Sunday, January 30, 2011


I just fell in love with the pictures of this owl from gothamist. The first is the most eye catching, but the second one reminds me of Peeps (who is known as an owl cat in these premises).

This picture is the very definition of puffed up. This more moderate one below is more Peeps-like, although my young lady has her own puffed up moments. I wish I'd woken to see this fabulous creature on my air conditioner. I really like owls.

The Things I Didn't Buy This Week, Part 1

Here are some of the items I didn't buy this week. In a different year, I'd have snapped some of these items up, but for the reasons stated, I let each go. That's not to say I didn't like/want them, but in the spirit of my new frugality, I let all of these pass.

Rachel Comey top from Creatures of Comfort--around $110. I love this fabric and the top is beautiful and it is 70% off and in my size. But on further reflection, the top isn't wearable for my lifestyle and climate. It's silk so it's not good for humid summers; it's also one shouldered and has such an elaborate detail that it would be hard to cover it in a cardigan without causing an unsightly bump. It's also not something I need that would add value to my wardrobe. Furthermore, the one shoulder thing is not me and is very much of its time meaning this will date. I still love the fabric and hope to find something in this pattern, but as I have the essay dress in another fabric, this may remain something I like from afar.
Savings--around $130 (tax and shipping extra on this one).

Another lovely Rachel Comey blouse that's 70% off at Creatures of Comfort and is also in my size. Pros--I love the neck and shoulders, it looks like it would drape really well. I think I'd wear it (although it may mean I wouldn't wear something else I own and love). Negatives--the fabric is somewhat dull, would need a lot of dry cleaning. As it falls short of spectacular I'm passing, despite the $96 tag.
Savings: around $105--as there would be tax. And probably $235 or so as it would have been easy to snag both of these.

Rag and Bone cardigan, around $148, so that's about $162 with tax. Pros--it's green, soft and warm. Minuses--it's $162 and I really don't need another cardigan, particularly one that is this heavy.

Rag & Bone sweater dress--around the same price as the cardigan. Pros--it's cheap and interesting. Rag & Bone always seduces me with its aura of English model off duty. Minues--I don't need it and it is so thick that any day I'd need to be this warm, I'd need something on my legs; I may be English but any remote chance I'd ever have of being a model is long gone. 

More to come--some of the items like the cosy large Rag & Bone cashmere cardigan are not pictured online (and that's still something I would consider as I think the price per wear works out). But I still vow to resist it, so it maybe just as well I can't find any images.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What I Didn't Buy This Week

I'm thinking of making this a new feature, one that allows me to see exactly how much I would have spent if I wasn't watching the pennies.

This week marks what might be the end of the fall/winter sales--and the big discounts that often tempted me. This week, I resisted the allures of yet more J. Crew merchandise on 40% off final sale, Creatures of Comfort's Rachel Comey blouses at 70% markdown and some Rag and Bone sweaters and pants that were equally marked down. Conservatively, I think I've saved about $500 that I would have spent on all of the above. When time permits, I will pull some pictures and show you what I resisted...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It seems so distant now, but just three weeks ago I was home, sans shoulder ache and not on any fixed schedule. Bliss. It was also 45 degrees, and there wasn't a snowflake in sight--right now, NYC is anticipating its second big snowfall of the day.

Here's a few pictures of what I am now missing:

                                                            My two year old niece.

                                        Walks in Tweezeldown woods with dear friends

                                         Hunstanton Beach on New Years Day

    An icy cobweb decorating the view from my bedroom window.

                          Walking around small seaside towns with Mum and Dad.

                                            Debsy in a tiara.

 Strange death-obssessed wax art in the V & A, complete with bonus rats.


Classes have now started, so I don't have as much time to catalogue my clothing or do much of anything else. I have finished writing all my syllabi, something that takes far longer than you would imagine, and I've also reached the half way mark in my 30 day yoga/pilates challenge. Today I did one yoga in the morning and an early evening pilates--the latter was actually fairly easy as far as pilates goes. I think the Friday night pilates class is the one that really kicks my butt--or, rather, abs and legs. I also have really sore shoulders--I think all those planks and downward dogs, not to mention other poses/asanas that require lots of shoulder strength, have really done a number on me. Hopefully the pain is a good sign that I'm getting stronger.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

86 Sweaters

Or thereabouts. I've just been going through my closets and drawers, organizing everything to eliminate clutter and to remind me what I actually own so I don't spend more. Evan has teased me many times about the number of sweaters I have--and he was right. The 86 includes tanks, tunics, short-sleeved tops, cardigans, lightweight, medium and heavyweight sweaters and jackets, cotton, silk, cashmere and acrylic blends. Most are from Mayle, J. Crew, Club Monaco and Inhabit. Some are very old (the ones my mum knitted for us as kids), others are unworn with tags still attached (granted most of these are my new purchases). I found at least two I forgot I owned, ones I will wear that were piled next to ones I rarely touch. I also found the one I've been searching for all week.

I've also gone through t-shirts--I'm not a big t-shirt buyer or wearer but found that I have enough for a lifetime. Granted, it's partly because I never throw them away (although my dear late cat Lupin was cremated with the t-shirt I was wearing to sleep in the night she died--I wanted her to have some of me with her for eternity as some of her will always be with me). I still have the ones I owned in Madison and one is nearly transparent it has worn so thin. I've also got about 10 long sleeved striped t-shirts, so again, I'm set there. Sweatshirts are about the only thing I don't own in big number--I have two, the standard American Apparel grey one and the grey sequined J Crew number I've worn once.

Next up, I tackle tights, gym clothes and nightwear. I haven't even got to dresses yet. I don't have many pairs of pants but at this point, I think I'm sufficiently horrified that this may be a good way to put myself off buying clothing.

On that note, thank you everybody for the excellent tips. They are truly helpful. I am a little appalled with myself (to put it mildly) for spending so much time and money on clothing. And I purged a lot of stuff when I moved 18 months ago, donating many dresses, shoes and other items to charity, which makes this all the more disgusting. Yes, I am ashamed of myself.

But on the plus side, I'm hoping this will teach me to have fun with the clothing I have. It's a pretty nice collection of items and there's enough to wear for any event and weather--with 86 sweaters, for instance, I could wear a different one every day for nearly 3 months. Why, then, are the same ten or so in constant rotation each winter? I know many are not suited for the deepest cold, but I do wear the same four sweaters and three cardigans so much?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cutting Back

I've noticed I'm not alone in vowing to limit my spending. Several bloggers, including Amanda, have devoted posts to this same issue. I was talking to Caroline today and we both decided to save for something we really want--like a RM Roland Mouret dress, or possibly a great bag. While this seems counter intuitive I think big purchases often lead to limited spending as the emotions/guilt/pleasure lead to cutbacks both before and afterwards. While I may not go this route, one thing I am going to cut back is those small splurges that add up. I've already mentioned that I am not going to buy the following this year--unless I really love a special item or absolutely need it:

colored opaque tights (I have drawers full of them)
J. Crew costume jewelry

These little splurges often go overlooked (it's just $5, $10, $20, $50) but they add up. They've also filled my closet, drawers, and other available spaces. I do not need any more of any of the above and can no longer say it's an investment. Cutting back on spending on clothes also comes with the advantage of cutting back clutter. And our one bedroom is way too full of stuff.

I also vow to cut back buying books and dvds. This one is tricky--I do need them for my job and for research and libraries don't always cut it (books are recalled or out on loan, or simply not there--something that is notoriously the case at NYU's Bobst). I still haven't worked out how to manage this cutback but I have to do something as I have way too many unread books and unwatched dvds on my shelves.

Still, I don't think these spending cuts are enough. I no longer buy something because it is Mayle and I haven't got it and it is in my size. I've got to love it and it has to be something that will add value to my closet at a reasonable price--although I have yet to sort out the details.

Basically, I'm on a clothing freeze right now. That may be the easiest way to do it. If anybody has any advice, please share.

College Days

When I was home, I met up with several dear college friends. Jenny brought with her an old photo of me, taken the night after a big party at our friend Tim's place, Cedar House (when I say big, I mean big--I think half the campus was there). I remember the party, partly because I also took photos. But I have no memory of the next day, including no memory of staying over, and certainly no memory of standing in the back garden wearing Jenny's clothes with a tray strapped to my head. If I hadn't seen the evidence, I'd have protested strongly that I was too mature to do such things. But in this case, the photo stands as proof.

While I was at Tim's house (the one he, his wife and children live in, not the house of the party from long ago) a week or so ago, I told him this tale. He disappeared and then brought down two dusty photo albums. I remember some of the events, others had faded from memory, along with the former friends whose faces I saw again as they were in their late teens and early 20s. Besides realizing how little we remember, it was a pleasant trip down memory lane. I can't believe all that time passed and took a few photos of Tim's pictures, some of which I share here. I realize too that I half expect to see that me still when I look in the mirror and admit to some disappointment that it is no longer the case.

                                                 With Jenny showing off Kinder Egg rings.

                                                With Harry on our college campus

                                                     Bev, Jenny, Me and Sid.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

J Crew Arrivals

I arrived home last night to two J. Crew boxes--reminders of my crazy shopping bender that has only made me redouble my resolve not to shop excessively this year. I won't stop shopping entirely. For one, I know my reliable winter shoes are few and far between and I will need to get another pair at some point. But I don't need any more of the default small items I buy because they seem practical (tights change an entire outfit and favorite colors don't stay in stores for long, pretty bras on ebay that are new and hugely reduced, cashmere cardigans on massive markdown, with one caveat that I'm watching at Club Monaco and will likely go on sale around August.) I apologize for that horrible sentence.

As for the purchases, most were very nice. The oatmeal cashmere cardigan may be my favorite--soft, subtly sparkly and it looks like it won't pill. Even Evan liked it (and he is not impressed by the number of cardigans I own). The gray cable cardigan that I nearly canceled turned out to be soft and drapey, not stiff as I'd feared (this one is better in real life). The olive green cardigan is nice but not as soft as I'd like (it's not scratchy but it pales in softness to the other two) and is a little boxy. Still, I like it and it is a keeper. The gifts are all lovely--one piece of jewelry in particular. And, no, I'm not keeping them. The bag is bigger than I'd thought and wanted. It will likely work for school but it is more of a tote and not as soft as I'd hoped. That said, I think it will come in useful. But one of the things I really want is a nice cross body bag and that will be an item I will save for--and will use as an incentive not to splurge on the wrong things. I know I want a soft bag but I have no idea which one it will be. Again, that's something to look at later.

As for my resolve, I was out yesterday with a couple of friends/former students. We ended up in a mall in LI (intention was to visit the Apple Store). While we were there, I thought I'd check out J. Crew's final sale section. Everything was 50% off, so I found an olive green v-neck cashmere sweater. I tried it on, it fit, and I draped it over my arm and headed to the register. Somehow, I thought the markdown price was $79.99 so it would be around $41 with tax. I thought that was pretty good. Now, I don't need a v-neck sweater. I rarely wear them and prefer crew necks (which are a lot harder to come across). I have six v neck cashmere sweaters (one in navy, one in green, one green argyle, one camel, two black--different weights) and rarely wear them. I have so many for two reasons--cashmere on deep markdown tempted me and, secondly, because BA lost my luggage once during January and I had to replace my sweaters as they were all at Heathrow for over a week in the middle of the winter cold--and sales. While I was standing waiting to pay, it hit me that I didn't need this sweater while one voice still urged me on as it was such a good deal. Then I looked at the price tag. It was actually $99, which would make it a shade over $52 with the markdown. The bad voice told me it was still a good deal but I did what I had to and walked it back over to the sale section. I didn't need it, my overstuffed closets don't need it and I hope it's a good omen for my willpower in the weeks and months to come. Of course, the real strength will be avoiding such triggers in the first place.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I just wanted to moan for a moment. Our annual conference is in New Orleans this year--a city that we've already visited and one that turns out to be way more expensive than I would have thought. For the record, conferences are business travel but in academia, most of us pay our own way. I know CUNY gives faculty a grant of $400 towards a conference; my NYU travel budget this year is $500. I just booked my flight and it was $474 on JetBlue--a discount airline--and, no, I am not flying non-stop or in one of their bigger seats. It was the cheapest fare I could get and the predictions are that fares will rise so there's little point in procrastinating. I also have a nasty connection in Boston with just 35 minutes between planes on the way back, and, of course, there were no available seats at the front of the plane. There actually aren't that many flights between New York and New Orleans (hence traveling via Boston when I return). I'm presenting a paper at 2 p.m. so I have to get there early. As it stands, my 6.59 am flight gets me in at 9.17 so I'll be tired and feeling sick as I wait in the hotel lobby for my room to become available. All in all, it's far from ideal.

But my ire is less for the airlines (although I'm not exactly pleased to see flights in the $700-800+ range appear for this itinerary) than it is for my professional association (the ones behind the conference).Why are they having a conference in another expensive hotel (it's the Ritz Carlton this year), in an expensive city during its peak tourist season (the conference starts just two days after Mardi Gras)? This is the same professional organization that decided to have its conference in Tokyo two years ago--with most of its membership in the US/Canada/UK while there is a global recession that has hit the humanities particularly hard. I couldn't help but be thrilled when the conference was cancelled due to the H1N1 panic and the Japanese government's restrictions on tourists from the US. I was not alone--most of the rank and file membership were appalled at the elitism inherent in this decision, one compounded by an email telling us that Tokyo was actually as expensive as the previous year's conference--in Philadelphia...

 In this day and age of limited funds for higher ed, travel budgets are usually the first thing to be cut. These cuts in turn affect junior faculty and grad student grants first (the one's with the least money and the most unstable employment)--the most senior faculty usually are too powerful to offend and their compensation is poor compared to luminaries in other professions so their money is sacrosanct. Travel money never covers the costs of conferences anyway, as is well known. Ironically, administrators who go to conferences usually have all their costs covered up front rather than paying out and getting partial reimbursements. Consequently, even senior faculty double up and share rooms to eke out limited dollars. But the poor grad students are particularly screwed--like junior faculty (such as me), they have to attend and present in order to have a chance at getting one of the increasingly few available jobs. They also may get one travel grant (if that) during their time in grad school and it is often paltry--a couple of hundred dollars perhaps. Hence I've seen grad student friends bunk down four to a Motel 6 room in Atlanta and I shared a Pittsburgh Holiday Inn room myself with four others (two of whom were no longer on speaking terms). The underemployed and adjuncts are in an even worse situation--when I've been in that state, I just couldn't go at all.

It turns out that March is peak time in New Orleans--a city that isn't an airline hub and isn't cheap to fly into from much of the country--so fares are at a high. Witness JetBlue's current offers where their New Orleans discounts only extend into early February, while their other deals run until April. Simply put, there is no cheap way to get there. When I went as a grad student, I took the train to the New Orleans Conference. Four other friends drove. (Addendum--I should mention we were in Madison, WI so you can imagine how much fun that was).  But New Orleans is a hike unless you are in grad school in Austin. Most of the other grad programs are in the North East, Midwest and LA--there just aren't that many Ph.D. programs in Film/TV/Media studies.

I know it is nice to organize a conference in an interesting city and in a high end hotel. But once you are there, you get to see little of the city and end up in conference rooms on the same identikit chairs you'd see anywhere. I wish the organizers (who get all their costs covered by the professional organization) would stop thinking of this as a junket. I know they work hard and are not paid for their efforts. But it doesn't matter where we go and I think most of us would prefer cheap over fancy any time. I'd be happy in a Holiday Inn in a cheap city--one near where most of us live and work or one that is the hub for many airlines, including budget airlines, so transport could be cheap. Chicago, Philly, even St. Louis would all be fine. As it stands, I've already invested $590 in this conference before I take into account hotel rooms, food, travel to and from airports. I can do it but I'd rather put the money elsewhere--but there are many grad students and adjuncts for whom this will end up costing the best part of a month's salary, something that is criminal. If we have to go to New Orleans, why couldn't they move the conference to an earlier or later date to avoid the peak airfare costs?

Rant over.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globes

Reading the dissertations is pretty heavy going, so I'm taking a brief break. Last night was Golden Globes night--something that I loved not just for the clothes (even if they disappoint, it's fun to watch) but for Ricky. While the press seem to be trying to whip up controversy for the sake of it, I thought he was funny but there wasn't enough of him. I love me some Ricky, Steve and Karl and was nearly crying as I watched the Ricky Gervais Show on Friday. Evan has always been particularly tickled by Karl's idea for a Clive Warren/Rebecca De Mornay film and watching the show made it all the more amusing.

As for the gowns, I was pleased to see some color--especially on Angelina Jolie who generally dresses appallingly and in the dullest shmatas. While I thought the cut of her dress wasn't sufficiently sharp for it to be a fave, it was a great improvement. As a fan of green (the color of my bridesmaid dress), I was pleased to see that hue back on the red carpet. Here, in no particular order then, are some of the dresses that I liked or intrigued me.

Love her in Gossip Girl and love her in this. She is so much prettier and more interesting than Blake Lively and I thought this was a beautiful look.

I didn't like the hair and thought her make-up has been done better in the past, but I loved the drape and sparkle of her dress.

See my comments about Scarlett Johanssen above--the hair is wrong but the dress is so pretty.

Love Mila Kunis, love Black Swan, love green and love this look on her. I spent half of Black Swan wondering whether Mila Kunis or Natalie Portman was the most beautiful. It's a pleasurable quandry and one I have not resolved.

If you are going for minimalism in cut and maximum impact in color, this is the way to do it. Evan thought she looked deathly thin, however.

Also, Jane Fonda looked amazing. Her dress was great and her plastic surgery is working for her. Oh to look so good in one's 70s.

5 Down, 25 to go...

I just got back from two yoga classes and I'm hoping to go for a third tonight, work permitting. I have 1 1/2 Ph.D. dissertations to read and a syllabus to finish. While it may be optimistic, I will try to go to another class at 7.30 if I make sufficient headway on my work. My studio is closed on Tuesdays so even if I ache all over, I have a day to recover.

I'm trying to manage my time better this year and work towards the things that really matter--better health, slimmer body, more writing, more publications, a house, etc. I was at a friend's house in Long Island this weekend where we made visualization boards of things we want to accomplish (a serene and well balanced warrior three featured on my board to replace my somewhat erratic pose). It was like creating an inspiration board for a designer collection. Mine still has empty space, partly as it is tough to find images of unwritten books and some of my other desires, partly because there are still unspecified goals to pursue. Another tip was creating a diary so you can follow your agenda and fulfill goals--one that includes down time. I'm thinking about constructing one of those for myself. As yoga has shown me, it is easier for me to do something if it is marked in my calendar and given a fixed time and date.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

More J. Crew Sale

As I mentioned earlier, I am going to be a bridesmaid in my friend Lisa's wedding in April. The J. Crew sale came in very handy here too. I just purchased two bridesmaid's dresses (one for the wedding, one for the rehearsal dinner) for just over $100 from the J. Crew site.

The dress above is, perhaps, a little too sober for the wedding but is one I will wear again--it's in dark green washed silk and I have been looking for a green dress for ages. So this fits the bill.

The other is flirty and frilly and very short--more suited to the event--and is in a brighter green (less sober than the other). I couldn't decide--one dress I liked for itself and would wear again, the other was definitely more festive--and gives me an incentive to exercise so I won't look like a fat ruffly lump. So I decided to get both. Now I really am done shopping for a while. That said, this was an expense I would have to face at some point--and I cannot believe I got a dress so cheap. One of the other bridesmaids also bought her dress this way--we're both thrilled to take advantage of the 40% promo and be so organized that we aren't rushing around the shops the weekend before the big day. And it was cheaper to buy the dresses than to rent one.

30 in 30

A few days ago, I embarked on my yoga studio's challenge--30 classes in 30 days and you get 30% off the next month's card. It will be difficult, maybe impossible, to complete given my teaching schedule and the fact that the times I'm free don't necessarily coincide with any classes being offered. So far, I've completed three classes--yoga, pilates and gentle yoga (basically lying down on the floor doing next to nothing). I've only done pilates twice and each time I've felt it in my abs for days (I currently ache from Friday night). But that's good as my core is a weak point and my waistline vastly expanded since Christmas, along with my appetite. Plans are for two classes tomorrow morning and maybe a third tomorrow night. The studio isn't open Tuesday so I better get my classes in while I can, especially as this will be the last week before classes resume.

Friday, January 14, 2011

J. Crew sale

I feel silly posting this after my posts from yesterday but J. Crew has 40% off sale items if you spend over $100 plus free shipping. So I've been shopping this morning and spent quite a bit. Before I go further, I admit that three items are Christmas gifts for next year so it isn't all bad. I was demurring then remembered rushing around Manhattan on a tight deadline last month, not finding things I liked, spending more than I wanted and piling on the stress. So, I got gifts for two close family members in January and saved a lot in the process. It's not even 9 am in the second week in January and my Christmas shopping is part done. I think that's an improvement in time management.

As for myself, I got three cardigans and a leather bag. With the three gifts and taxes it all came to about $350 which seems a lot but I now have an everyday bag that isn't Mayle and won't be ruined in the rain. And much as it amuses Evan, I do wear my cardigans a lot. Here, then, are my finds (the Christmas presents aren't shown, for obvious reasons). There was a lot of stock and many things I could have bought but I edited my baskets to make sure I didn't overspend on items I'd never end up wearing.

 I have a thing for dark and olive green sweaters and liked this when it first came out. It has that vintage knit quality I like (in this instance, a bit of thrift store thrown in). It was down from $118 to about $50 with the discount. I hope it is soft.

Cardigan #2. I wanted a cable cardigan this year and hope this one fits. I'd usually get a L in this style as it looks like it may be thick and run a little smaller (and because I have got too fat) but the M was the only one left. That said, I am an M in J. Crew sweaters unless they have a ridiculously shrunken cut. Around $55 after the markdowns, this looks like something useful for our current weather.

Cashmere and subtle sparkles for $60. Really, what's not to like? I got this in a L. No Ms left when I ordered and I think this one may run small. It's also J. Crew Collection so I'm hoping it will not pill. Plus it looks like it could work until early summer.

I resisted many other lovely sweaters. I may go back for this one--or look for it in store--as I completely missed it in my first quick shop (when you have a bag in your basket you really have to act fast as they do sell out--they were gone from the site almost as soon as I checked out).

As for the bag, here it is. (it was $101 before taxes). I don't have anything like it and while I know it wasn't a necessary splurge, it is something I will use. Although here I know that I've been bad. So much for resisting the sales this year.

This is not the economical start to the year I promised myself but I promise to be frugal from now on. Of course I failed to mention my Club Monaco purchases from yesterday which I'll post about later (a dress and cashmere tunic). But given that this is sale time, I have resisted far more than I have spent. And I intend to carry on resisting more, spending less and saving. After all discipline builds character.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cat Hat

Other than two pairs of socks (one that I left at home by accident), this is my other purchase. I tried it on when out with my old school friends and couldn't resist--it is soft and it is actually flattering on. It may not be as warm as my usual cashmere hats but it already made one fellow subway rider smile. And it makes me happy too.

New Dress

While I saw lots of lovely items while I was home, I tried to be as disciplined as possible and not spend much money. What I did spend largely went on travel and meals, but early in my stay I visited Topshop at Oxford Circus. A lot of the styles were lovely but as is too often the case with Topshop, they were spoiled by the use of cheap fabrics. I'd far rather pay 20% more for cotton, silk, or even a nice synthetic than some of the nasty nylon and polyesters that will wear poorly, drape badly and irritate my skin. It was a real shame as some of the prints and designs were quite lovely. Many had a 70s Biba aesthetic (that early 70s meets 1920s rather than the tacky mid-70s or the Halston-esque 70s). A lot of it reminded me of Lyell--albeit with more patterns and more colors--and reinforced my recent thoughts that Emma's designs are really looking more new (or now) than ever.

Of course, Topshop being Topshop, there were a variety of styles, looks and fabrics. They had some lovely  mid-late 1960s style mini dresses with long sleeves. For years I have been coveting above the knee A-line dresses with long sleeves, in lace and in patterned fabrics. I even hoped that there would be some print minis with long sleeves at the Mayle pop-up but it was not to be. I did get a fabulous Joie dress from Gilt Group recently, but that's for another post. I found a lovely burgundy lace minidress in Topshop. It was £48. I walked away, went out that night, slept on it, and then went back the next day having decided it was a must have. Even my mother loved it (along with Joie dress she though it was one of the nicest dresses I had bought home). It is lined in cotton and available for $100 in the US on the American Topshop website. Here it is:

This does not mean that I will be spending like crazy this year. Instead, it is a dress that fits the bill of something I've wanted for years and that will work for much of the year--and the price was very much right. And as it has almost sold out in the UK already, I doubt it will be reduced.

There were other dresses I liked, tried on, and walked away from. So I am proud of my restraint.


Yet another New Year's resolution is to cook. I don't know if it is the weather or the stretched stomach muscles that result from my Christmas pig out, but I am far more hungry than usual these days and food is preoccupying my brain when I should be reading/writing. I am going to try to pay no sales tax on food, an exercise that prevents me from buying prepared foods. At least that's the plan. Along with that, I'm redoubling my efforts to eat organic where possible (not so easy in January in New York) and to eat fruits and vegetables rather than snacking on chocolate (bad habit that sneaked back up on me in the UK), crackers, cheese or other less than healthy foods.

Today I hope to make an apple pie. My mum's is the best--she has a great hand with pastry and puts no sugar in the apples which makes it far better for you. I may make some custard too. It will satiate the sweet craving that Christmas reignited and will be far healthier than anything I buy in stores. If I hadn't been carrying my Hunter wellies, I'd have picked up organic flour in Whole Foods on Tuesday, but that will have to wait until the next time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hunter Wellies

While last night's snow storm was not as bad as predicted, I had already decided to invest in some decent wellies for slushy, wet and slippery days. I have my very old snow boots from Wisconsin, and they are still good for heavy snow, but they do leak a little. They are also heavy and not suitable for wet spring and autumn days. So I got some Hunter wellies and liners yesterday. I feel like I am jumping on the band wagon (particularly as I was one of about 5 people buying them when I was in Bloomingdales yesterday) but in my defence, my Mum, brothers, sisters-in-law and many friends have them and had long recommended them for their longevity and comfort, yet I just never got round to purchasing a pair. I thought about it last Christmas when I was home, but Hunters are heavy and I didn't think they were so much cheaper that it would warrant the effort.

So, I collected my three Bloomingdales gift cards and headed into acupuncture yesterday via Lexington Ave. While I wanted the dark purple pair, those are evidently the most popular and had sold out, so I got the green (my second choice). I would have been happier with purple, but I need them for snow and rain and with the snow round the corner and my choice restricted to Bloomingdales (and said gift cards), my options were obviously limited. As I fell between sizes, liners were essential and I got the cable knit trimmed fleece ones--which are horribly over priced at $40. But they fit and made the boots more comfy and my feet warm, so I picked them up. I wore them to yoga tonight (obviously not to the actual practice) and got my first and likely only compliments on them.

I think these were my first official purchase of the year. I'm not sure my knitted hat with cat ears from Topshop really counts, nor my Topshop slipper socks. Even if they do, I've ended up with some very practical items--and managed (so far) to resist sales temptations. I'm hoping to be a good girl this year and maybe save for some of the items I really love, find a few bargains and otherwise be careful with my spending. I feel the Hunter wellies are an investment, not just for this short-lived winter storm, but for the spring when I won't ruin my shoes in the numerous inevitable NYC rain storms.


Happy New Year (or at least newish)! I got back late Monday night--that is, early Tuesday morning England time or dinner time for NY-ers. I'm trying to be productive with the jet lag but it is easy to go to bed early, get up while it is still dark and then read magazines while I eat breakfast. I think this is the latest I've been up since I got back and even though it is 9.15 p.m., I suspect I'll be asleep in an hour.

I had a great time at home. I managed to dodge blizzards and snow both sides of the Atlantic--even coming back the day before the much-hyped snow storm that really failed to deliver.

My new year's resolutions include making the best use of my time, which means compartmentalizing internet use, save some money, and accomplish more of my professional and personal goals. I also want to get fitter and lose some weight in the short term, and to eat even less junk this year. To that end, I made tomato basil soup for lunch today (served with 12 seed bread from Whole Foods). It was the first time I had made it and it was both easy and tasty, although a lot more expensive than store-bought soups. I think the key is to make it when basil is in season, not $2 for a small bundle.