Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mee-mee tag

Five random things about me:
  • While I love to travel, my experience abroad has been limited. I actually turned down my parents' offer to study abroad in college because I was afraid I'd miss too much fun with my sorority. My roster of international travel destinations is extremely predictable (Mexico and Canada) save for one very random locale: Moscow, Russia.
  • One of my favorite things to eat is completely weirdo: a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. Toast two slices of wheat bread, spread peanut butter on one side and mayo (or Miracle Whip) on the other (just. trust. me.), garnish with lettuce and sliced dill pickles. Really, really, awesome. I share this bizarre favorite with my Dad. You probably think that's gross, but you're not the boss of me are you?
  • I have an inch-long scar on my right hip from the time I burned myself badly while ironing in my underwear. I think I was about 15. I couldn't wear pants as a result of my injury and had to wear Soffe shorts to school everyday for about a week.
  • I have a history of getting really sick while traveling (perhaps divine intervention that I haven't traveled abroad much?). Countless bouts of flu, high fever, food poisoning have sent me to emergency rooms across the country. Ask me about my favorite in rural Kentucky!
  • As a kid, I spent a few summers at Prude Ranch Camp (the Prudes are a very prominent ranch family in West Texas; I've heard all the prude jokes so don't bother) where I learned to rope cattle.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Family Time; or a summary of my trip to Texas in two words: Diet Coke

(edit) I am now writing you from the glorious DFW Hyatt, after my flight was cancelled (predictable; yet infuriating). Texas just couldn't let me go, I guess. I'm wrapped in the Hyatt robe with a glass of wine, so I guess it's not the end of the world. I'd really like to see my boyfriend and kitty, though, thanks.

I am writing you from DFW, where my flight to Chicago has been delayed from 9 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. One wonders how certain airlines can remain in business with such a terrible record of on-time departures. And/or safety. You know, whatever.

But anyway. Texas. My most recent business trip took me to Midland, where I was able to stay with my grandparents. And my mom drove in from El Paso, so it was a great week. I'll be in Waco next week, with two personal trips to Austin on the weekends before and after. I'm a lucky little Texan.

And speaking of little Texans, this trip reminded me that if there's one thing the women in my family do well, it's drink a lot (like. a LOT) of Diet Coke and spend a lot of money at Target. I found a bunch of tights on crazy clearance (no need for tights in May, Midland?). Any girl living in Chicago knows that tights are essential winter (and fall. and spring. sigh) wear. I got opaque black, brown and charcoal grey.

Other items of note: my Mee-Maw gave me some beautiful vintage jewelry (her mother's - my great grandmother's) this week. Gorgeous and very glam. I'll try to post some pictures, like, someday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Heart Texas

Today I begin my Week of Texas (part I of II). I'm headed to Midland for work (with the added bonus of seeing my family) and will be back in Chicago on Friday. But the Texas doesn't end there, people! I'm getting my Chicago Texans (and honorary Texans; see me for an application) together to see Pat Green at Joe's on Weed Street on Saturday.

Best of all, I have that unmistakable, fluttery feeling I get every time I'm headed back home to Texas. I love that feeling. Gah.

Lone Star State, here I come!

PS - I was in Evansville, Indiana (40 miles from the "epicenter") for the Midwestern earthquake on Friday morning. What a freakshow this life is.

("I'm having a nervous breakdown and you're saying words like epicenter to me?!")

Monday, April 14, 2008

Babies are the new black

Check out this little guy! Caleb Alexander Elrod. My family keeps multiplying, and he's the newest. Can't wait to buy him his first Longhorns jersey!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Discount Fashion Retailers – Online

Living in a big city and in the electronic age, it’s hard to not be aware of luxury brand items and the high-end retailers of the world… and fall in love with them. It’s bad enough working on Michigan Avenue, but when it’s so easy to browse online boutiques and fashion blogs and web sites, ignorance is a kind of bliss no longer available to moi.

The truth is, you can – and I do - usually approximate super-expensive clothes at places like H&M or Forever 21 (if you can handle shopping at these stores mentally and emotionally, ye who are legitimately past 21 ((me)) and also legitimately way past waiting in a line for a dressing room ((also me))). I saw this great ballet-pink silk shirt in the March issue of Lucky magazine and found a top almost exactly like it in color and cut at Forever 21. I guess it all really depends on what you like about an item – if you like that it’s a pretty pink shirt that costs $220 the former is probably for you. Or if you just like the top, the latter.

Approximation aside, I cannot abide actual designer knock-offs. If you love a really high-end item, have coveted it for years, if you dream about it – in my case the Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 - do yourself a favor and save up for months or however long it takes and buy the real thing. You can’t wait for it to go on sale, because these items never go on sale.

But there are plenty of middle-of-the-road items like jeans and dresses and shoes that do go on sale or somehow make their way to the discount fashion retailers of the world – Filene’s,, consignment shops, etc. These places are perfect if you aren’t looking for something in particular (you’re better off saving up or going the Forevs/H&M route when shopping for specific items) and have the fortitude to dig through racks of clothes or click through a zillion web pages. Being willing to fight someone is always a plus too.

Ok, so you know the stuff is out there, but how do you go about procuring it? Here’s my guide:

Online and the newly debuted sister site b*

Ok, so I have to admit that I’ve never purchased anything from Just as I am with, I get overwhelmed with the enormous amount of choice on Bluefly and log off before I have the chance to hemorrhage any money. But for the sake of this entry, I spent some time browsing (with a brown paper sack, repeating Whitney Port’s sage advice to “breathe…breathe”), and here’s what I like:

The cocktail dress selection is great, especially for brands like ABS and Nicole Miller. Their entire inventory is searchable by designer, size, color and various other metrics, allowing you to narrow down your search to a manageable endeavor. And occasionally, they’ll have items from an unexpected/favorite/obscure designer that you might never find anywhere, let alone at a discount (for examp, they have some ((albeit fug)) Dina Bar-El dresses up right now). But speaking of The Fug, that’s Bluefly’s biggest drawback. While most of the inventory carries in-demand names, you have to dig through a lot weirdo stuff that nobody wants before you find something good. And even then, the discount may not be discounted enough to warrant a purchase.

Side note: Bluefly just launched b*, a site that at first glance, trends a little more towards a younger set, with a focus on “hot” brands like Betsey Johnson (who, if you ask my mom, has been “hot” for 30 years. Way to be fashion-forward, Mama!) Tory Burch, and True Religion.’s hottest pick:

Before I break out in Blue-hives, I will leave you. Perhaps you’re of stronger mettle than I and have had good luck with Bluefly? Please share. Next up for review, Marshall’s and (my personal fave) Century 21.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Did you know the human head weighs eight pounds?

My friend Natalie over at Gluten Free Mommy is on the South Beach Diet.

I however, am on the food poisoning(?)/stomach bug diet. Which? At the risk of over-sharing, has to rank right up there with cutting off one of your limbs as one of the most unpleasant ways to lose eight pounds.


Two thoughts my addled mind can produce right now:

I'm in love with the Alice In Wonderland jewelry items from the Disney Couture line. Maybe its because I went as Alice for Halloween for several years as a child. Check them out on my Stylefeeder.

Milly gets this dreamy, distant look in her eyes and sometimes drools as she "kneads the biscuits" on me or various blankets/stuffed animals. I am thinking about video taping it and putting the whole thing to romantic music and posting it to YouTube. Thoughts?

Monday, April 7, 2008

I-Pod Crash Course

I can spend hours creating playlists on my I-pod, carefully picking the order of songs to capture a certain mood... or to avoid one.

According to my I-Tunes tracker, these are the most frequently played songs on my I-pod, and when I listen to them it's like a crash course lesson on my life over the last few years. Isn't music a trip? Literally - a trip through your memory. Some are happy, some are sad, some are new, some are really old. I play all of them over and over again in my car. Particularly the last three minutes of the last song, driving down Lake Shore Drive with the moon roof down, feeling young. Which is worth $18 of I-Tunes in spades, if you ask me.

Here they are.
  1. Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight - Amos Lee
  2. Another White Dash - Butterly Boucher
  3. Nolita Fairytale - Vanessa Carlton
  4. Things that Scare Me - Neko Case
  5. Half Acre - Hem
  6. Something Pretty - Patrick Park
  7. Quattro - Calexico
  8. Afterglow - INXS
  9. High and Dry - Jamie Cullum
  10. With a Subtle Look - Now it's Overhead
  11. Miss America - David Byrne
  12. Ooh Child - Beth Orton
  13. I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab for Cutie
  14. One Great City! - The Weakerthans
  15. Bedshaped - Keane
  16. My Number - Tegan and Sara
  17. Gold in the Sunset - Bob Schneider
  18. Lovestoned/I Think She Knows (interlude version) - Justin Timberlake

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Does this entry seem organized to you?

I heart bullets. Not the bullets that come out of guns and *kill people, but the kind that are used in documents as an organization tool. I use them all the time; too often maybe. Not just in work e-mails either - no, no - in notes to friends and family too. I suppose as a writer I shouldn't rely on them so often to distinguish **separate ideas like
  • wine
  • sushi
  • shoes

but they are just too effective of a writing crutch device for me to resist their siren call. And did you see what I did there? I used bullets when they weren't even necessary! I am also a big fan of the sub-bullet, (to further categorize ideas!) but we can get into that another time.

Anyway for the love of gawd, the point is that I'm going to use bullets in this entry to talk about some very separate but relevant and timely items of note.

  • I am going to New York City this weekend to visit one of my closest girlfriends and I always have a hard time planning my outfits for trips there because it's the one place in the world where I don't feel like I'm ahead of the game fashion-wise.There's just a kind of fashion moxie going on in NYC that people don't have anywhere else. Anything goes. Needless to say, I can't wait to go shopping.
  • Ok, so this past Saturday night I went to the annual Junior League black-tie fundraiser and actually had fun for the first time ever. As it turns out, I had a little too much fun... but not in the way you're thinking. The silent auction was pretty dead, and I felt bad for all the poor neglected vendors, so I decided to, you know, get the ball rolling with a few bids on some pretty items - a long-strand freshwater pearl necklace and another pearl-and-stone necklace on a pretty gold chain - and you know where this is going don't you? I WON BOTH EFFING AUCTIONS. And now I am contractually obligated to buy them. Granted, they are far less than their "retail" value, but it's going to hit the pocketbook... pretty hard.
  • It is never getting warm again.

*Guns don't kill people. People with moustaches kill people.

**But really? When you think about it? Aren't they kind of all one idea?