A month of totes! 

So, it’s been a month since I signed up and in that time I’ve received four (!!!) boxes. I tend to get them on Thursday, keep the clothes over the weekend, and mail back on Monday. 

It has been up and down, but that’s to be expected. I have been “liking” a lot of clothes to add to the closet, so I can try different styles out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. 

What it HAS done is provide me with convenient ways to organize outfits for specific events. As an example, I had a baby shower to attend this weekend so I ordered two different dresses and accessories for the occasion.


Turns out, I was smart to order two because I had barely left my apartment when I spilled coffee on that dress and had to switch to the other. The coffee came out, thankfully! 


The earrings are adorbs as well, and totally not my usual style. 

In contrast, last week I ordered a dress I thought was my style (as in, I stubbornly insisted I was the right shape for it) and it was so terrible on me I didn’t wear it at all. My own fault, because the dress itself was pretty but not for my shape, but it is annoying to have to send it back. 

I have been switching out some of the items they choose for me, but I like that I always have the excitement of new clothes. Yay! 

In other news, I got my hair cut and colored. Twice. The first time it looked like this…. 


….so I had a nervous breakdown and called the salon to tell the owner to fix it. She did, with mostly good grace, and I ended up with this! 


Much improved! So many changes, what will be next? 

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Mon Dieu, Le Tote! 

So, I forgot I had to actually post stuff on this blog. My bad. But fear not, I have returned to dazzle you all with my amazing fashion insight! 

Ahem. 

Let’s dive in, shall we? 

I signed up for a subscription to Le Tote clothing service, which is essentially paying a monthly fee to rent clothes. It’s a pretty cool idea, with the concept being that you can pick and choose different outfits and accessories and pieces that you might ordinarily not be able to afford/not be committed to/think look weird on you. They mail you out the clothes (they have different levels of subscription, I went with the cheapest which is 2 pieces of clothing and 1 accessory) and you can wear them as long you like. There’s also an option to buy, at a discounted rate. 

What I like is that you pay a monthly fee but you can mail your box back and they will ship another right away, so you could potentially get three or four boxes in a month. So it’s not per box you pay, which makes the cost of the new outfits even cheaper, for those of you more thrifty minded.

I received my first box today, and rushed home to scrabble excitedly at the box until I managed to rip the tape off.


 I knew what I was receiving because you are notified that your box is ready so you can review the selections they made and switch stuff out if you don’t like it. In my case I switched two out of three because, even though I liked the blouse and bracelet they chose, I’m going out of town and I wanted an entire outfit rather than individual pieces. The main item, which is the dress, was one they chose. I don’t usually get wrap dresses on account of my “ample bosom” but I figured this is exactly what Le Tote is for so why not try it out? 

(Pardon the face, I had taken my makeup off already.)

As I feared, the wrap dress does not cover the chesticular area in a satisfactory manner. However, it is a cute dress and it’s a lightweight material, which is perfect when you live in the seventh circle of hell that is LA in July. Slap an undershirt on and we’re in business! 


The purse is a little clutch that has a strap, and while it’s nothing special it is a cute addition to the outfit. 


The denim jacket is, surprisingly, my favorite piece. I’m not a huge denim person, but I really like the cut of the jacket and the length. It doesn’t close (those damn knockers again!) but I don’t really care to close it anyway. 

All in all, I am pretty happy with my first tote box. I may have to tweak sizes or get more specific with measurements instead of guessing how many inches of world-space my chest and ass actually occupy. But overall everything fit pretty well and I am looking forward to parading my outfit up and down the streets of San Diego. 

Reasonable Insanity 

Anyone who knows me probably knows I have a dog. Anyone who knows me more than ten minutes knows my dog goes to daycare.


I’ll pause while that sinks in and the inevitable questions spring to mind. I’m guessing, “Why?! How often? How much does that cost you? Don’t you think it’s a waste?”

I’ll go ahead and address this, once and for all, so everyone understands the insanity behind it.

Let’s start with WHY. Well, we live in an 800sq foot third floor apartment with no yard, and I work an average of ten hours a day, five to six days a week. That’s 50-60 hours of alone time for Oreo in one room with no stimulation. Dogs are pack animals by nature, they thrive in company. A lonely dog is an antisocial dog, and that leads to a dog who snaps at other animals, and sometimes people. I’m not suggesting everyone who leaves their dog alone every day has an aggressive dog, but I’ve had dogs all my life and I can assure you that the ones who spent the least time in company were the crankiest of the lot. 


Next! HOW OFTEN AND HOW MUCH? Well, we average four to five days a week in daycare right now. He doesn’t go on weekends because we are only gone for a couple of hours at a time, and he doesn’t go on my days off for the same reason. How much is that? Rude, but everyone asks me and somehow thinks it’s fine. I don’t ask how much you drop on your kid’s daycare, or your yoga classes, or your makeup addiction. But that’s okay, I’ll tell you. We average $400-$500 a month. Yep, it really is that much. I know, right? We should all open a daycare for dogs. 

And finally; ISN’T THAT A WASTE? This brings me to what is more important to me than anything. I have a responsibility to take care of my dog like he takes care of me. When Tony brought Oreo home for me, I was going through a pretty rough period in my life. Oreo gave me something positive to focus on, and he gave and still gives unconditional love and comfort. A dog is always happy to see you, and always willing to play. I feel like it would be selfish of me to keep him to make myself happy, while not caring as much about his happiness. He is the brightest spot in my day every day, why would I not give him the best possible life I can manage? 

So yes, it is crazy but I am happy to send my dog to daycare for as long as I can financially manage it. He deserves to experience as much joy as I can provide him, because that’s what he brings us. 

Goodnight, sweet heart

Last Wednesday, in the wee hours of the morning, our family lost its matriarch, my grandmother. It still seems somewhat unreal, as we all grapple to come to terms with it and the family gradually works our way home to say goodbye. 

As I sit alone in LAX waiting for my flight, I can’t help but think of our Sha-Sha and how to describe what a special soul she was. She was truly a remarkable woman, a remarkable human being, and we were all the better for having known her.

There are so many stories I could share. I could talk about how, at more than 90 years of age, she still raised a dubious eyebrow at the cane her doctors handed her. Instead, would take my husband’s arm and whisper, “I’ll just hold on to you. That way I don’t look like a crotchety old woman, and you’ll look good with me on your arm!” 

I could tell you how, in her 70s, she still hopped in a bus or a taxi every week and traveled across town to keep her ailing sister in law company, playing bridge and watching Countdown and poking and prodding at Marie to put on something nice, for goodness’ sake, and go out to lunch.

Or I could tell you how she weathered the death of two husbands, all of her brothers, her dearest friends and, eventually, her son. She did this with an unwavering faith in God’s plan for her, a quiet reassurance that all pain can be borne with God by her side. 

She raised 7 children alone, in an era where women were expected to defer to the wisdom of a man in all things. More than that, she raised children that were all successful and strong. Doctors, scientists, teachers and parents themselves. She didn’t always approve of their choices, she didn’t always agree with their values, but she stood behind every one of them and shared in their joys and their sorrows equally.

She was a wonderful grandmother. Loving and warm, funny and quirky. She adored all of us, and knew the hopes and dreams of each one completely. You could find her, more often than not, absorbed in the excited ramblings of a seven year old girl who had another idea for a book. Or cleaning the skinned knees of a little boy before a kiss and a cuddle that fixed all ills. Or crooning a lullaby to a sleeping baby in her arms. She was the kind of person who always had more love to give, more time to talk and more attention to give. 

Don’t get me wrong; my grandma was not your sweet little old lady with candies in her purse. She was a force of nature. She had a flair for the dramatic, which served her well in her singing career and her later years when she acted in amateur theater. She was meticulous about her appearance, always making sure her nails were polished to perfection and often accessorizing with a jaunty scarf and brooch. She loved to tell me that she could have married again as a young woman after her first husband died, but she rejected several proposals in favor of independence. 

I still hear her voice in my head when I slouch, telling me in no uncertain terms, “stand up straight, Nemmy! Shoulders back, walk proud like a lady!” 

I see her in myself. I see her in my cousins, in my siblings, in my mother and her siblings. She put beauty out into the universe and maybe that’s why she always seemed so beautiful. She was an artist and a singer, who filled the world with color and laughter and joy. 

We adored her, we adore her still, and we are all better for having known her. I feel lost without her, but I know she would want us to be happy that she is with her beloved son again and with God. So we all make our way back, to gather and mourn. To comfort and celebrate this vibrant, glorious woman that anchored generations of family together in love. 

And as I bid her a final farewell, I’ll hear her voice in my head singing an old, comforting bedtime song. 

Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go,

Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go,

I hate to leave you, but I really must say,

So goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight.”

Hello 2017

New year, new post. Heyyyy! I’m not really a “resolutions” type person, but there are several things I’m trying to gain momentum on. Sometimes it’s good to pick a Go Moment, and the near year always works nicely for that. So, here we go! 

1. Now that my work schedule is (hopefully!) going to settle down again, I’m really going to do my best to set aside a couple of hours a week to write more. 

2. This is the year I fix my hair for GOOD, people! I am determined to find a suitable hairstyle that works for my level of abject laziness.

3. I started cardio-kickboxing in December, and it’s a lot of fun, so I plan to continue working towards my lucrative future career as the next Rhonda Rousey. Or at least gain some kind of muscle mass, my arms are like chubby little sausages.

4. I think I will bake more cookies. Counter-intuitive to my last resolution, yes. But DELICIOUS. 

              

5.Spend more time out of the apartment. Tony and I get pretty lazy to do anything on our days off, but we shouldn’t waste our lives watching House reruns. So this year I want to make a real effort to do more stuff.

Check back in two weeks, where you will probably find me buried under a mountain of candy wrappers, on season 3 of Friends, with spaghetti arms. Ha. 

Just kidding. 

Happy New Year, everyone! 


Words with Meaning

There is a lot more focus nowadays, or so it seems, on the power of words. It’s not okay to say something silly is “gay” or “retarded”, and people are even called out for describing themselves as “totally OCD” or “really depressed” when what they actually mean is that they like to wear matching socks and they are feeling a little sad about the Kardashian episode they just watched. 

This is a good thing, because words and expressions have a profound impact on the people around us, whether or not they are personally affected by what you say. Even if they don’t suffer from a mental illness, even if they are not homosexual, the things you say shape how people perceive you and that can influence friendships, jobs, family interactions and the level of trust in a relationship. I’m guilty of using charged phrases like this, and I’m actively working to change the way I express myself because I don’t want to be that person. 

Nobody is perfect, and saying you have never unintentionally offended another human with the words you use is silly. Words change all the time, it’s just a matter of being aware of it and changing along with them to use different ways to describe your feelings and situations.

So, on that note, let me add something to the list of things that I feel personally offended by. Maybe it’s trivial, maybe I’m over-sensitive, but it makes me both frustrated and upset to hear so it’s worth standing up and saying it.

“I get such bad anxiety attacks when I’m watching that show!” 

Nope. You don’t.

“Oh I have anxiety same as you, but I still like to drive.”

Nope. Not the same.

“I totally had a panic attack when I realized I left my phone at home.”

Nope. I don’t think you did.

I get it; anxiety is a pretty subjective state of mind, and it’s not something I can unequivocally say someone *doesn’t* experience. Everyone experiences some level of anxiety at one stage or another. 

But there is a huge difference between being nervous about driving an unknown route, and ACTUALLY HAVING AN ANXIETY ATTACK. The latter involves physiological symptoms that are severe enough to impact your ability to function. The former is being able to identify your worry, quantify its ability to affect you, and decide that you’re still okay to get in your car and go to work.

I paid $100 to go to work last week because I PHYSICALLY COULD NOT DRIVE THERE. If you think that’s ridiculous, if you don’t “get” that, if your private opinion is that I’m exaggerating the distance/traffic/fear/whatever…. then congratulations, you don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder. Please stop using that word to describe yourself.

It trivializes other people’s experiences when you try to “compare” yourself to them. Someone telling me “oh don’t worry I get super bad anxiety about that too” doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel FRUSTRATED. I don’t need you to empathize, I don’t need you to measure my weakness against yours, and I don’t need suggestions on how to “get over it.” That’s not what’s going on here. That’s not what I’m asking you for. I’m probably only sharing with you because my anxiety is about to have a direct impact on my interaction with you, and I am making you aware of it.

So next time someone talks to you about their anxiety, please just know that it isn’t easy to admit that kind of weakness and there’s probably a good reason you’re hearing about it. Don’t offer an opinion, just try to listen and really hear what that person is telling you. Be sympathetic, but don’t try to fix them. Be understanding, but not “the same”. 

And next time you have the urge to describe a moment in your life as an anxiety attack, take a second to evaluate what happened and what the outcome was, and decide if that’s the best way to explain what just happened. 

If it is, I’m sorry that happened to you, I hope you are able to work through what’s going on, and I’m a call/email/message away if you would like to talk about it. 

If it’s not, try to find better words. I would appreciate it. 

 Hotlines and Helplines
Anxiety and Depression Assn of America

Honeymoon Period 

It’s a funny thing; in seven years of marriage, with yearly international trips to Ireland and passports full of stamps, myself and Tony had never actually taken a vacation together. Between visiting my family, and limited vacations days with his job, we just kept putting it off as an unimportant added expense. 

This year I decided, quite suddenly one day, that it was important and that it needed to happen and so…. we finally went on our honeymoon to Costa Rica. Well, okay, it was just a regular vacation. But it bore all the hallmarks of a good honeymoon! Drinking cocktails at a wetbar in the pool? Check! Sunset yacht ride on the ocean? Check! Sharing gelato while strolling on a promenade? Che… well no, I don’t share gelato. Come on. 


I learned some interesting things as well. For example, I learned that Costa Rica gleans all its energy from completely renewable resources. I learned that mosquitoes laugh in the face of insect repellent. I learned that facing your fear of heights and walking across a hanging bridge will NOT conquer your fear of heights. All very useful stuff. 


Costa Ricans are a very laid back bunch, evidenced in their frequent use of the expression “pura vida!”. Everything is relaxed, everyone is cruising, don’t worry about those crocodiles in the water and don’t spend too much time fretting over that gigantic bar tab. Life is for having fun, and enjoying yourself! 


I tried to embrace that philosophy on my return to the United States, and not stress too much as we hurtle towards the craziness of the holidays and the even-more-craziness of our nation’s immediate future. 

After all, I can’t stop the crocodiles from swimming around the boat, so I might as well just sit back and enjoy the view, and trust in the current to take us back to shore.