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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Frugal vs Fabulous

Followers of my little blog know that I recently happened upon some bloggers who are fashionable and, quite simply, fabulous. Reading these blogs is a deviation from my usual blog itinerary, which for a while has stuck closely to the frugal. Even though I know many, if not most, of the frugal tips that are proffered, I derive comfort from my frugal soul mates in the blogosphere.

But when I read the fabulous blogs, I want to throw frugality out the window. Oh, I know these people shop for deals, but marked down stuff at Neimans or even Lands’ End is a far cry from my pathological frugality.

Something of my split personality was represented on my office door the other day. Hanging from the doorknob was a bag of fashion magazines (Vogue, Elle, and others), which, compliments of Anne, are for my daughter, but I take a look too. Stuck into the crack of the door was the weekly ad from Piggly-Wiggly, a grocery store which is on my way home. ( I want to assure any cosmopolites that I am not making up the name.) The ad was compliments of Mary, who is the epitome of fabulosity, but has a streak of frugality, and kindly indulges me.

As you might expect, we stopped at the Pig (yes, that is what people call it) on the way home. We bought a large number of Hass avocados (2 for $1.00, for guacamole) and some bell peppers (only 25 cents, for red beans and rice). We also bought 2 bags of shredded cabbage near the expiration date for only 39 cents each. When we got home, I made the great cabbage soup from Marcella Hazan, favorite frugal fare for more than twenty years.

I immediately thought of writing a blog entry on cabbage, the most frugal vegetable, and a superfood to boot. But then I got depressed: fabulous bloggers write about Hermes scarves and designer shoes and elegant restaurants. Cabbage is so plain.

So I have decided to dip my toe into fabulosity. I have not decided how, but stay tuned. Any suggestions in the meantime?

10 comments:

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

The Pig's the Place!

As to fabulous suggestions, I can't be of much help. Even if I made a point to spend every dime I make, I just don't have any fabulous in me.

Chance said...

Frugal fabulosity would be a great road to run down. One thought would be labels for the fashion challenged like me. If I am buying stuff at the thrift store, what are some high quality labels to look for? I don't think it is an either or situation. Another thought would be to do a game -- 40 bucks, what kind of outfit can you put together. I have the hardest time hitting the right note for academic professional drag, it isn't quite business wear, but it isn't casual either. I struck gold when I did a field observation for four hours on campus -- female professors like to wear things from other countries, I observed, and now when I travel for work I bring back a little something -- a ruana, a batik shirt, something made out of mudcloth...but any tips would be greatly appreciated. Love cabbage too.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Cubicle: I know something fabulous for you. Last year at Jazzfest, I saw a fellow with a Piggly Wiggly tee shirt. On the front was the cute red and white pig and on the back was a rear view, with the curly tail. Now THAT is fabulous.

@Chance--This is something I am good at! I wish I could go thrift shopping with you. For "academic drag," look for Talbots, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic. Since you're an anthropologist (?), you could probably wear ethnic stuff. I only go to conferences where jeans are permitted. If you are really fashion challenged, find a teen age girl to accompany you. I won't buy anything without my daughter; she's very harsh on me but it's worth it. Or find a French or Italian person. Seriously.

The cabbage from Marcella Hazan is braised in olive oil and garlic with a touch of vinegar. It cooks way down. Then you add broth and some rice. At the end you add parmesan. It is so good--we ate the amount for 6 in one meal.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

That does sound sort of fabulous, as I love tshirts. Where I grew up, was the birthplace of Piggly Wiggly and they had stores all over. Not a single one where I live now.

Terri said...

Crazy, I know, but I look through Vogue before I go to the thrift store...to get a feel for upcoming colors!

Duchesse said...

Frugal, who says you can't have it both ways? IMO it's tempting to get stuck in a polarity. I'd love your cabbage soup recipe!

I think many women flee from style because they feel pressured and resent spending big bucks, especially on someting they think will be out of date in a year. But as you say, one doesn't have to. Thrifting, bartering, watching sales: where there's a will...

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--Thanks again! I think I'm too frugal, if such is possible. I'm hoping you will help me decide on a tote bag.

The Marcella Hazan recipe (summarized above) is for a long-braised cabbage (with a little onion, garlic, vinegar). She says to braise for 1 1/2 hrs! Then you add broth and some rice. Marcella recommends arborio, but I generally save that for risotto. Top with parmesan. Like most of Marcella's recipes, the short ingredient list leads to low expectations. It's soooo good.

Chance said...

@Frugal I wish you could go shopping with me too! I am an anthropologist with a dollop of public health. Seriously fashion challenged, messy hair, and .... very fond of black. A Winter, or so they say. I am at meetings in DC right now, and am in a red/black ruana, black turtle neck, sag harbor pants and (go figure) sensible merril shoes. So far, no one has laughed out loud. This has actually happened to me. I am craving your fabulous series.

Completely Alienne said...

I love cabbage and soup so I shall try your recipe. I am also a bit fashion challenged and addicted to black - but then I am a lawyer, though I work in the public sector so I can't afford designer stuff - and I live in England so black is fine in our climate (no sun, lots of rain).

Frugal Scholar said...

@Chance--The ruana sounds great! And the colors are right for a winter. Here's what my teenage daughter says to wear: narrow pants, LONG top, shorter jacket or sweater. Necklace or scarf. This proportion has been in for a few years and so is probably about to go out.

@Alienne--I put up the REAL cabbage soup recipe. Hey--you have Topshop! Lucky you.