Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, September 30, 2004


  15% Online Discount at Searlenyc.com

Searlenyc.com is one of my favorite online window shopping haunts. In other words, I find what I WANT there and then look for something similar that is about 20% of the Searle price. However, when I received the 15% discount code in my e-mail this morning, I couldn't resist buying this...

and this...

If you find a few things at Searle.com that you just can't resist, type in the code SEARLE60 at the checkout to get a 15% discount on your order. This is good through Nov. 11.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


  Charm Purses--the latest NYC Fashion Rage!

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.com
(Click on photo for enlargement)

I am sorry, I'm just not a fan of this fad, yet. I'm waiting to see it done tastefully. Until then, here is what the NYT had to say about this latest craze for Purse Charms:

"A fad for hanging charms on handbags has the city a-jingle. Schoolchildren started it when they hung stuffed animals from their backpacks. A few years ago Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, a French stylist, dangled change purses and charms from her bag. Today some women spend up to $250 for a Prada doodad; others buy souvenir-shop key rings. One woman chopped up telephone cords to adorn her purse."


  NYT: Are Bloggers a Help or Hendrance This Election Season

I'll be back with more later today, but found this article in the NYT about bloggers and their impact on both journalism and the outcome of the election. Thought it was interesting. It is quite in-depth and talks specifically about how some of the more high-profile political bloggers got started and how they found their niches. Of course, it IS the NYT so if you're not already a registered user you'll have to become one to read the article. Sorry. More later.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


  Fending Off Life's Weeds...

Today, Kate wrote this post where she pondered why she had become so tolerant of people who were downright cruel to her--tolerant to the point of actually growing fond of some of them. Boy, did that post strike a nerve in me! That sort of behavior (on both sides) is what prompted me to write my book. Kate is a hip, cool chic who's got her act together--yet, this is one of those areas that all women struggle with at some point.

There are some women who, no matter how successful they are, can never be really satisfied and happy. Sometimes they THINK they're happy. They can even convince others that they are happy. But those who truly ARE successful, happy AND confident can always sniff out the imposters. And anyone who gains power by scaring others into submission and bad mouthing others is no Tall Poppy. To the contrary, she is nothing but a poor, pitiful Weed.

While I was writing my book, I researched the lives and experiences of dozens of women all over the US. It was clear that, while true Tall Poppies possessed many vital characteristics, the one that was all-encompassing and much more prominent in women who were successful, happy AND nice was Confidence. Women who are truly confident don't feel that it's necessary to tear down others to raise their own stock.

I was shocked, though, at how many women honestly couldn't tell the difference between Tall Poppies and blow-hard Weeds! Women who are truly confident can pick out the miserable Weeds from miles away and keep their distance. However, women who are what I call Short Poppies and Garden Flowers could only rarely differentiate between TP's and Weeds.

Some thought that all women who were successful were rotten--they felt that once someone rose to a certain level of success or power, they automatically became tainted and needed to be "cut back down to size" (the stereotypical Tall Poppy Syndrome). Others thought that since Weeds were fearless Trash-talkers and always had a group of wannabe's following their every move that THAT made them successful. And others thought that since Weeds always have so many people following them around, they MUST be confident (think "Mean Girls").

The truth is that if you want to be happy, confident and Weed-free, you have to learn to be a DIPLOMAT, NOT A DOORMAT. There are lots of really nice, successful women out there who are miserable because they don't respect themselves enough to put limits on their tolerance for the bad behavior of others. There is a difference between being pleasant and being a pansy.

I learned a LONG time ago that life is just too short to put up with women who behave badly. I wrote the following on Kate's comments, and I want to post it here, as well:

I want to share with you two of my favorite thoughts from one of my favorite Tall Poppies, Maya Angelou:

1) "When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM!" I agree that, as JFK once said, You have to forgive (otherwise, it'll eat you alive), but you should NEVER forget.

2) Maya Angelou never invites those who have offended her or her friends or family into her home. If someone is being offensive in her home, she asks them to leave. Immediately. She just doesn't tolerate those with destructive tendencies who would "pollute" her home...her refuge. My translation of this principle? Life is just TOO short...

Don't hold grudges against those poor people who build themselves up by tearing you down, but don't allow yourself to be their target, either. Not only will it make YOU feel badly to put up with that sort of treatment, but it makes bystanders feel like you're a sucker or pansy, too. Others won't ever respect you ANY MORE than you respect yourself. Smile, say "Hello" and MOVE ON! They're Weeds and not worth much more of your time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


  Purse and Handbag Lovers: Please Remain Calm

Note: All photos in this post courtesy of Bag Borrow or Steal

Prada Calf-Skin Buckle Handbag

My friend Kate (whom I met through a mutual friend, Mr. Netiquette) has introduced me to a VERY dangerous website that I feel obligated to share. This site, Bag Borrow or Steal is much more than a business loaning out designer purses (or as we say down South, Pocketbooks)...it is also a fabulous virtual catalog of all of the latest trends and designers in Handbag Heaven. They carry dozens of designers, from Nine West to Prada--and let you BORROW the bags for as long as you want to keep them, for a monthly fee. Just look at a few random bags that I really thought I might need:

Nine West Cranberry Croc

Christian LaCroix Black Suede and Leather

Doone and Bourke Tassle Tote in Periwinkle
(I'm not usually a big fan of designers who splash their logos about, i.e. LV, but this is REALLY cute!)

UGG Sundance Muff Purse
(This purse also doubles as a muff for those cold winter outings)

Kate Spade Tweed Bag

Carla Mancini Tote
(The perfect working woman's bag--and large enough for a laptop with space to spare!)

Jamin Puech Evening Bag

Worldstock Handmade Floral Handbag
(I loved ALL of Worldstock's bags--might have to "steal" a few for my permanent collection!)

So, hop on over to
Bag Borrow and Steal and see the hundreds of bags you've been missing. You might just decide to Borrow or Steal a few for yourself.


  Brooches, Brooches Everywhere

Tall Poppies know that it's not just what you wear that makes your look uniquely yours, but how you wear it. When I want to make a positive and lasting impression on someone, I incorporate something unexpected into my wardrobe. Not shocking, just casually unexpected.

For instance, beads are expected on a top, but are more interesting at the hem of a knee-length skirt or sprinkled around on colorful crop pants. On a rainy day, one expects to find women in raincoats--but mine is a bright limey-sagey green with gold buttons. I wear green rain clogs with "gold" chains across the top that don't match, but coordinate with the coat.

This week, the
NYT Style section has some great ideas for wearing this fall's favorite accessory, The Brooch, in unexpected and spectacular ways. I love the idea of adorning a purse...

Photo Courtesy of The New York Times
Glenda Geis Handbag

a bracelet wallet...

Photo Courtesy of The New York Times
Jewelled Bracelet Wallet from alexandani.com

or a casual cashmere wrap.

Photo Courtesy of The New York Times
White & Warren's hefty-ply cashmere shrug

They also show brooches worn on shoes, fur wraps and vintage-inspired dresses.

When it's too warm for a jacket, I like to wear a long scarf as a belt, knot it to the side and pin a large brooch to the knot.

So use your imagination and add a little sparkle to your wardrobe in a deliciously unexpected way!

Sunday, September 19, 2004


  Miss America 2005 Competition: The End of A Good Thing

Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs
Photo courtesy of Miss America Organization

Along with millions of others, I watched last night as homestate "girl" (Miss Alabama, Deidre Downs) was crowned Miss America. I remember not so long ago when another Miss Alabama (Heather Whitestone) was crowned Miss America.

Miss America 1995, Heather Whitestone
Photo Courtesy of Miss America Organization

I was so proud to have been associated with an organization that recognized the talent, intelligence, and beauty of a young woman who was both hearing and speech impaired but whose spirit and confidence made such profound disabilities seem invisible.

Yet, last night, my feelings were quite different. The Miss America Organization has always taken great pride in the fact that it's competition wasn't just another beauty pageant, or just another "Skin show". Last night, I believe they went out of their way to prove themselves wrong.

Don't misunderstand--I'm no radical feminist, no conservative zealot and no opponent of the Miss America Organization. I was practically raised in the "system", where my father was a Miss America Scholarship judge and my mother was a certified Miss America Pageant judge. When I was old enough to compete, the scholarships I won paid for most of my college education and some of my living expenses, as well. Some of my favorite college memories involve experiences and travel related to my association with the Miss America Organization.

Regardless of the cynical comments and beliefs of the casual observers, I (like most others who have been associated with the MAO) have known that it was a program unlike any other.

I have always known that the Miss America competition really WAS a scholarship program. I knew first hand that a young woman could pay for her college education through the MAO, even if she never won Miss America or a state title, because I had done it.

I knew that it wasn't just a Swimsuit competition--Swimsuit scores only count 15% of the total. I usually won swimsuit, but I didn't always win the title I was competing for.

I knew that the prettiest girl doesn't usually win--it's rare that the prettiest girl would ALSO be the most talented...And talent counted 40% of the total score.

I knew that you really DID have to be smart and quick on your feet to do well. Academics are crucial in the MAO. You have to sell your intelligence and academic potential to the scholarship judges (who decide which scholarships you will be given and, in some cases, what the amounts will be) or be largely left out when the scholarships are doled out.

But even more intimidating are the 7-minute interviews with the competition judges. Most competitors at the state level have a current events coach who is even more important to her overall preparation than her fitness trainer or modeling coach. The Miss America Organization interviews (even on the local and state levels) are so grueling that I doubt VERY seriously that most highly-paid professionals in this country could "pass" them...much less high school and college-aged kids.

However, what I saw last night was an embarrassment and in no way resembled the competition I have been proud to associate with in the past. I saw girls prancing about on stage in blue jeans and haltar tops like they were headed out to a bar. Then they came out in 4-inch heels and string bikinis that looked for all the world like the women were preparing for a rectangular bikini wax.

Miss Louisiana
Photo Courtesy of Miss America Organization

I'm no ultra-conservative fogie--I frequently wore string bikini's before two pregnancies made that a risky proposition. And as a dancer wore skimpy leotards six days a week, competing in swimsuit competition wasn't any big deal for me. HOWEVER, waltzing across the stage in a string bikini and 4-inch-heels in the name of proving one's "physical fitness" offends even MY sensibilities. And this from the same network that refuses to continue airing the Victoria's Secret "fashion show"? Give me a break.

There are MANY things that have set the MA Competition apart from cheap imposters like the Miss Universe Pageant. The most obvious difference has always been that you didn't have to have the best body or the prettiest face or the most expensive wardrobe in order to be chosen Miss America. Talent counted 40%. So if you made it to the Top 10 and you didn't totally tank in Swimsuit and Evening Gown, you could win the competition if you were the most talented.

Not so anymore. Now, you have to be in the Top 2 in all of the "Physical" competitions to even get the chance to compete in Talent since only the top Two compete in Talent.

I say to the MAO, just go ahead and strip away what's left of the "Old Gig". Dump the Talent and "Brains" stuff and go straight for The Skin. Regardless of your ridiculous protests to the contrary, the MA competition has now become little else. Those of us who once believed that the MAO stood for something greater will just have to appreciate that it was good while it lasted. For the rest of the world, it won't even be news...you have become what they always wanted and believed you to be.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


  And WHO'S In Charge At School?

As many of you may have noticed, I have been around Blogdom considerably less in recent days than previously. Sometimes life spins you around, and right now I'm in a cyclone. Remember this scary teacher story? Well, in the last few weeks, there have been abuse charges filed against her, children dual-enrolled in homeschooling for their own protection, parents checking out new schools for their children, phone calls, e-mails, meetings with the principal, the asst. superintendent and others.

The teacher was put on Paid Administrative Leave pending further investigation almost two weeks ago, yet she continues to be allowed to claim "medical problems" and "Bereavement Leave" as her reasons for not being in the classroom. NOW, there is a rumor (rumors, of course, happen when the administration is so busy protecting an abusive teacher that they forget who they are supposed to be working with/for in the first place) that this abusive teacher will be returned to the classroom on Friday or Monday.

This is a teacher with a 14+ year history of lawsuits, disciplinary actions and official complaints--none of which ever resulted in the teacher's permanent removal from the classroom. And we wonder why the CHILDREN don't behave better at school? Which brings me to...

a similar but unrelated matter. Two days ago, my 2nd grader was disciplined at school for hitting the class bully and calling him "Stupid-head". He only had to write a "think sheet" to work out why he hit the kid and what he should have done instead. But the kicker? The child he hit hits my son almost every day and had walked across the playground to punch my son with his fist before my son struck back.

My husband and I have documented 14 incidences since February of this year when this little boy hit my son TOTALLY UNPROVOKED, it was witnessed by others, and he was not disciplined. He was also one of four boys who jumped my son several times on the playground last year and beat him up.

The little boy and the three other "bullies" were given a 1 Day In-School suspension which was supposed to be served the following day. However, the next day they arrived at school at 8:10, sat in another teacher's classroom to do their work, and at 10am were allowed to get on the bus and go on the field trip with the rest of the class!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SYSTEM? What sort of responsible system would say that children are expected to keep their hands to themselves, but it's acceptable for teachers to shove children, hit them over the heads with heavy textbooks and throw them up against walls when they are angry. What sort of responsible system says to children"Be Kind To Your Classmates" but then punishes the bullied child when they are hurt over and over and over again, nobody does anything to protect them, and then disciplines the bullied child when they take matters into their own hands?

I am SOOOO confused by the messages that our schools and our society are feeding our poor children, how in the world can we expect our children to make sense of it all? Last year, I decided that I wasn't going to take it any more. And this year, I'm actually going to have to put my time, energy and perhaps $$ where my mouth is.

I am now going to get fully involved in this issue with the 3rd Grade teacher. Other than serving as a sounding board for a couple of this year's parents and providing documentation to the district, we have let this year's class carry the water. However, there are those times when every parent has to pull out all the stops to protect their child and others. I see this as a time to do like Oprah said in the quote at the top of my blog and do what we can with what we've been given. I feel that the school district is returning the teacher to the classroom at their own peril and that if she is not permanently removed this year, we will still be fighting the battle next year (for the third year in a row).

We already have one child who was so traumatized by the teacher's heckling of him last year that he is convinced he's no good at math, even though he won a state award for his math scores on his SAT's last May. He tested to go up a grade in math this year, but refuses to go to the other class (even though a neighborhood friend is the 5th grade teacher) because he says it would be "too hard". So as of today, I am in the fight full-throttle.

With regard to my youngest son's issue, I have put the school on notice that I am no longer going to cooperate with any disciplinary actions taken against my son involving that one little boy until there has been a 3-month period of time where my son has not been hit or kicked by him. I will not sign "think sheets" and I will not sign and return "notes home to parents" regarding any further confrontations between the two of them. I will not ground my son, I will not take away his Gameboy, I will no longer take away his bike privileges, or cancel playdates to discipline him for fighting back. Enough is Enough.


Am I going to tell my son that this is my new stance? OF COURSE NOT! I'm not totally brain dead! But I am going to support my son in his battles with this bully until the school or his parents (not likely) resolve the situation. Until someone in our school district decides that there should be REAL consequences for abuse by teachers AND students, they need not waste another moment of my time telling me how wrong my child was to strike back. After all, I've got a blog that I've been neglecting while I have been trying to do THEIR job for them....

Friday, September 17, 2004


  Once a Year, I'm Glad I Don't Have A Daughter

Ballet West's "The Nutcracker"
Photo courtesy of Ballet West

I'm such a girly-girl, I have always wondered how I ended up with no daughters. However, one day every year I am SO GLAD not to have a girl. And this year, that day is tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Audition Day for approximately 500 children trying out for about 150 spots in Ballet West's 2004 production of The Nutcracker. About 350 children will walk away sorely disappointed. This year, there will be fewer roles than in the past because they are reducing the number of casts from 6 to 4. So there will quite a few dancers who have danced in the past who won't be chose this year.

The reason I am glad that I have sons trying out versus daughters is the result of simple mathematics: My sons have a much greater chance of being chosen than daughters would. 50 boys will try out for approximately 30 parts. Over 400 girls will try out for approximately 120 parts.

My sons ARE NOT DANCERS, but the boys in Nutcracker don't really dance--they skip, march and act. My sons have good rhythm and are quick studies, so I feel pretty good about their chances (especially Son #1, who has performed for two years). But you really never know. And the GIRLS...oh, it's a heartbreaker.

Son #1 has an uncanny ability to memorize all of the boy parts without ever rehearsing them. That, combined with our home's location being only moments away from the Capitol Theatre, means that he is frequently a "stand-in" for any boys who get sick, in addition to performing two parts in two casts of his own. Keeps things interesting, and busy. Anyway, I feel that he has a pretty good chance of being chosen again this year. It will also probably be his last year since, though he's only nine, he's 4' 7" and outgrowing the costumes.

Son #2 tried out last year, at age 6, and got cut because of his age. You're supposed to be 8, but they sometimes fudge with the boys since they always have fewer boys trying out (Son #1 performed as a 7 year old). Unfortunately for him, they had 60 boys try out last year so they cut all of the 6 year olds almost immediately. I really hope he makes it this year. He is our testosterone-laden daredevil who I wouldn't have thought would put up with the 19th Century costumes and make-up--but he's just DYING to do this. Crossing my fingers.

THEN, there are the girls. Bless their hearts. It is just heart-wrenching to watch them come out after each "cut". All of the girls really want to be a "party girl" and wear the gorgeous dresses, pincurls, and beribboned ballet slippers. They feel like princesses AND they get to wear make-up--every 8-12 year old girl's dream! Unfortunately, there are only 6 party girls and 1 Clara in four casts, so 28 parts don't go very far. Then there are the Buffoons (the little gymnasts in Act 2) and the soldiers, but it is SO competitive for all of the roles--especially Clara, Party Girl and Buffoon.

I wish all of our little friends who are trying out tomorrow GOOD LUCK! I'll be crossing my fingers for all of you.

UPDATE: In case you were wondering how it all ended:
1) Son #2 made Party Boy. YEAH! He is really excited.
2) Son #1 went into the audition to try out for Party Boy, but came out having been promoted to "Soldier" (along with the "short" 12 and 13 year olds who tried out for PB) because he was considered too tall for the role. Son #1 (who is only 9 and MUCH younger than the other soldiers and most of the former PB's, as well) was not amused and immediately told those who were announcing the winners that he wasn't going to be a soldier. He handed back his much coveted "winner's packet", picked up his Gameboy and started playing without skipping a beat. I explained to him that there are some things that you say to your Mother first, and that would have been one of them. Yet another reason why Cotillion classes will be a GOOD THING.
3) Five of our little girlfriends tried out for various parts--two made it. This stuff is SOOO heartwrenching!


  Lilly Pulitzer Blogging Blowout

The Lilly Pulitzer Collection
Photo Courtesy of PeppermintPalm.com

Ok, for those of you who come to this site specifically looking for Lilly Pulitzer links (and there are so many of you!), this one's for you. IF THE LETTERING IS RED, IT'S A LINK:

The Lilly Pulitzer 2004 Summer Collection

The Lilly Pulitzer 2004 Fall Collection

Jennifer Connelly is Tied to the Cure.

Lilly Pulitzer "Tied To The Cause" Scarf benefitting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation--This scarf is absolutely fabulous and the colorways work with both Lilly's Summer and Fall lines. Such great colors! I love mine.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (including links to the Race for the Cure Site)

The Lilly Pulitzer Photo Album--If you love Lilly, you'll love this online photo album of Lilly customers wearing her fashions. From babies to Grandmas, Daughters and Daddy's (with Daddy's wearing their Lilly ties),this album may inspire you to take your own photo to submit.

Vanity Fair Article from July, 2003 Vanity Fair--This article traces Lilly Pulitzer's life from birth, through childhood and on to her careers as model and designer. If you are one of the numerous people searching for Lilly Pulitzer Childhood or Lilly Pulitzer's Childhood, this is your link.

"In The Pink" article from Town and Country on Lilly and her book, "Essentially Lilly"

The "Essentially Lilly" Book of Entertaining--Lilly's book filled with tips for giving fabulous parties and entertaining with grace, along with Lilly's ideas for gardening, decorating, and dressing for success.

Lilly Pulitzer--A Short Bio

Vintage Lilly Pulitzer clothing--In addition searching the normal haunts, like eBay, check out this site called Retrodress. Most of the Lilly Pulitzer items will be found in dresses, separates, Other, and accessories.

Lilly Pulitzer Linens--Check out Lilly Pulitzer's Linen's collection. It's hard to go wrong with Lilly's collection if you're yearning to bring the outdoors in.

Thursday, September 16, 2004


  And Now, A Few Words From My Friends...

I am bogged down with book work and motherhood today (three trips to work at the school in three days just wasn't enough), so my brain is a bit foggy. Good thing that some of my friends are up to the challenge. Below you'll find links to some interesting posts from a few of my Blogging Buddies that I thought you'd find interesting. If the lettering is red (or hot pink), it's a link:

If you are as relieved as I am that good style and good manners are making a comeback, Mr. Netiquette has a link in this post to an article about what's in, what's out and who's setting the rules.

If you love/despise Britanny Spears, love/despise Lindsay Lohan, or if you just happened to be wondering which wafer-thin celebs are promoting McDonald's-France's version of Le Happy Meal, Rancelot is your ticket. He, of course, has lots of other celebrity schtick in his archives.

If politics (left, center or right), information on ADHD in children and adults, the CBS Document Scandal (they've supposedly been traced to a Texas Kinko's now), the US Congress' new payraise that they just voted for themselves, or a detailed map of The Simpson's hometown of Springfield is your cup of tea today, The Moderate Voice is the place you want to be.

Go check 'em out, and I will hopefully be back this evening with an updated installment on Lilly Pulitzer, the most widely searched for post topic (22 Googles for her here in 5 days) on Tall Poppy Diaries this week. Is there something up with Lilly that I should know? Back with this answer and much more tonight!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


  It's Cotillion Time!

A group of my son's 4th grade classmates are enrolling together for Cotillion class this year. The program here is run by Jon D. Williams Cotillions. This is the same program that the Air Force Academy makes a mandatory course requirement for cadets. I've heard good things about it and there are about 10 children in my son's class who are all attending together. I can't wait to see all of the little girls in their fancy dresses and white gloves and the "wild men" in their coats and ties.

In case you aren't familiar with Cotillion, it's a program to teach young people ettiquette, social skills, basic ballrom dance, etc. The Jon D. Williams Cotillions website explains:

"The days of the stuffy, cloistered dance classes are over. By educating our students in a party atmosphere, learning becomes a positive, enjoyable experience; an experience that our students can put to practical use the next time they are introducing themselves, or the next time an adult stops by the family table in a restaurant. And of course, they will also be dance stars at the next family wedding. These are practical skills that our students willuse their entire lives; skills that will make them feel comfortable anywhere, from a school social to the White House."

The kids are excited about it, though the "I'm not dancing with a girl/boy" stuff is inevitable. That ends after their first class, and they are always really excited for their next "party". They will stay in the program through 6th grade here (which is odd to me, since that is when it usually starts in the South).

In some areas, the local Cotillions are led by a Cotillion Committee and are more of a word of mouth thing. However, programs like the one we have here are becoming more common. This is the 21st year for our program here, and we don't have a Cotillion Committee. If you're interested in finding Cotillion classes for children in your area, you can start by clicking on these links to see if there is a program near you:

Jon D. Williams Cotillions

California Junior Cotillion

Gollatz Cotillions and Social Programs

The Cotillion Group

The National League of Junior Cotillions


  Celebs: Check Your Teeth...You're Going Glossy!

Could it get any worse for celebrities? Or any better for anyone who is out of work and can get their hands on a camera? The newspaper industry is going glossy--with their celebrity photo galleries, anyway. The NYT reports:

As The New York Post continues to notch circulation gains against its rival, The Daily News, The News is fashioning a weapon that it hopes will protect its lead, at least on Sundays: a glossy, 48-page magazine mostly made up of photos of celebrities captured at parties in and around New York.

To be known as 25 Hours, the magazine, which will be produced by The News and feature the work of its photographers, is expected to appear as an insert beginning Sunday, Oct. 3, the same day that the paper will begin carrying the latest incarnation of Life magazine.

In an interview Friday, Jayne Gould, the editor of 25 Hours, who came from London's Fleet Street, said that the magazine would contain little writing beyond the captions necessary to identify the faces at the city's book parties, record releases and movie premieres.

Gould said in the article, "New York has so many events going on that are just not reported." It is certain that this is only the beginning of a trend to turn our already over-zealous tabloid industry into the next Fleet Street machine. Plus, it will pressure traditional print media to follow suit, at least to some extent.

I guess the good news is that a lot of people who WANT to get attention will have a better chance at doing so. Unfortunately, there will also be a lot more crazy guys running around, hiding in bushes to get the next scandalous shots of celebrities.


  Are Middle-Aged Women the New Tall Poppies?

Network execs are calling it The Fall of Mommies--as in Fall TV Season NOT Fall from grace. Unfortunately, judging from this NYT article, Fall From Grace seems more like it. Trading Spouses, Wife Swap, Desperate Housewives, and a TV movie based on the book Revenge of The Middle Aged Woman are indicative of what's to come.

In our culture, we tend to belittle and make fun of those issues that scare us the most. We also cut down those people who we perceive as being "too successful" or "too powerful". Judging from this Fall's TV line-up, there may be a group of middle-aged men (dealing with "competition" from strong middle-aged women at home AND at work) who are showing their vulnerabilities.

This morning, as I'm writing this, I'm also watching The Today Show (yes, women are proven superior multi-taskers, as well) where they are about to show a story about how the 50's are the new 30's for women. In other words, where as women used to peak in their 30's and go straight downhill from there, women now peak in confidence, power, status, and freedom in their 50's.

The middle-aged women I know are neither scary, nor obnoxious, nor are they hormonal freaks. Yet, that seems to be the message that some execs want to get across to viewers this season. The Fall line-ups of recent years have been awash with young, scantily dressed 20-somethings. Yet, this season, when 40-50 something women hit the screen they will be vicious, nasty, and outrageously annoying. So I wonder, are Middle-Aged women our culture's new Tall Poppies?


  All Book Publishing, All The Time...

If you are interested in buying books, writing a book, getting a book published, or publicizing your book, this blog may be for you. It's an interesting read and has lots of links to book reviews, articles for writers, etc. Check it out!

Sunday, September 12, 2004


  Great Style News Abounds!!!

Tall Poppies everywhere can celebrate with me this week. Good taste and great style are on docket for Fall. Make sure to check this list of Fall 2004 Fashion must haves, then relax and enjoy...Life is good!

1) NYT: Now You See It, Now You Don't: The NYT Style gurus are proclaiming that the reign of the thong is "over". Out with the thong, in with the silky, sassy, wide-lace edged boy-short (which, like the thong, vitually eliminates panty lines).

2) Brooches Are All The Rage For Fall, and they're affordable, too!: I just bought three gorgeous specimens on eBay for a grand total of $38.88. How much more affordable can fashionable accessories get? Tips: look for Brooches that at least look antique and are at least 2" in diameter; Buy them in odd numbers so you can wear them all together on a tweedy fall jacket; If you're shopping on eBay, I get my best deals on Sunday--I guess I'm the only heathen online (I'm hoping I'm buying myself a bit of grace teaching Primary Sunday school?).

3) Spring 2005 Lines are Silky, Feminine and Oh-So-Wearable: I love the styles for fall, with their 50's flair and lady-like cuts. Now we know that Spring 2005 will be just as fabulous. Look for more coverage than recent Spring lines, lots of chiffon and silk, and loads of detail. Does it get any better than this?

4) One Fur Stole + One Yard of Satin= One Fabulous Wrap: My friend Leslie is a shopper extraordinaire. Her favorite haunt: A Salvation Army store in a major US city. Last year, she gave me a beautiful mink stole that she found on an SA shopping spree (no, I don't find mink stoles at my SA store either). I have sewn double-layered 6" wide black satin ties on either end of the stole, which tie together in a gorgeous bow. The version I copied: $275. The one I just revamped: Priceless. Thanks, Leslie!

4) Reese Witherspoon Is Good For Business: As I mentioned in my August 19th post, Reese Witherspoon loves monogrammed linens. First she mentioned it in this month's Vanity Fair; then it came up again on Ellen (the Ellen Degeneres show) the other day. In the last week, searches to my business site for monogrammed linens (and the subsequent business they brought) are up 25%. Coincidence? Maybe, except that two customers mentioned that they thought about ordering after seeing Witherspoon on Ellen. Hmmm....


  The GrannyVoters Are On The Case

You gotta LOVE it! Annie wrote this post today about her internet-savvy Granny who was doing her part, typing and dialing for her favorite Presidential candidate. Well, she evidently has lots of company. According to this story in The Washington Post, the GrannyVoters are pounding the pavement and hitting the phones in a neighborhood near you.

Geez, I hope I'm that spirited and committed to a cause when I grow up!

Saturday, September 11, 2004


  9/11, Iraq and Tall Poppy Syndrome

This weekend, American's have paused to remember the devastating toll our country paid three years ago for being a Tall Poppy among nations. Some argue that America is the world's bully--and, sadly, she occasionally hands them evidence to corroborate their theory. However, there is a much larger stockpile of evidence that proves otherwise. And isn't that true of most Tall Poppies, whose competition is certain that Tall Poppy is the Devil Incarnate just because they are jealous of her success? Even when there is a mountain of evidence showing Tall Poppy to be thoughtful, helpful and compassionate, you'll never convince her detractors that she isn't evil.

Many are jealous of America's success, freedom, and power. As a result, they are incapable of seeing the good that she does on behalf of nations in need or how vital her hard-earned capital is to their own economies. They hate America because she has grown a bit too high in the field and gets a little too much attention for their liking.

Like all Tall Poppies, America is imperfect. America makes mistakes. But unlike the Weeds who want to choke her, America should temper her anger with justice; evil with good. I don't know how the War in Iraq will fare historically. I fear that America's ability to "right past wrongs" overshadowed her need to move forward with diplomacy, forethought and resolve. The War on Terror must be fought decisively and thoughtfully. But if I were a member of a 9/11 family, I think I would be confused as to where the War in Iraq fit into America's plan to counter my family's loss.

Thousands died on 9/11 because a few Weeds decided it was time to chop America back down to size. They believe that America is the neighborhood bully. We should never allow the Weeds to get the best of us. We should fight against those who would harm us, and bring those who have offended us to justice. However, we should also remember which characteristics differentiate Tall Poppies from Weeds. When we use Weed-like tactics to reach a result of our choosing, we lose stature in the World and strength here at home. And a shriveled Tall Poppy is no longer Tall, at all.

Friday, September 10, 2004


  BlogShares: What's Your Blog Worth?

(NOTE: If the words are in red, they're links)

The other day, Annie posted this message about finding out she was listed on BlogShares, a relatively new Fantasy Stock Market for Blogs, and that she owned shares in some of her favorite blogs. I didn't have time to investigate BlogShares that day...

But yesterday, I was Googling my blog for the first time (it's surprising to see what pops up about you when you do that) and I came across a Google entry about Tall Poppy Diaries being listed on BlogShares. I, of course, had to investigate. What I found was fascinating! I haven't had time to really figure out how to play the BlogShare "game". But I found out that Annie owns a piece of me (or of my blog, at least). Oh, the pressure!

Plus, I got a "gift" of 100 shares in BlogShares from Alex Dunn (who writes this really great blog), which raised my net worth into the $2 million+ range (I won his "newbie lottery)...and I did a bit of stock buying of my own.

You should click on a BlogShare link in this post and check out your own blog's market worth for yourself! Though I don't think this will become an obsession for me, it's a fun, occasional read, for sure.

UPDATE: Mr. Netiquette bought out all of my BlogShares shares in a Hostile Take Over and made me a millionaire 4 times over. I wrote him to explain that I wasn't sure, but I thought I owed him a "Thank You". Then he bought all of the remaining shares in my blog. And, finally, he left an artefact on my site that increased my blog's worth considerably. Mr. Netiquette's motto is "Be Kind Online". Until someone informs me otherwise, I will assume that his recent actions regarding my blog were simply his way of practicing what he preaches.


  Take This Week's Most Popular Quizzes

This morning, I found Yahoo's list of this week's most popular personality quizzes. Granted, these aren't quite as "scientific" or "enlightening" as the BBC tests that I took and posted here over Labor Day weekend. However, if you have a few minutes to waste this weekend, you might enjoy taking some of the tests below. Here are the results of my "tests"...

What Kind Of Chocolate Are You?

Milk Chocolate
Nice and Sweet and not too overbearing, you are
Milk Chocolate. Everyone likes you to some
extent, and a lot of people love you more than
they love their cat.

(This one kind of made me gag. I am really not THAT sweet, and I can think of a few people who don't like me to any extent at all!)

What Kind of Chocolate are You? (Click the link to the left to take this test)
brought to you by Quizilla

What Kind Of Drink Are You?
Sophisticated and classy, you take shitty-tasting liquid and make it look beautiful and glamorous!!
Congratulations!! You're a smart, sophisticated and
beautiful martini!!

(Now THAT's more like it! LOL!)

What Drink Are You? (Click the link to the left to take this test)
brought to you by Quizilla

Which Greek Goddess Are You?

(I am NOT a misogynist! Where are my girl friends when I need them?)

Which Greek Goddess Are You? (Click the link to the left to take this test)

Which Decade Are You?
The Fifties
You Are The Fifties.

(I'm not so sure about the "conformity" part. My "seeds of rebellion" must have been Early Bloomers!)

Which Decade Are You? (Click the link to the left to take this test)

brought to you by Quizilla

Which Silver Screen Siren Are You?

Hmmm...I'll have to think about that one. I wonder what the other options were?

Which Silver Screen Siren are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, September 09, 2004


  Have Mercy On Us: Introduce Yourself!

I want to talk about an issue that plagues everyone on occasion--The Impolite Re-Introduction. As in, the random person who walks up to you in the grocery store and says, "Hi! You don't remember me, do you?" and waits silently with their arms folded while you stammer for a more socially acceptable response than, "No, I don't remember ever having laid eyes on you".

Or the person who walks up to you while you are having lunch with a friend (as I was yesterday) and says, "Wow, what are the chances of seeing you here" and starts trying to have an uncomfortably friendly conversation with you when you have no idea who the person is or where you would have been more likely to run into them!

Please understand...I am good at remembering names AND faces, but I am only human and would never expect anyone else to have total recall, either. The problem is that people feel like they "know" Hubby and me because our names and faces are so familiar from media exposure. Plus, they can sort of keep up with our lives since there are occasional stories about our family in the paper. So, if they met us ten years ago, they may have "seen" us in the media dozens of times since then. Yet, we would have only seen them ONCE! And whose faces and names are going to be easier to remember--those that are in the media or those that are seen or heard only once?

I'm not going to belabor this issue (boy, do I have stories I could tell... like when we are sitting in a restaurant eating dinner with our children and random men we don't even know--it's always men--just pull a chair up to OUR TABLE and start discussing political or legal issues with Hubby...), but suffice to say that there are polite ways to approach people you have met but haven't seen in a while.

Please, PLEASE be kind... unless the person is a really good friend, operate on the assumption that they don't remember your name. It's so much better for the person to be able to say, "Oh, of course I remember you" than to have to say, "I'm sorry...your face is familiar, but I just can't place it with your name" (which is my poor Hubby's favorite line and should be translated as "I have no idea who you are or where we supposedly met"). Next time you see someone who you want to reconnect with, but have only met a few times, try saying something like:

"Hi! I wanted to come over and say a quick 'Hello'. I'm Susie Smith; we met at the Arts Ball last year? " To which any man/woman worth his/her salts would reply, "Why, of course! I remember well. It's so nice to see you again. How have you been?" And then, if you are with friends, you can actually introduce one another and be all neighborly rather than either of you being utterly panic stricken.

It's just not nice to assume that the other person will remember your brief encounters with the same clarity that you do. And rest assured, your company will be avoided in the future if "familiar face" ever finds out who you are!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


  Proud Great-Aunt!

Rhianna Holding Avarie At Hospital

Time to brag on my new great-neice...Grandpa Brian just sent me this pic (and a few others) and I couldn't resist posting it. Aside from getting to admire my two little neices, I am also in awe of the fabulous job Brian did on Rhianna's ponytail--complete with bow to match her "Big Sister" t-shirt! Pretty good for an "old" Grandpa, I thought. I like the festive Mardi Gras beads, too.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


  Kinsey Institute: Having Children Lowers Your IQ

Attn: Today, Sept. 8, The Moderate Voice ran a retraction of the following story, saying "We got snookered". Evidently, this story was a hoax and sucked in lots of other folks, too, including MSNBC. Rather than deleting it, I'm going to leave it up so that if you hear about it elsewhere, you will know that it's not totally accurate. However, as you will read below, my initial reaction to it was, "Yep, that's what I've always thought". The scientific evidence may not have yet been studied by the Kinsey Institute, but I sometimes feel like a walking petri dish for such an experiment.

The Moderate Voice posted this on his site and I thought, "And they had to do a study to figure this out?" Anyway, this story from the Hoosier Gazette begins:
A five-year study run by Indiana University's Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction proves that many in the scientific community have always suspected: having children significantly lowers the IQ of both male and female parents.

It continues:
Researchers at the Kinsey Institute
began their study in 1999 by giving 200 married couples who were planning on
starting families within the next four years Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests.
By 2003, all but 27 of these couples had conceived.

Another IQ test was given to each set of parents successful
in conceiving and birthing a baby six months after their child was born. These
results were compared to the previous intelligence tests.

In every single one of the 173 cases, both
parents scored at least twelve points lower on the second IQ test, with the
majority of parents losing twenty or more IQ points.

The effect on fathers is a bit of a surprise to me, but I know what has happened to me... and it's not pretty!

But wait, THERE'S MORE from Dr. Hosung Lee, director of the study. It seems that our children not only "retard" our brain activity, but that previously intelligent, rational people lose all ability to think objectively once they become parents. Dr. Lee says:

Having children does retard one's brain activity, and since both parents lost intelligence, we must assume that this loss has a psychological rather than biological cause.

The IQ tests show that when a child is born, the part of the brain that makes one think objectively takes the biggest hit when it comes to losing brainpower. This explains why every parent thinks their child is the smartest kid in class or the best athlete, even if that child is as dumb as a box of rocks or needs a calendar to time their forty-yard dash. People who before were intelligent and open-minded turn into raving lunatics who want to blame a teacher or coach every time their mediocre child fails, said Lee.

Fascinating, huh? Thanks to The Moderate Voice for the link.


  NYT Survey: 9/11 Victims' Pain and Loss

This poignant story in today's NYT gives a clear and painful picture of what life for the 9/11 families is like today, almost three years after the tragedy.

As I read the story, I was struck by the thought that I don't feel any safer from a repeat of 9/11 than I did on 9/12. Who's to say that I won't be "one of them" the next time? Our military forces are fighting a war in Iraq. The positive effects of that war on our security will be minimal, at best. Meanwhile, our borders remain virtually unprotected, cargo ships come and go bringing millions of tons of unchecked cargo into our country each day, and the Dept. of Homeland Security is overwhelmed, underfunded and is currently serving as little more than a PR ploy.

I, for one, would feel much more secure if we had those dedicated military men and women who are in Iraq back here guarding our own borders, inspecting cargo ships, and giving our Homeland Security Agency an effective workforce to carry out their stateside security policies. If we don't put more of our focus on domestic security now, the next grieving family could be yours or mine.

Monday, September 06, 2004


  The "White Shoes After Labor Day" Dilemma

No White Shoes After Labor Day--Just A Southern Obsession?

(Note: All red lettering denotes a link)

Every few years some oh-so-chic fashionista like, say Donatella Versace, declares the White Shoe rule obsolete in order to sell white shoes in the winter. And who can blame her? NOBODY I know actually owns White Winter Shoes! Winter white, yes. White Winter, NO! So if she could convince all of us that WE were the ones who are out of touch, there would be a huge market for white velvet pumps, white linen mules with suede accents, etc., etc.

However, Tall Poppies know better. If you're dressing for success, you wouldn't show up for a February business function in White Linen and matching white shoes. (Tennis shoes and Bridal pumps are exempt from "the rule"--of course you wouldn't wear them to a business function, either.) Or would you? If you're still not sure what the fuss is all about, here are 9 VERY good reasons why YOU might not want to wear White Shoes After Labor Day.

1) The No White Shoes After Labor Day rule was meant help people raise their marketability. The American upper-class have always had "rules" of behavior, manner and appearance that are subtle, but easily noticed by those who are members of that class which distinguish them from "Johnny (or Jonna)-come-lately's." (By the way, contrary to what a lot of people believe, this is STILL true).

In the early 20th Century, stateside egalitarians attempted with great success to come up with a few basic "rules" that could be easily followed by middle-class Americans looking to better their professional and social positions. The White Shoe rule was meant to remind upwardly-mobile individuals, who were coming out of the depression and might not have ever learned the Old Guard's "rules", which types of clothing were most desirable during which season.

2) When Hollywood filmmakers want to show that a woman is trying to move on up the corporate ladder but doesn't quite have her act together, they put her in a slightly dated business suit and White pumps or strappy sandals. If that's not dramatic enough, they just belittle and beat her, like they did in "Serial Mom". Not good.

3) A Few of the stylish celebrities who won't wear White Shoes in the Winter: Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Katie Couric, Star Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Courtney Cox-Arquette and Sela Ward.

4) Etiquette goddesses who agree with the celebrities above: Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, Letitia Baldridge, The Etiquette Grrls and most others who are paid to give image advice.

5) Men--This rule isn't just for the ladies. The "Queer Eye" Guys may be coming to a town near you. If they spot you on the street in White Shoes after Labor Day, you'll be history!

6) According to this funny and informative thread on White Shoes after Labor Day, this rule is still intact nationwide. So, no, if you want to make a good impression, your area is still not exempt.

7) There are myriad fun colors and fabrics to wear in the winter that won't make you look like a fashion victim. Check out these lilac suede boots! Nothing says winter quite like LILAC!

8) A Southern Belle Primer, or Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be A Kappa Kappa Gamma, by Maryln Schwartz reminds readers that even royalty are not exempt from "the rule"--and it's important enough that the publisher put it right on the cover: "The Primer reveals...the disastrous white-shoe-in-September affair during the Texas visit of Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York" The book sold over 6 million copies, so a few "outsiders" must have bought into it, too.

9) We cast aside a lot of other rules regarding ladylike behavior that used to be "written in stone", and look where that got us. Today, it's White Shoes in Winter", the next day it's the fall of Western Civilization. We don't want to go there, do we? Of course not!

I say a few rules are worth keeping. Does this one REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But as silly as it may seem, it really does make a difference in the way most people "see" you when you break it. I love my white chinese sandals with the little red, gold and green beaded flowers on the toe today. But I will love them just as much next Easter weekend when I pull them out of Winter Storage.


  Happy Birth Day, Avarie!

Welcome to our family's newest little poppy, Avarie Juliette, born this morning, ten days early, in Birmingham, Alabama. (I'll resist ironic discussion about Avarie's arrival on LABOR Day.) Heather is doing well, Ryan hasn't left her side, and proud Grandpa Brian was attempting to put big sis Rhianna's hair into something roughly resembling a ponytail when he called. Grammy is in Europe watching the excitement via the internet.

Note to family: SEND PICS!


  Set Your Priorities Mathematically

Tall Poppies (and Tall Poppy wanna-bes), Take Heed:

Amber has a mathematical equation to help you choose the quickest, most efficient ways to get ahead. After all, there is nothing Tall Poppies hate worse than wasting time....


  Real Age Tip of the Day

Miracle Tea

Tea lovers may be surprised to learn their beverage of choice touts yet another health benefit: blood pressure control.

Drinking a half-cup of green or oolong tea per day reduced a person's risk of high blood pressure by almost 50% in a new study. People who drank at least two and a half cups per day reduced their risk even more. Their risk was reduced even if they had risk factors for high blood pressure, such as high sodium intake.

RealAge Benefit: Keeping your blood pressure at 115/76 mm Hg can make your RealAge as much as 12 years younger.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


  How The BBC Helped Me Waste FIVE Hours of My Vacation

WARNING: Africanuck, Princessr9, Sass, Grace (am I forgetting anyone? Oh, and Annie) and any other unsuspecting readers with a propensity toward procrastination--This post may prove impossible to resist if you need to do anything other than sit at your computer for the next hour or so. As your friend, I am suggesting that you skip this post. NOW!

As I was saying, hubby took Sons camping this afternoon so that I could get my office cleared out for the contractors to come in on Tuesday and fix my walls and floor. Great! Except that I spent two hours on the phone with Orange Poppy and another almost two hours taking
BBC surveys and reading the results! Thanks for the VERY untimely diversion, Pink Sun Drops, you high-achiever, you.

Anyway, as a firm believer that a bit of introspection and self-evaluation is a GOOD thing, this is just a sample of what I learned about myself today from the
BBC Surveys:

I've got top-dollar millionaire potential. Hubby will be thrilled.

I was supposed to marry an extrovert. (Introvert) Hubby will be thrilled.

I was genetically predisposed and environmentally programmed to marry someone significantly older than me. It's all here under the heading "Harmful Genetic Traits". EUREKA! Another mystery of the universe solved.

My Moral Compass score is in the highest category of social reasoning. Hey! That means that I really AM "Fair and Balanced".

My nose distinctly remembers growing up in the 1930's. According to the experts, the list of smells that I remember from my childhood was NOT CORRECT! However, when you compare the smells that the experts say we 1960's and 70's children should remember with the smells that the survey respondents actually remembered from childhood, the experts only agreed with the respondents an average of 15% of the time. So, just thinking 'aloud' here, but wouldn't that make the EXPERTS INCORRECT instead of me? Just curious....

My Personality Flavour is a twisted hyperbole wrapped in an enigma.

So is it any wonder that I didn't really fit into ANY of the 16 Personality Categories in this test?

I am Enterprising and Artistic, but should avoid any careers involving Realism and Conventionalism. Duly noted.

I'm one, complex Renaissance Woman--equal parts Interpersonal Thinker, Intrapersonal Thinker and Existentialist. It sounds VERY impressive, but I think it means that I do lots of talking and thinking, but not much else.

My Brain Thinks Like a Male AND a Female. I hope that simply makes me well-rounded? (You know, my Flavour said I was VERY feminine!) I'm starting to see some discrepancies emerge...

I know a Fake Smile when I see one! 15 out of 20--and this one is HARD!

I think there were a few more, but now that I have spent another 45 minutes typing this post, it would probably behoove me to just stop now and get back to organizing, cleaning and moving. Besides, I need to have my wits about me tomorrow when I write my very compelling argument opposing the Wearing of White Shoes After Labor Day! Hey, you can't say that I don't have my priorities in order.

Oh, and about one final unavoidable pre-disposition, easily traced back to the womb: Did I mention that my father is a Psychologist? The things we do to our children.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


  Lessons I Learned from Tall Poppies This Week

1) Miss Universe: I'm grateful that when my top fell down while I was dancing on stage in front of 300+ spectators in 11th grade, I wasn't Miss Universe. Her grace in handling her skirt "malfunction" was admirable. The Aussies should be proud.

2) Also from Miss Universe: G-strings are now considered modesty-saving devices. Seriously! It says, "While her modesty was saved by a G-string...". Go back and read it AGAIN! What's the world coming to?

3) Paul Hamm: Tall Poppies are diplomats, not doormats. Medals are won on the mats, but respect is earned in the Field. Go Paul, Go!

4) Serena Williams: Some "Rules" are made to be broken, but if you're gonna break 'em, do it with panache! And I must say, those boots were made for... something!

5) Etiquette : Etiquette and her friends (you know Emily, Amy and the rest of the old guard) are making a comeback (etiquette internet searches were up 24% in the last week). Hits on my etiquette posts are consistently high, as well. So, this week I learned that lots of other people share my little obsession with traditional manners and values... and that's a GOOD thing!

6) Lee at Oh No The Blog: My kind of guys do still exist, it's just that the term "gentleman" is passe'. They are heretofore referred to as Retrosexuals. (Couldn't get the trackback to work: This post is on the main page and is titled "Going Retro On Your Toochas")

I also learned a few lessons from Weeds this week, but I don't care to give them any publicity from here. Suffice to say that I won't be buying any heart-shaped jewelry from Amazon. I am weary of young heiress' who stoop to the depths of self-degradation in order to beg for the public's attention. Unfortunately, I learned this week that these days those sorts of sad stunts work! Oops, I already KNEW that, so that doesn't count.

Listed on 
BlogShares Listed on BlogShares My Bloginality is ENFP!!!

< ? Blogging Mommies # >