Man Shopping

As you may know, men shop differently than women. If you’ve got a plan of shopping action, he’s willing to here it and execute it. But there’ll be no lollygagging and meandering about aimlessly for items.

The first Christmas season we spent together, we went to the Towson (Maryland) Mall and went separate ways to shop. And when we met back up at the appointed place, Mark was pale and shaky. Seems he’d been traumatized previously by shopping. Maybe he was hypoglycemic too, who knows.

So it’s been many of years of shopping therapy. The last time we went out, he knew his size and style of preferred jeans and his tailored shirt numbers so well that there was no fuss. I was astounded that we didn’t have to try on anything else.

And this week he surprised me with, “Let’s go shopping”. And we did and again there was no drama. We teased each other and strolled the baby around the store and then we were done. $300 in Kohl’s got us 5 shirts, 2 jeans, 2 shorts, and 2 pr of shoes. And when I came upstairs the next morning, He’d laid out his clothes out so nicely on the bed. Had to take the picture.

The second pair of shoes were on his feet. I thought about taking a picture of the ones he finally was allowing me to replace. But your eyes would burn to see them they’re that hideous.

And now I really need to get myself some new or even gently used clothing that don’t have spots or pregnancy panels on them. I suspect that the reason I no longer have anything this size is because I let go of those when I lost that weight last Spring. My ever changing wardrobe lamentation posts are here and here.

If you’ve got a good Mars vs. Venus shopping story, do tell.

The Things We Avoid Doing

The avoidance of doing things we have to do emerged as a theme this week at my house. Our reasons for avoidance seemed to include anticipation of pain and discomfort, lack of clarity, lack of priorities, and fear. And a little I don’t like to be told what to do.

Whether on paper or in our heads, the things to do list exists. These items may be for our well-being or another’s, for progress, clarity, or growth but we know why they’re necessary to carry out. And yet we question and avoid them all the same.

I needed a lot of physical things accomplished this past week. And as the time unfurled in which I wanted to get them done, I realized my husband had his own list and he would be of no help. Physically, I dread even going up stairs. And I knew my tasks involved multiple stair efforts.

I was irritable in anticipation. I snapped at my husband Mark and said he needed to stay right at the desk and finish the thing he kept saying he needed to finish. Because if I heard him say he needed to finish it one more time, I would throttle him. Then I enlisted my seven year-old’s help and plowed ahead. I snapped and growled and ached and groaned. And eventually I was done. Mark eventually completed his task as well.

Then Mark had to go shopping for essential rain gear for an outdoor job called the Presidential Inauguration the next day. He “remembered” this late in the afternoon. I told him he needed to go immediately and just get it done. He sat at the desk to do “research”. He called someone. When he finally made it out the door, he admitted he didn’t feel like going out in the rain and getting gas. And he dreads shopping. Bye, bye I said.

Of course, he completed his mission and got exactly what he needed all by his shopping-phobic self. I had gotten through my forced march of to do’s even though it was slightly painful. But with this last hurrah of my all day morning sickness, everything is painful. When you do what you feel needs to be done, you feel good about yourself. And that is the real goal. And it doesn’t hurt to drop those things which aren’t necessary.

As I am now faced with a To Do list that seems to grow as my energy depletes, I have to prioritize, delegate, and figure out where the real blocks are. Are the blocks based on physical restraints, time restrictions, “I don’t know how” oriented, a need for supplies or equipment, or are you waiting for nice weather. Once I have discovered my reason for avoidance, I can make better choices to help myself out of the “I can’ts” and into the “I did its”. Wish me luck, I’m going in.


Baby Loot

I began to feel panicky. I only had a crib, a mattress, and a blanky. Yes, there are numerous boxes of years’ worth of boys clothing in the attic. But we don’t know if we’re even having a boy.

I had nary a nappy or bottle or binky in the house and I was 32 weeks along.  Although I thought it possible that people might offer up stuff via a shower or queries, time was running out. And I was woefully behind in my nesting preparation.

This is where I had an “episode”. Did we have enough money? What did I actually need? Were people going to help? Did anyone really care? Numerous worries compiling in my head. My husband calls this the shotgun effect.

You can worry or you can do something to abate the worry. Only the latter will make a difference.  If you really want to worry, make sure you put enough things on your plate to feel really overwhelmed. And definitely don’t break down and make a list of action steps toward alleviating the worry. Pay the worries the respect they need to fester. “It’s still your choice. Always has been.

As I had paid the bills, we had “extra” money (Maryland quarterlies be damned). And we planned a trip to Target. My swollen leg and my lack of car had me seated for that week prior so I typed up lists. There’s a ‘Bag for the Hospital’ list and a ‘Need for the Baby/ Nursery’ list. There’s also a ‘People Who Will Help after the Baby Arrives’ list. The lists helped me feel more prepared.

We hit the Target on Saturday. When I had filled the cart up, Mark looked at me and asked, “Do we have enough nest for all that nesting?” Sadly, a good chunk of the haul was just stuff for me. Like granny underwear and socks that don’t cut into my swollen calves, and nursing tops for the aftermath. Happily, most of the baby wear was on clearance.

This process revealed an important fact; you need to show up for you first. If you’re absent from your life and wonder why you feel abandoned, consider how to best show up for yourself and then do so. Funny how we can stand back and wonder where everyone is and forget to include ourselves in this equation.  Party of One is still a party.

We’re planning a meet the baby party after the birth. People will be able to actually see the fabulous blessing in person. And will most likely be relieved to know what gender of child to shop for were that necessary. Meanwhile, I am just glad to have that pile of stuff upstairs. Now if only that crib would paint itself.

Small Business Saturday’s Shop: Bella Luna in Rehoboth, Delaware

This year’s Thanksgiving was a destination holiday for us. We returned to our favorite Holiday Inn at the Boardwalk and 17th Street in Ocean City, Maryland. The last time I was pregnant, we were here and so, this being a last opportunity to spend a holiday away before baby two comes found us in our suite on Thursday.

We did bunches of stuff and I’ll be posting my many art shots and family cheesiness soon. But, as you may have surmised by the title, this post is about supporting your local shop owner. As I was once a local shop owner before the anti-recession Recession happened not so long ago, I am all about this concept. Last year I intentionally shopped Easton, Maryland, a neighboring town, for many wonderful gifts.

I already knew I was headed towards Bella Luna as we drove homeward and Northward up through Rehoboth, Delaware on Saturday. And then I read it was officially Small Business Saturday. Fortunately, I had wandered into this adorable shop this past summer and now Bella Luna will be a destination shop for gifts ever after. My funky sisters, just you wait.

Bella Luna’s cramped and happy interior

There is an inordinate amount of cute stuff crammed into this tiny shop on the North side of the extra hip downtown shopping strip of Rehoboth, Delaware. Last time I was there I oggled the jewelry and bought an extremely dear quirky journal for my girlfriend in Atlanta. Plus a card for another. This time, the middle tables were piled high with beautiful scarves which the shop elves kept patiently refolding after the fondlers had made their way through.

I started at the front and focused on one display at a time. And I was taken by a Christmas ornament trend of paper and sparkles that were neither silver nor gold.

Buddhas, what-nots, and the first Christmas ornament to catch my eye

Bella Luna’s Christmas ornament line

I’ve been pinning some similar paper trinkets and textures and looking at these made me happy. And inspired.

Deer heads and the coveted wreath

There was an accompaniment wreath that I kinda coveted there. Same basic feeling with the old book pages as leaves. But they were washed with a creamy coat of opaque paint and the glitter was there mixed with just plain leaves. Ooh I wanted to fondle. It was an $80 wreath at 20% off and well priced. But I’d just come in to buy my girls presents. And you know I dreamed about these ornaments that evening.

Off centered framed words and birds

Plenty of wall art and decorative what-nots to choose from intermixed with antiquey type knick knacks. Just like my shop, sigh. Although they do it better. Yes, they do.

Shell framed mirror

And just when you’d forgotten you were anywhere near a beach, a little something would jump out at your eyeballs to remind you. Or in this case, something big. This shell mirror was stunning and I didn’t dare look to see how much.

I took my time and selected some thoughtful and fun and pretty gifts which I hope everyone will like. A very hard choice to make. And I picked up a copy of Holly Becker’s Decorate Workshop book as I just have finished her blogging bootcamp workshop. Bella Luna shares some of her aesthetics for sure.

Window crown

And as I waited for my husband and son to come retrieve me, I enjoyed the window display and was taken aback by this crown suspended over the mantel piece. Like a Scandinavian Fairy Princess crown hovering on high,  this little shop is also a crown jewel in the downtown shopping district of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Look for the Bookstore on the North side and the little yellow awning is a couple of shops East.

Visit their blog here and their Facebook page with nice fat pictures here.


Again With the Wardrobe Overhaul

Only my neighbor seemed to notice earlier this year when I lost the ten pounds. I’ve read you’ve gotta lose twenty for public recognition. I’ll still take every opportunity to mention it because my slimming down was sweet … and short-lived. For the past five years, the attempted weight loss was accompanied by our attempts to get pregnant. Who’d a thunk I’d achieve both goals within a month of each other? Or encounter the wardrobe problems this would cause.

I am not much of a fashionista but I had finally made real efforts to accumulate a wardrobe that both accentuated my new body and showed some creativity. I was even putting on make-up regularly. I had scoured consignment shops and looked forward to strutting my new stuff this fall. Then, Wham, I’m pregnant. And like Alice on her wonderland diet, everything says “eat me” and damn the “only three hundred additional calories are necessary” when you’ve got morning sickness to quell.

Articles in Mommy-to-be magazines suggest you make do with what you’ve got for as long as you can before you go and buy a new pregnancy wardrobe. I made due with some stretch waist shorts from my last trip to Wal-Mart five years ago and sweat capris I’d rescued from the giveaway bag in the nick of time. But this past week, I woke up and I was cold and realized I had only one pair of maternity pants. I had cleverly thrifted these a few weeks prior for just such an occasion. I now had to admit, I needed an entire new wardrobe, again.

So this week was “project wardrobe” week. I took myself to two consignment stores, one thrift store, and lastly a department store to buy bigger bras. Thankfully I gathered comfy pants, sweaters, shirts, a skirt, a pair of capris, and 4 bras for maybe $225. For the next two days, I went through every drawer and Tupperware box trying on everything I owned to see what could endure the swelling belly test. I banned all too small clothing from my reach until further notice. I’ll miss you my lovely wardrobe. And now everything hangs from my fabulous flocked hangers. If you forgot those, read here.

With a new pair of clogs and two pairs of boots I purchased last winter, I have no doubt that I have shoes to wear. Add a growing quantity of scarves to visually balance the belly bulge and I am feeling better about putting myself together again. Where last week I doubted the fit of every garment I laid my hands on, now I am encouraged I can dress a little nicer when I leave the house.  And makeup may even make a comeback. I respect myself more now than in the past and want to be proud of what I have accomplished and be inspired by being myself.

My outsides usually reflect my insides. The plain stained shirts and lack of makeup after giving birth to my son almost 8 years ago were a giveaway to my state of confidence at the time. I plan to avoid that place this birth-time around. I looked rather nice last night when we went out for my birthday dinner. Even wore kitten heels. I’m hoping my feet don’t grow along with my belly again and make my new boots shrink too.