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Spend it, spend it good (or not)

I am a stress shopper.

I feel like I should apologize for that; like I should be embarrassed that my preferred outlet for pesky unpleasant feelings is to obsessively hunt down the perfect bargain or just spend a couple of hours walking up and down the aisles at TJ Maxx, certain that today they’ll have that perfect outfit that will make me happy.

It’s not that I’m unaware that it’s a rather predictable and boring transference, and not really the healthiest coping mechanism, it’s just that I’m as good at justifying it as I am at doing it. I’m not binge eating. I’m not drinking or doing drugs. And I’m not spending money I don’t have or buying useless things (it’s not all Hoarders-ish up in here, I swear). So in the grand scheme of things, I guess I consider it one of the lesser possible evils on my personal scale of vices. (Plus it beats just sitting around crying, which I am also embarrassingly prone to, and that NEVER results in a cute piece of clothing or something shiny for my office.)

It probably goes without saying that I’ve been shopping quite a bit, lately, but that never stopped me from saying it before, so: I’ve been shopping quite a bit. (more…)

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Outfitting my eyeballs

With everything else that’s been going on, I forgot to tell you the MOST EXCITING NEWS EVER about my new eye doctor. I know, you thought today was going to be a boring old Monday and here I am with this SCINTILLATING story. Because everyone knows that eye doctor visits are the stuff legends are made of! Yes!!

Okay, maybe not. But I did go to a new eye doctor.

I hadn’t been in over three years, if you don’t count my last few sorry attempts to wear contact lenses. I figured I’d learned my lesson that score, anyway; I just wanted to get an updated prescription and some new glasses.

I picked a nearby optical place I’d heard good things about, and went in for my appointment. It didn’t start off well; someone called my name and brought me back into a room and started adjusting things and telling me to look here and look there and give her my glasses, and she never introduced herself. I am definitely becoming southern because I was kind of offended by that. Bless her heart. (more…)

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Polo, polo, polo

I find my fingers itching to click “Buy” on polo shirts.

I spend a goodish chunk of every day combing websites and sales and coupons for Want Not, and of course some of the deals I’m finding, I’m also buying. I consider it an occupational hazard. Though I don’t really consider it a hazard, even when my daughter opens the pantry and beholds fifteen boxes of cereal and dryly inquires, “Exactly how many people do you think live here, Mom?”

My standard line is that I am cursed with tightwad tendencies but impeccable taste; for me, the deals are about getting the expensive stuff for cheap, not just plain BEING cheap. Just buying cheaper stuff is not the same thing. I’m aware that a large percentage of the items I buy for my family could probably be procured at The Big Box Store Which Shall Not Be Named for approximately what I’m paying to order higher-quality analogs from other stores.

Part of the way I keep us in the style to which I’d like to become accustomed (ha!) is by scouring sales and clearance and buying ahead for things we’ll need next season or next year. And today it seems like I’m seeing polo shirts everywhere, though of course it may just be that I’m subconsciously looking for them. (more…)

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A brief history of me and cookware

Let me preface this by saying that the following can obviously be filed under “first world problems;” the fact that I have more than a battered tin pot in which to boil gruel means that none of this actually matters, but that’s not going to stop me from rambling on about it, anyway. You’ve been warned.

I am probably better at recalling the various cooking implements from my past than I am at conjuring memories of past boyfriends. This may be because cooking is more meaningful to me, or it may be because I have a weird memory. Hard to tell. I’m guessing it’s okay with Otto, though, as being regaled with tales of “that old frying pan I should’ve kept” may be kind of boring, but at least he never has to wonder if I’m mentally comparing our life together to amazing pie I once baked, or whatever. (Please note my restraint! I first had something here about comparing handles and then I thought better of it! Except… oh. Whoops.)

The thing is, we recently bought some new pots and it made me realized that I think I might be having a midlife cooking crisis. Does that even exist? I think it might. (more…)

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Sublimating worry for fun and profit

You are all nice. So nice! Ponies for everyone. Except now we have to go back to pretending everything is fine, because I can only think about the Not Fine stuff in short bursts, lest my brain melt.

Today, for example, I am busy making Black Friday my bitch, and to celebrate that, I am also giving away an iPod Touch over on Want Not. So feel free to come over and enter that. And possibly do some shopping.

P.S. We had a lovely Thanksgiving, with much for which to be thankful. I hope it was the same for you. With extra gravy.

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Love is grateful, day 4

We finally have a local Trader Joe’s, and I am probably more grateful for it than is reasonable.

Go ahead and scoff, but I’ll take my convenient, low-price, delicious opportunities to be elevated to hero status where I can find them, thanks.

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Where have all the colors gone?

I’m going to a conference next week. As is my wont when I have a business event coming up, I carefully get all my ducks in a row: First I book my travel, then I organize the calendar to make sure the kids are covered while I’m away, next I make a hair appointment (lest you think I’m terribly girly, it’s generally only because I have 3+ inches of gray roots which need to be beaten into submission), and finally I commence freaking out about my clothes.

Sometimes I sort of want to punch myself in the face. That feeling generally comes on right after I either think or actually say, “I have nothing to wear.”

It is simultaneously aggravating and delightful to me that I work from home and only have to dress up a few times a year; on the one hand, I enjoy spending 95% of my life dressing like the sloth I am, and on the other, I really do kind of dig dressing up in my nicer clothes now and then. And heaven knows I love an excuse to shop. But lately I’m feeling like this just isn’t going the way it’s supposed to, dammit. (more…)

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Fashion Hulk angry! Fashion Hulk smash!

It’s not that the irony of being someone who mostly works at home in solitude (and prefers jeans when heading out into the world) doling out fashion advice is lost on me, it’s just that it all seems to have become quite SERIOUS up in here, the last couple of weeks. And I need a break.

Also, I’ve been shopping. And out in the world with people. And I have opinions. STRONG opinions, I guess you might say, about things that people are wearing and doing. No one died and left me boss, but my inner Fashion Hulk would like to vent a bit.

(My inner Fashion Hulk likes to put on my son’s Hulk Hands—which say theraputic phrases like “HULK ANGRY!” and “HULK SMASH!”—while working out a little bit of aggression via dangerous activities like punching the couch. You should totally try it. Very relaxing.)

In no particular order, here are a few things which raise the ire of my inner Fashion Hulk, and quite possibly make the baby Jesus cry: (more…)

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Some things change, some don’t

I’m thinking it’s not much of a secret that I like to shop. But the thing is that I like to shop, but I don’t like to spend money. Those two things can go together, of course, but it takes a little more work.

One of the things I’ve done for years and years is to maintain a stash of gifts—assembled from various clearance finds—and then when it’s time to head to a birthday party or round up teacher gifts, I don’t have to run out and shop. This saves me from going to actual stores (because those places are filled with cranky people, plus they require getting dressed and leaving the house), plus it saves money because I’d rather buy stuff on sale whenever than buy stuff at full price because I need it RIGHT NOW.

[The best part about toys in the gift closet is that as the kids and their peers outgrow stuff, each year I do a November clean-out and go donate a bunch of stuff for the various holiday charities, and that's all kinds of fun.]

Unfortunately, like SO MANY other things in my life, my children are ruining my careful planning. Typical. (more…)

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So many shiny things

“Is there a way for me to write about this without sounding like a materialistic asshole?” I asked Otto.

“I dunno,” he answered.

“Maybe not,” I countered.

“Maybe,” he said.

I hate it when he won’t do my thinking for me. That’s totally why I hired married him.

Nevertheless, I have to take the chance here, because it is amusing. And far be it from me to pass up the chance to make fun of myself. So I am going to have to confess the entire sordid tale right from the beginning.

It starts, of course, with me being stupid. (more…)

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