Spanx. They aren’t just for Moms.

I wouldn’t say that I have “anxiety” about wearing Spanx (and honestly, no one SHOULD have anxiety about wearing a brand of sucky-in-y underwear – because that’s essentially all they are) but I HAVE noticed that when I’m wearing a tight dress, along with – what is essentially a modern day girdle – I feel, a little…. well, anxious. Stiff. Uncomfortable. There’s a tightness in my chest…/abdomen. 

I mean, most of that is the sucky-in-y part of the underwear that I paid $50 to literally wedge myself into so that I could look good in a dress for a few hours, but you know what I mean. I worry. The Spanx alter blood circulation to my brain (probably, I don’t know.  You’d think they’ve got to be cutting off some circulation around my torso. Otherwise, are they even doing their job?) My inner fat girl that needed the Spanx in the first place starts sending paranoid, worried signals to my brain. 

“What if people can tell?” I think. “Can people tell that I’m wearing a girdle?” 

I honestly do not know how anyone would ever be able to “tell”, unless they came over and lifted up my dress and said, “Hey I see you’re wearing some funny underwear under there.” And if someone ever does that to you, I can PROMISE you that the the highlight of that story will not be “I was wearing Spanx”, it will be “A stranger lifted up my dress. It was weird.”

Sometimes I worry that if I give someone a hug, they’ll be able to tell. Like they’ll feel it under my clothes and be like, “HEY WHAT’S THAT?” or worse – “Wow! Your core is ROCK SOLID! Have you been doing Pilates? Let’s see that six-pack!” 

Again. That would require me to lift up my dress. And the highlight of that story would be, “Someone asked me to lift up my dress in order to show them my super rock-hard abs. It was weird.” 

But what if they can FEEL it, I think. What if someone has their arms around me and feels the top of the Spanx? Or that little rod-stick thing that goes down the sides of some of them like a legit corset? I mean, I’m wearing this super tight dress. Surely they can FEEL that stuff.

In all of my years of hugging people – all of the people, including ones who are wearing tight clothes – I have never once embraced someone long enough to literally FEEL THEM UP. I have never tried to rub my hands along someone’s side while hugging them, unless I was, like, DATING that person. Because otherwise it’s super inappropriate – and the highlight of THAT story would be, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me. It was super inappropriate.” — not, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me and THEY COULD TELL I WAS WEARING A GIRDLE. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING.” 

Vintage fashion debunked.

Is “debunked” the right word? I don’t know. I used to think that I looooved vintage fashion. The idea of a string of pearls sitting around in a jewelry box that’s been passed down since the Titanic? Maybe it belonged to Rose De… Dewitt? Google says “Dewitt-Bukater”, but I’m just going to call her Rose Dawson because we all know she should have scooted over and let Jack climb up on top of that door with her. He didn’t have to freeze to death. It’s not always all about you, Rose, people are dying.

But the pearls. Let’s get back to the pearls. Did she have pearls? Oh, wait – no, she had that gaudy necklace that she chucked it into the ocean at the end of the movie. Way to be a hero, Rose. People have been looking for that.

But when you say something is “vintage” – that’s what people imagine. That’s why they say “ooh… ahh…”, because they’re envisioning something that somebody wore back in the day. It’s a romantic idea that something has been around longer than, you know, a Forever 21 t-shirt that you ripped and threw away after one wash. It tells a story. It’s been around the block. It’s seen some stuff.

When I was in high school, one of the girls came to school one day wearing dangly paperclip earrings. Like, dangly earrings, made of paperclips. Tiny paperclips clasped together dangling from her ears. And when everyone said, “Oh! Those are… different!” – she told us that she found them in her grandmother’s jewelry box and that they were “vintage”.

Vintage paper clip earrings. From Grandma’s jewelry box. Like Grandma was a true fashion pioneer back in the 40s who just strung a bunch of paper clips together and then said, “Yea, I’m gonna keep these. Let me just put these in the jewelry box next to my pearls.” 

Did they even have paper clips back in the 40s? When did they start making paper clips? Were people even writing on paper back then, or was it all parchment and quill pens?

Okay, I guess it’s the 1940s, not the 1800s. You shouldn’t come here expecting a history lesson. We’re here to talk about clothes and stuff.

How to be a fashion blogger.

I don’t know how to ask someone to take a picture of me “for my blog” without sounding like a… like a total… what’s the mom-approved-PG word for douchebag? Because that’s what I sound like. A pretentious douchebag. It’s hard for me to take myself seriously when I’m saying, “Hey will you take a bloggy picture of me in front of this fountain?”… which is usually followed by, “What should I be doing? Should I, like, look off into the distance? Or, look over my shoulder? Should I smile? Is that weird? Smiling is weird, right?”

Sure. Smiling in a picture? Totes weird. Only serial killers and ax murderers do that.

Rarely is this magical moment complete without me asking, “Is it cute? Will you take another one? What should I do with my hands?” 

I never know what to do with my hands. And I alwaaaays ask if it’s cute. Like the person behind the camera is ever going to tell me:  “I don’t know, Jenn. You’re twenty-seven years old and still pretending to be a model. Is THAT cute?”

It’s not cute. In fact, the whole thing usually feels so awkward that I fidget for about five seconds in front of whatever fountain/brick wall/lake front/rooftop view I’m standing in front of and then ask, “Did you get it? Is it cute?” 

Like I’m Beyonce or something. IS IT CUTE? Sure. Like my personal paparazzi fan club was just begging to take a candid picture of me. “UGH. DID YOU GET IT? ARE WE DONE HERE?” 

Wearing a leopard print bra to a job interview.

I’m not big on superstition, but I once held a rabbit’s foot in my pocket while I was taking an important exam.

And by “important exam”, I mean a sixth grade science test, and by “rabbit’s foot”, I mean a picture I ripped out of magazine of Justin Timberlake. It was earlier that year when I discovered a “lucky rabbit’s foot” was legitimately supposed to be, like, you know… a rabbit’s.. FOOT… and I was like “What kind of sick person carries around some dead rabbit’s chopped off foot? How does that bring them good luck?” 

It doesn’t. When you think about it, the concept IS a little Jeepers Creepers, ya know? 

But a picture of Justin Timberlake during his Ramen noodle hair and N’sync days? Yes. That will TOTALLY bring you good luck! Probably. If you write the answers on it somewhere in very small print and only look at it occasionally when the teacher isn’t paying attention. Ya know, for luck.

Of course I wasn’t smart enough to do that. Which is probably why I thought I needed a “lucky charm” to get through a sixth grade level science test in the first place. As long as I had a picture of my fake boyfriend “Justin from N’sync” in my back pocket, I was sure to do well. It was magic, and luck, and the Gods and a higher power – and my crazy little eleven year old brain that legit thought some sort of voodoo could make me a really good guesser – all working together.

Ah, to be eleven and weird again. 

I don’t remember how I did on that test. But – to ease your mind – I went on to go to Junior High, and High School, and College, and now I’m a Regional Sales Manager in Chicago, so – however it turned out – I guess not being able to retain information about volcanos and bugs didn’t ruin my life. 

Decorating our new apartment!

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: “We need shelf liner.”

Shelf liner used to be just one of those dumb “extra”, “Mom”-type things that somehow found it’s way into every apartment that I’ve ever lived in – cut up, and laid flat in the kitchen cabinets.

I say “somehow” like it magically appeared there. It didn’t. My mom would buy this stuff for me – because she’s a mom, and it’s kind of a “mom” thing – and say “This is to line the shelves of your kitchen cabinets before you put the dishes away.” And I would say “Oh, okay, cool” – even though I had no idea why. Does it stop your plates from sliding around? (Can plates really just “slide” around in there?) Does it stop your glasses from smelling like *shelf*? (Aka, wood). Can it keep you from getting splinters?

I don’t know. It might just be wallpaper for the kitchen cabinets. But – whatever it does – I knew that I needed it for our new apartment before I could put the dishes away. God forbid we put away our Target brand plates and funny wine glasses that say things like “I make pour decisions” into a cabinet with naked shelves.

That time I bleached my hair.

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)

The day my yoga pants went to yoga class.

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.

That time I wore wooden shoes.

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.

Thoughts while driving in the city.

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.

Don’t wear a dress to the airport.

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?