Saturday, September 15, 2012

Skating to the an "Oldie"

A couple years ago, a friend and I decided we were going to take up roller skating as a way to get exercise that didn't involve A) the boring old treadmill or B) a weekly commitment to the dreaded gym.  Now I'm not talking about rollerblading--I'm talking about old-school, 4-wheels-with-a-stopper-in-the-front roller skating.

After all, I was close to achieving pro status as a kid, and the exact same roller rink I visited on a regular basis still happens to be located almost exactly 5 minutes from my apartment.  Since my once-cherished white, pink and purple skates Santa Claus brought me for Christmas were long-gone and would never fit my size 7 feet anyway, I was on a quest to locate the perfect pair of brand new skates.

I decided on a pair of killer black derby skates, which are just like roller skates--only they hit below the ankle like regular shoes.  To this day, one of my biggest fears (no lie) is falling and breaking my ankle--thus, having to forgo wearing high heels.  For me, life would be unthinkable in that condition!  As a result, I concluded that an ankle-baring derby skate would allow for "give" if I happened to trip over a small child and fall flat on my face.  Since ankle injuries seemed less likely and they were super-cool looking, I dropped the $70-or-so bucks on a brand spankin' new pair.  I was so excited!

I discovered on my first outing that re-learning to roller skate would be a bit of a challenge since I hadn't attempted to do so in about 20 years--literally.  I'm happy to report it's probably the cheapest form of entertainment one can find this day and age that guarantees a good time (and sore muscles, too, I've recently learned).  I was shocked, however, when I was asked to sign a waiver before I was presented my wristband indicating admission to the rink.  As it turns out, anyone over the age of 18 is required to sign a waiver, ensuring the roller rink won't be sued, should said person fall and break an ankle or a hip.  Ah, lawyers...they always find a way to spoil the fun--and make you feel geriatric at a mere 30 years old. 

It was a tad off-putting to be discriminated for being too old to enjoy my favorite childhood past time in a totally risk-free environment, but I understand the ways of the world have changed.  One signature later, I was off to change into skates and lock up my shoes and handbag in the same lockers we used as small children.  Looking around the rink, nostalgia overtook me-as did the familiarly faint smell of giant pickles from the snack bar.  The place hadn't changed much, except for the new brightly colored carpet that replaced the hideous orange carpet of the early 90s.  Plus, I was cool again--I brought my own skates!

The baby learning rink in the back was my first stop as I became re-acquainted with the foreign wheeled objects on my feet.  It was like a scene right out of Bambi.  I can imagine I must have looked like a baby deer learning to walk to all the happy-go-lucky kids and their onlooking parents.  Not so much like "riding a bicycle," roller skating wasn't so quick to come back to me after a 20-year absence from the activity.  Maybe I should have started with a glass of wine to calm the nerves; however, at this point, it was too late to turn back.

I mustered up enough courage after a few laps on the kiddie rink to make my way to the "big" rink (which, I must admit, looked a tad bit smaller than I remembered as a kid).  My fear kept me from taking off like a bullet.  Instead, I had to ease a bit more into it.  After all, I had a lot further to fall than I did as a 10-year-old.  Kids shot past me as I got my bearings, leaving me to feel like the "old person" I used to weave in and out of as a roller-skating champ some 20 years ago.

After a few laps, I felt more assured that I knew what I was doing, and it all started coming back to me.  The music was different--as was the scenery from an older woman's perspective. I found it ironic that the once-craved snacks from the snack bar seemed to entice a gag reflex rather than a rumbling stomach.  But all in all, it was like I was a kid again.  Only my sore muscles and heavier breathing indicated I didn't have the endurance that once came so easily as a child.  Did I mention getting older sucks??

As the music blared and kids whirred past, I was reminded of the countless birthday parties and random Sunday afternoons my childhood friends and I had spent at the Interskate roller rink, clad in colorful Lycra skating outfits we adored.  I used to feel like a United States Olympian as I twirled and turned in the center of the rink where the more "experienced" skaters showed off their tricks to the addictive thumping beat of songs from New Kids on the Block, Milli Vanilli and Michael Jackson.  At this point in my 30s, however, my main objective was to stay upright and not worry about crushing a small child. 

It really was a thrilling experience returning to a place where I had once felt so alive and free.  Though the music was a little different, with the same old wooden floor I'd circled hundereds of times and the God-awful floor-to-wall carpeting, it felt for a second like merely days had passed, and I couldn't help but smile.  And despite the waiver I was required to sign that indicated otherwise, I really was a kid again...and I had finally returned to pay a visit to my old stomping ground.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Say No to the "Snedge"!!!!

Ah, fall is in the air.  With the temperatures dropping from 102 to the 80s in the past couple of days, I am reminded that my favorite time of year is upon us (or so I'd like to believe).  After all, Texas weather is unpredictable.  I'm told that our days of 100-degree highs are over, but we shall see.  Dallas weathermen and their forecasts are about as reliable as a politician in delivering on his campaign promises. 

Speaking of politicians, I am so ready for this election to be over--but I promise to steer clear of talking politics on this blog.  After all, they say you should "write what you know," and my knowledge about shoes, fashion and cosmetics far outweighs my knowledge of the political arena.

While I am sad to say "adios" to my dozens of colorful, strappy summertime wedges, sandals and open-toed heels, I look forward to boot season and colorful-sweater weather.  I don't know what it is about fall, but it's always been my favorite season.  The leaves start to turn, and there's a certain crispness in the air.  Now is the perfect time to shop for summer clearance items, and I highly recommend that you do take advantage of the amazing deals.  My mailbox is overflowing with coupons and store mailers, and, while thumbing through the summer-inventory sales and several fashion magazines over the past few weeks, I couldn't help but notice the upcoming trends for fall and winter.  One of them perplexes me, and, quite honestly, scares me a little bit.  It is none other than the wedge sneaker.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good wedge shoe.  But this compilation of a wedge heel and a sporty sneaker in one is just plain goofy-looking.  And they're everywhere!  The salesgirl at DSW had on a pair, they're in all the fall catalogs--I've even written copy for a few of them.  I just don't understand the concept.  Have fashion footwear designers completely run out of ideas and resorted to strange mutations to standard designs for something new and fun? 

I don't know--it just reminds me of some bad fashion trend held over from the early 90s.  Frankly, these "weakers" or "snedges" (hey, if the fashion industry can use such words as "jeggings" and "shooties," I can coin my own fashion terms) are just plain U-G-L-Y!  They look like something you'd sport if you were preparing for a trip to the moon.  I honestly believe Justin Bieber is somewhere behind this scheme.

Nevertheless, fashion trends come, and they go (thank the Lord!).  So while I won't be jumping on board a NASA-funded trip to the moon in this season's "snedges," I'll applaud your courage in wearing the strange shoes (and will most definitely make fun of you behind your back at the hideousness of your fashion sense).  I guess at the end of the day, I must remember--to each her own!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Dyeing" for a Change

This morning, it took me a moment to recognize the reflection staring back at me from the mirror.  It's only been a few days since I darkened my summer highlighted-blond locks to a rich, fall reddish auburn hue--although, when it comes to hair color, change is nothing new to me.  What can I say?  I get bored easily.  My hair color changes like the weather in Texas.

The quickest and easiest alteration you can make to your physical appearance for the sake of boredom involves a supply of chemicals and a little bit of bravery (or simply the former and a good stylist whom you trust completely).

As someone who's seen my share of hair color chemicals over the years, I've also experienced plenty of hair emergencies.  Any woman who has decided (after margarita number 4) to change her hair color at midnight after a trip down the grocery store boxed hair color aisle can appreciate my not-so exaggerated use of the word "emergency."

Maybe we all should have paid better attention in elementary school art class when the teacher explained the basics of the color wheel.  Unfortunately, accidentally achieved pink hair cannot be expunged simply by putting on more brown dye to cover it.  (Lesson # 2--never call your boyfriend in tears, looking for moral support after a hair-dyeing experiment gone awry.  Lesson #1 was to withstand the desire to color your hair while under the influence of tequila.)

Yes, I've had every hair color under the rainbow--many of which were purely accidental.  However, I must say there's no such mood elevator quite as effective as freshly dyed locks that turn out drop dead gorgeous.  It instills confidence and makes you feel like a brand new woman--assuming that others even notice the difference.  I can't tell you how many times others have looked at me after a drastic change and said, 1) "there's something different about you..." or 2) absolutely NOTHING!  So help me God, I'll kill you for not noticing something quite so drastic as a blond head gone red overnight because, let's face it--a professional dye job doesn't come cheap!

I guess ultimately, it doesn't really matter what others think about my color, though.  I know my boyfriend and dad prefer me as a tan blond even though I am a natural brunette (I think, at least.  It's been a loooong time since I've seen it!)  If you know anything about me at all, it's that I'll do what I want!  And if I feel fabulous, that's all that counts.  One  thing I can tell you for certain right now is that I feel like a brand new woman, ready to take on the world.  Oh, and in case you were wondering--redheads (in this current moment) really DO have more fun!