Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Confessions Of a Shop-a-holic

Phew, has it really been since last week that I posted?!  Thankfully my daughter stepped in and did her wonderful cocktail party post or I would have left you all hangin' for even more time!  She loved reading all of your sweet comments, so thank you all for your kind words!!

This week has been a complete blur with single digit temperatures, high winds, and lots of outdoor time with a new puppy.  Who thought it was a good idea to get a puppy during the coldest time of the year?!  Hmm, I think I'll take the 5th on that one!  I know our temperatures may seem tame to some of you who are used to living in the Arctic, but for us "southern" Marylanders...well we just aren't used to it.  I live south of much of the state of Virginia, so I'm a southerner at heart and appreciate heat and humidity, not wind and freezing temperatures!

In between my many trips outside this week, I was able to finish up another story and with just one more to go I've had some time to do a little shopping.  The title of my post is actually a little misleading.  You see I don't live to shop, and I have to confess that I haven't set foot inside a mall for probably 3 years...I detest indoor shopping malls!  I think I spent too much time in them when my children were little, hauling strollers, sippy cups, and diaper bags, so for me, the magic of mall shopping wore off a long time ago.  When asked by his pre-school teacher where he liked dine, for a book they made as a gift for mother's day, my son said that his favorite place to eat out was Nordstrom you can see we spent a fair amount of time shopping back in the day!
Plus, the closest mall is 45 minutes away, the "good" mall, the one with more than just a J.C. Penney is almost 2 hours away...and that's each way folks!  So over the years, I've become quite adept at that thing we call online shopping.  I can pick out pj's in my pj's and shop for tea while sipping a cup at my desk.  Plus, I don't have to spend money on gas, or a meal and it doesn't take me all day to buy what I need.  I love technology...but not as much as you you see...(ok that was from Napoleon Dynamite, did any of you get the reference?!...didn't think so!).

So I thought in this post I would share with you the only Christmas tree...can sticks be a tree?...that is gracing my house at the moment, and also share with you some of my favorite online retailers.   Now don't get me wrong, I love to shop at small local stores, and I'll tell you more about that in another post, but for now, here are some of my favorite online places to pick up some loot for the holidays!

For the bargain hunter in the crowd, you'll love these.  I'm a girl who loves a good bargain, and you'll find me picking through the clearance rack, even online!  Some of these sites require a free membership, some don't, but they offer designer finds at wonderful kind of shopping. Others on this list are simply sites that tell you which of your favorite retailers have things on sale...or where to find a coupon for something.  I always do a Google search for coupons when I'm buying something, I saved a boatload this year with coupons that weren't advertised on the retailer's website.

Rue La La






CSN Stores

I love giving things that are special or one of a kind, so this next group consists of shops where you'll find that perfect something for someone who has the soul of an artist...or those that don't want mass produced gifts.. I love those kind of people!  Some of the folks on this list are my sponsors, which means I love them even more!

K.Young Photography

Hartwood Roses

Cheryl McDermitt Jewelry 

Farmgirl Paints

There are so many wonderful Etsy stores out there that it would take me all night to list them all, so I apologize if I missed someone...I will probably wake up tonight in a cold sweat when I remember who I forgot!!

This next list consists of small online retailers that have those cool, unusual items that make me smile and drool!


French Bleu Vintage

Red Barn Mercantile

White Flower Farmhouse

Pale and Interesting

Paper Relics

Seaside Inspired

Violet Swan

Such Pretty Things

Williamsburg Marketplace

Madison at Main

Of course this list is just scratching the surface, but they are some of the places I like to frequent.  The clay tags you see in the photos above of my "branch" tree came from The Nest, and I love that they are homemade and one of a kind!  Of course I shop at the major online retailers and big box stores, but I truly do love the little things I find and the idea of supporting independent retailers and craftspeople!

And another thing I love to do is to support charitable organizations, not just at Christmas, but all throughout the year.  CNN had an article (HERE) that gives you lots of information on ways to help others, while helping yourself to some wonderful gifts!
I'm am 99.9% done with my shopping, which is a record for me...normally I have my decorations up early and my shopping done late...this year it's flip flopped!  Oh well, you can't win 'em all.  I hope each of you is avoiding the shopping frenzy and finding those perfect gifts for the ones you love!


  1. Ha! Aren't you a sweetheart you Southern Belle you. Thanks for the shout out and yes, your tree counts as a Christmas tree :)


  2. Funny, I was just telling
    my mom that I detest going
    to malls and that I think
    they are going out of style.
    All the new shopping areas
    are the outdoor "village"
    types or the kind where you
    can drive right up to the door.
    I have to pace myself with Etsty;
    I really can get lost on that
    site for hours if I'm not careful!
    I still meet people all the time
    who have never heard of it....
    Uh, hel-loooo people! I'll look
    forward to checking out the rest
    of your picks....probably AFTER
    the holidays, as I'm done with my
    shopping : ) Love the branches!
    xx Suzanne

  3. Wonderful post! I don't go to malls at all anymore, either. Back in the day, however (those same stroller, sippy cup days!)...that's another story!

    I really love your beautiful, glowing, twiggy tree--just gorgeous! And what a sweet thing to share all of those wonderful shopping spots--thanks so much!

    I hope you're having a wonderful winter evening, and that a little of the chill comes off for you!


  4. Oh, I almost forgot...I so completely got the Napoleon Dynamite quote, too--we use it all the time in our house!


  5. Thanks for all the on line shopping info. I might be staying up a little later than usual tonight. Glad Misty is doing well!!

  6. I love malls...but I don't shop in them nearly as much as I used to. We also don't have a big mall with cool stores, but when I travel I love going into William-Sonoma, Pottery Barn etc. I do much of my shopping online and then I can just walk through the stores and enjoy myself!

    Your tree turned out it!

  7. Sakes alive! That is the sweetest Christmas tree I have ever seen. My heart smiled....huge.


    I have been making gifts instead of the dreaded trip to the awful malls. I also have been online shopping.

    Keep warm with your puppy.

  9. Thanks for mentioning me, Kat! Hope you are having a Merry Christmas! I am behind on shopping but enjoying the season!

  10. I really appreciate the list...most shops I don't recognize but most of the Etsy shops I do. I was at our mall last week only because I needed a dress for a wedding and I needed it quick. I felt I was in a teenage movie. Ugh!

    I love your stick! I have been waiting for my Red Twig Dogwood to turn red to have my own stick, but it is not cooperating.

    I hope your cold doesn't last too long. We in the Midwest expect it to go on until April so we are full of resolve.

    So glad to see you post again.


  11. Kat, that is the cutest tree and yes sticks can be a tree when they look like that. I am a member of rue la la, too, but no shopping on line anymore for quite a while for me. The mall is only eight minutes from me with a lot of stores. The Mall of Ga. is the largest mall in Ga. I only go periodically though to Pottery Barn and Talbots or The Loft. I have been babysitting Leila and am keeping her over night and she has already worn me out. Great list of places to shop.

  12. Hi Kat,
    This is a great post. And love your lists. I hate malls, so shopping online and is key. ~Delores

  13. As much as I love to shop I rarely step in the mall either Kat and I have them much closer than you do. Thank you so much for all the on line sources, like you I did nearly all my Christmas shopping on line this year and I'm a much better holiday person in mind and body for doing so. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite and Merry Christmas.

  14. Lovely post!!
    Ans thank you soooooo much for the "shout out!"
    I love etsy and have purchased many things there myself!
    So nice to have special unique items ... plus you're supporting artists!!!!

    Happy Holidays!

  15. Love your tree!!!.. since we moved to This Old House I don't have a beachy themed room, but maybe I can do a more country themed version of this next year!..

  16. Kat,
    I don't care for indoor malls either! This year I did all my shopping for the "teens" in one day and 3 three stores.

    So great to see all your recommentions and favorites listed!

    Of course I love you branch tree...yes it counts!!!

  17. Your tree is precious! So simple and beautiful! :)

  18. Great post and thank you for all the shopping places! Going to go check those out, after I get my buns out of this chair and wrap! :) I love shopping on line in my pjs too! Heck doing anything in my pj's are a bonus! :) Love your tree, it is has so much personality and it totally counts! I also have to confess that I have never seen Napoleon Dynamite, I know I am probably the only one!

  19. Kat, what a lovely post! I love your twig tree-it really sparkles!!

  20. Kat, the tree is perfect and so YOU. I love one of a kind objects and do not go to malls either.

  21. Oh I just love your tree Kat! And I'm with you on the on-line shopping. Thanks so much for all those links and also for including me in there too. You are always so good to me. Hugs, ~Lili

  22. Oh my gosh - this is a fabulous post. That tree is simply beautiful - I am in love with it! Thanks for all the great suggestions. I say that you have my friend Lili listed from Fearless Nesting - she is a wonderful person. So great to see her get some credits here!


  23. Hi Kat, wow, how did I miss this post? Thanks for sharing all of the wonderful websites - I can't wait to begin browsing. Like you, I've become a fan of the clearance aisles lately - sometimes it's all junky stuff but sometimes I can pick something up that's just perfect for half off or more of the original cost. Take care, oh, and I loved that Nordstrom Cafe story LOL!!! Ciao, bella!

  24. Well, Kat, I'm reading along... loving your links, and then you mention my shops! How sweet is that!? We spent a day at the Mall of America shopping with family, but I'm with you...I have done a lot of my shopping online this year and greatly prefer it! Thanks for all the great links and for thinking of me! XO

  25. Hi Kat,
    thanks so much for the mention and for the great photos. I'm so glad you like the deocorations. I'm a big fan of etsy (not just as a seller) and have bought a few things there too.
    We don't really have a 'mall' (we call them shopping centres) near us but we have lots of out of town shopping centres which seem to be the big thing. They are basically a huge car park surrounded on all sides by shops. They can be handy as you can always find a parking space and have a variety of national shops but not my idea of fun.
    I prefer to head to a village about an hour from where I live which is very pretty and has lots of small gift shops selling really unusual things. One of my favourite shops gives out mulled wine to customers at this time of year and the whole village shopping experience is just lovely. So much more enjoyable than 'high street' or mall shopping.
    I love your tree and how you've included beachy items - it looks great. I would never think of putting a starfish on a tree but it looks beautiful.
    We've just had snow which is rare for us at this time of year so here's dreaming of a White Christmas! Fingers crossed (Lily has all fingers and all toes crossed!!)

  26. This tree is wonderful! I'm thinking of doing something like that for year round!!

    Happy Holidays!!!!!


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