Archive for April 2008

25 April 2008

Rant: Sibling Rivalry

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: family
For better or worse, I was given a brother and two stepbrothers, but today I’ll concentrate on my brother. We’re three years apart, which I think is perfect because we have things in common, watch the same shows and generally get along (which only happened after I moved out for college).

But despite this age difference, my brother is still my biggest rival. We don’t have to fight for our parents attention anymore, but somehow I still view everything between us as a competition. While I have a good job and was recently promoted, am financially independent and stable and lead the “city life,” Andy still holds the biggest cards: he’s getting married, his wedding and honeymoon are free and he’s the baby.
Somehow when you stack those achievements next to each other, he’s still the winner. Today he informed me that his fiancee might be looking to leave teaching because of the unstable job market in Wisconsin and that her godfather might “hook her up” for a bank job that pays $70k. Andy exaggerates but there was something about this comment that made me snap.

It seems that no matter how hard I work to be successful, Andy always catches the breaks. He has never had to take a job to survive and has had it cushy his entire life, thanks to everyone around him. His wedding and honeymoon are basically free and his fiancee supports them both financially while he’s out of work. I mean how much better could it get for him? 
And hearing my own grandparents say that they didn’t think they’d live to see another happy event (aka a grandkids wedding), it makes me feel like a failure and at Christmas when they gave my brother and his fiancee an antique crystal unity candle holder because “someone should have it,” I felt like I had hit pretty much rock bottom. I know comparing me to him is not the same thing, but for anyone who has a sibling, you know the competition that can exist between you and how crazy they can make you.

So I don’t have any profound thoughts, just a rant for today. This might be a bit too personal, but contrary to popular belief, I am actually very sensitive on certain things.

24 April 2008

Weather forecasts for city women

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, Fashion
Thank goodness! It’s finally feeling like spring in Chicago! (Minus this afternoon rain) Woo hoo!

Whenever there is a large weather change – winter/spring or summer/fall – there can be a “delay” in dressing appropriately for the new weather temperature. This can cause several days of discomfort as you realize shortly after boarding the bus that you’re too over- or under-dressed. Yesterday, on an amazing day, I noticed a woman on the bus wearing a North Face puffer coat on the way to work. Now that is overdressing. It’s beautiful outside, wear something lighter!

I love wearing skirts in summer, l-o-v-e it. But even with the recent 70-degree temps, I’m still hesitant to pull them out. Mostly because I’m not 100 percent convinced the weather will stay this way. This is the Midwest. So after being slightly overdressed for the office this week, I threw caution to the wind today and dressed a bit more springy for work, complete with side ponytail and Coach scarf, dress denim and gauzy dress T-shirt with the Tory Burch flats. I thought I was set…until I went outside and the wind nearly made me lose the scarf and the hair didn’t look so cute anymore. Basically, I underdressed slightly.

So because of this, I am putting the local meterologists “on notice” because they need to give better direction to the women of Chicago on how to appropriately dress that day for work.

Here are some examples of how they can guide us better:

Warm cute: 
Weather is warm (mid-70s or higher) with little breeze and lots of sunshine. 
What to wear: skirt/pants or cropped jacket with sunglasses and a short to 3/4-length top with a wrap, sandals or tennis shoes (if you’re going to the gym).
Cool cute:
Weather is between high-50s and 60s, partly sunny and a bit stronger wind.
What to wear: pants, jean or fleece coat, full or open-toe shoes with something heavier to cover your arms.
Humid cute:
Weather is uncomfortable. Temps are still in the 70s or higher but with high humidity and lots of sunshine.
What to wear: light skirt, sandals and sunglasses and strappy top – basically anything to make it less uncomfortable. But bring a jacket, cardigan or wrap for the office.

Rain cute:

Well it’s raining so the weather isn’t that much of a stretch. Temps can fall into the “warm cute” or “cool cute” categories too so refer back to those descriptions.

What to wear: cutest rain boots (recommend bright colored wellies), pants, jacket and whatever top you choose.

Unforgiveably hot cute:

Weather: Similar to “humid cute” category but multiply it by ten.

What to wear: Whatever will keep you from passing out while waiting for the train or bus. But bring something to cover yourself up a bit at the office.

Now I know this seems a bit odd or slightly ridiculous to think up but, really seeing this description on the NBC 5 news in the morning would really help me out and keep me from being a hot mess.

Yes let’s do the math: “warm cute” dress + a “cool cute” day = a hot mess

Anyone who has ever been under- or over-dressed for the weather knows what that feels like. Suddenly my new post-gym workout outfit looks very warm and inviting. Even if they might be poorly made.

23 April 2008

Customer service frustration

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Fashion, shopping

Tonight I went to Old Navy to exchange a pair of tank tops that I originally purchased on Saturday. Normally I’m good at guessing my size, but this year, Old Navy has really dialed-down the quality of the tank tops, going from thick, sturdy cotton to some flimsy cotton/modal blend. I’m not a cotton/modal blend-hater, but Anne and I were both shocked at the decrease in quality. 

I know that you “get what you pay for,” so for $7.50 each on sale, I’m not expecting cashmere, but seriously. I loved those tank tops and stocked up every year. Now I have to make sure my old ones last as long as possible because they’re total crap now, same with the “perfect tee,” which is now more of a “perfect piece of crap.”
Moving on – when I went in tonight to do an even exchange from XL to L, I could tell right away that my cashier was not totally vested in helping me. So I explained that I wanted to do an even exchange, showing her the new tank tops and taking the receipt and the old tank tops out of the bag. After a long dramatic pause, the following conversation occurred:
Cashier: So you want to exchange the L tank tops for the XL?

Me: No, I bought the XL ones on Saturday and they don’t fit, I would like to do an even exchange for the L ones, over here (motioning to the side of the cashier’s booth)

Cashier: Okay, I’ll ring up the XL ones for you.

Me: No, I already bought the XL ones, I want to exchange those for the L ones.

Cashier: Ma’am, ahhhhhh…hold on. (calls for manager)
It’s about now that I let out a deep sigh and start counting to ten. For a moment, I had a bad flashback to an incident at Nordstroms in which Liz had to step in because the cashier and I started snapping at each other and I tried to come behind the counter to do the exchange myself.
Fortunately, the manager was competent and made the even exchange for me, but not before trying to charge me $2 for some reason, which I refused.
I love customer service, and do not miss my retail days. At all.

22 April 2008

Do I objectify guys? Absolutely, now take your shirt off

By: Jessica B.
I don’t know why I remember this, but a few years ago I was watching MTV News (actually maybe MTV News Brief – let’s be clear) and Usher, when he was super famous, was talking about how women would objectify him at his concerts. Apparently when you’re young and have a nice body and parade around on stage with little to no clothing on, women objectify you. How did they figure us out?

Anyhow, he commented to MTV that it’s wrong for women objectify men because “they’re people too,” which made me almost spit out my soda in laughter. Yes, because women are not objectified ever…not in men’s magazines like Maxim or online or even walking down the street! I’m sure when the centerfold was being photographed for Playboy, she was thinking, “boy I really hope the guys don’t just look at my body and rack because I’m also going for my Ph.D. in chemistry. I’m a real person, unlike my boobs.”

I proudly declare that I objectify men on a daily basis. And now that it’s summer and the cute boys are out in force with blue dress shirts and dress pants (it’s a young professional girls dream), I am all over smiling and dreaming in my head of them under my spell, or at least going around without a shirt on in my apartment. But while I do objectify men and salivate over some, I do actually look for possible dates based on personality. That is still key, but having guys for the “fantasy file” (come on, we all have them) is still fun too. My friend Ryan comments openly about women and their butts when we’re out, I just keep my objectifying comments in my head, but trust me, I’m scanning the room.

Unfortunately when I actually hit on guys or objectify them, it starts by me giving them a smile and look which just consists of me widening my doe eyes and tilting my head down slightly. They love it. It’s like, “yes I’m looking right at you and thinking impure things, want to come over and ask what?”

My friend Liz busted me giving some guy the look on the bus one night after a Banana Republic event. I didn’t care if he was a genius or single, because in my head, he was a) attractive, b) interested in me and c) looking exceedingly hot. Nothing was going to happen, so my mind was having a fun time. Disclaimer: I do not condone cheating. I would never ever do it.

So look out guys, it’s summer and you’re officially on “objectifying notice.” I can’t help myself.  So put on the nicest dress shirt you have and compete for my imagination’s attention. Meow.

21 April 2008

Six quirky things about me

By: Jessica B.
So today I’m not a diva tagged me as part of the six truths meme (I don’t know what that is) so for everyone’s reading enjoyment, be prepared to learn interesting or useless things about me. Remember, I’m quirky, not freaky.

The rules:
  • link to the person that tagged you
  • post the rules on your blog
  • share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself
  • tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
  • let each random person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Six things about me:

  1. I am still slightly OCD/perfectionist. This isn’t as bad as it used to be, but my most reoccurring quirk is that when I have about 10-15 M&M’s left, I organize them in bunches by groups of color and then eat them with my least fave color first with my favorite color first. This happens if I’m at my desk, on a train or even in a movie (although it’s more difficult there)
  2. I love designer handbags. Don’t ask me how many I have because I don’t know, but they sit nicely on a shelf in the dust bags. My repeat offenders: Coach and Kate Spade. Mostly Coach.
  3. When I was little, I wanted to be a dancer on Solid Gold and a doctor. I need a gold shiny jumpsuit and a cage in the OR, stat!
  4. My mind is a vast cave of pop culture knowledge. Movies, fashion, stars, television, trivia, you name it and it’s in there. My friend stopped playing Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture edition with me because I kept winning.
  5. My first real memory of Chicago is coming down after Christmas with my dad to walk along Michigan Avenue and look at the lights.
  6. Sometimes when I have a really, really bad day, I come home, turn the phone off, turn on the television and eat coffee cake alone in the dark. Really, it’s not sad, it helps shake off the blues. Fortunately this has only happened once or twice.

Tag, you’re it!

So below are my picks for who’s tagged next. Start runnin’.

Rebecca at Homemaker’s Habitat – She’s my work mother and the most creative, arts/crafts person I know. Seriously.

Amanda at Simplified Mom – She is my knitting yoda and has the most adorable baby girl Ada.

Stephanie at My Twentysomething Cents – She loves the Office just like me :) and knows about Mindy Ephron’s blog. Both of things are a-okay with me.

Angela  at Angelaboration- Actress, great photos on her blog, funny stories and she’s super nice to comment on my blog regularly :)

Arielle at Good Things Come to Those Who Whine- works in HR and cracks me up with her office stories. I can relate…so well.

Jenn at Free and Flawed – she helped get people to my blog to answer my blog roll question and has been super nice with me being a newbie blogger still.

Jamie at Oh How Lovely – Yes I’m adding a seventh tag. Her blog is awesome and huge and she still visits my little growing blog and comments :)