Category Archives: Failed Experiments in Adulting

Failed Experiments in Adulting – Clothes Shopping

Failed Experiments in Adulting

One of the things I despise most in this world is having to shop when I need new clothes. Now, I love shopping for books and video games, nerdy t-shirts, and other things along those lines, but I HATE realizing that I’ve outgrown my jeans or need more tops for work or something like that.

I think my problem is twofold. First, I grew up pretty poor. We weren’t really all that hard off compared to others, but at the same time, my aunt and grandma couldn’t just afford to buy me everything I set my eyes on. I’m the first in my family to graduate from college, get a Master’s Degree, and work in an office environment. Most of my family members did, and still do, work in farming and factories for a living. So we would shop when the need arose, not as something with which to pass the time. To this day, shopping still feels like an as-needed thing, and it’s hard to convince myself to spend money on something I don’t really need.

The second issue is that I was raised by my grandma and aunt. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I can’t think of two better ladies. I consider myself much better off than if I had been raised by anyone else. But to a degree, that did, and still does, impact how I shop. Most girls learn about fashion and styles and color coordination and all those sorts of things from their mother. I never knew my mother. I was also a tomboy, so I spent most of my childhood in jeans and t-shirts and those horrid coordinated sweatsuits that seemed to be unique to the 90s. My aunt tried her best to teach me about things like makeup and how to style my hair and various things about shopping, but I didn’t live with her (I lived with my grandma), so most things didn’t stick.

All that to say, I had to shop recently. After I got my tax return for this year, I set aside a portion of it to devote to buying much-needed spring/summer tops for work. My roommate clued me in on a couple of fantastic consignment stores with large selections and low prices, so off we went. Everything was sorted by size, then sub-divided by color, which was helpful because I know that I at least look pretty good in blues and greens and some purples. But I can never remember my size, and of course sizes between brands are often different, so I have to try on a million things to find one usable piece, which is really frustrating. Also, this may sound pathetic, but I simply don’t know the basic fundamentals of clothes and shopping – things like how to wear certain pieces, how to put a good outfit together, and color coordination. It makes for a frustrating day, and I usually leave exhausted and with low self-esteem because I can’t figure out what everyone else seems to know.

Some basic questions that always plague me:

  • Where’s the line between casual and business casual?
  • If a top is sheer, what does one wear underneath it?
  • Why can’t sizes be standardized across brands?
  • What even is that and how do I wear it?
  • Do these colors go together?

Anyway, I consider my shopping trip sort of a success, maybe? I got 4 tops that are work friendly, plus I now know that those shops exist for future reference. Still, I bet I could have found more things if only I knew more about fashion. My ultimate goal is to gradually acquire several more tops, a few pairs of dressy pants, and maybe another pair of shoes. I could also use some jeans and non-work shirts that aren’t t-shirts. Why does shopping have to be so hard??

Well, at least our trip to the mall was a success. I’m great at buying things like cookies and Star Wars sun visors for my car. 🙂

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Failed Experiments in Adulting – Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Failed Experiments in Adulting

Can we talk for a second about just how hard it is to be an adult?? Working full-time, paying bills, keeping the house clean, an endless list of obligations – I didn’t sign up for this!

Let me be up front with you here before I go any further. I feel like I should disclose that I’m squarely in the millennial generation. I know you’ve probably read the numerous articles about how my generation is the laziest, unworthiest, most entitled generation that the world has ever seen. I respectfully disagree with those notions, and counter that it’s simply harder for my generation. The economy and housing markets collapsed while we were still in high school and college. Speaking of college, we have the most student loan debt, plus jobs in many industries have been outsourced or reduced to part-time. We will have to tackle major environmental issues to make a way for a better future.

But I digress. What I meant to say there is that I consider myself fairly independent and mildly successful, like many of my peers. I don’t make a ton of money, but I do get by easily enough. I was fortunate enough to get a graduate-level education, and I have a full-time job. I get to live in an apartment with my two best friends, and we stay pretty on top of things with bills and household responsibilities. I don’t consider myself (or them) lazy or unmotivated.

However, I do often find myself overwhelmed and lost when it comes to typically adult type things. I taught myself how to do taxes online. My roommates and I have worked out a fairly good system for meal planning. I try to stick to a budget and pay down debt. But sometimes, life simply doesn’t go my way. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, adulting simply becomes too hard. I call these my failed experiments in adulting, and I thought I’d share some of them with you, as they arise.

Up first is something that just occurred last evening. Like I said above, my roommates and I sit down every couple of weeks and make a meal plan. We do this so that we can share in the burden of buying groceries and cooking, and it also helps us reduce how much we dine out. We have some favorite go-to recipes, especially things we can throw in the crock-pot to cook while we’re at work.

Yesterday we decided to have crock-pot macaroni and cheese for dinner. It’s a simple recipe, one we’ve done many, many times. It’s easy and so delicious and always yields leftovers. Plus it only takes between 3-4 hours to cook, so we eat it pretty often. But yesterday, everything went wrong. It all started when I came home from work. I was the first home, so it fell to me to turn the crock-pot to warm. The moment I stepped in the house, the scent wafted toward me enticingly. But wait! Did I smell something…sweet? I convinced myself I was imagining it, attributed it to my craving for something sweet, and satisfied my sweet tooth with a chocolate chip waffle. But later, my roommate Jerelle carved out a piece of the mac and cheese, took a huge bite, and paused, with the funniest look on her face. Turns out, we had grabbed sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated milk when we shopped. The meal was deemed inedible (have you ever tried sweet mac and cheese? It’s not good!) and we went to Taco Bell.

This was a minor fail, thank goodness. And a funny one! No harm was done and we had a ton of fun discussing how we could have swapped the two ingredients. Still, it goes to show that even when you think you have something down, the unexpected can and will happen!

I’ll leave you with the recipe for this (normally) delicious crock-pot mac and cheese. We originally found it in a Fix-It-and-Forget-It cookbook and modified it slightly for our needs.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 3 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, optional
  • 2 tbsp minced onion, optional

1. Combine all ingredients, except 1 cup cheese, in greased slow cooker. Mix well. Sprinkle reserved cup of cheese over top.

2. Cover. Cook on low 3-4 hours. Do not remove the lid or stir until mixture has finished cooking.

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