Getting it Together

September 18, 2009

So I’ve got the dress:

The Dress

















I’ve got the shoes (but gold):














I’ve got my grammie’s awesome jade cocktail ring, my mom’s gorgeous gold bracelets (I think she might hire a security guard to follow me around all night), and her vintage purse, and new earrings from Nordstrom.

I’ve also got a handsome date with a new shirt and tie.  (Mama:  “Everything is purple.”  Herbie:  “No!  No purple.  Can’t you get me a more manly color?”  Mama:  “I”m telling you, everything is purple.  Purple is cool right now.”  Herbie:  “Well, as long as it’s a manly purple.”)

I think I’m ready for Monday!


Dress Success!

September 10, 2009

Monday, I coerced Rosalind into driving me to Nordstrom Rack for one last stab at Zoni-dress-shopping there.  I looked once before, but didn’t have the nerve to browse the “Designer Shop.”  If I’d gone in there alone, I would have made a big show out of carefully studying the thousand-dollar dresses, as if I was a very wealthy woman who just wears Old Navy t-shirts as a lark sometimes.  But with Emily there, we would hold up dresses and say, “Look!  It’s marked down to only $1,200, hahahahaha yeah right!”  And I even found a dress to try on, but it made me look like a fancy gladiator.

So I thought I might have to resign myself to my plum-but-not-perfect dress, because my mom-slash-Moo-watcher is going out of town, and then we’re going camping, so I really only had one more day to shop, and that was yesterday.

I promised myself I wouldn’t go out shopping until I cleaned the house, so I scrubbed and hoovered (sometimes I like to pretend I’m English) and finally headed out for my last-chance shopping with only an hour and a half before I had to pick up Moo.

First I hit Buffalo Exchange, which I’d forgotten existed since I decided I was too old to shop there last year.  But perhaps an Anne Hathaway-type young lady had consigned a lovely beaded frock?  No. 

Then I went to Mint Vintage, inside the totally cool Red Modern Furniture.  I’d heard it carried some of the nicest vintage clothes in Phoenix, and I hoped maybe it had a 50’s-style cocktail dress like the one I bought in Seattle years ago, which would have been perfect for the Zoni’s except Herbie spilled a pomegranate martini on me at the Office Christmas Party of 2004.  But Mint had only one rack of clothes, and while the pieces were unique and in great condition, the closest thing they had to my dream dress was an 80’s velvet dress with a big pink butt bow.  And I just don’t think I could pull off “ironic” at an awards show.

From there I almost went to Dillard’s, but at the last second I turned into the Rowdy Boutique, right across from my old high school.  My hair stylist Lila recommended it, and she’s a stylish lady, so I decided to give it a try.  Little boutiques make me nervous – they’re often too expensive for me, and they’re usually near-empty and I feel attacked by salespeople.  Sure enough, I was the only one in the store, and I glanced around warily.  Cute clothes, but nothing fancy.  The saleslady pounced on me – but it was a friendly sort of pounce.  And then she pointed  to the sale rack, where, among the jeans and t-shirts, there hung one single Max and Cleo blue dress, in my size, for 40% off.  And here’s the kicker – you know how some designers like to give their products names, like, the Stella purse?

This dress is named after ME.  The Mama Rose dress.  …Except, you know, my real name.  And the exact same way I spell it, which is not exactly the most common way.

It was a SIGN.  And, heavens to betsy, it looked great on me, too!  Here’s a picture I found, but bear in mind that this girl is like a size negative-6, and also I think the material looks… nicer in person, and also I’m wearing it with the optional spaghetti straps:

The Dress

















This is the one.  (Also, it’s not returnable.)  But I feel classy and sexy and very Reese Witherspoon-circa-2007 (when she was proving to her stupid ex that the best revenge is a yellow cocktail dress).

Now for accessories and shoes!

































GASP.   *thud*

Breakdowns and Back-Ups

September 4, 2009

I started the day banging my hairdryer on the floor in fury, because YET ANOTHER hairdryer has gone kaput on me, of course right in the middle of drying my hair, leaving my hair half-smooth, half-frizzed.  Every single hairdryer I have ever purchased, pricey or cheap, always breaks on me in less than two years.  Meanwhile, my mother-in-law has had the same hairdryer for 20 years.  I bought the same model once – one day it sparked and singed a chunk of hair off the top of my head.

Things got better when I visited Miss Lila, my hair stylist, a little later.  (Don’t ask me why I washed my hair before I went to the salon to get it washed and colored and cut.)  Lila is the best, and not only does she always get my cut and color just right, but she also always massages my head during the shampoo, ahhhhhh.  But Lila had recently been to New York for a workshop and learned cool new techniques in cutting, which she used on me, and I could tell the difference, but I’m pretty sure it took her about twice as long to cut my hair.  And with each careful snip, I felt my shopping-time ticking away. 

Finally I was outta there at 2:30, my hair looking as good as it’s capable of thanks to Lila, and I sped out to the Saks outlet Rosalind told me about, convinced that all my dress dreams would come true.  I mean – Saks!  Outlet!  Right?  But, no.  I almost called Rosalind and asked if there was some hidden room where they keep the awesome dresses, and you’re only allowed in if you know the password, but alas, it really was just a tiny area with a few Calvin Klein dresses that looked exactly like all the other dresses I’ve seen in the past few weeks.  Desperate, my no-black rule flew out the door (maybe I could get awesome shoes?) and I tried on three black dresses that made me look either boring or shapeless. 

After I gave up on Saks, I ended up at Macy’s, AGAIN.  I guess I really like Macy’s – huh.  Here in Phoenix, we have an especially nice one in an upscale shopping center called the Biltmore, and this Macy’s just seems to stock slightly nicer/more expensive things than all the other ones.  With 45 minutes to shop before I had to go pick up Moo, I swooshed around the dress department.   I mentally tossed ALL my rules and ended up with nine dresses of all colors – black, pink, brown, even YELLOW.  I do not wear yellow.  When I was a pre-teen, my mother broke the news that yellow is not my color and should be avoided at all costs (I’m a Spring, it seems – or Summer?).  I’ve always agreed, but in that moment of desperate dress-shopping, I thought – maybe my mom was wrong!  Maybe she’s just always had some deep anti-yellow prejudice, and actually I look amazing in yellow…. perhaps I will even look the BEST I HAVE EVER LOOKED in this bright yellow dress!!

Nope.  Mom was right.

I zipped and tugged my way through all nine dresses, shoo-ing away the nosy saleslady (isn’t that why I like Macy’s, because they usually don’t bother you?), and found myself in the plum Laundry dress once again.  Last Saturday, it was 50% off.  Now it was 65% off.  Done.

I still don’t like the way it cuts so high under my arms.  I mean, I don’t think I’ll be able to wear/reapply deodorant (and don’t tell me to use the clear stuff because it does not work and still leaves marks), and what if I’m really nervous (quite likely) and I get sweat marks on my pretty plum dress?

So plummy will remain a back-up dress, and I’ll keep on desperately shopping around.  Lila clued me in to some boutiques that might have some options.

Maybe they carry hairdryers, too?

Oof. And also, Meh.

September 1, 2009

Bad cold (Moo and me) + evil canker sore (just me) = crappy week.  BUT – good diet.

I am not prone to canker sores, so I don’t know what was up with this sucker, but it would NOT go away, and as a result all I could do for a whole week was nibble graham crackers and slurp soup.  And the shed pounds would be great for going out and trying on dresses for the Zoni awards, but I felt so awful I could barely manage to roll off the couch to feed my child.

Finally, on Saturday, the pain and congestion haze eased up a bit and I found myself in the car on the way to Nordstrom.  Herbie looked at me kinda funny when I said I wanted to go shopping, considering I’d barely grunted three words at him all week, but I had to get out of the house, and seriously, time is running short and I need a dress.

No, not just a dress.  An AMAZING dress.  An amazing dress that I can afford.

That exists, right?

I thought I’d find dress nirvana at Nordstrom, but I didn’t even find any tempting enough to try on, and yes, I did get up the nerve to look in the “Special Occasions” alcove, where the salesladies divebomb you as soon as you cross the threshold. 

I ended up at Macy’s, again, and found a handful of dresses to try on, including one I’d tried on previously, now 50% off!  Here it is, with the other top contender:

Silly 017



















My favorite is on the right.  It’s actually a pretty plum color, and although it looks shapeless on the hanger, it’s very flowy and makes me look skinny (YES).  The other one is kinda sexy/slutty, in a way I think Herbie would love, but I’d be afraid to eat anything all night.  I almost bought the plum one, as a just-in-case-I-don’t-find-anything-better dress, but then my nose got all stuffed up again and suddenly I just wanted to be back home on the couch.

So here I am, three weeks to go and I haven’t found anything very enticing.  I thought I would find myself torn between 10 or so different stunning dresses, but it’s hard to find anything that I think will please me, Herbie, and any potential directors I might talk to at the Zoni’s.  It’s also getting increasingly hard to resist the color black.

And what about shoes??

Mmmm, shoes….

glitter shoes















What?  It’s an investment!

The Dress

August 16, 2009

So after a week of wandering around feeling slightly stunned about receiving my Zoni nomination (a very annoying week in which I kept catching myself standing in the middle of the room, staring off into space while holding a bra/cupcake/bouncy ball in one hand), I’ve moved on to the really important business, namely, finding THE DRESS.

How divine, to have an excuse to buy a fancy dress!  Or fancy-ish – I think this is a cocktail-dress occasion.  Hell, even if everyone else wears jeans, I am wearing sparkles and spangles.  I have spent almost every night searching Bluefly, Nordstrom, even Saks and Neiman’s although I totally can’t afford those dresses.  It doesn’t hurt to look, and dream, and obsess, right?  Oh, Zac Posen, you silken genius, you…

Last week when my sister was in town, I dragged her and my mother to Macy’s to watch me try on dresses.  They were very polite about it.  My first mistake was believing I was about 10 pounds lighter than I actually am.  Here I was envisioning sexy cut-outs, fitted sheaths – no.  No, and also, goodbye sugar (except for that truffle I had at lunch…).  I made up a few rules: 1) No black unless the dress is really interesting.  2) Avoid wrinkly satin.  3) No, Mom and Herbie, I am not going to rent a dress.  I also learned a few things – 1) Strapless is not a good look for me.  2) I am getting older, and must carefully avoid “prom hag” syndrome, wherein I look like I’m trying to pretend I’m 16.  3) I am probably going to have to find high-quality boob tape.

I’ve tried on dresses at two more stores since then and obsessively searched websites.  I don’t know why finding the right dress is so important, but it is SO. IMPORTANT.  Herbie, I can tell (with each murmured “mm-hmmm” when I show him a dress online), does not really understand.  But this is easily my most important wardrobe purchase since my wedding dress.  Just with a much smaller budget. 

See, I do not expect to win an award.  There are 10 nominees and those that I saw were amazing in their roles.  Receiving a nomination is the highest honor I could hope for, the biggest celebration of my fulfilled quest, so in a way, this dress is my award. 

Here are some of my favorites, which I totally cannot afford, but quietly blow kisses to nonetheless, when Herbie’s not looking:
















carmen marc valvo










purple ruffle dress












Nicole Miller

Checkout Line Envy

April 10, 2009

Moo played at my mom’s house for a couple hours yesterday while I ran a few errands, including a trip to Target.

(Incidentally, the security alarm beeps at me every.single.time. I walk into Target.  It’s like it just knows.)

I roamed around and collected the things on my list, then got in line behind a girl in her mid-20’s and piled my stuff on the conveyer belt. 

Mama’s Pile:

  • Orange juice
  • Cetaphil cleanser
  • Chapstick
  • Chicken
  • Mac n’ cheese (family size!)
  • Broccoli

Mid-20’s Girl’s Pile:

  • Cosmo magazine
  • Neon-colored ponytail holders
  • Black-and-pink plaid clutch purse
  • Red nailpolish
  • Yellow scarf
  • “The Notebook” DVD
  • M&M’s

I miss those days.