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November 13, 2011

What If?

Hank Phillippi Ryan:  So I had decided, once and for all, not to be timid at a convention. I was going to plop myself right down beside a STRANGER, and by gosh, I was going to MINGLE.

It was so difficult for me! But providence intervened, and the stranger--turned out to be someone terrific..someone who's turned out to be a close pal and and a dear friend and an instant bff. Hey, shows you what happens when you conquer your social fears.

So now, you plop down beside her, too. You'll love Rochelle Staab.  I do. (And a copy of her new book to one lucky commenter!) 

WHAT IF.....? Staab Headshot-2

by Rochelle Staab

I pulled out a white blouse and my gray pencil skirt. Nope—back in the closet. Too businesslike. I know—a paisley wrap dress, black boots. No, too Barbarella-shops-at-Ann-Taylor.  Seriously, it’s slacks and a T-shirt because I don’t care.  Who was I kidding?  I did care. 

I settled for a soft black jersey skirt with a gray silk blouse and black teddy, and black silver-clipped pumps.  I set aside a black wrap sweater for warmth.  I dug out my rarely worn, sexy lingerie from the corner of the drawer.  Then I headed for the shower to shave  m y legs.  Not that I wanted or anticipated anything happening. Shaving was simply good grooming .

 In the above scene from WHO DO, VOODOO? my divorced psychologist Liz Cooper dresses for dinner with Nick, an old college friend she feels a new attraction to. The evening isn’t a date. Then again, it’s not really NOT a date. Could go either way. Liz goes upscale and adds her sexy lingerie—you know, the sachet-scented pretties we all have tucked in the back of a drawer waiting for a special occasion? It wasn’t as if Nick would see Liz in the lingerie. But slipping into sexy skivvies adds flair, only-I-know confidence, and a hint of enchantment. And what if?Ro Lipstick-Lingerie

 Why do we save our prettiest things only for special occasions? Why not wear our expensive, knockout designer pumps to the movies with our girlfriends? Throw on the lamé scarf to dash to the market? Slip into our most delicate lace bras and panties every day?

I wonder if Cinderella wore the glass slippers again after she and the prince got home from the honeymoon. And if not, why not? They were killer shoes.

  Ro Lipstick-Cinderella Slipper


 I know when I buy something I love beyond words there’s a hint of fantasy attached to the purchase. Almost as if something magical will happen when I wear the shoes/lingerie/dress or use the dishes/candles/crystal. I’d be prettier, or my cooking would improve, or the air around me would sparkle. So why keep the pretties tucked away for “good”? What if the magic is there but needs airing and won’t fulfill itself until after the third or fourth or tenth use?

Ro Lipstick-Pearls

 For example, my favorite adorable shoes (or used to be) are a pair of pink-and-black plaid Miu Miu pumps I bought in the drop-dead-dazzling shoe department at Saks years ago. Maybe wore them three times. But instead of glancing longingly at those babies in their red box on the top shelf, what if I put them on with my jeans, kicked my heels together, and let the fantasy roll?

  Ro-Lipstick Favorite Shoes
I wish I had this revelation years ago. I realize a few of my knockout outfits won’t work on me outside a banquet or ballroom or ever again. Could be time for the sexy fishnet stockings to bite the layer of dust in the back of my drawer. (The damned things always killed the bottom of my feet in pumps anyway.) My lace see-through blouse, celebrating its tenth year in the closet waiting to be worn, might be daytime adorable on a hot little twenty or thirty-something. On me? With my salt-and-pepper mop? Add smeared lipstick and I’d be a ringer for Betty Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Ro Lipstick-Baby Jane


But there are plenty of former too-nice-to-wear outfits in my closet deserving a chance to escape off their hangers.

 Seriously, what are we waiting for when we save our best “for good”?  I say it’s time to open the drawers and let the pretties play. Light the etched candle, wear the leopard-print lace bra, cut loose and throw on the long strand of pearls over a T-shirt. Like Liz, I’m going for it. Why not?

 What about you? Is there something in your closet you’ve been saving to wear for far too long?

(And remember:  a copy of Who Do, Voodoo to one lucky commenter!)


Staab WhoDoVoodoo (2)WHO DO, VOODOO? features no-nonsense Liz Cooper, a Los Angeles psychologist forced to embrace the occult to clear her best friend of murder. When Liz's friend Robin Bloom finds a tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes the card off as a prank. But Robin refuses to ignore the omen—her late husband drew the same card in a reading the night before he was killed.

As more cards and darker threats appear, Liz realizes someone dangerous is upping the ante. She turns to old acquaintance and occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick guides her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the tarot deck, their mutual attraction is undeniable. When their search leads to a murder, Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz has to suspend her disbelief in the supernatural and join forces with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets—or risk being outwitted by a scheming killer.


Rochelle Staab, former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blended her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in WHO DO, VOODOO? the first novel in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August 2012.


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rochelle.staab

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/rochellestaab

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4705211.Rochelle_Staab



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The advantage of waking up before the children, I get to "an early adopter", or the first poster.

I do get an advantage, I'm a guy. I can wear 18kt gold cufflinks to work without looking like I stepped out of a wedding photo shoot. Good luck doing that with pink satin strapless. Most things, I buy to use. That is not to say that above mentioned cuff links go to the mall for a day of shopping, but designer shirts do. I collect fountain pens. I would include a link, but my photo library is off line at the moment. I also worked in a middle school. One day one of the children asked, "Mr. P, why is the gold on your pen so shiny?"

"Its 14kt gold."

The other teacher in the room thought it was a little extravagant for the 8th grade. Too bad.

OK, I do need to come clean. My wedding gift china has been used once in the last 22 years. We don't entertain like we thought we would. The silver and crystal serving pieces do get regular use.

I heard from several people that they were using the things "they saved for special occasions" more often. It was September and November, 2001. We had all learned that today can be special.

Sigh. My problem is often that I save my "goodies" too long......and when I finally want to use the, I'm the wrong size!

Thanks for being our guest, Rochelle!

Oh, I love this piece. Love those little pink & black plaid pumps too!

Why do we do this? I get so upset with myself when I look in my closet and see things I love that just haven't gotten out to have the good times I had promised them. I have an adorable long flowy skirt that I really love - it's a creamy off-white linen lace. But it doesn't get out to play hardly ever 'cause it seems the occasions that pop up that I'd like to wear it are "out of season." Linen. I hate the "rules" about linen (are they still be followed anyway?).

This is also very timely 'cause I recently bought myself a gorgeous cape. Black on one side, siren red on the other & trimmed in black leather. Donald said, "Yes, I love it. Where are you going to wear it?" I laughed and said "Maybe I'll just toss it around my shoulders over my work out clothes and wear it to the gym every morning." and maybe I will!

Thanks, Rochelle and Hank!

Goodies? I have to confess to not having any. Sexy lingerie? Closest I come is a 12 year old heavy duty bra (worn only for emergencies) and some white cotton panties (which will stay pristine white because I've believed going commando is the only way to go for the last 40 years). There may be a sexy nightgown in a drawer somewhere. If there is, it probably hasn't fit me since the Eisenhower era.

Oooh, Kaye, a cape! How derring-do. Wear it every day this winter; it's in style, and it will be your style.

Pink shoes must have some special kind of cachet, Rochelle. Your plaid ones are da bomb; mine are less so, but still so darned cute, but I've only worn them once. My youngest daughter used to pester me to wear them, and I never let her. At least somebody would have gotten to enjoy them. Now they're hopelessly out of style, but I'm keeping them, anyway.

My aunt took the "too good to use" idea ridiculously far. They lived in a six-room house, three up, and three down, with four kids. Even though the living room was by far the largest room on the first floor, no one was allowed to set foot in it, and all the furniture was covered in plastic, as was the carpet. It was as though she had turned a fifth of the house into a shrine to a life she didn't lead, very weird.

The rest of the house, by the way, looked the something out of Hoarders. Every horizontal surface was piled with stuff.

>>But slipping into sexy skivvies adds flair, only-I-know confidence, and a hint of enchantment. And what if?

I love this. My pretties stay put away most of the time. I work construction and spend most of my life in steel toe boots and jeans, but once a long time ago I used the power of sexy underwear. I was heading for a job in a refinery. I'd never worked in one before and the information I got from an old friend didn't instill a lot of confidence, his words, "everything in a refinery is either toxic or flammable. Be careful." Awesome.

Anyway, on my first day of work, feeling small and scared and intimidated by this giant industrial wasteland I was about to enter I decided to use the power of sexy underwear to get me through that scary first trip to the refinery. So on that day, hidden beneath my tee shirt, denim work shirt, and jeans was my sexiest undies. I felt fabulous all day, and less intimidated than I should have. It was great.

Hmm. Think today I'll dig something awesome out of the closet and wear it doing something completely ordinary.

Welcome, Rochelle! Your post makes me wish I had a stash of pretties just waiting to be liberated. My wardrobe these days is strictly jeans and sweats, and the fanciest thing in my closet is a nice pair of cowgirl boots (which I wore to the SNC concert!). But I do have a stash of scarves that have accumulated over the years; I think it's time to bring them out into the light and enjoy them this winter. Thanks for helping me remember them :)

Once your house has burned down to the ground you realize the futility of saving anything for "special". So I wear that red slinky nightgown - why not - it makes me feel special. Same with perfume. Makes me happy and the dog doesn't seem to mind!

I'm so glad to see you here, Rochelle! (Rochelle and I had a "meet cute" on San Francisco's subway system a year or two back and Hank's right -- she is truly bff material.)

Okay, you've inspired me to get a pedicure today, even though my feet are too cold to be shown for the next six months. Because, after all, I look at them. And possibly some of the inhabitants of the girls' locker room at the gym. Thanks, Rochelle!

Rochelle, I love those plaid pumps! After living on a boat on and off for a decade, you learn to wear the "special" items--no space for stuff you aren't using. Good luck with the book!

Hi Hank! (waving madly) I'm so happy to be here.
Alan—point taken (I envy guys for their easy wardrobes) but I know more than one man with a "special" car or motorcycle in the garage, only driven "for good." And thank you for the 2001 reminder of how precious everyday life really is.
Nancy—ugh! the wrong-size-now shocker! I've been there (drops and shakes head.)
Kaye—get in that cape! It sounds fabulous and you are fabulous.
Judith—Thank you. I am going commando today just to break out THAT pretty.
Karen—the plastic room! I've seen the plastic room! (nothing cures that syndrome like a big dog or a four year-old, right?)
KD—you rock.
Kerry—yay! and wear the boots more too.
So far today I'm going commando in my pink pumps.
Judi—wow, a chilling reminder to celebrate and enjoy today. I hope all is well at home now.
Waving at Harley! I'm so glad to BE here! Wiggle those painted toesies, girl.
Twist—Thanks! I think living on a boat would be like using your best stuff every day. What a cool life.

The most expensive dress I've ever bought has only been worn twice - I'm determined to wear it for work (with tights and a t-shirt), but I still need to lose 5 pounds for it to fit again. But I have the outfit planned and its day is coming! :)

Loved the interview! My take was a bit different. I opted for use it or lose it and I keep giving away half of what I own in the way of clothes and household goods. I still have way too much stuff. Clothes? I've saved a few things in the size I want to be but otherwise kept only the clothes I know I'll wear. Nothing fancy, for sure.

I must say, "Who Do Voodoo" sounds like a very good read!

I have this beautiful black dress with small white polka dots on it. It is made of soft clingy fabric and feels fabulous against my skin. I know this dress is out of style with it's flirty skirt and coloring. But I love it. I have hung on to this dress for too many years. I sigh loudly as I realize this beauty would not look good on my now matronly figure. Ah, to have the figure I once had. I look at the dress and remember the times I wore it and a smile curves my lips upward. Memories that make me smile and sigh for what had been. We all have these moments I am sure. It means we have lived filling our lives with clothes and people we adore. Who of us would throw out suck lovely memories?

Daily comfort is part of it, habit another part . . . but I agree that it's more fun to use the lovely things we have. A good friend consistently finds beautiful needlework pieces at Goodwill. She buys them and finds good places for them to be put back into use. I used to read Walker's "Everyday Use" with my Am. Lit. students, good discussions followed:

I am a shy person who has long had a desire to dress dramatically. My "secret" is that in the last couple of years I have started buying sexier underwear. On Halloween I have been putting together unusual or colorful outfits for the past few years. This year I bought a shocking pink and purple wig and wore it with black clothing as well as black lipstick and fingernails and very dramatic black eye makeup. People I barely know who work in other parts of the building are still stopping me in the halllway to tell me how much they enjoyed my costume. Well, if I can give up being shy on Halloween, then I will try to do it the rest of the year, too! I do need new clothing, and I think I'm going to go for the brilliant colors and unusual styles that appeal to me but that I have been too shy to wear on a regular basis!

And I'm getting out the "good" dishes that were my mom's that SHE rarely used. I like them. I might as well as use them. I do not need a special occasion. I think that merely using them will make the occasion special.

Thanks, Rochelle. Come back often!

I grew up in a house where my mother and grandmother would always say, "You/I can wear that...I justbought it!" As a child/teen I could never get the logic of that, so I rebelled.If I buy it, I wear it.

On the other hand I have cabinets full of fabric that is 'too good' to cut into. If I want to sew something, I go buy more fabric. (well, I did when my eyesight was still good enough and I could sew)

I don't have anything put away for 'good' use. I wear stuff or donate it, I have even given away jewelry when I haven't worn it in a long time (okay, I regret that choice).

I have a few clothes items that I don't wear often, not that I am saving them but I think of them as the funeral clothes . . . they won't give me any joy to wear more often.

All my undies are cotton and all but one of my bras are the pull-over-your-head variety. I have no hidden shoes or sexy lingerie and no aspirations to have either of them!

You've inspired me! I've showered, put on makeup and a dress! (not tshirt and pants) and my lavender undergarments . . . ;-)

-- off to see Elaine at Pudd'nhead in Webster -- no balloons!

Love the pumps, and the idea. I do a lot of knitting and have made scarves and hats for friends and relatives. All of a sudden, I have found some for me, and the scarf thing may be over, but not for me.

Oops..meant to say "You/I can't wear that...I just bought it!"

Thank you Rochelle, this was a great topic and I look forward to reading your books.

Beth, right on! Don't you just love tights & t-shirts for changing a look?
Nancy, I do the "use it or lose it" every year, but I can't let go of that one skirts from the 70s that's too cool to ditch. Or wear.
Juanita—ooh! I love your dress AND your warm memory attitude. Maybe there should be a hall of fame section in the closet. Thinking...
Mary, thank you for the wonderful article. And rock that lavender today!
Deb, love your spirit. Isn't it amazing how little steps can affect changes in us? I use my good dishes too. They make me happy.
Mary Lynn—yes!! I aspire to your "wear it" team.
Thanks Lil, isn't fun to honor our simple pleasures?

Hey, all--just back from Crimebake (where I got to sit down and actually chat with the amazing Nancy Pickard--who was GOH and cut quite a swath. YOu could always tell where she was in the hotel...because there was a huge crew of fans following her around.) Anyway--running in to catch up..but it appears you are all having quite the party!

ANd yes, "you just bought that you can't wear it" is how I was brought up, too! Very difficult to shake that.

Hey, Rochelle! Waving madly back. ANd pssst...were your ears burning? Your darling brilliant agent and I had quite the chat!)

I know that somewhere I have special stuff stashed and I as soon as i dig it out from the rubble I will wear/use it! Thanks for the inspiration...and the chance to win what sounds like a great book!

Rochelle, it's okay to keep cool stuff from the past, I think; there's a difference between "too good to use", and an archived wardrobe. I also keep some things around from ages ago, for sentimental reasons. God knows I couldn't fit one thigh in some of them any more, but it's nice to have my slinky white goddess gown from the 70's, just to show the girls.

And one of my daughters actually wore two of my old gowns from that early 70's era! She was one girl at the dance who didn't see anyone else wearing the same old, same old.

I've managed to get past the "too good to wear" and I wear some expensive, nice items to work now and then. However, the one item I desperately want to wear and haven't found the right time or event for yet is my grandmother's mink bolero that I now own. It's fabulous, but not exactly appropriate for "running to Starbucks or the grocery." I've thought about it for the LCC, Malice, or Bouchercon banquet, but never quite drummed up the nerve.

LOVE the shoes!

Hi Hank! I don't think my ears were burning, I may have thought it was a flash, but I did have an irresistible urge to dance last night. I'm so sad that I missed the CB Ball.
Thanks Carrie. hahaha—The Rubble. I know that pile very well :)
Karen, LOVE the phrase "archived wardrobe". It gives me visions of an antique chest in the attic, waiting for my nieces to explore. Wonderful. I'm doing it.
Tammy—drum up that nerve! I'll be looking for you in the bolero at Malice. How utterly 30s chic.

You all have inspired me to commit. I will bring and wear the pink shoes at Malice, just to practice what I'm preaching.

Hi Rochelle,

Love that you're here today!

I have an old -- really OLD -- college tee shirt that never fit, but I bought it because I liked it. I just fit into it yesterday after a dieting and 75lb weight loss. Not that I'd ever buy it now . . . but heh, I am gonna wear it!

Um . . . not that it's glam or anything. My glam outfit is a little black dress with fresh-water pearls I haven't worn in years.

Awesome, Reine!!! Congratulations and bravo for all your hard work. Wear that shirt with pride, girl —WITH the pearls. Why not?

Reine, enjoy wearing that tee shirt! Your mention of that shirt reminded me that I saved a pull-over sweater for years and years after I gained too much weight to be able to wear it. I forgot that I even had it. About a year or so ago I ran across when I was cleaning out dresser drawers (something I should probably do more often:-) I tried it on and it fits again - hurray! I've lost a lot of weight over the past twenty or so years - roughly fifty pounds. I wear that sweater from time to time now. I had forgotten how good that color looks on me.

Hmmm...I think maybe the moral of this story is to never throw anything away.

Oh, yeah, Hank: I forgot to say earlier that I never think of you as being too timid to do something! Thanks for meeting Rochelle and for bringing her here today!

Meant to say I ran across IT. I previewed my post TWICE and did not notice that I left out a word. Must be those aging eyes.

Deb, I love your sweater story! Hurrah for keeping the good stuff! I'm learning a lot today about things we keep, what they mean to us, and how we can use them. And the older I get, the more often I notice how fashion constantly recycles itself. I like wearing old clothes and calling them "vintage".

When Hank and I met, I never would have pegged her as timid. She was funny, interesting, and the coolest woman in the room (as always.) Who wouldn't adore a woman who once ran a Beatles fan club?

With the pearls, then! Thanks Rochelle!

Deb, I know what you Mean. I'll never throw anything out now! And the color . . . isn't that nice? I love all my old shirts that come in colors that I can't find anywhere. This means I am permitted to buy multiple items, so I will have an unlimited supply of the right color, at least until they get off their fuschia and turquoise polka dots kick.

Well--I was Harriet Vane at the Crime Bake costume party..I wore a broad-shouldered slinky Krizia suit (with mid-calf length skirt) that I bought at Bergdorf's in 1982! Now that--is saving in a good way. (photos on Facebook..)

But I must say, Rochelle..this post is inspirational. Tomorrow--I am wearing the red dress.

Harriet Vane is one of my favorite characters. I must revisit her -as long as we are revisiting Old Favorites today. And are there costume parties at all the mystery conventions? If that's the case, I'll have to start attending these things. I've already mentioned that I enjoy wearing costumes. (I wouldn't mind wearing a costume to work once a month. Or more. Oh, gee; I wonder what this says about me?)

On Halloween, my service dog, Kendall, and I went for my bone scan. The technician was dressed as Xena the Warrior Princess in a fantastic costume she made - herself! To see a photo of her strategizing with Kendall on how to get me to the scanner look here: http://reenharringtoncarter.blogspot.com/

Oh, Reine, I just looked at the photo--amazing! So funny. (great idea to take a pic.)

And yes, costumes--they really empower people to behave in a different way. Very interesting!

Deb, you can see some fun photos on my facebook page. xoo

Reine, you look awesome! You carry Warrior Princess very well :)
I want to go to a dress-up party now.

Thanks, Hank! I tried to look at your FB photo, but I need to be friended first. :(

Thanks, Rochelle! But xena is the bone scan technician, and we LOOOVE her!

I have some cute strappy heels that I almost never wear. I think I've worn them once. Maybe I'll whip them out next time my husband wants to grab a quick dinner out:)

I keep the red high heeled shoes I was wearing when I met my husband in the closet just so I can look at then and remember what it was like to wear heels without pain. I probably won't wear them again, but I like owning them and remembering the nice things that happened when I was wearing them.

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