January 28, 2010

Day 7, 2 Items, $7.33

So, it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve last blogged. I feel guilty. I seriously need to invest in a laptop because last week was very exciting for me, and I was unable to immediately write about it. Last Tuesday I interviewed for a new position and was offered the job. And, on that Friday I took a last minute trip to Los Angeles (I purchased the ticket only a few days before) to attend El Rey's sister's wedding. It was the perfect opportunity for me to meet his family. The guests were asks to wear black and/or white. Sadly, I didn't have anything suitable to wear that fell in either category. I had only two days to find a nice dress and pair of shoes. So, instead of going to the thrift store I cheated and went to the mall. My shopping experience there was awful. Apparently someone forgot to tell me that I can't fit junior sizes 3/4 or 5/6 anymore. I finally found something that looked half-way cute after trying on about 10 different dresses in the women’s section. I left the mall with a long pretty dress that was white at the top and black at the bottom. However, when I tried it on at home it didn’t make me feel like dancing. The fabric was made of stretch material and my butt jiggled like jell-o with every move. The next day I jetted to the mall on my lunch break to exchange the dress for something else. I hoped that one of the dresses I tried on the night before was still there. When I got there I spotted it on the rack just as I left it; I paid for it and raced back to work!

My flight to Los Angeles was long and cold. I had the row to myself so I was able to stretch out on all three seats. I arrived at LAX at 1 a.m. Saturday morning. El Rey, his then soon to be brother-in-law, and his aunt picked me up from the airport. Everyone was asleep by the time we got to his mom’s house so I had to wait until later to meet them. At 6 a.m. I heard the sound of pots clamoring and rapid Spanish dialogue. Everyone was awake. I could hear the excitement and happiness in their voice. I greeted his parents with a handshake and his sister gave me a warm embrace. El Rey admitted that he was a little nervous. I, on the other hand, was cool as a cucumber. I sat at the bar and watched his mom prepare a plate of fish tacos for me (my first time eating). The sound of the words fish and tacos in the same sentence made me want to puke. I wanted to turn it down but didn't have the heart to tell her. I held my breath as I chomped down on it and to my surprise it was pretty good. A few minutes later his mom asked, “te gusta menudo”? Huh? Do I like the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo? Why does she want to know that? I just stared at her as she repeated it. El Rey translated that she wanted to know if I like menudo soup. I had to laugh at myself for that one. Menudo is a traditional Mexican dish made with tripe (produced from pig’s stomach). I told her that I’d never tried it before. She grabbed a spoon and fed me hot soup from her bowl. I wasn't ready for it and soup trickled out of my mouth down my chin as his father looked on (embarrassing.) It was very tasty and reminded me of one of my grandma's dishes.

Around noon time the make-up artist/hair stylist arrived and family and friends began to gather in the den. I turned down the opportunity to get my make-up done for free (although I’d been dying to wear false eyelashes). El Rey and the other men left to change at another location and I was left to wing it alone with the women. Everyone prepared for the wedding in some way or the other. But I waited a while because I wasn’t quite sure about my dress. El Rey’s sister said that the wedding was a formal affair and I had a knee-length black dress tucked away in my suitcase. After I finally changed into my dress his daughter said, “Is that what you’re wearing?” “Yes”, I replied. “Is there something wrong with it?” She commented that the “hips” puckered out a bit and I informed her that the dress was designed that way. I thought for a moment that I was indeed going to stick out like a sore thumb. Not only was I wearing a short dress, but I looked like SpongeBob SquarePants in the hip area. I began to worry a bit until I saw one of the bride’s maids arrive in a knee length dress. I sat down on the sofa and exhaled. His family was lively and fun and I began to relax and feel comfortable again. Then someone walked up to me and complimented me on my shoes and dress. “Oh, I just love chocolate. I don’t have enough of that color in my closet!” the woman exclaimed. “Umm, my dress is not brown, it’s black.” I shot back. This was not turning out good; maybe I would have done better wearing a thrift store dress.

At the wedding I was introduced to more family members thanks to El Rey’s colorful cousin Lola. She looked like the Mexican version of Tina Turner. She made it a point to introduce me to everyone who passed our way. At one point she used one of her sculpted nails to beckon me on to the dance floor. She told me that if I was going to be with El Rey I needed to get used to dancing with them (I love dancing). At midnight the party moved from the wedding venue to his mom’s house. My body began to shut down…my internal clock had not adjusted to the time difference and I was still tired from the flight. I needed to rest, so at about 2 a.m. I called it a night and headed for bed. I prayed that his family wouldn’t think I was being anti-social.

Sunday was my only day for thrifting and sightseeing (I flew back home on Monday). El Rey informed me that he’d already found a couple of thrift stores in the area. So, after eating brunch we took off to find them. I was very excited about thrifting in LA because there are so many celebrities living in the area. I looked forward to buying designer duds for less. Unfortunately, the first store we tried was closed. We hopped back in the car and drove around until we came across a Goodwill thrift store. Again, another let-down. What happened to the fancy designer threads I dreamt of finding? We found another Goodwill store where shopping turned out to be even more frustrating...everything on the rack looked outdated. I left LA with absolutely no thrift store prizes.

Monday my flight landed back home close to midnight. It didn’t matter to me that I was dog tired. I was just so happy to be back! I couldn't wait to catch up on bargain shopping. This blog is supposed to be thirty days of thrift store shopping and I was only on day six! I found some time on Wednesday to visit my favorite spot and purchased this cute skirt for $3.99 (which still had its original tags) and this simple black Anne Taylor shirt for only $2.99. I guess it’s always good to just stick to what you know. The City of Angels might be the "entertainment capitol of the world, but its people seem to know nothing about fabulous thrifting. I think I may have to go back and give them a lesson or two (if the price is right).