Monday, August 26, 2013

Blue Blazer

Classic schoolboy blazer in navy
J Crew Schoolboy Blazer
I haven't worn it yet, but I finally got this classic piece a few weeks ago. I didn't think I'd be adding anything else from my fashion bucket list this year, but the sale was too good to pass up. If there's one thing my wardrobe is missing it's jackets, so I am excited to have this for fall. I don't have room for new clothes right now, but a black tweed jacket and a tan boucle one would be nice.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Hardest Work

Everyone seems to be having babies.  Recently I have been thinking more realistically about becoming a parent and my financial plan based on how long I plan to stay at home with my kids.  One thing that I've heard consistently since I was a child is that being a stay at home parent is the "hardest work."  I've been barraged by this idea so much lately.  Honestly, I have zero interest in taking on anything more difficult than much of the work I've done in the past, of which care giving has actually been the simplest.

My first full time experience with care giving was the summer after sixth grade when I accepted a full time babysitting job watching three young kids from church.  At twelve years old I was paid $80/week to care for a boy (age 7), and his two younger sisters (ages 3 and 5).  The parents were very happy with how well I disciplined their children and the girls grew attached to me. I cooked for them, taught them about the Bible, and helped them with their reading all summer long.  One week, I also balanced feeding a litter of baby kittens with an eyedropper (because the family cat had rejected her babies) along with my other responsibilities. My parents responded that it would be easier with my own children whenever I vented complaints to my family over the boy's behavioral issues and one of the girl's serious depression, a trait she shared with her mother.  That summer was a cakewalk compared to previous summers, painting houses and mowing lawns for my dad's rental properties in 100 degree weather.  

Two dollars an hour for taking care of three children may seem paltry, but as with every nanny/babysitting assignment I've taken since, I felt guilty taking the money.  Getting paid to play with kids and help them get changed for bed always felt like a scam.  I seriously disliked children knowing that I was getting paid to hang out with them and care for them.  I babysat a sick baby and his two sisters for the weekend just for fun, no pay.  I didn't sleep more than one consecutive hour but it never once felt like "work".  It was my pleasure.  

For me work is standing on a ladder in the hot Georgia sun painting a house until your little arms feel like they're about to fall off.  Hard work is getting back on that ladder after throwing up in the bushes to paint some more so you can help your family keep you in private Christian school.  Studying for the New York bar exam was some of the hardest work I've ever done and I will absolutely never willingly sign up for anything that mentally and emotionally taxing ever again.

Still, I've never been a parent.  What do I really know?  My dad retired from the military when I was very small and became a stay at home parent.  He cooked me breakfast every morning, braided my hair poorly, and took me on field trips to all his church friends' places of employments.  We lived in Honolulu so we took a trip through a pineapple factory.  I got to see how a printing press works.  We went to the library a lot and although I missed playing with other kids at daycare all day, I look back on this period of my childhood fondly.  I figured my Dad is the best person to tell me the real hard truth about the degree of difficulty of stay at home parenting. I came up with a few jobs I knew he'd done and asked:


What was your hardest job?  
a. being a stay at home Dad to me 
b. being a psychiatric nurse at mental hospital for minors
c. or picking cotton in the fields of Alabama.

Shockingly, he picked b.  He said working as a psychiatric nurse was the hardest because not only was he was always comparing those less well behaved kids to my sister and I, but he also said he had difficult coworkers.  When I asked him about the second hardest of the three, he selected c.  He said he was only seven and found picking cotton to be difficult. Hmm.  He then offered up unsolicited that staying home with me was "fun because we got to do things together.  We got to go to the grocery store together . . ."  Wait a minute.  My Dad thought it was fun, not challenging, to take me to the grocery store even though all I've been told lately is what a stressful nightmare the grocery store becomes once you have a child? 

Imagine my relief to find that my dad found staying at home with me to be far less arduous than working the fields of rural Alabama.  Maybe what qualifies as hard work for some people is easy for others and vice versa.  Perhaps it's foolish and self-aggrandizing to describe one's work as the "hardest" since no individual has experienced the challenges of every type of work.  If someone takes care of a farm and nine children with no washer/dryer like my Grandmother did, then maybe I'll take them seriously.  Otherwise, I will start ignoring this type of rhetoric and actually look forward to at home parenting.  If it does turn out to be harder than sweat shop labor or Calculus 2, I'll hire a nanny and go back to work asap.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

La Dolce Vita

My life is really great because . . . .
  • I've been working out 6 days a week for the past few weeks and it's becoming a lifestyle change.
  • I start most of my days with a blueberry, strawberry, banana shake.  yum.
  • Every day that I don't meet a friend for lunch, I spend my whole hour reading a really great book.  I recently finished Murder After a Fashion by Grace Carroll and Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson.
  • Every day I talk, g chat, text, email and facebook with people who love me, even if they live in other countries.
  • I've discovered podcasts like This American Life where I can hear the most fascinating stories and learn about the world in such an interesting way.
  • Lately, I've been holding a lot of babies.  I've reached that age where lots of friends have babies and I am finally getting to hold them for lengthy periods of time.  Holding a baby is the absolute best feeling in the world imho.
  • I will be traveling to three different beaches in the next year, possibly on three different continents.
  • I'm not comparing my life to the lives of my friends and acquaintances anymore. I've always gone to fancy schools and lived in zip codes like 10065, so I know a lot of people who take their comfortable lifestyles for granted.  I hope I never do reach that point.  All I have to do is compare my life now to what it's been in the past, and it feels like I'm floating on air.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oh Shift! 2013

Apparently, the people at the pink palace are every bit as miserly and penny pinching as I am.  I thought for sure they would have dealt with their tech issues after the problems with last year's Lilly Pulitzer sale, but they won't fool me with their tall tales of getting their shift together after today's debacle.  I did manage to score some awesome pieces for which I am very grateful.  I finally found white dress number six.  Hopefully this will arrive in time for my bridal shower.
FINAL SALE - Kailene Dress
Kailene dress
Baby Britta dress in Resort White Daisy Lane Lace for my next friend to have a baby girl

Sami-Ryan dress for an up coming rehearsal dinner and a wedding in Palm Springs if I can get away with it.

Sarasota tunic in Turquoise to use as a bathing suit cover-up on the honeymoon.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Deep Blue Something

There's a certain excitement I feel when I watch a movie that takes place long ago in New York City.  Well I can get the same feeling from a book.  I live for those moments in The Great Gatsby and House of Mirth when the author describes some aspect of the city that is strikingly similar to the present.  The familiarity of streets and neighborhoods gives me a small thrill.  I just finished reading Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote.  Holly Golightly is not a likable or sympathetic protagonist as far as I am concerned. Nevertheless, I enjoy imagining her apartment in the east seventies around the corner from Lexington, not far from where I live now in the east sixties.  It was easy to picture her riding a horse through Central Park and down Fifth Avenue.  I found Capote's description of my old neighborhood, Spanish Harlem, as "[a] savage, a garish, a moody neighborhood garlanded with poster-portraits of movie stars and Madonnas.  Sidewalk litterings of fruit-rind and rotted newspaper were hurled about by the wind" apropos. 

I enjoyed the book so much more than the movie.  Not one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies, I was always confused about how beloved this character was for women.  I think I get it now.  They are just enamored with the style and glamour of Audrey Hepburn in the movie.  From what I can remember Holly Golightly is far less crude in the movie and they almost skim over her back story quickly from what I can recall.  As much as I can't relate to its heroin, Breakfast at Tiffany's setting made it worth my time.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

C is for Cookie

This is what I want for my birthday.
Heaven on a plate