Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The State of My Dress 2014

So news flash, I have just discovered the miracle of high rise pants. I am talking the highest of waists. I pull them up into camel toe territory and then lower them ever so slightly. I CINCH them in place with a belt and seal it all in with a nice form fitting long tank top. It feels great and I makes my shirts and ass look better.  I'd call that a fashion win, but I'm far from an expert in that arena. (read on) it has me feeling so great I thought you'd all enjoy reading about my recent fashion musings in my blog.

I'm not sure why it took me until my 30th year of life to learn how to properly wear pants. I may be a little slow to catch on in the "how to wear clothes" arena. Or it maybe because during my formative fashion years, the approximate distance between crotch and waist of any pant was 1.25 inches. In order to avoid crack issues in pants that low of a rise you must remain completely upright and straight-as-a-board. Now to mention they look horrible on anyone with hips that don't lie.
Low Rise Disaster. Her Hips Don't Lie.
In order to solve the dilemma of chilly backs and whacky cracks, the shirt makers of America got together and decided amongst themselves to elongate their product. Hats off to shirt makers for cover the ass of pants makers who dropped the ball around the turn of the millennium. I still very much appreciate your elongated shirt products even though I now rock the highest waisted pants and as a result no longer have issues with crack.

I am not really talking about the trend where you tuck shirts INTO high rise jeans. No, that way of pant-wearing is only for the trimmest and fittest of women. I'm advocating for slimming the hips by covering them with the high rise pant and shirt.

Some of you will say, I am a couple years behind the high waisted pant trend. Touche. However,  I am also still learning how to tie a scarf and by the time I master it, the trend will be over. Even still, I will stubbornly rock them for at least a year after the last fashionista decides to donate her scarf collection to goodwill. (Has that happened yet?) When it comes to fashion trends, I am so "far gone" that there is little hope I will ever return to a place where I feel comfortable in any place you find trendy people. I am actually so far gone I'm not really sure where trendy people congregate these days. If I had to venture a guess I'd say, juice bars?

You know  that Stacey London show where they followed frumpy moms around and secretly videotaped their daily fashion disasters and then made them give up EVERY THING THEY OWNED in exchange for a couple of fashionable outfits? Can I Netflix that show? When I actually watched it I was not in need of a makeover. Now, I very much am the frumpy mom at which the stylists would scoff as I went about my day. My secret videotape montage would sound something like this:
"Are those elastic bottom sweat pants? THEY ARE! This is a whole new level of frump! The least she could do is buy some yoga pants." - "Look at the puke stains on her shirt. She left the house without changing her shirt?! - "Did she even brush her hair today?" - "Can anyone tell us the last time she DID NOT put her hair in a ponytail. Anyone? Anyone at all? - "Wait! Back up, is that a hole in the crotch of her sweat pants?" 
 -Btw I TRY not to leave the house in my holey crotch sweat pants. I'm not gonna say it "never" happens.

I am JUST NOW discovering that being stylish and being trendy are different things! I KNOW! I offer this as a defense, the last time I even thought about fashion was just before I was forced into my first maternity clothes, I was 24 and trendy.

Oh my gosh, you do not know how desperately I need a gay man in my life that can order my fashion world. I would wear pretty much anything he said so long as he approved of  high rise pants. If pants near the belly button have no place in the wardrobe of a stylish 30 year old, well then count me out. I am desperately clinging to them, and you will have to pry them out of my cold dead fingers before I give them up when I've only just discovered them.

In absence of a style guru or a stint on What Not To Wear, I executed an exhaustive fashion investigation...and by that I mean Google searched it.  So here's what I learned: being stylish is dressing to fit your body and your taste within some conventional parameters. To do that effectively you need really solid "pieces" in your wardrobe upon which you can build outfits for many "seasons" and only "accent" with Tim Gunn approved trends to stay relevant. Well...that sounds complicated and expensive.

There is also a whole other issue that won't be addressed in this blog but deserves a shout out. This quest to bring "style" to the masses is patronizing at its most basic level. Like, GOD FORBID anyone consider cargo Capri pants acceptable. If you can't be someone's friend because they wear cargo capri pants you just shouldn't be anyone's friend. Didn't we get over this all in high school?

You know what show I would love to watch Tim Gunn's Goodwill Makeover. If he could walk into the Goodwill and build someone a wardrobe that was "stylish" on a shoestring, then I'd buy into the fashion world just a bit more. I just have a hard time with all the materialism that fuels the incessant need to make a statement with your clothes. But, that part of me is in direct contrast with the part of me that wants to look my best. I'm still working it all out and maybe that's another reason that for the better part of the last three years "comfortable" has been the driving force behind my fashion choices. I guess I can't blame it all on my kids.

I do plan to make some fashion improvements in 2014. Being "stylish" doesn't seem attainable nor am I convinced it's a worthy goal. If anything, I know that until I can wake up and have a reasonable expectation that I won't be puked on, or have snot or crummy hands wiped on me I'm sticking with a "wash and wear" wardrobe, which by definition is not stylish. I'm in the thick of it, and we're talking years here people. So as part of my New Year's resolutions,  I plan to look bit less disheveled and have maybe have three outfits that won't land me on anyone's frumpy mom list. On my budget that's about all I can reasonably commit to improving.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Ain't Nobody Got Cash For That

Hark, winter is upon us in all her majestic frostiness!

 If you have a kid of the age that still believes in magical Christmas then this time of year is once again fun for you. And it is every bit as exciting seeing it through the light of their sparkling eyes, until the part where you actually have to pay for presents. So extra congratulations to you if your child is currently in the even shorter age group where magical excitement and inexpensive taste coincide. Live it up while it lasts. And by live it up I mean buy them stuff from the dollar store. (Just don't let them put any of it in their mouths, because...China and lead.)

Luckily for us, J falls in this short-lived blissfully cheap category. He is just as excited about a new $1 Hot Wheel car as he is about a $25 remote control race car. When it comes to Christmas he's equally excited by the tree, the Abominable Snowman, and all the lights around town as he is the presents. He does have a "Christmas List" he will tell you about if you ask him. Here's a thrilling video just so you get a clear idea of the depth of his enthusiasm people.

So what he wants for Christmas is a basketball hoop for his bedroom (how he knows these exist or that we got him one a week ago and it is hidden in the basement, I do not know) a ball and two balloons. About every other day he'll add that he wants a race car with really big eyes to the list. Done and done on the cheap.

I've been to Toys R' Us one time since the holiday madness descended upon us in September (?) this year. J is growing like a beanstalk. Since we had gift card from his birthday I went there in search of pants. Clearance pants to be specific, because that's how I roll; I roll my cart straight to clearance in any store in which I step foot. Alas, they didn't have anything in his size. What they did have were half-crazed relations of children with very expensive toy habits. Have you seen the cost of the "Hottest New Toys!?!" Everything on those lists are upwards of $50 bucks. EVERYTHING.

Let me tell you the only time the words "HOT" and "NEW" excitement me is if you are talking about Krispy Kreme donuts. "HOT and NEW!"? No thanks. I'll take "FUN and DURABLE!" Or even better "GUARANTEED TO GIVE YOU FIFTEEN UNINTERRUPTED MINUTES OF PEACE WHILE YOUR CHILD PLAYS QUIETLY CLEARANCE!" Where is that aisle at Toys R' Us?

All this crazed damn-the-cost toy grabbing got me thinking about how to steer my kiddos away from extra expensive toys for the remainder of their childhood. Kids latch onto the most ridiculously priced things and for my liking there are way too many years between likes expensive toys and understands the value of a dollar. So here's my completely unrealistic masterplan to halt the development of expensive toy habits:

1. Never allow a child to play video games, because we'd have to sell a car to afford a new gaming system. Literally, most of us have owned cars worth less than the new Xbox thingamajig.

2. Similarly never allow a child to play with Legos. What begins as an innocent little Lego addiction inevitably grows and grows until they want this:

 Or God help you if your Lego lover ever finds out about this: 

3. Never ever allow a child to play with a Leap Frog Device. In fact, discourage technology all together...the Luddites were on to something. A one hour a week exposure to Oregon Trail can begin at about 10 years of age. This should be sufficient technology use until about 8th grade, then dig the TI-84 Scientific Calculator out from the box in your parent's basement, because an abacus just won't cut it these days.

4. Never allow a little one to have play dates with kids that have older siblings. Those little buggers know too much. You are risking exposure to very costly things, like technology (see #3).

5. Some parents ask potential playdate moms and dads about household guns or smoking, you ask potential playdate parents whether they own a Thomas the Train Table. Listen carefully, your little one must never be allowed to imagine these table exist outside of toy or book stores.

6. Never encourage children to play real hockey. Equipment and league fees will leave you poorer than a church mouse and...4AM ice times.

7. Read all books approximately 40 times before allowing into the home permanently. This has nothing to do with money except that therapy is expensive. Children do not tire of reading the same story over and over. THEY NEVER TIRE OF IT. You must make sure that cute innocent little story won't drive you into therapy when read 4000 times. Whomever blessed us with "A Crack in the Track" I could kill you with my bare hands. Not really, but almost.

8. Carefully cultivate your child's imagination, a love for the library and the great outdoors (as in just wandering around outside, not as in skiing, snowboarding, hunting or other expensive past times.) These things have only one thing in common...FREE!

9. Do not let a child watch commercials. DVR everything and fast foward through all advertising. Also in an effort to avoid advertisement exposure, immediately discard all junk mail.

Following these nine simple steps should ensure our boys remain oblivious to all expensive toys. In case of the small but significant chance that this masterplan fails and my children begin begging me for astronomically priced toys, fashions, or technologies. I have a back up plan. Here it is in six simple words,
"Ain't Nobody Got Cash For That!"
Yes sir, it's as simple as that. I heard  (a version of) it often enough growing up to make me aware of the value of a dollar. I grew up somewhere on the lower middle class end of the spectrum. There was money for food, sports, and clearance clothes. There is a reason I'm a bargain shopper. I got it from my mama.

I'm sure I bothered my parents at one point or another for things we couldn't afford. It wasn't that often though, because early on I realized there was no point to it. So just as soon as I could make money, I got busy making it. I worked my way through high school and college. It wasn't always fun but it was educational.

Living modestly is an excellent lesson to teach your kids even when your financial circumstances allow for more indulgence (ours doesn't). It is never a bad thing to know how to live inexpensively. Being upfront and honest about your family's financial circumstances helps show your children the things you truly value. There is no shame in being unable to afford material things. NO SHAME PEOPLE. Your children will adapt well to any financial circumstance so long as they are safe, well-fed, and attention is paid to them. Most of the people we look up to in this world started with very little. Many of them died with very little.
That being said J is getting three (smallish) presents from us for Christmas. Santa is bringing one big awesome castle set. But truthfully, Santa is being bankrolled by J's birthday gift cards. Whoever gave him the Amazon card last month, practice your HO HO HO because this year you a Yeager child's Santa. As for my other oh so adorable child? Well he's five months old. He is oblivious to the holiday madness, and he isn't getting jack from us for Christmas cause ain't nobody got cash for that!

Merry Christmas to you all and to quote the great Clark Griswald, when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down your chimney I hope he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse!