May 2010 Archives

My new bathroom: The pictorial.

The dramatic tale (I rip molding off with my bare hands!) to follow tomorrow.

 

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This is the old floor.  I covered it up immediately upon moving in because I couldn't bear to look at it.

 

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This is the new floor - although after 11 months it's not really that new.  Also? Note the shiny white vent cover. No comment on the rusted out piece of crap that was there before.

 

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One view of the old bathroom. You can see the shower to the right (a little), the sink to the left along with the crappy white wire étagère which was really my only storage option since...

 

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...the medicine cabinet above the sink was actually about 3 inches deep and 15 inches high and basically could hold half a dozen bottles of nail polish, a small tube of toothpaste and not much else. What's funny is that I actually purchased that medicine cabinet when I moved in as a cheap, quick fix to replace the monstrosity that was already there.

 

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This is a close-up of the peeling wall paper after I had ripped the molding off. What's sad is that the wallpaper was peeling up like that in a lot of places. Also? Notice the 18 shades of paint on the wall underneath. 

 

And now I present: Xanadu.

 

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The first view of Xanadu.  See the sparkly shower curtain? And the pretty accessories? And the extra storage?

 

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This is the back wall.  Doesn't it look gorgeous? I am particularly fond of the black molding which didn't cost much and which adds a whole lot of snazz.

 

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The third view - over the sink. I finally have a real medicine cabinet. And a towel bar. It's incredibly exciting.

 

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This is my awesome new bathmat which I am literally afraid to stand on because I don't want to get it dirty. Mainly because it's pretty. But also - because of the sequins I think it's a "hand wash" kind of thing and I prefer my washing machine.

 

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Once I knew that the tissues were going to stay out in plain view, I drove back to Bed Bath and Beyond this morning - IN A MONSOON - to get the pretty box to cover them. Now I'll never have tissue box issues again.

 

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More pretty accessories.  I had no idea that redoing a bathroom could be so....sparkly!

 

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This is a close-up of my new towel bar: which I hung all by my lonesome and which is actually level. I KNOW!!

 

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And finally, a close up of the towel bar with towels including another very pretty but pain-in-the-ass to wash sparkly hand towel. Also? More molding which I am just obsessed with. 

 

Isn't Xanadu just the prettiest bathroom ever?

Comments ( 11 )

I told you I needed to overhaul my iPod and I did on Wednesday night because I knew I had roughly 3 hours round trip in the car to and from Asheville and I had no intention of walking into my REALLY BIG meeting tear-streaked and puffy.

In fact, it was just the opposite. I walked into my meeting in a new sparkly linen dress from Eileen Fisher, Jimmy Choo stilettos which I haven't worn in years but DAMN if I wasn't feeling bold, really good hair, even better make-up and toting what I knew was a kick-ass presentation.  Plus, the drive through the mountains was sunny and glorious and I had my sun-roof open and my newly overhauled iPod blaring and I tell you: I need to start every day the way I started yesterday because Holy Hell it felt awesome.

But back to the iPod.

So my new motto these days is "It's One Life" and I am trying to remind myself that the more time I waste wallowing and weeping and lamenting and regretting and fearing and hesitating, the less time I have to live and love and be fabulously sassypants. And let's face it: being fabulously sassypants is way better than anything else.  So I named the new, anti-Songs To Make You Cry mix "It's One Life" and it's basically a collection of songs that make me feel good one way or another.  Here's the line-up:

U-Turn by Samantha. Ok so ModernMatriarch told me to download this song and I did without hesitation because the woman also introduced me to Irish Car Bombs and we know how much I love those. All I can say is: Burn Motherfucker Burn. This song ROCKS SO HARD that it's knocked P!nk's So What off the top of the Imma Kick Your Ass Anthem chart.  

Put It In a Love Song by Alicia Keys featuring Beyonce. So I randomly heard this the other day at the gym and it has an awesome beat AND it's got Lady B who let's face it, is THE poster woman for female empowerment everywhere. And frankly....when I do find love again (notice I said when - not if - that's the cockeyed optimist in me coming out) I want someone who is not afraid to say what he feels. Love me? Need me? Let me know sugar because the truth is, I have no capacity for bullshit. Period.

So What by P!nk. So this song didn't fall far and while it might be old, any song that talks about a brand new attitude and being a rockstar is going to make it onto this playlist.

I Am What I Am from La Cage. Yes - I have a Broadway show tune following P!nk and it totally works. Trust me.

I Didn't Know My Own Strength by Whitney Houston. I sort of covered this the other day, but the good news is that I was finally able to listen to this song without crying because I finally, finally found some inner strength these last few days. And trust me: we all have it.

California Gurls by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg. Pure pop pleasure unless you can find deeper meaning in Daisy Dukes and bikinis.  I can't. But the song sure makes me happy in a cotton candy kind of way.

Bring Me To Life by Evanasence. So I've never actually looked at the lyrics and this song may be depressing as hell but it totally lifts my energy levels and I shout out loud whenever it comes on. So there.

Alice by Avril Lavigne.  From Alice in Wonderland the movie...."I-I-I I'll get by. I-I-I I'll survive. When the world's crashing down, when I fall and hit the ground, I will turn myself around. Don't you try to stop me." I think that's Canadian for: "No one puts Baby in a corner."

Fearless Love by Melissa Ethridge. So I have been listening to this song for weeks now and I think the title says it all.  I mean - what is there to be afraid of? And when I find love again...I want to find it with someone who is not afraid to embrace it.

If You're Going Through Hell by Rodney Atkins.  So what's a random Rougie mix without a little country? Not a random Rougie mix that's what.  Also? This song is about forward motion - something I've been missing these last few months. You're going through Hell? Well keep on pushing through because eventually you will get through to the other side.

Keeps Gettin' Better by Christina Aguilera.  This was my anthem last year and it still rings true.  "Won't stop shaking up what I can. I serve it up in a shot so suck it down like a man." And to think she's somebody's mother.

Goodbye by Kristiana DeBarge. This song came on the radio at a very apropos time last summer and now I can honestly and finally say: "I got that new I'm a single girl swag." So bring it baby.

For Your Entertainment by Adam Lambert. There are 2 ways I can describe this song. 1) It makes me want to DANCE and not like a prima ballerina. More like: Where's the pole? or 2) When I made my half marathon mix (back when I could run more than like, a block) I put it on TWICE because when I hear this song, I can't help but feel awesome, motivated and inspired. It's the ass-shakingest song out there.

Circus by Britney Spears. Why not? And I do so love being the center of attention.

It Happens by Sugarland.  Jennifer Nettles is right. Shit totally happens. What are you gonna do? Pfft.  That's what.

So....that's my "It's One Life" mix and I've been listening to it as much as I can because every single song makes me feel good. Whether it makes me want to get up and shake a tail feather or it reminds me of what I can do or who I am or what I deserve....

And I want to share it with ALL of you because everyone deserves to feel this good. So if you think you can handle a mix of Country, Show tunes, Rock, Pop, Soul and Hard Core Alternative - leave me a message in the comments of this post. I'm burning and sending copies to anyone who needs a musical hug. Or a musical kick in the ass. Either or.   

Comments ( 6 )

Eleven months ago today I walked away from a life I had known for the better part of 12 years and stepped into the unknown. It was thrilling and scary all at the same time. 

For the first time in a while I could make whatever I wanted for dinner without having to adjust to someone else's palette.

For the first time in a while I could watch whatever I wanted on TV without having someone disagree with my choice and subsequently make me change the channel.  

For the first time in a while I spent the night alone knowing that no one would eventually be coming home.

For the first time in a while I could go to a bar and flirt with a strange man and maybe eventually kiss him.

For the first time in a while I could go shopping without having to justify my purchase(s) to someone else.

For the first time in a while my life was my own.

As I said: thrilling and scary all at the same time.

And as thrilling as it all was - it was also scary.  And I think somewhere along the way, I let fear get the best of me.

Afraid I couldn't do it on my own.

Afraid I couldn't handle the tough stuff.

Afraid I needed someone else and OMG - would I ever find him?

And then I remembered that I am tough. That I am smart, And resourceful. I remembered that I am capable.

Something has held me back these last few months. Something has held me back from pressing on and moving forward. Something has tethered me to this rut which threatens to engulf me.  That something is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure (AGAIN). Fear of getting hurt (AGAIN).

"Anger is always fear, and fear is always fear of loss."

Or so says The Messiah's Handbook. Yes - fear of loss too.

I am tired of the pain. I am tired of the anger. I am tired of the fear.    

And so I am letting go.  I am taking a giant leap of faith into the future because this life? It's too short to waste being afraid. And thrilling is so much more appealing.

Comments ( 4 )

I had an epiphany Tuesday morning while driving to work.

It was after I had woken up and stared at the crevices that had formed overnight beneath my swollen, cried-out eyes. 

It was after I had opened up GMail and been greeted with LOVE. Yes LOVE from y'all.  Well wishes and inspirational comments and virtual hugs and lots of messages to remind me that this? This is nothing I can't handle. Also? Why be tethered down? Let go and be free. (Thanks Cass for saying it first and to all others who agreed!)

It was after I had skipped the depressing news on NPR in favor of an even more depressing mix on my iPod called Songs To Make You Cry. Yes - I have such a mix. Do you want to know why? Because I am the most self-indulgent creature on the planet. I get in a bad mood, feel sad, start to hurt - I encourage the feeling. Instead of doing something to snap me out of my funk, I choose to wallow in it. I sink in like a Jacuzzi and soak for as long as I can. 

So despite facing a long, hard day; despite being cried out from the night before; despite the GMail love, I figured I'd lather, rinse and repeat from the last 2 days. Nothing like a good ugly cry to start off the day.  And so I did.

For about the first 15 miles. And then - the epiphany.

"What? The? Fuck? Rougie? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? THIS is how you want to start your day? You want to walk into the office, swollen, puffy, red-eyed and devoid of a stitch of make-up because it's all been washed away? Why do you feel so sorry for yourself? When did you become so weak? Who are you? I don't even know you."

Only I do know her. She is the worst version of me. She is the girl who is afraid. And insecure. She is the girl who needs more than she gets. The girl who gets overwhelmed by the tiniest little thing. The girl who doesn't take care of herself because she doesn't think she's worth it. And recently? She's taken over my life.

So I decided right there in the middle of I-85 to take back control from the bitch.

The first thing I did was I turned off Depressing Song #487 and switched to La Cage Aux Folles because I didn't have a tiara handy.  I listened to "I Am What I Am" about 3 or 4 times - SHOUTING out the lyrics:

"I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses. I DEAL MY OWN DECK. Sometimes the ace. Sometimes the deuces. It's ONE LIFE and there's no return and no deposit."

Hell yeah! Who's in charge? ME. How many shots do I have at this? ONE. Do I want to waste it weeping and blubbering and feeling sorry myself? FUCK NO.

You know how most people have coffee in the morning to wake up? Well Tuesday morning La Cage woke me up.

And then I remembered that I had "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" on my iPod. I think this was supposed to be Whitney's big comeback and symbolize her triumph over her being a crack whore and all but based on reports of her latest concerts, I don't think she's doing too well. Still - the lyrics were everything that I needed to hear:

"I didn't know my own strength
And I crashed down, and I tumbled
But I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn't know my own strength
Survived my darkest hour
My faith kept me alive
I picked myself back up
Hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn't know my own strength."

Right. So that may have been on auto-repeat for most of Tuesday because....

When did I become the girl to let a little mouse throw her into a tizzy? Let's face it. The furry little fucker is probably more afraid of me than I am of him (which is why I stomp and bang every time I go into my kitchen). Also? There are people to handle these things.

Which is why as soon as it was a decent hour I called Terminix to renew my service. For $85/quarter a nice man comes to my house and deals with all of the insects and rodents and pests that plague me. And let me tell you - out here in the country - it's a boatload. Let him stick his head up my chimney to see if that's where Oda Nobunaga's family is plotting their revenge. Let him find where Mickey is holed up when I'm around.  That's his job. Oh? And if the pests and rodents decide to bother me in between visits? He'll return and handle - FREE OF CHARGE.

All of the travel I bitched about? Four of the six plane rides were to see family and friends. I wouldn't have traded my weekend in Austin for anything.  Ditto my weekend in New York for The Belle's wedding which also gave me a long overdue catch-up with the Appalachian Princess and a giant, heaping dose of my precious nephew whom I love more than anyone and anything in this world. 

As for the work travel...yes it's a lot. It's hard and time consuming and leaves me worn out sometimes...but this is my job.  This is what grounds me. What centers me.  And this is my year-end so I knew that most of April and May would be tough. Tough. Not insurmountable.  Not crippling. In fact - just the opposite.  The travel I have done for work in the last few weeks has been exciting and thrilling and has presented so many opportunities that I can't wait for next year to officially begin.

Tomorrow I head to headquarters to meet with my boss. We will review everything my group has done in the past year. Every dollar spent. Every choice made. And then I will propose a strategy and a budget for the coming year. I spent much of the last 48 hours chained to my desk working on my presentation and when my assistant handed me the final version - printed in color, neatly bound - I nearly wept with joy. It was BEAUTIFUL. And it was all mine. I am ready to head to Asheville tomorrow and knock the fucking socks off my boss. 

So to my demonic, weak-kneed doppleganger alter ego; to the girl who goes to pieces over a piece of mouse shit no bigger than a grain of rice (and which I originally mistook for a grain of forbidden rice since I had recently cooked some); to the girl who seems to like to cry and cry and cry and then cry some more; to the girl who rolls and wallows in her misery instead of reaching for the joy in life? YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME CHEZ ROUGIE.

There are some new rules in my house:

1) A total overhaul of my iPod. It doesn't take much to make me cry - I certainly don't need to encourage it.

2) At least once a week I am cooking myself a decent meal or taking myself out for a nice dinner. I'll admit: cooking for 1 is hard and I am pretty much convinced that my grill won't work but that's no excuse to subsist off of cole slaw (however good it may be) and booze.

3) I am getting my ass to the gym 2x a week for cardio.  I know I am in great shape (my trainer today complimented me on how great I looked) but I couldn't run a 5K if you paid me. That's got to change.

4) No more wallowing.  I brag all the time to my friends and family back home about how awesome my friends in Smalltown, USA are. And they are. They are beyond awesome. But I have yet to trust them like I do people I've known forever. I have yet to truly let them in. I have yet to ask for help when I need it. I'm going to start. Sundays don't have to suck.

5) Lastly (because anything more than 5 rules and my head would explode) - I am going back to my daily zen. I read Illusions by Richard Bach when I was an impressionable teenager and as such, it stuck with me. I purchased The Messiah's Handbook: Reminders For The Advanced Soul a few years ago when I discovered that my beloved copy of Illusions was gone. It's a small book and I keep it in my oversized handbag (again now anyways) and I pull it out whenever I need an answer.

There are a lot of answers, but I'll share one for now because this post has gone on forever:

"If you want to meet someone who can fix any situation you don't like, who can bring you happiness in spite of what other people say or believe, look in the mirror, then say this magic word: 'Hello.'"

It's one life. No return. No deposit. And I intend to make the best of it - because I? I was not meant to break. 

Welcome home sugar. Welcome home.

Comments ( 11 )

Since April 10th:

I have packed and unpacked 8 times.

I have put over 3,000 miles on my car.

I have boarded 6 airplanes.

I have faced one giant scary-ass bug PLUS 2 of his relatives, and I am fairly sure that his entire extended family is breeding somewhere in my house.

I have thrown 1 party.

I have attended 1 race.

I have cried probably every. single. day.

I have changed out one sump pump - on my own. And I am still not sure if it works which means I still have epic anxiety about my basement flooding.

My latest joy? There is a mouse in my house, and he is leaving a trail of little mouse flowers (thanks ModernMatriarch) all over my kitchen counter. Given that I keep my house clean and my food in Ziploc bags, I am stymied.  Other than the fact that I, you know, live in the country. Also? I am pretty sure that I am going to open a cabinet/drawer/closet and said mouse will jump out at me and kill me. Or freak me out. And at this stage, it feels like a slim difference between the two. 

Unfortunately, Psycho Kitty is useless in this area.

I am tired. Worn out. Depressed.

Did I mention the tears?

My diet consists primarily of cole slaw, hummus, sweet tea vodka, wine, and frozen egg rolls. I can't tell you the last time I fed myself a decent meal.

I can also tell you that my colon is clean as a whistle. 

I see my trainer 2 - 3 times a week and yet, I can barely run 3 miles without coughing up a lung.  

Thursday marks 11 months into the hardest road I have ever traveled. I am proud of what I've accomplished but I am saddened by what it represents.

Thursday also marks a REALLY BIG DAY at work with a REALLY BIG PRESENTATION and a REALLY BIG MEETING. I know it will go exceptionally well, yet I will spend the better part of the next 48 hours chained to my desk, pushing myself beyond what I have left, to deliver the goods.  

The cherry on the sundae? A pain so deep I wonder if it will ever heal. 

In short: I am past the point of a rapidly fraying rope. I have no rope left.

Comments ( 12 )

This is the time I hate the most.

This is the time when the silence is deafening and the loneliness overwhelms me.

This is the day after a really great day.

This is when I cry. Not loudly. Not great, big choking sobs. Just silent, soft tears that seem to know no end. 

This is the time when I long for someone to share my life with.

There are things I can do. Things I should do. My house needs to be cleaned. I have to pack because later today I head out on the road...again. I have a work presentation on Thursday of epic proportions and there is still so much I need to do. There is laundry. Bills to pay. Groceries to buy.

But I can't. I don't want to.

I am crawling out of my skin.

Over four hours until I have to leave - a time span that seems interminable to be home alone in this quiet, empty house.

This is the hard time.

This is when I feel hollow.

This is the day that I can't wait to end.

This is Sunday morning comin down. 

Comments ( 5 )

I am truly amazed by people who create things because when I have an idea for something, it stays in my pretty little head (actually - that's not true, I actually have an abnormally large head but whatever). My point is - I have a lot of genius ideas but I have no capacity for execution.  Things like prototypes and factories and production lines pretty much overwhelm and/or scare me which is essentially why I'll never be Ron Popeil. Or The Dyson Dude.

But...my super gorgeous and uber talented friend, The Brit Girl, does have a capacity for such things which is why when she had a random idea for a handbag a zillion years ago she did things like source fabric and visit factories and HAVE SAMPLES MADE and OMFG. And one day, her random idea turned into a reality so as far as I'm concerned, she's a fucking genius because Holy Hell look what she made:

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Do you see the GORGEOUS? Are you not absolutely FALLING IN LOVE?

She creates these. She designs them. And then she actually has them made. She has a factory. SOMEWHERE.  It's too much for me to process. Oh wait...there's more.

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(For the record, this is the bag I covet)

 

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(And this)

 

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(Oh - and this too)

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And in addition to all shapes and styles of gorgeous handbags, she has accessories:

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Like this credit card holder.

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And this cuff.

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And this belt.

It just kills me all of the fabulous that The Brit Girl creates and sells. And it's not like she's selling out of her garage or something. Oh no. Girl did it right. She has a whole for realz business y'all.  

Meet Wilbur & Gussie: sassy, sparkly, fabulously gorgeous handbags and accessories that every girl covets. And by every girl I mean me. And hopefully you.

See here's the thing. Wilbur & Gussie is a British business that does not have a large presence or following in the US.  And here's the next thing, The Brit Girl would like to grow her US audience. And so she did want any smart business woman would do: she sent an email to her US friends asking us to spread the word about Wilbur & Gussie and oh by the way SHE'S OFFERING A 25% DISCOUNT ON ALL OF HER BEAUTIFUL BAGS to customers in the US.

So here's what you do:

1) Go to the Wilbur & Gussie website.

2) Shop.

3) Upon checking out, enter the discount code USA25 and automatically save 25% on your order.  Twenty-fve percent! That's an entire quarter of your order. And if you order one of the gorgeous bags currently on sale, you save even more.  

It's like a win-win-win for EVERYONE because Wilbur & Gussie gains a US following and you have the most stylish handbag in your town and then all of your friends will be jealous and then one day, when Kate Winslet is walking down the red carpet with a Wilbur & Gussie clutched in her hand, you can tell whoever you're watching The Golden Globes with that you had a Wilbur & Gussie way back when and they'll look at you in awe. Or not. But you'll still have a kick ass handbag.  I SWEAR.

So what are you waiting for? Get shopping! Now!

PS I am pretty sure that Canadians can use this discount too. I mean - it's not like you need to flash a passport on the W&G website.

PPS To all of my XY readers, this would make a lovely birthday gift/anniversary gift/honey-it's-Friday gift for the woman in your life. No really. Trust me because in my past experience, XYs never know what to buy.  

Comments ( 4 )

I haven't shopped at DKNY in forever, but when I saw this dress in the window, it totally drew me in:

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My collarbone is my favorite part of my body and so I love anything that is off the shoulder, strapless or has a boat neckline. 

As it turned out, this dress was cute, but it was also a little complicated (I don't like dresses that require an engineering degree to put on and take off) and as it also turned out, there were plenty of other cute dresses at DKNY.  Seriously, I must have tried on 6 or 7 dresses and all of them looked utterly adorable. Also? There was a whole nautical theme going on and so I decided that I needed a boyfriend with a yacht (or at least a really big sailboat with at least 2 bathrooms) because holy hell did I have the perfect wardrobe.

I finally settled on this little number:

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Now if only I could find a regatta to attend.

Anyways, I was thrilled about the dress, but I was even more thrilled about The Cozy.

The Cozy is a DKNY staple that has been around for years.  Part sweater, part blanket, part wrap - it is described on the website as "the chic and sophisticated wardrobe solution for the modern woman on the go." Seeing as I am always wrapped in an oversized cardigan and/or scarf (what can I say, I like to be swaddled), The Cozy is like my most perfect wardrobe discovery ever other than the price, but whatever - you can where it TWELVE DIFFERENT ways.

This is sort of what it looks like just plain, although truth be told, I think it's been folded and draped at least once. Still - you get the idea.

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Your basic oversized, drapey cardigan.  

Now, would you imagine that the same article of clothing could look like this?

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And this?

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And this?

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You can wear this thing frontwards and backwards. You can drape it. Twist it. Tie it. Loop it. Although there are 12 official ways to wear The Cozy, there's really no wrong way to wear it (or so said Miss Vee at DKNY). However, for those of us on the neurotic side, there's a printed out look book with each of the 12 official looks and instructions on how to achieve them. There's also a You Tube channel for those who prefer video. There's even an iPhone app. NO REALLY. 

And while it was probably a little indulgent to have bought both the dress and The Cozy, I look at The Cozy as an investment because I am telling you - it is not just a sweater. It's a life-altering wardrobe staple.

Comments ( 7 )

Last Thursday night, while I was checking in online for my flight to NYC on Friday morning, I did something I never ever do: I paid a $10 premium for a "Choice Seat." Although I did have an aisle seat, it was towards the back of the plane and my plan on Friday was that as soon as I landed at 11:55am, I was going to scramble off the plane, hop in a cab and head to the City to meet my Mom and take her out to lunch, and I didn't want to be hornswagled stuck behind a bazillion slow moving passengers who don't know how to hustle.  So I ponied up $10 and got bumped up to Row 7 from Row 19 which theoretically would shave a good 10 minutes off of my deplaning time and get me into the city to see Mom and eat that much faster.

Right. So at the time, it seemed like a good idea, however I changed my mind on Friday when I actually got onto the plane.

The first problem was that I was sitting behind a family with 3 small children. The father sat on the left hand side with a little boy and a little girl, and the mother and another little boy sat on the right.  The boys were probably no more than 5, and they were noisy and loud as little boys are prone to be.  It wasn't that they were obnoxious, but they were speaking at elevated volumes and they seemed to be fidgety and just non-stop in all of their behavior and I immediately was all: Great. I paid an extra $10 for this headache.  

As it turns out, loud kids were the least of my headaches because y'all: I paid extra to sit next to a killer although I didn't know he was a killer at the time which is a good thing because if I had known I would have probably freaked the fuck out. All I knew was that the man who asked me to get up so that he could slide into the empty middle seat next to me was rather menacing looking with cold eyes, lots of sharp studs and grommets all over his clothes, and some serious ink including teardrops tattooed under his eye.  As soon as I saw him I averted my eyes because I knew if I looked that I would stare and that staring at a man who throws off such a Don't Fuck With Me threatening air is like looking into the sun during an eclipse: you just don't do it.  So I scooted out and let him slide in and then I sat back down and looked at the ground as I fumbled to get my seat belt untangled from his seat and the I buried my nose in People and prayed that he was in a good mood and that my breathing didn't accidently set him off.

If only that was it y'all. If only.

But no. Mr. Teardrops was traveling with a lady friend (who I'll just call Lady Crack-Meth because the first two things I noticed when I looked at her were that most of her front teeth were missing or very, very stubby and that she had terrible acne which she had tried to conceal with a thick layer of off-color make-up. And somewhere in my memory I knew that both things were evidence of heavy drug use and I couldn't remember if it was Crack or Meth but whatever: I'm pretty sure Lady Crack-Meth is not a poster child for clean and easy living.) and she wanted to know if I would give up my seat so that she could be closer to her man.

I asked her where she was sitting and she pointed to the window seat 1 row in front of where Mr. Teardrops and I were sitting.  Y'all? I really wanted to switch because 1) I always try to be accommodating to people on airplanes and 2) I highly value my life but I cannot sit in a window seat unless I am in an Exit Row. See I have this little problem where I drink mass quantities of liquid and then I have to pee every 10 minutes and so if I wind up in a window seat I inevitably have to clamber over 2 other people to get out or 1 person in the row is asleep and I feel bad waking them up so I sit there in excruciating pain hoping that they'll stir so that I can then get their attention so that I can then clamber over them.

So I nervously explained this to Lady Crack-Meth, and I tried to smile and giggle so I would come across as ditzily charming and all the while I was hoping that the bitch didn't cut me she didn't start a fight. Anyways she seemed to accept my answer and she took her seat and then I got to listen to a really awkward conversation in which Mr. Teardrops tried to explain what freon was to Lady Crack-Meth and I thought to myself: It's a shame what they're not teaching kids in school these days and then I realized that Lady Crack-Meth probably didn't go to school or that if she did she was probably high the whole time.

The flight continued to deteriorate because once we took off the little girl in front of me started squaloring. Seriously. I did not know that such a small creature could make such a loud noise for such an extended period of time. And not just cries. She sounded like a dying cat and at one point there was so much gurgling I thought she might choke.

Now I know that little kids have problems with pressure on airplanes and that their ears can hurt and so I try not to be Mistress Von Judgysquieu but when a child cries that uncontrollably for that long, I expect to see a parent take action and there seemed to be no action taking other than the mother standing up a few times and handing her iPhone across the aisle to her screaming daughter and I just watched in utter confusion because I didn't realize that Apple made a Shut Your Screaming Kid Up app. I guess the app wasn't working but finally, after 30 minutes of dying cat noises (during which time I contemplated turning to my right and asking Mr. Teardrops if he could MacGuyver me a shiv out of a straw or something so that I could stab my own eardrums in order to drown out the noise), mom picked daughter up, held her in her arms, plunked a bottle in her mouth, and the child finally quieted down.

I didn't find out the Mr. Teardrops was a killer until after I was off the plane when I Tweeted about the flight from Hell and I was informed by at least 2 people that the teardrops tattooed on his face did not mean he had a thing for clowns but that they represented the number of people he had killed in prison or possibly out of prison - not that it really matters. The point is, I paid extra to sit next to a killer y'all.

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I am writing this through a thick cloud of tears y'all because OMG - I have the most amazing family in the world. And it's a good thing I am getting on a plane to NY tomorrow and that I get to throw my arms around all of their necks and squeeze them tight because right now? I need hugs. Specifically their hugs.

So I save a lot of crap. I mean, I am trying to declutter, but I form intense bonds with most things (see my parents' fondue set from the 1970s which is totally awesome but which I use once every 24 months) and I have a hard time letting go. Don't get me wrong. I hardly qualify for one of those reality TV shows that shows people literally buried by their belongings, but on some level, I tend to hoard.

And thanks to Yahoo, I have been a successful emotional hoarder because you see, for the low, low price of $25 a year I get a lot of storage space to save a lot of emails. So tonight I was looking for an old email from my mom.  It was one she sent ages ago that talked about how we all juggle a lot of balls. We juggle work. And family. And friends. And hobbies. We juggle all of these things and more and in general, we are spread thin. But at the end of the day, all of the balls we juggle are rubber i.e. you drop one and it will bounce. But one ball is glass. If you drop the family/loved ones ball, it can and will shatter.  The point is nothing is more important than being with those that mean the most. Everything else in this world is replaceable.  Loved ones are not. It was an email I wanted to forward to a friend who is working too, too hard right now and not taking  enough time for other things.

At one point in my life I had 2 Yahoo emails. One was the immediate post-college email and one was the email after I got married.  Although I stopped using the immediate post-college Yahoo when I got married, I still held onto it and checked it occasionally. Not because I got any meaningful messages, but mainly there were a lot of great emails I had saved for posterity.

Well fucking Yahoo cancelled the account. I mean, I still have the Yahoo ID (whoopee!) but I went to log in and randomly check my email about 6 weeks ago and they told me it had been so long since I had logged in that all of my emails had been deleted. SERIOUSLY.

Thanks Yahoo for giving me a warning. Even Wal-Mart tells me that I haven't logged in often enough to save the 6 photos I once printed out there.

Anyways. Yahoo's douchey politics aren't the point. The point is - I lost a lot of great shit. Including (probably) the email I was looking for from my mom. Which doesn't really matter because even though I don't have the exact email, I remember the message. But my other Yahoo account is still very active and in my attempts to search out mom's great wisdom, I stumbled upon a number of other gems.

I don't even know how to describe the emails I scanned through tonight. From Mom. Dad. My brother. Emails that came at times of celebration. Emails that came at time of trauma and pain. Emails that praised. Emails that encouraged. Emails that empathized. Emails that comforted.

I got one from my best friend that was so random and so silly I remembered exactly why I had saved it: because it was so random and so silly and filled with so much love.

That's the common thread. All of these emails? FILLED WITH LOVE. And on a night when I was feeling particularly blue and particularly down, these emails lifted me up in ways I couldn't have even imagined.

So tonight I wept and thanked the Universe for my propensity to hoard and for Yahoo for giving me the space to hoard (for the low, low price of $25/year) and for my family for being awesome enough to give me so many things to hold onto and for Preparation H because that shit actually does de-puff eyes after a night of heavy weeping. Trust me. I know. I speak from experience.

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It's always a toss-up as to how your day is going to go when you wake up after 8, solid, dead-to-the-world, uninterrupted hours of sleep BUT you remember that you dreamt that you were trapped in a subway station, underground, WITH NO EXITS, that was burning to nothingness in a MASSIVE fire. I mean - on the one hand, well-rested. On the other hand - anxiety.

So yeah. Today was already on the fence before I even got out of bed.

But get out of bed I did (at around 6am), and I trundled bleary-eyed out of my hotel room in hopes of finding a nearby vending machine. There it was, right next to my room. I completely overlooked the fact that it was a Pepsi machine and was all set to start my day off with a Diet Pepsi except: the motherfucking hotel charges $2. TWO WHOLE DOLLARS. For a little plastic bottle of a diet soda I don't even care for? I don't think so. Also? I had no singles because of the damn WV toll-collecting turnpike.

Eventually I made my way downstairs to the lobby to the hotel's sundry shop where I stared at the Diet Pepsi which didn't require singles to purchase, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. I know. Shut up. And although I love Diet Dr. Pepper, it's really not a breakfast soda. So I settled for a Sobe Zero and a Nutri-Grain bar knowing that we were well stocked in Diet Coke at the office.

Except we weren't. My 9am meeting saw me drinking bottled water (I've never been so well hydrated, so early on in the day) because we were out of Diet Coke which meant by the time I got in my car and pulled out of the parking garage at 10:48am to begin the 270 mile drive back from WV to NC (which incidentally I had made in the opposite direction only yesterday - I swear - I spent about as much time actually in the state of WV as I did in the car driving to and from it) I was:

1) so fucking hungry my stomach was eating my intestines because Nutri-Grain bars are like half a snack and not actually a real meal and anyone who tells you otherwise probably doesn't eat real food.

2) in DESPARATE need of caffeine.

3) in DESPARATE need of caffeine.

4) in DESPARATE need of caffeine.

I remembered from the drive in (all of less than 24 hours before) that there were several full service rest stops on the WV Turnpike heading into Charleston and I figured if they were there on the way in, they'd be somewhere on the other side of the road on the way out.

Right. You can see where this is going. Thirty miles outside of Charleston and no rest stop on the Southbound side. I suppose I could have pulled off and stopped at a gas station or a McDonald's and grabbed a Diet Coke but I was trying to manage my time and my stops and I wanted to make sure that I didn't stop too early because then it would only mean that I'd consume more liquid faster and then I'd have to stop multiple times after the fact to pee. Also? I knew I'd eventually need gas but I didn't need it just then and so I held off on a mis-timed stop to gain a little ground. In general, it's a good thing that I travel alone.

Somewhere around the 11:20 mark though, the caffeine deprivation set in and it felt like leprechauns were gnawing my brain into a million little pieces with their little leprechaun teeth. And around this time I finally came up on a full service rest area but the food choices were Burger King and Quiznos and I didn't really want Burger King and I thought Quiznos would be OK only I've never eaten at Quiznos before and I just knew I'd spend 15 minutes staring at the menu trying to make a decision on what to order and I wouldn't be happy anyway because when I do occasionally order subs from Subway to eat in the car while driving, I don't order them how I normally order them (6-inch turkey on whole wheat, no cheese, light mayo, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green peppers, oil, vinegar, salt & pepper) because the lettuce is messy and the oil & vinegar drip everywhere and driving food needs to be self-contained and not leak on you and so when I order Subway for the car it's basically turkey, mayo, cucumbers and tomatoes (if they don't look green which they totally looked green when I got Subway for the car on Tuesday while driving to WV so I didn't get them) which makes for a really crappy sandwich and I didn't want my first sandwich from Quizno's to be crappy. I wanted it to be toasty and dripping with melted cheese.

Are you following all of this? Because I'm not even up to the part that matters.

So I skipped Quiznos because I was caffeine deprived slash brain dead and couldn't make a decision and pushed on. And on. And on.  There would be long stretches of endless mountain driving and then like, once every 10 miles, a gas station would pop up. Or the occasional Subway. And I was all: I know Subway is healthy but it is sucky eat-while-you-drive food so I'll pass, and then it was getting close to noon and I was, at this point, totally ravenous (fuck you Nutri-Grain), and so I couldn't just stop at an Exxon to get a Diet Coke because then I'd need to stop 10 minutes later for food. And for whatever reason, I always pick stops where I have to go like .7 miles off the highway to get to where I am going and it involves 3 left turns, and 2 really long stop lights and yeah - I suck at highway stops.

This bullshit lasted for the better part of 90 miles (because at 1 point I also decided I would hold out for Chick-Fil-A because I love their Cool Wraps AND they have Coke Zero, but I eventually gave up on that notion which is a good thing because I didn't see a Chick-Fil-A until almost 2pm when I hit Statesville, NC - about a bazillion miles later) at which point I thought I was going to die from the lack of caffeine and starvation and so I decided to pull off in Princeton, WV (Exit 9 on the WV Turnpike) which seemed to advertise a fair number of fast food places and hotels and gas stations and while busy, thriving areas are sometimes a pain traffic wise, it also means you have choices. Also? I didn't think I'd see anything else to eat for another 20 miles. 

I will say this about Princeton, WV - it is without a doubt the WORST place to exit off a highway EVER in the history of all highway exits anywhere in this country.  No. Reallt. Normally, you turn off a highway and you go left or right and maybe you hit a stop light but whatever. The crap you need - the BP, the Wendy's, the Dairy Queen - that shit is all right there on the main drag you just turned onto.

Not in Princeton, WV. Nope. I turned right onto the main drag - saw all kinds of shops and places to eat and get gas to my left and to my right. But none of them were directly accessible from the main drag. There was no actual direct point of ingress or egress. You had to travel .4 miles to a stop light, then turn left or right, and then make a subsequent turn onto a road running parallel to the main drag and back track however many tenths of a mile to get to your destination. If you can't visualize what I am saying, don't worry. All you need to know is that that shit was fucked the fuck up.

Not that this surprised me. Like I said: I have a knack for really crappy highway stops. 

I had about 10 seconds to make a decision between turning left and going to Subway and turning right and going to McDonald's and neither really appealed to me because 1) as much as I love plain double cheeseburgers (meat and cheese only thank you), I had McDonald's on Saturday while driving back from the other Charleston and they are just not healthy and there really are no healthy options at McDonald's and seeing as I had spent an assload of time actually on my ass in my car and not being active, I thought McDonald's was a bad idea 2) I had Subway the day before while driving to WV and as I've already stated - it's crappy car food.

In the end, vanity won out and I opted to turn left and go to Subway. Of course, that meant sitting at a left turn signal that took like, 5 minutes to change to green, but whatever. I turned left, turned left again, backtracked, and pulled into the Subway/Marathon in Princeton, WV.

Y'all? I hit a lot of gas stations. And rest stops. And gas stations and rest stops that house a Subway or a Wendy's or some sort of food-serving establishment.  They vary in their degree of newness. They vary in their degree of cleanliness.  I will say this: The Princeton, WV Subway was the dirtiest, sketchiest, scariest Subway I have ever been into. I walked in and I swear it was like paint was peeling, bulbs were burned out, and the whole place just seemed beyond dingy. I almost walked out, but there was no one there (I've spent 30 minutes trying to get through a line at Subway during lunch rush before) and the whole just getting off the highway thing had taken like, 10 minutes, and I didn't want to waste any more precious time.

I went to go to the bathroom first. Um..No ladies room. Just a unisex facility with a sign saying "knock before entering." Holy crap y'all - having strangers walk in on me in the bathroom is one of my biggest fears. For fuck's sake - I lock the bathroom door in my house. And I live alone. I am that paranoid.

Of course, there was no one else there save for the drugged out looking kid behind the counter. Still - I knocked before entering. No reply. So I entered only the door wouldn't shut and I had to basically slam it and then I thought I had probably locked myself in and I wondered how the Hell I would get out and Jesus why didn't I just go to McDonald's?

The bathroom? BEYOND DIRTY. And no toilet paper although thank God I carry Kleenex.  At least they had hand soap. And I managed to extricate myself from the bathroom after nearly dislocating my shoulder trying to yank the door open. And despite the fact that I was BEYOND skeeved out, I figured I'd get my 6-inch turkey, hose myself off in Purell in the car, and move on.

So I approached the ominously empty counter and the drugged out kid asked me what I wanted and I told him a 6-inch turkey on whole wheat and do you know what he told me:

"We don't have any turkey." At which point I stared at him with complete and utter incredulity (is that even a word?) because who the fuck runs out of turkey? Also - there is nothing else that I will order at Subway. Everything else scares me - especially the tuna salad but really, don't get me started. This post is out of control all ready.

Me: "You don't have turkey?"

Him: "No. We'll have some in about 30 minutes." At which point I almost fainted because WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? No turkey now but you'll have it in half an hour? Really? Are you defrosting some in the back? Is the turkey fairy going to drop some off? This is WV - are you slaughtering one as we speak?

But I didn't say any of that. I simply said: "SERIOUSLY?!" Or I may have squawked it because really - I was just so completely dumbfounded. And do you what the drugged out looking kid said in response: "SERIOUSLY?!" That fat bastard MOCKED me. And I was like (in my head of course): "I can't even begin to deal with this bullshit on an empty stomach AND NO DIET COKE" and I thought for one hot second about buying a Diet Coke to quiet the leprechauns chewing mercilessly on my brain but then I was all: these fucksticks don't have toilet paper OR turkey and their employee is a rude, mocking little shit so they don't get my Diet Coke money.

And then I stormed out in a huff. And then I got in my car, back tracked back from whence I came, crossed over the main drag and went the OTHER direction to McDonald's because Jesus - this was the longest stop in the history of ever and I needed food and caffeine and I was near tears and at least there weren't 400 people in line at the drive thru although that would have helped tremendously because when I got to the drive-thru I completely froze when she asked me what I wanted to order. I was like: give me a McSnack Wrap. No give me a cheeseburger. No wait - and then the drive-thru operator put me on hold (probably because it was clear I wasn't functioning) and I was like: Suck it up Rougie and just order. And finally she came back and long story long, I wound up with a plain double cheeseburger (just meat and cheese thank you) and the biggest Diet Coke they had which turned out to be big, but not big enough. And I didn't even enjoy the cheeseburger because I just fucking had one less than a week ago and these things are supposed to be a treat.

My point to all of this is: Princeton, WV is quite possibly Hell on Earth. Also? If ever faced with Diet Pepsi or nothing else at all, I should probably go for the Diet Pepsi because 6+ hours without caffeine does nothing except bring me to a dark and scary place.

Comments ( 6 )

A few weeks I had lunch with The Attorney and he mentioned to me that he missed my posts (from a former life blog) about dining out. I told him that there was only so much I could say about chicken wings (the main extent of my dining out experiences these days) but that I would see what I could do.  Fortunately for both of us I was in Charleston, SC this week and I had a notable dinner that is totally worth sharing.  

Don't get me wrong. Even though I don't go out to dinner near as much as I used to, I still love fine dining. I still love exquisite cuisine. I still love discovering really amazing, occasionally off-the-beaten-path restaurants.  It's just, going out to eat is traditionally a couple's activity and seeing as I am half of a couple these days, I suppose I've avoided it. Also? I live in the middle of nowhere.  A big night out in these parts is Chili's - not exactly blog worthy.

But you know what is blog worthy? FIG. FIG is blog worthy, swoon worthy, and just about everything else worthy. 

Friday night was my third time dining at FIG. Each and every time I have gone to FIG I have sat at the bar and dined solo. And each and every time I have loved it which is making me rethink this whole "dining out is a couple's activity" philosophy. Solo dining at the bar is actually one of my favorite things to do.

Knowing that it would be crowded, I got to FIG a little bit on the early side to secure a seat at the bar,  I opted for the end seat in the corner - mainly so I'd have a place to park my exceptionally large shopping bag.  I had already perused the menu online so I knew exactly what I wanted to start: An Elder Paloma.  Made with Herradura reposado tequila, grapefruit, Belvoir sparkling elderflower, and lime this cocktail is the grown-up, sophisticated version of the margarita. It's also delicious and after several hours of heavy shopping on King Street, it hit the spot.

I was in no rush and it was lovely to sit at the still quiet bar, sipping my cocktail and flipping through Garden & Gun, which is seriously the best magazine ever and totally worth a post in its own right.

Although the bartender, Andrew, had handed me a menu with my cocktail, I didn't spend too much time looking at it. Mainly because 1) like I said, I had already studied everything extensively online and 2) I was more interested in what he recommended. FIG is one of those places where everyone lives, breathes, sleeps and worships food and wine and while I knew that everything on the menu was probably delicious, I also knew that Andrew would have some definite views on which of the many delicious things were extra delicious and that's what I wanted to know.

On Andrew's recommendation, I started with the lacinato kale gnocchi with spicy pork ragout. The gnocchi were made from ricotta (instead of the traditional potato) which made them exceptionally pillowy and fluffy.  The spicy pork ragout had a nice kick, but wasn't too powering. And the dollop of mascarpone cheese on top was the perfect balance, especially once I swirled it into the dish and it got all melty and creamy and delicious. I trusted Andrew with the wine as well as the food and he paired the gnocchi with a Bordeaux blend from Saint-Emilion, the 2007 Chateau Fleur de Rigaud. I won't go into a lot of bullshit winespeak, but I will say that wine had a really nice heft to it and stood up to the dish well.

By the time I got to my last little dumpling, I was sad because holy hell the dish was amazing, and I seriously contemplated licking my plate spotless. As it was, I did near inappropriate things with the bread trying to lap up every last drop of spicy pork tastiness. And you know what's awesome? When Andrew cleared my plate and asked me how I had enjoyed my appetizer and I made a comment about wanting to lick the plate clean, he told me it would have totally been acceptable. For realz. These people WORSHIP food - I am telling you.

For dinner, I went with the chicken. And before y'all give one big, collective sigh and say "You were at FIG and you ordered chicken?" I say: they could probably serve boiled water at FIG and it would be incredible.  The chicken came from Keegan-Filion Farms, a local farm that pasture feeds its livestock and focuses on sustainability i.e. it was really good chicken.  A breast was pounded thin, breaded, fried up and served schnitzle style atop a mound of farro piccolo (an heirloom grain) which had been prepared like a risotto. A chicken leg had been confited (Confit! OMG I ADORE confit!) and large chunks of the tender meat were mixed in with the farro piccolo.  The whole thing was topped with a fresh herb salad.

It was scrumptious and somewhere around the second or third bite I had the revelation that I was in the throes of a full-on culinary orgasm.  Although the chicken was complex enough to pair well with the Bordeaux, Andrew switched me over to the 2007 Pascal Granger Le Bouteau Beaujolais-Villages which was lighter, fruitier, and a more suitable match. 

Overall, the combination of delectable food, paired perfectly with the appropriate wines, attentive & knowledgeable service, a leisurely pace, and highly entertaining reading material made for an evening that was truly, truly divine. The only thing that would have made it even more perfect would have been if I hadn't been such a model of virtuous self-restraint and passed up their homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream.

And even better than the meal, I got a much needed reminder that being only half of a couple doesn't mean I need to deprive myself of the occasional nice dinner out. 

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Fact #1: I don't wear suits. Despite being a slave to corporate America which thereby requires me to own a wardrobe composed of professional attire, I am more of a shift dress kind of girl. Pencil skirts and sweater sets.  Cropped pants and cute tops.  I just don't really do blazers well. Yet despite the lack of suits hanging in my closet, I always manage to look polished and professional. It's a gift.

Fact #2: I can't wear white. Or rather I should say, I choose not to wear white because I am the biggest klutz on the face of the planet and as soon as I put on something white, it quickly becomes stained with red wine, lipstick, ink, car grease or just plain old fashioned dirt.  Seriously. My knack for spilling, falling, and in general bumping into things truly hampers my ability to wear white. 

You can see where this going - right? You can see that despite Fact #1 and Fact #2, I am about to tell you that:

I BOUGHT A WHITE SUIT.

I know. What the fuck was I thinking? 

I don't even LIKE suits and there's no point in my buying anything white because I will wear it once and then it will be unusable and yet...there I was. In the dressing room at Ann Taylor (I don't even SHOP at Ann Taylor) admiring myself in a kicky white suit and playing all the mental games that an expert shopper such as myself plays when in the middle of making a a very important decision.

So let me backtrack to give you the full picture.

I was in Charleston for work and after wrapping everything up on Friday, I decided to take a stroll up King Street and do a little shopping.  In fact, although there was nothing specific I needed, I was in the mood to buy.  I figured if I couldn't score a Lilly Pulitzer dress at Palm Avenue, then something was wrong in the universe.

You know what happens when you're in the mood to spend? You find NOTHING. I must have hit a dozen really cute boutiques carrying the likes of Trina Turk, Tory Burch, Glam, Milly, the aforementioned Lilly - all of my favorites. And not one single thing I tried on made me want to whip out my Mastercard. It was actually disheartening.

I don't know why I wandered into Ann Taylor. It's not a store I typically frequent. There was nothing in the window that caught my eye.  But wander in I did. And I was about to wander out when the salesgirl told me that the entire store was 25% off. And since I can't pass up a bargain, I refocused my energy in order to find one single, decent thing that I wanted to the tune of 25% off.

I have no clue what prompted me to grab a white suit off the rack. Perhaps it was the extreme South Carolina humidity. Or maybe I was delusional from hunger.  Whatever. I grabbed it (knowing full well that "white" and "suit" are 2 words which have no place in my wardrobe), tried it on, and long story long:

OMG y'all: How could I NOT buy it? It was just so perfect other than the fact that it was, you know, white. And a suit. I think I stood in the dressing room for about 20 minutes debating with the salesgirl. She said I had to buy it. I said I didn't. She said it looked awesome. I agreed but I told her I had no place to wear it. She told me that I didn't need an occasion to wear the awesome white suit. I should just wear it and be fabulous. Then she reminded me of the 25% discount. And then she told me the jacket would look cute with jeans or black pants. Actually, she was extremely effective and in the end, she made such a compelling case that I couldn't say No despite the obvious roadblocks.

I know y'all are just dying to see this incredible white wonder suit.  And I would totally take a picture of it, but I am scared that if I remove the suit from the plastic bag it was wrapped in that it will get dirty. No seriously. There is dirt and dust and dander in the air and I am pretty sure that once I do eventually remove the suit from its protective wrapping and don it, it will instantly turn gray. That's how my twisted mind works.

And for whatever reason, Ann Taylor doesn't have a full picture on their website - they only show the pieces as separates.  But this is the jacket:

Ann Taylor Jacket.jpg

I love the 3/4-length sleeves and the oversized collar and it's slightly asymmetrical and the snaps are all hidden and it really does look cute with jeans and you can see why I had to buy it - right?

As for the skirt:

Ann Taylor Skirt.jpg

White. Pencil. Classic. And you can't really tell in the picture but the fabric is textured - kind of boucle - like, which of course totally makes me think: Jackie O!

Even better, while I was driving home from Charleston I remembered that I have a reception this week in West Virginia and I thought that this suit would be absolutley 1) appropriate 2) stunning and 3) perfect even though it's pre-Memorial Day and technically I don't think one is supposed to wear white before Memorial Day but whatever. I'll be in West Virginia. Like those hillbillies are fashion Nazis.    

And as long as I am in the midst of my Retail Confessions, I may have purchased 4 pairs of shoes the other day. But it's not my fault. It's my local Wal-Mart's fault for not carrying brand name tissues in pretty boxes.  Seriously, if I didn't have tissue issues, I wouldn't have gone into Target on my way to my meeting on Thursday. And if I hadn't gone into Target, I never would have discovered the Miss Trish for Target shoes and then I wouldn't have bought these:

Miss Trish Green.jpg

Which by the way, these were a total necessity because ever since my pink & green Lilly sandals died a few summers ago, I have been on a quest to replace them. And these pink & green babies? Only $24.99. And they're bejewled which means THEY'RE ALL SPARKLY. Win win.

And speaking of bejeweled shoes for only $24.99: 

Miss Trish Brown.jpg

Aren't those jewel-studded lizards awesome? They remind me of a very pricey pair of Jack Rogers that Dr. Diva used to own until her dog unceremoniously ate one.

Anyways, I was all set to leave Target with my 2 pairs of incredibly inexpensive yet adorable SHOES THAT SPARKLE, when I caught sight of these:

Merona Gold.jpg

I swear to y'all right this very second on all that is holy in this world that I have been searching for shoes EXACTLY like this for, like, a week. Seriously.  Last weekend not one, not two, but 3 of my girls had metallic wedge espadrilles. One pair were J. Crew - last season. And the other two were Stuart Weitzman. Also purchased last season. So to find these bad boys, at Target, ON SALE NO LESS, was like a sign from God. Even though they didn't exactly have my size. But whatever, I can totally squeeze my foot into a 6. And I grabbed a pair in black as well because really, you can never have too many wedge espadrilles.   

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Dear Mom,

I just wanted to say you that you were right. About everything. Well almost everything. I still swear that if the Universe ever sees fit to entrust me with a daughter that I will absolutely let her highlight her hair when she is 12. Also? If she wants to get her ears pierced I won't require her to put together an argument worthy of a Supreme Court appeal. I'll just let her do it.

But other than that, I'm taking my cues from you because you have rocked this motherhood gig like nobody's business, and even though I am almost 35, you still rock at motherhood. Who would have thought that at almost 35 I would need you as much as I do?

It's been a long time since we've fought, and I don't remember the last time we butted heads over anything. But there was a time that I was determined to prove that you were wrong. That I was right and that I knew best.  HAH! Clearly I was misguided. See also: young, foolish and clueless.

I don't think that parenting is easy. And I certainly don't think that parenting someone like me is easy.  But for almost 35 years you have done the job and you have done it with grace, patience, determination, and an abundance of love.

Because of you, I know the type of mother I want to be. And if children aren't in my future, that's ok. Because of you, I know the type of woman I want to be.

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I would crumble without you.

xoxo Rougie

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I am a labelwhore - at least when it comes to groceries and toiletries. I simply don't do brandless, generic products.  I know that the CVS ibuprofen is the same as Advil. Doesn't matter. There is something so ridiculously comforting about the actual word "Advil" along with the blue background and the yellow type that I can't explain. I am not kidding: the one time I walked into Aldi's and saw that EVERY SINGLE item they carried in the store was their in-house brand, I started to hyperventilate and break out into hives.

I am an also an aesthete which means I like for things to be pretty.  For example: I don't buy the plain white paper towels. I buy designer prints. Bounty of course. And not just any old print but the pretty ones that I think will look good in my kitchen.

So yeah. It's possible I have issues.

Anyways, I use tissues by the bucketload.  I use them for blowing my nose, blotting my lipstick, smushing small spiders and picking up the copious amounts of hair I shed in the bathroom.  I usually have at least 4 boxes in my wee little house at all times.

But here's the problem.

As a labelwhore, I will only buy Kleenex or Puff's. As an aesthete, I require that the boxes be pretty and that they coordinate with the overall decor of the room they are in.  As a resident of Smalltown, USA I am pretty much screwed because our local Wally World and grocery stores only carry "pretty" boxes in their generic store brands which I won't buy on account of they're being generic, and the selection of Kleenex and Puff's is all plain or ugly boxes. Which leaves me in something of a quandary.

It also leaves me without tissues at the moment since I really and truly cannot stand to buy and look at an ugly box of tissues.

You don't have to say it. I already know.

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I was 11 or 12 when I first got glasses.  Given my mother's poor vision, it was pretty much inevitable that my vision would deteriorate as well. Still. I held out hope that somehow her defective genes would skip over me and land on my brother someone else.

I wasn't so lucky. As I said, somewhere in the middle of 6th Grade I got the dreaded news. I got the BIG FAT F at my annual visit to the eye doctor. My vision was no longer perfect. I needed glasses.

Glasses for reading. But whatevs.  GLASSES.  I needed glasses.  Visions of "Four-eyes" and "Nerd" danced blurrily in my head, and I am pretty sure that I secretly wanted to die with shame because OMG: GLASSES. An absolute and utter stigma during my 1980-something pre-adolescence.

I remember my first pair of glasses vividly.  They were clear - as if to disappear when I slipped them over my nose. But they had cute and subtle little black squiggles at the outer corner of the eye - as if to say: I may be invisible, but I am still stylish.

I have this distinct memory of picking up my glasses from the ophthalmologist and heading back home. I remember crawling into my parents' bed with a book, slipping on my new, nearly-invisible frames, and popping in my night brace. I was the picture of pre-adolescent awesome (See also: Sexy Awkward!).

I hated my glasses for as long as I could and then they became a fact of life. My vision deteriorated to the point that I no longer needed glasses to read. I needed glasses to actually see. Although I was still horribly awkward, gawky, and just BLECH (Actually - I was seriously awkward, gawky and BLECH for ages and seriously - you will have to pay me beaucoups de bucks to see any pictures of a pre-23yo Rougie), I did have some sense of panache and I decided to let my glasses make a statement. No longer did they disappear on my face. They stood out. I opted for the brightest colors and the boldest frames I could find.  At 14 it was a struggle, but I did my best to make it work.

And work it did. For awhile. Until I got contacts. And then I got LASIK. And eventually my glasses became nothing more than something sitting around, unused, inside the lower right-hand side drawer of my dresser.

Until last week.

I had LASIK 10 years ago. It was, without a doubt, one of the best things I have ever done and I highly recommend it. Still. I was 25 when I had LASIK. And over the course of 10 years, ones' eyes deteriorate. Certainly not to the point of where they once were, but when I go to the movies or when I sit through a presentation at a work conference, I notice. I notice that my vision is not as crisp as it once was.

And so I made a long overdue appointment to visit the eye doctor and she confirmed what I already suspected: my vision could use a little aid.

So - I picked up a little aid:

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This is me, in my stylie new frames, rocking the sexy librarian look. See the updo?

And this is me, letting my hair down (and gritting my teeth because holy fucksticks I hate posing for self-portraits more than I hate getting pap smears. No seriously.):

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I will say this: I LOVE THEM. My glasses that is.  Seriously. I worked from home yesterday (basement/sump pump issues - DON'T GET ME STARTED) and I didn't take them off once. I think they are ADORABLE.

So yeah. Who cares what guys make passes at. I can see clearly again. And I look awesome doing it.

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Almost 17 years ago, I showed up at Duke a wide-eyed, fresh-faced Freshman.  And to go off on a slight tangent, I totally feel compelled to criticize Hollywood for how they often portray college arrivals.  I mean who shows up to school with nothing more than a duffle bag slung over their shoulder and a single crate nestled in their arms with some books and a lamp? I'm not saying that everyone's arrival involves 2 fully packed cars, 4 adults, 1 overanxious teenager and somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 - 50 boxes and suitcases; but usually kids need more than 3 pairs of underwear, a sweater, and a lamp to survive a year away from home.

Anyways, I was fortunate early on in my Freshman year to meet some extraordinary women. Well - they weren't women back then. They were still girls. We were all still girls. But nonetheless, the word extraordinary still applies. We were thrown together because we lived in the same dorms. We had the same classes. We had fake IDs and were able to get into the on-campus bar. We hooked up with dated the same boys. It didn't take long for the core of our group to form.  

The thing is with Freshman friendships, you don't really expect them to last. I mean, who knew that when I met a random blonde and a random brunette standing over a campfire the first week of school at an off-campus party, and who later accompanied me to Waffle House for what would be one of many late night breakfasts, that the bonds we were forming would be so everlasting?  Is it possible that keg beer, waffles and hashbrowns are better than Crazy Glue?

You wonder how 8 women could live together Senior year and not kill each other with cattiness and The Bitchies.  

You wonder if and how the friendships can survive the post-college era when everyone begins to move away, get a job, get married, have kids and in general, grow up. 

But we did. We survived. We survived distance and we survived time. And seventeen years later, I am still proud and awed that these extraordinary women are very much a part of my life. 

We started the tradition of an annual reunion weekend 4 years ago and this past weekend we convened at a gorgeous house on Lake Travis in Texas for 3 glorious days that saw lots of laughter, a few tears, way too many stairs, plenty of sun (for the last 4 years I have departed on Sunday red as a lobster), and enough chips and salsa to last me a lifetime. Seriously. No. More. Corn.

It was a wonderful weekend, can't you tell?

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There was a time when I wondered if our friendships would endure.  Not because we didn't love each other fiercely, but because the death of a friendship sometimes feels inevitable.  As we grow older, our lives get more complicated and burdened by more responsibility. We don't have as much time for all of the things we once had time for.

And although our lives have changed dramatically over the last 17 years, one thing hasn't.  These last 17 years have proven that these women are more than my friends. They are my family. Where they go, I go. Where I go, they go. Always.      

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