Let's Go Topless

It is hot. It is summer. Let's gets comfortable and go topless. I never have before, but I would like to try it. Might be freedom never experienced before. Have you ever gone topless?

You do know what I am talking about don't you? I'm not talking about boobies, you big BOOBIE! (LoL!) I am talking shoes. Topless shoes! Yes I am! I have just heard about topless shoes. Actually dirty Fila saw something about them on the tele and told me about them on yesterday. She was at her grandmothers' house watching the Tony Danza shoe and apparently he tried a pair on and then gave a pair to each member of the audience. (Note to self: find new job that will allow me to appear on talk shoes in the audience and get free prizes. Items missed so far include cars from Oprah, Topless shoes from Tony, many of Oprah's favorite things, all the gifts from The View during their holiday shoe and the list goes on. Why oh why am I stuck behind a desk and a computer 9 hours a day!!!!!!?????) Let's hear about those topless shoes!

New vibrant colors and improved quality are the focus of today's "Topless Sandals" produced by That's Cool Inc. of Yuma, AZ. The Original Topless Sandal is a real attention getter because it adheres like a second skin and has no visible means of attaching to your foot.

Sold as the "Down Under", the sandal is designed to be worn as a beach shoe, pedicure sandal, a house slipper, on the pool deck, at the camp site, to the market or just out for a walk. Almost any where you go, you can step lively in this colorful sandal. They adhere to your feet like a second skin. Women love the bright colors and stunning patterns.

Warranted for a problem free year, maintenance is not tricky. When the adhesive stops bonding well or when they get dirty, a soap and water scrub applied with a stiff bristle brush will clean them right up. Letting them dry well in a warm area rejuvenates the glue and the shoe comes right back to its original state.

Invented more than a few years ago, the patent pending sandal has evolved from its original adhesive coated rubberized sole to the current fashionable, fabric coated, neoprene product. The secret is the adhesive coats which allow the user to step on the sandal and walk off. The special skin adhesive built into the sandal adheres to the foot without leaving a "sticky" residue.

Well, for those of you really dissapointed that I was talking about shoes, here is a list of the top ten topless beaches in the world where suits are optional. It is summer afterall...maybe I can REALLY go topless wearing my topless sandals! Forbes

Because of its French and Dutch heritage, a European attitude towards nudity prevails on the island of St. Martin/St. Maarten. Most beaches are topless, but a few--Orient Beach, Coconut Grove and Tintamarre--are clothing optional. Be forewarned: You'll roast in the Caribbean sun. La Samanna, which just underwent an extensive renovation, is one of the most luxurious and romantic resorts in the world. Rates start at $765. For more information, call: 590 87 64 00.

Without a doubt, Miami's South Beach is the best topless beach in America. South Beach has miles of powdery white sand, clear turquoise water and throngs of celebrities, models and perfectly tanned and toned bodies. While the Delano is a top choice, the new Shore Club Hotel is the kind of place where it's perfectly acceptable to wear strappy high heels with your bikini as you lounge poolside with a cocktail in hand. It's also home to an outpost of Nobu, the hip sushi restaurant owned by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. Rates start at $208. For more information, call The Shore Club: (305) 695-3100.

When thinking of the island of Capri, it's hard not to associate it with the famous photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis walking barefoot through its cobble-stoned streets. Capri (as well as the less-crowded Anacapri) still draws an international crowd hell-bent on partying. The beaches tend to be rocky, so the best place to lay out is simply on a large boulder. The opulent Grand Hotel Quisisana, originally built as a sanatorium in 1845 by an English doctor, overlooks the sea. Rates start at $395. For more information, call: 39 081 837 0788.

The water may be chilly in Cape Town but the beaches are warm and the scenery--rolling hills, Table Mountains and tanned beach goers--is all beautiful. The hottest beach along Victoria Road is Clifton (Camps Bay is a close second); both stretches of beach are located across the road from stylish neighborhoods crammed with shops, bars and restaurants. Paragliders often land on a corner of Clifton Beach. The place to stay is the small but sophisticated Bay Hotel, directly across the street from the beach. Rates start at $83. For more information, call: 27 21 430 4444.

Santorini becomes a den of debauchery during the summer, thanks to its hot, dry weather and its clubs, which stay open until the sun comes up. (Many people tend to go straight from the clubs to the beach to sleep off the previous night's excess.) Two of the best beaches on Santorini for people-watching are the black-sand beaches of Kamari and Perissa--the sand is black because of volcanic activity, and flip-flops (or sprinting) is necessary when moving from towels to the water. Stay at the cliffside Katikies Hotel, which consists of white domed cottages and a series of pools. Rates start at €177 ($191). For more information, call: 30 0286 71401

Some of Spain's best beaches are found along the Costa del Sol (literally, the sun coast), which includes Marbella and Malaga. Slightly less crowded is the town of Estepona. True naturists can head to Costa Natura, about two miles west of Estepona, the only official nudist colony along the Costa del Sol. The new Kempinski Resort Estepona is serene and away from the main strip. Rates start around €220 ($239). For more information, call: 34 95 280 95 00

While the beaches of Ipanema are more beautiful than those of Copacabana, we chose the latter because of the famed Copacabana Palace hotel, which faces the beach and offers its guests--what else?--complimentary cabana service--as well as some of the most beautiful rooms in the city. This being Brazil, even standard bikinis are micro-sized. Rates start at $254. For more information, call: (55) 21 548 7070.

Some would consider the French Riviera the birthplace of topless tanning. While the beaches tend to be rocky, the glamour quotient more than makes up for it (renting a chaise lounge will take care of the rock problem). Plan a trip during the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off May 14, where there's more flesh on display than usual. The recently renovated Carlton Inter-Continental has been a popular choice for celebrities and wanna-bes for generations. Rates start around $280. For more information, call: 33 4 93 06 40 0

Some of the most beautiful beaches--populated by some of the most beautiful people--in the world exist in French Polynesia, with its shimmering blue and green lagoons. While Moorea and Tahiti are both fine choices, Bora Bora has the magnificent Le Meridien Bora Bora hotel, with glass-bottom bungalows perched over the water. Guests can also dive off their front deck into the water. Rates start at $439. For more information, call (800) 543-4300.

Few places are as synonymous with laid-back beach culture as Australia, and Bondi Beach in Sydney is one of its best. Bondi is a mile-long stretch of protected beach cove, with powdery sand and dark blue water. It's easy to spend the entire day (and night) at the beach, with its stretch of cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels. Tamarama beach, on Bondi's south end (nicknamed "Glamorama"), is another popular choice. There's also an outdoor gym. At night, escape to the quiet of the Observatory Hotel in Sydney. Rates start around $286. For more information, call: 61-2 9256-2222.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Etienne Aigner

Etienne Aigner. Etienne Aigner. I have not worn a pair of Aigner shoes since college. They were the shoes to have back then. I was out window shopping at Steinmart on yesterday and they were putting out all the fall shoes. Boy was I in heaven. I tried all sorts of shoes on. I did not buy any, but I did pick out 5 pairs I will be purchasing. They really had some lovely 9 West shoes that I will blog about later. Today it is all about Etienne Aigner. When I was in college, most of the shoes they made were the signature burgandy color. Now color seems to be big this fall.

I think this fall I will be making a fashion change. Normally, my clothes have color and the shoes are solid colors. Now, there seem to be a lot of multi-color shoes this fall. I think, I will let the shoes make the statement and the clothes be solid colored. Here are just a few of the lovely fall shoes I plan to buy! I started to buy on yesterday, but with it 90 degrees, it was just hard to buy suede on such a hot day!








I cannot wait to go shopping for fall shoes!!!! I can't wait!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Girl Collapses After Riding Tower of Terror

Walt Disney World reopened the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Disney-MGM Studios this morning, one day after a British teenager suffered cardiac arrest following a visit to the attraction.

Disney said engineers and ride system experts completed an inspection overnight, under monitoring by an inspector from the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection and found it to be operating properly.

In addition, Disney said in a statement, the Orange County Sheriff's Office also reviewed the incident and found no indication of a ride malfunction.

The teenager, Leanne Deacon, 16, remains in critical condition at Florida Hospital Orlando this afternoon. According to an Orange Sheriff's Office report, the girl had visited the park six times in the past week with her mother, June, 54, who reported they rode the Tower of Terror "many times" with no problem.

Leanne Deacon exited the thrill ride at 9:50 a.m. Tuesday, shaking and light-headed, and soon lost consciousness. By the time she arrived in an ambulance at Florida Hospital Celebration Health, her heart had stopped beating and she had to be revived, Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Solomons said. The sheriff's report says a CAT scan showed the girl had blood on her brain and required emergency surgery. She was later transferred to the Orlando hospital. The report quotes June Deacon as saying her daughter "is very active, athletic, jogs regularly, and is in great health, so this has been a shock to her." But, according to the report, she also told investigators the girl "had been complaining of headaches and leg cramps for several days."

The family declined requests for an interview through a Florida Hospital Orlando spokeswoman. She said she could release no other details about Leanne's condition or her treatment.

The thrill ride is among the most popular at Disney MGM-Studios and by 10 a.m. today the wait time was up to 60 minutes, longer than any other ride at the park, according to a poster-board at the park listing wait times.

Disney employees said the one-hour wait is fairly typical for this time of year for the ride, which simulates a runaway hotel elevator, shooting to the top of the tower and plunging down a shaft up to 13 stories.

Most people standing in line or just exiting the ride said they had not heard about the British teen's trip to the hospital after riding the attraction. But most said they had no real fears about the ride and considered the traffic and Central Florida's midsummer heat to be greater concerns.

"It's awesome. I would ride it again," said Derenda Davilla, a chaperone for a Lubbock, Texas, church group. Davilla had heard about Tuesday's incident.

"It's not too scary. It's a fun ride," said Nick Watts, 41, another chaperone. The group of 13 included teens from 13 to 18 years old.

Officials with the state Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection said they sent two of their top managers to Disney to oversee Disney's inspection of the ride after the teen's trip to the hospital was reported as required to the agency. The officials were identified as Isadore "Izzy" Rommes, chief of the Tallahassee-based inspection agency, and his top investigator, Allan Harrison.

Disney invited the state inspectors to check out the ride, even though the park is not required to do so by Florida law, said agency spokesman Terry McElroy. State inspectors have examined the ride in the past, McElroy said, and records filed with the agency show that it has had fewer reported incidents requiring hospital checkups than Mission: Space, at Epcot.

McElroy said Rommes and Harrison worked alongside Disney engineers from late Tuesday night until nearly 4 a.m. today checking out the ride and found no problems.

"Disney said it was operating normally and our folks concurred. We were satisfied with the safety procedures and the mechanical soundness of the ride," McElroy said.

"We observed their testing of the equipment, backwards and forwards, numerous times. One of our guys said they didn't get back to the hotel room until about 4 a.m., so they spent quite a bit of time looking things over."

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Happy Independence day!

Happy 4th of July to everyone! Quiet day so far. That is so good. I may even have it all to myself. I am hoping on that. Thus far today I have watched a movie..Gothica..starring Halle Berry. I hate I missed this one in the theaters. It was really good. Better than I thought. I watched it twice to be sure I did not miss anything. I always see a few new things I missed the first time, the second time around.

I went to a get together yesterday evening at a neighbors house and had great food. The host is a chef at a local restaurant so everything was gourmet. The food and layout was fabulous. One of the most interesting things I tried was the pickled garlic. Yes! Garlic...pickled. It is heaven. It tastes just like pickles with just a hint...a very small hint... of garlic. They were so good that I asked for a little to go home. I was given a cup full and I have been eating them all day. I have about 10 cloves of pickled garlic left out of that cup. They are good! I will be searching for a recipe so that I can make them myself.

I asked the host where he got them. He said he made this batch, but they can be bought. The restarant where he works orders them direct from Spain. The party itself was like a dream. He has a large back yard that is set up like a bistro side walk cafe in Paris. I did not feel like I was in anyone's back yard. I felt like I was at a restaruant. Open bar was included. He served all sorts of exotic amber beer in addition to lots of wine and mixed drinks.

Back again...I just googled up this recipe for pickled garlic from All Recipes. This is the one I plan to try. Seems simple enough. I have no idea how this will turn out as I have not tested this recipe before, but it seems very simple.

Pickled Garlic

These pickled garlic cloves take a long time, but they're
easy to make and are a real treat. Prep Time: approx. 45
Minutes. Cook Time: approx. 15 Minutes. Ready in: approx. 505
Hours . Makes 1 pint (16 servings).
Printed from Allrecipes, Submitted by Brenda Kraneveldt

1/2 pound garlic, peeled
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups distilled white vinegar

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1 Place garlic cloves in a medium bowl, first cutting the
large cloves in half. Mix in the red bell pepper.

2 In a large saucepan over medium high heat, place the
distilled white vinegar and white sugar. Wrap ground dry mustard
and celery seed in a spice bag, and place in the liquid
mixture. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and
pepper. Continue boiling 5 minutes. Remove from heat and
discard spice bag.

3 Place garlic and peppers in sterile containers to
within 1 inch of the top. Fill with remaining liquid to
within 1/4 inch from the top. Seal and store in the
refrigerator approximately three weeks before serving.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

The Art of the Barbeque

For me gas grilling or using charcoal has not been something I place a lot of emphasis on. I know that the men are all about the grill and the art of grilling. I have been grilling ever since I was in college. I started out using a little hibachi grill in college and I used that for many years as I normally was cooking just for me or a friend or two.

I them decided that I needed at least something that had some legs, so I advanced to the next step up in grills. I had legs now and did not have to worry about grease splatters on the picnic table.

About 8 years ago, I decided that I would crawl even higher up the grilling evolution ladder. I got a smoker/grill all in one and it is the best thing I have purchased. It is a smoker, it is a grill, it does eveything. I love it! Believe it or not I have smoked just about everything on it. I have done more smoking than grilling. It takes SOOOOO long to smoke. It is at least an 8 hour porcess that I normally begin at 7am to maybe have dinner that evening. It is a constant monitoring the wood and temp and throwing on the proper wood to have good smoked flavor. Smoking makes just about any meat melt in your mouth. Smoked turkey is just out of this world! This is my smoker/grill. To date I have gone thru 2 of them.

Weber Smoker

What makes a good barbeque? Always start with a good cut of meat. There really is not a lot of other stuff needed. My staple for beef is Emeril's steak rub. OMG! It is out of this world. Coat the meat in olive oil, sprinkle on a generous amount of the steak rub and BAM! The flavor will BAM you right out of your seat. (Let it sit in the fridge and permeate the meat for about an hour before grilling/smoking) And I do mean BAM!

FYI: he makes a chicken run and several others. I have bought the chicken rub also. You will never eat chicken without his rub again. This weekend I will be smoking using wood and charcoal. Gas grills? Well, I think the first picture says it all. You really are not embracing the true art of barbequeing. It takes a lot of work to work with wood and charcoal. That is true grilling. A gas grill is just cooking the meat almost like being on the kitchen stove. There really is no real art behind it. Unless you really get your hands black from charcoal, you really are not grilling in my shoes. Gas grilling takes all the rusticness out of grilling. It is almost too modern. It is quicker and easier to use. My parents have a gas grill and vow never to touch charcoal again. I use it whenever I go to their house and grill for them. It is just not as fun as tending the fire or the wood to cook/smoke your food.

Give me a charcoal grill or a wood smoker anyday! Plus where does that gas in the gas grill really come from?

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Happy Canada Day!

On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day. Since 1985, Canada Day Committees are established in each province and territory to plan, organize and coordinate the Canada Day celebrations locally. Grants are provided by the Department to those committees.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Luther Vandross: Dead at 54

Luther will be missed!

Grammy award winner Luther Vandross, whose deep, lush voice on such hits as "Here and Now" and "Any Love" sold more than 25 million albums while providing the romantic backdrop for millions of couples worldwide, died Friday. He was 54.

Vandross died at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, N.J., said hospital spokesman Rob Cavanaugh. He did not release the cause of death.

Since suffering a stroke in his Manhattan home on April 16, 2003, the R&B crooner stopped making public appearances -- but amazingly managed to continue his recording career. In 2004, he captured four Grammys as a sentimental favorite, including best song for the bittersweet "Dance With My Father."

Vandross, who was still in a wheelchair at the time, delivered a videotaped thank you.

"Remember, when I say goodbye it's never for long," said a weak-looking Vandross. "Because" -- he broke into his familiar hit -- "I believe in the power of love."

Vandross also battled weight problems for years while suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

He was arguably the most celebrated R&B balladeer of his generation. He made women swoon with his silky yet forceful tenor, which he often revved up like a motor engine before reaching his beautiful crescendos.

Vandross was a four-time Grammy winner in the best male R&B performance category, taking home the trophy in 1990 for the single "Here and Now," in 1991 for his album "Power of Love," in 1996 for the track "Your Secret Love" and a last time for "Dance With My Father."

The album, with its single of the same name, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts while Vandross remained hospitalized from his stroke. It was the first time a Vandross album had topped the charts in its first week of release.

In 2005, he was nominated for a Soul Train Music Award for a duet with Beyonce on "The Closer I Get To You."

Vandross' sound was so unusual few tried to copy it; even fewer could.

"I'm proud of that -- it's one of the things that I'm most proud of," he told The Associated Press in a 2001 interview. "I was never compared to anyone in terms of sound."

Vandross' style harkened back to a more genteel era of crooning. While many of his contemporaries and successors belted out tunes that were sexually charged and explicit, Vandross preferred soft pillow talk and songs that spoke to heartfelt emotions.

"I'm more into poetry and metaphor, and I would much rather imply something rather than to blatantly state it," he said. "You blatantly state stuff sometimes when you can't think of a a poetic way to say it."

A career in music seemed predestined for the New York native; both his parents were singers, and his sister, Patricia, was part of a 1950s group called the Crests.

But he happily toiled in the musical background for years before he would have his first hit. He wrote songs for projects as varied as a David Bowie album ("Fascination") and the Broadway musical "The Wiz" ("Everybody Rejoice (Brand New Day)"), sang backup for acts such as Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand, and even became a leading commercial jingle singer.

Vandross credited singer Roberta Flack for prodding him to move into the spotlight after listening to one of his future hits, "Never Too Much."

"She started crying," he recalled. "She said, 'No, you're getting too comfortable (in the background). ... I'm going to introduce you to some people and get your career started."'

Vandross' first big hit came as the lead vocalist for the group Change, with their 1980 hit, "The Glow of Love." That led to a recording contract with Epic Records, and in 1981, he made his solo recording debut with the disc "Never Too Much." The album, which contained his aching rendition of "A House is Not a Home," became an instant classic.

Over the years, Vandross would emerge as the leading romantic singer of his generation, racking up one platinum album after another and charting several R&B hits, such as "Superstar," "Give Me The Reason" and "Love Won't Let Me Wait."

Yet, while Vandross was a household name in the black community, he was frustrated by his failure to become a mainstream pop star. Indeed, it took Vandross until 1990 to score his first top 10 hit -- the wedding staple "Here & Now."

"I just wanted more success. I didn't want to suddenly start wearing blond wigs to appeal to anyone," he told the AP.

"This is the same voice that sang Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, NBC 'proud as a peacock,' ... America, the world, has heard the voice, so there's no reason that that music shouldn't have gone the complete distance, I mean, to number one."

Another frustration for Vandross was his lifelong battle with obesity. Health problems ran in his family, and Vandross struggled for years to control his waistline. When he first became a star, he was a hefty size; a few years later, he was almost skinny. His weight fluctuated so much that rumors swirled that he had more serious health problems than the hypertension and diabetes caused by his large frame.

Vandross' two sisters and a brother died before him. The lifelong bachelor never had any children, but doted on his nieces and nephews. The entertainer said his busy lifestyle made marriage difficult; besides, it wasn't what he wanted.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~