Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Three Tiny Tales About Target

File this one under “thoughtful consumerism.”  Was I thoughtful?  You can be the judge of that!

1)  I caved to internet suggestion and bought a new sundress.  When one lives in Texas, it’s easy to see sundresses as an investment.  Also, I love the adorable print on this one.  Evidence of its adorableness:

  New Target Sundress{Hi!}

I wore it for a leisurely Memorial Day of reading, shopping, baking, and feasting with friends.  It was the first Memorial Day in nine years that was not spent inside a lab, and I was so happy for that.

2)  I perused the shapewear aisles for the first time ever, trying to find a nude camisole.  And the experience made me want to vomit and gouge my eyes out.  What a terrible, not-so-subtle message: women’s bodies are to be squished, flattened, and pushed into place.

Now, I understand that women are frequently buying these pieces to put on their own bodies.  But it’s hard for me to look at shapewear and not see it as a symbol of how very not equal we are to men, at least in the expectations we have of our bodies and appearances.  Where in the men’s section is the apparel designed to make them look “suddenly skinny?”  In which aisle can men be bombarded with messages that their bodies have lumps and bumps in all the wrong places?

I just can’t.  The whole thing makes me want to burn my bras and stick it to the man.

(Of course, this now means I am destined to buy a piece of shapewear within the next five years.)

3)  I have a hard time buying clothes on the internet.  Shoes, yes (and even that I may regret, considering the hard time I’ve had breaking in my new shoes), but clothes?  Why?  Why buy clothes on the internet unless you literally live in the middle of nowhere?  The chore of returning clothes that don’t fit well looms large over me, so I just avoid it.  And then I discover this dress from Target that is only sold on-line:

Target Color Block Dress_JPEG_cropped{Screenshot from target.com}

Super cute, right?  I am newly in love with purple + black + silver as a color trio, but I don’t own any clothing in that particular shade of purple.  So I’m tempted, very tempted, to buy this dress, despite the fact that I just bought a new dress and I would have to deal with the question of fit after buying the dress.

What’s funny though is that I am becoming that person who buys stuff, tries it on at home, then decides to keep or not to keep.  I have a low tolerance for the fitting room but feel totally willing to take something home, try it on, and return it if it doesn’t fit.  Does anyone else do this?  At Target I have pretty good luck with this system, perhaps because I buy almost all of my clothes from Target, so eyeballing sizes is not too hard.

Any Target tales you’d like to share, dear reader?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Let’s Catch Up!

Other Sources

Hi, folks!  Here we are again with a post about the latest news around here.  For the record, it’s about 2 PM on a Sunday afternoon, and I’m still in my pajamas.  I’m drinking coffee (of course!) and eating chocolate chip cookies.  In theory I’ll do some grocery shopping today, but after a week of visitors and entertaining, I have a surprisingly full pantry.  Life is good.  There’s so much to tell you, and today I thought I’d share some of the basics so I can devote other posts to some fun stuff.

* Job news: Almost like magic, a job fell into my lap this month.  The job is conditional right now, and it occurs to me right now that maybe I can’t say much more than that for political reasons.  (I really dislike the secrecy—it’s as frustrating to me as a writer as it probably is to you as a reader.  My deepest apologies!)  But if all goes as planned, I’ll be starting work again this week and I’ll have the time off for travel that I want this summer.  The best of both worlds!  I’m excited.  When the job news is no longer conditional, I will tell you more, pinky-swear.

* A book project: I am working on a book about faith, science, and atheism.  I hatched the idea for this book months ago but felt reluctant to say anything.  Oh boy, another blogger writing a book?  Yawn.  How cliché.  What moves me about this book project is that I want to write it as much for me as for anyone who might read it.  When we first met via e-mail, Paul said something wonderful about creativity: “I love that creative drive, that itch to make a thing simply because it needs to exist.  It's almost better when the only market for it is yourself, somehow that makes the process all the more fulfilling.”

Right now, that’s exactly how I feel about this book.  I’m not really sure of where it’s going, and I definitely don’t know who will read it.  But I’m really enjoying my new reading material (in Sagan we trust!) and thinking about chapter ideas.  I kinda love the ambiguity in the process—it’s freeing to explore without much of a destination.  And I’ve been writing this blog for long enough that I trust the process of writing.  I don’t know what the final product will be, but I know it’ll be cool.

* Summertime friend fun:  My friend Courtney was here for a visit last week, and we had a marvelous time.  There was a boatload of great food, Bananagrams (my new favorite), some deep talks, some boring errands, a menu map, a little chaos, and a brand-new set of memories.  Paul and Courtney bonded over their laser-like ability to tease me about my weirdnesses.  While I didn’t love that, I do love that they get along and that their presence in my life is due to the power of the internet.  I’m so grateful for my tribe. 

Menu Map   {Behold, the menu map!}

So that’s it for now.  I want to tell you more about our cooking adventures from last week, including a full link list to the delicious things we made.  (Again, hip hip hurray for the internet!)  I’m sorry I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front, but I checked in on a number of you and am delighted to hear about racing plans in NYC, frightening animals and small children, and day trips to Raleigh.  Life is good these days!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

And the Winner is…

…#4: Theresa!

Congratulations, Theresa!  I promise I did not rig this drawing so that my sister would win.  But she does happen to be engaged, so perhaps it is good wedding karma that she won the Simply Bridal giveaway on this blog.  Woo-hoo for pretty jewelry and pretty brides!

Happy weekend, everyone.  I’ll be back soon with some good blogging.  Until then, be well!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Cactus in Bud

May 18 2013 002

 {Yeah, I don’t really get it either.  But it’s an owl!  Sitting on a chair! 

The cover of my new small work notebook!}

Friday was my last day in the lab, or at least my last paid day in the lab.  I had been anticipating the day with a mixture of relief and dread.  Relief to be at the end of a long journey that had started out so hopefully and was ending sadly.  Dread to be facing another day of the tedium of cleaning out my lab spaces and to be the center of attention during a farewell cake ‘n’ coffee hour that my boss had organized.  It felt novel and bizarre to be leaving on such unsuccessful terms.  The day marked the first time in my whole life that I was transitioning out of a Big Thing (school or job) and into…something.  Something that has yet to be carved out, defined, polished.  Into the unknown.

I walked into the building on Friday morning with angry tears welling in my eyes.  It’s hard to not be angry about how things have turned out because I worked so hard and was so very loyal to my project and to science.  But I didn’t want to be a blubbering mess, so I took a few deep breaths and headed up the stairs to get my day started.  And it turned out to be a not-so-bad day after all.  I spent most of it moving from station to station, from the freezers to the Fly Room to my desk and back to the freezers.  There was just so much to do: papers and files to be sorted, documents to be scanned, data to be pushed from one computer to another, tubes to be tossed or saved according to their future value.  I’m actually not quite done with all my organizing, despite having worked on it over the course of several days last week.  The volume was too much.

By the time the cake ‘n’ coffee hour rolled around, I was happy to take a break from organizing.  The whole lab showed up, and we ate crumb cake and drank espresso.  Everyone had signed a card for me (so sweet!) and my boss gave me three books, including this beauty:  


He made a little speech with a vague reference to what I might be doing next (which is…? more about that soon, dear reader!), and then I made a little speech.  I told the lab how much I enjoyed working with them, how I could not have asked for a better postdoc lab.  I rambled about science and taking risks.  I only cried a little bit, and I’m very proud of that.  But mostly I wanted them to know that despite my leaving, we were still colleagues, and that they were special to me.

Then I returned to the never-ending task of my clean-out and went for a quick run around campus (marathon, I am stepping up to the plate for you).  Paul picked me up for a celebratory date, and we headed over to swanky Veritas for some wine.  Sitting inside the fancy wine bar, Paul looked right at me and said, “I don’t like this place.”

Um, what?

Yes, my sweet boyfriend, who is usually so mellow and happy about life, took out the claws and made a big swipe at my beloved Veritas as we were sitting there.  So much for enjoying for ambiance!  Paul called it pretentious (which it is) and overpriced (also true) and poked fun at the people, all pretending to be rich and fancy for an evening (accurate?).  And yet…I enjoy going to Veritas every once in a while.  I probably won’t be going there again any time soon, given my unemployed status, but was it really necessary to be so brutally honest at Veritas, knowing that I wanted to be there?

Perhaps it wasn’t necessary, but it is a price that Paul and I pay for the honesty that makes our relationship mutually satisfying.  The conversation about Veritas was just the first of several difficult topics that we tackled.  It was the kind of evening where we walked right up to the edge of the cliff, looked down, and asked ourselves, “Why are we together?”  Paul talked about fun and novelty, and I suggested maybe he should date a rollercoaster instead.  Because I don’t date for fun and novelty.  For me, the reward of a serious relationship is knowing and being known by another in a loving, profound way.  I date for keeps.  

And yet, of course fun and novelty are part of the joy of a new relationship!  Paul and I are still in that early stage where we’re probably annoying everyone else with our constant touching and warm-fuzzy feelings.  What I see beyond our shallow New Relationship Energy is a shared desire for companionship.  I feel that there is something deeper at work between us, an orientation toward the future that I’ve never had before, at least with a romantic partner.  It’s a happy, optimistic feeling for me.  I’m willing to struggle through uncomfortable conversations about detachment and what it means to miss (or not miss) someone if it leads to a deeper understanding of where each of us stands, right now.  I know that for me, joy and sadness often coexist in my heart, and I am comfortable living that paradox.  That’s why my last day of work was both a relief and dreadful, happy and sad, bittersweet.  I sometimes worry that my capacity for conflicting feelings detaches me from experiencing the present moment.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that it’s time to move on, and I’m happy to have a companion walking beside me now, during this transition.  I’m also happy for Tom Petty, whose song has been my theme song for the last month:

“What lies ahead I have no way of knowing.  But under my feet, baby, grass is growing.  Yeah, it’s time to move on.”

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Night Postcard

Another Unicorn Sighting!

Drawing in Motion

Wow, hello!  I’m so happy to be back in this space, if only for a few minutes tonight.  Paul and I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Dallas filled with great vegan food, new friends, and mind-blowing conversations.  I feel so inspired to begin a fresh week.  You might recall that my job ended last week, so this Monday feels like the first day of what my friend Courtney calls “funemployment.”  In other words, less time working means more time for fun!

Speaking of Courtney (whose on-line persona can be found here and here, among other places), she’s coming for a visit this week, so the funemployment continues.  It’s a bit of a juggling act this week, as I’d like to spend some time writing in this space, if for no other reason than to capture in words what I’m feeling as I (really, truly) begin my transition into the wild, wooly world beyond postdocking*.  I’m excited and nervous about this phase of my life—mostly excited but also uncertain and a little scared.  But because this week is devoted to socializing and a few other appointments, I will have to be very deliberate about carving out some time to write.  It’s amazing how busy one can feel while unemployed!  I definitely don’t miss having a job yet.

So, this week I want to tell you more about my last day at work, the celebratory dinner afterward, and a wonderful weekend in Dallas.  After that, who knows?  There are so many stories, recipes, ideas, and questions to be explored here.  SO MUCH TO SAY!  It’s going to be an interesting summer, for sure, and I’m excited to take you along for the ride.

Have a happy week, dear readers.

* I officially declare “postdocking” to be a real world.  postdocking (verb): the act of working in a postdoctoral position, especially within a university.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

“His argument was not with God…”

It’s a rainy Wednesday morning here in Texas, and I’m sniffly and grumpy.  Talking with an old mentor of mine last night, he told me that the best way to recover from a research heartbreak is rest and lots of good sex.  I’m three days away from being able to put that plan into action, and I can’t wait.  After diagnosing myself with mild depression, I’m eager to see if some time away from academic science restores my sense of aliveness, my sense of joy.

In the meantime, Paul loaned me his copy of The Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan.  I love it.  This book might also be a good prescription for a heart broken by science.  The editor’s introduction by Ann Druyan moved me to tears, and I thought I’d share a passage from it today.

“His argument was not with God but with those who believed that our understanding of the sacred had been completed.  Science’s permanently revolutionary conviction that the search for truth never ends seemed to him the only approach with sufficient humility to be worthy of the universe it revealed.  The methodology of science, with its error-correcting mechanism for keeping us honest in spite of our chronic tendencies to project, to misunderstand, to deceive ourselves and others, seemed to him the height of spiritual discipline.  If you are searching for sacred knowledge and not just a palliative for your fears, then you will train yourself to be a good skeptic….For him, science was, in part, a kind of ‘informed worship.’  No single step in the pursuit of enlightenment should ever be considered sacred; only the search was.”

Beautiful, no?  Only the search is sacred.  Maybe that’s true of all our seeking.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Giveaway: Pretty Jewelry from Simply Bridal

Today I have something a little unusual for you: a giveaway from Simply Bridal.  Simply Bridal is an on-line site for pretty things for brides, including dresses, veils, and jewelry.  Now, I’m going to guess that most of you are not planning a wedding right now, and I wanted everyone to feel included—or at least I wanted something for the non-brides among us (including me!).  When Simply Bridal offered to host a jewelry giveaway, I was delighted.  Check out some of their elegant pieces: 

Simply Bridal Images_JPEG_cropped

{Clockwise from top left:

*Hammered Chain * Hammered Oval Link Necklace*

*Earwire with Hammered Oval Link * Two-Strand Lariat* }

Beautiful, right?  Heavy on the pearls, I know, but I love pearls.  Many of these pieces are also available in gold, too, if gold is your thing.

For this giveaway, one lucky winner will get to pick one piece from Simply Bridal’s jewelry collection with the exception of May Yeung pieces (which are generally the more expensive jewelry options).  The contest is open to all readers, including those of you outside the United States (hi, Laurie!).  On top of the giveaway, I have a discount code that everyone can use for the Simply Bridal site.  The code is SBL155HD for 15% off, excluding shipping.  The code is good for 10 uses and expires on June 6, 2013.

To enter the contest, leave a comment on this post by telling me a little story about a favorite piece of jewelry.  I’ll go first.  My mom gave me this sweet, fun set of red baubles a few years ago.  The cheerful color and gold stars always make me happy when I wear them. 

Red Jewelry from Mom 

Good luck, dear readers!  The giveaway ends on Monday, May 20.  I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner later that week.

PS  Happy Mother’s Day to all the American mamas out there.  Such good work you are doing!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Little Favor

Good-Looking Strawberries

Hi, friends!  Happy strawberry season.  Have you been stuffing yourselves silly with strawberries?  I have, but only in raw form.  I just can’t bear to cook strawberries, so I eat them alone, or on top of my oatmeal, or lightly sweetened with ricotta cheese.  Nothing says, “Spring!” to me more than fresh strawberries.

Today I have an announcement and a favor to ask of you.  You may have noticed some changes around here in the sidebar, such as the page asking for green sponsors.  After a lot of deliberation, I’ve decided to take this blog in a slightly more commercial direction, but one that’s in line with my values.  I’m now thinking of this blog as one that promotes thoughtful consumerism in the context of everyday living.  My real passion is green living, and that’s not limited to one genre like food or clothing or habits.  I think it’s important to take a holistic view of what it means to live sustainably, and I’m excited to explore that more on the blog and in my life.

This decision, of course, coincides with the end of my current job.  The reason is simple: the business side of blogging can take up a lot of time, and I now feel like I’ll have the time for writing posts and the business side of blogging.  I don’t want to sacrifice content for money, and as long as I had a full-time position, I wanted to devote my blogging time to writing posts.  Can you tell that it takes me more than a few minutes to write my posts?  Can you tell I put a lot of thought into what I share here?  I ask these questions not to be pedantic but because I’m not sure if it’s obvious.  This blog has been a labor of love for me for almost six years (six years!), and I’m excited to take it to the next level.

And now, here’s the favor.  I’m starting small by setting up a store with Amazon.  The idea is that if you buy items like cookbooks or ingredients through my Amazon store, I earn a small percentage of your purchase as a commission.  I’m carefully curating the store to include only things I love and use—in other words, things I spend my money on, too.  Buying things through my Amazon store is an easy way of supporting this blog.  If you’ve gotten anything of value from my posts, recipes, ideas, or comments, perhaps you’d consider visiting the Amazon store for any kitchen-related needs.  I would be so grateful for the help!  And to be really honest, your supporting this blog financially makes it easier for me to justify spending more time producing content.  I always have a big working list of post ideas; I just never seem to have enough time to write.  

Post Ideas_Image_JPEG_cropped

I plan to tell you more about the direction this blog is heading.  Truly, I’m going out on a limb here to pursue my passion project.  It’s scary and exciting, and I’m so happy to have you along for the ride!  Thanks for reading and for all the love.  My readers are the best, all 800+ of you.

Tree and Sky

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Just Say No to Old Navy?

Let’s talk about Old Navy today, shall we?

I can still remember when I first had regular access to an Old Navy.  Back then, it was a treat and a thrill to have a new mall store filled with cute clothes that I could afford on my modest paycheck.  I was working in the one-hour photo section at Target during the summer before college.  My mornings were spent at the store, feeding film through that giant machine and retrieving orders for customers.  It was easy work, but damn, it was boring.  Being able to browse Old Navy after work made life happier.

As a teenager, I thought Old Navy was great.  Good quality, good prices, the thrill of spending my own money on stuff for me—what’s not to love?  I even still have a jacket I bought from them, a light blue (and slightly too big for me) windbreaker/raincoat that I wear when it’s raining and I want some protection.  My favorite thing about that coat is that it’s lined with super soft grey fleece.  Looking back, it seems that fleecy apparel was one of Old Navy’s signature categories, and oh, how lovely and warm it was!

Old Old Navy Coat{10+ years together!  Quality!}

I shopped at Old Navy on and off through college.  In grad school, I discovered the Gap, which happened to be in downtown Evanston and approximately halfway between the lab and home.  Gap and I quickly became best friends.  I discovered that I love their sweaters, and they make great jeans to fit my curves.  I do get my jeans hemmed by a professional, but at my height (5’1”), that’s to be expected.

Living in the Chicago area for graduate school, I still shopped a bit at Old Navy, especially at the impressive multi-story location in downtown Chicago.  (It seems that since I left Chicago, the State Street Old Navy has moved into the old Borders building…and people are NOT HAPPY.  Yikes.)  Anyways, once Gap became a more convenient shopping destination, my Old Navy habit tapered to a minimum.

Then I moved to Texas, and my shopping options changed dramatically.  No more local Ann Taylor Loft, and my local Gap closed not long after I arrived.  So sad.  So what’s left here?  Old Navy, Target, Kohl’s, and for secondhand options, Plato’s Closet.  There are other stores, of course, but those are my main squeezes.

Here’s my question for you: has Old Navy’s quality really declined since I started shopping there in high school?  Or is this a figment of people’s imagination?  Reading style blogs and people’s commentary on quality has got me wondering (and worrying!) about shopping there.  I was in the store a few weeks ago and found a beautiful coral sundress on sale for $10.99.  When I felt the thin (and snaggable?) fabric, I thought, This isn’t going to last.  And when I tried on three tops from the clearance rack, I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of them because I got paranoid about buying cheap clothing.

And yet… 

Favorite Pink Shirt

I bought this pink top last summer from Old Navy and love it so much.  A short-sleeved pink top is a closet staple for me, and I’d been without one for too long.  Feeling a bit desperate, when I found this one for $6, I decided that if it only lasted the summer, I was okay with that.  It’s lasted me almost a year, and I still love it.

And then there’s my denim pencil skirt.

Denim Pencil Skirt {Sorry this photo is kinda fuzzy!  Cameras, how do they work?!}

I bought this one while shopping with my sister in December 2011.  She had given me an Old Navy Groupon for Christmas (yay!), and we went shopping for gifts and for ourselves.  I wear this skirt a lot in the warmer months, and it’s pretty easy to ride my bike while wearing it.  Quality-wise, I’m very happy—I imagine this skirt will last for several years, and it fits really well.

I suppose my shopping method at Old Navy is mixed: I either embrace the “this might not last” mentality (as with the pink shirt), or I can see and feel that the quality is good (as with the denim skirt).  But I wish I could shake the feeling of paranoia that other blogs have instilled in me!  It’s kind of unfair, the way that a negative feeling can dominate your experiences.  I haven’t told you at all about the mistakes I’ve made at Old Navy—buying ill-fitting jeans, for example—but it doesn’t seem fair to blame the store or the brand for that.

This post was a bit of a ramble, but I think that’s how it goes sometimes with thoughtful consumerism.  So now I ask you: what’s been your experience with Old Navy?  Do you like shopping there?  Or do you avoid it at all costs?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

And the Award for Best Packaging Goes to…

…Napa Valley Naturals Olive Oil!

Napa Valley Naturals Olive Oil

Check out the clever pour spout that comes with the bottle:

Clever Pour Spout

I found this big bottle of oil at Brazos Natural Foods, marked down to $10.99 from $15.39.  For 24.5 ounces, that’s not a bad price!  I sort of hate the weeks when I need to buy new olive oil because it seems so expensive, so I was quite happy to find a good deal at the hippie food store.

But even better is the convenience of the pour spout!  The bottle came capped and sealed, with the pour spout attached.  Once you open the bottle, you can push the spout into place and throw away the cap.  It seems like such a small thing, a pour spout, but it means that every time I grab the olive oil, I can just pour.  Sometimes good design is an overhaul of your entire system.  And sometimes it’s as simple as a pour spout on the olive oil you bought on sale.

Has anything clever crossed your path lately?

* PS This post was not sponsored by anyone.  I just wanted to share.

* PPS I see now that Napa Valley Naturals not only has a website, but even better: they offer free shipping on orders of $49 or more!  That’s awesome.  Also awesome is their pomegranate balsamic vinegar—it’s my favorite vinegar in the pantry and my go-to choice for salad dressings.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Academic Heartbreak, Academic Pride

I have two facts to share with you today.

May 17 is my last day as a postdoc.

My postdoc project is imploding.  Therefore I have no plans to write a paper from the work I’ve been doing for the last 2.5 years.

How could this happen?  In my more desperate moments, that’s the question I ask myself.  The short answer is circular: it happens.  It happens because discovery science is inherently risky, and sometimes your hypothesis is wrong.  It happens because in this line of work, there are no guarantees.

So in addition to not getting my grant funded, I will have no publications to show for my time in the Amrein lab, and that breaks my heart.  I’ve been saying for two years that I am not leaving this lab without a paper, and hey, guess what?  I’m leaving without a paper.  It’s my worst case scenario come true.  Trying to wrap my mind around this reality has been really hard.  I am running out of emotional energy.

Until recently, I loved my work.  Loved it.  The project was exciting and novel, the data were mostly encouraging, and I felt good about the work I was doing.  I felt like I was on the right path, that I was going somewhere.  But then things started going off the rails.  I had a serious setback in February, but it felt like the project could be salvaged.  Then we found out the grant was not going to be funded, so time was running out on my chances for a publication.  Then the data just…quit.  I don’t know how else to explain it but to say that the data don’t support the storyline.  That’s nobody’s fault, of course, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt.  It’s like, Really?  Now?  I felt like I was thisclose to wrapping up a nice story, and that would have been a very satisfying end to my postdoc.  Instead, I feel like I’m leaving with my tail between my legs.

As a postdoc, I am a failure.

More technically, I suppose, it’s my project that is a failure.  I had a meltdown last night, with tears and everything.  All the feelings that have been bubbling beneath the surface just poured out of me like a blubbery volcano.  Anger, sadness, frustration, boredom, hopelessness—I couldn’t contain it any more.  I have tried hard to handle my situation with grace and dignity, but my efforts are unraveling.  I feel like I can’t do it any more.  I can’t be a stoic scientist, shrugging my shoulders and saying, “That’s the way it goes sometimes.”  Paul reminded me that I did what postdocs are expected to do: I did science.  I gave it my best effort.  So how is that failure?  Scientists are responsible for producing data and presenting it honestly, not for producing a particular set of results.  To do otherwise is to commit scientific fraud.

And that is perhaps where I am redeemed.  Honesty has always been a strong point of mine (hence this post!).  I took my project as far as it could go.  That was my goal with this risky, exciting project, and I think I accomplished that.  And now I need to find my way to a place of peace and acceptance that this stage in my career is over.

On my better days, I am proud of myself for taking a big risk with my work.  I am a not a risk-taker by nature; I’d rather bake cookies than climb mountains.  But I climbed the metaphorical mountain when I moved to Texas and embraced the “big risk/big reward” model that my boss uses in his work.  It didn’t work out for me like I hoped it would, but on my better days, I’m excited to see what lies beyond the mountain.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Repeat After Me: I Do Not Need to Spend $100 on a Dress

Athleta Jura Dress_JPEG

{Screen shot from Athleta’s website}

With unemployment on the horizon for me, I’ve been thinking a lot about thoughtful consumerism.  Expect to see more blog posts on that topic over the next few weeks!  I hope that’s okay with you.

Here is a basic truth: I do not need any more dresses.  During my time in Texas, I have built a nice dress collection to keep me clothed during the hottest months.  Add tights and a sweater and many dresses can transition into fall and winter without skipping a beat.  I have every reason to be satisfied and content with what I own now.

But then, you know, there’s the human condition, our wandering eye, our rambling desire to acquire.  I’m fighting that desire these days.  It’s in my best interest to be (mostly) pragmatic about what I buy these days because I don’t know what my financial future holds.  Will my savings need to last for three, six, NINE months?  Nine months of regular spending for me is about $16,000.  That number makes me pause.

This week, hopping around the interwebs, I found the Athleta dress you see up at the top.  It’s so cute, isn’t it?!?  The print, its wrapping around the waist, the flattering v-neck…so cute.  I’m having hard time not ordering it right this very moment so it can join its dressy cousins in my closet.  But then I started thinking of its $100 price tag in terms of what a hundred bucks could buy instead of another dress.  How about:

* A week’s worth of groceries plus a meal or two out.  (Of course I would list food first.  Of course!  Who do you think I am?)

* A really good shop at Target for all the essentials like contact solution, body wash, etc.  I always feel good when I’m well-stocked at home.

* A night or three of lodging for this summer’s road trip, depending on our accommodations.

* About 30 gallons of gas for the road trip.

* Two new pairs of summer shoes from 6pm.com.  I actually did this last month, and my new shoes are destroying my feet.  I’ll break them in eventually, right?  Also, note to self: lab tape is not a good substitute for the right band-aids.  Second note to self: add band-aids to Target shopping list.

* 1/4 of a plane ticket to Michigan.  (I just bought one of those too.)

* Three dresses from Target.  This one kinda defeats the point of this list, but I have to remind myself that my clothes really do last a long time even though I don’t buy them from fancy places.

How are you doing with your spending these days?  Are you having a hard time not buying ALL THE THINGS?