Category Archives: Shopping

Guest Post: Shopping with Mom

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A guest post by my daughter Laura:

When I was a little girl, my mom always took my sister and me shopping on teacher workdays. She’d tell us we had to get up early, so that we could be there shortly after the mall opened.  It was those trips that sparked my love for shopping (and my love for samples of Chinese chicken in the food court).

These days, it’s not as fun to go shopping.  Money is always tight, and I have to actually work on teacher workdays.  But when I do get a chance to go to the mall with my mom, we’ve starting focusing our efforts on her wardrobe: operation maximize fashion, minimize frump (at her request.)

At first, she was resistant, “I’ll never look good in that; my friends will say that’s too young for me; I can’t do heels.”

But with a little pushing and a few forced trips to the dressing room, she’s been quite surprised at how good she looks in some of our finds: a teal pleated dress with a coral-colored patent belt, a flowy peasant blouse with dragonflies, and, yesterday, these metallic mini wedges:

Pretty cute, right?

I keep telling my mom  not to worry so much what other people think,especially about wearing something that to her, feels too young.  If you feel good wearing something, then you probably look good too!

And the best part is, if mom finds even just one thing to spice up her wardrobe, she’ll take me to lunch at Panera.

Laura Younger is a psychologist for the Durham County Schools. Her fiance, Matt Allen, is in the MBA program at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. A June wedding is planned, meaning Laura will soon be at my side as we shop for my MOB dress!  She blogs at Taking Back My Twenties.com

Mother Disclaimer:  I will add that Laura usually receives  at least a small addition to her wardrobe as well as lunch. I will also add that daughter Kath is a good shopping buddy too; she’s not around as much since she lives in Virginia.

Feeling Rattled?

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The Great Big Bad Hormones of PMS or Menopause sure can rattle a girl.  And of course sometimes life itself adds to the clatter.

I read once that when things are so crazy you feel like a Mexican Jumping Bean,to try some slow motion.  Pretend you’re a turtle or a sloth.  (Well actually, the pretending part is my idea.)

SLOWLY put the dress back on the hanger.  The mug  in the dishwasher.  The cell phone in the charger.  Think of the nun at the abbey gate in The Sound of Music:  “Slowly, Sister, slowly.”

S….. L….. O….. W….. L…..Y

Doing a chore or even part of one in slow motion is hard, almost painful.  It goes against the core of our efficient adult selves.   But in those slow moments, even if they only last a few seconds, you feel life differently.

You remember the excellent dinner you enjoyed while wearing the dress. Smile about the silly mug your boss gave you in December.  Relive the last phone call you received:  some super cool news from  your son.

Rattles don’t calm babies.  They set them laughing, wiggling, and kicking, but have you ever tried to rush a baby or a toddler?  Can’t really be done.  They must know something we know-it-all grownups don’t.

Feel the calm of slow motion the next time you’re stressed.  And in that instant, hear the rattle of your life silence itself, even if just for one slow, peaceful moment.

Photo:  Since I have a grandchild on the way, I have rattles on my mind–the good kind.  I don’t think I’ll let the baby play with this antique celuloid model.  That rattle will remain on a high shelf, but if Baby wants brand new rattles, Grandma will take them off the toy store shelf faster than you can say “Do-re-mi.”

Quotes from The Sound of Music In a slow moment, check out these quotes from the movie!  I was amazed how many lines I knew.

Eleven Tips on 11-11-11 for the Anytime Blues

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Feeling the Menopause Blues?  Or the PMS blues or any kind of blues at all?  In honor of 11-11-11, here are eleven ways to BEAT THE BLUES!

1.  Go back to your childhood.  Blow bubbles.  Ride a bike.  Yo-yo.  Get out your scrapbooks or yearbooks or picture books and lose yourself in yesterday.

2.  Change things up.  Change locations.  Change tasks.  Change the topic of the conversation.  Sometimes, change can shake up the blues and shake them away.

3.  Blast music.  Your favorite.  You’re the Boss of the Music World right now and you get to pick!

4.  Use your hands.  Paint.  Dig.  Stir.  Knit. Scrub.  Kneed.  Rake.  Hammer. Stitch.

 5.  Cheer up a shut in with a visit, a phone call, or a card.  If you have a balloon shop in your area, send a bunch of balloons. You can usually get three mylar balloons and delivery for around twenty dollars.  The cheer will come right back at ya!

6.  Escape into someone else’s story for a bit.  Read a good novel or biography.  Watch a movie.  Click here for the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists.

7.  Check out The Happiness Project website of Gretchen Rubin.  She explores the whole arena of happiness and moods.

8.  Connect with other people.  We sometimes stay clear of others when we’re feeling blue, but moods improve when we’re engaged in meaningful conversations.  Call someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, just to check on him or her.  Invite a new neighbor over for tea or dessert or a drink.  Start a conversation about your finicky cat when you’re in the pet food aisle.  Maybe another cat owner needs a pick me up too!

9.  Exercise. The blues make you fight exercise, but once you get moving, the blues may just dash away.

10.  Do a task you have been procrastinating. Get that car inspected.  Deal with the hall closet.  Tell yourself, “I’m grumpy anyway, so I might as well do a project that makes me grumpy.”  This often has a reverse effect.   Your mind gets busy, too busy to think about the blues, and when you’re finished, you’re quite pleased with a task accomplished.   

11.  Try a little Retail Therapy.  Don’t drop a bundle, but purchase something simple that will brighten your mood.  So often we don’t allow ourselves to buy small things that we love, need, or crave.  New gym socks. An alarm clock with a gentler buzz.  Funky earrings your daughters will envy.

Photo:  This blue lady is chasing her blues away with Tip Number 11, Retail Therapy.  She was created by Aubrey and chosen to be part of the school art exhibit at the North Carolina State Fair.

Contest:  Mary Be won the copy of Goodnight Moon!  Mary, send me your address, and I’ll send you “In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and a ….”

It’s a Paper Doll’s World

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The fashion life of a paper doll must be glorious.  She stands upright and proud in her underwear.  (That’s an accomplishment right there!)  Someone selects an outfit, slips it on, and suddenly, she’s beautifully dressed from head to toe.

The fashion life of a woman of a certain age isn’t quite so simple.  My mom keeps saying, “Just wait until you’re eighty.  It gets worse.”  But even in my fifties, I’m feeling some sadness when I go clothes shopping, a kind of mourning, a slight grief.

A blouse with too much poof.  A skirt that flares from the waist.  A dress in an extravagant print.  Are they too youthful?  Too carefree?  Too cute for someone my age?  And then there’s the issue of hem length.  Hmm, let’s save hem length.  Whole essays have been written about hem length.

“Am I too old to wear this?”  “Nope,” says the husband, always.

“Am I too old to wear this?”  “Nope,” says the daughter, usually.

“Am I too old to wear this?”  “Yes,” the friends say, sometimes.

And when I ask my paper dolls, they don’t answer.  They just smile.  Let’s hope that means, “Lady, for heaven’s sake, wear what you want.”

Photo:  These paper dolls are older than I am, yet they certainly wear their clothes, including their underwear, with confidence.  You can learn more about the history of paper dolls on the website of The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild:  http://www.opdag.com/index.html