Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Like Kim K. But with less butt.

I've become 1 of those women. Evidently, I now have a stylist.

My Guy and I attended a gala benefiting the local children's hospital. It was a party! For the children! In a moment of generosity, I bid on 2 hours with a personal stylist. You know, to get the bidding started.

You know that chardonnay they serve at banquets? The free wine that after the first sip you think, "Oh, that's not good?" But after the third glass, you think, "Damn, that's a mighty fine wine?" Well, that same beverage helped me keep bidding on the services of the stylist even as the bids went up. After all, it was for the children!

So, I ended up winning 2 hours with a personal stylist. She can help me go through my closet or take me shopping.
"OMG. Your hangers don't even match?"
Except now I'm somewhat paralyzed. What do I say to a stylist? Here are some options:
  • "I would describe my personal style as 'OK?'"
  • "I work from home and don't want to look like a frazzled mom because I don't even have kids and actually have time to spend on my appearance even though I obviously don't?"
  • "I wear jeans and t-shirts and Banana Republic stopped making my go-to t-shirt so can you please just recommend a new t-shirt brand? Thanks."
  • "I used to be skinny and somewhat fashionable but now I'm 40 and I don't care. Well, I care, but I don't care? I just don't want to look Amish? Does my hair make me look Amish?"
  • "I look dorky but I'm actually really cool. Like, mega-cool. Just take my word for it. Please?"
  • "I recently hurt my foot so all I can currently wear are sneakers, but that doesn't mean I'm Generation: Easy Spirit. See also: I'm mega-cool. Just take my word for it?"
  • "Please don't make me shop at Forever 21."
I'm torn between 2 options. The first is that the stylist and I will become fast friends, and she'll introduce me to all her stylish friends as "My FAB friend Becky - you know, the one with all the great accessories who's always so pulled together and such an inspiration to me both creatively and as a human being?" The second option is that the stylist will berate me for being so completely unfashionable and will then describe me to all her stylist friends as "That HORRIBLE woman with the jeans that were hand-me-downs in 2004 and who must appear homeless 97 percent of the time and who basically looks Amish except less stylish?"

These seem like the only 2 options.

The truth of it is that we all want to look our best. And we all need a fresh set of eyes every once in a while. But also ... I feel like I'm dressing for a part that I haven't yet defined.

I'm not a mom. I'm not a corporate denizen. I'm a writer, but not a sweaty, hardboiled journalist or a flowery romance novelist. I'm 40. I'm 40 and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

There. I said it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yes, I am a big spender.

I have discovered the witching hour for grocery shopping. Obviously, the best time to shop is at 2 a.m. because the store is deserted with the exception of some drunks. They are provided for our entertainment.

But for those of us who prefer to shop during the day? And away from people? Because people generally don't understand basic cart etiquette? Turns out that 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon is a pretty chill time.

It was just me and 1 other lady in the whole of the produce section. No randos abandoning their carts on a diagonal so as to block all the apples and all the root veggies. No soccer moms on their phones, leaving their $500 purses open and unattended in their carts while they grab organic arugula. I'm no thief, but even I want to grab a purse every once in a while just to say, "See? Do you see how easy it is? Do you see how stupid you're being?"

I'm great fun at parties.

The thing about the produce section is that it makes me feel slightly crazed. Not because of my purse-snatching proclivities. No, I feel loopy because it's the location of my greatest splurge.

When I was but a wee lass o' 30, living in a not-great apartment and trying to get my freelance business up and running, money was tight. Real tight. Trying-to-only-spend-$20-a-week-on-groceries tight.

During those days, I was crazy skinny. It was great. But I was skinny because I was unhappy, and I was skinny because I did crazy things like limit my yogurt intake to 2 cartons a week. I wasn't trying to cut back on dairy. No, those 89-cent cartons of Yoplait were a splurge.

I knew I had made it when I started buying yogurt with abandon. Some folks know they're successful when they buy a car or nice clothes. For me? It was eating yogurt every day. Like a boss. Whenever I bought 7 cartons of yogurt, I felt secure.

Now? Now, dairy is not my friend. We broke up. And I don't feel the need to limit my grocery spending, although I am constantly amazed that my husband expects to eat every day. But I still try to be smart about our grocery dollar.

My big splurge? Cilantro.
Hey there, cilantro. Say 'hi' to your mother for me.
I know. I know! It costs anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar. And I buy a bunch each week. Because it makes me feel fancy.

It used to be that whenever I made a recipe that called for fresh cilantro, I'd just throw in some dried cilantro and muddle through. It was fine.

But then? Then, I realized how amazing real cilantro is, since I'm not of the sad group that thinks it tastes like soap. And even though most recipes are fine without it, I buy it and I use it. I even use it when it's just called for as a garnish. Because I'm worth it! And it makes me feel like an adult and a good cook and possibly also a princess. Because nobody scrimps when it comes to garnishing for royalty.

My cilantro habit probably costs me about $30 a year. Decadent? Obviously. But it's worth every penny.

What's your big splurge?