Friday, July 25, 2008

Self-Responsibility in America

I just watched a segment on CNN that told the story of a librarian who, knowing full well that she couldn't afford it, took out two mortgages to buy a home. Not surprisingly, she hasn't paid her mortgage in a year and now her house is going into foreclosure. They tried to blame the guy who gave her the loan. They tried to blame the developer and everyone else while she stood there on camera admitting she couldn't afford the two loans in the first place and casually chuckled as the reporter interviewed her about it - as though she had nothing to be ashamed of.

A few days ago I heard an ad on the radio with a woman cheerfully exclaiming how she'd gone into debt and now has found a company that helped her clear her debt by reducing it to thirty cents on the dollar. Who had to pay for her irresponsible behavior?

There's a documentary that's been making its rounds on cable TV called '
Maxed Out' - where they blame credit card companies and everyone else, including the President, for the bad decisions of irresponsible customers. Here is their description of the film:

'Maxed Out' takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. With coverage that spans from small American towns all the way to the White House, the film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. Hilarious, shocking and incisive, 'Maxed Out' paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us.

There's nothing hilarious about it. It's just plain sad.

When are people going to start accepting responsibility for their own behavior? Credit management should be a requirement in high school - that you don't get a diploma without first passing a rigorous course in how to manage your own personal finances, checking accounts, credit cards, investments and savings. And, of course, it begins with the examples set by parents; it is imperative to teach our children to be disciplined and responsible with their money.
In this day and age when you've got the government bailing out Bear, Fannie & Freddie and everyone else on planet earth, it's time for a new trend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What Not to Wear

I've recommended this program to more people than I can recall. Mostly women. But almost everybody who wants to make an impression and change their lives for the better needs to watch this show.

'What Not to Wear' not only encourages people to dress appropriately, it teaches people how to tap in to their own personal style from within - whether it's for professional purposes or just going to the grocery store. And they don't stop at clothes. They transform the person all around - mentally, physically and eventually ... spiritually.

Look around... your local high school is filled with girls walking around in belly shirts and hip-huggers that reveal almost everything... not to mention the tattoos and piercings. 'What Not to Wear' teaches these women to dress properly... and yet stylishly and sexy without being trashy.

They take these girls who are dressed like total hookers and make them into respectable professionals, mothers, homemakers, and career women - then, transplant them back into their lives - only better and

...and these fashion experts are notably conservative in this day and age. They answer the questions that a lot of people just don't have the answers to...

How to dress properly for my body type and how to buy nice clothes

They really teach women to go back to the modesty that once was so wonderful about being a woman, instead of the trashy way most of the celebs reveal themselves and how they're EXPECTED to show so much skin... and how they influence regular women and girls to do the same.

Here are some great 'What Not to Wear' quotes:

  • After 25, hemlines are an issue.

  • You'd be a knock-out if you were polished.

  • We need to address quality and fit.

  • Why is nothing hugging your curves correctly?

  • Age appropriate and flattering.

  • Synthetic animal prints are like a polyester petting zoo exploding.

  • Tube tops no more!

  • There's no way you can go outdoors in this outfit ever again!

  • This is not the way a successful woman dresses.

  • We just want you to dress the way a successful grown-up woman dresses.

  • Go out and find colour, just keep it simple and cover up.

  • We want the people to see the outfit after they see you.

  • Girls MUST wear bras... and keep the 'girls' up where they're supposed to be.

  • Invest in more expensive pieces; everybody needs a perfect pair of black pants. This will carry you through years from now.

  • Less skin: classic staples.

  • Flashy, skimpy, tight and bright - NO!

  • Sexy in a cool, modern, feminine way.

  • You've chosen a fabric that's a silk that comes away from the body.

  • We're not seeing too much.

  • Look how great the butt looks because of the rich fabric!

  • It's about going for slightly higher quality fabric so you can wear it for a long time.

  • Below the knee... we don't get any tummy... the hips look flawless. You can do fitted, not skin-tight. The idea is to make you look in-charge, powerful.

  • They realize you're giving them a haircut and not a lap dance (to a stylist).

This show is more conservative than MOST of the fashion movement, which is refreshing today. They actually chastise their subjects when they are bad influences on their kids.

You know as well as I do how important image is... and most Hollywood celebs are portraying images that are slutty and trashy; yet Stacy & Clinton discourage stripper- and hooker-ware... and encourage sophisticated, stylish and "COVERED UP."

No more spaghetti straps!! (for most women who are in need of a good, supportive bra)

If there had been a
Sephora, Carmindy and What Not to Wear when I was in my 20s, I would have been much more successful!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Movie Night in Bryant Park

It was a lovely, balmy hot Manhattan summer night last Monday. I'd been to an event in Midtown and decided to walk back to Penn Station instead of taking a cab. I was wandering down Fifth Avenue, passed the NY Public Library, and turned on 40th Street where I came upon a gorgeous expanse surrounded by greenery and skyscrapers. There was an outdoor café and a large screen that reminded me of a drive-in theatre. It was Monday night in Bryant Park - an outdoor film fest of sorts where thousands gather to watch old movies. The massive crowd was scattered about the Great Lawn on blankets with picnic baskets and coolers awaiting the Monday night movie - "Hud" w/Paul Newman. The girls in the audience actually would scream when he appeared on the screen like it was the '50s! I sat at a quaint little white table cloth-covered table surrounded by colourful flowers at a rooftop café and had some wonderful guacamole... what a night! Simple, fun, American.