This morning I opened the door of the small, private hair salon I go to and was greeted with great joy and excitement. Right at the door stood my stylist/friend Nicole and one of her customers, who immediately started shouting things like, “And here she is! There’s one on each side of you! [laughter, applause]. This is so great! [More applause]. Let’s roll out the red carpet! [Nicole had a brown towel in her hands and laid it on the floor in front of me]. Oh my God, she’s here at last! Hooray!” So I laugh and shout with them, and I step onto the towel and bow and give a Queen Elizabeth wave to the two women. I’m complimented and applauded some more. I applaud them back. Mind you, I did absolutely nothing but walk in the door. Continue reading
You know what’s exciting, in a Christmas-y kind of way? Getting a box in the mail, a box full of clothes that you will probably love and that will probably be in your size but that you have no idea what is in there (I apparently wasn’t up to the challenge of that grammatically tricky sentence). Anyway, that exciting Christmas feeling is what I got with my first box from Stitch Fix. I promise, this is not an ad or a sponsored article. I wish it was, and that Stitch Fix would pay me. In free Fixes. (Stitch Fix people, hint hint…)
I’m feeling sort of fashion-y today because of the change in seasons and the resulting opportunity to wear different outfits, so I’m going back to the roots of this blog for a bit of non-professional fashion advice.
Now I know why photo shoots for models take so long. (Well, I’m told they take a long time. I wouldn’t know from personal experience.) I was taking a picture of myself for this blog, and here’s how the process went:
Remember what I said last week, about not wanting to be an adolescent girl again? Turns out, I AM an adolescent girl again. Look at the horrifying evidence:
- Struggling with unwelcome changes in my body;
- Ready to explore the world and (re)find my place in it;
- Staring deeply into my own eyes while looking in a mirror and studying a book on how to look pretty.
I’d better explain that last one.
Listen closely: don’t let your makeup tell you what to do, or be all intimidating and, like, “You better use me the way I’m meant to be used,” and mocking you because you may never be a movie star. If your makeup talks down to you, you need to show it who’s boss. Say you spend $30 for some facial packed powder with just a touch of shimmer, and the shiny box demands that you treat it regally, and the instructions tell you to dust it gently across your cheekbones — guess what? You can simply use that as a guideline. Go ahead: put it on your eyelids as a softly glowing eyeshadow. Or brush it across your chest for an evening out, to show off your cleavage. Wearing an off-the shoulder shirt? Try it on your shoulders. Hell, dust it on the tops of your feet to draw attention to the awesome color of your manicured toes if you want. There are no rules.
What a Christmas break! I’d say it was about 3 months long… not that I vacationed from work or life (as if!) but I haven’t blogged in ages. It’s like when I was an angst-filled teen and young adult. I’d keep a journal for months or years, but if I skipped a certain amount of time, I’d begin to think that I had too much to catch up on, and the task was too daunting… and it became more daunting the more time went on. And it’s not like I had to fill in all the missing days — nobody was reading it but me. But even here, the longer I was away from writing, the harder it became to get back to it. Which, I guess, is the same for everything in my life, and maybe in everyone’s life. Exercise, healthy eating, enjoyable passtimes: the farther I get from the days when I engaged in those things, the more difficult — and eventually nearly impossible! — it feels to get back to them.
Finally got to shop with Nordstrom Liz again — she moved to a more distant Nordstrom a year or so ago and I hadn’t gone to see her since the move. Friday night I took Lizzie and a bunch of her friends. We had dinner with Nordstrom Liz and then tried on a bunch of clothes in the fancy, large dressing rooms that Liz had put together for us. I could hear the girls giggling and trying on clothes and hats and boots, while I shopped and got some fashion advice from Liz. For example:
We don’t seem to use umbrellas in Northern Colorado. It doesn’t rain much, and it usually stops early and dries quickly. Also, everyone in Colorado, including middleaged women, is obsessed with the outdoors; I guess it’s not “cool” to carry an umbrella. Even MAWs put on our mountain climbing jacket with the oversized hood and head out. And we do NOT hunch our shoulders or duck our heads. We walk proudly through the rain, even if inside, we’re cursing the weather.
Last Thursday, though, Nordstrom Rack opened in our town, and I took a stand against being umbrella-less. I took extra care with my hair and makeup because it depresses me to be in a dressing room and see how pasty I look in that light, and how flat my hair gets from pulling items over my head.
We get over 300 sunny days a year here; Thursday, of course, was pouring rain. (I tried to think of a metaphor like pouring cats and dogs only better, but nothing’s coming. Suffice it to say it was pouring like a motherfucker.) I searched the house for an umbrella, because I didn’t go to all that effort just to have the rain ruin my hair. I found an oversized one in the garage (which I now realize is a GOLF UMBRELLA, the source of the problem) and was thrilled with it. At first.
So: I get to the car and unlock it, and realize the umbrella is longer than my arm and wider than the opening of the car door. I try to sink backward into the driver’s seat while simultaneously closing the umbrella like graceful women do in the movies, but, like a giant grabby octopus, the umbrella snags itself between the car door and the car itself, making it impossible to close either the umbrella or the door. I turn the umbrella sideways; rain pours onto my boots. I lean out to click the little clicky thing. An additional bucketful of water pours onto my shoulder; more rain drips into my sleeves and collar. I get the damn umbrella closed; now I am holding it straight out of the car, at arm’s length, as though I am about to joust. I wonder what to do next (but am secure in the knowledge that, if a dark knight on a horse appears with a lance, I am well prepared): I can pull the umbrella into the car, across my lap, and onto the passenger seat, but that will shower water everywhere. Also, I suspect the umbrella will not be satisfied with the passenger seat: it will want to reach across the console and share my seat because it hates me. Maybe I should have initially crawled into the BACK seat, left the umbrella to drip on the kids’ seats, and climbed over the console to the front.
Finally I jump out of the car, open the back door, shove the enemy onto the floorboards, and fling myself into the front again. I’m sure you’re wondering how my hair survived: surprisingly, it was fine. Unfortunately, I was sweating furiously from exertion so I can’t say the same about my makeup.
Nordstrom Rack held crowds of women and squeezing through the aisles was a challenge, but we were all in a good mood and feeling festive, as though a throng of friends had come home for the holidays and we were all enjoying our little shopping spree while waiting for the rum punch and figgy pudding (which never came, might I add).
Despite the lack of refreshments, the trip was a success: I bought a pair of ballet flats , a blouse, a “fashion leather” jacket (which I think means “it’s not real leather but we think it still looks good”), a belt (reversible, brown on one side and gold on the other), and a lightweight, drapy sweater.
Couple of tips for shopping at the Rack:
1. Get a cart. It’s best if you bring a ton of different sizes into the dressing room because there aren’t many attentive sales folks to find your sizes. Without a cart you will be hauling too many clothes around, and the arms of the shirts will drag along the floor, and you’ll trip on them, potentially ruining a great outfit.
2. Tell the person who hands you your number at the dressing room to NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR CART. I lost mine and there were no more to be had. When I tried on shoes, I had too much to carry and it was very awkward (though I still managed, bless my heart).
3. If, like me, you balk at buying $40 or $60 or $80 bras at Vicky’s Secret or even Macy’s, definitely check out the Rack. I got a perfect DKNY T-shirt bra for $16. It’s very supportive (it tells me all the time how nice I look).
PS: Just remembered I also got a black Calvin Klein blazer. Everything together was only $250 (shoes, sweater, blazer, jacket, belt, shirt). Impressive, Jen. Very impressive.
I totally write stories that are too long. I get chatty. Then I get sidetracked and sail along on the other theme for awhile. Then drag myself back to the point, add five parenthetical phrases, get sidetracked again (thanks, ADHD), totally forget my original idea… Crap. I’m doing it again, aren’t I? I’ll try to keep it shorter. (Note, I just reread this post and edited it. I may sound like I’m going on too long again, but trust me, this paragraph was a LOT longer.)