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Reviews and experiences: Orly ‘rainbow flop’ color blast nail polish and Careers that ‘don’t’ fit. –

Published January 14, 2017 by AntiqueMystique1

Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers and followers. 🙂  Yes, I know this blog post is a little crazy but I figured to bundle up all my recent experiences/ reviews into one post on here and since time is limited for me. I don’t have as much time as I once did to post until my heart’s content.  So, here we go…

My review of Orly’s “rainbow flip” or ‘flop’ rather in my case.

I love the shimmery, almost metallic/glittery hues. What I dislike about this nail polish is that it will set a person back about $7.  Orly nail polish does applies extremely unevenly, very thin, and transparent so make sure you have a TON of nail polish remover on hand because this nail polish will be an exercise in frustration and it will drip everywhere in a goopy mess the more you try to apply it. Secondly, I feel they could at least reduced the price for what you get. And as luck would have it K-Mart had only one bottle left. Not that I mind, but…

I tried to apply it and it didn’t work out for me, at least not on my fingernails. It worked okay for my toe nails, but after a while the paint wears off easily.  Would I recommend this nail polish? Possibly if it was better quality, and if it doesn’t contains nasty chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, etc.  I have no idea what the chemical rating is for Orly nail polishes on the Environmental Watch Group website.

 

Bubble wand spiral curl curling iron and Bedhead waving iron reviews:

The Bubble wand curling iron. It actually creates spiral curls on an extremely high heat setting so be warned and don’t fry off your hair. I did try it out today on its lowest setting since it does warm up fast to the touch within 30 seconds.  And me and time management we’re still adjusting. I had plenty of time to get ready and be out the door, and perhaps I didn’t give this bubble curling iron half a chance. However, the curls it created in my hair didn’t look like the tiny, tight gorgeous spirals pictured on the box.

Uh, that’s because in advertising looks are almost deceiving, plain and simple. Oh, yeah, and photoshop adds some luster to those long spiral locks as well. Anyway, I was unimpressed for now with the Revlon’s bubble curling iron.  I feared if I tried it on a high heat setting, I’d be wearing a stocking cap to work for many years. My hair is delicate to say the least and naturally fine, so maybe that’s why it won’t work for different hair types. But what I’d like to see Revlon put out is one identical to it, but design one just like  a standard curling iron where a it will clamp a strip of hair in place so you don’t have to potentially burn any hands or fingers trying to keep a strand wrapped around the bubble shape rod.  And the heat-resistant styling glove will melt to this curling iron. It’s stated in the leaflet stuffed in the glove it’s intended purpose is just to prevent fingers from the occasional burn, but the glove itself is made of plastic. Yikes! Uhm, well, in that case, I will be extremely careful not to get my hand too close to the tip or the wand itself while I’m trying to use it.

As far as the design is concerned, it could be better made. I do like the bubble style of the curling iron though, it’s different. I do miss not having the option to clamp my hair with a standard curling iron though.

 

The bubble wand is made by Revlon and sells for about $27.00 at Wallyworld. I purchased mine when I got off work since there’s no way I could physically do the impossible and be in and out of Wallyworld in less than five minutes, manage to get through all that daytime throng people just milling around aimlessly and/ or most of the time talking and parking their shopping carts in the middle of the aisles taking up space and yet still make it to work on time.  I also did some price-comparison shopping on Amazon and with the internet tax it would have been more including shipping and handling. So, I decided to buy one from Wallyworld.

Another interesting hair-styling gadget that caught my eye is the BedHead weaver iron. This chunky-looking waving iron looks and feels too big for my needs and my naturally fine hair will thank me later that I didn’t purchase this. However, for those that love those ‘beach curls/waves’ I would highly recommend getting a Bedhead Waving iron. But I encourage those to read as many reviews as possible before making any hair styling purchase. Same goes for the aforementioned nail polish brands.

 

Careers that ‘don’t’ fit:

I thought I wanted an additional 3rd job. I sincerely believed I had what it took to get into retail and completed some applications online. Most places I didn’t hear back from. Other places like the one I recently interviewed for had some very strange replies to my job interview status follow-up. In fact, they didn’t want me visiting the store, nor calling to check up on the status of my post-interview process  like what was the standard way of doing things when actively job-searching. And back in my day (and many others) the old way of doing things is you waited one week after being interviewed and then checked back either in person, phone call, etc.

The manager’s eyes shifted away from me instantly and they pretended to focus on something else in the store and quietly, yet quickly told me, “We send out the ‘auto-generated’ response email.”

And AntiqueMystique says a very bad word during the 15 minute interview: the “c” word.

Oh, forgive me, I didn’t know “commission” was politically incorrect. I unintentionally blurted out a major ‘no-no’ for this retail chain when saying that word without knowing.  They refer to commission as “progressively active something-or-other” that sounds like a string of run-on words that can be simply said in one word: Commission. The hourly rate is purely based on how much the right sale’s associate can sell clothing.

I could sense it wouldn’t work out because I can deduct a lot from a person’s mannerisms within the first few minutes I meet them. The shifty glances, unease in posture, and the fast-talking, “seems interested” when they really aren’t tell me volumes of the personality.

 

And when I am sheilded from view so that the “shoppers can shop” so I’m told. I say a very polite, “Excuse me” and pretend not to notice that I’m not what this manager wants or expects from a job applicant. In fact, I don’t come off as high pressured because that’s not me. Secondly, I’m quiet and soft-spoken. I have a physical handicap: my voice that I have no control over. If I try to speak loudly, it comes off sounding mean or angry which I’m not.  Face it, AntiqueMystique, you simply aren’t a “fit” for this retail giant.  In fact, I was relieved that I didn’t have any typical questions come up like can I afford to purchase their clothing? For God’s sake don’t ever say “No”. Say, yes and given time I can build a wardrobe. In reality, I had to put two vests on layaway from this retail store and I didn’t even breathe a word of that during the interview. I did explain that all I had was one ‘night out on the town’ dress (yes, I know, skimpy and it isn’t job interview-ish, but at least it covered me decently).  And I’ve seen their shop girls (I don’t like the PC terminology like sales associates), wore a different store’s clothing.

I’m very reserved and don’t think that showing cami-straps, bra straps, or any type of tank strap garment is fashionable, far from it. See? I wouldn’t make a good ‘fit’ for this company at all. I’m too reserved, too old-fashioned, but do try to keep abreast that this clothing retailer is for young fashion forward men and women.  I’m generally very upbeat, positive and can be out-going, but here again, that won’t always make or break a person. It’s not what you know, but who you know.

Another reason the retail part-time job wouldn’t have worked out is I do have a full-time position that pays the same.  And they promise a better hourly wage which is the old bait and switch routine. And I just don’t have the massively huge bank account nor the endless funds to purchase their over-priced clothes just to work there. The bad drawback is that I wouldn’t have been ahead in achieving my goals and financially, I’d be losing money just to work a part-time job that likely wouldn’t have panned out for me anyway. My future in retail is undecided for the present time. Thanks for liking, re-blogging and commenting, I truly appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

 

Dead Mall series part 2: Try-ons and discounts: a customer’s perspective.

Published July 22, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I tried on the last I’m a Freakin’ Ray of Sunshine tank top rue21 had in stock, but didn’t get it. It was piled under a mess of other picked through tanks. Straight ahead it looked like a mini-tornado deposited a mountain of new shoes off to one side of the discounted jewelry section.

In a place like the mall time slows down. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s the atmosphere and that outdated shopper’s muszak. It didn’t feel but more than a few minutes had passed, and as one would guess, a whole hour had went by.

$3 clearance racks: are they a good/ not so good deal? Depends what you’re specifically looking for. Maurice’s will forever be out of my league. I say this because I simply can’t and won’t ever justify spending $44 for one pair of Jeggings when I know I can find them for $3 or less elsewhere. I did try on two pairs at Maurice’s, but for some reason, they didn’t have that certain look nor feel about them, and unlike rue 21, there’s not a whole lot of savings. But I figured while I was here I may as well try on the ‘money’s no object’ astronomically-priced Jeggings. It came as no surprise I didn’t like the fabric of Maurice’s Jeggings (no offense). The material reminded me of a pair of cheap Wally World polyester leggings that I once had and later turned around and donated because they made my sensitive skin sweat and break out. Also, the material of the expensive Jeggings felt very inferior, almost as though if I looked at them wrong they’d fall apart. And the intentionally sewn on patches felt really cheap and too light weight to withstand a single laundering. I snapped one picture of the Jeggings and called it good. I returned the Jeggings to their rightful spots and folded them just as I’d seen them.

I’m a very particular and tidy customer. Perhaps most customers don’t go out of their way to fold and/ or hang clothes. That’s why store employees get paid to straighten up after customers. I also relate to the store employees that have a trillion different tasks that must be completed all at the same time in some cases. As a customer it doesn’t bother me to walk into a chaotic mall store where clothes resemble a teenager’s bedroom and everything’s in piles, new merchandise is in the process of being organized and hung up on hooks. Did I mention the mall is like an ice box, too? That’s not a bad thing in a heatwave, but good advice: wear tennis shoes and socks and take a light weight jacket if donning shorts and a tank top. Outside it was  very muggy so the air-conditioning was a welcome relief.

A few days ago I tried on a very cute black cut out lace crop top and there weren’t too many left in stock. If you ask for another size it’s whatever is already on the floor. Stuff gets re-arranged on a daily basis, pretty much. At first, I couldn’t find these black crop tops in their usual spot at rue 21. I gravitated to a rack of jeans and placed on top were the black crop tops folded over sandwiched in with the white tank tops. I found my size and compared it to the xs “I’m a Freakin’ Ray of Sunshine” tank. They were both adorable, but I thought in terms of pick out just one. I opted for the black crop top.

I really can’t stand the feel of rayon, but also tried on a cut out v-neck black top. I could already see a few problems with the v-neck rayon top not staying in place and constantly tugging on those cut out straps to adjust them would just annoy me. Rayon top went on the rack of rejected clothing even though it was discounted at $3. I found three pairs of discounted jeans. And even though one pair is missing the front fly button I plan to sew on an antique glass button and call it good. 🙂

What’s with all the holes in the knees and the shredded look? It seems to be in vogue nowadays and in all the mall stores the Jeggings and jeans look alike. However, the material differs greatly from store to store.

Won’t I get cold once winter hits? Nah. I have a few more normal jeans without the distressed look to them that I picked up for 29 cents when at the thrift store. I really need to get on the ball and sort through all of my clothes again that no longer fit and/ or that I no longer wear and donate them. I try to do this often whenever I buy a new article of clothing, then donate my gently used stuff.

It was super busy in rue 21 and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a very popular store with young and old alike. And the deals are better than Old Navy, not that I’m bashing their clearance items, but a lot of their tops and jeans don’t fit petite customers. The extra small and small clearance section in Old Navy consisted of no more than two tank tops, one large sweater even though the garment tag stated size small, and then it jumped into the medium and large misplaced clothes. Everything was slim pickings in Old Navy. When I stepped into Old Navy it’s warm in that store that its unbearable after a few minutes and it reeks unpleasantly of lingering mildew which is gross. But the mall is quite old so perhaps it has a lot to do with the ventilation system not working right.

On my stroll I passed by a outdoor/running/ jogging store that was having a ‘going out of business’ sale. That’ll make store #4 that’s closed down in the mall. The empty retail space sits forlorn with no renters. Yet, there’s a Hobby shop that recently opened dedicated to airplanes, model trains and nothing else it seems like. I don’t expect them to do booming business and look for them to close their doors in about two months because there doesn’t seem to be any interest, for one. And two, everybody’s too caught up in their Pokemon-Go craze and other social media.

Texting, chatting on the cell phone, gazing at an iPad—it seems to take up half the food court. I packed my lunch and had a fruit salad and one Gala apple. I don’t dine at the mall anymore because all the pre-processed food will leave a person feeling hungry afterwards likely due to the MSG. However, the pizza looks good, but I stayed true to my ‘no diary’ and no cheese diet. That, and I’m allergic to yeast and enriched flour products anyway. And the city water is fluoridated, so naturally I packed my distilled water.

Nobody at the mall socializes in person anymore, or if they do, they’ll glance at their cell phones every two minutes, update their Facebook status, post a selfie, then forget what they were talking about. The only time I removed my cell phone was to take pictures for my dead mall/ fashion/ clothing blog series on here. I don’t do social media except when I’m at home and/or blogging, tweeting stuff out.

As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting, commenting. I truly appreciate it. Stay tuned for more. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No point looking at life in the rearview mirror: part 1 of my dead mall series.

Published July 20, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1
Bling current fashion lep print komono and skinny jeans 7-19-2016

Editorial correction: kimono. Bling! store in mall.

“I finally look human,” was my thrilled reply while examining the sale’s associate’s finished results.

I was nearly moved to tears. The friendly Dillard’s sales associate at the makeup counter said I had a very nice, fair complexion after I told her I thought my tattoos looked terrible and how embarrassed I am by them. And for the first time in twenty-three years I felt like I was fifteen all over again before I made the lifetime mistake of inking my skin.

I gazed in amazement at my arm. I was so blown away by how the estee lauder double wear foundation makeup is very good, if not terrific. I had ventured into Dillard’s to find some Derma-Blend makeup, but was told to try Sephora in another city. Traveling long distance is out of the question. I have seen Derma-Blend sold on Amazon and I might have to order some. And another helpful Dillard’s employee recommended I try applying some red makeup over my tattoos first to hide the blue tone, then finish off with the skin-tone makeup.

I left Dillard’s feeling a boost of hope for the inexpensive route of hiding my hideous tattoos. Those that don’t me would likely think, “What’s the big deal? Everybody pretty much sports tattoos nowadays. It’s fashionable.” I will have to disagree. I view my tattoos as being one of those lifetime regrets.

I wouldn’t say I was a trend-setter back in my 80’s generation, per se, and I’m sure I wasn’t the first to have inked her skin at sixteen. I did it much to my parent’s dismay and worry. I didn’t have very many good role models aside from my straight-laced typical 80s parents throughout my teens to look up to. My older sister was the first to get a tattoo on her arm when she was a teenager and it made a bold statement. Perhaps a part of me was highly impressionable although she strongly advised me not to get a tattoo because I’d later regret it. She turned out to be right about that. I do regret mine.

And the therapy sessions I had at sixteen (per my request), turned out to be a nightmare and it was through my [then] new therapist they told me how to get a tattoo as a way to “Rebel against your parents,” Up until this point at sixteen I never dreamed to do that and now regret putting my parents through a lot of unnecessary grief.

Should-have, would-haves and could-haves… like my college instructor told me three years ago, life is too short and we shouldn’t live in the past since we can’t change it. And they’re right about that. All we can do is move on and live life to its fullest.

Was I rebellious at sixteen? Well, if you constitute spoofing my parent’s rules in a comic book as a form of being out of hand, then no. I did push the envelope growing up, but did so through my unique, mismatched fashion. I was a trend-setter in that regard. I liked to make outdated fashion statements, but was quiet most of the time. I wasn’t very out-spoken at sixteen. I took out my emotions through drawing or I’d wear the heavy metal bracelets and pair those with the most gaudy 70’s bell bottoms I could find in thrift stores. I wore something very similar to platform boots (the originals straight out of the 70s) that zipped up mid-calf and I bought a second-hand 60’s fringe hippie vest that I just loved. So I clashed with my fashion statements. If that’s the only terrible thing [pre-tattoos] I could have ever done to rebel against my parents, then it’s laughable by today’s standards and hardly worth a mention.

But for that moment standing there in Dillard’s I got a little teary-eyed seeing my skin clear for the first time, and this was a real self-esteem booster for me. I felt alive again like I was no longer tied to that dark chapter of my long gone teenage years.  I was impressed how well the sale’s associate did trying to match the colors with my fair skin tone using only dark makeup they had on hand in the store. I was very pleased seeing no hideous tattoos covering my arm. I did all my tattoos at sixteen under the wrong advice of one very misguided adult therapist, by the way.

At sixteen I had erroneously believed that all therapists were well-trained in their chosen field and knew how to reach teenagers and help them find healthier alternatives, like say, for example, temporary tattoos that wash off with soap and water. Needless to say that wasn’t even an option nor did it ever come up in any of my one-on-one therapy sessions. And I was proven very wrong about my [then] teenage assumptions about therapists and it only further solidified my distrust of adults around me growing up.

And for a brief time I had my nose pierced as a teenager. This is, until my dad’s grandmother saw it and asked me to promptly remove it. It simply shocked her and my intentions weren’t to do that since body piercings were relatively a new trend that was taking a slow hold by around…oh, I’d say, 1993 or thereabouts. I see it didn’t catch on until around 20o8 or so.

My nose piercing didn’t last long, thankfully. But what I would like to address is the possibility of having a deviated septum (nasal cavity damage) as a result of nose piercings and the inability to fight off colds. Speaking for myself I tended to come down with colds often when I had my nose piercing. Oh, yeah, and there’s a good chance it could become infected no matter how well the piercing is kept clean, which is another good reason why I took it out and let my nose heal.

I was amazed I made it into adulthood. And nowadays I would love to re-capture the good parts of my teen years since not all of them started off bad. (And wouldn’t we all want to re-live our good moments?) 🙂

If you made it to adulthood without doing drugs consider yourself among the lucky ones that made the right decision to just say no. Other than having been a transfer student most of my teen years, and moving around a lot back in the day, the adjustments were always rough on me. New town, new clique of school kids. Oh and did I mention, a massively large student body population at each new school? Yep, and then come in the bullies though they made up the average annoyances I had to put up with at school, minus the private and religious schools where I had thrived.

Now bullies of my generation were more of the “I pick on everybody!” type. They didn’t exclude the popular kids. And the popular kids were these very stuck up, aloof teenagers that would move to another table in the cafeteria just to ignore the unpopular kids (yours truly included). I had never seen this strange new social pecking order in any of the private and religious schools I had attended. It happened quite a bit in the public school systems. And I found making friends and maintaining friendships nearly impossible for me since my family moved around quite a bit which means I’d lose contact eventually.

I didn’t come from a military family. But wherever there was better pay, nicer neighborhoods and a chance at a better education, that’s where my family would re-locate, and believe me, being a transfer student comes with large amounts of stress that I was unprepared to deal with at sixteen. I was in all sense of the word, ‘lost’. I came from a very nice, one classroom religious school where the older students tutored the younger students when the teacher was busy only to be thrust back into public school for the umpteenth time. Arrg!

Public schools never worked for me. I wasn’t delinquent as a juvenile. I wasn’t a trouble maker. I didn’t sass back to the teachers. I didn’t skip school. I didn’t cheat on my homework. I had mountains of homework that took me from five in the evening until five that next morning to finish. I ran on maybe one hour of sleep on any given weekday. My hair and makeup were slapped together and most mornings I’d leave the house on an empty stomach and take my vitamins without breakfast just so I could make it to the bus stop on time. I looked strung out because I was exhausted. There’s such a thing as overworking oneself and that’s what I did to in order to make the grade. I guzzled soda like coffee back then. I still ate lunch and dinner and I skateboarded for entertainment, too.

I was held back here and there a few grades. And as I became older and the school kids were younger than me and this created a lot of friction. I had a studious attitude that was often misinterpreted as having a small chip on my small shoulders, when in fact, I wasn’t. I had very little patients for my younger peers immaturity and sarcasm and I take life very seriously.

Yet when I was in the religious schools, my grades improved by leaps and bounds, and I’d like to hope, my nature was relaxed and laid back. I got along great with the religious kids, no problems there. I was in familiar surroundings in those religious schools, I’d say much like the mall with their outdated floors, interiors, stores—maybe not so much the merchandise and music stores are a thing of the past just about.

And my biggest addiction growing up as a teenager has always been music. It was whatever the music industry cranked out: heavy metal, thrash and speed metal like Metallica and Anthrax I simply loved. Surprisingly, I was never a fan of Guns n’ Roses (or ‘GnR’ for short back in my day) because I felt Axl Rose was mean to make his fans wait two hours before the concert began, and he threw adult temper tantrums and would storm off the stage mid-set. Although, I did find that two of their songs grew on me, “Civil War” which was popular on the radio in 1990. I especially related well to actress Anne Ramsey’s intro: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate, and some men you just can’t reach.  So you get what we had here last week. Which is the way he wants it, well, he gets it. I don’t like this anymore than you do,”

And I liked the song “Used to love Her,” which my mother hated due to its questionable lyrics. It was actually about Axl’s dog. And neither me nor my older sister were allowed to have the Guns n’ Roses 1988 album Lies, Lies, Lies.I also liked two of [Glenn] Danzig’s songs: Twist of Cane and Mother. Those grew on me.

I did like two songs by Megadeth, “Symphony of Destruction” and “Hanger 18” which were popular on the radio in 1991. I didn’t discover Iron Maiden until I was fifteen and then stumbled upon their eary stuff which lead me to discover W.A.S.P. (another 80s heavy metal/ shock rock category band). I still have all of my original Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P. LP’s from the 1980s. And I was a huge Def Leppard fan, especially of their earlier stuff. Back in 1993 I never did find a copy of their 1982 song, “Me and my Wine”. I loved the video of this song so much and later was told it could be on their High and Dry album. Hey, that’s like, totally awesome, but which release? :/ The U.K. version or was it ever on the U.S. release? I have said LP and can’t find it. I managed to find it on youtube years later so that sufficed.

If it’s heavy metal, rock, hard rock, classic rock, 80s power ballads, then I enjoy it all pretty much and managed to find it on LP as well. And I also loved all those Ronco and K-Tel produced disco albums as a teenager. I have a few of them still. I didn’t buy into the “it’s the devil’s music,” that was strongly coming from the religious community back in the day and a lot of 80s parents were decrying the same thing, “It’s the devil’s music.” Yet, we’d have this tug-o-war power struggle going on: parents give a little, and their kids will take it a mile. And when we’ve reached this new millennium, our musicians are now veterans in their own right.

And growing up we weren’t joined at the hip with cell phones, texting devices, nor Facebook. I think that would have annoyed me as a teenager because I like actual in person chatting. As teenagers we hung out at the mall and made fun of the mall walkers. That’s something that’s a lost pastime; teenagers hanging out at the mall thanks in large part to those darn thug mobs that ruined it for this upcoming generation. Growing up cell phones (at least from what I remember them resembling) were likened to those satellite car phones that you might glimpse in a 70’s action movie and they looked like old-fashioned landline phones.

Any good deals on the sale racks? A few, but I mostly came for the purpose to price the makeup to cover my tattoos with. Old Navy has a large clearance section, but looks are deceiving. Their price differences aren’t much of a huge savings, but they do have some awesome wardrobe ideas. Now the skinny jeans and/ or jeggings I stumbled upon in Maurice’s and Bling! are way out of my league. I can’t justify these store’s prices. I believe from Maurice’s their jeggings were $34.99-42.00 for one pair. From Bling! a similar pair of distressed skinny jeans will cost around $42.00.

And they had a rayon leopard print kimono for $32.99. That’s an outrageous price I thought. It’s totally awesome on the mannequin in the store window, but looks like someone had just cut out a large bolt of fabric from Jo-Ann’s and draped it over the shoulders and didn’t bother to stitch it together correctly. Not complaining about the lack of shape or form of said kimono (shown in picture) because I realize they’re supposed to have a loose drape with that style, but it resembled an over-sized poncho in my eyes, and on me when I tried it on, I practically swam in it and it was a size small. It appeared to be one of those ‘one size fits all’ garments. I don’t believe I wasted the cell phone battery to snap a picture. I’m not much of a selfie person. What else did I see? I didn’t go to any other stores, but might pop into Books-a-Million and price their comic books. I still buy on occasion comic books. Superman was my favorite and so was Tales from the Crypt, which let’s face it, those were some creepy comics that were a throw back to the 1950s E.C.’s creepy comics that were re-issued in 1990. I had a whole stack of them and my parents threw them away because they felt like they were too graphic. Thanks for liking, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting, reading and commenting. I always appreciate it. Stay tuned for more dead mall series. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wonderful Day for a Wok and San-J Tamari Soy Sauce..

Published May 20, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I’m referring to Chinese and Asian cooking that is. I recently purchased a 14″ Imusa wok and couldn’t be happier with it. Before I made my purchase I did a lot of price-comparison, reading reviews, and moreover, wanted to find a wok without a non-stick/ coated surface, but don’t think I succeeded. Why not go with a coated or the non-stick kind, you might ask yourself. Because harmful chemicals in those coated and non-stick varieties can leech out when cooking, and granted, I have no idea if the one I purchased is non-stick/ non-coated. It’s carbon steel though.

When I made my selection both woks I viewed at the store were identical. The only thing that set them apart was the difference in price by a dollar or two, and by their handles. One had plastic handles. No thanks. And the other had wood handles. Both were made by the same company Imusa. One price tag stated non-stick, the other stated 14″ wok non-coated. Neither label on the woks indicated which was non-stick/ coated and which wasn’t. The labels just stated ‘seasoning required’. I decided on the carbon steel wok with the wood handles. Woks, no matter the brand, will require seasoning before using them. I even looked at an $8 non-stick coated wok at Big Lots and wisely decided against it. It was too small and flimsy for my needs.

The only con I have with my new wok is that it requires oil before and after although it’s not that much of a pain. Woks are one of those high matience fancy skillets kind of like dutch ovens are and so are nearly all cast iron skillets. So far it hasn’t distracted me from teaching myself how to make fried rice, and other Chinese/ Asian-inspired cuisine,  etc.

A wok is great for stir fry, something of which I truly fell in love with more than nine years ago. However, the cost for all the ingredients became expensive. Back then, however, I wasn’t much of a full time gardener like I am nowadays and didn’t know the benefits of going outside and plucking my produce next to nearly nothing nor was I aware of freezing the stir fry ingredients like snow peas, onions, green bell and red bell peppers and whatever else appealed to me, either. And back then I didn’t kick my chicken habit or that of my pre-boxed Minuet white rice addiction. I haven’t had much success with fried rice yet but I keep trying. I believe this is because my rice turns out gummy from sitting overnight in the fridge and/ or I must be doing something wrong when cooking it.

I absolutely love Sesame oil but it loves me back in the wrong way. Other than that I would highly recommend the toasted Sesame oil by Kadoya. I also bought another brand of Sesame oil by Sun Luck, which doesn’t seem to give me problems, however, I noticed it lacks the robust flavor. Maybe it’s just plain, not toasted sesame oil.

Some excellent soy sauce I recently discovered is San-J Tamari. It’s gluten free. For the longest time I wouldn’t purchase any soy sauces simply because they always were too rich for my system, for one. Secondly, the other brands of soy sauces have so much MSG, flavor enhancers, and other added junk and wheat ingredients in them that the taste was too much for me, that is until after much reading discovered some rave reviews for San- J Tamari soy sauce. I thought “… well, I’ll only waste about three dollars if I don’t/ can’t stomach it.”

Is San- J Tamari soy sauce vegan? From what I’ve read, yes, it is.

Is it strictly for stir fry, Asian and/ or Chinese cooking? Nope. San- J Tamari soy sauce is excellent on salads, hard-boiled eggs, raw cabbage leaves, tomatoes and avocados and has a meaty flavor without being too rich and contains no wheat ingredients. San-J Tamari soy sauce also compliments any meal just about.

Now back to the wok. Here are some do’s and “I can’t believe I just did that!” kitchen calamity learning experiences. Okay, maybe ‘disaster’ doesn’t quite fit, but oh, well… 🙂

The Do’s:

Do wash and dry the wok thoroughly, especially when the manufacturer’s instructions recommend to oil the wok in order to “season” it before cooking in it for the first time. Seasoning is basically a process that darkens the wok and creates a type of coating on the surface. Some regular cooking pans even the cast iron skillets and dutch ovens will require seasoning before use. A wok is no different.

I like to oil my wok with a little bit of coconut oil and/or used to use a drizzle of sesame oil and smear it around using a dry clean paper towel this way there’s no mess winding up in my laundry. Grease and oil is very difficult to remove from kitchen towels, etc.

The Don’ts when using your wok:

Don’t use metal cooking utensils when cooking with a wok. This will scratch and gouge the surface, and it was a mistake yours truly here made the first night even though I was gentle with the metal slotted spoon. Make sure to have some wooden utensils on hand when cooking with a wok.

Another useful healthy tip: Don’t buy used wooden cooking utensils, no matter how clean they appear. They can harbor nasty bacteria, have unseen surface cracks where dirt and other filthy particles can linger and/ or be splintered.

Make sure to buy new wooden utensils. If you opt to purchase used/ second hand wooden utensils you never know where they’ve been or what they were used for, and they may not have always been used for cooking meals, either. And wooden utensils can be breeding grounds for mold spores especially if the utensils are untreated or show a lot of use. I’ve recently bought one of those new ‘economy’ three packs of wooden spoons and like to refer to these as “get me by until I can find something better” wooden cooking utensils. But thinking way back to some similar wooden cooking spoons my mother had when I was a child, those were better made and lasted us many, many years without cracking, splintering even beyond their normal wear and tear. There was something that made those older version wooden spoons of yesteryear better made from higher quality wood, perhaps and I’m just guessing on that.

The three pack I bought in a pinch made me seriously question if I’d get nasty  splinters in my food or lodged in my intestines. The new spoons were rough cut with jagged edges and so poorly made I couldn’t believe the quality was so shoddy they were allowed to be sold. I scrutinized all the wooden spoon packs they had at the store which weren’t many, by the way and the workmanship is very crappy. I realize that hardly any wooden spoon set out there will even be worth $3 (and I think paying $8 is excessive for a very rough produced bamboo set, too). I decided to use the cheap three pack of wooden spoons for something else other than cooking, like gardening or stir sticks for when its time to re-paint.

I went to the new small grocery store and in my “hustle my bustle” usual manner when its late I found a Chef Craft heavy handled beechwood spoon for $1.79. That’s a far better price and the quality was surprisingly better in my opinion. In fact, I was so impressed with the heavy handled Chef Craft brand beechwood spoon, I bought a second one later on. So far they seem to hold up well cooking with the wok and its been little more than a week. However, I never leave the wooden spoon unattended in the wok while my food is cooking. I like to use one of my old Corningware dishes as a spoon rest.

So for the least amount of money the Chef Craft brand wins. Now as far as how long these particular wooden spoons will last, I have no idea. I assume quite a while with normal use just depends. And I discovered I had a Sushi mat, chopstick and rice paddle set that I just got around to trying out for the first time.

Honestly, I have no prior experience using a Sushi mat. I had to watch several different tutorial videos on how to use a Sushi mat and it requires the right ingredients. But since I’m extremely allergic to Seaweed, (this is what the rice, raw fish, etc. has in it), I instead opted for cabbage leaves and Turnip greens. It was just my personal preference for the cabbage and the Turnip greens were on sale and never tried those before until just recently.

And please don’t nag at me that I didn’t use the correct type of rice in my first Sushi knock-off experience. I don’t get uptight if the rice isn’t what so-and-so uses. I use whatever rice is either organic (whenever possible), and nutrient rich (not bankrupt like most ‘enriched’ and ‘parboiled’ inexpensive rice brands are). And I like to stretch my rice and mix it with wild and/ or brown and Basmati rice (again finding a non-parboiled and non-enriched brand can be tricky at times). Don’t know if Basmati rice is any healthier but with nearly all rice, it might contain trace amounts of arsenic.  So boil, boil and BOIL that rice for at least 35-40 minutes on the stove top. The recommendation is 25 minutes, but I go the extra mile and drain the water off and use a little fresh distilled water in my rice so it won’t stick to the pan after I cook it. Do I always remember to fluff my rice with a fork? Not always and it still turns out okay for my taste.

Using a Sushi mat flattens the cabbage leaves stuffed with cooked rice and tuna I found out and keeps everything from spilling out. I also tried using Turnip Greens as well but noticed those didn’t do good at all and I find they don’t make good Seaweed subsitutes, either. I later found out that Turnip greens are supposed to be cooked, but seldom eaten raw like lettuce. I’m no gourmet chef and will attest to that. I live and learn like the rest. 😀 I do love food and enjoying trying new dishes at least once. I will more than likely pass on the Turnip greens from now on.

What I couldn’t understand according to one youtube Sushi mat tutorial video by a how-to beginner why the lady placed a Sushi mat in plastic wrap. As she went onto explain in the video it was to prevent the Sushi mat from becoming messy and dirty. Messy… eh, excuse me, but dirty, seriously? She sounded like one of those women that just can’t stand the thought of a making a mess and everything has to be perfect and very clean.

And she seemed more overly concerned about how clean her Sushi mat and work surface appeared than about getting down to the task and showing the viewer how to make Sushi rolls and there was a lot of missing ‘step-by-step’ instructions as well. By the middle of the video and this woman’s worry over “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” Florence Nightingale mentality, I was scratching my head with a slight perturbed look on my face while having a good laugh. That’s why you reach for the scouring pad, a little bit of Ajax and some dish soap and water to clean up the counter tops after having fun in the kitchen. That’s why if any mess falls on the floor and your little furball four-legged vacuum cleaner doesn’t like cooked rice or bits of Seaweed, you bust out the broom and dust pan and simply clean it up. I began to wonder if this lady wouldn’t be one of those kind to just suffer a public freak out mental breakdown moment, curl up into a fetal position and try to find her ‘safe place’  if she ever came face to face with a soiled Sushi mat that wouldn’t come completely clean. As a viewer I couldn’t watch this particular Sushi mat tutorial all the way through and had to find a few more that had better instructions and that were thorough instead of being vague. I won’t knock the lady’s ‘give it a try’ spirit though.

And one thing I wanted to add about wok cooking, the veggies will be crisp (not wilted or mushy) and it all depends on the temperature setting used. I use medium-low heat when making stir fry and lower setting when I’m re-heating my leftover rice.

One dish I do love is wild rice, fresh washed and sliced Jalapeno pepper (about four slices since they’re hot), and for some real heat try some Sarreno chili pepper (extremely hot in my opinion) and that’s if you’re a fan of spicy-hot dishes. So it’s not nearly cooking Asian or even Chinese cuisine, but eh, I enjoy it. And I also use some of the San- J Tamari Soy Sauce, a dash of Redmond Real Salt, and a dash of black pepper (whatever I have on hand in the Hosier). As always thank you so much for sharing, liking, re-blogging, tweeting, commenting, etc. I always appreciate it. 🙂

 

 

rue 21 Layered nail polish, mall stores, and jewelry review:

Published February 29, 2016 by AntiqueMystique1

I decided to review a store in the mall called rue 21, Victoria’s Secret, and another modern high-end clothing store.

I know, I know… rue 21 is a store aimed at pre-teens/ teenagers/ Twiggy super model folks that have stick figures. But since yours truly here doesn’t need anymore clothes—really, she literally has TONS of downsizing she should be working on in her wardrobe, but it’s a nice day out today. I want to take advantage of the sunshine and somewhat warm odd weather by getting my assets out there and clearing away the rest of the debris from the garden. By tomorrow though, its supposed to be very cold again and unpleasant.  😦

But for right now I wanted to squeeze in at least one blog post before I hit the great outdoor barren land known as my backyard.

I had only been in rue 21 maybe one time before I found their discount section. You know—the merchandise that was likely somebody’s five finger discount, and when its recovered, has missing parts or pieces. Sometimes if an item is boxed, the packaging is so damaged, nobody in their right mind would pay full price for it. And other times said jewelry just breaks because its so cheap and made in China.

I gravitated to their discounted jewelry, and believe me, I don’t care if the set of earrings match or are broken/ missing their mate, etc. If I happen across another pair just like them at a deep discount, I purchase both sets. But most of the earring sets they had on sale for half off were matching and nothing wrong with them. Other sets of discounted earrings were missing a pair or two. So, I bought a few feather earring sets in different colors. Yep, real feathers, but from what specific bird or flock, I have no idea. Oh, and I bought a pair of dream catcher earrings for only a dollar. But most of the earring sets will be in the $2-$3 range or under.

As I was examining the jewelry for long term wear ability (as in can it tolerate daily wear and tear) and the quality of said jewelry, I seldom buy it if its flimsy or the fake gold hoops will tarnish before I have the chance to pay for them. Starting in the 90s (about 1993 and ’94) jewelry had really began a downward spiral. Yes, the inexpensive (and sometimes even high-end stuff) was/ is very inferior. Not so much by way of design, but by quality and the pot metal used to produce it. Pot metal was supposed to be the “new” white metal that was extremely light-weight and very inexpensive to mass-produce in large quantities. Pot metal was used in everything from cookware to phonograph parts back in the day, which is why now one-hundred years later, if you happen across a broken tone arm to a hand crank phonograph, the likelihood it was made of pot metal is very great. In fact, pot metal has its origins stemming all the way back to the Civil war era of the 1860s, if not earlier.

So when the jewelry production became less and less in 1993, I quit wasting my money on it. I also had severe skin reactions to the cheap metal used in the 90’s jewelry, and honestly, I got sick of hearing everybody saying, “Oh, I’m allergic to gold jewelry, too!” Admit it, it’s not real gold. Most folks can’t afford that. And for quite some time I suspect it was something in the metal jewelry that gave me and many others skin rashes to the chemicals used when producing this 90’s jewelry junk. I turned instead to the thrift stores. I know, Ewww, gross. You’re really going to buy second-hand necklaces and earrings? What if somebody really disgusting wore them before you?

Here’s how to sterilize earrings (including used ones): mix a capful of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of rubbing alcohol, give the earrings a quick soak in the solution and immediately place said earrings on a towel to dry. If the earrings are made of enamel-painted metals, be sure not to let them soak for more than a minute or so, or else the enamel paint will flake off and the posts or hooks on the earrings might corrode and become rusty. That’s how we did things back in these ‘old days’ when  shopping for new jewelry became too expensive in the retail chain stores at the mall.

I do remember Claire’s Boutique in the mall was the place to go back in 1989/90. Not only was it up-to-date on the [then]  trend of boys getting their ears pierced, but some of the most awesome jewelry I ever purchased in the late 80s came from Claire’s. I remember my older sister would cart me along to the mall with her (and it was only once a month, if that and whenever our parents could drop what they were doing and provide the transportation), and therefore, a special treat.

Believe me, you don’t want to make the trek on foot from one end of town to the boondocks on a sweltering, windy day to the location where the mall was constantly undergoing expansion despite that it was a far cry from ever becoming a booming metropolis.

Anywho, we make the trek out there, poked fun at all the mall walkers, and I must point out that mall walkers of the late 80’s generation were far different from the mall walkers that mill around nowadays. 80’s mall walkers looked like extras from a Richard Simmons exercise vhs tape. Seriously! My sister and I never did spot Richard Simmons running around in a sweat headband and spandex. And the mall walkers of the 80’s would literally mow you down if you didn’t ‘move-it-or-lose-it’.

And my older sister and I would make ourselves appear older than we were. We were trying to garner the attention from the teenage boys. But since yours truly wouldn’t hit puberty for another year, I couldn’t pass it off, though my sister did do an excellent job on my hair and makeup. In fact, I was still in my ‘tom boy’ faze. I didn’t go all out to dress to impress. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend yet at 12. I believe I enjoyed the mall back in the late 80s due to its exciting atmosphere. I mean the mall around this time attracted all kinds of people. I saw guys in their twenties with hair longer and straighter than mine and they sported more piercings in their ears than I did. And then if you seen a thirty-something show their face in a place like Hastings music store, they were really ‘old’. However, we failed to see that the rock bands we loved so much, all that heavy metal music, those musicians were old enough to be our parents during these times. But we still fawned over them as there’s a saying, “Rock stars are ageless.” And people, collectively seemed to age slower as opposed to nowadays, and I truly believe this is due to a change in our chemically-treated food/ fluoridated and chlorinated drinking water, chem trails…. etc. that I won’t ramble on about.

And nowhere in sight was there a hint of body modifications, lip fillers, breast implants on your average woman back in the late 80s. I mean, I’m sure there was if you were a super model, but your average working woman didn’t feel the compulsion to be driven to such extremes. We didn’t see anybody sporting huge ear plugs that stretches out the ear lobes back in the eighties, either. Those we only saw on the educational/ documentaries about different tribes. As a young generation growing up during the 80s we were slowly introduced to the ‘nose piercing’ beginning about 1989. This was made famous by one of the band members in Skid Row. (And if you’re reading this, forgive me if I don’t know who you are. All I know is my sister liked your band). I’m terrible with who played what instrument and the name of said rock star, but the nose piercing was a shocking statement of body jewelry adornment and there was more yet to come.

And nowhere was there any stores aimed strictly at teenagers called rue 21 or even the pre-teen/ little girl store “Justice”. And now even years later I never fail to shock myself bypassing what appears to me to be a store for teenagers, but in reality the store displays bras for little girls?! 😮

I read countless stories about little girls are maturing much younger nowadays and their bodies are undergoing more stress thanks to all the chemicals and growth hormones that are in dairy products, processed foods, in school-mandated vaccines that it’s no wonder the next generation are hitting growth spurts early on even long before puberty. Same goes for the shoes. I’ve been told repeatedly that shoe stores seldom stock a woman’s size 6 or even a men’s size 4 anymore. This is because women’s feet are almost as large as a man’s nowadays. Therefore, I shoe shop in the thrift stores and just hope I find a pair of shoes that still have some miles on them and fit.

And I’m so glad I was one of those girls that went through puberty at about the right age which was 13 long before any of the mandated questionable vaccines became commonplace. Long before the chemicals in our food began to sicken us (literally) though it was always there just seldom brought to light. And it took me half my life to make the connection to that. I was spared, and in retrospect, I consider myself blessed.

Back in my day they weren’t giving growth hormones to cattle or livestock or putting man-made sweeteners in the milk so kids would drink more of it. And if they were, then they sure wouldn’t tell us, the consumer about it because if we all of the sudden became ‘nutritionally concerned’, then we wouldn’t buy their products.

All I did hear about messing with food was the dawn of the GMO’s were being discussed on daytime talk shows like Opera, Geraldo Rivera, Phil Donahue, Sally Jessie Raphael,  and GMO’s were largely laughed at and discredited in the early 90s as I remember it. I believe it began with the genetically modified yellow corn taco shells from Taco Bell and then became progressively worse as the years went on. Yet today we have people like Alex Jones trying to wake people up to what’s really being put into our food and tap water. But that’s getting way, way off topic.

No, we didn’t have rue 21. There wasn’t a teen store called Justice either back in the 80s/90s. I didn’t receive my first ‘torture device’ known as the bra until I was 13 and it was new-old-stock straight from the 1950’s, I kid you not. I still remember the box it came in. The bra was plain, white, very stiff maybe cotton material, no stretch to it whatsoever. It was horribly uncomfortable, no underwires yet, but you really didn’t need them with this excruciatingly painful itchy undergarment. What chemicals was my first bra made from? Likely stuff that would be banned nowadays for potential carcinogen causing and/ or flammable materials, no doubt.

And bras for teenagers weren’t sexy. There was no ounce of Ooh-la,la when bra shopping with your own mother. And the bra of the early 90s wasn’t aimed at turning on the teenage boys, either. It was a garment that was supposed to support and function and nothing else, although until I made the connection with the bra and health risks it can pose years later, never gave it a second thought as to any potential damage I had possibly exposed myself to for many years.

Bra shopping back in the day was embarrassing, especially with your mom. It wasn’t a fun experience and it wasn’t intended to be one. The goal was never about, “Oh, I want that bra that unhooks in the front, has see-thru lace insets, has cute little bows, unties over the nipples…” or the “Hey, check it out! There’s nothing more than an under bust open shelf bra. My boyfriend will want to see me in that and we’ll have great sex!” Such thoughts like those, if you grew up in a sheltered household that is, you didn’t entertain until you became a legal adult and/ or gotten married. In fact, parents used to lash out on their kids if they even gawked at a naked mannequin in a store window. Nowadays, totally different mind set. Completely different world.

My mom and I made repeated trips down to a small town sundry store called Hampstead’s that was operated by a snow-haired little old lady who was in her 80s (and this was way back in 1990, by the way). I still remember it was that little old lady who laid down the law in her store the first day we met. She didn’t tolerate any loud or obscene behavior and didn’t like teenagers running unsupervised in  her store (and years later as an adult I’d understand why). I came to deeply appreciate all this old lady explained and showed me.

I immediately obeyed, and by the end of that very same summer, we were on a first-name basis. I became a loyal customer buying stale candy and comic books and would help her out when she needed to straighten up the store since I was a.) young and b.) physically able to bend down and reach things and stand on a ladder or use a long pole to reach stuff that was high up on a shelf.

Back then we didn’t do too much on computers except play some floppy copy disks games at school since the internet wasn’t around and computers weren’t in most American homes. If you wanted a job in the real world (aside from mowing lawns all summer), then you had to mentally do the math in your head, dress nice when picking up job applications, speak like an adult, and have/ show manners.

Cash registers weren’t always digital. They used to be manual and didn’t run on electricity and they wouldn’t spit out the correct amount to give back. You had to figure it out in your head and be quick on your toes.

We weren’t given homework on a school website back in the early 90s. And we weren’t so lazy with our grammar that it went unchecked by the keen eye of an English teacher. You learned about these life skills the old fashioned way through physical text books, actual paper ‘homework’ and a teacher’s short fuse. Either knew it or you were written off as a lost cause in a teacher’s eyes at the let out of the first day of school. There was a strict mentality of either you’re smart or were born a dumb ass if you needed anything clarified. I always viewed it as the sink or swim theory.

I knew where to find the best deals that was for certain when growing up, and if we found a close parking space available, then we knew it was going to be a good shopping day and we might hit pay dirt. I assume nowadays the term is “haul” and what you get a lot of for very next to nothing. I don’t create or upload any “haul” videos on Youtube. Maybe I should. But Youtube seems to have so many of those videos and the ‘live on a dollar a day’ grocery shopping videos that it can be mind-boggling at times.

And so I wandered through my local mall this month. I stopped at a junction inside the mall that used to have a beautiful water fountain back in 1993, but it had long since been removed and the space now converted into a corral for fake motorized animals that you can rent to ride for two minutes, five minutes, and thirty minutes, but the cost to ride them is excessive and priced per the minutes. I believe the fountain closed down due to teenagers who used to dip their hands in and snatch the change at the bottom. All mall cops would shout was, “Stop doing that.”

Alrighty then. And here we have these motorized animal scooters. Totally boring. I mean Showbiz Pizza was a lot more fun than these hideous rides. At least at Showbiz a kid could be a kid. A teenager could go there for the arcade games, play them until they ran out of change, and still it didn’t hurt the pocket book by the minute. But entertainment nowadays is so dull. I assume that and the Jump-for-Joy activity are the only two major pulls that keeps this local mall going. Oh, those and the mall theater which has a ticket booth on one side (never busy or open it appears), and the actual movie theater on the opposite side appears completely devoid of staff. To make the movie theater appear busy the mall has installed a few of those crane games.

And everyone milling around seem very out of shape or they look like they don’t feel well. This could very well be due to the chemicals in our foods and the medications they’re likely taking, if any to combat certain conditions. It’s sad. And the trim women are usually the bubbly, loud-mouthed, obnoxious, ‘don’t know what I want in life or care where I’m going’, stick figures with no meat on their bones, yet they show off naval piercings on their fake tanned bodies like its something new to their friends. You only live once, but your attractive artificial-tanned body will prematurely age you given plenty of tanning bed sessions.

I just roll my eyes, “If that’s what it takes to be beautiful nowadays, forget it.” And there’s the type of mall person that wants to just get in, buy their crap, and leave and the walk to get to their vehicle is staggering. But perhaps I fall somewhere in-between all this. I’m not underweight, nor am I obese. I don’t flaunt my midriff and not an inch of my body is pierced other than my ears. When I do step out I make sure my garments cover me. My hair is done up in beach curls, something of which I taught myself how to achieve at home with my home made beach salt hair spray. And I go very easy on the cheap makeup since it irritates my skin. I hope I can find some high end vegan makeup to replace the cheap stuff I wasted my money on and something that won’t make my skin irritated or raw from wearing it.

My generation is completely unrecognizable, wasted (as in lack of nutrients, bloated, pale and sickly). Flat, short cropped hair seems to be the in-style for a majority of the mall women. They bathe in the knock-off designer perfumes, wear chunky jewelry all inspired by either the Kardasian’s or some other female icon nowadays, and they are trying to impress others with their ‘looks’ and still be a ‘friend’ to their kids who accompany them.

Mall men wear baseball hats and/ or are going bald, they don snarky t-shirts that might say, “My wife thinks I look better carrying a six pack of beer, than having an actual six pack [abs]”, open flannel shirts and jeans. They appear to have a beer gut and remark, “No, Hon, I can’t have that off the menu because of my type two diabetes,” And these men should be healthy. They’re young, not old by any stretch of imagination and they look elderly in physical appearance in the face even though some might be 30 and 40-something? But they look beyond their years. Maybe society has aged them or maybe its a result of all the crappy food, fast food, beer, medications, who knows.

And there’s the all too common, young 27-year old woman wearing pajamas and thongs on her feet. She has bed head hair, no makeup on, pushing a baby stroller, another infant strapped to her chest, and yet another baby on the way. Her hair is pulled back in tight a pony tail. She oblivious to all that’s going on around her. She’s yapping to either her boyfriend and/ or husband, cell phone in one hand and busy texting, or maybe even updating her facebook status, and she’s carrying on a conversation with an older lady (perhaps her mother-in-law or her mom) and not giving her undivided attention to the lady or even paying attention to her little ones. There’s a large-sized half consumed cup of Starbucks coffee in the drink holder of the stroller, baby bottle in the other. Boyfriend and/ or husband is eyeing all the single, hot-looking ripped muscular girls with huge breasts and maybe thinking to himself, “Man, if I had to do it all over again,” or “Why did I get myself tied down with kids?”

And Claire’s has officially gone to the little girls. Long gone are the days of buying awesome jewelry, cross pendant necklaces, hoop earrings or even faux rhinestone stud earrings and black thin rubber jelly bracelets. Nowadays everything is rainbow-themed, Twilight (the vampire movie), Hair accessories, over-priced faux leather small purses, more hair accessories, and earrings with cute little unicorns and other girl-ish themed earrings that kind of resemble a throw back to the early 80s but not quite. And then there was the ear plugs that stretches out the ear lobes and other body jewelry.

I decided to stop in Christopher Banks (?). I get this store confused with Joseph A. Banks. Well, anyway, I decided while at the mall do as the aimless do, and see it all, so I did. What attracted me were the bright pastels and spring colors this store had on display. I’m getting way ahead of myself.

I’m there in leopard print leggings, suede cowgirl boots with fringe, a black sweater dress with a black dress belt, and the saleswoman takes one look at me and says, “You’re in the wrong store and not an inch of our clothing would fit you. The misses and petites are in our sister store just catty-cornered from this *plus-sized* store.”

I thanked her for her for letting me know since there was no sign stating it was for plus-sized women, and quickly left. I walked out feeling so proud and knew that sticking with my Yoga, getting in some daily cardio and eating clean food is finally paying off for me. It took me a while to find said store. I popped in for a few, looked at all the gaudy spring pastels they had displayed on plastic dress forms, and I began to feel like I stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone. I mean, really– the clothes were so far out there I began to get the impression by the shoddy quality of this high-end clothing store, I’d never be caught dead in this place again. And their jewelry was one step down from the average “Made in China” cheap pot metal jewelry. It was so thin, I was afraid to even look at it.

Every inch of fabric was my newest ‘no-no’ when clothes shopping: Polyester—the woven plastic that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe and release toxins naturally as the body should. Rayon, spandex, and nylon are in the same ‘plastic’ family as our good ole’ carcinogen buddy, Polyester. Yuck! Absolutely not! I think to myself.

And I could be wrong here, but it seems like the plus-sized clothing had more to offer—design wise as far as fabric and choices went. In the misses and petite sister store the styles were an eyesore. There was no originality that I could see. Screw this, I’m mall-walking past the food court to head back to rue 21.

At the misses and petite store even I found myself at the center of scrutiny by the stern-faced, average stressed out saleswoman. My attire screams… actually, I don’t know, maybe out-dated or perhaps its not typical mall walker/ regular shopper attire. I don’t keep up on trends anymore. And their attitude in the misses and petite store was rather “Can I help you find something?” of an order, very aloof and not at all a friendly greeting like I had gotten from the other sales woman at the plus-sized store. I quickly replied, “Actually, I’m looking for your discounted jewelry.”

And the saleswoman pointed to a very small rack of bracelets and necklaces sandwiched between the towering dressing rooms and right behind the cash register counter. Something about stepping behind the cash register to see a section a store has to offer has always creeped me out. Maybe its just me, but I feel that’s crossing hallowed ground in the retail world even when permission is granted. I personally rather like to see discount jewelry displayed out front or within a few feet from the cash register not behind it. Otherwise its located in an awkward area that you have to contort your body in weird angles just to see the selection. Enough was enough. I hope I never have to shop at Joseph A. Banks, or Christopher Banks or even any “Banks” store at all. I received the distinct impression this wanna-be high end store was for the late forties/ fifties crowd with a more moderate income to play around with. Not necessarily rich or well-to-do to shop at Dillard’s or J C Penny’s so this wanna-be high end clothing store kind of pacifies that high maintenance lifestyle.

And coming back to the old lady with the snow white hair that didn’t like unruly teenagers. I could begin to see why the mall posts a sign that anyone under the age of 16 now has to show proof of photo I.D., and if they have parents that work in the mall, this could be waved, and all 16 and younger teenagers either had to be accompanied by an adult in no more than a group of five kids total and/ or be escorted to the food court and off the mall premises by 6 p.m. on Fridays and weekends or said underage teenager(s) would be ticketed for trespassing. And this is supposed to teach another upcoming teenage generation what? More than likely if they aren’t employed, then their parents will be paying the trespassing fines, and how is this supposed to make the mall safe for others to shop in or curb any type of violence and/ or retail theft due to shoplifting? So between the hours of 6 pm and closing, I presume this makes the mall extremely safe and a fun, family-oriented place after dark? Violence can happen anywhere. Shoplifting is a crime, but it still happens everywhere. I kind of do see the logic in this, but I don’t see how a list of rules in small print will curtail this.

And when have teenagers become so out of control that such strict laws now must be put in place? It’s sad what this generation has become. I know the same thing was said of my generation, my parents, my grandparents, and even my great grandparents. Instead of bringing kids up with morals, respect, and a structured family and/ or religious life, we are now desensitizing kids with violent video games and online B.S. instead. And when violence happens in a mall? Oh, well, if there not out of here by 6 pm, we’ll fine them for trespassing. That should nip it in the bud.

“Attention shoppers, mall curfew will be in five minutes. If you are 16 or under and don’t have a ride, call for one and wait in the food court. A rent-a-cop will escort you out.”

Its no wonders teenagers are the way they are nowadays. They have only one hang out, but it doesn’t stay open very late and only allows in certain ages to congregate there in small numbers. Everything has boiled down to restrictions, no fun to be had anywhere, and when teenagers act out or cause destruction, violence, or shoplift everybody pays somewhere down the line.

How about instilling some positive role models or some good old-fashioned family values in a teenager’s life? Do any still exist nowadays? Maybe so and perhaps not anymore.

Back in my day teenagers got lost and the mall was the place to hang out on weekends at least for a couple hours before supper time. We’d hang out in the food court, down an orange Julius without getting an ice-cream headache, maybe share a slice of pepperoni pizza, ration our gummy colas and sour patch kids, go discover the hottest new rock/ heavy metal band. Heavy metal as I recall was on its way out as far back as 1987, but there were a few bands still on the charts in 1989. And the round-stop trip wouldn’t be complete without shopping for black thin jelly bracelets or finding some dangle cross earrings or silver/ gold hoops.  But it was a different time and enjoyable. I don’t remember ever hearing about mall violence back then unless if it was in a big city that had more than one mall to go to, then I heard about it happening in sporadic, rare instances and the said teenagers were nothing more than thugs.

A 1980’s mall had a much more relaxed and lax social gathering and set of business hours. And there were mall rules everybody had to abide by. They were posted on the entrance and exits in large print. Nowadays all I saw was one measly small-print sign tacked to a store display outside of a book store about teenagers 16 and under had to be off mall premises or risk being fined for trespassing on Fridays and weekends. What teenager is going to stop to actually read and obey that? How are they going to collect on these fines if there’s no court case? Teenagers of today will likely knock the sign to the ground, stomp on it, be kicked out of the mall by a rent-a-cop, and be back in the mall the following week like its some kind of new pastime.

Granted, teenagers in my generation were obnoxious and some non-violent rambunctious behavior could get out of hand at times. But never did I see a teenager or a whole pack of them storm into stores to smash, grab, and then leave.

Perhaps I perceive these new mall rules completely wrong and need to watch a few teen mob videos on Youtube to educate myself. I can see it as heading off potential trouble at the pass before it has a chance to happen.

What I do hate is seeing what’s become of society nowadays. People don’t seem happy anymore. There’s no more ‘care-free’, let your hair down, pull on your tightest jeans, tuck in your plain shirt, style your hair big, apply makeup, bangle bracelets, earrings, a necklace, and your beloved acid-washed jean jacket and lets go try to reel in the men. Eh, where exactly is a good place to meet a man anymore these days? And no, bars do not count. You will never meet a decent sober man in a bar. You might wind up with the loser, a bar fly, or some older man who still thinks he’s Mr. “stud muffin”. And you might wind up with an alcoholic, and even a creeper but that’s about it.

I trekked to Earth Bound Trading Company. I mainly stepped in to see a real life Tibetan singing bowl. Has anybody seen or heard these in person? They are so loud it hurts the ears. But the ‘ringing’ hum they produce lasts for hours. I do like them when they’re combined with meditation music. On this day, however, I didn’t carry my camera phone so couldn’t get a pic of the singing bowl. But it was still a sight to behold. And I saw beaded curtains which are super cool, but the $39.99 price and the fact that the said curtain could not be adjusted to work in my small place made me quickly reconsider. That, and they didn’t have many different intriguing designs. And if you like Bamboo beads, go for it. But I heard more bad about the bamboo beaded curtains than good. The bamboo curtains tangle something horrible and they don’t last as long as their acrylic (plastic) counterparts. Plus the bamboo beads fall off.

Nah, I think I will mosey over to the clothing section. What do I see? A faux leather fringe purse for $58. Well, boy howdy! I could see dollar signs evaporating before my very eyes and I was still a week away from getting paid next. And the fringe was extremely long. The said purse kind of resembled a boho style marries a ‘possibles’ pouch from the Pioneer days. It didn’t appeal to me. Discounted jewelry at Earth Bound Trading Company was varied, and not much of a savings in my eyes.

So, I skimmed through their essential oils list. (And if you don’t have a vitamin store in your town, you’re going to pay double what essential oils generally cost). $14.95 for unscented lotion. Essential oils (depending on scent) were anywhere between $10 per bottle on up to $16 and so on. And the size of the bottle is tiny. You don’t get much for your money. I believe I’ll check back in with Hobby Lobby at this rate. Oh and the clothing was made of Viscose which falls in I believe the wood pulp/ paper family. It’s a chemically-treated cellulose material, that when wet, doesn’t allow your skin to breathe and soaks up sweat and oils like a sponge and traps them. Also, any garment with a high Viscose content will state: “Dry clean only”. I wasn’t about to waste $26 on a summer dress that likely would fall apart once I got it home. I was ready to leave. I head back to rue 21 where I purchased some sturdy-looking bangle bracelets for $2, one bottle of their discounted $1 layered nail polish, except the color I picked out is bright construction worker orange, yellow, and hot pink. I knew that it wasn’t free of the embalming chemicals, but did buy it for painting stuff outside my house. And I also bought another pair of teal-colored feather earrings. I figure once summer hits, I’m bound to find a cotton-made teal tank or summer shirt to go with it from the thrift shops.

As far as shopping on a budget rue 21 wins out as far as discounted jewelry is concerned. As far as rue 21 clothing is concerned, let’s face it, discount racks are the way to go. Sometimes you’ll find a great starter summer wardrobe, or even add to an existing winter wardrobe, but nearly all of their garments will be made polyester or similar plastic blend. I check the tags before I purchase or even try on. And most of the time I go by feel alone and if the material is scratchy, itchy, stiff, too soft like artificial silk, then I don’t even waste my time trying it on. I know that sounds crazy but it does help so said garments don’t wind up in one of my donation bags and I won’t be out any money.

Oh, and Victoria’s Secret is another place I have seen parents dragging their children into. Back in my day such stores were very off-limits and it astounds me that a parent nowadays would expose their children to seeing thongs, g-strings, and racy lingerie. And I must realize that everything nowadays is hypersexualized for a kid growing up and there’s no avoiding that. Sex sells and its everywhere you go. I also see young women in their twenties and older women dragging their boyfriends and husband’s in VS. But their attitudes are what make me take notice. Their ordering their significant others to stay put, they tell their xxx amount of kids to “Shut up, mommy wants to see if this fits so she can look like Kim Kardasian!” And the woman saying it is in her forties and frumpy. She let herself go, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Looks aren’t everything. But as a society I see it with crystal clear vision: the price of beauty and to look beautiful is staggering! And the competition given way to breast implants, tummy tucks, body augmentation, plastic surgery even dental implants to retain that flawless pearly white smile is even more prevalent than it was a decade or so before. And it’s making it harder on women of all body types to achieve. It’s too expensive, way overboard ridiculous, and mind you, I’m light years away from being “old”, but it will happen to me. That’s a part of life.

Once upon a time for a couple of bucks you could shop at home through a mail order racy catalog, receive said lingerie products and you’d be reaching for the Louieville slugger to conk your boyfriend and/ or husband over the noggin’ that very same night you model the lingerie for his eyes only in the privacy of your own home. At least that was the ‘censored’ world of old. Nowadays, babies, toddlers, pre-teens, and teenagers mill through VS like it’s nothing new. And me? I’m gawking at the $22 price for a single pair of thong underwear that isn’t even stocked in my size. I like the spring colors and neons, but simply hate the crotch floss. This doesn’t look sexy on a plastic dress form and it doesn’t look remotely hot. And did I mention uncomfortable as well? And going back to the attitudes I seen while in VS. Women weren’t happy. They seemed stressed, restrained by the slim-pickings available, and there was the non-stop yelling at their kids who were wanting to go see something else in the mall than be babysat by their mothers. The husband and/ or boyfriends were made to buy said racy lingerie. They all had looks of boredom, and believe me, I have never, ever seen a man become bored in a lingerie store when he’s with his significant other, at least I can only assume this to be true. So, there’s the bickering and fighting from the mom tied down with five kids and one in a push-stroller. There’s the bored young couples and the poor men who want to shield their eyes and leave all the chaos behind. They don’t want to pay for it much less argue with their significant other about it for the rest of the week.

I see this as an outsider because I don’t have a man in my life, yet. In fact, why am I even in VS in the first place? Kim Kardasian sure didn’t make me go here nor did any other air-brushed, photo-shopped VS model for that matter. I guess I was wanting to see if there’s any normal ‘cotton’ underwear that still exist this day in age. And I suppose I had my question answered when all I came across were boy shorts, the ‘sensible’ thong, and g-strings and none of it made of cotton. I’m not talking old women underwear that’s 80 cents at K-Mart. I’m talking something appropriate to wear with Daisy Dukes that won’t have me checking myself over every five minutes, or needing to make pit stops in women’s restrooms to adjust said attire in private. As always, thanks for liking, re-blogging, tweeting, sharing and commenting. I truly appreciate it! 🙂