Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday's Advice. You asked, I answered.

Each week I will post questions I receive and answer them with the honesty and straight to the point approach you deserve. I won't sugar coat. If you can't handle the truth, I suggest you don't ask. 

Dear Pretend Goddess,
 I have been happily married for almost 10 years. My husband is a nice, caring man. We have children and a wonderful life together though I find myself thinking of my ex a lot. More than I should. I google his name every once in awhile in hopes to find out where he is in life. I found his Facebook page. Sometimes I think I'm obsessed with him. Should I reach out to him and let him know that I still think of him?

*Um, wow. I'm not sure this is a question for me. Do you have a shrink? No? Get one. 
Let me start off by saying, no, you should absolutely NOT contact your ex. Leave him and what was in the past. Stop googling him and stop looking at his FB page. It's not healthy and it is unbelievably disrespectful to your husband. 
Are you as happily married as you say? A happily married woman who is obsessed with searching for her ex online? Hmm. 
Stop. Stop it now. You are obsessed. There is no question about it. 
Listen and listen carefully: if there is something going on in your marriage that is prompting you to continuously search your ex's name, then you need to talk to your husband (about the issues, not your obsessive online searches) and seek couples counseling. With that said, ask yourself what you hope to gain by contacting an ex from so many years ago? You're married with children and chances are, so is he. Leave the past and what you had where it belongs, in the past. 
I'm not saying I never think about an ex from time to time. I don't think that's unnatural. There are even songs that are still painful to listen to if I hear them on the radio. You know what I do when the song comes on? I switch the station. 
I'm not saying I've never googled an ex's name either. I have. But I can honestly say it wasn't in hopes to contact him or to reach out to him. I was curious and that is natural. Though you have crossed the point of natural curiosity. When I did google my ex I saw his life was as predictable as I had thought and I was satisfied with him as an ex. 
I'm married like you and want to stay that way. You need to say good-bye to the fantasy of your ex and concentrate on your reality. 
By the way, you will come across as an absolute fool if you contact your ex. You'll regret it. You will lose much more than your dignity and self-respect. 
Now go give your husband a hug and refill your meds. 

Dear Pretend Goddess, 
Who do I tip over the holidays? Do I pay extra to my housekeeper?

*Yes dear, you do pay your housekeeper extra. Give the tip or as I say, holiday bonus at the first of December or as close to that as possible. The reason is so they have extra money for their own holiday shopping. Plus, giving the bonus early in the month is thoughtful because it allows them the time to do their shopping without worry. How much to tip? Well, that's up to you. I double my housekeeper's salary. 

You also want to be generous to your hairstylist as well. I give a holiday bonus and a present. That's just me though. She makes me beautiful and I love her dearly. 
Rule of thumb: anyone who performs a service for you on a regular basis should receive a holiday tip. 

Don't forget your doorman if you live in a building or guard, if you live in a gated community. I usually gave baked treats when I lived in a gated community though. That is up to you. Also, be a bit more generous to valet attendants and wait staff this holiday season. 
Parents, if you plan on going out on say New Years Eve or a holiday and use a babysitter, you better pony up the cash. If doubling what you'd usually pay an hour is too high, then pay time and a half. Still too much? Then don't go out. 

Now, I must draw the line somewhere. A few years ago my paper delivery man put a card in my mailbox asking, yes asking, for a holiday tip. He was even so bold as to enclose a self addressed stamped envelope. I was appalled. I do not tip when someone tells me to. I don't get the paper anymore because I'm not sixty years old and read my news online. I threw his card away. It was tacky. I don't doubt extra cash would have been helpful for him and his family, as he suggested in the card but he broke a rule and asked. 

Dear Pretend Goddess, 
I'm in my early 20's and I'm deeply in love with my boyfriend but I'm also in love with a woman whom I've been sleeping with for the past several months. She and I have have something I've never had with anyone else. I don't think I'm a lesbian. I'm probably bisexual because I love my boyfriend too. The other woman knows I have a boyfriend and is pressuring me to end it with him to be with her. I don't want anyone to get hurt. 

*You didn't ask me a question but I will give you my thoughts anyway. 
I don't think you are bisexual and I won't say if you're gay or straight. I think you already know on some level if you are gay or not. Whichever is okay, okay? I think once you grow and experience life more, you'll gravitate toward a specific gender. This answer is based on me asking at least ten of my gay friends who are well past their twenties. What your sexuality is at the moment is not the issue. 
What's not okay is that you are cheating. Doesn't matter if it's with the same sex, it's still cheating and it's wrong. If you're not ready to come out and I suspect you're not, you need to at the very least end it with your boyfriend. 
You didn't just experiment with another woman out of curiosity, you've been having an affair that has gone on for several months. 
Let me add that you are not "deeply in love" with your boyfriend otherwise you wouldn't cheat. 
As well as ending it with your boyfriend out of fairness to him and yourself, I'd suggest ending it with the other woman too. At least for a while to process your feelings and who you are as an individual. I can understand her pressuring you to end things with your boyfriend because what you're doing isn't fair to her either. 
Maybe after some time apart from both, you'll have a clearer understanding of who you are and who you want to be with. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Holiday Gift Guide is here to help with all those people in your life who either "have everything" or are simply hard to shop for during the gift giving season. I love holiday shopping. No, I'm not one of those. You know the people that make a mad dash to the local mall a week before Christmas with only hurried presents and little thought about the recipients. Well, maybe I shouldn't judge what most people do. The very thought of going to a mall during the holiday season makes me want to put a fork in my eye. I started my shopping the first of October. Obnoxious, I know. 
Wooden Tree and Ornament Set
Fall season is when I start listening to my friends & family. The rest of the year I usually stare at people blankly while nodding my head pretending to listen. If say a friend mentions a sweater she wants I write it down. If I hear, "I love this__ but I can't buy this right now," I know I'll buy it. 

Then there are times I'm shopping for myself in a store or online and while I don't find anything for myself, I find the perfect gift for a close friend. Never a mention of this particular item in our conversations but know that it is the perfect gift.
So many gifts are not. Unless you really know someone, I would stay away from an array of things while shopping for someone. What to stay away from?  Perfumes, scented creams or any body product for that matter. That is unless you know the person well enough to know their taste in scents. For example, my friend Brooke has known me for twenty-six years and knows that if she buys me lemon, gardenia, or rose-scented anything, I'd love it. I have to add that there are a few scented products that are the exception, as you will see from the below list. The scented products I've recommended are light and heavenly. I dare anyone to disagree. 

I was reminded of why one needs to be careful when shopping for scented products earlier in the day while testing products. I received a sample of scented organic banana cream. I opened the lid to smell and just as I suspected it smelled awful. I was haunted by the smell of artificial bananas for the next ten minutes. I smiled and thought, "If anyone were to ever buy me this, then I would know they don't know me." I rolled my eyes at the jar of cream when I read, "organic." As if I'm to say, "yea organic cream!" No, I could care less. Also, I love the smell of banana bread baking in the oven. I just don't want to smell like something edible. Stay away from such creams for someone as a holiday gift unless you know them well enough to know that they want to smell of artificial flavoring.

Think about the recipient's personality when shopping for a gift, the colors and decor of their home, their personal style, and products or items they already own. Sometimes you can go with an item they already own and expand on it. For instance, if you are shopping for someone who loves cooking and they have a Le Creuset dutch oven, perhaps buy them a set of mini cocottes. They are great for individual servings. If you don't know what cocottes are, you will. 

Now are you ready for The Pretend Goddess' 2012 Gift Guide? Good, because I just watched Oprah's Favorite Things and I was quite disappointed. Yawn. 

Keep in mind these are items I feel make great gifts for any occasion, not just for the holiday season. 

Gift ideas for any of the categories below are endless. If these specific items do not fit your budget, then similar gifts can be found at different price points at any department or specialty store.  

Click on the name of product for ordering and product information. 
Home, Office, & Kitchen

Lucite Trays at iomoi

Glass Coasters by iomoi

Enamel Picture Frames by C. Wonder
Colored Glass Votives by C. Wonder

Shopping Charm Notecards by C. Wonder
Shoe Correspondence Cards by Smythson

Gift Receipt Card by Bella Muse

2013 Calendar Gift Box with Silver Easel

Gold Wishbone by Jayson Home
Six "Marseilles" Flutes
Mice Cheese Board by C. Wonder

Mini Cupcake Maker by C. Wonder

Mini Cocottes by Le Creuset

Peace & Love Coasters by Jonathan Adler
Flowers in a Can by Fred Flare
Carriere Freres Candle                    
The Vynbar Classic Stainless Steel Vertical Wine Rack

"Bacon is Meat Candy" Bacon of the Month Club
Tasting Room Wine of the Month
The Gospel According to Coco Chanel


Polka Dot Vase by Kelly Wearstler
Vitamix Professional Series 500 Blender
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook 

Pajamas, Robes, & Lounge Wear

Lorient Short Pajama Set
Lorient Long Robe by Marigot
Classic Long Cable Sweater by Marigot
Flannel PJ Set by Gap
40 Blinks Ultralight Sleep Mask by Bucky
Vintage Short-Sleeve Pajama Set

Dot Slippers by Gap
Sweater Robe by Victoria's Secret

Jewelry, Beauty, Fashion & Miscellaneous

The Essential Scarf by Everlane
Monogram Jewelry Box by C. Wonder

NARS Andy Warhol Edie Set

Clarisonic (1 speed) Mia

Tech Touch Gloves
Wrenz Birdie Speakers

Arrow Bangle

Frederic Fekkai Creme Luxueuse

Hasbro Electronic Catch Phrase
Best of Lips Palette by NARS

Strummer Sunglasses by Oliver Peoples

Body Milk by Santa Maria Novella

Pop Phone Handset by C. Wonder

Metal Water Bottle

Metallic Python Embossed Reversible Belt
Bomb Coin Wrap Bracelet 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

                     Ask The Pretend Goddess

I'm not Dear Abbey nor I am Miss Manners and God, I am not Dr. Laura. 
I am The Pretend Goddess, which means my advice to you is a bit more modern, saucy, yet timeless. 
Each week I will publish up to five questions that are submitted to me and answer them with my own brand of sarcasm and truth. 

Dear Pretend Goddess,
Should a person be so rude as to turn away a X-mas gift due to their inability to provide one in return?

*NO! Never turn away a gift. It's rude and insulting to the gift giver. I believe people give gifts, especially this time of year, simply because they want to give to the people they care about without expecting anything in return. I love giving gifts and picking out the perfect present for the people in my life who mean something to me. This may be hard to believe considering I'm saturated with materialistic greed, but I much prefer giving than receiving. It would hurt my feelings if someone didn't accept a gift and it would create a certain level of awkwardness. 
Now if you must, DIY gifts are popular now and budget friendly. I also believe they are as thoughtful as purchased gifts, if not more. 

Dear Pretend Goddess,
Should the host speak with the family member or guest that is not tending to their disruptive children that are visiting your home?

*YES! I do enjoy questions that involve ill-behaved children and clueless parents. I would suggest speaking with the parents in private though so as not to embarrass them in front of other guests. There are exceptions. If you've spoken to the parents and the children are still being disruptive, it is now the parents who are the problem, not the children. More times than not, it is clear that children act out and misbehave simply because their parents allow them to carry on without any consequence. If this is the case, step two would be for you to say something no matter who is in ear shot. Say what needs to be said with a level of class and a dash of sarcasm. For example, "Little Johnny is quite something. Where did he take his etiquette classes?" If that's not your style, I then suggest, "If you need to take your child to another room to have a talk with him about how to behave in someone else's home, you are more than welcome to use my room."
If a guest in YOUR HOME brings a child, whether this child is related to you or not, you are well within your right to address the child directly. That is if you've attempted to talk to the parents to no avail. For example, "Johnny, in my home XYZ is not allowed. You're disturbing me and the guests. I don't want to tell you again." Dear reader, if you are still having problems with this awful guest and their problem child, you need to tell them to leave. Think of the other guests who are trying to enjoy themselves and think of yourself too. You've taken yourself away from guests who have the common sense and decency to treat you and your home with respect. 

Dear Pretend Goddess,
Do I need to give my boss a Christmas gift?

*Absolutely not! If anything, your boss is to give you the gift. A Christmas, or to be PC, a holiday bonus is standard. No, you don't give your boss a gift. If you must, a tin of fresh-baked treats or bread is okay. By no means do you spend a dime on your boss on a material gift. 

Dear Pretend Goddess,
I am in my 30's and still single. I have tried dating websites, bars, church groups but still have yet to meet a long-term boyfriend. It would be nice to have a date over the holidays. 

*Well, first of all, who cares that you're in your 30's and still single? You do and that's who matters. I must say though, It's okay that you are in your 30's and still single. I wouldn't say that if I didn't speak from personal experience. I didn't meet my husband till I was in my 30's. But it took years of bad dates and a lot of self reflection. I began to ask myself why I wasn't meeting anyone who I deemed an acceptable partner. The answer for me was clear, I was dating the same type of man. I decided to try something different. I wrote down a list of the traits my usual type possessed. Then, I wrote down the traits in a man I desired. Finally, I narrowed my list down to three to five must-have, non-negotiable deal breaking qualities. With that, I changed my outlook and how I approached dating. I became more open and less critical. 
Look at your online dating service. Some are nothing more than online meat markets. There is one that springs to mind and it rhymes with "patch." Don't go out with anyone who has a shirtless profile pic. If I have to explain why, you're a lost cause and I can't help you. Same goes with mirror pics. Pathetic. 
Invest in a quality dating service. 
Skip the bar scene. It's no longer the right scene for a 30+ year old. It screams desperation and the men can sense it. Plus, don't "go home" with anyone that you meet at a bar. If you do go the bar route, give them your number. They may or may not call. Chances are, they won't. The reason is because alcohol was involved and the night they and yourself were out looking for is over and it's a new day. May I also add that I've noticed that the way you dress at the bar will indicate the type of man you attract that night. Don't try too hard. You don't have to dress like a librarian, but you shouldn't dress like you shop at Forever 21. 
Church groups. Don't join a church for the sheer purpose of meeting men. That's not what church is for. I suggest finding a church that is right for you and then join their singles group. 
I have to add as I've heard this a lot from single women who become defensive about their dating methods, "I've had a lot of long-term relationships with the above methods." 
Well, no you really haven't. The relationship ended and I'm guessing for the same reasons more times than not. The word that jumps out to me as a red flag is "a lot." Why a lot? Something isn't working. 
I know this may be difficult to hear, but you need to forget that the holiday season is approaching and avoid rushing to find a date for New Year's Eve. I compare someone rushing to find a date this time of year to someone with a giftcard running to the mall to buy something for the sake of buying something. 

Till Next Time, 
The Pretend Goddess