On Job Loss, Affordability, and Sustainability and More

Okay. First things first. On Thursday, I was let go from my job.  Nothing personal.  It was due to a corporate restructuring.  As the only part-timer in our offices and not the only one to have my position eliminated globally, I am going to return to receiving unemployment benefits for the first time in seven years.

This was my reaction.  I’m not crying anymore. In fact, I was pretty damned proud of myself when I called Medicare to let them know that my primary, Blue Cross, insurance was terminated because I didn’t cry!

It sucks but it  happens.  And it wouldn’t have been that bad had I despised my job.  But I loved it. The salary I was receiving was excellent for a part-time receptionist.  I absolutely had a blast greeting and talking to my colleagues as they passed my desk.  I loved greeting visitors and did get to know quite a few of them.

Sexy Customer Service GIF by Juno Calypso

I was that beautiful and pleasant face that everyone saw upon entering the office!

Everyone made me happy.  And the amount of appreciation I received I received upon getting the heave-ho actually made me misty-eyed.  When the people in HR present you with flowers and well-wishes, it makes you feel better.

HR presented me with this flower-filled vase. It was a sweet touch and is now on the coffee table in the living room.

Another colorful plant is in the alcove off the kitchen!

I received little gifts and exchanged emails and phone numbers and next week I’ll be having lunch with a few of “the girls.”  I cannot wait.  In addition, one of the HR recruiters kindly and generously offered to assist in updating and cleaning up my resume.   I’m a  lucky loser!

How cute is the mug and spoon from my co-worker Lori?  I will miss our conversations about her adorable dog and dog siblings!

And I thought back to 2015 when this blog was newly created.  I was on my first round of unemployment due to a corporate closure and this blog became my baby.  Over the years, I have had times when I wrote blog posts regularly and others (i.e., recently) where I didn’t write as much. My second blog post: A Weekend  In Brooklyn


Ahh..that great weekend in January of 2015.  How life has changed. I’ve been employed and unemployed. I got married to the Frenchman. Oona was working in NYC at the time. Now she’s married with two boys and working and living in Cincinnati.  Jake was working in NYC at the time and now lives and works in LA.  Roman is the lone New Yorker.  Due to the writer’s strike he’s been visiting.  Hopefully for his sake the strikes (actors as well) will be over soon!

Now, I’m returning to my “baby” and will most likely be bothering you with trials and tribulations and humorous happenings while deciding which path to take.  Although the unemployment benefits will assist me financially, I’ll be looking for a new position.  Will I return full-time as an executive assistant or receptionist?  Will I continue to work part-time?  Will I even find another job?

Season 6 Nbc GIF by The Office

I can’t wait to make executives sign documents again!

I mean—at 68 years, we are all well-aware that ageism in corporate America runs rampant. Will I be lucky?  Or will I be a number that enters the fraternity of the “retired” and opt to choose—or rather need to opt for retirement benefits since I cannot get hired.

Season 3 Retirement GIF by The Simpsons

I’m not ready for this life yet.  On the other hand, if I don’t become gainfully employed those politicians better keep their grubby hands off my Social Security Benefits!

It’s a crapshoot.  And I enjoy working.  Working keeps me young.  Working helps me to keep my mind in tune and to think, problem-solve and continue the stellar work ethic my parents instilled in me and my siblings, which I passed on to my children.

you got it boss

I happen to enjoy working. The busier the better!

The weekday, morning ritual of me getting prepared for the office that begins with my makeup and dressing along with the well-needed cup of coffee my husband prepares for me is one I treasure. Upon getting dressed, loading my bag, getting into the car, taking my shoes off because driving barefoot is my jam, hooking my iPhone up to listen to tunes on Spotify as I head off on my commute through Valley Forge Park, and repeating that process as I commute home, is one that I always look forward to.

It’s true. I love primping and preparing for work in the mornings. It’s a ritual along with my morning coffee!

Driving through the park makes me happy.  All four seasons are wonderous and beautiful as I drive past the lushness of summer, the vivid colors of early fall into the aesthetics of the fallen leaves, the bare skeletons of the trees both centuries old and newer that allow me a better view of the streams and hills and landscape that George Washington and company fought through, to the new life of the Crayola crayon Spring Green color of the buds and new leaves of Spring.

My favorite tree in Valley Forge Park. I love the way it appears with the different seasons. I especially love how it looks in late Autum through winter! I will miss the commute!

In addition, work is important to me because I like nice things.  Yeah. I have a side to me that is materialistic and I am transparent about it.  Our home is our castle.  And it may not be a millionaire’s décor but I love the things we have placed in it.

My vintage designer bags are my guilty pleasure.  I make no apologies. My inner Barbie loves all things beauty and skincare and clothing. I bear no shame.  And for this, a job is needed. And so, we’ll see what life brings

The vintage LV Saumur bag that was purchased for next to nothing on eBay and sent to Louis Vuitton Repair for Vachetta replacement. It costs a bit and I need a job to keep this up!

The Frenchman is happy because I will be baking his croissants, pain aux raisins and pain au chocolat on a more regular basis.  He has even signed me up for a baguette class upon our return to Paris in November.

WTF? Old People Have No Energy? | Atypical 60

I’ll have more time to perfect croissant baking!

Oh yeah. About Paris.  He surprised me.  Something to look forward to between possible job interviews and we’ll be spending Christmas in Cincinnati.  Oona is hosting so we’ll all be together at her house. I cannot wait to see what Santa Claus brings Owen and Bennett!  Roman is still affected by the writer’s strike so he will be visiting in a couple of weeks so I will be keeping busy during this time.

I prefer to be optimistic as well!

Little Miss Broadway (1938) -- (Movie Clip) Be Optimistic - Turner Classic  Movies

As Shirley Temple sang in “Little Miss Broadway” (my favorite Temple movie), “Be Optimistic” !  Shirley, I AM  trying!

But back to my life as a consumer.   If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I do appreciate nice clothing.  Not necessarily trendy—but more on the classic-with-an edge side and you are aware that J. Crew is my favorite store. And for now, I’ll have to be mindful and separate from J. Crew for a while.  As will I have to pull back from a good amount of stuff I purchase.

So, lets talk about a possible elephant in the room of this post.

Sustainability.  I try to be as conscientious, knowledgeable, and thoughtful as possibly when it comes to sustainability.  Especially as a consumer.  But there are times when I purchase from online vendors that are foreign and might not practice sustainability as well as they should.

This is not a judgement call nor should it be.  These companies can offer items that are incredibly affordable My take on this is leave the self-righteousness aside.  Not everyone can afford sustainable items—especially given the fact that many companies offering “sustainable” “ecologically-friendly” and “fair trade” items are incredibly expensive.

Sustainable Fashion GIF by Wantering

I try to be as responsible as humanly possible. However, perhaps the fashion industry should make clothing more affordable instead of hiking up the pricepoint for responsibility!

And when I did find out that the company I work for started laying executive-level personnel off, I had a very slight indication that my position could be on the chopping block although it still came as a shock.  With my indication, I, out of curiosity, went on the Temu website to sleuth down anything that could be conducive to my upcoming journey in cutting down on expenses.

Temu (marketplace) - Wikipedia

I’m gonna bet that most of you are either familiar with this logo or with the slightly annoying ads for this globally affordable online vendor.

And what I found was shocking and surprisingly positive as a consumer.

One of my sisters regularly orders from Temu and she can afford the best of the best—still, she loves a great bargain.  When we were visiting her a few weeks ago, I mentioned how I loved her straw summer bag. I thought it was a luxury brand.  When she told me she ordered from Temu, I almost fell over.  Then she went on to tell me she orders a lot of items from them.

I have ordered writing supplies and stickers in the past and had no issue, but I’ve never ordered clothing or other items.  Anyway, after perusing the site, I came across three items and purchased them.

From left to right:  A bright pink sweater, a wig, and a short-sleeved sweater in gray.

One, a long-sleeved bright mock turtleneck in a bright pink/raspberry shade.  It cost $12.09.  I was hesitant about the price and saw that the Large was equivalent to the US sizes 8 to 10.  So, I added it to my cart. Also ordered was a short-sleeved sweater.  Very classically cut.  Very basic but versatile. Also purchased in the size Large for 8/10. The last item ordered was a wig for the grand total of $12.97.  You best believe that my expectations were low—especially for the wig. But I ordered and within a week, my package from Temu arrived.

As my expectations were low, I was curious and filled with a bit of anxiety as I opened the package. And please allow me to say something about the packaging.  I appreciated the fact that the items did not arrive in an oversized cardboard box (Are you listening Nordstrom and Amazon?)  The items arrived packaged in a plastic bag (Okay. Not biodegradable but upon opening was placed in our recycle bin).  No space was wasted in the packaging.  Each item was also in a plastic zip-type bag which I immediately placed into my travel bag. Those bags are useful for packing complete outfits for travel.

I did appreciate the fact that the packaging didn’t take up wasted space!

Here’s what arrived in real life:

The bright sweater.  I was shocked at the softness and feel of this item.  Naturally, its acrylic, but it is lightweight and seemingly well-constructed. The sweater is slightly oversized which gives a nice look during this transitional time of summer-to-autumn. During this current September (Can you believe we are in the “ber” months already?) into October, this can be worn with shorts to give less of a summery appearance but maintaining comfort during warmer days.

The bright sweater.  It looks fine and is very soft..

The mock turtleneck can be turned down with ease and it stays put. The length is perfect and if preferred, can be ordered a size down for a more fitted look.  Due to the oversizing, I wouldn’t wear this with a blazer as it could be cumbersome.  Other than that, it looks fine, feels fine and I’m pleased.  I’ve had pricier sweaters that stretched out and lasted less than a month so I’m interested in the wear of this.

Summer-into-Autumn. Worn with a pair of Lilly Pulitzer shorts, this sweater is lightweight enough to wear through those last days of summer into early Autumn.

A closer look. For affordability you can’t top this.  We’ll see how it wears through the cooler and cold months!

The short-sleeved sweater.  At a cost of $8.09, this sweater is incredible. Let me tell you something—I’ve been looking for a sweater like this for a long time.  I have a similar one that is cashmere purchased at J. Crew years ago. It was expensive even though purchased on sale.  I also have two cotton sweaters like this that were purchased at J. Crew factory maybe seven or eight years back. I love them and they are summer, spring and fall-friendly.  And I believe they were about $25 at the time.  When I opened this, my crossed eyes nearly straightened out!

The gray short-sleeved sweater, aside from a few wrinkles that have since been steamed out, this was a GREAT purchase!

The color ordered was gray, and when I tried it on, I was surprisingly and extremely happy to the point I want to order one in black.   Its lightweight and light enough that it can be worn under a blazer with no problem and will be comfortable. The sleeves are a true short sleeve. Not capped nor are the sleeves too short. They are perfect. The bonding at the neckline, hems at the sleeves and bottom of the sweater  are very well-constructed. The neckline is perfect for a strand of pearls or for a delicate necklace.  The fit is wonderful and very long-waisted person friendly.  I’m wearing this as I type the description.  Its cool-morning, warmer mid-morning so worn with my white denim J. Crew shorts this is a great ensemble for this first day of September.  The shoulders fit beautifully. To be honest, there’s nothing wrong with this.  There is a tag with the components of the fabric:  30% viscose; 30 % polyamide;  20% modal and 20% Elastane so there is a slight bit of stretch which is even better for comfort.  Wash separately but I will and will air dry as I do with most of my clothes.  I tell you, this one is a gem!

Although still summer and worn with shorts, this will be worn with jeans, leggings, pants , skirts and blazers in the upcoming months. I tell you that sleeve length is everything!

Pre-steaming, you can get a better look. This sweater is amazing. And I feel no shame in purchasing it!

The wig. For $12.97 I was expecting close to a disposable head O’Hair.  Not so.  When I inspected this wig, I noticed that the wefting was on point, the adjustable bra-straps were fine and the basic cap construction was very good. The ear tabs are almost non-existent but there is a bit of lambswool-textured fabric where the normally wired ear tabs would be on a more expensive wig. For me, it is no big deal as I find ear tabs to be slightly annoying at times due to wearing glasses.

The wig. It is  not luxury and isn’t expensive and nobody is going into debt purchasing it.  

The try on. The length was a tad long for my personal taste. However the density is good. And the color blend is excellent!

The parting space feels a bit like strong paper under the lace lined cap and appears very thin but the bangs/fringe are cut high so the part is not an integral item of the wig’s appearance.  The length was a bit too long for my personal taste so I took a scissor and cut up into the length to make it conducive to my liking. I also trimmed the bangs slightly. And now, I have to say, I am a fan of this incredibly inexpensive wig.  For the price, the style is on point. It is nicely angled, the blending of the shades of brown to blonde is excellent.  This makes for a most appropriate wig for running errands, headed out to a movie, lunch with friends and more casual events.  Would I wear this to a wedding or very special occasion? Probably not and the only reason is the parting space. But then again, maybe I would.

A little trim works wonders. This wig looks fantastic!

 Not every woman (or man) can afford a pricey wig.  There are many people out there on a very limited budget. And nobody should ever be made to feel less than beautiful about themselves. I really have an issue with the plethora of “wig influencers” out there.  Many have a full head of hair and are shilling for a code commission.  Others review gifted wigs, review after wearing one time, then turn around and sell them for almost full-price.  And most women have this notion that if you do not go into debt for a “good” wig or if you do not buy a “good” wig you will look awful and the wig will look wiggy.

hair snob GIF by Nah Cardoso

Wig snobs and wig influencers should NOT be manipulating you into purchasing expensive wigs.  Stay within your budget. There ARE good wigs that are affordable!

I have some expensive wigs that look wiggy. I have expensive wigs that look fantastic.  And although I review wigs, I don’t receive commission nor do I hand out codes. I am not an ambassador for any one brand.  I am simply a woman who wears wigs daily due to hair loss. I review wigs but would never pressure someone to purchase a wig that they cannot afford.  And this just barely 13 USD wig is wonderful and amazingly affordable.  If there is anyone out there on a limited budget and may not be able to purchase a brand name wig, head to Temu and order this.  There are also other wigs for purchase but this is the one that moved my needle.

Oh. I see this is now $11.97!   It’s even more affordable!

In other news, my leg is healing. Its disgusting looking but is healing. I am airing it out and have been applying ointment on it.  I am also running away from Chippy who insists on trying to lick my wound.  I am trying to avoid my husband as we watch TV in our bedroom. He is mistakenly hit my wound which does not bode well with me.

Photo taken Thursday. On this Sunday as I write this,  the leg has healed even more. MOHS surgery. 

Yesterday , we headed to the beach for that last weekend of the summer. My leg was well-bandaged. No way am I going into the salt water because it will sting my boo-boo.  But you can rest assured I was  slathered in sunscreen and sitting under an umbrella wearing my “Gam Gam” baseball cap! Let me tell you, I have been called many things—some not so nice, but being called gam gam is my favorite title (next to mom) ever!

The briny saltiness of the Atlantic came nowhere near my wound!

My Gam Gam baseball cap! I love it and wear it proudly! I ordered from a friend of my daughter’s–they went to college at Maryland together and Oona has ordered clothing for both Owen and Bennett from  Green Moon Baby Co. 

Have a great Labor Day weekend. Enjoy it as we head into September and autumn and the coming holidays.  And if you enjoy everything pumpkin spice, good for you because I’ll pass!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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21 Responses to On Job Loss, Affordability, and Sustainability and More

  1. Elizabeth L says:

    Good luck to you, Catherine, as you navigate this latest phase in your life. It is never easy to lose a job you love; missing one’s work family and the feeling of making a difference or having an impact, no matter how small, is extremely difficult. That said, you seem resilient and a survivor, and I’m guessing you’ll land on your feet. Plus- Paris! and family time to anticipate. Please keep writing- your blog is always refreshingly honest and engaging.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Elizabeth. It isn’t easy. It makes you doubt yourself no matter HOW many times you’re ex-boss tells you it isn’t you (to the point of suspicion) then hires a friend. Yeah. I’ll be fine. And thank you so much!!!

  2. Judy says:

    Oh Catherine, they are going to miss you. I guess these things happen, we can’t stop them and you are obviously much loved by your co-workers. One door shuts, and another opens. In the meantime, we are the ones who benefit from your extra time! Keep smiling, and good luck! xx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Judy. I’m very much trying to remain positive. I go through stages of crying then being okay. What I’m not okay with is the way I was let go and the person who took my place by having two jobs morphed into one but I’ll get over it. I need to be angry for a while then let it subside!! LOL!

  3. Lynn McClain says:

    I thought you looked beautiful in that wig and what a bonus for women who need something affordable. I follow a Jewish couple on TikTok (I’m an atheist, but their cult fascinates me) and the wife is forced to wear wigs. The average cost is $3900 to $4700 (and these women have hair). They need to check Temu! Thank you for the best blog – I look so forward to it

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lynn, I follow a couple of Jewish Wig makers on Instagram. They cater to the orthodox community. I’ve seen beautiful wigs and also have seen “wiggy” wigs on Hasidic women. And spending thousands of dollars on a wig is just silly to me. They will only last as long as the way the wig wearer takes care of the wig. And there are a lot of women who cannot afford that kind of money to spend on anything let alone a wig! thank you! And I hope that people don’t give you problems when they find out you are an Atheist. Atheism deserves respect as well as any religious ideology does!

  4. juliet says:

    That is utterly, utterly crap to be let go – I am so sorry to hear. I’m sorry for your former employers too, but if they are determinedly THAT stupid to let a such a stellar employee go, then they deserve karma and honestly there are limits to how sympathetic I am for them.

    As for “sustainable” fashion – don’t start me or I will be spitting feathers. The problem is how we treat fashion – ANY fashion, it’s ALL disposable… essentially it’s how you look after the purchases you make. You aren’t wearing it as a one off, you hand wash / look after your clothing and you air dry a lot of it, you are not part of the landfill mentality and you don’t get your kicks from constant reinventions of your complete self via instagram (sustainability is one thing but the sustainable mental health of these often younger people is another side issue). You can buy from companies screaming their eco-credentials and still be shafted, “greenwashing” is a thing after all. Buy what you love, buy classics and buy what as they are under the parent company of a big conglomerate that is anything but ethical, you intend to keep and appreciate. I get annoyed with people telling us that we need to buy with OUR money and preaching sustainability to older generations, we are NOT the problem. The ordinary souls in other countries making these garments also need to live and eat too, no I don’t have the answers.

    Good luck of the job hunt or any new opportunities/possibilities xxx

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Juliet! As far as the job goes–I’m more upset that I wasn’t asked to stay on but all it takes is one person. I found out my ex-boss hired a “friend” for the position of office manager. There’s so much more I can say but I won’t. I’ll just remain as positive as possible. Regarding sustainability: You nailed it! NAILED. IT! My clothing is never a “one-off” which is why I have a ton of clothing in storage bins in the garage. I was thinking of selling via poshmark or mercari but I can’t deal with people complaining if they don’t like the items that I TAKE GREAT CARE OF! And you’re correct. I, too, am fed up with the “do-gooders” out there. Both young and old with their bullshit about sustainability. People need to eat and those jobs are helping. They bitch about working environments in other countries but they never mention the abusive working conditions here in the States! And let me tell you that most corporations want staff to be at their disposal well-after working hours! Bravo to you!

  5. Eleanor ford says:

    I had a squamous removed from the exact spot! It looks a bit rough but it’s healed.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Eleanor. That is some tough spot. It’s healing but taking forever. My dermatologist told me it would take a while. I’m currently letting it air out! LOL!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Oh this was such a pleasure to read. I love how descriptive you were about Temu, I have never visited their website but now I will. Looking forward to reading more blogs in the future. Cute cap on you. Happy almost Fall

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Elizabeth. I try to be as descriptive as possible because the site, for me, has been positive. Same with my sister. Granted, the sweaters are incredible and I’ve ordered more of the short sleeved. The wigs are fine and perfect for wearing in inclemint weather. I’m happy with the company! Glad I was able to give you a positive description!

  7. emjayandthem says:

    I’m sorry about your job loss, ugh!! Your post helped me realize I am have some spendy tendencies, too and I like nice things and having the $ to buy them. Thank you for the review of Temu, I’ve wondered about them, Love the sweaters!! Sending you good vibes for full healing, a new part-time job with people who adore you, and all the deals to be found! 🙂 MJ

  8. Mary Di Giacomo says:

    I am so sorry that you lost your job, but from a completely selfish perspective, I am happy there will be more of your wonderful columns. They are funny and informative and inspiring!

  9. Sheila Clarke says:

    I felt terrible when I read that you’d be laid off. I was only laid off once (I was an RN and there were some big cuts and I didn’t have the seniority to keep my job) and while I knew it was going to happen, it was still a shock and I was devastated. I was a single mom and it all worked out but man, I think it was a stress that took years off my life. Anyway, I think the company will regret letting you go.

    I bought my first wig! I have a topper I love but decided to try a wig. It wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t horribly expensive either. I have such mixed feelings about companies like Temu. We want jobs to stay in North America (I’m Canadian) but we want things to cost less. It’s a big problem. Anyway, on to the wig – I am loving the look and think it probably won’t be my last wig buy. I went with my own colour (silver? grey? whatever) – it’s a perfect match as is my topper. I used to have thick hair but sadly, not anymore. And people didn’t know I wore a topper – I didn’t hide the fact – but it looks so natural (and so much better than my own hair!).

    Good luck with the job hunt. Something will come up.

  10. Kedy says:


  11. I’ve enjoyed reading this post. My I share your posts on my blog, please, if possible-?

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