Blog Archives

Farewell, Hef.

Hugh and Barbi.

I woke up this morning and saw the news that Hugh Hefner passed away, at 91.

I know there are many mixed feelings about him, and about the business he conducted during his life, but I’ve always admired him as the leader of the sexual revolution, a cutting-edge publisher, and an activist for women’s rights, civil rights, and equality.

In college, I cheered when “Playboy” came to town – complete with its writers and famous photographers. I had my photo taken as part of an audition for a college issue of “Playboy”, and although I didn’t make the cut, I was interviewed and featured in the Baton Rouge newspaper, and had an op-ed on and in my college newspaper (shoutout to “The Reveille”!).

As I said then, I’ve always associated “Playboy” with some of the most beautiful, iconic women of our time: Anna Nicole Smith, Vanna White, and Madonna, among many others. “Playboy” celebrated sex in a way that made it socially acceptable for women to admit they enjoyed sex, and they enjoyed it before marriage.

The magazine highlighted social issues over the years and was used as a platform to highlight the AIDS crisis, support gay rights, and announced its support for abortion eight years before Roe v. Wade. Hefner funded the reward money to resolve a civil rights case and established a foundation that supports rape crisis centers and the Kinsey Institute.

In my bathroom, I’ve got a small collection of framed “Playboy” covers from the 60s and 70s, including one that features one of Hefner’s girlfriends, Barbi Benton, playing a game of chess (with bunny pieces, of course). Benton was famously featured in the magazine four times and was trusted at the center of the “Playboy” enterprise. She even founded the Playboy mansion west, it’s most famous location in California.

In 2006, I traveled to Los Angeles for the first time and was lucky enough to take a trip to Playboy Radio, where models of all sorts were interviewed for the radio show. It was just another side to the industry Hefner created.

On the way to work this morning, a radio show I like was trying to decide if Hefner was generally a thumbs up or a thumbs down for women. I’m sticking to it and saying he’s a thumbs up. Yes, I’ve heard about some of the things that happen at the playboy Mansion, but I’m chalking that up to environment and culture. People will be people.

I’m thankful for Hefner paving the way in publishing; for celebrating women’s bodies and our right to have sex like men. I’m thankful for his contributions to social justice.

Stay cool, Hef.


The history of Las Vegas.

Viva Las Vegas!

Tonight, I’m hopping on a flight to Las Vegas, ready to spend most of my dollars on drinks and slot machines, wear some of my tackiest clothes (a cactus bodysuit is packed), and eat sinfully delicious food until my stomach hurts.

It will be my second time in Vegas, a place I’ve come to associate with good times. But how did Vegas, as we know it, come to be? I looked up a little info.

Las Vegas was incorporated in 1911, and its first claim to fame was its railroads. At the time, gambling was illegal, that is until 1931 when casinos began to takeover Fremont Street (the city’s only paved road), joined by showgirls.

In just 10 years, “The Strip” was born, and served as a second home to casinos and huge, glittery signs running off hydropower. By 1966, small casinos turned into massive ones that took their design cues from escapes around the globe – Paris, Rome, Egypt, and New York.

I remember years ago, before I’d ever been to Vegas, a family member went for a work conference. Upon his return he said he didn’t like it – “It’s just excess in every single way.”

And that’s exactly why I love it! Want a casino? How about one that’s 171,000 square feet, like at the MGM? It’s the biggest casino in the world.

During my last trip to Vegas, we stayed at the MGM hotel & casino, not knowing how historically huge it is, and I was stunned every time I went downstairs. You could actually never leave if you wanted to – or you COULD leave and step outside to see the lights, huge fountains, ceiling-high strands of crystals, a near-replica of the Eiffel Tower – it’s all so much to take it, but it’s a treat for the senses!

This time, we’re staying at the The Palms and I’m just SO excited! The Palms is owned by a very famous Vegas family, the Maloofs – which may sound familiar to you if you’ve watched “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, as Adrienne Maloof is one of the heirs to the throne.

The Palms was, at one time, home to the only Playboy club in the world. It has since closed, but it was quite iconic with crystal chandeliers, magazine covers throughout, and Roberto Cavallie bunny costumes.

The Palms is also home to a few famous suites, including the Hardwood Suite, which runs a cold $25,000 per night. Here’s the scoop from CNN Money: You don’t have to be a professional basketball player to enjoy the hardwood suite at the Palms, although if you are, then this is the room for you. In addition to the half basketball court, electronic scoreboard and extra-long beds, there’s also a locker room that can be stocked upon request with basketball jerseys and or cheerleading outfits — heck, you can even get your own cheerleaders if that’s what you want. As a general rule, most special requests will be gladly filled by the hotel staff. The two-story suite, which has a full bar as well as plenty of room for a DJ booth, is as well suited to partying as it is to playing games; in fact Russell Simmons and Paris Hilton have both hosted lavish affairs here.

If you’re a fan of MTV’s “Real World”, you may remember the cast of “Real World Las Vegas” resided at the Palms, and their suite still stands as the “Real World Suite”, minus all the cameras. It’s 3,000 square feet and even houses the original “confessional” room if that’s what you’re into ($10,000 per night).

…So, there’s that. I’m ready. It’s been a minute since I’ve had a vacation and I’m looking forward to a long weekend of glitter and adventure!

Pic of the Week.

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent my weekend getting a ton of stuff done. On one hand, it was really nice to go into a new week having all of my “chores” done, but on the other hand, I wish I would have relaxed a little.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if I know how to relax.

I’m still decorating the new place, so I started Saturday off by hanging 8 frames in my kitchen (check out yesterday’s kitchen tour to see what I’m talking about). Next, I hauled my ass out off the apartment to run some errands.

Once I got the supplies I needed, I sanded and painted an old black shelf I’ve had for years. In the past, I used it to hold my small collection of tacky shot glasses, but my collection outgrew it – I’m still looking for a cool shadow box to house my collection, so if you know of any good places to look, let me know!

I kept the shelf, and decided to paint it metallic gold, and planned to hang it in my bathroom. If you’ve never been to my home, my bathroom is orange and white, with vintage (and authentic) Playboy covers on the walls. I wanted the shelf to match my retro look.

My wondrous @ sign.

My wondrous @ sign.

So, while the gold paint was drying, I got to work on another project. Many months ago, I bought a tin “@” sign that was embedded with small LED lights. I hung it above my desk, my dubbed “blogging station,” and I loved it! But, about two days later, the lights burned out and… I couldn’t get them to come back on, even with new batteries.

I got the sign for $4, which was a steal, but obviously it was junky. The tin signs are everywhere now, but certainly not for that cheap, not to mention, I loved the “@” symbol to go with my job and my blog. It was so fitting!

So, I decided to attempt to gut the entire thing and replace the lights with a small light set I got at Big Lots for $5 (which I actually had a coupon for, making them free).

It took me a solid hour to get all 20 bulbs out of their original sockets, and then rip out the old wiring. Then, I lined up the new lights and glued them into their new slots. But, in the end, it worked, and now my sign is back in action!

Once my sign was hung, I reorganized a closet, cleaned my bathroom, and hung two more pictures. Next, I decided to hang my shelf.

That’s when shit went south.

The shelf is supposed to be one of those “invisible” shelves, so you are supposed to line up the nails so they are hidden in the back, if that makes any sense.

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that nothing I do is precise. That is why I like to cook more than I like to bake. It’s why I write blogs instead of calculate dollars. When I hang pictures, I eyeball it. I tried measuring things and I even got a level app, but in the end, I just eyeball it.

Sure, my curtains are totally off-center, but that’s just the way it’s got to be. So this shelf really kicked my ass.

I did attempt the whole, “two hidden nails” thing, and I measured the holes in the shelf, then marked them on the wall, and at first it worked! But then, the shelf was too heavy for just nails.

Have no fear, I have a toolbox, and I had two wall anchors. So in the wall they went. And then, the shelf wouldn’t actually get onto the nails. So… I then put two additional holes in my wall. And that did not work. So then, I attached two L-brackets to the bottom of the shelf. While it helped, it wasn’t solving all the problems. So, I put a third L-bracket in the top of the shelf, and that seemed to do the trick.

So much for that whole “invisible” thing. If you are following me on SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7), you saw the whole thing live, and I’m sure I looked like a crazy person; I felt like one too!

Honestly, I felt two things: 1. I remembered the reason why I secretly hated that damn shelf, but now that I had 8 holes in my bathroom wall, there was no turning back, and 2. I wished that I could have just called my boyfriend in from the other room and he’d save the night, whether it be with his power tools or his knack for being precise, and we’d laugh off my crazy and live in harmony, complete with gold shelf.

But there is no boyfriend.

I can very easily sit here and tell you that I’ve spent the last two years convincing myself that I can, and will be, perfectly happy living my life as a singleton.

And for a majority of those two years, I’ve believed every word I told myself. How? Because what I have known of men hasn’t been pleasant. I’ve sought after men in times of weakness, and in turn, I’ve become weaker.

It’s easy to wish for a man during an exhausting move, at the sight of a creepy insect, a haunt in the night, or sometimes, when you just need a snuggle. No matter how many pillows I surround myself with, it does not a man make!

I am still working each day to overcome my baggage, and more importantly, to forgive those that have hurt me. I know I need to heal and I will continue to get stronger.

There are plenty of days I wish for a partner that I can share my day with, and nights to wish him sweet dreams. Instead, I always tell Blanche goodnight, and she returns the sentiment with a slap of her tail (bitch).

In my heart, I believe good things do come to those who wait. My job, my apartment, hell, even my crafted gold shelf is proof of that. And so, I carry on. And in the end, we’ll just have to see what happens.

But if a man that’s handy in any way steps foot in this apartment within the next two years, he might have to fix a few crooked frames.