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Life of Colleen: April 2009

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Sundry thoughts and product reviews
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-04-25 at 10:36 PM (Pacific)

Was home sick for two days...with one of those weird colds from Hell, the kind I used to get all the time in Washington State. One staple of the Pacific Northwest is Sudafed (or the Costco version, at a better price).

Whilst guzzling generic Sudafed and painkillers, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands, and thoughts began to meander toward...our economy. Sure, there's an extremely ugly side to it; but in the long run, it will be interesting to see how it turns out. I feel it's like much of life. If you can last through the crappy parts, you end up on a higher plane.

When I was growing up (pre-Internet of course), if you wanted to shop for clothes, you went to New York City. :) Okay, some people actually did go to New York, but the rest of us had to settle for local department stores. There were Leggett and Smith & Welton, along with the prosaic (and now defunct) Monkey Wards, Sears, J.C. Penney and the like.

At the time I was constantly bitching why I couldn't find clothes similar to those in Seventeen magazine. There was some truth to it--"conservative" is too pale a term for 1970's Norfolk, Virginia--but, in retrospect, I was a lousy shopper. I "couldn't find a hooker in a whorehouse"; there were good clothes about, I just had no strategy.

So--even as b & m choices morphed from a mix of local stores and chains to...chains...and women coast-to-coast began to wear exactly the same clothes...simultaneously, a million online stores opened up. And just as the clever women of decades ago had their sources, and always looked smart while the rest of us clearly shopped at Monkey Wards, it's well to develop your own small list of where to go, for what.

While I was home, I started poking around on the Net to see what could be found locally. I actually like online shopping, in a deranged way--combing customer reviews of the item, trying to find someone with my body type--I think they should ask your measurements, for writing reviews. They are anonymous reviews after all. Shouldn't they ask for height, weight, and bust-waist-hip measurements? It sounds horrible, but wouldn't it be more helpful than your age range, which they do ask?

It should be voluntary, but I'll wager women who shop online would be more willing than not to share their measurements, because that's what's crucial to buying something you can't try on.

Yet, online shopping alone gets to be expensive. And so, in this early 2009, random, Google-flavored, Sudafed-induced stupor, I discovered four new places to shop for clothes locally. Hm. Not bad.

This is stellar when you're sick:

yogi ginger tea

According to my mil--if you have a runny nose, you need to drink much more water.

I'm one of those sad sacks who loathe drinking water, but I like plain hot water or hot tea. The Yogi ginger tea is surprisingly tasty, despite its herbal ingredients; it tastes overwhelmingly of ginger. The other components merely pop the ginger and keep it from going bitter.

sundance catalog riley linen shirt

At first blush, Sundance Catalog's Riley Linen shirt would appear yet another heartlessly-priced Sundance offering, however attractively presented. But I've seen it in person, and--in that uncanny sixth-sense o' Sundance, there is something to it. It's engineered...to be wrinkled.

Now, I don't care about wrinkles on my face (I know, I should care), so I'd hardly wish to care about wrinkles in my clothes. Though I am one of those freaky people who don't mind ironing--I'm not particularly good at it, but I am competent--it is time-consuming. This shirt struck me as being impossible to iron; you'd ruin the effect.

It's something I've sought, for quite a while...on travel-clothing sites and others...crinkled clothing, or items otherwise designed not to be ironed.

garnet hill button front scoop neck tee shirt

Garnet Hill Button-Front Scoop-Neck Tee review, part 2.

Garnet Hill came through with their free exchange policy, and I now have two of these shirts. Definitely, your bust size determines which size to order. I tried the Large, ran it through the dryer (even at low heat, most cotton items shrink one size when tumble-dried), and came up with something wearable. If you're really stacked, I have to question if even the XL would work or would pull across the bust.

You need a camisole under it; these guys are not kidding. The white one I got was more ordinary than the Dusty Aqua, and part of me rather wishes I'd gotten either Graphite (dark grey) or Paprika (the peppy burnt orange one), but this is a top you reach for when it's hot. For me, white or off-white is far more versatile (mix it with any summer-weight skirt or any pants).

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A great new product by Sony!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2009-04-08 at 7:33 PM (Pacific)

If you are offended by bad language, don't play it.

Software developers: don't miss the Help Screen at 1:20.

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