Motion in the Ocean

The weekend before this past one I met Carly down at the beach. She and her mom had rented a condo for the week and she mentioned a little while ago that I could come down if I wanted, so I did. She and her mom rented the condo for Saturday to Saturday; I ended up going down a day early since my Friday was free and staying with them until Tuesday night.

Friday night was tricky because trying to find last-minute lodging for just the one night in an area that already demonstrates an impressive penchant for price-gouging  was not fiscally optimal. I was not keen on spending $200.00 for what would essentially amount to dropping my bag off, going out for the evening, coming back home drunk to crash and then leaving the next morning to meet Carly and her mom.

And thus, this was my first adventure with Airbnb. I had signed up to explore my options once in the past, but I had never actually patronized it before. It didn’t take me long to find a satisfactorily priced room a mere 20 minutes from town which was fine for my purposes. Just a quick Uber ride away to the bars. The room was $85.00 plus a $10.00 fee which put me at under $100.00, so that worked. Even with the cost of Ubering, it was still cheaper than a hotel overall.

The host was a single girl and her invalid dog (recent ACL surgery) who was very communicative in the days beforehand to welcome me and to make sure I found it okay. And I did. It was an older house, but well-kept and clean and suitable for my needs. The host was friendly and inviting. The room worked well for its purpose and there were no issues, but it did feel a bit uncomfortable being a guest in a stranger’s house while they are there. I interacted with her for a total of less than 10 minutes overall – when I got there, when I was headed out for the night, and then in the morning – and she was definitely nice, but it was just the slightest bit awkward. I’m generally a pretty fastidious person when it comes to neatness and cleanliness, but I felt an extra bit of obligation and pressure to leave as little mess and to make my presence as unnoticeable as possible. But all-in-all, it was good in a pinch. It’s probably better when you’re renting a spot that the owner doesn’t occupy. And what’s even better than all of that is not being the person who rents his/her space out to strangers – there’s no way in hell I could ever do that.

In any case, I went out to a couple of seaside bars for the night, got inebriated, and came home and slept until the mid-morning as planned. I explored the downtown area of the host’s town for a little while and then made my way to Carly’s condo.

As it happened, Scout was in town as well. He and his family had come down to a nearby city the day before to visit a son at college, and then on Saturday he would be sending his family home and staying over to hang out with some military buddies. We were in sporadic contact throughout the day and then once Carly, her mom, and I headed out for the evening, I told him where we were and he eventually came and met us with one of his buddies, Jake.

A glorious night of drinking and general camaraderie ensued. I’d met Carly’s mom before but had never drank with her – she’s pretty young-spirited and fun to hang out with. She got her drink on like the rest of us and really meshed with Scout and Jake. Carly had only hung out with Scout with me once, and that was WAAAAY back in 2014 when he and I first met, so it was great for us to all be able to interact together. At one point Scout asked me to ask Carly if she was feeling Jake or not. She said she wasn’t and I told Scout so but something changed at some point because when it started getting late we put her mom in a cab back to the condo and we went to chill with Jake and Scout in their hotel room.

Sooner or later Carly passed out with Jake in his bed, and thus Scout and I took the opportunity to have college-style sex (you know…the kind when other people are in the room) and then we followed suit with the sleep. We all woke up pretty early the next morning and spent a couple of hours fluctuating between conversations, sleep, and more sex (at least on Scout and I’s part). Before we left, Jake and Carly exchanged numbers and I hugged and kissed Scout goodbye thinking that he would be on his way back home after he spent some of the day with his son. Commence the Uber of shame.

Carly and I spent most of the day lying out by the pool during which she got several texts from Jake indicating that he wanted to hang out that night (even though he had to commute back home at some point to work the next morning). I would eventually discover through their conversation and then my own inquiries of Scout that Scout actually wasn’t leaving that day, but staying over until Monday. I hadn’t realized that before…I thought he was leaving after he spent the day with his son. I was happy to hear it though, because that meant another night with him.

Carly and I ventured out sans-mom in the early evening, not really sure when Jake and Scout would be showing up. We ended up hanging out with a nice group of guys who never let us pay for a sole drink the whole night no matter how much we tried. We actually left with them briefly to go to another bar, but we came back to the original one once one of their friends, who was a total dick, got kicked out of the second one somehow literally within 2 minutes of us getting there.

My memory starts fading as to exactly when Jake and Scout showed back up (this was vacation drinking we’re talking about, after all…not the run-of-the-mill sort). Per my texts, it was apparently close to 10:30 p.m., but I don’t really remember much about interacting with them at the bar. I vaguely remember us going our separate ways at some point – Jake and Carly back to the condo, me and Scout back to his hotel – and imploring Scout to order me a pizza, which I may or may not have eaten any of before passing out. The next thing I knew, it was 4 in the morning and I woke up in bed alone. I looked to the other bed, which had previously been Jake’s, and saw a figure there that I assumed to be him. But where was Scout? WTF! I found my phone and scribbled out a text: Where are you? Then I remembered the pizza and walked to the far side of the room to take a bite of a slice. When I was coming back over toward my bed, I looked to the shadowy figure in the other one and realized that it was, in fact, Scout. Oh. When I crawled into bed with him and asked why he slept apart from me, he said it was because I had passed out in the other bed diagonally with my limbs all askew, leaving him no room to get in. My bad.

We snuggled for the rest of the night, woke up the next morning and got some quick sex in, and then I texted Carly with my ETA and told her to prepare some sandwiches and liquor so that we could go to the beach. I helped Scout pack (or really, just oversaw it so that he was sure he didn’t leave anything behind), and then he drove me back to Carly’s and we hugged and kissed goodbye for real.

Carly and I did the beach thing for a little while, during which I had a visit from my old friend, Stallion, who works over that way now. I walked a little bit off the beach to meet him at his car on his way to a meeting. I hadn’t seen him in years. I’ve changed quite a bit physically since we last saw each other,which was obviously to his pleasant surprise. He didn’t look so bad himself. We had tentative plans to meet for lunch the next day, but that never came to fruition. If I had to take a gander, I’d say that was because he started sending me texts later that Monday night about how he was “thinking about me” and just generally flirty sentiments that made it obvious that he was hoping we’d hook up and I was so not even remotely into that with him. Ew.

Back to Monday: I noticed via Facebook that some acquaintances of ours were down at the beach too, so I got in contact with them and Carly and mom and I met them later in the evening for a grand drunken extravaganza. Carly ended up falling on the dance floor. I felt bad for laughing (then and still now when I think about it), but it was hilarious. And also our cue to exit. Poor thing…I keep telling that girl to stop with those high heels if she knows she’s going to get tipsy (she also fell Saturday night too in front of Jake and Scout).

We had a low-key Tuesday, as I had to hit the road at some point, which ended up being later rather than sooner. I didn’t make it home until after 10 p.m. but it was worth it. I feel bad because my aunt lives not far from the beach, on the way back to my house, and I told her I’d stop by to see her on my way back but I left too late to do that and didn’t call or anything. Ugh.

Not much to report for the rest of last week. I haven’t heard from or talked to anyone substantial. Friday night I was invited out to happy hour by a coworker. I hadn’t planned on going out but I decided to go for it since I knew I was staying in for most of the weekend. I went and saw some old friends and had a good time. Elliot ending up coming out and being quite friendly. Definitely not the way he is over text. But later as he got drunker he started talking about how in love he is with his girlfriend. *Vomit* Not that I care as I’m not hugely into him like that as it stands. Okay…I care a little. But not, like, significantly. Whatever.

The majority of my Saturday consisted of vodka and season 2 of Narcos on Netflix, which was another Grand Slam.

On Sunday, my friend Hannah and I met at the mall and I spent about $500.00 on clothes that I didn’t need and can barely fit in my closet. But it was retail therapy for Hannah’s benefit because she’s going through a tough situation concerning her husband and his evil ex-wife. So, I think that’s excusable although I really don’t need to buy any more clothes for the rest of the year.

Hannah is going with a group of girls back to the beach next weekend to HER condo, and I’ve been invited along. I wasn’t sure how in the mood I was for it, but she sounded disappointed when she sensed my hesitation about it, so I told her I would come. So first thing Friday after work, I’m heading down again. Just until Sunday this time. I’m sure more drunken antics will ensure.

In the meantime, I’m 5 pounds down at least.

Please Be It

Back in my college days, I happened upon a perfume called BCBGirls “Star” by Max Azria. It was one of 4 scents in the BCBGirls collection. I forget how I originally came across it, but I ended up owning it and loving it. It’s probably my most favorite scent ever.

Unfortunately, it was discontinued years ago. The bottle I have now is one I’ve had for I don’t even know how many years. It may even be my original bottle still. I’ve had it for ages. I rarely ever use it because there’s only a fraction of an ounce left. When I noticed it getting low several years ago and went scouring for another bottle, I was much chagrined to find out it was discontinued. I feel like in my original attempts to procure another bottle, there was still hope of getting one at the time because it hadn’t been discontinued for so long and online vendors may still have had a residual supply. But I never pulled the trigger on buying another bottle. And thus at this point, searching for it only yields results from eBay that seem to be used and/or former tester bottles of questionable origin and a dramatically marked up price due to the rarity. Or the shower wash.

Being as I still have a small quantity left, I wondered if there were some type of service in existence that could maybe duplicate a scent somehow if you sent them a sample. My internet inquiries led me to Scentmatchers.com. It’s a site that claims to be able to replicate discontinued perfumes and colognes. No sample needed. You can either choose from a long list of scents that they have already successfully replicated in the past, or you can opt to try to describe a scent to them and they will go from there. The latter sounds like it would be super risky and probably highly unsuccessful in a lot of cases, so luckily I found BCBGirls Star on the list.

Of course, I delved into some reviews. They were mixed. Are reviews for anything ever not mixed, though? Different things work and don’t work for different people. I treat all internet reviews with a grain of salt, really. I’m reading the opinions of strangers whose tastes and proclivities I don’t know. Like with Sammydress…it worked for some people, it didn’t for others. C’est la vie. I only search for reviews of online businesses I haven’t bought anything from before really to make sure it’s not a blatant scam of some sort.

So, for $50.00 they replicate your chosen (or described) scent and allow you a selection of bottle options to choose from. And you can choose a name/phrase to be printed on the bottle. I figured it was worth a gamble if it somehow reunited me with something close to one of my favorite perfumes. If not, then I wasted $50.00. Wouldn’t be the first money I’ve wasted, wouldn’t be the last. The risk was worth the reward, so I tried my luck.

I wasn’t sure what name to choose to print on the bottle. I didn’t want to use the original because it’s certainly not the original. I decided on “Please Be It” since I wasn’t feeling particularly imaginative and really didn’t care about the name on the bottle. I just really wanted my Star.

Well, it's almost it, at least.
Well, it’s almost it, at least.

I ordered it last week. The package arrived Monday, but I forgot about it until yesterday morning when I was readying for work. Upon unpacking it, I noticed that there were a few condensation droplets on the bottle and on some of the surrounding paperwork in the box, as if it had leaked or sprayed or something somehow. But it was nothing massive and the bottle was perfectly full once I removed it from the satin sack it was enclosed in. However, even though they printed “Please Be It” on the bottle as I requested, the “t” was smudged and it wiped completely off when I rubbed it. Eh.

Those factors were of minor importance though. The true test of success was going to be the scent and whether it smelled similar to the original or not. Luckily I still have some of the original scent so as to be able to conduct a legitimate comparison. I pulled out 2 lawyer friend’s business cards I had laying around, sprayed both, and let the scents settle for a few moments. And the verdict is…

Pretty impressive. While I can tell a mild difference between the original and the replication (the original smells a bit more intense), it is a very, very, very, super close approximation. Enough for me to be satisfied.

I’m sure the success of Scentmatchers is going to vary from scent to scent, naturally. I’m sure there are some that they can do better than others and everyone is not going to end up happy. But as far as BCBirls Star goes, I consider it $50.00 well spent.

Sammydress.com

I’d say I’m a little bit a fashion fan. I appreciate fashion for its inherent embodiment of creativity, artistry, and beauty, so I like looking at it. I read Vogue and Elle magazines and other similar publications,  and in a general sense I tend to know what current trends are. I like pretty clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories as much as the next girl. However, I am by no means a “fashionista” in that I obsess over what I’m wearing or keep up doggedly with designers or strive to purchase any kind of fashion item that costs more than my rent (maybe if I ever marry rich). But I do like to look nice and put together…or at least like I didn’t just roll out of bed or whatever the hell.

That being said, I will pretty much wear anything from anywhere. I don’t discriminate. There are certain stores and brands I flock to in that I like their general aesthetics and can pretty much always find something I like if I’m particularly on the hunt, but I’ve been known to run into a Target for a completely unrelated product or two and get immediately sidetracked in the clothing section. I pretty much get sidetracked in any section of Target no matter what it is I actually went there for. But the clothes in particular always get me because they’re right inside the main entrance of my local store. Damn them. I read before that there’s a science to organizing a department store that is designed to do that to people. It works.

In honor of my upcoming trip to the Orient, I decided to buy some new dresses for the occasion. Never mind the fact that I have plenty of dresses in my closet, including several that have yet to be worn…I just like using any excuse to buy a new dress. Because dresses are my absolute favorite type of clothing, especially in warm weather. A sundress and sandals will be my summer go-to outfit for all of eternity. Just so easy and feminine and pretty.

With most of this week being devoted to convalescence in bed due to my foot (which is much better), plus the fact that it’d be a good idea at this point for me to stop spending money like it grows on trees, I opted to do some poking around on a site called Sammydress.com.

I first came across Sammydress about a year ago when I was shopping for dresses for a photo shoot I was partaking in just for fun with a friend. I was looking all over the interwebs and happened upon the site at some point in my cyberspace travels.The first thing I noticed about it are that the prices are ridiculously cheap for some pretty cute clothes. We’re talking dresses that are 7 or 8 bucks in a lot of cases. I just knew it had to be some sort of scam, so before I got my hopes up I did my research. I was able to conclude that while it isn’t a scam per se, there were a plethora of complaints floating around about the timeliness (or lack thereof) of the shipping process, and then the fit and/or quality of the clothes once they had finally arrived. But on the other end of the spectrum there were people who were perfectly satisfied with what they got. So basically, the reviews were a mixed bag of nuts. But at least I knew it was a legitimate enterprise, which was really my main point of concern. Because it didn’t appear to be overwhelmingly hopeless at least, I decided to give it a whirl.

My order consisted of the following items:

Order #1
Dresses #1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

SHIPPING: The order DID take a while to get to me, as I recall. Probably about 3 or so weeks.  It is in fact coming from another continent, but I’ve ordered merchandise from China before and have never had it take that long. So those naysayers complaining about the shipping were right. Apparently some people have had theirs take even longer. So if you need something promptly, this isn’t the place to go.

FIT: With any kind of online shopping, it’s just the luck of the draw as to if/how an item will fit. I generally don’t shop online for any kind of clothing, even from more reputable establishments. I don’t dare buy pants online because I have long legs and then different styles have different ideas about what the “waist” is. Too tricky. I need to try my pants on. I generally wouldn’t buy any kind of fitted shirt or dress online because I have big boobs on a lean frame, and some stores (like Forever 21, while I still shop there every once in a while) have taught me that some adult clothes are simply just not made for women with breasts. So I prefer to be able to try shirts and dresses on as well. The only reason I entertained Sammydress was because it was so insanely cheap. It seems to be prevailing opinion that their stuff is generally cut small.

One good point to Sammydress is they have a review section for each item where previous buyers can post their opinions and even upload a photo of themselves in the piece along with their body dimensions, which helps a prospective buyer see how it looks and fits on a real person. That, and the specific size charts they have for each piece has been helpful in helping me to gauge how something will look on me. Sometimes there are no reviews or customer pictures though, so you just have to wing it. As it happened, dresses #2, #3, and #4 fit fine and I still have them in my closet (I chose #4 for the shoot). I forget what exactly happened with dresses #1 and #5, but they either didn’t fit and/or weren’t all they were cracked up to be in person, so I donated them. I paid a total of $62.87 for everything above, including shipping. That works out to $12.57 per item. So even though I couldn’t use 2 of them, it wasn’t worth the time or expense to send $24.00 back across the ocean if I can just give it to charity.

QUALITY: Well…it should be kind of obvious, if you’re paying $8.00 or so for a dress, that it’s probably not something that will last for generations or win any fashion design awards for tailoring. There were some loose or frayed threads that needed to be snipped, but none of it was falling apart in my hands. None of this stuff is anything I would wear to, like, The White House State Dinner, but I’d consider it worth the price even if I got one or two wears out of it anywhere else appropriate. All my dresses looked as they did in the pictures pretty much. I wore #4 for the shoot for about an hour, but I haven’t worn it any the other 2 out anywhere as of yet, so I can’t say they’ve really been test driven. But I wouldn’t be hesitant to wear them.

The moral of the story is: Sammydress is a good site for cheap, cute, fun clothes.  I ended up buying 9 dresses this time around. But that just very well might’ve been idiotic of me because I forgot how long the last order took to get to me, so it’s a distinct possibility that this one won’t even get to me by the time I leave. But even if I can’t use them for Japan, I can still have them for Mexico, so all is not lost.