Tag Archives: Weddings

Can I Help You?

About a month ago I traveled north and east about four and a half hours and ended up in Detroit. To be fair, this was intentional—I was there for a wedding—but, yeesh, that town is grim. Not like Sarasota, Florida grim where you walk around the promenade and realize it is possible for an entire town to be built around the concept of tropical prints, elastic waistbands, and comfortable shoes. Detroit is like your favorite restaurant closing because no one but yourself ever appreciated it. When you walk around the city (And I was in fact downtown. When I told people I had recently been in Detroit, I think they assumed I was staying at Tim Taylor’s.), you look up and see all of this beautiful architecture. Buildings with ornate molding, beautiful brick work, grand entrances, so much of it now decrepit or abandoned altogether. I like to imagine that in Detroit’s heyday, there was a parade everyday at noon and all the women and babies came outside and Henry Ford marched with a giant baton while little newspaper boys threw money and candy into the crowds. And all the men drove around in their American made cars and high-fived each other, shouting, “WE GOT THIS!” But now when you walk along Detroit’s city sidewalks, you’re practically alone save for one or two city dwellers who apparently didn’t get the memo that the Red Wings had an away game.

I wish for that city that someone would come in and really turn things around; someone to take a risk, open an Apple store or something. Move Apple’s headquarters there! Heck, I don’t know! I didn’t go to business school! I’m just throwing out ideas, hoping something will stick because Detroit is one of America’s great cities and we should all be conscious of it’s need for recovery.

Enough about Detroit. This is supposed to be about the dress I wore to the wedding in Detroit. I like to write in ascending order of priorities. I don’t do many fancy things in my life. If I am ever standing in front of a step and repeat it’s probably because I am a 40 year old intern at a PR firm and it’s my job to vacuum the carpet before the important people arrive. One could argue that a wedding is not a fancy special thing for the regular attendee but I counter with free drinks, dancing, lots of toasts, and your date has to be in a suit. When young people complain about going to weddings I give them a similar list. Weddings are fantastic parties and we should all just be grateful we have one less Saturday night where we ask our friends, “So, uh, wanna go to that bar?” and everyone collectively shrugs. The only time I am ever mildly uncomfortable at weddings is when the ceremony takes place in a Catholic Church and it’s time to take communion and I sit politely in my seat while everyone else gets in line and I imagine they’re all looking at me thinking, “Ugh, just participate.”

Since this Detroit wedding was my first of 2013, I convinced myself that it was appropriate, nay, mandatory, that I buy something new. I still had some money stowed in savings from my weekend babysitting extravaganza and there are many weddings yet to come for which this purchase could be reworn. We were leaving Friday morning, so I decided the best time to go shopping was the day before when I also had a million and one things to do like pack and babysit that evening for five hours. I had a scheduled workout at 9 am that morning which brought me downtown, so I had the good sense to pack a regular bra in my purse so I could change at the gym and not a) have to make a trip all the way back to my apartment or b) try on cocktail wear in sports bras. There is an ‘s’ at the end of that word because I wear two and not everything about life is easy. It was a cold and drizzly day that Thursday and, despite the costume change, I was basically still smelly and disgusting. I took the train a few stops north and then walked to the Anthropologie on Chicago Avenue. If you have not been to this Anthropologie and you are a fan of that store, put that on your summer bucket list because it is beautiful and big, and most importantly, it has Megan.

I am a terrible shopper. I love owning new things, I hate looking for them. Have I ever mentioned the time I bought my prom dress the day before prom? The stress of that event nearly killed my mom and I was all “whatever” about it. I walked into Anthropologie that morning, most of me damp from the drizzle, my jeans were sticking to my skin in the bad way and I was wearing this awful raincoat that made me feel like the What Not To Wear cameras were secretly following me and Stacy and Clinton were downstairs making fun of me in the dressing room. I had already been on the store’s website and knew exactly what it was I was looking for—this full skirt with thick black and white stripes and a visible gold zipper in the back that would make me look like a fun, classy young person. I walked through the entire store, and not only did I not find the skirt, but I only found one dress that I tolerated enough to try. I grabbed a pair of shorts so as not to feel like I had completely wasted my time, and went to the dressing room.

In general, I loathe being assisted at stores. Sometimes, if I can tell that, walking into a store, I would be the only patron, I avoid it altogether out of fear that I’ll receive too much attention from the sales people. Even when I am looking for something extremely specific and someone asks if they can help me, I tell them “No, I’m just browsing,” and then curse under my breath at the store for not having exactly what I need. When I walked back to the dressing room on this Thursday, I was particularly not in the mood for assistance or friendliness. I didn’t have the time and the store had already sorely disappointed me. As Megan grabbed the two items out of my hand, she chirped “Oh, this dress just came in! I can’t wait to see it on someone!” Ugh, I have to show you? As she hung up the dress she asked, “Do you want a shirt to try on with those shorts?” Oh, um, yeah? Harmless, I thought. “How about a pair of shoes for the dress. Just to see?” I drew the line there. No shoes. I was on a schedule. She left and I tried on the dress, which ended up looking like if your mom made you a mod dress out of a black and white checkered table cloth and based the measurements off of what she thinks you’ll look like when you’re five months pregnant. Megan reappeared with a shirt which I instantly thought would look hideous on me but I appreciated the fact that she had just bought the same shirt for these shorts and she thought the combination would look just as great on me. That was sweet. We both agreed that the dress was not working. I smiled through my teeth and allowed her to give a thoughtful response, secretly wishing she would just go away so I could cry hot tears of anger that the dress gods were fighting me so fiercely that day.

When she asked if I was shopping for anything in particular I admitted that I was looking for a dress for a wedding and before I knew it she was off again. I sat in the dressing room, tempted to poke my head out and let any other employee know that I needed to get going, and please let Megan know she can call off the search. But there she was again, this time with maybe seven dresses I had seen during my own lap around the story and had aggressively nixed. Over the next 20 minutes, as I tried on dress after unflattering dress, Megan kept reappearing at my door, one time with jeans, another time with six shirts she was just dying over, another time with a jacket that was so gorgeous and flattering and had been selling like crazy, and look this last one we have is in your size! It was turning into my very own Julia Roberts Pretty Woman moment, if Julia never met Richard Gere and only had her street money to buy things and the store ladies welcomed her anyway. I tried on the jeans (did not need jeans) and walked out onto the floor and Megan and I just gushed over how great they fit and, God bless her, she even asked if I needed a smaller size.

Toward the end of the affair, after I decided that the jeans and that super flattering jacket, which was in fact super flattering, were must buys, Megan was at the door with three more dresses. Not only did they appear super boring, I was also so over the idea of Anthropologie solving my dress crisis that day. I was onto separates! But she had been so nice and helpful that I decided to indulge her. I tried one on. No. Looked at another, felt rather “meh” about it, but gave it a go anyway. And wouldn’t you know, it did something for me. I walked out of the dressing room and looked at Megan and said, “I actually think I like this one. But…it’s missing something…”

“A BELT!”

And off she ran to gather every belt in that store that might vaguely match this dress, calling a woman upstairs on her walkie talkie to bring down some jewelry options, walking back to me and smiling, “Now do you want to try some shoes on?” Yes, Megan! Yes! Bring me the shoes! Soon, I had the attention of multiple employees and a handful of customers in the dressing room. Everyone was weighing in and everyone agreed it was just the perfect thing.

That girl killed it. I walked out of that store over an hour after I entered with a pair of jeans, a jacket, a dress, a necklace, and a belt. If any other person had assisted me that day I guarantee they would have let me leave empty handed and miserable over the thought of having to repeat that entire miserable shopping experience at Nordstrom. The woman at the register was the same woman who had brought down the necklaces so she simply confirmed, “Megan was helping you today?” Yes. She. Did.

I hope retail stores recognize and appreciate when they have someone like that on their hands. For Megan, I hope she has a Jenna Lyons/J. Crew like career journey with Anthropologie. If she wants it. Maybe she’s in med school and she’s just an awesome person who’s like, “While I’m here, I might as well change everyone’s life who encounters me.” I’m tempted to go back in a week and be like, “Megan! I’m going to New York Memorial Day weekend! What should I wear?!??” But I genuinely fear for my bank account, so I may just have to suffer through the insufferable H&M or something. Either way, I am grateful for a new outlook on customer assistance and hope to bring the Megan out in many sales girls to come. I could always use the help.

Oh, also, because I am absolutely the type of person who would obsess over an outfit and not take a single picture of it, here is the ensemble off the Anthropologie website. It’s not meant to be the most glamorous thing you’ve ever seen, but it is a beautiful solution to a problem that at the time felt incredibly important.

20130509-124854.jpg

20130509-125536.jpg

20130509-125556.jpg

All photos courtesy of Anthropologie.com.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

OMG Did You See What I Wrote On Facebook?

First of all, I want to say a big THANK YOU for everyone’s feedback on yesterday’s post. You are all too sweet and if anything I said resonated with you, well I am happy to share the pain/insight. Second of all, WHEW! That was a doozy. I choked back tears about a dozen times at work yesterday which is fine because no one can see me at my desk and even if the mailman had walked in at one of those inopportune moments, I could have just been like, “Dude, you get it, right?”

So seeing as how I have plenty of time on my hands this afternoon, I thought I would whip up something a little more light-hearted heading into the weekend.

I have been a Facebook user for eight years. I can’t bear to calculate all the time lost and wasted, but in those eight years, I have noticed a pattern in how people choose to express every last good, bad, and anxty moment that happens in their life. And some of those patterns irritate the hell out of me. Do you see where this is going? Yes! A list! A list of my Top 5 Least Favorite Facebook Statuses! Feel free to add yours below in the comments section. Enjoy!

5. Who’s going out tonight?

What? No one. Is that how you make plans? What if someone you really didn’t like responded, “Hey! I got nothin’ going on. Why don’t we get a slice of pizza? It would be so great to catch up!” What would you do then? I’ll tell you. You’d feel like an idiot for opening up your social calendar to your 546 friends, remembering you actually only have three friends you’re ok spending a Friday night with. And now you’re in the awkward position to either, decline the invitation by admitting you didn’t really mean to imply you were willing to go out with just anybody, or just slowly creep away from your desk, act like it never happened, and hope that the sad sack who also doesn’t have anything to do that night doesn’t follow-up with, “You there? I was thinking around 7?”

4.  Ahh Facebook I hate you! Stop changing! It was fine the way it was!

Let me tell you a story about the day I joined Facebook back in 2004.  Facebook, by the way, is like the only thing where young people have the advantage over old people to say things like, “Back in MY day there was no News Feed!” Literally, Facebook used to be a place where all you could do was put up a picture of yourself, list your favorite books and TV shows, and gloat that your friends at subpar universities weren’t allowed to use it yet.  That was it. You couldn’t post pictures, you couldn’t comment on other people’s activities, you couldn’t even POST a status to complain about how much you hated the website. The only way to communicate with your friends was by writing on their wall, which back then worked like a Word document. If someone was so inclined (as my friend Molly was), they could literally delete your entire “wall” of messages by simply clicking on it, highlighting all the text dating as far as back as the day you joined, and hitting delete on their keyboard. It was that simple. And it happened to me. Literally, I just went back to look at the first documented post on my Timeline and it was, “OoOoOooO Catherine’s wall was deleted…let’s see if she’s pathetic enough to put ‘er back up.” If Facebook never evolved, never made adjustments, it would look as pathetic as this still-active website for the movie Space Jam:

http://www2.warnerbros.com/spacejam/movie/jam.htm

So count your blessings that someone out there knows what you need from this superfluous website more than you do, and stop complaining. Or just like, stop using it. Remember, it is optional

3. Good news is coming my way!

What is it? Oh, you don’t want to share it? You just want twenty people to comment, “Tell me! Tell me!” Don’t do that. It’s annoying. If you’re pregnant, just wait until it’s like a full blown fetus and then put up an ultrasound pic. If you’re about to get a promotion at work, just be like, “Climbing that corporate ladder! Finally, I’m getting mine!” I’ll know what you mean. But these coy, winky, aren’t-you-just-dying-to-know remarks are so narcissistic it makes me barf. If you want to brag, brag. Just don’t make me work that hard to care about your life.

2. 389 days until I’m married!

When someone I’m friends with on Facebook finally gets married, I think I’m more excited than she is because it means an end to the always-painful wedding countdown. I get it. You’re happy. I’m happy too. Really! For you, I pray for good weather. I cross my fingers you take beautiful pictures (but not too many that imply you confused your wedding with a high-fashion photo shoot). And I beg the Gods that if you hire a DJ, he or she does not torture you with the Electric Slide. But before we even get to that moment, before I can even get excited in anticipation of the first mobile upload posted of you in your dress, you torture me with an endless countdown, as if I don’t know that if last Tuesday you said there were 43 days left, this Tuesday it means there are 36 days left. I can take a “Booked the room! Got the dress! Ordered the flowers!” But the incessant reminder of exactly where we are in the calendar year as though it now revolves around your wedding day is too painful. Girl, you tell me your big day is June 10th, I will remember. I swear.

1. This is the worst day of my life. Why do men have to be so awful!

Wait…why? Is that a trick question? Do you really want me to think about it and get a response back to you? Or do you want me to ask what a member of this heathen species we call man has actually done to you? I don’t get it. Men have to be awful because you are awful because you generically complain about unidentified behavior on a social networking website. Enough! You know what? Men are fine. They’re FINE. If they don’t call you back, it’s because they don’t like you and the solution to that is to find one who does. If you think they’re awful because the one you are exclusively dating is mean to you then find one who isn’t.  But this kind of generic gender slaying is so boring and has me picturing you in the fetal position on your bed, refreshing your Facebook page every 10 seconds to see if anyone has left any words of wisdom for your depressing life. And girl, that is not a good look for you. Chin up, and if you absolutely must say something about men, just make a funny joke about their penises.

Tagged , , , ,

Pinterest: A Love/Hate Story

Did you guys hear the big news this week? Pinterest hit 10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors in nine months. Which makes it the fastest growing standalone website. Ever.

For the unfamiliar, Pinterest is an image sharing website where you can save images from anywhere all in once place, and can organize your pictures (or “pins”) on different boards. When I first signed up for the site last March (or rather, when they deigned to accept my request to join), Pinterest had a decidedly design-heavy slant. For instance, I used it to keep track of images of different types of wallpaper that I would one day like to use in my powder room. (Reality, and the fact that I am 5 to 10 years from living in a place with a powder room that I am allowed to wallpaper, is not really an issue at play here.) However, as the site’s popularity soared and more and more people joined, the flavor shifted from design and style to, well, pretty pictures. Pretty pictures of babies. Pretty pictures of cupcakes. Pretty pictures of braided hair. Pinterest has turned into such a lady cliche, I can hardly stand it. Going to the site feels like going to a scrapbooking convention-you get the sense that you are surrounded by a lot of crafty DIY types who would happily spend four hours making a chandelier out of old Christmas ornaments. I still enjoy the site, and continue to use it to pin countless variations on the all-white bedding that I want. (And that I will never be allowed to have, because I am the clumsiest person alive, and as soon as I had all white bedding I would probably manage to spill coffee, Diet Coke and red wine on it all at once.) But it is impossible to not acknowledge how ridiculous Pinterest has become. One woman I follow has an entire board dedicated to pictures of petit fours.

Herewith, I present what I have deduced as the top five category trends on Pinterest.

1. Wedding Inspirations

Pinterest’s bread and butter seems, inarguably, to be as a site where women can organize their wedding inspiration photos. For those who are actually engaged, this is an understandable and acceptable way to keep track of your ideas. Those of us who are not engaged have to get a little more creative, so that it is not immediately clear to all of our followers that we are very much putting the cart before the horse and planning a wedding even though no one has  expressed any interest in actually marrying us. My board for this creepy behavior is called Tablescapes. Because technically, I could throw a party with beautiful place settings and lush floral arrangements at any time. Like, I just pinned this picture because I like the candles. No big deal.

Pretty subtle, no?

2. Animals and Babies

Pinterest users also love pictures of babies and animals doing seasonally appropriate, adorable things. In the fall it would not be unlikely to find a picture of kittens inside of a pumpkin resting on a bucket of apples, which was itself on an autumnal pile of leaves. Or this one, for the winter holiday season:

Why would you put your baby in a jar!? Come on, people.

 3. Closets

Pinterest is, on the whole, a site for wishful thinking. People pin pictures of sprawling plantation-style homes with giant wrap around porches and label them things like “A porch I would like to have someday.” (Me. I did this). And, well, good f’ing luck with that. But nowhere is this “Dream Big” mentality more evident than in the pictures people post of closets. I don’t know anyone who is so wealthy that they have the extra space and money to convert an entire room into a glamourous closet/sitting room/beauty parlor/speakeasy (seriously, the way they decorate these rooms you would think ladies are having cocktail parties in there). But these kinds of pictures are all over Pinterest. In fact this is one of the top ten most popular pins from the site:

A girl can dream.

4. Desserts

Xojane.com already wrote an article addressing this issue, but there seems to be some sort of unspoken rule among Pinterest users that you cannot post a picture of a dessert unless it is actually three separate desserts that have been forced to mate and create one brave new dessert. For example, here someone has taken popsicles, brownies and cupcakes, all delicious treats that can stand on their own two feet, and made this:

It’s hard to spend any time on Pinterest and not wonder “Who has time for this?”

5. Words of Inspiration

Lastly, people take Pinterest’s function as way to organize inspiration pretty literally; there are always tons of pictures of motivational words, phrases and sayings. You know how at least half of the girls you knew in college had “Live. Laugh. Love” in the bottom of their AIM profile? And then AIM went away? Well, this is where women come to get that same instinct for cheesiness and cliche out of their system.

That’s right, girl! Just because he stopped calling doesn’t mean he wasn’t loving you with all he had.

Finally, lest you think I’m a total crankpot, please enjoy this hilarious picture of two hamsters. I’m embarrassed to tell you how long I laughed over this:

Tagged , ,