For Your Sartorial Consideration

Since moving to the Tallahassee, Florida, area Studly Doright and I have had very little need for cold weather wear. I’ll dig my jacket out of the guest room closet every now and then, and both of us have hoodies we wear on cooler days, but for the most part we can just wear long sleeved shirts and jeans and be perfectly comfortable.

But we’ve had a cold front move into our neck of the woods just in time for Studly’s company Christmas party, and he wanted a new sweater for the event. Our search for the right garment took us to Beall’s department store. In Studly’s mind there’s no other place to shop for his clothing, and he can usually find something that suits him fairly quickly. Emphasis on quickly.

At this stage in our marriage I don’t even try to offer my advice. He’s going to buy whatever plain blue or red or green sweater he sees first, so I went looking for fun stuff. I didn’t have to look very far:

When Studly came to the checkout counter I led him over to these festive suits. “You could wear one of these to the party,” I told him.

“And you could wear that,” he said, pointing to this rack:

I told him I was game, but he backed out, so he’ll be wearing his plain red sweater tomorrow night. Bah. Humbug.

Peace, people.

Christmas Shopping Angst

Every January I pledge to begin my Christmas shopping in August, yet every December finds me scrambling to buy the perfect gifts for my grandchildren. I’m such a loser.

We’ve done the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” method of buying Christmas gifts for the grandchildren for the past few years, but I’ll be the first to admit that this system has its drawbacks.

For one thing, I’m woefully out of touch with the current styles. I’m happy wearing flip flops and capris every day. Why shouldn’t the grandkids be satisfied with the same attire? Sure, it’s 32° in Illinois, where three of the kids live, but maybe they should toughen up a bit.

And what if the line between a want and a need is blurry? Maybe they WANT new shoes, but they also NEED them. Then what?

I’ve already bought each of the five grands two books each whether they want them or not. I like books, so by golly, they’re getting books.

Two of the girls are easy to buy for. One is into American Girl dolls while the other likes Disney princesses. The other three kids, though, are nearly impossible to shop for. They don’t want clothes or toys. I’m thinking lumps of coal might be an option.

I’ve texted their parents, a.k.a. my children, to press the kids into declaring their wants and/or needs. Hopefully they’ll torture the kids into coming up with some affordable ideas. I know one of them wants a horse, but that’s not happening. Can’t we all just get along?

Peace, people.

Chicago, Here I Come!

I’m flying to Chicago out of Panama City Beach on Friday afternoon. Once in the Windy City I’ll meet up with my daughter and our middle granddaughter for a weekend of shopping, dining, and Les Misérables-ing.

In preparation for the trip I’ve been listening to the Les Misérables soundtrack, because one never knows when they’ll need someone to fill in for a cast member. I probably don’t look much like Jean Valjean, but I could sing his part in a pinch. And Cosette’s role? I’m ready to don her dress and belt out her lyrics. Just in case.

My tastebuds are already anticipating a Chicago-style pizza, as I recall the ghosts of pizzas past. There’s simply nothing better than a deep dish pepperoni. Mmmmm. Can you smell it? I can. Now all I have to do is convince my daughter and her daughter that we need to head downtown for dinner Friday night!

Of course, Friday will be my daughter’s thirty-somethingth birthday. I’ll let her choose dinner on Friday, but Saturday is pizza for sure. Am I excited? Duh!!! And the best part? Getting to see my family! I’m packed and ready. Let the party begin.

Heels

Our granddaughter, Dominique (14), is bright, beautiful, and growing up way too quickly for my liking and too slowly for hers.

One of her closest friends will celebrate her quinceañera (fifteenth birthday) on Saturday and Dominique has been invited to sit at the head table. She already has her dress for the occasion, but needed a pair of heels, and since she isn't flying home until Friday, we had to take action.

I'd love to tell you that she tried on dozens of pairs of shoes, oohing and ahhing over every detail in an effort to find the perfect pair, but that wasn't the case. Dominique marched straight to the rack where a dizzying array of special occasion shoes were displayed, pointed at a pair of silver heels, and said "Those."


No amount of cajoling her to try on a pair of strappy sandals would sway her, so it was done. I didn't know whether to be elated that the process had been so simple or sad because it was over so quickly.

I took her for lunch afterwards at a high end burger restaurant, and she took far longer agonizing over the toppings she wanted than she had over the shoes. Come to think of it, she's a lot like me.

Peace, people.

Kinsale, County Cork

While our husbands played golf at Old Head on Sunday, the wives toured Charles Fort and the town of Kinsale.


Rachel outside the fort.


Kinsale is a seaside tourist town with lots of little shops. Many were closed on Sunday afternoon, and our husbands sighed collectively with relief.


The city had hosted a regatta on Saturday, and plenty of sails still decorated the harbor.


We only had a wee bit of time there, and again, the husbands were happy.

Peace, people!

Gadget Girl

I got called “Gadget Girl” today while shopping at TJ MAXX. After thinking about the title, I decided to own it. I like gadgets, especially those that make packing and traveling easier. 

A woman in the store had asked where I’d gotten my handbag (ebags.com) and I showed her all of its little pockets and clever features. After my demonstration, she said, “Why, you’re just a regular gadget girl!” 

What kinds of gadgets, you might ask? The bag is geared to keep thieves from casually unzipping the main compartment and removing a wallet or cell phone with locking devices at every opening. Plus it has RFID pockets built in to reduce the likelihood of someone scanning my credit cards and passport. The bag also cannot be easily sliced open and the straps are reinforced to prevent a thief from snipping one off. 

Of course it could always be stolen, but that would mean a lapse of vigilance on my part. We all know how vigilant I am. (Studly Doright is crying tears at that statement.)

A couple of weeks ago I ordered some items from a company called RūMe. I’d seen their ad on Facebook, and thought, “Wow! Cool travel gadgets!” I didn’t pay for expedited shipping, though, and was beginning to worry that my items wouldn’t make it in time. So, I found a “contact us” link and shot off an email. They got back to me within 24 hours and provided a tracking link. 

After several days, the package still wasn’t moving, so I sent off another email. This one was answered immediately, and I was promised a speedy delivery. True to their word, I received my products Saturday morning, in plenty of time to practice packing for my upcoming trip to Ireland. Yay!

So what did I order? The product is called a Garment Travel Organizer. 



It allows for one to carry up to six items on hangers, and additional items in the mesh pockets. Supposedly, when one folds the packed organizer in thirds, it will easily fit into a carry on bag. There were several patterns from which to choose, but I’ve been on a blue kick lately, so I ordered this navy and white number.


I also received this trio of Tech Tacos to keep cords from tangling. Cute, eh?


And a trio of bags, one of which was a freebie:


I’m extremely pleased with my RūMe products. They look good and were reasonably priced. And the RūMe staff was responsive to my needs. I’d order from them again. My Gadget Girl status remains intact.

Peace, people!

(Oh, I received nothing in compensation for this review. I just wanted to praise a good product.)

Breath Mints and Poop Emojis

Wednesday mid-morning I was bumming around the house. Boredom set in. I knew that if I didn’t get out of the house as soon as possible I’d be reduced to watching crappy morning tv shows and snacking, neither of which are healthy hobbies.

So, I threw on a pair of denim capris and my favorite blue tshirt and headed to my go to boredom beating destination: Walmart. The best thing about Walmart is that you can have a good time even if you don’t spend a dime. That should be their slogan. Walmart: Have a Good Time Without Spending a Dime! Ok, I guess advertising isn’t my thing. 

Since I didn’t have anything in particular to shop for I wandered around in circles for awhile, picking up a new water dish for my cats, a couple of really cheap picture frames ($1.59 folks!), and some breath mints. Bitches never have enough breath mints. (I’ve been dying to type that phrase. I have no idea why.)

As usual Walmart had its amusing moments. Did you know that bean bag chairs in the shape of the 💩 (poop) emoji exist? Me neither! But look:


As bean bag chairs go, it was small. Child-sized. What kind of parent buys a poop emoji bean bag chair for their child? An awesome one, for sure.

As luck would have it I saw this hanging out beside the checkout line, right next to the small packages of Cheet-Os and Doritos. This made me giggle out loud.


Can’t you just picture Trump skulking around the White House in the middle of the night? He’s wielding a baseball bat as Ivanka cowers in fear behind him. 

“Are you sure you heard a noise,” he asks his beloved daughter/acting First Lady.

“Yes, father, it sounded like it was coming from the press room.”

The two peer into the murky space and what do they see? Big Bird and Elmo busily texting Putin. Yes, that’s why Trump really wants to defund NPR and PBS! Damned muppet spies! 

The fearless leader whacks both of them with the bat and Ivanka assists in removing all traces of their bloody deaths. Russian spies gone for good.

See, I told you Walmart is a great boredom beater! Now, go have an awesome day.

Peace, people!

Havana Shopping, Part 2

The Shoppes at Havana Trading Company in Havana, FL, is a fun place to spend a couple of hours. Around every corner one can find something to delight: candles, clothing, tea, antiques, and that’s just for starters.

When I visited yesterday I met Melba Ginsberg, the manager of Melba’s Cafe, and Karyn Burke, the owner of the “Broken Shell Boutique” a purveyor of beachy eclectica. The Broken Shell is just one of many wonderful shops inside The Shoppes at Havana Trading Company.


In her shop Karyn sells everything a displaced beach bum might need: sandals, beach towels, stationery, jewelry, fragrances for body and home, and candles among other things. Mermaids are welcome there, so I felt right at home. 

The vivacious Karyn Burke. She’s a joy!

Obviously I wasn’t the only shopper yesterday, so rather than monopolize Karyn’s time I wandered about The Shoppes and snapped some photos.

i have a hankering for this accordion.
This little three-drawer chest is gorgeous.

I hope these photos make you want to pay a visit to The Shoppes at Havana Trading Company. I’m ready to go back!

Peace, people!

Thomasville, Georgia

A brand new friend and I drove over to Thomasville, Georgia, yesterday to shop and have lunch. It was a superb day even with the rain that fell sporadically and the growing realization that my hips have grown wide enough to qualify for their own zip code.

My friend knows the area, so she was my guide as we peeked into gift shops and boutiques and even a funky taxidermy establishment. 

 

Heavenly seafood and grits to die for!
 
After a lunch of Jonah’s spicy Cyclone Shrimp and a Caesar salad we wandered into the cutest little shop. 

 

You probably can’t tell, but the table top had a layer of sand on it! Perfect for a summer beach themed display.
 
I should’ve taken more photos, but as we browsed I realized that after several minutes no watchful shop attendant had come out to greet us. A pair of high school aged girls stopped by the store and we learned that one of their teachers owned the business. We continued looking around and visiting for awhile and then the young ladies left. 

Now, I’m a huge fan of shows like Crime Scene Investigation and Criminal Minds, so naturally I began to believe that the shop’s owner had come to some harm. Perhaps as we’d been innocently examining the goods in her shop she’d been lying in a pool of slowly congealing blood, scratching the initials of her assailant in the viscous red liquid in hopes that her murder will be solved and justice served.

With that scenario in mind, I boldly strode to the work area of the store and yelled, “Hello?!” No answer. I looked under a workbench and behind a counter. Nothing. No one. My new friend was beginning to get a bad vibe. About me. I can tell these things–it’s why I can count my friends on one hand and still have two fingers left over.

Reluctantly, we left the store, but I wasn’t through. I went to the shop next door and explained my concerns to the two ladies working there.

Specifically I said, “There’s no one in the gift shop next door. We were there for at least ten minutes and I’m worried about the shop owner.”

“Oh,” said one of the women with a smile. “She is a bit eccentric. She probably just wandered down the street to get some lunch.”

I was relieved and a bit flabbergasted. Who leaves a shop unattended in the middle of the day? Or at any time, for that matter. Granted, Thomasville isn’t a large city, but it is certainly big and busy enough for there to be ill-intentioned people lurking about.

My (still?) friend and I left feeling a measure of relief and continued shopping. She bought a couple of cute tops and I bought a natural mosquito repellent. That’s what one buys when one’s hips have become their own 90210. 

I fully intended to return to the unattended shop before leaving Thomasville, but a rain storm burst from the heavens and put an end to our stroll about town. Perhaps on my next visit I’ll stop in to see who this most trusting of women is and spend a few dollars in her shop. I had a strange affinity for those wooden seagulls.

Peace, people!