because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Anxious About #BlissDom? You’re Not Alone!

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In a few days, I’ll be attending BlissDom, a blogging conference in Grapevine, Texas.

I’m excited to network and meet some cyber-buddies, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being nervous, too.

For weeks, I’ve read posts about what people are doing to prepare for this thing. Some bloggers wrote about how they plan to get to the conference early so they can have their nails done & have their hair cut and colored before the keynote on Thursday night.

{gulp.}

Some women posted pictures of what they plan to wear to the conference. Others mentioned they received sponsorships from clothing companies that not only paid for their tickets to the conference, but also gave them cute outfits to wear the entire weekend.

{gasp.}

I’ve read how about how important it is to pack properly for this conference. Apparently, I need earplugs and Band-Aids and duck tape and snacks and comfortable {yet stylish} shoes. And an iPad. And gifts for my roommates.

Holy moley, Spicolli.

I know y’all mean well, but y’all are making me want to hide at the pool, and I haven’t gotten on the plane yet!

For those of you who haven’t met me yet (and that would be everyone since this is my first blogging conference), I figured I’d come clean right now.

I will not be the girl with the make-up or the nails or the pretty outfits.

Coming from Rochester, New York, I live in a puffy, black sleeping bag coat between November and April. We all do. It’s a thing.

So I probably shouldn't wear this, huh?
So I probably shouldn’t wear this, huh?

Also, I operate under a probably misguided belief that I look adorable in jeans worn under a sundress.

With cowboy boots.

So I will probably be wearing something like this:

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This works, right?

Everyday.

I might also be wearing a hat.

On account of my crazy hair.

Here are some things I would appreciate if you would do when you see me at BlissDom:

  1. Check my teeth. I have this one area where food always gets caught. Friends generally tell me if there is something nasty up in there. Seriously, I will love you if you lean over and discreetly tell me my lunch is stuck in my grill.
  2. Dance with me.  I plan to tear it up on the dance floor. I don’t need any alcohol or drugs or anything to get out there. If you want my drink tickets me to love you forever, dance with me. Don’t say you need ten drinks first. Just come join. I promise I won’t make you stand on the bar. Probably.
  3. Ask me if I know where I’m going. I was not born with an innate sense of direction. When traveling alone, I am 100% dependent on Google Maps, which probably won’t help much inside the Gaylord Hotel. If you see a woman weeping in a corner, chances are I have to pee and I can’t find a bathroom. If you can just point me in the right direction, I’d be much obliged.

Help me on any of these fronts, and I’ll pretty much do anything for you.

I’ve got my business cards and my iPad.

This Yankee is packing her big girl panties and her cowboy boots.

I promise to bleach my mustache for you.

But I’m not getting a spray tan or micro-demabrasion or liposuction or Rejuviderm or Botox.

{Unless someone is offering to sponsor that. In which case I totally am.}

Get ready, BlissDom.

I’ll be the 45-year-old shaking her badonkadonk on the dance floor.

What are the most important things you have ever brought to conferences — writing or otherwise?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Not Meant to Rent

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Okay, so it wasn’t exactly this woman. And it wasn’t exactly this dress. And we weren’t by the ocean. But you get the idea.

A while back, I saw this woman at a party.

She looked like a goddess.

Her dress was one of those long Grecian-inspired things that draped her body perfectly. She was lithe and long, and I’m pretty sure she was a size 00.

Now, I am no shopper, but I had never seen anything like that dress in any store remotely near Rochester, New York. I couldn’t help myself.

I drifted away from my husband and walked right up to The Goddess who was accompanied by a man at least twice her age.

Because I am incredible classy, I introduced myself. We shook hands, and then I stated flat out: “You look freakin’ awesome in that dress!”

The Goddess ran her fingernails through her hair and gave me a pretend blush. Because she knew she looked like Heidi Klum. Then she leaned in as if she was about to tell me the world’s best secret. “People always stare at me in my dresses,” she confided.

I knew she didn’t mean for this to come out as arrogantly as it sounded. She was just gorgeous and stupid and young. Plus, I could tell she was sitting on something big. And I figured if I could tolerate her just listened a little bit longer, then I’d be in on it, too.

“What I mean is lots of times I see people staring at my dresses, and I wish they would just ask me where I got them so I could tell them.”

I knew she wasn’t a total bitch.

“I swear I want to shout it from the rooftops!” she exclaimed.

The build-up was tremendous.

“Have you ever heard of Rent the Runway?” she asked.

I shook my head, clueless.

“Omigosh!” The Goddess grabbed my wrist and did a little pee-pee crouch. “It’s the best thing ever. I’m one of those people who hates wearing the same dress twice, you know what I mean?”

I nodded, but honestly. No. I didn’t know what she meant. I have a closet filled with dresses I wear over and over again.

Image representing Rent the Runway as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

The Goddess continued, “Rent the Runway is this company that leases designer dresses and accessories for … like…up to 85% off retail.”

I looked at The Goddess and watched her perfectly shaped lips.

“You pick a dress style that you like, choose two sizes — the one that you think is most likely to fit and another size as a backup in case you guessed wrong. They ship the dress to you for four days, and after you are done using it you mail it back. You can rent dresses that would normally be, like $1,000 for between $275 and $400,” she gushed. “And the best part is that you always have a new dress! How awesome is that?”

I looked at this pretty young thing like she had 7 heads.

Talk about coming from totally different worlds.

1. I would never. I can’t even imagine spending between $275-$400 on a new dress, let alone one someone else has already worn. Even my wedding dress was $212 off the rack.

2. The douche-bag factor. I would never admit to spending hundreds of dollars on a rented dress because my friends would think I was the most arrogant snob in the world. Not to get all preachy, but – excuse me while I get on my high horse for a moment – people are being foreclosed upon. I have taught homeless students who have had to sleep in Walmart for lack of a place to go. Families are living in hotel rooms that cost $50 per night. How could I ever, in good conscience, rent a dress that I knew could house them for a week? Or, at least, feed them for a few days?

3. I like re-runs. I have watched The Shawshank Redemption dozens of times. I never get tired of it. Same goes for clothes. If I see an outfit that I actually love, I want it. And I want to wear it again. I wear my party dresses so infrequently that I am actually excited when I pull them out of the closet. They are like old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. And because I shop carefully and try to avoid trends, I generally do fine.

4. I rely on friends. Some of my friends happen to be the same size as I am. I can’t tell you how many times my friend Cindy and I have swapped dresses. I actually met my friend Rachel while trying on dresses. Yes, I invited a total stranger over to my house; then she invited me over to her house. We stripped off our clothes in front of each other and ended up doing a dress swap. Now that’s a “How We Met” story!

5. I’m cheap. I have pretty good luck at Marshall’s. What can I say? Some of us just weren’t made for high fashion.

I tried to appreciate the delicious kernel of awesomeness that The Goddess had bestowed upon me.

I couldn’t get past the idea that standing before me was this young woman who loved fashion so much that she was willing to spend a good portion of money on a dress that she was only going to wear once and then have to return.

“How can you afford this?” I asked. “I don’t get it.”

The Goddess smirked and whispered from behind one manicured hand, “Oh, I get my dates to pay.”

As if on cue, the old man her date beckoned, she waved good-bye, took her escort’s arm (or maybe she was the escort), and together they went off. I watched as the train of her white gown slowly swirled around a corner, kind of like expensive toilet paper does as it disappears down the drain.

What do you think of the idea of renting clothes? Has anyone ever done it? What was your experience like?

Tweet this twit @rasjacobson

Lessons From Summer Shoes

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photo by rouzeh @ flickr.com

Once upon a time, a November baby met July. The baby’s feet were small and bare and, as she crawled across spiky grass to the place where the lawn met road, she crouched low to pop tar bubbles with the tip of one tiny index finger.

One hot July, the little girl screamed as her mother buckled a new pair of white strappy-somethings firmly onto her feet. And no matter how many people told her how lucky she was to have such fine shoes, she knew she must have been very bad. To her the word sandals always sounded like a lie: a fancy name for prison.

Another July, the girl slipped into a shimmery yellow leotard and jazz shoes. While she was on-stage, she was confident in her dancer’s limbs. And when the audience clapped its approval, she knew her body was moon beautiful.

One July, the teenage girl watched her mother slip into a pair of rainbow-colored high heels. She saw how a 45° angle could transform a woman’s legs, instantly make them longer and leaner, and she decided that, one day, she would have a pair of magical shoes in her closet.

One July, the young woman dressed up in silky lingerie — thigh high stockings, a corset and ridiculously high red platform pumps: a last-ditch effort to make a man she wanted notice her. When he wouldn’t leave his piano, she threw one shiny stiletto at his head and realized it was time for her to live alone.

Later that same July, the young woman saved up all her money to buy a pair of distressed leather boots. As she straddled the back of a horse, her heels pressed into silver stirrups. And despite the fact that the world was shifting beneath her, she felt completely in control, holding the reins of that bridle, cantering into the darkness beneath a canopy of green and gold.

One July, the woman found herself in New Orleans, wearing a sundress with sneakers, and holding hands with the man she knew would one day be her husband.

One July, pregnant and hopeful, the woman learned sacrifice. As her ankles swelled into fat sausages, she could only wear flip-flops. Soon she would be someone’s mother; she understood her body was for rent. And she was grateful the feisty tenant who had taken control of the premises only had a few weeks left on his lease.

Over forty July later, that November baby found herself barefoot on the neighbors’ lawn. The soles of her feet were filthy, but as she turned cartwheels, she realized she owned the magical shoes she’d always wanted. She understood now that the shoes weren’t magic. It was the everything else around her that was positively succulent, that she carried an entire orchard of ripe peaches inside her, that she lived from joy to joy, as if death were nowhere in the background.

What do you remember about July?

Tweet this Twit @RASJacobson

The Hideously, Fabulous Sneakers

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Monkey's sneakers

My son has these ridiculous shoes. They came to us as hand-me-downs from friends whose son who never wore them. Apparently, the sneakers were custom-made for our friends’ son, but he exhibited some kind of advanced fashion sense and never wore them.

Because they are kind of ludicrous.

I mean, they are blood-red, white and royal blue.

Yup.

Clown shoes.

Anyway, my son fences. (No, he does not steal. He is a saber fencer.) And last weekend, his foot suddenly didn’t fit into his fencing sneakers. (How does that happen? Friday, good. Saturday, not so good?) Anyway, one hour before the big tournament, all we had were the clown shoes. Monkey tried them on and they fit. Like a glove. (Okay, that’s a terrible mixed metaphor. They fit like a pair of fabulously comfortable pair of whacked-out clown shoes.)

Thrilled, Monkey immediately ran upstairs and grabbed an ancient pair of unworn royal blue soccer socks. (You know, to match.)

And he kicked ass. (And by kicking ass, I mean he did better than he ever has before: He did not win, but he did not come in last place either.)

Meanwhile, and perhaps more importantly, everyone commented on his shoes.

And Monkey (who tends not to be an attention whore like his mother) actually liked the attention.

Those wigged out kicks gave my boy a little swagger.

Frankly, the patriotic Nikes seemed to be a constant and very visual reminder that he needs to move his feet.

Which is something his coach often reminds him that he forgets to do.

As stupid as it sounds, the clown shoes made for a great weekend moment.

Of course, now we have to go to the mall.

You know. To buy sneakers.

Tell me about that one ridiculous piece of clothing to which you were very attached as a kid. Or tell me about something you have to tackle on your to do list! 😉

Tweet this Twit at RASJacobson