I love shopping. I love finding really cool & nifty & beautiful & practical things and I love the feeling of possessing them, even if only for a short while. I became a dedicated shopper long before I could actually afford to buy anything which I suppose makes me materialistic. My first big splurge was for a very exclusive (read: expensive) Courrèges bag which cost me two month’s rent—this when I could barely afford to keep the fridge stocked. I’ve perfected my technique to ensure I can shop, pay for my rent, and eat—all in the same month— and I’m going to share it with you right here! I derived my Five-Step Shopping Technique™ by observing professional stylists at work, since they know a thing or two about shopping:
Let’s say you’re shopping for a dress*
a) Go to a store likely to have the kinds of dresses you’re looking for in terms of price, quality and style. Look through the entire selection of dresses and pick out every dress that catches your eye, is your size and within your budget. b) Put them all next to each other to compare and decide which are the best selections in the bunch. c) Try on that selections and immediately eliminate those that don’t fit well d) Purchase the remaining dress(es). Bring them home—away from the pressure of the store and in front of your own mirror—so you can determine which dress fits best in terms of fit and coordinates best with other items you own. Eliminate the dresses you aren’t ‘in love with’ too till you’re down to your final selection. e) Return everything else. Which reminds me, always ask about the exchange/return policy first, so you’re never stuck with something you can’t return. You’re virtually guaranteed to end up with great stuff every time and never make impulse buys again (we hope).
*It works for circular saws, doggie sweaters and men’s ties too!
1. Fashion Wonderland. A beautifully designed book showcasing “the hottest work from around the globe [revealing] how illustration hitches with fashion”.
2. stuff on my cat: the 2009 daily calendar. If the sight of cats in ridiculous getups is your thing, then you must visit stuffonmycat.com. I just discovered the web site very recently myself and found the calendar at Urban Outfitters which is the kind of place where you would find all kinds of fun kooky things like that. Having the calendar sitting on my desk will inspire me to torment my cats and photograph them in the process so I can contribute my own ‘cats with stuff on ‘em’ too.
3. A printed t-shirt. I’ve been looking for them for the past couple of years at least. You’d think they’re easy enough to find since they’re everywhere, but I just must be way too fussy. Got this one at Urban Outfitters where they had dozens of models. It’s red and some of the letting is hot pink and it says “Tokyo” in big tacky 80’s lettering made up from images (somehow, it all comes together nicely). It works on a 20-something, ergo it works on me I’ve decided, since that’s how old most people think I am anyway.
4. Gold chain an pendant. I’ve always been more of a chunky silver pieces person, but I’d been wanting a couple of delicate gold chains to wear with my jeans and t’s for a change. I worried for a long time about wearing a pendant (is it tacky, is it not?) and finally got a tiny coin featuring angels on one side and the inscription “Ricordo del battesimo” on the other. I’m not Catholic so I hesitated, as don’t want to be disrespectful, but I finally decided it’s my good luck talisman and that’s that.
5. Joseph Joseph green Chop 2 Pot. “This innovative chopping board uses the latest technology in polypropylene living hinges, when the handle is squeezed the board folds into a chute to help guide chopped food into the pot.” It’s award winning, and comes in a bunch of colours with a 3 year warranty, and is now sitting in my kitchen, and now that I’ve used it I wonder how I ever managed without it. Seriously.
6. Silicone vegetable steamer. Finally. I’d been wanting to replace that metal contraption that looks like a torture device since forever. This one cleans nicely (dishwasher safe!), there’s no parts that can rust or fall off, and you don’t get that horrible feeling you get from metal on metal when you try to retrieve the food with a metal utensil— or the feeling I get when I bite down on a fork—just the thought of that keeps me awake at night.
7. Cat food tins. I have cats ergo I buy cat food tins right? Well I’d never given anything other than dry food to my previous cats and had just recently started giving some to Fritz as a treat. Then I adopted Mimi, who lost her appetite when she got sick and that’s all she’d eat. Now of course I’m expected to dish it out every day. I feel good about the fact that it’s holistic. It’s more expensive than the dry food but then I keep thinking I should start eating it too since it’s full of good stuff. Would it give me that gorgeous slinky cat figure I wonder?
8. The I Ching Wilhelm/Baynes translation. This one is a gift from my dad. I’d been consulting a translation more suited to beginner/intermediate level, but I think now I’m ready to move on to the ‘adult’ version. I’m waiting for the right moment to consult it for the first time. I’ll try to make it synchronize with a moment when I feel the surrounding energies are good because I’d like my first reading to augur only good things.
9. CARE by Stella McCartney Radiance & Youth Elixir. I love everything Stella. Almost everything. I have her clothes from her sportswear line (designed for Adidas), her perfumes, had her eyeglasses (‘till some cow tore them off my face and broke them in a fit of jealousy), got her skincare line, still want to get her sneakers and I’d probably buy her trash bags if she decided to make them because I’d know for certain that they’re 100% earth friendly. Why would a woman who’s pushing 40 but presumably looks like a 20-something need a youth elixir, you ask? Well of course I’ve got good genes working in my favour as far as the aging process goes, but I’ve been putting all the chances on my side since I was 16, when I started following a beauty regimen. And by god, I’ll continue cleansing, toning and elixirizing until my dying day when my bones might start falling to dust but I’ll still have that gloriously radiant skin!
10. Cat toys, including the Cat Charmer. Again, I have cats, ergo I buy cat toys… But since Fritz never really took to toys I stopped buying them long ago. Now young Mimi just can’t get enough of them so I’ve been having all kinds of fun picking them out for her. The Cat Charmer is a simple one, but I love the fact that it’s interactive.
11. A PINK cat tote. I would have preferred another colour, but it was an emergency, so baby pink with brown trim it is. I already have a black tote for Fritz but visits to the vet (e.g. tomorrow) now require two carriers, so I had no time for shopping around because I suck at planning. The totes are cool because you stay in physical contact with the animal, which is reassuring for them, and it’s less cumbersome to carry around than those hulking plastic boxes. Bonus: taxi drivers can’t tell you’re carrying a pet!
12. Ahava Essential Dead Sea Treatments; mineral body lotion, hand, and foot creams. A woman can never have too many creams and lotions. Especially here—the major weather fluctuations tends to make for seriously scaly skin. I’ve wanted to try Ahava products since my student days when I saw them in health food stores but couldn’t afford that kind of splurge. The Israeli part of me takes pride in the fact that they’re an Israeli company with an excellent reputation worldwide. They use minerals from the Dead Sea which—I can affirm for having been there myself—does do miracles for your skin. The products smell quite divine too. Not at all dead-like, not at all sea-like either.
13. Home cooking/baking. Those peach crumbles have been featured a few times on the menu here at Smiler’s house, and now I’ve added delicious banana bread too, which I hadn’t made in ages. While baking this fall, I realized that I’ve always felt more comfortable making desserts than preparing meals. Partly because I have a sweet tooth, but also because no matter how much planning and prepping I do, I always end up with a cold plate by the time I’m ready to eat. It tastes good, but cold. Still, baking does encourage me to play around with pots and pans a little, so I’ve been eating quite a few decent home cooked meals these days which is a sure sign I’m ready to start taking better care of myself again. I think I’ll be doing the I Ching reading as soon as I start exercising again because it looks like I might maybe be getting my groove back… eventually.