The Weekend Recap

July 6, 2008

Fourth of July weekend was a busy weekend, indeed, and I most certainly welcomed a paid holiday, a little bit o’ rest, and some great memories made with wonderful friends. I told someone over the weekend that L.A. feels a little bit more like home each day, with a few exceptions, and the time off afforded me a chance to get to strengthen some great friendships. It was a busy, busy weekend. This morning at 11 a.m. I had brunch with the Ladies Who Brunch from my church small group at the lovely friend K’s home. Since then I have spent the entire day in my apartment resting, reading, and eating, save the 15 minutes I spent only a moment ago at the gas station. I filled my entire tank for $50 at $4.55 per gallon. My goal is to make this tank last for 2 weeks. Let’s see how I do.

Thursday D invited me to the wrap party for the film he and his brother G have been working on. D has been working as the producer’s assistant, and G is some type of coordinator. They have been working long, hard hours for the past several weeks, and the wrap party provided them the opportunity to bring their very supportive girlfriends to hear some good music, eat some good food, and schmooze with the Hollywoods. And, thanks to the fantastic outfit suggestions of several friends, I purchased this dress at Forever 21 before the event. It was cute, vintage-ey, cheap, tasteful, hip, and  fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, Forever 21 makes crap clothing, and the zipper broke while I was frantically trying to get ready after work. Hence, I had to throw together a different outfit with stuff I already had. But this conundrum afforded me the chance to wear my new hat. Also, at the wrap party, Tea Leoni touched my shoulder. I was pretty un-star-struck about the whole thing. She was trying to get people who were standing outside to come in and hear Billy Bob Thorton’s band play. I heard one song, and it was great, but I was there to hang out with my friends, and it was too loud in the room to really talk.

All dressed up and ready to go, but apparently D is sulking. Perhaps he wanted to wear a hat too.

Galen ruins everything.

Billy Bob Thorton’s band provides the entertainment for the evening.

We like each other. Sometimes.

After all of this, I realized that I didn’t get any pictures of me with G’s girlfriend N, who is an awesome little lady, and I had such a fun time with her.

Friday the four of us went to a pool party hosted by a co-worker of our friend AB. It was a great time and the perfect setting for a hot day. Yay, hamburgers! Yay, America! Happy Independence Day! Afterward D and I both took naps because we were exhausted from our cavorting, and then we watched one of my favorite movies, a little-known Steve Martin film called Lonely Guy.

Saturday a whole cohort of D and G fans (not Dolce and Gabbana — D and his brother) came over to my apartment to read through the script of a little project they are working on. The friends gave feedback on it, and the boys got some very helpful critiques. Again, I was so busy hosting that I totally forgot to pull out the camera. Another great photographic opportunity is lost for the sake of etiquette. That evening the boys, N, and I went to a new favorite restaurant, Natalee Thai on Venice Blvd.

Today I had the aforementioned brunch and have been lazy all day. It’s been a welcome break. I wish the time didn’t fly by so quickly.

And while we’re in photo-posting mode, here are a few photos from last weekend, when D and I went to his former roommate C’s wedding. It was an outdoor wedding at a country club, and I most certainly wore a hat.

D found it so attractive that he had to try it on himself…

…and again. notice the finger he recently slammed in a car door.

And here is Blue-Eyes looking a little more masculine.

I’m so California.

A couple of weekends ago these hands touched a public payphone for the first time since, oh, probably the summer of ’03 when I went to London and Ireland for five weeks. Now, London and Northern Ireland, because they both belong to the UK, have cool payphones, payphones which are so asthetically pleasing that one can almost forget the germs festering on the handle and buttons and the advertising for naughty massages papering the inside.

 

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Since the summer of ’04, I’ve been a mobile-r and have joined the throngs of distracted multi-taskers who will likely develop brain tumors in our seventies because of constantly cuddling an electronic device to the sides of our heads. Next year California is supposedly banning drivers from using cell phones without hands-free devices, and who can blame them? According to the journal Quarterly Factors, “Cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year.” My cell phone has caused headaches, neck aches, facial break outs, and cost a total of approximately $2,380 since its acquisition in May of ’04. Not to mention the panic… when dropped. This past winter I dropped the beloved cell phone (let’s call her Bess, shall we?) from a high table bar stool in a restaurant. She crashed to the floor, and her battery shot out, sliding across the linoleum to land underneath some lady’s foot. Thankfully, she did not step down and crush the battery. Because of this instance, I was forced to exclaim a near explitive in front of a room full of elderly people getting their afternoon coffee at the podunk cafe; spring lithely from my seat and rush to kneel on the floor where I scooped up Bess’s parts; and crawl on my knees on a restaurant floor, underneath a table, with my rear sticking up like a stretching cat in front of all, just to retrieve a stupid battery.  

Sometimes, I admit, I’ve even had the thought, “Why doesn’t Grandma just get a cell phone? It would be so much easier to text her this question!” Grandma just turned 82 in January. Heaven forbid that I should actually have to call my grandmother on her land line and have an actual conversation with her.

No matter how much grief this small, red device has caused me, my cell-love never manifests itself until the sans-cell phone situation emerges. A few weekends ago, D treated me to some lovely date-time, in which we decided to go see a movie. We drove separately from my apartment so he could leave to go back to his place from the mall. It wasn’t until we were about to enter the parking garage for the mall that the horrific truth arose:  I had forgotten Bess at home.

Mall parking on a Sunday in LA is never easy. One will rarely find a parking spot in the garage next to one’s party. One must simply hit the gas and zoom toward the closest spot available, whether it be on the second floor or the tenth. On this particular occassion, that special spot meant for me was on the seventh floor. By the time I parked Mable the Sable and hopped the elevator, D was nowhere to be found. Well, my naive small-town self said, I’ll just wait until D rides the elevator down, and we’ll meet at the bottom.

Half an hour later, I finally figured out that there are several entrances to the parking garage. I took a few loops around the area, paying specific attention to the movie theater. No D. Maybe I should go wait for him in the philosophy section of Barnes and Noble, my romantic side whispered. I made a comment to D a few weeks ago that I’d like to know how much time we’ve spent in the philsophy section of Barnes and Noble in the course of our relationship. A pay phone loomed in the corner of the courtyard where I waited, but two problems reared their ugly heads:

1.) No change. What savvy city girl goes anywhere without quarters? Give me a break. I grew up in population-4,000 town in Southern Minnesota, where paying for parking is merely a legend and you could more easily walk to someone’s house than dial their number.

2.) No phone number. Yes folks, now is the time to sheepishly admit that D and I have been dating for nearly 20 months, and neither of us know one anothers’ phone numbers.

My mission became clear in an instant. Find quarters. Call any number I have memorized that might know D’s number. Call D.

Finding quarters seemed like it would be easy in a mall. Except that California mall clerks don’t have the wholesome helpfulness that Minnesota or Arkansas clerks do. D and I went to a high-end mall called The Grove. The thing has its own trolley tinkling its little bell through the cobblestone streets. The only remotely lower-class store I could find was J. Crew. I went in to get some change and ended up having to purchase a $6 plastic barette so the cashier could open the cash drawer.  It was the cheapest thing I could find. I had previously recoiled when picking up a $26 coin purse.

The accrual of change brought me to the next step: Calling someone I knew to find D’s number. The deposit of four quarters affords a pay phone patron a mere 4 minutes of conversation. First, I called my friend A in Arkansas. She got her cell phone back when I didn’t have a cell phone and still memorized people’s phone numbers. I got her voicemail and left a frantic message. “Hi, A. I know I haven’t talked to you in a long time, but I need you to do something for me if you get this in the next few minutes. I’m going to call back in five minutes. I’m on a payphone in a mall in California, and I need D’s phone number. I thought you might have it somewhere, and you’re the only friend I have that I actually know your number. So, please pick up when I call back.” I called back three times. No avail. My parents weren’t home — they were spending the afternoon at my brother’s house, but I figured it was worth a shot. Mom is one of the most prepared people I know… the type who will carry wadded up plastic bags in her purse, just in case. I thought I might know her cell phone number. I dialed. It was dad’s.

“Hi, Dad. It’s Ann. I’m calling from a payphone in a mall in L.A., and I need your help. Does Mom have D’s phone number?’

“You don’t know his number?”

“I don’t. You’ve got to hurry. I’ve only got four minutes until I need to deposit another dollar.”

“I’ll ask her.”

Muffled voices in the background. “She’s checking,” Dad said.

“She has G’s number.” (G is D’s twin brother.)

I pause. “Why does she have G’s number?”

“I don’t know. I’ll ask her.”

“No, it’s okay. G’s number is good. Give me that for now in case we get cut off before she finds D’s number.”

We got cut off before I had a chance to say goodbye. Mom didn’t have D’s number, but for some reason she had G’s. So, I called G.

“Hi, G. It’s Ann. I’m calling from a payphone at the Grove. I need D’s phone number.”

“You don’t know his number? You’ve been dating how long?”

“I know, I know. I only have four minutes. You’ve got to give me the number. You’ve just got to!”

G hooked me up with the digits I needed, and my triumphant “Hi!” to D when I finally heard his voice on the line an hour and fifteen minutes after we parked our cars was enough to turn the heads of several by-standers. We met in front of the movie theater. “I’ve been walking around this whole area,” he said when I hugged him. “I guess we just missed each other. I thought about going into the philosophy section of Barnes and Noble.”

“Really?! Me too! This is our plan if this ever happens again. We’ll meet in the philosophy section of Barnes and Noble.”

And so, we went, hand-in-hand into the movie theater to purchase our overpriced confections and find our seats.

About seven minutes before the end of the movie, entitled Definitely Maybe, we got evacuated from the movie theater. But that, my friends, is a story for tomorrow.

My longer-than-a-week hiatus has two real excuses.

1.) I was under a blog detox. A while back I posted a lolcats picture, and for the past few weeks, my search engine terms have been crammed with people looking for FUNNY CATS! Seriously. There has been little else. In fact, my hits have been nearly 250 hits higher than average. It was really annoying me. I was disappointed that I couldn’t check my blog stats and be proud that I had 358 hits. They really didn’t care about my writing. They just cared about the FUNNY CATS! So, I deleted the lolcats picture off my blog, and it took about a week for Google Images to figure out that the post no longer exists.

2.) Work has been nuts. Every night I’ve come home exhausted. This job has really made me appreciate assembly-line workers. I can’t imagine working on an assembly line for more than a month. I’m so thankful that it worked out for me to have this job for this short time that I’m home, but today I am even more thankful that tomorrow my paycheck will be in my hands, and I can move on to bigger and better things….

LIKE CALIFORNIA! BECAUSE I’M LEAVING IN 9 DAYS!

Also, some pretty amazing things have happened in the past few days that remind me just how great God’s faithfulness is. The money came through from the insurance company for the Great Rear-Ending of 2007, and with some generosity from my father, it covered the cost of my new car, the Sable Who Has No Name. My dad also did some work on the car for me, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have a mechanic father. Let’s just say that after he told me everything he did on the car, all I could say, with wide eyes and an unsquelchable smile, was, “Merry Christmas to me!” I was planning on getting him honey roasted cashews for Christmas or a new set of keys he could use to clean out his ears. I guess I’ll have to re-think those options.

Also, a dear friend of mine took it upon himself to send me a little package in the mail today. It was quite lovely and touching. Thank you, friend. You know who you are. I will send you an email sometime tomorrow to thank you personally.

Speaking of Christmas, I didn’t have to work on Sunday, and I went Christmas shopping with my mom and grandma. I’m planning on making most of my Christmas gifts this year, and I had a great time in the craft stores picking out the materials to purchase. I can’t wait to post some photos of what I make, but that, of course, will have to wait until after Christmas and the gifts have been bestowed upon their recipients. And, of course, after I actually make said gifts.

One thing I did purchase for my nephew Ezra is a baby toy of the future, and I can’t wait to give it to him. It’s a new take on a typical baby toy, and I knew it was great when my mom saw it and was disappointed that she hadn’t gotten it for him.

Speaking of my niece and nephew… I love them. They will be the hardest to leave in 9 days because they will be so much bigger when I see them again. It has been truly wonderful to be around them for the past month and a half. I don’t regret the decision to come home for a little while at all.

I promise that I will start writing about homeschooling soon. Today was my last day of work until I find a job in California, and I’m looking forward to letting my body rest for a while. For the past few weeks, I’ve felt like I’m working out all day every day. Tomorrow I am sleeping in!

On Saturday, friend MS and I went thrift store shopping in Mankato. I wasn’t feeling too well — coming down with a cold that has had me lying down for the past day — but MS said he wouldn’t go if I didn’t, so I took some medication and decided to tough it out. My trooper tendencies were profitable indeed. I couldn’t buy a whole lot because 1.) I am moving and can only take what fits in my car and 2.) I am saving money for that big moving trip. But I did buy a few nice things:

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This lovely sweater is brand new and reminded me of a cheaper something I might find at Anthropologie. Obviously cheaper because it was only $3, but also because it doesn’t quite have the unique, one-of-a-kind look that Anthropologie’s stuff has. So, I decided to add a little class to it:

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I bought a bag full of vintage buttons off of Ebay a few years ago for $2, and they have served me well in embellishing many-a garment. They did not disappoint me this time either.

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I’d also like your opinion on the color of the sweater. I’m considering tea staining it to give it more of a muted color. I’m just not sure if the pale pink will work with my already pale skin tone. What do y’all think? Tea stain or no?

I also found this lovely Marilyn Monroe-style dress that was quite the jackpot.

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It’s bright red velvet and so lush — the photograph doesn’t do it justice. And even though it was probably originally sold in the late ’60s, it still has its tags:

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I have some altering to do on it. First of all, it is floor-length, a length which drowns short people like me. So I am going to cut it off at the knee. Also, when I was first looking it over to see if it was a good purchase (it was $15 — a little pricey for thrift stores, but if I had bought this in a vintage clothing store rather than at the Salvation Army, it would’ve been more like $40-$50, at least in Minneapolis), I found this horrendous add-on:

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It’s a mangled little bow on the ties. Last night I removed the bow with a seam ripper while lying in my sick bed, watching Project Runway. The bow was badly, badly made, as were the eye hooks that someone sewed on. I doubt the dress was made with these eye-sores. The eye hooks bunched up the fabric. So, I removed all that, and because I don’t feel comfortable wearing a halter dress if it’s just tied on, I’m going to add yet another vintage button. I’ll show off the finished product when it’s done.

I also bought a furry hat for while I’m here in Minnesota, but I’m thinking I might use it for a new masthead photograph, so I’ll save it for a later date. It’s super cute and oh-so Girl From the North Country.

Yesterday I wrote a post with the title, “The Shoe Diaries Entry 1: I’ve Got a Wedge.” I also write a column at ZIA, an online magazine, about finding affordable fashion. Lately I have been succumbing to the post-college epidemic of Feeling Flaky. You college graduates may know it well, especially if you pursued a highly academic, research-oriented field that throttled you to the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In college, you had your group of Intellectuals with whom to be Intellectual in class, over coffee, after watching foreign films or reading Proust.

Post-college, you are left with nothing but a desk job and marathons of The Real Housewives of Orange County on television.

My friend Devi writes about important topics on her blog. She writes about politics and religion and oppression, and her writing style is so lovely and straight-forward and well-crafted (and she doesn’t constantly use the word “and” while creating lists) that I want to read whatever she writes.

A few weeks ago at my cousin S’s wedding, I spoke with my cousin’s husband’s brother P for a while. After all, I had to walk down the aisle with him, so I might as well get to know him a little bit. I asked him the general small-talk questions about location and work and school. P works for an organization in Washington D.C. associated with a cause that he believes in so much that his entire Facebook is devoted to it. Now, I must admit that I know very little about the topic other than a liberal-arts-college-American-Government-class understanding, but one must admire his Roman-soldier-like devotion. My Facebook page is devoted to the life of Ann Clipperton, complete with photos of cat Francis and status statements like, “Ann is hungry.” I guess I’m rather low on Maslow’s famous hierarchy.

When P asked me what I’m doing with my life, I told him that I want to be a writer. “What kind of writing do you do?” He asked. “Oh, lots of kinds,” I answered. Because I have. I’ve written poetry and even had some published, and I’ve written short stories and news articles and magazine articles and columns. When I thought of things I’ve been doing lately, I could only think of the blog and the column for ZIA. So I told him, “I write a fashion column for an online publication.”

And for some reason, I felt a little twinge of shame, a little sense of I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world. Let’s get something straight — P did not make me feel that way. He was very kind. It was all me, inside, thinking about what my goals are and wondering about what exactly it is that I’m doing with my passion for fashion. Or even with my passion for intelligent thought. Or just for caring about other people.

Like Kate Hudson’s character Andy in How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, I would hope that my goals in life stretch farther than writing a “How To” column for a glossy magazine designed for glossy women with little else to be concerned about than color coordination and How to Know If He’s Into You. And I would hope that my goals for writing stretch farther beyond Shoe Diaries or columns about discount fashion. Like to something that really matters beyond Ann’s amusement.

At the same time, I don’t want to diminish the importance of fashion and all the thought-provoking questions that come from it:

Does the act of first wearing and then burning a bra have a significant psychological impact on its owner? Does the wearing of pants influence a woman to have a career more like a man’s? Maybe not today, but did it in the ’50s? Did that individualistic style that emerged in the late 1990’s have anything to do with existentialism and advances in technology that make relationships far less relational (i.e. I imagine that I have never met many of my readers, yet they get a glimpse into my life on a daily basis)?

Does philosophy influence fashion, or does fashion influence philosophy?

Once my dear and much-quoted friend Ali told me that perhaps I shouldn’t spend so much time reflecting on things because sometimes I dig myself into my own black hole, an abyss of my own making. Indeed, I have 14 years of journals to prove it. Ali also once told me, “Sometimes you just need to talk about cartoons.” These are wise words, coming from one of the smartest women I know, a woman who is currently pursuing a PhD.

Perhaps my Shoe Diaries are my version of cartoons, and I need them as an outlet for the deeper questions. Perhaps my life is a little more balanced when I can set aside those ideas about the over-sexualization of America’s teenage girls and write about “What to Look For in Thrift Stores” in 1000 words or less, complete with quippy jokes about Saved By the Bell and the nineties.

In society, women’s flakiness seems to be the new black. I imagine that I will encounter this to a greater degree in California, but even in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, I noticed how materialism seemed to cancel intelligence. I hope that my posting of fashion items and purchases does not influence others to materialism, the flakiest of all flakes. That is not my intention. My intention is for images to bring inspiration and creativity, as they do for me. My shoes make me see my clothing in different ways. They make me appreciate the new twists I can put on old items rather than going out to buy new things constantly. The contentment they bring is not from having more but from rearranging what I already have. My brilliant Basic Economics professor, a sweet man named Dr. Balla who spent a year in Mexico living among the poor, once said that having a lot of stuff is dangerous. “The more you have, the more you want,” he said. “And the more you have, the more you’re afraid to lose.”

The constant thirst for more is a dangerous place to be because that thirst will never quench. I hope that any fashion ideas or photos on my blog or in my column will influence readers to create rather than covet. Your life is fine without this stuff. Cute shoes will bring fun but never fulfillment.

We’ll call this particular pair of shoes the Purple Pizzazz… mostly because I like the word pizzazz. If anyone has not seen the Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire film Funny Face, those deprived persons ought to go out and rent it. It’s a fantastic film about fashion and finery… and the editor of the fashion magazine, played by Kay Thompson, is always yelling, “Pizzazz!” She also sings a song called, “Think Pink!” Anyway, back to the Purple Pizzazz:

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These shoes have a little surprise when viewed in profile:

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The wedge eliminates that pesky little problem of getting your heels stuck in street grates (or pulling a Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner and meeting your soul-mate) However, the wedge also prevents the possibility of using your shoe as a means of self-defense: If you tried to hit a guy with them, they’d probably just bounce off his head.

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The Purple Pizzazz have this adorable little toe design and even came with a dust bag to prevent dust from settling in the ridges.

The Purple Pizzazz are made by Seychelles. Most probably have not heard of the brand — they are mid-level. Brand new, these shoes probably would’ve cost $80-100. Seychelles began in the 1994 and re-invented itself in 1999, supporting a new fashion movement that emphasized individual style. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, shopping at boutiques and finding hot vintage fashion started becoming vogue again. Seychelles creates cute new shoes that have a vintage twist.

I do find a dab of irony in the fact that a shoe manufacturing company supports individual style.

Purple Pizzazz Greatest Moment: Being bought. My best friend L and I were shopping at this awesome discount store in Rogers, Arkansas called Dollar Saver. On the outside it looks totally ghetto, but inside are a bunch of terrific designer clothes sold for dirt cheap because they are from a few years ago or from stores that went out of business. I’ve gotten some of my favorite clothing at this store, and the adorable luggage in the shoe rack photo below is from the store. L and I now have matching luggage because of Dollar Saver, and we have matching Purple Pizzazz. At first we started negotiating on who would buy the Purple Pizzazz because what type of friends wear matching shoes? Third-grader friends, that’s who. But then I told her I wouldn’t buy them unless she bought them, and now we have an agreement that we will be sure we are not dressed alike when going out together.

There was that one time when we out to Starbucks both wearing teal and brown stripes with yellow purses, but that was just an unfortunate fluke in the system.

Nesting

November 4, 2007

Why, you may ask, would this easy-assemble, flimsy piece of plastic and metal fill the life of Ann Clipperton with such startling rightness?

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I’ll tell you why. Or better yet, I’ll show you:

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Ah, yes. The shoes are on their shoe rack: All’s right with the world. And I must say, you should be quite impressed with how many pairs of shoes I got rid of before moving. A lot. And cute ones. Friend AA even asked me why I was getting rid of such cute shoes. BECAUSE I HAVE TO, I nearly screamed as I thrust the shoes away from me and into a cardboard box before I lost my gumption. Still, these are the survivors, the bravest of shoes, and in their honor I think I might begin the Shoe Diaries this week. Why, you may ask? Because my shoes deserve some publicity. They carry me around all day and rarely get a thank you.

And I have cute feet.

A Little Splurge

October 8, 2007

For the most part I’ve been very good about saving money for the past few months. A few hurdles have risen out of the ground, but financial discipline is starting to come easier for me. I’ve eliminated most eating out except for a few evenings with friends. My relationship to shoes, bags, and clothes has become one akin to Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie: Once we were the best of friends, but now we avoid each other. I’ve even been excellent at not buying things from the GAP, where I work part-time, even though I have this terrific discount. There was that one time I bought a pair of khaki pants off the sale rack for $6, and then that other time I found a pair of jeans for $5 off the sale rack. Just about anyone would agree, however, that those were wise buys.

Over the weekend, I did a little shopping.  I am the Maid of Honor in my dear cousin Sara’s wedding in about three weeks, and I had to find some brown shoes to go with my dress. I found a terrific pair at Dillard’s. But seriously. Did you see the price on those? Yeah. Saving money does not include spending $100 on shoes (Arkansas sales tax is around 9%).

So, I headed over to F-Town, the only place nearby that has a Target. Translation: cute shoes that are also cheap! Isaac Mizrahi has revitalized the life of many-a woman. I found these fantastic shoes, which, like the expensive Antonio Melani ones, were just what I was looking for — cute, subtle details with a sleek, professional look. And they were on sale! For $25! And that, of course, meant that they didn’t have my size. Being a former Target employee, I happen to know that you can take an item to the service desk and find out the closest location of another store that has the item. Because there aren’t many Targets in Arkansas (this is Wal-Mart country, y’all), I asked them to check in Minnesota (it is Target country, you guys). And bingo — they had them. My mom picked them up last night for the sale price. Boo-yeah!

I also bought a few other things because there were some incredible sales going on. I also need a few warm things for my move to Minnesota. I’m getting there just in time for winter. So, I found this at Target:

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I bought these glasses at the ACB Thrift Store here in Rogers. Unfortunately, I can’t wear them for anything but photographs because they keep sliding off my face. I wonder if ladies in the seventies had this problem. I’m usually not a big fan of faux-vintage clothes, but in this case the colors and style worked so perfectly that I had to run with it.

I’m generally also not a big fan of Charlotte Russe: Home of the Skanky Clubbin’ Outfit. But there was this:

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(Again, model face.) A bag. For $3. And look how terrific it looks with that stripe of tubing between the two bold colors.

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And then there were the shoes. The T.J. Maxx shoes. $15 for a pair of Michael Kors shoes is not something a girl can pass up.

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Fab. u. lous.