Fashion Police Part 2

I marched into a very swanky department store and found myself a Personal Stylist.

She was glam. She was suave. She represented.

She took a good long look at me and went to work. I lounged on a cushy sofa while she brought loads of adorable clothes and spread them out on racks. Some I sent back and the rest I tried on in a spacious dressing room with large mirrors and great lighting. Amazing.

I purchased over $2000 dollars worth of fabulous outfits on the spot.

None of which I was planning to keep.

I just wanted to know what that felt like; finding clothes that are fabulous and bringing them home to hang in my closet.

I took photos of my new wardrobe so I would later be able to copy the process, but it turned out to be a waste of time.

While returning my treasures under the cover of ‘closing time’, I noticed my reflection in a mirrored pillar. This pillar could easily hold a human, I thought.

What if my eyes aren’t the only ones staring back?

It’s what happens in the dead of night, when I’m loitering in an empty store feeling guilty over a stealth mission.

The next horrified thought was: are there two way mirrors in the dressing rooms?

Did some crazy person sit on a stool behind the mirror and watch me suck in my stomach and struggle with a dress over my head and laugh at my Wonder Woman undies?

Did I get right up in her face, checking for salad in my teeth?

Even if (God forbid) there wasn’t a camera involved, did this person go home every night and laugh her butt off telling stories around the dinner table?

‘Cause I totally would.

What if this were true?

I wanted to ask the grim lady behind the register, but she was frowning harshly at little return tickets, so I gave her some space.

I, of course, would never believe her anyway.

Time to go ninja and look for some clues in the dressing rooms.

Safe: the mirror is attached to the wall’s surface like a picture. You can rap on it and it will sound dull because there is a solid wall behind it.

Sketch: the mirror is installed into the wall like a window. You can rap on it and it will sound hollow because there is an open space behind it.

Safe: the store has provided cheap overhead fluorescent light. You look lousy but at least no one else can tell.

Sketch: the store has provided lovely strong clear lighting. Your skin glows, your outfit is stunning, and the security guy has a great photo shoot.

Safe: put your finger up to the glass and touch it. There should be a small gap between your finger and the reflection of your finger.

Sketch: put your finger up to the glass and have it touch it’s reflection directly. This could be a trap.

Safe: step up to the mirror and press your face against it, cupping your hands around your eyes to block the light from your side. It should be dark in there.

Sketch: Oh, the heck with it. Sneak behind the racks of clothing discards and hit the circuit breaker. With all the lights out, activate your cell phone flashlight app and aim it at the mirror. If there’s a room back there, you should be able to see it.

Or blind yourself.

Which means “safe”.

An exception to all of the above would be a small hidden camera with a fisheye behind an installed two-way mirror.

You wouldn’t be able to detect it with any of the above methods.

If you’re in this type of high-level James Bond situation and you’re sure the bad guy is back there, take the num chucks you packed in your “utilitarian” purse and shatter the mirror.

Maybe you’ll have glass shards in your hair, but you will know who’s been watching you.

Unless you missed the security cameras on the ceiling.

Or the convex mirrors in the corners.

Or the cell phone you didn’t know was on.

Or maybe the door slats are reversed and everyone outside can look right in.

I may never shop again.

Fashion Police Part 1

Here’s the thing.

It’s not so much that I dislike clothes shopping.

It’s just that I am so overwhelmed with my choices.

I will procrastinate until it’s dire straights and then fling myself into the mall hoping to find just one top that I like.

I know what I want, but no one seems to be selling it.

I decided to focus and get educated about clothes shopping because I was having anxiety attacks in the parking lot from the pressure to perform.

First I read all the books on fashion “rules”.

I studied color wheels and skin charts and body types. I read articles on the internet and browsed websites that would give you a personal analysis, clothing suggestions, accessory ideas, and even send you individually selected clothing right to your front door.

I stared down glossy magazines full of angry models.

“Why can’t the fashion industry make up their minds?” they say.

I can’t blame them.

Based on how few actual clothes they have on, I imagine they are having just as much trouble as I am shopping for jeans that fit.

My next step was to hit the mall.

I began by sitting at the coffee shop and drinking some optimism. I watched other ladies walk by wearing nice outfits and had yet again, that life-defining thought: “I could do that.”

Why? Why do I do that to myself?

But I snatched up my efficient utilitarian (“classic”) purse and began touring the window displays.

All of the latest trends were there. The mannequins had no curves and their bored expressions seemed to say, “Here today, gone tomorrow. You should’ve seen us in the 90s.”

I found a store that represented my “style”. A cross between country bumpkin and ‘date night on the bayou’. Sort of ‘mommy with an attitude’ with a touch of ‘I meant to do that’.

I forgot everything I learned about colors and fit and snatched up armloads of tops and pants in three sizes at once.

All I could think of was navigating the dressing room.

If you can only take five items into the room at a time but you need to try on a dozen, you have to hold an exchange of hostages with an employee waiting in the hall.

That’s if you plan ahead.

Otherwise, you must completely redress in your own clothes to run back out to the racks and find another size while hoping your room is still available. Do it enough times, and your hair ends up looking like you went through a cyclone, your top gets pulled on inside out and so much clothing is migrating under the stall door from the lady next to you that you are tossing refugees out like hot potatoes.

The employee will frown at you if you enter the dressing room with twelve items and come out with five.

It’s a whole different look if you enter the dressing room with five items and come out holding twelve.

My foray into the store ended like it always does: I kissed a great many frogs. None of them turned into princes. Looked great on the hanger. But I had to toss them back into the swamp.

The next step was logical. It was necessary. It may have been illegal.

But it was all in the name of retaining my “Girl Card”.

The Christmas Shopping Coma

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly…Fa La La La La La La La La!

Now that you are in the department store elevator with me, let’s chat.

Because it will take my mind off the numbing fog of whirlwind Christmas preparations. Maybe I’ll just rest my forehead on this sterile tinsel-free elevator wall for a moment while you talk.

How are you coming along with your Christmas list? If I really had my life pulled together, I would have finished mine in August. If I left Hubby in charge, he would be cheerfully racing through the malls on Christmas Eve without a budget, buying random and completely unsuitable gifts.

My reality falls somewhere in the middle, but it is never pretty.

Did you find a parking spot? On Mars? I out-waited three other cars for a space near the front and I fully intend to sell it to the highest bidder when I’m done here.

I walked in on the bottom level which was a big mistake. The line to see Santa snaked around the corner and the screaming limp children were torturing their whimpering limp parents.

People pay to do this.

I didn’t even reach my first store before I fell into my Christmas shopping coma. It happens every year about this time. I look like a sincere and cheerful shopper but I am actually sleeping with my eyes open.

Here’s my proof.

Our mall boasts a three story Target. Three. Stories.

This means they have escalators in there that take you and a cart full of stuff you don’t need but are buying anyway up and down all night.

It feels exactly like you’re in an airport. Which is fine. If your flight is cancelled, everything you need to live on is in there.

I had my daughter with me and we were heading down the down escalator while my own sister, who works there, was riding the other escalator up.

I looked her right in the face and she smiled at me as we passed, two ships in the night. Her smile dissolved into a puzzled frown just before she disappeared into the second floor.

My daughter waved and tossed out a quick “Hi!” as we dropped to the first floor.

Then she turned to me and said, “Mom? Why didn’t you say ‘Hi’?”

I leaned over and whispered, “Sweetie, I don’t know who that is.”

After some extreme eye rolling and patting me on the head, she left me to wander aimlessly while she dashed off to the food court.

My sister will understand. My daughter will check me into an old folks home.

It’s just that I find the frantic holiday push a little too…pushy. And my coma is a subconscious buffer zone.

There’s only one year in my memory that I joined the ranks of the frenetic and loved every minute of it.You can blame it squarely on Starbucks.

My children are all bigger than me, faster than me, and even, if you can believe it, bossier than me now. But when I was at the top of this food chain, I dragged my feet putting up Christmas.

It just feels harsh to jump directly from giving thanks for what we have to writing up all the stuff we suddenly want.

Plus, it’s a lot of work.

So, the first week of December was almost gone and everyone was wondering why Mom was still not in full Christmas mode. Where was our tree? Why were the ornament boxes still in the garage?

The neighbors have had lights up for a month for crying out loud.

Hubby and I had a date night. We went out to a movie and then over to Starbucks for dessert. I had recently discovered the joy of gingerbread lattes and treated myself – why not – to a venti.

That’s Italian for “we just put three shots of espresso into your veins”.

Which at the time, I didn’t realize.

An hour later, I was higher than a kite on caffeine and the whole world just glittered. I imagine that’s because my eyeballs were jittering in their sockets.

The family was in bed when I first eyed the Christmas stuff.

I was putting the finishing touch on a triumphant nativity set when I noticed the time.

Three in the am. Boom!

Every single holiday item we owned was on display. The family woke up to a winter wonderland.

And this, my friend, is why my comforting little coma will remain.

It keeps me solidly between Grinch and Tasmanian Devil.

Viva Las Vegas

You have to be careful at night in Las Vegas.

The Strip is full of tourists wandering around looking at each other and the sights. Glittered pink stretch limousines and wailing ambulances drive by. Casino lights flash, music wanders from doorways, and they still let you smoke like a chimney anywhere you please.

It’s entirely distracting.

If you pause long enough to visit Elvis, watch out you don’t accidentally end up married. They do that, ya know. One minute you’re talking blue suede shoes and the next minute he’s saying, “I now pronounce you….”

Don’t sign anything. It’s not a petition, it’s a marriage license. Now you owe him $100.

That lady in the fishnets, silver thong and the ten pound three foot tall orange-feathered head dress just finished her show at the Flamingo. She’ll pose with you for photos for $10.

So will Darth Vader.

So will SpongeBob.

It’s a little like Disneyland for grown ups. It’s just as phony and twice as expensive, and they make you walk further between attractions.

Plus, I’m pretty sure there are hidden cameras and whole underground areas we don’t even know about yet.

If you want to see the famous Bellagio water fountains, get there early and don’t lean too heavily on the concrete railing. It wobbles in places.

There is a duck that they paid to paddle out into the center of the lake just before showtime but never ends up blown 50 feet into the air.

Shame, that.

Who doesn’t want to see feathers flying to “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”?

And you certainly won’t leave Las Vegas without shopping all those shimmering malls, will you?

Each mall has it’s own entertainment; you won’t have to spend a dime to enjoy it.

Wander the Venetian and you will notice but probably ignore the tall silver toga statue on the pedestal. Your eye takes it all in as one big blur until the toga man winks at you.

That’s when you freeze, blocking the 30 or so marching tourists directly behind you and stare at him, frowning, because now you need to make him move again to prove it happened.

It didn’t occur to me until later that his pedestal had loose dollar bills sitting on it…toga man’s tips. So I reckon all I had to do was start gathering up his tip money to watch the “statue” gird up his loins and chase me down the aisles.

Caesar’s Palace has a show in the middle of its mall called “The Fall of Atlantis” that’s only so-so. The lions are gone from the MGM now and the Pirate Show from Treasure Island. But you can find everything from roller coasters to gondola rides to aquariums and zip-lines. Newest in the melee is the 550’ tall High Roller Observation Wheel. Um…no.

You want your best walking shoes in Vegas. Even if you make it through the Miracle Mile Mall, your feet will be begging for mercy.

Our Vegas get-away concluded with dinner at the Stratosphere Restaurant. We enjoyed eating at a Top of the World window seat, as the room subtly rotated 360* at almost 12,000 feet straight up. The nighttime city view was spectacular as were the lightning storms over the distant mountains.

After dinner, we went (further) upstairs to the open air walkway and watched the crazy people bungee jump off the rails.

The rest of the crazy people were riding the X Scream. I stood there, feet firmly planted on the floor, and screamed along with the riders every single time the ride tried to toss them off the building.

Every. Single. Time.

Morning people like myself can’t quite make the most of Vegas, although a nocturnal city makes sense in the middle of a desert. My bedtime hits around 10pm whether I like it or not.

I’ll leave it to Elvis and his buddies to keep the party going till dawn.

Wish I had a duck feather souvenir, though.