Category Archives for "Shopping"

A few shout outs

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I’m a big supporter of indie artists and small business owners.

Just to clarify, I’m talking about owners of small businesses, not business owners who happen to be small, although I’m fans of theirs as well.

I’m a fan of all shapes and sizes!

Just to clarify, *I* am not all shapes and sizes. Just a fan of them.

Why must the written word be so confusing? Maybe blogs should be spoken instead of written? They could be called slogs instead of blogs!

Who do I see about making that happen?

In the meantime, I wanted to give a shout out to two different small businesses because in this world of WalMarts and Targets and Kohls, it’s often very difficult for the little guy to get a piece of the action.

The world would be a much nicer, more relaxed place if everybody got a little action every now and then, don’t you think? That’s what my husband says, anyway.

First up is Liz Nonnemacher. Remember Liz? I interviewed her last year and compared her to a flatulent boat before that. She owns Wickedly Chic, the one-stop online shop for indie goods. If you are an independent artist who needs exposure or some savvy marketing, or you’re shopping for something different, something that everyone and their neighbor’s mother-in-law doesn’t already own, check out Liz’s site. Just so you know, in her spare time, she dresses up her dog in scarves and posts about it on Facebook and dispenses really good, free advice. Recently, she told me that I was awesome and should never drink from someone else’s nipples. You know how much a therapist would have charged me for that little nugget?

Right now, Liz is hosting her 4th Annual Wickedly Chic Spring Fling. Go check out all the artists and businesses she’s featuring. There’s jewelry and makeup and hair products and clothing and more. Tell her I sent you. And then tell her I said to stop putting clothes on dogs because only weird people do that. And then tell her that I’m perfectly aware that we’ve got an extra-small Buffalo Bills jersey with four leg holes floating somewhere around this house and the fact that my husband paid $25 for it, to the glee of both my kids who are old enough to know better, pretty much makes my case for me.

 

Next up is Claire Gutschow. Claire was born in South Africa and now lives in California and has a forty year old cousin who runs around naked while camping which is neither here (thank God) nor there (now *you* thank God) but I always find it helpful to share with my readers a little trivia about any business or artist I might feature.

Claire used to work in a top international skin care company back in the day and now? She’s running her own skin care line called Fei’d (pronounced “fade” for those of you who were wondering how to pronounce it and thinking there are entirely too many apostrophes in this world.) This skin care line is a cross between Chinese medicine and western science and is specifically formulated for uneven skin tone, dark marks and pigmentation. In other words, WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? <—- so screams all the skin residing between my scalp and my toes.

One of the aspects I like best about Claire’s work is her philosophy of giving back … money that she could be spending on big, expensive ad campaigns for Fei’d is instead being directed to help promote education and educational support through children’s organizations in third world countries.

You can have pretty skin and help out a child in need which is like a win/win with extra hot fudge and a big ass spoon.

I’d get out my soapbox but it’s hiding somewhere on the couch along with my initiative and ambition this morning so instead, I’ll just simply remind you to please support independent artists and small business owners! It’s good karma and karma is like peanut butter … it’s best when spread thick and all over the place.

Only the smooth kind of karma though! Crunchy karma is kind of gross.

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We bought a new washer and dryer and that’s why my boobs are crooked

At precisely 3:00 p.m., this past Sunday, our dryer decided to audition for every single role in the Broadway show Stomp. Simultaneously. In surround sound. After three minutes, it developed sudden onset narcolepsy and still hasn’t woken up.

By 3:15 p.m., we were at Lowes, looking at dryers that had no musical aspirations or sleep disorders. Then we looked at washers as well because our own had begun exhibiting signs of multiple personality disorder in that sometimes it was a washing machine and sometimes it was a ginormous, toothless mouth that treated a load of laundry like a jawbreaker, rolling it around and sucking on it long enough to remove its bright colors and all its flavors before spitting out its saliva-saturated carcass.

I affectionately referred to our washer and dryer by such endearments as “DUMB” and “DUMBER” when I was in a good mood and “F&CK” and “YOU” when I wasn’t.

By 3:45 p.m.,, I had discovered that I had lost the ability to read because it turned out that the signs hanging above the washers and dryers which I thought advertised “We’ll call our competitors for their prices while you wait!” actually advertised “NO WE WON’T. BECAUSE WE’RE BIG, FAT LIARS AND YOU ARE LITTLE IMPOTENT CONSUMERS.” I realized this phenomenon after two salesman declined to call another local appliance store for me. I marched over to Nate and asked him whether I should complain, who should I complain to and whether or not we had time for me to pitch a full-on hissy by the Samsung display and still get home by dinner time but he wasn’t listening because he was too busy calling the local appliance store for price comparisons. So in a sense, he was doing their job and not getting paid for it. And believe you me, we could have used that money so that we could throw it right back into Lowes’ collective face to pay for F&CK and YOU’s replacements.

I would have asked Nate to stop the slave labor gig long enough to witness the spectacle I was about to make of myself but he shoved the phone into my hand because he’s allergic to conversation with faceless strangers and then I was too busy asking the local appliance store rep for price comparisons because it turns out that it’s surprisingly easy to do other peoples’ jobs and not get paid for it, especially when you’re distracted by things like steam options, RPMs and inconspicuously feeling yourself up underneath your coat to determine if your bra had somehow unhinged itself or maybe you completely forgot to put one on before rushing out the door to cure your narcoleptic dryer and do other peoples’ jobs without getting paid for it. By the time I got off the phone, my boobs were askew and I had forgotten all about the hissy because it’s really hard to concentrate on anything when your mammary glands are flying willy nilly.

Way to ruin what might have been a spectacular and justified hissy, Nate. Or my bra. Whichever. Apparently, neither one of them realize how rare a spectacular and justified hissy is to come by these days.

By 4:00 p.m., I had arrived at that prime piece of mental real estate located at the corner of Analyze and Paralyze and for those of you who want to accomplish a similar feat in record time, I suggest you do the following:

  • Ask the opinions and expertise of three different salesmen, one of whom was on his way to dinner and simply thought you were going to ask him directions to the ladies room. It’s not your fault he’s a newbie;
  • Ask another local appliance store for their opinions on Whirlpool vs. Maytag, top loading vs. front loading, the odds of a bra unhinging itself and the pros and cons of pitching stellar and justified hissies in the middle of large home improvement stores with your husband who could not care less;
  • Ask your husband to make the final decision so that if/when the new appliances break two days after their warranties expire, you can assess blame accordingly;
  • Worry about asymmetric cleavage.

By 4:30 p.m., I knew everything I ever wanted to know about front load washers and dryers, to wit:

  • They are expensive;
  • They are energy efficient;
  • They are freaking expensive;
  • They are shiny and kind of sexy;
  • They are expensive because they’re energy efficient, shiny and kind of sexy;
  • They have almost as many buttons as the space shuttle;
  • They cost $WHATTHEHELLARETHEYSMOKINGANDCANIHAVESOME?

You’d think I’d be ecstatically happy to have a new washer and dryer and if we had won the mega millions last week like I told Nate to make sure we did, I’d be jumping for joy but as it turned out, some old couple won the mega millions and will probably buy new outfits and underwear every day for the rest of their lives and won’t even need a front loading washer or dryer and I suppose I can take heart in the fact that they’re pretty old and probably won’t live much longer so they won’t end up buying *that* many outfits but honestly, that makes me sound like a heartless bitch when in reality, I’m simply just jealous and bitter.

So when it comes to getting a spankin’ brand new, shiny, sexified washer and dryer, I’m not so much ecstatically happy as I am CLOTHES ARE OVERRATED. LET’S MOVE TO A NUDIST COLONY WHERE EVERYONE IS BLIND.

These Whirlpool Duets are going to be delivered this Saturday. I’m going to call them “Zoe’s first year of college” and “Helena’s braces” when I’m in a good mood and HOLY GODDAMN SHITBALLS, YOU BETTER LAST TWENTY YEARS and HOLY GODDAMN SHITBALLS, I FREAKING MEAN IT when I’m not.

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Weekend regurgitation: Not shopping at the mall

Today, for the first time in a week, I will not be going to the mall.

I will not drive up and down a congested parking lot.

So that I can exchange something.

Or so that anyone else can exchange something.

Or spend the money or gift cards they received for Christmas.

While I stand there with no money or gift cards.

Staring at the outfit I bought two weeks ago that is now 90% off.

Nor will I utter the words No, I am not buying you a pretzel.

Or I don’t care if Auntie Annes has the best pretzels on the planet.

Nor will I holler after my daughter MAKE SURE YOU GET ME A PRETZEL SIX PACK WITH A SIDE OF CREAM CHEESE.

I leave you with a post I wrote … wow, almost three years ago now … about another Christmas season when Nate decided not to go to the mall either.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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Wii … the odyssey

(originally published May, 2008)

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We’re all familiar with this little gem, right? I give you the Wii, in all its glory:

Last November, my husband wasn’t a big fan. When I broached the subject of getting a Wii for the kids for Christmas by saying “hey, why don’t we get a Wii for the kids” my husband took that to mean “hey, why don’t we get a PlayStation 3 for the kids” because he’s quirky that way. When I responded that the kids didn’t want a PlayStation 3, they wanted a Wii, he tried to dazzle me with techno jargon about how superior the graphics were on a PlayStation 3 and how awesome they would look on our brand spanking new TV.

TV did you say? You mean that 42″ ultra modern, flat-screen behemoth of high-definition that dwarfs everything around it and currently resides in our living room with all of our normal sized furniture? That “bargain” of a monstrosity that was only going to cost this much but actually wound up costing that much because we couldn’t have a TV like that without having the proper stand on which to put it, the appropriate receiver with which to run it, the best speakers with which to hear it and the top-of-the-line remote with which to control it? The TV I didn’t want? That one?

We had a sit-down with the kids to discuss the Wii vs. PS3 scenario. Nate had our eldest almost convinced that PS3 was the second coming while our youngest was steadfast in her desire for a Wii but willing to negotiate in exchange for a later bedtime. I finally convinced the family that the Wii was the better choice as it retailed for about half of the PS3 and was better suited for family time. It was a struggle and there were tears and temper tantrums and hissy fits but Nate got over himself and finally conceded.

Nate thought he would just walk into Target or Best Buy and pick one up after work. I asked him if something heavy had hit him on the head and then dragged him to the aforementioned behemoth parked in our living room so that he could see the CNN sound bites showing mobs of people lining up for days to get one. It then became Nate’s personal mission in life to get us a Wii, come hell or high water, so help him God.

To his credit, Nate did try the conventional approach once. He woke up at 4:00 am, drove through the bitter cold, sleet and snow to stand in line at Kmart for a shipment of Wii Systems expected that morning (by the way, what exactly is the plural of Wii? WiiWiis?) After about an hour, a blithely unaware Kmart employee came out and announced to the 50+ cold, wet, hungry, caffeine-deprived customers that a newly arrived shipment of twenty-six Wii Systems would be available in minutes. I have no idea if that poor guy ever made it out alive. All I know is Nate came home around 6:00 a.m., empty handed and with a dazed expression, mumbling something about mob mentality, rioting and Darwin’s Law.

I told Nate about an online service that sent notifications of newly arrived Wii Systems at local Wal-Marts and wouldn’t it be a nifty idea if we signed up? No, apparently we did not have time for such nonsense and besides, Nate had a plan.

And that plan went something like this:

On November 21, 2007 Nate purchased a brand new, unopened, factory-sealed, receipt-attached Wii off eBay. He paid nearly double the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Approximately 9.2 seconds after submitting his PayPal payment, he became ticked that the seller didn’t immediately respond. Through gritted teeth, I suggested that he calm the hell down and give the seller a break since it was the night before Thanksgiving. Then I left the room before I killed him.

On November 22, 2007, after Thanksgiving dinner, Nate purchased a second brand new, unopened, factory-sealed, receipt-attached Wii off eBay for a little over double the MSRP as a backup plan. I should have known something was up as he had been staring at his laptop for hours, during which time I actually touched and held the TV remote, an act that normally causes him to twitch, break out in hives and have a seizure.

Did I mention that the receipts clearly showed that both Wii Systems had been purchased from a Wal-Mart? I didn’t? Well, they did. And it was all I could do to remain vertical as I literally watched sparks fly off my body and fought the urge to dismember him right there on the spot. Then I disassociated from my earthly body and went to the Land of Denial where it’s sunshine all the time and no one bothers me and I look thin and pretty.

A couple of days later, we were the proud owners of two brand new Wii Systems. And then Nate came home from work and what do you suppose he was carrying? Flowers? Chocolate? A prescription for Xanax? No. He was carrying a third brand new, unopened, factory-sealed, receipt-attached Wii.

When he saw that I was nanoseconds from outright spontaneous combustion, he quickly explained that he had purchased this Wii for only $30 over the MSRP, no eBay/PayPal transactions were involved, and he would list the other two Wii Systems on eBay that very night and recoup our money. I questioned him as to where he got this particular Wii. Oh, funny story this one … his co-worker bought it from Wal-Mart that very day. And how did he know to go to Wal-Mart that very day for a Wii? Nate muttered something about a lucky email. Oh yeah, that extra $30? That was just to compensate his co-worker for all of his efforts in procuring a Wii for Nate. I actually don’t remember too much after this. I might have passed out.

But I’m thinking that it just may have been worth it:

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When I die, my tombstone will have ARE YOU SURE engraved on it

One of the best things about losing 45 pounds and reaching goal weight is the opportunity to run out and buy a brand new wardrobe. Or so I’ve heard. I wouldn’t actually know because I have yet to do just that which explains why I’m writing this while decked out in my trusty, pilled, faded, stretched-out, aqua-colored sweats, circa 1989. They make me feel skinny every time the crotch hangs down by my ankles and they coordinate with my purple, ripped, frayed Prince and the Revolution t-shirt perfectly.

For all of you silently breathing a huge sigh of relief that I haven’t yet learned how to vlog … you’re welcome.

I’m not sure what is preventing me from buying a new wardrobe. Other than our bank account, I mean. Maybe it’s because I am woefully indecisive. Maybe it’s some sort of subconscious flashback to when I was heavier and I’d try on clothes and leave a trail of tears across dressing rooms throughout western New York. Or maybe it’s because I suffer from a medical condition where anytime I have to spend money on myself, my hands turn into cold, dead things from which money has to be pried with a bionic crowbar. I’m not sure if there’s an official JAMA term for this affliction which compels me to spend hours deciding on whether or not to fork over the money for something only to return it to the store the next day but I’m going to go with Ying Yang: Ying being my inability to make a quick retail-related decision and Yang being my husband’s ability to drop $25 on a miniature Buffalo Bills jersey for our seven pound shihpoo without a second thought.

Marriage is all about balance, is it not?

While I have not replaced my entire wardrobe, I have managed to pick up a few things here and there.

I picked up this leather jacket at Marshalls. It was on clearance and it fit perfectly. But really, it was such a steal that even if it hadn’t fit like a glove, even if the armpits served as tourniquets and caused my arms to whither from blood loss and I wound up cutting them off with my ignition key in housewares and leaving them on a shelf with some mismatched dinnerware, I’d have been crazy not to buy it.  But that didn’t stop me from hemming and hawing and analyzing and paralyzing and then texting Zoe who was shopping with me for her opinion. And by shopping with me, I mean that she was clear across the store, pretending she was not shopping with me lest she saw anyone she knew.

She texted me back from the shoe department and told me it looked great. I texted Are you sure? And she texted me Yes! and then asked why I insisted on spelling out every word and using punctuation in my texts. I then texted Stp Try N On Who Chi Shoz Cuz UR Not ByIn Thm Is Ths BetR. She texted back with ??? So I texted Stop trying on hootchie shoes because you’re not buying them. Is this better?

She didn’t text me back and I can only assume her battery died.

Then I texted Nate a photo of me wearing the jacket and asked his thoughts. I did this twenty times as I didn’t believe his first nineteen responses of YES BUY IT because it’s hard to trust the opinion of a man who recently thought it was a good idea to spend $140 on a supersonic juicer for a family who doesn’t drink juice.

I can only assume his battery died as well.

So I bought the jacket. It was exhausting.

I bought these boots at Kohls. They were on sale and I didn’t even have to ask for anyone’s opinion before buying them! I just wanted to.

Go me!

I’m not sure what’s going on with me lately but I am really liking the whole black leather/biker look. Nate even asked me what was up with my quasi bondage predilection and I was all I’m kind of feeling a little Leather Tuscadero-ish and he was all Want me to grease my hair back and buy a black leather jacket and boots and motorcycle? Heeeeeeyyyyyyy and then he gave me a double thumbs up and tried to seduce me, which is actually kind of hard to do with your thumbs stuck up in the air. And then I was all HEY FONZIE, I DON’T SLEEP WITH MY SISTER’S BOYFRIEND. WHAT KIND OF SKANK DO YOU THINK I AM? And then his thumbs went flaccid. The end.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever buy boots with metal studs on them made by a manufacturer called Candies and pair them with some *gasp* skinny jeans and a leather jacket, I would have laughed in your face and then taken your temperature. Rectally, if I was really worried about you. Or you pissed me off.

Lately, I’ve been buying a little jewelry. These earrings and bracelets also came from Kohls and this time, I really didn’t ask for anyone’s opinion! I may have demanded it, but I certainly didn’t ask for it. There’s a difference. It’s subtle, but it’s there.

Accessories are something new for me and I think it has everything to do with feeling more comfortable in my skin. Aside from the occasional Harry Mason indulgence, I had all but avoided wearing anything that might sparkle and attract attention before I lost my weight. Nowadays, I’m actually liking a little bit of bling!

Who knows? Next Halloween, I might even dress up as Las Vegas.

I just bought this Guess purse at Macy’s on Monday, partly because I’ve always lusted after a Guess purse and partly because every single cheapie purse I’ve bought in the last fifteen years has a tendency to break and/or fall apart at the most inopportune moments, like in the middle of the mall on Black Friday when I’m already earning a hernia from carrying ten heavy shopping bags in my hands and don’t have enough fingers, armpits or wherewithal to hold on to a purse that won’t stay on my shoulders and I’m SO OVER IT, GIVE ME A COOKIE ALREADY.

While I actually love this color combination, the purse I bought is black. Shocking, I know. It was on sale and with the coupon from that day’s paper, I got it for $60, including tax, which meant I did not have to fall into anaphylactic sticker shock or use the epi pen I had brought with me, just in case.

And bonus! It only took one saleswoman to convince me it was a good deal! OK, two. But technically, I didn’t ask for the second woman’s opinion. She just offered it of her own free will. Right after she ran over to us and used her master key to turn off the deafening alarm that the first saleswoman had inadvertently tripped when she used the wrong key to unlock the purse from its display case. But I think her loud declaration of HERE YOU GO! IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL ON YOU! YOU SHOULD BUY IT RIGHT NOW AND TAKE IT HOME IMMEDIATELY was sincere and had nothing at all to do with the fact that her ears were bleeding and she was looking at her keys as if they had bloody, rabid fangs.

This is my very first bonafide designer bag and I feel like such a grown-up!

Now I just need a wallet. I’ll have to schedule a time to go shopping when (1) there will be an appropriate number of fellow shoppers who can reassure me a suitable number of times that the black leather Guess wallet I’m mulling over, the one that is also on sale and coordinates perfectly with my purse, is indeed an excellent choice; and (2) Zoe’s and Nate’s cell phones are fully charged.

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These people help me pay the bills. I’d like to return the favor.

I was online shopping today because I heard everyone else was and I hate to be left out. While finishing up my Christmas shopping and making my credit card sweat enough to give even Jillian Michaels pause, it occurred to me that I ought to pop in here real quick and pimp out two of my advertisers because (1) they’re retail oriented and this season is super über important for them;  (2) I’m in a good mood because I just bought myself a Guess purse for 70% off – my first real, bonafide, nice purse and can now toss away the cheapie one that broke apart in the middle of the mall on Black Friday as my friend Heather was preoccupied buying a white elephant gift in the form of miniature tighty-whities suitable for a small, furry rodent (long story); and (3) I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be a pimp but without all that pesky human trafficking stuff.

First up is SnarfDogZ. They sell t-shirts that yell louder than The View on caffeinated crack. They’ve got cute ones, funny ones, snarky ones and some that are so completely inappropriate, I can’t even post them here because my mom reads this blog and I don’t need to give her yet one more reason to call me up and ask what the hell is the matter with me. Again.

Here’s a quick peek at some of the t-shirts available at SnarfDogZ. I love the social networking ones. You’ll have to visit their site to browse the more … ummmmm … shall we say, descriptive ones?

And then, of course, there is my idol, Harry Mason. I won’t bother yapping on and on and on about how awesome I think he is because I’ve already done that here and here as well as hosted several giveaways with him. I’ll just simply say that you should run right over to his shop and buy your ears something pretty because ears have feelings too and the last thing you want is a set of pissed-off ears because good luck ever hearing that doorbell ring and next time you look out your window to see twenty million dollars fleeing in a Publishers Clearing House van, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

Go check out Harry and grab yourself an eargasm or two. And, if you type BIGO in the coupon field at checkout, you’ll get $5.00 off your order!

Now I’m off to go find some deodorant for my MasterCard.

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