Dr. Scholl’s® For Her Cozy Cushions

Dr. Scholl’s® For Her Cozy Cushions

Hello, all! Guess who went to Santa-Con NYC for the first time ever? Everything was thrown together last minute and despite all this (and a snow storm), I stayed pretty comfortable the entire night. This was partially due to my choice in footwear. Also…copious amounts of layers were used. I have these black snow boots which are lined to almost-the-knee in faux fur. They’ve always kept me warm but with time, the fur on the insole has matted down. This makes it so that is no longer as comfy, as well as making the boots feel a little large.

When Influenster sent me the complimentary Rose VoxBox, containing products for review, I was happy to see the Cosy Cushions by Dr. Scholls. They have white faux fur attached to a foam base, which gives a little bit of cushion and stability. I cut them down to a size 6 because like most insoles, they have guidelines for grading. Looking at them, I knew they would be pretty thick for most shoes. I tried them in several of my shoes and my foot wouldn’t fit into the shoe anymore. I was about to give up when I spotted my suede and sherpa slippers. The fur in them was pretty thin and the slippers themselves were huge on me from the start. I added the Cozy Cushions to them and the fit was perfect. I wasn’t sliding around in them anymore! I was a bit bummed that it didn’t fit in my other shoes but the slippers would do. A few days ago, in a fit of rushing around throwing together a Santa-Con outfit, I was trying different ways to warm up my outfit for the upcoming snowstorm. I grabbed the cushions from inside the slippers and put them into my black boots. I stepped into the boot and it fit! I loved the fact that throughout the night, my feet and my legs were the last things on my mind. They stayed warm and comfortable.

Because of the thickness, I would recommend this to replace fur insoles in boots or slippers, or in shoes that are a size too large.

Library Book Sale Haul

Library Book Sale Haul

I have a low budget in comparison to my want list. Twice a year, my local library holds a used book sale and I am able to get a lot of book shopping done at once, for very low prices. This year, I not only shopped for myself but for my swimming students as well. Some teachers give out candy canes and chocolate but I rather their mind grow than their waistband. Before you get all, “wahwahwahhhh she’s calling kids fat!”, there is a childhood diabetes epidemic in the United States. Anyway, I suppose it is a little strange to give used books as gifts but I don’t have the budget to buy new ones. Recycled knowledge should not be seen as a negative thing.

For the children: A Treasury of Bunny Stories by Beatrix Potter (for baby Sophia), Baby Animal Stories by Publications International (for Grace, who reminds me of my old best friend at a young age), The Divide by Elizabeth Kay (for Andrew, who is stronger than he thinks), Illustrated Book of Questions & Answers by Publications International (for scientifically-minded Carlos), and a few dozen more.

For me: The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain, Delicious on a Dime Cookbook by the editors of All You, Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman, Age of Enlightenment (Great Ages of Man) by Peter Gay, The Renaissance Cookbook: Historical Perspectives through Cookery by Berengario delle Cinqueterre, Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King by Antonia Fraser, History of Costume (World of Culture) by Rachel H. Kemper, The Cities Book: A Journey through the Best Cities in the World by Lonely Planet, Medieval Pageant by Bryan Holme, The Genius of Venice, 1500-1600 by Jane and Charles Hope, The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century by Jane Martineau and Andrew Robison, A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum by Brenda Richardson and The V&A.

For my boss: Suck on This Year: LYFAO @ 140 Characters or Less by Denis Leary

All of these books were purchased for a total of 35 dollars. Win. A full bookcase is a beautiful thing.

How to Survive The Library Book Sale

How to Survive The Library Book Sale

It’s intense, people; you don’t even know. I’m talkin’ shoving grannies and kickin’ butt. Just kidding! I do take the semiannual library book sale very seriously but it isn’t a life or death situation, unlike Black Friday. It is nice to go at your own pace during this otherwise crazy shopping time. I’ve put together a list of things I’ve learned about attending the library book sale and realistic tips to stick to, to ensure the best outcome for you.

I don’t know where you live but my library has a sale twice a year, each last for three days so I always try to be ready. It doesn’t always work out and it takes a little forethought. You’ll never have to camp out though. Whew. Over the course of the year, books are either donated or just appear (I’ve never looked into it) and then sold for very little money to benefit the library. The library in my town offers so many activities to the community and it is only right that we give back. They have little play classes for babies, reading clubs for teens, regular yoga and craft classes, as well as giving out free passes to local museums. I grew up sitting in the aisles in the children’s section, a book between my lap because I was too impatient to actually walk to a seat. Anyway, on to the tips…

1. Go with a clear head. I learned this the hard way one year when I went with a wicked hangover. I couldn’t focus and was in no mood to fiddle through tables and tables of books, especially because I was sick to my stomach.

2. Wear a cute, but comfortable pair of flats that you probably couldn’t fall over in. You may be heaving some pretty heavy books and even if your heels feel stable, you’ll be balancing some extra weight on one arm and it could really throw off your balance. The last thing you want is a broken ankle. Medical care is expensive and perhaps even worse, the EMTs on the ambulance probably won’t let you take your books. It’s a big deal.

3. Wear pants that fit perfectly. The last thing you want to do is be hitching up your jeans when you’re trying to hold a lot of books.

4. Wear a cute top and a cardigan. This is a very important two-parter. The top should have an average dip neckline. Sometimes you’ll have to balance a stack of books against your chest and if the books are lowered, your top is going with it. Wear any necklaces short, to avoid said issue and also because even though you’re at a library doesn’t mean you have to look boring. The cardigan comes in handy because it is better than a jacket. Why? Carrying around a coat isn’t ideal because it takes up precious arm real estate that could be holding books. Even though it’s a November in New York, deal with it. Sacrifice.

5. Leave your purse (hidden) in the car. I wear skinny jeans and they just about fit my money and my car keys. Cell phone? Wallet? Lipstick? Leave it in the car. You shouldn’t be using your phone in a library anyway. SHHH!

6. If you have reusable bags (and you should, what are you a caveman?), now is the time to NOT FORGET THEM. I use my Baggus and they are not only bigger than the flimsy plastic bags that library would otherwise give you, but they have reinforced and thicker handles that won’t cut your arm in half. Also, fabric is generally more sturdy than plastic and books (taking it back to first grade here) have sharp edges that can tear through a bag before you even get to the parking lot.

7. Make multiple trips. You may feel like Wonderwoman with all the good you are doing by reusing books and donating money, but don’t throw out your back. Also, multiple trips lets you buy even more books! Yay! I picked out the biggest books first, paid, and brought them to the car. I emptied my Baggus and went back in for more, smaller books. On Saturday, I am going back because they have this whole fill-up-a-plastic-bag-for-2-dollars deal and I like to get my swimming students books as little holiday gifts. It is still a good idea to bring a reusable bag for reinforcement when that plastic bag inevitably tears open in the middle of the parking lot.

8. Before you leave the car, take another $20 out of your wallet. You never know what you’ll see. Don’t limit yourself.

9. Wear a bra that allows for a full range of arm movement. Balconettes are not such a good idea in this case, as their straps are usually fairly far apart and can really start to dig in if your holding your arms in front of you for a long time. If you are sorting through and holding books, you’ll be doing a lot of this.

10. Be nice. Everyone there is just shopping for knowledge, just like you. If someone needs help finding something and you happened to see the subject of book they are looking for, let them know. Some people don’t have the patience or the time to look through everything themselves. By giving them a direction, not only are you being kind but you’re also clearing the floor for more customer movement.

Finally, you can go home and smell your books. That’s what everyone does, right?

New York City Pride Parade

New York City Pride Parade

Is that Vladimir Putin?
How many rainbows had to die to make that costume?
Mis Amigos! They’re not drunk. Not at all.

Last month, the LGBT (that’s Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender for those of you living under a rock) community of The United States of America had a few victories to celebrate. A section of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was struck down after being ruled unconstitutional by The Supremes. This means the federal government will no longer define marriage as between a man and a woman, which further means that same-sex couples will have the same federal rights as straight couples. Unfortunately, LGBT couples are only granted state rights in about 13 states. I suppose we have to step before we can leap. Another victory came when The Supremes destroyed Prop 8 (a ban on same-sex marriage in California).

Needless to say, the parade this year was a bigger deal than usual. Approximately two million people were there and I was one of them! Actually, I accidentally found myself walking IN THE PARADE. Oops. When I figured out what was going on, I just smiled, waved, gave out hi-fives, and kept walking. Awkward. At some point, it began to drizzle but it didn’t seem to dampen the incredible mood and energy of both the crowds and the walkers. The sky cleared and the city turned into a giant party, with bars brightened by patrons decked in rainbows and feathers. And for a moment…just a moment…the dirty, gray, structured city became a beacon of joy and color.

P.S. Russia’s unfortunate LGBT community was represented by a float this year and I nearly collapsed a lung, laughing when a presumably gay man wore nipple pasties (tassels included) with Vladimir Putin’s face on them.

P.P.S. Any and all hateful remarks will be mocked and ridiculed with contempt.

Amvets Thrift Store in Massapequa, New York

Amvets Thrift Store in Massapequa, New York

I had heard some good things about this store and had spotted it often times from Sunrise Highway, but I never had the chance to go until last night. I honestly felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff, something that doesn’t often happen to me. I figured conquering the dress section would be easier than going through tops and pants (a huge section!) and took four dresses into the dressing room but none fit my bust area as they should. At this point, I met up with a friend in the shoe section, who also felt overwhelmed, yet didn’t find any particularly nice piece of clothing.

We crossed the store, to several rows of shelves that housed home goods and other random things. I came home with a piece of luggage from Bath and Body Works ($1.98!) and a huge Aladdin Thermos (the brand, not the character). Both will fit nicely into the upcoming Pennsylvania mini-road trip.

Just to give you an idea of how large this luggage is, that candle in the background is a large jar candle. When empty, the bag collapses on itself but for photographing purposes, it has two plus-size winter coats and one pillow packed into it.
I have not been able to date it but yeah, washed and good as new!
It would fit as easily on a boating trip as it would on a camping trip. Yay, miniature anchors!

Spring and Other Things I’ve Been Enjoying

Spring and Other Things I’ve Been Enjoying

This is my fresh kill from the semi-annual book sale at West Islip Public Library. $15 dollars, priceless knowledge…
Crocuses (Croci?) are probably my favorite flower because every early spring they pop up in my backyard, even through snowfall.
A duck with a mohawk? What a rebel.
Flowers seem to be the models of the planet, no? Graceful and always photogenic.
I don’t know what these are but we have a few bushes of them in the back. They’re quite delicate.
Insert Sir Mix A Lot lyric here.
Sorry, had to.
I wanted to throw a penny in but then I thought, what are the fish going to spend it on? I mean, really.
Did I ever tell you how much I like my 20 times optical zoom function?