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November 2009

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Black Friday Adventures

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This is my first Black Friday that I spent at a mall.  The idea of Black Friday always rather disgusted me, bringing to mind the images of unruly crowds frantically trampling over each other as they rush into WalMart to buy TVs, DVD/Blu Ray players, etc.  However, I was curious this year as to how Black Friday would look in our recession, so when my friend Appi said that she and her friends were going to go to Ala Moana this year, I decided to tag along, cameras in hand.  Another friend, Reid, also came along out of curiosity.

We arrived at the mall at about 5:55am, just in time to find parking on the top level of the parking structure and rush to join Appi at Victoria’s Secret.  I had really just intended to photograph the crowds, but I have to admit, I am a sucker for free stuff with purchase.  Appi’s friend Nicole had been waiting in line since about 3:00am, so she was near the front, and we joined her just before they opened the doors. This was a good thing, as the line was winding out the store, down the walkway, and all the way out to the road.

The deal was, if you spent $60 or more, you would get a free bag with some goodies inside.  That was easy enough for me, so when they opened the doors at 6:00am, I went straight for their seamless underwear.  I seriously love that stuff, it’s so comfortable and doesn’t even show through leggings!  But anyway, after I claimed my handful of underwear, I marched straight to the cash register, checked out and got my free bag, and was out of the store by 6:10am.  Not bad!  Reid took the following pictures while I was in VS:

As for the free bag and goodies, the bag is labeled as being valued at $65 (which I doubt), and the goodies include a body mist, a perfume sample, and a lip gloss. The perfume smells pretty good when warmed up on skin, and the lip gloss is a little sticky, but tasty!

After that there was generally just a lot of wandering around. Ala Moana itself had set up several small “rest stations” around the mall, offering complimentary waters and a chance to enter a prize drawing.  People were still lining up for Victoria’s Secret like crazy.

We did stop in Nine West to see if the shoes I had tried on a couple weeks ago had been on sale.  They were still marked as being 30% off, but were on a 50% off table.  When I checked with a sales associate, she said that the 50% didn’t count for those shoes, just whatever was on the sticker.  Nine West was packed, but since I’d been there recently I knew they weren’t actually having any special sales. Always check! A lot of retailers make it seem like there’s a special sale for Black Friday when there really isn’t, and with the way a lot of women were buying shoes, I knew it was working.

We headed upstairs to look at Fossil, and I took another photo of the Victoria’s Secret/Lego Store lines.

One place that had amazing sales was Guess.  While they had a deal of 25% off regular priced items until 11:00AM, they were also doing 60% off sale items.  There were purses there that were originally $130 for only $40!  I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t need anything there, but it was impressive.

The only other store I spent significant time in was Betsey Johnson, because they were also giving out a free gift with any purchase.  I picked out these dagger earrings that were already marked down from their original price, from $35 to $24.50.  I thought they were pretty neat, but unfortunately they weren’t included in the “40% off everything” in the store.

And here is my ‘free gift’, a cute little bag!  It’s more of a makeup bag, but I looped the handle so that it can work as a small handbag.

Reid stopped by the Mac Store to get his sister an iPod for Christmas.  While it was crowded, things were moving fast as many of the sales associates had portable check-outs with them, including plastic bags that worked as backpacks.  Pretty brilliant!

At one point we stopped for a snack from Shirokiya.  I had a salmon onigiri set, while Appi and Reid split a yakisoba/takoyaki bento.

And as Appi showed her purchases to a friend, Reid was making faces at the fact she was pulling out her purchased underwear in the middle of the mall.

After more wandering around between stores, we passed above Victoria’s Secret again.  Four hours later, and there was still a line out the door.  Good thing we went there first!

When everyone decided they were over Black Friday, Reid and I headed back to the parking structure.  Countless cars were wandering around, hoping for that lucky break.

Up top, where we had parked, the place was packed!  It had been mostly empty when we’d arrived that morning.  When we walked to the car, at least four cars stopped to ask us where we were parked and if we were leaving.  Desperate times!

In retrospect, Black Friday was not as intense as I thought it might be.  There were occasional good sales (Although I avoided the WalMart crush), extremely long check-out lines, and definitely an example of buying things you didn’t need. (I needed the underwear, but admittedly didn’t need the earrings!)

For continued Black Friday sales from the comfort of your own home, I must recommend Threadless.  All T-shirts are $9 until midnight PST!

Europe, Revisited, and More

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As inspiration/research for my NaNoWriMo endeavors, I’ve been going through a lot of my old photos from my Europe study abroad in 2006.  Here are a few that I decided to re-process, and most of them have never been posted, aside from my old study abroad blog, which is no longer in existence.

“Burano” – The island near Venice, famous for its brightly-painted houses.

“Remember Venice” – Gondolas on the Grand Canal.

“Meet Me At Como” – A cafe on the shores of Lake Como.

“Switzerland” – Somewhere near Interlaken.

The best part of these photographs is that while the first picture, “Burano”, was taken with my old Canon Digital Rebel/kit lens, the last three were taken with my old Canon Powershot SD400…and that last shot in Switzerland was out of a moving bus window!  It’s looking back on photos like these, when I was still very new to the art of photography and had the most basic of equipment, that remind me I can be more than my equipment.  There have been many times where I have taken a photo, and people’s only comment is “Wow, you are  so lucky you have such a nice camera!”, without any credit given to me as the eye behind the lens.  A few of my photographer peers have had similar experiences, so I know I’m not alone in noticing this.

In other news, there’s apparently a Wildlife Photography Contest going on over at deviantART, and it’s the first photography contest in ages that has interested me.  Luckily, zoo photography is allowed, so maybe I’ll be able to figure something out before December 15th.  Of course, it’d be much more impressive to go back to Maui’s rainforest looking for honeycreepers, but if I do that I’ll be wanting to rent a super-telephoto from Hawaii Photo Rental, and didn’t I just say I want to be more than my equipment?  Plus, I’m a very small girl, and hiking one of those monster lenses into a rainforest is rather daunting.  Where’s my entourage when I need one?

I also might be posting more fashion-related entries as time goes on and my interest in fashion grows.  Check out this shot of Sarah Jessica Parker from Elle:

SJP

I’m in love with the styling here! (Matte jersey crepe top with cage shoulder, $295, leather vest, $1,190, both, Alexander Wang, at Barneys New York. Cotton tank top, Michael Stars, $38. Stretch briefs, Chanel, $900. Leather boots, Bess, $385.)

Finally, I wanted to promote my dear friend and travel partner,  Cameron, and her new blog, Eyes on Etsy!

Eyes on Etsy

As a huge Etsy fan, like myself, Cameron puts together awesome themed collections made up of the best handmade and vintage items she finds!  In her own words:

Etsy is a magical, bountiful land of online creativity and commerce, specializing in handmade and vintage goods. I discovered it one day while wandering along (virtually), and fell head-over-heels in love. Now, just like any realistic love interest, Etsy is not 100% awesome 100% of the time. However, with a little patience, you can find some true gems… and I have.

So, seeing as I spend at least some part of every day browsing Etsy – and seeing as my list of Favorite items is approaching 300 – I thought I’d share my finds with the world. Maybe you can afford to actually purchase something…

Happy browsing,
Cameron

So there you have it! You can follow her on Twitter too, for all the great finds she doesn’t post on her blog!

There, I’ve been a good blogger now.  May I have a cookie? :)