Monday, January 18, 2010

Let's lighten the load.

Affirmation of the day: There are darn good people in the world.

Thank you for the kind comments (and a few emails) in response to my last little journal entry here. Those were unexpected and very sweet and I felt a little kinship with each of you - so cheers to solidarity and getting back to the strong-willed little girl within!

I had myself a good cry and talked to my mama. The soul feels a little less bruised today - dare I say, even resilient? May be...

I even picked up the leftover Christmas paraphernalia. ::Hells bells Melanie!:: So things with hubs are looking up. I got one of those real hugs tonight. The I-just-realized-that-you-did-this-for-me-and-I-really-want-to-show-you-I-appreciate-it kind.

Heart melted right through my sweatpants.

So... shaking off the bad for tonight, reveling in the good, and I want to take it to lazy town. I'm watching Bachelor while perusing Etsy from the sofa sidebar and I'm just going to unload some goodies for goodies sake.

Take a load off with me and enjoy...

Ladies - can ya feel me?

By Order of the Crown - Keep Calm and Carry On T-Shirt

On to the next day... Goodnight friends. ::winks::

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When you feel you've failed a thousand times...

...congratulations - you're in a marriage. and an adult. and chances are, fatter than you were last year.

Ah friends, it's been a hard two weeks. Right now I'm listening to the dogs whine and take out their restlessness on each other, reminding me that I haven't been giving them nearly enough attention. My husband is in a deep sleep with an aching back thanks to his tireless work ethic and refusal to say no to anyone, including me. I haven't talked to my mom since January 4th, and I miss her. My poor dad has been relegated to an afterthought.... which reminds me, I promised him an "us" dinner at Christmas.. and then forgot.

I am completely sick of myself today.

Sometimes I have to just tuck my tongue in cheek and laugh at what a ridiculous woman God hath made in me. The bright, worldly women reading this gab-rag will hear me when I say - I have the capacity to be brilliant, but I am.... I am flawed.

I was so smart once. So accomplished... unstoppable, focused, unafraid, unencumbered. I was eight. I had this big wooden desk with a matching chair and shelves that went to the ceiling, covered in books, geodes, a globe I bought with my own allowance, and at one time every single pastel paperback in the Babysitters Club series. I fancied myself a Stacey McGill, but at heart I was a Mary Anne Spier, complete with braids I slept in only to unfurl gorgeous crimped-out waves by morning.

(that was sarcasm)

My mom would make my bed with me and say, "Trust me peanut, this is a gift you give yourself." My room was where I kept my every thought, bigger and grander and full of as much wonder and enchantment as the grassy knoll of Catonsville High School where I used to lay with pink plastic, heart-shaped sunglasses and snowball-blue terry shorts, watching the summer sky go hazy with every color you could see, celebrating the freedom just to be.

I thought so then, but I know it now - I could have been Anything.

My mom and dad divorced, mom remarried, and both of my parents went through hard times. We thrice moved into houses built just for us, but the past inevitably filled the walls and clogged the drains. I tried to blend in to the tide of middle school in Jordache and baggy t-shirts. Sometimes they had hip-hop bedecked Looney Tunes emblazoned on the front, and also -this hurts- the back. Forgive me comrades, I was born in a transient time.

I never tried to understand my mother's choices and this, I must admit, was a weighty factor in our inevitable schism. I stopped wanting to be a nice kid. I wished my brother would grow up and help me. I remember kneeling beside my bed and realizing that it did not matter who was right and what was wrong. I was not forgotten, not depressed, no, something far worse - I was angry, and anger needs no further analysis to do its bitter deed. I had been the dependable outcome in my mother's life and the pure good in my dad's, the smart child who disappeared from birthday parties to read, and went on sixth grade summits for precocious preteens hellbent on meeting the governor. I had been the piece of universe at the finger of the prime mover, and somewhere in the milieu became a lonely drop of water that couldn't find its way out of a rock. I was unrecognizable and unresponsive to urging.

Husband and I have had a [sometimes] rough road. We have a love story but it is also blemished with bouts of ugliness. Fights I would rather forget about issues that deserved a more prepared audience and less hardened heart. I was growing and healing and trying to be with this man who came into my life at the worst and best possible time.

Today, I don't recognize a hair on my head. Memories of climbing into those crisp cotton sheets with braids to my shoulders and a flashlight under the pillow feel so far behind. I made the bed the other day and as I tried to tame the corners I felt as though the sheets would pull the finger from the nail. I thwarted failure by stuffing the excess under the mattress and then slumped, like a boneless cat, against the springs.

I have been promising husband for many days that I would do away with the remaining piles of empty Christmas packages and shopping bags full of ribbon bits and endless receipts currently crowding the already stinted walkway along my side of the bed. I've also been meaning to make sense of the pile of paperwork and last semester's outlines collecting dust and resentment on the coffee table. And these are just the symptoms.

We don't necessarily make each other better, I've realized in some of my moments of greater clarity. We exist in this marriage as flawed as the day we began, and I have never felt so engaged in all my life. Every day is a choice. To be here. Both for him and for me - I know it doesn't read well, but it feels just fine. To be chosen as his wife on an otherwise nondescript Wednesday.

My husband is so good, so resilient and unapologetic. I find myself expecting him to improve the person I am. But the truth, the story of us, is that my love for him, along with my respect and admiration, have absolutely nothing to do with me. I have never blamed him for my shortcomings nor credited him with my strengths. I love him in spite of what I offer; I love him knowing he may not love me back. He brings a depth and awareness to my life, and what is most glaring in that light is my desire to be better... for him. To do this one thing inarguably well. To make the choice tomorrow that much easier for us both.

Troubling facts, these. My becoming a good wife with any measure of consistency depends not on my love for husband or his for me, but rather on whether or not I will allow myself to recall the spirit of that eight year old girl. To get back to believing that in my room, or my house, I can be anything.

I hear stirrings from the next room. I am going to bed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Latest Etsy Store Crush

Loving her dainty necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and the like. She also does beautiful custom work, which you can peek at during a quick scroll through her reviews.

Oh yes, she also offers FREE US DOMESTIC SHIPPING! And International is only $2.50 flat.

There really is nothing quite like a pretty necklace under your hooded parka, double-knotted scarf, elbow-length gloves, thermal top, snow boots and popcorn knit beret to make you forget that spring is still a dreaded four months away...

Here's a quick smattering...

Bridal, $14 (but really, so classy and elegant, appropriate for maids and matrons all the same)

Satin Noir, $25

Filigree, $18

Eleanor's Rose, $18

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My First Haul, a Novel

January 1st. Say that out loud. Then shake your head. Nutty.

[Something I learned about blogging today. If you start a post on January 1st, it doesn't matter when you finish, it will be dated January 1st. Also, When I stay up really late I lose my mind, and days, and think that Saturday is the 3rd. Feeling sheepish. Corrected error.]

Ok, so we're going to go on a fashion/beauty tilt here. I think I mentioned somewhere before that I'm a student, and unemployed at that. I just recently went on a tear through my closet and purged quite a hefty amount of sweaters, dresses, coats and such that were all just a tad too dressy for my current lifestyle. When my bankroll is feeling light I stick to one firm rule regarding any new non-essential acquisition - if it requires a special event for me to wear, it's not coming home in the bag. Simple, effective.

Trust and believe I stretch that rule to. dah. MAX. But it keeps me from coming home with this, even when it fits like a glove and tells my baby-craving uterus to hush! you couldn't wear this if you were nine months pregnant! Yup, that's the kind of psychological warfare I self-inflict all in the name of sticking to a budget. I cry for help. Does anybody hear me?!?!

So, let's go back readers to December 31st. I had a once-used compact of Nars Orgasm blush mocking me from the return/giveaway bin in my bathroom. (And PS - if you're ever the recipient of something from the return/giveaway basket in my bathroom, never fear. "My bathroom" is actually the guest/hall bathroom that is essentially one giant vanity where no one ever pees or otherwise undergoes exocrine functions. It's where I apply makeup, store overflow products, house my jewelry, etc etc. It's clean.) Back to the blush. I'm the only person on planet Earth that does not look, well, orgasmic in Nars Orgasm blush. I look orange with a glaze of gold dust and that ain't cute. I'm a Desire girl, a Deep Throat, and sometimes a Madly. SorryTiffanyD, not for me.

I track down my receipt, convince myself for the zillionth time that yes, it is ok to return a used cosmetic to the store if A) the store's return policy says so, B) you really did only use it once (ok, twice! gaaah, I wasn't sure!), and C) you practically own stock in Sephora with all the hard-earned babysitting money you've given to them over the years, pull on my coat, and head toward the door to fit in a quick return/exchange before the malls closes early for the coming of the new year. On my way out, I hear loving husband call from the mancave, "Oh hey baby, can you pick me up a pair of jeans?"

Uhm, wut?

Husband actually goes to his closet and retrieves a well-worn pair of Levi's 569s in his favorite color, holds them up, and says, "I want these. Can you get me these? Exactly these. In this color and this size. These. TheseTheseThese."

Make it stop mama, make it stop...!

"Of course honey. [checks watch, mall closes at 6, it is now 5:16, mall is 10 minutes away, it is raining, I live in Maryland, no one knows how to drive here, the quest for new products is clouding the priorities of my marriage...] Can you write down the style number and size for me?"

Which he does, so adorably, like I just agreed to get him that doggy in the window, and I go.

Sephora first. The girl behind the counter looked at me like I was returning a wad of used Q-tips. I felt shame. I spied a tube of Buxom Lip Gloss in a shade I have not yet tried and I got over it.

Left the store with:

Got a deluxe sample of this last week, used it twice on my sizable nose, and noticed a HUGE difference in the number of blackheads. I have typical oily skin and the pores in my T-zone are very prone to clogs. This worked great and the skin in my T-zone continues to improve in appearance and actual number of blackheads. The sample would probably last several weeks, if not well over a month, but I wanted my similar-skinned friend to give it a whirl so I used my GC to get a full-size and my sample to get good karma. Blackhead-free girl says "Woot!"

I prefer Buxom to LipFusion. Both do what they say they will do - temporarily puff your pout - but Buxom stings less. Yay! And I like the color line a smidge better. I mean, let's be honest here... all lip glosses make your lips look bigger compared to when they were bare and all non-reflecting like, however, the difference I notice with Buxom (especially in pictures) is that my lips look not only bigger from top to bottom, but also poofier from, uhh, face.. to... world? Makes sense right?

Katie is about the most nude of all their colors. Completely absent of any pinks or oranges, but still not clear. It's peach without all that peachiness. It's perfect. Can't believe I, the queen of neutrals, owned the sex-kitten crimson Betty before this.

and lastly, DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask ($38).
Again with the 1,000-year war against oil. Supposed to be amazing for gross, congested, how are my elbows drier than the Griswald's Christmas turkey and yet I just can't get this slime the hell outta my face?!! skin. I'll let you know how it goes.

I leave Sephora and check my watch fully expecting it to be 5:59 and too late for me to run down the corridor to JC Penney where I know they have husband's jeans. It's 5:46. I bolt.

JC Penney changed its layout. I did the whole "this way, no wait, this way, no, wait, no, no wait, this way!" dance in the middle of the now jewelry department until I found ManLand. Felt like a moron. Then I felt like a jerkmoron having to ask a salesgirl just trying to straighten her sweater table and get out of there where the denim wall had been moved. (Oh yes friends, I used to work at Express. It's a denim wall, even in my own closet.) She points, I scurry.

Two rather mean looking young men are giving me a serious stank eye as I approach what I can only assume is the wall-O-denim they have just straightened. I give them my best side-smile-sorry-face which I hope also implies that I also used to be a slave to retail and understand their plight. I probably looked like I was about to seize-out. No matter, I need a 33W-32L. It doesn't exist. It exists in men's super skinnies, which I admit I was tempted to buy in the appropriate color and then giggle myself silly watching husband pull them on in haste, but in 569 there was not a drop to drink. I can say I tried and that's what counts. All I can think about is getting a big bottle of champagne (fine, sparkling wine, hrmph), so for the door I head.


How on earth did I miss the insanely huge sale going on right at the main entrance from the mall? I'm caught in a dizzying array, taking in racks of cute jewel-toned sweaters, fun party tops, American Living (which appeals to the prep in me), and all those designers doing lines for JCP (Bisou Bisou and Ronson anybody?).

But, wait... the store should be closing. Why are people casually skimming the racks like it's the week before Christmas and stores stay open 'til midnight? Does no one care about the plight of the retail worker??? Then I hear a woman say, "Thank goodness they're open until 7."

Something in me dies. The last thing I need to be doing is shopping for myself. I did just make a killing on Ebay (isn't it sad when you realize how many things you've never worn still have the tags on them??) so I decide I can afford to take a look. I'll spare you the rest. Just imagine a psychedelic trip through Candyland. I came away with a very disciplined five things, and here they are:

Oxford & Regent Knit Blazer, $58 marked down to $12.49

Almost passed this on the rack - I haven't been so much a fan of the knit blazer concept - but I am a glutton for buttons and these are fabo. Like hubs said when I showed him - "Looks like you're fighting for the Union." Civil War grey with black trim, double flap pockets, princess seaming, and pre "tjuzzed" sleeves. Looks comfy and chic on. I'm thinking big scarves, oxfords, dark skinnies and strap boots. Also a drapey jewel neck tunic with black leggings and bow heels. And that my friends is the stretching of the rule.

Twelfth of Eleven Stripe Pocket Tee, $30 marked down to $4.99

This shirt is redic. Reminds me of my favorite school dress from the 80s. Soft and light with an all-season color story. It's love. Long enough to be just slightly risqué over leggings with patent heels to kill and red lips. Or under new bff blazer if I'm feeling conservative. Might just rock it with panties and make husband some breakfast. I dunno, I'm not ready to commit.

ANA Ruffle Top, $34 marked down to 8.49

Ultra flattering tulip cap sleeves, casading v-shaped ruffles, banded hem, blousey but NOT bubbly. Whew. Ya'll know how to wear these - under anything, over nothing.

Twelfth of Eleven Pocket Henley, $44 marked down to $7.49

Simple white button-down henley with patch pocket and functional zipper back. Same material as the Stripe Tee and feels amazing. Lovely drape for such a cheap top and who doesn't need about a million of these for layering?

She Said Stripe Dolman, $36 marked down to $7.49

A little pre-spring shopping. As you can see, this is on the sheer side, it also drapes to the point of being far wider than it is long so that little v-neck scoop comes way down Boob Mountain. Still loved it on though. The banding hits at the right place on the hip and the extra hem fabric gives a cute little ruffled skirt kinda look. Skin tight white cigarette pants and kitten heels, bug-eyed sunglasses and a martini. On my back porch. Hey-yah!

Not sure how, or if, to winterize. Open to suggestions.

And that's it dollfaces. I'm beat. Got a few things coming in the mail from Martin & Osa's New Year's Day sale (doncha love sales for no damn reason?) and I suppose if I'm feeling skinny that day I'll post a few combos.

Say bye, Josh.

"Bye Josh!"