Fashion On The Cheap

I always laugh when someone says, I’m well dressed, assuming, I spend a fortune on what I wear.

HAH, is all I can say.

I have 3 words for you. J. Crew Factory.   images-3.jpeg

Alright 5, tossing in The Gap.

The Gap continues to be the best deal in town, while the Factory preens online like a call girl awaiting your call.

When bored, check in to see arrivals, as if they’ve just disembarked the QE2.

If you have a J. Crew Credit Card, easier to get than one thinks, you never pay shipping, that, let’s face it, could break a girl. How often have I ordered something that cost 20 bucks, and the shipping 25? Not often since…


But back to cheap glamour…a look so easily achieved.

Of course, and don’t get insulted, but too many women blame fashion on weight.

Oh, it’s because you’re so thin, you can wear that.

No, it’s because you’re blaming me for those 8 desserts you had. And being fleshy, as my old pal Camille would say, doesn’t mean you can’t have a little pizazz when you hit the streets.

There’s a woman I see who’s anything but skinny, who wears the loveliest clothes. Well tailored cotton shifts in pretty pastels, images-4.jpeg a sweater tied around her shoulders. Jack Rogers sandals, Unknown-1.jpeg a scarf or silver chain showin’ off her girl.

I’ve told her many times how great she looks.

The plain truth is, it doesn’t cost much to look nice, doesn’t matter what you weigh.

Invest in a few staples, like a navy blazer  images-2.jpeg and classic trench.images-3.jpeg A little black dress for evening.  images-3.jpeg The Factory always has them on sale, but I suggest getting everything a size bigger because there is a downside…ALAS…


So, you take the jacket to a tailor, that yes, will increase the price, but you’ll still walkaway with a great deal, and you should have a good seamstress anyway.

Ask any French woman who looks great, rich or poor.

Jeans, khakis…long and short. A white button-down. Unknown.jpeg A French sailor shirt,   images-1.jpeg a cardigan…navy…off white.

All available at the GAP, also a great card to have, especially during their Friends and Family Sale.

Toss in a hoodie, a pair’a plain, black Audrey flats, and one more thing…images-2.jpeg

try skipping that 8th dessert.

A friendly suggestion. 🙂



Posted in Beauty, Culture, dessert, Fashion, fitness, food, humanity, humor, inspiration, internet, media, New York City, shopping, women, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Best Story of the Week…October 22nd


CVS    2 in the afternoon

I’m buying Advil for my chronic headache…sinus, stress, Covid 19?

God forbid!

None of the pain relievers are marked.

I take a small bottle to the front of the store.

A kid of color, the size of Zeus, leans leisurely against a pillar on his phone that’s as big as he is.

What I notice are his long, elegant fingers that don’t seem to go with the rest of his portly girth. 

“Excuse me,” I politely say, “could you please tell me the price of this?”

Without looking up he says, “There’s a machine in front. You can scan it there.”  Now, I’m not a demanding sort, but neither am I handy left to my own devices, or theirs.

“Could you please show me how to use this machine,” I say, my impatience at the starting gate.

He doesn’t answer, still soldered to his phone.

Here we go again.

Should I call his supervisor, or try to stimulate his humanity that’s buried beneath all those text messages?

I move in quite close, saying in a low voice, “I think since you work here, and I’m a customer, a good customer by the way, who always takes the survey they send after each visit, I don’t think you’d want me, Gerald (reading his name tag), to say how rude you’re being to me.”

This gets his attention.

He picks his huge head up, dreadlocks bobbing like corks, moseying over to the scanner while I follow.

With those elegant fingers, he takes the bottle of Advil, places it in the center saying in the same monotone, “5.49.” 

He hands it back, still not looking at me, returning to his phone he’s left by the Halloween candy.

After paying at…do-it-yourself-check-out…it took a year for me to master, I go back over and say as if we’re longtime friends, “Thanks Gerald for helping me. I hope to see you again, real soon.”

“No problem,” he says, still glued to his phone while me, my manners and headache, that seems not quite as bad, hoofs it home, wishing we had grabbed one of those Halloween Hershey Bars well earned.  


Posted in Culture, Faith, humanity, humor, kids, money, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 50 Comments

Unrequited Love

I’m in the Park with my friend Jack, who’s harboring a broken heart, I thought he’d be over by now, but alas, he still carries a torch, for Lisette.

She’s a beauty all right, a real head turner without a care in the world who left Jack, flat, for an Englishman, without as much as a wave, never mind a Dear Jack letter.

I try telling him, he can’t take it personally since she’s French, spoiled, and used to getting her own way, pointing out she’s not all that interesting anyway, after getting passed her one-ply packaging…all smoke and mirrors, I tell him.

 “Jack,” I say, “you’re handsome and smart, well mannered not to mention fit and funny. She’s just a twit, who gets her hair done a lot.”

He’s looking at me with his big brown eyes. “What did you say? But she’s such a pretty twit?”

Men, they love the chase, don’t they.

Last I saw Lisette, she was in her Burberry raincoat about to cross Fifth with Edwardo, who she walks in the Park with most days.

You can’t miss her, with her jet black curls held back with Chanel clips. Yes, she’s high-end, whose nails painted ruby red, glisten in the sunlight.

I see what Jack finds so alluring but know, he just needs to meet someone new.

Hey, here comes Mindy, with those long legs, who looks just like a Ziegfeld Girl.

Jack, the gentleman he is, stands up, and well, the rest and best, is yet to come.

Oh yeah, did I mention Jack’s a German Shepherd, Mindy a Greyhound and that bitch, I mean Lisette, a French Poodle? 

Sorry.  🙂

Posted in animals, Beauty, creative writing, Fashion, humor, Love, men, New York City, romance, women, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Defending Jackie

I walk by 1040 Fifth, Jackie Kennedy’s longtime address (1964-1994), most mornings.

Sometimes I gaze up to the 15th floor, other times, like today, stop to pay a brief homage. A girl was standing nearby, so I assumed she too knew that was where she lived, up till the day she died.

I smile in innocent camaraderie, a smile she doesn’t return.

I leave.

Suddenly she’s beside me, looking, at what I can only describe with passing contempt.

“Do you need something?” I ask with curiosity.

“You were thinking of that awful woman, right? That wife of the Kennedy guy?”

It was then I realized our vast age difference.

“Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of our 35th President, lived there, and yes, I was indeed thinking of her. Are you an American?”

“Yes I am,” she said, defensively, “born in Louisiana.”

I knew I was courting trouble asking, “Why did you call her awful?”

“Cause she was a whore….married that ugly Greek guy, for his money. All she cared about was money. My mother told me everything.”

“Can I ask, how old you are?”

“I”ll be 19, next July.”

“I’m born in July too, and so was Mrs. Kennedy, by the way.”

The start of a smile quickly vanished though we stayed in step.

I knew I had a choice. To insult, or educate.

“Do you read at all?” This is when that smile broke through, reaching in her bag bringing out a dog-eared paperback of Jane Eyre.

“This is my favorite book. I love to read.”

She sounded like someone else we know who just happened to be approaching her building.

“My name’s Susannah, what’s yours?”


“Harper…what a beautiful name, and if you wait a second Harper, I have something for you. Okay? Talk to Nate. (the young, cute doorman). Be right back.”

I ran up the stairs, two at a time, coming back with a bio on Jackie.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis…The Making of a First Lady.

“I love to read too,” I said, “and this will give you a better idea of a woman you might even end up liking. If nothing else, you’ll learn about a very important time in our history.”

To my surprise, without argument, she took it.

“Was very nice meeting you Harper. Have a great day.”

I left before she could change her mind.

Nate told me, she started to read,   as she walked. 🙂


Posted in Beauty, Books, Culture, Fashion, grace, History, humanity, inspiration, New York City, Politics, readng, words | Tagged , , , , | 75 Comments

Best Story of the Week…October 15th

Here I am, en route to the Apple Store’s Genius Bar, annoyed I need help, finding myself walking behind an older couple.

I don’t know how old, just that their backs are well-heeled, his in a classic blue blazer over pressed tan slacks, with shiny, what look to be, Ferragamo loafers.

She in a skirt and blouse, in pale shades of green, a matching jacket across her arm…black kitten heels, legs bathed in high-end hose. I can’t see her handbag, but betting, it’s vintage Chanel.

Their gait is southern slow, taking in the last of the late afternoon sun, sweetly holding hands.

Suddenly, right when I’m about about to pass, he stops, grabbing her by the shoulders, pulling her close, kissing her.

It’s no token kiss either, no quick brush of the lips, no gratuitous smooch.

It’s From Here To Eternity, The Long Hot Summer…it’s Scarlett and Rhett, on the staircase.

It’s then I see they’re well into their 70s, possibly older, his toupee now more obvious, her face, showing its miles.

Be that as it may…

their ardor, still in play…lust, despite dog-eared, laced in tenderness, leaves me happy, flush in their light.

When he breaks the embrace, chucking her under the chin, I swear I hear Bogart say…

here’s lookin’ at you kid, as they continue their stroll, while I make my way to the Apple Store.  


Posted in Beauty, Culture, Fashion, humanity, inspiration, Love, New York City, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 56 Comments

When A Heart Truly Opens

I think of myself as a very generous soul, but have learned, it has to ring true.

Giving out of guilt neither helps the giver nor receiver.

Two examples:

There’s a man I know from AA who I like very much. He’s semi homeless, meaning he lives in a shelter, is noble, kind and sober for 22 years.

He never asks for a handout, so when I heard he was seen going through a trash can, my heart left my chest.

Since there are no LIVE meetings because of the virus, I had to search for him. Finally after three tries, found him, sitting near a bus stop by where we used to meet.

I was so happy, but knew, needed to tread softly knowing he’s proud and only wants to be treated as an equal.

After chatting a bit, I hand him a rolled up 20 dollar bill. I knew anything bigger than that could embarrass him which is why he said, “No thanks, I’m okay, but thank you.”

I found myself praying on my feet, something I do in a fix, leftover from my Catholic days I guess, except it’s a little different since it’s more urban in style.

Hail Mary is more like…Mary, are you up? I just want to know he’ll be able to eat.

I said to him, “Listen Max, I’ll call him, please, I need you to take it for me, because I worry about you. You’ve always been so kind to me from the beginning, encouraging me, smiling, handing me Kleenex when I’d cry. Will you do me the favor and just tuck it away somewhere…please?”

After a long moment he did take it, looking at me with what I can only call a Jesusesque expression before saying, “Always know, how much I appreciate you.”

I wept all the home.

But before I got there, a guy jumped from a doorway saying, “Hey, I need money, and I know you got it,” holding out his hand.

My heart said, no, this man’s sense of entitlement doesn’t inspire me to open. I wasn’t afraid, there were people everywhere, but as I walked away realized, giving from the heart is the only way to give to another, a shake down being nothing more than an emotional theft.

I heard him say the same thing to a woman behind me, not turning around to see what she did.

Instead, my heart and I just kept on going.  


Posted in alcohol, Culture, friendship, grace, Gratitude, humanity, inspiration, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 101 Comments

What I Don’t Get

Pink hair, for instance.

A girl I know dyes her hair the color of canned ham, camera ready, as if it had its make-up done. Alright, so she’s no Grace Kelly, but why make matters worse, shooting your hair in the foot?

And no, I’ve never asked her why since, it could put her up on a roof, with an Uzi.

Babies with cell phones, a topic that irks Midget even more than me. When did Babar get sacked from pre-school, replaced by an Android? It wouldn’t be so bad if the kid was at least watching Looney Tunes instead of CNN, but who asked me? Do you think it might bother mom if his first word is Trump, instead of Mama?

I’m beating this to death, I know, but those who don’t read leave me perplexed especially when they say, they’re bored.

What a f–king surprise that is. A guy I know, mewls about all the women he courts, who never want a second date.

He’s handsome, has a few bucks in his pocket and always arrives with flowers, but if you ask him what’s new, the guy looks stunned. I so get it. If it were me, I’d make skid marks before the main course.


People who preen over everything they do, writers especially. When do they have time to write when they’re always on their Facebook page talking about it?

Couples who fight like cats and dogs, staying in a relationship that no longer, reaps fruit, turmoil breeding. Haven’t they heard, life’s short? Peace and love trumps who gets the lawnmower?

Dog owners who never walk their dogs, hiring Tom, Dick and Henrietta to do it for them at 40 bucks a half hour. Yup, that’s the going rate on the old, overpriced, Upper East Side. Then they wonder why the pup wants nothing to do with them, cleaning their privates in preference to playing a little catch with…and who are you again?

But the big winner of the day…

the wrinkles on my face that appeared overnight.

When did I start looking like the map of Delaware? Have I trick mirrors, unbeknownst to me allowing me to think, I was still somewhat of a beauty? Well I was, without sounding haughty. It’s how I made my living after all. If this is karma, I do think she’s hitting below the chin.

What I really don’t get is, that person looking back at me in the mirror…




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Best Story of the Week…October 8th

I’m babysitting Max, the Rottweiler, who’s been very depressed since his father’s been away on business.

Noel called, to ask if I’d go get him at The Waggy Tail…Pet Motel.

Joan of Bark, reporting for duty, ran like Jesse Owens to the rescue.

When I got there, he was at the indoor playground where all the dogs who board, or are left for the day, mingle in a pack.

Breeds of all kinds were running, barking, playing, peeing casually, while a worker chased them with a mop.

I spot Max all by himself, moping in a corner, his big seal eyes downcast, sad…hopeless.

I knock on the window, and a Cocker Spaniel comes running over. “No, no, not you,” I holler, pointing at Max, “him.”

As if he understood, Rocker Cocker runs over to Max nuzzling him, making him finally look up.

A kid then comes, bringing Max out. 

“He won’t eat, he won’t play, he’s got no friends,” he says, handing me his leash.

“He does too. I’m his friend,” I say, like his lawyer, “and he just misses his dad.” 

I sign him out like it’s a snooty English boarding school, and head for home, but before that, I do what I’d want under the same circumstances…stop to give him a nice long hug. 

“Maxie, don’t worry,” I say, “the first thing we’re doing when we get home, is call dad.”

Well Joan did one better, we Facetimed him, and I kid you not, when he saw Noel on the screen and heard his voice, Max became a whole new dog. 

I then took a can of Taste of the Wild, Bison Stew, stashed from the last time he visited, poured it in a bowl, and watched him eat for the first time in two days. 

Humanity… it can come in many shapes, sizes and paws. 


Posted in animals, Culture, Family, friendship, grace, humanity, inspiration, nature, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 59 Comments

Sneak Peeks

It’s amazing, what one sees when you pay attention.

In the Park, a baby hawk is perched on a small hill, right at daybreak. I watch for a few moments, making sure he’s not hurt. When I see him fan his feathers as if to air his wings, I know he’s okay.

Maybe he’s not even a baby, just very short.

I look up their spiritual meaning…

conscious of all things.

After that I come upon a bunch of birds on the Met’s steps sharing a frozen pizza, picking at it diligently.

The Italian in me wants to go over and slice it, but know they’ll fly away, and who am I to disrupt their version of family dining.

This is when, on my right, see a squirrel, eating a protein bar clearly unconcerned with its sodium count.

Traveling west…

a robust man, whose German Shepherd is doing happy laps around the Great Lawn, is strolling penguin like, while I trail behind.

He has an air about him, like Orson Welles, in shorts and a images-3.jpeg  Polo Shirt.

When the dog is suddenly out of sight, I hear him make a clicking sound, the kind a man makes when he’s admiring a lady, or a sports car.

It was then, Rin Tin Tin comes bounding over the hill when I, about to pass say, “How smart is he. Does he always come when you make that sound?”

 “Most certainly,” he purrs, as he penguins on by.

This makes me smile, wondering what time tea and crumpets will be served.    images-5.jpeg

Must be the My Fair Lady in me. 🙂


Posted in animals, Cinema, creative writing, Culture, dessert, food, History, humanity, humor, inspiration, nature, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

Comfort Food

You’re expecting me to say Oreos or mashed potatoes.

Not that I don’t love them, but a day or so ago, when I wasn’t feeling my particular best, went to my trusty book shelf and took down The Killer Angels, Michael Shaara’s 1974 historical novel about the Battle of Gettysburg.

Why did I gravitate to a book on war?

The writing, so beautiful, its tears wiped away my own.

For those of you unfamiliar, the saga is seen through the eyes of those who were there, the bravest of the brave.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain…Union Brigadier General, with a poignant longing, thinking of his wife back home in Maine…

‘He dreamed of her in the night, dreamed of his wife in a scarlet robe, turning witchlike to love him. Now when he closed his eyes she was suddenly there, a hot candy presence. Away from her, you loved her more. The only need was her; she the only vacancy in the steamy morning. He remembered her letter, the misspelled words. “I lie here dreamly.” Even the misspelling is lovely.’

Why am I so moved?

It reminds me to search for what’s tender, no matter what goes on around me….

‘Almost impossible to keep the eyes open. Close them, and he thought of her, and of his two children playing at her feet, like cubs, she looking at him smiling, calmly, pouting, waiting.’


The American Civil War, some say should never have been fought, but it was, since standing up for what’s right, gifted from the Founders, is our legacy.

And the saddest part…both sides felt they were, for good reason.

I don’t see that in our country presently.

Instead I see, unadulterated hatred without just cause.

We’ve been enduring quite a lot these past months, knowing there’s more to come.

After watching the first debate between our president and his noble rival, I’m left with a heavy heart…

Of the people by the people for the people, nowhere to be seen.

Where is the unadulterated humanity to replace that hatred, speaking up to a Commander-in-Chief even his staff is fearful of, now ill with the same sickness he shrugged, as nothing.

Confederate General, James Longstreet…Robert E. Lee’s second in command, knowing his men will all be slaughtered following Lee’s orders commonly known as, Pickett’s Charge.

‘He sat with his back against a tree, put his head in his hands. There is one thing you can do. You can resign now. You can refuse to lead it. But I cannot even do that. Cannot leave the man alone, not at his best…Cannot leave because I disagree…but they will mostly all die. We will lose here….God help me.’

I hear history repeating itself, as we approach this dreaded election.

‘The light rain went on falling on the hills above Gettysburg, but it was only the overture of the great storm to come. Out of the black night, it came at last, cold and wild flooded with lightening. It rained all that night….

The next day was Saturday, the Fourth of July.’    


Posted in Books, creative writing, Faith, grace, History, humanity, inspiration, media, Politics, readng, war, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments