Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Week 45: Season's Greetings!

Well, yes, I am embarassed to say that the Holidays have certainly led to a bit of procrastination from a blogging standpoint - but that doesn't mean that I don't still love you, followers, if there are anymore of you still out there! In spinning this morning, I was asked about how much more time I have left of this challenge, and I even surprised myself when I discovered that I have less than 2 months to go! And, the crazy thing is, I still don't have a crazy urge to shop - you might say that may have even been broken of my habit. I have, of course, set foot into several clothing stores looking for presents for other people (like the Gap to buy a few articles for my honey), and have not even been the slightest bit interested in trying on something myself. I can't tell if this season's fashions are really just not appealing to me, or if the break in my addiction has left my shopping palette slightly dulled. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I'll be happy to purchase a new something or other come February, in fact, I've resolved to have my first purchase be a Louis Vuitton bag as my Kate Spade is showing it's 1.5 years of age.

I have been selling random things on eBay lately and getting some buying power as a result. My first sell was an iPod Touch that I no longer needed since receiving the iPhone from my company. I then sold what I would have deemed a no-brainer White Elephant gift until I checked out the gift online and realized that it retailed for $100! So, I sold it on eBay and made a cool $102.50 off of it! I now have a pair of gently worn UGGs and a Brahmin handbag that have just been sitting in my closet collecting dust. I am sad to be selling my Brahmin bag, as it is beautiful, but (call it entry into the mid-30's), no longer fits all the crap I carry around: my oversized Fendi sunglasses in their stiff oversized case, my iPhone, my makeup bag (so I can touch up if needed after a long workday), hand lotion, re-wetting drops for my dry eyes, allergy medication, blah, blah, blah. You get the point - I'm making my way up to a big-ass granny bag (but at least it will be a Louis granny bag - and cost what it would likely take to feed a small country - yes, you are sensing some guilt here).

I had a dream last night that I was shopping and bought a few items. My Inception-like alternative universe self did manage to exert some control and turned away a few items that did not make me look smashing. Yes, my new criteria for clothing is that I have to look smashing or else I won't buy it...we'll see. It's been awhile since I've stood in front of those tweaked mirrors that make you look a foot taller and 20 lbs. slimmer - I could probably wear a garbage bag and look smashing in front of those mirrors. I've also decided that I am going to start being selective of what stores I shop at. Clearly, I will continue to shop at Banana Republic since almost everything I wore during my 8 month stint of not repeating clothes came from there. I will likely pass on the Forever 21's, H&M's, and Express's. Not at all a knock on those stores, as I love them, but they do tend to offer the trendy over the classic - and this re-made fashionista is all about classic. Again, perhaps a sign of my entry into the second half of my 30's - but I can't pull off tight, shiny things anymore. Okay, maybe it's not an age thing, maybe it's a waistline thing - the fact that I am bulgier than I was this time last year has left me wanting to cover up as much as possible.

So, other news, my obsession over clothes has slightly shifted to an obsession with finding the perfect next car. My ever-faithful 2004 Honda Accord is still running like a charm at 175k, but I'd rather quit the car while I'm ahead rather than start to enter into money-pit-dom like I have with my previous two Honda Accords. Plus, with my promotion this past year (and again, my acknowledgement of being in my 30's), I think it's time to upgrade to a luxury vehicle. This will go nicely with the new "classic" persona that I'm trying to create. So, I've been spending too many hours browsing eBay for certified pre-owned BMWs and Acuras, but am unwilling to buy until my big yearly savings check (aka Tax Return) comes through. In the meantime, I have been pouring over every detail and consuming my head with too many thoughts of iPod hook-up vs. All Wheel Drive. German sturdy car that will cost a fortune to maintain vs. Japanese less-sturdy but will likely last me another 175k like my precious Grey Cat (yes, that is the name of my car, assigned by my husband who believes that naming a car makes it perform better for you. The name of his Buick Rendezvous? Big Boy).

Given that I've been such a slacker at blogging, I think I'd like to re-engage whoever is actually still reading these posts by doing a countdown to the big day (which I have decided should be Superbowl Sunday). So, starting one month prior to "the end" I am going to try to post on a daily basis. I'll also bring back the pictures of my outfits, and will do a "top 30" countdown of my favorite wardrobe pieces. So, there you have it - if you can, tune back in starting January 6th for a Lilly's Top 30 outfits Countdown!

In the meantime - Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week 43: Blogging from the Air

Well, given that I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks and also given that I am blogging from the air, I couldn't resist the urge to capitalize on an opportunity to blog where I haven't blogged before - sky-high somewhere between Detroit and Chicago. For the Holidays, Google has teamed up with Delta to offer free wi-fi on Delta flights, so why not take advantage of it and test it out?

I am back to my normal way of things - wearing clothes that I have donned at some point earlier this year. I am still not shopping, and am starting to get the urge to re-connect with the world of fashion. I sighed yesterday as I purused my closet in search of a work-appropriate outfit that was not a suit, and landed on a pair of wool pants that I have not yet worn (they were hiding out in the closet upstairs) and a black sweater that I'm quickly realizing is a favorite (and that I should have bought it in red too given how much I wear it). My waistline still hasn't quite recovered from all the insane eating I did over the summer from all of my hedonistic vacationing, so several clothes are still off-limits.

For Thanksgiving, Mike and I headed down to Atlanta and stayed there for about 5 days - most of which were spent eating, drinking, and watching TV. I did manage to make it to my sister-in-law's gym 3 out of the 5 days and was once again reminded of how motivating it can be to belong to a large work-out facility where hot bodies with bared mid-driffs motivate you to do one more set of crunches (or, in my case, even a set of crunches). The first day, we attended a cardio resistance training class - where 15 minutes into it, I thought I was going to pass out. The second day we attended a kickboxing class led by a 42 yr. old woman who could easily pass for 20 with her faux-leather workout pants and boots adding to her youthful look (not to mention her amazing body). The last day, Sarah attended a class that she was signed up for while I jumped on an elliptical machine and then caught 30 minutes of a spinning class. Needless to say, I spent all weekend in soreness and being reminded of how out of shape I am. This has left me with a burning desire to change up my own routine back at home and consider enlisting in classes other than spinning and yoga. So...I have signed up for a more exotically-oriented form of workout - and I'll leave it at that.

We had our first snow today, which is finally making things seem like the holidays. The hassle of passing through airport security and having to take off layers of clothing also is making winter a reality. I really don't know where all the time has gone - but the weeks are definitely going faster and blurring together. So much to the point that when almost drinking the remnants of a saved cup of orange juice from McDonald's the other day, I about downed the liquid until I realized that the juice was from 2 weeks ago! People say that time will only go faster and faster as I get older - oh joy! I guess the one silver lining in all of this is that my no-shopping challenge will be over before I know it!

Well, the captain is indicating that we are on our descent down into Chi-town, so time to sign off. This internet from the air thing isn't half bad!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week 40, Day 6: Catharsis

Wow, two blogs in a row - I think I'm on a roll. I just had to blog about the deep sense of release I felt as I dropped off 4 bags of clothing to the Goodwill this afternoon. I also finally tidied up my bathroom hallway and rehung all the clothes that were in "worn purgatory" back in my regular closet as they are no longer off limits now that I have pretty much gone through all of my clothing. I made a point to get rid of anything that upon glancing at it, makes me suddenly feel fat - with some exceptions - you got to keep a pair or two of skinny jeans in your closet so you can feel good about squeezing back into them. But all the tops that are too short, tight, or just plain ugly were thrown into one of the bags that Goodwill will hopefully find a use for. Yay! Less clothes!!

--Lilly out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weeks 39 - 40: Out of Clothes (I think)

November 17th - JCrew black wool coat, Ann Taylor gold cami, Anthropologie black skirt - work day, but you can tell I'm really really running out of clothes as this is something you'd normally wear to an office Christmas party, not a regular workday!

November 16th - Gray BR sweater (why are they all so short now?), Gap jeans - another day of errands

November 15th - Brass Plum (Nordstrom) Yellow Sweater scoop neck sweater, JCrew white corduroys - Errands and such (I think)

November 14th - Grey Gap sweater, BR "fat jeans" (yes, I get a lot of mileage out of these puppies, especially these days) - DUB Club!

November 12th - BR velvet droppy necked top (probably more appropriate for New Year's Eve), you guessed it "fat jeans." - trip up to Michigan to drink a lot of wine at Dennis and Linnelle's!

November 10th - BR little black dress (I'm gettingn desparate at this point), BR green sweater (which I am re-cyclingg because I'm running out of things to wear) - training in Pittsburgh

November 7th - Brooks Brothers black ribbed wool sweater, Gap jeans w/ turquoise stitching, though you can't tell - heading into Pittsburgh for training

Well, for you readers who have not given up on me for being such a slacker with this blog, rest assured, I'm still here and not-shopping with a vengeance! A couple things to report:

1. I think I am officially out of wearable outfits. My drawers are completely empty (except for sweaters that have either shrunk or are shorter because the girth of my mid-section is wider), all that is left hanging in my closet are suit jackets or suits that are too small for me (I've worn all the pants), a few holiday tops (tis the season!) or tops that are so tight that I can barely breathe, a pleated mini-skirt that if worn out would likely get me picked up by a pedophile, although with a pair of leggings, I might be able to pull it off - we'll see, and other shirts that are slated for the donation pile. So, yes, I think I am officially out of anything that can be paired together reasonably without me looking like Cyndi Lauper. So, I'm going to go back and start re-wearing selected articles of clothing that I need to finish out the unworn clothes (e.g., pair a black sweater with that school girl mini-skirt I just wrote about).
2. I walked into the Banana Republic that I used to frequent weekly, and walked out without buying a thing. Moreover, I walked out empty-handed without feeling a tinge of crazed clothing fanaticism. I did see the manager that a year ago would surely have recognized me, but this time around, looked at me as if I was any other rarely seen shopper. SUCCESS!

Following my week-long company conference, I had a brief stint at home and then headed back out to Pittsburgh for training. Given that this was a work function, I did dig back out a couple of clothes from my "worn" closet. Unfortunately, all of that eating and drinking at the conference caught up with me and I was once again squeezing into pants that I courageously bought a size smaller than I normally wear when I was about 6 lbs. thinner last year. Boy, it's amazing what 6 lbs. will do to your waistline! This, too, is the reason that there are still a few items of not yet worn clothing that are unwearable these days. It's a terrible feeling, which is why I am trying to drink less - we'll see how long that lasts!

This past weekend began with a trip up to Detroit to visit our favorite "met at Santa Barbara but you really only live about an hour away" couples. We stayed with Linnelle and Dennis and helped them burn through about a 1/2 dozen bottles of extremely lush wines. I would estimate that we must have imbibed about $600 worth of wine that night - and to set the record straight, this was due more to quality than quantity.

Saturday evening, I crashed the bachelorette party of one of Sarah's friends and we headed up to MGM (Detroit) to celebrate in style. We began by eating at the steak restaurant there (Bourbon Steak - great food, terrible service). During dinner, we were approached by a very short gentleman that wished the bride luck and then invited us to join he and his colleagues at one of the clubs in MGM at which they had rented a table with bottle service. Hmmm...free drinks at a club where it's impossible to get a bartender to serve you a drink and where the bottom shelf stuff is $10 a drink? SURE! So we spent the evening enjoying our quasi-celebrity status at the table with free drinks while making occassional trips to the dance floor and then coming back to the elite area to refill our drinks. The night at the club ended with Sarah and I finding ourselves on the ground in the middle club with spilled drinks all over our hair and clothes after she had stepped on a lime (while holding onto me) and the both of us taking the fall - her way worse than I. And as luck (or should I say a lesson to not dance like a maniac in stiletto heels on a floor wettened with spilled drinks) would have it, the lights of the club came on right as Sarah and I were splattered on the floor - me in a short dress, which looked more like a long shirt when I am plastered to the floor. Yes, I know, good thing I was not pulling a Britney or Lindsay Lohan (those who follow celebrity news will know exactly what I'm talking about).

Sunday, yes, there's more! I went shopping with my DUB Club pals (which is why I ended up at Banana) and then we headed back to Kim's to hang out with the significant others. I had filled the ladies in on the fact that my training last week was focused on interpreting the results of a personality test that our company administers. I must say that taking the test and seeing all the areas that I was at 100% of the norm on was a bit eye-opening. I'm sure it'll be no surprise to those who know me that I am 100% on Hedonism, Sociability, and Attention Seeking, and quite a few other traits I'd rather not post publicly. Anyway, me talking about the training I went through got Kim, Diana, and Mechelle curious about where they'd score high, so I suggested we play the game True Colors together with our partners to learn more about how people perceive each other. It was a blast and interesting to find out whether people will vote for you as the "most likely to make return trips back home to make sure the oven and lights are all turned off" (I did not get any votes - so I guess everyone thinks I'll just let the house burn down - which is probably accurate).

This week has been pretty uneventful and relatively low key work-wise. A great way to ease into the week of Thanksgiving. You'd think I'd spend this time blogging or clearing out the clothing that has piled up in our bathroom that I keep meaning to move upstairs and hang - but no, just been chilling and being lazy. That's the thing about not being busy, you become lazier - go figure!

Until next year! Just kidding - I haven't gotten that lazy. I hope to keep the blog going at least weekly if not more - we shall see. Don't give up on me! There's 3 months left!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 38: Annual Company Conference

November 6th - dinner at a nearby town that still classifies as a destination for dinner - definitely getting rid of this top that is way too small for me now (again, because it shrank in the wash - yeah, right!)

November 5th - Turquoise BR wool v-neck sweater, Black Ann Taylor Loft corduroys - Bowling Green brown bag speaker followed by dinner

Well, I have renewed interest in blogging again after attending my company's annual conference and being approached by a couple of people who heard about my Blog - one of them being my boss's boss (Hi Barry). Given that my closet of "not yet worn clothing" is dwindling down to just a few pieces, I ended up packing mostly things that I had to borrow from my upstairs "off limits" closet. Because this week's conference is a time to see people that I haven't seen in awhile, and given that I had a few moments on stage being videotaped, I allowed myself a reprieve from not repeat clothing and made sure I picked out items that fall into my "favorites" category...oh, and comfort was key as our days at this 3.5 day long conference go from early in the morning to late at night - so think, lots of dresses.
During the conference, I received a few compliments on my wardrobing choices, which was a good feeling - especially since I have been scraping the barrel of wearable clothes for the past few months now. In previous years, I would spend a couple of weeks gearing up for this event by shopping and picking out just the right thing to wear to the Awards night, or on the longest day of the conference, or on the designated "fun night" of the conference - which is generally characterized by a lot of standing and social-butterflying. This year, however, it was a great accomplishment to buy nothing new but still be able to look relatively fashionable throughout the trip. I think this is the ultimate testament to the fact that I don't need to shop, and I certainly don't need to shop as often as I used to!

This week was - as usual at these things - exhausting and exhilirating at the same time. I am an extrovert in the truest definition of the word - someone who actually gets energy from being around others. So, even though these long 12-14 hour days would exhaust even the most high-energy person, the exhiliration of re-connecting with people that you haven't seen in a year or so is very much there and is what keeps me going on these long days. I also, miraculously, end up shedding a few pounds at this conference - which is really contrary to what one might expect given that there is a ton of food at this event and that you are being fed at least every 2 hours. I think it's the excitement of being around others and the energy that I get from it that staves off hunger...or it could be all the walking that we do during this conference. Our conference is held in Western PA in the middle of nowhere. The resort itself is rather amazing. It's a motley assortment of decor and themes that include a European Chateau, a Hunting Lodge, a Zen-inspired Spa (which I, of course, make good use of every year), a Golf Course, an animal zoo (which is funnily enough, positioned next to some of the condos at which the conference attendees stay...stories of being woken up by roaring bears have been told), and other mish-mash of activity-based landmarks. Needless to say, it's Disneyworld for adults and is so spread out and sparse, it's no wonder that my feet are ready to disown the rest of my body by the time the last day rolls around - plus I refuse to wear anything less than 2 inch heels as I need all the help I can get to not feel like a dwarf during this conference!

So, it was a long week filled with re-wearing of some favorites. I also managed to get my new laptop from which I'm typing this blog. It's equipped with Office 2010 which has a feature where I can create my blog entry from Microsoft Word...unfortunately, I have not been able to figure that one out quite yet...perhaps by the next time I post??

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weeks 35 - 37: Dubai & Weeks Thereafter

A word about these pictures - I am finally getting around to posting these almost 3 months later (yes, I slacked). Oddly, I can almost remember every event to where I wore each outfit, so in addition to my description of the get-up, I writing a quick blurb about what I was doing that day. Also, the pictures are appearing from most recent to least, as I forgot that in Blogspot, your pictures load in on top of each other.

October 30th - Ann Taylor Loft sweater, BR brown dress - small Halloween gathering with friends - quite close to the last of the casual stuff (hence the dress and shawl).

October 29th - White House Black Market jacket (one of my faves!), Target skirt - very loose and big in the back (which I why I had to donate it) - Friday errands and a trip to Vino100 to say hello - probably one of my last glam shots before running out of clothes!

October 28th - Suit for a client meeting (all BR, of course) - one I haven't worn in awhile and that used to be loose - darn that food in Dubai (or the food on the plane in first class on my way there and back!)

October 27th - Ann Taylor Loft red cowl neck sweater, Favorite "fat" jeans (BR) - I can't remember - errands, maybe?

October 26th - brown ribbed v-neck sweater, belt from a boutique, BR boyfriend jeans (I swear our washer shrank them - or not!)

October 23rd - White BR tie-neck sweater, BR camel wool sheath dress (another favorite), Nine West boots - Saturday speaker in Bowling Green

October 21 - Ann Taylor jacket, Ann Taylor Loft brown suit pantsClient meeting in Providence, RI - starting to scrape the barrell for work-related attire and had to rely on pants from a suit.

October 20th - BR 3/4 sleeve shirt with sequin detailing at top (funny, I don't remember this beingn so tight or short!), BR fat jeans

BR black button down top, BR khaki skirt

Ann Taylor Loft button down (yuck, this one's going to the donation pile), BR pencil skirt (recycled to go with this skirt!)

Ann Taylor Loft poncho, BR black tights, Lovely People wedges - starting to run out of clothes!

So, Dubai ended up being totally amazing! After my post that first morning in the Middle East, I did end up going skiing in the indoor ski slope (which is appended to one of the outrageous malls they have in Dubai). It's funny that my first time skiing in 10 years was actually in the middle of the dessert - INDOORS! My client and I managed to get 2 good hours of skiing in, and then shed our ski gear and stepped back outside into 80+ temperatures with high humidity - yes, humidity! Dubai, because of it's enormous amounts of man-made ponds and lakes, is subject to humidity because the hot sun evaporates the water, but the heat forms a shield on the atmosphere making you feel like a plant in a greenhouse. This gives a whole new meaning to "greenhouse effect!"

The rest of my stay in Dubai was great and consisted of a visit to the largest mall in the world (yes, just my luck), the purchase of a piece of gold jewelry (I had to - I was in the gold capitol of the world), a couple of dinners with the client (one that came with belly-dancing entertainment delivered by a Brazilian model - interesting), and the actual reason I was there, a meeting with the client - a meeting of which I only contributed about 15 minutes. Good thing they flew me all the way out there - for 15 minutes! I also managed to get in a little spa time at the resort that I was staying at - an amazing spa, I might add, and went to the top (well, 2/3rds up) of the world's tallest building. Clearly, Dubai does not understand the concept of understatement with everything being the biggest, tallest, richest...etc.

My flight back from the Middle East was less enjoyable than my flight there, as I was extremely tired from sleep deprivation (not being able to sleep when it's supposed to be 2pm in the U.S.). Nonetheless, I rode back in style in Business Class and ate every single meal offered to me - which left me feeling the size of a cow when I got home from my 2 days of traveling in the air. Nonetheless, this trip goes down as the best business trip ever! I doubt I'll be able to top this one!

So, since my trip to the Middle East (gosh, I feel so worldly typing this), I have eased back into the daily grind. I did have one overnight trip to Providence, RI which was fun, especially this time of year. The air was brisk, the buildings were beautiful, and the food was farm-fresh. Yummy! Aside from that trip, my days have mostly been spent doing the usual - working from home or putting in an office visit in Detroit. Similar to my return back from Belgium, I have been trying to fight the number on the scale after my debauchery in another country - so I am once again depressed about the fact that the clothes remaining in my closet to wear (yes, I still have not exhausted my wardrobe) are too tight. I have had to make a trip upstairs to find a shirt to go with the last skirt or pair of work pants so as to truly go through every item of my closet. I have decided to give myself some slack for this upcoming week - which will be spent in Western PA for our annual company conference. We're allowed to wear jeans all but one day, so I need to dust off my best looking sweaters to parade around in during the conference. I also will be wearing my Louboutins and the red sheath dress that I bought during my quick NYC reprieve (when Mike gave me spending money for some new articles of clothing) as I am in charge of playing a Heidi Klum like character during one of the sessions at this conference. I must say, proudly, that had it not been for this "assignment," I would try to wait until February 7th (when my challenge ends) to wear the pieces of clothing I purchased so as to legitimize this challenge.

Refraining from shopping at the world's largest mall (in Dubai) and then again in Providence (when I accompanied a co-worker to buy a new work outfit as she spilled water on the one she had packed) has not been even close to difficult. I did start getting a slight urge to try things on when in Providence as the holiday stuff is coming out (always a weakness for me in the past). The shiny sleeveless tops with sequins and made of satin are have historically beckoned for me to try them on. However, this year, a little, but not so much that I grabbed them and made a mad dash for the dressing room. Mina, the co-worker with me in Providence, was sporting an awesome Louis Vuitton bag which did get the shopping juices flowing again...so, I've decided that at the end of this challenge, I am going to plunker down a good number of Ben Franklins to buy my "bitch bag" - a bag that says to everyone "I have arrived!" I am in need of a new bag, as my orange Kate Spade is starting to show major signs of wear and is getting a little dirty on the handles and edges.

During spinning this morning, one fellow spinner that has been MIA due to some health issues showed up today and asked me if I was still not shopping. I let her know that I was still holding true (for the most part) and she came back asking how much money I've saved. Sadly, I had to answer - hardly any! Although I originally noticed a big savings when I first started this challenge, surprisingly these savings have not really been adding up. My thought is that most of this extra cash has been allocated elsewhere - like to all the spa treatments I have been indulging in, trips that Mike and I have been taking, and home-related stuff. So, sadly, though I've managed to kick one addiction, other smaller money sucking activities have happily stepped in to take shopping's place! Sigh - oh well, at least I have been able to prove to myself that I can give up shopping and that I won't die without it - who knows though, I still have 3 months to go!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Week 3?: Trip to Dubai!

October 14th, 2010 (from hotel room in Dubai): Ann Taylor grey tee with flower detail, favorite denim skirt!

I couldn’t help but blog from the first class cabin of the KLM flight from Amsterdam to Dubai. Well, let’s just say I now know why they call this the Elite cabin. I have never traveled in such style. On my way to Amsterdam, I sat in a pod-like chair and shared a space with another “elite” passenger who was flying to South Africa. Not that he told me that himself, Elite passengers do not make conversation with each other and chatter each others’ ears off, unless they are business partners, and then they don’t stop talking…but no harm done as you are presented with a noise canceling headset, a quilted comforter, a down pillow, and an overnight travel kit with earplugs, an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, fuzzy socks, face cream, and lip balm when you arrive at your spacious seat. As soon as you are settled, the flight attendant comes by with a selection of libations delicately balanced on a tray – I, of course, chose the champagne – you know, to help me sleep. Upon take-off, I immediately began trying out the 10 different positions that my leather bound chair offered and got nicely snuggled into my sky-high bed when just shortly after, the flight attendant came with the first of my 4 course in-flight meal. I certainly couldn’t turn down a meal, though I was not in the least bit hungry. I began munching on the warm nuts while steaming my face with the hot towel handed to me. You’ll be surprised to know that I showed some restraint and actually ordered a water instead of wine with my crab cake dinner. The meal itself wasn’t all that remarkable, except for the pumpkin bisque that came as the appetizer course. After eating only about 1/3 of my dinner, I declined the dessert tray – an assortment of cheeses, cheesecake, fruit, and pastries as I was stuffed and worried about my ability to sleep on an overly full stomach. While consuming my meal, however, I did decide to pull out my personal flat screen TV (lodged in an inconspicuous spot, which required me to discretely observe other passengers and how they pulled theirs out) and watch Toy Story 3, as I know it’s a movie I’m unlikely to get anyone to watch with me, except maybe my friend’s children or my niece or nephew. So, after dinner and finishing the film (which, I might add, was funny enough to require me to snicker as quietly as possible so as to not seem like a total geek), I reclined back into my sleeping pose and slept – actually slept – on the plane for 4 straight hours. This is completely unheard of for me, as 1) I have a hard time sleeping on even a Westin Heavenly bed, 2) my feet don’t touch the floor when seated in an airplane which ends up cutting my blood circulation off from my legs, and 3) just am overall completely uncomfortable on planes. But, in first class, it’s a different world. Something about the mild turbulence and drumming sound of the plane (drowned out just enough by my noise cancelling headphones) paired with all the accoutrements is just the right touch to conk me out – that and the glass of champagne that you enjoy while the coach passengers are kicking and biting each other to settle into their crammed little seats – do you sense an air of snobbery? Well, you should – because I think I have been ruined!

So, that was just my first leg to Dubai. I’m now sitting in first class on my second flight, enjoying a bowl of nuts. P-shah - they’re not warmed – probably because we have a 50 minute delay and the airplane oven isn’t fired up yet. That’s another thing, when the pilot announces a delay on the speakers, no one in first class groans or complains…not sure if it’s because everyone else is a seasoned traveler, are enjoying the benefits of being “elite” like me, or just don’t care after beginning the consumption of their second cocktail while reading a hand-delivered copy of their local newspaper. So, upon entering the KLM first class (now called business class) section, I am confronted with a lounge-like atmosphere with chairs spaciously spread apart. Kind of like being in an auditorium that dovetails into what would normally be the cockpit, but given that this is a larger plane, is on the floor underneath where the pilots sit. Again, after getting settled, I am presented with a colorful array of beverages and decide to go with the champagne mixed with Blue Curacao (clearly not fearing a blue mouth for the remainder of the flight). I don’t have the overnight kit (probably because this is a day flight), but still the nicer blankets and pillows, what appears to be noise canceling headsets, and my choice of a selection of international newspapers (I chose USA Today, sadly, because they don’t have the NY Times). I head into the restroom, as the Blue Curacao cocktail is starting to hit me, and see a display of antiperspirant, lotions, facial cleansers, and face lotion – niiiiiiiice!

So, knowing that this is supposed to be a blog about my fashion consciousness and the pains associated with not shopping, I must comment on the attire of my fellow elite passengers. They are, for the most part, metrosexual international men either in business suits, sports jackets (probably Armani or Prada) paired with designer jeans and crisp white shirts, or some form of Euro-sporty wear. They all have leather shoes that have a slight point at the top and, as the gentleman sitting next to me has demonstrated, even have some pretty fancy, high-flutin’ socks underneath those $400 Gucci leather loafers. Almost all of them have some form of a Rolex watch and appear to not be in the slightest bit amused by their affluent surroundings. So, here I am, in my denim skirt, Forever 21 white tee and cardigan, and silver thongs, looking probably in my 20’s (I am wearing Forever 21 mind you), and feverishly typing on my computer to capture this moment – but all the while, looking very industrious and playing the role of an international business traveler who must bang away at her keyboard, even while sipping (now) a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the wine list presented to me by the flight attendant when she gave me my nuts. Gosh, life is hard…and to think that I didn’t want to come on this trip!! Once you go Business Class, you never go back (unless you’re me and flinch at the idea of paying the same amount for a plane ticket as I would for a high-end dining room table – but let me tell you, the extravagance is definitely something too hard to turn down!). The rest of the flight was splendid and was spent watching movies and drinking endless wine...definitely a great way to fly!

I arrived into the airport last night around 11pm Dubai time and didn't get to my hotel room until around midnight. I then spent some time returning emails and then my head hit the pillow around 1:30A - not to be confused with when I actually fell asleep (damn jetlag!). I awoke this morning in a bit of a daze, but nothing that a little coffee couldn't take care of. I ordered an exorbitantly priced room service breakfast (but really delicious), sipped my coffee, watched Aljazeera on my flat screen tv, and opened the curtains to see that I have a patio overlooking the man-made lake in front of this resort with a backdrop of beautiful skyscrapers - reminds me a bit of Vegas meets Miami. I'm getting ready to head out the door to meet up with one of my clients so we can travel to the indoor ski resort and get in a couple hours of skiing...should be fun! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weeks 33 & 34: Another Year Older/Prep for Dubai

September 29th, 2010: Blue BR v-neck top, Striped Ann Taylor Loft suit pants

September 30th, 2010: JCrew Grey Suit, BR striped woven shirt

October 1st, 2010: Black BR scoopneck sweater, Gap Skinny Jeans

October 2nd, 2010: BR wool green long-sleeved tee, Gap khaki couduroy skirt

October 2nd, 2010 (evening): BR turquoise wool sheath dress

October 3rd, 2010: BR green wool turtleneck sweater, Gap skinny jeans

October 5th, 2010: BR white cableknit sweater, Ann Taylor Loft couduroy pants, Ann Taylor loft scarf (b-day gift from Kim!)

October 6th, work from home day - nothing to report
October 7th, 2010: Black sleeveless tank with leather cross and heart thingy and metal grommets (very biker-chic), Black JCrew skirt

October 9th, 2010: Liz Claiborne black cami, Black Ann Taylor loft short sleeved cropped sweater, Express Jeans, Tara Hubbard (local designer) belt, PeeWee the kitten as an accessory (holding her to keep her from getting in front of the camera)

October 10th, 2010: Gap striped 3/4 sleeved tee, unknown denim skirt (a favorite for years as it expands with my waist)
Yes, the challenge continues though my blogging has slackened! I must share that I am typing this blog after a major stress attack as I am gearing up for my trip to Dubai and while checking in online for my flight, realized that I could not find my passport. I checked in the usual place and sure enough, it was missing - but my husband's was there. As you can imagine, I tore through the house in a frenzy trying to find the damn thing while crazy thoughts raced through my head: "what if I took it out to fill out some travel paperwork and it got mixed in with the mail that needed to be shredded and I SHREDDED IT????" "what if I left in a suitcase and during all of my travels since my trip to Belgium, it slipped out onto a hotel floor when I left the zippered pocket open?" This anxiety mixed with the thought of having to tell the client that I couldn't make the trip because I'm a dumb ass and lost my passport stirred in with the regular Sunday anxiety that I experience certainly created nothing short of the worst Lilly-monster Mike has ever met. Finally, Mike stopped me in my whirlwind of panic and we re-traced the events that happened after we returned from Belgium and it suddenly dawned on me that I was using a different travel bag when in Belgium - one that has been hanging on the doorknob of our bedroom since May and has remained untouched. I quickly buzzed over to the bedroom and with the biggest wave of relief yelled "I FOUND IT" and ran back into the office where my patient husband was waiting and fell on the floor in exhausted contentment. Nothing like an episode like that to really get you excited for travel, eh? I guess the good news is, the thought of not going to Dubai really made me want to go - so now I'm actually relieved that I am going!
The past couple of weeks have been great low-key, relatively low activity weeks to allow me to charge up for my international trip. After New York, I spent most of the work week from home with just a brief overnight jaunt in Detroit. I got to see my new home away from home (Mike & Lyn's rented house) and broke in the return of the queen-sized bed in my own room (as opposed to the pull-out couch in the basement). The Friday of that week was spent on a "personal day" giving myself a chance to chill out and be "cat-like" as Lyn suggested I do to celebrate my upcoming birthday. That evening, Mike and I headed to Cleveland for a spa-retreat getaway and had a 3-course meal at the spa resort. Saturday morning, we woke up, enjoyed a meager continental breakfast which was part of the "getaway package" and then had a few spa treatments followed by a 3-course champagne lunch - yummy. We then headed to the Westside Market in Cleveland to peruse the ethnic goodies being sold in the market and then had a glass of wine in the afternoon on a very dreary pre-maturely cold day. That evening, we headed into Cleveland Heights to meet up with my boss's boss, Barry, and his wife Peggy for dinner - we went to a great french restaurant in the heart of the Case Western campus - and it was delish! Sunday, Mike and I spent more time on the Case campus, visited the Cleveland Museum of Art, which is beautiful after it's renovations (they have a Rodin room that is made of glass walls that you can peer into from the outside as you drive by the museum). We then hit up Trader Joe's in West Lake and then headed back home to ease into Sunday evening.
I took Monday off to celebrate my birthday and continue being "cat-like." I started with a Monday workout, followed by a hot stone massage and lunch with my lovely DUB club friends, and the caught up on TV while I waited for dinnertime to roll around. Mike and I went to Revolver, our favorite "local" (I put it in quotes as local for us can fall within a 50 mile radius) restaurant, and got royal treatment as we know one of the waitresses there. Needless to say, I celebrated my birthday in style and judging from the tight fitting clothes all week, did so with success.
This past week was a light week from a workload perspective, so I had a chance to catch up on administrative type work activities and mentally prepare for my trip to Dubai. On Friday, we had our team kick-off meeting at Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in Novi, MI and some of us stayed behind to turn our outing into a Happy Hour and dinner at a restaurant nearby. Mike and the other significant others joined us and we ended the night breaking in Mike and Lyn's basement polishing off a couple bottles of wine. Saturday was an easy day and began with a stroll through an awesome farmer's market around the corner from Mike & Lyn's, Mike and I returning home and getting some house-stuff done, and then chilling on our neighbor's newly finished back patio drinking some vino. All in all, it's been a great October so far!
I am now the proud owner of an iPhone 4G, which means that I am completely addicted to finding apps that purport to simplify my life. Sure, simplify my life, but also decrease the already scant amount of time I spend interacting with people in a normal fashion. During breakfast with Mike & Lyn yesterday, Lyn was the only person at the table with enough restraint to leave her phone in her back and attempt to make conversation with the rest of us who had our eyes, fingertips, and almost noses glued to our new toys. Mike, Mike, and I all compared applications and began almost every sentence with "Oo! Have you heard of X app or Y app, or did you know you could do Z with X?" Poor Lyn! This unacceptable behavior, unfortunately, has carried into today and during lunch with Mike today, I sat looking for different applications that would find movies, store all of my club cards on my phone, match a paint chip to a color that can be bought at Lowe's (by the one, no such app exists), tell me what characterizes a specific wine vintage and varietal, track my grocery list, track my car maintenance, do my laundry (ok, no I didn't really look for that one - I'm not stupid - or at least I don't think anything like that has been created yet, but who knows!). Anyway, I guess I should consider looking for a blogging application as I am very much slacking in what used to be daily commentaries, though I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing to you readers!
Ok, so on the clothing front - still going strong with not buying anything (though I have been looking up clothing apps to see if you can more easily shop online and be able to pair different articles of clothing together - I'm sure one exists, and if not, perhaps I should create one - or at least communicate this to someone who can!). My closet is still dwindling - I have officially spun through all of my summer tops and only have a few more sweaters left to wear. I do have a few more suits that still need to either be worn or donated, as well as a couple of dresses. I'm thinking my company conference in November will seal the deal on that one! I am giving myself a bit of a break and allowing myself to go upstairs to my "do not wear" closet and pick out some items for my trip to Dubai. Luckily, business attire is not going to be required as the client has scheduled some group outing that is to take place the day I am presenting and because of the 40C temperatures that day, she has encouraged everyone to come in shorts and t-shirts - not that I will - but I do need a good pair of capris and a button down short sleeved shirt - all of which I have already churned through. I promise, once I get back from Dubai, however, I'll resume the do not repeat clothing rule.
I will try to blog in Dubai, as I think I'll have a lot to write about, even from a no shopping perspective given that my hotel is connected to the Dubai mall...so, until then (which will be about 36 hours given that I'll be spending at least 20 hours traveling!).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weeks 30 - 32: I'm still here!

Yes, I'm still here, and I'm still not shopping...I've just been a bit lazy from a blogging perspective these past few weeks (since Labor Day). The week of Labor Day was very laid back and involved work from home - so not all that much from a closet depletion standpoint. That Friday, I went to a spa in Cleveland with a co-worker to get pampered, and then came back to be "wifey" to my husband at his Psychology Department annual social. I churned through probably what I would consider my last "going out" black top and a balloon skirt that I've used mainly for Holiday events but felt it was appropriate for the occassion.

That Saturday and Sunday we went out to dinner with Mike and Lyn (who were visiting from Detroit) and hit up the annual arts festival in Bowling Green - which is something we look forward to every year. Mike and I purchased a console to put at the front of our house - which is why you see something covered in white styrofoam for some of the pictures.

The following week was a normal work week, complete with an overnight office visit in Detroit. That weekend, we headed into Peoria, IL to visit Mike's family. There was a German American festival going on, so we made a stop there, danced to traditional German music, and drank lots of beer. I managed to stub my toe on my way back into Mike's brothers' house and thought for all of Sunday that my toenail was coming off - so was psyching myself out and thinking how painful it would be to deal with my toe. You can imagine my relief when we got home, I removed the bandage, and saw that my toenail was perfectly fine. It's amazing how pain is mostly construed in the mind! While "injured," I kept thinking of how I'd be unable to wear my Christian Louboutins during my client meeting in Dallas (when I'd be in front of a group of well-dressed New Yorkers) and also not be able to wear them during my nights out in the city - thankfully, all with the toe was well by Monday evening!
Tuesday through Thursday was spent in Dallas for a client meeting. Ironically, the hotel at which the meeting was to take place was sold out, so the nearest hotel to this destination was the Westing at the Dallas Galleria. For those who aren't familiar with Dallas, it has just about as much shopping at New York City, and the Galleria is the largest mall in the Dallas area. My hotel was adjacent to a 4 story Saks, a 4 story Banana Republic, and I'm sure many many other wonderful stores that I would not even allow myself be cognizant of as I am still holding true to this challenge! The purpose of the meeting was to prepare for our presentation in Dubai (a trip that is becoming less daunting by the minute). On Wednesday and Thursday, I burned through another set of work attire - a couple button down blouses, pair of suit pants, and a skirt that was also part of a suit. Dressing for client functions such as this one is always a challenge as you never know if you can get away with a dress, separates, or need to wear a full on suit. Of course, I was the most business dressed person in the room - which is always a good thing - you never want to be dressed more casually than your client! I had all of Thursday evening to kill, so I ended up jumping on the treadmill - in hopes of de-bloating myself from eating all that food served up during the client meetings, ate a light dinner in the hotel restaurant, and then drove to the nearest movie theatre to catch Eat, Pray, Love - it's the best I could do to avoid the mall and pass time.

Friday morning was spent traveling from Dallas into New Jersey where Mike and our dear friend Soni came to pick me up from the EWR airport. We then hung out at Soni's wonderful apartment in Hoboken before getting dressed for a night out in the city. We headed to a trendy bar called Eo for a pre-dinner drink, and then headed to a restaurant in Little Italy (I think) called Travertine. Within 10 minute of being there (waiting at the bar to be seated), Mukund, Soni's husband, leaned over to us and said in a low voice "Jim Carrey has just entered the restaurant." We all, as best as we could, slowly turned our heads to see him sitting at the table, and marveled at how cool it is to be in NYC and be dining within 10 feet of a celebrity! Hardly anyone interrupted him, except for one idiot who planted him down in the booth next to Mr. Carrey and tried to strike up a conversation. We were sitting at a table right next to the street and were able to see the paparazzi and fan club representatives waiting outside to get his autograph or snap a pic. Being all too familiar with this, upon finishing his dinner, Jim got up, slipped through the kitchen, and out the back door. We ended our exciting evening eating some dessert, walking through a street fair taking place in Little Italy (where Mike was cheated out of $20 trying to win me a stuffed animal through a ball in the basket kind of game) and then catching a train back into Hoboken to arrive at Soni and Mukund's tired enough to hit the hay after a round of waters in their living room.

On Friday afternoon, Mike revealed to me during our first glass of wine that my birthday gift this year was $400 in cash that I could spend on clothing - so as to stay true to this challenge (some of you may disagree) but still be able to buy a few things given that I'd be surrounded by amazing clothes all weekend. I also received a thank you gift of $100 from a co-worker of mine in Dallas, so I decided to add that to the mix and indulge in a mini-shopping spree. So...as you can imagine, my head was swimming with ideas of what I wanted to buy with my "free cash." I had my mind set on a classic work dress - like a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap. Soni, Mukund, Mike and I all headed into the city again to meet up with Julie and Jason (Mike and I's hosts for Saturday night) in the Meat Packing district near Chelsea Market and had brunch. Then we walked through the market and then the ladies split off from the guys to do a little shopping - or to help me find my birthday purchase. Well, rather unfortunately, I did go to the DVF store and tried on multiple dresses, only to feel very dejected due to how tight and un-flattering I found the dresses. The week of eating high-sodium foods, and mindlessly eating the crazy spread of food during my business meetings certainly caught up with me and left me feeling a least a size larger than normal - and this became evident as I tried to shimmy in and out of the form-fitting dresses. To add greater injury to insult, all the dresses I was trying on were 2 sizes larger than what I would normally wear...so, perhaps it's been a good thing that I haven't been shopping - as I have been shielded from the fact that my waistline has grown and that I am no longer the size I used to be! Needless to say, I did not make a purchase Saturday and spent the rest of the day feeling very fat.
Saturday afternoon and evening were filled with good conversation with Julie and Jason, first over some wine, cheese, and crackers at their Upper West Side apartment, a stroll in Central Park, and then at dinner back again in Little Italy at a restaurant called Peasant. The very rustic and minimalist Italian food was terrific and very different from the swankier experience we had the night before - but as much like New York City dining as Travertine - sans Celebrity sighting. By the time we got back to J&J's apartment, we were all spent from the long day and called is a relatively early night.
Sunday began with an relaxing breakfast at J&J's with some awesome New York bagels, scrambled eggs, and great coffee. We then headed out and did another split off where the ladies shopped and the boys went to the Met to get in some art and culture. It was then that I finally started getting my body image back in a positive state and found a great jacket for $80, a red sheath dress and a black blazer, and a pair of earrings to take me right up to the $500 spending mark. Though not outrageously expensive, these items are what I deem to be classic and will (hopefully) get a great deal of use in the future. Yesterday was really my first chance to test out my reformed spending mentality as it's the first true shopping that I've done since February. Fortunately, I did find myself being much more selective and critical of the clothes that I tried on making sure that the items I was purchasing where not trendy, could be used in multiple contexts (business meeting, going out, casually) if paired with the right accessories and shoes, and were different enough from anything else in my wardrobe to justify adding. I feel like I did meet these criteria and am looking forward to being able to take these new clothes out for a spin during my Dubai trip. Hopefully, by then, I'll have truly gone through my entire wardrobe and will be able to pack favorites that make me feel good about myself again!
So, yes, I have had a brief stint of being back in the world of shopping, but can already tell that my crazy shopping-frenzy days are over. I must admit that there is a pang of guilt that I am feeling right now by giving in and allowing myself to spend $500 in the midst of this challenge. I'll let you decide whether this is cheating or is a reasonable concession so as to keep me going until next February - you decide!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 29: Still going...and going...and going

Week 29, Day 2: Work from home day - nothing to report

Week 29, Day 3: BR White tuxedo ruffle shirt, JCrew Black A-Line Skirt, Brass Plum sandals

Week 29, Day 4 (borrowed from Lyn!): BR print top, Old Navy black skirt
Week 29, Day 5: Old Navy black woven top, Old Navy cropped jeans

Week 29, Day 6: BR Black wrap shirt, Old Navy cropped jeans (yes, the same ones as earlier in the week!)

Week 29, Day 7: Urban Outfitters lavender crop sleeved top with tie in back, BR boyfriend jeans

My closet, I mean...keeps going and going and going...even though for the past month's worth of posts I keep thinking that I'm going to finally exhaust my wardrobe. I still have at least a few weeks' worth of work clothes left to wear, which will likely stretch out to a couple of months as I rarely go into the office these days, and a drawer with one summer top left to wear, but tons of long sleeve shirts that will likely begin making appearances now that the weather is starting to cool down. I really did not think I could go this long without having to pull something out from the "off limits" closet of worn clothes, but gosh...I really do have too many clothes! I guess it doesn't really count when days that I'm working from home, I just re-wear the same things or don't get dressed at all, but still, I have at least worn different things for 60-70 days! As for the urge to continue shopping - not there! I have even been able to thumb through JCrew magazines, go online to BR or White House Black Market, and though the interest is there, the compulsion to whip out my credit card and click "Purchase" is not.
This past week, I spent a couple days in the office, one of which I wasn't intending to, but after realizing on Tuesday that my boss had called an important team meeting, couldn't rationalize taking the call from home. So...I borrowed Lyn's clothes and crashed and her and Mike's place that night. Amazing...aside from having to wear my undergarments for a second day (don't judge!), I pretty much got by with the contact solution and case in my car, the make-up bag in my purse, and Lyn's clothes.
Wednesday, aside from working in the office, was pretty uneventful.
Thursday, I got to spend the evening at home while Mike was at some political thing, so I just chilled and made dinner at home and caught up on some DVR episodes from the food network. This was good, as I was able to just enjoy ONE glass of wine and feel completely satiated by that - as blogging about my social events has begun to make me a bit self-conscious about my drinking habits.
Friday, Mike and I went to a wine tasting (okay, the aforementioned self-consciousness is obviously gone) and enjoyed some good samplings, then headed home to eat the dinner I had prepared before we headed out for the tasting. We enjoyed dinner on the patio and heard our neighbor, Cathy, outside with her dogs, so we invited her over to enjoy the awesome Fall-ish weather on our patio while we sipped another glass of wine. Our Friday evening ended early and Mike and I were able to just enjoy the quiets of our own home and provide support to our darling kitten, Peewee, as she recovered from her de-genderizing surgery.
Saturday, Mike and I headed up north to attend the Renaissance Festival that takes place 1 month out of the year in some BFE area in Michigan. We went with our friends Linnelle and Dennis, and had a jolly good time (spoken in my head with a British accent - I dunno, Renaissance-ese always reminds me of Old English and British accents). The weather was brisk, but hearing the rustling of the leaves from the heavily forested area made it enjoyable, though my toes were freezing from only wearing thong slippers. We spent a good 3-4 hours at the fair nibbling on things here and there - turkey legs (well, Dennis did, not really the rest of us), buying oils and incense and random things that will likely go un-used or end up at a garage sale, and walking around playing festival games like throw tomatoes at the Jester, or hew an ax at a wooden particle board...you know - Robin Hood-esque games. The evening was more enjoyable than the fair itself (although, seeing some men in tight spandex and tunics was pretty laughable at times) as we hung out at Dennis and Linnelle's and helped break in their new patio (installed entirely by Dennis - oh, to have a handy-person around!) with a chiminea that they kept replenishing with firewood. A setting that paired nicely with the fall weather and a few bottles of good red wine, cheese, and dessert. We eased into Sunday, and I stayed up in Michigan for my get together with work buddies (HEL-NO club, yes - I belong to a lot of "girl power" clubs - I like my female bonding time - okay?).
This month's HEL-NO get together was at Kate's and involved crashing at her place in the early afternoon, sitting in her condo's hot tub, yes (sigh) drinking and eating, and then just chilling out playing our version of truth or dare and just having conversations highly doused in Estrogen. It was a blast to just let loose, feel like you could say anything to these ladies and they wouldn't judge, and just do really random shit - like back bends and yoga moves while Usher is playing in the background (which, when Usher plays while doing yoga moves, yoga quickly turns into some bad version of dancing with the stars were you are suddenly bouncing up and down while your stomach faces the air and your back is in the shape of a rainbow - not sure if this description is creating quite the visual I'm going for, but oh well). We ladies all got to bed relatively early and then enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on Monday morning. I left a bit early to get home to go refrigerator shopping with the honey before rushing home to welcome our 4th Annual Jaeger Labor Day Run guests.
So, yes, Labor Day is celebrated in a *special* way at the Lin/Zickar household. We invite the usual suspects over (Jen & Mike, Maggie & Scott) and begin our festivities with a shot of Jaeger and a 1 or 2 mile run. We decided on the 2 miles yesterday - which is why my quads are talking to me today. The idea is to do your shot, throw it in the lawn, and take off running. What better way to reward the race winner than with a sampling of Absolut Vodka (see, I told you, I really don't care if anyone reading this thinks I am a Hedonist). After the race, we cool down with a couple cold beers (or wine, for me), grill out, and cope with the fact that after we eat and socialize, reality is going to come back to bite us and we must deal with the fact that tomorrow is school, work, or whatever. I had the worst case of the Sunday blues yesterday that carried into lunch time today...but luckily after I get through the first 1/2 day, I'm usually ready to face the rest of the work week - which will be a short one for me as I'm taking Friday off to get pampered at a spa day with one of my co-workers (a really thoughtful salesperson that I work with that is treating me to the day after helping her make her sales goal).
One last update before I sign off (can't remember if I mentioned it or not)...I'm going to DUBAI in October. I capitalize the word not out of anticipation, but out of DREAD. My client, who shall remain nameless but is famous for Brittney Spears ads, has asked - no REQUIRED - that I travel out to Dubai for a 1-day presentation to their Global Sales Capability Council. Nice - 4 days of flying for 1 freakin' day of work. To make matters worst, I will be the only person from my company there as they are unwilling to fly anyone else out there...and the client is (in case you haven't picked up on my tone) - DEMANDING. So, here I will be, all alone, in a completely different country - one that does not embrace American travelers - let alone female American travelers, for 24 hours of work. To make matters worse, Dubai is supposedly a hot bed of couture shopping and ridiculous luxury - so - great...I can't even shop! Oh well, I'm hoping that I can somehow convince my client that they do not need me for this meeting and can hold their own, but we shall see. I really Really REALLY don't want to go!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 28: Cash for Clunkers (Sweaters, that is!)

Week 28, Day 2: Work from home day (can you say hangover from Dub Club??) - nothing to report.

Week 28, Day 3: Black Petite Sophisticate dress (purchased at Consignment Store, Clothes Mentor), Christian Louboutin black pumps - yup, took those puppies out for a spin!

Week 28, Day 4: BR short sleeved dress with eyelets at the top that you can't see from the picture, Naughty Monkey shoes

Week 28, Day 5: work from home day, you know the drill

Week 28, Day 6: BR black long sleeve top, BR pin-striped jeans (the only ones that I can wear with flip flops that aren't capris!)

Week 28, Day 6: White House Black Market off the shoulder black top, Gap Jeans, Ridiculously high Aldo wedge espadrilles (not pictured) - they are 5 inches high!

Week 29, Day 1: Gap scoopneck top, Gap Jeans
So, a continuation of low-travel, low stress weeks...I'm loving it! I can tell when I'm not traveling a lot, because I actually make use of my monthly Essence package and make it in regularly for yoga and spinning! Aside from my weekly trip up to Detroit from work, my days have been filled with productivity, cooking in my own kitchen, and breaking in our psycho kitten.
Needless to say, after Dub Club last week, I was very out of it on Monday and spent the day (luckily a light one) trying to get through work. Not really much to report about Monday except that I was in a daze.
Tuesday, I headed up to the office and decided to show off my new shoes - so although I felt ridiculous walking like a runway model around our cubicle city, there was something oddly empowering about wearing those shoes - which is the whole point, right? Even expensive shoes like these, however, do begin to kill your feet after making trips back and forth to the bathroom and printer throughout the day. Given that the bottoms of the shoes are painted red (at least until I scuff all the paint away - where does that paint go, anyway? I didn't see any marks on the concrete as I trollipsed around) I decided to wear what has become my favorite (okay, only) red belt to accent the shoes. The dress was a button down from neck to mid-thigh, so whenever I sat down, the dress would open up pretty much close to an indecent height - which made the heels all that much more empowering :) Luckily, I have a cube and usually have good warning before someone can peer over the walls and observe how short my dress is - and oddly enough, no truckers made any obnoxious honking noises on my drive up to Detroit. Tuesday evening I engaged in my bi-weekly happy hour with my boss and Mike C - so we did the usual eat, gossip, drink thing and then I crashed at Mike and Lyn's - something that I have refrained from doing in awhile as I am trying to get back to my pre-vacationing size so I can start wearing fall clothes again - you know...JEANS - which never feel good after you've been wearing shorts and dresses for 3 months - and even worse if you've grown a couple sizes since the beginning of summer.
Wednesday was another work day in the office, but not all the eventful. I was even able to get back early enough to make dinner and enjoy our patio since the weather was nice. Aside from that, another ho-hum day!
Thursday was a work from home day, and then ended with a night out with Maggie and Jen. We began with yoga and then headed to a local charceuterie joint where we threw back a few cold beers and complimented our manly drinks with some manly food...and, yes, I have gone back to eating meat a little more freely, though I still will choose a seafood or veggie option over a meat one if I have the choice - but how can you resist a homemade chicken sausage?? I really enjoyed our night out last week as we spent some time at a few local spots and really appreciated what our small town has to offer. Earlier that day, as I was dropping yet another load of clothes off at Clothes Mentor, I stopped by a local donut shop to order a few treats, and was again delighted at being able to support a local business...I felt so quaint - like the Barefoot Contessa seems as she drives around in her BMW in the Hamptons hitting up cute little wine shops, stopping by her bakery to pick up some brownies to go with the beachfront picnic that she's putting together for her favorite gay friends - who happent to be grotesquely rich and successful movie producers. Yep, that's me - the Perrysburg Contessa - not! I would like to say, however, that I have made 2 chocolate cakes within a week's time from her cookbook, topped them with flowers, and was feeling somewhat accomplished after creating a relatively eye-catching dessert - and, it of course tasted good because it is an Ina Garten recipe - one that in true Ina Garten fashion, has nothing short of a pound of butter in it.
Friday was again a work from home day and a bit hectic work-wise. But, I proudly tore myself away around 5:30 as we had company coming over for a little pre-party before heading off to the German American festival. It was my friend, Julie's birthday, so we ate the 2nd chocolate cake I made (the first being for Diana during our Dub Club get together), snacked on some crostini & shrimp cocktail, and then hopped in Scott and Maggie's minivan for a party-bus ride to the festival. I was quite impressed with the spectacle of a staged German village being swarmed by drunk midwesterners with their plastic boot glasses hanging around their necks - think amusement park and how you purchase a cup for some ridiculous price ($10) with cheaper re-fills after you buy the "souvenir" glass - an item that will get stored in the depths of your cabinets and only come out when you need to water plants. At one point in the night, someone pointed out the Euro-bubble attraction at the festival - which is a pressurized air-bubble that you crawl into and begin crawling around in order to simulate a hamster wheel. Problem is, the bubble is on water, so no matter how much you try to propel yourself forward, you remain in the same spot, toppling over yourself as you aggressively try to get somewhere. Yes, as stupid as it sounds, Mike and I had a blast doing it! Yoga's got nothing on the Euro-bubble!
Saturday, Mike and I headed down to the Dayton area to partake of a local food & wine festival. We ran into a few other people that we usually see at weekly wine tastings at a liquor store down the street - so we hung out with everyone, had dinner at the Inn that we were staying at, and then headed down the main street to a bar where we saw the best mullet that I've seen in years! The band playing at the bar was a heavy metal tribute band and was actually really good. The lead singer would be classified as your prototypical small town midwestern rocker that never caught a break, and is instead going to small towns to perform back to back gigs and living in his own stardom when drunk townies come up to him and beg him to sing one more Metallica song. Again, like the Euro-bubble, of course we had a blast! How could you not? We ended the night heading into the town square and taking racy pictures with the brass statues - what one of our fellow accomplices called "molesting the statue."
Sunday, I was again out of it - okay, I am beginning to realize that pretty much 1/2 of each of my weeks involves excessive drinking - but I'm not really as bad as it sounds...or maybe I am...perhaps I am something different from a SHOPaholic and the shopping was my way of preventing other addictive behavior...hmmmm...
Speaking of the shopping, however, I did have an almost break in my fast from clothes buying (aside from THE SHOES, of course). I was at Clothes Mentor and saw an adorable green jacket hanging in the New Arrivals section - and even tried it on...luckily my hair looked awful and I was wearing yoga clothes - so the "look" didn't quite come together. The jacket was also a bit wide for my frame and not all that flattering on - so I exercised restraint and said NO! Had I bought it, though, I would have rationalized the purchase by saying that because I got $44 for the clothes I took in, this was still a zero-sum transaction (actually I still would have had money in my pocket). Nonetheless, I resisted and do think that my will power has been quite strengthened by this challenge...and I'm not waning!!!