“…that’s always been one of my goals in life, to make people laugh.” ~Daphne Brogdon
Daphne Brogdon: Wife, Mother, Fashion TV Host, Stand Up, Blogger & Vlogger. Read on how Daphne Brogdon uses her blog/vlog to unite Moms through humor, her husband Mark Peel’s success, & the shock of losing almost all to Madoff.
This interview is part of the BlogHer’09 week look at beauty & fashion bloggers.
DB: Hello! It might be a little noisy for a minute. I’m at my husband’s restaurant picking up lunch.
Yes, we should mention your husband is none other than Mark Peel. He was recently on Top Chef Masters.
DB:Yeah, he’s Executive Chef at Campanile and also co-created La Brea Bakery, which he no longer owns. He’ll be back on Top Chef Masters in the fall as a judge. His episode is early September.
Speaking of blogging & food converging, we just were at the Julie & Julia premiere last night. It was really great because it was really both our worlds. It’s a great movie, and he had done a little promotional trailer because he had met Julia Child. It’s actually on my blog because he does a little something called Scrambled Eggs for Daphne. (Ed note: Would you just melt to have your chef husband name a dish after you? Rawr!)
So do I sense a husband & wife blogging team forming?
DB:(laughs) Unfortunately, he types henpeck, so I think he’ll be my sidekick.
Well you have so many things going on, and I want to ask: How did you get here?
DB: Mostly it’s because I was doing stand up, and I got to the point where I didn’t want to leave my kids anymore, and I was taxing for another creative outlet. At the same time, I was going to a lot of the baby sites, like a lot of moms do, and I just felt like they were so neutered, not me. Also, moms don’t have much time. So I thought, what if we do a 1 minute video and plant them on different sites? One thing led to another, then I realized I had to put a stake in the blog world to get this done and, there you go. I’m a blogger, and I didn’t even mean to be!
You’re actually now a Vlogger too because of these videos. One minute apiece and they touch on different topics, and they’re funny.
DB: Well, thank you. There are a few poignant ones in there too, but that’s always been one of my goals in life, to make people laugh. I think comedy helps connect people, and moms feel so isolated. Unfortunately, television, it doesn’t help. It just becomes a friend substitute. And I live in Los Angeles, I’m so driving averse. If a friend lives more than two miles away I’m like eh, forget it.
Has the addition of another infant into the mix changed dynamics greatly, or is it merely adding another kid?
I’d say the hardest thing of course is the lack of sleep. The sleep deprivation. In a way, it’s less difficult than I thought it would be. Rex is a pretty easy baby, but of course you never know what you’re going to get. What’s difficult, with my daughter, I would try to sleep when she took a nap. Of course, you can’t do that with two kids, and I’m working now, I wasn’t working before. Fortunately my daughter has not been a little psycho kid, she’s been really sweet to Rex, so that helps too. She hasn’t tried to smother him with a pillow or anything.
Do you write your material in advance or is it a lot of improv?
DB: It actually is a lot of improv, which is my background. I did improv for years and I love it. But I think my blogs are better when I can craft them more, but that’s not always possible. I was so pooped for the last few months with Rex, that I felt like some of my blogs were a little flat or just me being extemporaneous. I’d really like to craft them more. My thing is I need three beats in my minute.
What’s your favorite piece so far?
DB: Wow. Sometimes I can’t even remember them all. Well, recently, one of my favorite pieces I did is called “Princesses”. I really like the way we shot it. Either I shoot the pieces myself or there’s a guy I hire and then we shoot about 12 at once and we string them out. It’s the most economical way to do it and look halfway decent. But my daughter was playing in the background in her princess outfit, not knowing what was going on. I was in the foreground, as if I were making a confessional. My confession was that I was trying to keep her off it, I was trying to keep her clean, but she found the princess thing anyway.
It’s going to happen, they’re getting corrupted no matter what
My kicker is, let’s face it, no matter what we do, when they’re teens they’re going to find drugs. I mean, if they find the princess thing. Disney was not allowed in my house until very recently – I just cried uncle.
You live in LA, how can you be anti-Disneyland?
DB: Well it’s not that I’m anti-Disneyland, although it is a nightmare unto itself. You’ve got to time it right – don’t go in the summer. No, we definitely went there all the time when growing up. But it’s the big beast of Disney. Like when we were growing up there was Cinderella, there was Snow White. Then some marketing guy said “Hey, let’s put them all together and make The Princesses!” Then it’s a gateway to Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers. So I just sort of resist that. It’s my hippie upbringing.
Speaking of, I like the Spitup King of So Cal. You had a fabulous top on in that, I have to tell you.
DB: Oh! That was one where I made an effort to get clothed, because you know, the body ain’t what it used to be. Then it was, “Well that’s nice but I can’t nurse in it,” and so I did recently go out and spend for new stuff.
Can I ask – are you really breastfeeding?
DB: Oh yes!
DB: Well, when I leave the house, my husband or sitter gives a bottle but it’s all breast milk, 100%. I just taped (an episode), give you a little preview here – we started on the rice cereal. Next thing you know he’ll be dating some b*tch who won’t let him come over to the house for Christmas.
Well, I do know mothers that have breastfed up to five, so you’ve got a few more years to choose. I think that’s stretching it a little but..
DB: I breastfed my daughter until two, but I think if you want to do it until five you can’t do it in public because it freaks everyone out.
What has having this blog done for you personally?
DB: Good question. I didn’t think of it and didn’t want it to be a dear diary. It was, hey I can make the funny and connect with people in real life, connect with moms. I would say – god that’s such a good question. I would say, I have to be more honest, because friends and acquaintances are reading the blog. In some ways, obviously, there are things you just don’t say. I don’t say “Mrs. Smith at the nursery school makes my teeth rattle” or whatever because I have to see her everyday. And I think I have to think my opinions one beat through before I put it down, because the blogosphere will slap you back if they don’t like what you wrote. And it certainly in turn has made me more vulnerable.
Have you had any bad experiences?
DB: Oh sure, sure. I’ve had some people say some mean things, and it’s made me want to pick up my marbles and go home. So then I look at it as, well, just don’t come to my blog. If you don’t like me, get lost, go start your own blog.
I don’t know if you want to touch on this right now, but you have been very open on some painful, and personal topics that have occurred. You can mention it if you want, but was it really tough being open that way with a spouse?
DB: Yeah. Are you talking about how we lost so much with the Bernie Madoff debacle? It was, and that’s why I couldn’t even talk about it for a good seven months after we got the bad news. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t. I had to think about my kids, and my step kids. I was getting calls from lawyers and my husband was getting calls from the Times. Complete strangers were coming up to me and saying “I’m so sorry you had to sell your house.” I was like, well, there’s no hiding it. I would rather be the one that screams about it than walking into a room and going, “Do people know what happened?” You know? Because it was pretty devastating, the most devastating thing I’ve ever gone through. To in one day drive home from work and be told our retirement was gone, and we have to sell our house.
I have to say it was really brave of you, and it had to be very tough. For people that are reading or watching the blog, we empathize. Obviously you didn’t do anything wrong. Do you feel freer now?
DB: I got a couple of cruddy comments. Like “Well you had a nice house, I don’t have a nice house, so go stick it.” Well, last time I checked, robbery is robbery, whatever level, and our retirement is gone. Our children’s and stepchildren’s college fund is gone. Those are the people that can take a hike. I don’t need them around.
But most people were so sweet. And one of the big reasons I decided to be open about it was I started to get clues on my site from other people struggling from the recession. I thought we could help each other. Like how a mom with a special needs child can feel so isolated can meet another mom and they can help each other.
When we first got our bad news, it was like we were hit in the head. In the ensuing weeks, (we were in a feeder fund, we thought it was a little boutique thing) we found out it was a world wide scam. People that were much smarter about money than we were, or are, frankly made me feel better. Then my husband and I came down to this: Bernie may have ruined his life, but he didn’t ruin our life. We still have our family.
I love that, and I think that is important to remember. How does your husband feel? Is Mark comfortable that you’ve shared it with everyone? Has it helped him handle it?
DB: He was always better with it than I was. I think he was down in the dumps five days. He really was “I’m moving forward. I’m not letting this get me down.” I have to say I felt more traumatized, maybe because I was pregnant. Not exactly the news you want to get when you’re pregnant. He did initially say “I don’t want you to blog about this,” and I said fine. We were still coming to terms with it, and also, he’s a businessman. I didn’t want this in any way to reflect on him. It has nothing to do with his business, it’s totally separate, but I didn’t want any stink on him because of it. But you know, you can’t control information, particularly on the web.
Going back to this whole idea of helping people to not feel alone, I want to touch on something you are involved with called Momversation. How did that evolve?
100th episode of Momversation
DB: Well, it’s kind of an offshoot of CoolMom. In order to develop CoolMom, I paired with a company called Decca, because I wouldn’t know how to build a website, even if I was given my Madoff money back. I just wouldn’t know how to do it. So in a sense, they are a business partner for me, and if there are ever an ads on there they will have gotten them for me. So in conversations, I told them there was a big mom market out here and they should tap into this more. They were able to get a sponsorship and asked me to be a part of it, asked Heather Armstrong (Dooce.com) and other people to do it, and that’s been great! So there is another web venture I accidentally started.
It’s really enjoyable to have all of these different takes on topics. I just recently saw the topic on circumcision, which is probably the heaviest topic I’ve seen. There are some very strong feelings going on there, but those are things people don’t often talk about.
DB: Yeah, it’s all different ones. We try to mix it up between heavy and light. We also do some topical ones like “Are you sick of John & Kate + 8?”. My heavy one, because we all start conversations, is “What are you planning for your children if you and your spouse pass?” That was inspired by the whole Michael Jackson debacle. We were in the midst of the Madoff issue and we had to scrap that will, because there isn’t that money to leave anyone. You still have to figure out everything else.I’m just so sorry that has happened to you. Do you feel like you are getting back on course now?
DB: Oh yeah. You know, there are moments where I just miss my house.
There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s something you had worked for, the place you lived. We do get attached to our homes and that was the place you were creating (your life & coolmom series). It’s okay to grieve. It’s important to grieve.
DB: I just think, like my daughter, her birthday is coming up and she wants a big, bouncy house. I don’t think we have room for that. But I do consider us extremely lucky. There is a girl who went to my children’s school and she was just abducted and killed and, nothing, there is just no problem that compares to that. You’ve just got to keep perspective. Everything is fine, we live in a fine place, knock on wood we are both working, and Top Chef has been a lot of fun.
The Fashion Team is still going, and I just did a little bit of that at the Julie and Julia event, checking out the fashions. It’s been really fun.
Tell me about it.
DB: Well, it’s like a little hidden gem on the basic cable landscape, because it’s just, get your knife and fork and let’s dig in to celebrity fashion. You know, when you just want to gaze at dresses and fashion and celebrity? And that’s what we do. We do a lot of trying to find the funny, but we also strike a blow for the regular gal. Sure, that outfit could be fine if you’re a size 0, but it’s not going to work if you have hips. It’s just fun. Finding looks for less. Also, if you can only afford one trend for summer, what should it be? BTW, it’s the maxi dress. Things like that. Our average viewer makes about $35k a year, so while we talk about highbrow things we always try to make it accessible.
Thank you Daphne.
TV Guide Networks’ The Fashion Team airs on Sundays at 7pm/P
Mark Peel has cookbook coming out on Classic American Cooking. He’ll take things like Chicken ala King and make something new.
Thank you Daphne!
~ Hillary Fry / solessenceRead More
Sounds pretty good, right? Follow Zoya_NailPolish on Twitter. If they reach 5000 by August 3rd, the nail polish is on them!
Follow us while you are at it too!Read More
I was asking around the other day whether women are wearing false eyelashes, either daily or special occasion only, when someone asked if I could give her a quick guide – four step max – on how to apply them. Sure! This is for you Meg.
Step 1: Remove lashes carefully. Press on the lash and pull down, not across. Pulling across distorts the form and makes it much harder to apply.
Step 2: Apply a solid bead of adhesive and let it set for 60 seconds or so to get a bit tacky and adhere better.
Finished Product. At this point you can add mascara if you like to blend in your natural and the fake lashes.
So what do you think? Will you try it?Read More
Meet: Melissa Massello , Founder & Editor in Chief of shoestring magazine
Spotted: Revealing a great contrast in yellows and greens while unwittingly striking a pose.
I asked her a few questions about her mani/pedi philosophy:
Those colors look striking with your outfit. Do you usually go with a matching set?
I don’t have a specific policy on matching colors, but I do generally “Go bold or go home,” since I can get away with it with my Italian coloring and personality. If I’m not wearing yellow or silver, it’s classic, lipstick red, although I’ve done everything from gold to metallic blue to neon green and back again.
As with anything in fashion, if you own it and make it your own and it makes you confident and happy when wearing it, people will notice it in a positive way.
Where can readers get the look?
The polish was OPI. It’s a matte*, but they also make a pearlized yellow. I got the mani/pedi for $44 ($49 with tip) at Nail Perfection on East Ohio (Chicago, Illinois). I have a similar color I use at home that is between $7 and $9 at Walgreens and CVS.
*Can’t find any lead on a yellow matte from OPI. However, there are a number of matte topcoats available that can be used.
Thanks Melissa. Kudos on the great site you have with shoestring.
How many of you will jump the bold and perhaps matte trend?