Tag Archives: shopping

photo friday: afternoon delight

18 Jun

I bet you all thought I was going to do something all sorts of sessual and whatnot for this week’s Photo Friday theme, didn’t you?

I debated.

And then I remembered that sometimes my mom reads this blog.

<waves> Hi, Mom!

So I’ll give you these instead, my prit-tays. Because these are actually my latest afternoon delights:

Last Saturday I went to a big, giant mall out in Virginia to meet my friend Panda for breakfast. The rest of the day was supposed to go as such: We talk extensively, finish breakfast, Panda goes off shopping for clothes for her Grecian vacation, and I go off to work.

Except that I got a text message saying I was called off of work, which meant that I was free to meander around a big, giant mall in Virginia helping Panda shop for clothes.

So of course our first stop was the perfume counter at Saks.

Interwebers, I have been looking for a new perfume for months. For the longest time I wore Calyx by Prescriptives, which I loved. LOVED. My grandmother gave me a bottle every year for Christmas, but when she passed a few years ago, I felt it was time to move on to a new scent. A friend gave me a bottle of L.A.M.B. by Gwen Steafani, and I wore that until it ran out, which was, ohhhhh, like, a year ago? Longer? Hard to say. Either way, I’ve been on the hunt for a new scent that I could embrace.

And lo! How they have such scents at the Saks perfume counter!

I will be the first to heartily admit to you, Interwebers, that I am not the hippest person out there. I’m not very trendy and my stylish quotient is wobbly at best. So I was in the complete dark about Bond No. 9 perfumes until Panda steered me directly toward a long white counter lined with start-shaped bottles of scents, each named after an area of New York.

And now my life is forever changed.

And wouldn’t you fucking know it, it’s been changed by an incredibly expensive splurge item.

The perfumes, Panda explained to me, are only available at Saks and the Bond Street store. Frankly, I don’t care if these perfumes are sold at fucking truck stops, I WANT THEM.

Except did I mention the part about them being an incredibly expensive splurge item? Like, the smaller bottles retailing around $150, and the larger ones over $200?

So there’s that.

But you know? If I had the money, I’d shell it out, because they smell that good.

Oh, Interwebers, how I wish Al Gore would have invented Smell-o-puter to go along with the Interwebs, as it would be most handy right now. I wish you could smell these delicious smells that are such a pick me up when the afternoon blahs hit.

Well, most of them do. Some of the scents I wasn’t wild about. Panda and I must have sniffed and sprayed every single scent—about 30—on display at least twice, trying to decide which we loved the most. I love the High Line scent immensely. It’s light and kind of grassy and, just…springy.

I know.

So not helpful.


And I enjoyed the Montauk scent so much I actually sprayed it on my wrist before we left. It’s a little heavier than the High Line, deeper with a musky, sea-like, creamy note behind it.

Does that even make sense to anyone but me?

Panda bought a bottle of the Fire Island scent, a summery, tanning oil-reminiscent smell, as a birthday present to herself, and saleswoman behind the counter was nice enough to give us these samples as a takeaway.

I love that saleswoman.

She is my new favorite person.

Stop by Calliope’s site to see what other Photo Friday members say is THEIR afternoon delight!

on my target list

16 Dec

Last week I had to make a run to Target, as I was out of many several essentials for the household.* My list looked like this:

  • paper towels
  • toilet paper
  • skateboard
  • laundry detergent
  • napkins

I love Target for the exact reason that I can indeed get paper towels, laundry detergent, and a skateboard all in one place.

Daaa de deee dah dum….[whistling] la la la….

What? You’re wondering why I needed a skateboard anyway? No, no, I’m not planning on switching careers in the new year. I have not become an adrenaline junkie who wants the bruises and scrapes and cuts as badges of honor from missing the board on a kick-flip and tumbling off the edge of a half-pipe. Or whatever.**

A couple weeks ago, my friend HO, knowing that I hadn’t gotten a star off the giving tree (to give gifts to needy kids) from church, had asked if I wanted to go in for the kid she got, a 10-year-old boy.

Of course, I replied. What can I get?

Well, she said, on his list are sweaters and a skateboard.

HO, being HO – and by that I mean she is a shopper extraordinaire, particularly in the realm of internet buying – had already taken care of the sweaters.

I’ll pick up the skateboard, I said.

And so I did.

And hopefully it will make a anonymous little boy in need very happy this Christmas. And I apologize in advance to his mom/dad/caretaker for any bad assness that may ensue with such a gift. Nothin’s gonna stop the flow, so maybe just close your eyes and think of England when you see him scoot off down the street, wobbling to and fro, trying to hop any cracks and curbs.


The stars on the giving tree go so quickly from the church that I haven’t actually gotten one of my own in two years. The stars are usually snatched up by the noon mass, which means that This Girl, who usually rolls on in at the 5:30 Sunday night mass, is SOL and thereby thwarted in her plans to be generous and whatnot. Because if you are not generous and whatnot in the Christmas season you will give the baby Jesus colic and he will cry.

But two years ago, I did get a star. My star was a little boy, 12 years old. He didn’t have anything listed on his wish list, and I therefore spent the next two weeks fretting over what to get him? WHAT DO I GET HIM? And generally trying not to freak out over the fact that this may be his only Christmas present this year and HFS, don’t fuck it up and Ruin. Christmas. A 12 year old boy? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I pick a 6-year-old girl? A) I’ve never been a boy, and 2) I’ve never been a 12-year-old boy, which I suspect is very different than being a 12-year-old girl.

At the time I was still hostessing at a restaurant in Glover Park, and I went in one night, panicking as the deadline for gift drop off drew nearer and my brain became foggier over the prospect of what to get the kid.

“Tim,” I asked my bartender. “You were a 12-year-old boy once. What would you want for Christmas?”

Tim started to open his mouth, right as a thought hit me and I cut him off.

“This is a church thing. I CAN’T GET HIM PORN.

Tim closed his mouth and shrugged, useless with other ideas.

The kid got a gift card to Target instead.

Merry Christmas, anonymous one. May you enjoy the magic that is Target.

*No, I’m good on butter and dry pasta, thanks. Stocked up on those awhile back at the Safeway, thanks.

** What? I watched the janky movie.


19 Aug

It turns out that a few days after I posted the photo from last year’s event at Bra La La, I ended up heading out to that lovely boutique for a Sunday afternoon-o-fun. The girls and I (and by the girls I mean my gal pals, not, you know, my breasticles. Although of course those came with me, too. We’re quite close that way.) hopped in the car and headed out to Maryland.

I’d emailed her earlier in the week to tell Mary, the owner, to tell her we’d be stopping in and would love to see her. Unfortunately she wasn’t there that day, but wrote back that “Anne-Elise and Courtney will take good care of you.” And God bless her if she wasn’t right.

When we walked in, Anne-Elise looked at the five of us oohing and ahhing over the pretty new things Mary had in stock, and said, “Are you the girls from DC?” We acknowledge the fact, and she continued, “Oh, Mary told us you were coming. She left a bottle of wine for you in the back, let me go get it for you.*” Because Interweb People, let me tell you: bra shopping sucks. But almost anything can be made better with wine, especially bra shopping.

Bras are such a weird thing. They are so many things to women – pretty, sexy, utilitarian, comfy, irritating, an upper, a downer, a reminder of what they have, a reminder of what they don’t have, a non-issue, a total issue. I, personally, have a very love/hate relationship with bras. I love their prettiness. I love the way they can make your body look and fit so much better into clothes. I love that you can have a little bit of sassiness in hot pink or deep purple or smoky, lacy blue going on underneath your top and it can be your little secret. But for the life of me, I hate wearing them. Would that I could jaunt around town braless! But I cannot. It would just not be a good idea, for no other reason than my own self-esteem: lift them up, look less lumpy around the middle! TA-DA!

Given this love/hate relationship, it’s no wonder that I don’t really care for bra shopping. Plus, I know I have sensory bizarro-ness when it comes to many things, particularly to clothes, and with bras even more so, and I tend to get anxious and fumbly when trying them on and my bellybutton starts to sweat and part of me is tempted to bolt from the dressing room altogether, not caring that I’m topless. (I thought this was a very odd reaction to something as simple as trying on bras, but turns out, not so much. I’m not alone in my bra shopping anxiety, I’ve come to find out from my friends. I don’t know if I’m glad or if I think we should all get ourselves into some sort of therapy.) And while all of this still exists when shopping at Bra La La, it’s….muted, in a way.

Maybe because of the wine.

The store is just so pretty and calm and there are such lovely things everywhere and it smells nice and the sales assistants don’t even bat an eye when you hold up a bra they’ve given you to try on and you say, “This one makes me feel like my boobs are all sorts of jiggly-wiggly and have a mind of their own, and I prefer more structure.” Those things help, too.

It’s the overall experience that makes it worth it to tamp down the anxiety and shop at Bra La La. It’s worth it to have a couple hours with my gal pals and ooh and ahh over pretty things and walk away with pretty, useful purchases. (And it’s also worth it because you know you won’t have to do it again for awhile.) You can’t really get that at, say, Nordstrom. You can get nice bras there, pretty bras there, yes, even a lot of the same ones Mary sells in her shop. You can even sometimes get a nice saleswoman to help you at Nordstrom. But you can’t get the intimacy, no pun intended, of a store like Bra La La at Nordstrom. And for me, that’s what makes all the difference when it comes to shopping for the smallest piece of clothing that makes such a huge difference in women’s lives.

*Note: This is not exactly normal service at BLL, as far as I know. Over the past couple of years the shop has been open and we’ve gotten to know the owner and have been going there for our underthing needs, and after that one time we had a mini-bachelorette party there for one of our friends, it’s just become…normal. Drink some wine, shop for bras. Repeat. I don’t ask questions.


Patience is Not My Virtue Today

19 Jun

I know I should be nice. Respect the elderly. Help others. All of that stuff.

But when I am walking into my building, clearly juggling not one, not two, but four grocery bags, and my purse and a ringful of keys trying to wave the little fob thingy at the door thingy so I can get inside all while not dropping any of the aforementioned bags, there is no nice. There is no respect. There is no want to help, when an elderly woman, clear at the corner of the block sees me and calls out “Hold the door!” and with the speed of a molasses-covered snail shuffles her way over, while I stand there waiting, juggling, holding the door open with a foot, both hands being full. This woman has her purse in one hand, a single grocery bag in the other, and barely mutters a thank you as she pushes past me inside. On the outside I don’t even respond, because I am annoyed. On the inside I am seething, because I think this woman is being selfish. Because who does that? Who calls out, a half a block away, to someone clearly in need of getting to her apartment because she is about to collapse under the weight of groceries, to hold the door? Like I have all the time in the world to wait for her and hold the door for her. You know what, lady? Get your own goddamned door. I don’t care if you are old. I have milk that needs to be refrigerated, and I don’t have time for rude or demanding people.

Other than myself, of course.


7 May

In February, I spent my day off to celebrate Our Nation’s Presidents by taking every item out of my closet, separating the items into piles, meticulously going through the piles, pulling out items I hadn’t worn since before I moved to Washington over three years ago, putting them in a pile to donate. I reorganized what was left, and carefully put them back in my closet, grouped together by pants, skirts, long sleeves, short sleeves, or whatever category they belonged in. The main result was a gloriously organized closet that I often stared at in wonder in my free moments.

The secondary result was an incredibly pared down wardrobe, which was just fine until I had to go to Houston, the land of Heat and Hot,  last week and realized that I now had only four tops that were appropriate to wear for work in warm weather.

Which means the tertiary result was me spending an afternoon last week wandering around the Queenstown outlets replenishing my spring/summer wardrobe.

I conveniently picked a day that promised coupons for shoppers, and was overjoyed to find out that in addition to the coupons, the stores I shopped were having enormous sales. This was exactly what outlet shopping was supposed to be. (Except for the JCrew outlet, which was incredibly overpriced, just like its regular store.)

Laden down with bags stuffed with short sleeved shirts, summer dresses, a pair of shoes, and the like, I made my way back to my car, confident in my purchases, satisfied that I would not have to go nude to work, and happy to discover that once again I was right, and the best time to go shopping is on a random Thursday afternoon because no one else is there and the stores are fully stocked in time for their weekend rush. And then I walked by a store called “Accents.”

Accents, it seems, is an all accessories, all the time, store. Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, purses, scarves, belts, everything. It’s all there. It’s all displayed on long tables covered in velvet, propped up on racks and stands, grouped by colors, from wall to wall, glittery, sparkly, matte, bold, demure, all of it.

On a good day, I can piece together an outfit that makes sense, that is coordinated and decently ironed. In my dreams I can accessorize said outfit.

I don’t know what it is about accessories, but I find them overwhelming. I very much want to understand them and use them properly, but I can’t seem to get it. After awhile, they all start to look the same to me, even though the accessories that I do own I’m told are very lovely and original looking. (Except for this one silver bracelet that I and every single one of the McIntire sisters own. When we all wear them together we look like we are starting our own new brand of superheroesses.) So I’ve got that going for me, but for the life of me, I can’t remember how I managed to pick out even those accessories.

I stood in Accents and decided I’d start with rings. I’ve been big into rings lately, and by that I mean I’ve been thinking about being into rings lately, chunky, bold rings that make a statement. Except that Accents only had a tray and a half of rings, none of which were very exciting, so I wandered around the tables, peering at the necklaces, the matching bracelets. None of it was very expensive, it was all costume-type jewelry, but even so I didn’t want to spend money on something I wasn’t sure was good or that I really liked. It was just so hard to tell.

And part of me very much wanted some Accents, to go along with all the new clothes I’d just purchased, to make them, as Stacey or Clinton would say, POP. But Christ almighty my head was spinning by this point, the saleswomen were eyeing me suspiciously as I walked around and around and around in circles reaching out a hand here or there to touch something or pick it up for inspection only to put it down quickly when a bag would slip out of my hands. I’m certain they thought I was some sort of shoplifter trying to be inconspicuous and not shifty as I dawdled about, when truthfully I just couldn’t think straight. It probably didn’t help matters when I said distractedly, out loud, to no one in particular, “I have to go. I’ll come back. It’s just…it’s just too much right now. My brain is foggy,” before wobbling out the door. Either that, or they probably thought I was drunk.

Next time, maybe I will make that the first store I stop into, rather than the last. I’m not saying that will help in my accessorizing, but at least the saleswomen will not give me the stink eye, wondering if I’m going to five-finger-discount my way to the beginnings of a chic new outfit.