By Samantha Powell

Samantha Powell writes about fashion and other stuff. Her dream is to one day write an in-depth look at the history of the handshake. She usually tweets while sitting in the corner of bars wishing that people would take their hats off when inside.

  1. Samantha Powell's previous work for The Toast can be found here. In my childhood and early adolescence, Boston was filled with movie theaters. Over time many of them shuttered as the city transformed from a place that felt like home to one that I had trouble recognizing. Most of those old theaters were hidden away. One neighbored a Chili’s in a corner of my local mall. Another sat tucked next to one of the…

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  2. Samantha Powell's previous work for The Toast can be found here. I didn’t know that November 29th, 2013 would be my final Black Friday working in retail. I did know that for the first time in ages I was going to buy something on that day, although it wouldn't be a gift for someone else. It would be one for myself. The business cards arrived not long after I placed the order using the…

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  3. When I finally decided that California was going to happen, I compiled a mental list of full of logistical questions. Where would I live? How would I get around once there? What in the name of all that was holy was I going to do about my clothes and shoes? I worked in apparel retail for nearly four and a half years during that second stay at home, and no matter how responsible you say…

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  4. Before we parted ways at the airport, my mother handed me an envelope. From its size I knew that it held a greeting card, but its thickness revealed that there was something hidden in between those cardboard words of farewell. She told me to open it. Inside there was money, which I half expected. I knew that she wouldn’t be able to help herself even though I told her that there would be no need…

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  5. When people ask me about the best gift that I’ve ever received, I almost always give the same answer. On the occasion of my fourth birthday, my mother presented me with a Barbie Dream House (with working elevator). It was my little girl alpha and omega. The response usually elicits a laugh and a head shake. That was so long ago. Something, anything, must have pushed it from its pedestal by now. But at that…

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  6. Let’s begin here. Happy Birthday is a horrible song that gets exponentially worse as the number of people singing it grows. No one knows what tempo to choose and at least a third of the group starts too high and by the time the third Happy Birthday rolls around the room is filled with questionable falsettos and half-assed head voices. I spent my 26th birthday quietly. In my opinion there was little to celebrate. But…

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  7. I spent a lot of my first two years of college sick. The source of my physical unraveling had little to do with the normal collegiate vices. I didn’t experience a hangover until my senior year and I was often struck by a case of temporary muteness around people of the opposite sex. I even avoided The Great Pink Eye Outbreak that ravaged our campus during my freshman year. (How bad was that outbreak? So…

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  8. There are four notebooks living in my room. Three are in current use, filled with fashion scribbles, abandoned essay ideas, and half-finished cover letters. The fourth fell out of rotation nearly five years ago although the height of its use dates back even further. It had been less a notebook and more a journal containing a close accounting of certain events. Unlike most of my books and a considerable percentage of my clothes, I couldn’t…

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  9. At one time or another I had most of the crushes expected of a straight, teen girl growing up in the 1990s. My rather ridiculous Leonardo DiCaprio phase resulted in my owning a VHS copy of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, tearing pictures out of teen glossies, and regularly updating a fan website that has thankfully disappeared into the internet ether. When not outing my ownership of said site on publicly read blogs of note,…

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  10. I was bad at all things boy-related right from the start. By age 25 things hadn't gotten much better. I was oblivious to those who paid attention and enthralled by those who looked straight through me. It’s not the most unique description of a young adult’s romantic life as everyone was stupid and young once. Some of us continue to be stupid and old. On a Saturday night about three months out from my 26th…

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  11. I lived my first three weeks in Los Angeles as if I were on vacation. Of course there was work to attend to Monday through Friday and a more permanent living situation to find, but there was also wine to drink and food to eat and money to spend in a reckless manner. The lingering echoes of my long-running employment woes can be found everywhere. Whenever I think that I have uncovered them all, another…

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  12. I can think myself out of most anything. I can squeeze the joy out of an experience in exchange for the dry and the logical with ease. But as I've gotten older and more invested in holding close those things that make me feel happy, I've gotten better at stopping myself before all of that begins. I've never been cool about music. I rarely know what's new and hip. I’ve spent most of my life…

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  13. I don’t remember exactly when I decided to stop writing, but I do know that it all began to unravel soon after the start of seventh grade. The preceding summer was filled with all of the usual things. Attending camp at the local YMCA. Half-assing my way through my violin lessons. Devouring entire Mary Higgins Clark mysteries in between chapters of Oliver Twist. (Dickens and I had a complicated relationship right from the start.) It…

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  14. There I was, a recently 30-year-old woman. Girl? Lady? Who knows. I spent a good amount of time in the run-up to The Birthday thinking about what I would call myself once that milestone was reached. But the many moving parts of my brain never quite settled on one choice. For now, let’s go with lady. It’ll make this story sound fancier than it is, like I’m a brooding yet whip-smart heroine in a Charlotte…

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  15. "Trophy" is never a word people use to describe something that someone loves. Trophies are about possession and pride and objectification. Above all, trophies are seen and not heard. It’s for these reasons, and many others, that so many people chafe when they’re categorized as one. I should know. I’ve been the trophy of many for longer than I’d care to mention. I don’t think that it’s overreaching to say that we live in an…

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