Monday, November 30, 2015

The Last Stint on Nightshift

It's been a rough month.  I switched to nightshift at the end of October--Halloween and Daylight Savings ended on my 2nd night.  Normally, when I go to nightshift, I roll right into keeping the same schedule on my days (nights) off so that I can get accustomed to a regular sleep schedule.  That has yet to happen and I don't see it happening at all.  Three days after starting the schedule, I had a 9:30am appointment.  Didn't get to sleep until 1pm and had to be up at 6:15pm--my get-up time for my 8pm shifts. 


Almost had a sleep schedule down that week and then I had a 0800-1200 class on the 12th.  This really put me on the path to sleeping like a dayshifter again.  Five days later, another 9am appointment.  Then, on the 22nd, I had a meeting to attend for part-time job...at 9am.  Got home to a message that my grandmother--my mom's stepmom--had passed away.  Called my brother.  Called other family members.  Finally fell asleep around 3pm.  Up at 6:15pm.


Two days later, attempted to do my 8am PT test but a migraine had other plans for me.  Did go to a 1pm doctor's appointment that afternoon.  The PT test got rescheduled to a few days from now...at 2:30pm...go figure.  This is the second reschedule.  We'll see.  As it was, I had a 9am doctor's appointment and I'm still not on a night shift sleep schedule so I think I got four hours of sleep today, before shift, after sleeping like a dayshifter Sunday night.  Ugh.


Two weeks and I'll be on vacation--no need to sleep on dayshift then.  Hell, I have only six days of work between now and then and there's no stretch of more than three.  Why should I even try to sleep during the day.  Ugh.  Again.


January brings about a week of nights and then I'm having surgery with a couple weeks of convalescent leave.  Won't need to sleep during the day then either.  I should just go to dayshift but, then, I wouldn't get anything done that I've been doing at work.  lol. 


Back to the grind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015...Let's Revisit This Post...

From last year...
Veteran's Day 2014

With the Congressional pawn that the military has been and continues to be, I still can't recommend it as a career.  Every year, there are fewer and fewer who have served serving in public office.  It's a shame and I can only hope that it changes soon.  As much as Congress is cutting the numbers, there are fewer and fewer positions *to* serve in the military.  As our higher ranking officers continue to act like politicians--rather than the soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Naval personnel that they are--it's really disheartening.
Those Generals and Admirals need to do a better job of looking out for their people rather than just looking out for their behinds.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Milestone: 100th Post. 100 Things On My Bucket List (In No Particular Order)

  1. Run a 10K
  2. Run a marathon
  3. Manage a bra store (of non-matrix sizes)
  4. Own a bra store (of non-matrix sizes)
  5. Own a chain of bra stores (of non-matrix sizes)
  6. Make the Bonus for $800+ on a consistent weekly basis at WHBM in 2016 and beyond
  7. Provide Self Esteem workshops on a regular basis for at-risk girls
  8. Move to Carmel, Indiana (if it suits)
  9. Finish my Bachelor's in Business Management by 2019
  10. Write a book
  11. Publish a book
  12. Visit Niagara Falls
  13. Have $10,000 in my savings account
  14. Have $25,000 in my savings account
  15. Have $50,000 in my savings account
  16. Have $75,000 in my savings account
  17. Have $100,000 in my savings account
  18. Have no credit card debt when I retire from the military
  19. Have no debt at all by the time I'm 50.
  20. Fully implement the Kondari method of decluttering
  21. Learn to shoot a pistol
  22. Learn to shoot a pistol with accuracy
  23. Take up archery as a regular hobby
  24. Learn belly danicing
  25. Learn ballet
  26. Do either (or both) well
  27. Get back to drawing and sketching
  28. Learn to knit (again)
  29. Go to Scotland
  30. Take a Uniworld cruise
  31. Go to Hawaii
  32. Go to Ireland
  33. Go to Prague and visit the Naprstek Museum
  34. Write notes regularly to my friends
  35. Send birthday cards to my friends
  36. Write my memoirs
  37. Get to know my SIL better
  38. Learn to ride a horse
  39. Learn to ice skate
  40. Attend a Britney Spears Vegas concert without breaking the bank
  41. Paint on a canvas
  42. Create a book of photographs of a not-so-well-known photographer (love you Dad!)
  43. Learn to waterski
  44. Grow a garden
  45. To make my house completely mine and in my taste.
  46. Go to Harry Potter World in Florida
  47. Be a tourist in Chicago
  48. Be a tourist in D.C.
  49. Take a cruise to nowhere
  50. Drive a Camaro
  51. Take up yoga
  52. Be a tourist in Seattle (again)
  53. Navigate a glider
  54. Be a tourist in Jackson Hole
  55. Stay at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT
  56. Be a tourist in Providence, RI
  57. Visit San Francisco again
  58. Visit Las Vegas
  59. Spend a week at a nice beach
  60. Grow a garden in my back yard
  61. Read all the books in my home library
  62. Fix the attic
  63. Finish installing flooring throughout the house
  64. Install new carpet in the master bedroom
  65. Repaint the exterior doors
  66. Fix the kitchen door
  67. Install new windows in the attic
  68. Learn to golf
  69. Visit Ground Zero
  70. Visit the Holocaust Museum (but not on the same day as Ground Zero)
  71. See the Spruce Goose and Queen Mary
  72. Visit friends whom I haven't yet met in person
  73. Visit family whom I haven't seen in years, decades even
  74. For my other blog to become a well-known and recommended resource about bras and bra fittings
  75. Learn to ride a motorcycle (and actually get out of 2nd gear)
  76. Be an extra in a PG-rated movie
  77. Meet Hugh Jackman
  78. Find a career that I love so that I don't have to "work" another day
  79. Find love again
  80. Help someone change their life for the better
  81. Help ten people change their lives for the better
  82. Help 100s of people change their lives for the better
  83. Find more worth in the real world
  84. Make it through the next four months on night shift (always feels like it takes forever)
  85. Fix up my bicycle so that I can ride it more often
  86. Be more positive
  87. Complain less
  88. Do more good things
  89. Do more for others
  90. Be more selfless
  91. Know that life
  92. Isn't incomplete
  93. If you can't
  94. Make a list
  95. Of a 100 things
  96. That you want 
  97. To Accomplish
  98. In
  99. Your
  100. Life
This took more than a month to create.  I better get started.  :D

Monday, October 5, 2015

Who is Nichole?

So many facets to me.
How do I describe myself?  It's made difficult when some attributes, traits, characteristics contradict each other.  A true Gemini, I guess.  :D


I love Romantic Comedies.
I don't like gore movies.
Hugh Jackman is my favorite eye candy.
I'm proud of the fact that I've made it through this career in the Air Force
I hate that it has augmented some of my not-so-nice personality traits and caused me to sacrifice other aspects in the name of conformity.
I'm quite loyal and have been known to continue to try to be friends with people even when they don't deserve it.  But there are times where I'm still feeling a level of betrayal by those who have taken advantage of my generosity many years ago.  Ironically, I still wonder if they think about me and know how much they affected me.
Then there are those whom I've done wrong to and yet I don't get why they're still so upset.  I think that blindness is a self-preserving thing so that I don't have to think about the friendship that I've lost.
I love Haagen Daas chocolate ice cream
I hate how often I eat it.  lol
I think my eyes are my best feature.
I hate that my legs aren't as good as they used to be.
I love a man with a hairy chest.
I love a man with strong legs.
I'm not attracted to thin men.
I'm not attracted to overweight men either.
I get crushes every once in awhile but don't often act on them.
I look forward to my time being my time next summer.
I look forward to being a full-time student again.
I wish I could ride my bicycle more often.
I haven't loved unconditionally in more than a decade.
I think I've forgotten how.
I have a kinky side.
But I love the vanilla in me too.
My favorite song is "The Rose" by Bette Midler.
My favorite book is "The Wild Rose" by Doris Mortman
They are nothing alike despite having similar names.  lol.
"The Wind Beneath My Wings" makes me think of my mama.
I love to dress in beautiful clothes.
I love pencil skirts and high heels.
I love when a man whom I'm attracted to admires how I look.
I would love to know love again.
I sometimes wonder if I'll get married but I also wonder if I actually have any desire to do so.  Really, I'd like to just love and be loved.
I'm straightforward; often to the point of being tactless.
I like to try new things and will try pretty much anything once.
Although I will if I have to, I don't like to do things by myself.
I bought my first house at age 23 and had to get a second job to pay the mortgage.
I bought my second house at age 30, six months after getting another "second job".
I love driving across country.
I love driving almost anywhere.
I've driven cross country more than once.
My goal is to have driven to or through every state in the CONUS.
I don't like being alone.
But I don't feel like I'm lonely.
I want to love again.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Effect of Nightshift on My Life

     I definitely have more time for introspection and whatnot when I'm trying to make it through an overnight shift.  Anything to get me through 12 hours.  In this case, I have only seven hours to go for this evening.  The new job at White House/Black Market is going really well.  I love to see the new products that come out every couple weeks and to have our customers come in and the team be able to play dress-up with a real, live person is so much fun.  There is still a lot to learn but the skills that I'm learning will make me that much better, for sure.  To get someone in the fitting room and help them find an outfit (or three or six) that makes them feel more beautiful than they already are is an awesome feeling.  To make an income while doing that is just a bonus.  To also be able to refer customers to my favorite (non-matrix sized) bra and lingerie store, Buttercups, just adds even more fun to the mix.
    So, between the full time Air Force job, the part time VS job, and the part time WHBM job, there's not much time for anything else.  I do get a few spare hours here and there to attend a gathering, meeting, or chanting session with my Buddhism group, which is awesome.  Because of those commitments, I'm really selective on how I spend my time outside of those things.  I don't waste it with people whose company I find distasteful.  I don't waste it doing things that are unenjoyable--dentist and doctor visits are unavoidable unfortunately.  I can only hope that those whom I do choose to spend my time with realize that I carve time out of my schedule specifically for them.  And I'm glad for their company when they choose to make time for me in theirs.
     Part of my ponderings this evening...the first date that hasn't yet happened.  It's been delayed a couple times because of unavoidable yet understandable life events--on each side of the equation--which makes me wonder how it's going to go even more.  He's a good looking fella with a common sense brain in his noggin.  Fairly tall but not so tall that he would tower over me even in my 4" heels.  Although I don't know his life goals just yet, I know he's ambitious and has plans for his future--always a plus.  I've known him for a few years and I don't think he's ever made an inaccurate assessment about the folks that he knows and works with.  He's firm but fair.  Funny yet serious when the situation calls for it.  And I'm intrigued to learn more about him.  I'm looking forward to seeing how well we interact in a more casual setting. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Looking Forward While Also Looking Back

     I revisited a couple posts from this year and they got me to thinking...about love...about choices...about choices in love.  :D  This short one Nostalgic About Love had me reminiscing about those fellas whom I gave my heart to and why things didn't work out.  In every instance, it was geographical distance that had us going our separate ways.  Every man that I loved was a good man.  I don't have any negative emotions towards any of them.
     My first love, Scott...summer of '91 was the beginning for us.  I loved him with everything that my 15 year old self could.  I remember spending time at his house and he at mine.  We went to the Big Fresno Fair and held hands while we walked around.  He was always chewing Trident gum so, needless to say, his kisses tasted like mint or cinnamon most of the time.  With him, I heard death metal for the first time.  I'm not a fan but I think of him every time I hear that, uh, music.  His mom didn't really like me.  Or...she didn't like my mom and displaced that dislike onto me.  She was kind of a snob.  They were well-off and my family wasn't.  That didn't stop me from loving the hell out of Scott.
     Then there was Eddie.  Eddie was a man.  Although, looking back now, I'd be kicking my own ass and threatening some serious stuff to him.  He was 23.  I was 16.  We dated for more than a year.  I gotta admit, he was kind of a rebound.  The boy who had taken my virginity had dropped me like a hot potato to go back to his baby-mama (my best friend, to this day, calls her "chicken legs" lol) after he was done with me.  A month or so later, there was Eddie.  Looking all grown up...to this, very much a teenager, girl.  Despite our age difference, he treated me really well.  I think, though, I was just too enamored to see the real him.  He was a drug user, probably a drug dealer, and is now dead as a result of his lifestyle.  So much potential, wasted.  We broke up when he went to jail.  Go figure.  That was summer 1992 to summer 1993.
     The next time I shared my heart was in 1994.  In the fall of that year, I started seeing a fella that I had been crushing on for a couple years.  Actually, me and two really good friends had crushed on him for years, all through high school.  He graduated in 1992 and had dated another girl for many years but, for reasons that I don't remember, they broke up.  We started dating a few months after I graduated.  His family was awesome.  They still are.  I keep in touch with all of them still.  Even him.  Hell, I'm even friends with his wife on facebook.  We were together for more than two years.  We opted to go our separate ways after I got orders to McChord in Washington state.  The distance would have prevented us from seeing each other often and long distance just isn't easy, especially when you're barely 20 and 22 years old.
     Although I dated a few folks over the next few years, nobody really had my heart again until 1999.  George was a med tech at the Army hospital near McChord.  I remember when I met him--during a sick call visit--his pick up lines were: "So, 'Naprstek'.  Is that your married name?" and "Wow!  You have the bluest eyes."  We were together about six months and then he separated from the Army and moved back home; ironically, to California.  lol.  That one was a little harder to deal with only because he move home (and out of the house that we shared) at the same time that my best friend move halfway across the country to her new husband's hometown in Iowa.  February 2000 was not a good month for me.
     It was another four years before I weeded through more bad apples and found someone worth opening myself up to.  I met Damien while he was dating a friend of mine but it wasn't until 2004 that we began dating, long after he had broken up with her.  We talked future.  We talked marriage.  We talked his upcoming separation from the Air Force.  We talked often after he moved back home in September 2004, six months after we'd got together.  Until just after New Years.  I had flown to Iowa to spend time with my bestest bud for New Year's and he drove down from his hometown in Nebraska and we spent the week together while also hanging out with my BFF and her family.  Come April, I couldn't hardly reach him on the phone.  By August we were broken up.  Partly due to the fact that he'd been "cheating" on me but, really, because of that hurdle called distance.  It's hard to maintain a relationship when you've seen each other once in eight months.  He's now married and has a rugrat or two.
     I think that break-up really took a toll on me though because there has been nobody since Damien that I've had a relationship with and who I gave my heart to.  I don't know if it's that I've thrown myself into a busy schedule.  Or that work is just so (insert adjective here) that it's sucked the life out of me.  There have been a couple attempts.  Dated one guy for three or four months back in 2011 but he turned out to be selfish, self-serving, and just plain not that nice.  Had a crush for a number of months last year.  Nothing came of that--the fella just wasn't picking up what I was putting down.  Now, there's another fella whom I've made plans with, twice, that had to get rescheduled.  Frustrating, yes, but I'm kind of okay with it.  Mainly because he doesn't make me feel anxious.  I don't feel like he's purposely not contacting me.  (You know how some people just play that stupid game?  Yeah, I don't get that impression from him.)  From all the years that I've known him--our paths have crossed often in the past three or four years--he's always been a straightforward and upfront guy.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.  The time between when we last talked and when we next talk is full of delicious anticipation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Disagreements...As A GrownUp.

Eventually, you realize that not everyone will agree with what you have to say or the way that you do things.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  You will also realize that some people have thinner skin than others.  That is their issue, not yours.  Many folks in today’s generation are part of the “everybody gets a ribbon” mindset and this is going to be a detriment when it comes time for them to survive life.  In “life” not everyone gets a ribbon just for participating.  Not everyone is going to be your friend either.  That shouldn’t even be a goal.  Do you know how much more convoluted your life would be if you tried to acquire or maintain everyone as a friend?  I don’t even want to imagine.

 If you look at friendships as a series of checkboxes of commonality, not a one will check every box but they should have at least one box checked.  I feel like you need to have at least one thing in common.  It’s the one thing that you can kind of fall back on when you’re exploring the personalities of each other.  My best friend and I, for example, we have a shared history and we each love her kids like crazy—obviously, her love for them is deeper and more enriched and more committed but there is still a common love for them.  The rest of our lives are very, very different.  BUT, it’s the shared history that makes it so that we can continue to grow and learn from each other.  Think of it like a “regroup” or a “recharge”—it’s the place that we come back to before venturing out again.

In some cases, where there might have been enough boxes checked, they become “unchecked” or, maybe, the wrong box becomes “checked” and you have to just let that person go.  An example for that:  I’d been friends with a woman for more than two decades.  Over the course of a couple months, a few years ago, we had a disagreement that resulted in her throwing everything that I had ever discussed with her—mistakes that I’d made, bad decisions, etc—in my face as a defense to me disagreeing with an action that she had taken.  This checked the “betrayal” box and I ceased communications with her.  I don’t take offense to someone calling me out on bad decisions—my best bud has done it many times when I’ve been a bonehead—but I do take offense if it’s done in a poor manner and, most especially, if it makes the person doing it a hypocrite.  Don’t use the same manner of my dumbassness to call me out.  You just look stupid and you totally lose the point that you’re trying to make.  Simplest example: Don’t say ice cream is bad while eating a vat of Ben & Jerry’s.

This logic can be applied to platonic relationships and intimate relationships.


The other aspect of it is that a total stranger can easily call out my dumbassness or pain-in-the-ass tendency and, provided they can engage in a grownup conversation, I will eventually come around to their way of thinking and concede their point.  I have gained at least two friends this way.  They gave me shit for something, stated the reasons why their point was (totally) valid, and I couldn’t help but agree.  When you’re a grownup, you realize that it’s okay to have disagreements.  Just make sure that your shit is straight before you call someone out on theirs.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

260 days to go

I'm quite excited that the next chapter is fast approaching but I'm also feeling like I'm being sucked into a vortex of stress.  My health is starting to be a reflection of that stress, to the point that I'm not wanting to get out of bed some mornings.  I often force myself to do so.  Once I'm up and have coffee, I'm doing pretty well.  On my days off, I can distract myself from the upcoming changes by cultivating relationships and connections that will carryover into the next chapter.  However, the days that I have to work are the ones that seem to make me want to bury myself in the blankets.  Why is that?  Why do the migraines present on the days that I can least afford to have them?  Is it because I'm just so ready for the next chapter?  Does my immune system just hate my job that much?  Is my body recognizing that my current job is the biggest stressor with the biggest impact on my whole physiology?  Ugh.  It can't be good to endure this much stress for this length of time.

I just want to cry and sleep until Spring.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Internal Conflict Due To Personal Integrity

What happens when you do something that goes against your personal integrity?  When you’re filled with internal conflict?  You make adjustments.  I’m opting to post this on my personal blog rather than my “professional” one because I feel it fits more here than there even though the subject matter very much has to do with what my “professional” blog is all about—finding the perfect fit for everyone.  The conflict lays in the fact that I WANT to do just that: find my customers the perfect fitting bra.  But how much do I have to compromise in order to do that while also selling the products that are available at Victoria’s Secret?
Most folks know that VS bras don’t fit everyone.  Anyone with a band size over 42 can tell you that.  Or a cup size over DDD/F.  The difficulty lays in giving the customers their perfect fitting and then having to sister size them into a VS bra even though it may not be one that really, truly fits.  I also have to keep in mind that, really, not everyone wants a bra that absolutely fits perfect; one that meets every facet of fit: projection, band size, cup size, fabric, tactile feel.  Some folks just want one that fits pretty darn good.  THOSE are the customers that I will focus on.  THEY are VS’s customers; along with the ones who DO get a perfect fit in a VS bra.

The flip side: sister sizing a 28 band into a 32 may not always work but I’ll do my best.  Same with those customers who are a G cup: if we’ve got their sister size band for an DDD/F cup, I’ll have them try it.  They just may be satisfied with it.  Not everyone is as picky as me.  I’m on a quest for a perfect fit, even if it means ordering 136 bras and sending back 135.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Overwhelmed on Some Days; Just "Whelmed" on Others

Some days, especially when I'm working on the flightline, it can seem quite overwhelming.  The sheer amount of details to keep track of, the amount of work to supervise, and the many folks going in many directions can seem like herding cats that are chasing chickens.  Add to that, preparing for a new chapter that is *just* ten months away--in five days I can say "nine months and change"--as well as my reinvigorated passion to open up my own store--see that endeavor here--while getting through the everyday, mundane stuff...Ugh? Whoa? Crazy, for sure.
It'll be nice to step away from it for a short period next week when I head to Sparks, NV for my brothers wedding.  I won't have to worry about anything but keeping the door closed of the room I'm staying in so that my parents don't have to see that unmade bed.  I'm not looking forward to the heat but, hey, it's a dry heat.  lol.
Before then, though, I'll be emptying out my office.  I've been trying to sell stuff on ebay but that is just so tedious.  I think I'd rather just donate it and be done with it.  My office will be clear and I'll feel a little less cluttered because I'm looking at it every day.
On the total plus side, my credit card debt is half of what it was back in November and on track to be obliterated before the year is over.  Definitely worth looking forward to.  That'll leave me with five months that I'll have practically my whole paycheck to do something with; something other than pay off debt.  I see quite a bit of saving coming up.  Maybe I'll save up for a 40th year birthday present.  :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nostalgic About Love

I spent a good three hours going through my hope chest last night.  There were a few things in it that I knew I wouldn’t care if I had them when I was 80 and I had to dig to the bottom of the chest to get to them in order to get rid of them and make room for other things.  While doing so, I came across old love letters…from Eddie, when I was 17 and 18; from Brian, when I was 19 and 20; from George, when I was 24.  I don’t have anything more recent than that.  There was only one more man that I loved and who I’m pretty sure loved me—Damien, when I was 28 and 29—but no letters from him.  There was also a boy—Scott, when I was 15—but I can’t find the letters from him.

It did my heart good to come across those memories.  To see the words of someone who loved me, all of me, for who I was.


From a letter that Brian wrote in April 1996 (he kind of missed me while I was at Basic Training):

Monday, June 15, 2015

Letting Go

Woke up from a dream and felt compelled to share it or, I should say: it and my takeaway from it.  I was attending some sort of conference about money management and it had various vignettes, featuring ways that you can make money and ways that appear you can make money.  I, with all kinds of crazy irony, was in one that had to do with home based businesses.  It was supposed to be one that illustrated how you could make money but I knew it for the deception that it was.  However, I was supposed to be going along with its intended message.  It was quite a draining experience, to go along with that kind of lie.  When the vignette time was over, I confronted the woman who was hosting it.  She was heavily into this particular home based business—it was either mary kay or a jewelry one, both types of products were there.  I was all spun up to say something.  And I couldn’t.  At least not the extent that I wanted to so I walked away, comfortable in the knowledge that I was no longer involved in any such deception.  That wasn’t where the message lay, for this dream, though.  It came after.

The setting of the vignette was in some sort of enclosed car port.  I left that, headed out to the lawn that surrounded it where, crazy as it sounds, my fella waited for me.  But there were two fellas there.  They had been the whole time.  One was a man that I’ve known for more than a decade now.  He’s loved me for many, many years.  I fell in love with *him* just a few years ago.  He never showed his love though.  Not to the extent that I wanted him to.  And I couldn’t show him.  I couldn’t just show up on his doorstep and he was choosing to not do that.  See, he was married.  Still is.  So you can see how it would have been quite awkward for me to just show up at his home.  And he never fulfilled the storybook romantic gesture by swooping me off my feet with the declaration that he’d left his wife to be with me.  We were never together, physically, but there were some very deep, shared conversations that had me tearing down some personal walls.  Unfortunately, because of the lack of gesture on his part, I had to sever contact with him, in order to preserve my heart and sanity.  As a result, those walls went up quicker than I’ve ever seen before.  I never let my guard down now.  I don’t trust that I—just me—will be enough reason for a man to see a reason to love me.  But, I digress.

In my dream, when I left the vignette, I headed to meet my fella…one of them anyway.  I saw the first man--I called him Black Behr in this post—but realized that it was never to be.  I turned away.  I searched for the other man.  He saw me looking for him and came jogging over.  He hugged me.  He kissed me.  Then he expressed some trepidation that I would choose the first man.  My response: “He had his chance.  It’s gone.  I’m moving on.”  I wrapped my arms around him, cradled the back of his head in my hand, and kissed him.

And I realized: My head is letting Black Behr go.  I will always have a place for him in my heart.  A small part of me wishes that he would drop his encumbrances and tell me that he’s mine but I have to be realistic: he’s too entrenched in the life that he has built; it’s not going to happen.

I love you Black Behr but I release you.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Helping a Friend with a Class Project

Please take her survey about tattoos, if you're so inclined.
Tattoo Survey

Sunday, June 7, 2015

For More of My Bra Related Posts (and to Follow My Fit Journey)...

I've created a new blog just for that.  Please bear with me as I populate it and bring it up to speed.  Here's the link: http://ifthebrafitswearit.blogspot.com/
This way you can choose to just follow the bra stuff or check out what's going on with me on the personal level.  They won't be combined any more.

Bra Fit Follow-Up

Even though my previous entry may seem like I’m sending the message that I’m an expert, I’m not.  I’m very new to this portion of the journey of finding what fits.  I’m hoping to bring folks along with me on this journey and help them find what fits as well.  Maybe they don’t have the resources to acquire a whole slew of garments to try on all at once and maybe they don’t have the time to try on just one at a time.  What I’m trying to say is: I know that there are a lot of folks who can’t plop down the initial investment to get a wide selection of bras to try on all at once and they don’t have the time to order only one item, try it on, find out it doesn’t fit, send it back in exchange for another size or style that will probably, also, not fit.  I want to help those folks.  The first go-round will be easy because I already have two collections of sizes on hand—36FF/36H, from what I ordered to try on and 28E, from what was acquired for another person to try on—in quantities of more than 20 different styles.  I’m extending an opportunity for those who are neighbors to me to try on any of the ones that are on hand before I send them back.

In some cases, it may appear that I’m competing with my place of employment but that won’t be the case.  I can’t compete with a company if I’m not offering anything that can be found at their store.  That being said, I wouldn’t be offering bra fit events for those who can shop within the “bra matrix”—that range of sizes that most every bricks and mortar store carries and/or has on hand.  I’m talking about the 34Bs and the 36Cs and the 38Ds—those are the ones that I WON’T be doing these for.  The ones that I WILL—the 32FFs and the 36Is and the 40As and the like—are the ones that you can find only online.  It will take some time and it won’t be something that will happen all that quickly because there’s only so much that I can acquire at a time and there are a ton of underserved and unsupported (pun intended) sizes out there.  How many?  Just check out the range of sizes that are carried at
 I intend to start with the most common band size, whatever that may be (and to be determined by a poll on an easily accessed page), and get started that way.  I won’t be offended if folks try on at my place and then opt to purchase elsewhere.  I’m not a business.  I’m not looking to make any profit.  I’m aiming to help folks find their fit.  If they choose to take a product off my hands by reimbursing me for its cost (and therefore saving me the effort that it will take to return it, even better), they can do that too.  Because, seriously, the less that I have to return, the better.  J

I will keep you posted on my own fit journey.  I posted the link to the previous entry to the reddit page that I referenced in said entry and received some excellent feedback on the fit of my new calculated size.  It’s a work in progress and I’m just glad that I was able to find anything that I even liked on the first round of try-ons.

I’d love to read any comments that you have for this or any other blog entry that I’ve made.  Please don’t hesitate to leave ‘em.
Photo by Stacy Hart of Stacy Hart Photography-- www.stacyhart.com 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

How to Ensure a Bra Fits (Revised (and NSFW))

Last week I got an urge to research the history of Victoria’s Secret and the multitude of scents that the company has put out over the past few decades.  I came across some really great information.  I even created a new Pinterest board for all the articles that I was coming across:  https://www.pinterest.com/nidena/well-informed-is-well-armed  (Want to see a listing of all the perfumes?  Go here: http://victoriassecretfragrances.blogspot.com/p/list-of-fragrances.html)
But it was what I found when I was searching for bra fit and tips that I really came across a wealth of information that had absolutely nothing to do with Victoria’s Secret except that our fit measuring procedures are…well…incomplete, at best; totally wrong, at worst, which is how it is when there is such high turnover in the company.  Said turnover is even higher now but that is a whole other blog post that I’ve yet to write. 

While looking up bra fitting, I found a whole discussion board for that very thing.  You can find it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits and read to your heart’s content.  I will try to summarize the key aspects to finding a correct fit and link you to a few places that were instrumental in my learnings thus far.
Let me just tell you that finding this information, and realizing that what I’ve been teaching my customers about fit, made me have an emotional experience much like I did when I discovered that I was not wrong regarding my misgivings about being a Mary Kay consultant.  (Read that story here: http://www.pinktruth.com/board/index.php/topic,361.0.html)   
Like back then, I knew something was missing.  I’ve known for some time that I wasn’t providing all that I could to my customers.  I’ve had to refer so many to online retailers but I knew that they would just be guessing at their size because the information that I was giving them really did feel incomplete.  I want my customers to feel empowered; to come to me having an idea of what they’re looking for; and, if that isn’t the case, to walk away with the knowledge that they needed so that they could shop online with confidence.

It’s in this blog post that I hope that I can do that.

The first step was getting the measurements and inputting them into the online calculator.  Now, mind you, I’ve sized myself in the DD and DDD range for YEARS.  Sometimes a 34 band, sometimes a 36.  The only thing that I had correct was the 36.  See, VS bras have really stretchy bands.  That’s why it’s easy to think that a 36 is quite roomy.  It’s really not all that stretchy in a bra that fits correctly but I digress, sort of.  The calculator called for FIVE measurements.  If you’ve ever read the “bra fit” post of mine (http://nidena.blogspot.com/2008/10/to-ensure-bra-fits.html), you’ll know that VS measures three locations MAX.  All these years…incomplete information.  To really get your correct calculated measurement, you need to take a measurement in all five places (maybe positions is a better word).

Do you have your tape measure?
I’ll wait.  :D
Okay, now you gotta free the girls to take the measurements.  That's right!  Take off the boulder holder and let them feel the breeze.

  1. Snug underbust
  2. Tight underbust (The underbust is just what it sounds like: right under your boobs, in the “crease”)
Okay, stand up now.
  1. Standing overbust (wrap that tape gently around your torso and across your nipples.  I know…it’s cold…and a little sensitive…but endure it)
Got that?  Now bend over.  Let them puppies dangle for all they’re worth.
  1. Leaning overbust (and you thought standing overbust was difficult lol)  I totally understand if you need help with this one.  Some ladies just have a lot of boob and might need to phone a friend.
Are you tired?  That’s okay ‘cause now you get to lay down.  Yep, the next measurement is flat on your back.  Well, unless you have a butt that doesn’t let you lay flat.  Lol
  1. Laying overbust (don’t fret if this is smaller than the other two.  Mine was too)
Now…and I really hope you remembered to write all those down otherwise you’ll have to do them again…go plug those numbers in here: http://www.brasizecalculator.tk/
I hope you didn’t pass out when you saw your new calculated size.
I was Wow’d also.  
Are you overwhelmed?  Take a breather.  Then come back for just a few more things.

Once you get over the “sticker shock” of your new size, you’ll want to learn about:
--Projection—Shallow vs Projected breasts (Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about this to be able explain it so I will suggest checking out this page: http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/wiki/shallow and the links on it)
--Fullness—on both the top and bottom  (A great guide can be found here: http://i.imgur.com/VPH5K0E.png  think of the spot where the red and blue lines meet as the spot where your nipple sits)
I have to also say that www.venusianglow.com is a great resource for this information.  Just click on *Bra Matrix* on that site and you’ll encounter a whole other world of stuff about boobs and bra fittings.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking: “But my bra fits just fine.  Why do I need all this information?”  I thought the same thing.  After all, I have nine years experience of bra fitting from working at Victoria’s Secret.  If I was a pilot, I could wear one of those patches that have cumulative hours on it.  Mine would be, easily, 500+ hours.  I mean, doesn’t it look like my bra fits?  Except maybe that little bit of pudge under my armpit but everyone has that, right? 




Wrong!
My life was changed when I read three little words and employed the action that which they describe: SWOOP AND SCOOP.
While wearing the bra, you reach in and pull that flesh that we've always thought was "pudge" forward so that it's back where it's supposed to be.  Why?  Because that "pudge" is breast tissue that has been exiled from the ill-fitting bras that we've worn all these years.  That's right!  Reclaim that additional breast tissue with pride.
Here’s the same bra with breasts swooped and scooped:



Doesn’t fit so well after all.  Note the "muffin top" above the cups.  When I realized that, I sought out that bra calculator (here it is again so that you don’t have to scroll up to the top: http://www.brasizecalculator.tk/ ), took all my measurements and plugged them in.  I about had a heart attack when I saw the new measurement.  36FF?  That can’t be right.  And that’s not even a U.S. size.  36H?  What the heck!!!  I had to test this theory.  There’s no way that a 36FF/36H is going to fit me.  It’ll be too big.  I couldn’t be more incorrect.  Here’s a correctly fitting 36FF/36H:




Now, maybe you're wanting to rebutt with: "But that's a full coverage bra!"  It is; however, the demi bras fit just as well.  Unfortunately, they were a little too sheer/lacy for me to feel comfortable putting pictures of them on my blog.  I hope you can understand that.
My life will be forever changed.  Unfortunately, unless I lose a whole lot of breast, I won’t be buying bras at my place of employment any longer.  I prefer bras that fit over ones that are readily accessible. 
I plan to help a few folks local to me find both.  See my next post for how I plan to do that but FIRST go get your new calculated size.  You're gonna need it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I've Been Incomplete When Doing Bra Fittings.

For the past nine years, I've been doing my bra fittings very much like what is described in this post: To Ensure A Bra Fits and, come to find out (due to the recent discovery of recent of new information), I've been incomplete and fairly inaccurate in my tallies.  How incomplete?  Well, I had sized myself at a 36DDD before I lost 20lbs and, since then, at a 34DDD/36DD..  I was a bit wrong.  Three cups wrong.  I'm actually a 36H.  I will share the the information that I found, as well as a link to how I calculated my size in a post later this week.  In it, I will also share the size that I thought I was by showing you (unknowingly) ill fitting bras that I have bought in the past few months at VS and the bras that I just tried on last night in the size that actually fits correctly.
I'm headed to sleep now but please check back later this week for that next post.  It'll be lengthy and informative.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Having My New Roommate is Good for Me

I am confrontational.  I posture.  I can be combative.  None are things that I like about myself and all are things that I’m going to be working on lessening as character traits.  To be able to *do* those things is not a bad characteristic but when they’ve become a large part of my personality, that’s not good. 
I had an inkling that they were there but it took the observation of my roommate to bring them to my attention.  Her description: “You stand up with the guys.  You interact with all guys the way that you do the guys at your work.”  And she’s right.  I developed a machismo, of sorts.  Just as boys and men will inherently engage in a “who’s the got the biggest…” challenge, so do I.  And I, in all my righteousness, would win.  Cause I’m the biggest and the baddest.  The toughest.  I show no vulnerability but I sure as hell show weakness by displaying such a high level of “tough as nails” when I don’t need to.
I’m going to blame the development of it on the male dominated career that I’ve been a part of for nearly two decades.  I can’t let it continue though.  Thankfully, there’s only 11 months of that career left.  I can, then, truly let go of a good portion of the armor that I applied, link by link, during my time working with too much testosterone.  I didn’t choose this career, not really.  It’s hard to make an educated decision, at 20, about what field to choose when the job description is so glowing.  All I know: If you don’t like to get a mechanical kind of dirty do NOT choose a 2A career field in the Air Force.
So…back to the character traits…You know how Alpha males tend to put each other down as a show of force?  Yep, I do that.  You know how Alpha males tend to try to make the not-Alpha males feel or look stupid?  Yep, I do that.  I don’t call them stupid but I sure as hell ask a lot of loaded questions.  That can’t be a good way to teach someone; to train them to be better at their jobs.  I *know* there’s a better way and I’m going to work on finding and using it.

Thank you, roomie, for holding up that “mirror”.  I appreciate it more than you know.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The end of May 2015

I have to say: I was quite surprised to see that the step that I took towards Financial Fitness helped me in the Physical Fitness department, sort of.  By taking my credit card out of my wallet, and having already spent all my grocery money and all the money allocated to “Miscellaneous”, I didn’t have the funds available to just “stop by the Shopette” on the way home from work which meant that I couldn’t succumb to the lure of Haagen Daas chocolate ice cream or a bottle of moscato.  You definitely think a little differently when it’s just not there.  I have $100.91 in my checking account and $100 of it is slated for a bill that will get paid on the same day that my next paycheck hits.  This will enable me to get to that “Zero Dollar Budget” on the day that it resets for the next round.  The $.91 will just get carried over and plugged into the budget for the next pay period.

On a slightly different note, I didn’t unplug from Facebook.  As a nightshifter, I spend my nights off going to the gym, going to the grocery store, and…and…and, really, nothing else.  NOTHING is open in the wee hours, especially on week nights.  Plus, even if I did want to dive into some home improvement project, I don’t think my roommate would appreciate the noise at 3am.  So, I’m going to allow myself the indulgence but my rotation back to dayshift will be quite different.  Though, knowing that I’ll be putting in availability for a higher number of hours at the part time might derail any of those home improvement projects but, goodness knows, I will have ample time very, very soon.  Like, in 339 days.

Also contributing to my Financial Fitness is ebay.  I purged my wardrobe of a few gently used items and listed them for dirt cheap.  They’re still quite good but, being that they don’t fit, it’s not doing me any good by having them in my drawers or closet.  I have tons more to list on ebay.  It’s all piled in the room that is my “office”.  Eventually, I will get it listed or donate it to Goodwill.  In the meantime, I watch the pennies increase on the items that have bids on ebay.  Ten items currently listed; three have already ended and sold; seven remain—all with bids that end in the next day or so.  It’s a good way to end the month.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Last Year in This Phase of My Life

I spent the last five days in Ventnor.  It was intended to be my annual birthday vacation and it was supposed to be as fun as previous years.  It wasn’t.  It was boring.  There wasn’t anything that I did there that I couldn’t have done at home.  Granted, there is a boardwalk that gives me a straight down and back or up and back route to walk but, again, boring.  I’d much rather walk loops around my neighborhood.  The other reason that it was boring: well, there wasn’t anything to really do besides shop and I don’t *need* anything.  Buying things just adds to the stress of my upcoming retirement so I limited myself to a few things that I thought would be useful additions: three pairs of pants and a necklace/earring/bracelet set.  And coffee.  Lots of coffee.  From Starbucks.

This Sunday is my birthday.  #39.  The last year of my 30s.  Who’da thunk?  While I was in Ventnor, I couldn’t help but reflect on quite a few of those years; specifically, the ones that I’ve spent in the military and what I’ve done in that time.  Did I make a mark?  I think so.  Did I do something that I loved and had a passion for?  Absolutely not.  Can I use this last year—345 calendar days, but who’s counting—to help someone else not spend 20 years doing something that they don’t like?  I know I can.  On the flip side, I *have* spent the past nine years doing something that I really enjoy: helping customers find the right fit at Victoria’s Secret.  You can really tell if you have a passion for something when damn near every conversation can get turned to that subject.  I LOVE helping customers find what fits them.  I really don’t care if it’s a VS item.  I prefer that it be ‘cause it helps me keep my job but I’d rather see them in a style that fits perfect rather than one that fits “pretty well.”

Because it is my last year of my 30s and my last year in the military, I’m using these milestones to track things a little differently.  I want to focus on three things: Mental Fitness,  Financial Fitness, and Physical Fitness.  I know, it doesn’t sound all that different that what I’ve been doing all along but herein lies the difference: If it doesn’t help the one, it better help the other.  No more spending idle time on facebook.  I want to make a difference in the lives of those who know me.  I want to deepen the friendships that I already have and cultivate them into relationships that really matter.

My first step in the Financial Fitness:  I removed my credit card from my wallet.  This is big for me.  I always had it there as a safety net so I never really had to comply wholly with my budget.  Now, I will be forced to.  No more “covering the difference with my credit card.”  I already have an emergency fund in place--$1000—for anything that might actually constitute an emergency.  Those are so rare though.  Most things can be planned and budgeted for; and that’s my goal.

For my Physical Fitness: I will just be continuing on the track that I began last year when I quit grains and sugars.  I lost 20lbs between September 2014 and March 2015 but hit a plateau.  Sugar crept back in so I’m, again, making a concentrated effort to eliminate it.  I will also continue hitting the gym on my nights/days off but I plan to work out a specific, goal oriented plan with a trainer friend of mine.  And it won’t be a one-month plan but a one-year plan.  I want to map out where I plan to be by the time I’m 40.

I will provide updates and progress along the way in hopes that I’m able to inspire one other person to do something similar.  I know I’ve been inspired by many friends’ blogs.  I hope I can do the same.