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How to survive shopping at Forever 21

 

The loud music and smell of cheap perfume, the feelings of irritation and insecurity; it  reminds me of my 20s. But wait. This isn’t MY 20s. It’s my daughter’s TEEN years, and it’s when I go shopping with her at Forever 21.

The shop is HUGE. The florescent lights and loud music don’t create any kind of harmonious atmosphere. If anything, it creates an ambiance of ‘I want to get the hell out of here’ atmosphere.  The clothing is shoved onto overcrowded metal rounders. Mediocre craftsmanship at best. Probably some poor Asian sweat shop stitched them together. The clothing is sometimes ripped or shredded. And that’s on purpose.

You ask, if I hate it so much, why go? Well, because she doesn’t fit into Gymboree clothes anymore, and the last time I tried to coordinate her tights with her headband, she was still growing in her front teeth.

Now we are in full blown teen years. So we like to be cool and on trend (to a point). And that means, shopping where the cool kids shop. Well, cool kids on a budget. Because the other place they shop is Lululemon and Nordstrom, and ain’t nobody got time for that- or money really. So this is the best we can do.

If you have to navigate such a store as Forever 21 with your teen, tween, or even 20 something offspring- here’s my advice:

 

1. Bring wine. Really. This will help you induce the coping mechanisms that need to be in place when shopping with a teen anyway. The music is so loud you might as well start numbing your senses with alcohol.

2. Bring a chair. That’s right. Just a camping chair will do. You might get some funny looks, but then other parents will see what a genius you are. There isn’t a single sitting surface in this store. It’s 2000 square feet of crammed racks of cheap ass clothes, and not one bench. What if old people are shopping with their grand kids? Seriously, you will want to sit down while it takes an hour for your child to wander through all the merchandise. But you can’t. So bring a chair.

3. Bring earplugs. See #1.

4. Wear comfortable shoes. If you forget your chair to sit on, at least wear comfortable shoes. This will help when standing in that horrific line that weaves throughout bins of $2 nail polish and neon vinyl cosmetic pouches.

5. If your daughter is taking too long to decide on which mullet skirt she’ll look cute in, start trying on hats and jewelry in the accessories section. Just pile them on and speak in a loud voice. It won’t be long for your daughter to send you out of the store and want to get the hell out of there for sheer embarrassment.

6. Be sure to have your daughter try on the clothes before buying them. It’s an exchange only policy. So you’ll have to come BACK to the store and shop for more things instead of just getting your money back if it ends up not fitting. Do it right the first time. Trust me.

7. Sometimes there’s a line for the dressing room, and there’s definitely no little chairs or benches like at Ann Taylor Loft. So refer to #2 and get out that chair while you wait.

8. In all seriousness, find someone with a driver’s license that you trust your child in the care of and send them along with lots of cash. Tell them you have a migraine.  And just stay home while they go instead.

9. Drink more wine.

10. Hope and pray that there’s a  CEO out there that some day, will come up with a store that girls will WANT to shop in and it’s affordable, pleasant, and mimosas are served on trays for the moms, with plenty of seating and comfy couches. I will buy stock in that utopia if it ever exists.

God speed moms everywhere.

 

 

How to be nice on the internet. A primer.

I love the internet. I do. I have friends on the internet that I like better than some people I see on a regular basis in real life. I mean, the internet IS real life.

It reports the news, keeps us up to date socially, drives commerce. You can buy Winnie the Pooh slankets on the internet, or chia seeds in bulk. You can watch porn in the privacy of your own home. You can attend AA meetings and prayer groups.

But the internet is also a nasty, vile place. Like a dark back alley in Singapore, it’s rank, rude, and you might need a Hep C shot.

The phrase, “it’s not what you say, but how you say it” needs to be invoked more often. We need to remember that a keyboard isn’t a mask of anonymity. You need to say on the internet what you would say to someone in person.

I’ve noticed some very poor behavior. Whether it’s on Facebook comments or blog comments. And I’m sure the people are somewhat decent, they have just forgotten all human kindness when it comes to interacting with people on the web.

That’s right, people. We are all people. The people that write blogs, administer Facebook pages, write Tweets; we are human beings. Not cyber bots that just put this stuff out there for you. Oh, and we aren’t getting paid that much to do it either.

Join me in my classroom on how to be nice on the internet. It will be fun, I promise. And possibly, a little passive aggressive.

Examples:

Status on Facebook- “My husband forgot to use soap when he bathed our kids. Sorry if they look greasy.”

Nasty internet response- “Soap is evil, you’re a dumbfuck parent for even using the stuff. It’s horrible for the skin. What kind of monster are you? I feel sorry for your kids. :) ”  (Yes, that’s a smiley face, passive aggressive emoticon. We’ve all seen them.)

Say this instead- “LOL! Soap is for hobos in a shelter. Or jocks in a locker room. Who needs soap?”

Facebook status- “I just want to let you know about this new book I contributed in. Hope you order it on Amazon.”

Nasty internet response- “I don’t like braggy statuses so I’m just going to unlike your page. Who needs to know about your book anyway?”

Better internet response- “I’m selling vacuums through this website. If you want a flat stomach order here, www.drozwantsyoutopoop.com”

My favorite kind of parenting argument- Facebook status- “I’ve finally sleep trained my 9 month old. What a blessing to get to sleep through the night and fully function during the day for my family.”

Nasty internet response – “Sleep training is the devil’s work. You need to be at your child’s side at all times. Even wolf cubs take better care of their babies than you do.”

What you should say- “I love trains. Breakfast trains, dinner trains, sleep trains. All trains are awesome.”

Do you see my point? When you want to say something mean, just say something nice but still on topic. This way, you can get your point across without ruffling any feathers. And don’t just use one smiley face emoticon. There’s so many others you can use; penguins, sharks, hearts. Be creative!

Actually, I admit, my suggested responses are ridiculous. But isn’t banging someone over the head with your opinions a little ridiculous too? Have you ever won an argument by calling the person stupid, or telling them they are what’s wrong with the world? Hmm.. I doubt it. If you like to start arguments on the internet, you’re what is called a troll. And trolls have excessive body hair and live under bridges and talk to goats. If this describes you, then I suppose you wouldn’t know better than to type horrible, spiteful words. You probably need a hug. And a cookie.

If you are trying to persuade someone, it’s best to not insult them. I have found this works beautifully.

So carry on. Off you go. Just be nice.

This concludes Mrs. Frugies classroom. Come next week when I share tips on how to trim your cats matted belly hair with the kitchen shears.

 

PMS Haul- Video

For any of you not familiar with the YouTube lingo, a haul is when people go shopping and show their viewers what they bought.

Well, here’s a ‘haul’ video I made for you. It’s not make up and fashion- trust me.

The four phases of a woman’s ‘cycle’

 

 

 

 

 

My fear is that this isn’t just PMS- it’s my personality.

 

I’d like a side of herpes to go with that lipstick please.

EWW GROSS!  I jest. But lately, I think that’s what people are doing. Spreading their oral herpes liberally via makeup at the store.  This has to stop people.

This week has been riddled with bringing things home from the store only to find that they have been…. dun dun dun…… USED!!!

People!  What is wrong with you? Don’t you know that you don’t use the lipsticks on the shelf if they aren’t testers? I don’t want your Abreva medicine on MY lipstick tube.

Case 1- Went to Walgreens because I found on Pinterest a gal that posts low end brands identical to high end brands. Being the makeup whore that I am, I wanted to check out a few. So I’m perusing the shelves of Cover Girl, Revlon and L’Oreal. Not that I would call this stuff ‘low end’ any more. They’re charging $10 for a lipstick now! Geeze, I remember when I bought a Clinique lipstick for $10.

Well, I just went through looking for the colors on my list, dropped them in my basket and checked out.

I get in my car, like any junkie does, and begin to open up my purchase to check out the loot. Apparently, I didn’t have much to check out, first tube I open, I notice the seal has been broken. Dammit. Total brain fart maneuver for me not to have checked this in the store first. I proceed with caution. I know the herpes isn’t going to jump from the tube to my lips, but I’ve now begun conducting my own CSI investigation. Gloves on, black light out…. I notice…. the surface of the lipstick has been touched by human flesh. Double dammit.

Moving on to the next tube. Yep, same thing there.

Three items that I bought were contaminated. I went inside to check the shelf and the remaining products were also tampered with. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?? I pointed out to the Walgreens lady and she said that she’s tired of telling people to stop using the stuff because they get mad at her. Sounds like a fun job. Working at Walgreens AND getting stink eye looks from people tampering with merchandise.

Whatever happened to, ‘you mess it you buy it’? Although, I have knocked over 3 bottles of olive oil in the middle of Cost Plus World Market, and the mess that ensued was disastrous. How I’m even allowed in those stores at all is amazing.  I was relieved they didn’t hold me to the rule, “you break it, you buy it” during that incident.

Back to my infected product rant- later in the week, Emma and I are at Sephora killing time before we head in to a movie. I see two women over at the mirror with a Givenchy mascara tester, yes tester, thank goodness. BUT… and I mean a big BUT, they were putting it on directly from the TUBE using the WAND that comes with it. Anyone knows you use those little mini wands they have at the end caps and you only dip ONCE. No DOUBLE DIPPING. Now that tester has their conjunctivitis all over it.

I used to work at Clinique with Nordstrom. If you are at all familiar with Nordstrom’s liberal return policies, they take back ANYTHING. Well, they did in the 90s anyway. So people would return make up all the time. No biggy. That’s cool. And you can use it and decide you don’t like it and still return it. My favorite though were the customers that would nicely hand me the package, receipt, everything. Then I would ask if  there something wrong with it. You know, to utilize my skillful customer service skillz, because I was supposed to try and sell them something else. Hey, I worked on commission.

So they would say, no thanks, and then they would explain rather sheepishly, “I only used the lipstick once.” or “I only used the eye pencil once.”

And I would politely carry on with my uber friendly customer service. But in my head, the dialogue goes like this, “Oh, you only used it once? Well then I will put that in the USED ONLY ONCE DRAWER. We have a special discount for once used products. Like a roulette wheel of sorts. Great bargains!”

But I didn’t. I just smiled. I don’t care if you’ve used it ONCE or 43 times, that shit is going back to the manufacturer. Should I wipe it off and sell it to the next poor sod? No.

So that brings me to the Walgreens lipsticks. When I saw them in my car that they had been used, I totally thought of some nice lady, “I only used it once.” And then I pictured a puss-filled broken sore on her upper lip, and that’s why I returned them.

Lesson 1- Don’t use products on the shelves that are packaged specifically for tampering. If it’s sealed, don’t unseal it dammit!

Lesson 2- When using a tester, use the little doohickeys they provide and don’t double dip.

Lesson 3- I will never use a mascara at Sephora again.

Please don’t use makeup at the store if you have one of these.

Disclaimer- Do not google images of herpes or conjunctivitis. It will ruin you. There are some things that can’t be unseen.

I also do not believe that every single person who has used a tester at Sephora is contaminated or infected. This is just merely exaggeration for the sake of the blog people.

RTLF- #13 Thank God I don’t homeschool*

Well, this is it. Our last official weekend of summer. I’m sad to see this summer go. It was truly the best one on the books. But hells to the no, if I home-schooled, I’d be bald right now. I would have pulled out every last strand of hair in utter panic and frustration. *(Is home school one word or two? This is why my kids education is not up to me) Lesson plans, keeping kids on task, focused uninterrupted learning? HA!

On Tuesday the kids start school. Ahh. Yes. I’m not looking forward to getting up at 6:30 to get the girl out of her bed to drag her to the bus stop. I’m not looking forward to making lunch every day. Not that it’s HARD, but those UNCRUSTABLES don’t get in those lunch boxes by themselves.

I AM looking forward to going into each child’s room and scrounging under their bed and giving away to GOODWILL any last thing they’ve been holding on to for eons, forgotten, covered in cat hair and dust bunnies. Zombie apocalypse here we come- we’ll be able to hide UNDER our beds from now on. Because that wasn’t possible originally.

I am looking forward to having chunks of peace and quiet and the house to myself to watch back to back episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Have you seen Theresa’s hairline? That poor girl needs laser. And a brain transplant. She is off her rocker.

And if Downton Abbey Season 2 comes to Netflix streaming, watch out. Because this bitch is going all PBS on everyone. How I love stiff British people (that’s what she said) and their hierarchies of servant society.

Also with the school year comes soccer practice, Girl Scout meetings, Cub Scout events, PTA meetings, homework, Parent Teacher conferences… washing the PE uniform every weekend. Again- not that it’s HARD, but gosh darn, loading those clothes in the big machine gets tiresome.

Days will get shorter, bed times will be earlier.  Snooze buttons will be beat to hell.

But this is how it is – The Circle of Life. Cue Elton John please. Not the baby lion cub born, daddy lion dies- circle of life. I’m talking about the school Circle of Life. Autumn, back to school clothes (I might need a back to school handbag and boots), flannel sheets, Halloween, then the holidays…. and then we start again with Spring and our desire to crawl out of our holes again to summer and feel the sun on our faces.

I think I’m ready for it.

OH and I asked the Google, and Homeschool IS one word.

RTLF #10 If the Olympic announcers commentated on my daily life

After Huff Post named me as one of their top mom and dad blogs of the week, I’ve decide to repost this one. I’m good at recycling, I believe in Mother Earth, so I’m doing my part!

Huffington Post: Mom and Dad Blogs of the Week

For my Reasons To Live Friday, and I have many reasons, believe me, I’m going to have to say blogging is giving me more reasons. I love the folks I’ve met online, the community of bloggers, and even friends and neighbors who reach out to me because of it.

Thanks for reading and supporting me too!

 

 

***********

 

I have watched the Olympics all my life. I remember Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and even Kerri Strugg. Those are gymnasts by the way, in case you haven’t followed the Games like I have.

Now I’m watching with my kids. And every night before I go to bed. I LOVE the Olympics. But the gymnastics on until fucking midnight is not doing me any favors. I have Al Trautwig’s voice in my head throughout the day. Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel are like my inner voice. These gymnasts are doing fucking amazeballs skills on 4 inches of  beam, a floor, some high bars. I mean come on. They’re all like, ‘oh, did you see the bobble?’, ‘that little step to the side will cost her gold’.  Stuff like that.

Could you guys look a little more excited?

I can only imagine if they followed me around all day and gave color commentary on everything I do. It would go something like this:

Me getting out of bed, creaky on my feat and hobbling from soon- to-be 40 joints.

Elfi- “This is not one of her strong routines. She’s looking slower and tired each morning. The alarm has gone off and she’s a little slow out of the gate. This will be a two-tenths deduction.”

Al- “Do you think that the years are starting to take a toll on her? This isn’t some 28 year old first time mom anymore. She’s a veteran now in her age bracket.’

Me putting on the kettle to make my tea, getting out my thyroid meds, the cat food and letting out the dog to go pee.

Tim- “She used to not have to take so many medications. I think she knows she’s slowing down, but still hanging in there. If you think this is something new in this year’s routine, wait until you see all the vitamins, chia seeds, and crazy green stuff she drinks to keep her edge.”

Me spilling tea on my t-shirt.

Elfi- “Her skills walking and drinking are almost always clean. Ooh, a little bobble there. That’ll be a one-tenth deduction. If she wants to stay clean until her cup of coffee after 2nd breakfast, she’s going to have to tighten her game here.”

Me scooping the cat box.

Al- “This is the kind of thing she dreamed of as a kid. She always wanted pets. Remember, she was the one who didn’t want the dog. But realized scooping cat poop is no fun either. I see no no clumps have been left behind, this will score well with the judges. And here comes the cat…”

Me getting in my skinny jeans.

Tim- “She always has such heart with every performance. Don’t ignore the fact that these jeans are out of the dryer. The difficulty in this routine is so much higher than the other moms who just slap on a pair of yoga pants. She’s getting in them…look at her squeeze into them! But she nailed the landing, she’s going to win favor over the judges for sure!”

Have you been keeping track of my deductions? I think I’m somewhere around a score of 8.5 right? Not bad I guess.

Someone out there must think I’m a 10.

Excuse me, I just sneezed-

Tim- “She bobbled a little there, well, actually, she dribbled a little with that sneeze. That’s a two-tenths deduction for sure just wetting her pants like that. This is what separates the older competitors from the younger ones. She’ll be back in the gym with those kegels for sure after this.”

If the Olympic announcers commentated on my daily life

I have watched the Olympics all my life. I remember Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and even Kerri Strugg. Those are gymnasts by the way, in case you haven’t followed the Games like I have.

Now I’m watching with my kids. And every night before I go to bed. I LOVE the Olympics. But the gymnastics on until fucking midnight is not doing me any favors. I have Al Trautwig’s voice in my head throughout the day. Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel are like my inner voice. These gymnasts are doing fucking amazeballs skills on 4 inches of  beam, a floor, some high bars. I mean come on. They’re all like, ‘oh, did you see the bobble?’, ‘that little step to the side will cost her gold’.  Stuff like that.

Could you guys look a little more excited?

I can only imagine if they followed me around all day and gave color commentary on everything I do. It would go something like this:

Me getting out of bed, creaky on my feat and hobbling from soon- to-be 40 joints.

Elfi- “This is not one of her strong routines. She’s looking slower and tired each morning. The alarm has gone off and she’s a little slow out of the gate. This will be a two-tenths deduction.”

Al- “Do you think that the years are starting to take a toll on her? This isn’t some 28 year old first time mom anymore. She’s a veteran now in her age bracket.’

Me putting on the kettle to make my tea, getting out my thyroid meds, the cat food and letting out the dog to go pee.

Tim- “She used to not have to take so many medications. I think she knows she’s slowing down, but still hanging in there. If you think this is something new in this year’s routine, wait until you see all the vitamins, chia seeds, and crazy green stuff she drinks to keep her edge.”

Me spilling tea on my t-shirt.

Elfi- “Her skills walking and drinking are almost always clean. Ooh, a little bobble there. That’ll be a one-tenth deduction. If she wants to stay clean until her cup of coffee after 2nd breakfast, she’s going to have to tighten her game here.”

Me scooping the cat box.

Al- “This is the kind of thing she dreamed of as a kid. She always wanted pets. Remember, she was the one who didn’t want the dog. But realized scooping cat poop is no fun either. I see no no clumps have been left behind, this will score well with the judges. And here comes the cat…”

Me getting in my skinny jeans.

Tim- “She always has such heart with every performance. Don’t ignore the fact that these jeans are out of the dryer. The difficulty in this routine is so much higher than the other moms who just slap on a pair of yoga pants. She’s getting in them…look at her squeeze into them! But she nailed the landing, she’s going to win favor over the judges for sure!”

Have you been keeping track of my deductions? I think I’m somewhere around a score of 8.5 right? Not bad I guess.

Someone out there must think I’m a 10.

Excuse me, I just sneezed-

Tim- “She bobbled a little there, well, actually, she dribbled a little with that sneeze. That’s a two-tenths deduction for sure just wetting her pants like that. This is what separates the older competitors from the younger ones. She’ll be back in the gym with those kegels for sure after this.”

From Corsets to Yoga pants; face it- we’ve all given up.

Have you noticed something? I mean, it’s not news or anything. We’re fat. Americans are fat. Okay we get it. But how in THEE hell did this happen?? (Rhetorical question, don’t really answer it, just play along okay?)

We are wearing tracksuits and yoga pants every damn day, and we just get fatter, and fatter….

We went from corsets, girdles and garters, to just garters, to women’s lib bra burning to sports bras, miracle bras, wonderbras… SPANX and dundadddaaa— Yoga Pants!!

We Americans wear our fitness gear ALL the time. We wear Yoga pants and don’t do yoga. We wear sweat pants and haven’t sweated.

We wear track suits and don’t go to the track. And yet…we got bigger, and bigger, and bigger! We should be a super elite society of athletes. But NO! We are a lazy bunch of couch potato, Wal-mart shopper, Frappachilly swirl shake drinking slobs! Pathetic I say! Pathetic!

Yes- I’m wearing Lululemon lounge pants as I write this. Because dammit, I am lazy. I don’t want to get up and put on control top hose, heels and pearls to do housework. How the hell did Donna Reed do that??

She's saying, 'oh look, I'm all dressed up to do the dishes.'

We went from wearing the most uncomfortable clothes, being thin, small-boned, floor scrubbing (unless you lived in the south, then your maid did all that for you) to having freedom, comfort, Lycra, and doing….nothing.

Okay- hold on to your Hanes Her Ways right there. Don’t get them all in a bunch. I am not here to say we are lazy. Not all of us. Just some of us. And me. I’m lazy. I admit this. I know we work hard. We raise our kids, work outside the home, volunteer with PTA, carpool, shop for organic groceries at Whole Foods, go to book club, wine club, Bunco club, church, Bible study. WE are soooooo busy!!

Do you see where I’m going with this? Simple equation- corsets, delicate ladies, tiny waists- fast forward 80 years- Lycra, elastic waists, knits = FAT ASS. Even our feet are getting bigger. Have you looked at vintage shoes? My feet are like a Chinese basketballs player’s foot compared to the ladies of our grandmother’s generation or before that.

Let's go run and get smoothies! -What I can't hear you my track suit makes this loud rustling sound!

I’m not making any scientific revelations here. I have no data to back anything up. This is just my opinion (cough <<bullshit>> cough).

What happened?

I remember a Seinfeld episode when George said if a man leaves his house in sweat pants he’s given up on the world. People? Have we given up?

I’m not saying pearls and hats and gloves, but how about  we go to work out in the work out attire, and then wear normal clothes in public? At least try?

Okay, I will. Just let me finish this Cinnabon here and my Starbucks and I’ll get right on that.

Dear future women of America:

Yeah, I’m talking to you girls. Okay, you don’t read my blog- your moms and dads do. But still, I have a message:

There’s things in this world I hold quite dear to me. Like the health of my family, polar bears, harp seals, National parks, the air I breathe, non GMO food…

So what I want from you is to go to school, go to college, cure cancer, keep the planet liveable, protect endangered species, invent smart cars, find a female viagra… okay, so that’s not that important. But anyway, my point is DO SOMETHING!

I know it’s fun to be pretty, it’s fun to hang out with boys and party. I like watching people sing on YouTube. I like movies and reality TV like the next crazed housewife. BUT- we don’t need anymore reality television stars. We don’t need any more pouty, trouty faced girls in midriff tops posing on their iPhone in their bathroom.

There’s a lot of wonderfully attractive famous women out there- Diane Sawyer, Tina Fey, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Oprah, – okay they are all in the media. Hmm, I promise you- there are really pretty women out there that are famous and making a difference in this world.

But you don’t need to be pretty to make a difference. I guess that is my point. History is full of unattractive women who have made the difference in our lives for the better. Who have paved the way for incredible things that I would like to think, no man could ever accomplish.

A Gallery Of Unattractive Women Who Have Made History:

Examples of really pretty women that you probably don’t want to grow up to be like:

My name is Alexis Stodden and I am 16 and married a gross old guy and I make trouty mouth faces for my pictures.

I’m Heidi Montage and I spent $50,000 on plastic surgery that I now regret, to further my career and no one remembers who I am anyway.

Snookie. I wrote a book but nobody takes me seriously.