Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sharing Size

I once had dinner in Japan, where at the end of the meal the hostess brought out a single Cinnabon roll to be split between us. She cut the cinnamon roll into five pieces and everyone got a slice. I thought it was a bit funny at the time, not only having a breakfast pastry for dessert, but that it was presented in a cake-like fashion (and I had never thought of a cinnamon roll as a cake before).

Part of the reason I was surprised by this dividing of the Cinnabon, was the fact that I generally think of a cinnamon roll as being one serving. They sell them individually, and thus it’s easy to think of one cinnamon roll as one serving. Yet Cinnabons are huge, and I for one doubt that I could ever eat an entire one in one sitting. So taking a step back, dividing the Cinnabon up makes perfect sense because you’re eating a portion size that’s not large enough to overwhelm you.

It’s so easy in the U.S. to get large portions and end up eating the entire plate of food placed in front of you. On my smart days I may get a smaller portion size or take the leftovers home with me. On my not so smart days I’ll consume it all (as though it’s some sort of accomplishment to have cleaned my plate)—but I know I’m bound to regret this poor decision later as my stomach grows more and more uncomfortably full. It’s grossly apparent when you’ve eaten too much when it becomes an effort to eat and you no longer enjoy the food you’re eating. And yet sometimes I still forget about what a serving size should be and eat too much; it continues to be a lesson that I have to relearn on a regular basis because it just doesn’t quite want to stick. [Sigh.]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

End Before It’s Too Late

Sometimes one of the few TV shows I actually love comes to a point where it feels like they’re prolonging the inevitable end. American TV shows tend to strive for many seasons—which can be good and bad. With multiple seasons, characters can develop and stories can deepen, but it also means that a good series can last too long and start to decline, and you know things are going down when they add The Interloper.

Perhaps after a few seasons the ratings have dipped, so the writers or the higher ups decide they need to add someone new to “spice things up” and so The Interloper appears. A common Interloper is a relative—like a whiny child or teenager or a cranky elder. And while The Interloper can take many other forms as well (e.g. friend, co-worker, adversary, etc.), one thing is clear: they’re not welcome.

The Interloper is often one (if not all) of the following: stupid, annoying, inept, immature and just plain unlikable. They bring everyone and everything down around them. Every time The Interloper comes on the screen you just want to sigh in disapproval at the dumb things that come to pass because of The Interloper. And you keep hoping that The Interloper will just die (or at the very least move away), but for whatever reason The Interloper just won’t go away. [Sigh.]

The Interloper puts a stain on an otherwise great series and often becomes a marker between the “good seasons” and the “bad seasons”. Instead of having that unwanted distinction, a good series should just end before Interlopers appear and ruin everything. Let a good show end on a high note rather than a low one by ending things in a timely fashion. All good things must come to an end...unless you wait so long that it’s not even good any more.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Christmas Trumps Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, but don’t you think you ought be getting ready for Christmas? Although Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays in the U.S., it’s nothing in comparison to the mammoth that is Christmas. Because an entire month of Christmas shopping just isn’t enough—apparently you ought to be chomping at the bit to be shopping for Christmas presents…today.

Black Friday used to start around 6 a.m. Friday, and then it got pushed back to 4 a.m., and then it got pushed back to midnight. And now, there’s no more Friday to push back on—so why not start on Thursday at 8 p.m.? Because how long does it take to eat Thanksgiving dinner? A few hours, and then what? Spend more time with family and friends? Try to cram another slice of pumpkin pie into your already bloated stomach? Go to sleep early because your family has exhausted you? Why do any of these things when you can shop?

Sure, you’re stuffed and sleepy, but perhaps after a power nap you can awake and find your way to stores to spend, spend, spend. Because why wait for tomorrow when you can shop today? And in your swollen and sluggish state you’re sure to be surrounded by shoppers in equally terrific moods, and while lethargic from the food coma you’re all in, that will in no way impact the wonderful purchasing decisions you’re all sure to make.

Can you sense how ridiculous I think shifting Black Friday to Thursday is? It’s bad enough that Black Friday exists; does it really need to infringe upon Thursday? I say no, it doesn’t. Once Thursday ends, the following three days is a hellish shopping nightmare—let Thursday remain to be the calm before the storm. Let Thursday just be Thanksgiving. [Pause.] Or perhaps it’s just easier to give Thursday up and let it transform into Black Thursday and just move Thanksgiving to Wednesday. That would solve everything…until they started pushing Black Thursday onto Black Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White: The Scariest Color

A part of me fears the color white. White is such a fresh and clean color—which just begs to be spoiled. I have white shirts and blouses, and every time I wear one I’m paranoid that I’m going to get something splattered all over it. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce…pretty much any sort of sauce is attracted to the color white. In fact, I may tailor my meals to avoid any foods that may leave an unwanted mark. Or I may button up the (dark) jacket I’m wearing to cover up my white top to minimize any splatter damage that may occur. Yes, white is a dangerous color to wear.

And while I’ll venture to wear white tops, I’ve continually avoided white pants and skirts. I’ll see these items in stores and while I may think they’re cute, I think how impractical they must be. A white top is hard enough to keep clean, but pants and skirts have even more surface area to worry about. I could totally imagine myself wearing a pair of white pants and sitting on a dirty bench, which would then leave an ugly (and perhaps permanent) mark on my backside. White is just such an easy color to ruin.

Yet I like the color white—now more so than ever. I have so many dark articles of clothing that white really helps to make things pop. And while I have yet to rationalize buying a white skirt or pair of pants, I can somehow rationalize buying white (or in this case cream) fabric at the fabric store. A white garment isn’t terribly practical, so I think I feel less guilty about having a white garment if I can make one for about $10.

The skirt pattern I wanted to use required 2 yards of fabric, but I only managed to get about 1.75 yards of challis (as it was what was left on the bolt). However, once I shortened the length of the skirt pattern by about 5 inches, I managed to get all of my pattern pieces laid out on the cloth to cut out. I’ve used this skirt pattern before and it’s a pretty easy pattern to begin with, so it didn’t take too long to make. I’m pretty happy with my cream skirt and think it will be fairly versatile. [Pause.] That is until I manage to ruin it by spilling coffee on it or doing something equally damaging to this light-colored fabric. [Sigh.] It seems inevitable that this will happen…someday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Resignation Reigns

I’m not going to lie—I’m particular about things. I was a picky child, and I’m a picky adult. I have very specific ideas of what I want in clothing and shoes. My hunt for knee-high boots has been a two-year string of disappointments because I’m picky. I just can’t help it; if I’m willing to spend money on something, I want it to be right. I want my boots to be:
  • Versatile (capable of dressing up or down, whether I’m wearing a skirt or jeans)
  • Good quality (made of a nice leather that’s not too rough)
  • Comfortable (it can have a heel or wedge, but not too tall)
  • Fit (they should fit comfortably snug around my legs)
  • Price (I have a price range that I want to keep within)

This really limits what I’m looking for at a store. No riding boots because they’re too casual. No stiletto heels because I need to be able to walk more than two blocks in them. No large bands of elastic that I find so ugly. [Pause.] Let’s just say there’s a lot of things I don’t want. [Sigh.]

Not long ago I bemoaned about big boots and my inability to find a pair that I not only liked but also fit me properly. Recently, I once again found a pair of boots online that looked promising so I went to the store to try them on. I found the boots on display and the leather felt pretty nice and I liked the style of the boot so my hopes were high. However, when I tried them on, while comfortable, they were once again too large around my legs. I was so very disappointed (especially since my beloved old boots and these new boots were the same brand, yet the fit was so vastly different).

After I relayed my disappointment about the fit, the salesperson mentioned that I might consider getting them altered and I told her I’d think about it and left the store. I continued to shop, though mostly my mind was on her suggestion of alterations. I didn’t really want to take that extra step and expense of getting a pair of boots altered, and yet, it seemed my options were limited. The shift in boot size appears to be pervasive; it seems as though the average customer shoe companies have in mind for their boots is not someone like me, and there was little I could do to remedy the situation.

Finally, I decided to just buy the boots and get them altered. I came to the conclusion that the chances of me finding a pair of boots that I loved and fit me were practically non-existent. I’d be waiting forever…and I just couldn’t wait that long. I was so tired of looking for the perfect pair of boots. I just wanted a pair of boots for the winter that would take the place of my beloved no longer waterproof boots. So I just had to suck it up and get these new boots altered.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DIY: Folded Paper Napkin Ring

This is a simple way to create napkin rings that are just made out of paper—no gluing or taping required. They aren’t too hard to make, disposable and inexpensive.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Little Brown Dress

I’ve never really been drawn much to the color brown; it always seemed so drab to me. Given a choice of neutral colors, I tend to gravitate towards black and gray and more recently white, cream and navy. Yet my avoidance of brown has somewhat waned over the years. I have a few pairs of brown shoes (although if I’m being honest had they’d had the option of black, I would’ve gotten them in black). Yet I’m not so opposed to brown now because I can see that it has a warmth that black does not; so wearing brown can be especially nice in combination with brighter and lighter colors.

Sometime ago at a fabric store, I picked up some coffee brown sateen (that was of course on sale). For a brown, I actually liked it—it was so dark and rich and chocolate colored. I finally got around to using this fabric and decided to make a dress with it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two Months of Christmas

It’s already begun: the countdown to Christmas. A smattering of Christmas ads have crept their way onto the TV and Christmas paraphernalia have started to infiltrate stores (such as Christmas trees and ornaments). Christmas is slowly ramping up until Thanksgiving hits, and then all hell will break loose with Christmas sales and shopping reminders that'll bombard us in full force. [Sigh.] I’m not really looking forward to the upcoming madness.

Don’t get me wrong, Christmas day is great. You get to eat good food, see family (that you hopefully like) and of course there’s presents. These are all good things. I just don’t really enjoy the pre-game—the two months of impending Christmas preparations that saturates the air. There’s just so much I would like to avoid: the shopping craziness with its never ending lines at stores; the terrible holiday music that stalks you wherever you go; and the saccharine-filled holiday TV specials that are overtly intended to pull at your heartstrings. [Pause.] None of this puts me in the Christmas spirit.

I just wish Christmas didn’t have the prolonged hullabaloo that seems to grow longer with each passing year. I don’t mean to sound Scrooge-like, but thinking about Christmas for two months is just exhausting. It makes Christmas less special to me because if feels like I have to deal with it for a sixth of the year (and that’s a long time). I’m almost glad when Christmas is over because then I won’t be accosted by Christmas reminders any longer. Yes, I’m bracing myself for two long months of Christmas.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Wrong Sleeve

Not long ago I went with friends to this boutique sale where various boutique shops gathered their wares in one location—a way to garner more buzz and get a wider spectrum of customers. These were not stores that I generally patronized, and while I thought some of the items there were cute, I just couldn’t get that excited about anything. I couldn’t get excited about a fancy T-shirt on sale for $50 or a cotton dress for $125; my practical side won out and there was nothing there that I couldn’t live without. But recently I went to Goodwill and bought a dress for $8 that I could get excited about.