Category Archives: Fashion

A Day In the Life Of A Silicon Valley Mom By Guest Blogger Denise Geschke

 

    Denise Geschke

Serious dilemma this week. My kids had a semi-formal dance at school on Saturday night. I spent the requisite amount of time buying my daughter ten different fit-n-flare dresses and then returning nine of them. Luckily, my son was much easier to buy for and his outfit came together with only three visits to Bloomingdales.

The standard deal is that your kids are invited to a pre-party before the big dance. The pre-party allows parents to see their kids in the semi-natural habitat amongst their peers. And, it’s a full on photo shoot complete with tri-pods, lenses and video. Cameras are everywhere.

We were lucky enough to be able to get to my son’s pre-party, take photos, not embarrass him or utter any words out loud. Good showing by us. We moved on to our daughter’s pre–party and proceeded to mingle with other parents and take a few hundred photos of our daughter, her friends and even a few with their dates.

So far, so good. Both kids had fun at the dance, we met a few of the other parents and it was overall a good experience. Here’s where the problem began. On Monday, parents starting sharing photos online. Certainly, this is a nice gesture.

However, along with the hundreds of photos of our amazingly photogenic teens, there were a few candids of the parents. And, guess what? One horrible, unauthorized photo of me. Oh no. There I am in all my middle age glory, unedited and from a really tough angle. My mind starts racing. There it is and what do I do?

My initial panic involved some of my recurring internal dialogue that ensues when confronted with an unflattering photo.
“Is that what I really look like?”
“Two choices here: give in and head straight to Eileen Fisher (the “Nuclear Strategy” coined by my beauty mentor Sarah L.) or start battling to not look any worse (the “Reinforce the Aging Dam” strategy).”
“That’s it – I really am going Paleo!”

My secondary conversation with myself focused on the best coping mechanism known to middle aged women and all married people; denial. I thought, “How can I make this photo go away?” If the photo is gone, then denial wins. I don’t have the option to delete photos in the shared album. So, I have to directly ask one of my daughter’s friend’s parents to kindly remove the offensive photo. And, I gotta find a way to do this that allows me to not come off as a total freak. Delicate balance.

Because I don’t know the parent who posted the photo very well and he’s English (possibly less tolerant of candid photo panic), I haven’t made a move. But it’s out there. And, with Prom a few short months away, I’ve got to get a plan so that this doesn’t happen again.

 

Celebrity Snapshot-Vicki Abelson

CELEBRITY SNAPSHOT

WITH

HARVEY HELMS

Welcome to my very first edition of CELEBRITY SNAPSHOT! 5 questions in 5 minutes that give you a deeper look at some of our favorite celebrities and what’s on their minds.

Who did I choose as my first interview? A woman who makes me laugh, think, love, and care all in the same moment. She’s the deliciously complicated mother, bestselling author, performer, producer, promoter, and talk show host, Vicki Abelson


For the past eight years, Vicki has been presenting the crème de la crème of the music and literary worlds at her celebrity-driven literary salon, Vicki Abelson’s Women Who Write. This is where she and I hooked up with my first book BLUSH: THE UNBELIEVABLY ABSURD DIARY OF A GAY BEAUTY JUNKIE! Her other guests are a “who’s who” of Hollywood: Norman Lear, Cloris Leachman, Michael Imperioli, Jackie Collins, Kevin Pollak, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Marilu Henner, Paul Williams, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz to name but a few. I could name drop endlessly. She knows everybody! Her first book, five-star Amazon Bestseller, Don’t Jump: Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘N Roll…And My Fucking Mother, published by Carl Reiner’s Random Content, made the San Diego Book Review’s Best of 2015, was named One of the 7 Best Books By Or About Women, and #1 Best Summer Read 2016 by Amazon. Need a fab read? Get it immediately! Her weekly podcast, Vicki Abelson’s BROADcast: The Road Taken, can be heard on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and tunein. She’s so busy but I was lucky to get a few precious moments with this smart glamazon!

So here you go! Meet Vicki Abelson with her 5 in 5!

Vicki! What’s your fav thing about being a woman?

For me, it’s the permission to be sensitive, empathetic and openly express my emotions. I mean look at men, STILL, in 2017! We judge them if they cry. We’re given permission, and men are stuck.

What about the ongoing gender equality issues with women & Hollywood?

First, I’m all over Meryl Streep and her Golden Globes moment. I was so impressed and moved by her. Women & Hollywood continues to be interesting. Older male actors get sexier. We accept older men in leading romantic roles, but female actresses as they age go from romantic lead to playing someone’s mother and that’s if she’s lucky. And, there are less parts and more women competing for the roles. Stricter image criteria then men? Weight? Wrinkles? The double standard alive and well.

One show I’ve seen that’s doing a good job in this area is called “This Is Us”. One of the leads in the ensemble, Chrissy Metz, isn’t just a little heavy, she’s obese. She’s beautiful, and, having a sexy life. It’s thrilling to see this character struggling while living a funny and beautifully romantic story line. This gives me hope for the future.

Gender equality. What’s next?

Is it still about women’s rights? What antiquated thinking. Lines are getting blurred-more gender fluidity. Are we women? Men? Trans? We’re human!! A woman did run for President, and the show Transparent seems to be breaking down some walls, but women are still paid less than men for the same jobs.

Who’s your hero?

Hilary Clinton’s my hero. She’s spent almost her entire life in public service. I can’t believe how many times she’s been kicked to the curb but rises- brushes herself off- and keeps fighting. Brilliant, qualified and hardworking, is she warm and cuddly? No. Is she flawed? Yes. But aren’t we all?

What’s next for you?

I’m aspiring to broader platforms for my creative projects. My manager is about to shop Don’t Jump for episodic TV. Netflix, HBO or Showtime would work nicely. Don’t cha think? My Podcast? Bigger platform like NPR. The new Fresh Air? I love interviewing celebrities about their journey. Firstly, I’m a fan girl. But, I’m also fascinated with how they managed to break through and be successful. How they merged creativity and commerce. I find they always have a tool, or tools, which guide their path. I learn from them where to refocus. I hope my listeners do, too. Sharing what I learn is one of my greatest joys. And, then there’s simply the fact they have “it”- that indefinable something which makes them irresistible. I want to be around them, dammit, don’t you?

Vicki! You’re fabulous. You know I’m a beauty junkie. Any tip you want to share about staying gorgeous?

Crest White Strips! I smoked for years and these little strip miracles took that damage and years off me. Not that fake too white look, rather, a natural, whiter smile. It’s made me more comfortable with myself in life, and in photos.

You will fall in love with Vicki. My life is better just knowing her.

Check out all things Vicki Abelson at the link below! You’ll be glad you did!

http://www.vickiabelson.com/

Stay fabulous till next time gorgeous!

xo

Harvey

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS 2017 – THE STOP IT LIST

 

2016 Goodbye. What a year. Some good. Some bad. Some unpredicted election results and deaths of some of our most treasured icons. It was a year that forced all of us out of our respective “Closets” as it were. Liberals, bigots, racists really we got to see each others true feelings. Everyone had an opinion about everything and social media became the main venting place for all to let each other have it. Facebook had a record number of unfriending and blocking situations that I’m sure mark Zuckerberg didn’t see coming.

SO 2017. Let’s turn the page and take a step forward into what I hope we be a more collaborative vs dividing year. With that said, I thought I’d begin a new tradition of creating a “Stop It” list. You may want to create one as well. This list allows me my last vent for 2016 about things I want people to stop doing. Not that they will stop but just saying it makes me feel better. If you disagree with my list, then make your own and post it.

It’s like good therapy.

HARVEY’S 2017 STOP IT LIST

  1. STOP OVER EXFOLIATING YOUR FACES! Too much of a good thing like scrubs, peels, retinol, any of the cosmetic acids, Clarisonic brushes, buff puffs, enzymes, and micro daily whatchamacallits are making everyone look dehydrated and making the incidents of rosacea and adult acne go through the roof. So stop it. Use these a few days a week vs everyday please.
  2. STOP OVER DRAWING YOUR EYEBROWS! I like an enhanced natural brow but come on! Those big brunette comas your placing above your eye area because some inexperienced beauty blogger told you to? No. Stop it.
  3. STOP BUYING/WEARING THOSE CONTOUR/HIGHLIGHT KITS! Regular people do not need these for daytime real life looks. If you have your own Net Flix series, then you can keep doing it. If not? Stop It!
  4. STOP ASKING PEOPLE TO CUT, COPY, OR PASTE SOMETHING RIDICULOUS ON FACEBOOK. No. We don’t have time. Period. Stop It!
  5. STOP SAYING/TELLING PEOPLE HOW BLESSED YOU ARE. This should be self explanatory. If you don’t understand, well, perhaps you may have a little problem in this area. Stop it.

Well I feel better. Please let me know your TOP 5 Stop It’s to begin 2017! But just don’t ask me to copy and paste it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

XO

HARVEY

XO Elizabeth

As your Cyber Main Gay I’ve loved many fabulous actresses in my life.  My love affair with Barbara Streisand started the first time I saw “Funny Girl!”  Bette Davis?  “All About Eve. ” Joan Crawford?  “Mildred Pierce. ” Judy Garland?  “The Wizard of Oz.”  Rosalind Russell?  “Auntie Mame.” And finally as we say goodbye to the most beautiful violet eyes ever created-Elizabeth Taylor in “Giant.” I wanted to wait a respectful few days to say farewell to Elizabeth. Gay men take their screen love affairs with actresses very seriously.

Now of course I’ve seen all of her films.   When I first saw her in the fabulous 1944 “National Velvet”, I wondered “Did she know she would be one of the world’s greatest stars?  How could she not with that face? ” Plus the fact that I cried like a big gay baby after viewing it! Elizabeth was known to say “I prefer animals to people.”  Lucky that her two first leading men were a dog and a horse.  She was also the original in “Lassie Come Home!” “Butterfield 8” that had Elizabeth playing a call girl won her an Academy Award.  “Cleopatra”, where she fell in love and eventually married Richard Burton.  They really were the Brangelina of their day! Quite a scandal!  “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  Loved it because it was like watching my parents marriage. Passionate and brutal.  I thought Elizabeth would understand my  life after seeing that movie! “A Place in the Sun” with Montgomery Cliff” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with Paul Newman.  Two of the hottest leading men ever! My favorite though is “Giant”.  An epic, that in my opinion was the precursor to the “Dallas” and Dynasty” Tv shows!  Plus yummy Rock Hudson and smouldering James Dean? I’ve seen it a million times!  Of course I have to mention the 8 husbands.  Not going to go through all of them!  A girl is allowed to make a few bad choices you know!  My favorites are of course Richard Burton who was sexy beyond belief, and the man who gave her the incredible jewels!  Mike Todd, who was killed in plane crash a year after their marriage.  Elizabeth was supposed to be on that flight but fell ill suddenly. Mike told her she better stay and rest.  She loved him. Tragic.  Ultimately though, after a historic career, Elizabeth Taylor will be known as one of the greatest crusaders in the fight against AIDS!  She co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research[amFAR] which has raised more than 465 million dollars for AIDS research and treatment.  Later she started her own Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation. She was courageous in the beginning when no star wanted to touch the issue.  She ran to her Giant costar’s side when Rock Hudson was outted with the disease. She always seemed fearless.  Thanks for that Elizabeth!  As we say goodbye, the beauty junkie in me has to mention her top selling fragrances Pasiion and White Diamonds.  Funny that these sum her up in such a beautiful way. The most beautiful, passionate woman who was  as clear and bright as a perfect diamond.  Elizabeth Taylor  truly is Hollywood’s Last Great Star.

Rest in peace,

xo

Harvey

Train Wreck? Hot Mess? Who Cares! Academy Awards Gay Replay!!

                                                    As your Cyber Main Gay, you know I’d never miss the Academy Awards!  It’s truly a gay Holy day that keeps me glued to the TV.   Long?  Boring?  Crazy?  It doesn’t matter!  Add two hours of Red Carpet fashion drama commentary prior to the broadcast and stir.  You’ll have have one of the best wicked glamour cocktails ever!  Every year there’s the “Who’s hosting” drama to make sure we tune in!  Who will give the craziest speech?  Participant or Presenter?  Who’s drunk?  Who feels shunned by the Academy?   Who will be arrested for DUI after the Governor’s Ball? LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!  Hosting the Academy Awards must be  a daunting task.  The Academy took a break this year from people who are funny for a living, like  Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg.  They opted for eye candy Anne Hathaway and yummy James Franco to attract a younger demographic.  Both very talented actors indeed!  How did they do?  The Hollywood Reporter said “Is it a bad idea to have actors as hosts?  NO.  It was spectacularly bad. ”  Ouch.   As a stylist I give them a 10 for image!  Anne Hathaway was spectacular in all 8 gown changes during the telecast.  Her best?  Archival Vintage  Red Valentino she wore  on the arm of Valentino himself!   I got gay chills!!  James Franco looks good in anything he wears except for the “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” pink gown.  Not his best color!  I admire their courage for taking it on!  The craziest moment for me was Kirk Douglas presenting Best Supporting Actress.  It was like  Grand Pa’s keeper fell asleep, and he escaped to present at the Academy Awards.  At 94 he’s still gorgeous!  What an actor!  Best dressed men and Presenters?  Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr!  I love it when men don’t automatically go to the black tie uniform.  They looked great in blue and their presentation was beyond genius!  Loveliest moment?  Staten Island PS22 chorus singing “Over the Rainbow.”  Thanks Judy Garland for leaving us that legacy!

 

Best Dressed Women?  Red was definitely the color of the evening!  Jennifer Lawrence In Calvin Klein and Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang,  Spectacular!  Show Stopper?  The stunning tangerine Atelier Versace worn by the ultra skinny Jennifer Hudson.  She looked so fab I almost called Jenny Craig during the awards!  Their point system really works!  I decided to finish my popcorn before making the call!  My favorite actress of the evening who wins Best Everything-Hair-Makeup-Gown is  Reese Witherspoon  in black and white Armani Privee.    Perfection!     Just so you know the main difficulty for stylists during this special day is make up and  lighting.  The event begins with natural daylight and ends late,  virtually in the dark at the post Oscar Balls.  It’s a nightmare.  Add HDTV and it’s a holy terror!  A good example of why we need to be careful is Sharon Stone.  The normally stunning face of Dior cosmetics has on a little too much concealer and foundation that makes her look older than she is!  She has amazing skin that’s not apparent  in this photograph.  The choice of dark eyes and lips accentuated the problem as well.  It’s a lesson for us all.  Make up is important and lighting is everything!  Well here’s to the 83rd Academy Awards!  Already looking forward to 84th……….

And the Oscar goes to……………You Gorgeous!

xo

Harvey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GPS For Aging! Hurry Up Bill Gates!!

Girls,  I’ve been crazy getting my book ready for publication!  The book, which is the first in 3, chronicles my journey to the top of the lipstick pyramid and all the life drama that accompanied me on the way up!  I’m 19 on page one,  ending with me at age 39.   If you ever want intensive therapy, writing a book about yourself should be a definite option.  The number of Beauty Witches trying to keep me down and the incredible number of “Mr. Rights” I sent packing caused some major reflection last night, while I was using my Clarisonic cleansing brush (www.clarisonic.com) with Lancome’s Absolue Premium Bx foam cleanser.  I stopped and looked at my face.  With the book fresh on my mind, I thought, “I look pretty good to be almost 50, with all I’ve been through in my life. ”  Would I want to be 30 again?  No!  Would I like to have the 28 inch waist again? Yes!  While I’m on the subject, I must get something off my chest!  Sex and the City 2!  I love these girls who are now full fledged women!  Since I am the new up and coming gay Carrie Bradshaw, I took offense to the age jokes that dominated all the film reviews.  Now the plot was a little crazy, but the main emphasis on how the girls are ready for assisted living?  What?  Just like you, I didn’t miss an episode with advice on how to handle dating, careers and relationships.  These fabulous beauties have gotten older.  So what!  What’s wrong with us?    Now don’t get me wrong, my column focuses on how to be your best including keeping father time at bay.  Does that mean I should make Kim Kardashian my new hero because she’s young?  That would be a polite, “No.”

 

As fate would have it, I turned on the  NBC Today Show, sipping  my first cup of morning coffee, and Meredith Vierra is interviewing Tracey Jackson, author of Between a Rock and a Hot Place! Why 50 is not the New 30.  Granted we do look younger today, due to incredible health and dermatological technologies, but our life experience continues even if our faces and bodies don’t show it.  Inside vs. outside?  Seismic changes!  Are we having to care for our parents now?  Did we divorce and find ourselves dating in this new environment?  Loss of job looking for work in this youth oriented market?  It’s enough to make you confused and depressed if your expectation is that at 50 you should feel and act like someone 30.

 

Tracey said we need to take care of our health first, followed with changing parts of our lives that aren’t working for us any more.  If we have 30 more years on the Earth, how do we want to spend it?  What’s our plan?  Stay in a horrific marriage?  A job that’s sucking the life out of us? Not me!  And knowing you girls, you don’t want it either!  Tomorrow is seconds away!  It’s time to plan just like we did in our 20’s.  What do we want to do?  How do we want to spend our valuable time?  Here’s the interview so you can see it for yourself.

 

I know what I need!  I need the new GPS system for aging to help me know where I’m going.  Just like you, I want to look good yet I want to be remembered for making a difference in the world.  The friends I trudged this road of life with helping each other every step of the way.  Thanks Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha for showing us that when the life gets tough, the girls can throw on their Jimmy Choo’s and get it done together!

 

XO

Harvey