It’s time to settle up the bill | AspenTimes.com
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It’s time to settle up the bill

The Aspen lifestyle has finally caught up with me.What do you mean, what do I mean? Hello, I’m broke. Actually, I’m more than broke if you consider my mounting debt, so technically I have less than zero. I feel like I should rub soot all over my face and hobble around town in shoes with holes. This is so not how I imagined my life in Aspen playing out (cue banging fists, hair pulling and screaming). What this all means is that the party, my darlings, is officially over. The worst part is no one feels sorry for me because they’ve all seen me trotting around town with new this and new that. They’ve seen the coy shrug and mischievous smile I’ve used as the standard reply for “How much was it?”Look, I’ll admit it’s partly my fault. I mean, no one tied a gun to my head or whatever and forced me into buying stuff I couldn’t afford. But there were influences.Like everything else in my life that goes wrong, this is so totally my mom’s fault. She’s the one who always said, “You get what you pay for.” She raised me with nice things and stressed the importance of quality, workmanship and good material. She’d always say things like, “it’s so well made,” or “it’s so unique – you’re never going to see anyone else wearing anything like it.” This is a woman who took me to SoHo when I was 12 – not to shop, but to “browse,” so I came to view high-end boutiques as fine art galleries. She trained me to beeline for the most expensive thing in the store like one of those drug dogs they have at immigration and then reinforced it with statements like, “You obviously have good taste.”I read this article in Bazaar magazine that suggested breaking down designer purchases into a per-use cost. Say you buy a Louis Vuitton bag for $900 but you carry it 200 days a year. It’s only $4.50 per use. Those damn fashion magazine editors – and you know they get all that crap for free.Not to mention the ladies who work retail in this town are genius. They make shopping fun and are so good at doting on me and giving me personal attention that I’d rather visit them than see my therapist when I’m feeling blue. At Goldies, they literally start cheering when I walk in the door and always say the right things like, “Oh my GOD! You’re still SO SKINNY! Let me grab you a size 2 in that.”Then there’s always the ol’ going out to dinner with your 10 best alcoholic friends scenario. You choose one of the four restaurants open that’s offering some fabulous offseason special so they can get rid of stuff before it goes bad. Before you know it, your table has had like 45 drinks, effectively doubling the cost of the bill (70 BUCKS EACH?). So much for that “special deal.” Especially at that place where they charge like two bucks for these tiny thimbles of sour cream: Nothing makes me feel more pathetic than licking one of those things clean. Let’s just say those little nights out quickly add up. All I can say is, thank God I’m not a coke fiend! Can you imagine?Well, guess what. It’s finally occurred to me that (Bingo!) I simply don’t have the money to live this way. OK, fine! I’ll admit it. I guess I sort of assumed I’d be married by now or at least made my first million off this book that would miraculously write itself. (This is the part where someone throws drowning girl one of those inner tubes on a string before she gets swept out to sea. Help! Rescue me! Rescue me!)Seeing that my little bubble has burst and I have woken up and left the dream world I’ve inhabited for say, the last 30 years, I’m ready to face the facts.I had a revelation, an epiphany of sorts. I’ve decided I’m going to work more and spend less! That said, I might have the situation pretty well resolved by the end of the summer (like August 2010).Meanwhile, I am doing a little experiment. For one, I’m going to see how long I can last with the clothes I already have, considering my sizable wardrobe is overflowing out of my too-small closets and single dresser. Not to mention I have jeans in every size, from depressed-and-starving to fat-and-happy, which should suffice from now until I’m 90, in terms of fit.I’m done with all the fancy European hair and skin products and am thinking about going back to all American classics, like Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo and Dove soap, just to see what happens. I figure I can manage most of my personal grooming with a razor, a set of tweezers and a few cucumber slices (the puffy eye thing really is a problem). I read somewhere that even Angelina Jolie uses nothing but Vaseline to keep her lips healthy and moist – or maybe it was mineral oil. I can’t remember.I can live on beans and rice and maybe sweet potatoes and then I’ll call myself a vegan because it makes being too poor to eat prime rib sound cool.I can picture myself in six months, all-natural with long, loose sun-streaked curls (remember lemon juice?), faded old jeans with holes, and that Polo shirt that’s “fashionably worn.” I’ll wear floppy hats and clogs and just be super low maintenance, one of those people who leaves the house with wet hair and takes five minutes to get ready. I might even have a few dollars in the bank.Either that or I’ll end up with zits, frizzy hair and bad clothes. All I can say is I just hope that being a true princess is priceless.If you’d like to make a donation to the Save the Princess fund, e-mail alison@berkleymedia.com.


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