Shopping Blahs

I’ve been suffering from some major blahs lately (more on that in a future post).  Being female, I decided to try the Best Known Cure All for the Female Blahs…….SHOPPING.

And can I tell you, people, it did NOTHING for me.  And it wasn’t just one trip….not two….but THREE. (maybe four?)

WHY??? you ask.

Well, I have spent the last week or so trying to figure it out.

Yes, I analyze my shopping trips.

I am so woefully disappointed……frusterated, even……with what’s “out there.”

I am a quasi-stylish 40-year old SAHM.  I don’t like wearing work-out/gym clothes on a daily basis. Maybe cuz I don’t like going to the gym. I don’t need dressy “career” clothes (yet).  And there’s not much in the middle.

(Yes, I know there is….but let me explain my dilemma)

From my “analysis” and hours of wandering around stores and the female clothing sections, I have realized that in the US there is a very clear distinctions between the “Ladies” and “Junior” sections.  In the “Ladies” section, there are a lot of mono-chromatic Tshirts, long sleeve shirts, crew neck sweaters in dull, boring colors and textures……black, brown, various shades of tan, a couple of dark purples (color of the year) thrown in.  All in even sizes (6, 8, 10, 12). The “Junior” section has lots of fun, colorful clothes (blues, greens, yellows, etc) with patterns and texture. And they are all sized in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, etc) and made for petite, small-waisted, narrow girls, aged 13-25.  I actually do like many of the tops in the “junior” section, but even if I do try on a larger size (and my, isn’t that just bad for self-esteem?) it still looks funny because it is not cut for my “wider” womanly body. (in case you don’t know,  pregnancy causes most women’s bodies  to widen and find a new shape).

Probably one of the reasons I like shopping in the UK (damn, I wish I could afford annual shopping trips there!) is because there is no distinction between “juniors” and “ladies.” Every store/retailer sizes everything the same (6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16).  Anyone can walk into any store and find something that suits them–in color, texture, size.  Yes, there are definitely clothes/section that are “younger and trendier,” but it’s not as segregated as it is in the US.  I also think that because the weather is pretty gray and shitty year round, they love the “POP” of color year round—it is MUCH easier to find vibrant/happy colors any time of the year (unlike in the US, where when the cooler temperatures arrive so do the BLAH colors). The down-side of shopping in the UK is that my size goes up from a US size 8 to a UK size 12 (damn, it just doesn’t help the self-esteem!)

My next “issue” with clothes shopping (and I think I’ve blogged about this before) is the CHEAP quality of the stuff out there!!! It doesn’t matter if I pick up a $20 long sleeve top at H&M or a $50 top at Macy’s…Gap, Kohl’s, Express, Lord & Taylor…it doesn’t matter…you can see through the darn thing!!!!

Ok, some of you (including Hubby) are saying “LAYER.”  Being a New England girl, this should be second nature to me.  But I hate layering.  I feel confined. Bulky. Worried that something is sticking out. Or untucked. Twice the laundry.  The need for additional storage space. Whatever….I’m not a huge fan. (although I do like a turtleneck under a sweater/sweatshirt…..go figure).  Maybe it’s cuz I don’t like tank-tops. (I will admit, though, that I have been integrating tank tops more into my wardrobe selections).  Or I can’t understand why someone would wear 2 long sleeve tshirts? (and for those of you who do…..you do a FINE job of pulling it off….it’s a gift…..I just can’t). And FWIW, I totally detested when my mom made me wear undershirts in the fall and winter.  But I digress…..my point is that I am frustrated with the lack of quality and/or material in clothing these days.  And unless I am shopping for winter sweaters too early in the season (but all the Christmas stuff is out), the sweaters out there wouldn’t keep my dog warm….and she already has a full length fur coat.

Another quasi-pet-peeve I discovered on my shopping trips……short sleeve sweaters.  YEARS AGO, when I first met hubby, I remember owning some short-sleeve sweaters.  And then one day, he asked me “what is the point of a short-sleeve sweater?  Isn’t a sweater supposed to keep you warm? If so, why the short-sleeves?”  Humph. I never thought of it that way.  And clearly, I stopped buying/wearing short-sleeve sweaters. Weird how I can be influenced like that.   But the short-sleeve sweater or CARDIGAN seem to be all the rage now. Some are REALLY CUTE, but I can’t get myself to buy one, because will I wear it in the middle of a New England winter when it’s 20 deg. outside?

So basically, I am turning into a cranky middle aged woman going through some mid-life crisis because I am too old and wide to shop in the “junior” section and the “ladies” section bores me, and I refuse to buy things that will wear out after 4 washes.  Maybe I should look more closely into gym wear……..

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“Mommy, You NEED This!”

Ahhh, the mesmorizing power of infomercials.  They start off with pointing out that you may have a problem. And HERE is the answer to your problem.  And then, the clincher, you can get ALL THIS PLUS we’ll double your order all for the low price of $19.95.  Sounds irrisistable!!

My kids have definitely fallen into the informercial trap.

Here are a list of products that I, as the VP of Domestic Affairs, apparantly CANNOT live without:

Pajama Jeans…..What woman wouldn’t want to be comfortable all day (as in, still in her jammies), but still looked dressed for the real world?  AND it comes with an elastic waist, JUST IN CASE I put on a few of those ugly, creeping pounds. NO thank you, boys. I think I’ll pass on this one.

Perfect Meatloat Pan…..This amazing gizmo is a removable pan liner, where you can easily “lift” your meatloaf out without fighting with your spatula and breaking the meatloaf that you spent hours preparing.  AND it has holes on the bottom so the grease can drain out and your meatloaf doesn’t sit in the pool of grease.  Hmmmm….very interesting. Yes, maybe mommy does need this.  But several years ago, I came up with my own solution. I take my mound of meat, shape it into an oval “meatloaf” and cook it on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  The grease spreads out on the foil, I don’t battle my meatloaf, and I can just roll-up and throw away the foil for easy clean up!

Yonanas…..this doesn’t necessarily fall into the “Mommy, You NEED This” catagory. This is more of a “Mommy, I WANT this” catagory.  This contraption allows you to take frozen bananas, put them down a shute, and Voila!  A frozen banana treat comes oozing out the other end.  T-man loves smoothies/frozen yogurt.  He’s trying to convince me to get this because he would eat MORE FRUIT and it would be easier than pulling out the blender, the yogurt, the OJ, the frozen strawberries, and whatever else to make him smoothies in the summer.  Sorry, buddy….I would rather whip out the blender than buy this.

Slushy Magic–apparantly, my boys love frozen concoctions (as does their mom ;>))  Slushy Magic is a set of 3 ice-cube looking things (re-usable) and a plastic tumbler to “shake it up, chill it down.” Slushy Magic promises to transform any drink into a slush with no ice, no blenders (ah, see above), and no mess.  I’m really curious what is on those magic ice cubes and how long they are good for.  I’ll stick to the blender, or better yet, Richie’s Slushes (YUM).

The Swivel Store Spice Rack Organizer……clearly the boys are tired of watching me stand on my tippee-toes and frantically search for the spice jar that “should be right here” but isn’t.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up under the Christmas tree this year.

The latest:

The Contour Core Sculpting System…..there’s never been an easier way to tone and sculpt your abs.  This infomercial was on during a Disney program. M-Man quickly jumped up and said “Mommy, YOU NEED THIS.” (Thanks, buddy).  With a  simple push of a button I could have a sexy waistline (and who doesn’t want that?). Breakthrough technology that has no machines, no getting on the floor, no stress, and no strain.  (this is sounding *SO* enticing right about now) Auto active muscle toning technology with JUST A PUSH OF A BUTTON…for only $14.95!!

Tonight, as we were eating dinner, there was an infomercial/commercial (not sure which) for a hardwood floor cleaning product. I have no idea what it was. But my 6-yr old says “Mommy, You NEED this……it will protect your floors. Just look, Lily keeps scratching them.”  T-man jumped in with his own assessment–“AND MOM, it will give your floors a nice shine. They need a nice shine. They are looking kinda dingy.”  Maybe if we had less kids and less dogs, the floors wouldn’t look as dingy?

  I am so happy that I have a little army of guys looking out for me—making sure my life is easier and more efficient. Because we all know that a happy mommy = happy family!

That’s all for now….I will keep you posted should any other AMAZING products come on the market that might be of interest to the VP (or at least her army).

The Lonely Potato

Should Hubby ever read this post, he’s going think I am half-baked.

One area where the VP fails in her daily duties is that I bring home an extra potato. The Lonely Potato.

My kids are Not Potato Fans.  Well, Little Guy will eat potatoes without grumbling—pretty much in any shape or form (unless his big bros are putting up a bigger stink than usual).   The other two have always had a dislike for The Spud (unless found in a sliced, fried and salted form…either of the French or bagged variety).  Their dislike of potatoes goes back to infancy. When I started them out on jarred baby food, there was one flavor (Mixed veg?!?) that had pureed carrots, peas and potatoes. It’s the ONLY jarred food flavor with potatoes.  Neither twin would eat it.  When I tried it, the texture did have that starchy potato-y-ness to it. As they became older and sampled “big people food,” both boys would grimace at mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, roasted potatoes, and yes, even cheesy au gratin potatoes.  With the last one–the Au Gratin Potato–I thought I had a chance to convert them…..HOW COULD YOU SAY NO TO CHEESE?!?!?  But they did.

As a result, I don’t cook/serve potatoes very often. Maybe once a week…..nah, that’s too often.  Maybe once every other week. Sometimes once a month, I suppose. But I have always followed the “I will put a little on your plate and you MUST eat it” rule. Watching M-Man struggle to put a smidge of potato into his mouth, chew (f needed) and swallow……is painful and amusing all at the same time. You would think I’m torturing my child.  (I suppose he thinks I am).

So, my quandary (when I am in the mood for a potato side dish) at the grocery store is….how many potatoes to buy?  I take into account the size, shape and type of potato, as well as the dish I am preparing.  Does this dish rate higher on the kid-scale  than other dishes? Will today be THE DAY where they will say “Mom, you are such a great cook. I don’t know why I never ate/liked potatoes cooked this way” ?  (wishful thinking)  Will I be willing to eat up the leftovers?  Invariably, I buy ONE POTATO TOO MANY. 

And it sits there…..staring with its eyes…..waiting for me to do something with it.  But as mentioned above, I just don’t cook potatoes that often.  By the time I do make another potato dish, it will most likely be a different dish, using a different potato. So the Lonely Potato just sits and rots. How sad.

Perhaps, I am half-baked.

Hoodies

Dislike.

I am not a fan of Hoodies.  I just don’t “get” them. Why are they so popular? Why are they everywhere?  Kids hoodies, women’s hoodies, men’s hoodies, college hoodies, “souvenier” hoodies.

Whatever happened to the good ol’ fashioned crew-neck sweatshirt? I can’t find any.

I can’t go anywhere without seeing hoodies on the rack or on people.  There are the pullover hoodies, or the zip-front hoodies, or the casual top hoodie. And the funny part is–I rarely see anyone wearing the damn hoods!!!

Why do I  not like hoodies? Well, first off, I don’t wear the hood.  When I put on a jacket, it feels like I have a humpback. If I try to pull the hoodie out, I feel like I’m being choked.  My sons use the hoods as a means of “catching” each other while running around, and then I hear “MOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYYY, (insert kid name) CHOKED MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”  And I can’t forget to mention the extra drawer space the HOOD takes when folding it and putting it away (don’t even suggest hanging it up…..not going to work w/ my 3 boys).

I would much rather find a crew neck sweatshirt, and have the option of wearing a turtle neck (Have I mentioned I am a total turtleneck freak in the winter?), and just be comfy and cozy. But nope. Can’t do that cuz I can’t find any. I have one crewneck sweatshirt left in my drawer–probably about 15 years old–that I’m clinging to, because there is no suitable replacement.

That’s my rant for the day.

BOG Blog

I love my new BOGS!

For years, I have struggled with winter footwear. Too ugly. Too bulky. Too unfashionable.  Too practical. Too frumpy.

Last year, Hubby bought be a pair of Uggs, which he thought would be  a solution to my problem. Except that I find them to be F-ugg-ly and bulky. And I’ve always been afraid to get them wet or slushy–I was afraid the water would seep in or worse yet, leave a watermark. Trendy, yes. Me, no.

Then…..

After this year’s “Christmas Blizzard”, our family and our extended-family (who were visiting) went sledding. I saw a Mom wearing a “new type of boot.” They looked funky. I asked her about them–she said they are comfortable, waterproof, keep her feet warm and dry, and come in fashionable styles. She said they are called BOGS.  Here is a picture of the style she was wearing:

RIDER CORSAGE BRN

Ohhhh….I came home and started my research. BOGS are made by a company in Oregon to stand up to all weather elements–wet, wind, cold….whatever.   Although I initially liked the style I saw at the sledding hill, I had to seriously consider the practicality of wearing neoprene-like boots in New England weather. It stated that it’s waterproof…but….

So, instead, I ordered myself this style:

ALEX SWIRL BLU

It’s a totally insulated rubber Wellington-style boot. I’m a little disappointed in the blue–I thought it would be more “vibrant” like this picture, but instead it is a dull (dirty?) blue. However, after the January Blizzard that dumped 24 inches of snow, I can say these BOGS ROCK! I didn’t wear heavy socks. In fact, today, I just have plain, old white socks on.  I have spent over 2 hours yesterday, and 2 hours today, shoveling, digging, playing in the snow. And yes, my feet were WARM AND DRY.  And best of all, the BOGS have traction (which UGGS DON”T HAVE) and were much more light-weight (aka less bulky) than UGGS.  And if I step into a pile of dirty slush (by accident, of course), I can just wipe them clean. 

I think I’m in love.

And best of all, Hubby is finally  happy that I have found (on my own!) a pair of “sensible” winter footwear!

Summer Summer

Oh, I love LOVE summer. Maybe because I was born on the 1st day of summer? Our temps this spring have been very summer-like. It’s been GREAT! (especially since last summer was such a dud).

This morning I went to Target to buy some sunscreen for the kiddos–the ones we had at home are either empty, too old, or I don’t like it (a daddy-purchase, I guess).  However, no sooner did I pick up the bottle of sunscreen, my little feet took me to the clothing section. I am a *sucker* for summer clothes–the colors, the lighter fabrics. And since in the back of my head, I vaguely remembered a mental note I made about needing an extra pair (or 2) of shorts, why not browse?

Well, I’m having a bit of a problem with shorts this year. Now, mind you, I’m no longer a mall-rat (high school days LONG over) and rarely have “ME-Shopping Trips.” When I buy myself something, it’s because I quickly spot it running to the registers with my “main purchase.” Most items are tried-on and judged at home.

Oops, I digressed, didn’t I? Shorts—I’m either finding knee-length Bermuda-like shorts or “crotch-shorts” that the teeny-boppers wear.  And both those styles are pretty much what I found at Target this morning. I’m not a fan of either. I like something mid-thigh. Something that makes me feel young, shows off my nice legs, but not too much! (hee hee)

What caught my eye instead???? Skirts.  A “dressier” (I use that term lightly) pink/white print (great w/ a white top!), a flirty pink skirt ($3.75!!), and then a turquois summer dress. And then, there’s the yellow skirt I bought at clearance at the end of last summer…..

Yesterday, I wore a great green cotton skort I bought at Coscto last summer. Cool and casual.  Today I’m wearing a khaki skirt because I have a club function tonight. Pair up a skirt with a nice pair of sandals (or flip-flops) and a cool, light top….wow, what a great outfit!  And since I’m no longer crawling around after toddlers, I’m liking this option….being cool, casual, AND stylish this summer.

Hmmmm…..I might be onto something.