So, I went shopping today. And I walked into this little store called The Buckle. Or is it just Buckle? I don’t know – but you know which store I’m talking about, right? It’s supposed to be this very boho-trendy/Coachella fashion/”I paid way too much for this t-shirt” kind of store. (I know, because I’ve paid way too much for a t-shirt here before. )
But I was in the mall, I’d had my Starbucks, and I was feeling pretty good. (Plus I’ve been saying for the last, like, week and a half that “I reaaaaally want some new clothes for summer”. There is no reasonable explanation for this. It’s not like the only thing I have in my closet are clothes made of wool and fur and winter-y things.. But apparently all of the t-shirts and shorts that I have in my closet from last year are, like, sooo 2016.)
I know. I’m the worst. Some people collect dolls, some people eat trash, my addiction is that I buy a lot of clothes. We all have our things.
I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me that I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.
These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.
I mean, I get it. My natural hair had “dimension” (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural LOW-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.
But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. (Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia.) But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one that she picked.
A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom has never been like a “regular” mom. She’s a cool mom.
(Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.) (Click the heading to read more)
You should know something about me: I am a hoarder. (Well, okay, no I’m not. But I collect pants. Not so much in a “collection” sort of way, but more so in a “I can’t get rid of these” sort of way. Because some day I might wear them, even though they’ve been in my closet for two years and I haven’t worn them yet. But, like, the day COULD be coming. Why risk it?)
It’s gotten to the point where I have to squish everything down just to get the dresser drawer closed. I’m like The Little Mermaid with her thing-a-ma-bobs in the cavern. I’ve got skinny jeans, flair jeans, jeans that are too short (even I don’t know why I still have these. Am I waiting for them to come back in style?), jeans that I can only wear with heels (because they’re too long), jeans that I can only wear with boots (because they’re too short), jeans that I can’t button but also can’t get rid of because “I’m going to wear these again!”…and, ugh. Just, ugh.
Hoarders is going to show up on my door step one day, just you wait. “We hear you have a lot of pants,” they’ll say. “We’re here to help.” And I’ll say things like, “No! You can’t get rid of THOSE – I’ll wear them again, I promise! I just need to lose fifteen pounds and start doing squats!” Stay tuned. It’s going to be a great episode.
I love yoga. I mean, I’m not good at it or anything – I don’t know what I’m doing, or how to breathe, and it took me a year just to figure out what “cat cow” was…. But I love yoga.
I love rolling out my little, pink yoga mat in the middle of my living room floor, and picking out a yoga video from my favorite yoga YouTube channel, and pretending that I’m confident and relaxed as I stumble (and sometimes fall down) through the twenty or thirty minute sequence of my favorite YouTube yoga instructor saying “just breathe”.
I LOVE YOGA, or whatever it is that I’m doing on my living room floor (mostly just trying to twist my body into weird shapes and pretend that it’s totes relaxing). It makes me feel good. But to say that I actually “do yoga” feels a little bit like saying I’m a salsa dancer after taking a couple of Zumba classes. It’s just not the same. My yoga pants have spent more time grocery shopping and walking to 8 AM college classes than they have on yoga mats.
We all have our “things”. Mine is pretending that I’m flexible and mildly coordinated.
Oh, but not just any wooden shoes — platform shoes. With a heel. A large, wooden, platform heel.
I KNOW. I blame Lizzie McGuire. Because I was fifteen and saw Hilary Duff wearing them in a Candies ad and thought that if she was wearing them, then I should wear some too. (They must be “in”, right? This is Candies. I’m not over in the old lady section of Kohls- this is the JUNIORS section. EVERYTHING in the Juniors section is cool. I’m practically shopping in Hilary Duff’s closet, I bet she wears these every day.)
So I bought myself some wooden shoes with a platform heel. Whoever said advertising doesn’t work has clearly never met a desperate-for-style fifteen year old girl walking around Kohl’s with her mom.
I bought a floppy hat before it was cool to buy floppy hats. I don’t know if it was seen as “uncool”, but you didn’t see them in every single H&M and Forever 21 like you do now. Instead I bought mine on a “Fourth of July” sales rack at Vanity, and I’m pretty sure it was meant to be ironic. Like, “Oh my gosh, Karen! We should all wear these funny hats and pretend to be hoity-toity. It’ll be a riot!”
Who’s Karen? I don’t know.My imaginary basic white girl friend. Because basic white girls are the kind of girls who buy those hats. (So, that explains why I own one. Obviously.)
I was invited on a boat for the 4th of July a few years ago. Not like one of these party boats you see in Chicago. Not like a yacht that you see rich people have in movies. A little four person speed boat (are they called speed boats? I don’t know. I might have just made that up. But you know what I mean.Like something you see the Coast Guard Search and Rescue team in.)
So anyway. I was invited on this Search and Rescue looking boat with my friend and her family, because we were spending time at Grand Lake St. Mary’s… which consists of water so green with toxic algae that it has since been issued a Public Health Advisory. People have been hospitalized from swimming in it. A guy once walked out of it cover in slime. And I’m pretty sure I swallowed some of it when I was there back in 2008. But, you know, boating! Yay!
I learned to drive while growing up in a very small town. Like, the kind of small town Carrie Underwood sings about with back roads, Jesus, and dating the varsity quarterback. We had a “drive your tractor to school” day once a year. We had ONE STOPLIGHT.
Needless to say, we didn’t have a lot of traffic. Because we didn’t have a lot of people.
So when I moved to Chicago last month……. Well, I think you see where I’m going with this. There were a couple of things they must have glossed over back in driving school. Things like:
1) I don’t know how to parallel park. I think they tried to teach this at some point? Maybe there was a video on it? I remember there were orange cones, but I don’t remember having to actually park.. parallel-y. Instead I grew up where we had these things called “parking lots”. And nobody ever held up traffic trying to squeeze their mini-van into a five foot slot next to the sidewalk.
2) The cab drivers play chicken with the pedestrians. And everyone is weirdly okay with it. No one seems worried that their about to die.
3) People honk. A lot. Mostly at me, because I drive like a grandma.
I wouldn’t call myself a nervous flyer, I’m more of a nervous airport go-er. Because airport security has a special way of making me feel like an international terrorist. Not on purpose, it’s not as if they’re eyeing me up and down with a couple of pitch forks. The majority of TSA agents that I’ve met were actually very nice. But they have a job to do, and they take it seriously. Which is a good thing, because if there’s anything that would make me a nervous flyer, it would be some crazy guy on my plane.
But – let’s be real here – if you think I know how to make a bomb out of a bottle of shampoo, you’re giving me too much credit. I write my own fashion blog and keep selfies saved on my phone, I’m not the kind of gal who would dump my salon-brand-argon-oil-no-frizz shampoo down the drain just to start concocting a missile. I’m WAAAY too vain for that.
But TSA figured, you know, better safe than sorry. Who knows? The next world renowned international terrorist could be a twenty-six year old girl from the Midwest traveling with fancy shampoo and wearing a Calvin Klein dress.
Because that was my real mistake. Wearing that dress to the airport. Who wears a dress to the airport? Beyonce?
I’m sure my dad wasn’t the first parent to tell his teenage daughter “no” when she asked him for a pair of ripped-up, faded, holy jeans. “They have holes in them,” he’d say. “Who would pay seventy dollars for a pair of jeans that have holes in them? I can’t even donate jeans like that to Goodwill.”
Dads. They just don’t understand fashion.
I bought my first and only pair of “holy jeans” for the same reason that I bought a velour tracksuit (circa 2003) and a whole bunch of big sunglasses: because Jessica Simpson wore holy jeans and tracksuits and big sunglasses and she was Jessica Simpson. She was married to Nick Lachey. She was in that movie Dukes of Hazzard. She thought tuna might be chicken, which at the time, I thought held a solid argument. The can really does say, “chicken of the sea”.
So when I saw Jessica Simpson wearing jeans with holes in them, I decided that I had to go out and buy some jeans with holes in them. Because Jessica Simpson made them look chic. And effortless. Like she was fashion-y, but she wasn’t trying too hard to be fashion-y. It just happened. She just woke up, threw on whatever was laying around, and BOOM! Instant pin on Pinterest.
Of course Pinterest didn’t exist back then.) So I didn’t know what kind of “holy jeans” to buy. I had to rely on episodes of Newlyweds and the Juniors department at JcPenny to guide me on my style choices. Which is how I ended up with my very own pair of holy jeans – and they didn’t come from my attempt at spending hours with scissors, sand paper and a copy of Seventeen magazine that featured an article about using sand paper and scissors to rip up your jeans. (This was a real article, by the way. I remember, because I asked my dad if he had any sand paper laying around in the garage. #JustGirlyThings)
I don’t know how to French braid. Fishtail braid? Regardless, I can only do ONE braid. The easy one. The one with three strands of hair and a normal amount of fingers. No YouTube tutorials required.
I don’t know if being a halfwit when it comes to hair is all that uncommon. It seems like when I talk to… well, basically anyone who can French braid their own hair, they seem shocked that I don’t know how do something so simple. Like I’m telling them that I don’t know how to use a comb. “REALLY?” they say, as I explain how my hairstyle skills rival that of a Stay-At-Home Dad’s. “But it’s SO EASY!” they say, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I must be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe I’m adding too much hair. Maybe I need more fingers.
The day that I learned the easy, no-frills, nothing-fancy-about-it braid was a big day for me. I think I was ten or eleven. Up until that day, I can remember taking two strands of hair and twisting them around until it resembled… I don’t know, something, a pretzel twist maybe?… and then trying to convince people that it was a braid. But not like, a regular braid. Like a COOL braid.