Shep Rose is like a child, That longs for everything it can come by…

Bravo Television Commentary

Five Insights for Shep Rose Regarding LOVE

I’ve, many times, started to report my thoughts on Shep Rose and his troubled heart. Then a rush of so many disconnected  philosophies flood my mind, the list of things to mention reads as long as Craig’s career goals last season. So, I close the computer, pour another glass of sweet tea and put it off till another day

Today, I challenge myself to make some written headway on the subject. I know, its easy to analyze someone else from afar so please don’t label me a hater. Its only with best wishes I weigh in on how Shep might deal with some issues that separate him from true love.

I really do adore Shep. He’s an imperative piece of the perfectly cast reality show, Southern Charm (Thursday night’s on BRAVO Television) that chronicles the lives of a group of colorful, entertaining Charlestonians.

Principal character Shep Rose is Charming (note the capital C) and that’s why he gets away with all kinds of mischief. He’s handsome, funny and doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously. He loafs around Charleston behaving like he’s on eternal vacation. He ambles into bars, hangs around golf courses and hunting lodges and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. And that might be, Unless, he is truly interested in love. If he is, he has to focus, strengthen his attention span, and stop reaching for every easy, meaningless involvement that comes along.

I’ll mention five (of ten) items I think Shep needs to sort through if his intentions for a real partner are honorable.  We’ll see how things go. I may publish five more.

1.So Shep,….its time to come to terms with the fantasy of marrying a sweet, privately educated, Southern sorority girl from a strong southern family who has the makings of a skilled wife and mommy.  Those girls are serious about their futures when they’re young and get snatched up by their contemporaries after graduation.  The gap between you and young college graduates is widening by the nanosecond. I’m not brow-beating you for failing to snag your college girlfriend. I’m suggesting, in case you think about it once in a while, you put that thought in the no longer available bin.

2. You are extremely blessed with a loving family. Your parents seem a couple whose connection is authentically solid, rooted in respect, true affection and tradition.  Their love story  has rendered a beautiful family and lifestyle. They are to be congratulated for their dedication to each other and your esteem is well-placed. However, idealizing your parents could be holding you back.

At 38, please understand even the most successful couples have hiccups and struggles. Projecting a united front to the world shows manners and breeding but, even they have had their private strains.

3. Southerners are a group largely misunderstood by the outside world. The south is full of beauty, tragedy, heartache and ghosts. According to my own (undocumented) research, most folks have negative associations with the south (this author exempt). Since you stem from old southern roots, a fellow southerner might understand you best. My stomach catches as I write this. It’s plain weird to suggest that people ‘stick with their kind’. I’m not speaking in terms of religion, heritage, color or socio-economic group. What I mean is, a deep love of the south (for all its good and bad) might be a mutual point of deep connection between you and a potential love.

4. Find a balanced counterpart. Let’s be honest, you are a H -A -M, HAM! You are outgoing and easy with people. You love attention. Your Speedo wearing theatrics is but one example. I see you with a Laura Bush type. Think about it. Politics totally aside, you need a smart, well-mannered, sweet, funny, sincere lady who will give you straight-up advice and balance your antics. Think Laura Bush’s calm, brainy, librarian intellect set against her husband’s loose, partying, lack of structure.* Opposites make wonderful partnerships. Adorable Cameran and her husband are the perfect illustration.

5. Reach for that special feeling. Anyone who has genuinely fallen in love knows that chemistry is key. Some people grow to love one another which is a profound experience too but if you find an authentic spark, a palpable energy with someone, then follow your instinct and don’t give up when the first inconvenience comes along. Be a gentleman. Show respect and value a little restraint. Remember how you fumbled last year? You wanted to be unattached for a weekend wedding and thus let Austin swoop in on the beautiful, smart and fun-loving Chelsea. Enough said. (I hope that didn’t hurt too much.)

Bless the hearts (and I mean this sincerely – no snark attached) of Shep Rose and his castmates for bearing their souls for the rest of us to watch and enjoy. They provide a lot of fun escapism for viewers.

*This referral to Laura and George Bush comes from what I’ve read about the couple’s early days of courtship/marriage and how they found common ground in their relationship. This notation does not indicate any political statement or leaning.  I’m speaking only in terms of marriage and successful personal relationships. 



Books For Art Lovers

Personal Essays

I just finished, for the second time, Steve Martin’s An Object of Beaty and it inspired me to googel some local art shows. I have one friend, in particular, who is a fellow art lover and I’m hoping I can dangle the offer of lunch and gallery hopping this week. I think she’ll bite.

Not ready to give up this arty feeling, I thought I’d create a short list of books for fellow art lovers. If you don’t have it already, I hope you come down with your own case of art fever. It’s a declicious malady that can never be cured. It can only be fed with more art.

  1. The Last Nude by Ellis Avery – Set between world wars, Avery’s story is of and artist’s obsession with a muse and all the human emotions that go with passion and mania
  2. The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – Most everyone I know read this when it was flying aroud book club circles like wildfire but its worth a re-read. Also, the book is so much better than the movie so don’t cheat on this one
  3. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde –  A classic?, a fable? a decendant of a Greek mythical tale? Yes to all. But also an in-the-face story about how art imitates life. In this case both physically and metaphoically
  4. Seven Days In The Art World by Sarah Thornton – This is a great read to follow An Object of Beauty. It keeps you swadled in the exclusive niche of the New York art scene
  5. Way To Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa – Parallel stories that illuminate the colorful work of Paul Gauguin


Five Books To Revisit This Season

Personal Essays

My husband was gone all weekend. He visited one of our college kids. They planned some hiking advetures that were a little too ambitious for me.

Everyone should spend a weekend alone every once in a while. I made the most of mine by staying snug behind my blue door. I stayed in bed all day Saturday, glued to the coverage of Barbara Pierce Bush’s funeral and all the commentary that followed. She is an aforementioned idol of mine. In all honesty though, had her funeral not been Saturday, its extremely likely I would have stayed in bed watching TV anyway. Today, I gardened a bit and read for several hours in the sun, totally uninterupted, which was decadent since the day was so warm and bright.

As summer approaches, I’ve thought of so many great works worth a reread. I love going back to classics and sometimes books too young to yet be considered classics. Our point of view and the way we interpret an author’s message changes as we age and  gain experiences so although we may be familar with a story, our relationship to the sub-text changes. I invite you to join an experiment to see if you gleen new attitudes and perspectives in your favorite literature.

My Top Five Rereadable Summer Book List:

  1. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1933.  I guess its selfish to list  my favorite book on top. Academics will say when a book’s theme’s stand the test of time, no matter the era, its considered great literature. Fitzgerald’s deep probe into  pure human folly and ego make him forever contemporary since they are fundamental human flaws that invite discourse in any time period.
  2. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, 2010. I can’t imagine what Steve Martin’s IQ is. It must be staggeringly high. It seems there is nothing he can’t do. His credits include actor, comedian, musician, singer, novelist and playwrite. Showcased in the novel An Object of  Beauty is his real-life knowledge of art history and passion for collecting modern American art.
  3. Anything by Ernest Hemingway. The beauty of Hemingway is his masterful, clean, precise style. If you’re headed to the beach and feel like bringing a Heminway novel is too (thematically) heavy, think of it this way:  His work is always a fast read because of strong, unadorned sentence structure. You can just read a chapter at your leisure but you will be left with food for thought for the rest of the day… and much longer.
  4. On The Road by Jack Kerouc,  Jack Kerouc, 1957 was the type of person my parent’s generatoin called beatniks. If you’ve never read On The Road, its perfect for summer as its all about the spirit of his travels (although fictionalized) through North America. He not only helped define his generation but will give you an enthusiastic summer road trip bug.
  5. Galapogus by Kurt Vonnegut, 1985. What isn’t current about the idea taking the human race back one million years? Science fiction that plays with satire, evolution and survivalism. Galapogus is one of those books, along with Vonnegut’s others, you can never forget due to its totally unique style and character development yet it reveals itslelf in new ways every time you read it.

Enjoy Your Reading. What greater pleasure is there?

Barbara Bush: True Grace

Personal Essays

I can’t let today, the day of Barbara Pierce Bush’s funeral, go by without sharing a few personal words about the enormity of her influence on so many, many people.

During my lifetime, George Bush Sr. has been my favorite president. I was hugely enamored with the family when George Bush served as Vice President and thrilled when President and Mrs. Bush stepped into the White House.

I probably can’t come up with anything that isn’t being said on every American news station, but I can say that, personally, Barbara Bush represented the best of what we hope to be as Americans. Sadly, in today’s White House, decorum, truth, manners and compromise have become extinct which makes me long for the transparency and morality of the Bush White House even more dramatically. I hope, in remembering Mrs. Bush’s grace and strength, current leaders (and citizens alike) will be reminded that life can be led with less pretention and more humility.

One of my favorite photographs of the Bush’s  ran in Life Magazine. I saw it flashed on this morning’s news. Apparently Mrs. Bush asked  photographer David Valdez, who documented many of their family memories, to stop by some morning around 6:00 AM.  The photo captures The Bush’s, clad in pajamas, in their king-sized bed along with six of their young grandchildren. Apparently, this was a typical morning as they often had their grandchildren with them whether in their home in Midland, Texas, The Vice-Presidential mansion or the White House itself.

Among many attributes, Mrs. Bush’s  fierce dedication to famiy will live on in my heart. She was wholly supportive of her husband, investing herself in his career and happiness which is a quality we need to revere in today’s society that can be critical of wives who choose to build homes and families rather than careers.

Mrs. Bush gave countless hours to her personal missions of service. Her lifetime was filled with energetic, compassionate giving. She will be remembered for her on-going foundation for family literacy but their are countless stories of quiet, heartfelt acts of kindness as well. She often supported populations in this country who were met with discrimination. She supported philanthropic groups who delt with homelessness and AIDS patients in the 1980’s, a time when both social problems were largely misunderstood.

Mrs. Bush’s family, friends and the country have suffered a  great loss. To a beautiful lady, completely authenic  – Thank you for your discretion, kindness, humor, values and inspiratioin. I hope every Amerian takes a moment to celebrate her life’s work.

Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat others.      – Barbara Pierce Bush

Coastal California Spring


Here in California, those of us who live near the ocean experience a period of cool, grey days in spring often referred to as May Grey or June Gloom. Most years, the sun finally makes its warm face known for July 4th which always feels like the advent of summer for me since June is sweater weather.

April is usually beautiful, so we are lulled into light, sunny moods. Then, come May, we are suddenly eclipsed in a clouded, somber marine layer that, for me, feels heavy with oppression.

In an effort to appreciate the lovely young spring now, and to prepare for the upcoming late spring’s drab, blanketed days, Im playing with the makings of a poem.

Here is my first swipe at it:

Coastal Spring by the Pacific

rare and tender spring twilight
bears a modest, blushing sky
timidly bruised  pink and purple.
a light divine hand drags
gauzy clouds toward the horizon
into puffs that invite sailor’s earnest dissertations
to the atmospheric dusk,
clear and permissive


Lost In Las Vegas

Personal Essays

Have you been to Las Vegas lately?

I have.

I recently found myself in Las Vegas for a couple of days. The most noteworthy thing that happened to me is…I got lost. Really confused and lost.

I got lost in my own hotel and what ensued was a moderate/severe panic attack. The panic attack was on-par with Jack Nicholson’s famed panic attacks as Henry Sanborn in the movie Something’s Gottta Give. If this had been my first, I would have sworn I was dying. Even recounting it now gives me need to pause, look away from the screen and breath deeply.

My husband had to be in Las Vegas on business. He invited me to join him en route to meeting our kids for spring break. It’s fair to say, we’re not Vegas-ey people. Two homebodies, we don’t gamble, don’t drink much, don’t enjoy crowds or lots of noise. So, by definition, we are not Vegas-ey people. I will also mention that I lack an adequete sense of direction which will make my story believable.

My husband asked me to pick the hotel. Based on both the world-famous reputation of Canyon Ranch Spa plus its impressive website, I chose The Venetian because it houses the Las Vegas branch of Canyon Ranch Spa.

I booked myself an entire day of what sounded like scrumptious spa treatments. My review on the spa is lack-luster, Its dated. It’s too spread out – connected by a series of long, maze-like hallways which in no way feel oasis like which is what I was looking for. Half my treatments were nice, the other half below average but I’ll save that full analysis for a future post.

My room was on the 16th floor of The Venetian while the spa was on floor 3. Knowing I had left my and taken an elevator to  floor 3, you can follow my logic in assuming I could reverse the process and retire from the spa directly back to my floor.

I think I went wrong when I, unknowingly, exited to the wrong elevator bank. I had no idea the massive Ventian was conected to yet another massive hotel, The Palazzo. The Twilight Zone-esque experience that followed made me feel like I was in some kind of Hell comprised of long, long hallways and banks of elevators that led to floors and rooms that were not mine.

I will say, the employees were all very well-trained. Every time I encountered someone with a name badge on, I was promptly directed to  “go down to the casino level and follow the signs”. It’s obvious where they want you spending your time.

A few nights later I was explaining my story of woe at a group dinner. My eighteen year-old grabbed my phone and read the text l conversation I had with my husband to the entire table which proved histerical (as many panic-inducing situations do, after-the-fact).  I think the conversation probably best illustrates my anxiety-ridden misadventure.

5:15 PM – husband to me: going back to hotel

6:01 PM – me to husband: Coming. lost in palazzo. what is palazzo?

6:01 – husband: connecting hotel

6:02 – me:  connecting? its not big enough?

6:02 -husband: where r u?

6:02 – me: ???. anxiety growing

6:02- husband:  yr ok

6:11 – me:  not one fu*@*** person will tell me how to get back thru spa. only directed to go thru casino. need other portal.  shinny collegen mask on face.

6:12 – husband: what?? Look for Venetian signs

6:15 – husband: do u want me to find u?

6:17 – me: anxiety attack. ready to murder myself or other

6:18 – me:  Scary Mormon Hell Dream (note: we had just seen Book of Mormon two night’s earlier)

6:19 – me: is there oxegen in here? Also. so hungry.

6:19- me: mite stage heart attack for paramedic escort. but no one around

6:19 – husband: STAY where u r

6:20 – me: in front of bar – sugarcane

Upon looking up I simultaneously saw my husband approaching me with a pensive, concerned look AND caught a glimps of myself in a mirror which revealed, in addition to still having the shiny collegen face mask smeared all over my face, I had inadverdently pulled my yoga pants quite high on my waist leaving me with a hideous lower body profile. At that moment I burst into tears probalby leaving pssers-by thinking I had gambled away all my money.

Bright side of this story –  no stranger to panic attacks, I was able to breath and settle myself over the follwoing thirty minutes. After a shower, vodka soda and a steak, I even felt pretty human. Unfortunately, it really shot any gleaned relaxation from the spa day all to heck. But, leaving off back on the bright side, it gave me something to write about.





Ten Best Movies Set In The South


I hadn’t intended this site to be solely about movies. However, in the spirit of Southern Charm’s new season (Bravo Television), I have put myself to the test of listing ten worthwhile movies set in the south (although there are many, many more).

  1. Walk The Line, 2005 – The haunting and mostly disfunctional burning love between Johnny Cash and June Carter is movingly haunting
  2. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, 2002 – The story of a damaged mother-daughter relationship set against a tribute to lifelong friendship
  3. The Help, 2011 – Painful yet optomistic story of one woman’s research into racism in 1960’s Mississippi
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, 1963 – Gregory Peck’s flawless portrayl of Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch
  5. Fried Green Tomatoes, 1992 – A story that takes on themes of  women’s friendship and  lesbianism in a small town
  6. Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, 1997 – Brilliant adaptation of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story
  7. The Man in the Moon, 1991 – Reese Witherspoon’s breatkthrough movie. A tender and touching summer coming-of-age movie
  8. Steel Magnolias, 1989 (when everyone wantd to be Julia Roberts) – Funny and heartwarming. Set in a small Louisianna parish
  9. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, 1958 – The film adaptation of Tenesee William’s play known to be his favortie work
  10. Everybody’s All American, 1988 – Two college sweethearts take on the complexities of life after their football star/beauty queen beginnings