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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eileen Fisher Washable Crepe Pants Still Cheap at $58

UGH. Hate to keep posting about this stuff. In fact, I was going to post on either "Most Frugal Recipe EVER" or an interesting exhibit I saw in Berlin this summer ("The Lost Museum") or some of the books I've been reading.

However, lots of people thanked me for posting on the EF pants for $40 and then an anonymous commenter (thank you!) mentioned that sizes were restocked (it's true), so here's a reminder. These are the best pants EVER. Even worth it at the higher price of $58. Two summers ago, I wore them almost every day on a 6 week trip. This past summer, the honors went to the EF harem pants.

Anyway, I'm hoping all the money people save on these pants will be deposited into my KARMIC SAVINGS ACCOUNT. I'll report back when I get my karmic bank statement.

Here's the Neiman Marcus link once again (and remember, if you call Nordstrom, they will price match, and then you get their superior customer service).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Eileen Fisher Washable Crepe Pants only $40.60!!!

All the bloggers rave about these pants. I do too. They retail for over $150! But I am loath to spend so much on pants, even though they do provide a good cost per wear ratio.

As a frugal person, I check sites regularly--both new and used--scouting for sales. Since I only look at Eileen Fisher, it is not hugely time-consuming.

I just took my twice a year look at Neiman Marcus and there are the pants for $40.60!!! As I write, all sizes are available.

I actually called Nordstrom and had them price match. You can do that too.

This will be my third pair of these. My first was price matched two or three years ago and worn to death (they are still alive!). My second was from Tradesy and so--slightly used to begin with.

Free shipping and returns at both sites.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why Keep Working?

The Great Recession knocked down the stock portion of my retirement accounts by almost 50% and led to the firing of the three tenured French teachers. In a panic, I discovered the Firecalc site (Financial Independence/Retire Early??) and learned from their easy to use calculator that even with my much-diminished accounts and even if both Mr FS and I  were let go because our program was eliminated, we WOULD NOT END UP DEAD in the STREETS. We would have a very, very, very  humble retirement, to be sure, but we would NOT DIE in some Dickensian institution for the impoverished.

That comforted me. Fast forward, and--though no raises in all that time--we are still working and our equity portions have, as they say, recovered. Also we now have a combined age of 124, rather than a combined age of 110. Our life expectancy has--perforce--gone down. So a fairly humble retirement probably looms, but not as humble as it looked in 2008-09.

The people who post on Firecalc are either eager to retire ASAP or ecstatic to have done so. Many seem to be or have been highly paid folks in IT, engineering, and so on. Some even had a stock option windfall. WORK is a dirty word on the site and is humorously typed as w*rk.

Then, while goofing around recently, I read some blogs that I don't usually visit. A common theme was  the lack of structure and meaning in retirement. And that is precisely why I keep working: not just because of the structure and meaning (teaching is meaningful work however you slice it), but because of the goofing around.

I should mention that because of serious budget issues (Great Recession again), there are no classes on Friday--to save on energy. Hence our schedule. We teach two VERY LONG DAYS a week, and can then do the rest of our work at home. And, since we don't teach in the summer (we are FRUGAL), we have a lot of flexibility there too. I think if we were working 50 weeks a year, 5 days a week, I would be longing to retire.

Another thing: teaching is like a mortgage. When I began, I was always in a panic. I would read twenty articles to figure out how to teach a little sonnet. Now I know how to teach many, many things. And teaching new things is not an occasion for so much anxiety. The time I spent in preparation a long time ago has "paid off" after all these years.

So why keep working? If I retired, I would have to find meaningful pastimes. Every day. I would goof around too much. I would feel guilty.

As it is, the meaning and purpose are taken care of by my job. In between tasks, I can goof around without (too much) guilt. I can even write a blog post. 



Monday, July 20, 2015

My First Trip to Hermes: What I Wore

Sooooooo, after our rejection at the Louvre, we were walking along, taking in the chic passersby and the beautiful windows. There we were on rue de Sevres. Where there is a Hermes (or AN Hermes, if I pronounce properly).

The window was unimpressive, featuring terrazzo tile (?) with keys and other objects embedded in it, but right near the door there was a table with brochures for a design event: for a week in June a number of shops participate in "7 Jours" of Design. I went to pick up a brochure.

The elegant doorman swept open the door and we were swept in. Oops! Well, I've always wanted to see the decor because that particular shop was built on the former site of a hotel swimming pool.

We walked around. Then the scarf lady gestured that I should come over. OK. I looked at a few scarves, but said I needed to wait for my daughter's opinion (which is true; she is always right).

This is what I was wearing: a cardigan (which I had taken off because it was hot), a tank top, dusty sandals, and my Eileen Fisher harem pants (the only remotely nice thing I had on). Oh yeah: my accessories. A junky scarf (how embarrassing!) and a tiny stained Vera Bradley purse that had been discarded by Miss Em in junior high (I use it as a wallet when I travel).

Mr FS looked about the same.

We were more scruffy than usual because we were wearing some of the clothes we had flown in--the day before. We had yet to get some duds to tide us over while waiting for our delayed luggage.

Even so, the scarf lady was charming and welcoming.

I must say I was relieved by the whole experience. I find the scarves absolutely gorgeous, but otherwise, I was not filled with desire for the merchandise. Phew!

Miss Em came to visit two weeks later. She didn't want to help me pick out a scarf at Hermes, but she did help me pick one at Monoprix. Maybe next year.

Friday, July 17, 2015

First day in Paris: Mean Girl

My first full day in Paris began....miserably. Air France had lost our luggage and we hadn't yet gotten around to a Monoprix to get some needed items. We felt disheveled and dusty, more scruffy than usual. To cheer ourselves up, we decided to go to the Louvre: 2 weeks remained on the year membership we bought the previous year.

We were both pretty crabby because of jet-lag and so, a bit of miscommunication ensued. When we arrived, we only had Mr FS's card. We went to the office and Mr FS explained in French what had happened. 

And then we encountered our first bonafide French mean girl. She said that she couldn't look up the card. We explained that the previous year, Mr FS had LOST his card and the rep looked it up and replaced it. 

The rep said that was the procedure for lost cards. Forgotten cards were different. 

(?????)

Then the mean girl line. The rep said (this was all in French and even I could understand it!): "There's one way you can get into the Louvre today." LONG PAUSE. We looked hopeful. "Buy a ticket at the booth!" I swear she cackled. We got up to leave and didn't say anything. 

I think she was a bit embarrassed by her performance because she smiled rather sheepishly as we left.

We decided to walk around after that and somehow ended up in Hermes. No kidding.

P.S. Thanks to all for comments while we were away. My electronic devices were ill-performing and had teeny keyboards. So i could READ the comments even though I couldn't respond. Merci beaucoup!

Monday, June 29, 2015

I Heart Baby Wipes for the Traveler (and Duct Tape)

Does everyone already know this? I only thought of this last summer.

Our first purchase in Paris (after some food, of course) will be BABY WIPES!

Carry a few in a ziplock to wipe your sweaty brow, the back of your neck, and--MY FAVORITE--your sweaty feet.

They are amazingly restorative.

And, from Mr FS, DUCT TAPE. This can be hard to find when you need it. This serves many purposes, of course. We are mainly taking it for SHOE EMERGENCIES. In Chicago many years ago, my sandals fell apart. Disaster! I didn't want to buy new shoes because I am a well-known cheapwad and hate emergency purchases. Besides, I have troublesome feet, so I can't buy just anything.

Eventually, we spied a store that stocked those cheap Chinese Mary Janes, which saved the day. Now I always carry extra emergency shoes on walks. But we also carry the beloved DUCT TAPE.

Mr FS wraps some around a pencil. What can I say? He is a genius.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A technique for shopping your closet

I have a tendency to wear the same things over and over--a common affliction based on the well-known 80/20 Pareto Principle.

Well! I just packed for my trip (following the guidelines of the great Sue of unefemme). Hence, I perforce HAD to wear things that were not in my suitcase for my last few days at home. That was the "other" 80% Wow! I have a lot of nice things that have not made it to my desired "cost per wear." There's some space in my case, and I was tempted to add a couple of these "new" nice things. I resisted. Looking forward to the "new" pieces.

If there's a method here (and I'm sure I'm too lazy to follow it, unless forced to by the necessity of packing)  it would be to hide (for a while) your favorites and see if the results are agony (in which case say good-bye to the unfavored items) or, as in my case ecstasy (in which case wear them on your return).