Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keeping Up Appearances

My passion for makeup is third only to shoes and handbags. I've been collecting makeup since before I can remember and that tube of hot pink lipstick in my bathroom drawer (circa 1992) will vouch for me. Before you judge me for having an unsanitary tube of twenty year old lipstick, know that I have researched the shelf lives of makeup products and abide closely by them. This lipstick is an exception as it originally was my grandmother's and it was my first tube of lipstick, the catalyst for my addiction.

You would think, knowing that, I would wear new makeup looks all the time and always have my appearance together in the facial region. Well, you would think that, but you would be wrong. Not only do I not try out new makeup looks frequently, but I'm not even sure when the last time I wore makeup was. I love makeup and I love to play with it. As far as my daily beauty regime though, it just doesn't make the cut. While I was never a, "I don't leave the house without makeup" kind-of-girl, and I have been known to go bare-faced to work a time or two, I used to take pride in my appearance. That's not to say I place appearance above all else; however in today's society you must admit it matters.

What's the point of this incoherent rambling? You want to know what gave me this inspiration?

Wendy's. Yes, I'm talking fast-food burgers and fries, Where's the beef?, You know when it's real, Wendy's. After one of my mom's monthly, three hour long doctor's appointment, we opted for a fast bite to eat. Before you judge me again, I only had a measly kid's hamburger and soda. It could have been a lot worse. Anyway, the drive-thru line was backed up for days, so I decided it would be quicker to run inside. I walked right up to the counter to place my order with the cashier, a girl in her late-teens.

Momentarily, I was taken aback. It wasn't because of her hostile demeanor; I expected that. It wasn't the red of her hair, which resembled cartoon Wendy from the sign. It was her appearance, in a good way. Her pale complexion, which enabled her to make that red hair work, was fresh and smooth. Her foundation was applied in a natural way with just a hint of color splashed on her cheeks. She was sporting minimal eyeshadow, but had opted for a cat-eye look with winged black liquid eyeliner. And for the cherry on top of the Frosty, she sported full, fluffy, false eyelashes.

My initial reaction was that it was a little over-done for working at Wendy's. There's nothing wrong with working at fast-food joints; it's just unexpected to be served by Miss America. But then I thought, why not? Maybe we all need to take a cue from little Miss Wendy's. Just because we aren't out doing exactly what we'd love to be doing, doesn't mean we can't make the best of the situation. It doesn't mean we shouldn't present ourselves in the best way we know how. Shouldn't we always be putting our best foot forward?

Image courtesy of ahmet guler.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lazy Is Such An Ugly Word

I do not like the word lazy. I feel like lazy is such an ugly word; it is a four letter word after all. I really don't like the fact that lately, I could describe myself as lazy. Recently, it seems that nothing motivates me enough to get anything done or things are just too overwhelming to even begin.

My intentions are always good. The problem may be that my ideas are just too big. I don't know where to begin. Writing has always been a release for me, so I decided to try my hand at really writing, like novel writing. From short stories, to even shorter blog posts, I'm obviously going in the wrong direction. Maybe novel writing is biting off more than I can chew at this point, especially with my newly found lazy demeanor. On the other hand, maybe it's the perfect thing to make me wake up and smell the coffee.

Considering I can barely get off the couch long enough to do the dishes some days, I doubt a novel will start magically flowing from my fingers. Realizing this, lazy strikes again and I don't even know where to begin. Instead, my attention turns to the TV and I find myself in the same spot on the couch for hours, sometimes unblinking.

I can roughly pinpoint when I caught lazy. Shortly after I quit my job and re-located to be with my then-fiance, I found myself getting less and less done. Also, I was sleeping a ton! It didn't take long to make our apartment cozy and homey so I quickly ran out of things to do. While I was job searching in the beginning, it was only a half-hearted attempt. It wasn't long until I was on a full-fledged mission to find a job though. Any job would do just to inject some structure into my life.

I began working a part-time retail job which wasn't so great, but I enjoyed actually having to be somewhere a few times a week. When I wasn't working, I knew that I had to use my time off wisely to get things done. Lazy was fading fast. Not to toot my own horn, but I would say I have an outstanding work ethic. My employers noticed this too, and eventually I was working four or five days a week. While I enjoyed the extra income and store discount, it didn't make up for the erratic schedule and, at times, hostile work environment. Lazy began flaring up again.

With the hours I was working, I again lacked structure and though I spent lots of time working, I spent little time getting anything else done. That's when my mom's accident and cancer diagnosis came in.

I was no longer working and spending almost every waking second with her. At that point, I wasn't getting anything done, but I was just focused on being with my mom. Eventually, things progressed with my mom's health and I began to regain a sense of normalcy in my life.

Currently, my life still lacks structure though and I think that's a huge culprit of the lazy. Tuesday through Thursday I stay with my with mom, and spend most of my time taking her to appointments and running errands. Friday, I make the two and a half hour drive back home to be with my new husband. I stay there through Monday until it's time to make the long drive back to be with my mom again. I'm so exhausted by the time I get to either place, it's like pulling teeth trying to get myself to do simple household chores. Whether it's cooking, cleaning, or grocery shopping, it all seems as daunting as writing that novel.

So I have to ask; what motivates you? What do you do when you're feeling overwhelmed? Where do I begin?

What happens now that TheShoppingGirl can count everything she shopped for in the last two months on one hand? *Gasp*

Thank you to nuttakit for the provided image.

Monday, January 17, 2011

No, This Isn't My New Year's Resolution

I'm guessing the blogosphere is abuzz right about now. I'm sure millions of new bloggers joined the scene and a million more bloggers (like myself) who fell off the blog-wagon are jumping back on thanks to the New Year and its pesky resolutions.

Well, blogging isn't my New Year's Resolution. This is because New Year's Resolutions are a like promise just waiting to be broken. It is estimated that only 12% of people actually achieve their resolutions each year. I don't like those odds.

Years ago I proclaimed that I will no longer be making New Year's Resolutions because making them is almost the same as saying "I will not accomplish this goal." I haven't made a New Year's Resolution since. *I would like to make clear that it was not a New Year's Resolution to no longer make New Year's Resolutions, just a pure statement. Otherwise, you may try to claim irony in that, that was the one New Year's Resolution I actually kept.*

I'm back to blogging just for pure self-fulfilment. I've tried my hand at it twice before and never got into a rythmn. Here's to the old "third time's a charm" credo!

If any blogger out there (old or new) has any helpful tips on obtaining a blogging rythmn, please do share.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Retail Therapy Just Got A New Meaning

Shopping bag with heart shape symbol, close-up
Yesterday I realized that my once white bra had turned an awful gray color. Since I've been staying at my sister's house, I have a minimal amount of clothes and an even more minimal amount of lingerie. I turned to my backup bra and discovered it was as mangy as the first! I told my mom that I was in desperate need of new undergarments, so she agreed to head up to the nearby outlet mall with me today.

Well, today was excellent! I loaded my mom, wheelchair, walker, and all into my car and sped off in search of replacement bras. I wasn't sure of my mom's energy level at that point, so I didn't know if we would need to make it a short outing or not.

Upon arrival I picked up two soft pretzels, one for each of us and steered the wheelchair to the Maidenform outlet. We browsed the store and surprisingly found three bras that fit, a task not made easy by my large chest. (It seems all the large cup sizes are cut for old ladies! No offense.) So we picked up a few undies, too. Everything was on sale and I had a coupon so we were quite proud of our frugal spending!

Next, my mom wheeled herself while I gobbled up my pretzel for energy (trying on bras is hard work) over to the Michael Kors outlet. We skipped over the purses because although I love them, even at the outlet they are quite pricey. Besides, I still have two from my Italian honeymoon that haven't even see the light of day yet. We rolled into the sweaters and we spotted the cutest orange, faux wrap sweater with two buckles around the upper left hip. I, of course, had to get one. It's the perfect color for Autumn after all. From the sale rack I plucked a fuzzy snakeskin print cardigan, and a ruched pink, white, and gray long sleeved top, perfect alone or under a blazer. My mom found an adorable diagonally striped purple and black, drapey sweater. I would have got one for myself would they have had it in my size!

I figured my mom would be tired-out from trying on a couple of sweaters considering she had to stand up a few times. That's not always an easy task for her these days. We headed off in the direction of the car, but when she saw Dress Barn, she said she wanted to go in. On a side note, if you're like me, you're probably thinking Dress Barn is old lady-ish and unstylish. I used to think that anyway, but recently have found that it's actually kind of cool. You just have to take the bad with the good, but that can be said for a lot of stores. So anyway, we popped into Dress Barn and before I knew it, my mom had decided to try on some entire outfits! I was shocked that she wanted to try pants on, I didn't even want to, because it's a lot of work, you know.

The store had a good size dressing room, so we pulled in and got to work. We took my mom's leg braces off and she shimmied into her pants while I made sure she kept her balance and didn't fall. The first outfit was a pair of brown herringbone pants with a burgundy long sleeve shirt. She topped it with a brown sleeveless sweater that buttoned once at the top. It was a complete success! She tried on a few other sweaters, but ultimately passed on those. I didn't want to be left out of the fun so I found a green faux leather motorcycle jacket. The color is a little reminiscent of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it's fun all the same. Color is a vital part of one's wardrobe.

Excited about our finds, we got my mom all re-dressed including her braces. When she learned that sweaters were buy one get one half off, she decided it would only be right to get another one. After moving section to section we found a cute black and white hooded sweater with three little black buttons from the neck down. (My mom has lost about 100 pounds over the past year, so she doesn't have many clothes that fit her current size. I just have a problem.) During the hunt for the other sweater, she decided the stylish gray bootcut jeans were calling her name. We headed back to the dressing room so she could try them. It meant unstrapping the braces and more balancing practice, but I was thrilled that she had the energy to keep on going! The jeans looked awesome so we decided to take those, too. My mom accused me of being a bad influence on her, but I told her, she's my mom, she made me that way. She credited my shopaholism to my grandma who had us shopping at Nordstrom before we could talk or walk. She's probably right, but she doesn't help either!

Anyway, after making a substantial dent in our wallets and with energy levels beginning to dip for both parties, we called it quits and made our way home. But today, it wasn't so much the shopping that made me happy, (but it helped) it was seeing my mom have so much energy. To see my mom up and moving around so much, enjoying the things she enjoyed before everything happened. Life felt a little more normal. And above all, she got a really good workout standing and wheeling, getting fresh air and moving. That means we covered her physical therapy then, too. See? Retail therapy is even better than we thought!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

You'll have to excuse the horrendous picture as I only have my phone for a camera for the time being, but check out these beauties! Okay, so maybe diamonds are a girl's best friend, but faux diamonds are a girl's wallet's best friend.

These are my latest Home Shopping Network purchase. I was just casually browsing around the site when I saw that there was an Absolute Event! For those of you don't know (but really should) Absolute is HSN's version of a cubic zirconium and it is amazing. They claim that people won't know the difference, so I asked my geologist husband to put their words to the test. He says that though it's easy for him to tell the difference (he is a professional after all) it's a really good imitation and the average person likely couldn't tell the difference. I buy that. Except for the size thing...I don't think anybody believes that little old me can afford rocks that big. But I don't mind, I love them all the same. Besides, if they were real I'd be afraid to wear them outside!

I decided to reward myself, I've been going through a lot and I deserve it. And seeing as how I'm staying at my sister's house with my mom, I really didn't have any jewelry here with me. (Yes, I'm just looking for excuses here.) I can't resist an Absolute matching set on sale, so sue me! These are fabulous. I love them. And already wear them all the time. I highly recommend checking out's Absolute section.

Not only have I been checking the website, but my mom and I have taken to watching HSN sometimes when she's in bed feeling low or tired. We both get excited seeing what's in store. We ooh and ahh at the good stuff, giggle at the silly, and have fun predicting what the salesgirls will say next. It's so nice that shopping can make us feel better. And the jewelry makes me feel beautiful and fancy. Can't argue with that!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Remember Me?

Woman with string on finger
I've been gone awhile now, so you may have forgotten me.

A lot has changed in past few months. Here's the short version: I found a retail job. It was horrible. I quit. My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer. She was in the hospital, then a rehab center, and has since been released to my sister's tiny house. I got married. Went on a fantastic two week honeymoon. Left my apartment to stay at said sister's tiny house to help care for mom. You'll find the long version on my new blog, This Is My Life?

While everything is kind of up in the air right now, I'm using my new blog, This Is My Life?, to express myself. I'm going to keep this blog going however because at my core, I'm still the same old TheShoppingGirl. I still am quite the shopaholic and have learned to be even more resourceful with it while I'm somewhat housebound with my mom.

So stay tuned for the happy shopping stories to come!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Long Live Queen Ding-Dong

This post ties back into my post I. Want. A. Job. As I was saying before, I really want a job, even just a little something. (Although, I know as soon as I get a job, I will be saying the opposite).

Anyway, last night I decided to check Craigslist for open jobs in my area. I have always been a little hesitant looking for jobs on Craigslist because you never know what you might get. Beyond that, companies don't list their names on Craigslist, so you can't do your research and you don't know what you're signing up for.

I decided because everywhere else I was looking, I was out of leads, I might as well give Craigslist a chance. A found a job posted that day that sounded great. It was part-time, working at a physical therapy practice. I decided my skill set truly fit with what they were looking for and proceeded to reply to their posting.

In my last post about job hunting, I mentioned that I like to write a very specific cover letter for each position, but was sick of writing them and always felt they were never just right. I went back to the drawing board though and made this as pertinent as I could with the two sentence job description I had been provided. I actually thought it was a success. (Of course, I still haven't heard anything back.)

While I was applying for this great opportunity, I decided to see if I could find anything else worth applying for. I found four other positions that seemed to have potential, so I figured I would apply to them as well. (As I said, I've been applying to tons of positions and haven't heard more than a word or two back from anywhere. I don't understand when or how I became such an untouchable.) Moving on, I decided the cover letter I had written for the physical therapy position was a strong enough blanket cover letter, since I had little information to go off of from the postings. Here is where the trouble began.

I tapped reply to the next job and copy and pasted my previous email. I changed the job description in which I referenced and did a quick once over to make sure I took out anything else that referred to a physical therapy practice. It looked good! Off I sent it. I repeated this process three other times and then jumped into bed. It was after midnight by this point.

This morning I woke up expecting to hear nothing back, but hoping all the same that I would. My phone rang around 9:30, but it was my fiance's set ringtone, so though I was happy he called, disappointment still hit that it wasn't a future employer. After ending my conversation with Chris, I thumbed through my BlackBerry for emails. Some junk, nothing good. I was going to crawl back in bed for awhile to read or watch TV, but my phone blinked red, indicating that I had a new email.

I scanned down and I couldn't believe it was for the Administrative Assistant position that I had applied to just the night before. The posting had been old, so I didn't get my hopes up, thinking they may just be telling me that it had been filled. At this point, I was so excited at the thought that someone would even bother to tell me that, because that was a first. I excitedly opened the email and read only a short phrase.

We don't have a physical therapy practice...

I gasped. Instead of aiming myself back towards the bed, I scurried to my computer to assess the damage. There it was, right in the first paragraph. I had neglected to take out that I would be an asset to their physical therapy practice. I meant company! I meant company, whichever one you were!

My stomach churned. I immediately replied. I wasn't sure that that was the right choice. My letter mentions how great I am at attention to detail. (I swear, I am extremely detail-oriented. It was midnight. I was in panic mode that I would never find a job. I knew I should have written a job specific cover letter. Shame on me.) But I replied anyway, apologizing for the mistake, hoping that deep down they would decide that everybody makes mistakes, but it takes a strong person to admit they are wrong, especially to an prospective employer. (I haven't heard anything back there either, nor do I expect to.)

After an attempt at damage control, I opted to recall the other three pending letters. Because it was sent through Craigslist, it can't be recalled. A new reason to not like Craigslist!

So there you have it. This Ding-Dong here applied to four jobs yesterday, telling each how she would be an asset to their physical therapy practice, of which they do not have. I am totally embarrassed, but I'll just have to chalk it up as another lesson learned, laugh at myself, and move on.

On a side note: I've been looking back at my previous number of post each month, and that number keeps declining. My goal is to try to get the number to increase now instead of decrease. Especially since I lost a lovely follower. To those of you who have stuck around: I appreciate your on-going support.

Long Live Queen Ding-Dong!