In pursuit of a coat

Let me preface this post by explaining that I’m not much of a shopper, especially clothes shopping. I really, really don’t like it. Is that shirt going to look better on me than the hanger? What size should I get in this? Does this color complement my skin tone? Is this supposed to fit like this or is it just too big? Is this a piece that I can mix-and-match within my own wardrobe? WHO KNOWS. I certainly don’t. I’ve never been able to waltz into a store, pinpoint a few fantastic purchases and sashay away.

But what I especially hate? When you need something specific. I talked about trying to find a dress for my brother’s wedding, but I didn’t go into much detail. It all started about six weeks before the event. I just happened to spot (which is the best way to find things!) a perfect dress. It was the color I wanted (navy), it was a style I loved (sophisticated yet sexy), it had sparkle, it was short, it was my size. It was perfection. The only downside was that I found it online, at a second-hand site (which was actually a decisive pro at first because a $380 dress for $60? Don’t mind if I do!). I could barely contain my excitement when the package arrived. Of course, if you read what I linked to earlier, you know that it didn’t work out. It fit, as in I could zip it up, but it did not fit my body at all. Weird bunching at the zipper and the torso section was too long.

Not a problem! I just sent it back and started perusing the same site for wedding dress v2. I searched and searched and waited for my return to be processed (the free return option only gives you the ability to get store credit which is fine, it’s what I wanted, I just needed my return processed so that I could apply those funds to the new dress). I found a second dress! Not quite the color I wanted (gray this time), but it was by a favorite brand of mine and it was embellished like I enjoy. In a moment of suspense, the dress was unavailable for a period of time (reserved in someone’s cart*) but then became available again. Whew! The moment my return was processed and my funds were available, I snapped up the second dress.

My only issue now was that the wedding was less than a ten days way. The dress v2 wasn’t slated for delivery until the Wednesday before the wedding – what if it didn’t fit either? So, I sucked it up and went to the mall (which, ugh, I haven’t been to a mall in ages and they are really sort of sad) in pursuit of a dress. I went to my go-to for cocktail dresses – Dillard’s – but I could already spot trouble. My brand of choice for cocktail dresses (BCBG) had absolutely nothing I wanted. So I moved on to the regular dress section and encountered my first (second? third? millionth?) problem – all of the dresses in the women’s section were too large to fit me off the rack. However, none of the junior’s dresses provided the sort of support I needed (now that I have breastfed a child, I totally get it when bra makers talk about shaping and structure). I found one dress I liked, but it literally was like the kitchen sink of dresses (short! full skirt! flower print! two piece! lace! sequins! a bow! let’s just bedazzle the heck out of this poor piece of fabric! wheeeeee!!!!!!). After I had been there for, no lie, two freaking hours trying on dress after dress after dress, I finally grabbed a dress that I had initially spotted and dismissed because it was sure to be too large. Let’s just say that it is the tiniest size 6 I have ever encountered. (To be fair, it’s a junior’s size 5/6 but seriously, it fits like second skin.)

So ANYWAY. I bought the dress (I actually bought it and the kitchen sink dress because I think I can at least take off the bow thing, and then it will be super cute and sort of mostly appropriate for a 30-year-old**). And I am so glad I did because when the dress I bought from the second-hand store arrived, it was laughably huge on me. Just enormous. I didn’t even hesitate to send it back. Again.

All of this is an illustration of the horrible, terrible fact that if you absolutely need to find something, you will not be able to find it. I think it’s just guaranteed that you will only ever be able to find amazing items (you know, the ones that fit you perfectly and complement your shape and color and look effortless) if you are NOT looking. Next time, I’ll try to con the universe by pretending to shop for a swimsuit instead of jeans.

I’ve dealt with this a lot recently – from the wedding dress to my hunt for a the perfect outfit to photograph. And this time of year always brings it up because every year I convince myself that I would love a pair of boots. And every year I search high and low for a pair of boots. And EVERY. YEAR. I do not find a pair of boots. I do not own a pair of boots and yet I swear I have been searching for a pair of boots for the last five years.

And now I have another dilemma: I want a new jacket. I have a fleece jacket, for the casual look. I have a beautiful wool coat for the (few) bitterly cold days. I have a gorgeous rain jacket for bridging the in-between (or for those times on the weekend when I want to look more put-together than a gray fleece jacket from Target). The problem is that the rain jacket isn’t really warm. Cute! Functional! But warm, no. So I’m trying to find something that (a) looks a touch classier than your average fleece zip-up, (b) is not as buttoned-up as a wool coat, (c) looks good on me, and (d) is warm, but like Texas-winter warm (ie – I do not need it to be cold rated to -30, lololololz). Is that too much to ask? Should I lower my bar? Ugh, tell me now. Perhaps I should have started looking in the summer.

*Interesting side-story. The second-hand site allows you to mark items as “favorites” so that you can quickly view them again. It reserves items in a basket for 24 hours and marks them unavailable for you, but you can still view them. So it allowed me to sort of follow along as some other girl out there, with a taste and size similar to mine, also shopped for a cocktail dress. The black one (I assume) she ended up choosing was cute, although I think she should have risked it for the pink Kate Spade number.

** That’s right folks! As of TODAY I am 30. Oye. Where does the time go?

Advertisements

Desperate Texans

It’s common knowledge (at least I think it is) that Texas doesn’t really experience four proper seasons. We get an eternal summer (from about April through August September October) and then maybe two or three weeks of what would traditionally be considered Fall. Then we move straight into Winter and emerge on the other side for a few weeks of Spring. So you can’t really blame us for celebrating when we get a random “cold” snap a week into October. It’s 2:30 here and only 68 degrees out. When we woke up this morning it was in the upper 40’s!! Grab the jackets!

Now, bear in mind that it will be 75 before the end of the day. Plus, the sun is shining, so there’s no longer a chill in the air. So that’s why I laughed to myself when I saw a woman exiting Target earlier in jeans, boots, a long sleeve (white) tee, and a vest. Was she overdressed? Hell yeah. Was I gonna blame her for relishing in weather more fitting of October? Nope. You do you, Han Solo girl. You do you.

Speaking of clothing, why is it so challenging to find an outfit for photos?

I’ve finally decided on a location for our photos and now I’m trying to plan coordinating outfits. The guys are easy (oh thank heavens). I’m putting them in jeans and either dark gray or light pink button downs. Luffy is fully outfitted already and I have already found the shirt for the dumpling, I’m just waiting to purchase until I decide which color route I’m going. But for me? Ack. I can’t seem to find anything suitable.

Maybe my expectations are too high? I want it to look timeless (which strikes out practically every trendy top out there right now because, no, I don’t want to look like I’m on my way to Coachella). I want it to be flattering, especially since I’m still carrying an extra pound or two and would prefer not to focus on that in every frame. It also must be somewhat dressy because it has to stand up to the button downs. I’m also leaning towards a jewel tone, or something that will add some color to my skin tone (my olive complexion can leave me a bit washed out looking in my go-to shades-of-gray wardrobe).  A sweater would be a perfect option here, except that I am not a sweater person and, thus, do not have a sweater on-hand. And it’s not sweater weather yet, here in Texas (see above), so stores aren’t really carrying them. Buying online is always an option but because this has to fit my petite frame perfectly (re: flattering and timeless!), it’s a bit harder to pull off.

So yeah, that’s my current gripe. I’m critically eyeing my closet every time I go in there for inspiration as the date of our pictures draws closer (two weeks out!). Meanwhile, I also have nothing to wear to my brother’s wedding in a week and a half, although I’ve already secured flawless attire for the men in my life. (Credit where credit’s due: my husband is a groomsman so my brother technically procured his tux choice. Plus, my brother’s the one who found the dumpling’s bow tie and suspenders. So yeah. On second thought, I haven’t done much at all.)

Hello again!

Well hello there! Nice to see you again; it’s been a while, no? I, unfortunately, had to buckle down before Thanksgiving to get through all the work stuff that I needed to get done. And then Thanksgiving happened and I was too busy stuffing my face cooking for my wonderful family to post anything.

So! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Luffy and I, with Jas in tow, set off to my West Texas hometown Wednesday morning. We made record time now that the speed limits are pretty much all at 75 MPH (which means we go 82, but shhhhh). It was wonderful to see my parents and they’re at the tail end of a home renovation so it was weird/fun to see my childhood home look COMPLETELY different. My mom and I dived right into cooking (a new Brussels sprouts recipe for that evening’s dinner) and drinking (champagne, our favorite). Jas dived right into being Queen and ruling over my parents’ three boy cats (with much hissing and growling). Luffy dived right into eating (ice cream cones that my parents always get for him, like I never feed him anything fun). It was glorious.

On Thanksgiving day, my mom and I made doughnuts for breakfast (baked, for the record, pumpkin and a plain powdered sugar one). Then I made mini cheesecakes and an accompanying caramel sauce. My mom started cooking for Thanksgiving lunch. Everything came together right on time for my half brother and his family to join us. It was all delicious, of course.

(A side note – I have the perfect cautionary tale of why you should never ever, EVER drum up more enthusiasm for a dish/present/whatever than you actually have. Several years ago, my half brother’s wife made a pie for Thanksgiving. It doesn’t really have a name, that I know of, but it has a chocolate cookie crust (think crushed Oreo’s), with a peanut butter filling (it’s lighter than peanut butter, I’m thinking perhaps peanut butter with whipping cream), with a whipped cream top, drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter sauce. Now. Reread that. Do your teeth ache just reading it? Cause mine do. One bite is good. Two bites are ok. And any more than that are just upsetting. The pie is so sweet – too sweet. Plus, I’ve come to loathe these types of desserts that are “no bake, just throw crap in a pan then refrigerate and who cares that everything going in is super sweet on its own and that it’s not really a pie but more like a blob of semi-firm ingredients!” – ahem. Anyway, the first time she brought it, I was being my nice self, I’m sure, and gushed about how delicious it was. The fact that I only made it through 1/4 of my slice blob clearly didn’t matter. But that’s ok! I was just being nice. Surely nothing bad could come from being nice! Flash forward five or six Thanksgivings and she’s brought that pie EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. This year, she even brought two. TWO! When we can barely get through half a pie with the obligatory post-Thanksgiving-feast slice. And this, my friends, is why you never say you love something when you kind of just tolerate it. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!)

The rest of Thanksgiving passed with a haze of tryptophan and snacks and football until about 6:15, when my phone rang. As I answered the 1-800 number, I saw that I had also gotten a notification from my Amex app. A sense of foreboding spreads…. Sure enough, an automated voice on the other end of the line was notifying me that suspicious activity had been noticed on my Amex account and that I should verify that I had made the following purchase. In a panic, I hit the option to repeat and urgently asked Luffy if he’d used my credit card that day. He hadn’t. I hadn’t. But someone had.

When I responded that I hadn’t made the transaction, I was immediately forwarded to a live-person-type representative who went over the charges with me again. Strange transactions from Google Payments and some restaurant I’d never heard of. I assured the rep that I hadn’t even used my card today – I’d been at home! He shut my card down immediately, issued me a new one, and marked the transactions that had gone through as fraudulent, assuring me that I’d bear no responsibility for them. YAY Amex!! He was very polite and exceedingly helpful and I will forever be grateful that Amex was watching my card while I was enjoying the holiday.

When I got off the phone, I recapped the conversation for Luffy and pulled up my card activity through my app. There were about eight transactions that had gone through, totaling about $90 (Amex had declined the transaction when the thief had tried to push through a transaction for $164). You could see that they’d done several small payments to see if the card number was good. Once they finally had it, they pushed through increasingly larger transactions.

I’m not responsible for any of the charges, of course (YAY Amex!!), but it is a very strange feeling, to have one’s credit card number stolen. I feel vulnerable, like I’ve had my privacy invaded. I have no idea how or where they got it. If it was a pull from a swipe of my card at a physical location or  a hack into a database that stores my info. I don’t know if they got it months ago and just got around to selling it/using it or if they stole it recently. All I can do is update my accounts to my new card information and hope that it doesn’t happen again.


So that put a bit of a damper on Thanksgiving. We tried to turn the evening around though (champagne to the rescue!) and dug up old videos of my brother to initiate his girlfriend.

The rest of the week passed quickly with family activities. More baking. Watching movies together. Cooking. Chatting. Watching more movies. Fun times. And Jas did eventually stop hissing at my parents’ cats every time they moved – success!

 

Happy Birthday to me!

Luffy and I celebrated my birthday over the weekend. He picked up a bottle of my favorite champagne and got all  my favorite (and his least favorite) flavors of macaroons (lemon and pumpkin)! Plus I got full control of the TV to binge-watch my current favorite guilty-pleasure show (Gossip Girl). All in all, it was a fantastic weekend. And I got it because I learned a very important lesson about relationships.

You see, when I was younger, I always thought that birthday surprises, among other things, just happened. And I don’t mean that someone didn’t have to plan it. More that Person A automatically knows what to plan out and how to celebrate Festivity B with their partner, Person C…… and that was slightly convoluted. Let’s try again. I thought that when I found my lobster, he would just know how to celebrate my birthday or Chistmas or our anniversary. SPOILER ALERT!! That’s not always how it works. Some people, like Luffy, need direction.

Luffy’s just not a big celebration guy. I’m not sure if it’s cultural (the Chinese have very few holidays and rarely give presents that aren’t cash) or personal. You would never find him decorating for Christmas or gushing about his “birthday week” (lololol). Truth be told, he doesn’t even have his birthday listed on Facebook and actually chided me when I posted a happy birthday note on his wall the first time. (True story – his boss texted him happy birthday this year and his legitimate FOR REAL response was – how did you know it’s my birthday? He was very disappointed to learn that apparently his work’s HR program reminds bosses when their employees have birthdays.) This is what he wants, so I respect it. True, I tell him happy birthday about 500 times (in person) on the day, because I am genuinely glad that he’s around and I love him to pieces, but I’ve stopped any sort of public declaration of love and devotion and OMGEES IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – I always thought that having to dictate your own celebration would make it less special, less exciting. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out this weekend that it did not. Not one bit. A couple of weeks ago, I said I’d like champagne and cupcakes and a day of doing nothing (Luffy had wondered if I wanted a present… and, you know, what to get). Luffy took those marching orders and delivered my favorite champagne, and a cupcake, AND macaroons, AND excellent girly TV, AND my favorite lazy meals (brunch out and cheese/salami/fruit plate). It was fantastic. And, on Friday night, as he was detailing out our plans for Saturday, I was over the moon excited and couldn’t wait to begin.

So yeah. Never be afraid to ask for what you really want. He may be my husband, but he can’t read my mind.

Changing Topics

Whew – my ovaries have been front and center for the past …. scrolls back …. keeps scrolling …. keeps scrolling … well, several weeks. I think we’re in dire need of a topic change around here. So:

Thanksgiving!

It’s just three weeks away people! Woot woot!

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. There are several things going for it (1) food, (2) lots of food, (3) a legitimate excuse to stuff your face with lots of food, (4) none of the present-buying pressure of Christmas (but all of the cookies), and (5) a legitimate excuse to open wine around noon (we have Thanksgiving lunch in my family). It’s the BEST, in my personal opinion.

Luffy and I head to my parents’ house, usually the day before Thanksgiving and then stay through the weekend. My mom and I bake up a storm the entire time and we both help make Thanksgiving lunch happen (so that one of us isn’t chained to the kitchen the entire morning). We always have fun planning our menu and finding new dishes to try (the only “traditional” thing we serve is a turkey). Last year, I introduced my family to my amazing cauliflower mash. It could pass for mashed potatoes and indeed it DID pass for mashed potatoes until my brother’s girlfriend spilled the beans. My dad was affronted that I had managed to sneak vegetables to stealthily past his radar! Good times.

Along with all this fantastic eating is the general laziness that comes whenever you visit your childhood home. Does this happen to any of you?? I’m a perfectly capable adult and yet when I go home I revert back to this teenage self. I don’t want to make breakfast for myself and I’m just fine with letting my poor, overworked mother clean up after lunch. I’m happy to sit and watch TV all weekend and barely get out of my pajamas by noon most days. It’s glorious.

I’m counting down the days to turkey time.

Halloween!

And how was your’s? Our’s was fantastic, thanks for asking. No, we didn’t dress up in an adorable, punny couple’s costume or visit a haunted house or anything like that. We stayed home. I watched a few 90’s rom-coms on Amazon Prime (they have When Harry Met Sally!!! I had been looking for that on Netflix forever) and then passed out about 150 pieces of candy (give or take a few that I ate along the way – those Kit-Kats called to me!). I enjoy passing out candy to all the neighborhood kids (my favorite this year was probably the little boy who was PSYCHED that I had candy corn. PUMPED. BEST. CANDY. EVER. in his humble opinion) and love to see all the costumes and parents out and about. I am not, however, a big Halloween fan. Everyone has their holidays – mine is definitely not Halloween.

When I was younger, trick-or-treating was not a thing for my family. Our neighborhood was populated mostly by aging residents, whose kids had moved on or out. We also lived on a fairly busy through street, meaning what few trick-or-treaters we did have did not stop by our house. Thus, my family didn’t trick-or-treat or pass out candy. When we were little, our parents dressed up my brother and me and we’d head to the local mall to trick-or-treat there (although that pretty quickly devolves into one long line as kids shuffle from store to store). Once we got to middle school though, that stopped. So I sort of blame the circumstances for my lack of enthusiasm on trick-or-treating and dressing up.

Halloween’s just not my thing. Now that we have a house, I look forward to it only so that I can pass out candy to adorable little kids (and some not-so-adorable middle schoolers just trolling for candy).  I enjoy watching for the trick-or-treaters and dropping candy into their buckets. I like watching the little ones zoom around and the older ones dutifully saying thank you each time. I like seeing the princesses and the super heroes and the I-have-no-idea-what-you-are’s (or that one poor pre-teen girl in heels who was probably so excited she got to wear heels as part of her costume and then secretly died in agony while traipsing through the neighborhood all evening).

We did see some great family costumes this year. Mom, Dad, and baby all dressed up in matching or coordinated costumes. I tried to picture Luffy and I dressed up to match a toddler and couldn’t see it happening (Luffy is even more apathetic towards the holiday than I am – he opted to play video games while I passed out candy).

Anyway – not really a point to this – other than to explain why there are no pics of me dressed up in my costume du jour. Or, costume du an might be more appropriate. I hope you had a fantastic Halloween and I also hope the scale at my doctor’s office has some sort of Halloween-candy-allowance adjustment tomorrow for my three-month follow up appointment.

Updates and random-pieces-of-information galore!!

So. Work. ‘Tis busy. Very busy. Capital B Busy. But! It’s been a while since I’ve updated and since I don’t have a topic in mind today, I present you a collection of slightly connected thoughts*.

*TBH, the only connection here is that they came from my brain…. so yeah.


Did you know that it is really challenging to find whole fat dairy in the grocery store? Particularly if you are hoping to find whole fat yogurt; it’s nearly impossible. Even yogurts that aren’t marketed as “low fat” or “no fat” are made with skim milk.

I read through the Mayo Clinic’s guide to fertility last week. They recommended adding whole fat dairy to my diet to improve the odds of successful ovulation (it was their only diet recommendation that was made based on a study, as opposed to “in general this is healthy”, so I feel like it’s a pretty legit recommendation). So I went out looking for whole fat yogurt to replace my lunchtime Greek yogurt. I got really lucky because my preferred brand of Greek yogurt actually sells a whole fat version in a large tub. It literally was my only option in the entire store. I picked up a tub and some individual plastic containers and thanked my lucky stars that I found it.


After two years of procrastinating, Luffy and I are finally going to fix an issue we have with a window in our living room. This particular window faces south. It has blinds, but it also has one of those half arch things over the top that is uncovered. During the winter months, the sun is positioned just right so that it shines down onto our TV in the morning and then shines directly on our couch (making that spot roughly 1,000 degrees) in the afternoon.

Since it really only affects the daytime, we first discovered this over Christmas break the first year we moved in. Our solution? Taping wrapping paper up there. We promptly took it down after our company left and I had grand plans of putting up curtains.

By last Christmas, had we put up curtains yet? (SPOILER ALERT!!!) No, we had not. Our solution? Taping wrapping paper up there. This time, we left the wrapping paper up for a couple of months (seriously, I’m 99% sure it was still up there in March). I still had grand plans for curtains, but kind of forgot about it when summer came and it was no longer an issue.

Two weeks ago, Luffy and I were getting ready to watch some football late Sunday and realized that the sunbeam was back. You’d think we’d learn our lesson as we acted all surprised like – what?! it’s back?! I thought we had a stern discussion with you last year!! (shakes fist at sun)

So I got serious about the curtain rod and looked up options and styles and whatnot. Then I realized that we might have a problem. You see, right above the arch of that window, our wall angles sharply up/in towards the ceiling (I’m not really sure what the purpose is either, but what are you gonna do??). There’s barely an inch of wall space above the window which means that it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever find a curtain rod that (a) fits, (b) looks halfway decent, and (c) is strong enough to support the curtains without a center bracket.

I’m a little bummed about it, to be honest. I really wanted curtains because I also wanted to get rid of the blinds. Little Jas would be able to get on the ledge in peace (right now, she just shoves the blinds out of her way, with as much grace as rhino walking through daisies). Plus, with our new wood floors, curtains just seemed so elegant and fancy.

Alas and alack. We’re going with one of those fixed blind fan things. We’re gonna pick it out this weekend and hopefully also install it. But, you know, the trip to the store alone might be all we have in us until next year. PROGRESS!


Whew – that was quite a long update for a “random” piece of information. Moving along!


I got THE cutest skirt at Banana Republic yesterday. THE CUTEST. Which makes me feel better when I also remember that I tried on approximately 25 pieces (they were having a 40%-50% off sale!!) and that skirt was the ONLY DAMN THING THAT FIT/FLATTERED.


Jas has taken up an adorable new habit in the evenings. Whenever I settle down on the couch to read or watch TV, she’ll hop up onto the back of the couch and get right behind me. Then she head butts me with her little head. If that doesn’t get my attention, she’ll pull my hair just a bit in hopes that I’ll reach up and pet her. Once I do, she’ll swish her tail across my shoulder a few times and pat my head with her paw, before settling down.

I have no idea why she’s suddenly decided that it’s a great method of getting my attention, but it is downright adorable and I hope she doesn’t stop.


SPEAKING OF TV… Luffy and I just finished marathoning HIMYM (it was my first time to see the series). I know, I know. I’m late to the party. But this means my only acceptable outlet is here….

WTF is up with that ending? Seriously?!?! Outrage! SMASH!! GRAWR!! 

The last season was so good (I felt that they had been kind of falling off their game in seasons 7 and 8, but recovered their rhythm in 9), and then they RUINED it in the last episode. Seriously. RU. INED. We finished it on Sunday and I’m still all worked up about it.

(But then we watched a youtube parody with Hitler ranting about the ending and it was hilarious and made me not as grawr-y)


All right, that’s all the updates I have time for today. Back to the trenches of work.