Shopping Report

October 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm (My Daily Life)

Let’s just get it right out there, my shopping stamina is about 2.5 hours.  I know, sad, isn’t it?  So the fact that I lasted FOUR hours was a huge deal.  I think it helped that I saved DSW for last, like the carrot at the end of the stick.

First priority was to find a cocktail dress for the dinner.  I was hoping that it would be easy, but hey, that never happens.  I started at Macy’s, but they only had one really ugly black dress.  I specifically didn’t want black – too boring and makes me look really pale, and this one wasn’t flattering.  So on to Nordstrom where I tried on a champagne colored dress that had these horizontal layered panel things.  Too hard to describe but anyway, the color wasn’t good for me and again it wasn’t flattering.  I was off to Bloomingdale’s hopeful that in their huge department I would find success.

Unfortunately, the petite section of that department was small, and then when you weed out the more casual dresses and the longer dresses, I had a very small selection.  And for whatever reason, the petite sizes that fit at Nordstrom were about 2 sizes too small at Bloomies so that was wasting my time.  I just didn’t find anything that was flattering, young-looking, or would work with my undergarments.  Becoming slightly desperate, I returned to Nordstrom to try on some of the separates I saw and discarded.

Back at Nordy’s I saw a red dress that I had initially dismissed because you all know how I try to avoid the primary colors; they aren’t the most sophisticated color choice on me.  But I figured I should at least try it on since I had nothing after several hours of trying.  As it turns out, once it was on it didn’t scream “Nancy-Reagan-Red”; the color was somehow cooler or something.  Anyway, after debating the fit for a few minutes, even consulting the sales girl (wearing elastic pants all the time can really screw with your perception of what actually fits), I decided to purchase this dress.

And, it doesn’t show off too much cleavage!  I could actually just wear a regular bra, but the corset thingy eliminates the need to suck things in.  I got a pair of peep-toe heels at DSW but they aren’t the best fit – a little sloppy – so if I see something better I would swap them.  I like this dress – it’s cute and the price was good, $168.  But if mom and I are out and see something better, I would try it on.

Next, let’s talk jeans for a minute.  I really wanted a new pair of jeans.  My favorite pair has turned against me in a tratorious manner and is not flattering the belly region anymore.  My other pair of jeans has sparkles sewn into the front, so not exactly an every-day pair.  And that’s it.  I’ve noticed that all of my jeans tend to be higher in the back and scoop lower in the front, the better to cradle the pooch and create a muffin-top.  And there isn’t anything to be done because the rise is small and they have to be tight enough to actually stay on.

I tried on jeans at Macy’s.  No good.  They didn’t have petite jeans at Bloomies, and the ones at Ann Taylor surprised me the most.  First, it’s the only thing in AT that isn’t vanity sized, so even though I was wearing a pair of AT jeans in the same size, there was no way the new ones were going to fit.  And I had the same problem with the low rise/scoop issue.

I decided to try on some of the jeans at Nordstrom because they had several brands.  Thankfully, the sales girl was younger than me and took pity on me when she realized I was shopping the Tummy-Tuck Mom Jeans and steered me toward their “premium” jeans.

I’ve always wondered about the premium jeans – I mean, really, are they that earth-shatteringly good?  Will they rock my world, make me look thinner, taller and get the raise?  Or is it all hype?  Unfortunately, these were good jeans.  I say unfortunately because even though I SAID several months ago I would be willing to pay premium prices, with the recent economic times and my fore-coming lack of employment, I was reconsidering this offer.  And these jeans were $158.  *Gack*

But!  But!  When I zipped these jeans up, it was like strapping into a decent bra – instantly I could feel that there was support!  And comfort without having to suck anything in, or smosh anything around!  I didn’t have to do the shimmy to get my underwear in place.  They felt snug over my hips and weren’t baggy through the butt.  And best of all, they buttoned just below the belly button, closer to my natural waist, so I  knew that since the front was nearly the same height at the back, there would be no unflattering stretching later to embrace and exhibit the pooch.  Damn it, I think these were going to work.

The gal said that they can stretch up to a half-size in between washings, and since I am wearing the smallest size anyway, she suggested that I wear them around the house for a while and if they stretch too much, take them back.  And I totally will for $158.  But I’ve been wearing them all day today, at the computer, on the couch and had a BURGER AND FRIES in them and they haven’t stretched yet.  And frankly, after that burger they could stand to give just a little.  I’ve rationalized the price as thus: I only wear one pair of jeans since 5 days of the week I’m in work clothes, and my jeans last me, on average, 3 years, so when you do that math, it’s not unreasonable.  When I broke the price to Tom, he commented that you pay for what you get, and I believe that adage to be 100% true when it comes to my bras so I think that applies here.

BTW: I played a game this morning with Tom and first tried on the traitorous muffin-top-inducing jeans, then the sparkly ones, then the new ones and asked him if they didn’t look “SIGNIFICANTLY” better.  I figured that for the price, if they didn’t make me look twice as good at the cheaper ones, I wasn’t going to keep them.  He said that they did look good and that they looked more “grown up”.  Which is true.  And that was before I told him the price.  Here they are:

Ok, so now I have jeans.  At this point my feet are killing me and I realized I have to STOP wearing those Cole Hann loafers, so at DSW, I bought a pair of Soffit loafers.  Ahh, comfy.  I had tried them on with Samantha and decided on some plainer ones, but once I was home and wearing those around, I decided they were too plain.  So now I have comfy shoes again, and I’ve been wearing them all day, so I think they are good.

And in case you curious about the Tummy-Tuck Jeans – the reason they can tuck everything in is because they button under your bra!  Seriously, I haven’t worn a pair of pans that buttoned 1 inch above my belly button in years.  Wow.  I couldn’t get past that par.

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Mish-mash of stuff

October 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm (My Daily Life)

Lola is on the mend.  It seems to have taken a while for her to work this little bug out of her system, but she hasn’t had a bad asthma-like attack in a couple of days.  She has a few moments, but she’s getting much better.  I’ve been putting her sweater or coat on her in the morning because the cold air seems to affect her at the moment.

Spice has been very needy – she needs Lola to hurry up and get better so she can work out some of her energy in dog play.

I have a couple of recipes to share.  We tried these when Samantha was visiting.

First is a recipe for Margaritas.  The sum of the parts is much greater than the individual ingredients.  It’s different, but very good.

1 can of frozen lime aid concentrate
1 cup Sierra Mist
1 cup tequila
1 cup water
1 12oz. bottle of Corona Beer

Enjoy!  And let me know what you think.

The second recipe is for this chocolate cake.

This recipe is apparently the same as one in Nigella’s cookbook.  It contains 5 eggs, sugar, butter, chocolate and ONLY 1 TBS of flour!  And you believe it??  This thing is like solid chocolate.  Good thing good quality chocolate is easier to come by, and I got European 100% butterfat butter at Target.  The general rule of thumb is the fewer number of ingredients, the better the quality of those ingredients needs to be, and I believe that adage for something as important as this cake.

You would expect this cake would be very, very dense, rich, and sweet.  It’s not.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s chocolate heaven if that’s your thing, but it was surprisingly light.  Not angle-food light, but light enough you could serve it after a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs.  And it’s not super sweet either – probably because of all that dark bittersweet chocolate.  It was incredibly easy to make too, came together very easily.  It took about an hour in my oven to bake, but that may just be me.  Use the picture and common sense to guide you.  When mine was baking, the sides kept rising about 2 inches over the side of the pan, like a souffle, but the center was obviously still liquid.  When the center was finally done and I let it rest for 10 minutes, it all deflated to about the same level.

The author of the blog is a Seattle resident who writes for Bon Appetite magazine and for her wedding last year in Bellingham, she personally made 20 of these cakes in lieu of a traditional cake.  So I figured any foody who would forgo traditional cake must know something.  We got about 6 servings out of this cake and it’s different enough, but special at the same time, that I might enter it into my “entertaining” desert rotation.  Certainly cheaper than buying fresh fruit in the winter.

Lastly, I have this recipe for you, Garlic Chicken with White Wine Sauce.  This could be a good low-carb option for those of you interested in that sort of thing.  We all agreed that the garlic was actually very subtle and wasn’t overly garlicky at all.  I would make this again – it was quick and easy.

Lastly, her is the link to my Netflix profile.  I’m not sure how this sharing this works, but if mom or dad is interested in trying it out and seeing if it’s helpful, give it a whirl.

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Another Horse Update – I KNOW!

October 8, 2008 at 4:09 pm (My Daily Life)

Ok, not sure where I left off, but to recap quickly, Jones wasn’t going to work out so last week I test rode a couple of horses at a barn about 15 miles away.  One was okay, but pretty well trained and wouldn’t give me much of a challenge.  The other horse, Bart, was younger and less trained, but still very calm, docile, and agreeable and I thought he might be a good match.

The only hesitation I was having was that the arena was small and very dusty.  I think it was smaller than the arena in Enumclaw.  Hard to visualize, but much, much smaller than the current arena I’m at.  Additionally, Cathy’s arena is heated, which, not knowing how bad the winters get, sounds appealing to my wimpy, blood-deprived limbs.

I went back to Cathy and explained that neither Jones nor Bling were going to work for me and she suggested I give Felix a try.  A Mexican horse!  No, not really.  He’s an appendix and has the TB head on a QH neck, with the big TB ears you look over.  Um, a little homely, poor guy.  His owner is a High School student and involved in sports so she only gets out once a week, if that.  He’s trained in some sort of jumping and has all the training I’m looking for, but is rusty.  Cathy assured me that I didn’t need her around to test ride him and that he was perfectly capable of being ridden without lounging, so on Tuesday, I gave him a whirl.

My impressions are as follows: he’s rusty but he’s sane and I feel relatively safe on him.  I walked him quite a bit in the arena and unlike the young horses, if he saw something unusual, he stopped and I let him stand there and investigate until he was willing to move forward, and after that he was fine.  He didn’t try to dance sideways across the arena or forever avoid an area because of some boogy-man.

He seemed very rusty and the first few minutes I did wonder about the sanity of a horse that appeared to prefer to trot INTO a wall rather than bend, but he warmed up.  He’s really, really heavy in the bridle.  I woke up this morning and my triceps and that muscle that anchors your boobs to your chest (you know the one ladies) is sore.  We need to work on that as there is no reason he can’t hold his own head up.  And he doesn’t respect the leg at all – the concept of bending around the leg seems a bit foreign to him.  Staying in a straight line seems difficult for him too.  And, he’s out of shape so toward the end of the hour I was having to push him on quite a bit.  And now my legs are sore too.

Very different from Chaps – I think Chaps was in better condition to begin with and he’s not a leaner with his head.  I got to the barn early and was able to take Chaps out to pasture.  He’s such a sweet horse.  Totally bonded and I need to stop hanging around him, but he’s leaving in a week anyway…

Back to Felix – I think there is something to work with, and the fact that I love that barn pushes me into the Yes column.  If Bart, the other horse, was at Cathy’s place, it would be a no-brainer.  Or even if it was springtime and I would be able to ride Bart in the larger outdoor arena, I would consider it.  But a heated HUGE indoor arena is hard to pass up.

I’ll stick to my routine and ride Felix 3 times a week.  Since I’m starting the month late and will be gone for 2 weeks, I’ll only pay for half the month, which is good.  I plan to use the extra money and get a lesson with Janna on Sunday.  Normally, I would ride him for a few weeks and get some conditioning on him, but with the leaning and the lack of leg respect, I’d like to practice right from the start getting him used to the proper aids.

Interestingly, I asked Janna her opinion of both Bling and Jones and she commented that both seemed spooky to her.  A lady is going to ride Jones in a lesson with Janna this weekend – she’s working Jones for Cathy – and she made the comment that Jones will need lots of time on the lounge line before the lesson!  Am I glad that I got off that train wreck licky-split.

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Test Rides Update

October 1, 2008 at 8:58 pm (My Daily Life)

Just a quick update – I test rode two horses tonight.  Bart, the 5 year old Appendix who is 16.3 hands, and Ike, a 15-something hand quarter horse who is 11.

Bart was a nice horse.  Tom made the comment that I looked more comfortable on him.  He’s young, but calm.  She tied him in the aisle, he stood nicely, and she got the bridle on him, even though he can be prickly about his ears.  Basically, his ground manners are everything that Jones’ aren’t.  He’d be ridden twice today so he was a little tired, but he did everything I asked without fuss.  He has no muscle in his neck, which is something I could work on.  Being so big, he’s got a lot of real estate to move around, but he tried.  No pinning ears, no stopping, no getting cranky. 

Ike was a nice horse also, but he’s older and has more training.  Tana wants to sell him because she bought him for a project and he fulfilled her goals and she wants to move on.  And I get that because he’s about 2 months away from being nice and round and collected.  But she’s done more western with him lately, so he’s a little more lazy.

I liked Bart better.  He’s done more English more recently.  He has a shoeing problem right now.  I noticed it right away and I felt odd about saying something because no one wants to be told their horse is lame.  He’s not lame, but he takes steps with the front and doesn’t always have a sure footfall.  She mentioned that the owner said he was due for shoeing this week, and that makes sense, he’s doing the same sort of trip/falter step that Chaps was doing a couple of weeks ago with his long shoes.

I’m going to talk to Tana tomorrow.  She might have someone interested in buying him, still at the same barn, an I might be able to lease from that person.  We’ll see.  But I like him much better than Jones and think I could work with him and feel confident on him.  I’d like to do a two week trial just to be sure.  I’ll keep you posted.

Here is a UTube video of Bart from last May.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQWSjp2AbKE  He tries to cheat with his headset, he tucks his head instead of reaching for a contact, so I’ll have to figure that one out, but he seems like a nice, willing, calm horse.

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