Ode to Mr Post Man

It’s official.  I now have a relationship with my local Australia Post parcel delivery guy.

It occurred to me on the way home from school this morning as I spotted his van driving past.  Firstly, I did a momentary little cross-check of my recent late-night online shopping, in order to ascertain if he may have just visited my house.  And then I raised a hesitant arm, and waved to him.

To my relief, he waved enthusiastically back, like an old friend in a ‘fancy seeing you here!?‘ kind of way.  It was very touching.  But now it occurs to me that this whole affair is rather one-sided.  I should at least know his name.  Obviously I should, considering he not only knows my name and address, but has seen me answer the door countless times now in my tragic, snowflake-emblazoned, polar fleece dressing gown.

I wonder if Mr Post Man has noticed my penchant for manchester bargains, and has puzzled over the apparent Tardis-like proportions of our linen closet?  Embarrassingly, he is also privy to my brief dalliance with informercials (to be specific, infomercials spruking revolutionary make-up products) back in those hazy, breast-feeding around the clock days.

Sheesh.  I’m exhausted just thinking about those days.  Who could blame me for dreaming of a flawless, dewy complexion, sitting on the couch at 3am with a little person chomping at my breast?

So if sleep deprivation and being an open all hours milk bar were my excuse back then, what is my excuse now, Mr Post Man?  Do I have a heap of spare time and money on my hands?  Negative. And between the school run, home and health professional duties, am I required to set dizzying heights in the fashion stakes?  Hmm..  Not exactly.

And at night, I’m staying up far too late again, sheepishly trawling through sale sections while others are already bedded down early.  They’ll be up at the crack of dawn for meditation or boot camp or training for half-marathons, while I fumble around blindly for the snooze button.   I have wondered how much money I’d save and what sort of body I could achieve if I threw myself into fitness training with the same passion I dedicate to online shopping.  Come to think of it, I reckon I’d have Michelle Bridges looking over her shoulder.

But hey, what’s the point of a killer bod if it’s not well-clad?

The thing is that I’m a sucker for a package, and for something pretty to wear.    If I’m truthful, the sight of one of those padded white bags on my doorstep induces an involuntary little flutter, which originates somewhere in my stomach.  Clothing lust.  It’s an affliction I have always suffered, as far back as I can remember.

I have hazy memories of rifling through my mother’s closet before school, and using belts to fashion her tops into dresses.  I really wish I had photographic evidence to fact-check this, but I imagine they were floaty, peasant style garments (the type that went so fabulously with denim flares in the late 70’s).  I’m pretty sure I remember my mother’s exasperation over such styling antics, resulting in the exact same arguments that I now have with my six year-old daughter most mornings.  It must be in the genes.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not professing to be a fashion guru by any lengths.  I don’t expect that anyone else takes much notice of my ensemble each morning, as I screech to a holt in the 2 minute parking zone, marshal two bickering children out of the car and bolt in the gate to school, late (again).  But for me, my fresh-out-of-the-box sun dress adds a little spring to my step.  Later that day, it helps me to maintain that serene smile, whilst I half-drag my small boy (mid-meltdown) and his scooter across the crossing.  So much more enjoyable than the same scenario in a pair of trackies and sensible trainers.

And I know I’m not the only one out there who relies on Mr Post Man to help them through the groundhog-esque moments of modern life.  For most of us, long gone are those leisurely weekend brunches which spontaneously morph into shopping afternoons.  In their place is now The Internet – open late at night and always welcoming.  BYO wine, couch and tape measure.

I love that on the internet, you can stalk something, revisit it, do the fashion drive by again, and again, without any commitment.  You can pop it in your shopping basket, and retire to bed to cool off and contemplate (I can’t tell you how many shopping carts I’ve abandoned, never to return to). This is in stark contrast to my experiences of shopping in actual shops and with small people in tow. Despite threats of ‘NO CHUP-A-CHUP‘ delivered through clenched teeth, they invariably decide to fling the change room curtain open at the most inappropriate moment, providing an impromptu peepshow to amused fellow shoppers.

And when I’m finally dressed again, flustered and sporting mad hair, I usually end up feeling somewhat obliged to make a purchase.  After all, the staff have been soooo nice, and soooo helpful.  I just want them to think I’m nice too, and to make amends for the grotty fingers which have smeared god-knows-what over every reflective surface in the shop.

Enter modcloth.com, open all hours for perving and pontification, along with entertaining descriptions of each piece of clothing, and just how you might wear them.  For example, the ‘haute-diggity-dog dress’:

Gee whiz! This embellished dress from Rosalita McGee is just too darn cute! A Spanish brand dedicated to everday optimism, Rosalita McGee draws design inspiration from nature’s beauty to offer you an imaginative take on style. This dark-denim dress is crafted from a stretchy cotton blend and accented in striped jersey, featuring embroidered dachshunds along its scalloped hem. Pair its red stitching and nautical hues with red flats, and flaunt this cap-sleeved cutie at brunch!

I know – right?  So much better than listening to a sales assistant invent stories about how tiny your waist is, and gushing over your little boy (who incidentally, has systematically destroyed the window display over the past ten minutes).

Recently I have been slightly freaked out, however, by the appearance of statements popping up in my newsfeed banner, proclaiming: You Need More Dresses, followed by ModCloth’s Dresses Cause Happiness! Hey, Can’t Argue With Science.

What?  How do they know it’s me?  How do they know I need more dresses?  Spooky.

For those of you who have not crossed over to the dark side yet, let me introduce the concept of Delayed Gratification Via Delivery (DGVD).  You see, part of the joy of internet shopping is that once you’ve clicked the button and tucked yourself into bed for the night, you never really know just when that much-anticipated package may turn up.  I have been known to receive items the very next day (crazy!), but from America you’re looking at 1-2 weeks to DGVD fulfilment.

As a result, these days (in a very Pavlovian manner), the sound of the doorbell provokes a feeling of happiness and hope in me.  Instead of sighing and bracing myself for infuriating electricity salespeople, I bound up the passage, hoping to glimpse that white van in my drive way.

So there it is.  I hope I’ve made a good case in defence of internet shopping.  It’s not just a guilty pleasure, it’s a form of therapy and a tool we can use to help us through modern family life.  For those of you who are similarly afflicted with clothing lust, don’t hide it away and be ashamed. Think of how you are supporting the economy, and keeping those nice Australia Post chaps in a job.

Is that a package I spy?

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New York State of Mind

Well you didn’t think I could leave it there did you?

It turns out that blogging is quite addictive, and I’ve been feeling rather lost without it.  Of course, there’s not been that much to blog about since I’ve been home. Unless you care to hear about my household austerity measures, such as our week-long TV ban, and the resumption of our alcohol free weeknight policy?  I must say, I didn’t quite think through the combined effect of these two measures on my delicate, post holiday psyche.

toothless grinEverything went swimmingly on the home front while we were away wining, dining, shopping and exploring, which is testament to our fabulous parents.  The only obvious difference on our return was a much tidier, more orderly house than I have ever kept, and a few extra gaps in India’s mouth. Too easy.  When can we do it again?!

Yup, the magic of New York is fast disappearing in the rear vision mirror, and comedown was pretty rough at the one week mark. Long lunches and shopping in the West Village were but a fond memory, as I donned my apron for canteen duty at 9am Friday morning.

I’m serious –  I really am now a fully-fledged tuck-shop lady!  And when you add to the equation a long weekend spent looking after a very unwell and clingy little man, it’s been harsh on my buzz, to say the least.

crazy glasses

On the upside, of course, catching up on all the squeezes and snuggles was delightful.  Also, having several new wardrobe additions, including a lovely winter coat and new bag, are a great way to help buffer the reentry into a bleak Melbourne winter.  And when people ask me where they are from, I get to say ‘oh, um, I got this in New York last week’.  That’s pretty cool too.

So now, in a desperate bid to relive those magic few weeks, I thought I’d catalogue some of my packing hints, shopping highlights and favourite ‘investments’.  Humour me here, please – it’s my form of therapy.

Shoes

Shoes just about deserve an entry of their own (and did require an additional suitcase of their own, for the trip home).

Firstly, at least one pair of supportive, comfy, pre-broken-in shoes are essential.  My tan coloured Kumfs (don’t laugh!) lived up to their name as we walked our way from one side of Manhattan to another.

A few great purchases from Macy’s (above) were these Ecco gladiator style sandles, and a pair of platform wedged black sandles in a generic Macy’s brand.  Quality, comfortable and infinitely more affordable than in Australia.

Camper storeAgain on the quality front, one day we happened upon the Camper store (you can almost see the twinkle in Cam’s eyes here).  Just one example of our opportunistic shopping technique:

Me:  Oh, I don’t need any more shoes, but I did want to just check out the price of Campers over here {gravitates sheepishly toward door}

Cam:  I love this shop.  I’m getting at least two pairs.  I actually could do with three.  When was the last time I bought shoes at home?

Me:  Okay then we’re allowed two each.

Awesome.  I love it when Cam embraces his inner shopper!!

Hunter Original red pairSpring turned out to be rather psychotic on the weather front, meaning some very cold, wet days.  And as soon as the heavens opened, women all over town appeared wearing dressy gumboots – I was so tempted to join the locals and invest in a pair!  They looked super cute, parked outside their apartment doors.

In the end I think it was lucky I didn’t have the luggage space, as now that I’m back in Glen Iris, I just don’t think I could pull off wearing $100+ gumboots to school pickup.  Except maybe these red ones though…  Are they hot or not?

Heels

Now I would love to report that I cruised 5th Ave and bought a pair of Jimmy Choos, or at least peered into the Prada windows.  But alas!  It just wasn’t within my budget or time constraints in the end.  My last few purchases included these fantastic, slightly granny-esque heels, and some cute platform sandles.  Pity I’ll have to wait out winter before I can actually wear all my new sandles.

Hats

Cam's new hat!How fetching is Cam in this flat cap from somewhere in Soho?  A great holiday hat!  And we have discussed the idea that he needs to slowly incorporate it into his Melbourne life, so as to not appear too ‘I’ve been to New York and now I wear this hat everywhere’.

My little crochet’d beret came in handy on bad hair days – an excellent way to hide the fuzz factor in the drizzly, humid weather.  Another fave is this great – I think 1920’s-style – sunhat.  I was compelled to purchase it when Cam was selecting his, as I just couldn’t hang out in a hat-shop for that long and not buy something (you can also spy here the mustard-yellow Campers that have become a wardrobe staple back home).

hat on the highline

Frocks

Dresses made up the majority of my half-full suitcase on the way over.  I needed to look the part whilst exploring – I needed to integrate!  There was no room for Lululemon trackie dacks and flurescent trainers in my suitcase. Truth be told, I even purchased a few of these in the months leading up to our trip, for the reason that they would be perfect for New York. Dedicated, hey?

CosmopolitanI have Modcloth to thank for these two lovely frocks:  I don’t have a full shot of the green peacock number above, but it was a great suitcase dress, needing no ironing, being soft and fully lined.  It went very well with my cosmopolitan, as you can see.

The blue check and chambray number below saw me walk the Brooklyn Bridge in style (except when I had to stop twice, to re-band-aid my poor feet).

Modcloth frock #2

My cheap, comfy, age-old LBD got quite a few work-outs.  Worn here with tied checked shirt in a faint nod to rockabilly (minus the fabulous, coiffed hair – who has time for that?).Union Square

And last but not least, my lovely green dress by Trashy Diva.  I shan’t bang on about it any further, except to say I was pretty happy to have an occasion to bust it out last weekend.

Green Dress

The bag and coat

I took two light jackets with me and had a good winter coat on my shopping list.

6CIt was a few days into the trip when we stumbled upon Century 21 in downtown Manhattan: A kind of cut-price department store / jumble sale with labels as far as the eye can see.   In the matter of thirty minutes, I snapped up my red riding hood coat (DKNY) and coordinating Cole Haan handbag.  My tip – go early, get in and get out!

Here I am pretending to open the door and be the owner of apartment 6C, in my jacket. Aren’t I lucky that I have a husband who likes to play along and be the paparazzi?The bag

Above is my new bag – actually an early birthday present from my lovely brother and partner.  An envelope of dead presidents with a ‘here – choose yourself something nice for your birthday in NYC’ note.  Love your work boys!

So there you have it, I think that’s just about a wrap.  

The final thought I’ll leave you with is the indulgent joy of picking up your freshly laundered clothes – all securely shrink-wrapped into a dense little bundle, when you’ve been out all day exploring.  I miss that, as I sit on my couch and stare at the heavily laden clothes horse in front of the heater…