|Back from VACATION
Friday, August 21, 2009
In Europe everyone just takes the month of August OFF and they all go to the beach or the country. Well, our variation of that was to go to the boat and the ocean for most of the month of JULY. And I found that I took a TOTAL vacation from media and blogging and TV and everything. Just read lots of books and wandered around the Oxnard/Sta. Barbara area. One day we went up to the area known for Michael Jackson's ex-Neverland - Whew - it is MUCH fancier than I had imagined! Looked at the boutiques which had the sort of things I LOVE - but I don't spend $50 on a jacket even if it's on SALE. So I just observed. The fun thing about pricey shops is that you can go in without the fear of buying anything, because everything is SO out of your price range! And then I go and try to duplicate the look(s) on the cheap. (Got my jackets for upscale casual from the Salvation Army Store in Pasadena for something like $7 each!)
We also visited the great church thrift shop from when we used to live in Carpinteria, CA near St. Barbara - and Mark found a great deal on the Hooked on Phonics set which he will use for his work with inner-city schools! (And his company will reimburse him, too.) Sometimes what you find surprises you.
Of course, I always look for reading material - and on my last weekday trip to Bart's bookstore in Ojai, I thought I would try to trade in some of my reading material - (I had some nice new hardbacks in the bunch.) Lo and behold - I got a $16 credit for books, and they took EVERYTHING. And wouldn't ' you know, I turned around to their old bargain books and quickly used up the credit! But no $ changed hands, so it was a good deal. I get those books for $.25 and $.50 each - no more than $1 - when I comb the thrift shops and so on. Who in the name of heaven PAYS $6-8 for a paperback? The the hardbacks had listed prices of $20 and more! But in this day and age, paying that much isn't necessary.
I also downloaded some old books from the Gutenberg project and burned them onto CDs so I could read them on the laptop on the boat. And then there was a free download of a contemporary novel from Oprah's site - which was interesting, too. Hubby has revived the old Mac we had found and I am going to use it to read my e-books - I have to at least have them in my lap. I have to say that I do prefer holding a book in my HANDS - but you can sometimes enlarge the print at will - which is a nice feature of an e-book format....
Trawling the internet on the laptop, I came upon a deal from www.graveyardmall. com. The site has final, final sellouts - and I bought "infinite" convertible dresses in lycra - one black and one red. The whole idea of a convertible dress certainly intrigues me. These were CHEAP - $9.99 each - so I bough TWO. Subsequent research has told me that what seems to be those very same dresses are sold \elsewhere for $50 to $150! My my. It really is a big tube of lycra with a triangular top off the left side that can be wrapped for all sorts of different looks. Maybe I could make another one on the same model - but I haven't even worn THESE yet. They are a bit bare - but I plan to wear them under my fancy jackets/kimonos, etc. Ha! I am dressed up with no place to GO.
(By the way, I DID run into a pattern for a very similar dress - but with a circle skirt at rostichery - Look up "rostichery + convertible dress." ) Donna Karan is featuring her own "Infinity" dress this season - but the description from the Nieman Marcus site (I think) says that the convertible wrap parts come out off the outside seams of the sheath dress with small capped sleeves. And the neckline is much rounder than my version....But the price! $1900 - can you imagine paying that for a jersey DRESS with absolutely no tailoring - I don't CARE if Donna Karan made it! But looking up these thing on the net is a pastime of mine).
Oh, for frustrated fashionistas out there - in the fall edition of Marie Claire (one of my free subscriptions) - they have a booklet "The New Way to Shop" which has a long list of fashion sites on the net. I know a few, but I will have fun investigating the others, even though their idea of a bargain is and $800 dress that has been marked down to $600.
I also got some sample, mostly of lotions, from Macy's at the Clarin counter - and others at my favorite Oxnard healthfood store - Lassen's - I even got one up at the Rainbow Bridge in Ojai. I take the packets or "sachets" as I saw them described today on the net up to the boat. They are great for traveling. Would be wonderful if you flew anywhere...Flying used to be fun,but it's more and more of a hassle, and I am glad I flew as much when I did.
Of course, I visited my favorite thrift shops on Main St. Ventura - and added to my collection of long scarves for casual wear. The fact that these scarves are in fashion is an inspiration to me and I have been using them to jazz up my usual t-shirts and cropped pants. But I WON'T pay $20 for one - so I stock up in the thrift stores for much less - even though I have to SHOW hubby in a walk-through in a department store what they COULD cost if I hadn't bought them at thrift stores!
Also knitting away. Acquired some more yarn at a thrift shop and went back to get enough to to make a long vest. I am getting a sense of how much is required for a project - even though I have just been making do what what I have picked up. EVERYONE is getting scarves this XMAS - I knit away watching TV, and all the practice is making me a better and better knitter. It's fun to mix and match colors and different sorts of yarns. Even though that's dictated by what I have on hand, it has turned out very nicely, in ways that I couldn't have foreseen. Also downloading free knitting patterns from the net. Just got one from www.favecrafts.com for a shawl knitted on circular needles, which I haven't tried yet...
Well, there were also some free meals at the clubhouse - and because we were there on Thursday, we got to receive some of the free produce and fruit that one of the residents always leaves there to be shared. There were even raspberries - and lots of fresh bell peppers.
Money is tight, so we mostly ate picnic style on the boat - It's really like camping without the bother of a tent. I did have to go see my doctor - but he put me on some meds - which did make me dizzy - but I think I have finally gotten used to them.
I suppose it was business as usual at the boat - but it's so nice up there, who cares? It's like a long sunlit dream - which does make it hard to come back to the city, even if I DO have a tree right outside my window.
The city has its charms, though. And I got cheap tix for hubby and me to go to the Hollywood Bowl. We were in the nosebleed section for the Thursday classical concert - they used to be the $1 seats, heaven knows where they are now - but it was very easy to move down where the sightlines were better. We will see where the $1 tickets are - because I got some for September. We are back in town, and Mark has been asking about the Hollywood Bowl all summer - It is lovely to see the sun go down over the Hollywood Hills....but bundle up, because it gets very chilly.
So readers out there, all's well. I am flattered that you missed me! How are you guys doing? As Shakespeare said "All's well that ends well." No?
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