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Each year at St Patrick’s Day, I am green challenged. I like the color. We live on one of the greenest corners of the earth. One of my favorite books of all time is Green Darkness by Anya Seton. I even like Kelly Green. And it’s no secret I love the Irish! But I can never find something in the right green, that actually looks good on me. Haaalp. On St Paddy’s Day, I’m meeting with Carol Fitzgerald of the peerless book site, www.bookreporter.com. With a name like “Fitzgerald,” she might well be expecting greenness. I need suggestions for something green to wear. Here are a few things I’m considering:

or…

Fiber Optics Dress

or maybe… 1950s Green SILK DressHmmm…What about

Sweet Green Cardigan Sweater Coat with Nordic Print Flounce Front or… Yes! I found it! NEW KANYE STRONGER SHUTTER SHADES HIP HOP SUNGLASSES GREEN

peninsula women's expo

Annual Peninsula Women’s Expo

September 26 & 27, 2009

Saturday 10 am-6 pm    Sunday 10 am-5 pm

Kitsap Sun Pavilion, Kitsap Fairgrounds, Bremerton

Grab a girlfriend & come join us for a fun weekend of fashion, food, health,

business, home, travel and all areas of interest to women.

The Peninsula Women’s Expo will also feature fashion shows by C.J. Banks,

Christopher & Banks, Macy’s, and Catherine’s; specialized health screenings &

services; author presentations; book signings with Susan Wiggs and Sheila Roberts; Master Gardening; food presentations and more!

Admission: $5 ages 12-adult; Sunday-Sr. Celebration Day: Ages 65 & older free.

Proceeds from ticket sales to benefit Susan G. Komen Foundation.

For more information go to:  http://www.PeninsulaWomensExpos.com

Picture the most elegant waterfront restaurant on Puget Sound, with an adorable waitress serving you a brunch of sourdough macadamia nut pancakes and Dungeness crab hash. As you watch the boats coming in and out of the marina, you talk about the books you’re reading, and what’s on your TBR pile, and which novels you’re really looking forward to reading, and then you talk about your kids and you laugh a lot you know you’re doing something right when eating and shopping are your business for the day. I’m not saying every day is like this for a writer, but
as I indulged in that lucky-author feeling, I remembered an old story. A writer came home one day to discover her house burned down, her car vandalized, all her treasured possessions gone or stolen. “We’re so sorry, ma’am,” said the emergency workers. “But at least we know who the culprit was–your literary agent.”
The writer staggered in shock. “You’re kidding. No way!”
“I’m afraid so, ma’am.”

“Wow,” said the writer, shaking her head in disbelief. “My agent came to me house…”

Picture the most fabulous waterfront restaurant on Puget Sound, with an adorable waitress serving you a brunch of sourdough macadamia nut pancakes and Dungeness crab hash. As you watch the boats coming in and out of the marina, you talk about the books you’re reading, and what’s on your TBR pile, and which novels you’re really looking forward to reading, and then you talk about your kids and you laugh a lot.

After brunch, you head out to a gallery and then to a landmark bookstore, shopping and talking the whole time.

And then it dawns on you. Your girlfriend also happens to be your literary agent, aka the woman in charge of the three-ring circus that is your career. This is a business meeting. You are “at work.”

You know you’re doing something right when eating and shopping are your business for the day. I’m not saying every day is like this for a writer, but
as I indulged in that lucky-author feeling, I remembered an old story. A writer came home one day to discover her house burned down, her car vandalized, all her treasured possessions gone or stolen. She stood there in horror as one of the emergency workers said, “We’re so sorry, ma’am. But at least we know who the culprit was–your literary agent.”
     The writer staggered in shock. “You’re kidding. My agent? No way!”
     “I’m afraid so, ma’am.”
     “Wow,” said the writer, shaking her head in disbelief. “My agent actually came to my house…”

A hard day at work for my agent and me. 🙂

Can you believe how charming this cup is? Get it for your Valentine here. Heck, get it for yourself! Artist Sally Mara Sturman is amazing. I just love her handcrafted, one-of-a-kind wares.

hand painted by Sally Mara Sturman

hand painted by Sally Mara Sturman

shaped like a person, with roomy pockets

shaped like a person, with roomy pockets

I take a lot of dog walks. It’s good for a) my dog, b) my health, c) my creativity and d) my attitude. Barkis and I walk for miles and sometimes hours without running into a soul. My default outfit was something that made me look like a wino, but ever since my Fashion Epiphany last summer, I’ve been trying to upgrade my Look. And during my Big Emergency last fall, they had to cut off my favorite Patagonia hoodie, so a replacement was needed.

Jay gave me this one–the Carrie–by Ibex. He was really proud of himself: “I knew your size exactly! Medium!” This is as close to knowing my size as he ever gets.

Here’s what’s perfect about it–it’s made of this double-faced New Zealand wool stuff that feels incredible even against bare skin. It has an actual shape (not too apparent in the photo but it’s really flattering). It has pockets that zip, a full front zipper (for ventilation) and two giant inner pockets. On a wilderness dog walk, I need pockets for the cell phone, iPod, training treats, leash and water bottle.

I’m pretty much obsessed with this company. The clothing is made in the USA! Yay! And they have the coolest web site and blog.

My friends and family don’t read my blog. They get enough of me in person. So I will list a few of the gifts I’ve bought for people this year. I can’t say who in case they are reading my blog on the sly. 

Girl gifts are easy. This seems to be the Year of the Bag (whereas last year was the Year of the Glove). Here are two options that will have you saying, Orla who??? My friend Deb showed me this wonderful stuff from Tutela. All on my own, I discovered Jane Marvel.

Girls who are extra good might get a cashmere bathrobe. It’s the one thing you can be pretty sure your girlfriends will not buy themselves, which is tragic, if you ask me. Maybe we all need this affirmation ball to tell us how great we are.

Here’s a book I love for big kids! And for nieces, this perfect, perfect little bauble.

for the stylish boater

for the stylish boater

ear flaps add that certain je ne sais quoi

ear flaps add that certain je ne sais quoi

Guys. Argh. They hate everything except golf carts, sports cars and stuff I can’t say on this blog. But they have to get dressed in something, right, so maybe this Lighthouse Keeper’s jacket? Or how about a dorky hat for the son-in-law-to-be? And of course, toys are aways appropriate–try a bow-and-mallow marshmallow shooter, a lighted Frisbee or perhaps a radio-controlled airplane.

 

yo Dad!

yo Dad!

Parents will tell you they don’t want “stuff.” Meh. Get Dad the quinessential Life: The Classic Collection photo book, a pair sustainable slippers and some Woodhouse Chocolates, and you’re done, so there. Make Mom a calendar out of family photos–even more fun, get your sister on the phone and work on it together. Also give her some Chocolate Vitale European Drinking Chocolate. Trust me on this. Then call the best salon in Mom’s town and get her a certificate for a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage and hairstyle. She’s your mom, okay? 

So that’ll get you started. Tune in tomorrow to find out how you can really make an impact with your shopping.

 Seriously, people, I have NO idea how I ended up on the list of the Industrial Doormat International catalog; all I know is their 1″ thick glossy book arrives in my mail like clockwork, and I send it to the recycler without even cracking it open. Oh, and the “As We Change” catalog, showing me how to get rid of sprouting chin hairs and embarrassing age spots–well, that’s just scary. Incredible waste of resources.

The good news is, you can make it all go away. Here is a free, instantaneous service, and they do all the work. I stopped delivery of at least two dozen catalogs, and I keep adding more when I see what the day’s mail brings. Go to Catalog Choice and eliminate all those pounds and pounds of glossy waste that arrives in the mail each day, especially around this time of year. Go do it now! And tell your friends!

a simple way to save resources

a simple way to save resources

From their site: “Catalog Choice is a sponsored project of the Ecology Center. It is endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and funded by the Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, the Kendeda Fund, the Weeden Foundation and the Mead Foundation.”

Yes, a guy. But not just any guy, my friend Roy who is the president of the Authors Guild. Here’s his message to members. Pass it on!

Roy Blount Jr wants you to buy books. Good plan.

Roy Blount Jr wants you to buy books. Good plan.

“I’ve been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren’t known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don’t lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn’t in the cards.

“We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

“There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they’re easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves.  Stockpile children’s books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they’ll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: “Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see…we’re the Authors Guild.”

“Enjoy the holidays.”

Roy Blount Jr.
President
Authors Guild

I’m picky about Christmas music, but I’m ready for something new. Post your recommendations here!

For your listening pleasure, Barkis and I recommend these: Barkis the Rein-dog

We Three Kings by The Roches has the single best rendition of “Deck the Halls” ever recorded.

Home for the Holidays by Stephanie Davis is smooth, beautiful and heartfelt.

Proceeds from A New Orleans Christmas (various artists) will benefit Habitat for Humanity in the Big Easy.

It’s not really Christmas without a Darlene Love album on the stereo.

A Christmas Celebration with Celtic Woman is haunting and relaxing, depending on the track.

Turn these up LOUD and dash around the house, getting the presents wrapped: Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas Song and The Christmas Trilogy by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

And…drumroll…the all-time best Christmas album ever: The Jethro Tull Christmas Album.

Other than waiting for a couple of key deliveries, my shopping is done. Done! Oprah has her favorite things; here are a few of mine I’ve found for my friends and family who, with the exception of my perfect daughter, don’t read my blog:

Wolfermans English Muffins. The most important meal of the day, delivered.

Party shoes! Are these cute or what?Steve Madden Vyceroy And for the sporty types, a pair of Keen waterproof sandals.

A Kashwere bathrobe. This was listed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things last year and it’s just one more thing to love about Oprah.

Medima angora long underwear. Lucky me, someone on my list wanted long underwear for Christmas. Instead of dying of boredom, I went looking for the Best Long Underwear Known to Man and here they are.

A beautiful travel wallet. Travel is so not fun anymore, you might as well have a classy-looking document holder in a yummy color.

necklace from Gilbert ThomesA Gold Ball Necklace. It’s made from one ounce of gold and strong enough to back a truck over, although I have no idea why you’d do that. There’s only one place to get this. It’s an original creation by Drew at Gilbert Thomes Jewelers.

A Frolic in Shibuya planner – irresistibly cute in that Japanesey way, with creamy stock paper.

A Bugzooka – the perennial favorite. There is no feeling of accomplishment quite so heady as sucking a live bug, unharmed, into the Bugzooka, and then releasing it into the wild.

The Pop-up Book of Phobias. A clown in 3D comin’ atcha! Plus snakes, spiders, dentists, flying and other horrors.

mix match RavelloPottery from Ceramiche da Lena. She had me at the butter dish. I bought all new dinnerware in this amazing shop in Ravello, Italy a few years back, and I am now hopelessly addicted. According to newspaper clippings on the wall, others who shop here include Hillary Clinton and Madonna. This addiction is bad luck for me, since the value of the dollar has made it scandalously expensive.

Sfogliatelle. Another addiction I brought home from Italy. If you can find an Italian bakery near you that makes sfogliatelle, you have discovered the Eighth Wonder of the World.

A bowl or little box from Tiffany, for M&Ms or paperclips. Actually, anything from Tiffany will do.

A Jimi Hendrix lunchbox, in case you have a brother who doesn’t like Tiffany.

shirt that will probably get my nephew beat up

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris. The last word on entertainment.

The Wave Board Street Surfer. Give this to someone who is very coordinated, or someone you don’t like.

A Hammerhead Sled

A cashmere bothy throw. I’m not sure what a bothy is, but this is the perfect thing to curl up with a new book.

Snarky stuff from Despair.com and geeky stuff from Thinkgeek.com…and don’t forget the office toys.

calendar you make from your own photos at Shutterfly.

The most spoiled dog in the known world gets an orthopedic mattress.

awesome glovesPortolano gloves, the ones with the cashmere lining.

Obnoxious stocking stuffers from stupid.com and Prankplace and handmade jewelry from the incomparable Willa.

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

take a look at a book

Buy or borrow my books at WorldCat.org.

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