Category Archives: Shopping

>Shoe Shopping is not for the Faint of Heart

>Monday, I was forced to endure one of my least favorite activities. I was forced to shoe shop. I had a job interview on Wednesday and I had clothing, thanks to my mother, but not a single pair of dress shoes.

Shoe shopping is something that a lot of other people love. I hear about people having closets full of shoes and I wonder how that can possibly bear the effort required to obtain them. Then I realize that it’s just me. For the same reason I have problems purchasing bras and other clothing, I have problems buying shoes. I wear a size ten.

When you walk into the ladies section there are shoes grouped by size and after size eight the groupings get smaller and smaller. When you get to size ten there are a quarter of the amount that they have for size seven. It always seems like they believe that all size tens and above work in circuses or strip clubs. Why do I want an orange flat with a giant orange flower on it? I don’t and neither does anyone else.

I was looking for a sensible office shoe. I wanted a black pair of pumps with a two inch heel. I went to the mall because they have many stores that sell shoes and that way Jack and I didn’t have to drive all over the city looking. I started at JC Penney because my mother told me they were having a sale. They were having a sale on Summer sandals, which did not help me out. I continued the search there anyway and found one pair that was acceptable, but it was more than I wanted to spend and after I inspected it more thoroughly, cheaply made.

I took the department store tour finding a pair at Payless and then later at Sears. The Payless shoes were 29.99, which is more than I am willing to pay for a shoe from that store. Since I only keep one dress shoe on hand they have to be up to every day wear and no matter what my mother says, Payless shoes are not meant for that. Also, if your feet sweat at all they stink like death.

The shoes at Sears were absolutely perfect. I loved them. Alas, they only had them in nine, ten wide, and eleven. Boxes and Boxes of elevens. I tried on the lone pair of ten wide and they were, of course, too big. I asked if they had any in the back and the lady barely acknowledge me enough to give me the very gruff Wal-mart motto of “Whatever is on the shelf.”

I finally left the mall, defeated. I mean, I found a baby baseball cap on clearance and I had been looking for one of those for weeks, but I left shoeless. I was going to attempt to find a Ross or a Marshall’s, but as I was pulling away from the mall I saw Peltz. Typically, Peltz is too expensive for me. They have great products, but the cost more than I want to spend. I figured it would be the same as always when I went in. Jack burst into tears the moments we got to the women’s shoe section. He wouldn’t calm down, which is so rare for him, and I thought I was going to have to leave. The salesperson came over thogh and he set aside his anguish to flirt with her. I then told her exactly what I was looking for and she led me straight to the proper section. She showed me a few that were out of my price range, but then we finally got to a pair that would be perfect. Sexy? No. Functional? Yes. The shoe pictured below, in standard black and not patent leather. It’s made by Easy Street and it’s called the Career Pump. I also planned to spend $30.00 and they we’re $29.99. SCORE!

Easy Street Women's Career Pump,Black Patent,9 B US


>Have you ever had a shoe that you liked so much that you didn’t want to get rid of them, despite the fact that they are now treadless and worn so thin that a mouse fingernail could shred them? Even when you eventually come to the conclusion that a new shoe must be purchased, you hold out because you can’t find the exact shoe you want? The shoe you actually want was purchased for you about 3 years ago by a friend and they don’t sell them anymore. The shoe you actually want is currently (barely) on your foot. That was my dilemma.

This morning I decided to go to the website of the store where there original shoes were purchased, just to take a brief look. The shoe fairy, knowing I’m notoriously lazy when it comes to shopping, granted my only true shoe wish. There, on the front page of the women’s shoe section, were my dream shoes. (Please cue Dream Lover by Mariah Carey. FINE, I’ll do it for you.)

Here are my tried and true, brown, gold, and blue shoes:

                                         (There will be no mocking of my incredibly white legs.)

Here are soon to be new, brown, gold, and blue shoes:

I plan to play this when I buy my new shoes. (P.S. They are on sale at JC Penney and on their site here.)

>My middle name IS trouble. How did you guess?

>This weekend, was going to be a wonderful weekend. I had a free pass to a convention. I had a giftcard for the mall and a precise plan to spend it. I had hopes and dreams and kittens.

Unfortunately, I am an idiot.

Friday night was exactly as it should have been. I spent my time with my boyfriend. It was perfect. Saturday dawned and we had breakfast at Tiffany’s, my favorite breakfast restaurant in Tampa. After breakfast, I headed Tampa to Necronomicon. I saw Patricia Briggs and Richard Lee Byers on the first panel. They were engaging and funny. Afterwards, my friend took me to meet her. She is absolutely genuine and nice. I loved meeting her.

The second panel I went to was about E-Publishing and DRM. It was killer. It was mainly great because of Ed Howdershelt. He is a Science Fiction writer and he only publishes electronically. He’s got a no nonsense attitude and looks like he stepped out of a Jimmy Buffet video. (Granted, I think he’s get fed up with Jimmy and knock him upside the head with a parrot or something.) The panel was wonderful and full of good info, but Ed stirred things up. If he thought a question was stupid or irrelevant, he said so. I was told he did this in a few panels where he wasn’t a guest. It made me laugh.

I had lunch with my friends Ross and Nicci and then I moved my car so it wouldn’t get towed. I then attended a Panel about the possibility of paperless currency. It was a good panel with good opinions and points on both sides and in the middle.

After the last panel, I decided to head home. There was one problem. My car was missing. It had been towed. It was my fault and I am an idiot, but it was too late to freakout about it at that point. I made a few phone calls and found out where my car was. Then I called my boyfriend who rescued me and helped me get the car back. He was very nice about it.

The next day I was driving home to take my brother to get a shirt for the job he found, when I noticed a pair of flashing lights behind me. This officer was pleased as punch to have pulled me over. I don’t know if I fulfilled his quota or what, but the bounce in his step pretty much guaranteed that I would not be let off with a warning. He was very nice and I was polite and respectful. He was right, I had been speeding.

I had planned to go back to the convention, but after all of that I decided it would be best to just go home and bake and that’s what I did. Cameron and I got his shirt, so he’s now ready for work. (He starts today. Wish him luck.)

My boss gave me a gift certificate for a local mall, so Sadia, Cameron, and I went to International Plaza. If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know I loathe shopping and that my mother buys the majority of my clothing. I needed a bra though and most stores don’t carry size freak show.

We went to Dillard’s. I don’t like people touching me and the manager of the department wanted to fix my bra. She kept feeling my back and saying that my bra needed to be adjusted. I told her no, three freaking times, and then she handed me a bra and ordered that I try it on. My (traitor) friend, Sadia, did not help at all and actually encouraged this. She then had the audacity to laugh hysterically when I was told that I needed a size that I didn’t want more than the size I already had.

I decided that I had enough torture for one day, so we gathered up my brother and went home. In some bizzare and totally sober twist of fate, we all ended up making clay and beads that afternoon. Cameron decided that he was not skilled anough after a while and left it to the ladies. I made a killer leaf and some ornaments that I plan to sell on Etsy. I’m going to need the money if I plan to pay all of these tickets and keep myself in cookie supplies.

>Courtney Visits IKEA or "Oh! I LOVE THAT!"

>Last Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and with a glimmer of glee. It would be my first trip to IKEA. I don’t really know if it should be typed Ikea or IKEA, but after my visit IKEA seems to be correct.

We started out with a visit to Starbucks on Gulf to Bay, in Clearwater. My friend was trying to decide if he should join Sam’s Club or Costco, so we sat having Mocha Frappythings and trying to determine which club carried the Holy Grail. Uh, Pardon me. I meant we had to figure out which store carried Nestle Quick since that’s all he cared about. Costco won the war. We were there. He joined and got his Nestle Quick. We then went on the Costco sample tour which included two B-12 Supplements (1 sublingual tablet and one liquid fizzy drink,) three Acai drinks, several food items, and the worst thing I have EVER tasted, Salad in a cup. (Salad in a cup is actually juiced lettuce.) I was pretty hyped at this point, thanks to over indulging in B-12 and Acai, and suddenly I was in love with EVERYTHING. My poor friend was laughing himself silly. He couldn’t take it anymore when I fell for the backyard bridge and was envisioning myself in a backyard production of Romeo and Juliet, so we ventured on.

IKEA is located in Tampa. On the drive over I pondered what it would be like. The general response from people “IKEA… SQUEEEE! YOU WILL LOVE IT!” My friend and I discussed it before we arrived, but he basically said that it was big and that I’d see it when we got there. We pulled into the parking lot. It is so huge that they have parking people to direct you to emptpy spots. We parked near the back, but that’s the best place to get the full view. Holy SNAP! This place is BIG.

We walked in. You are asked to not take a cart because you will wander through the showroom first. ALWAYS, follow the arrows. This keeps you safe and not lost. We headed up the escalator and it began. “OH! I LOVE IT!” I said it so much that by the time we left my throat was raw. They have furniture, utensils, storage solutions, dishes, plants, pots, and pretty much every other thing that your little heart could want for your home.

They have bookshelves filled with books. The books are all in a language that I am going to assume is Swedish. I thought they would be fake books, but upon picking one up, I found them to be real (and very funny.)

All of the items have funny names that often have to do with their function or the room they are meant to be in. This one was for a light that went in the bathroom. Way to keep it classy, IKEA. (My kids are gonna love this.)

After you think you just might die from looking at more home items than you ever wanted to look at in your natural life, you stumble into my favorite section of the store. The cafeteria. Yum! I ordered the Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatos and Lingonberries. I drank Lingonberry juice. It was so good. The Lingonberry is everything the cranberry wishes it was. Also, I call it the Klingonberry, because it makes me laugh. The food tasted good, but it was not hot enough. It was barely lukewarm.

Bob had the Lox plate. It looked and tasted wonderful. He’s a good guy, he let me taste his food. I would have gotten the lox, but I was starved and it didn’t look filling. Paired with the soup and Garlic bread they offer, I bet it would have been just right.

To end our meal we had their chocolate cake. It was highly reccommended by another shopper. We liked it. It was more mocha than sweet chocolate, but it was a good end to a meal. I would have taken a photo of it, but we kind of scarfed it before I had a chance.

After our lunch we went back down the escalator to the self serve portion of the store. At this point it is acceptable to grab a cart and fill it up. I ended up buying a set of little cups, a doormat, a pot for my fully recovered mother’s day plant, and an ice cube tray for heart shaped ice (for the kids, I swear!)

I did love it, but IKEA is not a place where you can pop in and out. IKEA is an adventure. You really need to devote several hours to pawing around and figuring out what you want and how things work.