Archive for the ‘random musings’ Category

In a fit of desperation after failing at maternity shopping (see previous post), I signed up to get a Stitch Fix box. For those who aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, they’re a personal styling service that will send you five items based on a style profile and any specific requests you have for that box (e.g. “I need a special occasion outfit for an upcoming family wedding”).

This sounded great to me, since I tend to be set in my ways when it comes to clothes shopping. I hesitate to branch out from the tried-and-true, so a personal styling service that might nudge me out of my comfort zone and show me things I wouldn’t find on my own sounded awesome.

After the first box I was absolutely in love with the service. I asked for business casual maternity clothes. Everything they sent me was cute and in line with my style profile; the items I sent back got sent back because of fit problems or fabric issues. My five items were:

  • A darling silver necklace that I loved the minute I put it on.
  • A cute navy maternity dress that I considered keeping, but decided against because of the overly generous back pleating (hello, bubble butt!).
  • A coral-colored blouse that I liked a lot but that wrinkled almost from the moment I pulled it out of the box — I knew if I kept it I’d never wear it because I’d have to iron it every time I did.
  • A gorgeous teal blouse that was, alas, way too tight through the shoulders.
  • Comfy, trendy maternity leggings at exactly the right price point — perfect for fall weekends.

One thing I did notice was that the box had a very West Coast interpretation of business casual — see this comic by The Oatmeal for a handy primer on the difference between East Coast and West Coast sartorial philosophy. For example, I have never seen a single pair of stretch leggings at my workplace and I would never, ever teach in such tight pants, but the stylist specifically said that the leggings would be “perfect for work.” I decided I’d mention that my workplace is fairly conservative in my next note and eagerly signed up for my next Fix.

Alas, my second box was kind of a wreck. I might have gotten too specific in my styling note — I asked for sleeveless or short-sleeved work tops and business casual dresses (mentioning the bit about being on the more formal end of business casual), and also said I didn’t need any more pants. These requests went more or less ignored. Instead, I got:

  • Bright purple long-sleeved blouse with a missing button and fraying seams at the cuffs (yikes!).
  • Blue flowered maternity tunic with long sleeves and smocking across the chest — sort of Little House on the Prairie meets 70s flower child.
  • A pair of black maternity “jeggings” that were so tight I couldn’t get them over my bump, which I think was the baby’s way of expressing his displeasure with the entire concept of “jeggings.”
  • A mock wrap dress that actually fit quite well, although I worried that the geometric pattern was making me look even bigger.
  • A bumblebee costume.

Oh, you think I’m kidding about the bumblebee costume? BEHOLD:


See? I was so not kidding about the bumblebee costume. What is WITH maternity clothes and horizontal stripes?!

So our score so far is one excellent box, one poor one. I’m considering a third box as a tiebreaker but I’m actually fairly happy with my maternity wardrobe right now — I may wait until I a) start the semester and b) get more pregnant to see if I really need more/different items.

In the meantime, if you’re on the fence about Stitch Fix I say give it a try! The $20 styling fee is (IMO) pretty reasonable, returns are free and low-maintenance, and if all else fails you’ll have your own bumblebee costume to giggle over for hours at a time!


Read Full Post »

So I haven’t updated this blog in quite a long time. To be honest I felt like I ran out of things to write about — and there were also things afoot (pun intended) that took me out of the alcohol-blogging game for a while.


Yep, I’m 19 weeks pregnant!

The ultrasound tech told us it’s a little boy and even printed out snapshots of his, uh, boy parts, helpfully labeled “BOY.” I am not posting those because a) even with the label those pictures look like a bunch of blur to me, and b) I feel that it really should be Baby’s choice whether pictures of his boy parts appear on the internet, a choice that he will ideally make after the age of NEVER.

So that’s what’s going on with me! I have to admit I’ve had an easy pregnancy so far — very little morning sickness, no weird cravings or wild emotional swings, just a propensity for napping. But no matter the symptoms pregnancy is an odd time. This is our first kid and we’re staring down the barrel of a massive life change, one that I don’t think you can ever be quite prepared for no matter how much you try to prepare. It’s also a bit lonely to do this so far from family or a real network of friends — I realized this week that it’s unlikely I’ll get to have a baby shower, for instance, which made me kind of sad. Finally, I’m planning to use my maternity leave as a chance to re-evaluate my career path (that longed-for tenure track job, alas, never materialized, and is unlikely to do so given the age of my PhD), which comes with its own raft of anxiety and uncertainty and sheer blind terror.

But: tiny little baby feet! A first grandchild for my parents to cuddle, the first great-grandson on my mom’s side, a little cousin for my nephew to play with,* and a whole new little person to bring into our home! And life changes are scary but staying in one place because of fear is no way to live, or at least that’s what the inspirational poster I saw on Pinterest told me.

Now, can someone please tell me how to pick a name? Or what stroller I should buy? Or how many dinosaur onesies is too many? (Kidding about that last one, obviously there is no way to have too many dinosaur onesies.)

A must-have for a December baby.


* Or, more likely, “regard with bemused boredom until he becomes old enough to boss around.”

Read Full Post »

Scene: A tired woman – me – has just finished showing her soon-to-be-former landlord around an empty and freshly cleaned apartment. The inspection has lasted a solid half hour but miraculously, he has found nothing wrong. The end is in sight.

I hand him the keys.

Him: “Can you please remind me which key is which?”
Me: “Of course!”
(My brain: please oh please give me back my security deposit and let me go home soon)
Him: “What is this key?”
Me: “That is the key to the storage unit.”
Him: “The key to the storage unit?”
Me: “Yep, to the storage unit.”
Him: “Did I give you this key?”
Me: “Yes, you did.”
Him (slightly accusingly): “You made a copy!”
Me (confused): “No, no copies, that is the original.”
Him: “Then which is the copy?”
Me: “There are no copies, Landlord. There is only the original key you gave us.”
Him: “Ah, I see. And this is the storage unit key I gave you?”
Me: “Yes.”
Him: “This key?”
Me: “Yes.”
Him: “And you did not make a copy? This is the key I gave you?”
Me (trying to conceal my impatience): “Yes.”
Him: “Ah, OK. And what does this next key do?”

There were six keys on that key ring, FYI. But the story has a happy ending: we got our security deposit back and we’re in our new apartment!

Read Full Post »

I am flying home this week to see my family in Colorado. I wish I could view this as a delightful break from Boston apartment-hunting, but in reality, going home has become so anxiety-inducing that my stomach curled into a stress ball the second I bought the tickets.

Visiting home is just so INTENSE. My parents want me to do things for them, and with them, and are inevitably hurt if I say no or ask to do something different. The quiet alone time that I need to recharge is often interpreted as a rejection, and this has been a tough semester — I’m feeling pretty damned depleted already. Also, my brother is so volatile that spending time with him feels like navigating a minefield while juggling chainsaws.

But what’s really got me nervous is my dad and my stepmom. See, I made a critical mistake with this year’s Christmas gift.


Read Full Post »

Apartment hunting

After some disappointing news about a job I really wanted but didn’t get, I thought it might cheer me up to do something I’ve been dreaming about for years: find a new apartment.

Apparently I am too stupid to remember how much “fun” (read: not fun) apartment hunting is.

Here’s our situation. Our current apartment is relatively cheap, in a good location, and has some really nice amenities (1 covered parking spot, air conditioning, in-unit laundry, a huge master bedroom). The problem is the decor hasn’t been updated since the Reagan administration – and no, I’m probably not exaggerating.

The beige carpet, aka the bane of my existence, is ancient and grimy and only marginally improves with professional cleaning. The walls are also beige and the lease says no painting. The doorknobs are brass and the cabinets are Euro-style. It’s lacking in closet space and gets little light. I know there are worse apartments out there, but there are some days when I look around me and want to cry about the blandness, darkness, and overall tiredness of the space. I’ve tried sprucing it up with new curtains and light fixtures and colorful pillows but it just feels like putting lipstick on a pig. Also, we would really love more space for guests and/or our own elliptical machine.

I’ve been itching to move for a couple of years, but we haven’t pulled the trigger (see: good location, relatively cheap rent, plus my husband is totally content here). This year I decided to dip my toes into the water and see what was out there.

So far? In the past week, we’ve seen four apartments — not a huge number, I know, but enough to get a sense of what the market looks like. And so far the market looks … not promising. My escape from Planet Beige is feeling increasingly unlikely. Send help. And maybe also pies.

Imagine this color on your floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, and appliances. Then add brass finishings. That’s our place.

Imagine this color on your floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, and appliances. Then add brass finishings. That’s our place.


Read Full Post »

A couple of weeks ago, the soap door in our dishwasher decided that it would prefer not to open during the washing cycle, thanks all the same.  Since the machine was absolutely ancient (at least 20 years old) my landlord was unable to obtain replacement parts and decided to swap it out for a new one.

When we got the news about the new dishwasher, I saw a small window of opportunity to improve something about our apartment.  You see, I’ve been itching to move for over a year now, but the timing just hasn’t been right.  Consequently, I’ve been feeling a bit trapped and the things I don’t like about the apartment have really started to grate.

First and foremost?  The decor.  This apartment’s color scheme is beige and white.  Beige berber carpet (that is now very old and matted down, because berber carpet is famously difficult to clean*).  White walls (that we are not allowed to paint).  Beige Euro-style cabinets (see below) with beige countertops and a white paint “backsplash.”

This is what our kitchen cabinets look like.  No, you can't un-see it.  Image from (appropriately enough) UglyHousePhotos.com

This is what our kitchen cabinets look like. No, you can’t un-see them. Image from (appropriately enough) UglyHousePhotos.com

To say our apartment lacks personality is an insult to the personality-free.

So when my landlord said that they don’t make beige dishwashers anymore and he’d have to buy white, I screwed up my courage and said, timidly, “I think a white dishwasher might make the beige countertops and cabinets look a bit yellow?  And dingy?  What about a black dishwasher?  Or a stainless steel one, those are very popular.”

This suggestion was not appreciated.  My landlord looked at me with huge, wounded eyes and exclaimed, “But that would be UGLY!  It would be DARK and UGLY!  Everything needs to be bright and light!  No, no.  White will be best.**”  It was clear that the idea of a steel dishwasher was almost insulting to him — how dare I suggest putting something so horrible in his property?

That’s when it hit me.  This beige-on-white color scheme?  He did this on purpose!  He thinks this looks good!

Ever since, I’ve been wondering if I could renovate the apartment in a way that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out, but that would satisfy our landlord’s need for “light and bright.”  To Pinterest!


Read Full Post »

We live in a glorious age of parenting advice.  As someone considering having children I cannot tell you how valuable I have found the countless articles, books, podcast debates, and provocative breastfeeding magazine covers that tell me in no uncertain terms how we ought to raise our hypothetical baby.

But what about parents who are not fortunate enough to have time to read the reams and reams of invaluable parenting advice currently being churned out by editors desperate to save their failing companies parenting experts?  I have considered this question seriously and I now realize it is my duty — nay, my calling — to distill our era’s parenting wisdom into a single volume.  I humbly present my book proposal.  At the risk of sounding arrogant I am quite certain it will be a best-seller.

Everyone You Know is a Terrible Parent:
A Guide to Judging Other Peoples’ Children While Maximizing Your Anxiety About Your Own
by Petite Chablis


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »