Monday, October 31, 2011

I succumbed to retail therapy.

I succumbed to retail therapy.  From yesterday through the next couple of days , I will be receiving a box from the evil discount online boutique sales via Rue La La, Ideeli, and GILT.  As I worked from home yesterday, I must have looked out the window at least 50 times to see if the UPS man arrived.  They come later and later now, but at 4pm, my first Rue La La package sat at my door with an adorable navy blue pique polo and chunky stripe shorts from Mikey Stars for my little Finn.

Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt & Pants  $ 49.50
Munchkin wear by Mikey Stars
  The next few packages will include a winter coat, two pairs of maternity pants, two maternity tunics, boots, and an adorable La Perla bra/panty set.  Oops.  However, the excitement of getting a box at your door is wonderful because in our age we don’t get any mail at all except bills and junk, which makes me dread going to the mailbox.  The anticipation we used to have going to the mail box now exists when we turn on our computer or smart phone to look at emails, and even that has died off significantly.  But the truth is the excitement is very temporary as the garment gets tucked away in our closets.
While I totally support and LOVE the concept of Rue La La, Gilt, and Ideeli, signing up for them (for a bargain shopper like me) was a BIG mistake and a huge distraction.  Every morning (and now afternoon and evening too), I get a notification on my phone (like a text) and an email to tell me that some fabulous new thing is 60-80% off.  Once or twice is fine, but $30 here, $40 there, adds up quickly.  And seriously who can resist a pair of suede platform booties at $59.99 (down from $150) over and over again?  I’ve totally succumbed to the madness of putting something in my “cart” and then quickly clicking through the other two websites to see if I liked something better.  Of course the ticking clock of having only 15 minutes to check out only adds to the madness.  With that winter coat I bought, I spent $79 for a black down snorkel jacket.  Of course, two days later there was a Betsey Johnson sale for a cuter one at $69.  ARGH!  I think it’s time to cut myself off.  Best to go cold turkey and unsubscribe for a while.  Oh and then I got a Haute Look email invitation from my cousin who shares the same style sense as I do with a tempting $10 gift for signing up.  I resisted.  Miracle.

style #314042601 black quilted flare cuff button detail down coat
Warm Coat Chic by Betsey Johnson
Why the sudden surge in retail therapy?  I’ve realized that as I get bigger (quickly approaching 7mo pregnant), I’ve been getting more insecure about how I look and feel.  And since I can’t work out more or diet, I’ve taken it out on my wallet.  I’ve been trying to literally buy happiness, beauty, and satisfaction because of the discomfort of growing out of my usual look and favorite clothes.  Ugh.  Ladies, you can NOT buy anything to make yourself more beautiful.  You know this already.  I know you do.  How many times have you looked at someone and thought, Wow, that person (woman, man, or child) is extraordinary looking?  I’m quite sure they were not Christy Turlington, Heidi Klum, or any other typical beauty that embodied the traits of how our media and fashion magazines (I love Elle and Vogue) define beauty.  I’m sure there was something about how they carried themselves, comfortable in their own skin, and not what they were wearing or how their makeup was done.  There is just a certain spirit about beauty that radiates from those who know themselves, who love life, who are for the most part content, and who look at the world with a piercing regard so as to soak up all its wonder.
I’ve seen beauty in many forms:  all races, all ages, from the healthy to the handicapped, and from the rich to the poor.  Our beauty does not improve because of a pearl necklace or a cool pair of 4in leather pumps.  I know you know this already, but do you really?  Look at your bank statement and look what you’ve bought over the course of the last few months.  Add up how much of that was completely unnecessary or even an impulse buy.  I bet you’ll be surprised at how much that really is...Remember in the words of Gywneth Paltrow, "Beauty is determined by how comfortable you are in your own skin."  Easy for her to say!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The bliss of our screaming, pooping, yelling, laughing, running, escaping toddler...

Last night, we took Che to see Moneyball during an ingenious “Diaper Date Night” invention created by the towns of Los Gatos and Campbell, CA.  Every fourth and first Tuesday of the month, we are “allowed” to bring our toddler to a movie and join other parents with children ages newborn to toddlers to get out and watch a movie.  Usually, there are only 3 or 4 couples in the movie, which gives Che (usually the only toddler) room to cruise around the entire theater.  Last week, we saw Dolphin Tale.
Dolphin Tale was Che’s first experience at the movie theater.  At first, my husband was optimistic about putting him in his own seat so that he could sit “like a big boy” and watch the film.  However, Che quickly found it amusing to make the seat fold up and down...even if that meant that he eventually fell through it.  Who knows how toddlers do these things, but Che managed to get his legs stuck in between the back of the seat and the lap support and of course, screamed because he couldn’t move.  We got him out easily and unharmed and decided to put him on our laps.  Again...short-lived, as Che decided to get down and start playing with folding the seat down and then letting it pop up on its own.  Hilarious...for him.
When the lights went down and the previews started, the loud sound kept him quiet and he looked bewildered at the giant screen.  What a trip it must have been to see a giant movie screen with moving pictures for the first time.  To remember and go back to that moment as an adult is near impossible for me.  I have no idea what my first movie was.  But for Che, it was Dolphin Tale and every time he saw Winter, he would yell out “UPO!”, our dog’s name.  Most animals have adopted the same nickname, according to Che.  
Now here’s the funny thing for me.  Obviously, Che’s amazement of the movie screen matched his short attention span and soon we found him wanting to run around the entire theater flipping every seat.  Despite the fact that the occasion for going was in fact for the sake of bringing your child, why on earth did I feel so consciously aware of the fact that others (parents with babies, instead of toddlers) might be looking at me, wondering why I was letting my kid run all around the theater?  There were only 3 total couples in the theater that night so clearly Che was not disturbing anyone, and though I missed half the movie, I found so much more amusement in watching him run freely and laugh and giggle as he ran around enjoying himself.  It wasn’t until 3/4 of the way through the movie that he eventually knocked out in my arms, fast asleep.
But as parents, I don’t know about you, but I feel the stares at the back of my head every time Che gets rowdy or lets out a louder than “inside voices” peep, cry, laugh, or scream.  Why the guilt?  Why the paranoia of disapproving looks by the onlooking public , who clearly has perfect children of their own that are perfectly well-behaved?  At least, that is how I feel.  Am I the only one that feels that way?  I do my best to maintain consideration for my fellow neighbor when it comes to bringing Che into public settings, but sometimes I just have to let my kid be a kid.  If he wants to run and yell and giggle then I’m going to enjoy it.  He’s not hurting anyone.  If he’s going to have a breakdown because I didn’t buy him a chuck (truck) at Buy Buy Baby, then I’m going to hold him and tell him he has a million at home.  And if he wants to throw a temper tantrum because he is over-tired and lay in defiance on the floor, then again, I’m going to let him, even though I’m going to move quickly to get him home to nap.

I appreciate the approving, “he’s so cute” comments, however the disapproving stares drive me batty.  Don’t you have kids of your own with whom you went through these stages?  Don’t you know that you acted virtually the same way in your own youth?  Is it really just me that makes believe people are disapproving of my sometimes hyperactive child?  I promise I don’t give him high fructose corn syrup, red dyes, or too much sugar.  He merely has my and my husband’s high energy level and manifests into hyperactive euphoria from time to time.  I’m sorry, but that’s my kid and I love him for it.

So let me ask you, my fellow parents of toddlers, do you go through the same feelings when you’re on an airplane flying cross country and your toddler wants to walk up and down the plane aisles?  Do you cringe when your son/daughter takes a massive poop that stinks to high heavens at the grocery store and you know your fellow grocery shoppers get a whiff?  Do you leave an extra tip at restaurants because your kid made a huge mess on the floor?  If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then I know you’re in the same boat with me.  So my advice for us is: Just enjoy your toddler - screaming, pooping, yelling, laughing, running, escaping toddler and be okay with him/her in public.  You have every right to introduce them to the world.  Just be courteous to your fellow neighbor and try to acknowledge their discomfort with the reality of toddlerhood.
At the's quickly approaching 9pm and my son is running up and down the hallways laughing his head off...I wonder what's so funny?  Time to join him!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So over Target...

So over the Target era of America.  I swear every time I walk into a Target, Costco, or Babies R Us, I get a massive headache or nearly faint in a lightheaded dizzy blur.  I never go (anywhere really) without a very specific list of what we actually need, which would only require a little carry basket, but of course shopping with a toddler I need to grab a cart to give my weary arms a break.  What sucks about the new Target oversized carts is that my Boppy cover for Che no longer even fits over it because the damn carts are too wide!  Of course, Target does that to get you to buy more, but the baby industry hasn’t yet caught up with the trend and all the “universally sized” items are way too small for the ever-expanding Target era of America.
So I wipe down the entire cart with the complimentary antibacterial wipes upon entering Target before I put Che in sans Boppy.  Then after I get him in, I realize I picked the cart with the locked wheels and can’t even turn the damn thing.  Not having a clue how to fix it, I’d rather just get another stupid cart and hope this one works before I again wipe the whole thing down with antiseptic.  Finally, one that turns, so I proceed with my antibacterial ritual and switch Che from one cart to the next.  On my way.  With my list in hand, or in Che’s hands, I find my way to only specific sections where I know my necessities are located, but on the way Che calls out every airplane (a-doh), truck (chuck), and car (car) in sight.  If he can manage to get his hands on one because of my poor steering abilities (those thing are heavy and massive!), then I know I’m going to have a meltdown at check-out for not getting it.  Fortunately, right now those only last until we get out the door, but the elephant tears are heartbreaking and guilt-wrenching.  Mantra: “Che has zillions of “chucks” at home, he doesn’t need another one.  Good mommy.” 
On the mommy end, of course I also pass all the cheap n’ chic accessories and (disposable) garments.  Mantra: “Look away Pea.  Not worth it, you pay for what you get” .  When you buy the cheap three-wear disposable Target garments, realize that they carry garments that are relevant to short-term trends, rather than lifelong classics.  I’m more of a classic garment wearer, with a few trendy pieces, but definitely not to keep up with the current season.  Besides, I’d rather spend more somewhere else and at least have it last a couple of years.  I finally got my husband to jump on that bandwagon too.  I recently noticed his ebay “watch list” includes items from Burberry, Lacoste, and Ralph Lauren.  Good boy Pea gets to do the same.  I just don’t spend the time to find it on eBay.  I’d rather just open the Ideeli, Rue La La, and Gilt Group emails I get daily and buy it on sale there.  Quite more of an impulse buy, but it’s quality and it lasts.  Worth every penny.  (Just don’t tell husband that “sale” means a Marc Jacobs bag for $350 instead of $650.)  :-)
Target, Costco, etc. are designed to make you feel like you need all their junk, that you are less-than because you don’t buy it.  I hate when I come home with more than was on my original list because I’ve succumbed to the one thing that Target is trying to do - get me to buy more.  I wish I had “Target armor” so that when I shop I can stick to my guns (list) and ignore the rest.  It’s the same with my baby registry, which I’m doing on and Buy Buy Baby.  (Look at that name...”buy, buy”!).  They have these checklists where you are forced to consider the lame thing that you’ll never use: bottle warmer, wipe warmer, bottle drying rack, bouncer and swing (rather than just one or the other), etc.  I found a handy little website on "Must Haves and Must Nots" on which dispels myths of those baby registry items.  Here it is.  I recommend reading it before you start yours if that’s what you find yourself doing currently.  I’m a minimalist and I’ve been trained (by my husband) to hate spending money so my registry is the bare minimum, though my husband talked me into the wipe warmer explaining that he’d rather have a warm wipe for his winkie and bumbum than a cold one.  Same goes for Che and Finn.
Rachel Zoe Audrey Platform BootiesNow as I finish this and carry on with my day, I look at my emails and see “fall must have” lists from Pottery Barn, West Elm, Gap, Banana Republic, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Nordstrom, all sent to me to get me to buy more.  Leave me alone people!  I am not made of money and Lord knows I’m a sucker!  My husband will kill me if I buy you all.  The voices of cute bags and boots; adorable Halloween stuff for Che; and warm, holiday-atmosphere creating decor for house, shut up and let me save my money for my kids’ college funds.  I don’t have to have you!  Oh but the new Rachel Zoe Audrey boots (black suede with 3” platform heel) would make my prego body look so much taller and leaner.  Looooovvvvvvve.  $395?  What can I sacrifice this month for those?  How do I hide them and the bank statement from Mowgli?  Credit card!  Besides, if I use the debit card, my stupid bank will charge me.  :-)

I’m a sucker.  Better to stay at home, keep emails closed, and keep the world of advertising outside.  Stop making me buy you!