Tag Archives: shopping

Really, This Is Dressed Up!

The other day I was walking through our grocery store, Fred Meyers.  If you aren’t familiar with the store, you can literally walk in one side and buy your produce and deli items….exit out the other side with your new firearm and ammo.

I would say “fresh” produce but that would be a big fat lie.  Due to the travel time to Juneau, Alaska nothing arrives fresh.   Recently I’ve started to use asparagus as bows on gift bags….bendy and decorative… yet can be recycled into the evening’s meal.  You mean peppers aren’t supposed to be wrinkled up?

Anyhow, I pass by a guy talking on his cell phone and hear him say:

“I’m tired of dating girls that dress like men.”

Welcome to life in Juneau, Alaska.

I smiled to myself and reflected on all the cute clothes I have in my closet.  Strike that.  Closets….multiple.  God bless Macy’s and my dear friend Ginny….who keep me looking cute.  Big relief to know I’m not in the, “dresses like a man” category.  Then I realized, I was wearing my Carhartt jacket.    Well hell.  It’s warm.  It’s purple.  At least I wasn’t wearing my Carhartt pants at the same time.

In Juneau, dressing up means wearing your freshest flannel shirt, cleanest Carhartt jeans and newest pair of Xtra Tuff boots.  By newest, I mean the ones without the duct tape.  You could walk into any wedding, funeral or religious service wearing a combination of the above and fit in perfectly.

Sometimes, I can’t help myself.  Just have to do it….be a normal local.  Please note, my humorous foot attire for a winter ball I attended a few years ago.  Don’t worry, I did bring my heels and changed into them after the photo.  Only in Alaska…  And yes, quite a few Alaskan brides have had their photos snapped wearing these oh so attractive boots.

Honestly, you could walk into the fanciest restaurant in town and nobody would blink an eye.  Actually, that’s a lie.  Some people would blink an eye and would be shocked.  Those would be…

Tourists.

They’d be wondering what the hell was wrong with you.

Certainly they came to dinner in their linen pants (because it’s summer and doesn’t Juneau have summers like everywhere else in the world….warm?) and breezy resort shirt while reviewing travel guides and local tour brochures.  Here you come with your lover and look like you just got off a fishing boat.  The tourists are dumbfounded while sitting there all prim and proper, looking down their noses at you…. saying under their breath: This is a linen table cloth restaurant and they let anyone in here – can you believe it?  Those people look like they just hiked in from the back woods.  Must be a homeless sympathy meal.

I’m serious.

Recently, I was talking with a friend who had visited Alaska for the first time this year.  They commented on all the reality shows featuring Alaska now.  You name it, there’s a show about it.  Yep, people still mine for gold, fish for crab, drive on ice, get arrested, mush dogs and survive on the bounty of Mother Nature.  My friend commented how apparently some of the people in Juneau were obviously living off the land.  Because they resembled the people in the reality show:

Tough.

Scary.

Hard-core.

Only in town to stock up on supplies before heading back out to their cabin hidden away inside the forest or out into the sea for the next big catch.

Hate to break it to you my friend, those are just the regular locals.  Scruffy around the edges.  Yes, it’s true, even the women are scruffy.

I didn’t think much about the attire of our locals until I overheard that guy’s phone conversation.  Then I began to seriously look around at the people near me.  For example the other evening we went to a concert in town.  “Break of Reality.”  They were exceptional by the way.  Before departing the house, we both changed into nicer attire.

He wore a nice sweater and jeans.  I had on a cute top with jeans and heels.  As we sat in our seats, enjoying our glasses of wine I took a moment to survey the fashion scene.

What color flannel did you need?  We’ve got it all covered.  It was a virtual sea of flannel shirts.  Red.  Green.  Blue.  Mustard.  Black.  Amazing.  Quite a few women were dressed in what you’d normally wear to participate in outdoor sports.  Fleece tops and black cotton exercise pants.  Really?

On the other hand, there are people that show up to business functions and you can’t make up what they’re wearing for professional attire.  Recently I attended a function where a lady, who I was unfamiliar with, arrived wearing:

Purple sparkly sweater.

Sparkly black stocking.

Mid-calf black boots.

>> drum roll please <<

Black spandex exercise shorts.

Crap, now we must have an Alaska reality show about “What the Hell NOT to Wear.”

Yes, I will take that glass of wine now, thank you.  Did she even pass a mirror on her way out of the house?  What magazine said that was the new look for the 2012 winter season?  That’s at the polar opposite of wearing your pajama pants out into public.  And by public, I’m saying you’re where other people can see you, not just on your front porch waiting for your dog to piddle in the morning.

Since we don’t have a mall – there are no make up counters.  The concept of enhancing your features is akin to suggesting you reuse toilet paper. WTF?  Luckily, the salon where I get my hair cut has a great make up line and my hair stylist did my make up on my last visit, while my hair was “processing.”

There was another lady getting her make up done next to me.  She was amazed at what a little eyebrow definition can do.  I told her, the one thing I never leave the house without are my eyebrows!  Thank you colored powder and pencils!

Note:  It is the one facial feature I can choose to create every day.  Angry eyes.  Crazy eyes.  Shocked eyes.  Thin, thick, inverted V shape….endless personalities to choose from every day.

At the salon, I bought new foundation, eye shadow, eye liner and lip gloss.  The lady next to me was paralyzed with fear about the idea of purchasing an eye brow pencil.  “It’s just so dramatic.”  No, it’s just enhancing what you’ve got already.  Just like if we lived in a warmer climate, I’d be wearing tank tops that show off my boobs.  Similar, but different.

I am a girlie girl.  I like to get manicures and pedicures.  I like my hair to be done.  I like the color pink, fluffy things, glittery things and sparkly things (which could also qualify me to be a magpie…)  I enjoy dressing up and was probably living back in the day when corsets were a regular fashion necessity and Marie Antoinette was eating too much cake.

I’d wear giant dresses with crinolines and trains, silk stockings, button boots, powdered wigs and painted lips every day if I could.  Ruffles, pleats, layers and layers….oh my.  I’d need a separate carriage just for my dress when going out on the town.  Which leads me to the Wearable Art Show.  It’s the biggest fundraiser for our local arts council, raising tens of thousands of dollars.  For the last 5 years I have designed and modeled an outfit on stage.

Each year, my outfit gets bigger and bigger.

And let’s not forget my love of huge fake eyelashes, wigs and the 6 inch acrylic hooker heels.  Yes, I did purchase my last pair in a porn shop in Vegas.  They’re perfect!

Needless to say, it is that time of year where I have to start creating my next fashion statement.  So many people want to know the who, what, how, why….about this process, I thought I’d share my process with you through my blog.

I have a few videos of my performance from the previous years on You Tube – hope you’ll check them out and see what a great treat is coming up this February!  I can’t wait.

http://www.youtube.com/user/littleminxyAlaska/videos?view=0

Currently, I’m pondering my design.  As always, it will be a dress.  As always, made from throw away items.  And I’m thinking Marie Antoinette will be making a come back this year.  As for the style, I’ve got my history of fashion books down and tabbed…ideas are swirling around in my head like a vodka and tonic……

Put on your seat belt….we’re ready for the countdown!

EUREKA!

I couldn’t believe my luck.

I’m wheeling my way to self check out at Fred Meyers and of course, for giggles,  go past the RETURNS counter.  It’s become a game 23 days after my purchase.  Yes, I’m  carrying my underware around in my purse.  Should the opportunity present itself for return, I don’t want to miss it!

A disappointment.  My buddy was manning the counter (pun intended) and the line was at least a dozen deep.  Never mind.

As I wait in the self check out lane, something catches my eye.  Wait.  What?  Seriously?

I’d recognize that face anywhere.  What does he think he’s doing?  The Returns Guy walks right past me heading towards the Starbucks counter.

Break!

He must be on break!

Holy shit, let’s get this line moving – I’ve got panties to return!

It’s as if the stars are suddenly aligning.  A lane opens up, I have no issues with any of the bar codes and quickly make my way out of the check out and quickly head towards the return counter.

Of course, I slow down and approach the counter with caution. It’s taken me 23 days to get to this point and I don’t want to be overtaken by a wild jackal at the last minute – having the guy show up unexpectedly.   I look over both shoulders to see if he is heading back this direction.

Have you ever seen the show, “Impractical Jokers?”  They should do a returns counter episode – they’re missing a perfect opportunity.

With one customer in line, I slowly edge my way into the waiting gate.  Now there are two female employees working behind the counter.  Please, let’s just get this over with.  One lady is helping a grand-mom with a return requiring multiple credit card refunds and gift card exchanges.  The other one is performing CPR on a Western Union request.

Finally, the grandmother moves out of the way and the lady in front of me moves forward to return a shirt.

Come on!

Come on!

Still no sign of the guy.

OMG – Western Union – either you got the money or you don’t!

Finally, single shirt lady moves out and it’s my turn.

WINNER!  WINNER!  CHICKEN DINNER!

I approach the desk I am so excited, I practically shout, “I have a return!” as I slam down the panties and receipt on the counter.  You would have thought I just won a hand at poker I was so excited!

She didn’t ask me a single question.

I didn’t have to fill out any forms.

She found the tag without issue.

In under 30 seconds, I returned my panties and got my money back.

As I turned my cart around and head out towards the parking lot – guess who I pass?

Nobody of interest.  I don’t know where my little buddy went, but thank heavens it only took me three weeks to get my return completed.  Lesson learned:  read the labels completely – even if it means having to read it twice.

Don’t Judge Me by My Underwear

Living in Juneau, Alaska has it ups and downs.

For me a downside would be shopping.  The opportunity and variety are lacking.  Juneau doesn’t have a big shopping mall.  No Macy’s, Nordstroms, not even a Target or Old Navy.  No Barnes & Noble, Pier One or REI.  No Victoria’s Secret, Walgreens or basically insert the store name here:__________  we don’t have that one either.

Whenever you get out (meaning, to the lower 48 states) you always, always, always shop.  Spending an extra day or two in Seattle to hit the malls is not uncommon for a Juneauite.  Since we’re a cooler climate, shopping when you’re on your winter vacation is best as sun dresses and tank tops aren’t going to do you much good here for the majority of the year.

If you don’t shop while you’re outside – then you’re stuck with two options:

1.  Mail order

2.  Local stores

With mail order, you try and try until you get the size right.  Sending back, exchanging sizes, receiving new packages.  What would take the normal person an hour or two on a Saturday down south, can take upwards of a month in mail order time.

Frustrating.

But if you’re shopping for personal items such as …..lingerie, mail order can be the way to go.  It’s unlikely you’re going to find something in our two main shopping outlets:  Wal-Mart or Fred Meyers.

If you’re unfamiliar with Fred Meyers.  It’s literally one stop shopping.  Go in the left hand side of the building and buy all your “fresh” (for Alaska) produce items – continuing through the store you have your average grocery, stationary, clothing, housewares, hardware, gardening and firearms sections.

Normally, I don’t buy my “small clothes” at Fred Meyers. I like to have a selection of styles, colors, shapes, materials and sizes.  When you wander through a real store, the options are endless: bikini, thong, hipster, tanga, boy short, brief, g-string!  Full coverage, push-up, demi, padded, lightly padded, racer back, front closure!  And not just one or two colors….but shades of colors, patterns, lace, ribbons, animal prints, ruffles, mesh, feathers, cut outs, rhinestones!

I love options.

The other day I happened past the lingerie section at Fred Meyers.  It’s actually located next to the greeting card section.  Weird location.  It probably works well at Valentine’s Day.  Makes it easy for the men.

Anyhow,  I happened to be looking for a Father’s Day card for Eric…. “from the pets” and when I turned around, to continue my shopping, I noticed the cutest poka dot bra and panty set.

Okay, this is as random as a lightning strike in Juneau.

It’s cute.

It’s matching.

Got to have it.

Picked out my sizes and continued on my way.

When I got home, I realized what I thought meant “one size fits all” on the bottoms was really something else and I had selected the wrong size.  NEWMAN.

I tuck the receipt and item back into my bag and make a mental note to stop by the next time to exchange.

Three trips later, I am still waiting to exchange the item.

Why?

It’s the same guy at the exchange counter!  I don’t want some random guy to know what kind of panties I wear!  For me, THIS is embarrassing.  I know what you’re thinking…..

He’s not even going to notice.

Yeah, right.  How is he not going to notice when he has to find the sales tag to zap into the system?  Can you explain that to me?  Then he’ll see I wear X style (no, I’m not telling you what kind) and look at me like, “really?”   It’s not like there’s a whole heck of a lot of fabric there to begin with – of course he’s going to see what kind of panty it is.

Then he’ll know:  oh she’s one of THOSE women.  Of course, being one of THOSE women could be anything from granny panty wearing to g-string lover.  Why do I care?  First off, it’s creepy to have a stranger know what you’re wearing beneath your clothes.  Of course, who cares what any of us are wearing or not wearing under our clothes.  If I decide to share my intimates with you – then so be it.  Yes, I do wear that kind …. and that kind and that one too.  Men, only have a few options – women have many.  I prefer to keep them guessing.

Having to return this item to a strange man is as uncomfortable for me as it must be when you needa price check.  The cashier yells over the intercom:

 I need a price check on this jumbo-tron combo pack of Rhino Rubbers and Ecstasy Oil.

Of course, when I return the panties, the question will undoubtedly arise….

What’s the reason for return?

Insert my eye roll and….wrong size answer here.

Just let the floor open up and swallow me at that point.

Really, just like they have self-service check out – they should have self-service return counters.   What a time saver.

Why should it bother me so much?

I explained my predicament to Eric.  He said it’s obviously the guy’s job – to handle the returns.  Yeah, no shit.  But what the hell….does he LIVE there?  Three times – it’s the same guy.  When are they going to put a woman up there?  Seriously.

Eric said he’ll take it back for me.  Tell the guy it didn’t fit.  I not surprised he’d do this.  I’m actually contemplating going that route, not only because it’d be funny but I’d really like to get my money back.  Of course, with my luck, it won’t be the guy and I’ll be able to do the return on my own.  Eric will want to go ahead with the return just to mess with the employee – I can see it now.

No, I’m not worried about not having the proper size panty for the exchange.  On my second exchange attempt, when I realized this was going to be a process, I went ahead and bought the proper sized panty.   I would have been disappointed if I had to return the entire set because I didn’t purchase the correct size to begin with.  In the end, it’s all in the details.

Of course, should that have happened, the returns guy would have said:

You know we can do measurements for that.

Consignment Shop “Shock and Awe” Moment

Since I live in Alaska, in a town without a mall, I turn over my closet about once every two years or so.  This was a turn over year.  I followed directions and washed, reviewed and prepped my gently used items and dropped them off at the consignment shop a couple of days ago.

Today I returned to pick up those items they decided not to take.  The employee asked if I had a couple of minutes to review “why we didn’t take some of your items.”  Sure, I thought how bad could this be….well I was certainly surprised.

I understand the concept of a consignment store.  They buy gently used items from people who are finished with the item and hope to make a couple of bucks off the sale.  Consignments stores are a few steps above a thrift store, however they are still buying and selling used items.  I also understand the need to bring in items that are clean, free from wrinkles and stains and retaining a lot of life.

This is what I had.

However, if they went over every single item that came in there with as fine of a toothed comb as they did mine, there wouldn’t be stained, button missing, wrinkled, faded items on the racks.  You can imagine my Shock and Awe, as I stood there in my Macy’s outfit, looking extremely chic, compared to the sales assistant dressed in a men’s flannel shirt and baggy jeans…..as she went over each denied piece.

A yellow shirt, from Macy’s, apparently had armpit stains.  Strange,  she couldn’t really locate any said pit stains.  For a whole minute she compared the armpit material to the rest of the shirt, asking me…”do you see a difference?”  Ahhh, no and neither could she.  Well, they couldn’t take it anyway because “she won’t let us if we suspect a stain.”

A super cute Talbots cable knit sweater was denied because, “it’s been too loved.”  When I asked what that meant, she said it was faded.  Hate to tell you but that IS the color – Robin’s Egg Blue.

Dress pants, which were a size too big for me and barely worn were denied due to a light amount of “pilling, where your legs rub together.  But don’t worry, mine rub together too.”  Wow – don’t hold back.  Why don’t you tell me what you really think.

The list went on and on.  When I asked about the shoes, she pulled out a bag and the first pair pulled out were 2.5 inch Alfani heels.  The employee admitted she didn’t know why they weren’t accepted.  She turned them over, looked at the wear and said, “see this little bit of rubber that has been worn away on the heel?  She won’t let us accept these because everyone has a different walking pattern.”  You are kidding me right?  Another pair was “too worn on the bottom” even though the rubber was intact.

Denied due to worn rubber.

At the conclusion of our review she put my items in a trash bag and with a cheery smile said, “thank you for your consignment, you have the best clothes – we love it when you come in.”

Guess what sister, that’s the last time I consign anything with you.

Tomorrow, I plan to go in and take a look at what’s on the racks.  Worn, faded and wrinkled clothes?  Worn out shoes?  Old styles?  Pilled sweaters and dress slacks?  Let’s see what we find.  After all, so many people in this town dress in the current styles and are trend followers, I mean the shear volume of nearly new items in this shop should be overwhelming due to their strict acceptance policy.  Right?

Perhaps monkeys will be flying out of my butt tomorrow, but I highly doubt it.  Watch out, the Minxy is on a mission.

 

Holiday Season = Holiday Donkeys

What is it about the holidays that turns everyone into raging hemorrhoids? Honestly, I believed the holiday season was about celebrating the season, spending time with friends and family, creating memories with the help of spiked eggnog and hot buttered rum beverages. My encounters with John and Mary Q. Public today were enough for me to say, “Forget it! I’m out of here!”

Just because you didn’t finish your gift shopping, party shopping, gift wrapping, gift packing, card mailing or Santa photo taking – does not create an emergency in my world. Let me repeat that:

YOUR LACK OF PLANNING DOES NOT EQUAL AN EMERGENCY FOR ME!

People, if they could, would have driven their Ford pick ups, Subaru Outbacks and Honda Accords up and over my car today! Lucky for me I’ve been driving Tater’s Suburban around town rather than my Toyota Yaris. (If you haven’t met Tater yet, he’s the 180 pound Mastiff we’re watching through January 7th) No, that’s not your imagination. Tailgating my ass does indeed make me go slower. You can gesture all you want back there buddy, but this is a 40mph speed zone and I’m now going to drop to 35mph since you didn’t like my previous speed. And you know what? This Suburban is bigger than your Camry so back the hell off my fender. You hit this car and there’s going to be hell to pay with one very large, very protective, 180 pound Mastiff.

I get to the grocery store today. I’m delighted as I’ve managed to score one of those cute half carts – which are new to our area. (Alaska, in some regards, is behind the times.) Figuring I can get in and out in record time with my zippy half cart…. I did the best I could…considering the circumstances.

Grocery stores are informal community meetings. You always run into people you know. With this in mind, there should be some form of universal grocery store etiquette.

Want to stand and shoot the breeze? Move over to the side and stay out of the way. Standing three abreast in the main aisle, chatting about what Mary told Susan at the last quilting meeting — does not constitute proper etiquette. Excuse me, pardon me. See the chic here with the cute cart? I’m trying to get to the pasta sauce. No eye contact, no movement. Just discussion about Charlie telling Louise to stuff her fruitcake. EXCUSE ME! Oh you didn’t just roll your eyes at me did you? OMG, you three are blocking the entire aisle! Don’t glare at me like I just happened to interrupt the top secret meeting of the world dictators. That’s not you. Now MOVE!

Here’s a novel idea. If you’re using one of those motorized cart/scooters the store provides – you should have to complete some driver training first. It’s called, “look behind you before you flip the damn thing into reverse.” No, let me guess. You thought your peripheral vision was as exceptional as a bird of prey? Newsflash, in order to see what’s behind you – you have to actually turn your head and look. Can’t turn and look then yell out, “HEY! I’M BACKING UP!” In the often occurring chance that you hit me with your motorized cart/scooter it is proper etiquette for you to apologize to me. Please note, it’s not the other way around as I was here first.

If you’re needing to double check your grocery list, here’s a suggestion: rather than parking your cart between the milk fridge and the display table of cookies set up to entice the grab and go impulse buyers — move out of the way where someone can:

A.) Actually get around you.
B.) Not have to ask you to move so they can get a gallon of milk.

The milk fridge is a popular stop on everyone’s shopping list. Whole milk, 2% milk, non-fat milk, rice milk, almond milk, half and half, heavy cream, flavored coffee creamer and the ever fat packed eggnog….milk is popular! Why not stop near the sardine shelf? Or you rarely see people picking up tuna fish for that matter. How about double checking in the baby aisle – that’s low use. Better yet, the charcoal and lighter fluid aisle is also very low use – especially in the winter.

Just as much as I enjoy the cute little half carts, I like using the self check out. Although the computer will randomly say “attendant has been notified to assist you” and freezes until said attendant clears it – I feel like I’m being productive and moving things along quicker than a normal check out. Why is it people think standing within your personal space is going to make you go quicker? It’s tailgating with a grocery cart. Or tailgating with ginormous belly gut. Having to ask you to step back so I can go around my cart to get something out from the other side is not very polite. There are times when I want to cancel my entire order and insist they go in front of me. I imagine the conversation would go like this:

I cancel my order and leave everything where it’s at, turn to the idiot behind me and say, “You know what, why don’t you go ahead of me.”

Of course, they’d say “But you aren’t finished.”

My reply would be, “Actually, I’m finished with having you breath down my neck. So why don’t you just go ahead because apparently I can’t do this fast enough for you and apparently you think you’re really important so I insist you go. Really. I’ll wait.” Then I’d wave my hand at the machine like it’s a prize on The Price Is Right.

Today I had a young couple moving up on me first. Really? My solution? A hip check into my cart – causing it to shoot backwards into them. “Oh, I’m so sorry.” (quietly to myself: back the !@#$ up!)

As I pull out my wallet and start to tap the self check out machine to select my payment option a guy comes up and decides to put his stuff down at my machine. He’s now standing at my elbow. I look at him, smile and with teeth grinding kindness advise him, “I’ll be out of your way in a moment.” (silently addressing him as: jackass.) As I put my purse into the cute little cart and prepare to push out….I whip around and pretend I left something on the counter. Oh, so sorry, did I step on your foot?

Lastly. If you see me walking to my car – don’t follow me in yours. Health experts suggest you park far away so you can get in some exercise on the way to/from the shops. I like to park far away so people, who think I may be giving up a prime parking spot within 20 feet of the front door, follow me 200 feet away from the door. If you continue to creep along behind me I will pretend I’ve forgotten where my car is and turn around and go the other way. Yes, I am the person who will walk right past their own car if you continue to nudge me with your front fender in Row A3.

Last, but not least, smile and be nice. Nice matters. Did your mother used to tell you, “I hope your face doesn’t freeze that way!” Well if you could see the faces you’re making, you would be shocked. Third eyes are bulging out of foreheads, jaws are grinding teeth down to rice nubs, frowns are hanging down to knees and eyes are shooting daggers left and right. Don’t you think all that anger and annoyance is exhausting? Try being nice and see what happens, maybe then you’ll stop trying to run me down.