Monday, April 27, 2009

Finding Shoes For Discerning Feet


The human foot is a wonder. There are more bones in the foot than in any other single body part. And when you consider that your feet support the weight of your entire body and make walking, balance and dancing possible, you begin to understand why. So buying well crafted shoes isn't just a vanity, but a necessity. Skimp on footwear and you experience pain and foot problems. And certainly fashion matters.

Lands' End has a variety of comfortable, functional shoes. Their all weather mocs and snow boots rival Merrell’s for smart casual styling and top craftsmanship, but cost much less. And they often run unbelievable deals. I bought my $34.99 all weather mocs – already a fabulous price – for just $19.99, plus free shipping. For the summer I just ordered a flexible, contemporary Mary Jane to wear like a sneaker for walking and received 20% off.  

Another great place to look for shoes is They are known for their amazing customer service. You get a huge selection of shoes, a full year to return shoes you don’t like or can’t wear, and it’s all risk free, because they offer free shipping both ways. So if you order an 8 but find that what you need is an 8 ½, Zappos pays for the return and sends out the new size free of charge. I favor soft leathers that breathe, extra cushioning and sturdy arch support. With Zappos I find the item descriptions, rotating photos, and the customer reviews extremely reliable in taking the guesswork out of ordering shoes online. Other customers tell you if a shoe is true to size, has arch support, or needs to be ordered a size up. When I can’t find what I want in a shoe store, I usually can find it at Zappos. Do you have a favorite place to buy shoes?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where Value And Convenience Converge

I love drugstores. Sometimes I go in to pick up one item like toothpaste or Alka-Seltzer and end up browsing for half an hour. There are just so many useful items in the aisles of a drugstore, including cosmetics, medicine, cleaners, groceries, electronic gadgets and other household necessities. You can find everything from cotton socks, comfortable slippers and beach wear to greeting cards, emergency gifts and lawn chairs. Enter and you have the possibility of one-stop shopping. I especially like the weekly specials drugstore chains run on goods most people need in their daily lives, like breakfast cereals, paper towels and laundry detergents. At my local drugstore, I can buy a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for less than I pay at the supermarket. What I appreciate too is you get a wide selection of excellent personal care products, at irresistible prices, making it unnecessary to go anywhere else for them. Rarely do I feel ripped off after shopping in a drugstore. Usually I leave satisfied carrying home staples, things I truly need at unbeatable prices. And isn’t that a wonderful feeling?

Here are 10 of my favorites – often offered on sale at "buy one, get one free," – and I hope you will add a few of your own to the list:

1. Pantene PRO-V Shampoo – Rich and keeps locks healthy
2. Aussie DEEEEEP 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner – Super! It really works.
3. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly – I keep a jar at my desk while working and dab my lips with it all day long.
4. TRESemme Heat Tamer Protective Spray – Detangles hair and leaves no residue.
5. Olay Complete Moisture Lotion with SPF 15 – I use it as a face moisturizer and sun tan lotion.
6. Dove Beauty Bar – Creamy, great smelling soap.
7. TRESemme Shampoo – The big size – 32 ounces – is a bonus and feels pure to hair and scalp.
8. [Drug store brand] Antiseptic Mouthwash – In Vanilla Mint and Citrus favors.
9. Aussie Shampoo – Terrific stuff! [Yep ... unmistakable pattern - 5 hair products on list.]
10. Cetaphil Moisture Lotion – Dermatologists recommend it.

And finally, on your next trip don't forget to bring your manufactures' coupons and dollar rewards card for extra savings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Take a look at my new dress. One glance at this crinkled, polka dot creation by Komarov, and I knew I wanted it. It wasn’t just calling, but chanting my name. However, the hefty price tag – $239 – was more than I usually spend for a daytime dress, even one this eye catching and flattering. Sure I was tempted – and I like adding a classic piece to my wardrobe each season. But $239 retail? Yikes! Good things, like saving $150, come to those who wait.

Everyone has a ceiling price, the most you feel comfortable paying for a garment. It depends on income and circumstances. I understand spending hundreds of dollars for a dress if you live a public life that involves walking across a stage before a television camera, with millions of people watching, as you pick up an award. And in similar circumstances, I'd head over to Harry Winston's … Valentino's … and Jimmy Choos'.

But my real world routine involves going to work and attending a fair share of dressy, low profile functions, so I can get away with simply looking nice. And thank goodness, I don’t require a different outfit for every occasion. The fact is no one remembers precisely what I wear. Most people just remember that I look decent or pulled together. Or at least, I hope so! There's really no need for me, or the average person to overspend on clothes.

Besides when it comes to clothing, most everything goes on sale at some time. So it's totally unnecessary to shell out full price, because what you want will eventually be reduced by 30-40-50%, or more. Over the years, I’ve learned what looks good on me, and I buy well-tailored, natural fabrics and classic pieces that won’t go out of style. I also save hundreds of dollars by putting items on a wish list, then waiting it out. This strategy works whether I shop in a department store, or over the internet.

I spotted my Komarov dress at
Nordstrom’s at full price, put it on my wish list, and then waited for the price to drop to $89. Now I’m just waiting for the weather to warm up so I can wear it. The waiting may be the hardest part, but it’s always worth it. Now let me ask, how much are you willing to pay for a dress?

You may also enjoy:
Oscar Looks For Less
10 Wardrobe Pieces Every Woman Should Own
10 Wardrobe Pieces Every Man Should Own
Leather Up To Look Casual Chic

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Rock 'N' Roll Odyssey

"The Stories We Can Tell" and "Brand New Tennessee Waltz" - Everly Brothers

My friend, Cara S., confuses the words "fan" and "fanatic" all the time. I know because she does it whenever she uses my name and the Everly Brothers in the same sentence.

The reality is the Everly Brothers were my father's favorite singers in the whole world, and I don't remember a time they didn't play in our house. Don and Phil have gorgeous voices and soaring, to-die-for harmonies. They are the best there will ever be. So I admit I'm a fan too. But in my friend's mixed up vernacular, she calls me an "Everly Brothers fanatic.” Maybe it’s because I had my picture taken in front of their plaque at the Country Music Hall of Fame and toured Studio B, the audio house of their early hits. Or perhaps, it’s because I replaced all my father's old Everly Brothers records with new CDs – and than ordered a boxed set, two documentaries and a biography. What took Dad years to collect, I bought in a few months, and that's what convinced her she had me pegged correctly. But, I’m not a fanatic – bless her heart – just a FAN who knows a good thing when she hears it. Clearly, my friend needs a good dictionary.

Amazon proved to be a great place to shop for my Everly Brothers' music. First, you can use the site like a library to search for albums, even if you buy elsewhere. Second, it lets you shop between many dealers across the country to find the lowest price. The tab “Artists Store,” is a good resource to see everything your artist released and what formats – CDs, DVDs, videos, MP3s and LPs – are available. Hit “Take Me There” to view album icons and hear song samples. Since it’s all on your screen, you can quickly assess what you own and what you need for your collection. Next you can zero in on a single release. Select the correct format, then click “New,” or “Used” for a range of prices. Amazon adds $2.99 for shipping, but it makes no difference from which state the item ships. I still paid less for each CD, verses walking into a record store. Because you are told what condition a CD, DVD, or book is in, I bought several “Used” CDs listed in “Like New” condition. Expect substantial savings.

I only buy music I'll listen to again and again ... and truthfully, I never – ever – get tired of The Everly Brothers. Next up – the EB exhibit at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. But shhhh … don’t tell ... Cara might stage an intervention.

"The Price of Love," Words & Music by Don and Phil Everly