (I’m tired just remembering it). I’ll post more pictures and tell more stories sometime (because it is probably the best time I’ve ever had), but this serves as a reminder of our time over there. And, we just look happy. Like GENUINELY happy to be together, it didn’t matter that we were standing in the middle of a mountain in Europe (although that was pretty cool). After the picture was taken, Nicole and I sung a few bars of “Edelweiss” (duh, we were in Switzerland where it’s basically the national flower. Or something) which Erik caught on tape (I’m sure) with his ever-present video camera. If I can somehow get him to upload some footage of our trip, I’ll link it. 

2.  Nic an E, circa 1989 If you know me (and my family) in real life, you’d know that when we were little, Nicole just LOVED our little brother. She called him “bebe” (pronounced beebee) and doted on him for the first few years of his life. They were (are) best buddies and Nicole spent the first few years of his life babying him. This is one of the sweetest pictures we have (and, uh, the only one scanned into a computer) that encompasses their relationship for the first few years of Erik’s life 🙂 Also, can we even talk about how blonde Nicole is??? How adorable is she? And what a sweet little chub HE was. I have really cute siblings. 

1.  E as Borat, Rome 2008 Borat came out sort of around the time we went to Europe and my ENTIRE (including my parents) were obsessed with it. We quoted it alllll the time (still do, even though it’s clearly not cool anymore), but E takes the prize for the best Borat impression. The three of us were wandering around in Rome (after Erik knocked over a small Asian lady pickpocket. True story, btw.) and we saw the Roman equivalent to the subway. We made Erik stand in front of it and out came the Borat impression…and thus the Erik-as-Borat-in-Rome picture was born. I laugh whenever I see this picture. This, also, encapsulates Erik in a nutshell: funny and brave (as in he didn’t care that he was blocking exiting traffic on a busy subway platform just to make his sisters laugh. He’s a champ). 

So there it is. Erik’s life in pictures (well, 10 of them, anyway).

Happy birthday, buddy!  Love you soooo much! Hope your day is awesome and fantastic and full of laughter (it will be, duh, because you’re spending it with me, Nic, T, mom & dad…oh, and I guess Maggie too) Oh, here’s a bonus picture

 (Maggie says “O-H-I-O, bitches”)

 

 

you’re so vaaaaiiiinnn…

When I was little, my favorite doll (aside from my beloved Barbies), was “Little Miss Makeup”

teaching "lil" girls of the 80s how to apply blue eyeshadow!

As you can see,  LMM came with a sweet jumpsuit that turned into an even sweeter dress/leggings combo (I’m pretty sure I tried to replicate the outfit. Multiple times) and a sassy bow for her hair. By applying cold water to her face, “makeup” magically appeared (eyeshadow, mascara, blush, lipstick, etc.). I loved this doll so much that I went through TWO of them (and I bet if I looked through old boxes of stuff in the basement, I could unearth one).

I was eight years old and completely and totally obsessed with makeup.

I loved playing around with my mother’s makeup, giving myself, my sister (and probably on occasion, my brother) and all of my friends “makeovers” that usually consisted of blue eyeshadow to the eyebrow, hot pink lipstick and more blush than Tammy Faye Bakker (Rest In Peace, Mama Makeup). Being a kid, I thought the “Mimi from Drew Carey” look was a good, nay EXCELLENT look.

beauty inspiration!

But, as I’ve grown up and my taste level has (slightly) improved, that doesn’t mean that I’m not still utterly smitten with cosmetics. Gone is the frosty blue eyeshadow, but my devotion to cosmetics hasn’t waned.

I suppose that makes me a little vain. But I would just like to point out that wanting to look your best and helping others feel great about themselves isn’t exactly the pinnacle of vanity. I like to (and help my girlfriends) look in mirror and go “daaaayyuuummmnn, I look HOT!” It gives you an extra boost of confidence and an extra bounce in your step. Feeling beautiful is something EVERY woman should experience and I believe that a little lip gloss and mascara can give you that boost. I definitely don’t advocate only being concerned with your appearance and not your mind or spirit (because then you would be Paris Hilton or Heidi Montag and then I would be forced to hate you), but I don’t think that caring about how you look (or getting excited about the new Marc Jacobs perfume) automatically revokes your membership in the “Feminist Club.”

So today, I thought I’d start something new that I’d like to call “Stacey’s Top Ten ____” (insert random category). Everything is fair game from songs and movies to legendary gaffes and people.

Today’s is (surprise!) all about my ten FAVORITE makeup items right now (in no particular order)

1.  Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation

 I am a foundation junkie—I LOVE it and I am forever changing brands and allegiances. Bare Minerals was my go-to…until I found this liquid foundation. OMG, I am in love. It’s not a full-coverage foundation, so if you’re looking for something that’s going to cover EVERYTHING, look elsewhere. But if you are looking for something that will hide minor imperfections and give you the prettiest lit-from-within, your-skin-but-better, J-Lo worthy glow, this is your product. I don’t exactly understand what they’ve put into the product (something about light-refractures), but whatever it is, it works.

2. MAC mineralize skinfinish natural

 My favorite powder, hands down. What I love MOST about it is that it can be worn alone as a light-coverage powder foundation but it’s still lightweight enough to use as a setting powder. I use it both ways, depending on what look I’m going for that day (I hate a full face of makeup when I’m just running to the post office or to Target). Because I don’t have SUPER oily/shiny skin (and I spent ridiculous amounts of money on products that promise to make me dewy-faced), I don’t like matte powders. I like them to have a little “something-something” to them (precisely why I swore by the mica-filled bare minerals for so many years!). This gives you a gorgeous glow without making you look like a glitterbomb exploded on your face. I like using a big, fluffy brush, but I think a sponge applicator would probably work well too.

3. Nars Sin/Casino duo

 Kind of a cop out, since there are two separate products, but I’m counting it as one anyway. I love love love Nars products. Their colors and pigment/quality are INSANE. Seriously. I’ve had the same blush in “orgasm” for like four years and even with a lot of use, there’s still a TON of product left. A little goes a looooong way. Nars has two blush/bronzer duos—this one and the Laguna/Orgasm. I’m a huge fan of both Orgasm and Laguna, but I’m a recent convert to this one. Sin (the blush) is a light, shimmery plummy-rose color and Casino (the bronzer) is a nice medium warm bronzey color with a hint of shimmer. Worn together you’ll be the prettiest, glowiest and most gorgeously bronzed girl on the block.

4. MAC cream color base in Hush

 I know everyone always goes bananas over MAC’s “Pearl” CCB, but I like the champagney-beigey “hush” instead. As you can see in the swatch, it’s super pigmented and SUPER shimmery. I like wearing it as a highlight on the tops of my cheekbones, under the browbone and on the inside corners of my eyes (you know, to give that “super bright-eyed” look). I like that it comes in a little pit and it applies really nicely with your fingers (I’ve never tried it with a brush…maybe I should just to try it out). I’m such a huge fan of highlighters and this is currently my #1 stunna.

5. Benefit They’re Real Mascara

I like mascara but I don’t LOOOOOVE mascara. It wouldn’t be my desert island beauty product (concealer or maybe blush is my go-to). But I really love THIS mascara. The formula is thick and not watery (I hate watery mascara) and I’m a big fan of the plastic bristle brush. I ESPECIALLY like that the bristles extend to the point of the wand to help get every.single.teeny. lash. Combined with my trusty Shu Uemura eyelash curler (what? you don’t have an eyelash curler? Go and buy one. Now), two coats of this mascara and my lashes look false. I have pretty long lashes, but they’re thin and have NO curl (hence the need for the eye lash curler), and this mascara makes them look way thicker & darker then they actually are.

6. Laura Mercier undercover concealer pot

Laura Mercier makes the BEST concealers. This combines the two (secret concealer for undereye and secret camouflage for blemishes) and her brightening powder. I’m lucky that I don’t get a ton of blemishes, but when I do, I want them covered. Now. The Secret Camouflage is a slightly heavier, drier concealer that’s perfect for those blemishes (you don’t want to use creamy concealers because of their consistency, they’ll slide riiiiight off). However, I do have horrendous dark undereye circles (thanks, law school!) and the Secret Concealer is probably the best undereye concealer I’ve ever tried. It’s a creamy consistency (perfect for undereye, but not blemishes, people!) with a hint of a brightening agent (with the MAC ccb in Hush, it’s basically “what dark circles? I’m always this wide-awake, glowy and well-rested?”). And I have no clue what she puts into the brightening powder (magic?), but applied with a (clean) fluffy eyeshadow brush, you’ll look like a million bucks.

7. NARS the Multiple in Orgasm

If you’ve ever read a beauty blog or a fashion magazine’s “Best Of” awards, you’ve likely heard of the cult classic blush, Orgasm. According to some, it can cure cancer, do your taxes and vacuum your house (but not really). As a blush, it is awesome. But as a cream blush/highlighter, it’s INSANE. Like I said before, NARS does it right and their Multiple (meaning for use on eyes, lips, cheeks/face) is probably my favorite product of theirs. Orgasm itself is a peachy pink with a little bit of gold shimmer (but not so much that you look like you should be performing the 11:00 show at Girls! Girls! Girls!). It basically gives you a pretty flush. The best part about the color is that it looks good on EVERYONE. You read that right. Everyone. From my super-fair sister to my “she wishes she was Jamaican” big (sorority sister that is). The powder blush is fine and all, but I love the consistency of the sticks and I think they blend better too. And way easier to apply on the go. I can throw this in my bag and be all set (because it can be used as a blush/highlight/lip color/eye color).

8. Stila In the Light Palette

 I know everyone in their uncle freaks out about the Urban Decay Naked palette. I like that one too, don’t get me wrong. But I like this palette just a LITTLE bit better. They are all neutral shades in browns/nudes/grays/blacks. I think it might be the shadows themselves—UD NP has a ton of shadows that have mad glitter in them (resulting in the glitter fallout/Ke$ha glitterbomb look that is definitely not work—or life—appropriate). Out of the 10 shadows, 6 of them have some shimmer (but not overwhelming shimmer) and there are four (an ivory, a beige-pink, a chocolate brown, and a black) that are matte (i.e. no shimmer at all). Stila’s eyeshadows (in my opinion) are the best, probably comparable to Dior or Chanel (the gold standard of eye shadows). They are incredibly soft and pigmented and have fabulous staying power, with or without primer (but I always say, go for the primer. Your face will thank you for it after a 16 hour day and you don’t have raccoon eyes). Plus, this has my all-time, number one FAVORITE eyeshadow: KITTEN. Seriously. There is no eyeshadow that is better. Believe me. I checked. Kitten (in case you didn’t know) is a shimmery champagne (I think I’ve said “champagne” sixty times in this post. I apologize.).

  

"i'm the best eyeshadow of all time(s)!sorry MAC shroom"

and on the eye. so pretty, i want to die.

Plus, the palette comes with a kick ass chocolate brown smudge stick liner, which is an excellent brown liner.

8. Laura Mercier Bare Lips lip sheer

The best everyday lip color that I’ve found. It’s a nude-pink sheer lip color. The shimmer in it looks natural, not frosty (eww, frosty pink lips. gross). I’m not the biggest fan of lip products—I HATE HATE HATE lipgloss (too sticky and shiny) and a lot of lipsticks are either too waxy, too drying or too sheer. While this is a sheer color, don’t think that there’s NO color. There is. It’s subtle enough that you don’t look like you tried to hard, but still enough that it doesn’t look like you don’t have ANYTHING on your lips. It falls into the “your lips but better” category. (also good: Bobbi Brown’s Brownie, MAC’s Viva Glam V, Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey).

10. Dior Addict Lipstick in Fashion Week

When I want a little more color than what Bare Lips (but not ready to rock the hot hot hot pink that is NARS Shiap), I turn to Dior’s Fashion Week. It’s billed as a sheer plum, but it definitely has hints of pink and rose in it. I love the Dior Addict formula (it’s similar to the new Chanel Coco Shine lipsticks, but, in my opinion, provides more color). The lipstick itself is hydrating and glossy but still provides enough pigment and color to keep me happy (because, again, I HATE lipgloss). If plum/pink isn’t your thing, try New Look (a bright shimmery red).

 

So that’s it. My current makeup obsessions. Check ’em out (and, FTC, I’m not being paid nor received anything gratis from any of these companies. I purchased them all with my own cash. However, if any of these companies would LIKE to pay me, I am more than willing to listen—especially you, Christian Dior).