Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rewind. Play. Fast Forward.

I received the latest issue of Parents Magazine in the mail this week.  In it was a list of web sites offering coupons and discounts on everything from grocery stores to restaurants to baby products.  I went to one of the sites and scrolled down a list of restaurants looking for money-saving deals.  Chili's... Dunkin' Donuts... Hard Rock Café.

Screeeeeech.  Stop.

When I was 18 years old, my best friend and I went to Hard Rock Café in downtown Boston every weekend.  I would get a cheeseburger and fries (this was before I completely gave up meat).  We would talk over the loud music, laughing and people-watching and enjoying being out.  We would make fun of the tourists.  We always ordered dessert.

I remember exactly where I’d park my car, and the walk to those golden, guitar-handled doors.  We knew the bouncers and would chat before going in.  I remember so clearly the décor – the hard wood floors, the guitars, Madonna’s bustier from the “Open Your Heart” video, the Beatles memorabilia – even the stairs that led down to the bathrooms.  I remember one of the last times I was there – on a date with a guy named Ariel whom my cousin would tease me about by humming the tune to “The Little Mermaid.”

Time moved forward – graduating college, working, growing up, going to Armenia, falling in love, getting married, moving to Fresno, having babies…

… and getting Parents Magazine in the mail.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Can Take the Girl Out of Boston…

I’ve been thinking a lot about Boston lately.  Last week my hometown got blanketed with 20 inches of snow and I couldn’t help but feel badly for everyone there.  I remember all the snow I used to shovel, de-icing my car in the mornings, and having to drive through blizzards.  I can honestly say that I don't miss it.

My cousin recently got engaged and we’ll be flying back East for the wedding this fall.  As much as I miss the variety (Harvard Square, Back Bay, North End/Little Italy, Government Center), the culture (Museum of Fine Arts, the Middle East, the Orpheum, Theatre District), and the beauty (Charles River, the foliage, the Wharf) of the city, I truly love living in Fresno now.

Travel+Leisure posted this article today ( about the rudest cities in America.  Boston ranked 6th (Los Angeles was #1, followed by New York City).  I know that many non-Bostonians think Bostonians are very rude, gruff, and mean, even.  I have to disagree.  I definitely didn’t think Bostonians were rude when I lived there, and I still don’t think so now that I have moved away.

But I can see why other people might think so.  Especially now that I live in California.  Everyone here is so laid back and mellow, almost trying to fit into certain molds (at least in terms of physical appearance).  Bostonians do their own thing, and they really don’t care if anyone else likes it or not.

What Bostonians ARE are the following:

1.  Intellectually superior.  There are more than 88 colleges and universities just in the greater Boston area.  Most Bostonians are very well educated and articulate.  (Tom Menino notwithstanding.)  Please note:  This superiority often crosses into anything sports-related.
            Could be mistakenly construed as:  stuck up/exclusive/know-it-all

2.  Opinionated.  Bostonians have an opinion about most everything, and they’re happy to share it with you.  There is no indifference there, only passion!
            Could be mistakenly construed as:  rude/pushy/obnoxious

3.  Tough.  Bostonians know what they like and what they want.  They are fiercely loyal and are not afraid to stand their ground.
            Could be mistakenly construed as:  blunt/mean

4.  Private.  Bostonians share when THEY want to share.  They don’t blab their personal stories to anyone walking by.  They will only let you in after you have proven yourself trustworthy.  But once you’re in, you’re in for life.  And if you turn on them, you better watch your back.
            Could be mistakenly construed as:  snobby

So you see, we’re not so bad.  We’re just misunderstood.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13 Things I Love

1, 2 and 3 ~ Jayson, Silas and James.  These three fill my heart and my life.
4 ~ Shoes (I’m pretty sure we’ve already established this).
5 ~ Dark chocolate.  Preferably with nuts.  And maybe a little caramel.
6 ~ Elephants.  They are beautiful, maternal, and they make me smile.
7 ~ Fashion ~ Wearable art.
8 ~ Purple, my favorite color.
9 ~ Indian food.  Spicy, delicious, and kind to vegetarians.
10 ~ Deep conversation.  Small talk makes me want to scratch my eyes out.
11 ~ Making lists.  And checking things off said lists.
12 ~ Dancing.  It’s the best form of exercise.
13 ~ People watching.  Preferably in a big city.
14 ~ New York City.  Just thinking about being there gives me butterflies.
15 ~ My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ~ The very definition of Love.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

If the Shoe Fits...

I’ve been a bit shoe-obsessed lately, so I thought it wise to explain myself.  I am fully aware that in the grand scheme of things shoes, and my love for shoes, can seem quite frivolous.  Rest assured that this fondness (okay fine, weakness) is in its proper place on my personal priority list.

That said, let’s go way back to junior high school.  I was one of the youngest, smallest, shortest girls in my class.  There was a store at the mall where I used to shop called 5-7-9; they carried sizes as small as 0.  Some of you may be wishing you had that problem, but it really was a problem.  Nothing ever fit me properly.  Everything had to be hemmed, shortened, taken up.  If it was a two-piece outfit, and the top fit, the bottom surely didn’t.  Or if the bottom miraculously fit, the sleeves on the top were too long.

This was not a life-altering or traumatic problem in the least.  It was more of an annoyance.  So much so that it’s one of the main reasons I dislike shopping even to this day.  It’s hard to find clothes that fit my height and shape properly – and tailoring is expensive!

But shoes?  Ah, shoes.

Shoes always fit properly.  Shoes always look good.  I can wear any shoe.  And heels don’t need to be hemmed.

Skinny jeans?  Definitely not for everyone.  The trendier stuff?  Come on, I’m 37.  Baggy clothes are sloppy.  Horizontal stripes?  Not for my top half.  High-waisted pants?  I will lose whatever torso I have.  Miniskirts are for Tina Turner and women younger than 30.

Shoes can take an outfit from casual to glam, from work to play, from beach to café.  They define an outfit. They lengthen legs and increase height.  They make a statement.  And they look good on every woman.

Manolo, Christian, Jimmy… thank you.  And please visit my closet any time.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.  Literally.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pretty Packaging

I was over the “moon” when I received a very special and very valuable gift in the mail yesterday.  I literally gasped when I opened the package, and was rendered speechless for a few moments.  It was quite unexpected and extremely generous.

When Jayson got home and saw the box, he remarked at how plain it was.  Just a regular, run of the mill cardboard shoebox.  That got me thinking about another very valuable gift I once received, again in a simple white box.  Tiffany jewels come wrapped in effortless blue paper and white ribbon.  Diamond wedding rings are presented in uncomplicated velvet boxes.

Does it make sense that something so valuable would come in such a simple container?  Shouldn’t a fancy gift be in a swanky box with elaborate wrapping and ribbons?  Shouldn’t the outside match the inside?

Yet it makes perfect sense.  Something intrinsically valuable does not need elaborate packaging to shout its worth to anything with eyes.  In fact, the less pretentious the outside, the more admirable the inside could be.

And then, perhaps, we could take our focus OFF the gift, and put it ON the gift-giver.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.