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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oops I Did it Again: The Life of a Chronic Impulse Shopper

"Skylar, before you go, there's something I want you to have."
"Oh, it's beautiful! But wait a minute, isn't this..."
"Yeah, yes it is."
"But I thought it used to cost $119!"
"Well, baby, I dropped it down to $90 for ya. BUT ONLY UNTIL 4/27!"

Flash sale emails get me every time. I innocently check my personal email every day on my lunch break, looking for a random picture of Westies from my mom or my weekly email from Giant so I can create my grocery list (I am a 40-year-old woman and I'm not sorry), and my inbox is flooded with money wasting potential.

If I have the willpower, I'm able to delete all of the emails from my favorite stores and continue on with my day, my bank account unscathed. The other four days of the week, I'm violently clicking links to see what I "just can't pass up" because HELLO 25% off basically means free.

It's the classic scenario that no man will ever understand:
If a top is $75 at full price, I rationalize that it's more than I'd like to spend and move on. However, if a top is $100 but is on sale for $75, that's a steal, and I need it in my closet pronto.

Let's check out the common tricks that retailers [successfully] use to ensure that I have four button-ups in stripes of various widths and two new pairs of jeans when a) it's Spring and b) I really only needed one pair, maybe.

"SHOP OUR NEW ARRIVALS A DAY EARLY!" - When you're the youngest of three, you wear a lot of hand-me-downs. Economical? Absolutely. Fashionable? Absolutely not. There was a pair of red, blue, and yellow colorblocked courduroy pants that even as a 7-year-old I knew were getting me nowhere with the boys. For that reason, I'm now a huge fan of clothes that are all mine, and I like getting them before everyone else. Yeah, Jennifer and I might wear the same dress out on Friday night, but Jennifer bought hers two weeks ago. I had it the day before it hit the site. The day. Before. It hit. The site (suck it, Jen). The sooner I have those new clothes, the sooner I can get bored with them and forget that they exist.

"Spring Stock-up Sale! All skirts $15 and up!" - A seasonal stock-up sale signifies change, growth, and a new outlook on life; i.e. I have to pay for my gas in change, my closet has outgrown its limits, and I will be looking out from underneath a cardboard box when I can no longer pay my rent. If the Fashion Gods wanted my legs to be covered up they wouldn't have made them so fabulous (albeit short. Nobody's perfect. #Miley). Pencil skirts don't fit my body correctly, but that one is anchor printed and only $30, therefore I'll make it work. 40 degrees in the beginning of March means pants, sweaters, boots, and scarves. 40 degrees in mid-April means dresses, skirts, tanks, and sandals. I don't make the rules, people.

"Get a free mystery gift when you buy 2 bras!" - What could it possibly be?! A free lotion? A tote? Lip gloss? I don't even need any more bras but this is no time for logic, it's free! The email clearly states that it's only for a limited time and/or while supplies last, the $100 (Side note: yeah gentlemen, two of them cost that much) I spend to ensure I get one is a life investment. Get on my level, Warren Buffet.

"Free Shipping when you spend $120!" - This is my kryptonite. I am literally powerless against it. It works like this every time: The top and shoes I've been eyeing total up to $110. Shipping is $8. I'll just pay shipping and still come in under the $120 mark, right? Hahahahaha. No. I'll add my shirt and shoes to the cart plus another $40 top to guarantee I get free shipping and pay $42 more than I originally would have because I am a free American.   

 "Come claim your birthday gift! No purchase necessary!" - Right. Like that'll happen. It's always the same with you, cosmetics store which I will not put on blast because damnit I love you too much: I walk into the store with the sole intention of scooping my free sample-size mascara and eyeshadow. Eyes on the prize, Skylar, eyes on the pr- Oh my God, Versace Bright Crystal comes in a rollerball? Neeeeeed. Suddenly I'm testing the limits of my baby hands by simultaneously holding root lifting spray, an argan oil hair treatment, fake lashes, and three different shades of lip stain, and the girl at the register wishes me a happy birthday with a twinkle in her eye that says, "Bow down, bitch." And I do.

In the coming months I'll need to buy a car and pay off summer vacays, so you'd think I'd buckle down and save up. Those things will get taken care of, no worries [Dad], but you better believe I'll be cruising to the beach in new sunnies and a brand new bikini, both of which I received for 20% off (but TODAY ONLY!).  

Raise.com--an awesome new peer-to-peer marketplace where you can buy discounted gift cards to your favorite brands and sell your unused gift cards for cash--understands my penchant for good deals, even when I'm not getting one. Check out their blog series about how our go-to stores convince us to impulse buy, and maybe you'll think twice about giving in to the next flash sale.

Or you'll buy three pairs of new wedges. You do you, I don't know your life.

Like what you read? I'm this entertaining 24/7 on Twitter. Follow me @BTDubs_Skylar!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Playing With Myself

When I was younger, my mom's tactic for getting me to get a chore done faster was to put me in an imaginary competition with a girl from a different country (typically Jamaica. Nope, no clue why).

"Skylar you have to beat the girl from Jamaica in unloading the dishwasher!"
"See if you can vacuum the living room faster than the girl from Jamaica!"
"I need you to take the dog on a long walk. Be gone...longer than the girl from Jamaica."

My mom is a scheming little genius, but this trickery instilled a lasting competitive spirit in me that has since caused me to seek and find the game in every situation. Why suffer through a nine-hour road trip when you could be racing on the real-life version of Need for Speed's Rusty Springs track? I need to unlock the secret ninth car! I want to drive the Warrior! The Mitsubishi Eclipse next to me doesn't know it but we're totally in two-player head-to-head racing mode right now, and I. don't. lose.


Life should definitely not be taken seriously, so if you need to participate in your own personal game show to get yourself through the day, feel free to get yourself started on one of my favorites:

Treadmill Races: Everyone does this. If you are side-by-side with someone on a treadmill, and you both happen to crank your speed up to 7 at the same time, it's so on. Once, I had already run my two miles and was about to slow down to a walk when a girl jumped on the machine next to me and immediately cranked it up to a sprint. Part of me thought, "Have fun with your shin splints, idiot," while the rest of me realized she was about to win. Win what? I don't fucking know, but I wasn't going to lose it. My inner Shaun T said to dig deeper, so I upped my speed to a 9.5 and prepared to dominate.
She totally noticed.
Other people totally noticed.

It was the most unnecessary display of female peacocking that has ever taken place inside of a university gym, minus the sluts in the corner successfully out-whoring each other with their thrice-rolled Soffe shorts. We hung together for about a minute before the awkward side glances started to happen, silently asking, "What is even happening right now?" Need I remind you that I'm not a quitter, so I ignored the gargantuan cramp developing in my ribcage and pretended like this was just a casual yog. This was a girl after my own heart, because she stuck it out for another 15 seconds before she let out a small gasp and desperately punched the keypad down to a cool five miles per hour. I'm a gracious winner, so I continued on for 30 more seconds before I calmly turned down to a 3.5. I went on to walk home like a newborn deer because my legs were completely shot, but whatever, I had Flo-Jo'd the shit out of that girl.

 Clean Up on Aisle 3: If I don't have a game plan upon entering the grocery store, it is a complete disaster and I end up panic-buying three bags of almonds, pizza dough, and a greeting card. A shopping list is not only an orginizational tool, it's a necessity. However, even with an outline of my needs I can still get distracted and find myself spending an inordinate amount of time comparing the protein amounts in various brands of hummus.

I came up with a solution to this problem by accident. I had been running errands all day and was starving, but the grocery store was the last stop on my itinerary so I just scooped a 32-ounce Gatorade and kept moving.
By the time I got to the parking lot I was legitimately in fear of my bladder. Boy, was she angry. Still, I needed food, and the Get Out of the Store Before You Pee Your Pants game was born. I was checking out, with precisely everything on my list, in 12 minutes. Now, when I know I don't want to waste time/money perusing the aisles, I drown myself in water and then do a little jig as I pick out my 10 for $10 yogurts before I speed home.

Secret Singing: I really get down with my bad self while listening to music in my car. If Rihanna ever had a freak vocal cord accident and needed someone to sing the rest of her set list, I could grab the mic and belt out both parts of "Stay" without issue. I took voice lessons for five years and, as the youngest child of three, am a natural-born performer, but I still have serious problems singing in front of people. Even within the confines of my car, where no one can actually hear the sweet magic coming from my mouth, I am self-conscious about the guy next to me on the highway noticing my solo performance. To avoid embarrassment, I have come up with a series of tricks that allow me to trust the voice within while appearing completely normal to the outside world.

1. Pretend to be on the phone - Unless you live in California, New Jersey, or any other state that prohibits cell phone usage while driving (safety first!), simply holding the phone up to your ear and singing your heart out just looks like a very passionate conversation to onlookers. Foolproof.
2. Nose scratch - The point here is to create distraction in the vicinity of your mouth. Just make sure it is very obvious that it's a casual scratch. Appearing to dig for gold is infinitely more embarrassing than being caught belting out "Timber."

3. Drinking from bottle - Pretend you're going to take a sip of water, stop short of getting any liquid in your mouth, and proceed sing it loud and proud. Bonus: it works as a mini microphone!

Six Degrees of Tanning Bed Music Separation: I will admit, this one is a bit excessive. You're literally just lying there, so you've gotta do something to stave off your mom's incessant warnings of skin cancer. A typical tanning bed sesh lasts about 12-15 minutes, or about four popular songs from 2007. Let's say these songs are "Buy U a Drank" by T-Pain, "Kiss Kiss" by Chris Brown, "Umbrella" by Rihanna, and "Good Life" by Kanye West.
Lets play: I clearly remember getting in trouble at a high school dance for grinding up on a kid from my math class too intensely (you're welcome, buddy) while "Buy U a Drank" played romantically in the background. T-Pain was also featured in Chris Brown's "Kiss Kiss" that year, and with two years before the Rihanna Smackdown would go down, those two were still cute together. Rih came out with "Umbrella," which I'm still not sick of, featuring Jay-Z. Jay-Z and Kanye West are butt buddies. Kanye had released Graduation aka not as good as The College Dropout and Late Registration and "Good Life" which featuuuuured...T-Pain.
Technically that's only five degrees of separation but I can feel my moles changing in color and border regularity so it's time to get out.

Like what you read? I'm this entertaining 24/7 on Twitter. Follow me @BTDubs_Skylar!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Love and Order CVU: Creeper Victim's Unit - John Mayer

After the story of my embarrassing life hit the internet, I was inundated with texts and Facebook messages from other girls who had experienced similarly catastrophic dates. In the interest of group commiseration, I decided to create a series that would tell other girls that they're not alone, and tell weird guys that maybe they should pump the brakes a smidge. If you have a story that you would like shared, feel free to send it my way!
In the Serial Dating System, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups: the bros who do creepy shit and the ladies who have to text their friends, "SAVE MEEE." These are their stories.

I dated my first bearded musician for about four months in college. He was a character from a romantic comedy come to life, and I ate that shit up like birthday cake. Have you ever been on a horse and carriage ride along the waterfront on an April evening? Like, that happened. Wasn't even my idea.

John Mayer was his idol, and he liked to [try to] play guitar for me, which always made me uncomfortable but I felt obligated to love it because that's what Rachel McAdams would do. I, too, was a huge Mayer fan, and we spent a lot of our time doing gravity bongs and then having in-depth conversations about the significance behind the albums and how the songs interconnected. The fact that I made it out of this relationship without dreads shocks me every day.

Unfortunately, he was super clingy and had a Chinese symbol tattooed on his calf, so I was forced to cut him loose. I really didn't think it'd be a huge deal, but he flipped the fuck out. Like, ugly crying, "you'll never find anyone better"ing, slamming doors IN MY APARTMENT, crazy-girl madness. I half-assed an apology and got him to leave so I could go to the bars with my friends.

That night, and for several days weeks following The Break Up, he would randomly text me John Mayer lyrics that I guess he found applicable to our relationship.
"Can we plz talk tmrw? I cant let just let u walk away. There I just said it, Im scared ull forget about me."
"Id like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve, so Im not gunna lose n e more sleep over u."
"Ill make the most of all the sadness. U'll be a bitch becuz u can. We were slow dancing in a burning room r whole relationship, I shoulda seen this coming."

It was fucking hilarious. And also sad. My friends couldn't get enough of it, and to this day I can text one of them something like, "Do you want extra cheese on the pizza?" and get the reply, "Twice as much ain't twice as good and can't sustain like one half could. But ya!"
-- Her Body is a Wonderland

Thursday, April 3, 2014

6 of my Favorite, Most Unladylike Parts of Skirt Season

A photo exists of me at about age two playing in the snow. I am tiny, holding one of my signature Snow Babies (literally a squash-sized pile of snow. My sculpture skills improved with age to include more anatomically correct attributes, like a neck), wearing a bright purple jacket and snow pants with mittens that definitely extended beyond my fingers by about two inches. The picture is, in a word, adorable.

What makes it even more adorable is the evidence of one of my weirdest/most deep-seated quirks that still thoroughly defines me today. I was wrapped tighter than Randy in A Christmas Story ("I can't put my arms down!"), but sticking out from under my puffy coat was a little ruffly dress. As a toddler, I insisted on wearing a dress at all times, so a skirt peeking out from where it shouldn't be was nothing out of the ordinary.


I have almost recreated this look a million times this terrible winter. I like wearing sweaters and boots and earmuffs, but make obligatory small-talk with the meek finance guy in the break room and even he would blurt out, "I don't know how much more of this I can take!" Side note: this might also be the exact point that he's snapped. Make friends quick, he's going to set the building on fire. I still love dresses. Hiding my man calves under a layer of tights and dress pants (I don't fuck around) has been so depressing. They didn't deserve to be in leg jail! They want to breathe! I could be unknowingly developing cankles! This is torture, Mother Nature!

Needless to say, I've been desperate for Skirt Season. I realize that any man reading this just let out an appreciative, "Damn straight!" but I'm willing to bet we have different agendas.

For guys, Skirt Season means legs and possibly even some donk should a Marilyn moment occur.

For girls, it means an easy outfit that's cute and feminine.

For me, it means something much more inappropriate than that. Here are my six favorite, yet most unladylike aspects of Skirt Season:

1. Maxi dresses let you sit like a man: "Wanna come over and watch the game?" "Wanna go on a picnic at the park?" "Wanna watch a P90X DVD while we eat Doritos?" I would like to do all of those things very much, and I will do all of them sitting spread eagle. Know why? Because I can. Where mini's and midi's advertise your hoo-ha when you move your knee a quarter of an inch any which way, maxi's are the friend that says, "Let loose, girlfriend, I've literally got you covered" to which I reply, "I love you so much, Crotchless Yoga Pants."

2. Constant Air Conditioning: Remember when the picture of Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas surfaced where "it looked like" she had peed her pants, but she just said she was really sweaty? First of all, that was a lose-lose situation, amirite? Second, had she been wearing a skirt, her Londy Londy Londy would've kept its cool and/or she could've let the River Thames loose and no one would have been the wiser. I love the fact that while I'm twirling in a skirt, it appears as though I'm having fun and being dainty. Not the case. I am actively creating a breezy environment from the waist down. I am a human oscillating fan.

3. Jump out of bed ready for the day: As in, I could wear a casual dress all day Friday, get home late and get straight in my bed, wake up the next morning, and immediately walk out the door to meet a friend for brunch, and I would have been comfortably and appropriately dressed the entire time. It's hard enough for me to take my own shoes off before I tuck myself in for the night--completely change from one set of clothes to another? Child please. The dress accepts my laziness and celebrates it. You gotta love an article of clothing that will change its name to "nightgown" just to make you feel better about your life.

4. Feign interest: Sometimes, I go on dates with people I'm not the least bit interested in (yes, I'm the one they've warned you about). It's not for attention or because I like to toy with people's emotions, I would just rather have plans than not. Simple as that. Throw in free food and an awkward story to share later and I'll go out with just about anyone [hot]. Date night outfits can vary depending on my level of legitimate attraction towards a person, which can get tricky. How do I decide the difference between an "I like you!" outfit vs. an "I haven't been grocery shopping in a week so yeah let's go to California Pizza Kitchen" one? The great thing about dresses is that they do the work for you. My mind says, "Oh my God are we going to talk about your fucking triathlon training this entire dinner?" but my dress says, "That's so interesting! Tell me more about the difference between your off- and on-season caloric intake percentages!"

5. Food baby disguise: Fourth of July is my jam. Beer and grilled meat are the foundation of our beautiful country, therefore patriotism demands that we consume as many of each as we possibly can with a large group of friends and an arsenal of colorful explosives. Unfortunately, Old Glory can cloud your judgement and suddenly you've downed six hot dogs faster than Joey Chestnut. A crop top would totally bail on you in this situation but a sundress steps up to the plate and conceals your bump without restriction. Go grab yourself a slice of apple pie, Baberaham Lincoln, no one has to know.


Enough said.
Like what you read? I'm this entertaining 24/7 on Twitter. Follow me @BTDubs_Skylar!