Bulk Buys, Spending Patterns & Awkward Jean

ImageMy name is Jean and I love Costco. I have loved Costco for so long I can’t remember when the trips first started. I don’t buy snacks for the soccer team, nor do I feed a bottomless pit of a teenager. I am a single woman, with a cat, and an unapologetic love of bulk purchases. Specifically at Costco — they have fabulous finds at excellent prices. I often think I’ll buy some landscaping there or perhaps upgrade the counters in my kitchen, maybe even new tires come winter…

In reality I buy five things:

  • Alcohol (Wine mostly. Apothic Red @ $7.99 a bottle I’m talking to you!)
  • Produce (Spinach, apples, brussel sprouts and beets — those four items are basically all you need to create just about anything worth having.)
  • Coffee (Random Jean Fact: I’ve loved coffee since I was a wee child. Six year old Jean would negotiate with my mom to have coffee for dessert instead of say, actual dessert. True story.)
  • Books (Who don’t love a deal on some books? Heathens, that’s who.)
  • Beauty Products (Namely contact solution, lotion and razors — we’ve previously established my need for hair removal, razors ain’t cheap. And some Oil of Olay is how I keep this youthful glow! Oh, and seriously solution is a huge cost savings there.)

On any given trip I will spend between $100-$125. It’s like Target, only fewer cart items that hold a longer-lasting yield (well, except maybe the wine…)

AND, Costco is a great company. One of the rare monster-conglomerates that I can actually feel good about giving my business to. If you don’t believe me check out this article (click on the word article — I’m getting very techy these days, before you know it my moniker will be Impressive Jean as opposed to Awkward Jean). 

All that said, I was at Costco last week picking up a few things (in this particular case: red wine, spinach, coffee, a book and a candle — sometimes I get adventurous) and I needed to renew my membership. Now… I feel like I always need to justify paying $55 a year to support my Costco addiction as I always feel a bit ridiculous about what I buy there — I realize the “big box retailers” weren’t created to cater to an audience of one (plus cat) but… I just love it so much I say to heck with the fee — I deserve some frivolous rewards just like anyone else and by god mine is COSTCO! Sooo… I renewed my membership. Easy, breezy — simple to do and I was off to shop!

Upon gathering my goods (after like 45 minutes of meandering and planning all the things I was totally gonna get someday when I finally focused on using my membership to its fullest), I went to the checkout lines. Everything was going pretty much according to routine until the young man checking me out said: 

I think I’ve checked you out before, and may have already asked you this…

Um. Okay. (He’s soooo judging my cart!)

I see you just renewed your membership, did anyone talk to you about upgrading to the Executive Membership? Do you mind if I scan your card to show you something?

Um. Okay. (Oh god. Is he adding up all the wine to convince me it’s cheaper to buy it by the case? Enabler.)

Just what I thought. You see (mumble, mumble, heart racing, kinda missed the details)Because you see, you spent over $1200 here in the last year and with your spending patterns you’d be actually SAVING money if you spent more on the upgraded membership. For another $45 I can do that for you right now?

Um. ($1200 on wine, books, spinach, coffee and grooming???? Yeah, I guess that probably sounds about right… I mean, I DO read a lot…) I’m good right now (how did spending more save me money again?), but I’ll definitely think about it.

So, it appears as though my “spending habits” have green-lighted me for the elite (more expensive-money saving) Executive Costco Membership… Take that Soccer Moms! **Dear Lord Baby Jesus, PLEASE let me join their ranks some day, Amen** And suddenly, upon learning I was using it to its fullest degree, my single lady Costco membership doesn’t seem so frivolous. Hmm, guess that means I can start looking for a new frivolous reward… 

XOXO — Awkward (Costco) Jean




The Makeover.


If Hollywood has taught me anything in my thirty-five years, it’s that all you need in order to change your life, is to change your look. True story. SO… I have the new hair… I’ve hung up my signature flip-flops for the cold season… all that seems to be left is the makeup makeover montage.

When my most fabulous stylist Nicole dyed my hair she warned me that I’d likely need to change up my makeup as well. I felt the timing for this was perfect because it was almost time to replace my signature items — bare minerals (light) powder foundation, MAC Expensive Pink eye shadow (my full-cover) and MAC Sketch (my crease-highlight) eye shadow.

Random Jean Fact — I didn’t start wearing makeup daily until I was 25… I’m a solid ten years in, but… I’m a creature of habit and really don’t branch out much when it comes to my routines, so the idea of trying NEW makeup is a bit daunting. It’s not as simple as it looks and makeup is kind of spendy. Luckily, I just received my annual birthday “Not A Smoker” check from my mom, soooo — no excuses, time to branch out.

SIDEBAR: My mom has some pretty nifty tricks up her sleeves — made more impressive by the fact that those tricks were figured out pre-interwebs and definitely pre-Pinterest. When I was about middle-school aged my mom made a deal with me — if I didn’t smoke and I didn’t drink by the time I turned 21 then she’d give me $500 FOR EACH on my 21st birthday. AND, every year following I’d get $100 EACH on my birthday for not drinking and smoking. Suffice it to say I’ve never seen a single cent of that no-drinking money, but I’ve successfully cashed in on being a non-smoker for the last 14 years! Seriously, parents — do this, it’s genius! Thank you mom!

Alas, I took this year’s “Not A Smoker” money up to my local Sephora this last Sunday night and decided to treat myself to a full-on makeover! I was picturing that scene from Miss Congeniality where a whole team of beauticians (or magicians, whatevs) take over and basically remove all the “rough” from the diamond that is Sandra Bullock… Um, yeah. It was probably more like when Julia Roberts hit Rodeo Drive (WITH Richard Gere) and they just kept throwing things at her saying it was all great…

Things I learned during my “makeover” —

1) If you want a makeup artist to actually spend time with you, teach you techniques, apply makeup, etc. then you REALLY need to respect their time and set up an appointment… not walk in 45 minutes before close on a Sunday night. FAIL.

2) Um, yeah… actually it was just that one thing I already mentioned. I don’t know what an actual makeover would have been like in order to learn more because all I ended up with was one of the makeup artists walking me around and trying to give me very broad pointers… OH, and she helped me with my foundation — turns out I’m not a “light”, I’m a “medium”… the “light” is too yellowy for my skin tone, which explains some rather jaundiced looks I’ve given myself in the past.

The makeup artist Loren (picture the cutest, sweetest person alive) focused on changing up my eye shadow routine and kept suggesting I purchase a combo pack palette thingy so that I’d have lots of colors to experiment with. I’ve used the exact same TWO colors, regardless of occasion, for the last three years and yet this fresh-faced, natural makeup-ed woman was trying to convince me that makeup is fun and I can pull off a lot of colors with my skin tone and I should be experimenting and trying different looks for different occasions… Um. Yeah. That’s sooo not my comfort zone Loren… But then, I suppose that’s the point — I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone. And, since I know they don’t work on commission and really thought that this eager-beaver-cheerleader-type REALLY was trying to be helpful and encouraging… I did it. I bought one of the palettes with like 73-colors to play with AND I splurged and bought new makeup brushes too.

(Hyperbole Alert: There were only ten colors… two of which were powder eyeliners, two of which were “highlight colors” -whatever that means- and one of which was the “base”… Sooooo, really there were like five colors… but STILL! That’s 2.5 times as many as I’m use to!)

So, yesterday was my first day with my new colors… I was tempted to do my normal thing (I still have a little left) but… No. I’m branching out. I’m Ally Sheedy, Julia Roberts, Audrey Hepburn… I’ve. Got. This. So, I tried a sort of shiny taupe base with a dark olive metallic crease thingy (sorry, I don’t know the words, I just Googled pictures of what to do) and guess what — nothing catastrophic happened. On the flip side… neither the captain of the wrestling team nor the captain of industry nor the captain of linguistics fell in love with me, but… nothing bad happened. Until today.

The muted success of yesterday’s eye adventure bolstered my confidence. Perhaps to an overly-inflated degree. Today I tried a WHOLE new look. Something Loren hadn’t even thought to suggest! (Dear Future Jean — PLEASE pay attention to things like that… there’s a reason Loren didn’t think to suggest it…) Today I tried the shiny white base with the silvery charcoal crease. Translation: I looked like a frigid snow queen… with glitter all over my face (thank you new makeup brushes I’m not use to yet). AND, to make matters worse, when I saw it was going bad fast, I didn’t stop. I didn’t remove the nightmare on Jean’s face… NO — I decided MY OUTFIT didn’t match my face. So I changed my outfit.

I was a wee embarrassed all day at work because I felt a bit like a soccer mom going through a mid-life crisis and trying something new **Dear Lord Baby Jesus, PLEASE let me join their ranks someday, Amen** but that the new thing just looked like someone trying to dress (my face in this case) younger than she actually is. All day I was worried that I’d run into Original Crush (OC) or that New Crush (NC) would FINALLY invite me to lunch or a drink after work… Heck no! I looked AWFUL! My face was so sparkly from my rogue makeup brush flinging sparkly white powder EVERYWHERE — I looked like a Cullen on a sunny day in Forks for god’s sake! Fortunately (or unfortunately really) I didn’t hear from either OC or NC all day… Until I ran into OC in the kitchen at work at the end of the day…

(Him staring at me; me feeling awkward…)

Yeah, I bought some new makeup this weekend, remember I was telling you about it, and anyway I tried something new today and it didn’t really work and now I have this awful makeup on and glitter everywhere and… 

Actually, I was looking at your roots. 

Oh. Um, right. Well, I guess I just thought you were looking at my makeup because the sparkly eye shadow got all over and… 

Yeah, your makeup is different. You look like a 14 year old girl with that glitter all over your face. Maybe we should get you some of those pants that say ‘JUICY’ on the ass. 

Sometimes I wonder if he hears himself and knows how he comes across, but more importantly… MY ROOTS? UGH! Great! Not only do I have 14 year old “glitter” makeup all over, but now my roots, which are blonde, are coming through and making me look like I have gray hair.


At least another coworker enjoyed my makeup attempts today… every time he needed to tell me something, his emails looked something like this:


Awesome. Well, as my girl Anne Shirley (from Anne of Green Gables) always says “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.” And by “no mistakes”… I kind of mean the white sparkly eye shadow.

XOXO– Awkward (Glitter) Jean