backpost: electrick

This post was originally posted on lemonlove.forgedpixels.com on March 5th, 2009

I had a dream two nights ago that I got a new job working for a shoe store in the ritzy part of town. The driving focus of the dream was that I had to buy a pair of electric-blue boots. A good portion of my dream was devoted to, “Oh GOSH how am I going to wear those for eight hour days?” “THAT’S THE BEST COLOUR EVER.” and also “I haven’t even been paid yet! I don’t have that kind of money…”

I woke up, relieved I wasn’t obligated to drop an (assumedly) outrageous amount of money on a pair of boots, even if they were amazing and beautiful and electric blue. After a few moments of zen breathing techniques I’ve picked up from my older sister, I realized that my subconscious was telling me something. I opened up my trusty A-Z dream dictionary, and what do you know? The dictionary told me that I need a pair of electric-blue boots.

I figure my subconscious knows best, so I’m attempting to obey!

It’s surprisingly hard to find electric-blue boots. I’ve found some lovely heels, as well as some cute flats (and yes, I am ALL about the snakeskin!).

Alas, I’m starting to wonder if my boots exist. As a description: they were somewhere in between a pair of these Jessica Simpson boots and the bright red boots that Nubby Twiglet rocks often.

Only they were electric-blue. And when I say electric, I mean electric.

Since they are obviously missing, here is a flier I made with The Photoshop:

(please call!)

Sometimes I wonder what my dreams are trying to tell me, and then I realize that I don’t really mind, I just enjoy having awesome dreams.

backpost: expectations

This was originally posted on September 16, 2009 at lemonlove.wordpress.com. I am reposting it here in case I lose that archive.

If there is anything foolish that I ever do that irritates my friends to no end it is invest in the lottery.

Powerball, Megabucks, oh you fickle gods of chance. I find myself dreaming of what I’ll do when I win. Buy a cottage, fix it up. Attend school full time, move into a fancy glamourous downtown condo. Pay off my parent’s mortgage. Travel to Australia. Visit DisneyLand for three weeks. Buy that black and white striped Ralph Lauren jacket. Buy more “rich white woman” nautical themed clothes in general. Ride a zebra.

You know, important things! Important things I need! Someday! It will be all mine, and I will dive headfirst into a pool of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck did in DuckTales.

I don’t invest a lot of money in the lottery–when it comes down to it, I’d rather have my dollar bill to buy a pack of M&M’s out of a vending machine, but I faithfully put my $2 in every other week and hope and pray and dream.

Yesterday my sister and I ran to the store to check our tickets. She went first, (“Sorry, not a winner”) and then I pulled out mine.

“Please see cashier.”

My mind exploded with excitement. A million dollars? A gabillionzillion dollars? Ten dollars?! The possibilities were endless. I impatiently waited in line at the customer service desk, flinging angry thoughts at the slow pokes in line ahead of me.

I tapped my red wedge flip-flops. I twirled my hair impatiently and I am completely, one-hundred percent guilty of glaring at the wife-beater wearing, bald man who oh so desperately needed to exchange this neon-green garden hose for the neon-green garden hose that was fifteen-feet longer and SERIOUSLY YOU CANNOT TELL THAT I HAVE JUST WON THE JACKPOT GET OUT OF MY WAY I HAVE A NAUTICAL-THEMED PASHMINA AFGHAN TO PURCHASE.

I finally got to the front of the line and thrust my ticket at Hal, the customer service representative. Hal smiled, took my ticket, inserted it into his machine and handed another slip of paper back at me.

“Sorry, hon,” Hal said, as he tapped his fingers on the plexiglass table, “Lately the system’s been all skewed and been tellin’ people who aren’t winners to come see me. Looks like it just did it to you, too.”

I accepted back my ticket and the receipt declaring that I didn’t win meekly and walked away, tossing both into the nearest trash can as my hopes, dreams, and plans of diamond-encrusted toothbrushes flew away.

It was then that Hal’s words hit me, and I was filled with indignation. People who aren’t winners. People who AREN’T WINNERS? I nearly turned around and gave him a what-for. How DARE he?! I am totally a winner. In fact, I am the winningest person around. I, Brittney, am a winner.

WINNER.

WINNER.

So I fluffed my hair, stomped my foot, and pulled out another $2 to invest in my future. I am going to prove Hal wrong.

I am a winner, Hal. You just don’t understand.

backpost: on heirlooms

This was originally posted on August 7, 2010 at lemonlove.forgedpixels.com. Moved here to save in case of losing that domain.

My family is somewhat unusual.

I say that of course, realizing that it is completely usual in it’s unusual-ness. My family is really not that strange and confusing, and just like everyone else’s family, it is filled with random members that collect hurricane shelters full of tinned yams and horde wood for y2k. It also has (just like everyone else) a quartet of organ-players, a banjo-soloist, a tarzan impersonator, a unicyclist, a zebra collector, a fraud specialist, and some Australians.

The thing about my family is that we really don’t have that many heirlooms. Some people have heirlooms up the yin-yang! Some people have hutches and desks and cabinetry built by their great-great-grandfer on the prairies of Oregon and hand-crocheted cat-ear cozies crafted crazily for a crotchety kitten who crankily crammed their cute meta-carpals into his craw.

It’s not like I’m jealous.

But my family is severely lacking in heirlooms. We haven’t been close to my paternal Grandparents in my lifetime. My maternal Grandmother began suffering from Altzheimer’s when I was about seven, so even my memories of her are tainted with memory loss, both of hers and my own.

I was twelve when she died, and not old enough to understand the desire to preserve trinkets and memories. I am left with photographs of her as my heirlooms. I love them! Seeing her as a young woman makes me feel like maybe I did know her, in a somewhat metaphorical way.

My Grandpa remarried a few years later, to an old friend of the family he reconnected with at my Grandmother’s death. I never identified with her, but now I wish I had tried harder to get to know her. She passed away this spring, and we have been slowly helping Grandpa weed through her possessions and send them off to her relations.

The entire time they were married, she had a collection hanging on her wall.

A collection of spoons.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. In fact, I thought the same thing when I first saw them. “Oh my gosh. SPOONS. How typically old-lady! What a silly thing to collect. I mean, SPOONS.”

If I knew how to triple-underscore and draw skulls and cross-bones around a word like I would in the notes I’d pass around school in the 7th grade in HTML, I would do so. That would fully-articulate the true disdain and hatred I felt whenever I saw them hanging on the dining-room wall.

Spoons.

I hated them. And honestly, as a 16 year old whose Grandpa re-married to a woman who had never had children of her own, no-less, I found that woman and her spoons to be-less-than-fantastic.

When she died earlier this spring, and Grandpa started sorting out through the last of her possessions, I knew the spoons would end up at a thriftstore.

When I visited his house, Grandpa would trot out many items of hers and offer them to me. I turned most of them down. He finally offered me her collector’s spoons.

They stared at me. Silver and tarnished, covered in plastic, embossed and emblazoned with words and names of places. I realized that she had travelled the world with her spoons, and had no one to look after them.

I hadn’t recieved anything from my grandmother, so it’s not like I had an issue with competing storage space. And the spoons… the spoons with their windmills and tarnished silver camels and necks covered in wildflowers… they were kinda cool.

In fact, oh hey! That one has a windmill that spins! And a cuckoo-clock that dangles! Oh wow, yeah I forgot she was a missionary in Bolivia… and she even went to Vatican City!

I suddenly was overwhelmed with this strange and fulfilling need to keep her heirlooms, as a substitute for my own. As a collector and a person who finds happiness in collecting things, the concept of leaving behind my favourite items without someone to value them too is pretty heartbreaking.

So I agreed to take the spoons, to everyone on the planet’s shock and awe.

And I love them.

The collection is rather large (to me!). I think I am now the proud owner of 30+ spoons from various places around the world. These are just my favourites to share right now.

I love seeing all the places she has been, and have even… started collecting a few of my own.

Here and there, you know, to commemorate big trips. Not anything… excessive.

They are spoons, after all.

backpost: adventures in salsa

This post was originally published in May 2009 on lemonlove.forgedpixels.com

My sister has been going salsa dancing with her friends every other week for about two months now, and last night was the first time she managed to convince me to tag along! In my defense, it starts late, and I normally work early (gah, being responsible) so I have an easy out/ an excuse to sleep instead of dance furiously with latin men.

There was a live Cuban band last night, and she talked my friend Lizzy and I into going! We got to the Mambo Lounge (in downtown Portland) around 9:45, when the lesson started. Gah, you’d think my experiences two years ago of swing dancing would help… but it didn’t! For the first 3 hours of dancing I felt so uncoordinated! It was pretty much terrible, compounded by watching tall, attractive men dip and swing my older sister all around the dance floor!

Lizzy and I were pretty much ready to leave in dispair of ever getting the hang of this crazy salsa dancing, when the clock struck midnight and all of the nice, non-professional latin dudes came to dance.

The band is so loud that any language barrier is only compounded. You’re shouting in your partner’s ear just to tell them that you’re having fun, or that tonight is your first time at the club! I met many nice men, who were all very good dancers and I’m pretty sure I stepped on their feet. I danced with Christian, whose name I at first thought was, “Ignacio”, who responded smoothly, “You can call me Ignacio any time you like!”. He invited me to take lessons with him, claiming that he needed a partner for the beginning salsa lessons offered on Tuesday nights! I had to turn him down, as my sister and I had determined earlier that all of the lessons are offered on nights when I’m working! Sadface. I’d still like to learn, dancing is so much fun!

Oh, but the night wasn’t over. My Prince Charming! He was there. Here, I’ll set the scene:

Me.
Sweating and tired, fumbling for a water-bottle. My hair is half sliding out of my pigtails (Yes, I wore pigtails salsa dancing–they were cute and unique but they also made me feel like I was seven!) and I have mascara running down my cheek. I’m limping slightly after having my achilles heel be stomped on by my OLDER SISTER (who was being spun around like a top by one of the instructors) I descend the staircase in slow motion (tripping slightly on someone’s jacket, a chair, someone else’s shoe, and knocking over somebody’s beer bottle in the process)…

Him.
Plastered with sweat, overweight, at least 40. His shirt was open to his navel exposing his, ahem, ridiculously manly chesthair and his Burt Reynolds mustache called to me from across the room, our eyes met as the toe of my shoe caught on the wooden dance floor and I tripped into his arms. And we danced the night away.

To be totally honest, I didn’t really get the salsa dancing until this partner (And no, I honestly don’t know his name–we never spoke!) previously I was tripping, bouncing like a penguin (Literally: one partner instructed me to do this!) smacking my partners in the face while dancing… etc. With my new partner (we’ll call him Rudolfo) I had it down. If we weren’t salsa dancing, this would have been the moment the band would have started playing a cover of “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. They were Cuban though, so they played a different song, that involved yelling and raising your arms a lot? Also Rudolfo decided that during This Song, he was going to Dip Me. A lot.

And then dance verrrrry closely for 16 counts.

A very. Long. 16 counts.

It’s one of those moments where you’re pressed against a very wet complete stranger and you wonder, “Am I okay with this?” “Is he hitting on me?” “Should I just go with it?” and you really don’t have time to think because 4,5,6 aaannnnd DIP! and then he put his hands on my waist and I was confused all over again.

I finally settled on a combination of going with it and pushing him away before the 16 (or 24, or 35, whatever he felt like) counts were over, which I’m sure wasn’t confusing to him in the slightest. He contented himself on singing to me (“Besa-me mama! Besa-me mucho!”) along with the song (Don’t worry, I am in Spanish 2! I know what those words mean.) and then dipping me again. And then spinning me. For FIVE MINUTES. And dipping me. AND THEN SPINNING. AND THEN DIPPING AGAIN. AND THEN SPINNING. AND THEN SPINNING, AND THEN DIPPING, AND THEN DANCING TOO CLOSE AND SPINNING ME AGAIN.

Did I mention that of course we were dancing to the song where they introduce all of the players? So the song was like, um, upwards of 25 minutes long?

YEAH.

Finally, FINALLY, the song ended, we clapped and hugged. He said “Thank you” (which were the only words we exchanged the ENTIRE EVENING) and planted a kiss on my cheek. I escaped to our seats, swigged down my bottle of water, and laughed with Lizzy. (“I JUST GOT KISSED. HIS SHIRT WAS OPEN TO HIS BELLY-BUTTON.”) when there was a tap on my shoulder and Rudolfo was back.

Rudolfo. Wasn’t. Done.

I’m pretty sure by the end of our second dance I was a considerably less exciting partner to dance with. Not only had I figured out his rhythm (and also His Game), I was also out of steam and ready for, um, a rest? Or like, some more water? Or like, TO STOP SPINNING EVERY TWO COUNTS. I will say, it was a relief to finally dance with someone who led his partner with clues, so I knew what was going on, and who stayed on the general beat, and it was completely and very fun, even though… dancing too closely… dancing too closely…

I’m lucky that I’m one of those people who can just go with it, and isn’t completely freaked out by being touched/danced with by a complete stranger, but that was a stretch, even for Brittney.

We left the Mambo shortly after my last dance with Rudolfo. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to dance with Antonio Banderas (No, seriously, he looked JUST LIKE HIM, only with lots of gold chains, more hair gel and snakeskin boots!) but all three of us were ready for a break, more water, and a chance to sit where the speakers weren’t making your hair vibrate.

So, salsa dancing review: Super fun! I’ll definetly go again, and next time will be prepared for it to be lame until the clock strikes medianoche.

backpost: new at coffeejob

originally posted on April 21, 2009 on lemonlove.forgedpixels.com?

I’ve been so clumsy lately that Winona has suggested I start a new section on my blog: “What did Brittney drop today at work?”

No promises, but I thought I’d at least start chronicling my epic clumsiness.

Things I have dropped so far:
1. An entire box full of 8 cartons of soy.

It was dark, we had ten minutes until closing. Since our store is tiny and compact, soy is most often stored on a high shelf. I pulled the heavy box down, made it almost all the way to the fridge, and it slid out of my hands. Every single carton of soy in that box exploded. All over my clean fridges, bar, floor, and apron. I came home with soy down my shirt.

2. A full bowl of mocha.

The mocha was expired and I was supposed to throw it out, and the stainless-steel container slipped out of my hands, cascading up and over in slow-motion like such things do in movies. Mocha splattered all over the ceiling, the sink, my apron, my face, and the floor. Even after washing my hands and cleaning up the mess, everything I touched for the rest of the evening had smudges of chocolate on it. I came home with mocha down my shirt.

3. More than 3 pounds of coffee beans/ground coffee.

Whether I forget to lock the espresso machine and beans cascade onto the floor, or the container of ground coffee slides in between my wet and slippery fingers or someone bumps me or something happens and things get scattered and tossed. And I come home with coffee grounds down my shirt.

4. A gallon jug of milk.

I had five frappucinos in line after a latte. You get used to slinging jugs of milk around at work, especially since speed has been our number one priority this month. Dropping a gallon is generally no big deal, especially since it happens all of the time and they normally stay intact. This one didn’t. It exploded all over my face, the espresso bar, the plexiglass dividers… and the floor. This time I came home with green tea frappucino down my shirt.

5. A full liter of freshly steamed milk.

160 degree milk, all over myself. And the best part was probably stomping on the thermometer and breaking it.

6. An Americano.

Another barista ran into me while I was pulling out a cup filled with espresso shots and the espresso went all over me. I had to endure the rest of the day looking remarkably like a palomino! And I came home with dried espresso down my shirt.

I would like to take note that while I have worked for the company for about eight months now, every single one of these incidence has taken place in the last two! The week of working-eight-days-straight will most likely be trying… I’m just hoping for no more clumsiness.

backpost: some shopping advice

This was originally posted on June 25, 2009 at lemonlove.forgedpixels.com. Saving my favourite posts from there to keep!

Enduring my two nights a week being The Fitting Room Lady at a chain retail store, I have learned a lot from observing hundreds of women try on armful after armful of clothing that doesn’t work for them over and over again.

I’ve never understood my friends who hated stores and shopping and the time spent searching for a pair of pants or a new dress. To me, the fear of salelsady judgement* and being “too fat” for the clothes that they wanted held my friends back from a wide world of wonderfully fun times.

I grew up in a shopping home. This means that when my Mom, sister and I are bored, we go shopping. We go shopping alone, and we go shopping together. We try on outfits because they’re ugly, or because they’re outrageous, or because they’re perfect for matching a couch. We buy little black dresses simply because they fit, not because we need them. We try new accessories and we look at the expensive purses. We try things. It’s constant. I love it. I love shopping, and I love the fun and bonding my family (and shopping friends!) can experience because of what we like.

So now that I’ve spent nearly a year (Geez, I really didn’t think I’d last this long!) being The Fitting Room Lady I have a few insights into the Fear of Shopping. Mostly from watching women sabotage themselves and the fun that shopping can be over and over again.

And here is my general disclaimer, again. I love shopping. I understand not liking it, but don’t be afraid to give it a go. I sometimes have panic attacks about my blog, and how it is somehow sabotaging Everything That Is Feminist, but whatever, I like what I like, and can only give you insights into what I know, which is shopping, and how it can be totally awesome, so it’s great, the end. Woo.

So, here are Lemon Love’s Shopping Fabulosity Guide!
(OMG it’s like the title is from Seventeen or something! I’m so clever.)

1. Find out / Know your size.

At least once every shift a woman will come through my lineup with an armful of clothing. One look at her selection will show me that she has no idea what her size is. A pair of size 14 slacks, a pair of size 7 jeans from the juniors section, two “small” tank tops, a few “large” sweaters and a t-shirt sized at “2x”… She has no idea. There’s nothing wrong with going to a store with the intention of finding your size, but if your selection looks like this every time you go shopping… there’s a reason why nothing fits.

If you need to, write it down in a notebook! Have a “shopping list” of what looks good on you. I have friends who wear “Large” t-shirts but go for the “Extra Large” tank-tops because of their chest size, and I know that in certain brands I’m a “Large”, but not a “Medium”. Recognizing that sometimes there’s a difference, but overall you fit into a single size bracket will reduce the breaking of your heart.

Also: Reduce heartbreak by a) not looking at things that aren’t in your size “bracket” or b) writing them off as not fabulous for you. If they don’t fit on your body they’re not going to make you look fabulous.
(Tip: Hold the pants/shirt up to your body before you take it into the fitting room. Do you really think this will stretch over you? Yes? Try it on. No? Leave it there. And if it will stretch over your body but leave enough space for a small pony, leave it on the rack, it’s too big for you.)

Also I would like to state, out loud, on the Internet, in English (because I don’t know Swahili as well as I used to) that there is a distinct difference in sizing between clothing categorized as “Women’s” and “Junior’s” (or sometimes “Missies”). Clothing marketed towards younger women runs about a size and a half smaller than clothing marketed towards older women, so keep that in mind when picking out clothes.

2. Take an outspoken friend.

Bonding is really the best part about shopping, whether it involves mutual dislike (“Oh gosh why is the new trend ruffles?!”) or mutual love (“You love belting at the natural waist too?! It’s so hot!”). Spending time looking at anything with a friend will bring you together in a very unique way. So take a friend. If they’re a good friend, they’ll tell you when the pants don’t quite fit, or when the skirt emphasizes your booty a little too much.

Also: If you find yourself without a friend, work up the guts to talk to a saleslady(person). Yes, we might be incredibly stylish and completely intimidating (because we’re so stylish and awesome and hot and yes I totally need a boyfriend drop me a line) but to be 100% honest? We’ll hook you up. Yes, we have stuff to get done and clothing to hang up, but we also get paid for customer service and it’s really fun to tell a nice girl that an outfit looks great on her, or maybe suggest a different style of cropped pant or shirt that will make her look more shapely. We can’t always fix the problem or find you the perfect outfit, but don’t hesitate to ask!
(It might be my absolute most favourite part about my job, but don’t tell my boss that, mmkay?)

3. Be adventurous.

Just because a shirt looks hideous on the hanger doesn’t always mean that it’s going to look hideous on you. Sometimes hidden darts and shapes and flattering colour combinations can be revealed! I know that a few of my favourite outfits came from “Oh gosh, this is so completely ugly” finds. The only reason why I found them was because I decided to be silly and try on something I hated, and what do you know? They were awesome! Most of the time you’ll only find misses, but taking the time to look at yourself in the mirror and isolate why they don’t work can help you a lot in the way of shopping woes.

For instance, I’ll revisit this sweater, jacket, thing:

(photo lost! :C )

What I liked about it:
1. It was very unique.
2. It was horrendous. (In the, everyone-would-talk-to-me-about-it kind of way)
3. It had a furry hood.

Why it didn’t work for me:
1. It didn’t have sleeves (I have rather large arms that I can get stupidly self-conscious about. Also: I get cold easily.)
2. It was the wrong colour. (I’m ridiculously pale, and gray has never been a super flattering colour / I tend to avoid the few gray items that live in my closet anyway.)
3. I hate drawstrings. (They get in the way, get tied too tightly, generally look sloppy.)
4. The pocket pooch emphasized my lower stomach in an incredibly unflattering way. (Emphasizing tummy + exposed upper arms + boring colour = I felt extremely blah and overweight and completely unfabulous. Also, the way the pooch moved with the drawstring and the fabric made my boobs look flat. Q: Who wants flat boobs? A: Someone who is not me.)
5. The zipper got stuck when I put it on. (-100 points for being difficult!)

So I voted it a “No”. Even though I loved it. Even though it had a furry hood and oh man I would probably cross the Sahara if they were handing out free jackets with furry hoods on the other side. (Also it was $40, and I am le cheap.)

But trying it on and thinking about what worked and what didn’t showed me A) that I am really unnaturally obsessed with furry hoods, and B) that I could comfortably wear a… sweater/dress/thing/whatever this is if it had a lower belted waist, some cap sleeves, and no tummy poochy thing. Also I got some cool blog fodder.

So be adventurous. You never know what you could find!

That’s all I’ve got in shopping tips for now, though I’m sure I’ll have three more after work tomorrow night. What do you do to make your shopping trips easier or more fabulous?

*Who (as I can say from experience) doesn’t care who you are or what you do as long as you’re not loud and obnoxious, rude, and/or messing up her area.