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Charming Charlie – A Modern Day Inconvenience

Like most girls, I don’t think I could ever have enough accessories.  In fact, even with the overflowing amount that I have now and the equal mounds that my mom and sister have that they let me borrow occasionally, I still have moments where I literally have NOTHING that matches!  Luckily there is the accessory mecca land, a refreshing oasis that provides only the lasted and greatest in outfit toppers:  Charming Charlie.  If you don’t know what Charming Charlie is, just picture Claire’s, The Icing, Francesca’s Collections, Forever 21-accessories, H&M accessories, and Charlotte Russe-accessories throwing up everywhere.  No seriously – it has the color coordination of H&M, the price point of the Icing/Claire’s, and the ‘on trend’ perfection of Forever and Charlotte.  It’s everything a girl could ask for, right?  WRONG.

Charming CharlieI do have one MAJOR issue with Charming Charlie.  I’m signed up for their email, just as I’m signed up for with all my other stores like The Limited, Ann Taylor Loft, and Old Navy.  I use these to make the time pass while I’m drinking my morning coffee or while I’m winding down watching TV at night.  I basically use “window shopping” (clearly I’m using that term loosely here) the same way most educated adults would use reading a newspaper or book, but this is only because I don’t read.  OK, lets be clear here, its not that I can’t read, its that I choose not to.  I have been reading the same damn book on my family vacation for the past 3 summers, and I think I’m only halfway through.  It’s pathetic really.

Anyways, I digress, back to the important issue here:  Charming Charlie’s email list.  I get the email every damn day.  I want to go to their website and see their 2 for $20 scarves, their tantalizing TEAL accessories, and their cross body bags.  I want to throw my money into the endless cycle of trendy accessories that will be nothing but a fashion faux pas next season, but can I? NOOOOOOOOOO…… Why? because they don’t have a damn website!  It’s 2013 people, almost 2014 and you don’t have a website?  Is this real life?  Jenna Marbles runs a freaking YouTube channel single handedly, and she has an online store!  You’re trying to tell me that with 250+ stores nation wide you couldn’t hire a team to run an online store??  You’ve been “a thing” for 10 years now! Get it together.

Furthermore, if you’re going to dick us around with these “deals” that are “in store only” (which is pretty much a pointless thing to stipulate because that’s actually the only way that you can make purchases), lets have it be a better deal.  If I actually have to drive to the store, park half a mile away, walk in, purchase approximately 12 items more than i intended to, I’m going to need a deeper discount, ya know what I mean?

Charming Charlie, I hope that you read this post and that you understand your inconsideration for today’s online shoppers!




Awesome Austin: Part 3 – Things To Do

Last Austin post…so sad!  So while in Austin, while we weren’t eating, we made our way around town and made the most of my short trip!  With all the things I did and saw I feel like I was in Austin for much longer than 3 days, which is awesome, but it also makes me wish I was able to stay for much longer because everything was so amazing!  Here’s all the cool stuff we were able to cram in!

Central Park:  Right when I got to Austin, Carrie took me on a nice walk through Central Park which is about a block from where they live.  The park had a very nice walking/running trail, which Carrie runs on frequently, and also a playscape and empty grass areas where trainers run outdoor boot camps!  Awesome!  I love bootcamp classes and thinking of doing one out in a park like they do in Bridesmaids sounds awesome!!  We passed by this HUGE oak, which apparently was Austin’s Tree of the Year, 2008!  While in Central Park, we grabbed lunch at Central Market, and it was delicious!

Austin Tree of the Year 2008

Austin Tree of the Year 2008

Tree Plaque and Lupe at Central Park!

Tree Plaque and Lupe at Central Park!

The one thing that is very odd, yet kind of spectacular, about Central Park is the bird…there are these black birds (HEB Birds) that reside there that look like miniature crows, but also have “spider-like” qualities.  Apparently at night, there is one that sits in the middle of the pond on a rock and all the others swarm around it and eventually land in the nearby trees…creepy!  I wasn’t there at dusk to see it, however, I think Carrie’s description is enough for me! Below is a quick video that I found on YouTube…Carrie is right!  Their sound does kind of make you feel like you’re in a bad horror flick!

Hops and Grain:  Also on my first day, Doug and Carrie brought me to Hops and Grain where we met up with Carrie’s brother, Dan, and their friend, Austin!  Hops and Grain is a World Beer Cup Gold Medal winning craft brewery and they do brewery tours and tastings!  You go in and you get get either an oversized shot glass for $5, or a “beer-can-shaped” glass for $10, and you can keep the glass.  With the glass, you actually also get more beer in each sample…so if you like beer, and I do, the glass is the way to go!  They had a lot of interesting brews!  I tried one called the “Funky” something…I can’t remember the actual name, and I can’t find it online, but it tasted like a sour apple and beer mixed together.  It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but then again it was beer, not tea, so I drank it anyways!  Don’t get me wrong, though, there was a ton of other beers that were amazing!  The brewery itself had a great feel.  The tasting room was pretty small…maybe 13×15, but then there was a large concrete corridor where people, and their dogs, were able to hang out and stand/sit and chat!  It was a great way to spend the afternoon!

Hops and Grain!

Hops and Grain!

West Austin Park:  We headed down to to West Austin Park mainly because they had a fenced in dog park and we wanted to bring Lupe to get some exercise and socialization time with “his kind”.  Let me tell you.  He was a STUD.  There wasn’t a dog in the park that wasn’t intrigued by his sweet alligator elegance!  Being a new experience for him, the 2 times we brought him there he faded after about 15 – 20 minutes, but he seemed to really enjoy himself!  I guess it’s easy to have a great time when you’re the most popular guy around!!

West Austin Park - Dog Park!

West Austin Park – Dog Park! As you can see, Lupe is no where to be seen because he’s way to busy being popular!

Barton Springs:  Barton Springs Pool is a spring-fed swimming hole in Zilker Park which was voted the “Best Swimming Hole in Texas”.  I could easily see why.  There was two different parts to the springs:  the “free part”, which is cool because you can bring your dog and have them swim with you, and the “pay part”, which is pet free, and apparently pretty difficult to get into.  No surprise there!  Seeing how Austin thermometers frequently top the charts over 100 degrees, people without pools would certainly be looking for clean cool-off spot!  It wasn’t exactly warm enough for me to jump in, unfortunately, but if it was, I would have been in the water in a heartbeat!

Barton Springs

Barton Springs.  In the top pic, the majority of the picture is the “free part” the “pay part” is on the right.  You can see a little bit of it in this picture.

Shopping:  Carrie and I were able to sneak away for a little while and do our “Girl Thanngg” for a while getting down and dirty with the shops around her apartment!  We started out with the Buffalo Exchange, which I was SUPER EXCITED for!  One of my blogger friends, Erika Tapia Schrieber of The Fab and Frugal, blogged about the Buffalo Exchange months ago, and ever since I have been dying to check it out!   The Buffalo Exchange has all vintage and used clothing, and essentially is a well maintained, upscale thrift store!  Honestly, I could have spent about 6 hours in there, but really, who has the time for that?!  So I picked out a cute on-trend aztec patterned sweater for $14 and called it a day!  She also showed me to this cute boutique, Strut, where I was able to get an awesome statement necklace for half off!

On our second day of shopping we went to an Austin staple, Tyler’s, where you can find all the awesome and loud Austin gear you can handle!  This is where I learned the importance of “Keep Austin Weird!”  We also hit up Urban Outfitters, where we surprisingly found some awesome deals, and finally Francesca’s!  We have a Francesca’s here in CT, however, since I’ve never been there before it was a first time for me!  Amahhhzing!  I will definitely become a regular at out Francesca’s asap!

Just out and about shopping our pants off!

Just out and about shopping our pants off!

The past three posts are only the tip of the iceburg as far as Austin goes!  There is SO much more to see and to do, however in the short 3 days I was there, that was all I was able to fit in!  I’m happy with it, though!  It was a healthy mix of spending money, trying new things, and sight seeing!

I hope you enjoyed my TX posts as much as I enjoyed being there! xo

Sunday Winery

Yesterday  my mom, my sister and I went outlet shopping and since we were already in Clinton I thought it would be a great idea to cross off the vineyard in Clinton since it’s on my bucket list and is literally about a stone throw away from the Clinton Crossing Outlets.  So – down to the reason of this post:  Charmard Vineyards.

Address:  115 Cow Hill Road  Clinton, CT 06413 (860) 664-0299

Cost for a tasting:  $15 for a 6 wine tasting (includes a white wine glass) $25 for a 8 glass tasting (includes a red wine glass)

Ranking:  2 (NOTE:  this is my personal ranking, so please feel free to make your own personal judgement)

OK, so here’s the deal:  usually when you go to a vineyard, it’s $5-7 per tasting and you make an afternoon of it.  You do the tasting with a few friends, buy a bottle of wine, and then post up at a table where you can eat all the munchables you brought with, sit, relax and chit chat.  This winery, however, is different.  Though a few years ago they allowed you to bring in outside food, they no longer do.  Now if you’d like to eat you have to purchase food from the vineyard itself.  Since this tasting was so expensive you’d think that the wine would be spectacular.  It wasn’t horrible, however there wasn’t any that I was willing to pay $22 – $30 a bottle for.  The vineyard itself is very pretty, but since it’s winter we only got to enjoy the inside, not the beautiful outdoor property.  The inside was cozy with exposed wood, high top tables, a fireplace and cool wall architecture to hold the wine bottles.  It would have been a bit nicer if the fire place was actually lit, but even without the inside had a nice cozy feel.  Overall, I’m glad that we went (heck, it’s wine, I’m always glad that we went!), however, I’m also glad that we did it the way we did:  On the way home from shopping, rather than making a whole hour trip down there for some very expensive mediocre wine.

Check out our pics from the day!

Vineyard truck at the entrance

Vineyard truck at the entrance

Me and Kate in the vineyard.  (this would be much nicer if it was 40 degrees warmer)

Me and Kate in the vineyard. (this would be much nicer if it was 40 degrees warmer)

Inside architecture / design.  very cool

Inside architecture / design. very cool

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