Seriously? These Look Nothing Like the Picture!

My boots arrived the other day, and with much joy I pulled the tape off the box, removed the crumpled bits of packing paper, and lifted the lid from the shoe box within.

I pulled back the tissue, and then, I was dumbfounded. The boots staring at me were nothing as I'd imagined - based off the picture Amazon was displaying, I was expecting a deep red, almost iridescent boot, with rich chocolaty brown fur. Instead I received a bright, matte nylon, the color akin to that of a life vest, with tan brownish fur.

So I tried that old adage of, "This would look really good on"; unfortunately I think that only applies to somewhat shapeless dresses that need a body to fill them out. Even with my dark skinny jeans and gray duffel coat, they still looked rather garish.

They were, however, immensely comfortable. Like Himalayan walking shoes. And it was with much sorrow that I packed them back in their box and printed out a return label. There is no point in spending a lot of money on something if you don't really love it.

So I guess I'll have to put the notion of snow boots behind me for now, and look forward to wonderful things like sandals. There is always next winter, and I can start early.

In the Presence of Free People

Free People apparel always stands out in a crowd. The prints and designs are very unique, often unexpected, and sometimes a bit unconventional. Needless to say, I’ve always made it my business to acquire as much as I can from this label when I find a good deal.

Sometimes local boutiques who carry Free People will have good sales, sometimes things make it to the clearance racks at Urban Outfitters, but the very best deals to be had are always at TJMaxx.

Every so often there will be a sudden abundance of Free People merchandise at TJs, and while those items will often be a bit more than other similar things from ‘lesser’ brands, I always go for FP.

It’s the attention to detail that I love so much. Every inch of even the smallest, simplest items are elaborately embellished, and often in places that can not be seen while being worn. I don’t know what it is about velvet seam tape that delights my senses so much, but when I see these often ignored elements of a garment being lavishly attended to, I want it.

Today I chose three items from the Intimates section; boy cut panties with embroidered birds on the back and working snaps up the side seams. I wonder what the designers were thinking about when they decided on the snaps…

I also go these super short shorts in maroon and orange, and they even have pockets.

Finally, a little racer back negligee in a jungle-esk print, complete with a sheer upper and gold embroidery in just the right places, a ruffle under the bust, and lace trim straps. It’s suggested retail price of $88 was made a mockery of by TjMaxx’s price of $5.99.

Big Buddha is Awesome

Big Buddha’s line of non-animal hand bags is expansive and enticing. Some of their PVC bags really do have that supple softness of real leather, and the patent bags are so eye catching you know if you were carrying it, everyone would notice you.

But it wasn’t until my new bag started to fall apart that I decided I really loved Big Buddha.

Yes, it’s true, after a month of caring my large snakeskin print bag both of the straps started to rip and come apart. Which obviously upset me greatly, and when I spoke to the manager of the store where it was purchased, she wasn’t overly accommodating.

I decided the best course of action would be to go directly to the company, and I’m very glad that I did.

I emailed a photo of the deteriorating straps to the customer service address listed on the site and got a response within a few days. They were very sorry that my bag was breaking, and since the color I had it in was out of stock, they told me to choose any bag I wanted from the fall or winter collection to replace mine.

This has now worked in their benefit, because after hours of scrutinizing every bag on the site, I now want about seven more bags.

The bag I am getting to replace mine is the Brooklyn in navy, and the straps look to be quite sturdy.

They also didn’t say anything about having to return the breaking bag, so I might see about trying to repair it on my own – it would truly be a shame to just toss it, as it is a gorgeous statement making bag.

I love it when a company is responsible for their products, and don't try to make the customer to blame for anything that goes wrong. Also, by replacing my bag without causing me even the slightest bit of inconvenience, they have truly earned my loyalty. And I've heard stories about companies causing months of aggravation for a person who simply wants the product they bought to do what it's supposed to.

There Are Still Four Weeks Left....

There have been about four substantial snow falls this winter, and I haven't had anything warm to put on my feet during any of them.

My go-to shoe has been my beloved sequined clog I got in 2005. They have a super high platform and some deep treads, which is why I deemed them appropriate for schlepping through snow.

Sequins = Awesomeness

But last time I wore them, I slipped going up the stairs because one fell off my foot, and there was much miserable coldness.

I decided I wanted some real snow boots, something that would truly keep me warm and dry and insulated. It was then that I found this company, Pajar. They are a Canadian company, and their website claims the boots will withstand up to -74 degrees Celsius. What's the conversion on that? Something like 0 degrees Fahrenheit?

These Sled Boots have been in an out of stock at Amazon for some time. I've been watching. When I saw they were back today, I pounced on them.

They were $90, which isn't horrible considering they are real, proper snow boots and will last for many, many winters to come. Plus, with their fur lining and cute buckles, I dont' believe they will go out of style, Unlike the Ugg, Which went out of style in 2002, but everyone chooses to ignore that. Also, what good is a suede boot in the snow? These are nylon and waterproof.

As an extra bonus, these boots were made in Romania, not China - something I'm becoming increasingly more aware of.

PS. In regards to my new years resolution, it has been exactly 27 days since my last purchase of shoes, which is close enough to four weeks to constitute a month. And I'm already looking forward to March 18th!

An Extra 30% Makes the Sales Even Sweeter

I spent far too long in Khols today. And yesterday. But they kind of forced me to come back - no really! Here's what happened:

Yesterday morning I went into Khols to pay my bill (which was necessary to avoid late fees) and while walking around, I found this super cute pinstriped jacket which was half off. Khols always likes to mail you secret scratch off bonus coupons, and I always get 15%. My aunt however, always seems to get 30%, and then braggs about it - so I knew that she had the 30 coupon, and I wanted it to get the jacket for a nice $20.

So, later in the day, I return, coupon in hand to get the jacket. I do, and it's lovely. As I'm leaving, the securty alarm goes off, but those things go off all the time and I don't think anything of it - until I get home and realize the device is still afixed to my jacket.

This moring when I return, I notice a new sign has appeared on all the clearance merchandise - Now an extra 25% is taken off. Extra..... my mind starts whirring with calculations. It is a very slow whirring though, mental math is tough and it took a few mintues of staring blankly at the wall, visualizing the numbers in my head to come up with the new figures on the items i'd been eying.

I decided that the Vera Wang short sleeved faux fur jacket, originally $168, reduced to $33, and now to $17.33, might just be worth it. The look and feel of it is actually quite posh - I think I'll have to wear it out tomorrow night and act like I own the town in my "$168" acrylic fur. When it comes to fur, I would always prefer that it be fake. And yet when it comes to leather, I'd prefer it be real. I'm complicated like that.

My final insanely discounted purchase was this white cotton summer dress which really looked like it had been bumming around the store for the last nine months. It is all covered in dust and various threads pulled off of other garments. But there it was, alone in a sea of sweaters, adjacent to an odd rack of last years bikini bottoms (there was not a matching top in sight). The cut of the dress is very flattering, wrap style with a bottom that flares away, and a preppy little collar. It was originally $89.50 and I paid $18.80.

The moment I saw it I was having visions of it with a woven leather platform sandal, like this one by Jessica Simpson for $60 or this Payless one for $30. I also keep wanting to see it with these perforated suede boots by Chinese Laundry. They are currently $125, but if I keep on waiting, perhaps they will be on sale by the time I'll actually be wearing the dress.

Chocolate Makes the World a Better Place

Wondering what to give your sweetie for St. Valentines Day? How about some of the most witty chocolate you've ever eaten?

Bloomsberry & Co makes 3.5 oz bars of milk and dark chocolate with outer wrappers as injoyable as the sweet confection inside.

My favorite pick for february 14th is this bar with a large 'I [heart] U' and in a much smaller font underneath 'I [heart] Chocolate, but U aren't getting any'

That, I do Believe, is perfection.

They have tons of other choices of the romantic persuasion, with the Lusty bar, the Dark Secerets bar, the Fair Share bar, and the Worlds Greatest Pick-Up bar. As well as many, many others.

The bars are generally $5 (which I know is kind of a lot for a candy bar) but these are worth it. Not just for the wrapping either, this is really yummy chocolate. Plus, Bloomsberry isn't some gargantuan company like Hersheys or Mars or Lindt, they are cool and funky, off the beaten path.

Plus the bars quite often pop up in TjMaxx for $3, so you can have your chocolate and eat it too.

Oh yeah, that's a good one....

When is a deal too good to pass up?

Today I was faced with a dilemma whilst shopping in TJMaxx. I found a LeSportSac Stella McCartney bag for $90. Now, this is a nylon bag, nothing exceptionally beautiful about it, muted mauves and tans. It wasn't an enormous bag either, bowling sized - to be exact. Yet the orginal price tag was for $350. Which is crazy, I mean, who on earth would ever pay that much for this bag?

But now my mind is spinning. $90 is nearly 75% off, and that is a fantastic deal. So I begin to rationalize:
  • I need a nice overnight bag - this one has lots of pockets and a shoulder strap.
  • I made extra money last week, so I wouldn't even have to take anything out of my savings account.
  • Why shouldn't I spend my extra money on something frivolous?
  • I've never owned any designer bags before, why not treat myself to one? (Not that I've ever really regarded LeSportSac as a 'designer', but with a price tag that high, what else to I call it?)
So I carried the bag around in my cart. I photographed it and emailed it to my friends and then called them up to ask them what they thought. I consulted sales associates, my mother, and my sister. I looked up the bag on ebay too see how much it was going for there (about $150).

Finally, I had to take a good, critial look at the bag, and ask "Do I really love this? or, Do I just love the price?"

I handed the bag to the girl at the till, and told her I wouldn't be taking it.

I love a good sale, but I won't be the sales bitch.

They Should Put Warning Labels On These

Something along the lines of: Caution, shoes are known to be highly addictive and can result in rapid depletion of ones savings account.

One month ago I resolved to limit my shoes purchases to one pair a month, and only if I really need them. I started out great, I got those black suede booties - in season, on sale, and very much needed.

Then I had a slight slip with a pair of floral print canvas pumps. They were only $15, and pretty much free because I used my Amazon credit card rewards. So, really, quite forgivable.

Unfortunately my amazon shoe wishlist is really my downfall. Sure, no harm in just putting them on there, it's quite fun really. Especially when I see the prices drop.

Amazon also has the courtesy of letting you know when inventory is low, which has proved to be a small problem up against my ever-so-strong powers of will.

I was completely content to wait until today to purchase these Cha Cha Cherry sandals by Oh...Deer! In fact, I would have happily waited until some time when I could actually wear sandals.

But when I saw there was only one pair left in stock, it was imparative that I purchase them or forever regret letting them slip by! I simply had no choice....Look how awesome they are!

I can only hope all my shoes stay in stock through Febuary.