New Apartment Love

Why hello there! I am ready to declare myself officially moved in. Here are some pictures of my new apartment along with a list of everything I love about it, which is A LOT. It’s grand. Also, please feel free to count the pieces of furniture I have bought from IKEA. What can I say? Those stylish, efficient Swedes win me over every time. It’s just my people are Nordic.

Here we go:

Workspace, Evening
Office Workspace
Office Shelves

There’s a separate guest bedroom and bath (the bedroom is used as the office right now). They’re on one side of the living/dining/kitchen area, and the “master” bed and bath are on the other side. Much more privacy for guests, and much more separation of work/office from sleep/relaxation when I’m here by myself.

Walk-In Closet
So Many Clothes

There’s a much bigger bedroom with a walk-in closet! Oh yes indeed! I have never had a walk-in closet before in my life and oh how much I was missing! Do I need to buy more clothes and shoes to fill it up? I feel like maybe I do.

There are also bigger bathrooms and (as expected) bigger bathroom counters. This may not sound so special, but until you have lived in a place where your bathroom counter is so precariously narrow that it is a true challenge to balance a toothbrush and some soap on the edge, and your clean toothbrush and fragile eyeglasses are always falling to the dirty ceramic tile floor, you simply cannot understand.

Bathroom Counter
Room to Make a Mess!

Oh y’all, there is a LAUNDRY ROOM, where I will soon have a washer and dryer installed if it fucking kills me. I have three domestic dreams: 1) to have a washer and dryer of my own, 2) to have non-carpeted floors (literally ANYTHING other than carpet is better than carpet — live squid? BETTER THAN CARPET), and 3) to have a fenced-in yard for my army of dachshunds. I am about to make one of those dreams come true. Welling up over here.

I have much newer appliances now than before. My appliances in the old place never seemed so bad, but now I have much quieter air conditioning and a nearly silent dishwasher. The dishwasher seems a bit smaller and harder to load (wine glasses don’t fit on the top rack WHAT THE EVERLOVING FRAK), but it is so quiet that I ceased caring as soon as I first turned it on. In the old place, turning on the AC was like living through the end of the world; in the new place I thought I couldn’t turn it on at all because it was so quiet I did not realize it was already running. True story. Oh, and there’s a garbage disposal. I don’t necessarily care right now, but I’m sure this will turn out to be appreciated.

I also now am in the middle of a lovely landscaped setting with trees, a lake, gardens, dog clean-up stations, and so on. This makes a huge difference. I’d love to show you pictures but it seems dumb to post photos of the outside of my house, you know? Just imagine: pine, crepe myrtle, lavender.

We have an outgoing mail box for sending mail. No, I did not have that at the old place. Yes, I had to go to the post office to send mail. I know. WHISKEY. TANGO. FOXTROT. I’m pretty sure I now have the minimum postal mail service allowable by law at a residence. Congratulations to me.

Over all, it’s a quieter setting, farther away from any busy roads, and there’s much less noise in the parking lots. Egon and I both appreciate this.

Dining Area, etc.
Dining Area
Living Room
Living Room

I have “nice” new carpet! Like I said above, though, literally anything you can think of is better than carpet. Quicksand? Better than carpet. Piles of used and discarded biohazard sharps from the ER? Better than carpet. Still, clean carpet beats filthy mystery-stained carpet any day of the week. It’s just that’s not saying much, you know?



[213/365] Apartment w/ Dog
Look, Egon, Just Keep the Carpet Nice, Okay?

There is higher quality paint. Yes, this matters. It is not dry, porous paint that will soak up any stain or smudge. I think it is actually washable paint! (Will have to check.) But with a dog and a bike and a clumsy nature, this is appreciated.

I have a private porch with sliding glass doors! So lovely! I would like to get some chairs and a little table for out there. On the list.

[203/365] Living Room & Sliding Doors

Oh, there is a window in my bedroom! My previous bedroom was an all-interior room with no windows in it at all. I have come to find out that this is against fire code in new buildings, but I guess my old, shitty apartment building got grandfathered in as a safety hazard and general craphole. Lucky them! Anyway, I grew to love the dark cave of my old bedroom, but it looks like I will still be able to sleep in late without the sun blinding me in the morning at the new place. As long as I close the blinds tightly (and maybe add some curtains?) it’s quite nice. BUT! I have the option of sun and ventilation in there if/when I want. Excellente.

Natural Light?!

I’m “in the neighborhood”! I used to live in walking distance of campus and downtown and I don’t anymore, but I now live in walking distance of several of my good friends! This is just as good if not better.

Now of course there are some minuses to the new apartment. I am going to keep it positive though, because I think I have solved all of these potential problems, so they really are/were only temporary minuses:

This is odd, but I have almost no overhead lights. The bedrooms and living room have none. What is up with that? I have added lamps and am starting to figure out which wall outlets are connected to the lightswitches, so this should be no big deal.

Living Room
Bad, Bad Chandelier.

One of the few overhead lights was a very, very bad chandelier. Oh my DOG, I hated it. This kind of thing is exactly the OPPOSITE of my style (assuming I can be said to have “a style,” but still). Moving seems like the perfect time to experiment with electrical work, does it not?

[211/365] New Light
A New Light

Thanks to IKEA and the patience and expertise of my good friend B., I now have a super modern, cool pendant lamp over my dining table. I never would have attempted changing out a ceiling-wired chandelier myself, but B. had experience doing a celing fan before (MAJOR job, much more complex than just a light) and she was confident we could manage it. A couple of false starts and adjustments were necessary, but it turned out FANTASTIC! I’m so glad I considered the daunting idea and got the help I needed (something I normally wouldn’t do because I hate asking for help). Thank you, B.!

Kitchen Pass-Through with Wine Rack
A Wine Rack Will Improve This
Tiny Kitchen

I do have a smaller kitchen here. I got used to having space to roam in my old kitchen and I was worried when I saw the little nook of a kitchen here. Luckily, this problem was mostly an illusion: I have about the same amount of counter and cabinet space; it’s just arranged in a tighter configuration. I will just have to get good and cozy with any future cooking partners. Heh.

Oh, so there is a locking doorknob — I mean in addition to the main deadbolt lock on the front door. I already locked myself out once when I was alone, and a second time when W. was inside and could let me in. I am used to having a front door I could ONLY lock from outside when I had the key. With this doorknob, it’s possible to lock the knob, leave without your keys, and be screwed! My plan is to give all my good friends a spare key, hide a spare somewhere nearby (LIKE I’M TELLING YOU WHERE, INTERNET BURGLARS!), and just drill it into my brain to check the knob when I leave on typically keyless trips like walking the dog or taking out trash. Do you have any tips on training my brain not to lock myself out?

Well, I think that wraps it! After living in my previous apartment for four years, it is a true novelty to have moved somewhere else. Back in graduate school I used to move more frequently, but now I feel quite old and staid and resistant to change, so I am pretty sure I would like to stay here forever. Even counting my childhood homes, it is the nicest place I have ever lived. I am never leaving. I’m just going to go chain myself to the water heater right now, but don’t worry: I will still be able to check comments and Twitter. So tell me: what is your favorite thing about the place you currently live?

I Shall Call My New Shorts "The Fascinators"

It has been a long week here, friends. It was our last week of regular classes at school (next week: final exams), and I spent my time anxiously awaiting some work-related news. I actually got TWO really great pieces of news at work that I’ll tell you all about once all my I’s are crossed and my T’s are dotted. Or whatever. At any rate, I am excited about my plans for the summer and next year.

Easter came and went and with it the end of my shopping hiatus. In fact, the end of said Lenten hiatus was the only way in which I actually celebrated Easter — as a single, childless, non-religious person living far away from family, I just don’t do Easter. Not that I am opposed to candy, spring, and such. On the contrary. But I like to think that I celebrate those things often. Whenever I like, in fact.

More importantly, I’m sure you are dying to ask: how did I celebrate my great return to shopping? With the purchase of The Pale King, The Deathly Hallows Part I on DVD, and a pair of plaid Bermuda shorts. It’s exciting times here, I tell you.

Oh, you would like to know more about the Bermuda shorts? Well, you probably wouldn’t, but I am going to tell you nevertheless. I have been wanting a pair of patchwork madras plaid Bermuda shorts for two years or so and never found any that I liked. I have been wanting such shorts even in spite of being mocked by my friends, each of whom has had something snarky to say about plaid shorts. Was I returning to the 90s? Going on a golf cruise for seniors? Joining a fraternity? Oh no, friends. I simply recognize the bright and breezy summer utility of a great pair of plaid shorts. Sadly, most of the shorts I have found are super-duper short, maybe a one-inch inseam. This is not a good look for me no matter how liberating running may be for my thigh-related self esteem. However! My friend Becky had the brilliant idea of checking the men’s section at Old Navy when we were there and I realized they make tons of such shorts for men! I got this pair, which is perfect.

I also wound up buying a maxi dress, having bravely entered the fashion world of 2009. Between the senior-citizen golf-cruise-wear and the dated maxi dress, I know I am probably intimidating all of you with how cutting edge I am, stylewise. Well wait until I show you this:

And Thematic Shirt

That’s right, it’s me with my hair au naturel and a silly feather head adornment and a Union Jack t-shirt, attending a royal wedding viewing party. Feel free to mock me if you must, but I will have you know that there are not enough opportunities in life to sit around in your pajamas at 4:00 AM drinking champagne and eating delicious baked goods. At least not socially sanctioned opportunities. So of course I had to participate.

[118/365] Vegan Pumpkin Scones

I made these vegan pumpkin spice scones (recipe here) and they turned out amazingly well. I realize pumpkin is not exactly in season, but as I haven’t made scones before at all (let alone vegan ones) I figured a recipe with a strong, fibrous binder like pumpkin would be foolproof. And it was.

[319/365] Fascinator

B. sported a super fancy fascinator* and made some cucumber sandwiches (I LOVE cucumber sandwiches). Between this and the vegan terrine and the aforementioned bubbly, it really did not matter if I had to watch a wedding or not. That said, we obviously did watch the wedding. My thoughts:

  • Enforced group singing is the worst thing ever. Everyone looked completely miserable while having to sing those hymns.
  • Kate Middleton has badass eyebrows, just like me, and we have the same first and middle names. I dig her.
  • *The Fascinator is the very best fashion term ever. Seriously, ever. I had never heard of one until this week! I don’t think the term should be restricted to hats, however. Many stylish items may fascinate.

That’s it, I guess. Did you watch it? What do you think about the whole big spectacle?


Spring keeps trying to spring around these parts, only to be temporarily halted now and then by a week or so of cold, gray, drippy weather. On the one hand, I do not really mind, as cold, gray, drippy days tend to remind me pleasantly of Oregon. On the other hand, I am most certainly ready for warmer weather, sandals, skirts (without tights), and genuinely sweaty runs and bike rides. Bring it on, spring!

In that light, I am happy to report the following: the dogwoods are blooming!

[92/365] Dogwood

Yes, I love a good dogwood tree weighed down by thousands of blossoms. We had one of these in my front yard growing up, and they lined the edges of my college campus. Many pleasant associations, and here they are on my own street right now. Nice going, dogwoods!

[93/365] Laced Up

I am also happy to report that a genuinely sweaty run was indeed ran on Sunday afternoon. It was my first one in about two weeks due to 1) a nagging hip flexor issue resurfacing and 2) the entire rest of my body deciding to crap out on me during my time off. Seriously: while completely resting, both of my knees, one heel, and my lower back all decided it was time to start complaining about, well, nothing. Thanks a lot, aging body. I blame you. But back to the good news: running! It happened! I am also looking forward to some cross training this week, in the hopes that swimming and biking will keep me sane while not aggravating my hip any more. Cross your fingers, will you? But try not to hurt yourself.

[94/365] Spring Hemlines

I also felt delightfully springy today in a “new” spring skirt I actually bought on clearance last fall but haven’t gotten to wear yet. I am quite grateful to Past KO’s thrifty clearance-rack discovery, even if the gratification that accompanied wearing it was delayed indeed.

I say all of this with the knowledge that my small number of Yankee readers are still suffering the temperamental pseudo-spring weather that is sunny and clear one day and likely snowy the next. I hope all this spring excitement isn’t too annoying. Just think: in a couple of months I’ll be sweating it out in 100 degree temperatures and 99% humidity, and then the last laugh will be yours. Essentially, I’ve got to enjoy this lovely weather while I can as it is guaranteed to be brief.

Magic Hat Wacko

Currently I am kicked back with my after-work beer, another one from Magic Hat that apparently derives its pinkish color from beets. It is crisp and delightful. Can’t beat that.

(I know. Sorry.)

Monday, Monday: So Good to Me.

Today could have gone quite poorly. Due to snow days and the MLK holiday, today was the first Monday I’ve had to teach so far this semester and therefore also the first Monday I’ve had to teach since summer. I was a Tuesday/Thursday Lady last semester and let’s just say I sure got to like it.

But you can’t win them all, so into work I had to go. I normally get up at 6:00, but today my dog decided it was time to get up at 5:00. “Take me out,” he said. “Feed me,” he said.

“Shut up,” I said.

This continued until about 5:45, at which time my cat started making that human-like garbled howling noise that announces a hairball is on its way from inside of her body to outside of it.”Oh woe oh woe oh woe,” she said.

I got up.

A Monday morning that begins with such loving* attention from two adorable* pets is a thing of beauty*, am I right?

(*Am I using these words correctly?)

Despite its inauspicious beginning, my Monday turned out to be pretty nice. Not spectacular, but nice for a working Monday, you know? Lots of little things seemed to brighten it up. Here’s a list:

1. I wore a pretty new dress for the first time.

[24/365] Pink Satin Sashes

2. I actually remembered to fix some coffee in my to-go mug and also successfully put it in the car and then I even brought it into the office, enabling me to drink it. I don’t always get all those steps right.

3. People I have met through blogging can be truly, incredibly nice.

4. Last week I strained my right calf (either Vibrams- or weight-lifting-related injury, not sure) but today it finally feels back to normal. I am planning some running and some yoga and such. Carefully.

5. I made falafel for dinner, complete with my own non-dairy tzatziki. Take that, cow-yogurt-having restaurant falafel!

6. I went to the grocery store to pick up another jar of my latest strange addiction, Bonne Maman brand cherry preserves (heavenly, I mean it), and while there I made an amazing discovery: at the grind-your-own-nut-butter station, there was a peanut grinder that had a few vegan dark chocolate chips mixed in. Not only did this allow me to grind my own chocolate-peanut butter, which is really damned delicious, I also got to think about the term “grind-your-own-nut-butter station” and quietly snicker my way through the store.

Nut Butter

Nut butter. Grind your own. Heh.

So how has your Monday been?

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE! A Facebook friend’s post alerted me to the fact that today is allegedly “Blue Monday,” otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year. What a day for me to write a post here declaring that I had a great Monday in spite of its awful (cat-puke-filled) start.

Here’s what I think about this: you can have a dreary day that gets off to a bad beginning, full of inconveniences and petty frustrations and disgruntlement. And if things start out that way it’s easy to blame it on a Monday, a bad day, or a “most depressing day of the year” scenario. But then doesn’t that just shut out from your mind all of the small successes and unexpected pleasantries? The things that, added up, could swing your day from bad to good? I don’t mean to be all Pollyanna on you here, but this shit matters.

There’s a reason I didn’t come over here to complain about how much money I spent on groceries, or the fact that I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, or the new zit I found, or the rest of that litany of complaints I could have (quite justifiably) also authored today. I’m not sure what that reason is or what shifted my perspective today or what has been shifting it generally. I like it, though. All for it.

A Great Giveaway – Just in Time for Holiday Shopping!

You guys, I am very excited. For the very first time ever I am doing a sponsored giveaway post. This means you (yes, you there, with the face!) have the opportunity to win a gift certificate to do some extremely fabulous online shopping. This is being sponsored by CSN Stores, who sell basically everything under the sun, from briefcases to kitchen supplies to modern furniture. And about a million other things. Go check out what they have.

A little while back, they asked me to review one of their sites, so I ordered a few things from All Modern, one of their stores, with a gift certificate they provided for me.

You all know my deep and abiding love for both whiskey and retro-modern fashionable glassware, I am sure. If you have heard me wax on about the glassware on Mad Men, well, just imagine my delight as I pored over all of their selections.

[318/365] Glassware

I bought a set of four of these beautiful etched glasses (the Double Old-Fashioned Glasses by NotNeutral) and I already love how they lend an air of sophistication to anything I am drinking.. Yes, even Four Loko, but let’s talk about that another time.

I saw that they also carry Alessi bar supplies, and I absolutely love their style, so I got this excellent bottle opener and a wine stopper.

[271/365] Stella y El Diablo

Bottle Topper

Cute, yes?

So what do you think you would buy with a $45 gift certificate good at any of their stores? Because that is what you can win here, friends!

Here are the rules:

  • To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post. Please enter your actual email address in the form so I can contact you if you win. Your email address remains invisible and I promise I won’t spam you.
  • One entry per person, please.
  • CSN can only ship to addresses in the U.S. and Canada, so that means only readers in those countries are eligible to win. I’m sorry overseas friends!
  • I will close comments on Wednesday at midnight Central time and then select a winner by random number generator.
  • I’ll contact the winner via email and get you hooked up with your $45 gift certificate.
  • So go ahead and leave your comment below to be entered in the giveaway. Tell me, would you buy holiday gifts with your windfall, or go for something selfish? I think you know what I’d do. Heh.

    Falling is Like This

    Is it fall already? The time of crisp air and cool nights and leaves turning and things made out of pumpkin and cozy sweaters? Oh, how I long for it, but it’s not here quite yet. In Alabama it’s still well into the mid 90s (35 C) every day. But, but! There is hope. The humidity is dying down and signs of fall’s approach are popping up everywhere.

    For one thing, college football has started. You know I don’t really care too much about college football (though I will always root for my Oregon Ducks), but it certainly does make it feel like fall. This past weekend, my friends Brunbec and Deebeecooper and I went down to campus to check out the tailgating scene at our first home game. What did I happen to see but the marching band!

    [247/365] Eye of the Tiger

    Did y’all know I was in marching band in high school? Baritone saxophone, just like Lisa Simpson and Gerry Mulligan and that guy from Morphine. Coolest instrument of all, of course. We were pretty good — we marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade my sophomore year, in fact. Fall and cold weather and itchy uniforms and frozen grass on the practice field. Oh, I feel such nostalgia when I think of my marching band days.

    That night we ladies hung around taking goofy pictures:

    Laughing Ladies

    Flux Capacitor

    In the one of me, do you see that vein in my forehead? I call it my flux capacitor. As you can see, it is fully fluxing at the magic number of 1.21 gigawatts. And the cause of all this hilarity?


    Yes, wine.

    I did not let a night of over-indulgence stop me from going on an epic bike ride the next day, however. My friend E and I have been talking forever about going for a bike ride together and we finally made it happen. It was my first long ride since the triathlon in June and his first since he had a nasty wreck a couple of years back. I think it’s safe to say we each made our return to the roads in style.

    [248/365] Spandex

    I finally broke in this pair of padded bike shorts I bought a couple of months ago. They do indeed feel like a diaper when you are walking around in them, but when you are sitting on a hard bike saddle for 25+ miles of riding, they feel pretty awesome. Not gonna lie. I mean, they do not look good on me, no, but they work.

    Our long Sunday ride was wonderful. The weather was warm but not humid, the roads were lonely and the countryside was beautiful. A couple of dead armadillos and trailer parks couldn’t detract from our enjoyment. I think long weekend rides will be just the perfect thing to do this fall (and a great way to add some low-impact cross-training to my marathon plan).

    In other fashion news, I have fully embraced the horizontal stripe.

    [250/365] Horizontal

    Clinton and Stacey of What Not to Wear fame — and my own mother — can suck it. Horizontal stripes rule. Just putting on a cozy cardigan in the evening makes me think happily about fall, too. With the drier air these days, the evening temperatures are becoming downright …well…not terribly hot. It’s a start, at least, and I’ll take it.

    So this Labor Day weekend felt like a perfectly enticing little preview of what’s to come this season. The town is coming to life; friends and fun abound. And sweaters. One cannot forget the sweaters! Maybe soon I will even indulge in a pumpkin spice latte from the old Starbucks. I hope some good things are coming your way this fall, too.

    Back-to-School Scheming

    Most people look at the beginning of a calendar year as a time to review where they’ve been in the last twelve months and what they want to do in the next twelve. This makes sense, of course. The first day of the first month of a new year seems so ripe for new beginnings.

    For me, though, the new year always begins at the end of August. When a new school year begins, so do I. I have been living according to the August-to-August year for as long as I can remember. I started Kindergarten in August, 1983, and since then I have been governed by the school year. Thirteen years of primary education (counting Kindergarten), four years of college, seven years of graduate school, and three years of college teaching — this is year four. That’s a lot of years, now that I list it out like that. Twenty-seven years. Damn.

    Well, to steer back in the direction of my point: I don’t begin the year anew in January, but now. Now is the time for me to think about goals, hopes, plans, plots, and schemes.

    A building that reminds me of Winthrowup.

    Here’s what I’ve been thinking about trying to accomplish this school year:

    Stay Organized: Between my campus office, my home office, my teaching, and my research, things can get crazy. I always find myself wishing I had brought home a book or folder that I left at school, or frantically looking for my flash drive. I am attempting to solve this problem by syncing my work-related files with dropbox (AMAZING, simply amazing tool), keeping up with my schedule on iCal and my tasks with My home office will be used mostly for research and writing; my campus office will be prep, teaching, and grading central.

    Plan Ahead, Grade Ahead: Hopefully staying organized will help here. My goal is really to avoid last-minute class prep and weekends full of grading hundreds of essays. Do a little at a time until it’s done. SO much easier said, though.

    Pack Lunch: My office mate and I are going in together on a mini fridge to use in the office, which will make this easy and convenient. Any lunch I pack, no matter how hasty, will be cheaper and better balanced nutritionally than anything I can find on campus. Period.

    Maintain Weight: I am really happy with where I am right now weight-wise. My fitness goals are always growing and changing (with my marathon focus right now and maybe more triathlons in the spring), but I don’t need or want to lose any more pounds. My newest Sports & Wine post over at the Bodies site explains my plans for the food aspect of weight maintenance, should you want to read about it in any more detail.

    Bike Commute: I am committing to get to campus by bike instead of by car on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Those are my non-teaching days, where I might go in to grade or prep and thus I’ll be dressed in more casual, bike-friendly clothes. I may also try biking in on Tuesdays and Thursdays if I am wearing trousers, but my road bike with horizontal top bar isn’t ideally suited to biking in skirts (which I wear frequently). I have biked to campus once last week and twice so far this week, and it has made a trip in to the office on my “off” day much more enjoyable!

    Dress Nicely: I still run into the problem of looking a little too young for my job, so I’m trying to cultivate a more professional appearance on teaching days so I can feel more confident and authoritative. I think it’s also going to help me to project more professionalism around the halls in general. Plus, clothes shopping is so much more fun now that I can wear standard sizes and therefore can shop in any store (uh, any not-too-expensive store, anyway — I still do have that enviable teacher’s salary). I’m currently finding inspiration from a few academic fashion blogs. See here, here, and here.

    Job Market: The academic job market runs concurrent with the school year, meaning that postings for tenure-track assistant-professorships will start appearing soon. I don’t want to talk about this too much because it is an AWFUL topic, but here are my thoughts: I am not going to waste a ton of time and energy throwing myself at any halfway appropriate job just because one “should” go for the tenure-track openings. If something truly great appears on the job list, I will attack it with purpose. Expect not many updates on this one, ’cause, like I said, AWFUL topic.

    Open Windows: I am going to try to be open minded about relationships and new people. Not just romantic relationships, but new friendships and social opportunities, too. Even though the guy and I split up, I still believe everything I said in this post. Just because that relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean I have to be like Clooney in Up in the Air, and shit, you know?

    What about you guys? Though your lives may not be Ruled by School like mine is, do you have any goals or plans cookin’ right now?

    Fashion at (Almost) Any Price

    And a good Monday to you, people of the internet. It was a busy and productive day today, including (but not limited to!) starting the second week of marathon training and going into the office to work on syllabi for fall semester. The thing I want to talk about, however, is not anything so studious or workmanlike or athletic as all that. Oh no. I want to talk about shopping! Yes, I have moved on to retail therapy.

    This weekend I was in Atlanta with my friends Brunbec (who lives here) and Deebeecooper, who just moved to Atlanta for a new job. We spent a bit of time exploring her new neighborhood and shopping around. There are loads of great restaurants, bars and shops — the more I visit her this year the less money I will have, but I so don’t care!

    H&M is a favorite place of mine to shop when in the city for cute things at cheap prices, but it tends to be hit or miss. Sometimes I could easily drop hundreds of dollars in there, but this time there was nothing. Instead, I found myself drooling over things I couldn’t really afford at Banana Republic and Madewell. It was lucky for everyone, my bank account especially, that we didn’t find ourselves in Anthropologie, because I feel like I could really spend an obscene amount of money in there right now.

    To ease my pain at not being able to spend too much money on new clothes (I am a teacher, you know; we barely make anything), I decided to check out a secondhand clothing store here in town this afternoon. It’s one of those targeted at the young whippersnappers — they can sell their old clothes and buy new/used things on the cheap, but the stock is vetted far more carefully than that in a typical thrift store and costs predictably more. You know the type of place? I had this fantasy that I would go in and be able to find some kind of fancy-schmancy designer jeans in my size at some ridiculously low price. And you know what? Spoiler alert: I DID!

    They had racks and racks of jeans throughout the store, but the “designer” jeans were off on their own special rack, in a place of honor far away from the types of brands I can usually afford. Did I dare investigate? Of course. These were used designer jeans and thus in no way intimidating. After trying on a few pairs from a few different brands, I found a pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans that fit like they were made just for me. The previous owner had even had them hemmed at my exact inseam length!

    [227/365] Favorite New Discoveries

    Sidenote: I swear to DOG, what is up with the inseams on women’s jeans? How tall do they expect us to be? I am 5’9″ and jeans are usually anywhere from 2-4″ too long for me. I do think I have a longer torso and shorter legs, but still. I am pretty tall. What does the 5’5″ woman do? Or the 5’2″ woman? It is ridiculous.

    Side sidenote: On the subject of sizing, how is it possible that I wear three different sizes in three different brands? This type of inconsistency is something I have long ago come to expect in clothing, but that makes it no less frustrating. If anyone is wondering, in my experience, Joe’s jeans run the biggest, Seven seems consistent with what I expected my size to be, and Citizens of Humanity run pretty small. Does that ring true for anyone else?

    Back to the point. I bought the jeans, at approximately 1/7 of what they would cost new at a department store, and at about 1/4 of what they would cost at discount designer sites like or Shopping victory!

    Here’s the thing, though: as much cool stuff as they have in that store, and as low as the prices are, one cannot forget the fact that most of the stock (if not all) comes straight out of the undergrads’ closets. The next pair of jeans I buy there might at this very moment be in a pile of dirty laundry on the floor of a sorority girl’s closet. Or perhaps their hems are being dragged across a dirty barroom floor.

    Or worse.

    Look, let’s just not think of this sordid truth. Let’s imagine that every girl who sells her old clothing there is a fastidious fashionista who takes meticulous care of her things, only selling them to make room for yet more current and edgy pieces. She never washes dry-clean-only items; never spills food or drink on herself; never lets her cat sleep in the laundry basket. That’s probably true, right?

    What do you think about second hand clothes? Would you buy your (real or hypothetical) students’ cast-off items?

    Consider Yourselves Warned

    I’m no fashion expert, to be sure. My wardrobe consists of a lot of plain jeans, trousers, sweaters, blazers, and a few skirts and dresses.  I can tell you what it does not consist of, though. It does not consist of skinny jeans, high-waisted jeans, or pencil skirts with pleating at the waist.

    These items have been making a big fat comeback lately, as evidenced not only by their presence in the Magazines and Big Cities of Fashion, but also by their popularity among the young coeds of Wordsmith College — not a fashion forward bunch, I assure you.  If these unflattering retro-eighties styles can make it here, they can make it anywhere.

    And do you know what this means? Do you know what surely must be coming next? Pleated, tapered pants. PLEATED, TAPERED PANTS.  Mark my words, people; they are coming. This calls for vigilance. CONSTANT VIGILANCE.

    A Festival of Pants!

    My recent exploits in diet and exercise have given me occasion to investigate the many, many pairs of pants I have in my closet.  Like most women, I think, I am in possession of pants in at least three different sizes: the skinny pants, the pants, and the fat pants.  At different times in a woman’s life, she may find herself in need of differently sized pants.  This is science.

    At this particular point in my life, it appears I am in need of the skinny pants.  One morning, in a fit of sheer daring, I tried on a pair of American Eagle jeans that had never actually fit me correctly.  I think I wore these jeans maybe once immediately after buying them, found them to be uncomfortably tight (to the tune of “I am being sawed in half by my own waistband”), and then stashed them away for thinner day in the undefined and unimaginable future. At the moment that I pulled these jeans on and comfortably zipped them up without the need to squirm or hold my breath, a resounding victory cheer echoed through all the lands.

    Since these —  my smallest, smallest jeans — actually fit, I realized a closet re-organization was in order.  It appears that not only do I have ridiculous numbers of pants, but that I also seem to have not one, not two, but three (THREE!) pairs of grey trousers from Old Navy.  One pair is now too big and will be given away, but still.  Three pairs of grey trousers? It is excess I tell you.

    In contrast, I now only have one well-fitting pair of black trousers.  That would seem to be acceptable, but 1) they go with my suit and therefore aren’t for every day and 2) they will soon be too large. Which leads me to the fact that, assuming I go to The Big Conference of Jerkburgers this winter and have interviews (hopefully), I will have to buy another suit.  Someone hold me.

    At any rate, I will leave you with the following summary-like thoughts:

    1) Hooray for my jeans!
    2) If you go shopping with me any time soon, please attempt to stop me from purchasing any further pairs of grey trousers.
    2a) Come to think of it, where were you when I was buying all these pairs I have now, huh? WHERE WERE YOU?
    3) Can I interest you in a pair of grey trousers?