Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beauty is Pain

A few days ago, I was lying on the couch with my feet propped up.  My boyfriend asked me, "What's wrong with your pinky toe?"  He was referring to the rubbed raw sore spot on the edge of my foot.  I replied, "'s from my shoes."  He rolled his eyes, and I just shrugged it off like it was nothing unusual.  The sad thing is that it really isn't unusual for me.  I'm used to suffering pain and discomfort in the name of fashion.

There's a famous saying--"No pain, no gain."  I most definitely have endured my fair share of pain, but the other day, I started wondering if my all my discomfort truly resulted in gain....or was it all simply in vain?  I guess you could say that sacrificing the comfort of a pinky toe for the sake of wearing cute shoes most definitely falls into the category of vain.

Our society has become so vain that we not only forfeit comfort for the sake of beauty, but we even jeopardize our health and well-being.  I'm not even joking when I mention the newest fad in plastic surgery--toe lengthening/shortening and even (gasp) removal!  While I readily admit that the removal of my pinky toe would certainly improve the fit--and comfort--of the majority of the shoes in my closet, I'm not about to go to a plastic surgeon to have it chopped off.  No thank you--I will just continue to squeeze all five piggies into those strappy stilettos, walk slowly and carefully, and grin and bear it.....because every girly-girl knows that beauty IS pain!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Advertising Age

"Call 267-8433, because the next best thing to new"......if you just finished singing this jingle in your head, you watch too much TV!  Or could it be that we are just subjected to far too many advertising messages each day?  While the former may be true, the latter is most definitely true.  In fact, when I was a kid home from school in the summer, I could pretty much give you the names and numbers of at least two or three local attorneys after being blasted by their commercials during the "CHiPs" reruns I watched.  And if you needed the phone number for Dalworth carpet cleaning, got it memorized! 

Based on the information I found on Google, Americans see an average of 3,000 advertising messages per day.  Holy cow--that's a lot of intrusive advertising!  Most of the time, we don't even realize we're being brainwashed--I mean influenced by the media.

When I was a freshman in college, I took a speech/communications class for which the big project of the semester was to write and deliver a speech in front of the class.  We were given the opportunity to choose any topic we could think of.  I chose to discuss the media's influence on society.  I explained how we are force fed hundreds and hundreds of messages indicating what is "expected" of the population--such as what is "beautiful," etc.  After a couple years, I went on to major in advertising and minor in marketing.  How's that for irony?!

It really is amazing if you stop and think about how many advertising messages we view each day--not just on TV, but everywhere.  I don't know about you, but I can't help but notice (and judge the creativity of) all the billboards lining the highways of Dallas/Ft. Worth.  Most of them are terrible--a few are cute, but mostly, they are just intrusive!  I do enjoy the Chick-fil-A cows, and I assure you that campaign has made Stan Richards (of Dallas' the Richards Group) a ton of money!

In addition to billboards, we get fliers for the new Chinese restaurant down the street, drycleaning coupons, etc. etc.  And don't even get me started about the annoying TV commercials that are broadcasted at 3x's the volume of the episode of the prime time sitcom you're watching!  Since I don't have TV right now (it's a long story), I'm no longer subjected to broadcast advertising other than radio commercials, which I avoid at all cost by switching stations ASAP.

Does advertising really work?  You bet it does!  Whether consciously or subconsciously, we make hundreds of decisions each day based on the advertising messages we've seen.  That explains why companies will spend a kajillion dollars to advertise their products during the Super Bowl.

As technology progresses, the format of advertising continues to adapt to these changes.  DVR's and Tivo have most certainly affected the advertising industry since television viewers now have the option to fast forward through commercials at warp speed.  These technological advances don't seem to have hindered advertisers' messaging--they simply have forced them to come up with innovative ways to annoy the heck out of the general public.

I really can't complain about being bombarded by advertising.  After all, it is my livelihood, and it ensures job security.  Plus, I feel like my college degree came in handy when I can analyze a commercial and tell you exactly why it sucked.  So I guess at the end of the day, advertising is a necessary "evil."  Unfortunately, though, now I'm gonna have that damn Dalworth song stuck in my head all day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

One Man's Junk....

It's official--garage sale season has begun.  I slept in 'til 9:00 this morning, which, if we're talking about a retail setting, equates to hitting a sale on the last day of the season.  All the "good" stuff is gone.  Jeremy shopped the neighborhood garage sale at 7:00 a.m.  When he returned at 8:00, less $75, he had a truckload of gently used stuff for a fraction of the cost.  I must admit I was impressed with the treasures he happened upon.  I'm still trying to talk him out of the pair of fleur de lis sconces that cost him a meager $4.  I even agreed to pay an up charge of $6! 

I guess it's true that one man's junk is another man's treasure....for now.  Eventually, the life cycle of your garage-sale purchase will forge ahead, losing its $3 value and will, once again, be put on the market for a future treasure hunter's revelation.  Such is the circle of garage-sale life.

I confess I have never been particularly excited to wake up early on a Saturday morning to rummage through tables and tables of secondhand crap in search of a hidden gem.  In my experience, a quick drive-by generally reveals nothing but outgrown baby clothes, old VHS tapes, slightly used exercise equipment, and superfluous amounts of plastic Tupperware.  Occasionally, however, you happen upon a bargain that makes the tireless search completely worth it. 

Maybe there's something to be said for shopping garage sales.  I guess I'll just have to start setting my alarm for an early awakening on Saturday morning so I can set off in search of my next hidden treasure.  When you find something amazing--for a bargain price, no less--it's almost as if you've earned the right to become its proud owner.  Ok, how 'bout I give you $8 for the set?  Pleeeeease???

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hats off to....Well, HATS!

Hats literally are the pinnacle of fashion--they top off the outfit.  A hat adds a certain flair that just can't be achieved with any other garment....this coming from a SHOE person!  I have always loved hats, so it's a shame that no one wears them much anymore--except to the Kentucky derby and, more recently, to royal events. 

I must say that, while I am a little tired of the incessant media coverage of the royal wedding, I am absolutely intrigued by the hats in all the photos.  Prestigious guests donned all sorts of hats--from simply elegant to downright tacky and over-the-top.  What was with all the little diner-like wedge caps sliding down women's  foreheads?? (aka. Victoria Beckham).  Some of those crazy hats even bordered on Star Trek-wannabe costumes!  Clearly, certain Brits selected their wardrobes right out of Lady Gaga's closet.  (Thank goodness there were no hats made of bacon!)  While many of the royal wedding hats were borderline comical, my point is that, fastidiously chosen, the right hat can bring luxurious sophistication to any ensemble.  I always think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman--the shopping scene when the camera shows her from behind in a fitted, classy dress with a big black hat.  Wow, that is the picture of sophisticated elegance!

Sometimes I feel as though I'm living in the wrong era.  I would have loved to dress up in giant floppy hats with corset dresses and white gloves every single day.  I would sit out on the front porch, fanning myself with one gloved hand while holding a glass of iced tea or perhaps a mint julip with the other.  "Frankly, my dear"......sadly, hats just aren't a part of society's standard attire anymore.  They're reserved for extra-special occasions, speaking of which.....

My mom and I are getting together with our dear family friends on Sunday for our annual Mothers' Day tea.  It will be hosted at Mom & Dad's Victorian-style home, and we are all required to wear fabulous hats.  Even though the weather may not permit an outdoor brunch on the wraparound porch, I will most definitely be dressed as if I'm gearing up for a sunny day at the Derby!  I've got my little black crochet sundress and high heels already picked out, and, this morning, I dusted off my black/white "Audrey Hepburn" hat for the occasion.  I'm so looking forward to plates and plates of delicate finger sandwiches (crust-less, of course!).

I've decided to resurrect this iconic fashion piece.  In fact, my next shopping spree may include a trip to the hat department for a headgear fashion show.  Sure, I may get a few stares from strangers while sporting this long-forgotten accessory, but I don't care.  I assume they are just in awe of my sense of style and individuality.  Let's face it--you just can't help but feel fabulous when wearing a giant hat.  And that, my dear, is what fashion is all about.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

All Those Who Own iPhones Say "i"

Lately, I've been wondering, "Am I the only person who doesn't have an iPhone?"  No, seriously!  It seems like everywhere I go, people are taking photos, engaging in "important" conversation in public venues, looking up directions on the Internet, or playing "Angry Birds."  Just yesterday at a restaurant, I saw several kids toting around these phones.  How many people can an 8-year-old possibly even know?  I guess they know the other 20 kids in their class who have iPhones, too!  Have I been living on another planet?  When did the iPhone become the new must-have electronic item?  It's almost as if iPhone owners belong to a distinguished club--or dare I say--cult!  Do they make you sign your 2-year contract in blood or something?? 

For quite sometime, I've been an iPhone "hater," but lately, I'm beginning to wonder if these people are really onto something.  I've resisted the touch screen as long as possible and have been perfectly happy (well, almost) with my Blackberry Curve.  I am used to it.  It has buttons like "old school" phones!  I am a lighting-fast texter with my Blackberry.  I don't really consider my fingers to be fat, but it's almost as if I have five sausage links on each hand as soon as I try to type something into my boyfriend's iPhone.  I'm sorry, but I just can't forfeit the thumb-texting, and I refuse to buy a phone that won't allow it.

While I am a fan of the concept of a Blackberry, its electronic functionality leaves a lot to be desired.  It often freezes (I hate that damn spinning hourglass!)  It indicates I have messages when I do not, and I find myself removing the battery and re-booting it at least five times a day!  (Jeremy, stop saying, "I told you so!")  He's what I like to call an iPhone "snob."  He swears by it.  I sometimes think he must own stock in the company or something since he so freely endorses this miracle phone.

It's amazing to think that, when we were younger, there was no such thing as a cell phone.  You needed to make a call, you stopped at a pay phone.  I don't think they even exist anymore.  How sad is it to think that something we used to live without has become like an extra limb without which, we cannot function?!  I feel naked on days I forget to take my phone with me.  It drives me crazy to think I might miss a phone call from both of you (Mom and Jeremy).  I can't get a play-by-play from friends without my constant access to (gasp) Facebook!  Ok, so I have become addicted, too.  BUT I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND THE OBSESSION THAT HAS BECOME THE IPHONE!!!

Maybe I'll just have to break down and try one myself when my contract ends in a couple months--if my poor little Blackberry can even make it that much longer.  Maybe there's something to be said for a phone that's gotten so much publicity.  So yes, I may soon give in and purchase an iPhone.....but no matter what, I vow to never become one of those iPhone snobs!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Augmentation for Graduation

I used to think that "D" stood for diploma, but lately, it seems to stand for D cup---as in, the coveted bra size of many high school girl graduates who receive breast implants as their graduation gift from Mom and Dad!  That's right, what once was a new (used) car or a family trip as a congratulatory gift has become a trip to the plastic surgeon.  Is it just me, or is anyone else appalled that parents would not only support--but fund--this decision?!

When I was working in cosmetics, a woman came into the store and said she was shopping for last-minute stocking stuffers for her high school aged daughter.  Her idea of little "stocking stuffers" included the new Marc Jacobs fragrance.  I mentioned that, if Marc Jacobs was just a small gift for her stocking, I could only imagine what her big gift would be.  The woman replied that her daughter had actually already received her main gift--breast implants.  They were for her--get this--14-year-old daughter!  My jaw hit the floor.

I don't know when breast implants became the new trendy haircut or fancy jeans that all teenagers just had to have if they wanted to fit in with even the remotely cool crowd.  Nowadays, you hear on all the talk shows about how kids have a low self esteem and parents should nurture them to make sure this isn't the case for their child.  Ever since that became the rule, little league teams stopped keeping score.  There was no winner or loser.  Students stopped getting poor grades for poor quality work.  Instead, they passed with flying colors because they "tried."

Well call me old-fashioned, but I think that's a bunch of BS!  Protecting kids from a negative society doesn't sustain their level of confidence and self esteem--it sends them a false message about the brutality of the "real world."  I didn't mean to get off on a tangent.....back to teens and breast implants.

I cannot imagine any parent, let alone any licensed doctor, who would perform breast augmentation surgery on a teenage girl.  Most girls are not even fully developed at age 18.  I know I sure wasn't!  In fact, (not to broadcast my bra size), I didn't even really have boobs until I was in college.  I swear, I woke up one day and "ta da!"  There they were.

Many smaller-busted girls argue that other women who were "blessed with a chest" don't understand what it's like to be less endowed.  While that may be the case, isn't the "grass always greener on the other side?"  I know lots of women who would happily chop off their breasts to rid themselves of the hassle!  There are many clothes a woman with big boobs simply cannot wear.  Don't even get me started on the idea of wearing a cute little triangle-top bikini.  You can't run without a sports bra, and the list goes on an on....

If having a fuller figure up top is really that important to you, there are other less extreme options than going under the knife.  Um, hello--ever heard of the Miracle Bra??  We have come up with numerous ways to "fake it" that I can't even imagine surgery would be a desirable option.

The bottom line is that, in MY opinion, high school girls should not be gifted with breast implants from their parents.  What kind of message does that send?  It basically says that if you're not happy with the body God gave you, just have plastic surgery to "fix" it and make yourself (in society's eyes) beautiful.  Breast implants just don't say "congratulations on your high school graduation!"  While customary graduation gifts are nice, the real treasure you walk away with when you earn your diploma is a brain filled with knowledge--not a couple pouches filled with saline.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I love "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens," but when it comes to makeup, these are a few of my favorite things....

FoundationEstee Lauder Double Wear
It is a little thicker in consistency than most liquids, but it gives great coverage without feeling like you're wearing a Halloween mask.  I choose to rub it all over with my CLEAN fingers as I feel like I get a smoother, more even finish.  The packaging is not very user-friendly with its screw-top lid. 
**TIP:  Mac sells a $6 foundation pump that fits on the Double Wear bottle.  It's easier to dispense the foundation, and it is more sanitary.  I also recommend starting with a face primer before applying your foundation (and after your moisturizer).  It acts as a sort of "spackle" by filling in lines and pores so that your foundation glides right over a smooth surface.  Smashbox makes a good one, and I've also used a primer by Borghese. 

Powder:  Maybelline Oil-Free Loose Powder
Yes, I said works well, and it's super cheap!  To me, powder is powder.  It's used to set your foundation and give you a matte finish, plus it helps keep oil at bay.  I think the powder brush is what really makes the difference.  The denser the brush, the fuller coverage.  By the way, I use Studio Gear's kabuki brush ($50).  I know, that's EXPENSIVE for a brush, but I actually got it as part of a holiday gift set for $17!!!!  The great thing about Studio Gear is that their brushes are guaranteed for L-I-F-E!  Come on, you can't even get that kind of insurance for your car!  If the bristles fall out, it breaks, your dog eats it (I wouldn't tell the salesperson that's what happened)--just bring it into any Ulta.  You don't even need a receipt.  They will give you a brand-spankin' new brush as a replacement.  So the (sometimes) higher price--as compared to other brands' brushes--is well worth the extra money!

Eyeshadow Primer:  Too Faced Shadow Insurance
If you just asked yourself, "What the heck is an eyeshadow primer?" then girrrrrl, we need to talk!  I never--repeat NEVER wear eyeshadow without first applying a primer for several reasons.  First, it makes your eyeshadow stay on longer.  Second, it keeps the shadow from "creasing."  Third, and perhaps most importantly--it makes the COLOR more pigmentedThe reason I choose Shadow Insurance over the ever-popular eyeshadow primer from Urban Decay is because I believe it lasts longer.  Shadow Insurance comes in a squeeze tube, so it's easier to get every last drop of the product, whereas Urban Decay's wand-style bottle prevents total usage.  (Perhaps a marketing ploy?  Hmmmm......).  Give primer a try and see for yourself the amazing difference it makes!

Eyeshadow:  It's a tie between my Lancome quad, Urban Decay, and Lorac.  I love 'em all!  They are all very smooth and super pigmented!  I like to do my makeup differently everyday, so I have tons of eyeshadow, but I firmly believe you can never have too much!  Your face is like the canvas on which you create your artwork.  You wouldn't paint using the exact same colors for every single painting, would ya?  Didn't think so.

BlushI switch between several blushes.  I love Bare Minerals' color "Dusk," but I hate the fact that it comes in loose-powder form.  Lately, I've been using "Rome" by Cargo.  It is a coral-like color with a hint of shimmer.  I actually like it for a summery look.  FYI, if you're looking for a drugstore alternative to save a few bucks, try Rimmel.  I have used a couple of their blushes and have been surprisingly happy with them.  I have used "Apricot" and "Peach."  (I have never been a fan of pinky blushes--on myself).

Mascara:  Lancome Definicils
Mascara is probably one of the most controversial cosmetics.  By that I mean everyone has their own opinion of why they like and dislike certain mascaras.  What one woman swears by, another woman hates!  As with most anything else, trial and error is the best way to figure out what works for you.  Unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with foot-long, perfectly curled eyelashes.  Isn't it ironic and totally unfair that most men have gorgeous lashes?!  Why are the fabulous lashes wasted on men who don't even know what mascara is used for?!  It's one of life's mysteries to me.  The reason I love Definicils so much is because it's not goopy and clumpy.  The brush is a regular mascara brush (not synthetic plastic bristles), and it's great for lengthening and thickening. 

Wanna know what the REAL secret is to fab lashes is?  A Shu Uemura eyelash curler.  Well, any old eyelash curler will do, but this one is the best.  Anyone who knows anything about great lashes has one of these babies in her makeup drawer.  By boyfriend sees curling my lashes as an unnecessary extra step in my getting-ready routine....(Of course, he was naturally blessed with long, curled lashes!)....but I can honestly say it's one of the most important steps.  If I were stranded on a desert island with only one possession, I'd take my Shu Uemura eyelash curler.  Ok, maybe that's a little too extreme, but it IS the one item I'd use if I could only do one thing to improve my morning appearance. 

(pencil) Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Liner
Not all eyeliners were created equally.  I tend to have "raccoon eyes" by the end of the day if I'm not using a waterproof liner because I line both the top and the bottom lash lines.  While there's no such thing as a 100% perfect pencil liner, I have to admit that Urban Decay's 24/7 pencils are pretty close!  They have really soft lead and don't smudge nearly as bad as a standard pencil.  They also come in a rainbow of fun colors.  My personal faves are "Bourbon" (a bronzey color with subtle gold sparkles) and "Zero" (regular matte black).

(automatic) Ulta Waterproof Automatic Eyeliner
Automatic eyeliners are quick and easy since you don't have to mess with sharpening it after each use.  I really like this one because it really doesn't smudge much at all (like Urban Decay's pencil).  They are also very affordable.  In fact, I usually pick up a few whenever they're on sale (buy 1, get 1 etc.)  Just make sure they are the waterproof liners and not the smokey liners--because those are NOT waterproof!

(liquid) Stila Waterproof Pen Eyeliner
I almost fainted when I first swiped this liner across the back of my hand and saw how truly rich black it was.  It costs more than I prefer to pay for a single eyeliner ($20 at Ulta), but it's totally worth it!  I have never used a liquid liner that was as easy to apply (it's like a felt-tip marker) with such a dark black pigment that lasted all day without smudging.  This is the MUST-HAVE liner if you're a liquid type of girl.  It will eventually dry out like any marker would, but it's lasted me quite awhile.  I don't mind buying a couple of these a year--they're amazing!

Lipstick:  Maybelline Moisture Extreme
I am and always have been lipstick-obsessed.  My sorority sisters in college didn't call me "Lipstix" for nothing!  I just feel as if my look is incomplete without some sort of lipstick or gloss swiped across my pout.  When it comes to choosing a lipstick, there are several things that are important to me.  The biggest one (obviously) is color.  My favorite color at the moment is Sunlit Bronze.  It's pretty for winter, spring, summer, fall.  I love how smoothly it goes on, too since it's a moisture-enhanced lipstick, which brings me to the second thing I look for in a lipstick: consistency.  I would prefer that it also be long-lasting, but let's face it, no matter what lipstick you wear (unless it's colored on with a permanent marker) is going to last all day.  I have found that using a stain as a base and then applying lipstick on top is a good way to get a little more lasting power.  My lipstick-application routing involves three or four steps.  First, I may start with a stain, then I apply my lipstick.  After that, I line my lips (yes, I line AFTER I apply lipstick), and then I finish with a gloss.  Voila--all done!

Having worked in the beauty industry, I've been able to try lots of different cosmetic brands and products.  It has ended up costing me a LOT of money after getting hooked on particular "prestige" brand items.  I'm always looking for the next great product, so I also do a lot of research.  What are some of your favorite things?

....and then I don't feel so bad!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Makeup" Your Mind

I once heard makeup defined as something women spend countless hours applying so that it looks like they're not wearing any.  It's so true that it's almost comical.  If you think about it, why do women spend millions (if not billions) of dollars on cosmetics each year?  We do it because it makes us look good, which in turn, makes us feel good.....and when it boils down to it, it's really all about how you feel.

Some women are not into makeup at all, and that's fine--but I couldn't go through life without it.  When I worked in cosmetics, I was totally intrigued by 40-year-old women who came into the store and confessed they had never worn makeup.  It just wasn't important to them.  I guess one woman's necessity is another woman's burden.  While I couldn't imagine a bathroom sans drawers filled to the brim with eyeshadows, blush, and mascara, other women could care less if the only beauty item in their medicine cabinet is their daily drugstore moisturizer (which hopefully contains SPF!).  

The fact is that different women have different priorities.  What makes me feel beautiful may mean nothing to the girl next door.  She may feel beautiful because she spends six days a week at the gym and is healthy and stress-free.  (That is definitely NOT me!)  She may feel beautiful because she works long, hard hours at her job, and she's extremely accomplished as a result.  I, on the other hand, cannot make myself stop purchasing cosmetics--even though I have enough in one drawer to last me 'til the end of time!

It's truly amazing how much better I feel when I take the time to get ready in the morning and complete my full-fledged hair and makeup routine.  My coworkers certainly can attest to the fact that, when I look like crap, I usually feel like it too (even though it's probably because I chose to forgo the "routine" in favor of getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep).

My point the end of the day, as long as you do what makes you feel good about yourself, you are beautiful in your own mind--made up or not!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Woman's Right to Shoes

Forrest Gump was right--"There's a lot you can tell about a person by their shoes...where they going, where they been."  To me, shoes are so much more than merely just footwear.  Shoes are to fashion what gasoline is to automobiles...they fuel the outfit, making a strong "in-your-face" fashion statement.  My name's Cassie, and I'm a shoe-aholic.

When I open my closet door, I can almost hear a choir of angels sing as I glance up at the shelves of stacked shoeboxes overhead.  At the last count, I came up with about 90 pairs of shoes, give or take.  The crazy thing is, my collection is continuously growing--much to the demise of my checking account.

Stilettos, sandals, boots, sneakers, Mary Janes, flip-flops, chunky heels, platforms, wedges.  They're like my little brightly colored, shiny friends.  They've traveled with me on many a journey, made me happy, cost me lots of money, made me feel sexy, and caused me severe pain.  (My motto is:  "If they're comfy, they're NOT CUTE!").  Besides, life's too short to wear ugly shoes.  My friends know me, and they are a reflection of my personality.

Because a woman's shoes tell a lot about her personality, I hope people don't look at my shoes and automatically think "hooker" because I prefer a minimum of 4" heels.  It's just my style.  It also happens to be my daily exercise routine.  You try walking around in a pair of 4" heels, holding up all of your body weight on the ball of your fee and tell me that's not exercise!  High heels tone my butt and legs--and they're arguably cheaper than a gym membership.  Okay, maybe not in my case, but still.  My aching muscles are sheer proof that a day in stilettos equals a day's workout!

I realize I am probably ruining my feet by subjecting them to such torture, but you have to sacrifice comfort for style and beauty.  Mom says I'll need orthopedic shoes by the time I'm 40, but I ASSURE you I will never resort to wearing shoes that serve a medical purpose.  Worst case scenario--I'll be riding around in a wheelchair someday while wearing stilettos!    Of course I do realize that if I trip and fall while walking in tall heels, it's a loooong way down, so I make sure to walk slowly and carefully--and avoid the stairs at all cost!

Several months ago while cleaning out my closet, I discovered that I'm running out of room for all my friends--I mean, my shoes.  Mom says that's a sign I have too many, but I say it's just a sign I need a bigger closet!  Shoes are like money--you can never have too much; however, lately, I've been trying to keep my shoe addiction (somewhat) in check, but the little guys call out to me as I pass by the store windows and surf the web.  I seriously have to stop and think what I'd rather have--money to eat or new shoes.  I can honestly say that, in the past, I have opted for the shoes and then eaten microwave popcorn for dinner.  While it may not be the healthiest decision, it was definitely the happiest!

When you look around my apartment and my office, you'll see shoe-themed paraphernalia everywhere.  What can I say?  It's my obsession.  It's who I am......and if the shoe fits, it was meant to be....if not, buy it anyway and suffer the pain in the name of fashion!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Weekend Recap

I always get depressed on Sunday nights.  That means it's time to get stuff in order around the house and prepare for work Monday morning.  Ugh....lately, I've had a "case of  the Mondays" EVERYday!  (That's another story for another day, though....)

All in all, I had a pretty good weekend.  Friday night, Jeremy and I went over to Mom & Dad's house to visit and have dinner with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her kids while they're in town from Michigan.  I was so exhausted by 8:30, I was ready to head to Jeremy's house in Rockwall and crash.  

Yesterday, Jeremy worked outside on the boat while I went.....surprise,!  It was kinda nice though.  I spent more than I'd planned, but the heart wants what it wants.  I got a really cute convertible dress/skirt, a peasant top, and a pair of white shorts.  We went to church last night and then out to dinner at a fabulous little Italian restaurant in downtown Rockwall called Zanata.  We split a pecan/grape/goat cheese salad and a pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni, and chorizo, and all I can say is O.M.G!!!!  It was all so good!  (Of course we each had a glass of red because that's a requirement when having gourmet pizza---or anything else, for that matter!)  Then we went home and watched a supposedly scary movie called "Let Me in," but it turned out to be pretty dumb.  I knew I should have gone to sleep after the first fifteen minutes, but I forced myself to make it through the whole thing.

I played on the computer for a bit this morning, took a nap for a little while on the couch, then laid out on the boat in the driveway while Jeremy washed it.  **Note to self:  I'm not  really as tan as I think I am because my tan is from a I SHOULD have put on more sunscreen!  I only slathered my face, chest, upper back and shoulders.  So needless to say, my arms and legs have taken on a lobster-ish hue.  Since I only rubbed sunscreen on my shoulders and partway down my arms, I have a lovely burn line.  It's basically a "faux" farmer tan.  Nice.  Hopefully, my sunless tanner will even me out enough to look normal at work tomorrow morning.  

I don't have anything else extremely exciting to say, so I guess I'll sign off for the night.  Have a great week, everybody (or maybe I should say, all five of you!).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Click Yes or No

Online dating.  What once was a social scene faux pas is now all the rage.  It used to be an outlet for certain types of people (i.e. 350-pounders, male pattern baldness sufferers, hideously unattractive folks, people with two heads, etc.) to meet others to date and form romantic relationships with.  (No offense if you have two heads--I'm just trying to make a point here).  It's amazing how time and technology can change everything.

Back in the day, people met their respective spouses while in college.  Unfortunately during my four years (ok, five!) at UNT, I never obtained my M.R.S. degree.  Don't get me wrong--I was very sociable.  In fact, I was a member of Alpha Phi for three years and had a total blast.  Met tons of people, made lots of friends, dated some, but I never met THE ONE.   I assure you, though, it was not for lack of putting myself "out there."

So after college, where exactly are you supposed to meet people?  I don't believe in dating someone you work with, so the office is out.  Where else?  It pretty much comes down to bars, church, or through friends.  A bar is not the ideal place to meet Mr. Right, but sometimes, it does happen.  I don't usually talk to people at church since most churches nowadays are huge and there's no sense of small-town intimacy.  The friends thing?  Well, most of my friends' friends are married by now--with three kids!

Do you see where I'm going with this?  Online dating is the wave of the future.  It's actually fascinating to think about how you could meet someone online that you would NEVER meet by chance in person.  There are tons of dating sites, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been on most of them at one time or another.  It was really a form of entertainment and something to keep me busy.  (It was also a way to get free drinks/dinners).  I've actually made some really good friends that way.  In fact, I sang in one guy's wedding several months ago!  I never developed a long-term relationship from an online experience, but I will say that my current relationship with Jeremy started on  We've been together for a year and counting (and that's a big deal for me!)

Dating web sites do for dating what Lamaze classes do for pregnant couples...(okay, so maybe that's a bad example, but let me explain).  They prepare you for what's to come.  When you virtually "wink" at someone or send an email and it sparks conversation, you get to actually KNOW the person before you physically meet them.  When Jeremy and I went on our first date, I felt like I already knew him because we had previously talked on the phone so much.  We actually talked for FIVE HOURS the first time!  I have never spent that much time on the phone with one person, and anyone who knows me can vouch that I'm not a woman of few words.

It's true that online dating is a risk--but so is dating in general.  I've heard numerous guys say they met a girl online who "misrepresented" herself.  I discovered that's a polite way of saying she looked like a supermodel in the photo, but it was taken eight years ago, and she has since taken on the weight and body type of a candidate for the lap-band procedure.  It's all part of the game.  You gotta kiss a few frogs before you find your prince charming, right?

Online dating can stroke your ego or make you want to put a paper bag over your head and never leave the house again.  I have experienced both. has a feature where you can send a polite "no thanks" response instead of simply ignoring an email.  Quite honestly, I'd rather be ignored than to receive one of those with the reason for disinterest  being:  "physical attraction."  I pretty much wanted to throw myself off a bridge.  I was like, "I'm now PAYING for rejection?!"  I immediately called my mom and best friend for reassurance that I wasn't hideously unattractive and that I just wasn't what one guy happened to be looking for.

Even though online dating isn't as uncool as it used to be, there are people who continuously lie about how they met.  I actually have a friend who got married last year to a guy she met on several years ago.  The story they tell people is they met at a taco stand at the mall.....TO THIS DAY, their families still think that's how they met!  I don't have a problem telling people the truth--tons of people have met their spouses online.

While you may not have a super-romantic story to tell your grandchildren someday, you do have someone who you never would have met otherwise.  I think that's worth it in the end because, after all, your lifelong journey together ends up becoming "your story."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Retail Therapy....It's Better Than Prozac

"Retail therapy"--two words that all women understand and can totally relate to.  I don't know what it is about going on a shopping spree and whipping out the MasterCard that makes you feel sooooo much better.  No matter what the problem--you just got dumped, you are depressed about your job, had a fight with your boyfriend, etc.--the mall is always there like a trusted friend with a shoulder to cry on.

One ride up the escalator, headed toward your favorite store is the equivalent of lying on a couch in a shrink's office....only in this case, you walk away with some sexy new stilettos and a pair of trendy jeans.  Basically, something to show for after your "therapy" session--other than a big, fat medical bill your insurance company probably won't cover anyway.  Plus, you just can't put a price on a "cute shoes!" compliment from a coworker or perfect stranger.

Now don't get me wrong--I'm not advocating spending a month's rent on the new miracle bra from Victoria's Secret and matching panties.  I'm just saying that a little bit of shopping does wonders for the heart and soul.  Heed some advice though...don't meet the girls for margarita Monday before hitting up the mall.  "Shopping under the influence" can get you into trouble as your judgment tends to be a bit impaired.  "Who cares if this eyeshadow pallet is $50 and I'm not completely out of my current one yet--it comes with a free gift AND I use these colors all the time."  (In case you're wondering, no, this has never happened to me before!)  Instead of waking up the morning after with a pounding headache and nausea, you wake up to a dose of reality and the notion that you will have to eat PB&J sandwiches for the next two weeks in order to make rent.  (I swore off ramen noodles once I graduated college.  I mean come on, I may be poor, but I have my limits!)

So the moral of this story is...the next time you get your heart broken, hop in the car and make a beeline to the nearest mall.  Shop with some sense of self control, but remember that in the end, it's only money.  Besides, those jeans make your butt look GOOD...and that's totally worth it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Does Tan-from-a-bottle = Oompa Loompa??

As I sit here on my couch, waiting for my golden goddess-like tan to appear, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I don't come out looking ORANGE or striped.  I have to admit, I bought a bottle of Banana Boat Light/Medium lotion and used it twice over the past week.  So far, it actually looks pretty good if I do say so myself.  I think I've figured out a system by now, but I still worry each time I apply it that I'm going to end up looking like a character from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory (minus the green hair).

I've given up on tanning beds after spending a couple years working in the cosmetics industry.  Now you may think I'm shallow, but I really don't worry about getting skin cancer as much as I do about turning into a wrinkly "saddle bag."  Let's face it, I hate my freckles and freckles are SUN DAMAGE!  So this year, my tan will come from a little brown bottle, but hopefully, no one can tell by looking at me.  (Please pay no attention to my hands and bare feet.)