And this is why I should never (by never I mean ALWAYS) go shopping with my mother

I have to buy a new car. Gil and I are planning to move to Colorado this summer, and I have to have a car that can handle the snow – I don’t think my Hyundai Veloster is going to hack it.

I started thinking about this last year and narrowed it down to 2 different cars. One was practical and had an amazing safety rating. And the other got about half the gas mileage and was apparently discontinued this year because they would have had to overhaul it for “regulatory reasons” involving safety and they decided it wasn’t worth it. Too bad – it came in bright yellow and would have been wonderfully obnoxious.

On the plus side, it helped narrow down my choice. I’d already test driven the non-deathtrap one, knew I loved it, and a few weeks ago made the mental decision I was going to buy it before spring. But before I could really pull the trigger, I had to make sure Gil would be comfortable in it since I make him drive a lot. Like when the roads are windy. Or it’s dark. Or raining a lot. Or there is red wine.

So I dragged him to the dealership on a Saturday and made him sit in it and then test drive it. The only acceptable answer when your partner has decided something already and is just looking for your seal of approval is obviously “I love it!” Unless of course it’s so uncomfortable it’s pinching nerves or something. I’m not sure Gil ever actually got that memo. He said that of all the crossover-type SUV’s, this was the “least hideous” and he had enough room for his 6’3″ frame, so I’m gonna choose to hear that as “I love it!” Side note: I bought my tiny Hyundai almost exactly a year before I met Gil – the fact he’s been bending himself into a pretzel for the past few years has always made me feel a little guilty, so I’m really happy to be upgrading to something with more space.

While we were on the lot, the guy was talking about the different trim levels, as sales guys do, and we were walking through what was important to me. I think you should probably know that I’ve been working in sales for a decade, and yet I am still the EASIEST person in the world to upsell. I can’t explain it. (Actually I think I CAN, but it’s probably got something to do with endorphins and a shopping addiction, and I figure it’s best not to pull at that thread.)

But apparently these guys don’t actually work on commission at this dealer group, so he was super low-pressure. Actually recommended I not get the highest trim level, since the biggest difference is leather upholstery and heated seats and I said those weren’t important to me.

Until I got home and launched into what is one of my greatest gifts – rationalizing spending more money. I do this on vacations too, but basically the thinking goes “If I’m going to be spending ‘X’ (X being a significant amount of money) on this, it really makes sense to just spend 10-20% more to get what I REALLY want instead of just settling. It would be irresponsible to spend that kind of money and not fully enjoy it.” I mean, I’m pretty persuasive. I can pretty much upsell myself – the sales guys don’t even have to work me over.

I called my mom that night, and she knew we had been looking at cars that day. First thing out of her mouth when she answered the phone: “Well, how’s the new car?” SHE GETS ME. I told her I just had to make a final decision about important things like heated seats, and she reminded me that my wimpy California ass will not be used to cold weather and it was definitely worth thinking about.

So I started dreaming about heated leather seats in the snowy tundra of Colorado and all of sudden I had sold myself into the highest trim level. Gil happened to hear snippets of my internal sales pitch to myself later that night, followed by my announcement that I was going to go back the next day and buy the damn thing. He suggested I wait a week before making any rash decisions. Because according to him, I make impulsive decisions when it comes to shopping.

“Excuse me??” I practically squawked at him. “You may not realize it, but I NEVER make impulsive decisions. I internalize my thought process and research and mull it over for quite awhile. Only once I’ve gone through that whole process do I reach a PRACTICAL decision. And I just happen to be someone who acts very quickly once a decision has been made.” It was a beautiful monologue, full of passion and conviction. I mean, that’s how I heard it. I was totally convinced by the time I was done with myself. He basically just rolled his eyes and walked away.

I was fully prepared to ignore that kind of crazy talk, but that week as I was running errands and dreaming about my car, I called my mom to see if she wanted to go to Bed Bath & Beyond with me since there were a few things I needed. OK, see, so the thing is…. the “beyond” part of Bed Bath & Beyond is actually kind of amazing these days. There is stuff that you didn’t even realize you NEEDED until you actually see it. It’s more dangerous than Target.

We’re working our way around the store, and I’m finding gems like full fur throw pillows that would actually tie in really well with the blanket I just bought. And Gil and I are always fighting over the 3 tiny pillows on our massive couch, so really those pillows would be practical AND benefit our relationship. My mom totally agreed. I had the self-restraint not to buy any (very reasonably priced) wall art that we have no room for in our condo so if anything, Gil should be impressed with my lack of impulse purchasing. If I gave into all the impulses I actually have, I’d have to get another storage unit.

Gil keeps telling me to stop buying things and bringing them into the house since we’re going to have to pack and move all this shit in the near future. Pfffft. I have a system for that. I just leave my purchases at my parents’ house and then have them give them to me as “gifts” for different holidays. No way he can tell me I can’t accept a gift FROM MY PARENTS without looking like a total ass. My parents are seriously the best. Also, I think there is a chance Gil might figure out my brilliant plan now.

So anyway, back to BB&B. We were making our final lap around the store when I saw it. A plastic toy with the words “HUNGRY BEAR” across the box – inside was a (duh) hungry bear with a huge open mouth, see-through belly and big pink dangling tongue. With an air gun to shoot yellow balls in its mouth. And it made noise. And it was on clearance. Plus my mom reminded me I had a 20% off coupon. It would have been irresponsible NOT to jump on something like that. I mean, Gil’s really had a stressful year, and I figured this might bring out the child in him and make him laugh a little. Basically, if I didn’t buy it, I’d be a bad girlfriend and I just couldn’t live with that. So into the cart it went.

hungry bear

hungry bear in action

As we were walking to the check out counter, I looked down at my cart. Full of fur pillows and a giant brown bear with a gun. And I thought…. maybe Gil has a point.

But then my mom reminded me I should spend my money however I want and I snapped right out of it and marched right to the register.

Basically the moral of the story is that I should always take my mom with me when I go shopping. When I head to the car dealership and have to make the final decision to sign on the dotted line, she’s the one I’m bringing with me.

I’m In A Relationship With A Ninja… It’s Serious

When I tell you I’m in a serious relationship with a Ninja, I hope you’re picturing exactly what I’m picturing… a stealthy, pajama clad warrior wearing all black doing flips around my condo. I actually don’t think Gil would stand for that. And I’m pretty sure shotgun > nunchucks. No, this Ninja came in a box from Amazon, which is where I do basically all my shopping now (I love you Amazon Prime).

I recently bought a Nutri Ninja Pro, specifically so that I could make smoothies in smoothie blender travel cups that I could take in the car on the way to work. All because I read an article somewhere about all these very professional women who were more successful than me, talking about their morning routines. Hey, if I can’t have their careers, I can at least have their goddamn breakfast and their secrets to 5 minute makeup!

I’m sure there was some sage career advice sprinkled in there, but the article was mainly focused on the awesome ways they started their awesome days. I skipped through any of them that advocated starting your day before 6 AM, because they must be monsters. Pass.

So the main takeaway I was left with was one of them commenting that she starts her day with a green smoothie. That way, if she gets too busy for lunch and doesn’t get enough vegetables in that day, she knows she at least started the day with some greens and that’s an accomplishment no matter how the rest of her day goes.

Well first of all, I’m pretty sure I can always find time for lunch. If you’re one of those people who says they just “forgot” to eat, I’m pretty sure we can’t be friends. Second of all, if I don’t get all my veggies in for the day, it’s not because I was too busy… unless you count ordering pizza and having a Netflix marathon as being too busy. In which case, yes I actually was too busy.

Either way, it stuck with me. So I did the only logical thing I could do, which was go on Amazon, read a total of 2 reviews and promptly buy myself a new toy. BEST TOY EVER. Actually, that’s a lie – I’ve bought better electric toys on Amazon… but we can talk about that later.

This one ranks up there though, and it’s almost as good a mood booster as the other one.

And it really is true… I start my day feeling like I made a healthy choice, and not to sound gross and preachy, but it DOES wind up motivating me to make more healthy choices throughout the day. Plus I feel better about the chocolate I inhale about 2 hours after lunch (I said MORE healthy choices, not ALL healthy choices).

Incidentally, it is also very convenient for making milkshakes, as I discovered when Gil was recovering from some nasty dental work recently.

Gil isn’t as jealous as if it were a real Ninja man I was obsessed with, but I can tell he’s tired of hearing about it. He told me the other day I should give up the tech sales racket and start selling Ninjas. When I paused to think about it he just sighed and walked away.

Behold, my new Ninja boyfriend:

ninja4

ninja1

ninja5

I have high hopes that my new Ninja boyfriend and I will work out. I’ve had similar relationships in the past, but I don’t think I was ready to commit.

That time with the juicer was just a fling… I saw a friend with hers and just got jealous, so went out and picked up the first one I could find. I didn’t think it through. And now it sits alone in my kitchen, taking up valuable counter space because it’s too big for the cabinet and part of me believes if I keep staring at it every day, I’ll finally feel guilty enough to rekindle what we started.

The truth is it will probably wind up at my parents’ house like the very expensive treadmill I bought 6 years ago when I was living at home. The best workout I ever got from that thing was helping my dad lug it up the stairs and holding all the parts in place to put it together. It’s in that room forever now. When they move, they’re going to have to sell it with the house.

But that was 6 years ago. I’m older now, and wiser. I make better decisions.

Actually, that’s probably only true when it comes to actual men. I’m still an impulse buyer everywhere else. I still jump in too fast sometimes and have a hard time making it last. I’m on Realtor.com right now looking for houses with more storage. Thank god they don’t sell homes on Amazon or we might really have a problem.

Every Body Is Worth Shopping For

I keep buying THINGS. Mostly clothes and shoes. Oh, and makeup.  I think it might be developing into an actual problem. I told my boyfriend last night I was going to return yet another pair of boots that didn’t quite fit, and that I was really going to try to cut down on all my online shopping in order to start saving more. Because you know, taxes. And down payments. And other boring adult things.

And yet I JUST bought a bunch of clothes online. As in, 30 seconds after I hit “purchase” I started writing this. I mean really though, it was buy one get one half off so it almost would have been irresponsible NOT to buy them now, right?? This is the warped logic I can use to convince myself of just about anything. I work in sales and I like to think of myself as a fairly persuasive person. But when it comes to myself, that shit is dangerous.

I know I need to cut back a little, but clicking and spending and buying is so much FUN. It is, you can’t deny it.

But I’m running out of room for all the things. You see, when my boyfriend moved in he got zero hanging closet space – just a consignment nightstand with 2 drawers I shoved in the back corner. That’s it. I kept the rest of the space, and even then, my stuff was overflowing.

So for the sake of our relationship, I’ve been forced to purge my closet at least twice since he moved in. As in, 4 or 5 garbage bags worth of clothes to donate to Goodwill. Not counting shoes. Seriously, I had so many clothes I needed to get rid of.

But that’s the thing when you have fluctuated in size from a 12 to a 22 in the span of about 5 years. You hold on to all those size 12’s because, come on. They are so cute. And so small. And it wasn’t THAT long ago that you fit into them.

On top of which,  you spent good money on them, and someday they’re TOTALLY going to fit again and it would just be a waste of money to re-buy everything. They’re sexy. And inspirational… and such a tease… and actually kind of soul-crushing when you start to think about it too hard and hold them up and realize that isn’t you anymore.

So you purge. But purging your skinny clothes is hard. It feels like defeat in so many ways. It feels like admitting you’re in this fat body for the long haul, and don’t believe you’ll ever get back to that size. It makes you feel so crappy about yourself that you want to sit down and eat a whole bag of Goldfish. Or is that just me?

Anyway, I purged. I said goodbye, because you know what? It was time. And I needed the closet space. And not just so my boyfriend wouldn’t have to store his clothes in the trunk of his car. But because I finally decided in the last year or so to really start shopping for my current body, and to start dressing it in things I actually liked.

I’ve always been a person who loved fashion and took a lot of care in the way I dressed, whether it was silver platform sneakers and matching metallic jacket, or the perfect maxi dress and beaded necklace. But something happened when I got to a size I didn’t like. I stopped shopping. So I literally had nothing to wear, since nothing in my closet fit me anymore.

hanging clothes

I relegated myself to yoga pants and baggy tops pretty much every day. I didn’t go out and supplement my wardrobe, didn’t get different sizes in the styles I actually liked. I had this warped idea that I should not be spending money on THIS BODY. That THIS BODY wasn’t worth anything, financially or otherwise.

That somehow, I’d magically lose the weight and be back in a body that was worthy of love, and worthy of fashion. And in the meantime, I would dress my ugly, frumpy body in ugly, frumpy clothes. And stare at my size 12 jeans and halter tops while I wept into a bowl of ice cream. (The reduced fat kind, because you know, that’s healthier.)

I almost felt like if I punished myself hard enough for being in this fat body, I might somehow shame myself into changing it. Turns out, that’s not how it works. It just starts to feel hopeless. You start to value yourself less every day.

But at some point last year, something clicked. Some part of my brain recognized I am still beautiful, that this is not the final destination on my journey, and that I deserve to decorate, celebrate and otherwise embrace myself as I am right now. Size 2, size 12 or size 22.

Part of that probably has to do with the fact that I was in a great place in my life – good job, great friends and family, and the most supportive boyfriend on the planet. I have to give Gil a lot of credit for helping me learn to love and accept myself again because he’s played a big role in it. And honestly, he still loves my body more than I do, but I’m working on it.

So I shopped. I clicked. I bought. And I remembered how fun it could be. Especially since there are a lot more plus size options available today than there were a few years ago. I filled my closet with leopard-print tops, black leggings, wide calf boots, bold print maxis, V-neck tees, fitted blazers, and SO MANY STATEMENT NECKLACES.

It didn’t feel like defeat – it felt amazing.

And then a weird thing happened. Over time, I started to like how I looked a little more. I started to feel a little better. I started to want to celebrate my body in other ways, like trying yoga for the first time. I mean obviously I’ll have to go shopping for some yoga outfits first, but I’m on the right path.

Turns out my incessant shopping has actually been an important step in the right direction for me. At that’s exactly what I’ll remind Gil every time a new package shows up at our front door.