Christmas shopping

Are you one of those people who get up in the middle of the night and head out shopping on Black Friday? I have to admit I've never done it. I used to work retail, though thankfully we didn't open until 8am on Black Friday. It was a chain jewelry store, and we all had to be there at 7:30 to put the jewelry in the cases. And then we all, every last one of us, worked from open to close (which was 10PM). That's MORE than 12 hours. When you factor in getting dressed, driving to work, driving home, and unwinding before hitting the sack, it was a very, very long day.

My boss, who wasn't all that much older than I was, would get these huge swollen ankles as the day went on. And then he worked open to close every single day from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. His kids cried because Daddy wasn't home. His wife had to keep the home fires burning alone — she had to do all the decorating, the shopping, the socializing, the kids' parties, etc. It's a wonder the man never had a heart attack. But he had to do it. It was his job, he was the breadwinner, and retail jobs aren't exactly known for their humanitarianism. Retailers don't care how hard they work you, or how many employees they go through. By and large.

My store didn't, nor did the one I worked for before them. I'm soooo glad I gave that life up and did other things. I may consider getting up early on Friday to go to the mall (though I've always been reluctant because I know what it looks like from the opposite side of the counter), but I'd never again want to have to be there.

So please remember, if you go and the lines are huge, try to have some sympathy for the sales people. It's not the most wonderful job in the world, and it most certainly isn't friendly to anyone over thirty. The person waiting on you may just be more weary than you can imagine, and yet he or she has to smile and be polite anyway. And will probably have to do it for days on end without a day off.

Do you go shopping on Black Friday? Are the lines bad? Are the deals really worth it? What's parking like? (Can you tell I'm thinking about it?) What's the best deal you ever got?

Decorating for the Holidays

I know it's too early, but walking into stores and seeing all the Christmas decorations has me thinking about decorating. I'm going away for Thanksgiving, so must think of these things now. Plus, it's the first time hubby and I will have a tree in years. There were reasons we never put one up — a terminally ill cat, a new kitten, spending every Christmas with my parents, going away over the holidays, etc — but this year there is NO excuse. My parents live 17 miles away, and I'm sure we'll get together, but this year I'm decorating.

I've already hauled the hubby to the store and pointed out decorations. He didn't frown or grumble too much. I want to put lights on the house too (make that I want him to put lights on the house), but I'm not sure we'll get to that part. But oh yes, my tree is going up, cats be darned. And I have a mantle for the first time in years, so that's getting decorated too.

Once we return from our Thanksgiving trip, the fun begins. I plan to buy some things in the next couple of weeks so I don't have to worry about it. But come December 1, decorations are going up. And the Christmas music will be playing too. It's odd to walk into stores and hear it now, but after Thanksgiving, I'm going to enjoy tuning my radio to the local station that plays Christmas music 24/7.

Do you like to decorate for the holidays? When do you start your Christmas decorating? What's your favorite holiday tradition at your home? Does it annoy you to see all the stuff in the stores now? Would you prefer they wait until after Thanksgiving? Real tree or faux?

Boot scootin’ boogie

Ah, Fall is just around the corner. It's one of my favorite times of year because guess what — it's boot shopping season! Yay, boots! I love boots. In fact, I was surfing a few favs today and trying to decide which ones I need first.

What do you think of Uggs?

I Like:

Classic Tall by Ugg at Zappos.comClassic Tall
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Pretty cool, huh? Next, because I'm seriously into heels, is this beauty:

(Though I don't have wide calves.)

Then there's this adorable ankle boot:

I Like:

Sadee by Calvin Klein at Zappos.comSadee
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An Oxford:

A high-heeled pirate boot:

I Like:

Vinda by rsvp at Zappos.comVinda
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A gorgeous Kenneth Cole half boot:

Leopard boots — yeah, baybee!

I Like:

Vina by Lumiani at Zappos.comVina
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Whoa, need I say more?

I Like:

Neena by Zigi NY at Zappos.comNeena
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Well, I suppose I could go on and on. I didn't find any red boots, though. *sigh* Would red leather boots be cool or what? Okay, now in truth, I can't have all these boots — Hubby would kill me if he saw THAT bill. 🙂 But I love looking, and I love shopping for shoes. Indeed, I'll hit the local DSW (with my previously mentioned $10 certificate) and see what I can find there.

What do you think of these boots? Is Fall boot shopping season for you too? What's your favorite boot here? Or, run over to Zappos or DSW and find a boot you like, then share it in the comments! Let's talk boots, y'all!

And so it begins

We're at T minus 15 for my conference departure, so the shopping/packing/planning begins in earnest starting NOW. In good news, I realized yesterday that my original GH/RITA dress does indeed FIT! Woo hoo! See, I'd thought that even though I lost the pounds necessary, there was a cup issue in the bust. Noooo, there was a correct brassiere issue. Got the right one, all is good, I shall be wafting around in a teal dress with, I hope, silver sparkly shoes (they are on order, see pic — if they don't work, I'll be shopping for something different).

Though it will no doubt horrify some people I know (PC), I've just today printed out all the confirmations of events I'm supposed to be at so I can put them in my planner. (Other people did this at least two months ago. Alas, that's not me.)

I also need to confirm my luggage restrictions. I'm on American, the cheap b*stards, but I bought my ticket before they starting charging for the first bag. Somehow, I have to get at least 6 pairs of shoes, plus a week's worth of clothes, into one suitcase. Really, romance writers heading to a conference should be given special baggage considerations. 🙂

If you're going to conference, have you planned every minute out yet? Or do you intend to wing it? Are you finished shopping? Have all your outfits planned? (Not me, but close.) If you aren't going to San Francisco this year, what sort of non-conference plans do you have? Will you be following the conference blogs, or doing one of the online mini-conferences?

Shopper’s Anxiety

What is it? It's that feeling you get when you go shopping and you suddenly feel, somewhere during the process, like you want to run home, close all the curtains, and cower in the dark. I don't know why this happens to me, but it does. I think I get wigged out by all the choice, and the necessity to make a decision. That and not having a perfectly rail thin size zero body. *sigh*

Not that I'd want to be a zero for real, but the way those clothes drape on the kind of women who have nothing to poke out or bulge anywhere — it just makes me wish I could wear anything I want. Oh, I'm plenty happy when I discover something that looks great on me. But the crap I have to slog through first. Oy.

These days, I know the kinds of things to go for in a way I didn't when I was twenty-something. Must have fitted busts and waists — long flowing things only make me look fat or pregnant. Ruffles are never, ever a good idea for a D cup.

And, holy hell, WHO invented the bubble dress and WHY? I saw bubble dress after bubble dress on my shopping trip yesterday. Nothing but a sheath with a huge bell at the bottom and then it fits against your thighs. Why oh why?

If I wore one of those things, you could get me size 50 shoes and send me to the circus. Not pretty, not at all.

Yes, I shopped yesterday. I tried stuff on, which I hate to do, and I discarded far more than I bought. One pair of pants, one markdown microfiber skirt, and one shirt. This is not a portentous start to my conference shopping….

Do you get shopping anxiety? Do you like to shop? Hate it? Find it easier with friends than alone? If you're going to San Francisco, have you finished the conference wardrobe shopping? What's your favorite bargain find?

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

I went shoe shopping the other day. I brought home two pairs of high heels. Hubby says, “You didn't used to like shoes so much. What happened?”

I know I tilted my head like a puppy hearing a funny noise. And then I reminded him about my close first-name relationship with the Italian shoe guy in Germany — the man would set shoes aside in my size, and then whisk them out for me whenever I came in. I bought several nice pairs of Italian leather shoes. *sigh*

But when we moved to Hawaii, I gave up shoes. I wore flip-flops, or slippahs as they're called there, for three years. I am now back to living where I need shoes. Hence my shoe-shopping the other day. And RWA National is coming up; definitely need shoes.

Seems as if I've landed in the right local chapter too. There is a cult of the shoe in Heart of Dixie. I love it. 🙂

The shoe I want is here. I believe it's safe to say I won't be owning this shoe anytime soon. In fact, when I told hubby about it, he gave me the puppy head tilt. And then he said I was crazy, off my rocker, nutso.

Yes, I crave a pair of Christian Louboutins that cost $900. Hubby doesn't think I need them. The good news (I hope they fit right…) is that I've scoured the web and found a pair that look just like that — for under $60. They aren't Louboutins. But if you see me wearing them in San Francisco, let's just pretend like they are. 🙂

Any shoe fetishes to report? Designer clothing? Other expensive things that seem a bit frivolous? (Yes, I can't imagine WHY that shoe costs 900 bucks, but it's a lovely thing. Nude heels are all the rage, you know.)