Meeting strangers in Vegas

<—–Previous Vegas Post

Bloggers in Sin City, Day 1

Upon my arrival at The Flamingo, I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day meeting more people and drinking.  Because those two things go hand in hand, do they not?  This was probably the first time I have ever hung out with a large group of people, none of whom I knew previously, and actually felt comfortable.  We talked as if we were old friends.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t awkward, because it’s safe to say that I probably definitely was.  But I’m always awkward so that’s nothing new.  I was already friends with a lot of them on Facebook, and some of them recognized me from updating my status all the time everyday.  But since they’re all social media fanatics as well, no one was judging me for it.  A couple people also recognized me as the girl who loved shoes.  Apparently when I posted about Army & Navy, some of them thought I was actually buying army boots at some sort of military store.  I had to clarify and explain what Army & Navy really was.

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Carlo & Charlie’s

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Mango margaritas

It was happy hour at Carlos and Charlie’s when I arrived, so perfect timing.  New friendships were made and margaritas were drank.  Larissa pretended it was Tom‘s birthday so that the waitress with the big boobs would come over and pour shots in his mouth.  And she did.  And it was awesome.

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New friends

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Happy hour

When it was time to check in, I met Megan, who I would be rooming with for the first and last day of our stay.  Being the awesome person that I am, I used my Total Rewards card in order to get ahead in line.  We went back down to Carlos & Charlie’s and had some awesome quesadillas.

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Quesadilla Charlie’s

At one point, we all seemed very depleted and worn out and we weren’t sure why.  We were also all very on edge and upset about the fact that our phones were all dying.  It would appear that when you’re a social media buff and your phone battery is drained, your energy level may also become drained.  The solution?  A phone charging party, naturally.  And so a bunch of us got together in the hotel room to charge our phones, and as we did, we too slowly regained our energy.

My original plan was to go see strippers that night.  Because why would I not go see strippers that night?  But I wasn’t feeling it.  Shocking, I know.  There were only a few people who had originally wanted to go and the strippers we wanted to see were all the way on the opposite side of the strip.  I mean maybe if I had more energy at the time I would have been all for it, but I decided my first night would be better spent wandering around our side of the strip and meeting more awesome new people.  Besides, I had already seen Thunder From Down Under last year in Vegas and again this year in Vancouver.  I’m thinking once a year should be what I aim for.

Instead, a few of us wandered around the strip and walked down to The Venetian where we contemplated taking a gondola ride but decided against it.  We walked past Madame Tusseauds wax museum, where we took pictures with The Rock and Justin Timberlake.  Next time I’m in Vegas, I want to actually go inside and take pictures with all the celebrities.

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The Venetian

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The Rock

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Group shot with JT

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Obviously I needed a solo shot too

We later met up with others at Centre Cut Steakhouse in the Flamingo for martinis and bacon.  Because who doesn’t love martinis and bacon?  Especially when there’s three different kinds of bacon.

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Pomegranate lemon martini

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Trio Bacon Satay

More people showed up as the hours went by.  The group from DC took a limo from the airport, which somehow may have ended up being cheaper than the shuttle I took.  I was jealous.  Eventually I met Kitty and another Megan, who were my other roommates for the night.  I think I ended my night watching TV and eagerly anticipating what the rest of the trip had in store for me.

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Army & Navy Shoe Sale 2013

a&nposterIt’s that time of year again.  Imagine a room full of rows upon rows of racks of beautiful shoes.  More shoes than you would even have time to try on.  But you attempt to anyway.  That’s right, ladies, the Legendary Army & Navy Shoe Sale is only a few days away.  And I do mean legendary in every sense of the word.  On Wednesday, April 24th, Army & Navy will open its doors at 8:00 am sharp for eager women in search of the perfect shoes.  This is the 64th year that they’ve held this sale and things only get better with time.  I’ve been to this sale for the past three years and each time have been increasingly impressed with their selections.  They receive well over 100,000 pairs for the sale and are constantly restocking throughout the twelve days.

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This year I had the privilege of meeting with footwear buyer Silvio Urbani, who showed me where all the many boxes of shoes are being stored awaiting the sale.  I was in awe when I saw all the boxes and skids in the warehouse, just wondering what shoes each one held.  I almost felt compelled to grab a box cutter and tear them all apart.  But I resisted the urge, as I did not wish to be banned from the store.  Instead I listened intently and contained my excitement.

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With over 85 brands to choose from, there’s something for everyone.  Clarks, GUESS, Kelsi Dagger, BCBG, Nine West, Steve Madden, Qupid, Andrew Geller, just to name a few.  I hear that Pour La Victoires are supposed to be a hot seller this year.  But how could they not be?  They’re gorgeous.  And I’m not crazy or shoe obsessed.  Okay, who am I kidding, clearly I am.  But take my word for it anyway.  As a bargain shopper, I know what I’m talking about.  Just because you’re paying less for something, doesn’t mean that it’s cheap or that you’re not getting your money’s worth.  At Army & Navy, you’re definitely getting more than your money’s worth.  Every pair of shoes at the sale is priced at $40 or less, regardless of how much the original cost was.  You really can’t go wrong.

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Sales this massive may seem intimidating to first timers.  But don’t worry, I promise you it won’t be the chaotic, dramatic, aggressive scene that you’re picturing.  Over the years, people have actually become more pleasant.  Rather than women fighting over shoes, there is now often a sense of camaraderie among them.  Last year, I met a lot of great people at the sale.  We sat together trying on our shoes, complimenting our various choices and giving our opinions.  The staff are also amazing and baskets are provided for those of us who like to try on as many as we possibly can all at once.  Shoppers are generally respectful and the sale is a real community building event where women can share their love of shoes.

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There are usually about 30,000 customers between the 6 stores each year.  Store locations are in Vancouver, New Westminster, Langley, Edmonton, and Calgary.  I’ve only ever been to the  Downtown Vancouver location on 36 West Cordova Street.  That place is like my home away from home.  I always feel welcome there and they always meet my needs.  With over 100,000 pairs of shoes, you’re bound to find at least one perfect pair.  Last year, I believe I found eleven.  On day one.  Apparently that’s a lot?  Each person buys about 3.5 pairs on average at the sale.  So you know, there are a lot of practical and reasonable shoppers out there.  And then the few excessive and compulsive buyers like myself come along.  Because shoe sales are where we belong.

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It’s recommended that you go early to make sure you get the deals.  I mean, everything’s a deal, but the nicest pairs go fast if you don’t hurry.  Doors open at 8:00 am on Wednesday, but people start lining up as early as 5:30 am.  Yes, while the rest of you are still asleep, a few crazy dedicated shoe lovers are out bright and early beginning to form what eventually becomes a massive lineup along Cordova Street.  Rain or shine, nothing gets in the way of a a new pair of shoes.

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If lineups and ridiculously early mornings aren’t your thing but you don’t want to miss out on first dibs at shoes, don’t fret, there is another way.  Contests!  I’m not just a bargain shopper and a shoe lover, I’m also a contest enthusiast.  So I’m going to go ahead and tell you about the ways in which you can possibly win VIP access to the shoe sale.  Because knowledge like this is too good to keep to myself.  First off, what is VIP access?  Pretty much, you get to skip the line, enter the store before it opens to the public, and go try on shoes before everybody else.  So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

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To win VIP access for you and 3 friends, plus a $250 shopping spree, simply click here and fill out the entry form.  I wish you luck!  Because we all deserve a new pair of shoes.  And the only thing better than a new pair of shoes is a free new pair of shoes.  There’s also a contest on the Army & Navy Facebook page where you can win a $100 gift card by uploading a 30 second video clip about your favourite Army & Navy moment.  I may enter myself, but there are too many good moments to choose from.  And you can win VIP access through their Shoe of the Week contest.  You can also win a new pair of shoes plus VIP access through Vancity Buzz.  It would also be worthwhile to tune in to your local radio stations and see if they might be giving away any VIP access prizes as well.

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If you’re unable to make it first thing in the morning on day one, it’s okay.  New stock fills those shelves everyday.  There’s room for 30,000 pairs on the shop floor and staff keep busy filling them throughout the day.  Every two hours or so is a good time to hit the sale, in between the spurts of crowds.  There is more selection this year than ever before and always something for everyone.  It’s not just all about heels.  If you prefer comfort, you don’t have to sacrifice style, as there are plenty of great flats, sandals, athletic, and walking shoes to choose from.  If you’re anywhere between a size 5 and a size 11, there’s sure to be a pair for you.  And while men’s shoes aren’t advertised as part of the sale, the store actually does have a great selection of them at reduced prices.  Literally something for everyone.

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So next Wednesday, I will be at 36 West Cordova Street at 7:00 am.  Because clearly I had to book a day off work for this.  It’s become a bit of a tradition for me.  It’s like a sign that spring is finally here.  And with spring, comes an excuse to buy new weather appropriate footwear.  Which in Vancouver is sometimes rain boots as opposed to sandals.  But Army & Navy has plenty of both so they got you covered.  The sale runs from April 24th to May 5th.  Hope to see you there!

Farewell red rain boots, you’ve served me well, but now it’s time for you to die

Remember a few years ago when I bought a pair of red rain boots at Army & Navy? Well I did. And they were wonderful. I loved them more than any other boot. So much so that I wore them all the time. Sometimes even when it wasn’t raining. Because I could.

Well folks, those days have come to a sad end. I knew they were worn out. But I like to wait until the last possible moment before I finally give up on something. I guess that moment was yesterday, when the zipper broke on my right boot. I have the worst luck with zippers. I’ve lost many a boot that way. But none that I loved as much as these.

And yes, I am aware I already acknowledged this travesty in one of my creepy poems written to inanimate objects yesterday. But I felt they deserved to be acknowledged in a slightly less creepy way as well. I feel I owe them that much.

red boots

It’s sad when the zipper breaks and you have to walk around in the rain with taped up boots.

Confessions of a shoeaholic

On the weekend, I went to not one, but two shoe sales.  Well the second one was technically a boot sale.  But yeah.  Footwear sales, if you will.  I’m not going to tell you how many pairs I bought or how much money I spent.  Let’s just say I may have gone a little crazy and I may end up on a future episode of Hoarders or Intervention.

A while ago, I was thinking about how a lot of people have 365 days of blogging type blogs.  One in particular is 365 Days of Dining.  That would have been my dream job.  Except that I write more about shoes than I do about food.  I considered the possibility of writing a 365 days of shoes blog.  Each day, I would post pictures of a different pair of shoes, describe them, and maybe talk about where/when I bought them, or a memory of one of the times I’ve worn them.  I’m not sure how many pairs of shoes I own.  Not 365.  But if I run out, I could always start taking pictures of other people’s shoes, or shoes that I see in a store.

The problem is, I’ve barely had time lately to write regular posts on this blog.  And that one time I attempted to start another blog, it failed.  I mean I did start a blog where I wrote about TV shows and movies but it only lasted four months because it was just impossible to keep up.  I would imagine a shoe blog would be easier to manage, seeing as I already have the shoes so half the work is already done.

I likely won’t pursue this idea because I know I probably won’t have time for it.  Also I’m sure if I were to do it, you would judge me.  You know, even more than you already do now.  Which I’m fine with.  My friend who accompanied with me to both shoe sales doesn’t judge me because our friendship is based upon no judgement.  Although I’ve realized that can be a dangerous thing if you happen to have an addictive personality.  She’s pretty much my enabler.  If she hadn’t driven me to Army & Navy and helped me carry my bags, I would not have been able to make the purchases that I did.

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Boots at the Army & Navy boot sale

As I sit here now, I’m not even wearing my new shoes or boots yet.  I’m wearing my old ones.  Which I love.  But the reason I’m not wearing new ones is because a lot of them are still sitting in the trunk of her car.  Because I couldn’t bring them all into the house at once because I didn’t want my family to see them.  When you start to hide things, is that the sign of a problem?  My friend said she would start calling me Imelda Marcos now and I informed her that my dad has been calling me that for years.  I’ll just blame it on Shoe Warehouse, my second mall job, because it was when I worked there that my love for shoes emerged into the chaotic mess it is today.

My friend who doesn’t judge me almost thought of staging an intervention.  But she decided against it since that would have been a form of judgement.  I guess when someone who doesn’t judge you wants to stage an intervention, that’s the sign of a problem.  But I’m not at the acceptance stage yet.  I think I’m still just in denial.  Which is an okay place to be.  I’m not sure what rock bottom looks like.  Perhaps it’s when I start going to sales by myself and buy more than I can carry?  Or when I fall and become buried under a pile of my own shoes and can’t escape?  Or when my Visa gets declined because I’ve maxed it out on shoes?  But none of those things have happened.  Yet.

At this point, I have cut myself off.  No more shoes.  Or boots.  Especially boots.  I bought a lot of boots.  I may force myself to return a couple pairs.  I felt total judgement was upon me the entire time I was shopping, both from the employees and from the other customers.  But I didn’t care.  Nothing mattered except the good deals I was getting on my boots.  And I justified it by the fact that some people spend a few hundred dollars on one pair, while I was getting several pairs at $50 or less per pair.  That makes sense, right?

We really should have gone to Army & Navy first.  If we had, I would have bought less at the shoe sale in Burnaby.  Or probably not even have gone to it.  But I was informed about it by friends and so I attended the shopping event at Gizeh Shriners Hall.  At first, I was complaining about the lack of size 8’s.  But then I proceeded to locate every size 8 I possibly could.  Let’s just say, these were not my proudest moments.  Saturday was an expensive day.

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Shoes at the Burnaby shoe sale

But yes.  I am cut off.  No more footwear.  Unless it’s socks.  I’m always in need of more socks.  And that’s not an obsession, that’s just a necessity, since I’m constantly losing pairs every time I do laundry.  And I don’t think anyone ever went into debt from buying too many socks.  Although watch me somehow be the first.  But I’m not in debt and I will pay my Visa bill on time and I will refrain from buying anymore shoes or boots for a while.  I could probably get away with not buying anymore ever.  But for now I’ll just see how long I can wait.  Anyone want to place any bets on how long I can go without buying new shoes?  I promise if I win the bet, I won’t spend the money on footwear.

Oh, hello red rain boots. I’ve missed you. Did you miss me?

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My red Cougar rain boots from Army & Navy

It was sunny for a while.  But not anymore.  It’s over.  It’s all over.  Now there’s just rain, rain, and more rain.  I pulled out my red rain boots last weekend when we had that crazy downpour, and now I’m wearing them once again.  Perhaps I should never take them off, since the rain is showing no signs of stopping.  I’m not a huge fan of the rain.  But my favourite thing about it is that I get to wear these boots.

I went to a shoe sale and didn’t go crazy

So on Friday after work, I went to the Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale by Petite Feet at the Richmond Olympic Oval.  I know, it was definitely too soon for me, as Army & Navy was only a couple months ago.  But whatever.  I had to at least check it out.  I’m sure people would think there was something wrong if hadn’t gone.

I thought the location of the sale was funny.  I mean it was right next to a basketball court.  Where a bunch of people were playing basketball.  I’m not sure who got more of a workout, the basketball players, or the shoe shoppers.

There seemed to be a lot of size 6s.  Everywhere.  I swear that was half the sale.  I guess because those are the sample sizes.  That’s always so upsetting.  I guess it was called the “Petite Feet” sale for a reason.

Flashbacks from the Army & Navy Shoe Sale hit me as I saw the racks.  But it really wasn’t as exciting at all.  I found the size 8 racks and looked through my options.  None of the shoes had prices on them.  And then I saw the signs which indicated them and I wasn’t too impressed.  The sandals were $50.  And then it was $60 for other ones, flats I think?  And then even higher prices for other heels and whatnot.  Boots were over $100.  At Army & Navy, each pair of shoes I bought was $39.99 or less.

You could get a free pair, but only if you bought 4 pairs first.  Forget that.  I was thinking maybe I could try and pool together some pairs with my friends and then get a free pair between us and then split it somehow.  But that idea was too complicated to pull off.

I saw these shoes on the rack and recognized them immediately.  I bought them at Army & Navy.  And here they were again, except this time more expensive.  This upset me, but also made me happier about my Army & Navy purchases.  It was funny seeing all these women scramble over the designer shoes at the Oval, when I had already found much better deals.

I threw a couple pairs in my basket and then walked over to a table.  A table filled with walking shoes.  I found this intriguing.  Mostly because they were only $15.  Now they were speaking my language.  They were interesting too.  They had these built in Dr. Scholl’s insoles.  They were all pretty much the same, but came in different colours.  I tried to see which ones looked the least like old people walking shoes.

I looked up from where I was and could see in the distance, a bunch of people on exercise equipment, like stationary bikes and treadmills working out.  I bet that from a distance, they could see a bunch of people trying on shoes.

I found a chair next to the table and sat down with my basket.  I looked down at it and thought it was rather sad.  I mean I barely even needed the basket.  Which is funny, since at the last shoe sale I attended, I was lugging around two full ones.  I guess this is a good thing?  This means that I’ve improved, right?

I didn’t really need anymore heels.  I needed something comfortable.  And built in insoles just seemed so cool.  I just needed to figure out what colour to get.  Normally I’d go with blue, but I already own a pair of blue running shoes.

I tried on other shoes anyway.  I mean you never until you try them, right?  I liked these Franco Sarto flats.  But they were $50.  Well, $40 with the VIP coupon.  Because you know I printed the shit out of those coupons.  Apparently I didn’t have to, because you get a $10 coupon just for checking into the sale on Facebook.  But I don’t check into places on Facebook anymore.

I also liked this pair of flats.  But again, did I want to pay $60, or more, or however much they cost?  I was also worried that the jewel part on the top might break off somehow.  Even if they seemed secure, count on me to find a way to cause them to break.  Because I tend to not take that great care of my things.  I love shoes, but I don’t always treat them very well.

These gold shoes were nice.  But not for my feet.  I think my toes are wider than the average person’s toes.  And as a result, pointy or narrow shoes don’t seem to work for me.  My toes were coming off of the shoe.  There was just not enough shoe there for them to rest on.  Such a pity.

I think these were Naturalizers.  So they were comfortable.  But they didn’t look good enough.  It’s also really awkward trying on shoes when they’re attached by that string thing that keeps them together.  I mean okay, it prevents you from misplacing one of the pair.  But it’s also quite annoying.  I often snap the string, accidentally on purpose, so that I can walk in the shoes properly to test them out.

These shoes were on a $30 table.  But they didn’t fit very well.  I was beginning to lose hope.  On one hand, I was upset that I’d chosen to come there and that the selection wasn’t as great as it could have been.  But on the other hand, I was grateful that I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of money there.

I kind of liked these flats.  But they were really flat.  Which yes, flats tend to be.  But I mean after a while of wearing them, I’m sure my feet would be sore from lack of support.  I didn’t really need another pair of black flats.  But the grey flower design sort of set these apart.

I sort of had my own little shoes trying on station set up at the end of the table.  It was quite efficient.  I’m really glad I found that chair and was able to claim it as my own before someone else was able to.

My friend tried on this crazy pair of heels with spikes on the back.  These killer shoes could do some serious damage.  I think they were one of the most expensive pairs there.  I guess because of the fact that they could easily double as a weapon?

In terms of support, walking shoes were the way to go.  I mean it made sense, I was at the Oval and next to a basketball court after all.  Not that I would be playing any sports or anything.  The problem with these was that, however comfortable, they were just too darn loose, even when I tightened the laces.

I opted for trying on a size 7.5 instead of an 8, which normally would be unheard of.  But for some reason, they did fit me better.  I decided to go with the purple ones.  There was also pink and red, but purple seemed best.  And the ones that were just plain white reminded me too much of old people walking shoes.

I tried on the flats again, this time with socks on.  Yes, I am aware of how ridiculous it looks.  But they were just so much more comfortable that way.  If I were able to pull off this look, I would.  But I guess after that it would be a slippery slope towards socks and sandals.

The socks weren’t as bad with the black flats.  But I guess it still just didn’t work.  Perhaps if I wore a different pair of socks?  Like plain black ones?  But then where’s the fun in that? I guess if I feel the need to wear sock with the flats, then it just wasn’t meant to be.

In the end, I spent $15.  Well $16 something after tax.  Unfortunately, the VIP coupon did not work towards the walking shoes.  I guess that’s because they were so cheap already.  What a waste that I printed out three coupons.  Oh well.  I like how they bag the shoes in plastic.  It’s as if they’re bagging them as evidence.  Evidence that you’ve spent money that you probably shouldn’t have.

I went to South Delta to buy clothes

So you if you’ve been following my posts, you may know that I’ve been overspending lately.  Although how do you define overspending?  It’s really a subjective thing, isn’t it?  Each individual defines it in whatever way they want, based upon overall income, necessary expenses, savings, and their own personal values regarding money and possessions.  To some people, I may be overspending.  To others, maybe it’s not that bad?  But I think the majority agree that I’m overspending.  But I’m not in debt and I have a job and I do have limits.  I only overdo it once in a while.  Those times just happened to all occur recently as opposed to being more spread out.

What was it this time?  No, I did not go back to Army & Navy a third time.  That would be excessive.  You know, even more excessive than buying thirteen pairs of shoes.  But as it turned out, there was another big sale I was made aware of recently.  The Orb warehouse sale.  They had one back in the fall, at the River Rock Casino, where I got good deals on hoodies and tops.  This time, it was at the Delta Town and Country Inn.  Not as close to home, but as luck would have it, my friend not only informed me of the sale, but took me with her when she went.

We stopped by McDonald’s prior to the sale, as it happens to be another one of our vices. If we’re going to be judged for indulging, may as well indulge in food as well.  There were great deals at this sale as well.  Tops were 6 for $60.  Obviously I knew I would be buying me some of those.  Dresses were 3 for $50.  I had to have those too.  Hoodies were 4 for $120.  But I passed on the hoodies.  I got enough of those the last time around.  Like I said, I do have limits. The first thing I looked at was these small boxes that said 2 for $10.  There wasn’t much in them, but I did manage to get a top and a dress in my size.

Top & a dress at 2 for $10

As for fitting rooms, there were none, but there was a space for changing.  It was a space behind a curtain with long mirrors put up inside.  That’s how we do it at warehouse sales.  It’s one open area back there, however crowded.  It’s pretty much room for one person to a mirror and a box with which to discard any unwanted items.  So you do still have to line up and wait a few minutes at times when there are too many people back there.

Now in the past, I would have hated this and possibly not wanted to go.  I really do hate it when stores don’t have mirrors on the inside of their fitting rooms, forcing you to step outside if you want to see how something looks.  And then everyone else can see it too.  That’s nothing compared to this, where you’re just changing next to and in front of other people.  But it’s the only way.  Some are self conscious, and try things on over top of their pants and their tank tops in order to maintain at least some level of privacy.

I love Orb

I’m at a point where I’m comfortable and it doesn’t really phase me anymore.  If other people are willing to undress back there, then so am I.  I need to know how these clothes look on me before I buy them, as I can’t return them afterwards, since it’s a warehouse sale.  And really, no one’s looking at you or judging, they’re all focused on their own items and how they look themselves.  And even if they were to judge you, who cares?  You gotta do what you gotta do.

They give you bags when you walk in, which came in handy as I threw many items in there.  My strategy is often pick out as many things as you can that you like, and then try them on and eliminate after.  You never know until you try it.  I felt kind of bad because my friend was done before I was.  I knew that was going to happen.  I take a while to deliberate and make sure that I won’t have buyer’s remorse and that I won’t miss out on anything either.

I think I need a bigger closet for all my clothes

The problem with deals like 6 for $60 is that you have to get 6 items.  I always end up with too few or too many.  In this case, too many.  And then you have to decide whether to eliminate some, or go find some for.  I didn’t realize until I went to pay that once you have 6, any items over that amount would automatically be $10 each, so you didn’t have to go in increments of 6 each time.

The tops I got at $10 each

I also saw this small rack with dresses that were 3 for $30.  But there were really only 3 different dresses on that rack.  And there was no way they would all look good on me.  But there was one that I really liked.  I tried to make the others work too, but it was a lost cause.  They were really baggy and unshapely.  I thought maybe with a belt they might just work, but my friend assured me that it looked like I was wearing an apron.  I was grateful to have her there for her honest opinion.

Got the one dress for $15 since the others didn’t work out

There was another dress that I tried on that was black and my friend informed me that I looked like Morticia Addams.  These types of things are good to know, and had she not been there I may have been blind to this fact.  It’s not like there’s any time where I would want to look like Morticia Addams.  Not even Halloween, as I’m not pale enough to pull it off anyway.  I love black dresses, but that one just wasn’t meant to be.

3 dresses for $50

If you spend $200, you get $20 off.  So naturally that’s what I aspired to do.  The first time I tried my Visa, the connection failed.  But that was the connection, not my card.  My friend remarked that perhaps it was some sort of sign warning me not to do it, giving me a chance to reconsider.  But I still made my purchase.  When I expressed my excitement on having it go through, the cashier asked me if it was a new card.  To which I replied, “No, I’ve just been spending a lot of money lately…”.

I spent slightly more than my friend.  But this was her second time at the sale.  So she still beat me.  But she didn’t buy shoes at Army & Navy like I did.  Not that it’s a competition or anything.  But I think we sort of enabled each other.  Apparently, having me accompany her to the sale made her spend less than she would’ve had she gone alone, because when she’s alone, there’s no one there to judge her.  To which I replied, “You’re worried about ME judging YOU?”.  Because clearly I have no right to judge anyone.

Got 2 reusable bags with my purchases

I went back to Army & Navy

Don’t judge me.  Actually you know what, go ahead and judge me.  I don’t care.  I’m used to it.  Today’s reason for judgement, or one of them at least is due to the fact that I went back to Army & Navy.  Yes.  What?  I waited a week before going back.  That’s something, right?

I bought a pair of socks

It’s okay though, I didn’t just randomly go for the hell of it, I went with my friend to help her find a pair of shoes.  She’s a size 5, so it’s often hard for her to find a size that is small enough.  I couldn’t remember if there was a size 5 section at Army & Navy or not.  When I went last week, I just went straight for the 8s and never looked back.  But yes, they do indeed have a size 5 section.  It’s just very small.  Like half a rack.  But there seemed to be a good selection of heels on it, and they seemed to be pretty cheap too.  We had hope that we would find her a pair yet.

Running shoes, so I can pretend to be athletic

And there was me, still lurking around the size 8s, wondering if maybe it might be okay for me to purchase just one more pair.  I tried on these pair of Marc Fisher flats that I had also tried on the first time around.  I still kind of wanted them.  But I didn’t want to buy yet another $40 pair of shoes.  People already think I’m crazy.  Not that I care.  And so I sort of walked around in them for a bit while we shopped, hoping that would help me to decide.  Flats were missing from my first round of purchases. How could I go without a new pair of flats?

These Reeboks have some good support

I found myself wanting to try on boots and runners.  But I found myself without a pair of socks with which to do so.  And so I bought a pair of socks there solely for that purpose.  I was getting disappointed with the runners, and then I noticed a pair higher up in the shelf.  They were Easy Tone Reeboks.  And they were comfortable.  Throw them together with a dry fit tshirt and some spandex and I’ll look like I’m actually sporty.  No one needs to know how long it’s been since I’ve actually been to the gym.

A pair of short, black boots

I was also debating about a pair of short boots.  Rain boots were out of the question.  There were no pairs quite like my red ones.  I was hoping there would be, as my red ones are a little beat up from wear, but alas, nothing was good enough.  But these short leather boots were pretty classy.  And comfortable.  Comfort was key for them.  But since they were boots, they weren’t part of the $40 and under shoe sale.  Though they were still on sale, just not as cheap as the shoes.  I debated about them for a while, and eventually I caved and decided I would buy them for my mom as a Mother’s Day present.  And then you know, borrow them occasionally, since we conveniently have the same shoe size.  Hey, she borrows my shoes all the time, so it’s okay.

The boots even came in a box, how classy

And as for my friend?  She tried on the shoes.  But alas, came out of it with nothing.  I think I was more upset than she was about this.  Partly because having her buy something would make me feel better and more able to justify my own purchases.  By comparison to her, I just looked like I had a problem and no self control.  It was kind of upsetting.  She came very very close to at least buying a bag, but then ultimately decided against it.  Very disappointing.

Dr. Scholl’s insoles to add more comfort to my shoes

And so I ended up purchasing a pair of socks, a pair of runners, a pair of boots, and a pair of insoles.  Dr. Scholl’s for her comfort insoles.  I wanted these tana brand insoles that I liked that were cheaper but they only had them in size 5.  Go figure.  At least this time my purchases were more practical than last time.  And it doesn’t seem bad or unreasonable at all by comparison to buying eleven pairs of shoes.  So whatever, I’ll just take it as a sign that I’m improving.

I got to walk around with a considerably smaller bag this time

I would like to say that that was the end of my shopping day today.  But it wasn’t.  But that’s all I spent at Army & Navy.  Which is good.  The walk back to Waterfront was so much better this time.  It wasn’t raining as hard, I was with a friend, I didn’t look like a freak. All good things.  My shopping bag was considerably smaller.  And there was only one this time.  Well, technically two, but that’s cause she double bagged it for me so it wouldn’t break.  How very thoughtful of her.

She tied a knot in the bag to ensure my purchases would be safe

As for those flats, I did not end up buying them.  After walking in the store for a bit, I realized they would cut into the side of my foot slightly.  Which my friend assured me was a bad thing.  And so I reluctantly put them back on the shelf and we parted ways.  I know I have other flats, but I was hoping to get a new pair.  But there are still four more days left for the sale.  So who knows what could happen…

Picking up the couches, Part 2: Actually getting the couches

Read Part 1 to find out how Translink screwed us over…

So me made it down to Budget, where my dad filled out forms and whatnot to rent the van.  It was a big van.  Well duh, it was a moving van.  But I’d never ridden in on before.  It made rattling sounds as if there was furniture already in it that was moving, even though it was completely empty.  That was a little unnerving.

Budget van that we rented

And then we got caught in what was pretty much the worst traffic ever.  It literally took forever to get to Coquitlam.  Okay, not literally forever, or else we still wouldn’t be there.  I don’t want to pull a Robin from How I Met Your Mother and use the word literally in every sentence when really I don’t mean it.  We went through New Westminster where cars were literally not moving at all.  Okay, I’ll stop.  But you get the idea, traffic was at it’s worst.  I’m not sure what happened, an accident or what, but it was awful.  It took like two hours.

When I saw Queensborough Landing, I thought about asking my dad to just drop me off at Walmart & pick me up after he’d picked up the couches.  But we weren’t in the right lane to be able to go there.  Darn.  And later, ironically, we passed by the Army & Navy in New Westminster.  I had been to the one downtown that morning, where I had purchased eleven pairs of shoes.  I asked my dad if he could just let me off there so I could go look at shoes in this location as well.  I was half joking, half serious at this point.

Some of the shoes that I bought

I cannot express enough how terrible the traffic was.  But in any case, we made it eventually.  My uncle was there to help my dad move the couches.  Why was I there?  You know, I’m not really sure.  Since I happened to be home that day I asked my dad if he needed any help and then ended up going.  Earlier on, he was going to take my brother, but he had just finished school and so he told him it was okay because I would go instead. He said my brother didn’t have to come since my uncle would be there to help move them.  And then I asked, “Why am I going then?” and he said, “I don’t know, just coming along for the ride?  Navigating in traffic?”.

So my dad and my uncle lifted the couches out of the apartment and to the van.  And I stood around doing nothing.  Well no, I stayed in the apartment to make sure no one tried to break in while they were gone.  That’s important, right?  Although I supposed my grandma could have just locked the door and taken her key.  But because I was there, she didn’t have to.  Oh, I also carried the cushions for the couch.  So there, I helped.  I wasn’t completely useless, although I came pretty close.

Couch cushions that I helped carry so I wasn't completely useless

Luckily, traffic going back home was not nearly as bad.  But by the end of it I was so sick of sitting in that van.  When we had to wait forever for the bus earlier, only to not be let on, I was very annoyed.  I still am.  My dad never takes the bus ever, except in situations like this one where there was a good reason.  I thought after seeing how unreliable it was and how long you had to wait sometimes, he’d have an appreciation for what I went through every day, and how much patience it required.

The funny thing is, I ended up having a greater appreciation for what he goes through every day and how much patience he has.  I mean, driving two hours in traffic just to pick up some couches.  Not that he does that particular thing every day, but still.  That takes tremendous patience and he’s always driving around somewhere to pick up someone or something, working, and running errands non-stop.  I mean I already knew that, but sitting in traffic that day made me think about it more.

The couches are still sitting in our garage right now.  My brother helped my dad move them there from the van the next morning.  There’s no hurry to move them into the actual living room yet.  It’s not like they’re going anywhere.  They may be heavy, but at least there’ll be no more sitting in traffic in order to get them to where they need to be.

Couches sitting in our garage

Army & Navy Shoe Sale, Part 3: The Aftermath

If you haven’t already, go read Part 1

And then when you’re done reading that, go read Part 2

Or don’t.  I really don’t care what order you read these in.

Travelling home with my giant plastic bags

And so I emerged from the store, with my two giant Army & Navy shopping bags, fearful that they were dangerously close to breaking.  Really they should have given me at least three bags.  The bags were quite weak, and eleven pairs of shoes could easily rip through them, especially the ones with heels.  Also, it was raining.  A lot.  So I had to somehow maneuver and hold my umbrella, my purse, as well as the giant plastic bags filled with shoes that I was trying so desperately to keep intact.

The 4 bags I came home with, 3 of which were filled with shoes

I had another bag with me, that I sometimes carry and use if I buy a couple grocery items, and so I stopped and put a few of the shoes in there, so as to even out the weight of the bags.  And then I held that bag in my right hand with my umbrella, and held the other two in my left hand, getting a good grip on them so they wouldn’t break away.  I don’t know why it had to rain.  I kind of wanted to wear one of the new pairs right away, but a lot of them were heels and not good for walking, especially in the rain while carrying too many things.  But I did stop at the side of the road to change into one of the comfortable pairs.

There are so many different doors & entrances to the store

Now, keep in mind I had been up since 5:39 am, and I had just been through quite an ordeal.  I was so disoriented upon leaving the sale, that I started walking in the wrong direction, further down East Hastings, instead of of back towards Waterfront where I was supposed to go.  Yeah, I was heading towards the police station and the fire hall.  Because I was so used to exiting the store from the other side, that I got confused.  I soon realized my mistake and thought “Wait, this isn’t right…”.  I seriously think that all my brain power went into finding and deciding on shoes, as well as fighting my way amongst the other shoppers.

How was I supposed to remember which direction to walk in once I left?

But it’s okay, I turned around and headed back in the right direction.  I was just annoyed at having added more steps to my walk.  Don’t get me wrong, I love walking, but not in the rain with two bags full of shoes.  People must have thought I was crazy.  Keep in mind, I was also still wearing my “Keep Calm & Buy Shoes” t-shirt.  They must have thought I was some sort of freak.  At one point, this guy asked me if I was okay.  I must have appeared really drained and out of it, lugging the bags of shoes and trying to get where I needed to be.

I should have turned left upon leaving the store

Normally, I would walk all the way back to Waterfront, but I was so tired that I finally found a bus stop and stopped there to collect myself.  Also, I looked down at the new shoes I was wearing, and the rain had hit them hard.  They were leather and I was worried I was ruining them, so I changed back into my black flats, hoping to preserve the new pair.  When the bus pulled up, I got on, and then I heard someone yell towards me.  I had left my umbrella on the seat at the bus stop, and this woman had been kind enough to retrieve it for me.  I was very grateful, as the rain did not let up as I made my way home.

My brown flats are okay after being attacked by the rain

When I finally got home, my mom asked me how many pairs of shoes I bought.  I said I didn’t know.  She asked “What do you mean you don’t know?”.  And then she asked if I bought ten pairs & I said “Yeah, I think so”.  And I remembered that I was supposed to look for runners for her, but neglected to do so.  But my mission that day was to scope out the pairs on the racks that might not be there or restocked the following day.  I intend to go back and look at the runners and boots and flip flops and such that I know they have plenty of in stock.  And I will find a good pair of runners for my mom because I’m a nice person.

These black heels will go with anything

I showed her a couple pairs of heels that I bought and asked if either would work for her, cause she needs a pair to wear to my brother’s high school graduation ceremony this year.  But apparently neither of them worked.  Oh well, I tried.  My mom, my sister, and I all have the same shoe size.  So that’s one of the ways that I justify my purchases, by telling myself that I can let them borrow them as well, so it’s not just for me.  Even though it is mainly for me, especially the heels, since they tend not to wear heels.  But still.  They could if they wanted to.

I love purple shoes

Later that day, my dad asked me where I was that morning.  Because he was obviously surprised when I was up before 6 am.  I told him I went to Army & Navy.  For the shoe sale.  Downtown.  And he asked if I went with anyone.  And I said no.  And he was like “You went all the way the way downtown just to buy shoes?”.  Yes.  Yes I did.  I guess he thought it would have made more sense if I’d gone shopping with a friend.  But he doesn’t understand that it’s one of those things I had to do alone.  I also explained to him about the VIP thing, as to why I was there so early.  He also tried to ask how many pairs I bought.   I think I said I don’t know, and then when he guessed, I settled on saying I bought ten.  I don’t know why that somehow sounds better than eleven.

I am the proud owner of 11 new pairs of shoes

So I am now content with my shoe purchases.  People are surprised when I say I bought eleven pairs.  But whatever.  Go ahead and judge.  I’m happy with purchases.

Stay tuned for Part 4…