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Laughing all the way to fabulous

There's nothing like having a new book dropped on your desk to provide a small dose of distraction.

This week I received a copy of Clinton Kelly's new hardcover -- "Freakin' Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate and Generally Be Better Than Everyone Else" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $24.95).

Kelly, as you probably know, is the co-host of TLC's "What Not to Wear." He's also a spokesman for Macy's and a motivational speaker who, as his bio reads, "has successfully talked thousands of women out of wearing stirrup pants."

The book is hilarious.

"My journey toward fabulousness began early; we're talking prepuberty," he writes in the introduction.

"While other kids on the elementary school playground were trading baseball cards and playing kickball, I was silently debating whether to spend my first paycheck on Italian suede driving shoes or on a cashmere coat."

But being fabulous goes far beyond picking out the right clothes, Kelly writes. It also involves knowing how to correctly chop an onion, use who and whom, shake up a signature cocktail and, oh, so many other things.

I thought I was tired of hearing the word "fabulous" but it is just so perfectly used throughout this book.

But as fun as this book is to read, it also provides some useful information. A few of my favorite tips from the book:

On shoes: "Wear a chunky, clunky shoe and you look chunky and clunky. Wear a fabulous shoe and you are fabulous."

On lighting your party: "Never have overhead lighting at a party; it makes everyone look old and tired. Candlelight is generally the most flattering light. Just be sure to place them in low-traffic areas. My friend Kelly almost went up in an angora blaze because I put a few votives on a credenza."

On clutter: "Clutter is the No. 1 enemy of fabulousness. It offends the eye, distracts the mind, and attracts vermin."

On burping: "In some countries, burping is a compliment to the chef, that you enjoyed your meal. Last time I checked, this was not one of those countries."

On tipping: "I have a general rule of fabulousness: Never tip anyone less than a buck."

On rearranging the furniture: "As a kid, I used to rearrange my bedroom furniture every couple of weeks. Granted, I was a very special child, but I am a big believer in regularly changing up the scenery."

And, finally, his thoughts on kids and their stuff:

"Call me a heretic, but I believe refrigerators are for keeping Sauvignon Blanc chilled to 38 degrees, not for displaying children's art."

Truth be told, at our house, we do indeed have a bottle or two of wine in the fridge.

But, sorry Kelly, I just can't stop hanging up papers and reminders on the refrigerator door -- if only for a day or two.

I may, however, think about rearranging the living room furniture. Oh, and telling our daughter to remove the clutter from the top of the desk in her bedroom.

I'm sure she will think I'm fabulous.


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