Changing more than just clothes

I originally wrote this as a guest post for my friend Kim’s blog last year but thought I’d revisit it here. What? It’s my intellectual property and I’ll do what I want with it! Ahem, excuse me. Anywho, I’ve made some edits since it’s been published but if you want to read the original post, check it out on here.

———-

I’m not sure how everyone else learned how to put together an outfit, whether it’s an ingrained sense of fashion or you just stick your hand into the dresser/closet and wear whatever you pull out (I’ve been guilty of this on several occasions), but this has been a long, long lesson for me to learn. I turned 30 last year and everyone knows the transitions that result from turning such a milestone age: the horror of realizing you’re no longer in your twenties. The agony of knowing you’re that much closer to this mythical “Hill” that people keep referencing as if it were some magical far off place somewhere in the ether (or New Jersey, whichever is furthest). The misery of knowing that you are now the MIDDLE AGED! ACCCK!

But once the excitement of my birthday died down and I had eaten the last of my cake, I took stock at where I was in life. I was officially 30. A grown up. I felt pretty grown up, but problem was, I wasn’t looking the part. I don’t look my age to begin with so dressing the part is probably the only way to keep from being asked which Barbies are the most popular with girls my age.

I was never a fashionable person. I have pictures to prove this, though, thankfully, there is no photographic evidence of my most cringe inducing outfit in memory. I’ll give you a hint: it involves a pair of striped jeans my mom made. For my older sister. That I stole and wore in junior high thinking I was hot stuff. Yeah. I quickly adopted an “uniform:” a t-shirt or sports jersey, jeans and a pair of Nikes. Every single day. Sometimes I would trade pieces out for a pair of overalls (yes, for real) and a sweater but everything was oversized and kind of shapeless. Oh, and most of it were boy’s clothes. Including the jeans. It’s probably no coincidence that I went through junior high, high school and most of college without a single date. Though I’m sure the glasses, braces, and general geekiness in high school played a role with that as well.

collage of clothes from high school

I don’t know why I refused to wear clothes that fit, or were even made for girls. But this refusal was so epic that my friends still talk about the day I showed up in a pair of women’s boot-cut jeans. This was back in 2001 (and one of them yelled out the window, “ARE YOU WEARING BOOT CUT JEANS?!!!”). So yeah, after having spent the majority of my life in this uniform, it was hard to break free from the pervasive thoughts of how I was supposed to dress. My jeans and t-shirts had become such an integral part of my personality that the thought of branching out struck fear into me, as if I would no longer be me if I willingly wore a dress just because I wanted to wear a dress. I had stopped myself many times before from purchasing an article of clothing because I thought it didn’t fit who I thought I was and it wasn’t until I was peering down into my thirties that I realized just how silly and limiting this thinking was. Clothes should reflect your personality; not define it. And so, with this new found revelation, I embarked on one of the most ambitious project of my life to date: updating my wardrobe.

 

dressy casual outfit

I’d like to dress like this. But maybe not the heels. Okay, maybe the heels if I were going out.

Sunny Yellow outfit

And like this. I can still wear jeans!

And so I have been slowly adding new pieces to my wardrobe: dresses, dressier shirts and sweaters, belts and even managed to find fitting jeans (when I put them on, I was shocked that they made me look like I have a butt. CAN I GET FIFTY-ELEVENTY PAIRS OF THESE?!). And while I’m far from being certifiably fashionable, I’m finding clothes that reflect my new outlook about myself and where I’m at right now and I’m feeling a lot better about myself. I’m also beginning to feel more confident in reaching past my comfort zone to try new things. Brightly patterned shoes? Why not! A slightly shorter dress than I would usually buy? Let’s try it on! Sure I may still get hung up every now and then on something that might not seem like “me” but I’ve learned to embrace those pieces and rock them anyway. I’ve found those seemingly out of character pieces have become my favorites and garner the most compliments. Sometimes it pays to take a risk.

So I’m excited to see how my wardrobe evolves with my new stage in life. Who wants to help and come shopping with me?

Though, one of the best things I’ve learned so far?

Best. Accessory. Ever.

 

Who wouldn’t want a koala around their neck?

Y’all know how much I love packaging. A good package almost always makes me want to buy whatever it is its covering. I’m the little kid who’s more interested in the box than the toy that came in it.

This time, however, I actually want what’s inside the package as well. It’s a win-win-win situation: awesome packaging + awesome product + happy me. I was looking through Lovely Package, a wonderful blog devoted to packaging that the bf introduced me to [and I subsequently spent HOURS looking through all the archives. I think I stopped somewhere around page 60].

This leads me to today’s “OMG I WANT!!” item of the day: Manymals by Markus Diebel.

First, the lovely packaging that charmed my heart. It looks like the packages my contact lens come in and inside the little compartments holds the animal charm and a chain and on the back, there are some facts about the animal you chose [the collection includes a dog, sloth, bat, koala, gorilla and snake]. The neat thing is the animals hang from the chain as they would from a vine or branch in the wild. Well, except for the dog. I mean, what kind of dog hangs from trees?

Note to self: DO NOT GOOGLE THAT.

Upon further clicking, I found more pictures of the loveliness that are the actual charms and I zeroed in on the one that I want: the Koala.

Isn’t it just the cutest thing? Oh how it makes my heart just skip a beat. I would totally take off my Block M charm for this beauty. If only it weren’t $280. You hear that? That’s the sound of my heart breaking.

Never would have thought I’d get so attached to a necklace.

The blogger’s new clothes

I have decided to do a bit of a career makeover.

No, I’m not planning on changing careers. I like what I do and where I work. What I am looking to change is my wardrobe.

Seems simple enough, yes, but as someone who needs convincing to spend money [when I’m not already in the mood to spend, spend, spend] but this is something that I need to do. I notice that I’ve been walking differently since buying my wedges, and not because I’m now technically walking on heels, but there’s a certain clip that I have now that wasn’t present when I was shuffling along in my flats. I know I can get cute flats too but let me establish myself in my wedges first.

But my main point is I need to invest in some new clothes. I really do. It would make getting ready in the morning a lot easier and I am getting tired of the shirts I do have. And maybe another pair of pants. I don’t wear skirts or dresses to work…I could, I just choose not to.

That said, I need shirts. Lots and lots of shirts, blouses, tops, sweaters; whatever you want to call them; I need them. That’s where most of my issues stem from in the mornings. Half the shirts I own I don’t really want to wear anymore and the other half I wear all the time. And there are some shirts in the latter category that are slowing making their way to the former and I cannot wear my large collection of t-shirts to work. And because I can’t wear my t-shirts and I already wore that nice shirt the day before and it’s too warm for a sweater, I stand there in front of my closet just as confused as ever.

That is why I hate weekday mornings. Plus, who wants to make such a heavy and pivotal decision mere moments after wiping the sleep from your eyes? And this is the decision that you’ll live with for the next 12 hours or so! That’s too much pressure too early in the morning.

What? Pick out what I want to wear the night before? Sure, if I wasn’t positive that I’d change my mind upon waking up [happens 8 times out of 10]. I usually decide what to wear according to the weather report [yup, because in the Bay Area there are 4 different climate zones. I kid you not] and I live and work in two different ones. So checking the weather is a must. And I’ve noticed a change in most of the reports overnight. Which is yet another reason why I wait until the morning.

You see the conundrum I’m facing. So obviously the solution is stocking my closet and dresser with new clothes.

Obviously.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I know, I abandoned you. I would say I was sorry but I’m pretty sure it will happen again. So I’ll spare you the slightly false apology. Please don’t hate me.

So lots of stuff has been bubbling and brewing and I’ll get to those once things really start getting together. But first off: my birthday!

Yup, only 11 days and a wake up left until my birthday. Which reminds me, I need to call Scandia’s confused self and try to reserve a group rate. Oh, so what is this year’s theme?

Talda’s 28th Birthday Mini Golf Invitational!

That’s right folks, we’re hitting the fake mini links and going golfing. It should be a lot of fun. And I’m hoping people get into it because I have a surprise up my sleeve. Of course I do.

But the bf was the inspiration for this year’s party. After playing mini golf with him last year, we drove by Golf Land in Milpitas and I thought it would be a fantastic place to stage a rematch, and thus an idea was born. Of course Scandia is nowhere near Golf Land or even Malibu Speedway in terms of course design but I didn’t want people having to truck it too far.

I’m excited though. I haven’t played mini golf since last year with the bf. I know it’ll be a lot of fun. We tend to be that kind of group. At the moment I think I’m more excited by the little surprise I’m working on. I just got word that it shipped the other day so I can’t wait for it to get delivered and check out the goods.

Enough talk on things I can’t reveal just yet [as if any of my friends read the blog. But just in case…]. Let’s discuss things I can reveal.

Things like my birthday wish list, perchance? Why, yes, why not?

So here are some things I’d like for my birthday. Oh, I know writing out a list at the tender age of almost 28 is kind of lame but come on, it’s fun!

1) The bf

I know he’s on every list every year but he’s a mainstay. I’ll always want him.

2) Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, season 1 DVD

I know! I literally JUST found out about it this morning! And now it’s occupying practically every available space in my brain.  Gentlemen, sychronize Swatches!

3) BeaterBlade

This little thing would be such a huge help when mixing up cake batter and frosting and whatever else I decide to make with my mixer.

5) Green Apple KitchenAid stand mixer

I actually don’t expect anyone to buy this for me. I still need to start my savings fun for this lovely thing. Sigh, I can’t wait to see that on my kitchen counter!

6) The Adventures of Pete & Pete on DVD

Apparently I have tons of time on my hands to just sit and watch old tv shows, but whatever. Considering I spent half of my econ class reliving episodes in my head, this is right up my alley

At the moment, it seems DVD series are the flavors of the month. That or some helpful items for a future apartment.

Consider this a peace offering. Now with pictures!

So you’re going to have to wait one more day for the Christmas gift bag reveal. I was planning on writing about it today [actually I wrote the post already!] only to find out that I didn’t upload those pictures yet and since that kind of post is no fun without pictures, we’ll just have to wait another day.

But I do have a post with pictures for you today. Behold, the gold shoes that I have looked up and down and between the couch cushions for. And the ones UPS refused to deliver for a second before finally handing them over because they enjoy making me get upset and frustrated and nearly frothy at the mouth.

shoes

Okay, not that last one but I wouldn’t put it past them that they’d love to see me all rabid like.

After all the online and real life searching, I happened upon this beauty from Nine West, the Jiopa. While they didn’t have a gold option, per se, the color that popped up that seemed closest was their “natural satin.” I still wasn’t sure but I thought even if the shoe didn’t turn out to be a gold color, I’d still get that shoe in another color because they were just that cute.

the pleats!
They even have the coveted pleats I wanted!

Thankfully I was able to walk by a Nine West store downtown and happened upon these shoes and was able to try them out. Thank goodness because I couldn’t even get my Frankenfoot into my regular size! So up a half size I went only to find that while they fit, they were just a bit too snug in said Frankenfoot and after a slight hesitation, asked for the next size up, which was a full size bigger than what I normally wear. Well wouldn’t you know it fit though just a bit long but still doable. Plus, it turned out that the natural satin was a goldish color that incidentally matches fairly well with the gold in my dress.

I ended up leaving empty handed since I could get a better price online than in the store. Which worked out even better since I was able to buy a wide shoe in the next size up from my original size, which fits like a dream.

Continue reading

When did I drive into the middle of a scary movie?

It’s the last week of classes! My final is this week and after spending an amusing couple of hours at a review session with the prof and practically the entire class yesterday, I’m feeling pretty okay with it. Especially for the part we don’t have to show our work. Yay for letting Excel do all the heavy lifting.

Also yay for the following school related items: 1] getting my 83 on my midterm bumped up to a 92! I haven’t scored that high on a math related test since junior high and that was because I copied off Amalia [the statute of limitations is SO over!] and the best part is this was all me! No copying off of anyone. Unless you count the book. Please don’t count the book, 2] I’m actually going to take two classes next quarter. After talking with a few of my classmates and the prof, I’m going to go ahead and take his next class along with my financial accounting. I’m feeling really confident about this decision plus I already appointed one of my classmates to help me with my financial accounting should I run into any troubles, and 3] I get to have one of my foundation classes waived! I was able to use my credits for the Legal Aspects of Sports course I took at Michigan in lieu of taking their Legal Aspects of Business. I’m really excited about that even though it still looks like I won’t be done with the program until the summer of 2011. But really, that’s not THAT far away. Plus that’s almost $3,000 I get to keep.

I did a little shopping this weekend. I had a 30% off coupon for the Nike retail stores and since I was planning on getting Tammy a pair of shoes for her birthday, what better day to go huh? It was meant to be actually since I was given that coupon on Thursday! I found a pair of shoes that I liked that I thought she’d like but then I really started liking them so I bought them for myself. They were also on sale for $40! And naturally since I got them for me, that meant I had to find another pair for her because we can’t have the same pair of shoes and that took forever but I kept circling around a certain pair so I bought those. And when I showed my mom she was concerned because they were white. Well…shoes are meant to get dirty! And I didn’t like the other ones that were darker [because I tried to find a new pair for myself]. But that’s what gift receipts are for!

And my Nine West shoes are perfect with my dress! I owe Inga pictures and I will get those up hopefully soon but when I got home I opened up that box so quick and wore them around the house the rest of the night. Yup, sitting on the couch eating pizza while watching “Say Yes to the Dress.” What a thrilling Friday night. But once I get my Foot Petals my shoes will be good to go.

Good thing since the countdown now stands at 17 days and a wake up!

Will you tell UPS that I’m NOT talking to them?

I really don’t understand what I ever did to UPS to make them not like me so much but they just seem to keep messing with me. Constantly. It’s not like I go around talking down about UPS but lately they’ve been messing with my emotions.

Case in point: the latest shoe-related debacle in a string of shoe debacles. I bought my coveted gold shoes from Nine West, and yes I know I could have gotten them in the store and walked out that same day but I needed a wide shoe for my franken-foot and they only had those online. It was that or buy a shoe that was a full size bigger than I normally wear. Plus I got a 30% discount by ordering them online from Nine West themselves! I know! With free shipping! Exactly! So instead of dropping almost $88 to walk out with them I only paid $56.

Anywho, obviously giving me a tracking number is putting power in the wrong hands. Obsessive power that is. Because I’ve been tracking those things since I got that number. And you know what I also been doing? Noticing how my package has been sitting in San Pablo since MONDAY.

Just sitting there. Waiting. For what? My scheduled delivery on Thursday perchance?

Really?

I have to wait until Thursday for something you’ve had since Monday?

Because THAT makes a lot of sense. You already have the box. Just send it my way. You don’t have to stick to the schedule. Besides, it would be a lot better to get that box off your hands as soon a possible because that means you have less of me to deal with. See how that works? This is for your benefit! Help me, help you! You already know how uppity I can get about these types of things.

I’m really just hoping that y’all haven’t up and lost my package again. I haven’t seen any kind of moment on it since its arrival scan at 12:14 pm on Monday, December 1st [see what power the tracking number yields?] in the San Pablo center. Yeah, someone please explain.

There’s nothing wrong with delivering a package a few days earlier than scheduled. I won’t freak out. The system won’t freak out. Trust me.

But if I must wait until tomorrow, they better be there when I get home.

Or we’ll have more of this.

You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet!

Looking for shoes is hard. Especially nice gold ones. Why is it that I always seem to want a specific pair of shoes when they are not readily available? Seriously, how hard can it be to find a nice pair of gold heels? It’s the holiday season…people where those all the time!

So I went out last night in hopes of finding a nice pair of shoes to go with my dress. Since there is some gold in my dress I thought a pair of gold shoes would be fabulous, considering that I had just grown tired of both pairs of black heels I currently own so either way I would have needed to buy shoes. But anywho, I went off downtown after work to see what I could find.

The results? Struck out at DSW. Then again at Payless. Then at Nine West. And Charles David. And Aldo. And Nordstrom. I stopped by Nordy to check out a pair of shoes I liked online but with a $90 price tag, I needed them to WOW me but that didn’t happen. I still like the shoe but I just can’t justify the price. And how come all the really cute shoes are 4 inches and super strappy? I mean, don’t the shoe people know that it’s winter? It rains and snows and is generally cold. One, I don’t like my feet being cold. This is why I always wear socks [that and I don’t like my feet anyway so it’s also very handy as a cover up] and two, I don’t like my feet being wet either, unless it’s on purpose, as in, I know I’m getting wet.

And 4-inch heels? Not for this girl. The last thing I want to do is worry about my balance while I’m out walking around in heels in winter in Michigan. The sidewalks could be icy! My toes could fall off! I could trip and fall from a crumb! Hey, stranger things have happened.

Like the time I twisted my ankle while walking around in sneakers. No, not that time but the other time. That first one was because I tripped. But that is neither here nor there so let’s just keep moving.

I have decided that this shoe will most likely have some kind of pleating action going on with it. I’ve been obsessed with pleats since I saw Steph’s wedding dress earlier this year in March and the past few shoes that have caught my fancy have been pleated in some fashion. Thus it was written. So shall it be.

While I was at the Center, I was caught by one of the cart people. You know those people; not the ones that stay to themselves, but the ones that venture out into the area to grab people and pull them back to their lair, I mean cart? That one. I was caught and dragged back to his nail cart where they buff one of your nails and make it all pretty and shiny and smooth and then try to sell you their kit. I tried politely many times to turn down the offer [I’ve seen this one done before and while impressive and pretty easy looking, I just know that I wouldn’t be sitting down to do this every few months. Puh-lease. I barely tolerate doing my hair and I only do that once a week!]. Anyway, so this European guy is trying his hardest to melt my icy interior but it wasn’t working at all. I mean, look, if you’re going to be hawking a nail product, you better have your nails looking top shelf. Seriously. This guy’s nails were dirty! Eww. Even if I were interested in the product I wouldn’t buy it from him. Not with those nails.

So now I have one shiny and smooth nail out of ten. This is seriously messing with my sense of symmetry. Ugh. This is another reason why I didn’t want that demo done. I mean, he didn’t even get the entire nail! There’s still like a quarter of the nail bed that was untouched. I’m telling you, either do it all or don’t do it at all. Stupid nail guy. I can’t wait for this to wear off…

Dress you up in fine clothes…

I was alerted to a wonderous event starting soon [or at least now – not really sure which] but that doesn’t matter. The point is the cold weather gear has started to appear in Old Navy! New sweaters and jackets and scarves, though I don’t need a new scarf since I adore the one Jacki made for me for Christmas three years ago. But as much as I love the summer, I really like the winter because I can sit around in sweaters all day.

Let me clarify [oh let’s be honest, I’m about to muck things up right quick]: I like to wear sweaters because I like to be warm but I don’t really enjoy the cold weather that comes along with winter [and yes, cold in Northern California means in the low 60s…go ahead and hate on that]. This is why I love the summer…it feels like I’m wearing a sweater ALL THE TIME since it’s so warm. Really, I just like feeling warm is all; the weather is inconsequential.

But I’m going to be sure to make a stop at my local Old Navy’s so I can peruse the stock of jackets because I still have my eye on procuring a red cropped pea coat so I don’t always have to wear my admittedly more dressy white pea coat. Of course, as I was telling Inga, it’s more of a want than a need because, for goodness sake, I live in California! I don’t NEED two coats. But variety never hurts anyone.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find a jacket that I like for a good price. I keep hearing how stores are dropping their prices in order to try to get us customers back in to buy things but even still some of the prices are still a bit much for me and my penny-pinching ways. I’d love to go out and shop but I have to be very scrupulous about how I spend my hard-earned dollars, especially with grad school payments looming [which reminds me, I need to finish some scholarship essays] and everything. Every penny counts.

I have determined that, with the grace of God, I’m going to start saving a surplus of cash in my checking account. Because I’m done going into stupid spending freezes because I have to make $13 last a week until my next paycheck [and this is after I paid all my bills! No frivolous spending in these parts]. I’ve devised a plan and hopefully it will work. Of course, I’ve tried this out already in theory but had a hard time actually putting it into practice but now, now I’m going to. All I want is a nice cushion at the end of the money and I don’t want to be feeling like I’m living check to check so obviously I’ve got to be more proactive on my end. No use in waiting around for things to change, if I did then I’d always be broke. Gotta make my own deals here.

Things are going to change around my parts…I’m not quite sure how they will manifest just yet but I’m getting that feeling that something’s stirring.

Wicka-wicka-wicka-whaaat!

So my book is already out for delivery and should be home soon. I just ordered the thing on Tuesday! I was not expecting it until at least tomorrow at the earliest. Actually I’m glad it’s here because at least I know for sure that I’ll have it for class plus I have the chance to flip through it and acquaint myself a little bit with the terms and material in the book since my great plan on studying beforehand turned into an epic failure since I couldn’t settle on a basic introductory book to use. That and I couldn’t find my library card so I couldn’t even go there to pick up a book even if I wanted to. Not that I did though…our public library SUCKS.

Yeah I said it Vallejo: the library is horrible. It sucketh royally. I know the city has no money now but it wasn’t always broke. Didn’t you have money back when I was in school? You know, when the high school was actually GOOD? Probably why I always dreaded going there and really wished the Internet was what it is now back when I was in high school so I could have just done my research at home instead of wasting time there with all those stinky old books.

But I was spoiled; I had previous experiences in fantastic libraries in Modesto and San Francisco [LOVED the main branch] and then came to Vallejo. Sigh. Oh well, hopefully they get their stuff together and start funneling funds to the library because they need it, that’s for sure.

Speaking of needing things, I want a pair of silver flats. I already have a pair of silver heels that I love and try to wear at every opportunity [the ones I bought for Jacki’s wedding] and now I’d like a pair of flats so I can wear to work. That and I need to buy a new pair of Nikes too because the ones I bought earlier this year are meshy so when it rains, I can feel the water on my socks and that’s not acceptable.

I also want to purchase my ticket to be with the bf this Christmas this week before prices get too high. I wish I had gotten it a bit earlier since prices go up like everyday. He offered to help pay for the flight but I feel a little guilty accepting the offer and I really don’t know why. But we do need this visit though. I don’t want it to be another 8 months before I see him again. I already pushed back a Thanksgiving visit simply because it would be too much stress with the quick visit and with school and the crazy high prices for those flights. Christmas works better since I already have that time off and I won’t have any schoolwork to do and we can just take our time, relax and enjoy each other. Just how a vacation should be.

Which reminds me, I need to start putting money aside for Christmas gifts AND my future move. Time to pull out the calculator and see how much I can do!