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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 335: Oh Dear!

Last week I went op-shopping/thrifting. Twice. It had been months since I last did. November. America. At which time I came home with more things than I needed, or that could fit into my wardrobe. But I didn't let that stop me. First I did a local sweep of stores around me and scored two pairs of shoes and about eight clothing items. And then B—— and I went on a Mill Park expedition (conversation filled driving; vanilla slice (sold out! substitute pecan pie) and coffee; Savers at (what used to be more) reasonable prices), and I got two more pairs of shoes and twenty-one items. I could hear my wardrobe groaning from across town. Thrifting, for me, is never hardly ever about need. What makes it so appealing?

List_Addict               Irene

The hunt, the chase. I am not a 'brand' person. But there is something exciting about finding something deemed 'valuable' by its label. More so when the store hasn't realised it either. Many thrift stores or op-shops are clueing into 'labels' and charging higher prices for these items: it's a whole other debate about the benefit of additional money for charities against the disenchantment of the customer. I was excited this trip that the staff hadn't yet realised the value of eighties revivalist items: they were still awesomely priced.

The individuality. People I see and admire in the street are often wearing something unusual. A detail, a cut, a fabric that I have never seen before. I can't find that in stores. In stores everything looks the same. It stifles your creativity. There is always debate in the blogosphere about age-appropriate dressing—see this amazing post over at Suzanne Carillo Style Files, and the subsequent comments for some opinion about this. It is what got me thinking about today's post. For me thrifting takes away the associations clothing has to a certain style or age. It allows garments to be themselves and it allows you to reinvent what you can do with them. Thrifted clothes lose the judgements that retail throws on them. I'm not sure I am explaining this well, but thrifters know what I mean.

The value. This is detrimental to the times when, for some reason, you do need to go Retail, and suddenly realise how incredibly expensive Retail is. I bought twenty three items last Saturday including two hardly-ever-worn pairs of shoes, a velvet dress and a wool and merino, loomed in Italy, made in Melbourne (when they used to do that sort of thing) winter coat for $216. That's an average of $9.39 an item. The only advantage of retail—and this is dubious—is time. There is a perception (or is it just me) that when you need something—let's say a dress for a wedding barbeque—you are more likely to find it quicker if you go retail. The expectation that you will be able to find something proves more frustratingly elusive than the unreliability of thrifting. There is really no reason—besides for under-things, tights and essentials like plain t-shirts and singlets—to go anywhere but thrifting! Retail isn't worth the time or money.

The sustainability, the morality. Cost is one thing. You could possibly get something on one of the mass producing sites like Choies or SheInside for similar prices to thrifting, but the quality and the quirk is not there. And then there is the ideology of mass production in labor-abusive places. There is an awful lot wrong with the speeded-up carousel of 'what's trending', with over-consumerism, with the effects of production and waste. Thrifting is the answer. Of course there still have to be the 'morally corrupt' who purchase quality items retail and then send them to op-shops for me to peruse. But I am willing to be less judgemental if it benefits my feel-good buying.

The Outfit
My Woke-Up-Too-Late-To-Dress-Well, Afternoon-Movie-Date with B—— Outfit
Top: Retail (had too long to recall where); my travel go-to pjs/top to wear when I am washing everything else
Cardigan: Op-shopped and since Cleared
Skirt: Op-shopped
Bag: Gifted, Fossil
Shoes: Teva


Photographer de Jour: B——


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And What She Wears with: Dawnelle from Just Dawnelle Brandi from Run Style Run Jalynn from The Red Closet Diary Rebecca from Mommy in Heels Meagan from Because of Jackie

Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 304: You're Starting to Feel Very Sleepy

Caution: Seemingly angry woman writing ahead! Take with generous amount of salt.

One of the forty-six things I want to get done this year, between birthdays, is get hypnotised in order to lose weight. Ah, yes, loosing weight: that most useful of life pursuits! Anyway, I had come across hurdles and impasses—mainly due to an extreme dislike of attending doctor's surgeries, even for the purpose of a referral and especially because, in order to get one, the one charlatan sleazoid I did see advised I would have to go on a mental health plan. Don't even get me started on patriarchal medicinal control of women, misdiagnoses of hysteria based on gender, or the warped nature of body image! But I did, with the help of the boy, locate a non-referral hypnotherapist and so far have attended three of six sessions designed to make me forget biscuits, change my lifestyle forever and loose weight. Can I say, I want to believe, but I'm skeptical. Here's what's going through my head:

One: I thought I was suggestible. I love advertising and images, and I am suckered into them. Always. 'Ooh, new marshmallow sweets, have to buy them next time I am at the shops.' I thought this would make me a good hypnotherapy candidate, but my damn conscious mind gets to work as soon L——, my therapist, starts doing her thing. It's a little monologue going something like this: 'I'm still awake; I can hear all this; You are supposed to hear it, it's not sleeping; Stop talking and listen; I can't see the things she is asking me to visualise; Oh this is a crock; Who just walked past; Sorry, what? What am I supposed to be doing again'. My conscious not allowing my subconscious to take every thing in. The thing about the subconscious is I'll never know if that is the case—except by my actions—and my actions aren't exactly screaming 'changed woman, not even fazed if you have a crate of biscuits in front of me'.

List_Addict               Irene

Two: She's a hypnotherapist, not a dietician. I know what I should and shouldn't eat. I also have my own ideas about what I do and don't consider good and bad foods. For example, I would rather have four percent fat in my milk than hyper-processed and sugar-increased 'altered' or 'alternative' milks such as skinny, soy or almond—given I don't use a lot of milk anyway. I didn't go this hypno track because I don't know what to do; I went because I don't want to do it. I don't want to lose weight, I want to want to lose weight. Subtle difference. I tried explaining that to L——, she came back with: 'You can choose one of two paths, you can eat things that are good for your body and make you healthy, or you can eat things that are bad for you'. Umm yeah, but one of those paths tastes better and is easier to do when shopping is a chore from hell.

Three: Why do I need to cut so much coffee out of my life? I already took away all the other comfort foods, can't this stay? I'm slowly reducing the sugar levels. This is the only thing keeping me sane. The first week I was good. The second I felt hard done by. Now I feel denied. Denial is always my undoing. L—— says she is helping to remove things that promote emotional eating. I maintain I have had a blessed life with no major traumas—I don't know where my emotional eating comes from. But, if anything, I feel like this process is making me angrier than I was before I started. And I think it comes down to two 'd' words denial and disappointment. I am disappointed because I feel denied. My want for what I can't have is greater than my want to not have it.

I sound negative. But I want this to work. I was nervous on the first day I went because I thought I would walk out of there never inclined to eat anything sweet again and there would be something missing from my life. Now I wish that had actually happened. This is still too much on my own shoulders. I know. You are all going to say that is just how it works, that everything is always on our own shoulders. God dammit! I'm tired of being responsible for myself. Of course, if someone tries to take control of me, they soon see the unrelinquishability of my personal responsibility. But that's different. Tell me, how do you get yourself to want to want to do something? If your answer looks like it could be put with a nice picture on Pinterest, do that, but please don't tell me because emotional and heartfelt inspiration is just not going to cut it for me today. I want measurable, concrete, scientific, implementable ideas. I want out of my head. I wish hypnotism worked.


The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go navy blue vest. Thanks for the travels but I don't think I am really a vest kind of girl.
Top: Op-shopped
Vest: Op-shopped
Jeans: Target
Necklace and Bracelets: Assorted Junk Jewellery Outlets
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Whoopi'


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 333: INFP (Dreamer; Healer; Fluff-Bucket)

I may not be the easiest person to go on holiday with. Personally I think that most other people are not easy to go on holiday with, or be in a room with, or on a planet. Often, when the issue seems to be everybody else, in actuality it is most likely to be you. I may, in fact, be the most incomprehensible, difficult and complex person to be around since Lollii. I've told you this before: I need isolation. When I worked for a ra-ra-ra company that liked to incentivise its employees with analyses of their personality types and comparisons of their selling goals to climbing Mt Everest after losing two feet and a nostril, we did a session on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Exploring the first aspect of personality on this test (introvert versus extrovert) they divided the room into intros and extros and got each to come up with a list of the traits they believed differentiated the other group. Surprise: I was on the introvert side of the room. They called us shy, quiet, indecisive, reclusive and weak. We believed they were brash, bullying, loud, annoying and bombastic. But the facilitator gave a different explanation. Extroverts, he said, work with action, breadth of knowledge and frequent interaction with people: they get their energy from being around people. Introverts, however, work on thought, depth of knowledge and quality interaction with people: they get their energy by being alone. My reading: people drain us of our energy; isolation replenishes it. (Reference: *eek* Wikipedia)

Irene               List_Addict

There is not a lot of isolation to be had on a three week holiday with a nearest and dearest. I did quite well this trip. Yes there were tense moments. Okay, there were some irrational moments too. Some angry moments. Some 'don't talk to me right now' moments. What? Other people are hard work. They say things. And do them. And they leave things lying around. But three weeks is good. Three weeks, no major breakdown: excellent. Well, except for the last day. This day. When I did something I have never done in my almost five year long relationship with the boy—we had a shouting match in public.


The morning started fabulously with excessive amounts of pancake for our last American indulgence. A stack is already enormous, but the server also brought a complimentary hot, sticky pumpkin loaf with oodles of butter. And then we headed out to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Because he watches You-Tube videos of them, searching the 'scariest' and 'craziest' and 'highest', I got the feeling that, despite nervousness, the boy actually wanted to be there, doing this. But we walked around for ages and didn't go on a single ride. I started getting antsy. Our time was limited. We started to discuss. He told me he wasn't really keen, didn't like the idea. And then he made the fatal error of saying the following sentence: I'm doing this for you. It is one of those key sentences that highlight the incompatability of males and females and the reasons why, in the old day, all the gals hung together and gathered, and all the boys went off and testosteroned. Let me give you boys some advice. If you don't want to do something, say so. We so often make all the decisions bececause you guys are indecisive, you so often let us because you think it keeps the peace. But, if you go that way, if you choose 'peace' over your own personal truth, then choose that silently and never, ever, try to make it seem like you are the good guy, the martyr, the giver. You'll just p@** us off! Decisions take time and thought and effort. And even though you may not remember (possibly because you weren't really listening), you were consulted for your opinion, and you gave it. Stick to it!

Whoo. I didn't realise that was in there. Like a clearing shower though, a nice yelling session in public got us into queues and on rides and the rest of the day was lovingly spent hanging upside down at speed. But I was done. Crankiness settled in and stayed for the whole flight home. Even on the sky couch. In a couple of months time we are heading off for another holiday: walking through the UK countryside. We are going for five weeks. Wish V—— luck!

Clockwise from left: Six Flags Magic Mountain—a for-example; What thinking 'I should have said something earlier' looks like; Goodbye American food

The Outfit
Dress: Retail, Can't recall where
Jacket: Thrifted, Las Vegas, Nevada
Shoes: Op-shopped (yes, I am venturing in that direction! Eek!)


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 303: Have I Seen the Light?

Sometimes I think there is no such thing as fate. We are responsible for what actions we take, and when random stuff happens there is no meaning behind it, you just deal with it. Other times it is like something out there is trying to hit you around the head with a cricket bat because you are not listening to the signs. This Saturday just gone was a day of the latter. It went roughly like this: four hours sleep; angry because there is a dog on my head who doesn't understand it is not getting-up time yet; get up and take the dog for a walk; try to sleep more; no luck; V—— arrives to take me out to look at houses [Aside: I need space; it's time. I will either get a house myself, or there is the option for V—— and I to co-purchase, but if we go that way it needs to be a house which has a separate section where I can hide away like a recluse when I need to. Sometimes I need to, and the more time goes on, the more I need to. The initial idea to buy was mine. V—— has sort of slipped/fallen/been pulled into the whole thing. He wanted to look at places in order to try and understand what it would mean. Remember this. No house we looked at today was ever going to be a house we considered buying. It's too early. But I was excited—the things you can visulaise are the things you can strive towards.] Day continued: tension builds and builds in the car as we head to the hills; an unsubstantial level of irrationality enters discussions; GPS picks anxiety-producing routes; look at house; some raised voices and arguing; lots of tears; get home and find that one or other of the dogs has weasled around, broken into, and eaten what they think is twenty-four sweeties, but is actually what the rest of us know of as twenty-four Advil. Ring the vet and they gave me two options, bring them in here for fluids and overnight stay, or take them to Emergency Care. I took them to the Vet. The vet told me to go to Emergency Care.

List_Addict & Co.         Irene

To get to the important bit first, it is now five days later and they are both back home. We can probably be assured that there was one culprit and one witness, but without words, without a test to say one way or the other, they both had to be treated as if they had eaten them all. Darby's last tests on his kidneys show some damage, with higher levels of kidney-badness (tech term) than he should have, but they seem functional, and he is as naughty and silly as ever. Lollii is perfectly fine despite having to endure everything for nothing. So the queston is, why does this course of events seem more like a sign and less like the random nature of randomness? To me, it is like the 'Universe' was goading me into comparisons. You think that because V—— is unsure and nervous about this commitment you are proposing, that is okay to cry; try this—your dogs may seem perfectly fine and then drop down dead in four days (that was my interpretation of what the vet said). That is something to cry about, isn't it? Or, you can't wait for V—— to get a deposit together because you need this change NOW. Well let's just set your deposit back nearly four grand then. You won't be in such a hurry then will you? Can you see where the idea of cosmic intervention is coming into my head from? But maybe what it all really comes down to is emotion. Because in the clarity that comes with your beloved fur-babies being home and safe, the idea that it was all just coincidence with consequences that need to be dealt with becomes feasible again. I might not run to an exterior entity just yet.


The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go lightweight, comfy blue cardigan that just looks strange at the front
Top: Op-shopped
Cardigan: Op-shopped
Pants: Op-shopped, Boyfriend style?
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'French Villa'


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Who Wore It Better?



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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day 332: Everything's Bigger in the USA

There was a resigned feeling in the car, driving back into Vegas, refueling, preparing to leave our vehicle of the last two weeks—a new friend. Feeling decidedly unwell the evening before I had still managed to roll, squash and manipulate all of my op-shopped/thrifted items into my and V——'s suitcases. I will 'wear' my 'fur' coat home, and it's lucky that my other 'fur' coat was left behind and was being shipped home in its own box. Nothing, not even something 'wafer-thin', can be added before the cases implode and, due to their massive compact wight, turn into the first researchable incidents of black holes on the earth's surface. We handed over the keys to the Nissan, wheeled the black holes into the terminal, and joined the world's longest car-hire queues to pick up our one-way, one day, car to take us back to California. Don't people have better things to do on Thanksgiving than queue up?

List_Addict               Irene

Do you think an accent makes you sound friendlier? Maybe we just tried harder to be friendlier to the obviously over-worked and under-turkey-and-pumpkin-pie-d staff, because our man was lovely. When we asked if we could get a GPS, thinking we would get a Samsung Siri look-alike again. He said: I'll upgrade you to a little SUV, a Chevy Traverse, and that will have a GPS in it. Thanks so much. We were supposed to get a Ford Ka or something equally tiny; we were completely unaware of what a Chevy Traverse looked like. If that's a 'little SUV', what constitutes a large one? The thing was gigantic!


Our drive back to LA went via Death Valley. Even though I personally think it is Melbourne, Death Valley is actually the hottest place on Earth. 'Currently', says Wikipedia. Meaning Melbourne is shortly to take over as El Nino moves back into the area. That is, in my own meteorological opinion. Although, the hottest place would actually have to be Adelaide. The only way someone could get me to live in Adelaide would be incarceration. I'm glad we went to Death Valley in November. Although it did mean that we arrived only a little bit before the ridiculous sun-setting time of four-thirty. After all that driving—5703.4 kilometers in fact—the sublime becomes almost unseeable. Instead of being able to absord amazing vistas, the minutiae becomes the only thing perceptible—oh look, we're a hundred meters below sea level rather than oh look, we're in a vast hot salt plane surrounded by mountains of magnificence; oh look, someone has managed to drive their car over that cliff instead of oh look at that cliff! It was the long way around, but it was worth it. We got to LA about eight, eight-thirty. While car hire companies maybe over-run with people Thanksgiving morning, on Thanksgiving night nothing happens—including restaurants opening. In V——'s list of dinners for this night, his reads 'ice-cream' and mine reads 'coffee'. It is, a short time tommorrow notwithstanding, the end of the holiday. I have to remember that holidays would not be special if they did not end, but sadness lingers anyway.

Clockwise from top left: At least I got a photo of some of the magnificence of Death Valley; Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear; A little suv; The sun sets on our holiday

The Outfit
Dress: Retail, too old to remember which though
Jacket: Consigned(?), is that the right word for something bought at a consignment store? Santa Fe, New Mexico
Earrings: Junk Jewellery store somewhere
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Abigail's Party'


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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