Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Product Review - Toms Shoes

So, what's the big deal about Toms? 

Zulily ran a Toms special about two months ago.  I snatched up two pairs for my daughter at about $18 each, plus shipping.  (This is as much as I've EVER spent on shoes for her.)  I bought the canvas and petal pink colors.  With white shoe season finally here, I put the canvas Toms on her the day after they came in the mail.  After wearing into ONE store, for less than ONE hour - the canvas colored Toms were GREY all over the toes.

Ok, so you might say it's MY fault for putting a child in canvas colored shoes, but truthfully, I've purchased other brands of white canvas tennis shoes in the past and did NOT have this problem.

On a positive not, they're super cute and she says they're comfy.  *smiles*

Via Pinterest, I stumbled upon the Toms Online Outlet!  Yup, that's right.  Discounted, cheap, on sale, affordable Toms!  Mostly, they carry women's but I've seen men's too.

Because of the whopping $50-60 per pair I discovered every time I found Toms in a retail store, I never was willing to spend the money.  But when I saw the price of just under $18 each plus shipping (which was $7.50 each) I snagged a grey and silver pair!  I'd seen the SAME SHOE on Zulily during their sale, but they were around $35 plus shipping.

Promptly, my package arrived from China, registered mail.  The boxes were really squished.  But the shoes were in perfect condition.  With excitement, I tried on my Toms.  Both shoes were the same size.  The silver Toms were super tight, while the grey Toms were super loose!  Hmmm...

I decided to wear the silver shoes out that afternoon.  (Yup, I'd heard that Toms are supposed to be a little tight at first, but will stretch after wearing them.)  Uhm...I got blisters after a couple hours of wear on places on my foot that have never seen a blister.  The side of my heal and the top of my foot!

Also, I didn't find them to be thaaat comfortable.  No thick cushioning to speak of, no arch support.  They're not uncomfortable, but nothing like Ecco or SAS.  

Since the grey pair were definitely too large, they'll be on the auction block pretty soon.  *sigh*  And as for the silver ones, wear #2 was mucho better. They didn't blister my tootsies this time. Not A+ for extra-comfort though.  Certainly an A+ on cuteness and a go-to-to-go-with-everything shoe.  *grins*

On the upside Toms are incredibly light-weight, so for packing they would be wonderful.  The style goes with shorts, pants, skirts, pretty much everything!

If you have a long walk ahead or need comfort because you'll be on your feet all day, I think I'd skip on Toms.  They have great marketing I guess.  *winks*

All in all I'm giving Toms Shoes 3 stars outta 5.

***Toms Tip: Buy the sparkle shoes a size bigger and the regular canvas shoes your regular size.  Odd, but they run differently.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Up-cycle Necklace

I've been wanting to make a necklace like this for about a year.  FINALLY, I got around to it! 

Nothing was difficult...just took time...
Simply make rosettes in various sizes.
Lay them out on the table first to determine your design.
Next, lay them on felt and cut around them.
Trim the felt while hot gluing.
Add your bling with a glue gun and creative eye!
I used random pieces of material (some vintage) left in my scrap bin and even some scraps from t-shirt scarves!  The "bling" is a vintage earring and vintage buttons. 
This is SO my style.  *winks*

In the very near future this bib necklace will be completing my outfit!

Now, if I can convince the cat to lift a paw and actually HELP me during photo time.  *winks*
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Gluten Free in Kauai, Hawaii

My family just got back from Kauai, Hawaii!

As a devoted gluten-free-er, travel can be difficult.  Salads and grilled chicken get oh-so boring fast!

After doing some Googling, I was excited to find Sweet Marie's.  But that was it!  

Everywhere we went, I kept my eyes and ears open.  AND - asked lots of questions.  *smiles*

Here's a list of what I discovered!

Sweet Marie's shows up all-over Google.  Their website isn't exactly user friendly, but I was able to find an address and Google the location. 

Right after we arrived in Kauai I made a trip here.  Excited to find a designated gluten free bakery, I bought three of her muffins, a pack of chocolate chip cookies and a brownie.  That should do it for an eleven day visit.  *smiles* The small shop had a steady flow of customers.  Three were finishing up lunch when I walked in, two others came in behind me to get baked goods and as we drove away, another car full of people was arriving.  My daughter enjoyed playing with the toys in the corner of the shop!

Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the taste and texture.  Her muffins all tasted heavy of banana.  They also were extremely oily.  The chocolate chip cookies were very crunchy and tasted like baking soda with a grainy texture.  The brownie was very yummy - would get that again!

My daughter, who has been raised gluten free, refused to eat the banana chocolate chip muffin she picked out from the case!  I offered it to her several times over a 2-day period, but after that first bite she wouldn't touch it again.  

During an afternoon drive, we stumbled up Banana Joe's Fruit Stand.  It's a treasure.  Banana Joe, in person,  whipped up a pineapple frosty for me - it's just frozen pineapple!  After about half of it, I'd had all the acid my tummy could handle, but for a cool and fresh, lightly sweet healthy treat it was fantastic.  

In their freezer they had gluten-free bread and tortillas to buy.  I spied gluten free fudge too.  *winks*

A handful of locals came through while we were browsing, to buy his frosties and to get produce.  The produce seemed to be a good price and good quality.

Common Grounds

Recommended by Banana Joe.  A bit on the spendy side, but they said their GF breakfast options were superb.

Kilauea Bakery

On that same afternoon drive, my husband and I stopped in this marvelous local bakery - we were looking for a bathroom.  (They're in a market place, but I cannot remember the name!)   They sell GF pizza (not cheap, but you are in Hawaii!) and GF baked goods.  All of their soups are GF and they even made me sandwich with the loaf of gluten free bread I purchased!  A refil of any coffee or tea is only $2.  *smiles*

While our meal cost more than soup, salad and sandwich at home - the portions were generous and quite filling!

They do not claim to have GF options, but the staff was very understanding and made great recommendations.  Again, on the spendy side, but it was some of the best food we ate on our vacation.

The owner personally came to our table and chatted for a while. 
Shrimp Station

Their garlic shrimp is amazing.  There are other options, of course, but this was our lunch and/or dinner multiple times!  Quick service.  Very clean.

The Fish Hut

The Fish Hut is located in the Coconuts Market in Kapaa.  I was unable to find a website for them.  Their Hawaiian Shave Ice is the best value and quality we uncovered.  We were not disappointed with any our food choices either - fish, shrimp, rice, hot dog and fries.  Again, a good value!

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