Kiss Me Baby On an Easter Sunday

You can call me Godless, but I'm going to have my Easter Bunny and all his friends. And that's that.

Lev accused me of being a Godless-Christian-Pagan who celebrated empty holidays and believed in nothing but Bloomingdales. If I didn’t know this was an attempt at flirtatious fighting, I would have thought attacking me, the Church of Couture, and the Easter Bunny was a terrible way to woo me.

“Do you even go to church on Easter?”


He then launched into a history lesson about Catholicism  — how it usurped Pagan holidays and how modern society has commoditized formerly sacred festivities. I took a sip of wine and prepared myself for battle.

I confessed: I am a terrible Catholic — I dropped out of CCD, I can’t remember the last time I attended mass, and I don’t know the “Hail Mary.”

But I am an devout Easterer. I look forward to the pageantry of the holiday and the togetherness it inspires.

On Easter morning, I would awake to a cartoonishly large chocolate bunny I was never allowed to eat — it was too expensive to devour right away and too bad for my teeth to be eaten period. I still wonder why my mother didn’t just buy a plastic chocolate bunny she could use as a flower planter between Easters.

Hot Cross Buns. Ceramic egg trees. Symbols of spring. There's nothing I don't love about Eater.

Growing up, I enjoyed putting on my floral-print dress and running around the yard with friends on a hunt for eggs I had laboriously bejeweled and speckled the night before with the help of my parents.

Once I got older and the neighborhood kids moved away, I held a 50+ Easter egg hunt. I assembled the adults who had once been the designated “hiders” and turned them into “seekers.” It was a no-holds-barred kind of hunt where there was only one rule for me to follow — no eggs hidden below waist level. Bending/squatting to retrieve something they’d prefer to dress with mayo and serve in a sandwich seemed too hazardous an activity. I obliged.

At the end of the day, I think my family members were grateful for the chance to rekindle their inner-children — that is what Easter is largely about, isn’t it? Renewed life.

“Call me Godless, but I’m going to have my Easter Bunny,” I told him. “And my bonnet. And my tie-dyed eggs. And my Christmas tree. And that’s that.”

Lev popped in with a cheeky remark about behaving like a rabbit and how Easter was interfering. I rolled my eyes and handed him a Cadbury cream egg in my purse.

“Even a Scrooge deserves a little holiday love,” I said as I bid him good-night. It was Good Friday, and I had hot-cross buns to put in the oven 😉

I Don’t Own a Suit, or What in God’s Name am I Going to Wear to My Interview?

Going to the Opera? Come on, challenge me! There's a dress for that.

For only the second time in my life, I don’t know what to wear. What to don on a first date? No problem — got a top that hugs (and plunges) in all the right places. Gallery opening? Come on! Challenge me. Opera? There’s a dress for that. Job interview? Umm… (cue Jeopardy countdown music).

I probably should have asked for a suit for Christmas.

Every morning at 6:30AM, my mother would get ready for work. Hot rollers, St. John’s suits, and Farragamo pumps. I hated the St. John’s suits. Woolly, itchy, boxy garments that I associated with the things that took my mother away from me. Suits made you overweight. Suits made you come home at midnight and travel on weekends. Suits made you late to the talent show. I swore I’d never ever, ever own a suit.

20 years later, and I’ve stuck to the promise I made to myself. No suits. Plenty of dress pants, a cadre of jackets, but none designed to be worn together.

Is the Kate Spade dress with the color-blocking trim too much whimsy for a corporate marketing gig?

Which brings me to my dilemma. I have several interviews scheduled over the next two weeks and Nina Garcia says a “chic, modern take on the classic suit” is the way to go for  interviews. Eeeeek! I’ve never been at a loss when it comes to getting dressed, but given what my wardrobe surely lacks, what in god’s name am I wearing to meet prospective bosses?

The jobs I’ve gotten callbacks for are in a variety of fields — the art world, the corporate world, the non-profit sector — and the question I have to ask myself as I prepare for each meeting is: what version of “me” do I want to present?

Obviously, the goal of each outfit is to come off as professional, but is there more room for whimsy in an art job than in a corporate marketing job? Or would a marketing firm prefer someone with a bit of flair? Is the Kate Spade knit dress with the Mickey Mouse-esque buttons and red accents appropriate for an interview with a PR company? Should I stick to pants and a jacket? Can I wear pants without a jacket? How high a heel is too high? It’s winter still — do I wear the understated wine-colored coat or the show-stopping Diane Von Furstenberg green-gray-black mottled cashmere coat? Do I bring a handbag or a brief case? Which handbag — are navy and silver sequins too much?

My mother voted I wear the outfit on the left to my interview. Fashionista Nina Garcia, the one on the right. I chose a hybrid.

In some ways, I’ve shot myself in my farragamo-clad foot by making deciding what to wear to an interview more nerve-wracking than the interview itself. I know what I’ve done in the workforce, I know my education, I know my career goals, but gosh darn it, I don’t know if “individual,” “fashionable,” and “professional” can coexist in one outfit.

If you walked into my bedroom right now, you’d think they had just finished filming “Twister” in there. After an hour of trying-on and re-trying on, I finally settled on an ensemble. Since I have three interviews left this week and can’t get to the stores before the weekend, I just have to believe individual, fashionable and professional exist in the form of brown high-waist pants (a la Katherine Hepburn) and a tweed motorcycle jacket.

The pants and jacket only narrowly defeated the magenta bra and black tuxedo pants my mother suggested I wear when she saw me standing at the top of the stairs in a panic.

“That looks good. Why don’t you just go with that.”

“Mom, I’m not auditioning to be one of Madonna’s back-up dancers.”

I’m not entirely convinced she was joking, but if by next week none of these interviews have turned into offers, magenta bra and black tuxedo pants it is.

My Father Always Told Me to Keep My Alternative Job Skills Honed

Our resumes get lost at sea, our cover letters messages in a digital human resouces bottle.

I’ve come to accept that the job hunt is a long and arduous process. Sometimes, you’re lucky to have a  family member or fairy godmother who can make a call and throw a little pixie dust into the air so that in the morning you wake up with a job, a book deal and a pony.

Most of us lack pixie dust. Instead, we rely on resilience, patience and padded resumes.

In one day,  I churned out 5 cover letters requesting to be considered for recent postings in a variety of fields:

  • Auction House Junior Specialist
  • Gallery Coordinator
  • Culture blogger for an online edition of a magazine
  • Documentary film researcher
  • Professional Wingwoman

The Professional Wingwoman was my father’s idea.

He has lots of ideas about what I could be doing for work: running a gourmet hot dog shop in our home town, hosting a “fresh baked farm bread” stand in upstate New York, working as a barista in my own NYC cafe. Very few of his suggestions are practical or have to do with art history, though he’ll argue a cafe is a great place to hang paintings.

I've had years of experience in the job. I'd be a natural professional wingwoman

The wingwoman option struck him while he was watching Rachel Ray (!?!). The founder of, a dating service for men who lack game — the only thing they can pick up at a bar is their own tab, and only if it’s very short — was a guest. My father thought it was a natural fit given that my college years were spent mostly in the company of sporty guys with ivy-league degrees and monosyllabic names. Indeed, I had 4+ years of wingwoman training.

Figuring it was better to have more lines in the sea, I took my father’s suggestion and went fishing again. I updated my CV, uploaded a photo and submitted an application.

I’ve only just started to receive interview requests on job applications that went out in November. Who knows if I’ll hear back from But maybe, just maybe, in May instead of “art historian,” I’ll have a new career teaching another art form — the art of the pick-up.

Some Might Call it Puppy Love

Two days later and my upper lip is still the swollen byproduct of an overly aggressive display of affection from my Valentine. Rough-housing on the floor with a 3 month old terrier puppy is always risky business, no matter how small the tyke. Don’t let those miniature milk teeth fool you — they pack a mean pinch.

how could you say no to that face? And then came the love bite and my swollen upper lip.

Wrap a red bow around its neck and call it Cupid, my new cairn terrier puppy Casey was my accidental Valentine this year. Accidental, because we almost didn’t pick her, but she wasn’t going to let us go home without her.

Last April, we lost Jessie, our 12-year old,  brighter than a sunbeam cairn terrier. Since then, there’s been a gaping hole in the family. But to be honest, while we desperately wanted another dog in Jessie’s likeness, we weren’t fully committed to the endeavor of finding one. Jessie was survived by 2 other terriers, and we felt we owed them both more attention.

Plus, puppies are huge emotional and physical commitments. Sure, I’ve cooked dinner for hungry boyfriends, but doing so wasn’t a mandated responsibility in the relationship. Puppies have to be fed. They also have to be picked up after, disciplined and loved (maybe they’re not so different from my exes after all). The analogy to children is apt, except that when it comes to puppies, we get to pick what breed, what gender and what disposition enters the family. Our standards were high.

A dog that swallows earrings might develop other bad habits?

Casey wasn’t our first choice. When we visited her litter 4 weeks ago, we came away wanting her sister. Casey’s ears drooped and her blueish, mottled coat made her look more warthog than terrier. Her sister was lighter in color with ears like tea-saucers — we saw her and saw our lost Jessie.

But Casey had other ideas.

On our second visit, Casey came to bat. My mother reached into the pen to examine the pup. Casey looked at my mum, looked at her tournmaline earrings, which matched her pink collar, and dove. Before my mother could ask for assistance, Casey had swallowed the 2 carat stud. Was it a sign? We were doubtful. It took her a day and a half for my mother to have a complete pair of earring again.

Casey has quickly made herself a part of the pack

On Valentine’s Day, we got a phone call to tell us the puppy was ready and that Casey was our only option. We didn’t think we were going to proceed — a puppy that eats gem stones may develop other bad habits. The hour and a half car ride was spent comparing the pup with the pink collar to the one with the white.  By the time we got there, we were on the fence. Casey wasn’t. As I walked into the puppy room, she practically leap over the coral gate and into my arms. I caved and the little pup with the pink collar came home with me.

Cupid’s arrow hit me hard this February 14th, just when I was least expecting it. But then again, that’s what they say about love, puppy or otherwise.

Does Bubble Wrap Have a Right Side Up?

The calendar tells me it’s closer to Valentine’s Day than it is to Christmas, and yet until yesterday the stockings were still hung by the chimney with care. There’s no room for Cupid’s arrows and heart-shaped chocolates when your home is still overrun with elves and 8 tiny reindeer.

Traditionally, the family commences de-decorating on the first day of the New Year. It takes all the 12 Days of Christmas and then some to get each turtle dove and leaping lord out of its box, but usually we’ve closed the book on Christmas by January 2nd.

Not this year.

De-Christmasing requires heavy artillery, dogged determination, and a stiff drink.

It’s hard to let go of the holiday spirit when you’re buried under a snow drift. Plus, the 9 dancing ladies find the basement very dreary. My feet were dragging, but eager to begin the march towards robins, daffodils, and bunnies, I finally armed myself for de-Christmasing.

I stood in front of the table and assessed my supplies. It was all there:

A roll of bubble wrap, 4 feet in diameter

3 rolls of scotch tape

2 lbs of tissue paper (acquired for free from an unattended cash register in the menswear department at Bloomingdales)

Empty plastic boxes and large, brown department store bags

2 Sharpies– one red, one black

Bottle of gin

A straw

In the past, stowing away Christmas has been left to my father — which explains why more than one of the reindeer are missing feet. It’s also why I never realized how much more work it is to put away the holiday cheer than it is to spread it. A whole day spent wrapping wreaths in tissue paper and  porcelain evergreens in bubble wrap. A whole day sorting gift wrap into drawers and bells into boxes. A whole day nagged by the question: does bubble wrap have a right side up? I guess I’ll find out in 11 months when I unwrap Mickey Santa.

The glow of LED lightbulbs in the snow -- it's a carnival in ice crystals

One thing I refused to take down and store away are the outdoor lights. The city is swamped in slush. The sidewalks smothered in Mt. Everest-sized snow piles. Winter is growing dreary. Yet, the red, green, and blue lights bring a bit of joy. There’s something about looking out the window at the glow of LED lightblubs playing on the snow that cuts through the gray gloom — it’s a little carnival in ice crystals. The winter promises to be long. Will I be willing to put away the Christmas lights before July?  Here’s hoping.

If You Buy it, He Will Come:Or My Mother’s Alternative to eharmony

“Forget about a puppy!” Ivy teased when I told her what I hoped to get  for Valentine’s Day. “How about a hubby! I bet your father wouldn’t say no to a hubby!”

What do you want for Valentine's Day? A puppy or a hubby? I'm leaning towards the puppy...

Ivy was probably right — my father sees no reason to bring another dog into the family, but I don’t think he’d object to the addition of an able-bodied human male to watch football with. Well, bad news daddy, it looks like you’re going to be paper-training a terrier long before you’ll be welcoming a son-in-law.

Then again…maybe not.

Thanks to a weekend in Dallas, my mother has written a new marriage mantra which she is convinced will produce my prodigal rich husband in no time:

If you buy it, he will come.

Buy what, exactly? The wedding dress, of course. Surely, there’s a superstition about that, Mom.

The trip to Dallas was for business rather than pleasure, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s never let a little business get in the way of a good shoe sale. Neiman Marcus was broadcasting a designer footwear clearance that weekend, and Dallas just so happens to be the Neiman Marcus mothership. It was a good thing I brought my big suitcase.

The Kevan Hall wedding dress conjured in a dream found in Dallas, Texas

Inside the famed department store, the sea of shoppers parted allowing me a clear line to survey the couture ahead. There, radiant under a single spotlight, stood the wedding dress I had seen only in a dream. Equal parts Victorian and modern, it was perfectly me in beige-pink lace.

“So are you planning a wedding?” the sales associate asked as I gently fingered the beading on my way to a price tag.

The real answer was “no,” but because I didn’t want the woman to think I was some crazy, desperate single girl who spent her weekends trying on wedding dresses for no one, I lied.

No matter where I went in the store, I couldn’t shake the dress from my mind. Not even Diane Von Furstenburg could hold my gaze. I had eyes for nothing else.

“I think you should just buy the dress,” my mother whispered when 20 minutes later she found me back in the bridal salon, dazed and drooling.

“But, I’m single.”

“Doesn’t matter. If you buy it, he will come.”

“My life isn’t a Kevin Costner movie.”

“Well, it’s not like anything else has been working for you. Let’s see if they have it in your size.” Sometimes, my mother is a bad influence.

So at the end of the trip, there were no size 8 1/2 Manolos or Louboutins, Jimmy Choos or Diors packed into my over-sized Delsey roller bag. Instead, just a receipt for a fairytale-sized confection of silk and satin and the promise of my mother’s voice saying “if you buy it, he will come.”