Childhood Christmas

I ordered several items of clothing for work last week. For whatever reason, they were all being shipped separately to my mom’s house. I was excited about them all, but bummed at all the packaging (mostly since they were coming from the same company), but figured it was due to the items being at different origins, and so was inevitable (not simply irresponsible).

Nonetheless, I found it funny that so many packages would be arriving to my mom’s house in sun quick succession. “It’ll be like Christmas!” I declared, laughing at the idea that I wouldn’t know what was what in all the packages, but that each one would be a delightful surprise (since I had selected each one intentionally for myself, but had ordered so many things that I could pretend to forget about what most of them were), as well as the fact that I would get to open them all at my mom’s house.

I shared this thought with my mom, and added that it’ll be just like Christmas when I was a kid, because I will open all my presents and start playing with them right then and there and have a merry time. She laughed and whatever-ed me, allowing my request to come over and ‘open presents’ the next week one day.

When I arrived today to ‘open my Christmas presents’ (from myself), my mom actually fussed at me for starting while she was still upstairs getting dressed. “I didn’t know you actually cared,” I said somewhat questioning.

“Yeah, I was gonna put on Christmas music while you opened everything.”

I was thrilled(!). She then put on a James Taylor Christmas album, I turned on the “fireplace”, and I showed her what I had already opened (just two things), before I preceded to open all the rest with us both in the living room together. And yes, I “played with my toys” (meaning I tried things on) there in the living room with her, and it was an extremely lovely time. I was super excited about my “presents”, and I loved sharing the experience and time with my mom. It really felt like a childhood Christmas for me. 🙂

Our Holiday Fireplace 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Money, money

$500 later, I expect next week will feel like childhood Christmas for me – lots of things ordered online last night and today, and all of them with a expectation of intense delight. I do not regret any of my purchases – not in the least. It is certainly more money than I typically spend… on anything. But I see great value in having all the items I purchased, they all bring me joy, and they handle my need to keep checking for things all the time (either online or in a store) anymore – I have them and it is all handled. I am both delighted at their future arrival, and relieved at having them all ordered and on the way. I am quite practical when it comes to things I buy and do not buy, so it is nice to be able to be so practical with all of this and have it handled already.

One odd part is that, likely due to the fact that they are all doing from different places, they are each being sent separately… so, not great in terms of packaging, but great in terms of t feeling even more like childhood Christmas! I won’t know what is in what. I have to wait almost a week for it all to arrive at my mom’s house, then go over there and have a present party. And I get to play with my new toys right when I open them, and forever afterward! Super excited. Happy Early Celebration to me. 😉

Post-a-day 2020

Talenti Timing

I bought a pint jar of Talenti gelato tonight, when I went to the grocery store with my friend (on purpose to get ice cream).

I also bought bananas, though, which reminded her to get bananas for herself.

But we headed to the ice creams after we ha deselected our bananas…

And they did not have a single vanilla gelato with chocolate chips (stracciatella in Italian).

That’s a normal flavor here – it’s not like it is some exotic flavor.

And yet, for the second time this month, a grocery store didn’t have it.

And I don’t just mean they were out of it.

I think they didn’t even have it as a item that is stocked.

So, anyway, I saw in the back a Peppermint Bark one, which looked to be exactly the same as what I wanted, just plus peppermint.

So, I got it.

At the checkout, I was confused when my total showed up as $3.26.

I knew the Talenti were on sale, but that was only to four dollars and something… how was this possible?

And then I saw $3.96 on the receipt, and thought, “Oh, it was just a little extra discounted, and probably because it was a Christmas flavor they’re trying to get out,” thinking that that was the price of the Talenti.

And then, as I began to explain to my friend that my Talenti was extra discounted from the other discounts, comparing it to the listed $5.25 regular price, I saw that the $3.96 was listed as “Savings” on the receipt.

Finally, it all clicked:

The bananas cost $.89 and $1.06 (two small bunches), the Talenti was discounted $3.96 and actually cost $1.32, and my total bill was $3.26.

Basically, even though I had intended to wait a little bit longer before having gelato – my shorts are quite as loose as I had wanted, but they are loose enough that I noticed a huge difference already, and was comfortable with my extreme progress in the past two weeks – this ended up being the perfect time to have it: I saved four dollars by having it now instead of later, and I didn’t even have to drive myself to and from the store. 😛

It ended up being delicious, and the price just made it more enjoyable after the fact, reminding me that it was perfect to have it tonight.

So, basically, I had a lovely night in which my friend and I walked her dog for a really long and absolutely lovely walk in the early evening, ending just after sunset, and then we went and got ice cream, and we hung out for a lot time for the first time in a while, and it was just all around awesome (even though I got like five mosquito bites just before we got back home, and even though I was freezing riding home in my shorts that had been perfect with the sun up).

😀

Post-a-day 2020

Let’s talk about…

Today’s topic is sex, apparently, though in a totally detached and unconcerned, un-exotic approach to the topic…

This morning, listening to music on Pandora while working, I am only noticing the occasional phrase in the music, as I am rather focused on what I am doing.

However, one line of one song leaps out at me after the fact…!the song has already moved onward by far, and my head is reeling on this line it knows it just heard, though it wasn’t aware at the time.

“Tu fais l’amour en deux poussées,” was the line in this song (“Adieu”) by Coeur De Pirate, and it made me inhale sharply and chuckle heartily, all while making a silly face in response to the idea that this woman clearly just called someone out… and in a song… that’s going to be around for quite some time, and someone out there will have to know that it is about him….

My thoughts after that were merely, ‘Oh, snap!‘ repeated over and over again as I considered that one particular line.

I quickly jotted it down, laughed some more, and then continued on with my work.

So began the silly sex topic for today.

Standing in line at the store tonight, I noticed the couple who had stepped into line behind me.

The man was mumbling up a storm, leaving me to wonder whether he was even speaking English, but the woman was clearly responding in English, though not actually clearly, as she seemed to be somewhat mumbling, too, just significantly less than the man was.

I listened somewhat carefully, though still rather passively, for a minute, and determined that he was, in fact, speaking English, just super sloppily and mumbled, and then I returned to ignoring them altogether.

That is, until, another thirty seconds later, perhaps, from the cluttered mumbling that was the general sound cloud behind me sprouted a sudden inspirational clarity of language from the man.

“I should start charging you for my shirts.”

A pause.

“No-oo!” responds the woman, in that two-syllabic, nearly outraged response we tend to have to absurd, somewhat stupid ideas.

I turn round in the silence that follows, curiosity demanding a glimpse of how these people look and whether they are joking genuinely or are being passive-aggressive or mean with one another.

The woman is wearing a men’s t-shirt, which I notice immediately, but is also very pregnant, which I didn’t notice at first.

I laugh as I turn around to them, and I see that the woman is somewhat smiling: they are having fun.

After a few moments of silence, the woman replies, still in a slightly outraged tone of voice, “Then I ought to start charging you for sex.”

Momentary silence ensues… the man must be thinking up his response, or perhaps he was just out in his place(?)…, but I think more the former as I am standing, enthralled and half-panicked, half-agreeing with the woman’s idea…

The man then speaks up, hurried with his words, and making a bit of a fumble, but just rolling with it, “Good thing I don’t have any money right now, ’cause I really wouldn’t owe you anything, anyway…”

Another quick silence, this one much quicker than the last.

She replies, “Yeah…,” fully acknowledging that he is accurate in his statement, and then continues, now in a genuine and honest tone, “Sorry about that…”

And they both smile, likely delighting in the future they are to have with the growing baby that presently resides underneath all of the man’s t-shirts.

Thus ended the topic of the day’s incidents (aside from writing this right now, of course).

Post-a-day 2019

Peace of…

I went shopping for some jean shorts today… and it was kind of a total bust.

I ended up having a sort of miniature breakdown afterward, and had to keep reminding myself during it that I actually was fine.

None of the shorts fit – shorts with the same size on the label as one a other would prove to be way too small or way too big, and sometimes just a little too small…, but nothing fit me, and I felt so fat, especially in light of the fact that I’ve noticed the muscle building but the fat going nowhere since joining this gym.

I moved to the bluejean pants, because some of them are the same price, anyway, and I can cut them off easily to make shorts.

That, too, was rather busty, – think C’s instead of double D’s, though – though I tried on loads of them.

At one point, I was preparing to try on a pair of jeans that were the same brand as one of my favorite pairs of jeans during childhood… I wondered in I might be about to reclaim that relationship with the brand and jeans… I actually had duct tape all along the inside of the jeans, in strips and patches to seal and secure the many slits and holes that kept showing up throughout the crotch and butt area (because the fabric was just too thin).

I wondered if that rekindling was about to happen… and dropped that idea when they totally wouldn’t even go all the way on me…

Oh, well…

In the end, I enjoyed trying on shoes I ended up not getting (which I also enjoyed), I bought a pair of jeans (as pants/capris) that don’t necessarily look amazing on me but that make me super happy and fill me with joy whenever I see them, and I bought another pair of jeans that I plan to turn into shorts tomorrow, at which point I expect I will love them and be filled with joy at the sight of them, too. 🙂

I wore the real pants tonight, and French tucked my dress into them… I even got compliments on my outfit, it apparently looked so good to others… personally, I enjoyed it and I felt happy and comfortable and confident in it, and those are what I’m really looking for in an outfit, anyway…, but it is still nice to have that added bonus of praise from time to time. 😛

Totally.

Anyway… oh, I went dancing tonight – first time in probably eight or ten months… or 11 months, actually.., so, yeah… that was a good thing.

And I enjoyed myself doing that, too.

But it also reminded me that my plans to lose this excess fat are a great idea – despite all this exercise, it was still really tiring hauling myself around all evening, dancing. 😛

Anyway,.. goodnight!

Peace

Hannah

Post-a-day 2019

In another man’s shoes?

Do you ever imagine a version of yourself based around some single something?

Today, in the resale shop, I crossed this pair of red high heels that were almost my size (the left shoe fit perfectly, but the right was too small).

They caught my eye immediately, but I took a stroll through the shoes a bit more before turning back and checking their sizing on my foot.

When I put on the left shoe, the first one I happened to grasp, – I would say grab, but grab sounds so forceful, and this totally wasn’t so – I was filled with a little but powerful sense of delight.

These shoes…

And, before I could finish the thought, I realized that I didn’t have a proper ending to it…

… could be me?… could be a version of me?… could be awesome?… are definitely not going to be work by me?…

All of the aforementioned, actually.

And so I left the thought as simultaneously all of them and none of them… simply, “These shoes…”, and a satisfied inner sense of wow.

I felt so satisfied, considering the version of myself who wore these shoes.

She’s awesome, if I dare say so myself (which, I do).

And, she’s not the right now version of myself, if ever anything other than an imagined version of myself.

I don’t wear heels anymore… quite frankly, they’re utterly impractical and almost always uncomfortable.

I, once upon a time, had several pairs of high heels that felt great to wear… in recent years, however, since those have all worn out or been outgrown, heels don’t seem to be going for quality or comfort anymore… not ones that are sold for fewer than several hundred dollars, anyway… (though, to be fair, I tried on a few pairs today, when I was brought along to The Galleria, and those $800+ shoes weren’t too inspiring on the comfort level either)…..

Anyway, the point isn’t really about how poorly shoes are made nowadays, nor is not about the lack of consideration for quality and comfort when making them, but it is more about imagining that version of myself by trying on those shoes.

On the rack, they were pretty.

On my foot, it was inspiring.

In a moment of something like awe, I had a flash of the woman who wore these shoes proudly and comfortably, belonging fully in them… turning heads and keeping them turned.

I saw the money, the fashion, the business clothing… and then I somewhat encouraged the vision out the window… – I don’t want the business suit…. I don’t want that life…

I do, however, want that comfort and confidence… and that’s were my current state of the physical body needs improvement and care and love, and my wardrobe could use some love, too, to address the body that is currently here.

Sure, I might lose weight and not fit in the few items I bought specifically for my currently-excessed hips and thighs two weeks after buying them.

But those two weeks are likely to be miserable for me without something comfortable and confidence-giving to wear…, and they likely will result in another two weeks of misery and no weight loss…, and it is likely to continue onward until I have comfort and confidence in what I am wearing… the better I feel, the better care I actually take of myself…

Kind of crazy, almost Catch 22 sort of concept, but it totally is how things always go for me.

I even grew super excited, even a bit giddy, when I tried in a few pair of jean shorts that almost fit me today… the first pair was fun, but the second pair, the pair that almost fit, was divine gid – I had a glimpse of that version of myself who really is I, myself… she Does wear these kinds of clothes and shorts… yes, she does…

So, I guess I’m going back to get shorts tomorrow, because it is hot in Houston these days, it will increase is heat in the coming days and weeks and months, and I can’t keep going on in that one pair of cut-off shorts that are genuinely multiple sizes too big (I got them one time when I desperately needed shorts, and they at least stayed up, even though they were too big) – I feel so miserable in them these days, knowing how sloppy they look on my currently iffy fat situation.

So, yeah… that’s the plan… though I had definitely intended to talk beautifully, inspiringly about those imagined versions we create and see of ourselves when we cross a specific item from time to time… usually, those visions remind me of what I truly want in my life, so, while they’re fun and almost wistful thoughts, they are actually beneficial ones, too.

Yeah… cool, huh?

Post-a-day 2019

some days are today

Some days, you get to be Julia Roberts in the shopping scene of “Pretty Woman” with your cousin.

And some days, you get to do it two days in a row(!!!).

Yup, today was a good day.

Also, Queen is just plain lovely, and utterly wonderful.

Not that that is anything new here, of course…

Just saying. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Passion for Fashion

Located at 227 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, is a little shop by the name of St. Hrouda.  Walking inside, one will find a combination boutique / art gallery, managed by the fashion extraordinaire Nicole Bell.  St. Hrouda’s walls are chicly lined with art and clothing from local artists and brands, including, my particular favorite, those made and designed by Nicole Bell herself.

Though I was in Brooklyn this past July, I have not yet seen this wonderful boutique/art gallery, because it has only recently opened its doors.  When Nicole first took over the space this fall, it was a somewhat drab and old-looking little shop.  Within weeks, she and her father, through their combined genius, had put together one of the most classy spaces I’ve ever seen (even in photographs).  The before and after photos of the space showed how true a transformation had taken place, and they actually had me wanting to jump up and down to celebrate the amazing results.  It is now the bea-U-tiful space of St. Hrouda, named for Nicole’s grandmother, and housing brands from New York, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Paris, London, and LA, while featuring, of course, Nicole Bell.  And the gallery portion of St. Hrouda displays art by local New York artists (including, again, art by Nicole Bell herself), all for sale.

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On a regular basis, Nicole hosts a ladies’ night at St. Hrouda – from which I always see photos of wine and fabulous personal styling sessions (Think of what Becky Bloomwood does with her customers in the Sophie Kinsella novels) – as well as a variety of other events and pop-up shops/parties to help integrate St. Hrouda into the beautiful community surrounding it.

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Photos of the Grandmother Hrouda who inspired the name, along one of the walls of St. Hrouda

Now, let’s talk for just a minute about the amazing, spectacularly inspired fashionista behind it all: Nicole Bell.  I recently had the opportunity to visit and interview Nicole in her work studio in Brooklyn, just weeks before she began work on opening St. Hrouda.  Nicole is From Houston, Texas, and, only a handful of years ago, founded her fashion brand Nicole Bell.  Nicole herself is a goofy yet stylishly sassy woman who is taking on the world with long legs and big, brave strides.  She never fails to put a smile on my face when I am with her, and her determined outer self never hides the truth of what it really takes to be successful in fashion – life is hard, and making it in fashion is even harder.

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Nicole Bell of Nicole Bell and St. Hrouda

Nevertheless, fashion is her passion, and so she is going for it with all she’s got (and then some she’s still figuring out)!

Every time I see a Nicole Bell outfit, my inner Lady Gaga whoops with joy and longing – Ooooh! I want! I want! it always seems to shout, over and over, not unlike a little kid begging for ice cream.  Nicole’s designs are impeccable and utterly breathtaking on the powerhouse female front.  When I picture my BA* self taking on the world in heels, she’s wearing Nicole Bell.  And the world is looking on in awestruck astonishment. 🙂

Do yourself a favor, and give my interview with Nicole Bell a listen.  I learned so much about the fashion world, as well as how Nicole comes up with her individual designs and collections/lines.  Her sense of gratitude to those who have contributed to her journey thus far – as well as those who continue to contribute and show their support – is clear, as well as her almost unreal dedication to sharing her eye and inspiration with the world through fashion, despite the many, many hardships that have come with her endeavors and that still lie ahead.  Nicole does not have it all figured out, and that is just part of the beauty of exploration involved in furthering her passion for fashion.

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Nicole and Khaleesi, her baby boxer, @st.hrouda

The talk these days is all about getting to know the people behind our food and our clothing  – Buy local is a regular mantra (alongside Know your farmer and Made in the USA, in efforts to support quality products and fair trade, respectively).  The woman behind this shop and clothing line is definitely worth getting to know.  Especially if you’re in the New York area, give Nicole Bell a solid look – she is local and well worth the visit.  And, even if you aren’t in the area, look her up anyway – she’s that good.

When you find yourself interested in learning about the glories, trials, and tribulations of pursuing a love of and passion for fashion, give our interview a listen.  If you missed the link above, click here to listen to the interview I did with Nicole!

Definitely check out (and follow) her Instagram accounts for St. Hrouda (@st.hrouda) and Nicole Bell (@nicolebelldesigns) – the photos and videos on there inspire me just about every day.

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Notes from the interview:

The photographer Nicole really loved from the skate park is Nico Nordström, found at http://www.niconordstrom.com/

If you prefer regular websites (or want to buy something), check out www.sthrouda.com and www.nicolebell.co.

Check out Nicole’s 2018 New York Fashion Week show here – it’s awesome.  Just scroll down a bit on the page that opens for the video.

*Bad-a**, for those who don’t know

Post-a-day 2019

It’s all in the attitude

Do you ever find yourself walking through a store, looking at all the items for sale around you, and feeling utterly sick at the thought of it all?

Walking through a Marshalls today with my aunt and cousin, on a trip my cousin had been wanting for a while for some household things, I had this experience as I walked to the bathroom, just before leaving.

I thought of my best friend, and how she had lived in The Gambia…. the way things are there…., and I thought of how things are in so many similar places, where air conditioning and mattresses and safe showering and clean water are not a given but a rarity and a practically-unachievable luxury… and I felt repulsed by the few items – some foods and soaps and a bottle cleaner for my water bottles and tea bottles – I myself had pulled out, let alone the overwhelming sense of the thousands of items surrounding me that even I found entirely unnecessary and wasteful…

And I felt terrible…

And then I looked into it further than merely being upset…

And I saw that this is the life and the part of the world and the lifestyle in which I have been placed and in which I have opted to remain… there is much I dislike about it all, and yet there is more than enough to keep me in it, wanting to be part of it… to some degree, anyway…

And it reminded me of what I would tell my students whenever they complained about school rules or homework from other teachers or the administration, that this is the school and the society in which they are choosing to participate, and so they can follow the rules and either get over it or work toward change, or they can go somewhere else to have different rules… as long as they select to be at this school, though, they are agreeing to follow this school’s rules.

And so my Marshalls visit was a lot like that for me – I want to be in this culture, and so I have to accept the ‘rules’ this culture follows… I can work toward change, as I already do, and I can work for myself to buy and to use and to produce what I feel is appropriate, as I also already do, and I can encourage and empower others to do the same, all while accepting that this is the way things currently are here, whether I like them or not.

And I totally wanted to go check the dumpster, instead of walking the inside of the store, in hopes of preventing the sad waste that likely was back there… unfortunately, circumstances did not quite allow for such a move today.

So it goes… an attitude of gratitude is a good way to start, and then we can make some real progress. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Stromae to Mosaert

After writing about Stromae the other night, I looked up to see if he had any tour dates in the US anytime soon.  Unfortunately, he does not.  However, I discovered that lots of his efforts have gone into his clothing brand lately, and that the brand is spectacular.  All of the clothes are unisex and super cool, are fair-trade, are made in Europe, have an emphasis on sustainable/organic fibers and eco-friendly sewing tactics (to waste as little cloth as possible), and are in limited numbers.  (The last part means that only a certain number, say 25, for example, are made of any one item.  So, for a t-shirt, there would be 4 XS, 6 S, 6 M, 5 L, and 4 XL made, and that’s it.  Once they are sold out, there are no more of that particular t-shirt made again.)  They also include a chart on the cost of production for many items, detailing how much money it actually costs to produce that specific item, thereby explaining why an item is being sold for its specific price.

Check it out.  Here’s the page all about their being an awesomely responsible company, from which you can click to the shopping area to see the awesome clothes, and here’s the page for the company as a whole, which is more than just a clothing brand – check out their About page found on that one.

I just wish I lived a life where it would be practical and affordable for me to get the cardigan 7, which is a sweater I loved when I first saw it in one of Stromae’s interviews (actually, the one I linked here the other night!).  The sweater was cool in and of itself, but it was made even cooler by the fact that Stromae himself actually wore it.  Alas, I do not live such a life (and am instead barely getting by financially as a crazy person doing full-time grad school and part-time-ish work), so the cardigans will go to those who do live such lives. 😛

Post-a-day 2018