(Blogging from the train, which is OK except for spotty wifi and my paragraph edits aren’t working, so this post won’t look exactly right.)
“It’s never too late to become empowered” she said.
(Blogging from the train, which is OK except for spotty wifi and my paragraph edits aren’t working, so this post won’t look exactly right.)
“It’s never too late to become empowered” she said.
That’d be me, of course.
With a dilemma.
An enchanting sort of dilemma.
OK, here’s the deal…
That husband of mine-who-is-never-here-but-really-exists-really-he-does has been out to sea on assignment since March 10.
Yes, that’s correct — MARCH 10.
A very long time indeed, and as it happens, my birthday is coming up VERY soon.
I don’t really care to celebrate the day but I DO love to get a prezzie. (Or two, as you’ll see.)
I’ve had my eye on this little minimalist necklace that is all the fashion rage; hub told me to go ahead and get it, which made me verrry happy, and that’s what I did.
I drove to Bloomingdales in Fashion Valley; saw it, loved it, put it on, bought it,
Just like that.
It’s the perfect little sparkle to wear all the time; either by itself or layered with…other necklaces.
(Here’s where it all goes wrong (or right, depending on your point of view.)
Floating on a retail high, I strolled around the shopping center, wandering into Hermes, Carolina Herrera, Tory Burch, Gucci, Prada — there’s no Chanel at Fashion Valley, so you’d think I’d be safe from temptation, right?
Drifting through Nordstrom, running my hand through racks of silky boho blouses and scarves, I discovered a secluded little alcove that was all CHANEL.
Iconic Chanel tweed suits, timeless classic beauty in the $5000 and up price range — good to look at, but they’re not coming home with me, that’s for sure.
I turned around and saw a glass display case full of Chanel jewelry.
DID YOU HEAR ME?
Full of Chanel jewelry.
The very nice sales associate brought out one piece after another and I tried them all on.
“Have you seen this one?” she said.
“It’s sparkly” she said.
I’ve always always wanted the little CC logo pendant.
I died. What do I do? Not half an hour earlier I purchased a 14K diamond necklace that was supposed to be my birthday gift from my EXTREMELY GENEROUS absentee husband.
Here’s the dilemma:
What do YOU think I did?
I had a brief chat with myself because I couldn’t call hub for his opinion since he wasn’t available by cell, so I had to solve this dilemma entirely on my own.
I needed BOTH necklaces.(See how I used the word NEED instead of WANT.)
Of course I did, because I DESERVE both of them.
How could anyone choose? They’re both equally amazing, equally beautiful, and now I’m twice as happy!
(No Sophie’s choice this time.)
Here’s the awesome little Chanel.
By some miracle of the cosmos, another gift arrives this week.
Totally unexpectedly, tugboat man called and said he’s flying home for a week or so between assignments. On Thursday. MY BIRTHDAY.
That’s TOMORROW, which means I’m back on Cinderella duty — jewelry off, yellow rubber gloves on; cleaning, baking, ironing sheets, and hanging welcome home banners.
Don’t think I don’t know I live a charmed life.
I’ve had just about enough of this abuse.
I’m here to out myself. but I’m still hiding behind dark shades (Chanel, of course).
I’m an addict.
I’ve tried to change.
I really have.
Not a day goes by that I don’t wish and hope and pray that I could be strong enough to resist temptation, but I’m weak.
I NEED it to tame my mane.
I mean, LOOK at me, would ya? My hair has a mind of its own.
When I was growing up in pink toe shoes and tutus and my hair was properly braided and beribboned every morning, how could I possibly foresee what the future would bring?
There was no crystal ball to warn me of the impending appearance of those colorful fabric-wrapped elastic bands that would be my crack.
I lack strength; I’m powerless.
(This is tougher than I thought it would be.)
I won’t — I can’t– hide my addiction one more minute.
The truth is that I wear a SCRUNCHIE every. single. day.
I can’t get through the day without one. Or two.
AND YES, I WEAR IT ON MY WRIST LIKE A BRACELET.
Just to keep it close and handy.
Don’t even THINK about trying to wrestle it away from me.
Red or blue or purple; I carry extras in my handbags JUST IN CASE I LOSE ONE.
Us girls with SUPER curly and thick hair need a big fattie scrunchie to tame our wild beasty locks.
You know what?
I’ve had friends who’ve staged spontaneous interventions to help me confront my love for the scrunchie.
I’ve had friends pull them out of my hand and toss them in the trash.
Friends have gifted me all sorts of other hair bands and a variety of products to secure my crazy hair.
I’ve been bribed with lunch and unlimited wine if I don’t show up wearing a scrunchie.
“It ruins your outfit” they say.
“You look like a reject from the nineties”, they say.
Apparently, it’s embarrassing to be seen with a scrunchie-wearer.
I. DON’T. CARE. WHAT. ANYONE. THINKS.
I LOVE my scrunchies.
HAHAHA…the dreaded SIDE SCRUNCHIE!
No other form of securing my tresses will satisfy me:
I feel so much better having confessed my secret addiction.
It’s a huge load off my chest. I feel light and free.
So deal with it, world.
From this day forward, I’m out, I’m loud, and I’m a PROUD scrunchie-wearer!
Just be glad it’s not a banana clip. Hee hee.
I confess to showing up bright and early at Tar-zhay for some of the other designer brand marriages like Missoni (not to be confused with Target’s own brand, Mossimo) and TTTT I was less than overjoyed.
I picked up a “Missoni” scarf, but it was a bittersweet moment. While the tag proudly proclaims it to be MISSONI, in really tiny letters you read “for Target”.
It’s a feel good/feel bad moment to be considered “less than”, like a second-class citizen, not quite good enough to play with the big kids.
And it’s scratchy. Several negatives.
Do you think it dilutes the brand?
Isn’t the whole point of “designer” to be elitist and aspirational?
(Don’t worry, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. Or am I?)
If everyone has semi-equal access, how special can it possibly be?
I own a pretty (real) Missoni top; one of my treasures from a local consignment shop before they changed management and no longer carry any designer brands. The fit is awesome, the fabric is textural, and it’s well constructed –a high quality item.
Check out the angle of this selfie; it makes me look thinner and narrower. WINNING!
Not that I don’t love Target in all of its unique brand of Target-y-ness.
Wandering through each and every aisle is a wonderful way to kill a few hours while the tugboat man’s away.
From bleach to bathing suits, Target definitely fulfills the term “one-stop-shopping.”
But there’s something a little off-putting about creating a sub-line for the masses.
For example, I was excited to see what Jason Wu would offer, and was disappointed.
Some of the clothing was poorly sewn and poorly designed with cheap fabrics and I didn’t get a thing.
It was the same with the Neiman Marcus collaboration. Nada.
I don’t mean to sound snobbish; for the most part they were a big let down.
Now there’s Lilly Pulitzer.
Here in SoCal, we may have beaches, sunshine, and palm trees, but we’re a different breed than Miami and the Hamptons.
However, I kind of love the colorful LP designs.
There’s always a place in one’s wardrobe for pink and green and yellow and white eyelet…
I’ve visited the LP store at Fashion Valley in San Diego and it’s not outrageously expensive; it’ll be interesting to observe the price points at Target.
So I’ll be there bright and early on Sunday morning, but when I see the tags say Lilly Pulitzer for Target, I’ll be a little less than happy.
What’s next for Target? A partnership with Chanel? Tags that say Chanel for Target?
Coco would turn over in her grave.
Time to shake it off; ENOUGH of the stroll down memory lane.
This empty nest mom needs a little therapy.
And SUH-NAP. *snapping fingers*, just like THAT, back to what makes me tick, what gets me all excited.
And I don’t mean tugboat man…he’s still chugging and tugging toward that remote destination…
I’m talking about RETAIL therapy.
I’ve been on a roll lately, finding lots of amazing treasures, can’t wait to share them with you!
Everything from Vitamin C cream, trendy little t-shirts from Ross Dress for Less, and that elusive black pump.
And a sparkly bracelet and seashells, too!
It’s not always about thousand dollar Chanel shoes; I get just as excited for a $6.99 shirt!
For the gym with a sports bra; LOVE the message!
We should always do more of what makes us happy, right?
A couple miles down the road, I stopped at Marshall’s and loaded up on my FAVE Vitamin C cream by Dead Sea Minerals from Israel. (Make a note: if you can find it, stock up. It’s GREAT.)
Since things were going so well, it was time to drive down the 78 to Nordstrom Rack where there are more shoes than anywhere else I’ve shopped. This pair doesn’t hold the same magic as those Chanels, but with an on sale price point of $49.00, they’ll do for a while until the even more perfect shoe appears.
They’re not vegan, which gave me pause — I obviously had a weak moment — which is why I titled this post, “Imperfectly Perfect”.
It’s a constant struggle to follow a cruelty-free life. Some things are easier than others.
Finally, I stopped at my favorite enchanted garden shop, PlantPlay Nursery, came away with a couple kangaroo plants, a butterfly bush, and how could I NOT bring home this AMAZING seashell wreath?
What makes YOU happy today?
How are YOU perfectly imperfect or even imperfectly perfect?
What could be better than marrying my love for shoe shopping with a little craftiness?
I found these cute Toms wedges on sale at Nordstrom Rack.
The FIRST thing I did was to remove the Toms label from the heel area of the shoe.
Plus, to me, TOMS label/logo is ugly. A whole lotta negative valence happening, if you understand those types of dynamics. (I’m aware he does good things with the One for One giving back campaign.)
I studied the shoes for a while, pondering the shape and colors and textures and found them to be a bit lacking in style.
Hmmm, what could I do to jazz ’em up a bit?
Pearls didn’t seem right, nor did seashells, but then I remembered I had a container of wooden beads — natural, organic, and elemental.
Almost everything can be improved upon, right?
It was so easy, you MUST try this! My tugboat man thought I bought them this way.
Too easy, right? And that simple embellishment totally transformed rather bland shoes into fashion-forward and UNIQUE animal print wedges. They’ll totally rock with skinny jeans and a flowy, gauzy top, don’t you agree?
Right now, I’m going to go crazy with my other lace up shoes and garnish them with jewels, pearls, and beads. I get all obsessed that way…
I’m a happy girl.
Practice random acts of romance all year.
My tugboat man isn’t here today, Sigh.
But I don’t really care about Valentine’s Day. I really, really don’t.
It’s not that I reject it for its blatant commercialism (although there’s that, too) but my thought process works like this: why set aside only one day out of 365 to be nice?
Practicing random acts of romance any time during the year speaks to me of being genuine – that one has had an independent thought not generated by heavy-handed advertising — and expression of love and romance.
It doesn’t have to be expensive (really!).
I get as excited and grateful when my tugboat man brings home a seashell or a cool rock as I do when he brings my favorite Chanel perfume.
With all due respect to Sheryl Sandberg, this is how I lean in…
Want to read about our first Valentine’s Day? Click here: He Who Tugs At My Heart
I mean PRICE POINT.
Do you know the price you’re willing — or NOT willing — to pay for a specific item?
And what factors affect your decision?
That tipping point between purchase or walking away.
I. Am. Officially. Crazy.
I wouldn’t allow hub to buy a ten dollar mop from Target ‘cos I knew i could get one at the dollar store for a dollar (which I did), but I can spend a mortgage payment on a pair of shoes.
Who wouldn’t want to save NINE DOLLARS, right?
My tugboat man flew home last week for a brief respite and our reunion was a whirlwind of shopping for new deck furniture, repairing a broken washing machine — it needed a new tub seal ‘cos it was leaking — hub’s a GENIUS at fixing things, especially since there is NO surf ‘cos the Pacific Ocean is a LAKE so he had a lot of free (not surfing) time. This turned out to be an all day project because he decided to take it completely apart and do all sorts of maintenance while he replaced the broken part.
We put our old deck furniture out on the street and it was picked up within minutes, which was awesome as it saved us a trip to the dump and then the universe rewarded us by our discovery of an amazing outdoor coffee table also on the street just a couple blocks from our house that should complement our new furniture perfectly, and only needs to be refinished — another one of hub’s many talents.
See, I’m a girl who can appreciate the finer things in life as well as bringing home the detritus ( I mean the treasures) others discard.
I wasn’t at all naggy or anything — hardly even reminded hub of his duty to fulfill his penance with a pair of Loubies ‘cos we were uber busy — and then one day — UNPROMPTED — he asked if I had changed my mind about that certain trip to South Coast Plaza.
Quicker than you can say, “are you f***ing kidding me” I hopped in the shower and threw on a casual but California cool ensemble. Perfect for a day of trying on shoes.
I am horrified by what I’m going to say next, but I’m all about keeping it realz.
I don’t like the way Louboutins look on my feet.
This style is NOT foot or leg-flattering. That whole TOE CLEAVAGE thing that Christian Louboutin’s all about is NOT sexy on me. To me, it looks like a whole bunch of butt cracks and then I start thinking about plumbers and no. can. do.
Not even for those red soles that I had obsessed about for a while. Not even.
Plus, not comfortable at all. Not at all. I have a really high arch, so a tall heel is no problem — but after trying on almost every shoe in the store, I had to accept defeat.
My tugboat man was SO patient, he actually ENTERED the shop and sat with me while I modeled shoe after shoe. He didn’t like the way they looked either, but it was like pulling teeth to get him to offer an honest opinion — we’ve been married way too long — but I needed him to be brutally honest At $650 and up — there’s a lot of considerations that don’t arise with a purchase from Ross Dress For Less.
Which brings us to PRICE POINT.
We tried all the shoe stores — Jimmy Choo, Dior, Prada, YSL, Roger Vivier, Stuart Weitzman, Bloomies…and then there was CHANEL.
I mean, we were right there; it would have been so wrong NOT to see what they had, ya know?
I didn’t want to. I said, “Let’s go and eat some lunch and think about it.”
So we did. We shared a salad and a veggie panini at the Corner Bakery Cafe and strolled back over to Chanel where I tried the shoes on again and walked all over the store. Yes, they were comfortable, more so than the Loubies. The heel wasn’t too low nor was it too high. There was none of the dreaded toe cleavage.
BUT they sorta kinda gapped open just a bit at the arch, ‘cos of the whole ballet dancer high arch thing. They didn’t hug my foot. They weren’t perfect, but pretty darn close.
My tugboat man waxed poetic. They were elegant, sexy, classy, timeless (his words.)
In all honesty, I bet he was really thinking to himself, “she’ll never bug me about buying another pair of shoes ever again so in the long run, this’ll save money and I’ll come out of it smelling sweet and looking like a hero and I’ll never have to watch her try on a thousand damn pairs of shoes ever again.”
OK. Here goes. The price point…They were $850. EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS, not including tax.
Way more than I’ve ever paid for a pair of shoes. The most I’ve ever spent was about $200 or so for boots.
Practically $500 PER SHOE.
This was well above my internal price point, but my persuasive husband exerted influence and FORCED me get them.
“You deserve to have them.”
“You should have had shoes like this twenty years ago.”
WHO IS THIS GUY? (And no, he doesn’t have any brothers, he can’t be cloned, and his dad is/was a selfish jerk, so I don’t know how he became so awesome or I got so lucky.)
So I caved. Against my better judgement, I slapped down the plastique and made the purchase.
But something was bothering me.
I was afraid to wear them. What if they got scuffed up? What if something happened to the little bands of gold and the CC charm on the heel?
And that gap issue bugged me; shouldn’t they fit like a Cinderella shoe? Shouldn’t they be BEYOND perfect? I could have a custom shoe handmade by a cobbler for less than $850.00.
All my “what if” worry issues were stimulated.
The shoes sat on display on our dining room table for a few days.
I tried them on, walked around the house, but it was like an itch, a burr under my saddle, a nagging sense of something NOT QUITE RIGHT.
I even woke up from a deep sleep worrying about those damn shoes.
I was afraid to wear them. They were beyond my price point.
There’s a fourteen day return policy.
My tugboat man left to go back out to sea on Veteran’s Day.
What a dilemma!
On one hand, I loved the shoes A LOT, because Chanel, HELLO!
On the other hand, they weren’t 100000% perfectly fitting my foot. And on a third hand, they were ridiculously expensive, and I’m not sure I would enjoy wearing them because I’d be too frightened to walk outside.
I am fully aware that these kinds of shoes are not for hiking in the Anza-Borrego Desert and are much more akin to a hothouse flower that should only walk on a red carpet at a Hollywood premiere or the lush marble floor of a cocktail party in Rancho Santa Fe — but I’d be waiting YEARS for those events to occur.
And it’s also not that I don’t LOVE to be pampered with pricey prezzies (Chanel handbag #1 and #2, diamond anniversary band, opal ring…) but somehow these shoes triggered a deep emotional hesitation.
Know where I’m going?
I mean, literally, do you know where I’m going?
Yup, as soon as my tugboat man was safely on a vessel in the middle of a vast ocean, I packed up my beautiful but not perfect shoes and drove an hour back to South Coast Plaza and returned them.
More than anything, I didn’t want to hurt my hub’s feelings — he really and truly derives so much joy from buying me nice things — but I just couldn’t keep them.
And I didn’t want to let him know in advance that I was driving to the OC ‘cos it’s a hundred-mile-plus trip roundtrip and he’d worry about me. The last thing I want to do is to cause him to pay less attention to his dangerous work, pulling and pushing barges and winches and towing lines and all that.
AND since we have a policy of full disclosure, I would never NOT tell him, because that’s not how we roll,
Last night when he called to say goodnight like he always tries to do, I gently broke the news to him that I had returned his lovely gift, but more so than the actual purchase, I loved him for wanting to do whatever it takes to please me and make me happy, and THAT was priceless.
He was disappointed, but understood that that the whole “gap” and “fear” thing took the joy out of it for me.
Now here’s some questions I’ve been thinking about:
Do you think it was all a ploy by my tugboat man? Reverse psychology? He knows how cheap I really am, and perhaps he did this so he’d come out the generous knight in shining armor and I’m the undeserving scullery maid?
It’s possible…it is. He’s a clever one, that tugboat man of mine.
However, all is not lost. I have a $20 discount coupon for DSW. Hmm, maybe I’ll see what they have to offer.
Do YOU have a price point? Especially for items that are not necessary like food and shelter. What factors enter into your purchase decisions? Is there a point at which you say no? What’s the most you’ve ever spent on shoes?
Here’s a photo gallery of South Coast Plaza all dressed up for the holidays and one last look of me holding a Chanel bag…
For sure I’m the same girl who loves her Chanel and those sexy sexy toe cleavage Louboutins.
But I’m also all about a bargain – a good deal – a TREASURE.
When tugboat man proposed and we set a date, (yes, Dr. Laura, I had a ring and a date) — it was time to commence the checklist and countdown to becoming Mrs. Tugboat Captain.
I didn’t expect to find the perfect wedding gown at the DAV (that’s short for Disabled American Veterans) but I was getting desperate.
I had visited all of the local wedding shops, tried on a lot of gowns that didn’t feel right for me – not for a second marriage — and they didn’t speak to me design-wise.
Remember, it was 1994. Not as bad as the eighties, but still…light years before “Say Yes To The Dress”.
It was January; the wedding was the following month and I didn’t have anything to wear.
Not quite time to panic, well, yes, time to panic.
I would have been a Bridezilla if I wasn’t the one who was doing all the planning.
As a last resort, I was going to sew my own dress – but there wasn’t a whole lotta time.
One day I was aimlessly driving around and thought what the heck, I’ll try the thrift stores, whaddid I have to lose?
I stopped at the DAV on Coast Highway in Oceanside. It never smelled fresh, and that was a turnoff for sure, but I’d had luck there previously when I was looking for a vintage Hawaiian shirt.
Dejectedly, I dragged my feet over to the “fancy” dress aisle. It was an exercise in futility, but I wanted to be thorough.
I certainly didn’t expect to find the perfect wedding gown here — although there were lots of graduation-type dresses that looked like they had seen their one and done status and that’s how they ended up in the rack of last resorts.
And there it was.
Smashed and smooshed between two hideous body-deforming shiny blue taffeta trashed bridesmaids gowns or quinceanera dresses…
…my little jewel of a a wedding dress sang her sweet song of lace and froth.
Not too much; just right. Oh so right.
Lace tiers and sheer long sleeves and a nipped-in waist. SO ME.
A slightly Victorian feel or something that wouldn’t be out of place at Highcleer Castle. (Downton Abbey reference)
I didn’t even bother to try it on in the (ick) sketchy“dressing room” — really just three dirty blankets hung from a partition.
Cost? It was $10. TEN DOLLARS. I’m not sure of the designer’s name — whatever label had been attached was removed, but someone cared. There was LOVE in the stitches.
One thousand pennies.
What if it didn’t fit?
As soon as I got home, I tried it on and it was a perfect fit. Perfect. Like bespoke. Like so perfect I got teary.
SO meant to be, just like my tugboat man.
Although it was as immaculate as if it had never been worn, I always feel the need to add some embellishment. I went to the fabric store and bought twenty yards of chiffon for a belt/sash and then I decided I wanted to give the gown a slight vintage feel. I filled my tub with ten bags of Earl Grey tea; dipped and soaked the gown just until it was tinted a faintly champagne-ish color.
May I present Mrs. Tugboat Captain in these old and scanned pics.
I did a bad thing, tricking you that way.*
(But it made you click on it, haha)
My tugboat man doesn’t have a mistress.
He might as well have one.
Listen to the facts:
1. He spends a lot of money on her.
2. Sometimes when the tides are right, he spends more time with her than at home.
3. He found her on Craigslist.
Here’s my hub’s newest love, a Kies custom surfboard.
Apparently John Kies is one of the best surfboard shapers out there; at least that’s what I’ve been hearing for — well, it seems like for the last twenty-four hours. Nonstop. “Look at her shape!” “Isn’t she beautiful?” “I can’t wait to get her out in the water.”
So. Here she is.
Gaze your eyeballs on her beautiful and young body, so fresh and clean, no wrinkles or stretch marks or cellulite.
I actually drove with him halfway across San Diego County so that he could check her out — get a taste of her — stroke her and examine her from all sides –all the while I sat in the car and read a book until it got too dark to read.
And now he’s applying a coat of fresh StickyBumps warm water wax so that she’s primed and ready for their first ride. Together.
But don’t worry about me.
I’ll do all right ‘cos I’m a SURVIVOR.
I have my eye on a sweet little pearl Chanel necklace.
All’s fair, right?
*P.S. Apologies to anyone who may have thought I was going to reveal marital dirt…I’ll admit to gentle teasing and snarky humor at times, but I almost never share personal dirty laundry in a public forum. Not my style. Not my thing.
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