Archive for May, 2009

Pretty in Plaid

I will start this review by saying I’m completely biased, and I love Jen Lancaster. I’ve seen her twice in person at book signings, and I am a huge fan.  The most recent book signing I attended was last Wednesday at the Borders at Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco.  I came to the signing rockin’ a popped collar on my polo shirt and sporting a side ponytail.  The signing was ’80s themed, because the book is a look back an Jen’s life growing up in the ’80s.  It was such a treat to hear Jen reading from her book, answering questions from the audience, and then taking the time to sign books and take pictures with everyone.  Jen Lancaster is such a class act; she really shows her appreciation of her fans by making herself so available to them at the signings.

This book definitely didn’t disappoint. I could relate to almost all of it (although I was never in a sorority, I did go to an all-girls Catholic school and Mean Girls are Mean Girls, know what I mean?). Lancaster improves her writing with each book, and this one was engaging. I love Lancaster’s wry, witty style and her sarcasm is fantastic. This book was number 8 on the NY Times Bestseller list for a reason, people.

One of my favorite parts of Jen Lancaster’s books is the end, when she starts to reflect on what she’s learned by going through the process she’s described in the 250 pages or so that you’ve just read. I finish each book not wanting it to end, but knowing that I’ve been completely entertained, inspired, and might have learned a thing or two about myself in the process.

Jen Lancaster is my Candace Bushnell (if you’ve read the book, you’ll get the reference).

If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend you pick up a copy today.


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Last night was the first meeting of the reunion planning committee for my 20thhigh school reunion, which is coming up in October.  I decided to join the committee because I love organizing events – I swear I was an event planner in a former life.  I am going to have some free time this summer, and I thought I’d lend my skills to make sure our reunion is really special.  Plus, I haven’t been able to donate money to my Alma mater, so I figured donating time would be the way to go. 

To give a bit of background, I went to an all-girls, Catholic high school.  Yes, plaid skirt and all.  Full of all sorts of privileged girls who would get BMWs on their 16th birthdays.  You know the ones.  The same “popular girls” who are so insecure about themselves that they have to cut everyone else down just to make themselves feel good.  The type that have to judge every action, every moment,  just to show their supposed superiority. 

While I had a fantastic experience at my high school and had so many wonderful friends, I couldn’t stand these Mean Girls then, even though we got along, on the surface.  I had friends from all different groups – the Mods (pre-Goth, all-black-and-crazy-eye-makeup-wearing people who took fashion cues from Robert Smith of The Cure), the geeks, the jocks, the partiers, etc.  I can generally get along with all sorts of people.  The ones that I have no patience for are the ones who are so petty and so superficial.  The ones who fit the stereotypical sorority-girl-on-crack type of personality. 

Well last night I was sitting next one such Mean Girl planning the reunion.  I don’t remember “Heather” being such a bitchy girl in high school, but she defines the word now.  She spent half the meeting talking shit all these different girls, most of whom I could barely remember, let alone have any gossip about.  This one is divorced, that one is now a lesbian, this one is now a bitch (I thought this was hilariously ironic, coming from her), that one was….well, you get the idea.  I mean, whose life is so shallow that you have time to keep up with all the gossip about girls you haven’t seen in years?  Not to mention spreading so many rumors.  She even started talking about people whom I know are her “friends.”  I was disgusted.

Of course, she pretended to be all sweetness and light with me, but I can only imagine what she’s saying about me behind my back.  I’m sure my weight gain will come up in a future gossip session she’ll be having.  Not that I care, because while I may have gained a bunch of weight since high school, at least I’m not a Mean Girl.  To paraphrase the saying, “I can lose weight, but you’ll always be a bitch.”

I think the part that was the most disheartening to me about the whole evening was that the Alumnae Coordinator was right there with Heather gossiping away.  (AC graduated the year after us, so she knows all the girls from our class). Now AC was never in the popular crowd, and I know that back in high school Heather would have never been seen talking to AC, let alone gossiping with her.  I think that AC should have have been much more professional than she was, and it definitely put her in a whole new light in my eyes.  

Heather is very active at our high school and donates a ton of money,  so I don’t think she’s going anywhere anytime soon. 

So at this point, you may think I’m crazy for continuing on the committee, and that may be, but I’m sticking on it for a few reasons:

  • There are tons of girls who will be attending whom I love and can’t wait to see in person again.  I want to make sure they have the best reunion possible.
  • I’m good at this stuff!
  • I’ll be damned if I want Heather to run the show, because who knows what she’d come up with.
  • I’m not intimidated by  Heather or any other Mean Girls, and I won’t back down. 
  • Someone may just need to bring Heather down a peg or two, and I think I’m just the girl to do it, don’t you? 

For now Heather has no clue that I feel this way, because I can play fake as well as the next person.  I was very careful not to add to any of the gossip, but I did take it all in. Hopefully Heather will get a life (she is a mother of two, after all), and cool it with all this bullshit.  But that might be giving her way too much credit.  We’ll see, I suppose. 

Thanks for letting me vent – I had to get  that off my chest, otherwise I might’ve had to pull a “Veronica.”

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(No, this isn’t my try at speaking like Bostonians).

A shot from outside the theatre; I was going for "arty," did I succeed?

A shot from outside the theatre; I was going for "arty," did I succeed?

On Mother’s Day my sister and I took my mom to see Wicked at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco.  LC and I had seen the musical a few years ago, before it hit Broadway.  We loved it then, and knew that if it ever came back to SF, we were going to take my mom.

We originally wanted to buy the tickets to the show for my mom’s birthday, in February, but the first decent seats that were available just so happened to be on Mother’s Day.  We asked my mom if it was alright with her for us to go, and she said, “Absolutely!”

After a nightmarish drive across the Bay Bridge (which was actually nothing more than normal weekend bottleneck, bumper-to-bumper traffic), we got to the theatre with no problem.  I drove around once looking for parking, and then happened upon the most rockstar space almost by accident.  It was literally only a block from the theatre.

The Orpheum Theatre is a true beauty.  It harkens back to the 1920s, and I can imagine the wild and wonderful shows that were put on during the time of the Lost Generation.  The theatre is so striking that it almost becomes its own character within any production.

For those of you who haven’t seen Wicked, what are you waiting for?  It is truly one of the best shows I have ever seen.  It’s definitely my favorite.  Not only is it witty, it’s dramatic, and a sharp social commentary that can be applied to so many modern-day situations.  You leave the show wishing that you had the chance to be friends with Elphaba (or, at least I did).

It was a day that I will remember for years to come.  Because we got to see  wonderful production, but also because it was spent with the two women I love most in this world – my mom and my sister.  Both of them help me become the person I hope to be.

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It’s been so long since I’ve bought new clothes, mostly because I wanted to wait until I had some extra money to spend and was hoping I’d be down another size.  Unfortunately, the latter hasn’t happened yet, and my wardrobe was in desperate need of a fashion infusion.

Plus, it’s been a hard few weeks – I’ve had a terrible cold that won’t seem to go away, we’ve been dealing with the aftermath of my grandmother’s death (nothing too serious, just a lot of paperwork and “affairs to get in order”).  Yesterday was a minimum day at school for me (we have these every 6 weeks, whenever grades are due), and I decided it was high time to go shopping for some new things for myself.

Armed with a “spend $125, save $50” coupon from Lane Bryant, I hit the mall ready to buy some new outfits.  I was shocked at how sparsely LB was stocked.  The store looked like they had just had some sort of major sale and hadn’t been able to replace the inventory yet.  Not that it was messy or disorganized, just a huge lack of many different clothes.  Very disappointing.  Plus, so many of their tops now have that band around the bottom.  I realize that for people with a few rolls too many in their middle, this style might be flattering, but for those of us who are shaped with a more hourglass figure, those bands do nothing to accentuate our waist, and are usually too small for our ample hips.  Ugh.

I did find a few things that I liked: (for some reason the LB site isn’t letting me save the larger images of the clothes, so these thumbnails will have to do)

2287662 I love this skirt because of it’s A-lined shape.  Plus, it will go with quite a few tops I already own. It hangs a farther below the knees on me, because I’ve got short legs.

2288637 This is one wild top, but I really liked it.  In person the color is less orange and more reddish/fushia.  I’m planning on wearing it when LC, my mom, and I  go to see Wicked next Sunday for Mother’s Day.  I think it will look great paired with my cropped black pants.  It’s fun and bold.

1959253 Sleepwear is something that I usually don’t like to spend too much money on, but the cute Nick & Nora pjs I bought last spring still don’t fit (yet!), and I needed something new.  This top has a built-in shelf bra and the matching shorts are cute.  I am a very warm sleeper, so the less clothes on the better.  I will probably never leave the house (even to go outside for the paper) in these shorts because my thighs aren’t fit for public viewing, but they will be comfy for sleeping in.  Plus, it gives me even more encouragement to get into those adorable Nick & Nora pjs.

2282358 I bought this top to go with the skirt below, but since they didn’t have the skirt in my size (they only had ones that were too big or too small!), I’m going to pair it with black pants for now.

2294619 I LOVE LOVE LOVE this graphic skirt, but as I said, they didn’t have it in my size.  It’s ok, though, because I got a bunch of Real Woman Dollars to use beginning June 1.  With any luck, this skirt will be on sale by then and I can buy it then.  If not, it just wasn’t meant to be, I guess.

I also bought a black cami, a red short-sleeved cardigan, and I big, bold black necklace.  I’m actually not sure about the necklace because it is so bold, but I’ve been seeing really bold jewelry lately.  I may return it, though, and look for something else.

All of these new pieces will really add some zip to my wardrobe, and the shopping made me feel good – that’s what retail therapy is all about, right?

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