What does Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and depression have in common?

I was going to dip my toe into the world of writing from my gut, shining a light into my tortured personal journey as I stumble through the dark–I was GOING TO DO THAT.

But instead of spiraling down into that sad place, I grabbed my keys and drove into the village, deciding what I really needed was some therapy; retail therapy. Always the joker, the self deprecator; that’s me!

After a very rainy day yesterday, today was warm and fresh and shiny.

As soon as I walked into one of my favorite consignment shops, I spied a box of scarves and hats thrown haphazardly on each other like a pile of puppies. My eyes were drawn to a familiar brown and tan monogram on a scarf. I thought to myself, “it can’t possibly be authentic, but let’s take a closer look.” I picked it up. Hmmm, it sort of felt like silk. I checked the price tag. $12.00. TWELVE DOLLARS? It can’t be a real Louis Vuitton. Or could it?

I asked the salesperson, “Has this been authenticated?” She told me the owner didn’t think it was real so it wasn’t priced as a genuine designer. YES I WILL HAVE THIS, I told myself. Just then, my bad mood cleared up. I was firing on all cylinders.

One of my hidden talents is the ability to sniff out authenticity. Too bad that talent doesn’t extend to people, but that’s another story.

When I got home, I examined it more closely. The monogram was accurate, it was beautifully sewn, and I found a hidden tag that confirmed my suspicions- 100% soie Made in France. Yup, deffo genuine LV. SCORE!!!!!!

I also tried on an amazing St. John’s knit dress that I really really wanted, but even at resale prices, it was a bit too expensive, so I reluctantly put it back.

As I was meandering through the aisles, I spied a wall display. Draped over the shoulder of a red sweater was an oversized black and white houndstooth scarf. My eagle eye spied the logo in the corner: DIOR. Hold on, girl. Acting like it’s not a big deal so that no one else would want it…I grabbed it off the hanger–the original sales tag was still attached. It was 100% cashmere Christian Dior!!! And it was $20.00. TWENTY DOLLARS! How could I say no? This beautiful shawl-like wrap needed to be rescued. By me.

Instead of continuing to dwell on the things that weigh down my heart, these little treasures helped to cheer me up–perhaps merely a superficial bandage, but sometimes that’s all it takes to shake me out of a despondent mood. At least for a little while. Until next time.

Bang Bang, that awful sound

(I’m sorry you received two posts from me. The other one was a draft that wasn’t supposed to be published–in fact, my WordPress dashboard does not show that it was published at all, so I can’t explain it…)

“Bang bang, he shot me down
Bang bang, I hit the ground
Bang bang, that awful sound
Bang bang, my baby shot me down…” [Nancy Sinatra]

Newtown happened. We wept. Nothing changed.

For some reason that makes no absolutely no sense to me, it’s OK to have a weapon that can spray dozens of bullets at once. A killing machine.

For those who scream about the second amendment and our right to keep and bear arms, get real, would you? Hey guys, it was adopted in December 15, 1791 and one thing I know for sure is that they weren’t talking about assault rifles.

From the Colombia Law School Constitution Society’s blog, http://columbiaacs.blogspot.com/2007/11/right-to-bear-ye-olde-arms.html

“Let’s look at arms – specifically, guns – as they existed at the time of the ratification.

Guns in 1791 WOULD

Guns in 1791 WOULD NOT

Courts can’t wish the Second Amendment away, but they can construe it in a manner that works in today’s society.”

This “new” gun debate is nothing new.

Whether or not to have a gun in the house for protection was the subject of the 1975 Good Times Season 3-Episode 2.

Apparently, crime had been at an all time high in the neighborhood, which caused the Evans family to install extra locks on their doors. However, James took a step that Florida and the kids weren’t ready for, he bought a gun. Later, when the gun disappeared, all hell broke loose, as James tore the apartment apart looking for it. Same old story, 1975-style.

kids-gun-playI can say with certainty that I never used my hand like a gun to shoot anyone; my mom, my dad, or my brother. Toy guns and pretend gunplay were verboten in our home. I grew up in Detroit. My dad was an attorney and my mom was a nurse before she became a SAHM. We went to the ballet and to the symphony. Books were important to us; guns not at all.

My older brother feels the need to have guns for protection. I don’t know how we grew up to think so differently about this.

We don’t have any guns in our home.

My one and only experience with guns 

A few years ago, hubs and I thought it would be a good idea for us to learn how to shoot and buy a gun “just in case”, especially since his work takes him away from home for such a long time.

We even went to a local shooting range for a practice session. It was difficult to find a gun that fit me, so they gave me a junior-sized rifle.

The employee handed us ear and eye protection and asked us to choose a paper TARGET– human or animal.

It was right around this time that I started to feel a little anxious.

Somehow I had never associated the shooing of a gun with any purpose. Maybe in my mind I thought we were going to shoot at cans or a bullseye target like in darts. Definitely not an animal. I’m a vegetarian. I don’t believe in eating animals or murdering them.

Seeing the human form brought it to another level–my anxiety ramped up another notch. I picked the one that was just a target that wouldn’t emulate the killing or wounding of a living, breathing creature, human or animal.

The next thing I knew, he loaded bullets into the chamber and gave us a speech about safety, but I wasn’t really listening.

When the door opened to the actual range, and I heard the staccato pop pop pop sounds of dozens of guns shooting at the same time, I freaked out.  I mean, I REALLY freaked out.

I tore off the ear protection and goggles, shoved my rifle in the direction of the gun range employee, and ran out the door.

I felt rather than saw everyone looking at me, but I couldn’t stop running. I had never before heard the sound of a gun.

I ran out toward our car in the parking lot, and sat on the ground, hyperventilating and shaking.

I panicked; I had an uncontrollable visceral reaction to the sound of a gun. My husband followed me out and comforted me. He said he never saw me move so fast nor appear so agitated.

I dropped my handbag when I bolted. When I walked back in, everyone was very sympathetic and said they saw reactions like that every so often — guns have that effect on some people. I tried to make a little joke to cover my embarrassment about how I must have been really frightened out of my mind because I left behind my Louis Vuitton handbag and that’s something I’d never do if I was in control of my faculties.

We’ve never tried that again, although I sometimes wonder if it’s a fear I should try to overcome. The truth is that we live in a violent world. Do I think we have a right to defend and protect ourselves? I do, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to ever pull the trigger.

Now if only I could stop a crime with my snark and sarcasm, I’d feel so safe… 

Happiness is a Warm GunJohn Lennon [Beatles]

The Princess Guide to Camping

Yawn. Stretch. Sore.
It was grueling. But so much fun.

My tugboat man suggested a quick overnight camping trip to the Anza-Borrego desert because a NW swell was supposed to hit our little beach town on Sunday, the same day as the Mavericks surf contest in Northern Calfornia.

We left on Friday so we could hike during the day, camp at night, and hike again on Saturday before heading home.

From a few of the COMMENTS I received on my previous “Desert Solitude” post, SOME of you think I am incapable of “roughing it”.  I am very offended by your lack of faith in my chameleon-like ability to adapt to all environments.

SOME OF YOU are under the WRONG assumption that a girl who thinks she’s a princess of seashells–enchanted seashells no less–spends her days tottering around the mall on six-inch heels and shops all day with her Chanel on her itty bitty arm, stopping only for a nourishing bite of sushi before heading home to bake and clean compulsively. And create seashell bouquets.

Actually, now that I’ve written it, that sounds pretty damn accurate!

MOST of the time.

But there’s another side to this petite princess.

Although I confess to adore my creature comforts, I love to hike and camp. I love outdoor adventures.

Here’s how I marry the two sides of my personality. It’s not exactly glamping–glamorous camping, but it’s my way to experience the beauty of nature.

I call it…

The Princess Guide to Camping

  • A backpack is of primary importance, not only because you want to be able to carry important items like lots and lots of toilet paper and water, but it makes a statement about who you are.

We went to REI on Thursday because I needed a new daypack. Since I’m short even for short women, a youth pack fits me better than an adult sized pack. I got an Osprey Youth Jet 18 in grey and red. It’s super comfortable. This is a Made in the USA company.backpack harrodsbag

  • I carry the essentials: a Yale/Hello Kitty water bottle, small size Chanel perfume(Chance), and Kiehls Vitamin C cream.** I pack a LOT of tp. I can’t emphasize that enough. Gurrrlz, we don’t want to run out. We. do. not. Since you’re not supposed to throw it on the ground when you’re done using it–the whole “Pack it in, pack it out” mentality–remember to take a plastic bag just for that purpose.
  • And I love my Nivea. I usually use a travel container, but couldn’t find it, so I’m showing the larger size as an example.
  • In the Louis Vuitton makeup case, I carry lipstick (also Chanel), a half dozen or so different types of lip balm, a mirror that is one side actual and one side magnified (also good to use if you get lost and need to signal the rescue helicopter), my new Cha Cha wallet, Altoids,  and a miniature flashlight to light my way to pop a squat at night.
  • The sparkly Harrods case (a gift from DIL) carries a minimum amount of makeup. I always bring an eyeliner, brow pencil, highlighter and blush all-in-one, and tweezers. How embarrassing would it be to have an errant hair or two sprout up in an unsightly location? I know, right? Well, be prepared. Better safe than sorry. You never know who you’re gonna meet. I know someone who met Elton John at the Yosemite Lodge. What a nightmare it would be if he noticed that a little plucking was needed!!
  • Also in my pack, I carry my glasses and contact lens solution, camera, and phone. Oh, and a pair of gloves. Usually two. One to keep warm and the other as protection against the ravages of dust, dirt, and rocks. Rock climbing wreaks havoc with a chicka’s manicure. Very unpleasant. Very. **Tip: coat your nails with a quality clear glaze–I like OPI–because the chips won’t show, and you’ll be somewhat protected.

That’s about it for my load.

Hubs carries everything else: lots more water, our lunch, snacks, first aid kit, and rope. (And when my pack starts to bother me and/or I get tired and all whiny and cranky, he carries mine, too.) We always have a few packets of Emergen-C, protein powder, and sardines. I know what you’re thinking. You either love canned sardines or you hate them, but they’re a great source of protein. I buy the kind in water, unless it’s for my son who needs a lot more fat in his diet ‘cos he has such an efficient metabolism.

I think hubs carries rope just ‘cos he’s a mariner, but I’m not sure. Or maybe he’s anticipating the day I get too scared of heights or I get hurt and he has to pull me down a mountain. Either way, I don’t have to carry it!

  • These are the best. I cut them in half because I’m a thrifty gal (haha) but these are thecleansingcloth BEST for all over body cleansing.
  • Use a lot of good quality sunscreen. We used a 50+. Hubs carries it ‘cos it’s too heavy and I don’t have room for stuff like that.
  • Good hiking boots are invaluable. bootspolesI’ve had these for about five years and they fit like a glove. We both use trek poles, and it’s really helped me navigate through rocky terrain and hills, plus you burn extra calories, so it’s all good.
  • I rock hiking pants with all the little pockets and velcro. This time it’s not really for anything but practicality. The pockets are great for lip balm and if they’re sturdy, you can easily slide down a part of the trail that might be too difficult to navigate standing up.

I slide A LOT.

  • We have our favorite camp dinner; burritos with refried beans mixed with a can of tuna fish (sodium free), freshly made guacamole, and low fat cheddar cheese. I cook it all up on the camp stove while hubs heats the tortillas over the fire, and it is SOOO satisfying after a long hike.  I brought the avocados, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes, and made the guac right there on our little table. I prepared a few extra burritos and wrapped them individually in aluminum foil for lunch the following day. With apples, pears,  oranges, and crudite,  it was a healthy meal on the trail.
  • Bring a lot of clothes. No, really. You never know what you might need and the weather could change unexpectedly. This time, I brought a down jacket, scarf, gloves, two hats, two pairs of hiking socks, two pairs of regular socks, a few long sleeved shirts, Ugg-style boots for around the camp, two sweatshirts, and underwear. So it was a lot, whatever. We weren’t hauling everything on our backs–we were driving in a truck, and I like to be prepared. A good sun/hiking hat is ESSENTIAL!
  • A helpful tip is to always carry nuts and raisins. We like raw almonds and cashews and dried fruit, too. On a long hike, a couple of handfuls give you the energy you need to continue without whining–and by YOU I mean ME.

We're here!

We’re here!

First stop!

First stop!

We found a remote spot of Anza to set up camp. I’m not telling where it is, ‘cos we want to keep it a secret. There aren’t too many places that aren’t filled up with RVs and dune buggies when all we’re after is a little solitude and nature. After we set up the tent, we hiked about six miles.View from our secret campsite

View from our secret campsite

Since it looks like the captain probably won’t be here for our 19th wedding anniversary in February, I thought we’d have an early commemoration of the event. betterrockheart

The night was clear and crisp. We left the tent open to see the stars but the temp dropped to the low thirties and we FROZE.

It was so awesome.

COYOTES
From the moment the sun set to the next morning when it rose, we were serenaded by coyotes-in stereo–all around us–an astounding diversity of beautiful, haunting, melodious animal communication. It was heavenly.

The high was 78 degrees, the low hovered around 35.  That’s thirty-five bone chilling degrees.

It was almost too cold to sleep even though we have an inflatable queen-sized bed in our huge tent. The tent is so big, it’s like a mini-house. We’re talking princess-style, don’t forget. And check out the sun shower-OF COURSE I have a shower! A princess needs to be fresh at all times, right? Hidden inside the shower is a….TOILET! Ha ha! I don’t always run behind a bush and pop.

tablecampstove

A tent fit for a princess!

sunshower:toilet

Of course a shower is essential!

Wine, leave-in spray

Wine, leave-in conditioner, perfume

AND, in case you’re wondering, I do help set up. Just a little.

If you’ve never done so,  put it on your wish list to spend a night or two under the stars in the desert. There is such an overwhelming amount of mystical legend and lore–you really need to check it out for yourself!

Sunrise

The sunrise was magnificent!

hawkorgoldeneaglefeather

A hawk feather we found on the slot canyon hike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t want to bore anyone with a zillion pics, but they really are spectacular–if you have the time, take a few minutes to scroll through.

Photo Gallery of first six-mile hike around the campsite.

Photo Gallery of day two six-mile hike: a slot canyon at Coachwhip Canyon.

Photo Gallery of last stop at Font Pt.

Photo Gallery of trail treasures.

By special request

Cowboys and Crossbones and a few others have requested pix of the new addition to our family: my Grand Shopper Tote Chanel.  I appreciate any opportunity to show off; I’m a proud mama. She went on her first outing today, first to Target, then Trader Joe’s, and up the street to Anthropologie, B/W Market, and Nicole Miller. At each location, I was treated with so much more respect and deference than usual, when I carried my old Louis Vuitton. Peasants! I’m the same girl who wears bleach stained sweats and old Yale shirts with so many holes they wouldn’t even be useful as rags. Please enjoy these pix and thank you for your interest!

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