Now when I say choose the hard stuff, I don't mean alcohol. Oh sure, I love a cocktail as much as the next lady does.
A martini with premium vodka, it can't be beat.
But the hard stuff I refer to is precious metals and gemstones.
You see, I'm thinking ahead to Valentine's Day. Yes, it's a big day for proposals and sparkly things in general. Sure, roses and chocolate are popular gifts, and a dozen long-stems are always appreciated by yours truly.
But I love nothing more than diamonds and other exquisitely expensive stones. The more expensive, the better, in fact.
Think about it.
Chocolate, as delicious as it is, spends a moment on the lips and quite possibly a lifetime on the hips. Plus, we're grownups here, ladies. We can buy our own indulgences.
Flowers, too. They will last a bit longer than chocolate (or maybe not, depending on your willpower), so they have that going for them. They're a sweet gesture, most definitely.
But when you ask for platinum, gold and silver (preferably the first two) or diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires (and, sure, amethyst, opals, peridot, citrine, aquamarine and topaz will do, too), you get so much more.
When you open that velvet box (that can also be a good time to open your velvet box for your beloved, when he shows he's invested in you by buying appropriate gifts -- and don't tell me I'm not a feminist, because I believe a woman should get all she can get by whatever means she chooses) you have something permanent to show off. That diamond won't lose value. That ruby won't melt. That sapphire won't spoil. That gold will not wilt.
If your love lasts, you'll have lovely memories tied to those valuables. And if it doesn't, hock it for cold, hard cash or have it customized into something more suited to your current situation.
You won't get that kind of trade-off for chocolate and flowers. Do you hear what I'm saying?
Oh, how I love men. I love a broad set of shoulders, some powerful biceps, and a cute butt.
One thing I do not love about men: They are clueless when it comes to gift-giving.
Oh sure, now and then you find a unicorn and this guy knows how to pick the perfect present for you. Those are rare men indeed.
More often than not many of those rare men may check with a friend or a family member to get advice on what to get you for Christmas, Valentine's Day, your birthday or an anniversary. Or Arbor Day. (Emeralds I think would be lovely for Arbor Day, because, you know, they're green.)To simplify things, I suggest you frequently make show of what your tastes are, if you prefer gold, silver, white gold, diamonds, rubies, princess cut, and so on. Drop not-so-subtle hints around your man, and be sure to point out lovely things you'd like to your girlfriends, your daughter, your sister.
Let everyone and anyone know what you want.
It's a kindness, really.
Then your man won't have to waste valuable energy and endure stress out as he tries to figure out what to get you. He will simply know because you let him and everyone else hear about it. There will be no knuckle-biting tension as he wonders if he chose wisely because you've made the decision making easy.
It's truly a beautiful thing.
Because as much as I love men, they are clueless. They must be told, point blank, and often, what a girl wants. Don't drop tiny cute hints and sigh sweetly that a pearl ring is adorable. Simply point, and pick it up (or circle it in a catalog, or save the image and make it their desktop background on their laptop) and proclaim loudly, "I want this item. This one. See, the ruby earrings right here."
You'll walk away happy, and they'll be happy, too, because you aren't angry over a lame choice that they've made.
And yes, I know, it's the thought that counts. But it's also the thought that you've planted in their indecisive gift-choosing brains.
Family is important. But if they’re annoying, make sure you live at least a hundred miles away. Try to make the distance greater if they are the types who would try and steal a boyfriend (or girlfriend) from you, if they would try to borrow money, or if they only take and never give anything in return. That giving-and-taking logic doesn't necessarily apply to material things. It can also apply to emotional currency. If they only want to complain or tell you all about their day, and never show the courtesy to listen to anything you have to say, they're not worth having around. That same logic applies to friends, too. If your friend/cousin/sister/you-name-it only wants to talk about her life (men are guilty of this, too, I should add) but won't spare a moment to listen to you when you're feeling down, dealing with a dilemma, or even if you're having a great day and want to share that joy, distancing yourself from that type of person is never a bad thing.
Keep the good ones near and the bad ones, send them Christmas cards and be done with them. If they plan to visit, fancy up the house so they see you doing well, but set a time limit, too. There's a reason for the old adage, fish and company stink after three days.
If you can ward them off by saying your roof is leaking or something like that, go for it. Sometimes one must tell white lies for their own health.
Being of a witchy nature, I do love Halloween. Or, as many witches refer to it, Samhain.
I tend to refer to it as Halloween, though.
I know All-Hallow's Eve is when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, but because I can't see ghosts, it's not something I bother too much with. If they don't have the sense to show themselves to me, that's their loss.
I do enjoy the theater of the holiday, however.
I love nothing more than to get dressed up. In some ways, every day is Halloween for me.
Some people use it as a day to indulge some hidden side of their nature, where they hide behind a mask or makeup to be sexy or scary or funny. Others use it to express some true side of themselves. I count myself among the latter.
My day-to-day goal is to present my Fiona-most self. That means extra sparkle and my usual false eyelashes. A bit of mousse and hairspray never hurts, either.
Personally I like to dress up -- in fancy dress or costume -- whenever the mood strikes.
For Halloween I'll buy as much fun makeup and sparkly items as I can get my greedy little hands on. But I'll also wear all red or pink for Valentine's Day, or wear shades of emerald for St. Patrick's Day. For Easter I'll wear bunny ears and pin a bunny tail to my behind. For Christmas you can guess I'll be sparkling as much as any holiday tree. My daughter sometimes refers to me as a human Christmas tree, and I think that is probably the sweetest compliment she's ever paid me. Who, after all, doesn't love to admire a beautiful, sparkling holiday tree?
So, yes, Halloween is fun, but it's only one day to be blazingly glorious out of 365.
Now, excuse me. I just bought some cat ears, a leopard-print dress, and some rhinestones. I'm going to get ready and hit the down.
Have a purr-fect Halloween. I know I will.
Cooking is important.
It’s a way to nourish the body and the soul. It’s a way to express oneself.
It’s also a way to show off.
When done with skill it's a surefire way to win praise and adoration. People will rave at this magic that you've performed, to take some garlic, sea salt and pepper, some oregano and thyme, and a bit of olive oil and a chicken, and to roast it to crispy, juicy, flavorful perfection.
There's also a lesson there in that simplicity can produce elegant and sublime results.
On the flip side, if you're cooking for your love, you don't want every cooking effort to mean a home run (to switch metaphors).
When dinner is done as a carefully planned disaster, it’s a ticket out to a meal at a fancy restaurant.
You doubt me? It's as easy as cleaning out the freezer or pantry of old ingredients. Be sure to add sugar instead of salt, or vice-versa. Instead of a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, add a half cup. Don't be too careful about peeling that onion or that shallot.
This is another opportunity to be creative. Think of it like being a child again and making mud pies.
Then when your sweetie comes home, be sure to have your hair and makeup done, but keep your clothing casual. Show him that you're thrilled to have him home. Show excitement about the meal you were so inspired to make just for him.
Serve it with love, and taste (just a tiny bit) along with him, and then whip your napkin down onto the table and throw your head in your hands and squeeze out a tear. Sigh. Let your lower lip quiver. Whimper over this culinary failure.
Wait for him to offer to take you out. He might really be doing it so he doesn't have to eat the sugared-cayenne catastrophe, but you've won a behind-the-scenes victory.
Put on a pretty outfit and enjoy that impromptu night out on the town. You've earned it.
True failure can teach many important lessons. In this case, however, planned failure let you be queen for the night.