This is why husband John Pitts and I love Asheville, North Carolina — or, as we call it, Honeymoon Town. We spent a week there this summer (I’ll post more about that this weekend & give you some super recommendations for where to stay and what to eat & drink) and already are planning a return trip (which probably is news to JP). I mean, really, aren’t you intrigued by any place that advocates bicycling AND drinking beer? And, knowing Asheville, this probably can be accomplished all at the same time. Now, to be honest, JP and I participated in only one of these activities. But we LOOKED at bicycles. So I think that counts.
If you live anywhere in the 11-state region of the hallowed ground known as the SEC, you know exactly what this photo means. And if you don’t know, you’re in luck because I’m going to tell you in one word: Football. This. Is. SEC. Football. Because we girls know that an SEC football stadium is the biggest runway of them all. New York Fashion Week? Yeah, that’s nice and all, but an Alabama football game trumps any designer’s catwalk any day. I know that dressing up for football games is sort of a Southern thing that some folks may unflatteringly link back to so-called Southern belle-ism, but I prefer to think of it as a way to be stylish and comfortable and show team loyalty all at the same time. And another excuse to go shopping. So it’s all good. (And, please, y’all give Vanderbilt some time. It’s a rebuilding year, you know.)
There are many things in this world I do not understand — why there is no actual pumpkin in Starbucks’ Pumpkin Latte, for instance — but topping the list of Things I Just Don’t Get is peep-toe boots. And specifically over-the-knee peep-toe boots. To start with, the whole concept of over-the-knee boots seems weird to me. I mean, how can you bend your knees to sit down? And when you do manage it, isn’t it uncomfortable to have all of that leather or whatever scrunching down behind your knees? I realize that worrying about the comfort level of fashion is an exercise in futility, but still. Plus, there’s the whole veering-into-hoochie-mama-territory thing that I won’t get into because one woman’s hoochie-mama style is another’s classy & elegant look. (Although, really, we all know hoochie-mama when we see it.) Then there’s the naked toe factor. Let’s take this logically. It’s cold outside. Really cold. So it’s the perfect weather to wear boots. Because you wear boots when it’s cold. (Or, for us Southerners, relatively coolish. When it’s actually cold, we stay inside and drink.) But wait! With peep-toe boots, you are keeping your legs (and in this example, your knees) warm yet at the same time exposing your toes — some of your most frostbite-prone extremities — to the cold that you’re protecting the rest of your body from. And to compound my confusion, this pair of over-the-knee peep-toe boots is from Nordstrom. NORDSTROM! Home of pretty and safe fashion with a slight Swedish accent. These over-the-knee peep-toe boots do not say “safe and pretty” to me. I’m not sure what they’re saying — “I’m a person who also wears my fur coat to the beach”? — but it’s not a language I’m fluent in. I simply do not understand. And I don’t know anybody to ask because I never have seen anybody wear these in actual real life. So maybe these are just for high-fashion models who try to convince the rest of us that sitting around in gorgeous clothes and having underlings fuss about your hair and makeup is really hard work. I’m not buying it. Literally.
My husband, John Pitts, and I (usually) have different leave-for-work schedules. I’m gone before the mail arrives, so one of his morning chores is to go out to the mailbox and bring the mail in, which also serves as a brief escape for Smart Cat to dart out the door and chew some grass BECAUSE SHE CAN. Yesterday, as he drove to work, he called me and in a perplexed and slightly apprehensive tone, said the following: “You got one of those magazines again.” As I tried to figure out which of my preferred subscriptions (Mother Jones? Vanity Fair?) he was objecting to (in the political sense, of course, because that’s the only objection I will allow him) , he added, “You know, one of those huge fashion things. Vogue or something.” Yup, it’s that time of year again — that much-anticipated season when our old-fashioned mailboxes groan under the weight of our old-fashioned fall-fashion magazines, just like the good ol’ days. It is a true thing that no matter how much I love loading up an iPad with digital goodies, nothing beats settling in with a cup of coffee and that thick stack of glossy-paged cold-weather fantasy and thinking things like, “If only I were 30 pounds lighter and 30 years younger, I could wear that $5,000 pair of sequined pants. To the office.” Of course, if you dropped the 10-pound combined weight of the September issues of InStyle, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar on your trendily stilettoed foot, you would not be able to wear said stiletto, but that’s a risk we’re willing to take. So what’s new for fall? Plaids. Solids. Big bags. Little bags. Wide legs. Skinny legs. Circle skirts. Pencil skirts. Luckily, my favorite designer — the T.J. Maxx clearance rack — has all of these choices. And more.
It’s a gift, really — when you unpack your purchase and reach for the “Instruction” sheet (because I am a girl and that’s what we do) and you suddenly stumble into a United Nations of mis-translations and awkward English and the resulting delightful cacophony of words. This came in the fillable lamp base I picked up at our local Tuesday Morning. I especially love the courtesy of the “please” in Instruction No. 1 and the slightly forceful directive to “enjoy your lamp” in No. 5 — as if maybe if I didn’t, somebody would come over and make sure that I did. Then there’s the “put stuff inside of glass” in No. 3 — I imagine here that the author had spent hours searching for the correct term for “stuff” and then simply gave up in exhaustion and thought “Well, it’s ‘stuff,’ so let’s just say ‘stuff’.” And I only recently learned that “sea star” is another name for starfish and I think it’s a much prettier and more accurate name since they are, in fact, not fish at all. (Also they are endangered — like so many other cool ocean things.) And, of course, there’s the most elegant phrase of all: “Screw tightly the metal cap,” in Instruction No. 4. I’m going to talk like this all day today — “Get quickly out of my way, you idiot driver, you.” — and see if it helps any. Naturally, however, this “instruction” didn’t do me any good because immediately after putting stuff inside the glass and screwing tightly the metal cap and before preparing to enjoy my lamp, I disregarded the vital Instruction No. 1 and proceeded to pick up the lamp by the metal cap. Luckily, I did avoid breakage and quickly regrouped as advised. This guy sure knew what he was talking about.