Ndel's Cruise Fashion Laws

So many things wrong with this picture.
I’ve come to terms with who I am. I may not like some things, such as my weight. But I’m self aware and I know that I could lose weight. I also know enough about myself to know that starvation, even if it meant Mr. Casablanca on a silver platter, would only be this ---- satisfying, cause I’d be miserable not enjoying my gourmet (as well as junk) food, champagne and chocolates. I can rant about my weight and how my clothes don’t fit or whatever… Rant away, I tell myself. In the end, Ndel, you gotta love yourself and accept you – warts, cellulite and all. Now, I’m not trying to say that one shouldn’t better themselves; not at all. I believe that we have to make the best of what we’ve got. You know, play up the strengths, cover-up the flaws and camouflage when you can. That’s simple, right? We all wear black. Why? ‘Cause it makes us look thinner, that’s why. You know that.

So, why on this green earth, do women insist on wearing decidedly unflattering things?

Especially on cruise ships? My cruise ships to be exact.

Trace and I took a little jaunt on Carnival this past weekend. I know last year I wrote that I’d never take Carnival again (the trailer park of all the cruise lines), but the price was so good, I spent three times it at the spa! Don’t care what you say; I’m doing my part for the economy! Last year’s trip was quite the nightmare. But, I have to say, they redeemed themselves this time around. Not only was the crew friendly and actually offered to do some serving, but the ship was clean and the class of folk most improved. We skipped on the show (ship entertainers doing gospel just doesn’t sound right, does it?), but we did make the art auction (free champagne, need I say more?) and hit the dance floor on multiple nights.

One thing we didn’t do was take pictures of some truly clueless women. Since Cam killed my camera a couple of months ago, I’ve been debating what to do. Buy a new one with greatly improved zoom or live with the two cameras in my smart phones, neither of which is very good and one doesn’t have zoom or flash (Apple, that was a BIG mistake). So, to make a long story short – we just don’t have any pictures of this what not to wear cruise. It’s not like we take a lot of pictures anyway, but man, I sure was puzzled by the number of women I saw this weekend who really seemed to have no clue as to best play up their assets and downplay their flaws.

For instance, Ndel’s bathing suits law #1: only 10% of us look good in two pieces, otherwise known as a bikini. Yes, I know you just lost that 20 pounds (and I seem to have conveniently found them on my tummy), but really, have you looked at your stomach lately? No? Let me get you reacquainted with it, and it’s stretch marks (those 20 pounds left you a little present!), it’s dimples that only a million sit ups a day will ever make go away and that bulge the kid left ya with. That’s right – you may be thinner but your stomach – the thing you’re showing off in that two-piece is not the prettiest it’s ever looked. Believe me, I’m looking at it. I sincerely wish I wasn’t. And I’m not even picking on the muffin top bikini wears, cause that’s a sin I was saving for the blue jean portion of this manifesto.
Ndel’s bathing suits law #2? Ladies, there are companies out there that make suits with lift. As in up. Lift up them puppies. Heck, I have tatas that must weight 10 lbs each and I found something to give me a bit of foundation. Avoid sagging at all costs! If you’re ass sags, get one of those fashionable skirt suits. Please do not wear a strapless, high thigh cut suit. I beg of you. Do not wear one of those one piece backless numbers to try to get out of this rule. That is a two piece suit masquerading as a one piece. If only 10% of women can safely wear bikinis, only 10% of the 10% can wear those man eaters. And I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that’s probably not you. So just go with me on this one and spend a little time and maybe a little money (Loehmann’s carries all kinds of suits at great prices) to play up your strengths ladies!

As a matter of fact, my current suit (by MiracleSuit) plays up my twin assets (considering I have no ass) quite nicely, while helping me reign in this belly of mine. I still have my hips, so I achieve an hourglass shape – which is what women should want to do. Curves, ladies, curves! Two piece suits just don’t give you curves if you don’t naturally have them. And let’s face it; most of us don’t. Do not fall into the trap that two-pieces are sexier or make you look younger. They do not. Leave them for the 10 percenters who need as much oxygen to their brains as possible. Go with dignity. Go with camouflage. Go with color. Besides, leaving a little to the imagination is inherently sexier than letting it all hang out. Right guys?

Ndel’s bathing suit law #3? Bring a cover up. A sarong. A sheer, long shirt. A sheer skirt. Linen pants. Anything. Oh, and a hat. Cover up when necessary. I don’t want to see your sagging tits, stretch marked stomach and bleached out hair over the buffet; it’s already not that good. Your presence looking like that makes it downright upchuckable.

So, now it’s dinner time. And you’re wearing… What are you wearing? Those princess cut dresses only look good on a very thin frame. One you don’t have. Oh, and the long sundress with plunging necklines? Fine for smaller breasted women – or women who know where to find strapless bras. What’s up with you? Nothing, and that’s the problem. Never heard of strapless? And those clear straps don’t count. And for those of you, who wear your clubbing outfit to dinner, just make sure it’s appropriate for both, okay? If you are wearing a tight, short dress – that’s fine, but can you sit at the table and not show your stuff? Or when you’re dancing, does it ride up? Listen, can you not show your stuff? That’s the question. I know your man might want to see it (might not, never know), but I’m pretty sure he’s not down with all the other guys seeing it too. If you have to pull at something constantly, pass. Really, throw it out. It’ll do you no good.

And at the club, please, please, do not wear your short negligee with a slit up to the top of your thigh. I don’t care if you are wearing a g-string. You look like an inflated kewpie doll with an attention problem. Scandalous is the adjective; tacky is the verb. Or those hip hugger jeans when you are not leaner than Kate Moss (see muffin top above). Don’t have an ass (like me)? Stay away from low-slung jeans. They are not your friend. Who told you they were????? And even if you do have the body, please do not wear a cut-off shirt with half your fake boobies hanging out, k? It makes the rest of us feel deficient and fearful that a fight will break out amongst the men. Spare us the drama. Besides, you’re pulling it down all the time, so it fits squarely in the throw it out category. Unless you’re not pulling it down, which means you’re a slut and you wear what you want. Just don’t come crying to the rest of us when the rest of you sags, but your breasts are still perky.

And let me close by reminding my sisters that weaves need maintenance. If you’re not going to do it, you might want to rethink that hairstyle. And just remember, a woman with a nappy weave is never envied; only laughed at. Trust me; I do it all the time. You do not have to have long hair (at least not surgically attached to your scalp). Short hair is an option. People ask me all the time why I cut my hair and potentially scared off my soul mate, cause as we all know, men love long, luxurious locks. Well, it’s cheaper, very little maintenance and I can always wear a wig. When I had long hair, I could never have short hair. But now that I have short hair, I can have long hair as long as there’s a Korean wig shop in the neighborhood. I find it liberating and inexpensive. Plus, I can hide from the bill collector when I need to. I realize it takes a strong man to love a woman with shorter hair than he. Obviously, I need a strong man and that’s okay.

In short, we all have flaws. I have flaws. You have flaws. It’s okay; no one is perfect. We’ve got to accept them and go about a deliberate campaign to erase, hide or camouflage them when we can. When we have a zit, we medicate and cover. We should have the same philosophy when it comes to leisure fashion. Medicate with champagne, play up your strengths and be the life of the party without trying too hard. You’ll have fun, meet cooler people and feel better about yourself.

I promise.

Next time? The online dating profile pictures women should never respond to


Appreciating the Downside

This is a post of two movies. One movie rooted in confusion and not very interesting fantasy and the other rooted in filthy squalor along side waves of metallic shine less than five miles from my home. Both movies star hunky men whom I admit I find attractive. Admittedly, the two more attractive in the mess of a movie Wolverine. The other two attractive stars starring in a movie I think captures my home city in a way that no other has in many a year, The Soloist.

Let's start with the fantasy, mostly because I fantasize that one day I'll meet Hugh Jackman, he'll fall instantly in love with me and I'll become Mrs. Jackman (no offense to the current Mrs. Jackman meant). Well, maybe that's not exactly how my particular fantasy goes, but it'll do for now; I'm sure little eyes are prying. Okay, Wolverine. Where do I start? By now, you've got the picture that I love Hugh Jackman; adore him; think he's hot; think he's supremely talented; loved his Oscar hosting abilities... I love me some Hugh Jackman. I love him enough to say that this movie has got to be the absolute worst I've seen in years.

Now that's tough love.

The official title is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The problem is that the origins are never explained. Even comic books have rules; they have back stories - why did such & such become whatever???? Right? Wolverine's mutant origins are far from clear; he just has them one day. The movie starts when he and his brother are young boys, but they stop aging when, what 35? Why? No explanation for this is given. They hop from war to war, wearing the same hairstyles - even when in the armies for the Civil War, WWI, WWII & Vietnam? Dude, it's hot there, why would you want longish hair or a beard? And get this - what I've just relayed all happens during the opening credits. As you can tell, by this time, I was really looking forward to the actual movie.

I would tell you the story, but there wasn't one. Something about a special band of mutants - I'm not into comic books, so there might have been some characters that I should have known, but didn't. I can say that Ryan Reynolds is underused in this sequence. He has a few lines to clue us to his identity at the end as the super dooper X dude or something (I know it's some other Marvel character - but by that time, I really didn't care to listen). These dudes go into do a job to find something that the villain (Col. Stryker) wants and it's clear that Wolverine's bro, likes to get his gun off. Why Wolfy didn't figure this out in the preceding 100 years he's spent IN WAR with the boob is beyond me. He's had enough; he won't kill just cause commanding officer says so.

He leaves, falls in love, girl dies, he emotes. Oh, gawd, I don't know why I'm telling you this non-sensical plot. Because even though there's a sequence of events, a plot they do not make.

Suffice to say Origins sucks, kinda like in the Star Wars first episode movies were far inferior to the original ones that told of later escapades. The X-Men franchise really is one that had a very good track record. With this movie, I think they've damaged that meme. A smart movie with a good director could have delivered a returning fan for movies to come. Alas, that is not to be for me any longer. They can continue the struggle without me.

As for Hugh. Call me. Or Tweet. I'll be looking out for ya.

Now, The Soloist, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, is a gem of a movie. Neither of these very virile and handsome men are at their appearance best here - quite on purpose. RDJ plays my favorite LA columnist, Steve Lopez or SLo, as he called himself in a series of columns about JLo a few years back. He's funny, smart, sarcastic and a joy to read. He's one of the reasons I continue to subscribe to the LA Times, besides the fact that reading my daily paper makes me feel smart and informed - but that's another blog post. Jamie Foxx plays Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill homeless man, with a love and talent for music living at Pershing Square, five blocks from the gorgeous Disney Hall, the home of the LA Phil (go Esa-Pekka!).

The movie tells the story of how they meet; SLo sees columns and Mr. Ayers sees, well, who knows? I, like many other Angelenos, read the original columns when they were published, so I felt like I knew the players here. I remembered large details, like how Mr. Ayers had a special stick to beat back the rats when he slept on the street, that the movie left out. I was disappointed, but understood the filmmakers had their reasons. Just like they had their reason to show LA in it's beauty, the backdrop of the Disney Hall is breathtaking, as well as to show it's squalor - like depicting the people, including families, who live(d) in the porta potties, on Skid Row to have just a little shelter for the night. SLo, in his columns, wrote about that too, he wrote columns about the other denizens of Skid Row, that the movie does not really touch upon, but rather, depicts a vague essence of their plight. It gives us a few moments to reflect upon those less fortunate than ourselves; those without eyes or health or beauty or faculties. It gives us just a moment's dose of reality. How they live; that they find a way to live in filth, violence, degradation and humiliation; they live. They smile and stop when music, beautiful music is played. They can appreciate talent. They do appreciate humanity when given the chance.

Now that I write this and reflect upon the film, the message, the story, I am humbled. I didn't realize that it touched me so. I told everyone that The Soloist showed my Los Angeles, the ole we don't get to see on the big screen often, even though we see the backdrop of LA all the time. And while others may be embarrassed by our homeless problem (and it is a problem) being unfurled for the world to see, I am proud. For I see people. Alive people.


On My Mind

These last couple of weeks have been kind of interesting.

Dinner at Cut with Skinny Gal & Trace was pretty awesome. In the dining room was the drummer from Rush and that mixed kid from High School Musical. The food was really good - if you go, stick with the meat and the pumpernickel bread. Oh, and the desserts. Do NOT forget your wallet.

Umami Burger has made their menu revolving; meaning they took the mideast burger off. I'm bummed. But I still love the place. Also, Milk has a soft spot in my heart. Stuff seems real good.

Pho is one of my favorite foods and if you haven't had the beef soup, you must try it soon. I just learned that East Garvey Avenue in South El Monte, where I just did three days of flood school, is ground zero for pho in LA County (in the OC - it's Westminster or Little Saigon).

I'm on Twitter and I love it. I get almost all of my news from Tweeters there (Time, Politico, NY/LA Times, Newsweek, The Nation). You can follow me if you like and I'll follow you back. I really like it, especially since I got an iPhone. It's ridiculously expensive, but I LOVE it. The only thing I think must be fixed is that the flash less camera sucks, which is why I am not posting any pictures from it. I am urging Trace to at least get the new Palm Pre when it comes out sometime this month, but she's resisting. I don't know why. I have no problem being connected - maybe that's because I don't have that many people connected to me, so it's not a problem. Pointless maybe, but not a problem.

I'm also, super addicted to Mafia Wars on FaceBook. I'm at level 10, but can't go further until more of my friends join my family. And you know how difficult it is to get someone to join family events...

Like me, who did not want to go to a function that my sister organized for the mentors and teachers for her autistic son, who is graduating from high school next month. Boy was I wrong. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen - teachers being honored by a student and his family. It really needs to happen more often. I think this needs to be a new permanent trend. Much better than those extravagant party for spoiled brats that MTV celebrates, doncha think?

Oh, and I'm getting fatter. Must be all those Umami burgers. No lovers in sight. Need new clothes. Lost is almost over for the season, boo hoo. The swine flu concerns, but does not scare me. Isn't that Obama amazing? And Cam says that he loves me every day.

I'm blessed.