The Dirtiest of 30's...

30. It comes once. So make it count. Hell, I did. It couldn't have been done without my broads. Also loving referred to as my woes, my squad, my confidants, my accomplices and my loves. We're no stranger to a girl's trip (just ask my bank account) and we certainly don't miss a birthday, but milestone birthdays are a whole other monster. Naturally we needed a pool, even if only 10 hotels in Manhattan accommodate this. And a hint of luxury. And spunk, I need lots of spunk (Drake blaring in the lobby had me sold). Tall order for some hotels, but not for the Dream Hotel Downtown. And. What. A. Dream. It. Was. Do make sure you get to the pool promptly at 8 am or you will not only pass up a lounge chair, but you'll miss the fireworks when everyone else comes down at 8:15 am and rages because they don't have one. Rages, like loses their I-paid-for-a-room-here shit. Everyone knows the early bird gets the worm (and poolside relaxation apparently). After poolside entertainment and shopping (lots of shopping) we found ourselves at some of the best restaurants in NYC. You can't get glow sticks and friendship bracelets with just any drink, but you can at The Clocktower if you order the Gap Year. Speaking of glow sticks, have you ever had an unassuming brunch with your girls only to have a server stop you halfway through the meal and bring you glow sticks and turn off the lights all while the DJ spins? Just visit Beauty and Essex. Brunch like you've never experienced before. It'll also make more sense why you've seen more bodycons before you finish your first glass of champagne. Not to mention the grilled cheese, smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings just might change your life. If that doesn't change your life however, wearing a penis hat as the birthday song plays at Employees Only will... My friends got jokes. 

As if traveling to the city that never sleeps wasn't enough, round 2 resumed in the form of a house party complete with Drake balloons and blueberry vodka jello shots. My friends just get me. That's why you need your girls. There's this small time frame in life where you have the life of an adult, but the freedom of an early twenty-something. In that time frame, find your people. Live your life with these people before the next chapters unfold and the time has lapsed for penis hats and brunches that turn into raves. I am so thankful for these experiences, but mostly for my woes.

Homemade Shower

The traditional thought of "No Boys Allowed" at bridal showers has been thrown out the window. In preparation for a friend's (your beauty contributor) fast approaching wedding in September, we couldn't help but have our favorite guys. Also, venue schmenue. Have it at a friend's beautifully decorated, extremely comfortable, you-have-to-see-this home. Intimacy. Shower's lack intimacy, And also, depth, they lack depth. Listen, I know what you're thinking, how intimate does she need a shower to be? I just think you should never go into any experience and know the outcome before you step your foot in the door. You would never have expected Iggy Azalea to be blaring as you enter, now would you? The typical scenario is tired: arrive + give gift +awkward shower game = that's all folks. C'mon we can do better than that. So we did. You have a few men you love and want invited? Done. Home-cooked (partially) appetizers?  You got it. A personally named theme drink that might have caused a few (or multiple) slurs in the afternoon hours of a Sunday? It's all yours (pour at your own risk). You could gather at a restaurant, get your gifts and send out your thank-yous like everyone else or you could do it yourself and live a little. Do watch out for the "Blushing Bride" drink or you'll end up the "Hungover Misses." 

Recipe: Blushing Bride Punch

1 Serving: 3 oz Bison Grass Vodka/ 3 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice/ 1/2 oz Black Pepper Simple Syrup/ Ice, add lots of ice...

Signed, 

FMOTS

Hot Mess? As if hunty....

 

I sat down with one of my very favorite people, who also happens to be one of my favorite Drag Queens to discuss the founding and continued success of HotMess Sports. Check out all that is HotMess here: http://hotmesssports.com/

1. For the small population living in Nashville that don’t know, can you explain what HotMess Sports are and how long have they been around? HotMess Sports is a local Gay/Gay Friendly Adult Sports League that was established in Fall 2012.

2. How many people did HotMess start with and how many people are currently participating? We started Season 1 with 120 members now after Season 6 we have over 400 members.

3. You do an annual drag show every year, what does this support? From Season 1 we have done a Charity Drag show every season.  We donate ALL money from the door/cover charge to local and national charities. We've donated to Nashville Cares, HRC, and OutCentral. Donate to these charities here: https://secure.sitemason.com/site/fEhQGc/donatehttp://www.hrc.org/https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/OutCentral.

4. In 3 words describe the Hot Mess Drag show… Hot, Hilarious, and HOT MESS.

5. The theme is the 90's, what song will you be performing? Well the Fugees of course. Ready or Not.

6. They call you Milania, how did you come up with the name? Back in 2010 while living in DC I dressed up for a drag kickball game. Everyone said I looked like Teresa Giudice's daughter. Milania was born.

7. If Milania was a cocktail what would she be? Patron XO cause its dark, spicy, and has a punch.

8. Milania is stranded on an island, she can take 3 people. List these 3 and for what skill set (be it entertainment) they will provide? Beyonce, so we can do each other's hair and make up dances together. Tom Ford, so he can create island outfits for Beyonce and I. Bear Grylls, cause someone has to take care of us and he's hot.

9. Sequins or glitter? Both, just depends where we're going...

10. Milania’s best quality and her worst? Best is a tie between her Legs and her Lips, and let's be honest that's all you need. Worst would be her flat chest, but they keep her in sample sizes.

11. Future goals for HotMess? HotMess continues to grow.  We now not only offer Kickball, but Dodgeball and Volleyball as well.  We as a league attend 2 tournaments a year. One in DC and one in Vegas. We've done a calendar and we've raised over $15000 for charities. The future is endless.

12. Can anyone play in HotMess sports? Yes, HotMess Sports welcomes all people. Gay, Straight, Jock, Nerd, Girl, Boy. ALL!

13. The most important question of all, why wasn’t La Bouche included in this year's line up? Unfortunately, La Bouche wouldn't release their song catalog to us for the Drag Show. I hear they aren't the best to work with...

14. What one reality TV star is Milania dying to give a hair makeover to? Milania is way too busy to watch reality tv, but she hears Kandi Burgess has a mess on her head down in the ATL.

Signed,

FMOTS

Life's a Beach!

When your best friend turns 40, you celebrate. Well actually, you leave the country. Yes you get a birthday every year, but I'm one of those people that celebrates her birthday like it's the last one she'll ever get. I had a pinata at my last birthday and I'm older than 10 so there's that. That pinata was filled with liquor but I digress... 

I do recommend getting your passport a year in advance to avoid oh I don't know, not getting it on time and then finally getting it only to end up stuck in customs in Mexico City with a stranger named Ismail who you're pretty sure might kill you for sport. That however, was a different trip to Mexico and the scariest thing that happened on this trip was going to bed before the 10 o'clock news. 

Travel the FMOTS way:

  • Drink on the plane
  • Don't let that flight attendant push you around- if you have to pee, you have to pee
  • Drink more on the plane because you aren't allowed to pee on the plane
  • Bring your game face, customs does not enjoy your smile they'll assume you also want to kill for sport (I watch Forensic Files lay off me) **Insert you should watch that show here... http://www.forensicfiles.com/
  • Bring your patience, everyone speaks English but refunding a credit card is a foreign language
  • Wear sunscreen, but lie about the SPF
  • Order any and every tropical, pretty and festive pool drink you can think of (three times)
  • Eat your weight in pico de gallo
  • Get international calling. You'll piss everyone off when you can't call your boyfriend
  • Post highly obnoxious "I'm here, you're not" pictures of your scenery 
  • Go jet skiing and see just how fast that puppy goes for as long as your passenger can hang on
  • Make friends at the bar in the pool and buy them all shots multiple times declaring that they're: "Your target market"
  • Pack your florals (hopefully you'll change out of your bathing suit to wear them)
  • Stay at the http://www.riu.com/es/Paises/mexico/cancun/hotel-riu-palace-las-americas/index.jsp
  • Travel with down ass bitches. They don't come with frequent flyer miles, but damn are they rewarding

Signed,

FMOTS

My current crush: COLOR.

Spring has officially sprung into full effect, and that means it’s time to brighten up that post winter complexion with a pop of color and some sultry skin enhancing nudes. If you’re like me, you love to have a wide variety of lipstick choices, so there is nothing better than finding a perfect shade for that perfect price. Here is a list of my top 10 lipsticks for spring 2015!

Bright and Berry.

These colors are a staple for this spring. Hues of magenta really make the lips pop. Perfect for you gals who want to make a statement and draw attention to the face. Top picks for this look: Too Faced longwear lipstick in Melted Berry, NXY Soft Matte Cream in Prague. Added bonus, these last all day or night.

Fire Engine Red. 

Who doesn’t want to be the lady in red? Pale, olive, pink or beige undertones, this color will work for all skin types. It instantly draws attention to the face and brightens, it brings elegance and glam to a simple black dress or the perfect pick me up to that jean t-shirt and a pair of flats. Can we say Casual sophistication? My favorites  MAC Ruby Woo, a perfect matte that lasts all night, and Revlon Fire and Ice, a completely wearable red for all skin types.

Coral Crush.

A perfect color for all you brunettes and blondes that are not quite ready to venture into the “red” shades, but still want that pop of color to brighten up your complexion and at $6 a tube you can feel great about testing out this shade.  Rimmel Moister renew in Coral Garden, Kate Moss Lasting Finish in #12

Nude Attitude.

Shimmery nude pinks are a great every day color for spring. They won’t overpower a pale complexion-perfect for red heads!  Create a soft, balanced look perfectly paired with a smokey eye for that night out or special occasion. My personal favorites include Rimmel lasting finish in Airy Fairy, NXY black label in Nude

Gloss is Boss.

Who doesn’t like a silky dewy gloss that actually stays put and gives you a fresh, flirty look? I love Rimmel Showoff lip lacquer in Aurora, and Smashbox lip gloss in Pout.

 

Best face foward,

Annelise 

In a sea of "Elevated Southern," Etch rebels...

 Photo courtesy of  www.zagat.com

Photo courtesy of www.zagat.com

Don't get me wrong, I love my grits. I am a southern girl through and through, and if the mood (or the hangover) catches me right, I will cook with enough bacon grease and butter to make Paula Deen blush. However, the recent onslaught of newly-opened elevated Southern cuisine establishments and soul food breakfast joints in Nashville has left me a little bit bored.
Enter Etch, the brainchild of highly lauded chef Deb Paquette. Etch has been occupying the cozy and clean-lined restaurant space at the base of the Encore since last year, and should be a must-visit destination for every Nashvillian who just wants to eat a nice meal without having to see anything from Benton's or ONE MORE DAMN SWEET POTATO BISCUIT, OKAY??

We recently visited Etch for the second time on frigid night in January. As we entered, we passed a small, dimly lit bar area that has to be one of the best places in the city to grab a clandestine drink. One could do a lot of effective plotting unnoticed as a parade of doe-eyed couples out for "date night" walks blissfully past into the main dining room. Once inside, the fast paced activity in the open kitchen and the metal trays of still-growing micro greens lining the eat-in bar gave the potentially austere dining room a lived in, comfortable ambience.

Now, let's address the food. Once seated, guests are presented with a menu that can only be described as "eclectic". During this recent visit with my husband, I scanned the menu and was thrilled at at the bevy of biscuit-free options. Charred broccoli with ginger yogurt? YES. Black mole sauce? DOUBLE YES. Lamb tartare with preserved kumquat? OH MY GOD, MY HEAD IS EXPLODING. Just as I was about to crumple under the landslide of excitingly unfamiliar options, I was presented with the wine list. They have just under 25 different by the glass options, thoughtfully organized into "light" and "full" categories that allow you to aim and imbibe with a quickness. I picked my poison and went back to the menu.

We began with the roasted cauliflower, which had a wonderful degree of both char and snap. It was served with a velvety green truffle and pea pesto as well as a delightfully lemony whipped feta. The contrast of both of these options had us arguing over which one was our favorite until we were presented with our entrees. "Fruit and meat. That looks like you," said my husband, as the server set a fragrant and steaming cobia down in front of me. "You know me so well," I replied, and pondered whether he would be embarrassed at how I was about to devour this gorgeous pile of brown buttered oranges, almonds and feta. The cobia was nice and flaky, with a thick rub of what my grandmother used to call "warming spices". I know I could taste cumin and maybe some cinnamon, but whatever mystery combination the chef had decided upon was glorious and faintly Christmas-y. The olives and feta delivered the perfect salty contrast to the richness of the brown butter sauce and subtle sweetness of the beignet. I made it about halfway through before the seams on my dress began digging into my ribs, signaling me to call it quits.

We left warm and satisfied, pleasantly full of food, wine, and great conversation. As we handed our ticket to the valet, it occurred to me how glad I was to live in a city where it's now nearly impossible to get an 8pm dinner reservation at a place like this. This city is growing and changing weekly, and Nashvillians are clearly hungry for more. There are a lot of us that are ready to adapt to and embrace the evolving landscape of Davidson County and that especially includes the culinary scene. So trailblazers, it's official: BRING IT ON. WE'RE READY. WE'RE WAITING. We will always love our grits, but even more, we will love those who have the "grit" to cook us up something new. 

Signed,

Kate 
 

Love Me Tinder...

DISCLAIMER: this has nothing to do with the 1956 Elvis Presley hit which became a gold record before it was even released, and everything to do with dating from your freaking phone.

Let's fast forward 56 years later to when an appearance and location based app was created. Tinder. It seems harmless and easy enough. With our schedules being so hectic, having the ability to scroll through pictures and a quick fact or two seems like the way to go right?

Let's fast forward two more years to the Fall of 2014 when 1.2 billion Tinder profiles exist and 15 million matches are made a day. 15 million matches a day. Well shit, I've never won the lottery but the odds seem to be in my favor here, right? That sounds like a bucket of damn chum got dumped in the ocean and you're a shark. WRONG. Now sure, this can be a comforting reminder that other "eligible" singles exist within your radius, but don't we already know that? And do we really need to be judged AND rejected any further in today's society just based on our appearance? Haven't I, as a woman, dealt with enough of this bullshit every single day of my life? But I'm guilty of it too and if I swiped right, YOU'RE WELCOME because this girl's in the club and she choos-ay (club going up). We're all a bit social media obsessed as is and I'm literally exhausted just thinking about it, and even more exhausted thinking about all the DICKS I SWIPE PAST. That's your lead-in? That's your "Hello?" BOY BYE.

Love me Tinder? It's not looking great. I'm all for meeting new people and trying anything once (unless it's a  new cocktail then sign me up for 3), but must we have the same redundant conversation multiple times with multiple strangers. There should be a questionnaire you can just copy and paste. Let's be more efficient shall we? Mama's impatient. Having the same conversation at the same time with multiple people is mind numbi- OH SWEET ANOTHER DICK PIC. And then you meet the handful that don't offend your eyes, bore you to death or sexually assault you before dinner (I don't condone assault after dinner either but let's act like chivalry isn't dead shall we?) I like to call these dates interviews because I interview people as a crucial part of my career and I'm usually about one question short of asking these guys "What brings you here today?" Luckily, I have a filter, kind of. Sort of. That last part might be a lie, but I digress.

You meet, you interview, you hire or you don't. Few dates here, few dates there. Gain a little momentum so you don't get your ass back to swiping, but there's always this fact that you could be one bad date away from it all starting again. Tired yet? It's so easy and yet so hard.

You both know when either one of you gets bored it will take a few swipes to start over with someone new and you don't get that time back. But isn't this what you signed up for? You agreed to these terms of service.

Let's just be clear. You're mad because....? You're shocked it didn't work because...? You're astonished that you keep meeting men that want to take you home on date one because...? We swiped this into existence. We were only sitting across from this person in a private, yet social setting sizing them up because we picked them out of all the others. We both agreed "pre-meet" that we were physically attracted to each other. And had a few sentences of conversation. And you wonder why he's trying to order you for dessert. How incredibly depressing. I'm just trying to be reminded that there are singles out there that I find attractive and stimulating later in the game and he's thinking I'm aware it's the straight version of Grindr (no shade).  Neither one of us is wrong, but we both need to be corrected. Remember what you signed up for. Looks can be deceiving. That total babe who seems like he's so interested you wonder why you ever questioned the dating scene in the first place. The one who introduced you to mom after literal weeks? He could also be the one who smokes an ounce of pot every two weeks and broke up with you in a text because he's "too damaged."  #ITHAPPENEDTOME.

Anyone can sign up. It's free and there are a lot of guys out there more willing to show you their anatomy then their hearts. I saw more anatomy in 3 months on that site than in my entire life. Why you gotta be so cocky?  Pun intended. Tinder serves it's purpose (especially if you're cocky) so stop bitching about it. It puts you in contact with singles in your area that you've personally decided are your type. It doesn't do background checks, it doesn't call the ex for all the dirt and it sure as hell doesn't promise manners. You're bored and you want to meet new people? Have at it. You're new to town and want to meet new people? Go for it. Your career keeps you from getting out? Sign your ass up. You're fresh off a breakup and you need to be reminded that there are plenty of fish in the sea? Do it, because there are (just remember that you're the shark).  Remember though, whenever the options are limitless, you're limiting yourself. Love me Tinder? LEFT SWIPE.

Signed,

FMOTS

 

From Motor City to Music City

So there has to be some catalyst that makes one create a blog, right? Some sort of marker for where you are and how you got there, if you will. Well for me, I fell madly in love. Not with a man, but a woman. RELAX. This isn't that kind of blog. I'm referencing my career and one specific designer: Betsey Johnson. THE Betsey Johnson. The red lipstick wearing, champagne drinking, breast cancer surviving and cartwheel producing New York fashion designer. Iconic, eclectic, and the merge between Old New York and 30 plus years in the ever-changing fashion industry. Where punk meets girly in a love affair of frills and skulls. THE Betsey Johnson. You know, the one you convince your roommate and sorority sister (and now fellow blog contributor- I see you Karen Schnell) to do your senior merchandising window on. And honey we did not disappoint. Cheetah, check. Betsey shoes borrowed (maybe stolen) from another sorority sister, check. The loudest window in the hall (possibly ever), check. The week I graduated college I received the call that I'd be interviewing with the company and I hadn't but hung up the phone before I was screaming with excitement. Rookie Move. This particular detail my superiors still remember. That enthusiasm for the company never left me. Not once.

So naturally, three years later when you're offered your own store in a city in which you've never visited you just do it. No questions asked. Sure you're leaving the only state you've ever lived in. Sure you were in a good relationship at the time. Sure you had all the love and support from family and friends at your fingertips. There may have been more reasons to stay than go, but sometimes one reason is all the reason you need. I couldn't love that company or my store more. It wasn't possible. From the clients that became family, to New York Fashion Week, to the incredible people I worked with, there was just no topping it. So this is what your prime feels like? 25 and madly in love with my career. We started as a top 20 store and after one year we were a top ten store within the company. It was knowing you were working for someone historic and that you were making history all at the same time. Betsey was iconic in her vision, creative in her presentation and had a heart of gold. She was one bad bitch. Hell she ran around with Warhol in the 60's and was still ending every fashion show with a cartwheel and splits and she was a senior citizen. I'm not sure I can still do the splits. Note to self: verify that. If you were famous, we dressed you. If you were celebrating a life event, we dressed you. If you weren't a basic broad and you craved edgy, yet girly designs, we dressed you. We celebrated life with you. There were over 70 stores and roughly 350 of us "Pink Ladies and Gents."   We were a cult. One I was happy to adhere my name to. So that's what made what comes next both a shock and devastation. History was made again April 26, 2012 when Betsey Johnson LLC  files Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In plain English: a nightmare of hellish proportion. Liquidation would follow. Loss of every job and store would follow. Insensitive questions of "When is this dress going to be 70% off?" would follow. OH I'M SORRY LET ME VERIFY WHEN THAT WILL BE DISCOUNTED FURTHER AS I LOSE ALL THAT I LOVE AND HAVE WORKED FOR. Worrying about that staff that has become your family would follow. That tiny piece of pink heaven and everything it stood for would diminish.

One hour before the news went public all managers were put on a conference call in which Betsey got on the call and I'll never forget what she said in the moment when we were just told the fate of our company: "Fuck." There really was no better way to put it. We all knew what we'd be losing so why hide behind courtesies. She apologized for the fate of the company, not her mouth. Again, she's a bad bitch. She encouraged us to go get champagne and party with our clients and staff through the end. So we did. We celebrated what it had been, what it was and what it would always be: timeless. So that's what brought this Yankee to the South; her heart. What triggered a blog? It's everything that comes after the "Fuck." All the many moments after the fact that keep an impatient, sassy, fast-speaking Yankee in the South. These mouthy memoirs are nothing more than commentary after the "Fuck" wears off and you just have to pour yourself a glass of champagne and toast the outcome of what you never thought would be.

Signed,

FMOTS

An Open Letter to 2015

Dear 2015,

Bring it. No really, bring it. Give me your best shot. Give me all you got. Challenges, triumphs and everything in between are welcomed. Bring on the fun, the laughter and all the excitement you can muster. Bring on the trials that make you stronger, the lessons we have to learn and the moments that test our character. Bring it. This marks year 5 in Nashville and it keeps getting better. So I expect nothing less from you this year. Go ahead, pull out all the stops. Make it rain. You can go ahead and turn away worry, disappointment and all assholes. You know the ones. The ones the world needs less of. Also, people who don't use their blinkers, I'd like to see less of them this year. Bring it. Let's make it interesting shall we? I invite a few curve balls mixed in with the expected. Make this the year one we all anticipate it to be. The one we're sad to see go and hard to top. BRING IT. Every year is supposed to be "THE YEAR," so why not come through for us this year? Make it one for the books. Keep us healthy, make us wealthy and teach us something worth learning. Cheers to you 2015! You've got big shoes to fill...

Sincerely,

FMOTS