Shopping


Sometimes individual things add up to form a light-shedding, bigger picture.  Sometimes it is not a pretty one, and sometimes it is deceptively pretty, which is not to say that either may be accurate.  No, wait, come back!  I promise, I am going somewhere with this, Your Honor.

I have a Blackberry, which I regularly use as a mental scribbling pad or an electronic ribbon-around-the-finger to remind me to do stuff.  It is better than a ribbon, because it vibrates and blinks and when I pull it out of its little leather case, it says things to me, like:  (19:00) MILK, or (21:00) Client meeting tmmw – IRON/GO TO BED, or (10:30) SandPOW.  These are all recent reminders that Past Tailfeather sent myself at various points.  The first, clearly, was to remind myself to pick up some milk on the way home from work.  The second was to remind myself not to stay up until midnight drinking wine and watching Community on the internet but to, instead, pluck the least crumpled blouse out of my wardrobe and pass out at 11:00 pm after forgetting to call my mother.  The third, sadly, I have stared at for the last three weeks as a saved reminder in my Outlook calendar and still have no idea to what it pertains.  I have a friend nicknamed Sandy, but what is POW?  I refuse to delete it until I figure it out.  It is like a riddle of my own creation.

This Blackberry is a company-owned one, which is another reason I tend to keep my non-work-related reminders cryptic.  This is why one might enter “RX,” for example, instead of “pick up yeast infect meds.”  Also, it is catchier.  So with both work and personal reminders, I sometimes find myself making lists that grow throughout the day.  A work example would be if I have several clients or contacts to call in Southeast Asia.  As I sort through them the day before, my 9:00 am reminder grows from:  (9:00) Call Client X, to (9:00) Call Client X, Provider Y, Client D, Contact A, Contact C.  And then I know to start calling those people early in the day so I can spend my morning sweet-talking them.  Likewise, a personal errand list might grow from: (18:30) Nails, to (18:30) Nails, shower gel, toothpicks, sea bass, SORT RECYCLING.

Those items on my last example list are not related.  Like, that is at least two stops, if not three, plus home from there, as I do not professionally sort recycling or get my nails done at a place where I can also buy seafood.  And yet if you were a television detective trying to solve my murder by reviewing my planner, you might be confuddled.   “Let’s just go to Soho,” you would say wearily.  “It must be some underground perv thing.  Or drugs.  Shower Gel is a big thing now, right?  Oh, sorry, yeah.  That’s Bath Salts.” (more…)

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So, today was a big day for me.  I took some time out of work for a much-needed wardrobe replenish, and the logical place to go here in the UK for an office-appropriate, sartorial pick-me-up is the ever-tasteful Marks & Spencer.  After two hours of browsing and 20+ items in the dressing room, I walked out with a killer black, belted dress, a deep purple cardigan, and a fresh reminder of why, exactly, I hate shopping so very, very much.  It’s because I have to try on 20+ pieces of clothing to find two that even attempt to flatter me, and I generally walk out cursing my bizarre, awkward body and the fluorescent lighting that has highlighted its flaws in such loving detail.

But that wasn’t all.  I also arranged for an afternoon appointment in the lingerie section with one of those legendary Bra Whisperers.  You’ve heard tell of them, if you are a woman – you walk into an upscale lingerie store and, with the wink of a beady eye and a quick snap of a tape measure, they inform you that the bra-size you’ve called your own for the last ten years is, in fact, dreadfully mistaken and then, while you sputter protests, they conjure up a host of beautiful delicates in some combination you’ve never considered, and suddenly, magically, you are harnessed into the bra of your dreams.  Your tits are caressed by angels’ breath and the support is like flexible steel girders, and, “Ooh,” you breathe, “I never knew it could feel like this!”

So, yeah, my expectations were high.  After a lifetime of 34B (high B, low C!), I was ready to discover my true bra size.  I’ll admit, I was having fantasies that the Bra Whisperer would eye me up and proclaim me a 32C, although this was unlikely, as my 34Bs are normally straining at the last hook of the strap and runneth over my cups do not.  Still, while the grandmotherly Whisperer dispassionately assessed and measured me, I sent up my prayers.

My regular old Calvin Klein bra, with light padding - this is what I wear most days.

(more…)

Hello People,

Here we are again at that magical time of year, full of sales and commercialism and fucking Lexus commercials (seriously, I don’t know ONE person who has ever gifted or been gifted a fucking Lexus and I know a lot of people) and there you are fretting about what to give someone that they will actually use, while that same person is wrapping a Bath & Body Works gift set or a Bananagrams Word Game for you.  Now, I know you’re not ungrateful for such treasures, but come on now, you know as well as I do that more often than not you end up with shit you don’t need and will never use.

Whether it’s a lazy effort by the gifter or just a gift you personally find hideous but are too polite (or otherwise indebted) to say so, every year people the world over end up with shit they ain’t never gonna use.  Enter Darilnica (The Gift Shop).

The Gift Shop opened this month in Slovenia and is run by four young, unpaid women for the purpose of finding a good home for all unwanted gifts.  Presents that are brought in are photographed then wrapped and place under a tree with the photos on the wall above.  There are no prices set on any of the gifts, and the idea is that you bring in a gift you don’t want and trade it for something there.  In the first week of opening, about 200 gifts have already been swapped and the women expect more traffic after the holidays.

This is a great idea and if anyone is running over to Slovenia I have a clip-on dashboard fan, 2 chain wallets, a ceramic dirigible and a knitted yarn thong to swap.

Ahoy, fellow Bargain Shoppers!  If you’re anything like me, you take great pleasure in picking up a cute, functional purse from Target or H&M or Forever 21.  What’s not to love?  It’s thrifty, fashionable, and you can wear the hell out of it for six months and then toss it, satisfied you’ve gotten your twenty bucks worth out of a bag you’ve enjoyed.  You’re not worried about leaky pens or loose tobacco or half-melted breath mints or snotty kleenex in your purse, because it was cheap to acquire and fun to carry.  Am I right?  I am so very right.

So here’s the bad news.  Apparently, those cheapo purses from which we derive great pleasure and utility are chock-full of THE CANCER.

Only four of the purses from my Target collection, actively trying to kill me

Only four of the purses from my Target collection, actively trying to kill me

 Here’s part of the total lady-bonerkiller from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Center for Environmental Health filed the complaint in Alameda County Superior Court and sent separate notices to manufacturers of at least 26 brands notifying them that testing showed their products contain lead at levels high enough to pose a health threat. Most are vinyl and faux leather items. (more…)

Last month I did what was supposed to be an introductory post to a store I pass with some regularity here in London, and my utter befuddlement at the tackiness of the garments displayed in the window.   My fascination with this shopfront stems largely from its proximity to world-renowned designers within a ridiculously ritzy sector of the city; if this same store were located in hectic, outrageous Camden, say, or far East London, it wouldn’t even catch my eye.

Reactions to the post were mixed; some folks were right with me in awe of the selected accessories and the shop’s rigorous commitment to theme (it was turquoise that week), and others thought I was needlessly harsh.  I get the second reaction, really.  The sequined number I photographed does look kind of Vegas-fab in the picture, and perhaps I failed to highlight how especially low-rent it appeared in person.  It is my intention, with the pictures below, to drive home my original point, but of course feel free to disagree!

The other critique I got was from a concerned reader who worried that publishing my mockery of the store on the internet could lead to unpleasant consequences if the store owners ever caught wind of it.  I gave it some thought and decided that a) I won’t be using the name of the store, although I suppose one could locate it if one was in the area and so inclined to traipse about in search of it (but really…  why?), so it won’t pop up on an unassuming Google search and b) I love this store. (more…)

hatbeatrice1

So, I have personally been invited to my first British wedding!  Actually, that is not entirely correct – I attented one last year, but it was a distant friend of my boyfriend and we only were asked to the evening portion, so I was the “…and guest” and didn’t know anybody.  So I don’t really count that one, except that it was at a Scottish castle and included a traditional pipe band, so that was definitely nifty.

Anyway, this time my name is on the invite, and my presence has been requested for the full-day shebang, so this is my first official British wedding, and it’s another Scottish one at that.  I am excited, because it is a big to-do with folk I know, but I also have some anxieties.

PRO:  There will be lots of booze.

CON:  My boss will be there.

I haven’t actually been to a wedding in about ten years, when a high school friend got married at a local Indian restaurant.  Since then, I have been blissfully ceremony-free, as my friends are apparently not the marrying types, or at least haven’t felt the need to invite me.  So, while I believe I can behave myself in public and don’t scrub up too badly, I have some basic wedding etiquette questions I need to get some answers to.

Some things are a little different here, is the thing.  When this invite came in the mail, there was no RSVP slip.  It seems to be customary over here to go out and buy a card to respond.  The boyfriend and I went out this weekend to buy a card, but couldn’t find any “wedding acceptance” cards, which you’re supposed to use, so he was dispatched on his lunch break today to another store.  He scanned the card and emailed it to me for approval because I kept saying “Nothing tacky!  Nothing sentimental!  Nothing cheesy!  No mentions of ‘on your special day’!”  (more…)

clothesonfire2

Here’s an open forum question, Readers, and a chance to vent:  What item in your partner’s wardrobe do you consider most deserving of a date with a can of petrol and a lit match?

Even if you are fortunate enough to get it together with someone whose sense of style you really dig, they will always have one or two pieces that you doggedly despise.  And the more they wear them, the more beloved those pieces are, the greater your resentment.  Lying in bed at night, your mind wanders… you plot accidents, like an evil step-parent.  What if that cut-off sweater were to, sadly, shrink in a too-hot wash?  What if bleach was, unfortunately, spilled on that No Fear tee-shirt?  What if the floral-print Doc Martens found their way into the Goodwill bag, or those slack-waisted, holey undies were to perish in a freak bonfire incident?

In my experience, there’s often been a dreadful pair of jeans at the heart of these issues.  Did you know, for example, of the existence of drawstring-waist denim slacks?  I did not, until my ex-boyfriend subjected me to this horror show.  The current Boy has a decent clothing selection, notably improved by my patient and persistent efforts (even he will grudgingly agree).  It’s taken time, it’s taken strategy, but I’ve managed to outfit him in a number of wardrobe essentials that show off his form to pleasing effect.  For me, style and image are less of an issue than flattering cuts, and a lot of menfolk venture by default towards baggy and logo-heavy gear (especially frustrating if they have trim waists and broad shoulders to work with!).  Anyway, I am no stylista hell-bent on transforming my man into some GQ template, I just prefer that he wear the Good Jeans. (more…)

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