Tag Archives: Shopping

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One of the things I love about any friendship is when you create shared memories together. It pushes you from the realm of merely “people who get along” into the world of “people who have been through some shit together.” It opens up the door to inside jokes and stories that begin with, “Remember that one time …”

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It’s funny how quickly the bizarre becomes normal.

How things that are strange and weird become familiar and every day. So that after a while, we forget that they’re even all that strange, until someone else points it out to us.

When we first moved back to Seattle from Florida, nearly 20 years ago (good heavens, the years. They are slippery little suckers, are they not?) my mother and I were faced with an odd problem. Our home felt far too empty. My brother had gone off to college, so it was just the two of us, living in far more square footage than we’d ever known.

We dealt with the problem in the usual way: we bought a mannequin.

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View of Astoria from The Hotel Elliott.

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I’m such a sucker for old things.

Whether it be grey-haired octogenarians or day-old pastries, I find myself smitten. Sure, they’re sometimes a bit crustier than you’d like them to be, and you can’t help but think of what they were like when fresh, but they’re still fun to nibble on. AND THAT GOES DOUBLE FOR THE PASTRIES!

(Rereads previous three sentences. Sighs heavily.)

Back to my original sentiment: I like old stuff.

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I love playing the part of the Ugly American.

The way I figure it, if people are going to judge and hate me without knowing me, the least I can do is have a little fun at their expense. The best part is the look on their faces when they realize I’ve been messing with them.

“Wait, wait, wait … you voted for Obama? Then why did you say America needs to blast all non-Aryan people off the planet? Oh, god … were you being facetious the whole time?”

Deeeelightful, I tell you. And so, in that spirit, let me tell you why the shops at Covent Garden are totally like the Pike Place Market, and how they obviously copied the idea from us here in the States.

Now, those of you who like to toss around facts when attempting to prove a point will note that Covent Garden was around a few centuries before the Pike Place Market, to which I will cleverly respond, “U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!” And to that display of awesomeness, there is no response.

I wandered through the market on a rainy Friday morning, trying to kill time until the London Transport Museum opened (which, ruthlessly, was not until 11am. In my jet-lagged state, I had been up FOR 7 HOURS by then). It was pouring, despite the forecast predicting only intermittent showers. Seriously, we in Seattle invented that.

Also, notice the colors on the British flag. They totally got those from us, I bet.

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They are four-inch-tall, rhinestone-studded confections. And they were probably a mistake.

They are also taupe.

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And yet, I regret nothing.

I found them in a boutique near Piazza Navona, as the rain fell on our last morning in Rome. I saw them in the window, and stopped abruptly. The way romantic leads do in Hollywood movies. I stopped, I stared. The rain fell.

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In my constant search for comfortable travel shoes, I am amazed by the number of heinously ugly options out there. If these shoes were horses, they would be shot, immediately.

I once thought that I was immune to such ugliness. When searching for comfortable shoes online, there were so many options, I’d simply skip over the unappealing ones and straight to the cute. My brain has its own filter for this sort of thing. And yet, there are times when a shoe is so unsightly, it will not be ignored. It screams to be noticed. “LOOK AT ME!”, it shouts. “I WAS DESIGNED BY DRUNK KINDERGARTNERS!”

Some of these shoes are impractical. Others are baffling.

All of them are very, very ugly.

Here are the top twelve worst pairs I’ve encountered while digging through the bowels of Zappos. Enjoy.

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1. Arcopedico N42

Seriously? N42 is what you are going to call the shoe? Sweet Jesus. Put in a little effort. Give it a name. May I suggest “The Bertha”?

Also, they appear to melting.

Ugh. These look like what the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man would wear when he wants to get laid.

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Someone recently asked me for some tips on fun, travel-worthy outfits to wear on planes. That incredibly elusive combination of stylish and comfortable. And I won’t lie: that is a very, very difficult balance to achieve, but I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe, I’m on my way there.

I’ll tell you now – I’m absolutely no good at coming up with outfits that would work for everyone, especially since so many of you gals out there insist on wearing skinny jeans. I can not wear those. My hips were designed by some miserable higher power with one thing, and one thing only in mind: to ensure that I will never be able to wear skinny jeans (I bet you thought I was going to say childbirth, huh? Don’t be stupid). BUT, I am great at coming up with lists, and picking out some great pieces that will help you put together stellar outfits. They’re perfect to wear on a plane, and are great must-haves for any trip you take. In fact, I can’t remember when I left home without most of these items securely packed into my suitcase.

So I sincerely hope this list helps all of you. Even those of you who can wear skinny jeans. Sigh. Like you need any help. (more…)

The other day, my friend Kim and I were defending our tendency to wash out and re-use Zip-loc plastic bags. Apparently our hoighty-toighty significant others find it “gouache”.

WHICH IT SO IS NOT. Those things are expensive (besides, we’re saving the planet). In middle school, we only had the fold-over closure plastic sandwich bags in my house, and oh, how I envied the popular girls with their Zip-loc bags, which seemed the height of opulence to me. The would walk into the cafeteria in their crisp Esprit outfits, their pristine-white Keds squeaking against the floor, and pull the pricey plastic baggies out of their lunch sacks, filled with treats like Pringles or strawberries. Now that I’m finally able to afford such luxuries, there’s no way I’d just throw them in the trash.

It’s just that – well, I love saving money. Don’t get me wrong – I love spending it, too. But it’s just sooo much fun to get things on sale, to peel back the sale stickers on something and see what it would have originally cost someone crazy enough to pay full price. When I was a kid, bargain shopping came out of necessity – and I learned to be really, really creative while on a budget. Personally, I think I did well even if, in retrospect, I looked insane at times …

Notice Im rocking a kids Power Rangers t-shirt.

The Everywhereist in band class, circa 1993. Notice I'm rocking a kid's Power Rangers t-shirt.

Basically, I ended up dressing like Alicia Silverstone‘s character in Clueless. Which, depending on how you look at it, is either really cool or really tragic. (more…)