Therapy that works
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I hadn't realized until Thursday night just how stressed I've been lately. It's mostly because of school, I think. It's not that these courses are so difficult, but there's a lot of reading involved and several assignments, not to mention actual tests. Most project assignments involve at least one other person, and I find that stressful. I love working with other people, but I feel like I have to make extra sure to do my part and not let the other person(s) down. I don't want them getting a poor mark because of me.
So by Thursday night, one final exam was behind me, and the shared editing assignment was filed. I had a bit of a breakdown during my little Wiccan unwinding ritual. Fortunately, my metaphorical goddess understands.
I still have one more final exam to go (tomorrow), but I'm feeling much less stressed. One of the reasons is probably the absolutely wonderful retail therapy I got yesterday.
It was a meetup of The Fashionistas, one of my Meetup groups. Shopping on Main Street! In Vancouver, several blocks of Main Street (which really isn't), an area called "Mid-Main," are chock full of boutiques of locally designed clothes and jewellery, as well as enough coffee shops to caffeinate the entire city. My new thing is to buy fewer clothes of better quality, and when possible designed and made in Canada, using sustainable materials, and all that cool green stuff. The shops on Main Street are all about that.
I arrived at The Main, a kind of hip Greek restaurant, at 11:30, right on time. J, the group leader who knows the area well, was there already, and E, whom neither J nor I had met yet, arrived shortly after. There were supposed to be five of us and as many as eight possible, but apparently things didn't work out for some people. It was just as well to have a very small group for shopping anyway.
We had a nice lunch, then crossed the street and headed north. I can't even remember how many stores we popped into. J was looking for a dress for holiday parties. I was too, but also just shopping in general. My winter wardrobe is a bit thin. Some of the shops aren't actually local. You can quickly tell when a place is selling imported goods, by the price if nothing else. It does cost more to buy locally made goods, but you get what you pay for. I was actually wearing a skirt I got in Nelson, B.C., from a designer and manufacturer called Lilikoi, because I was looking for tops to match with it. I got snaps for that skirt in several places.
I think it was Lushuz where J bought some soft, warm leggings. I found things I liked, but not in my size. The first boutique where I struck pay dirt is called Devil May Wear, a great shop with room to move around in and a cool loom in the window. I found a magenta skirt with a bias-cut hem that I fell in love with. My companions agreed that it looked really good. There was also a grey version that might have been more versatile, but this one just looked better. We chatted for quite a while with the shop owner about local design, sustainable materials, and how Vancouverites just don't appreciate nice clothes.
I had to stop in at Twigg & Hottie, which shows up all the time in the style column of The Georgia Straight. T&H sell clothes from several local designers, including Devil May Wear. What I found there were a plain, black long-sleeved top that went perfectly with my hard-to-match Lilikoi skirt, and a poncho made of repurposed wool and cashmere sweaters. They had several of those scattered through the store, and the one I fell in love with was, what else, a kind of pink-purple. I have always wanted a poncho, and this was perfect. The poncho, top, and my skirt all fit together as if they were made for each other.
E had to go, and I claimed I was cut off from buying any more, but we weren't done yet. J and I crossed the street and started back down the other side. We stopped in at Two of Hearts. I found a top for a good price, and that was all I intended to buy. But then I saw this black, long-sleeved, criss-cross-neckline dress. I thought, well, I can try it on anyway. As soon as I saw it in the mirror, I knew my buying wasn't quite done. I stepped out of the change room, and J totally agreed. Somehow, it just fit perfectly and looked right. And depending on accessories, it could go either more or less formal.
The top went back.
OK, I really was done at that point. J and I had some lovely conversation over mochas at Salt Spring Coffee Company and then parted ways. No, I can't afford that kind of thing every day, but it really hit the spot on Saturday—not just the spending, but the company and the whole process. Love love love.