Looking for Pants in All the Wrong Places

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BLOG pantsWhy is it so damn hard to find pants? I have a body with the standard number of legs. It’s different than it used to be, but it’s not different from most human beings. I still have a torso! I still have ankles! What happened to pants to make them all so…wrong?

(Please, this is not the time to bring up LuLa Roe. I’m being serious, here.)

I was never a one-brand pants kind of person. That’s why I liked TJ Maxx – you could find 10 different brands, maybe something you wouldn’t have chosen, and one or two would fit. You might end up wearing a pair of “Yuma Zumas” to work, and they might have purple zippers in random places, but they fit, damn you, they FIT.

Now, TJ Maxx’s selection isn’t as diverse, and it looks as if they have their own brands, which don’t impress me. In fact, stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Burlington, and Ross have less selection than mall stores (Gap, J. Crew, Gap… is there anything else in the mall? It’s been awhile) that were wise enough to come up with different cuts & styles. Unless you want a Shakespeare bust, then, by all means, TJ Maxx is your place.

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“You should be bard from wearing those pants.” – Renaissance burn

I have very good luck at consignment stores when the time is right. If someone who is me-shaped has just come in and unloaded their closet, I’m all set. The trick is to make obsessive rounds to the shops in my area. But, I can’t always do that…

Lately, I’ve resorted to online pants-buying. I can shop in the middle of the night if I know I’ll be needing pants three to five days from now. I have to stick with certain styles within brands. I like Ann Taylor’s “Depressive” and Old Navy’s “Shoplifter.”

Even here, I have criteria. I won’t compete for a pair (my final offer is $4.80. It just is.), and I won’t pay outrageous shipping. (My ass is big, but it’s not $6.99 in fabric big. It is “large envelope” at best, thank you!) I also look for ratings, geographic proximity (leggy Texan woman do not share my Midwestern plight), and a reasonable return policy.

So there you have it. If you’ve ever wondered why I always look like Gallagher, now you know.

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Lookin’ gooood!

Now, I was just on my way to get some pants. Wish me luck!!

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Giving Locally

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To my community, thanks for being so awesome XO

In case you were thinking charities seem to be crawling out of the woodwork this month, they are, and they ARE. The reason for the season is the traditional year-end tax deduction: itemize your charitable donation AND benefit a worthy cause in the process. This might change next year, so now is the time!

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I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. 

Naturally, we think of the big outfits: Red Cross, Salvation Army, the medical charities, and children’s foundations. But, if you haven’t chosen a charity and made your year-end donation yet, consider some local alternatives.

Every community has a food pantry*, library, homeless shelter, or other cause that directly impacts you and your neighbors.

 

For the most part, you can visit these places and see your contributions in action… so much better than sending a donation off into the ether, no??

*Little-known food pantry facts: they will accept non-perishable foods up to 1 year past the container’s expiration date AND if you don’t like cans rolling around in your trunk, donations of MONEY actually go further, since they can purchase food at deep discounts from larger food banks.

If you’ve already spent your hay pennies for the year, may I suggest using a service like smile.amazon.com – Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to a charity YOU select. Give while you shop! Survey Monkey donates $0.50 a pop to your favorite charity in exchange for some minor brain-picking. It all adds up!

Here are my local favorites…

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The BIRC – Brain Injury Resource Center of Wisconsin – a lifeline for veterans and all who suffer from the vast and largely invisible effects of traumatic brain injury. Founded by a family who experienced the need for education and resources firsthand. They have a totally cool gift shop in downtown Waukesha featuring handmade items… for the holidays, maybe…?

 

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. – The mother of mketourcommunity cultural awareness. Offers awesome neighborhood and behind-the-scenes tours of some of the city’s treasures including my all-time favorite annual event, Doors Open Milwaukee.

 

 

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Our great big happy T1 family

Sophia’s Promise – an actual Mom & Pop operation supporting families new to Type 1 Diabetes. They are amazing, strong people, absolutely dedicated to making diabetes suck less and eventually disappear. Sophia has met with lawmakers in Washington as a JDRF Youth Ambassador, and will probably rule the world someday.

 

Wherever you decide to spend your dollars, I wish you a very merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year!!

One more picture…

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Please tell me you can buy a John Gurda cut-out.

 

Is It Saturday, Yet?

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It’s Thanksgiving week and there’s a ton of stuff going on. I just found out there’s no school Wednesday, and BTW, will I be bringing a birthday treat tomorrow for 20 kids? Gee, I guess so…

There’s also the holiday cards – notice I didn’t say Christmas, not because our social circle is so culturally diverse, but because there’s no way in Pagan Hades I can mail them out in two weeks –  the baking, the house decorating, and the being-of-good cheer. (Cheer expends about 40% of my energy. It’s why I have to eat constantly. I’m like a bird.)

I will now roll up in a tiny ball and wish it was Small Business Saturday: the day I can get all of my teacher, coach, babysitter, aunt & uncle, mail-carrier, and oops-I-forgot-about gifts in one swoop.

Last year, I shared some of my favorite small businesses right here on this very blog, and I’m about to do it again. I happen to know people…

Cattywampus in Wauwatosa:  No, it’s not the feline version of Krampus, it’s a clean, well-lighted place for inspiration and interesting gifts. Everything is the store is locally-sourced and frink full of charm.

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Cattywampus – o little town of Tosa in the background

Serendipity Re-Design is great if you need a whole-house overhaul.

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Serendipity Re-Design, Janesville Road, Muskego

Or, just go there to see a friendly face. Seriously, they’re really nice people with one-of-a-kind stuff. (There’s a brass longhorn skull on my Christmas list. Just saying…)

 

Cream City Clay just opened in West Allis this year, and I am kvelling! Okay, so you don’t want to buy someone a “thing,” how about a class  at this cool pottery place? I know, right?!They have classes for date nights, girls’ night out, teens, AND if you know someone who’s into pottery, but doesn’t have the space, they offer monthly memberships. (Have you ever tried to gift-wrap a kiln?)

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Doesn’t this look FUN?!?

 

 

 

So don’t despair. Saturday is almost here, and you can visit each one of these happy places. Look for me there! (I’ll be the one with the bald patches.)

What’s your favorite small business? Comment and share with the class!

Here’s my amazon page, for all you biblio-folks.

 

Why (and How) You Should Shop Small This Season

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Only 10 days until the “C Word,” and you need some last minute things.

If you intended to support small, local businesses, this couldn’t be a better time. In fact, you probably KNOW a lot of people in business for themselves. In the last ten years, small businesses accounted for 63% of new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

But that’s boring stuff. Let’s talk about shopping… Continue reading