Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Back to our regularly scheduled upbeat programming!
My phone broke, so unfortunately I've lost all the pictures I've taken, but I hope the verbal account will be enough.
So, I was invited to a very ritzy 4th of July party, and being as it was sprung on me quickly and unexpectedly I had no reason to refuse going.
Two days before the party, it turned into a double whammy: Not only was it going to be a ritzy party, but a VERY ritzy party with mandatory upscale attire required. Ugh.
I don't mind getting dressed up sometimes, but cocktail is the one thing where I have exactly one dress that might fit the category, and that dress doesn't fit me anymore (too big). Being as the time was too short to get my dress altered, a very nice colleague set me up with an appointment at one of the houses of couture that populate this city I live in.
I've never stepped foot behind the showroom of the ready-to-wear collections at ANY major couturier (yes, I do own some business suits from high-class brands simply because it's expected of me, but they're altered rtw not couture). I was told they had several sample sizes of couture dresses that "ran large"- it was a bit of a gamble but I was willing to take it in order to get the experience.
I arrived at the location- a spacious, exquisite shop in a brand-new glass-and-steel building not far from my workplace, kind of exhausted and in a bad mood. I think I looked a little scared because the person who was waiting for me and greeted me as soon as I stepped through the door took my elbow and assured me they had "miracle workers" on scene for me.
"So I need a miracle to look presentable?" was all I though.
I was steered through all the nice clothes on the floor (I'll have to go back, one of my black suits is getting worn-out and it looks like they're having some good new alternatives there), back through an almost invisible door and into a brightly lit, immaculate... well, it kind of looked like a modern living room with clothing racks on the side and one wall being a combination of a hairdressing studio/beauty salon. The person who had guided me sat me down on an off-white plush leather sofa and told me the stylist would be with me in a moment. Would I like something to drink in the meantime? Champagne? Ruinart or Ayala?
Stylist? WHAT had I got myself into? And why were there only about ten dresses on all the clothing racks? And was that a pouf or a raised platform?
My greeter wandered off with my slightly strangled "Just still water, please" order in his head, and I sat there, kind of bewildered and very much scared. What if nothing fit me? What if they were expecting a perfect size 2 person? What if I was hopeless? What did "running large" mean in this context? WHY did I need a stylist?
One second I was alone with all my thoughts running wild in my head, the next my greeter returned with a veritable squadron of people in tow. I shook hands and attempted to speak Italian with those who had a noticeable Italian accent, but we quickly decided on sticking to English since not everybody was comfortable with Italian and everyone had at least a way of making themselves understood in English.
There were two make-up people, a tanner, a hairdresser, a tailor with three assistants, the shop's manager, my greeter, and another two people sent to watch over the dresses. I was given with and signed a contract that I was going to just borrow one of these dresses on certain conditions and would return it the day after the event (I wasn't allowed to have it cleaned, weirdly enough), then the whole squadron made room for "the stylist".
He was an unassuming, very nice-looking man with a kind demeanor- until he started barking orders at me to take off my clothes.
One moment, take off my clothes? There is a ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE AROUND!
"We haven't got all day, we've seen it all, come on comeoncomeon I need to know what I'm working with!"
I don't mind being unclothed around people I know, but strangers stretched even my pretty loose limits. Still, I did what I was told.
"Not as bad as I feared." He then barked orders at one of the assistants- when had SHE scurried in?- to take away three of the ten garment bags hanging on the racks.
What followed was a pretty uncomfortable twenty minute interval during which I was doused with baby powder, the tanner was sent away (I didn't know if my skin would tolerate spray-tanning), I was wrestled (literally! Three people pushing and pulling at the same time!) into three to four layers of spanx (which had appeared from a bag one of the ninja assistants had brought in ninja-like), thankfully from unopened packages, and stood there unable to breath. Next my bra was inspected and deemed insufficient, so two gel push-up pad things got glued on. Yes, glued on. With glue. From a tube.
I was feeling kind of exhausted already and we were barely an hour in. I never knew dressing yourself could be this much work.
The stylist went through the garment bags, checking and rejecting two more, then had a rack with the five remaining ones wheeled close.
Meanwhile, all the currently uninvolved people had started drinking champagne from a cooler that had been ninja-d onto one of the side tables. I was THIS close to starting to drink too, but there were at least four hands on me at all times so I was a little too busy trying not to startle and jump.
The stylist selected one garment bag, pulled it open and out came a gorgeous... well, I'd call it a form-fitting t-shirt. For the first time, I dared open my mouth to refuse when thankfully he mustered me and said "No!", prompting a ninja assistant to bustle off with the rejected thing.
The second one was IT, according to him, but when I tried it on it kind of got stuck on my butt and was too loose in the bust, so away that one went.
The third I liked best, and it fit very well. It was a deep matte bronze-y gold color with copper tones woven through and looked like liquid metal. It went to about three inches above the knee and had a wider skirt I could easily move in. I thought it was great, but it was pulled off of me and put to the side as a maybe.
The fourth I hated because its decollete went down to my navel. It was rejected due to lack of... errr... "assets" to hold it up.
The fifth was another perfect fit, this time in a dark green. Again VERY close fitting, but the quality of the tailoring and the materials used ensured that all the spanx seams were still obscured. It was a toss-up between that one and the liquid metal dress, but the latter won due to being an inch or two longer and the skirt being looser.
The stylist then put the chosen dress back on the rack, and I was put in an armchair and my feet and hands attacked by specialists (I guess). My natural (short!) fingernails were left alone after I protested loudly enough that I couldn't stand polish on them, even for a short while. My toenails were painted a shimmer metallic color, something like rose gold/silver- well, actually, just about every color that was on my dress, in several layers. I still love the end result (though it's already chipped now).
Just as I was relaxing into the foot person giving me a massage (hey, I walk in high heels all day, every day- foot massages are heaven!) the hairdresser started on my hair. It got re-dyed an auburn color instead of my beloved dark brown. Yep, I was immobilized by both hands and feet soaking in tubs AND someone was doing my hair.
Everyone else was still drinking champagne, the third bottle I think. I wondered how they weren't drunk.
As my hair was drying, my face got attacked by a steamer and a person mumbling all the time about "Eyes disproportionate. Nice high cheekbones. Mouth full enough.". The stylist came back from drinking champagne with the other people (I kind of glimpsed the tailor altering the dress in a mirror). I got moisturized and then...
I think there was a layer of plaster applied, then a layer of drywall, then another layer of plaster. My face was a uniform color when they stopped. All the freckles were gone.
Thank goodness for being a contact lens wearer because the make-up people came from both sides and put eyeliner on me. All my protests that I could do these things myself were met with dismissive snorts.
I was painted for close to another hour. By now, I was seriously thirsty- I had never gotten to taking even a sip of my water, and short of breath due to the spandex. When the hand people finished, I FINALLY got to take a sip, then it was onto the pouf for a second fitting, needles being poked in uncomfortable places, back in the chair for more paint, out of the chair into the dress, the dress being sewn on, then back into the chair for a final make-up check and getting my hair done.
I was given shoes to wear with the dress. They weren't too different from my usual ones- strappy rose-gold sandals with a 4" heel, and the stylist was pleased to see I could walk in them. I'm thinking about finding and buying them, they were comfy!
Finally, after more than four hours of getting dressed, I got to look at myself.
This wasn't me. I kind of looked like one of those people in magazines (except not as thin). My facial expressions were so limited being made up like this, I was completely taken aback. The stylist told me that was so I'd look good in pictures- the make-up person had complained my face was "too expressive" and it'd taken a lot of work to take most of that away.
The dress looked fantastic. All the people, even those who had only been drinking champagne the entire time, clapped. I thanked everyone.
There was one more toast. Finally, a whole glass of water!
And a cup of coffee. My greeter, whom I hadn't seen through the entire ordeal, pushed it in my hands and told me I looked like I needed it.
Going to the bathroom was next to impossible in this whole get-up, by the way.
I was also still washing product out of my hair on Sunday, after three times washing it.
And it took an hour to get all the make-up off.
This was a fascinating experience, but it just isn't for me. Next time, I'll find someone to take my place. I was uncomfortable and not feeling myself the entire time, and even though I loved the dress, being saran-wrapped in spanx just wasn't worth being able to wear it.
My final conclusion to the whole affair is just that I'm glad I'm neither a model nor a movie star- even a tense litigation doesn't exhaust me as much as this.
I also never knew there are SO MANY THINGS needed to get made-up and dressed. I don't even own a blow dryer, FFS!
Hope you still had fun reading through this entire report- and yes, I got to rest on the couch for half an hour before I had to leave for the party, and I DID drink one glass of champagne with the stylist, my greeter, the shop's manager, the tailor, and the various heads of the various beauty squads. They were all really friendly, nice and calm once the ordeal was done with.
Strangest day ever, for me. I'm glad it's over, but I'm also glad I got to experience it.
Monday, July 08, 2013
So, I've been MIA. Sorry guys, it's not you, it's my job.
Well, the job and the knee. I've had persistent swelling and soreness to the point of pain for weeks now and have been pretty much banned from all my favorite exercises. As of today, volleyball isn't allowed anymore, so I'm stuck with boring stupid strength training and walking. Nothing exciting, nothing thrilling, nothing challenging.
I have to go in for exploratory surgery on Friday, and will probably need another operation to shave off some ligament that might have regrown too strong/in the wrong place (hence the exploratory surgery first). It's hard to see anything on my ultrasounds/x-rays because everything in there is so inflamed.
I hate this. I hate feeling disabled. I hate not being able to run free, or even spend one minute without pain. I can't remember what it's like not to be in pain anymore, but I can't take the stronger pain meds the doc wants me on because they interfere in cognitive function and are thus incompatible with my job.
At least the weather's taken a turn for the better, and the aches that come with the cold are gone.
I just hope this is the final fix. I knew I did some damage when the knee started hurting again before Christmas, but not how much.
To be honest, I'm currently at the point where I want to ask they just give up on my natural joint and just do a f-ing replacement already. Just as long as it finally stops hurting.
How do you deal with chronic pain? I've never had it this bad (I'm sometimes crying at night because it definitely hurts), and it's always been because of a tangible and detectable cause, not general "joint so out of whack no idea what's wrong but PAIN!"-pain. Is there a natural way to manage these things? I'm willing to try anything!
Sorry this is another depressing blog entry, I'll have something fun for you soon: Have to write up my experience being fitted in couture and re-made into some glitzy person for a "party". It was definitely a challenging but interesting experience for me (and there were more than a few funny moments in there). Just... maybe after I take one of the good pills. I don't have to go in tomorrow 'til after 10am so I can try taking one and see how it goes.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
It's great to be back after a chaotic two weeks- I finally stepped through the door of my apartment tonight and just collapsed on the couch right away. I will definitely go out again in a little while to take care of the portals the evil Resistance took over in my absence, but until then I'm going to have some take-out from my favorite Asian hole-in-the-wall and celebrate the fall of DOMA by re-watching the NZ parliament/population do it too: metro.co.uk/2013/04/17/new-zealand-s
Reading the dissenting opinions, and I'm laughing (as I do so often) at Scalia's (he's a gifted writer), but this time not because he's especially witty but because his opinion basically boils down to: But what about patriarchy! *grouchy old man sounds*
Eh, I'm just soooo happy today, first the nailbiter of a TX filibuster (I was screaming curses at my screen when they first announced the bill passed because it was CLEARLY AFTER MIDNIGHT!!!, then so relieved when they acknowledged the success of the filibuster, and yes, I got up at 4:30am to watch live), now this, let's all celebrate humanity and our wonderful modern times. Some days, I'm proud of being a lawyer and today is one of them.
Congratulations Edie Windsor, you're a hero in my eyes. I'm so glad your rights were acknowledged after so many years! Congratulations women of Texas and all the senators who listened to reason, you're my heroes too.
What a wonderful world, what a wonderful day, what wonderful people, and how privileged am I to share a time with them!
(the only thing that made me sad for a few moments was that Roger Federer is out of the Wimbledon tournament. *sniffles* But I have a new little celebrity(?) crush on Jamaican-German player Dustin Brown. ILU, play many more matches, please?)
Monday, June 10, 2013
I'm obsessed with strawberries. They're my favorite fruit, hands down (some years, they have a little competition from raspberries, but usually the strawberries win every face-off). My own little strawberry plantation will have fruit ready to eat soon, I hope- I've planted strawberries around all my herbs, they adapt well to different environments and adjust their space requirements to the space available.
I've got seven different varieties of strawberries- large ones, especially fragrant ones, special ones intended for jam, wild ones, ones that are supposed to taste of a mix of strawberries and pineapple, ones that are supposed to taste more like raspberries, and several plants of the especially hardy variety that will bear fruit until October.
Soon, soon I will get to taste them all. Until then, have some pics.
(in case it wasn't clear, I'm so much better today. Thanks for all your well-wishes on my last post, I know I just need to be patient with myself. Problem is, that's still something I'm trying to learn- I'm a perfectionist.)
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