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Shopping deals during COVID-19

There is so much going on in the world right now between the COVID-19 pandemic and the long standing pandemic of racial injustice in the world. Although I’m an optimistic person, it’s no wonder that many people including myself have been feeling mentally drained.

Like a lot of people, I’ve engaged in some retail therapy to help me cope. Some of this is normal in the sense of using distractions to help ourselves feel better….like self-soothing. However, shopping can become addictive, so be careful. If it’s not in the budget, then you don’t have the money to spend. This sounds simple enough, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop people from spending what they don’t have.

I had my last big shopping hoorah last week. I’ve pumped the brakes on shopping because I have everything I need and want. I’m able to discipline myself when needed, plus I have long term goals. Also, there is no space to keep a huge accumulation of stuff. That’s the bonus side of living in a small townhouse.

I admit I get a massive boost of dopamine from a great sale. And lately, I’ve found great sales which I attribute to COVID-19 effects on the economy. Retail stores are struggling. I find the few I’ve visited barely have inventory or places like Kohl’s have huge inventories of winter pieces that they want to get rid of. Also, many stores are not equipped to process massive online orders like Amazon. It took The Container Store one month to send my order which was delivered on 3 different delivery dates.

Brand new sweater $3.50 (after additional discount) from Kohl’s. LPC
Simply Vera by Vera Wang less than $4 (with additional discount) at Kohl’s. LPC

If you have a few extra dollars, this is the time to stock up on winter items. I purchased 7 sweaters at less than $4 a piece because of the extra 30% off on clearance at Kohl’s. Occassionally, Kohl’s offers cash back on certain amounts you spend, plus additional coupons.

Costco also has been having cheap prices on clothes. Cheap as in $5 dollars for name brand pants and tops. You have to really pay attention or you’ll miss it. The sweaters plus a few other items are stored under my bed in the storage boxes I bought from The Container Store.

Since I work in a professional environment, I’m usually looking for professional pieces. I like variety. I got really excited when I found coats on clearance I could wear to work.

Cathy Daniels $25 final price. LPC
Chaps sweater/coat $14.22 final price. LPC
Apt. 9 jacket approximately $15 final price. LPC

I know winter is a few months out, but these are great deals. I honestly thought we’d be back to the office by now. With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Texas, I’m wondering if we’ll be back to the office at all in 2020. I hope I’m able to wear these pieces I bought this year. If not, I’ll hold onto them for winter 2021.

My whole household benefited from Kohl’s sales. I found some major deals for my husband, Bryan, and my two kids. I also brought several items on clearance I needed for the kitchen such as a Pyrex glass dish, mixing bowls, and cooking/prepping utensils.

Randall’s tea clearance. LPC

Not only have I been finding deals on household items and clothes, but my grocery store has been clearancing out some items including expensive, organic, responsibly sourced teas such as Mighty Leaf, Numi, Traditional Medicinals, Organic India, Yogi, etc. for $1.97. To my surprise, the expiration dates are fine: 2021 and 2022. There were too many teas to capture in the picture. Randall’s is also having a clearance on coffees, including some organic ones and fancy nut butters and organic jams. I stocked up and may even reserve some as gifts.

Overall, groceries have been more expensive, but I’ve found my Randall’s has been slowly bringing back their weekly sales and ads. Shopping is no longer like a scavenger hunt, at least for now. I’m able to find what I need which is great. However, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Texas makes me think there will be another lock down. Whatever the case, I’m prepared. What about you?

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Spicy escapade

I love to buy most of my spices in bulk from Central Market. I don’t go to Central Market often, so when I do, it’s a treat. There’s a turmeric tonic drink I have on rotation in the early mornings for its healing and detoxification properties. I ran out of turmeric. I had a stressful January. February wasn’t looking much better. On this particular day, I took advantage of being in Central Market’s vicinity and went on a spice shopping spree. Mind you, at that moment, I was feeling overwhelmed with life, but I enjoy grocery shopping. I’m the type of person that studies the sales flyers, peruses through the isles, and reads ingredients for every single item. Two communication exchanges occurred during this shopping trip that made me really appreciate the impact people have on each other.

I walked into the bulk spice section and felt slightly amused and annoyed (they were in the way of me getting my spices), watching a swarm of people navigate the bulk spice section. It was lunch time, which explains the crowd. I walked up and let my eyes scan for turmeric. I didn’t see it and the attentive worker who was managing the section asked if I needed help. I told him what I was looking for and he followed with an unexpected question: “for healing purposes or cooking?” I had never been asked such a question and proceeded to tell him it was for healing, describing my turmeric tonic. He enthusiastically told me about a type of turmeric the store started selling a few months ago and what makes it different from the other types of turmeric. He uses it too. I was intrigued and thankful that I was learning something new. A minute later, another shopper approached me and said, “I’m glad you asked about turmeric because I’m going to get some too”. I bagged a few more spices and walked out of the bulk spice section feeling a little more perky. That was Exchange #1.

I headed towards the produce section for some salad fixings. Central Market has beautiful produce. Then, a thought hit me right in the midst of shopping: “I haven’t had watercress in a while”. I discovered a few years back that not every store sells watercress. One time, I had attempted to make my mom’s Haitian soup recipe…watercress is a key ingredient. After trying several grocery stores, I found the watercress at Central Market. Here I was again, looking for what I couldn’t find. I spotted a grocer unloading lettuce. He was an older, brown-colored man with a very serious facial expression. I asked him about the watercress. He pointed and described where. That’s when I heard his accent…likely African, but from where? I tend to pick up on accents and like to ask people where they’re from. Given his stance and my mood, I decided to spare him. I proceeded to shop. Next up was lettuce. I headed right behind him and picked up a big head of organic green leaf lettuce. I was getting excited about my salad. After placing the lettuce in a plastic bag, I was headed for something else, when the brown-colored grocer, with the African accent, approached me with a giant head of green leaf lettuce. He said, “This one is bigger”, and handed it to me with a smile. I put the other head back and practically skipped out of the produce section. That was Exchange #2.

There are a few key points I take away from this shopping trip. In terms of customer service, there are people that take pride in their work and do it well. In my opinion, customer service has become a lost art over the years. I even wanted to write a book about it at one time. It’s refreshing to see that good customer service is not dead. Another point is no matter how stressful life is, you need to take time to pay attention to and enjoy the little things. And finally, we have the power to impact others every single day with small acts of kindness. So go do that.

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Closet Shopping: Part Deux (II)

Tis the season to switch out tank tops, short sleeves, flowy dresses, capris, and sandles for scarves, long sleeves, sweater dresses, pants, and closed toe shoes…at least for me…at least in Texas. Mind you, I was born and raised in Chicago, so I appreciate a change in seasons. After all, fall has always been one of my favorites. Granted, I love summer, so Texas suits me well, however, change is good. I’ve been wanting to replace my clothes for a while, but if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that life happens.  It’s time for my 2nd installment of “Closet Shopping“.  I received a relatively decent amount of views for a new blogger on that post back in the summer.  You can also read it here.

An acquaintance of mine, born and raised in Texas  once told me that she doesn’t change out her clothes with the change in seasons. She happily wears summer clothes in the fall and winter. To each, her own. The weather in this region tends to be unpredictable every season except summer so I can see her point. You can wear a sleeveless top with a thick, belted sweater and you’d be fine in the fall, and maybe even winter.  Most people dress in layers which I believe is the best approach. It can get cold down here, but not like Chicago and definitely for not as long.

What you see in the featured picture is a collection of my old shoes that I used to wear back in the early 1990’s. The fuschia pair are my prom shoes and the rest I’ve worn with different dresses. Not only are they out of style, but I don’t wear that shoe size anymore. Yup, thanks to my 12.2 lb son who I birthed 15 years ago. During that pregnancy, my feet grew a size and a half.  I proudly gave my shoes to my daughter a year ago since she loves to play dress up. Earlier this year, my husband and I were helping her clean up her room (you read that correctly) because it was a plumb mess. She was too overwhelmed to do it alone, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. There were piles everywhere.

She had the nerve to put MY shoes in the section to throw away. I couldn’t believe it! I got a chuckle out of giving her shoes from my past that she could play with in the present. Yet, she didn’t want them anymore. I remember her love of high heels and trying to walk in them when she was a few years younger. Alas, she has become less girly in that sense. Nowadays, she’s into gymastics clothing.  She’s been telling me for a while that she does not like to wear dresses anymore.

I guess I have to honor her preferences, so I snapped a picture of the shoes in case that would be my last time seeing them. They’re in a bag in the garage, which is out of her room, per her request.

Elise’s stuff

More stuff

I felt so energetic yesterday that I decided to embark on switching out my seasonal clothes. The plan was to do it today, which I fully intended to do, but it did not happen. My disclaimer is that life happens and because I had another energetic day today, I got into some other organizing activities (I layed down and rested after that overambitious fiasco). Hopefully, I will get to it tomorrow.

I recently got the urge to go shopping. I think partly due to boredom. Then, I realized that I have a whole other seasonal wardrobe. Sweet! I did buy a few button down shirts prior to my surgeries because I realized I only had two and they were both white.  Apparently, button down shirts are not my style, but they are a necessity after a lumpectomy and breast reconstruction.  I believe some of my fall/winter clothing will be too big because I’ve lost weight this summer. I may be able to get away with large sweaters, but I’m not so sure about other tops. I will spend some time trying on items to see how they fit.

In a future post, I will write about where I am in my weight loss journey. Wait…what am I typing? I can affirmatively indicate here that my weight loss has stalled, obviously, because…life happens. Surviving is more important than weight loss (in my case), but now that I’m getting more settled and know the side effects of future treatment, I don’t want to gain the weight back I’ve lost, plus some. Also, fitness has been such a part of my life and I’m unable exercise at this time in my treatment.

I will abruptly end here because I could go on and on, but I’m tired. Until next time. Stay tuned.