Etsy find Fridays: Lovely bookish finds

As a friend has helpfully pointed out, there are six Fridays until Christmas. Three pay days. Seven weekends.

I’m someone who has, in recent years, relied on the Internet for most of my shopping needs — but I’m already struggling this year. With limited time and a limited budget, how do we find gifts that impress? Everyone loves the look of delight on friends’ faces when they open something tailor-made for them, but getting there — that magical moment with gift wrap shredded — is the hard part.

I’m something of a gift lover. Presenting presents means more to me than receiving them, even, and I’ve been spoiled by thoughtful parents who always seemed to find “the right thing.” The right thing does not mean “the expensive thing,” of course — just the perfect little something you never knew you’ve always wanted.

And that’s a lot of pressure.

Everyone knows I’m a reader. Despite my awful track record in 2014 (let’s not speak of it), books will always be my solace. Many of my friends are readers, too, but we all know the perils of trying to buy novels for the readers who have everything.

The odds of me picking out a paperback that a devoted reader has not read are pretty slim, honestly — so I rely upon Etsy for inspiration to wow literary pals. When I was working on the library at home, I drew inspiration from many of these items, too, and may hope Santa has a few hiding under the tree for me.

You never know when he’s listening . . .


Books are the quietest print

Books print, $20, by ladypoppins


Jane Eyre book scarf

Jane Eyre book scarf, $42, by storiarts


Book lover clock

Book lover clock, $49, by the accessory corner


Jane Austen bookmarks

Jane Austen bookmarks (set of 6), $9.50, by CastleOnTheHill


Library card shirt

Library card shirt, $22, by GrammaticalArt


This post was not sponsored in any way;
I just love Etsy and sharing cool finds with you!


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Red shoe rankled

Disclaimer: this is a long post . . . about shoes. Grab a latte or duck out and save yourself while you can.


This July finds me a sweaty, red-faced bride . . . on a continued hunt for red shoes.

From the earliest stages of wedding planning, I’ve been specific about one aspect of my “vision”: that on my wedding day, I would glide (or, um, hobble. Whichever) to my fiance in a tea-length dress and red heels. When I found the perfect gown without too much trouble, I figured — naively, perhaps — that the shoes would follow suit. I’m as picky about my feet as the next woman, I’m sure, but I’m not a shoe hoarder . . . nor someone who typically has a hard time finding shoes.

But.

rsvp shilaThese heels, friends. These elusive, wacky, unknown and mysterious red heels. I’ve shopped in-person, I’ve shopped online, I’ve prowled the dustiest corners of eBay and Amazon and DSW and, lately, Zappos — where today’s selection originates. I actually ordered one pair of red heels on clearance directly from David’s Bridal, but losing weight has meant losing weight everywhere . . . and those heels no longer fit. I tried padding them with special inserts but, even if the slack in back could be taken up, the peep-toe — though adorable! — pinches my tootsies. Big time.

Of the many aspects of the wedding day we have to finalize, finding these dumb shoes is what’s making me the cuh-raziest. I have my first dress fitting in three weeks and am under orders to have my shoes with me. Because I’m wearing a shorter dress, though, I figure I won’t have the length issue many other brides do; as someone on the petite side, I know all about garments that run too long. So as long as I have a pair of heels with me, that should be fine, right?

Eh. Don’t mind me, over here mumbling nervously to myself.

Regardless of whether I will have the shoes in question for the fitting, I need to make a decision and check this off my list. I am going batty looking for red heels, friends, and while it was a fun little hunt at first, I’m starting to get nervous and frustrated. I’ve taken to bridal message boards for recommendations; I’ve badgered friends and bloggers for the origin of their own wedding shoes. I’ve made a giant pest of myself — all in the name of heels! — and it needs to stop.

So maybe that’s where you come in.

If I wasn’t so OCD, maybe I wouldn’t be in a blind panic about shoes right now. But being

a) a woman;
b) a woman who has attended many formal events; and
c) a woman who has attended many formal events and had her feet kill her,

I’m serious about finding shoes I can actually wear. Given that I’ll be on my feet for a good six hours or more on November 10, I’m not playing around. I don’t want to be thinking about how much my feet hurt in my wedding day. Friends have recommended doing the flip-flop thing for the reception, but I’m just not down with the idea. Everyone will see my feet. No flip-flops. No going barefoot. I am toying with the idea of getting a red flat to wear in case of emergencies, but that’s another thought (and another post). I want to do this thing right.

Like so many blushing brides-to-be (do any of us actually blush?), I’ve envisioned a certain heel — maybe satin, perhaps studded with rhinestones — that remains elusive. I have an idea of this shoe, but this shoe does not seem to exist. (Or if it does, it’s way out of my budget.) As money is definitely a factor, I need to stay below $100. Because I’m a klutz and will be nervous, the heel can’t be too high. I would love a slingback, if possible, because a strap will make me feel more comfortable, and I favor satin styles rather than a leather or patent-leather look. And they must be red, natch.

After hours (hours!) of searching online and in-store, I’ve made my top three choices.

red shoes

1. Coloriffics Devine in Red, $54.45, Zappos
2. Bouquets Dakota in Red Satin, $55.99, Zappos
3. rsvp Shila in Red, $51.99, Zappos


So. Since the prices are all comparable, we can go ahead and say cost is not a factor here.

So which one?

I’ll start by saying right away that shoe No. 3 is my favorite. I love the satin look, the red bow, the not-too-high heel and the peep-toe. On my epic list of “wants,” this shoe meets everything except the strap to hold it in place more securely. So what’s my hold-up? It’s very similar to the pair I already have from David’s Bridal that do not fit at all (and they’re also a size 8). Maybe that’s totally unfair prejudice against this shoe but, you know, there it is. That fear is what’s holding me back from committing.

Shoe No. 2 lights up my life for the same reasons as No. 3 but without the bow, which isn’t necessarily a problem. I like the ruching detail, and it looks like a sturdy heel that I can walk in without busting my face on tile. Don’t underestimate my ability to bust my face, friends; I somehow managed to bruise a toe against the coffee table simply by standing up Sunday. Like, I don’t even know what happened. One minute I’m walking toward the kitchen; the next I’m seething by a chair, moaning and fighting back stunned tears over a random toe injury.

These things happen.

And this brings us to Shoe No. 1. I might have gone ahead and taken the plunge with these babies except for the buckle detail. It has the strap, a sturdy base and a bow, but the heel is actually 5 inches (whoa!) and I’m not sure about a buckle with my lace-and-applique wedding dress. Will it look weird? Out of place?

Am I just totally going crazy at this point?

Because Zappos offers free shipping both ways, I’m seriously thinking about ordering my two favorite pairs, trying them out and returning the loser. I hate returning things (don’t ask why — it’s not like it’s a huge deal to go to the post office, where I practically live), so I’m coaching myself with the mantra that I will return at least one pair no matter what and not waste my money, as is usually the case.

No number of blog posts will bring me any closer to a decision until I actually get these on my feet, right?

So which two should it be? Now accepting votes. And assurances. And if you have any recommendations for other sites where I could drive myself totally nuts looking at satin uppers and widths and peep-toes, please share. Any thoughts on comfy heels or brands? Sites you love? Medicinal cures for shoe-sanity?

Send help. And diet soda.


EDITED TO ADD on 7/18: Thank you all so much for your feedback! Based on your responses, I went ahead and ordered No. 2 and No. 3 — just waiting for my shiny package to arrive. I’ll post a follow-up after I get these on my feet, and will definitely share the winner.


A few of my Etsy favorite things

Now that it’s November, I’m getting into that slightly-stressed, spreadsheet-making phase of my year I like to call Christmas shopping.

I love buying people presents — sometimes too much — and genuinely enjoy the process of choosing just the right gift for everyone. I consider about their likes and dislikes, the items they discuss, the colors they usually wear. Things they might want or need, and which of those I can actually afford. I dig around a bit, do some research. Shop carefully. Add everything to my spreadsheet.

It’s all quite time-consuming.

Maybe you’re already starting to shop — or maybe you’re waiting until Christmas Eve. Regardless, I’m here to offer a few of Meg’s Favorite Etsy Things as the official kick-off to the holiday season. These are all items I’ve purchased with my own dough-re-mi, and no one is paying for promotion. I just thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Etsy finds — and maybe help get your gift-giving juices flowing.

They’re all Meg tested and approved. If I had a Meg Seal of Approval, it would be slapped on all of these. And pink, of course.


Holiday lip butters from
Baby Duck Soap Co.

In scents like sugar cookie, gingerbread house and pumpkin cheesecake, these lip butters are delicious — and only $6 for three! I mean, really. I’m a lip product addict who has, at this very moment, everything pictured at right in one purse. And I don’t even feel guilty about it, because my lips are soft and lightly scented at any moment. You’re welcome, Spencer.

But anyway. Back to Baby Duck Soap Co. Their products are fabulous, the lip butters are crazy moisturizing without feeling sticky or greasy and I absolutely love the scents/flavors. I get tired of everyone shouting, “Makes a great stocking stuffer!” come the holidays, but really . . . um, these would make a great stocking stuffer.


• Handstamped copper jewelry
from bama + ry

I first discovered Jasmine, a fellow blogger, a few years back — and I’ve loved watching the evolution of her jewelry company. These miniature heart-stamped earrings ($12) are a new favorite addition to my wardrobe, and Jasmine has about a billion other lovely pieces — many of which can be personalized for you and/or your family. I like this one. And this. (Photo by bama + ry)


• Cute pottery from Darielle’s Clay Art

This little heart-shaped ring dish catches my jewelry at the end of the day, and I just think it is adorable. At $9 each, they make great gifts — and you can choose all sorts of colors. Paired with a bauble for your sister, friend or grandma? Perfect.


• Gourmet spice kits from Purpose Design

What do you get the cook who has everything? Why, a gourmet spice kit, of course! My boyfriend the culinary adventurer loves to try new things, so I picked up a kit of French spices back around Valentine’s Day. We’ve added all sorts of new items to dishes — tarragon, herbes de provence, edible blue lavender — and I highly recommend these kits. You’ve got plenty of options. (Photo by Purpose Design)


• Inspirational, colorful prints from The Wheatfield by Katie Daisy

If you’ve spent any time around Etsy, you’ve likely run into some of the lovely Katie Daisy’s work. Her beautiful, original artwork earned a spot on my bookcase with the very helpful reminder to be here now ($18). I love “Let Go,” too — and I’m pretty sure a browse-around will produce a little something for everyone. (Photo by Katie Daisy)


Etsy Find Fridays: Rock the chevron

As the keeper of all things trendy (cough), I’m not sure if the chevron and chevron-patterned things are recently cool, or a longstanding pillar of cool. I still regularly rock scuffed $10 sandals and have disheveled hair one step away from having me committed. You know what I’m saying? I’m not terribly fashionable. I don’t embarrass myself, but I’m not hip. Not even when I’m trying to be. (And I guess that makes it worse.)

But chevron. So classy. So retro and fun. After I began seeing it pop up on blogs and magazines, I am coveting it. I really want a chevron-patterned skirt, but my search has been (almost) fruitless so far. Still, the joy is in the journey . . . and I definitely enjoy paging through endless shopping sites in search of just the right piece. And these are the pieces I’m lusting after right now.


{Chevron stripe lucite table by tillymaison, $80}


{Vintage chevron skirt from coolvintageplus, $18}


{Chevron thank you cards from Snail Mail Designs, set of 8, $10}


{Black chevron long zipper pouch by MadameCupcake, $11}


Brightening up


Black is my go-to. Wearing “dress-up” clothes to work eight hours a day, five days a week, my biggest priorities are looking professional while feeling comfortable. In those early post-college days, I had a handful of dress tops, one pair of (black) slacks and two pairs of heels. When I earned my first paycheck, I started flipping that dough into other pieces . . . and other pieces . . . and still more pieces. Building a wardrobe.

Needless to say, I have a little more clothing now. And, um, a few more pairs of shoes.

But one thing has remained constant: all that black. On any given day, I’m wearing at least one — if not two — black articles of clothing. Black boots, black heels, black flats. Black pants or a black cami under a black sweater. Black earrings with a black belt. Black.

I’m not sure where my late-blooming obsession with dark hues came from, but it’s sort of my signature now. Black and red are incorporated into almost every outfit, and I’m mostly okay with it. Lately I’ve been waking up early only to stand in front of my closet with the familiar, baffled look of a woman who squeaks about having “nothing to wear,” though. I’m just so sick of everything I own.

I went shopping on my lunch break Wednesday, tearing through a local department store until my arms ached under the weight of dresses, shirts and capri-length pants. In 30 minutes, I’d racked up a hefty bill (but had a 30 percent off coupon so, you know. Less guilt). Where once I’d have wandered around the mall with friends and my sister for hours, I rarely get out anymore — so it’s easier to justify my shopping sprees by remembering I don’t piece-meal purchase things throughout the week.

My goal for the outing was clear: buy cute, casual clothes I can wear on upcoming trips to New York City and California, and no black. When I do shop, it’s usually for work-appropriate garb . . . which makes sense, of course. I spend most of my time in work-appropriate garb. But that means I wind up reaching for the same two shirts on Saturdays and Sundays. And even those have black.

Like a frizzy-haired tornado, I wound up with three short-sleeved cardigans (gray, white, fuschia); a knee-length floral dress to wear to “The Newsies” in New York next weekend (ye-ah!); two brightly-colored tops; khaki and blue cotton crop pants; and a pair of fuschia-jeweled earrings. Basically? Everything I would never wear in my “normal” life.

So, for the first time in a year or so (or more?), I recently went to work in a floral, pastel-colored top, brown capris, brown heels and a bright pink pin — as evidenced above. Not a stitch of black to be found.

And I have to say: it felt good. My initial awkwardness over the no-black rule faded by lunchtime, especially as coworkers complimented my ensemble. As we’re thick in the middle of the warm weather months, I’m going to make it a personal goal to have a no-black-clothes day weekly. And if I’m feeling crazy brave? Maybe twice a week.

I’m sure the Angel of Darkness will be glad I’m out of his closet.


——

Is your wardrobe dominated by any particular color? Are you as into black as I am? What’s your favorite color to wear?

Etsy Find Fridays: Spot of tea for you?

We have a really awesome water cooler at work. Maybe you do, too, which means we both work for stellar employers. Because this baby? The literal water cooler around which we often perch, chatting and quenching our thirst? It has hot water.

This might not seem all that exciting at first. I mean, hot water? We can get hot water from a tap. We can get hot water in the shower. But having hot water right from the water cooler means I can quickly, conveniently make myself a cup of hot tea in the afternoons.

No less than six types of tea bags take up residence in my desk drawer. Choosing which to sample in the afternoon is a special treat, and it’s these little luxuries — simple things — that can spice up a long afternoon. And I’m no tea monogamist. Black tea, green tea, white tea — all are welcome here. (In my mug.)

As such, my interest in tea extends beyond merely drinking the lovely elixir. To avid tea drinkers, tea is a way of life. It’s synonymous with comfort. When someone I know is sick, that’s the first thing flying out of my mouth: “Want me to make you some tea?” And when I myself am ill, that’s what I would like to be offered: “Meg, shall I make you a spot of tea?” (In this scenario, you are British. I like that about you.)

In a favorite song by The Script, the chaps sing, “They’ll be a smile on my face and the kettle on, and it’ll be just like you were never gone — if you ever come back, if you ever come back . . .” The lovely image of a handsome guy sitting there with a cup of tea desperately hoping to see my face again? Ready to pass me a mug of tea and listen to my stories, all while apologizing profusely for his wrongdoing? Yes, please. With sugar.

If you’re a tea-swilling crazywoman like me — or just need some holiday gift ideas for someone who is — I invite you to peruse my favorite beverage-related items from Etsy this week. Click on each image to be taken to the item’s listing.



Are you a tea drinker?
What’s your favorite kind?


Etsy Find Fridays: Pumpkin for you, pumpkin for me

Since September is here and I’ve already had the pleasure of partaking in my first pumpkin spice latte of fall, I figured it’s high time to enjoy the scents of the season.

As time goes on, simply drinking my pumpkin isn’t enough; now I want to decorate with it, too. And if you think I can resist the allure of an embroidery hoop emblazoned with a piece of pumpkin pie, friends? Well, you’re wrong.

Nothing screams autumn and seasonal joy quite like pumpkin (and dessert), and just looking at these items makes me happy! I’m definitely guilty of owning pumpkin-scented lotions, soaps and more, and the lip balm below is one of my favorites. Click through to visit or purchase these lovelies.