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These are things that came out of my mouth during my sister and I’s shopping trip to Ikea this morning…

“Oh! I love that weird picture of leaves.”

“I feel like I need these glass shelves but I have no idea where they’d go.”

“A FROTHER!!”

“See those mirrors? You know what they don’t look? They don’t look dumb, that’s what.”

“Dig deeper, find pillow cases!!”

 

And Kristin’s words?

“I can’t help feeling when I come in here like I am being controlled by robots. “

Not just any letters, mind you.

I need a K and a B… obviously, because not only do I love my own initials in a way I rarely talk about, but I’m soon going to be one of those people who has letters on a shelf for decorative purposes.

I know some of you (and you know who you are) are groaning at the thought, but you’re going to have to just put it in your pipe and smoke it because it’s happening just as soon as I can find the right style of letters to embody the fullness of my personality, which is harder than you might think.

I looked at Hobby Lobby this afternoon and they didn’t have any Ks or Bs that represented all of me. The letters made of metal were all too ornate, the letters made of wood were too large and blocky and don’t even get me started on the burlap letters… Just in case you EVER wondered there is nothing about my personality that can be expressed in burlap.

Perhaps I should be looking at Pinterest for the right sort of letters? I don’t know… but the space on my shelf is cleared for the perfect letters and my search continues…

=)

This week my threshold for any type of ridiculousness has been at an all-time low. And by “ridiculousness” I mean anything and everything that falls outside of what I want to be happening at that moment.

I’ve been in my head a lot and cooped up because of the blasted cold weather in Texas ( PLEASE GOD, I know it’s a lot to ask considering it’s early March and all, but can we just be done with 30 degree weather? As a birthday gift?).

In spite of my less than stellar attitude about life this week,  good things have happened…

God has taught me some beautiful things about himself in unexpected places and I LOVE that. Even better, he’s given me people with great minds and hearts to talk about those things with, to bounce my observations off of and broaden my ways of thinking and knowing him.

I’ve been noticing how precious it is to have sisters– I don’t think I do a good enough job letting them know how much I love and appreciate them, because I do love and appreciate them and I’m proud of the women they are and will be. It hasn’t even been a handful of years since we lost our mom and so much has changed. We all have changed. I know that my mom is so proud of her girls and this week I have felt burdened, in a good way, to start looking for ways to let my sisters know how much they are loved and seen.  It’s terrifying and beautiful to me that I can remember running through the woods with them to our “Secrete Creek” as children so clearly and now, here we are, and I’m a week away from being 33 and they are all grown up, too.

There’s been laughter.

And speaking of sisters and laughter…  Several days ago I was having a meltdown in Kristin’s car, this is, for reasons unknown to me, the place I meltdown. We were taking the little girls shopping and on our way I just became overwhelmed by all of the things that felt like they were crushing me. My meltdowns are always preceded by the announcement, “I’m going to cry now.” As though I owe the person I’m with the curtesy of a warning. While bawling in the front seat of my sisters Mazda I just start spilling out everything, even the things that I think are stupid, that are bothering me, until nothing is left. Kristin listens silently to my whaling pity party and when I’ve finished looks at me calmly and says, “Thank you for telling me that.” Which is the absolute weirdest thing my sister could possibly say to me in that moment. “What?” I replied completely thrown. And then we both laughed until I cried again. She’d read that when receiving someone’s vulnerable thoughts it was good to thank them for sharing with you. Doesn’t quite work on your sister. After all of that we had a great time shopping with my nieces: Photos below.

I laughed with friends and with children and it was good.

There were also lots of I love you’s. One of my favorites came from my youngest nephew who, holding my face with his small, chubby hands, looking me in the eyes said, “I loooooooooooove you” in the way only a toddler can. And you feel it all the way into the deepest regions of your soul and know that it is truer than just about anything.

For a rough week it’s also been pretty good.

May we all have the heart to find the beautiful moments stuck in between our frustrations and meltdowns. There’s hope and love and peace in those moments.

I don’t go into Wal-Mart unless it’s absolutely necessary. I am one of those women who will shamelessly sing the praises of Target and whine with relentless fervor over having to put a toe in Wal-Mart.

Over the weekend, however, need presented itself and I found myself along with my sister and nieces, wandering the dim-lit isles of Wal-Mart.

We were about to celebrate my Dad’s 65th birthday and Kristin wanted a wax burner to add fragrance to the house because our youngest sister and let her borrow her Scentsy lamp a few weekends prior.  The Scentsy lamps are pretty awesome, but considering you have to order them and Kristin needed it right that moment, we went with Better Homes & Gardens cheaper alternative.

If you are unfamiliar, there are many “lamp” styles to choose from, they have a bulb inside that heats a dish on top where a cube of a wax is melted and then fills a room (or several depending on the size of your lamp) with delicious scents such as “Holiday Cheer And Twigs and Berries” or “Minty Snow On An Endless Christmas Evening By The Fire”.

Kristin had picked up, really, one of the first lamps she saw and was pretty much satisfied with it. They had a seasonal aisle right at the beginning of the houseware department and there were several Christmas themed lamps in that area, and because Kristin loves all things Christmas she choose the least ugly of those lamps.  I thought it might be wise and she agreed, to check the isle where these lamps lived to make sure she was happy with her selection, after all, she will most likely keep it out all year round, so it might be nice to have one of a more holiday neutral style.

When we got to the candle isle where the lamps live there was a woman who had planted herself and her completely empty basket in front of the wax burning lamp shelves and was speaking in an obnoxiously loud voice on the phone to a person unknown about how she just didn’t really want to spend the $15 on this lamp, but it went with her other decorations. Kristin and I stood patiently while she hemmed and hawed and continued to scream into her cell phone for what felt like an eternity in Wal-Mart time when she finally moved just long enough for us to look over the other lamp styles.

However, while we were waiting and due in no small part to her very loud deliberation over the style she had chosen, I had not only learned that it was the only one of its kind left, but that I quite liked it more than all of the others. Kristin had also made this observation and we stood in silent understanding now, waiting for the woman to put the damned lamp back so we could get a closer look, but she wasn’t budging. I got the distinct feeling she knew we understood that she was on the fence and that if she wavered we would have that lamp and the choice to take it or leave it would no longer be hers.

I am admittedly and shamelessly competitive, but usually not crazy, so I blame Wal-Mart for what happened next.

Kristin gave up and went on with her shopping, but I stood my ground, I felt compelled to wait this woman out and get that lamp and I didn’t even care if it was actually cute anymore, so long as I won the waiting game.  I’m not going to lie, she was a good competitor.

She stretched her phone conversation out as long as she could and when it ended she pretended to read the back of the box waiting for me to walk away. Knowing her game, I stood at the end of the aisle and pretended to be interested in the candles that were on sale.  You see at this point she could only have one reason for still standing there. She didn’t want to buy the lamp right now, but she didn’t want to lose the chance to have that particular lamp, so her next step would be to hide it, but she couldn’t run the risk of having me see her hiding spot.

She was good, but I’m better. When the hiding moment came she was pretty smooth, I have to admit. I almost missed it. She picked up another lamp, the same one Kristin had, actually, and pretended to be interested in it, like she might suddenly change her mind all together. Then, fast as lightning, she pushed the desired lamp all the way back on the lower shelf and put all of the lamp she was holding in front of it.

I could tell she was confident that I had not seen her quick switch and she walked away smiling as though she had just won.  As soon as she’d left the department I went to check and Kristin showed back up. It was exhilarating, which is sad, but there the lamp was, just waiting for me.

Unfortunately, all of that hard work went to waste when Kristin didn’t even end up wanting the hidden lamp and decided that we needed to get out of Wal-Mart because it was making her crazy and making me mean.

Guess it’s good that I don’t shop there often.

Good News: This crazy long hair is getting cut (not really short or anything) on Monday. Thank God.

Good News: This crazy long hair is getting cut (not really short or anything) on Monday. Thank God.

I’ve been in Target way too much lately. Yesterday when I was in Target I stood in line in front of a pair of college students who had not come together, but who went to the same school and ran into each other at the check out. They were talking about why they had each come to wander through Target and their reasons weren’t far off from my own. I decided then and there that it must be a universal rule that women of all ages and from very different walks of life come to Target to de-stress and indulge in relatively painless retail therapy.

This morning when I was in Target again with my sister and a friend we walked down and isle together to witness an actual granny carrying the quintessential pair of granny panties… on a hanger.  Immediate silence fell over the three of us as we all saw at the same time and were trying to decide in our own minds how best to proceed without embarrassing ourselves and this unsuspecting old woman. Eventually Kristin broke the silence by just saying, “something funny, something funny” so that we could all laugh at her and not at granny panties.

I’ve just finished the first steps towards making some sense of my closet. This is going to be quite an undertaking. This evening I unloaded a ton of makeup on Kaylan. I have a ton more to give to Kari and my sister in-law Rachael. There’s still a lot left for my professional kit, which goes a long with my face painting kit, which goes along with my special effects kit. Good lord. I have a lot of space above the high shelf in my closet and I’m trying to decide how best to use that space and if it’s worth doing something besides just stacking organizational boxes up, up and up. We’ll see.

Good night guys, I hope you’re getting to fall asleep to the sound of rain the way I am.

I don’t write about it much, but in general I don’t enjoy grocery stores. I do appreciate what I can purchase at Whole Foods, but this article is hilarious to me because it’s so, so true. Enjoy. =)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-maclean/surviving-whole-foods_b_3895583.html

Everything… EVERYTHING tastes better when it comes from the farmers market. (Meant to post this last night)

Sunday is my cooking for the week day. I’m cooking and freezing a bunch of stuff for meals through the week. Meatloaf, polenta, and some sort of sauce for pasta.

My haul:

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This is my niece, Shelby, showing off her exceptional taste. We went shopping and she insisted on trying on these shoes!

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I would just like to preface this post by saying that I don’t mean for these photos to give you a real sense of what I purchased on this trip, they’re more for decoration of the post than anything else. My plan is to capture the actual outfits while I’m wearing them later on. This post is specifically to mention that at long last I have had a thoroughly successful shopping trip! Hooray!

Dallas is a great place to bargain shop if you know where to go. Having spent the first 28 years of my life in one small metroplex, to say that I still don’t know my way around DFW would be a huge understatement. For this trip I decided to be PrettySmart and enlist the help of a tour guide.  I cannot emphasize enough, this makes a world of difference!

The friend/co-worker I took along with me knew all of the best places to find what I was looking for and that would work for my budget, I was both thrilled and amazed!

We visited Grapevine Mills Mall (an interesting sort of indoor outlet mall) and The Parks Mall. Over the years I’ve learned not to judge a garment based solely on the way it looks on the hanger, but to try things on before I decide on them. Some of the best looking clothes on a curvy body look absurd on a hanger. This same rule can apply to stores as well.

I’m an aesthetics kind of person, in many cases I base where I shop on things like the look of the store, the way it’s organized, the lighting (I’m not kidding, lighting should honestly be the first thing on this list). I have found myself deciding in the first 30 seconds of walking into a store whether or not it has anything to offer me and in most cases turn and walk immediately out. This is detrimental to budget shopping. It would be awesome if all stores made lighting and visual appeal to suit my personal tastes a priority, but this isn’t realistic. And especially not in outlets or discount stores. In an environment where the objective is to get rid of as much product as possible as quickly as possible, ambiance is simply not going to play a major role in the shopping experience.

To successfully shop on a budget a person like myself must determine to move past that initial urge to turn around and walk out, and instead roll up your sleeves and dig. It helped me to think of it as being on a hunt for diamonds. =)

The majority of my time and money was spent in the JC Penny outlet store. Now, JC Penny’s doesn’t even make my list of go-to department stores to begin with and at first glance the outlet would have definitely been a turn-around-and-walk-out situation if it had not been for the gentle prodding of my tour guide. Fortunately, her guidance proved wise and after some hunting I found exactly what I was looking for and for much less than I had been prepared to spend! This method of forgoing the urge to cringe and walk out based on first impressions also has its rewards, I spent so little money on the list I came with that at the end of the day I could afford a splurge item!

In the end I spent right around $150 and got:

  • 2 pair of slacks
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • a blazer
  • 3 blouses
  • a cotton jacket
  • a sweater
  • 2 bras
  • slim wear
  • a necklace
  • a watch
  • and my splurge item- Marc Jacobs sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack

I got bored yesterday and this is what happened… I give you prettysmartblog shop

So now, for your prettysmart pleasure you can have stuff that says prettysmart all over it (assuming anyone other than myself would want stuff that says prettysmart all over it).

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