Category Archives: Shopping

How to “Find Yourself” at 50

Standard

The QuizThis year, I reached a milestone of 50 (not in pushups, unfortunately, but in years). When I turned 40, shopping like crazy for the next decade seemed an acceptable course of action, but when I hit 50, at least some self-reflection was pretty much unavoidable.

How hard could it be? After 50 years I thought I had a handle on myself. On the keeping it real side, I have reconciled to the fact that I am not actually a good cook, or very crafty (despite embarrassing efforts on both), and I will never learn to like Cantaloupe. In the glass is half full kind of way, I have a healthy (if somewhat immature) sense of humor, I am good at taking on new challenges, and I am thrilled I never, ever have to learn to like Cantaloupe.

However, I was totally unprepared for the new realm of cyber self-discovery offered by the Facebook Quiz. Do you know it? The rampant quizzes offered online that allow the user to not only discover something they never knew they needed to know about themselves, but also the ability to share the vastly interesting findings with everyone on Facebook – things of great import such as What Broadway Musical are you?, Who is your Hunger Games Soulmate?, and How Many Goats are You Worth?

At first I laughed and made fun of people who took them (I’m 50; I’m allowed to do that). But curiosity got the best of me. Once I began to actually take the quizzes the depth of information I did not know about myself seemed endless. I couldn’t stop taking them and over the course of several months, I took every quiz I could find. I made some astounding discoveries.

Some of them made complete sense like,

1.  My personality color is Blue (even though on another day I took the quiz and could not stop getting the color pink – which makes me wonder if I have a split personality I was previously unaware of).

2.  If I were in a Horror Flick I would die right away (I always suspected as much).

3.  If I were a precious stone I would be an Emerald (Probably because I have watched Wizard of Oz a gazillion times.)

Some discoveries I can’t believe I went 50 years without knowing such as;

4.  If I was a Golden Girl I would be Rose (those “blond” moments have finally caught up with me).

5.  If I were a dessert I would be a Lemon Tart (because I am witty, zesty…and old).

6.  My hippy name is Luna (which my kids decided, made complete sense).

However, some information I found hard to reconcile like:

7.  If I were a movie character I would be Tony Stark (a complete let down from the standpoint that I would need to have man parts and was totally hoping for Holly GoLightly.)

8.  My boyfriend from the past was Cary Grant (I always thought of myself as more of a Montgomery Clift kind of girl – you know, the torchured brooding type).

9.  However, getting to smooch with Cary Grant (or Monty) hardly mattered since I also found out my most likely death in the past was to go down on the Titanic (completely proving my refusal to go on cruises did not actually stem from sea sickness and a fear of buffets).

10.  I am only 55% Bada$$ – meaning I am only a “Bada$$ in training wheels.” (But since the quiz, “What Famous Bada$$ are You?” said I was Mati Hari, I suggest you still watch your back).

And some of the discoveries I was just plain dubious about like:

11.  I am actually NOT a psychopath (a relief to my husband although he is still skeptical).

12.  My secret talent is Staying Calm (I don’t think my family was consulted here).

13. My calling is to be a Creative Master. (Clearly my cut out sugar cookies blobs were NOT considered).

14.  The country that most suits me is Monaco because I was born to live in the lap of luxury ( I am 50 years past that birth, anytime would be a good time for that to start!).

15.  My ideal way to spend a vacation was on a road trip across the United States. (in a car for hours on end with two teenagers? I think not).

And then there were the quizzes that required retakes such as:

16.  Which State Are You? On first try I was Massachusetts, which is just too cold, so I kept taking it until I got California.

17.  What Decade Are You? I got the 50’s. But now when I wear 50’s vintage sweaters I look old instead of hip.  So I retook the test until I got the 80’s (cause the 80’s and shoulder pads are cool again).

18.  Who is Your Celebrity Boyfriend? On the first try I found out my celebrity boyfriend and soul mate was Ryan Gosling, which I was completely thrilled about. However, I was greedy and wanted to see who else I could pick from and on the second attempt got Channing Tatum (hmmm, how will I ever choose?).

19.  What Brand of Car Best Describes You? On first take I got Toyota Prius which meant I cared about the Earth, but also seemed so un-sexy. On the next try I got Ferrari which meant I was Fast and Fabulous (like, was there ever any doubt?)

In the end, I was just happy to know, via the quizzes, my mental age is 22 (which may be reflective of my enjoyment of immature humor), the one word that best describes me is “Adventurous” (probably because I am the Mom of teens and survived a polar vortex), if I were a dog I would be a German Shepard (I was just relieved not to be a Terrier), my ideal career is Actor (being able to cry on command gets a lot accomplished), my song is “Your Beautiful” (which must stem from my penchant for straggly haired folk singers),

And most importantly, in a trade/dowry situation, I am worth 7 goats (which totally miffed Teen, because he was only worth 6).

If you think this article is making fun of the Facebook Quiz craze, well, you would be right. However, despite my ridicule, there was something intoxicating (not to mention a great time killer) about answering a slew of random questions designed to reveal some potentially deep dark (or shallow) secrets about yourself. And I did learn a thing or two – Which happily proves, even at 50, there are still things to learn (and everything on the internet is true).

Therefore, in the spirit of my new discoveries, I am leaving behind the well-loved mantra of my 40’s “Shop ‘til you drop” (-all women everywhere), to adopt the new mantra of my 50’s “Learn as if you were to live forever” (-Gandhi) – Which should keep me plenty busy for the next decade learning new ways to continue to shop.

Oh, and if we should, in the future, happen to cross paths,

Just call me Luna and bring some treats for my goats.

To find out how many Goats you are worth…go here.
(But, if you are worth more than 6, don’t tell Teen).

 

 

Advertisements

A Paris Perspective: The City

Standard

When traveling, I randomly (and my family would say – excessively) shoot picture after picture after picture.  My mantra excuse is always  I never know quite what I will want to share about a city or place – what will stand out, make me laugh, make me want to return.

Likewise, I never know what Teen and Pre-teen are going to glean from our experiences.  In my last post A Paris Perspective: The Monuments, I shared Part One of my photo perspective and Teen’s short but to the point assessment of Paris.  Pre-teen, however, in a moment of rarity, was more loquacious on his impressions.

Pre-Teen’s 4 Parisian Summations:

1.  Napoleon, as basically the only French war hero, pretty much has it made in the eternal “hero-worship” department.

2.  The most memorable experience in Paris is climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower where the telescope glasses allow you to stalk tourists in the plaza below.

3.  Escargot tastes like, well, eating a snail.

Last, and unarguably the most important…

4. When in Paris,  Nutella filled crepes should be consumed at every possible opportunity, morning, noon and night.

As for mine, again, Paris can speak for itself.

Part 2: The City

The carousel at Hotel de Ville

The carousel at Hotel de Ville

Shops

A city street

The Metro at Saint Michel

The Metro at Saint Michel

The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge

Jardin de Tuileries

Jardin de Tuileries

View from the Pantheon

View from the Pantheon steps

Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

Inside the Galerie Vivienne

Inside the Galerie Vivienne

Place de Concorde

Place de Concorde

And yes, there is a Part Trois – Rivers and Bridges – coming next!

Other Paris perspectives:

A Paris Perspective: The Monuments

A Paris Perspective: The River and Bridges

Paris, the Walmart of Love?

For more Sweet Spot Travel Posts:  Sweet Spot Travels

Thanks For the Memories, Mexico

Standard
Taxco

Taxco, Mexico

I love Mexico.  Not for the obvious reasons, the beautiful beaches and coastal resorts, but rather for the fact that if it wasn’t for Mexico, our future family traveling experiences would have been vastly different.  You see, my kids cut their teeth, in a travel sort of way, by experiencing the historic, rustic and colorful country that is Mexico.

Starting when our kids were 4 and 6, between the years of 2004 and 2007, we took several trips to Mexico.  On each trip, we would map out a section of the country we had not seen before, fly in & rent a car, have on hand a slush fund for “extras” (aka payments-for-tickets-while-traveling- in-and-out-of-Mexico City-that-made-no-sense-whatsoever-but-satisfy-police-officer-so-could-proceed-on-our-way), and start driving.

We would go on the cheap – staying mostly in rustic and often historic little hotels as opposed to chain options and eating at the home cooked local street stands (we were never revenged upon by Montezuma).  We would carry throw-away clothes that could be left behind in order to make room for all the cool hand-made swag we would accumulate at markets along the way.  We would seek out colonial towns and cities, ruins, eco adventures, beaches, waterfalls, cathedrals and oddities of any kind (the mummy museum in Guanajuato filled with actual mummies excavated from a nearby cemetery a long remembered fave).  We looked for local festivities and parades (they can carry a saint through town like nobody’s business). And we would travel for as many days as we could afford to be away– usually between 14 and 16 days.

After several years of experiencing Mexico’s culture, sites, language, people,  colors, my kids (and myself) were officially hooked on the whole idea of foreign travel and discovery.

For this reason alone, Mexico will always hold a special place in my heart.

But honestly,  it is so much more than that. For when I go back and look at all the pictures from those trips, it is as if my kids at 4 and 6 (ish) are somehow mysteriously still there, forever fixed in time at that age and in that place.

As if they are forever standing underneath the colorful hand crafted banners

Puebla

Puebla

Forever chasing pigeons in the historic squares

Guanajuato

Guanajuato, Mexico

Forever climbing the pyramids

The pyramids of Ek Balem

The pyramids of Ek Balem, Mexico

Forever exploring the wilds of Mexico

Casa de Cortez

Casa de Cortez, Mexico

And when I want to find them,  laugh with them,  be with them…

Bernal, Mexico

Bernal, Mexico

I  always know just where to look.

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Standard

My most recent article on ParentSociety.com deals with something very near and dear to my heart, a favored activity if you will, something my son abhors but my Mom and I always adored …shopping.

I know, I know, not my usual literary contribution (’cause usually I write ‘high and mighty’ posts such as  Show Me Your Weenus), but I felt like sharing some of my favorite discount shopping sites this week with readers in  My Top 5 Discount Shopping Sites. (you can thank me or curse me later).

It starts out like this:

Hi, my name is Paula, I am a shopaholic.

Yes, it is true. But don’t plan an intervention just yet. For, you see, I am very content in my addiction. Happy, even.

So, if you are a shopaholic like me, shopping enthusiast, or just plain curious, go HERE to read the rest and find out 5 places to find a good deal.

My Top 5 Discount Shopping Sites

Ready, Set, Shop!

Standard

Yesterday was epic.  Bigger than man walking on the moon, the first black president or even, yes,  the joining of chocolate and peanut butter.  Yesterday, my teenage son and I went shopping.  Mind you, not grocery shopping, or all-the-junk-I-don’t-need  Walmart shopping, but to the mall…clothes shopping…for him! Yeah, that just happened.

You see, both my boys hate to shop for clothes.  In fact, I would probably have better luck getting them to paint their nails pink and do a CanCan on the Vegas Strip.  (oh, that is unless there is a video game demo anywhere within a reachable radius).  This being the case, I normally opt for the, purchase what looks to be the right size-bring home for them to try on- return for size that fits, method (I know, I am more saintly than suspected!).

I made the mistake years ago telling my kids the story of how my older brothers would always steer Mom away from any and all clothing displays saying “don’t even look, Mom.”  Consequently, it has become routine whenever we ‘accidentally’ (hey, a girl can try) venture close to any women’s’ accoutrement each boy grabs me by an elbow and hustles me on like a criminal being escorted out of the store, repeating the mantra “don’t even look, Mom, just don’t even look.”

However, the current clothing situation for my growing teen had become dire.  It seemed like all of a sudden, virtually everything he turned up wearing looked like he had wrestled it from some poor, unsuspecting short person. I mean, boys don’t wear ‘daisy dukes’, right?  And with our current drought situation, those ‘floods’ were of no use to him whatsoever.  Therefore, one brave morning, I broached the subject with trepidation:

“I was thinking, maybe you and I should go shopping to get for you some clothes that actually fit?”

(Look of incredulity, like I just suggested we shave the cat or something)

“I promise I will make it quick”

(grunt)

“We will only go to a few places.”

(groan)

“I will only make you try on stuff when absolutely necessary.”

(eye roll)

“I will run you by the army surplus store when we are done?”

(ding ding ding, we had a winner!)

So yesterday, off we went.  I made good on all my promises and at the end of the day we arrived home with a bag full of clothes that actually fit him and, one army issue backpack & canteen.

For me, it was a great day.  I got to utter terms like “v-neck tee”, “contrast stitching” and “skinny or straight leg jean?” and experience on a small scale the Mom/kid shopping outings so long denied.

For him, well, he found a way to make it work.  I believe his exact words at the moment just prior to this photo being taken were

“Hey, like this, shopping isn’t so bad after all!”

Like I said, an epic day…

If You Give a Chick a Shopping Trip

Standard

An intermingled ode to a favorite bedtime story my Grandma Ruth used to tell, some of my fondest ‘chick’ memories with my Mom, and loved children’s book author, Laura Numeroff of the If You Give a Moose a Muffin fame.

If you give a Chick a Shopping Trip, she will want to go right away.

She will want to go to the mall.

When she gets there, she will decide she needs to buy something.

She will want to go to her favorite department store.

At the department store, she will see a beautiful dress in the window.  When she sees the beautiful dress, she will decide she needs beautiful shoes to go with it.

On her way to the register to buy the beautiful dress and the beautiful shoes to go with it, she will try all the perfume samples.  She will probably smell funny.

Before she reaches the register, it is entirely possible she will see a beautiful coat to match the beautiful dress and beautiful shoes.

She will buy the beautiful dress, the beautiful shoes and the beautiful coat to match.

Shopping will make her hungry and she will want to go to lunch.  When she gets to the café, she will order a Vanilla Coke.

Drinking the Vanilla Coke at the café will remind her of her Mom and all the shopping trips they have taken together.  Thinking of her Mom will make her homesick and she will want to go home for a visit.

When she gets home, she will want to give her Mom a present. She will give her Mom the beautiful dress, the beautiful shoes and the beautiful coat to match. She will insist her Mom try them on right away.

Seeing her Mom in the beautiful dress, the beautiful shoes and the beautiful coat, will remind her of their shopping trips.

She will want to go on one right away. She will want her Mom to come.

When she and her Mom go on the shopping trip they will see a beautiful dress in the window.

And chances are, when they see the beautiful dress in the window, they will need beautiful shoes to go with it, and a beautiful coat to match.

Happy Birthday, Mom

A California Girls Rural Winter Survival Guide

Standard

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. For example, why do aliens only abduct sanity-challenged recluse people? What are artificial bacon bits really made of? And, how does a born and bred California girl end up living in rural Missouri?  Rural Missouri, mind you, where roads have letters instead of names, directions are given in reference to so-and-so’s house – whether they still live there or not – and…it snows!

Well, in my case, I was either crazy or in love, or both.  Whatever the case, the predicament of surviving the winters became glaringly apparent upon the first snow; A feat which my California upbringing had just not prepared me for.  Therefore, for those of you who have found or may find yourself in a similar fix, allow me to share 5 of my hard learned survival tips.

1.  Be Prepared: If you are to survive in the harsh environment of cold, ice, and snow, you must have the proper tools. Following are, in my experience, the most important items.

  • Cat Box Pooper Scooper – Oh, sure, you will be told that having an ice scraper is what you need to clear off your car windshield every morning.  But, in my opinion, the everyday cat box pooper scooper makes much more sense to get the job done.  It is always handy, never gets taken by other family members for use and well, has multiple functional purposes (need I elaborate?).
  • Ugly Shoes – Trust me on this one.  Those peep toe pumps will sing a good song, but when push comes to shove (or rather ice comes to driveway) those pretty shoes will leave you flat on your behind.  The ugly shoes, however, will be your friend for life. They will keep you warm, be devoted to your happiness, and never let you go down looking like a flapping dodo (bird, that is).
  • Hair Dryer – You would be surprised how often a good blast of hot air will come in handy for various frozen things and/or body parts.
  • A Hammer – No real function, but it will make you feel like you belong – like one of the natives.

2.  Be Wary:  Never trust ice – it is the enemy and yes, it is out to get you.  It will freeze your pipes as soon as you stop dripping them in order to head to the mall.  It will freeze the Frappuccino you left in the car overnight. And, if you have a change of heart (i.e. panic attack) about driving on it, it will promptly and not very graciously, introduce you to the side road ditch.

3.  Be Audacious:  When that fluffy white stuff starts pouring out of the sky, get in your car and just go for it.  And when I say, ‘go for it’, I mean, when your husband tells you to drive fast to get over snow drifts growing in the road – DO IT! Otherwise you might find yourself stuck on top of one of those pretty drifts like a whale bellied up on the beach (which is, fyi, not near as much fun as bellying up to the bar). And, it may take every relative and friend within a 20 mile radius to come and dig you off.

4.  Be Mindful:  As in all things, there are pitfalls to watch out for during the long winter season.

  • Do NOT discover online shopping.
  • Do NOT, under any circumstances, decide the inside of your house needs to be painted all colors of the rainbow. (You may not be fortunate for to spring to arrive moments before project commencement).
  • Do NOT try to eat your weight in chocolate.

However, DO, have as many snowball fights as possible, roast marshmallows over a candle, and treat yourself to every  ‘icure come spring.

5.  Be Canny: Sooner or later you will be faced with a suspicious random occurrence that can only be experienced in the rural wilds of winter.  Therefore, when you, for example, find a several foot long shed snake skin in a storage area behind your bed where said snake clearly hibernated the winter with you, don’t, whatever you do, tell your snakephobic husband.

Goodbye and Good luck.