Thursday, January 14, 2016

F**k Cancer

What the fuck universe? I’m tired of opening Facebook every morning at the train station and seeing someone who died. The last 30 days has been a bad time to be a celebrity, particularly if your British and I am a fan of your work.

First it was Lemmy, the Motorhead frontman who prided himself on how much he could drink and toured right up to the end, passing away from an aggressive cancer just before the new year.

The Goblin King watches over my babes
Next we famously had David Bowie. When I saw it I thought it was an internet hoax, and after some frantic Googling I realized it was real and choked back tears as I sat waiting for a late train on a bitter cold Chicago morning.

Now Alan Rickman. The voice of God. The bad guy from Die Hard. The Sheriff of Nottingham. Most famously, Snape. This is a really long list, so I’ll end with that one since almost everyone but me has seen all the Harry Potter movies.

All three great. All three taken by aggressive cancer before the world was done with them.

Bowie was perhaps the biggest shock to me. As a child I remember finding the Goblin King oddly attractive. As an adult I decorated my twin’s bedroom around a Labyrinth movie poster with the Goblin King prominently looking down over them as they sleep. Through the years his music was a constant. Always pushing boundaries. Rarely making a song that wasn’t likeable, danceable, and somehow new and fresh. Bowie told us it was OK to be weird. It was OK to be different. It was totally OK to want to turn your younger siblings into goblins and become the Goblin Queen.

A sorry not sorry to my younger sister, who totally would have been made a goblin if I had the opportunity.

Motorhead was one of those bands that would have been prominently featured on a soundtrack of my 20s (which would have been a box set). From hanging out in a punk/industrial/metal bar to seeing Motorhead perform live at one of the shittiest venues in Chicago with the man I now call Husband, they were pretty much a constant. I just assumed they were immortal. Lemmy Lived a hard life with all the smoking and drinking and playing music so loud that my ears were ringing for two days after the concert. I assumed because he wasn’t already deaf and dead he’d live forever.

Movies were always a little better as soon as you knew Alan Rickman was in them. From the brilliantly evil Sheriff of Nottingham in the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie I can’t decide if I love or hate, to the neutered voice of God in a Kevin Smith film, and his epic death in Die Hard you never got the same thing from Alan Rickman. Sure, he was a bad guy in a lot of movies, but he was a different bad guy. Since I’ve never actually seen the role he’s most known for as Professor Snape I have no opinion on that, but I can only assume he played the role brilliantly like all others.

Here’s to hoping that we don’t lose any more greats this year. Here’s to hoping that their legacies and deaths prompt more cancer research to help the millions of people currently fighting.  #FuckCancer

Click here to donate to the Cancer Research Institute.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Closet Purges: My favorite sites

New year, same resolutions. Actually, I don’t even bother making resolutions anymore because they’re just the same damn things I try to do every year, all year.
  • Lose weight
  • Be healthier (fruit is a better snack than a Reese cup and I'm already failing at this)
  • Be more organized (at home, my office is fine)
I actually started the whole organized thing before the new year by cleaning out everyone’s closet. The girls fit in things for all of 3 months and then they’re on to the next size, and if I’m lucky everything got worn once.

While pregnant my feet went up a size and none of my shoes fit, so I started selling all of them. I also recently came to the conclusion that even if I do manage to once again fit into all the clothes spilling out of my closet, a lot of them won’t be in style, aren’t my style or are something I’ve been holding onto for far too long for no good reason (sequin mini skirt, I’m looking at you).

Husband has managed to miraculously lose weight by doing basically nothing at all except chase the twins and start exercising a few minutes a day. He found two things in his closet to get rid of and I seriously considered strangling him with a shirt because he lost weight so effortlessly and because I know there’s a hell of a lot more than two shirts in that closet that don’t fit.

With all these extra clothes sitting around I have found the perfect sites (all available as apps) to take care of all these things at all levels of luxury.

A screen shot of Tradesy
Totspot: You guessed it. They sell kids clothes, and they recently expanded to men’s and women’s clothes. Everything from the gently loved to new with tags (NWT) and original pieces that smaller designers sell, it’s a one-stop for the whole family. When something sells they email you a printable USPS label so there’s no guessing about postage. Just pack and ship. Use code QAMOXA to get $5 when you make your first purchase. Click here or download the app and sign up with code QAMOXA to save $5 off your first purchase. 

Poshmark: Everyone knows this one. Post pics of your clothes, people buy them, print a label, pack and ship. Super easy. Women’s clothes, shoes, bags and accessories and maternity only. Easy to share stuff and be seen. Click here or download the app and sign up with code PKFUO to save $10 on your first purchase. 

Tradesy: If you have a lot of luxury labels or you don’t feel like dealing with finding boxes, then Tradesy is a good fit. Tons of designer items, it takes forever to search through stuff. When something does sell you can print your own label or they’ll send you a pre-addressed poly bag to pack your stuff in. Super easy and they take women's maternity, bridal and accessories. Click here to get $20 off your purchase of $50 or more. 

My Poshmark closet.
Seriously, this could not be easier 
ThreadUp: Perhaps the easiest one of all. After creating an account you can order a clean out bag, which they mail to you. Once you get the bag fill it with clothes for women or children (sorry men), but be sure to check the labels to make sure it’s an accepted brand. Once the bag is full, have USPS pick it up and it ships off (for free) and someone goes through your stuff and they give you money for the items they accept. Items they don’t accept are upcycled. The whole company is very green and philanthropic, and while you won’t get a ton of money for your clothes, it’s by far the easiest of all the options, especially if your closet is full of good brands that are barely worn. Plus they pay you upfront for most items, so if they accept something and it doesn’t sell, it doesn’t matter. Click here to sign up and get $20 towards a purchase. 

Of course at all the sites you can also use the money you earn to buy stuff from other people, including that designer handbag you've had your eye on or a designer coat at an amazing discount simply because it's pre-loved. I have gotten some really amazing deals on each one of these sites at various times and I constantly keep a list of items I like saved for the occasional splurge. 

When all that's done whatever is still at home that you want to get rid of can of course be donated to any number of wonderful charities, many of which will come and pick up at your house.  

If you want to follow any of my closets, you can always find me by following the links above or by searching for Cat in Heels. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Holiday Card to You

Tomorrow is officially the last day of the year and I feel like Christmas came in and took over my life like some kind of light and tinsel-covered tornado, and then it was gone…and here I am holding the remnants of tamales, homemade truffles, an extra pound, wrapping from 1,000 toys and my holiday cards.

Not my holiday cards, but you get the idea.
Yep, I didn’t send holiday cards this year. I bought them, but I just never really got around to it.

Months ago I made the proud declaration that my family was going to get together and we would do pictures that didn’t suck to the level that they were OK for a holiday card. Each weekend I would think of these pictures and how I really need to bathe the twins and get them to sit still for 20 seconds, and then the thought would leave and move on with whatever else was going on in my life. Some days I would dismiss the thought because I was tired, the kids were dirty, I didn’t feel like fighting with them, someone is cutting a tooth and drooling, I don’t want to do laundry and there’s nothing clean so they spent all Saturday in their jammies…

Jesus, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Finally at the beginning of December I gave in to the reality that the whole photo card thing is never happening, I’m just not that adult yet, and I picked up a box of cards at Target. For weeks they sat on the dining room table so that I could write them out and send them.

I’ll do it at night
I’ll take them to work and do it on lunch
I’ll write them while watching TV Saturday night
I’ll write them after wrapping presents cause then I’ll really be in the Christmas spirit (this one failed worst of all)

Someone is about to have a meltdown and this is
why we can't take nice pictures. 
Eventually Husband got tired of looking at them, knew I wasn’t going to send a freaking card to anyone, and put them in our office for next year.

Pretty sure I just failed Adult 101. Not only can I not get the obligatory “Look, we’re all still here,” Mom holiday card out the door, but I can’t get any holiday cards out. Not even one. My parents and sisters didn’t even get one. I’m pretty sure I’ve done better than this in previous years.

Maybe it’s the job, or the kids, or some combination of it all. Maybe it’s the fact that I’d rather crawl around on the floor with my kids and binge watch Jessica Jones when they go to bed than write out Christmas cards. Maybe I just can’t figure out how to be a real adult and it’s my subconscious’ way of giving two middle fingers to the establishment of my mind and my mid-30s.

More than likely though it’s because I’m sometimes just not motivated. Because sometimes, despite the job and house and kids and the fact that I never leave the house without makeup, I’m a mess who can’t totally get her shit together. So, whether or not I know you personally, regardless of what holiday you celebrate and where you are celebrating, consider this my holiday card to you. Happy Holidays and have a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Carting the Kids

Lots of stuff about having toddlers is challenging. Like keeping your clothes clean and making sure they don’t eat the dog kibble.  Another challenge that seems to not be getting better is shopping.

The first problem is that anywhere we go seems to have only two double carts, both of which are currently being used by someone who has one child and a giant purse that obviously needs its own seat. At Target the don’t even get the excuse that the cart is shaped like a car and Little Timmy was having a meltdown if he didn’t get to ride in the car. Nope. Target has this monstrosity of a double cart that is an extender with two seats facing forward with a basket on the front. It looks like you’re pushing the kids on a roller coaster, except that there’s no rails, the thing can’t turn for shit and it’s not at all fun.

Considering that it’s never available, I guess I can’t really complain about it.

Instead I make the choice to put one in the seat and one in the basket. That was great until D got crowded and started launching things out of the cart in protest. Or when S opened the box of Cheerios and was chewing on the top of a bottle of Listerine while I’m trying to find the best price on paper towels. Plus there’s the whole safety thing about them standing and pitching out of the cart, or a sudden start and they go flying into a pile of stuff and bonk their head on a bottle of lotion or the cart itself. We’ve already had one cart induced injury that resulted in crying that could only be quieted with a snack.

Basically this setup is guaranteeing your child will cry in Target, which is pretty much already guaranteed, so now everybody cries twice.

Target, if there’s 2 kids in a cart crying, it’s your own fault for not having better carts.

if i don't get to the car soon that tissue paper will be toast.
When they were smaller I used to use the Buggy Bench, which is ingenious, and the inventor was a twin mom who had to go to the store and was apparently tired of cart shenanigans. It’s a semi structured fabric seat that straps onto any cart, adding a second seat. The downside is it takes up about 50% of your cart space and gives your child the opportunity to stomp all over the bag of frozen vegetables that slid under their feet. God help you if that happens to a package of ground beef or a container of body wash that can’t handle the pressure of the toddler stomp. There’s also an increased chance of hair pulling, but I’m chalking that up to toddlers and not the seating arrangement.

The other issue with the Buggy Bench is that everyone wants to stop and talk about it. Considering it takes an extra 20 minutes to do anything anyway just based on twin questions (yes, I am aware they aren’t identical) the bench will add another five. I should really just start carrying business cards because all moms of two small children, regardless of whether or not they birthed them on the same day, are fascinated by anything that may assist in making their lives a little easier and further restrain their children.

This weekend of that whole convenience went to hell of course when S decided she was going to try and get out. Luckily she couldn’t but D could from the regular seat (and of course the seat belt was broken), and so began a negotiation through Target about bouncing in seats instead of standing. I must have looked like a lunatic walking through the store bouncing up and down while pushing the cart with two manically laughing children who were covered in graham cracker crumbs.

What has happened to my life that I don’t even care about looking like an ass anymore?

I also can’t be the only one who has this issue with carts, two small children and nothing ever working. If it’s not a crazy wheel, it’s a broken belt, or crying child, or any other number of things that make what will already be a long, expensive trip even more long and possibly more expensive. Also, you will need to feed multiple snacks to keep them from totally revolting, which means cracking open that box of Cheerios while walking down the booze aisle hoping a good bottle of wine is on sale.

One day this won’t be a thing anymore and they’ll be actually walking on their own, too big for the cart, and I’ll be chasing them through the store into clothing displays and really, really missing that buggy bench, but until then, this is my life; multi-snack meltdowns and all.