Monday, May 31, 2010

We're still talking about Fresca

What better way to close out the holiday weekend than with a viewing of this groovy vintage Fresca commercial? Pop open a frosty can and enjoy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How About A Fresca?

Mexican Fresca (above) apparently contains sugar
An ad from 1980. I drank a whole lot of those.
Today's ugly can

We're currently in the midst of Fresca season, which, as I define it, begins April 1 and ends October 1, roughly coinciding with baseball season (although I do not watch baseball). There are those who drink this sparkling grapefruit deliciousness year round; I do not condone such immoderate behavior. Fresca is a warm weather beverage. To all things a season.

I have tried to keep my Fresca consumption to one can a day ever since I noticed that it contains Ester of Wood Rosin (hello FDA, is that even edible?). The manufacturer now calls the ingredient Glycerol Ester of Rosin; maybe that seems a little less like something you wax your car with?

No matter, this soda is seriously delicious, and when the weather goes over 85 I have been known to pound Fresca. Fresca mixed with Vodka is a pure slice of heaven, although I don't really drink the hard stuff very often anymore. It might be a little worrisome if I was sucking cocktails down while watching Gavin & Stacey in my pjs.

I should note that Fresca is a diet beverage, and though I am against diet beverages, and diets in general (they don't work, they screw up your metabolism, they cause eating disorders and they are a buzzkill), I am for Fresca. On Monday my French teacher was railing (in French) about sugar-free sweeteners. Blah, blah, blah. I realize that they are bad for you, but I have never smoked, I don't do drugs, and I don't eat red meat. All of my vices are related to beverages, and I think I am entitled to my 2 cups of coffee in the morning, my lunch time Fresca, my afternoon tea, and a moderate consumption of wine with dinner. Anyway, the company did try introducing a sugared version of Fresca (called Citra) when I was at Jane, so that was sometime in the late 90's. This was because Mexicans living in the states wanted a Fresca like the sugary kind they get back home, but it didn't sell and instead there's a sugared grapefruit soda in the Fanta line. I don't care; just give me my Fresca.

I am a diehard fan, and so I have some issues. Before I tell you about them, just know that this vintage sign is awesome. I'm not too technical, and it isn't falling really where I want it in the post, and neither are the cans, but you do the best you can. Now, the current can design: Vintage Fresca Sign by The Upstairs Room. Could it be any uglier? Fresca had a classy look when it was introduced in 1963. (I was 2 then, and to my knowledge, my mother did not give me Fresca at that age, though she thought nothing of putting milky Irish tea in my baby bottle and feeding it to me with a Parliament in her hand. That may explain a lot. Like my propensity for long parentheticals.) While I am at it, what's up with the other flavors of Fresca. Peach? Who green lighted that brilliant decision? For the love of God, stick to the grapefruit.

Anyway. I probably shouldn't be complaining because my dream is to have Fresca as the sole sponsor for Fallen Princess. Does anyone know their media planner?

Please Read

My story for TheGloss on Willie Mae Rock Camp's Ladies Weekend just went up here. Please read it, like I said in the headline.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Princess of the Day: Kim Cattrall

The 53-year-old Sex and the City 2 star refused to pose with a cougar for the cover of a magazine aimed at older women, and then the magazine took the cover away from her. "I felt it was derogatory," she said. "There is nothing predatory about a woman of a certain age. When I go out, younger men are after me."

Tell it, Kim. I've always hated that label.

Yes, my husband is 9 1/2 years younger than me.

Demented Product of the Day: Denim Diapers

La, La, La, La, La, I Can't Hear You!

That's me to all the reviewers who don't like the new Sex and the City movie. I'm going anyway! With my friend Sharon. You can't stop me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Science Times Scares the Bejesus out of Montclair Mom

The science section of the NY Times frightened me half to death this morning with this story about a 23-month-old who had choked to death on popcorn, even with her CPR trained Marine father sitting right next to her. I just started giving my children (ages 7 and 9) popcorn this year, but I might take it back now.

I am the most hypervigilant mom in the world when it comes to safety. At parties where children run wild while the adults chat around the chips and salsa, I am the only parent watching the kids. No, you cannot throw soccer balls at people's heads, and please don't all 15 of you stand in the play structure pushing. I can't help imagining a heap of little broken bodies.

Yet my children's three emergency room injuries all happened on my watch. My son broke a wrist while running down the front steps in 1st grade; the following year he tripped over a tree root in our yard and got a piece of wood lodged in his knee.

My daughter's injury was the worst of all. Our house was built in 1897, so the steam pipes are outside the walls. One early morning, when she was a toddler, very soon after I impulsively quit my job at ym (I can be an Irish hot head), I was foggily making coffee while she played behind me. In a split second I heard a scream. Her hand had gotten stuck between the pipe and the wall. I grabbed her, and ran the hand under cold water. She cried a cry I had never heard before. I saw the skin peel right off her hand. My baby now has a scar from her wrist to her thumb. And to me it is a symbol of my failed parenting.

Demented Product of the Day: The Kilt Beach Towel

Monday, May 24, 2010

The "Journey"

Yeah, I watch 10 Things I Hate About You. Got something to say about it? After a 3-hour French class on Monday nights I need some light entertainment before turning in. The dad is funny, and I really like Kat. She's smart and has a cute boyfriend.

But. I must take exception to the announcement tonight, which stated that the 10 Things "journey" would be drawing to a close. As the series has been canceled. How is everything an unironic journey now? It has to stop. And I am a really wavy gravy person, who is on a journey of some kind as well.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Preaching to the Choir

I've seen a few comments, both here and elsewhere, that the Dove ad I posted this morning "preaches to the choir." That got me pondering the concept of "preaching to the choir." Do all works with a strong point of view "preach to the choir"? Is there any hope of changing people's opinions?

How can you tell if a piece of writing, or a film, or a song, merely affirms the beliefs of those who already agree? Or if it gets people to think differently?

I love that frigging Dove ad, though. And, yes, I'm in the choir, singing as loud as I can.

Awesome Dove ad

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Before You Were Hot

Some friends from my ELLEgirl days have started a new blog, Before You Were Hot. They are seeking pictures of your awkward years, such as when you played in marching band, wore braces and were plagued by cystic acne. Now as fond as I am of Anne Ichikawa and Melissa Walker (who also publish the awesome I Heart Daily), and as much as I want to help the new ventures of friends, I will not be participating.

Here's why. Whenever I look at pictures of my young self, I think, wow, I was actually kind of cute! And I had no idea! Even if I did have some bad spiral perms, crazy outfits and garish makeup. I was way prettier at 16 (in Landlubber overalls) or 23 (with crazy asymmetrical bob) than I am now, at age 48 1/2. I mean, you get to an age where the pictures of yourself in high school--it's almost as if they are not even you. It's like, look at that cute little girl! I half-remember her. Perhaps Melissa and Anne should start a companion blog, Before You Were Old. Then I could play.

P.S. When I am 68 1/2, maybe I will peruse the pictures from now, and think, hmm, not so bad. That is the only thing that keeps me from burning some of them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Overheard on the checkout line at CVS

As I waited to pay for my razor blades and Goldfish, a 20-something guy, holding a copy of In Touch, said to his female companion: "You have so many magazines to show you how to be a woman, but there are only like 2 to show you how to be a man." He seemed irritated.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What the hell?

There was a magazine for teens called Sassy in 1978? With Brooke Shields on the cover? How could I not have known this until now? I was an actual teenager in 1978. I hate to say that out loud.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Princess of the Day: Nessa on Gavin and Stacey

If you're not familiar, Gavin and Stacey is a funny BBC America show about an adorable couple (he's British, she's Welsh) and their close-knit, super wacky friends and family. Gavin and Stacey are both sort of, whatever; they are likable and maybe too perfect to really get attached to. But the supporting characters are totally awesome and quirky. Today I would like to focus on Nessa, Stacey's best friend, who sports an excellent goth look, is matter-of-factly outspoken and has unshakable self-confidence. She is played by Ruth Jones, who seems to be in a lot of Masterpiece Theater productions as well.

I just love Nessa. The very sight of her cheers me, and every sentence she utters cracks me up. In the above scene from season three (which premieres May 14 at 9; set your DVR!), Nessa is chatting with some bouncers outside a club that she is entering for a girl's night. She has the obvious respect of these burly guys. Apparently, Nessa used to be a bouncer (!) and she offers help if any trouble comes up.

Nessa has a long, colorful history, and she is generous with tales of her exploits, sexual and otherwise. But she is not some snide hipster. She is good friends with Bryn, Stacey's dorky uncle. Basically, she treats everyone the same. Nessa is not to be crossed, but she is loyal.

Nessa is also hilariously self-centered. I'm not sure she's winning any mother of the year awards. Of her baby, she says: "He's always after something." That's how babies are. And I can relate. It's funny when she says it, though, because her fiance (who is not the baby's dad) does most of the child care.

Nessa eats with gusto and is clearly proud of her full figure, but it's not like she ever even mentions it. She just is hot, and knows it. In one scene she tries on some sexy black lingerie at a bridal show. "Oh, I'll take all of this," she declares. "But I don't need another whip!"

"You look wonderful," breathes the respectable-looking older saleswoman.

"I feels it," says Nessa, nodding.

Monday, May 10, 2010

FP's First Guest Blogger: Mayim Bialik!!! Can you believe it?

"I hope you got fat. I hope you got really fat.
'Cause if you got really really fat, fat, fat, you just might want to see me come back."
"Fat" by Violent Femmes

I can't say when I realized I had gained 35 pounds. Okay, that's sort of a lie. It was the autumn of 2004. I was married in 2003, and I was on a medication that was a known teratogen (unsafe to ingest while pregnant), so before I got pregnant, I switched to a medicine that was safe. The side effect, I was told, was significant weight gain and metabolic disturbance so that even if I tried to not eat "too much," I would probably gain weight anyway. And gain I did. My first son was born in October of 2005, and at that point, I weighed several pounds more than my husband. And he's a broad shouldered, wide-chested 6 feet tall.

I have never spoken about "the 35 pounds" publicly. Why? Because it's really nobody’s business. But why have I always sort of wanted to talk about it? Because being "fat" in show business is just about as unfriendly a thing to be as anything you can imagine. Besides the fact that the internet has made it an international pasttime to anonymously and cruelly attack people's physical appearance (saying things you would not say to your worst enemy face-to-face and trying to “top” other people’s vicious name-calling and insults in some sort of bizarre cyber-competition), the fact still remains that thin is as in as ever in Hollywood. It is still seen as the ideal, which ought to be attained at almost any cost, and ultimately, thin still rules the day. I made a feature film called "Kalamazoo" at that weight, and someone during the filming told me how "courageous" it was of me to take the job. I like to think that I am, indeed, a courageous woman for a lot of noble and significant reasons, but not because I chose to be in a film at "that weight."

Fortunately, I got off the medication after my first son was born and lost both my pregnancy and medicine-induced weight pretty quickly by simply breastfeeding on demand and taking mild walks with my baby in a sling. I did not (nor do I now) diet, have a trainer or a personal chef, and actually, I eat a LOT in general, help myself to seconds, and really enjoy eating dessert (when vegan dessert is an option). When people see me eating as enthusiastically and unashamedly as I do, they often joke that I must be bulimic. A) I'm not, nor do I have any eating disorder, and B) it's not funny to joke about bulimia. But I know why the way that I eat makes people squirm: most women a lot of us know (actors or not) have a complicated regimen of eating habits that range from covert eating disorders to overt avoiding eating and/or compulsive exercising. When we see someone eating without worrying about it, especially someone who is not obese, it makes us wonder what is going on both with that person and with our culture.

I don't blame women for being the way many of us are. It's what we are told we have to do to compete, to be loved, and to be accepted by our society. And I am not asking for sympathy because I happen to be small by genetics (being a foot shorter than my entire class every year from kindergarten through 10th grade was NOT fun). No one likes to hear the skinny girl describe how she doesn't diet or exercise, eats what she wants and still fits into sample sizes. And being a vegetarian since I was 19 and a vegan now, I know that I tend to eat a low-fat diet even though my motivation for eating this way has absolutely nothing to do with weight or fat intake.

So what I will tell you is the strange truth. Even though I am small-ish, by Hollywood standards, I am still somewhat of an oddball. I go to publicity events where size 0 is the norm, and I feel like a clumsy, giant woman when I stand next to the truly tiny ladies with very little fat or flesh on their bodies who grace the covers of your average magazine. When I see those magazines, I shrink a little bit and wonder "what if" I were to start working out twice a week, four times a week, maybe a little bit every day!? What if I started to abstain from second helpings and followed all of the advice from those magazines. You know what advice I mean: drink a lot of water to fill yourself up, take tiny bites, eat super slow...Could I then compete and wear "whatever I want?" Would my life be perfect then... if only I were really truly thin?

And then I think of the sadness and the intensity of our culture's influence and its obsession with perfection in the form of thin. And I think of the millions of young girls -- and boys -- who are growing up thinking that happiness lies in how thin they are. And I think of the generations of women who fought for us to have equal rights in the voting booths, in the factories, on the streets, and even in our homes. And I try to remember that the value of my character, my dignity, and the potential to somehow repair this fragmented world matters more than the size of my dress.

And so I try little by little to find clothing that I feel dignifies my body without the need for a girdle, to enjoy my body as it is, to love my body for birthing children and nursing them, to respect my body as it changes and grows, to and to nourish it the best way I know how. With seconds.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Irksome Blog Alert: Fat or Pregnant?

Last week TheGloss posted an item about the website Fat or Pregnant? (I'm not linking to it because F or P? doesn't deserve more traffic.) I'm sure you can guess, but the site consists of photos of unfortunate people along with speculations about their gestational status. TheGloss ladies were curious to know if people found F or P? funny.

I did not.

I know, you're shocked, shocked by my reaction.

Often, people ask me if I am pregnant. I am not. But apparently I look about 4 months pregnant. Unfortunately.

I'll give you some recent examples. A woman comes to pick up her daughter from the Girl Scout meeting. (I'm co-leader of my daughter's Daisy troop). I am wearing a voluminous horizontally striped tunic from Anthropologie. "When are you due?" she asks pleasantly? "I'm not," I say. I need to get out of there. I pack my kid in the car, race home, tear the shirt off, and put it in a giveaway bag. My mood is black. I hate myself for caring.

The dry cleaner: "You having a baby right now?" A mom collecting her son from a playdate at my house: "Congratulations!" Guess what, lady? Your son can't play here anymore. He can stay home and read Fat or Pregnant.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little diversity, please?

I hesitate to post this, because I know there's something vaguely disturbing about a person my age watching Gossip Girl. (I'm 48 1/2, if you must know; my half birthday was on March 15.)
But could they get at least one average-sized girl on that show? Bring back Hillary Duff. This was my thought last night as I watched Jenny's shoulder bones jutting frighteningly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Princess of the Day: Crystal Renn

I'm so glad Glamour had the good sense to put plus-size model/body image activist Crystal Renn on the cover. I just wish she didn't have to share it. Read my interview with Crystal at