Saturday, August 29, 2009

D'oh

Pulled a major Stephanie Green last night. Renee and I headed over to the Icon for my friend's birthday party. The Icon is one block south of where I live; 5th street is the big intersection. Once you go South of Fifth—kind of like East of Lexington on the Upper East Side—the prices go up and the streets get a lot cleaner.

Nobody really aspires to live "South of Fifth" as far as I can tell—I think it's kind of a real estate thing rather than a status thing, after all, a lot of those 'tards on Miami Social looked to be South of Fifth. Nonetheless, as Renee and I crossed 5th street and were literally one block south of my apartment building, we noticed something. Something amazing. Something, my friends, that actually made me consider crossing that great divide known as Fifth St.

May I present to you the dog-owning-germaphobe's wet dream:

Doo-doo bags accompanied by a hand-sanitizer dispenser. I. Die! This corner has my name written all over it! What. A. Discovery. We practically called Durrett on the spot to find us some SoFi units.

We then trekked up the non-hospitable Phillippe Starck staircase and into the pseudo-surrealist lobby and had the doorwoman ring Marc's apt.

I thought it a bit odd that he wanted to talk to me.

"You're not thinking the party is tonight are you?" he asked.

"Oh, fuck, are you kidding me? It's not tonight?"

"Hahaha. No, it's tomorrow night!"

"Fuck me! Seriously?"

"Seriously. Report back in 24 hours."

"Oh my God, Renee. I have never done this! You know how anally organized I am!"

Yeah. Well, we took advantage of being all dressed up with nowhere to go. And by that I mean we posed for photos:


"Well! At least I got yet another dry-run with my hair!"



Indeed I did wash and dry and style the hair for the first time last night and imagine my delight when I saw that even in my incapable hands, Oribe's 'do held up. I mean, I finally understand the beauty of a fantastic haircut. Any way I did it, it looked good. So when can we nominate Oribe as a diety? The mop still looks good this morning! I don't know how he does it, but his hands really are magical. So magical that I'm already starting to save up for my next cut with the God of Hair. Mom and Lynn are already asking about appointments too.

Now that the dress rehearsal is out of the way I can par-tay at the right time tonight. The rest of the Oribe photos are now up on Facebook.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I haven't yet washed Oribe out of my hair. I have a party tonight, so I will indeed wash and try to style it myself. That should be interesting.

I just copied this bio from his Web site, my additions are in brackets!

Oribe has been one of the most sought after hairstylists for fashion, editorial and advertising work for the last 30 years. [Understatement of the decade.] His collaborators include countless photographers, like Bill King, who introduced him to the fashion editor Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, a co-conspirator during his Steven Meisel years. There was the meticulous Irving Penn, who Oribe still refers to as Mr. Penn [for those non-fashionistas, Irving Penn is the John F. Kennedy of fashion photography]; and Helmut Newton, who shot Cindy Crawford for American Vogue with hair that Oribe teased to infinity; and others like Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Francesco Scavullo and Horst. Oribe has worked with creative directors like Fabien Baron and Keesha Keeble; make-up artists like Fran├žois Nars [he told me his still working with Francois, whose now experimenting with photography], Pat McGrath, Kevyn Aucoin and Stephane Marais; and fashion designers like Gianni Versace, a mentor who inspired Oribe’s tattoos [OMG, I didn't know that!], and Karl Lagerfeld, who took the rock and roll hairstylist under his wing [I would sell all Roxy's jewelry to be under that wing, let me tell you].

And then there were the models, the celebrities and the icons he transformed and worked with, from Beverly Johnson the pre-cursor to the supermodel, to Christy Turlington who [he styled MY hair after!] Oribe appears with in an iconic Vogue spread, to the always radiant Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell. In fact, it was Diana Ross who showed Oribe how to really secure a wig. Of course, one can’t leave out Jennifer Lopez, who called for Oribe to help define her look after imagining him doing her hair ever since she was a girl on the subway reading his name in fashion magazines. [Hold up, J. Lo—Meredith and I called him first! Okay, so we weren't on the 6 train coming from the Bronx, but we saw him first!] All told, Oribe has contributed to just about every major magazine and worked on just about every major fashion show [let's change that to read "any magazine or fashion show that matters]. In the last year alone his editorial and campaign work has been seen on the covers and pages of Vogue, Elle, Allure, W, V and Pop. [Charlize Theron on the cover of The September Issue, Michelle Williams on October Vogue cover and Penelope Cruz on next month's VF cover.] When he is not on set, Oribe is working out of his South Beach salon. Oribe’s magnificent career continues to grow - in large part because he loves what he does.

One reason I worshiped Versace and all those involved with that era: Fashion was art to them, not commerce. Versace circa 1993—gowns beaded to within a milimeter of their lives, constructed as meticulously as a Chuck Close portrait. Oribe's hair artistry was the punctuation in Versace's sentences. The only accessory needed. We didn't even need to look at the editorial credits to know Oribe's work—his styles were always iconic. Cindy, Christy, Naomi and Linda's haircuts were as recognizable as their faces.
But this was 17 years ago. Was I living in a past that perhaps Oribe had outgrown? Nah.

Okay, from the top. Wednesday: I'm armed with the Versace Signatures FIT book and an Anthousa home ambience gift set. And a million little voices in my brain screaming, "Omigod. Omigod. I die. I die. I die. Act normal. Don't scare him. Get a grip, Green!" So. I walk in. He's perched behind the reception desk, his once jet-black pompadour a sexy salt-and-pepper shade now. When you find a look that works for you, work it.

He looks at me and knows who I am—probably because I have crazy stalker eyes and insanely damaged hair.

"Hi-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!" shrieks the idiot.

"Hiiiiiii!," says the God. "I'm so sorry about yesterday!"

"Hubidahubidahubida. Noit'sfineareyoukidding? Omigod." Shut up, you retard. God.

He leads the drooling JAP back to his chair. I give him the gift set (with fawning card) and show him the book.

"Wowww. I haven't seen that in so long!" he's super soft-spoken, and seems to get a kick out of seeing the book.

I'm not sure how much he knows about me, but he says he knows some of the story. He knows about the cancer; he doesn't know that I'm a lifelong fan. But I tell him I've been following his career since I was in high school and he is genuinely flattered and appreciative. After all, there probably aren't too many hairdresser groupies.

I tell him that I'm in his hands, he can do whatever the hell he wants—with the caveat that I want it to be a little trendy and plan to grow it out. Once he touches the hair, I can see him go into The Zone. I give him the quick hairstory.

He feels his way around my noggin and proclaims that we need to do a deep-conditioning masque first, then cut, shape, style, slowly so that we can see how it's looking both wet and dry.

"It definitely needs shaping," I say, fingering the back growth.

"Yes, we need to get rid of the mullet thing."

"Yes! Thank you!"

"I love your hair though! So thick and healthy!" He genuinely loved working with my hair—for as much smack as I talk about it, I do have lovely hair, objectively speaking. Most hairdressers have always bitched about how much hair I have. Oribe relished working with it. When I ask him which kind of hair he likes to work with, he says, "I love all hair!"

I start with questions about Versace and the 90s. Ask him what that era was like. And it was magical for him too; Gianni was a doll, he says. And one of the most brilliant couturiers. I ask if he remembers the FIT exhibit and he does. He thumbs through the book a little and muses, almost as an afterthought, that he did pratically all of the girls' hair in that book. In fact, he volunteers, he still works a lot with the Versace clan and recently went to Donatella's birthday. He loves the entire family, raves about how nice they are. I've actually never heard anything bad about them. My only interaction has been with Santo's daughter Francesca, years ago, but she was a doll, wearing jeans from the Gap and comfortable chilling at my apartment in L.A. with Lee Ann and me.

Anyway, so he still does Versace campaigns. And lots of Vogue covers. (Too bad the VOGUE banner covers the hair on each issue!) But what he's doing hair for and whose hair it is seems to matter little to him; it's the hair he loves. Which is why Oribe is an artist and revolutionary. He's in love with his job. I ask him which is funner, editorial, runway, regular haircuts? He just loves it all.

So we agree on bangs and cutting off the mullet, but beyond that I'm game for whatevs. (Dad was SHOCKED I relinquished any control.) So he starts cutting. The Versace book is perched on the table with his equipment. The cover shot is this:


And this is the the interior page I'd ear-marked for him to sign.
In the back of both our minds, I planted the seed for the haircut without even thinking about it. The more the cut took shape, the more Oribe it became. His signature is all over his work. Oribe is no shrinking violet. He is the undisputed king of Big Hair. Even when big hair isn't in, if Oribe does it, it's in.

I tell him that pre-chemo I was your typical UES Jap-head—stick straight, no bangs, long layers. "So I have no idea how to style my hair now. It was always wash and go."

"I think the bigger the better! I think with your cheekbones you can go BIG or you can slick it back and be sexy or you mess it up. I just did Posh and put a piece in to make it BIG and it looks great!"

"Wait, did you do THE Posh?!"

Nooo. He did the correction;)

"I want you to come back before you have it straightened! I want to see your hair natural! And don't ever let anyone use a razor on your hair ever again, okay?"

So he cuts and I talk and drool and fawn and die. He cuts it wet, then blows it, then they flat-iron it. Then he sees how it's shaping up and cuts again, dry.

After the wet cut:





Flat-ironing it before he cuts it dry
The dry cut



After we finish, Oribe runs off with the Versace tome to find a pen to autograph it with.

He returns and shows me excitedly several photos of Christy, pointing. "This is how you should do your hair! Make it big, messy. Look at this! It's perfect!"
You can see me looking at Hemley like, "Is this seriously happening?"


God, why can't I just squeeze him into my Balenciaga and tote him home with me?


More post- shots TK from Tomas. I'm already emotionally drained from trying to capture all the dialogue, much of which is classified information that I'm not even going to touch on . . . I will post photos from tonight over the weekend.

Long live fashion, the arts, inspiration and creative mavericks. I'm so happy to report that the first 'idol' of mine I've met is indeed worthy of worship; a true artist who takes immense pleasure in his craft. Not for fame or money or glory, but because, as his bio states and as he proved to me: because he loves what he does.

We should all be so lucky. Oh, and he's happy to be the ending of my book. I cleared it with him. And I told him that I'm quoting him on my book jacket saying: "I just loooove your hair!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I DIE

Words cannot even—yesterday was so beyond. It occurred to me on the way home that I've never been in shock over a good thing. Like, I'm sure when you land that dream job, get married, have your first kid or win the lottery or something, surely these situations force you into this sort of euphoric state of pseudo-shock.

Okay, it happened. But I still can't actually believe that it did. Because another thought I had is that this was the first sort of dream-come-true moment for me in my entire life. Really? I was kind of shocked by that errant thought, but then I surmised: Yes, really.

Yesterday was my marriage proposal, job promotion, winning lotto ticket moment. An eight-carat, emerald-cut, F-color, VVS1 diamond.

For, Oribe is a gem. A lovely, humble, down-to-earth, soft-spoken, sweet, funny, wonderful, delightful and uber-talented (goes without saying) man.

I'd never met one of my 'idols.' One of those few people who entered my world at a young age and influenced my entire outlook on fashion, beauty, editorial and magazine journalism. Oribe, Gianni Versace, Anna Wintour and Dominick Dunne were on my short list since I was a teenager. I was in college when Gianni died. I was on the phone with dad yesterday, excitedly relaying my Oribe afternoon to him, when I read this news: Dominick Dunne Dies at 83.

"Holy fuck shit!"

"Jesus, what Steph?"

"Dominick Dunne died today. Oh nooooo—"

"Really, that's pretty strange. How's the weather?"

"I meet one of my idols and then another one dies? That is sooo weird."

I'm sorry, but that's weird. Dominick Dunne was a huge influence on me. Huge. In fact, It's safe to say that I aspired to be the female version of Dunne, who, for those of you unfamiliar, was the preeminate society crime chronicler, novelist and Vanity Fair columnist. Dunne had balls. Platinum balls, people. He tackled—via his numerous romans a clef including People Like Us and A Season in Purgatory—the scandalous shenanigans of the elite. People Like Us—the Bloomingdales. A Season in Purgatory—the Kennedys. Which brings us to the point that Dunne and Teddy Kennedy died on the same day. Okay, I digress.

I just uploaded all the photos Hemley took. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to summarize yesterday into one post. So I'm going to collect my thoughts and let the photos tell the story for now. You're going to have to check back tomorrow to see the end result. I'll give you a hint though: I was armed with the Versace Signatures book circa 1993. (Apparently Oribe did pretty much the entire cadre of models in the book and in all the related campaigns.) It was the golden age of Versace, Linda, Christy, Naomi, Cindy and Oribe.

I think we were both teleported back to that era yesterday, as Oribe seemed to find inspiration in the cut he gave Christy Turlington eons ago. Let's just say, the former Jewfro is in the best of company. I promise a full blow-by-blow (no pun) tomorrow. And I simply must add that Oribe loved working with my hair. Told me repeatedly how great my hair was. I lit up like a schoolgirl each time. So I will no longer complain about the hair. I swear. If it's good enough for Oribe, well, duh. Ahhh.

This month's Vogue cover, next month's Vogue and Vanity Fair covers and all covers in-between. Including, perhaps, the cover of Cancer Is the New Black? I likey the sound of that!



Shampoo & condition
Deep conditioning masque
Followed by a scalp massage from this little hottie:

And Midas touching my noggin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's actually very fitting that my session with Oribe included a run-through. There was a little confusion, so upon getting there I had to be rescheduled until tomorrow at 3 p.m. I am of course happy to go back whenever the hell he wants me.

But there I was with Hemley, putting on my makeup on in the car because it melts off your face when you venture outside in this inhuman heat. Uh, anyway. Hemley got some good "before" shots. This is the mop with me not really doing anything to it. Unfortunately, Momotaro didn't do such a great job this time, so I'm going to pop in there while in NY next month.

Primping in the car (we were several minutes early):


The snap where I realize the cut's not today.

Monday, August 24, 2009

After a night of restless sleep, night sweats, teeth-grinding and nightmares, I awoke with searing scapula pain and wired nerves: My cut with Oribe is tomorrow. Clearly, my body and mind are working together to tell me that I'm meeting one of my idols tomorrow and am more than a little anxious about it.

Arguably, even though you guys may not completely get it, this is one of the most significant milestones of my life. Even without the Cancer factor—can one of my influential media readers get in touch with the AP Stylebook editors and tell them we've decided Cancer deserves a capital C?—this would still be a defining moment.

In short, I'm a complete hot mess. Physically, preparations are fairly simple: do nails, tweeze, shave, eat light today, etc. But wardrobe? Fuck. Right now I'm thinking a simple white shirt with jeans, accessorized to the tee. Potentially, these photos could end up in a real magazine—if I get my shit together and bother to pitch, which I haven't done since J-school—but at the very least one of them will end up framed.

I can't believe I'm this nervous. I thought landing a meeting at Conde two years ago was my Mary Tyler Moore moment. But even riding the same elevator as Anna pales to this.

Moreover, I'm getting tired of having to explain to my local friends who Oribe is. What's wrong with you people? How can you grow up in Miami and not know one of the only—if not the only—fashion legends in your midst? I mean, I'm almost insulted for him. Seriously. Aside from Bruce Weber's omnipresence at Joe's and Prime 112, fashion-wise, it's all about Oribe. My God, my stomach is in knots. This is no joke. My clinically-diagnosed—by L.A. psychotherapist and MB psychiatrist—'fear of success' seems to be rearing its head at the worst possible moment.

Klonopin scrip is getting filled today. In fact, I think I'll go now so I can make all my preparations sans-scapula pain and wildly zig-zagging brain activity.

Oh God, I just went back to his Web site and started tearing up when I saw his Versace campaign from the heydey.

At the root of this, natch, is the fact that this is a pretty little ending with a bow on top to the story I've been telling for the past few years. Meaning, I now have the beginning and ending of the memoir done. Now it's all about editing the middle. Everything's written. Three-hundy pages of words waiting for me to edit.

Shit! I cannot locate my original copy of Gianni's South Beach Stories, but I've got the Versace Signature book of his FIT exhibit—where I infamously cried and embarrassed Meredith—which I will have him autograph. Jesus, I've never been this verklempt over meeting someone, ever. And I've met lots of interesting people in my life.

Ayayayay. More TK. I'm going to the gym to release some of this energy. Look for a Tasmanian Devil whirling around Collins Ave in Nike shorts. With an untamed mop of hair for the last time ever.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I have an hour to kill between Melnick and Dr. Laura, so here I am again. Writing, which, ostensibly is what I do. This has been one of those months where there is a lot of shit (good) going on in my life yet day-to-day I feel like there's nothing going on. Does anyone else ever feel like that?

Naturally, the biggest event of the month will be my cut with Oribe (Latin pronunciation Or-e-bay), which was rescheduled for Tuesday August 21. Meanwhile, it seems that many of my closest friends don't even know about The Cut, aka the first time I'll actually meet and hang out with one of my idols. I never quite know which of my friends keep up with the blog, and I'm sooo not a phone person. I rarely even answer my phone after 8 p.m. Hence my last month's voicemail message: "Hi this is Stephanie, please note that I don't check my voicemail regularly, so the best way to get in touch with me is via email or text."

Which Mom nagged me into changing, naturally, because a potential date was supposed to call me while I was in Jax. The rumored-to-be-gay one, who actually never even called. (Changed that stupid voice mail for nothing.)

Anyway, what the fuck was I talking about? Oh yeah, the dissemination of news to my friends. I suppose you guys know more about my day-to-day stuff than a lot of my friends. So what happens is I'll start talking to a friend on the phone about Oribe and they'll have no clue what I'm referring to and then I have to go into the whole back story of Oribe, Versace, etc. and educate them on that entire era of fashion, which is quite hard to do in a few minutes.

Inevitably I give them the short version; I get exhausted listening to my self.

I'm not even sure if Dana knows. Okay, so this Oribe thing is about as full-circle in my life as it gets. Thus, I think the 'ending' I've been working towards with this monstrous, 400-page-plus manuscript just landed in my lap thanks to Lori. And surprise—it is a happy ending after all. After all this bullshit of the past year-plus.

No man, no real job or sense of success in the concrete, definable, Jewish-parental-bragging-right sort of success, but a 'happy ending'—a seeming pre-req for all books nowadays—is in sight. (I'm uncomfortable even writing those two words though, for fear I may jinx myself.)

So that's cool. An ending. And even better? My blood work was "great," and after my August 31 nipple tattooing, I'm completely done with reconstruction. So, from diagnosis day—December 4th, 2007—to final stage of recon will be 21 months.

Nearly two years of my life wasted on this fucking bullshit. Does that seem like a long time? It was what it was. And now I simply have no excuse to get back to a Cancer-free life.

(BTW, I know some of you want the dirt behind Miami Social on Bravo. Tomorrow I will delight you with a hilarious back story about the Nice, Jewish Doctah who did my neighbor's hair transplant on last night's episode. Oh, yes, welcome to Miami.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oribe Friday, August 21. I die. I mean, really?!?! Talk about full circle. I'm going to be so freaking nervous.

I get the permanent veneers put on that day; the receptionist assures me my gums won't be irritated. As, Tomas is photographing—yay!—and so is Laura—yay! I'm getting the butterflies just thinking about this. Breathe. Lots of yoga this week. Like every fucking day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I think I'm suffering for yoga withdrawal, which I know makes me sound insufferable, but whatever. I've found that yoga is like the one hour where my mind goes blank and all my focus shifts to keeping my balance—a hefty feat for a completely uncoordinated, klutzy fuck like me.

I'm readjusting to civilian life still and I'm amazed to say that the temporary teeth have stayed on for a week now, though last night I accidentally bit into a Milky Way with them and felt the pesky one shift. I've taken to just walking around with my mouth agape so I don't clench my jaw and grind. God. Okay, so my date with Oribe is tentatively scheduled for a week from Friday. The day I get my veneers.

Imagine my delight when a little angel delivered this to me Monday:



I die. Now that's what I call recycling. So I did what any good product whore would do. I gave them their own special shelf above my tub so I can gaze at them lovingly and marvel at their gorgeous, glamorous packaging.
Uh, excuse the photography. For some reason I did this with my phone. Probably cause I was in such a tizzy upon receiving these. There is a reason I worship this man. And how many products do you know that have humorous instructions?

This I-can't-wait-to-try 24k Gold Pomade reads: "Sleek back you hair with super-rich gold highlights for instant lustrous glamour. Excellent for use on pleasure craft, in convertibles or anywhere a little 24-karat seduction is needed. Smooth onto wet or dry hair and style sexily. Add string bikini and dark glasses."

I'm glad I got that white, Cosabella string bikini. Not that I have any illusions about walking around the beach in a string bikini with gold hair. As if I'd actually walk in public in a string bikini. (Another pro-private-beach trait.)

You guys know I don't endorse products I don't use or don't love, with that caveat . . . These products are a-fucking-mazing. Seriously, they totally work in this weather. Yesterday I actually took the time to shower after the gym and brought with me the shampoo, conditioner, styling cream and anti-humidity spray. It is so hot here I can not even begin. Despite the Jap straightening, the hair still frizzes.

(And oh yeah, I had to look good for my three-month post-Herceptin/treatment check up with Dr. Schwartz. CBC and physical good. Ca 153 and 125 bloodwork will be back Friday. Incidentally, Schwartz said that Norton says that Vitamin D has been conclusively linked to being a great preventative tool for breast cancer. Like, really. I don't do vitamins except the folic acid for hair growth. I will get the D today along with my controlled substances at the pharmacy. I digress.)

So, back to what really matters. The hair—I used all four products, spraying the anti-humidity one on last. The hair did not frizz all-day. Despite me sitting out in the 100-degree—speaking of, why isn't there a key on my Mac for the degree symbol?—
heat with Alexis.

Maybe I will experiment with the gold pomade later. Though it may be lost on Wally and the TV. I could always wear it to yoga. Nobody would think that weird. It's South Beach. There was this real queeny gay in my class the other night wearing only Speedos. I'm not kidding. Speedos, only. Seriously.

Monday, August 10, 2009

TattJew

I finally have the date after which I will be ineligible to be buried in a Jewish cemetary: The nipple tattooing is set for August 31st. Woot fucking woot. (I blame 26-year-old Laura for putting that expression into my vernacular.)

They're still hairy, okay? I don't look at them much but I happen to be typing this topless, since I just walked to Whole Foods in the 90+ degree, stifling heat and humidity. And I just looked down to check the hirsute state of the aureolae, for you, dear readers. But we're hoping—Dr. Rosenbaum and I—that the tattoo will kill the gnarly hair follicles. (Do regular tattoos kill the hair growth in the area though? I don't think so. . . .) Anyway, I like that it's set for August 31, mentally and physically enabling me to make a completely fresh start in September.

Since getting back from three weeks on the beach, I've been less than enthused about being back here. Like maybe I need to be elsewhere for a few months. I dunno. Does Manhattan count as a sabbatical? Or do I have to go somewhere in the Third World. Kidding. For a while, medical obligations were one of the things keeping me here. But now I'm healthy, I'm single, I look like myself again, feel good and moreover, feel ready to be back in the big pond. Anyway, in abstract terms I'm kind of pondering a few months in the city—so if anyone would be into an apartment swap or something nifty like that, holler. Or even a sublet or whatever.

It would be during 'high season' here too. Maybe October, November and December. My furs are collecting dust and that's just not kosher at all.

So tomorrow is my three-month checkup with Schwartz. It's been more than three months since I finished Herceptin/had bloodwork. Seems the checkup protocol is perhaps six months, but I don't see why I should wait. I also have my consult with Mesko, the non-plastic surgeon. Kind of don't know why I'm going to see him, but whatever.

More photos of the beach and my first weekend back in Miami. And I can't believe that for the first time in my life I am actually missing Jacksonville. You didn't hear it from me.

This was one of my favorite houses on A1A in Ponte Vedra.

From the balcony

All three dogs decided to roll around in a big pile of shit so mom and I improvised—I ran into the shower, grabbed my Sephora shower gel and we scrubbed the shit out of them with the outdoor hoses.

Typical 3 p.m. thunderstorm rolling in:


Mom and dad on their last night at the beach house, still holding hands—and red wine—after 38 years of marriage. Can you imagine?

Friday night back in South Beach, I took Ben to Gigi Levangie Grazer's book party for her new tome, Queen Takes King at the W.


Actually really liked the W, as did Ben, a married man now.
Lobby of the W


And from the W we went to 8 oz in our hood and, unfortunately, I was reminded that I am still in Florida: Note the rat tail on the side of that guy's head at the bar. Seriously? Maybe I should bring this snap in to see Oribe? I don't care if the 80s are back—please, people, just stop the madness.

Note that my Japanese-straightened hair fucking frizzes down here. I'm so in need of Oribe it's not even funny. In fact, I should shut up about the above guy cause pretty soon I'm going to have a whole head of rat tails.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Eduvacaytion

I've learned a lot this past month. Or maybe I've woken up more? Either way, I'm moving forward. Apparently it's time in the UK for students to get their A-levels back, so Radio One was taking their requests for songs that help them get through the limbo period. Limbo is the worst time in whatever problem you have—cancer, love, grades, work, real estate, whatever.

So as I was driving back from Jax yesterday, one of the Radio One DJs played the old spoken-word piece "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen," the Baz Luhrmann's version. The lyrics will surely make each listener think about what he or she has done, whether they've followed the very simple rules of life, which this song seems to consolidate into a funky little ditty.

First I'll tell you what I've learned this month. The major things? Lucky, lucky, lucky girl am I, the more horror stories I hear about breast cancer. Was it sheer luck or was it a combo of luck, timing, my own awareness and intelligence? It was everything.

I'm at the post-treatment stage where it's been long enough for me to forget that I ever was a Breast Cancer Patient full-time. Nobody would know by looking at me, and guess what? I hardly notice the scars either. For the first time in my entire life I donned what I suppose is referred to as a 'string bikini.' It's Cosabella, of course, but it's still teeny tiny. White triangle top and skimpy bottom. The bottoms are a coupla inches lower-lying than any of my other bottoms. And still, the horizontal scar from the skin graft isn't visible. Even when I lie facedown, topless, you see no scars.

Pretty fucking amazing, huh? A lumpectomy, lymph node removal, bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction, nipple addition, liposuction and others I forget—and I can lie on the beach in a Cosabella string bikini for the first time as a result. Like I said I'm LUCKY, and it's healthy for me to 'forget' I used to be a cancer chick—in psychological parlance, I've stopped identifying myself as a cancer patient. But the not-as-lucky ladies are always in my thoughts, especially Ellie and now Meredith and all you other ladies who've had the courage to reach out.

I've learned that while I may need—merely to keep everything in working order—sex every once in a long while, I don't need the emotional drama that females can't help but attach to S.E.X. I've read that biologically (or whatever the right word is) certain chemicals are released in women's brains post-coitally that compel them to become emotionally attached after sex.

That while I'd like to find a man/partner/boyfriend, I don't necessarily think I will in this odd town.

I also learned that given what I've been through over the past two years and given my expressiveness and openness about it, that I can carry those communicative traits over into other areas of my life. Meaning, I've learned how to stand up to people who don't treat me right. Moreover, I'm learning how to detach myself from such people, knowing that I could hang on for the drama, but I have enough. Drama that is.

What else? I've realized that there's not much keeping me here, in Miami. (I don't even like saying that I live in Miami; I always say South Beach or Miami Beach. And when people ask me how I like living in Miami my answer is: I like the beach.) It's true. I try to leave the beach as little as possible, because people, Miami, as a city sucks. It does, it sucks. It's a pale imitation of what a city should be. So, think of the beach as Manhattan and everywhere else the outer lying boroughs. Some of them nice; some of them you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, even if he or she did speak Espanol.)

I've learned that I value my lifelong, multi-generational family friends like Al, Lay, Dana, Nicole, Noah, Joni, Daryl, all the other boys and girls as much as I do my family. And that Dana should be here with us. She and her kids are missing completely what made our childhoods so special. She's missing everything and it makes all of us, especially me when I'm around Nicole and Gabe and all the other 4th generation kids, sad. Feeling that something big is missing and sad that our lives are going to pass without her there beside us. There's nothing as significant as friends who know your family from great-grandparents to you. Nothing is off limits. Everything is easy. And while we're at it, Lay get your fucking ass back here too. The next time your back goes out one of Al's four housekeepers/nannies can sponge bathe you.

What else? I've learned that I don't measure my own success by money any longer, rather the respect of my peers. I am completely humbled by my VIP friends and their willingness to help me, guide me, encourage me, and for their belief in and enjoyment of my writing.

I've learned to just do it. I've learned to push my body and mind to the limit. I even got mom to do a power yoga DVD with me Saturday. And, oh yeah, I've learned that 'Yoga' has too broad a definition. Last night I ended up in a "bird of paradise" pose that I didn't know existed. And since I'm SO flexible—it's freakish how flexi my limbs are—the instructors come over and guide me into these contortionist positions. So my key yoga words now are Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Period.

I've learned that my dreams can come true—it took 17 years but soon enough I will be in a chair talking to one of my idols, Oribe.

I've learned that teeth fall out in dreams and in daylight and that if I don't stop grinding all my teeth are going to fall out. So that's cool. And the most important thing? I learned that my skinny jeans fit again. It's all relative.

Anyway, as I heard the Sunscreen song—actually, sunscreen is very bad, people; it causes cancer they're now learning—I couldn't help but comparing what he was preaching and what I already know. So below are the lyrics and my self-centered notations. If you do the same, it may make you feel good or it may prompt you to get off your ass, stop reading blogs and go for a walk outside. Or read a book. Or call your best friend who lives abroad. Or dance. Your choice.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not

understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. [I'm finally enjoying this after having gone through a rather unattractive phase and ending up looking like I did at 30 again. Thanks to Equinox, Botox and working my fucking ass off.]

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you
imagine. [Yeah, you probably are, so go to the gym.]

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as

effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. [Hell yeah, one day at a time.]

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. [I was diagnosed on a Tuesday, sometime in the afternoon.]

Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. [I'm not putting up with those people, anymore.]

Floss. [Duh, my teeth are fucking falling out.] Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. [So true; mom always said, "Someone will always have more than you, no matter how much you have.]

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you

succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. [I've kept the few I've ever gotten and my bank statements go right in the trash.] Stretch. [Twenty minutes a day for three years.]

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t. [I've found that I can't really relate to people who don't know or make attempts to follow their passion. Surely it's something that gets you young in life, you just may deny it. I was a writer from my first journal on.]

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
[Lo-fucking-l.] Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. [I love this and will say this the next time my mother's friends try to set me up with an in-the-closet 40-year-old Jew.]

Enjoy your body,
use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever
own.. [Learned that the hard way thanks to Cancer.] Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. [My apartment is the only place I do dance with reckless abandon. It hurts for other people to look at.]

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for
good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. [Both of these so important; in the end it's all we have.]

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you
should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle [this is the part that got me about Dana] because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; [Brother, that's why I left.] live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. [No thanks—SoCal was good for me.]

Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. [And listen to their stories. They are the greatest sources of history and advice.] Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85. [That's directed at you, my color-obsessed friends.]

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. [So true, especially when marrieds are advising singletons.] But trust me on the sunscreen…

Listen to the song now. It will speak to you, whether you're hooked up to an IV or chained to your desk.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wake up at beach; splendid day, didn't want to leave. Clean condo and drop off keys. The trunk is to the brim and like I said, that trunk could fit three corpses—or live bodies for that matter.

Head into town—a 30-mile trek. Drop Wally off at parents' house, go to dentist to reattach front temporary crown, again. My teeth suck. Boo. Meet mom in JCC parking lot to exchange beach club card for her and book on tape for me (Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth; excellent). Back to the house to collect Wally. Hit the road for Miami, tooth in place, but I'm fearful to eat anything. I had hard-boiled eggs and a banana on the five-hour trip. So not normal. Anywho, it took me about an hour to unload my car. I seem to have, uh, bought stuff. The cosmetics bag that contained my hoarded Korres steals from Marshalls weighs two pounds I swear. Man, that was such a Roxy move.

My teeth ache and I'm eating soup—the most delish soup from Fresh Market, but still—and I have an entire apartment worth of luggage to unpack. Back to the real world, if this is it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

If You Try Sometimes . . .

You get what you need. Like financial independence? Check. Ten years of therapy it took, that's it. Now I must run the new 'plan' by Dr. Laura. Love how my family uses her as psychological guru and personal financial advisor to their non-financially-sensible daughter.

So now—if you're gonna hate, do it internally I won't approve your comments—for the first time in my 33 years I must learn to manage money. I'm like a kept housewife whose husband has controlled everything from writing the checks to paying the electric bill and then due to death or divorce, she realizes she has no idea how to control the finances.

I can balance my check book; I know how to pay bills and, uh, something else. Oh yes, I know how to spend money. I know how to do that really well. But I know how to cut back too. I'm sure you've read—and cringed at—how well-to-do people are skimping these days. It's those little things that add up to hundreds of dollars a month for high-maint women like myself.

Swap Sephora for Walgreens. Shop at Forever 21 for sundresses instead of Neiman's Last Call. Don't go to Starbucks. Eat at home. Steal Splenda from restaurants. Raid your parents' houses for alcohol. Use your car sparingly. Stay with friends when you go out of town. (Or, find a Marshall's that has Korres shower gel for $4 (retail $20), and body cremes ($29) and buy five bottles like I did. And Fekkai prods for $12.99, (retail $29) which I bought two of. Hey, that's a lot of savings over the next few months. (If any of my Miami friends need prods, call me today. I mean text me; you all know I don't answer the phone.)

I've ticked off #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6. I won't have to go to Starbucks when I return to my espresso maker in MIA tomorrow.

Today's the last day at the beach. It's been amazing. The dogs love it. But after a month of vacay, I suppose I'm ready to go back to Miami. (Not really though.) Off to the gym, then ceramist, then dentist, then back to beach, tan my bum and boobies, hang out with Al and head back tomorrow. Miami bitches don't expect me to go out though. Don't want my teeth to fall out in my martini.

Okay enough of that. I wish I could write about my personal love-sex life, but I need some material in the book. And unfortunately I feel compelled to protect the identities of my friends who do bad by me. But that's my main issue now I suppose. I'm healthy. I've been doing nothing but cardio, yoga and pilates here. My tan is banging. My hair long—and soon to be to-die-for once Oribe gets his golden hands on it. And I'm being set up by the yentas with rumored-to-be gay men. (But he's Jewish!!!! "You nevah knooow!") Typical Steph stuff.

But have I mentioned I'm the new Abe Lincoln? Yeah, it's hot—my teeth are falling out. Let me elaborate. I went in for a chipped tooth and because I grind SO bad, day and night, despite Klon, Xanax and all the other anti-anxieties you can name. A simple chip repair wasn't possible. So we decided on two more porcelain veneers on two front teeth, which would match the other on one of my two center front teeth. Basically, I was at the dentist for four hours the other day and walked out with three temporary laminates/crowns. Two in the front of my upper row and one on the bottom in the back. Temporaries fall off easily—I'm sipping everything through straws and eating a liquid and soft food diet. When I woke up Friday, I didn't realize one of the temps had fallen off thanks to my fucking night-grinding and restless sleep. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the trailer-park-looking stub and the laminate was on my bed chilling. Back to dentist, laminate re-secured. Yesterday sipping water through straw on beach with Lindsay, feel it wiggling.

So, today I have to go see the ceramist so he can color-match the permanent porcelain ones to the color of my other teeth. Now, the perma laminate will take two weeks to make.

Meaning, look out for a toothless wonder walking around South Beach for the next two weeks. Thankfully, Melnick's wife is a dentist who agreed to have the laminates shipped to her and put them on for me. Ilan may get a four a.m. text from me in the next couple of weeks if it falls out again and I look like one of the Klampets (sp).

Oh yes, I am a true style arbiter. Haven't you heard? Missing teeth are the new black, just like missing eyebrows that the fashion sheep are literally removing or bleaching to match the runway trends. So there are crazier women out there than me.