It’s time to bitch about jeans

I am of the impression that there is no such thing has a closet with too many jeans. That’s why I find it to be an atrocity that I have exactly three pairs of jeans right now that fit me.

The reasoning is not a bad one. It’s, in fact, a very good one: Over the summer, I have lost just shy of 20 pounds, and now, I can gently tug on all of my favorite jeans and pull them off without unbuttoning them. This is not good.

So I took my slimmer ass to Marshall’s yesterday to find some new jeans. I tried on 21 pairs of jeans. (Seriously, I counted.) And I wanted to throw each and every pair of them in the mud and throw a toddler-sized tantrum.

As if you didn’t know: This is why jeans shopping in 2016 sucks the big one:

  1. Stretchy jeans. I don’t want them anymore. I have two pairs (in fact, they’re two of the three that still fit), and they wear like leggings. Fine. But I want real jeans. Made of denim. That are thick, and soft, and boot cut. Because, for the love of god, enough with …
  2. Skinny jeans. I’m over them. I miss that don’t hug my ankle like a koala. Straight leg is fine, but give me a flare already, would you.
  3. Gapping. Ah, the bane of my existence. I forgot this used to be a problem–when I gained my weight, this issue went away, and it was magical. But now, I’m back to the proportions I’ve lived with most of my life: Bigger thighs, smaller waist, bubble butt. Which is to say: My thighs and heinie are about a size 10. My waist is about a size 6. I compromise with an 8, but sometimes, the legs are too damn tight and the waist gaps open in the back enough that I can shove two fists down the back. This is never flattering. Ever.
  4. “Curvy” jeans that are not curvy. The solution to point No. 3 is to buy curvy jeans. They are (supposedly) made for women with, yes, curves. They are supposed to enhance a bubble butt and hug a smaller waist. A few weeks back, Target had a 40 percent off all jeans sale, so I got a measuring tape, figured out my waist is about 30 inches, matched that to Target’s online size guide, and bought three pairs of size 10 curvy jeans. Those bastards are lying liars who tell lies. Each of those three “curvy” jeans listed a waist measurement that should have fit me like a glove. Instead, it was problem No. 3 over and over again. Which is all to say that …
  5. Jean companies that lie. I tried on one pair of 28-inch waist jeans yesterday that gave me some gapping … despite the fact that my waist is two inches larger than this measurement. WHO IS MAKING THESE PANTS? I also tried on at least one pair of size 10s that could barely fit over my thighs.

These complaints are not new, I know. I don’t know a single woman who enjoys shopping for jeans, who doesn’t take some umbrage with the ridiculous sizing.

But damn, man. #CanIJustWearNightgownsEverywhere?

All about garnets, January’s birthstone

This year, I’m planning to kick off each month with a little about its birthstone. Jac & Elsie offers a variety of customizable birthstone pieces, and I adore the mythology and lore behind each stone.

About

January’s birthstone is a garnet, a gemstone most commonly found in deep, dark red. It’s not nearly as bright as July’s ruby and can even appear to be a shade of black, though some garnets can be a shade of green, yellow, orange or earth-toned.

A collection of garnets

Garnets are one of the tougher stones, which means they don’t scratch as easily as something softer, like October’s opal.

Mythology

“Garnet” comes from the Latin “granatus,” or grain. It references the crystal’s roundish shape and its color, similar to the seed of a pomegranate.

One mythology story is related to the pomegranate: In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine. He kidnapped her and forced her to live in the underworld as his new queen.

Hades agreed to release his bride to her mother, Demeter, but only for a portion of the year. He gave Persephone pomegranate seeds–in ancient mythology, this meant she would have to return to her captor.

Sources: Gemstone.org, Burke Museum
How to wear it

I have two garnets in my jewelry collection: Both are yellow gold rings and include small garnet chips. As yellow gold becomes more popular in trendy fashion, I bet we’ll see more garnets. They absolutely pair with silver or white gold, but the richness of yellow gold better complements the stone. I find the garnet-silver combo cold, somehow. I totally want No. 11 below.

gcollage

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Happy birthday to you January babies, and here’s hoping there’s some gorgeous garnets in your future. If you’re shopping for a January birthday and don’t want to spend triple digits on the beauties above, hop over to Jac & Elsie. I use a beautiful deep red Czech glass bead to simulate garnets, and I have a number of necklaces that are easy to customize by birthstone.

Am I materialistic? Grappling with liking ‘stuff’

Recently, I’ve realized that I receive something like a bajillion and two business emails every day. Once upon a time, I signed up for them thinking that I’ll get more coupons and save more money. On a regular basis, I receive — and either open or straight up delete — emails from:

  • Ulta
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Michael’s
  • Jo-Ann Fabrics
  • JewelMint
  • O’Charley’s
  • Logan’s Roadhouse
  • Papa John’s
  • NY & Company

And those are just the ones I’m remembering off the top of my head. Has signing up for these email lists saved me money? A little. I like Logan’s “buy one entree, get one 1/2 off” deals. But the emails have also had me scouring Ulta.com to find some lipstick I don’t need just so I can get two free bottles of nail polish I don’t need.

Starting Jac & Elsie seems to have started another little trend for me: shopping online. Jac & Elsie means I read blogs more, and I like creative blogs, so I see what people I virtually admire are admiring. I easily find more than half of all gifts I purchase online. If I need a card, I’ll check Julie Ann Art first. If Scathingly Brilliant tells me about a great sale going on at Ever & Mi Crush, I’m over there buying two Christmas gifts in August (and a sweater for me). When What I Wore wears the same amazing black shoes in post after post, I’m going to stare at them wide-eyed until I can get into my local DSW and try them on. (Seriously, if anyone wants to send me those bad boys in black and a a size 10, I would not turn them down.)

As my world is opening to more than what’s at Kohl’s and the mall, I’m finding I like stuff more. And that makes me feel gross and materialistic. Me, a girl who judges small-time bloggers for doing outfit posts because, “Um, seriously? And who are you?” (but not you, aforementioned bloggers in this post, I heart your outfit posts, no lie), is suddenly interested in trends I see and admire. I want a Peter Pan collar (see below)! I want clothes with little leather detailing! No, I still don’t want you mullet hems and peplum, get thee gone, you ugly beasts. But, ooo, wonder what other colors of nail polish I can find over at Birchbox?

Now, I counter this with the fact that I’m kind of cheap. I rarely buy what’s not on sale (Mama didn’t raise no fool), so it’s not like I’m blowing wads and wads of cash on my frivolities. But that’s just it — they’re frivolities. Those fitted black stretchy pants I just bought with the amazing faux leather stripes down the side of either leg are not going to make my life better, not really. They just made my legs look good when I put them on. (And seriously. These pants. Oh man. Thank you, TJ Maxx.)

So lately? I’m grappling with feeling kind of materialistic. And it’s not a feeling I’m comfortable with. Because it makes me feel shallow.

My friend Amanda recently sent me this column with some commentary like, “Woah, this smacked me in the face in a good way.” I certainly feel gratitude every day. I certainly don’t think things will make me happier. If I had nothing, I’d still be happy because I have a lot of love and good people in my life. No, these things are just the frosting on the big, honkin’ chocolate cake of my life.

And sometimes, I guess, I just feel like a little more frosting.

I love my ugly sweater

Everyone seems to have a different name for it. My friend Angie calls it “corduroy weather.” Bonnie calls it weather for pumpkin spice lattes.

Me? I think it’s sweater weather. And when it comes to sweaters, What Not To Wear be damned, I’ll wear just about anything if it’s so soft, it makes me want to hug myself.

Like the hideous thing I wore yesterday (which, humorously, garnered two compliments from coworkers). I picked this thing up a few weeks ago at TJ Maxx, primarily because I liked the cut and I knew I could get a ton of use out of it during colder months. The building where I work has been remodeled so many times, the heating and cooling systems are all out-of-whack. So it might be so cold I pull out the lavender fleece blanket I keep in my bottom drawer (true story)  for three days straight, while the next three days have me pondering the value of sitting at my desk in my bra.

Which means, no matter the month on the calendar, I like to dress in layers at work. As such, dusters and boyfriend cardigans are the wardrobe equivalent of my best friend.

Now, back to the hideous sweater:  It’s a shorter duster, falling near the bottom of my tush. It fits like a dream and is the exact style I am regularly drawn toward.

But it’s hideous. It’s in this chevron pattern of white, black, Ultramarine Green and Olympian Blue (I turned in a story a week or two ago about incorporating Pantone’s Fall 2012 trendy colors into your wardrobe and makeup routine — that’s the only reason I know those full color names off the top of my head). The sweater is garish and over-the-top.

And so ridiculously soft. I love it so.

I paired it with the most boring outfit on the planet — black Banana Republic pants I found at Good Will for $4 and a plain white tank my mom shrunk last year and passed down to me. The sweater more than makes up for the boring, trust me. In fact, it almost looks … not bad. (I won’t say “good.” I can’t say “good.”)

Please tell me I’m not the only one who falls in love with ugly clothes …