Monday, September 1, 2014

The Princess Culture Has Gone Too Far

When I was a little girl, there were only three Disney Princess movies: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I loved the princesses and definitely wanted to live happily ever after (well, mostly live in Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World in real life).

But I loved other things too: Star Wars, Barbies (who almost always came with a matching Ken-Malibu Barbie and Ken, Roller Skating Barbie and Ken, and so on), Atari games such as Pac Man, Pitfall, Frogger, and Donkey Kong, Scooby Doo, playing house and school, riding bikes, and roller skating. I took ballet. I was terrible at softball. I climbed trees and skinned my knees more times than I could count. I played with girls and boys (even boys played house and school back then and we all played Star Wars together).

When I look back at pictures of myself, I see myself dressed as Casper the Ghost, a scary witch, and an Indian girl for Halloween. I was Tinkerbell once, but it wasn't any fairy dress with wings-it was a plastic mask and an ill-fitting "dress" worn over clothes. 

Me as Tinkerbell, circa 1975 (age two).

Imagine the same getup with Casper's image and you have my costume for 1976.

Sophie as Tinkerbell, circa 2009 (age one). Her costume is so much cuter. My mom's decor is also a little fancier LOL.

I'm dressed in lots of primary colors, and clad mostly in jeans and shorts. I have a solid green Trapper Keeper with red, blue, and green folders inside. I have a red bike, followed by a pink dirtbike, followed by a silver, red, and black bike.

Me, circa 1980. I'm about a year older than Sophie here. For the record, I did not have football curtains. This picture was taken at a friend's house-a boy who often played Barbies with me.

Starting with The Little Mermaid in 1989 and all the Disney Princess movies that came after, princess culture was on the rise. And I thought it was first. Wow, little girls can get these amazing costumes I never could when I was their age! They can meet the princesses! So fun!

And unlike some people, I think there are good lessons for little girls in the princess stories. Be kind. Be loyal. Read books (thank you, Belle). Work hard (Cinderella, Snow White, Tiana). And so on.

When I had Sophie, I definitely indulged in the princess culture with her (mostly for myself probably!). And from about two to four, she enjoyed it-she was Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, we had dinner at Cinderella's Castle, we read the books and watched the movies. It was fun. I also introduced her to Star Wars and Scooby Doo.

The first time she put this dress on, she said "I'm so pretty, Mommy!"

She's real! Disney 2011.

Ariel, the one who started a movement.

Last gasp for princess culture at my house, circa 2012.

This is still one of my favorite pictures of her. I can't help it.

And then, at five, Sophie began to move past princesses. She still loves her stuffed animals and she's not much into dolls. She's very into Star Wars, superheroes, Ninja Turtles, Angry Birds, other video games, and the like. Last fall, I introduced Sophie to Wonder Woman, because I wanted her to know a woman can be a superhero too. 

I totally wanted this costume! Look at the boots! Halloween 2013.

She decided she didn't want to take dance anymore, but she did want to play basketball and soccer. She is a much better athlete than me.

Total baller. Little Spurs, 2014.

Her favorite colors are blue, red, and orange. Suddenly, it has become a struggle to find things that fit with her interests, but that isn't "boy" stuff. Take a look around any retailer: try to find a nice blue, red, or orange school backpack for a girl. NOPE. Pink, purple, or teal only.

We settled on a cute R2D2 backpack because Star Wars over everything.

He's pretty cool...lights up and talks at the push of a button.
Sophie actually picked out this yellow and pink ensemble herself for the first day of school. She likes to keep me guessing.

Look for any girl's bike: no primary colors. My parents bought Sophie a "boy's" bike this week because it was in colors she liked. My mom, who like me is more girly than Sophie is, was even irritated. "I like red and blue too," my mom said. "Why does everyone think girls only like pink and purple?"

My Daddy, running alongside Sophie on her red and black bike with matching helmet.

I'm tired of being asked if I want the "boy" or "girl" toy at McDonalds. When I was a kid, there was only one option and boys and girls both liked it, whether it was Snoopy or Star Wars. Sophie likes MarioKart and How to Train Your Dragon. According to my friend Erin, some boys like Beanie Babies. If you're going to give options, just ask which one Moms want...stop categorizing them by gender.

Manufacturers and retailers now want so badly to get in on the many dollars the princess culture generates that they are leaving behind girls who don't fit in to that mold. Girls like Sophie are no different from girls like me from the early 1980s with a variety of interests. It's just today, the princess stuff is seen as SO important that it trumps everything else.

In Sophie's classes, I see lots of little girls who are still engrossed in the princess culture, especially with Frozen coming out last year. Sophie loved Frozen too, but I think that was mostly because Elsa has a superpower and the music was fantastic. Mostly, I see Sophie wanting to play with the boys because she's more interested in the things they like. Her lack of interest in princess stuff sets her apart from the other girls.

This is as close as we came to a princess at Disney this year...she wanted an Elsa shirt and accessorized it with a pirate hat and eye patch!

Sometimes she says she hates all girl stuff and wants to be a boy. Sometimes she goes back and forth between girl stuff and boy stuff. For example, at theater camp this summer, she was Anna from Frozen in the first session and wore a princess dress with a too-large crown and sneakers. The next session she wore a too-small Iron Man costume with cat ears. She doesn't want to wear clothes that are too glittery, but loved getting a mani/pedi with me at the salon last week (blue on the fingers, red on the toes, of course).

As Anna. You can't see her sneakers in this photo. ;)

As SkippyJon Jones, but wearing an Iron Man costume with cat ears because THEATAH! Same sneakers!

As her mother, I love her just the way she is, but I hate to see her sometimes rejecting "girl stuff" because it isn't available in the colors she likes. I'd love to be able to find her backpacks and bikes and other basic things that are "for girls" in her favorite colors. I'm working hard to not let my decidedly more girly nature and interests affect her in a negative way. I'm probably failing more than I'm succeeding, but I'm really trying.

This is 2014. Girls can do and be whatever they want in this world. They should be able to have what they want also, in all the colors of the rainbow, not just pink and purple.

Bring back the rainbows, people. Circa 1982.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Double the Stitch Fix, Double the Fun?

I have gotten behind on my Stitch Fix posts! If you are wondering what Stitch Fix is, check out my previous posts here:
Fix #4 arrived in the middle of the NBA Finals and it was so crazy and amazing and busy (MY SPURS WON! YES, I KNOW YOU KNOW THAT! I'M STILL EXCITED!) that I didn't get to post about it. Then, Fix #5 arrived in the middle of my insanely busy July, and now it's August, so I'm going to post about these two Fixes now and Fix #6 later in the week.

Fix #4: What I Received

This Fix was styled by Marisa, who tried and failed to find me some more of my beloved Margaret M Cropped Pants, and once again, focused on "navy" as my favorite color. You say something one time...

First Item: Mavi Kalie Denim Jacket, $98

I wouldn't wear this outfit; I just already had the shorts on.

This jacket was cute and fit fine, except it hit me in the part of my midsection I always try to camouflage-the dreaded mommy pooch. I also didn't want to spend $98 on it. 

I think the longer length of the jacket I already own is more flattering.

And then I remembered I already have a Tommy Hilfiger denim jacket that I think is more flattering and should wear more. GOING BACK.

Second Item: 41Hawthorn 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse, $58

Again, not sure why I chose to try everything on with these shorts!

I liked this shirt a lot, because it has a great cut and fits my need to buy tops I can wear to work that are not t-shirts. I felt like it would work with jeans or cropped pants nicely. My only slight worry was that it is silky and I am hot-natured and that is not always a great combination. However, I ultimately decided to KEEP IT.

This is a bad picture, but I have actually worn this top multiple times, so I'm happy with it.

Third Item: 41Hawthorn Ivy Abstract Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse, $68

Not a fan of this print.

Also, it gapped weirdly at my cleavage. Not that I actually have any.

I was not a fan of the print on this shirt at all. It's just not me, not my style. It also fit weirdly, especially at the front, where it pulled away from my cleavage. GOING BACK.

Fourth Item: 41Hawthorn Sloane Colorblock A-Line Ponte Shift Dress, $78

Now this is more my style!

I call it my Auburn dress LOL.

Now we're talking. The simple clean style of this dress is very my style. I love the colorblocking and don't even mind the orange band around my waist. It just works for me. KEEP. 

I've worn this to work a few times and get compliments on it every time. 

Fifth Item: Margaret M Duboce Straight Leg Jean, $108

No. No. NO.

This is what Marisa sent instead of my beloved Margaret M cropped pants...bright pink Margaret M straight leg jeans. Nope. Not even close. Too tight. Unflattering from the back (not posting that picture). GOING BACK.

So, in summary, I kept the ivory 3/4 sleeve blouse and the Auburn dress, and they are both items I'm wearing regularly, which is a win in my book. The total came to $136, but once my $20 styling fee was applied, it was only $116.

Fix #5: What I Received

This Fix was styled by Christina, who wanted to give me some fun summer items. I could tell she had read my feedback, because I specifically requested a long cardigan, since my office keeps the AC at glacial temperatures and I need something to go over sleeveless or short-sleeve tops inside.

When I was trying things on in this Fix, I couldn't decide on anything, so I tweeted pictures and crowd-sourced opinions from Twitter, which was ultimately helpful.

First Item: Andrew Marc Saiara Sleeveless Dress, $128

Totally on the fence on this dress.

At first glance, this dress reminded me of the Auburn dress in Fix #4. I loved the colors and pattern, but once I got the dress on, something felt off. It felt like the dress was about two inches shorter than I wanted it to be. I wanted it to skim the top of my knee, and it sat clearly above it. Also, it had a line at the waist that felt too high also. 

Twitter had mixed gentleman told me I looked hot LOL, while most of the Twitter fashionistas I trust (I'm looking at you, Elizabeth) agreed with my assessment of the dress. And if I'm going to spend $128, the dress has to fit way better. GOING BACK.

Second Item: 41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan, $48

Liked the cardigan better than the dress.

This black cardigan was exactly the type of thing I asked for in my feedback...great length, flattering fit, goes with everything. KEEPER. Not overly exciting, but a solid choice. Twitter concurred.

I've seen this same cardigan on Pinterest in other colors like teal, red, and purple, and wouldn't mind getting another one in a different color.

Third Item: Level 99 Patrick Cropped Chino Pant, $108

Hi, I look naked on the bottom. Not a look I'm going for.

Strange buttoned pockets actually pulled the pants away from my waist. No, thank you.

Dear Stitch Fix, unless you can find me another pair of my beloved Margaret M cropped pants, just stop. Don't send me weird skinny jeans in bright colors or strangely buttoning, too tight, TOO NAKED LOOKING cropped chinos. They are no substitute! Just stop. The naked look was too much for Twitter also. GOING BACK.

Fourth Item: Papermoon Remmie Multi-Color Chevron Print Maxi Skirt, $58

I liked the colors of this skirt, but it didn't really seem like me.

Also, the seams didn't match up anywhere, which looked busy and awful.

I do not have one single maxi skirt, so I was excited by the idea of the maxi skirt. And it felt gloriously comfortable, soft and easy to move in. But I was torn and wasn't sure why. 

When I consulted Twitter, my friend Ginger commented that the skirt just didn't LOOK like me, and I had to agree. It's just not my style. GOING BACK.

Fifth Item: Fun2Fun Nannette Swiss Dot Sleeve Blouse, $58

I loved the color of this top.

I also liked the high-low hem.

And, not a t-shirt.

Cute dot detail on the sleeves.

Finally, a cute top that wasn't blue! Yay! I loved the color, hemline, and dotty sleeves of this top. I felt pretty sure I wanted to keep it, and when I consulted Twitter, everyone agreed in a big way. This top got the best response! KEEPER!

So, for Fix #5, I kept the sensible black cardigan that I will wear forever and the adorable coral dot sleeve blouse that can be worn in many different ways! I think I had a credit, so once that and my styling fee was applied, I only paid $80 for the two items.

I seem to consistently get two pieces I like in each Fix so far. I really wish I could get one stylist selecting for me each month, so maybe the selections would become more consistent as the person would know my taste better. I think I might be able to request the same stylist, but I'm not sure. Something to look into for next time.

For me, the fun and convenience factors are still the main reasons why I continue to get a Fix each month. We'll see what Fix #6 brings this week!

Disclaimer: If you use my Stitch Fix referral link to sign yourself up for Stitch Fix, I will receive a $25 credit toward my next Fix. (So please sign up! I'd love more clothes!) However, all the opinions here are my own (and Twitter's LOL) and I am not being reimbursed in any way to review or blog about Stitch Fix. I'm just having fun and paying for everything out of my own pocket.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Eleven Questions

The lovely Jesabes tagged me in the latest internet meme going around! I have to admit, after reading several other bloggers' takes on this, I was all "Someone tag me! Tag me!" Thanks, lady!

Here we go:

1. What is your favorite type of cheese?
I am a big fan of cheese in general. My absolute favorites are goat cheese (served warm with bread), Havarti, Muenster, and Brie. The only cheese I really don't enjoy is Swiss. I once made the mistake of putting a remaining bit of Camembert in my new Anne Klein tote after a picnic in Paris and the bag was stinky for the rest of my trip.

2. What are you excited about?
Unless you have been living under a rock or don't follow me on Twitter (@glamomommy), you probably already know that I am excited that MY SAN ANTONIO SPURS MADE THE NBA FINALS FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW! 

I have been a serious Spurs fan since 1994. In 2012, my BFF convinced me to buy tickets to the playoffs and we've done it every year since. Loving a team this hard is alternately amazing and heartbreaking. Last year, we came up about 30 seconds short of winning the title. This year, we have been back on the emotional playoffs rollercoaster since Easter. I don't know what's going to happen in the Finals (I think we have a great shot to win it, but luck and health plays huge roles also, so you never know), but no matter what, I am so proud of my classy, underappreciated, beautiful Spurs. 

If you don't have an NBA team you already root for, you should love them too. :) Let Magic Johnson and others tell you why here.

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday?
My birthday was two weeks ago and it was fabulous. The day before I had a lovely lunch with my parents and dinner out with my girlfriends. On my actual birthday, I woke to a surprise birthday cake drawing from Sophie, then we went shopping and to lunch with J, and then I laid by the pool reading. It was relaxed and glorious.

4. What is on your bedside table?
A turquoise lamp, a small fan to combat my early-arriving hot flashes, a picture of J and me taken at South Padre when we were dating, an iPod dock/radio, a Spurs cup full of water, and a stack of books to be read.

5. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand?
Sometimes I smuggle in snacks from home; other times, I buy either Junior Mints or Sour Patch Kids at the theater. Or a hot dog if I'm seeing a movie at lunchtime. Or gelato (our palatial movie theater has a gelato stand and a bar). 

But I always, always buy a ginormous soda because they have my favorite thing in the world. I believe its real name is the Coke Freestyle Machine, but I just call it the Magical Coke Machine. Regular Coke is my one real vice, so I freaking love this thing. I'd buy one for my house if I could. I usually mix half regular Coke and half Cherry Vanilla Coke.

6. Do you have a garden? What's growing?
Kind of? When we moved into our house last year, the front featured a ton of cacti and some lantanas and other bushes. We didn't do much to it, just let it grow wild, but this year, one of the big bushes died. At first, J and Sophie (I AM NOT OUTDOORSY-BLACK THUMB RIGHT HERE) tried to replace it with some purple flowers. However, the horde of deer that live on our street (really-sometimes we come out at night to find about 12-14 deer sleeping in our front yard) thought they made a delightful snack. Hence all the cacti! 

So next J planted three new lantana bushes and the deer seem to be leaving those alone. We also let Sophie get a hibuscus in a pot on our front porch and it seems to bloom one single large bloom every other day. One blooms, the next day it's dead and gone. Then another blooms. It's weird.

7. Any summer plans?
Sophie has a wonderful slate of activities planned-theater camp, chef camp, Paris camp, oceanography camp, sports camp, adventure camp, and zoo camp, plus one week each month with my parents, aka Nana Camp. She also has swimming lessons once a week and we've signed her up for a basketball team, which should be interesting.

In terms of anything else, not much. This year was supposed to be a Canada year-we go there every other year to visit J's family, so we thought we'd be heading to Toronto this summer. 

However, in March, J's sister and her family came to stay with us for a week, followed by his dad and stepmom coming to stay for another week. 

And then I had a conference at Disney in April, so J and Sophie went with me and we turned it into a family trip and a visit to my homebound aunt. 

While I still have tons of vacation for the year, J does not, and his mom and best friend were here for a visit last year, so no Canada and no any other trip over the summer.

We'll do things locally-we have passes to the zoo and Six Flags. We may do a weekend in a cabin somewhere if we get ourselves together in time. Other than that, not much. Our 10th anniversary is in September. I'd love to go somewhere, but we'll have to see.

8. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for?
Castle and Beckett (Castle) and Deeks and Kensi (NCIS LA) are probably my two favorites. I am extremely irritated that Castle and Beckett didn't make it down the aisle!

9. What's the last thing you bought?
Literally the last thing I bought (other than groceries) was a 2014 Spurs Western Conference Champions T-shirt!

C and I stood in line at Academy for two hours after the game ended Saturday night to buy them, then headed to the airport to welcome the Spurs home from Oklahoma. We didn't get home until 2 a.m. Apparently, we think we're still in our 20s LOL.

10. What's one thing you are passionate about?
I'm pretty passionate about women's rights. I'm supporting Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte for Governor and Lt. Governor of Texas, because I believe they will do the right thing for the women and children of our great state.

11. What are you grateful for this week?
I am grateful that Sophie has had a great year in Kindergarten, which ends Thursday. I am grateful my parents live nearby and always help out in a pinch. I am grateful for a friend who is crazy enough to have late-night adventures with me. I am grateful for a husband who supports my interests, crazy and time-consuming though they may be for a few months each year. And I'm grateful that the Spurs made it back to the Finals. No team deserves it more!

Now I'm supposed to tag 11 bloggers...but most of the ones I know have already done this, so I'm going to tag a few who may have not: Mona and Nilsa