Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life Lessons: Part 1

Over the years you learn a few things. It's just a part of growing up. You get older...you get wiser. Most of the time you learn things the hard way. Like don't get too close to an open flame after you put half a bottle of hairspray in your hair. Don't buy gas station hot dogs. There is no such thing as blinker fluid for your car.
This life lesson is a three-part post about when to not be cheap. I love a good deal, trust me. Marshall's, TJ Maxx, outlet malls, dollar stores...I shop them all the time. But that does not mean everything in your life should be cheap. My three things to not cheap out on: bras, mattresses, and shoes. (Also...wine and coffee, but that's just me being a snob I think.) This post is about bras since I recently have learned I apparently know nothing about them.  

You wear bras every day. Most of us wear the wrong size every day, but at least we wear them. I personally can't even remember the last time I bought new bras, so I recently decided to invest in some new ones. I'm a big girl now...I need to wear bras that I didn't own when I was in grade school. So I went to Victoria's Secret armed with my Secret Rewards card (which turned out to be worth $10) to buy some new ones. The bras I had been wearing for years were just so incredibly uncomfortable. I thought it was because they were just really old, but it turns out I was wearing the wrong size. Like REALLY wrong. Now, I know Victoria's Secret bras are sized differently. I'm pretty sure they make them super small so that you feel better about yourself when you find out you actually wear two cup sizes bigger than what you had been wearing for over ten years. That was my case.
So the other day I walked into Victoria's Secret and grabbed my good old 34B. My trusty B cup. The lady in the fitting room gave me a room and asked if I needed to be measured. I've never been asked that before. I was like...what they hey. Why not? Maybe she can give me some recommendations for some good push-ups too since I can't seem to fill out any of my dresses. So she measured me and brought me a new size because apparently the sizes I grabbed were wrong. You know what she brought me? A freaking 32D. I told her she made a mistake and brought me a D instead of a B. She kind of laughed and was like...um no. So I tried on the ones she brought me and it fit! Like, really well. What had I been doing? My whole life has been a joke when it came to undergarment shopping until now. Maybe that's why all of my bras were poking the crap out of me. So I bought some new bras then and there in a completely different size than what I had been wearing since Bill Clinton was in office. (Now the real question is what size do I wear in normal bras? Because I sure as hell don't wear a D cup in those bras I saw at Macy's, I can tell you that.) The bras were a little pricey (as are all things at Victoria's Secret), but I feel better having new ones at least. I got a boring nude colored one and a racerback blue one...nothing super sexy and fun, but I'm planning on having these for a while so I decided to get nice, versatile ones that I can wear with a lot of shirts. I'm INVESTING. That's the key word here. Spend more money...get more out of it. So basically what I'm saying is that don't buy cheap bras. Get good ones that will last a long time and that are comfortable. Also...get measured because you're probably wearing the wrong size.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Problem Solved...Maybe.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to get my spending under control. Do more saving and less spending...Keep track of how much I was spending...Just stop shopping altogether. That kind of thing. 

I have the Mint app from Intuit thinking that the monthly e-mails they send me with red bar graphs and pie charts showing my negative balances would keep my spending in check, but it doesn't. I don't even read the e-mails anymore since I know they are just yelling at me that I was over my budget in pretty much every category. So I got a Manilla account. It's very similar to Mint, but you can link your magazine subscriptions, loyalty programs, and financial services. It tells me when my bills are due, when my subscriptions are up, and what my rewards are in my loyalty programs, but it still hasn't helped me stop spending money. (Neither has my boyfriend's nagging.) 

I went out last month and bought painting supplies. I don't even paint! I took one art class in high school, but I went to the art museum a few weeks ago and decided I could be an artist myself. Talk about buyer's remorse. I now have a crate full of cheap acrylic paint, canvases, and paintbrushes that I have no idea how to use. That was kind of the last straw for me. 

My newest solution: American Express Serve card. It's a prepaid card that you can link with your bank account so you can put all or some of your paycheck on it. I've decided it's going to be my "fun card." Any time I want to go shopping or out to eat or something along those lines, I am going to use my Serve card. Pretty much anything other than rent and bills is going to be paid with with my prepaid card. That way I know how much money I can spend on non-essential things. If I don't have any money on my card, I can't go shopping. Or eat out. 

There is also an option where you can "reserve" money. It's a separate part of your account that doesn't show up on your balance; it's saved in a different location. Basically, it's a savings account. I have it set up so that $20 from my Serve account is put in Reserve once every two weeks. That way, if an unexpected expense arises, I have money set aside. There are a ton of other features like sub-accounts, bill pay, direct deposit, etc., but I'm just hoping I can stick to my goals this time. I think it will work. My goal is around 20% of my paycheck going onto my prepaid card. I don't even want to know how much I was spending on "fun stuff" before, but it had to be a ton. 
Hopefully my days of red numbers are over. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Today is Throwback Thursday for me. Partly because I am feeling nostalgic. Partly because I haven't done laundry in a while. I've decided to rock those ubiquitous campus classics. I'm talking North Face 'Denali' jacket, UGG boots, and Victoria's Secret yoga pants. The basics for any university female. No, I'm not in college anymore, but I still have all of the aforementioned items and I'm going to wear them with pride. Maybe just inside my house. I haven't decided if I am going to go out in public. I'm trying to be a big girl nowadays. 

Although...if my boyfriend says he hates it, then yes I am sure going to wear it out. If he doesn't care, then...well, it's just not as fun. (Just kidding!) 


Peace Out Cable

I've decided to pull the plug on cable. Literally. My roommates and I have made the decision to get rid of television. Now, I'm not going to lie and say this will be easy for me. I love TV, but it just doesn't make sense to pay for cable when you could pay less than $16 per month for BOTH Hulu Plus and Netflix. I don't know if I even need both of those services (I'm not sure how much of the content overlaps...I haven't gotten that far in my research), but there are other options that seem way more affordable.

First...Apple TV. You can stream Netflix and Hulu right through Apple TV, as well as rent or buy TV shows and movies directly through iTunes. The other option is buying one a smart TV or Blu-Ray player through which you can also stream Netflix or Hulu Plus. I like the idea of Apple TV a little more because of the other apps you can get, but I've come to understand that many of those apps require a cable subscription which defeats the purpose of getting rid of cable. Still...I could sync my other Apple devices and be able to access things like photos, videos, and music.

Roku and Google's relatively new Chromecast are also options, but those are two more things I haven't looked into enough to consider them just yet. Any feedback anyone?

Amazon Prime is also something I was (maybe) considering until I woke up this morning and read on the news that they were increasing the price from $79/year to $99/year. If I had a Kindle or bought enough stuff on Amazon, it would probably be worth it, but I just don't see the value for a bibliophile. And finally, we are probably just going to buy a digital antenna to get those few local channels for FREE. I like the sound of that.

I'm ashamed to say that not having cable will probably be hard for me. I've never imagined life without my evening Big Bang Theory or being able to watch my sports teams. (Still haven't figured out how to watch sports without cable.) But I'm also happy that I will have the chance to read more books, spend more time outside, and maybe even get some of my Pinterest DIY projects done.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Oscars Red Carpet Fashion

Time for my annual Oscars Red Carpet fashion review! (Actually this is the first time I'm doing this, but I'm planning on making this an annual thing so whatever.) It's a few days late, but better late than never.

From what I saw, a few of this year's trends were neutrals, metallics, and pink, draped dresses. Also a few emerald and navy dresses...which I am definitely ok with. Love me some navy.

Let's start with some neutrals:

Cate is perfection. I don't really have anything else to say. Ugh.
Cate Blanchett

Very lacy. Very romantic. Very neutral. That is all.
Sarah Paulson

This reminds me of wedding dresses from the Victorian Era. And I absolutely love it. I love anything from that era. Not sure I would wear this to the Oscars. Maybe around my house when I'm pretending to be a 19th century British heiress.
Sally Hawkins

Flash forward 150 years later...this is what a lot of wedding dresses look like now. I'm glad cap sleeves are coming back. Strapless dresses don't really work on me since I'm not gifted in the upper body area.
Naomi Watts


This is like the exact same dress. I'm obsessed with this one though for some reason. I might actually get married in this dress one day.
Calista Flockhart

I can't help but think of this as the offspring of a trendy wedding gown and a prom dress. I don't hate it, but I can't stop thinking that.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan

This one is gray. I can't decide if I like it.
Kristen Bell

And another gray one, but with some shimmer. Jessica Biel can really do no wrong. I would look so washed out in this dress. But it's sparkly!
Jessica Biel
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Which is a great transition into the metallic dresses of the evening!!!

Lots of shiny-ness going on with these. A lot of the metallics were also in more neutral shades as we just saw...just with a little more pizazz.

Silver, flapper-esque dress. Very 1920s. If only she had one of those feather headband thingys.
Jennifer Garner

Gold and sparkly. I would expect nothing less from a figure skater. She might be able to cut off the bottom and do one of her routines in it one day.
Ashley Wagner

This dress is sooooo pretty, but it makes her look kind of...thick. Wait, can I say that about her? I feel like God might strike me down. I want it to be more form fitting though. Show off that one leg, Angie!
Angelina Jolie

This is just straight up one of the classiest dresses I've ever seen. Old Hollywood meets modern sexiness. And I LOVE her hair!
Kate Hudson

Art Deco architecture on a dress! The 1920s are making a comeback! That was my first reaction to this dress. Glamorous is also a word that comes to mind. I like it on her.
Kristen Chenoweth

And even more gold. Actually a very pretty dress. Kudos for rocking that at age 68.
Goldie Hawn
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Now on to the last trend of the evening...pink hues with some form of a cape/scarf/shawl.

It looks like a Greek goddesses' dress that was put into the washer with a pink sock. But of course, being Penelope Cruz, it works.
Penelope Cruz

One of the most talked about dresses of the evening. This is not my style, but it's so perfect for the Oscars, especially for the wife of a nominee.
Camilla Alvarez

I've seen this style a lot in weddings as a bridesmaid dress. I have no idea what this style is called, but it's pretty in right now. I would really want someone to follow me around with a big fan if I was wearing this. It's very flowy...
Jada Pinkett Smith

Time for my best and worst dressed!

BEST DRESSED:

I'm not even going to talk about this dress again. Words are just not enough. 
Cate Blanchett

Everything about these two is right. So put together and classy. Nothing overdone...just very classic. Kudos for Olivia not wearing anything crazy while pregnant. (See next picture.)
Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis 

WORST DRESSED:

Ugh. No. You do NOT wear a dress like this when you are that pregnant with twins. Like...ever. It just looks so wrong. SO WRONG. She looks unbelievable as a pregnant woman, but the fit of the dress is incredibly unflattering. You know it's bad when I can't stop staring at her enormous belly while Chris Hemsworth is standing right next to her. 
Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky

I don't have to explain this. He wore shorts with a tuxedo. At the Oscars.
Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh


Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Stories from Retail Life

It's been quite a while since I've posted some retail job stories. Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything at all. Not much really happens in January and February. I guess the Olympics have come and gone. Not the most fruitful Olympics for the United States, but it's all about the experience of being there. That's what the athletes say at least. Most of the ones who said that didn't win a medal so I guess they were looking for some consolation.

Anyway...back to my retail stories. This was one of the weirdest customers I have EVER had. It was just one weird conversation/situation after another. I wish I had this one on video...

So this lady was a new customer. She had never been to the store before, but she was looking for a lace shirt. She asked me what we had in lace. I was like, "Um...nothing." But what I wanted to say was, "Are you kidding me? This is an outdoor store! Lace is literally the most delicate fabric you could make a shirt out of, and why in the heck would someone design a hiking/camping/travel/fitness shirt out of a fabric that delicate? Riddle me that!" I didn't say that. But I wanted to. Apparently nothing in the store was feminine enough; she said everything was "just too much for her." I asked her what kind of shirt she wanted and if she was going on a trip somewhere. She said, "No. Why? Are you going on a trip somewhere?" That caught me off guard. I said not until August. Then she asked me all these questions like "Where are you going on your trip?" and "Do you like the coast?" I did not want to get into a game of 20 questions so I showed her some pretty-ish yoga shirts in the fitness section. Except that when I brought her to the fitness area she asked me what fitness clothes meant. I did not know how to respond to that. I kinda feel like fitness is pretty self-explanatory. Apparently nothing in fitness was to her liking anyway. So she proceeded to go on and on about how much she disliked the store. So I basically just walked away (politely I might add) because I did not want to deal with that crap. I thought she had left because honestly, who stays in a store they don't like? But no. She wandered into footwear where I had regrettably migrated after the lace ordeal. She wanted to try on hiking boots. Cool. No problem. She said she was a size 8 and she wanted to try on this one pair of boots. But she had picked out a men's boot, so I told her that men's and women's sizes are different. A women's 8 is not the same as a men's 8. But she didn't believe me, so I was forced to bring her a size 8 men's hiking boot. She said it fit. I was like...NO. So I measured her foot and she was about an 8-8.5 in women's sizing. So she asked for a women's size 8 boot. So I brought her one of those. She said it fit the same as the men's and that she really liked both. No. No. No. There is no way the men's 8 and the women's 8 fit the same. Loosely converted, men's shoes run about 2 sizes bigger than the corresponding women's sizes, so she was basically telling me that both a women's size 10 and 8 fit her the same. I pretty much gave up after that. She didn't buy anything, but she said she would come back since she knew what sizes she needed. Except that she doesn't!!!! They don't fit the same!!!! I have a feeling she won't be back unless we start carrying lace hiking shirts anyway.

P.S. I hope anyone who reads this who does not work retail realizes how awesome their life is most days.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Big 25

Well I turned 25 today. A quarter of a century old. (That means I'm 30 in five years! When did that happen?) When I turned 23 I was basically still in college. Turning 24 was not too bad. I still considered myself early twenties. But 25...there's no denying you are in your mid 20s looking back on your college years and looking forward into the next 40 years of work, mortgages, kids, and whatever else inevitable adulthood brings you. Not that that's a bad thing. I can't keep up with these college kids anyway. Two beers and I'm feeling either really tired or really happy. And I'm talking light beers. As far as bedtimes go, midnight is the norm for me. Maybe 1:00am for those days I can sleep in. Anything later and I'm in a coma. I used to leave the house to go out at midnight! How did it come to this? I have to say going to work with a hangover is way worse than going to class with one.

Turning 25 is kind of the threshold for adulthood...in my eyes at least. Most of my friends are married or engaged; some have kids already. A lot of them have already bought houses. Me? I'm still looking for a full-time job. Everyone progresses at a different pace so I'm not freaking out just yet. I have no desire to have to pay for a wedding or a house or a baby at this point in my life. I can't even afford to feed myself (other than the ramen). I am a little freaked out about retirement. I don't know what it is, but lately all I've been hearing is that most Americans don't save enough for retirement or they start too late in life and have to put a huge portion of their current income towards saving. That's what scares me the most. The problem is, working part-time means I don't make enough to save for retirement. Most of my income goes toward rent, food, utilities, and gas. The rest is going towards the seemingly endless weddings, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties that will be happening over the next 5 months. I'm excited for all the festivities, it's just taking a toll on my wallet. All part of that adulthood thing I guess. Yay!