Taxes and Toms

I did my own taxes this year for the first time ever. I filed them three days before they were due, my TurboTax froze every 13 seconds, the “Print & File” portion took over an hour and it ruined two perfectly good TV-watching evenings. When I was asked how likely I was to refer Turbo Tax to a friend, I quickly entered a “0.” When they asked me why, I realized that my primary frustration was the IRS, no so much TurboTax, but I didn’t change my review. My advice for anyone doing taxes is to freaking hire someone — which is exactly what I plan to do every April for the rest of my life.

The only comforting thing about the whole experience was that I made just about $600 on the deal. Stress and frustration plus extra income is a deadly combination, particularly when there’s an open sticky note on my desktop titled “Things I Want.” I realize that it’s never a good idea to spend money before I make it, so I plan to only buy one of these things immediately and then indulge in the rest when the money is actually in my account.

Must-haves:

Black TOMS

Black TOMS - Copyright TOMS

Other than loving the one-for-one campaign, I’m just obsessed with these comfy, go-to slip-ons. I currently have them in navy and sparkly burlap and wear them all the time. I need the black pair to replace my fur-lined black Sperry boat shoes as my summer everyday work shoes. Thank goodness for my business casual dress code! You can buy them from TOMS online, but I recommend ordering from Nordstrom; they’re the same price but Nordstrom offers free shipping.

Sequin Shorts

Sequin Shorts - Copyright Your Stuff Work (and every celeb gossip site ever)

If you follow me on Facebook (which you totally should; find me here), you know that I’m really hooked on the idea of sequin shorts (or sequence shorts if you caught my typo on FB #embarrassing!). I’m sure I’d wear them maybe five times all summer, but I just think they’re absolutely adorable! Plus, I’m still 13 and think Selena Gomez is freaking adorable (and hilarious is the Disney show “Wizards of Waverly Place”) and pulled these off perfectly. They would also be stunning with some sheer black sheer tights in the winter. I can’t quite find the pair I’m in love with, but I’m leaning toward these black ones from Express or these Raspberry ones from Nordstrom.

Navy Dress Pants

Navy Dress Pants - Copyright Victoria's Secret

My poor friend has had to listen to me talk about how I want navy dress pants for the past two months. I want them so bad but just can’t find the perfect pair! I have actually bought a pair of navy pants from Loft on two separate occasions only to convince myself that they’re just not right. This pair, that I first found in the VS catalog, look like they might just be the ones. Unfortunately, VS is tricky because when everything is on tall, busy, tan pretty people, everything is extremely, deceivingly perfect. I might have to give these ones a shot. They’re $50 online at Victoria Secret, which I didn’t think was too bad for dress pants.

Leather Jacket

Leather Jacket - Copyright Zimbio

I’m not positive that I’m edgy/cool/gutsy enough to wear a leather jacket, but I’d really like to give it a try! I just love the tough look! I think it would mesh well with my girly undertones! This is kind of like the sequin short problem: I’m not sure what kind to buy! Consider my quest officially started! I will totally let you know what I end up buying!

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How are you spending your tax refund?! Please don’t tell me you’re saving it. I’m not sure I could handle that.

Cheers!

Punk Rock Princess

I’ve always been pretty transparent about the fact that I’m a total poser. While other people use style to make a statement or express who they are,  I use it to act like a giant dress-up doll. I love dressing up to the occasion, whether it is heels and dark jeans for a night in the city or pearl-snap shirts and camo hats for shooting guns and drinking crappy beers in the bed of a truck. At a recent dress-up party though, I failed miserably.

I went through a phase in my early college years that I started to mold into a total hipster. I’m talking skinny jeans, TOMS shoes, floppy knit hats, flannel shirts, the whole kit and caboodle. I dyed my hair black with a touch of purple, I went to DIY shows all the time (I knew what DIY shows were, which was bad in and of itself), I listened to tons of Indie bands and went to music festivals. I’m not going to lie, I had a blast doing it! It was a fun, healthy phase.

It was during this phase when I discovered my favorite band, Deas Vail. So all of my fondest memories of watching Laura Blaylock play keys (#girlcrush #notevensorry) along with the rest of her adorably talented band performing my favorite songs took place at music festivals or crappy bar stages. Every time I hear White Lights or Shoreline, it takes me back to a time of moccasins and plaid shirts (that I obviously bought at Forever 21 instead of Urban Outfitters — I’m a poser, remember?).

I hadn’t seen Deas Vail in while, but when I learned that there was going to be a Deas Vail Oh Christmas Tour, there was no doubt that I was going to be there. It had been several years since I’d been to a Deas Vail concert, but I thought showing up in jeans, my sparkly TOMS and a solid red top (it was Oh Christmas Tour!) would suffice. 

I could not have been more wrong. I felt like I stood out like a giant sore thumb! I know this was probably exaggerated by the fact that I have these annoyingly high standards for fitting in, but still. 

The first thing that I noticed was that everyone looked like they weren’t a day older than 15. They didn’t just look it, most of them I’m pretty sure actually did not have driver’s licenses. Most of them didn’t have wristbands and stood in the crowd with these little baby faces making me feel like a grandma. I’d say with 98% certainty that I was the only person in that room with a full-time job requiring business casual instead of a guitar. Crap. Did I look that young? I was convinced that when I went to shows at bars when I was underage, I totally looked at least 22. 

The next thing was the shoes. I thought TOMS were cool and Indy and hip! It turns out that might not be the case, at least not the sparkly ones. Fail! Everyone there had kicks that looked like they came straight out of a 1920’s issue of Vanity Fair! The people who did have TOMS had the Cardones or the boots or any kind that was not brown and sparkly. Whoops!  

The last thing was a rookie mistake. Here I was, at this hole-in-the-wall bar on the Northside wallpapered with band posters with all these band-aids and I’m standing there with my hot pink Coach purse. What is this, amateur hour!? Not only was I probably the only one there with anything pink, but I was certainly the only one with a purse made out of anything other than organic wool and costing over $15. 

I was this old lady with stupid shoes and a disproportionally great bag. I clearly didn’t belong. But I knew every lyric to every song, darn it! Who’s the poser now!?

Staying Hip with TOMS

As a general rule, I try to stay as far away from Hipster things as possible. Large, dark-framed glasses (usually without a prescription)? Ew. Headbands worn horizontally instead of vertically? No thanks! Oversized headphones, Goodwill t-shirt finds, fedoras and grandpa’s loafers? I’m good. 

(I’m more of a bows and glitter kind of girl myself, but to each their own!)

If I’ve learned anything during my days as music editor at a very hipster entertainment magazine, it was that hipsters take pride in being niche. Ignoring the obvious irony of the hipster trend, hipsters tend to not want to be identified as part of the mainstream. In fact, often when things that a hipster enjoys become mainstream, they tend to lose interest. (Obviously, I know this is a stereotype, but work with me here.)

If ever there was something that really put a kink in this mindset, it was TOMS Shoes. For anyone who doesn’t know, TOMS is a company with a “Commitment to Giving.” The premis is that for every pair of TOMS Shoes sold, a pair will be donated to a child in need, one for one. Clearly a great concept. 

TOMS started out, like many things, as a hipster trend. You’d be hard-pressed to go to a local show in an underground, DIY venue and not see at least a third of the attendees (and probably the whole band) rocking these canvas kicks. But then the trend started to grow … and grow … and grow. And in September 2010, TOMS gave away their 1,000,000th shoe.

This is where it really starts to suck for the die-hard hipsters. Their trend is no longer niche; it’s no longer uniquely theirs. It’s this huge thing that’s spreading like wildfire. But the hipsters can’t really turn their backs on this one — at least not in good conscious. And from what I’ve seen, they haven’t, which is awesome! This is something that everyone can agree on and support as just a really great thing! 

My newest investment!

So maybe I am just a little bit hipster with my TOMS and my skinny jeans. We can’t all be perfect. 😉

So, go! Join the movement! 

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*BONUS POST!*  

«Be sure to click the “Read More” botton below for a special post on how to turn your TOMS up to the next level!»

This *BONUS POST* is brought to your courtesy of my darling, crafty cousin Chrissy.

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One of the downfalls of TOMS is that given that they are made of canvas, they get dirty really easily. But whether it’s the fact that they’re on the expensive side or that they’re just so darn comfy once you’ve worn them in, it’s really hard to part ways with a good, used pair of Tom’s. 

So I say, don’t!

Being made of cloth might make them get dirty fast, but it also makes for a perfect canvas for your creative side. Next time you find yourself with a no-longer-white pair of white TOMS, grab some acrylic paint, a paintbrush and a darling quote and go to town! 

Thanks for the idea, Chrissy!