Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Leopard After 30

There’s been a list going around for the last six or so months that recently popped back up in my Facebook feed. It’s 24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30. When it first showed up I ignored it, then it popped up again. Maybe it’s my impending birthday (where I will be continuing to push into the tick of my 30s) but today I saw it and it really pissed me off.

Let’s examine some of the things that apparently expire one magic day when we pass a line on the calendar.

Graphic tees – Seriously? Cause on the weekend that’s pretty much all I wear. My love of Guns ‘n’
Leopard through the ages
Roses or my new Vampira t-shirt blazon their logos across my chest for all to see. Paired with a pair of Converse (old sneakers are also on the list) and some comfy jeans and I’m ready for a day at the park chasing screeching toddlers who are somehow covered in dirt before they even get out of their stroller.

Leopard print – Screw you stupid writer (I refuse to name her and give her additional publicity). Just because you put it on the list I am going to cover my 30-something mom ass in head to toe leopard. In fact I just ordered a leopard print cardigan today AND I plan to wear it to the office, so suck it.

Furry anything (this was preceded by furry boots which I’m pretty sure aren’t a thing anymore) – I am a huge fan a faux fur and believe that strategically placed fur collars or detailing can really make an outfit. Then there’s faux fur coats and wraps that just reek of old Hollywood glamour if you do it right. Maybe that’s the writer’s problem, she has no sense of style.

Hoop earrings – Apparently they’re just for high school kids. I’ll be sure to tell my mother that. Oh, and my mother in law. She'll give you an ear full about your opinion on her hoop earrings. And all the stores ever. In fact, I just got a great pair of colored lucite hoops from Banana Republic. Apparently they were there for the teenagers since that’s such a hip store for the under 20s crowd.

Oversize sunglasses – Is there really another kind? My sunglasses are all reminiscent of Jackie O.
My over 30 feet are the ones in leopard
and are about the size of my face. So are everyone else’s sunglasses. Even eyeglasses are getting this big. Do they even sell a smaller size?

Short dresses, miniskirts and crop tops – You won’t see me in any of these things, but I have seen quite a few 30-somethings rock the hell out of a miniskirt or crop top. Sure, it’s usually the ones who spend a few hours a week at the gym, but if you do that and have rock hard abs at 32, show them off in that crop top.

There’s a myriad of other things on the list, some of which is a fashion crime for any age (platform flip flops, scrunchies and shorts that aren’t longer than your vagina) and other than that the list is just a scared 20 something with approximately zero concept of fashion and personal style (blue eye shadow can totally be a thing). She’s also obviously not yet 30 and is assuming that the second we pass out of our 20s our once nubile bodies pop out a couple kids and start to sag. We lose all concept of fashion sense and need to turn in our mini dresses and anything with sparkles and fur for mom jeans and plain tees.

Shit, if I took all the sparkles, fur, graphics and leopard out of my closet I’d have almost nothing left to wear.

At the end of the day does it really matter though? Being 30 shouldn't be about what you can't wear, but instead everything you can. By 30 you're an adult and over the mean girl bullshit and approval seeking. So wear what makes you happy, except maybe platform flip flops. Those things really are inexcusable. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Shoefully Ignorant

I love shoes. It turns out buying them for my girls is as fun as when I buy them for myself. I am also already dreading the day when they get an opinion and stop letting me pick out the ones I like best.

My girls only had gym shoes, which worked great this spring, but I needed to get them ready for summer, so a few weeks ago we piled into the car, drove to the mall, piled out (seriously do you have any idea what goes into taking twins to a mall?) and wandered into the nearest mall.

The new shoes getting ready to jump into action at the park.
Of course the store I wanted to go to was on the opposite side of where I came in, so we schlepped across the mall with all the people stopping to point, yelling out things like “Are they twins?” and “Oh my god, how do you do it?” (double stroller people) and went to Stride Rite.

Lucky me they were having a sale on sandals, but of course only a limited selection. We picked out one style for both girls, and then literally as I am being rung up I chickened out and asked for a different pair of shoes for one of the girls.

“Do you have these in either of their sizes?” I asked holding up a silver sandal (of course their feet are different sizes). Somehow I just knew that if I got the girls the same shoes I’d end up screwing up the sizes. One would end up wearing two left shoes, or each would have one 4.5 and one 4. It would be a disaster. I’d be forever trying to check sizes while wrestling shoes onto baby feet.

Of course I explain all this to the sales associate in a suddenly panicky new mom voice as she very courteously switches out the shoes and rings up the new pair. She laughs and tells me about tricks she’s heard other parents do so that doesn’t happen. They put stickers in the shoes and the kids can match them up, the keep them in the box, teach the kids to read the numbers on the inside… a whole host of things that I hadn’t thought of. (That sticker thing is really clever).

How am I suddenly a shoe novice when it comes to kids? With adult shoes I know everything. I can answer any question. I can tell you how well pitched a shoe is by looking at it, accurately estimate comfort on a variety of styles for men and women, and solve most issues, but when it comes to kids shoes I obviously have no clue what in the living hell I am talking about.

After a short lunch where I was stared at, pointed at and heard people whisper things under their breath, the girls and I packed up again (I’m like a mule at this point) and went out to the parking lot, where we got stopped again by no fewer than four more people, most of whom asked if they were twins. We loaded up into the car and started driving home.

This little piggy escaped. 
Halfway through an otherwise quiet ride home D started to fuss. Then it got louder. Then I realized it didn’t sound quite right. Of course I’m on the expressway driving 60 mph in weekend traffic with a bazillion cars around, my girls are rear facing, D is directly behind me and I can’t see what’s making her whine and scream in a way that doesn’t sound dire, but it’s obvious she’s not happy.

As soon as I pull off the expressway (it’s a short drive) I pull into a parking lot, unbuckle and flip around to find that she has pulled her new sandals halfway off and her big toe is sticking out. By the point she has stopped fussing and is just looking at me, vaguely pissed that her shiny new shoes are not doing whatever it was she was trying to do with them (probably take them off).

If I was a seasoned mom I probably would have seen this coming. I would have known that no center strap allows them to pop their toes out, but instead I am first time mom on all things, including shoes. Change the age of the wearer and I’m totally lost. I know nothing about children’s shoes, and I have two little ones to buy for. That’s lots and lots of shoes, so I guess I’ll be an expert soon enough. The I did what every great mom does when their child is whining in discomfort over having an escaped toe.

I took a picture.

Full disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with Stride Rite and bought their shoes all by myself. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tales from the Bath

After working 40+ hours a week, commuting, being a mom, a wife, doing some kind of sad excuse for housework (does folding laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer for 2 days count?) and various other crap that makes me who I am, I stare at my closet full of clothes (many of which are too big or too small) and my new collection of shoes, some of which were bought with the intention of running after toddlers, and I think “Who the fuck am I?”.

Last night I was giving the girls a bath and we made shampoo mohawks, played with rubber ducks and splashed until they managed to start splashing water outside the tub and were turning into squawking baby prunes. S finally demanded “Up” which is universal for any position other than the one she’s currently in (down, off, out, and sometimes actually up) and we started drying off.

With two babies you can imagine that there’s some kind of madness that goes along with getting them bathed, dried off and diapered.
“Don’t stand in the tub.”
“Don’t run around naked”
“Stop touching the toilet.”
“Please don’t pee.”
“Please get back in the bathroom and don’t pee on the hardwood.”
“Quit playing in the trashcan.”
“Get that out of your mouth.”
“Christ, what is that in your mouth?”

Once everyone is successfully diapered we move along to lotion. Apparently babies can dry out easily, and no one wants a dry baby, so there are scads of baby lotions out there, some of which are better than others. My girls personally prefer ones in bottles that they can hold and preferably put in their mouth, while I prefer ones that are heavy and have a pump because they don’t put it in their mouth and can’t yet work it.

Baby bath essentials. Oh, and rubber ducks.
So many freaking ducks. 
Yesterday as I was dutifully lotioning the babies after diapers and before pajamas S was insistent on holding the whole bottle of lotion. Insistent to the point where she does that toddler scream if you try to take it away from her, and since we already had a meltdown when I told her to stop drinking bath water, I wasn't ready for another. So I let her hold it, but to keep her from yelling every time I got some from the bottle, I had to talk. So I say what every normal parent says in that situation.
“It puts the lotion on its skin…”

My kids are going to be so fucked up. Yes, we’re quoting Silence of the Lambs as part of our post-bathtime rituals. Whatever. It’s better than letting her play in the toilet or drink bath water, and she hasn't seen the movie so she has no idea what I'm referencing.

And by the way, I want to slap the person who says that baths calm babies and should be part of a nightly soothing routine. Obviously that person didn't have twins. Or toddlers. Hell, that person may have not even had kids. It was probably a marketing exec at Johnson & Johnson pitching some bullshit about lavender bath soap. But that’s fine because my twins and I have bath time down to something fun. Or at least fun for them. I just get to quote creepy movies and hope they don't repeat it when they start preschool.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Silver Nerve Damage

DSW is seriously the best. I've said it before, and I stand by it. They have a customer for life here. Plus I have all those rewards, so there’s that.

They looked great, but hurt like hell. 
Let week my procrastinating self decided that silver shoes were needed to complete my outfit for a wedding I was attending. After scouring the internet, I found a great pair of Betsey Johnson silver heels with a rhinestone embellishment. Seriously amazing looking shoes (named Gia if you're looking for it). Despite the cost of said shoe, I didn't qualify for free shipping because I’m not a platinum member (on account of being all pregnant for like a year), so I had to pay upgraded shipping so the shoes showed up in time (hopefully), and then of course I bitched about it because it turned my $80 shoes into $100 shoes.

I should have really just worn what I have, but whatever.

DSW jumped on Titter, responded to my bitching, and upgraded my shipping for free. Yep. Awesome. So much awesome.

Friday night the shoes were waiting for me when I got home so I was able to give them a test run around the kitchen prior to the rehearsal (husband was standing up). The looked amazing. The (almost) perfect shoe.

The night of the wedding, I got dressed, freshened up my makeup in like 8 seconds because I was going to miss the last shuttle from the hotel to the reception, and walked like Peg Bundy in my Pinup Girl Couture Erin wiggle dress and 4 1/2 inch silver heels.
Totally happened.
I took them off. 

I’m pretty sure the only way I could have possibly walked slower that night would be if I just sat down and stopped moving entirely. But it looked good, and there’s a price we all pay for fashion. right?

Pretty sure my price that evening was nerve damage. I love you Betsey, but please, for the love of god put some kind of platform in shoes with heels over 4 inches. Aside from the fact that it will help with speed (which wouldn't have mattered anyway because of the dress), when you spend hours on your feet dancing, talking and dancing with a pitch that high it takes a toll.

Of course once we got the to after party (yep, there was a wedding after party) someone immediately broke a glass, making it impossible to even slide my shoes off under the table for fear of cutting open my foot and causing actual nerve damage (as opposed to the theoretical damage I was convinced I had).

The next morning my feet were still sore and they were so swollen from their evening of abuse that I could only fit them in loafers. The silver heels went home, safely tucked away in their box where they will stay for a while. Mostly because there aren't too many occasions to wear 4 1/2 inch silver heels with rhinestone baubled toes, but also because of the pain they caused me. Who knows, maybe in 17 years they’ll be considered retro and one of my girls can wear them to prom. I bet they’ll hurt less on younger feet.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tiny shoes, big cost

I’m not sure exactly what happened recently, but I’m pretty sure my life has been sucked into a black hole. The girls started walking, I got a new job, started the new job, bought the girls shoes, went to work, came home, did some stuff, tried to be a good wife and mom, worked some more.

That doesn't leave much time for anything else, but I renew my promise (again) to try and be better about writing and posting. For real.

I’ll write on my phone while chasing the girls in two different directions. One wants to play with the dog toy (which really pisses him off) and the other wants to play on the stairs. Always the stairs. What the hell kids?

It was like watching a dog with boots on.
She was pissed.
I’m going to start putting their shoes on them inside because the shoes actually slow them down. Neither one really knows what to do right away, so they just stand there like tiny little statues. Eventually they figure out how to walk again and we’re off to the same old mischief, but those couple minutes of rest were nice.

I think there should also be something made so I can tether them together. They make little leashes for kids, why not something so they can’t separate. When there’s only one of me and two of them, they seem insistent on going in different directions. Stairs and the dog dish, coffee table, stairs and trying to play with the dog.

Seriously, the dog is not a huge fan. He’s good to them, but is easily annoyed and they love him so much it brings to mind Elmira from Looney Tunes.

So cute. Too bad they only fit for a minute.  
The funny thing about them walking now though is how little they wear those new shoes we spent an obscene amount of money on. I mean, you have to get the good shoes to help with their little developing feet. And there’s two of them, so I get to buy two nice pairs of shoes. And as I’m checking out the sales lady looks at me and says, “These should fit for about three months, so be sure to come back a little before that.”

Three months? FML. So far we’re almost a month into ownership and they've worn them twice because they go everywhere in a stroller since they still suck at walking and have zero concept of self-preservation. Luckily, I get a 10% twin discount, which I guess is something, even if it is only a few dollars every three months.

Still people keep asking how it is that my girls only have one pair of shoes each when I have so many pairs of shoes. It’s because my shoes will fit for longer than three months and I actually walk in mine. I promise when they start walking for real they can have more than one pair of shoes.

I guess we better start taking more trips to the park, get some use out of those little shoes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Answer is in the Heel

Most women have a stash of shoes in various places. Drawers at the office, the trunk or backseat of the car, or all of the above. We have this because our needs are constantly changing. I walk almost a mile from the train to the office. I can’t do that in the heels I’ll wear all day. Plus all that walking can’t be good for the heels (or my feet in the heels).  Then there’s the after dinner drinks, lunch that you’re walking to but is still professional so you want heels, weekends and time chasing kids, or going out on the town.

Never mind that we need shoes in different colors or styles, the main reason we hoard shoes in a million places is because one height doesn’t work for everything. You can’t walk a mile in stilettos twice a day for years, just like you can’t wear a low heeled oxford with a dress on a date night. This constant changing is how we end up with drawers full of shoes scattered throughout the various
Heels with flames. Love this.
places we live our lives like some kind of adult Hansel & Gretel.

Once woman has created a shoe that solves all of these issues. You can wear the same shoe out chasing the kids around as you did to the office this week with that smart skirt suit with just one small adjustment. The heel.

Tanya Heath has created a shoe that can fit into many facets of our life with her multi-height shoe. Switch out the heels from low to chunky to high and slim. There are even options with spikes. The collection of actual heels is as expansive as the different styles and colors of shoes.

I have not yet tried them, and at 350€ per pair (heels not included) they’re a little out of my current price range. Individual sets of heels are 50€ each, so the whole shoe is a bit of an investment, but still more affordable than many other designer shoes (which only have one heel). As soon as I get that executive office I’m good for a pair. Something this logical is perfect for busy women, and the ultimate business trip shoe. Pack one pair of shoes and multiple heels. Just hope TSA leaves your bags alone because I imagine explaining why you have multiple heels with no shoes would be a little

The only thing I don’t understand about the shoes is how they are pitched so that one pair of shoes is able to accommodate multiple heel heights.  I guess these are the great questions of the world. That and where does one store all those loose heels?

Here's an interview with the designer, Tanya Heath, discussing her creation.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Have I Become?

There’s life changers that are really obvious and turn your entire life on its ear (like the day I came home with twins), and then there are the subtle changes that you don’t really notice until you have some reason to look back. At that point it sometimes makes you wonder “Who am I?”

The other day I was texting with a friend and we were discussing work, jobs, next steps and the path that got us there. We've been friends since we were about 15, moved to the city around the same time, spent our 20s putting in 50+ hours a week at the office, trying to establish ourselves in careers, and spent weekends bar hopping, drinking too much and making some questionable decisions. Eventually we started spending weekends in, got married (me, not him), moved, got new jobs, kept working a million hours a week (does that stop?), had twins (me again) and once in a while we manage to not have meetings on the same day and we meet for lunch.

Closet vomit. I seriously need to get this under control.
So as we were discussing careers and the general trajectory of said careers I was whining about not being able to find a new suit, which can be shocking because I work near Michigan Ave. in Chicago, and I texted, “Between meetings, yoga and work I haven’t had time to shop so I impulse bought a Cynthia Rowley jacket this weekend and still need a fucking suit.”

This stopped me dead in my tracks.

Not because it sounds totally spoiled and crazy (because I’m aware it does), but because I realized I am becoming that woman. I am the woman who has a closet full of blazers that pair with statement necklaces. I get my nails done on lunch hours, do yoga, eat organic and consider a smoothie a full meal. I wear giant black sunglasses, carry a bag that could fit a small human or a mid-size dog and check my work email at all hours of the night and on weekends.  Now with two little kids I feel like I have become some kind of suburban cliché, but from a Tim Burton film.

You can’t truly be a cliché if you’re in on the joke, right?  

Just as I’m staggering at this vision of myself and start to get the sweats thinking I've sold out and become some kind of faceless Corporate Barbie, I realize that I forgot to put the laundry in the dryer and I trip over the pile of shoes and boxes spilling out of my closet like some kind of spiky, leather and colored vomit.

Dress me up in suits and give me all the kale smoothies you can handle, you don’t have to go too far to find that driven girl who works hard and plays hard and spends all her money on shoes. I’m still kind of a disaster, but now I get to break more expensive things.