Like Wedding Planning? Must Be a Sadist

It’s been a long time since I blogged. Fuck, it’s been forever. I am currently trying to get married, which sounds like trying to do anything else: I am also trying to put pants on before I leave for work in the morning. I am confident it will happen, it’s just  a process to get there.

A few thoughts about wedding planning:

1) People who like wedding planning are sickos: I have thus far liked nothing of this process, other than tasting the food (that is FUN!  Word to the wise, they pay for the wine, so dont go cheap, like I did. Once I realized the caterers were picking up the bill I was really regretting that 19.99 bottle of rose)

2) Don’t feel bad about bridesmaids: I was like “being a bridesmaid sucks! We should find a way to buy a super high quality dress that suits all body types but still feels appropriate for a wedding and costs less than ten dollars!” It doesn’t exist. Go bridesmaid or go home. It’s the price of doing business/being friends/being a lady. It’s life and $200. Get over it.

3) My mom rules. If you are a lady who doesn’t get along with her mom,that is sad and unfortunate. My mom happens to be the best. If you can rely on your mom, you should. If you can’t, I apologize.

4) Love is all you need. Don’t become insane. It’s not who you are. Enjoy the day for the carnations and the roses; the beautiful moments and the awkward ones.

Missoni For Target Line Ruins Humanity, Civilization

UPDATE: As one commenter noted, and as I had figured, eBay is now teeming with Missoni for Target items (over 2,000 listed items in the Women’s Clothing section!), marked up 3-5x the original price. I would like to say I think this is generally a shitty practice, though luckily the consumers are speaking because almost all of the absurd markups have no bids. Karma is a ….

 

I am pretty embarrassed to admit that when I woke up this morning, I decided to check out the new diffusion line for Target.  I had seen the line in countless magazines and had been eying a cute little sweater jacket for the fall, however I have been disappointed by these lines before so I prefer to see the items in person.

I pass by a Target on my way to work so at the last minute this morning, I veered into the Columbia Heights store. Honestly, I kept thinking “This is kind of crazy, just go after work!” but I assumed post-work crowds would mob the place (for Missoni and other things) so I thought a quick sneak in-sneak out would be in my future. I thought wrong.

I wasn’t even sure if this Target would carry the line. Columbia Heights isn’t McClean and I wasn’t sure if the line would even appeal to the young hipster urbanites and working class families that line the streets of this eclectic neighborhood.

As I was walking towards Target, I saw a girl about my age, holding some Missoni for Target desk items. How cute!, I thought. This young girl was able to quickly pick up some desk items without being nearly murdered for a slice of colorful zigzag knitwear.

For the second time already today, (note: 8:30 AM…bound to be a bad day) I thought wrong.

When I walked in, I didn’t immediately see anything so I initially thought my assumption was right, and this Target was not carrying the line. However, upon further examination I noticed there had been a display of women’s clothes, but it had been wiped clean. I was somewhat astonished (perhaps naively so), but decided to head upstairs to see if they had any baby clothes, as I thought my niece may look ravishing in a little fuschia knit onesie.

When I began to peruse the scene, my blood pressure began to rise. There was a girl sitting by the shoes with her iPad, frantically trying to get on Target’s now-crashed website.

“She’s coming out with more shoes!” she said, referring to a saleswoman who would soon arrive with a shipment of the Missoni line shoes.  I examined one pair of shoes that were sitting on the counter, waiting to be snatched up. The design was cute but the “wooden” block heel made of plastic and faux woodgrain definitely belied the fact that this was no Missoni heel. I politely thanked this shopper and moved on, though she would prove to be among the least rabid of the shoppers, iPad shopping while in store notwithstanding.

As I continued towards the baby clothes, I noticed women trying on the little girls’ dresses to wear as shirts. “Don’t mind the fact that this shirt doesn’t fit, flatter me or look good in any way, shape, or form – it’s Missoni! Well, Missoni for Target. Are you fooled?” Others were grabbing XL cardigans, which again, I cannot imagine fit well on the shape of an adult woman. Others were simply grabbing whatever they could see and throwing it into their carts (presumably for eBay selling or just general label hoarding).

A woman comes out of the stockroom with a few boxes of home items and people became frantic. “IS THAT THE ENTIRE BEDROOM SET?” “WHAT ABOUT A DUVET COVER?” The poor, bewildered Target employee, likely fearful of losing an eye, wheeled the cart back into the stockroom to examine it’s contents without the hot breath of the wolfpack on her neck.

I glanced at a woman’s cart to see what items HAD been in stock and she snarled at me, “THOSE ARE MINE! I am buying them for ME!” as if I had assumed she was throwing a Missoni party and treating everyone to some of this diffusion knitwear.

Most of the women were definitely not Columbia Heights residents and looked like they definitely drove their Mercedes SUV’s into the city (ick!) to shop for this line, post yoga and skim lattes at Tynan. People were shoving their feet into children’s rain boots (ridiculous because, even if your feet fit, the boots are, again, made for a child and reach only a few inches up the calf).

It appeared as though Target was continuing to bring out more items, but I decided I was at risk for losing at least one of my limbs and I better hightail it out of there, as well as the fact that I had an early meeting.

Just as I was walking out, a mid-twenties girl approached me (she lacked the requisite Missoni-stuffed cart that those who arrived at 8AM were wheeling around). “I was going to put this back but I don’t want to get mobbed,” she said, gesturing towards the circle that had formed around the empty display, where people were waiting like vultures for someone to set down an unwanted item. “Do you want this by any chance?”, she asked, right before she handed me the exact coat in the exact size I had been looking for. I was likely cross eyed and drooling at this point as the shock of this experience set in to my system, but I attempted to thank her and bolt to the checkout. Was she a savior, sent by the Missoni diffusion line gods? Probably not, but she definitely saved me from something.

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Health Care Isn’t Our Problem: Ignorance Is

While I am a registered Democrat, I would like to also think I am a fair and balanced individual. While studying politics in college, I was exposed to countless ideas and opinions and reasoned arguments, many of which I didn’t agree with, but was able to understand by the rationalization of my classmates or professors. It was often frustrating and could get extremely emotional. However, my hope is that those who have such intense arguments and viewpoints can back them up with rational and reasoned arguments, not conspiracy theories and seeds planted by the partisan media. In this case, I am absolutely referring to both Democrats and Republicans and everyone in between.

David Frum wrote an extremely insightful article today about how this  health care bill was one of the most crushing blows to Republican leadership in years. But, his reasoning made perfect sense- by failing to negotiate or deal with the President, Republicans placed all their bets on a losing horse.

I think it would be rare to meet a person (perhaps I am wrong) who did not think that, to some extent, the current medical system we have in the United States needs some revamping. Regardless of your story, I think almost everyone I know who has graduated from college has had at least one ridiculous story regarding insurance, COBRA, pre-existing conditions, etc. I am not talking about “freeloading drug addicts who want prescription pain pills ” (a nice gem I saw posted on a comments board by a hysterical right winger)- these are normal people who went to school, graduated with debts and loans and took salaried jobs that just didn’t pay very much. Or people who worked their entire lives only to be struck with an illness and lose everything they had to pay to save their lives. I am not referring to those exceptions to the rule; I am referring to the rule.

One of my closest friends lives in Philadelphia and is a social worker. She sees, day in day out, the uses of government programs and the problems that exist in our society. The stories she tells us  are heartbreaking; she is in the field working on these issues and I can tell you one thing I know for sure- if you think welfare recipients or people who use public services are just sitting around all day high-fiving their friends, eating lobster and getting manicures while you are slaving away you are dead wrong. To those who are fortunate enough to make a good living and have an education and background that provides for that, please don’t think the grass is greener.

Unfortunately, with all of the maniacal hysteria that surrounded this bill, it was difficult to understand what was really in the bill and how the provisions effected us. In hearing people talk about it and especially reading comment boards and Facebook quotes today, it became abundantly clear to me that most of the people who were commenting about the bill knew nothing about it. To be fair, I am no expert. But the ignorant comments that were being thrown around were so wildly off base (i.e. the fact that this bill now provides provisions for drug addicts to get free pain medication). If you read Frum’s (a speechwriter for Bush) article, and examine the bill further, it’s not so off base with the Republican dealings created in the early 1990’s when they were bartering with Clintoncare. But regardless of what the bill contains, I heard over and over from friends who work for Republican Congressmen: “We believe in health Care reform, but not the bill.” But the conservative media caused such a hysterical witch hunt (I am looking at you Sarah Palin…) that Republican leadership had no ability to deal and compromise for what they wanted. Instead, to appease the voting base, they had to firmly vote no.  Were the voting bases actually apprised of the Bill’s contents and it’s ramifications? No. They had 30-second sound bites from people like Glenn Beck, who are just looking to say something outrageous so they will get another contract with Fox.  For all of the ranting and raving that will take place about this bill; it comes down to the fact that Americans bury their heads in ignorance and draw such divided party lines that they are unable to see what is REALLY going on. And the knee-jerk reactions from both sides to “impeach so and so” and “vote so and so” out of office at every little thing does nothing for the political process except make it a game of Battleship that has our Representatives walking around those great marble halls on eggshells, hoping their votes don’t cause them to be sunk.

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Gilt Group, eBay and Discounts: What does it mean for fashion?

NYMag has posted this article about Gilt Group and how it afects the fashion industry, my friend Bekah so kindly pointed it out on her blog, and like Bekah, I have been pondering the article and wondering what it all means. Link to the article here and my thoughts are below.

During the peak of the recession, a huge meltdown in the fashion industry occurred. After years of flying high on the hog (re: my jeanification of the t-shirt article), designers had, in my own estimation, gotten greedy. It is apparent to me now, only after MUCH trial and error (more than a girl of my limited means should really be doing, but that’s beside the point) that a hefty price tag doesn’t necesarily buy quality. J. Crew marked up their prices substantially in the mid part of the decade, with not an ounce of quality improvement. Simply, their branding technique was to make their clothes more “upscale” by slapping a higher price tag on it.

The first thing to go in a recession (or the first things that SHOULD go) would be cutting out unnecesary purchases. That means vacations, jewelry, clothing- anything you don’t immediately need. Especially luxury items. Sure you may NEED a winter coat, but the cute Gap peacoat will do this year and you can scrap the Lanvin fur trimmed camel hair.

Enter PANIC mode in the contemporary fashion market. A friend of mine works as a buyer at Bergdorf Goodman and relayed that their sales during the holiday season of 2008 were so abysmal it was the cause for sheer hysteria. What happened was her retail outlet purchased the same amount of clothing (as based upon their solid numbers for 2007), and when the crash fell on Wall Street they were left with mountains of stock. In short: no one saw it coming.

So what do they do? MOVE THE MERCHANDISE. As many of you may remember, prices were slashed that year to insanely low prices at big department stores. The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) President at the time, Diane von Furstenberg was LIVID over the fact that Bloomies and Bendels were marking down her designs to such bargain basement prices. No one ever said DVF wasn’t an intelligent woman. She built a huge empire based upon a comfortable and flattering dress design and has been in the business for years, after dipping out for awhile and building an immensely succesful comeback. Was she upset about the fact that she wouldnt see high profit dividends that quarter? Not a chance. She saw into the future. The problem is- once someone pays $100 for a $400 dress, they never want to pay $400 again.

Enter Gilt Group. An online Sample sale retailer that hosts high end contemporary flash sales, Gilt Group has captured the frenzied attention of bargain hunting women (and now men) across the country. With most contemporary lines (think 5f at Bergdorf’s) $400 cocktail gowns marked down to the $150 range, it seems, DVF was right.  I find myself using Bloomingdales as a road map for what I should be looking out for. This Alice + Olivia top is cute for the summer; leave the store and find it somewhere else cheaper.

Just the other day I was in a boutique on the street I work on. A Parisian woman sells high end contemporary sportswear and has an adorable collection of cocktail dresses. I was truly shocked to find this several-seasons old Walter dress in her shop for over $300. Why was I shocked? Because I had just sold the same dress to a consignment boutique two blocks away. And they were selling it for $60. Sure, I had worn it once or twice but without a rip, tear, stain or spot on it, how sick would you feel if you shelled out 1/3 of your month’s rent for a dress you could have purchased down the street for a night out? I often see the same thing on eBay. As I have begun cleaning out my closet, I have sold numerous cute items with tags on that were a few seasons old for ridiculously low prices.  It’s a beautifully reciprocal relationship as you are able to sell quality merchandise to the seller at low cost to them and you personally are able to clean out your closet and get a little money back for something you were never going to wear. Win-win.

Maybe this is my tiny wallet speaking, but I am kind of pleased that fashion is going through this experience Earl Jeans were originally in the top tier of price points but recently came back as a much more affordable brand. Kudos to them. The $150-200 per pair market is oversaturated with everyone and their brother trying to design the new “it” jean. Newsflash: they are just jeans! They cannot be THAT creative if you want them to sell in the mainstream.  Don’t get me wrong; I worship fashion and appreciate it in the same way that art lovers can stare for days at a beautiful painting. And those who are truly talented and create artful pieces deserve hefty rewards for their efforts. I am not referring to the thousands of dollars spent for actual couture pieces that are hand sewn in Europe with extraordinary attention to detail.  But I do feel that those “designers” who are asking us to pay $300 for a flowy peasant blouse might need to take a different approach and increase their overall profits by crunching their profit margin and delivering goods that stand in line with their costs. If a blouse costs $300? Make it worth it. In a time when many company’s have “cut the fat”, I have a feeling retailers will do the same for fashion designers and hopefully will downsize some of the designers who have been sleeping on the job.

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Why Andrew Young Should be Thrown to the Wolves With Edwards

Keep praying, buddy...

Admittedly, I have, in recent days,  been mulling over the revelation that 2008 Presidential hopeful John Edwards fathered a love child with his mistress during the campaign, while his wife was seemingly dying of incurable cancer. Sure, I guess I don’t think I ever believed that Edward’s wasn’t the father of the child,  but I guess part of me didn’t want to admit that people could be so cruel and hurtful to one another, especially in the final stages of one’s life. I know nothing about John & Elizabeth Edwards; reports in the Halprin book say she was a total shrew. Fine. But even shrews don’t deserve that kind of treatment.

So, fine. The $400-haircut-prophet is a liar and a cheat. No real surprise there, he is a politician and falls into the Tiger-Woods category of men. He has that sense of grandeur and self-admiration that makes the idea of cheating on his ailing wife seem like a birthright. Edwards is not the news. The real news here is Andrew Young and his deranged wife. With the details of Young’s coverup kind of billowing about in the background of this portrait of Edwards as a liar and adulterer, it was easy to ignore Young’s contributions to the coverup. Poor Young! he wants us to think. A fiercely devoted aide, who selflessly destroyed his own reputation in the name of “one America”!

No. Just…no. I was watching Friday’s 20/20 special that featured Young and his wife Cheri. Expecting to be bombarded with salacious details about Edwards tawdry sex life, I began to realize something; this wasn’t an US Weekly reporter hiding out in the bushes who captured an intimate photo of Edwards and his mistress. This was his friend. His confidante. And even worse? In an attempt to bring Edwards down, Young inadvertently threw himself under the bus way harder than Edwards.

It’s fairly obvious from the get-go that this couple is so highly delusional that they can barely return to earth for the duration of this interview. Bug-eyed and frantically clutching her husband’s hand through the interview, Cheri Young makes excuse after excuse regarding their behavior. What was mind-boggling to me was that they took this pregnant woman (Edward’s mistress Rielle Hunter) INTO THEIR HOME. The home they shared with their children. How is that for emotionally damaging? And she became a part of their lives. Home videos showed them zooming in playfully on her belly and tossing around the pigskin in the backyard; giggling like she was an old friend they had known for years. It then became quite obvious that the Young’s were enamored with the pay-outs; being whisked about the country in private jets and staying at luxury suites. They claimed they didn’t want to reveal the truth because of Elizabeth’s illness and impending death, or because it would harm Edward’s chance to be president. Really? They liked the perks.

Andrew & Cheri’s “damaging” media tour will really only end up making them look like money grubbing fools. With Edwards, the damage has been done; once the affair was revealed nearly two years ago, Edwards was done. Finished. He is already sub-terranean at this point- what does it matter if he is pushed down another level? Through his attempt to clear his name, all Andrew Young has proved is that he and his wife put their own financial gain above their reputations and their integrity and the posterity of their family.

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We’re All Free to be You and Me: Even if You’re Pauly D

Photo courtesy of AP. Glamour shots by Deb.

Hundreds of MTV watching 20 and 30 somethings will be inundating McFadden’s D.C. in Foggy Bottom tonight for a glimpse of celebrity and $5 Jagerbombs. That’s right; Pauly D will be in the district.

If you don’t know Pauly D by name, he is one of the self-loving Italian-Americans that litter the cast of MTV’s breakout hit, The Jersey Shore. Pauly and his cast member, JWoww (these are not actual names, rather MTV-imposed nicknames thought up by producers, which makes them almost better) are on a publicity blitz that is making a stop at McFadden’s D.C. in Foggy Bottom. The fact that they are coming to our fair city is really nothing of note. After all, they are a group of “regular” (we use that term loosely…) people who are now being paid 5 figures to appear at bars they probably would have hung out at anyways. The real question is: why do we care?

Washington, D.C. A city synonymous with an ever-changing political landscape and a fierce breadth of competition, as the city boasts the most educated population per capita in the country. It’s a city that emanates hope and change, but sometimes elitism and overwhelming pressure. Jersey Shore provides an escape from our day to day cerebral context, and allows us to laugh at the simpler things in life, like using the term “grenade” to describe a guy entertaining a less attractive female so his friend can cozy up to her much hotter friend. Genius! We all, deep down, feel this pressure to conform at times, but the Jersey Shore gives us a real glimpse of people who, for better (and more often, for much worse), kind of seem okay with who they are. And that’s a feat in itself. As Marlo Thomas said, “We’re all free to be you and me”- even if you’re Pauly D.

Don’t get me wrong- this show will not leave you feeling like you have had a religious experience. More likely, you’ll probably want to take a shower and resolve to stop cursing. But, for what it is, Jersey Shore is kind of interesting, pretty funny, somewhat horrifying and all around entertaining. Grab a Heineken and settle in to learn about the mantras of life on the Jersey Shore, such as the essential daily activities as described by the male faction of the gang as “GTL”; gym tanning laundry. Or better yet, head to McFadden’s tonight to see the real deal for yourself. You just might start feeling better about that post-grad summer you spent out in Dewey after all…

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DC Restaurant Week: Featuring Booze as Redheaded Stepchild

Straight up chillin in a bottle of wine...

Last night, my dearest friend Lizzy and I decided to break up a bleak Wednesday in mid-January by heading out to a delicious meal of food.  We stopped into Jaleo, an extraordinarily delightful tapas place in my ‘hood. I kept forgetting the fact that it was restaurant week, and as the kind, but somewhat aggressive waitress kept pushing us to try the “Restaurant Week Menu”, I took a step back. It was $35.10 for an appetizer, “entree” (this is a tapas restaurant, doesn’t this defeat the purpose??) and dessert. WITHOUT booze. Now, I don’t think I am cheap but I am also a young professional who doesn’t make a ton of money and has time in her day to write in this blog. Aka I am not “rolling in it”, as my godfather P. Diddy would say. So when I began to think about this deal- it didn’t really feel like a “deal”. I’m not sure about you guys, but rarely when I am out to eat do I purchase an appetizer, entree AND dessert. That seems gluttonous, especially given the portions restaurants dish out (hah! pun…) these days. As well, one of my favorite parts of going out to dinner is ordering a big, delicious bottle of wine, and without wine included in the deal, I felt violated. So essentially, by taking part in the restaurant week deal, I would be upping my cost to over $50 whilst forcing myself to eat more than I wanted. Not only did this ruin my “stop wasting all your money, which includes purchasing 97% of products advertised in infomercials” New Year’s resolution, it also  ruined my resolution to “stop resembling a beached whale that frightens school children”. Not in the cards.

In the end, we got some tapas, a bottle of wine, and coffee and each paid 38$ including tax and tip. I am all for restaurant week, but I think unless you’re going to an insanely expensive restaurant to begin with or have been fasting for 6 days, it may not be worth it. I say throw in a glass of wine and I am HAPPY to pay the $35.  Why are we ignoring booze? I mean…what did it ever do to you guys? Except be awesome?

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