Fatshion Friday: Finishing Touches

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I’d like to wish all of you that celebrate a Merry Christmas. I hope that you’re spending it with people you love and that you’re in a loving environment.

For those of you that don’t do holidays: I hope that you’re able to spend the day doing things you love with people you love (or if you prefer solitude, that you’re able to indulge in some self-care), and that you’re someplace warm and safe.

And finally: to my sisters and brothers in retail: solidarity to those of you that are working today and I hope all of your customers are pleasant and that your workday goes quickly. πŸ™‚

I’ve gone over some clothing ideas and some shoe suggestions for New Year’s, and now I’m going to share my picks for the finishing touches. This is always my favorite part, because I definitely believe that more is more.

I know. Coco Chanel said to take one thing off before you leave the house, and I’m liable to put two more things on. I say if you love it, rock with it. Confidence has a way of making all types of fashion decisions look sexy.

On to the good stuff!

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Cowrie shells and glitter. From Rachel Stewart Jewelry.

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Shells and shine! From Rachel Stewart Jewelry.

I love a statement earring! I’ve discussed that I don’t really do well in unfamiliar situations with a lot of people, and that goes for going to clubs. My introvert self has a hard time sparking conversation, but I find that I’ll eagerly discuss what you’re wearing or what I’m wearing…hence these lovely earrings! They give interest to whatever you’re wearing and have people ask you where you got them from. And just like that…you’ve made a friend. A lot of her pieces tend to run on the larger side (which I love.) Some of her pieces I’m wearing below to get an idea of some of the sizing.

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I’m such a fan of her work!

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Let me draw your eye downwards…From Lost Queens.

Necklaces are something I’m getting back into. I have eczema, and sometimes having things on my neck (including clothing, which is why I rarely wear button down shirts) irritates me. But I love the drama of this necklace! If you have on a low cut top and a good bra, this just helps to accent all of that lovely cleavage. I am always here for that!

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Arm candy in my fave shade of blue. From Lost Queens.

Bracelets! I love bangles because they jingle. I’m a fan of anything that glitters and makes noise when I move. I figure that’s a more subtle way to draw a little attention, especially when they’re mixed in with a bright color. Blue is bright and soothing, and I adore this set of bangles. Either wear them all on one arm or split them between both (which is how I’d style them.)

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Sexy fringe. From JustFab.

Fringe has been everywhere this season, from shoes to belts. Honestly, the quickest way to up your outfit’s chic quotient would be to add a touch of fringe, and this little clutch fits the bill. Bonus: black and white goes with just about everything so it’s a piece you’ll be able to use again and again!

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Wearable pop art! From Love Cortnie.

I am such a comic geek! The moment I saw this I was ready to change my outfit so I could buy this! Sadly, this doesn’t go with a blessed thing in my wardrobe (as much as I love yellow, I don’t look good in it), but I love the wow factor! This is another ice breaker piece–you’re sure to be asked where you got this from as you’re working the room in your fabulous outfit.

Next week: let’s talk makeup looks and fabulous products! Have a wonderful weekend!

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Retail Therapy Shopping

New Year Shoe Candy

So, last Friday I gave y’all some ideas for really cute outfits for New Year’s Eve.

Now, y’all can’t go out barefoot, right? Unless you’re headed to a beach or something (if you are, take me with you!)

So: here are a few choices for some really pretty shoes, from heels to loafers. Let’s go!

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The front…

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And the back of these beauties from Aminah Abdul Jillil.

These aren’t two toned, by the way. The front view only came in the blush color, and the back only in the black. But OMG, how glorious are these?! These are way too high for my ankles to handle, but honey, you’re gonna turn heads in these bejeweled beauties. Wear these with a dramatic side slit gown or even a cute romper that needs a little jazzing up.

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Ankle tie flats, also fromΒ Aminah Abdul Jillil.

If you feel like you need a little more stability, how about these little pointy toe flats? I love that something that can usually be too plain to go out is given a little extra oomph by the bow tie on the side. So cute!

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Pop of floral brightness. From JustFab.

I like a quirky statement piece. This is perfect for either a big night out or a low key house party. Bonus: the heel isn’t too high!

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Glitzy, because it wouldn’t be me otherwise! From JustFab.

Bring on the dramatic high sparkly heel! Alright, these are again to high for me, but oooh, how pretty! This is for that girl going out for a glam night out on the town and they need their shoes to shine!

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Booties. From Nine West.

I love a bootie to go with a jumpsuit or a pair of pants. I mean, not everyone wants to wear a dress on NYE. What if you need to drop it like it’s hot? You need some coverage, and this pair helps to add to the sleekness of a pantsuit or romper.

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Sparkly flat! From Nine West.

You can never, ever go wrong with a glitter flat. Makes any outfit ten times more glam and you’re comfortable! I did a pair last year, but they cut up my poor toe by the end of the evening. They were still cute though!

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Loafers. Yes! From Nine West.

I adore a loafer, especially when it’s this sleek and chic. I also adore menswear, and am now incorporating more masculine elements into my dress. I would do this shoe with a black jumpsuit that’s tapered at the ankle, and one of those gorgeous cape-style blazers on top. Such a classy way to bring in the new year!

Next up: let’s finish off your looks with some jewels and bags, shall we? See you Friday!

Retail Therapy Shoes Shopping

Makeup Monday: Take It Off!

The title tells you the best tip in the world about having great skin: take your makeup off at night!

It’s advice I would do well to practice consistently. But don’t be me, y’all. Be better than me!

Anyway.

I’ve gotten questions about my skincare regimen for a while, and since we’re in the middle of holiday party season, let me give you some info on how I keep my skin looking good.

First: some background.

My skin has not always looked as good as it has now. This face has seen some unfortunate times due to puberty. When I tell you my face looked like a Nestle Crunch bar? I am NOT exaggerating. It was all broken out, full of dark spots, rough, and it hurt. Acne hurts, y’all. If you’ve never had it, or only had one or two, count yourself lucky.

Mine was so bad that there’s a span between 7th grade to senior year of high school that I didn’t have my school pictures done. I wouldn’t bring the little folder home. Senior year I discovered the glory of Photoshop and had them edit the hell out my face to smooth everything out and remove the shine.

When I first moved to NYC, and got my current job, my problem skin was still hounding me. It had cleared up a bit, but my face made me so self conscious. I didn’t really do makeup on my face, thinking that would make the problem worse. When you work as a make up artist, it’s hard to sell your services when you don’t bother to put any on yourself, right?

Yeah.

So, one of the vendors came to me at work and brought me some of their product to try. After years of trying EVERYTHING (Proactiv is a waste of damn money in my humble opinion), I tried some fancy, new to me company called La Roche Posay.

Y’all. I texted my mother a pic of me and she wondered what the hell I’d been doing up here. My skin had never been that clear in…ever. I’d found my magic bullet.

I use Effaclar from La Roche Posay. It’s rare you’ll hear me talk about something I sell at work, because here and there I like to keep separate. But I love it so much I just have to share it. I use the Gel wash, toner (the regular one), Duo (best acne treatment ever!), and mattifying lotion. Lo these many years later, I still use it. I’m confident enough now to share all types of makeup free selfies on Instagram, and I took a favorite one without filters a while back:

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No eyebrows or anything! Just lip balm.

That’s my skin story, and trust me, it takes some diligence to keep my skin looking as good as it does. If you’re looking for a flawless makeup application, the first step is making sure your skin is on point. To that point, I have some suggestions for all skin types to keep your skin beautiful, or to even help you heal your face if it is as problematic as mine. Please know: there is a solution for every skin, even the most sensitive, acne prone face. It will take time and patience, but I’m telling you: your silver bullet is out there.

So, let’s get started.

The basics of a good regimen is all about cleansing, toning, treating, moisturizing, and sunscreen. No, just because you have melanin does NOT mean you don’t have to use sunscreen. Black folks have the highest rate of malignant sun cancer because we have this false sense of security. If you have skin, you need sunscreen. Period.

Now that’s off my chest:

Cleansing: You’ll need to pick something that’s for your skin type. If you aren’t sure what kind of skin you have, try this. Wash your face, and then leave it alone for a few hours after. Don’t moisturize or anything. Take note of how your skin feels after a while. Does it feel tight? Then it’s dry. Got an oil slick happening all over? Then you’re oily (that’s me.) Shiny on the forehead, nose, and chin while your cheeks feel like a desert? Then you’re combination. And if you don’t feel any way at all? Congrats! You’re normal. Oilier and combo skinned folks will love a gel cleanser, as it helps to remove the excess oil from the skin and give a squeaky clean. Drier folks will love cream cleansers or oil based cleansers. Normal skinned folks? Use whatever makes you feel the best.

As a part two to cleansing, you may want to do a scrub too. I will say that anyone who has a reaction to too much scrubbing shouldn’t use a mechanical scrub (that’s with scrubby bits) and should stick to a mild (emphasis on MILD) chemical exfoliant (like glycolic acid) instead. Whichever you use, keep it to twice a week at the most. You’ll find your moisturizers and treatments sink in better. My favorite is from Vera Moore Cosmetics…best scrub EVER, I swear!

Toner: Again, choose based on skin type. Also: don’t think you need to skip toner–this really helps to get the deep down dirt that cleansers can miss. I love the toner I use because it unblocks and tightens my pores as well as controls oil. Drier and normal skins will love a hydrating toner (yes, they exist!) because it helps keep your skin nice and supple.

Treatment: These are fun and vary depending on what you need! Ok, a treatment is anything from an acne treatment to an anti-aging serum. Depending on how much dedication you have to regimen, you can do as many or as few as you like. I stick to just one acne treatment for day, and an anti-aging serum at night. My current serum is from Lierac, and I love the radiance it gives.

Moisturizer: I switch this up depending on the season, and you may find you need to do the same. Warmer months call for a mattifying lotion (I use this one) and colder months I love something with a little more moisture. I switch this up every year, and I’m loving this one from Lierac right now. And again, sunscreen! Pick a moisturizer with a sunscreen and save a step.

Bonus: I like to treat my face once a week to a mask, and I say pick a mask depending on what you need most: whether its radiance or clarifying, it’s a nice treat for your face and some well deserved self care.

If you’re not certain what brands you should try, I suggest putting some money into a subscription box to try different companies. I’ve done Glossybox in the past, and I’m looking to try the Essence Beauty Box soon.

In future posts, I will explore more of the favorite brands I love, and not just the high end stuff. Don’t worry, there’s some good stuff right in the drugstore you’re looking over, and I’m bringing that to you next week. Any questions on regimens? Leave them for me in the comments below or tweet them to me!

 

Makeup Looks Reviews Shopping Stories

Fatshion Friday: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

I certainly hope you’ll be getting all dolled up and going out for the night! I know I am.

January 1, 2015 I was happily dancing away in a club with my friends, and I’m looking to do that all over again. Now, I told y’all about all my mishaps getting my outfit. This year, I’ve planned way better…I have my outfit already! At least, I have the basics already: I’m doing a romper, tights, and red heels. All I need now are accessories, and next Friday I’ll have a post at the ready with some great ideas for finishing off your look.

But, you need to have the look first, right? Let me show you some of my ideas for an awesome night out at any budget!

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From Ashley Stewart.

I have come a long way from that girl who refused to do a romper or a jumpsuit. I didn’t think they worked for my body type because I carry most of my weight in my belly. Key here is fit. Take the time to try it out if you can, or make sure that there’s some stretch in it if you have to get it online. This look appeals to my practical side (what if I want to twerk a little? Now I’m not gonna be overexposed!) and to my sexy side (love the cut and sparkle). Because I like to define my waist, I’d do a belt with it, but do whatever makes you the most comfortable and makes you feel the most gorgeous.

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From ASOS.

If I had to choose between a romper or a jumpsuit, I’d likely pick the romper because I love my legs. They’re so shapely! πŸ˜€

Had to have a self-love moment. Sorry, not sorry. πŸ™‚

I love this because of the embroidery. Because it’s mixed metallics, you could do gold or silver (or both!) jewels with this and a bold shoe. I mean, what better time to sparkle than New Year’s, right?

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From Monif C.

Ok, so maybe the soiree you’re attending doesn’t call for glitz and glam. Or, maybe you’re just not that into sparkle. I love this piece because it can be glammed up or left as is for a subtle elegance that looks good no matter the venue. A statement necklace and a nice heel is all you need to make this complete.

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From Monif C.

Does your night out call for all over sparkle? (Yep, I work in extremes, folks! :D) This dress is perfect. Beautiful cut and enough glittery happiness that calls for minimal extras outside of a nice heel and clutch. I’m all about easy!

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From Jibri.

In need of something dramatic? Bring it on with this number. I don’t normally go for sheer paneling, but I have to say I love how it just gives a little extra coverage without being too heavy. I’d do a metallic shoe and bangles with this because I believe more is more, but styling as seen in the pic is perfect for just enough drama for the evening.

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From Eloquii.

Oh, this dress. Story time!

I had every intention of purchasing this dress for New Year’s, right? I’d planned out the accessories (I was gonna add a bow tie and do red shoes) and everything, and put it in my cart. Y’all. By the time I’d gotten a chance to sign in and place the order, it was all sold out. I stalked the site for a few days, but usually when an item is gone from Eloquii, it’s gone. I sniffled a bit and found something else I liked, and ordered it.

And then…it came back in stock. During a non-pay week, and I’m flying out of town soon.

Sigh.

Oh, well. There’s no reason y’all can’t reap the benefits of the restock! You could style it as I described above, dress it down with a jeweled oxford, throw on some tights and a brightly colored pump, whatever! I love this dress just for its versatility.

And there you have it! My picks for a beautiful and stylish New Year. Next week, I’m going to talk about shoes and accessories for the big night. Happy Weekend!

Retail Therapy Shopping Stories

Nail Adventures: Disco Snowflakes

It’s December, and NYC hasn’t seen an inch of snowfall yet.

As a matter of fact, I’m typing this in a tank and leggings. Like, it’s warm outside.

I am not complaining.

I do like the snow, and do miss it just a little bit. It’s really pretty when it first falls.

It’s even prettier when I don’t have to walk in it. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I figured, in homage to the upcoming non-white Christmas, I’d do my own sparkly version on my nails. Glitter and sequins and rhinestones, oh, my!

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This manicure took me a little longer than usual (about two hours vs my usual 45 minutes), but I am so excited about it, y’all! I’m like a magpie; I am attracted to all things glittery and sparkly. As I type this, I am having a hard time keeping my eyes on the screen and not my hands because each finger catches the light at my desk.

The rundown: the blue is Essie’s Butler Please, the ring fingers are two colors layered: silver is Essie’s Apres-Chic (pictured) with OPI’s In True Stefani Fashion on top. The glitter is by Essence, and I applied each piece one at a time with an orange stick. This would be the longest part, but it was so worth it because I like my chunky glitter to be even. Pointer finger has a rhinestone at the center of the snowflakes, which I used a Sally Hansen nail art pen for. They didn’t come out as perfect as I hoped, but the imperfection is perfect for me.

I’m dreaming of a sparkly Christmas…:D

Nail Adventures

Makeup Monday: Day at the Museum

Hello Lovelies!

So, Saturday I actually took a day off. No work, no writing, just a day to actually enjoy my life a bit.

I have a habit of living life with all cylinders going. If I’m not at the day job, I’m grinding on my cookbook and photography projects. And I love being busy, but sometimes I have to remind myself to take a break and enjoy life a bit. And Saturday was my day. I grabbed the camera and met up with a friend at MoMA to see some Jackson Pollock.

And of course, I wanted to do my face all up. Because why not? πŸ˜€

One of my lovely followers on Twitter (follow me here) asked about my makeup and skincare routine. I’ll get to the skincare in another post, but I wanted to go over makeup basics in this one because this look is simple:

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Earrings by Rachel Stewart Jewelry.

I have on foundation, eyeliner, eyebrows, and lip gloss. That’s it.

How do I keep my skin so flawless? The key is really good primer.

Now, my skin is eternally oily and shiny. I used to complain about this a lot when I was younger, but I don’t now. All that oil has people guessing I’m 5-6 years younger than I really am (I’m 30), so I’m grateful for it. I just don’t always want it to be visible, so I make sure to use a good primer underneath. The one I’m currently in love with is by Miracle Skin Transformer (I use the translucent one.)

Ok. It’s not advertised as a primer. But for my face, that’s exactly how I use it. If you have eternal shine on your face, I’m telling you, it’s the best money you’ll spend. If used by itself, it looks like you powdered your face, but you don’t look dry. If you put makeup on over it, though? You’ll get that matte finish you see in my pics above. Bonus: this is meant to be used as a moisturizer, so you can skip that step in your routine if you like (I layer it over my acne treatment, though.)

If you’ve never used primer before, they have different ones for different skin types. As I mentioned, I’m oily, so I go for a mattifying primer. They make them for dry skin, for normal skin, for folks with rosacea, for folks with dark spots, pretty much any skin condition you can think of, they have a primer for it. Besides Miracle Skin Transformer, I’ve seen good results with Smashbox and PurMinerals primers.

Ok, you just put your primer on. You can go ahead with foundation, right?

NO.

STOP.

Let it sit on your face for a couple of minutes to set. I usually take that time after I put my primer on to do my hair so that it can sink in. If you start applying your foundation too soon, it could cause your primer to roll, and now you’ve got to start all over. Nobody wants that.

Once it’s set, go ahead with your foundation. I don’t spend much on my foundation because no one makes a color that matches me exactly. I end up having to mix it. My favorites are Cover Girl and Maybelline because they have foundations for specific skin types. I can’t stand when a foundation makes me dewy, and I know up front which ones from those lines will do that. I have on Cover Girl Queen collection Natural Hue in the above look. I mixed Toffee and Classic Bronze to get my shade.

After that, if you’re doing concealer, now is the time. I do a little around my eyes, and I have on PurMineral’s Disapearing Ink concealer in Dark. I am one who prefers the concealer to match my face and not be brighter; I say you should do whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Once all of that is done, I do my eyes. I see that a lot of the YouTube beauty gurus do their brows before their foundation, and I just feel like I’d mess my brows up that way. So I do foundation first, then draw on my brows. I use Milani for this; their brow pencil and brow kit is awesome and affordable. Make sure to comb your brows before and after to keep things natural looking.

Then I line my eyes (Balm Cosmetics Mr. Write Now in Dean B. Onyx for water line and Schwing Liquid Liner on the lid), add a little mascara if I’m feeling frisky (I’m not wearing any above) and done! Lip gloss is optional and had I found my Chapstick first, that’s what I would have had on.

I am working on a tutorial for this look, because this is genuinely my everyday go to makeup for work. I don’t do a lot of color on my eyes by day; I tend to stick with colorful lipsticks and lip glosses.

Next Monday, we’re discussing skincare. See you then!

Hair Makeup Looks

Tales From Retail: Black Friday

I actually wanted to put this up last week, but I’m still traumatized 6 years later.

Listen. If you’ve never had to work a Black Friday before, count yourself lucky. It is some of the most dehumanizing foolery you can imagine. The customers turn to creatures possessed, and the workers end up snapping at each other out of frustration.

Let me tell you my story of the first Black Friday I had to work.

Picture it: day after Thanksgiving, 5am. I am up before Jesus and the sun and NOT happy about it. I’m working with one of the most horrible managers I have ever worked with in life (this holds 6 years afterwards. She was THAT bad, y’all.) I was volunteered for the early morning shift because, well, nobody else liked her.

I didn’t like her either, but I can get along with anybody.

The aggravation started early, as she was an hour late, so I was outside waiting for her to get there. Doors opened at 7 and we still had setup to do. And as I am that early in the morning, I’m not communicative. I am trying to get this store ready so that we can be as prepared as possible for the crowd. They had their faces pressed against the windows and doors as we worked. I might mention she never apologized for not telling me that I didn’t have to be in that early. So I’m already annoyed.

So. Doors open, and we’re swamped. It’s just two of us (why in heaven would you only schedule two people on Black Friday?! Why?!) and we’re running about like chickens with no heads. I leave the manager to run the register, and I’m helping on the floor. We have a customer who wanted a fragrance that was still in the cage. I needed the key, so I ask Snotty (name changed to protect the stupid) to hand me the key so I can get the product.

Snotty: “I can’t hear you; you’ll have to speak up!”

Ok. It’s loud in here, so I raise my voice a bit.

“Could you toss me the fragrance key?”

Snotty: “I really can’t understand you!”

She’s standing next to me now, so I don’t…*sigh* Ok.

“I need the fragrance key please!” I speak loudly this time.

Snotty: “Don’t you dare yell at me! You could ask nicely!”

Me: “…”

Snotty: “Act like you have some sense! You have some nerve…”

And it was here that I think I blacked out a little. Let paint this picture for y’all. I am on the sales floor. This foolishness is happening in front of a throng of customers and she’s getting in my face. Like, personal space bubble in. my. face! The customer I was helping didn’t know what to do, cause she saw me ball my hands into fists. I was trying to calm myself down, but it wasn’t working. Once she finished her tirade, the look I laid on her was something like this:

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Snotty gets quiet. The crowd even gets quiet. One woman in the line goes: “This poor girl is about to snap.”

Me: “I asked you three times for the key. All three times you claimed you couldn’t hear me, so when I get loud enough for you to hear me, I’m yelling? Let me tell you something…”

Snotty: “We will talk about this later—“

Me: “Oh, no ma’am. You yelled at me out here, so we’re gonna handle this here! I am here to help you because nobody else likes you, but please know I can clock out and go home RIGHT NOW. Is that what you want? Cause you don’t ring as fast as I do and you definitely don’t know the product like I do.”

Snotty: “No. But we’ll talk about this later.”

Me: ” No, we won’t, unless you’re firing me. Now, give me the key so I can get this customer what she’s asking me for. Thank you.”

After that, I don’t know that I have ever moved as fast as I did. I kept the key, got folks what they wanted, and virtually rang up 4 customers for every 1 she helped. By the time 2pm rolled around, the crowd had thinned, and it was time for me to go. The assistant manager was so impressed with how I was working, she asked if I would stay late. At this point Snotty pulls her to the side and tells her what happened.

AM: “OMG, you didn’t make her quit, did you?!”

Snotty: “Did you not hear me say she yelled at me?”

AM: “And you started it. I swear, if you made our best cashier quit–“

Snotty: “…”

Me: “I’m not quitting. But I’m not staying late either. I’m going home. Let me know if I still have a job tomorrow.”

AM: “You do. And I’m sorry about today.”

Gotta love how the assistant manager had more pull than the store manager! I stayed with that company until I packed up and moved to NYC, but the experience scarred me. Now that I’m a manager, I schedule myself off on Black Friday despite the fact that my company doesn’t even do Black Friday deals!

Sending love to my fellow workers in retail this month. I know it’s gonna be long, but you’ll make it through. I hope your customers are all kind and the unkind ones step on their children’s Lego with no shoes.

Stories