Today’s Top 3 Tuesdays is a quick survey of my 3 favorite summer labels: Tibi, T-Bags and Trina Turk!
With allergy season upon us, pollen and paisley prints are in the air. Fighting off a fexofenadine-induced urge to break out a technicolor hued sweetheart strapless A-line dress, I spent a good chunk of my morning browsing the latest offerings from the bold and the beautiful:
(…and “Athena” jacket)
(Silk maxi dress)
(Wrap front mini dress)
(Halter maxi dress)
(Long drape one shoulder dress)
(“New Bonita” dress)
PS – who’s totally pumped for the Milly + Banana Republic collaboration?! <3 <3 <3
My sartorial obsession with all things nautical is both well-documented and well-maintained, given the amount of stripes and ropes in my closet, but only recently has my wardrobe been anchored by…well…anchors. Prior to J. Crew’s development of yet another cutesy textile, finding something with anchor print meant either settling for 7 inch inseam mom shorts at Brooks Brothers (maybe in 30 years, eh?), or getting some dorky Gap t-shirt with a graphic print that…um…unsuccessfully tried to copy the Crew’s whimsical-chic aesthetic (sorry, Gap, I love you but WTF. Also, more on the Gap ≤ J. Crew phenomenon in an upcoming post!). Lo and behold, a few seasons ago J. Crew (the OG and Factory, TFGGGG), rolled out an array of anchor print items, from ultralight summer cardigans to convertible circle dresses to t-shirts that don’t look like crap. Armed with several coupon codes plus a member credit, I went to work, finding some adorable anchor print goodies (and a bright orange lobster print eyelash scarf. Because I love lobsters. I am so predicable.) at very reasonable price points. My top J. Crew anchor picks, new and old:
1. Anchors Aweigh Cardigan:
(This *might* still be available at some Factory locations)
2. Factory Printed Sanur Dress:
(This delightful tube dress converts into a mini or a skirt. Click to buy)
3. Factory Printed Eyelash Scarf:
(You can never have too many summer-light scarves! Click to buy)
4. Factory Intarsia Charley Sweater:
(OK so I’m not cray about the color but it’s still pretty cute. Click to buy)
5. Factory Nautical Sequin Tank:
(A lot going on here but I like the idea. Click to buy)
6. Candy Anchor String Bikini:
(Not for the confidence-lacking, but I love the print! Click to buy)
7. 3″ Chino shorts in Candy Anchor:
(Ahh, an age-appropriate inseam! Thanks, J. Crew! Click to buy)
8. Elbow-Sleeve Tee in Stripe:
(Not sure about the sleeve length but everything else is presh! Click to buy)
Note to self: do more distance runs; procure the string bikini. Or cover up with like 5 different summer print eyelash scarves. Or both.
Warning: parts of the forthcoming post might come across as bitchy, contentious, and/or offensive (more so than usual). Please be advised that the point of me expressing my opinion on the below described subject matter is to (a) address larger social phenomena and (b) to highlight the importance of productive, intelligent discourse on sensitive topics. If you are easily offended or get riled up by the notion of women criticizing things which fall under the penumbra of feminism, please cease reading this post immediately.
I recently came across a little post on xoVain (a beauty-centric offshoot of xoJane, which, of course, is the cyber phoenix of the now-defunct Jane Magazine) that might have been written as a cute/funny “shit that annoys educated progressive thoughtful women” attempt, but which, in effect, came off as rather offensive to me. The post was a seeming call to arms (or rather, a call to fingernails) against the trend of offensive nail polish names. While the observations in the post are definitely on point (polish titles are totally in the gutter, and getting more and more crass with every season), the post’s title and greater implications thereof were what I found most
Sure, if I had a tween daughter who asked the manicurist to paint her nails an opaque beige called “Load,” I’d probably feel a brief pang of “WTF IS THIS WORLD COMING TO!?!?” but the world is so far past the point of oversexualization, that a polish with a name like “Skank at the Bank” (which, I’d imagine, would be iridescent pink with green dollar signs and copper glitter…note to self: create a prototype of that shit pronto) is the least of society’s concerns. Yes, the overall complaint is not totally without merit, as an argument can be made that slutty nail polish titles aren’t helping the cause of de-objectifying women (and, more importantly, young girls), but with stores like Justice selling skimpy underwear and crop tops with suggestive writing to eleven-year-olds, with Material Girl at Macy’s targeting tweens with its lace and fishnet racy offerings; with “Milkshake” being played at middle school talent shows, Hanna Montana propagating pole dancing in lieu of wholesome entertainment to the same demographic, Honey Boo Boo serving as an ad hoc nutritionist and beauty consultant, and the Kardashians working it as both role models for girls and a litmus test/limbo pole for how low societal values will go, I’d say that grimy, sexual stuff (as well as grimy stuff in general) has unfortunately become a constellation of norms, settling as part of our collective consciousness. And this collective consciousness does not discriminate against age or sex, in the sense that is has permeated every corner of everyone’s life; we can’t shield kids or girls or grannies from where the world is turning.
Though “it is what it is” might not be a satisfactory answer or solution to reconciling one’s own (and perhaps morally just, well-meaning, and reasonable) concerns against the filth that the world of pop consumerist culture is spewing, it’s important to approach these things from the right angle (or, preferably, from several angles), to choose one’s battles, and to attempt to move forward and rationally readjust to a rapidly changing world. I don’t mean that we have to accept the fact that we now live in a place dictated by bouncing fake tits, slut bracelets, teenage pregnancy pacts and a general dilution of the feminine mystique, but we do have to understand that these prevalent trends have many causes, explanations, and ramifications, some of which are bad, some good, and some neutral. To call one such trend “un-feminist” because it challenges a more traditional notion of what may be construed as offensive or harmful to women can, in my opinion, cause as much of a backlash as the trend itself. Such a claim can also be argued to be rooted in a factual fallacy, if we consider recent history. This brings me to the subject of feminism, particularly third-wave feminism, as this movement was what spurred a vast expansion, reconceptualization (and, accordingly, stratification) of what “the other F word” came to represent.
A primer on the 3 waves of feminism: the three waves of feminism, though obviously up for some interpretation, are roughly divided into the first wave (19th to mid-20th century), second wave (1960s-1980s), and third wave (1990s+). While the first wave focused on fighting for basic equal rights (voting, education, labor, property ownership), the second wave, also known as the Women’s Liberation Movement, delved more specifically into sexual, familial, and reproductive rights, as it challenged traditional norms of family structure and a woman’s role within (and outside of) it. It opened up the floor for a hotly debated, broad spectrum of issues which were never previously discussed openly (violence, rape, matrimonial law, abortions). The first two waves achieved an incredible amount of change over the course of roughly 150 years, both on the legislative and social fronts. Issue by issue, women acquired more rights, more freedoms, and more opportunities. Perhaps even more importantly, these rights, freedoms and opportunities saw more and more support, and, finally acceptance, to the point that they are finally seen as norms (at least in some sense). The paradigm shift from shameless sexism to a respectful and understanding equality has been vast (although this is a rosy oversimplification that is mostly applied to the American middle-class, and we obviously have a VERY long way to go). It is from the accomplishments of the first and second waves of feminism that the third wave arose, broadening the spectrum for discourse, policy change, and issue position even farther. The third wave utilized many forms of self-expression (high five to the Riot Grrrl movement) and was, arguably, much more open-minded and cognizant of the fact that in order to effectuate lasting and significant change, the feminist movement needed to expand beyond the scope of the opinions of white, middle-class women.
The third wave, contemporaneously with the DIY movement and all of its subsidiaries, was partly comprised of young and inquisitive Gen-X-ers, who were disgruntled with their wealth-obsessed parents, concerned about where the world was headed, and earnestly interested in educating themselves and others about an array of social and political causes. With a climate ripe for even MORE! change, independent thinking and freedom of expression turned in a whole new direction. Compounded by these factors, the third wave addressed issues of race, sexual orientation, sexuality, the preconceived notions of femininity (as well as feminism), and sought to convey that no singular definition for feminism or the typical female should exist: all women are unique (a quality that’s to be embraced), no woman should be expected to fit any mold, every woman is entitled to her beliefs, and shedding light on as many women’s issues, opinions and struggles as possible is conducive to elevating the conversation and achieving progress.
The third wave rebelled against its predecessors in several ways, but one particular difference that struck a nerve with many “old-timers” was the notion that women are free to do whatever they please, sexually and otherwise: pornography is not necessarily degrading, dressing provocatively does not necessarily convey self-loathing or invite trouble, engaging in intimate activities with multiple sex partners does not necessarily objectify women, and using one’s good looks (or goods) for whatever purposes of personal gain is not necessarily a “step in the wrong direction” for women. The key element in all these ideas is the definitive lack of a concrete position: femininity is personal and individual, and nobody can take a singular issue, act, or example and classify it as pro- or anti-feminist. While these issues should be discussed, debated, and given much thought, they should also be seen as a gray area, and not singularly watered down to feminist or un-feminist. At first, the view that there is no universal view of “typical feminism” was met with friction (heck, it still is!), but with time, it’s become accepted that women should just be free to choose (to abort or carry, to get a PhD or an “MRS,” to wear fishnets or turtlenecks, etc), free to act as they please, and free to cherry-pick how they feel about issues without having to succumb to the pro-/anti- feminism mold. It is this last point that seems to get lost on many “progressive-thinking” women: that one does NOT have to do/say/believe A, B, C, and D in order to be F[emale].
I picked up my first issue of Jane long before I knew what feminism was. From that first issue, I appreciated the mag for its goofy offbeat alternative (before the term “alternative” carried a pathetic, preconceived conformist connotation) edge. It was forward-thinking, addressed contentious and contemporary social issues, and balanced style/culture reporting with free-flowing prose, all while maintaining grace and a sense of humor. Because I never read Sassy as a girl, I was not aware of the magazine’s mission or target demo, but my impression was that if Marie Claire and Vice had a cool, funny daughter who went to Eugene Lang, dabbled in freestyle walking and lived on the LES, Jane would be it. Though the mag certainly had its loyal fan base, it fell victim to the truncation of the periodical industry and folded in 2007, a decade after its launch.
A year ago, when I randomly noticed Jane’s return via cyberspace, I was really excited. I still visit the site and read the stories somewhat regularly, but I do see a fundamental shift in tone, coverage, conversation, etc from the magazine to the present day website: there’s a lot more snarking, whining, judgment and negativity, and a lot less fun, free-spirited, productive discussion. I realize that changing the format of a publication from a monthly [semi]glossy mag to a viral confessional free-for-all has a lot to do with how things are reported, edited, discussed and perceived. I also realize that the world has changed drastically over the last five years, but I was hoping that the spirit of Jane would stay at least partially intact. And maybe it has, but I have a hard time seeing it. (Make sure to read Cakes & Shakes’ very excellent discussion of the denouement happening over at xojane and other “edgy girl” sites here.)
What the website does isn’t all bad. On the one hand, women (and everyone else, of course) should have a forum online where they have free reign to write whatever they choose (including weird misanthropic shit), especially if they would not be comfortable sharing it elsewhere. A lot of positive can come out from sharing stories of social awkwardness and bizarre experiences which feel alienating for many individuals, as sharing helps people realize that they’re not alone. It’s cathartic, it helps others, it’ s a healthy expression and confrontation of a painful issue: all great things. Many comments from readers are very supportive and positive, and a lot of gratitude for “being brave enough to share” is expressed there, which I think is also hugely important. I love all this about the website.
But a lot of negativity can arise from the “new fem overshare” too. Yes, uniqueness is great and everything, and celebrating it is great, but when you (intentionally or unintentionally) create a mold for said uniqueness, all of a sudden a new mold–a “feminism-as-a-non-conformist mold”–begins to take shape. I cannot stand this phenomenon of counterculture: you think that by rejecting some preconceived norm, you are transcending it, and those who reject the norm transcend it with you, allowing all rejectors of preconceived norms to respect each other’s differences, but in reality, you are expected to follow a specific non-conformist school of thought, dress, and behavior just like the rest of the non-conforming group. And if you don’t conform to the non-conforming group, you’re an outcast, a traitor, or a poser.
Bringing that conforming-to-the-non-conformist-group notion back to the third wave of feminism, this form of typecasting is precisely what the movement was trying to curb: there should be no expected norm, not for men, not for women, not for feminists, not for post-third-wave-cyberspace-reliant-feminists. The third wave school of thought argues that “having it all” means different things to different women, and that we don’t have to take the same exact position on the same set of issues all the time; we have a right–no, we have an obligation to ourselves–to have individual beliefs and values. We don’t have to embrace dimple piercings or ironically curled bangs, a closet full of animal-shaped dildos or power suits in attempt to fulfill new and old “bold woman” archetypes in order to actually be bold women. (We also don’t have to strive to be bold women unless we actually want to.) We don’t have to agree or disagree with an expected position on some issue just because “we’re women and we have to stick together.” We should respect each other’s opinions, yes, and when forming our own opinions on issues we should probably weigh the facts against reality and consider how said factors impact our lives and the lives of other women, but no woman should ever be chained to any real or imagined obligatory paradigm of reasoning.
But it’s far easier to just coast along some niche, preconceived alternative lifestyle (the one that is propagated in the xoJane/xoVain corner of cyberspace appears to require pastel hair streaks, a membership card to My Strange Addiction, and a deep-rooted disdain for anything that smells remotely of convention) than to follow one’s own path without regard for how one will be perceived. Now, I could be totally wrong here, and my assessment could be completely off-base, but this is the impression that I get when I visit those websites: that you had better be ultra-progressive, alterna-retroglam-kistchy-quirky-tomboy-chic to have right to the floor (the cyber equivalent of “fitting in” in real life). As a matter of fact, I feel like I shouldn’t even be allowed to enter the URL of either site because I’m a suburban yuppie who is infatuated with J. Crew, salads, and working out. Like I’m just not cool enough to hang out with the edgy girls who evidently take “feminism version 3.1″ so seriously.
(By the way, as I’ve mentioned before, this is why I have a huge fundamental problem with pretty much every “alternative” counter-culture group, from hippies to hipsters: the whole “oh, just be yourself…” bullshit that they throw at you only applies if you follow their very specific guidelines for what “being yourself” entails. This is also why I can never identify with any major social categorization in general: I am not a liberal, or a conservative, or a feminist, or a nihilist, because I will not be told what to think, how to look, or what to do. I am just a person. I have the right to be aloof, to say shit that some ultra-sensitive hyper-litigious beta people might find offensive, to appreciate things that are both traditional AND progressive, and to have beliefs which might reside beyond the realm of spreading awareness about the plight of women or purple dolphins or the non-organic lifestyle.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m totally appreciative of the Gloria Steinems and Kate Chopins, the Amelia Earharts and the countless women who bravely stood up and said “I don’t give a fuck what you say, I am going to do what I have set out to do” so that other women could follow. I wholeheartedly support the cause of helping women around the world achieve equal rights (social, economical, sexual, etc). I very much respect and look up to women who have done great things (for women and for society), but I just don’t see how talking about dildo accouterments, sex sprees, and exhibitionism is decidedly feminist, but provocatively-titled nail polish is un-feminist. The nail polish blurb is an over-simplified example of a far greater problem of our label-happy thought process, by the way. The significance of this example is not in its substance but in the fact that we feel the need to constantly classify and categorize and put phenomena in boxes, to label people and things, to make brash assessments, and to do so without considering the flip-side. Things are either decidedly feminist or decidedly not. Things are either decidedly good or decidedly bad. People are either decidedly right or decidedly wrong. There is no room for consideration (or for the possibility that a conclusion was reached preemptively or erroneously). In its most recent incarnation, feminism urges women to think outside of the box, feminist and otherwise. It appears that when propagators of counter-culture team up with propagators of feminism, the message of women’s lib gets misconstrued, sometimes significantly. This was, of course, bound to happen, but we should do something to fix it. The sooner we drop the “feminist” label altogether, and think of shit not in terms of whether it fits a certain [highly subjective] standard, but whether or not it makes people (women) feel good, confident, understood, and comfortable, the sooner we might actually see some tangible progress toward consistent respect and equality. Whistle-blowing “YOU GUYS!!!! THIS IS NOT FEMINIST!!!” is probably not the best way to call attention to an issue, let alone to resolve it.
I know that I sound like a hypocrite for criticizing those who love to pass judgement, given that all I am doing in this post is passing judgment on women for…passing judgment on women…but the main point that I am trying to make is that while we are entitled to, and most certainly ought to, keep having conversations about whatever issues concern us (no matter how petty, taboo, weird, or schadenfreude-inducing they might be), we should focus less on sounding “feminist” and focus more on being grounded and reasonable people. I don’t mean that we should be a bunch of politically correct pansies who are afraid to speak their minds. I just mean that we should transcend trying to fulfill any sort of expectation, regardless of what that expectation is or where it originates. Instead of calling people out for not being “feminist enough” or labeling anyone anything other than human, it would serve us better to just be honest, open, and accepting, universally. We need to remember and understand that there is a greater world beyond a niche on a website, that somewhere out there, someone has it far worse than us, and that there is not a single correct opinion on any particular matter in this world.
Just as the third wave of feminism sought (seeks) to underscore, we are all different. We should respect–heck, we should welcome–each other’s differences, but we should do so without shunning each other’s lifestyle choices. So, while I’m not offended that someone in particular has an opinion on the possible detriments of nail polish names, I’m kind of taken aback by the fact that there are people out there who think that any quotidian thing can be reduced to “feminist” or “un-feminist.” Neither tangible things nor experiences should be assessed on some scale of “feminist” potential. Sometimes we should just take stuff at face value, which, in the case of the question raised by the nail polish post, would entail picking out a bottle of nail polish based on how its color suits our needs, how well it applies, and how wearing it makes us feel, without even looking at the label. Actually, it’s amazing how rewarding it is to eschew labels (of any form) altogether.
Since I’m in accounting hell at work and closet cleaning hell at home, my urge to write the last few days has been steadily waning. Let’s call it literary PMS. That said, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a WBEW post, so here’s a happy quickie. Because today’s trends are kind of blah, let’s go to GSB basics to consider my favorite color, and review a melange of cutesy shit that comes in hot pink. Click on the links to purchase.
1. FACE Stockholm nail polish, in Glowing Glowing Gone, for J. Crew:
Though it should come as no surprise that I own 5 different bottles of neon pink nail polish, this one is out of this world awesome. Not only does the color dry to a non-radioactive hue (which could be seen as a good or a bad thing, of course), but it dries fast, spreads evenly, and, best of all, the nail polish SMELLS LIKE STRAWBERRIES. I am dead serious. Usually nail polish stinks, but this one provides a pleasant olfactory experience! Who could ask for anything more? Side note: is anyone else kind of obsessed with the “party nail” trend? I held off for as long as I could because I thought it was a little too casual of a look to pull off for a professional, but then when I saw 2 doctors and a lawyer rocking the “party nail” in one week, I caved. For anyone who’s interested, the polish on the nail in question is Nails Inc’s Pink Diamond, snagged from the Sephora sale bin for 3 bucks.
These shoes have everything: high heel, neon fuschia hue, suede upper, AWESOMELY WEIRD GOLD PLATE DETAILS! Oh, and they were less than $30 on 6pm.com. Swoon! I snapped these up the other day and cannot wait to wear them to some upcoming events!
3. Gap Broken-in Straight Khakis in Electric Fuschia:
Although they’re sold out online in this color, the Gap has a few other pink hues of this awesomely comfy pair of khakis. They might fit kinda loose, but that’s what makes them a great spring/summer weekend essential! I’m actually wearing these today with a nautical J. Crew cardi and Chanel flats and I am patting myself on the back for concocting the perfect neo-waspy outfit!
I’ve loved Vans since I was a little girl (I think I wore my Plat Skool sneakers down to the sole as a teenager), and, after much deliberation, I acquired a pair of their iconic checkered slip-ons a couple of years ago. Though they’ve been hiding in my closet because of the wet/snowy weather, I think it’s time to bring them out for the season, as spring is finally making its entrance! Imagine my delight when I spotted a new version on Piperlime (another major win for them, btw), not only in hot pink but in neon yellow too!!! Ahh I want Lo-Pros in every color!
The Crew makes the cutest accessories ever, season after season. Their bright leather clutches, wallets, and shoulder bags are so delightful that it’s hard to resist stocking up. Luckily, the price tag makes a fine deterrent for me, at least at the regular store. The Factory store, on the other hand, is a different story, especially when they roll out their crazy sales. This particular clutch is reasonably priced, a decent size, and constructed of lovely, buttery leather. Love it!
I can’t wait for the weather to stay permanently warm so that I can essentially resume wearing nothing but neon stuff every day of the week, without looking seasonally inappropriate! Hope everyone has a great week!
Let’s preface this with the fact that I adore Hautelook, much more so than any other online sample sale retailer. Good prices, awesome selection, great customer service, and Nordstrom as a parent company equate to one stellar experience. I have scored countless amazing gems perusing the Hautelook sample sales (particularly the blowouts!), and I rave on and on when prompted about how my loyalty will not be swayed by, say, a Lilly sale on Rue.
One thing that Hautelook does from time to time is throw in some labels which, while obviously not in blatant violation of patent and trademark laws, like to skate dangerously close to that fine line of legality. These labels afford those with modest means an opportunity to score a somewhat decently made knock-off for a great price. Whether it’s Amrita Singh’s faux leather take on Chanel quilt and chevron or a slew of tight dress designers emulating Mr. Leger with bands of bright polyester, I often spot budget versions of classic staples which, ethical quandaries notwithstanding, can infuse a whole lot of “wow!” into the wardrobes of fashionistas who are not quite ready for the real thing. Today’s 3 finds, from current sample sales, include:
Herve Leger this is not, but from far away (or in dim lighting) it’s a plausible alternative. The cheapo mesh inserts are, of course, an immediate giveaway of the dress’s non-luxe origin, but the zipper, shape, and color pull together for a scantily clad pop of fun color. Wow Couture’s schtick is definitely to deliver the ultrabodycon look at a minimal cost, and, when their designers don’t go crazy mixing eleven shades of blue bands on one dress or sticking strategically placed cutouts in far too many places, the end result can be pretty good (especially for girls with >5% body fat). Not for the faint of heart, Kardashian emulators take note!
Now that I’ve satisfied my Mulberry sweet tooth, I would kill for a Celine luggage tote, preferably in multiple quantities. Unfortunately, even the itty bitty-sized version of the original iconic bag costs roughly as much as a a nosejob (or someone’s annual property tax, or a nice used minivan), so the real deal is going to have to wait until I am bathing in mounds of disposable income. Until then, there are fun knock-offs like these. Street Level is one of those little-known accessory brands that makes cute stuff on the cheap, and even though you can bet your bottom dollar that their stuff is never comprised of real leather (which, for vegans, is a good thing anyway), having owned a few of their items I can actually say that the quality is not terrible. Plus, who wouldn’t want to score a cute yellow bag for springtime?
Bold textile comprised of a neutral/bright bichromatic scheme and tribal/natural print? Check. Form-fitting poly blend? Check. Tell-tale wrap and v-neck combo? Check! Though a bit too short to be actual DVF, this dress is kind of a dead-ringer for the Godmother of Wrap Dresses, except it costs $29 and will probably last you longer than the original. The sad truth about the classic DVF fabric of choice is that its partial silk composition makes it extremely likely to pull, pill, tear, or stain. The fake stuff might not feel as great on the skin, but it can be washed outside of the dry cleaner, and it can handle much more wear and tear. If you’ve always wanted a cool DVF-type dress but have never felt the need to spend over $300 to satisfy said urge, this dress is a great compromise!
We’ve had our dog for almost 2 months now, and one of the best things about the experience has been the fact that she needs her exercise (and thus, I need mine). We’ve been running, walking, hiking, and pulling twice a day nearly every day of the week, racking up miles and climbing elevation records. Because my dog is so huge, walking with her is a full-body workout. My biceps are totally getting toned, as are my obliques and even my fingers (or maybe they’re just sore from how much she pulls on the leash). I’ve dropped nearly 10 lbs since we got her (though I attribute some of that to the 8 Hour Diet), and maintaining this routine is a breeze. We started with shorter walks and distances, then aimed to do about 6 miles a day between 2 walks. It gets a bit challenging when it’s snowing, raining, or really really windy and cold, but with warmer weather and longer days, we’re getting up to 5 miles per outing! By the time the summer rolls around, I’ll be primed to run a 10K without even training. (Sidenote: do they allow dogs to run alongside their owners in 10Ks?)
Aside from the workout of a lifetime, I get to spend good quality time with my adorable beast, and take really cool pictures in the mornings, as we hike up a steep hill to the local park that overlooks our whole town. Although it’s been a little hectic lately with me and my husband both being intermittently sick and with my fur child being out of commission last week due to a bout of hot spots, I do my best to get the party animal outside as much as possible.
With the time change, it’s still dark when we get outside in the morning, but by the time we get all the way to the top of the hills in town, the sunrise appears from beneath the winter landscape, and it’s quite the sight! I try to get my dog to sit and chill for a minute to take cute pics of her enjoying the view. This doesn’t work very often as homegirl flops around following animal tracks or doing everything other than looking into the camera. Clearly, she is just not into emulating adult hippie health cereal/life insurance/4wd vehicle commercials (because seriously, it seems like all these people do in these commercials is go climb rugged mountains decked out in their overpriced athletic wear with their outdoorsy dogs and pensively survey the grand vista as inspirational new-age music plays in the background). Anyway, here are some pretty neat shots from our AM hikes:
(Rise and shine!)
(How cool does the sun look between the trees?)
(My favorite shot — and my dog’s favorite trail!)
(If this is what April brings, I will not be happy)
(Finally got my dog to sit still…sorta)
(Is she not the most precious furry creature EVER?!)
(And here she is chomping away at the last bits of snow)
I know that it’s hard to believe, but given my crazy schedule at home and at work, I rarely get to go out and relish the joys of physical, in-store retail therapy. If I’m lucky, I get to the mall once every month or two; Marshalls and TJ’s trips, while more frequent, are always comprised of my husband holding a stopwatch to his ear like the nervous White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, tapping his foot and reminding me that I .really. don’t need to look at more shoes. I mean, he’s not wrong, by any means, but can’t a girl enjoy the thrill of the chase? Not partic. Given his utilitarian perspective of visiting stores, concepts like “window shopping,” “comparing prices,” or “doing market research” (term #3 being totally legitimate because I need to know how to set the prices on my eBay listings!) are not part of his lexicon. It’s annoying, although totally admirable. Men are so rational in that way: they will only go out to a store if they actually need something useful (a new pair of work pants or running shoes). The only thing that I “need” is to unsubscribe from every moderately priced retailer’s exclusive newsletter so as to ease temptation! Anyway, most of my shopping happens online. Though it’s convenient and a class-A super fun time-waster, online shopping, not unlike psychiatry, is not an exact science. My three personal beefs with online shopping are more particularly described as follows:
1. You think you’re getting a great deal when you’re ordering something cool on clearance + 30% off sale online, but then when you just happen to pass through the retailer’s physical store the next day, you realize that you overspent significantly. That’s right, the first cardinal rule of online sales is that it’s ALWAYS. cheaper in the store. A piqué sweaterjacket at Banana, originally priced at $120, will be marked down to $69 online, but will be hanging on the clearance rack at most locations for $44. A huge bottle of Lolita Lempicka, on sale at Sephora for $40, will be on clearance for $14.99 at TJ Maxx. J. Crew and Madewell, while offering a wide selection of goodies on sale online, will have a drastically scaled down sampling of the same things on sale in store, except for 40% below the online price. It’s always a gamble: do you order something really neat online for a “reasonable price,” or do you take the risk of holding off, hunting it down in store and hoping that it’s (a) actually in the store, (b) in your size, and (c) priced better? It’s often easier to just click “checkout,” with the extra money you spend acting as an insurance policy that you’ll actually get your item (unless you’re C. Wonder, who likes to promote huge online sales, have people complete checkout, and then reneg and say that they ran out of inventory. Which leads me to):
2. Just when you think that your order is in the bag (figuratively and literally), you get a pesky customer service email telling you that the item you ordered and just paid for is not available. That “item” could be something small, non-essential and trinkety, like, say, a set of decorative ikat print plates, or it could be your freaking wedding dress. Though retailers typically try to eat crow for screw-ups like these, it’s nevertheless incredibly frustrating to have a reasonable set of expectations in a standard money-for-goods transaction, and to have set expectations be dishonored. But thank you for the coupons/gift cards, retailers.
*Corollary: you’re shopping online, you place an item in your cart, you’re about to check out and all of a sudden you are informed that the item is no longer available. WHAT!?!?!? Totally uncalled for. Unlike shopping in a physical store, where you grab a physical item from a finite selection of floor inventory and carry it around with you in your physical shopping tote until you get in line to pay, apparently when you shop online, some retailers don’t put a hold on the piece of inventory that you’re temporarily claimed as yours (this happened to me yesterday with the last Anchors Aweigh dress at J. Crew.) Not fair!
3. Your item comes in (a) damaged, (b) feeling/fitting like shit and/or (c) looking ten times worse in person than you could have possibly imagined. Neons turn out to be pastels, skinny pants fit like mom jeans, the suede red booties you got such a great deal on turn out to have fucked up seams that look too sloppy to be worn in public. And of course your item is not returnable, or if it is returnable, getting it back to the retailer takes 3 weeks and getting your money back takes 6.
Am I missing anything? Share your grievances by commiserating below!