What’s Your Point?

I mean PRICE POINT.

Do you know the price you’re willing — or NOT willing — to pay for a specific item?

And what factors affect your decision?

That tipping point between purchase or walking away.

If you paid proper attention, you remember that my tugboat man owed me a pair of Louboutin shoes because of his (ahem) transgressions. CLICK TO READ

I. Am. Officially. Crazy.

I wouldn’t allow hub to buy a ten dollar mop from Target ‘cos I knew i could get one at the dollar store for a dollar (which I did), but I can spend a mortgage payment on a pair of shoes.

Who wouldn’t want to save NINE DOLLARS, right?

My tugboat man flew home last week for a brief respite and our reunion was a whirlwind of shopping for new deck furniture, repairing a broken washing machine — it needed a new tub seal ‘cos it was leaking —  hub’s a GENIUS at fixing things, especially since there is NO surf ‘cos the Pacific Ocean is a LAKE so he had a lot of free (not surfing) time. This turned out to be an all day project because he decided to take it completely apart and do all sorts of maintenance while he replaced the broken part.

We put our old deck furniture out on the street and it was picked up within minutes, which was awesome as it saved us a trip to the dump and then the universe rewarded us by our discovery of an amazing outdoor coffee table also on the street just a couple blocks from our house that should complement our new furniture perfectly, and only needs to be refinished — another one of hub’s many talents.

See, I’m a girl who can appreciate the finer things in life as well as bringing home the detritus ( I mean the treasures) others discard.

I wasn’t at all naggy or anything — hardly even reminded hub of his duty to fulfill his penance with a pair of Loubies ‘cos we were uber busy — and then one day — UNPROMPTED — he asked if I had changed my mind about that certain trip to South Coast Plaza.

Quicker than you can say, “are you f***ing kidding me” I hopped in the shower and threw on a casual but California cool ensemble. Perfect for a day of trying on shoes.

I am horrified by what I’m going to say next, but I’m all about keeping it realz.

Louboutin

See the little piggies? Ick. From Pinterest

I don’t like the way Louboutins look on my feet.

This style is NOT foot or leg-flattering. That whole TOE CLEAVAGE thing that Christian Louboutin’s all about is NOT sexy on me. To me, it looks like a whole bunch of butt cracks and then I start thinking about plumbers and no. can. do.

Not even for those red soles that I had obsessed about for a while. Not even.

Plus, not comfortable at all. Not at all. I have a really high arch, so a tall heel is no problem — but after trying on almost every shoe in the store, I had to accept defeat.

My tugboat man was SO patient, he actually ENTERED the shop and sat with me while I modeled shoe after shoe. He didn’t like the way they looked either, but it was like pulling teeth to get him to offer an honest opinion — we’ve been married way too long — but I needed him to be brutally honest  At $650 and up — there’s a lot of considerations that don’t arise with a purchase from Ross Dress For Less.

Which brings us to PRICE POINT.

We tried all the shoe stores — Jimmy Choo, Dior, Prada, YSL, Roger Vivier, Stuart Weitzman, Bloomies…and then there was CHANEL.

I mean, we were right there;  it would have been so wrong NOT to see what they had, ya know?

It was all his fault. I tried on this shoe and he FORCED ME TO BUY IT.chanelshoes1

 

I didn’t want to. I said, “Let’s go and eat some lunch and think about it.”

So we did. We shared a salad and a veggie panini at the Corner Bakery Cafe and strolled back over to Chanel where I tried the shoes on again and walked all over the store. Yes, they were comfortable, more so than the Loubies. The heel wasn’t too low nor was it too high. There was none of the dreaded toe cleavage.

BUT they sorta kinda gapped open just a bit at the arch, ‘cos of the whole ballet dancer high arch thing. They didn’t hug my foot. They weren’t perfect, but pretty darn close.

My tugboat man waxed poetic. They were elegant, sexy, classy, timeless (his words.)

In all honesty, I bet he was really thinking to himself, “she’ll never bug me about buying another pair of shoes ever again so in the long run, this’ll save money and I’ll come out of it smelling sweet and looking like a hero and I’ll never have to watch her try on a thousand damn pairs of shoes ever again.”

OK. Here goes. The price point…They were $850. EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS, not including tax.

Way more than I’ve ever paid for a pair of shoes. The most I’ve ever spent was about $200 or so for boots.

Practically $500 PER SHOE.

This was well above my internal price point, but my persuasive husband exerted influence and FORCED me get them.

“You deserve to have them.”

“You should have had shoes like this twenty years ago.”

WHO IS THIS GUY? (And no, he doesn’t have any brothers, he can’t be cloned, and his dad is/was a selfish jerk, so I don’t know how he became so awesome or I got so lucky.)

So I caved. Against my better judgement, I slapped down the plastique and made the purchase.

But something was bothering me.

I was afraid to wear them. What if they got scuffed up? What if something happened to the little bands of gold and the CC charm on the heel?

And that gap issue bugged me; shouldn’t they fit like a Cinderella shoe? Shouldn’t they be BEYOND perfect? I could have a custom shoe handmade by a cobbler for less than $850.00.

All my “what if” worry issues were stimulated. 

The shoes sat on display on our dining room table for a few days.

I tried them on, walked around the house, but it was like an itch, a burr under my saddle, a nagging sense of something NOT QUITE RIGHT.

I even woke up from a deep sleep worrying about those damn shoes.

I was afraid to wear them. They were beyond my price point.

There’s a fourteen day return policy.

My tugboat man left to go back out to sea on Veteran’s Day.

What a dilemma!

On one hand, I loved the shoes A LOT, because Chanel, HELLO!

On the other hand, they weren’t 100000% perfectly fitting my foot. And on a third hand, they were ridiculously expensive, and I’m not sure I would enjoy wearing them because I’d be too frightened to walk outside.

I am fully aware that these kinds of shoes are not for hiking in the Anza-Borrego Desert and are much more akin to a hothouse flower that should only walk on a red carpet at a Hollywood premiere or the lush marble floor of a cocktail party in Rancho Santa Fe — but I’d be waiting YEARS for those events to occur.

And it’s also not that I don’t LOVE to be pampered with pricey prezzies (Chanel handbag #1 and #2, diamond anniversary band, opal ring…) but somehow these shoes triggered a deep emotional hesitation.

Know where I’m going?

I mean, literally, do you know where I’m going?

Yup, as soon as my tugboat man was safely on a vessel in the middle of a vast ocean, I packed up my beautiful but not perfect shoes and drove an hour back to South Coast Plaza and returned them.

*Sigh*

More than anything, I didn’t want to hurt my hub’s feelings — he really and truly derives so much joy from buying me nice things — but I just couldn’t keep them.

And I didn’t want to let him know in advance that I was driving to the OC ‘cos it’s a hundred-mile-plus trip roundtrip and he’d worry about me. The last thing I want to do is to cause him to pay less attention to his dangerous work, pulling and pushing barges and winches and towing lines and all that.

AND since we have a policy of full disclosure, I would never NOT tell him, because that’s not how we roll,

So.

Last night when he called to say goodnight like he always tries to do, I gently broke the news to him that I had returned his lovely gift, but more so than the actual purchase, I loved him for wanting to do whatever it takes to please me and make me happy, and THAT was priceless.

He was disappointed, but understood that that the whole “gap” and “fear” thing took the joy out of it for me.

Now here’s some questions I’ve been thinking about:

Do you think it was all a ploy by my tugboat man? Reverse psychology? He knows how cheap I really am, and perhaps he did this so he’d come out the generous knight in shining armor and I’m the undeserving scullery maid?

It’s possible…it is. He’s a clever one, that tugboat man of mine.

However, all is not lost. I have a $20 discount coupon for DSW. Hmm, maybe I’ll see what they have to offer.

Do YOU have a price point?  Especially for items that are not necessary like food and shelter. What factors enter into your purchase decisions? Is there a point at which you say no? What’s the most you’ve ever spent on shoes?

Here’s a photo gallery of South Coast Plaza all dressed up for the holidays and one last look of me holding a Chanel bag…

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Raspberry and Chocolate Bars. YUM.

Rah Rah Raspberry Chocolate Layered Oat Bars
raspberrychocbar4Tugboat man and I stopped at a Boudin Bakery located in South Coast Plaza ‘cos he was famished — he doesn’t have the same kind of stamina that I’m blessed with — to keep going until that holy grail has been attained.

Of course I’m speaking of shopping.

We took a five minute break so the whingy one could have some sustenance  – a little snack, a boost of energy — just enough to walk around the mall one more time.

Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Chanel.

(Poor guy. He’s so sweet, He suffers for me, he really does.)

We shared a Raspberry Chocolate Bar that was SO unexpectedly mouthwatering I couldn’t wait to attempt a recreation.

It’s in the oven now. Tugboat man and I’ll have a taste comparison to see if it measures up.

OK, we patiently waited and enjoyed a square of my version of their Raspberry Chocolate Bar along with a cup of ginger tea.

The verdict? DELICIOUS, but not EXACTLY the same, yet so good, it doesn’t really matter.

In every bite there’s creamy rich chocolate along with the crunch of oats and zesty raspberry. SO GOOD. 

Try it!

(Next time I’ll use fresh raspberries or pure unsweetened jam to control the amount of sugar.  We felt this recipe was a bit TOO sweet but that only meant we couldn’t have as large a piece as we wanted.)


After firmly pressing bottom dough, spread with jam.

raspberrychocbarsAdd the chocolate chips, yum!
rasberrychocbars1Carefully press top dough over jam.
raspberrychocbar2Golden brown, it takes a long time to cool and firm up before cutting and eating. Be patient! Tip: Refrigerate to hasten setting up.raspberrychoc3

Chocolate Raspberry Layered Oat Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375°

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, butter, oil. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add flour, oats, salt, baking powder and stir until well blended (mixture will be slightly crumbly.).

Remove 3/4 cup of dough; toss with chocolate chips. Set aside.

Press the remaining dough firmly into an 8-inch square baking pan, and spread evenly with jam. Sprinkle with chocolate chip mixture and again press firmly.

Bake at 375° for thirty minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

 

Gallimaufry. What’s That? Today’s Confused Hodgepodge.

Gal·li·mau·fry  [gal-uh-maw-free]
…a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.

That’s today’s title and a great descriptor…a little bit of everything ‘cos, well, just because.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Update on my son...

Staples removed (20+ of them!!) thanks to my good friend’s doctor hub whom we’ve known since our boys were in first grade and we used to go to aerobics classes together…he’s a topnotch internist at North County Internal Medicine.

A while back they added something special to his practice, NCIM Aesthetics — specializing in state-of-the-art laser skin laser technology PLUS my personal favorites: Botox, Juvederm, and Radiesse. Give ‘em a call @ 760-726-2302 or email NCIMaesthetics@gmail.com

So far, the only hitch in Angel Boy’s recovery was a by-product of taking Augmentin for an infection he got in the hospital…another really awful stomach bacteria called c. difficile, but with a switch to Flagyl and some high quality probiotics, his fever and the infection disappeared. He’s finishing up his recovery in SF with DIL. Alll he needs to do now is build up his strength and gain back the nearly twenty pounds he lost over the last month.

Me (‘cos it’s always about me, right? I mean, even when it doesn’t seem to be all about me, it’s really ALL ABOUT ME.)

Suffering from writer’s block again, so I’m watching back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Real Housewives of Orange County (or New York), and Sherlock —  all very successfully helping me NOT create a post — or writing — of any value. There’s no real writing inspiration, just escapism.

Honestly, I don’t know who I’m crushing on more: Randy Fenoli from SYTTD (I’d kill for his eyebrows) or Benedict Cumberbatch as the ultimate Sherlock. I love them both! But not nearly as much as I’m lady boning for Richard Roxburgh as criminal lawyer Cleaver Greene in Rake, (the original Aussie one), not the US version, on Netflix.

Watching SYTTD and Housewives is something I can ONLY do when my tugboat man is out to sea; it’s one of those pesky non-negotiables when he’s home.

He literally REFUSES — says, “Im outta here” as he leaves the room, so I save them as my guilty pleasures when he’s thousands of miles away.

A successful marriage is all about compromises, right? Do I want to have a fight about a stupid TV show? Nope, not this Princess.

With my very empty nest, it was time to put on my comfortable shoes and flex my weakened shopping muscles. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent the day as a little retail butterfly, flitting from one store to the next, checking out the offerings and laying down the “plastique”; I’m a bit rusty and needed a warm-up before attempting one of the big malls or my own personal mecca, South Coast Plaza.

After a great hour-long boot camp class at 24 Hour Fitness, I checked my watch, 10:00 a.m. and I was off! First to Target for essentials, then Trader Joe’s and a vacuum store for a new powerhead belt, on to Marshalls to test my shoe-spotting and ability to browse both-sides-of-the-aisle-at-the-same-time skills.

After the one hour mark, I was a bit tired and thirsty so I stopped to eat an apple and grab a bottle of water — it’s imperative to stay well-hydrated and nourished whilst shopping.

Revived, I meandered downtown to get my glasses adjusted and stopped at my favorite consignment shop where I’ve previously discovered Valentino and Missoni treasures –not so lucky on this day, but I didn’t leave empty handed; there was a sweet and comfy chartreuse bathing suit coverup  that called out to me.

This practice shopping excursion ended with a visit to Lowe’s for vegetable seeds, a pomegranate tree, and mesh to cover an apple tree that’s being eaten by nasty ground squirrels, presumably cousins of the elusive Spirit Squirrel™.
Click here to read all about it.

Still all about me, but on a serious note…

I was just diagnosed with vitreous detachment in my left eye which is sad because I thought the sparkles I was seeing was once-and-for-all proof positive of my Princess-ness.

However, I was wrong. Here’s the info from NIH (National Institutes of Health) in case you ever see sparkles and it’s not the optical or silent migraine type of lights.

It’s definitely NOT something to ignore…

What is vitreous detachment?
Most of the eye’s interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina, the eye’s light-sensitive tissue. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks, and these fine fibers pull on the retinal surface. Usually the fibers break, allowing the vitreous to separate and shrink from the retina.

In most cases, a vitreous detachment, also known as a posterior vitreous detachment, is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment.

Who is at risk for vitreous detachment?
A vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common after age 80. People who are nearsighted are also at increased risk. Those who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are likely to have one in the other, although it may not happen until years later.

Symptoms and Detection
As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina that you may notice as floaters, which appear as little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision. If you try to look at these shadows they appear to quickly dart out of the way.

One symptom of a vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. This increase in floaters may be accompanied by flashes of light (lightning streaks) in your peripheral, or side, vision. In most cases, either you will not notice a vitreous detachment, or you will find it merely annoying because of the increase in floaters.

Treatment
How does vitreous detachment affect vision?

Although a vitreous detachment does not threaten sight, once in a while some of the vitreous fibers pull so hard on the retina that they create a macular hole or lead to a retinal detachment.

Both of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated immediately.

If left untreated, a macular hole or detached retina can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Those who experience a sudden increase in floaters or an increase in flashes of light in peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine their eyes as soon as possible.

But enough of THAT stuff, right?

On that happy note, I’ll wrap up this Wednesday gallimaufry and try to focus on a submission for Erma Bombeck Workshop all because I opened my big mouth on Twitter and kinda sorta got dared to do it. SCARED! Wish me luck, y’all!

ermabombeck

 

 

Dripping Caves: Hiking Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park @Orange County, California

alisosignA few days before Christmas, we picked up Angel Boy (my son– and yes, we still call him Angel Boy even though he’s thirty-two-years old!) from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

We drove RIGHT BY South Coast Plaza but my mind was too excited to see my baby to care about stopping at Chanel or Valentino or Cartier or Gucci or Harry Winston….HARRY WINSTON!!

Crap, did I just miss an opportunity to check out Chanel???

Sigh, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

Aliso hike

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is a jewel of solitude and natural beauty in hectic Orange County.

It comprises approximately 4,500 acres of wilderness and natural open space land. Originally, part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land, it later was owned by Don Juan Avila, Louis Moulton, the Mission Viejo Company, and now is under the jurisdiction of OC Parks.

Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year-round streams, and over thirty miles of official trails. Many rare and endangered plants and animals make this park their home. This park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

To get to the main trailhead for Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, exit the 5 freeway at Alicia Parkway and head towards the ocean.

Of course it was imperative that we feed the child. Whether they’re four or thirty-two, the first thing they think about is FOOD! I had prepared a huge amount of food for the hungry traveler and we ate it at a picnic table near the entrance to the trailhead, under a canopy of old shade trees. He ate a couple of his favorite sandwiches: tuna with celery, apples, nuts, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce — along with Lentil Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Veggie Chips, Persimmon Bread, and an apple and an orange. We never fail to marvel at the AMOUNT of food Angel Boy can pack away…and that doesn’t include the nuts and raisins for the hike.

What’s up with that kind of metabolism?

He eats so much and burns it all and needs to eat again every couple of hours or so. This is just his normal — I once took him to an endocrinologist to make sure his levels were OK, and we learned that he’s just an extremely efficient food user. All I can say is that he didn’t get that from me.

After almost eight miles, we drove home — exhausted –but in a good way, and restored by the fragrance of Southern California buckwheat and sage.

Of course it was time for dinner and another feast of epic proportions: the stuff of mom-joy, that’s for sure.

Shadow and light, me and my tugboat man.

alisoparkhike

Great blue heron.

aliisobirdA hidden pocket of water.

Aliso1

More water, rushing over rocks.

Aliso2

A gorgeous meadow and hills, but look at the houses on the hill.
So close to civilization!

aliso4Fairy-like foot bridge.
alisobridge

alisodrippingcave

alisocave

Another cool cave.

alisocave1

Some leaves DO change color in SoCal!alisotree

A happy mom ‘cos my Angel Boy was home,
even if only for a few days.

alisome

When Is A Friend Not A Friend?

Let me ask you a question about friendships…is there a line that can’t be crossed?

What would you do if a friend acted in manner so egregious, so counter to your own value system?

Have you ever said to yourself, I can’t be friends with someone like that, and end the friendship?

It happened to me.

I met her at the gym; she overheard me talking about my obsession with all things Chanel and we became friendly.

My tugboat man coined the phrase “friend not friend” because all we did was shop together. We never went out for dinner as couples and we never socialized together with our husbands. She had been to our house, but had never invited me to hers.

She was a “shopping friend.”

That means we’d meet every couple of weeks or so and drive in one car to a mall, either Fashion Valley in San Diego, or South Coast Plaza in Orange County.

Whoever didn’t drive bought lunch for two; that was a fair trade.

That was the only thing we had in common, even though we learned that our kids attended the same elementary school at the same time.

She’d been a working mom throughout their entire childhood; I’m an ardent advocate for the stay-at-home-mom situation.

She had a tough childhood: was unwanted, abused by a stepfather, and forced to travel around the country with her migrant worker family.

She managed to graduate from college and has been married to the same man for about forty years, the only man she’s ever slept with.

He just happens to be a millionaire, which is an amazing rags to riches tale.

Her inner fortitude and drive to extricate herself from poverty are admirable qualities and I’m sure that somewhere in there is an explanation for the way she acted the last time we spent the day together.

On this particular day, it was her turn to drive. Since she never had new clothes when she was growing up, she became a compulsive shopper, and always bought something, no matter what the cost. I’m more of a browser, and fairly thrifty except for that one (or two) Chanels.

After six hours at South Coast Plaza, we were on the highway heading home.

Looking out of the passenger window, I spotted a little puppy walking in the weeds parallel to the freeway.

I pointed and said, “Oh my gosh, do you see that? Pull over, pull over, there’s a puppy right there. You stop and I’ll run out and get it before something terrible happens.”

She wouldn’t stop.

She would not stop.

She flailed a hand about —  you know, in that way, that universal sign of blasé dismissal — and said, “Oh, someone will help. It’ll be fine.”

“No it won’t. We have to help. We HAVE to. Get off the next exit and let’s go back. “

She refused to stop the car, no matter what I said.

“How could you say you love animals but you won’t stop to help a creature in dire need of assistance?”

I was powerless. I hate feeling ineffectual, useless, helpless.

I’m sure she endured all that and more growing up with her dysfunctional family but it would seem that she might have felt more of a kinship toward another helpless creature, not apathetic indifference and total lack of compassion.

I was silent for the remainder of the ride.

By the time we got back, it was getting dark. I thought about jumping in my car and driving back to where I saw the puppy but I didn’t even know the exactly where we had been, which is the reason why I hadn’t called CHP or animal rescue. It would have been impossible to locate. All I know is that it was somewhere on the 405 South from Newport Beach.

That was the last time I saw this friend not friend. She went on a vacation soon after that and when she returned, I heard she started going to another gym.

I’m haunted by the vision of that puppy that I couldn’t help.

Of course I couldn’t be friends with someone like that.

Everything I needed to know about her true character was revealed, and for me, that’s a non-negotiable area.

A deal breaker. A heart breaker.

Have you ever had to end a friendship?

Princess Rosebud And Her Tugboat Man

Nope, I don’t surf, but if I did, this is what I’d look like, and I’d be blonde, too!


Vintage-surfing princess rosebud

While he’s surfing, I’m cleaning the house and doing massive loads of his laundry that came home in the biggest black plastic garbage bag I’ve ever seen.

It’s so big, I could fit inside of it.

They have a washer/dryer on board; I suppose it’s much easier for him to stuff it in his suitcase and know that his live-in maid/laundress/cook will wash, dry, fold, and put it all away while he’s riding the wild surf. 

Or maybe it’s a primitive vestigial trait just like the way a kitty brings a dead rat home and lays it at your feet.

Yeah, it’s just like that.

His laundry = dead animal prize.

No problem, Tugboat Man, you worked hard and deserve a little R & R.  I saved my pilgrimage to South Coast Plaza for that perfect wedge ’til you came home so you could enjoy spending the day following me around the mall, too!

Payback and all that, right?

A Project-Based Life

peace-sign-flowersNope, this isn’t an inspirational life lesson about blessings or another sanctimonious diatribe about the rules of living harmoniously with peace signs and luv and future conditional acts of kindness that’ll result in good karma (although those are wonderful ideals.)

Nor is this a guide or doctrine or manual advising you about how to live a VALUE-based life or PLANT-based life (although those are great ideas, too)

In a way, you could say I live a PURPOSE-driven life because I’m on a MISSION.

I’m OBSESSED with buying the perfect wedge. That’s my purpose in life for right now.

As Paula Deen so eloquently waxed, “I izz what I izzz”.PaulaDeen

Butter, I mean but, I truly do live a project-based life.

I do a lot of projects. How’s that? Better?

Tee hee.

I mean, what else can I do to wile away the endless days and hours until my tugboat man comes home? And don’t judge me if you haven’t walked a block or two in my Louboutins.

It’s not like I can have a full-time job ‘cos then we’d never get to spend any time together and I haven’t found the right fit in a part-time position that would allow me enough shopping time. Oh, and project time. Cos I live a project-based life, remember?

Here’s my project du jour: Princess Rosebud shoe embellishment

I’ve been obsessively scouring the shops for the perfect wedge.

espadrillesI found these delightful slides but that just whetted my appetite for another pair. I’ve been everywhere in San Diego County. I went to Fashion Valley-nothing. I went to Saks Fifth Avenue-nothing. I stopped at University Towne Center in La Jolla-nothing. DSW, two locations — nothing.

Finally, I found the perfect lightweight wedge at Barneys Outlet in Carlsbad but they didn’t have my size. The sales associate informed me that they could have the right size sent to the store but I’d have to pay an extra $12.00 and the shoes were already a pricey $155.00. I thought that was totally ridiculous—I mean, it’s like I was being penalized for wanting to buy their stupid shoes. I told her to forget it and walked away dejectedly.

Life is SO tough for me.

Sigh.

Never one to admit defeat, I went to Famous Footwear mostly ‘cos I thought I’d get another pair of Nike cross trainers. I didn’t find anything I liked – yes, I’m THAT picky, in case you haven’t figured that out by now….but I did find these espadrilles for only $20.00, originally $50.00.

OK. You might think these are cute just the way they are, but I see a blank canvas that needs some sparkle, a little dressing up, a little beautification. It’s not that I’m never happy with the way things are; I believe almost everything can be made just a bit better with a little creativity and effort. Maybe that IS a life lesson…

espadrilleswhiteI went to Michael’s Crafts with a single shoe in hand, wandering up and down each aisle waiting for the muse to strike. Nothing seemed right until I found these flowery things (on sale). I couldn’t wait to get home and get started on this project.
espadrilleshowflowers

I embellished the embellishment, and added a sparkle in the middle.
Glue guns RULE!

espadrilleswhiteflowers2

espadrillescloseup

Cute, right? It seems to be the perfect finishing touch for a casual shoe.
Can’t wait to pin these on Pinterest.

espadrilleswhitefinal

BUT I still NEED that elusive perfect wedge. Maybe these Louboutins?
Now THAT’S such an awesome shoe that doesn’t need me to do a thing do it.
It’s so perfect I could kiss it. MWAH.
Louboutin
Since it appears that I’ll be a single woman for another week or so, I’ll be heading north to the holy grail — the the only place on earth that’ll fulfill my desires –
South Coast Plaza.  If I can’t find the perfect wedge there, I can’t find it anywhere.

And that’ll be my purpose for next week. Now I have to think of another project or two; seashells perhaps?

A Boring Day in the Life of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Nautical Clock

Yawn. Bored. Sooo tired of waiting.

Waiting for my tugboat man to come home. Sooooooooooo boooooring.

cross-out-daysThis is called living in limbo: waiting for the assignment to be over with the date circled on the calendar and then crossed out because homecoming is delayed due to unavoidable circumstances.

Sometimes this totally sucks!

I’ve almost run out of little projects and you can imagine what that means!

But you know what they say; when the cat’s away, the mice will…SHOP!

There are certainly other more productive ways I could spend my time, but who’s kidding who(m)? Retail therapy is very therapeutic.

I drove to the DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse)  in La Jolla near UCSD because I usually always get lucky and find my size in the sale racks. Not today. Nada. I saw some cute styles in wedges and espadrilles, but they were all out of 5 1/2 s. Crap. I should have driven to the other one in Mission Valley — they have a larger selection, but there’s so much traffic. Next time…

Ross Dress for Less is situated right below DSW so I thought I’d give it a try ‘cos I had driven all the way there. Ross is sometimes very bargain basement but there are gems to be had if you frequent it on a regular basis.

Yay! Success!

espadrilles

I’m trying to improve my fashion photog skills. Love the close up!

I wanted a couple different styles, but these’ll look super cute with dresses AND skinny jeans, no? Charles David regularly priced $90.00 on sale for $19.99 ??? WTF? Damn, these babies came home with me for sure.

Don’t they look all sassy and beeyotchy? I thought so, too. I feel like I could wear them and start snapping my fingers to get shit done. Oh yeah. SNAP. Get me a drink. SNAP. Get me another one

Wandering up and down the aisles aimlessly attempting to waste a few of the captain’s hard earned dollars, I found an Indian/Moroccan-inspired pouf. I had to have it, of course.
poufAs I was struggling to put it in the trunk, a lady stopped her car (a brand new Jaguar) to tell me how much she loved my Chanel Grand Shopper Tote, which totes made my day shiny and happy.

I still need another pair (or two) of shoes so it’s on to the OC and South Coast Plaza later this week. I mean, I saved so much at Ross, I deserve to be rewarded, right? Right!

And my tugboat man? Ah well, still missing him, but making the best of it. :)

Hiking the Magnificent Crystal Cove State Park With Princess Rosebud

My Birthday Hike

Crystal Cove State Park is in the OC.

That’s Orange County for those of you who didn’t watch The Hills or Real Housewives of Orange County.

It’s about an hour up the road from our little beachy town, near the home of my favorite shopping mecca, South Coast Plaza.

As much as I enjoy playing dress up in diamonds and designer fashion, I LOVE getting dusty and dirty on a trail surrounded by nature.

A couple years ago my son attended a seminar at University of California at Irvine and we hiked Crystal Cove together, but my tugboat man had been out to sea and wasn’t able to join us.

It’s so beautiful that I wanted to share it with him and chose it for my birthday activity.

On my birthday, I get to do anything I want — my mom said so — and who am I to argue when she substantiated my belief that the world revolves around me?

It was a wonderful, happy, magical day!

How to get there

Crystal Cove Directions

The bridge at the beginning of the trail.
The trail we took was about five miles; we couldn’t take the longer one ‘cos of our time constraints.  It starts off heading east up into the hills –
when you’re at the top, you’re facing west –
with an amazingly beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.

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A little wild rabbit, maybe a cousin of my garden bunny.

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The view from the top of the trail. It’s  breathtaking.

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Beautiful Orange County.
I wonder who lives in those homes overlooking the cove?

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Where we ate lunch…can you spot the quail who came to join us?

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Princess Rosebud in a new Yale shirt, a Mother’s Day gift from Angel Boy.

Lunch Crystal Cove Me and J

Happy Memorial Day to all of our veterans!

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We walked across the street to see the vintage cottages built in the 1930s.
They’re on the beach and available to rent through the
Crystal Cove Alliance. Click here for all the deets.

Located in the heart of Crystal Cove State Park’s 3.5 miles of pristine coastline, the Historic District was first developed as a South Seas movie set due to its seclusion and tropical aura.

The community thrived and became popular for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere and picturesque landscape. In 1979, the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built as a seaside colony in the 1930s and 40s, Crystal Cove endures as a magical escape for visitors who appreciate the opportunity to experience California’s natural and architectural beauty, untouched by time.

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Touring the Visitor’s Center, we took a step back to the 1930s to see what the cottage kitchens used to look like.

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How could anyone not jump in that inviting ocean?

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Not big enough for surfboards, but my two guys had a refreshing swim.

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The outdoor restaurant was full of people enjoying the amazing weather;
check out the nautical flags!

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Oopsie…chemtrails. These are NOT contrails…
Our sunny day turned milky white right before our eyes.

crystalcovechemtrails

Next time: My Hello Kitty Birthday Party

Hermès and a Wind Rose; The Cosmic Connection

Before there was…
logo-hermes-paris

There was…
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  • Hermès was the son of Maia and Zeus
  • He was the messenger of the gods and the god of merchants, travelers, and public speakers.
  • He was one of the twelve Olympian gods who resided on the summit of Mount Olympus.
  • His caduceus helped Hermès charm the gods and gain access to all locations.
  • Hermès was the only god who was authorized to visit Heaven, Earth and the Underworld.
  • He was often depicted ready for travel and wore a flat hat called a petasus.

compass-wind-rose-17937547Wind Rose

  • Used by mariners, a wind rose is a diagram that summarizes information about the wind at a particular location over a specified time period.
  • Before the use of magnetic compasses, a wind rose was a guide on mariners’ charts to show the directions of the eight principal winds.
  • The modern wind rose used by meteorologists gives the percentage of the time the wind blows from each direction during the observation period; it sometimes shows the strengths of these winds and the percentage of the time calm air or light winds are observed.
  • This wind rose usually has eight radiating lines whose lengths are proportional to wind frequency and shows wind strength by the thickness of the lines or by feathers attached to them.
  • The earliest-known wind roses appeared on navigation charts used in the thirteenth century by Italian and Spanish sailors.

Hermès + Wind Rose = a meant-to-be gift for ME.
A cosmic convergence of two worlds.

For a guy who once balked at paying fifty dollars for a bottle of Estee Lauder Pleasures perfume for our very first Christmas together, my tugboat man has surely mastered the art of generous gift giving.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Our last couple of days zoomed by in a blur. Hub’s company called on Monday to ask him if he would relieve a captain who had to be flown home for a health-related reason.

He flew out Wednesday morning. Yet another seventy-five mile round-trip to the airport for me…

I’ve been talking nagging him about getting an Hermès scarf ever since I  bought my son an Hermès tie for his graduation last year. (The story of the Hermès tie will be highlighted in a future post.)

I really didn’t want my tugboat man to use up his last day at home by going shopping, but he twisted my arm.

He said the scarf was supposed to be a gift for my birthday but we never found the time to go to South Coast Plaza in Orange County or Fashion Valley in San Diego.

We were close to SCP when we hiked Crystal Cove although I didn’t want to experience the wonderfulness of Hermès in dusty hiking boots. That’s totes understandable, right?

So I finally acquiesced under the barrage of his relentless and persuasive arguments and gracefully allowed him the joy of making me happy.

Um, I mean, who am I to deny him that pleasure?

What can I say? I’m a spoiled beeyotch, I know, I know. But every girl needs at least one Hermes scarf to call her own. It’s true. I read that somewhere, I know I did…

Did you know that a postal worker from Texas designs some of the scarves from Hermès?My son, who possesses a vast store of knowledge about almost everything, heard about it on NPR, “How A Texas Postman Became An Hermès Designer” (click on the title to read the article.)

We asked the sales staff to pull out and display every scarf in the case. My hubs exhibited an inordinately high level of patience with me while I pondered each and every scarf; draping each and every one over my shoulder, gazing upon my reflection in the mirror.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who’s the fairest of them all?”

They were all beautiful and colorful and quirky — but not for me — not the one with sailboats nor the ones with horses and polo ponies nor the Native American themes (designed by the postal worker.)

I have high praise for the sales staff. They seemed to enjoy my shopping experience as much as we I did.

None spoke to me until I saw the scarf entitled  “La Rose des Vents”.

It was a Wind Rose!

I turned to my tugboat man with shining eyes, “Isn’t this just the most perfect thing you’ve ever seen? It’s meant to be, right?”

“If you love it, I love it”, replied my perfectly trained and word-sparing husband.

Not just because it’s an ÜBER fashion house — even more profound, it’s a celebration of the beauty of a mariner’s world.

I must admit I became a bit teary-eyed at that moment, but not enough so that tears spilled over and damaged the delicate silk.

Back to the business at hand…

Navy red, brown

Navy red, brown

There were two color palettes from which to choose.
This one…or one with blues, pinks, greens, and yellows.

Which do you think I picked?

Join me as I fulfill another retail shopping dream…

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My tugboat man takes the absolute worst pictures.
He refuses to use the zoom or focus.

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I think I’m totally rocking the polka dot sweater from Target, don’t you?
It sooo sets off the orange Hermès bag.
If you look really hard, you can see that I need to get my roots done ASAP.
Do you see that tell-tale line of gray hair?
Too funny the way the sun reflects off it, right?

Hermes1

Now we’re home to prepare for the unveiling.
Yes, all the chairs in our dining room are covered in animal print. 

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Look at the box. Just look at it! All wrapped up with a logo ribbon. Sigh.

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I’m in heaven.
Is this the one you thought I would choose?

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Beautiful, beautiful silk.
And what’s this? It’s a wind rose!!!
“La Rose des Vents”
The Rose of the Winds.
Amazing, right?

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Do you see why I had to have it?
It’s maritime-related, and even better, “Rose” is part of my real-life name,
not just my nom de plume, Princess Rosebud.

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The colors are vibrant and amazing.
The silk feels like flower petals.

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It’s way more gorgeous in person.
The photos don’t do her justice, and I really need to iron the folds.

hermes10Way to go, my tugboat man, to once again make me feel like a real princess.
I hope you have calm winds, fair weather, and come home safe and soon.
xoxo

princess tiara