Friday, September 1, 2017

Pregnant Pause: Generation of Whine

I.

I got my first, "Wow!" the other day.

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Jabba the parturient at 29 weeks

You know, the loaded Wow that says, "Girl, you're huge! I never knew a human body could take up so much space! How are you physically upright at this point? AND YOU HAVE THREE MORE MONTHS TO GO???"

I laughed at the time, but it continues to roll around in my head.

I mentioned the unfortunate encounter to my father-in-law, and in his thoughtful Kentucky drawl, he said, "You know, people get so excited when they see someone in your condition. Men, especially. And I don't think they know what to say. But they see you looking beautiful and they just react."

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blockin' and bumpin' at 29 weeks

Aw. Thank you for the perspective.

II.

I really struggle with the "rules" when comes to what I can and cannot do as a beautifully budding bumpmobile. I like to think I'm a rebel but, quite frankly, I'm worry-averse and will do nearly anything to avoid having to question my decisions later.

26 Weeks Pregnant in West Palm Beach
No regrets at 26 weeks

It wouldn't be so nerve-wracking if the body of research on gestational ingestion wasn't so nebulous, but conflicting and contrived advice abounds when it comes to what a expectant mom can consume. There are moments of doubt when I just want to call a fetal guru and demand, "JUST TELL ME IF I CAN HAVE A DAMNED TUNA SAMMIE."

I find myself tumbling into a google abyss on the most banal of topics. I'm strangely craving a latte... Is that off-limits? (I went with decaf.) Is nail polish poisoning my progeny? (Maybe? But I've always liked to have a reason to by nail polish, so non-formaldehyde varnish it is.) But seriously, what about the tuna?? (I'm eating it once a week. Damn the man.)

Even with my devoted vigilance to doing the right thing, I still screw up. At the farmers market Sunday, a radiant lady sold me a cup of the most beautiful ruby-colored iced hibiscus tea and only after I had slurped up half the glass did I pause for a googling.

2017-08-31_03-50-15 Hibiscus Tea
LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS TEA IS.

Turns out, hibiscus tea can cause you to go into labor.

Thankfully, I didn't even get gas from the faux pas, let alone launch myself into preterm terror. It was demoralizing, though, to set down the cup with a sigh. I consoled myself with... You guessed it: a tuna sammich.

III.

Lamaze class is awesome, y'all.

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This is how you practice, right?

Yeah, I knew I'd gain some skills and see birthing videos and further my insane research into all things natal. I expected that. What I didn't really expect was to fall in love with my husband a little more as he practiced massage postures and breathing techniques with abandon in a room full of total strangers.

There is nothing more rewarding than watching him become a dad.

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We're awesome at practicing.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Pregnant Pause: Fear and Loving

Hey, y'all. You may know that I am currently knocked up. Preggo. Expecting. I have a proverbial bun in the oven. And, actually, I wouldn't mind having an actual bun in the actual oven. Mmmm carbs...

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Feeling myself at 24 weeks, 6 days

Anyway. Here are some thoughts on potential parenthood from a familial neophyte.

1.
Earlier this week, I was listening to NPR at lunch and heard and interview with a woman who miscarried at five months.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I am 25 weeks right now and the only thought that frightens me more than the concept of natural child birth (currently the plan, BTW) is the idea that I will somehow lose this little fish that's been flopping in my gut for lo these many weeks.

Keeping this pregnancy secret for several weeks is probably the most heroic feat of my life (until, I assume, I actually bring this kid into the world). As my clothing choices no doubt illustrate, I am patently terrible at playing it cool, being subtle, and/or doing anything in a low-key fashion.

At the same time, I understood that some pregnancies just don't come to fruition, and the idea of crowing my enceinte state to all my friends and coworkers and then having to crawl back to retract the good news was downright terrifying. Secrets suck but sharing heartbreaking news is even worse.

5/16/17 - The notes I took on the phone with my doc 
The notes I took on the phone when my doc called to tell me that all the tests for genetic issues came back negative and, congratulations: You're having a boy! 

So, I kept my clam clamped until the obligatory 12 weeks. (13? 15? I can't remember. Pregnancy Brain is real.) And now I find that, in addition to worrying about whether I'm consuming enough protein, I still get to worry about this sweet fluttering phantom keeping his home for our remaining months.

I'm trying to make peace with the idea that mothering involves a sizable and unending amount of worry, but man.

2.

Living approximately 1,000 miles away from my family is not ideal. I wish I could share more of this insane experience with them, though they probably don't mind being distanced from my crying jags, cravings and constant complaining.

3/28/17 Ultrasound
The excited photo I texted to my folks back in March when this kid was nothing more than a blueberry with a heartbeat

I have to say, though, that my phone calls with my mom have been extra delightful these days. I spoke her last week, upon the completion of The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy (which I honestly loved), and told her that I'd come to the chapter about sex postpartum.

Me: Mom, the whole time I kept thinking, 'Well, if my parents are any indication, I will have many decades of happy lovemaking after having this kid.'

Mom: [Guilty giggle.]

6/29/17 - A-lined
Trying to look cute and desirable at 20 weeks

We went on to have a frank and funny discussion. I will leave it at that, and continue to reflect on how amazing my family is.

3.
Does every woman feel like they are the first human to ever experience pregnancy? For the first three months, I was convinced to my very soul that I had invented the condition.

4/1/17 - The only April's Fools joke are these Sea-Bands
Taken on April Fool's Day, when the only joke was these Sea-Bands doing absolutely nothing for my crippling morning sickness

Now, however, I am devouring every story/insight I can into the experiences of my fellow mamas. (Also devouring anything that contains even a small amount of heavy cream.) I truly love that whenever I confess my fecund condition to any parental female, I am regaled with stories of her own pregnancy, labor and crowning achievement (weird, quasi-gross pun INTENDED). Regardless of relationship (coworker, sales rep, complete stranger) or location (the copy room, the elevator at my condo, TJ Maxx) my happy bulletin inevitably escalates into a personal paean of blood, sweat and tears.

I love it.

I'm nearing entry into the maternity fraternity and welcome the honesty and guidance of veteran progenitors. I'm obviously going to need it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Frumpy Summary

I imagine everyone who knows my currently gestating situation would prefer I post pics of myself frumping up the bump, as it were.

Too bad!

Some months back, I was approached by Emma Eisenberg, a freelance writer, as she compiled a piece on a topic close to my heart: Frumpiness. Inspired by her inquisition into my specific sartorial style, (and frankly, kinda tired of crafting clothes that compliment my rotund tummy), I'm taking a mental vacation from maternity.

Here are some highlights of frumpy duds from the last year or so.

(And, fine. I promise I'll post about my impending parenthood presently.)

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May 27, 2016

I wish I could remember from whence this fantastic dress came. I think it's from Stitches and Rust, the most excellent purveyors of vintage wonder in South Florida.

Anyway, this frock is now one of my favorite dresses (still fitting comfortably at nearly 25 weeks preggo), and this pic was snapped in Over-the-Rhine by one of my favorite humans, Josh Flowers.

Quincy: If all the world was drawn by six-year-olds, you would disappear.

Tell me about it, stud. #studs #carousel #sequins #pony #grandmastyle #grease #ootd #wiwt

June 3, 2016

Young gentleman at Goodwill: Is this... for you?
Me: Yep. Why, I don't look like the kind of gal who dons sequined carousel horses?
Young gentleman: Uh, no. Please don't.

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July 17, 2016

What to do when you're headed out to see Duran Duran in mere hours? Why, stop by the nearest Goodwill and treat yourself to some beaded shoulder pads.

Shower cap and yapping cat

Aug. 15, 2016

TFW your in-laws know you so well they gift you a frilly shower cap for your birthday and you're so filled with joy, you squeeze a cat. #blessed

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Aug. 27, 2016

If you find yourself near the Rural King in Lake Wales, Florida, I highly suggest scoping out its fine fashion offerings. You may just come away with a number like this from Wilderness Dreams.

Pink toy cap gun and holster sold separately, of course.

Honestly, I was just so in love with the idea that this bikini exists that I felt compelled to tell everyone I know. It's... magical.

Car show in West Palm Beach

Jan. 15, 2017

My mom hates this romper.

She and my sister and I were scouring the stacks of unfathomable treasures at the Gap Clearance Center when Laurie scored this sweet wrap romper by Diane Von Furstenberg. Fortunately for me, it proved too scanty for her bosom, so I snagged it.

Anemic chest for the win!

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Jan. 17, 2017

These boots were made for walking. Actually, they're made to protect my tootsies from possible mangling, as they have incredibly heavy steel toes. After a small fire at our recycling facility, I was called on to take some pics and send some tweets, but only if I donned my safety gear first.

Thanks to my boss for snapping this, even if he only did so to mock me.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Point of Revue

2016 in Revue

It seems as though I haven't posted in a year. I think we can all agree 2016 was a tumultuous trip around the sun, and if you'd like a peek into my personal experience of the last 12 months, I'd implore you to enjoy my 2016 in Revue mix.

A distillation of all (well, most) of the songs I fell in love with this year, 2016 in Revue is free for your perusal by download here.

Or, if you prefer, you can just hit play on this YouTube playlist.

Or, if you'd like to get your paws on one of the little luggage tags I crafted from vintage book pages, I'd be more than happy to trade you actual, physical mix CDs. Just drop me an email to arrange.

2016 in Revue

2016 in Revue
1. Born Again Teen - Lucius
2. Up on Cripple Creek - The Band
3. If U C My Enemies - Rubblebucket
4. Queen Bee - Taj Mahal
5. What a Fool Believes - The Doobie Brothers
6. Love as Strong as Doubt - Fort Defiance
7. Sila - A Tribe Called Red feat. Tanya Tagaq
8. JJ - Priests
9. This Land is Your Land - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
10. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke - The Flying Burrito Brothers

Perhaps a little more upbeat than such a year would warrant, this mix is primarily love songs that reflect my happy first year of marriage as well as cheery songs I sought out when feeling the burden of a bad news-laden year. I hope it brings you cheer.

Here's to comfort and joy in the new year.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Revue Halloo

In the spirit of goodwill towards men, here is my holiday offering for you: 2015 in Revue, a mix of all the songs I fell for this year.

Mix download!

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This year's version comes with a super-cool coloring page!

2015 in Revue

Coloring page PDF!

Pining for an actual CD? Let me know and I'll be happy to trade with you!

Here's to increasing peace on Earth!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

3 Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear

Ew. As an English major and general snob, I really dislike using the word "things." But if I'm going to skewer the sad, crappy masses of clickbait barf, I felt like I should do it right.

This is a post inspired by my buddy Bobbi, who shared an article some weeks ago that dictated in farcical detail everything that ladies over 30 should not wear, up to and including crop tops and mini skirts.

I went dancing with my momma a couple weeks ago and as a foxy 60-year-old with all the best dance moves, I'm telling you right now that you can pry Mom's mini skirt from her cold, dead hands.

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You can't really tell, but that's my mom, second from the right, in a mini skirt and about to destroy the dance floor with her brilliant moves. Also pictured: My sister's mother-in-law Mary, my sister Laurie and me, looking too weird with straight hair.

I'm 31 myself and, while I didn't cave and click the accursed link of forbidden fashion items, I truly loathe the idea that any style is off limits to me for any reason.

Bobbi is smart and stylish and recognized the article for what it is: poisonous dreck with an intent to make aging ladies just that much more insecure about changing bodies and changing fads.

Bobbi - 20 things women should stop wearing after 30
Well said, Bobbi.

I've been thinking about it a lot in the last few weeks. One of my self-imposed blogging rules is that I never give advice. I'm no expert, just some bozo with wifi, like most of the globe. But what the hell. One of my other rules is that I break all of my rules.

So, here it is: Three Things Women Over 30 Should Never Wear

1. Clothes that don't reflect your experience.

I am the queen of impractical fashion. I hike in finery, dance in dragging ball gowns and have a pristine record of never wearing an appropriate coat.

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A paragon of impracticality

However, I like to think that I can learn from my mistakes. After wearing spike heels on an adventurous date, I've decided that I'd rather be the kind of companion that can keep up on outing without slinking to a barstool and whining about my bleeding feet. So, I choose shoes that will let me keep playing as long as I please.

This is not an argument for practicality (shudder) but a plea for people to respect their own experiences. Do you feel like a dolphin tangled in a tuna net whenever forced to don a bra? Then respect that experience, and let the ladies fly freely. Do you know that you'll feel more comfortable exploring your city if you're not feeling the weight of expensive jewelry? Then stock up on costume baubles and haunt new neighborhoods.

You've survived your twenties. You've learned what works for you. Never ignore that.

2. Clothes that don't respect your vision of yourself.

I wrestle with the idea of items that "age appropriate" because, again, appropriate isn't part of my fashion vernacular. I literally just came home a few hours ago with hot pink sparkly tights, and while at the store, justified the purchase to my brother-in-law by saying, "Oh, I have a wig that will match these!"

So, yeah, age appropriate I ain't.

Question of the day: Am I too old for high-waisted skinny jeans? #ootd #streetstyle #redhead #headband #skinnies #highwaisted #momjeans #1980s #retro #vintage #fuzzysweater #urbanoutfitters #skinnyjeans #30something
I really wrestled with whether or not I'm comfortable wearing high-waisted skinny jeans. I just really like the sartorial possibilities they offer!

However, there are items I've worn for years that seem to no longer reflect who I'm growing into. I've got these cotton babydoll minidresses that were wardrobe staples for most of my adult life and now, I can't seem to find a way to wear them that fits with my current tastes. I'm not forbidding myself from a certain style - I have an orange babydoll number from the 1960's that I can't wait to blind you with - but these particular pieces just aren't my bag anymore.

10-02-08
Me, wearing something in 2008 that I would never wear today.

As our lives change, it's easy to keep wearing items because we've always worn them. Keep a sharp eye on your closet for those clothes that are no longer speaking to your soul.

3. Compromise clothes.

I was going to write a sizeable definition of "compromise clothes," but I suspect you already know what they are, and are thinking of pieces in your own wardrobe that embody this loathsome idea: it is the ill-fitting button-up I bought because I thought it'd be a good basic for the board room; the conservative heels that are too boring for words, but would work for a job interview; the trousers that were too tight, but purported to be my size, dammit; the obnoxious sweater a beloved friend gave me; the booties that everyone needed for fall; the earrings on clearance at Anthro that were too cheap to pass up.

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I'm wearing a tunic here in 2009 to camouflage the muffin top created by these terribly-fitted trousers.

None of these are inherently terrible items of adornment. They do, however, represent a compromise of ideals. Board room basics? Over my dead body. Conservative heels? Why bother? A trendy shoe? It don't fit my aesthetic, sir.

Ugly sweaters on the shelf don't make you love your friends any more, and a bad fit is not fixed with regular wear. Anything that does not jibe 100 percent with who you are at this very moment is baggage that ultimately does nothing but make you feel crappy.

Final Summation

I've found that people respond, not to your clothes, but to the way you feel in your clothes. If you feel fabulous/sassy/powerful in your bikini/ruffle socks/Hilary Clinton pant suit, then those around you know it. I've felt like I was on fire in just jeans and a t-shirt and I'll be damned if I didn't set off sartorial smoke alarms waltzing into a party.

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In my natural environment

It takes time to create a cadre of clothes that cocoon you in beauty attuned to your personal aesthetics, whether it's bellbottoms and beaded bras or dashikis and chandelier earrings. Women (and men and all genders in between) over 30 have experience that illuminates their own tastes and the opportunity to gather the garments that make them happy.

Ultimately, no one over 30 should wear anything that makes them feel less than awesome. And while we're at it, let's not read dumb articles that do that, too.

P.S. A thousand thanks to Bobbi for her inspiration, both here and in general.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How to Wear a Poncho

I've been singing the praises of the poncho for years, even writing a pun-trified tribute to the noble shawl on a friend's blog.

Look, this is me in my favorite poncho:

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poncho villa

Toasty ecstasy.

I love spotting ponchos on other people, but I have noticed a disturbing tide of poncho neophytes who just don't know how to don them properly. Most abused is the style of poncho sometimes called a "wrap" - a quadrilateral length of fabric with a slit in the front.

It's often just tossed across someone's frame as though they are a flagpole, waving a sad blanket across their back.

This is what I mean:

Mara Hoffman poncho for Resort Ready to Wear 2014
This is definitely not the only offender I've seen; it's just the one I remembered to take a screenshot of.

Your magnificent knit mantle does very little when merely draped across your shoulders, as on the unfortunate individual above. We are not curtain rods, my fellow fashion frontiersmen. We need our outer layers to keep us from freezing.

We need our wraps to wrap.

Achieving heated heaven in your poncho is not hard. So, modeled on a somehow even more awkward specimen - myself - here is the proper way to don a poncho:

How to wear a poncho

1. Show off your poncho a bit. Bask in its fabulousness.

2. Drape across your shoulders so that your head is in the center of a sea of thermal material. Do not, as some have, stop here. Keep going.

3. Grab your right-hand flap of fabric...

4. ...And toss it across the front of your body. This is the part of you that would remain cold if you stopped at the second step.

5. Grab your left-hand flap of fabric...

6. ...And jauntily toss it...

7. ...Until it's over your right shoulder.

8. Feel both snug and smug.

Now that you are properly cocooned, you will reap the benefits of being both stunning and steamy warm.

Here's how it looks from the back:

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wrapper's delight

I get approx. 928 compliments when wearing my poncho this way, even though this particular wrap is festooned in cat hair and snags and often smells like yesterday's pho because I wear it all the freakin' time.

People love it. And if I see you wearing a poncho like this, I will love it, too.

poncho gif

Can any outerwear compare to the poncho? Let me know your thoughts!