shopping

I don’t know how all of you feel about shopping, but depending on the item, I love it.

I like shopping for furniture, electronics, books and music.

But what I love shopping for most of all is outerwear.

Jackets. Peacoats. Track Jackets for running. Sweaters. Dressy coats. Rain coats. I love them all. Seriously, I think an unhealthy portion of my closet is dedicated to coats.

There is certainly one type of jacket that I am lacking in, which is a puffy jacket. I want to remedy that problem immediately with this:

(Source)

Or something very similar to it, anyway.

One thing I love about living in San Francisco is the lack of any kind of significant weather. The only problem is that occasionally, weather shows up and I have absolutely no clothing that will work. I’ve been freezing for days, with the temperatures in the 40s, nearly down into the upper 30s. Really not that cold in the grand scheme of winter, but in San Francisco, it’s damn nippy. I have no outerwear to deal with these types of “frigid” conditions. I’ve been wearing a thermal long-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved zipped hoodie and a woolen peacoat and the wind and cold are just blowing right through me. The peacoat isn’t very thick and it’s just not working out. I need a puffy jacket. Stat.

My co-workers and I went out for lunch yesterday. Over a steamy bowl of chicken udon, I explained my intense desire to purchase a coat and I suggested that on our way back to work we stop at the store down the street that sells North Face stuff. They agreed and soon I was surrounded by jackets. Unfortunately, their women’s selection was sort of lacking. I found one jacket that was kind of okay….but it was brown. I’m not really into brown. Finally, a purple jacket presented itself and I lifted it up off the rack, thinking it was sort of cute, and maybe I’d try it on. But it was locked to the clothing rack. Turns out all of the jackets were. I decided I’d ask someone to let me try it on, but I wanted to look around a little more first.

Then a salesperson swooped down on me and asked me if I needed help.

I told her I was just looking.

Then she proceeded to follow me around the store and stand about 4 feet away from me, no matter where I went.

I didn’t like it.

Perhaps I am in the minority, but I don’t really like being assisted by salespeople. I prefer to shop alone (or with the people I came to the store with, in this case, my co-workers), and then if I need a sales associate, I’ll ask for them. I don’t like to feel pressured. I don’t want to hear their opinions on how something looks on me. I just want to do my own thing.

Now, it’s a-okay if an employee comes over and asks me if I need help ONE time. Then I either take them up on it, or I say “No thank you, I’m just looking.” But when the person follows me around, non-stop I start to get mad, and even if I wanted something in the store, I probably wouldn’t buy it just because I didn’t like being hounded by the staff. In my opinion, there are only three reasons to hound someone while they are shopping:

1) To get a commission.

This is fine. If you want to race over the second I make up my mind so you can take it to the register and get credit for helping me, that’s cool. I don’t care. Just make yourself available and when it’s time, you can take my items to the counter. But if you stalk me like some kind of large wild cat, waiting to pounce on its prey, I will make it my mission in life to ensure that you GET NOTHING.

2) You think I’m stealing.

I hate being profiled when I’m shopping. When I was a teenager, I remember going to Camelot records because I wanted to buy a copy of Puccini’s “La Boheme”. This is the opera whose libretto Jonathan Larson modernized when he created the musical “RENT”. As you all know, I’m a RENThead, so I wanted to go back to the original source. The employees there kept staring at me as I shopped, trying to figure out which recording was the cheapest. Finally, one of them came up and demanded that I show them my bags. I was completely shocked and just handed them over. Obviously, they contained no stolen music. I then purchased the CDs from them. If that happened today, I’d refuse to let my bags be searched and like hell I’d buy anything from them.

3) You think I can’t afford your merchandise.

Once I was birthday shopping for my mother and I went to a jewelry store to buy some earrings. I had every intention of  spending a good chunk of change on the present. The employee kept following me around, which as I’ve said, I find annoying to begin with. Then after about 10 minutes of following me, she came over to the case I was looking at and said, “Why don’t you come and take a look at these items over here. The ones you are looking at have REAL gems in them and are too expensive….these ones over here have glass ones and will be much more reasonable for you.” Yeah. I totally turned around and walked right out of there.

So I’m a sistah
Buy things with cash
That really doesn’t mean that all my credit’s bad, oooh
So why dispute me and waste my time
Because you really feel the price is high, for me
I can’t look without being watched, and oh
You rang my buy before I made up my mind, OW!

–“Free Your Mind”, En Vogue

I know that in that song, they’re talking about racial profiling, but even so, that is exactly how I get treated when I walk into stores sometimes. Maybe the chucks and messy ponytail throw them off, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m a customer, and I deserve respect.

At any rate, I have no idea why the employee was following me around yesterday. I just know I was made uncomfortable by her close proximity, and that coupled with their not so awesome selection meant that I went back to work without a puffy jacket.

Wish it had worked out differently though. I’m really cold.

Huh. I must be feeling a little better….I just ranted! Yay! Silver lining!

What kind of shopper are you? Do you like assistance or do you like to do your own thing?

When we last left off, Maya and I were wandering around the Rockridge area, eating sandwiches and taking pictures of Great Harvest bread. Eventually, the sandwiches were consumed and the bread had been fully documented to our standards, so we decided to wander around. After all, we were paying over $7/each round trip in BART fares…might as well check out the sights!

We peered into windows and looked across the street. Maya noticed an antique shop she might want to peek into and then we saw it. A store that we of course could not walk past:

That’s right, a running shop!

The inside of the shop was full of running clothes, supplies and of course, shoes. It was also decorated with a border of racing bibs. That’s a lot of races represented there!

Maya was excited because they had Vibrams. While the barefoot running shoe isn’t a rarity in San Francisco these days, in Japan, they are much harder to come by. As she is interested in eventually investing in a pair, Maya knew she wanted to take this opportunity to try some on.

Since I wasn’t ready to jump into barefoot running, I decided to just be a spectator. I also attempted to document the experience, however it was difficult…she kept moving and my point and shoot Canon is really not all that forgiving when it comes to someone trying to wiggle into some Vibrams.

In the end, Maya decided that she was going to wait to buy a pair, but was glad she had the opportunity to try some on. This way, she will at least know what size to order online when she decides to make the purchase.

After a quick pit stop at Trader Joe’s, we boarded BART and headed back to the city. Once we arrived, we hung out at my apartment (which Maya had never seen before) for a couple of hours, sampling fudge and Great Harvest purchases. We also watched some “Flight of the Conchords” episodes. Darn those New Zealanders are funny!

Then we went to dinner.

That’s right…we ate MORE food!

One of Maya’s favorite restaurants is a place called 2223, located on Market Street. I went there for the first time with her and Eric (her BF) and their friend Renee (….and I think someone else, though I don’t remember who…) back in 2008 when Maya was home for her sister’s wedding. I really enjoyed it, so a few months later I took another friend there for their “$12 Tuesdays” menu.

I had suggested that since it was Tuesday, we hit up 2223 for the $12 Tuesday deal. Practically the same group showed up this go around: Maya, Eric, Renee, her boyfriend and myself. When we arrived and took in the $12 menu, it seemed that the entire thing was comprised of Thanksgiving leftovers….almost all turkey dishes!

This was fine with me. After all, I had missed out on Thanksgiving turkey this year, given my unorthodox holiday plans.

I wound up with one of their signature cocktails and the Turkey Enchilada Plate. You’ll have to excuse the poor photos…even with me adjusting the ISO level, my camera could simply not compete with 2223’s low lighting.

This meal was delicious!

We also shared two desserts amongst the five of us. A berry cobbler and a Pumpkin Cake, both were served with Mitchell’s ice cream. A-maz-ing!

After dinner we all said our goodbyes, as we knew it was unlikely we would see each other again before Maya and Eric returned to Japan. Renee offered me a ride home, but I declined, knowing that I definitely needed to walk home…I was stuffed!

What are your favorite things to do when friends are in town?

As I mentioned in one of my early blog posts, I grow very tired of people deciding that I am a tomboy and not like other women my age. Any of the people who have been forced to suffer through my crying or crazy hormone driven rants can tell you that I am a lot more girly than I appear on first sight.

For instance, I love purses.

No really, I love them.

About two years ago I bought a Coach purse on eBay. I love that purse with every fiber of my being. Perhaps more than I even love my cat. Okay. Not really that much…but I do like it a lot. Due to my deep rooted affection for my first Coach item, I was absolutely devastated when I learned that it had developed some thread-bare spots. I mean, sure, the bag was still wearable, but it certainly is looking tired from overuse and I knew it was time to go shopping.

So I called up Florence, queen of the outlet shoppers.

The girl has purses. Apparently, a lot of them.

She told me on the car ride to the mall that she had been considering just giving me one of her purses since she had so many!

It was a generous offer, but I really wanted to shop….I had the itch.

Outlet shopping is insane. People run around, nineteen purses attached to their arms and really, they looked mean. I like purses, but I’m not going to tackle you for one. These women would kill you for a wristlet.

I’m not even joking.

It’s really easy to get sucked into their world though. Before long, I started to look just like them:

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I really do look like them…I even have a Paul Frank iPhone cover….

Don’t freak out too much guys. While I certainly could have picked out three purses just for myself, I went in only for one. The other purses were for my mom and sister. On my way out of the house yesterday morning, I e-mailed my sister and asked her if she would be interested in a Coach purse for Christmas, since I was going to the store and I have no idea what to get her this year. She seemed eager, as I don’t think she’s gotten a new purse in quite some time. The problem with the whole plan, I learned, was that while I know my style well, I don’t know my sister’s style at all. I picked out my purse in about 5 minutes (it’s the one on my shoulder in the left of the above picture), but it took me nearly an hour of pacing around the store to figure out what to do for my sister.

I really didn’t want to be the bearer of a crappy present that she hated, so I finally just decided that the best course of action would be to take pictures of purses, e-mail them to her and then have her pick out her Christmas present. It seemed simple enough.

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Unfortunately, she kept getting sidetracked.

“Oh! Is that you wearing jewelry?! Oh…no…it’s your friend. This is so cool…it’s like we’re on a virtual shopping trip together! Yay!”

Okay. Really. Tell me what purse you want so I can buy it already!

Eventually we got it all figured out.

My sister got the purple bag.

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My mom got the brown leather one. I know. It looks black. A better shot of it is above.

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I got the cute mini messenger bag:

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I love being a girl. And buying purses!

If all of that purse love wasn’t enough, my friend Florence felt bad that she had missed my birthday and she bought me a gift while we were at the store. She said she could tell I was enjoying myself and that I would appreciate something else.

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I love wristlets!

(I really need better lighting in my house…my purse photo shoot does these beauties no justice!)

While we were at the mall we decided to grab a food court lunch. We both wound up getting beef bowls at the Korean BBQ stand:

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I also got a tea:

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It was kind of too sweet for my taste, but I drank it anyway. I was thirsty.

We shopped for a couple more hours and then Flo decided to take me to her favorite FroYo place. I never turn down a chance to eat frozen yogurt, so I let her lead the way. The place was called “Blush” and it is in a shopping center near her house. I sampled the Pumpkin and Blush (pomegranate + dragon fruit) flavors before settling on the Blush. It was one of the best froyo flavors I’ve ever tasted. They have a menu item called a “Blush Parfait”, which is blush froyo, granola and two fruits of your choice. Both of us decided to get that as our dessert for the evening.

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Holy moly that was a lot of dessert!

I got raspberries and blackberries as my fruit, Florence got raspberries and pomegranate arils.

After dessert Florence drove me back to Dublin/Pleasanton BART and I headed back into the city. It was so fun to have a girls day out and we vowed to go outlet shopping again soon.

If I had it my way, I’d go today!

Is there any particular clothing item or accessory that you go nuts over? Or do you hate shopping?

Last night on my way home from work I stopped off at Safeway and the most amazing thing happened:

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I know, right? Exciting!

Then I shopped around for awhile longer and another amazing thing happened:

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I had read The Wannabe Athlete’s post about a Chobani miracle, but I had no idea such miracles were happening in my own neck of the woods. I scooped up both of these things, along with some animal crackers (what? I was hungry!), and made my way home for some much needed sleep.

Today has been difficult, as I’ve just been feeling very drained. I first woke up at 6:30am, as that’s when I’ve woken up for the last 4 days in a row. That is a very bad time to wake up when you are the closing manager at work. Can you say, long day? So I went back to sleep until 8:30am. I was STILL tired, so I went back to bed until 10:30am. I guess my body is just plain worn out. I still felt very groggy, but there was PUMPKIN in the house, so I had to get up before it was too late to partake in it before work.

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I made a big pot of steel cut oats with my usual ingredients:

(1 cup oats, 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, 1 banana and 1 serving of Chia Fresh Daily Fiber, which is something I found at Whole Foods before I found out where I could get whole Chia seeds. Tastes awful in smoothies, but totally works in oatmeal)

Then after I put 1 serving of oats in my bowl, I mixed in 2 heaping spoonfuls (about 1/3 cup) of pumpkin and topped it off with some Fage (Saving the Chobani for later), 1 tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter and a few butterscotch chips.

I also had coffee:

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RENT is my favorite musical of all time. Truth.

After breakfast and a shower, I was forced to leave my apartment and head into the miserable heat wave that California is experiencing. I know it isn’t as bad as Los Angeles (113 degrees? What?!), but to a native San Franciscan, 85 degrees doesn’t feel too awesome either. Tomorrow is my day off and it looks like I will be heading to the beach, but it has come to my attention that I have no beach wear. I have one pair of capris that got stained with motor oil from my friend’s car and one pair of the saddest Payless (read: cheap) flip flops you have ever seen. This was not going to work.

First, I needed shoes appropriate for light hiking and potential water exposure:

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I really liked this pair of Tevas. They’re comfortable as all get out with great traction and support, but they’re also a little girly and fun. Yay pink! I think I will have a much more enjoyable time climbing on rocks in these than I had in my previous pair of footwear.

Then I had to look for shorts. It was a nightmare. Pure hell. First of all, everything is now geared towards fall, so they’re selling wool pea coats and sweaters….when it’s 85 degrees outside! There were, of course, shorts on sale, but everyone was picking through them like there was no tomorrow, due to the heat wave. Swarms of people. Pushing and shoving, all trying to find something to wear. It seems that since our summer had been so unseasonably cool (even for San Francisco), no one had bothered to pick up shorts this summer and were now all in a panic. Just like me.

The selection being horrible, I found one pair of GAP jean shorts (I was at Old Navy…so that was weird. They didn’t even have a price tag attached) that was my size, a pair of size 6 (which I am not) jean shorts that looked like they ran kind of big and a pair of white Bermuda shorts that were actually size 10s, which is what I am wearing right now. I tried everything on. The 6s were like sausage casings on me, so they seemed like a bad choice. The GAP shorts fit, but cut my legs at a weird place and I didn’t like them. That left the white Bermudas.

I have never owned a pair of white pants, shorts or even a skirt in my life. I am exceptionally clumsy and tend to spill things on myself constantly, so white kind of scares me. I ended up buying them though. Less than $15 and by golly they weren’t pants.

Wish me luck at wearing them tomorrow!

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?